Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Fishheads Are Never Seen Drinking Cappuccino In Italian Restaurants

Ofcom is said to be 'investigating' - in the way the gestapo used to, presumably - whether The X Factor performances of a Lady Gaga song and a Britney Spears impersonator breached its broadcasting code. Because they've got nothing more important to do with their time, clearly. The media regulator - a politically appointed quango, elected by no one - has launched an investigation into a heavily criticised rendition of Lady Gaga's song 'The Edge of Glory' by The X Factor contestant Alison Brunton, over fears that her two teenage children watching from the wings could be subjected to bullying. Ofcom will separately investigate the audition performance of Britney Spears impersonator Lorna Bliss which was broadcast before the 9pm watershed on 9 September, looking at whether it breached taste and decency rules. Personally, this viewer reckons that all of The X Factor breaches my taste and decency rules, that's why I don't watch it. I don't need Ofcom to tell me that. Brunton, who described herself as 'sounding like Madonna,' apparently 'stunned' judges (this is according to several tabloid newspapers so, as ever, take it with a large cellar of salt) with her Lady Gaga song on The X Factor which broadcast on 1 September. Her children – a fourteen-year-old girl and sixteen-year-old boy – were repeatedly shown 'looking horrified and humiliated' by their mother's appearance on the show. Or, at least, that's someone else's interpretation of how they were 'looking'. Guest judge Mel B described the audition as 'horrific.' Ofcom has received thirty five complaints - from glakes with more time on their hands than is good for them, or anyone else for that matter - about 'the impact of the audition' on Brunton's children, prompting the media regulator to launch an investigation under rules relating to under eighteen-year-olds appearing in TV shows. According to section one of the Ofcom broadcasting code ITV has a responsibility to take 'due care of the physical and emotional welfare and dignity of people under eighteen who take part or are otherwise involved in programmes.' ITV has this responsibility regardless of consent given by Brunton for her children to be filmed, with the rule stating that under eighteens must not be 'caused unnecessary distress or anxiety by their involvement in programmes or by the broadcast of those programmes.' Brunton's appearance raised the possibility of her children facing ridicule and bullying for some nameless - and, possibly, entirely fictitious - third party. A spokeswoman for ITV said: 'The X Factor does not include child contestants but takes the welfare of any children featured in the show very seriously. It is a well-established format and contestants regularly bring along their family to support them, as Alison did. Footage of family members is only used when appropriate consent has been obtained.' Bliss performed Britney Spears's 'Till the World Ends' in a body stocking and proceeded to thrust and gyrate as well as climbing into judge Louis Walsh's lap and chasing after a rather startled-looking Gary Barlow. Which, admittedly, was funny. Ofcom received thirty four complaints about the explicit nature of the performance, which was broadcast before the 9pm watershed, and has launched an investigation on the grounds of taste and decency and the scheduling of the audition. Oddly, it hasn't received a single complaint from anyone that the programme is an insult to viewers' intelligence, but there you go. The ITV spokeswoman added: 'Lorna's performance and its editing was carefully considered by the producers and ITV. We do not believe her routine exceeded generally accepted standards or the expectations of the vast majority of the audience.' From the North awaits the outcome of Ofcom's 'investigation' with something approaching torpor.

Yer actual Matt Smith his very self is to appear at the MCM London Comic Con on 26 October 2012 (that's yer actual Keith Telly topping's birthday, as it happens), where the actor will be signing and participating in a panel discussion with Doctor Who's executive producer, Caroline Skinner. The panel, which will also be made available online, forms part of the promotion for the Doctor Who: Series Seven Part One DVD, which is released commercially on 29 October. The DVD will be available to buy at the Doctor Who stand at ExCeL, and the first one hundred people to do so will also receive a wristband which will allow them to get it signed by Matt Smith during the actor's session in the Signing Hall at the event.
Doctor Who's latest episode, The Power Of Three, had an audience Appreciation Index score of eighty seven. The score is a measure of how much the audience enjoyed the episode. It is based of a survey of approximately five thousand punters people. The score of eighty seven puts the programme, once again, into the excellent category - for the fourth time this series. Doctor Who was the joint highest scorer on the two main channels for the day, along with Casualty and the BBC's coverage of Formula 1 qualifying.

