Sunday, August 28, 2016

Smashed Badgers

It turns out that getting an acting part on a big show like Doctor Who doesn't always involve complex contract negotiations. In the new issue of Doctor Who Magazine, showrunner The Lord Thy God Steven Moffat (OBE) revealed that Matt Lucas is returning to Doctor Who for one simple reason. He asked. It was revealed back in June that Lucas will be reprising his role of Nardole, joining Peter Capaldi and Pearl Mackie for series ten of the long-running popular BBC family SF drama. Moffat revealed: 'I decided Nardole should return to Doctor Who when Matt Lucas got in touch saying, "I loved being in that show. Can I come back?" I sat there thinking, "Okay, so this guy who's out in LA being offered every kind of pilot and every kind of career advancement has basically decided that instead of all that wealth and spectacular success, he'd rather go to Cardiff and make Doctor Who." I thought, "He is of my kind. He belongs to our world." And so now that was an opportunity – given that it was in front of me and possible – I decided to import the best comic timing I've ever seen into Doctor Who on a regular basis.'
Radio Times has published a handy guide to eight things The Grand Tour is, according to Andy Wilman, 'legally prohibited' from doing after Top Gear. Or or two of them are quite funny.
ITV has commissioned the second series of Marcella. Created by The Bridge writer Hans Rosenfeldt, Marcella starred yer actual Anna Friel in the title role as a retired police detective lured back to the job as her personal life crumbled around her. Set in London, the dark crime thriller's first series ended with Marcella Backland catching the killer, Henry Gibson (played by Harry Lloyd). 'I was delighted at the reaction to the first season and am thrilled to be revisiting Marcella for ITV,' Rosenfeldt said. 'In the second season, the audience will get the opportunity to spend more time in her world, further exploring some of the characters and getting to know them better.' Producer Tony Wood added: 'The combination of Hans's masterful writing, Anna's gripping performance and Buccaneer's superb production team struck a chord with viewers. Naturally we're delighted to be working with ITV to create a second season of Marcella.'
There's a superb piece by Simon Armstrong on the BBC website concerning yer actual Keith Telly Topping's beloved Our Friends In The North which this blogger hugely recommends to all From The North dear blog readers. Check it out, here.
Acclaimed police drama Happy Valley will return for a third series, writer Sally Wainwright confirmed. Wainwright said that the series – which stars Sarah Lancashire as Sergeant Catherine Cawood - will return for a third run, but 'not immediately.' Speaking at the Edinburgh Television Festival, Wainwright was asked by her interviewer, the former Doctor Who showrunner Russell Davies, if her drama would come back following months of speculation over its future. She said: 'It will happen but it will be a little while. I have got some good ideas.' Up until now Wainwright had declined to confirm or deny whether there would be a third series, saying that she needed to work out where the story would go next. In the meantime, she has plenty to keep her busy, eschewing the bleak tone of Happy Valley to work on an idea for a musical for television, although she declined to reveal any more details: 'It's on the way. It's an idea I have got for the screen that I am hoping to get away.'
Tommy Cooper's gag file, in which the late comedian meticulously recorded his jokes, is to be preserved by the Victoria & Albert Museum. The V&A has acquired an archive of papers and props once owned by Tom, which show he was far less shambolic off the stage than he appeared to be when performing his act. The gag file is among one hundred and sixteen boxes of his papers going into the V&A collection. The museum said that he used a system for storing his jokes alphabetically 'with the meticulousness of an archivist.' On-stage, Tommy, of course, was known for his apparently chaotic magic routines as well as his trademark fez and his catchphrase 'just like that.' If you're too young to have experienced Tommy's peerless craft, check out this little example of a fragment of his utter genius. But, the file shows how carefully Tommy sorted his jokes into dozens of categories, ranging from boxing and bull-fighting to wives and women. The material sheds light on his 'scrupulously organised working methods, the business side of his vocation and the extent of his writing,' the V&A said. As well as the gag file, the V&A has acquired a large number of personal correspondence, contracts, notebooks and Tommy's famous head-twister illusion, plus posters and cardboard from shirt packaging that he jotted notes on. However, the museum has not acquired his most famous possession - a fez. The collection also contains details of his early auditions. A report from his first BBC audition in 1947 described him as 'an unattractive young man with indistinct speaking voice and extremely unfortunate appearance.' He was given a BBC series, It's Magic, in 1952, before later moving to ITV, which screened numerous series and specials from the late 1950s to the 1980s. Tommy suffered a fatal heart attack during a live broadcast in 1984. In 2004, he was voted the funniest Briton of all time. V&A curator Simon Sladen said that the collection offered 'a fascinating insight into one the best-loved entertainers of the Twentieth Century and reveals much about his practice, process and legacy.' The archive was bought from collector and Cooper biographer John Fisher and will become part of the V&A's growing comedy collection, which also contains material from the lives of Ronnie Barker, Tony Hancock and Eric Morecambe and Ernie Wise. Cooper's daughter Vicky said: 'It is wonderful that the V&A has acquired the Tommy Cooper Collection and that the public will get to see some of his material on display later this year. I hope it brings as much enjoyment to people as he did when he was alive. My dad would be very proud knowing he was now represented in the National Collection of Theatre & Performance, sitting alongside the likes of Ronnie Barker's archive and costumes worn by Morecambe and Wise and Stan Laurel.' In a statement, Cooper's friend Ken Dodd said: 'He loved laughter and he loved to laugh. I'm sure he would have been very proud to see so many people enjoy his sense of humour.'
John Cleese is reported to be 'in talks' to return to the BBC for a sitcom which has been written specifically for him. The Fawlty Towers and Monty Python's Flying Circus star was quoted in a magazine interview last year as saying 'there's no way I want to work in TV, especially at the BBC.' In recent years, the seventy four-year-old British comedy actor has mainly concentrated on voiceover roles. But, BBC comedy head Shane Allen told the Daily Torygraph that Cleese is 'a comedy God and the door is always open. We're in discussions about a piece that he might be in. It's a sitcom and it's very early days,' Allen said. Cleese, who appeared on the big screen in A Fish Called Wanda did take on small appearances in US TV sitcoms Whitney and Entourage between 2010 and 2013. He also reunited with his Monty Python's Flying Circus co-stars in 2013 for a series of live shows mainly, he claimed, to pay an eight hundred thousand knicker legal bill after losing a royalties case. And, following his divorce from third wife, Alyce Eichelberger in 2008, he performed in a comedy show dubbed The Alimony Tour. In last year's interview with Shortlist magazine, Cleese said he felt the BBC's commissioning editors had 'no idea' what they were doing. He also claimed that he had been offered 'cliched' roles by ITV. Referring to Cleese's possible BBC sitcom return, Allen told the Torygraph: 'There are certain people who have earned their badges, who have got the right to do what they want.' He was speaking to the Torygraph before the opening episodes of the BBC's Landmark Sitcom series. Allen said that it was 'insulting' to suggest the BBC's new comedies were not as good as the past - which Mad Frankie Boyle was doing on-stage almost at the very same moment that Allen was making these comments (see below) - but added: 'This is a chance to try to reclaim that and say these are titles and writers and pieces of work that are proven, and hallowed and it's a chance to introduce them to a new generation.' A BBC spokeswoman said: 'We would love to work with John Cleese. However nothing is confirmed at this stage and we do not comment on developments.'
From two very funny men to one very unfunny woman. Dawn French is to host a British version of hit US children's talent show Little Big Shots on ITV. So, that should be well-worth avoiding like a dose of explosive diarrhoea, then. The series will see the alleged comedian introduce 'gifted youngsters' (or, you know, precocious brats) aged three to thirteen - but, unlike with other talent shows, there is 'no competitive element.' Which, sort of renders it a bit pointless, really. Like much else of Dawn French's career. Meanwhile, ITV has revealed that Harry Hill will return to present a panel show 'featuring two teams tasked with saving Earth from an alien invasion.' Yeah, that sounds like it should be worth avoiding too.
