Thursday, September 06, 2012

It's One O'Clock & Time For Lunch

The viewing figure for last Saturday's premiere of Asylum of the Daleks on BBC America has been released, indicating that over 1.5 million tuned in to watch The Doctor's latest adventure with his arch-enemy - giving the episode the highest audience for a Doctor Who episode on the channel so far. The figure comfortably overtook the previous highest rating of 1.268m achieved by last year's series opener, The Impossible Astronaut.
Matt Smith has described The Doctor as 'a loose cannon.' Smudger recently expressed his belief in a press interview that unpredictability is one of his Doctor's most important traits, reports The Mary Sue. 'I think he's always a loose cannon. I mean, the interesting thing is, we sort of pick up where we left him and he was on his own,' the actor explained. 'And, as Amy says to him, he's got to be careful of travelling on his own. I think it makes him perhaps less compassionate somehow, I don't know.' Smith also teased that the departures of the Ponds will have a massive effect on The Doctor's psyche. He explained: 'What's really interesting about these next [few] episodes, which is the first season, if we tag that as the first season, it deals with the fall of the Ponds and the demise of those two great companions that The Doctor is hugely, hugely attached to and had such a significant impact on him as a character and for me as an actor. So that's bound to be an event that flips his universe massively.'
Strictly Come Dancing will avoid a direct scheduling clash with The X Factor when it launches on BBC1 later this month. The upcoming tenth series of the BBC's popular light entertainment dancing format will premiere from 6.30pm to 7.35pm on Saturday 15 September on BBC1. Which is nice. Meanwhile, The X Factor will be broadcast that evening from 8.10pm to 9.10pm on ITV, meaning the rival shows will avoid a similar clash to that which occurred with The Voice and Britain's Got Talent were shown earlier this year. Strictly Come Dancing will therefore overlap with only You've Been Framed and Dom Joly's risibly awful Fool Britannia. However, Doctor Who will overlap with The X Factor by ten minutes. It has yet to be determined whether Strictly Come Dancing will avoid The X Factor throughout their entire runs. Strictly judges Len Goodman, Craig Revel Horwood and Bruno Tonioli will return for the tenth series, alongside new member yer actual Darcey Bussell who replaced some odious and talentless greed bucket (and drag) of no fixed ability.

The Dallas reboot premiered on Channel Five with nearly three million viewers on Wednesday, while new ITV drama Mrs Biggs debuted with just over four million. The US drama, back after twenty one years with a mixture of new stars (Jesse Metcalfe) and old (Larry Hagman and Patrick Duffy) averaged 2.9 million viewers between 9pm and 10.15pm on Wednesday. This was nearly double Channel Five's average share in the slot over the last three months. Mrs Biggs, the Jeff Pope drama about the Great Train Robbery from the point of view of Ronnie Biggs' then wife Charmian, played by Sheridan Smith, had just shy of four million viewers between 9pm and 10pm (3.83m). The ITV drama was narrowly beaten by BBC1's Who Do You Think You Are?, featuring Annie Lennox, which had 4.1 million viewers, also between 9pm and 10pm. Over on BBC2 the last episode of the second series of comedy drama Vexed, starring Toby Stephens, finished with eight hundred thousand viewers. Channel Four's evening Paralympics show had an average of 2.5 million viewers between 7.30pm and 10.30pm, with a five-minute peak of 3.3 million. Earlier, All Star Mr and Mrs returned for a fourth series on ITV with 3.7 million viewers between 8pm and 9pm. It beat the last of BBC1's gardening show, The Flowerpot Gang, which finished its four-part run with 2.2 million viewers also between 8pm and 9pm.

