Friday, December 21, 2012

You Should Know Better, Now You Have Been Warned And Don't Forget You Saw It Here First

Still no sign of The Apocalypse, then, dear blog reader? Well, whilst we wait here's yer actual Keith Telly Topping's final ever From The North blog update. Unless, of course, something doesn't happen between now and midnight. In which case, it's business as usual tomorrow.

There's a major interview with yer actual Jenna-Louise Coleman her very self in the Daily Torygraph this week. Which is rather a good read. And that, in and of itself is rather unusual because, normally, the only thing worth reading in the Torygraph are stories about the latest MP to try fiddling their expenses.
Doctor Who showrunner and chief supremo-type boss-chap The Lord Thy God Steven Moffat (Thou Shalt Worship No Other Gods Before He) has promised fans that the show will 'dominate TV' next year – but, of course, he refused to give away any plans for the upcoming fiftieth anniversary series. Speaking ahead of the forthcoming festive episode - The Snowmen - which is due to be screened on Christmas Day, Moffat hinted that there would be 'a few surprises' in store for viewers when the show returns in the spring. 'They are immense, they are considerable,' he said of the upcoming episodes. 'They will be full of tremendous surprises. But they wouldn't be surprises if I told you them now, would they? But I promise you, we're going to take over television, trust me.' The Christmas episode of Doctor Who will see yer actual Matt Smith battling against evil snowmen in Victorian London, as you do, with Richard E Grant co-starring as the evil Doctor Simeon. It will also mark the official début of Jenna-Louise Coleman as the Doctor’s latest companion Clara Oswin. Images released earlier this week show the pair sharing a Christmas kiss. Which got lots of mouthy twerps very animated and discombobulated about how this sort of thing is not right and not proper. Or something. Oh, grow the fuck up, will you all? Anyway, the actress, who has taken over from previous assistant Karen Gillan, made a surprise appearance in Asylum Of The Daleks, the opening episode of the most recent series. On that occasion she played a character called Oswin Oswald – but although Moffat revealed that there is a connection with Clara, he did not elaborate further. 'You are going to get the answer but as ever on Doctor Who we are going to make you wait a little bit longer,' he said. Oooo, you little tinker, Moffster.

And, in today's ludicrous tabloid Doctor Who-related non, story, the Mirra claims that The Lord Thy God Steven Moffat has 'written off' Star Trek legend William Shatner's chances of playing The Master, joking that incumbent actor John Simm 'would beat him up.' Which is quite likely since John Simm is forty years younger than The Shat and, also, a good actor. Not something that Bill Shatner's too often been accused of. A legend, certainly. Funny, certainly. But, acting ...? Nah, not so much. Reacting to Matt Smith's reported (albeit, throwaway) comments to news agency Getty that the Doctor Who production family would 'love' to have the eighty one-year-old 'SF God' on the show (even if the former mayor of Ilfracombe wouldn't), Moffat noted that he, personally, was not convinced. He said: 'William Shatner being The Master would be too confusing wouldn't it? He's Captain Kirk! It's already confusing that there are now two Captain Kirks. But if I was considering it, I wouldn't tell you. I love William Shatner but John Simm is The Master. John Simm would beat him up if he thought he was going to take that part.'

And speaking of yer man John Simm, the Life On Mars, Doctor Who and Mad Dogs star is currently filming a new BBC1 drama, The Village penned by Peter Moffatt writer behind the hit series Silk. The drama will follow the residents of one English village across the Twentieth Century and their turbulent lives. Simm will appear alongside Silk actress Maxine Peake as working parents struggling to provide for their children. The Bolton actress also recently performed vocals with band Eccentric Research Council in Preston as part of a project about the legend of the Pendle Witch Trials.

