Wednesday, April 24, 2013


Oskar McNamara, who played the eleven-year-old murder victim in ITV's Broadchurch, is keen to emulate his co-star David Tennant and land a role in Doctor Who. On paper, Oskar's introduction to acting sounds like a pretty cushy gig – lie around on the beach for a few hours, shoot a couple of brief flashback scenes and then, go home. But as Danny Latimer, the murdered schoolboy at the centre of the ITV crime drama, the scenes in which McNamara did get to perform were challenging to say the least. Just twelve years old when he began filming the series, McNamara was impressive in a sensitive two-hander which revealed Danny was meeting for 'cuddles' with his eventual killer Joe Miller. Short as it was, it suggests that he is a talented young actor with a bright future ahead of him. Turns out that he’s an ambitious little chap too, and would love to emulate his Broadchurch co-stars David Tennant and Arthur Darvill by one day appearing in his favourite show, Doctor Who. 'I am a big Doctor Who fan. I really love it and have all the DVD's and figures,' he admitted to Radio Times. Now approaching his fourteenth birthday, Oskar has exams at school this summer and – aware that acting is not always the easiest way to make a living – is keen to continue into higher education. But, acting lessons are also on the cards too – and if he gets his way, Tennant and Darvill will not be the only Broadchurch stars to spend some time in the TARDIS.

As Rory Williams, The Doctor's companion, Arthur Darvill is used to travelling quickly through time and space. However, as of this week he'll be falling slowly in love, nightly, starring in the TONY award-winning musical Once. Arty, who played the vicar Paul Coates in ITV's hit murder mystery Broadchurch, will take over as Guy at the Bernard B Jacobs theatre in New York, while British actor Joanna Christie, who starred alongside Daniel Radcliffe in Equus, will step into the role of Girl. The pair will replace temporary leads Ben Hope and Laura Dreyfuss, both of whom will return to understudying. Both actors will be making their Broadway débuts in John Tiffany's production, which picked up eight TONY awards last year, including best musical and best leading actor in a musical, which went to original star Steve Kazee. Cristin Milioti, who played the role of Girl, was nominated in the equivalent category. Christie has said she that was considering leaving the profession before getting the part. 'I've nearly given up acting twice now,' she told the Huddersfield Daily Examiner. 'About six years ago, just before I landed the role in Equus in the West End, and again just before getting this job, when I was literally about to apply to Cambridge for a master's in anthropology.' Meanwhile Arthur, though best known for his screen roles, has built up a considerable theatrical CV, having starred in Our Boys and Swimming with Sharks in the West End and played Mephistopheles in Christopher Marlowe's Doctor Faustus at Shakespeare's Globe. A talented lad, he has also written songs for several musically-inclined plays, including Been So Long – nominated for best new musical at the 2009 Evening Standard theatre awards – and The Lightning Child, which will premiere this summer, also at the Globe. Based on the independent Irish film of the same name, Once opened in the West End earlier this month, garnering a string of favourable reviews.