Benedict Cumberbatch his very self has, again. been forced to dismiss rumours of a feud between himself and Jonny Lee Miller. The actor plays Sherlock Holmes in BBC drama Sherlock while Miller will assume the role of Conan Doyle's detective in new CBS series Elementary, with both shows transposing the character to the modern day. Cumberbatch was initially reported as saying that he was 'cynical' about the casting of his Frankenstein co-star as Holmes, before then claiming that his apparent criticism was 'a misquote.' 'It's a very high-class problem to have, to be over-scrutinised for every word you say,' he told The Huffington Post website. 'But when people start quoting you for things you didn't say, that's when it becomes a bit weird and you lose control. I just made sure that [Jonny] was alright and of course he was, because he's a grown-up. I issued a statement saying, "This is not what I said at all."' Cumberbatch added that he is 'such a fan' of the Trainspotting actor's work. 'The only shame about [the rivalry rumours] is that Jonny and I are friends, and they try to get a fight where there ain't gonna be none,' he insisted.

Yer actual Tony Robinson is to take Channel Four viewers on a series of walks through Britain's most historic landscapes in search of stories from the past. With a working title of Walking Through History With Tony Robinson - not quite as obvious as Youth Hostelling With Chas And Dave, but close - the four-part series, to be shown next year, will see old Baldrick his very self investigating stories such as the origins of the industrial revolution in the Derwent Valley and exploring Britain's secret World War II frontline in Dorset.
Primeval co-creator Adrian Hodges is to adapt Giles Milton's book White Gold for Channel Four. Hodges is writing a two-hour pilot script and series bible for a proposed twelve-part series based on Milton's non-fiction work, which investigates the slave trade in North Africa. White Gold is being developed by Red Arrow Entertainment and 4Rights, with Red Arrow's Simon Maxwell serving as executive producer and Sophie Gardiner leading development for Channel Four. 'White Gold blows the lid off a forgotten yet revelatory chapter from our past and, given the sheer scale and ambition of the project, we're delighted to have Adrian Hodges at the helm to bring this story to life,' said Maxwell. 'It's a story as thought-provoking as it is gripping and its perfect home is Channel Four.' Hodges himself added: 'White Gold is an incredible historical adventure that sheds light on a little-known part of our history. It's about slavery and survival, the clash of wildly different cultures and above all the unquenchable desire for freedom. I'm truly excited by the incredible potential of this story and looking forward to the challenge of dramatising it. I can honestly say that in over twenty years as a professional writer, I've rarely come across material so packed with almost unbelievable drama which is both true to its period and yet also full of contemporary resonance. It's a great story and I hope I can do it justice.'

Wee Shughie McFee, the sour-faced Scottish chef off Crossroads could reportedly return to The X Factor full-time following his brief appearance this weekend. Wee Shughie McFee, the sour-faced Scottish chef off Crossroads left The X Factor panel in 2010 to launch the show's US counterpart, which has been an underwhelmed entity in the ratings throughout its first two seasons. Wee Shughie McFee, the sour-faced Scottish chef off Crossroads was seen assigning current UK judges Gary Barlow, Tulisa Contostavlos, Louis Walsh and Nicole Scherzinger their categories in on Sunday night's Boot Camp episode, but it has been rumoured - on the Internet if not, actually, anywhere that matters - that he could soon join them to help bring viewers back to the struggling show. 'The UK figures have been slowly dipping since Wee Shughie McFee, the sour-faced Scottish chef off Crossroads and Cheryl Cole left,' an alleged 'insider' - who almost certainly doesn't exist - allegedly told the Sun. 'The new judges just don't have chemistry. Until this weekend, it was obvious Wee Shughie McFee, the sour-faced Scottish chef off Crossroads felt he'd outgrown the UK. But with disappointing figures in America, bosses feel he may come back to Britain where he's loved and missed.'

