Thursday, April 18, 2013

Nice One, Geezer, And That's As Far As The Conversation Went

Former national heartthrob David Tennant and yer actual Matt Smith his very self have been seen filming together for the Doctor Who fiftieth special. The anniversary episode - written by The Lord Thy God Steven Moffat - will see Tennant's Doctor team up with Smudger's. New images from the set of the special show Tennant back in his Doctor Who outfit for the first time since 2010. Jenna-Louise Coleman and guest star John Hurt can also be glimpsed in the set photos.
Wednesday night's first of this year's MasterChef semi-final rounds saw two of yer actual Keith Telly Topping's favourites for the title - Larkin and Saira - put straight through to the final eight after two mad-tough mass-catering rounds. They were, subsequently, joined - after a cook-off - by their team-mate in the mass-catering exercises, Dale. And, by Shivi who narrowly got the nod ahead of James. His big-stack-of-pancakes dish split the judges (predictably, pud-lover Gregg adored it, John was a bit harder to please). Sophie, who spent the whole episode looking like she was about to burst into tears at any given excuse, was also eliminated and, at that point, did indeed start snivelling. It might cheer her up to know that four and a half million punters watched the episode, once again, roughly double what ITV's watch-word for crass copycat TV, Food Glorious Food was pulling in at the same time (2.2m). Which was funny.
Still on the subject of ratings, the BBC's coverage of Lady Thatcher's funeral attracted a peak audience of 4.4 million, and attracted almost two hundred whinges about biased coverage. The three-hour lick-fest, anchored by David Dimbleby, attracted an average audience of 3.2 million between 9.15am and 12.15pm. An analysis of fifteen-minute viewing shows a peak of 4.2 million at about midday, as the ceremony at St Paul's drew to an end, with a five-minute peak audience of 4.4 million. The corporation received one hundred and eighty two whinges, with one hundred and six claiming it was biased against Thatcher and seventy six from whingers who believed it was too pro-Thatcher. Once again, it seems, the BBC simply can't please anyone and, indeed, can't do right for doing wrong. BBC1's coverage managed a 42.3 per cent audience share of all TV viewing between 9.15am and 12.15pm. A spokeswoman for the BBC said that the average for the Wednesday morning slot is normally about 1.5 million viewers. That makes the average audience which watched the three-hour funeral special roughly double that which would tune into the BBC's usual Wednesday daytime schedule. The peak of 4.4 million is triple the regular viewing figure for a Wednesday morning. BBC's News at One attracted 2.7 million viewers between 1pm and 1.30pm. BBC regional news and weather, from 1.30pm to 1.45pm, maintained 2.5 million viewers. The BBC News channel reported a reach of 4.4 million viewers across the day, above its usual average of 3.6 million. Sky News's coverage of Thatcher's funeral, fronted by Dermot Murnaghan, attracted an average of just over four hundred thousand viewers from 11am to 11.30am, enough to rank it as one of the top twenty free-to-air programmes of the day. Viewing dropped off slightly between 11.30am and 12pm, to an average of three hundred and seventy thousand, however the audience was still up well over three hundred per cent on the typical average for Sky News between 11am and 12pm over the last three months. ITV maintained its usual morning schedule airing This Morning, punctuated by the occasional link to Alastair Stewart covering the funeral. This Morning attracted an average of 1.1 million viewers between 10.30am and 12.30pm. A spokeswoman for the broadcaster said that while a complete analysis of ratings for news bulletins has yet to be completed it appeared as if there was 'no particular change' in average viewing of ITV's programmes.
Six of the ten London School of Economics students who travelled to North Korea with an undercover BBC Panorama crew have rounded on the university, claiming that it has placed them in greater danger than the trip to the secretive state itself. The students – Hoe-Yeong Loke, Mila Akimova and four, unnamed, others – complained that the university's decision to speak publicly about the undercover expedition, led by the Panorama presenter John Sweeney, had exposed them to 'threats from Pyongyang.' In an open letter sent to the LSE director Craig Calhoun and chairman Peter Sutherland, the students said: 'We feel that we have now been put in more risk than was originally the case, as a result of the LSE's decision to go public with their story.' The row between the BBC and LSE broke on Saturday when the university accused the corporation of 'deception' and of using its students as 'human shields' to enter North Korea. The LSE's public criticism sharpened after Tony Hall, the BBC director general, flatly rejected the university's demands not to broadcast the film. Sweeney's Panorama was shown, as planned, on BBC1 on Monday night and pulled in Panorama's highest audience in some months - over five million viewers. The dispute is over whether the BBC had given the ten students on the Pyongyang trip enough information about the risks of travelling with undercover journalists. In the statement released on Wednesday night, six of the students backed the BBC and said they had 'no objection' to the Panorama broadcast. They said: 'When the story broke to the international media in response to a complaint about the trip, not all of us were consulted by the LSE, or their representatives, for our own accounts. Some of us have still not been consulted. We therefore feel compelled to establish the basic facts of the case, many of which have been distorted in the media, in this joint statement.' The students said that they were told in London that a journalist would accompany them and that they risked deportation or detention if they were rumbled. In Beijing, before they flew to Pyongyang, they were informed that Sweeney was the journalist and that he worked for the BBC, they said. They were also joined by Sweeney's wife, Tomiko Newson, who organised the trip, and a BBC cameraman. Sweeney's Panorama film, North Korea Undercover, has been the subject of three hundred and forty eight whinges to the BBC since the public row broke out. Of these, about one hundred and fifty were made before the documentary was even broadcast. The media regulator Ofcom has received fewer than ten whinges.

