Saturday, May 30, 2015

This Chaos Is Killing Me

Yer actual Peter Capaldi is heading to the San Diego Comic-Con on Thursday 9 July with his Doctor Who co-star Jenna Coleman, who will be making her second appearance at the annual event. The pair will be joined by executive producer The Lord Thy God Steven Moffat, producer Brian Minchin and Michelle Gomez at a panel to discuss the show's upcoming ninth series. Capaldi said: 'Tales of San Diego Comic-Con are told in awe on every set around the known fantasy/sci-fi production world. It's become a fabled kingdom. One I am thrilled to find myself heading for. And to appear in the legendary Hall H is a further twist to the cosplay and comic madness I may never recover from.' Doctor Who will return to screens this autumn with a two-part première, The Magician's Apprentice and The Witch's Familiar.
Doctor Who has hired director Justin Molotnikov to take charge of two episodes from the forthcoming series. This won't be the first time Molotnikov has tackled a BBC fantasy series, having been behind the camera on episodes of Merlin and Atlantis. His involvement in the new series of Doctor Who was revealed by his client page on The Agency website. It is currently unclear which two episodes he will direct, with two slots - episodes nine and ten, and episodes eleven and twelve - still thought to be open. Steven Moffat has confirmed that series nine will feature more two-parters, though some pairs of episodes may only be loosely linked. Scottish film-maker Molotnikov directed eight episodes of Merlin between 2011 and 2012, eight episodes of Atlantis between 2013 and 2015 and has also worked on Da Vinci's Demons.
The Lord Thy God Steven Moffat has claimed that he 'still feels guilty' about changing the outcome of The Time War in Doctor Who's fiftieth anniversary special. The Day Of The Doctor rewrote The Time War storyline established by previous lead writer Russell Davies when the show returned in 2005. Which, to be honest, most of the audience didn't really care about but, it gave The Special People something else to whinge, loudly, about to anyone that would listen (and, indeed, anyone that wouldn't). So, that was good. That's always good. Writing in the new issue of Doctor Who Magazine, The Moffinator admitted: 'The Day Of The Doctor was a success. Record ratings, awards, rave reviews. By any measure, it did all right.' Yeah, all true. Plus, yer actual Keith Telly Topping thought it was great - the ultimate arbiter of The Worth Of All Things. 'But,' Steven continued, 'two years later, I'm still haunted by the guilt. I know some of you, including friends of mine, were upset that we reversed the outcome of The Time War. My defence, however feeble, is that given the chance, The Doctor would do exactly that. And it was his birthday, how could I deny him that chance? What could define him more? This man who always finds another way? And there he is, at every moment of his life, proving to himself – literally – that there is always a better path.'
Britain's Got Toilets dominated the ratings on Bank Holiday Monday, according to overnight figures. The first live semi-final of the 2015 series was seen by 8.56m overnight punters between 7.30pm and 9pm. Later, 6.58m tuned-in to see Cor Glanaethwy and Entity Allstars become the first acts to progress to the final at 9.30pm. The network première of Marvel's Avengers Assemble brought in 3.29m for BBC1 at 8pm. Including yer actual Keith Telly Topping who'd, remarkably, never seen it tell now. Quite enjoyed it, actually. Anyway, on BBC2, A Cook Abroad interested nine hundred and eighty thousand at 7pm, before the first episode of the 2015 series of Springwatch averaged 2.13m at 8pm and Churchill: When Britain Said No gathered 1.36m at 9pm. Episodes followed with seven hundred and sixty thousand at 10pm. Channel Four's Damned Designs was watched by six hundred and eighty thousand at 8pm, while Benefits Street continued to attract strong numbers (although, Christ only knows why) with 1.21m at 9pm and The Night Bus was watched by six hundred and sixty thousand at 10pm. Gotham continued with six hundred and thirty thousand on Channel Five at 9pm, while Big Brother drew an audience of seven hundred and seventy five thousand sad, crushed victims of society at 10pm. The latest episode of Game Of Thrones dipped to its lowest audience of the series so far, eight hundred and forty nine thousand on Sky Atlantic at 9pm.

Britain's Got Toilets continued to dominate the overnight ratings on Tuesday, but its audience dropped by around seven hundred and fifty thousand viewers night-on-night for the second semi-final on ITV. The live show brought in 7.79m punters between 7.30pm and 9pm. Monday's first semi-final attracted an overnight audience of 8.56m. Later, the live results show were seen by 6.57m at 9.30pm. BBC1's Crimewatch averaged 2.79m at 9pm, while Gary Lineker On The Road To FA Cup Glory had an audience of 1.56m at 10.45pm. On BBC2, A Cook Abroad continued with seven hundred and ninety thousand at 7pm, before Springwatch interested 1.89m at 8pm and Joan Of Arc: God's Warrior attracted 1.32m at 9pm. Kirstie & Phil's Love It Or List It continued to prove popular with Channel Four viewers, with 1.18m at 8pm. No Offence followed with 1.07m at 9pm. On Channel Five, Pets Make You Laugh Out Loud was gawped at by six hundred and forty three thousand people with nothing better to do with their time at 9pm while Big Brother's audience rose to nine hundred and fifty one thousand at 10pm. No, the blogger doesn't know why either. Empire continued on E4 with three hundred and ten thousand at 9pm, while the latest episode of Penny Dreadful brought in one hundred and fifty one thousand for Sky Atlantic at 10pm.

And, Britain's Got Toilets was an overnight ratings winner for ITV again on Wednesday. The third live episode was up four hundred thousand viewers night-on-night with an average of 8.2m between 7.30pm and 9pm. The results show - which saw UDI and Jamie Raven win places in the grand final, apparently - was watched by 6.92m at 9.30pm. On BBC1, Traffic Cops had an audience of 2.40m at 8pm, whilst the latest New Tricks repeat attracted 2.06m at 9pm. BBC2's A Cook Abroad interested seven hundred and forty thousand at 7pm, before Springwatch was watched by 1.75m at 8pm and Modern Times brought in seven hundred and forty thousand at 9.30pm. Newsnight followed with six hundred and thirty thousand at 10.30pm. The Supervet averaged six hundred and twenty thousand for Channel Four at 8pm, while Twenty Four Hours In A&E claimed 1.66m at 9pm. Channel Five's Benefits Britain: Me & My Fourteen Kids was seen by nine hundred and forty seven thousand punters at 9pm and Big Brother continued with eight hundred and eighty five thousand at 10pm. E4's US imports Jane The Virgin and Nashville continued with one hundred and fourteen thousand at 9pm and one hundred and thirty four thousand at 10pm respectively.

Britain's Got Toilets blah, blah, blah, Thursday's overnight ratings, blah, blah, blah. The penultimate semi-final blah'd 7.77m between 7.30pm and 9pm on ITV. Later, the live results show - which featured a performance from Olly Murs - brought in 7.27m at 9.30pm. On BBC1, which seems to have pretty much given up trying to schedule anything remotely worthwhile this week, Watchdog bored 2.28m titless at 8pm, while Britain's Secret Terror Deals was seen by 1.31m an hour later. Question Time followed with 2.06m at 10.45pm. BBC2's A Cook Abroad gathered 1.03m at 7pm, before Springwatch's audience dipped slightly to 1.64m at 8pm and The Game continued to shed viewers, being watched by but nine hundred and twenty thousand at 9pm. A repeat of Qi had an audience of eight hundred and ninety thousand at 10pm. Channel Four's Born Naughty? had an audience of seven hundred and ninety thousand at 8pm, while Inside Jaguar: Making A Million Pound Car proved popular for the channel with 1.53m at 9pm. The Hotel Inspector: Abroad was watched by eight hundred and fifty eight thousand at 9pm, while Big Brother drew one million punters at 10pm. The Big Bang Theory continued to be a ratings winner for E4 with seven hundred and ninety seven thousand at 8.30pm. Glee returned to Sky1 for its final series with eighty seven thousand viewers at 9pm.

Big Brother's latest eviction peaked with an overnight audience of 1.36 million sad, crushed victims of society at 10pm on Friday evening. An average audience of 1.04 million watched the episode in its entirety. Unsurprisingly, the fifth and last Britain's Got Toilets semi-final was the highest-rated show of the evening, with 8.02 million viewers from 7.30pm. An average audience of 6.78 million watched the results show at 9.30pm. BBC1's evening kicked off with 3.30 million for The ONE Show at 7pm, Room 101 was seen by 1.93 million at 8pm, followed by 1.72 million for the eighty third millionth repeat of The Vicar Of Dibley at 8.30pm. And, it wasn't even funny the first time. Have I Got News For You - with guest host Gary Lineker, who'd admitted publicly beforehand that he was very nervous but who was really rather good in the episode - was watched by 3.58 million viewers at 8.30pm, while yet another repeat (shhh, don't tell the Daily Scum Mail, they'll be furious), Mrs Brown's Boys attracted an average audience of 2.66 million. With guests such as Melissa McCarthy, Jude Law and Chris Pratt, The Graham Norton Show was seen by 3.06 million from 10.35pm. A Cook Abroad began BBC2's evening with nine hundred and ixty thousand, followed by 1.72 million for Mary Berry's Absolute Favourites and 2.16 million for Gardener's World. Britain's Greatest Generation continued with nine hundred and forty thousand, while The Clare Balding Show rounded the evening off with five hundred and seventy thousand. Eight Out Of Ten Cats Does Countdown was Channel Four's highest-rated show with nine hundred and thirty thousand at 9pm. It was sandwiched between Marvel's Agents of SHIELD with six hundred and ten thousand and Alan Carr: Chatty Man with seven hundred and twenty thousand.

As noted, Have I Got News For You was presented this week by yer actual Gary Lineker who got one of the comedy lines of the week just before the Strengthometer Of News round when he slipped effortlessly into Match Of The Day mode: 'Shortly, we'll be seeing Stoke versus Swansea ...'
Almost as good was Gary asking what Eric Pickles had just been given this week and Paul Merton trademark pithy reply 'his own postal code?'
BBC1's coverage of this year's FA Cup final attracted nearly seven-and-a-half million overnight viewers on Saturday. The Arse's four-nil thrashing of The Aston Villains (and their notoriously fickle support) averaged 7.47m from 5.15pm. The National Lottery: Who Dares Wins managed 4.1m later, with Casualty and The John Bishop Show being watched by 4.2m and 3.44m overnight punters respectively. On BBC2, a Dad's Army repeat entertained 1.67m from 8.30pm, before the movie Quartet appealed to 1.12m. ITV's Ninja Warrior closed with 3.8m from 7.30pm. Afterwards, The Amazing Spider-Man 2 was watched by 3.13m. On Channel Four, the Daniel Radcliffe movie The Woman In Black averaged seven hundred and fifty two thousand from 9pm. On Channel Five, the latest Big Brother highlights -and, this blogger uses that word quite wrongly - had an audience of seven hundred and forty three thousand in the 9pm hour. The multichannels were topped by ITV3's Foyle's War, which was watched by six hundred and eighty two thousand from 8pm.

Britain's Got Toilets ended on Sunday evening. The live final - which saw Jules O'Dwyer and Matisse The Dog crowned champions - was watched by 11.37m overnight viewers between 7.30pm and 10pm. At its peak, the final was watched by 13.4 million viewers and had an audience share of fifty two per cent. This blogger resigned from the general public in protest but, to be honest, I don't think it did much good. The talent competition enjoyed a ratings boost in comparison to last year's final, which brought in overnight ratings of 10.32m. BBC1's Countryfile was the second most-watched programme of the evening, with 5.80m at 7pm. Later, Antiques Roadshow interested 4.40m at 8pm and Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell's audience fell yet again, to 2.17m at 9pm. Oh dear, looks like this one really hasn't caught the public's imagination. Which is a shame because, so far, it's been pretty good. On BBC2, Demolition averaged 1.26m at 8pm, before Armada: Twelve Days To Save England was watched by 1.71m at 9pm and Rev had seven hundred and fifty thousand at 10pm. Channel Four's For The Love Of Cars was seen by nine hundred and twenty thousand at 8pm, while the terrestrial début of Shutter Island drew 1.11m at 9pm. On Channel Five, the latest episode of Big Brother brought in 1.03m at 10pm.

And, finally in our weekly ratings round-up, here are the final and consolidated ratings for the Top Twenty One programmes for the week-ending Sunday 24 May 2015:-
1 Britain's Got Toilets - Sat ITV - 8.98m
2 Coronation Street - Mon ITV - 7.92m
3 EastEnders - Mon BBC1 - 7.64m
4 The Eurovision Song Contest 2015 - Sat BBC1 - 6.78m
5 Inspector George Gently - Wed BBC1 - 6.27m
6 Emmerdale - Mon ITV - 6.17m
7 Countryfile - Sun BBc1 - 5.93m
8 Peter Kay's Car Share - Wed BBC1 - 5.92m
9 Antiques Roadshow - Sun BBC1 - 5.55m
10 Home Fires - Sun ITV - 5.08m*
11 Six O'Clock News - Mon BBC1 - 4.88
12 Have I Got News For You - Fri BBC1 - 4.86m
13 Holby City - Tues BBC1 - 4.58m
14 BBC News - Sun BBC1 - 4.31m
15 The ONE Show - Mon BBC1 - 4.25m
16 Ten O'Clock News - Wed BBC1 - 4.06m
17 The RHS Chelsea Flower Show - Mon BBC1 - 4.00m
18 The Graham Norton Show - Fri BBC1 - 3.93m
19 The British Soap Awards - Thurs ITV - 3.74m*
20 Ninja Warrior UK - Sat ITV - 3.58m*
21 Formula 1: The Monaco Grand Prix Highlights - Sun BBC1 - 3.55m
These figures, as usual, do not include iPlayer or ITV Player viewers. ITV programmes marked '*' do not include HD figures. It's worth highlighting that, aside from the ITV six programmes featured above, not one single programme on ITV besides had a consolidated audience of more than three million across the entire week, Sunday Night At The London Palladium's 2.8 million being the next most watched after BGT, Corrie, Emmerdale, Home Fires, The British Soap Awards and Ninja Warrior. The much-trailed Man & Beast With Martin Clunes only drew 2.28m whilst, and this really will amuse you, with thigh-slapping hilarity Amanda Holden's risible and thoroughly nauseous Give A Pet A Home was watched by but 1.88 million. Never in the field of British telly viewing have so many said 'no thanks' to so few. BBC2's week was dominated by the channel's coverage of The RHS Chelsea Flower Show with the five nightly shows occupying places one, two, three, four and eight in the BBC2 Top Ten. Tuesday night's audience of 3.19m was BBC2's most-watched programme, followed by Mary Berry's Absolute Favourites (2.21m), The Detectives (2.16m), Armada: Twelve Days To Save England (1.98m) and Horizon (1.65m). Channel Four's best-rated shows were The Island With Bear Grylls (2.08m), Benefits Street (2.41m), No Offence (2.09m), Love It Or List It (1.75m) and Born Naughty? (1.67m). Channel Five's top-rated broadcasts were Benefits Britain: Life On The Dole (1.71m), Gotham (1.38m), The Hotel Inspector (1.37m) and Big Brother (also 1.37m). Just as a matter of pure disinterest, can anyone else remember a week in which Big Brother wasn't the highest rated programme on the channel on which it was shown - either Channel Five or previously Channel Four - in a week in which a new episode was broadcast? No, me neither. Anyway, Sky Atlantic's Game Of Thrones was, as usual, the mutichannels most-watched broadcast of the week with 2.02 million viewers, followed by E4's The Big Bang Theory (1.55m). Foyle's War was ITV3's most-watched show with eight hundred and seventy two thousand viewers, ahead of Missomer Murders (seven hundred and sixty three thousand) and Lewis (six hundred and nineteen thousand). BBC4's list was topped by Britain's Deadliest Rail Disaster: Quintinshill (six hundred and twenty four thousand), followed by Eurovision At Sixty five hundred and six thousand), and episodes three and four of the bloody-weird (but, nevertheless, excellent) 1864 (five hundred and thirty thousand and four hundred and ninety five thousand viewers respectively). BBC3's most-watched programme was The Eurovision Song Contest Semi-Final (eight hundred and fifty three thousand). ITV4's highest-watched broadcast was She & Buried (three hundred and twenty one thousand). 5USA's The Mysteries Of Laura attracted four hundred and twenty two thousand. Sky Living's best-watched programmes were Elementary (eight hundred and sixteen thousand), Criminal Minds (eight hundred and two thousand) and The Blacklist (seven hundred and eighty eight thousand). Sky 1's The Flash brought in 1.05m. On Dave, repeats of all your old favourites Mock The Week, Would I Lie To You?, Have I Got A Bit More News For You and Qi XL were watched by four hundred and forty four thousand, three hundred and eighty six thousand and three hundred and thirty eight thousand and three hundred and nineteen thousand punters respectively. And, then there was Top Gear. Drama's latest New Tricks repeat was watched by four hundred and fifty four thousand. Watch's Grimm had an audience of four hundred and sixty one thousand. FOX's latest episode of NCIS's series twelve was watched by eight hundred and nine thousand. The second episode of the much-hyped Wayward Pines had one hundred and forty three thousand, more or less exactly the same figure as watched the first episode. On Sky Sports News, Gillette Soccer Special on the final day of the Premier League season drew two hundred and fifty four thousand, considerably down on the usual figures that the show attracts on an average Saturday. Presumably at least some of those missing punters were over on Sky Sports 1 watching yer actual Keith Telly Topping's beloved (though unsellable) Magpies just about do enough to avoid relegation. On Discovery History, The Rise Of The Nazi Party pulled in twenty five thousand viewers. Time Team Special had twenty three thousand. CI's A Town & Country Murder attracted forty seven thousand viewers whilst ID's Your Worst Nightmare drew fifty seven thousand. National Geographic's Drain The Titanic was watched by one hundred and fifty one thousand.

