Monday, September 30, 2013

Fit For The War

The Lord Thy God Steven Moffat (Thou Shalt Worship No Other Gods Before He) has revealed that he's not likely to re-visit The Weeping Angels in any episodes he writes. The Doctor Who and Sherlock showrunner added that despite exhausting them in his own stories, he would be perfectly happy for other writers to bring The Angels back. 'I'm probably done to be honest on what you can do with The Weeping Angels' he told YouTube channel OfficiallyNerdcubed. 'But, other writers have to have a go.' He added: 'There's only so many times you can think "Right, it's a chase scene and statues." How many times can the lights flicker? What happens if a moth sees them? Is the alien invasion cancelled at the point?' The Weeping Angels first appeared during the Doctor Who series three episode Blink, with their most recent appearance being The Angels Take Manhattan in late 2012. Moffat suggested that he had recently heard a Weeping Angels storyline which appealed to him, but added that it wouldn't be making it into the BBC's long-running family SF drama in the immediate future. 'It's not going to happen but a very good Doctor Who writer pitched a great idea for The Weeping Angels the other day and I was very excited about it' he said. 'We had a long phone call about it and I went away thinking, "That is going to be brilliant!" And [then] about two days later he admitted he wasn't going to have time to do it. Hopefully we'll get to it in the next year.'

Meanwhile, yer actual Steven Moffat has 'defended' Doctor Who's ratings - although, defended then from whom, exactly, (and why) is something of a moot point - insisting that the series remains 'huge.' Which, it clearly does. So, what's the problem? The drama's showrunner told NerdCubed that the 'correct' rating for the show is approximately seventy seven million viewers worldwide. 'An episode of The X Factor - no one watches again after its first week,' The Moffinator noted. 'Our audience has migrated to the point where more than half of our audience watch it later - whether it's later that same day or later that week. It has a shelf life - it's watched for years afterwards. It is a far bigger audience,' he continued though he was, sadly, giving an uncanny impression of someone trying to explain nuclear physics to plankton. Moffat added that Doctor Who's audience continues to expand as the show is broadcast in ever increasing international territories. 'For the record, seventy seven million is the correct rating - that's what we get internationally,' said the writer. 'It's only the papers that care - and it's only a certain section of fandom that cares. The BBC knows exactly how huge Doctor Who is.'
Michael Sheen his very self is celebrating winning best actor at the BAFTA Cymru awards for his role in the film version of a modern day passion play. Sheen was honoured for The Gospel Of Us, which followed his role in National Theatre Wales' The Passion, a three-day open air play set in his home town of Port Talbot in 2011. He dedicated his award to 'the people of Port Talbot.' What, even Rob Brydon? Okay. This blogger believes you, thousands wouldn't. The ceremony took place at the Millennium Centre in Cardiff Bay. Sheen took a break from his latest role in the film adaptation of Thomas Hardy's Far From The Madding Crowd to accept the best actor accolade at the event on Sunday night. It is the latest honour for the star of high-profile movies such as Frost/Nixon, The Damned United and The Queen. He said after his win: 'It was a huge surprise, I have to say, I wasn't expecting it at all. It's a great honour and a great honour to be recognised as part of that project - the film, and the live event and everything that's come from it. It's such a privilege to be a part of it and this really is for the people of Port Talbot.' Best writer (which seem like a contradiction in terms) was Ruth Jones for not even remotely funny comedy series Stella. The Sian Phillips award went to Welsh producer Julie Gardner, best known for leading the revival of Doctor Who and the executive producer of its spin-offs Torchwood and The Sarah Jane Adventures. The award is presented to a Welsh man or woman who has made a significant contribution to the industry. This year's fiftieth anniversary of Doctor Who was celebrated at the event with a montage of clips from the show. Best actress award went to Sara Lloyd Gregory for her role in Welsh language drama Alys. The S4C series also won best photography and lighting. Meanwhile there was a double celebration for Jones as Stella, by Tidy Productions, claimed the best television drama award. The former anchor of BBC Wales' Welsh language news programme Newyddion, Dewi Llwyd, was also honoured, winning the special award for his outstanding contribution to television. He was not the only award winner from the programme, which is also broadcast on S4C - the team won the best news programme category for coverage of the London 2012 Olympics. The awards were dominated by independent productions, with television drama the real winner as Wales' home-grown productions for UK audiences began to make their mark. The BBC's Indian Doctor, produced by Rondo Media and Avatar Productions, took the best director fiction award for Lee Haven Jones, while crime drama Sherlock produced by Hartswood Films for the BBC claimed two craft awards. BBC Cymru Wales' The Story of Wales, which was produced by Green Bay, won the Gwyn Alf William award for a programme or series which has contributed to the understanding and appreciation of the history of Wales. Huw Edwards won best presenter for the same series while ITV Cymru Wales' Welsh language programme for S4C, Byd ar Bedwar, won in the best current affairs category for its investigation of drugs deaths on Anglesey.

Rosamund Pike, Kayvan Novak and Angel Coulby are among the voice cast for ITV's new Thunderbirds series. Thunderbirds Are Go! - first announced in February - will combine CGI animation with live-action footage. The World's End star Pike will - of course - voice Lady Penelope, with original Thunderbirds voice artist David Graham reprising his role of her chauffeur, Parker. 'I'm very excited to bring Lady Penelope's wry wit and taste for adventure to a new generation,' said Pike. 'Exploring the scenes with David Graham has been an absolute delight. The scripts are very modern, very fresh and very funny. We're all eagerly anticipating our next stint in the recording studio!' The eighty eight-year-old Graham added: 'I am triple-chuffed to be on board the new series of Thunderbirds Are Go! and reprising my role of dear old Parker with such a distinguished cast. My driving skills are in good nick and I am delighted to be behind the wheel again with M'Lady.' Novak will voice the inventor Brains, with Game of Thrones actor Thomas Brodie-Sangster playing the dual role of the Tracy brothers Gordon and John. Merlin's Coulby is new character, Kayo - a friend of the Tracy brothers - whilst the master villain, The Hood, will be voiced by Andres Williams. Also cast in Thunderbirds Are Go! are Rasmus Hardiker, David Menkin and Sandra Dickinson.

Lord Snooty's Downton Abbey climbed in the ratings for its second episode of the fourth series, according to overnight figures. The ITV period drama gained around one hundred thousand overnight viewers from last week to 9.23 million at 9pm. The X Factor dipped by around three hundred thousand from last Sunday's figure to 9.18m at 8pm. On BBC1, Countryfile interested 6.27m at 7pm, followed by Antiques Roadshow with 5.74m at 8pm. The second episode of the thriller By Any Means dropped seven hundred thousand punters from last week's opener to 3.46m at 9pm. BBC2's The Crane Gang appealed to nine hundred and twenty five thousand viewers at 8pm, whilst The Story Of The Jews concluded with eight hundred and thirty four thousand at 9pm. On Channel Four, Man Made Home attracted nine hundred and forty one thousand at 8pm. Big Fat Quiz of the Nineties was watched by 1.55m at 9pm. Channel Five's broadcast of Gone in Sixty Seconds had six hundred and forty seven thousand viewers at 9pm.

Meanwhile, here's the final and consolidated figures for the Top Twenty Six programmes for week-ending 22 September 2013:-
1 Downton Abbey - Sun ITV - 11.46m
2 The X Factor - Sun ITV - 10.61m
3 Coronation Street - Wed ITV - 10.05m
4 Doc Martin - Mon ITV - 8.04m*
5 New Tricks - Tues BBC1 - 7.99m
6 EastEnders - Tues BBC1 - 7.76m
7 Emmerdale - Fri ITV - 7.28m*
8 The Great British Bake-Off - Tues BBC2 - 6.95m
9 Countryfile - Sat BBC1 - 6.33m
10 Antiques Roadshow - Sat BBC1 - 5.42m
11 By Any Means - Sun BBC1 - 5.23m
12 Casualty - Sat BBC1 - 5.22m
13 Six O'Clock News - Mon BBC1 - 4.80m
14 Through The Keyhole - Sat ITV - 4.67m
15 UEFA Champions League Live - Sat ITV - 4.65m
16 Holby City - Tues BBC1 - 4.52m
17= BBC O'Clock News - Sun BBC1 - 4.48m
17= Surprise, Surprise - Sun ITV - 4.48*
19 When Miranda Met Bruce - Sat BBC1 - 4.46m
20 Ten O'Clock News - Wed BBC1 - 4.33m
21 Watchdog - Wed BBC1 - 4.16m
22 Mrs Brown's Boys - Sat BBC1 - 4.08m
23 The ONE Show - Mon BBC1 - 4.06m
24 Educating Yorkshire - Thurs Channel Four - 3.90m
25 Big School - Fri BBC1 - 3.85m
26 Who Do You Think You Are? - Wed BBC1 - 3.78m
Those ITV programmes marked '*' do not include HD figures. BBC2's top-rated programmes of the week, aside from The Great British Bake-Off, were The Wonder Of Dogs (2.94m), University Challenge (2.78m), The House That One Hundred Thousand Pounds Built (2.63m) and Qi (2.46m). Grand Designs topped Channel Four's list (2.73m) behind Educating Yorkshire. CSI: NY topped Channel Five's week (1.92m). Whitechapel continued to struggle with 3.64m (albeit, HD figures are again unavailable). The Saturday episode of The X Factor was watched by 9.61m.

