Thursday, June 02, 2016

Hellish Crimes

Good old mental-as-toast Michelle Gomez has announced that she will be back as Missy in series ten of Doctor Who. The Scottish actress revealed the news at MegaCon in Orlando over the weekend. Gomez made her debut as Missy, a female incarnation of The Master, in 2014 and reappeared in last series' opening two-part story, The Magician's Apprentice and The Witch's Familiar. Gomez was recently nominated for Best Supporting Actress in the 2016 British Academy Television Awards – the first ever BAFTA TV Supporting Actress nomination for Doctor Who.
Meanwhile, here's a picture of yer actual Keith Telly Topping's third favourite Doctor, yer actual Peter Davison his very self, 'celebrating' the news that his final Doctor Who story, The Caves Of Androzani (1984), has become an official Guinness World Record holder as the most popular Doctor Who story as decided by readers of the Doctor Who Magazine. At least, this blogger thinks that's what Peter is doing.
Now, in a story that certainly is not covered by no superinjunction ... Famous people that yer actual Keith Telly Topping has slept with: Number one, former Doctor Peter Davison.
And, here's a picture of some kittens. No particular reason, I just thought you'd like to seem them.
Yer actual Benedict Cumberbatch - looking somewhat slightly bearded - is seen here filming the latest scenes for Sherlock's series four along with the excellent Tom Brooke (Billy Wiggins).
Meanwhile, some very worthwhile charity news: The production team of Sherlock will be participating in The Blenheim Triathlon over the coming weekend, raising funds for Switchboard, which provides valuable support for members of the LGBT community. A terrific cause, clearly. Sue Vertue will be swimming seven hundred and fifty metres (which this blogger can tell you from personal experience, dear blog reader, is a hell of a lot harder than it sounds). The Lord Thy God Steven Moffat (OBE) will be doing the hardest stint, cycling 19.8 kilometres (and, even if yer actual Keith Telly Topping was at his fighting fittest and Gillian didn't have a puncture in her back tyre, this blogger would sturggle to manage even half of that). And, finally, Mark Gatiss his very self will be running five-and-a-half kilometres. Full details on the story behind the challenge can be found here. Do consider giving generously, dear blog reader.
Next ... The relaunch of BBC2's Top Gear was watched by an initial, live overnight average audience of 4.32 million viewers. New host Chris Evans had said earlier in the week that he would be 'disappointed' with anything fewer than five million viewers for the show's first episode - one presumes that he meant a final and consolidated audience figure, taking into account timeshifts and iPlayer viewers - something which the episode should easily achieve - rather than merely a headcount of those watching the programme live. The final Top Gear featuring former hosts Jezza Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May, attracted an overnight of 5.3 million viewers last June (mind you, with the publicity that one had in advance, the only surprise was that it wasn't watched by everyone on the planet). The new show was still the most watched programme in its 8pm slot, attracting twenty three per cent of the available audience share. Its nearest rivals were BBC1's Antiques Roadshow (3.78 million) and The British Soap Awards on ITV, which was watched by an average overnight of 3.61 million viewers. The first Top Gear episode featured,among other things, Chris Evans and Joey from Friends driving Reliant three-wheelers from London to Blackpool. Viewing peaked just before the show ended, with 4.7 million. It was the second most watched programme of the day on any channel (after BBC1's Countryfile which was watched by 4.39 million), with a figure well up on the majority of BBC2 shows. And, it actually achieved a larger audience share than the launch of the last Clarkson, May and Hammond series in 2015. Evans opened the show saying: 'Welcome to Top Gear with our all-new, improved audience.' He later made a small humorous reference to the circumstances of his predecessor's departure: 'We don't make jokes about catering on this show any more.' Another joke had Evans bragging that the new show had 'won custody' of The Stig in the divorce settlement. The revamp featured many of the same elements that the show has become best known for - far more than this blogger expected, frankly (see below) - including a profile of a supercar and a head-to-head challenge between the two main presenters. Reviews by TV critics were mixed, with many - seemingly having made up their mind beforehand to hate it on general principle - saying the format had changed little since the last series, while some felt it was enjoyable and just needed some time to bed in. Whilst several newspapers - mostly the ones with a specific anti-BBC agenda to push - have been happily playing 'let's quote as many of the couple-of-dozen malcontent whingers on Twitter who didn't like it as possible.' Because, as we all know, Twitter is The Sole Arbiter Of The Worth Of All Things. The reviewer of the newspaper which, more than any other, seems to think the views are twenty people on Twitter are, actually, anything but background noise, the Gruniad Morning Star - always a well-noted supporter of the show during Clarkson's tenure ... I don't think - Sam Wollaston said: 'It's not a disaster. It's polished, the stunts (so many of them!) are fun, the tweaks are improvements. But it is a shame there wasn't more in the way of refreshing the show itself. It's just new people doing same old same old. The rest of the new cast we haven't seen enough - or any - of yet. Matt LeBlanc should carry on being Matt LeBlanc, he's quite good at it. Chris Evans needs to relax and stop trying to be Jeremy Clarkson. Both are very eager to show off their car nerd credentials, presumably to fend off some of the mob vitriol.' Which, to be fair to Wollaston, is actually a pretty accurate summation. The Daily Torygraph's Gerard O'Donovan said: 'Indoors, the studio sequences were lively, if also slavish to the old style. There was no sign of the reported lack of chemistry between Evans and LeBlanc, and while the former worked the crowd like the polished media pro he is, the Friends star added some much-needed sardonic grunt, instantly justifying his choice as co-host. It's a partnership that should improve with time.' Quentin Letts in the good-old BBC-hatin' Daily Scum Mail sneered: 'There was some swearing but it did not compensate for the absence of political correctness which always made Top Gear such salty fun. LeBlanc did a decent one-man film testing the Nomad off-roader in the North African desert. I kept thinking what a good guest he would have made for Jeremy, Richard and James in the old