Monday, April 22, 2013

So, Now We Know

A new photograph from the Sherlock set has suggested that the detective drama's next series will feature a wedding. Of course, 'wedding' was one of three 'teaser' words revealed by Sherlock creators The Lord Thy God Steven Moffat and yer actual Mark Gatiss his very self for the show's third series, along with 'Rat' and 'Bow' several months ago. So that should, probably, have been a bit of a giveaway as to the fact that a wedding might, just, be occurring somewhere in the series. Episode two of the BBC show's third series - The Sign of Three by Steve Thompson - began shooting on Monday of this week. In a tweet, executive producer Sue Vertue revealed an image of a wedding place-setting marked with the name of Sherlock Holmes. Martin Freeman's wife Amanda Abbington was recently confirmed to be joining the show's cast, fuelling speculation that she would play John Watson's future wife, Mary Morstan. Sherlock is eagerly expected to return to BBC1 in either late 2013 or early 2014, with a fourth series - again starring yer actual Benedict Cumberbatch and Freeman - is also believed to have been commissioned.
Doctor Who's latest episode, Hide, had an audience appreciation index score of eighty five on Saturday, marginally up on the previous two episodes, both of which scored eighty four. If you don't know by now what the AIs are all aboutm after this blog having - carefully - explained the process on numerous previous occasions, then ... just Google it. Doctor Who scored higher than most of Saturday's TV output. The highest scoring programmes of the day were Casualty, Walking Through History and The Many Faces of Michael Crawford all with eighty seven.
So, dear blog reader, just in case you weren't watching the final episode of Broadchurch on Monday evening, it was Joe Miller wot killed Danny Latimer. For reasons far too complicated to go into here.
That'll teach you to watch the episode before you go reading blogs, I'll bet. The episode also ended with an end-of-credits revelation that Broadchurch 'will return.' It's difficult, at the moment, and given how the eight-episode drama ended, to see how, exactly - or, at least, in what form. Anyway ...

From one, really rather decent ITV drama, to another. Yer actual Endeavour continued to pull in decent ratings for ITV on Sunday evening, overnight data has revealed. The Inspector Morse prequel dropped around three hundred thousand viewers from last week's premiere, but still took in an overnight audience of 5.31 million for its (really rather good) second episode, Fugue, at 8pm. Earlier, Stephen Mulhern's Catchphrase lost over half a million viewers from the previous week, pulling in 4.99m at 6.45pm. Off Their Rockers also dipped to 4.76m at 7.30pm. Jonathan Ross switched from Saturday to Sunday night on ITV for its Perspectives slot, in which he looked at the life and career of Alfred Hitchcock. It was ITV's fifth most popular programme of the day, but could only manage nine hundred and seventy five thousand viewers between 10pm and 11pm. BBC1's Countryfile was, by far, the most-watched show of the night, grabbing 6.67m at 7pm. Antiques Roadshow followed at 8pm with 5.54m at 8pm. The Village's fourth episode saw the drama's audience drop below five million for the first time so far, to 4.8m at 9pm. On BBC2, highlights of the 2013 London Marathon scored 1.03m at 7pm. Bill Bailey's Jungle Hero attracted 1.53m at 8pm and Toughest Place to Be was seen by 1.64m at 9pm. Channel Four's broadcast of The Karate Kid remake secured 2.35m at 7.30pm.