Suzi Perry her very self will present the BBC's Formula 1 coverage from the start of next season, replacing Jake Humphrey. Yer actual Keith Telly Topping has, as a consequence of this news, acquired The Horn. I'm just sayin' ... The divine Ms Perry, a fine-lookin' forty two, previously presented the BBC's MotoGP coverage for ten years, as well as reporting on other sports. She is, in addition, really hot. I mean, steaming. 'Motorsport is my life and I've really missed being away from the grid,' said Suzi. 'I am so excited to be joining the BBC. Working alongside such an eminent team and the F1 world is a huge honour and I can't wait to get started.' The BBC also confirmed that the British, Belgian, Italian and Brazilian Grands Prix are among ten races which will be shown live on terrestrial television. Most of the good ones in other words, although, one of the best - the Monaco Grand Prix - will not be shown live on the BBC. There will be extended television highlights of the action from Monte Carlo and the other nine races which are not part of the BBC's live coverage. All twenty races will be broadcast live on BBC Radio 5Live or 5Live Sports Xtra, with live text commentary on the BBC Sport website. Or, you could just watch them on Sky when the BBC haven't got a race like everyone else. The BBC extended its agreement to show Formula 1 though to 2018 in July 2011, sharing rights to the sport with Sky Sports where previously it had been the exclusive UK broadcaster. Beyond her experience in sport, Perry has presented television programmes across entertainment, technology and travel, most notably developing a cult following among techno-geeks on The Gadget Show on Channel Five since 2003. 'She'll bring real energy and years of experience to one of the biggest jobs in sports broadcasting,' said BBC Head of F1 Ben Gallop. 'Her presenting ability, coupled with her love and knowledge of motorsport, make her an excellent addition. I'd also like to take this opportunity to thank Jake Humphrey for his enormous contribution to the coverage over the last four years and we all wish him the best for the future.' Humphrey, who presented the BBC's Formula 1 coverage from the start of 2009, announced in September that he would leave at the end of the 2012 season to front BT Vision's Premier League football coverage. The rest of the BBC's presentation team for 2013 'will be confirmed in due course,' according to the corporation.

The Young Apprentice finale won BBC1 a series high of 3.84m viewers in the 8pm hour on Thursday evening, despite clashing with Emmerdale and Coronation Street. Michael McIntyre's Comedy Roadshow topped the 9pm hour for BBC1 but only with 4.3m punters for a new edition, while a celebrity instalment of Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? had 3.84m watching on ITV. Over on BBC2, 1.62m tuned in for the, dreadful, film Last Chance Harvey, while George Clarke's Amazing Spaces was Channel Four's most-watched broadcast with 1.32m at 8pm, and World's Strongest Man took seven hundred and forty five thousand for Channel Five. Overall, BBC1 edged ITV in primetime with 21.6 per cent of the audience share versus 21.1 per cent.

Children's television programmes will be broadcast on BBC1 for the last time on Friday. Shows including Blue Peter and Horrible Histories will now go out on the CBBC digital channel. The Cbeebies strand on BBC2 in the mornings will end on 4 January, with pre-school programming then available on the Cbeebies channel. The changes are part of BBC-wide cost-cutting but investment in children's programming will remain the same. The final strand of CBBC on BBC1 will go out on Friday afternoon, featuring a Blue Peter Christmas special and the annual CBeebies Panto. The decision to end children's programming on terrestrial channels was agreed by the BBC Trust in March, as the BBC looked ahead to the digital switchover. All analogue transmitters have now been switched off, which means all television broadcasts are digital, and viewers should be able to receive Freeview channels such as CBBC and Cbeebies. And because of the way young audiences now consume television, there is unlikely to be a drop in viewing figures. 'Children's programmes are absolutely fundamental to the BBC and that is why we have protected investment in them in the light of cuts elsewhere,' said the BBC Trust. 'Only a very small percentage of children still solely watch these programmes on BBC1 and BBC2 alone, so moving them to digital channels is merely following current viewing patterns and reflects the fact that CBeebies and CBBC will be universally available on digital TV.'

Simon Amstell has ruled out making a third series of Grandma's House. Speaking to BBC Radio 1, the (alleged) comedian and actor said it would be 'wrong' to carry on with the BBC2 sitcom. And, a nation celebrated.

