Thursday, January 30, 2014

A Is For Accusations

Yer actual Jenna Coleman was seen emerging from the TARDIS before an embrace with Peter Capaldi his very self during Doctor Who filming in Cardiff on Tuesday afternoon. Coleman's Clara Oswald, who was wearing a navy blue cardigan and the same, really rather nice, short tartan skirt she'd sported in The Time Of The Doctor, was pictured stepping out of The Doctor's time machine before hugging him. Capaldi's Doctor can be seen responding to Clara's embrace by awkwardly flailing his arms about a looking like he'd rather appalled by the very idea. So, not as 'touchy-feely' a Doctor as the last couple, then? The War Doctor would, likely, approve of this. Meanwhile, The Doctor his very self was sporting his new 'Rebel Time Lord look' first unveiled earlier in the week - a dark blue Crombie coat with red lining, dark blue trousers, a white shirt and Doc Martens that make him look like he's just stepped out of the front row on a Specials concert in 1979. Tasty. Peter, who replaced yer actual Matt Smith as the BBC drama's lead at Christmas, was later photographed taking a break and warming up in a long duffel coat before having his hair and make-up retouched. Speaking about Capaldi taking over from Smudger his very self, Jenna said at the recent National Television Awards: "[Peter is] great - of course, we all know he's going to be wonderful. It's been great to get up on our feet and get started - we just seem to have taken off like a rocket.' Head writer and executive producer The Lord Thy God Steven Moffat has written Doctor Who's eighth series première, which will be directed by Kill List, Ideal and A Field in England filmmaker Ben Wheatley.
Death In Paradise remained right at the toppermost of the overnight ratings on Tuesday night. BBC1's Caribbean crime drama dipped by three hundred thousand viewers week-on-week to 6.57 million at 9pm and was the highest rated programme of the night aside from soaps. On BBC2, Children's Emergency Rescue interested 1.68m at 8pm, followed by Inside The Animal Mind with 1.25m at 9pm. Vic and Bob's House Of Fools maintained its audience with eight hundred and fifteen thousand at 10pm. ITV's first of two Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? celebrity specials was watched by 3.08m at 8pm. Paul O'Grady's Animal Orphans appealed to 2.88m at 9pm. On Channel Four, The Jump dropped a further two hundred thousand punters to 1.84m at 8pm as yet more viewers discovered just exactly what a total crock of stinking shat the thing is. The Taste was also down - over one hundred thousand punters - to seven hundred and thirty two thousand at 9pm. Channel Five's Gibraltar: Britain In The Sun intrigued nine hundred and ninety six thousand at 8pm. The penultimate Celebrity Big Brother had an audience of 2.52m at 9pm. Botched Up Bodies was seen by nine hundred and fifty eight thousand at 10pm.

Celebrity Big Brother achieved big ratings for Channel Five on Wednesday evening, according to overnight data. The live final attracted 3.04 million sad, crushed victims of society at 9pm to watch odious unfunny right-wing scum Jim Davidson emerge from the jungle. This is down over one hundred thousand from the programmes launch episode, but up by a million viewers from Charlotte Crosby's win in September. Earlier, Ultimate Emergency Bikers brought in 1.08m at 8pm. On BBC1, Outnumbered returned for its final series with 4.76m at 9pm. This is up nearly six hundred thousand punters from the sitcom's last regular episode in 2011. A repeat of Mrs Brown's Boys was watched by 3.58m at 9.30pm. ITV's Midsomer Murders topped the ratings overall with 5.06m at 8pm. And, if you missed it, don't worry, Arabella Weir done the dirty deed. BBC2's Restaurant Man interested 1.43m at 8pm, followed by Horizon with 2.45m at 9pm. On Channel Four, rotten horrorshow (and drag) The Jump was watched by 2.02m at 8pm, while Twenty Four Hours in A&E appealed to 1.73m at 9pm.

BBC iPlayer recorded a record three billion requests in 2013, up thirty three per cent on 2012, with Top Gear the most popular show. Fronted by yer actual Jezza Clarkson, the popular motoring show - hated by various full-of-their-own-importance middle-class hippy Communist lice at the Gruniad Morning Star and some odious bully boy thugs at the Daily Scum Mail, if not anyone that actually matters - made up ten of the top twenty most requested programmes, with 3.4 million requests for part one of its Africa Special. Doctor Who was the second most popular show with 3.1 million requests for the fiftieth anniversary special, The Day Of The Doctor in November. Series two of the - wretched - BBC3 comedy Bad Education with lanky streak of piss Jack Whitehall premiered on iPlayer, with 2.9 million requests. Miranda, The Voice and the nature documentary Africa also made the top twenty, along with the animated film Madagascar, as the online catch-up service recorded a total of 2.2 billion requests for BBC TV shows and eight hundred million million for radio. Cricket helped make sure live sports coverage dominated the top radio programmes in 2013, with England's Ashes triumph during the summer proving hugely popular - Test Match Special made up nineteen of the radio top twenty. The BBC said that 2014 would see a move towards the type of exclusive content the iPlayer featured in 2013, following the success of 'mini-sodes' for Sherlock (Many Happy Returns) and Doctor Who (The Night Of The Doctor), which were seen by millions. Bad Education was just one of the shows to premiere on iPlayer and head of TV content, Victoria Jaye said they were 'delighted by the audience response' to both types of exclusive content: 'We've begun the journey to transform iPlayer from a TV catch-up service into an online TV destination in its own right,' she added. 'As we move into 2014, we will originate more exclusive programmes for iPlayer, as well as offer an ambitious range of content to complement our biggest brands and events.' Last year saw a rapid growth in mobile and tablet viewing, with tablet requests alone up by one hundred and four per cent and programmes accessed on more than one thousand different devices. December proved a bumper month for iPlayer, with two hundred and seventy one million requests for TV and radio programmes. Mobile and tablet requests overtook PCs for the first time over Christmas, as the audience moved away from their desks and used the iPlayer app to watch content on tablets and phones. Downloads of the mobile app passed the twenty million mark, with nine hundred and forty two thousand of those taking place over the festive period alone. However PCs were still the biggest single platform for requests in 2013, making up an average of forty three per cent.

Bones - a particular favourite of yer actual Keith Telly Topping, as it happens - has been renewed for a tenth season in the US. The FOX crime drama will return to the network on 10 March, moving from Friday nights to a Monday time slot for the remainder of its .current, ninth series. 'Over the course of nine seasons, Bones has grown from a hit crime procedural into a beloved pillar of our line-up that resonates with fans in a way that only the best of shows can,' FOX entertainment chairman Kevin Reilly said. And, for once, he isn't talking utter bollocks. 'Our viewers have embraced Emily [Deschanel], David [Boreanaz] and the entire cast and characters of Bones as their very own, and I think they are going to love what Hart Hanson and Stephen Nathan have planned for season ten.' Reilly gave no indication as to whether season ten would be the show's last, despite suggesting that such a scenario is likely earlier this month. 'I would anticipate it would be the final season,' he said at the time.
In the single least surprising news industry of the year so far, Granville's corner shop will soon be open for business again after the BBC confirmed that it was commissioning a full series of Still Open All Hours with yer actual David Jason. The sequel to the Ronnie Barker sitcom Open All Hours, which ran on the BBC for twelve years until 1985, returned for a one-off special at Christmas and was watched by a consolidated audience of 12.2 million viewers, the most popular comedy on British TV since The Vicar Of Dibley in 2007. Written by its original creator, Roy Clarke, it will now come back for a full six-part series. 'I am so delighted that we are doing a series of Still Open All Hours as the feedback from our Christmas special has been so rewarding and encouraging,' said Jason, who starred in the original series alongside Barker. 'We want to have more fun giving the audience the kind of show they seemed to appreciate. It goes to prove that the corner shop is still open all hours.' To be shot in Doncaster and shown on BBC1 later this year, it will be made by the corporation's in-house comedy department. The controller of BBC comedy commissioning, Shane Allen, said: 'The resounding success of the Christmas revival showed the huge and enduring audience affection for this much-loved classic. Roy has done a terrific job of updating the characters whilst keeping what was warm-hearted and enjoyable about the world of the original series.'

And, in the second least surprising industry news of the year, Breathless has been - extremely - cancelled after a single series. The period medical drama - which was shamelessly ripped-off from a combination of Call The Midwife and Mad Men - will not return for a second run, broadcaster ITV has confirmed. Because it was shit and no one was watching it, basically. Zoe Boyle - who played Jean Truscott - told Radio Times that Breathless would 'unfortunately' not be returning though she described working on the show as 'a really fun experience. I loved the part and I loved the script and I loved the show as a whole,' she said. A love that was, seemingly, somewhat unrequited as nobody else seemed to share it. Breathless launched with but 3.4m viewers in October - a pretty poor figure for a primetime ITV drama, but it was get much, much worse. An overnight audience of just 2.11m tuned in for the final episode the following month. Jack Davenport, Sarah Parish, Iain Glen and that awful woman from Gavin & Stacey appeared alongside Boyle on the show. ITV also axed crime drama Whitechapel in November after four series also due to declining audience numbers but has commissioned new original drama including John Simm thriller Prey and mystery series Grantchester.