A 'cruel' twist to The X Factor which had viewers comparing it to 'a blood sport' prompted eighty complaints to the broadcaster and media regulator Ofcom. And, once again, let us simply marvel at the utter shite some people chose to care about. The format change on the Wee Shughie McFee, the sour-faced Scottish chef off Crossroads talent show meant that some contestants who thought they had made it through to the 'bootcamp' stage were, in fact, ditched at the last minute in the episodes broadcast live from Wembley Arena over the past weekend. Karen Harding, one of the singers who thought she had made it, was left in floods of tears when she was later replaced by another contestant. Melanie McCabe, who eventually made it through to the semi-finals, was also reduced to tears during the show. The singer Lily Allen was among those who complained on Twitter, saying that the show had got 'fully mean. When did [it] become alright [sic] to fuck with peoples minds so much?' she asked. The latest editions of the talent show, which was broadcast on ITV on Saturday and Sunday night, saw contestants battle it out to secure a seat on stage in a twist dubbed 'musical chairs.' Members of the audience chanted 'seat, seat, seat' for singers they liked, and 'swap, swap, swap' if they wanted one of the four judges to swap a contestant for a singer they had already chosen. Viewers compared it to The Hunger Games, in which children fight to the death for viewers' entertainment, and 'a blood sport.' Dara O Briain also criticised it on Twitter. 'X Factor seems to have become even more horrible and exploitative than ever,' the presenter and comedian wrote. By Monday morning around thirty viewers had complained to ITV and fifty to Ofcom and that figure is reported to have risen since. An ITV spokeswoman said: 'The new bootcamp twist brings genuine jeopardy to the competition and is just one of the ways the series has evolved this year. ' And 'genuine jeopardy' being brought into something is a good thing? 'All contestants were briefed in advance on the new format and as with all stages of the competition, support was available for everyone before and after their performances.' Oh. So that's all right then.
And, speaking of cruel and exploitative dictators in the twilight years of their reign of terror, yer actual David Cameron his very self is a naughty lying liar who gave 'misleading evidence' to The Leveson Inquiry over his, if you will, 'friendship' with the former News International chief executive and well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Rebekah Brooks, according to a new book by a journalist 'with close links' to Downing Street. Or, at least, he used to have close links before he turned dirty stinking Copper's Nark on the Big Cheese and published a book in which he accused the Prime Minister of being a naughty lying liar. In what the Gruniad Morning Star describe as 'one of the most authoritative accounts' of Downing Street's links with News International - but, they're probably talking shite, as usual - Matthew d'Ancona also writes that the Prime Minister was 'awestruck' by his, if you will, 'chum', the former Scum of the World editor Andy Coulson. D'Ancona, who has known the Prime Minister for twenty years, claims that Cameron was 'wrong' to tell The Leveson Inquiry that he saw well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Brooks 'more frequently' after her marriage to his Eton contemporary, millionaire Old Etonian Charlie Brooks. 'I was definitely seeing her more often because of my sort of friendship with Charlie and as a neighbour,' Cameron told Leveson of his fellow members of the 'Chipping Norton set.' The former Spectator editor D'Ancona dismisses this account as naughty lying lies in a new book on the coalition, In It Together. D'Ancona writes: 'This was misleading. Cameron knew Charlie Brooks only slightly before his marriage to Rebekah. It was Rebekah who brought him closer to Charlie, not the other way round.' D'Ancona also claims that well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Brooks 'got close' to Cameron by 'a mixture of charm and persuasion.' He writes that well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Brooks was 'different' from other journalist friends whom Cameron named at Leveson, such as The Economist's Xan Smiley. 'Rebekah Brooks was different. She was not a member of the Cameroon gang, the "Notting Hill Set" or a veteran of the Tory research department. Yet her charm enabled her to break through Cameron's armour.' Well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Brooks is due to extremely stand trial next month on five charges in relation to allegations of conspiracy to hack phones, conspiracy to pervert the course of justice and conspiracy to commit misconduct in public office. She, of course, denies all of the charges and has pleaded very not guilty. In his account of the coalition, d'Ancona writes that Cameron 'did not ask' Coulson about allegations of phone-hacking at the disgraced and disgraceful Scum of the World while Coulson was editor. He writes: 'Cameron was notably incurious in his conversations with his former employee about what, precisely, had happened at the newspaper on his watch.' Coulson is due to stand trial next month on three charges in relation to allegations of conspiring to hack phones and allegations over a conspiracy to commit misconduct in public office during his editorship. Like well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Broooks, Coulson has denied the charges and pleaded not guilty. D'Ancona claims that Coulson 'became an indispensable member' of Cameron's inner circle after joining the Tory party as communications director in 2007. He writes: 'Coulson shared with [George] Osborne a desire to root coalition politics in a language that could be sold on the doorstep and pave the way to an outright Conservative victory in 2015. Cameron, in contrast, was "awestruck" by his communications director, whom he privately described in lyrical language. He treated Coulson as a redtop shaman, a source of knowledge about the world of tabloids, Essex and kitchen-table politics.' Coulson resigned as the No 10 communications director in January 2011 as reports about alleged phone-hacking at the disgraced and disgraceful Scum of the World intensified, eventually leading to the odious rag's closure, in shame and ignominy, some months later. Coulson, it is important to note, denied any and all knowledge of illegal phone-hacking and resigned because, he claimed, a spokesman could no longer continue when he needed a spokesman himself. The book also claims that the agreement between Cameron, Nick Clegg and Ed Milimolimandi over The Leveson Report 'strained' the coalition. In the early part of this year, when Clegg and Miliband were pressing the Prime Minister to strengthen his position, Cameron 'snapped' at his deputy: 'You can go off and do whatever you want with Labour!' Oooo. Get her. But Clegg reportedly had earlier told Cameron that the negotiations with Milimolimandi showed why he did not want to enter a coalition with the Labour, despite the fact that Labour and the Lib Dems were closer on press reform. D'Ancona writes: 'After one meeting of the party leaders in which the Labour leader had moralised a little too much, Clegg turned to Cameron and said: 'Now you can see why I don't want to go into coalition with him.' The remarks attributed to Clegg, which are relatively recent, may undermine his claim that he has no preference over a future Lib Dem coalition partner if the party holds the balance of power after the next election. The book reveals that Cameron took his appearance before The Leveson Inquiry so seriously that Lord Feldman, his old friend and tennis partner at Brasenose College Oxford, assumed the role of the counsel for the enquiry in a prep session. Feldman himself faced pressure on Sunday over his own relations with the media when he appeared to change tack over allegations that he described Tory activists earlier this year as 'swivel-eyed loons.' Feldman initially dismissed the claim that he made the remarks, reported in The Times, the Daily Torygraph and the Daily Scum Mail, as 'completely untrue.' But, he told a Tory conference question and answer session with party members, which was inadvertently shown on the conference television channel: 'For me it was particularly unpleasant because I felt that everything I had done since 2008 was aimed in that direction [improving relations with the voluntary party] and was distorted by these journalists. So, these things happen. I'm not a professional politician. I don't interact with journalists every day. They have chosen to [present] a crass distortion of a conversation. And, as I say, it's not what I think and it's not what I said.' An alleged No 10 'source' allegedly told the Gruniad regarding the claims about Cameron in the d'Ancona book: 'The idea that the Prime Minister has misled Leveson is complete nonsense. The other claims are assertions that have no basis in reality.'
A former Sun newspaper reporter has become the first person to be charged under Operation Tuleta - a police investigation into alleged computer-hacking and other privacy breaches and nefarious skulduggery. Ben Ashford has been charged with one offence of possession of criminal property and one of unauthorised access to computer material. He will appear before Westminster Magistrates' Court on 15 October. Operation Tuleta began in the wake of the phone-hacking scandal. It is being run by the Metropolitan Police alongside Operation Elveden, which is an investigation into inappropriate payments to public officials, and Operation Weeting, the Met's phone-hacking inquiry. So far, twenty one people have been arrested as part of Tuleta. Two have been told that no further action will be taken against them. The offences allegedly committed by Ashford are said to have taken place between 11 and 16 October 2009. The first charge accuses him of possessing 'criminal property, namely a mobile telephone, knowing or suspecting it to constitute a person's benefit from criminal conduct.' The second charge alleges that he 'caused a computer to perform a function with intent to secure unauthorised access to a program or data held in a computer, knowing that such access was unauthorised.' The offences are contrary to the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 and Computer Misuse Act 1990 respectively.

