Sunday, September 30, 2012

Week Forty One: Some Kind Of Innocence Is Measured Out In You

Jimmy Savile, the eccentric radio DJ and Jim'll Fix It and Top of the Pops presenter who was knighted in 1990, was a sexual predator who abused girls as young thirteen, an investigative documentary to be broadcast by ITV next week will allege. 'Up to ten' women are said to have come forward to claim that they were sexually assaulted by Savile during the 1970s, when they were teenagers, and that their lives were 'destroyed and devastated' as a result. The abuse, they claim, ranged from rape to indecency, and is alleged to have taken place in various public places, including schools, hospitals and the BBC studios where the entertainer hosted his family-oriented shows. Exposure: The Other Side Of Jimmy will be screened on Wednesday on ITV, weeks before the first anniversary of the broadcaster's death at the age of eighty four. In a statement issued on Friday, the BBC said it had 'conducted extensive searches of its files' to establish whether there was any record or allegation of misconduct by Savile during his time at the BBC but 'no such evidence had been found. While the BBC condemns any behaviour of the type alleged in the strongest terms, in the absence of evidence of any kind found at the BBC that corroborates the allegations that have been made it is simply not possible for the corporation to take any further action,' it said. A former Surrey police officer and child protection expert, Mark Williams-Thomas, will present the programme, which will, according to the Gruniad Morning Star, include interviews with 'at least' two women who have waived their rights to anonymity. In 2007, the police reportedly received a complaint from a woman who said that she had been indecently assaulted by Savile in Surrey, where he was a regular visitor to Duncroft school in Staines. The allegation was investigated at the time but no further action was taken.

Yer actual Keith Telly Topping is indebted to his old mate Ian Abrahams for pointing him in the direction of Gavin Fuller's latest Daily Telegraph review of Doctor Who. For those dear blog readers who haven't got elephantine memories, in the early 1990s Fuller won the BBC's Mastermind series. In one of the rounds his specialist subject was Doctor Who and, thus, for the next twenty years he's made something of a career for himself trading on his 'expertise' on the show. (To be fair, he's by no means alone in that regard - lots of others have made themselves similar media careers based on much the same premise, yer actual Keith Telly Topping being not least among 'em.) ‎'Despite Arthur Darvill's best efforts,' Fuller writes in his review, '[Rory] tended to be something of a wet blanket, so perhaps it was apposite in the end.' As Abie notes, that was yer actual Gavin Fuller 'yet again proving that he might know everything about Doctor Who but he doesn't understand Doctor Who at all.' What He said.
The Angels Take Manhattan, incidentally, had an overnight audience of 5.9m punters on BBC1 - up four hundred thousand week-on-week and five hundred thousand on the equivalent episode last year, the second-highest audience for any show of the night - by a distance - and with an audience peak of 6.4m during the last fifteen minutes. The final, consolidated ratings, including timeshifts, will be released in about eight days time.

Karen Gillan has been talking to The Big Issue about life after Amy: 'I feel like I'm prepared for all the possible genres after playing Amy. And I certainly want variety, that's for sure. What I enjoy most about acting is being versatile. I like actors like Robin Williams, who can do crazy, absurd characters. I would love to be an actor like that. The one I am really getting into recently is Olivia Colman. She does Peep Show and is brilliant at comedy, but I just watched Tyrannosaur. I was on a train going through the Highlands of Scotland crying my eyes out. I want to play character roles, generally. That is my main ambition.' And on the subject of how she wants Amy remembered: 'I love this girl. I would be too scared to act like her, but I get this artistic licence playing her. I love her dry sarcasm, wit and grumpiness. I'm not a grumpy person. I want to see her go out in flames of glory, where we see her at her absolute best. I just want people to look back over the Pond-era fondly. I have had the best years of my life on this show, hand on my heart.'
Similarly, yer actual Arthur Darvill was interviewed by TV Choice about his departure from the show: 'I can't really conceive that I've even been in it, yet! Do you know what I mean? When we're filming we concentrate so much on making each moment good. Then you see a screen with your face on or a big poster and you're like, "Oh, that doesn't quite compute in my mind." I just get on with my job, I don't think it will hit any of us – all three of us, really – until we've been a few years out it. Then we'll realise what we've been doing for the last few years. I can't speak for anyone else but I'm so proud of what we've done on this show, and it's been the best job I've ever had.' And what he plans to do next: 'I don't know if you can have a plan really. I do have a vague plan – I want to play some horrible people and I want to do some comedy, and I want to do some more theatre. Variety.'
Matt Smith, it would seem, got some parental feedback on the episode: 'I showed my mum some of the rushes,' he told TV Choice. 'The last couple of scenes, and she was in tears. So that's good. That's a good sign. I think it's a fantastic farewell. I think it's hugely dramatic. There are wonderful twists. There's a great backdrop for a city. I think it's a fitting end to two of our greatest companions ever. I think Steven has written them out heroically, which is fantastic. You sort of want to go with a bit of a bang, don't you?' The Lord Thy God Steven Moffat talked about writing the final episode for Rory and Amy at the BAFTA preview in Cardiff earlier in the week: 'After showing Amelia Pond in the garden as a young girl in The Eleventh Hour, Karen's first episode, the final shot in Saturday's The Angels Take Manhattan is a punchline I have been waiting to tell for two and a half years. This weekend's episode is more devastating for The Doctor, at certain points he becomes useless and emotional. It was torment and hell trying to write the episode, I struggled for ages to work out a fitting ending and changed my mind until I finally got it right.' The writer continued: 'I must have rewritten it twenty odd times. I kept changing my mind about the exact way they'd leave, alive or dead? One or both of them? Their fates kept changing every five minutes until I hit on what I thought was right. Hopefully, there are scares and emotion."

And, finally on the subject of Amy and Rory tossing themselves off the roof of the hotel to create the time paradox, I quote from the a close personal friend of yer actual Keith Telly Topping, who noted on Facebook concerning what seems to be a disturbing trend in recent BBC quality drama: 'The bloke from Life On Mars tossed himself off. Sherlock [also] tossed himself off. This is becoming a habit at the BBC.' Well said.
And, on that bombshell, as it happens, here's yer actual Top Telly Tips:

Saturday 6 October
Camelot faces a new Golden Age, but even as the city flowers and blossoms, the dark seeds of destruction are being sown with a black wicked naughtiness of Morgana's evil heart. Cor. Merlin - 7:45 BBC1. King Arthur and his knights undertake a dangerous mission into the unknown in search of answers - but once there, Merlin finds himself locked in a battle unlike any that he has fought before. Colin Morgan, Bradley James, Richard Wilson Angel Coulby and Katie McGrath, star, as usual, in the opening episode of the show's fifth series, Arthur's Bane.

Katy Brand, Sue Perkins and David Mitchell join regular panellist Alan Davies to answer Stephen Fry's obscure questions about people whose names begin with 'J' in the fourth Qi XL of the new series - 9:00 BBC2. This one's on the subject of yer actual Jack and Jill.

With one odious, dreadful and, thankfully, unloved ITV star-vehicle flop - Red Or Black? - having just ended, to a chorus of 'so what?', why not bring back another one. Therefore, odious, risible Take Me Out, the show that makes lowest common denominator trash like Big Brother looks like I, Claudius by comparison returns at 7:00. Unfunny boil on the face of TV comedy Paddy McGuinness is back with a new line-up of thirty - really desperate - single women, all hoping to be whisked off on a hot date to the Isle of Fernandos and then make mucho wonga by selling their story to a tabloid afterwards. This, ladies and gentlemen, is 'light entertainment' in the Twenty First Century. Tonight, the love lift delivers the first four eligible bachelors - a Chorley postman, a cat-loving personal trainer from Port Talbot, a tarot card-reading musician from London and a Leamington Spa student. Utterly hateful.

Comedy World Cup - 8:00 Channel Four - hasn't turned out to be as monumentally dreadful as this blogger suspected it would be. It has, if anything, been worse. Why, David Tennant? Why, for the love of God, why? Former national heartthrob Tennant asks the questions as the comedy quiz tournament continues, with two more teams competing for a place in the semi-finals. Captains Andy Parsons and Omid Djalili do battle, joined by Jon Richardson and The Chuckle Brothers, and Daniel Sloss and Joe Pasquale respectively. Not, really, this isn't the punchline of a Mad Frankie Boyle joke, those are, genuinely, the people taking part. You simply couldn't make it up. At the end of the series the final two teams will go head to head to find the ultimate champions.

Sunday 7 October
Branson's political views land him in trouble and Sybil's loyalty is tested to the limit, while Ethel makes a difficult decision about her son's future in Downton Abbey - 9:00 ITV. Anna wonders what is causing Bates' silence, and Carson begins recruiting a footman, with promising candidate Jimmy sparking immediate interest below stairs. Costume drama, starring Allen Leech, Jessica Brown Findlay, Amy Nuttall, Joanne Froggatt, Brendan Coyle and Jim Carter.

Tonight sees the return of Homeland - 9:00 Channel Four - the American award-winning espionage thriller starring Claire Danes and Damian Lewis. Recuperating with her suburban family, ex-CIA officer Carrie Mathison's mental health is beginning to improve - until news reaches her that a former asset has contacted the US embassy in Beirut with troubling information. In Washington DC, Nicholas Brody struggles to keep his many masters happy, and becomes increasingly hemmed in by his lies - while his daughter Dana hides a vital secret.
Stuart Maconie presents a celebration of the fiftieth anniversary of the release of The Beatles' first hit single 'Love Me Do' in Love Me Do 62 - 10:00 BBC1. The presenter meets people who knew yer actual Fab Four back in the day, as he explores the socio-economic situation of Liverpool in the early 1960s, how the city became the hub of a thriving pop culture and how much things have changed since then. Contributors include the artist and future Beatles collaborator Peter Blake, Whispering Bob Harris and yer actual Pete Best his very self.
Monday 8 October
Sandra and the team unearth the ten-year-old case of a poet from Belfast whose burnt body was found in the scrapyard of a known gangster in New Tricks - 9:00 BBC1. Gerry becomes convinced the victim's links with the criminal fraternity led to his demise, but Brian has a different theory - perhaps the secret of his murder lies in his verse? James Murray, Tanya Franks and Bronagh Gallagher guest star, with Amanda Redman, Dennis Waterman, Alun Armstrong and Denis Lawson.

