Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Mistakes, I Know I've Made A Few But I'm Only Human

Yer actual David Tennant has provided some new teasers about his role in the Doctor Who fiftieth anniversary special. The actor told SFX that fans can expect to see 'a slightly different' side to his Doctor when he is paired with Matt Smith's. 'The Doctor tends to lead every scene he is in and when you are sharing that out it becomes slightly different,' Tennant explained. 'You have a new relationship with that aspect of the character and that gives you fresh challenges to work on.' Tennant added that he was 'not surprised' to be asked back for the fiftieth, after previously leaving Doctor Who in 2010. 'There is a precedent to this, isn't there?' he said. 'For a long time I was starting to think it was never going to happen, so there was an element of surprise there. But the general concept [of a multi-Doctor story] was something I always expected.' The forty two-year-old also said he believed that the anniversary episode will appeal to long-time Doctor Who fans and casual viewers alike. 'Doctor Who has managed to be a big success over the past few years by being very accessible to everyone,' he suggested. 'We have never been about going for a highly particular audience - although that audience is the reason Doctor Who has lived for fifty years - but rather to have a very broad appeal. I think that aspect is something that people will feel is quite evident in this special as well.'

Rory Kinnear is to play the runaway aristocrat (and, allegedly, murderer) Lord Lucan in a two-part ITV drama marking the fortieth anniversary of his mysterious disappearance. Richard Bingham, The Seventh Earl of Lucan (nicknamed 'Lucky' by his high society friends) vanished after the death of his children's nanny, Sandra Rivett. Once (allegedly) considered for the role of James Bond, Lucan was by all accounts a charismatic individual, a 'professional gambler' with expensive tastes; he raced power boats and drove an Aston Martin. In 1963 he married Veronica Duncan, with whom he had three children. When the marriage collapsed late in 1972, a bitter custody battle ensued, which Lucan ultimately lost. He began to spy on his wife and record their telephone conversations, apparently obsessed with regaining the custody of the children. On the evening of 7 November 1974, Sandra Rivett was bludgeoned to death in the basement of the Lucan family home. Lady Lucan was also attacked and she later identified her estranged husband as her assailant. As the police began their murder investigation Lucan telephoned his mother, asking her to collect the children, and then drove in a borrowed Ford Corsair to a friend's house in Uckfield, Sussex. In the early hours of 8 November, he left the property and was - at least, officially - never seen again, effectively vanishing without a trace. The Corsair was later found abandoned in Newhaven, its interior stained with blood and its boot containing a piece of bandaged lead pipe similar to one found at the crime scene. A warrant for Lucan's arrest was issued a few days later and in his absence, the inquest into Sandra's death named Lucan as her murderer, the last occasion in Britain that a coroner's court was allowed to do so. The drama is based on John Pearson's book The Gamblers, which claimed that several of Lucan's wealthy and influential friends helped him to leave the country in the hours after the death of Sandra Rivett. Christopher Eccleston will appear as Lucan's friend, the famed gambling club host and animal park owner John Aspinall. Michael Gambon has also been cast in the drama, called Lucan (as another of Lucan's close personal friends, the Tory grandee James Goldsmith), which will chart Lucan's exploits as a member of the infamous Clermont Set and the collapse of his marriage. Writer Jess Pope has scripted a number of true crime dramas for ITV, including Mrs Biggs, the award-winning Appropriate Adult and The Murder of Stephen Lawrence. 'The story of Lord Lucan continues to mystify and intrigue us,' said ITV's director of drama commissioning Steve November. 'Jeff's reputation for award-winning factual drama goes before him, and these new scripts offer a compelling insight into the events surrounding Lucan's disappearance.' Lucan will begin shooting in August in and around London. Lucan's fate remains a fascinating mystery for the British public. Many believe he committed suicide by throwing himself from a cross-channel ferry in the early hours of 8 November, however hundreds of reports of his presence in various countries around the world - some more credible than others - have been made since Sandra's murder. None have been substantiated. Despite a police investigation and huge press interest, Lucan has never been found and is now presumed dead. Lucan was officially declared deceased by the High Court in 1999. Executive producer Francis Hopkinson said that the drama would bring 'new insight and revelations which will surprise the audience.' Kinnear, the son of the much-loved late actor Roy, played Bill Tinner in the Bond films Quantum of Solace and Skyfall and can be seen this weekend in Channel Four drama Southcliffe. And, he's not going to be the next Doctor. Which is a pity, actually, as he'd probably be very good at it. He's a very talented lad, and his first play, The Herd, has its premiere at The Bush Theatre in London in September.

CBS' presentation at the Television Critics Association centred around one thing and one thing only: the departure of Cote de Pablo from their hit show NCIS. Cote has played Ziva David in the crime drama for the last six years and her exit would be a huge loss for the fans and the show itself, such is her popularity. Well, it seems that she is leaving - which is a pity, because she's really good in the show - but not without CBS attempting to throw a whole bucket-load of cash at her first. 'I really want to clarify,' CBS CEO Les Moonves said, 'we offered Cote de Pablo a lot of money, and then we offered her even more money because we really didn't want to lose her. We love her. We think she was she was terrific.' There was an odd twist to this presentation, though, by all accounts. Before the reporters sat down, e-mails were popping into each and every one of their in-boxes, imploring them to question Moonves on the exact nature of de Pablo's exit with some suggestions that CBS 'undervalues' their female talent by underpaying them. 'We, obviously, were in discussions. And the rest of the cast and the producers were aware what's going on. Ultimately she decided she didn't want to do the show. It was purely her decision. We're, obviously, getting a lot of e-mails. There's a lot of Twitter buzz about her, and rightly so. She's a wonderful lady,' continued Moonves, through gritted teeth. The line of questioning clearly didn't sit well with Moonves, who was facing the twin concerns of losing one of his biggest assets and being accused of sexism. 'Look, NCIS, the highest rated show on television last year,' he said at one point, attempting to conclude the topic. 'We don't like losing anybody. But we did everything humanly possible. We feel like we exhausted every opportunity, and she just decided she didn't want to do the show.'

Internet troll victim Professor Mary Beard - whom we're all big fans of here at From The North - said that she would like to take her abuser to the pub and to 'smack his bottom.' It's probably worth somebody pointing out to Mary on the quiet that she doesn't want to be offering out such services for free. There's many a chap that'd gladly pay good money for that sort of thing down Soho. Or, err, so yer actual Keith Telly Topping understands, anyway. Ahem. Where were we? Oh, yes. Wasn't it the American humourist Emo Phillips who once noted: 'You don't appreciate a lot of stuff in school until you get older. Like being spanked every day by a middle aged woman: Stuff you pay good money for in later life.' Mary, the Roman historian, writer and broadcaster - a maker of several superb documentaries for the Beeb - said that she was willing to share a drink with the student Oliver Rawlings after the twenty-year-old was shamed into publicly apologising for calling her a 'filthy old slut.' And rightly so, matey. Where's yer bloody manners? Mary told BBC Radio 5Live: 'When I'm being sympathetic to these people, I see them as people who see themselves as voiceless. What they are doing is powering out in the one place they do have a voice.' Professor Beard added: 'It is a tough call. I have increasingly opted for name and shame. It has to be outed. And maybe his friends can say "stop."' The classicist spoke earlier this year of how she decided to expose online trolls after drawing abuse for an appearance on the BBC's Question Time. She said: 'Women are too often told just to shut up and don't make a fuss and it'll go away. But not this time.' Meanwhile, Commons culture select committee chairman John Whittingdale said he would like Twitter bosses to appear before MPs when it examines child protection issues in the autumn. The Conservative MP said it would explore if Internet companies were 'doing as much as they can' to prevent abuse. Feminist campaigner Caroline Criado Perez said that vicious tweets aimed at her and at Walthamstow MP Stella Creasy should be ‘a wake-up call’ for Twitter. Northumbria Police arrested a twenty five-year-old man on suspicion of harassment over tweets aimed at the pair. Earlier, a twenty one-year-old man was bailed over tweets sent solely to Criado Perez. Twitter said that it was looking at ways of reporting abuse. As mentioned on many previous occasions on From The North, this blogger's attitude to the whole subject of Internet communications in general remains consistent. I believe in freedom of speech and the right of an individual to voice an opinion about others, even if it isn't necessarily a very nice opinion. But, and this is the really important bit, within the boundaries of the law as it currently stands. If you say you violently dislike someone, I'll defend your right to do that to the end. But, if you say you want to kill or rape or otherwise discombobulate a person then, sorry prick, you're on your own and, frankly, you're asking for everything that you're likely get to when plod comes a-knocking. Which they, inevitably, will. Here endeth the lesson. Speaking of which ...

The Scottish police force has apologised for a tweet sent during a Newsnight debate about abusive messages on Twitter. That's one for anyone who thinks irony is something their mum does with their shirts after washing. The tweet mocked the columnist Toby Young's contribution to the programme. It was later deleted. Police Scotland said that the matter was 'being investigated' and Twitter access was 'being reviewed.' Young - who, to be fair, is a bit of a bell end at the best of times (that's an opinion, incidentally, covered under libel laws by the category of 'fair comment') - said that he had blocked the force's account, was 'not offended' and would not complain. Good on ya, Toby. This blogger probably wouldn't have been so understanding! The journalist was appearing in a discussion with Stella Creasy who, as noted, has received vile threats of rape on Twitter from, no doubt, perfect specimens of humanity, and wants social networks to do more to protect users and to identify perpetrators. The MP told the programme: 'We need to make sure that police at a local level and at a national level understand the risks and dangers that can come from online behaviour.' Young, who writes for the Daily Torygraph, argues that blocking and ignoring abusive posters on the Internet is sufficient 'in ninety nine cases out of one hundred.' Which, to be fair to him, is probably true. But, it's the one hundredth case that's not quite so clear-cut. After receiving the message from the Police Scotland account, Young tweeted: 'Just had to block @policescotland, the official police Scotland Twitter feed, for abusing me on Twitter. This is getting weird.' On Wednesday morning, Police Scotland tweeted: 'We apologise for the tweet ... and for any upset caused. The matter is being investigated and we're reviewing Twitter access.'

