Sunday, November 10, 2013

Week Forty Seven: Well Trailed

The first trailer for Doctor Who's fiftieth anniversary episode has been officially released online. About ten hours after a Spanish subtitled version of it was extremely leaked onto the Interweb. You might have noticed. The forty-second trailer for The Day Of The Doctor features yer actual John Hurt, David Tennant his very self and current Doctor Matt Smith. Along with Billie Piper, Jenna Coleman, a Zygon and some Daleks. It's really rather good, actually.
Then, at 8pm on Saturday evening, a slightly longer - eighty second - trailer was unveiled on BBC1, between the end of Strictly and the start of Atlantis. That was even better (particularly Tennant's line echoing a Patrick Troughton moment in The Three Doctors and Smudger's reaction. Echoing Pertwee's reaction in The Three Doctors).
Jenna Coleman her very self has been speaking about the emotional moment she read the script for Matt Smith's final episode of Doctor Who. 'I'd been putting it off for ages and ages, because once you read the last page, that's it, the story is over,' she told the Gruniad Morning Star. 'So, I read ten pages on the tube and I stopped, and then I picked it up again the other day and finished it. I was an absolute mess, an absolute wreck. But it's good; it's sad, but it's what needs to happen. It's perfect.' From the moment Jenna joined Smudger in the TARDIS the pair had enjoyed an easy chemistry that has delighted Doctor Who fans (well, not The Special People, obviously, because life wouldn't be worth living if they didn't have something to whinge about), but just months later the eleventh Doctor had announced his imminent departure from the role. Nevertheless, Jenna has confirmd that both she and her co-star were pleased with the announcement of his successor, Peter Capaldi. 'They told me and Matt when Prince Charles and Camilla came to the set,' Jenna revealed. 'We were both: "Ahhh, of course." It takes you a few moments – I don't think he was on any of the original lists. People were talking about Rory Kinnear and people like that, but as soon as you say it, you're like: "Of course." As Steven Moffat said: "He's the Doctor." And it's brilliant that we've gone so different from Matt.' Jenna, who prior to Doctor Who had spent four years playing Jasmine Thomas in Emmerdale before roles in Waterloo Road, Room At The Top and Dancing On The Edge, also spoke of her first encounter with Doctor Who's scores of loyal fans at this year's Comic-Con event in San Diego. 'It was amazing to see how far-reaching it is. I thought I'd be overwhelmed, but I was humbled. It's something that Matt says: the star is the show.'

Strictly Come Dancing once again topped Saturday's overnight ratings with 10.3 million viewers. The BBC1 dance competition had forty three per cent of the available audience share when it was broadcast at 6.30pm, continuing its winning streak over The X Factor. The ITV talent show's audience audience was up by five hundred thousand punters from last week, attracting 8.22m. Atlantis dropped slightly with 4.35m at 8pm, while The Royal British Legion Festival of Rememberance at the Royal Albert Hall pulled in a very impressive 5.32m at 9.15pm. A repeat of the documentary The Irresistible Rise of Boris Johnson was watched by 1.16m at 7.30pm for BBC2, followed by Dad's Army with 1.86m at 8.30pm. Just over one million viewers tuned in for the Status Quo documentary Hello Quo at 9pm. Following The X Factor, The Jonathan Ross Show attracted 3.69m on ITV, while The Chase: Celebrity Special attracted 3.23m earlier at 7pm. Channel Four had a quiet evening, with a showing of the SF movie Predator bringing in its best ratings with nine hundred and ten thousand at 9pm. Channel Five's repeat of Most Shocking Talent Show Moments was watched by 1.03m sad crushed victims of society at 9.35pm. On BBC3, highlights of England's game against Argentina in the rugby union at Twickenham was watched by five hundred adn thirteen thousand at 7.30pm.