Here's the final and consolidated ratings figures for the Top Twenty Six programmes week-ending 14 April 2013:-
1 Britain's Got Toilets - Sat ITV - 10.73m
2 Coronation Street - Mon ITV - 9.61m
3 EastEnders - Mon BBC1 - 8.48m
4 Broadchurch - Mon ITV - 8.44m
5 The Voice - Sat BBC1 - 7.82m
6 Doctor Who - Sat BBC1 - 7.37m
7 Endeavour - Sun ITV - 7.01m
8 Emmerdale - Mon ITV - 6.97m*
9 Scott & Bailey - Wed ITV - 6.40m
10 The Village - Sun BBC1 - 6.37m
11 The Syndicate - Tues BBC1 - 6.22m
12 Countryfile - Sun BBC1 - 5.83m
13 MasterChef - Thu BBC1 - 5.36m
14 Casualty - Sat BBC1 - 5.34m
15 Off Their Rockers - Sun ITV - 5.26m*
16 Six O'Clock News - Mon BBC1 - 5.22m
17 Catchphrase - Sun ITV - 5.20m*
18= The National Lottery: Who Dares Wins - Sat BBC1 - 5.14m
18= Have I Got News For You - Fri BBC1 - 5.14m
20 BBC News - Sun BBC1 - 5,11m
21 The Security Men - Fri ITV - 5.03m*
22 Holby City - Tues BBC1 - 4.99m
23 Antiques Roadshow - Sun BBc1 - 4.97m
24 The ONE Show - Tues BBC1 - 4.69m
25 Ten O'Clock News - Tues BBC1 - 4.68m
26 Not Going Out - Fri BBC1 - 4.52m
As usual, programmes marked '*' do not include HD figures which are unavailable at this time.

Sir Ian McKellen has revealed that the comedy in his new sitcom about a gay couple comes from the characters themselves rather than from their sexuality. The actor said that whilst past sitcoms have 'made fun' of gay characters, the men in Vicious are funny in their own right and 'just happen to be gay.' The seventy three-year-old - who stars alongside Sir Derek Jacobi in the upcoming ITV series as ageing partners who have lived together for almost fifty years - is glad that TV has advanced in this way. 'For me, it is as if TV has grown up,' he told the Sun. 'In the past, gay characters in sitcoms have been figures of fun. They were funny because they were gay. But I like the fact that these characters are funny because of the people they are. That's a real advance.' He also said that the programme is 'a traditional family sitcom' rather than an 'exposé' of gay life. 'It's a fairly traditional sitcom which reminds me of The Golden Girls or I Love Lucy. It's not aiming to shock people. It won't alarm anyone. It isn't a satire or an exposé of gay life. These characters just happen to be gay.' He added: 'It's a family show that will get the broadest possible demographic. Everyone will be able to relate to the characters.' McKellen went on to say that it was 'easy' starring opposite Jacobi, as the pair have been friends for as long as their characters have been together. He said: 'We don't have to pretend we've known each other for fifty years because we have. We've had a ball making Vicious. It's been a delight.' The ITV comedy was written by Will & Grace's Gary Janetti and also stars Misfits actor Iwan Rheon and Rising Damp's Frances De La Tour.

Ofcom has launched an investigation into the BBC1's coverage of the annual Boat Race between Oxford and Cambridge, after viewers heard one of the coxes repeatedly use the word 'fuck' to motivate his team. As in, you know, 'row fucking faster', that sort of thing. The incident during the broadcast on Sunday 31 March, in which victorious Oxford cox, Oskar Zorrilla, was heard to use the expletive as many as five times, prompted more than two hundred complaints to the corporation from about two hundred people who haven't, seemingly, got anything better to do with their time. A BBC Sport spokeswoman said that most of the total number of complaints about the race were likely to have been 'related to the bad language.' And, the fact that, apparently, two hundred people in this country, haven't got anything better to do with their time. BBC commentators during the race apologised for Zorrilla's unsavoury language, but did not turn his microphone off or down. The media regulator has launched an investigation into the BBC's broadcast to see whether it was in breach of the broadcasting code, such as rules relating to offensive language and generally accepted standards. An average of 6.6 million viewers tuned in to see Oxford win the one hundred and fifty ninth rowing of the race between the two universities, more than forty per cent of all TV viewers in the thirty minutes the race itself was run from 4.30pm. BBC Sport, which has used microphones to hear coxes issuing instructions since 2006, pointed out that its production team had 'warned' the coxes of both boats about their language before the race 'to emphasise that they should not swear because their voices would be picked up by on-board microphones.' The BBC issued a lengthy apology for two instances of swearing during its broadcast, pointing out that, in both cases, the commentators immediately apologised on-air. The language was removed from the broadcast before it was made available on the BBC's catch-up TV service, the iPlayer.
Brenda Blethyn's detective drama Vera will return for a fourth series, it has been confirmed. ITV has given the green light to a new run of the crime drama, which will feature four new episodes. Series three of Vera will be broadcast this summer. Filming of the four new two hour series four episodes will take place on location in Northumberland between June and October. Directors Thaddeus O'Sullivan and Will Sinclair will return to the series to oversee production. Paul Rutman, Martha Hillier and Richard Davidson will write the first three films. David Leon will return as Vera's trusted sidekick Sergeant Joe Ashworth. Vera is, of course, based on a character created by the crime novelist Ann Cleeves. A more than decent show as it happens, with a very good actress in the lead. Even if she can't do the accent.

