Thursday, February 28, 2013

Power Is Measured By The Power Or The Fist, It's As Clear As This

BBC2's new Sue Perkins sitcom Heading Out began with 1.8 million viewers on Tuesday, beating the return for the last time of Channel Four's Shameless in the 10pm slot. Heading Out, about a woman heading towards forty who is facing up to the challenge of telling her parents that she is gay, launched with 1.84 million viewers between 10pm and 10.30pm, including one hundred and thirty six thousand viewers on BBC HD. Shameless, back for its eleventh – and final – series on Channel Four kicked of with 1.67 million viewers between 10pm and 11.05pm. BBC1's Ben Miller drama Death In Paradise came to the end of its second series with 6.1 million viewers between 9pm and 10pm. Death In Paradise, which will return for another season in the sun, easily had the better of ITV's live coverage of the fifth round FA Cup replay between Everton and Oldham Not Very Athletic which the Premier League side won 3-1. The overnight football score was an average of three million viewers between 7.30pm and 10pm, and a five-minute peak of 4.08 million. Channel Five's new series of CSI: Crime Investigation – its thirteenth run – began with 1.5 million viewers between 9pm and 10pm. Also at 9pm, Channel Four documentary Secrets of the Pickpockets drew 2.75 million punters, its most-watched show of the night, earning bragging rights over BBC2's The Railway: Keeping Britain on Track, which attracted 1.85 million including one hundred and twenty six thousand on BBC HD. The return of Sing Date for a second series wasn't an entirely happy tune for Sky Living with just eighty thousand viewers between 8.30pm and 9pm. However, it was up eleven per cent on the channel's slot average over the past three months. Alexander Armstrong's Big Ask was also back for a second series with two hundred and eighty seven thousand viewers between 10pm and 10.40pm. It was down nearly twenty per cent on Dave's slot average.

Yer actual Keith Telly Topping received some genuinely appalling, upsetting and disquieting news on Wednesday, dear blog reader. Young Stacey, Mama Telly Topping's (quite excellent and lovely) carer, informed yer actual Keith Telly Topping that, on Tuesday evening, she (Stacey, that is, not Mama Telly Topping) had been to see Olly Murs on the opening night of his tour at the Arena. That, in and of itself, isn't the genuinely appalling, upsetting and disquieting news. Oh no. The genuinely appalling, upsetting and disquieting news came when Stace casually mentioned that young Olly is doing some cover versions in his current set. 'He did that 'Town Called Malice' and he did 'Should I Stay Or Should I Go?' at the end,' she said, as yer actual Keith Telly Topping's jaw quite literally hit the floor and shattered into a million tiny pieces. To sum up, then, dear blog reader, this odious fraction of an individual is currently touring the UK massacring The Jam and The Clash on a nightly basis. It's wrong on so many levels. This man simply MUST BE STOPPED!
And from one horrorshow (and drag), and another.
The newspaper industry was given 'privileged access' to the government's planned response to The Leveson Report – ahead of the victims of phone-hacking and the Labour opposition, according to the campaign group Hacked Off. A leaked e-mail from the industry describes proposals set out by the government in January as 'monstrous and chilling.' The lengthy e-mail sent by Peter Wright – editor emeritus at Associated Newspapers and former Scum Mail on Sunday editor – to the cabinet office minister, Oliver Letwin, reveals 'an absolute opposition' to any element of statute. Wright has been one of the figures leading the industry response to Leveson. Hacked Off points out that the industry had 'prepared a legal opinion' in 17 January on draft clauses handed to it by government, but these draft clauses were not given to Hacked Off until 12 February. Brian Cathcart, the director of Hacked Off, said: 'This is proof of a disgraceful stitch-up which puts proprietors before victims. Taken alongside the changes that have been made to the Royal Charter, it shows that newspaper bosses have been giving orders to ministers behind the scenes, just weeks after The Leveson Report declared that such secret manipulation damaged the interests of the public. Sections of the press are clearly using privileged access to the most senior ranks of government to water down Lord Justice Leveson's recommendations. We are grateful to Oliver Letwin for candidly admitting that each of the changes had been made "in response to representations from the press industry." But it is appalling that he and the prime minister appear to have caved in on almost every point.' The Hacked Off attack comes as inter-party talks have reached such a deadlock that the political parties have decided to hold separate seminars with Hacked Off and the industry to see if grounds for a breakthrough can be made. One alleged Labour 'source' allegedly told the Gruniad Morning Star: 'We are making progress only to the extent that Oliver Letwin is being open that he cannot get the industry to agree to specific proposals.' The deadlocks include ownership of the new press code, the appointment of the chairman independent regulator, and any exemplary damages.
The questions keep coming and, it would seem, the answer keeps on changing. When Channel Four News presenter Cathy Newman telephoned Nick Clegg on his LBC phone-in show on Wednesday morning to challenge him over what he knew (and when he didn't know it) about former Lib-Dem chief executive Lord Rennard, the radio show's presenter Nick Ferrari was as surprised as the deputy prime minister. Newman, who first broke the story about - numerous - allegations of sexual impropriety against Rennard - which he strenuously denies – rang the London radio station's phone-in, introducing herself as 'Cathy from Dulwich.' After her name was read out by Clegg – who introduces some of the callers on the show – she revealed: 'It's Cathy Newman from Channel Four News. I'm what you might call a self-appointed detective.' The station, which is owned by Global Radio, said the show's producers were 'not aware' of the caller's identity when she rang. 'LBC, Channel Four, gosh my head is spinning with the number of media outlets involved here,' said Clegg. 'Anyone can ring in,' said Ferrari, who interrupted to double check, 'Cathy from Channel Four?' Newman said she would 'love to do an interview' with Clegg – he pointedly chose not to respond to the offer – but had to make do with one question. 'At the weekend you said Lord Rennard quit on health grounds. Now you appear to be accepting his behaviour was part of the reason he went,' she asked. Clegg replied: 'He left on health grounds, but of course the issues of his inappropriate behaviour were in the background, of course they were.' Issues of inappropriate behaviour which just a couple of days earlier, let us remember, Clegg had insisted he knew nothing - nahhhh-thing - about before backtracking and claiming that he had been told about 'general concerns' – though, not specific complaints – about the peer. Ferrari told the Gruniad that he had 'no idea' it was the Channel Four presenter calling, and a spokesman for Global Radio said producers were none-the-wiser either, although it was surely more than just luck that Newman got through. 'I just read it as Cathy from Dulwich, without having time to think about it,' said Ferrari. 'In all honesty, I don't think [Clegg] was overjoyed, but I don't remember his exact choice of words.' Asked whether it meant the weekly phone-in would now be inundated with journalists keen to put questions to Clegg, he was unwilling to answer. In another forum, Ferrari said: 'Let's worry about that when it happens. When we've got Jon Snow, Huw Edwards and Mark Austin ringing in on a regular basis, then we will worry about it.' A spokeswoman for Channel Four News said Newman, the show's former political editor who was elevated to its presenting team fifteen months ago, had been 'swamped' with requests for interviews since Wednesday morning's call, but was 'too busy working' on Channel Four News to respond. Newman wasn't the only high-profile caller to Wednesday's show (which has previously featured an inquiry by London mayor Boris Johnson). Former deputy prime minister Lord Prescott, in a tweet read out by Ferrari, wrote: 'Can you ask Nick Clegg why as deputy prime minister he has fifteen special advisers costing one million pounds, I, this is Prescott speaking, only had two. Even Jesus capped it at twelve.' Prescott later contacted Newman on Twitter, telling her: 'Got a present for you' – a picture of a 'private detective' badge. 'Love it,' responded Newman. Almost as much as LBC, which has reaped no end of free publicity with the weekly phone-ins to the deputy prime minister which began on 10 January. The morning shows have revealed, among other things, Clegg's ownership of a 'onesie' and prompted his admission that he would consider sending his oldest son to a private school.

Meanwhile, a former Liberal Democrat activist is set to meet police over what she describes as a 'very, very serious' alleged incident involving the former chief executive of the party, Lord Rennard. Alison Smith, now a lecturer at Oxford University, has accused the peer of sexually inappropriate behaviour. 'People have been talking about hands on the knee, and things like that. It was very much more serious than that,' she told the BBC. Lord Rennard denies the allegations. Smith claimed that she had left the Liberal Democrat party as a consequence of how it had dealt with the claims against Lord Rennard, who as a senior strategist was 'responsible for all campaign financing.' This was a 'very important' role, she said, because the Lib Dems 'target seats very closely; they don't otherwise have enough resources to compete in the first-past-the-post system.' She said that she had decided to go public with the claims against Lord Rennard because she was 'very worried that he would make a comeback,' and will discuss the allegations with the police on Thursday. 'Even people that you think of as very senior MPs,' she said, 'even they're very scared of this man, because he at some point had been in a position to make or break their careers and he might again in the future.' Asked whether aspiring Lib Dem MPs had been put in 'casting-couch' scenarios, she said: 'I don't think it was that precise. There was never a formal kind of "you're up for a specific job, and you won't get this job if you don't comply." But the phrase that I heard was "favoured daughters." And certainly a lot of people have batted him off and gone on to do well anyway. A lot of people have put up with a lot over the years, and I definitely wouldn't want anybody trying to work out who has been casting-couched or who hadn't been. It was just a feeling that we had that if you would do what he wanted then you could get a lot out of it and if you didn't then there could be consequences.' Smith, a politics lecturer, said her experiences had left her feeling 'horrified when my students started talking about a career in the Liberal Democrats.' Earlier, the party reprimanded Lib Dem peer Lord Stoneham following reports that he had telephoned and 'angrily remonstrated' with one of the women who had complained to newspapers about Lord Rennard's conduct. Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg's aides said he regarded Lord Stoneham's conduct as 'completely unacceptable.' Lord Rennard quit his party role in 2009 and, over the last week, he has faced accusations of sexually inappropriate behaviour towards a number of female activists. Police have spoken to party officials about the claims, and are working to establish whether or not any criminal behaviour had taken place. But senior Lib Dem Baroness Williams called Lord Rennard a 'very fine man.' The situation had been 'hopelessly exaggerated,' she said. In previous statements, Lord Rennard has said he is 'deeply shocked' by the allegations and described them as a 'total distortion' of his character. The peer said he knew of no complaints against him in his twenty seven years working for the party but he has temporarily stood aside from the Lib Dem group in the Lords to avoid 'embarrassment' to the party. Bit late for that if Nick Clegg's squirming on the radio yesterday is anything to go by.

