Friday, July 31, 2015

Ours Is Not To Look Back, Ours Is To Continue The Crack

Doctor Who is coming to the big screen for a 3D adventure. But, only in America. And not in Britain where we, you know, pay for the damn thing. Ooo, contentious. Anyway, Fathom Events will screen an 'exclusive' series nine prequel titled The Doctor's Meditation, following a 3D version of last year's two-part finale Dark Water and Death In Heaven. The event is scheduled for 15 and 16 September at cinemas across the US. The screening also includes an interview with yer actual Peter Capaldi and Jenna Coleman her very self moderated by Star Trek: The Next Generation's Wil Wheaton. BBC Worldwide's Soumya Sriraman announced the special screening: 'After the enormous success of the fiftieth anniversary and season eight premiere – both number one alternative one-night cinema events, two years in a row – we decided to bring The Doctor back to the big screen in 3D so Whovians across the country can have a full immersive experience of Peter Capaldi as the Doctor.' And, once again, a heartfelt observation that anybody who uses that hateful, distressingly wretched 'Whovian' word really needs to be dragged through the streets to a place of public execution and effing horsewhipped until they are very sorry and promise never to use it again. Nobody - not one single person - with an ounce of dignity or self-respect uses it, Soumya, my love. Not that either of those qualities are found in abundance in Doctor Who fandom at the best of times, admittedly, but, nevertheless, the only people who do use it are glakes, students, Americans or ... American student glakes. You'd better start working out which one of those you are. Here endeth the lesson. 'The season eight finale, along with an exclusive interview with Peter and Jenna is the perfect way to get fans ready for the upcoming premiere of the new season on BBC America,' concluded Soumya without, thankfully, resorting to the 'w'-word again.
Don't expect to see a Doctor Who movie in your local cinema any time soon, if showrunner The Lord Thy God Steven Moffat (OBE) has his way. There has been much - mostly uninformed - talk of Doctor Who making the jump to the big screen over the years, particularly during a period where Harry Potter director David Yates was said to be developing a film unconnected to the TV series and making his mouth go in public about it. Previously, a leaked e-mail between two Sony executives, Andrea Wong and Michael Lynton, quoting the BBC's Director of Television Danny Cohen, suggested a significant difference of opinion between Moffat and various people at BBC Worldwide who, seemingly, have their greed right on, over the subject on any hypothetical Doctor Who movie. 'Just spoke to Danny Cohen re Dr Who,' wrote Wong. 'He said that while there has been tremendous interest (and pressure) from BBCWW to do a Dr Who film, the showrunners feel very clear that they don't want to do one at this moment. That said, over the course of the coming months, the showrunning team is coming up with an eight year timeline for the brand – laying out all that will happen with it. [Cohen] says that a film will certainly be a part of that timeline. So the answer is that a film won't happen in the next year to eighteen months, but it is expected that it will happen after that within the eight year horizon.' The Moffat appeared unwilling to commit to a film spin-off of Doctor Who during Friday's TCA press tour panel, although he acknowledged that any final decision would be made by the BBC. 'What are we going to do? Shut down for a year and make a movie?' he asked. 'Does everyone really want that? One movie instead of a whole series?' The writer is also strongly opposed to any efforts to make a Doctor Who movie with an actor other than Peter Capaldi - or, the actor currently The Doctor on TV - playing the Time Lord. 'I think that would just be incredibly damaging to the franchise,' Moff argued. 'I'm totally in the Capaldi camp.' Steven also used the panel to shoot down a major rumour about series nine guest star Maisie Williams. '[Maisie] is not playing a returning character,' The Moffinator said. 'She's not someone from The Doctor's past. Unless I'm lying!' He added: 'Once you see what she's up to on the show, you'll appreciate what a clever idea it was. It's a significant role. We're not just getting star value and throwing it away. It's a great part, and she's terrific in it.'

Sherlock Holmes will be 'less of a brat' and 'a little more polished' in the upcoming Sherlock Victorian special, according to showrunner The Lord Thy God Steven Moffat (OBE). In the series, Holmes (yer actual Benedict Cumberbatch as if you didn't know) has described himself as a 'high-functioning sociopath' - but in the special, fans will reportedly see a different kind of detective. 'Sherlock is a little more polished, he operates like a Victorian gentleman instead of like a posh, rude man,' said yer man Moffat during the Television Critics Association press tour on Saturday. 'He's a lot less brattish when he's back then and Doctor Watson is a bit more upright.' Moffat also dropped a possible plot teaser, saying: 'Ghost stories work better in a Victorian setting. Other than that, it's remarkably similar.' Moff also continued his strong defence and aggressive defence of the BBC against various self-interest scum with an agenda, describing the potential of pulled public funding as 'vandalism of the worst kind.' The showrunner said that it 'staggers' him that the government is focusing its energy on 'national broadcasting' when they should have more important issues to focus upon. 'I think what's going on is outrageous,' said Moffat. 'It's absolutely terrible and wrong and ill-conceived. It staggers me that we've got a government [that] got elected and decided that the main problem with Britain is our national broadcasting. Does anybody think that? They must have something more important to do,' Moffat continued. 'The trouble is, it's an oddity - the BBC - to say the least. It's an extraordinary oddity that it's so good. You don't ordinarily have a national broadcaster that is that amazing. If we switch it off, we won't know how to put it back on again, and everything will be less good,' he added. '"To damage that for temporary political gain is vandalism of the worst kind.' Moffat has previously defended the BBC in the wake of the government's Green Paper, calling the service 'a beacon of quality' for the whole world. 'You could look at [the BBC's] philosophy, you could look at the fact that somehow from the work of those early pioneers it became a beacon of quality - not just for Britain, but for the entire world,' he said. 'If we allow, basically, the Tories to turn off the people that are criticising them, which is what is happening, I can't see how we'd get it back.'
Remember Colin Baker? The actor who played the worst Doctor by a country mile, in this blogger's opinion. Well, he's been getting all shirty and whinging about his Doctor often being the lowest ranked when compared to the other eleven in various polls. Speaking in the new issue of Doctor Who Monthly Baker whinged: 'I know there are some people who rate my Doctor quite highly. It's just there's an even greater number of people who don't rate him at all. And it wounds me. I should be able to rise above it, and pretend I don’t care, but I actually do care.' Well, y'see Colin, that's their right as licence fee payers. You know, those very annoying 'little people' who paid your sodding wages for the three years that you played the role. Before you got sacked. Personally, this blogger - a fan of Doctor Who since 1968, when he was five and someone whose default position on just about every Doctor Who episode ever broadcast (with a handful of notable exceptions) is 'I thought it was great' - really did not enjoy the programme during that 1985 to 1986 period; I've never made any secret of that, nor should I need to given that, via my licence fee, yer actual Keith Telly Topping was helping to fund the damn thing at the time. It wasn't all Colin's fault, admittedly. He was served by more than a few Christ-awful scripts, he was given - reportedly, at his own disgust - a perfectly hideous costume and he had a couple of companions whose characters had all the personality of an ashtray. And all of this occurred during a period when Doctor Who's reputation at the BBC - and, indeed, beyond - was somewhat lower than rattlesnakes piss. Nevertheless if I'm ever asked who my 'least favourite' Doctor was played by - and, believe it or not, the subject does crop up every now and then in casual conversation - this blogger's answer is always 'they were all good. But, one of them was less-good than the others.' Admittedly, the supplementary question: 'which one?' usually follows. And, I mean, I'm not going to lie, dear blog readers. That sort of thing invariably ends with a career in politics. Baker also spoke about how he feels about Peter Capaldi allegedly exploring 'familiar ground' with The Doctor role: 'I wish people could have understood it in the 1980s as much as they do now,' he said. '[Capaldi's Doctor] is grumpy and curmudgeonly and intolerant, and gosh – I should be playing it now.' No, mate, You really shouldn't. 'I wasn't old enough when I did it. I can do intolerant!' he continued. As, indeed, these comments kind of prove. He added: 'It was drawn to my attention before I noticed it myself, but a lot of people said, "Peter Capaldi is just like your Doctor." I don't mean to diminish his performance, because I think he's superb, and he might be appalled to think he was anything like me, and I would quite respect that. But there are certainly similarities of attitude. [Capaldi's] costume is less annoying! I love his style and I love his character – and it's kind of like mine. Every six, they get it right!'
     Colin has also been giving his opinions on a slightly less controversial subject, the fox hunting ban and recent political manoeuvring to keep and/or abolish it. In a rather thoughtful and well-argued piece for the Bucks Free Press, Colin wrote: 'Who would have thought that the pugnacious Scottish Nationalist leader would have mustered her troops from north of Hadrian’s Wall to defeat the Government's attempt to bring hunting with hounds back. Whatever her motives – a good deed well done.' For foxes sake, obviously So, that's a decent proportion of Doctor Who fandom, all of the Countryside Alliance and some Scottish people pissed off by comments from Colin Baker. A jolly good week's work that, I'd've said.
Subsequently, Colin had a further - extremely public and somewhat self-important and unbecoming - whinge about all this malarkey on Twitter, something which has, I know, deeply upset the staff at DWM - and the editor, Tom Spilsbury in particular - and, which was also subsequently picked up on by The Times. Rather sneeringly, let it be noted. It's usually not a good idea to air ones dirty laundry in public when there are journalists who can, you know, read.
This blogger would say that he is very disappointed with Colin Baker and his stroppy, chip-on-the-shoulder, me-me-me-me-me attitude in this regard, but, sadly, given that one of his most recent TV appearances was in I'm A Z-List Former Celebrity Desperate To Get My Boat-Race Back On TV ... Please Vote For Me To Stay Here As Long As Possible (I'll Even Eat Worms If You Want) I'm afraid that ship had already sailed.