Meanwhile, here's yet another shot of former national heartthrob Wavey-Davy Tennant on location with Smugder his very self for the Doctor Who anniversary special. Quality.
The latest in the Sherlock crew's 'beautiful morning' series of tweets from the set of series three was 'Beautiful morning for a crane shot', from director of photography Steve Lawes, together with a sunny canalside snap from The Sign of Three location shoot. Will Sherlock and John be messing about on boats in this adventure in a big gay-boy sytle(e)? Or, perhaps, the happy couple from 'the wedding' are off honeymooning on a barge? Time, as usual, will tell.
For more than a year, fans of the hit BBC drama Sherlock have been scratching their heads, trying to work out how the title character cheated death. Except for the clever ones who think they've already worked it out, of course. At the end of the last series, viewers were - according to the Sun's usual crass hyperbole, anyway - 'left open-mouthed' as Benedict Cumberbatch's character apparently plunged from a hospital roof to his death – before turning up at his own graveside at the episode's climax. Well, pictures published in the odious tabloid (which currently has many of its journalists waiting trial for, allegedly, doing naughty deals with The Law - charges which they all deny, of course) last week showed one way that Sherlock could have pulled it off - and tricked his friend John Watson – with the help of illusionist Derren Brown. The master of mesmerism and prestidigitation was spotted on the set of the third series recently and, the Sun claims, alleged 'insiders' have allegedly suggested that Dazzling Dezza's 'alter-ego' (whoever that is) could be responsible for hypnotising Martin Freeman's character. Well, John was certainly seen bumping into someone on a bike just before Sherlock apparently went pavement diving in The Reichenbach Fall. Most of us assumed it was either a Baker Street irregular distracting him for that vital moment whilst Molly performed a body-swap, or one of Mycroft's Diogenes Club spooks administering a dose of brain-altering Baskerville gas to poor old John. But, was what we all thought we saw, quite, what we think we thought we saw? Err ... hang on, I had it there for a second but it's gone now. Is it the truth, or are we just seeing a red herring in this tangled mystery? New scenes apparently show John Watson screaming and running to where Sherlock had fallen to his death. But before he can get to his friend, he collapses to the ground, only to be met by a mysterious man. Following the encounter, which lasts mere seconds, Watson once again falls to the floor, while Derren is seen running off hidden under an anorak hood. While Derren looked menacing with a shaven head, there was an even scarier presence in the shape of Andrew Scott's Jim Moriarty, Sherlock's nemesis, the Sun allege - although no pictures have yet emerged of Andrew on-set. But, they conclude, 'it is unclear whether he will be seen in more than the flashback to Sherlock's "death."' No shit?
Jeremy Clarkson and his Top Gear colleagues have previously got into trouble for 'executing outlandish stunts', reports the Independent. Mostly trouble wholly caused by a variety of journalistic lice at the Gruniad Morning Star and the Daily Scum Mail and cared about not a jot by anyone that actually matters. However, despite being blamed by disgruntled motorists for shutting down a Dutch motorway earlier this month, the programme-makers it would seem, had nothing to do with the ensuing drama. Dutch police have now issue a wholly grovelling apology for the actions of 'a single colleague' after an April Fool's day message appeared on a national police website declaring that a twenty mile section of the ten-lane A2 motorway between Amsterdam and Utrecht would be closed while the BBC's Top Gear (very popular in the Netherlands) filmed a sequence. It claimed the major stretch of motorway would be used by the programme-makers to attempt to set a new world-speed record on a public road. The message, which was uploaded on Easter Sunday and remained for over an hour before being removed, is thought to have caused major disruption for those wishing to travel during the Bank Holiday. A Dutch police spokesman said: 'It was an action of a single colleague who did not think about the possible consequences.' The fake message stated that Jezza, Richard Hammond and James May would try to break a world record speed of two hundred and eighty six miles per hour. Sounds like a rather good idea, actually. What about next Bank Holiday?

This week sees the worldwide release of The Lonely Dodo, a four-minute Aardman short created for international conservation charity, Durrell, to highlight the worldwide plight of endangered species. To raise awareness of its vital work Durrell secured input from long-term supporters and friends of the charity Stephen Fry and Alistair McGowan, who share the organisation's passion for its vision of saving species from extinction. Durrell collaborated with Academy award-winning animation studio Aardman and brand agency Frameworks to produce an endearing film around an incredibly powerful concept. It uses the dodo's extinction, imagined from the perspective of the very last dodo on earth, to communicate the plight of other species around the world that are now in danger of extinction. We watch The Lonely Dodo travel across the globe in search of another of his kind, and cannot help but be moved by the flightless bird's fruitless quest to find a mate. Stephen's dry narration is superb, conveying the serious message in an amusing and memorable fashion. The short film was specifically scripted and produced to engage with potential supporters on an emotional level; telling the story of the lonesome dodo, who has been entertainingly brought to life by McGowan, as he realises he, is in, fact the very last of his kind. Commenting on his involvement, Stephen said: 'We know that currently there are more species either in the process of becoming extinct or in grave danger of doing so, than ever before in the history of man. Stemming this otherwise inevitable flow towards the loss of nature and all that it provides requires engaging the next generation, I wholeheartedly support the work of Durrell as they aim to inspire young hearts and minds to empathise with, and thus care, for the plight of endangered species.'

