Thursday, April 25, 2013

They Arrived At An Inconvenient Time, I Was Hiding In A Room In My Mind

The lack of culture minister the vile and odious rascal Vaizey has suggested that the BBC's charter renewal need not be 'as protracted as the last renegotiation' nearly a decade ago and ruled out any changes to the BBC Trust. Vaizey said that he wanted the process of charter review – the BBC's royal charter is due to be renewed at the beginning of 2017 – to be 'a public process engaging as many people as possible.' But, he added: 'The last government conducted a three-year process of charter review. Whether that is necessary, again, is a matter for some contemplation and debate.' The BBC Trust and its chairman, Lord Patten, have come under fire over their handling of the Jimmy Savile fiasco and the corporation's response to the crisis, as well as the big pay-off awarded to former director general George Entwistle and the manner of the appointment of his successor, Tony Hall. Speaking at a Westminster Hall debate on the governance of the BBC on Wednesday afternoon, the vile and odious rascal Vaizey said: 'We are content with the model [of the BBC Trust] at the moment, but there is no doubt at all that people will have views as we undertake charter review. We don't want to change the BBC Trust model, but we do want to have an open debate about the future and issues to do with the BBC.' Patten is due to give evidence, alongside Hall, to members of the Commons culture, media and sport select committee on Thursday. It will be Hall's first appearance before MPs since he was appointed director general. The vile and odious rascal Vaizey said he had 'full confidence in the chairman of the trust and in the current trustees' but said it was 'quite clear the trust must rebuild trust in the BBC and in the BBC Trust itself.'

The best line of Wednesday night's episode of Scott & Bailey was a reminder of what an extraordinary comedy talent Amelia Bullmore is when delivering straight-faced dialogue like: 'We've found human remains in the cellar and, unless we've found somebody with three hands, we're looking at more than one body!'
The episode was also a reminder - if any were, actually, needed - of what a perfectly outstanding actress yer actual Nicola Walker her very self is.
Meanwhile, Suranne Jones has joked that she's trying to recapture her youth with a 'street' new nickname. The Scott & Bailey actress has revealed that she's been given an urban moniker by one of her co-stars. ‘My nickname is Jonesy, but Amelia Bullmore gave me a new one: Sura-Jo,' says Suranne, looking far less like the TARDIS than usual, it must be said. ‘She's Ami-Bu. Maybe we're trying to claw back our youth with street names.' Despite joshing about her age, the former Coronation Street star says that she enjoys learning new things as she gets older. ‘The bravest thing I've ever done is ask for help,' the actress told S Magazine. ‘I didn't do it so much when I was younger. Now, I'm happy to. It's an important life skill. Keeping problems to yourself is a terrible trait.'
Wee Shughie McFee, the sour-faced Scottish chef off Crossroads' latest exercise in bringing shit to the masses, the much-touted but, ultimately, risibly awful Food Glorious Food ended its nine-episode run with but two million viewers on Wednesday evening according to overnight data. Wee Shughie McFee, the sour-faced Scottish chef off Crossroads' culinary vanity project fronted by Carol Vorderman rose, marginally, from the previous week's overnight audience to 2.15m on ITV at 8pm. Opposite it, BBC1's MasterChef - which Wee Shughie McFee, the sour-faced Scottish chef off Crossroads had confidently predicted Food Glorious Food would 'crush' just a few short weeks ago, entered the semi-final stages, entertaining 4.76m at 8pm - or, over double the audience for Food Glorious Food. Back to the drawing board then, Wee Shughie, it would seem. Grizzly bear documentary Great Bear Stakeout attracted 3.59m to BBC1 at 9pm. That was more than Food Glorious Food got as well. Scott & Bailey was the most-watched show of the night outside of soaps, climbing from its last episode to 4.89m at 9pm. On BBC2, Coast brought in 2.09m at 8pm, while South Africa documentary This World achieved five hundred and sixty four thousand punters at 9pm. Channel Four's Phil Spencer: Secret Agent was seen by 1.32m at 8pm. Twenty Four Hours in A&E grabbed 2.28m at 9pm. Also more than what Food Glorious Food could manage. Satire show Ten O'Clock Live returned for a new series, with seven hundred and fifty six thousand tuning in at 10pm.
Eve Myles has admitted that she still hopes for a Torchwood comeback even though it's probably not going to. The actress - soon to be seen in a new BBC1 drama Frankie - told the CultBox website that the Doctor Who spin-off 'may' return to television 'now or, in twenty years time.' Or, not at all, which seems far more likely. 'We didn't come back for the fifth series,' she acknowledged. '[But] it's still there - it's still bubbling away. If it has ended in Hollywood, then we came from BBC3 to BBC2 to BBC1 to Hollywood - that's a drama in itself. Wonderful experience, wonderful memories.' Myles confirmed that she has 'heard nothing' about a potential fifth series, but added that she is 'eager' to reprise her role of Gwen Cooper. 'When [Russell Davies is] ready, if he is ever ready, then he's got people who love and adore it just as much as he does,' she said. Torchwood writer Chris Chibnall - who recently wrote the hit ITV crime drama Broadchurch - previously cast doubt on the likelihood of a fifth run. 'It's entirely down to Russell - I would expect he will have other things he'll want to write, to be honest,' he said.