Anyway, this month's New Horizons flyby of Pluto and its biggest moon, Charon, left a wealth of incredible data in its wake, with unforgettable pictures of geographic features such as the now famous 'giant heart' on Pluto. But the highly detailed pictures gave the New Horizons team a welcome problem: What do they call all those craters, plains and mountain ranges? Now, thanks to maps the New Horizons team plans to submit to the International Astronomical Union (the official governing body for names of celestial objects), we know the answer. Their names are drawn from movies, TV shows and books sure to gladden every SF fan's heart - including Star Wars, Star Trek, Doctor Who, Firefly, Alien, The Lord Of The Rings and the works of HP Lovecraft. The New Horizons team actually asked for submissions from the public and they were, seemingly, happy to oblige. Pluto, according to IAU rules, must have its fictional names drawn from underworld mythology - so the NASA team offered the Cthulu Regio and the Balrog Macula (dark spot), honouring Lovecraft's Dark God and JRR Tolkein's underground demons, respectively. But it's Charon where the NASA team really went to town. The IAU rules allow names that reference 'destinations and milestones of fictional space,' as well as fictional spaceships and travellers. Thus we have craters with the unofficial names of Vader, Skywalker and Leia Organa. Spock, Kirk, Sulu and Uhura craters dot The Vulcan Plane. The Tardis Chasma crosses The Gallifrey Macula. The Ripley Crater and Nostromo Chasma reference Alien, while The Serenity Chasma is named for the ship in the most up-to-date reference, Joss Whedon's cult SF drama Firefly. And, there's one more Lord Of The Rings reference for good measure - the giant Mordor Macula at Charon's North Pole. Although the names are still provisional, 'we have a decent chance of getting these names approved,' New Horizons planetary scientist Mark Showalter told the Mashable website. 'The IAU tends to favour names that have been around for a while, but Star Trek is almost fifty-years-old now and Star Wars is about forty-years-old.' The IAU has previously approved features on Saturn's moon Titan named Frodo and Bilbo, Showalter points out. But these would be the solar system's first ever Star Wars and Doctor Who names - and the second Star Trek references - a crater on Mars is named after the late Trek creator Gene Roddenberry. When asked for a comment, William Shatner was quoted as saying: 'I am proud that they have named a series of physical features on Charon after Star Trek and other shows including Kirk's Crater. It is an honour to have a character you helped create be given such an esteemed recognition.'
Former Top Gear hosts Jezza Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May have signed up to present a new show on Amazon's streaming video service. The trio will front three series of a new motoring programme - which will, of course, not be anything whatsoever like Top Gear, obviously - for Amazon Prime, with the first season to be made available worldwide in 2016. The move follows their departure from the hit BBC2 show earlier this year. Clarkson's contract was 'not renewed' following an 'unprovoked physical attack' on a Top Gear producer in some malarkey over a steak. Allegedly. His co-hosts then followed him in leaving the show. They will now make the as-yet-unnamed new programme with former Top Gear executive producer Andy Wilman, who also quit the BBC in the aftermath of 'the fracas.' In a statement from Amazon, yer man Clarkson said: 'I feel like I've climbed out of a biplane and into a spaceship.' Hamster - still wearing that rubbish beard that makes him look like The Master - added: 'Amazon? Oh yes. I have already been there. I got bitten by a bullet ant.' And Cap'n Slowly said: 'We have become part of the new age of smart TV. Ironic, isn't it?' Amazon Prime Video EU vice-president Jay Marine said: 'Customers told us they wanted to see the team back on screen and we are excited to make that happen. We can't wait to see what Jeremy, Richard, James and the team will create in what is sure to be one of the most globally anticipated shows of 2016.' Rumours that Clarkson, May and Hammond would take their format to a streaming service have been circulating for months. It's a shrewd move. For a start, Amazon doesn't have to bow to pressure from advertisers, particularly those car manufacturers that the team regularly makes fun of. We all remember the ridiculous - and jolly expensive - fuss Telsa kicked up just because one of their models got a slagging. Secondly, it neatly sidesteps the much-reported clause in the presenters' BBC contracts which reportedly prevented them making a motoring show for a UK broadcaster for two years. They will also, presumably, be subject to far less interference than previously and regular crass whinges about content from professional offence-takers with a - sick - agenda will, likely to ignored or referred, swiftly, to the nearest bin by Amazon who are subject to far less Ofcom regulation and oversight than the Beeb. More importantly, the team already have a proven track record in streaming video. Top Gear accounted for eight of the top twenty most-streamed programmes on the BBC's iPlayer last year, with one episode watched by a whopping 3.8 million people (that's in addition to the near-six million audience it had on BBC2). But, we may never know whether the new show reaches those sort of heights. Amazon, in common with Netflix, does not publish viewing figures. Amazon has also signed up Woody Allen to make his first television series; resurrected drama Ripper Street after it was cancelled by the BBC and won awards and acclaim for its dark comedy Transparent. Marine said it was 'a golden age of television [and] a great time for TV makers and storytellers.' He added: 'Our approach is to give programme makers creative freedom to be innovative and make the shows they want to make. This is just the start, you should expect to see more world-leading talent and the biggest shows on Prime Video.' Meanwhile, Top Gear will continue on BBC2, with Chris Evans among the new hosts. Whether it will be a fraction as popular, both in the UK and internationally, with viewers as the Clarkson-model was, time will tell. But, if you're asking this blogger to guess, he'd probably go for 'no'. Lisa Clark, who worked with Evans on The Big Breakfast, has this week been announced as the show's new producer. 'Lisa is as good as it gets when it comes to making big, important television shows,' Evans said. The presenter also fuelled rumours that Formula 1 driver Jenson Button was 'in talks' to co-present the show when he read out a Daily Scum Mail article on the subject on his BBC Radio 2 radio show. 'They say an announcement is imminent,' Evans mocked. Neither the BBC nor Button's spokesman would comment on the speculation.

The ex-Top Gear team were never planning a move to BBC rival ITV, according to Andy Wilman. Speaking to the Radio Times, Wilman confirmed rumours of a clause in his and Jezza Clarkson's contracts that prevented a show on another terrestrial broadcaster. 'So, the ITV thing was never really going to happen, but there has been lots of interest,' he said. 'We've been in talks for quite a few weeks now with different people, but in the end it all happened very quickly.' Wilman added that the group are finding the prospect of the new show 'really liberating', adding: 'It's a motoring show and there will be themes people will be familiar with. But I can't tell you how good it feels to get the chance to produce something from scratch. We're all really excited. No one telling us what we can and can't do, just us hopefully producing great programmes.' Expanding on the 'liberation' the group will have with Amazon Prime, Wilman told Broadcast: 'Everyone we have talked to has said to us, "They leave you alone to make your show." That's a big one for us - we don't like interference, we don't need to be policed.' It seems a decent amount of money put on the table for production was another carrot, with mention of 'a really good budget', as Wilman added: 'Money, freedom and a love of quality. Those three things are what was attractive.'

BBC2's Bloomsbury Set drama Life In Squares opened with an audience of just under two million overnight punters on Monday. The three-part series - starring Lydia Leonard as Virginia Woolf alongside James Norton and Phoebe Fox - debuted with 1.85m at 9pm. Earlier in what was a very good evening for Beeb2, University Challenge brought in 2.66m at 8pm - the highest-rated primetime programme of the night - and 2.2m watched Only Connect immediately afterwards at 8.30pm. The latest episode of really-rotten reality TV competition Hair ended the night with a far less impressive six hundred and forty four thousand at 10pm. Elsewhere, ITV's police documentary Rookies ended with an audience of 2.65m at 9pm, with 2.38m tuning in for Vet School at 8pm. On BBC1, The Housing Enforcers led the night outside of soaps with 3.43m at 7pm, followed by 2.03m for Panorama at 8pm. At 9pm, Britain At The Bookies was down slightly on last week's overnight audience with 2.11m. Channel Four's highest-rated programme was Food Unwrapped with 1.35m at 8pm. Twenty Four Hours In Police Custody attracted an audience of 1.32m at 9pm, while How To Get A Council House continued with nine hundred thousand punters at 10pm. Ben Fogle's documentary New Lives In The Wild had a strong debut on Channel Five with 1.78m at 9pm, preceded by Stop! Roadworks Ahead at 8pm with seven hundred and ninety eight thousand.

Rip Off Britain topped the overnight ratings outside of soaps on Tuesday. The BBC1 series brought in 3.83m at 7pm, while Crimewatch interested 3.37m at 9pm. On BBC2, The Hairy Bikers Come Home averaged eight hundred and sixty thousand at 7pm, before The Pennine Way gathered 1.82m at 7.30pm and The House That One Hundred Thousand Pounds Built was seen by 1.63m at 8pm. Great Ormond Street followed with 1.69m at 9pm. ITV's A Great Welsh Adventure With Griff Rhys Jones appealed to but 1.86m at 7.30pm and Love Your Garden was seen by 2.56m at 8pm. Brits Behind Bars - awful title, awful show - was gawped at by 1.83m sad, crushed victims of society at 9pm. Channel Four's The Three Day Nanny brought in nine hundred and eighty thousand at 8pm and Child Genius was watched by 1.22m at 9pm. The Dog Rescuers With Alan Davies was watched by 1.14m on Channel Five at 8pm, before Benefits By The Sea drew nine hundred and twenty six thousand people with nothing better to do with their lives at 9pm and Botched Up Bodies attracted seven hundred and eight thousand at 10pm.

BBC1's really-not-very-good crime drama The Interceptor drew to a close with a small ratings boost, according to overnight figures for Wednesday. Albeit, still probably not enough to justify the cash-strapped Beeb giving it another series. The drama's final episode was seen by 2.30m at 9pm, up two hundred thousand viewers from the previous week's figure. 'The Interceptor thinks it's The Wire, but let's call it The Dire,' wrote the Daily Mirra's TV critic who seemed to think he was being really funny with that lame-ass pun. Sadly, the rest of his assessment was spot on. 'Dire car chases, dire fights, dire villains, dire plots.' 'It is insanely dull,' added the Gruniad. 'Good actors flinging their all at a thing that is stubbornly refusing to take flight.' 'It was crammed with TV drama clichés – the sort of low-grade guff that drives viewers away from terrestrial TV and into the arms of Sky and Netflix,' noted the Torygraph rather snootily - because not everything produced by Sky or Netflix is an unsurpassed masterpiece or anything remotely like it - but, in the case of The Interceptor's deficiencies, entirely accurately. For what it's worth, this blogger feared the very worst concerning The Interceptor from even before the series began when its creator, Tony Saint, used pre-publicity to claim that the drama was 'an attempt to emulate The Professionals.' With such shitty low-ambitions as that, it was hardly surprising that the thing turned out to be a turd of staggeringly massive proportions, wasting its biggest asset - Trevor Eve - and, frankly, never even reaching the levels of 'crap-but-quite-funny-because-of-it' that The Professionals used to manage on a weekly basis. Earlier, the new series of The Sheriffs Are Coming topped the over night ratings outside of soaps with 3.18m at 7pm, while Don't Tell The Bride failed to entertain 2.66m at 8pm. A repeat of Vera brought in 3.15m for ITV at 8pm. On BBC2, Trust Me, I'm A Doctor interested 2.26m at 8pm, before Signed, Sealed, Delivered: Inside The Post Office averaged 1.40m at 9pm and a repeat of Qi brought in eight hundred and ten thousand at 10pm. Newsnight followed with five hundred and seventy thousand punters at 10.30pm. Channel Four's The Autistic Gardener continued with eight hundred and thirty thousand at 8pm and One Born Every Minute was watched by 1.40m at 9pm. On Channel Five, The Nightmare Neighbour Next Door had an audience of 1.50m at 8pm before Nightmare Tenants, Slum Landlords drew 1.34m at 9pm. Wentworth Prison gathered seven hundred and twenty two thousand at 10pm. Meanwhile, Strike Back: The Legacy came to an explosive end with a double bill of episodes between 9pm and 11pm on Sky1. The first episode of the night was watched by one hundred and ninety one thousand while the second followed with one hundred and forty three thousand viewers.

