Sunday, July 27, 2014

Week Thirty Two: Perge Scelus Mihi Diem Perficias

BBC Worldwide has announced that the first episode of the forthcoming eighth series of Doctor Who - yer actual Steven Moffat's Deep Breath - will be screened in cinemas around the world from 23 August 2014. This year's screenings follow the astounding pan-continental success of the global cinema release of Doctor Who's fiftieth anniversary episode The Day Of The Doctor which was screened in over fifteen hundred cinemas around the world last November. The feature-length première episode of series eight, starring the new Doctor Peter Capaldi his very self, is directed by the acclaimed Ben Wheatley. The story, detailing the beginning of the twelfth-that's-really-fourteenth Doctor's era features yer actual Jenna Coleman as Clara Oswald and sees the return of fan favourites Madame Vastra (Neve McIntosh), Jenny Flint (Catrin Stewart) and Strax (Dan Starkey) – in what's described as 'a pulse-racing adventure through Victorian London.' The Lord Thy God Steven Moffat comments: 'Last November The Doctor didn't just conquer the world on television, he did it in the cinemas too. And like the show-off he is, he can't resist another go - one taste of the silver screen is never enough. On 23 August the new Doctor will begin his new adventures on BBC1 and in cinemas all over the world. Movie-land beware - Capaldi is coming to get you!' Doctor Who: Deep Breath will be screened in participating cinemas. More information on the locations will be released by BBC Worldwide and the participating cinema chains over the coming weeks.

Doctor Who fans arriving in Cardiff for the world première screening of Deep Breath will get an opportunity to see the new Doctor on the red carpet, ahead of the event on 7 August. Yer actual Peter Capaldi and Jenna Coleman her very self, will be 'meeting the public' as they walk up the red carpet outside Cardiff Central Library, from 11am, en route to the sell-out screening at St David’s Hall. Joining them will be various Cybermen and Daleks. Whether they'll be doing a 'meet and greet' as well is not, at this time, known.
Meanwhile, the latest Doctor Who trailer introducing the new Doctor was broadcast on BBC1 just before the Commonwealth Games Opening Ceremony on Wednesday at 8:00pm whilst another teaser trailer - Listen! - was broadcast on BBC1 before the 5:25pm early evening news on Saturday.
A peak audience of more than nine million viewers watched the Opening Ceremony of the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow on BBC1 - complete with Rod Stewart, Big John Barrowman, Scottie dogs and dancing Tunnock's teacakes. You had to be there. The opening spectacle had an average of 7.59 million viewers between 8pm and 11.40pm on Wednesday with a five-minute high of 9.31 million at 9.30pm. This topped the peak of 8.9 million viewers who tuned into the opening ceremony the last time the games were held in the UK, in Manchester in 2002. Time differences meant the Glasgow opener was way ahead of the last two Commonwealth Games, held in Delhi in 2010, when the opening ceremony was watched by an average of three million viewers and a peak of 3.8 million and Melbourne in 2006, which had an average of 1.3 million and peak of 2.2 million. The Commonwealth Games, which will dominate BBC1 (and BBC3) for the next eleven days, predictably beat a dreadfully cobbled together ITV line-up which included All Star Mr & Mrs, watched by 2.65 million numskulls between 8pm and 9pm and the documentary repeat of Inside Death Row with Trevor McDonald, with 1.56 million viewers between 9pm and 10pm. BBC1 had a thirty one per cent share of the available audience across the entire day, more than double ITV’s 14.8 per cent. On BBC2, Operation Cloud Lab attracted six hundred and twenty three thousand punters at 8pm, followed The Fifteen Billion Pound Railway with 1.50m at 9pm and Odious Unfunny Lanky Streak Of Piss Jack Whitehall's Worthless & Wretched Backchat with five hundred and twenty thousand at 10pm. On Channel Four, This Old Thing appealed to six hundred and twenty thousand at 8pm. One Born Every Minute gathered 1.10m at 9pm and The Mimic dragged in three hundred and twenty one thousand viewers with nothing better to do with their time. Channel Five's Emergency Bikers interested six hundred and twenty six thousand at 8pm, followed by Caught On Camera with six hundred and thirty nine thousand at 9pm. Big Brother continued with 1.10m at 10pm.

BBC1's Commonwealth Games coverage easily topped Thursday's ratings outside soaps, overnight data reveals. The first evening of action brought in an average of 3.63 million from 7pm, peaking at 4.34m at 9pm. Highlights included Alistair and Jonathan Brownlee's battle in the triathlon. On BBC2, Natural World appealed to 1.25m at 8pm, followed by The Honourable Woman with 1.49m at 9pm. ITV's Harbour Lives was seen by 2.16m at 8.30pm, while Diamond Geezers & Gold Dealers attracted 2.36m at 9pm. On Channel Four, Amazing Spaces: Shed Of The Year picked up 1.62m at 8pm. Embarrassing Bodies gathered 1.06m at 9pm. Channel Five's new definition of sick, Autopsy: The Last Hours Of Michael Hutchence brought in 1.15m tasteless voyeurs at 9pm.

BBC1's live Commonwealth Games coverage was the most popular show outside of soaps on Friday, attracting an average audience of 3.17 million. The evening's entertainment peaked with an audience of 3.73 million at 9pm. An average of 1.49 million watched the highlights show Tonight At The Games at 10.45pm. ITV's showing of The Cruise Ship attracted 2.62 million at 8pm. The 9pm repeat of Doc Martin was viewed by 2.09 million after the final visit to Coronation Street. One-hour special The Secret History Of Our Streets was BBC Two's highest-rated show with 1.61 million, narrowly beating Gardener's World with 1.54 million. After seven hundred and ninety thousand punters tuned in to watch Flog It! Trade Secrets at 7pm , the evening continued with 1.11 million for The RHS Flower Show. With an audience of 1.2 million, Alan Carr: Chatty Man was Channel Four's highest-rated show, beating Friday Night Dinner with nine hundred and ninety thousand and The Million Pound Drop with six hundred and forty thousand. Over on Channel Five, the latest Big Brother live eviction was seen by 1.2 million.

Current and former members of the BBC Radiophonic Workshop gave channel-surfing Doctor Who fans an unexpected bonus when they performed live on BBC3 as part of the BBC At The Quay event on Friday evening. The live entertainment festival is being held alongside the Commonwealth Games, from a site directly outside BBC Scotland's headquarters building at Pacific Quay. It featured a huge variety of live and recorded radio and TV programmes and special events including live music. The Radiophonics team performed music from The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy and, of course, Doctor Who. Those taking part included Mark Ayers, Paddy Kingsland, Peter Howell, Dick Mills, Roger Limb and drummer Kieron Pepper. And, a quick note to Dan Walker - and, indeed, everyone else at the BBC - will you please, for the love of God, stop using that bastard hateful phrase 'Whovians'! Nobody who isn't thirteen, a total bloody numskull glake, or an American (or, indeed, all three) uses it and it is really starting to get right on this particular blogger's tit-end.
BBC1's primetime coverage of the Commonwealth Games averaged more than three million overnight viewers on Saturday night. The coverage appealed to 3.06m between 7pm and 10.10pm. On BBC2, Proms Extra was watched by four hundred and fifty six thousand punters from 8.25pm, with The Men Who Made Us Spend taking five hundred and sixty two thousand from 9.10pm. ITV risibly dreadful game show Tipping Point drew 2.6m sad, crushed victims of society. It was followed by Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of the Clones, which had an audience of 1.36m. Channel Four showed the Simon Pegg and Nick Frost movie Paul, which was watched by 1.3m from 9pm. Earlier, Grand Designs was seen by seven hundred and twenty five thousand. The latest Big Brother on Channel Five had eight hundred and twelve thousand in the 9pm hour. Autopsy: The Last Hours Of ... had five hundred and six thousand. On the multichannels, Foyle's War was watched by nine hundred and nineteen thousand on ITV3 from 9pm.

And now, dear blog reader, because yer actual Keith Telly Topping knows how much you enjoy such a conceit, here's the latest Karen Gillan Story Of The Day.
Yer actual Karen Gillan her very self has revealed that she would have liked to have worked with Peter Capaldi on Doctor Who. Speaking to the Digital Spy website at the Guardians Of The Galaxy première in Leicester Square on Thursday, Kazza expressed her admiration for yer man Capaldi. 'That would have been amazing,' she said. 'I love him as an actor, he's a fellow Scot, but unfortunately I didn't get to do any scenes with him.' Karen added that she is still 'really good friends' with her former Doctor Who co-star Matt Smith and plans to meet up with Smudger soon in Los Angeles. The actress also spoke about her role as the villainous intergalactic pirate Nebula in Guardians Of The Galaxy. 'I was covered in bruises consistently the whole time,' she said. 'It was a challenge for me because I've never done anything so physical before. I can throw a mean punch now. I've never played a baddie before, and she's just a total sadist that has men in headlocks, and that's always fun.'
The official Doctor Who Twitter feed has reached the figure of one million followers - and to mark the milestone a special thank-you message has been released. In the brief video, the character of Osgood - as played by Ingrid Oliver - delivers the message, which incorporates three clips from the series featuring The Doctor expressing his gratitude.
A plaque honouring the first producer of Doctor Who, Verity Lambert, has been unveiled at London's Riverside studios, by the Doctor Who Appreciation Society. The plaque, which marks the achievements of Verity as a Film and Television producer, will be on display at Riverside Studios until the venue closes for development in the autumn, when it will be placed into storage and then permanently mounted at the new Riverside media centre when completed. Verity was, of course, Doctor Who's first producer and the first female drama producer at BBC Television. She oversaw Doctor Who from her appointment in June 1963 until the autumn of 1965, guiding the series to a successful launch and laying down the framework of the series which still running today. After she left Doctor Who her reputation continued to rise and she became one of the best known players in the industry. She oversaw such iconic productions as Adam Adamant Lives!, Budgie, The Naked Civil Servant, Rock Follies, Rumpole Of The Bailey, Edward & Mrs Simpson, Reilly: Ace of Spies, Minder, GBH and Jonathan Creek. The plaque honouring Verity was unveiled by Doctor Who's first director Waris Hussein, in a ceremony attended by the two surviving members of the original TARDIS team, William Russell and Carole Ann Ford. The event included a screening of the drama based on the creation of Doctor Who, An Adventure In Space & Time and a compilation of interview material, some previously unseen. Riverside studios in Hammersmith, were used by the BBC from 1954 until 1974. Although the first Doctor Who stories were recorded at the nearby Lime Grove complex, the series used Riverside Studio One for a number of stories between 1964 and 1969. Verity Lambert produced stories recorded at the site include The Dalek Invasion Of Earth, The Rescue, The Romans, The Web Planet, The Crusade and The Chase.