A Tory arsehole has apologised 'for any offence caused' after he said fracking should take place in 'the North East' because it was 'desolate.' 'For any offence caused'? Whom, dear blog reader, whom in the wide, wide world of sport could possibly take offence at a such a reasoned, informed and logical statement? Oh, apart from all of us who, you know, live there. The former energy secretary - and, odious louse - Lord Howell said that there was 'less concern there' than for 'beautiful natural areas.' Apologising, grovellingly, Howell said that there were parts of both the North East and the South which were 'less densely inhabited than others.' And then the Tories wonder exactly why everybody North of Nottingham hates them and everything they stand for. Fracking - short for 'hydraulic fracturing' and not a euphemism for a quick knee-trembler - involves drilling deep under ground and releasing a high-pressure mix of water, sand and hundreds of chemicals to crack rocks and release gas stored inside. Water companies are worried that the process could contaminate drinking water aquifers which lie above shale gas reserves. But supporters of fracking say it is safe and essential to making the UK more energy self-sufficient. Widespread fracking has not started in the UK yet, but Cuadrilla began exploratory drilling in Lancashire in 2011 and many other possible sites have been identified. During Lords Questions, Howell, who was energy secretary from 1979 to 1981, asked: 'Would you accept that it could be a mistake to think of and discuss fracking in terms of the whole of the United Kingdom in one go? I mean there obviously are, in beautiful natural areas, worries about not just the drilling and the fracking, which I think are exaggerated, but about the trucks, and the delivery, and the roads, and the disturbance, and those about justified worries.' He then added: 'But there are large and uninhabited and desolate areas. Certainly in part of the North East where there's plenty of room for fracking, well away from anybody's residence, where we could conduct without any kind of threat to the rural environment.' What a knob. After the comments, the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Reverend Justin Welby, wrote on Twitter: 'North East England [is] very beautiful, rugged, welcoming, inspiring, historic, advancing, not "desolate" as was said in House of Lords today.' Friends of the Earth's Tony Bosworth called the comments 'jaw-dropping', adding: 'The government's ill-conceived fracking plans aren't something that can be quietly brushed under the carpet "oop North" - as the villages resisting the drillers in the Tory heartlands of England's South show.' Following the criticism, Howell issued a spectacularly spineless statement saying: 'I apologise for any offence caused. I certainly did not intend to suggest that the North East is desolate and I do not believe it to be the case. There are parts of the country that are less densely inhabited than others. That includes parts of the North East but also other areas in the South of England as well. The shale gas industry should be encouraged to develop in a sustainable way where it is appropriate to do so and in way that ensures communities benefit, which could be in many different parts of country.' A tip, yer very Lordship. When you're in a hole (even a big hole, used for fracking) it's, generally, a good idea to stop digging. Downing Street said that Howell 'did not speak for the government.' But Labour MP for Newcastle North Catherine McKinnell said that the peer's idiotic remarks demonstrated that the Conservative Party was 'out of touch. It's right that Lord Howell has apologised for these offensive comments but such outdated opinions leave a lasting impression,' she said. Andy Wilson, chief executive of the North York Moors National Park Authority, said the authority had received initial contact from companies over fracking for shale. 'It's something that in the longer term we're expecting to deal with,' he said. 'But we shouldn't start with an assumption it's empty and desolate; it's beautiful and peopled.'

Perhaps not surprisingly, Howell's staggeringly ill-advised opinions have earned him a front page rebuff in the Newcastle Journal, yer actual Keith Telly Topping's local paper of choice. And, a very articulate and well-written rebuffing it is too. Picking up on the fact that Howell also happens to be father-in-law of the chancellor, George Osborne, the paper's front page today asks: What on earth is your father-in-law talking about George? The headline is overprinted on a montage of pictures of rural splendour in Northumberland - Hadrian's Wall, the Kielder Reservoir, Bamburgh Castle, The Angel of the North and the village of Alnmouth. Inside, the paper carries of page of criticisms of Howell, including a series of tweets from readers. None of which, to the best of this blogger's knowledge, have been referred to the fuzz on the grounds of general naughtiness, despite most of them having been written by blokies and lasses what were fair vexed to the point of being radjy and ready for a geet rive-on. And that. The main piece reports how Howell was forced to make a grovelling public apology for his gaffe. The critics included Labour peer Lord Beecham, who was in the Lords to hear Howell's ignorant half-arsed comments. Beecham is quoted as saying: 'Neville Chamberlain spoke of pre-war Czechoslovakia as "a far away country of which we know nothing." Lord Howell clearly has a similar view on the North-East and his comments once again highlight the Tories problem with the North.' Aware of the potential political damage, the Conservative parliamentary candidate for Berwick-upon-Tweed, Anne-Marie Trevelyan, said that she 'firmly disagreed' with Howell's characterisation of the region in a piece of distance-making worthy of a BBC disc-jockey asked if he'd ever hung out with Jimmy Savile in the 1970s. 'I am appalled by the implication of Lord Howells's comments that the North East has a disposable landscape value,' she said. David Skelton, director of an independent campaign group aimed at broadening the Tory appeal, Renewal, said: 'As a proud North Easterner, I know that such a description isn't even close to the truth. I'd be delighted to give Lord Howell a tour of the North East to show him that it's far from desolate and is, in fact, one of the gems of the nation.' The paper also quotes the Northumberland county council leader, Grant Davey, who could not resist a sarcastic dig at his very lordship. 'We must thank our lucky stars that he's resigned from his role in the foreign office, where his diplomatic skills will be sorely missed.'
A few quick personal notes now, before we return you to the new dear blog reader. On 31 July 2013, with a visit to this site from a dear blog reader in Managua, Nicaragua, From The North achieved readership in its two hundredth territory. We still haven't had anybody from the Federated States of Micronesia yet, though. Come on guys, the trick it to bang the rocks together. Since March 2006, From The North has had just over nine hundred and eighteen thousand page views and, since yer actual Keith Telly Topping started keeping proper stats (I know, I know, Asperger's, or what?) in August 2009, the blog has been visited by four hundred and twenty seven thousand individual, unique visitors. Actually, dear blog reader, yer actual Keith Telly Topping would like to assure you that he thinks you're all unique. Just under twenty per cent of hits are from returning visitors, the average pages per visit is 1.38, the average duration is, exactly, one minute, and the average daily traffic is between six and eight hundred individual page hits. Or, on days where people are doing searches for Anna Meares' bum or Lucy Lawless nude, over a thousand.

Right, now the big news. Yer actual Keith Telly Topping went to the local Medical Centre to get the confirmation blood test for his, recently suspected, type two diabetes on Wednesday morning. The nurse, lovely Jay, also took another armful of claret to check his kidneys. ('I don't mind it up to here, but I'm not having it up here' yer actual Keith Telly Topping squealed, like a girl in a Tony Hancock sketch.) Thus, both of his bloody arms resembled pin-cushions by the time he got out the gaff. We had a great chat about the future management of yer actual Keith Telly Topping's lack-of-health in the area; they're going to try dieting (good luck with that), 'lifestyle changes' and exercise for at least a couple of months before any medication is prescribed. 'You may well find if you lose three or four stones that not only will your blood sugar levels come way down but so will your blood pressure levels. Your bad back might improve as well!' noted Jay. Keith Telly Topping his very self noted that he had started swimming once a week and also that he'd recently bought a bike which he'd called it ... 'Gillian?' Jay asked. 'How ...?' 'I read your blog, daftie!' she replied. Oh. Fair enough. The obvious answer is usually ... the obvious answer. Yer actual Keith Telly Topping had a long check-list of what he should be eating and what not to - thankfully, the majority of his 'I'd sooner die than give up that!' items were okay, although in a couple of cases, it was 'in moderation.' Indeed, the general thrust of the whole conversation was 'in moderation.' 'Smaller portions, don't snack between meals, cut out the sweet stuff and avoid tetties.' Yeah, okay, I can handle that. Keith Telly Topping his very self said that he'd given up red meat and bread which Jay said was a good start. One pint of lager on a Thursday night and the odd glass of wine once a fortnight with a meal is, apparently, 'an acceptable level of alcohol intake!' Brown rice is better than white rice. Pasta's okay and it gives you energy but it can be hard to break down so, again, don't overdo it. Low carb is a good idea though, generally, just eating sensibly is the best route. The odd takeaway's fine but home-made curry is, it seems, considered a very healthy option (yes!) so yer actual Keith Telly Topping should try that as a default, particularly if you don't fry anything that you're putting in it. Which yer actual Keith Telly Topping doesn't anyway, as it happens. In fact, frying, generally, is as bad as a bad thing with bad knobs on it. Prawns and fish, fine. Cheese, fine. Mushrooms and onions, fine. 'Do you eat much fruit'? 'Do tinned pears count?!' Yeah, it was that sort of conversation. So, anyway, we should have the results of the blood test back in a week - which will be positive, yer actual Keith Telly Topping knows that in advance! Thus, having already been out on Gillian at the crack of dawn for fifteen minutes and then walked to and from the centre, it was off to Byker swimming pool for a quadruple daily dose of exercise. You know, that thing yer actual Keith Telly Topping 'doesn't do.' That, as it turned out, was thoroughly bracing. Got to the pool, had a ten minute fight trying to extract the key to the locker I'd chosen to put my gear in (Keith Telly Topping ended up giving up on a bad job and going to another one). I had planned to maybe do three or four lengths since it was the first time yer actual Keith Telly Topping had been swimming in earnest since, and this is a true story dear blog reader, 11 September 2001. However, as soon as yer actual Keith Telly Topping put one toe in the water, the wave machine came on and he spent fifteen minutes splashing about like a ten year old. It was proper great. Then it stopped and he managed but two lengths before giving up through exhaustion and visiting the sauna for quarter of an hour of sensational dry heat. In truth, Keith Telly Topping used to be quite a good swimmer - many, many years ago - but, again, like riding a bike it's something he hasn't done for such a long time. I remember, specifically, the date of the last time I was in that particular swimming pool because, I'd gone with the late Mama Telly Topping (who was a regular swimmer) and, on getting back to Stately Telly Topping Manor, yer actual Keith Telly Topping switched on Sky News to find the odious Kay Burley horrorshow that she is describing the planes which had just gone into the Twin Towers. Whether the fact that it took twelve years to get yer actual Keith Telly Topping back in the water had to do with any sort of subliminal guilt-trip over his being in Byker baths on that very day and that having, somehow, caused 9/11, yer actual Keith Telly Topping his very self knows not. But, it's a good story even if it hasn't.

Back to news now and New Tricks returned to easily top the overnight ratings on Tuesday evening. The BBC1 crime drama's tenth series attracted 7.52 million viewers at 9pm. This is slightly down from the previous series' 7.8m launch, but up on October's finale ratings of 6.79 million punters. Earlier, Nigel Slater's show Dish Of The Day cooked up 2.88m at 7pm. On BBC2, Count Arthur Strong was watched by seven hundred and twenty five thousand viewers at 8pm, followed by The Cruise with 1.13m at 8.30pm. Kumbh Mela: The Greatest Show on Earth interested seven hundred and seventy two thousand at 9pm. On ITV, Nature's Newborns garnered 2.79m at 7.30pm, while Odious, Risible Alan Titchmarsh's Love Your Garden appealed to 3.15m at 8pm. Hunting The Doorstep Conmen pulled in 2.33m at 9pm. Channel Four's thoroughly nasty Kirstie Allsopp show Fill Your House For Free attracted 1.40m at 8pm. Why Don't You Speak English? concluded with seven hundred and three thousand punters at 9pm. On Channel Five, The World's Worst Holiday Horrors continued with 1.44m at 8pm. CSI: NY launched its latest season with 1.47m at 9pm. Big Brother's latest episode brought in 1.49m at 10pm.