Steve November, ITV head of continuing drama, has been confirmed as Laura Mackie's replacement as the broadcaster's director of drama. November has been acting director of drama since Mackie and ITV controller of drama commissioning Sally Haynes announced in January that they were leaving to set up their own independent production company. As head of continuing drama since 2008 he has overseen shows including Law and Order, DCI Banks, Whitechapel, Scott & Bailey, Foyle's War and Life of Crime. November has been with ITV for thirteen years, starting out as an Emmerdale story editor and going on to work as a producer on the Yorkshire-set soap and Coronation Street. Mackie and Haynes are due to leave ITV at the end of June.

Crystal Palace fans have the chance to get hold of VIP tickets to see yer actual Eddie Izzard his very self next month. Action transvestite and marathon man Eddie, a Palace fan (which, I must admit, I never knew) and Associate Director at the club, has donated VIP tickets for a couple of his shows this summer to help raise funds for the CPFC Youth Academy. The tickets are now on sale to Palace fans, their family and friends including backstage passes to meet Eddie after the performance. I presume, you have to prove you're a Palace fan to qualify. There'll be some sort of pop quiz involved like, naming Mel Blyth's boot size or recalling how many defenders Don Rogers dribbled past to score that goal in the 5-0 drubbing of The Scum in 1972. Ah, Don Rogers. Where are you now with your snake-hips and your Village People-style 'tache? A club spokesman said: 'As one of the world's best loved stand-ups it is no wonder that tickets for Eddie's shows are always amongst the most highly sought after. So this offer to our own supporters will be a truly memorable experience and would make a perfect gift for any fan of the award winning comedian.' There are a limited number of pairs of tickets available for the 7 and 8 May at the Brighton Centre and 11 and 12 May 11 at Wembley Arena. Obligatory Malcolm Allison-style fedora must be worn.

The BBC has commissioned a new drama charting the final days of Dylan Thomas. A Poet in New York - written by Andrew Davies - will mark the centenary of the Welsh poet's birth. Set in New York and Laugharne, the drama will explore how the thirty nine-year-old Thomas died in a smog-ridden New York in November 1953. Griff Rhys Jones will act as executive producer via his company Modern Television, while Room at the Top's Aisling Walsh will direct. Rhys Jones said: 'Andrew Davies has written a moving, exciting and sensitive script about the tragic end of a huge figure. It does full justice to Dylan and his legacy.' Only he said it in that sort of staccato, machine-gun Griff Rhys Jones type way. Until he realises that he's talking a bit too fast and deliberately. Slows. Right. Down. Davies added: 'It's been such a privilege and a pleasure to work on this film; Dylan Thomas was a huge inspiration to me as I was growing up in a very similar environment to his in South Wales. Although the script centres on his last days in New York, and the circumstances of his tragically early death, I want above all to celebrate his extraordinary, charismatic personality, his unforgettable poetry, and his passionate and stormy relationship with his wife Caitlin.' Casting on A Poet in New York is yet to be confirmed, with filming set to commence in late summer in Cardiff and Laugharne. A Poet in New York will be broadcast on BBC2 and BBC1 Wales in 2014. There's lovely, isn't it?

BBC3's army comedy Bluestone Forty Two has been picked up for a second series, it has been confirmed. The Richard Hurst and James Cary sitcom about a bomb disposal unit in Afghanistan has pulled in strong ratings for the broadcaster and, broadly, very positive critique. BBC3's head-honcho Zai Bennett (the rank tosser that once cancelled Ideal, remember) has ordered a new run of episodes. 'I'm incredibly proud of this bold, brave and hugely funny comedy drama series which has been enjoying big audiences on BBC3,' said Bennett. 'The cast, crew and writers have played an absolute blinder in this important series which completes and complements BBC3's already extensive coverage of the war in Afghanistan.' Mark Freeland, head of BBC comedy, said: 'In-house comedy is at its best when we try extraordinary and slightly scary things. I believe Bluestone Forty Two is both. We tried to excite audiences, as well as respect the subject matter and those in conflict. The team cannot wait to pick up this challenge again.'