Flockstars performed predictably poorly in the ratings on Thursday according to overnight data. ITV's bizarre - and utterly hopeless - new reality format of celebrity sheep herding pulled in a thoroughly piss-poor 2.39m overnight viewers at 8.30pm. Every single one of whom should be effing well ashamed of themselves. As should all of those who took part in, and the people that make and commissioned this steaming pile of rancid diarrhoea. As The Housemartins once so wisely noted, 'it's sheep we're up against.' In this case, quite literally. As a species, dear blog reader, we have discovered the secret of fire, conquered the oceans, sent rockets of the Moon and produced Michelangelo, Shakespeare, Da Vinci, The Be-Atles and Eric Morecambe. Surely, we're better than this. Elsewhere, Real Stories With Ranvir Singh interested 2.16m at 7.30pm and Britain Sees Red: Caught On Camera could only manage 1.99m at 9pm. BBC1's Fake Britain topped the evening's ratings outside of soaps with 3.33m at 7pm, before Traffic Cops was watched by 3.07m at 8pm and Panorama appealed to 2.49m at 9pm. On BBC2, Coast continued with 1.76m at 8pm and Atlantic: The Wildest Ocean On Earth gathered 2.19m at 9pm. Channel Four's Grand Designs brought in nine hundred and eighty thousand at 8pm, whilst the documentary Prince Philip: The Plot To Make A King - which told the riveting tale of how that slippery old fixer Lord Louis Mountbatten conspired to marry his nephew, Prince Philip Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg, into the British royal family and which was really rather good as it happens - had an audience of 1.77m at 9pm. Supersized was watched by seven hundred and fifty one thousand on Channel Five at 9pm, before Person Of Interest attracted six hundred and forty six thousand viewers at 10pm. A second episode of the US drama immediately afterwards was watched by four hundred and forty two thousand at 11pm.

And still it continues. ITV's latest 'quality, original entertainment', BBQ Champ served up a measly 2.29 million overnight viewers for ITV on Friday evening. The wretched Great British BBQ Rip Off featuring Adam Richman, Mark Blatchford and that awful, horrible full-of-her-own-importance Klass woman, peaked with 2.51 million between 9pm and 10pm. How many of them will be back next week is another matter entirely. Gino's Italian Escape: A Taste Of The Sun was ITV's highest rated show outside of soaps on what was a rotten night for the commercial channel, attracting but 2.39 million at 8pm. Both shows were easily outperformed by the returning Ripper Street on BBC1, which was watched by 3.73 million at 9pm. And, rather good it was too - if as bonkers as usual. BBC1's evening began with 2.32 million for Animal Super Parents at 7pm and continued with 2.95 million for the return for a new series of Would I Lie To You? at 8.30pm. Which was also pretty good, despite the presence of Danny Dyer in it. The night ended with 1.97 million for Room 101 at 10.35pm. BBC2's evening was dominated by large sweaty men as the rugby league match between Leeds Rhinos and St Helens was seen by 1.02 million from 7.30pm. It was sandwiched between Gardeners' World with 1.34 million and The Perfect Morecambe & Wise with six hundred thousand punters. Eight Out Of Ten Cats Does Countdown was, once again, Channel Four's most popular show, playing to 1.61 million. It was preceded by Location, Location, Location with eight hundred and fifty thousand and followed by The Last Leg with 1.24 million. Channel Five's evening peaked with six hundred and fifty six thousand for Weather Terror: Eye Of The Storm, followed by six hundred and forty thousand for Twenty Moments That Rocked Comedy. ITV3's A Touch Of Frost was among the highest-rated multichannel shows, watched by four hundred and thirty thousand at 8pm.
Casualty appealed to nearly four million overnight viewers on BBC1 on Saturday night. The drama was watched by 3.98m from 9.10pm according to overnight figures, after The National Lottery: Five Star Family Reunion took 3.18m. Earlier from 6.25pm, the six hundred and ninety ninth terrestrial broadcast of Raiders Of The Lost Ark averaged 3.15m. On BBC2, a repeat of Dad's Army attracted 1.32m from 8.40pm, before First Light was watched by 1.01m. On ITV, Mamma Mia! drew an audience of 2.17m from 6.30pm. Although Christ only knows why. The Cube followed with but 1.88m. Channel Four's Homes By The Sea averaged one million overnight punters in the 7pm hour. The Inbetweeners Movie - every single bit as gloriously unfunny and worthless as the TV series it was based on only twice as bloody long - attracted eight hundred and ninety nine sad, crushed victims of society later. On Channel Five, Transporter: The Series continued with three hundred and two thousand and the much-hyped Tut began with eight hundred and fifty nine thousand. The multichannels were topped by the Robert De Niro and Ben Stiller comedy Meet The Fockers, which had an audience of eight hundred thousand on BBC3 from 8.15pm.

Humans added a few overnight viewers for its series finale on Sunday. The Channel Four SF drama was watched by 2.24m punters at 9pm. This week's figure is up just over three hundred thousand on the previous episode's overnight figure. BBC1's Countryfile was, as usual, the night's most-watched programme, with 5.64m at 7pm, before Fake or Fortune? appealed to 4.54m at 8pm. Partners In Crime continued with 5.02m at 9pm. still a very good figure, but almost a million-and-a-half viewers down on the previous week's opening episode. On BBC2, Dragon's Den averaged three million viewers at 8pm, while the latest Odyssey interested 1.06m at 9pm. It was a stinking night for ITV; Nature Nuts With Julian Clary began with a risibly low 1.19m punters at 7pm and a Midsomer Murders repeat was watched by 2.06m at 8pm. Meanwhile, Channel Five's Tut had an audience of seven hundred and thirty four thousand viewers at 9pm.

Here are the final and consolidated ratings for the Top Twenty Two programmes, week-ending Sunday 26 July 2015:-
1 Coronation Street - Mon ITV - 8.45m
2 Partners In Crime - Sun BBC1 - 7.95m
3 EastEnders - Mon BBC1 - 7.46m
4 Emmerdale - Mon ITV - 6.54m
5 Countryfile - Sun BBC1 - 6.25m
6 Celebrity MasterChef - Fri BBC1 - 6.17m
7= Fake Or Fortune? - Sun BBC1 - 5.20m
7= BBC News - Sun BBC1 - 5.20m
9 Casualty - Sat BBC1 - 5.09m
10 Ten O'Clock News - Thurs BBC1 - 4.59m
11 Holby City - Tues BBC1 - 4.38m
12 Six O'Clock News - Mon BBC1 - 4.35m
13 ITV News Mon ITV - 4.05m*
14 Formula 1: The Hungarian Grand Prix - Sun BBC1 - 3.96m
15 DIY SOS: The Big Build - Thurs BBC1 - 3.89m
16 Humans - Sun C4 - 3.67m
17 Rip Off Britain: Food - Tus BBC1 - 3.61m
18 The National Lottery: Five Star Family Reunion - Sat BBC1 - 3.53m
19 Death In Paradise - Tues BBC1 - 3.45m
20 Fake Britain - Thurs BBC1 - 3.32m
21 Joanna Lumley's Trans-Siberian Adventure - Sun ITV - 3.25m*
22 Mrs Browns Boys - Sat BBC1 - 3.24m
These figures, as usual, do not include iPlayer or ITV Player viewers. ITV programmes marked '*' do not include HD figures. After two weeks of returning no figures to BARB - for which, one presumes, somebody got the caning of their collective lives - BBC2 are finally back in the running. Monday's coverage of The Open Golf Championship drew the channel's biggest audience of the week, 3.02 million. Why for the love of God, why? It's hours of televised sky. That bore-fest was followed by Dragons' Den (2.84m), Trust Me, I'm A Doctor (2.62m), Athletics highlights (2.49m), Only Connect (2.29m) and Coast (2.08m). Aside from Humans, Channel Four's top-rated broadcasts were the movie Pitch Perfect (2.40m), Married At First Sight (2.28m) and One Born Every Minute (1.96m). Channel Five's highest-rated broadcasts were Nightmare Tenants, Slum Landlords (1.57m) and Benefits By The Sea: Jaywick (1.49m). Tour De France highlights on ITV4 were the most-watched multichannel broadcast of the week - 1.19m. ITV3's Midsomer Murders was the channel's highest-rated programme (nine hundred and nine thousand), followed by Endeavour (five hundred and eighty nine thousand) and Rosemary & Thyme (five hundred and twenty eight thousand). BBC4's weekly list was topped by The Sky At Night's impressive Pluto Special (seven hundred and ninety seven thousand) and Horizon (six hundred and three thousand), followed by Storyville: Blackfish (five hundred and sixty six thousand). BBC3's weekly top-ten included six episodes of Family Guy, a couple of movies and some Athletics highlights and a grand total of no programmes actually made for BBC3. And, there are still people who wonder why the channel being shovelled into the online gutter along with all the other shite where it belongs. 5USA's Chicago PD attracted four hundred and twenty eight thousand. The latest episodes of Banshee (three hundred and thirty three thousand), True Detective (three hundred and twenty nine thousand) and Ray Donovan (two hundred and forty five thousand) were Sky Atlantic's weekly list-toppers. Sky Living's most-watched programmes were Madam Secretary (five hundred and thirty six thousand viewers) and Unforgettable (four hundred and eighty six thousand). The latest bloodsoaked episode of Hannibal had two hundred and thirty six thousand viewers. Sky 1's The Last Ship was watched by five hundred and sixty four thousand viewers. On Dave, Storage Hunters UK was the channel's highest-rated programme of the week - five hundred and thirty eight thousand - followed by Not Going Out (four hundred and sixty five thousand) and Mock The Week (three hundred and seventy four thousand). Watch's Dynamo: Magician Impossible had an audience of one hundred and seventy six thousand. FOX's highest-rated shows were the - rather good - third episode of Marvel's Agent Carter (four hundred and twenty six thousand), American Dad (two hundred and fifty three thousand), Falling Skies (two hundred and forty eight thousand) and the rapidly-becoming-ludicrous Wayward Pines (two hundred and forty seven thousand). Another of the seemingly endless repeats of NCIS topped CBS Action's weekly list (one hundred and nineteen thousand). Rookie Blue was the Universal Channel's list-topper with two hundred and seven thousand. On Yesterday, The Joy Of Train Sets was watched by two hundred and twenty three thousand, whilst Edward VIII's Murderous Mistress had an audience of two hundred and six four thousand, followed by Mega-Tsunami: Wave Of Destruction (one hundred and ninety thousand) and Medieval Dead (one hundred and eighty three thousand). On the Discovery Channel, Deadliest Catch was watched by one hundred and forty three thousand viewers, the much-trailed return of Mythbusters by one hundred and seven thousand and NASA's Unexplained Files by one hundred and four thousand. Discovery History's The Russian Revolution In Colour had an audience of thirty thousand viewers and Egypt's New Tomb Revealed by twenty eight thousand. Time Team Digs was watched by fifteen thousand as was In Search Of The King's Head. It's next to The Red Lion. Oh, yes. Anyway, the Discovery Science channel drew fifty thousand viewers for Pluto: First Encounter. On Discovery Turbo, Chasing Classic Cars had fifty five thousand punters. CI's Unusual Suspects brought in fifty three thousand whilst ID's See No Evil was watched by fifty six thousand. National Geographic's Car SOS: Skyline Sensations was watched by fifty two thousand thousand viewers. GOLD's Pete and Dud episode of The Interviews attracted one hundred and seventy three thousand, and very good it was too although tragically it wasn't the channel's most-watched programme; a repeat of Gavin & Stacey attracted five thousand punters more. No justice. Sky Sports 2's coverage of The Womens Ashes had an average audience of one hundred and eleven thousand viewers. On Sky Sports News, Sky Sports Tonight: World Cup Special was watched by one hundred and thrity two thousand. Sky Sports F1's coverahe of The Hungarian Grand Prix had six hundred and eighty six thousand. On Sky Arts, Erotic Adventures Of Anais Nin attracted seventy one thousand punters - whom, it is to be hoped, got The Horn over what they saw. On ITV Encore, Jordskott continued with one hundred and seven thousand.

