Wednesday, May 29, 2013

He Wasn't There Again Today, Oh How I Wish He'd Go Away

Yer actual John Simm has been quoted as saying that he gets 'frustrated' by Doctor Who fans. So do we all, John, mate, so do we all! The actor - who played The Doctor's nemesis, The Master, in five episodes between 2007 and 2010 - allegedly told the Radio Times that aficionados of the popular long-running family SF drama are 'full-on.' Which, actually, is jolly hard to argue with. And this blogger says that very much as as one of them. 'I do get a lot of Doctor Who [recognition],' the piece reads. 'God almighty, I'll be so happy when that's gone from my life. [The fans are] lovely, I'm sure, but I won't miss it. It's great to be into something, but for goodness' sake, really? I'm not the Master, I'm not that evil Time Lord who rules the galaxy, I'm just in Tesco with my kids. Leave me alone!' However, Simm has since taken to Twitter to claim that the Radio Times had 'done a number' on him and that his quotes were 'taken out of context.' He continued: 'To "Whovians" or whoever. It's a non-story. I always try to be polite to fans and am very proud of my time in the show. You can choose to believe what you like but I really meant no offence. I've obviously pissed off some bored journalist cos I wouldn't do an interview.' Stitched up by the Radio Times of all organs of the media? Blimey, John, you must've made a bad enemy there! Mind you, I'd've had a lot more sympathy for you if you hadn't used the dreaded 'W' word. Only glakes and Americans call themselves that.

Britain's Got Toilets' first live semi-final of the series enjoyed a climb in the ratings on Bank Holiday Monday, overnight data reveals. The show, introduced by Ant and/or Dec welcomed an average od 9.89 million overnight viewers from 7.30pm on ITV. The results show dipped to 7.92m at 9.30pm. The music documentary The Story of Now was watched by 2.01m at 10pm. On BBC1, Antiques Roadshow was seen by 3.48m at 7.30pm, followed by a repeat of Miranda with 2.54m at 8.30pm. Clare Balding's The Queen: Passion for Horses attracted 3.50m at 9pm. BBC2's Springwatch gained 2.33m punters at 8pm for the opening episode of its latest series. Gillian Anderson's drama The Fall, recommissioned for a second series earlier that day, lost around half a million viewers from the previous week but still ended up with a very creditable 2.87m at 9pm. On Channel Four, World's Weirdest Weather - quite a bit of which could be seen around the country that particular day - brought in 1.06m at 8pm, while Skint dropped over a million viewers to 1.48m at 9pm. Channel Five's cricket coverage declared on six hundred and sixty four thousand at 7pm and Scariest Animal Attacks got seven hundred and fifty eight thousand punters at 9pm. On BBC4, Victoria Coren-Mitchell's Only Connect was the multi-channel highlight of the day with seven hundred and ninety two thousand viewers at 8.30pm.

The Lady Thatcher's funeral was the third most-requested live TV programme ever on the BBC iPlayer, with nearly eight hundred and twenty three thousand requests for real-time viewing of the event. Presumably most of these were people who wanted to make sure that she was dead and buried but couldn't get to a TV set due to work commitments. Just a guess. Viewing of the funeral on 17 April on the BBC's catch-up service was topped only by two 2012 Olympics events in terms of viewer numbers of a live event in the iPlayer's five-and-a-half-year history. The funeral received a total nine hundred and eighty six thousand hits, meaning that one hundred and sixty three thousand people requested it later - as a catch-up - rather than a live experience, according to figures released on Tuesday by the BBC. One possible reason it was so popular as a real-time experience, the BBC speculated, was because it took place midweek when many viewers were likely to watch the funeral on iPlayer via their work computers. That's people who actually have a job, of course. The death of Maggie also drove traffic to the BBC iPlayer radio in April, when there were a record-breaking seventy four million requests for the month, eighty four per cent of which were for 'live listening.' BBC 5Live's Shelagh Fogarty and Richard Bacon programmes came top of the radio requests. Elsewhere, BBC1's The Voice and Doctor Who both had a very strong April, with a total of 7.8 and 7.5 million live and catch-up requests across the entire month, respectively. The first episode of new BBC1 drama The Village also had a good showing, with more than one million requests. Overall, the two hundred and fifty seven million BBC iPlayer requests in April were down slightly on the previous couple of months but massively up on the equivalent period last year. The BBC says the slight decline month-on-month was probably due to the impact of the Easter holidays and lighter evenings as British Summer Time began.