The BBC Trust has, satisfyingly, rejected a bunch of whinges about Top Gear's Patagonia special, in which a car number plate caused a reet load of kerfuffle with lots of professional offence-takers. Although, tragically, the Trust seemingly stopped short of telling the whinging whingers who whinged about aspects of the episode to grow the fek up and quit whinging. Which, frankly, some might consider to be a useful opportunity missed. The production team, of course, was forced to flee Argentina following sickening - and, allegedly orchestrated - violence over the use of the registration number H982 FKL. Several whingers claimed that they 'doubted' the number plate was randomly allocated, as though that was anything to do with them in the first place. Their whinges, however, were rejected out of hand by the BBC but were passed to the BBC Trust on appeal. The Trust found there was 'no evidence' of 'a deliberate reference' to the war. The initial complaints, received prior to the programme's broadcast, alleged the connection with the Falklands War 'would have been clear' to the producers and the plates should have been changed. Two whingers also wanted the BBC to apologise to Argentina for any offence caused. They whinged that the decision to broadcast the programme as a Christmas special was 'particularly offensive.' Particularly offensive to whom, they didn't elaborate although, on suspects, with professional offence-takers, such minutia doesn't really matter. A response from the BBC Complaints Management and Editorial Standards Adviser included a blog written by the, now former, executive producer of Top Gear Andy Willman, denying allegations that the number plate had been deliberately chosen by the production team. The whinges were subsequently investigated by the Controller of Entertainment Commissioning who said: 'To date, there is nothing that we have seen or read since the team returned which supports the view that the number plates in question were deliberately employed, which is in-keeping with what production staff and the presenters have said.' As such, the whinges were not upheld before being escalated to the BBC Trust, which is the corporation's governing body. Reviewing the whinges, the Trust's Head of Editorial Standards said they 'did not have a reasonable prospect of success' and proposed not to put them before Trustees. This decision was whinged about by the whingers, who asked for a review. Regarding the whinge about the lack of a BBC apology, Trustees said 'in the absence of any evidence that the choice of number plate was deliberate it was a matter for the Executive as to whether they wished to apologise.' The Trust also agreed that the BBC had been 'open' about its investigation into the whinges and that amounted to 'an explanation' of why the BBC would not be apologising. Not that it had anything to apologise for other than being the victims of professional offence-takers both in Argentina and the UK. The Trustees said that they did not consider that it was 'appropriate or proportionate' to take this matter on appeal because the whingers did not raise any 'matters of substance' and, therefore, this was not a matter in which the Trust would get itself involved.
Michael Gambon will star as Winston Churchill in a new drama for ITV. The actor will lead the cast of the channel's feature-length film Churchill's Secret, which will focus on the late Prime Minister's health problems during his second term in 1953. Gambo will be joined in the film by Lindsay Duncan, who will play Winston's wife, Clemmie. The story will be told from the point of view of the Prime Minister's young nurse, Millie Appleyard, who cared for him after he suffered a life-threatening stroke. The drama is based on Jonathan Smith's recently published book The Churchill Secret: KBO, and will be adapted for the screen by Stewart Harcourt. Charles Sturridge (the man behind the camera of the acclaimed The Road To Coronation Street) will direct the one hundred and twenty-minute film, which will also be shown on PBS in America next year. ITV's Director of Drama, Steve November, said: 'Churchill's Secret is the extraordinary and compelling story of how one of our country's most famous political figures battled back from life-threatening illness to hold on to power. We're delighted to commission Churchill's Secret from Daybreak Pictures and to be working with Michael Gambon as Sir Winston Churchill and Lindsay Duncan as his wife Clemmie.' Filming on Churchill's Secret will begin in June in London and at Churchill's family home in Chartwell.

Mock The Week will celebrate its tenth birthday when it returns for a new series next month. The BBC2 topical comedy panel show will come back for six weeks in June and July for its fourteenth series, before returning again in September and October. Dara O'Briain will serve once again as host, along with regular panellists Hugh Dennis and Andy Parsons. Other comics set to appear in the new series include Ed Byrne, Milton Jones, Zoe Lyons, Katherine Ryan, Josh Widdicombe, Rob Beckett, Sara Pascoe, Romesh Ranganathan, James Acaster, Matt Forde and Ellie Taylor. Topics will include the erection aftermath, the royal baby, American presidential candidates and a summer of sport. Mock The Week débuted on BBC2 on 5 June 2005.
Three further episode of Qi's M series have been filmed in London this week. The first, as ye untitled, eighth episode featured guest appearances by Phill Jupitus and first-timers Cariad Lloyd and Dermot O'Dreary (oh, Christ no). Episode nine, Misconceptions, included Chris Addison, Sue Perkins and another first time guest, Sara Cox, whilst Monsters has panellists Phill Jupitus, Sara Pascoe and Josh Widdicombe. Afurther six episodes are due to be filmed over the next fortnight and series is scheduled for broadcast in the autumn.
Meanwhile as two of BBC2's long-running comedy panels shows continue, time has been called on a third, Never Mind The Buzzcocks. Channel controller Kim Shillinglaw and BBC entertainment controller Mark Linsey have confirmed the end of the show, Broadcast reports. A BBC spokeswoman said: 'After twenty eight series we've decided not to bring Never Mind The Buzzcocks back to the BBC. This will create space for new entertainment formats in the future. We'd like to thank the team at Talkback, Rhod Gilbert, all the brilliant hosts over the years and of course Noel and Phill for the years of enjoyment they've given BBC2 viewers.' The pop music panel quiz was first shown in November 1996 and has run for over two hundred and sixty episodes over twenty eight series. It was hosted by Mark Lamarr for its first seventeen series. Guest presenters fronted the eighteenth run, before Simon Amstell took over hosting duties for four series.
Waste-of-space, full-of-her-own-importance rank gobshite and snooty millionaire that awful Klass woman will 'test out her BBQ expertise' in an upcoming ITV summer series. So, that'll be worth avoiding, then. Man V Food star Adam Richman will feature in BBQ Champ, which sees a team of ten contenders competing against each other to become the ultimate master of the skewer.
Hopefully, someone will jam that sausage in her gob, sideways, and maybe that'll shut the awful woman up. We can but dream, dear blog reader. Dreaming, as Blondie once noted, is free.

Caroline Quentin, Peter Firth and Pauline Collins have all been added to the cast of a new drama based on the characters of Charles Dickens. The twenty-episode series for BBC1 has also cast BAFTA-award winner Stephen Rea. Dickensian brings together some of the writer's most iconic characters as their lives interweave in Nineteenth Century London. Characters from a range of Dickens novels will appear in the drama, including Scrooge, Fagin and Miss Havisham. Rea, who plays Inspector Bucket from Bleak House, said: 'Dickensian is the most beautiful re-working of the world of Dickens that you could ever imagine. The characters take on a fresh life, and any actor would be mad not to accept the challenge these great scripts offer.' Collins, who plays Martin Chuzzlewit's Mrs Gamp, added: 'You don't need to know Dickens' novels to fall in love with the stories we're telling. It's going to be a real treat to watch.' Also featured in the cast for the series will be Tuppence Middleton, Sophie Rundle, Omid Djalili, Anton Lesser, Ned Dennehy, Adrian Rawlins and Tom Weston-Jones. BBC is yet to announce a schedule date for Dickensian.
UKTV Gold has ordered three new original comedies. Henry IX, Marley's Ghosts and Bull will be broadcast on the channel in late 2015 and early 2016. Henry IX will be a three-part series set in the fictitious court of King Henry IX, who finds himself trapped in a life he doesn't want. The series comes from the great Dick Clement and Ian la Frenais, the writing team behind Porridge, The Likely Lads, Whatever Happened To The Likely Lads? and Auf Wiedersehen, Pet. So that one should, at least, be watchable. Marley's Ghosts, another three-parter, follows a woman with a rare gift of being able to talk to the dead, but things get a bit awkward when both her husband and her lover are added to that list. With hilarious consequences, obviously. Meanwhile, Bull focuses on a man who runs an antiques shop alongside staff he may regret hiring. The series comes from first-time sitcom writers Gareth Gwynn and John-Luke Roberts. Richard Watsham, UKTV's Director of Commissioning, said: 'The first three of our new commissions for Gold offer a fantastic range of different stories and comic styles. Between them they will start to establish a new tone of voice for our originations. We've deliberately targeted scripts that play to Gold viewers' known love of classic British sitcoms but they're also modern, sharply-written pieces which deliver on our promise of high quality, world class comedy.'

Happy Mondays, Scouting For Girls and ex-Busted singer Charlie Simpson are collaborating with tribes around the world for a new, frankly hideous-sounding,TV format. As part of Watch's new documentary series Singing In The Rainforest - even the title is shat - the three acts will compose music in remote areas. The aim of the show is, apparently, to 'get artists to make music with tribes that embodies elements from both of their cultures.' Happy Mondays will write with Embera Drua people of the Upper Chagres River in Panama. You're twisting my melon, man. Charlie Simpson will collaborate with the San Bushmen in Southern Africa. Elsewhere, Scouting For Girls visit the Huli Wigmen in Papua New Guinea.
Miranda Hart has revealed that she will not be hosting a Generation Game reboot any time soon. While Hart revealed that she had spoken to the BBC about such a format, she said that the story had 'got massively blown out of order.' Goodness, the press blowing potential and speculative TV news out of order, whatever next, Miranda fronting the next series of Top Gear?
Jason Manford is heading to Dave with a new crowd-funding series The Money Pit. In this, Jase will serve as ringmaster as members of the public risk their own money to invest in the ideas of hopeful entrepreneurs. Contestants will be able to invest anything from one hundred quid to twenty thousand smackers in return for a stake in the entrepreneur's new company, in a format uncomfortably similar to the BBC's long-running series Dragon's Den. Has nobody got any original ideas in TV any more? The show promises to be 'a tense watch' as investors are free to withdraw their investment and jump ship to another company right until the end of the episode. Manford said: 'I'm inviting all those people with some spare cash that they're thinking of hiding under the mattress, or sticking on the 3.15pm at Haydock Park to join me in The Money Pit instead. It's their chance to invest in real-life entrepreneurs who could make them serious money. Who knows, if they back the right one they might be able to buy a race horse of their own – or a really big mattress!' Or, a really big turnip, whichever is their choice.
The BBC has defended a new reality show pitting unemployed and low-paid workers against each other for a cash prize, which has been accused of echoing film The Hunger Games, arguing it is 'a serious social experiment.' The show, called Britain's Hardest Grafter, is seeking twenty five of Britain’s poorest workers with applications limited to those who earn or receive benefits totalling less than fifteen grand a year. The five-part BBC2 series will pit contestants against each other in a series of jobs and tasks with the 'least effective workers' asked to leave until one is crowned champion. The winner will receive a cash prize of about fifteen grand, the minimum annual wage for workers outside London. The format has been accused - by, you know, the kind of Gruniad Morning Star-reading chebs who enjoy accusing people of stuff - of trying capitalise on the trend of 'poverty porn', established by controversial series such as Channel Four's Benefits Street, with website Graduate Fog - no, me neither - accusing the show of 'feeling distinctly Hunger Games.' Actually, it doesn't sound like that at all or, indeed, anything even remotely like it. In the Hollywood movie, which stars Jennifer Lawrence, contestants are chosen from the poorest districts of a country and compete in a fight to the death until just one survives in a show televised for the amusement of its wealthiest citizens. Britain's Hardest Grafter is being made by production company Twenty Twenty, whose credits include Channel Four's First Dates, and which was previously responsible for Benefits Britain 1949, in which claimants volunteered to live by the rules of the first year of the welfare state. Twenty Twenty has posted advertisements calling for participants who are willing to 'prove their worth' to 'potentially walk away with a cash prize'. And, lose whatever smidgen of dignity they previously had, it would appear. The BBC originally announced it intended to make the show, also referred to as Britain’s Hardest Worker, in January with promotional material explaining that 'contestants are all there for one reason: to make money.' It explained that contestants would work in jobs that will 'take place both out in the workplace and within the confines of a specially created factory, a warehouse space transformed to cover the UK's largest blue collar sectors.' BBC2 controller Kim Shillinglaw said at the time that the show would look at 'the low wage economy'. 'Britain's Hardest Grafter is a serious social experiment for BBC2 which investigates just how hard people in the low wage economy work,' said the BBC and Twenty Twenty in a joint statement. 'Each week the contributors – who are all in work or actively looking – will experience a different blue collar role as the series explores the truth about Britain's work ethic. Throughout the series, the contributors are rewarded for the work they do.' The BBC pointed out that the show has not been made as an 'entertainment' format but has come from Clive Edwards, head of commissioning for current affairs. The corporation says that the series will 'tackle some of the most pressing issues of our time' including why British productivity is so low, is the benefits system providing many with a reason not to work, do immigrants work harder and have the young really not got the work ethic of their parents.