The Broadcasters' Audience Research Board, BARB, is, for the first time, to release official figures showing the level of UK viewing through on-demand and live-streamed content through online TV Player apps. BARB provides the official ratings for the UK TV industry - as used by this blog, for instance. The final figures currently reflect those who watch live or on various forms of catch-up within one week of broadcast. They do not, however, include details of those watching on their computers via the iPlayer. The BBC's own research, Live +7, shows that up to ten per cent of the audience of some programmes like, for instance, Doctor Who or Top Gear, currently watches the series online and these viewers are not counted in the official final and consolidated ratings figures. The first BARB TV Player Report will to be released in September and will be the first set of BARB data to focus on viewing that takes place on computer devices such as laptops, desktops, tablets and smartphones. It will report on viewing activity at a device level, rather than a person level, and rely on data which is generated from a software code that has been developed by Kantar Media and implemented by broadcasters. This solution is one of the most advanced audience measurement systems for online TV viewing in the world. The data will be an important building block for the delivery of Project Dovetail, the hybrid measurement system that will that is intended to deliver full cross-platform reporting of audiences. Justin Sampson, Chief Executive at BARB, said: 'We're excited to be introducing our customers to the TV Player Report. It's a significant innovation from BARB and the result of close collaboration with broadcasters. At its heart is the generation of a census-level dataset that will provide our customers with a gold standard measure of online TV viewing.'
Jane Tranter and Julie Gardner - the former BBC executives responsible for Doctor Who, Torchwood and Da Vinci's Demons - have launched a transatlantic production company, Bad Wolf, to produce 'high-end TV and film' for the global television market. The company, which has the support of the Welsh government, will be co-sited in South Wales and Los Angeles. The company is putting together 'an ambitious production slate.' Development deals with US networks and studios are 'close to being agreed to', with 'discussions also under way' with UK and European broadcasters. Bad Wolf will have its production base at a permanent studio in South Wales, and is forecast to attract in the region of one hundred million smackers to the economy of Wales over the next ten years. Tranter and Gardner were at the helm of the BBC's drama division until 2008, and together with Russell Davies they relaunched Doctor Who and created Torchwood a decade ago. Both shows were produced in Wales - in Doctor Who's case, it still is - and reignited the television industry in the country.
Jane and Jules subsequently moved to Los Angeles to head up BBC Worldwide Productions and, over the past six years, they have produced more than eight hundred and fifty hours hours of scripted and unscripted programming for the US and international television markets. During their time in LA, Tranter and Gardner were commissioned to produce three seasons of historical fantasy drama Da Vinci's Demons for Starz and FOX, which they brought to Swansea, creating Bay Studios. Da Vinci's Demons has subsequently been sold to more than one hundred and twenty five countries, and generated a production spend of more than seventy million knicker across three seasons. The series created the equivalent of more than fifteen hundred full-time jobs in Wales, and led to the creation of the Adjacent Education Project, which aims to develop film and television skills in the area, working with the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, and University of Wales Trinity St David's. During their tenure at BBC Worldwide Productions, Jane and Jules's programming output went from strength to strength, recently culminating in ten Emmy nominations for Dancing With The Stars, Life Below Zero and Getting On and receiving multiple scripted and unscripted production commitments across premium and basic cable and broadcast television. Tranter and Gardner are now planning to build on that success with a second ten-year masterplan, with the support of the Welsh government, to create a long-term future for film and TV production in the country. Wales' minister for economy Edwina Hart said Monday: 'Creative industries is one of our fastest-growing priority sectors. We want to establish Wales as an international centre of excellence for high-end TV drama production worldwide, and this investment is part of our plan to create a long-term, sustainable TV industry in Wales. Jane and Julie already have strong and established relationships with both US and UK broadcasters, and their slate of international productions will play an important role in developing and sustaining a strong crew base in Wales, and will ensure global television content is produced from the region for many years to come. Bad Wolf has the potential to be a game changer for the creative economy in Wales. The talented Welsh-based production company will support one of the largest sustainable TV drama production hubs in the UK outside of London and help increase inward investment, strengthen the supply chain and skills base and create cultural and tourism benefits.' Tranter said: 'TV has changed beyond all recognition in the past decade. Huge international productions made on movie-scale budgets have put British TV at the forefront of this revolution. We are delighted to be working with the Welsh government to grow this industry and continue to benefit the economy of Wales. Edwina Hart fully understands that by putting Wales at the forefront of this industry, it could be a world leader within the decade.' Gardner said: 'Jane and I have filmed all over the globe and know, first hand, that the talent base in South Wales is world class. We are thrilled to be embarking on this new venture surrounded by such shared talent and passion.' In 2000, Tranter was appointed BBC Controller of Drama Commissioning, overseeing a resurgence of drama at the broadcaster that contributed to the modernisation of British drama and production. Programmes commissioned during her time included State Of Play, Bleak House, [spooks], The Lost Prince, Criminal Justice, Little Dorrit, House Of Saddam, Life On Mars, Hustle and the revival of Doctor Who. Previously, Tranter was an executive producer on award-winning dramas such as Warriors, Care and Rome. In 2007 her responsibilities widened to include BBC Films, comedy and programme acquisition, where she was responsible for bringing The Damned United, Gavin & Stacey, Heroes and Mad Men to the BBC. In 2009, Jane moved to Los Angeles and launched BBC Worldwide Productions, a BBC Worldwide production company, to make scripted and unscripted BBC re-formats for the US television market. In 2012, she launched Adjacent Productions, a sister label that was created to develop and produce original programming. Both companies went on to become significant players in the US television market, producing titles such as Dancing With The Stars, Top Gear US, Life Below Zero and Ladies Of London, as well as Getting On, Da Vinci's Demons and the forthcoming HBO miniseries Crime. In 2009, Tranter was the recipient of the BAFTA Special Award in recognition of her 'outstanding creative contribution' to the industry. Gardner is best known for her work as Head of Drama at BBC Wales. Alongside Davies, Gardner spearheaded the revival of Doctor Who, as well as launching Torchwood and Sarah Jane Interferes. Julie also helped bring a string of hit dramas to the BBC, including Life On Mars, its sequel Ashes To Ashes, Being Human, The Girl In The Cafe, Stuart: A Life Backwards, Dad, Mistresses and Casanova. On leaving the BBC, Gardner moved to Los Angeles to head up the scripted division of BBC Worldwide Productions. In this role, she has been an executive producer on a range of US-based titles, including Torchwood: Miracle Day, Us & Them, Da Vinci's Demons, Getting On and Intruders.

The BBC will make ten thousand hours of programming available to download as 'digital DVDs' this autumn. That's if the Tories haven't shut it down by that stage. BBC Store will, eventually, offer 'the most comprehensive collection of content' that the broadcaster has ever made available online, with classic shows and recent successes like Doctor Who and Sherlock expected to feature. A spokesperson for BBC Worldwide - which will run the service - said: 'Ever since VHS was introduced, and later DVD and Blu-ray, consumers have always wanted to own copies of their favourite programmes and have paid to do so - that's exactly what BBC Store will provide for the digital age. These have never been included in the licence fee and programmes will continue to be available for free on BBC iPlayer for thirty days, just as they are now. As more and more people consume TV digitally, it makes sense to offer BBC programmes for ownership in this way. BBC Store only allows audiences to buy content that has already appeared on the BBC. Consumers do not take out a subscription - they buy and download individual shows or series to keep - essentially BBC Store enables a "digital DVD."' Due to the service's digital nature, it is likely that niche content from the BBC's past - which wasn't considered popular enough to justify a physical release - could be made available for the first time. Further details about BBC Store will be released in the coming weeks, but due to the non-exclusive nature of the service it is likely that other digital retailers like Amazon, Google Play and iTunes will also benefit from the new selection of digitised programmes.