'Confusion' and 'a lack of planning' were the reasons behind the utter failure of the BBC's ninety eight million quid Digital Media Initiative, according to a report. 'A failure to understand the problems' the project faced also led to its cancellation, the National Audit Office said. The BBC's technology chief John Linwood was extremely sacked in July over the project's demise, although that was only announced this week. DMI had been intended to move the BBC away from using video tape. The plans - which were supposed to produce new in-house production tools, an online digital archive and a new database - were shelved in May, when the BBC's director general, Tony Hall, admitted that it had 'wasted a huge amount of licence fee payers' money.' The gross estimate of the amount spent on DMI was £125.9m, although the net cost to the licence fee payer was estimated to be £98.4m. Linwood revealed in written evidence published by the Commons public accounts committee on Tuesday that he is taking legal action against the BBC. 'I have issued legal proceedings against the BBC and intimated contractual claims, and am still involved in an internal process with the BBC,' he wrote. Amyas Morse, head of the NAO, said on Tuesday: 'The BBC Executive did not have sufficient grip on its digital media initiative programme. Nor did it commission a thorough independent assessment of the whole system to see whether it was technically sound. If the BBC had better governance and reporting for the programme, it would have recognised the difficulties much earlier than May 2012.' The NAO report, which was commissioned by the BBC, concluded it had been 'too optimistic about its ability to implement [DMI] and achieve the benefits.' It added that confusion about the technology and problems with getting the system to work had also been to blame, including 'confusion within the BBC about the use of key terms such as "archive database" and "digital archive."' DMI was set up in 2008 but was halted last autumn having never become fully operational. The NAO report said the BBC had hoped to save ninety eight million smackers in the long run through the new systems - but in the end, the final estimate of the benefits it brought to the BBC was zero. The report criticised governance of the project, pointing out that the BBC had not appointed 'a senior person' to act as a single point of accountability and bring all the strands of the initiative together. It also said that reporting arrangements had been 'not fit for purpose', with no 'clear and transparent reporting' on the project's progress, or lack of. The NAO office also said the BBC's executive board had 'not applied enough scrutiny' to the project during the key period of 2011 and the first half of 2012, when completion dates were being pushed back. The BBC had identified the relocation of some of its departments to Salford in 2011 as a critical deadline - but when BBC Sport moved to Salford, it bought in an off-the-shelf digital storage system at a cost of eight hundred grand because DMI was 'not ready.' Some smaller parts of DMI still went ahead, including a replacement music reporting system. The report also concluded that while the BBC Trust questioned the executive board in September 2011 about delays and the impact of them, it did not 'challenge it sufficiently' until July 2012. The BBC admits that it got it badly wrong and has now adopted new procedures for managing big projects. Diane Coyle, vice chairman of the BBC Trust, said: 'As we announced last December, we are working with the executive to strengthen project management and reporting arrangements within a clearer governance system. This will ensure that serious problems can be spotted and addressed at an earlier stage.' A separate statement released by the BBC executive board said: 'We are grateful to the NAO for its report. As we have previously acknowledged, the BBC got this one wrong. However, we have taken swift action to overhaul how major projects are managed after the new management team closed DMI last year.'

Wentworth has been handed a third season. The Australian prison drama - an update of Prisoner: Cell Block H - is currently shooting season two and will resume production in March after a short break. Foxtel executive director of television Brian Walsh said: 'Wentworth's first season was a triumph with its remarkable performance and production qualities which enthralled our Australian audience and achieved such great international recognition.' One or two people even believed him.
ITV has announced plans for a brand new pay channel on Sky. ITV Encore will be dedicated to the broadcaster's 'best drama output' - so, that should fill up all of an hour a week - and will be launched in 2015. Available on Sky's platforms, it will be ITV's first new channel in eight years and is part of a four-year partnership with Sky. From 2015, it will also broadcast original dramas featuring 'high quality production values, big name lead actors and compelling narratives', ITV claimed - somewhat unconvincingly - in a statement. ITV content will also be made available on Sky's range of services including Sky+HD, Sky Go, NOW TV and Sky Store. ITV's chief executive Adam Crozier said: 'A key part of our strategy is to become the most watched, most loved and most talked about family of free and pay channels for every household and every advertiser in the UK.' Which isn't going to happen any time soo so, you know, good luck with that. 'ITV's brilliant dramas contributed to a fantastic on-screen performance last year - we had three out of the top five dramas in 2013, which helped us increase our share of viewing on the main channel for the first time in a decade.' What he forgot to mention is two of those three were Coronation Street and Downton Abbey. 'ITV Encore is right in line with our strategy of growing non advertising revenues while at the same time creating even greater opportunities to showcase new drama.' Sky's Jeremy Darroch said: 'Our customers love great drama and so we are delighted to bring them exclusive access to a new channel from one of the best loved brands in TV. This is good news for Sky customers and a positive way for us to work with ITV in a broad, mutually beneficial partnership.'

BSkyB has reported an eighteen per cent fall in pre-tax profits to five hundred and twenty seven million smackers in the six months to the end of December, as investment in new services and Premier League rights costs incurred in its battle with BT Sport hit the broadcaster reet hard in the nadgers. The company's adjusted operating profits, the measure of profit most closely watched by analysts and investors, fell by eight per cent year on-year. Total revenues grew by 6.3 per cent to £3.75bn as the company hailed a strong performance in the run-up to Christmas. Jeremy Darroch claimed that that BT's push into Premier League football had 'not hurt the company', with viewing of Sky Sports at a six-year high. 'It has been a noisy period in terms of competition but you can see across the board our business is continuing to power ahead', he said. 'Our financial performance was strong in the first half and we remain on track for the full year. We are moving through a year of investment in which we are absorbing the one-off step up in Premier League costs well.'

Sky has also signed a five-year deal for the exclusive rights to the entire HBO TV catalogue, which includes top American shows such as Girls and Game of Thrones, in a move which heads off a threat from arch-rival BT to enter the entertainment and film market. BSkyB has struck early to extend its existing agreement out to 2020 in a deal worth as much as two hundred and seventy five million quid over five years. Deep-pocketed BT has so far spent billions of pounds snapping up prime TV sports rights, including Premier League and Champions League football as well as Premiership Rugby, with industry observers suggesting that BSkyB's stranglehold on film and entertainment rights could be the next flashpoint. Billionaire tyrant Rupert Murdoch's satellite TV company has moved quickly to secure a wide-ranging two-pronged deal with HBO, which revolutionised the TV market by investing in big budget dramas such as The Wire and The Sopranos. BSkyB broadcasts much of the HBO catalogue on its heavily-promoted Sky Atlantic channel. In addition BSkyB has also reached an exclusive agreement to co-fund and co-produce top-end dramas, of the scale of the multi-million pound per episode Game of Thrones, that could run to tens of millions of pounds investment in new shows per year. Yer man Jeremy Darroch, said: 'HBO is synonymous with must-see TV. Original production is the natural next step and we are enormously excited at the prospect of working together to realise our shared vision for epic drama of a truly spectacular scale.' The deal makes BSkyB the exclusive partner for HBO, which has previously co-produced popular dramas such as the BBC's Parade's End, with the rights to exclusively broadcast the programmes developed in the UK market. While Sky is perhaps best known for its multi-billion pound annual investment in football rights, it is also a significant investor in original British productions, such as the Daniel Radcliffe comedy A Young Doctor's Notebook and the wretched Stella, to the tune of six hundred million knicker a year. The scale of the deal, estimated at potentially two hundred and seven five million notes in total across five years, is less than the value of one-year of the nine hundred million smackers deal BT struck to snatch the Champions League TV rights from Sky.

Monty Python's Flying Circus's so-called 'seventh member', Carol Cleveland, is to write her memoirs to coincide with the comedy troupe's comeback shows this summer. The actress, now seventy two, was the only permanently featured female performer with the all-male line-up, appearing in thirty of the forty five TV episodes and all four of their films. Terry Jones recently said of her contribution: 'We were very grateful for Carol Cleveland. She filled her role like nobody's business.' During the filming of the first series, Michael Palin said to her: 'I'm so sorry we don't have more for you to do but we're just not very good at writing parts for women.' As well as her work with Python, Carol appeared in more than thirty movies, over fifty TV shows and more than eighty theatre roles, as well as a variety of BBC radio shows – all of which she promises to cover in her new book PomPoms Up! She was even directed by Charlie Chaplin in the 1967 film comedy The Countess From Hong Kong starring Marlon Brando and Sophia Loren. She said earlier this month: 'As much as Python has been a wonderful thing for me in another respect it has been a bit of a ball and chain simply because I'm known for that' The autobiography will be released in June, the month before Cleveland joins Palin, Jones, John Cleese, Eric Idle and Terry Gilliam on stage for the ten London comeback gigs. She has previously performed a one-woman stage show, also called PomPoms Up! about the world of beauty queens and glamour stooges.