Ofcom has summoned ITV to the headmaster's office for a damned good caning after it ruled an episode of Alan Titchmarsh's risible and odious chat show breached regulations. Not to mention insulting the intelligence of anyone who happened to suffer the misfortune of watching the thing. The report found an interview Titchmarsh carried out with the actress Patsy Kensit included several mentions of the diet firm Weight Watchers, which Kensit is paid to endorse. A viewer complained after watching the five-minute interview, of which more than half was about Kensit's weight. Ofcom has asked ITV to a meeting 'to discuss its compliance in this area.' ITV claimed - entirely inaccurately - that the actress's remarks were 'brief and not unduly prominent', but Ofcom said that risible irksome Titchmarsh did not challenge Kensit's claims or make mention of the fact that Kensit is 'a weight loss ambassador' for the diet company. The media watchdog added that references to the weight loss firm were 'promotional and unduly prominent.' Speaking about the company, Kensit said that during filming of the soap Emmerdale, it was the only thing that 'worked' for her when managing her weight. 'I could eat whatever I wanted and wake up - you know, everything,' she said. 'I was like - cause I love food.' By hell, this was an interview of depth and wonder worthy of being mentioned in the same breath as Michael Parkinson talking to Doctor Jacob Bronowski about The Ascent of Man, wasn't it? 'This way, it's a healthy way. I've got two gorgeous sons and I cook a lot and we have an evening meal together and I'm not there drinking some goop.' The forty five year-old went on to mention the firm's ProPoints scheme, twice. ITV came under fire from Ofcom two months ago after Dannii Minogue promoted a brand of milk, with which she has a commercial arrangement, on the ITV morning show Lorraine.
News Corp has reached a one hundred and thirty nine million dollar settlement with shareholders over complaints filed against the company's board of directors. The 2011 suit related to the company's UK phone-hacking scandal and the purchase of a UK TV production firm. The money will be covered by the insurance policies of the directors, who are the defendants in the suits. News Corp said it 'acknowledges the meaningful role the plaintiffs' played in improving corporate governance. The company agreed to adopt enhanced measures as part of the derivative settlement. In a derivative suit, shareholders, acting on behalf of the company, sue against executives to rectify a wrong in a firm. 'We are pleased to have resolved this matter,' News Corp said in a statement. 'The agreement reflects the important steps News Corporation has taken over the last year to strengthen our corporate governance and compliance structure and we have committed to building on those efforts going forward.' Trustees of Amalgamated Bank of New York and the Central Laborers Pension Fund, which are both News Corp shareholders, first filed a lawsuit in March 2011. It was directed against News Corp's directors for overpaying when the company bought Shine Group, a UK TV production company, from News Corp's chairman, chief executive and billionaire tyrant Rupert Murdoch's daughter, Elisabeth. They claimed that the takeover deal was 'unfairly' priced and that the News Corp board of directors failed to challenge Murdoch about the terms of the transaction. The shareholders then expanded their lawsuit in July 2011, to accuse the board of providing 'no effective review or oversight' and permitting a 'culture run amok' at the disgraced and disgraceful Scum of the World, which News Corp owned. The extent of phone-hacking at the tabloid, then owned by News Corp, led to its closure, in shame and ignominy, in 2011. 'We are proud of this historic settlement, which continues the twenty year history of Amalgamated Bank encouraging corporate reform and improved corporate governance,' Amalgamated Bank president and chief executive Edward Grebow said in a statement.

