Thursday, December 06, 2012

Electricity Comes From Other Planets

BBC1's Last Tango in Halifax cemented itself as a ratings hit on Tuesday night, climbing above six million viewers. Episode three of the six-part romantic drama pulled in 6.23m in the 9pm hour. Even higher than November's premiere audience, the series grew seven hundred thousand viewers week-on-week over the second episode, which was shown opposite I'm A Z-List Former Celebrity Desperate To Get My Boat-Race Back On TV ... Please Vote For Me To Stay Here As Long As Possible (I'll Even Eat Worms If You Want). With EastEnders and Holby City performing solidly earlier on, BBC1 towered over ITV, which could only average 3.03m for its Champions League football coverage of The Arse getting a hiding from Olympiakos between 7.30pm and 10pm. MasterChef: The Professionals anchored BBC2's schedule with an impressive 3.2m at 8pm, after which 1.23m watched Dara O'Briain's Science Club and The Sarah Millican Television Programme returned with 1.19m in the 10pm slot. Overall, BBC1 thrashed ITV in primetime with 24.2 per cent of the audience share to 14.1 per cent.

Skins star Will Merrick has landed a guest role on Doctor Who. The nineteen-year-old actor will play a character known as Brains on the BBC's popular long-running SF family drama, according to his client profile with talent agency United Agents. Merrick will appear in the 2013 episode written by Neil Gaiman, which will reintroduce classic villains The Cybermen. Warwick Davis, Jason Watkins and Tamzin Outhwaite will also appear in the episode. Best known for playing Alo in the fifth and sixth series of E4 teen drama Skins, Merrick has also appeared on BBC1 sitcom In With The Flynns and will feature in next year's Richard Curtis movie About Time. Neil Gaiman has revealed that he wants to make The Cybermen 'scary again' with his new episode, which will be directed by Stephen Woolfenden.

Next, psst, wanna see another picture of Matt Smith in the Doctor Who Christmas special, dear blog reader? Of course you do. Stupid question really. And, he's wearing a silly hat as well so, double bonus.
There's only one way to follow that, especially what with the weather than Stately Telly Topping Manor has been witnessing over the last twenty four hours. A picture of a cat in some snow.
And, now we're well and truly done.

In the second-semi final of MasterChef: The Professionals, forager and private chef James Burton just made it into the final three in a tense of exciting cook off against the talented Scottish chef, Ross Marshall. James, from the village of Wall near Hexham, is currently a chef-for-hire. Born in North Yorkshire and educated in Durham, he earned his whites training at Darlington College. After that he spent stints at Corse Lawn House in Cheltenham, Rudding Park Clocktower restaurant in North Yorkshire, and he also worked in Australia for a year, including a few months at Level Forty One in Sydney. Closer to home he has worked at The George at Chollerford, Matfen Hall and The Angel Inn at Corbridge. James applied for the MasterChef show after seeing adverts in the back of the Caterer and Hotelkeeper magazine. Friends had urged him to go for it. A series of interviews followed before he was invited to come along. The series runs for six weeks as professional chefs are tested and pushed to the edge of their gastronomic limits in the hunt 'for the next culinary superstar.' The last of the three semi-finals episodes will be shown on Thursday with Anton Piotrowski and Keri Moss batting for the last place in the final.

