Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Ain't That A Lesson For Us All, But One I'm Not Too Keen To learn, Besides This Bridge was Built To Burn

Matt Smith has admitted that he is 'open' to the idea of a Sherlock-Doctor Who crossover. But, thankfully Smudger told Collider that whilst he, personally, would be 'intrigued' to see the show's leads come together, Sherlock co-creators The Lord Thy God Steven Moffat and yer actual Mark Gatiss are 'not fans' of this, fantastically bad idea. And, by that, dear blog reader, yer actual Keith Telly Topping means a catastrophically dreadful idea. The stuff of thoroughly rotten fan-fiction, no less. 'I think Mark and Steven kind of hate the idea of Doctor Who and Sherlock ever meeting,' said the thirty-year-old actor. However, he added: 'I'm not averse to it. I'm kind of open. I'm like, yeah [it could work], because I just think they would find each other so remarkable.' In 2010, Moffat claimed that it would be 'quite hard' to pull off a Doctor Who-Sherlock crossover but admitted that fan interest in the idea was high, suggesting that 'everyone who's passing me in the street is suggesting that.' Which is probably one very good reason for not doing it. 'I think there are problems of doing [a crossover],' he said. 'Because then you would say that Sherlock Holmes lives in the same world as The Doctor, and there are Daleks and all sorts of things. If a Sherlock Holmes story depends on time travel being impossible, it's quite hard [to do it] if he's a personal friend of The Doctor's.' Or, indeed, otherwise.
Top Gear's 007 special was watched by over four million overnight viewers, leaving ITV's flop medical drama Monroe both shaken and, indeed, stirred on Monday night. The Richard Hammond presented Fifty Years of Bond Cars: A Top Gear Special had 3.47 million viewers on BBC2 and another five hundred and fifty thousand punters on the BBC HD channel simultcast between 9pm and 10pm on Monday, a total share of the audience of sixteen per cent. The BBC2 audience was up one hundred and seventy six per cent on the slot average over the last three months. Jimmy Nesbitt's desperately sinking medical drama, Monroe, had its ass thoroughly kicked once again and was left sprawled in the dirt crying for its mummy (metaphorically speaking, of course) being watched by a mere 2.76 million viewers at the same time on ITV. Yer actual Keith Telly Topping doesn't expect to see a third series of that fiasco. Top Gear also had the better of Channel Four's 999: What's Your Emergency?, which had 2.4 million viewers. The slot was won by the last in the current series of BBC1's New Tricks (with the episode that should have been shown last week but, wasn't). The ninth season of the popular cold case crime drama starring Dennis Waterman and Amanda Redman finished with 6.8 million viewers. Elsewhere, BBC2 cookery show Nigellissima - during which the hostess constantly told viewers about her 'moist plums', no sniggering at the back - finished its six-part run with 2.2 million viewers between 8.30pm and 9pm. Also between 8.30pm and 9pm, Panorama's follow-up to its Winterbourne View hospital investigation was watched by 2.96 million viewers. New Sky Atlantic panel show, Don't Sit in the Front Row, hosted by yer actual Jack Dee, began with forty five thousand viewers between 9pm and 9.30pm. Despite its small audience, it was still forty per cent up on the channel's slot average. New Children's BBC series Wizards Vs Aliens, from former Doctor Who showrunner Russell Davies, began with just under five hundred thousand viewers on the CBBC channel. Only Connect still couldn't quite hit the million viewers mark, but topped the multi-channels with a hefty nine hundred and eighty three thousand punters for BBC4 at 8.30pm, beating Arrow's seven hundred and fourteen thousand for Sky1. Overall, BBC1 led primetime with twenty three per cent versus 20.7 per cent for ITV.

Here's the final consolidated ratings for the Top Twenty Four programmes week-ending 21 October 2012:-
1 Downton Abbey - ITV Sun - 11.63m
2 Strictly Come Dancing - BBC1 Sat - 10.97m
3 The X Factor - ITV Sun - 9.84m
4 Coronation Street - ITV Mon - 9.74m
5 Emmerdale - ITV Wed - 9.47m
6 EastEnders - BBC1 Mon - 8.49m
7 New Tricks - BBC1 Mon - 8.20m
8 The Great British Bake Off - BBC2+BBC HD Tues - 7.32m
9 Countryfile - BBC1 Sun - 7.03m
10 Merlin - BBC1 Sat - 6.86m
11 Antiques Roadshow - BBC1 Sun - 5.70m
12 Have I Got News For You - BBC1 Fri - 5.64m
13 The Paradise - BBC1 Tues - 5.14m
14 Casualty - BBC1 Sat - 5.13m
15 Six O'Clock News - BBC1 Wed - 5.03m
16 DCI Banks - ITV Wed - 5.02m*
17 Ten O'Clock News - BBC1 Tues - 5.00m
18 Holby City - BBC1 Tues - 4.80m
19 BBC News - BBC1 Tues - 4.76m 20 Hunted - BBC1 Thurs - 4.53m
21 Watchdog - BBC1 Wed - 4.44m
22 Paul O'Grady: For The Love of Dogs - ITV Mon - 4.43m*
23 Pointless Celebrities - BBC1 Sat - 4.37m
24 Surprise, Surprise - ITV Sun - 4.34m*
Programmes marked with '*' do not include HD figures.

Yer actual Sir Roger Moore his very self is to host an episode of Have I Got News For You. The actor will join team captains Ian Hislop and Paul Merton on Friday 23 November. 'I'm really looking forward to appearing on one of my favourite shows and just hope Ian and Paul will treat this old English actor gently,' said Moore. 'If not, I'll press the button which releases their chairs into a piranha-filled pool below and will cackle wildly like Ernst Stavro Blofeld. Who said I wasn't a ham?' Comedian and actor Marcus Brigstocke and journalist and author Rachel Johnson will appear as guests alongside Moore, Hislop and Merton. Eighty five-year-old Moore is best known for playing James Bond in seven movies and also for starring in the 1960s spy series The Saint. The current - forty fourth - series of popular topical news quiz Have I Got News For You continues at 9pm on Friday nights on BBC1 until 21 December, with the extended repeats Have I Got A Bit More News For You screening on Monday nights at 10.35pm.

Mo Farah and Nicola Adams will reportedly be among the stars of a one-off special of Superstars for the BBC. Queue the music. Sorry, it's just whenever that programme gets mentioned, I always feel the Johnny Pearson music coming on. It's contagious. Alistair and Jonny Brownlee, Beth Tweddle, Anthony Joshua and Gemma Gibbons will also appear in an Olympics special of the classic sports competition show this Christmas, according to the Sun. So, this is almost certainly lies, in that case. Sixteen British Olympic athletes will compete in six events that they do not usually practice in, including the sprint, long-distance run, swimming, obstacle course, rowing, cycling, tennis and squat thrusts and dips. Superstars - queue the music - will be held at Team GB's training centre at Bath University in November, and will be broadcast around Christmas. An alleged 'source' allegedly said: 'We have all seen what the Olympians can do at the 2012 Games but now is a chance to see them put to the ultimate test. Move over gold medals, the Superstars - queue the music - title is the one they really want. How will the Brownlee boys fare trying to out-canoe each other? Has Mo Farah got what it takes to cycle like Bradley Wiggins? These are questions we will endeavour to find out.'

Mary Berry is reportedly 'unsure' about whether she would appear on the planned US version of The Great British Bake Off. CBS announced the show, which has the working title Bake Off, earlier this month. The Sun quotes Berry as saying: 'I have no idea if I will be asked. I've not thought about it and I'm not going to think about it, as it would mean being away a lot.' However, Berry's fellow judge, yer actual Paul Hollywood, has apparently said that he would be interested in a role on the show, potentially as its host. An alleged 'insider' allegedly claimed that executives are, allegedly, 'desperate' for Berry and Hollywood to be involved in CBS's Bake Off, as they believe the pair's 'lightness of touch' will be popular with viewers in the United States. Richard McKerrow, who launched the series in the UK as executive producer, will oversee Bake Off for Love Productions USA. International versions of the show have already launched in countries such as Belgium, Denmark, Sweden and Poland. The format will also premiere in Australia, Ireland and France during 2013.

Channel Four are to broadcast a drama which is described as being 'a celebration of the small pleasures of everyday life.' Michael Winterbottom's story charts the tale of four children separated from their father, and a wife separated from her husband. The father Ian – played by John Simm – is in prison. The mother Karen – Shirley Henderson – has to bring up a family of four children by herself. Filmed over a period of five years, Everyday uses the repetitions and rhythms of everyday life to explore how a family can survive a prolonged period apart. Winterbottom says of his film: 'A lot of films deal with stories that take place over a long period of time. I've just done a film now with Steve Coogan about Paul Raymond which goes from 1958 to 1992. But you tend to do it with very conventional techniques. You're still making it over a period of seven or eight weeks, you're still packing it in, so it's all done with wigs and make-up. So with children especially you end up having different children playing the same role. It's very unsatisfactory. This is a film about how the relationship between children and their dad can survive a long separation, how that effects the relationship with their mum, and the relationship between the mum and the dad. And rather than do it in six weeks and try and fake it all, we did it over the same length of time that the story is supposed to take place.' The story unfolds in a series of visits, first the family visiting the father in prison, later the father visiting the family at home. With each visit the distance between the children and their father becomes harder to bridge. Sounds rather good. Everyday will be broadcast on Channel Four in November.

Carol Vorderman has claimed that she was 'banned' from the Countdown studio after leaving the show. Which, if true, is really funny. She should've got herself unionised. Particularly as it's a nine-letter word. (Thanks to Andy Parsons for that joke.)

Sir Ian McKellen and Derek Jacobi are set to star in a new ITV sitcom about an elderly gay couple. Vicious Old Queens - excellent title and one, obviously, chosen to get up the noses of the Daily Scum Mail - has been written by Gary Janetti, who previously worked on Will & Grace and Family Guy. The two veteran Thespians will play the couple, who live together in London's Covent Garden. A series of six half-hour episodes is being lined-up for broadcast from April, according to the Lies on Sunday. Last week, Sir Ian – who previously appeared in Ricky Gervais's Extras, said that hiding his sexuality for years had been crucial in helping him perfect his acting skills. This will not be the first time a mainstream gay sitcom has been tried in recent years. BBC1 previously piloted the potential primetime show, George And Bernard Shaw, with Robert Lindsay and Richard Griffith playing a middle-aged gay couple. The comedy was written by John Finnemore, the creator of Radio 4's Cabin Pressure.