The BBC has announced its religious programmes for the Easter season. It will feature the Most Reverend Justin Welby's first Thought for the Day as the Archbishop of Canterbury on BBC Radio 4's Today programme. Radio 4 will also broadcast the last Easter address from The Right Reverend James Jones as The Bishop of Liverpool. Melvyn Bragg will present a documentary on Mary Magdalene. And Ann Widdecombe will look at how Christianity is portrayed in comedy. 'Easter is the cornerstone of Christianity' said Aaqil Ahmed, Commissioning Editor and Head of Religion and Ethics who said the programmes reflect 'the beauty and mystery of the season.' On Good Friday evening, BBC Radio 2 broadcasts Handel's Messiah, with the Bach Choir and the BBC Concert Orchestra. In addition, BBC Radio 3 will broadcast Choral Evensong live from Manchester Cathedral on Easter Sunday.
Coronation Street actor Michael Le Vell has appeared in court charged with nineteen sexual offences against a child. Le Vell, whose real name is Michael Turner, faced the charges at Manchester Magistrates' Court. The alleged offences date between 2001 and 2010 and include six charges of rape, six of indecent assault and seven of sexual touching. The actor, who plays Kevin Webster in the ITV soap, was bailed to appear at Manchester Crown Court on 20 March. Le Vell, of Hale in Trafford, spoke only to confirm his details in court and did not enter a plea. His solicitor said that the charges would be 'fully contested' at the crown court.

Sinbad has been cancelled by Sky1 after a single series. The twelve-part action adventure saga, featuring Elliot Knight as the titular hero, will not be returning for a second series as its 'story has now been told,' the broadcaster announced. Or, in other words, because the ratings weren't good enough for the cost of the production. 'As a broad, family entertainment channel, Sinbad was the perfect drama to showcase Sky1's ambitions for long-running, blockbuster series,' Sky claimed, not very convincingly in a statement explaining why it was getting the boot. 'We were thrilled with the cast and the production team at Impossible, however, we feel that Sinbad's story has now been told.' The company added: 'We're in development on a number of exciting new projects and look forward to sharing more news with our customers very soon.' Sinbad premiered on Sky1 in July and counted Lost's Naveen Andrews and Fringe star Orla Brady among its cast. Dougray Scott, Sophie Okonedo, Timothy Spall and Mathew Horne also made guest appearances.

Madness will perform live in the front of BBC Television Centre as part of an evening of entertainment bidding farewell to the iconic building. Celebrating its fifty three year history, BBC4 will produce the hour-long programme to be shown on 22 March, nine days before TV Centre closes its doors. U2, Coldplay and Beyonce have performed in the car park in previous years. Madness said that they are 'honoured' to be part of this 'fond farewell.' A statement from the band, who rose to prominence in the early 1980s, read: 'We've played at some exciting places in London lately but the closing of BBC TV Centre, that is close to our hearts. As a band we grew up there, those walls have plenty of Madness tales to tell, a sad day, the end of an era, oh, but what a celebration.' The band will play new material from their recent tenth studio CD Oui, Oui, Si, Si, Ja, Ja, Da, Da alongside the hits 'Baggy Trousers' and 'Our House'. The transition to the BBC's new London home, the central New Broadcasting House, began in October last year. The 1960s building in West London, once home of Top of the Pops and Blue Peter and sold for two hundred million smackers, closes on 31 March and will be redeveloped into hotels, flats, a cinema and office space. The main television studios will be retained and refurbished for leasing out to production companies, including the BBC, from 2014. Richard Klein, controller BBC4, said: 'I can think of no better band than Madness to help celebrate a golden age of television coming out of the BBC's Television Centre. I am really pleased that one of Britain's finest groups has agreed to come along and help BBC4 celebrate in fine style.' The concert will be followed by a two-hour special, pre-recorded on 18 March, called Goodbye TV Centre. Hosted by former BBC chairman Michael Grade in front of a studio audience, it will feature interviews with the likes of Sir David Attenborough, Ronnie Corbett, Noel Edmonds, Sir David Jason and Sir Terry Wogan.

Rick Smith, one half of British dance act Underworld, will be heard on the score of Danny Boyle's new film Trance alongside double Brit-winning singer Emeli Sande. Smith previously worked with Underworld partner Karl Hyde on the music for Boyle's London 2012 opening ceremony. Smith's score will feature a new song, called 'Here It Comes', that Sande has co-written and appears on. Trance, Boyle's first film since 127 Hours, is released in the UK on 27 March. It stars James McAvoy as an art auctioneer who becomes involved in a heist. 'Working with Danny is a joy, because he's both a great collaborator and a giver of artistic freedom' said Smith. 'He wants his film music loud and with presence, almost like another character.' Smith has written and recorded eleven original pieces which appear in the film alongside music by Moby, Unkle and M People. The collaboration came about after Boyle sent Smith a text message after the Olympic opening ceremony last July. 'Exactly one month and three days after we said goodbye in the stadium, I received a text from Danny,' Smith said. 'Two minutes later I was on board.' Smith first worked with Boyle on the soundtrack for the Oscar-winning director's earlier film Trainspotting.

A team led by an eccentric millionaire and former space tourist Dennis Tito plans to send a 'tested couple' to Mars and back in a privately funded mission. The Inspiration Mars Foundation plans to start its one-and-a-half-year mission in January 2018. The foundation has carried out a study which it says shows that it is feasible to achieve such a mission using existing technology. The group still has to raise funding for their mission. Among those involved in the project is Jane Poynter, who spent two years locked away in a sealed ecosystem with seven other people in 1991 which she described as a 'New Age Garden of Eden.' She told BBC News that the mission planners wanted the crew to consist of an older couple whose relationship would be able to withstand the stress of living in a confined environment for two years. 'I can attest from personal experience from living in Biosphere Two that having somebody that you really deeply trusted and cared for was an extraordinary thing to have,' Poynter explained. Poynter, who ended up marrying one of those involved in the Biosphere Two project, Taber Macallum, admitted that it could be 'challenging' for the couple. But said that the selection process would attempt to find 'resilient people that would be able to maintain a happy upbeat attitude in the face of adversity.' The plan was to choose a middle-aged couple because their health and fertility would be less affected by the radiation they would be exposed to during such a long space mission. The couple would receive extensive training and would be able to draw on psychological support from mission control throughout the mission. MPoynter's expectation is that a couple journeying to Mars would be 'inspirational. We want the crew of vehicle to represent humanity,' she said. 'We want the youth of the world to be reflected in this crew and for girls as well as boys to have role models.' Space historian, Professor Christopher Riley of Lincoln University, believes that sending a couple to Mars might be a good idea. 'The idea of sending older astronauts on longer duration missions, after they have had children, has been around for a while. The reasoning is that such a long duration mission, outside of the protective magnetosphere of the Earth, could leave them infertile,' he said. 'Married couples have occasionally flown in space before, on short flights, and it seemed to work well, so why not?' However results emerging from the so-called Mars500 project suggests that even carefully screened individuals are likely to suffer from psychological problems from a prolonged space mission. The mission will be a straightforward flight to the Red Planet and return without landing. This greatly reduces the cost of the mission. The Mars Inspiration team believe that it is technically possible to launch such a mission in five years' time. The team is aiming for a January 2018 launch because it coincides with a close alignment of Mars and Earth, such that a round trip would take about a year-and-a half, five hundred and one days - whereas outside of this window such a trip might take two to three years. Many believe that new technologies will need to be developed to deal with the extended periods of radiation such a trip would involve and to cope with supplying food and water for the crew. The Mars Inspiration team says that it has 'carried out a feasibility study' for the mission which it plans to release on Sunday. Anu Ojha, from the British National Space Centre in Leicester has seen the study. He says that it is 'theoretically' possible to go to Mars and back using the Dragon and Falcon Heavy systems manufactured by California-based firm SpaceX. But conditions would be squeezed and spartan, with no room for pressurised space suits. The report suggests that one thousand three hundred and sixty kilogrammes of dehydrated food will be enough to last the journey and the manifest includes twenty eight kilogrammes of toilet paper for a crew of two for five hundred days (presumably, for the final day, they just hold it in). But the issue of radiation protection according to Ojha is 'glossed over' with the recognition that more work and 'creative solutions' need to be explored. More work will also need to done to improve recycling technologies to convert urine into water. The man leading the venture is Denis Tito, who paid twenty million dollars to become the first 'tourist' in space. He spent six days on the International Space Station in 2001. The millionaire is financing part of the project but much more money needs to be raised. The organisers have not stated how much the mission will cost nor how much they need to raise, saying only that it is 'much cheaper' than one would imagine a Mars mission to be. Poynter did, however, confirm that 'a significant amount of money' still needs to be raised. Anu Ojha believes that unless the venture is one hundred per cent underwritten at this stage it won't get off the ground. 'If a bunch of billionaires have committed the approx $1-2bn required, then we could see history being made in under five years. If (at the) the press conference they say "we have this fantastic concept but need the money - please give generously" then it's dead in the water,' he told BBC News. However Professor Riley is more optimistic. 'There are lots of big ifs in trying to achieve this epic endeavour, but none which are totally insurmountable given enough money and assistance, and the will to do it,' he said. 'It takes mavericks like Tito to create such pivot points in history where significant things happen, and such a trip would be as significant as Apollo 8's first circumnavigation of the Moon on Christmas Eve 1968, when the world listened in to the reflections of the first human beings to orbit another world. Perhaps fifty years later, on Christmas Eve 2018 we might be all tuning in to a similar broadcast from Mars. I hope so!' The effort represents the latest development in private sector companies moving into space exploration. Last December, one of the last men on the Moon, Harrison Schmitt, told BBC News that he believed NASA and other government run space agencies were 'too inefficient' to be able to send astronauts back to the Moon.