Some proper excellent news, now. Yer actual Alan Davies is to return to the drama role which made his acting career, magician's consultant and detective Jonathan Creek after a three-year break, in a BBC1 special which will be broadcast next year. The one-off ninety-minute special, called The Clue Of The Savant's Thumb, will be shown next Easter. Creek's partner Joey Ross, once again played by Sheridan Smith, will also return for the special in a plot involving a secret society, supposedly supernatural events at a girls' boarding school and the disappearance of a body in front of witnesses. 'The new story has more than the usual amount of twists and surprises, and I'm very much looking forward to sleuthing again,' said Davies. 'It's nearly seventeen years since I first auditioned for the part; the duffle coat is always on standby, even if the periods of duffle hibernation are quite long these days.' Jonathan Creek was last on screens in 2010 in a feature-length special - The Judas Tree - also broadcast over the Easter weekend, which attracted an average audience of 6.6 million viewers. The show originally aired between 1997 and 2004 with Caroline Quentin as Davies's original collaborator, the journalist Maddie Magellan. Quentin was replaced by Julia Sawalha (as theatrical agent Carla Borrego) in 2001. Sheridan joined the show when it returned for two specials in 2009 and 2010. The latest outing has once again been written by the show's creator David Renwick, and will be executive produced by Pete Thornton. It is to be produced in-house by the BBC. Jonathan Creek's latest outing was commissioned by BBC1 controller Danny Cohen and Cheryl Taylor, the former controller of comedy commissioning at the BBC. 'A new Creek script from David is always a joy, and this one is especially brilliant,' said Thornton, creative head at BBC in-house comedy. 'With the dream team of Alan Davies and Sheridan Smith back on board, we're looking forward to delivering a really special Easter treat for BBC1 audiences next year.'

ITV has ordered a second edition of The Suspicions of Mr Whicher. A follow-up to the 2011 crime drama will see the total excellent Paddy Considine reprise his role as Jack Whicher - the real-life pioneer who worked in the newly-established Detective Branch of the Metropolitan Police during the Nineteenth Century. 'We're delighted Paddy has agreed to reprise his role as Jack Whicher, the most celebrated detective of his day,' said ITV Drama's Laura Mackie. '[Writer] Neil McKay has taken the character and produced a gripping and compelling story.' The first Suspicions of Mr Whicher was based on the best-selling book by Kate Summerscale, with the author giving her blessing to the new sequel. Hat Trick's Head of Drama Mark Redhead explained: 'After Jack Whicher left the Met, he continued with his vocation as a detective as one of the first so-called "private inquiry agents." This story launches him into that career, and he becomes involved in a disturbing and puzzling murder case which brings him into conflict with powerful figures including his former colleagues in the Metropolitan Police.' The Suspicions of Mr Whicher II will begin filming on 7 January 2013 in Oxfordshire, Bedfordshire and Central London, with Christopher Menaul as director.

Martin Clunes has revealed that he is hoping for a role in Downton Abbey in the future. The Doc Martin actor suggested that he has 'pestered' his friend and Downton creator Lord Snooty for a part in the costume drama on several occasions. 'Julian is my neighbour. He lives just around the corner and I keep lobbying him but he won't,' Martin is quoted as saying in the Sun. 'I might just ride into an episode out of spite. He knows where I am and what my measurements are, so it wouldn't be difficult.' Personally, yer actual Keith Telly Topping is also hoping for a role in the posh drama. He'd like to play a common working class oik who comes to Downton in his JCB and bulldozers the entire gaff to rubble to make way for a through-road. It could work. Clunes, meanwhile, is currently starring as mayor Len in the ITV drama The Town. He said: 'I have thought about running for mayor. I used to tell people I had been asked to be mayor and I even got into a row with a cab driver. He was trying to say there isn't a mayor and I said, "There is now." I was very proud and made my wife laugh when I became the mayor at last.'

Broadcaster Stuart Hall has been charged with three counts of historic indecent assault. The eighty two-year-old from Wilmslow in Cheshire has been charged following complaints to police about a number of alleged incidents in the 1970s and 1980s.