Wonderland - 9:00 BBC2 - features a look back at the heyday of British beauty pageants, recalling the nationally televised spectacles of the 1970s and 80s that propelled winners to stardom. Former beauty queens Carolyn Seaward, Tracy Dodds, Carolyn Moore, Della Dolan and Madeleine Stringer tell tales of their brushes with fame, including dating royalty, rock stars and football players - but also discuss what happened when their time in the limelight came to an end.

Magnificent Machines: The Golden Age of the British Sports Car - 9:00 BBC4 - considers how iconic manufacturers such as Jaguar, Austin-Healey, MG and Triumph prospered during the austerity of the post-war years. The programme explores how Britain briefly became the home of the two-seater vehicle and features memorable motors from the era, including The MG Midget, The Sprite and The Jaguar E-Type. Narrated by Tamsin Greig, with contributions by Stirling Moss and former Top Gear presenter Quentin Willson. Part of the Timeshift strand.

The neurosurgeon finds himself having to choose between trainees Springer and Wilson, who are both equally deserving of a place on his team, while cracks begin to show in Bremner and Shepherd's relationship in Monroe - 9:00 ITV. Monroe's patients include a woman with an aggressive brain tumour, which presents him with one of the most challenging cases of his career. Medical drama, starring James Nesbitt, with Luke Allen-Gale, Michelle Asante, Sarah Parish and Tom Riley.

Tuesday 9 October
In the second of the three-part Ian Hislop's Stiff Upper Lip: An Emotional History of Britain - 9:00 BBC2 - the host explores how the idea of a national character changed during the Victorian era, as suffering in silence came to be regarded as a noble trait - and even a form of civic duty. He visits Ardingly College in West Sussex, the boarding school where he was educated, to consider the benefits and drawbacks of an institutionalised approach to character-building, and talks to MP Rory Stewart, who discusses the emotional demands he faced as a diplomat in Iraq. Finally, he visits the First World War battlefields of the Somme, the place where he believes the flaws in the Victorian value system were brutally exposed.

Tom Holland charts how mankind's interpretation of prehistoric remains and fossils has changed over the centuries, exploring ancient stories developed to explain the discoveries of bones and fossils in Dinosaurs, Myths and Monsters - 9:00 BBC4. He also reveals why some of these myths went on to influence the work of modern palaeontologists, and learns how traditional Native American stories led to one of the most important archaeological discoveries of the Nineteenth Century. Historian Holland uses toys and animations as a backdrop to his study of what our ancestors made of outsized dinosaur bones. It's a whistle-stop history of palaeontology that suggests how landmark discoveries may have influenced everything from Homer's poems and Chinese dragons to Sioux legends and even Wagnerian opera. It's an intrepid mix of colourful conjecture and circumstantial evidence but Holland makes it all entertainingly plausible. You may, however, question the need for the host actually to be in the Med in order to ram one plastic triceratops into another on a restaurant tabletop.

While delivering alcohol to Thomas Aune, Frank is given the idea of investing in art as a means of laundering money in Lilyhammer - 10:00 BBC4. Geir Elvis Tvedt conducts his own investigations in New York. Comedy crime drama, starring Miami Steve Van Zandt.

Wednesday 10 October
Tonight sees the opening episode of the third series of Great British Food Revival - 8:00 BBC2 - as the show exploring British produce returns, beginning with Michel Roux Jr investigating strawberries. They small and red and they taste nice with cream, Michel. Next. He gets tennis pundits Sue Barker, Andrew Castle and Tim Henman to take part in a blind taste test, learns how a charity is reviving the practice of gathering strawberries by gleaning, and visits East Malling in Kent to get a glimpse of the fruit's possible future. Meanwhile, James Martin tries to revive the fortunes of watercress, working as a street salesman in London's Covent Garden and meeting a man with a remarkable amount of knowledge about the salad crop.

The detective receives a disturbing phone message from estranged brother Roy and heads to Harrogate to find him in the return of DCI Banks - 9:00 ITV. Meanwhile at a murder scene, the team is introduced to new recruit Helen Morton, who quickly alienates her colleagues with her tactless style. The officer then makes matters worse when she finds evidence linking Banks to the victim's body and speculates he could be a suspect. Unaware everyone is searching for him, the DCI begins to delve into Roy's life and soon uncovers questionable business transactions and associates. Crime drama, starring Stephen Tompkinson, with Caroline Catz and Andrea Lowe.

Tom Dyckhoff examines the six buildings shortlisted for this year's Stirling Prize for architecture - as well as those that have been nominated for the ignominious Carbuncle Cup in The Culture Show - 10:00 BBC2. Charlie Luxton explores the growing trend for self-built homes, and Olly Wainwright investigates how young architects have responded to Britain's economic difficulties.

Thursday 11 October
Sam finds a way into the home of Jack Turner, employed as tutor to his grandson Edward, enabling her and the team to continue surveillance of the millionaire's secret activities from within and out in the second episode of Hunted - 9:00 BBC1. But while they soon discover he is bidding on the contract to build a multi-billion-dollar dam in Pakistan, any evidence of illegal dealings eludes them. Then a briefcase passes through the businessman's hands, so Zoe and Ian track it to its destination in the hope of finding answers. Espionage thriller from the pen of X Files writer Frank Spotnitz, starring Melissa George, Stephen Campbell Moore, Patrick Malahide, Morven Christie and Lex Shrapnel.

Scientists, pilots and aviation experts participate in a staged aeroplane crash in a remote area of Mexican desert, hoping the exercise will reveal more about what happens to aircraft and their occupants during forced emergency landings in The Plane Crash - 9:00 Channel Four. Pilot James 'Jim-Bob' Slocum will put a Boeing 727 passenger jet on a crash course, parachuting out minutes before impact - with former US Navy pilot Leland 'Chip' Shanle then taking charge of the craft via remote control from a chase plane. So, that's clearly the secret of being a successful pilot, acquire a really silly nickname. After the crash, experts will analyse the site, along with data collected from cameras, instruments and hi-tech crash test dummies, to learn more about what happens when aeroplanes are forced out of the sky.

In Mock The Week - 10:00 BBC2 - Canadian comedienne Katherine Ryan, Radio 4 favourite Milton Jones and Stand Up for the Week's Josh Widdicombe join Dara O Briain and regular panellists Hugh Dennis, Andy Parsons and Chris Addison to offer a satirical take on current events. Last in the current series.
Michael Ashcroft explores president Franklin D Roosevelt's Second World War scheme to train African-Americans as fighter pilots in Heroes of the Skies - 8:00 Channel Five. Racial prejudice had seen these recruits barred from securing important positions in the US Army, and they were still largely sidelined even after Roosevelt's programme began - until in June 1944 they were called on to protect Allied bombers conducting key raids over Germany. The pilots, known as the Tuskegee Airmen after their training base in Alabama, faced opponents with far superior machinery - but their heroic feats helped to turn the tide in one of the war's most significant aerial battles.

Friday 12 October
She was one of the broadcasting stars of the Olympics - now Clare Balding hopes to put in a gold medal-winning performance as guest host for the welcome return of the comedy news quiz Have I Got News For You - 9:00 BBC1. As ever, the programme pokes fun at the week's news with team captains Paul Merton and Ian Hislop and their guests.

Me & Mrs Jones - 9:30 BBC1 - is a new comedy starring Sarah Alexander as a single mother with a complicated love life. Gemma seems to spend all her time ferrying her twins around and dealing with her ex-husband and his Swedish girlfriend. So when a good-looking man asks her out, it comes as a welcome offer. But before she knows it, there's a second man on the scene - only this one is young enough to be her son. Neil Morrissey, Nathaniel Parker and Robert Sheehan co-star.

In the latest episode of Qi horrible, odious, full-of-his-own-importance unfunny glake Jack Whitehall makes his début, joining regular panellist Alan Davies and comedians Jimmy Carr and Cal Wilson to answer Stephen Fry's fiendish questions about joints. Might well be the first episode of Qi this blogger has ever missed.
Or, alternatively, you could watch England against San Marino on ITV. That's bound to be exciting. Unfortunately, however, it's presented by odious greed-bucket (and drag) Adrian Chiles. Jack Whitehall or Adrian Chiles? Blimey, what a horrorshow. Take yer actual Keith Telly Topping's advice, dear blog reader. Have a nice Friday night out on the pop instead.

And so to the news: Paul Merton says that his stay in a psychiatric hospital in the late Eighties was a good thing. 'It acted as an ego brake,' he said. 'I was getting a bit Charlie Big Potatoes — I'd got what I wanted ever since I could remember.'

The editors of BBC2's Newsnight and the two flagship bulletins on BBC1 are among the contenders for the vacant job of head of the BBC News channel. Newsnight editor Peter Rippon and James Stephenson, who edits the 6pm and 10pm news programmes on BBC1, are understood to be the final shortlist for the job, which is likely to be announced next week. Sam Taylor, the BBC's head of editorial development, is also believed to be in the running for the role. The job became vacant with Kevin Bakhurst's departure earlier this month to become managing director of news and current affairs at Ireland public service broadcaster RTE. There has been speculation that if Rippon got the job then his role on Newsnight would be filled by Jasmin Buttar, currently deputy editor on BBC Radio 4's Today.

Gary Barlow has revealed that he nearly quit The X Factor last year. But, sadly, he didn't.

Chris Ramsey has, reportedly, been collared by police who thought he was a burglar – because he was trying to break into his parents' home. The comic set off the alarm at the house in South Shields, where he is staying during a run of shows in the North East – prompting officers to swoop. He tweeted: 'Just had five police cars and two riot vans at my mam's house because the neighbours thought I was a burglar. Couldn't make that up. The first copper didn't recognise me and he was proper searching the house, then his six mates came and started saying "Oooosh!" Incredible.' He added: 'In all fairness, amazing response. I feel safe!'