'Senior figures in broadcasting' have criticised proposals to introduce counter-extremism powers allowing the vetting of British television programmes before transmission as impractical and unjustified according to some pipsqueak of no importance at the Gruniad Morning Star. A 'government plan' to 'strengthen the role of media regulator Ofcom' to take 'tough measures against channels that broadcast extremist content' was outlined in The Queen's Speech last week. That followed an initial suggestion by the Home Secretary, James May's sister, to give Ofcom 'unprecedented powers' to take 'pre-emptive action' against broadcasters - up to and included 'a damned good hiding' - which was subsequently criticised by her cabinet colleague the (former) vile and odious rascal Javid who warned it would turn the regulator 'into a state censor.' Michael Grade, the former chairman of the BBC and chief executive of ITV and Channel Four, and a Tory peer, said: 'I would be very suspicious of ex-ante powers of publication being given to a regulator or anyone. The old Hugh Cudlipp dictum of "publish and be damned" still holds forth. You would have to see the details of any proposal but I think it would be very difficult to justify.' Ofcom already has strict rules forbidding the broadcast of 'harmful extremist material' and 'hate speech'. It takes robust action when rules are broken, from fines to revoking broadcasters' licences. But all of its regulatory powers are post-transmission. James May's sister's plan, revealed in a pre-erection document outlining an extremism strategy for 'a stronger Britain' - and, unlimited rice pudding, probably - would give Ofcom the power to approve programmes before transmission, a fundamental shift. Roger Mosey, the BBC's former editorial director who edited Radio 4's Today, said: 'I think it's completely impractical, unless you are given a list of banned people who aren't allowed on your programme. There are difficulties sometimes in deciding what is extremism and what is not. Hard line religious conservatism is one thing, inciting terrorist violence another. I'm not sure politicians are the best to judge which is which.' An internal BBC seminar a few years ago asked the question whether the media would run, if offered, an interview with Osama Bin Laden, who was then still a live. 'Would you take it? Actually you would,' said Mosey. 'Broadcasters should have the right to do it, as long as it is properly contextualised and challenged. It is in the public interest to find out what extremists think.' It remains to be seen what shape Ofcom's new proposed powers would take and how effective they would be. Oily David Cameron said last week that the government's extremism proposals were 'extremely sensible.' He added: 'Ofcom has got a role to make sure that we don't broadcast extremist messages through our media.' Section three of the regulator's Broadcasting Code says that TV and radio services must not include material 'likely to encourage or incite crime or to lead to disorder.' Whilst there have been a number of breaches in recent years, Ofcom has deemed only a handful serious enough to warrant a sanction. Birmingham-based Noor TV was fined eighty five grand in 2013 after a presenter said that it was a 'duty' for Muslims to murder anyone who insulted the prophet Muhammad. Ofcom signed a memorandum of understanding with the government last year, detailing how it shared information and its responsibilities to identify and investigate extremism. But the most extreme sectarian hate speech comes from broadcasters outside of Ofcom's remit, based in Iraq, Syria or Egypt, without a TV platform in the UK but whose content is easily distributed online. Diane Coyle, the former vice-chair of the BBC Trust, said: 'If there is a problem anywhere it is a problem with social media. The idea a public body like Ofcom should be pre-vetting broadcast material is wrong in principle and wouldn't work in practice. I don't think it is a good idea at all.' James May's sister was critical of BBC2's Newsnight interview with the radical Islamist activist Anjem Choudary following the murder of Lee Rigby in Woolwich two years ago, saying that the government 'had to look at' the role of Ofcom in relation to 'what is being beamed into people's homes.' So, as you've probably guessed, according to the Tories, it's all the BBC's fault. Why is this blogger not surprised? Pre-vetting has echoes of Margaret Thatcher's 1980s tactic of trying to starve Irish Republicanism of 'the oxygen of publicity' which ended with Gerry Adams and other Sinn Féin spokespeople having their voices dubbed by actors whenever they appeared on TV. A damn silly conceit memorably parodied by Iannucci's The Day Today at the time, with a Sinn Féin spokesman forces of inhale helium under broadcasting rules 'to subtract credibility from his statements.' Stephen Whittle, the former controller of BBC editorial policy and ex-director of Ofcom forerunner the Broadcasting Standards Commission, said: 'Powers to vet or prevent broadcasts went away with the Independent Broadcasting Authority more than twenty five years ago. The proposal to give Ofcom such a power is a step back in time which undermines the commitment to freedom of expression enshrined in the Communications Act and the Human Rights Act. The criminal law already covers incitement to hatred when that freedom is abused. There are certainly challenges that arise from the expression of extremism but they are better dealt with by debate and discussion and the existing law.'

The BBC has been ordered to investigate the system for sending out letters enforcing the TV licence fee, after a viewer who had paid the charge received 'threatening' warnings. Its management was told to 'look into' how TV Licensing, the body responsible for collecting and enforcing the annual fee, sends out the warnings after the BBC Trust upheld a complaint that a member of the public was 'wrongly threatened with referral' to a debt collection agency. The BBC Trust initially rejected the complaint after receiving assurances from TV Licensing that it had made 'recent improvements' to the way it monitors a customers' payment history and that there had been 'significant revisions' to the reminder letters. However, following the initial decision the complainant received yet another letter - and a phone call - from an agent, about a debt collection agency being brought in. 'It was not, in principle, acceptable for a fully licensed member of the public to be sent a letter warning of referral to a debt collection agency,' the BBC Trust's complaints and appeals board said. 'The BBC executive will be asked to investigate how its system may be changed to prevent such warning letters being sent to licensed members of the public.' A spokeswoman for TV Licensing said that there were 'specific circumstances' that resulted in the debt collection letter being sent in error. 'The initial complaint had already been addressed by a review of these letters, which were changed in 2014,' she said. 'The complainant later set up a new licence whilst their previous licence was still valid. When they missed their cash payments, letters advised they might be referred to debt collection. This would only happen in a tiny number of cases. We can confirm we will examine these letters.' The BBC Trust also upheld a complaint from another member of the public who said that they were 'unfairly treated' when trying to prove they were legally exempt from paying the licence fee. The complainant said that TV Licensing had taken an inordinate amount of time to grant what is termed 'no licence needed' status to the property. 'The panel agreed that both the misinformation and the length of time it took to correct were unacceptable,' the BBC Trust said.
A Sun reporter has been given an eighteen-month suspended prison sentence after being found guilty of paying for tip-offs from an anti-terrorism officer. Anthony France, from Watford, was found extremely guilty of aiding and abetting PC Timothy Edwards to commit misconduct in a public office. France had followed 'an accepted procedure' at the Sun of paying for stories, Judge Timothy Pontius said. During the trial, a jury at London's Old Bailey heard how France had a 'corrupt relationship' with Edwards - a Heathrow Airport officer - for more than three years. Edwards sold thirty eight stories and tip-offs to France between March 2008 and July 2011 in exchange for more than twenty two thousand smackers. Judge Pontius sentenced the reporter to eighteen months in prison, suspended for two years, and to two hundred hours of community service. He described France as a journalist of 'hitherto unblemished character' who was 'essentially a decent man of solid integrity.' Judge Pontius said that some of the articles which resulted from payments were 'very much in the public interest', including stories about drunken airline pilots and drug smuggling. However, others were 'plainly chosen and published for their obviously salacious subject matter', he added. Payments by France had followed 'an accepted procedure that doubtless had existed for some time' at the Sun, the judge said. Transactions went through 'an established procedure', he added, saying it was 'not a case' of France handing over a 'grubby envelope' in a dark corner of a pub. 'If there was a wrong culture, as clearly the jury found, it is not one of Mr France's making. It was inevitably created by others for their benefit and sustained by others for their benefit,' Judge Pontius said. France - who denied the charge - told jurors that he had never been 'advised' by anyone at the Sun that speaking to a police officer or a public official might be against the law. Edwards - who pleaded very guilty to misconduct in a public office - was jailed for two years in 2014.

The late Michael Jackson's Neverland ranch has gone up for sale with a price tag of one hundred million dollars, reports the Wall Street Journal. The Santa Barbara development was once home to a zoo, an amusement park and its own fire station. Much of this has gone but there is still a floral clock and a railway. Jackson bought the house in 1987 for nineteen million bucks but struggled to pay for it, until an investment company stepped in to help him save it from auction. The property is now called Sycamore Valley Ranch and has undergone extensive redevelopment since Jackson's death in 2009. The two thousand eight hundred acre site, at 5225 Figueroa Mountain Road, is now being sold jointly by Sotheby's and Hilton & Hyland. The estate agents have warned off fans hoping to get a glimpse inside the piece of Jackson history, telling the Wall Street Journal that anyone wanting to view the property would be subject to 'extensive prequalification.' In other words, 'bring a suitcase full of wonga with you, we don't let just anyone in here, you know.' 'We're not going to be giving tours,' said Suzanne Perkins of Sotheby's International Realty. Jackson bought Neverland intending to create 'a fantasy land for children' absolutely none of whom he intended to molest, obviously. Oh no, very hot water. It was named after the island in the Peter Pan, where children never grow up. After he bought it and moved into the property, Jackson built a zoo and fairground but it was closed to the public in 2006 after he failed to pay his staff or maintain proper insurance.

Blur, Liam Gallagher and Years & Years (no, me neither) are some of the guests lined-up for next month's TFI Friday special. The one-off episode to celebrate the show's twenty year anniversary will also feature appearances by yer actual Roger Daltrey, Mani, Ian Broudie, Zak Starkey and Rudimental. The special will include one or two 'blasts from the past' - such as Freak or Unique, Ugly Bloke and Fat Lookalikes - as well as the introduction of new features. 'I can't believe it's been almost twenty years since the first episode of TFI, and I'm thrilled to be bringing the show to a whole new generation who have never experienced the wonders of "Baby Left Baby Right" or "It's Your Letters",' Chris Evans recently said. The original show ran for six series between 1996 and 2000. TFI Friday's live special will be shown on Friday 12 June at 9pm on Channel Four.
Yer actual Pussy Galore hr very self is to be reunited with James Bond in the spy's latest literary outing. Ian Fleming's famous leading lady from Goldfinger is back in Anthony Horowitz's new Bond novel, Trigger Mortis. The bestselling author has revealed his new 007 adventure begins in 1957, two weeks after the end of Fleming's original novel Goldfinger. The book, which is due out on 8 September, is set against the backdrop of the Soviet-American space race. As well as Pussy - famously played by yer actual Honor Blackman in 1964's Goldfinger movie - the novel features a new Bond girl called Jeopardy Lane and Jai Seung Sin, 'a sadistic, scheming Korean adversary.' Trigger Mortis will begin with an original Fleming idea - a motor racing scene written by Fleming for an unmade James Bond TV series. Horowitz said: 'It was always my intention to go back to the true Bond, which is to say, the Bond that Fleming created and it was a fantastic bonus having some original, unseen material from the master to launch my story.' He went on: 'I was so glad that I was allowed to set the book two weeks after my favourite Bond novel, Goldfinger, and I'm delighted that Pussy Galore is back. It was great fun revisiting the most famous Bond girl of all - although she is by no means the only dangerous lady in Trigger Mortis. I hope fans enjoy it. My aim was to make this the most authentic James Bond novel anyone could have written.' William Boyd, Jeffery Deaver and Sebastian Faulks are among the authors in recent years to have written officially-sanctioned books since Fleming's death in 1964. Fleming's niece, the actress Lucy Fleming, said: 'Anthony has written a James Bond book with a nail-biting adventure that could have come from Ian's own typewriter.' Ajay Chowdhury, from the James Bond International Fan Club, said that news of the novel was 'a gift' for fans of 007. 'Bond fans will be excited for a number of reasons,' he said. 'Firstly, the title is evocative of the clever-yet deadly-Fleming play on words. Secondly, with its use of previous Fleming notes and Pussy Galore. The novel promises to be rich in period detail and action and stay true to the original spirit of the classic novels.' Horowitz's prolific output includes the teen spy series, Alex Rider, which has sold more than nineteen million copies. He has written two official Sherlock Holmes novels - The House Of Silk and Moriarty - and as a TV screenwriter he created Midsomer Murders, Foyle's War and Crime Traveller. Though, to be fair, he has served his debt to society for the latter.

As many on social media have been quick to point out, The Simpsons uncannily forecast this week's series of FIFA fiascoes in an episode broadcast in March 2014. Springfield's finest were visited in the episode by a representative from world football's governing body who, shortly before being handcuffed by the FBI, called for Homer - 'a symbol of integrity' - to referee at the World Cup.
The man who, despite everything, is still FIFA's president, Sepp Blatter, has condemned what he described as a 'hate campaign' against football's world governing body by European officials. And, he said that he was 'shocked' and 'stunned' by the comments of US prosecutors following the arrests of FIFA officials under an American anti-corruption warrant. The seventy nine-year-old Teflon-coated Swiss was re-elected on Friday at a FIFA congress in Zurich. After which, as yer actual Gary Lineker noted, he 'sat back and stroked his cat.' European football governing body UEFA's president Michel Platini had urged Blatter to step down ahead of the vote. Blatter's rival, Prince Ali bin al-Hussein of Jordan, forced a second round of voting on Friday but then withdrew. Blatter won one hundred and thirty three votes to Prince Ali's seventy three in the first round, just short of the one hundred and forty votes needed for an outright win. On Wednesday, US prosecutors indicted fourteen FIFA officials and associates, with seven arrested in a dawn raid at an upmarket hotel in Zurich. They are accused of bribery, racketeering and money-laundering involving tens of millions of dollars since 1991. Meanwhile, Swiss authorities have launched a separate criminal investigation into the awarding of the 2018 and 2022 World Cup tournaments to Russia and Qatar. Spelling out details of the US case earlier this week, Attorney General Loretta Lynch said: 'They corrupted the business of worldwide soccer to serve their interests and to enrich themselves.' Ahead of Blatter's comments on Saturday, US tax official Richard Weber told the New York Times he was 'fairly confident that we will have another round of indictments' coming soon. But, in an uncompromising interview with Swiss television station RTS, Blatter said that he suspected the arrests were an attempt to 'interfere with the congress' at which he was re-elected. 'I am not certain, but it doesn't smell good,' he said. Which, for someone with a nose for trouble as frequently inactive as Blatter really is saying something. He noted that the US had lost out in the bidding for the 2022 World Cup to Qatar while England, another major critic, had lost out to Russia for the right to hold the 2018 World Cup - and that the US was the 'number-one sponsor' of the state of Jordan, the homeland of defeated challenger for the FIFA presidency. He also condemned the comments made by Lynch and other US prosecutors, one of whom referred to a 'World Cup of fraud.' Blatter said: 'Of course I am shocked. I would never as FIFA president make comments about another organisation without being certain of what has happened.' Blatter was widely supported in Africa and Asia, and his re-election was welcomed by the hosts of the next World Cup, Russia. UEF had backed Prince Ali, with Platini describing his candidacy as 'a movement for change at FIFA.' In an apparent reference to Platini's call for him to resign, Blatter said: 'It is a hate that comes not just from a person at UEFA, it comes from the UEFA organisation that cannot understand that in 1998 I became president.' Asked whether he would forgive Platini for the calling on him to step down, Blatter said: 'I forgive everyone, but I do not forget.' European football associations will meet at next week's Champions League final in Berlin to discuss their next move. 'We have to see how best we can use the European muscle,' Irish FA president John Delaney told RTE News. Europe's seat at the next meeting of FIFA's powerful executive committee is expected to be empty, as newly appointed representative David Gill had said before Friday's vote that he would resign if Blatter was re-elected. England's FA chairman Greg Dyke said that he would consider a boycott of the World Cup if joined by other European nations. 'This is not over by any means. To quote the [US] attorney general this is the beginning of the process not the end,' Dyke said. Meanwhile, Jesper Moller of Denmark's FA told reporters: 'Blatter is too involved in all the allegations of corruption that have taken up much of his time as president. But we must, of course, respect the democratic vote.' A number of FIFA sponsors - Coca-Cola, Kia, Adidas and Visa - have made known their 'concerns' about what is happening at FIFA, with the latter particularly vociferous, warning that unless the global governing body makes 'changes now', it would 'reassess our sponsorship'. And McDonald's said it 'takes matters of ethics and corruption very seriously and the news from the US Department of Justice is extremely concerning. We are in contact with FIFA on this matter. We will continue to monitor the situation very closely.' Sony decided not to renew its contract last year - it had been a FIFA partner since 2007.