Meanwhile, it had been reported that Max Clifford, one of the UK's leading public relations experts, has been arrested by detectives investigating historic sex offences. The BBC says that Clifford was arrested by Metropolitan Police officers working on Operation Yewtree. Scotland Yard merely said that officers had arrested a man in his sixties 'on suspicion of sexual offences' and had taken him to central London police station. Clifford is one of the most influential figures in British media. Although no one seems to know quite why. He is the the sixth person to be questioned as part of the operation and the fifth to be charged. The Metropolitan Police launched Operation Yewtree to investigate historic allegations of sex offences after revelations that the late Jimmy Savile had abused young people during his broadcasting career. The operation has three strands. One is looking specifically at the actions of Jimmy Savile and the second strand concerns allegations against 'Savile and others.' The separate third strand relates to alleged complaints against other people unconnected to the Jimmy Savile investigations. Scotland Yard said that the man arrested on Thursday morning had been arrested 'as part of this last separate category of the operation.' The report continues that Clifford was arrested at this Surrey home at 07:40 and taken to a Central London police station.

The BBC has announced changes to the way it displays a programme's end credits, following pressure from acting union Equity. It had contacted all the UK's major broadcasters about concerns that credits were being squeezed into small boxes to allow for programme trailers. Last week, Sky announced changes to its end titles to 'allow more space.' The BBC has now pledged to make sure at least one episode per series will feature the show's credits in full. It said it has introduced 'a range of new commitments' in light of Equity's approach, and will now not squeeze the credits for ideally the first or last episode of a drama or comedy series.
The corporation added that while it will 'continue to promote content' during the other episodes it will not do so during broadcasts that pay tribute to people or for productions that 'made special use of credits.' A spokeswoman for the BBC said: 'Our analysis shows that credit squeezes can be effective in helping audiences to find relevant content, both on TV and on other platforms. However, we agree with Equity that we should be careful and sensitive in our use of them, and we have amended our principles with which we plan credit squeezes, restricting them to situations where they are of direct relevance to each programme's audience.' ITV said it has also responded to Equity's concerns, and has 'a consistent style guide' designed so that credits 'are legible onscreen.' The broadcaster confirmed it has written to Equity to say it is willing to discuss the issue with them. Equity's research into the subject indicated that eighty nine per cent of viewers get 'very annoyed' by squeezed credits. The union has campaigned against the practice since 2004, claiming it can damage a performer's future employment prospects. As reported by The Stage website last week, Sky's own research found three-quarters of its viewers believe that credits are important for actors. 'We spoke to our customers, and their suggestions were instrumental in shaping the changes that we have made to end credits on all our channels,' said Sophie Turner Laing, managing director of entertainment, news and broadcast operations at Sky. Sky's survey also found that seventy seven per cent of those who expressed a preference are interested in finding out which actors were in the programme they have watched, with forty four per cent saying they want to know who has directed a show. Equity has said it hopes other broadcasters 'will follow suit.'

Michael Palin this week dismissed in court claims that the producer of the film Monty Python And The Holy Grail was owed money from the spin-off musical Spamalot. Mark Forstater, who produced the movie, is currently suing for an estimated three hundred grand from the monies made from the musical, arguing that for the purposes of the royalties he should be treated as the 'seventh Python.' Palin, giving evidence at London's High Court, told the court that 'no one' would have been seen as the 'seventh Python.' Tragically, he didn't say 'he's not the seventh Python, he's a very naughty boy.' Though, it would have been pure dead funny if he had. According to the Torygraph, Palin said: 'It might have been what he was seeking but it was never going to be accepted by The Pythons. The idea of a seventh Python, it just doesn't happen. It's never been like that. I don't think there was ever any question that this man was a seventh Python. He might have asked to be considered as a seventh Python but I don't think it had come up in our discussions.' His fellow Pythons, Idle and Jones watched from the court room, as Palin stated that they all understood that any 'added value' from the cult movie would go to the Pythons rather than the producer. Palin also replied to a question about whether John Cleese had been 'semi-detatched' from the film by saying: 'He was working on his own series, probably Fawlty Towers. I wouldn't say he was detached but John had strong views of his own and was expressing that.' The court was told that Forstater saw himself as the 'co-creator' of the Holy Grail film, a suggestion which Palin trashed in court. The actor, comedian and broadcaster said: 'He wasn't the creator of the film. The film had been created by the Python team entirely. Mark came on board as the producer. Mark was not part of our team.' Forstater, sixty nine, claims that he is entitled to one seventh of the revenue from any spin-offs and merchandising from the film, however the Pythons say it should only be one fourteenth. Palin said he had 'no memory' of any such agreement. The musical Spamalot is described on posters as: 'Lovingly ripped-off from the motion picture Monty Python And The Holy Grail,' gaining success in the West End and on Broadway. The case continues. Rumours that a ducking stool and the Holy hand-grenade of Antioch are to be used to decide the case cannot, at this time, be confirmed or denied.