BBC1 led overnight primetime ratings outside of soaps on Friday thanks largely to Have I Got News For You and The Graham Norton Show. Norton's chat show - featuring guests Lady Gaga, June Brown, Jude Law and Greg Davies - was seen by 3.32m viewers. The channel's highest rated primetime show beside EastEnders was Have I Got News For You. Hosted by yer actual Alexander Armstrong with guest panelists odious risible gobshite Godfrey Bloom and the glorious Victoria Coren-Mitchell her very self, the 9pm broadcast brought in 4.63m viewers. Citizen Khan attracted 2.31m straight afterwards. ITV's highest-rated show - soaps notwithstanding - was The Nation's Favourite Elvis Song at 9pm (4.39m, thangyverymush). On Channel 4, Marvel's Agents of SHIELD returned after a week break with 1.39m. The Jimmy Carr-fronted panel show Eight Out Of Ten Cats was watched by nine hundred and fifty thousand. The latest episode of Man Down had eight hundred and sixty thousand viewers. BBC2's Gardeners World pulled in an audience of 2.22m at 8.30pm, while Qi brought in 1.76m at 10pm. Channel 5's highest-rated show in primetime was Stobart: Trucks, Trains and Planes, with nine hundred and ninety one thousand at 8pm. Across the multichannels, the James Bond movie Quantum of Solace had 1.09m viewers on ITV2, while the latest episode of The Blacklist on Sky Living had three hundred and sixty six thousand viewers.

As Doctor Who begins to 'take over television' in the fortnight before the fiftieth anniversary weekend, viewers can have a bit of fun watching out for 'cameo' appearances on other BBC programmes. For example the TARDIS was parked innocuously but strategically on the desk during The Graham Norton Show on Friday.
It could be spotted by the big white arrow sticking out of its heed.

A particular highlight of Have I Got News For You was the round concerning the current phone-hacking trial of well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Rebekah Brooks, the primer minister's former, if you will, 'chum' Andy Coulson and various other people who used to be connected to the disgraced and disgraceful tabloid, the Scum of the World. And, the seeming nervousness of the BBC's lawyers over anyone - but, especially, Ian Hislop his very self - passing any form of comment upon this matter. 'We are allowed to report the facts,' said Xander Armstrong, looking very uncomfortable at the prospect of one or several of the panellists doing any such thing. '1066 was the Battle of Hastings,' replied Paul Merton, straight-faced. And, with complete factual accuracy, as it happens, much to Xander's obvious relief. 'I know the BBC are very, very jumpy about saying anything at all about [this subject],' yer man Hislop interjected. 'But, as one of the few people who the Attorney general has said has not committed any contempt, I would say my judgement on what you can say is better than theirs!' Paul agreed, adding that Wandsworth Prison was very easy for him to get to so he could visit his friend Hislop doing considerable stir for any potential contempt. 'This week it was reported that the Mirror Group is now facing fifty-five claims of phone-hacking,' continued Armstrong, back on somewhat safer ground. 'So, before we're not allowed to talk about that case, can I just say that Piers Morgan is a total arse!'
That plus, as mentioned in a previous blog update, Victoria Coren's usual sarky brilliance. Which is always worth watching.
It was also a very good episode of Qi on Friday with Bill Bailey on particularly good form. Especially his tale of people stealing his herbs from his trolley in the supermarket. 'There was a chilli con carne that was ruined because of that!'
For today's Examples of things that are, like, totally geet cush, and make the world a better place by their very existence, number twenty four: The weather in Eastern Germany.
Followed, of course, by Great Daft Moments From TV History. Today, number seventeen: American 'Soc-her' coverage on The Mary Whitehouse Experience.
And so to yer actual Top Telly Tips, and that:-

Saturday 16 November
Old Bruce Forsyth (and his even older jokes), Tess Daly and the Strictly Come Dancing entourage head to Blackpool, the spiritual home of dancing (plus and, fish and chips, cheap novelty rock and rotten guest houses), for this week's edition - 6:30 BBC1. Over the years the world-famous Tower Ballroom's elegant surroundings have played host to thousands of amateur and professional dancers - not to mention Hayley and Roy from Coronation Street. Tonight, the tradition will continue as nine more celebrity hoofers (or, eight if yer actual Natalie Gumede hasn't recovered in time) and their partners battle to get their names at the top of the leader-board and avoid the fate of last week's eliminated couple. Performing a mixture of routines, their immediate fate is in the hands of Len Goodman, Bruno Tonioli, Craig Revel Horwood and Darcey Bussell, but they'll also need viewers' votes to keep them out of tomorrow's dreaded dance-off. Or, if you prefer, there's The X Factor on the other side. No, me neither.