Sir Ian McKellan his very self has revealed that walking Coronation Street's cobbles has been a greater thrill than treading the West End's boards. 'I'm a huge fan of the show,' he told the - never knowingly homophobic, oh no, very hot water - Daily Scum Mail. 'I think over the years the standard of writing and acting have been remarkably high,' he said of ITV's longest running drama serial. The paper note his 'greatest thrill' came in 2005 when Granada signed him up to appear in ten episodes of Coronation Street. 'When I walked back stage at Granada in Manchester and saw one of the characters coming toward me, I was in a panic,' he is quoted as saying, adding: 'It was very alarming. I felt the same way people feel when they see famous actors.' McKellen played conman Mel Hutchwright who posed as an author to get freebies off the Street's residents. 'Going into the Rovers Return and seeing people who have been in that show for forty or fifty years and being welcomed by them was quite a thrill. I was there as a fan but also had to keep in character. I had a wonderful time. I didn't feel I was slumming it. In fact, I'd do it again.' McKellen added.
The two-part BBC4 drama Spies of Warsaw - starring yer actual national heartthrob David Tennant - starts on Wednesday 9 January at 9pm. Set in 1937, it features Tennant as Colonel Jean-Francois Mercier, the French military attaché in Warsaw. With Hitler's shadow looming over mainland Europe, Mercier is grossly suspicious of the German military's intentions, but must juggle his formal duties at stifling diplomatic functions with the often death-defying realities of espionage. The drama also stars Torchwood's Burn Gorman as French bureaucrat Jourdain.

Meanwhile, former Time Lord Tennant shared the stage with DJ Christian O'Connell when he played the Virgin Mary in 'an alternative take' on the nativity story. The actor, was joined by former Arsenal footballer, Channel Five presenting fiasco and rank gobshite Ian Wright and singer Newton Faulkner (no, me neither) for the performance on O'Connell's Absolute Radio show. The DJ played Joseph, with Wright starring as a dinosaur midwife, in the performance. The three wise men, meanwhile, were played by a trio of David's fans who won a competition to co-star with him. Though, they were probably expecting to get a gig in something considerably better than this nonsense. Next year will see Tennant team up with another former Doctor Who star when he appears in the much-anticipated ITV crime drama Broadchurch with Arthur Darvill. Arthur will play a priest while David plays a detective investigating a murder in a small seaside town. The drama will also feature Olivia Colman and Vicky McClure.
While most celebrities like to indulge in an expensive bottles of champagne over the festive period, national treasure Stephen Fry will actively avoid the bubbly - for fear that it could kill him. As Qi viewers may recall, champagne triggers Stephen's asthma and can induce a potentially life-threatening attack. 'Christmas parties are generally a lot of fun but I have to make sure that I avoid champagne because it triggers my asthma symptoms,' he said. 'People don't always realise that there are all sorts of different triggers for asthma, including plenty of things that are in abundance during the festive season. Champagne can leave a lot of people feeling poorly the next day but for me it is far more serious because it could trigger a potentially fatal asthma attack.' He made the comments as the charity Asthma UK says two hundred people will be admitted to hospital on Christmas Day alone because of their asthma. It has released some festive tips for the UK's 5.4 million asthma sufferers, such as avoiding dusty decorations and steering clear of scented candles, perfumes and smoky environments. Sufferers should prioritise and plan their time well and in advance to avoid 'unnecessary stress' which can also be a trigger for symptoms. Although, given that Christmas is a period in which just about everybody drowns in unnecessary stress, that's a bit like telling someone with agoraphobia that they should be getting out a bit more. Cold weather can also bring on symptoms (err ... it's December so, you know, ditto) so people should 'wrap up warm,' a spokeswoman said. Because, of course, if she hadn't said that they were going to go out in the snow in their underwear for a laugh, weren't they? Jesus, has everybody taken The Stupid Pill today, or what?

Merlin's Katie McGrath has said that she would like to 'play a villain in the upcoming Star Wars sequels.' As indeed would most actors, I'm betting. And, most of them aren't likely to get such a gig either. Trying learning to walk before you run eh, sweetheart, you've been in one - moderately successful - TV series for five years, you're not Meryl Streep.