The X Factor contestant Zoe Alexander has reportedly won a small acting role on Doctor Who according to an Internet website. The Welsh singer 'shocked and stunned' the talent show's judges Louis Walsh, Tulisa Contostavlos, Gary Barlow and Nicole Scherzinger with an angry expletive-filled tirade when she was rejected from the competition. Alexander - who claimed that X Factor producers had instructed her to sing a Pink song - has since turned her attentions to acting and will have a minor role in a 2013 Doctor Who episode, according to Wales Online. 'It's great to be working on Doctor Who - the people are a lot nicer than some you get to meet working in TV,' said the twenty two-year-old, not referring to anyone in particular. Oh no, very hot water. 'I'm loving it but I'm hoping that this is just a start for me.' In June, it was claimed that Alexander was being investigated by police for assault, after pushing a cameraman and producer during her X Factor meltdown. Welcome to Doctor Who, Zoe. Meet the family.
BBC1's eight million quid period drama The Paradise will open its doors for a second run. The series has been recommissioned with three episodes of the first series still to be broadcast. The story of the first-ever department store in the UK, starring Joanna Vanderham, Sarah Lancashire, Emun Elliott and Patrick Malahide, The Paradise began with five and a half million viewers in a Tuesday night slot last month. BBC1 controller Danny Cohen said it was 'really interesting to experiment with period drama on BBC1 beyond the traditional Sunday night slot.' By putting it out on Tuesday, Cohen also avoided a head-to-head clash with ITV's Downton Abbey and another acclaimed, (albeit lower-rating) drama, Channel Four's US import Homeland, which is also shown at 9pm on Sunday. Andrew Marr's History of the World, which went up against Downton Abbey on BBC1, has suffered in the ratings with just 2.3 million viewers for last Sunday's outing, a quarter of the ITV drama's overnight audience of 9.5 million. With its early autumn launch, the BBC1 controller beat ITV's rival department-store drama Mr Selfridge, a ten million smackers project starring Jeremy Piven, to the screen. Cohen added: 'I'm delighted that the show will be returning for a second series, and can assure its loyal following that there are still some dramatic twists to come in the three episodes still to air this autumn.' Writer Bill Gallagher, who previously made his name with another popular costume drama, Lark Rise to Candleford, loosely adapted The Paradise from the French novel by Émile Zola. The first four episodes had a consolidated average audience of 5.9 million viewers.

The website for BBC1's So You Think You Can Dance 'breached accuracy guidelines' in stating that a contestant had come fourth in the competition, when, in fact, she had come third. As though anybody but the world's biggest pedant is in the slightest bit bothered about nonsense like that. Some may, rightly, consider that the BBC Trust should be concentrating their time on far more important affairs than trivial bollocks like this. Particularly as the show in question only had an audience of about twelve anyway. That's why it was cancelled. Although the information on the website was, subsequently, corrected, the corporation's Editorial Standards Committee ruled this had not been done 'quickly, clearly or appropriately.' And, by doing so they justified their existence for another month. The ruling relates to the show's 2011 final, won by tap dancer Matt Flint. Presenter Cat Deeley described Kirsty Swain as 'the first person leaving the competition tonight.' On the programme's website, it was initially stated that the jazz dancer had finished the contest in fourth place. Following a complaint - by whom, the BBC doesn't say - it was established that Swain had polled more votes than fellow competitor Katie Love and had, thus, come third in the audience vote. 'So what, Keith Telly Topping?' I hear you bellow, dear blog reader. I can only concur with your rank befuddlement. It was also established that the order in which the positions was announced by Deeley was at the production team's discretion and bore no relation to the number of votes cast. In its ruling upholding the complaint, the Editorial Standards Committee said 'insufficient account had been taken of the significance in the dance world of a national competition broadcast by the BBC.' Other media went on to report the inaccurate positions of the two dancers based on information placed on the show's official website. Meanwhile, here's some news that more than one person actually gives a stuff about ...

Several American broadcasters pulled episodes of their most popular shows on Monday evening ahead of the arrival of Hurricane Sandy on the East coast. The CW, CBS and NBC all postponed part of their Monday night line-up with episodes of the shows now rescheduled for next week. CBS postponed episodes of comedies How I Met Your Mother, Two Broke Girls, Partners and Mike & Molly as well as its crime drama Hawaii Five-0. The CW meanwhile delayed episodes of teen dramas Gossip Girl and 90210 – broadcasting repeats of both shows instead. NBC also pulled Matthew Perry's Go On and The New Normal from its schedules due to coverage of Hurricane Sandy.
Is it just yer actual Keith Telly Topping or does anyone else think BBC News's description of the hurricane currently battering America's eastern seaboard as 'Superstorm Sandy' makes it sound like the lead singer of an extremely camp 1970s Europop disco ensemble?
Lord Justice Leveson's report on the regulation of newspapers following his inquiry into the culture and practices of the press has been delayed until the end of November. Leveson's conclusions and recommendations on the future of press regulation had been expected initially in October but got pushed back to November and now 'sources' allegedly say it will be published at the end of the month. The exact timetable to which Leveson is working has been a closely guarded secret. He has always said he would report 'in the autumn,' leaving newspaper editors and proprietors on tenterhooks in a big sweat for the past two months. Speculation has been rife that the report could be put back to December but alleged 'sources' allegedly say that Leveson wants to get it out before George Osborne's autumn statement on the economy on 5 December. There has been intense lobbying in the past few weeks by those in both sides of the debate on stricter press regulation. Some newspapers, notably the Daily Torygraph and the Daily Scum Mail, as well as politicians including Boris Johnson, Eric Pickles and the rat-faced loathsome wretched odious nasty slavver-merchant and George Formby lookalike Gove, have warned of dire consequences if statutory regulation were to be recommended by Leveson and taken up by David Cameron. The two scummy right-wing papers are among those backing a new lobby group, Free Speech Network, which launched last week warning that an 'officially regulated press is the glib, easy, dangerous solution.' A Free Speech Network pamphlet said: 'It would spell the slow, painful death of a raucous, audacious and impertinent press able to speak truth to power on behalf of its readers and entertaining enough to secure their loyalty. We would all be the losers.' Hopefully, yes. The Free Speech Network is opposing the Hacked Off campaign for tougher press regulation being fronted by Hugh Grant. Former BBC chairman Michael Grade told the Daily Scum Mail on Tuesday that press curbs would not have stopped the publication of topless photographs of Kate Middleton. Referring to Ireland where the pictures were published, Grade said: 'I doubt it has escaped Lord Justice Leveson's attention that the photographs of the duchess were published in countries with regulatory regimes offered as possible solutions for the UK. On this evidence, his menu of available options seems to be shrinking,' said Grade. Tory politicians also appear to be sharpening their knives for a battle over Leveson. On Sunday, the communities secretary, big fat cuddly lard bucket (and drag) Eric Pickles, said the government should be reluctant to bring in new laws to regulate newspapers following the publication of Leveson's report. Pickles said the press was working towards a way of offering proper recourse for those with legitimate complaints, adding that the right of newspapers to expose corruption must be protected. He said that ministers must be very careful about introducing statutory regulation if Lord Justice Leveson recommends a new independent watchdog to monitor the press. The Labour party, which helped pressure David Cameron into launching the Leveson inquiry in July last year in the aftermath of revelations that Milly Dowler's phone had been hacked, is likely to back his recommendations 'as long as they are reasonable,' said one alleged 'source.' This alleged 'source', according to the Gruniad Morning Star argued that statues governing issues such as defamation and data protection already apply to the press and there is nothing to be feared from a law that gives legal standing to bodies such as the libel resolutions arm of a watchdog. Lord Black, executive director of Torygraph Media Group and chairman of the Press Standards Board of Finance, which funds the Press Complaints Commission, has also been lobbying against any form of statutory-based system, warning it could take three years to establish, and possibly longer because of the threat of a legal challenge. During prime minister's questions last week, Cameron said what mattered was an independent regulator that could impose fines and investigate wrongdoing by newspapers.

BBC iPlayer has this week gone live on Sky+, as part of the satellite platform's recently-launched shift to offering catch-up television. After an announcement earlier in the year, the corporation's video on-demand service, iPlayer, went live at 9am on Tuesday to the around 6.7 million homes with a Sky+ HD box and a broadband connection. These satellite homes can access iPlayer directly from Sky's new On Demand part of the TV guide, enabling them to catch up on shows such as Doctor Who, Strictly Come Dancing and EastEnders. Sky already offers the standalone ITV Player and Demand 5 services to Sky+ homes, and will add Channel Four's 4oD in early 2013, at which stage Sky will be able to offer all the on-demand services of the UK public service broadcasters. Previously, Sky+ users had to proactively set recordings of PSB shows on their box if they were going out, or they would miss the programme entirely. Alongside PSB catch up, Sky's new On Demand section also offers catch-up on Sky and partner channels, as well as box sets, such as Mad Men and An Idiot Abroad, and movie rentals from the Sky Store. BBC iPlayer has been integrated into Sky's existing TV guide and on-demand menus. Viewers are able to browse programming under a series of categories, including channel, day and genre. They can watch content in both standard and high definition where available. Once a customer selects a programme, it is downloaded directly to their Sky+ planner ready to be watched at a time that suits them. The launch of BBC iPlayer on Sky - which seemed unlikely to happen at one stage - is the latest expansion of the BBC's catch-up TV service, which is now available on more than six hundred and fifty different platforms. Last month, iPlayer racked up almost two hundred million requests for programming, including a massive 2.2m for a new episode of Doctor Who. By launching on Sky+, the five-year-old BBC iPlayer platform is now available on every major UK television platform for free. Daniel Danker, the general manager of BBC Programmes and On Demand, said: 'BBC iPlayer has had a record-breaking year, with two billion requests for programmes in 2011, and nearly two hundred million requests in September 2012 alone. Available on over six hundred and fifty platforms and devices across PC, mobile, tablet and Internet-connected TVs, we are delighted that iPlayer is now also available to millions of Sky+ homes. Twenty per cent of all iPlayer use is already on the living room TV. By partnering with Sky, BBC iPlayer is available on all major UK TV platforms at no extra charge, making sure our audiences can access the best of the BBC's content at home and on the go, whenever and wherever they choose.' Sky's director of TV products Luke Bradley-Jones added: 'Providing customers with the flexibility to enjoy their favourite TV on demand, our comprehensive catch-up TV service perfectly complements the genius of Sky+, which already helps millions of our customers take charge of their viewing. We continue to put Sky customers in control, with the addition of BBC iPlayer to Sky+ sitting alongside a range of innovations including remote record, series link and now even being able to use your iPad as a remote control.'