The Sun has recruited Zoe Salmon in its battle against the BBC's alleged 'political correctness.' The odious tabloid paper reports on an - alleged - 'BBC ban' on children's presenters wearing red lipstick or 'provocative clothing' and recruits former Blue Peter presenter Salmon to comment. Melissa Hardinge, an executive editor at CBBC, told a BAFTA panel on the future of children's television: 'Obviously sexualisation of girls is something we take incredibly seriously. We try and show fantastic female role models. I go onto the floor of Friday Download and make them take their red lipstick off, the presenters. The older end of our six-to-twelve age groups are very interested in relationships, and we have to show positive role models and the correct way of going about having relationships.' Salmon responds that 'Red lipstick is the perfect fix without having to plaster on layers of make-up. The face is instantly brightened and glowing by virtue of the red lipstick. Red lipstick worn with plaited hair, a tracksuit and trainers will simply give that all-important bright, energetic look. Worn with a strapless top, tight jeans, heels and false eyelashes it would give an entirely different look to a children's TV presenter. It's all about using common sense.'
A former Scum of the World reporter claimed that he had lied to police when he was caught trying to hack a phone as he was 'just toeing the line', the Old Bailey jury has heard. Dan Evans, who was caught trying to hack into designer Kelly Hoppen's phone, said that he 'bitterly regretted not taking a braver course of action.' Evans, who has admitted hacking, said that his ex-editor and the prime minister's former, if you will, 'chum', Andy Coulson had 'direct knowledge' of exactly what nefarious skulduggery and naughty shenanigans Evans was up to in 2005. Coulson, he claimed, knew 'exactly what went on on his watch.' Evans, said that his his activities were 'completely understood' by superiors. He said 'even the office cat knew' about the scale of phone-hacking at the paper. The office cat is not, currently, one of those charged with various offences but Coulson denies all charges including conspiracy to hack phones. Evans admitted to lying about trying to access Hoppen's phone messages but said it that was because he was part of 'an enormous conspiracy' at News International. When it was put to him that he had lied, Evans said: 'I was toeing the line, the party line, the company line.' Evans said that he was 'very frightened' when he was caught and a bogus defence he used when initially questioned by a superior on the paper had 'inadvertently' made it into a witness statement drafted by the company's lawyers Farrers. Under questioning from Coulson's lawyer, Timothy Langdale QC, Evans reflected on his change of approach, saying: 'I appear to be open, honest and truthful.' Evans was arrested in August 2011 and produced a prepared statement for police. He told the Old Bailey that statement was 'cobblers' and he had just been 'maintaining the lie', claiming 'the sticky keys defence' - that Hoppen's phone may have been hacked accidentally because Evans had damaged keys on his own mobile phone. He also admitted that he had lodged papers as part of Hoppen's civil claim against the disgraced and disgraceful Scum of the World which repeated the lie and resulted in prosecution for perverting the course of justice. Evans said: 'That was entirely my decision. I was one person caught between the prime minister, caught between the tabloid world, caught between highly paid lawyers I didn't know what to do, I'm very sorry for lying about that.' However, Evans then changed his story, turned supergrass, admitted phone-hacking and became a key witness for the prosecution. He was asked why he had later said to investigators that 'every journalist was mucking around with phone tapping.' Evans told the jury: 'I'm saying most reporters at that time had access to inquiry agents and were able to get people's phone records and medical records, not just at the News Of The World but at other tabloid newspapers at that time.' Langdale said: 'Boiling it down to essentials you wouldn't really be a candidate for immunity unless you spoke about others [phone hacking].' Evans agreed. He was asked why he claimed phone-hacking was discussed at daily editorial meetings at which he had not been present. Evans said that he was 'told' by 'someone' who had been in a particular meeting. 'As far as I was concerned it was so widely known, and so extensively, there was a very wide conspiracy within the organisation,' he said. Langdale later said: 'You are prone to making sweeping assertions which are not based on fact.' Evans replied: 'That is incorrect, sir - though I understand why you may want people to believe that.' The reporter was also challenged over his claim during evidence on Tuesday that Coulson exclaimed 'Brilliant!' when he heard a tape of actress Sienna Miller's voicemail message to Daniel Craig. Under questioning earlier, Evans said his use of the word 'brilliant' was 'an attempt to paraphrase the scene' in the newsroom. 'It is truthful evidence,' he said 'The general context of the exact word, "brilliant", I was paraphrasing. I think the word came out of my mouth as trying to explain the general sense of how happy he was.' Langdale said: 'Do you accept you did not say the word "brilliant" in your police statements?' 'Yes,' replied the former reporter. Langdale also suggested to Evans the allegation that Coulson knew about the voicemail was 'not true.' 'I did not see you there at the time - it is true,' Evans replied. Later, when he decided to speak to the police in an attempt to obtain immunity from prosecution, Evans told them that he wanted 'to be honest for the sake of his children.' But, he said: 'I can pinpoint the moment, many years ago, I took the wrong path. I want to look my kids in the eye and tell them they need to be honest ... I want to go down my life on the right path.' Evans also stated that tabloid newspapers often make up quotes about celebrities, attributing them to 'a friend.' Evans said: 'It won't come as a shock to some people that not every piece of information in a tabloid is the truth. We re-write, we sanitise. I'm a bit embarrassed about it. One of the things you do when you are trying to "fill in" a quote is to say "what would they have said?"' The jury has heard that Evans pleaded guilty to hacking at the Sunday Mirra between 2003 and 2005 and at the Scum of the World up to 2010. He also pleaded guilty to misconduct in a public office between 2005 and 2010. Evans also confirmed he had admitted intending to pervert the course of justice. The court heard that he entered into an agreement with the Crown Prosecution Service in 2012 and had given two statements since. Coulson is one of seven people who deny charges related to phone-hacking. He also denies conspiracy to commit misconduct in a public office.
Dave Lee Travis, the self-confessed 'hairy cornflake', has told a court that an alleged assault against a nineteen-year-old deputy carnival princess 'just didn't happen.' The deputy carnival princess, her very self, had earlier suggested that it very much did happen. Travis told Southwark Crown Court that he was 'never alone' with the woman at the opening of a hospital radio station in the early 1970s. The former DJ said that his wife, Marianne, was present at the event and denied that he had groped the teenager. Travis denies thirteen counts of indecent assault and one of sexual assault. The court was shown a video recording of Travis and his entourage attending the event at Hertford County Hospital in 1973. In sections of the hour-long footage, Travis posed for photographs with the carnival princess and her deputy, telling them in the video: 'Put your arms around my neck girls, go on.' He is then seen crouching down between the teenagers with his head at their chest height before picking one of them up and swinging her in his arms. Asked about the deputy carnival princess's claims that he groped her while he was alone with her, Travis said: 'I don't know what I can say to that. All I can say is that, no, it didn't happen. I was never alone with this woman.' He said there were 'a lot of people' with him 'from start to finish', adding: 'My wife was there, for goodness' sake. I'm not going to ask the question "Why would I?" It just didn't happen.' During cross-examination, Travis said that the claims against him had made him 'as mad as hell.' He said it was 'absolutely one hundred per cent wrong' to suggest that he thought touching women in the ways alleged had been 'acceptable.' Travis was asked whether he had been 'tempted' when he worked surrounded by young women. Miranda Moore QC, for the prosecution, asked if he had told police: 'When you work in a sweet shop, you don't eat the sweets.' Travis admitted that he had, on occasion, 'fallen to temptation' but said that it was 'unfair' for his sex life to be 'dragged into the public arena. I don't expect consensual sex or consensual kissing to be brought up in a case where I am accused of indecently assaulting women,' he said. Moore asked whether Travis thought of himself as 'a sex symbol' during his career as a radio personality. Travis replied: 'I have never said, in my life, that I am a sex symbol. No, I am a big hairy, cuddly bear.' He added that he had 'no idea' why sixteen separate women had come forward to make complaints against him. Travis admitted he may have 'irritated' some women. The trial continues.

Coronation Street actor William Roache was 'always a perfect gentleman', his on-screen wife has told a court. Anne Kirkbride, who plays Deirdre Barlow, is among cast members giving evidence at the actor's trial at Preston Crown Court. Roache denies two rapes and four indecent assaults against five women aged sixteen or under between 1965 and 1971. He was cleared of one indecent assault on the judge's direction on Monday. Asked what she thought of Roache, Kirkbride said that if she was to describe him in one word, it would be 'lovely.' The actress, who joined the soap in 1972, smiled at Roache as she delivered her evidence. Following her, Chris Gascoyne, who plays the actor's son, Peter, in the soap, said that Roache was 'fantastic', 'very calm, relaxed', and a person who 'takes every day as a new day which is inspiring to me. Bill sets the precedent for everyone. He is decent and kind to everybody', he claimed. Helen Worth, who plays Gail McIntyre, described Roache as 'a father figure, an elder statesman. He was caring, never anything more', she said. Roache is the longest-serving member of the Coronation Street cast, having portrayed Ken Barlow since the soap began in 1960. The case continues.

Now, as mentioned in a previous blog, dear blog reader, a Facebook message from Uncle Scunthorpe his very self asking for 'a list [of] ten albums that have stayed with you throughout your life' brought a predictably Asperger's-like avalanche of 'can't live without 'em' selections, volumes one to five. You knew this was going to be a continuing theme, didn't you? Here's part six.
Followed, inevitably, by part seven.
And, part eight.
Where will it end, you ask? Stay tuned.