The Top Gear production team was, reportedly, forced to make a last-minute cut to one of their Christmas DVDs to remove a reference to alleged naughty old scallywag and rascal Jimmy Savile. Hosts yer man Jezza Clarkson and yer actual James May, made 'a light-hearted' reference to the DJ in a scene filmed several months before he was - allegedly - exposed as a disgusting child abuser. Editors had to 'act fast' to remove the reference ti Savile before the DVD hit shops earlier this month. Clarkson his very self 'admitted' that the reference on the DVD, The Worst Car In The History Of The World, had been made as he and May discussed Savile’s favourite car. He told Radio 2's Chris Evans: 'We made a joke about a Rolls-Royce Corniche that had to be edited out. There was somebody back then whose name was acceptable but isn't any more.' Evans replied: 'We get the idea, I don't think you need to go any further.' A BBC Worldwide spokesman said: 'In light of recent events we removed a one-second reference to Jimmy Savile from the new Top Gear DVD, The Worst Car In The History Of The World.' They then added: 'The DVD is available from all good video stores (and some bad ones). Please buy one, several or lots. Top Gear's merchandising helps to play for BBC4, Radio 3 and 6Music and quite a bit besides. It's also a really good Christmas present to buy for someone you don't like, particularly if they are readers of either the Gruniad Morning Star or the Daily Scum Mail. Go on, you know you want to.' Allegedly. The Daily Lies claim that Jezza also 'revealed' Top Gear's Christmas special, filmed in Africa, was 'still being edited' and may not be screened until February.

Meanwhile, Jezza's oppo, Cap'n Slow his very self has claimed that he doesn't consider himself 'a celebrity' and has ruled out ever appearing on a reality show like Strictly Come Dancing. May, who is hosting a special episode of James May's Toy Stories over Christmas, said that losing his testicles would be preferable to appearing on the BBC dance show. 'I'm not interested in being a celebrity. I'm not sure I am anyway. I'm just a TV presenter,' yer man May said. 'I couldn't give a pig's arse about that sort of celebrity stuff. I think I was actually asked to take part in Strictly one year, but I'd rather castrate myself if I'm telling the truth and I might as well if I did it.' The new Toy Stories features the presenter attempting to fly a toy glider twenty two miles across the channel to France and James is open about the fact that the project did bring him to tears. 'I'm very pleased with it all and I find it strangely moving. I tried not to get emotional because it will spoil my reputation, but I loved it,' he said. 'It's something I'd thought about since I was a kid and also because it is actually quite a small plane - it's a big model, but a tiny plane - it looks beautiful. It's so stunning and heroic to see this humble thing made out of wood, achieving something so great. There's no reason it shouldn't, it's a toy plane, it's what they do, but it just looks stunning. It is genuine joy on my part. We were very short of time on this project and my emotions are all real. We had to deal with wind and pissing rain, we couldn't wait to shoot on another day. It all worked and we basically reverted to twelve-year-olds.' James also stressed that the project wasn't an attempt to complain about modern toys and technology available to entertain kids. 'I think everything is better today. I think we always forget that the old days were awful. Even the 1990s were awful,' he noted. 'This is a TV show. I would never go around saying, "Bah, kids these days." I don't hold by that at all. I'm sure if I was a kid today, I'd love computer games, racing games and flight simulators. I'm also certain that when I was young with my Airfix kits there were old men complaining, "Ah we had to carve it out of a bit of wood in my day." And their parents probably complained that they had a pen knife to carve the wood. "We had to do it with our teeth in our day." It's all bollocks, isn't it?'

For the past two years it has got Britain scouring the night sky – and now Stargazing Live is set to return to Jodrell Bank next year. Physicist Brian Cox and Dara O'Briain will again be giving live commentary on findings at Cheshire observatory and from amateur astronomers around the country. BBC executives say the week-long show will return to screens in January – and are hoping that schools, families and individual space enthusiasts will join in. The science show, which gained stunning ratings of up to 3.8m last year, will screen between 8 and 10 January. Last month Professor Cox poked gentle fun at some of the - alleged - 'health and safety restrictions' around filming and got a load of tabloids taking him seriously. That's what happens when you're clever, see, Brian. He described how producers had banned him from carrying out on-air observations of a distant planet, on the off-chance it picked up signs of alien life. Speaking on BBC 6Music, the Oldham-born scientist said: 'The BBC actually said "but you can't do that because we need to go through the regulations and health and safety and everything in case we discover a signal from an alien civilisation."' The BBC has also produced downloadable star charts – and is helping museums, schools and youth clubs organise 'star parties.'