Homeland season two is to premiere in the UK on 7 October on Channel Four. The high-octane thriller - which stars Claire Danes and Damian Lewis - will reclaim its 9pm slot on Sunday nights from next month. The first series of Homeland concluded in the UK on 6 May, attracting an audience of over three million. The show's debut run will be repeated in full on More4 ahead of the season two premiere, with episodes being broadcast on consecutive evenings from Tuesday 25 September 25 at 11.05pm. Homeland has been named as one of President Obama's favourite TV shows and triumphed at the recent 2012 Emmy Awards, winning in six categories.
A senior Metropolitan Police detective has been charged with offering information to the disgraced and disgraceful Scum of the World newspaper. The Crown Prosecution Service said Detective Chief Inspector April Casburn had been charged with misconduct in a public office and would appear in court next month. She is the first person charged under Operation Elveden, which is investigating alleged payments to public officials by journalists and other nefarious skulduggery and doings. The Scum of the World was shut down, in shame and ignominy, in July 2011. Casburn is accused of offering to give the paper information in September 2010 and is due to appear at Westminster Magistrates' Court on 1 October for an initial hearing. Alison Levitt, the CPS's principal legal adviser, said: 'The CPS received a file of evidence from the Metropolitan Police Service which arose from Operation Elveden in relation to April Casburn. Ms Casburn is employed by the Metropolitan Police Service as a detective chief inspector in specialist operations. We have concluded, having carefully considered the file of evidence, that there is sufficient evidence for a realistic prospect of conviction and that it is in the public interest to charge DCI Casburn with misconduct in public office.' Casburn was reportedly the former head of the National Terrorist Financial Investigation Unit. She is thought to have worked as a fraud expert at the City of London Police, prior to joining the Met. Fifty people, including the former Scum of the World editor and ex-Downing Street communications chief Andy Coulson, and former News International chief executive and well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Rebekah Brooks, have been arrested as part of Operation Elveden. But other than Casburn, no-one has yet actually been charged with anything. Coulson and Brooks are among a number of people who have been charged as part of the concurrent Operation Weeting investigation into phone-hacking and other, alleged, naughty shenanigans, primarily by journalists at the Scum of the World. All of those so far charged deny all of the allegations made against them. The newspaper was closed down by News International last year, after one hundred and sixty eight years (of gutter raking and making money from filth), following phone-hacking revelations. A third police probe set up in the wake of the scandal, Operation Tuleta, is looking into alleged computer hacking.

Scotland Yard has launched an investigation into how the Sun was leaked the internal report suggesting Conservative chief whip Andrew Mitchell did call a police officer 'a pleb' during an incident at Downing Street. As if the Current Bun isn't in enough trouble with Lily Law already. The Metropolitan police confirmed on Monday that it was investigating how the leak came about after the tabloid, which broke the story last week of Tory MP Mitchell's run-in with Downing Street protection officers, reported that it had been shown a police report of the incident, prepared for senior officers, which indicated that Mitchell called the officer 'a plebs' as well as swearing repeatedly at him. 'We are aware of this. The directorate of professional standards has been informed. Inquiries into the circumstances are being carried out,' said a spokeswoman for the Met. Tom Newton Dunn, the Sun's political editor, wrote the story in Monday's paper but did not say that he was in possession of a police log, merely that he - or, someone at the Sun - had been given sight of it. 'The report, seen by the Sun, also confirms that the chief whip repeatedly swore,' he wrote. The report was said to be backed up by at least two officers making the same verbatim note of the exchange in their pocket books. The Sun said in its own report that 'no money has been offered, asked for or exchanged for any information about the Mitchell story.' The Met said it was immaterial whether the paper had a copy of the log or not and that it was looking into how it 'came into possession of information.' The Sun reported exclusively last week that the Tory chief whip 'ranted' at police who would not open the main Downing Street gates so he could cycle through, obliging him to dismount and use a side gate. As well as swearing at the officers, Mitchell, the paper claimed, called them 'plebs' who should 'know your fucking place.' Asked by reporters if he used the word 'pleb' as he was arriving for work in Whitehall on Monday, Mitchell said: 'I want to make it absolutely clear that I did not use the words attributed to me. I have apologised to the police, I have apologised to the police officer involved on the gate and he's accepted my apology and I hope very much that we can draw a line under it there.' The Scotland Yard investigation will further raise tensions among staff at the Sun. The paper is already finding relations with the police difficult following twenty one arrests of current and former Sun executives and journalists in connection with Scotland Yard's investigations into alleged inappropriate payments to police and public officials for stories, alleged computer hacking and breaches of privacy. The paper's scoop was seen in media circles as a sign that relations between police and the press were thawing somewhat after a year in which crime reporters expressed fears that communications, other than through the official press office channels, had stopped after the phone-hacking scandal placed a critical spotlight on relations with journalists. Newton Dunn said 'to talk about how the Sun got its story is an irrelevance' and pointed out on Sky News that the 'source' may not, necessarily, have been the police. 'We are not even discussing if it was a police officer or not who gave us this.' He told Sky News: 'It's always the tactic that gets used if you want to deflect attention away from the main story. Quite frankly the Sun has been here before and I'm sure will be here again.' The former leader of the Liberal Democrats, Sir Menzies Campbell, said it was right the police should investigate, as the report was 'confidential information kept by people who have a responsibility for guarding No 10 Downing Street and the prime minister.'