The BBC has been cleared over broadcasting the word 'shagging' before the 9pm watershed. The BBC Trust ruled that it was acceptable to say the word 'in some contexts' after a single viewer - seemingly with nothing better to do with his or her time - whinged about 'the appallingly sexually explicit language' in an episode of Holby City last year. One character said to another 'you're just shagging her', while later another said the same character was 'scared of women. Remind him that you have the power to cut his balls off, metaphorically speaking.' The Daily Torygraph reports that the Trust's editorial standards committee ruled that there was 'sensitivity' over the word 'shagging' (from those repressed individuals who've probably never had a good hard shag in their lives), but 'regular viewers' would not have found it acceptable in the given context. However, the Torygraph its very self can't quite bring itself to print the words 'shagging', opting for 's-------' instead and telling readers that it is 'a vulgar term for sexual intercourse.' One imagines that the majority of Torygraph readers probably knew that already. 'B----', metaphorical, or otherwise, didn't make the cut either – which does rather make one wonder how the paper manages to cover Wimbledon, the Ashes and the Premier League.
Doctor Who fans will get the chance to visit the set of the show, including stepping onto the TARDIS used in filming. Visitors to The Doctor Who Experience in Cardiff this summer also have the opportunity to upgrade their entry tickets to include a studio set tour. The console room used on screen is located at the nearby Roath Lock Studios. Tickets will also include a walking tour of locations used in the show around Cardiff Bay. Further details of how to book and purchase tickets can be found here.
ITV has accused Channel Four of 'shoddy journalism' for planning to broadcast an undercover sting on Coronation Street actors allegedly promoting fake products on Twitter. Big fight, little people. An ITV executive accused the rival broadcaster of attempting to 'create a "scandal" from entirely innocuous conduct' and threatened to sue Channel Four's arse into the middle of next week if it broadcasts the Dispatches investigation next week. In a sharply-worded letter to Channel Four, ITV's group legal director Andrew Garard wrote: 'As a public service broadcaster, I am amazed you would consider broadcasting this allegations – and, as I say above, I am astounded that this programme would be broadcast by you on Dispatches at all.' The broadcasters have been embroiled in a behind-the-scenes dispute about the planned programme – Celebs, Brands and Fake Fans – since the producers alerted a number of b-list celebrities about its investigation last month. Three Coronation Street actresses are said to have been covertly filmed receiving bogus beauty products from a fictitious cosmetics firm set up by Dispatches. Some of them later tweeted about the products, which included 'mystique spray' and a bottle of toner which actually contained only water. The one-hour Dispatches film is due to go out on Channel Four on Monday 5 August. In the letter to Channel Four, Garard wrote: 'If you are seriously proposing to broadcast the programme and to include any allegations of wrongdoing against ITV and/or its employees in it, we (and the relevant individuals) will have no option but to issue proceedings against you for libel. As you will appreciate, as a fellow broadcaster ITV does not wish [to] have to take such action, but in the circumstances we will have no choice. Quite frankly, this is a shoddy piece of journalism in an attempt to create a "scandal" from entirely innocuous conduct.' Garard wrote directly to Channel Four's director of commercial affairs, Martin Baker, after ITV's lawyers were told that Dispatches planned to broadcast the film. He accused Matchlight, the production firm behind the programme, of 'attempting to entice' young Coronation Street actors into tweeting about the fake products by sending them messages on the social network. 'As set out at length in the correspondence between [ITV's lawyers] Olswang to Matchlight, the allegations that it is proposed be included in the programme about ITV and its employees are highly defamatory and completely false,' said Garard. 'Olswang have made it very clear to Matchlight that if such allegations are broadcast then ITV and the relevant individuals will issue libel proceedings.' A spokeswoman for Channel Four said: 'We stand by our journalism and the evidence we have collected.' Channel Four previously said that the Dispatches film will examine whether some celebrities are 'less than transparent when tweeting brand names' and expose 'the new tricks used by marketeers to plug brands.' The Dispatches film has been produced and directed by Chris Atkins, the film-maker behind the acclaimed 2009 documentary Starsuckers which hoaxed several tabloid newspapers into printing fake celebrity stories.

The Wire and Breaking Bad actor David Costabile, Being Human's Damien Molony and Game of Thrones actor Joseph Mawle are among the new cast members for series two of BBC1 period drama Ripper Street. Filming has started in Dublin on the show's second run, which will feature the return of Matthew MacFadyen, Jerome Flynn and Adam Rothenberg as crime-solving trio Reid, Drake and Jackson. Costabile joins as Daniel Judge, the older brother of Rothenberg's character, and will appear in the two-part finale. Molony joins as new H Division constable Albert Flight, while Mawle is cast as the corrupt Inspector Jedidiah Shine. Newcomer Leanne Best will appear as Jane Cobden, the first woman elected to the London County Council. Meanwhile, Paul Kaye is among the guest stars in series two, alongside Gina Bellman, Neve McIntosh and James Wilby. Based around the East End of London, the second series will move the show forward to 1890. Series two will launch in the UK in early 2014. Speaking about series two, MacFadyen said: 'It's fantastic to be reunited with much of the wonderful cast and crew from last year. Also to be reunited with my bowler hat - I'd missed it. The show's creator Richard Warlow has given us wonderful, strange and unsettling episodes, teeming with the fierce and fragile life of Victorian Whitechapel.'

Crawley nightclub JJ Whispers are letting Channel Four cameras into the toilets to film a new documentary about what happens in the netties 'on an ordinary evening' in a British club. This blogger always thought filming people in lavatories was an arrestable offence but, apparently, not. Firecracker Films are producing the one-off show for Channel Four, which is hoping to replicate the success of recent documentary hit The Fried Chicken Shop. Producer Laura Smith told local press: 'A lot goes on in nightclub toilets and this documentary will answer the questions bugging both sexes. Apart from the usual gossiping, I've broken up with a boyfriend in a club toilet before, consoled people and seen people get thrown out. When it comes to the men, I hear they never talk to each other and don't even stop to wash their hands. Take away the craziness of the scenario and we are sure to get some really nice moments and capture a lot of relationships.' Customers will not be filmed without their permission, and nobody will be shown using the toilets.

The Voice's third series will allegedly be brought forward in the TV schedules next year. BBC bosses are said to have decided to change the broadcast dates for the talent show's next run, according to supposed leaked documents 'acquired' by the Sun. How they 'acquired' them, or whether they're genuine, they fail to reveal. The show's live finals will reportedly begin in March and finish in April, before rival show Britain's Got Talent returns on ITV. Pre-recorded auditions would therefore begin in February, which is almost two months earlier than this year's run. However, a BBC spokesperson has since stated: 'No decision has been made. The Voice is not pinned down in the schedule yet.' Jessie J and Danny O'Donoghue have both confirmed their departures from The Voice's coaching panel after two series. It is not yet known if and Sir Tom Jones will remain on the panel for series three. Nor, indeed, does anyone much care.

Britain's greatest living playwright, the very excellent Sir Tom Stoppard, has been named as the recipient of this year's Pen Pinter prize. The award was established in 2009 by writers' charity Pen - which promotes freedom of expression - in memory of Harold Pinter. Tom - a particular favourite of yer actual Keith Telly Topping - will be presented with the prize at the British Library on 7 October and will deliver an address. Alongside plays like Arcadia, he is known for co-writing the Oscar-winning screenplay for Shakespeare in Love. His other stage work includes The Real Thing and Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead and TV plays like Professional Foul, Squaring the Circle and the recent adaptation of Parade's End. This year's panel of judges - which selects an 'unflinching, unswerving' writer for the honour - included Christopher Bland, 2012 winner and former Children's Laureate Carol Ann Duffy, Antonia Fraser, David Lan and the president of English Pen, and chair of judges, Gillian Slovo. South African-born novelist Slovo said that the judges 'agreed unanimously that Tom's lifetime's work meets the challenging criteria set by Harold Pinter when he described those characteristics he most admired in a writer; those of courage and truthfulness, a determination to tell things as they are.' Sir Tom paid tribute to Pinter - who died in 2008 aged seventy eight - calling him 'one of the reasons I wanted to write plays.' He added: 'I had the sense not to attempt a "Pinter play", but in other respects, as the years went by, he became and remained a model for the kind of fearless integrity which Pen exists to defend among writers.' Sir Tom will share his prize with an international writer of courage, selected by him and Pen's Writers at Risk committee. Last year Carol Ann Duffy shared the prize with the exiled Syrian author Samar Yazbek, whose book A Woman in the Crossfire was based on diaries she kept during the early stages of the Syrian conflict.

Channel Four has been 'rapped' (that's tabloidese for 'criticised' only with a couple less syllables) for running alcohol adverts during shows 'likely to appeal to children', including the hit US comedy import The Big Bang Theory. Other broadcasters including Discovery and Comedy Central have also fallen foul of rules on alcohol advertising to children. The Advertising Standards Authority found seven cases of broadcasters breaking the rules relating to alcohol advertising – which bans adverts in or around programmes targeted or likely to appeal to under-eighteens – after acting on research from an Ofcom investigation. According to Ofcom's rules alcohol adverts are not allowed to be shown in programmes which attract an audience of ten to fifteen-year-olds that is twenty per cent or more above the norm. Channel Four broadcast alcohol adverts during The Big Bang Theory on its E4 service, with the ASA ruling that in fifteen of those episodes too many children aged from ten to fifteen were watching. The broadcaster was also caught out with adverts that ran in another popular US import How I Met Your Mother (seventy eight episodes in breach), as well as around the Film4 movie Aquamarine (three adverts in breach). E4 said that it had kept an eye on the audience profile of the shows previously, but for the period Ofcom monitored 'the process was not followed.' The channel has now tightened its restrictions on when alcohol adverts can and can't be shown. The ASA has reprimanded other broadcasters – including Discovery, Paramount and Men & Movies+1 channel owner Entertainment Networks – with a small number of additional adjudications due to be published in the coming weeks. Paramount, owner of channels including Comedy Central, broke the rules for running an alcohol advertisement during the film Stuart Little 3. The company said that the advert was scheduled in the film 'due to a systems error.' Discovery broke the rules by running alcohol commercials on its main UK channel and Quest service during sixty two episodes of Mythbusters. The US broadcaster said the show was 'clearly directed' at an audience of over-eighteens. The ASA disagreed. Entertainment Networks UK, which runs Men & Movies, aired alcohol adverts in five films commissioned for under-eighteens, such as Three Ninjas Knuckle Up.

The Indian cricketer S Sreesanth has been charged with thirty eight other people over a spot-fixing scandal that has rocked the Indian Premier League. Prosecutors brought charges of criminal conspiracy and cheating against Sreesanth, two of his Rajasthan Royals team-mates and other non-cricketers. Spot-fixing involves players bowling wides and no-balls at certain times arranged beforehand with bookmakers. Sreesanth and team-mates Ajit Chandila and Ankeet Chavan deny all the charges. They were arrested in May along with scores of bookmakers. A separate spot-fixing investigation by cricket officials led to cricket chief N Srinivasan stepping aside last month pending the outcome of the probe. He left his post as the head of the Board of Control for Cricket in India after his son-in-law Gurunath Meiyappan was arrested for suspected spot-fixing. He and his Chennai Super Kings franchise were exonerated by the inquiry, but the Bombay High Court has now ordered a 're-investigation.' Correspondents say that the ruling could delay the return of Srinivasan. The scandal broke in May when Sreesanth, Chavan and Chandila were arrested. Sreesanth and Chavan were later freed on bail, but Chandila remains in pokey at the time of writing. The trio, all bowlers, were suspended by India's cricket board and the Rajasthan Royals. The IPL is considered to be the world's showcase for Twenty/20 cricket. Top Indian and international players take part, contributing to what is the world's richest - and greediest - cricket tournament.
German prosecutors have charged former international footballer Uli Hoeneß, president of European champions Bayern München, with tax evasion after a lengthy inquiry. Lawyers for Hoeneß have one month to respond to the charges before a court in München decides whether the case should go to trial. The former German international and World Cup winner reported himself to the authorities earlier this year over an undeclared Swiss bank account. Bayern München beat Borussia Dortmund to win last season's Champions League. News of the secret bank account caused a stir in Germany with even Chancellor Angela Merkel's spokesman saying she was 'disappointed' in the former West Germany international. Neither he nor officials at the club have disclosed how much money is involved, but German media sources suggest he deposited millions of Euros in a Zurich-based account over ten years. Ooo, naughty. Hoeneß is said to have failed to pay capital gains tax. Ken Heidenreich, a spokesman for München prosecutors, declined to give details of the indictment on Tuesday, citing tax secrecy laws. 'We have filed the charges to the München state court,' he said. 'The defence now has one month to pronounce itself.' In May, Bayern's supervisory board backed Hoeneß to remain in the job despite the investigation against him.