The millions of viewers who tuned into the Olympics helped BBC1 leap into its biggest ever lead over ITV in the ratings. With a third of the year remaining BBC1 has a 21.9 per cent share of the audience in 2012, according to industry figures. BBC1 is a record 7.2 percentage points ahead of ITV, on 14.7 per cent, with the lead narrowing to 6.5 percentage points when timeshifted channel, ITV+1 is included. Alleged ITV 'insiders' allegedly pointed out that ITV had the most watched entertainment show of the year to date, the final of Britain's Got Talent, and was home to six of the top ten highest rating dramas of the year across all channels. The BBC channel is up from an all-day share of 20.7 per cent throughout the whole of 2011, but ITV fell back from sixteen per cent last year. The pattern is repeated in peak time, between 6pm and 10.30pm, where BBC1 has a twenty four per cent share up until Friday 24 August this year, against ITV's 19.3 per cent. In 2011 the peak-time shares were 22.6 per cent for BBC1 and 21.2 per cent for ITV. It is the BBC's biggest lead over ITV, in peak and all-day, on record. BBC1's audience was given a double boost by the Olympics and the Queen's diamond jubilee. The corporation said BBC1's share of the audience was already substantially up before the London 2012 Games, where the Opening Ceremony was watched by a five-minute peak audience of twenty seven million people. BBC1 has been the nation's most popular television channel since overtaking ITV in terms of overall share of the audience in 2001. Both channels have inevitably been in long-term decline with the rise of multichannel television – although ITV's audience share has fallen more steeply than BBC1's over the past decade.
Former Labour MP Claire Ward has claimed the Scum of the World may have contributed to the loss of her baby because of the stress it caused after 'threatening' to publish a story based on 'entirely false allegations' about her. Ward, who has already been awarded substantial damages in relation to phone-hacking by the paper, said she received the threatening call from the paper in December 2004 – the same time that the private investigator Glenn Mulcaire was seeking to access her voicemail. In a submission to the Leveson inquiry Ward explains she was pregnant at the time 'and this stress while we were away had an impact on my health.' She does not specify what the paper threatened to publish but told Leveson that she was holidaying over the New Year with her husband in Riga. 'I was under enormous stress from this threat. Following the General Election in May 2005, my baby was stillborn. I cannot help but think that the stress I was placed under in the early stages of my pregnancy, particularly during my stay in Riga, may have contributed to the eventual loss of my baby,' Ward said. The former MP for Watford says she believes newspapers have a right to hold politicians to account but that she suffered 'intense and repeated interest' in her 'personal life.' Three years earlier she says she had failed to stop the Scum of the World from publishing a story about her and a Royal Marine dubbed 'Captain Hunk' in Kosovo even though she had told a reporter from the paper it was 'complete nonsense.' She said it wasn't enough to seek redress through the courts. 'The story has been published and it remains on the Internet and in people's minds forever.' She said this 'power to destroy' politicians 'is the most dangerous of any that the media have. During my thirteen years in parliament, News International in particular held an iron grip over our politics,' she said. She chronicles in detail a bruising encounter with the Scum of the World at the start of her career in 2001, when a reporter warned her that he had 'finished' the career of the Labour foreign secretary Robin Cook and he could do the same to her unless she admitted a story about her and a Royal Marine in Kosovo was true. 'I told him this was all complete nonsense. He told me he was never wrong about these things and I recall him saying "I brought Robin Cook down and I am going to bring you down too." He told me that if I challenged the story he would make things much worse for me. I repeated my denials and ended the phone call and went to attend a constituency engagement,' she explained. Later, she again denied the story to the then editor well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Rebekah Brooks who phoned her ahead of publication. 'Rebekah [nee] Wade said that the journalist was one of her top reporters. She gave me the impression that any amendments made to the story would be a bonus for me,' Ward said in her witness statement. The former MP said she was only twenty eight at the time but the experience left her fearing calls from the Sunday papers. 'I anticipated further Friday phone calls and the sense of relief when a Saturday deadline had passed.'