In the digital world, five years is a lifetime - so the BBC Trust has commissioned a second review into how BBC Online and the Red Button are doing. The last review of the BBC's Online and Red Button services were in 2008 and 2010 respectively. This process will be 'more focused', a BBC statement said, 'looking at how the services are meeting the objectives set for them by the last reviews, how well they are serving their audiences and how they have adapted to changes in technology, media and audience behaviour.' Running parallel with this is a public consultation, which will seek views from licence fee payers, relevant organisations and stakeholders. The 2008 service licence review of BBC Online highlighted concerns over financial controls and strategic and editorial leadership. The document criticised management controls for having an 'unacceptable' lack of accountability, resulting in an overspend of nearly twenty nine million smackers. Last November, an update into Online's performance was published in a BBC Trust report. It broadly found that improvements had been made in spending and leadership. BBC Online's annual service spend stood at one hundred and twenty million notes last year. It has a target to reduce its budget by twenty five per cent before 2014. Earlier this month, the Red Button service reduced its video streams from five to one, bringing it in line with the Freeview offering. The reduction was part of Delivering Quality First. Two years ago, the BBC Trust review concluded that the BBC should reduce the amount of money it spends on the Red Button service. The report found that while it was the UK's most-used interactive TV service - with 12.7m users per week - its cost of thirty nine million quid in 2009 needed to be cut. Suzanna Taverne, the BBC Trustee who is leading the current review, said: 'The BBC's digital offer is constantly evolving. Last time we examined BBC Online, the now firmly established iPlayer did not even exist - so it is particularly important to review these services regularly.' She added: 'I am keen for this review to ensure that these service licences are fit for purpose and give them the space to develop and innovate in order to continue meeting licence fee payers' needs and expectations.'

Edwyn Collins has been honoured for his contribution to the music industry, seven years after he almost died from a double brain haemorrhage. Collins, known for his work with 1980s funksters Orange Juice and his 1995 solo hit 'A Girl Like You', was recognised at the Association of Independent Music Awards. Adele was given the title of the 'most played independent act' at the ceremony, held at The Brewery in East London. The awards honour the best acts signed to the UK's independent record labels. Edwyn, fifty three, was left unable to walk, talk or read after suffering a stroke and two haemorrhages in 2005. But the Scot recovered enough to record again, work as a producer and publish a book of his illustrations of British birds. Collins was in attendance to collect his outstanding contribution award from his friends and collaborators Vic Godard and Frankie and the Heartstrings. Daniel Miller, founder of Mute Records, also received an honorary award at Monday's event, hosted by BBC DJs Huw Stephens and Steve Lamacq. The Prodigy were named best live act, while Enter Shikari's A Flash of Colour was named independent CD of the year.

Now, do you want to see a video of a cat drinking beer, dear blog readers? Course you do.

A man in Poland has been fined for cycling naked with his pants on his head. Well, we've all done it, be fair. Piotr Chmielewski alerted traffic police after setting off a speed camera in Bialy Bor, exceeding the thirty miles per hour speed limit while cycling. According to Orange News, traffic police found Chmielewski 'in a state of undress' when they caught up with him. It was then that they noticed Chmielewski was completely naked apart from his underwear, which he was wearing on his head. Because, they're observant like that, the Polish poliss. He had, apparently, been fully clothed when he set off the speed camera. Police spokesman Waldemar Lada confirmed that two fines totalling around two hundred smackers had subsequently been issued for the incident: one for speeding, and one for indecent exposure. Chmielewski had unsuccessfully argued that at the time of arrest he had, in fact, been wearing a thong.

A widower in Belgrade, Serbia has honoured his wife's last request by having a replica of her vagina etched onto her tombstone. When Milena Marinkovic died three years ago, she left her husband, Milan, a letter explaining the reasoning behind her strange request. She said that she didn't want Milan looking at other women after she died. The letter said: 'I don't want you chasing other women. This way you will always remember me.' Milena left detailed instructions, including photos of her minge, 'to ensure complete accuracy.' However, her husband had a difficult time finding a stonecutter who would agree to do the job, as most he asked said the request was 'blasphemous.' or, at least, in questionable taste. The seventy two-year-old recently found a stonemason who was finally willing to do the tombstone front-bottom engraving, and he is said to be 'pleased' with the final result. 'Now it's finished, I love it and it's a really good likeness,' he told the Austrian Times. 'And this way, a part of her will always be with me.' Although many people have seen the tombstone, most can't tell that the etching is, in fact, a representation of a twinkle cave. Milan recalled his brother-in-law asking why the bird on her tombstone had such a large beak, saying: 'I couldn't help but laugh.'

For today's Keith Telly Topping's 45 of the Day, here's Edwyn and chums and a little masterpiece.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

For My Opening Line, I Might Try To Indicate My State Of Mind

The overnight ratings for Strictly Come Dancing's Sunday night results show grew to a new series high for Sid Owen's departure. The EastEnders actor waltzed off the celebrity ballroom dancing show watched by a huge audience of 9.38 million and an audience share of 36.4 per cent, at 7.30pm as the BBC1 show managed to depose Downton Abbey from the top of the Sunday night ratings chart. The X Factor, which averaged 8.88 million on ITV, may have peaked higher than Strictly's five-minute high of 10.1 million as Tulisa Contostavlos's act, Jade Ellis, left the competition. After a two-week dominance, Downton Abbey fell to 9.24 million punters for the costume drama's third series' penultimate episode - still, of course, an extraordinary figure in this day and age. Elsewhere on ITV, Surprise, Surprise, the Holly Willoughby-hosted revival, in the 7pm hour was watched by 4.29 million. The game show was ITV's highest-rated programme to air against Strictly on Sunday evenings. On BBC1, Countryfile continued to impress with 7.13 million at 6.30pm, 5.23 million watched The Antiques Roadshow two hours later, but Andrew Marr's History of the World - the hole where the rain got in for BBC1's Sunday line-up - could only attract 2.3 million. A new series of Harry & Paul kicked off on BBC2 with 1.48 million at 10pm, prior to which Dragons' Den had an audience of 1.99 million. Meanwhile, Homeland's latest Channel Four episode drew 1.81 million.

In fact, as previously reported, Strictly Come Dancing stepped up the pressure on The X Factor, beating the Wee Shughie McFee, the sour-faced Scottish chef off Crossroads show on both Saturday and Sunday for the first time in the weekend ratings battle. The BBC1 show hosted by Bruce Forsyth and Tess Daly was watched by 9.6 million viewers between 6.30pm and 8.20pm on Saturday, with - as noted above - 9.4 million viewers for its results show on Sunday. The X Factor drew 8.4 million viewers between 8.20pm and 10.15pm on Saturday, and 9.18 million for its results show on Sunday. Stripping out timeshifted channel ITV+1, the gap between the two Saturday shows grew to 1.5 million. Saturday's The X Factor was watched by 8.1 million viewers on the main ITV channel. Strictly Come Dancing's Saturday night edition has been ahead of The X Factor in terms of overnight ratings throughout the current series but this is the first time it has also led the ITV show on Sunday as well as a Saturday. The X Factor has lost between one-and-a-half and two million viewers on last year's series, when it was averaging about ten million viewers per week. With last year's series of The X Factor being an average of two million viewers down on its 2010 run, the ITV show has slumped by nearly four million viewers over the course of two years. And, if Wee Shughie McFee, the sour-faced Scottish chef off Crossroads isn't worried about that, he probably should be.

Disgraced former newspaper tycoon and convicted fraudster Conrad Black's guest appearance on Have I Got News For You attracted just over five million overnight viewers to BBC1 on Friday. Black's appearance on Have I Got News For You pulled in 5.22 million viewers between 9pm and 9.30pm, the show's audience being slightly up on the previous week, when the show attracted 5.16 million. Elsewhere on Friday night, Derren Brown's most ambitious illusion yet – trying to convince someone that he was one of a handful of survivors in a zombie-ridden apocalyptic world – drew nearly three million viewers. Derren Brown: Apocalypse pulled in 2.76 million viewers between 9pm and 10pm on Channel Four, with a five-minute peak of 3.15 million. But BBC1's really not very good at all Sarah Alexander and Neil Morrissey sitcom Me & Mrs Jones could only hang on to half of Have I Got News For You's audience, with 2.7 million viewers between 9.30pm and 10pm. Have I Got News For You also, very satisfyingly, beat ITV's odious Piers Morgan's Life Stories, which featured Hollywood actor Burt Reynolds, drew 3.5 million viewers between 9pm and 10pm. The BBC2 documentary Natural World Special, about a wolf in Canada's frozen North, was watched by 1.6 million viewers including one hundred and fifteen thousand on BBC HD, also between 9pm and 10pm. The presence of James Bond stars Daniel Craig, Judi Dench and Javier Bardem - along with yer actual Russell Davies his very self - helped BBC1's The Graham Norton Show to 3.94 million viewers between 10.35pm and 11.20pm.