Two and half years after Danish Prime Minister Birgitte Nyborg called a general election, she has left the political arena and is now a globally in-demand public speaker and astute social commentator, as we discover in the opening episode of the third (and, sadly, final) series of Borgen - 9:00 BBC4. Probably the best TV show in the world (that doesn't have the words 'Doctor' or 'Who' in the title, anyway). However, it still pains Birgitte to see how her old party, the Moderates, have changed course. So, she offers Katrine Fonsmark a job as her press secretary and together with her old friend and mentor Bent Sejro, starts to plan for a political a comeback. Which excites just about everyone. In Danish politics, and beyond. That's followed, immediately, by episode two - 10:00 - wherein Birgitte's comeback suffers an early setback as Jacob Kruse powers to victory in the battle for the leadership of the Moderates. So, Birgitte decides to start a new party. A bit like Bender's plan to start his own casino in Futurama ('with blackjack ... and hookers. In fact, forget the blackjack!') She does so by allying herself with members from the New Right and some disaffected Moderates and declaring that it is their common goal to 'restore dialogue' into the Danish political arena. Stunning, mature, intelligent and thoughtful drama, starring the great Sidse Babett Knudsen, Jens Jacob Tychsen, Birgitte Hjort Sorensen, Pilou Asbaek and Lars Knutzon star. It's - properly - great to have it back, even if it is only for the next five week. Don't miss this one, dear blog reader, or you might never find another one like it.

If you don't fancy either of those, there's always an all night comedy marathon on Dave with two episodes of Qi, a Would I Like To You? and three - count 'em - editions of Mock The Week.

Sunday 17 November
In Britain And The Sea - 9:00 BBC1 - the broadcaster David Dimbleby sails his yacht - Rocket - along the British coastline, exploring different aspects of the country's maritime history, art and architecture along the way. As you do. Well, as you do if you're very rich and own a sodding yacht in the first place, one imagines. Never tried it, personally. Anyway, Dimbles begins his journey along the South-West coast of Devon and Cornwall, where he tells the story of Sir Francis Drake and an array of adventurers, explorers, pirates, privateers and smugglers who used the region's beaches and coves as a basis for their nefarious skulduggery and borderline illegal malarkey and that. He also welcomes record-breaking solo yachtswoman Ellen MacArthur on-board Rocket and learns about one of the oldest maritime art forms of all - the tattoo. But will he agree to have one himself? And, will it be like Cheryl Cole's? Answers on a postcard, dear blog reader.

Kate Humble and Simon King report from Zambia on the wildlife near the Luangwa River, where the rains have finally come and everything has changed, in the final episode of Africa 2013: Countdown To The Rains - 9:00 BBC2. During the drought seasons, elephants, buffalo and antelope had been forced to stay close to the river where they were easy prey for the lions, leopards and wild dogs. Poor things. But now, with the skies positively lashin' it doon, the grazing animals can spread out across the valley and the predators are going to have to work a whole lot harder for their dinner. After weeks of sweltering forty five°C heat, the rains finally arrive in Zambia. Blown in on strong winds that caused some damage to the bush-based TV studio, they’'e brought instant respite to the drought-hit wildlife as well as relief to the twenty five-strong filming team. Simon, Kate and their colleagues will remain there right up until transmission to reveal the effect of the rains. Early beneficiaries include the elephants, who have left the river in search of the emerging grasses.