The Oscar and BAFTA-winning costume designer Julie Harris who designed clothes for The Be-Atles and Sir Roger Moore's James Bond has died in London, aged ninety four. Julie died in hospital after a brief illness from a chest infection, a close friend confirmed. Harris designed clothes worn by The Be-Atles (a popular beat-combo of the 1960s, you might've heard of them) in the films A Hard Day's Night and Help! and by Sir Roge in his first James Bond film, Live & Let Die. She won an Oscar in 1966 for the Julie Christie film Darling. Her BAFTA came the following year for her work on The Wrong Box. Julie's many other credits included the James Bond spoof Casino Royale, Carry On Cleo and 1981's The Great Muppet Caper. In 1965, after working with The Be-Atles, she said: 'I must be one of the few people who can claim they have seen John, Paul, George and Ringo naked.' Well, apart from their mothers, obviously. 'Julie worked with some of the greatest international stars in the history of the cinema, and for some of its most legendary directors and producers,' said her friend Jo Botting. It was Botting, a senior curator at the British Film Institute National Archive, who confirmed Harris's death at the Chelsea and Westminster Hospital on Saturday. 'Her outstanding work was constantly nominated for awards,' Botting continued, remembering Julie as 'an amazing woman.' Born in London in 1921, Julie began her career in 1947 at Gainsborough Pictures with Holiday Camp, the forerunner of the Huggett family film series. She worked steadily on feature films throughout the next three decades, hitting her stride in the 1960s, before shifting her attention to television movies until her retirement in 1991. Harris's other BAFTA nominations came for her work on the horror film Psyche Fifty Nine, Help!, Casino Royale and The Slipper & The Rose. Her CV also included work on The Story Of Esther Costello, Good-Time Girl, The Body Said No!, The Greengage Summer, The Chalk Garden, The Whisperers, Deadfall, The Private Life Of Sherlock Holmes, Rollerball, The Land That Time Forgot, Dracula and the TV movies The Sign Of Four, The Kingfisher, A Hazard Of Hearts and A Perfect Hero. Speaking in 2010, Julie recalled working with such Hollywood legends as Jayne Mansfield - an actress, she said, who had been blessed with 'quite a figure. She came to a fitting one day in her mink coat with only her underclothes underneath,' she told an audience at the Cinema Museum in London.

Now, one from the files; here's a very nice interview the young Fraser Hines gave to Radio Times circa 1967.
By the way, in case you were wondering, when it says 'Fraser talks to Gay Search', that was the name of a Radio Times journalist of the late 1960s and not an, ahem, 'gentleman's specialist publication.' Obviously.

And, here's a very interesting interview with yer actual Keith Telly Topping's old mucker Paul Cornell and his artist chum Tony Parker about their new comic for Dark Horse, The Damned Band (available from all good comic shops, and some bad ones, now).
Earlier this week, dear blog reader, this blogger received a perfectly extraordinary e-mail - from a dear blog reader in Nigeria - asking that From The North feature 'more pictures of massive tits.' What could yer actual Keith Telly Topping do after such a plea but comply?
At last, dear blog reader, something which the Catholic church and yer actual Keith Telly Topping can agree upon. It's always nice when that happens, isn't it?
If we lived in a parallel universe and Ron and Russell from Sparks presented a programme on FOX News, this blogger might actually watch it.
Now, here's something for all those bores who constantly bang on about how totally mad-brilliant the 1970s were.
Ah, whatever did happen to Colin Crompton after he left N.W.A? Answers on a postcard, dear blog reader. And there's also Duggie Brown! Ah, all those unhappy memories of Take My Wife (with Lis Sladen). Possibly the single worst sitcom in the history of bad ITV sitcoms.

Anyway, for the latest Keith Telly Topping's 45 of the Day, dear blog reader, fancy a bit of hot, bangin' electro-pop? Yeah, me too. However, you'll just have to make do with The Grand Dame her very self and The Petties instead. And, why not?

Friday, May 22, 2015

What's The Point Of Rhetorical Questions?

Yer actual Peter Capaldi has, according to the Daily Scum Mail, 'turned daredevil' when filming a parachuting scenes on Barry Island beach for the new series of Doctor Who. Blimey, that's taking the Pertwee-obsession a bit too far, Pete,mate.
Who was Missy? That was the question Doctor Who fans were asking throughout series eight, before the sensational reveal that the character, played brilliantly by yer actual Michelle Gomez, was The Doctor's old nemesissy, The Master, now having undergone a sex-change regeneration. But, The Lord Thy God Steven Moffat wanted to have a little fun with the fans before then. The showrunner has admitted that he tried to plant a red herring during the filming of penultimate episode Dark Water. In the actual broadcast, Missy originally passes herself off as a cyborg, claiming that her name is an acronym for 'Mobile Intelligence Systems Interface.' However, when Michelle Gomez initially recorded the line, she said something quite different. 'I actually had her say she was a "Random Access Neural Interface,"' The Moffinator told the audience at a Royal Television Society event, this week. The Rani, of course, was a character played by the late Kate O’Mara. The Rani, a nefarious Time Lady, clashed with Colin Baker and Sylvester McCoys' Doctors in two stories during the 1980s - both of which were, to be honest, a bit rubbish. 'Many fans', allegedly, speculated that Missy would turn out to be a new regeneration of the villain. Many others, didn't. The Moffat, he claims, believed that 'leaks were inevitable' but, in this particular case, no-one took the bait. 'Whenever I arrange skullduggery, no-one ever buggering notices,' he said, seemingly, properly disappointed by this turn of events. 'We thought "everyone's bound to overhear that. Deaf bunch of bastards!' This is not the first time that Steven has tried to prank the audience with an old villain. 'When e did The Day Of The Doctor, we went to the trouble of having John Hurt's character referred to as Omega throughout,' he said. 'Is nobody stealing scripts these days? What's the matter with people?' Sarky bleeder.
Speaking of yer man The Moffat, Steven noted this week that it was exactly ten years since his first episode for the popular long-running family SF drama - The Empty Child - was broadcast. 'If it means anything, I've enjoyed the decade that followed,' this blogger told him. And, yer actual Keith Telly Topping has.
Doctor Who fans could see a return of the character of River Song. The Lord Thy God Steven Moffat said that he hasn't ruled out the possibility of bringing Alex Kingston's character back at some point in the future. He told Radio Times: 'It entirely depends on whether we've got a good story. It's certainly not ruled out. I have a sort of worry about keeping anybody around in The Doctor's life for too long. Because he's The Man Who Leaves.' The Moffat's predecessor, yer actual Russell Davies, is also championing the character's return to the show. 'I mentioned in passing to Russell that we were probably done with River,' Moffat added. 'He said, "You can't be done with River! No, no, no. Capaldi and Kingston, it's a sex storm!'
Now, dear blog reader, to a sadly far more depressing aspect of the Doctor Who world. Just when you think you've seen an example of the very worst that the more mental corners of fandom can throw up, along comes an Internet piece like this to prove you wholly incorrect. To sum up then, one Cindy Davis - who, according to her Twitter account is a grown woman and not a six year old - thinks that a man deserves to have physical violence inflicted upon him for the perfectly dreadful crime of 'producing a TV show in a way I don't like.' Good on ya, Cindy, you're a total credit to humanity. This blogger is all for freedom of speech within the boundaries of the law as it currently stands - hence this very blog. But, that suggestion, actually, isn't. Do you ever get the feeling, dear blog reader, that when this blogger - and others - have spent years trying to convince anyone that would listen that Doctor Who isn't a programme for children, he might, just, have been wrong.
Yer actual Keith Telly Topping is pure dead grateful to his good friend Kathy Sullivan for alerting him to the following: 'The International Association of Media Tie-In Writers is to present the 2015 Faust Award to Terrance Dicks. The award honoring [sic] a grandmaster in the field goes to Terrence for the extensive contributions he has made during his long career.' The award will be presented at a ceremony in July at Comic-Con in San Diego, where the IAMTW will also be presenting the Scribe Awards, honouring the best media tie-ins of the year. IAMTW is a professional organisation for authors of books based on TV shows, movies and games. The organisation is dedicated educating the public about this field, enhancing the professional status of its members and to providing a forum for tie-in writers to share information, support one another, and discuss issues relating to our industry. And, of course, this excellent news, gives yer actual Keith Telly Topping yet another excuse to use that photo of Keith Telly Topping and Terrance enjoying a very nice Thai meal in Los Angeles with friends a couple of years ago. You knew that was going to happen, right?
'For years Star Trek fans have been the butt of jokes about their penchant for wearing pointy ears and attending science fiction conventions. But the police feared British fans of the cult American show might boldly go a little too far one day' according to claims made in a particularly sneering and badly written piece in the Torygraph. The article, by one Elizabeth Roberts, alleges that Scotland Yard kept a 'secret dossier' on Star Trek, The X-Files and other US SF shows 'amid fears' that British fans would 'go mad and kill themselves', 'turn against society' or 'start a weird cult.' As this blogger's old mate Danny Blythe wisely pointed out, 'apart from killing ourselves, haven't we mostly done all of that anyway?' Other American TV shows Roswell and Dark Skies and the film The Lawnmower Man were also, allegedly, 'monitored' to 'protect the country from rioting and cyber attacks', the Toygraph claims. Presumably, yer actual Keith Telly Topping - as the (co)author of books on three of those subjects - was also under heavy surveillance by The Law during the Millennium period. Which is rather cool, actually. Although, it does explain one or two things ... The sudden non-delivery of a bunch of issues of Spank Monthly to Stately Telly Topping Manor in late 1999, for one. Special Branch was, the Torygraph claims, 'concerned' that people 'hooked' on such material 'could go into a frenzy' triggered by the Millennium 'leading to anarchy' in the streets and loads of manic ultraviolence with kids getting' sparked and aal sorts. Yeah, that certainly sounds like one or two SF conventions this blogger has been to. This undated 'confidential' report to the Metropolitan Police, 'thought to have been filed around 1998-99' according to the Torygraph, listed 'concerns' about conspiracy theorists who believed the end of the world was nigh. Albeit, the fact that one of the series specifically mentioned in this alleged report - Roswell - didn't even begin transmission in the US until October 1999 and wasn't shown in Britain until the first week of the new Millennium (on Sky), means this blogger smells the pungent whiff of made-up bullshit hereabouts. 'Fuel is added to the fire by television dramas and feature films mostly produced in America,' the report is alleged to have said. 'These draw together the various strands of religion, UFOs, conspiracies, and mystic events and put them in an entertaining storyline.' Well, sometimes. It added: 'Obviously this is not sinister in itself. What is of concern is the devotion certain groups and individuals ascribe to the contents of these programmes.' Which, again, to be fair is a pretty good summation of most fandoms and Doctor Who's in particular. See above and the lass who wants to punch Steven Moffat simply because produces the show in a way she doesn't like. The alleged dossier – called UFO New Religious Movements & The Millennium – was, allegedly, 'drawn up in response to the 1997 mass suicide by thirty nine cultists in San Diego known as Heaven's Gate.' The group members were 'ardent followers of The X-Files and Star Trek' according to Special Branch. Though, as another of this blogger's friends, Christopher Heer notes, 'the idea of Trek fans organising a rebellion is hilarious. Three weeks in we'd still be arguing about uniforms!' The 'secret' briefing note was obtained from the Met under the Freedom of Information Act by Sheffield-based 'British X-Files expert' Doctor Dave Clarke while researching a new book, How UFOs Conquered The World. So, it's obviously not that secret then is Dave managed to get a copy. Clarke, who teaches investigative journalism at Sheffield Hallam University, said: 'The documents show the police and security services were concerned about the export of some new religious movements concerning UFOs and aliens from the USA in the aftermath of the mass suicide by followers of the Heaven's Gate. It's no coincidence this occurred around 1997 – which was the fiftieth anniversary of the birth of UFOs and the Roswell incident – at a time when the net was buzzing with rumours about aliens and cover-ups.' A - one supposes, rather surprised - Met spokesman said: 'We have no knowledge of this.' No shit?
The greatest single moment 'surely no one can be that thick?' in the history to TV quiz shows occurred this week in Pointless, as Gemma, bless her, told the nation that Lee Harvey Oswald assassinated JR in Dallas. Nearly, love, nearly.
Game Of Thrones had a small ratings boost on Sky Atlantic on Monday according to overnight figures. The fantasy drama continued with 1.16m for a controversial episode at 9pm - up slightly on the previous week's overnight audience of 1.05m. The RHS Chelsea Flower Show proved to be a ratings hit for BBC2, with three million punters at 8pm. The Detectives followed with 1.77m at 9pm, while Episodes was watched by nine hundred and ten thousand at 10pm. On BBC1, Antibiotic Apocalypse interested 2.04m at 8.30pm, whilst the New Tricks repeat run continued with 2.62m at 9pm. ITV's Wild Ireland brought in 2.37m at 8pm, before Scammers was seen by 2.60m at 9pm. On Channel Four, Damned Designs appealed to 1.06m at 8pm and Benefits Street lost around half-a-million overnight viewers for its second episode, with 1.99m at 9pm. Channel Five's Gotham had an audience of seven hundred and fifty nine thousand at 9pm, while Big Brother continued with 1.09m at 10pm.

The first semi-final of the 2015 Eurovision Song Contest topped the multichannel overnight ratings on Tuesday. Live coverage from Vienna brought in seven hundred and ninety thousand viewers and a four per cent share of the available audience for BBC3 from 8pm. BBC1's Twenty Four Hours In The Past was the night's most watched programme outside of the soaps with 3.17m at 9pm. Which, in and of itself is a quite shocking indictment of ... something. Don't come to this blogger looking for a quick answer on that score. The Dog Factory followed with 1.28m at 10.45pm. On BBC2, Antiques Road Trip interested 1.37m at 7pm, before The RHS Chelsea Flower Show was seen by 3.03m at 8pm, and The Detectives was watched by 1.81m at 9pm. Midsomer Murders averaged 1.94m for ITV between 8pm and 10pm. On Channel Four, Kirsty & Phil's Love It Or List It gathered 1.50m at 8pm, while No Offence continued with 1.45m at 9pm. Channel Five's The Dog Rescuers appealed to eight hundred and eighty eight thousand viewers at 8pm and Blinging Up Baby: You Won't Believe It! brought in nine hundred and ninety two thousand viewers at 9pm. Big Brother continued with 1.01m at 10pm.