Two years ago, it called time on Big Brother in advance of a 'fundamental creative overhaul.' But on Saturday Channel Four opens its doors on its latest reality project, as visitors check into Hotel GB. Successful applicants will stay in a building full of cameras, and be beamed into living rooms – but they will also be welcome to leave should the service not come up to scratch. 'I think this is trying to do something completely different from Big Brother, which was looking at Channel Four from the outside in,' claims Jay Hunt, the broadcaster's chief creative officer, adding: 'Channel Four is back.' Taking issue with the food probably isn't for the faint-hearted: in a twist to the reality format, the broadcaster's most prized lifestyle stars will be running the hotel – with Gordon Ramsay presiding over the dining room. Already, an altercation over a vegetarian main has resulted in a well-oiled group of forty diners at an engagement supper being turfed out of the hotel's grey linen-lined walls before it was even officially opened for business. 'They weren't dry runs, they were disaster runs,' said the chef, talking to journalists about trial days before the week-long experiment. 'We turned Hotel GB into Hotel GBH.' If the threat of Ramsay isn't enough to get troublesome customers into line, no-nonsense Mary Portas will be overseeing the rooms side of the business as general manager, with How Clean is Your House's Kim Woodburn keeping things spick and span. Sounds hidious, does it not? Given that Portas said she had already found 'a moist rubber gimp outfit in a Tesco bag' in one of the rooms and been asked if she could provide 'company' for another guest, Woodburn's trademark unshockability might be tested. Seemingly determined to showcase all their lifestyle talent, Channel Four has also shoe-horned into hotel roles Kirstie Allsopp and Phil Spencer – as concierge and maître d' respectively – and Gok Wan, busy designing cocktails as manager of Hotel GB's Chesterfield-heavy bar. Embarrassing Bodies' Dr Christian Jessen will run the gym, while Katie Piper, the presenter and former model whose face was rebuilt after an acid attack – and who did at least used to work in a salon – will run the spa. Business guru Hilary Devey, somewhat unfathomably, will run House of Devey: a hotel shop selling 'everything from evening gowns to dog outfits.' Ensconced in Hotel GB's penthouse with her teacup Yorkshire terriers Mixie and Dixie, Devey pre-empted the almost inevitable clashing of egos by demanding Ramsay cook her pets special meals – 'kidneys, liver, chicken with no seasoning, and very lightly steamed carrots' – before saying she wanted to cure him of his notorious swearing. 'I've brought a thesaurus and a dictionary to help teach Gordon Ramsay a new word instead of the f-word,' she said. 'It's unnecessary; the English language is very beautiful.' For his part, Ramsay replied: 'She's in for a massive bollocking.' That, admittedly, might be worth watching. Were the idea of Hotel GB not quite odd enough, Channel Four has also upped the ante by taking inspiration from other factual entertainment shows. Big Brother filming aside, the celebrities will compete in two teams to make the most money. In an initially outrageous-sounding departure from Big Brother, guests at Hotel GB must pay for their stay: a double room costs one hundred smackers a night, while a personal training session will set them back thirty quid, or a full leg wax twenty notes. The cash will go to The Prince's Trust and The Springboard Charity – which work to tackle youth unemployment. This ties in with the third aspect of Hotel GB: as well as showing us guests and celebrities inside the hotel, Channel Four has selected fourteen trainees, with the aim of finding them work by the end of the show's week-long run. How that soup of ideas will translate to screen remains to be seen: Channel Four will be hoping that it revolutionises television as Big Brother did before it. 'In a sense the joy of this is its unpredictability. The moments the audience will love are the things nobody can predict happening,' said Hunt.

Armando Iannucci's new US-based satirical series Veep is to become available to buy from Tesco's BlinkBox video on-demand service next week. UK customers can buy the entire first season of HBO's Veep from BlinkBox on Monday. The website will be the only place to buy and own all eight episodes of the show in the UK. At least, legally. Veep stars Emmy award-winner Julia Louis-Dreyfus as US vice president Selina Meyer. Inspired by Iannucci's The Thick of It and movie In The Loop, the show follows Meyer and her inner circle as they navigate the often choppy waters of the Washington political scene. Alongside Louis-Dreyfus, Veep also stars Anna Chlumsky as Meyer's chief of staff, Matt Walsh as her press spokesman and Tony Hale as her right hand man. They do battle with Reid Scott's ambitious ambitious interloper Dan Egan and the smug White House liaison Jonah played by Tim Simons.

Want to be on the next series of Rev? The chance to be in the smallest of walk-on parts is being auctioned on eBay – with bidding currently standing at two hundred and fifty five quid. It's stressed that it's a non-speaking role; a member of the congregation in scenes being shot at St Leonards Church next month. The auction is being staged by the Real and Smooth radio stations in aid of Help For Heroes.

A senior official at Ofqual told exam boards they would be 'very concerned' if the number of students gaining a GCSE grade C nationally this summer went up, the BBC has learned. The exams regulator also said it 'could not accept any apparent grade inflation' in GCSE English. Correspondence between Ofqual and exam boards was obtained by Newsnight under a freedom of information request and broadcast for all the world to see on Friday evening. Ofqual denied 'result fixing' and telling exam boards that pass rates 'must fall.' One exam board, Edexcel, had told Ofqual there was a 'very serious mismatch' between its examiners' grade judgements and the percentage of passes Ofqual required. The Welsh board WJEC was equally concerned and reported 'widespread unease' among the boards. Despite concerns, the regulator told exam boards in teleconferences on 13 July and 17 July that it was 'adamant' grades 'could not rise.' Both Edexcel and WJEC objected, only agreeing to Ofqual's demands after the regulator threatened to order them to change their grades. Ofqual told the BBC these comments 'had to be seen in the context' of its role to prevent unjustified grade rises and to challenge exam boards. Contrary to Ofqual's predictions, GCSE grades actually fell. The correspondence obtained by the BBC shows the regulator had expected them to be in line with previous years. Ofqual recognised they and the exam boards would have to defend the controversial changes in grade boundary for the work marked in schools, known as 'controlled assessment.' In a briefing paper from 31 July one official wrote: 'The rationale has to be based on awarders' qualitative judgements of work seen, not on a statistical fix.' He recognised this would be 'difficult for some boards.' On 22 August, the morning before GCSE results were published, Ofqual sent the exam boards its 'lines' for the following day, or how it would explain the results in public. The regulator's explanation for the fall in grades was that more than twenty thousand students from selective and independent schools had moved to a different exam, the iGCSE. Just eight minutes later a reply came in from the main exam board AQA, saying they would 'probably have a different take on English outcomes. iGCSE may be part of it but I don't think it explains it all by a long way,' the board added. Ofqual told the BBC that the drop was also explained by 'other changes' in the student population. According to Brian Lightman, of the Association of School and College Leaders, 'a statistical fix' exactly defines what was done. He claimsit shows how an attempt was made to 'manipulate' the results without reference to the students' work. His organisation is part of a group currently taking legal action against Ofqual, claiming its actions were unfair.

Alan Davies auditioned to be in The Hobbit movie but was, he says, rejected. 'I was up for it. I auditioned to be a dwarf,' Alan claims. 'I met Peter Jackson and all that, and it was all quite enjoyable going for the part, but no.'

Hollyoaks' producer Emma Smithwick is leaving the soap after more than a year in charge. Smithwick has taken the decision to leave the production and will depart this week. A Lime Pictures spokesperson told the Digital Spy website: 'After eighteen months on Hollyoaks, series producer Emma Smithwick will be stepping down. Executive producers Bryan Kirkwood and Tony Wood will continue to oversee the show. We thank Emma for all her hard work on Hollyoaks and wish her every continued success for the future.' Smithwick commented: 'It has been an extraordinary eighteen months on Hollyoaks, and I have been very fortunate to work with some of the most dedicated teams in the business - from cast and crew to the writers and brilliant editorial team. I have also had the pleasure of working with the hugely talented and capable Bryan Kirkwood, so I know that I will be leaving the show in great hands. I am so excited for the future of the show and want to thank everybody at Lime for making my time on Hollyoaks very special.' Smithwick joined Hollyoaks as series editor in spring 2011, before later being promoted to the position of series producer. Smithwick is credited for working on growing and engaging with the show's younger audience with projects including E4 specials.

Luis Suarez scored a hat-trick, while Steven Gerrard and Nuri Sahin also got goals to give Brendan Rodgers his first league win as Liverpool Alabama Yee-Haws boss and lift them up to fourteenth in the Premier League after a 5-2 win at Carrow Road. Steve Morison and Grant Holt were on target for Norwich, who dropped into the bottom three as a result of their defeat. Edin Dzeko’s late goal saw Sheikh Yer Man City come from behind to beat Fulham 2-1 at Craven Cottage. The champions went behind early on when Mladen Petric converted a penalty after John Arne-Riise had been fouled. But Sergio Aguero scored in the forty third minute and Dzeko's winner with three minutes to go sealed the important victory and kept City in fourth place. Yer actual Keith Telly Topping's beloved (though unsellable) Newcastle twice came from behind to leave Reading still waiting for their first league win of the season as the sides drew 2-2 at the Madejski Stadium. Jimmy Kebe put Reading in front on his return from injury, but Demba Ba had the Magpies level within a minute with a well-timed volley. Noel Hunt headed the Royals back into a deserved lead but Ba struck again with just seven minutes remaining to snatch a point. Nikica Jelavic scored twice for Everton as they ran out 3-1 winners against Southampton. Gaston Ramirez headed home Adam Lallana's corner in the sixth minute to put Nigel Adkins' side in front, but Leon Osman and a Jelavic double ensured the Toffees took all three points. Peter Crouch also bagged a brace for Stoke as they saw off Swansea to win 2-0, while Steven Fletcher continued his goal rush for Sunderland as they beat Wigan 1-0. And, in the day's late game, very amusingly The Scum were beaten at home, 3-2, by Stottingtot Hotshots. And, sour-faced Scotsman Alex Ferguson had the bear-faced cheek to whinge about the amount of injury time played. Earlier Moscow Cheslki FC beat The Arse 2-1 at the Emirates Stadium.