The former Newcastle goalkeeper Steve Harper is 'honoured' an AC Milan legends team will face a Magpies all-star side in his testimonial game. Alan Shearer, Franco Baresi and Paolo Maldini are among the players confirmed for the match on 11 September. Proceeds from the game will benefit The Great North Children's Hospital, the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation and the Newcastle United Foundation. 'I'm honoured such a great team is coming,' Harper told BBC Newcastle. 'We're going to be privileged to see some of the greatest players to ever play the game. If you picked an all-time world XI then Franco Baresi and Paolo Maldini would certainly be in a lot of people's teams. To have that iconic AC Milan team that I grew up watching on a Sunday is fantastic.' The three most high-profile members of Milan's Glorie legends team are the defensive trio of Maldini, Baresi and Alessandro Costacurta. Under Fabio Capello they were part of the side that won the 1994 European Cup, although the latter two were suspended for the final. However they continued to star for the Rossoneri for the next decade, Baresi winning three Champions League titles, while Maldini and Costacurta both lifted five each. 'I was very happy to hear of the possibility of AC Milan Glorie travelling and playing against a Newcastle United legends team at such a famous stadium,' Baresi said. 'I know the passion of Newcastle fans and I know of the club's history and the love of football in the city, so I congratulate Steve and wish the fans and Newcastle United a magnificent occasion.' Unlikely, but just about possible. Harps, who joined Hull City following the end of his twenty-year spell at yer actual Keith Telly Topping's beloved (though still unsellable) Newcastle this summer, made one hundred and ninety nine appearances for the club following his move from Seaham Red Star.

Yer actual Keith Telly Topping's 45 of the Day is a twenty four carat gem from Smokey Robinson and his Miraculous Miracles. When Smokey sings, yer actual Keith Telly Topping hears ... well, Marvin Tarplin's guitar, actually.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Theatre

We start today's update, dear blog reader with a special request for a dear blog reader who wrote to yer actual Keith Telly Topping asking if From The North could feature a picture of 'a nice pair of firm, juicy melons.' Your wish, is my command, sir (or madam).
And, because we always like balance on this blog, here's a picture of a massive cock.

On Monday evening, dear blog reader, yer actual Keith Telly Topping his very self took part in the lovely John Scott's regular monthly satirical comedy night at The Stand, Sod The Tories (And Have A Nice Week). Yer actual Keith Telly Topping was the interviewee in a segment called Ask The Activist. I did ask if, for one month only, John could change the name of the show to Sod The Lot Of Them (And Have A Nice Week) since yer actual Keith Telly Topping is, if nothing else, an equal opportunities despiser of all the political classes. Anyway, it was a jolly night with John being joined by four young local comedians - Katherine Tanney, John Whale, Stewy Robz and Andy Fury - all of them properly terrific and whose future careers yer actual Keith Telly Topping will be following with great interest. Essentially, the night is a sort of topical panel show, similar to a slightly more friendly and inclusive version of Mock The Week if you like, with rounds in which the comedians are given various subjects in the news to tackle - there was lots of stuff about the royal sprog this week, obviously. And, also, the size of chips in Gloucestershire. Trust me, you had to be there. John-Paul Stephenson, with whom yer actual Keith Telly Topping had a lengthy chat, wrote a rather good review of a previous show for Giggle Beats which will hopefully give dear blog readers a flavour of the event. Among the questions which yer actual Keith Telly Topping was asked were; what is the best and worst protest song by notorious alcoholic wife-beating Scouse junkie John Lennon? If religion is the opiate of the masses what is television? It's been a year since the Olympics, have you stopped giving a shit yet? Does television have a right wing bias and how great a political influence does it exert over its viewers? You used to work for the Civil Service but left to become a full time writer, is that the real reason or is it because the Department of Employment couldn't offer you a full time position? And, perhaps best of all, do you only watch so much telly because it always pisses down in England and what did you do last week when it was all sunny? It was all very light-hearted and funny, too. Sadly, because the buses to the East End are so notoriously bad late on, yer actual Keith Telly Topping had to flee the gaff at quarter past ten as soon as he'd done his slot which he really felt bad about (it's like turning up to a poetry gig, doing your bit and then buggering off whilst others are still performing). So, many apologies to all of the - very decent-sized - audience for that rank rudeness. Oh, and the comedy highlight of the night was that John had forgotten to put yer actual Keith Telly Topping on the guest list and he almost had to pay to get in to a gig that he was taking part therein! Fortunately, yer actual Keith Telly Topping is a total past-master at blagging his way into gigs with a dismissive 'don't you people know who I am?!' Anyway, Sod The Tories (And Have A Nice Week) is on one Monday each month at The Stand, and is highly recommended for lovers of satire, cynicism and ... well, chips. So, that's everybody, basically. Check listings for dates, details et cetera.

It's the Radio Times cover that could have been but never happened - publicising the first episode of Doctor Who in November 1963. A special two-page feature in the new edition of the listings magazine - out on Tuesday and covering week commencing 3 August - takes a look at how Doctor Who missed out on the prime Radio Times spot at its birth, including a modern-day mock-up of how the cover of that edition may have looked. The Cover Story: Radio Times At Ninety exhibition, which opens at the Museum of London this coming Friday to mark the publication's ninetieth birthday, has turned the spotlight on a document from the BBC archive that reveals the corporation's doubts about the programme that has subsequently appeared on the front of the magazine more times than any other show. Back in 1963, Radio Times existed to publicise only the BBC's output on TV and radio, and an internal memo by Donald Wilson, head of the BBC's serials department, to Douglas Williams, then-editor of the magazine, complained that the forthcoming launch of Doctor Who on 23 November 1963 was 'not being supported' by Radio Times with a cover feature. Dated 5 November 1963, the memo read: 'I was unhappy to hear today that the proposal to give Dr Who [sic] the front page of the Radio Times had now been abandoned. It was particularly distressing to hear that one reason given was lack of confidence in the programme at Controller [Kenneth Adam's] level. I assure you that this does not exist and if you have a word with [him] I know he will express enthusiasm. I myself believe that we have an absolute knock-out in this show and that there will be no question but that it will run and run.' And, of course, he was dead right. 'I would be most grateful,' Wilson continued, 'if it is not too late, for the decision against it to be reversed, and that will help me to get this show off to a good start.' However, Wilson's pleas for a reprieve in regard to front-page publicity for the show's first episode fell on deaf ears and the cover star for the issue ended up being Kenneth Horne, publicising his popular Light Programme radio comedy Beyond Our Ken. The new family SF drama was granted a short mention in a side panel on the front cover, highlighting an article on page seven of the magazine. Doctor Who would ultimately have to wait another three months and for the start of its fourth serial - the epic historical adventure Marco Polo - before landing a coveted front cover. Radio Times, seemingly, wasn't alone in having doubts about the show. Many within the BBC were also said to be uncertain what to make of this odd-seeming new drama, as the show's first director Waris Hussein - who also directed Marco Polo - explains in the new edition of the magazine: 'Radio Times echoed the prevailing attitude, and it was only when the programme began to make its mark that the magazine started to give it a prominent billing. As far as I knew at the time, the BBC was fairly indifferent to Sydney Newman's whole concept of Doctor Who. This was echoed in the placing of the production in basic facilities at Studio D Lime Grove. Verity Lambert and I were newcomers entrusted with what was considered a fill-in show for children between Saturday football and Juke Box Jury. There was no apparent need to promote an oddball show. Radio Times covers are very important in promoting a show and in the case of Doctor Who I'm proud to say David finally became bigger than Goliath.' Meanwhile, Doctor Who's current showrunner The Lord Thy God Steven Moffat comments on whether he would have 'pleaded' for a cover if he were running things back in 1963: 'It's a different show now. I knew Verity Lambert and part of her back then was amazed it broke through in the way it did. For them it was just the show they were doing at the time and they had no idea it would become what it was. But when I look back on the historic Doctor Who covers, I can imagine being a child again and looking at it and scrutinising it and probably thinking, "I want to write my own stories for it."' A postcard set of one hundred and one classic Radio Times covers - including six from Doctor Who - will be on sale at the exhibition, which will have a special display devoted to the magazine's long association with the programme. The Doctor Who covers in the set will be the 5 November 1966 issue for the start of The Power of the Daleks and the beginning of the Second Doctor's era, the 1 January 1972 issue for the season opener The Day of the Daleks, the 26 March 2005 issue heralding the show's return from the wilderness with the episode Rose, the award-winning 30 April 2005 'Vote Dalek!' issue and the 8 July 2006 Daleks-and-Cybermen issue covering the series two finale Doomsday (and World Cup final).

And, speaking of 1960s icons, yer actual Honor Blackman her very self is to appear in the BBC medical drama Casualty, playing 'a feisty pensioner.' Her character ends up in hospital after being hit by a bicycle and reveals to the Casualty staff that she has a past which includes driving ambulances in African war zones. Blackman made her name in The Avengers and played Pussy Galore in the James Bond film Goldfinger. She appears in the first episode of the new series, starting on 3 August. Casualty executive producer Oliver Kent explained that Honor 'plays a fantastically witty and charming character on a mission. We've had a long history of famous guest appearances but never a Bond girl.' The new series also sees the arrival of two new characters - a trainee doctor called Lily Chao, played by Crystal Yu and a nurse called Rita Freeman, played by Chloe Howman. Aside from acting duties, Honor is set to tour a one woman show - on her life and rise to stardom - around the UK in September.

Griff Rhys Jones has admitted there was 'little natural connection' between himself and the late Mel Smith. The duo teamed up on Not The Nine O’Clock News and went on to make sixty two episodes of Alas Smith And Jones over fourteen years – as well as co-founding the production company Talkback which made them both millions. But in an interview, Jones claimed that the partnership was ‘not exactly a marriage made in heaven', and suggested they used to joke that they stayed together for the money. The fifty nine-year-old told Radio Times: 'We didn't have a lot in common, except [our work]. He loved a drink. I am teetotal. He never carried a credit card. I never have cash. He never went for a walk. I run ten miles a week. It is a long list.' But, Griff said that there was 'a strong professional link' with Mel, who died at sixty earlier this month from a heart attack. 'I think we made some fifty hours of TV together,' Jones said. 'God knows a lot of it won't bear repeating – but when it was good it was sheer bliss to perform with Mel.' Well, this bit will always bear repeating.