News International is reported to be trying to have a phone-hacking damages case involving Elle Macpherson's former adviser thrown out of court, eighteen months after her claim was launched. Mary-Ellen Field, who acted as the model's financial adviser, faces a legal battle against the publisher of the now defunct Scum of the World, with a hearing listed for October. News International is applying for a summary judgment against Field and will argue for her case to be struck out on the grounds it has 'no legal merit.' The move comes despite repeated claims by Field, unchallenged in public, that her life was 'destroyed' after her phone was allegedly hacked by the Scum of the World. It is believed to be the first time that News International has tried to have one of the numerous damages lawsuits relating to phone-hacking struck out rather than settled. This could indicate a change in tack by News International parent company News Corporation, which has seen costs relating to the phone-hacking scandal, including legal bills, rise to two hundred and twenty four million dollars. Field's civil lawsuit for invasion of privacy was originally lodged in March 2011 but is awaiting a full trial date along with at least fifty other cases being managed by the high court judge, Mr Justice Vos. News International has decided it is going to challenge Field's case on the grounds that there is not enough evidence to substantiate her claims. In evidence to the Leveson inquiry, Field said her reputation was 'trashed' after MacPherson said she had leaked stories to the press. She recalled how in 2005 the model became concerned that Field was leaking stories to the press, although she denied this. Macpherson then proposed that Field go to rehab to treat an alcohol problem, even though she told the model that she hardly drank. However, Field agreed to go into rehab, believing she would lose her job if she did not. Lord Justice Leveson, after hearing her evidence, said that 'all one can say is that you've correctly described your own position' and that what had happened was 'not your fault' and that she was 'collateral damage.' Field was one of more than sixty individuals who took legal action against News International last year in the first tranche of cases presided over by Vos at the high court. Almost all were settled, including claims by actors Jude Law and Steve Coogan, singer Charlotte Church, former deputy prime minister John Prescott, Sara Payne, the mother of murdered schoolgirl Sarah, and Shaun Russell, whose wife and daughter were bludgeoned to death in a country lane in 1996. Field's case and that of Nicola Phillips, assistant to PR man Max Clifford, were held over for the second tranche of civil phone hacking cases, which now include at least fifty claims due to be heard next year.

Odious, unfunny horrorshow (and drag) Victoria Wood will star alongside Jason Isaacs in the second series of the BBC1 drama, Case Histories, which started shooting in Edinburgh this week. Adapted from Kate Atkinson's novels, three-part drama Case Histories is a Ruby Film and Television production for BBC1 through BBC Scotland. Jason Isaacs reprises his role of Jackson Brodie, a complex and compulsive private investigator who attempts to unravel disparate case histories in modern-day Edinburgh. Wood joins the Case Histories cast for the first of three ninety-minute stories, adapted from Atkinson's novel Started Early, Took My Dog. Other cast confirmed for the episode include James Cosmo, Gary Lewis and Maurice Roëves. As well as Isaacs, the second series sees the return of Case Histories regulars Amanda Abbington, Millie Innes and Zawe Ashton.

He was one of English cricket's best loved all-rounders but not even Andrew Flintoff's on-pitch antics will have prepared him for his latest venture – as a professional boxer. Flintoff will get into the ring for the Sky1 series The Gloves Are Off, in which he will make his boxing debut in front of thousands of fans at the Manchester Arena to be screened live on boxing channel, BoxNation. The former England cricket captain, who quit the game through injury in 2009, will be trained by Barry McGuigan for what Sky is dubbing his 'last chance to step back into the professional sporting arena.' Sky said the fight would be against 'a credible pro boxer opponent,' with two hour-long episodes following Flintoff's preparation for the contest before the fight itself. Another hour-long episode will record the aftermath of his boxing debut. Flintoff described it as: 'An amazing opportunity to try a sport that I love, to be tutored by a man I respect and admire and, at the age of thirty four, the chance to be a professional sportsman again.' He said: 'It's a huge challenge – probably the biggest I have ever undertaken, especially in such a short time frame. I have a long road ahead and a lot of work in front of me. The stakes are high.' Flintoff is a team captain on Sky1's risible sporting panel show, A League of Their Own, and previously tried out various sports on Sky's Soccer AM Saturday morning show. It is not the first time a celebrity has stepped into the ring for a televised boxing match, although Flintoff is the highest profile sportsman to do it. The BBC's Celebrity Boxing show proved short-lived, however. The series of one-offs was pulled in 2003 after featuring Ricky Gervais take on Grant Bovey, watched by more than five million viewers. Sky's head of factual features, Celia Taylor, said: 'Freddie's always been a boxing fan but this is a whole different ball game. Sky customers are in for a rollercoaster ride – there will be major ups, dramatic downs, bloody noses and very real tears.' The Sky 1 show will be co-produced by Fulwell Seventy Three and Merlin Elite and will be broadcast later this year. McGuigan said: 'It is an enormous undertaking to have a professional fight having no experience whatsoever. It is even more demanding when you're a legend in another sport. The pressure for Freddie, myself and my son [boxing trainer Shane] is phenomenal given the little time we have. But I'm convinced Freddie will make a successful pro debut as a boxer.'