In Harry Hill's Alien Fun Capsule, contestants will have to find 'clips, people, basically anything that is fun or funny' to present to aliens in the event of an invasion 'to demonstrate Earthlings are good fun and therefore worthy of saving.' Yes, dear blog reader, someone did indeed get paid to come up with such tripe and then some other numskull waste-of-space moron with more money than sense commissioned it. The world is sick and wrong, dear blog reader. Hill said: 'It's great to be back on ITV with an all new format that finally tackles the problem of an imminent and prolonged war with space aliens, by proving to them that us humans are really a lot of fun to hang out with.' Hill - last, briefly, funny in about 2005, has fronted shows including TV Burp (which was quite good when it started), You've Been Framed (which is brainless but inoffensive) and the disastrous Stars In Their Eyes reboot (which was shite) for ITV in the past. The two new productions were announced at the Edinburgh TV Festival. Little Big Shots will not be French's first time on a talent show - she was a judge on ITV's instantly forgettable Superstar in 2012 and on Australia's Got Talent the following year. She has recently been filming a four-part drama, Delicious for Sky1. In a statement about her new hosting job, she said: 'Rarely have I relished the thought of doing a show as much as this. I love everything about it, especially the fact that I will get to witness the amazing talents of these remarkable little humans up close. It's going to be a privilege.'
MasterChef judge Gregg Wallace has criticised Great British Bake Off's Mary Berry over her suggestion that 'no family' should own a deep-fat fryer. Writing in the Sun, Wallace said the UK was 'built on chips and spam fritters,' and called Berry's comments 'an attack on our British way of life.' Berry told Good Housekeeping that homes should not have fryers and children should not consume 'sugared drinks.' Although, presumably, sugar-filled cakes are all right. 'We need to teach parents about the right foods to give children. It's very difficult. Many people think children must have chips. I don't think any household should have a deep fat fryer,' she said. Wallace called the remarks 'ludicrous. I love Mary dearly but this is an attack on our British way of life,' he wrote. It isn't, really, although if anybody comes for the Stately Telly Topping Manor deep fat fryer they can take it from this blogger's cold, dead hand. 'We fry things, that's what we do. It's like banning the wok in China or outlawing the pizza oven in Italy,' Wallace continued. Wallace said he had been born in 1964 and the smell of deep-fat frying was 'universal' during his childhood, bringing 'friends and family together In fairness to Mary, we probably did use the fryer a little bit too much in the good old days,' he added. 'In my childhood home, the chip pan was always on the go. Even though I have a warm, nostalgic view of spam fritters, if you gave them to me now, I would probably find them absolutely disgusting. But that's not the point, is it? I'm not going to preach to people - let them make their own minds up.' Meanwhile, the latest series of Bake Off has, apparently, 'ignited a debate' across the country over whether Jaffa Cakes should be dunked in tea or not after Paul Hollywood did just that on the last episode and Mary Berry whinged at him about it. And, let us once again simply stand up and applaud the utter risible mind-numbing shite that some people chose to care around.
Eleanor Catton's Man Booker Prize-winning novel The Luminaries is to be made into a BBC drama series. The six-part adaptation, also written by Catton, is a Victorian mystery tale set during the New Zealand gold rush. The Kiwi author became the youngest ever winner of the Man Booker Prize - aged twenty eight - when The Luminaries won in 2013. The eight hundred and thirty two-page book was also the longest work to win in the prize's history. The judges described it as 'a Kiwi Twin Peaks.' Catton, who was born in Canada, said that she felt 'absurdly lucky' to be working on the project. 'Learning to write for television has been a bit like learning a new musical instrument: The melody is more or less the same, but absolutely everything else is different,' she said. 'I'm having enormous fun, learning every day and just so excited to see the world of the novel created in the flesh.' The six hour-long episodes will be produced by Working Title Television for BBC2. Filming will begin in 2017 and taking place in and around New Zealand.
British comedy has 'hit a stale patch' - yep, sounds about right - with broadcasters 'unwilling to take risks' on alternative and edgier shows, according to Mad Frankie Boyle. True, although one could argue Mad Frankie his very self is part of the problem rather than being part of the solution since Tramadol Nights was hardly the funniest thing in the history of comedy. Interviewing Sharon Horgan for The Alternative MacTaggart at the Edinburgh TV festival, Mad Frankie claimed that commissioners were 'choosing safe, mass appeal shows' such as Mrs Brown's Boys at the expense of 'alternative' shows such as Horgan's own Pulling, which was cancelled after two series. Because it was shit and no one was watching it. Which is the usual reason that shows which get cancelled, you know, get cancelled. He suggested that the 'fallout' from the Sachsgate scandal involving Jonathan Ross and Russell Brand had led to 'a more cautious approach' at the BBC and other broadcasters. Which may be true but, again, Mad Frankie's done plenty for the Beeb of late and almost none of it has been particularly cutting edge or, for that matter, funny. 'Ratings are the main thing. Critical hits are a bonus,' said Boyle. 'If something is a big ratings hit – like Mrs Brown's Boys as a random example – they try to do one of those. But when something comes out that's a critical hit, they go, "That's ticked that box for a while. Don't need to make another sitcom with a lesbian for five years." It seems to me that television has gone back past 1978. There's a sort of air, it's an air of you wouldn't know there had been alternative comedy. Now you can pretty much watch most things. Most of the comedy is observational. Most of the shows are variety shows. Most of the sitcoms are family-friendly. I think it's hit a bit of a stale patch.' Hard to argue against, mind. Mad Frankie also highlighted the BBC's Landmark Comedy season, which features remakes of old sitcoms as examples of 'a lack of risk.' Horgan said that when broadcasters began 'playing it safe' it stemmed creativity. She said: 'What they are trying to do is replicate a hit show and find another version of that. I don't think it necessarily brings the best out of creative people or writers. Because you end up seeing the same thing done a different way. People have got to write the thing they are born to write or really need to say or it's just going to be the same as everything else.' Boyle also added his voice to calls for 'quotas' to improve diversity in television. 'I just think we should have quotas,' he said. 'Because they have been trying to do it for years and they come to the TV festival as well and they were bringing quite senior people from the BBC or Channel Four and they say, "Oh yeah, it's terrible." And I'm thinking, "You're the creative head of the BBC, just do it. It's your job to do it." And, they just give a shrug. If they won't do it they should be forced to do it because it shouldn't be like that. It shouldn't be some young black comedian's job to make sure that the BBC do better on representation.'
ITV's programmes chief Kevin Lygo has not exactly been mincing his words over the new game show Five Hundred Questions. While speaking at the Edinburgh Television Festival, Lygo criticised the show as 'derivative' and 'hard to follow.' Admitting that he thought the UK remake of the show was an attempt at recapturing the 'glory days' of Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?, Lygo said: 'Lots of people have tried to copy it just to show how difficult it was to get it right in the first place.' Unfortunately, Lygo felt Five Hundred Questions 'didn't quite reach' the Millionaire bar. 'It looked a bit derivative to me to be quite honest. It smelt and felt a bit like that.' Giles Coren fronts the show, which started its weeknight run on Monday and he, at least, seems pretty happy with it. 'Five Hundred Questions is a show that genuinely acknowledges intelligence and tactics,' he claimed. 'To win you have to be resilient and you have to be smart. It feels exciting and original.' Which is certainly true of his sister's Only Connect but, for Five Hundred Questions? Nah, not so much. When Lygo was asked if Five Hundred Questions would be recommissioned by the channel, unsurprisingly the answer was not a resounding yes. 'Let's wait until it all goes out,' he said. So, that's a no, then?
Nigel Farago's life after politics is to be the subject of a new BBC comedy. The one-off Nigel Farago Gets His Life Back, was commissioned by BBC2. Kevin Bishop will portray the outgoing UKkiP leader in the thirty-minute project which will be 'a combination of direct pieces to camera' and 'footage detailing the day-to-day reality of being Nigel Farago.' The programme will explore the many 'faces' of Farago from 'public Nigel' to 'private Nigel.' The title is a direct reference to Farago's resignation speech which he made in July this year following the Brexit vote to leave the European Union. Albeit, his big moment was utterly screw because that was also the day that Chris Evans resigned from Top Gear. Farago said: 'During the referendum campaign, I said I want my country back. What I'm saying today is I want my life back and it begins right now.' Be careful what you wish for, Nige, it might just come true. The official synopsis for the project explains: 'On 23 June, Britain voted to leave the European Union. Then, on 4 July, Nigel Farago, the man who had made it all possible, resigned saying he wanted his life back. But what sort of life has he gone back to and how does a man forever in the spotlight fill his days now he has nothing to do?' Bishop said: 'I'm delighted to be playing a character as colourful as Farago. He's a gift to parody and I'm looking forward to bringing previously unseen aspects of his life to the screen.' Peter Holmes, the managing director of Zeppotron and the executive producer, said: 'This project couldn't feel more relevant. Nigel Farago has had a huge part to play in the momentous political events of recent times and everybody has an opinion of him. We hope we can create a lot of laughter while painting a portrait of such a divisive figure as he fills the empty hours of retirement.' The comedy is being written by Alan Connor and Shaun Pye, who worked together on The Rack Pack and Sky Arts' A Young Doctor's Notebook.