Odious James Murdoch the small has become chairman of Sky Deutschland, the German pay-TV broadcaster, just five months after joining the board. He takes over from Chase Carey, president and chief operating officer of Twenty First Century FOX. Murdoch, son of the chairman, billionaire tyrant Rupert Murdoch (whom no one is scared of any more), is that company's deputy chief operating officer. It marks the latest stage in Murdoch the small's rehabilitation, noted the Financial Times. Following the Scum of the World phone-hacking scandal he resigned as executive chairman of News International and as chairman of BSkyB. He was also criticised by the communications regulator, Ofcom, for his 'lack of action' over the hacking affair.

The Scum Mail on Sunday had a 'picture exclusive' on page seventeen at the weekend. One of the three pictures from inside the Westgate shopping mall purportedly showed 'the horrific moment al-Shabaab gunman took deadly aim.' Lying face down under two desks are at least half-a-dozen people. 'This is the horrifying moment one of the terrorists in the Kenyan shopping centre attack levelled his gun at cowering hostages, ready to execute them,' the paper tells its readers. The only problem is it's the wrong shopping mall, the wrong city, the wrong country and, indeed, the wrong continent. In fact, as an FBI press release dated from 16 April 2010 shows, the picture in question is a CCTV picture of a bank robbery in Miramar, Florida. In a statement, the Scum Mail weaselled that it regretted the publication. 'The picture was provided by a previously reliable supplier in Kenya who had received it along with some genuine CCTV images from the mall. We showed it to Kenyan police and the military before publication and they made no comment. Of course, we regret our publication and apologise to our readers.' Just try to imagine, dear blog reader, what the Scum Mail's reaction would have been if, let's say for the sake of argument, the BBC had shown the same picture and made the same claim of what it depicted.
Do TV detector vans actually exist? A leaked internal BBC memo about the licence fee makes no mention of detector vans whatsoever - but does reveal that three hundred and thirty four enforcement officers were looking for licence-fee evaders in August. The memo contains a detailed breakdown of every fact and figure relating to the TV licence fee. And yet a leaked copy of the internal BBC report on the collection – and non-collection – of the levy does not contain a single mention of the fabled TV detector van. For years many people have wondered if the famous vans actually exist or if they are a convenient urban myth dreamed up by TV Licensing – the body which collects and oversees the licence fee – to deter would-be non-payers. Some have wondered how the vans would be able to tell whether a home has a television – even in the digital age. And with increasing number of viewers watching TV through their laptops, BBC 'insiders' have allegedly acknowledge that collection for this is 'a grey area.' Those who watch live TV on their computers are still legally obliged to purchase a TV licence, but the same does not apply for recorded iPlayer content, for example. An eighteen-page memo offering a snapshot of the financial picture last month and summarising findings presented by the TV Licensing's Executive Management Forum makes no mention of detector vans – but it does contain plenty of other facts and figures. For example, it reveals that the number of enforcement officers employed to ensure collection of the fee rose in the summer to three hundred and thirty four. This is up twenty per cent on the figure reported a year ago. Evasion of the fee also looks to be up, although interpretation of this data is disputed by the BBC. Evasion was at 5.8 per cent for the month covered whereas it was estimated at 5.2 per cent the year before. A TV licensing spokeswoman refuted the suggestion that detector vans are nothing but a fabrication, a bit like CIA black helicopters and the bogeyman. 'Detector vans are an important part of our enforcement of the licence fee,' she claimed. 'We don't go into detail about how many there are or how they work as this information might be useful to people trying to evade the fee.' She continued that, while the figures were accurate in the leaked documents, they only represent 'a snapshot' of a month and that overall evasion 'remains steady at around five per cent' and the number of enforcement officers 'remains broadly comparable year-on-year.' She added: 'We monitor estimated evasion levels throughout the year but, because the figure fluctuates month by month, we only publish an annual figure. Estimated evasion is currently at a low of around five per cent, and has been remarkably stable around this level over the past six years, despite challenging economic conditions. Shifts of less than one percentage point in the evasion rate are not considered to be statistically significant. Historical evasion is restated at the end of each financial year using latest assumptions, such as the number of households. In TV Licensing’s last annual review for the year 2011-12, we stated the evasion rate for the end of the year at March 2012 as 5.2 per cent. That rate has now been recalculated as 5.5 per cent using the latest assumptions. The evasion rate for March 2013 was also calculated at 5.5 per cent, demonstrating no variation from the previous year. It is meaningless to compare a monthly evasion figure with the annual published figure due to seasonal variations.' In June, TV licensing disclosed some of the more ludicrous excuses people have given to avoid the £145.50 annual fee. They include: 'Why would I need a TV Licence for a TV I stole? Nobody knows I've got it.' And: 'The only way I can afford to pay for my TV Licence is if I sell my hamster, is that what you want me to do?'

The new series of BBC1's Strictly Come Dancing is well under way and pulling in huge audiences but it's not the contestants getting the Daily Scum Mail's attention. oh no. Rather, it's a bright yellow dress worn by Bruce Forsyth's co-presenter, Tess Daly, on Friday's show. 'The outfit was clearly too tight for her slender frame and became transparent under the glare of the lights,' frothed some arsehole of no importance at the odious, louse bullyboy thug tabloid, getting even more hot under the collar than contestant Dave Myers did on the dancefloor. 'Miss Daly failed to impress on Saturday night either,' continues the always impeccably turned-out Scum Mail, a tougher judge than any of those on Strictly. And, twice as twatty as even Craig at his twattiest.
The Returned is to be remade for US television by cable channel A&E. Now, why does that not surprise me? Does nobody working in American television have any original ideas whatsoever? The supernatural French drama - devised by Fabrice Gobert - explores the impact on the members of a village community when their deceased friends and relatives return, unharmed and un-aged. The American version, if it eventually makes it to screen, will, of course, be shite.

With yer actual Stephanie Flanders off to fill her - trademark - boots at JP Morgan, the race is on to replace her as BBC economics editor. Her colleague Huge Pym is said to be the front-runner, having been acting editor during Steph's maternity leave; also cited - by the Gruniad, if not anybody that actually knows what they're talking about - are the World Service's Andrew Walker and the BBC's chief business correspondent Linda Yueh, said to have 'popped up with uncanny timing in London last week after a stint in Asia.'
For the Radio Times editor Ben Preston, the gaffe nightmare just seem to keep on continuing. Despite the big-print misspelling of his name over the summer, this week's ninetieth anniversary issue of the magazine suggests vigilance has not improved. On the contents page of the birthday edition, the name 'Bethany Hughes' is liable to raise the eyebrows of those Radio Times readers (a lot of them, presumably) who lap up telly history programmes – the historian is Bettany Hughes, as the byline on her article on Atlantis later confirms. In possibly telling contrast, the sometimes tricky names of the professionals in Strictly Come Dancing, seen on the gatefold-style cover and occupying another seven pages inside, are all spelled impeccably.
Arguably the most talked-about television series of the past five years - well, among Gruniad Morning Star readers, anyway - the finale of Breaking Bad was broadcast in the US on Sunday, swiftly followed by its UK premiere on Netflix. Set in Albuquerque, the series followed the life of Walter White (played, superbly, by Bryan Cranston), a high school chemistry teacher who was diagnosed with terminal cancer at the beginning of the first series. In order to secure his family's future before he dies, he turned to a life of crime, making and selling methamphetamine. Reviews of the finale in the US press have been generally favourable.