Iain Banks has said that the messages of support he has received from fans since announcing he has terminal cancer have been astounding. On 3 April, the popular writer announced he was suffering from gall bladder cancer, saying it was 'extremely unlikely I'll live beyond a year.' Writing on Banksophilia, a website set up by a friend, he said: 'Good grief! What an outpouring of love, affection and respect. I honestly had no idea. I feel treasured.' He added: 'I am deeply flattered and touched, and I can't deny I've been made to feel very special indeed.' Iain's first novel The Wasp Factory was published in 1984 and was ranked as one of the best one hundred books of the Twentieth Century in a 1997 poll conducted by book chain Waterstone's and Channel Four. 'It's only the fact that I've been able to pre-announce my own demise that has allowed me to realise my portion of that love in full while I'm still around to appreciate it,' he wrote. 'Which has got me thinking; I need to tell other writers how much their work has meant to me while they are (and I am) still alive. I think I'll start with the amazing Mister Alasdair Gray.' The fifty nine-year-old wrote that he had recently returned to the UK following a short honeymoon in Venice and Paris with his wife Adele. His proposal, he revealed with trademark black humour, ended with the words: 'Will you do me the honour of becoming my widow?' Banks cancelled public engagements following his diagnosis and asked his publishers to bring forward the release of his new book The Quarry. The writer also writes acclaimed SF titles under the name Iain M Banks. His latest book The Hydrogen Sonata was released last year. In his latest post, he praised his fans as 'bright, clever, highly informed and sometimes worryingly more intelligent than me.' Why, thank you Iain. He added that he was, 'of course, deeply happy that I have attracted the attentions of a few of our - how can I put this politely? - more rationality-challenged friends.' The author had said there was little chance of surgeons being able to remove the tumours in his liver because of how far they had spread, but had since been offered health advice and links to medical trials that 'will be looked at seriously.' He signed off the message by saying he would continue to write updates 'for as long as I'm able.'

Soft-core pornographer Richard Desmond is understood to have 'quietly' made soundings about whether there is any appetite to potentially sell Channel Five to rivals including ITV, just three years after he acquired it from pan-European broadcaster RTL. This is according to the Gruniad Morning Star so, as usual with just about anything those hippy Communists write, take it with a pinch of salt. Alleged ITV 'sources' have, allegedly, confirmed that 'a very informal approach' has been made through intermediaries, although - the newspaper notes - 'it is notoriously difficult to divine Desmond's true intentions in testing the value of Channel Five in the market.' The approach is understood to have taken place several months ago. Desmond is believed to be keen on concentrating on his publishing empire – which includes the Daily Scum Express, the Sunday Scum Express, the Daily Lies and the Daily Lies Sunday as well as magazines including OK! – and has in the past expressed an ambition to buy the Sun from Rupert Murdoch's News International. In 2011 a thin information memorandum circulated which implied that Desmond was 'looking to offload a range of print assets', although nothing came of what associates of Desmond referred to as 'a fishing expedition' to test the market value of his portfolio. In a comment to Gruniad relating to that 2011 process, Desmond said: 'As a private shareholder from time to time it is nice to value your assets.' Something that most of the women who appear on his, if you will, 'adult' channels Television X and Red Hot TV certainly do. A spokeswoman for Desmond's media company, Northern & Shell, denied that Channel Five might be formally put up for sale. 'This is absolute nonsense, Channel Five is not for sale and we have not had any discussions to that effect,' she claimed. Members of ITV's senior management team are understood to have 'informally discussed' the idea of a Channel Five bid, concluding that it was 'an unlikely prospect' at the current time. An ITV spokesman said: 'We do not comment on speculation.' Unlike the Gruniad who did little else but. ITV's portfolio of channels command close to fifty per cent of the total TV advertising spend in the UK annually, making any bid for Channel Five a near certainty for close scrutiny by the Competition Commission. Nevertheless in 2010, ITV expressed an interest in buying Virgin Media's fifty per cent stake in UKTV, owner of channels including Dave and Gold, which was eventually acquired by the American company Scripps. Separately, Desmond could potentially find scope for further cost savings by hiving off Channel Five's TV advertising sales under contract to Channel Four, which already handles airtime sales for UKTV. Channel Four controls about twenty eight per cent of the total UK television advertising market and increasing much beyond this through a potential deal with Channel Five is also likely to raise competition concerns. ITV and Channel Five's terrestrial licences are currently in the final stage of renegotiation with Ofcom for a ten-year renewal, from the beginning of 2015 to 2024. Channel Five has said it was 'happy' to renew without changes to its public service broadcasting commitments, and if Desmond were to sell after the licence renewal is finalised then any new owner would be bound by the terms, including a new commitment to broadcast at least six hundred hours hours of UK-originated children's programmes a year as part of Milkshake, its children's strand. The vile and odious rascal Miller, the lack of culture secretary, indicated in late 2012 that ITV and Channel Five would get their licences renewed.