Inspector George Gently topped the overnight ratings outside of soaps on Wednesday evening. The drama continued on BBC1 with 5.32m between 8pm and 9.30pm, while Peter Kay's Car Share immediately followed with 4.87m. On BBC2, Antiques Road Trip interested 1.01m, before coverage of The RHS Chelsea Flower Show appealed to 2.16m at 8pm, and the latest Horizon documentary was watched by 1.65m at 9pm. A Qi repeat followed with 1.10m at 10pm. ITV's wretched, mawkish, trite Give A Pet A Home wrapped up its toxic and nauseous six-episode run with two million overnight punters at 8pm, down half-a-million viewers from its opening episode in April. Meanwhile, Newzoids concluded its first - and probably only - series with 1.47m at 9pm having lost approximately two-thirds of its initial viewers after kicking-off with 3.34m for its first episode in April. Laughless alleged 'comedy', The Delivery Man, which debuted to 2.45m last month, brought in a risible nine hundred and five thousand overnight viewers for its final episode at 9.30pm. And, thus ended ITV's much-trailed Wednesday night line-up for the last couple of months. One trusts there would have been a few people clearing out their desks at ITV Towers on Thursday morning having commissioned and made those three fiascos. The World's Most Expensive Food had an audience of 1.37m on Channel Four at 8pm, while The Island With Bear Grylls wrapped up its series with 1.95m at 9pm. Channel Five's hideously sneering Benefits Britain: Big Families Special appealed to 1.47m at 9pm, while Big Brother continued with 1.03m gawping waste-of-space lovers of Victorian freak shows at 10pm. On E4, Jane The Virgin was watched by one hundred and fifty five thousand at 9pm, while Nashville was seen by one hundred and sixty thousand at 10pm. Sky Atlantic's The Affair pulled in one hundred and thirty three thousand for its third episode at 9pm.
The British Soap Awards somewhat underperformed in the overnight ratings on Thursday evening. The two-hour ceremony, which saw EastEnders take home most of the prizes, pulled in 3.92m at 8pm on ITV. Figures were down 1.2m overnight viewers on last year's event, which had was broadcast on a Sunday evening just one day after the live ceremony. Emmerdale was the most-watched programme of the day, attracting 4.96m at 7pm on ITV. Channel Four's High Class Call Girls documentary excited an average overnight audience of 1.19 million viewers. Earlier, Born Naughty? as watched by 1.35m at 8pm, followed by Bear Grylls's Born Survivor with 1.33m at 9pm. On BBC1, Watchdog brought in 3.20m at 8pm, followed by the last Shark episode with 2.59m at 9pm and Question Time with 2.50m at 10.35pm. BBC2's Chelsea Flower Show coverage continued with 2.42m at 8pm, while The Game attracted 1.17m at 9pm. The Clare Balding Show was watched by five hundred and twenty thousand viewers at 10pm. On Channel Five, The Hotel Inspector interested 1.07m at 9pm, while Big Brother's latest episode was seen by nine hundred and sixty one thousand at 10pm. BBC3's coverage of the second Eurovision Song Contest semi-final was watched by six hundred and nineteen thousand at 8pm, slightly ahead of Britain's Deadliest Rail Disaster on BBC4 with six hundred and sixteen thousand at 9pm. On E4, The Big Bang Theory had an audience of eight hundred and sixty nine thousand at 8.30pm. On Sky Atlantic, the series finale of Mad Men brought in eighty three thousand at 10pm.
Big Brother's latest eviction episode was seen by an average audience of 1.06 million overnight punters. The live episode, which ran from 9 until 10.30pm on Channel Five, peaked with 1.17 million viewers at 10pm. The final episode of Peter Kay's Car Share closed with an evening high of 4.52 million at 9.30pm on BBC1, while The Graham Norton Show was seen by 3.26 million at 10.35pm. BBC1's evening started with 3.07 million for The ONE Show, followed by 2.67 million for The RHS Chelsea Flower Show and 2.22 million (11.2%) for a repeat of The Vicar Of Dibley at 8.30pm. Have I Got News For You had an overnight audience of 4.21 million viewers at 8.30pm. A second episode of The Chelsea Flower Show was watched by 2.09 million on BBC2 at 8.30pm. It was preceded by 1.07 million for Antiques Road Trip at 7pm, while Mary Berry's Absolute Favourites continued with 2.23 million at 8pm. On ITV, Weekend Escapes With Warwick Davis and Man & Beast With Martin Clunes continued with respective audiences of 2.35 million and 2.30 million. Eight Out Of Ten Cats Does Countdown was Channel Four's highest-rated show of the night with 1.14 million at 9pm. It was sandwiched between Marvel's Agents of SHIELD with six hundred and sixty thousand and Alan Carr: Chatty Man with nine hundred and ninety thousand.

The Eurovision Song Contest averaged more than 6.6 million overnight viewers on Saturday. The music event, which saw Sweden's Måns Zelmerlöw win the big prize, was watched by an average overnight audience of 6.64m from 8pm on BBC1. The Eurovision coverage helped BBC1 to win primetime overall on the night, with a twenty nine per cent share of the available audience compared to ITV's twenty per cent. Despite suffering a large drop week-on- week, Britain's Got Toilets still drew 7.41m on ITV, the highest audience of the evening. Elsewhere on ITV, Ninja Warrior continued with 3.9m and risbble, waste-of-space rubbish Play To The Whistle saw its udience drop to a lughably poor 1.83m. BBC2's coverage of The RHS Chelsea Flower Show managed 1.15m punters. A repeat of the 2012 adaptation of Great Expectations followed with seven hundred and sixty four thousand viewers from 9pm. On Channel Four, The World's Most Extreme... was watched by five hundred and seventy nine thousand during the 8pm hour whilst Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes took seven hundred and forty two thousand afterwards. The latest Big Brother 'highlights' - and, I use that word quite wrongly - attracted five hundred and ninety four thousand from 9.20pm. CSI was watched by five hundred and ninety eight thousand viewers. On multichannels, Foyle's War averaged seven hundred and ninety eight thousand on ITV3.

And, it's worth noting that at least one lady viewers - who has her knockers - only went and guessed the outcome of Eurovision. And, wanted to share information this with the world.
Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell showed a sharp - and, very disappointing - week-on-week overnight ratings drop on Sunday. Episode two of the supernatural drama, based on Susanna Clarke's acclaimed best-seller, had an overnight audience of but 2.57m at 9pm on BBC1 - down considerably on last week's corresponding overnight audience of 4.53m. What a shame as it was a really good episode, as well. That aside, it was a pretty good evening for BBC1, with Countryfile leading the night with an audience of 5.77m at 7pm, followed by 5.35m for the Antiques Roadshow at 8pm. The final day of the Premier League season saw Match Of The Day's highlights attracting 3.09m punters at 10.30pm. And, to the relief of millions, yer actual Keith telly Topping's beloved (though unsellable) Magpies managed to shake off their cowardly, slovenly lethargy of the previous four months to record their first victory in twelve games against a West Ham United team which already seemed to be on the beach and, thus, condemn yer actual Hull City to relegation and a season in the Championship. On ITV, episode four of World War II-era drama Home Fires led the night for the channel, with a respectable 4.47m tuning-in at 9pm. Earlier in the night, Warwick Davis's wretched, worthless Z-List Celebrity Squares was watched by a hilariously awful 1.57m at 7.15pm, followed by an overnight audience of 3.08m for Sunday Night At The London Palladium at 8pm. BBC2 opened primetime with seven hundred and sixteen thousand for A Very British Airline at 7pm. Demolition was down slightly on the previous week's overnight with 1.44m at 8pm, while Armada: Twelve Days To Save England was watched by 1.8m at 9pm. Channel Four's highest-rated programme in primetime was a screening of the Danny Boyle thriller Trance, which attracted nine hundred and ninety two thousand punters from 9pm. On Channel Five, the latest episode of Big Brother drew an audience of but eight hundred and forty nine thousand, while Stevie Wonder: An All-Star Grammy Salute had six hundred and twenty five thousand at 10pm. BBC3's coverage of Radio 1's Big Weekend From Norwich peaked with four hundred and sixty six thousand at 9pm, with performances from Taylor Swift and George Ezra.
Here's the final and consolidated ratings for the Top Twenty programmes for the week-ending Sunday 17 May 2015:-
1 Britain's Got Toilets - Sat ITV - 10.96m
2 Coronation Street - Mon ITV - 7.950m
3 EastEnders - Tues BBC1 - 7.43m
4 Inspector George Gently - Wed BBC1 - 6.55m
5 Emmerdale - Thurs ITV - 6.17m
6 Peter Kay's Car Share - Wed BBC1 - 6.04m
7 Antiques Roadshow - Sun BBC1 - 5.99m
8 Safe House - Mon ITV - 5.93m
9 Jonathan Strange & Mister Norrell - Sun BBC1 - 5.57m
10 BBC News - Sun BBC1 - 5.15m
11= Have I Got News For You - Fri BBC1 - 5.13m
11= Casualty - Sat BBC1 - 5.13m
13 Home Fires - Sun ITV - 4.99m*
14 Six O'Clock News - Thurs BBC1 - 4.87
15 Holby City - Tues BBC1 - 4.63m
16 Ten O'Clock News - Tues BBC1 - 4.31m
17 Ninja Warrior UK - Sat ITV - 4.05m*
18 Watchdog - Thurs BBC1 - 3.87m
19 The ONE Show - Tues BBC1 - 3.78m
20 The Graham Norton Show - Fri BBC1 - 3.69m
These figures, as usual, do not include iPlayer or ITV Player viewers. ITV programmes marked '*' do not include HD figures. ITV's woes - a handful of popular formats aside - continue. Spectacular flops Play To The Whistle (2.14m), Weekend Escapes With Warwick Davis (2.07m) and Give A Pet A Home (2.01m) continue to provide far more entertainment via their risibly low ratings figures than anything within the series' themselves. Much-hyped Spitting Image rip-off Newzoids continues to shed viewers. Neither it, nor the laughless alleged 'comedy' The Delivery Man managed a consolidated audience of more than 1.74 million punters and didn't make it into ITV's top thirty broadcasts of the week. BBC2's most-watched programme was Mary Berry's Absolute Favourites (2.43m). Gardeners' World had 2.29m, followed by The Great Chelsea Garden Challenge (1.97m) and Demolition: the Wrecking Crew (1.81m). Channel Four's highest-rated shows were The Island With Bear Grylls (3.08m), Benefits Street (2.99m), No Offence (2.33m) and Born Naughty? (2.26m). Channel Five's top-rated broadcasts were Big Brother (1.94m), The Hotel Inspector (1.55m), Gotham (1.46m) and CSI: Crime Scene Investigation (1.34m). Sky Atlantic's Game Of Thrones was the mutichannels most-watched broadcast of the week with two million viewers, followed by E4's The Big Bang Theory (1.66m). Midsomer Murders was ITV3's most-watched show with eight hundred and ninety nine thousand viewers, ahead of Foyle's War (eight hundred and thirty four thousand) and Lewis (six hundred and seven thousand). The opening two episodes of BBC4's latest Scandi import, the jolly shit-weird (but, nevertheless, excellent) 1864 attracted nine hundred and fifty four thousand and six hundred and eighty seven thousand viewers. Wild Arabia was BBC4's next highest-rated programme (four hundred and twenty eight thousand). Burma: My Father & The Forgotten Army drew four hundred and one thousand thousand, followed by The Comet's (three hundred and ninety one thousand) and Medieval Lives: Birth, Marriage & Death (three hundred and eighty six thousand). BBC3's weekly ratings list was topped by a repeat of Sherlock (five hundred and ninety nine thousand). ITV4's most watched broadcast was coverage of the Europa League (five hundred and six thousand). 5USA's The Mysteries Of Laura attracted four hundred and forty three thousand although, for once, it wasn't the channel's most-watched show, with an episode of Chicago PD drawing five hundred and fifty two thousand. The third episode of Sky Living's The Enfield Haunting attracted 1.26m. Sky Living's other most watched programmes were Elementary (seven hundred and sixty five thousand) and The Blacklist (seven hundred and sixty five thousand). Sky 1's The Flash brought in 1.20m, whilst Arrow had eight hundred and forty four thousand. On Dave, repeats of old favourites Have I Got A Bit More News For You, Mock The Week and Qi XL were watched by three hundred and fifty five thousand, three hundred and forty one thousand and two hundred and sevety seven thousand punters respectively. Would I Lie To You? had two hundred and seventy six thousand. Drama's latest New Tricks repeat was watched by four hundred and twenty eight thousand. Watch's Grimm had an audience of five hundred and fifty nine thousand. FOX's latest episode of NCIS's series twelve was watched by seven hundred and ninety thousand. The opening episode of the much-hyped Wayward Pines had one hundred and forty four thousand. On Sky Sports News, Gillette Soccer Saturday drew four hundred and fifty nine thousand. On Discovery History, Hitler: Germany's Fatal Attraction pulled in twenty two thousand viewers. The Discovery Channel's most watched shows were Gold Rush (four hundred and ninety thousand) and Wheeler Dealers (two hundred and thirty four thousand). CI's A Town & Country Murder attracted sixty two thousand viewers whilst ID's Who The Hell Did I Marry? drew fifty nine thousand. National Geographic's Car SOS was watched by ninety five thousand. Yesterday's highest-rating show was Secrets Of The Bible (two hundred and nineteen thousand).

The BBC's global audience has passed three hundred million, with television overtaking radio as the most popular platform for international news for the first time in the corporation's history. The number of people tuning in to services such BBC Global News and the BBC World Service hit three hundred and eight million a week in the year to the end of March. Tony Hall, the BBC Director General, has set a target global reach for BBC news and entertainment content of five hundred million punters by 2022, meaning the corporation needs to add about thirty million per year. The figures, which includes people looking at news content on the BBC's Facebook page and on YouTube, shows that television has overtaken radio as the most popular platform for BBC international news for the first time. The BBC's overall weekly global news audience hit two hundred and eighty three million in the year to the end of March, up seven per cent or eighteen million people year-on-year. The figures show that one hundred and forty eight million people per week tuned in to BBC international news content on television while radio services managed one hundred and thirty three million. There were fifty five million who sourced BBC news online. 'In times of crisis and in countries lacking media freedom, people around the world turn to the BBC for trusted and accurate information,' said Fran Unsworth, director of the BBC World Service group. 'Thanks to our digital innovation we now have more ways than ever before of reaching our audience – from the WhatsApp service we set up during the West Africa Ebola outbreak, to our pop-up Thai news stream on Facebook following the military coup.' The figures show that the BBC World Service, of which the corporation took over full funding last year, increased its audience by ten per cent to two hundred and ten million. The largest proportion of the rise came from new World Service TV news bulletins being provided in non-English languages. BBC World Service English showed the largest growth of a single service, rising twenty five per cent to fifty two million consumers per week, fuelled by listeners in Nigeria, America, Pakistan and Tanzania. The BBC World Service has shut fifteen language services since 2006, although it did launch a Facebook news service for Thailand in 2014. The reach of BBC Global News hit one hundred and five million, with World News TV viewing rising twelve per cent and those turning to for news rising sixteen per cent. 'The consumption of branded BBC services across TV, radio and digital platforms speaks to the international appetite for premium content across all the genres for which we are best known – primarily news, but increasingly for drama, factual and entertainment,' said Tim Davie, the chief executive of BBC Worldwide.

Another three episodes of the next - M - series of Qi were filmed in London last week; episodes five, six and seven of the sixteen episode series featured guest appearances by, Aisling Bea, débutant Danny Bhoy and Jimmy Carr, the very excellent Bill Bailey, Jo Brand and a first appearance for Greg Davies and Aisling Bea again, Susan Calman and Sandi Toksvig respectively. Onthe latter, with those three, Alan Davies will be lucky if he can get a word in edgeways. So, that'll be an ice change! A further three episodes are scheduled to be filmed on Tuesday and Wednesday or next week.
Dakota Blue Richards has joined the cast of ITV's Endeavour as a regular character. The former Skins and Golden Compass actress will play WPC Shirley Trewlove in the Inspector Morse prequel series opposite Shaun Evans as the title character. Trewlove is described as 'a thorough, determined and forthright officer', who becomes a valuable member of the force and attracts the admiration of Endeavour. Creator Russell Lewis said of the character: 'Bright, capable and brave, Shirley Trewlove is a very welcome addition to the ranks of Oxford's Finest. While very much a young woman of the 1960s, Trewlove also evokes a very particular kind of timeless British heroine. The sort of clear-eyed, resourceful young woman one wouldn't be surprised to find behind the wheel of the ambulance in Ice Cold In Alex or keeping Robert Donat company across the moors in The Thirty Nine Steps. In Dakota we have found our perfect Trewlove.' Richards said: 'It's very exciting to be joining the talented cast of Endeavour. WPC Trewlove is incredibly astute and enthusiastic and I can't wait to see how her story unfolds.' Endeavour's third series picks up from 2014's previous run, which saw Endeavour Morse framed for the murder of the corrupt Chief Constable Rupert Standish, while the life of Fred Thursday (the always excellent Roger Allam) hung in the balance after being shot in the chest. Series three will have four two-hour episodes, which are once again written by Russell Lewis. Inspector Morse author Colin Dexter also returns as a consultant for the series.