And finally in our ratings round-up, The Scum's controversial 3-2 win over Moscow Chelski FC proved more popular than ITV on Sunday afternoon, with a peak audience of more than three million viewers on Sky Sports 1. The second part of a live Premier League football double bill, the Sky Sports channel averaged 2.12 million viewers, an 11.6 per cent share of the audience, between 3.30pm and 7pm on Sunday, with a five-minute peak of 3.18 million, for the top-of-the-table clash. This put Sky Sports 1 ahead of ITV for large chunks of Sunday afternoon, when nine hundred thousand punters watched The Home of Fabulous Cakes between 4.10pm and 5.10pm, and 1.5 million saw a repeat of Downton Abbey between 5.10pm and 6.10pm. The first match of the afternoon, Everton's 2-2 draw with Liverpool Alabama Yee-Haw's, averaged 1.77 million between 1pm and 3.30pm, peaking with 2.53 million.

Dazzling Dezza Brown's latest TV project might be a ratings hit - see above - but it's also facing allegations of fakery after its star was reportedly revealed to be an actor. The illusionist and master of mesmerism and prestidigitation's new Channel Four show, Apocalypse, features Brown attempting to convince Steve Brosnan that the world had been struck by a meteorite, and that zombies had taken over. Brown described the twenty one-year-old as having a 'dead-end job,' and that he was 'stuck in a rut.' However, it has been claimed - on the Internet if not, actually, anywhere that matters - that Brosnan may be a 'stooge', after it was allegedly discovered that Bronsan belonged to a professional actors' casting website. Brosnan's Twitter account was said to have been linked to his page on the Casting Call Pro site, but was later altered to the names Craig Harwood and Jerrin Matthews, before being taken down. However, Channel Four has since denied reports that Brosnan has ever been an actor, and that the Casting Call Pro page was 'likely a fake.' A spokesman told the Sun: 'Steven is not and never has been a professional actor. He was chosen purely because he fitted the characteristics needed for the show.' Taking on Twitter, Dezza his very self said: 'Conspiracy theory flying around that Steven is an actor, cos he looks like a guy in a noodle advert. I NEVER EVER fake stunts with actors.' He continued: 'Plus his whole family/friends would have to be actors too. And all REAL family/friends, quietly killed.'

The photographer who took the topless and naked photographs of the Duchess of Cambridge will reportedly be arrested by the French police. It emerged over the weekend that the paparazzo's name had been handed over to the authorities - presumably, by some filthy Copper's Nark who stitched the geezer up like a kipper, Tommy Nutters - who are investigating the incident. A preliminary criminal investigation was launched last month after the publication of the images in French Closer. 'A name has been offered,' an alleged 'source' allegedly close to the case was quoted as allegedly saying by the Daily Scum Mail. 'The photographer is expected to be held for question[ing] imminently.' French public prosecutor Marie-Christine Daubigney said: 'This new information regarding the photographer will be passed on to investigating magistrates.' Metro claims that the photographer is thought to be one of a 'notorious band' of press who followed Princess Diana in the week leading to her death in 1997. An alleged 'royal source' allegedly told the Mirra: 'William and Kate are determined to bring the person who took those photos to justice and they're pushing hard for a custodial sentence. They want to make an example of this person.' The photographer could be jailed for up to a year and fined thirty six grand for breach of privacy if found guilty. It was recently suggested that the paparazzo who took the photographs was in fact an Englishman living in the south of France.
And, still on the subject of the press and royalty, the chief executive of Trinity Mirra has vowed to 'investigate claims' that a former business partner of Sophie, Countess of Wessex, had his phone-hacked by the Sunday Mirra more than ten years ago. Simon Fox said Trinity Mirra had not been contacted by Murray Harkin, but it had 'no alternative other than to fully investigate' press reports at the weekend that his phone was hacked. The Financial Times reported on Saturday that the Metropolitan police were assessing claims by Harkin that a 2001 Sunday Mirra article was published after his phone was hacked. Harkin is the fifth individual to complain about hacking by Trinity Mirra titles – four others, including former England football manager Sven-Göran Eriksson, last week lodged civil damages claims with the high court. 'Whilst we have not yet been contacted by Mr Harkin, or anyone associated with him and have no reason to believe that there is any substance to this accusation, I have asked for our inquiry team to include this new allegation in their review,' Fox said in an internal e-mail to staff on Monday morning, and, gleefully, reported as having been 'seen' by the Gruniad Morning Star. How they 'saw' it, they didn't say but it's fair to speculate that it was either given to them by a filthy stinking Copper's Nark or, somebody hacked into an e-mail account to acquire it. Perhaps the Gruniad would like to confirm which. 'I am absolutely clear that if any wrong-doing happened within the company, then we have no alternative other than to fully investigate and surface it,' Fox said. Harkin reportedly suspects that he was followed while on holiday abroad by somebody who could only have discovered his whereabouts from listening to his voicemails. Trinity Mirra announced last Wednesday that it had launched an internal investigation, headed by the chairman David Grigson, into the hacking claims which led to more than twenty per cent being wiped off the company's share price last week. In his e-mail on Monday, Fox said: 'I will work alongside David on this, but his assistance will enable me to devote most of my time to Trinity Mirror's future, rather than allegations about its past.' The inquiry into past allegations comes amid reports that 'a secret dossier' on phone-hacking has been prepared by concerned investors, which claims that the practice was organised on 'a systemic scale.' According to the Independent on Sunday, the dossier names six reporters from the Daily Mirra and the People who, it claims, 'regularly' hacked phones. Investors commissioned the investigation during the Leveson inquiry to evaluate the commercial risk it posed to the company. Former senior reporters at the company's national titles are said to have been the 'sources' of the information contained in the - now not so secret - dossier. A spokesman for Trinity Mirra said: 'As we have consistently said all our journalists work within the criminal law and the Press Complaints Commission's code of practice.' And, that's the story they're sticking to until such times as they're not.

Skyfall's international debut has broken box office records. Grossing over seventy million dollars in the week before its US debut, the James Bond film has broken the UK Saturday attendance record, reports Collider. It took a total of just over twenty million quid in the UK since its opening on Friday 26 October, making it the second-biggest opening in the country's box office history behind the 3D Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 2. The achievement has been deemed especially impressive considering the Bond film does not enjoy the higher prices of 3D movies. Skyfall screenwriter John Logan has signed up to provide the scripts for the next two James Bond movies based on the strength of Skyfall's opening. The Sam Mendes-directed film, which stars Daniel Craig, Dame Judi Dench, Javier Bardem and Bérénice Marlohe, will début in the US on Friday 2 November.

Well-known Scottish comedian Billy Connolly is being honoured with a lifetime achievement award by BAFTA Scotland. The sixty nine-year-old, who is also an actor and musician, has been hailed by the arts organisation as one of Scotland's most successful talents. He will be given the award for his outstanding contribution to television and film. Connolly will not be at the ceremony on 18 November but a recorded message will be played on the night. Instead, he will receive the award at a public event in December. Connolly said: 'I'm really pleased and proud to receive this trophy from BAFTA in Scotland because I know you probably think we luvvies get shiny prizes all the time. But actually, sometimes we don't. I'm really sorry I can't be there because I'm in San Francisco doing some prior engagements. But in December I will be in Glasgow, where my heart is all the time, doing a BAFTA Life in Pictures event highlighting my film and television work from over the years, which might be quite groovy.' The event in December will see Connolly discuss his life and career which has spanned thirty films - some of them really terrible! - numerous sell-out stand-up tours and television appearances. He is set to appear in Dustin Hoffman's directorial debut Quartet and the much-anticipated The Hobbit, both to be released next year. Past recipients of the outstanding contribution award include Sean Connery, Brian Cox and Robbie Coltrane. Ken Loach's film The Angels' Share leads the way in this year's Scottish BAFTA nominations. It will compete in the categories of best feature film, Paul Laverty for best writer, and Paul Brannigan and Siobhan Reilly for best actor and actress. Kevin Bridges's television show What's The Story? is nominated for best comedy/entertainment programme and the comedian is also up for best writer for the series.