Steve Kean says he has been 'forced to resign' as manager of Championship side Blackburn Vindaloos. The Scot has left Ewood Park with immediate effect because his position had become 'untenable,' he said in a statement. Blackburn owners Venky's held talks with Kean at the weekend following a 2-1 home defeat by Middlesbrough. Kean said earlier on Friday that he believed the talks had been 'positive and constructive.' Rovers managing director Derek Shaw insisted he knew 'nothing' about Kean's departure immediately after the release of his statement, before Blackburn later confirmed the Scot's resignation. Rovers were relegated from the Premier League in May but are currently third in the Championship table after taking fourteen points from their first seven matches. Kean had been in charge of the Lancashire club since December 2010 when he replaced the sacked Sam Allardyce. The statement, which was issued through Kean's lawyers on Friday, said: 'For reasons that I cannot discuss on legal advice, it is with deep regret, given my hard work and service for the club for a number of years, that I have been forced to resign as manager of Blackburn Rovers Football Club with immediate effect, due to my position as team manager becoming untenable. I wish to thank all the players and coaching staff for their great support and the majority of the fans, who now see their club heading towards an automatic promotion position back to the Premiership. I wish the club all the very best for the future.' A number of Blackburn supporters have held protests against Kean for much of his twenty one-month reign, but he had continued to retain the backing of Indian owners Venky's. There were more calls for his exit from a sizeable majority of the home crowd throughout Friday's loss against Middlesbrough, which was Rovers' first defeat of the Championship season. A fans' boycott has led to attendances at Ewood Park falling significantly, with the thirteen thousand crowd against Middlesbrough more than nine thousand down on the average crowds they were attracting in the Premier League last season. Former Scotland striker Kevin Gallacher, who helped Blackburn win the Premier League title in 1995, says it is vital for the club to unite following Kean's departure. 'I know a lot of the fans will be out celebrating tonight,' he told BBC Radio Lancashire. 'But there are two halves to a football club, and they haven't joined together at Blackburn for the last eighteen months. They've got to get the boardroom right, they've got to get the management right and they have got to work together - and not just with each other, but for the people of Blackburn.' Following Kean's appointment, Rovers only avoided relegation from the Premier League on the final day of the 2010-11 season with a 3-2 victory at Wolves. However, he was unable to save them from the drop last season, ending the club's eleven-year stay in the top flight.

Kate Middleton's stripper cousin is, reportedly, 'at the centre of a bidding war between rival reality TV shows.' Burlesque dancer Katrina Darling, twenty two, has allegedly been offered deals for I'm A Z-List Former Celebrity Desperate To Get My Boat-Race Back On TV ... Please Vote For Me To Stay Here As Long As Possible (I'll Even Eat Worms If You Want) and Celebrity Big Brother, the Daily Lies reports. And, once again, sometimes there are simply no punchlines necessary.

And so we come to yer actual Keith Telly Topping's 45 of the Day. Here's a single by The Be-Atles. A popular beat-combo of the 1960s, you might've heard of them.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

The Angels Take Manhattan: You Don't Have The Discipline

Doctor Who episodes in which companions leave the TARDIS behind them tend to, broadly, occupy two contrasting dramatic landscapes. One is the 'signposted from half-a-dozen episodes ago' conceit, which goes all the way back to Ian and Barbara's departure in the early 1960s, includes Adric doing the - very watchable - 'watch that planet! What planet? SPLAT!' thing and has, of late, become a standard theme in the Twenty First Century version of the popular long-running family SF drama. The other conceit involves the 'sudden change of character motivation for no adequately explained reason' malarkey which saw Nyssa suddenly want to spend the rest of her life helping lepers, Tegan getting sick of all the bloodshed one wet wednesday in London, Romana develop a desire to hang out with time-shuffling werewolves and, most memorably, Leela doing something as downright girly and obvious as falling in love. No, this blogger didn't believe it either, dear blog reader and yer actual Keith Telly Topping his very self was only fifteen at the time. The Angels Take Manhattan falls, massively, into the former column and features an end to two-and-a-bit years of highly attractive, if you will, Pond Life. It's been coming for a year at least and the end is now. Was it worth it?
The Doctor's 'heartbreaking' farewell to Amy and Rory (copywrite S Moffat 2012) would involve a race against time through the streets of Manhattan, as New York's statues come to life around them. We knew that much months ago. But the one, over-riding, question which every fan wanted to know the answer too was would either, or both, join the great (if short) list of TARDIS companions to bite the bullet and leave The Doctor looking a bit sad. Yer actual Steve Moffat his very self (Thou Shalt Worship No Other Gods Before He) didn't, exactly, help matters with various quotes that included teasers along the 'no one here gets out alive' lines. But then, like The Doctor, The Lord Thy God Steve Moffat is a bit of a - proven - liar with a long history of previous when it comes to malarkey such as this. That's why we love him. Come on, not even Moffat would be cruel and vicious enough to actually kill off Amy and/or Rory, would he? I mean, this is Steven Moffat we're talking about. The man whose first three Doctor Who episodes featured not a single on-screen death (at least, not a single supernatural one, anyway. Madame de Pompadour's off-screen demise and poor old Billy Wainwright's 'natural causes' notwithstanding). But, you can never be certain when it comes to TV producers. And, death sells, it would seem. Case in point, some glake in the [spooks] production office having the bright idea that the perfect way to end the popular long-running espionage drama was by having Ruth die, horribly, in Harry's arms with a piece of glass sticking out of her liver. As noted at the time by this bloggerthat was just bleeding mean. See, it's always a difficult line to straddle as some productions have discovered to their cost. When Russell Davies chose to killed off Ianto, a certain proportion of - very silly, let it be said - Torchwood fans spent much time and energy bewailing the decision on various Internet forums to anyone that would listen. And, indeed, anyone that wouldn't. Wittering on about 'unwritten social contracts' being broken and the like. It was a sight to see, dear blog reader, so it was and it would, actually have been genuinely funny if it hadn't been accompanied by a small - but extremely nasty - number of hyperbolic death threats being issued in the general direction of Rusty and his fellow writers. That somewhat removed the humour. When Tara was murdered in Buffy The Vampire Slayer Joss Whedon, one of the most liberal, humane and brilliant writers to have emerged on television in the last thirty years was accused of homophobia by various - no doubt perfect - individuals who let their disappointment that a character they liked had been written out of a series they liked get the better of their common sense. Mind you, the same could be said about the half-a-dozen bizarre people who accused Russell Davies - one of the most prominent gay writers in the world - of the same thing after Ianto bit the bullet some years later. This is the thing, many of us (and, yer actual Keith Telly Topping gladly includes himself in this equation) invest a lot of emotional energy in our favourite TV characters and that can, sad to say, sometimes lead to gross and horrific lapses of both sanity and taste when something occurs which we don't like. Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose.
So, with most of the audience watching and expecting the worst, the episode began. It began with a series of memorably creepy scenes with a funereal atmosphere and a distinct Raymond Chandler vibe. (Okay, wrong city.) Yes, that meant, of course, more voiceover, dear blog reader. This season's main defining factor so far, it would appear. The gangster trappings played rather well against the Gothic horror which was to come. Nice juxtaposition, that. 'They're coming for you. They're going to send you back in time.'
The Angels Take Manhattan succeeds in many things but one of its most spectacularly impressive conceits is taking The Weeping Angels back to the terrifying creatures with 'the kindest way of killing possible' seen in Blink. One of the biggest drawbacks of their second appearance in the show (in series five's Time of the Angels two-parter) was the temporary abandoning of their cunningly devious form of gaining energy and, instead, turning them merely into pale Cybermen clones - mute thugs who just break people's necks rather than mess with the temporal constants of the universe. 'The city's full of time distortions.' The episode's other great - and, of course, necessary - plot contrivance was a way to shoe-horn the character of River Song into the episode in which her parents would make their last farewell. That was achieved, brilliantly, via a completely mad as toast story-within-a-story jigsaw in which a pulp novel about one Melody Malone ('the detective that investigates angels') carries much of the forward push of the narrative with a series of witty genre clichés and knowing nods to the audience. The narrative shuttles from 2012 to 1938 and back (with one brief stop off in Iron Age China for a bit of a laugh) playing clever intertextual games with viewers expectations, throwing in little false clues and one whopping great false climax to manipulate those watching into cul-de-sacs of skilfully constructed façades and trap-doors. Only gradually do a few stray signifiers point their way through the maze of disinformation, feints and decoys towards a conclusion that, with hindsight, has long been inevitable. (Not for nothing did Moffat mention in a casual moment of clarity a while ago that viewers should be looking not only towards The Eleventh Hour for clues as to the denouement but, also, to River's début episodes all those years ago. The end of The Angels Take Manhattan resembles not only the structure but also the tone of the final scenes in Forest of the Dead.) 'Time can be re-written.' 'Not once you've read it.'
'It would be almost impossible.' 'Loving the "almost".' There is much to admire in The Angels Take Manhattan. The acting, the design, the script - much of the dialogue is particularly impressive, see below - and the direction are all, genuinely, first class. There's a couple of minor queries that could've used a bit of further explanation. Like, for instance, where exactly are we supposed to be in River Song's timeline? She has, she says, 'long' been pardoned (the man whom she supposedly killed, after all, 'never existed'), so we should be further along in her personal timeline – probably somewhere between The Time of Angels and Silence in the Library. But from our point of view this is, surely, after the events of Demon's Run (A Good Man Goes To War). And she is already 'married' (and, knows that she is). Should she not, therefore, be getting younger (Alex Kingston's non-Time Lady abilities notwithstanding)? Surely, from her perspective, the astronaut shooting can't have happened yet? So, anyway, some time-anomalies which hurt the brain to even think about apart, this is an episode you could gladly sit through again and again if it wasn't for one thing. Just about the only, real, black spot of note is a very big one. The use of that God-awful dirge by Sting over a series of gently sweeping panoramic shots of New York. No. Oi, Moffat, no! No, no, no, no no, a thousand times no. Not under any circumstances. Not even if the lyrics do fit the episode's aesthetic. Which, I suppose, at a push, they do. We'll have no odious, mortgage-sensible, rain forest-saving balding ex-milkmen from Waalsend wailing their nasty cod-Jamaican tripe all over Doctor Who thank you very much. I mean, where on Earth is it all going to end? It'll be Tubular Bells next, mark my words.
'Didn't you used to be somebody?' The Angels Take Manhattan is, of course, a dialogue-lover's dream. It's Moffat, again, showing off his ability to be dramatic, funny and revelatory, often all three at once, without - if you will - blinking. 'I won't let them take him. That's what we've got,' for example. There's 'I'm only human', delivered with a genuine mixture of bewilderment and menace by guest star Mike McShane, to which River, brilliantly, replies: 'That's exactly what they're thinking.' Or, River chiding The Doctor after he uses some of his regeneration energy to heal her broken wrist. 'Nothing is gained by you being a sentimental idiot.' Alex Kingston, in fact, gets quite a lot of the episode's most memorable lines. That is, the ones which Arthur Darvill doesn't get handed. 'To save you,' Rory tells Amy as he's trying to persuade his wife to give him a helping hand in a necessary suicide, 'I could do anything.' Or, his dryly amusing: 'I always wanted to visit The Statue of Liberty. Guess it got impatient!' Karen Gillan is also given a wonderful send off, notably in the heartbreaking second scene in the graveyard in which she takes the decision about her own fate out of The Doctor's hands. In doing so, she completes a journey for Amy which began long ago, in a garden in Leadworth with a raggedy mad-man in a box.
Of course, Rory's final episode wouldn't have been complete without one of the most signposted lines in the show's recent history. 'I'm sorry, Rory,' The Doctor tells him at one point. 'But you just died.' To which the entire audience expects poor old Rory to reply, 'what, again?' The structure of the episode, of course, thanks to the false climax and the labyrinthine, Escher-like ascending and descending construction of the script, provides for an - unprecedented - three deaths for Rory in one episode (one, admittedly, off-screen and with his wife of fifty years lovingly by his side) which, I reckon, now makes ... nine 'deaths' in the show for him. 'You think you'll just come back to life?' Amy asks him when he proposes suicide. 'When don't I?!' Wibbly-wobbly, timey-wimey. Nice to see even Rory's in on the joke this time. By anyone bar a really lucky cat's standards, that's probably about eight deaths too many but, thankfully, the one that actually, finally did finish The Lone Centurion off was the one which counted and the one that the audience, probably, would have wished for him and for Amy. The Boy Who Waited being given fifty more years of life with the woman he loved in another time and beneath another sky. An example of the smart criteria. A ceremony in a lonely place, measureable and time bound. Amy and Rory together, unreachable, living their days far from the TARDIS and the stories that could have been. Should have been. But, of course, never were and now, never will be. It was a fitting end. A graceful end. A 'but ... but ... but ...' sort of an end that, I've no doubt some people will find less than satisfying. Their loss. To this blogger, it made absolute sense.
'When one's in love with an ageless God who doesn't age, one does one's best to hide the damage.' So, what are we left with ultimately? A story about fate and causality. About parental relationships and sacrifice. And loneliness and love. To those who complain that in Doctor Who love always seems to save the day of late, here's an example of how only it can also, as Neil Young once noted, break your heart. Love just - effectively - ruined everything. The Doctor will never see the Ponds again, and neither will we, the audience. Amy and Rory's bond was always going to win – it has done for a long time – but it has never been played better than in this episode. From The Doctor's point of view, however, it just tore his whole universe apart. Amy and Rory left the only way they really could. The Weeping Angels felt like they were created for this one scene: Amy and Rory zapped back in time to live out their long - and, seemingly, happy and content - lives without The Doctor. And, not for nothing, without their daughter, Melody, either. Since the TARDIS crash landed into her back garden all those years ago, Amy's story has, largely, been one about growing up - both for herself and for her imaginary friend. At the start, she chose a life of adventure with her Raggedy Man over the prospect of normality with Rory. At least once, that was the stuff of nightmares. But now, faced with that same decision again, there was no longer any contest. This was a fitting end to what may well be considered in years to come as a golden era, and jolly well played to Steven Moffat for telling it in such an involving, emotional way. That last scene, as The Doctor darted through the streets of New York – grabbing at the final page of the novel as it flapped in the wind, speeding toward the ending which he'd refused to accept was coming. Here ended Doctor Who's conceptual fairytale in the way that it had begun long ago and far away – in the pages of a book. Not only that but, here's a thought, do the events of this episode mean that The Daleks in Manhattan never happened? On that score, dear blog reader, perhaps we'll - genuinely - never care.
So, that's that then. They all lived happily ever after. In one way or another. Well, some of them did. 'I hate endings.' Me too. Was it worth it? Yes, it was. Is it nearly Christmas yet?
So, after all that kerfuffle and such an emotional rip-roaring rollercoaster ride, you're probably a bit exhausted and, maybe, a touch saddened, dear blog reader. Therefore, for today's Keith Telly Topping's 45 of the Day I should probably play you something really jolly to cheer you up. Tough, life isn't always like that. Here's Leonard Cohen his very self. He's suffered for his art, now it's your turn.

