Saturday, February 02, 2013

I Heard A Rumour

Yer actual Matt Smith and David Tennant his very self are among the famous names appearing in a BBC trailer for this year's Red Nose Day fund-raiser. The Comic Relief charity event, which marks its twenty fifth anniversary this year, takes place on Friday 15 March, with a BBC1 telethon lasting about ninety seven hours and highlighting the good work being done for charriddee. In the trailer, narrated by Jon Culshaw, Smudger says he will decide what he will do for Red Nose Day when he gets his fund-raising kit, and Tennant is shown briefly while on a charriddee visit to Africa.
Meanwhile, yer actual Mark Gatiss has claimed he has wanted to write the upcoming Doctor Who biopic docudrama An Adventure in Space and Time 'for years.' The play focuses on the making of the creation and first series of the BBC's long-running popular family SF drama, and coincides with the show's fiftieth anniversary in November. Speaking to the Radio Times, Gatiss revealed: 'I've been trying to do this [project] for years - I tried to do it for the fortieth anniversary! And before that, really - it's taken about twelve years.' Acclaimed stage and film actor David Bradley has been cast in the role of first Doctor William Hartnell, and Gatiss admitted that he has had the actor in mind for the part for a long time. The Sherlock co-creator said of the project: 'It's a real labour of love for me and I'm just really thrilled that everything's come together for the fiftieth. It just seems exactly the right time, and a wonderful cast and it's a very lovely story.' Gatiss has also written for the upcoming eight-episode run of Doctor Who, which will begin in March on BBC1 and BBC America.

Britain's Got Talent is expected to go head-to-head once again with The Voice when both shows return in the spring. The rival talent contests were involved in a much-hyped scheduling clash last year, ultimately won by ITV's Britain's Got Talent after the BBC challenger's initial surge of popularity. However, it has been claimed BBC chiefs are 'confident' of The Voice's chances and have pitted its first live show against the final of BGT's seventh series. 'Putting The Voice's first live show up against the Britain's Got Talent final is a bold move,' an alleged, anonymous, and almost certainly fictitious 'source' allegedly told the Sun. 'But The Voice is coming back stronger this year and bosses are confident any teething problems experienced last time have been erased.' A spokesperson for the BBC has said: 'The Voice series two live shows will start on 8 June. We aren't aware of a date for the Britain's Got Talent final.' I'll bet they are, though!
The first person to be prosecuted as part of the investigation into payments by journalists to officials has been sentenced to fifteen months doing porridge and will, likely, at this very moment, be slopping out before a jaunt around the exercise yard. Detective Chief Inspector April Casburn, from Essex, was convicted last month of misconduct in public office. She had called the Scum of the World after the inquiry into hacking by the tabloid reopened in 2010. The counter-terrorism officer had claimed that she contacted the paper in the public interest. The jury, however, did not believe a word of this garbage and considered that she had been motivated by nothing more than sheer greed. At her sentencing, Mr Justice Fulford told her it was 'a corrupt attempt to make money out of sensitive and potentially very damaging information.' Casburn is in the process of adopting a child, and the judge said had that not been the case she would have been sentenced to three years. The judge said her crime could not be described as whistle-blowing. 'If the News of the World had accepted her offer, it's clear, in my view, that Ms Casburn would have taken the money and, as a result, she posed a significant threat to the integrity of this important police investigation,' he said. The disgraced and disgraceful Sunday tabloid was closed down - in shame and ignominy - in 2011 amid outrage over its hacking into the voicemails of politicians, celebrities and the victims and families of victims of crime. Casburn's trial heard that in September 2010 Casburn contacted the Scum of the World, days after Scotland Yard reopened its inquiry. The newspaper did not print a story after the call and no money changed hands. The crime happened when Casburn, from Hatfield Peverel, was managing the national terrorist financial investigation unit. Southwark Crown Court heard one of her team had been asked to carry out financial investigations as part of the inquiry into phone hacking. The detective, at the time the most senior female investigator in Scotland Yard's counter terrorism command, denied asking for cash - and claimed that she had contacted the newspaper 'out of the public interest' and because she'd got the hump at John Prescott demanding the police take action over his phone being hacked. At her trial, Casburn said she was angry that her superiors had decided to divert officers from counter terrorism. Ahead of sentencing, Casburn's defence team told the judge her only offence was 'being very unhappy at work and making a mad telephone call' to the Scum of the World. They forgot to add that her other 'only offence' about her asking for cash for grassing up details about a case fellow officers were working on, of course. Her arrest was one of fifty nine made under Operation Elveden. Elveden is running alongside the Operation Weeting inquiry into phone hacking, and Operation Tuleta into allegations that computers were hacked to obtain private information. Evidence in the trial was provided to police by News Corporation's management standards committee, which was set up in the wake of the phone-hacking scandal at its Scum of the World newspaper.