Yer actual Benedict Cumberbatch says that he knows the secret behind the reappearance of Jim Moriarty in Sherlock. The villain seemingly returned from the dead in the final episode of series three. Describing it as 'a very good idea', Benny told MTV that he is now 'trying to forget' the twist in order to retain an element of surprise. 'I casually choose to forget in order to rediscover it again a little bit,' he explained. 'But, it's a very good idea, I do remember that detail. I'm just trying not to remember it so I don't blurt it out. I like casually forgetting, not least because there's a lot of other traffic between then and now but also because it's more fun because it's slightly more fresh,' he added. The actor also said that he was looking forward to the new series and its associated special, explaining that the pitch for the upcoming series is 'so exciting.'

Sir Bruce Forsyth will return to screens as part of a one-off post-apocalyptic variety show later this year, it has been announced. Bruce Forsyth's Hall Of Fame will give comedians, singers and actors the opportunity to 'emulate their heroes' in front of a live theatre audience. The BBC1 variety show will be made by former Strictly Come Dancing commissioner Jane Lush and her new company Kalooki Pictures.

Yer actual Gary Lineker, John Bishop and Mad Frankie Boyle his very self will be among the speakers at the 2014 Edinburgh Television Festival, its organisers have announced. Lineker will take part in a celebration of Match Of The Day's fiftieth anniversary, whilst big-toothed Scouse comic Bishop will host a prize-giving evening. Controversial comedian Mad Frankie will close the celebrations with a talk on the state of the television industry. That should be worth listening to. The festival, as usual sponsored by those middle-class hippie Communist shits at the Gruniad Morning Star, runs from 21 to 23 August. Other participants include DJ Sara Cox and Pointless host Richard Osman, who will be taking part in a live version of Through the Keyhole hosted by Leigh Francis. Why? Why for the love of God, why? Tessa Ross, outgoing head of Film4, will be interviewed by Newsnight's Kirsty Wark about her time as Channel Four's controller of film and drama. Attendees will also have an opportunity to see the first episode of the new Doctor Who series two days before its BBC1 broadcast. As previously announced, this year's MacTaggart lecture will be delivered by Channel Four chief executive David Abraham. Actor Kevin Spacey, Jezza Paxman and the late Dennis Potter are among those who have previously given the festival's keynote address. James Murdoch the small also did it in a hilarious 'greed is good' style speech that, in the light of various misfortunes to have befallen News International in the years since just gets funnier and funnier with each passing day.

Twenty four carat TV comedy moment of the week, undoubtedly came during the BBC's coverage of qualifying for the Hungarian Grand Prix on Saturday. After sulky, sour-faced child Lewis Hamilton's car had spontaneously burst into flames, there was a shot of him walking way, miserably, looking for all the world, in the words of David Coulthard, 'like my five year old after I've said he can't have any more biscuits!'
Yer actual Stephen Fry and Kiefer Sutherland his very self will reunite in a new one-off drama for Sky Arts. The duo, who recently appeared together in 24: Live Another Day, have been confirmed for Playhouse Presents drama Marked. Marked sees Sutherland's debt-ridden character, James, agree to perform a murder for his neighbour in order to make some money. According to Sky, as Sutherland's character passes the point of no return, he is confronted by Fry's character, who is 'the last person he expects to see.' The play will be written and directed by Greg Ellis, with Fry also serving as executive producer alongside Gina Carter and Jo McClellan. Stephen recently made a guest appearance in Monty Python Live and has just completed filming the latest series of Qi which will be broadcast in the autumn. Sutherland, meanwhile, will next be seen opposite his father Donald in upcoming western Forsaken.

Which brings us to the next batch of yer actual Keith Telly Topping's Top Telly Tips. And that:-

Saturday 2 August
Hazel Irvine and Gary Lineker introduce live coverage of the concluding athletics session of the Commonwealth Games - BBC1 7:00. Nine finals will take place this evening, and there is no doubt that Usain Bolt will be the star attraction, as he competes for Jamaica in the men's four by one hundred metres relay. Somewhat surprisingly, Bolt has never won a Commonwealth Games medal, but he will expect to put that right with his world record-holding team and add gold to his outstanding collection, which includes six Olympic and eight world championship triumphs. The schedule also features the finals of the men's four by four hundred metres relay, the fifteen hundred metres, the triple jump and the javelin, both the women's relays, the five thousand metres - sadly minus the injured Mo Farah - and pole vault. Plus, updates from the final of the men's ten metres platform discipline at the Royal Commonwealth Pool in Edinburgh, which is expected to feature Tom Daley. Lets hope this provides more entertainment than the last TV show he was involved in. Although, to be fair, young Tom dropping his trunks and shitting in the pool would've been more entertaining than Pro-Celebrity Drowning. Meanwhile, over on BBC3 Dan Walker presents further medals from The Hydro, where the boxing programme reaches a conclusion with six finals, in the men's welterweight, middleweight, light heavyweight, heavyweight and super heavyweight, and women's middleweight categories. And, from the Glasgow National Hockey Centre hosts the final and bronze-medal match in the women's hockey tournament.

A professor is found dead on Hallow'een with a stake through her heart and a garlic bulb stuffed in her mouth. No, this isn't Sunnydale, dear blog reader, it's just another ordinary working day in Oxford you might think. But, hang on, Laura Hobson soon reveals that she actually shared a house with the victim, Ligeia Willard, during their university days in another classic Lewis - Falling Darkness - 7:00 ITV3. Meanwhile, a medium visits Robbie Lewis claiming to have foreseen the tragedy during a séance. Not only that, but ghostly messages from beyond the grave start to appear, spelled out in fridge magnet letters, in a house occupied by four students which was where Laura and her schoolgirl chums lived back in the day. As the sceptical detective - and his equally sceptical oppo, James Hathaway - struggle with the possibility that their friend is somehow implicated in the grisly crime, a tale of jealousy and revenge begins to unfold. It's a case which conjures up ghosts from the past and could deliver the fatal blow to the close-nit team. Yer actual Rupert Graves, John Sessions and Niamh Cusack guest star along with Kevin Whatley, Laurence Fox, Clare Holman and Rebecca Front.

Melvyn Bragg's Radical Lives - 9:00 BBC2 - is a two-part programme in which the veteran broadcaster examines the lives, work and legacies of two men whose ideas have resonated with people both in their own time and down the centuries. The first edition focuses on Fourteenth-Century priest John Ball, who was persecuted by the Church authorities he despised and in 1381 joined forces with yer actual Wat Tyler in Kent to lead the uprising that became known as The Peasants' Revolt. Bragg explores how the words of Ball have helped shape rebellions and political thought for more than six hundred years.

Selina prepares to reveal she will be running for president, but on the day of her official announcement she is faced with a series of challenges in the latest episode of Veep - 9:35 Sky Atlantic. A Saturday Night Live sketch mocking her privileged upbringing has gone viral, Dan is struggling to finish the speech and her daughter Catherine has turned up wearing the same dress. To top it all, Senator Doyle advises Selina to pull the plug on supporting universal childcare, so a reluctant Mike is forced to tell a campaigner she must leave the event and ends up insulting her in the ensuing argument. Comedy, starring Julia Louis-Dreyfus.
Maverick British rifleman sergeant Richard Sharpe is promoted to officer status after saving the life of General Arthur Wellesley - the future Duke of Wellington - and, for his first assignment is sent behind enemy lines to rally Spanish support in the opening episode of Sharpe - 10:40 Drama. Surrounded by the hatred French, Sharpe and his small band of Chosen Men manage to pull off an inspiring propaganda coup in the small town of Torrecastro. Swashbuckling adventure based on the novels of Bernard Cornwall, featuring Downton Abbey creator Lord Snooty in a guest role and starring yer actual Sean Bean his very self, Dara O'Malley, David Troughton and Brian Cox (no, the other one). Trivia fans should note that this pilot episode of what would become a long-running and much-loved series - a particular favourite of yer actual Keith Telly Topping - was originally planned to feature Paul McGann in the title role. However, shortly into filming, in the Crimea, Paul injured his ligaments whilst playing in a charity football kick-about necessitating a halt in production and the recasting of Bean in the role that would, quickly, make his name. How different the world could have been had McGann not played that game of football. For a start, Sean could have been (s'cuse the pun) cast, instead of Paul, in the 1996 Doctor Who TV movie. 'Ey, Graycie. Lowk at t'size of t'Cybermen!' I'd've watched it, dear blog reader.

Sunday 3 August
Gary Lineker, Clare Balding and Hazel Irvine present live coverage from Hampden Park as the Twentieth Commonwealth Games are, officially, brought to a close after eleven days of competition. The ceremony promises to 'celebrate Scotland's way of life', see you Jimmy, hoots mon, can y'lend us a fiver till Friday, and gives the athletes 'the chance to unwind after a hectic schedule', with the baton handed over to Gold Coast City, host of the 2018 Games. The games have been the largest multi-sport event ever held in Scotland, featuring seventeen sports and competitors from seventy one territories and they will all have a chance to enjoy their moment in the spotlight this evening. Subsequent programmes subject to change if the event overruns. Which it will.

News of Red's systematic manhunt prompts Anslo Garrick, a man whose name is on the blacklist, to try to infiltrate the FBI to capture the former international man of mystery and intrigue in a classic repeat of The Blacklist - 9:00 Sky Living. Meanwhile, Don Ressler is ordered to guard the informant when Liz Keen goes missing. Crime drama, guest starring Ritchie Coster, with James Spader and Megan Boone.
The Beach Boys: Live at Knebworth - 9:00 Sky Arts 1 - features a performance from the June 1980 Knebworth Festival featuring all six of The Beach Boys - Brian, Dennis and Carl Wilson, Mike Love, Al Jardine and Bruce Johnston - who provide a set comprising many of their most memorable hits including 'Good Vibrations', 'Wouldn't It Be Nice?', 'Darlin', 'California Girls', 'I Get Around' and 'Surfin' USA'. Pretty damn good it is, too, although as usual it hard to watch The Beach Boys without wanting to punch Mike Love, really hard, in the mush on general principle. Small trivia note, part two, dear blog reader. That same weekend in 1980, yer actual Keith Telly Topping had travelled with some friends up Loch Lomand on the back of a Vespa to watch The Jam headlining at another festival. As usually happens in such circumstances, it proceeded to piss down like The Flood and yer actual Keith Telly Topping along with everybody else, got thoroughly soaked through to their vests by the middle of the afternoon. The entire crowd was feeling miserable and had already turned on The Tourists during their set, pelting Dave Stewart and Annie Lennox with mud (not undeservedly, it must be said), when Stiff Little Fingers hit the stage. Through the drizzle, Jake Burns attempted to lighten the mood. 'Hello Knebworth, we're The Beach Boys!' he yelled. What's truly remarkable is, it worked. Everybody laughed and The Stiffies proceeded to play a properly storming set climaxing with their brilliant version of Bob Marley's 'Johnny Was' and by the time that Paul, Bruce and Rick came on an hour later, it had even stopped raining. Ah, the wonders of pop music, is there anything it can't achieve?