The government has launched a consultation into UK media plurality which calls for the impact of the BBC to be included for the first time, and questions whether newspaper websites and digital outlets, such as The Huffington Post, Google News, Facebook and Twitter should be included. The Department for Culture, Media and Sport unveiled a twenty four-page consultation on Tuesday, following Lord Justice Leveson's recommendation for a clear measurement framework to evaluate how media plurality should be measured in the digital age. The consultation points out that the BBC is 'the biggest provider of news on TV, radio and the Internet' – spending four hundred and thirty million smackers on news and current affairs in 2011, more than the rest of the UK's broadcasters combined – but has never been included in a market plurality review. 'As a major player in the market, the BBC has a significant impact on the overall range and scale of provision,' the DCMS said in the consultation. 'As such, we consider that a measurement framework should assess the BBC's impact on plurality. [This is] distinct from the question of whether the BBC should be subject to any new plurality regulation.' News Corporation - in the shape of the odious James Murdoch the Small - has previously lobbied vigorously for the corporation to be included in any review of media plurality in the UK. Existing media ownership rules only take into account newspapers, television and radio, and the consultation will look at whether digital-only businesses should be included in future reviews of plurality. It will also look at whether to include the impact of the websites of newspaper publishers, which could impact the -twenty-twenty' rule of media ownership. That rule, sometimes dubbed 'the Murdoch clause', prevents any person who owns a national newspaper group - such as billionaire tyrant Rupert Murdoch, whom nobody is scared of any more, and his grubby spawn - from holding more than twenty per cent of a regional or national ITV service or Channel Five. Instead, that's owned by a soft core pornographer. Currently, the measure of the twenty per cent threshold of national newspaper market share is based solely on print sales figures. The consultation will also look at what type of content should be considered in any test of media plurality. The rules have traditionally looked at news provision. Respondents will be asked to give a view on genres including sport, light entertainment and drama, as well as whether social media should be included in a measurement framework for plurality. 'Social media enables individuals and special interest groups to publicise their views and opinions more easily, and can be a first source of breaking news,' the DCMS said. 'For example, some major news stories in recent years, such as the American forces' raid on Osama bin Laden and the announcement of the royal wedding, were broken first on Twitter. It has also been argued that a tweet is more like a broadcast than an email and as a consequence is subject to the law of libel in the same way.'

Michelle Ryan will star in the upcoming third series of Death In Paradise. The former EastEnders actress will play a character 'with a dark past' in the BBC1 Caribbean crime drama. Yeah, that'll be her remake of The Bionic Woman, in all likelihood. She said of her casting: 'It's very exciting to be a part of this excellent series. I play an actress with a dark past and who is quite a handful. The action element is always appealing for me and getting to film on the gorgeous island of Guadeloupe was incredible - we had so much fun.' Yer actual Peter Davison and silly Helen Baxendale will also join the cast of the third series. Adrian Scarborough, Hannah Tointon, Daniel Lapaine, Kathryn Drysdale and Tristan Gemmill are among the guest stars for the latest run of the popular Caribbean saga. Belinda Campbell, executive producer for Red Planet Pictures, said: 'We're thrilled to have another fantastic list of talented guest stars involved for the third series of Death In Paradise. We're very lucky to have such gifted actors and actresses to accompany our equally brilliant regular cast in bringing the intricate twists and turns to life. Hopefully the new series will help bring some Caribbean sunshine to the UK during the cold and rainy winter months.' However, a word of warning dear blog reader, the excellent Ben Miller - who plays Richard Poole - will be replaced by Kris Marshall as the lead character during the third series. Which means that the single best reason for watching Death In Paradise has just walked out the door.

Long Lost Family was the most-watched programme aside from the soaps on Monday, overnight figures reveal. The ITV series attracted 5.12 million viewers at 9pm. Earlier, The Dales was seen by 3.26m at 8pm. On BBC1, a repeat of The Sheriffs Are Coming appealed to a surprising 4.20m at 7pm, while another repeat - the opening episode of Death In Paradise's most recent series - brought in 2.93m at 9pm. A Panorama special on dating websites gathered 2.30m at 8.30pm. BBC2's University Challenge had an audience of 2.53m at 8pm. Raymond Blanc's How To Cook Well interested 1.49m at 8.30pm, while Mary Beard's Caligula documentary pulled in a very decent 1.89m at 9pm. Channel Four's latest episode of Undercover Boss was seen by 1.72m at 9pm. On Channel Five, Botched Up Bodies attracted but seven hundred and eighty nine thousand punters at 9pm. The latest Big Brother completely failed to entertain 1.59m crushed victims of society at 10pm. BBC4's Only Connect topped the multichannels with nine hundred and sixty three thousand viewers at 8.30pm.
Steve Coogan has described celebrities who apologise when their indiscretions are splashed across newspapers as 'pitiful', saying that they should not have to justify themselves in terms of the 'slightly antiquated morality' of the tabloid scum. The comedian and actor, currently promoting the Alan Partridge movie, Alpha Papa, struck an unrepentant note in an interview with Radio Times. His personal life has been the subject of lurid headlines in the past. 'When my life has been the subject of tabloid intrusion, what I have never done is get engaged in justifying myself,' he said. 'Celebrities who go round apologising are pitiful, and don't do themselves any favours. They shouldn't have to justify themselves on these preconceived, pious, sanctimonious projections of the slightly antiquated morality of these tabloid newspapers.' Coogan, along with the actor Hugh Grant, became one of the highest-profile celebrities to speak out about the behaviour of the press at Lord Justice Leveson's inquiry into media standards and ethics in November 2011: 'My closet is empty of skeletons as a result of the press, so unwittingly they have made me immune in some ways.' He told Radio Times that he had agreed to appear before The Leveson Inquiry because he knew other well-known figures did not want to risk negative press coverage and he wanted to use his status to 'make a point' on behalf of 'ordinary' people. 'I thought the way [the press] behaved – and yes it was towards me, but also towards a lot of other people who didn't have a voice like me – was just wrong,' Coogan said. 'And what makes them feel uncomfortable is when you say something and there's no ulterior motive; they get pissed off that you might be doing something on a point of principle. If someone's a victim of crime and they're a forgotten person, like thousands of people who've been fucked over by the tabloids, if they got on their moral high horse, no one's going to listen to them. The double-edged sword of being in the public eye is that you'll be afforded some sort of platform.' During his Leveson appearance, Coogan said that he had never made 'a Faustian pact with the press' or 'courted fame.' However, he told Radio Times that he understood the necessity of 'dealing with the media' to promote his work, within limits. 'The truth is, this is part of what I have to do to sell the film,' he said. 'I'm contractually bound to be here to talk to you. Not that I'm not having a nice time, but Baby Cow have put money into the film, and I have to support that by getting people to go and see it. I don't talk about my personal life, I don't go in Hello! magazine to get a free kitchen because I show them my kitchen. I like to be creative, but I'm not interested in being recognised.' Coogan, a noted Labour supporter, also criticised comedians who are unwilling to express their personal beliefs or voice potential controversial opinions. 'If there's one thing that annoys me, it's people who put their career before absolutely everything,' he said. 'There are some people, especially in this industry, who don't have an opinion on anything. Because of postmodernism, they think it's fashionable to not give a shit about anything.'

Steve Coogan should be aware that kitchens can be dangerous places, and it would appear none more so than the set of BBC2's The Great British Bake Off. Giving a new twist to having some claret with your meal, every contestant managed to cut themselves on day one of the new series which started filming recently, the Sun reports. An alleged 'insider' allegedly said the set 'looked like a horror show' (whether it looked like 'a drag' is a question perhaps left for another day, dear blog reader) and that 'medics were rushing around' attempting 'to stem the crimson tide.' It looks like there will need to be some heavy editing to spare the popular show's more sensitive viewers.
BBC3 has announced plans to début all its scripted comedy on iPlayer. From the end of August, the channel will broadcast shows such as Bad Education seven days prior to their first TV broadcast. The announcement follows a separate BBC trial to première four hours of programming on iPlayer, including Peter Kay's highly anticipated BBC sitcom début, Car Share. Also, earlier this month, BBC3 released a batch of Comedy Feeds exclusively on iPlayer. BBC3 boss Zai Bennett - the prick who cancelled Ideal, remember - said: 'BBC3 audiences are digitally savvy, and view our programmes in a number of different ways online and on the go. We've already been experimenting with online content, starting with the hugely popular Comedy Feeds, now in their second season and with a third in the pipeline. Premièr our scripted comedies on BBC iPlayer is an obvious and exciting step forward for BBC3 and yet another innovative way to give our viewers more choice in the ways they can enjoy our programmes.'
Robin Williams is returning to TV screens for the first time since starring in the 1970s classic Mork & Mindy with a new comedy, The Crazy Ones. Williams - who used to be, you know, funny - rose to fame as the alien Mork in the hit series. He will play an eccentric advertising agency boss in the new sitcom. Buffy The Vampire Slayer's Sarah Michelle Gellar - whose career has been in a bit of a downward spiral for the last few years - will play his daughter. The show, from Ally McBeal creator David E Kelley, is due to be shown in the US in September. Williams said that he hopes audiences will be drawn to his character, Simon Roberts, and will enjoy watching how he relates to his daughter. 'You have to establish a character that people buy into,' he said. 'I think people will buy into not just my character but the relationship with everybody else. He has good ideas and bad ones.' Williams will be given the freedom to ad lib and 'be spontaneous' in The Crazy Ones. 'He says my words perfectly. Then he uses his,' said Kelley. 'He manages inside the box, then we give him a few takes where he gets to take out of it.' The show is one of a number of new formats added to the autumn TV line-up in the US. A new four-hour mini-series will see Diane Lane in the role of former first lady and US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton. NBC said that the drama, simply named Hillary, will 'track Clinton's life and career' from 1998 to the present. The series will be broadcast ahead of the 2016 US presidential election. Clinton has not yet said whether she intends to make another run for the Democratic nomination for president.

The BBC Trust - as usual, showing the collective backbone of a jellyfish, because they're shit-scared of the Daily Scum Mail being mean to them - has ruled that a 'controversial' programme about welfare reforms, written and fronted by the Today presenter John Humphrys, breached its rules on impartiality and accuracy. The programme The Future of the Welfare State was first broadcast in November 2011 and featured Humphrys going back to his 'poor, working-class' birthplace of Splott, in the centre of Cardiff. Which, according to Ianto in Torchwood, is pronounced 'splow'! There, one in four of the working-age people are on some form of benefit. The Trust - and unelected cabal which governs the broadcaster and is chaired by Lord Patten - chided the documentary-makers saying that 'judgments reached or observations made are still required to be based on the evidence and should not give the appearance of presenting a personal view on a controversial subject.' The programme, which was broadcast on BBC2, put forward the contentious idea that Britain was going through 'an age of entitlement.' In it, Humphrys interviewed claimants, including a couple on sixteen hundred smackers a month in benefits who thought 'living on benefits is an acceptable lifestyle' and welfare experts, from centre-right think-tanks and from the United States, which runs a much tougher public assistance system. Following a complaint from the Child Poverty Action Group charity and another 'unnamed individual', the BBC Trust decided the programme met its criteria for being 'a controversial subject' and a 'major matter.' The complaint was decided on by the five-strong editorial standards committee, composed of five BBC trustees. Significantly the committee found that the programme had 'not backed up its controversial views' with statistics and that this had led to the programme being 'inaccurate.' In a rather blunt assessment, the trustees found 'the absence of sufficient complementary statistical information to underpin contributors' accounts, viewers were left unable to reach an informed opinion and the accuracy guidelines had been breached.' Specifically, the committee said that viewers 'would have concluded' that the government was 'targeting benefits' which were responsible for leaving 'the welfare state in crisis' and creating the impression that 'despite the anecdotal testimonies of jobseekers heard in the programme that there was [a] healthy supply of jobs overall. Both issues are central to the viewers' understanding of the key issues discussed in the programme, and because this was a controversial issue the failure of accuracy had also led to a breach of impartiality.' In considering the case, the committee rejected the claim that Humphrys had presented 'a personal view'', in contravention of guidelines for senior current affairs presenters on controversial issues. Before the programme was broadcast, Humphrys wrote a personal opinion piece in the Daily Scum Mail to publicise his views and the programme. In it he wrote of 'the predictable effect of a dependency culture that has grown steadily over the past years. A sense of entitlement. A sense that the state owes us a living. A sense that not only is it possible to get something for nothing but that we have a right to do so.' Left-wing critics (so, that'd be some lice of no importance at the Gruniad Morning Star, basically) claim that the BBC has, in recent years, hardened its stance on benefit claimants and point out that there has been a welter of countervailing information about the true state of Britain's welfare state. Laurie Penny writing in the New Statesman complained that the recent BBC1 series Nick and Margaret: We All Pay Your Benefits echoed 'the rhetoric of the Department for Work and Pensions, pit[ting] taxpayers against "shirkers."' Which, more than anything, suggests that Laurie hadn't actually watched the programme in question since Margaret and Nick were both shown to be extremely sympathetic to the benefit claimants, and both - specifically - made the points that there often wasn't the work to be had, that it often doesn't pay enough and the biggest 'drain' on resources in terms of benefits is, actually, pensioners rather than the jobless. However in recent weeks, the welfare secretary, odious slaphead and full-of-his-own-importance glake Iain Duncan Smith, who used to preface his remarks on Today about benefits with a positive reference to Humphrys' programme has, according to reports, 'become exasperated' with an apparent 'left-wing bias' of the corporation. So, basically, the Gruniad and the New Statesmen seem to think the BBC is 'too right-wing' and the Tories and the Daily Scum Mail think it's 'too left-wing'. Which, probably, suggests that it's neither and that it's doing all right. Earlier this month Duncan Smith his very self 'hit out' during a bad-tempered interview with Humphrys on Today over his cap on benefits, accusing Radio 4's flagship programme of using 'politically motivated people' to attack his policies. Duncan Smith had the day before been criticised by the official statistics watchdog for misusing benefits cap numbers. Alison Garnham, the chief executive of Child Poverty Action Group, said: 'These are major issues of public interest deserving of robust debate and challenging media coverage but which, crucially, also require journalists to speak truth to power, rather than speak untruths about the powerless. If they don't, television audiences and the public at large will continue to be denied the debate they deserve. This programme, like too many media stories, failed the public by swallowing wholesale the evidence-free myth of a "dependency culture" in which unemployment and rising benefit spending is the fault of the unemployed. As well as telling the truth about the lack of evidence for the "dependency culture" narrative, media coverage on social security must give due coverage to important matters like the lack of jobs, poverty pay, zero hour contracts, the high costs of childcare, the high cost of housing and the disappointing performance of the Work Programme.'