The former Scum of the World reporter whose evidence contributed to the jailing of Casburn has launched a scathing attack on the paper's owner, News Corporation, for its role in the case. Tim Wood is said to be 'furious' that News Corp, the owner of the disgraced and disgraceful tabloid, handed over an e-mail he had written, which Justice Fulford said was 'crucial' to Casburn's conviction and imprisonment. Wood was the journalist who took the call when Casburn phoned the Scum of the World early one Saturday morning on September 2010 to tip off the paper that Scotland Yard was launching a new phone-hacking investigation. He told the Exaro News website that the decision by News Corp's management and standards committee to hand over the e-mail about the details of his phone conversation with Casburn to the Met was 'a betrayal' of one of the most basic principles of journalism, which is 'always to protect the source' of a story. A story which, of course, the Scum of the World never prints so, therefore, she wasn't the source of a story, merely the source of some potentially damaging information. Minor point but, one worth making, I feel. 'The MSC was established to counter damaging claims of a cover-up at News International over phone-hacking,' Wood told Exaro News. 'But I believe that it has gone too far, betraying more confidential sources than any other body or person in the history of journalism.' The MSC, set up by News Corp to deal with the phone-hacking scandal, has been handing over e-mails to Scotland Yard since 2011 when News International, the UK publishing arm of Murdoch's empire, decided after several years of rank denial to change its tack and 'co-operate fully' with police amid mounting public criticism that it had tried to cover up criminality at the Sunday tabloid. This information has resulted in the arrest of dozens of current and former News International journalists, including twenty two from the Sun. Wood said in his thirty-year reporting career he has been quizzed four times about his sources by police but has not once breached the 'tenet of journalism,' which is never to reveal sources. He added that the MSC's decision to hand over evidence which can, potentially, lead to sources being identified threatens the work of all journalists. 'The MSC's betrayal threatens the confidence of any future source who is thinking of going to News International's four newspapers and hoping to remain anonymous,' Wood said. 'It also threatens the ability of reporters on the publisher's titles – the Sun, The Times and their sister Sundays – to operate effectively in the future. Indeed, the MSC's actions jeopardise the work of all journalists.' Fortunately, no one in the real world gives a frigging stuff about bollocks like that or all this whinging about the jailing of someone who broke the bloody law. Wood was coming to the end of his night shift just before 8am on 11 September 2010 when he took the call from Casburn and quickly wrote an e-mail memo to his boss and the paper's crime editor detailing the conversation. During her trial, the jury heard that Casburn did not give Wood her name during the phone call, but left a mobile phone number which was later traced by Scotland Yard detectives to her personal handset. Neither Wood nor any of his superiors acted on the call, suspecting it was a 'sting operation' as the caller was phoning looking for money about an investigation into the paper. 'My immediate reaction was that this was a sting or crank call. She could hardly be a senior police officer in reality, I thought,' Wood said. 'I spoke to the news editor, Ian Edmondson, who was also suspicious. He told me to e-mail the details to him and the crime editor, Lucy Panton. I did this, and thought no more of it.' Wood heard nothing more of the e-mail until he was contacted by police eighteen months later. When he arrived at Snow Hill station in Farringdon, he was handed the e-mail memo he had written to Edmondson and Panton. He said he expected News International to step in with help 'but none was forthcoming.' The National Union of Journalists told him that News International had 'compromised' him and he had no choice but to be a witness. Journalists covering Casburn's case were surprised that Wood was the prosecution's prime witness as there have been numerous previous examples of newspapers, including the Gruniad Morning Star, The Times and the Financial Times, risking sequestration of assets or journalists risking imprisonment for refusal to reveal sources. Mr Justice Fulford, who presided over the Casburn case, said he had 'no difficulty' believing the accuracy of Wood's e-mail note of the conversation with the DCI. 'It seems to me Mr Wood was a reliable, honest and disinterested witness. He took the time and trouble doing the telephone call to find out in detail what Ms Casburn was [offering]. He had no reason to lie and every cause to be cautious given the risk that the newspaper was about to become victim to a sting as he suspected,' Fulford said. Wood told Exaro on Friday that Casburn was not seeking money for a story but 'seeking reward in return for information that might help a large corporation defend itself against damaging allegations.'