A 'long-lost' demo disc recorded by yer actual Paul McCartney which was given to Cilla Black her very self is estimated to fetch fifteen thousand smackers at auction. Cilla had a UK top ten hit in 1964 with 'It's for You', written by Macca specifically for her. McCartney recorded his own piano-based dmeo version earlier that year, which was delivered to Cilla whilst she was performing at the London Palladium. It was 'believed to have been lost or destroyed' until her nephew found it. Simon White said he believed his aunt gave the acetate to his late father in the mid-1960s. 'My father was an avid record collector who took great care of his record collection, and he personally created the cardboard sleeve in which the acetate demo has been stored in his collection for more than fifty years.' White assumed the copy was of his aunt's own version and took it, along with other items, to be valued at The Be-Atles Shop in Mathew Street, Liverpool. Stephen Bailey, who has managed the store for thirty years, said staff played what they thought were twenty one demo discs by Black. 'We got to the last one and, as soon as I heard it, I thought: "Oh God, that's not Cilla Black, it's Paul McCartney." I was shaking with excitement and speechless.' He added: 'Apart from a few crackles, which you get with acetates, the quality is fine.' Which, this short fragment confirms. 'It's a wonderful recording. I can't think of finding anything better unless I discover there is a sixth Be-Atle.' The disc will go on sale on Saturday at The Be-Atles Memorabilia Auction at the Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts, which was co-founded by Macca in 1996. Paul was,apparently, allowed to make a copy of his recording to add to his personal archive, White said.
After reportedly participating in a local neighbourhood square dance, a man in China apparently became worried that photos of his dancing ways would end up online. Which, he didn't want. According to several major Chinese news sites the man in Weifang 'became upset' after photos were taken of him dancing, an activity often enjoyed by older women in China. Concerned about possible online humiliation he may have suffered, therefore, the man allegedly dismantled the local optical networks - in the hope of ahem, 'destroying the Internet.' He has since been very arrested for causing one hundred thousand yuan in damage. The Nanfang reports that it has not been able to locate any photos of this particular dancing man. So, perhaps it was a case of mission accomplished?
Ryan Lochte will not be responding to Brazilian police charging him with making a false statement, his lawyer says. So, it would appear that Lochte may well be a coward as well as a lying liar. Which, one would imagine, is making him even more attractive to potential replacement sponsors than he already was. Good work there Ryan. The charge relates to a claim Lochte made that he and three US team-mates had been 'robbed' during the Rio Olympics. Asked whether the swimmer would be making a public statement, his lawyer told the BBC that he would 'not be.' Hey, what a total hero you are, Ryan, baby. Lochte flew out of Brazil before he could be questioned about the alleged false claim. The story began when Lochte said that he and three fellow swimmers had been 'robbed at gunpoint' in a taxi by men with a police badge as they returned to the Olympic village from a party. But, they hadn't or anything even remotely like it. Brazilian police say that he made up the story and officers produced video evidence that the group were actually challenged by security guards after they had vandalised the door to a petrol station toilet. Lochte eventually, after much prodding, admitted that he was drunk and sort-of grudgingly 'apologised' to the Brazilian people but he now has to decide whether or not to return to Brazil to answer the charges. Several sponsors dropped the swimmer like a hndful of steaming hot shit in the wake of the incident. When filing the charges, Brazilian police also recommended that the courts issue Lochte with a summons. The US and Brazil do have an extradition treaty albeit one which Brazil has regularly flouted and ignored in the past. Authorities in the US could (and, in all likelihood, would) take the same stance if Lochte were to be found extremely guilty. The crime faces a maximum penalty of eighteen months in a cockroach-infested prison - or, a small fine (certainly one that a millionaire like Lochte could easily afford to pay) - and the thirty two-year-old can be tried in his absence.
And now ...
A man who avoided prison after being convicted of a street attack has been extremely jailed for - stupidly - refusing to perform unpaid work, then bragging about it online. David Newlands was given one hundred and fifty hours community service for 'punching a vulnerable man' in Glasgow last year. He refused to perform the unpaid work and was twice given another chance by the court. Judge Norman Ritchie finally jailed Newlands for nine months after hearing that Newlands had posted on Facebook: 'I'm out bro, easy.' The judge added: 'As they say, LOL.' Newlands, who is currently serving an eight-month sentence for a separate assault and breach of the peace, will serve the latest sentence when his current sentence ends. Newlands was among eight people who ended up in court after Miller, a man who has learning difficulties, was called 'a beast' and chased until he threw himself out of a flat window.
During that hearing at the High Court in Glasgow in January, judge Ritchie described the group as 'a pack of animals.' Newlands was given a community sentence but refused to carry out unpaid work. The court heard that he later posted on Facebook: 'A [sic] got a high court conviction n [sic] they never sent me eh [sic] jail instead gave me a community order told them to stick it so got sent back to court n [sic] what do they dae? [sic] The judge says "Mister Newlands I would refer to you as an idiot." n [sic] then what does he dae? [sic] He geez me it again probation am no dayn [sic] it simple!' Well, he certainly sounds like a highly articulate and worthwhile member of society, I'm sure you'll agree dear blog reader. After being returned to court - by the scruff of his neck, one imagines - Newlands extremely admitted breaching the order and to being a worthless, mouthy scum and was thrown in the pokey to contemplate, at Her Majesty's leisure, the many errors of his ways. Judge Ritchie told him: 'It's always interesting to see a different view on sentencing as in "I'm out bro easy." As they say "LOL."' The judge added: 'I gave you two chances. You didn't take the chances. I hope you don't think I'm doing this out of anger. In truth it [has] enlivened what was otherwise a dull day.'
A convicted criminal who was speeding down a country road lost his testicles when a tree branch came through his window and embedded itself in his groin. Oooo. That's got to hurt. Nicholas St Clair of Hull was driving at twice the legal speed limit because he was 'in a rush to avoid violating bail conditions' for a previous conviction. After crashing into a Ford Mondeo in the village of South Ferriby, Lincolnshire, he sped off at fifty seven miles per hour in his Volkswagen Golf GTi, according to a local news report. St Clair then crashed into another car coming in the opposite direction while attempting to overtake in what one eyewitness said was 'like a Formula One manoeuver.' He then lost control of his vehicle and careened into a lamppost, at which point a tree branch pierced the windshield and embedded itself in his testicles. Thus, as it were, knackering his knackers (and, presumably, making his eyes water not inconsiderably). 'I pulled it out and my testicles fell out,' St Clair told police officers, before passing out and being taken to hospital. St Clair is now unable to have children or take part in 'a full sexual relationship.' Prosecutor Craig Lowe said that the lamppost 'snapped' from the impact of the crash and the Volkswagen flipped upside down. He told the Scunthorpe Telegraph that St Clair suffered a cut to his forehead requiring twenty stitches, lost a tooth and suffered 'heavy bleeding from his groin.' St Clair was extremely jailed for three years last February for violently threatening a friend while demanding he pay a three thousand smackers debt, but was released on licence to a bail hostel in Scunthorpe, where he had to sign in each day. According to Lowe, he has nine previous convictions for twenty four offences, including supplying drugs. St Clair's defending lawyer, Claire Holms, told the court that her client was 'sorry' for the fear and injuries he had caused to his passenger in the car at the time, as well as other road users. She said that the prison guards have noted 'a marked change' in his behaviour' since he lost his bollocks and that he had 'alerted officers to a brutal attack in the jail two weeks ago.' Sentencing Judge Paul Watson QC said: 'It is not only merciful; it is miraculous that no one was fatally injured. I have seen much less serious collisions that have resulted in tragic fatalities.'