ITV has allegedly lifted an alleged ban which meant the BBC's The Voice could not be promoted on any of its shows. The channel - whose own talent series Britain's Got Talent overlaps with the singing contest - reportedly eased rules so that those involved with the BBC programme can now appear on ITV. According to the Mirra, the 'change of heart' was prompted by Saturday night's viewing figures. An alleged ITV 'source' allegedly said: 'We don't fear them anymore. BGT is the number one show on Saturday nights and that is the way we think it will stay. If The Voice judges want to come onto ITV they are welcome, we are confident we have won the war this time.' Judges on the BBC show were, allegedly, forced to cancel scheduled interviews on Loose Women, Daybreak and This Morning last year when ITV enforced the alleged ban. Which, some might consider to be one hell of a lucky escape. Now that the rules have changed, Will.He.Is will appear on The Jonathan Ross Show this weekend and interviews with his fellow coaches Jessie J and Danny O'Donoghue are thought to have been lined-up.

Executive transvestite Eddie Izzard his very self is to star in a new drama based on Jekyll and Hyde. The project is described as a 'fresh new take' on Robert Louis Stevenson's 1886 novella The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde. Err ... Remind me, didn't Steven Moffat and Jimmy Nesbitt do that a few years ago? America television, dear blog reader. Not a single original frigging idea in their collective skull. Tony Wood has partnered with Cineflix Studios to launch new independent company Buccaneer Media, which will produce the series. 'Launching Buccaneer is a hugely exciting move for me,' said Wood. 'Our ambition is to build a globally focused company producing everything from family entertainment to high quality drama and structured reality rooted in the social media landscape. But at its heart, Buccaneer will have a simple philosophy: compelling characters, strong narratives and emotional underpinning all combining to create the most engaging television for as many audiences as possible. Forming this partnership with Cineflix Studios will mean I can draw on their expertise and experience in producing for US and Canadian networks while retaining the creativity and independence to achieve my ambition for Buccaneer.'
The FBI issued a strongly worded warning to media covering the Boston bomb investigation on Wednesday after numerous outlets misreported an arrest in the case. CNN, the Boston Globe, FOX News and the Associated Press were among the organisations which carried inaccurate reports that a suspect either had been arrested or that an arrest was 'imminent.' The claims quickly spread around the Internet and many people grabbed the wrong end of the stick and started beating about the bush with it. This led to numerous 'secondary' alleged 'sources' allegedly reporting the alleged 'arrest' as alleged fact. CNN continued to stick by the story long after the FBI had said, on the record, that the report was 'inaccurate.' It prompted the FBI to issue a rare statement on the reporting of the investigation: 'Contrary to widespread reporting, there have been no arrests made in connection with the Boston Marathon attack. Over the past day and a half, there have been a number of press reports based on information from "unofficial" sources that have been inaccurate. Since these stories often have unintended consequences, we ask the media, particularly at this early stage of the investigation, to exercise caution and attempt to verify information through appropriate official channels before reporting.' The latest round of false reports follows initial reporting from the New York Post on Monday which claimed that twelve people had died in the double blast, and that police had identified 'a Saudi man' as a suspect. In fact, three people died, and claims of a Saudi man was being held were quickly dismissed by Boston police commissioner Edward Davis. There were also inaccurate reports on Monday night that police had found and dismantled a number of unexploded bombs, with the Wall Street Journal allegedly quoting alleged 'sources' as allegedly claiming five alleged devices in total. The main culprit in Wednesday's misreporting appeared to be CNN. Based on anonymous - and, therefore, almost certainly fictitious - 'sources', the network first claimed that a 'significant breakthrough' in the case had been made. It later upgraded this to being an actual arrest in the case. FOX News promptly sent out a tweet saying that it, too, had 'confirmed' an arrest had been made. The Associated Press sent out a series of reports based on alleged unnamed 'sources' during a ninety-minute period. First AP reported