Reporting restrictions should be imposed to prevent the routine naming of suspects by police until they have been charged, a prominent Conservative MP has urged. As the debate over so-called 'secret arrests' intensifies following the naming of yer actual Rolf Harris last week, Robert Buckland, a member of parliament's influential joint committee on human rights, has called for media organisations which name individuals without seeking permission from magistrates to face punishment. His comments come as the Association of Chief Police Officers, is drafting fresh guidance for police forces which is likely to advise against confirming the identity of those who have been detained to the media. Frances Crook, chief executive of the Howard League for Penal Reform, has also called for the 'arrest anonymity' to be 'enshrined in law' but admits that she is 'not in favour' of jailing journalists or bloggers for breaking such an embargo. Buckland, a barrister and the MP for south Swindon, was a prominent supporter of a private member's bill put forward by the Conservative MP Anna Soubry in June 2010 which would have criminalised the identification of anyone who had been arrested without first seeking official permission. It proposed a punishment of up to six months in prison. Soubry eventually withdrew her 'anonymity (arrested persons)' bill when the government failed to support it. 'There is a case for conferring greater anonymity [on suspects],' says Buckland. 'There should be reporting restrictions but there should also be a mechanism which would allow reporters to request that they are lifted.' The media would have to make an application before magistrates if they wanted to make an application, Buckland proposes. Media practices have changed, he said, and in the past newspapers were more prepared to talk about an 'eighteen year old man' being arrested rather than identifying suspects before charges are brought. Buckland adds: 'If you think about someone who might be wrongly accused that [accusation] is going to be on Google for the rest of his life and he will never be able to get away from it. I don't want to be too draconian, but there would have to be some sanction [to prevent newspapers naming those arrested without permission]. The need for some reform is pressing. I have had conversations with the attorney general about this.' Crook also wants the law changed. 'There should be a presumption that people have anonymity at the point of arrest,' she says. 'And ,there should be a proper decision-making process if there's a reason to reveal their identity. People are innocent until proven guilty. It has to have the force of law. I'm reluctant to attach a criminal sanction to it and I don't want to see more people going to prison – journalists or anyone else. People's lives have been blighted when they have been named and [subsequently never charged]. It's not just high-profile cases.' Following the coining of the phrase 'secret courts' to describe the restricted evidence hearings sanctioned by the justice and security bill, the term 'secret arrests' is gaining currency. even though it is, for the most part, inaccurate - they're 'anonymous arrests', if anything. Few of those involved in the latest debate sparked by comments in Lord Justice Leveson's report, however, are suggesting that the media should be 'formally banned' from naming suspects arrested by the police. Stricter enforcement by the attorney general of contempt of court powers has resulted in a series of prosecutions of newspapers and may have reduced the political pressure for fresh criminal sanctions against the media. The speculation has arisen from continuing concerns over the impact of media reporting on cases such as that involving the retired Bristol teacher Christopher Jefferies. Jefferies was vilified by most of the popular press after being erroneously arrested in December 2010 for the murder of twenty five-year-old Joanna Yeates, a tenant in the building he owned. His name, he claimed, was disclosed by the police to newspapers. In Leveson's report on the culture, practices and ethics of the press, the appeal court judge suggested that 'guidance' about releasing names needs to be strengthened. 'I think that it should be made abundantly clear,' he wrote, 'that save in exceptional and clearly identified circumstances (for example, where there may be an immediate risk to the public), the names or identifying details of those who are arrested or suspected of a crime should not be released to the press nor the public.' The Law Commission, which last November put out proposals on refining the contempt of court laws for consultation, did not agree. It called for 'greater certainty and consistency' in the way that police forces released information about those arrested. But, it proposed, suspects should generally be identified following a media request. 'We consider that such policy should establish that, generally, the names of arrestees will be released,' it said. 'But, that appropriate safeguards will need to be put in place to ensure that some names are withheld, for example, where it would lead to the unlawful identification of a complainant, where the arrestee is a youth or where an ongoing investigation may be hampered.' Spurred on by the debate, ACPO decided it should 'clarify' its current guidance which allows police forces to adopt different approaches on whether or not to identify those detained. Andy Trotter, chief constable of British Transport Police and ACPO's lead officer on media policy, told the Scum Mail on Sunday earlier this month that there should be a presumption of not confirming identities: 'We are suggesting that people who have been arrested should not be named and only the briefest of details should be given.' ACPO is drafting fresh guidance which will eventually have to be approved by the College of Policing and chief constables. Two senior judges, Lord Justice Treacy and Mr Justice Tugendhat, responding on behalf of the senior judiciary to the Law Commission's consultation, recently endorsed Trotter's and Leveson's preference for withholding the identification of those arrested save 'in exceptional circumstances.' Although what those 'exceptional circumstances' are they, unhelpfully, didn't say. They commented: 'If there were a policy that the police should consistently publish the fact that a person has been arrested, in many cases that information would attract substantial publicity, causing irremediable damage to the person's reputation.' The Home Office insists that it is not involved in drafting the new ACPO guidelines and declined to comment on Leveson's proposals on the grounds that it was not 'a full-blown recommendation' in his report. The free speech organisation Index on Censorship has expressed 'alarm' at the prospect of 'secret arrests' where officers decline to confirm identities of those detained. Its chief executive, Kirsty Hughes, said: 'De facto anonymity for people who have been arrested would reverse the principle of open justice that we have in the UK and could lead to people being arrested and taken into custody without anyone knowing about it. Anonymity may be appropriate in certain circumstances, but sweeping powers for secrecy should not be the norm.'