I See Bloody Fountains, And Ten Million Dune Buggies Comin' Down The Mountains

Karen Gillan has admitted that she is often genuinely frightened by the show's signature monsters. Well, so was yer actual Keith Telly Topping. In fact, when I was six, in 1969, the Cyberman made me shite in my own pants. Anyway, enough of that, Gillan's final Doctor Who episode after two-and-a-half series is broadcast this weekend, pitting her character against The Weeping Angels one last time. 'Sometimes I genuinely get really, really scared. Do you know the monsters the Weeping Angels? Well they freak me out so much, cause they're just like, "Aaarrrgh,"' Gillan revealed to the Independent about the villains. 'They're just like, "Aaarrrgh,"'? And, again, but this time in English Karen, if that's possible. She went to say: '[The Angeles are] so freaky, aren't they? They're actually in the last episode I'm going to be in. So that was really scary.'
Gillan also touched on exiting Doctor Who, explaining that she felt a natural ending for Amy Pond's story had been reached. 'I honestly wanted to go on my gut instinct with the whole leaving thing, and I just had a rough idea of when would be a good time for me to go cause I wanted to go on a high,' she said. 'I didn't want to stay in it too long and outstay my welcome. And I wanted to take the character as far as possible before it started getting a little tired.' The twenty four-year-old actress previously hinted that Amy and Rory's exit from Doctor Who is 'very final.'

Highlights of a really rather good episode of Qi on Friday night included an impressive début by Cal Wilson, Alan Davies's less than amusing story about losing his passport, all the stuff about what names Stephen Fry calls his household items ('PEREGRINE!') and Phill Jupitas's faultless Eddie Izzard impression. True story.
Julian Fellowes his very self, the writer behind the hit series Downton Abbey, may be planning to write a prequel which follows how the Earl and Countess of Grantham first met. 'I do actually have an idea of doing a prequel of the courtship of Robert and Cora, when all those American heiresses were arriving in London. They had a slightly troubled courtship, because she was in love with him before they married, as we know, and he married her entirely for her money,' said yer actual Lord Snooty, speaking at the BAFTA Screenwriters' Lecture series. 'I sort of feel there's something quite nice in there because he's a decent cove, and so he feels rather guilty about this which has affected their marriage beyond that.' Lord Snooty spoke of the prequel in book form, but - given the success of Downton Abbey - a TV adaptation seems likely if he actually gets around to writing the damn thing. The period drama, now in its third series, has proved a huge hit for ITV, and the broadcaster is keen to extend Downton's longevity - though it is rumoured that leading actors such as Dan Stevens are likely to leave the show at the end of the current series. The spin-off drama would cast a pair of younger actors in the roles, currently played by Hugh Bonneville and Elizabeth McGovern. Lord Snooty said any spin-off would be broadcast after the end of Downton Abbey. 'For me, any other books or plays or films should follow after the end of the television show. I don't think you can continue a narrative in more than one area at once,' he explained. 'I never really liked those Coronation Street Christmas specials where they all go to Haiti, and you don't have to watch it. Somehow it doesn't feel very organic.' The prequel may also provide an opportunity to take the drama to America, where Downton Abbey has proved equally popular - picking up an Emmy for Dame Maggie Smith earlier this week. 'I do feel very strongly that America rescued me,' said Lord Snooty, referring to his 2001 Oscar-winning screenplay for Robert Altman's Gosford Park. 'All the stuff in England, the stuff we have about each other, they don't care about all that. They care about whether your last picture did anything or what you're doing next.'

Drugs Live: The Ecstasy Trial attracted less than half the previous night's audience on Channel Four on Thursday. The second and concluding episode of the science event programme averaged nine hundred thousand viewers from 10pm. This was down from the 1.9 million overnight viewers who watched Wednesday's opener – which did offer the added attraction of Keith Allen and novelist Lionel Shriver taking MDMA, or a placebo. Or it could be that after watching Allen and the other drug guinea pigs doing nothing more trippy than lying in a hospital bed and going for an MRI scan on the first night, people got bored and didn't bother coming back. The competition in the 10pm slot included BBC1's news (4.6m), ITV's News at Ten (two million), BBC2's Mock the Week (1.8m) and Channel Five's True CSI (five hundred thousand). In the 9pm hour, ITV's new drama Homefront (3.3m), focusing on four wives of soldiers serving in Afghanistan, was pitched against BBC1's Crimewatch (4.1m) and BBC2's The Choir: Sing While You Work (three million, including one hundred and sixty thousand on BBC HD). Other 9pm competition included the final episode of Channel Four's The Audience (seven hundred thousand) and Channel Five's Making Faces (nine hundred thousand). ITV2's Celebrity Juice, hosted by Leigh Francis' alter-ego Keith Lemon, continues to be one of the most popular shows outside the five main channels. Which is a staggeringly depressing fact, frankly, dear blog reader. I'm told its very popular with students. Which, given the current state of education in their country, probably says much. Celebrity Juice averaged 1.9 million and an eleven per cent audience share from 10pm – better than Channel Four's Drugs Live and competing programmes on BBC2 and Channel Five. Other top Thursday night performers outside the five former terrestrial channels included new series of BBC3's Russell Howard's Good News (nine hundred and ninety thousand) and ITV2's The X Factor USA (nine hundred and seventeen thousand). BBC4's two-part adaptation of Room at the Top concluded with four hundred and sixty eight thousand viewers.