A Pennsylvania man who had sexual contact with a fourteen-year-old girl as part of a vampire role-playing game in which he also drank her blood must spend ten years on probation, the first two of which he will also be confined to his home. Twenty-two-year-old Jonathan Ryan Davis of Vandergrift - who is not a real vampire - was extremely sentenced Thursday by a Westmoreland County judge. He pleaded very guilty to 'statutory sexual assault' for an incident involving the girl in a church stairwell after 'both had been drinking.' Prosecutors pushed for a jail sentence because Davis previously received probation in juvenile court for impregnating a twelve-year-old girl. Aw, dude, that is seriously fekked up. Davis told the police that he drank the blood 'from the arm' of his victim and two other girls as part of 'a role-playing game' he read about online. He apologised for his actions.
A seventy eight-year-old former England rugby player has foiled a robbery attempt by three naughty men, chasing them out of his house in Malta using only a mug of tea. Blimey, that's hard. John Ranson says that he 'slammed the door' on the first intruder, threw the hot tea at the eyes of the second and targeted the third 'with his empty mug.' That'll teach the thieving fekkers good and proper, and serves them right for their naughty thieving ways. Police are still reportedly looking for the trio, one of whom reportedly had a gun (and, an another one who now has scalding scars around his face if the tea found its target). The incident occurred in Siggiewi, a rural area where Ranson has lived ten out of his twenty six years in Malta. 'I usually wake up early, between 5am and 6am,' he told the BBC. 'I made a mug of tea and was going through the garage when I saw a foot behind the door.' At first, Ranson said, he thought it was the pool man, even though it was not his day. Then he spotted the other two intruders. They were all wearing balaclavas and one of them had a gun. I thought: "This is for real."' After chasing them off, he started shouting 'many names,' he said. The men left the house over a wall, he added, 'probably the same way they had got in.' Ranson believes they are the same people he spotted a week earlier inside his property. They were speaking Italian, he said, and fled in a car after they were asked by the former player what they were doing there. He called the police and reported the car's number plate but was later told by officials that it was fake. Ranson, who represented England seven times between 1963 and 1964, says that the incident has made him 'more careful over security.'
Nicholas Williams, a footballer playing for the Welsh side Cefn Albion, has been very jailed for twelve months after breaking an opponent's leg in what was described in court as 'a revenge attack' during a match. Williams was reportedly 'left furious' in a Welsh National League Division One Cup game last October when he lost out in a fifty-fifty challenge with AFC Brynford's Andrew Barlow. The twenty six-year-old felt that Barlow had not won the ball cleanly and complained to the referee only for his protest to be waved away. As a result, the red mist descended and Williams decided to take matters into his own hands by going for the middle of Barlow's shin with a studs-up tackle. Ouch. Williams broke Barlow's tibia and fibula with his 'outrageous challenge', the match eventually having to be abandoned because of the severity of the injury suffered by Barlow. Williams had insisted what happened was 'a freak accident,' but the referee Mark Stokes rejected Williams' defence and described the Cefn Albion player's challenge as the 'worst' he has ever witnessed in a game. 'That challenge was probably the worst one I have seen in my time as a referee,' Stokes said. 'It wasn't a challenge; it was a kick. There was no attempt to [play] the ball.' Barlow has revealed he still has 'nightmares' after seeing his own leg 'flap from side-to-side' and has been unable to return back to work ten months after it happened. On the incident, Detective Constable Rhodri Ifans of North Wales Police said: 'This was a particularly callous assault which has had a huge impact on the victim. Anyone who commits acts of violence must realise to potential seriousness of their actions and we will vigorously pursue offenders and bring them to justice.'
A probe flown by NASA is about to make its first close approach to the planet Jupiter since going into orbit in July. Juno will pass four thousand two hundred kilometres above the cloud tops of the gas giant on Saturday. No previous spacecraft has got so close to the world during the main phase of its mission. Juno will have all of its instruments - and its camera - switched on for the encounter. NASA expects to 'be in a position' to release some images from the approach in the next few days. They will be the highest resolution pictures ever obtained of Jupiter's clouds. The moment of closest approach is set for 12:51 GMT. At that moment, Juno will be moving at two hundred and eight thousand kilometres per hour with respect to the planet, sweeping from North to South over the multi-banded atmosphere. The probe became gravitationally bound to Jupiter on 5 July after a five-year, 2.8-billion-kilometre journey from the Earth. Executing a carefully choreographed engine burn, the spacecraft put itself in a large ellipse around the world that takes some fifty three days to traverse. '[On 5 July] we turned all our instruments off to focus on the rocket burn to get Juno into orbit around Jupiter,' explained principal investigator Scott Bolton. 'Since then, we have checked Juno from stem to stern and back again. We still have more testing to do, but we are confident that everything is working great, so for this upcoming flyby Juno's eyes and ears, our science instruments, will all be open. This is our first opportunity to really take a close-up look at the king of our Solar System and begin to figure out how he works,' the the Southwest Research Institute scientist said in a NASA statement. Juno's quest is to probe the secrets of the Solar System by explaining the origin and evolution of its biggest planet. The spacecraft's remote sensing instruments will look down into the giant's many layers and measure their composition, temperature, motion and other properties. We should finally discover whether Jupiter has a solid core or if its gas merely compresses to an ever denser state all the way to the centre. We will also gain new insights on the famous Great Red Spot - the colossal storm that has raged on Jupiter for hundreds of years. Juno will tell us how deep its roots go. Controllers will send the probe on another 53-day orbit before firing the probe's engine once again on 19 October to tighten the circuit to just fourteen days. The configuration will then be held until February 2018 when the spacecraft will be commanded to make a destructive suicide dive into Jupiter's atmosphere.
Scientists have reportedly found 'a ghost galaxy' – roughly the same mass as our own, but entirely made up of 'dark matter.' Dragonfly Forty Four is almost entirely made up of dark matter, the mysterious – and, for now, mostly theoretical – stuff which makes up twenty seven per cent of the universe but has never, actually, been seen. Though the galaxy is relatively nearby, at least in the scale of the universe, it is so dark that scientists completely missed it for decades. A bit like certain parts of County Durham, in fact. But, it was finally spotted last year. It sits in the Coma galaxy cluster, about three hundred and thirty million light years from Earth. So, not that near. When scientists looked at it further, they found that it was not just a normal set of stars – but instead a 'ghost,' made up of dark matter. Though it has around the same mass as our own Milky Way galaxy, only one hundredth of one per cent is made of up of the normal matter like stars, dust and gas which surrounds Earth. Nobody knows what exactly dark matter is, how it came about or even how a galaxy could have arisen that looked that way. Dragonfly Forty Four does have some normal stars of its own. But our Galaxy has a hundred times more. Astronomers found out about the strange ghost galaxy by looking at the movement of the galaxy's stars – movement which seemed to be influenced by matter that doesn't react in the way that would normally be expected. Professor Pieter van Dokkum, a member of the team from Yale University, said: 'Motions of the stars tell you how much matter there is. They don't care what form the matter is, they just tell you that it's there. In the Dragonfly galaxy, stars move very fast. So there was a huge discrepancy. We found many times more mass indicated by the motions of the stars than there is mass in the stars themselves.' Scientists know that there must be something providing the gravity that is needed to hold the galaxy together. But the mass that would normally provide that isn’t there. Scientists from the Keck Observatory in Hawaii (no jokes, please) found the galaxy and reported their findings in the Astrophysical Journal Letters. They said that there 'may be' many more of these ghost galaxies waiting to be found. But, that's probably just scaremongering. What?
Two people have been rescued from an uninhabited Pacific island after a US Navy helicopter spotted their plea sign. The pilots spotted the message drawn into sand on East Fayu Island in The Federated States Of Micronesia and alerted the US Coast Guard as to the stranded couple's plight. It followed a week-long search for Linus and Sabina Jack, both in their fifties, who were reported missing when they failed to reach a nearby island. The couple left Weno Island with 'limited supplies' and 'no emergency equipment,' the Navy said. The daft glakes. Teams looking for the couple searched sixteen thousand five hundred and seventy one square miles, deploying fifteen boats and two aircraft crews. A helicopter was sent to fly over East Fayu after a search vessel, British Mariner, reported 'seeing lights' on the supposedly uninhabited island. 'The Search and Rescue Operation for Linus and Sabina Jack has been successfully completed,' said the US Embassy in Kolonia, the capital of The Federated States Of Micronesia (and, not Yap as most people who aren't regular viewers of The West Wing believe). 'They are found and are waiting for a ship to take them home.' It is the second such case this year in the region. In April, three men were rescued from the tiny, uninhabited Micronesian island of Fanadik (steady), after their boat capsized two miles from shore. The men used palm fronds to make a giant 'Help' sign in the sand and used their lifejackets to signal. They were rescued by a US Navy search team after three days.