Whinging old gasbag Alan Davies believes that constant repeats of Qi harm his acting career. Davies claims that casting directors see him as 'the fall guy' on the popular Stephen Fry-fronted intelligence quiz. Davies, has been a permanent panellist on Qi for all ten series and has, seemingly, been perfectly happy to accept what one imagines is a not inconsiderable salary for doing so. Talking to veteran entertainer Des O’Connor for Sky Arts programme Living The Life, he said: 'I'm the bloke off Qi and it is very difficult if you are casting, doing a serious production and you've got a couple of great actors in and then the third actor comes in and "Oh, it's that idiot who sits next to Stephen Fry every week, he's on four channels."' The one hundred and twenty two Qi episodes filmed since 2003 are, indeed, regularly repeated on BBC digital and mainstream channels and - mostly - on the non-BBC digital channel Dave. However, Davies does have an acting role in a new Jonathan Creek special next year. So, quit yer whinging, Davies or, if you don't like being typecast, quit Qi instead.

BSkyB has hired Liam Keelan, the controller of BBC daytime programming including The ONE Show, quiz show Pointless and drama The Indian Doctor, to run Sky1. Keelan, who has been in his BBC job since February 2006, replaces Stuart Murphy as director of Sky1. The appointment follows Murphy recently being handed an extended remit which includes overseeing all BSkyB's entertainment channels – Sky1, Sky Living, Sky Atlantic, Sky Arts and Challenge TV. Keelan, who two years ago missed out on the BBC1 controller role which went to Danny Cohen, will also have responsibility for overseeing Sky1+1 and Sky2. With the exception of an eighteen-month stint running daytime programming at ITV, Keelan has been with the BBC since 1995. At ITV he commissioned shows such as Dickinson's Real Deal and The Alan Titchmarsh Show. So, he's got a lot to answer for. 'He has shown at both the BBC and ITV that he commissions popular, smart television with real flair and a strategic mind, and has impeccable relationships with big talent, both on and off screen,' said Murphy. 'At Sky the customer always comes first and he gets this instinctively. As well as being an admirable strategic and creative operator, he is a great bloke to work with and we cannot wait for him to start.' Keelan joins BSkyB as it continues to increase its investment in UK-originated entertainment programming. It has pledged to spend six hundred million a year on UK content and production across its entertainment channels by 2014. 'The commissioning and acquisitions teams at Sky are of the highest calibre,' said Keelan. 'The channel has launched some hugely successful shows across every genre over the last few years so I'm really looking forward to getting started.'

Alice Eve, who appeared in Men in Black 3 and Sex and the City 2, was once referred to as the daughter of Trevor Eve, but now it seems to be her actor father who must learn to accept second billing. 'I'd adore to act with her, but she's doing so brilliantly I would have to wait some time before she was available to act with me,' admits the star of Waking the Dead and Shoestring at the premiere of the film Undefeated, hosted by the HIV charity Body & Soul. 'She is firmly past the stage of needing any help from her father,' Trevor noted. 'If anything, it is the other way around.' Indeed Trev his very self, is somewhat on the lookout for steady work of late since his - not particularly good - ITV drama Kidnap and Ransom was cancelled earlier this year after two series.
Former BBC radio producer Ted Beston has 'vehemently denied' allegations of historic sex offences following his arrest by police investigating the Jimmy Savile scandal. Beston, who was arrested and bailed by Operation Yewtree detectives on Wednesday, protested his innocence and said that he only learned Savile had - allegedly - abused young girls in October. Beston, seventy six, was a Radio 1 producer in the 1960s and 1970s when Savile presented shows such as Savile's Travels. A statement released by Beston's lawyers on Thursday said: 'Mr Beston vehemently denies the historic allegations put to him by the police. When the story suggesting that Savile was a very naughty man surfaced in October, Mr Beston made clear then that he was shocked by the allegations. For the time being, Mr Beston will be saying nothing further and we request that Mr Beston, who is now seventy six, be allowed to deal with these false claims without undue intrusion.' The statement, by Ewings & Co solicitors, added: 'What emerged in October 2012 was a side of Savile that Mr Beston never knew.' Beston was the eighth person arrested under Operation Yewtree. He was questioned for several hours at a South London police station before being released on police bail until a date in February 2013. He was arrested under the strand of the investigation termed 'Savile and others', meaning that the alleged offences in question were - allegedly - carried out in connection with the late Jim'll Fix It host. Beston told the Sun in October, when the Savile revelations first emerged, that he 'never saw or heard of him being with any underage girls.' He added at the time: 'When all these allegations started to come out it was a big shock. My feelings are of sadness.'