Broadchurch actor Matthew Gravelle has revealed that he struggled to keep his role as the murderer in the final episode a secret. Gravelle's character Joe Miller was revealed to be Danny Latimer's killer in Monday's episode of the ITV drama. The actor explained that he had to lie to fans who asked him for information about the finale, after Joe became the bookmakers' favourite to be the killer over the last couple of weeks. Gravelle told the Sun: 'I don't think anyone expected this kind of response from the audience, because this kind of drama happens so rarely on TV. The worst of the questioning had been in the school yard. When I was dropping the kids off, the parents of their friends were coming up from the start. Initially, they were joking that they didn't think the killer was me. But by the end they were all slightly suspiciously asking: "Is it actually you?" I'm looking forward to being able to relax around people now. It will be nice not being so cloak-and-dagger and having to tell lies about what happens. I had grown a massive beard while the show was on, but I was made to shave it off last week. So I might need to wear dark glasses now!' Matthew also revealed that he was not told about his character's involvement in the killing until writer Chris Chibnall informed him ahead of filming the finale. He said: 'During filming I didn't think it was me until Chris phoned to tell me. Watching it live with the nation, it seems more obvious that I should have suspected it was me all along. I never had a solid theory about who the killer was, but I did take a punt that it might be Pauline Quirke's character or the vicar played by Arthur Darvill. Not knowing really helped because everyone in the cast wanted it to be them, so there was an element of ambiguity to the way things played out - an edge. There was an uncertainty to it which seeped into performances and could be read as guilt. And not knowing who the killer was made it fun to point the finger.' Speaking about his character, Gravelle added: 'I had thought of Joe as a good guy, so when I found out about the immense duplicity I had to unpick what I knew to make him plausible as a killer. It was an interesting challenge, but Chris had written the character so well that it wasn't so hard. What is great about Joe is that even at the end, he isn't sinister. He genuinely doesn't know how or why this happened.'

It was, said Danny Baker, 'the contest the world wanted to see.' Radio 4's John Humphrys coming in to do The Sausage Sandwich Game on Danny's cult Saturday morning 5Live show. The idea of the game is that two callers must try to predict the guests' answers to three questions, the last always being which sauce they would take on a sausage sandwich - red sauce, brown sauce or no sauce at all. So, was this to be a contest between Danny and John, or John and the two listeners predicting his answers to the questions, or John and the ultimate sausage sandwich challenge? It was all three, as it turned out. 'I'll knock you into a cocked hat,' John began but when Danny explained the rules, John tried pathos, 'What if I forget?' he whined. When Danny attempted the metaphor of a human pyramid to show how the game works, John turned severe. 'Define human,' snapped the man who often has politicians a quivering wreck on the Today show. 'Define pyramid!' It got even hotter in the game itself. Had John ever set off a fire alarm? He went one better. He had, he claimed, once burned his own house down. Had he ever won anything at a funfair? John grew suddenly mock tearful, and said that he was in a state of trauma at never having had that kind of success. 'Why do you think I go on that Radio 4 programme and try to prove I can win at something?' he added, something the Prime Minister might care to remember next time he does Today. What he would like to win, John added, is a dukedom and fifty thousand acres. On the big sausage sandwich question, John said that he'd go for Dijon mustard. As the choice is between red sauce, brown sauce or no sauce at all, this was hardly in the spirit of the game, although funnily enough it was exactly what one of the listeners had suggested he might say! That made the contest between the two listeners predicting his answers into a draw. The tie-breaker was: is John (or has he ever been) a member of a video club? So, dear blog reader, what do you think? A psychologist would have found this encounter between two broadcasting legends of radio most instructive.