And so to yer actual Keith Telly Topping's 33(s) of the Day. This very evening, dear blog reader, yer actual Keith Telly Topping will be attending Uncle Scunthorpe's latest Record Player event at the Tyneside. And, this is one that yer actual Keith Telly Topping his very self lobbied hard for and had been waiting for nigh on two years to occur, two of his very favouritist slabs on vinyl with a hole in the middle. Unknown Pleasures and Sound Affects. So, without further ado, dig this.
And, indeed, and very much, this.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

I'd Build A Road In Gold Just To Have Some Dreaming

The Lord Thy God Steven Moffat (Thou Shalt Worship No Other Gods Before He) has revealed details of Doctor Who's upcoming episode Journey To The Centre Of The TARDIS. The long-running popular family SF drama's showrunner revealed that the episode will contain 'great visuals' and that new sets have been built especially for the episode, Radio Times reports. 'We've built the rest of the TARDIS!' Moffat said. He continued: 'The idea is in the title; we're going to journey to the centre of the TARDIS. We've got some great visuals for that.' Ashley Walters, who appears as a guest in the episode, added: 'In our episode it'll be the first time people get to see so much of the TARDIS.' The upcoming series of the BBC show will also feature classic series villains The Ice Warriors as well as The Cybermen.

This is the last week of principal photography for An Adventure In Space And Time, with producer Matt Strevens commenting: 'It's flown by. Some big, moving scenes to come and perhaps a new creature or two.'Meanwhile, Waris met Waris as Sacha Dhawan caught up with Doctor Who's original director Waris Hussein whom he plays in the upcoming Doctor Who fiftieth anniversary biopic. The actor intimated that his time on filming was coming to an end, saying: 'What a journey through space and time. Loved every minute of it.' Additional photos of the two together can be seen courtesy of the Radio Times, published when the initial casting was announced at the end of January. Speaking of cast, last week Reece Shearsmith got to grips with becoming the Second Doctor: 'Tried the hobo costume on the other day. Oh my giddy aunt.'

BBC Worldwide have released a demonstration of how Doctor Who is broadcast in other languages from around the world as part of the promotion of the show at this year's BBC Worldwide Showcase, currently taking place in Liverpool. The video shows a clip from The Wedding of River Song in English, Brazilian Portuguese, French, German and Italian. And, very funny it is too. There's also a similar multi-lingual clip featuring a scene from Sherlock.

The porcine star of BBC comedy-drama Blandings, The Empress, has died. The sow died just before the final episode of the series, based on PG Wodehouse’s stories, was broadcast. The pig had been living with her co-star Queenie in the grounds of Crom Castle, County Fermanagh, where the show was filmed. Timothy Spall who plays Lord Clarence Emsworth, told the BBC he was 'very upset' to hear the news. 'She was by far the most flatulent member of the cast and believe me, she had a lot of competition,' he said. 'I never knew her real name, but that doesn't mean I didn't have a lot of affection for her.' It is believed that the pig had suffered a fatal heart attack. BBC executive producer Kristian Smith said: 'We were very lucky to have found such a characterful and humorous pig.' The Empresses next starring role with be between two bits of bread for somebody's breakfast.

An episode of the BBC1 drama Silent Witness which featured scenes of sexual violence broke the corporation's guidelines, the BBC Trust has ruled. The episode culminated in a scene featuring a prison officer attacking an inmate in a toilet cubicle. More than six hundred people with, seemingly, nothing better to do with their time complained to the BBC about the programme, which was broadcast last April. The Trust said that the scenes were 'too explicit for this series in the first hour after the watershed.' It was responding to a complaint from a viewer who had tuned into watch the BBC's News at Ten but was unexpectedly confronted with the scenes after the drama overran by ninety seconds. The viewer said he found the scenes 'extremely upsetting' and 'thoroughly nasty.' Yes because, of course, the news never features anything even remotely upsetting or nasty, does it? At the time, the episode carried a pre-programme announcement warning viewers of violent and upsetting scenes. However, the viewer said people tuning in for the evening news could not have been expected to have been watching earlier to see the warning. The scene in question - depicted as a flashback - featured a character lying in a pool of blood while his attacker was seen holding a bloodied stick. In its ruling, the Trust said that although the actual attack was not shown, 'viewers were left in no doubt that an act of sexual violence was being carried out.' It said that while the drama, now in its fifteenth series, was known to investigate the aftermaths of violent crimes, this episode was 'noticeably darker in tone.' As there were a significant number of complaints, it concluded that the scenes were in breach of the guidelines on harm and offence as they 'exceeded audience expectations for this series as they depicted a sadistic method of inflicting pain, injury and death.' In its response, BBC Vision - the department responsible for BBC drama - said the overrunning of programmes was a regular occurrence. 'Silent Witness overran the billed finish time by ninety seconds and the news was two minutes late,' it said. 'This is all well within the parameters of a "normal" programme junction and would not have triggered any extra editorial scrutiny beyond that carried out for the original schedule.' The Trust noted that although compliance procedures had been followed for the episode, it felt 'the wrong editorial judgement had been made on this occasion and this episode was not suitable for broadcast.' It offered an apology to viewers who had complained and to those who had tuned in for the news and had 'been taken unawares by the final scenes.'

For nearly twenty years it has brought BBC2 viewers the latest developments in the world of arts and culture, in various incarnations and featuring bickering panellists including Tom Paulin, Allison Pearson and Tony Parsons. But now The Review Show, one of the BBC's flagship arts programmes, is to be moved from BBC2 to BBC4 and cut from a weekly to a monthly slot – as new director general Lord Hall prepares to join the BBC from one of the UK's leading arts institutions, the Royal Opera House. Martha Kearney and Kirsty Wark, who share presenting duties, will remain on the show, which will be expanded from forty five minutes to an hour and given a peaktime berth between 7pm and 10.30pm. The Review Show is currently broadcast at 11pm on Friday nights on BBC2. The switch was part of a number of new arts programmes announced for BBC4 on Tuesday, including What Do Artists Do All Day?, a series of 'intimate observational portraits' of leading artists; Secret Knowledge, looking at the hidden gems of some of the world's biggest arts institutions, and Opening Night, about new exhibitions and events beginning with the Roy Lichtenstein retrospective at Tate Modern. BBC4, which celebrated its tenth birthday last year, is refocusing on arts and culture as part of wide-ranging cost-cutting measures at the BBC which will see it drop all of its drama programming. However, the channel is still investing in comedy and recently commissioned its first sitcom in front of a live studio audience, the previously announced Up the Women, starring Jessica Hynes. The BBC said it was increasing its spend on arts and culture on BBC4, as well as the number of hours it devoted on screen. Richard Klein, the BBC4 controller, said: 'Arts, music and culture have always served as the backbone of BBC4 but this year we're increasing our commitment to topical arts, introducing a number of new strands that will enable us to shine a light on contemporary arts, theatre, literature and film. With a series of discussions and portraits, we'll study the working lives of creative figures and explore single objects that can tell the story of the world's most interesting museums and galleries.' The Review Show was originally launched as The Late Show spin-off Late Review in 1994 and has been through many incarnations in the nineteen years since. It was presented by Mark Lawson until 2005, when Kearney and Wark took over, and in the early years often featured a regular panel of Paulin, Pearson and Parsons. After The Late Show's demise in 1995 Late Review continued as a stand-alone show in the late evening BBC2 line-up. It was renamed Review and made a short-lived moved to Sunday night in March 2000, before being rebranded Newsnight Review early the following year and switching back to Friday nights (where it can currently be found) and the number of editions a year were doubled to fifty. In its latest revamp three years ago The Review Show was moved out of London to the BBC's production base in Glasgow. Other new BBC4 arts shows will include An Evening with Joan Bakewell, ahead of the broadcaster's eightieth birthday and an edition of Timeshift presented by Rachel Johnson, former editor of The Lady magazine, in which she goes back in time to discover, appropriately enough, 'how to be a lady.' Great Artists In Their Own Words, a new three-part series, will tell the story of the Twentieth-Century artistic revolution, while Beautiful Things will celebrate "'ornate and exquisite art and artefacts that aren't considered traditionally beautiful.' Jude Law will narrate a documentary about artist William Turnbull, while editions of arts strand Arena will mark the National Theatre's fiftieth birthday and the centenary of fashion photographer Norman Parkinson's birth. The fourth and final part of BBC4's partnership with the V&A, Handmade in Britain, will look at fabric.

Plans to cancel the regular series of classic re-runs of Top of the Pops on BBC4 in the wake of the Jimmy Savile fiasco were ditched due to 'overwhelming public demand to keep them,' the channel's controller has revealed. BBC4 had considered dropping the archive music show because episodes featuring Savile had to be removed, along with any appearances by another former Top of the Pops presenter, Dave Lee Travis, who was arrested last year by police investigating allegations of historical sexual offences. The channel's controller, Richard Klein, said: 'There was an enormous response from the public. I got a lot of e-mails from people saying they wanted us to maintain replaying those Top of the Pops from 1978.' One of them, as it happens, was from yer actual Keith Telly Topping who demanded they they not drop the show 'just as it was getting good.' 'Looking at it, we decided we will not be showing either the DLT or Jimmy Savile fronted shows but that left us plenty of Top of the Pops to show. We decided partly because we have agreed we are going to do it, and partly because I felt it was right that these things be aired.' Speaking after a launch of BBC4's new season of arts programmes on Tuesday, Klein added: 'We are going to carry on doing it for the foreseeable future. If things change, we'll change.' BBC4 began broadcasting editions of the 1978 run of Top of the Pops just before Christmas. The channel has been running repeats of TOTP – a BBC weekly staple between 1964 and 2006 – for two years, beginning with a show from April 1976.