Meanwhile, in better news for the corporation, the BBC has topped a list of the ten best websites for science news. The BBC News science and environment page beat off tough competition such as New Scientist and National Geographic in the list compiled by the website RealClearScience. The BBC's journalists were commended for an 'ability to communicate complex topics to a global audience.' Nature News came just behind the BBC in the top ten and Wired's science coverage was listed at number three. RealClearScience also said the BBC's science team had 'extraordinary journalistic instinct.' On Nature News, which came at number two in the list, the site said 'the reliability and readability of the information found here proves that Nature takes its commitment to journalism every bit as seriously as it does its commitment to ground-breaking research.' Wired's science coverage took third place, with the magazine being praised for being 'at the forefront of all things science and technology.' Its reporters Brandon Keim and Nadia Drake were also described as 'top-notch.' The other science news sites commended by RealClearScience, included: Ars Technica, New Scientist, Popular Science and National Geographic.

A UK-wide 'well-being survey' has found 'small improvements' in people's general state of happiness over the year. Well, indeed. Yer actual Keith Telly Topping his very self has never been happier. Next ...
Odious greed-bucket, horrorshow (and drag) Alesha Dixon her very risible self has topped a recent survey by McAfee of the' most dangerous' reality TV talent to search for online. Called the McAfee 'Riskiest Reality TV Star to Search for Online' study, the firm's research names Strictly Come Dancing judge Len Goodman as 'the second most dangerous' reality TV personality. People looking to stream episodes of programmes such as Britain's Got Talent or The Only Way Is Essex typically search for the names of celebrities associated with the shows. That's, if they can spell. Which is unlikely. Nearly two in three searches for terms involving Britain's Got Talent judge, the odious greed-bucket Dixon direct users to a malicious website, McAfee said., Gary Barlow and David Walliams are among the people who also appear in the top ten. So, you know, avoid them at all costs dear blog reader.
Yer actual Papiss Demba Cissé says that he wants to 'focus one hundred per cent on football' after agreeing to wear the Wonga logo on his Newcastle United shirt following discussions with Islamic teachers. The striker, a Muslim, fell out with yer actual Keith Telly Topping's beloved (though unsellable) Magpies owner, Mike Ashley, because he was not prepared to promote the money-lending company. The two parties eventually resolved their differences, but Cissé admitted it had been 'a very difficult time.' He told the club's official website: 'I feel great and ready to go.' The Senegalese forward is now set to play in a pre-season game at Scottish side St Mirren on Tuesday. Cissé is one of a number of Muslims at Newcastle but he was the only player to object to the club's choice of shirt sponsor on religious grounds. The contract with high-interest pay-day lender Wonga is thought to be worth around eight million smackers a year to the club. And Ashley is, after all, a man who knows the price of everything and the value of nothing. 'I have had some useful discussions with my club, my family and Islamic teachers in the last few weeks,' Cissé said. 'After a huge amount of thought and reflection, I have made the decision to follow my team-mates and wear the kit. Although I did not go to Portugal on the training camp, I was back here working hard on my fitness and preparing for the start of the new season. Since then, it has been great to be training with my team-mates again.' Cissé joined the Magpies from German side SC Freiburg in January 2012 and has scored twenty six times in just over sixty games all competitions.

England will play co-hosts Australia on the opening day of the 2015 cricket World Cup. Pool A is completed by the other co-hosts New Zealand, 1996 winners Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, and two associate nations from qualifying tournaments. Holders India, South Africa, Pakistan, West Indies, Zimbabwe, Ireland and another qualifier are in Pool B. The tournament starts on 14 February with the final at the Melbourne Cricket Ground - where Pakistan beat England in the 1992 final - on 29 March. After their opening match against Australia, which will also take place at the MCG, England head to Wellington to face New Zealand six days later. Alastair Cook's men then stay in New Zealand for two more matches, against one of the qualifiers in Christchurch - still in the process of rebuilding from an earthquake two years ago - and against Sri Lanka in Wellington on 1 March. They then head back to Australia for games against Bangladesh on 9 March in Adelaide, and the other qualifier in their group on 13 March in Sydney. The tournament will follow the same format as the 2011 event with the top four teams from each pool progressing to the quarter-finals. International Cricket Council chief executive David Richardson said the World Cup 'is the flagship tournament of the fifty-over game.' He added: 'I'm absolutely confident that the success of the Cricket World Cup 2015 will further strengthen the status of fifty-over cricket as a successful and viable format alongside Tests and Twenty/20 internationals.' Australia Prime Minister Kevin Rudd said: 'This is one of the biggest events in world sport. It will attract cricket fans from around the globe and also promote Australia and our close friend New Zealand internationally - especially in India and other parts of South Asia.' Defending champions India, who beat Sri Lanka in the 2011 final, will begin their campaign against Pakistan in Adelaide on 15 February.

The London Fire Brigade has urged anyone using handcuffs as part of a sexual act to 'keep the keys handy' after a reporting a rise in the number of people getting themselves stuck. In 2012 to 2013 there were seventy nine incidents involving people getting trapped in handcuffs, usually whilst involved in some sort of spanky-tie-up-fun-games with a consenting adult partner of their choice. Which is totally fine, by the way, nowt better than an Of Human Bondage roleplay version. Remember your safe-word as well as the keys an'all. Officer Dave Brown said: 'Some of the incidents our firefighters are called out could be prevented with a little common sense. I don't know whether it's the Fifty Shades effect, but the number of incidents involving items like handcuffs seems to have gone up. I'm sure most people will be Fifty Shades of red by the time our crews arrive to free them.' Oh, F=Dave. A future on the stand-up circuit clearly awaits with rapier-like wit of such sharpness. The LFB also reported nine instances of men getting rings stuck on their penises and also urged people to only call 999 'in a genuine emergency.' Well, you know, if you've got a ring stuck on your little chap, I'd've said that was a real emergency, personally. Not that this blogger ever has, of course, dear blog reader. Although, it sounds like fun, I might give it a go. 'If it doesn't look safe, it probably isn't, so don't do it,' said the service in a -rather judgmental - statement. '[And] if you use handcuffs, always keep the keys handy.'

Which brings us to your actual Keith Telly Topping's 45 of the Day. Here's Joe Strummer his very self providing some further useful advice to the sexually adventurous. Always have one handy.

Monday, July 29, 2013

I Need Some Information To Help Me Out This Situation

Sherlock has cast Lars Mikkelsen as a villain in its third series. The Danish actor - who appeared in the original version of The Killing - will play 'Sherlock's new nemesis', Charles Augustus Magnussen. Executive producer Sue Vertue confirmed Mikkelsen's casting on Twitter. Though further details of his character are yet to be revealed, Magnussen appears to have been based on the character of Charles Augustus Milverton, who appeared in a 1904 short story by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. The Adventure of Charles Augustus Milverton saw Holmes and Watson confront the title character - a murderous blackmailer of some renown. Mikkelsen - the brother of Casino Royale and Hannibal star Mads Mikkelsen - is best known for his roles in The Killing and Borgen, both of which were shown on BBC4 in the UK. Sherlock is expected to return to BBC1 in late 2013.

The Mill launched to almost two and a half million viewers on Sunday evening, according to overnight figures. John Fay's Nineteenth Century drama had an audience of 2.46m at 8pm on Channel Four. The finale of the Channel's imported French supernatural drama, The Returned, followed with nine hundred and twenty seven thousand viewers at 9pm. On BBC1, Antiques Roadshow - with Fiona Bruce wearing Diana Rigg's Avengers catsuit - appealed to 4.39m at 7pm, while Countryfile was the most-watched show of the night with 5.48m at 8pm. The White Queen continued with 3.54m at 9pm. BBC2's Top Gear gained over four hundred thousand overnight viewers week-on-week to 4.56m at 8pm. The documentary The Mystery of Rome's X Tomb was seen by 2.05m at 9pm. On ITV, Tipping Point: Lucky Stars was watched by 3.59m at 7pm, followed by All Star Mr & Mrs with 3.06m at 8pm. Law & Order: UK held steady at 4.30m at 9pm. Channel Five's latest episode of Once Upon A Time entertained seven hundred and fifty six thousand viewers at 8pm (116k/0.5%). Big Brother continued with 1.38m at 9pm.

Much-trailed BBC2 drama Top Of The Lake dropped to under a million overnight viewers on Saturday. The third episode of the Elisabeth Moss six-part series lost three hundred thousand punters from the previous episode to end with nine hundred and thirty eight thousand viewers at 9.15pm. Earlier, the first of this year's Proms Extra 2013 was seen by four hundred and seventy four thousand at 7pm. On BBC2, a nine hundred and seventy eighth broadcast of Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom attracted 3.79 million at 7pm. The National Lottery draw brought in 3.85m at 8.45pm. The most-watched programme on Saturday night was - again - a repeat of Mrs Brown's Boys with 4.15m at 10pm. ITV's You've Been Framed completely failed to amuse 3.04m at 7pm, followed by the penultimate episode of the odious and risible Your Face Sounds Familiar which had 3.40m at 8pm. All Star Family Fortunes was watched by 3.37m at 8.45pm, while the latest episode of The Americans appealed to 1.2m at 9.45pm. Channel Four's special When Bjork Met Attenborough interested four hundred and fifty five thousand at 7pm. X-Men Origins: Wolverine had an audience of 1.71m at 9pm. Channel Five's evening of NCIS episodes peaked at seven hundred and eighty seven thousand punters at 8pm, while Big Brother continued with 1.06m at 10pm. On BBC3, a repeat of the Olympics Opening Ceremony gathered eight hundred and twenty five thousand viewers who - presumably - didn't buy it on DVD like this blogger. The highest-rated show on the multichannels was a repeat of Lewis on ITV3 with 1.01m at 9pm.