show. But his camaraderie with Evans felt forced. "That was a lot of fun," growled LeBlanc as [the] episode ended. It was reasonably entertaining but it has lost its spark of genius. It all felt a little middle-lane and underwhelming, really.' The Daily Mirra's Ian Hyland appeared to rather enjoy it, although one does wonder if that was more to do with the episode giving Hyland and his paper - which, of course, never hacked any phones, oh no, very hot water - the chance to give nice comfortable leftie hate-figure Clarkson another kicking: 'If this opening episode was anything to go by, lowly TV producers should probably give Jeremy Clarkson a wide berth for the next few days. He might not be in a punching mood but he will surely be feeling a little more grizzly than usual. Of course he will have enjoyed his loyal fans coming to his rescue and giving Evans an absolute pasting on social media, but Clarkson has been around the track enough times to know that even though this reboot seemed a little over eager at times, it was anything but a disaster. If the BBC's plan was to bring Top Gear out of the caves and into the modern world - while still retaining the original spirit of the show - even the most fervent Evans-hater would have to admit it burned rubber more times than it crashed and burned.' Meanwhile, some odious, sneering fek of no importance who used to be someone at ITV attempted to stir up more shit in - a seemingly willing to help - Gruniad Morning Star by suggesting that Evans risks 'becoming the Moyes to Clarkson's Ferguson.' As if that, or anything else to do with the BBC, is anything to do with him. Christ, dear blog reader, some people are just scum. Personally, this blogger thought it was okay. Nothing remarkable, certainly not up to the heights that the Jezza Clarkson-fronted show would occasionally hit, but, nevertheless, watchable and quite entertaining in its own way. Which is all you want from Sunday night telly, really. That said, it wasn't anywhere near as different as this blogger - and, indeed, I suspect, many other viewers - probably thought it was going to be and, therein my lie some problems for the format in the long run as, it's inevitably going to be compared - unfavourably, obviously - with the previous version. They even kept the 'some say' introductions for The Stig which this blogger thought would be the first thing to go. But ... I'm okay with Evans normally, he is a terrific presenter of live TV although, I thought on the first episode he did come over as a bit over-ramped, hyperactive and, frankly, needy. He'll need to tone that down a bit in future episodes. But, it's very early days yet. And, Joey from Friends was great in it! I mean, he made the episode.
This week also saw the return of Springwatch. And, if you missed it, and you're of a sensitive disposition, be thankful you did. Firstly Chris Packham told Michaele Strachan that she has 'great tits' and then, later, she informed viewers that she likes to 'scratch my own badger.' Filth, dear blgo reader. Absolute ruddy filth. Mind you, yer man Packham - always a From The North favourite - was on top form throughout, even getting in a reference to BBC2's other big returnee of the week: 'If you were watching Top Gear last night, you’d know that started with a Dodge Viper,' he said, presenting from an RSPB site in Minsmere, Suffolk. 'Pretty impressive, smart car, very fast. Well, I've got to tell you Chris Evans and Matt LeBlanc, I'm going to raise you a stone-curlew live on our acid grassland. You can keep your Dodge Viper. Look at the eye of that bird!'
Here's the final and consolidated ratings figures for the Top Twenty Four programmes, week-ending Sunday 22 May 2016:-
1 Britain's Got Toilets - Sun ITV - 9.92m
2 Coronation Street - Sun ITV - 7.99m
3 EastEnders - Tues BBC1 - 7.83m
4 Match Of The Day Live: The FA Cup Final - Sat BBC1 - 6.49m
5 Marcella - Mon ITV - 6.21m
6 Countryfile - Sun BBC1 - 5.83m
7 Emmerdale - Wed ITV - 5.23m*
8 Casualty - Sat BBC1 - 5.16m
9 Antiques Roadshow - Sun BBC1 - 4.89m
10 Have I Got News For You - Fri BBC1 - 4.83m
11 Six O'Clock News - Thurs BBC1 - 4.76m
12 Wallander - Sun BBC1 - 4.70m
12 The Secret - Fri ITV - 4.63m*
13 BBC News - Sun BBC1 - 4.52m
14 Ten O'Clock News - Thurs BBC1 - 4.50m
15 Michael McIntyre's Big Show - Sat BBC1 - 4.26m
16 Holby City - Tues BBC1- 4.15m
17 Peter Kay's Extremely Unfunny Comedy Shuffle - Mon BBC1 - 4.08m
18 In The Club - Tues BBC1 - 4.04
19 Gogglebox - Fri C4 - 3.82m
20 The Graham Norton Show - Fri BBC1 - 3.76m
21 Bake Off: Crème De La Crème - Tues BBC2 - 3.60m
22 ITV News - Sun ITV - 3.53m
23 The ONE Show - Thurs BBC1 - 3.51m
24 The Truth About Dementia - Thurs BBC1 - 3.46m
These consolidated figures include all viewers who watched the programmes live and on catch-up during the seven days after broadcast, but does not include those who watched on BBC's iPlayer or ITV Player via their computers. On BBC2, apart from Bake Off: Crème De La Crème, the next most-watched programme was The Great British Sewing Bee with 3.28 million punters. Gardeners' World was watched by 2.35 million and the latest episode of Peaky Blinders attracted 2.20 million, followed by Choose The Right Puppy For You (2.04 million), Rick Stein's Long Weekend (1.94 million), Mum (1.44m), Dad's Army (1.41m), the genuinely wretched Upstart Crow (1.35m), Mary Beard's Ultimate Rome (1.35m), World Cup 1966: Alife's Boys (1.27m) and Natural World: Nature's Perfect Partners and Horizon (both 1.20m).The latest Qi repeat drew 1.12 million. Aside from Googlebox, The Supervet was Channel Four's second highest-rated broadcast of the week (2.03 million), followed by Twenty Four Hours In Police Custody (2.00m), Kirstie & Phil's Love It Or List It (1.67m), Twenty Four Hours In A&E (1.56m) and The Windsors (1.5 million). Channel Five's top performer was Can't Pay? We'll Take It Away! with 1.66 million. The Yorkshire Vet had 1.32m and Nightmare Tenants, Slum Landlords drew 1.12 million. The latest episode of Gotham attracted 1.07m and NCIS had 1.05m. Sky Sports 1's most-watched programme was Live Ford Football Special with The Scum's rearranged game against Bournemouth watched by seven hundred and six thousand viewers. FL72 and Hull's match with Derby County attracted four hundred and fifty eight thousand viewers to Sky Sports 2, whilst Live Test Cricket coverage of England handing out a Sri Lankan spankin' in the first test at Headingley drew two hundred and eighty two thousand. Sky Sports Tonight was Sky Sports News's highest-rated broadcast with one hundred and thirty seven thousand. On Sky Sports F1, Spanish Grand Prix Review had an audience of twenty one thousand. Foyle's War was ITV3's top-rated drama (five hundred and twenty one thousand). Lewis was seen by four hundred and seventy six thousand and Doc Martin four hundred and forty seven thousand. Pawn Stars headed ITV4's