Another signal has emerged that the Abbott government in Australia intends to strip the ABC of its international broadcasting service – the Australia Network – in a significant concession to billionaire tyrant Rupert Murdoch and to conservative commentators critical of public broadcasting. The Australian foreign affairs minister, Julie Bishop, has been preparing the public ground since opposition for the ABC to lose its Australia Network regional broadcasting service, which it was awarded by the previous Labor [sic] government after a bitterly contested process. In January Bishop criticised the quality of the programming on the Australia Network, and argued it was 'not serving Australia's regional interests' as 'a tool of public diplomacy.' The Australian newspaper reported on Thursday that the service was 'likely to be scrapped' in the May budget as 'a savings measure.' The commission of audit established by the government will also run the ruler over other ABC services. The Sky News network lost out to the ABC in the Australia Network tender process carried out under the previous government. The multimillion-dollar tender was botched due to sharp divisions within Labor over whether the ABC or Sky should emerge with the regional service. Sky, a broadcaster part owned by BSkyB, which is a sister company to billionaire tyrant Murdoch's Australian publishing arm, News Corp – has made no secret of its incandescent fury about that process, and has lobbied the Coalition to have the ABC's contract dumped. In its aborted media reform package in early 2013, Labor did manage to legislate a provision where only the ABC or its associated companies could provide 'commonwealth funded international broadcasting services.' It was a means of trying to lock in the ABC's position regarding the Australian Network after any change of government. The reform suggests the Coalition would need further legislation if it wanted not to bank the saving, but clear the field for a commercial broadcaster. Whether the ABC would need to be compensated for the contract is unclear. The acting opposition leader, Tanya Plibersek, said that she 'did not watch' a lot of the Australia Network because she lived in Australia, but believed the channel was providing 'a very valuable service' in projecting Australian values to the region. She said the government was 'proposing to cut almost a quarter of a billion dollars' through the axing of the Australia Network contract, despite signalling before the election that it would not reduce funding to the ABC. Asked whether the Australia Network should reflect support for Australia to achieve the aim of soft diplomacy, Plibersek said freedom of speech was a 'worthy value' to promote. 'I'm very happy for the world to see that in Australia you can stand up, you can criticise the government, the government can respond and everybody goes home that night safe and sound,' she said. The Greens leader, Christine Milne, said that the Australia Network did 'an outstanding job' and it would be 'a very bad mistake' for the current government to abandon the service. In addition to bruised feelings over the Australia Network process, the billionaire tyrant Murdoch-owned News Corp is also campaigning to have the ABC pushed out of digital news services. The ABC's online content is offered free to readers and viewers, and News Corp is one of several publishers arguing the national broadcaster's ongoing digital expansion threatens their business. News Corp faces further commercial pressure in 2014. The tabloids will face competition in Australia for the first time in many years with the entry of the British-owned Daily Scum Mail – tragically, one of the most successful digital news sites in the world, largely due to its infamous 'sidebar of shame'. The Australian prime minister, Tony Abbott, who sounds like a right good laugh, frankly, launched a strong public criticism of the ABC on Wednesday during a radio appearance on 2GB in Sydney. Abbott took issue with the ABC's reporting of claims by asylum seekers of mistreatment at the hands of the Australian navy. The prime minister suggested that the national broadcaster needed to be 'more patriotic', and should be inclined to give the navy 'the benefit of the doubt.' The ABC has taken steps to check the accuracy of the claims, made by the asylum seekers, and an e-mail from an ABC researcher made its way into the public domain indicating that some editorial executives 'doubted the allegations were accurate.' This e-mail has given impetus to the broadcaster's critics who contend that the story should not have been broadcast. A spokeswoman for the national broadcaster said: 'In a climate where official information about asylum seeker operations is scarce and hard to come by, the ABC makes no apologies for seeking as much information as it can from as many sources as it can to either verify or disprove the allegations at the centre of the story.' Abbott also reaffirmed his 'concerns' about the ABC's collaboration with Grunaid Morning Star Australia on the story that revealed Australian spy agencies' past efforts to target the phones of the Indonesian president, his wife and inner circle. Those disclosures were based on documents provided by the former US intelligence contractor Edward Snowden. Abbott's intervention was amplified in Sydney’s Daily Scum Torygraph newspaper on Thursday with strong page one treatment. The paper quoted Abbott's business adviser, and former ABC chairman, Maurice Newman as saying: 'In relation to the navy, [the ABC has] given credence to the idea that the navy may well have tortured people. Ninety nine per cent of Australians would think that's highly unlikely. I think [the allegations] are inimical to Australia's best interests. It casts doubt on Australia's reputation and I think it's regrettable.' The communications minister, Malcolm Turnbull, however, launched a defence of the ABC. He told Fairfax Media that politicians' may have issues' with ABC content, but could not tell media outlets what to write. 'What's the alternative? The editor-in-chief [of the ABC] becomes the prime minister?' Turnbull said. 'Politicians, whether prime ministers or communications ministers, will often be unhappy with the ABC but you can't tell them what to write.'

Midget Canadian pop singer Justin Bieber has been charged with assaulting a limousine driver in Toronto last month. The nineteen-year-old handed himself in at a Toronto police station where he was mobbed by TV crews, news photographers and screaming teenage fans. The charge comes a week after he was arrested and charged for a separate incident in Florida for driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs. Howard Weitzman, Bieber's lawyer in California, said the entertainer was 'innocent' and that he expected the case to be treated as 'a summary offence', which is the equivalent of a misdemeanour in the United States.

Reports of witches and ghosts were among the emergency calls which Devon and Cornwall Police attended in the last three years. Thirty-five reports citing various mythical beasts or extra-terrestrial activity were made since 2010, with officers investigating eighteen of them. The police federation called for 'a public debate' to discuss priorities and the screening of calls. Police said they 'graded every call according to risk to life.' Calls highlighted included: A customer refusing to leave a premises in Torquay shouting that she was possessed by a ghost, witchcraft in Redruth which had been 'going on for months' and a man in Saltash who thought a caller was the ghost of Christmas past. Officers gave 'words of advice' to someone claiming he was an alien from another planet. Presumably the last of those words being 'off'. The details, released in a freedom of information request, revealed that a person who thought they were a werewolf and told the force that they wanted to go running on the moors was 'refused assistance.' Reports which officers did not attend included a man who said that ghosts were 'sitting on his living room chair.' Nigel Rabbitts, chair of Devon and Cornwall Police Federation, said that it had 'continually raised concerns about demand versus resources', the need for 'investment and training of staff who take the calls' and 'managing the public's expectations.' He said: 'There should be a public debate as to what the public see as a priority, how resources should be distributed and what percentage of calls for service should be screened out.' A police spokesperson said: 'While we would always encourage the public to call the police if they have a genuine cause or need, we would ask that anyone thinks very carefully before making an emergency call as a joke or prank.'

Which brings us to yer actual Keith Telly Topping's 45 of the Day. However, for the next few weeks' that's taking a break and being replaced by a new - marginally related - featured, Keith Telly Topping's A To Z of Groovy Tunes. A, dear blog reader, is for Aztec Camera.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Piggery Jokery

Doctor Who fans have been given their first glimpse of The Doctor's new look following his latest regeneration. yer actual Peter Capaldi will wear a - really rather cool - three-quarter ength dark blue Crombie frock coat with red lining, dark blue trousers, a white shirt and a pair of pure dead hard black Doc Martens. Which are a we all know, very useful for kicking Cybermen reet in the cobblers. Filming for the new series began in Cardiff earlier this month. Doctor Who's regeneration was the most-watched Christmas Day television moment last year with 10.2 million viewers seeing the five-minute sequence at the end of The Time Of The Doctor. The striking new look was created by Doctor Who costume designer Howard Burden. Commenting on his outfit, Peter his very self said: 'He's woven the future from the cloth of the past. Simple, stark, and back to basics. No frills, no scarf, no messing, just one hundred per cent Rebel Time Lord.' Peter, who is currently starring as the villainous Cardinal Richelieu in the BBC series The Muskateers, admitted to first-day nerves after stepping onto Doctor Who's set in Cardiff, with co-star Jenna Coleman. Filming on the latest series of the popular long-running family SF drama will continue until August with director Ben Wheatley on board for the first two episodes. The Lord Thy God Steven Moffat said: 'New Doctor, new era, and of course new clothes. Monsters of the universe, the vacation is over - Capaldi is suited and booted and coming to get you.' Doctor Who took two honours at last week's National Television Awards - best drama and drama performance for Matt Smith. The record-breaking fiftieth anniversary special last year was the highest-rated drama show on British TV with a TV audience of 12.8 million punters.
Call The Midwife continued its impressive Sunday ratings on BBC1, according to overnight data. The period drama dipped by nearly four hundred thousand viewers from last week's opener, but still - easily - won the night with 9.26 million punters at 8pm. Earlier, Countryfile was seen by 6.77m at 7pm, while The Musketeers dropped by 1.4m from it's début episode's overnight audience to record a - still very impressive - 6.01m at 9pm. ITV's Twatting About On Ice continued with 5.79m at 6.15pm, while the results show brought in 4.63m at 8.30pm. Mr Selfridge dropped by two hundred thousand to 4.60m at 9pm. Earlier, All Star Family Fortunes failed to entertain 4.48m at 7.45pm. Channel Four's ridiculous and wretched new reality series The Jump opened to 2.30m at 8pm. On Channel Five, Celebrity Big Brother's latest eviction gathered a series high of 2.72m sad, crushed victims of society at 9pm. BBC2's Dragons' Den returned from its break with 2.34m at 9pm, while Simon Reeve's Coffee Trail interested 1.83m at 8pm.

Benefits Street kept above four million overnight viewers for Channel Four on Monday. The controversial series dipped by around four hundred thousand viewers week-on-week to 4.09m at 9pm. Earlier, wretched idiotic noisy horrorshow (and drag) The Jump dropped two hundred thousand viewers from Sunday's opener to 2.07m at 8pm. The documentary Three Wives, One Husband was seen by 1.80m at 10pm. BBC1's new Jazza Paxman series Britain's Great War topped the ratings outside of soaps with 4.23m at 9pm. Which does, rather, restore ones faith in the viewing public somewhat. On BBC2, yer man Paxo was, again, the top performer, University Challenge being watched by 2.79m at 8pm, followed by Food and Drink with 2.14m at 8.30pm. ITV's Great Welsh Adventure gathered 3.49m at 8pm, while The Bletchley Circle concluded with 3.65m at 9pm. On Channel Five, Police Interceptors brought in nine hundred and seven thousand at 8pm. Celebrity Big Brother had 2.60m at 9pm, followed by Helix with six hundred and twenty six thousand at 10pm.