Sky Living has bought the rights to the US serial-killer drama Hannibal, featuring the Hannibal Lecter character from The Silence of the Lambs. The NBC series features Hugh Dancy as special agent Will Graham and the excellent Mads Mikkelsen, who starred in Casino Royale, in the title role as the serial killer most famously associated on screen with Sir Anthony Hopkins (and, before him, Brian Cox). Hannibal will also star Gillian Anderson, as Lecter's therapist, and Eddie Izzard, as an inmate at the Baltimore State Hospital for the Criminally Insane, along with Laurence Fishburne as the head of the FBI's behavioural sciences unit. Sounds proper good. The drama has been written by showrunner Bryan Fuller, whose previous credits include Pushing Daisies. Hannibal is - loosely based - upon characters from Thomas Harris's novel Red Dragon, a prequel to The Silence of the Lambs, previously filmed as Manhunter in 1986 with William Petersen and Brian Cox in the roles of Graham and Lecter. Sky Living bought the series in an exclusive deal with distributor, Gaumont International Television. Director of Sky Living Antonia Hurford-Jones said. 'We are delighted to be adding Hannibal to our line-up of quality US drama on Sky Living. We know this is something our customers really love and we are committed to bringing them the best the US has to offer. This series is perfect for Sky Living because it will appeal not only our core female audience, but to a shared one too. Plus it will complement our new original commissions which are starting to come through.'

Channel Four News presenter and former political correspondent Cathy Newman has said that sexism is 'rife' in Westminster, but some of the most 'glaring instances of sexism' she personally has experienced were in her days in newspapers. Newman claims that she was once 'propositioned' at a party conference by the then editor of a national newspaper, who asked to come to her hotel bedroom despite her protestations that she didn't want to. She also recalled how, when working at the Financial Times, she received a sexist response when she complained about the higher salary of a male colleague. Writing in Tuesday's Daily Torygraph, Newman said the atmosphere in Westminster, where she worked for ten years as a lobby correspondent for the FT and Channel Four News, is 'more public school than public service,' but the only way to change the sexist culture is to have more women MPs. Allegations about the Liberal Democrats' former chief executive Lord Rennard are currently shaking the party to its very foundations, which is pure dead funny, but Newman said that it is not just Nick Clegg's party who may have a problem. She added that the trouble starts 'with casual sexism – throwaway remarks that might seem harmless to some, but which create the conditions necessary for the kind of behaviour of which Lord Rennard is accused.' Newman recalled how Barbara Follett, a former Labour MP, complained of Tory backbenchers who used to cup their hands under pretend breasts and mouth 'melons' when she got up to speak. Sarah Teather, a Lib Dem MP and former minister, once remarked that the atmosphere in parliament is 'like a public school full of teenage boys,' she added. Newman said she can vouch for the fact that Westminster is a male-dominated environment, reminiscent of a public school. 'There was the odd instance of sexism directed at me: the peer who sent salacious texts; the MP who assumed I was a secretary because I was a woman.' But she added that the worst instances of sexism she had experienced were while working for newspapers. When she worked on the Financial Times, Newman said she 'confronted a senior executive about the fact that a man who was significantly junior to me was getting paid a lot more. The executive asked me what I needed the money for, since I didn't have a mortgage or a family.' Newman said she laughed it off, but made sure she got a pay rise. More intimidating was an incident at a political party conference, she said, when a newspaper editor propositioned her. 'Slightly more intimidating was the time, ironically at a political party conference, when a man who was then the editor of a national newspaper started propositioning me in the bar, despite knowing I was in a long-term relationship, and despite my making it patently clear that I wasn't interested,' Newman recalled. 'I quickly made my excuses and left, as did the women allegedly targeted by Lord Rennard, but the minute I got up to my room, my phone rang. It was the very same editor asking if he could share my room because he had omitted to book himself into a hotel. I gave him short shrift, but the experience was intimidating and unpleasant.' Newman said she suspected sexism exists in all work places, but has 'the sense that Westminster is worse,' partly because of sheer numbers – there are only one hundred and forty four women out of six hundred and forty eight MPs. 'Get a lot of blokes together in one place, add copious quantities of subsidised alcohol and the fact that homes/wives/partners are far away, and it's not surprising that the atmosphere is more public school than public service,' she added.
A former Surrey police officer has appeared at Westminster magistrates' court charged with two allegations that he sold information to the Sun. The information is understood to have involved The Rolling Stones' Rockin' Ronnie Wood and the family of the ex-England footballer John Terry. Alan Tierney, a former constable, is alleged to have provided information twice in 2009 and been paid a total of seventeen hundred and fifty smackers. Prosecutor Tom Guest told the court on Tuesday that Tierney was charged with misconduct in public office in relation to one offence in which he allegedly supplied information as a result of his work at Surrey police to the Sun for seven hundred and fifty quid. A second offence was in connection with a witness statement he allegedly took in the case of an assault. Guest said that the charge related to an allegation Tierney contacted the Sun and provided information for a thousand notes. Tierney, of Hayling Island, Hampshire, was charged on 7 February as part of the Metropolitan police's Operation Elveden into alleged inappropriate payments by journalists to police and other public officials. Chief magistrate Howard Riddle sent him to Southwark crown court for a further hearing on 8 March. Two bail conditions were also continued including a ban on contacting two journalists at the Sun, Nick Parker and John Sturgis, and a James Hewitt, who was said to be 'related' to Tierney. A second bail condition relation to his residency was imposed. Also appearing at Westminster magistrates' court on Tuesday morning was a prison officer who is alleged to have sold information in relation to a 'high-profile prisoner' to the Sun. Richard Trunkfield was employed as a prison operational support officer at HMP Woodhill, a high security Category A men's prison in Milton Keynes, at the time of the alleged offences in 2010. He has been charged with one offence of misconduct in public office in relation to allegations he provided information to the Sun newspaper on two occasions, in March and April 2010. The court heard he was alleged to have received three thousand three hundred and fifty knicker for the information. A bail condition preventing him contacting anyone from News International was imposed. Riddle also sent him to Southwark crown court on 8 March for a further hearing.

An attempt to break the political deadlock over Lord Justice Leveson's press reforms has been made as an influential Tory MP leading the support for Leveson's plans swings behind the government's proposals for a royal charter to oversee press regulation. George Eustice, one of the leaders of the seventy five Tory MPs determined to see far tighter media regulation, writes in the Gruniad Morning Star that the compromise proposal for a royal charter drawn up by the Cabinet Office minister Oliver Letwin 'represents a basis on which we can all move forward.' He makes the caveat that the government 'needs to shift its positions' to strengthen safeguards 'to protect the charter from future political meddling' and 'ensuring that a regulator will direct the size and prominence of apologies.' Tory MPs supportive of Leveson have, until now, been silent during the inter-party talks, but Eustice's intervention suggests supporters of a full-blown statutory underpinning of Leveson's proposals may struggle to command a Commons majority, and as a result a modified version of the royal charter becomes the most likely route to political consensus. Both Labour and the Liberal Democrats have said they are 'willing to study' the idea of a royal charter, but 'expressed concerns' that it could be undercut in the future by a decision of ministers in the privy council to abolish the charter and so the system of regulation. But Eustice urges compromise, saying: 'Time is an enemy in politics, so we must now make one final push for a settlement and swiftly convert what has been agreed into reality.' Letwin has proposed that a verification body set up by royal charter be empowered to recognise an independent press regulator so long as the regulator meets qualifying criteria. Eustice claims the qualifying criteria set out in Letwin's proposals are 'remarkably similar' to those proposed by Leveson. Eustice points out that the Conservative ministers have 'already embraced the principle' of statute to achieve one of Leveson's core aims. He writes that statute has been accepted 'first to create incentives for publishers to sign up to a voluntary regulator by introducing protection against exemplary fines for subscribers, and legal cost of liabilities for non-subscribers.' Eustice writes: 'The government now accepts the need for statute to achieve this and had published draft clauses which could be added to an existing government bill.' He insists agreement is in sight, adding that the press needs to be less defensive about relinquishing control to allow a genuine independent regulator to develop. But he adds: 'It also requires the government to put their foot down and make clear to the press that it is not their place to draft the royal charter.' The Eustice initiative came as the House of Lords also moved to compromise on its plans to impose part of Leveson through the unexpected vehicle of the defamation bill. Peers on Monday staged a partial climbdown in their clash with the government over the introduction of Leveson-style controls on the press. Ministers suffered a massive defeat in the Lords earlier this month when peers backed a low-cost arbitration service as recommended by Leveson. Peers voted to drop part of the amendment requiring newspapers editors to 'seek independent regulatory approval' before running certain contentious stories. The Tory former cabinet minister Lord Fowler acknowledged this 'went beyond' the Leveson report and that pre-publication checks were 'an anathema' to most journalists. The proposal was removed from the defamation bill without a vote on Monday. The bill now goes to the Commons, where ministers are likely to try to remove the remainder of the amendment altogether. There had been suggestions that the defamation bill would be ditched by the government rather than risk seeing the amendments passed. But the government is likely to have the support of Conservative MPs and possibly the Liberal Democrats who fear that the defamation bill, a self-standing reform, is being taken hostage by supporters of Leveson's report.