On a broadly related subject, dear blog reader, Danny's oppo lovely Lynsey Hipgrave was something of the talk of Twitter after a highyl impressive Europa League début for ITV4 a couple of weeks ago. The thirty three-year-old Newcastle United fan was promoted to the hot seat - after fronting Europa League and Premier League matches for the Arabic sports channel Al Jazeera - for ITV's coverage of her (and yer actual Keith Telly Topping's, for that matter) beloved Toon facing crack Portuguese side Benfica in the quarter final. One Jerry Pembleton (no, me neither) tweeted: 'Someone called Lynsey Hipgrave doing the ITV coverage on Newcastle. Already like her more than Adrian Chiles.' Not saying much though, is it, Jezza? I mean, this blogger likes Sunderland more than he likes odious sour-faced greed-bucket Adrian Chiles. Unfortunately for Lynsey she will not be able to present any more Newcastle matches in Europe this season as Alan Pardew's side lost 4-2 on aggregate after a brave (but, ultimately futile) 1-1 draw at St James' Park. Lynsey is married to Toploader guitarist and Dan Hipgrave (who is a fan of The Scum, apparently. Which, given the fact he was born in Brighton makes him a local boy compared to most of the suport at Old Trafford). Men traditionally get the main presenting slots in football, there's Chiles, of course whilst the BBC use former England captain Gary Lineker to front their coverage. However, with Gaby Logan and Clare Balding highly respected for their broadcasting skills, Lynsey may soon be destined to join them on the road to more mainstream broadcasting opportunities. After helping Danny Baker to a second Sony award in 2012, she said: 'You couldn't really call it work to be honest because you just go in and have fun for two hours.'
A 'close personal friend' of Prince William and Prince Harry is suing News International over alleged bad and naughty phone-hacking by the Scum of the World. Harry Meade has filed a civil claim against News Group Newspapers, the News International subsidiary which used to publish the disgraced and disgraceful shit-stirring and muck-raking Sunday tabloid, at the high court in London. Meade has been close to the princes for over a decade, on occasion appearing in tabloid articles about 'the antics' of Prince Harry. He hosted the now-infamous fancy dress party in 2005 where Prince Harry wore a swastika armband, prompting something of an international furore and a swift apology from Clarence House. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge attended Meade's wedding in October 2010 in an appearance that prompted speculation, later confirmed, that they were engaged. Meade is one of eight fresh phone-hacking claims filed against News International in the past month. Another claiming damages for breach of privacy is Doctor Hasnat Khan, a former acquaintance of Princess Diana. An eminent heart and lung surgeon, Khan had a two-year relationship with the princess which ended months before her death in 1997. He told the Scum Mail on Sunday last year after discovering that his voicemails may have been intercepted: 'To know that someone has been listening to your private messages is awful. It is absolutely terrible. It feels as if you have been robbed. We live in the UK. We are supposed to have civil liberties. I feel really, really violated. I am very angry.' Others to have filed claims against News International in the past four weeks are Susan Katona, the mother of waste-of-space reality TV hasbeen Kerry and former Atomic Kitten performer Jenny Frost. Others named in court documents are Dionne Lazette Webber, Ronald George Gray and Jonathan M W Sedgwick. On Friday, the high court heard that eight others – including Matthew Doyle, former deputy director of communications for Tony Blair when he was prime minister, and ex-Blue Peter presenter John Leslie – have accepted undisclosed (but, hopefully, massive) damages from News International over phone-hacking by the Scum of the World. They are among a total of one hundred and forty nine to have settled civil cases against the newspaper group since the height of the hacking saga in 2011. A spokeswoman for News International said: 'We are looking at the details of all these claims.'

Surrey Police were 'aware' of allegations that murdered schoolgirl Milly Dowler's phone had been hacked by the Scum of the World as early as 2002 but they failed to investigate, a police watchdog has said. The Independent Police Complaints Commission said there was knowledge of the allegations 'at all levels' of the 2002 investigation into Milly's murder. The IPCC said senior officers had 'collective amnesia' in their inquiry. Surrey Police said it should have revisited the phone-hacking allegations after the murder investigation. The findings follow an investigation into the conduct of two senior officers, Deputy Chief Constable Craig Denholm and temporary Detective Superintendent Maria Woodall. The IPCC concluded that neither were guilty of misconduct. Surrey Police said it had taken 'management action and issued words of advice' to both. IPCC deputy chair Deborah Glass said: 'Phone-hacking was a crime and this should have been acted upon, if not in 2002, then later, once the News of the World's widespread use of phone-hacking became a matter of public knowledge and concern. Our investigation has heard from officers and former officers from Surrey Police who have expressed surprise and dismay that it wasn't investigated. We have not been able to uncover any evidence, in documentation or witness statements, of why and by whom that decision was made: former senior officers, in particular, appear to have been afflicted by a form of collective amnesia in relation to the events of 2002. This is perhaps not surprising, given the events of 2011 and the public outcry that the hacking of Milly Dowler's phone produced."' Thirteen-year-old Milly disappeared in March 2002, as she walked home in Walton-on-Thames. Levi Bellfield was given a whole-life jail term last year after being found guilty of abducting and killing her. The now defunct Scum of the World admitted hacking the thirteen-year-old's mobile phone although it remains unknown whether two missing messages were deleted deliberately, as was suggested, or were removed from her message box automatically. The revelation that Milly Dowler's voicemail had been hacked led to public outrage over British media ethics, and led to News International closing the Sunday tabloid in shame and ignominy in 2011. Prime Minister David Cameron announced the setting up of Lord Justice Leveson's inquiry into press standards and practices as a consequence of the phone-hacking scandal.