'The BBC Trust's finding that its children's services are at risk of falling behind the rapidly changing media consumption of UK kids is no surprise, and reflects an accelerating, technology-driven fragmentation. The reach of CBeebies and CBBC is down, and perceptions of the services (according to BBC Trust audience research) are worsening. CBeebies is seen as "too babyish", and older kids would rather watch some of CBBC's shows on other channels,' writes Paul Robinson in the Gruniad. 'The Trust identified 2.1 million UK children aged four to twelve who watch BBC1, but not CBeebies or CBBC. Fewer boys are watching CBBC, with many preferring commercial rivals such as Disney's action-skewed DisneyXD. However, there was overall strong praise for the BBC's Children's department and the strategy of fewer, better shows. The BBC knows that the UK's kids are extremely technology-literate and getting more so. And their tastes are becoming increasingly sophisticated, with the so-called "age compression" trend is accelerating. The stories and characters that appealed to a ten-year-old a decade ago will now barely satisfy an eight-year-old. The other myth worth exploding is that kids only watch kids' TV programmes and channels. That has never been the case. Kids have always watched mainstream entertainment, films and sport, usually with adults present in the same room. What's changed is that kids are seeking out, at an increasingly young age, dramas with adult characters and plotlines on mainstream channels. As a recent Ofcom consumer trends report pointed out, families are still watching TV together on one set, but individual members tend to also multi-task on personal laptops, tablets or phones. The preferred channel on the main TV will rarely be a dedicated kids' channel. The BBC Trust is correct to say that the status quo is not an option. CBeebies and CBBC still have a place but, rather than attempt to broaden their age targeting, the BBC should focus them.'

And now, dear blog reader, the first in a new semi-regular feature on From The North, 'Examples of things that are, like, totally geet cush, and make the world a better place by their very existence.' Number one - a girl with a Rickenbacker 360 twelve-string. In this case, as demonstrated by New Order's Gillian Gilbert.
Yep. That certainly makes the world seem, momentarily, brighter, doesn't it?

Former racing pundit John McCririck has taken his ex-employers Channel Four and IMG Media Ltd to an employment tribunal, accusing them of age discrimination. The seventy three-year-old was axed (although not, obviously, with an actual axe) from Channel Four's coverage last year, as a new-look team led by Clare Balding took over. McCririck called ageism 'wrong' and 'illegal' outside the tribunal, which was adjourned so the panel could study evidence. Channel Four said that it would be 'vigorously defending' the case. They will claim, presumably, that McCririck was sacked not because of his age but because he's an embarrassing old anachronism and this is the Twenty First Century. The long-time pundit said that he was 'devastated at being sacked' in October 2012. He later announced plans to sue his former employers for three million smackers for loss of future earnings, 'stress and mental anguish.' McCririck told BBC News at the Central London Employment Tribunal on Monday: 'The Equality Act in 2010 said you cannot sack somebody because of their age, and there are hundreds of thousands of people in this country, in their thirties to their seventies, who dread, who fear the threat of the sack just because someone younger is chosen by one of the suits and skirts.' He continued: 'That is wrong, that is illegal, and that is who I'm fighting on behalf of.' But, mainly, he's fighting for himself and the mucho lover-ly wonga he's trying to claim. Channel Four claimed that it was 'grateful' to McCririck for his contribution over the years. A spokesperson for the broadcaster added: 'However we reject the suggestion that discrimination on the basis of age played any part in the decision not to include John in the Channel Four racing team from 2013 and we are vigorously defending this claim.' Famous for his deerstalker hat and sideburns, and for being - you know, 'eccentric' - McCririck was given the go-ahead to take his case to a final hearing after a pre-hearing review in June. The pundit said that the prospect of the tribunal was 'a daunting ordeal' but added: 'I'm not in this for the money. All I want is my job back, it's all I have ever asked for.' The hearing is expected to last seven days.

Bridget Jones fans have taken to social networking to voice their shock and horror at the news that the author Helen Fielding has killed off the character of Mark Darcy in her latest novel. It's, genuinely, nice dear blog reader to know that there is a fandom out there which has Special People in it who are even more mental than Doctor Who's Special People. It makes yer actual Keith Telly Topping feel almost ready to give humanity a second chance.
And now ...
Although today it's actually Keith Telly Topping's Exciting Adventures With A (Rather Stationary) Substitute For Gillian. What, I hear you growl, dear blog reader. Has yer actual Keith Telly Topping been and gone and been unfaithful to the old girl? Well, listen, and I'll tell you. You know how yer actual Keith Telly Topping his very self loathes to brag, dear blog reader? Actually, that's a complete and total lie, but never mind. On Monday, he only went and done a second visit to the gym, didn't he? Yer actual Keith Telly Topping thought he'd try the same as last time, fifteen minutes on the exercise bike and see if he could do five miles. Which he did, in fact, it was a smidgen over sixteen minutes for exactly five-and-a-half miles, slightly longer and slightly further than he managed last Thursday. Then, for the first time ever, he decided to have a try on the treadmill. Admittedly he was only at walking pace but he was on for another fifteen minutes and, having started at the lowest setting you can (2.5 miles an hour, which is roughly the equivalent of what a snail travels at), by the end, yer actual Keith Telly Topping had gradually increased that to five mph. Which is almost trotting. Almost, but not quite. Thereafter it was the usual couple of lengths in the pool, a trip to the steam room, a sauna, a shower, a walk to the shops and then getting the bus home. And then blogging. Yer actual Keith Telly Topping now intend to sleep for, probably, the rest of the week. Although, he could probably do with some food first. Whilst he was doing all that exercise, it was to a carefully selected (ie completely bloody random) run of bangin' tunes on the MP3 Player which went The Chemical Bothers, Underworld, Dreadzone, New Order, The Grid, The Young Punx and A Guy Called Gerald. They, actually, worked really well for a 'feel the burn' session. Oh my God, yer actual Keith Telly Topping his very self in danger of turning into one of those people who used to jog with their Walkman playing Sting. Just kill him now.

Which brings us to today's Keith Telly Topping's 45 of the Day and one of the very bangin' tunes that managed to get your actual Keith Telly Topping through thirty minutes of exercise for the first time since about 1984.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Week Forty One: Trying To Wear My Resistance Down