weekly top ten with two hundred and forty three thousand. Disgraceful steaming pile of worthless shat, Celebrity Juice was, again, ITV2's most-watched programme with 1.29 million viewers. This blogger resigned from the human race in protest but I don't think it did much good. Another absolute turd of a programme, wretched, unfunny alleged comedy Plebs, had 1.10 million whilst Britain's Got More Toilets drew seven hundred and eighty two thousand. ITV2, ladies and gentlemen, the channel that does all your thinking for you so you don't need to bother. With the colossal drama flop Houdini & Doyle now having, mercifully, finished, The Americans headed ITV Encore's top ten with ninety eight thousand viewers. For context, that was thirty one thousand more viewers than watched the final episode of Houdini & Doyle the week before. BBC4's David Attenborough's Zoo Quest In Colour had an audience of seven hundred and seventy five thousand in a top-ten list which also included Dan Cruickshank: At Home With The British (seven hundred and ten thousand), The Silk Road (six hundred and forty five thousand) and Hinterland (six hundred and thirty one thousand). A broadcast of the movie Billy Elliot attracted four hundred and ninety three thousand and the opening episode of the moderately amusing Jo Brand vehicle Going Forward drew four hundred and sixty seven thousand. Sky1's weekly top-ten was headed by worthless pile a revolting, brain-scum phlegm A League Of Their Own Roadtrip (1.24 million, every single one of whom need to have a jolly good look at themselves in the mirror, frankly), The Flash (nine hundred and twenty thousand) and Modern Family (eight hundred and twenty seven thousand), followed by Hawaii Five-0 (seven hundred and ninety thousand) and Arrow (seven hundred and sixty five thousand). Sky Atlantic's list was topped, of course, by the latest Game Of Thrones (2.33 million, the second highest-rated multichannel audience of the week). The Monday repeat of the popular fantasy drama's previous episode had 1.21 million. Penny Dreadful was seen by five hundred and thirty one thousand, Thornecast, by four hundred and twenty one thousand and Blue Bloods by three hundred and forty six thousand. Banshee drew three hundred and thirty nine thousand, Billions three hundred and sixteen thousand and The Tunnel three hundred and fifteen thousand. On Sky Living, Criminal Minds drew seven hundred and fifty five thousand, Elementary had six hundred and eighty seven thousand, Blindspot, six hundred and seventy six thousand and The Blacklist, six hundred and seventy three thousand. Sky Arts' broadcast of Fleetwood Mac: Live in Boston had an audience of ninety four thousand hippies. 5USA's The Mysteries Of Laura was watched by five hundred and fifty five thousand viewers. Law & Order was seen by three hundred and fifteen thousand and NCIS drew three hundred and two thousand. NCIS also topped the weekly top tens of FOX - the latest episode of series thirteen attracting nine hundred and sixty six thousand punters and featured in the CBS Action list (ninety three thousand), Universal Channel's list (ninety two thousand) as well as Channel Five's. Aside, from NCIS, FOX's list also included American Dad! (two hundred and four thousand), 11.22.63 (one hundred and ninety three thousand) and Jack Irish: Blind Faith (one hundred and one thousand). On CBS Action, Bad Girls was seen by one hundred and nine thousand. The Universal Channel's top ten was headed by Law & Order: Special Victims Unit (two hundred and twenty four thousand), Chicago Med (two hundred and sixteen thousand) and Bates Motel (one hundred and five thousand). On Dave, Live Boxing: David Haye Versus Arnold Gjergjaj was the highest-rated broadcast with 1.07 million punters. That was followed by Room 101 (three hundred and ninety thousand), Have I Got A Bit More News For You (three hundred and twenty five thousand), Qi XL (three hundred and fifteen thousand) and Would I Lie To You? (two hundred and fifty four thousand). Drama's Inspector George Gently was watched by five hundred and seventy two thousand viewers. New Tricks had four hundred and thirty seven thousand. Alibi's highest-rated programme was Castle (three hundred and seventy two thousand), followed by Quantico (three hundred and twelve thousand), Murdoch Mysteries (two hundred and forty nine thousand) and Death In Paradise (one hundred and eighty seven thousand). The latest episode of Yesterday's repeat run of Open All Hours was watched by two hundred and sixty four thousand. On the Discovery Channel, the new series of Wheeler Dealers - the popular car restoration programme's thirteenth - continued with three hundred and twenty nine thousand punters. Gold Divers had an audience of one hundred and twenty seven thousand and Deadliest Catch had one hundred and twenty five thousand viewers. Discovery History's Air Wars topped the weekly-list with twenty one thousand viewers. The Falklands War and Tony Robinson's Victory In Europe both had sixteen thousand. On Discovery Science, Food Factory USA attracted thirty two thousand viewers. Discovery Turbo's most-watched programmes was another - older - episode of Wheeler Dealers (thirty two thousand). National Geographic's top ten was headed by Car SOS which had one hundred and forty seven thousand viewers. On The History Channel, Black Sails attracted ninety nine thousand. WWII Secret Army on Military History had thirty six thousand. Disappeared, Copycat Killer and Britain's Deadliest Women were ID's top-rated programmes of the week (forty one thousand, thirty eight thousand and thirty seven thousand viewers respectively). The Jail: Sixty Days In headed CI's list (seventy three thousand). The latest episode of GOLD's repeat run of Mrs Brown's Boys attracted two hundred and five thousand. Comedy Central's largest audience of the week was for The Middle (two hundred and seventy four thousand). Your TV's Unusual Suspects had seventy four thousand viewers. On More4, The Good Wife was viewed by seven hundred and thirty three thousand whilst E4's latest episode of The Big Bang Theory drew 2.40 million punters (fractionally higher than Game Of Thrones as the largest multichannels audience of the week). The Horror Channel's broadcast of The Mist attracted one hundred and forty six thousand viewers. Curse Of The Crimson Alter was seen by eighty six thousand. Bitten headed Syfy's top ten with eighty nine thousand. A broadcast of Kill Bill Volume Two was watched by seventy thousand. The Blue Planet had thirty six thousand on Eden. Tanked was the Animal Planet's most watched programme with one hundred and eleven thousand. On W, Grimm was seen by four hundred and fourteen thousand and Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders by three hundred and thirty eight thousand. Little Couple was TLC's most-watched programme (ninety seven thousand).