The Sun's royal editor, an ex-Sandhurst Army officer, his wife and a former pharmacy assistant at the military academy, are to be charged as part of Operation Elveden. Sun journalist Duncan Larcombe will be charged with a conspiracy to commit misconduct in public office, along with John and Claire Hardy, the CPS said. Tracey Bell will be charged with misconduct in public office. They will appear before the beak at Westminster Magistrates' Court on 8 May. In a statement, the Crown Prosecution Service said that John Hardy had served as a Colour Sergeant at the Royal Military training academy. 'It is alleged that from 10 February 2006 to 15 October 2008, thirty four payments were made to either John Hardy or Claire Hardy totalling over twenty three thousand quid for stories relating mainly to the Royal Family or matters at Sandhurst,' it said. 'In addition we have concluded that Tracy Bell should be charged with one count of misconduct in public office. Tracy Bell was employed by the Ministry of Defence as a pharmacy assistant at Sandhurst Medical Centre. It is alleged that Tracy Bell received one thousand two hundred and fifty pounds between 17 October 2005 and 7 July 2006 relating to five articles published in the Sun regarding matters at Sandhurst.' It added that there was 'insufficient evidence' to charge a second member of the public with any criminal offence. The charges come on the same day that a former police officer has been arrested as part of the investigation into alleged illegal payments by journalists to public officials. The forty one-year-old, who used to be in the Surrey Police force, was arrested at his home in Sussex at 06:00 as part of Operation Elveden. He is currently being interviewed at a Sussex police station on suspicion of misconduct in public office. He becomes the sixty second person to be arrested during the investigation. Of those arrested, so far thirteen have or will face court action. They include four former police officers and seven journalists. Operation Elveden is running alongside Operation Weeting, the investigation into allegations of phone-hacking and Operation Tuleta, which is looking at computer hacking and other nefarious skulduggery, malarkey, shenanigans and naughty wrongness.

The defamation bill has been passed in the House of Lords. The law was passed by a majority of seventy eight in the second house after a three-year battle by campaigners. As part of a late amendment to the legislation, companies will have to demonstrate 'serious financial harm' before suing for libel. 'This amendment makes clear that bodies trading for profit must have suffered or be likely to suffer serious financial loss in order to satisfy the serious harm test for bringing a defamation claim,' a Ministry of Justice spokesman said. 'The aim of the bill is to reform the law of defamation to ensure that a fair balance is struck between the right to freedom of expression and the protection of reputation,' its official summary reads. 'The bill makes a number of substantive changes to the law of defamation, but is not designed to codify the law into a single statute.' The bill will now proceed to Royal Assent.
Carol Vorderman has claimed that 'a top BBC executive' once told her she would never make it in TV because her breasts 'aren't big enough.' To which, presumably, she replied, 'I bet you'd like two from the top and the rest from anywhere you chose.' Allegedly. The Loose Women host claims that she contacted several broadcasts in 1985 to progress her presenting career following her début on Countdown three years earlier. Describing her experience at the BBC, Vorderman told the Scum Mail on Sunday: 'It wasn't an interview for a particular job - it was just a meeting with one of the very big bosses on the sixth floor at Television Centre. He arrived an hour late. Eventually he came in. He'd been drinking. He sat in his chair and he put his feet on the desk. He looked at me and said, "So what do you want to do?" I replied, "If there are any jobs, I'd be very interested to hear about anything and I'm just really coming to meet you so that you could take my name and consider me for things in the future." He said, "Nah love, your tits aren't big enough'. I mean, can you imagine?"' Vorderman - whom this blogger has always thought had a perfectly serviceable pair of fulsome funbags (and, a brain too) - didn't report the incident, but later went on to present the BBC science programme Tomorrow's World in the 1990s. She added: 'I don't hold resentments. Life and times have moved on. Now a lot of the bosses are women so you just wouldn't get that. But that was the time we lived in.' The BBC called the executive's alleged comments as 'completely unacceptable' and said that it would 'look into' the claims. It might've helped if she'd actually revealed whom the individual in question actually was. If, indeed, he ever existed and this whole story hasn't been invented for publicity purposes and to give the Scum Mail something else to whinge at the BBC for.