Sharon Horgan is to host a new Channel Four documentary series looking at marriage. The comic writer and actress will get the low down on six genuine couples in the two-part Secrets Of A Good Marriage, which will be broadcast early in the New Year. She said: 'Everyone knows what they want from a wedding – drunk by noon, quick go on a bridesmaid, chocolate fountain – but what do we want from a marriage?' The couples include tantric sex teachers, a husband with a low libido who lets his wife find other lovers online, a couple with a thirty two-year age gap who met when he was eighteen and she was fifty, an alpha female with a househusband, a couple who 'eliminated feminism' to have a very old-fashioned relationship and two identical twin women who live in the same house with both of their husbands. Horgan, who created the sitcoms Pulling and Dead Boss, is married herself – to advertising executive Jeremy Rainbird.
National newspaper editors - or, scum as they're otherwise know - have signed up to implement all Lord Justice Leveson's non-statutory recommendations at a breakfast summit in Central London this week, with those present effectively agreeing to kill off the Hunt-Black plan as a template for reform. They're doing this, of course, because they're shit scared that a future government with slightly more backbone than the present lot might do what Leveson suggests and make them all criminally liable for the utter bollocks they write. The editor of every significant Fleet Street title signed up to forty of Leveson's first forty seven recommendations – paving the way for the creation of an independent regulator with powers to levy fines of up to one million notes and operating a low-cost tribunal system to handle libel and privacy claims. All sensible suggestions, of course and, indeed, one rather wonders why if they're so obviously workable why newspapers hadn't suggested this sort of system years ago. Oh yes, because they're disgraceful, shameful lice and scum, sorry I forgot for a second there. The editors did not sign up to seven recommendations which proposed a role for Ofcom or some other statutory body in auditing the work of the regulator, agreeing to wait to see what non-statutory proposals Downing Street would have to offer in the coming days. There were, reportedly, bacon rolls and granola with yoghurt on the table at the meeting at a restaurant in Central London. This is according to the Gruniad Morning Star, mind, so it's probably a load of lies. It was chaired by the editor of The Times, James Harding. Those attending included odious right-wing louse-bag Paul Dacre, the Daily Scum Mail editor-in-chief, who was absent from Tuesday's editors' meeting at No 10. Dawn Neesom, the editor of the Daily Lies, was one of only two women around the table – she had been represented at Downing Street by her publisher's editorial director the day before. Lord Hunt, the chairman of the Press Complaints Commission, will continue his work in setting up the new regulator and liaising with politicians. But it is understood that he will be asked to work to the Leveson proposals agreed by the editors, rather than the old Hunt-Black framework. Hunt will no longer appoint the chair of the appointments panel which will chose the chair and board of the new regulator. Editors also agreed to wait for Oliver Letwin, David Cameron's policy-fixer, to 'come back with proposals' on how to toughen and support the planned new regulator without recourse to statute. However, it was unclear what would happen if newspapers deemed the Letwin plan to be unattractive. I guess we'll burn that bridge when we come to it. On Tuesday, at a meeting briefly attended by the prime minister at Downing Street, Letwin told the editors that he would introduce proposals for a non-statutory 'verification body' which would take on the role Leveson proposed for Ofcom in certifying the work of the revamped press watchdog. He also said that he would introduce incentives which allowed judges to favour publications signed up to the body, and ensure that the proposed tribunal had the status of a court. Other newspaper editors present included specky little Communist Alan Runtbudgie from the Gruniad Morning Star, Dominic Mohan from the Sun, Tony Gallagher from the Daily Torygraph, Lloyd Embley from the Mirra, Lionel Barber from the Financial Times and Sarah Sands from the Evening Standard. Fraser Nelson from the Spectator was also present. Offering his own summary on Twitter, Andrew Neil, the former Sunday Times editor, BBC presenter and chairman of the Spectator, said: 'Editors meet. Hunt-Black dead. Leveson principles accepted in entirety. Issue of who verifies remains unresolved, if not statute.' So you see, gentlemen, you can play nice if you've got your arm forced up your back.