Scotland Yard is to examine allegations that a child sexual abuse ring was connected to a Downing Street aide. The Metropolitan police commissioner, Bernard Hogan-Howe, said on Monday that the claims would be 'treated seriously.' Last week the Labour MP Tom Watson (power to the people!) used parliamentary privilege to make the allegations, albeit without actually naming the aide in question. It is understood that they relate to a previous prime ministerial aide and not to anyone who has recently served in Downing Street. Hogan-Howe said 'a senior officer' would look at the claims and that police were in contact with Watson to see if he could provide detectives with more details. He said they would ask the Labour MP this week 'what his sources are and if they are prepared to talk to us' as the police assess the strength of the allegations. Last week Watson told MPs that a police file relating to Peter Righton, who was convicted in 1992 of importing child abuse images from the Netherlands, needed to be re-examined. 'The evidence file used to convict Peter Righton, if it still exists, contains clear intelligence of a widespread paedophile ring,' Watson said during prime minister's questions. 'One of its members boasts of his links to "a senior aide of a former prime minister," who says he could smuggle indecent images of children from abroad. The leads were not followed up, but if the files still exist, I want to ensure that the Metropolitan police secure the evidence, re-examine it and investigate clear intelligence suggesting a powerful paedophile network linked to parliament and No 10.' Watson gave more detail on his blog. He said he had been contacted by a former child protection specialist who was 'concerned' that not all of the leads the police had when investigating Righton were pursued. 'The contact, who has seen the letters, claimed that one paedophile in particular was of great concern. He said that the paedophile, who worked with children, boasted of a key aide to a former PM who could help get hold of indecent images of children,' Watson wrote. Hogan-Howe said the police and other institutions had 'missed the opportunity' to collate allegations against Saville. 'Organisations including the police have had individual allegations that have not been put together to actually show that this person may well have shown a pattern of behaviour that's been pretty awful,' he said. He added that the allegations against Savile dated to the 1960s and spanned more than half-a-century. 'You might have thought that people would at least have talked about it and intervened,' he said. 'It does look as if from time-to-time people have been concerned, they've made the start to intervene, but probably then they've relied a little bit too much on his reputation and his word that he did nothing. If you accept all the public accounts of the activity, then it's possibly spanned fifty years, which is a huge amount of time.' The Met's Operation Yewtree is investigating claims from three hundred potential victims dating back decades. It became a full criminal investigation when detectives determined there could be people still alive who were allegedly involved in some of the abuse. Meanwhile, a former senior royal aide has claimed that Jimmy Savile's behaviour when he visited Prince Charles's official home at St James' Palace was 'a cause for concern and suspicion.' Dickie Arbiter, who handled media relations for the Prince and Princess of Wales while spokesman for the Queen between 1988 and 2000, said Savile used to 'rub his lips up' the arms of Prince Charles's young female assistants as a greeting. Savile is understood to have visited Prince Charles's official London residence several times during the late 1980s when he was acting as a kind of marriage counsellor between Charles and Princess Diana. A spokesman for the Prince of Wales confirmed the prince and Savile 'formed a relationship' in the late 1970s after coming together through their work with wheelchair sports charities. Charles led tributes to Savile when he died a year ago. 'He would walk into the office and do the rounds of the young ladies taking their hands and rubbing his lips all the way up their arms if they were wearing short sleeves,' Arbiter said of Savile. 'If it was summer [and their arms were bare] his bottom lip would curl out and he would run it up their arms. This was at St James's Palace. The women were in their mid-to-late twenties doing typing and secretarial work.' Arbiter did not raise his concerns formally and there is no suggestion that Savile committed any crimes while on royal premises or when he was with Prince Charles on numerous occasions from the 1970s onwards. But the alleged concern over his behaviour expressed by a senior aide will raise questions over how Savile managed to develop such a long-standing relationship with the heir to the throne. Asked about Savile's behaviour with the royal assistants or whether Prince Charles had taken any action to find out if anyone in his family or staff might have suffered any abuse or have any information relating to the criminal investigation into Savile's alleged paedophilia, a spokesman for the prince said: 'We have no record of anyone making a complaint.' Which is pretty much exactly what the BBC said when this whole rotten malarkey first reared its ugly head. Will the Daily Scum Mail and the Gruniad Morning Star be calling for a public enquiry and heads to roll at St James's Palace as well as Broadcasting House, one wonders? 'The prince first met Savile through their shared interest in supporting disability charities [the prince became patron of the British Wheelchair Sports Foundation in the late 1970s] and it was primarily because of this connection that they maintained a relationship in the years that followed,' the spokesman said. Arbiter suggested he believed the women might have thought Savile's greeting was 'rather funny,' but he said it was 'a cause for concern' and he struggled to understand why Savile was granted such access to the royal family. Oh yeah. There's a whole hell of a lot of people who are now claiming to have 'had their suspicions' about Savile over a long period of time. And yet no one did anything. Well, what a hero you are, Dickie, me auld China. 'I looked at him as a court jester and told him so,' said Arbiter. 'I remember calling him "an old reprobate" and he said "not so much of the old."' Concern about Savile's behaviour at the palace emerged as Sir Roger Jones, former chairman of the BBC's corporate charity Children In Need, was another person claiming almost clairvoyant powers - in a Derren Brown-style(e) - and that he had been 'so uncomfortable' about Savile that he did not allow him to have any association with the Children In Need cause. Jones, a BBC governor from 1997 to 2002, said he had 'no evidence' that Savile was 'up to anything' but 'we all recognised he was a pretty creepy sort of character. When I was with Children In Need, we took the decision that we didn't want him anywhere near to the charity,' he told the BBC. Prince Charles met Savile on numerous occasions. In 1999 he accepted an invitation to a private meal at Savile's Glencoe home which was this week daubed with graffiti reading 'Jimmy the beast.' Savile asked three local women to dress up in pinafores emblazoned with the letters HRH and Charles subsequently sent the television presenter a Christmas card with the note: 'Jimmy, with affectionate greetings from Charles. Give my love to your ladies in Scotland.' Charles reportedly sent Savile a box of cigars and a pair of gold cufflinks on his eightieth birthday with a note that read: 'Nobody will ever know what you have done for this country Jimmy. This is to go some way in thanking you for that.' Savile used to boast of his royal connections - and his close friendship with prime minister Margaret Thatcher, with whom he spent several Christmases at Chequers, for that matter - being photographed with Charles on numerous occasions and once telling the Daily Scum Mail that the prince was 'the nicest man you will ever meet. Royalty are surrounded by people who don't know how to deal with it,' Savile said in an interview. 'I have a freshness of approach which they obviously find to their liking. I think I get invited because I have a natural, good fun way of going on and we have a laugh. They don't get too many laughs.' The day after the meal in Glencoe, Savile persuaded Charles to join him for a photo opportunity at his local post office where he went to pick up his pension money. 'The post office photo opportunity was definitely [down to Savile],' said Coleen Harris, Prince Charles's press secretary. 'You always think that other people are getting more out of these things [than the prince] but on the whole it is for a good reason, for the charities and it is a positive thing.' She added: 'Personally I always thought he was slightly eccentric, but beyond that I had no idea. He was a slightly odd bloke, but not in a cruel way.' Arbiter added that despite Savile's 'unusual behaviour' with the royal administrative staff there was 'no evidence' of any other cause for suspicion. 'There was a limit to what he could get away with in the royal household,' he said. He also claimed that palace advisers felt the prince's charities might benefit from a connection with Savile, at the time one of the country's most famous TV stars. Perhaps Savile's most unlikely role was that of personal counsel to Prince Charles in the late 1980s at a time when the royal family was in deep trouble. The marriages of Charles and Diana and Prince Andrew and Sarah Ferguson were disintegrating. Around New Year 1990, the Gruniad Morning Star claims that Charles asked Savile to help the Duchess of York with what Savile later said was 'keeping her profile down.' Princess Diana was recorded telling James Gilbey on the so-called 'squidgygate tape': 'Jimmy Savile rang me up yesterday, and he said: "I'm just ringing up, my girl, to tell you that His Nibs [Prince Charles] has asked me to come and help out the redhead [the Duchess of York], and I'm just letting you know, so that you don't find out through her or him; and I hope it's all right by you."'

Is it just yer actual Keith Telly Topping, dear blog reader, or does anybody else get the desire for a sudden cold shower every time Nigella Lawson starts wittering on about her 'moist plums' on Nigellissima?
It may have been Jeremy Paxman's finest hour: the Newsnight edition last week (coinciding partly with the Panorama about his programme) in which he gave his bosses, in the section on the Savile scandal, the same disdainful treatment he normally subjects politicians and other public official (and, sometimes, students on University Challenge) to. And what was his reward from those odious right-wing thug-lice at the Daily Scum Mail? Nothing less than a page-lead article, doubtless instigated, if not written by, tie-fascist Paul Dacre, complaining that Paxo was tieless. Well, spank his very bottom for such a hidious hellish crime. But has the totemic Scum Mail on Sunday columnist Peter Hitchens (also without a neckwear during a recent Newsnight appearance) has been 'internally disciplined' for committing the same example of nefarious and naughty skulduggery and sour and rotten doings.

Viewers could soon watch post-watershed programmes before 9pm under proposals being put forward by commercial cable and satellite broadcasters including BSkyB. Currently peak-time dramas and comedies are not allowed to be shown before the watershed, unless they are cut to remove any swearing, violence and/or sex. However, pay-per-view programmes and content on premium film subscription channels are allowed before the watershed because viewers have to key in a pin code before they can watch them. Broadcasters including Sky, UKTV and MTV have asked the Department for Culture, Media and Sport for regulations to be changed to extend this pin protection system to cover all other shows on cable and satellite channels. It is understood that audiences would have to enter the pin every time they wanted to watch a peak-time show before the watershed, allaying parents' fears that such a move could mean a relaxing of the 9pm boundary on language, taste and decency. This means, for example, that if Sky wanted to put post-watershed US crime drama The Wire on in daytime it could do so without re-editing as viewers would have to punch in their pin code in order to watch it. The proposed overhauling of pin protection rules would not cover adult channels. The system would be on a voluntary basis and the Commercial Broadcasters' Alliance – which is making the proposal – believe it 'will provide more choice for audiences, while offering secure and established protection processes.' COBA has put the plan in its submission to the DCMS for the communications review taking place ahead of a new communications bill, saying: 'To open up new potential ways of making content available, regulations should allow broadcasters on a voluntary basis to choose to make other appropriate forms of linear content available via pin protection.' Such a system is already in place for online catch-up TV services. The COBA executive director, Adam Minns, said: 'The system of pin protection is well established in the UK. It has proven to be effective technically and is something with which audiences are familiar – it is now used on a range of services. At the same time, it provides consumer protection that is arguably more effective than the watershed regime. Extending such a regime to other services could potentially encourage innovative new forms of content delivery.' It is expected that such a move would need a consultation by Ofcom as it would require changes to the media regulator's broadcasting code.

Coverage of the Premier League in the United States will move from FOX to NBC from next season after a two-year deal was signed with the NBC Sports Group. The financial details of the deal were not announced in a Premier League statement which confirmed that NBC would take over the rights to televise all matches. 'The Premier League is pleased to announce that NBC-Universal via the NBC Sports Group has been awarded the live audio visual broadcast rights for all three hundred and eighty Barclays Premier League matches per season for seasons 2013-14 to 2015-16 in the USA,' the statement read. 'The deal brings the Premier League to one of the largest broadcasters in the world; the NBC Sports Group already televises such major sporting events as the NFL, NHL, the Summer and Winter Olympics, MLS, the US Open [golf] and the Ryder Cup.' The Premier League's chief executive, Richard Scudamore, said: 'We are extremely pleased that NBC has chosen to invest in the Premier League and look forward to working with them for many years to come.' NBC's chairman Mark Lazarus said the league was 'on the cusp of exponential popularity growth here in the US.'