This blog isn't all that bothered with overnight ratings figures these days - as opposed to final and consolidated ratings, obviously - unless there is a specific story to go with them like, for example, the Top Gear story above. Overnights, to an extent are already and, certainly in the coming years are going to become, increasingly meaningless as the viewing habits of audiences used to the concept of timeshifting via TiVo and video-on-demand changes. However, we'll make one exception to this to note, with total delight, the risible overnight figure that Single Mums On Benefit, the latest worthless dribblings of that awful, wretched, annoying Klass woman brought in for ITV on Tuesday of this week. A mere 1.38 million punters watched the programme which was, deliciously, beaten in its time slot not only by BBC1's latest episode of the drama In The Club (3.27 million) but, also, by BBC2's Britain & Europe: For Richer Or Poorer? (2.06 million). It really does somewhat restore ones faith in the general public to know that the awful, wretched, annoying Klass woman, apparently, isn't anywhere near as popular as she seems to think she is. Needless to say, this blog will most definitely be reporting when the final and consolidated ratings for Mylene Klass: Single Mums On Benefit are released next week. For a reet good laugh, if nothing else. It's a public service that we at From The North very much enjoy providing.

Still revelling in the critical hit Orphan Black, BBC America seems to be beefing up its slate of SF drama. The network's remake of Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency will appear later this year and, soon, it will have some company. Variety reports that BBC America is developing a remake of Quatermass, which follows the titular professor and his daughter investigating an alien invasion. The adaptation will be written by Jeremy Dyson. The original serial was broadcast in 1979 starring John Mills, although it wasn't much of a hit at the time. It was based on a series of earlier (far more successful) BBC serials from the 1950s. Writer Adam Barken is also working with Orphan Black producer Temple Street Produtions to develop the new series, Memoria, which follows a 'man who begins to unravel after his memories conflict with those recalled by technology.' Created by the legendary writer Nigel Kneale, Professor Bernard Quatermass first appearing in the BBC's groundbreaking 1953 serial The Quatermass Experiment, with the character having gone on to feature in numerous TV and film projects in the years since. The last Quatermass outing was in 2005, with Jason Flemyng playing the Professor for a live BBC4 staging of The Quatermass Experiment, which also starred David Tennant and Mark Gatiss. Along with the new Quatermass, BBC America has also ordered Trip - a new series based on the classic Chinese text Journey To The West, which was previously adapted as the classic 1970s series Monkey.
Game Of Thrones director Jack Bender has fuelled rumours that the popular series will be ending with two more - shortened - series. Bender, while discussing a possible return to Game Of Thrones stated that only seven episodes were being planned for next year. Bender - who made his Game Of Thrones directorial debut this series - told Vanity Fair: 'They're only doing seven [episodes] and they've got their regulars who have done it forever.'
Outlander will reportedly be time travelling for at least two more series on Starz. The premium channel ordered a third and fourth batch of episodes of the series on Wednesday. The series will be based on creator Diana Gabaldon's novels Voyager and Drums Of Autumn respectively. Starz executive Chris Albrecht announced Outlander's renewal hailing it 'as like nothing seen before on television.' Which, given that the series - good as it is - was originally based, by Gabaldon's own admission, on Doctor Who - specifically, the 1969 ten-part serial The War Games - is probably stretching things a bit.
Hermione Norris has 'slated' - that's scum-tabloidese for 'criticised' only with less syllables - women 'being sexually demeaned' on TV as 'not a good thing.' She also revealed that, apparently, the Pope is catholic and bears do shit in the woods. 'The overt sexualisation of women on TV is an issue for me. I find that really hateful,' she told Radio Times. The actress - a particular favourite of this blogger via wonderful performances in Wire In The Blood and [spooks] - added: 'If you do show that on screen, then at least give a nod to it being really inappropriate and cruel; that it is not humane.' Hermione is to appear in the ITV's Cold Feet reunion series later this year. The actress described herself as 'a feminist,' saying there was 'still progress' to be made in the depiction of women on TV, but that it was not an issue you could protect children from. 'Although we've moved forward in some areas, I think we've regressed in a lot of others,' she said. Speaking about her son and daughter, she added: 'I think you can help educate them to deal with it, so I just keep talking to both my children.' She also revealed that she did not initially think the Cold Feet reunion was a good idea - something this blogger entirely agrees with since I could never stand the damn thing in the first place - and, when she was asked if she 'liked' the prospect of going back to the show, she said; 'I didn't, to be honest. It was really good, of its time, and I didn't want to undo anything positive that we had created back then. But, I was persuaded it would be interesting to see how they have been dealing with things.' Plus, the money, obviously. ITV's hugely - bafflingly - successful comedy drama, which was originally broadcast from 1997 to 2003, followed the ups and downs of three, really very smug indeed, thirtysomething couples.