Game Of Thrones has pulled off another casting coup by securing the services of Ian McShane for series six of the fantasy drama. McShane - best known to British audiences for Lovejoy, although many of us 'of a certain age' still recall with great fondness his performance as the George Best-like Rod Turner in the movie Yesterday's Hero, quite possibly the single worst film ever made by anyone, ever - will return to HBO a decade after his Golden Globe-winning performance in western drama Deadwood.
The Game is over - the period espionage dramas will not be returning to BBC2. Because,on one was watching it, basically. It was creator Toby Whithouse who broke the bad news to fans on Twitter over the weekend. The writer later added that it had been 'an honour' to work with an 'extraordinary cast and crew.' The Game starred Tom Hughes and followed a team of MI5 operatives working to unravel a Soviet plot known as Operation Glass. Hughes, who played haunted spy Joe Lambe, previously told the Digital Spy website that he had 'high hopes' for a second series. 'If it's resonating with people and they're interested in the characters, then I know for certain that Toby's got far more to share,' he said in June. Sadly, despite being a reasonably competently made bit of drama, the series failed to attract anything approaching a big enough audience to justify a second series, particularly with money being too tight to mention at the BBC these days. Maybe, if they hadn't been so quick to give Clarkson the boot, that fifty to eighty million quid that Top Gear brings in annually might have boosted the drama budget. But that, as they say, is an opportunity missed. Originally announced back in November 2012, the six-part series of The Game was shot in late 2013 but wasn't broadcast on BBC2 until earlier this year. For reasons unknown.
Scott & Bailey will soon be making a return to ITV in a three-part serial. The fifth series of the crime drama will see the titular detectives tackling one single case across the three episodes for the first time. Suranne Jones and Lesley Sharp will return as the crime-fighting duo, with Bailey (Jones) returning from her Vice secondment and DCI Gill Murray (Amelia Bullmore) now in retirement. The series focuses on a gruesome Internet crime investigation, with Bailey entering an online world where users boast about committing murders. Sally Lindsay - who co-created Scott & Bailey with Jones - will also return to the drama as Rachel Bailey's sister, Alison. Meanwhile, Samantha Manning and Lisa Farrand join the cast as new police advisors. 'I'm very excited to be returning to the series as Rachel Bailey and this time to be working alongside Nicola Shindler as an executive producer,'Suranne Jones said. Filming on the three episodes will begin in September, while ITV will announce broadcast details in the coming months.
The final dance for Last Tango in Halifax may soon be upon us. Sir Derek Jacobi and Anne Reid's romantic comedy series is confirmed to be returning for a fourth series on BBC1, but according to Reid,it is not likely to continue beyond that point. 'This will be our fourth run and I think that will be enough,' Reid told the TV Times. 'Derek and I said we'd only do two series but people love it. I'm happy to film another but I hate it when programmes go on too long and become a pale imitation of the original.' As for how the series should end, Reid said: 'I don't want anybody dying. I want something life-affirming!'
Acclaimed drama Humans will return to screens, as a second series of the SF thriller has been confirmed by Channel Four and AMC. Featuring a cast that includes Gemma Chan, Tom Goodman-Hill, Katherine Parkinson and Colin Morgan, Channel Four's highest-rated original drama of the past twenty years explores the tensions between humans and humanoid robot servants known as Synths. Before official word of the renewal came, Will Tudor revealed to the Digital Spy website that 'show bosses' had 'big plans' for a potential second series. 'I really hope it continues - as much as a viewer as someone who's in it,' said the actor, who plays malfunctioning android Odi. 'It explores things that I've personally not seen on screen before, and it raises a lot of questions. In the first series, there were a couple of things where I thought, "Ooh, what about that?" and "What if that happened?" I think the writers have got a lot more they want to tell, that's all I'm going to say!' Channel Four's head of drama, Piers Wenger, said: 'Humans has proved a huge hit with both audiences and critics alike this summer and we owe a huge debt of gratitude to writers Sam Vincent and Jonathan Brackley and to the team at Kudos for bringing a truly unmissable show to life. It also marks a key moment for Channel Four as we expand our remit for bold and original drama into the international, co-production space. We look forward to working with our partners AMC on series two of Humans and to more Synth-related adventures to come.'
ITV have reported a twenty five per cent increase in pre-tax profits, despite a four per cent drop in viewing in the first half of this year, saying it 'remained on track' for a strong performance in 2015. The broadcaster, home to The X Factor, Downton Abbey, Coronation Street and sod-all else that anybody watches, said that pre-tax profits rose to three hundred and ninety one million smackers in its half yearly report on Tuesday. Rubbing their hands together as they got their greed right on, ITV increased total revenues across its business by eleven per cent year-on-year to £1.36bn. Revenues at its production division, ITV Studios, which has been transformed with a string of purchases including Talpa Media, maker of BBC1's The Voice and Poldark producer Mammoth Screen, was up twenty three per cent to four hundred and ninety six million knicker. ITV's chief executive, odious little oily twat Adam Crozier said that the fall in viewing had 'not impacted' on its commercial performance, with the broadcaster offering advertisers an 'unrivalled ability to reach mass audiences.' Total adjusted profits – earnings before interest, tax and amortisation – rose twenty four per cent to four hundred million quid for the first half of the year. But Crozier said that reversing the decline was a 'key focus for the year', promising increased investment in quality drama and its two flagship soaps, Coronation Street and Emmerdale, the audiences for which are down four per cent and two per cent respectively year-on-year. He admitted that ITV's factual output had 'underperformed', particularly in the 9pm slot and said that the channel had also 'suffered' as a result of English teams being knocked out in the early stages of last season's Champions League. Crozier said that he 'would have preferred' to hold on to the Champions League rights, which have been snatched from under ITV's nose by BT, but said that free-to-air players had been 'priced out' of the live-TV market. 'The cost on a free-to-air model is almost impossible to justify,' said Crozier. 'I think Sky have paid something like eleven million pounds a match [for the Premier League]. If you compare that to the cost of an hour's very high quality drama, maybe one million pounds or £1.5m, that is a vast differential.' Although, what the hell ITV would know about 'quality' drama is another question entirely. Crozier said that the channel would be 'investing in storylines and bringing in new characters' in its soaps, with a 'number of format changes' promised for Wee Shughie McFee, the sour-faced Scottish chef off Crossroads's The X Factor when it returns in the autumn with new judges Nick Grimshaw and Rita Ora. He said that the channel would also 'look to improve' its daytime performance and said that Susanna Reid's notorious breakfast flop, Good Morning Britain, which struggled in the ratings after replacing equally notorious fiasco Daybreak, was 'up seven per cent' year-on-year. Which, presumably, means that seven people are now watching it rather than just Susanna's mum. 'I think in factual we have had problems, particularly at 9pm where we have underperformed but we are very focused on that,' Crozier added. ITV's ratings in the second half of the year are expected to be boosted by the rugby World Cup, along with The X Factor and the return of I'm A Z-List Former Celebrity Desperate To Get My Boat-Race Back On TV ... Please Vote For Me To Stay Here As Long As Possible (I'll Even Eat Worms If You Want), plus high profile dramas Jekyll & Hyde, Unforgotten and The Trials Of Jimmy Rose. ITV said that it expected advertising revenues to be up six per cent for the nine months to the end of September, after a five per cent rise in the first six months. The forecast of an eight per cent rise for the third quarter was ahead of analysts' expectations. With the BBC facing a potentially radical, entirely politically-motivated, overhaul of its services and funding as part of the charter review process, Crozier sneered that the corporation 'needs to be more distinctive' - this, from the boss of ITV fer Christ's sake, a network that's idea of 'distinctiveness' is to find a wretched, vacuous lowest-common-denominator format which scum from the council estates will watch, stick the word 'celebrity' in front of it, and then fill it with people you've never heard of from The Only Way Is Essex. Or, Colin Baker. Remember, this interview came in a week in which ITV's two newest 'distinctive' offerings to the nation were Flockstars and BBQ Champ. Perhaps the odious Crozier - whose previous jobs included him incompetently ruining the Football Association and the Post Office - had his irony meter on the blink at the time. Perhaps we'll never care. ITV, dear blog reader, an effing cancer on the British television industry. Crozier then said that a licence fee was 'appropriate for its agreed scope of operations. It needs to be more like an enabler and a partner to the commercial sector rather than a competitor. That goes for the local newspaper, national newspaper, television and many other markets on which they impinge,' he said. 'Compared to all other broadcasters, the BBC should be focusing more of its money on new and original programming, not on constantly returning things. It's performance on that [measure] is broadly in line with the rest of the market when it should be way in advance.' Well yes. How very dare the BBC make television programmes that interfere with ITV's opportunities to make money. Shouldn't be allowed. Crozier said: 'Most people would say the process to date on both the licence fee and the response to the Green Paper hasn't basically been smooth or terrific. The BBC needs to be more distinctive but for the avoidance of doubt that doesn't mean not doing things like Strictly Come Dancing, an idea which the BBC came up with. It should be doing more of that.' Crozier accused the BBC of 'not thinking through' its plans for BBC Studios, the corporation's revamped in-house production division which will be headed by former BBC1 controller Peter Salmon and prompted the threat of legal action by ITV. 'We don't think it's right the BBC should look to set up a commercial production company that relies on competing against the independent sector on the back of an unfair state funded subsidy,' he said. Well, thanks for your - not wholly self-interested and greed-driven - contribution to the debate, Adam, you hateful,worthless sour-faced gnome. Now fek off back to whichever stone you crawled out from under.
And, still on the subject of people getting their greed on, Sky has passed the twelve million customer mark in the UK and Ireland for the first time as it reported annual revenues of nearly £11.3bn. The satellite broadcaster said like-for-like pre-tax profit rose isx per cent to £1.196bn in the year to the end of June this year, slightly ahead of analysts' forecasts. Total revenues, also on a like-for-like basis, increased by five per cent to £11.28bn. The Sky chief executive, Jeremy Darroch, said the last twelve months had been 'an outstanding period of growth for Sky', having completed the purchases of the Sky businesses in Germany and Italy. The company said it had its highest organic growth in the UK and Ireland for eleven years, adding five hundred and six thousand customers to take it past the twelve million mark for the first time. The level of customer churn – people who cancel their subscription – fell to below ten per cent, its lowest for eleven years. Revenues in the UK and Ireland were up six per cent to £7.8bn with operating profit up twelve thousand to £1.35bn. Darroch described its domestic performance as the 'engine of growth' for the company and the 'template for the other businesses.' The results, published on Wednesday of this week, are the first since Sky's multibillion-pound acquisitions of its sister companies in Germany and Italy. Darroch said that the broadcaster had a 'little bit of phasing to get through' after it lost the rights to Champions League football to satellite rival BT, beginning with the new football season which kicks off next month. Sky held on to the lion's share of live Premier League football, paying more than four billion smackers for the rights. Darroch said that the inflated rights deal which was 'far higher than expected' would mean a rise of about one quid a month for subscribers, with most of the cost, around two thirds, met by cost savings and efficiencies at Sky. 'There is clearly going to be a short-term period where it splits and we will just trade through that,' Darroch said of the loss of the Champions League. 'We are not putting short-term forecasts out there. We will get through the next three months and see how we go, it's a short-term period. The prospects for next year and the year after to keep adding customers is very good.' Sky added nine hundred and seventy three thousand new customers across the business with operating profit up eighteen per cent to £1.4bn. Darroch said that original comedy and drama remained 'a priority' for the business, spending just five billion knicker on new content across all of its markets. After Arctic murder mystery Fortitude, its most expensive investment yet, was sold to more than one hundred territories, it has thirty five productions in development, in production or on-air in the next three years with ten earmarked as pan-European 'priority projects.' These include Sky's first co-production with HBO, The Young Pope, starring Jude Law and Diane Keaton. Outside of the UK and Ireland, revenues grew in Germany and Austria to £1.4bn with losses narrowing to eleven million notes, while in Italy profits grew to sixty one million smackers despite revenues being down to £2.1bn. Numis analyst Paul Richards said that the results were 'impressive' with 'operational performance strong in all areas' fuelled by 'explosive growth' in new businesses such as Sky Store.