TV weather presenter Fred Talbot's home has been searched by police investigating allegations of historical child sex abuse. Police are investigating claims of abuse by staff at Altrincham Boys Grammar School for Boys during the 1970s. No arrests have been made. Talbot, sixty three, was a teacher at the school at the time. Police executed a warrant at Talbot's south Manchester home, but he was thought to be abroad at the time. Chief Superintendent Mark Roberts said the alleged offences allegedly happened while the alleged victims were pupils at the grammar school. The offences did not occur within school grounds but allegedly involved a member of staff. Roberts said: 'I must stress that once again these relate to historical allegations; it is incumbent on us to thoroughly and robustly investigate this matter.' Talbot, who works for ITV's Granada Reports programme, is best known for his work on the ITV programme This Morning when it was hosted by Richard Madeley and Judy Finnigan. He presented his weather reports using a large floating map of the British isles at Liverpool's Albert Dock. Why, no one knows.

Tinglan Hong, the mother of Hugh Grant's daughter, is suing the publisher of the Daily Scum Mail for aggravated damages over a series of articles which, she claims, invaded her privacy. Hong was the subject of intense media interest in late 2011 when it emerged she was the mother of Grant's child. She has described how her life was made 'unbearable' by photographers and journalists camped outside her home in pursuit of a picture of her and her weeks-old daughter. Now she is taking legal action against Associated Newspapers, the Daily Scum Mail publisher, for alleged misuse of private information, breach of confidence and copyright infringement. Hong is suing over four articles and eight photographs published by either the Daily Scum Mail, the Scum Mail on Sunday or Scum Mail Online in early November 2011, at the height of the media frenzy around her pregnancy. In a claim form filed at the high court, Tinglan said she suffered 'substantial distress and damage' as a result of the articles and is seeking legal compensation. Two of the eight photographs Hong is suing over were taken 'as a result of surveillance and pursuit' by paparazzi in the street when she was pregnant, the claim form says. Three of the pictures used on Scum Mail Online were taken in October 2008 during a private photographic session in China. Another was taken at a private party and the eighth was from a holiday abroad. The claim form states: 'The publication of the photographs and the highlighted parts of the articles constitutes a misuse of the claimant's private information and/or an unnecessary and unwarranted invasion of her right to respect for her private and family life. The publication was not justified by any countervailing public interest.' Associated Newspapers hired a Mandarin speaker to leave a message on Chinese-born Hong's mobile phone in November 2011 after she failed to respond to messages from other Daily Scum Mail journalists, according to the claim form. One of the Daily Scum Mail articles Hong is suing over was headed A fleeting affair with girl nineteen years his junior, now Hugh's the daddy and published on 2 November 2011. Hong is claiming more than fifteen thousand quid in damages from the publisher over the four articles published last year. She also wants the high court to ban Associated Newspapers from republishing any of the private material. She has instructed Mark Thomson, the media lawyer who has represented several phone-hacking victims, and Heather Rogers QC in the legal action. The high court granted an anti-harassment injunction against the paparazzi in relation to Hong on 11 November last year, after she complained about several incidents involving photographers outside her London home.