Bear Grylls may know how to survive in the world's harshest climates but one of his most recent shows has become a casualty of the cut-throat media jungle. ITV has very cancelled Bear Grylls: Mission Survive after two series, citing an ongoing 'refreshment' of the channel's entertainment portfolio. And, the fact that it was shit and no one was watching it - which is he usual reason TV shows which get cancelled get cancelled. 'We had two exciting series of Mission Survive but the commissioning team continues to refresh the channel's entertainment portfolio and so we have taken the decision not to commission a further series,' lied an ITV spokeswoman. The second series of the show, in which z-list celebrities compete against each other on a gruelling expedition in Southern Africa, included former footballer Stuart Pearce, former actor Neil Morrissey and female footballer Alex Scott (no, me neither). ITV said that it is 'in talks' on new projects with Grylls - hopefully, projects that people will actually watch - as well as having recently commissioned a second series of Bear Grylls Survival School for CITV. 'We would like to thank Bear and the production team for everything that they achieved with the series,' said an ITV spokeswoman. 'We have a number of projects with Bear in the pipeline and we will be announcing more details in due course.'
And now, dear blog reader, the first in a new, semi-regular, From The North series: Classic British Sports Cars That Look So Cool They Give You The Horn. Number one: The E-Type Jaguar, in Chelsea Blue.
Dunno 'bout you, dear blog reader, but this blogger is nursing a semi. Next ...

Kate Beckinsale has given her blessing to the BBC bringing back Porridge. The classic 1970s sitcom starred her late father, Richard Beckinsale, alongside Ronnie Barker. Porridge will return for a 'special' (and, one uses that word entirely wrongly), albeit one written by its creators, the great Dick Clement and Ian La Frenais. Set forty years after the events of the original series, Kevin Bishop will play Norman Fletcher's grandson, Nigel, who is behind bars for a series of cyber crimes. Beckinsale said in an interview for Radio 5Live's Afternoon Edition: 'I don't think that's such a terrible idea.' Can this blogger just note, at this juncture,that he does, Kate. You should trust yer actual Keith telly Topping on this score, he's a very highly regarded TV commentator. Anyway ... 'I think that's quite nice really,' she continued. 'When it's beloved characters and a beloved project, it's quite nice to have an imaginary, "what is their grandson doing?"' But Beckinsale, whose new film is Love & Friendship - a romantic comedy based on Jane Austen's novel Lady Susan - has no desire to make a cameo in her father's old show. 'In Porridge? You've got to be joking. It's a boy's prison. I'm not that versatile. Tea lady?' Her father, of course, died from heart failure at the tragically young age of thirty one in 1979. He appeared in all three series of Porridge between 1974 and 1977, along with its sequel, Going Straight and had finished making the film version of Porridge just a few weeks before his death. Kate, who starred in 2012's reboot of Total Recall does not believe that remakes are, generally, a good idea. Well, Total Recall certainly wasn't. 'I think it's a shame sometimes when they take something that is almost perfect or perfect and then remake it. That's a silly idea. They should remake things that aren't very good and have another go at it.' How this applies to Porridge, she didn't say. The new episode of Porridge will be broadcast this summer as part of a landmark sitcom season to celebrate the sixtieth anniversary of the start of Hancock's Half Hour on BBC TV. It will include contemporary follow-ups to Are You Being Served?, Keeping Up Appearances and Up Pompeii! while lost episodes of Steptoe & Son, Till Death Do Us Part and Hancock's Half Hour will be remade from their original scripts for BBC4.
The new series of crime drama Endeavour will contain 'many respectful tips of the trilby' to mark the thirty years since its central character's TV debut. The fourth season of the show, which follows the early career of Endeavour Morse, will include 'guest casting' and 'heritage characters,' ITV said. Created by Colin Dexter, the much-loved Inspector Morse series debuted in 1987. James Lawrenson, who appeared in that show's first episode, will be among the cast for the new series of Endeavour. Set in the summer of 1967, the series will see Morse, played by Shaun Evans, and the rest of 'Oxford's finest picking up the pieces of their lives, both personal and professional,' the spokesman said. Roger Allam, Anton Lesser, Sean Rigby, James Bradshaw, Caroline O'Neil, Dakota Blue Richards and Abigail Thaw will all reprise their regular roles. The series will once again be written by Russell Lewis, who also wrote for Inspector Morse. Endeavour is the second series to have spun-off from the original show, having been preceded by Lewis, which centred around Inspector Morse's faithful sergeant, played by Kevin Whately. Lewis ended in 2015 after nine series.

Bitter old whinging Red Jeremy Corbyn has whinged like a whinging whingers that the BBC is 'obsessed' with damaging his leadership according to his good Middle Class hippy Communist friends at the Gruniad Morning Star. Oh, boo-hoo why is everyone being so mean to me? Grow up Jezza, fer Christ'as sake. Even if this allegation were true - which it isn't by the way - frankly, Corbyn needs very little help in damaging his leadership since he appears to be doing a jolly bang-up job of that all on his own. A tip, mate, which you can chose to ignore if you like - it's still a free country, after all, with a free media who are allowed to have opinions contrary to The Politburo. Nobody - ever - votes for a whinging whinger regardless of whether their policies are any good or not; as it stands you sound like a bloke who's still whining to the referee that an opposing player was offside two minutes after the goal has been given. If you want to be Prime Minister, you might want to consider acting like one.