Doctor Who: Greatest Monsters & Villains Weekend draws to a (thankful) close - 7:30 BBC3. The countdown draws to its conclusion as comedian Joel Dommett (no, me neither) reveals which of the show's impressive roster of enemies have been voted the top three by those who expressed an opinion. Among the villains expected to place highly on the list are the ancient Earth-dwelling Silurians, the legions of the Ood and the memory-bending assassins The Silence, along with the cold, calculating Cybermen, the hateful mutant Daleks and The Master, the Doctor's nihilistic Time Lord nemesis. It says here.
If you don't fancy that - and Christ knows, no one would blame you if you didn't - then there's a rather tasty repeat of one of the most memorable episodes of Lewis (Counter Culture Blues) at 9:00 on ITV3. The detective discovers that his favourite 1970s rock and/or roll band are on the verge of a comeback - along with their legendary singer Esme Ford. Who has, seemingly, made a shocking reappearance ... from beyond the grave, having faked her own death thirty five years earlier. But, when an orphan is found dead on the other side of Oxford, a forensic link leads Lewis and Hathaway to suspect that the aged rockers are somehow involved in these grizzly shenanigans. Yer actual Joanna Lumley, David Hayman, Simon Callow camping it up like there's no tomorrow and that silly little Helen Baxendale guest star alongside good old reliable Kevin Whately, Laurence Fox, Clare Holman and Rebecca Front.
Monday 18 November
A convicted bomber escapes from his prison waggon and barely a day has gone by before he has exploded a device beneath the bed of a prominent MP in the latest Ripper Street - 9:00 BBC1. Chief Inspector Abberline is convinced that the attack is the work of the Irish Republican Brotherhood and sends Flight undercover into Whitechapel's Irish community. Where, of course, he soon befriends a young woman believed to be the naughty culprit bomber's daughter. However, Jackson's forensic investigation of the explosive device prompts Detective Inspector Reid to wonder if they are looking in the right place. Or, indeed, the wrong one. Entertainingly bonkers period crime drama.

Eight more contenders enter the MasterChef kitchen at the start of another week of MasterChef: The Professionals - 8:30 BBC2. Stern, terrifying, 'rip the still beating heart from your chest and hoy it in the bin' Monica 'Spanker' Galetti and, playing good cop to her hanging cop, auld baldy Gregg Wallace, challenge the latest poor unsuspecting shills to make a dish of their own invention using a selection of seven (apparently random) ingredients. These include crab meat, sea purslane, the king's mangoes, ricotta and coconut. See what I mean about random, dear blog reader? if you fancy a nice mango'd crab, tonight's yer night, it would seem. They each have just one hour to hold their nerve and demonstrate their creativity to the judges. Continues for the next three nights as the eight are gradually whittled down to two to join Scott and Luke in the semi-finals.

The first of the two-part documentary Light And Dark - 9:00 BBC4 - sees Professor Jim Al-Khalili examine how some of history's greatest minds began to uncover the secrets of the universe by using and manipulating light. In the first edition, the presenter considers the significance of Greek mathematician Euclid's landmark discovery that light moves in straight lines. He, then moves rapidly through the centuries to Renaissance Italy, where Galileo Galilei (yes, we will let him go) unlocked the potential of the refracting telescopes in locating Earth's true place within the cosmos, before assessing the implications of Danish astronomer Ole Roemer's ground-breaking finding - that light moves at a finite speed.