The Great British Sewing Bee has been given a second series. The BBC confirmed this week that the show will return in 2014 for a six episode run. Controller of BBC2 Janice Hadlow said: 'I'm delighted that BBC2 viewers have taken this series to their hearts. It has proved that an ill-fitting zip or badly placed dart can make for compelling television in much the same way as a soggy bottom on The Great British Bake-Off and I can't wait for the next series.' Tuesday night's series finale was watched by 2.7 million viewers. The Great British Sewing Bee was hosted by Claudia Whatsherface and featured eight competitors, the winner being eighty one-year-old Ann. The series is commissioned for BBC Features by Hadlow, alongside commissioning editor Alison Kirkham and commissioning executive Emma Willis. It will be executive produced by Anna Beattie for Love Productions.

Posters promoting an energy drink which featured the word 'pussy' in large letters have been banned by the advertising watchdog for being 'likely to cause serious and widespread offence.' To dogs, presumably? The advertising campaign, which used the strapline 'The drink's pure, it's your mind that's the problem' alongside the word 'pussy' in large type, attracted almost one hundred and sixty complaints to the Advertising Standards Authority. From people without anything better to do with their time, it would appear. Complainants said that the advert was 'offensive' as the word 'pussy' is 'sexually explicit' and that it is derogatory, sexist and degrading to women. Which, in some contexts it might be but, in others, it clearly isn't. Are You Being Served? for one. Others complained it was 'unsuitable' to run where children could see the posters. Pussy Drinks claimed it was 'ironic' that people were complaining given that its strapline pointed out that the drink was pure and it was viewers' minds which were tainted. It also, rather disingenuously, pointed out that the Oxford English Dictionary definition of pussy is 'a cat, particularly a kitten.' Which is true. Although ,to be fair, the same entry also gives an alternative definition as 'The female pudendum.' Once again, context is king. Or, in this case, queen. Like a small cat their drink symbolically had the traits of being cool, beautiful, feline and natural – with some attitude. The ASA said that the adverts did not directly link the word 'pussy' with women and so was not derogatory or sexist to women. However, it said: 'We nonetheless concluded that because the ad made express reference to the dual meaning of the word "pussy", it would be understood to be intended as a sexually explicit reference which, in the context in which it appeared was likely to cause serious and widespread offence.' The ASA said that the advert could be seen by children of all ages. 'We considered that because the ad made express reference to the dual meaning of the word "pussy", it would be understood by some older children to be intended as an offensive or sexually explicit reference, and concluded that the ad was unsuitable to appear where it could be seen by children.' The ASA banned the advert saying it must not appear again in its current form.