Amanda Holden has denied that Britain's Got Toilets is fixed. One or two people even believed her.
Yer man Jezza Clarkson has said that being dropped from Top Gear 'was my own silly fault.' Well, yeah. Punching a producer geet hard in the mush certainly wasn't anybody else's fault, mate. The broadcaster was speaking to his old chum, BBC Radio 2's Chris Evans, in his first interview since not having his BBC contract renewed. He said that leaving the show had 'left a huge hole' in his life - and, in the BBC's finances - 'that needs to be filled.' Jezza admitted that he had 'taken phone calls' from other broadcasters who wanted to poach the Top Gear team - and their massive international fanbase - but said: 'I'd be a fool to jump into something. I have been at the BBC for twenty seven years. When you emerge after twenty seven years, you find the world is changed. When you learn how the world works, you can start to work out what to do,' he continued. 'In the meantime I'm getting really good at tennis. My forehand has improved immeasurably.' On Thursday, Clarkson launched what he called a 'badly organised world tour' with his former co-hosts Richard Hammond and James May in Belfast. He said that the production was 'Top Gear in all but name' - but the team were now 'able to make their own films' for the big screens 'without any meddling' from the BBC. 'It's broadly the same thing it's been for the last ten years,' he added. Speaking to Evans, Clarkson said that the show was 'very much my baby, I absolutely adored it. I worked all through the night and paid attention to every tiny bit. And then, suddenly you are not asked to do that any more. I was very sad.' But the presenter said that he did not harbour any resentment towards the BBC. 'There are some dreadful people in it,' he said, 'but there are also some really talented, brilliant people. I will never complain about it.'

Top Gear, of course, achieved huge success with Jezza, Richard Hammond and James May at the helm - but it almost didn't happen. The show's former executive producer, Andy Wilman, has revealed that the BBC almost got rid of Hammond after just one series in 2002 as they 'had a wobble' about his involvement. He told the latest issue of Top Gear magazine: 'For a while, for some reason I cannot fathom, the BBC management had a wobble about Richard staying and, in their usual classic HR style, said to him in December: "We may not want you back for the second series, but, anyway, have a good Christmas."' Someone - although Wilman doesn't actually name him or her - at executive level within the BBC was alleged to be 'unsure' whether to bring in two new presenters following the show's return to air in 2002, as the other original presenter Jason Dawe also left after on series 'due to things not working out.' Whatever that means. 'There was no doubt that Richard would stay,' Wilman continued. 'It was about this time we had another visit from the BBC Meddling Department, who told us that market research showed our show was attracting young, lifestyle, trendy viewers to BBC2 so, perhaps, we should think about getting a young, lifestyle, trendy presenter. Ever keen to assist, we searched high and low and eventually came up with just the man - James May!' The producer - who left shortly after Clarkson's contract at the BBC was not renewed - said that the 'meddling department' also pointed out that the show's audience was almost half female. 'Before they had a chance to follow that up with the inevitable suggestion to get a woman presenter, we shooed them out and carried on,' he said.
Good Morning Britain is reportedly being investigated by Ofcom over Nigel Farago's recent appearance. The flop ITV breakfast show is accused of breaching impartiality rules when the UKiP leader - and failed parliamentary candidate - was interviewed by Horrible Kate Garraway and Ben Shephard on 1 May. The presenters asked Farago about his chances of being elected as MP for South Thanet (which were, as it turned out, zero), but failed to reflect the position of other candidates standing in the constituency. An Ofcom spokesperson said: 'Ofcom is investigating whether the programme was duly impartial to ask Nigel Farage about his prospects of winning the Thanet South constituency without reflecting the position of other candidates.' Farago - amusingly - failed to be elected as an MP and subsequently resigned as leader of UKiP. However, he was reinstated just days later after the party rejected his decision. Last week, BBC News reporter Norman Smith accidentally used the word 'cunt' during a report on Farago and tensions within his party. Which was funny. And, quite possibly, accurate.
Meanwhile, a Channel Four docudrama which imagined a future where UKiP won the general erection - instead of, as in reality, getting just one seat - has been cleared by Ofcom. UKiP: The First One Hundred Days generated more than six thousand whinges - from glakes - following its broadcast in February and was called 'biased' by Nigel Farago. After an investigation, however, Ofcom have begged to differ, ruling that the docudrama was 'not misleading' and had been 'duly impartial'. The show, it said, had been 'clearly presented as a fictional drama. The depictions of UKiP policy were closely based on the party's recent announcements, in particular on immigration and the EU,' the media regulator went on. The programme had also included 'numerous statements, both from archive clips and from actors, who expressed support for UKiP and its policies.' The Channel Four drama mixed real news footage with fictional scenes involving a newly elected UKiP MP, played by the actress Priyanga Burford. It also depicted rioting in the wake of a hypothetical UKiP erection victory and the establishment of a new 'National Pride Day.' An Ofcom spokesman said that it had 'carefully investigated this dramatisation of what the first one hundred days under a UKiP government would be like and has found the programme did not breach the Broadcasting Code.' Whether Ofcom also told the six thousand whiners to, you know, 'grow the fuck up' and take their beating like adults is not, at this time, known. Although, it would be terrific if they did.
Ofcom is investigating The Paul O'Grady Show after the host inhaled helium live on-air. The broadcasting watchdog will determine whether it was dangerous for the presenter to inhale the gas on the pre-watershed ITV show. Helium is often inhaled as a party piece, but can prove dangerous as it cuts off oxygen to the body and can even cause gas bubbles in the blood in extreme cases. An Ofcom spokesman said: 'Ofcom has opened an investigation into whether it was harmful for the presenter to demonstrate inhaling helium gas during this live pre-watershed show.'
Yer actual Bradley Walsh has revealed why he traded ITV's Law & Order: UK for his new BBC1 series Sun Trap. Brad appears opposite Kayvan Novak in the comedy about two ex-journalists and their 'antics' in Spain. The actor and presenter told the press that it had become 'tricky'for him to fit Law & Order: UK into his increasingly busy schedule. 'You have to set aside so much time for drama,' he explained. 'Law & Order was a six-month shoot, so everything [else] has to be crammed into the rest of the year.'
Freddie Flintoff his very self will be the face of a new BBC2 series later this year. Special Forces: Ultimate Hell Week will see members of the public challenged to complete the drills, marches and interrogations the Armed Forces have to go through. Why anybody with half-a-brain in their head would wish to do such a thing, unless they're a helplessly addicted self-publicity whore is another question entirely. The six-part series will use challenges normally reserved for those who join the SAS, US Navy SEALs, Russia's Spetsnaz and the Philippines' NAVSOG. Discussing his new venture, yer man Flintoff said that it will offer a 'great insight into what our Armed Forces go through on a daily basis.' Meanwhile, BBC2 Controller Kim Shillinglaw said that the show will involve 'a lively new format highlighting some of the most extreme selection processes in the world, it will be fascinating to see what sort of person survives to the end,' she added. Sounds crap.
ITV will explore the early life of Queen Victoria in a new drama. The eight-hour series Victoria will follow Britain's longest-reigning monarch as she leaves childhood behind and ascends to the throne at the age of just eighteen.
A drama about the 'tragedy and passion' of the difficult lives of the Brontë family is to appear on BBC1, written and directed by Last Tango In Halifax author Sally Wainwright. It will explore the relationships between Charlotte, Emily and Anne and their brother Branwell, who was latterly an alcoholic and drug addict. All three sisters managed to produce great literary works - The Tenant Of Wildfell Hall, Jane Eyre, Wuthering Heights et al - before their untimely deaths at the ages of thirty eight, thirty and twenty eight respectively. Wainwright said she was 'thrilled' to be involved with the project. The BAFTA-winning writer, whose other credits include Happy Valley, described the sisters as 'fascinating, talented, ingenious Yorkshire women.'
Reece Shearsmith has been cast in BBC2's Stag. The actor and writer will be joined by Rufus Jones and Sharon Rooney for the 'dark comedy thriller.' JJ Feild, James Cosmo, Tim Key and Amit Shah have also been confirmed for the cast. The three-parter from Jim Field Smith stars Peep Show actor Jim Howick as a meek schoolteacher who struggles to survive 'the stag weekend from hell.' While on a deer-stalking expedition in the Scottish Highlands, the hunting party realises they, themselves, are the prey while sordid secrets begin to emerge. Smith said: 'I can't believe this fantastic roster of talent is joining us for seven weeks of hell in the Highlands, and can only assume they haven't read the scripts properly.' Stephen Campbell Moore, Borgen's Pilou Asbaek and Christiaan van Vuuren will also appear in Stag.