Publisher Pearson says it has agreed a deal with German media group Bertelsmann to combine their Penguin and Random House businesses. Under the terms of the deal, the two businesses will be run in a joint venture called Penguin Random House. Bertelsmann will own fifty three per cent of the joint venture, while Pearson will own forty seven per cent. The two firms said last week that they were discussing a deal. A report at the weekend also said News Corporation was planning a bid for Penguin. The Sunday Times reported that News Corp - which owns publisher HarperCollins - was prepared to make 'a substantial cash offer' for Penguin, expected to be about one billion quid. The tie-up between Penguin and Random House marks the first deal between the world's big six publishers. The others are Hachette, HarperCollins, Macmillan and Simon & Schuster. When news of the talks emerged last week, industry observers said that such deals were 'inevitable' as firms sought to adapt to the changing publishing landscape. The rapid take-up of e-books means publishers are now attempting to bolster their negotiating strength, most notably with Amazon.

Cleaners and maintenance workers at the British Museum are on strike in a row over the privatisation of their work. Unions said staff at the Central London museum feared their pay and conditions could be seriously cut if maintenance work is contracted out. The museum said it was consulting with staff. The strike took place on Monday, with plans for more action on Monday next week. The Public and Commercial Services union and UNITE represent about fifty of the museum's cleaning and facilities management staff. They believe senior managers are close to confirming that outsourcing will go ahead, with the new contract starting in April. UNITE regional officer Carolyn Simpson said: 'Without our members carrying out the cleaning and servicing of the buildings and exhibits, the British Museum's standing as a world-class heritage site is in danger of becoming second class. We will not allow these jobs be outsourced without a fight.' PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka added: 'Introducing the profit motive is not only unnecessary, it risks undermining these important services to the public.' A museum spokesperson said that cleaning services could be provided more simply and efficiently by the appointment of one contractor.

The government has said that a skeleton which could be that of Richard III - a horse a horse his kingdom for a, as it happens - will be interred in Leicester if it is confirmed as the Fifteenth Century king. If they're looking for a nice quiet stop, I suggest the penalty area at the King Power Stadium, that seldom sees too many visitors. The bones were found in September by archaeologists digging beneath a car park in Leicester. Leicester, Nottinghamshire and York MPs discussed a permanent grave on Friday. In a written answer, justice minister Helen Grant said the skeleton would be interred at Leicester Cathedral if tests proved it was Richard III. In response to a question posed by Dan Jarvis, Labour MP for Barnsley, Ms Grant wrote: 'My Department issued a licence to exhume human remains which could be those of Richard III. Remains have now been exhumed and archaeologists are currently carrying out tests to determine the identity of the remains. Should they be found to be those of Richard III, the current plan is for them to be reinterred in Leicester Cathedral.' DNA results on the bones are being compared to that of living descendants of Richard's eldest sister, Anne of York. Richard died at the hands of forces of Henry Tulip near Market Bosworth in Leicestershire. His grave, in the church of Greyfriars in Leicester, was lost during centuries of redevelopment. However, the archaeologists from Leicester University have found a skeleton, which is consistent with the known details of King Richard's appearance and death. A university spokesperson said the evidence included signs of a peri-mortem trauma to the skull and a barbed iron arrow head in the area of the spine. Richard is recorded by some sources as having been pulled from his horse and killed with a blow to the head. The skeleton also showed evidence of severe scoliosis - a curvature of the spine - which may have led Shakespeare to portray him as a hunchback king in the play Richard III. Campaigners from both York and Leicester have said the remains, should they prove to be the king, ought to come to them. In the debate, Labour MP John Mann, from Bassetlaw in Nottinghamshire, offered Worksop as a halfway point between the two. Labour's Jon Ashworth, who represents Leicester South, said in response to Grant's written answer: 'This is terrific news and a victory for the campaign. I always strongly argued that Leicester Cathedral was the most suitable final resting place for the remains of Richard III. Fingers crossed it actually is him now!' Joe Ann Ricca, founder and chief executive of The Richard III Foundation, which had argued the skeleton should be interred in York, said she was 'disappointed' at the decision. 'If his remains are really going to be buried in Leicester, we would hope he at least has a traditional Christian service,' she whinged. 'But it's kind of a monstrous act when you know that the former king of England had expressed the desire and a wish to be buried at York Minster.' Hang on, this is Richard III who killed the prince's in The Tower - allegedly - and you're talking about 'monstrous acts', Joe?

Chicago-born singer-songwriter Terry Callier, who collaborated with Massive Attack and Beth Orton, has died at the age of sixty seven. Callier, who began his career at seventeen when he signed to Chess Records, recorded his final CD in 2009. Hidden Conversations was written and produced with Bristol collective Massive Attack. He also worked on Beth Orton's Mercury Prize-nominated CD, Central Reservations and with Paul Weller on 2002's 'Brother To Brother'. Callier died in hospital in Chicago. The news was confirmed by record label Mister Bongo, which worked with him on six CDs between 2001 and 2009. His funeral will take place on 3 November in his home city and a memorial is planned for London. The date is yet to be announced. Many musicians have taken to Twitter to pay tribute to the jazz and soul musician. Orton shared a YouTube video with fans, saying: 'This was one of the best nights of my life. Such a privilege and joy - RIP dear Terry Callier.' Tim Burgess of The Charlatans posted: 'The world has lost another beautiful voice.' David Buttle, founder of Mister Bongo, wrote on the company's website: 'I first worked with Terry when recording him at the Jazz Cafe in Camden, London in the late 1990s. This was a spiritual home for Terry's fans; most nights that he played you could hear a pin drop when he sang and many people passed out, overwhelmed by the light that shone from him.' Callier was born on 24 May 1945. He grew up singing alongside soul singers Jerry Butler, Major Lance and Curtis Mayfield. 'That was a dynamite neighbourhood. All of us were doo-woping at the time in different groups,' Callier wrote on his MySpace page. He released his first single 'Look At Me Now' in 1963. Callier released three jazz-funk CDs in the 1970s - including the extraordinary What Color is Love?, a particular favourite of yer actual Keith Telly Topping - but by the 1980s, he had left music behind after he was granted custody of his only daughter Sundiata, and re-trained as a computer programmer. 'When I got custody of my daughter I had to give up music to raise her properly, she needed me and the music business just didn't seem like a viable option at that point,' Callier said, although he continued to perform. His music career was resurrected in the early 1990s when his Chess/Cadet recordings were re-discovered by acid-jazz fans in the UK. He sang vocals on Massive Attack's single 'Live With Me', which was released in 2006.

Which, I guess, brings us to Keith Telly Topping's 45 of the Day. This one's for Terry, a funk-soul brother of great regard with a voice that could melt hearts.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

I Woke Up And Discovered Everything In My Apartment Had Been Stolen And Replaced With An Exact Replica

Yer actual Russell Davies his very self was a guest on The Graham Norton Show this week, where he discussed his new children's series starting on Monday next week, Wizards vs Aliens. During the interview, the question of future series of Torchwood was raised, to which he answered: 'I loved making it [in the USA], and I would have carried on if circumstances hadn't brought me back to this country, so it's kind of in limbo for me at the moment. I'm not working on it, I'm only working on Wizards vs Aliens - when I get back to work one day, I don't know, it'll be old news to the BBC. It's not officially (cancelled), it's in a nice limbo where it can stew - those shows can come back in ten, twenty years time.'

TV comedy line of the week - if not, of all time - came from the latest episode of Qi when Stephen Fry asked 'who founded the Daily Mail?' and Shappi Khorsandi replied: 'Satan?'
As previously noted, the BBC once again thrashed ITV in the 9pm Monday night drama slot as New Tricks showed no sign of slacking with 7.4 million viewers. In a change from the scheduled episode (due to, ahem, 'recent events in the media') the finale of series nine of the popular crime drama was shown a week earlier than planned and beat ITV's Monroe at a canter. James Nesbitt's colossal flop medical drama reached a new low of 2.7 million viewers and is, currently, sinking faster than a stone. The Paradise and DCI Banks have both, seemingly, found a settled audience; the department store drama was watched by 4.9 million viewers on Tuesday for BBC1 whilst the Stephen Tompkinson whodunnit had a decent 4.7 million audience on Wednesday for ITV.

Overnight ratings took a minor dip for both Strictly Come Dancing and The X Factor on Saturday night but the BBC competition is still comfortably leading its ITV rival. The X Factor's ratings dropped two hundred thousand punters week-on-week to 8.4 million (including ITV+1 viewers), peaking at 9.4 million. There was also a minor dip for Strictly Come Dancing, as it pulled in 9.6 million - a minor drop from last week's 9.9 million. Its peak audience was a massive 10.8 million, also a slight decrease on last week's peak. This is the fourth consecutive week that The X Factor ratings have declined. Perhaps the most interesting figures are the comparison with the equivalent episodes last year; Strictly also won that head-to-head with an overnight average of 10.2 million against The X Factor's 9.9 million. That does seem to suggest that whilst ratings are down across both shows this year, The X Factor has lost a hell of a lot more viewers than Strictly. Merlin was also, slightly, down on last week's audience, being watched by 5.4 million.
Coronation Street's Jack and Vera Duckworth are rumoured to be returning to the cobbles. As ghosts. The couple are reportedly coming back from the dead to appear in a segment for Children In Need. According to the Mirra, seventy one-year-old Bill Tarmey - who played Jack for thirty one years before leaving the series in 2010 - will play The Ghost of Christmas Past in the A Christmas Carol-themed sketch. Liz Dawn, seventy two, who left the Street in 2008 after playing Jack's wife for twenty five years, is expected to return as a fellow spirit. However, her appearance in the charity sketch will be dependent on her health, as she suffers with emphysema. An alleged 'source' allegedly said: 'Getting Bill Tarmey "back from the dead" is a stroke of genius.' The role will be the now-retired actor's first TV appearance in two years. Prior to his departure, he was the second longest serving male actor in Coronation Street history.

The Vicar of Dibley could return as The Bishop of Dibley. Dawn French claimed the bafflingly popular sitcom, which ended in 2007, could be revived bvut only if the Church of England allows the ordination of women bishops. The issue goes before The General Synod next month, with Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams said to be backing the move. So, that, in an of itself, is one very good reason for all church lay-people to be campaigning furiously against such a move. It's for your own good, people. French revealed on ITV’s notorious breakfast TV flop Daybreak that the sitcom set is 'still in storage', and if the show makes a comeback her character, Geraldine, would be promoted.