Meanwhile, the official police log of the confrontation has been published in full for the first time. The document, printed by the Daily Telegraph, appears to confirm that Mitchell called the officers 'plebs,' something which he has so far denied. One or two people even believed him. The government, showing its usual lack of backbone when it comes to admitting they've done wrong, has ruled out an investigation into the row, but Labour accused them of 'a cover-up.' An emotive word to use, post-Hillsborough but, not an entirely unwarranted one. In a letter issued on Monday, Cabinet Secretary Sir Jeremy Heywood confirmed the government's position, explaining that Mitchell had apologised and that Metropolitan Police Commissioner Bernard Hogan-Howe had said the officer involved did not wish to pursue the matter. The log, written shortly after the incident on Wednesday, details Mitchell's outburst after he was asked to use a small pedestrian gate rather than the main gate. It suggests he used a number of expletives, telling the police, 'you don't run this fucking government,' 'learn your place' and calling the officers 'plebs.' According to the note, members of the public looking on were 'visibly shocked' and Mitchell was warned he would be arrested under the Public Order Act if he continued to swear. 'Mitchell was then silent and left saying "you haven't heard the last of this" as he cycled off,' the document says. And, indeed, he was correct, they haven't. The publication of the details follows Mitchell's crassly grovelling apology on Monday, in which he told reporters that he was sorry for not having shown enough respect to the police. And, even more sorry that he'd been caught. However, he maintained that he 'did not use the words attributed to me.' He said the incident had come at the end of a 'long and extremely frustrating day' and he wanted to 'draw a line' under the row. David Cameron has backed his minister and Lib Dem minister Danny Alexander said it's time to 'draw a line under the matter and move on.' But the Police Federation and Labour have both called for a parliamentary investigation. Shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper said it looked like the government was trying to 'cover-up' the incident. She told ITV's breakfast flop Daybreak: 'You see these reports and you've got a cabinet minister not just swearing at the police but also sneering at them. I don't think the prime minister can just sweep this under the carpet.' But, because it was on Daybreak, nobody saw her. John Tully, chairman of the Metropolitan Police Federation, said: 'Clearly Mr Mitchell is denying using certain words, effectively now impugning the integrity of the police officers. I think that is very serious.' Indeed. It would appear that either the police officers in question are lying, or Mitchell is.

Former The Arse winger Freddie Ljungberg was something of a legend on the pitch during a decade with the club. He was part of the 2003-04 'Invincible' side, which won the title without a single league defeat, a topic of conversation which came up over the weekend during his appearance on Match of the Day 2. 'Nobody really needed to prove to anyone else that "I'm better or I can do this,"' Ljungberg said of the historic side. 'If anyone wanted to score, you score. It was just great players. I had Lauren behind me, for example. If anyone kicked me, he'd kick the shit out of them afterwards - excuse my language.' Host Colin Murray quickly replied: 'I will not only excuse it, but in Camera Four I will apologise for it! I hope that didn't offend anybody and we'll take it out of the iPlayer.'