And, speaking of morons, the film director John Carney has apologised for comments he made about Keira Knightley. Earlier this week, Carney said that he would 'never make a film with supermodels again' after working with Knightly on Begin Again. But, he has since posted a grovelling apology on his Twitter account for what he described as 'petty, mean and hurtful comments.' The director said that he felt like 'a complete idiot.' His apology was posted days after a controversial interview with the Independent, in which he said his new film, Sing Street, was 'a small personal movie with no Keira Knightleys in it.' What is it about people in the film and TV industries? Do they think that by dissing the hard work of others, that will make people actually want to watch their work? Cos, I've got to level with you, mate, that sort of thing normally has exactly the reverse effect on this blogger and, he suspects, plenty of other people as well. 'Keira's thing is to hide who you are and I don't think you can be an actor and do that,' he said. 'Being a film actor requires a certain level of honesty and self-analysis that I don't think she's ready for yet.' Millons of moviegoers would, seemingly, beg to differ with you, bro. In the wake of his - crass and ignorant - comments, a number of other film-makers who have worked with the divine Keira had tweeted their support for her and criticised Carney for being, you know, an up-his-own-arse glake. Writing on Twitter on Wednesday evening, Carney said that he was 'ashamed' for what he said and had written to Knightley personally, to apologise. 'In trying to pick holes in my own work, I ended up blaming someone else. That's not only bad directing, that's shoddy behaviour that I am not in any way proud of. It's arrogant and disrespectful,' he said. 'Keira was nothing but professional and dedicated during that film and she contributed hugely to its success. I wanted to publicly, and unreservedly, apologise to her fans and friends and anyone else who I have offended. It's not something that I could ever justify, and will never repeat.'
Germany's highest court has ruled in favour of a hip-hop artist who used a two-second sample of music from the pioneering electro-pop band Kraftwerk. Kraftwerk's Ralf Hutter extremely sued Moses Pelham, alleging that his use of the sample, without even bothering to ask, infringed the band's intellectual property rights. But the German Constitutional Court decided that the impact on Kraftwerk did not outweigh 'artistic freedom.' The sample came from the cult band's 1977 song 'Metal On Metal' (from The Man Machine). The dispute centres on a short drum sequence looped repeatedly in the song 'Nur Mir' by Sabrina Setlur. All of which, this blogger has to confess, is a bit of a surprise considering that Kraftwerk are, by a distance, the most sampled band in the history of music. We must presume, therefore, that Afrika Bambaataa, et al, actually had the courtesy to ask when they used that loop from 'Trans Europe Express' on, you know, everything. In 2012 Germany's Federal Court of Justice (Bundesgerichtshof) ruled that Setlur's song should no longer be promoted, agreeing with Hutter that it amounted to copyright infringement. Now, the constitutional court in Karlsruhe has sent the case back to the federal court, saying it must reassess the case. The higher court believes that blocking Pelham's sample would 'practically exclude the creation of pieces of music in a particular style.' In November, Hutter had told the Karlsruhe court that it was 'incumbent' on Pelham, as a fellow musician, to at least ask permission before using a sample. Before Tuesday's ruling the German Federal Union of the Music Industry warned that an attitude of 'artistic freedom trumps everything' could have 'far-reaching consequences.' The union's director Florian Druecke said such a position 'would be grist to the mill for those who claim that everything should be allowed on the Internet.' German media say that Pelham got support from the singer Sarah Connor, rapper Bushido and reggae musician Gentleman. Whoever they are.

The Rolling Stones guitarist Rockin' Ronnie Wood has become a father again at the age of sixty eight. His wife Sally, who is thirty years his junior, gave birth to twin girls late on Monday evening, Wood's publicist confirmed. A statement said: 'Ronnie and Sally Wood are delighted to announce the birth of their twins Gracie Jane (six pounds) and Alice Rose (5.7lb). 'The girls arrived on 30 May at 22:30 and all are doing brilliantly.' The twins are Wood's fifth and sixth children, but the first for him and his wife, who is a theatre producer. Ronnie has four children already - Jesse Wood with his first wife, the former model Krissy Wood, daughter Leah and son Tyrone from his second marriage to Jo, and Jamie - Jo's son from a previous marriage whom Wood adopted.
Roman tablets discovered during an excavation in London include the oldest hand-written document ever found in Britain, archaeologists have revealed. The Museum of London Archaeology said that it had deciphered a document, from 8 January AD57, found at the dig at Bloomberg's new headquarters. The first ever reference to London, financial documents and evidence of schooling have also been translated. Over seven hundred artefacts from the dig will go on display when the building opens. According to MOLA, the tablets reveal the first years of the capital 'in the words of the people who lived, worked, traded with and administered the new city.' Director Sophie Jackson said that the findings had 'far exceeded all expectations' and would allow archaeologists 'to get closer to the first Roman Britons.' Researchers believe this tablet, is the earliest ever reference to London predating Tacitus' mention of Londonium in his Annals which were written about fifty years later. Dated circa AD65 to 80, it reads 'Londinio Mogontio' which translates to 'In London, to Mogontius.' This tablet was found in a layer dated by MOLA to cira AD43 to 53 so is thought to have been from the Romans' first decade of rule in Britain. In translation it reads '... because they are boasting through the whole market that you have loaned them money. Therefore I ask you in your own interest not to appear shabby... you will not thus favour your own affairs ...' The letters on this tablet also show part of the alphabet. Archaeologists believe it is writing practice, or a demonstration of literacy or letterforms, and possibly the first evidence of Roman schooling found in Britain. This tablet reads: 'In the consulship of Nero Claudius Caesar Augustus Germanicus for the second time and of Lucius Calpurnius Piso, on the Sixth day before the Ides of January [8 January AD57]. I, Tibullus the freedman of Venustus, have written and say that I owe Gratus the freedman of Spurius one hundred and five denarii from the price of the merchandise which has been sold and delivered. This money I am due to repay him or the person whom the matter will concern ...' According to MOLA, it is the earliest intrinsically-dated document ever found in the UK. The documents were written on wooden tablets which would have been covered in blackened beeswax. Although the wax has not survived, the words were etched into the wood below using styluses. The area is around the buried Walbrook River and objects were trapped in soaking mud which helped to preserve the wood. Once excavated, the tablets were kept in water, then cleaned and freeze-dried. Doctor Roger Tomlin, who translated the documents said it had been 'a privilege to eavesdrop' on the people of Roman London. The London Mithraeum exhibition will open at the site in autumn 2017.