A new BBC1 series is to explore the issue of sleeping disorders. From parasomniacs who scream the house down and snorers whose trumpeting rattles the window-panes, to insomniacs who bake six hours a night, Goodnight Britain 'lays bare' the strange and hidden secrets of our nation's night-time world. The two-part series - presented by yer actual Sian Williams alongside sleep experts Doctor Kirstie Anderson and Doctor Jason Ellis – ventures into the bedrooms of five of Britain’s most tormented sleepers, discovering an array of conditions. Through the use of night vision cameras, the sleep experts observe the secrets of the patient's sleep problems first hand. But the investigations don't stop there: the five contributors are also subjected to a night at the Goodnight Britain Sleep House, where every toss (steady) and, indeed, turn is monitored using yer actual state of the art equipment whilst they sleep. Only then do the causes of their night-time traumas fully come to light and the experts can begin to devise a treatment plan that just might work. It is estimated that a quarter of the UK population suffer sleeping difficulties of one sort of another - yer actual Keith Telly Topping his very self among 'em - and over ten million prescriptions for sleeping pills were issued in Britain last year alone.
The government should be very reluctant to bring in tough new laws to regulate newspapers following the publication of the Leveson inquiry, the communities secretary, odious lard bucket , wobble bottom(and drag) Eric Pickles (he ate all the pies), has said. Big Jar of Pickles claimed that the press was 'working towards' a way of offering proper recourse for those with legitimate complaints, saying the right of newspapers to expose corruption must be protected. He added that ministers 'must be very careful' about introducing statutory regulation if Lord Justice Leveson recommends a new independent watchdog to monitor the press. His remarks were taken as the clearest view yet of his Conservative cabinet colleagues' attitude to the Leveson inquiry. They came on the very day it was reported that David Cameron his very self was said to have 'urged' Tory cabinet colleagues at a private meeting last Thursday not to say anything which might be taken as pre-empting the government response to the Leveson inquiry due to report next month. Yer man Pickles, it would seem, believed this didn't apply to him. Which is, one could suggest, rather typical of Tories in general. In a lengthy Lords debate last Thursday on press regulation the government spokesman worked hard to be even-handed and did not rule out a form of statutory underpinning as a stop-gap. The right-wing media are already - of course - campaigning furiously to oppose any form of statutory intervention, saying it would represent 'an unacceptable interference' in press freedom. Harriet Harman, the Labour deputy leader, said on the BBC's Andrew Marr Show that there had to be some kind of statutory underpinning. Her view that the press has failed to reform itself are broadly in line with those of the Liberal Democrats. Pickles said: 'I think it is really massively important to ensure we have freedom of press in this country. Some of the characteristics of the British press – it is good at exposing corruption and it is good at going to places where other press wouldn't. I think it was Thomas Jefferson who said that for a free society to operate, then the "river of a free press had to flow without restriction." I think, given that the press are looking towards finding ways, the end result of offering a good way that people who have a legitimate complaint can find recourse, then that is right. We should be very, very, very reluctant to take on legislation. It's a balance and my view is that we should always balance in favour of a free press.' Then he asked if he could have some cake. Allegedly. Lord Black, the peer who represents the views of the newspaper industry, told fellow peers last week that it would be possible to bring in a new, tighter form of self-regulation 'within three months,' but statutory legislation would take three years, and might face a legal challenge. A spokesman for Hacked Off said the newspaper industry could bring in its voluntary reforms now without waiting for the Leveson inquiry if they really believed they were the right reforms to introduce.

Billionaire tyrant Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation, described by Labour MP Tom Watson ('power to the people!') as a 'toxic institution', could find itself publishing his book on phone-hacking as the publisher considers a bid for Penguin. The reported one billion smackers offer from News Corp's publishing arm, HarperCollins, could be put to the board of parent company Pearson as early as Wednesday, The Sunday Times - another News Corp organ - said. Any approach could spark a bidding war, as Pearson is already in talks with Europe's biggest publisher, Bertelsmann, which owns Random House. A deal with Random House would create a publishing house responsible for a quarter of English language books worldwide. A HarperCollins link-up would give the firm a market share of about twenty per cent. Both are likely to face inquiries from the competition commission before a deal is finalised. A number of writers warned that Penguin's reputation would be damaged by a Murdoch takeover. Martin Hickman, co-author of Dial M for Murdoch, published by Penguin, said: 'Penguin have a great reputation. They are a publisher with integrity and a wider social mission, so are not the most nakedly aggressive publisher out there. But with HarperCollins, their virtues would be lost. The idea of News Corp taking over Penguin is nightmarish for our book. I don't think we'd see a paperback edition published by them and certainly not any updated editions. I don't have the same fears with Random House, which I feel have integrity.' Another Penguin author, David Lodge, best known for his campus trilogy, said he was 'fearful' of a takeover by the Murdoch-owned company, although he pointed out that his publishing relationship with Penguin ends soon. He said: 'It would bother me if I was seriously connected with Penguin any longer. I don't view it with any enthusiasm. I think the whole thing is going to reduce chances for authors placing their work if it was to go ahead.' Other authors and agents, who 'declined to be named' for 'fear of future publishing prospects', also told the Gruniad Morning Star they were 'concerned to be associated with the Murdoch brand.' One agent, who represents authors across all three publishing houses, said: 'Authors have told me they are frightened by a Random House takeover, but terrified by a HarperCollins one. HarperCollins are far less author-friendly – they appear to be a monolithic and centralised organisation and, although Murdoch may not be pulling the strings, his mindset is certainly instilled in the company. Penguin is probably the only publisher that still has a gold-plated brand identity. Across the world they are known for paperback publishing and have an excellent reputation. Murdoch could come in and make assurances that he won't interfere, but he said that when he bought The Times newspaper and you only need to look at what happened with Chris Patten's book on China.' In 1998 HarperCollins dropped Lord Patten's East and West under Murdoch's orders over fears it would be critical of China, where News Corp was hoping to expand. The company was later forced to apologise and agree an out-of-court settlement. Another - nameless - Penguin author said: 'This is all to do with Amazon and the big publishers hoping to challenge the website's dominant position. But if Penguin ends up with HarperCollins that would be a terrifying prospect. It could well lead to Murdoch making an approach for the [Pearson-owned] FT.' It is thought discussions with Random House are more likely to succeed and could lead to Penguin's chairman and chief executive, John Makinson, being given a senior role within the new company. The deal would provide Pearson with a clean break from book publishing as the company looks to focus its attentions on its education business, which makes up four-fifths of its turnover. Any deal with HarperCollins would boost News Corp's publishing division ahead of a split in the company between broadcast and print.

A bizarre marital spat reached Twitter over the weekend as the former full of her own importance Tory MP Louise Bagashite Mensch clashed publicly with her American husband over exactly why she resigned from Parliament recently. According to Peter Mensch, better known for managing the hard rock band Metallica than for his in-depth knowledge of British politics, his wife stood down at least partly because she believed she would be ousted as the MP for Corby in 2015. 'She thought - and I wasn't going to argue with her - that she'd get killed at the next election,' he told The Sunday Times. 'So, to her, it seemed much more short-term than my job as a manager, which is going to go on for another twenty years.' Within hours of his comments being published, Mrs Mensch, who now lives in New York, tweeted: 'Can honestly say I had no fear whatsoever of defeat at next election since had already decided not to stand again.' She added: 'Nothing, repeat nothing, influenced decision to resign other than inability to hold family life together away from him.' Ah. Bless. Her husband swiftly - and suspiciously obediently - fell into the party line, tweeting: 'This is why I don't do politics. Stick to music.' Ooo. Significant use of the three-line whip there, Louise? Mensch posted later that her husband was 'apologetic but not a pol [sic], doesn't do "on message" and I love him for it. Thinking of creative ways he can make it up to me.' During her time in parliament, Mensch was a shameless self-publicist who brown-tongued crawling to Rupert Murdoch when part of the Commons Culture Committee won't be forgotten by anyone in a hurry (least of all, one suspects, the voters of Corby). Her departure has left the Conservatives with an uphill struggle to hold on to Corby in the by-election which is taking place on November 15.

Channel Four's commitment to outsiders, strengthened since Jay Hunt's arrival – disabled athletes, Gypsy brides, Mancunian rogues, horseracing fans, Mad Frankie Boyle, et cetera – now even extends to the animals it covers, it would appear. And banishes creatures considered too humdrum for Channel Four's viewers – too BBC or ITV-like, one supposes – from any opportunity to star on the channel. In a thoroughly bizarre interview in Broadcast, David Dugan, the man behind Inside Nature's Giants, alleges that its presenter, Mark Evans, 'is keen to do something on dogs, but dogs are just not a C4 angle.' ('Cheeky, urban' foxes, by contrast, 'suited the C4 brief very well.') Yet only seven months ago, Hunt's channel misguidedly covered Crufts, and so part of its website is still a showcase for these insultingly mainstream pets who blatantly clash with the C4 brand.

A new DVD featuring highlights from yer actual Harry Hill's TV Burp - nowhere near as funny as he used to be - will be released next month. Harry Hill's Cream of TV Burp includes archive footage from the show alongside new exclusive extras. A synopsis for the DVD asks: 'How does Harry find himself on the set of Downton Abbey? Why would boxer Frank Bruno be dressed as a waiter and throwing a trifle in his face? Who invited an alcoholic dog on May The Best House Win, ITV? Ever wondered who would win a fight between 'nervous' and 'knackered'? All will be revealed in the brilliant new Cream Of TV Burp. And if that's not enough there are plenty of hilarious out-takes and unseen footage to tickle your funny bone.' The main feature of the disc has a running time of sixty three minutes, with a further twenty four minutes of extras. The DVD will be released on 26 November.