Here's the final and consolidated ratings for the Top Twenty Four programmes for week-ending Sunday 19 January:-
1 Call The Midwife - Sun BBC1 - 11.35m
2 Coronation Street - Mon ITV - 9.55m
3 The Musketeers - Sun BBC1 - 9.28m
4 The Voice - Sat BBC1 - 8.88m
5 EastEnders - Thurs BBC1 - 8.79m
6 Death In Paradise - Tues BBC1 - 8.69m
7 Silent Witness - Fri BBC1 - 7.59m
8 Emmerdale - Thurs ITV - 7.46m
9 Countryfile - Sun BBC1 - 7.17m
10 Birds Of A Feather - Thurs ITV - 6.61m*
11 Mr Selfridge - Sun ITV - 6.21m
12 BBC News - Sun BBC1 - 5.95m
13 Casualty - Sat BBC1 - 5.72m
14 Six O'Clock News - Mon BBC1 - 5.66m
15 Benefit Street - Mon Channel Four - 5.51m
16 Twatting About On Ice - Sun ITV - 5.40m*
17 The National Lottery: Who Dares Wins - Sat BBC1 - 5.19m
18 The Great Sports Relief Bake Off - Tues BBC2 - 5.07m
19 Benidorm - Thurs ITV - 4.98m*
20 Holby City - Tues BBC1 - 4.76m
21 Ten O'Clock News - Tues BBC1 - 4.71m
22 The ONE Show - Mon BBC1 - 4.68m
23 The Bletchley Circle - Mon ITV - 4.63m*
24 Fake Oe Fortune? - Sun BBC1 - 4.58m
ITV programmes marked '*' do not include HD figures. The Musketeers is the best new drama launch on any channel since Call the Midwife in January 2012 - pulling in more punters even than the opening episode of Broadchurch. Aside from The Great Sports Relief Bake Off (all four episodes of which pulled in audiences of above four million), BBC2's top-rated show of the week was University Challenge (3.26m), followed by An Island Parish (2.35m), Wild Brazil (2.26m) and Qi (2.23m). Channel Four's highest-rated show, apart from Benefit Street was Twenty Four Hours In A&E with 2.71m. The Wednesday episode of Celebrity Big Brother was Channel Five's highest performer with 2.85m.

On a horrible, miserable wet and cold Sunday morning, dear blog reader, yer actual Keith Telly Topping received a Facebook message from Uncle Scunthorpe his very self which read as follows: 'In your status, list ten albums that have stayed with you throughout your life. They don't have to be brilliant or "right" or "cool" - they just have to had an impact on you. Then tag ten of your friends, including the person who tagged you, so you can see their lists.' Okay. It filled a couple of hours when I'd've only been sitting in Stately Telly Topping Manor contemplating the inherently ludicrous nature of existence, I suppose. And, piece of piss, yer actual KTT thought as he came up with the following ten (well, actually, twelve).
But, of course, then yer actual Keith Telly Topping started down the tragic and endless 'oh, hang on, what about ...?' route and, before he knew it, half the bloody day had gone. So, thanks for that Uncle Scunthorpe. Thanks for completely buggering up yer actual Keith telly Topping's Sunday as he compiled the Second XI, as it were (plus twelfth man).
And the third.
And the fourth.
And, indeed, the fifth.
You can see where this is going, dear blog reader. Don't you just hate it when that happens? To be continued ...

Now, as some of you dear blog readers may know, yer actual Keith Telly Topping has had more than a few problems with his back for many years. ('Has he got problems with his back?' 'Yes, he can't get off it' Boom-boom.) Some of this is related to an intermittent inflammation of the sciatic nerve which effing well hurts like God damn buggery when it flares up but which is, mercifully, only an occasional problem. The rest is, in no small part, due to yer actual Keith Telly Topping's gait which has been described as making him look like a slouched pig. So, anyway, at his last foot test with the local clinic they noted the uncanny resemblance to a slouched pig and referred yer actual Keith Telly Topping to the bio-mechanical department (or whatever its called). Therefore, he saw the specialist on Monday of this week and she, similarly, spotted the problem straight away: 'Your gait's all wrong, Keith Telly Topping,' she said. 'It makes you look like a slouched pig.' Yer actual Keith Telly Topping concurred that, indeed, this has been mentioned, previously. 'We'd better do something about that,' she continued. 'I mean, you don't want to go through life looking like a slouched pig.' So, first step, Keith Telly Topping his very self has been given some new insoles for his shoes which should, in theory, help with making him look slightly less like a slouched pig. This can only be good a good thing. All this reminds me of the story of the three lads from The Toon who go down to London for a football match and, driving back, they spot a pig in a field somewhere in farming country and decide to, ahem, 'liberate it' for their Sunday dinner. So, they grab it and stick it in the back seat of the car with a muffler round its neck, a woodbine in its gob and flat cap on its head in case they get pulled by the bobbies. Sure enough, a few miles down the road, they're stopped. One of the coppers leans through the window and says 'all right lads, where are you off to at this time of night?' The driver says 'we're going back up to Newcastle, officer.' The cop asks: 'What are your names?' The driver says: 'Steve Robson.' The next one says: 'Billy Robson', the third one: 'Kenny Robson' and the pig just grunts. The poliss tells them that they can go. And, as they drive off, he turns to his mate and says 'By hell, Frank, I've seen some ugly Geordies in my time, but that Oink Robson ...' Anyway ...

The BBC will look to Jezza Clarkson to conquer the world with a new international channel called BBC Brit driven by reruns of one of its most popular and lucrative shows, Top Gear. BBC Brit, which will launch later this year, will be aimed at male viewers and feature 'the best of British content from motoring, business, documentaries and adventure to food, music and sport.' Top Gear, already the biggest money-spinners for the corporation's commercial arm, BBC Worldwide - much the chagrin of various risible middle-class hippy Communist lice at the Gruniad Morning Star - will feature heavily in its line-up of shows. Other content expected on its schedule include BBC2's Dragons' Den and documentaries by Louis Theroux, as well as shows such as BBC1's Frank Skinner panel show Room 101. The plans were announced by the BBC Worldwide chief executive, Tim Davie, at a Broadcasting Press Guild lunch on Monday. 'There is a gap in the global market for a male-skewing factual entertainment destination,' said Davie. 'BBC Brit will capture the maverick spirit of our premium factual entertainment programming.' Davie also revealed a tie-up with former Radio 2 controller Lesley Douglas, who resigned from the BBC in the wake of the Sachsgate scandal. BBC Worldwide has signed a first-look deal with Douglas's fledgling independent production company, Lonesome Pine, which she founded with The Catherine Tate Show scriptwriter Aschlin Ditta. BBC Brit is the third of the BBC's newest global brands, along with natural history venture BBC Earth and BBC First, a new premium channel expected to showcase 'the best of British drama' which will launch on pay-TV in Australia in August. The new channel will inevitably draw comparisons with another male-skewed channel, Dave, which is part of the UKTV network of channels fifty per cent owned by BBC Worldwide. BBC Brit is expected to launch in a handful of territories later this year. Davie said that BBC Worldwide was on track to meet its target of investing about two hundred million smackers in content in the next final year. It is funding shows including Intruders, a BBC America SF series from The X Files writer Glen Morgan featuring John Simm in the lead role, which will begin shooting in Vancouver next month, and bitter whinging old Red Jimmy McGovern's as-yet-untitled Australian deportees drama, for BBC2. Crikey, one imagines that'll be a laugh a minute. Davie said BBC Worldwide wanted to commission its own 'channel-defining content' across all genres. He added that the BBC was 'very strong' in factual entertainment with 'Top Gear being the hero, it has had a fantastic year. If you look at the success of Dave that's quite UK based,' said Davie. 'In terms of targeting there are similarities [with Dave], it has continued to deliver outstanding numbers but it relies on a lot of UK specific humour. Clearly comedy is more nuanced and demanding, but not impossible.' Davie said BBC Brit would be rolled out in one or two lead countries in the next financial year. 'There's plenty in the UK that's male targeted,' he said. 'If you take Room 101, or quiz shows, look at the James May stuff linked to Top Gear, Toy Stories.' Separately, Davie said that the BBC Trust was currently 'considering' BBC Worldwide's proposal to run and operate the BBC Store, the online service allowing UK viewers to buy and download the corporation's programmes, first unveiled by director general Tony Hall last autumn. 'The current proposal is for us to be the operating partner, the operator of the store in the UK,' said Davie. Users will be able to click through from to the BBC Store, he said. 'The idea of a commercialised does not appeal at all. You need to link out of that to the store,' he said. Davie said that the advent of the BBC Store would not preclude other BBC archive material remaining free to download. 'There will still be a lot of archive up there forever which no one is proposing to remove - Desert Island Discs, In Our Time,' he said. Having ditched plans for a global iPlayer Davie said would be 'the global front door' to the BBC, with sixty million users at present. BBC Earth, one of its three new brands, will sit alongside BBC News on the website. Davie said the functionality of a UK-facing BBC Store could then be rolled out worldwide on 'That will take quite a long time to achieve, that is a multi-year project,' he added.

Top Gear may be poised to tighten its grip on the world's TV but, thankfully, it's not ready to grow up yet. Executive producer Andy Wilman told the Radio Times that he watched several recent episodes and realised 'almost everything we'd filmed was, once again, aimed at people with a mental age of nine.' He said the show offers 'an hour a week where absolutely nothing is achieved, but the path to nine-year-old escapism is briefly lit up.' He added: 'Most TV shows that have been going for as long as ours refresh themselves by forcibly injecting new elements into the format, but on Top Gear we keep ourselves young by ageing. You're watching an organic journey of those three going through their motoring lives. If you're actually nine, you need something to watch that isn't a computer screen. And if you're twenty nine, thirty nine or fifty nine, part of your brain will most likely still have a mental age of nine, and that part struggles to get nourishment. Modern life for adults is, after all, bloody hard. The workplace is not freer, but more regimented by management systems and nonsense enforced by going on "courses." E-mail hasn't decreased the workload but in fact piled it on. The demand to be accountable and produce results hangs heavy over every worker, and by the weekend they need a release valve. That's where we come in – an hour a week where three badly dressed middle-aged men bicker, fall over and catch fire. An hour a week where absolutely nothing is achieved, but the path to nine-year-old escapism is briefly lit up. This is an important service we provide, and therefore essential that being nine should remain a massive remit of our films.' Willman vowed that upcoming shows won't tamper with the formula, offering a rally in supermarket aisles, a tank smashing through a building and a drive round a nuclear site. And he isn't tempted to get soft on Jezza and his co-presenters: 'Given that Jeremy and James have both passed fifty and Richard has finally admitted that thirty nine candles is fooling no one, you might think the production office would be going a little easier on them. All I'd say, then, is watch our latest road trip.'