The BBC has confirmed the broadcast date for the final episode of Good Cop. The Warren Brown drama was originally set to conclude on 20 September, but the last episode - which features scenes of a violent attack on a female police officer - was pulled from the schedules following the deaths of two Greater Manchester policewomen in a gun and grenade attack the previous day. The fourth and final episode has now been confirmed for Saturday 13 October at 10.30pm. Good Cop follows John Paul Rocksavage, a police constable who seeks revenge on a gang of criminals who have murdered his partner (Tom Hopper) in a brutal ambush.

In the moments before filming began, Jools Holland muttered into his microphone 'twenty years. You don't get that for armed robbery.' Then it was lights, cameras, action, and presenter swept around the floor of BBC Television Centre's Studio Four to introduce the night's turns: Public Image Limited, making their first live TV appearance for twenty years, Muse, The xx, and two newcomers to the show, Natalie Duncan, and The Beach Boys. It's typically eclectic line-up which kick-started the forty first series of Later … which first hit the nation's TV screens in 1992. Initially a spin-off of arts discussion programme The Late Show, Later … is the second-longest running music series in British TV history (it's got a long way to go to catch up with Top of the Pops which ran for forty two years), and remarkably, the same core team has been involved since it started: Holland, director Janet Fraser Cook, sound supervisor Mike Felton and producer Mark Cooper. Broadcast, also, in the US, Germany and twenty-odd other countries, including the United Arab Emirates, the UK edition of the programme now comes in two parts: recording is on Tuesdays, with half-an-hour shown live on BBC2, prior to the hour-long extended remix on Fridays. The first episode attracted one hundred thousand viewers, whereas one million caught Tuesday's broadcast. 'It's the host and the mix of acts, and the fact it's recorded live and in one room,' says Cooper, breaking down the constituent parts of the show's success. 'The bands love playing to their peers – the legends like seeing the new acts, and the new acts learn from the legends.' At the sight of Bruce Johnston of The Beach Boys swaying to the sound of The xx on Tuesday night, one audience wit noted: 'Someone's forgotten their medicine tonight,' but the sense that the acts were thriving on the others' performance remains palpable. Through a haze of cigarette smoke which clearly contravened White City regulations, Johnny Lydon held court in his cramped dressing room after the show. 'Of course it's a bit Butlins,' he said, 'but who else is doing this?' During recording he'd alluded to a falling out with Holland when they met in a New York bar, and the latter insisted on playing the piano, honky-tonk style. 'But I love him now, of course I do,' says the former Sex Pistol, adding his admiration of all the performers, with just a dash of criticism ('Muse amuse. They look like shaved gerbils'). The roll call of artists to have appeared in the two hundred and seventy five-plus shows is legion but Later … also has a track record in breaking new talent, often giving acts their TV debut. It can be intimidating. 'I can't tell you how nervous I was beforehand,' Natalie Duncan said on the morning following recording. 'And not in an enjoyable way, in a really horrible way. But as soon as the show started, and the audience started stamping their feet, I relaxed into it, because the focus is so much on the music.' Duncan – who was three when Later … was first broadcast – had learned she would be on the show a month ago. Series producer Alison Howe and executive producer Cooper scout new talent themselves, and in this instance he checked out two gigs by Duncan. Within hours of Tuesday's broadcast she had added five thousand views to her YouTube channel. Next year, when Television Centre closes, the programme makers will need to find new premises, but more than fifteen hundred acts have performed on the show and there are no plans to end it (Paul Weller has the record for the most appearances with eleven). On the first episode, shown on 9 October 1992, The Neville Brothers, The Christians and D'Influence played, and Holland got the lead singer of Nu Colour's name wrong. It was part of the new show's charm at the time, and the same is still true today.

Earlier this week, odious louse Kelvin MacKenzie was trying an example of the 'if you've done something wrong and got found out, try blaming someone else' malarkey. Now, it seems, another chap appears to be having a go at the self-same trick. The government chief whip has risked inflaming the row over his alleged altercation with Downing Street police officers by, again, insisting that he did not call them plebs. One or two people even believed him. In an interview with his local newspaper, the Sutton Coldfield Observer, Andrew Mitchell said that he wanted to 'draw a line' under a matter which was 'blown out of all proportion' by the media. He says he still does not accept the police account of what happened last week when officers refused to allow him to cycle through the main Downing Street gate. According to an official police log, published in full in the Daily Telegraph, Mitchell swore repeatedly at the officers, calling them 'fucking plebs.' But Mitchell said in the interview: 'I think most people who know me know I would not use words like "pleb" or "moron" in describing anyone. I would gently point out that I did not say the words that have been ascribed to me. I hope my constituents and friends in Sutton Coldfield will not recognise the hideous caricature that has been portrayed in some of the tabloid press.' Oh, I'll bet you do, especially when the next election comes around. Police representatives say that by refusing to accept the police account, Mitchell is effectively impugning the integrity of the officers involved and calling them liars. The chief whip acknowledged he 'did not treat the police with the respect they deserve' and said he apologised profusely to the officer involved. Despite the differing versions of events, No 10 has rejected calls for an inquiry by the cabinet secretary, Sir Jeremy Heywood, to establish who is telling the truth, saying that the police have decided not to pursue the matter. David Cameron, dogged by questions about the issue during his attendance at the UN general assembly in New York this week, said Mitchell's behaviour was 'deeply regrettable' but that his apology should be the end of it. 'On the basis he has given an apology and the police have decided not to pursue that any further, that is where matters should rest,' said the prime minister.
Well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Rebekah Brooks's husband, millionaire Old Etonian Charlie has spoken about the anger directed at the couple in the wake of the phone-hacking scandal and claimed that the police searched their new baby's cot before their arrest earlier this year. In a lengthy interview with the Racing Post, racehorse trainer Brooks recalls the day of the arrest as the first day of the Cheltenham festival. 'The police turned up at 4.45am, eighteen of them. Mass murderers don't get that kind of attention.' One is not sure exactly how millionaire Old Etonian Brooks knows what sort of attention mass murderers get from the police but, you can be sure that somebody, somewhere, will probably ask him that very question the next time he does an interview to plug his latest novel. 'They searched the baby's cot and dragged both of us off,' he added. He, well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Brooks and four others appeared at the Old Bailey earlier this week charged with conspiracy to pervert the course of justice, of concealing material from police investigating alleged Scum of the World phone-hacking last July at the height of the scandal. All of them deny the charges. Separately, well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Brooks has been charged with conspiracy to unlawfully intercept voicemails, along with seven others including Andy Coulson, David Cameron's former director of communications (and 'chum') who was editor of the Sunday tabloid before his move to Downing Street. 'I never get a chance to forget about it, it's always on my mind,' Brooks said. 'I tell myself I have to focus on the days when I really need to focus on it, when Rebekah's in court, for instance, but of course I can't. I might be mowing the lawn or whatever, and it floats back into my mind. I might be thinking about it for another year or more. It's the waiting that gets to you, the ponderous nature of the way these things proceed. I have to learn to accept it. It's much harder for Rebekah, she's already lost more than I ever will. I can wander around London and no one knows who I am, whereas she's very recognisable. Bar cutting off all her hair there's not much she can do about it. It makes life very difficult for her. We have to recognise that we can't carry on as we did before, because we don't want to be putting ourselves in situations where we can't relax.'

Meanwhile, an allegation that all major stories in the disgraced and disgraceful Scum of the World over a two-year period were a result of phone-hacking has been strongly challenged by News International at a high court hearing. During a case management conference at the high court in London on Thursday, Hugh Tomlinson QC, counsel for more than one hundred ans seventy individuals seeking damages for alleged phone-hacking, said that an internal News International communication suggested this was the case. Tomlinson claimed that it was because of significant information like this that the court should order further disclosures from the company in relation to alleged interception of voicemails of public figures, celebrities, sports stars and victims of crime. He added: 'If we have a document, as we do, in the bundle where an individual writing to another individual [says] "everyone knows that all significant stories over a two-year period were obtained by phone hacking," that does matter.' Tomlinson did not specify who the individuals were or where they worked, but was speaking in the context of disclosure of internal e-mails from News International. News International's counsel, Dinah Rose QC, made a strong objection to Tomlinson's comment, telling the high court that the document was not contemporaneous and that it did not say what he claimed it did. Rose warned that Tomlinson 'really does need to be more careful' about what he said in open court with representatives of the media present. One could, indeed, say the same about people having to be careful about what they say on the telephone with members of the media listening in. 'He knows that the document does not say that,' she claimed. Mr Justice Vos, who is presiding over the civil litigation process, said that after hearing the claim made about the document he 'did raise [his] eyebrows.' Tomlinson was arguing for more disclosure of documents and e-mails from News International to progress the claimants' cases against the company. He said the litigants were almost solely relying on information provided by the Metropolitan police, which has been disclosing notes made by the private investigator used by the Scum of the World to hack phones. Tomlinson added that this information was limited to 'a few pages of notes' and 'some call data,' with virtually no information from News Group Newspapers, the News International subsidiary that published the now-closed in shame and ignominy Scum of the World. 'In terms of News Group disclosures between 2001 and 2005 we have a total disclosure of twelve e-mails,' he said. Rose again objected to the suggestion that the publisher was withholding e-mails, saying in the early 2000s, when the Scum of the World phone-hacking took place, e-mail in-boxes had less capacity and e-mails were not kept as a matter of routine.