The University of North Carolina must allow transgender students and staff to use the toilets that match their gender identity, a US judge has ruled. A - now illegal - state law passed in March required transgender people to use toilets that 'correspond to the sex on their birth certificates.' The ruling led to boycotts of the state by some sports teams, businesses and entertainers and widespread consideration that those who passed the law were, in fact, a bunch of disgraceful scumbag bigots whom the world would be better rid of if they were to get cancer of the arsehole and die. The full case challenging the bill is expected to go to trial in November. US District Court Judge Thomas Schroeder said that three plaintiffs challenging the measure had 'a strong chance' of proving that the state's 'toilet-access measure' violated federal law and, therefore, temporarily blocked the university from applying the state law. Good on ya, judge. 'The individual transgender plaintiffs have clearly shown that they will suffer irreparable harm in the absence of preliminary relief,' he wrote, noting their assertions that single-occupant toilets were 'generally unavailable' at the University of North Carolina. One of the three people who challenged the law is University of North California student Joaquin Carcano. 'Today, the tightness that I have felt in my chest every day has eased,' he said. And, presumably, the tightness in his colon is somewhat eased too. 'But the fight is not over: we won't rest until this discriminatory law is defeated,' Carcano added. Legislators in North Carolina enacted the law after the town of Charlotte passed a bill allowing transgender people to use toilets 'according to gender identity.' Disgraceful, scumbag bigot lawmakers in several other US states have proposed similar disgraceful, scumbag, biot legislation - sometimes referred to as 'bathroom bills.' 'Some people' - ie. disgraceful, scumbag bigots - have claimed that allowing transgender people to choose their toilet 'could' lead to women and 'children being attacked.' They alleged - with no supporting evidence whatsoever - that they 'feared predatory men' could 'pose' as transgender people and use legal protections as a cover. Personally, this blogger is far more fearful that disgraceful, scumbag bigot lawmakers might 'pose' as 'worthwhile human beings' and, you know, get away with it.
Ice cream maker Ben & Jerry's has recalled tubs of one of its best-selling products over concern they may contain small pieces of metal. Some consumers who bought five hundred millilitre cartons of Cookie Dough are being told not to eat it and instead throw it away. The company has issued an alert over four batches of the ice cream which, it says, 'could' be affected. Tubs affected have codes L62110L011, L62111L011, L62112L011 and L62113L011 printed on the bottom of the pots. The company issued 'an important safety notice' after 'internal quality assurance' checks showed that 'a limited number' of products 'could' be affected. Ben & Jerry's said: 'The company has identified a specific production period during which Ben & Jerry's Cookie Dough five hundred millilitre may have been affected and, as safety remains a top priority, Ben & Jerry's is voluntarily recalling four batch codes of Cookie Dough five hundred millilitre from sale. 'As a precaution, everyone with a five hundred millilitre tub of Ben & Jerry's Cookie Dough in their freezers at home should check the batch number on the bottom of their tub to make sure it's not affected. If it matches the batch numbers listed above, they should not eat the product and, instead, we ask them to discard the product in the usual household bin.' It is unclear how many pots of ice cream 'could' be affected. The company said that consumers who have to throw away a tub of the ice cream can call a telephone number - 0800 146 252 - to find out how to receive a voucher for a free replacement pot.
Police in South Acton arrested a very naked man on Wednesday morning after reports that he had smeared 'rubbish and human excrement' over a car. Well,every man must have a hobby, this blogger supposes. The man is alleged to have refused to put some clothes on when he asked to by Met Police officers and was then arrested in his nakedness and his shame and taken to Acton police at around 11.30am. Officers were called to the scene in Copenhagen Gardens where they found the suspect n the naughty nude. Ealing MPS tweeted at midday on Wednesday: 'Naked male arrested for criminal damage in South Acton after allegedly smearing rubbish and faeces over a parked car and surrounding area.' The man was taken to the police station for both the criminal damage incident to undergo a mental health assessment.
Two airline pilots were arrested on suspicion of being under the influence of alcohol as they prepared to fly from Glasgow Airport to New York. The United Airlines pilots were 'held in the cockpit' (now then) by police ahead of the 9am flight on Saturday. Their jet, which was headed for Newark Airport, had started boarding its on hundred and forty one passengers. It eventually took off at 7:15pm with a new flight crew on board. On imagines the one hundred and forty one passengers were absolutely delighted by the ten hour delay. The men are expected to appear at Paisley Sheriff Court on Monday. Police Scotland said that the pilots were arrested in connection with alleged offences under the Railways and Transport/Safety Act 2003 (section ninety three). This covers 'carrying out pilot function or activity while exceeding the prescribed limit of alcohol.' United Airlines said that the pilots, both believed to be US citizens, had been 'removed from service' and their flying duties 'pending an investigation.' A spokesman said that the safety of customers and crew 'is their highest priority.' Two Canadian pilots appeared in court in July after also being arrested at Glasgow Airport on suspicion of being impaired through alcohol. Captain Jean-Francois Perreault and Imran Zafar Syed were due to fly an Air Transat plane with three hundred and forty five passengers and nine crew on board. They were released on bail and are due to return to court at a later date.
A miniature marsupial lion, extinct for at least eighteen million years, has been named after Sir David Attenborough after its fossilised remains were found in a remote part of Australia. Teeth and bone fragments from the kitten-sized predator, named Microleo attenboroughi, were found in limestone deposits at the Riversleigh World Heritage Fossil site in Queensland. The researchers named the new species after the British broadcasting legend because of his work promoting the famous fossil site, which provides a record of nearly twenty five million years of Australia's natural history. When Microleo was still prowling around, in the early Miocene era (roughly nineteen million years ago), the arid, outback ecosystem was a lush rainforest. 'It likely ran through the treetops, gobbling up birds, frogs, lizards and insects,' says Doctor Anna Gillespie, a palaeontologist at the University of New South Wales. Gillespie, who has been working at Riversleigh and preparing fossils for twenty years, helped recover fragments of the animal's skull and several teeth. It is far from a complete skeleton, but it's an important part of the puzzle. 'Crucially, we have got the third premolar, which is an elongated tooth that looks like a blade,' Gillespie told the BBC. The razor-sharp tooth, used to tear up prey, is a common feature found in all known members of the family. 'It immediately tells us it's a marsupial lion,' she says. The fossil was found in a location at Riversleigh known as Neville's Garden, which has become renowned for its rich diversity of animals. It has yielded bandicoots, possums, kangaroos, toothed platypuses, small koalas, thousands of bats, fish, turtles, lizards, pythons and a range of rainforest birds. 'My colleagues have been working at Riversleigh for forty years,' says Gillespie. 'In that time we have processed tonnes of limestone, and got thousands and thousands of fossils back, but this is the only specimen from this animal. So it's rather enigmatic in this way. It might have been a rare species in that ecosystem, but we still have to hunt for more.'
FIFA president Gianni Infantino had a wine cellar converted and antique furniture removed from his office as part of his pledge to champion reform in the organisation. The former UEFA General Secretary was elected in February as successor to the disgraced and disgraceful Sepp Blatter, who is currently serving a six-year ban from football after being found very guilty of a breach of ethics relating to a payment made to ex-UEFA chief Michel Platini in 2011. Infantino was investigated by FIFA's Ethics Committee over alleged breaches of conduct, which included a failure to sign an employment contract and flights taken during the first few months of his presidency. Infantino was cleared of any possible violation, however, and has now spoken at length about his attempts to inspire FIFA's clean-up operation from within - starting with alterations to Blatter's office. He told Blick: 'I wanted to replace the heavy baroque furniture in my predecessor's office. In the next room, there was a wine cellar and a sofa. I wanted to customise the office to my needs. I said: "Look in the store room, there will probably be something there we can use." Now the old furniture is gone and I have normal office furnishings from the basement, at no extra cost.'