Four in ten adults say there is too much violence and swearing on British TV - though, to be fair, that means six in ten do not - while a third feel that there is too much sex on TV, according to Ofcom's latest attitudes to broadcasting survey. It found one in five adult viewers had been 'offended' by something they had watched on TV in the past year. This blogger very much included. I mean, Adrian Chiles. Say no more. Ofcom said that 'older adults' (for which read 'repressed Daily Scum Mail readers') were 'more likely' to find there was 'too much' sex, violence or bad language on TV and to whinge about it, accordingly. However 'younger adults' were more likely to feel there was an 'acceptable amount.' Or, indeed, not enough. Almost half of over-sixty fives said that sexually explicit content should never be shown. The survey found there was also a difference between the views of men and women, with men more likely to say that especially violent content should be freely available on TV after the 9pm watershed. Women are more likely to object to sexually explicit material and say that it should only be available on subscription services. Eight in ten adults felt that TV programmes should be regulated, with nine in ten adults were aware of the watershed (one really has to wonder about where the fuck the one-in-ten who didn't have been for the last thirty years). Three out of ten people questioned felt that programmes had 'got worse' over the past twelve months, with 'too many repeats' being given as the most popular reason. Although, if the repeats are more than a year old then it does, rather, render their answer as a contradiction in terms. Also cited were lack of variety (forty three per cent), general lack of quality (thirty two per cent) and too many reality shows (thirty per cent). Connected TV (TV hooked up to the Interweb), has been used by forty four per cent of UK adults in the past ten months, with catch-up services being the most popular thing to watch this way (thirty four per cent). The survey also looked at attitudes to radio programmes, with two-thirds of listeners saying the service they get from local radio stations is important to them.
If you were a Buffy The Vampire Slayer fan, dear blog reader, then twelve years ago this week you were probably watching the final episode of Joss Whedon's ground-breaking series. Sarah Michelle Gellar took to Instagram on Friday to create a collage of scenes from the show to mark the anniversary.
The TV production company behind Britain's Got Toilets has confirmed that the studio it was filming in was evacuated following the discovery of a World War Two bomb in Wembley on Friday. A spokesman for the show said: 'We were just about to start our rehearsal and were trying to build the set when the building was evacuated, so that process has been delayed for the moment. It has not been great, but it is not detrimental at this stage.'
The BBC has announced plans to devote a whole day to FA Cup final coverage on 30 May, bringing back its tradition of dedicated programming for the football event. Build-up to the big kick-off will include special editions of Pointless, Saturday Kitchen and TOTP2, as well as special content on Radio 5Live and the BBC Sport website. The Arse will face off against Aston Villains on BBC1 from 5.15pm, with live build-up from yer actual Gary Lineker on Match Of The Day at 3.55pm. Danny Cohen, the BBC's Director of Television, said: 'The BBC has delivered so much unique FA Cup programming to audiences since its return to BBC TV this season, it's only fitting to end the competition on such a high.'
Football's governing body - the not even slightly corrupt as hell FIFA - has launched an investigation after a BBC news team was arrested in Qatar while reporting on the plight of migrant workers building stadiums for the 2022 World Cup. The four-strong crew had been invited by the Qatari's Prime Minister's office on an 'official' (for which read 'official') tour of new accommodation for construction workers. It was part of a - somewhat ludicrous - public relations drive in the wake of an international outcry over the alleged slave-like conditions for workers exposed by a Gruniad Morning Star investigation. But, despite official permission to report in Qatar, the crew were subsequently arrested by the security services, interrogated and held in jail for two days before being released without charge. Or, indeed, explanation. The Qatari government defended the arrests and accused the BBC crew of 'trespassing.' FIFA, which has been repeatedly criticised for the way Qatar won the bid to host the 2022 World Cup, was helping to run the tour. It said it was investigating the arrests. 'Any instance relating to an apparent restriction of press freedom is of concern to FIFA and will be looked into with the seriousness it deserves,' it said in a statement. For which read, 'no it won't.' The BBC's Middle East correspondent, Mark Lobel, was one of those detained, along with his cameraman, a driver and translator. Speaking about his ordeal, Lobel said that his interrogators never explained why he had been detained but showed him surveillance photographs of his movements in Qatar. 'They had actually photographed my every move since I arrived,' Lobel told BBC Radio 4's Today programme. After their release, members of the team were allowed to take part in the 'official' tour of a migrant accommodation block but their equipment remained confiscated and Qatar has offered no explanation or apology for the arrests. 'We are fine,' Lobel said. 'The worrying sign of this is that it might be a crackdown on the media to deal with the problem at the same time that other parts of the government are trying to change their image.' In an article for the BBC News website, he added: 'Whatever the explanation, Qatar's Jekyll-and-Hyde approach to journalism has been exposed by the spotlight that has been thrown on it after winning the World Cup bid.' Qatar's head of communications, Saif al-Thani, claimed that the BBC crew were arrested after 'departing from an official tour.' And, that's a crime in Qatar, apparently. Which sort of makes one wonder whether fans travelling to the 2022 World Cup will also face a few night in the pokey for, oh I dunno, 'looking at me in a funny way' or something. He said: 'We gave the reporters free rein to interview whomever they chose and to roam unaccompanied in the labour villages. Perhaps anticipating that the government would not provide this sort of access, the BBC crew decided to do their own site visits and interviews in the days leading up to the planned tour. In doing so, they trespassed on private property, which is against the law in Qatar just as it is in most countries. Security forces were called and the BBC crew was detained.' No apology was issued, but Thani added: 'The problems that the BBC reporter and his crew experienced could have been avoided if they had chosen to join the other journalists on the press tour. They would have been able to visit – in broad daylight – the very camps they tried to break into at night. Reporters from the Associated Press, AFP, the Gruniad and Le Monde have filed stories on what they saw and heard in Qatar, and we invite interested readers to review their reports, which are available online. By trespassing on private property and running afoul of Qatari laws, the BBC reporter made himself the story. We sincerely hope that this was not his intention. Moreover, we deeply regret that he was unable to report the real story, which is that the government and the private sector are making significant progress in efforts to improve the lives and the labour conditions of guest workers in Qatar.' Human Rights Watch, which has highlighted Qatar's poor record on labour conditions, described the arrests as 'jaw-droppingly awful PR.' It pointed out that last week a German television crew was also arrested on a tour of Qatar. HRW Gulf researcher Nicholas McGeehan said: 'Qatar put itself in the harshest of spotlights when it won the right to host 2022 and this is not the way to deal with the inevitable press attention. If it wants to put an end to media criticism, it needs to make some serious reforms to its labour system. Claiming that the arrest and intimidation of BBC journalists was legitimate on account of their "trespassing" is probably the lowest point so far in a dismal series of PR disasters.'
An alleged plan by the Home Secretary to allegedly introduce counter-extremism powers to 'vet' British broadcasters' programmes before they are transmitted has, allegedly, been attacked in the bluntest terms as a threat to freedom of speech by one of her own Conservative cabinet colleagues, according to the Gruniad Morning Star. The (former) vile and odious rascal Javid wrote to David Cameron to say that, as the lack of culture secretary, he was unable to support the vile and odious rascal May's proposal to give Ofcom the new powers to take pre-emptive action against programmes that included 'extremist content', in a letter sent just before the start of the general erection campaign. The (former) vile and odious rascal Javid, who moved from the Department of Culture, Media and Sport to become lack of business secretary after the erection, said in the letter that the plan would move Ofcom from a regulator 'into the role of a censor.' Which, given that it isa politically appointed quango, elected by no one is, obviously, not a good thing and only the stupidest and most seriously mental glake in the whole wide world would think that it was a good thing. So, that'd be the vile and odious rascal May, seemingly. Such a move would involve 'a fundamental shift in the way UK broadcasting is regulated', moving away from the current framework of post-transmission regulation which takes account of freedom of expression, the (former) vile and odious rascal Javid said. The leaked memo from the then lack of culture secretary came in response to a request made by James May's sister on 6 March to ministers on the cabinet's Home Affairs committee and the National Security committee. She was, the Gruniad claim, seeking clearance for publication of her extremism strategy, which included the broadcasters' censorship proposal. 'It is not clear exactly what the outcome was following Javid's objection,' the Gruniad note although the fact that the (former) vile and odious rascal Javid now has a different job may, or may not, be significant in this regard. Next week's Queen's speech is expected include 'loosely specified powers' to 'strengthen the role of Ofcom to take action against channels which broadcast extremist content' according to a statement released by Downing Street last week. The Home Secretary last hinted at her wish to see the introduction of pre-broadcast banning powers in the immediate aftermath of the murder of Lee Rigby in Woolwich two years ago, when Conservative MPs expressed strong criticism of a BBC Newsnight interview with the radical Islamist activist Anjem Choudary. The vile and odious rascal May questioned what the BBC was doing in interviewing Choudary and said the government had to look at the role of Ofcom in relation to 'what is being beamed into people's homes.' But, when the Prime Minister's Extremism Task Force reported in December 2013, it did not include any moves towards pre-broadcast censorship and the subject was presumed to have been dropped. Extremist Task Force, incidentally, is the name of a new drama on Sky starring Ross Kemp. Probably. At the time the idea was compared to Margaret Thatcher's moves to tell broadcasters to deny terrorists the 'oxygen of publicity', which led to a full-scale row over a BBC decision to broadcast an extended interview with Martin McGuinness. That led to a journalists' strike and, two years later, the resignation of the then Director General. In the (former) vile and odious rascal Javid's letter, dated 12 March, the minister voiced his concern about the risk that the revived censorship proposal would be used 'otherwise than intended, not least given the difficulty of defining extremism, and the consequent likelihood of the government being seen to be interfering with freedom of speech without sufficient justification.' The (former) vile and odious rascal Javid even went as far as adding: 'It should be noted that other countries with a pre-transmission regulatory regime are not known for their compliance with rights relating to freedom of expression and government may not wish to be associated with such regimes.' Objections from the (former) vile and odious rascal Javid and to a lesser extent from other senior Conservative cabinet ministers, including Big Fat Eric Pickles, Theresa Villiers, Nicky Morgan and that slapheed Chris Grayling, prevented the Home Secretary from publishing her extremism strategy, A Stronger Britain, before the erection, the Gruniad claims. The Javid leak undermines claims - made by the former Nick Clegg - that it was the Lib Dems alone who blocked May's extremism strategy during the coalition. Last week's Downing Street statement also confirmed there will be legislation to introduce new banning orders for extremist organisations and extremism-disruption orders to 'combat groups and individuals who reject our values and promote messages of hate', which will deny their access to the airwaves and to social media. So, that's large chunks of Doctor Who fandom in a bit of trouble by the look of things. The vile and odious rascal May has already revealed plans to require the Home Office 'extremism analysis unit' to set out clearly for the first time which individuals and organisations the government and public sector should or should not engage with: 'This will make sure nobody unwittingly lends legitimacy or credibility to extremists or extremist organisations.' The commitment to produce legislation giving Ofcom a stronger role to take action against channels which broadcast extremist content suggests The Queen's Speech will go much further than simply keeping its powers under regular review. Ofcom, Javid's letter said, already has 'strict rules' to ensure that material that is likely to 'incite hatred' is not broadcast on radio, television or in on-demand programmes. He says that Ofcom has already taken 'robust action against UK broadcasters which have breached these rules.' The minister told the PM: 'However, Ofcom does not have the powers to approve programmes before they are broadcast and nor do we consider that it should have these powers as has been proposed in paragraph one hundred and eleven of the strategy. Extending Ofcom's powers to enable it to take pre-emptive action would move it from its current position as a post-transmission regulator into the role of censor.' The then lack of culture secretary said that he was 'unable to agree' to the publication of May's extremism strategy with the wording in that particular paragraph and suggested that it be replaced with a paragraph setting out the previously agreed position that Ofcom's powers be 'kept under regular review.' The Home Office said they refused to comment on 'leaked ministerial documents.' Who it was that leaked the document to the Gruniad in first place and whether they are currently having their various naughty bits slammed in a drawer by Special Branch is not, at this time, known. Bu, we can probably guess.
Newsnight will broadcast Labour's official leadership hustings, as part of the party's desire to 'let the public in' on the contest. The debate will be presented by the BBC's chief correspondent, Laura Kuenssberg, and broadcast live at 7pm on BBC2 and the BBC News channel on Wednesday 17 June. Labour's acting leader, Mad Hattie Harman, said that the party must have the public in the forefront of their its mind as it elects a new leadership team. Indicating that she didn't believe this to have been the case previously. She said: 'If there is one question that should drive the thinking as we elect a new leadership team it is this: which candidate has the best qualities and leadership skills most likely to win over the support of the public? That’s why our hustings have got to be different. As I said last Monday, I want members and supporters who elect our new leader to see not just how the candidates react and relate to the party faithful but also to see how they react and relate to those we need to win over. We need robust, tough, televised hustings which involve the public. And we cannot just hold hustings in our Labour heartlands, we have to go to areas where we didn’t win.' The hustings will be held in Nuneaton, an area widely seen as typical of the kind that Labour extremely failed to win over during this month's general erection. The BBC will select the audience and decide on the format of the debate. Coverage and analysis will continue on the BBC News channel from 8pm and Newsnight will broadcast 'highlights' and discussion at 10.30pm. Led, presumably, by Gary Linekar, Alan Shearer and Robbie Savage. Details of any further Labour leadership and deputy leadership hustings events have not yet been announced, but Harman indicated that other debates could take place with different broadcasters. Ian Katz, the Newsnight editor, said: 'Five years ago Newsnight staged the first televised hustings in the race to succeed Gordon Brown as Labour leader and we're delighted to be giving viewers a ringside seat for the fascinating argument over the future of the party at this pivotal moment.' In a speech at Labour HQ in London on Monday, Harman said any registered voter would be able to help choose the party's next leader for a three quid fee. She said that people who were not party members or affiliated supporters through a union or Labour-linked organisation would be able to vote. Harman said: 'Anyone – providing they are on the electoral register – can become a registered supporter, pay three pounds and have a vote to decide our next leader. This is the first time a political party in this country has opened up its leadership contest in this way and I think there will be a real appetite for it out there.' Labour's leadership contest, the results of which will be announced on 12 September, was triggered after the resignation of Ed Milimolimandi in the aftermath of the party's catastophic defeat in the general erection. Candidates need to be nominated by thirty five Labour MPs and nominations close on 15 June. The candidates who have announced their intention to stand are: Liz Kendall, the MP for Leicester West and the shadow minister for care and older people, Andy Burnham, the MP for Leigh and the shadow secretary of state for health, Yvette Cooper, the MP for Pontefract and Castleford and the shadow Home Secretary and Mary Creagh, the MP for Wakefield and the shadow secretary of state for international development.

Chris Packham believes that lynxes and wolves would have 'a positive impact' on the eco-system and local economy if they were reintroduced into the UK. The Springwatch presenter told Radio Times in the latest issue of the magazine that we need large predators to have a 'sustainable working landscape. Wolves live in Portugal, Spain, Italy and in Sweden too. There have been only two fatalities since the year 2000, both in the US and certainly none in Europe. What we would like to move towards is a more tolerant society that understands the fact that to have a sustainable working landscape we need large predators,' he noted. Packham - whom all of us at From The North have a lot of time for - says that persuading the UK to bring back the wolf and the lynx was 'proving a difficult task.' No shit? 'We have lived without them in the UK for such a long time that people are very resistant to the idea of them coming back, which is a shame because we do know better and we do need them and it would be tremendously exciting. If we did have wolves – which would have to be in Scotland – and lynxes then lots of people would pay to go see them and they would be a great asset to the community.' Particularly the singing ones.
Lottery funding worth ninety eight million quid is being given to nine heritage sites, including projects to preserve Britain's scientific and technological history. The Heritage Lottery Fund said it hopes some of the projects will inspire young people to take a greater interest in science and technology. One of the biggest awards - worth just over twelve million wonga - is for Jodrell Bank in Cheshire, home to the Lovell Telescope. Physicist and TV presenter Brian Cox (no, the other one) welcomed the support for it. 'When I was young, visiting Jodrell Bank was one of the things that inspired me to become a scientist,' he said. 'The rich scientific history of the UK is a key part of our culture and Jodrell Bank is the stand-out icon of UK science and engineering,' he added. Jodrell Bank is the only remaining site in the world that showcases the entire story of the development of radio astronomy. The funding will create an exhibition pavilion to explain the role the site played in international scientific development. There will also be a new volunteer and skills programme and a schools programme that will reach an additional six thousand school visitors a year. London's Science Museum will receive eight million knicker for a major redevelopment of its medicine galleries, which is due to be completed in 2019. It will showcase three thousand objects from the world's largest medical collection and reveal personal stories of how lives have been transformed by changes to medicine and health over the last five hundred years. The Great Central Railway, which runs through Leicestershire and Nottinghamshire, is being given ten million smackers to create a new heritage railway museum in Leicester. Some exhibits will come from the National Railway Museum in York, which has been part of the project. The British Library will receive over nine and a half million quid for its project to digitise the nation's 'rare, unique and most vulnerable' sound recordings and open them up online for people to hear. It will ensure the survival of more than half a million recordings, ranging from interviews with Kindertransport child refugees from Nazi Germany to extinct birdsong, accents and dialects from around Britain.

And now ...
Channel Four has commissioned a new series of Dom Joly's Trigger Happy TV more than a decade after it was last on screens. Got to say, it was format that yer actual Keith Telly Topping always considered to be about as funny as testicular cancer, personally, but I know some people liked it. The comic told BBC London's Robert Elms he was bringing the show back, but it would be 'more cinematic' than the original series. 'So it's not coming back as the original show, it's coming back as a Trigger Happy stunt show, so I'm quite excited about that,' he said.
Trinity Mirra is being very sued by more than seventy z-list celebrities, sports stars and politicians after the newspaper group was ordered to pay over 1.2 million smackers in damages to eight phone-hacking victims. Davina McCall, the television presenter, and Sheryl Gascoigne, the former wife of ex-footballer Paul Gascoigne, are among scores of high-profile figures suing the Daily Mirra and Sunday Mirra publisher, the high court in London heard this week. Speaking after Trinity Mirra was extremely ordered to make the record payouts, David Sherborne, the barrister for the victims, told the court there was 'somewhere in the region of seventy other claims' in preparation. Earlier on Thursday the newspaper group was ordered to pay two hundred and sixty thousand knicker to the actress Sadie Frost and one hundred and eighty eight thousand quid to Paul Gascoigne his very self as part of payments totalling over a million notes over phone-hacking at the Daily Mirra, Sunday Mirra and the People. Sherborne told the judge that a number of the seventy fresh claims were 'substantial' even in comparison to the six-figure payouts announced by the judge, Mr Justice Mann. In addition to the seventy claims, four celebrities' cases were also being 'managed': those of McCall, Sheryl Gascoigne, the actor Holly Davidson and the comedian John Thomson. A further ten alleged victims have settled out of court. Trinity Mirra announced after Thursday's ruling that it was considering an appeal, saying that its initial view was the basis used for calculating the level of damages was 'incorrect.' However, it also said it was increasing the amount of money set aside to deal with the legal cases from twelve million smackers to twenty eight. Dear blog readers with longer memories may recall that Trinity Mirra spent years denying that any of that there phone-hacking had taken place at any of its titles, no siree Bob. Robert Ashworth, a former Coronation Street producer who told the court that phone-hacking had 'ruined his media career' and his marriage to soap actor Tracy Shaw, was awarded two hundred and one thousand smackers for the invasion of his privacy. EastEnders actor Lucy Taggart received a one hundred and fifty seven thousand quid pay-out, while another EastEnders actor, yer actual Shane Richie, got one hundred and fifty five thousand knicker. Coronation Street actress Shobna Gulati was awarded one hundred and seventeen thousand smackers, BBC executive Alan Yentob was awarded eighty five thousand and flight attendant Lauren Alcorn got seventy eight thousand. The pay-outs dwarf those paid by News UK, the publisher of the disgraced and disgraceful Scum of the World, to phone-hacking victims. In contrast to those pay-outs, the Trinity Mirra damages were decided by a high court judge after the victims refused to settle out of court. In his judgment, Mr Justice Mann found that phone hacking went 'far beyond' that carried out by the Sunday Mirra's self-confessed 'in-house phone hacker', Dan Evans. 'The practice was so widespread and so frequent in the newspaper that it is likely that some of them will have hacked, though not all the time,' Mann said.

Dave will rebrand itself as 'David' - for one day only on 18 June - to mark the launch of new series Hoff The Record. The spoof reality series - the trailers of which, to be fair, look really funny - stars David Hasselhoff as a fictionalised version of himself, hoping to salvage his crumbling showbiz career in the UK. The first episode will be broadcast on Thursday 18 June 18 at 9pm - and a second series has already been commissioned.
With only two hundred and sixteen shoplifting days until Christmas, Netflix is already trumpeting its coup seasonal signing - A Very Murray Christmas. Directed by Sofia Coppola, it sees Bill Murray playing himself as he tries to put together a holiday TV show which appears doomed because of a terrible snow storm. Guests arrive in the shape of George Clooney, Amy Poehler, Chris Rock and Miley Cyrus to help sing, dance and lift our Christmas spirits. Bah and, indeed, humbug. Next ...