Only Fools And Horses' Del Trotter may have seen his share of action in the streets of Peckham, but his credentials as a TV tough guy hardly match those of 24's armour-plated killing machine Jack Bauer. However, it appears that the BBC comedy has seen off the US thriller by securing Shepherd's Bush Market as a location ahead of the Kiefer Sutherland series. The Sun reports that the BBC booked the market to shoot its one-off Only Fools Comic Relief special on key dates that US producers wanted to film there. An alleged 'source' allegedly told the paper, in exactly that sort of crass tabloid-speak which normal people don't use: 'It was the perfect venue – and Bauer usually gets what he wants.' No he doesn't you stupid prick, he's a fictional character. 'But he's clearly never been up against Del before.' Well, indeed. Cos, if he had been, we'd've probably seen. Scenes of Bauer on the run from a CIA agent have already been shot in London's Aldgate.
An all-star line-up has been revealed for the last episodes of ITV's Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? Russell Kane (very popular with students, he), Frank Skinner and Alexandra Burke are among the famous faces to take to the hot seat in this week's - alleged - celebrity special, while Chris Hoy, Jimmy Nesbitt and Rachel Riley will join host Chris Tarrant for the last ever episode on 4 February. It will feature Riley and Hairy Biker Dave Myers, as well as Nesbitt and his team-mate alleged comedian Dom Joly. Hoy will be joined in the hot-seat by stand-up comedian Kevin Bridges.
A former journalist told ex-Scum of the World editor - and the prime minister's former, if you will, 'chum' - Andy Coulson about his phone-hacking skills at a job interview, the Old Bailey has heard claimed. Dan Evans told the phone-hacking trial that he was shown how to hack phones at the Sunday Mirra and was recruited by the Scum of the World for those skills some time later. Earlier, the actor Jude Law heard for the first time that the Scum of the World paid a relative of his to leak information about him. Coulson is one of seven people who deny charges related to phone-hacking. Former Scum of the World editor and well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Rebekah Brooks also denies charges including conspiracy to hack phones. Evans claimed that he told Coulson at an informal job interview in a hotel how he could 'do stuff with phones' to land cheap exclusives. 'Andy knew what the context of it was,' he said. One way to bring in exclusive stories cheaply was to listen to someone's voicemails and work out who they were having a relationship with, he said. That would 'shift units from supermarket shelves', Evans said. The jury heard that Evans, who is appearing as a prosecution witness, had already pleaded extremely guilty to hacking at the Sunday Mirror between 2003 and 2005 and at the Scum of the World up to 2010. He also pleaded guilty to misconduct in a public office between 2005 and 2010. Evans confirmed he had admitted intending to pervert the course of justice. The court heard that he entered into an agreement with the Crown Prosecution Service in 2012 and had given two statements since. Evans is the first journalist to plead guilty to hacking phones while working for a paper other than the now closed in shame and ignominy Scum of the World. James Weatherup, who was Evans's boss at the Sunday Mirra, moved to the Scum of the World and offered him a job, the court was told, but Evans declined. The jury heard at the start of the trial in October that Weatherup, journalists Neville Thurlbeck and Greg Miskiw and Glenn Mulcaire, the private investigator and the paper's specialist hacker, have already pleaded guilty to intercepting voicemails. Evans said that he had been involved in hacking at the Sunday Mirra for about a year-and-a-half from 2003 but 'it had been going on long before that.' Asked by Andrew Edis QC, prosecuting, what his job at the Sunday Mirra was, Evans said: 'I was a news reporter. Principally I was tasked with covering news events, investigations, undercover work, latterly with hacking people's voicemail.' Evans said that he was taught to hack phones by an unnamed individual at the Sunday Mirra: 'I was taken to one side and told that I was going to be tasked with something that was a secret and he proceeded to show me how to hack a voicemail for the first time.' He told the court he had been 'approached' by a journalist to join the disgraced and disgraceful Scum of the World in 2005. Phone hacking was discussed with the journalist when they first talked about a job at the Scum of the World in a bar, the court heard. He said: 'Voicemail interception became part of the conversation. It was not referred to as phone hacking - that phrase did not exist then.' But Evans told the court he initially did not want a job there - as 'pet phone hacker' - but, rather, he wanted to do more investigations work. Evans told the court how he met 'senior figures' at the Scum of the World - who cannot be named for legal reasons - 'over beers' to discuss his move to the paper, including his skills at 'voicemail interception.' He turned this job down after being given a pay rise to stay at the Sunday Mirra. However, he said when he did finally join the Scum of the World, after three approaches: 'I was bringing phone-hacking techniques and methodology and bringing a list of hacking targets, how voicemails could be intercepted and general skills to perpetuate that activity.' He added: 'The methodology of screwing around with people's telephonic data was a pretty standard tool in the tabloid kit.' Asked how often he hacked between his start date on the paper in January 2005 and the arrest of the paper's then royal editor, Clive Goodman, for hacking-related offences in August 2006, Evans replied: 'Probably most days, there might have been the odd lull.' Evans has pleaded guilty to hacking phones while at the Sunday Mirra making him first journalist to plead guilty to hacking phones while working for a paper other than the Scum of the World. The journalist told the jury that he started hacking phones after he was made a staff reporter at the Sunday Mirra and carried out this activity for about 'a year and a half.' Evans, described how 'there was an explicit lockdown in the dark arts' following Goodman's arrest and there had been a gap of 'years and years' before he started again. He said that he stopped using the burner phones and started using the company phones. 'It was just easier. The culture there was pretty blasé about this kind of thing bizarrely.' When Evans started at the Scum of the World, his new boss handed him a list of hundreds of celebrity numbers including those of Wee Shughie McFee, the sour-faced Scottish chef from Crossroads, Cilla Black, Heather Mills and Zoe Ball. Evans said that he was given the numbers 'because he wanted me to hack the interesting names on it.' He had 'a crack' at getting into around one hundred of them, but with repeat calls to voicemails included, he probably hacked phones 'one thousand [times] plus, more.' Evans was also given cash to buy 'burner' phones. He explained: 'They were called burner phones because after a while I'd burn them.' Evans told how he learned the practice of 'pretext blagging', which involved ringing a mobile phone operator or another company and impersonating a staff member from credit control or a similar department. He told the jury that 'pretty much any private data' was available 'on demand' at the Scum of the World including mobile phone numbers, mobile phone bills, credit card numbers, medical records and tax records. Evans explained how he would ring the voicemail numbers on one phone and then count to three and ring it again on another phone to try and 'trick' the target handset into going onto voicemail without alerting the owner. He said that he had learned some hacking etiquette at the Sunday Mirra where he was told 'don't leave footprints.' This meant he would never listen to messages that had not been played by the owner, but he would return later to pick them up. Evans, who was a news reporter, has also pleaded guilty to two other charges, the jury was told – a conspiracy to commit misconduct in public office and providing a false witness statement in relation to proceedings taken against him by the interior designer Kelly Hoppen. The jury was told that he entered his plea in September last year but - for legal reasons - this could not be reported at the time. Earlier, Jude Law told the trial the media seemed to have 'an unhealthy amount of information' about his life. He also said photographers would turn up at places where he had secretly arranged to take his children. Timothy Langdale QC, representing Coulson, asked Law about a story about his then-girlfriend Sienna Miller having an affair with the actor Daniel Craig. Langdale wrote down a name of an - alleged - 'source' on a piece of paper to show the witness. The name was not read in court. Law told the jury he discovered last autumn that a relative had 'passed on' information but had never heard claims that they had been paid. He said: 'I was made aware very recently that there had been some kind of communication with this person and several others in and around and about this period of time. I was never aware any money had been exchanged.' Asked if he was aware that anyone around him was leaking stories, he said: 'No, I did not know that anyone around me was talking to the newspapers, although I suspected it because there was such a flow of information. I suspected many people over that period of time.'