David Cameron's former communications director (and chum) Andy Coulson, and the ex-News International chief executive and well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Rebekah Brooks have both appeared at the Old Bailey on charges of making extremely illegal payments to public officials. The pair appeared for a preliminary hearing on Thursday morning alongside the former Scum of the World royal correspondent Clive Goodman, the veteran Sun journalist John Kay and a Ministry of Defence official, Bettina Jordan-Barber. Mr Justice Fulford ended the fifteen-minute hearing by ordering them to return to Southwark crown court for a plea and case management hearing on 8 March. Well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Brooks, Kay and Jordan-Barber face charges of conspiracy to pay approximately one hundred thousand smackers for information which formed the basis of several news stories between 2004 and 2011. Coulson and Goodman face two charges of conspiring to pay public officials for information, including a Buckingham Palace phone directory, known as The Green Book, which contained contact details for members of the royal family. The five did not speak or sit in the dock for the short hearing in court one at the Old Bailey.

Yer actual Stephen Fry, Sir Derek Jacobi, Rob Brydon and Olivia Colman will appear in the second series of This Is Jinsy. The surreal (and, it should be noted, not particularly funny) comedy series - created by Chris Bran and Justin Chubb - will return to Sky Atlantic in summer 2013. The series two premiere will see Maven (Chubb) and Sporall (Bran) joined by a host of new characters, including tweedy professor Doctor Bevelspepp (Fry) and the sinister Jennitta Bishard (Greg Davies). Later episodes will introduce flamboyant psychic Madame Astralina (Katy Brand) and school-mistress Miss Penny (Dame Eileen Atkins). Ben Miller will play the dual role of the Chief Accountant of Jinsy and his buck-toothed accountant daughter Berpetta. Additional cast additions include Sir Derek Jacobi as Jinsy's eldest resident Robune Barnatty, Stephen Mangan as Mister Lovely - owner of Misterr Lovely's Lovely Jumper Shop, Rob Brydon as 'singing sensation' Rex Camalbeeter, Phil Davis as Roley Jenkins and Olivia Colman as his wife Joan. The first series of This Is Jinsy aired in late 2011 and was nominated for a British Comedy Award in December. Although quite how anyone knew whether it was worthy of this since it had an audience of about four is, at this time, unknown.