Meanwhile, the Metropolitan police have arrested a thirty three-year-old serving specialist officer as part of an investigation into allegations of corrupt payments from journalists. The man was arrested in a dawn raid at 5.45am at his home in Barnet, on suspicion of misconduct in public office. Scotland Yard said the man was a serving officer in the Met's specialist crime and operations command based in London. The officer is the fifty ninth arrest as part of the Operation Elveden inquiry into inappropriate payments to police and public officials. He is being interviewed at a north London police station and his property is being searched. Scotland Yard said the arrest was as a result of information provided by News Corporation's management and standards committee, which is carrying out an internal review of e-mails and records at billionaire tyrant Rupert Murdoch's British newspaper group. The force added in a statement: 'It relates to suspected payments to a police officer and is not about seeking journalists to reveal confidential sources in relation to information that has been obtained legitimately.'

Eddie Izzard has hinted that he may attempt a career in politics in a few years' time. Secretary of State Jeff, Minister for Biscuits, something like that. Sounds plausible. The comedian revealed that he would like to do 'something decent' in the political world, which this blogger reckons is a contradiction in terms but, I could be wrong, and hopes to 'fight for humanity' in 2020. A bit like the queen fighting the crazy dog. With a handbag with a brick in it. He said: 'It is seven years ahead but I am a transvestite with a career – you have to plan. I will put comedy in hibernation if I can do something decent in politics.' He added: 'I saw one poster during a marathon saying "One life, live it" so that is what I'm trying to do. I am going to fight for humanity. I am proud to be British and European. I want us to be one and all of us doing well, not just one small group. I think I can get elected. People will grumble and say, "Oh you were interesting but now you are boring," but I will try and do it with a good heart.' The actor and comedian made the revelation on The Jonathan Ross Show, which will be broadcast at 9.45pm on Saturday evening on ITV. True story.

The vogue for period medical drama is continuing with the commission of a six-part ITV series set among gynaecologists working in London in the early 1960s, just before the introduction of the pill and the legalisation of abortion. The drama, Breathless, has been co-created by Paul Unwin, one of the creators of BBC1's Casualty in the mid 1980s. Made with the former Channel Four and Channel Five executive Peter Grimsdale, the as-yet-uncast drama is understood to focus on five gynaecologists working in the NHS. The drama is understood to have a thriller element as well as a strong social history thread, according to alleged sources, and Unwin has confirmed on his website that he will write four of the scripts, direct episode one and storyline the series. An alleged 'source' allegedly told the Gruniad Morning Star: 'There were some women working in this area and they will be in the series, but gynaecology was a mainly male world at this time. This was before the pill and the legalisation of abortion and the 1960s hit the country and it was a totally different world. It was also before Profumo and there was a lot of covering up going on within the establishment which at the time was relatively immune from scrutiny.' It is understood that ITV wants to start filming soon and the drama may be broadcast early next year. Breathless is likely to draw comparisons with the hit BBC1 drama Call The Midwife, which is also about health workers, set a decade earlier in London's East End. Critically lauded 1960s advertising drama Mad Men is also understood to have been an inspiration, although an alleged ITV 'source' allegedly said that the show would be 'much more mainstream' in its appeal. Breathless is being made by ITV Studios in association with Unwin's So Far Productions. Unwin will executive produce with Kate Bartlett.