An unusual traffic hazard backed up traffic on West Dodge, Nebraska during Thursday's evening rush hour traffic. Officials said that an unknown truck 'accidentally' dumped its load of dead pigs onto West Dodge just before 5pm. Westbound traffic slowed as road-crews worked to move the pigs off the roadway.
Yer actual Keith Telly Topping's beloved (though unsellable) Newcastle United made it three straight Championship wins in a row to end Brighton & Hove Albinos' unbeaten start to the season. Jamaal Lascelles headed the Magpies in-front from Matt Ritchie's free-kick before Yoan Gouffran hit the bar with a thunderous twenty five-yard shot at a St James' Park once again packed to the rafters with a rockin' forty nine thousand crowd. Anthony Knockaert also struck the woodwork for the visitors but they were then reduced to ten men when Sam Baldock was sent off for two yellow cards. Jonjo Shelvey curled in a delightful free-kick to wrap up a comfortable win for the bonny Toon. Newcastle began the season with horrible, knackerless back-to-back defeats to Fulham and Huddersfield Town, but since then victories over Reading, Bristol City and now Brighton - plus a cup win against Cheltenham - have seen them go into the international break fourth in the Championship table and on the back of four straight victories and three clean sheets in all competitions. Even without injured strike duo Dwight Gayle and Aleksandar Mitrovic (both concussed during Wednesday night's bruising cup win over Cheltenham) United had far too much quality for Brighton. Lascelles' free header from fifteen yards gave them the perfect start and they created several other clear chances as Ritchie saw a shot saved by David Stockdale, while Gouffran also hit a half-volley narrowly over the bar. Glenn Murray had a volley blocked by Lascelles and Knockaert hit the bar with a shot from ten yards as the visitors started the second half brightly. But, once Baldock was shown a second yellow card for a shockingly late challenge on home keeper Matz Sels, the result was never in serious doubt. Shelvey's free-kick doubled the lead and, although Sels produced a fine late save to deny Beram Kayal, Newcastle comfortably completed a first win over Brighton & Hove Albinos since 1990.
     As a sign of the way in which Rafa The Gaffer has completely overhauled Newcastle's shamefully inept and wasteful recent transfer policy, United have signed a total of ten players during the current summer transfer window - Matz Sels, Matt Ritchie, Dwight Gayle, Jesus Gamez, Isaac Hayden, Grant Hanley, Ciaran Clark, Mohamed Diame, DeAndre Yedlin and, most recently Daryl Murphy - with at least one further arrival (Achraf Lazaar) expected. Brentford's Alan Judge is also a reported target according to some media sources although he is currently injured and unlikely to play before Christmas. Meanwhile fifteen of last season's at times criminally under-performing squad of overpaid greedy cowards have been shipped out either permanently or, on-loan with a view to permanency. Some of these are players whom supporters have been, broadly speaking, sorry to see go - well one, Tim Krul, basically - a few did some good service in the past but whose time had clearly long-since passed - Steven Taylor, Gael Bigirimana, Kevin Mbabu and particularly Papiss Cisse and Fabricio Coloccini - a few were waste-of-space-and-money cowards with, admittedly, some ability but who seemed to play when they fancied it (which wasn't often) - Andros Townsend, Gini Wijnaldum, Daryl Janmaat - some were waste-of-space-and-money cowards with no obvious ability who, frankly, took the sodding piss - Sylvain Marveaux, Gabriel Obertan, Remy Cabella, Florian Thauvin, Henri Saivet - and then there was Siem De Jong who spent so much time on the treatment table there seemed a genuine possibility at one stage that he would have to be humanely destroyed. If we can find any daft planks with more money than sense to take them off our hands in the next few days, they could be joined by further unwanted shameful greedy cowards Moussa Sissoko and Cheick Tiote, both of whom have been Newcastle United players 'in theory only' for about the last eighteen months. Sammy Ameobi's future also remains uncertain after a frankly disastrous loan-spell with Cardiff City last season whilst, frequently injured mega-flop Emmanuel Riviere, Haris Vučkić and Lubomir Satka are also, seemingly, running down the time on their - one presumes, extremely well-paid - contracts.

England's cricket team produced another polished display to beat Pakistan at Lord's and take a two-nil lead in the one-day series. Having won easily at the Ageas Bowl on Wednesday, England reduced the tourists to two for three courtesy of impressive new-ball spells from Mark Wood and Chris Woakes. Sarfraz Ahmed scored a superb one hundred and five and Imad Wasim struck sixty three not out to salvage a competitive total of two hundred and fifty one for the tourists. But, Joe Root's eighty nine and sixty eight from captain Eoin Morgan helped England to a four-wicket win with fifteen balls to spare. England's victory is their first in an ODI at Lord's since 2012, having lost their previous three at the ground. They have now won ten of the past eleven ODIs against Pakistan and take a twelve-eight advantage in the so-called 'super series' to Trent Bridge for the third game of the five-match series. Despite the green wicket at Lord's, Pakistan captain Azhar Ali opted to bat first after winning the toss. It would quickly prove to be a terrible decision as Woakes and Wood tore into the tourists' top order. Sarfraz joined the game with his side in dire straits but produced a classy innings to become the first Pakistan player to score a one-day century at Lord's. With a strike-rate of 80.76 his was a constrained innings by modern one-day standards but a crucial contribution for his side to avoid embarrassment. The wicketkeeper-batsman was the constant in three fifty-plus partnerships with Babar Azam (thirty), Shoaib Malik (twenty eight) and Imad to take his side past two hundred. Shortly after reaching his century he survived being given out LBW when a review showed Liam Plunkett's off-cutter was missing leg stump. But soon after, in trying to accelerate the scoring towards the end of the innings, he swept an Adil Rashid ball straight to Alex Hales at deep mid-wicket. This left Imad, who hit cleanly to pass fifty but regularly lost partners, including Wahab Riaz to a superb one-handed diving catch from Plunkett. Imad was last man standing when Wood and Woakes returned to add a third wicket each to their haul and help dismiss Pakistan with a ball to spare. The innings did little to dismiss criticism that Pakistan have failed to adapt to what is now a big-hitting, fast-scoring limited overs game. England briefly threatened to replicate Pakistan's start when Jason Roy played on to Mohammad Amir off the second ball of the chase. Alex Hales' poor recent form continued as he was bowled attempting a slog-sweep off spinner Imad to leave the home side vulnerable at thirty five for two. But in Root and Morgan, England have two players whose temperament is matched by their ability and inventiveness to find run-scoring gaps in the field. They took the game away from Pakistan, adding one hundred and twelve together, during which Root became the eleventh England player to score four consecutive ODI fifties and Morgan reached his first half-century in thirteen innings. After Morgan was bowled by Imad, Ben Stokes scored a typically rapid forty two from thirty balls to strengthen England's position so that even his dismissal and the subsequent loss of Jos Buttler and Root could not prevent an England victory.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

China Crisis

Unlike the previous example from the last bloggerisationisms update, Peeping Tom probably does just about live up to this hype of the poster. Or, at least, that poster. Not sure about these two.
Anyway, the BBC has apparently sold the rights to theme tunes and music from hit shows including Luther, Doctor Who and Wolf Hall. BMG, the music company with artists including the late David Bowie, Pink Floyd's Roger Waters, Saint Keef Richards and Sir Mick Jagger and awful old hairies Iron Maiden, has snapped up the potentially highly lucrative rights to more than one thousand copyrights to theme tunes, background music and music cues in BBC shows. BBC Worldwide, the commercial arm of the BBC, only looks to sell the music rights to shows once every five or so years when it has built a decent archive of music from more recent shows according to the Gruniad Morning Star. Under the terms of the deal, BMG has acquired the rights to theme tunes from hit BBC programmes including Mrs Brown's Boys and Frozen Planet as well as background, or incidental, music from Doctor Who and Wolf Hall. The catalogue includes works by BAFTA-nominated composers including Murray Gold, for Doctor Who, Paul Englishby for Luther and Debbie Wiseman for Wolf Hall. Alexi Cory-Smith, the executive vice-president of BMG UK, said: 'It is a real honour to be entrusted with these great BBC works. Shows like Luther, Doctor Who and Mrs Brown's Boys and many others in this catalogue are household names. We are committed to providing them with similarly unrivalled service and transparency.' While BMG will now have the right to exploit the music for commercial use by companies including advertisers, studios and advertising agencies, the BBC will retain a tight rein on ensuring that its assets are not exploited 'negatively.' BBC Worldwide has a similar brand protection in place in its deal with Immediate Media, which publishes its portfolio of magazines including Radio Times and Top Gear Magazine, with the corporation continuing to have 'brand oversight' of its key assets. 'We're looking forward to working with BMG to ensure the value of these compositions continues to be properly and appropriately recognised,' said Dominic Walker, the director of radio and music at BBC Worldwide. BMG owns a range of music catalogues including Chrysalis, which includes artists such as Blondie and David Gray, and Virgin Music, which includes publishing rights for Tears For Fears, Take That, Robbie Williams, Nirvana and Iggy Pop.