Sarah Storey has equalled Tanni Grey-Thompson and David Roberts's tally of eleven Paralympic gold medals with victory in the road race. Storey won her fourth gold of the games when she crossed the line more than seven minutes ahead of her rivals. The all-time British record belongs to Mike Kenny who won sixteen golds in the four games up until 1988. In the pool, Josef Craig, fifteen, set a new world record as he took gold for Great Britain in the men's S7 four hundred metres Freestyle. It followed a silver and bronze for Stephanie Millward and Louise Watkin in the women's SM9 two hundred metres Individual Medley, the GB pair finishing behind South African great Natalie du Toit. Susie Rodgers then won Britain's one hundredth medal of the games - and set a new British record - in claiming bronze in the women's S7 four hundred metres Freestyle. Born without a functioning left hand, Storey's Paralympic career began back in Barcelona in 1992 where, as a fourteen-year-old, she won two swimming golds. She just missed out on selection for the Olympic track cycling pursuit team but has enjoyed success in the Paralympics, adding the road race title to her C5 Pursuit, C4-5 five hundred metres individual time trial and road cycling time trial gold medals. Storey attacked almost from the gun at Brands Hatch and continued to increase her lead throughout the race, with no other rider able to match her. Silver medallist Anna Harkowska of Poland was seven minutes and twenty two seconds behind Storey and Kelly Crowley of the United States was further adrift in third. Following the race Storey told BBC Radio 5Live: 'The records are lovely things to talk about but each race is an achievement, each is hard fought. Just being able to say that you have won for your country is a great honour.' Teenager Craig's victory took Great Britain's gold tally to twenty eight - just one behind Russia who lie second in the medal table.

Spain's public TV has broadcast a live bullfight for the first time in six years after conservative PM Mariano Rajoy lifted a ban on the tradition. The fight in the northern city of Valladolid screened on Television Espanola on Wednesday evening. The previous government cut live transmissions as they were costly and broadcast in children's viewing time. Anti-bullfighting sentiment has been on the rise, with Catalonia outlawing the practice in January. Lawmakers in the autonomous region voted for the ban last year - the first in mainland Spain - after one hundred and eighty thousand people signed a petition. But the corrida is still permitted in all other regions of Spain except in the Canary Islands, which banned it in 1991. Pro-bullfighting supporters, who include Rajoy, say the tradition is an art form deep rooted in Spanish history. It dates back at least four thousand years and is thought to have been popularised by the Romans. TVE's decision to broadcast a short series of fights in the coming months, at the traditional time of 6pm, is seen as a victory for fans of the bloodsport. 'The potential audience that might be attracted to this line-up is, in itself, a sufficient reason for broadcasting it,' a spokesman for the station said. Many in Rajoy's centre-right People's Party will be pleased about the news. The party supports bullfighting and has opposed previous calls to ban the sport. When the party swept to power in December, it approved a new management team for Spain's national broadcaster. This in turn has paved the way for bullfighting to make a comeback to public TV. However opponents argue the practice is barbaric. Campaigners hope to extend the ban across the country, but they face a tough task in traditional bullfighting heartlands like Andalucia and Madrid.