'A hint at the answer to the biggest Twelfth Doctor question' wrote The Lord Thy God Steven Moffat (Thou Shalt Worship No Other Gods Before He) on Facebook, posting a link to this thing here: Speaking in an interview with Nerd (no, me neither), yer actual Steven Moffat his very self is claimed to have said: 'We are aware that Peter Capaldi's played a big old part in Doctor Who and Torchwood before and we are not going to ignore the fact. I remember Russell [Davies] told me that he had a big old plan as to why there were two Peter Capaldi's in the Doctor Who universe: one in Pompeii and one in Torchwood. When I cast Peter and Russell got in touch to say how pleased he was, I said, "Okay, what was your theory and does it still work?" and he said, "Yes it does. Here it is,," We'll play that one out over time. It's actually quite neat.'
BBC1 was clearly hoping to persuade viewers to tune in to its new Merlin-replacement, the fantasy drama Atlantis, on Saturday evening by scheduling brief teasers for the Doctor Who fiftieth anniversary special both before and after it. Fans were promised 'stings' which would reveal the new '#Doctor Who' ident which is set to accompany future The Day of the Doctor announcements, as well as the hashtag which Doctor Who 'bosses' (that's 'producers', only in tabloid-speak and, therefore, with considerably less syllables) hope that Twitter users will soon become very familiar with. And, everyone who isn't on Twitter will, like, not.
Alleged 'show insiders' allegedly also - allegedly - promised further alleged 'surprises' during the eight-week run-up to the broadcast of the fiftieth anniversary on Saturday 23 November (that's not alleged, it's definitely happening), including 'a bold, brilliant and unexpected' trailer for the landmark episode. Along with the news came a backstage image from the set of The Day of the Doctor, showing the Time Lord's oldest foes The Daleks their very selves looking rather less deadly than usual.
From the forthcoming Complete Season Seven Doctor Who DVD box-set, here's some unseen Doctor and River, in a Neil Gaiman-scripted minisode, Rain Gods. (The credit given to Steven Moffat is, by all accounts, erroneous.)
Some Doctor Who fans - who are, obviously, not completely bloody mental - have launched a petition (on the Internet, of course) to persuade the people who, you know, decide on these things to light up the Empire State Building 'TARDIS blue' on 23 November in celebration of the show's fiftieth anniversary. Err ... okay. The petition has attracted over twelve thousand signatures in under a week following its launch on 23 September. From people with, it would seem, nothing better to do with their time and energy. Thankfully, most online petitions are regarded by the majority of 'normal people' for the utter trite and ludicrous nonsense they are and are, as a consequence, ignored and ridiculed. So ... next.
Meanwhile, here's The Doctor Who Timeline Explained With Tube Maps
The UK is to create a new 'cyber unit' to help defend national security against attack, the defence secretary has announced. Oh, please let them be called The Cyber Men! The Ministry of Defence is set to recruit hundreds of reservists as 'computer experts' to work alongside regular forces in the creation of the new 'Joint Cyber Reserve Unit.' News on whether they'll be stations on Mondas, Telos or London is, as yet unknown. The new unit will also, if necessary, 'launch strikes' into cyber space, the cyber controller Hammond said. An Invasion, if you will. Recruiting for reservists to join the unit will start next month - anyone with metal limbs, a computerised brain or no heart is advised they're a shoe-in for the gig. The role of the unit is to protect computer networks and safeguard vital data. And to hit back if anybody messes them about. The Revenge Of The Cybermen, if you like. In a statement, the Ministry of Defence said the 'creation of the Joint Cyber Unit will allow Defence to draw on individuals' talent, skills and expertise gained from their civilian experience to meet these threats.' And to, you know, 'delete.' Hammond told the Scum Mail on Sunday that clinical 'cyber strikes' could disable enemy communications, nuclear and chemical weapons, planes, ships and other hardware. And that Britain could be made powerful again. 'From beyond the grave!' Hands up anybody who thinks yer actual Keith Telly Topping has milked this joke to the absolute limit, dear blog reader. Okay, you can all put your hands down now.
Yer actual Benedict Cumberbatch is to appear on the first episode of the forthcoming series of The Graham Norton Show. The Sherlock actor will be interviewed on the BBC chat show when it returns to screens next month. Joining Cumberbatch are Harrison Ford, unfunny and odious lanky streak of piss Jack Whitehall and the terminal James Blunt, who will be performing his latest single 'Bonfire Heart'. That's bound to be unmissable, one imagines. Benny was last interviewed on the programme in May, and is expected to talk about his role as Julian Assange in the WikiLeaks film The Fifth Estate. The Graham Norton Show returns to BBC1 on Friday 11 October at 10.35pm.
Postmodernist ironic comedy TV one-liner of the week came from the latest episode of Qi on Friday. When Stephen Fry asked if anyone knew what 'extreme knitting' was, Sue Perkins replied: 'I've now got Gregg Wallace in my head going "knitting doesn't get more extreme than this."' Sue Perkins, ladies and gentlemen, taking the piss out of the presenter of a BBC cookery show. Where to even begin ...!
David Mitchell is to host the first episode of Have I Got News For You when it returns for its latest series next week. It will be the thirty nine-year-old comedian's ninth appearance in the host's chair for the long-running topical panel show. Joining the Peep Show actor will be regular team captains yer actual Ian Hislop and Paul Merton his very self alongside Channel Four News presenter Cathy Newman. The final guest has not yet been confirmed. The new series will begin next Friday 4 October at 9pm on BBC1.
And, speaking of the new series of Have I Got News For You, do you want to see a Doctor Who-influenced trailer for it? Of course you do, dear blog reader, you're only human after all.
Atlantis, the BBC's lavish new fantasy adventure drew an average audience of 5.62 million overnight viewers on Saturday night. Reviews for Atlantis - which stars Jack Donnelly as the Greek hero Jason - have been broadly positive with the Torygraph praising it as 'action-packed, big fun Saturday evening entertainment.' The X Factor on ITV was watched by 7.6 million viewers, down eight hundred and sixty thousand punters from last week's overnight figures. Odious, cardboard pile of dung, Stepping Out, was earlier watched by but 2.17m at 7.15pm and risible Through The Keyhole had 3.26m punters at 9.45pm, as BBC1 beat ITV's arse hollow in every slot during primetime par one. An average 9.11 million people tuned in to the return of Strictly Come Dancing, the highest watched programme of the night by a distance. That was up from Friday's show, which drew 7.8 million. It was also up over seven hundred thousand viewers on last year's series average of 8.7m and peaked with an audience of at 9.92m at 8pm. With an overlap of just five-minutes the traditional Saturday night battle between The X Factor and Strictly was avoided, with Atlantis filling the same time slot as the Wee Shughie McFee, the sour-faced chef from Crossroads' talent contest. Written by Misfits creator Howard Overman and Merlin's Johnny Capps and Julian Murphy, the opening episode of Atlantis 'boasts both a strong cast and terrific visuals' according to website Digital Spy. Though in the same review, it claimed the show - which sees Jason arriving on the shores of the pre-sunken mythical island searching for his father - 'is sticking far too rigidly to a tried-and-tested format.' A delighted BBC spokesman - for once thankful not to be talking about executive pay or what various once much-love national treasures may or may not have done during the 1970s and 80s - said: 'Saturday nights on BBC1 are back in style, with over ten million viewers tuning in for Strictly and new fantasy adventure drama series Atlantis getting off to a brilliant start.' Also on BBC1, Match Of The Day was viewed by 3.77m at 10.30pm. On BBC2, Dad's Army took 1.15m at 7pm and Count Arthur Strong interested five hundred and twenty thousand punters half an hour later. A repeat of The 70s was seen by 1.04m at 8pm, while Mock The Week earned 1.08m viewers from 9pm and The Sarah Millican Slightly Longer Television Programme had 1.16m at 9.30pm. At 10.15pm, Dara O'Briain: Craic Dealer pulled in nine hundred and thirty thousand viewers. On Channel Four, a Marvel's Agents of SHIELD repeat and Grand Designs had seven hundred and eighty thousand and five hundred and fifty thousand viewers respectively from 7pm. Movie The Taking of Pelham 123 was watched by seven hundred and fifty thousand at 9pm. Channel Five broadcast The Wonderful Country at 7.45pm, attracting three hundred and thirty nine thousand punters. Point Break later pulled in three hundred and ninety nine thousand from 9.45pm. Ford Saturday Night Football Live was the highest rated broadcast on the multichannels, bringing eight hundred and fifty seven thousand to Sky Sports 1 from 5pm to watch The Arse's win at Swansea. Midsomer Murders followed with seven hundred and eighty three thousand on ITV3 at 9pm.

The first episode of the new series of Strictly Come Dancing scored 7.81m overnight punters on BBC1 on Friday according to overnight data. The audience peaked at 8.07m at 9.45pm, roughly on a par with last year's opener. It was down six hundred and twenty thousand punters from the 7 September launch show. Meanwhile Channel Four was having something of a bumper night by their standards, with Joss Whedon's highly-anticipated Marvel's Agents of SHIELD launching to 2.76m (including yer actual Keith Telly Topping, as it happens) at 8pm. The final episode of The IT Crowd secured 1.46m viewers at 9pm, while Alan Carr: Chatty Man had 1.63m at 10pm. Back on BBC1, The ONE Show interested 3.65m from 7pm, after which Ronnie's Animal Crackers appealed to 2.46m at 7.30pm. A repeat of an old episode of Miranda took 3.32m at 8.30pm and John Bishop Live: Rollercoaster Tour attracted 2.44m at 10.45pm. BBC2 showed The Hairy Bikers' Everyday Gourmets to 1.43m 7pm. Mastermind and Gardeners' World then interested 1.97m and 2.26m respectively from 8pm, while David Attenborough's Rise of Animals: Triumph of the Vertebrates had 1.43m at 9pm. Qi attracted an audience of 1.99m at 10pm. On ITV, Gino's Italian Escape was seen by 2.79m from 8pm. Odious oily twat Piers Morgan's Life Stories followed with a - properly risible - 2.03m at 9pm and The Break-Up took five hundred and twenty thousand from 10.45pm. On Channel Five, The World's Strongest Man earned three hundred and ninety one thousand at 7pm and Monster Moves took six hundred and seventeen thousand an hour later. CSI:NY was viewed by nine hundred and forty four thousand punters at 9.15pm and The Punisher was seen by 723k at 10pm.
The Shields Gazette has been running a series of on-set behind-the-scenes video diaries from the forthcoming second series of Hebburn. The latest features top local radio personality and yer actual Keith Telly Topping's sometime writing partner, the legend that is Alfie Joey his very self. (Alf, incidentally, informs yer actual Keith Telly Topping that among the guest actors on the new series of Hebburn will be the great John Woodvine. So, there you go, that's a proper From The North exclusive!)
Other recent examples of the Gazette's exclusive videos include one featuring the very excellent Stefan Peddie.