The Slovakian former model who was found extremely guilty of murdering her British ex-boyfriend last week in Spain has been sentenced. A Malaga court has sentenced Mayka Kukucova, twenty six, to fifteen-and-a-half years porridge in The Big House. The term includes six months for breaking into her ex-lover’s villa in Estepona, where he was found very dead and lying in a pool of blood. And fifteen years for, you know, doing him in. Last Friday saw a jury find the former swimwear model very guilty of murderising British jeweller Andrew Bush on 5 April 2014. The prosecution claimed that Kukucova shot Bush once in the shoulder and twice in the head 'in a jealous rage' after he arrived home with his new Russian girlfriend. Kukucova had insisted that she was innocent, claiming the gun went off accidentally after he confronted her and they became 'locked in a struggle.' She has also been ordered to pay two hundred thousand Euros to Bush's daughter and sister, as well as covering the court's costs. Although, quite how she is expected to pay that whilst doing such serious stir - where, presumably, her earning opportunities would appear to be somewhat limited - the count did not say.

A Los Angeles jury has extremely convicted Michael Jace of second-degree murder in the fatal shooting of his wife, April, in May 2014. Jace, who is best known for playing the police officer Julien Lowe on the superb 2002 to 2008 crime series The Shield, a particular favourite of this blogger, told detectives that he did not mean to kill his wife. Subsequently, it was revealed on 26 May that the actor claimed he only meant to wound April, not murder her. Oh, so that's all right, then. However, evidence showed that Jace shot his wife three times, and a jury of six men and six women deemed his attack to be second-degree murder. Jace's lawyers insisted that their client shot April 'in the heat of passion.' 'I was just angry. All I intended to do was shoot her in the leg. And then I shot her in the leg and that was it,' Jace told detectives in 2014. 'I just ruined lives. Four lives. I mean, you could put the needle in my arm right now and be done. I'm fine with that.' As previously reported, Jace called 911 after shooting his wife at their LA residence. Their two sons, then five and eight, were at home at the time of the incident. At a court hearing on 26 May, their now-ten-year-old son stated that his father told April, 'If you like running, then run to heaven,' before shooting her. According to a transcript from the emergency call, Jace alleged that April lunged at him before he shot at her. His attorney, Jamon Hicks, claimed that the actor believed his wife was having an affair. While his sentence has yet to be been determined, Jace could face fifty years to life in The Big House. According to the Associated Press, Jace's ex-wife, Jennifer Bitterman, claimed in court documents that he once physically abused her by pushing her head into a wall. In addition, Jace filed for bankruptcy protection in March 2011.

A smattering of water is buried deep inside the Moon and it arrived during the satellite's very early history, a new study concludes, when asteroids plunged into its churning magma oceans. How and when water got trapped in volcanic lunar rocks is a huge and open question for planetary scientists. This international team has compared the chemistry of Apollo mission samples with various types of space rock. They say that icy, early asteroids were the likely source of most of the water. After such impacts the Moon's developing crust could have trapped the water in the cooling magma. Much later, volcanic activity spewed some of that magma back onto the surface and, later again, a precious few of those volcanic rocks were bagged by Apollo astronauts. Tightly bound up in the rocks is a trace of water: somewhere between ten and three hundred parts per million. 'It's not pools of water, it's not lakes of water, it's not frozen ice. When we're talking about interior - or magmatic - water, we're talking about water that is locked up in minerals,' said Doctor Jessica Barnes from the Open University, first author of the new paper in Nature Communications. The source of that water is a topic of an ongoing debate. Previous research revealed that some of these watery deposits have a similar molecular signature to water-rich 'carbonaceous chondrite' meteorites that occasionally reach the Earth from the asteroid belt. So, was water brought to the Moon by chunks of asteroid? Perhaps via the very early Earth, which was similarly bombarded before the brutal collision that created our satellite? Or, as other researchers have suggested, did lunar water arrive in comets - the Solar System's more distant, icy travellers? Working with colleagues in the US and France, Barnes modelled various scenarios to explore what could have produced the chemistry of the Moon's water as we know it. To run these tests, they surveyed all the published results about the make-up of lunar rock samples and the various possible contributors - from Earth rock to comets. 'We've taken an approach that's the most quantitative so far, in terms of deciphering which types of objects would have been impacting the Moon,' she told the BBC News website. Her models suggest that comets probably contributed only a tiny fraction of the sub-surface water. This is largely because comets appear to have 'heavier' water - containing more deuterium, a heavy hydrogen isotope - than either Earth, the Moon or asteroids, Barnes explained. 'Our conclusion is it was mostly water-rich asteroids and very, very little contribution from comets,' she said. In particular, her findings point to asteroids with a recipe much like carbonaceous chondrites. These rocks, which today make up up less than five per cent of known Earth impacts, have characteristics that seem to reflect 'primitive' asteroids. 'These are asteroids that didn't go through differentiation to have a core, a mantle and a crust like the Earth and the Moon,' said Barnes. 'They contain a lot of water and a lot of organic molecules.' Such rocks, she suggests, pummelled the molten Moon some 4.3 to 4.5 billion years ago, within its first two hundred million years. 'We think that the movement of Jupiter and the outer planets, settling into their orbits that they're in today, disrupted the asteroid belt. It would've been very chaotic and you would have had lots of objects flying through the Solar System, impacting the inner planets. We're in quite a quiet time at the moment, compared to what happened very early on.' Other researchers see considerable room for doubt in this asteroid-delivery idea. Doctor Jeremy Boyce, a geochemist at the University of California Los Angeles, said that while others 'might doubt the very idea' that water was delivered by impacts, his reservation about the new study comes down to timing. 'While I like the idea of adding [water] to lunar basalts through meteorite materials, I'm less comfortable with the idea that it had to happen early in the Moon's history,' he told the BBC. Instead of this ancient bombardment of the molten Moon, Boyce suggests that the water deposits have simply built up on the moon's surface thanks to more recent, continuous peppering by meteorites. Then, when volcanic eruptions take place, the liquid material could collect those deposits on its way through the crust - resulting in the small amounts of water seen in volcanic rocks. The concentrations involved are so small, he added, that 'it only takes a tiny whiff' of this type of contamination to explain the results. But, Boyce is soon to collaborate with Barnes on fresh research, and he said the 'vigorous' debate currently under way in lunar geology is exciting. 'We all know each other, we all publish papers, we all have polite disagreements about some of the things that we think about the Moon. But it's actually a really healthy environment where we're all working towards the same goal from different perspectives. It's good to have differences of opinion.'