Former EastEnders actor (and, I use that word quite wrongly) Dean Gaffney is in hospital after suffering head injuries in a car crash in Derby. The thirty four-year-old was returning home from Wednesday's production of A Murder Is Announced when the accident happened, Derby Theatre's manager said. Gaffney is recovering at the Royal Derby Hospital. Police said a car struck the central reservation on the A38 at about 22:45 on Wednesday. Gaffney, who played Robbie Jackson in EastEnders, badly, is starring in the Agatha Christie murder-mystery at Derby Theatre. The accident happened on the A38 southbound close to the Markeaton Island. The stretch of road remained closed for three hours to recover the Mini. Manager Gary Johnson said that he understood Gaffney was 'in a serious condition.' He said: 'We are just really sad to announce we understand there was a car accident that happened last night which Dean Gaffney was involved in. After the performance had finished yesterday evening on his way home we understand the accident happened.' Ian Dickens Productions and Derby Theatre said they had spoken with the cast and would go ahead with the rest of the performances. In a joint statement they added: 'Our thoughts are with Dean and his family and we wish him all the best for his continued recovery over the coming days.' A spokeswoman for Derbyshire Police said: 'We can confirm that a thirty four-year-old man was involved in a collision on the A38 last night. There was just one car involved that hit the central reservation. He was taken to Royal Derby Hospital where he received treatment for head injuries but those injuries aren't thought to be life-threatening.' Last November, Gaffney was involved in possibly the single most desperate 'everybody look at me, me, me, me, me'-type tabloid non-story story when he claimed to have applied for a job with MI5.

Richard Briers has revealed that he has emphysema – the result of smoking cigarettes. 'I'm buggered,' he said with a matter-of-fact cheeriness. 'It's totally my fault.' He was diagnosed five years ago. There's a touching story about him and his friend and former Marriage Lines co-star Prunella Scales, whose memory is deteriorating, in the Daily Scum Mail.

John Hurt has spoken of his new role as the first Chancellor of the Norwich University of the Arts. Hurt took up his appointment at a ceremony at Norwich City Hall. He said he aimed the make the NUA 'second to none and the envy of the most illustrious institutions, not just in this country but worldwide.' Set up in 1845 as the Norwich School of Design, its students have included the artist Alfred Munnings. NUA is one of ten higher education institutions in the UK to receive Privy Council approval to become a university. Professor John Last, Vice-Chancellor of NUA, said: 'Well established institutions like us, with a long history and international reputation for outstanding quality and excellence, deserve to be recognised alongside larger universities in the sector. It acknowledges the sustained excellence of staff and student work which has put us at the forefront of teaching and research in arts, design and media in Europe. This is a very positive move which will simplify our message to prospective students while retaining our links to our proud heritage.' Best known for acting roles in films which include The Elephant Man, Midnight Express, 1984 and Alien, Hurt began his association with NUA last year and officially accepted his ceremonial figurehead and ambassador position at the City Hall's Council Chamber. Graham Creelman OBE, chair of the NUA governing board, said: 'This is a very significant announcement which recognises that university title has to be about quality and not merely size. Over many years, under a variety of names, I am proud that this institution has been delivering some of the best education in art and design in the country, well before many modern universities existed. Our students have gone on to be leaders in their fields and have benefited from the focus and concentration on excellence that a specialist institution can achieve. With our new title we are determined to be not just UK leaders, but world leaders in art, design and media education.'