BT has continued its expansion into sports broadcasting, acquiring ESPN'S UK and Ireland TV channels business in a deal understood to be worth in the 'low tens of millions.' The telecoms company will continue to broadcast at least one ESPN-branded channel after the deal's expected completion date of 31 July, as part of its BT Sport package. However, ESPN Classic, which is not part of the BT deal, is expected to cease transmission across Europe, the Middle East and Africa. The value of the deal has not been disclosed but BT is understood to be paying several million smackers to acquire Disney-owned ESPN's UK and Ireland business. Disney revealed earlier this month that it was 'exploring an exit' from the UK TV sport market after ESPN lost several big broadcast rights deals including live Premier League football. The ESPN operation will be moving from Hammersmith to BT Sport's headquarters in the converted media centre in Stratford's Olympic Park. All ninety seven ESPN UK and Ireland staff are understood to have been offered the chance to transfer to BT Sport. However, the future of ESPN's presenting team is unclear, as most are understood to have contracts ending in July. The broadcaster's Premier League coverage is anchored by Ray Stubbs, with yer actual Kevin Keegan as the lead analyst and Jon Champion and Chris Waddle commentating. Until the deal is completed, the service provided to existing ESPN subscribers will remain unchanged. BT made a spectacular entry into UK TV sports rights in June last year with a seven hundred and thirty eight million smackers deal for forty six live Premier League games annually for three years from the start of the 2013-14 season in August. The latest ESPN deal will add rights to live matches from the FA Cup (for the 2013-14 season), Scottish Premier League (until 2017) and Europa League and Bundesliga (until 2015) to BT's sports portfolio. The deal also gives BT access to US sports broadcast on ESPN America, including college basketball and football, and Nascar. ESPN will continue to operate UK digital media businesses and the broadband streaming service ESPN Player. However, like ESPN Classic, ESPN America is expected to cease transmission outside the UK in the Europe, Middle East and Africa region. BT Retail's chief executive of television, Marc Watson, said: 'The FA Cup, Scottish Premier League and Europa League rights will allow us to offer customers of BT Sport even more quality live football, including our first games from the Scottish top flight and our first European competition rights. There will also be the best of US sports available courtesy of this deal, which will further broaden the appeal of BT Sport.' ESPN EMEA's managing director, Ross Hair, said: 'We could not be more proud of the TV channels built and nurtured by our talented team over the past four years. The value of that hard work is reflected in this deal with BT and the continuation of ESPN on television screens across the UK and Ireland. The same passion, commitment and innovation will be at the heart of how we develop our strong digital media business into the future.'
The Channel Four News anchor Jon Snow has described how he was 'abducted and undressed' by a member of school staff when he was six years old. In a post on the Channel Four News website on Monday, Snow said that the Jimmy Savile fiasco had 'forced him' to relive the incident from his childhood. 'This is a dramatic moment in the affairs of men and women; we shall all be tested,' he wrote. 'But don't underestimate what this time means to the abused. I know, I was six years old when a member of the domestic staff at the school, where my father taught, abducted me. He took me to his room and undressed me, and then himself. Thank heavens someone saw the abduction and eventually a member of staff intervened and rescued me. I remember to this day fretting over not being able to do my braces up. And I admit that I have found Savile regurgitating the guilt and confusion that I felt.' Snow first wrote about the encounter in his autobiography, Shooting History, published in 2004. He was moved to speak publicly about the incident on Monday in a lengthy blogpost about Britain's 'sexual watershed.' In the blogpost, he described how the aftermath of the Savile fiasco was having a 'vast effect' on abuse victims. He wrote: 'The swirl of allegation and denial that is filling the airwaves is forcing many to relive the abuse inflicted upon them. I know this in part because in a small way I too was a victim as a child.' The news anchor stressed the importance of treading with 'diligence and great care' in handling allegations of sexual assault. He added: 'No amount of effort in responding to complainants must be spared, but neither must it be allowed to become a witch-hunt. We face some delicate balances in which the welfare of many is at stake. But I suspect the journey has only just begun.' Snow went to Ardingly village school in West Sussex, where his father was headmaster. He said in his autobiography that the school's domestic quarters had a 'prison-camp feel' as he described the incident in 1953. Snow wrote in Shooting History that the man responsible was a member of domestic staff named Jim, who lived on the school grounds and had been released from a psychiatric hospital. The news host recounted how he was undressed by the man after going to his room for sweets. 'Suddenly I had no clothes on. Jim undid his trousers, and produced something which to me seemed absolutely enormous,' Snow wrote. At that moment the man was interrupted by a voice Snow identified as the school bursar. He left the room and was later told by his brother that Jim had been sacked. 'No one ever spoke to me about what happened,' Snow wrote in the book. 'Yet I can't imagine that the bursar didn't tell my parents. The next time he came to lunch he didn't look me in the eye. I felt something bad had happened, but I didn't really know what.'

One of the more curious details in The Pollard Report transcripts released on Friday was an appearance by Dame Janet Smith, the top lawyer called in by the BBC to probe the issue of how Jimmy Savile's sexual abuse went unchecked for over forty five years. She popped up at the end of BBC1 controller Danny Cohen's interview with the inquiry, admitting: 'I haven't read your statement.' Smith then proceeded to ask Cohen 'how long have you been at the BBC?' and when he answered 'five years,' she replied in surprise: 'As little as that?' She then added: 'In that case, I think I'm probably not going to keep you very long.' Then asked: 'Did you ever hear any rumours or suggestion about Jimmy Savile?' Cohen replied: 'No I didn't,' pointing out - not unreasonably - that he was a child during the majority of the period that Savile was on TV. 'Okay, I am not going to take this any further,' said Smith.

An e-mail from South Yorkshire's chief constable about the Hillsborough families' campaign has been strongly criticised by the police watchdog. David Crompton said the families' 'version of certain events has become "the truth" even though it isn't.' His e-mail, in September 2012, was sent just days before the Hillsborough report. The Independent Police Complaints Commission said the comments were 'at best ill judged and at worst offensive and upsetting.' Crompton's e-mail to his senior staff read: 'One thing is certain - the Hillsborough Campaign for Justice will be doing their version. In fact their version of certain events has become "the truth" even though it isn't! I just have the feeling that the media "machine" favours the families and not us, so we need to be a bit more innovative in our response to have a fighting chance otherwise we will just be roadkill.' The internal e-mail, which came to light following a Freedom of Information request, was sent as part of South Yorkshire Police's preparations for the publication of the Hillsborough Independent Panel report last year. When the report was published, it provoked widespread condemnation of the force's response to the disaster at Sheffield Wednesday's ground in April 1989, which left ninety six Liverpool fans dead. South Yorkshire Police's response to the tragedy is, currently, subject to a major inquiry by the IPCC. In a brief statement on Tuesday, South Yorkshire Police said: 'The chief constable apologises for this e-mail and the force continues to give its full support to the ongoing inquiries.' This followed an apology from Crompton last week when he said he had not intended 'to challenge the integrity and views of those who lost loved ones in the Hillsborough disaster.' Last month, the Police and Crime Commissioner of South Yorkshire, Shaun Wright, wrote to the IPCC when he was 'made aware' of the e-mail. IPCC Commissioner Nicholas Long said he had now written to the chief constable to 'express his concerns' about the content. He said: 'Families and individuals affected by the Hillsborough tragedy, along with the wider public, will rightly be concerned over the apparent attitude displayed by this communication within the highest ranks of the force which is currently under investigation in relation to the actions of its officers and staff around the disaster.' But Long said that while the e-mails 'have serious implications for public confidence' they do not, in and of themselves, amount to recordable conduct and the IPCC does not require a formal referral. He said he had told Wright it was his responsibility to decide what further action was appropriate.

An alleged BBC 'whistleblower' who claimed that he was 'threatened with prison' for contacting the media has denied his allegations were 'fiction.' Byron Myers, a former head of human resources at BBC Studios and Post Production, one if its commercial subsidiaries, was accused by the corporation's QC, Casper Glyn, of using the privilege of an employment tribunal to besmirch the reputation of senior staff. Glyn said: 'You manipulated, lied and deceived other people to create a fictional set of allegations.' Australian-born Myers told the hearing in Watford on Monday: 'You are entitled to your opinion, but it is wrong.' He is claiming unfair dismissal, constructive dismissal and breach of contract, setting out a number of grievances against his bosses and the senior figure who investigated his claims. Myers claims that BBC manager Craig White was signing off payments to studio staff supplied by private firms, one of which was run by his girlfriend, Jane Fleury, the managing director of First Positions. When he reported his suspicions, in 2011, he said there was a cover-up. In 2012, he went to the Daily Scum Mail, which published an article. After that Myers said the BBC responded by threatening him with 'a prison sentence' for leaking information. Myers, who was paid seven seven grand a year, also alleges that he was 'bullied' to the point where he was 'made ill' when he raised concerns about the way a pregnant woman, manager Katy Child, was being treated. After Child had put forward a job share proposal, Myers' boss, Mark Thomas, is alleged to have said: 'That bitch has had every guy in here wrapped around her finger.' Myers claimed Thomas told him he would not support Child's job-share request 'because he believed that women with child-caring responsibilities should not hold senior management positions.' In addition, he claimed Thomas belittled and humiliated him in front of work colleagues and spread a rumour that he was 'on his way out.' In the course of Monday's hearing, Glyn put it to Myers that he was 'lying to the tribunal' by making up false conversations to bolster his claims. Glyn said: 'You are cutting allegations to fit the cloth of your case.' Myers replied: 'No.' The tribunal panel was told that Ken MacQuarrie, the director of BBC Scotland, investigated Myers' claims and found that there was no case to answer. Glyn said MacQuarrie had been responsible for a damning investigation into Newsnight. He put it to Myers: 'Is Mr MacQuarrie a patsy who does not do things seriously?' Myers replied: 'He missed key corroborating evidence.' The tribunal continues.

Vulcan has topped a public vote to name two recently discovered moons of Pluto. The choice will delight Star Trek fans; Vulcan is, of course, the home planet of Mister Spock, the science officer on the Starship Enterprise. The name had originally been suggested by William Shatner, the actor who portrayed Captain Kirk in the series and several spin-off films. It was also once used as the name of a planet in Doctor Who in 1966 at a few week after Star Trek began in America. More than four hundred and fifty thousand people voted in an online poll run by the Seti institute. The California-based organisation - which searches for intelligent life in the Universe - and Doctor Mark Showalter, who led the teams that discovered the two moons, offered voters a choice of twenty one possible names. Currently, Pluto's two newly discovered moons - spotted in 2011 and 2012 - are known as P4 and P5. Leonard Nimoy, who portrayed Spock, had previously tweeted that Vulcan was the 'logical choice.' To be fair, the name Vulcan does satisfy one of the main criteria in naming celestial bodies in that it has an association with ancient myth (Vulcan was the Roman God of fire). The vote ended on Monday, with Vulcan finishing in the lead by a margin of about fifty thousand votes. The second-most-popular choice was Cerberus, the name of the multiple-headed dog which guards the gates to the Underworld in Greek myth. Both of these names will be taken to the International Astronomical Union, the body responsible for naming planetary objects. In 2006, it held a controversial vote that resulted in Pluto being stripped of its status as a planet. The icy body was subsequently reclassified as a 'dwarf planet.' It already has three named moons, Charon (named after the ferryman who ferried the dead to the underworld), Hydra (the nine-headed serpent which battled Hercules in Greco-Roman Mythology) and Nix. Named after Stevie Nicks from Fleetwood Mac. Probably.