As the Chartist rally at Kersal Moor approaches, Daniel does his best to inspire the workers despite a lacklustre response in the latest episode of The Mill - 8:00 Channel Four. Esther deals with Patience and her escalating abuse of young girls in the apprentice house, while Miriam grows closer to Peter when she offers to teach him to read - causing a stir in the pub. Susannah becomes increasingly bored and frustrated with domestic life.

Monday 4 August
Huw Edwards in London and Sophie Raworth in Belgium introduce live coverage of a commemorative event marking the centenary of the outbreak of the First World War in World War One Remembered - 6:30 BBC2. One wonders how long it will be before some hapless glake - probably wriitng in a national newspaper - describes these programmes as being part of a 'celebration' of the anniversary of the outbreak of the war which was supposed to end all wars. But, didn't. Historian Dan Snow hosts from St Symphorien military cemetery near the town of Mons, where British, Commonwealth and German soldiers fight, died and are buried side by side. Gareth Malone leads a children's choir singing their own specially written song, and actor Eddie Redmayne and serving British and German soldiers read poems and testimonies. There is also a recording of a collaboration between the London Symphony Orchestra and the Berlin Philharmonic under the baton of conductor Simon Rattle, performing the last movement of Brahms's German Requiem and Butterworth's A Shropshire Lad. Later, at Westminster Abbey, there will be a candlelit service to mark the moment the First World War began one hundred years ago, with the Abbey descending gradually into darkness until the only light comes from a single candle at the Grave of the Unknown Warrior. The flame will be extinguished at 11pm - the exact time that Great Britain declared war on Germany. Four years of apocalyptic horror followed as young men from across Europe, the Commonwealth and (late for everything, as usual) America fought for a bunch of causes that they cared not a sodding thing about because they were told to by their supposed 'betters'. The rat-faced loathsome wretched odious nasty slavver-merchant, George Formby lookalike (and tit) Gove might regard the First World World as some kind of glorious slaughter. But, as someone whose grandfather - one of the 'lions led by donkeys' who survived the blood-and-mud carnage of Passchendaele and whose brother, this blogger's great-uncle Bob, didn't survive the first battle of Ypres - allow this blogger a moment of quiet reflection on millions of lives needlessly lost in the cause of bog-all. The programme also joins communities across the UK as the nation comes together for an hour of reflection.

Gomorrah - 9:00 Sky Atlantic - is a, rather decent-looking, Italian crime drama based on Roberto Saviano's best-selling novel, painting a portrait of the brutal Neapolitan crime syndicate the Camorra, as seen through the eyes of Ciro Di Marzio, the obedient and self-confident right-hand man of the organisation's godfather, Pietro Savastano. In the opening episode, Ciro and his friend Attilio set fire to the home of rival Salvatore Conte as they attempt to stop him from encroaching on their boss's turf, but their target escapes and retaliates viciously against the Savastanos. Starring Marco D'Amore and Fortunato Cerlino. In Italian with English subtitles. Nice to see Sky getting in on the BBC4 obsession with European-noir.

There's a night of Qi XL on Dave from 9pm beginning with that terrific episode from the H series guest starring three of the great comedy broadcasting wits of our - or, indeed, any other - generation, Bill Bailey, Eddie Izzard and Danny Baker. Alongside another, the host Stephen Fry. And Alan Davies. 'I'm not advocating for the ghost party,' notes Danny at one point in a round about haunted houses. 'Yeah, cos all the other parties, they're just scaremongering!' replies Bill with brilliant comic timing. GOLD also have an evening drawn from the John Lloyd stable, in this case three episodes of Blackadder The Third - from 9pm. Presumably, they've avoided the temptation to run Blackadder Goes Forth on the anniversary of the beginning of the First World War out of pure cowardice over what some pondscum louse of no importance at the Daily Scum Mail might say.

The growing phenomenon of newspaper-voucher holidays is highlighted in My £9.50 Holiday - 10:40 BBC1 - revealing how British families from all walks of life are taking advantage of such breaks at rock-bottom prices. This one-off film follows four groups who have paid just under a tenner to stay on caravan sites in Skegness and Great Yarmouth. In these cash-stapped times, will they think their bargain break is worth it? Narrated by Katherine Kelly.

Tuesday 5 August
In The Club - 9:00 BBC1 - is a new drama from Kay Mellor, who created The Syndicate, Playing The Field and Fat Friends. It follows six pregnant women from a variety of backgrounds and ages who are brought together when they attend an antenatal class with their partners. They include Diane and her husband Rick, who struggled to conceive, and fifteen-year-old schoolgirl Rosie, who is attempting to hide her pregnancy from everyone around her - even the baby's father. The only person she can confide in is fellow mum-to-be Kim, a teaching assistant who writes a pregnancy blog. Katherine Parkinson, Hermione Norris, Jill Halfpenny, Will Mellor and Hannah Midgley star. Despite a genuinely quality cast, the trailers look extremely 'paint-by-numbers' although, to be fair, this blogger is, clearly, not the intended audience. Keith Telly Topping not having a functioning uterus, for one thing.

Finlay goes missing in the latest episode of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation - 9:00 Channel Five. Sara and Morgan tell their colleagues - in a series of extended flashbacks - how the three of them were on their way to Reno for a 'girls' spa weekend' (and if the thought of Elisabeth Harnois in a spa doesn't do something for you, dear blog reader, then you're probably clinically dead). However, they were forced to stop in the small, shit-kicking hick town of Larkston when their car broke down. After spending the evening in a bar, Finlay decided to go off - for a night of hot sweaty umbongo sex action, one speculates - with a big sweaty mechanic that she was attracted to - and, hey, haven't we all? But, having had a sudden change of mind, the man then attempted to rape her and she fought him off and stabbed him, twice. Really hard. Finlay discovered her attacker was involved in the abduction of several women and went off the radar while following up a lead. With Elisabeth Shue, Jorja Fox and Elisabeth Harnois getting the majority of the limelight in this particular episode.

In the final part of Chivalry and Betrayal: The Hundred Years War - 9:00 BBC4 - Janina Ramirez really has her work cut out sustaining our interest for the final leg of the story. That she manages it, easily, is further proof that if I'd've had her as a history teacher, this blogger would've gotten better than a D at A Level history. And, probably, lots of detention. Anyway, covering 1415 to 1453, Doctor Ramirez charts Henry V's progress across France, seizing provinces and eventually the capital, inspiring the carnage of Agincourt before his death from dysentery at the age of just thirty five. His pious young heir Henry VI would be happier building his chapel at King's College, Cambridge than fighting the French. Janita examines six hundred-year-old contracts, pores over stained glass and, just as the story show signs of getting bogged down in the intricacies of court intrigue, the crafty Dauphin produces his secret weapon, a figurehead sent by God – Joan of Arc. Last in the series.

Kids Behind Bars - 9:00 ITV - is, as the rather stupidly tabloid-style title might suggest, a documentary meeting some of America's most dangerous young offenders. The Wabash Valley Correctional Facility in Indiana is home to forty teenagers serving terms of up to sixty five years for a range of serious crimes. This programme follows those spending their first night in the maximum-security prison and others preparing to move up to adult jail. They include Blake Layman, seventeen, sentenced to fifty five years for murder and Ireland MacKean, sixteen, who says that he wants to stay out of trouble behind bars as he starts a ten-year term for robbery. Narrated by David Morrissey.

Wednesday 6 August
ITV really seem to have a thing about prisons at the moment - what does that say about their audience? Secrets From The Clink - 9:00 - is the first of a two-part programme in which 'celebrities' embark on an emotional journey to discover how their ancestors coped with serving time in Victorian prisons. Strictly Come Dancing judge Len Goodman is shocked to learn his great-great-grandfather was assaulted by his own son, who was convicted and subjected to hard labour building docks and quarrying for stone. Comedian Johnny Vegas finds out how one of his forebears spent time behind bars for stealing and that the man's alcoholic wife was something of a persistent offender. Broadcaster Mariella Frostrup (who, as Half Man Half Biscuit once noted ' does lots of voice-overs and nothing much else but she seems to get by') hears the story of her great-great-grandfather, an entrepreneur who resorted to fraud when the economy crashed in the 1870s.

Tonight sees a new series of Sarah Beeny's Double Your House for Half the Money - 8:00 Channel Four. The property developer returns to show people - well, let's be accurate, here, middle-class annoying people because she as shite you'll never see a sheet metal worker from Gateshead on this type of show - how to make their existing homes bigger and better for a fraction of the cost of moving. In the first edition, The Beeny visits Great Baddow in Essex, where Ian and Claire hope to double the size of their four-bedroom house and make it 'a multi-generational home' with separate floors for their parents, children and themselves. Sarah also meets Paul and Mimi, who relocated from London after the riots of summer 2011. They are now settled in Great Bowden, Leicestershire, and hope to extend and rework the original layout of their 1960s home.

Broadcaster Clare Balding and vet Steve Leonard travel the world to watch vets perform innovative life-saving operations on a variety of wild animals in Operation Wild - 9:00 BBC1. Because, obviously, Rolf Harris isn't currently available for any more animal series and wont be for the foreseeable future. This first edition features a baby panda called Zhu Xia in South-West China that needs an MRI scan and the rescued gorilla Shufai in Cameroon, who was shot by poachers when he was a baby. Plus, a manta ray on the Japanese island of Okinawa that needs an ultra-sound scan to determine if it's pregnant, and a four-ton elephant in Laos with a gunshot wound.

The recent Commonwealth Games in Glasgow appears to have been a resounding success but, the event doesn't always get such massive support from the general public. Boycotts And Broken Dream: The Story Of The 1986 Commonwealth Games - 8:00 BBC4 - is a documentary taking a look back at the last time Scotland hosted the event. Back then Edinburgh had the honour, but the games achieved infamy when more than thirty countries boycotted them due to Margaret Thatcher's refusal to implement economic sanctions on South Africa's vile apartheid regime. As a result, the event suffered huge financial difficulties. Andrew Neil recalls how he broke the story at the time and swimmer Annette Cowley reveals how the political fallout made her ineligible to compete. But it wasn't all bad - ten thousand metre runner Liz McColgan took gold in front of a home crowd and Steve Cram won the fifteen hundred metres in record-breaking time.

Thursday 7 August
BAFTA-winning actress Julie Walters, of Educating Rita fame and Mamma Mia! infamy, traces her roots back to County Mayo in Western Ireland, where her great-grandfather Anthony Clark was one of the first members of the Land League in the opening episode of a new series of Who Do You Think You Are? - 9:00 BBC1. The organisation was formed in 1879 and campaigned for more than forty years for the rights of tenant farmers to own their own land.
Lily is a wild black bear whose life has been documented online since the day of her birth by biologist Doctor Lynn Rogers, who has a unique relationship with all the bears in his study, feeding them by hand and walking with them in the woods of north Minnesota. Their story is told in the latest Natural World - A Bear With A Bounty - 8:00 BBC2. However, Lynn's methods have divided opinion and Lily's fame has resulted in her becoming a prime target when the six-week bear hunting season begins. This film follows possibly the most challenging chapter in Lily's remarkable life. Tamsin Greig narrates.