Vincent van Gogh did not kill himself, the authors of new biography Van Gogh: The Life have claimed. Steven Naifeh and Gregory White Smith claim that, contrary to popular belief, it was more likely he was shot accidentally by two boys he knew who had 'a malfunctioning gun.' Which might be true, but it certainly bugger's up the drama of at least one biopic and one episode of Doctor Who. The authors came to their conclusion after ten years of study with more than twenty translators and researchers. The Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam called the claim 'dramatic and intriguing.' In a statement, however, curator Leo Jansen said 'plenty of questions remain unanswered' and that it would be 'premature to rule out suicide.' He added that the new claims would 'generate a great deal of discussion.' Van Gogh died in Auvers-sur-Oise in 1890 aged thirty seven. The Dutchman had been staying at the Auberge Ravoux inn from where he would walk to local wheat fields to paint. It has long been thought that he shot himself in a wheat field before returning to the inn where he later died of his injuries. But author Naifeh said that it was 'very clear to us that he did not go into the wheat fields with the intention of shooting himself. The accepted understanding of what happened in Auvers among the people who knew him was that he was killed accidentally by a couple of boys and he decided to protect them by accepting the blame.' In a chapter at the end of the book, the authors make their case that van Gogh was shot by a sixteen-year old boy called Rene Secretan, who had a history of tormenting the troubled artist. On why he would cover for a boy he loathed, the authors reasoned, 'because Vincent welcomed death' and didn't want to drag the brothers 'into the glare of public enquiry for having done him this favour.' They lavish praise on their two main sources and pay little heed to the one person who was definitely there - Vincent van Gogh himself - who, quite clearly said: 'Do not accuse anyone. It is I who wanted to kill myself.' As they admit in the book, the truth of the matter is that, 'surprisingly little is known about the incident.' Naifeh said that renowned art historian John Rewald had recorded a similar version of events when he visited Auvers in the 1930s and other details were found which corroborated the theory. They include the assertion that the bullet entered Van Gogh's upper abdomen from an oblique angle - not straight on as might be expected from a suicide. 'These two boys, one of whom was wearing a cowboy outfit and had a malfunctioning gun that he played cowboy with, were known to go drinking at that hour of day with Vincent. So you have a couple of teenagers who have a malfunctioning gun, you have a boy who likes to play cowboy, you have three people probably all of whom had too much to drink.' He added that 'accidental homicide' was 'far more likely. It's really hard to imagine that if either of these two boys was the one holding the gun - which is probably more likely than not - it's very hard to imagine that they really intended to kill this painter.' Gregory White Smith, meanwhile, said Van Gogh did not 'actively seek death but that when it came to him, or when it presented itself as a possibility, he embraced it.' He said Van Gogh's acceptance of death was 'really done as an act of love to his brother, to whom he was a burden.' He said Van Gogh's brother, Theo, was funding the artist who, at that time, 'wasn't selling.' Other revelations claimed by the authors include the assertion that Van Gogh's family tried to commit him to a mental asylum long before his voluntary confinement later, that Van Gogh fought so furiously with his parson father that some of his family accused him of killing him and that Van Gogh's affliction, viewed as a mix of mania and depression, was a result of a form of epilepsy. White Smith said the biography, published on Monday, helped to give a greater understanding of a 'frail and flawed figure' and that his art would be seen 'as even more of an achievement.' Thousands of previously untranslated letters written by the artist were among documents studied by the authors to create a research database containing twenty eight thousand notes.