Mo Farah's double gold medal success at the 2012 Olympics made the athlete – and his 'Mobot' victory sign – a global phenomenon: everywhere, it seems, apart from one TV station in New Orleans. After winning the city's Rock 'n' Roll half-marathon on Sunday, Farah was asked by WSDU presenter LaTonya Norton if he had ever run before. In the two-minute interview following the race, Farah was at first bemused when the presenter asked: 'Now haven't you run before?' Norton repeated the question again, asking, 'Haven't you run before? This isn't your first time?' Farah broke into a smile and replied that he had run a half-marathon before, but that this was his first time running in New Orleans. Norton, a reporter at the TV station since 2006, then congratulated Farah for winning the half-marathon and getting 'off to a great start' in his attempt to run longer distances. 'Do you have any other races coming up?' she added. Not once during the interview did Norton note Farah's five and ten thousand metres gold medal success at the London Olympics, only ever referring to him as the male winner of Sunday's half-marathon. A 'source' from Farah's agency said that they believed it was a 'a case of not knowing who they were talking to.' A producer at WSDU said that the recording had been 'taken out of context.' The Hearst-owned news station said that Norton 'knew he was an Olympian.' Norton, the producer explained, had been asking Farah not whether he had run at all, but whether this was his first time pounding the pavement in New Orleans. However, in an official statement WSDU management issued an apology: 'We regret our unfortunate phrasing of questions posed to Mr Mo Farah following his impressive victory in this past weekend's Rock 'n' Roll half-marathon in New Orleans and for not acknowledging his status as an Olympic champion. We express our sincere apology to Mr Farah and his many fans who may have been offended by our error. We hope that Mr Farah will have occasion to visit New Orleans again and that we may have the opportunity to apologise in person.'

And so, dear blog reader it's time for yer actual Keith Telly Topping's 45 of the Day. And, trust yer actual Keith Telly Topping, it's an absolute corker today. Here's Clem Burke's finest three minutes and two seconds.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

You Raise Me And Then You Let Me Fall

Al Jazeera has bought series five, six seven of Doctor Who, it was announced on Monday. The episodes were snapped up at the BBC Worldwide Showcase 2013 event and will be shown on the satellite TV broadcaster's pan-Arabic children's channel JCC, which launched in 2005 and is based in Qatar. The showcase is a four-day international TV market being held at ACC Liverpool. It started on Sunday and is welcoming some seven hundred TV buyers from around the globe. Paola Tonella, BBC Worldwide's sales and distribution territory manager for the Middle East and Africa, said: 'Drama is topping the bill at this year's showcase and it's clear that BBC Worldwide's programming, with its quality scripts and first-class production values, are extremely attractive to global buyers.' Among the star names at yesterday's gala opening were Eve Myles and Mark Williams. The showcase will also be hosting special events to both celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of Doctor Who and to spotlight the natural-history documentary series Africa. Steve Macallister, the president and managing director of sales and distribution at BBC Worldwide, said: 'In another record-breaking year, we welcome our largest number of buyers to Liverpool - up by ten per cent on last year - and we have two brilliant programme-themed evenings planned. Africa is certain to capture the imagination of our delegates, as it has the British public over the past few weeks. What a perfect opportunity to also celebrate the world's longest-running sci-fi series with Doctor Who in its fiftieth year.'

The Hour and The Thick of It actor Peter Capaldi is to star in a new ten-part BBC1 adaptation of Alexandre Dumas' novel The Three Musketeers. Capaldi will play the shadowy Cardinal Richelieu in The Musketeers, with Skins actor Luke Pasqualino as D'Artagnan. The drama is due to be broadcast in 2014 and has been written by BAFTA winner Adrian Hodges. Hodges said he was 'thrilled' the actors have committed to his 'modern and original take on this great story.' The Musketeers will be played by Great Expectations actor Tom Burke as Athos, Santiago Cabrera from Merlin as Aramis, and Howard Charles, who has acted with the Royal Shakespeare Company, as Porthos. Tamla Kari from The Inbetweeners Movie, Maimie McCoy from Loving Miss Hatto and Bedlam's Hugo Speer will also star in the series, which begins filming in March. Hodges co-created the ITV SF adventure drama Primeval and wrote the screenplay for the 2011 film My Week With Marilyn. Speaking about The Musketeers, he said: 'This series is all about passion, romance, heroism and action, and I can't think of a better group of actors to embody those diverse qualities.' The story is set in Seventeenth Century Paris and follows a crack team of soldiers and bodyguards to King Louis XIII. It recounts the adventures of a young, skilled fighter from rural Gascony called D'Artagnan, who dreams of joining The Musketeers of the Guard and meets the trio on a journey to right the wrong of his father's death.

It was a trifle unfortunate - if, admittedly, sodding hilarious - for ITV's Twatting About On Ice that its biggest-name contestant was voted out in the first week of the 2013 series. Just over five million viewers watched its latest results shows on Sunday a sign of the way in which the appalling drivel of a series has struggled. Eight million sad and desperate punters watched Pamela Anderson in the opening episode of the eighth series of Twatting About On Ice on 6 January, with another 7.2 million watching the large-breasted former Baywatch star's exit a few hours later. But by Sunday night's eighth outing for the current series, ratings for the main Twatting About On Ice show had fallen to an average of 6.25 million between 6.15pm and 7.45pm, with just 4.93 million for Twatting About On Ice: The Skate Off between 8.30pm and 9pm. The sliding ratings has prompted speculation the show, hosted by the prime minister's bestest chum, Phillip Schofield and the curiously orange Christine Bleakley, may have twatted about its last, on ice or indeed elsewhere. Twatting About On Ice's early evening outing still had the better of the second half of new BBC1 series Deadly Sixty On A Mission, in which Steve Backshall hunts down the world's sixty most dangerous animals. No one knows why. It began with 3.5 million viewers, down thirty three per cent on the BBC1 slot average over the last three months. The BBC News followed with 4.9 million between 6.35pm and 7pm, but Twatting About On Ice was comfortably thrashed from 7pm onwards by Countryfile, with 7.11 million between 7pm and 8pm. The Twatting About On Ice results show predictably had it ass beaten hollow by BBC1's all-conquering drama Call The Midwife, with 8.63 million viewers, between 8pm and 9pm. BBC1's crime drama Ripper Street, recently commissioned for a second series, ended its first with a steady 5.11 million viewers between 9pm and 10pm. Rival ITV drama Mr Selfridge won the slot with 5.65 million viewers. The ITV drama is also returning for another series next year. In the same time slot, Professor Brian Cox's Wonders of Life came to the end of its five-part run on BBC2 with a more-than-decent average of 2.5 million viewers (including BBC HD viewers). Top Gear was, again, BBC2's most popular show of the night (and, indeed, the week) with 5.2m viewers (once again including BBC HD figures). Channel Four's new cookery series, Ottolenghi's Mediterranean Feast, began with but seven hundred thousand viewers between 7pm and 8pm. It had the misfortune of going up against BBC1's Countryfile – enough to put anyone off their nosh. Swansea's 5-0 trousers-down hiding of Bradford City in the League Cup final (or, whatever they're calling it this year) had an average of 2.06 million viewers across three hours of coverage on Sky Sports 1 between 3.30pm and 6.30pm. The football had a five-minute peak of 2.7 million viewers. Match of the Day 2 - led by coverage of yer actual Keith Telly Topping's beloved Magpies giving The saints their marching orders was seen by 2.42m viewers on BBC1, and then the BBC's highlights of Swansea's stroll to victory was watched by just under a million punters. Overall, BBC1 scored a comfortable victory in Sunday primetime with 25.4 per cent of the audience share over ITV's 17.6 per cent.
Ant and/or Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway returned with big ratings on Saturday night, pulling in the biggest audience of the evening for the launch episode of the tenth series. After a three-year hiatus, the cheeky chappie double act brought back their hit entertainment format and beat off competition from BBC1's Let's Dance For Comic Relief in the overnight ratings. Saturday Night Takeaway had an average audience of 6.45 million for ITV from 7pm. Let's Dance was watched by 5.05 million at the same time on BBC1. Odious risible Take Me Out had a disappointingly good evening on ITV with an average of 4.1 million sad crushed victims of society. It rather shatters ones faith in humanity, does it not, dear blog reader? Meanwhile, BBC1 had an audience of in 4.98 million for Casualty and 4.74 million for a repeat of Mrs Brown's Boys. Dad's Army remains popular on BBC2 and attracted 1.82 million in the early evening, while eight hundred thousand punters tuned in for the movie Terminator Salvation on Channel Four. Channel Five's NCIS and Law & Order: Criminal Intent remained the channel's biggest weekend hitters with audiences of 1.06 and 1.05 million. Elsewhere, BBC4's cult French crime drama Spiral attracted three hundred and fifty six thousand punters at 9pm.