Christopher Foyle (Michael Kitchen) is enlisted as the police representative on the Victory Day Celebrations Committee, alongside his old friend John Kiefer representing the American forces stationed at Hastings in what was, at the time it was filmed, potentially the last episode of Foyle's War - 9:00 ITV3. Of course, in the event it wasn't, and, indeed, still isn't, but that's another story entirely. Anyway, back to the plot, a murder of one of their number puts paid to the preparations when evidence points to the guilt of another member, and investigations uncover truths the Allies would rather remain hidden. Anthony Howell and Honeysuckle Weeks co-star, with guest Jay Benedict.
Our World War - 9:00 BBC3 - is a drama based on the experiences of British soldiers during the First World War. In August 1914, eighty thousand troops arrive in Southern Belgium, including the Fourth Battalion, Royal Fusiliers. Lieutenant Maurice Dease and his friend Fred Steele command two companies of riflemen who find themselves camping overnight at the Nimy Bridge, near Mons. However, they receive information that reveals the Germans may be closer than expected. Starring Dominic Thorburn and Jefferson Hall.

Friday 8 August
Walter - 9:00 BBC1 - is a one-off comedy drama, starring Adrian Dunbar as world-weary detective inspector Walter Gambon, whose workload increases when he is handed the cases of an officer who recently committed suicide - and ends up trying to track down yet another fellow officer who has gone so far undercover, nobody knows where he is. Helping Gambon is young, slightly clumsy and more than 'a little bit stupid' detective constable Anne Hopkins (Utopia's Alexandra Roach). Together they track down the cop in question to a hardened drugs gang. Co-starring Kayvan Novak.
In Edinburgh Nights With Sue Perkins - 10:00 BBC2 - the comedienne presents highlights from the city's annual arts and cultural festivals and introduces a selection of music, cabaret performances and stand-up. She is joined on the first show by Frank Skinner, who is performing at the festival for the first time in seven years and by writer and actress Pamela Stephenson, who is appearing at the Fringe in dance drama Brazouka.

Two successful career women are found raped and strangled in imitation of similar murders committed years earlier in continental Europe in The Names Of Angels the latest repeat episode of Wire In The Blood - 10:00 ITV3. Tony picks up the links with Bradfield's own business community, but his investigations are interrupted by the unexpected arrival of teenage killer Jack Norton, who is on the run from his social workers because he cannot cope with life 'released under licence'. With Wor Geet Canny Robson Green, Simone Lahbib, Mark Letheren and Emma Handy.
Award-winning husband-and-wife confectioners Mark Greenwood and Kitty Hope demonstrate how to make all kinds of sweets at home, from childhood favourites to exotic treats, sourcing the best ingredients from around the UK along the way in Sweets Made Simple - 8:00 BBC2. In the first episode, Kitty and Mark make treats that are perfect to enjoy after dark, including gin and lime truffles and salted seashell caramels, while a spectacular raspberry marshmallow makes a perfect dinner party finale.
The former editor of the Scum of the World - and the Prime Minister's former, if you will, 'chum' - Andy Coulson, is reportedly 'facing questions' over the whereabouts of his personal wealth as prosecutors seek seven hundred and fifty grand in costs following his phone-hacking conviction. Lawyers for the Crown have applied to the court for Coulson, to pay what the Gruniad Morning Star describe as 'potentially crippling costs' following the eight-month long trial which ended him being extremely jailed for eighteen months. 'We want to investigate where the money has gone,' said Andrew Edis QC for the prosecution during a costs hearing on Friday. Coulson, the Gruniad suggest, 'is hoping that an indemnity contract with his former employer, News UK, will cover the costs if they are ordered against him', but whether that will happen is 'in dispute.' The Crown wants to know what has happened to the money Coulson has earned since he resigned from the Scum of the World in 2007. Coulson has provided an affidavit about his assets, but the prosecution wants him to 'provide more information' and said that it was 'not uncommon' for people in Coulson's situation to 'move' money. 'A lot of money has passed through Mr Coulson's hands over the past few years,' said Edis. 'There doesn't seem to be very much left. In a situation such as this when someone anticipates they might be convicted having been charged in 2012, it is not at all uncommon for transfers of money to take place whereby they are not in his ownership, but may still be accessible to him later on if the need arises.' He added: 'The basic question we want answering is, if a costs order is made against Mr Coulson, who will pay it?' Coulson is believed to have earned at least two hundred and seventy five thousand smackers a year while working for the Conservative party in opposition and one hundred and forty thousand knicker a year while in Downing Street as David Cameron's chief communications adviser - and, if you will, 'chum' - until he resigned in January 2011. He sold his one-and-a-half-million quid, five-bedroom Victorian home in Forest Hill shortly after he was charged and downsized to a six hundred thousand quid house in Kent according to the Gruniad who, suddenly, appear to have acquired the Daily Scum Mail's fascination with house prices. Mr Justice Saunders asked Timothy Langdale QC for the disgraced former editor to provide a statement from Coulson about what has happened to the money he earned since 2007, including 'the realised equity on the house.' He wanted to know if Coulson claims that he is entitled to a refund of his costs under the indemnity agreement with News UK and he raised the question of whether billionaire tyrant Rupert Murdoch's news organisation would feel 'a moral responsibility' to pay the costs of the prosecution 'out of the goodness of their hearts' and suggested they 'may think' that they 'profited from the phone-hacking stories. Sorry, this blogger just has to stop for a moment because, genuinely, that's the first time I have ever written a story in which the words 'billionaire Rupert tyrant' and 'out of the goodness of their hearts' have both appeared. This blogger doesn't expect it'll happen again in my lifetime. Anyway, Edis said: 'They may be overtaken by a tenderness to the costs of the prosecution given their employees caused all this mess in the first place.' Well, quite. The overall cost to the taxpayer for the hacking trial was at least £1.74m, the Crown Prosecution Service has said. Coulson remains at the maximum security Belmarsh clink awaiting a retrial on further charges of conspiring to cause misconduct in public office in relation to the alleged purchase of confidential royal phone directories in 2005 from a palace police officer. The judge said that he would write to the prison governor next week, potentially paving the way for Coulson's transfer to an open prison. 'I am sorry to hear that Mr Coulson is remaining at Belmarsh because of the possibility of the retrial taking place,' said Mr Justice Saunders. 'I think the governor should be informed that any retrial if there were to be one would be somewhere down the line.'

Meanwhile, someone who won't be joining his former boss Coulson in the morning ritual of slopping out is ex-Scum of the World journalist Dan Evans who has been given a ten-month jail sentence suspended for a year at the Old Bailey. He pleaded extremely guilty in September 2013 to two counts of phone-hacking as well as making illegal payments to officials and perverting the course of justice. He was a prosecution witness against his former editor Coulson and others at the hacking trial. The judge said that he had reduced Evans's sentence as a result of him turning Copper's Nark and singing like a canary. Evans is thought to be the first journalist to be convicted of making illegal payments to public officials. Last year, he admitted accessing the voicemails of two hundred celebrities, politicians and sports people and listening to more than one thousand voicemails while he worked at the Scum of the World. Evans also admitted to hacking phones while he worked for the Sunday Mirra. Evans, of Kilburn, pleaded very guilty to one count of hacking at the Sunday Mirra, where he worked from 2003 to 2005 and one at the Scum of the World, where he worked from 2004 until it was shut in shame and ignominy in 2010. Mr Justice Saunders also ordered Evans to carry out two hundred hours of unpaid work in the community. Shovelling shit, or some such, one imagines. Passing sentence, the judge said that he had taken into account the guilty pleas and Evans's agreement to turn supergrass and give evidence in the hacking trial and possibly other future trials. 'In the circumstances of this case, and in particular the co-operation that Mr Evans has given and has agreed to give the police and the prosecution in the future as compared with the lack of co-operation from others, I do feel able to suspend the sentence for a period of twelve months,' the judge added. 'I would not have done that had Mr Evans not made a clean breast of his involvement in these offences.' He indicated that Evans would have faced a sentence of two years extreme imprisonment, had he not pleaded guilty and agreed to give evidence. Mr Justice Saunders imposed suspended terms of four months for the phone-hacking, four months for perverting the course of justice and two months for misconduct in public office, all to run consecutively. He said that if Evans had been convicted by a jury after a trial, he would have imposed a nine-month sentence for phone-hacking, nine months for perverting the course of justice and six months for misconduct in public office. Saunders said that Evans was one of 'the only people who have been prepared to give evidence of their knowledge and involvement in phone-hacking at the News of the World.' This was despite 'undisputed evidence' of 'a great deal of hacking' at the paper from 2004 to 2006, the judge added. 'Why so few people have been prepared to give evidence in court about what went on is not for me to say but it makes Mr Evans's position unique.'

BSkyB is paying £4.9bn to take over billionaire tyrant Rupert Murdoch's pay TV companies in Germany and Italy. The move was announced along with the company's annual results earlier this week, which show pre-tax profits fell slightly to £1.2bn from last year's £1.26bn. BSkyB also reported revenues rose by seven per cent, with strong demand 'across the board' for its services. It said Sky Sports viewing share was at a seven-year high, boosted by the open race for the Premier League title. Part of BSkyB - thirty nine per cent - is owned by billionaire tyrant Rupert Murdoch's Twenty First Century FOX. That company owns one hundred per cent of Sky Italia and fifty seven per cent of Sky Germany. Billionaire tyrant Murdoch wants to sell these to BSkyB to free up cash for Twenty First Century FOX, which is trying to buy media giant Time Warner, the company which owns HBO and news business channel CNN. BSkyB broadcasts to ten million homes in the UK. A combined Sky Europe would have twenty million customers. The company hopes the new structure will save it two hundred million knicker by the end of the second financial year with further savings to come. BSkyB shares fell almost four per cent on the news, as it means higher debt levels and a stop to its current practice of buying back shares.
Former Radio 1 DJ and self-confessed 'hairy cornflake' Dave Lee Travis will go on trial in September over sexual abuse allegations, a judge has ruled. Travis faces a retrial on two charges - of indecent assault and sexual assault - and a new count of indecent assault. The sixty nine-year-old, who denies the three charges, was cleared of twelve counts of indecent assault in February. Speaking after a hearing at Southwark Crown Court, he said he felt 'very bitter' about what had happened to him. In February, jurors were unable to reach verdicts on one charge of indecent assault dating back to the early 1990s and one of sexual assault in 2008. He has pleaded not guilty to one additional count of indecent assault on a woman aged over sixteen, alleged to have taken place on 17 January 1995. The judge, Anthony Leonard QC, adjourned the case to a trial starting on 1 September. In a nine-minute statement outside court, that the former DJ said was being delivered 'against the advice of his legal team', Travis told journalists he had 'lost respect' for those in the justice system - apart from the judge and the jury at his first trial. He said that there was 'no such thing' as innocent until proven guilty and accused the Crown Prosecution Service of 'over compensating' for its 'failings' in the Jimmy Savile fiasco, amid 'hysteria' over the affair. Travis claimed that the case had 'done a lot of damage' to his reputation - damage that might be 'irreparable' he claimed, albeit, not quite as irreparable as it would be if he were to be found guilty of any of the three charges he faces; charges which, it is important to note, he strenuously denies. He also claimed that the past twenty months since he was first arrested about these matters had been 'very stressful.' But he added: 'I'm okay - I'm not about to top myself.'