that an arrest was 'imminent', citing 'a law enforcement official'. It then said the suspect was 'in 'custody and 'on his way to the federal court.' The Boston Globe went so far as to say that the suspect was being taken to the US district court in South Boston. The reports of an arrest, however, flew in the face of the official line being put out. While CNN continued to stick with the 'arrest' story, the Gruniad Morning Star was repeatedly told on record by the FBI that the story was entirely false. In a series of phone calls to the FBI's national office, a spokeswoman confirmed that 'no arrests had been made.' Pete Williams of NBC News repeatedly pointed out that his alleged 'sources' were telling him that not only had no arrest been made, but a suspect had yet to be identified. The Boston police department eventually used its official Twitter feed to say that the reports of an arrest were simply 'not true.' The office of prosecutor Carmen Ortiz did likewise. Embarrassingly for CNN, one of its own pundits, the former FBI assistant director Tom Fuentes, contradicted the story live on-air, telling viewers that three alleged 'sources', including 'two senior officials close to the investigation', had told him categorically that no arrest had been made. Eventually, the network backtracked and acknowledged there had been no arrest. The CNN website blamed the mistake on a 'misunderstanding among officials'. It said that the 'confusion' centred on a Boston law enforcement official telling CNN 'we got him', but not specifying whether that meant that authorities had identified a suspect, or arrested one. But the network said it would not apologise to viewers, with a spokesperson telling Michael Calderone of The Huffington Post: 'CNN had three credible sources on both local and federal levels. Based on this information we reported our findings. As soon as our sources came to us with new information we adjusted our reporting.' It is not the first time that CNN has been forced to backtrack on a breaking news story. Reporting the supreme court verdict on President Obama's healthcare reforms, it wrongly reported that the individual mandate part of the legislation had been struck down when, in fact, it had not. The mistake was later blamed on 'a producer who had jumped the gun.'
A former deputy editor at the Sun has been charged with conspiring to commit misconduct in public office, the Crown Prosecution Service has announced. It is claimed that Fergus Shanahan authorised one of his journalists to make two payments totalling seven thousand smackers to a public official for information. It is alleged to have occurred between August 2006 and August 2007. Shanahan, now executive editor at the Sun, will appear at Westminster Magistrates' Court on 8 May. The charges arise from Operation Elveden, which is investigating allegedly inappropriate payments from journalists to public officials. Alison Levitt, QC, principal legal advisor to the Director of Public Prosecutions, said: 'This announcement relates to a file of evidence from the Metropolitan Police Service that was received by the CPS on 4 March 2013. Following a careful review of the evidence, we have concluded that Fergus Shanahan, who served as an Editor at the Sun newspaper, should be charged with an offence of conspiring to commit misconduct in public office. Our decision to prosecute was considered carefully in accordance with the DPP's guidelines on the public interest in cases affecting the media. These guidelines require prosecutors to consider whether the public interest served by the conduct in question outweighs the overall criminality before bringing criminal proceedings.' The Metropolitan Police has arrested more than one hundred people as part of its combined investigations into journalists who allegedly hacked phones or have been involved in other potentially illegal methods of gaining information. Nineteen people have so far been charged with a variety of offences. Five public officials - three of them police officers - have been convicted of misconduct in a public office in relation to their dealings with journalists and are, currently, doing considerable jail. Last month, Richard Trunkfield, who worked at Woodhill prison near Milton Keynes, was jailed for sixteen months for passing on details about one of James Bulger's killers, Jon Venables. Ex-Surrey PC Alan Tierney received ten months for selling details about two cases linked to high-profile people. A Metropolitan Police detective, April Casburn, was the first to be jailed after being convicted of offering to sell information to the News of the World. She received a fifteen-month sentence. A third police officer, jailed for two years, cannot be named for legal reasons.