Roger Moore has become the latest chancer to say that he wants to be cast in Doctor Who or Sherlock. The James Bond veteran responded to a tweet from Sherlock co-creator and Doctor Who writer Mark Gatiss praising his 'wonderful' performance in the 1970 thriller The Man Who Haunted Himself. Which, actually, was pretty damn good. Highlight of Old Roge's career, that one. Yer man Gatiss then replied: 'My life is complete! Will be [in] touch.' Timothy Dalton - Moore's successor in the role of Bond - previously starred in Doctor Who in 2009, appearing as Rassilon opposite David Tennant in two-parter The End of Time.
BBC 'bosses' (that's executives only with less syllables) have braved their fair share of demonstrators outside Broadcasting House – but on Tuesday they were confronted by a more mild-mannered group of TV fans. Five women took to the BBC's doorstep to protest about its decision to cancel The Hour, the drama about a news show starring Ben Whishaw and Dominic West. They may be light on numbers on the ground - as, indeed, The Hour was in terms of viewing figures, which was why it was cancelled in the first place - but a hefty twenty one thousand people have reportedly signed an online petition against calling time on the drama. Perhaps the new director general, Tony Hall, will save the show? I wouldn't bank on it, though.
A coroner told the press 'shame on all of you' as he ruled that a primary school teacher had killed herself after her gender reassignment became national news. Michael Singleton, coroner for Blackburn, Hyndburn and Rossendale, singled out the Daily Scum Mail as he accused the paper of 'ridicule and humiliation' and 'a character assassination' of Lucy Meadows who took her own life in March. He urged the government to implement the recommendations of The Leveson Report on press intrusion as he criticised the 'sensational and salacious' press coverage. Delivering a verdict of suicide, he told the inquest into Lucy's death he was 'appalled' at media reports about her. As he closed the inquest, he turned to the reporters present and said: 'And to you the press, I say shame, shame on all of you.' Meadows poisoned herself in her Accrington home on 19 March, three months after she started to live and work as a woman. In a note she left, she made no mention of press intrusion, citing instead her debts, a number of bereavements including the death of her parents, and her stressful job as a primary school teacher. She insisted she was not depressed or mentally ill and thanked her friends, family and colleagues for their support, as well as messages she had received from well-wishers around the world. Her therapist, Zoe Hargreaves, told the inquest in a statement that Meadows had found the media attention stressful but 'easier than she thought' – largely because she was distracted by the death of someone she was in love with. But the coroner was insistent that the unwelcome media attention had contributed to her death. 'Lucy Meadows was not somebody who had thrust herself into the public limelight. She was not a celebrity. She had done nothing wrong,' Singleton told the inquest at Blackburn register office. 'Her only crime was to be different. Not by choice but by some trick of nature. And yet the press saw fit to treat her in the way that they did.' Giving evidence about the media attention, her former wife, Ruth Smith, said that Meadows had been 'more annoyed than anything that there was this intrusion into her life and our lives as well.' Smith, mother to Meadows' son, said that the couple had split up in late 2011 but had 'remained on good terms.' She told the inquest Meadows had attempted suicide twice in the run-up to her death. 'I asked her why and she said there wasn't enough to keep her here,' said Smith. Born Nathan Upton in December 1980, Meadows went back to her Accrington primary school after Christmas in women's clothes and with a new name: Lucy Meadows. News spread after the head of St Mary Magdalen's school sent a letter to parents saying: 'Mister Upton has recently made a significant change in his life and will be transitioning to live as a woman.' Concerns from 'some parents' were reported in the media, with one father - a, no doubt perfect example of humanity - saying that his three sons at the school were 'too young to be dealing with that.' The inquest heard that Meadows complained to the Press Complaints Commission on 3 January about 'harassment from the press' and particularly a column written by odious louse Richard Littlejohn in the Daily Scum Mail on 20 December 2012. In a piece headlined He's not only in the wrong body … he's in the wrong job, the vile and wretched Littlejohn asked whether anyone had thought of the 'devastating effect' on Meadows's pupils of her change of gender. The PCC carried out an investigation and on 11 March the Daily Scum Mail offered to take down Littlejohn's article from the paper's website, as well as a photograph of Meadows's wedding to Smith in February 2009. Singleton said he considered the Daily Scum Mail's 'gesture' to be 'token' at best. 'Having carried out what can only be described as a character assassination, having sought to ridicule and humiliate Lucy Meadows and bring into question her right to pursue her career as a teacher, the Daily Mail's response was to offer to remove the article from the website,' he said, adding: 'It seems to me that nothing has been learned from the Leveson inquiry.' He said that he would be writing to the lack of culture secretary, the vile and odious rascal Miller, to 'urge' the government to implement Lord Justice Leveson's recommendations in full in order to prevent a similar suicide. Singleton quoted rule forty three of the Coroners Rules 1984, which gives coroners the power to write a report to a person or organisation where the coroner believes that actions should be taken to prevent future deaths. He said: 'I will be writing to the government to consider now implementing in full the recommendations of The Leveson Report in order to seek to ensure that other people in the same position as Lucy Meadows are not faced with the same ill-informed bigotry as seems to be displayed in the case of Lucy.' Had her suicide note made any reference at all to the press, Singleton said he 'would have no difficulty in summonsing various journalists and editors to this inquest to give evidence and be called into account.' Addressing Smith, Singleton said he hoped journalists present at the inquest had come to apologise 'for the damage and distress they have caused.' He also hoped media accounts of the inquest would be 'sympathetic and sensitive', he said, adding: 'I do not hold my breath.' Indeed. I wouldn't bank on it, mate.
And, speaking a odious scum tabloid filth, a model is suing the Sun and Scotland Yard in the first civil claim linked to alleged corrupt payments to police officers and public officials. Sarah Hannon is claiming damages at the high court for 'misuse of private information' by the Metropolitan police and the tabloid, owned by billionaire tyrant Rupert Murdoch. Hannon appeared in a Sun story in June 2010 which claimed that her then-boyfriend was arrested after allegedly engaging in a sex act with another woman on a flight from Heathrow to Bangalore. Hannon's claim is the first linked to alleged payments to police officers, potentially opening a new front in Scotland Yard's Operation Elveden inquiry which has led to the arrests of about sixty five journalists, police officers or other public officials of various descriptions since 2011. Other individuals, including The Rolling Stones guitarist Rockin' Ronnie Wood and the mother of England footballer John Terry, are among those whose details have been leaked to the Sun. The legal action will be a fresh headache for the Sun's publisher, News International, which is still attempting to settle a huge number of civil claims brought by alleged victims of phone-hacking by the disgraced and disgraceful Scum of the World. The newspaper group has already paid considerable wonga to two hundred and sixty one claimants, but many others, including the actor Rhys Ifans, have not yet settled. Those claimants brought cases at the high court after the Metropolitan police began contacting dozens of alleged phone-hacking victims when it launched in January 2011. To date, six Sun journalists have been charged under the Operation Elveden investigation along with a number of former police officers and public officials. Clodagh Hartley, the Sun's Whitehall editor, is to appear at Westminster magistrates court on Wednesday on charges of conspiracy to commit misconduct in public office in relation to alleged payments to Jonathan Hall, a press officer at Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs, and his partner, Marta Bukarewicz for stories. The Crown Prosecution Service said that the Sun is alleged to have paid seventeen thousand four hundred and seventy five smackers to the pair between 30 March 2008 and 15 July 2011 for information, including unannounced details of the 2010 budget and the government's deficit reduction plans.
Max Clifford his very self has pleaded not guilty to eleven charges of indecent assault which were,allegedly, committed between 1966 and 1985. The alleged offences relate to seven different women and girls ranging in age from fourteen to nineteen. Clifford denies all of the charges. At the hearing at Westminster Magistrates' Court, Clifford, from Hersham, was remanded on bail. The seventy-year-old, who says that the claims are 'without foundation,' will appear at Southwark Crown Court next month. Speaking outside court, Clifford said: 'I'm totally innocent of these allegations and the nightmare continues.' He said that his lawyers were 'just being informed' of the identity of the complainants. 'Since December I've been in the dark and people have made accusations from a long time ago,' he added. On his arrival at court, dozens of photographers and camera crews crowded around Clifford and his wife. Several members of the public also shouted abuse at him. BBC correspondent Sangita Myska said that Clifford looked 'very shaken' and his wife appeared to be on the brink of tears. Under the bail conditions, Clifford must live at his Surrey home and is not allowed to contact prosecution witnesses. The full list of offences relating to seven complainants are: One offence of indecent assault relating to a girl, aged fourteen, in 1966, one offence of indecent assault relating to a woman, aged eighteen, in 1974-75, three offences of indecent assault relating to a girl, aged fifteen, in 1977-78, one offence of indecent assault relating to a woman, aged nineteen, in 1978, two offences of indecent assault relating to a girl, aged sixteen or seventeen, in 1981-82, one offence of indecent assault relating to a woman, aged nineteen, in 1980-81 and two offences of indecent assault relating to a woman, aged eighteen, in 1984-85. Clifford was arrested in December under Operation Yewtree - set up following allegations of disgraceful badness relating to naughty old scallywag and rotter Jimmy Savile - but his arrest was unrelated to Savile.