Storyville: The Spy Who Went Into The Cold - 10:00 BBC4 - looks at the circumstances behind the escape of notorious British spy Kim Philby, who evaded capture in 1963 and defected to the Soviet Union at the height of the Cold War. Visiting Beirut, London and Moscow, the programme also reveals the blind spots in Britain's ruling classes which made it so vulnerable to KGB infiltration. A fondness for a good old fashioned dose of sodomy, essentially.
Tuesday 19 November
Derek Jacobi and Anne Reid return as the second-time-around lovers in Sally Wainwright's award-winning comedy drama Last Tango In Halifax - 9:00 BBC1 - which picks up pretty much where the first series left off, with Alan regaining consciousness after his heart scare. Celia is so relieved that she promises never to fall out with him again. And, realising life is too short for all that nonsense, the couple decide to get married as soon as possible. Things aren't quite so rosy between Caroline and John, however; having arrived home to find him in bed with Judith, Caroline decides to go one better and invites Kate to move in. Meanwhile, Gillian's relationship with her father takes a knock when he discovers that she slept with John. Sarah Lancashire, the divine Nicola Walker, Tony Gardner and Nina Sosanya co-star.
In the latest episode of the brilliant Hebburn - 10:00 BBC2 - Dot has, inevitably, been forced out of the retirement home and so moves back in with the family. But Jack and Sarah have left for a place of their own. Pauline is bullied at work by fellow estate agent Ralph, who revels in the fact that Pauline doesn't have the ruthless streak needed to sell houses, while Jack finally gets the opportunity to clinch a book deal, but quickly discovers that it's not for the story he intended to tell. The best new sitcom on British TV for the last five year, starring a superb ensemble cast: Chris Ramsey, Kimberley Nixon, Vic Reeves, Gina McKee, Lisa McGrillis, Pat Dunn, Jason Cook, Neil Grainger, Graham Duff, and two of yer actual Keith Telly Topping's close personal marras (not that he's bragging, of course), Steff Peddie and Alfie Joey. And with a guest appearance this week from the great John Woodvine. Proper.
Tonight's Live International Football is The Big One (or, at least, it used to be when England had some vague pretensions towards being a world power). It's England versus Germany (kick-off 8.00pm). Odious, nasty, horrible greed bucket (and drag) Adrian Chiles is joined by Michael Ballack and Lee Dixon to present ITV's - as always, thoroughly rotten - coverage of the friendly international at Wembley, as the sides meet for the first time since the 2010 World Cup. And we all remember what happened then. It was the match which, effectively, ended Gareth Barry's international career. So, you know, it wasn't all bad news. While England were completely outplayed on that occasion and, embarrassingly, lost 4-1 (Mesut Özil and Thomas Müller absolutely tearing England's powder-puff lightweight midfield apart), the game is also remembered for Frank Lampard's shot onto the crossbar which bounced into the German goal. The hapless officials' failure to spot this led to predictable tabloid outrage and renewed calls for the introduction of goal-line technology, something which has now happened. So, if The Curiously Orange Ms Bleakley's bloke happens to be playing in tonight's clash (unlikely, since he's struggling to get into Moscow Chelski's first team at the moment, let alone England's) and he does that again, this time the outcome might be different. Not that anyone's really bothered since this is only a friendly, after all. Commentary by Clive Tyldesley and completely worthless stray comments from Andy 'You know nothing' Townsend.

Tonight sees the start of a repeat run of one of the greats of British drama, Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy - 10:00 BBC4. George Smiley's quiet retirement from the secret service is interrupted when he is asked by Control to undertake an undercover assignment and discovers that all is not well at The Circus. It transpires that a highly influential mole has been operating for some time passing all manner of official secrets to the Reds. Geroge decided to get this shit sorted and expose the rotten rotter. Classic 1970s espionage drama, starring Alec Guinness as John le Carre's spymaster and a stunning support cast which includes Michael Jayston, Anthony Bate, Bernard Hepton, Ian Richardson, Ian Bannen, Hywel Bennett, Michael Aldridge, Terence Rigby, Alexander Knox, George Sewell, Beryl Reid, Joss Ackland, Siân Phillips, Nigel Stock, Patrick Stewart and Warren Clarke. If you're too young to have watched it in 1979, or too cheap to have bought it on DVD for a fiver, this is must-see telly.

Wednesday 20 November
In Mystery Map - 8:00 ITV - Ben Shephard and Julia Bradbury investigate some of Britain's most intriguing mysteries, from the well-known to the obscure. In the first episode, Ben heads to York to spend the night at the Guy Fawkes Inn, which is said to be haunted by the ghost of Fawkes himself. He also travels to Rendlesham Forest in Suffolk, the location of one of Britain's most infamous alleged UFO sightings. Meanwhile, Julia visits the Manchester Museum to discover more about an ancient Egyptian statue which made the headlines in June when it seemingly began moving of its own accord. She also travels to Hampton Court Palace, where the spirit of Henry VIII has allegedly been caught on camera.