Meanwhile, Evans claims that he played a recording of a hacked voicemail, left by Sienna Miller to Danny Craig, to his editor the prime minister's former, if you will, 'chum', Andy Coulson, the court heard. Evans told the Old Bailey it said: 'Hi, it's me. I can't speak, I'm at the Groucho with Jude [Law]. I love you.' Coulson described the tape as 'brilliant', Evans told the jury. Coulson denies hacking charges. Evans told the court that he discovered the message after hacking Craig's phone. He said a colleague then started 'mobilising the story - allocating resources to it.' The colleague told him 'to start knocking up a version to put before Mr Coulson', he added. Evans told the court: 'Later in the day, Andy came over wanting to hear the tape.' He said he played the tape to Coulson and another executive. 'I don't know if I played it for both at the same time,' Evans said. 'I played the tape a couple of times. They said "good work."' The executive 'held my elbow and said "you are a company man now"', Evans claimed. He added: 'Andy wanted to preserve the tape but not the original recording so he said to me, "make a recording of the tape and stick it into the jiffy bag, have it sent to the front gate and have them say it has been dropped in anonymously."' One of his colleagues picked the tape up 'with mock surprise' and said 'look what I've found', Evans said. Coulson, sitting in the dock, shook his head and took notes as Evans gave his evidence. Evans told the court he went to Craig's house and knocked on his front door to 'front him up.' When he confronted the actor with the allegation, Craig said: 'No, no, no it's not true.' The story was published the following week. Evans told the jury: 'For the record, I would like to apologise to them all for having their privacy infringed.' He said he had listened in to another voicemail to Craig, left by Miller's then-partner Jude Law. The court heard that, in it, Law said: 'Thanks, mate. I hope Saski [Craig's then-partner, Satsuki Mitchell] doesn't find out.' Evans earlier told the court he had destroyed evidence of phone-hacking when police began investigating the practice in August 2006. He said that, after officers began investigating Scum of the World royal editor Clive Goodman and private investigator Glenn Mulcaire, 'everybody was on tenterhooks, there was a lot of fear and anxiety around - a lot of people were preparing to cover their tracks.' A senior staff member then told him 'it goes without saying, no more hooky stuff.' Evans said that he ripped up notebooks and destroyed micro-cassette recordings. Coulson is one of seven people who deny charges related to phone-hacking. He also denies conspiracy to commit misconduct in a public office. Clive Goodman denies conspiracy to commit misconduct in a public office. The trial, which began at the end of October last year and is due to last until May, continues.
Dave Lee Travis has told a court that he does not have 'a predatory nature.' Giving evidence at Southwark Crown Court, Travis said: 'What I have is a cuddly nature with women. So, maybe, that's what this is all about.' He also claimed that if he had known filthy old scallywag and rotten rotter Jimmy Savile was a paedophile, he would have 'been the first to get him arrested.' Answering questions about Savile posed by his defence barrister Stephen Vullo, Travis said: 'He was always surrounded by girls and by that I mean girls of sixteen, seventeen, eighteen. But I don't think that anyone knew what was going on as far as him being a paedophile. In all honesty, if I had known that Jimmy Savile was a paedophile I would have been the first to get him arrested because it is the worst crime in the world as far as I am concerned.' Travis is accused of indecently assaulting ten women and sexually assaulting another. The court heard that, in an interview with police on 18 September, self-confessed 'hairy cornflake' Travis dismissed the claims as 'crap.' Prosecutor Teresa Hay said: 'Mr Travis said that for ten months he had lost his money, work, his health, he has had back and knee operations and had suffered stress. Worse still, his wife had suffered breast cancer. She was through it now but stress is bad for someone who is going through that.' Travis told police that the allegations were 'costing him his job, his living and everything he has built up over fifty years', Hay added. 'For him these allegations don't stand up. He and his wife had suffered badly.' She said that he had told police 'he has been screwed backwards - he is selling his house to pay for solicitors and barristers. People might think he is a millionaire but his bank account is non-existent. His life has changed for the worse and he is full of anger - even if he is acquitted he still won't be free.' She said Travis told the police about one person who made allegations against him: 'This is just someone else who can smell money and is jumping into the game to see what they can get out of it,' he claimed. The jury heard Travis had been questioned over claims that he groped a woman at two separate British Airways staff parties in the early 1990s after dancing the Lambada with her on both occasions. He told police that, while he could not remember the particular events, he would provide musical entertainment or compere at such parties, 'sometimes dressed as a werewolf or Darth Vader.' When asked about claims that he told the woman she had 'won the keys to his room' he said it was 'not the kind of thing' he would say. A journalist working for a German broadcaster later told the court that Travis had touched her bottom when she interviewed him at his house in 2005. He had shown her a flight simulator game he enjoyed playing on his computer, she said. 'What happened was then he asked me if I wanted to take over,' she added. 'I found myself standing right in front of him - I don't particularly remember whether I actually started anything.' The journalist said he put 'his hand behind me on my shoulders and ran it down my back and rested it on the right cheek of my bum.' It was 'an extremely uncomfortable moment' and she 'very quickly' moved away, she said. She told the jury that she did not speak to police at the time of the arrest but had made a statement after she heard about it. The offences of which Travis is accused allegedly took place while he was working as a radio DJ, on Classic Gold radio, on Top Of The Pops, and in pantomime.

Coronation Street actorr William Roache has been cleared of one of seven sex abuse charges at his trial, on orders of the judge. Jurors at Preston Crown Court were directed to acquit Roache of the indecent assault charge because of insufficient evidence. Roache remains on trial over two rape and four indecent assault allegations. He denies the charges, which relate to incidents between 1965 and 1971. The offences are alleged to have involved five women aged sixteen and under. The allegation the jury were directed to find Roache not guilty of, was one of two made by a woman who said she was fourteen when the defendant twice made her perform a sexual act in his car in 1965. The court heard that she was picked up by the actor from the Granada Studios in his car and thought she had been indecently assaulted but had 'no actual memory' of the episode. Judge Mr Justice Holroyde told the jury: 'In relation to that episode, the witness was not giving evidence that it did happen, she was giving evidence that she was thinking it did happen and that is not a sufficient evidential basis for the conviction of an offence. Mr Roache is entitled to a not guilty verdict on that charge.' Anne Whyte QC, prosecuting, told the jury: 'We do not invite you to convict on any allegation where the witness has no recollection.' Roache still faces the second allegation by the same woman, that he assaulted her in the male toilets at Granada Studios in Manchester, earlier the same year. Jurors were previously shown a letter and signed photograph Mr Roache sent to her after the alleged incident, in which he asked to her write back to him when she returned to school. The defence is due to start on Tuesday and Roache is expected to give evidence.

TV weather presenter Fred Talbot has been charged with the sexual abuse of schoolchildren between 1968 and 1983. The former teacher is accused of nine offences of indecent assault and one serious sexual assault against a total of five complainants, Greater Manchester Police said. Four of the alleged victims attended Altrincham Grammar School for Boys and one was at a Newcastle school. Talbot is due to appear before Manchester magistrates next month. Six counts of indecent assault relate to one alleged victim at a school where Talbot previously taught in Newcastle, police said. The other offences relate to four alleged victims from Altrincham Grammar School for Boys, where Talbot also taught. Nazir Afzal, of the Crown Prosecution Service, said: 'We have carefully considered all the evidence gathered by Greater Manchester Police in relation to allegations from five complainants that Fred Talbot sexually assaulted them between the 1960s and 1980s. Having completed our review, we have concluded that there is sufficient evidence and it is in the public interest for Talbot to be charged with ten sexual offences relating to five complainants, three of whom were under sixteen years of age at the time.' Talbot, of Bowdon, is best known for his work on the ITV programme This Morning in the late 1980s and early 1990s when it was hosted by Richard Madeley and Judy Finnigan. He was also the weatherman on ITV's Granada Reports but has not appeared on the show since the claims emerged last year.

TV presenter Nigella Lawson will face no further action by police over her admission that she used drugs. During her testimony at a fraud trial involving her personal assistants, she admitted taking cocaine in the past but denied being an addict. The Met said that 'a team' had 'investigated the evidence' and decided a prosecution 'would not be in the public interest.' Whether they actually asked the public if they would be interested in seeing Nigella up a'fore the beak is another matter entirely. They claimed that any action could 'deter witnesses' from giving evidence in future trials. Francesca and Elisabetta Grillo were cleared of defrauding Lawson and her former husband, Charles Saatchi. At their trial, Lawson said she took cocaine with her first husband John Diamond when he found out he had terminal cancer, and in July 2010 in the later years of her marriage to Saatchi. She also admitted cannabis use in the last year of her marriage to the businessman and art dealer. In an e-mail read out at Isleworth Crown Court, Saatchi claimed that Lawson's drug use meant she allowed their former assistants to spend what they liked. Police announced in December that a specialist team would examine the evidence as part of a review into the case. That review has now concluded and in a statement, the Met said any police action had to be 'proportionate. There are serious public interest concerns about the message any prosecution would send out to potential witnesses and victims in the future,' it said. 'Whilst witnesses clearly cannot simply admit to any offence under oath without consequences, this has to be balanced with the requirement for victims and witnesses to tell the truth. Further police activity may deter victims from being candid with police and in court for fear of future investigation.' Lawson previously said that she was 'disturbed' by the court process. A spokesman for Nigella - she has her knockers - said she would not be commenting on the police's decision. So, there you go dear blog reader. If you get pinched by the fuzz with a few grams of snow in yer sky rocket and they say they intend to prosecute, just change your name to generic TV chef and daughter of a former cabinet minister and you should be all right.