The Eurovision Song Contest organisers have called reports that Greece and Cyprus will pull out of 2013's event 'premature.' It has been suggested the countries have taken the decision because of the expense of winning and hosting the competition the following year. Poland, which pulled out this year, will not compete in 2013 and Portugal have followed suit. But organisers said they anticipate 'the usual number' of countries when Sweden hosts the event in Malmo in May. The 2012 contest, held in Baku, Azerbaijan, hosted forty two countries. Sietse Bakker, Eurovision's event supervisor said that any news about the countries taking part in 2013 is 'speculative' until the official list is released in January, but that they expect 'between thirty eight and forty two countries' to be represented. 'Countries come and go every year and the current trend is not unusual,' said Bakker. 'We are well aware of the fact that public broadcasters in Europe feel the consequences of the economic situation we face these days. This is why the [European Broadcasting Union] has made funding of public broadcasters in these difficult economic times a priority issue.' Portugal has entered every year since 1964 and relative newcomers Poland first sent an act in 1994. Greece first entered the competition in 1974, and Cyprus joined seven years later. Last week, the Gruniad reported a Greek government spokesman as saying: 'Public television ought not to participate in this year's Eurovision contest in correspondence with overwhelming public sentiment. It is very unlikely that Greece will take part.' Portugal's withdrawal from next year's competition, Bakker said, was due to ratings and programme budgets, rather than its inability to host the event if its act won. Bakker said the number of broadcasters that share the cost of organising and staging the event enables them to keep it 'affordable.' Organisers would step in if a winning country was unable to host the event, she said. 'We of course have, as ever, contingency plans in case a winning country could not afford to pay for their share in organising the contest, and continuously look into ways to make hosting the contest more affordable.' Organisers have had to intervene in the past. When Israel won for the second year in a row in 1979, the organisers allowed other countries to bid to host the event. The practice was more common in the 1960s and 1970s when the BBC took over the reins on four occasions. Several countries had to pull out of the Eurovision in 2010 because they could not afford to take part. Hungary, Andorra, the Czech Republic and Montenegro all withdrew from the contest in Norway's capital Oslo. And, there was the infamous occasion when the Italian entry, 'I Can't Get No Contraception' was withdrawn after the Pope advised them to pull it out at the last minute. As it were. And, if you're thinking of giving nul points for that joke, dear blog reader, don't blame yer actual Keith Telly Topping, it was like that when I kicked it.

The BBC has said that the Antiques Roadshow play-along game which was launched on the Red Button in September has proved a big hit with fans of the long-running Sunday evening programme. The corporation said that after just nine weeks, the game - involving viewers guessing the valuation of antiques and items on the show - has been played by more than one and a half million unique users. Following the successful release on the Red Button, a companion app for smartphones will launch next year, the BBC confirmed. Launched to coincide with the latest series of Antiques Roadshow, the game was the BBC's first ever public launch of a 'companion screen experience.' Viewers simply press the red button on their remote while watching the BBC1 show to access the companion service. They then choose from four value ranges for each antique or item. The valuation is against the clock, before the answer is revealed on TV. At the end of each episode, they are given a final score and can find out how they ranked against 'novice', 'enthusiast', 'connoisseur', or 'expert' level (a seventy five per cent accuracy rating or higher). The game also offers more information about the featured antiques and historical stories mentioned. The BBC said that the play-along service has proved 'especially popular with older viewers', with over-fifty fives accounting for sixty two per cent of users, despite making up just less than half of the overall viewing audience. Antiques Roadshow series editor Simon Shaw said that he was 'delighted' that the game had proved a hit with viewers. 'It seems a very natural development to the informal guessing games people have been playing since the programme first began thirty five years ago,' he said.