And so, to the next lot of yer actual Top Telly Tips:-
Saturday 5 October
Bruce Forsyth and Tess Daly host the first of this weekend's two Strictly Come Dancing episodes at 6:25 on BBC1. And, the competition really gets going for the (alleged) twinkle-toed stars - singer Sophie Ellis-Bextor, TV regulars Deborah Meaden, Susanna Reid, Dave Myers, Rachel Riley and Vanessa Feltz, actors Ashley Taylor Dawson, Patrick Robinson, Mark Benton, Fiona Fullerton and Natalie Gumede, fashion designer Julien Macdonald (no, me neither), footballer's wife Abbey Clancy and sporting stars Ben Cohen and Tony Jacklin - as they and their partners step out onto the dance floor for the second time. Tomorrow the first pro-celebrity couple will be leaving the competition, as their scores from judges Len Goodman, Bruno Tonioli, Craig Revel Horwood and Darcey Bussell are added to those of the voting viewers. But which pair will have performed their last dance? The results are tomorrow at 7.20pm.
Coulson takes his crew to Peru to investigate a mysterious object codenamed 0-8-4 in the second episode of Marvel's Agents of SHIELD - 8:00 Channel Four. But, when he runs into Commandant Camilla Reyes, sparks soon fly - in more ways than one. Clark Gregg stars in the comic-book adventure, with Camilla Reyes, Ming-Na Wen and Brett Dalton.
Leonora is a sixteen-year-old orangutan who has been living in a commune on a protected island run by the Borneo Orangutan Survival Foundation. The Natural World documentary Orangutans: The Great Escape - 7:30 BBC2 - follows Leonora and her three-year-old infant Lemar as they undertake an epic and life-changing journey by boat, road and finally helicopter, before being released into the rain forest. The abiding image in this film is of an orangutan inside a crate, which is then strapped on the back of a truck or suspended in the air under a helicopter. A camera fixed inside the crate captures her bewildered reactions as she is driven through busy city streets and flown over the Borneo jungle on her way to being released into the wild. She is part of a major programme to liberate hundreds of orphaned orangutans who have lived most of their lives at a sanctuary, and she is a pioneer: how she and seven others cope with life in the wild will determine the fate of six hundred others.

Sunday 6 October
An extravagant party at the Abbey gives the Crawleys an opportunity to reunite with old friends. Some guests, however, prove more welcome than others, and alongside the celebrations come skulduggery and heartache in the latest episode of Lord Snooty's Downtown Abbey - 9:00 ITV. Former EastEnders heart-throb Nigel Harman joins the cast, and soprano Kiri Te Kanawa makes a guest appearance as famous singer Dame Nellie Melba. And, you know, squeals a lot.
Tonight also sees the return of the acclaimed American thriller Homeland - 9:00 Channel Four - starring Claire Danes, Damian Lewis and Mandy Patinkin. With Brody still at large almost three months after the terrorist attack on Langley, Saul plots a counterstrike aimed at those connected to the devastating incident. However, his attempts to revive the CIA's fortunes are hampered when Carrie becomes the focus of a hostile senate investigation. Meanwhile, Dana's destructive behaviour causes problems for her family.
On a broadly similar theme, one of the world's most wanted fugitives surrenders himself to the FBI, claiming to have vital information on dangerous criminals and terrorists who have never been brought to justice in the opening episode of the latest much-trailed US import The Blacklist - 9:00 Sky Living. However, he has one condition - he will only speak to rookie profiler and nobody knows why he is so interested in her, including the woman herself. The concept for this slick American espionage thriller is a bit convoluted - albeit, not overwhelmingly so - but you're advised to pay attention if you want to keep up. Government agent turned master criminal Raymond Reddington (the excellent James Spader) hands himself into the FBI, offering information on a terrorist previously thought dead. The catch is he will only speak to new recruit Lizzie Keen (Megan Boone), who is due to start as an FBI profiler on that very day. The presence of The Silence of the Lambs looms over the scenes in which Reddington mentally toys with Kean, but Spader has enough of a mesmerising, supercilious charm to make them his own, and the head-to-heads are matched by some impressive action set-pieces. A fine support cast is headed by Diego Klattenhoff, Harry Lennix, Ryan Eggold and Parminder Nagra. On the strength of this first episode, this one might well be latest in a long line of left-field, action-fueled, testosterone-snorting US imports (The X Files, Buffy The Vampire Slayer, 24 and Homeland to name but four of the more popular) to find a cult audience in the UK.
Top Gear presenter yer actual Jeremy Clarkson and comedians Jimmy Carr and Bill Bailey join regular panellist Alan Davies on Qi XL - 10:30 BBC2 - an extended version of the popular comedy intelligence quiz. Host Stephen Fry his very self asks a range of fiendish questions on the topic of Kings, with points being awarded for interesting answers as well as correct ones.
Monday 7 October
In the final episode of A Very British Murder with Lucy Worsley - 9:00 BBC4 - the historian tells the story of one of the first high-profile killers - Doctor Crippen, who was hanged in 1910 for poisoning and dismembering his wife - before turning her attention to the inter-war period, when detective fiction reached the peak of its popularity at the hands of authors like Agatha Christie and Dorothy L Sayers. After undergoing the elaborate initiation ceremony of the Detection Club, which was set up by a group of British writers in 1930, Lucy considers how Alfred Hitchcock's movies and Graham Greene's novels eclipsed the traditional murder-mystery story in the depiction of homicide.
Continuing the series about re-creating and improving machines from history which began in March, Beat The Ancestors returns - 7:00 Channel Five. In which Dick Strawbridge challenges a team of engineers to build a flame-throwing boat like the one which reportedly once saved the Byzantine Empire from almost certain defeat. The experts face a stern test as the wooden vessel is highly flammable and they are working next to a vat of napalm. Will the dangers of playing with fire and water make it an impossible task?

In the latest episode of The Crime Thriller Club - 9:00 ITV3 - yer actual Bradley Walsh is invited behind the scenes of detective drama Midsomer Murders and Whitechapel star Phil Davis drops by for a chat. Plus, there's a crime thriller reading recommendation.
Tuesday 8 October
It's the quarter-final in The Great British Bake Off tonight - 8:00 BBC2 - and Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood test just how the five remaining contestants can cope with unconventional flours and unusual desserts, beginning by baking a signature loaf using non-traditional wheat flours such as spelt, rye, potato and tapioca. Urgh. Who actually eats tapioca? Gruniad readers, that's who. Anyway, in the technical challenge the contestants have to each prepare a gluten-free dacquoise, which is made with coffee custard, hazelnut praline and meringue, before creating dairy-free novelty vegetable cakes for the so-called 'showstopper' round. Would you like a cake or a meringue? No, you're right, I'll have a cake. Ba-doom. Mel Giedroyc and Sue Perkins present. And, next week on Qi, somebody makes a Sue Perkins joke!
Masters Of Sex - 9:00 Channel Four - is a twelve-part American drama set in the 1950s, chronicling the lives of two pioneering researchers who paved the way for the sexual revolution of the following decade while struggling with their own issues of success, betrayal and jealousy. William Masters (played by yer actual Michael Sheen), a doctor at Washington University in St Louis, runs a medical practice by day and conducts a secret study of human sexuality by night. Former nightclub singer Virginia Johnson (Lizzy Caplan) is recruited to the secretarial staff at the hospital and soon proves to be a valuable asset to Masters' work.
In Art Of Australia - 9:00 BBC4 - the scholar Edmund Capon explores the role and history of art in his adopted homeland of Australia. In the first edition, Edmund reveals how creativity helped European immigrants settle in the new, distant land, and how the country's indigenous culture was overlooked until the introduction of impressionism helped establish a national identity.
In 2002, forklift truck-driver Ian Tibbetts from Telford in Shropshire started to go blind. He has never seen the faces of his twin boys, and despite numerous treatments to restore his sight, nothing has so far worked. The documentary The Day I Got My Sight Back - 10:35 BBC1 - follows Ian over a several month period as he undergoes a series of bizarre-sounding procedures in a last-ditch attempt to see again. The operations, performed by Christopher Liu at Sussex Eye Hospital in Brighton, involve inserting a tiny lens into one of the patient's teeth and then implanting the tooth into Ian's eye.