The Royal Shakespeare Company is to stream its upcoming production of Richard II starring former national heartthrob David Tennant to UK schools. The sold-out performance of the 13 November Stratford-upon-Avon show will also be shown live in cinemas. 'We want to bring the work we make to the widest possible audience,' said RSC artistic director Gregory Doran. 'Taking our productions live into cinemas and direct into schools is the next logical step.' Richard II runs in Stratford from 10 October to 16 November before transferring to the Barbican in London in December. A recording of the live performance will be streamed direct into up to one thousand schools on 15 November, accompanied by a live studio link-up hosted by Konnie Huq. Members of the creative team, including Doran and Tennant, will take part in a live online Q&A session as part of the initiative. Two further RSC Shakespeare plays will be filmed live during 2014, the titles of which will be announced in September. Tennant - recently seen in ITV drama Broadchurch and The Politician's Husband on BBC2 - previously worked with the RSC on its hit 2008 production of Hamlet. Doran, who directed that production, will also direct Richard II, which tells of a king whose vanity and weakness threatens to drag England into a dynastic civil war. Speaking to the Gruniad Morning Star, Doran said it was 'very important' that a way was found to 're-imagine' the production for a cinema audience. 'It mustn't just be like having a security camera peering at the stage,' continued the director, who took over from previous RSC chief Michael Boyd last year.