A swimmer 'protesting about elitism' brought 'chaos' to the one hundred and fifty eighth University Boat Race when he jumped into the River Thames, a court has heard. Trenton Oldfield stopped the contest for about half an hour on 7 April. Prosecutor Louis Mably said the race between Oxford and Cambridge was 'spoiled' for hundreds of thousands of people. Oldfield, thirty six, of Myrdle Street, East London, denies the charge of causing a public nuisance. Opening the case, Mably told jurors at Isleworth Crown Court the annual event was spoiled not only for the rowing crews but the spectators watching at home on the BBC and along the course. He said despite it continuing, 'so far as the Boat Race was concerned, Mr Oldfield had obviously caused chaos.' Mably added: 'The feeling of disappointment was obvious - because not only had everything been delayed but the crews and the public had been denied a natural conclusion to the race that they had come to the river to see.' He said after being rescued from the river Oldfield was detained by police who asked him why he had jumped in the water. Mably said: 'He replied that he was protesting about elitism. Exactly what he meant by that - who knows?'

It turned out that confronting a dodgy tradesman was a shade more of a problem than TV presenter Matt Allwright expected. The doorstepping rottweiler of BBC1's Watchdog is used to getting unsuspecting tradesmen he confronts slamming doors in his face. However, the Daily Mirra reports, he got a real surprise when the owner of an aerial installation firm poured a glass of urine over him. Now, that's just taking the piss.

Three oil paintings deemed to be fakes and locked away for half a century have been found to be genuine works by landscape artist JMW Turner. The oils were left to the National Museum Wales in 1951 by Gwendoline and Margaret Davies of Llandinam, Powys, but discounted in 1956. Curator Beth McIntyre said the works had 'gone from being worth thousands to being worth millions.' After new forensic examinations the paintings will go on show in Cardiff. 'It's wonderful,' said McIntyre, curator of prints and drawings at the National Museum. 'It's one of those things that you always want to happen.' McIntyre said she first noticed the paintings - The Beacon Light, Off Margate and Margate Jetty - when she joined the museum ten years ago. 'Visually I could never understand why they had been deemed not to be Turners,' she said. She said five of six paintings bequeathed by the Davies sisters in 1951 - one came later - were examined by alleged 'Turner experts' in 1956, considered not to be by him and taken off display. 'Off Margate and Margate Jetty were deemed wrong,' explained McIntyre. 'The Beacon Light was said to feature rudimentary beginnings by Turner overpainted by another artist, to the extent that it was not a Turner.' They have been examined intermittently since then, in the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s. A new investigation was begun, this time using more modern methods, to reassess the veracity of the paintings. In a process featured in the BBC1 programme Fake Or Fortune?, the original locations of the scenes depicted were revisited, and X-ray, infra red and pigment analysis was undertaken on the canvasses. International art dealer Philip Mould, who took part in investigation, told the programme: 'What we've managed to establish to date is entirely new evidence. Science tells us all the materials used in these pictures are consistent with the materials used by Turner.' The result of the investigation was that Turner expert Martin Butlin, who had previously dismissed the paintings, was moved to alter his opinion. 'We do occasionally change our minds when we have the right evidence,' he told the programme. The artworks were among a collection built up in the early years of the Twentieth Century by the Davies sisters, who were among the biggest benefactors to the world of public art in Wales. McIntyre said she was glad for the two sisters that the veracity of the paintings had been reconsidered. 'To have this blip in their collecting history was a shame and it's nice to prove that they were right; that these were Turner paintings,' she said. Although the paintings' value has rocketed, McIntyre said they could never be sold. 'They are part of the national collection for people to come and appreciate,' she said. All seven Turner paintings bequeathed to the gallery will go on show at the National Museum Cardiff from Tuesday. London-born Joseph Mallord William Turner, who became known as 'the painter of light', died in 1851.

Karl Warner, a senior BBC entertainment executive responsible for shows including Michael McIntyre's Comedy Roadshow and Junior Doctors: Your Life in Their Hands, has been appointed as advisory chair for the 2013 Edinburgh International Television Festival. Warner takes over from Kenton Allen, the joint chief executive of Rev and Friday Night Dinner producer Big Talk, advisory chair of the festival for 2012. Warner, who holds the title of executive editor for BBC entertainment commissioning, joined the corporation in 2007. As an executive editor he worked on BBC3 and has recently moved to BBC1 with the task of finding the next generation of Saturday night entertainment formats. In the best part of six years at the BBC he has commissioned and produced shows including Eddie Izzard: Marathon Man, Undercover Princes and John Bishop's Britain. Prior to working at the BBC he was head of development at independent production company Monkey and a senior producer at Big Brother maker Endemol. He said of his appointment: 'I hope next year's festival will be the biggest celebration of creativity and innovation we've ever had. Everyone who attends should come away feeling inspired and equipped with highly valuable, practical insights on dealing with the creative challenges of the future.' Warner has been on the festival advisory committee for four years. 'For the last few years, Karl's worked right at the heart of the industry and has produced or managed some of the UK's biggest shows,' said Elaine Bedell, executive chair of MGEITF. 'He's also worked tirelessly on the committee for the television festival. His energy and enthusiasm is always infectious. I have no doubt that as advisory chair, his festival plans will be big, ambitious – and fun.'