Meanwhile, here's the final and consolidated ratings figures for week ending 17 February 2013:-
1 Call The Midwife - BBC1 Sun - 10.15m
2 Coronation Street - ITV Mon - 9.83m
3 EastEnders - BBC1 Mon - 8.69m
4 Emmerdale - ITV Mon - 7.78m
5 Death In Paradise - BBC1 Tues - 7.49m
6 Lewis - ITV Mon - 7.48m
7 Mr Selfridge - ITV Sun - 7.22m
8 Twatting About On Ice - ITV Sun - 6.99m
9 Let's Dance For Comic Relief - BBC1 Sat - 6.98m
10 Countryfile - BBC1 Sun - 6.79m
11 Casualty - BBC1 Sat - 6.23m
12 Ripper Street - BBC1 Sun - 6.10m
13 The National Lottery: In It To Win It - BBC1 Sat - 5.88m
14 Penguins: Spy In The Huddle - BBC1 Mon - 5.73m
15 Ten O'Clock News - BBC1 Thurs - 5.71m
16 Six O'Clock News - BBC1 Wed - 5.55m
17 Top Gear - BBC2/BBC HD - 5.31m
18 Holby City - BBC1 Tues - 5.20m
19 BBC News - BBC1 Sun - 5.06m
20 The ONE Show - BBC1 Mon - 4.87m
21 All Star Family Fortunes - ITV Sun - 4.83m
22 Mrs Brown's Boys - BBC1 Sat - 4.80m
23 Pointless Celebrities - BBC1 Sat - 4.70m
24 My Big Fat Gypsy Valentine - Channel Four Mon - 4.46m

Yer actual Daniel Day-Lewis has made Oscars history by becoming the first person to win the best male actor prize three times. Day-Lewis, who had been the runaway favourite, was rewarded for his role in Steven Spielberg's Lincoln. 'I really don't know how any of this happened. I do know I've received much more than my fair share of good fortune in my life,' he said. Ben Affleck's Iran-set rescue thriller Argo beat Lincoln to the top prize for best picture. In a live broadcast from The White House, Michelle Obama joined Jack Nicholson to present the best picture award at the end of the night. Argo, directed by and starring Affleck, is the first best picture winner not to have also been nominated for best director since 1989's Driving Miss Daisy. Ceremony host Seth MacFarlane joked at the start of the ceremony: 'Argo's story is so top-secret that its director remains unknown to the Academy.' Accepting his award alongside fellow producers George Clooney and Grant Heslov, Affleck paid tribute to the 'genius' Steven Spielberg, who lost out in the same category. Referring to his previous Oscar success with 1997's Good Will Hunting, Affleck said: 'I never thought I would be back here and I am because of so many of you who are here tonight. It doesn't matter how you get knocked down in life, all that matters is that you get up.' Day-Lewis previously won best actor for My Left Foot (in 1990) and There Will Be Blood (2008) and has a reputation for immersing himself in his roles. This year's victory puts Day-Lewis ahead of Hollywood legends Spencer Tracey, Jack Nicholson, Marlon Brando, Dustin Hoffman and Tom Hanks - who all have two best actor wins to their names. Jennifer Lawrence won best actress for her role as a troubled young widow in Silver Linings Playbook. The twenty two-year-old, who stumbled over her dress on her way to the stage, joked: 'You guys are just standing up because you feel bad that I fell over and that's embarrassing.' Surveying the audience in Hollywood's Dolby Theatre, she added: 'This is nuts.' It was the first Oscar win for Lawrence, who was previously nominated for best actress in 2011 for her performance in Winter's Bone. Anne Hathaway won best supporting actress for her role as tragic factory worker Fantine in movie musical Les Miserables. Hathaway's version of 'I Dreamed a Dream' had made her an Oscar favourite. 'It came true,' the actress said when she collected her statuette. Hathaway's Oscar was her first after previously nominated in 2008 for Rachel Getting Married. She said: 'Here's hoping that someday in the not too distant future, the misfortunes of Fantine will only be found in stories and not in real life.' British singer Adele won the Oscar for best original song for her James Bond theme 'Skyfall', which she also performed during the show. She struggled through tears, snivelling miserably and letting the whole side down as she thanked the Bond producers and her co-writer Paul Epworth, who collected the award alongside her. Ang Lee won his second Oscar for directing Life of Pi, the adaption of Yann Martel's fantasy novel about a boy stranded in a lifeboat with a Bengal tiger. The film won four Oscars in total, more than any other film. The Taiwanese-born director, who won previously for Brokeback Mountain in 2006, exclaimed: 'Thank you, movie God!' Life of Pi also picked up technical Oscars for cinematography, original score and visual effects. Christoph Waltz won his second Oscar for best supporting actor in a Quentin Tarantino film, this time for playing a German bounty hunter in the slave revenge saga Django Unchained. Collecting the award, Waltz offered thanks to his character Doctor King Schultz and to 'his creator and the creator of his awe-inspiring world, Quentin Tarantino.' The Austrian actor won his first Oscar as a Nazi colonel in Tarantino's Inglourious Basterds in 2010. Tarantino won the original screenplay prize for Django Unchained, adding to the Oscar he won for writing Pulp Fiction in 1994. 'I have to cast the right people to make those characters come alive and boy this time did I do it,' he said. The best adapted screenplay Oscar went to Chris Terrio for Argo, while Pixar's Scottish adventure Brave won best animated feature. The award for costume design went to Briton Jacqueline Durran for Anna Karenina, who described the win as 'completely overwhelming' and paid tribute to her children, who were 'fast asleep in England.' The make-up and hairstyling award went to fellow Brits Lisa Westcott and Julie Dartnell for Les Miserables. Tom Hooper's musical also picked up the Oscar for sound mixing. Unusually, there was a tie in the sound editing category - the Oscar was shared by Zero Dark Thirty and Skyfall. Searching for Sugar Man, which tells the story of musician Rodriguez who disappeared from public view in the early 1970s but developed a cult following in South Africa, won the Oscar for best documentary. Producer Simon Chinn said: 'Rodriguez isn't here tonight because he didn't want to take any of the credit himself.' Austrian drama Amour won the Oscar for best foreign language film. The French-language film, directed by Michael Haneke, portrays the indignities of an elderly Parisian couple - Anne and Georges - as they cope with Anne's wish to die after a stroke. The show also included a tribute to the James Bond franchise, followed by an appearance by Dame Shirley Bassey, who sang her theme song to Goldfinger. A salute to movie musicals saw Chicago Oscar-winner Catherine Zeta-Jones and Dreamgirls winner Jennifer Hudson join Les Miserables cast members Hugh Jackman, Anne Hathaway, Russell Crowe, Helena Bonham Carter and Amanda Seyfried on stage. During the section of the show that pays tribute to those who died in 2012, Barbra Streisand sang the late Marvin Hamlisch's 'The Way We Were', from the 1973 romantic drama in which she starred with Robert Redford. It was Streisand's first Oscars performance for thirty six years.

Pan-European broadcaster RTL reported record revenues of nearly six billion Euros in 2012 but profits took a tumble for the Britain's Got Talent and American Idol co-producer. RTL, the former owner of Channel Five, had revenues of €5.99bn, up four per cent on 2011, but pre-tax profits fell 18.9 per cent the previous year, according to its full-year results published on Monday. Overall, reported earnings before interest, taxation and amortisation fell 4.9 per cent, with net profit down 13.2 per cent to six hundred and ninety million Euros. The company doubled its dividend per share, from €5.10 to €10.50. The company described an 'increasingly challenging economic environment', with higher revenues from its production arm Fremantle Media and its German TV channels but worsening market conditions elsewhere in Europe. Fremantle Media co-owns American Idol with Nineteen Entertainment and co-produces Britain's Got Talent and The X Factor through its UK production subsidiary Thames with Wee Shughie McFee, the sour faced Scottish chef off Crossroads' company, Syco. The Fremantle global production business increased its revenues by 19.7 per cent year-on-year, but earnings before interest, taxation and amortisation slipped 3.5 per cent to one hundred and thirty eight million Wuros. RTL blamed the fall on 'continued pressure from broadcasters on margins and volumes.' Privately owned German company Bertelsmann owns 92.3 per cent of RTL, but is considering reducing its stake to about seventy five per cent in an two billion Euro equity sale. While the German TV advertising market was slightly up year-on-year, France, the Netherlands and Belgium were all down with a 'more pronounced decline' in Spain, Hungary and Croatia. RTL's German TV business saw revenues grow 3.7 per cent to 1.98bn Euros and operating profits up 9.8 per cent. Fremantle Media's revenues were driven by growth in the US, Britain, Germany and Asia-Pacific. It was responsible for more than nine thousand one hundred hours of programming across sixty two countries in 2012. The X Factor, not the force it once was in the UK, has now been produced in thirty five countries, adding another six in 2012 including Indonesia and the Philippines, and sold to more than forty. Fremantle's ... Got Talent format added another seven territories, including Ecuador and Nigeria, taking its total to fifty two. RTL formats include The Price is Right, which is still on daytime television in the US after forty years, and its reality show The Farmer Wants a Wife, which failed to take off in the UK but is very popular elsewhere. Other UK shows include vile and dreadful Keith Lemon's Celebrity Juice on ITV2 and ITV's odious, risible dating show, Take Me Out. Both Britain's Got Talent and The X Factor UK surpassed one billion views on YouTube last year, two of one hundred and one YouTube channels operated by Fremantle Media. In a joint statement, RTL's co-chief executives Anke Schaferkordt and Guillaume de Posch said the company had 'once again demonstrated that it can operate successfully even in a very challenging economic environment. Looking ahead to 2013, economic conditions remain challenging, in line with local market conditions, and visibility continues to be limited. Facing this environment, we have a clear focus on maintaining our leadership positions and delivering financially while pursuing opportunities in broadcasting, content and digital which will develop the business further in future years.'