England found the time between showers to wrap-up a two hundred and forty seven-run victory over New Zealand in the second Test and with it a two-nil series sweep. On a tense final day at Headingley, England needed eighty six minutes in two separate passages of play to take the final four New Zealand wickets they required for victory. Stuart Broad caught and bowled Kiwis captain Brendon McCullum in the third full over of the day and Graeme Swann broke an entertaining fifty six-run partnership when he had Tim Southee caught at slip for thirty eight. After an anxious two-and-a-half-hour rain stoppage, Swann removed Doug Bracewell to claim a ten-wicket match haul and James Anderson had last man Trent Boult caught behind as New Zealand were finally bowled out for two hundred and twenty. Swann, controversially left out for last year's test at Leeds against South Africa, became the first spinner to take a ten-wicket Test haul at Headingley since Derek Underwood in 1972. England's failure to bowl out New Zealand on Monday night, coupled with Tuesday's forecast of heavy rain, had threatened to deny the hosts victory. But, after an early morning downpour the rain eased off, allowing play to start at 11:45, with New Zealand - chasing an improbable four hundred and sixty eight to win - resuming on one hundred and fifty eight for six. England soon broke through, Broad stooping to claim a fine return catch when McCullum pushed a full toss back towards the bowler. Southee threw the bat in his characteristic manner to reach thirty eight before he nicked Swann to slip where Jonathan Trott - who had dropped a similar chance moments earlier - held on. However, with England two wickets away from victory, the players were taken off for rain just before lunch. With the tension mounting and light rain still falling from dark grey clouds, Cook crowded his men round the bat. And the tactic worked as Bracewell was taken low for nineteen by Ian Bell at silly point to give Swann his tenth wicket of the match. New Zealand's numbers ten and eleven then battled through eight runless overs to increase England's frustrations. But the decision to replace Swann with James Anderson paid immediate dividends as the Lancashire paceman found the edge of Boult's bat to spark celebrations among the England players. Cook declined to enforce the follow-on on day three despite a one hundred and eighty-run first innings lead over a side they had skittled out for sixty eight and one hundred and seventy four in their two previous innings, and then chose to delay a declaration until New Zealand required four hundred and sixty eight - fifty runs more than the highest successful run chase in Test history.

For today's Keith Telly Topping's 45 of the Day, this is a trip back into a time when the world was very, very young and Stevie Wonder was still, officially, 'Little'.