Here are the final and consolidated figures for the Top Twenty programmes in Britain for week-ending 21 July 2013:-
1 Coronation Street - Mon ITV - 8.45m
2 EastEnders - Mon BBC1 - 6.96m
3 The Apprentice: The Final - Wed BBC1 - 6.74m
4 Emmerdale - Thurs ITV - 6.17m
5 Long Lost Family - Mon ITV - 5.97m
6 Luther - Tues BBC1 - 5.57m
7 Top Gear - Sun BBC2 - 5.36m
8 Casualty - Sat BBC1 - 5.18m
9 Law & Order: UK - Sun ITV - 4.91*
10 Countryfile - Sun BBC1 - 4.62m
11 The White Queen - Sun BBC1 - 4.59m
12 Ten O'Clock News - Wed BBC1 - 4.55m
13 The National Lottery: In It To Win It - Sat BBC1 - 4.43m
14 BBC News - Sun BBC1 - 4.29m
15 Mrs Brown's Boys - Sat BBC1 - 4.29m
17 Holby City - Tues BBC1 - 4.11m
18 Eat Well For Less - Mon BBC1 - 4.04m
19 Six O'Clock News - Mon BBC1 - 4.03m
20 Nick & Margaret: We Pay Your Benefits - Thurs BBC1 - 3.75m
Programmes marked '*' do not include HD figures.

Around the world, a select band of Doctor Who fans are hard at work in their spare time building their own personal TARDIS. It is a secretive community, though members do share their tips and experiences on a website, TARDIS Builders. The BBC's LJ Rich caught up with TARDIS-builder Yoz, to find out why she wanted to build a time machine in her living room - and how she did it. And, indeed, why.
Amanda Redman has claimed that she quit New Tricks because of the show's punishing schedule. And, nothing whatsoever to do with that shit-storm she caused amongst her own writers last year with some rather daft talk about the quality of the scripts on the show. Oh no, not because of that. Very hot water. The actress - who will bow out as Sandra Pullman in the BBC crime drama's new series - told the Sun that a ten-episode shoot was 'too long. You can't fit in other work as there just isn't enough time,' she said. 'It's good to challenge yourself because otherwise you stagnate and I want to do so much more.' Redman added that her exit from the series had been 'a very tearful goodbye. I do feel how Sandra leaves is spot on,' she added. 'She is faced with some very difficult decisions. What the writers did was take my own reasons for leaving New Tricks and use the same arguments with Sandra, which I thought was clever.' Redman's character will be replaced by a new female lead played by Tamzin Outhwaite, while Nicholas Lyndhurst will also join the show in place of the also departing Alun Armstrong. James Bolam - who played Jack Halford between 2003 and 2012 - was replaced by Denis Lawson in the previous ninth series. Deenis Waterman is, apparently, going nowhere.
Olympic bronze medallist Tom Daley says that he will 'consult a psychologist' in a bid to overcome his issues diving from ten metres. Daley finished sixth in the ten metre platform World Championship final, having suffered a recurrence of an arm injury. Daley, was in contention for a medal in Barcelona, but a poor routine in the piked position ended his hopes. Whether this will mean the cancellation of his ITV fiasco Pro-Celebrity Drowning is not known at this time. Though, we can dream, at least. Dreaming, as Blondie once noted, is free.
Sometimes, dear blog reader, even the comments section of the Daily Scum Mail online is worth reading. Check out, for instance, one Petra of Wallsend's reply to the Scum Mail's latest trashy 'Top Gear FAKES its stunts' cut-and-paste job. Now, that's funny. Petra, if you're out there, Stately Telly Topping Manor is but a stones throw away from auld Waalsend its very self, pop round for a cuppa sometime! Of course, wherever the Daily Scum Mail goes in search of a chance to bash the BBC, you can guarantee that some louse of no importance at the Gruniad Morning Star will not be far behind with its collective tongue hanging out looking for a good hard lick. Scum.
The Queen, triumphant in this sixtieth summer since the coronation, has to admit defeat in one corner of British cultural life. Doctor Who has now been the subject of more front cover features on the Radio Times than even Her Maj during the listings magazine's ninety years. The history of the publication, which began life in 1923 when radio was a fledgling medium, is to be marked in a free exhibition starting Friday 2 August at the Museum of London. The displays will feature many early covers and tell the story of British broadcasting, from the BBC's first radio transmission in London to the modern multi-channel offerings which so get up the nose of various odious pond-scum at the Daily Scum Mail and the Gruniad Morning Star. Exhibits will include a 1941 Luftwaffe map that pinpoints the Radio Times's Waterlows printing plant in London as an air-raid target alongside transport hubs, factories and other national landmarks. The magazine's staff had been moved to the plant from Central London at the beginning of the war and the Germans regarded it as a strategically important target. The map was found by an American air force intelligence officer called Captain Andrew Wilson at the Fritzlar airbase in Germany in 1944. The exhibition will also feature an exclusive Doctor Who display, marking the Time Lord's regular appearances in the magazine since late 1963, alongside an authentic life-size Dalek against a backdrop of Westminster Bridge, recreating the famous 2005 Vote Dalek Radio Times cover. This was voted the Cover of the Century by the Periodical Publishers Association.
Covers of the listings magazine, which launched on 28 September 1923, will be displayed at the museum. Doctor Who, interestingly, was denied a cover for its launch episode in November 1963, so first graced the front of the magazine in February 1964 for a cover promoting the historical story Marco Polo. Other highlights in the exhibition include a 1920s Marconi valve radio. The exhibition runs from 2 August until 3 November 2013 at the Museum which is located at London Wall in the City of London. Entry is free.
Maggie Gyllenhaal's forthcoming BBC thriller series The Honourable Woman has added an extensive list of actors to its cast. Broadchurch's Andrew Buchan, Katherine Parkinson and Stephen Rea have joined the seven-part series, which has been written by BAFTA-winner Hugo Blick (who also wrote The Shadow Line in which Rea was so brilliant a couple of years ago). The Honourable Woman is billed as 'a fast paced, labyrinthine thriller' and features Gyllenhaal as lead character, Nessa Stein. Rea will play Hugh Hayden-Hoyle, an MI6 spy on the verge of retirement who is digging into Stein's life and family. Lindsay Duncan is cast as his bitter ex-wife. Buchan stars as Stein's brother and Parkinson plays his 'highly strung, pregnant wife.' Academy and Tony award nominee Janet McTeer plays the head of MI6 Julia Walsh, who has a hold over Hayden-Hoyle. Tobias Menzies (another of The Shadow Line's cast), Genevieve O'Reilly, Israeli actor Igal Naor and Eve Best have also been cast in the series. The Honourable Woman will be broadcast on BBC2 in 2014.

Some of the stars of Auf Wiedersehen, Pet will reunite for the show's thirtieth anniversary later this year. A special weekend-long convention in Newcastle will mark the milestone in September, including a tour of locations used in the series. Yer actual Keith Telly Topping has been to most of them. Just thought I'd mention it. The comedy followed a likable, if amateurish, group of British construction workers overseas, launching in November 1983. It ran for two series on ITV in 1983 and 1986, before being revived for a stunning third series on BBC1 in 2002. A fourth series followed in 2004, along with a two-part finale special the following year. Timothy Spall, Kevin Whately, Jimmy Nail and Tim Healy led the cast, along with the late Gary Holton, Christopher Fairbank and the late Pat Roach. Healy - who played team leader Dennis Patterson - is confirmed for the event, along with creator Franc Roddam and writers the great Dick Clement and Ian La Frenais. Several other cast members are expected to confirm their attendance in the coming weeks. 'Thirty years, I can't believe where it's gone,' said Healy. 'We're having a brickies' gala dinner and a charity auction with all the money going to the Sunday for Sammy Trust. It will be a great night.' The Sunday for Sammy Trust was formed to help provide funding for creative, talented and enthusiastic young people from the North East who are looking for a career in performing arts. it is named in honour of the late Sammy Johnson, who appeared in Auf Wiedersehen and, subsequently, as Nail's co-star in Spender. When Johnson died, suddenly in 1998, his friends and colleagues decided to create a lasting tribute to his memory.

Sharon Osbourne has reportedly been warned to 'tone down her rants' on The X Factor judging panel. The returning judge is said to have 'used profanities on several occasions' after watching certain acts try out for the show, according to the Sun. ITV producers have now, allegedly, decided to cut out particular pre-recorded auditions to remove her outbursts from ,the family-friendly show., As if anybody actually gives a flying spunk about such utter trivial numskull bollocks as this. Jesus, just when you think z-list celebrity culture has reached its lowest point, along comes the Sun to prove you wrong.

Yer actual Benedict Cumberbatch was 'spotted holding hands with a pretty redhead' on a night out at the weekend according to the Now magazine website. The Sherlock star took the actress Charlotte Asprey to London club Cirque Le Soir, 'where they were entertained by burlesque dancers and dancing dogs at a VIP table.' It aal reet for some, innit?
LA Law actor Blair Underwood is to star in the remake of Ironside, based on the US television detective series, starring Raymond Burr. As in the original programme, Underwood's character, police commissioner Robert Ironside, will use a wheelchair after being paralysed from the waist down. The popular series, set in San Francisco, ran on NBC from 1967 to 1975 and was shown in the UK on BBC1 under the title A Man Called Ironside. it was a particular favourite of yer actual Keith Telly Topping. NBC has ordered thirteen episodes of the new series which will start in the US on 2 October. Ironside is now based in New York City, although it will be filmed in Los Angeles. Underwood said that, apart from the central character, the new series would be 'very different' to the original. Which makes one wonder why they're bothering to remake it. His co-stars include Spencer Grammer, the eldest daughter of Kelsey Grammer. 'All new characters, a new city, new texture, new storytelling, new audience,' Underwood told the Television Critics Association in Los Angeles on Saturday. Was it too much, in that case, to come up with a new title? 'It's a crime drama wrapped in a character study.' Underwood said that he got used to the wheelchair by using one at home while learning his lines. He worked with technical adviser David Bryant, who became a paraplegic after a skiing accident at the age of nineteen. 'It's something I had to delve into and continue to delve into as often as possible,' Underwood said. 'Our job is to make you believe it and be authentic in that.' As well as a long-running role in LA Law, Underwood has also appeared Sex And The City and In Treatment. Underwood played the lead role of Stanley in the Broadway revival of A Streetcar Named Desire last year.
Quizzed on stage recently, James Murdoch The Small (the son of billionaire tyrant Rupert) wryly compared his experiences in the UK (and his involvement in the BSkyB ownership row and the phone-hacking scandal) to two books published by an arm of daddy's company, HarperCollins, Hilary Mantel's Tudor novels centred on Thomas Cromwell. Anyone should read them, Murdoch the Small said, who 'wants to think about the intersection of politics and commerce and everything, because it was ever thus. It was very helpful to me going through that.' When the BBC adaptation of Wolf Hall arrives on-screen, there will be ample opportunity to spot the parallels – with the ageing, ailing monarch, the courtiers who seem indispensable then fall out of favour, the cast-out wives, the enemy empire, et cetera – that so gripped Murdoch the small. In the interview, he only cites one specific character as especially resonant, saying 'the second book is particularly great on the prosecution of Anne Boleyn.' Of course, the fact that the publicly funded-BBC is making the adaptation instead of Murodch's own Sky is one-in-the-eye for the odious little twerp who once, in a celebrated 'greed is good'-style speech at the Edinburgh TV festival said the corporation was 'incapable of distinguishing between what is good for it, and what is good for the country. Funded by a hypothecated tax, the BBC feels empowered to offer something for everyone, even in areas well served by the market. The scope of its activities and ambitions is chilling.' Twat. Whom, like his billionaire tyrant father, no one is frightened of any more.