In tonight's The Culture Show - 10:00 BBC2 - the exhibition Hello, My Name Is Paul Smith recently opened at the Design Museum in Central London, charting the rise of the eponymous fashion designer's company from its beginnings in Nottingham to its present international standing. To mark the occasion, Alan Yentob visits Smith at his Covent Garden office to ask him to choose the objects that sum up his life.

Nazi Quest For The Holy Grail - 9:00 Channel Five - is a documentary examining the story of the Nazis' quest to rediscover the lost Aryan race and retrieve their forgotten secrets - including the Holy Grail its very self. Heinrich Himmler took personal charge of the project and sent archaeological expeditions to remote sites across the globe, with the research of many scientists being perverted to support the Third Reich's plans.
Having just finished State Of Play and started reshowing Waking The Dead and Touching Evil, the Drama channel drag another old twenty four carat classic out of the vaults, the first series of Jonathan Creek - 9:00 - for a repeat run. A famous Gothic horror writer is found murdered on Halloween, leading Maddy and Jonathan into a macabre world of pantomime skeletons, reincarnation and severed heads. Offbeat detective drama, starring Alan Davies (in a star-making role as the magician's technical adviser turned detective) and a far-less-annoying-than-usual Caroline Quentin, with guest stars Peter Davison and Pippa Haywood.
Thursday 21 November
And now, one that we've been waiting a long time for. On 23 November 1963, a new family-based SF television drama series began on the BBC, five minutes late due to The News being extended because of the murder the previous day of John Kennedy. An Adventure In Space And Time - 9:00 BBC2 - is a, much-anticipated, biopic docudrama (written by yer actual Mark Gatiss his very self) telling the story of just how a conceit such as Doctor Who was first brought to the screen. And how this unlikely combination of space opera, noble ambitions of making history interesting and finding something to fill a problematic twenty five minute scheduling gap between the end of Grandstand and the start of Juke Box Jury came to be created in the first place. The BBC's newly arrived Head of Drama, the Canadian auteur Sydney Newman, put young first-time producer Verity Lambert in charge of developing his own idea for a family-based SF drama and the well-known character actor William Hartnell, having spent a career playing gruff Sergeant Major-types, was persuaded to take on the lead role of a mysterious time-traveller known only as The Doctor. Starring David Bradley, Brian Cox and Jessica Raine.
Sensational Tony Blackburn presents an edition of Top Of The Pops from 14 December 1978 - 7:30 BBC2 - with performances by Rocky Sharpe & The Replays (remember them?), Hot Chocolate, Buzzcocks, Elkie Brooks, Mankind, Chic, Elton John and Boney M. Plus, sexy dance sequences by them Legs & Co and that.

For some fourteen months during the early 1970s, the British Army ran an undercover squad which was designed to combat the activities of the IRA, a story told in Panorama: Britain's Secret Terror Force - 9:00 BBC1. Now, for the first time in forty years and 'The Troubles', mercifully, an increasingly distant memory, some of the unit's former members talk - candidly - to Panorama about their role in Northern Ireland, which they believe ultimately saved lives. But, reporter John Ware uncovers evidence that rogue elements of the team may also have killed innocent civilians.
Friday 22 November
Radio Times describes Jack Whitehall as 'comedian and actor Jack Whitehall' when, actually, as we all know, this should read 'odious, risible, unfunny lanky streak of piss Jack Whitehall'. Anyway, he settles into the host's chair in the latest episode of Have I Got New For You - 9:00 BBC1. What a pity, it was just starting to get good again after a few disappointing weeks. Tonight's episode also features 'outspoken broadcaster' (or, you know, 'desperately annoying and tedious gobshite') Janet Street-Porter. So, that's another reason, if you were looking for one, not to watch this particular episode.