Liverpool Alabama Yee-Haws striker Luis Suarez has apologised for his 'inexcusable behaviour' after biting Moscow Chelski FC defender Branislav Ivanovic. The incident occurred in the second half of the Thieving Scouse Schlep's 2-2 draw against Moscow Chelski at Anfield on Sunday. 'I've spoken to Ivanovic on the phone and I could apologise directly to him,' Suarez tweeted. 'Thanks for accepting.' In an earlier statement, he said: 'I apologise to my manager and everyone at Liverpool for letting them down.' Ivanovic complained to the referee, Kevin Friend, that he had been bitten on his right arm by Suarez after their clash inside the Moscow Chelski FC penalty area. 'Having reviewed the video footage and spoken to Luis, his behaviour is unacceptable and I have made him aware of this,' said Reds manager Brendan Rodgers. Ian Ayre, the Premier League club's managing director, added that Suarez's behaviour did not 'befit' that of a Liverpool player. 'Luis is aware that he has let himself and everyone associated with the club down,' said Ayre, who cancelled a planned trip to Australia to personally handle the fallout of the biting incident. 'We will deal with the matter internally and await any action from the Football Association.' Which was, of course, rather swift in forthcoming. Shortly after the match had finished, Rodgers pledged to 'review' the incident and promised that no individual was 'bigger' than the club. 'This is a club with incredible values and ethics,' he said. 'There's certainly no-one bigger than this club, a player or manager. As football managers, staff and players, we're representing this club, off the field and in particular on the field.' It is not the first time this season that Suarez has been criticised by Rodgers. The former Swansea boss was angered by the striker's admission that he dived during a game against Stoke City. 'Diving is not something we advocate,' said Rodgers said in January. 'I think it's wrong. It's unacceptable.' Suarez, who scored his thirtieth goal of the season in Sunday's draw, has bitten a rival on the pitch before. The Uruguayan international, who signed for the Alabama Yee Haws in January 2011, was given a seven-match ban for biting PSV Eindhoven midfielder Otman Bakkal during a game in November 2010. Suarez was recently named on the PFA Player of the Year shortlist. Professional Footballers' Association chairman Gordon Taylor believes Suarez will not be excluded from the PFA award but called the situation 'embarrassing.' Taylor told BBC Sport: 'It is very depressing and embarrassing that it should happen. If it wasn't for all the controversies he's been involved in, he would be a more highly regarded player. Players are role models and are highly rewarded. This sets such a bad example.' Moscow Chelski FC goalkeeper Petr Cech said Ivanovic had 'not mentioned' the incident with Suarez immediately after the match at Anfield. 'I didn't see it at the time,' said the Czech Republic international. 'Suarez always does little fouls and pushes. I saw Branislav's reaction and he was not happy at all.'

An experiment has found that plants kept in a greenhouse died when exposed to Sir Cliff Richard's music. Obviously. However, one of the gardeners involved said that he suspects 'foul play' may have occurred to produce the curious results. Chris Beardshaw told BBC Radio 4's Gardeners' Question Time that flowers kept near to the musical highlights of Cliff Richard had all died. 'Those in the Cliff Richard house all died. Sabotage was suspected but we couldn't prove it,' he said. Black Sabbath's music was played in a second greenhouse, while a third was kept silent. The plants kept in the other two greenhouses survived the experiment, the study revealed. 'The ones with Black Sabbath - great big, thumping noise, rowdy music - they were the shortest, but they had the best flowers and the best resistance to pest and disease,' the findings stated. The experiment was undertaken by horticultural students to see whether music affects plants.

And, so to today's Keith Telly Topping's 45 of the Day. Let's see if this little gem makes the flowers grow, or not.