A Jack Wills catalogue featuring images of young people drinking and partying in their underwear has been extremely banned by the UK advertising watchdog for being 'too sexualised' for young teenagers. The clothing brand featured a range of images of scantily clad young models partying in its spring catalogue. The promotional text referred to 'flirty delicate laces, it's what's underneath that counts' and 'midnight mischief.' Oooo. Shouldn't be allowed. And, indeed, it hasn't been. The Advertising Standards Authority received a single lone whinge from 'a parent' who believed the images were 'unsuitable' in a catalogue 'targeting and seen by teenagers.' Jack Wills defended the images, saying that they 'reflected the life stages' of its target audience, eighteen to twenty four-year-old university students and that the group depicted were on a weekend away, 'enjoying a pyjama party.' It claimed that the adverts were not 'overly sexual or encouraging under age sexual activity.' They stopped short of telling the sour-faced glake what done all the whinging in the first place to mind their own sodding business. But, only just. Jack Wills added that the catalogue was 'personally addressed' and sent to the mother who whinged, not to her children. The ASA said that 'younger teens' were 'likely' to have access to the advert in the catalogue and they would 'appeal' to them because they 'portrayed a lifestyle to which they might aspire.' Gotta say, dear blog reader, when this blogger was 'a younger teen,' he would not have been caught dead reading one of his mother's clothing catalogues when he had that massive stash of porn which he and his mate, Steve, found in the abandoned house on Mindrum Terrace. But, perhaps I've said too much. Actually, come to think of it, there's no 'perhaps' about it. Anyway ... the watchdog said that the sequence of images in the catalogue was 'sexually suggestive as opposed to simply being flirtatious or playful. We understood that younger teenagers could have both direct and indirect access to the catalogue,' said the ASA. 'Because we considered the images and text were sufficiently sexualised to be inappropriate for that audience, we concluded that the ad was irresponsible and that it breached the [advertising] code.' It said that the advert must not appear again in its current form and told Jack Wills not to use sexualised images and text inappropriate for younger teenagers or they'd kick them in the knackers.

The television scriptwriter Carla Lane, who co-created The Liver Birds, has died aged eighty seven. Lane, who was born in Liverpool and later became known for her animal rights activism, also wrote for Bless This House, Solo, The Mistress and Luv and created Butterflies and Bread. The former of which was really rather good, the latter most certainly wasn't. She died at Stapely Care Home on Tuesday, her family confirmed. They paid tribute to her 'quick wit, determination and passion' which 'brought Liverpool to life on screen for others to share.' The family said: 'With heavy hearts we said goodbye to our darling Carla today. But with smiles on our faces we also take this opportunity to reflect on her incredible achievements all of which make us so unbelievably proud to be part of her family.' Lane first became known for The Liver Birds, a sitcom which focused on the lives of two women who shared a flat together in Liverpool, co-writing and creating the programme with her friend Myra Taylor. The programme ran from 1969 to 1979 and returned for a one-off series in 1996. Her next sitcom, Butterflies (1978 to 1983), focused on the lives of the Middle-Class Parkinson family and helped launch the career of Nicholas Lyndhurst. Lane then created and wrote the remarkably unfunny Bread, which focused on the Boswell family as they struggled through the city's high unemployment and poor prospects in the late 1980s. Improbably, it aired for seven series between 1986 and 1991 and, frankly, did a hell of a lot of damage in perpetuating all of those crass stereotypes of Scousers as work-shy scroungers and criminals. Much of Carla's work focused on women's lives and featured frustrated housewives and Working Class matriarchs. She received an OBE for services to writing in 1989 but returned it to the then Prime Minister Tony Blair in 2002 in protest at animal cruelty. In 1995, Lane was given a Royal Television Society award for her Outstanding Contribution to British Television. She didn't return that as a protest against animal cruelty, though. Why, this blogger has no idea although he is sure there was a good reason at the time. Carla later became known for looking after hundreds of rescue animals - running an animal sanctuary from her mansion in Horsted Keynes until 2009 - and was a close friend of Sir Paul McCartney's late wife, Linda. Speaking to the Observer in 2008 about their friendship, Lane said: 'We were friendship-struck from moment one. We used to sit on the lawn with our two puppies, kicking leaves, and looking at them. We were like two scientists trying to find out why people don't like animals and what we'd do to them, if we only could.' Lane also had an animal sanctuary named after her. Fran Ellis, founder and trustee at the Carla Lane Animals in Need Sanctuary in Melling paid tribute to 'a champion of animal welfare. We changed the name of our charity to recognise the work done by this special lady. Her name will live on in all we do,' she said.

Oh, and some people who used to be in The X Factor are going to be in The X Factor. Apparently. And, on that Earth-shattering bombshell ...