Ofcom has backed a BBC Trust decision not to censure the BBC over using the word 'pikey' in an episode of Top Gear. The Traveller Movement - for, there is such a thing, apparently - whinged after former Top Gear host Jezza Clarkson was seen holding a placard stating 'Pikey's Peak' while shooting in Worcestershire. In March, the BBC Trust said that the word had been used to mean 'cheap', rather than as a term of racial offence. Ofcom said that there was 'sufficient context in the way the word was used to minimise offence.' The broadcasting regulator said it recognised that 'some in the audience would perceive the word pikey as a derogatory term for gypsies and travellers.' It added: 'We have advised broadcasters this doesn't mean the use of the word is acceptable in any programme in any context and that it is capable of causing significant offence in certain contexts.' The BBC also admitted that the word could be 'a derogatory term' in some contexts but cited the online encyclopaedia Wikipedia as proof it also referred to someone who 'lives on the cheap.' In its whinge to Ofcom, The Traveller Movement said: 'Had a more neutral word like "cheapskate" been used, it would not have had such a "transgressive punch" ie provocative impact.' However, the BBC had argued 'the issue in determining whether it is offensive in any particular case is the intention behind its use, and the context in which it is used.' In the scene, Jezza held up the sign as co-presenter Richard Hammond prepared to test the performance of a used hatchback car by racing up Shelsley Walsh Hill Climb in Worcestershire, the site of a particularly steep racing climb. Clarkson mocked Hammond for choosing a Vauxhall Nova and erected a placard at the start line that read "Pikey's Peak", a play on words in reference to Pikes Peak, a famous hill climb in Colorado. In its considerations, Ofcom had noted Top Gear was 'widely known for its irreverent style and sometimes outspoken humour' and added that the reference to the use of the term 'pikey' was part of 'a long-running gag' on Top Gear and that 'Richard Hammond had been linked to it on previous occasions.' It concluded that 'it is likely that the audience would not generally have considered that there was a direct and pejorative association between the reference to the word "pikey" in the sign "Pikey's Peak" and a discriminatory usage referring to Gypsies and Travellers in a way which would cause widespread offence.'
Davina McCall recently 'caused a hilarious stir' (apparently) when she posted a nude lookalike painting of herself on Instagram, which made many of her one hundred and twenty nine thousand followers to 'do a double take.' Although, to be honest, the most astonishing thing about this was the revelation that one hundred and twenty nine thousand people have so little in their lives to occupy their time that they fellow Davina McCall on Instagram. The image in question was a painting that the TV presenter's friend 'discovered' whilst on holiday and 'couldn't resist' buying and forwarding on to McCall, 'much to both of their amusement.' The painting features two topless women sunbathing on a beach in front of Hotel Negresco in Nice. The lady sporting a cropped brunette hairstyle and big beaming smile (not to mention, sizable tits) does, indeed, bear something of a resemblance to the forty seven-year-old presenter.
Wor geet canny Gina McKee has backed a scheme to give all children in the North-East of England a taste of the arts to make sure young talent does not go untapped. McKee said that attending a youth drama group in her home town of Peterlee in County Durham, 'changed my life. Particularly in today's climate of austerity, it deeply concerns me that this kind of work must continue to be funded,' she said. She was speaking at the launch of a fifteen-year 'cultural strategy' for the region. Titled The Case For Culture, it aims to get five hundred thousand more people - including two hundred and eighty five thousand children - involved in the arts in the North-East by 2030. It also hopes to increase investment in the arts in the area from one hundred million smackers to three hundred million over the next five years. The strategy has been co-ordinated by Ros Rigby, who now works at The Sage concert hall in Gateshead - but who organised the Peterlee Youth Drama Workshop when McKee was a member in the late 1970s. McKee said: 'I had no idea what a youth drama workshop was. But with nothing better to do, we went along to find out. Looking back, I can see that the decision to attend the workshop that night has proved to be deeply significant for me. I don't think it's an exaggeration to say it changed my life.' Wor geet canny Gina started getting professional acting jobs within months and went on to make her name in the acclaimed and award-winning Newcastle-set 1996 TV drama Our Friends In The North alongside co-stars Mark Strong, Daniel Craig and Christopher Eccleston. All of whom have, similarly, done aal reet for themselves in the years since! 'Back then I had no idea that I could make a living in a creative industry,' Gina said. 'Other people did that kind of thing. I'll always feel deeply grateful to Ros and the team. It may have been a youth drama workshop but what it offered us were invaluable lessons in life. Particularly in today's climate of austerity, it deeply concerns me that this kind of work must continue to be funded. At a time when drama schools and university courses have become an even more daunting prospect for the less well-off, I can't stress enough how truly valuable arts initiatives like Peterlee Youth Drama Workshop can be in getting the very best from our local communities. And there are amazing communities here in the North-East, filled with people with stories that need to be told and amazing talents that need to be discovered, developed and widely celebrated.' Gina's comments come after industry professionals including Julie Walters, David Morrissey and her Our Friends in the North co-star Christopher Eccleston warned about 'vanishing opportunities' for actors from working class backgrounds. Ros Rigby said that opportunities for young people had increased as arts funding has gone up over the last twenty years. 'It's now [been] cut back quite a bit, but it grew and there are now a lot more [opportunities],' said Rigby, who is The Sage's performance programme director. 'But also we have one of the highest unemployment levels in the country in the North-East and times are not easy. For young people it's not just about, do they want to go and join something. It's about, have they got a bus fare? There are still challenges.' The Case For Culture strategy has been compiled by the North-East's twelve local authorities and five universities as well as its theatres, galleries and museums.
Ed Sheeran - he is a 'popular beat combo' m'lud - has landed himself a part in a 'gory' new TV show. He has secured a recurring role in the medieval drama, The Bastard Executioner, which launches in the US in October. It is billed as 'a blood-soaked epic' telling the story of a Fourteenth Century warrior whose life is changed by 'a divine messenger.' The singer is set to play Sir Cormac, who is described in pre-publicity as 'a deadly and ambitious character.' Filming started in the UK this month and the cast includes Stephen Moyer, from True Blood and Sons Of Anarchy's Katey Sagal.

Gerry Anderson's Thunderbirds are set to return to the site where they were originally created to mark the show's fiftieth anniversary. Three new episodes, starring the show's iconic puppets, including Lady Penelope and Parker, will be produced at Slough Trading Estate in Berkshire. The children's TV programme was written and filmed at the site of the estate between 1964 and 1966. The project will use audio recordings of the original voice cast. As well as these recordings, which were first released in 1966, the Thunderbirds 1965 project will feature recreated puppets and sets. The project, created by Stephen La Riviere, is supported by ITV, which first broadcast the programme in 1965, Sylvia Anderson, and the Gerry Anderson estate - represented by his son Jamie. 'Knowing that Thunderbirds will return to the Slough Trading Estate - its spiritual home - fills me with pride,' Jamie Anderson said. 'I cannot wait to see these new episodes being shot on Stirling Road, which was the site of the original studio building where the classic series was filmed.' La Riviere said that he hoped returning to the trading estate site, run by Segro, would 'inspire us in the same way it did the original production team.' A crowdfunding appeal set up to raise money for the project has so far raised more than one hundred and fifty thousand smackers, which La Riviere said was 'three quarters' of its target. A computer-animated remake, Thunderbirds Are Go, premiered on ITV in April. Fans and critics have, for the most part, reacted very positively to the new series. Including this blogger.
A Hindi-language TV channel has been fined twenty five grand for 'providing misleading medical advice' for treating cancer and hernias on a yoga show. Media watchdog Ofcom said that claims made on Yoga For You – broadcast on the Zee Network's Lamhe channel – by presenter Doctor Pankaj Naram could lead cancer sufferers to delay or forgo treatment. In particular it said the claim that Doctor Naram had 'seventy five thousand cancer patients' who had been told by hospitals that 'they won't live for three months' who were 'living normal lives fifteen years later' were 'especially dangerous.' Ofcom usually restricts fines to broadcasters that have breached its rules repeatedly, or when a breach is particularly serious. Asia TV, which held the licence for Lahme, did not have a history of breaches, but Ofcom said that the potential for harm was 'serious enough' to warrant the fine. The ruling said: 'Ofcom found that the claims made in the programme amounted to medical advice and as a result some viewers with serious medical conditions might not seek, forgo, or delay conventional medical treatment on the basis of what they had seen. Therefore, as a result, there was an appreciable risk of harm to viewers who actively followed the alternative treatments promoted in the programme.' The ruling also 'expressed concern' about Doctor Naram's recommendations of 'specific remedies', saying as there was no evidence that they were effective it represented an appreciable risk' of causing harm to viewers. Asia TV grovellingly apologised for the 'human error' that had led to the broadcast, saying it was 'aware' that the content was unacceptable and that the human who, ahem, 'erred' had been taken out the back and had his bollocks spanked with a wet plimsoll till he promised never to do it again. Probably. The company said it had 'removed' Doctor Naram's show – which is made in India – from its programming and 'held reviews and training programmes' for its staff. At the end of March it stopped broadcasting the channel entirely. Ofcom said the 'unusual step' of fining the channel 'made clear' the seriousness with which it takes the broadcast of medical advice from people who lack qualifications, particularly in regards to cancer. The last fine handed out by Ofcom was for one hundred thousand smackers to the Discovery Channel for 'repeatedly broadcasting unsuitable and violent material' on TV before the watershed during the school holidays in a show about female serial killers.