Meanwhile, Wee Shughie McFee, the sour-faced Scottish chef off Crossroads is alleged to be developing a new Saturday night entertainment show, a tabloid report has claimed. The TV and music mogul and sour-faced Scottish chef is alleged to be working on a new format for ITV that will 'mash-up' classic TV shows such as The Generation Game and Noel's House Party, according to the Daily Lies. So, not very original, then? Mind you, this is the Daily Lies we're talking about. If they told this blogger black was darker than white I'd ask for a second opinion. Wee Shughie McFee, the sour-faced Scottish chef off Crossroads' latest TV project - the Carol Vorderman-hosted cookery series Food Glorious Food - launches on Wednesday night. Wee Shughie McFee, the sour-faced Scottish chef off Crossroads is currently working on a new series of Britain's Got Toilets and is expected to revamp The X Factor line-up and format for its upcoming tenth series. Wee Shughie McFee, the sour-faced Scottish chef off Crossroads' last new UK TV project, game show (and horrorshow) Red or Black?, amusingly flopped flat on its collective boat-race on ITV and was dropped after its second series.
The Sun on Sunday appears to have morphed over the past month into the Scum of the World in everything but name. It has returned to the agenda of News International's late, hugely unlamented Sunday tabloid. Three weeks ago the splash was a celebrity 'confession' about some z-list pop star's 'wild night with a stripper.' Two weeks ago, the lead was a rather sickeningly obvious kiss and tell (a woman telling tales about The Scum's Patrice Evra). Last week, a page one blurb headlined My love for Ashley by topless bisexual nympho alerted the newspapers readers (or, at least, those who buy it and look at the pictures, anyway) to an inside spread in which a woman told of her relationship with another footballer, Moscow Chelski FC's Ashley Cole. But they were mere pointers to this Sunday's confirmation of the new Scum of the World: a classic sting by The Fake Sheikh (Mazher Mahmood). Billed as 'a world exclusive' (though one can't for a second imagine that anyone else would be fighting to get it), the story was given five pages. It claims to have exposed a former world heavyweight boxing champion, Herbie Hide, 'as a drug Mr Fixit ready to throw a title fight for one million pounds.' It is a somewhat typical Mahmood 'investigation.' Hide, now forty one, who last fought in the ring three years ago, was 'approached' by reporters posing as businessmen 'interested in organising exhibition bouts in the Middle East.' He was secretly filmed agreeing, in return for a million smackers, to throw a fight. He was also persuaded to procure four grams of cocaine 'when our reporter suggested that cocaine was not readily available in Norwich.' Unlike, say, Delia Smith's fairy cakes which are ten-a-penny there. According to the Mahmood article, Hide 'called a friend' who turned up with the drugs (which, upon further investigation, turned out to be a mixture of cocaine and mephedrone - so it's even fake Charlie). And in classic fashion, the last couple of paragraphs tell how the the Scum on Sunday has 'passed its dossier' to the police. The rest of the story was remarkably similar to that of the old Scum of the World, which was shut down in disgrace and ignominy on billionaire tyrant Rupert Murdoch's orders in July 2011 following the confirmation of its wicked phone-hacking activities. On page three of the latest issue were pictures of a celebrity in a bikini on a Caribbean beach, one of which showed her two children (isn't that supposed to be against the editors' code?) There was also some shitehawk 'exclusive' spread about Katie Price being pregnant as if anyone other than Ms Price herself gives a frig about such nonsense. A serious spread, with editorials and Guido Fawkes's political gossip column, featured a lengthy 'exclusive' article by the chancellor, George Osborne, explaining the significance of Britain losing its AAA rating. And on it went, through a couple more celebrity spreads, an odd tale of woman alleged to be 'tanorexic' and a much more serious spread about a woman, now forty three, describing the abuse she suffered at the hands of her stepfather when she was thirteen. Gradually, in a post-Leveson environment, the paper has become indistinguishable from the Scum of the World. The advantage for billionaire tyrant Murdoch is that it's much, much cheaper to produce and, of course, it's hacking-free. At least, as far as we know.
Sir Denis Forman, the former Granada TV chairman who was responsible for bringing programmes such as Coronation Street to the screen, has died aged ninety five. The TV executive died on Sunday at a nursing home in London. Sir Denis was one of the founding executives of Granada TV in the mid-1950s and served as its chairman from 1974 to 1987. Other series he oversaw included World in Action, The Jewel in the Crown and Brideshead Revisited. Born in Dumfries, Sir Denis moved into the TV and film industry after World War II, when he lost a leg at the Battle of Monte Cassino in Italy. He joined the British Film Institute as chief production officer in the Central Office of Information's film division before being appointed its director from 1948 to 1955. Joining Granada TV at its launch in 1956 as one of the founding executives, he also oversaw such shows as What The Papers Say, A Family at War and The Verdict is Yours, a series of fictional trials improvised by the actors and featuring a real jury. ITV director of television Peter Fincham said: 'Sir Denis Forman was one of the great pioneers of British broadcasting. He made a lasting contribution to quality drama and investigative journalism being at the helm of Granada Television for the commissioning of Coronation Street, and responsible for programmes such as World in Action, Seven Up, Jewel in the Crown and Brideshead Revisited. He was a remarkable man and will be sadly missed.' Forman also wrote three memoirs, one of which was made into a film - 1999's My Life So Far starring Colin Firth and Malcolm McDowell. He later served as the deputy chairman of the Royal Opera House from 1983 to 1991. He is survived by his second wife, Moni, two sons and two step-children.

Swansea City secured the first major trophy in their one hundred and one-year history as League Two Bradford City were thrashed in the Capital One Cup final at Wembley on Sunday. The Bantams had beaten Premier League trio Wigan Athletic, Arsenal and Aston Villa as well as Championship side Watford on the way to becoming the first side from English football's fourth tier to reach a domestic cup final since 1962. But Swansea proved a step too far and there was to be no storybook ending to this remarkable campaign as Bradford were taken apart by Michael Laudrup's side en route to the biggest win in the final of this competition. The Bantams were swiftly out of their depth and goals from Nathan Dyer and Michu gave Swansea a comfortable half-time lead that was no more than their ordered passing game merited. Dyer's second goal just after half-time removed any remaining doubt about the destination of the trophy and a thoroughly chastening experience for Bradford was encapsulated by Swansea's fourth on the hour. Goalkeeper Matt Duke, a hero of the run to Wembley, was sent off for bringing down Jonathan de Guzman, who scored from the spot. De Guzman added his own second in stoppage time - not that this stopped Bradford's supporters rising to acclaim the team that has given them and their city so much to be proud of as they went up to collect their runners-up medals. The victory capped a fine first season in South Wales for Laudrup after he succeeded Brendan Rodgers in the summer. The Dane, along with chairman Huw Jenkins, can now plan for a campaign in next season's Europa League. It is back to the business of reaching the League Two play-offs for Bradford - but they can still reflect on this achievement with great satisfaction after illuminating the season with one its most heart-warming stories.

Success had still not quite sunk in for Becky James as she travelled back to the British Cycling team's hotel after leaving the Minsk Arena for the final time on Sunday. 'I am a world champion,' she kept repeating to herself. 'I have to keep telling myself that this is really happening to me.' She has the gold medals to prove it. James may have missed the Olympics party but, with two world titles and four medals in total, she started her own in Belarus. While James's emergence on the world stage is the perfect way for British Cycling to begin life after London 2012, it is certainly not the only reason to feel cheerful at the start of the journey to Rio 2016. Britain topped the medal table in Minsk with a total of nine medals (five gold, two silver and two bronze) from nineteen events. When you only count the current Olympic events, that ratio climbs to seven out of ten, and four victories. We were told performances were what mattered this time around rather than results, but results arrived too. They are even more impressive when you consider the number of established stars - from Victoria Pendleton and Sir Chris Hoy, to Geraint Thomas and Jo Rowsell - who were absent this week, with some gone for good from the track. And, to put it in perspective, Britain only managed two world golds the last time they started a new Olympic cycle in Poland in 2009. 'Things went better this time than anyone could have hoped for before we came here,' said Olympic champion and BBC analyst Chris Boardman. 'Across the board, a lot of young riders are coming through.' 'Not everything went according to plan, of course. But the upside about what went wrong is that there is still more than three years to put it right. It would be easy to brush the one or two dodgy performances under the carpet, but that won't happen,' double Olympic medal winner and BBC Radio 5Live co-commentator Rob Hayles said. 'Any mistakes will be looked at in detail. Overall, though, I think the British coaches will be happy. The strength in depth we have got with these new riders is incredible.'

Fragments of an ancient continent are buried beneath the floor of the Indian Ocean, a study suggests. Researchers have found evidence for a landmass that would have existed between two thousand and eighty five million years ago. The strip of land, which scientists have called Mauritia, eventually fragmented and vanished beneath the waves as the modern world started to take shape. The study is published in the journal Nature Geoscience. Until about seven hundred and fifty million years ago, the Earth's landmass was gathered into a vast single continent called Rodinia. And although they are now separated by thousands of kilometres of ocean, India was once located next to Madagascar. Now researchers believe they have found evidence of a sliver of continent - known as a microcontinent - that was once tucked between the two. The team came to this conclusion after studying grains of sand from the beaches of Mauritius. While the grains dated back to a volcanic eruption that happened about nine million years ago, they contained minerals that were much older. Professor Trond Torsvik, from the University of Oslo said: 'We found zircons that we extracted from the beach sands, and these are something you typically find in a continental crust. They are very old in age.' The zircon dated to between nineteen hundred and seventy and six hundred million years ago, and the team concluded that they were remnants of ancient land that had been dragged up to the surface of the island during a volcanic eruption. Professor Torsvik said that he believed pieces of Mauritia could be found about ten kilometres down beneath Mauritius and under a swathe of the Indian Ocean. It would have spanned millions years of history, from the Precambrian Era when land was barren and devoid of life to the age when dinosaurs roamed the Earth. But about eighty five million years ago, as India started to drift away from Madagascar towards its current location, the microcontinent would have broken up, eventually disappearing beneath the waves. However, a small part could have survived. 'At the moment the Seychelles is a piece of granite, or continental crust, which is sitting practically in the middle of the Indian Ocean,' explained Torsvik. 'But once upon a time, it was sitting North of Madagascar. And what we are saying is that maybe this was much bigger, and there are many of these continental fragments that are spread around in the ocean.' Further research is needed to fully investigate what remains of this lost region. Torsvik explained: 'We need seismic data which can image the structure. This would be the ultimate proof. Or you can drill deep, but that would cost a lot of money.'

Last evening, together with his good mates Jeff and Billy, yer actual Keith Telly Topping attended another one of Uncle Scunthorpe's Record Player events. 'But wait a minute Keith Telly Topping,' I hear you bellow, 'I thought they were always on a Thursday.' Well, yes, they usually are, dear blog reader and, indeed, this coming Thursday we'll all be back at the Tyneside for the playing of two of yer actual Keith Telly Topping's most favouritist LPs of all time, bar none, Sound Affects and Unknown Pleasures. Monday night's event, however, was a little different, one of a series of four monthly shows at the Live Theatre, just off the back of the Quayside to celebrate the fortieth anniversary of the venue. So, all of the LPs being featured are from 1973 and it kicked off with an inevitable playing of yer actual Dark Side of the, if you will, Moon. Which, I have to say, sounds better and better every time I hear it these days. So, anyway, that was a really nice bonus night out and many, many thanks to the lovely Jeff for providing yer actual Keith Telly Topping with a spare ticket. People are nice, dear blog reader. Sometimes.

Which bring us to yer actual Keith Telly Topping's 45 of the Day and yer actual Keith Telly Topping is on something of an early eighties 'slightly weird electro pop' vibe at the moment. Don't know why, really (these things go in cycles, I suppose). So, here's a little classic from Blancmange. 'Up and down, I'm up the wall, I'm up the bloody tree!'