The US network FOX News has apologised for showing a man apparently shooting himself in the head on live television. FOX News on Friday was covering a high-speed chase which began in Phoenix, Arizona, using a live helicopter shot. After driving for dozens of miles into the desert, the motorist suddenly stopped and ran on a dirt road. He then appeared to put a handgun to his head and fire. Anchor Shepard Smith later apologised to viewers for not cutting away. 'We really messed up,' he said. 'We're all very sorry. That didn't belong on TV.' Something that could, indeed, be said about FOX News itself.

Strictly Come Dancing professional Aliona Vilani will miss the first live show after fracturing her ankle in training. The show's website confirmed that the dancer would probably be out of action 'for at least the next fortnight.' There are no details yet on who will partner Johnny Ball in the opening stage of the competition. 'Aliona suffered a hairline fracture to her ankle today while training with partner Johnny Ball,' a statement said. '[That is] putting her prospects for dancing in the first Strictly live show on 5 October on hold. Initial prognosis suggests our plucky pro-dancer may be out of action for the next two to four weeks, but a further appointment tomorrow will confirm her condition.' The dancer posted pictures of herself on Twitter with her right leg elevated and with an ice pack on it. She also thanked fans for messages of support on the social networking site. Vilani won the competition with McFly's Harry Judd in 2011 and came second the year before with BBC presenter Matt Baker. Ball is best known for presenting science and mathematics television programmes for children in the 1970s and 1980s. He is the father of former Radio 1 DJ Zoe Ball.

The brother of former EastEnders actress Gemma McCluskie has accepted responsibility for her death. Tony McCluskie, thirty five, will face a trial on 14 January at the Old Bailey where the issue will be whether it was murder or manslaughter. The torso of Gemma McCluskie, twenty nine, was found in Regent's Canal in East London, on 6 March. More body parts have since been removed from the canal. The actress played Kerry Skinner in the BBC soap in 2001. She was last seen on 1 March at the opening of the six hundred and fifty million quid Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel. McCluskie, of Pelter Street, is accused of killing her in the days leading up to 6 March. Family and friends had appealed for help in finding her, including her former co-stars Natalie Cassidy and Brooke Kinsella.

Skins actors Joe Dempsie and Kaya Scodelario are among those scheduled to star in new Channel Four drama Southcliffe. The pair will be joined by Rory Kinnear, Sean Harris, Shirley Henderson, Eddie Marsan, Anatol Yusef and Nichola Burley. The four-part series - directed by Sean Durkin and written by Red Riding scriptwriter Tony Grisoni - tells the story of a fictional English town devastated by a spate of shootings, exploring the tragedy through the eyes of a journalist and those close to the victims. 'Southcliffe is a fictional market town inhabited by fictional characters, but with similarities to many actual people and places in Britain today,' said Grisoni. 'Invisible people, anonymous places. The inexplicable chain of events at the dark heart of this four-part drama shatters time and space for Southcliffe's inhabitants. Violence and sudden bereavement confronts them with emotions they are unequipped to understand. Rather than analyse or moralise about our characters' actions, we share in them. Southcliffe is an anthem to ordinary people's ability to reinvent themselves in the face of ultimate darkness.' Channel Four's Head of Drama Piers Wenger added: 'Tony Grisoni's unique ability to convey the darkness and subtleties of human behaviour is in full evidence in these four brilliant scripts and I'm delighted that Warp Films and Tony have found a world class director like Sean Durkin to bring them to life.' The series will start shooting next month and will be broadcast on Channel Four in 2013.

The late comedian Ronnie Barker is being commemorated with a blue plaque at the Oxford home where he grew up. It will be unveiled at the site in Cowley on Saturday. His family moved to Oxford from Bedford and bought the house at 23 Church Cowley Road in 1935 when Ronnie was five. He lived there until 1949. The Porridge and The Two Ronnies star's first job after leaving school in the city was clerking at the Westminster Bank in Cowley. He later moved to Aylesbury and died in 2005, aged seventy six. The comedy star attended Donnington Junior School and won a scholarship to the City of Oxford High School for Boys, which is now Oxford University History Faculty building, in George Street. His first taste of acting came with the Theatre Players, an amateur group which he joined while at the bank and took part in their performances at Oxford's St Mary and St John Church Hall. In 1981 Ronnie Barker returned to Oxfordshire, buying a house at Dean. After retiring from showbusiness in 1987 he opened and ran an antiques shop in Chipping Norton for ten years. The plaque will be unveiled by the Lord Mayor, Councillor Alan Armitage, and Mike Chew, chairman of the City Of Oxford School Association, which donated the plaque.

The head of NBC's London 2012 Olympics coverage has blamed viewer and sponsor 'fatigue' for its woefully limited coverage of the Paralympics. Gary Zenkel, president of NBC Olympics, suggested that in future this alleged 'problem' could be solved by making the gap between the Olympics and Paralympics longer, which might also attract more US sponsors. Zenkel said that the broadcaster had not yet met with the International Olympic Committee for a debrief on its much criticised London 2012 coverage, but added that the idea of rescheduling the Paralympics was worth a look. 'As an event its positioning, one or two weeks after the Olympics, is difficult as there is a tremendous amount of fatigue,' he said, speaking at the Royal Television Society's Digital World Conference in London on Friday. 'A US audience, probably commits a tremendous amount of time to the Olympics. They change their whole lifestyle. When it ends reassembling that audience [for the Paralympics] is very, very difficult,' he added. 'Commercial support is very difficult. It is also fatigued and very difficult to re-engage the sponsor base to support the coverage. We respect and believe in power of the [Paralympics] and how it can inspire. We'd love to do more. It needs to be positioned, at least in the US, when the audience will gather and commercial sponsors return.' Speaking to the Gruniad Morning Star after his RTS session, Zenkel clarified that NBC was not necessarily calling for a schedule change for the Paralympics, but said that it was 'worth a look at' and would almost inevitably come up in a debrief of overall coverage with the IOC in the coming weeks and months. He pointed out that despite the criticism of NBC's coverage of the Paralympics, compared to the main Olympics, the broadcaster had done more than during previous games. 'The Paralympics was a spectacular event, it clearly reached new heights in London,' he said. 'We participated in a consortium that included the US Olympic committee, the Paralympic rights holders, YouTube and Universal Sports in making available more coverage in the US than historically. That said, there was plenty of criticism of not adequate coverage of the Paralympics. I will only say that we provided a fair amount of coverage over the course of the Paralympics. We are a commercial broadcaster.'

Lewis Hamilton is to leave McLaren after signing a three-year deal to race for Mercedes from next season. The move, predicted by the BBC's Eddie Jordan earlier this month, and then furiously denied by both Hamilton and McLaren, was announced on Friday, causing huge repercussions throughout Formula 1. It has forced Michael Schumacher out of Mercedes but it is not clear whether the German racing legend will go back into retirement or look for another team. Sauber driver Sergio Perez has signed as Hamilton's replacement at McLaren to partner Jensen Button. 'It is now time for me to take on a fresh challenge and I am very excited to begin a new chapter,' said 2008 world champion Hamilton, who will partner Nico Rosberg at Mercedes. 'Mercedes-Benz has such an incredible heritage in motorsport, along with a passion for winning which I share. Together, we can grow and rise to this new challenge. I believe that I can help steer the Silver Arrows to the top and achieve our joint ambitions of winning the world championships.' Mercedes team principal Ross Brawn said: 'I believe that the combination of Lewis and Nico will be the most dynamic and exciting pairing on the grid next year and I am looking forward to what we can achieve together. Over the past three years, we have been putting in place the foundations and building blocks that are needed to compete regularly for the world championship. The potential is now there to match any other team on the grid.' The twenty seven-year-old Hamilton's new team-mate Rosberg tweeted: 'Very cool that Lewis will be my new team-mate! Gonna be another great challenge!' Hamilton's decision is a huge blow to McLaren, who will now have to do without the speed and inspirational talent of a man they have nurtured since he was thirteen years old. McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh said the Briton had written 'a huge chapter of his life and career with us,' adding: 'It goes without saying that we all wish him well for the future.' Hamilton added: 'I will be forever grateful for the opportunity that they have given me and for their support throughout the years. I have had the pleasure of working with a fantastic team of genuine people and would like to thank them all for their hard work and support.' Although Hamilton's salary at Mercedes will be larger than the one he was offered by McLaren - and he has more opportunity to earn money through personal sponsorships and endorsements - alleged 'sources' allegedly 'close' to the Englishman insist that he has switched teams with a view to long-term performance and not in an outbreak of crass greed. McLaren have the fastest car this season, while Mercedes have slipped backwards after a promising start to the year. But Mercedes have sold the move to Hamilton on the basis that they are preparing for a huge push in 2014, when new chassis and engine rules are introduced. 'Mercedes-Benz has supported Lewis throughout his career, from karting, to Formula 3, to our successful partnership with McLaren,' said Norbert Haug, vice president of Mercedes-Benz Motorsport. 'It will be a very nice moment for all of us in the team to see him at the wheel of a works Silver Arrow next season, following in the tradition of British Mercedes-Benz Grand Prix drivers Sir Stirling Moss and Richard Seaman.' Schumacher's future remains uncertain. Sauber team boss Peter Sauber said a week ago that he would offer the seven-time champion a drive if he became available. Despite the Swiss team's strong displays this season, that would be seen as a significant comedown for a man who was expected to challenge strongly for podium places on his return. Instead, Schumacher's comeback after three years in retirement has been something of a disappointment. The forty three-year-old German has scored only one podium finish in three years. In a statement, Schumacher thanked Mercedes for their 'trust' and 'unconditional commitment. I have had three nice years with the team which unfortunately did not go as well as we all would have wanted on the sporting side,' he said. 'I wish Lewis well and for the team to achieve the success we worked so hard for in the build-up. I will now concentrate on the next races.' In another development at Mercedes, triple world champion Niki Lauda has been tipped to take a senior management role at the team.