The editor of the BBC's Daily and Sunday Politics shows has emerged as the leading candidate to be the next editor of Newsnight. Robbie Gibb is a former deputy editor of Newsnight and is - allegedly - tipped by 'industry sources' as the person most likely to be chosen to lead the BBC2 programme's rejuvenation and reinvention in the new year following the Savile/McAlpine crisis which engulfed the show this autumn. Both Newsnight editor Peter Rippon and his deputy Liz Gibbons are being moved to different posts within the BBC in response to The Pollard Review on the Newsnight Savile saga published on Wednesday. Jasmin Buttar, currently deputy editor of BBC Radio 4's Today, is another likely candidate for the job. Buttar, another former deputy editor of Newsnight, was in the running for the job in 2008 when it went to Rippon. Newsnight found itself in the eye of the storm in the wake of the axed Savile report, after the allegations of child sex abuse by the late presenter that two members of its team were investigating were later broadcast on ITV's Exposure. The subsequent fallout from Newsnight's erroneous Lord McApline report in early November prompted speculation that the brand was beyond repair and the programme might even be axed. Newsnight's star presenter, per actual Jeremy Paxman hit out at the 'cowards and incompetents' at the BBC after George Entwistle's resignation as director general on 10 November, shortly after it emerged that the show had falsely linked 'a senior Tory figure' to a child sex abuse allegation when led to some people on the Internet wrongly naming McAlpine. Paxo has since returned to the programme and its future is secure, albeit with its reputation damaged. Former Newsnight editor Peter Barron might also be in the frame, an experienced safe pair of hands after the turbulence of the last few months. But it remains to be seen if Barron, now Google's head of external relations for Europe, the Middle East and Africa, would be tempted back. The programme is currently being overseen by Karen O'Connor on an acting basis. But it is thought O'Connor, a former Newsnight and Panorama deputy editor, is likely to return to her regular job as the BBC head of London factual. 'They have to appoint someone who has Newsnight in their soul and has a clear vision of how to go about restoring its reputation,' said one 'alleged, though nameless and, therefore, probably made-up - 'television insider' allegedly told the Gruniad Morning Star. Rippon was better known for his work in radio rather than television when he succeeded Barron as editor of Newsnight in 2008. Under his tenure the programme suffered declining ratings, with fewer investigations and more studio discussion. He also had to deal with budget cuts, along with the rest of the BBC's news output.

Downton Abbey's Hugh Bonneville has disclosed his big secret. The forty nine-year-old actor, who attended the Hennessy Gold Cup at Newbury on Saturday with his wife, Lulu, has 'become obsessed' with needlework. 'I took up stitching and found myself doing it all the time – even on set and in between takes,' he told the Torygraph's Mandrake column. 'In fact, I tried doing it to stop me from smoking, but pretty soon I learned how to do both at the same time.'

Hot on the heels of news that Jed Brophy, fresh from The Hobbit, is set to make an appearance, Philip Glenister has also signed up for Dan Freeman's online SF drama The Minister Of Chance. The star of Mad Dogs, Life On Mars and Ashes To Ashes is set to join the production in Episode Five. Glenister comes fresh from the National Theatre stage where he has been appearing in the sell-out This House, which also starred The Minister of Chance's Julian Wadham. He is reportedly 'looking forward' to the opportunity to play another role opposite his cast-mate. News recently released confirms that Glenister is set to play a part called The Summer King which will see him opposite Wadham's The Minister. The episode will also feature Brophy as The Pilot.

Making digital copies of music, films and other copyrighted material for personal use is to be made legal for the first time under government plans. It has previously been illegal in the UK to rip songs from a CD to a digital player or transfer e-Books, music, films and games from one device to another. But people will still not be allowed to share the copies with others. Business Secretary Vince Cable said the move was 'not only common sense but good business sense. Bringing the law into line with ordinary people's reasonable expectations will boost respect for copyright, on which our creative industries rely,' he said. 'We feel we have struck the right balance between improving the way consumers benefit from copyright works they have legitimately paid for, boosting business opportunities and protecting the rights of creators.' But musicians and songwriters complained that they will lose out. The Musicians' Union and British Academy of Songwriters, Composers and Authors said all other European countries with a similar law also have some form of levy on items like blank CDs and media players to compensate creators. Musicians' Union general secretary John Smith said: 'We feel strongly that the lack of fair compensation will significantly disadvantage creators and performers in relation to the vast majority of their EU counterparts. Why would the UK government want to discriminate against its own creators, particularly since the creative economy is one of the consistent areas of economic growth?' The change in the law will also make it easier for teachers to use copyright materials on interactive whiteboards, for people to make parodies of copyrighted works and for writers to quote other sources.