After nearly eight years as president of NBC News, during which its nightly newscast remained the top-rated of the big three networks, Steve Capus announced Friday that he will be stepping down. Capus said he would be leaving in 'the coming weeks,' in a one thousand-word memo to colleagues. He did not give a reason for his departure, and no replacement has been named. 'It has been a privilege to have spent two decades here, but it is now time to head in a new direction,' Capus wrote. 'I have informed Pat Fili-Krushel that I will be leaving NBC News in the coming weeks.' The New York Times pointed out that rumours of Capus' departure have circulated since Fili-Krushel became his boss last July. Fili-Krushel was promoted after Steve Burke, her former boss at rival network ABC, took over as president of NBC Universal in 2011. In her own memo to staff Friday, Fili-Krushel called Capus a 'highly-regarded leader' and said he had 'decided to leave the company to pursue the next phase of his career. Steve has been a friend, boss and mentor to a great many people at NBC News for a long time and we will all miss him very much,' Fili-Krushel wrote. Capus's departure comes at a time of unusual turmoil in the ranks of US television news executives and talent. Last month the man who elevated Capus at NBC, Jeff Zucker, took over as head of CNN Worldwide. Since Zucker took the reins at CNN, that network has gone on a buying spree, poaching talent from ABC News in particular, including Jake Tapper, the popular correspondent John Berman and law correspondent Chris Cuomo. Capus' star at NBC News rose in tandem with the network's top anchor, Brian Williams. In the late 1990s Capus produced Williams's show for NBC's cable channel, MSNBC. When Williams slid into the anchor chair at NBC Nightly News, Capus became executive producer, a job which positioned him to take over the entire news division in 2005. While the Nightly News has retained its crown, the luster of other NBC properties has faded somewhat. In particular, NBC's Today show lost its pre-eminence to a revived Good Morning America on ABC. Over the course of his career Capus received multiple Emmys and Edward R Murrow awards and an Alfred I DuPont award. 'Of course, it is an extremely difficult decision to walk away from a place that has been the backdrop for everything in my life since 1993,' Capus wrote. In his memo, Capus did not reveal future career plans.

Burger King has revealed that its burgers were contaminated with horse DNA. The fast food restaurant chain had initially denied after independent testing that its burgers contained horsemeat. Test results from the plant of its supplier Silvercrest have since confirmed that products from the factory were affected, though Burger King stressed that it has not sold any contaminated burgers. Burger King stated: "Four samples recently taken from the Silvercrest plant have shown the presence of very small trace levels of equine DNA. This product was never sold to our restaurants. 'Within the last thirty six hours, we have established that Silvercrest used a small percentage of beef imported from a non-approved supplier in Poland. They promised to deliver one hundred per cent British and Irish beef patties and have not done so. This is a clear violation of our specifications, and we have terminated our relationship with them.' There are more than five hundred Burger King restaurants in the UK.

A teenage girl has won the right to use her own name despite Iceland's strict naming laws. Until now, fifteen-year-old Blaer Bjarkardottir had been referred to simply as 'Girl' on all official identification documents. An earlier rejection of the name by officials meant that Blaer and her mother Bjork Eidsdottir stated their intention to sue the government. Consequently, Reykjavik's district court found that based on testimony and other evidence, Blaer's name could be used by both males and females and that she had a right to her own name under Iceland's constitution and Europe's human rights conventions. The government had argued that her request should be denied to protect the Icelandic language. Germany, Denmark, Sweden and Norway hold similar rules determining baby names. Names such as 'Carolina' and 'Christa', for instance, are not allowed in Iceland because the letter 'c' is not part of the Icelandic alphabet.

American singer Marie Osmond has performed her 1970s hit single 'Paper Roses' for a specially-invited group of five hundred Kilmarnock football fans. The singer, who is to play a concert in Glasgow with her brother Donny and Susan Boyle, was approached to make the detour to Rugby Park by fan Robert Morton. The song has been adopted by the Killies fans as the club's - unofficial - anthem. Which probably gives you some idea of just how bad times have been of late for the Killies. The song reached number two in the UK charts in 1973.

And so to yer actual Keith Telly Topping's 45 of the Day dear blog reader. We haven't had any Siouxsie for a while. So ... let's put that right.