Wednesday 9 October
BBC4, it would seem, have their own little village full of sexy historians who make fascinating documentary series about relatively obscure aspects of social and military history. You might have noticed, dear blog reader. There's Lucy Worsley, of course, and Janina Ramirez. The latest off the block is the medievalist Helen Castor, lecturer in History at Cambridge University and author of Blood & Roses and She-Wolves: The Women Who Ruled England Before Elizabeth. In Medieval Lives: Birth, Marriage, Death - 9:00 BBC4 - Helen explores life in the Middle Ages, beginning with a look at the circumstances surrounding labour and birth at the time. She reveals how childbirth was one of the most dangerous experiences a medieval woman could encounter and that it took place in an all-female environment. With little in the way of pain relief, it was believed that the agony endured was punishment for the original sin of humankind.
The hunt is on to find a gang of suspected cannibalistic killers lurking in the sewers before a missing girl becomes the next grisly victim in the latest episode of Whitechapel - 9:00 ITV. The station, meanwhile, is under attack and 'the forces of evil' (Jamie Oliver and Piers Morgan presumably) are moving against the team on all sides. And as the case takes a dangerously personal twist for Chandler, he must resort to desperate measures - which will, inevitably, lead to blood and snots before the crime is solved. Ober-the-top, but usually quite entertaining crime thriller, starring Rupert Penry-Jones, Phil Davis and Steve Pemberton. Last in the current series (and, if this year's overnight ratings are anything to go by, possibly the last ever).

The Great British Year - 9:00 BBC2 - is a documentary following British wildlife through the seasons. Spring marks a series of beginnings, as trees explode with blossom and mornings fill with the chorus of birdsong. Long-tailed tits frantically build nests, a stoat mother hunts rabbits to feed her playful young, while in the oceans, seahorses sway to a graceful courtship dance. As spring becomes summer, guillemot chicks leap from their cliffs to begin life at sea and this year's young prepare for life alone. Narrated by Joseph Fiennes.
Forget Kevin Macdonald's Hollywood remake with Russell Crowe and Helen Mirren - good as that undeniably was - it added nothing to Paul Abbott's scintillating original six-part version of State of Play, a gripping, mature, clever, intriguing political thriller from 2003 which begins a repeat run on the Drama channel tonight - 9:00. David Morrissey has never been better as the tormented New Labour MP on the rise Stephen Collins, a man who is at the crossroads of both his personal and professional lives when his young research assistant (and secret lover), Sonia Baker, dies under a London Tube train at rush hour. Stephen breaks down in tears at a press conference when he's asked about her death and the assembled hacks sense a story although, perhaps inevitably, it's the wrong one. Alarm bells quickly ring at the offices of the Herald (Bill Nighy rightly won a BAFTA as the mercurial, seen-it-all editor Cameron Foster at the Gruniad-like newspaper) and ambitious reporter Cal McCaffrey (a grand, star-making turn by John Simm) digs deep into the background of Collins, a man who is supposed to be his friend. It's easily the best thing that Abbott has ever written (and, given that it directly followed both Touching Evil and Clocking Off, that's really saying something); his script is complex, taut, witty, just a bit dangerous and never, for a single second, patronises the grown-up audience it was intended for. The direction, by David Yates, is flawless and adds greatly to the tension. And the once-in-a-lifetime cast (which also includes the likes of Philip Glenister, Amelia Bullmore, Michael Feast, Polly Walker, Marc Warren, a superb James McAvoy, Sean Gilray and Kelly Macdonald giving the performance of her life) are all on properly outstanding form. If you missed this first time around, dear blog reader, or you didn't buy it on DVD when HMV were flogging it off for a fiver a couple years ago on the back of the movie adaptation, do yourself a favour and use your recording devices very wisely for the next six weeks. The BBCs naughties drama revival - and yer actual Keith Telly Topping's restored faith in British TV - started here.
Thursday 10 October
Breathless - 9:00 ITV - is a new six-part series which is fairly obviously ripped-off from Mad Men (with a bit of Call The Midwife thrown in). Co-created and written by Paul Unwin, who has also directed the first two episodes, Breathless follows the lives of a group of doctors and nurses working in a London hospital, a world in which everything and everyone has their place. But underneath the shiny veneer simmers a cauldron of lies, deception and guilty secrets, driven by love, ambition and sex. The series opens in 1961, a time when Britain was on the brink of the Sixties revolution – abortion is illegal and the contraceptive pill is only just becoming available to married women. Set in and around a busy Gynaecology unit, medicine becomes the perfect stage to play out the shifting and complex moral codes of early 1960s society. Otto Powell (Jack Davenport), a brilliant and charismatic surgeon, is summoned to the hospitals theatre where young surgeon and pretender to the throne, Richard Truscott, is about to make a rather serious error. Humiliating though it is, Richard has his wife to be, ex-nurse Jean (Zoe Boyle), to take his mind off such things. Away from the hospital Otto and his ever-faithful anaesthetist Charlie Enderbury (Shaun Dingwall) have been called out for a private operation. Angela (Catherine Steadman), new to the hospital and first time on a private procedure, is appalled when she discovers it’s an abortion, still very much illegal in 1961. Otto finds himself quite taken by this headstrong new nurse.
Truckers - 9:00 BBC1 - is a new drama about a haulage company in Nottingham, with each episode focusing on a different member of the team as he or she undergoes a life-changing journey. Malachi (Stephen Tompkinson) is struggling to accept his marriage is over - after all, he and his ex-wife still live together, even though she has a new fiance. But when he interrupts them having culinary-themed phone sex, it becomes clear he has to move on, so son and fellow trucker Glen sets about helping his desperate dad turn his life around. Meanwhile, at the yard, boss Martin has installed an advanced new system and revised rosters - and no one is happy. Harry Treadaway, Ashley Walters and Sian Breckin co-star.

Medical journalist Michael Mosley and a team of doctors offer advice on health, using their expertise and the latest research to investigate the truth behind various claims being made in the media in Trust Me, I'm A Doctor - 8:00 BBC2. Surgeon Gabriel Weston takes part in an experiment at the University of Surrey's Sleep Research Centre to discover whether an extra hour in bed could have major benefits, while A&E specialist Dr Saleyha Ahsan asks if people can be overweight and still healthy, and tests the accuracy of two different methods used to assess fatness.

Friday 11 October
In Have I Got News For You - 9:00 BBC1 - Paul Merton and Ian Hislop as usual poke fun at the week's headlines with the help of a couple of celebrity panellists and a guest host.
South African comedian Trevor Noah makes his debut on Qi - 10:00 BBC2 - joining fellow stand-up Jason Manford, broadcaster Sandi Toksvig and regular panellist Alan Davies. Host Stephen Fry asks a range of fiendish questions on the topic of Killers, with points being awarded for interesting answers as well as correct ones.
Former Buffy The Vampire Slayer and Angel actress Charisma Carpenter - a particular favourite of yer actual Keith Telly Topping - was the survivor of a truly terrifying real-life incident more than twenty years ago. The actress - then a twenty one year old cheerleader for the local football team - and two male friends were swimming at San Diego's Torrey Pines State Beach in 1991 when they were violently attacked by an armed man. He ordered Charisma to tie up her friends with the clear intention that he would, then, rape her. With astonishing bravery and a gun held to her head, Charisma refused and, in the ensuing commotion, the group were able to fight off the man who fled, shooting and wounding one of Charisma's friends. Their witness statements eventually led to the arrest of their assailant, an off-duty police officer and serial rapist. In the first episode of a new real-crime series, I Survived Evil - 9:00 Really - which Charisma herself hosts, she tells her own story in raw detail about what happened that dreadful night.
To the news now: Yer actual Sarah Parish her very self has whinged that she was 'shocked' (and, presumably, 'stunned' as well) by ITV's decision to cancel the drama Monroe last year. In case you never saw it - and, if you didn't, don't worry, you're in the massive majority - Monore was a not particularly distinguished medical drama which came to an end after ITV decided to, as it were, put it out of its misery in November 2012. Because it had lost half of its initial audience over the course of a year. So, in that regard, it's certainly not surprising it got the old tin-tack. TV programmes, generally, get cancelled for one of three - fairly obvious - reasons. Either a) because they're shit, b) because no one was watching them, or c) because they're shit and no one was watching them. Monore one would appear to have fallen into the second category. The fact that it was, always, a somewhat piss-poor attempt to produce a British take on House notwithstanding. Parish - now starring in the BBC's Atlantis - described the decision to cancel Monroe as 'bizarre.' Which it wasn't or anything even remotely like it. Parish told the Press Association: 'I don't want to put myself out of a job with regards to commissioning editors, but I think it was a bizarre decision.' That was Sarah Parish there, dear blog reader, not putting herself out of a job with commissioning editors. Jolly good effort, Sarah. 'Peter Bowker's one of the best writers and James Nesbitt was in the role of his life.' (Err ... he wasn't, Sarah. That was Jekyll. Or, possibly Murphy's Law. Certainly not Monore.) 'We were all like, "Wow, can't quite believe it." But that's the business, isn't it?' Yes, it is. If you make someone and bugger-all people watch it then, frankly, it's a bit churlish to criticise those who commissioned it in the first place for not wanting to make any more. 'You've just got to put a smile on your face and go "Okay", otherwise you'll end up really angry and bitter and sad.' And, trust me dear blog reader, you wouldn't want to see Sarah when she's angry and bitter and sad.
Monroe was first broadcast in March 2011 and starred Nesbitt as Gabriel Monroe, a 'maverick neurosurgeon' not at all like a grumpy Irish version of Greg House. Oh no, very hot water. The show premiered with an audience of 6.85 million viewers on ITV, but ended its second run with an overnight of but 3.53m.