On the eve of the fiftieth anniversary of the broadcast of its first episode, fan and broadcaster Matthew Sweet examines the enduring appeal of Doctor Who and looks at why it has become entrenched in British life in a Culture Show special Me, You & Doctor Who - 9:30 BBC2. Matthew explores the huge variety of monsters and villains which have caused generations of children to shite in their own pants and hide behind the sofa and reveals how the show has influenced music, design and storytelling. Featuring contributions by playwright Mark Ravenhill, politician Ken Livingstone, Paul Hartnoll from Orbital and critic Caitlin Moran, as well as cast, crew and Doctors past and present, including current incarnation Matt Smith. That's followed at 11:05 by a repeat of The Science Of Doctor Who, Professor Brian Cox's lecture on that very subject.
The FBI descends into a panic over a plot to cripple the American economy by an anarchist terrorist group, and as the nation faces the prospect of total collapse, Red and Liz try to catch one of the most fearsome names on the eponymous Blacklist - 9:00 Sky Living. Meanwhile, Liz's hands are also full caring for her sick father. Drama, starring James Spader.

To the news, now and BT Sport has announced an exclusive eight hundred and ninety seven million smackers three-year deal which will end two decades of live Champions League football on terrestrial TV. The broadcaster has won the rights to show all three hundred and fifty matches each season from 2015 after talks with European governing body UEFA. A BT spokesman said that it had 'shaken up the UK TV market' and would make some games, including finals, free to air. The news is a major blow to Sky and ITV, who currently share the rights. In the case of the latter, of course, it's no real loss since their coverage of football is, generally, shite. While BT said that it was the first time a single UK broadcaster had won the exclusive live rights to all matches from the two tournaments, Sky said that the deal was 'far in excess' of its own valuation. 'I am thrilled that BT Sport will be the only place where fans can enjoy all the live action from the Champions League and Europa League,' said BT chief executive Gavin Patterson. The contract, priced at two hundred and ninety nine million knicker per season, is worth more than double the current arrangement, which could mean significantly more money for clubs in the two European competitions, the Champions League and the Europe League. Each of the thirty two teams in the group phase of the Champions League currently receive a participation payment of around seven million quid and just under four hundred grand for every match played in the group stages. The winners get more than thirty million notes in total. As part of the deal, BT has said that it will show 'at least one match' involving each participating British team for free every season. 'We are new to the market. The key for us is growing our broadband business. We are available on all platforms. If customers do not want to be BT broadband customers, they can pay for the service as well,' Patterson told BBC News. John Petter, boss of the company's consumer division, added: 'Today, to get the whole competition, you typically have to pay Sky forty pounds or so a month. The pricing is not being announced today, but I can say that this will be far more affordable than currently.' However, Sky indicated that its rival had paid 'much more' than it was prepared to offer itself. 'We bid with a clear view of what the rights are worth to us. It seems BT chose to pay far in excess of our valuation,' read a statement from Sky. 'There are many ways in which we can invest in our service for customers. We take a disciplined approach and there is always a level at which we will choose to focus on something else. If we thought it was worth more, we'd have paid more. Nothing changes until 2015 and we look forward to eighteen more months of live Champions League on Sky Sports. We will now re-deploy resources and continue to bring customers the best choice of TV across our offering.' BT launched its UK sports channels on 1 August in a challenge to the dominance of sports coverage on Sky. BT has already spent seven hundred and thirty eight million smackers over three years for the rights to show thirty eight live Premier League matches for the 2012-13 season, while Sky paid £2.3bn for one hundred and sixteen matches a season. Other events in the BT portfolio include the rights to Premiership Rugby and motorsports such as Moto GP and Nascar, as well as taking over ESPN's UK sports channels. Only last week, it said that more than two million people had subscribed to its television sports channels since August and reported six month pre-tax profits of nine hundred and forty eight million knicker. For its part, Sky announced in October that record numbers had tuned into the start of the football season - with an average audience of 1.55m compared with 1.29m last year. BBC News business correspondent Joe Lynam said: 'Sky has achieved well over ten million paying subscribers in the UK. The backbone of that success is well-presented live football coverage. While Sky has seen off challenges from ITV Digital, ESPN and Setanta, BT is posing the most formidable challenge. BT is already in almost every UK home with a telephone line and is also the largest broadband provider in the market. It isn't charging anything to show live Premier League football for existing broadband customers but will be charging for some Champion League games from 2015, although no pricing structure has been published. Their aim of becoming the home of live football coverage in Britain takes a giant step forward with this announcement and might even have an impact on Sky shares when trading restarts on Monday.'