There's a very good piece by Roy Greenslade of the Gruniad on the odious - and, recently, sacked - Kelvin MacKenize which I urge dear blog readers to have a read of, here. Amusingly, and pointedly, headlined The truth - why the Telegraph dropped Kelvin MacKenzie's column it includes the following gem: 'It is apparent that [MacKenzie] is no longer the maverick right-wing voice of choice for BBC1's Question Time or Radio 4's Any Questions. Why should this be? In a word, Hillsborough. Twenty-four years on from the tragedy he cannot escape the fury of the people of Liverpool for his front page that defamed the city's football fans. One disastrous decision, to refer to the disgusting and false allegations about Liverpool FC's fans as "The Truth", has haunted him ever since. Many scores of the comments below his Telegraph column referred to Hillsborough while others condemned the paper for 'dumbing down' by publishing his views. But I can reveal the real reason it was decided to drop MacKenzie. I understand that the editor, Tony Gallagher, was made aware by the sports desk of deep upset about the hiring of MacKenzie by its writers, especially its star columnist Alan Hansen. Hansen, who played for Liverpool on the day of the Hillsborough tragedy that caused ninety six deaths, has always been a strong supporter of the bereaved families. Last year, when the Hillsborough Independent Panel report was published, Hansen wrote in the Telegraph of his 'respect for the families and the campaigners who have fought so hard for the truth to come out.' In that article he also wrote: "I have encountered ignorance about Hillsborough on many occasions, finding myself having to correct the inaccurate version of events." No version of events was more inaccurate than that published by MacKenzie's Sun, so it was unconscionable for Hansen to have him as a Telegraph colleague. Nor, I understand, was Hansen the only member of the sports team to object to MacKenzie being hired. Another of the paper's leading football writers protested strongly too. Gallagher would also have to take account of the negative publicity should Hansen have resigned. Imagine the headlines about the departure of a respected Match of the Day TV pundit.' I'm guessing that the other Torygraph sport reporter alluded to in Gleenslade's article in the paper's chief football writer, the excellent Henry Winter. The rest of the article - about the curious circumstances surrounding the odious MacKenzie's departure from the Daily Scum Mail last year is also well worth a gander.

Gary Lineker is to join American network NBC to cover the Premier League Soc-her next season. He will be reporting from games as a 'special contributor' as well as hosting some coverage. As predicted by The Mary Whitehouse Experience almost twenty years. Well, sort of. Barry Spinnaker his very self will continue with his hosting duties on the BBC's Match of the Day. NBC introduced him to American audiences in a press release that said: 'Lineker, a forward, played eighty times for England, scoring forty eight times, second most all-time for The Three Lions.' Oh Christ. He will be joined on the panel by former Radio 5Live commentator Arlo White and former players Lee Dixon on The Arse and Gruniad reader Graeme Le Saux of Moscow Chelski FC. NBC has won the American rights to the Premier League in a three-year deal. They will show all three hundred and eighty Premier League games live via its streaming and on-demand service NBC Sports Live Extra. The last day of the season will see all ten games shown live on TV at the same time. They will take over NBC, NBC Sports Network, CNBC, USA, MSNBC, E! and other channels. There will also be weekend highlight shows that are modelled on the BBC's Match of the Day and Match of the Day 2.