Television presenter and comic - although this blogger doesn't know anyone who finds him in the least bit funny - Justin Lee Collins has appeared in court accused of harassing his ex-girlfriend. Bristol-born Collins, who now lives in London, denies causing fear of violence to Anna Larke last year. The jury at St Albans Crown Court was sworn in and the case adjourned until Wednesday when the prosecution will open its case. Collins, host of Channel Four's Friday Night Project, is currently appearing in the West End musical Rock of Ages. The alleged incident against Larke, a computer games developer, happened between January and July 2011. MCollins split from Karen, his wife of seven years, soon after Christmas 2010. He was granted bail on condition that he does not contact Larke or her family.

The first part of Peter Jackson's Hobbit trilogy has been chosen for this year's sixty fifth Royal Film Performance. Based on the novel by JRR Tolkien, The Hobbit is set sixty years before The Lord Of The Rings, which Jackson also made into a trilogy of films. The Hobbit's cast stars Sherlock's Martin Freeman as Bilbo Baggins. Organisers of the performance said they are 'thrilled' that The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey will have its Royal UK premiere in London on 12 December. In An Unexpected Journey, Baggins attempts to reclaim the lost Dwarf Kingdom of Erebor from Smaug, the dragon. Sir Ian McKellen returns as Gandalf the Grey, the character he played in The Lord of the Rings trilogy, with Elijah Wood as Frodo and Richard Armitage as Thorin Oakenshield. Also reprising their roles from The Lord of the Rings in The Hobbit are Cate Blanchett as Galadriel, Christopher Lee as Saruman and Hugo Weaving as Elrond. Anne Bennett, the president of the Cinema and Television Benevolent Fund, said: 'We are thrilled to be able to host the UK premiere of this highly anticipated first instalment of The Hobbit trilogy.' She added that the fund was 'thankful' to Jackson and the companies behind the film for 'providing this opportunity' and for the 'unswerving support the Royal Family gives to our charity.' The Royal Film Performance is the main fundraiser for the Cinema and Television Benevolent Fund, the trade charity for the UK film and television industries. It provides care and financial help for industry employees and their families who suffer from hardship due to bereavement, illness, redundancy or other misfortunes. The film will have its UK release in selected cinemas and Imax two days after the royal premiere on 14 December. The second instalment - The Hobbit: There and Back Again - is due for release in December 2013.

The former North London home of the original members of The Pink Floyd has been bought by a Singaporean developer. Sham Masterman, who admitted not being a big fan of the band, bought the Highgate house and the one next door for £1.2m each. Roger Waters, Nick Mason, the late Rick Wright and the late Syd Barrett lived in the house in the 1960s. Masterman said she would decide what to do with it once she saw it. The previous owner, lighting technician Mike Leonard, was landlord and friend to the band and even inspired their earliest name, Leonard's Lodgers. He died earlier this year. The BBC filmed inside the house in 1967 and archive footage of this shown by BBC London on Tuesday has provided the only glimpse Masterman has had, she admitted. The house contains some dusty old musical instruments which could have been played by the band. Masterman, of Kensington who has a portfolio of properties, admitted that she did not 'really need to work' but was looking for a new project. She added that she had a friend who was a Pink Floyd fan and 'may be interested' in the odd item of memorabilia. 'I'll maybe put some of the stuff on eBay,' she said. Christopher Coleman Smith, of Savills Auctions, said a 'piece of rock and roll history' had been bought.

Anyway, dear blog reader, that brings us to yer actual Keith Telly Topping's 45 of the Day and, with weather like this, it's wet enough for, you know, fish. And their heads.