Former England forward yer actual Matt Le Tissier made his Guernsey FC début in their 4-2 defeat by Colliers Wood United. The forty four-year-old came off the bench for the last ten minutes as Guernsey played the eleventh of sixteen games scheduled for April as they battle through a fixture pile-up. 'In all honesty, while it might be exciting for the fans, it's not a good sign for us,' Guernsey assistant boss Colin Fallaize told BBC Guernsey. 'It means we were struggling to get a squad together.' Le Tissier is an honorary president of the club and made five hundred and forty one appearances for Southampton, winning eight caps for England. He was registered by Guernsey earlier this season, despite not having played a professional game since 2002. Fallaize added: 'Matt's as good as gold and travelled down to help us out with squad numbers, but as Matt would also say himself, it's not a good sign that he's there as it means we're in trouble numbers-wise.' Guernsey face three games in as many days between Friday 26 and Sunday 28 April as they try and get through a backlog of games caused by the combination of the club's run to the semi-final of the FA Vase and wet weather which meant their Footes Lane ground was unplayable for much of December, January and February. Matt Loaring hit the crossbar early on for Guernsey before Alex Le Prevost gave them a nineteenth-minute lead. Colliers Wood equalised after thirty seven minutes before Loaring put the Green Lions back in front sixty seconds later. But the home side levelled two minutes before half-time and went ahead eleven minutes after the break. They completed their win with a seventy second-minute goal which means second-placed Guernsey remain eighteen points off Combined Counties Premier Division leaders Egham Town with five games in hand. 'At the moment we're a little bit below par and mentally and physically weary and other teams are up for it,' Fallaize said. 'It was the first time in a long time that we've lost back-to-back games and we've got to find a way to pull ourselves out of it.' But Fallaize says something must be done to prevent fixture pile-ups. Guernsey will play twenty league games between the start of April and 6 May, including four in a row over the Bank Holiday weekend. 'It's ridiculous, but that's the nature of the beast. That's the way it's fallen on our plate and we have to deal with it,' he added. 'I think it's a ridiculous situation and any organisation that runs football should have a look at it.'

Liverpool Alabama Yee-Haws striker Luis Suarez has been banned for ten games by the Football Association for biting Moscow Chelski's Branislav Ivanovic. The incident happened during Sunday's 2-2 draw between the sides. The twenty six-year-old later apologised, extremely insincerely, for biting the Moscow Chelski FC defender and was fined by Liverpool Alabama Yee-Haws on Monday. Meanwhile, when the Torygraph filmed fan reaction outside Liverpool's ground, Anfield, one specimen of humanity noted that there was 'hardly a mark' on Ivanovic's arm and, therefore, Suarez should not be banned at all and it was all part of some massive southern-based conspiracy to deprive Liverpool Alabama Yee_haws of their rightful place as the greatest football team the world has ever seen. Or something. The club, who have until Friday to appeal, said they were 'shocked and disappointed' at the length of the suspension. The Uruguay international Suarez had accepted the FA charge of violent conduct - not that there was much else he could have done, frankly - but, he claimed that his ban should be three games, the standard punishment for violent conduct. The FA, seemingly, disagreed. The ban covers Liverpool's final four games of this season and the first six games of 2013-14 - which could mean Suarez not playing again until October. An FA statement read: 'A three-person independent regulatory commission today upheld the FA's claim that a suspension of three matches was clearly insufficient and the player will serve a further seven first-team matches in addition to the standard three. The suspension begins with immediate effect. The Liverpool forward had accepted a charge of violent conduct but had denied the FA's claim that the standard three-match sanction was insufficient for the offence. The incident was not seen by the match officials and has therefore been retrospectively reviewed.' Suarez has until midday on Friday to appeal [against] the additional suspension, above the standard three matches.' Reds managing director, odious greed bucket Ian Ayre said: 'Both the club and player are shocked and disappointed at the severity of today's independent regulatory commission decision. We await the written reasons tomorrow before making any further comment.' Sadly, no one had the gumption to inform odious greed bucket Ian Ayre that the entire football world was 'shocked and disappointed' at one player biting another player on the pitch in the belief that such an action was an acceptable form of behaviour and that, frankly, Liverpool Alabama Yee-Haws and Suarez himself ought to consider themselves damned lucky the player wasn't banned for life for such a disgusting occurrence. One wonders if Suarez had done such a thing on Penny Lane and been seen by an officer of the law exactly how long in stir he'd be doing. This is not, let us never forget, the first time that Suarez has been charged with such an offence. He was banned for seven games when he was at Ajax after biting PSV Eindhoven midfielder Otman Bakkal's shoulder during a match in November 2010. During his time at Liverpool, he has also received an eight-match ban and forty grand fine by the FA for racially abusing Patrice Evra in December 2011. BBC football pundit Mark Lawrenson, a former Liverpool defender, told BBC Radio 5Live: 'I think they will appeal and might get it to eight. He's now becoming a constant offender. There's probably a sheet of A4 paper with all his offences over his career. He needs to learn quickly. It's distracting for everyone. Even if it gets reduced to eight, that's twenty per cent of the season. Liverpool are going to have to make a decision on his future. He and Ivanovic had a few niggles before the incident but nothing really seriously untoward. Jamie Carragher and Steven Gerrard said maybe he needs some help - he obviously does. At the moment it's to the detriment of the football club. You wonder what he will do next. [Suarez leaving Liverpool] is a possibility. But any business where you have an asset worth thirty or forty million pounds, nobody is going to sack him.' Suarez is on the six-man shortlist for the Professional Footballers' Association player of the year award and PFA chief executive Gordon Taylor earlier said: 'It would be embarrassing if he is named player of the year. But we have got to deal with it and make sure he is player of the year not just in a footballing sense but as a human being as well and we will be trying to do that.' Liverpool Supporters Club chairman Richard Pedder said: 'I don't think it's a shock, I think he deserves everything he gets. It's down to the club to tell him "this is your last chance." He won't leave [this summer]. They shouldn't have said anything and just accepted the ban. With them releasing a statement, it's going to go on and on again and we want it closed. We haven't had enough but we're concerned. Nobody is bigger than the club.' Former Liverpool striker John Aldridge said: 'It's a massive hit for both the player and the club. But he has to control it, for the sake of himself and Liverpool Football Club, he can not let anything go wrong on the pitch again.' Former FA chief executive Mark Pallios said: 'They do have the latitude in their regulations to do this. Tomorrow we will see in the written reasons the weighting they have given to the image of the game and his previous record. It's a strong statement from the FA. Biting has no part of the game but tackling does. You expect to get tackled and that's more subjective.' Former FA compliance officer Graham Bean thinks Suarez's claim that a three-game ban would be the right punishment could have been behind the length of the suspension: 'I expected it to be seven or eight. He challenged the FA with a ridiculous assumption that three games was sufficient and that may have backfired on him. There is a degree of window dressing, the FA trying to send a message out as a PR exercise.' Remember, dear blog reader, biting is just like kissing, only there's a winner.