Tulisa Contostavlos has been found extremely guilty of assault. The singer and former X Factor judge assaulted the 'celebrity blogger' Savvas Morgan - also known as Vas J Morgan, apparently - during 'an altercation' at The V Festival last year. She has been fined two hundred quid and ordered to pay a twenty smackers victim surcharge, one hundred notes compensation and two thousand seven hundred knicker costs. Her personal assistant Gareth Varey, was cleared of threatening behaviour at Stratford Magistrates' Court. Contostavlos and Varey had both denied the charges against them. Earlier this week, Contostavlos's drug trial collapsed at Southwark Crown Court after the judge said that he had 'strong grounds to believe' former Scum of the World undercover reporter Mazher Mahmood had lied at a pre-trial hearing. At that case, Contostavlos had pleaded not guilty to a charge of being concerned with the supply of class A drugs.

This certainly one way to stick a middle fingers up at turning forty four. Celebrating ageing in considerable style, yer actual Charisma Carpenter caused something of a stir on Twitter after posting a totally nekked picture posing against a window. The former Buffy The Vampire Slayer and Angel actress uploaded the snap on the eve of her big day, adding: 'Yes, my bday suit for my bday.' And, very nice it is too.
And so to yer actual Keith Telly Topping's 45 of the Day. Here's a twenty four carat pop classic from Nick Lowe & His Rockpilers.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Honi Soit Qui Mal Y Pense

It was but ten years ago this very week, dear blog reader, that the revived Doctor Who first began filming in Welsh Wales. On 18 July 2004, yer actual Christopher Eccleston and Billie Piper her very self went a'fore the cameras to shoot the quasi post-apocalyptic opening sequences of Rose at Cardiff Royal Infirmary. The rest, as they say, is history. As if to mark the occasion, as previously reported by this blog, the show's production team took a day trip away from their Cardiff base this weekend to stage a Cyber-invasion on the streets of Old London Town. Braving properly blistering temperatures on one of the hottest days of the year so far, Saturday's location shoot saw The Cybermen stomping a path from St Paul's Cathedral, a London landmark which they last conquered during The Invasion, that well-remembered 1968 eight-episode story featuring Patrick Troughton's Doctor. Crowds of fans and otehr curious onlookers huddled behind hastily-erected barriers to watch the new Doctor, yer actual Peter Capaldi, and the episode's guest star Michelle Gomez filming on Peter's Hill, close to the Millennium Bridge, while a second unit worked nearby on close-ups of a number of marauding Cybermen outside the Cathedral itself. Doctor Who's regular choreographer Ailsa Berk was on hand to marshal a sweaty Cyber army into formation, while director Rachel Talalay darted back and forth from the actors to her monitor as she lined up the shots. The former Green Wing actress Gomez seemed to be absolutely relishing her role as the new villainess, The Gatekeeper Of The Nethersphere, even reportedly delivering a panto-style hiss in the direction of the assembled onlookers. Which went down very well, by all accounts. During breaks, yer man Capaldi took time to sign autographs and pose for a seemingly endless number of fan selfies. He even reportedly obliged when a passing female tourist with a map appeared to ask him for directions. 'Hop in the TARDIS, love, I'll run you over to Leicester Square as soon as I'm finished saving the universe,' he replied. Or something.
The armour worn by The Cybermen may protect them from bullets - unless they're made from gold, of course – but it doesn't, as far as we know, protect them from heat. One can, therefore, only pity the poor actors who turned out for filming at St Paul's on Saturday in full cyber-costume, as temperatures hit a sweltering twenty eight degrees. The filming, of course, sparked a social media frenzy. And lots of photo opportunities.
Meanwhile, coming this August ...
Oh, yes. Big dinosaur. And, as an added bonus, here's the cover of the new issue of the very excellent Doctor Who Magazine. I dunno about you, dear blog reader, but yer actual Keith Telly Topping is starting to get more excited by the minute. Is it nearly August yet?
The DWM also confirmed that a 'limited edition' fiftieth anniversary DVD and Blu-Ray box set will be released in the Autumn. Six thousand Blu-Ray's and four thousand DVD's will be released of the set, which was first rumoured back in February, when the BBFC rated and cleared several potential extras for release. As well as the fiftieth anniversary special, The Day Of The Doctor, its very self the set will include the series seven finale, The Name Of The Doctor and Matt Smith's final story, the Christmas special The Time Of The Doctor. Also included will be the so-called mini-sodes The Night of The Doctor with yer actual Paul McGann, the acclaimed and award-winning docu-drama on the creation of Doctor Who, Mark Gatiss's An Adventure In Space & Time which will be available on Blu-Ray in the UK for the first time and the long awaited relased in any form of the Peter Davison-directed spoof The Five(ish) Doctors Reboot. Other extras include a large number of documentaries shown around the period of the show's fiftieth anniversary like Doctor Who: The Ultimate Guide, Brian Cox's The Science Of Doctor Who, Doctor Who Proms 2013, another mini-sode The Last Day, The Day Of The Doctor cinema intros, deleted scenes, the two BBC America documentaries Tales From The TARDIS and Farewell To Matt Smith and some additional behind-the-scenes material. The set is due for release in the UK on 8 September. Needless to say, dear blog reader, yer actual Keith Telly Topping is, definitely, havin' one of them.

Yer actual Keith Telly Topping is, once again, indebted to his good mate Danny Blythe for the following photo ... and the suggested caption 'BBC cuts begin to bite.'
Peter Jackson his very self is still hoping to direct an episode of Doctor Who, according to The Lord Thy God Steven Moffat. The executive producer said that Jackson's busy schedule with The Hobbit has so far delayed any possible involvement. 'He's still incredibly busy on The Hobbit,' Moffat told SFX. 'I've spoken to him face-to-face, and he would like to do one. He accepts that there's no money and that there's no time and it would have to be when he's available - and I don't think he's even been available enough to answer our e-mails of late.' The Moff continued: 'I think it will probably happen at some point. I mean, he can do what the hell he likes - he owns New Zealand! I think he's sincere in his Doctor Who fandom, to say the least. He's a nice guy, he quite often drops me a line after a show goes out. He's into it - it's just, "Can you make it work?" I think he would also like us to go and make it in New Zealand! And I'm like "Okay, I'd rather we just flew you to Cardiff!"' In December, Jackson told the Digital Spy website that his talks with yer man Moffat to direct an episode were serious. 'I would be very happy to,' Jackson said. 'I'd love to try my hand at television, because I've never had the discipline of having to shoot for those impossibly tiny schedules. I think I could do it okay now.'

By about a million miles, the highlight of, to be fair, a rather Marmite-style Commonwealth Games Opening Ceremony on Wednesday evening was Big John Barrowman mincing about attractively in a garish purple tartan suit and, at the climax of his routine, kissing a male dancer in a metaphorical flashing neon signal to the forty odd Commonwealth countries where gay marriage is illegal that, in Scotland, at least, it isn't. In what was seen as a clear message to the forty two countries of the Commonwealth where it is still a crime to be gay to get their shit together, Glasgow-born John reached out to kiss the man before holding his hand during a sequence to celebrate Gretna Green, the village on the Scottish/English border which is remains a regular destination for eloping couples. For one moment, Glasgow became the world centre for tolerance and gave bigotry a healthy - old style - Glasgow kiss. Good on ya, John and good on the organisers for this moment of pure TV magic.
TV archivist Philip Morris, who was the man responsible for last year's discovery of nine previously lost episodes from The Enemy Of The World and The Web Of Fear at a Nigerian television station, on Sunday declined to confirm (or, to be fair, deny) whether he has found any further episodes of Doctor Who. Philip had been taking part in an online question-and-answer session at the Doctor Who Missing Episodes Discussion Group on Facebook, answering questions submitted by members of the group earlier in the day. Thus meaning that all of the, you know, mental questions from The Special People were weeded out beforehand. Which was probably just as well. Asked to say whether or not he had found any further episodes, Philip told the group: 'A tricky one to answer. And fans will just want a yes or no haven't you or have you. But it's complex; all I can say is the wind is blowing the right way, be patient. I don't wish to jeopardise the ongoing project in any way. And [I] feel the fans of all lost TV will be very happy with the outcome.' Philip told the group about the dangers inherent in searching in unstable areas of the world for vintage television programmes, including his own encounters with bandits and armed militia and narrowly being missed by a mortar shell when he was in Syria a few years ago. But, he said, he had also been inspired by countries such as India, and Ethiopia, which are 'nations of very innovative people who find the most amazing ways of doing things with little funding.' Morris defended the statement he issued last year, before the return of The Web Of Fear and The Enemy Of The World, in which he declared that the missing Doctor Who episodes were 'all gone': 'It was a statement of fact,' he noted. 'All the original video recordings were wiped, all the known negatives were junked and all out of contract film copies sent to landfill. They are the facts, sadly. However moving on from that you have non returned prints. And things which people thankfully thought to take home.' Morris said that the two stories he personally would most like to see returned are episode four of The Tenth Planet and The Power Of The Daleks, as these are 'such key episodes.' However, he said that fans should not expect any news of any further finds in the near future. 'There are no announcements in the pipeline at present. It can sometimes be the wrong thing with ongoing work and investigation. An example would be during the last announcement I was in a very hostile part of the world and suddenly I was everywhere on TV, my anonymity was compromised, which made the team a target. So we must plan these things carefully for the greater good of the project and the safety of the personnel involved.' BBC Worldwide has previously stated to Doctor Who Magazine that 'BBC Worldwide does not have any of the ninety seven missing episodes of Doctor Who and none of them have been - or are being - restored for release. We are aware of these rumours and are keen to set the record straight as we don't want fans' hopes to be falsely raised.'