David Harewood has claimed that landing a role in Homeland saved his career. The British actor played CIA anti-terror chief David Estes in the critically-acclaimed Showtime drama for its first two seasons, before being killed off, horribly, in the last episode of series two. He told the Sun that he almost quit acting a few years ago, until he found 'overnight success' after twenty seven years in the business. 'Two and a half years ago I was at my lowest ebb.' That would've been around the time he put in a not particularly impressive performance in the two-part Doctor Who Christmas special The End of Time. There were points during that when I wanted him to give up never mind anyone else. 'My best friend had just died, I wasn't working, I was completely skint and very close to giving up. But then I got the call and now things have changed one hundred per cent. It's completely turned round. Homeland picked me up out of the gutter and I'm so very grateful for it.' Speaking about his departure from Homeland, he said: 'I wouldn't say I'm glad to be out of the show, but I think I probably left at the right time. I left everybody wanting a bit more of me! It's been extraordinary - the best reaction to anything I've ever done in my life. And it really brought me to the attention of a wider audience.' Harewood added that he finds it amusing that so many British people think he is American, saying: 'It's extraordinary. I've been acting for twenty seven years. The amount of people who stopped me and said, "I had no idea you were British!"' He will star in the Sky Arts Playhouse Presents play Hey Diddly Dee on Thursday, a musical based on the life of Andy Warhol. Kylie Minogue, Peter Serafinowicz and Mathew Horne also appear in the project. 'My character really fancies [Kylie],' Harewood added. 'He's completely smitten, but he's very shy and useless and doesn't know how to approach her. Kylie was great to work with. She could have been a diva but she was really approachable and up for a laugh.'

The owner of a cave centre in Wales is reportedly threatening to sue weather forecasters over inaccurate reports. Ashford Price runs National Showcaves Centre for Wales, in the Brecon Beacons National Park and is, obviously, not a complete and total nutter. He claims that weather reports are 'ruining his business' by putting visitors off visiting his attraction and making other plans instead, reports the Mirra. He explains: 'My legal team is looking at whether compensation can be claimed for Welsh tourism operators when forecasts are completely wrong. Forecasters say early in the week the weekend weather will be bad only for it to turn out free of rain and wind. There are too many gloom and doom reports.' A spokeswoman for the Met office countered Price's accusations by pointing out weather reports are right 'six days out of seven.'

The BBC is rumoured planning to remake Bergerac. The crime drama - which was broadcast on BBC1 between 1981 and 1991 - followed the Jersey-based detective Jim Bergerac played by John Nettles. The new series is claimed to be 'in the early stages', with a script yet to be written, according to Broadcast magazine. However, they claim the BBC is keen to 'replicate the original's international appeal' and is 'currently in discussions with global broadcasters and distributors'. Make a sentence from the following words, dear blog readers: 'See it', 'believe it', 'when I', 'I'll'.

An American teenager has been arrested after dialling 911 to complain about his mother's tone of voice. Twice. Vincent Valvo was handcuffed outside his home after a police officer responded to his second 911 call. When he had previously called the police, he had been reminded about the 'improper use' of 911 resulting in a penalty. A police report shows he was complaining that 'he didn't like the way his mum was talking to him.' The officer also noted slurred speech and the smell of alcohol on Valvo's breath, reports The Smoking Gun website. After posting a five hundred dollar bond, Valvo was eventually released from jail and is currently waiting to be sentenced in court.

On Thursday evening, dear blog reader, yer actual Keith Telly Topping joins the usual cool-kids gang at Uncle Scunthorpe's opening Record Player event of the Spring season at The Tyneside.
This week we are, in fact, all meeting up in the year 2013. And, we shall be plenty sorted for E's and Whizz as it's a genuine twenty four carat 1990s masterpiece, Different Class. 'We'll use the one thing we've got more of, that's out minds.' So, go on then dear blog reader, have a guess what today's Keith Telly Topping's 33 of the Day is, then?