Pioneering jazz pianist and composer Dave Brubeck has died, aged ninety one. The musician, whose recordings included 'Take Five' and 'Blue Rondo a la Turk', was once designated a 'living legend' by the US Library of Congress. He died on Wednesday morning in hospital in Connecticut, his manager Russell Gloyd told the Chicago Tribune newspaper. The musician, who toured with the likes of Duke Ellington and Ella Fitzgerald would have turned ninety two on Thursday. Gloyd said Brubeck died of heart failure after being stricken while on his way to a cardiology appointment with his son, Darius. Neil Portnow from The Recording Academy called Brubeck 'an iconic jazz and classical pianist' and 'a great legend.' He said the musician 'showed that jazz could be artistically challenging yet accessible to large audiences.' Brubeck enjoyed phenomenal success with his Dave Brubeck Quartet in the 1950s and '60s, selling millions of LPs. Their 1959 work, Time Out, was significant for its use of uncommon, complex time signatures - influenced by the pianist's classical training. The record spawned 'Take Five', the biggest-selling jazz single of all time - and used as the theme tune to several TV programmes throughout the years, including Channel Four's The Secret Life of Machines and NBC's Today programme. It was, however, the one tune on the LP not written by Brubeck himself, having been composed by his long-time alto-saxophonist Paul Desmond. The song was a staple of the band's live set for the rest of their careers, with each musician leaving the stage one at a time after their respective solos, until only drummer Joe Morello was left. Although Brubeck disbanded the quartet in 1967 to enable him to concentrate on composing, they reconvened regularly until Desmond's death in 1977. The musician had several other touring bands over the years, and three of his five sons would regularly join him in concert in the 1970s. Born in California, Brubeck's mother was a keen pianist, and the musician later joked that he had been introduced to the instrument while still in the womb. She was his tutor in his formative years, during which time the family moved to a cattle ranch in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountains. He worked alongside his father, describing himself as 'a cowboy,' and originally intended to become a vet, before weekend jobs playing piano in local nightclubs convinced him to study music. A future cover star of Time Magazine, it was his teacher, the French composer Darius Milhaud, who encouraged him to turn to jazz. He went on to compose some two hundred and fifty jazz pieces. He also wrote music for ballet (Points of Jazz), orchestral works (Elementals), oratorios (The Light in the Wilderness) and other sacred music. His jazz opera Cannery Row Suite premiered in Monterey, California in 2006, and he co-wrote a new orchestral work Ansel Adams: America - which saluted the celebrated artist - in 2009. Famed for his experiments with harmonies, Brubeck is considered one of the most influential composers in modern jazz, helping to expand the horizons of the genre. He also proved to be an influence on musicians outside the jazz sphere. Billy Joel once said that what The Beatles' seminal Sergeant Pepper LP was to most other rock musicians, Take Five was to him. In France, Brubeck was made an Officer of the Order of Arts and Letters in 1990. His home country gave him the National Medal of Arts in 1994, and two years later he was awarded a Grammy for lifetime achievement. Brubeck continued to compose, play and record in his later years. His final release was the 2007 solo piano CD Indian Summer. 'When you start out with goals - mine were to play polytonally and polyrhythmically - you never exhaust that,' he told The Associated Press in 1995. 'I started doing that in the 1940s. It's still a challenge to discover what can be done with just those two elements.' The musician is survived by his wife, Iola, four sons and a daughter and his grandchildren.

German electro pioneers Kraftwerk are to play eight shows at Tate Modern's Turbine Hall in February. Kraftwerk: The Catalogue will see the group play each of their more famous studio LPs in full - one every night, in order of release. The Tate described the shows as 'a chronological exploration of the group's sonic and visual experiments' and promised 'spectacular 3D effects.' It will be the band's first London dates since 2004. The retrospective set was first performed at New York's Museum of Modern Art earlier this year. Beginning with their breakthrough fourth LP, 1974's Autobahn, the quartet will also perform Radio-Activity (1975), Trans Europe Express (1977), The Man-Machine (1978), Computer World (1981), Techno Pop (1986), The Mix (1991) and Tour De France (2003), along with additional compositions from their back catalogue. 'As a former power station, Tate Modern's Turbine Hall is an ideal venue for Kraftwerk's explorations of technology, energy and rhythm,' said gallery director Chris Dercon. 'Bringing together music, video and performance, these events will be true gesamtkunstwerk - a total work of art.' Kraftwerk were at the forefront of synthesiser pop and had a massive influence on hip-hop, electronica and dance music in the late 1970s and beyond. Their most successful UK chart hits were 'Autobahn' which peaked at number eleven in 1975 and 'The Model' which reached number one in 1981. Tickets for the shows, which run from 6to 14 February, will cost sixty smackers. Cheap at double the price. Yer actual Keith Telly Topping would love to be there, dear blog reader, but he's in the middle of a double-dip recession so he'll just wait till footage emerges on the Internet.

Which, of course, brings us to yer actual Keith Telly Topping's 45 of the Day. He's one that Ralf and his chums will be playing sometime around 11 February or thereabouts.