Guests on Radio 4's The Media Show last week were given a courteous warning that there would be a TV camera in the studio during the live broadcast. This was because David Jordan, the beleaguered head of editorial policy and standards at the Beeb, had opted to do an interview, correcting the reasons he had given in an earlier edition for the infamous decision to pull Newsnight's Jimmy Savile investigation. A cameraman from BBC News had hovered expectantly. But when the guests were all seated, Jordan reportedly 'dashed in with a minute to go,' explaining the cameras had been sent away because 'I want to do a radio interview.' After his grilling, which revealed that the show's presenter, Steve Hewlett, knew about a meeting between Jordan and the Savile report's producer, Meirion Jones – or, Snitchy as he's known around the Beeb, who had then told Jordan that Peter Rippon's blog was inaccurate, two and a half weeks before it was corrected - Jordan, reports claim, 'dashed out with a look of thunder on his face.' Allegedly another, much more public, encounter with Jones swiftly followed.

The scientist and broadcaster Jacob Bronowski is to be honoured with a blue plaque in Hull, marking his ties with the city where he once taught. Doctor Bronowski, who died in 1974, is best remembered for presenting the acclaimed 1973 BBC TV series The Ascent of Man. The plaque will be unveiled on Monday at 29 Hallgate in Cottingham, where he lived between 1934 and 1942 when he was a lecturer at the University of Hull. The unveiling follows a two-year campaign by humanists in Hull. The campaign for a plaque in the city began after diaries discovered by Dr Bronowski's daughter, the academic and broadcaster Professor Lisa Jardine, showed he had lived in Hull. According to the diaries, the academic moved to the city in 1934 to lecture in mathematics at the University College of Hull. Tim Stephenson, secretary of the Hull and East Riding Humanist Group, said Doctor Bronowski was 'a real Renaissance man. He's known as a mathematician and a scientist who was interested in physics and biology, but he was also a poet,' said Stephenson. 'He was a multi-faceted person who was involved in the broad area between the arts, the sciences and the social sciences. He was a really interesting character.' Bronowski, who died aged seventy two, is known to have inspired figures such as Carl Sagan, who went on to make the TV series Cosmos, and David Attenborough, said Stephenson.

Tributes have been paid to the musician Jo Dunne of Fuzzbox who has died aged forty three. Dunne, who rose to fame with the all-girl indie rock group in the mid-1980s, died from cancer at St Mary's Hospice, Birmingham, on Friday night. The band, whose full name was initially We've Got a Fuzzbox and We're Going to Use it, had hits including 'Rules & Regulations', 'Love is the Slug', 'Pink Sunshine' and 'International Rescue'. The Birmingham band, including Dunne on bass guitar and her sister Maggie on keyboards, reformed in 2010. Known for their distinctive videos, the group returned with a cover of the M song 'Pop Muzik'. Fans left messages on Twitter expressing their sadness and memories of Dunne. Miles Hunt, of The Wonder Stuff, said: 'Very sad to hear that Jo Dunne of Fuzzbox passed away last night. Far too young to be moving on. Much love to all of her family and friends.' The band reformed in 2010 after lead singer Vickie Perks was approached by an agent after appearing on BBC2's Never Mind the Buzzcocks.

Yoko Ono was not responsible for splitting up The Beatles, Sir Paul McCartney claims in a new TV interview. And, though it's hardly the first time that Macca - or, indeed, other members of The Beatles - has said this, it's being reported as 'news' by lots of media outlets. 'She certainly didn't break the group up,' the seventy-year-old will be seen telling yer actual Sir David Frost in an interview to be broadcast next month. 'I don't think you can blame her for anything,' he says, claiming John Lennon was 'definitely going to leave.' His remarks challenge a small but very vocal school of thought which holds Lennon's widow entirely responsible for the band's separation in late 1969. Sir Paul's 'revelations' feature in an hour-long interview with Sir David his very self which will be broadcast on the Al Jazeera English TV channel in November. The programme will also see the former Beatle claim that notorious alcoholic wife-beating Scouse junkie Lennon, who died in 1980, would not have written his song 'Imagine' without the conceptual artist's influence. Something which, again, is hardly 'news' Lennon himself sending most of the 1970s saying the same thing. Between bouts of drinking. 'When Yoko came along, part of her attraction was her avant garde side, her view of things,' Sir Paul tells the veteran broadcaster. 'She showed him another way to be, which was very attractive to him. So it was time for John to leave.' According to the Observer, the interview will see Sir Paul muse on losing his mother, Mary, at the age of fourteen and the death of his first wife Linda in 1998. The musician also discusses being a father and a grandfather, which he describes as 'my coolest thing.' Oh, I dunno. It's good, but compared to 'For No One' or 'Penny Lane'? It's certainly cooler than The Frog Chorus, I'll give you that, Mac.

Yer actual Papiss Cissé's deflected injury-time winner gave yer Keith Telly Topping's beloved (though unsellable) Newcastle a barely deserved third Premier League victory of the season against West Bromwich Albinos at yer actual St James' Park on Sunday. Sammy Ameobi's hopeful shot deep into injury time struck the back of an oblivious Cissé and flew past stranded away keeper Ben Foster. It was Cissé's first league goal of the season (although he has, previously, scored in both the Carling Cup and the Europa League). Romelu Lukaku's second-half header looked to have maintained the Albino's fine start to the season, equalising Demba Ba's earlier volley. But Cissé's goal helped The Magpies move into the top half with a first win in five games. It left eighth-placed West Brom still searching for their first away win of the campaign, despite this being their best start to a top-flight season since 1983. Meanwhile Cissé, who scored thirteen goals in his first fourteen Premier League matches last season, will be hoping the lucky break can help him rediscover his goalscoring touch. West Brom manager Steve Clarke watched his attack-minded side succumb to two late goals in the defeat by Sheikh Yer Man City last weekend, but promised that his side would retain their offensive outlook on Tyneside. And they looked more likely to go on and score a second-half winner than their hosts who, after a decent first half, appeared to lack creativity and too often carelessly gave away possession. It had been Newcastle who, after a somewhat sedate start, carved out the first chance of the game when Shola Ameobi flighted a lovely curling cross into the path of strike partner Ba, who planted a diving far-post header wide. But the Senegal striker Ba did manage to grab his seventh goal in nine Premier League games this season shortly before half-time. It came from a 'route one' move, Tim Krul's goal-kick flicked on by Ameobi, and helped on further by Gareth McAuley's wayward header into the path of Ba, who spun smartly to volley past Foster.

Elsewhere The Scum closed the gap at the top of the Premier League to one point after Javier Hernandez's late winner gave them a hotly-contested win over nine-man Moscow Chelski at Torpedo Stamford Bridge. David Luiz's own goal and Robin van Persie's clinical finish gave The Scum a two-goal lead early on, but Moscow Chelski FC fought back superbly to level with goals from Juan Mata and Ramires either side of the interval. A pulsating game then turned on two red cards awarded against Moscow Chelski in the space of six minutes which set the scene for substitute Hernandez to secure the controversial three points for scowling bitter old Scotsman Sir Alex Ferguson's side. Moscow Chelski FC had few complaints about Branislav Ivanovic's red card for fouling Ashley Young as he raced through on goal, but the dismissal of Fernando Torres for diving was bitterly disputed by the home side - and they looked to have a case. The Spaniard appeared to have been caught on his heels by Reds defender Jonny Evans but referee Mark Clattenburg ruled that he had dived and produced a second yellow card, to the obvious astonishment of Torres and the undisguised fury of Moscow Chelski FC. Substitute Hernandez then smuggled in a winner from close range but even that looked like it was converted from an offside position to leave Chelsea manager Roberto di Matteo nursing a burning sense of injustice after the game. Objects were thrown at Hernandez and a steward was injured as The Scum's players celebrated - a sad conclusion to a thrilling game which ended in Moscow Chelski FC's first Premier League defeat of the season. Meanwhile, Luis Suarez took centre stage as Liverpool Alabama Yee-Haws and Everton Toffees shared the points after a pulsating ninety minutes in the two hundred and nineteenth Merseyside derby. The Uruguayan was controversially denied an injury-time winner after Everton had fought back from 2-0 down, but it was an earlier goal celebration which is likely to prove the game's enduring image. Having played a key role in Liverpool's opener with a shot that deflected in off Leighton Baines, Suarez ran to celebrate with a swallow dive in front of Everton manager David Moyes - a reference to claims by the Scot before the game that Suarez often went down too easily. Which, to be fair, he does. Suarez added Liverpool's second with a deft header four minutes later only for Everton to score twice before half-time through Leon Osman and Steven Naismith. The result leaves Everton in fifth and extends Liverpool's unbeaten run to four matches.

Moscow Chelski FC, meanwhile, have made a formal complaint against referee Mark Clattenburg after accusing him of 'using inappropriate language' to two of their players in the defeat by The Scum. Part of the allegation is that Clattenburg used what has been described as 'racial language' according to media reports. 'We have lodged a complaint to the Premier League match delegate,' said a Moscow Chelski FC spokesman. 'The match delegate will pass the complaint to the Football Association.' Referees' organisation Professional Game Match Officials later issued a statement which said: 'PGMO is aware of the allegations and they are being treated with the utmost seriousness. Mark will co-operate fully and welcomes the opportunity for the facts to be established.' All four officials - the referee, his two assistants and the fourth official - wear microphones and ear pieces which allows them to hear what each other is saying throughout the match, although what is said between them is not recorded.

A drunk Zimbabwean man has been caught having sex with a donkey in his back garden. When asked for a comment, the donkey said 'he-haw, he-haw, he-haw'tent to do that.' The twenty eight-year-old man was 'spotted with the animal' by neighbours, who called the police. According to Standard Kenya, when officers confronted the man he insisted that the donkey was 'a prostitute' he had hired for twenty Zimbabwe dollars earlier that evening. He explained that he had taken the 'lady' home, where they had decided to have sex in his backyard before they got into the house. 'I don't know how the prostitute became a donkey,' he said. 'I think I am also a donkey. I do not know what happened when I left the bar, but I was seriously in love with the donkey.' Good defence, making on ass of oneself. The local magistrate has ordered that the man, who was arrested for his actions, be 'examined' by government doctors to assess his mental health.

And so to yer actual Keith Telly Topping's 45 of the Day which, today, is for Jo Dunne.