TV Comedy Moment of the Week: From The North cult favourite yer actual Victoria Coren Mitchell showing viewers the 'perfectly straightforward' ways in which teams progress to the next round on Only Connect.
Here, dear blog reader, are the final and consolidated ratings figures for the Top Ten programmes, week-ending Sunday 14 August 2016:-
1 Olympics 2016 - Sun BBC1 - 8.18m
2 Coronation Street - Wed ITV - 7.08m
3 EastEnders - Thurs BBC1 - 6.63m
4 Emmerdale - Tues ITV - 6.04m
5 BBC News - Sun BBC1 - 5.12m
6 Brief Encounters - Mon ITV - 5.07m
7 Olympic 2016 - Mon BBC2 - 4.94m
8 Six O'Clock News - Wed BBC1 - 4.88m
9 Ten O'Clock News - Fri BBC1 - 4.66m
10 Long Lost Family - Wed ITV - 3.78m
Obviously with Olympic coverage dominating BBC1, BBC2 and BBC4's schedule, this particular week's list is somewhat shorter than usual. Don't worry, dear blog reader, we'll be back to normal in a couple of weeks. These consolidated figures include all viewers who watched programmes live and on catch-up during the seven days after initial broadcast, but do not include those who watched on BBC's iPlayer or ITV Player via their computers. Among the highlights of BBC1's Olympics programmes were Sunday evening collection of Max Whitlock and Louis Smith in the gymnastics, Mark Cavandish in the cycling, Andy Murray in the tennis and Usain Bolt in the one hundred metres (8.18 million), Monday's team gymnastics, diving and rugby sevens (6.79 million) and Wednesday's cycling, shooting, canoeing and swimming medal successes for Britain (6.15 million). On BBC2, aside from their own Olympic programming, Inside The Factory: How Our Favourite Foods Are Made was the channel's most-watched non-Olympic programme of the week with 2.32 million viewers; Dragon's Den had 2.34 million. Match of The Day 2 attracted 2.20 million, followed by Gardeners' World (2.16 million), Brexit: The Battle For Britain (1.95 million), Full Steam Ahead (1.88 million), Only Connect (1.85 million) and University Challenge by 1.64 million. The movie Captain America: The First Avenger was Channel Four's highest-rated broadcast of the week (1.98 million), followed by Nine, Nine, Nine: What's Your Emergency (1.85 million), Location, Location, Location (1.74 million), The Supervet: Bionic Specials (1.70 million), shameful and wretched pile of festering attention-seeking faeces Naked Attraction (1.65 million) and Celebrity First Dates (1.59 million). A particularly good episode of Eight Out Of Ten Cats Does Countdown was seen by 1.57 million. Channel Five's top performer was, inevitably, sick Victorian freak show Z-List Celebrity Big Brothers - with 2.01 million - ahead of The Dog Rescuers With Alan Davies (1.24 million), GPs: Behind Closed Doors (1.12 million), Neighbours (eight hundred and eighty thousand) and Cricket On Five (seven hundred and two thousand). None of the Sky Sports channels appears to have submitted any data to BARB for this particular week - presumably because they were too ashamed to admit how badly the BBC's Olympic coverage had hit them, hard, in the knackers till their eyes watered. Thus, this blogger is unable to supply the usual data for Sky Sports 1, Sky Sports 2, Sky Sports 3, Sky Sports 4, Sky Sports 5, Sky Sports News (although Gillette Soccer Saturday's first episode of the new premier League season would, likely, have been the most watched programme there) and Sky Sports F1. Endeavour was ITV3's top-rated drama (1.06 million viewers). Lewis was seen by nine hundred and forty seven thousand, Foyle's War by six hundred and thirty six thousand and Doc Martin by five hundred and forty nine thousand. Paul O'Grady: For The Love Of Dogs was watched by four hundred and forty thousand people with, presumably, nothing better to do with their time. Benidorm headed ITV4's weekly list with three hundred and fifteen thousand whilst Mister Bean was watched by three hundred and ten thousand. Why, for the love of God, why? ITV2's most-watched broadcast of the week was the movie The Hobbit: The Desolation Of Smaug, which drew eight hundred and two thousand viewers. Family Guy repeat had seven hundred and fourteen thousand. The Americans headed ITV Encore's top ten with sixty eight thousand viewers, narrowly ahead of the seven hundred and fifty ninths repeat of Vera (which had sixty seven thousand). BBC4's list was, like BBC1 and BBC2, dominated by Olympics coverage, with Thursday night's programme - featuring handball, volleyball, judo, fencing and basketball,plus Britain's Semi-Final win in the rugby sevens over South Africa - attracting a whopping 1.47 million viewers, at that time one of the highlight audiences in the channel's history. (Though, that figure would soon be beaten two or three times in the following days on overnights alone.) Sky1's weekly top-ten was headed Zoo (four hundred and fifty nine thousand), The Last Ship (three hundred and eighty two thousand), Don't Tell The Bride (three hundred and seventy nine thousand) and The Simpsons (three hundred and sixty three thousand). Sky Atlantic's list was topped by Ray Donovan (two hundred and fifty one thousand). Ballers was seen by one hundred and forty one thousand, Band Of Brothers by one hundred and twelve thousand and Last Week Tonight With John Oliver by one hundred and six thousand. On Sky Living, Shades Of Blue drew four hundred and eighty two thousand, Chicago Fire had four hundred and forty seven thousand, Unforgettable, four hundred and eight thousand and Criminal Minds, one hundred and ninety eight thousand. Sky Arts' Master Of Photography attracted an audience of ninety eight thousand. Discovering Film drew forty two thousand, Dag had thirty one thousand and Legends In Concert: Dean Martin got twenty seven thousand. 5USA's Chicago PD was watched by four hundred and eighty seven thousand viewers. NCIS: Los Angeles attracted four hundred and one thousand, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, three hundred and eighty nine thousand and NCIS, three hundred and sixteen thousand. NCIS also topped the weekly top-ten for CBS Action (one hundred and one thousand). FOX's list included Outcast (three hundred and twenty six thousand), Someone Knows My Name (two hundred and fifty nine thousand), Family Guy (one hundred and forty five thousand), Tyrant (one hundred and thirty two thousand) and NCIS (one hundred and twenty four thousand). The Universal Channel's list was headed by Mister Robot (one hundred and sixty one thousand), Motive (one hundred and twenty one thousand) and another, older, episode of NCIS (one hundred and seven thousand). On Dave, Suits was the highest-rated programme with three hundred and ninety five thousand punters. That was followed by Mock The Week (two hundred and sixty three thousand), Qi (two hundred and fifty seven thousand) and Would I Lie To You? (two hundred and forty nine thousand). Drama's Judge John Deed was watched by three hundred and thirty nine thousand viewers. The Doctor Blake Mysteries had two hundred and ninety three thousand, as did Silent Witness. Alibi's highest-rated programme was Rosewood (three hundred and twenty nine thousand), followed by New Tricks (one hundred and seventy seven thousand), Father Brown (one hundred and thirty seven thousand), Inspector George Gently (one hundred and sixteen thousand) and Rizzoli & Isles (one hundred and thirteen thousand). The latest episode of Yesterday's repeat run of One Foot In The Grave was seen by two hundred and twenty six thousand. The Two Ronnies was watched by one hundred and ninety six thousand, Jeeves & Wooster by one hundred and eighty eight thousand and 'Allo 'Allo also by one hundred and eighty eight thousand. On the Discovery Channel, Yukon Men's latest series continued with ninety nine thousand viewers. Misfit Garage had an audience of ninety seven thousand, Street Outlaws was watched by eighty six thousand, Alaskan Bush People by eighty four thousand and Deadliest Catch by seventy nine thousand. Discovery History's Hitler: Germany's Fatal Attraction topped the weekly-list with twenty six thousand viewers, whilst War Digs With Harry HarrisAl Murray's Road To Berlin and Time Team all attracted twenty six thousand. On Discovery Science, How It's Made was seen by sixty six thousand viewers. Discovery Turbo's most-watched programmes was, as usual, the cult favourite Wheeler Dealers (forty four thousand). Bitchin' Rides had thirty three thousand. National Geographic's list was headed by Yukon Gold which had seventy four thousand viewers. The