Animal protection groups say that they have successfully suspended the recording of a TV series called Dolphins With The Stars in Portugal. According to the Born Free Foundation, the show involves celebrities training captive dolphins to perform routines and tricks for live audiences. Whether they bothered to ask the dolphins whether they wished to have their moment of telly fame ripped away from them is not, at this time, known. Campaigners argued that the show was 'exploitative' and also contravened zoo regulations in the country. The broadcaster and the zoo said that it had 'educational and scientific value.' A slick trailer for the series states that ten celebrities each 'team up' with a dolphin and the teams 'live together' for a month. Again, whether the dolphins themselves were actual parties to these living arrangements, they didn't specify. Trainers and choreographers work with each pair to create a show that would eventually be judged by a live audience. Dolphins With The Stars has already been broadcast in Lithuania and it is thought that the rights have been bought in Spain and Italy and optioned across Europe. The Portuguese version was being filmed at Zoomarine in Guia, in the Algarve, and was due to be broadcast on 20 June by SIC, a national television network. Daniel Turner, spokesperson for the Born Free Foundation said: 'We are delighted to hear the news. We weren't able to stop it in Lithuania, but the Portuguese were much more receptive. They have very good legislation for zoos that prevents the over-exploitation of animals.' The BFF and the Dolphinaria-Free Europe Coalition, which is made up of nineteen NGOs from eleven countries, sent letters to the Portuguese government claiming: 'The exploitative practices of the TV show contradicted the zoo's legal requirements that dictate a commitment to species conservation, meaningful public education and species-specific animal welfare. It was clear that the use of Zoomarine's bottlenose dolphins would be in breach of those requirements.' The filming of the show was under way, although it is thought that the celebrities had not yet been introduced to the dolphins. Announcing the official suspension of the programme, SIC and Zoomarine said that they had done so on the advice of government regulatory bodies - the Institute for Nature Conservation and Forests and the National Authority for Animal Health. Expressing 'disappointment' with the decision, a press release claimed that they had 'gone to great lengths' to 'strengthen the educational and scientific elements' of the show. The aim had been to 'increase understanding of this magnificent marine species' and 'thus promote marine conservation.' Although quite how the omnipresent voting element fits into this alleged format is not immediately clear. Ensuring the health of the dolphins had been 'of paramount importance' they continued. According to campaigners, more than three hundred whales and dolphins are kept in zoos and theme parks in fifteen European countries. For a long time there has been a debate about the ethics and effect of confinement on cetaceans - the family of aquatic mammals whales includes whales, dolphins and porpoises - especially as more is discovered about their intellectual and cognitive abilities. They are seen as among the most intelligent species on Earth. Although, that said, the fact that, as far as we know, there has never been a TV programme in which dolphins trained humans to jump through hoops for fish would appear to suggest they're not all that bright. They do have complex social networks, recognise themselves in mirrors and have been shown to keep track of more than one hundred words. Of which, several are types of fish, to be fair. Turner said: 'Whales and dolphins are hugely intelligent and social species, which when deprived of space and environmental complexity, develop abnormal behaviours such as stereotypic behaviour, heightened aggression and in some cases, early mortality.' The 2013 documentary Blackfish explored the impact on Orcas of living in tanks at SeaWorld. The resort saw a steep decline in visitor numbers after it was broadcast. However, SeaWorld and similar theme parks strongly refute any claims that their conditions 'inflict harm' on their captive aquatic animals. They maintain that such positions are not scientific, but are the., perhaps, anthropomorphic views of animal rights activists - and that tanks are specially designed to mimic the animals' watery world as accurately as possible. Only, you know, smaller. The majority of dolphins are captive born. European law prevents the capture of wild cetaceans from EU waters for commercial purposes - for example, their use in dolphinaria. But according to the Born Free Foundation there are 'few restrictions to importing wild-caught animals from outside the EU.'

Turkish authorities have charged an ex-boyfriend with the shooting of a young talent show contestant. Mutlu Kaya, nineteen, remains in a critical condition after being shot on Monday in the Diyarbakir province, a conservative region in South-East Turkey. A gun was fired from the garden and through a window of her house as she rehearsed. Her ex-boyfriend, identified as Veysel E, has reportedly been charged with attempted murder. Local media reported that he had denied the accusation, while being 'opposed to Mutlu Kaya's participation on the show.' The twenty six-year-old was one of three men detained by authorities, but the other two were later released. Kaya had reportedly received death threats for singing on Sesi Cok Guzel - roughly translated as Sounds Beautiful - a popular song contest similar to shows like Britain's Got Toilets and The Voice. She had been mentored by Sibel Can, one of Turkey's best-known folk singers, who posted a picture of Kaya on Instagram after the shooting. 'My beautiful girl Mutlu, how could they wound you?' read the caption. 'I am very sad.' In March, Can had visited Kaya at the school canteen where she worked, in order to make sure she joined her team in the competition. The Posta newspaper reported on Sunday that Kaya had received death threats after appearing on the show. 'I am afraid,' she was quoted as telling the show's production team. Her father, Mehmet Kaya, said: 'I just want my daughter to be healthy and don't want anything else.'

The full story of The Kinks - particular favourites of yer actual Keith Telly Topping, of course - is to be told on the big screen for the first time by Julien Temple, the director of The Great Rock 'n' Roll Swindle, reports Screen Daily. Provisionally entitled You Really Got Me after the band's first big hit, the biopic will feature Clouds Of Sils Maria's Johnny Flynn and Pride's George Mackay as Ray and Dave Davies, the original squabbling sibling. Iconic TV screenwriting duo yer actual Dick Clement and Ian La Frenais his very self, known for Porridge, The Likely Lads and its sequel and Auf Wiedersehen, Pet, will work on the script. Ooo, this is sounding better and better. Crucially, producers have obtained the rights to all of The Kinks' best known songs and the Davies brothers themselves are to work on the soundtrack. Fittingly for a film about one of the 1960s' most infamous brotherly partnerships, Temple is also keeping the supporting cast within the family: his daughter Juno Temple will play Ray's former wife, Rasa, who also sang on some of their best known songs including 'Sunny Afternoon', 'Dead End Street', 'Waterloo Sunset' and 'Days'. 'This is an exciting chance to tell The Kinks story in a visceral and real way,' Temple told Screen Daily. 'The lyrics of The Kinks have always been fascinating to me and there is an amazing human story here as well which has yet to be captured on film.' Both Flynn and Mackay are accomplished musicians, with the former a singer-songwriter and the latter having played the lead in the acclaimed 2013 musical Sunshine On Leith, based on the songs of The Proclaimers. Added Temple: 'It's not easy to find British leading men who can deliver the kind of musically compelling performances we need and we have those in Johnny and George.' Film-makers have also secured the rights to both brothers' autobiographies. Temple himself directed the 2010 television documentary Ray Davies: Imaginary Man as part of the BBC's Imagine series, as well as a follow-up piece on Dave for the BBC4, 2011's Dave Davies: Kinkdom Come (both hugely recommended if you can find copis, incidentally). The film has been a long-term passion of veteran British producer Jeremy Thomas, known for Bernardo Bertolucci's Oscar-winning The Last Emperor, The Great Rock 'n' Roll Swindle and, more recently, critically-acclaimed films such as David Cronenberg's A Dangerous Method and Jim Jarmusch's Only Lovers Left Alive. He said: 'This is the story of the brothers growing up and the group's later disbanding. They are the Cain and Abel of rock but their story isn't known as well as it should be.' You Really Got Me is being touted to investors at the current Cannes film festival, where Thomas is a regular visitor.

Public Enemy's Flavor Flav has been arrested in Las Vegas for driving under the influence, speeding, marijuana possession and driving on a suspended licence. He was reportedly pulled over by Nevada Highway Patrol in the early hours of Thursday, allegedly driving seventy three mph in a forty five mph zone. He posted bail the same day. The fifty six-year-old is already facing driving charges in New York, stemming from his January 2014 arrest for speeding on the way to his mother's funeral. He has pleaded not guilty to those charges.
A thirty six year old Brazilian accountant, one Ana Catarian Bezerra, recently won a court case, allowing her to watch porn and have a wank at work. Yes, this blogger is aware that lots of people do this already but, usually, if they get caught, they're given the tin-tack. Ana claimed to have a medical condition which causes a chemical imbalance leading to 'severe anxiety and hypersexuality' and, after some days of legal and medical argument, the court accepted this. She said: 'It got so bad I would have to masturbate up to forty seven times a day. That's when I asked for help, I knew it wasn't normal.' Her physician, Carlos Howert, has prescribed her 'a cocktail' of tranquilisers to help curb Ana's condition. And, it seems to be working as now, he said, she only has to masturbate around eighteen times a day. The court ruled that Ana should be allowed to watch pornography on her work computer and fiddle with herself to her heart's content if the mood takes her. However, her work 'could suffer' her employers noted, as she has to leave her work station whenever she fancies a bit of ladies' alone-time. Now, she will be allowed fifteen minute breaks every two hours so she can surf for porn and, ahem, get her release. Since the ruling, it has been claimed that 'a lot more women' are coming forward alleging they suffer from the same symptoms. Office work in Brazil never sounded so appealing, frankly.
Newcastle's Town Moor is about to become the subject of a year-long BBC project, which will document the sounds and sights, the birds, beasts, people and events connected to what is often referred to as the green lungs of Newcastle. Yer actual Keith Telly Topping's beloved BBC Newcastle has commissioned two local photographers and one of the world's top wildlife sound recordists Chris Watson as part of the project. Here is a short snippet of some of their work so far: click 'play' to hear the sounds of birdsong. Obviously.
The cricket started again this week, dear blog reader; Thursday in front of a virtually full house Lord's was one of the best day's test cricket this blogger can remember watching in at least a couple of years and a jolly necessary reminder - after months of a relentless diet of one day cricket - of why the test format is such a wonderful spectacle. It started with New Zealand's bowler being all over England like a rash for the first hour and then, thanks to Joe Root, Ben Stokes, Jos Buttler and Moeen Ali, England recovered from thirty for four around noon to close with three hundred and fifty four for seven a few hours later. Anyway, the return of The Summer Game gives this blogger an excuse to dig out three photos from The Files. Some years ago, yer actual Keith Telly Topping was surprised to find published in an issue of Wisden Cricket Monthly a photo taken at an international charity match at Northumberland's beautiful county ground, Jesmond, in about 1982 or 1983. That's the great Barry Wood (Lancashire, Derbyshire and England) signing autographs for a line of young children and, just behind, sitting watching the game with rapt attention was yer actual Keith Telly Topping and his late father, Tommy Telly Topping his very self. You can always spot Keith Telly Topping at a cricket match, dear blog reader, because as he's usually got a big white arrow sticking out of the top of his head..
The second picture was one that this blogger recently found when scanning in a load of old family photos which had been stuck in a cardboard box in a cupboard at Stately Telly Topping Manor since yer actual cleared out the late Mama Telly Topping's house after her death a couple of years ago. It was taken by this blogger's father on 4 August 1975 in the Nursery End at Lord's on the day that yer actual Keith Telly Topping attended his first ever day of test cricket. As this blogger has previously written, it was a memorable day for several reasons but, mainly, because it was the day that a streaker ran on the pitch and hurdled the stumps. It was also one of the hottest days in living memory and ended with yer actual Keith Telly Topping spending the rest of a family holiday in Southampton in bed at his Uncle George and Auntie Betty's gaff suffering from severe heatstroke. Ah, summer holidays in the 1970s, dear blog reader. They were the stuff of nightmares.
And, for the sake of completeness, let it be noted that yer actual Keith Telly Topping his very self took a photo of his dad from the same spot - looking over towards The Mound Stand, and The Tavern - a few moments later (and, managed to get the scoreboard in).
Since this was, most probably, taken at lunchtime (note the lack of players on the pitch), England - in the shape of John Edrich and either Graham Gooch or Tony Grieg - would have been batting at the time. They eventually scored four hundred and thirty six for seven declared and Australia, set in improbably four hundred and eighty four to fine in four sessions ended the day on ninety seven for one. The game ended, the next day in a draw. Here's the full scorecard.

Updated to add: England produced a magnificent bowling display to win the first Test against New Zealand by one hundred and twenty four runs on Bank Holiday Monday. In front of a raucous full-house Lord's crowd, the hosts bowled the Black Caps out for two hundred and twenty with 9.3 overs left on the fifth day. Ben Stokes took three for thirty eight, including Kane Williamson and Brendon McCullum in successive balls and Stuart Broad three for fifty. England, who were earlier bowled out for four hundred and seventy eight in their second innings to set New Zealand a target of three hundred and forty five, take a one-nil lead into the second and final Test at Headingley starting on Friday. Sixteen hundred and ten runs were scored in the match, a record in a Lord's Test and only once previously have England overturned a bigger first-innings deficit to win a test. It was a dramatic conclusion to a day which started with the news that England are close to appointing Australian Trevor Bayliss as their new coach. Victory completed a remarkable turnaround for Alastair Cook's side, who had slipped to thirty for four on day one, recovered but then conceded a one hundred and thirty four-run first-innings deficit. It was, frankly, one of the best Test matches of the modern era with fortunes fluctuating throughout. New Zealand held the upper hand for the first session on day one, and most of days two and three but England's fightback with both bat (in both innings) and ball (on the last day) will have repaid much of the goodwill that five days of loud support from a packed Lord's. Perhaps more importantly, a thrilling display will do much to boost public affection for an England side who have endured eighteen months of black turmoil both on and off the field and were playing their first Test since the sacking of coach Peter Moores. Durham all-rounder Stokes was the catalyst on the final afternoon. Having already partnered Joe Root in the first-day fightback and then blazed a mighty eighty five-ball hundred on day four partnering Captain C00k, his over to dismiss Williamson and McCullum was reminiscent of Andrew Flintoff in the 2005 Edgbaston Ashes Test. Bowling with pace and hostility, Stokes twice found bounce to go past Williamson's edge, with a third ball fended to Root at gully. Next ball, roared in by a baying crowd, he produced a vicious in-swinger to McCullum that the dangerous New Zealand captain could only jam down on to his stumps. That twin strike echoed England's dominant start to the innings, when Broad and James Anderson swung the ball on a full length to reduce the tourists to twelve for three. From only the second delivery, Martin Guptill edged a perfect out-swinger to third slip to give Anderson his three hundred and ninety ninth test wicket. Broad then pinned Tom Latham leg before for a first ball duck and had Ross Taylor playing across the line to depart in similar fashion three overs later. Williamson steadied in the company of BJ Watling, promoted above McCullum to number five, but after Stokes's devastating over left the visitors sixty one for five, Corey Anderson arrived to counter-attack. Clubbing through the leg side, left-hander Anderson shared a partnership of one hundred and seven with Watling, who had to endure a barrage of short bowling as Cook regularly shuffled his bowlers and fielders. Both men registered half-centuries in delaying England for more than twenty six overs and the chances of New Zealand surviving were increasing until débutant Mark Wood produced a lifter that Watling edged behind to depart for fifty nine. Soon after, Cory Anderson was leg before to Root, leaving only the tail. Stokes yorked Mark Craig, Moeen Ali took a return catch from Tim Southee and when Moeen brilliantly held last man Trent Boult at Third Man off Broad, England had secured a fifth win in seven tests. Earlier, it was Boult's swing bowling that had accounted for England's last four wickets, after they resumed on four hundred and twenty nine for six. Cook inside-edged behind for one hundred and sixty two, before he had Moeen LBW for a fluent forty three and knocked over Broad and Anderson quickly. That left New Zealand a seventy seven-over chase, a tantalising prospect with all results possible. As it transpired, England's brilliance ensured victory with time to spare. It was a fantastic effort, one that Cook's team should take a lot from. Not only because they have beaten a very good side, who are two places above them in the world rankings, but also for the manner in which they did it.

Aided, considerably, by a virtually empty pool on Monday morning - that is, empty of other swimmers rather than, you know, empty of water - yer actual Keith Telly Topping only went and done thirty lengths, didn't he? It was a struggle up to about ... twenty or so, admittedly - mainly because Keith Telly Topping was having to drag Cap'n Boyd's Eye's beard through the water - and then it just went, if you will, swimmingly. Sorry. He did another thirty on Tuesday morning - again, helped by the fact that there weren't many other swimmers in at that time; this blogger appeared to have timed it just right in the crack between the really early birds and the kids coming in later. And, he felt fantastic ... until he got back to Stately Telly Topping Manor and the back pain started kicking in. Twenty eight lengths on Wednesday were completed but, by that stage the back had started to give yer actual some severe gyp and necessitated his first trip to see Doctor Chris since January. The prognosis? 'Yer back's jiggered, Keith Telly Topping but, apart from that, you're a picture of health.' Nice to know.
For the latest Keith Telly Topping's 45 of the Day, dear blog reader, here's a righteous slice of yer actual Mister Echo and his various Bunnymen. Take it away, Mister Echo.