It's the traditional Christmas media story that just keeps on giving, the shocking scandal of festive TV repeats. You know, the story that a majority of people actually couldn't give a frigging monkey's chuff about? Fleet Street has already had one bite at the cherry this year as From The North previously reported, but can't resist another nibble after the Radio Times looked back on Christmas TV past. 'As recently as 1972 BBC1 showed no repeats at all,' reports the Daily Scum Express. 'Twenty years later, on Christmas Day 1992, there was almost three hours of repeats on BBC1. During the channel's around-the-clock schedule this year, there will be more than four hours of repeats – a sixth of the day's programming.' Less surprisingly, once again the Scum Express fails to mention that proprietor Richard Desmond's Channel Five is pretty much all repeats on Christmas Day. Of course, where some odious louse of no importance at the Scum Express is sticking his or her snout you can bet your last quid that the Daily Scum Mail wont be far behind. 'There used to be far fewer repeats on Christmas Day,' it says. 'These have risen by fourteen per cent since 1992, to two hundred and fifty five minutes in total. There were no repeats at all in 1952 and 1972.' Back in 1952, it fails to add, there wasn't, actually, an awful lot of TV that could have been repeated even if they'd wanted to.

A Florida man has been arrested after he allegedly spanked his niece ... who is, ahem, eighteen years old. You usually have to pay good money for that sort of thing down Soho. Apparently. Anyway, deputies say that forty-year-old Jesse Ledbetter 'got into an argument' with Tiffany Taylor last Sunday. At one point, Ledbetter allegedly grabbed Taylor's arms and held them behind her back, and then 'smacked her rear' several times. Hernando County deputies were called to the scene of the domestic disagreement and reported 'seeing a large welt which looked like a handprint' on Taylor's buttocks. Quite how that was visible to the naked eye without some clothing being removed, the report doesn't say. Which is, frankly, a pity. Ledbetter allegedly told the deputies that Taylor was 'being disrespectful' to him and that he bent her over and 'beat her ass.' Yeah. You can't actually do that these days, mate. It's The Law. Ledbetter also acknowledged that Taylor was 'legally, an adult.' Ledbetter was arrested for domestic violence and is currently jailed with no bond.

Sir Christopher Lee has released a new EP of metal Christmas massacres of traditional Christmas songs. And, a right load of old frigging toot it is too. A Heavy Metal Christmas sees the ninety-year-old acting veteran - who, at his age, should probably be tucked up in a bed with a nice cup of milky cocoa instead of poncing around doing nonsense like this - taking on earache-inducing versions of carols like 'Silent Night' and 'Little Drummer Boy'. The two-song EP (or, 'single', in other words), which is available to purchase on iTunes and Amazon. Although why in the name of Count Dracula himself anybody would want to is another matter entirely. Horrorshow (and drag). Lee has worked with several heavy metal artists in recent years, including a guest appearance on Italian metal band Rhapsody of Fire's song 'The Magic of the Wizard's Dream'. He released his début metal CD Charlemagne: By the Sword and the Cross in 2010. The actor was awarded the 'Spirit of Metal Award' by Metal Hammer magazine the same year. He will also release his follow-up CD The Omens of Death in 2013. You have been warned.

Which brings us to yer actual Keith Telly Topping's 33 of the Day. And, it's time for yet another Jam Session I'm afraid because, today, we've reached yer actual All Mod Cons. And, why not? Speak ye to The People yon Modfather.
Oh, and as of four o'clock UK time, the world didn't end. Pfft. Bloody Mayans. Can't be replied on for anything.