Yer actual Benedict Cumberbatch is to be immortalised in wax after Madame Tussauds revealed that the actor has already posed for two sittings for its sculptors. The museum said the waxwork will show the actor looking 'impeccably groomed' in 'a stylish dark suit.' Madame Tussauds said his 'immaculate red carpet style will be paired with a warm and relaxed expression, and his famous tousled hairstyle.' Work on the figure is already well under way and The Cumberbatch his very self has been heavily involved with the creation process. Benny has given two sittings for the studios team, during which hundreds of precise measurements and numerous photographs were captured to be used by the sculptors and artists. 'Finally I can photobomb myself,' he said. 'What a weird and wonderful compliment to be included in the ranks of talent already committed to wax. I've been accused of being wooden in my work but never waxy. The main privilege for me was the process and seeing the amount of exacting work and skill brought to every detail of this art form. It is a wonderful combination of old and new, hi-tech and lo-fi skills. Measurements, hand inserted individual hairs and sculpted features. As a subject, you stand still surrounded by sculptors, painters, photographers, measurers and a whole army of people who bring together your likeness. It's an extraordinary experience. Also my agents will be thrilled, they've wanted a clone of me for some time.' Ben Sweet, the General Manager at Madame Tussauds London, said: 'There is no denying that Benedict Cumberbatch is one of the most in-demand actors of the moment. We have been lucky enough to work very closely with Benedict and his styling team to ensure that his figure is as realistic as possible. Our guests made it very clear they wanted to see him in the attraction, and we can’t wait for them to meet his figure later this year.'
Luscious, pouting sex-bomb Karen Gillan has starred in the new trailer for A Touch of Cloth. Kazza her very self plays the role of Kerry Newblood in the third series of the spoof crime drama, written by Charlie Brooker. She is attacked by a gorilla in the preview, which also sees Suranne Jones reprising her role as Anne Oldman and John Hannah returning as Jack Cloth. A Touch of Cloth will return on 9 August on Sky1.
BBC1's Crimewatch topped the Tuesday overnight ratings outside of soaps with 3.79m at 9pm. On BBC2, Hive Alive brought in 1.19m at 8pm, followed by Coast with 1.69m at 9pm. The shit that is ITV's Love Your Garden appealed to 2.44m sad crushed victims of society at 8pm, while a repeat of Fifty Six Up was seen by 1.91m at 9pm on what was, all round, a really rotten night on telly. On Channel Four, another brain-numbing episode of Fill Your House With Crap For Free interested 1.03m at 8pm, followed by the always uncomfortably sordid Undercover Boss with 1.13m at 9pm and Utopia with three hundred and eighty nine thousand punters at 10pm. Channel Five's Dog Rescuers attracted 1.17m at 8pm, whilst the latest CSI: Crime Scene Investigations was watched by 1.23m at 9pm. For what it's worth, yer actual Keith Telly Topping spent his night watching repeats of Qi XL and Have I Got A Bit More News For You on Dave and Chivalry & Betrayal on BBC4. I'm guessing this blogger had a hell of lot more fun with the Goddess that is Janina Ramirez her very self than those ITV viewers had stuck with that simpering waste-of-oxygen Titchmarsh.
Long Lost Family topped the Monday ratings outside soaps, according to overnights. The ITV series brought in 4.30 million at 9pm. Earlier, Countrywise was seen by 2.52m. On BBC1, Panorama appealed to 2.20m at 8.30pm, while John Bishop's Australia attracted 3.61m at 9pm. BBC2's University Challenge was watched by 2.24m at 8pm, followed by Food & Drink with 1.65m at 8.30pm. Clothes To Die For was seen by seven hundred and thirty nine thousand at 9pm. Channel Four's Food Unwrapped interested 1.03m at 8.30pm, while the Royal Marines Commando School was seen by 1.83m at 9pm. Kitchen Nightmares had an audience of six hundred and ninety five thousand at 10pm. On Channel Five, Police Interceptors attracted six hundred and ninety three thousand at 8pm, while Benefits Britain was seen by 1.47m at 9pm.

Here's the final and consolidated ratings figures for the Top Fifteen programmes, week-ending Sunday 13 July 2014:-
1 World Cup Final: Germany Versus Argentina - Sun BBC1 - 14.92m
2 World Cup Live: Argentina Versus The Netherlands - Wed ITV - 9.95m
3 Coronation Street - Mon ITV - 7.97m
4 EastEnders - Mon BBC1 - 6.92m
5 Emmerdale - Thurs ITV - 6.10m
6 Casualty - Sat BBC1 - 4.82m
7 Celebrity MasterChef - Fri BBC1 - 4.77m
8 Countryfile - Sun BBC1 - 4.56m
9 Ten O'Clock News - Mon BBC1 - 4.53m
10 John Bishop's Australia - Mon BBC1 - 4.47m
11 Six O'Clock News - Tues BBC1 - 4.13m
12 BBC News - Sun BBC1 - 4.04m
13 The ONE Show - Tues BBC1 - 3.52m
14 A Question of Sport: Super Saturday - Sat BBC1 - 3.32m
15 Holby City - Wed BBC1 - 3.30m
Compared to the BBC's 14.92 million viewers for the World Cup final, ITV's - utterly wretched, as always - coverage of the same match drew a risible 2.34 million punters. So much for ITV's ludicrous claim that the odious greed bucket, horrorshow (and drag) Chiles' presentation has 'a man in the street quality' which the BBC lacks. The man in the street, it would seem, has spoken. Loudly. Elsewhere at the World Cup, BBC1's coverage of the astonishing Brazil versus Germany semi-final attracted in 13.46m viewers whilst ITV's broadcast of the (generally pointless) Third Place Play Off game between Brazil and The Netherlands was watched by 7.67m. BBC1's post-match show for the Brazil versus Germany game (10.35m) had a fraction more viewers than their post-match coverage of the final itself, and Alan Hansen's last moments as a BBC punters (10.31m). Now, here's a truly shocking statistic, aside from their coverage of the World Cup, and the regular six weekly episodes of Corrie and six episodes of Emmerdale not a single ITV programme drew a final and consolidated audience of more than three million viewers. Not one. I mean, for the sake of balance it is worth pointing out that figures were, generally, low pretty much across the broad during the week. But still, the fact that the 2.66m audience for Tuesday's ITV News was in fifteenth place on ITV's weekly ratings list must, surely, give someone at ITV Towers a moment's concern. Though it is, undeniably, well-funny that You've Been Framed (2.53m), Countrywise (2.51m), The Cruise Ship (2.49m), Tipping Point Lucky Stars (2.48m) and, fer Christ's sake, even Love your Garden (2.43m) all managed more than ITV's coverage of the World Cup final. Yes, dear blog reader, you heard it here first, ITV can get more people watching Titchmarsh than Chiles. And, if you don't find that thigh-slappingly hilarious then there's something seriously wrong with your sense of humour. BBC2's top-rated programme of the week was, again, the - really rather good - drama The Honourable Woman with 2.52m viewers, followed by coverage of The Hampton Court Flower Show (2.01m), Mock The Week (1.90m), Gardener's World (1.80m) and University Challenge (1.55m). Channel Four's highest-rated show was Eight Out Of Ten Cats Does Countdown with 1.98m. Benefits Britain: Life On The Dole was Channel Five's best performer with 2.82m - which, again, just to repeat, was higher than any programme all week on ITV apart from two football matches, Corrie and Emmerdale - followed by OAPs Behaving Badly (1.97m) and CSI (1.83m). Once again, let's all have a right good laugh that E4's The One Hundred (2.05m) and The Big Bang Theory (2.02m) both attracted a higher audience than any of the week's Big Brother (Monday's 1.62m was the long-running Victorian freak show's highest rated episode of the week). On BBC4 Tales From The Royal Wardrobe had an audience of eight hundred and seventy six thousand viewers, whilst Only Connect attracted eight hundred and sixty two thousand.

Sir David Attenborough's new series is to be broadcast on Sky this Christmas. The three one-hour episodes of David Attenborough's Conquest Of The Skies will be shown in 3D. Using macroscopic and high-speed filming techniques, the programme will explore the worlds of nature's greatest flying creatures. Attenborough will travel to China, Rome, Scotland, Ecuador and Borneo to study gliding reptiles, parachuting mammals and birds. Speaking about the series, the eighty eight-year-old presenter said: 'The story of evolutionary flight is one I've always wanted to tell in 3D. It's a wonderful subject and a very exciting project but technically it is a huge challenge, especially in 3D.' Meanwhile, Sky commissioning editor Siobhan Mulholland added: 'David's passion for innovation and masterful storytelling continue to deliver entertaining, insightful and immersive shows which we know Sky customers love so we're thrilled he's taking to the skies - so to speak - to explore the world of flight in dazzling new depth.'

Sebastian Faulks is to write a new drama for the BBC. Based on his 2001 novel On Green Dolphin Street, the ninety-minute screenplay will be Faulks's first for television. The plot is described as an 'epic love story' set in Washington, DC in the 1960s amidst the backdrop of the Kennedy and Nixon presidential campaign trail. Broadcast reports that the novelist is working with Rachel Wagstaff on the project from Eleventh Hour Films. The two previously collaborated on the stage version of Birdsong. Faulks is quoted as saying: '[Screenplays are] a very different form from the novel and a very challenging one.'

Big Lucy Lawless has been cast in Marvel's Agents of SHIELD. Details on the part the popular actress will be playing - or, whether or not it will involve any nekked scenes of the kind so enjoyed by visitors to this blog, seemingly - have not, at this time, been revealed. However, the character will appear in the upcoming second season of the Marvel superhero series, reports TVGuide.
The BBC is planning to respond to fresh calls for more variety in its Saturday programme schedules with exactly that: more variety shows. A pilot for a format called Nina Conti's Va-Va-Riety is to be recorded live for BBC2 in a London theatre on 28 July. Compered by the ventriloquist and stand-up comedienne, it is billed as 'a mix of cabaret, burlesque, magic, musical comedy and circus performance.' Sounds promising. Conti has also been singled recently out by the BBC's head of entertainment, Mark Linsey, as one of the talents who will help to increase the number of female comedians on screen. An attempt to harness the old-fashioned appeal of music hall, sprinkled with some of the glamour of cabaret acts, could answer some of the criticisms levelled by the BBC's first full review of television output, published last week, which exposed an audience demand for shaking up the schedules on Saturday nights. The report, by the BBC Trust, found that many viewers were 'fed up' with the stranglehold of long-running dramas, such as Casualty and Waterloo Road, on the BBC1 evening schedules, but also felt that both BBC1 and BBC2 were 'too prim and middle-class' in tone. In the last three years, the channel's reach in lower-income homes (ie. 'common working people from council estates') has fallen by three percentage points and by five among black, Asian and mixed ethnicity viewers. Some of the blame has been pinned on BBC1's Saturday night line-up. The report said: 'BBC1 was felt to offer less breadth across its entertainment programming, with issues around the Saturday night schedule significantly influencing perceptions.' The BBC hopes to alter this impression by finding presenters with wider appeal. Also in development is a new comedy chat-show called Delete, Delete, Delete in which the Welsh comedian Rhod Gilbert questions two 'celebrity' guests about 'the wilder shores of their Internet history.' The producer has explained that the show will involve Gilbert asking his guests questions such as, 'What on Earth were you thinking?' The BBC is also filming a new daytime quiz show called Decimate to be presented by EastEnders actor Shane Richie, to be broadcast in the autumn. This pits three contestants against each other to maintain a twenty grand Wall of Cash over four rounds. The success of any of these entertainment formats could see them rolled out later for a prime-time series on BBC1 or BBC2. Going in straight on Saturday night on BBC1 remains the big risk, although there is no lack of nerve according to Andrew Newman, the chief executive of Objective, which makes ITV's Saturday night show The Cube and made BBC1's recent Saturday night show Reflex and the relatively successful John Bishop's Britain. 'We are developing two new entertainment shows for BBC1 on Saturday nights. They are trying all the time. So it is a perception thing,' he said. 'The challenge is to make new shows that are not singing or talent elimination,' added Newman, who is chair of BAFTA's TV committee. 'But you never know where the next great Saturday night show will come from. Will it be physical, mental, or a panel show? I go to meetings with TV commissioners, and the truth is I don't know. But it is the holy grail. A family show can get a ten million plus audience.' Newman suspects the BBC receives the bulk of criticism because it is in the public eye and finds it harder to justify spending on entertainment than it does on drama, where there have been recent hits such as Happy Valley. 'There is a little bit of snobbery about entertainment. But BAFTA gave its special craft award to Strictly Come Dancing this year, for its choreography, the costumes, the make-up. It is at the top of its game, and has sold round the world.' Three years ago, the BBC bid successfully against ITV for The Voice, due to a perceived need for a musical talent show in its schedules. In January, it tried out Reflex, a game show which tested contestants' reaction times. Before that in 2013 it cancelled two series, the thoroughly wretched I Love My Country and the not much better That Puppet Show. The quiz show Pointless has been given a showbiz treatment, as Pointless Celebrities, and Lee Mack's All Star Cast, in which the Not Going Out comedian presided over a mix of chat, music and comedy, was given a later Saturday night outing.