The folk singer/songwriter, activist and American music legend Pete Seeger, whose songs included the protest standards 'Turn! Turn! Turn!', 'Where Have All The Flowers Gone?' and 'If I Had A Hammer' has died at the age of ninety four after a short illness. , Effectively, blacklisted by the US Government through the 1950s and 60s for his openly leftist beliefs, Pete was quizzed by the notorious House Un-American Activities Committee in 1955 over whether he had 'sung for Communists', replying that he 'greatly resented' the implication that the content of his songs made him 'less American' than anyone else. Pete was charged with contempt of Congress and, briefly, jailed though the sentence was later overturned on appeal. Born in 1919 in New York to an artistic family, Pete's mother, Constance, played violin and his father, Charles, was a musicologist and a consultant to the Resettlement Administration, which gave artists work during the Depression. Charles and Constance divorced when Pete was seven and in 1932 Charles married his composition student and assistant, Ruth Crawford Seeger, now considered to be one of the most important modernist composers of the Twentieth Century. Deeply interested in folk music, Ruth had contributed musical arrangements to Carl Sandburg's extremely influential folk anthology The American Songbag (1927). Pete's eldest brother, Charles, was a radio astronomer and another brother, John, was a teacher. Pete's uncle, Alan Seeger, a noted poet (the author of I Have A Rendezvous With Death), had been one of the first American soldiers to be killed in the First World War, something which fuelled Pete's pacifism and hatred of war in all its forms for the rest of his life. All four of Pete's half-siblings from his father's second marriage – Peggy, Mike, Barbara and Penny – became folk singers. Peggy Seeger, a well-known performer in her own right, was married for many years to the British singer and activist Ewan MacColl. Pete grew up with music in his bones but lacked a distinctive creative direction. Schooled in the banjo, guitar and ukulele, he remained a musical fish out of water until he chanced upon a square dance festival in North Carolina. As a teenager, Pete took a job in Washington assisting Alan Lomax, a friend of his father's, at the Archive of American Folk Song of the Library of Congress. Pete's work involved him helping Lomax sift through commercial 'race' and 'hillbilly' music and select recordings which best represented American folk music, a project funded by the music division of the Pan American Union. Lomax also encouraged Pete's own folk singing vocation and Pete was soon appearing as a regular performer on Lomax and Nicholas Ray's weekly Columbia Broadcasting show Back Where I Come From (1940–41) alongside the likes of Josh White, Burl Ives, Lead Belly and Woody Guthrie. Back Where I Come From was unique in having a racially integrated cast, which made the news when the cast performed in March 1941 at a command performance at The White House organised by Eleanor Roosevelt called An Evening of Songs for American Soldiers. The show was a success but was not picked up by commercial sponsors for nationwide broadcasting largely because of it featured black performers. Lomax later said that modern American folk music was born on 3 March 1940. This was when Seeger first met Guthrie at Will Geer's Grapes Of Wrath benefit concert for migrant workers and, together, they embarked upon a cross-country journey. The duo formed The Almanac Singers, a loosely formed musical collective, dedicated to bringing all forms of social injustice to public attention. The Almanac Singers initially played and recorded purely labour movement and pacifist songs. But when Seeger was drafted into the Army during the war, The Almanacs gained a broader popularity which unsettled their left-leaning fanbase. Falling foul of traditional union movements, Seeger wrote his most defiantly optimistic plea for change in the late 1940s. 'If I Had a Hammer' - later a massive hit for Trini Lopez - brought Pete into artistic collaboration with Lee Hays for the first time and together they formed The Weavers in 1946. The four-piece - Seeger and Hays with Ronnie Gilbert and Fred Hellerman - had a number one hit across America in 1950 with an adaptation of Lead Belly's 'Goodnght, Irene' but The Weavers' performing career was abruptly derailed in 1953 at the peak of their popularity when blacklisting prompted radio stations to refuse to play their records and they found their concert bookings being abruptly cancelled. They briefly returned to the stage for a sold-out reunion at Carnegie Hall in 1955 and in a subsequent reunion tour, which produced a hit version of Merle Travis's 'Sixteen Tons' as well as three LPs of their concert performances. 'Kumbaya', a black spiritual dating from slavery days, was also introduced to wider audiences by The Weavers in 1959. Seeger and Hays had been identified as Communist Party members by the FBI snitch, Harvey Matusow (who later recanted) and ended up being called up to testify before HUAC in 1955. Hays took the Fifth Amendment. Pete, however, refused to answer their sodding impertinent questions, claiming his rights to freedoms of speech and belief under the First Amendment, in the process becoming the first person to do so after the conviction of The Hollywood Ten in 1950. It led to years of Pete being shunned by record and TV companies. Nevertheless, The Weavers string-band style inspired the commercial 'folk boom' which followed in the early 1960s, including such vocal groups as The Kingston Trio, The Clancy Brothers and Peter, Paul, and Mary all of whom performed Seeger songs. Denied national broadcast exposure (a ban which lasted until 1968 when Pete appeared on the CBS variety show The Smothers Brothers), Pete instead toured American and international college campuses spreading his music and ethos, later calling this 'the most important job of my career.' This suppression only fuelled his creativity, and he adopted cultural guerrilla tactics to make sure his music was heard. Pete sang in colleges, schools and on local radio and television, slipping away before anyone could object. The lofty, bearded banjo-playing musician became a standard bearer for political causes from nuclear disarmament to the Occupy Wall Street movement in 2011. In 2009, he was at a gala concert in the US capital ahead of Barack Obama's inauguration as president. Obama's predecessor Bill Clinton hailed him as 'an inconvenient artist who dared to sing things as he saw them.' 'Turn! Turn! Turn!' - Pete's adaptation of a several verses from the Book of Ecclesiastes - became a number one hit for The Byrds in 1965 and was covered by a multitude of other artists including Dolly Parton and Chris de Burgh. Really badly in the case of the latter. In 1963, Pete joined one of Martin Luther King's civil rights marches in Alabama, where his version of the traditional black spiritual 'We Shall Overcome' became an American anthem of defiance. Protesting came naturally to Seeger, in the late 1960s, he joined the movement opposing the Viet'nam war and he later sang for Solidarity, the Polish trade union. Pete increasingly channelled his energies into environmental causes. These became personal once he had built his home beside the Hudson, and he became involved in the campaign to cleanse the river of industrial waste. His Clearwater Organisation offered education programmes, sailing instruction and festivals. Seeger's influence continued down the decades, with his induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1996, and he won a Grammy in 1997 for best traditional folk LP, with Pete. He won two further Grammys - for best traditional folk LP in 2008 for At Eighty Nine and best children's LP in 2010. He was a nominee at Sunday night's ceremony in the spoken word category. He was due to being honoured with the first annual Woody Guthrie Prize next month, given to an artist 'emulating the spirit of the musician's work.' With their understated but challenging lyrics, Seeger's songs became anthems of political protest. In Barcelona in 1971, students rioted when General Franco banned one of Seeger's concerts. The musician Billy Bragg paid tribute to Seeger's life via Twitter: 'Pete Seeger towered over the folk scene like a mighty redwood for seventy five years. He travelled with Woody Guthrie in the 1940s, stood up to Joe McCarthy in the 50s, marched with Doctor Martin Luther King in the 60s. His songs will be sung wherever people struggle for their rights. We shall overcome.' Having performed with Guthrie in his early years, Pete went on to have a massive effect on the protest music of later artists including Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen and Joan Baez. Pete was one of the earliest backers of Dylan and was responsible for urging John Hammond to produce Dylan's first LP on Columbia and for inviting him to perform at the Newport Folk Festival, of which Seeger was a board member. There was a widely repeated story that Seeger was so upset over the extremely loud amplified sound that Dylan, backed by members of The Butterfield Blues Band, brought to the 1965 festival (having performed there acoustically in previous years) that he threatened to disconnect the equipment. There are multiple versions of what went on, some more fanciful than others. What is certain is that tensions had been running high between Dylan's manager, Albert Grossman and the festival board members (who, besides Seeger, also included Theodore Bikel, Alan Lomax and Peter Yarrow) over the scheduling of performers and various other matters. Seeger has been portrayed as 'a folk purist' who was one of the main opponents to Dylan's 'going electric.' But, when asked in 2001 about how he recalled his 'objections' to the electric style in No Direction Home, Pete said: 'I couldn't understand the words. I wanted to hear the words. It was a great song, 'Maggie's Farm', [but] the sound was distorted. I ran over to the guy at the controls and shouted, "Fix the sound so you can hear the words." He hollered back, "This is the way they want it." I said "Damn it, if I had an axe, I'd cut the cable right now." But I was at fault. I was the MC, and I could have said to the part of the crowd that booed Bob, "you didn't boo Howlin' Wolf yesterday. He was electric!" Though I still prefer to hear Dylan acoustic, some of his electric songs are absolutely great. Electric music is the vernacular of the second half of the Twentieth Century, to use my father's old term.' In 2006, Springsteen recorded The Seeger Sessions, an LP of songs originally written or recorded by Pete. On his ninetieth birthday, Seeger was feted by artists including Springsteen, Eddie Vedder and Dave Matthews in New York's Madison Square Garden. Springsteen called him 'a living archive of America's music and conscience, a testament of the power of song and culture to nudge history along.' Pete was still recording well into old age, joining other artists expressing opposition to George W Bush's incursion into Iraq. Seeger's banjo was marked with the motto 'this machine surrounds hate and forces it to surrender', in homage to his friend Woody Guthrie's guitar which was, famously, emblazoned with the slogan 'this machine kills fascists'. In an interview in 1971, Pete said: 'I look at my job as trying to tell a story. I use songs to illustrate my story and dialogue between songs to carry the story forward.' Pete never did topple the government with the weight of his banjo alone. But he was satisfied if his songs inspired a different way of looking at bigger troubles. When asked about his religious or spiritual views, Pete replied: 'I feel most spiritual when I'm out in the woods. I feel part of nature. Or looking up at the stars. [I used to say] I was an atheist. Now I say, it's all according to your definition of God. According to my definition of God, I'm not an atheist. Because I think God is everything. Whenever I open my eyes I'm looking at God. Whenever I'm listening to something I'm listening to God.' Pete's wife Toshi, a film-maker and activist, died aged ninety one in July 2013. They leave three children, Daniel (an accomplished photographer and filmmaker), Mika and Tinya.

And, finally, on a related subject, how smashing it was to see full-of-themselves Channel Four News completely shag-up their obituary to the late Pete Seeger with a bit of shoddy research. Matthew Frei referred to Pete 'being amongst those who were shocked at [Bob] Dylan's decision to "go electric" at the famous Isle of Wight Festival.' Err .. wrong Newport, Matt; that one was in Rhode island not near Cowes and was in 1965, not 1969. Get yer facts right, you're normally pure dead quick to pick other people up before they've fallen down over similar tomfoolery.

For today's Keith Telly Topping's 45 of the Day, here's something of an Odyssey.