Helen Mirren was the, if you will, prime suspect in the latest four-letter blooper to afflict ITV's notorious breakfast TV flop Good Morning Britain, after she told viewers on Tuesday how it 'pissed with rain non-stop' when she went camping with Liam Neeson. Presenter Ben Shephard swiftly brought the anecdote to a halt, apologising to viewers during the interview with the Oscar winning actor who recently won her first TONY award for her stage role as The Queen in Peter Morgan's The Audience. 'We should apologise – we can't say things like that first thing in the morning,' smarmed Shephard. 'It's like one of those moments when you put your foot in your mouth. Apologies.' Mirren, instead of telling the odious oik to go fek himself and the horse he rode in on, meekly replied: 'I'm so sorry. It rained a lot.' When Mirren then asked, not unreasonably, why exactly, one cannot say the word 'pissed' pre-watershed, she was shut down instantly. 'Can we have that debate another time or we'll get fired?' replied Shephard's co-host, horrible Kate Garraway. Oh, if only wishing made that so. 'You might be The Queen but you can't say that.' Horrible Kate Garraway needn't have worried. This is, after all, Good Morning Britain, there were only seven people watching it. Or, more like six since it was a day that Susanna Reid wasn't on and, therefore, her mum probably had a lie-in.
An ex-Scotland Yard detective has made the extraordinary claim - with no obvious supporting evidence other than hearsay - that police 'covered up' a serial killer who stalked and murdered eighteen people on the London Underground. He apparently killed his victims in the 1970s by pushing them onto the tracks and former policeman Geoff Platt has alleged that police deliberately kept the case from the public so as not to cause widespread panic. Certainly just such a spate of alleged crimes was a widely-spoken of rumour among Londoners in the early 1980s when this blogger spent quite a bit of time in the capital doing stuff (but, importantly, not murdering any one, honest), with what this blogger always believed to be an urban myth of some cackling fiend pushing unwary members of the public in front of oncoming trains before slipping away into the darkness. To be fair, it should be noted that there was also a rumour around the same time that Elvis faked his own death and was alive and well and living in Swansea working as a baker. That one is, equally, unproved. Platt claimed that he listened to Kiernan Kelly confess to his grizzly crimes to police first hand after he was picked up in 1984 for being drunk and disorderly. Having brutally murdered his cellmate, William Boyd, Kelly allegedly told police about his violent rampages on the Tube system whilst being questioned. Platt told the Daily Lies: 'He was high – high on adrenaline, testosterone. Aroused. You could see it in his eyes. He was proud of that murder and when we went to speak to him he just confessed to killing eighteen other people.' Police went on to uncover a number of alleged suicides on the Northern Line which appeared to correlate with the details that Kelly gave them, Platt claimed. However, Platt said that Kelly was only jailed for two previous murders and that police deliberately kept the details of his alleged killing spree away from the public. He added: 'It was a cover up. Think about it, the police don't want it getting out – there would be mass panic. They didn’t want people knowing a serial killer got away with pushing innocent people on to the tracks – they'd be afraid it could happen again. The public would stop using the Underground which would put more traffic on the roads. It would be chaos.' The British Transport Police have asked Platt, who has written about the crimes in his book, The London Underground Serial Killer (snappy title), to provide whatever evidence he has to them. A spokesman said: 'We are aware of the claims included in this book but given the passage of time since they are alleged to have been committed these would prove difficult to substantiate without further evidence. We would invite Mr Platt to submit any information he has on these matters to us.'
Investigators say that a Virgin Galactic spaceship crash was caused by 'structural failure' after the co-pilot unlocked a braking system early. The National Transportation Safety Board says that resulting aerodynamic forces caused the brakes to be actually deployed, tearing apart the craft. The NTSB has been probing what caused the craft to break up over the Mojave Desert in a test flight ten months ago. The accident killed co-pilot Michael Alsbury and badly injured the pilot. The Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo space tourism craft was flying a manned test last October when it experienced what the company described at the time as 'a serious anomaly.' It had been undergoing a powered test flight over the desert North of yer actual Los Angeles. Virgin Group founder Sir Richard Branson said after the disaster that he was 'shocked and saddened' by the 'tragic loss'. NTSB chairman Christopher Hart said on Tuesday that he hoped the investigation would 'prevent a similar accident' recurring, adding that the safety board had learned 'with a high degree of certainty the events that resulted in the break-up. Many of the safety issues that we will hear about today arose not from the novelty of a space launch test flight, but from human factors that were already known elsewhere in transportation,' he added. Both pilots were employed by Scaled Composites, the company that designed the craft.
England completed a crushing and thoroughly satisfying eight-wicket victory over Australia inside three days in the third test to take a two-one Ashes series lead at a jubilant, rocking Edgbaston on Friday. For those viewers watching on Sky Sports 2 and rubbing their eyes at the point when the Pantomime Horse and the Ostrich were doing The Conga round the ground, no, it wasn't all a dream. Honestly. Ian Bell led the way with sixty five not out and Joe Root chipped in with abright unbeaten thirty eight as the hosts chased down one hundred and twenty one in just thirty two overs to win with ease on the afternoon of the third day. Australia's last three wickets had added a quick ninety seven runs as they were bowled out for two hundred and sixty five to leave England a low but testing target, with Steven Finn completing a test-best six for seventy nine. But the hosts overcame the early loss of captain Alastair Cook for seven to clinch a victory that moves them within one win of claiming back the Ashes they lost in Australia in 2013. England's three-day victory capped an incredible turnaround since their four hundred and five-run hammering in the second test at Lord's last week. And for Bell, half-centuries in both innings on his home ground were a fitting retort to those know-all planks who have been calling for him to dropped after a run of low scores. The Warwickshire batsman had cracked five boundaries from his first eight balls from Mitchell Starc when he offered his only chance. An edge off the left-arm bowler flew towards second slip where beleaguered Australia captain Michael Clarke - who doesn't seen capable of catching a bus at the moment - dropped what appeared to be a relatively routine catch. Starc had earlier bowled Cook with a fast, full away-swinger before Josh Hazlewood upped the pressure on out-of-form opener Adam Lyth by pinning him LBW for twelve. From fifty one for two, Root dispelled fears of a wobble by cutting his first ball for four and England hardly looked back thereafter. As the tea interval was delayed, Australia resorted to bowling wide outside off stump in an attempt to induce errors by preying on the English batsmen's impatience. But with a sell-out crowd of twenty four thousand happily singing ribald songs about Mitchell Johnson's erratic bowling and cheering every run, Bell and Root calmly closed in on their target. After Bell's single had levelled the scores and brought in the field, Root flicked the winning runs through a gap on the leg side. England's day had begun with the deflating news that James Anderson's side strain will rule him out of next week's fourth test at Trent Bridge and the home crowd's mood remained rather subdued as Peter Nevill and Starc lashed five boundaries in the first four overs of play. Nevill should have been out for fifty three, brilliantly caught down the leg side by Jos Buttler, but the appeal was turned down - wrongly - by the umpire Chris Gaffney (with help, presumably, from his guide dog) and England's lack of remaining reviews cost Stuart Broad what would have been his three hundredth test wicket. Indeed, for the first hour of play, just about every bit of luck that was going seemed to favour the Australians, Nevill almost dragging on from a Steven Finn delivery in the corridor or uncertainty, the ball beating the bat on numerous occasions and at least two thin edges falling short of the slip cordon. However, just as it seemed that England's initial frustration might have been turning to something more serious, Nevill's next swish at a leg-side delivery brought his downfall, as a thin edge was expertly taken by Buttler to give Finn, who enjoyed a fine match on his return to the side after a two-year absence, his sixth wicket in the innings. This time, the other umpire, the excellent Aleem Dar, raised his finger and, despite a DRS appeal, Nevill had to trudge off looking not unlike like a man who'd just shat in his own pants. The ninth wicket added another twenty eight runs as Starc, with some lusty cover drives, passed fifty for the fifth time in tests. But a superb diving slip catch by Root accounted for Josh Hazlewood and gave Ben Stokes his first wicket since the first innings of the Cardiff test. Nathan Lyon helped add another twenty for the final wicket before Starc chipped Moeen Ali to substitute fielder Josh Poysden - on in place of Anderson - at extra cover to bring roars of relief from England's supporters. From then on, the volume was rarely below maximum as the crowd cheered England to a glorious Ashes win and the Aussies, who were so boisterous and full of it after their win at Lord's were put, firmly, in their place. Which, let's face it, is always a good thing. The next test, in Nottingham, starts on Thursday.
So, here's a story you might have caught a whiff of this week, dear blog reader, especially as it stank so badly. A government minister who tripped over one of his children's toys and injured his own foot was, seemingly, 'too busy' to get treatment at the time and then, when the foot was still hurting some days later, attempted to besmirch the reputation of the NHS for political gain by telling some lies. He was supported in this endeavour by his louse friends in the scum right-wing media and, also, by his wife who told some more lies about what happened - and when - on social media. When these lies were, subsequently, exposed for what they were, lies, some - though by no means all - of the media 'apologised' for helping to spread these lies by hiding a 'clarification' away on the foot of, like, page ninety four, ensuring that the readership were, for the most part, still left with the impression that the NHS is rubbish. Which, it isn't or anything even remotely like it. This correction, published in the Daily Torygraph earlier this week really, simply can't be re-circulated enough. As another example of the Tory press and Tory cabinet ministers apparently colluding in an effort to undermine the NHS With lies.
Let's leave the final word on the subject of the rat-faced loathsome wretched odious nasty - and clumsy - slavver-merchant, George Formby lookalike and liar Gove and his wife - and, for good measure, the vile and odious rascal, bell-end and disgrace Hunt - to The Last Leg's Adam Hills. Take it away Adam. 'This is not proof that the NHS needs to be open seven days a week, this is proof that Michael Gove needs to go home, take a tablespoon of cement and harden-the-fuck-up!' Word, my brother.
A man has been found very guilty of trying to buy deadly ricin poison from The Dark Web after allegedly being inspired by the hit US television series Breaking Bad. Mohammed Ali - no relation - was extremely convicted at the Old Bailey of attempting to possess a chemical weapon after around five and a half hours of deliberations by a jury. Ali, from Liverpool, struck a deal with a supplier in January to buy five hundred milligrams of powder - enough to kill fourteen hundred people. Or, several fat blokes. He was unaware that his source was, in fact, an undercover FBI agent. The trial heard the father-of-two was sent a harmless powder, hidden inside a toy car. After opening the package, which had been treated with a marker substance, he was subsequently arrested at his home the following morning. Under ultraviolet light, Ali's face lit up, showing he had handled the powder. Ali, of Prescot Road, told jurors that he was simply 'curious' and wanted to 'test the boundaries' of The Dark Web, and was 'unaware that ricin was illegal.' Well, yeah, that sounds entirely feasible. He told the court: 'I was interested in The Dark Net and ricin. I just wanted to know what the fuss was about. I found lots of different items ranging from drugs, guns, other illegal items and, because I had been watching Breaking Bad, I just had ricin in my mind.' What a good job he wasn't watching Doctor Who instead otherwise he might have tried, and succeeded, in obtaining a Dalek death-ray. His defence team suggested that Bolton-born Ali wanted ricin for 'a peaceful purpose' and a psychologist told jurors that Ali exhibited signs of Asperger's syndrome. But, prosecutor Sally Howes QC said that Ali was 'a chancer' who had lied to police about having ricin when he was arrested in the hope that he would 'get away with it.' The court heard that Ali had made a 'to-do' list on his computer which included the entries 'paid ricin guy' and 'get pet to murder.' Presumably, one aspect of the 'peaceful purposes' for which he wanted the risin - which is, let's remember - really fucking dangerous. He had, also, made a series of Internet searches for chinchillas, animal rescue centres, rabbits and 'pocket-sized pets.' The prosecution noted that a five hundred milligram dose of ricin can kill between seven hundred and fourteen hundred people. Judge Mr Justice Saunders said: 'There is no evidence that he was planning any sort of terrorist attack. There is also no evidence that he had in mind any specific victims for ricin. I do not accept he was going to dispose of it. I'm satisfied it would have remained in his possession in some way and that is the basis on which I propose to sentence.' Ali had previously been involved in various illegal money-making scams which included stealing two hundred and fifty thousand knicker from PayPal 'through a loophole', the court was told. Sue Hemming, from the Crown Prosecution Service, said: 'Ricin is a naturally occurring poison which is fatal even in very small doses. Ali knew the dangers of ricin and had been researching poisons for months before he attempted to obtain it. Today shows yet again that even in the case of crimes committed in the darkest corners of the Internet, criminals can be caught and convicted.' Sentencing was adjourned until 18 September.