Fargo is set to return for a second series, but it will have a new cast. The first season of the drama received eighteen EMMY nominations, including one for best TV mini-series and best actor nominations for both Billy Bob Thornton and yer actual Martin Freeman. Allison Tolman and Colin Hanks were also nominated for best supporting actress and actor, respectively. However, FX Network has confirmed that none of the original cast will be returning for the next series, which is due to be broadcast in 2015. 'It is a new cast of actors, which is kind of heartbreaking from my standpoint given how much I loved the actors,' said the network's chief executive, John Landgraf.

The pilot for Josh Widdicombe's sitcom Josh is now available on BBC iPlayer. The 'semi-autobiographical' sitcom sees Widdicombe star as himself, alongside Jack Dee and Elis James. Josh finds Widdicombe recently dumped by his fiancée, forced to return to his old flat-share. The show is part of the BBC's Comedy Feed strand. Widdicombe will also co-host the new celebrity series of Fifteen To One with his The Last Leg co-stars Adam Hills and Alex Brooker.
A film based on Pudsey, the dancing dog winner of Britain's Got Talent, has spectacularly flopped bigger than a big fat flopping thing at the UK box office. The alleged comedy, featuring the voice full-of-himself David Walliams, earned but four hundred and forty six thousand quid, taking an average of just a grand in each of the four hundred and three cinemas where it screened. Which is, frankly, fucking hilarious.
It's a piece of TV history - albeit, a vastly over-rated one - the home where Gavin & Stacey was filmed. Now, loyal fans of the alleged sitcom have the chance to buy it, after it went on sale this week for one hundred and twenty five thousand notes. The house where Stacey (played by that really annoying lass with the really annoying voice who couldn't quite manage to ruin The Day Of The Doctor) live in Barry was often featured in the programme and thirteen thousand sad, crushed victims of society have visited it. That, in and of itself isn't all that remarkable, the fact that someone actually counted them, is, however. Owner Glenda Kenyon said: 'I feel it's time for a change so I'm moving to Swansea.'

Evan Davis is to replace Jeremy Paxman on Newsnight, the BBC has announced. The massive-eared Today presenter was the BBC's economics editor for six and a half years and previously worked for Newsnight from 1997 to 2001. The news was revealed on the day the BBC's annual report was published. It also stated that audiences spent eighteen and a half hours with the BBC each week. That is about an hour less than the 2012-2013 period. The figure includes radio, TV and online usage. But the report also noted that ninety six per cent of UK adults still use the BBC each week. Speaking about his Newsnight appointment, Davis said: 'I can't deny that I feel terribly sad to be leaving the Today programme. But at the same time, how could I turn down the offer of this role on Newsnight, treading in the footsteps of some of the best television presenters in the business? While it is a scary prospect, it will be an adventure and a challenge, and I hope the viewers will be happy with the result.' BBC Director General Tony Hall described Davis as 'an outstanding journalist' and 'an extraordinary, clever and intelligent interviewer.' Lord Hall added: 'It's been a fantastic year for the BBC with ninety six per cent of the UK choosing to watch, listen or use BBC services. But I think we can do better and this year we've announced how we are going to change the BBC to produce more distinctive programmes, ensure the BBC truly reflects all of our audiences and provide even better value for money.' The total spend on the BBC's on-air talent, earning more than five hundred thousand smackers, totalled £11.6m - a seven hundred grand reduction on the amount spent on star salaries in 2012-2013. Lord Hall said that the drop in the total time audiences spent with the BBC each week was, at least in part, due to bumper viewing for major events including the London 2012 Olympics and the Diamond Jubilee during the previous accounting period. BBC1 was down twenty one minutes a week per average viewer, to seven and a half hours. BBC1 channel controller Danny Cohen said that it had been challenging to meet audience expectations following funding cuts, resulting in an overall reduction in spend across television and radio. 'There's no doubt if you take twenty six per cent of your spending out you are also going to have an impact on how people feel about [the services],' he said.

Channel Four has renewed Fifteen To One for a second series. Sandi Toksvig will return to host the daytime quiz show, which will start filming in Glasgow in August. Forty episodes were commissioned by Channel Four's Madeleine Knight and will be recorded at the BBC Pacific Quay studios. The show's move to Scotland will form part of Channel Four's plans of widening its supply base across the UK. Originally running from 1988 to 2003 (yer actual Keith Telly Topping his very self appeared on an episode in 1990), Fifteen To One returned to screens in April.

US drama Tyrant has stopped filming in the Israeli city of Tel Aviv because of the current conflict in Gaza. 'Tel Aviv was under missile fire and people were running into bomb shelters,' producer Howard Gordon said. 'I don't think anybody felt physically threatened, but it was not conducive to shooting,' he added. Possibly 'shooting' wasn't the most appropriate word Howie could've used in that sentence one would venture to suggest. Production on the show has been moved to Istanbul in Turkey, where the remaining two episodes of the first season will be filmed. Cable channel FX, which makes the show, said 'although we have been assured that Tel Aviv continues to be a safe location, we felt the cast and crew would be more comfortable being outside of Israel.' British actor Adam Rayner stars in the drama as the son of a fictional Middle East dictator who returns after living in the US for twenty years. Other cast members have used social media to air their feelings about working in Tel Aviv during the conflict. Actress Jennifer Finnigan tweeted: 'Please pray for peace tonight, it is so eye-opening and heart-breaking (and scary) to witness this first hand.' Tyrant's producers said they were' monitoring the situation' and hoped to return to Israel to continue working there in future.

Oscar-winning actor Sir Anthony Hopkins has been cast in a proposed television remake of the 1970s SF film, Westworld. The original featured Yul Brynner as a malfunctioning android cowboy who begins attacking guests at a hi-tech theme park. In the HBO pilot, Sir Anthony will play Robert Ford, described as Westworld's 'brilliant, complicated chairman.' The project is being developed by JJ Abrams' production company Bad Robot. Which is, you know, fitting if nothing else.

Sky News reporter Colin Brazier has admitted that he was 'wrong' to handle victims' belongings at the MH17 crash site in Ukraine. Writing in the Gruniad morning Star, the journalist said that the site was 'unchecked' and he was 'free to walk around at will.' But, he called his 'gaffe' a 'serious error of judgement' and claimed that he cried on-air after seeing a child's flask. More than one hundred people have reportedly complained to media watchdog Ofcom after Brazier's live Sunday lunchtime broadcast. The complaints are currently being assessed before the broadcasting regulator decides whether to launch an investigation. The report showed Brazier pick up items from an open suitcase. He dropped them back into the luggage saying 'we shouldn't really be doing this I suppose, really.' A Sky News spokesperson said that both Brazier and Sky News 'apologise profusely for any offence caused.' There's that bloody phrase again, 'for any offence caused', not 'for doing something he shouldn't have been doing and that he was probably taught not to do on Day One of journalism school.' Writing his own version of events following a vociferous backlash on social media, Brazier claimed that other journalists were acting on the freedom they had on the crash site, and that he 'foolishly took that as a precedent.' Which is as close as you'll get to 'don't cane me, miss, I was led astray by older boys' without actually using those words. He claimed that the moment he realised he was doing something wrong 'came too late' and just afterwards he began crying, which was not picked up on poor quality replays of his report on the Internet. 'At the weekend I got things wrong. If there was someone to apologise to in person, I would,' he wrote in his article. Well, there's the families of ten British people on boards the plane, matey, that might be a good start. Brazier added that his on-air apology was 'only selectively quoted by those determined to see what I did as a powerful example of journalistic vulturism.' Oooo, get her. He said in a live and open-ended item from Ukraine, there was 'no obvious frame of reference' but the crew chose 'to avoid pointing a live camera anywhere a corpse might be seen.' Brazier described how he reported from the site of another air disaster at Lake Constance in 2004, where 'within hours police had sealed off a sterile area and no journalists were allowed in, while forensic investigators and recovery teams went in.' So, again, this wasn't Brazier's fault. it was, in fact, everybody's fault but his. It was the fault of those who didn't close off the area to scum journalists whose moral compass has gone walkabout, it was the fault other journalists whom Brazier, merely, followed like a sheep and, most of all, it was the fault of the one hundred complainants whose 'offence' Brazier and the Sky News spokesperson appear to suggest, is questionable. Brazier described the Ukraine site as 'a lawless war zone' where journalists where 'not kept at bay.' Certainly not by their own sense of moral decency. Well, at least one journalist wasn't.

BBC1 has announced new documentary series Scrappers. The six-part show will detail the lives of a couple at the helm of a multi-million pound scrap business. Terry and Lindsay Walker, owners of Bolton's Metro Salvage scrapyard, attempt to balance business and home life, and keep their unpredictable workforce motivated in the series. The show sees the couple try to find ways of making the scrapyard more profitable, discuss redundancy packages while on date nights and go on holiday in Tenerife, only for Terry to spend most of his time there watching CCTV footage from the yard on his phone.