Lancashire batsman Jordan Clark has hit six sixes in one over in a second XI game against Yorkshire at Scarborough, off left-arm spinner Gurham Randhawa. Clark, twenty two, is only the fifth player to achieve this feat in professional cricket and the first Englishman. West Indies legend Sir Garfield Sobers was the first to hit six sixes in an over for Nottinghamshire in 1968 against Glamorgan. India's Ravi Shastri matched him in 1984, then Herschelle Gibbs and Yuvraj Singh both repeated the feat in 2007 in one day matches. Clark joined Lancashire's academy in 2008 and after making his one-day debut for the first team in 2010, he was part of the Second XI Trophy-winning side last season. The Whitehaven-born youngster is yet to make his County Championship début for the Red Rose county, but has featured in five one-day and nine Twenty20 matches. He told BBC Sport: 'I was batting against spin, the wicket wasn't a massive turner. I thought I needed to step it up a little bit. I hit the first few pretty well, had a chat to my team-mate, and I just carried on really.' He added: 'I put them all the same way, over leg. I thought he was going to try to mix it up, especially the last two balls but they just landed in the same spot. I just remember feeling a bit of pressure on the last ball and thinking "I have got to have a crack." I can't really remember [if the bowler said anything]. I just remember a lot of the lads were cheering and there was a lot of noise in the dressing room.' Clark hopes his feat can help him to cement a first XI place. He said: 'Hopefully, six sixes is a massive bonus, trying to produce a big score was my main aim, hopefully it will turn a few heads.' Sobers and Shastri's accomplishments both came in domestic first-class cricket, the latter for Bombay. South Africa opener Gibbs's feat at the 2007 World Cup was the first time it had been achieved in international cricket, while India all-rounder Yuvraj joined the select group at the inaugural ICC World Twenty20 later that year against England.

This very evening, dear blog reader, yer actual Keith Telly Topping his very self will be attending Uncle Scunthorpe's latest Record Player event at the Tyneside. Tonight, as it happens, we're out on the wild and windy moors with Katie's The Kick Inside. Not a record yer actual Keith Telly Topping is a huge fan of, let it be noted, but, I've sat through two LPs of Rush before so this should be a doddle. Plus, I've always rather liked this one, which is today's Keith Telly Topping's 45 of the Day.
Actually, come to think of it, I've always rather liked this one as well.