The ex-boyfriend of the blogger and author Brooke Magnanti – better known as anonymous call girl Belle de Jour – has launched legal proceedings against her. The revelation comes as The Sunday Times prepares to make an extremely public and grovelling apology in the high court on Monday for its incorrect allegations about Owen Morris, a former RAF officer. The newspaper had, wrongly, claimed that he sought 'to expose Magnanti's identity for money' and that she had taken a restraining order out against him. 'After years of near continuous and exhausting work to fight the libellous press allegations about me, I am obviously very grateful to be vindicated with tomorrow's apology,' said Morris. 'But as a result of further damaging breaches of my privacy, I am currently involved in other proceedings here in Scotland. I remain determined to clear the names of my friends and family, whose private lives were also twisted and used without prior knowledge and consent.' The newspaper had published a short - and not particularly sincere - apology to Morris in February 2012 but he has fought a legal battle for a more full public apology to be read out in court. Magnanti said: 'I can understand that he wants to have his say about how he feels about the court proceedings. But he is straying very, very close to libelling me, and I really don't want to get into that.' Referring to an account in the Scum Mail of the high court apology, Magnanti tweeted: 'It might interest some to know the Herald had to make an apology to me in Feb [sic] for printing the same thing the Mail is printing now.' Later, she told the Gruniad Morning Star that the tweet was 'to make clear' the distinction – which she said the Scum Mail was blurring – between her own stance and what The Sunday Times had wrongly reported. 'The newspaper is apologising on its own behalf. Nobody is apologising on my behalf. I didn't want other papers to fall into the same mistake.' It is understood that after the two parties repeatedly failed to reach a settlement the breach of privacy case will now be heard in court in Scotland. Belle de Jour first found fame in 2003 as a popular, anonymous blog which documented the author's encounters as a prostitute in London, as well as her relationship with Morris – known in her writing as 'The Boy.' The diary blog won the Gruniad's 'best-written British blog award' in 2003 and was later published as a book, The Intimate Adventures of a London Call Girl, which became a top ten bestseller and was turned into a TV series starring yer actual Billie Piper her very self. But, it was only in November 2009 that the identity of Magnanti – then a scientist at Bristol University – was made public, when Magnanti outed herself to The Sunday Times. Subsequent articles in the newspaper, since withdrawn, stated that Morris had 'threatened to reveal her identity for financial gain' and that she had taken a restraining order out against him. Monday's apology admits that these allegations were entirely untrue and accepts the negative impact which they had on Morris's personal and professional life. He believes that they led to his departure from the RAF in 2011. 'After years of relentless libel targeted at my now destroyed personal professional life, I am glad that the truth behind the Belle de Jour media machine is finally starting to come out,' Morris said. 'The grim reality is diametrically opposed to the marketed myth.' The newspaper has paid substantial compensation to Morris, as well as his legal costs. The Week has also previously apologised and paid damages to Morris for printing similar assertions and claiming that he had made threats of violence against Magnanti.

Formula 1 commentator Murray Walker has revealed that he no longer requires chemotherapy. The eighty nine-year-old was diagnosed with lymphoma, a form of blood cancer, after undergoing routine tests following a fall last month, but has since been told he won't need the treatment. 'I went to have my pre-chemotherapy blood check this week and was understandably delighted when they said: "Your blood condition has improved so much that it is now nearly normal and you do not need the chemotherapy - well not now, anyway,"' Walker told the Scum Mail on Sunday. 'The theory is that I had a substantial internal blood loss when I fell and fractured my pelvis, which, in turn, caused the anaemic condition. Since then my body has apparently been quietly putting things right in the weird and wonderful way these things happen. Now I'm going to be having regular checks to monitor my condition. If it deteriorates I will have to have the chemo, but if it doesn't I won't. So although I am not completely out of the woods, I can certainly see the sunlit meadows ahead.' He added: 'I feel a bit of a fraud, having generated all the publicity and an outpouring of much appreciated sympathy from literally all over the world about something that hasn't happened and which might not happen during my obviously limited life span, at nearly ninety! In mitigation I have to say that when I was diagnosed my feeling was that the news was bound to come out and the best thing I could do was to announce it openly and get it all over.'

Lewis Hamilton took his first win for Mercedes by dominating the Hungarian Grand Prix on Sunday. Hamilton controlled the race as he beat Lotus's Kimi Raikkonen and Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel into second and third. Vettel's team-mate Mark Webber recovered from tenth on the grid to take fourth ahead of Ferrari's Fernando Alonso. Raikkonen moves one point ahead of Alonso into second in the championship, thirty eight points adrift of Vettel, who is on course for a fourth title. Alonso spent the last stint of the race holding off Lotus's Romain Grosjean, whose podium chances were wiped out by a penalty for overtaking off the track. The Frenchman passed Ferrari's Felipe Massa around the outside of turn four on lap twenty nine, but had all four wheels beyond the white line that demarcates the track limits and he was given a drive-through penalty. Grosjean may yet be given a second punishment - the stewards are to investigate after the race a collision between him and McLaren's Jenson Button. Grosjean appeared to edge Button off the track on the outside as he passed him into the chicane on lap twenty four. At that stage, Grosjean was battling with Vettel for what was a de facto second place behind Hamilton, who was out of everyone else's reach. 'We really had no idea we could do that well,' said Hamilton. 'The last twenty laps I was just managing my tyres and cruising. I think you can say I was hungry for it today.' Hamilton had said after taking pole position on Saturday that it would be a 'miracle' if he won the race, considering the high temperatures in Hungary and the problems Mercedes have had with tyre wear in recent races. But he was in control throughout, leading off pole position, lost the lead to Grosjean and then Webber after making his first pit stop and then regained it when the Australian made his first stop on lap twenty three, having started on a different tyre following problems in qualifying. Hamilton, who had crucially given himself some clear air to show his pace by passing his former McLaren team-mate Button straight after his first pit stop, made sure of victory with two impressive overtaking moves on Webber. The Mercedes rejoined behind the Red Bull after both his second and third pit stops, and each time immediately passed him around the outside of turn two and into the fast turn three. The moves took place shortly before the same spot that Nigel Mansell famously passed Ayrton Senna for victory in Hungary in 1989 and underlined Hamilton's superiority. The twenty eight-year-old has now won four times in Hungary out of his seven races here. In an intriguing race, Vettel survived problems with a front wing broken when he touched Button trying to pass the McLaren in turn two shortly after the world champion's first pit stop. At the time, Vettel was being urged to cool his car because his Kers power boost system was overheating. As the race developed, it emerged that Vettel was battling Raikkonen for second place. The Finn had made up ground impressively on a two-stop strategy - when all the other leading drivers did three - after dropping to tenth following his first pit stop. Vettel rejoined just over two seconds behind the Lotus after his own final pit stop with fifteen laps to go, but with Raikkonen on far older tyres, on which he was asking to do twenty eight laps in his final stint. The German was on Raikkonen's tail with eleven of the seventy laps to go, but the experienced Finn was able to hold him off. Vettel made one attempt to pass Raikkonen around the outside of turn four on lap sixty eight, but he defended and Vettel had to back off. 'I knew it was going to be pretty tight so I saved the tyres with ten laps to go a bit,' said Raikkonen. 'I didn't have any doubts I could keep him behind, I had good speed in the last sector.' The reigning world champion whinged that Raikkonen had not given him enough room, and his team said they would talk to race director Charlie Whiting about the incident. 'I told him [Raikkonen] and he was laughing,' said Vettel on the podium afterwards. 'In the heat of the moment it's quite tight there. It's racing.' Webber recovered well from his tenth place on the grid to run second before his final stop, after which he dropped to fourth. Alonso's Ferrari ran fourth in the early laps after starting fifth but did not have the pace to compete with the cars in front. Alonso was lapping around a second slower than Vettel, despite the damage to the Red Bull, and he was forced to focus on holding off Grosjean to take fifth, exactly where the Spaniard finished in Hungary last year. Button took seventh place, ahead of Ferrari's Felipe Massa, who drove the entire race with a damaged front wing after being hit by Nico Rosberg's Mercedes on the first lap. Rosberg was on course for ninth before retiring with his car in flames with five laps to go, promoting McLaren's Sergio Perez to ninth ahead of Pastor Maldonado, who scored Williams's first point of the season.

The Co-operative has given lads' mags six weeks to cover up their front pages with sealed 'modesty bags' or be taken off sale in its stores. The four thousand-outlet retailer said that it was 'responding to concerns' by its members, customers and colleagues about images of scantily-clad women on covers. Titles such as Front, Loaded, Nuts and Zoo have been given a deadline of 9 September. The Co-op, which is owned and run by its more than seven million members, introduced opaque screens for lads' magazines on some shelves earlier this month. Steve Murrells, retail chief executive for the Co-operative Group, said: 'As a community-based retailer, we have listened to the concerns of our customers and members, many of whom say they object to their children being able to see overt sexual images in our stores. Whilst we have tried to mitigate the likelihood of young children seeing the images with a number of measures in store, the most effective way of doing this is for these magazines to be put in individual, sealed modesty bags.' Cathryn Higgs, a policy manager at the Co-op, told BBC Radio 4's Today programme that the group was currently 'in dialogue' with the magazine publishers. 'I've got every hope they will take what we believe is the responsible approach and put them in a bag,' she said. She added that the Co-op believed it was the first retailer in the UK to take this step but other supermarkets were probably having 'similar conversations with their customers.' The Daily Sport newspaper has already agreed to comply with the Co-op's new policy. Women and Equalities Minister Jo Swinson said that the Co-op's move was 'very welcome. Many parents aren't comfortable with the way sexualised imagery has become like wallpaper - everywhere from the bus stop to the corner shop,' she said. 'Adults should be left to make their own decisions about what legal sexual images they look at, but the place for these is not next to the sweets at children's eye-level. I hope other retailers will follow the Co-operative's lead.' But campaign group Lose The Lads' Mags said that the Co-op was 'not going far enough.' Spokeswoman Sophie Bennett said: 'The so-called "modesty bags" they are demanding from publishers are designed to allow the Co-operative to continue profiting from sexist, harmful lads' mags - but just a bit more discreetly.' The Professional Publishers Association, which represents some magazine publishers, said: 'Men's lifestyle magazines are mainstream titles enjoyed by a readership of millions and feature content to reflect the diverse interests of the nation's young men. Publishers support the guidelines on the appropriate display of men's lifestyle magazines, which have been drawn up with the National Federation of Retail Newsagents and endorsed by the Home Office.' A former editor of Front magazine, one Piers Hernu, told BBC 5Live that the Co-op's decision was 'very dangerous' and 'amounted to censorship.' The firm, he claimed, had 'caved in' to a 'vociferous campaign from some fanatical feminists', showing itself to be 'weak-willed and spineless.' Hey, Piers mate, a quick tip. When you're in a hole it's, generally, a good idea to stop digging.

And so to today's Keith Telly Topping's 45 of the Day. For a very hot summer, here's an extremely hot single from Di, Mary and Flo.