Carol Vorderman has been ranked top of the bottoms - for a second time. The former Countdown co-presenter is the first person to take The Rear Of The Year title twice. The male winner of the prize thsi year is the singer Olly Murs. The duo were chosen in a public poll for the annual - rather purvy but, still, quite fun - award, with organisers saying that they received more than ten thousand votes. Carol said: 'I am both surprised and flattered to win the award for a second time - particularly at this stage of my life.' The Rear Of The Year award is not to be confused with The Arsehole Of The Year award. That has been won by the Daily Scum Mail's editor, the vile and odious waste-of-space Dacre. For the twenty seventh consecutive year.
Richard Madeley's début novel could be made into a TV drama. The former This Morning presenter is reported to be 'having discussions' with two independent production companies about a TV adaptation of Some Day I'll Find You. 'I have had a couple of meetings with a couple of specialist independents, although I know that this sort of thing can move very slowly,' Madeley told Radio Times. Madeley is yet to reveal what channel he has in mind, or whether or not he will handle the adaptation of the romantic novel about a missing WWII pilot. Elsewhere, Madeley said that he has 'no intention' of returning to full-time TV presenting, despite a few offers. 'I just seem to keep people's seats warm, and it's lovely after all those years of the responsibility, of carrying the load,' he continued. 'I've had two approaches to do kind of a magazine-formatted network TV show, Monday through Friday, and I had no hesitation in saying, "Thank you but no thank you."

Duran Duran have taken legal action against the US company charged with running their fan club over unpaid revenues, court papers have revealed. Wait a minute, Duran Duran still have a fan club? Duran Duran still have fans? You learn something new every day.
George Clooney clearly enjoyed his recent significant and vastly amusing be'atch-slapping of the Daily Scum Mail. He told Variety, the US entertainment trade magazine: 'It's just fun to slap those bad guys every once in a while, knock 'em around.' You may recall that the Scum Mail's website ran an article falsely claiming that the mother of Clooney's fiancée, Amal Alamuddin, had objected to their upcoming marriage. The publisher subsequently deleted the article and, eventually, and rather through gritted teeth, gave a sort of non-apology apology to Clooney. The actor is quoted as saying: 'I would sit with my friends and we'd just go, "So they just sat at a computer and just went, okay, this is what I'm gonna say today." I mean, literally, because you just go "There isn't, literally, an element of truth in this." You just laugh, and let it go. I'm used to it after all these years. But the thing that bothers me is how much the Daily Mail is now bleeding into American press and becoming a source for some pretty legitimate newspapers. So that's the thing that worries me.' Clooney continued: 'Those are really bad guys and they do tend to tee off on everybody. It's fun when you can go, "Well, this one, I know I have all the facts right." Usually the argument is, "Hey, we're not gonna tell you our source" and, "Prove it". And, when they actually do it themselves it's so great. You go, "okay, well you obviously just screwed this [up], so I think I can get you now."'

Yer actual Roger Daltrey has thrown his weight behind plans or an international model railway museum. Roge, it seems, is backing plans for a two and half acre site in Ashford, Kent. 'The great thing about model railways is you can be doing a bit of woodwork, a bit of painting, a bit of this, a bit of that, and have fun with your mates,' he is quoted as saying.
The actor Rhys Ifans and former 'entertainer' Michael Barrymore have both settled their phone-hacking damages claims against billionaire tyrant Rupert Murdoch's organisation. The pair received what are described as 'substantial' undisclosed damages, their legal costs and, allegedly, 'sincere' apologies from News Group Newspapers. The settlements, announced at London’s high court on Tuesday before Mr Justice Mann, are the latest in the civil litigation against NGN, the News UK subsidiary which published the now defunct Scum of the World. Barrymore, who attended court, said outside: 'It is nice to get to this point. It has taken thirteen years. It is a shame it was not dealt with quicker. I want to move on and forget it.' He added: 'I do not believe journalists should be restricted. When they get it right they get it right, but when they get it wrong they should apologise a little bit quicker.'
Police and prosecutors are discussing whether any legal action could follow the collapse of the trial of singer Tulisa Contostavlos, which was abandoned after the judge ruled that the Sun on Sunday's veteran investigative reporter Mazher Mahmood was 'likely to have lied' about talking to another witness about changing their evidence. The trial judge, Alistair McCreath, has the discretion to write to the director of public prosecutions, Alison Saunders, to suggest that Mahmood should be investigated for perjury. It is not known if he will do that and the Crown Prosecution Service said that no letter had been received as yet. A Metropolitan police spokeswoman said that the force was 'in touch with the CPS', but that 'no decisions had been reached.' She said: 'We are aware of the court decision and we are in contact with the CPS to consider any response and the next steps to take.' McCreath issued a damning ruling about the actions of Mahmood, better known as The Fake Sheikh after one of his common disguises, as he dismissed the jury at Southwark crown court on Monday morning, a week into Contostavlos's trial for allegedly brokering a cocaine deal. McCreath said that it 'seemed likely' Mahmood had falsely denied, during a pre-trial hearing, that he had pressured his driver about evidence which showed that Contostavlos was opposed to drug use. Mahmood changed his account during cross-examination last Thursday. There were 'strong grounds for believing Mr Mahmood told me lies' about his dealings with the driver, Alan Smith, the judge said. He added: 'Secondly, there are also strong grounds for believing that the underlying purpose of these lies was to conceal the fact that he had been manipulating the evidence in this case by getting Mr Smith to change his account.' McCreath ended by saying that his decision should not 'bind any court which may (or may not) be called to consider this matter in a different context', words that seemingly anticipated a possible perjury hearing. Mahmood, who made his name with the Scum of the World, often dressing up as a rich Arab to persuade the famous or the gullible to incriminate themselves and divulge their secrets on tape via elaborate subterfuge, has been suspended by the Sun on Sunday pending an investigation. His front-page story in the Sun on Sunday in June last year accused Contostavlos of arranging an eight hundred quid cocaine transaction, with the front-page headline Tulisa's Cocaine Deal Shame. Contostavlos insisted throughout that she had been unfairly entrapped by Mahmood, who gained access by posing as a wealthy Hollywood film producer interested in casting the singer as the lead in a major film, purportedly opposite Leonardo DiCaprio and for a supposed fee of more than three million smackers. She said that she had merely been playing up to 'a bad girl' role she believed the producers were seeking. Her friend and co-defendant, Michael Coombs, a rapper with the stage name Mike GLC, had pleaded guilty to supplying the cocaine to Mahmood, but these charges were also dropped. After the case was dismissed, Contostavlos condemned the 'horrific and disgusting entrapment' by Mahmood and his newspaper, which faces a claim for potentially massive court costs. She said: 'Mahmood has now been exposed by my lawyers openly lying to the judge and jury. These lies were told to stop crucial evidence going before the jury.' Smith had been 'pressurised to change his statement to strengthen Mahmood's evidence', Contostavlos said, adding: 'Thankfully, the lies have been uncovered and justice has been done.' The collapse of the trial is a catastrophic result for Mahmood, a paradoxical figure who relishes his high profile while also taking extraordinary measures to avoid being photographed. He was allowed to give evidence in court behind a screen, a courtesy previously extended when he spoke before The Leveson Inquiry. A Sun on Sunday spokesman said the paper took the judge's remarks 'very seriously' and had suspended Mahmood. The spokesman added: 'We are very disappointed with this outcome, but do believe the original investigation was conducted within the bounds of the law and the industry's code. This was demonstrated by the CPS decision to prosecute.' Using the guise of Samir Khan, Mahmood courted Contostavlos by flying her to Las Vegas for meetings, and also taking her to dine at London's Metropolitan hotel. After the meal in London, Contostavlos was driven home by Smith and told him that she had seen the terrible impact of drugs and did not approve of them – a conversation which he recounted to police. At a pre-trial hearing at the end of last month, Mahmood denied discussing that statement with Smith, particularly whether the anti-drugs comments might undermine the case. Under cross-examination last Thursday, Mahmood conceded that he had in fact received an e-mailed copy of the statement three days before the pre-trial hearing and had spoken to Smith about it. This prompted the judge to intervene, saying that this apparent 'manipulation of the evidence' meant he had three options. either to order a retrial, to allow 'bad character evidence' against Mahmood or to drop the case entirely. After an adjournment until Monday morning, McCreath called the trial off. Mahmood, he told the jury, was 'key to the case' as 'the sole progenitor' of the prosecution as well as the only investigator and prosecution witness. In a thinly veiled condemnation of the Sun on Sunday's tactics, McCreath said Mahmood was 'someone who appears to have gone to considerable lengths to get Ms Contostavlos to agree to involve herself in criminal conduct, certainly to far greater lengths than would have been regarded as appropriate had he been a police investigator.' The case is yet another embarrassing blow for billionaire tyrant Rupert Murdoch's News UK and the retrospective reputation of the Scum of the World. The disgraced and disgraceful tabloid was closed - in shame and ignominy - in 2011 in the wake of revelations about their sick phone-hacking ways, which led to the paper's former editor Andy Coulson being extremely jailed earlier this month.
The government is to introduce a new policy which will see persistent illegal file-sharers receive e-mails attempting to 'dissuade' them from their persistent illegal file-sharing ways. Called 'The Voluntary Copyright Alert Programme' or 'V-Crap', which seems very apt, the system has been agreed by Internet service providers and content creators. Those that are committing piracy will see a maximum of four e-mails a year sent to them warning them about their actions and what a bad thing it is and that. The government, however, will take no action if they are ignored. Thus rendering the entire process utterly pointless. Like much the government does.

A drunk man who groped a woman 'as a joke' quickly had the smile wiped off his mush when she turned out to be an off-duty police officer. Michael Hayes grabbed a fist full of the woman officer's bottom as she walked along the road, but she confronted him and then chased him when he tried to run off. He later apologised, claiming he 'did it for a dare.' Hayes, of Wallington, admitted sexual assault at Westminster magistrates' court. he will be sentenced on 12 August.

A pine tree planted in 2004 in memory of the late former Be-Atle George Harrison in a Los Angeles park has died after being infested by beetles. And, if the irony of that doesn't make you snigger, dear blog reader, again there would appear to be something wrong with your perception of what is and isn't funny. The sapling was planted in the city's Griffith Park near to the observatory - a lovely spot that yer actual Keith Telly Topping has visited several times and not all that far away from the spot where he was involved in a (minor) car crash on the very day that yer actual George Harrison died. As Walt Disney used to note, annoying, dear blog reader it's a small world. George - a one-time member of The Be-Atles (a popular beat combo of the 1960s, you might have heard of them) - died in 2001 and spent his final days in LA. He was also a keen gardener. Council officer Tom LaBonge told the LA Times that the memorial had grown to more than ten feet tall by 2013, but the tree beetle attack had 'overwhelmed' it. A new tree will be planted at a date yet to be decided. A small plaque at the base of the tree read: 'In memory of a great humanitarian who touched the world as an artist, a musician and a gardener.' It also quotes the guitarist and singer-songwriter himself: 'For the forests to be green, each tree must be green.' And, free of beetles, obviously.

Which, this blogger supposes, brings us neatly to yer actual Keith Telly Topping's 45 of the Day. And some sage environmental advice of the kind what you often get in the Gruniad Morning Star. If you're going to drive a car, dear blog reader, you're going to need some petrol. So, remember the trees and, make it unleaded.