Yoko Bloody Ono was joined by Mister Bonio out of The U2 Group and Mister The Edge out of The U2 Group, as a giant tapestry was unveiled depicting Manhattan as a yellow submarine and alcoholic, wife-beating Scouse junkie John Lennon as the pilot displaying the peace sign (ironic, given his propensity for giving his first wife a good hard fisting on a regular basis). Why, no one knows. The artwork was commissioned by Art for Amnesty founder Bill Shipsey to thank Ono on behalf of human rights group Amnesty International. Ono said the tapestry, at the Ellis Island National Museum of Immigration, was 'so special' and that the late Be-Atle would have 'loved it.' This, dear blog reader, is what drugs do to you.
Morrissey has claimed he was 'sexually assaulted' by a security officer at San Francisco International Airport, who he says 'groped' him. Which, you might have thought would've cheered Mozza up no end but, seemingly, not. Writing on his True To You fan website, Mozza claimed that he had been going through security checks on his way to board a flight to London when the alleged incident happened. Airport officials have insisted that they were 'following normal procedure' although, by and large, this blogger - who's been through that airport quite a few times over the years - has never had his cock fondled by an official. Although, he would've gladly paid excess if he knew that was an option. Morrissey said he was accompanied at the time by two British Airways staff who assured him that 'a complaint was worthwhile. I went through the usual airport security procedure including the stand-up "scanner" and all was well - no bleeps and nothing unusual,' wrote Mozza. 'Before I could gather my belongings from the usual array of trays I was approached by an "airport security officer" who stopped me, crouched before me and groped my penis and testicles.' Morrissey added that the security officer in question had 'quickly moved away as an older airport security officer approached.' He said: 'Luckily, I was accompanied by two members of British Airways Special Services, who were horrified at the sexual attack and suggested that I lodge a complaint.' The singer - who has now filed a sexual assault complaint - also detailed an exchange with the security officer who, he said, was challenged over 'sexually groping' him. Morrissey said that the chap replied to each statement with 'that's just your opinion.' An official spokesman for the Transport Security Administration said that security camera footage confirmed 'nothing out of the ordinary' had occurred. 'TSA takes all allegations of misconduct seriously and strives to treat every passenger with dignity and respect,' said TSA spokesman Mike England. Not, presumably, the former Sottingtot Hotshots and Wales centre-half. Although, it was be astonishing bordering on miraculous if he were. 'Upon review of closed circuit TV footage, TSA determined that the supervised officer followed standard operating procedures in the screening of this individual.' He added that the arrival of a second person to screen Morrissey was normal, and helped 'to ensure the passenger does not have threat items, such as explosives concealed under clothing.' Quite why anyone with half-a-frigging-brain in their skull might feel that Morrissey, of all people, would be 'hiding explosives under his clothing', England chose not explain.

The Australian actress Maggie Kirkpatrick, who appeared in the 1980s soap Prisoner Cell Block H and, later, Home & Away, has been charged with a number of child sex offences. Kirkpatrick denies two counts of indecent assault and one count of gross indecency with a person under the age of sixteen. According to a report by Australia's Herald Sun, the alleged incidents took place in the 1980s and involved a thirteen-year-old girl. The actress told the Herald Sun that she will fight to clear her name. 'I need to go to court to have this ridiculous situation quashed,' she said. 'Allegations have been levelled at me, yes. Are they true? Absolutely not. The evidence is in the court. I don't think it's appropriate that I say any more.' Kirkpatrick, who will appear before Melbourne Magistrates Court on 19 August, is probably best known for playing the lesbian prison officer Joan 'The Freak' Ferguson in Prisoner Cell Block H. She appeared in a host of other Australian TV shows and, in 1991, played Marilyn's aunt Jean Chambers in Home & Away.

The actor and director Robin Phillips has died at the age of seventy three. Robin played Altos in five episodes of the 1964 Doctor Who story The Keys Of Marinus, accompanying The Doctor and his companions in their quest for the Conscience's keys. Robin was born in Haslemere, in 1942. He studied acting at the Bristol Old Vic and went on to appear in many well known TV series including Compact, It Happened Like This, The Forsyte Saga, The Avengers, Six Shades Of Black, No Hiding Place and The Saint. In 1969 he played the title role in a star-studded TV adaptation of Charles Dickens' David Copperfield. He also appeared in movies like Tales From The Crypt, Decline & Fall ... Of A Birdwatcher and Candidate For Murder. In 1975 he was hired as the artistic director of the Stratford Festival in Canada. He spent six seasons directing many productions featuring such actors as Maggie Smith, Richard Monette, Martha Henry and Brian Bedford, directing forty productions. Robin made Canada his home, becoming a Canadian citizen and developing a wide-ranging career in the country, including a period as artistic director at The Grand Theatre in London, Ontario and as director general of Edmonton's Citadel Theatre. Robin's directing credits included the TV movie Miss Julie starring a very young Helen Mirren, a London production of Long Day's Journey Into Night featuring Jessica Lange, the Broadway musical Jekyll & Hyde and a Canadian Opera Company performance of The Marriage Of Figaro. In 1983 he was given an honorary degree by the University of Western Ontario and was named an Officer of the Order of Canada in 2005. He was honoured with a Lifetime Achievement Award at The Governor General's Performing Arts Awards in 2010. Robin died peacefully at his Stratford home, after a prolonged illness. He is survived by his long-time partner, Joe Mandel.

The former BBC racing commentator Sir Peter O'Sullevan - dubbed the 'Voice of Racing' - has died at home in London after a long illness, aged ninety seven. An icon in the sport, he commentated on fifty Grand Nationals and around fourteen thousand races before retiring from broadcasting in 1997. Born in County Kerry in the Republic of Ireland, Peter was the BBC's main racing commentator for half-a-century. In 1997, he set up a charitable trust which has since raised huge amounts for animal and racing-related charities. Nigel Payne, chief executive of that charitable trust, said: 'Sir Peter died earlier this afternoon, very peacefully, at home. Sir Peter was one of the greatest men I've ever known. Only last week he was talking about what he wanted me to do for the trust in the future. He was still very alert. It's a sad day.' O'Sullevan was racing correspondent of the Daily Scum Express for thirty six years and later worked for the Press Association. Also a successful racehorse owner, he was recognised for his contribution to horse racing at the 2008 Cheltenham Festival, when the National Hunt Chase bore his name for that year. AP McCoy, twenty-times champion jump jockey, described O'Sullevan as 'an amazing man', adding: 'Sir Peter O'Sullevan, the epitome of class. The most distinguished and eloquent voice of racing.' McCoy's fellow jockeys, wee Willie Carson and Jimmy Lindley, both of whom worked with O'Sullevan for the BBC, also paid tribute. Carson said that Peter had 'a voice like velvet', while Lindley said 'no-one else could give you the same feeling watching a race.' Lindley added: 'He made it feel as if you were riding in it. You felt like you were on the horse yourself.' Barbara Slater, director of BBC Sport, said: 'Synonymous with the sport, his distinctive commentary graced many of racing's historic moments - from Red Rum's Grand National victories in 1973, 1974 and 1977 to Desert Orchid's extraordinary Gold Cup triumph. Peter was a legendary commentator and will be greatly missed.' BBC Sport's racing correspondent, Cornelius Lysaght, described O'Sullevan as 'a true great.' Lysaght told BBC Radio 5Live: 'The word is bandied around a lot but in the case of Sir Peter it cannot be used enough.' BBC Sport's Frank Keogh added: 'Meeting your heroes normally comes with a warning, but there was no need to worry with Sir Peter O'Sullevan. His honeyed tones were the rhythmic racing backdrop to my upbringing, the comforting BBC voice in the corner calling home thoroughbreds.'

And so to today's Keith Telly Topping's 45 of the Day. Which is an ode to joy from The Fall. Skill.