A foundation in Switzerland believes it has scientific evidence to prove that Leonardo Da Vinci painted an earlier version of The Mona Lisa. The Zurich-based Mona Lisa Foundation claims that the painting, discovered in 1913, portrays a younger version of Leonardo's masterpiece currently housed in the Louvre. The foundation is basing its claim on thirty five years of research. But Oxford professor Martin Kemp insists there is 'no basis for thinking that there was an earlier portrait.' The painting, which has been held in a bank vault for more than forty years, was unveiled to the press in Geneva on Thursday. Known as The Isleworth Mona Lisa, the painting shows a woman who appears to be approximately ten years younger than the Louvre Mona Lisa. The foundation claims that forensic testing backs early suggestions that it is the same woman - Lisa del Giocondo, the wife of wealthy Florentine merchant. Ever since the Sixteenth Century, sources have suggested that Da Vinci painted two versions of the Mona Lisa: a portrait for her husband, in 1503 (The Isleworth Mona Lisa), and another, completed in 1517, for Giuliano de Medici, Leonardo's patron - the portrait which now hangs in the Louvre. The foundation argues that historical evidence, critical comparison and scientific examination all support this theory. 'Not one piece of scientific evidence has so far been able to prove definitively that this is not a Leonardo Da Vinci,' said foundation member and art historian Stanley Feldman, on Thursday. 'We have investigated this painting from every relevant angle and the accumulated information all points to it being an earlier version of La Giaconda in the Louvre.' However, the foundation acknowledged that The Isleworth Mona Lisa remains unfinished, and that Leonardo did not paint all parts of the work. The unveiling of The Isleworth Mona Lisa was accompanied by the launch of a book called Mona Lisa - Leonardo's Earlier Version. The painting was first discovered in the Somerset home of an aristocrat, in 1913, by art collector Hugh Blaker - who took it to his studio in Isleworth in south-west London. Shipped to the US during World War I, it was bought in 1960s by American art connoisseur Henry Pulitzer. While in his possession, and held in a Swiss bank, Pulitzer wrote and published a book, entitled Where is the Mona Lisa?, in which he presented the case that the painting was an unfinished portrait of Lisa del Giocondo by Leonardo Da Vinci. The painting is currently owned by an anonymous consortium, making it unclear who would now benefit from it being officially attributed to the artist. Alessandro Vezzosi, director of Museo Ideale Leonardo da Vinci, said the foundation's claims merit 'consideration.' 'The Isleworth Mona Lisa is an important work of art deserving respect and strong consideration,' he said. 'Scientific tests don't demonstrate the authenticity [and] the autography of a painting, but demonstrate it's from a certain era, whether the techniques are similar or not,' he told The Associated Press. But Professor Kemp, who was instrumental in identifying a major work by Leonardo Da Vinci in 2010, is convinced it is a copy - though he has not personally viewed the painting. 'The Isleworth Mona Lisa mistranslates subtle details of the original, including the sitter's veil, her hair, the translucent layer of her dress, the structure of the hands,' he said. 'The landscape is devoid of atmospheric subtlety. The head, like all other copies, does not capture the profound elusiveness of the original.' Whatever that means. Professor Kemp also points out that the Isleworth version is painted on canvas, where Da Vinci's preferred choice was wood. 'The scientific analysis can, at most, state that there is nothing to say that this cannot be by Leonardo,' said Kemp, rather huffily. You know what these art critics are like when they get a chimney on about something. Ooo, fair vexed, so he was. 'The infrared reflectography and X-ray points very strongly to its not being by Leonardo.' Stanley Feldman has acknowledged the controversy surrounding the painting, saying: 'There is always going to be somebody, somewhere who will dismiss it as a copy. We welcome every new discussion and every new piece of evidence that could support this painting, one way or another.'

Some very sad news, now. The great Frank Wilson, the man who wrote and sang the most sought-after Northern Soul masterpiece 'Do I Love You (Indeed I Do)' and produced a string of Motown hits, has died aged seventy one. Frank wrote and produced songs for artists such as Marvin Gaye, The Supremes and The Temptations but only released one single as a vocalist himself. Just two copies have survived - one of which sold at auction for more than twenty five grand in 2009. Frank had fought a long battle with prostate cancer but died on Thursday. Just two hundred and fifty copies of 'Do I Love You' were pressed on vinyl in late 1965, but Wilson decided that he would rather focus on producing, so they were junked. A rare remaining copy which changed hands in 2009 is the most expensive record ever sold at auction. A prized item among collectors, the song is regarded as a genuine twenty-four carat Northern Soul classic in the UK. 'It's always seen as the epitome of the Northern Soul style,' said promoter Ady Croasdell who runs the 6T's Northern Soul All-Nighter at London's 100 Club. 'It probably is the most iconic record of the lot, because it does have all the qualities that a classic Northern Soul record should have.' Croasdell revealed news of Wilson's death on the Soul Source website, after being e-mailed by mutual friend, Los Angeles producer HB Barnum. Crossdell told the BBC: 'He was a much-loved man with a friendly disposition who was delighted and humbled by the Northern soul scene's admiration of his singing.' Wilson was more widely known for his work as a producer and joined Motown in 1964, when the company set up an office and studio in Los Angeles where he lived. That year he co-wrote Patrice Holloway song Stevie, one of the first singles to be released by Motown's West Coast operation. In 1965 he wrote 'Do I Love You (Indeed I Do)', supposedly for Marvin Gaye who is said to have recorded a version but seemingly didn't think much of it and it remained unreleased. Some months later, Berry Gordy suggested to Wilson that he have a go at the song himself which Wilson - a reluctant performer - did, in late 1965, produced by Hal Davis and Marc Gordon. The vocals were certainly recorded in Los Angeles, although studio information on this particular recording is virtually non-existent and the backing track could, easily, have been made at Hitsville in The Snake Pit. It certainly sounds like the great James Jamerson's bass on the record. The single was scheduled for release on the Motown subsidiary label Soul on 23 December 1965 and about two hundred promotional copies were pressed.
But, sometime shortly before release, Wilson had a change of heart. Like Eddie Holland, he felt that he was a writer and producer and not a singer and didn't really want to go out on the road to promote the single. Thus, he begged Gordy to destroy the copies already made and just forget the whole thing. Gordy agreed. On 2 January 1966 Wilson, Davis and Gordon recorded Motown's white soul chanteuse Chris Clark doing a fine version of the song - using the same backing track - for a planned single release. But, that too only reached the test-pressing stage (VIP 25034-A) before being consigned to the vaults for nearly three decades. Wilson went back to producing and spent much of the second half of the sixties as one of Motown's most successful writers, working with The Supremes and The Four Tops among others. 'Do I Love You' was completely forgotten about until the mid-1970s when a researcher working for Motown discovered a copy of the single which had somehow escaped the purge in the company's archives. He 'acquired' it and subsequently sold it to a British collector in Los Angeles. The collector realised just how good the record was and pressed some acetate copies and sent them over to several DJs he knew on the British Northern Soul circuit where the song (often credited to another artist entirely) was discovered by soul fanatics. The vitality, excellence and craftsmanship of the uptempo slab of soul saw it acclaimed at the biggest soul venues of the day, the Wigan Casino and the Blackpool Mecca. Eventually, word leaked out as to the artist's true identity and Motown's British label, Tamla-Motown, realising they have something of a cult hit on their hands finally released 'Do I Love You' as a single in late 1979 (TMG 1170-A). Meanwhile, the one copy of the original 1965 single known to exist changed hands a couple of time for increasingly outrageous amounts of coin before a second copy was discovered, in Canada in the 1980s. In May 2009, one of these was sold at auction and fetched a world-record price of twenty five thousand smackers. Fortunately, if you want to hear 'Do I Love You' in all its effervescent, stomping, dance-floor glory, you don't have to sell your house and children as it's available on a number of compilation CDs. Frank was a much-loved man with a friendly disposition who seemed genuinely humbled by his cult following in Britain. In the late 1960s, he re-located to Detroit, where he worked with artists such as The Four Tops and Eddie Kendricks. He co-wrote classic songs including 'Love Child' and 'Stoned Love' for The Supremes, 'All I Need' for The Temptations, 'Chained' for Marvin Gaye and 'Whole Lot of Shakin' in My Heart' for Smokey Robinson & The Miracles. He was born Frank Edward Wilson on 5 December 1940 in Houston to James Wilson and Samantha Gibbs, but moved to Los Angeles with his family while he was a teenager. Wilson left Motown in 1976 and became a born again Christian. After being ordained as a minister, he wrote books and gave speaking tours around the US with his wife Bunny Wilson. He was also involved in producing gospel music and founded the New Dawn Christian Village in Los Angeles. His books include The Master Degree - Majoring in Your Marriage and Unmasking the Lone Ranger. He also appeared on TV programmes such as The Oprah Winfrey Show.

A postbox has been discovered full of letters dating back to 1989. Builders working at Birmingham New Street Station found the letters inside the postbox when they removed it last week. The box could easily be seen in front of thousands of visitors to the station for over two decades, the Daily Telegraph reports. Royal Mail is now attempting to deliver the letters to their planned destinations, but have been unable to explain why the post had been ignored. The box had been sealed earlier this year after travellers had complained that their fingers kept getting caught in its small flap. An 'out of action' sign was later stuck on it. A postal worker said: 'We didn't know it was there, to be honest. It was unbelievable to find the thing stuffed with old letters.' A Network Rail spokesperson said: 'For security reasons many mailboxes have been removed from stations but presumably it seems that the post in this one was simply missed. There were letters that were meant for Australia and America and postcards to people's friends and family in there, just lying under a thick layer of dust.'

For today's Keith Telly Topping's 33 of the Day, yer actual Keith Telly Topping feels somewhat in a Neil Young mood. And, why not?