Tess Daly has dismissed criticism of Bruce Forsyth, calling the veteran presenter 'a legend.' Well indeed. Although, to be fair, so was the fall of Troy. What's your point, Tess? That he's an ancient relic whose myth far outshines the reality of his existence? Or Something?

Lee Mack has suggested that fewer women become comedians because they are not so inclined to show-off or be competitive in conversation as men. The comic waded into what he described as 'the thorny issue' of women in comedy when quizzed for Radio 4's Desert Island Discs. Presenter Kirsty Young asked Mack, a team captain on Would I Lie to You?, about the lack of female comics on panel shows. The forty five-year-old said: 'The problem isn't that there’s not enough women in panel games. The problem is there's not enough women in comedy in general. If twenty per cent of comedians out there are female then it makes sense that twenty per cent of people on the panel are female.' Mack, who wrote a thesis on women in comedy when he was a student at Brunel University, added: 'I am only quoting other scientific reports on it. When men sit around together and talk they are very competitive. One person will tell and anecdote and the next person will try and top that with another anecdote. When you get six women in a room together they share a lot more. They will be far more interested in what the other person has to say. The conservation is broken up a lot more and it's a more interactive. And less about individually showing off. When you start doing stand-up. If you have been trained in showing off because you are a bloke than its going to be more conducive to your style of humour. Its actually a compliment, I think, to women that there aren't as many female stand-ups because they are far more interested in what each other has to say than standing there on the own and showing off.'

Alan Carr says his planned sitcom has been put on hold – because he was too slow in writing it. He had planned to write and star in a comedy based around a professional dog-walker, but was beaten to the idea by BBC4. He host told the Digital Spy website: 'I'm the worst at writing and getting stuff down. There's one been commissioned for BBC4 which is identical to mine! That's how slow I am, and I could slap myself for not being more proactive. I'm so lazy.' In July, the BBC commissioned six episodes of the sitcom Puppy Love from Getting On creators Jo Scanlan and Vicki Pepperdine, in which Scanlon plays a 'formidable dog trainer.' Sounds thigh-slappingly hilarious. Carr said: 'I was sitting and writing, and then I went, "Oh no, shit!"' Presumably that's a comment on hearing about Puppy Love's commissioning rather than a comment on what he was writing? The comic said he would like to write another sitcom, but was struggling to think of a subject. How about a comedy writer who keeps on thinking up subjects just after someone else has? Sounds like it has a lot of comedy potential to this blogger.

Channel Four News has appointed Newsnight assistant editor Rhodri Jones as its head of home news. Jones becomes the latest in a string of high-profile journalists, including Paul Mason, Matt Frei and Michael Crick, lured by Channel Four News from the BBC2 current affairs programme. Ben de Pear, the Channel Four News editor, announced the appointment in an e-mail to staff on Friday afternoon. 'I am very pleased to announce that Rhodri Jones is joining the Channel Four News team as the head of home news,' he said. 'Rhodri is currently an assistant editor on Newsnight at the BBC where he is one of their key programme editors. He has produced many special editions for Newsnight including conference and election specials. He will be responsible for driving our editorial vision for home news, building on the programme's emphasis on exclusive, original and agenda-setting journalism. Rhodri beat off an impressive array of internal candidates which reflected the real strength and depth we have here.' Mason joined the ITN-produced Channel Four programme from Newsnight in August after more than a decade at the corporation.

The narrative pace of the football world is often all too fleeting, yet at just after 5pm on Saturday we saw – or rather heard – a football event which was truly historic. For the first time since 1974, when Brian Clough's Derby County were champions, there was a new permanent voice behind the BBC's classified results. Charlotte Green, the former Radio 4 announcer and newsreader whose voice will have already been familiar to millions, replaced the previous incumbent, James Alexander Gordon. Gordon had read the results for close to forty years before retiring due to illness; Green has described her appointment as his replacement as 'a huge honour.' Green has earned a reputation as an experienced and reliable broadcaster. She worked as a newsreader and announcer at Radio 4 for more than three decades, leaving the station earlier this year. She is perhaps best known for her stints on Today and The Shipping Forecast, among other BBC audio institutions. Charlotte is also, as it happens, a keen and knowledgeable football supporter, having been captivated by Stottingtot Hotshots' double-winning team as a child – despite her father being a lifelong fan of The Arse. A regular listener to the classified check, Charlotte has fulfilled a childhood dream that began reading the results aloud to her sister at the family kitchen table. Green is the first female announcer to read the classified football scores, but in the build-up to her debut the respected broadcaster has tried to brush the issue aside. Green stated in the build up that her gender was 'not relevant' – all that mattered was that she carried out her task professionally. She appeared to achieve that goal comfortably in an effortless first outing. Charlotte's debut, heard by millions on Radio 5Live and the World Service, went without a hitch on a day of remarkable results – from The Scum 1 West Bromwich Albinos 2 to Rangers 8 Stenhousemuir 0. The radio veteran cruised through the classified scores with plenty of poise and little fuss, adding only 'and finally' ahead of the last result – The New Saints 6, Carmarthen Town 0. Aside from a Spurs win (they drew with Moscow Chelski FC in the day's early kick-off), things could hardly have gone more smoothly. The immediate reaction was positive, with Green's debut widely described as flawless. Many listeners noted that she sidestepped the famed intonation of her predecessor – stamping her own style on proceedings, and keeping fans guessing in the process. Charlotte's stated aim was subtly to become synonymous with this historic Saturday afternoon fixture. From the early evidence, it seems that one of football's oldest institutions may have found a fitting new voice.
Yer actual Keith Telly Topping has, sad to report, been feeling pure dead rotten so he has for the last few days dear blog reader (hence the lack of any bloggerisationisms on Saturday). He thinks that he may have picked up a touch of The Dreaded Lurgy from one of the great unwashed at the swimming pool on Thursday. Nevertheless, he did manage to get out on Gillian on Sunday morning and, actually, that twenty minute run around the Tour De St Anthony's has made him feel a shade less headachy and snivelly and coughy than he had been for the previous seventy two hours. It won't last, of course.

Israeli public TV reportedly pulled a trailer that parodied notorious killers only minutes after posting it to its website. Channel One's promo for satirical show The Jews Are Coming features three stereotypical rifle-toting settlers identified as Baruch Goldstein, who killed twenty nine Palestinian worshippers in Hebron, Yigal Amir, the assassin of former Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and Yona Avrushmi, who threw a hand grenade at a left-wing rally in 1983. The US-based Jewish website Forward describes each cheerily recounting his crimes before chorusing 'I'm a right-wing murderer' to the tune of a popular children's song. A viewer uploaded it to YouTube, where it quickly went viral. While a few viewers saw nothing wrong with pillorying ultra-nationalist killers, most - including right-wing politicians - described it as 'propaganda at taxpayers' expense.' Channel One struggles to compete against commercial channels and had reportedly been 'delighted' to pick up the show, styled as 'a satire on Jewish history with a contemporary twist.' But programme maker Natalie Marcus told Forward that she feared Channel One might drop the show from the schedules a month before it's even due to be broadcast. She insists the show 'pokes fun across the political spectrum.'
For today's Keith Telly Topping's 45 of the Day here's a little twenty four carat classic from yer actual Martha and her actual Vandellas their very selves.
And, since we've had that, let's have the b-side as well.