David Attenborough will return for a second series of Natural Curiosities on UKTV channel Eden. The much-loved naturalist's second series will comprise ten thirty-minute episodes. The first series, which was broadcast earlier this year, had the highest ratings ever for a show on Eden. Attenborough uses the programme to examine unusual creatures that are linked together with a common theme, such as the Emperor Penguin and the wood frog or the rhino and the hedgehog. UKTV's Catherine Catton said: 'It is such a privilege to work with Sir David and Humble Bee Films again; Sir David's captivating storytelling and the fascinating content made series one of David Attenborough's Natural Curiosities a massive hit with viewers. There are many more natural curiosities to explore and therefore we are thrilled the second series will be double the length of the first, providing more exclusive content for Eden.' Executive producer Stephen Dunleavy added: 'I'm delighted that the first series of David Attenborough's Natural Curiosities performed so well on Eden. There are of course many more curious creatures in the natural world and I look forward to working with Sir David and Eden on this bumper new series.'

Sir Alex Ferguson has made few rather interesting comments about his former captain and now, Sky Sports presenter Gary Neville's looks. The Scum's manager - hardly a candidate for 'Miss Glasgow' his very self, let it be noted - suggested that Neville didn't have 'a face for TV' when speaking to fans at a Q&A session. Ferguson was commenting on Neville turning down a coaching job at United to get into broadcasting and joked: 'He has chosen to go on to the TV which isn't wise as he's not photogenic. I mean look at him - that's not a face for TV, is it?' Neville played over four hundred times for The Scum and was club captain for five years before retiring in 2011 to take up a role as a pundit.
NASA's Mars rovers have, seemingly, drawn a massive stiffy on the Red Planet. By accident, of course. Because, if they had drawn a huge erect throbbing dong on the surface of Mars on purpose, well that would've been news<. Launched nine years ago at a cost of eight hundred million dollars, two Mars Exploration Rovers - named Spirit and Opportunity - were sent to Mars in the hope of finding signs of water erosion and, even, life. But not, generally speaking, to scratch the outline of a staggeringly girthed rude phallus in the dust of the Martian plains. Unless, of course, someone at NASA programmed them to do just that. For a laugh. The twin exploration vehicles have so far travelled more than ten kilometres across the planet. But, just to repeat, to date they only drawn one big broad massive and hard knob. Which is probably something we should all be grateful for. It is believed that the gigantic hairy cock was mistakenly created by the rovers spinning in circles to get a feel for the terrain. At least, that's their excuse and they're both sticking to it. The image of the huge willy, which was shared on the Reddit website on Wednesday morning, proved to be so popular - with teenage boys, probably - that it caused the NASA website to crash. But, thankfully, not to flop.
A woman has expressed her 'shock' after going to the bathroom at a circus only to discover a tiger lying in wait. Although, to be fair, if she'd shat herself at such a sight she would, at least, have been in the right place for it. Jenna Krehbiel reportedly went to the Lavatory with her three-year-old daughter on Saturday during a circus performance at the Isis Shrine Circus in Kansas. However, when she entered the toilet (to have a dump, we presume), she was confronted by a tiger which had escaped from its enclosure. According to the Salina Journal, Krehbiel said that the tiger was only two feet away from her when she saw it. 'I turned around calmly and walked back toward the door. Someone opened the door and said, "Get out." It was the closest I have ever been to a tiger not in its cage. You don't expect to go in a bathroom door, have it shut behind you and see a tiger walking toward you.' Krehbiel added that her daughter simply 'wanted to know if it had washed its hands. That was her only concern,' she recalled. 'I think that shows the thoughts of children, and that they wouldn't have known there was danger.' The tiger had been performing in the circus show, but had subsequently escaped and walked into the women's toilets. The tiger was recaptured shortly after the incident and returned to its pen. Meanwhile Chris Bird, manager at the centre, said he was 'glad' that no-one was hurt or injured in the incident. Particularly as the cleaning bill would have been enormous.

For today's Keith Telly Topping's 45 of the Day, what with summer fast approaching here's a bit of nostalgia for people of 'a certain age.'