Adverts for payday loans should be banned during children's TV programmes, Labour leader Ed Milimolimandi has said. Writing in the Sun on Sunday newspaper, Milimolimandi criticised payday lenders who 'target' children through advertising. He said that a Labour government would urge the advertising watchdog to introduce a ban. If that did not work, Labour would use legislation, Milimolimandi claimed. His comments come in a week which saw payday lenders quizzed by MPs. Milimolimandi told the BBC payday lenders were spending hundreds of thousands of pounds advertising during children's TV programmes.

The BBC3 sitcom Bad Education is being remade in the US. The American network ABC has commissioned a pilot episode under the title An American Education. Odious, risible, unfunny lanky streak of piss Jack Whitehall will continue his role as teacher Alfie Wickers, but the remake will see him working in a school in Chicago. Which is, of course, excellent news as, hopefully, it will be a huge success and mean that Whitehall will be far too busy in America to appear on British telly and stink up the gaff like a smelly turd bobbing in the netty that just won't flush away. At which news, truly there was joy and merriment throughout the land.

A string of outstanding saves by Dutch international keeper Tim Krul denied Stottingtot Hotshots against yer actual Keith Telly Topping's beloved (though unsellable) Newcastle United, who deservedly took all three points in the clash at White Tart Lane thanks to Loic Remy's early strike. Krul had to be at his best to stop efforts from Roberto Soldado, Paulinho, Christian Eriksen and Gylfi Sigurdsson. Krul showed the sort of form that helped Newcastle finish fifth two seasons ago, blocking Spurs' efforts with almost every part of his body. Newcastle created few direct chances but, nevertheless, they still did more than enough to put the Fancy Dan Cockney chancers reet doon in the place. Unlike Spurs, the Magpies took one which they were presented with when Remy slotted in from Yoan Gouffran's pass from close range. Gouffran, a five hundred thousand quid signing from Bordeaux in January, is proving to be a key player in Newcastle's midfield. He chased down Brazilian Paulinho before threading a pass through for Remy, who took the ball around Brad Friedel and slotted in for his seventh goal in his last seven league appearances. Remy should have scored moments earlier when fellow French international Yohan Cabaye played him in with a delightful ball with the outside of the boot, but just as the striker was about to shoot, Vlad Chiriches slid in with a brilliantly-timed tackle. The remainder of the first half saw United - dressed in their Brazil-like away kit - continue to probe away with some fine pressing, passing and movement as the home side and their fans became increasing frustrated that they weren't able to strut around like they owned the gaff. Mathieu Debuchy gave away a free-kick in a dangerous position, picking up his fifth booking of the season in the process and will now miss United's game against Norwich City. The free-kick was deflected off Cheick Tiote's head and Krul pulled off another stunning to save, instinctively sticking out his arm and the ball was cleared by Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa. The visitors survived that spell of pressure and put on the hard-working Vurnon Anita for Shola Ameobi in a bid to get control of the midfield. Referee Chris Foy waved away two optimistic Hotshots penalty claims for handball and five minutes of added time required one last piece of resistance from the lads of the Bonny Toon. This is now two successive victories for Alan Pardew over strutting, Fancy Dan London sides (well, if Moscow Chelski FC count as a London side and not a Russian one), while his counterpart, Andre Villas-Boas, left the gaff scowling like a big scowling thing presumably rueing having missed a chance to close the gap on North London rivals and league leaders The Arse. The result moves the Magpies up to ninth place in the Premier League, level on points with The Scum. The Hotshots remain in sixth.
For today's Keith Telly Topping's 45 of the Day, dear blog reader, here's some Settlers.
There certainly were some serious drugs floating around in the 1970s, dear blog reader.