Kelly Brook has said that she still does not know what happened when she was axed from Britain's Got Talent after less than a week on the panel in 2009. Well, basically, you got the sack because you weren't much cop, chuck. There's no great mystery to it. The model also told FHM that she and Wee Shughie McFee, the sour-faced Scottish chef off Crossroads were 'not on good terms', despite her being photographed with him after her sacking. 'I still don't know,' Brook told Leigh Francis in his Keith Lemon guise when asked what happened with her getting the boot. 'I saw Wee Shughie McFee, the sour-faced Scottish chef off Crossroads once afterwards. I caught his eye and I thought, "I'm not going to say hello to him, I can't be bothered," and then he kind of just sulked over and sat next to me. Then all of the photographers came and then they took a picture as if we were friends. We're not friends. I didn't know him before and I'll probably never meet him again.' She added: 'I don't understand why he sat next to me for a photo opportunity. They're all weird. I've been in the business for fifteen years. I turn up and I do my job. I'm professional and if I'm not comfortable, I'm honest, I'm really straightforward. If it was editing, if it was bad, they could have edited it to make me look good. They said "be yourself," and I was, and then they fired me!' After Brook was given her P45 from the show, Wee Shughie McFee, the sour-faced Scottish chef off Crossroads claimed that she was 'incredible about the whole thing' and 'really understanding,' adding that he took responsibility for the situation. 'We've spoken since and we're planning to meet up in LA,' he claimed at the time. 'She's a really nice girl.' Show hosts Ant and/or Dec said that while they did not ask for Brook to be fired, it was 'completely true [they] were annoyed that she'd been brought in' because they had not been informed about the decision to hire her. They later said that Brook had never watched the show and was unfamiliar with the format.

Amanda Bynes has been charged with two counts of misdemeanour hit-and-run. If the actress is convicted on both counts she faces up to a year in The Big House, since each count has a maximum sentence of six months, reports TMZ. The Los Angeles City Attorney charged Bynes following two apparent incidents earlier this year. Bynes pleaded not guilty in a DUI case, after she was arrested in April on suspicion of drunk driving and hitting a police car. The case was later rejected because of a lack of independent witnesses to identify Bynes. However, last month prosecutors reopened Byers's hit-and-run case from back in April after she was accused of another hit-and-run on 4 August. The actress had previously taken to her Twitter to ask President Barack Obama to fire the police officer who arrested her for DUI. He, however, was a bit too busy running the country to comply with her request.

Lewis Hamilton is on the verge of leaving McLaren to drive for Mercedes next season, according to BBC F1 analyst yer actual Eddie Jordan. The former team boss says Hamilton will replace Michael Schumacher, who will retire from driving for a second time at the end of the year. 'I believe Hamilton and Mercedes have already agreed personal terms and a deal could be imminent,' Jordan said. In a statement Mercedes said they 'do not comment on speculation.' But they added: 'Until we are in a position to confirm our full driver line-up for next season, it is inevitable that there will be speculation around this topic.' A McLaren spokesman said: 'We have been told by Lewis Hamilton's management team that the story is untrue. Negotiations between Lewis Hamilton and McLaren [over a new contract] continue.' Hamilton's management team XIX Entertainment also released a statement, saying: 'As mentioned in the past by all parties, we are in advanced discussions with McLaren about a new deal. More importantly, at the moment, Lewis is focused on Monza and competing strongly for the championship.' F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone hinted last Sunday that Schumacher was retiring. Ecclestone told Jordan on BBC1: 'I'm sorry that he's leaving us not being a winner, because he is a winner.' Asked if he knew whether Schumacher was retiring, Ecclestone added: 'I don't know.' Confronted with Ecclestone's comments, Schumacher insisted after Sunday's Belgian Grand Prix that he had not yet decided on his future. 'As I told [Ecclestone] yesterday I had not made a decision,' said the German. Jordan said he had since been 'investigating the situation' and believed Hamilton, who has yet to agree a new deal to remain with McLaren, was on his way to Mercedes to replace Schumacher. 'Some weeks ago I said on TV that I felt Lewis was on the move and I had an idea at the time he had been speaking to Ferrari, which we now know is true,' Jordan said. 'But I can now confirm his people have had meetings with Mercedes. Bernie Ecclestone made it clear to me live on television on Sunday that Schumacher was leaving, although Schumacher later played it down. So it would appear Michael is leaving and Lewis is arriving at Mercedes. Hamilton has not agreed terms with McLaren yet. In fact the team have made it clear they cannot offer him as big a salary as his current fifteen million dollars deal, which was negotiated before the global financial crisis. On top of that, McLaren have to pay for their Mercedes engines for the first time next year. Hamilton moving to Mercedes would also make a lot of sense in the context of his manager Simon Fuller, the man behind The Spice Girls and now David Beckham. Fuller is trying to position Hamilton as a major global star, like Beckham, and Mercedes is a much bigger global brand than McLaren. There has been some uncertainty over Mercedes' position in F1. The board is unhappy at the current performance of the team, but getting Hamilton would undoubtedly be a massive coup and it could give the F1 team some breathing space.' If Hamilton left McLaren, it would leave the team with a huge hole to fill. Among the candidates for the vacancy alongside yer actual Jenson Button would be the Scot Paul di Resta, currently at Force India, and Lotus driver Kimi Raikkonen. Di Resta, who has the same management team as Button after splitting with Hamilton's father Anthony, has continued to impress this season, his second in F1 with Force India. Raikkonen, who drove for McLaren from 2002 to 2005, was a candidate at the team for 2010 before negotiations broke down over money and team boss Martin Whitmarsh turned to the world champion Button instead. Raikkonen returned to F1 this season with Lotus after two unsuccessful years in world rallying and although he has had some unconvincing weekends, his performances have been increasingly impressive. BBC Sport says that it understands Raikkonen is 'on course' to satisfy performance clauses in his contract that would commit him to Lotus in 2013, which would mean any team that wanted him would have to pay Lotus mucho wonga in compensation. The thirty two-year-old Finn currently lies fourth in the championship heading into this weekend's Italian Grand Prix, one place ahead of Hamilton. The Englishman's season has been hampered by early-season operational errors by McLaren which cost him about forty points, and on Sunday in Belgium he was taken out in a start-line collision caused by Lotus's Romain Grosjean.

The US space agency's Dawn satellite has left the giant Asteroid Vesta after thirteen months of study. A signal from the probe confirming that it had escaped the gravitational bounds of the five hundred and thirty km-wide rock was received by NASA on Wednesday. The spacecraft's ion engine is now pushing it on to an even bigger target in the belt of asteroids between Mars and Jupiter - the dwarf planet Ceres. Dawn is expected to reach this nine hundred and fifty km-wide body in early 2015. Before departing on its long cruise to the new destination, the probe trained its camera system on Vesta's northern pole. The pictures reveal mountains and craters that are being seen for the very first time. Only now, as Dawn heads away, has the Sun risen high enough in the sky to illuminate the highest latitudes. Scientists are poring over the images to see what interpretation they can put on the terrain. Vesta has the appearance of a punctured football - the result of two mighty impacts that removed huge volumes of rock from its southern pole. These collisions sent shockwaves rippling across the asteroid, producing a deep system of troughs that extends around the object's equator. Researchers have speculated that this disturbance might also be reflected in the features hitherto obscured at the northern pole. However, Dawn's principal investigator Prof Chris Russell said a definitive statement on such matters would have to wait on a detailed assessment of the new pictures.

Stoke City confirmed on Tuesday that they had signed free agent and odious nasty little greed bucket Michael Owen on a one year contract which is being reported by some outlets as 'pay as you play.' This, incidentally, is the same Michael Owen who commented in 2011: 'Prefer playing less often in a top team than every game in a poor team. Been there and didn't enjoy it.' Presumably he thinks the Britannia is a building society, not a football ground.

Veteran rock band and turgid, stinking lice-ridden old boring disgraceful hippie farts Genesis have been honoured at the first Progressive Music Awards - yes, there really is such a thing, dear blog reader, this isn't 1 April - alongside other bands including The Pink Floyd and Rush. Christ almighty, did we really fight The Punk Wars for this? Genesis members Mike Rutherford and Tony Banks - but, significantly, not the odious, balding drummer - picked up the 'lifetime achievement award' at a ceremony at Kew Gardens on Wednesday. Lifetime achievement in making shite records, obviously. Keyboard legend and ex-Yes member Rick Wakeman - who is, at least, quite funny, and played with David Bowie, so that's a tick in his plus column - was given the 'Prog God Award.' The awards, created by Prog Magazine (average age of readership, ninety three), were hosted by Newsnight presenter Gavin Esler. They wanted Paxman who, he's a fan of proper music.

For today's Keith Telly Topping's 45 of the Day, here's some hippie tripe. Get yer hair cut!