History Channel's top-ten was led by The Bastard Executioner (one hundred and twenty one thousand). On Military History, One Thousand Ways To Die was watched by forty one thousand. Dateline With Tamzin Outhwaite, The Perfect Murder and Murder On CCTV were ID's top-rated programmes of the week (with forty thousand viewers, thirty eight thousand and thirty six thousand Murder-lovers respectively). Killer Kids and Behind Bars: World's Toughest Prisons headed CI's list (sixty three thousand and sixty thousand). Crimes That Shook Australia and Crimes That Shook Britain both attracted fifty two thousand. Wouldn't it be, like, totally amazing if it was the same fifty two thousand punters? But, it probably wasn't. GOLD's repeat of Fawlty Towers drew one hundred and forty four thousand. Comedy Central's largest audience of the week was for an episode of Friends (one hundred and twelve thousand). Your TV's Snapped: Killer Couples had sixty one thousand viewers. On More4, Phil Spenser's Stately Homes was the highest rated programme with four hundred and ninety four thousand. Come Dine With Me attracted three hundred and forty four thousand. E4's latest episode of Hollyoaks drew nine hundred and ninety thousand viewers. The Horror Channel's broadcast of American Haunting attracted one hundred and twenty thousand viewers. Nude Nuns With Big Guns had eighty five thousand viewers who, obviously, were in no way attracted by the perfectly extraordinary title (for what was, in fact, a very ordinary movie!) Dark Matter, headed Syfy's top-ten with three hundred and sixty five thousand. Countdown To A Catastrophe had thirty two thousand on Eden. Tanked was the Animal Planet's most-watched programme with thirty nine thousand. On W, Tuesday night's EastEnders repeat was seen by one hundred and ninety seven thousand,followed by One Born Every Minute (one hundred and seventy five thousand) and Doctor Who (one hundred and fifteen thousand for a repeat of Deep Breath). Wynonna Earp was watched by one hundred and eighty one thousand on Spike. Car Crash TV drew one hundred and seventy five thousand.

The BBC achieved a record television audience for an overseas Olympics as over forty five million punters tuned-in to Rio 2016. A total of 11.1 million viewers watched Jason Kenny win the Keirin cycling gold on BBC1, on Tuesday evening. In an almost unbearably tense final Kenny managed to hold his nerve and take his third medal at these Olympics, adding to the titles he won in the team and individual sprints and, in the process, managed to push the Ten O'Clock News back to 11.30pm! Twice the race was stopped after riders appeared to break the rules by passing the motorised derny as it left the track. BBC2 and BBC4 also had their highest viewing figures of 2016. BBC Sport's online coverage set new records, reaching 68.3 million online devices in the UK and 102.3 million globally. The biggest single day for digital traffic was Sunday 14 August with nineteen million unique browsers across the world. That date became known as 'Super Sunday' after Great Britain won five gold medals, making it the country's most successful day at an overseas Olympics ever. Mark Cavendish helped BBC2 reach a peak audience of 7.5 million when he won silver in the Omnium on Monday 15 August, while BBC4 drew in a 2016 high of 3.4 million viewers. Barbara Slater, the BBC director of sport, said: 'We are delighted that so many people came to the BBC for our Olympics coverage and joined us in celebrating the extraordinary success of Team GB. We are incredibly proud to bring moments of national significance such as these magnificent games to the widest possible audience.' A total of 29.3 million global browsers have followed the games in Rio via live pages on the BBC Sport website and app with streams, text updates, clips, medal tables, schedules and catch-up. No fewer than thirty million UK browsers have streamed the action on BBC iPlayer and on BBC Sport. The most popular streamed event was the men's singles tennis final, in which 1.9 million browsers followed Andy Murray as he retained his Olympic title by beating Juan Martin Del Potro. The total of 'unique browsers' is calculated by the number of devices - televisions, computers, mobile phones and so forth - being used to view online coverage, which is why it was possible for the UK digital audience to total 68.3 million, even though that is, actually, greater than the country's population (unless there are about three million immigrants that nobody knows about. For God's sake nobody tell UKiP or we'll never hear the end of it). Ben Gallop, BBC Sport's head of digital and radio, said: 'With Team GB performing heroics, we wanted to deliver all the medal moments and breathtaking action to audiences wherever they were online - and in doing so we're delighted BBC Sport has cemented its position as the number one digital destination for sport.'

The Rio Olympics ended with a spectacular carnival-inspired closing ceremony on Sunday night and the official handover to 2020 hosts Tokyo. The colourful ceremony, lasting almost three hours, celebrated Brazil's arts and was held in a wet Maracana Stadium. Among the highlights were Tokyo's impressive showcase and a vibrant carnival parade. 'These were a marvellous Olympics, in a marvellous city,' claimed International Olympic Committee chief Thomas Bach. 'Over the last sixteen days a united Brazil inspired the world, in difficult times for all of us, with its irresistible joy for life.'

Bach officially closed the games of the thirty first Olympiad after sixteen days of competition, featuring eleven thousand three hundred and three athletes from two hundred and six nations and a refugee team. He closed by, as is traditional, inviting 'the youth of the world' to assemble in four year time in Tokyo 'to celebrate the thirty second Olympiad.' One of the biggest cheers of the night came when Japan's Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe, appeared dressed as the computer game character Super Mario, rising out of a huge green pipe in the stadium. If you saw that, and thought you were on drugs, dear blog reader, now, it really did happen. The ceremony, watched by billions around the world, featured the parade of athletes and a dramatic extinguishing of the Olympic flame.
Women's hockey captain Kate Richardson-Walsh carried the flag for Great Britain, who finished the games with sixty seven medals - their highest tally at an overseas Olympics. The ceremony featured the symbolic handover of the Olympic flag. Rio mayor Eduardo Paes returned it to IOC president Bach, before it was passed to Tokyo governor Yuriko Koike. That was followed by an impressive twelve-minute showcase of Tokyo, which included Prime Minister Abe's star turn. The Rio games brought first ever Olympic medals for Fiji, Jordan and Kosovo - and all three opened their accounts with gold, Fiji in the first Olympic rugby sevens competition. Competitors from Bahrain, Puerto Rico, Singapore, Vietnam and Tajikistan, too, won their first ever Olympic titles. Twenty-seven world records were set in Rio within the seven Olympic sports that recognise them - archery, athletics, modern pentathlon, track cycling, shooting, swimming and weightlifting. Don't you just wish, dear blog reader, that they still made movie posters like this, part the second. Brazil's Olympics took off when Rio native Rafaela Silva won judo gold on day three. And, they finished on a high as their men's volleyball team beat Italy for gold on the closing day of the games. The hosts finished thirteenth in the medal table with nineteen medals, seven of which were gold. None got a bigger reception than when Neymar scored the winning penalty in the shootout as Brazil beat Germany to win their first men's Olympic football gold. It came in front of seventy eight thousand fans in the Maracana, two years after Germany had thrashed hosts Brazil seven-one in the 2014 World Cup semi-finals. The build-up to the games was dominated by the Russian doping scandal, fears over the Zika virus and issues with the city's security, infrastructure and venues. The games were not affected by any major incidents, but they did not pass without some hitches: There were scores of empty seats at many venue, controversial decisions marred the boxing tournament, there were security problems, including a bullet shot into the media tent at the equestrian venue and a media bus being attacked, the layout of the cycling road race course was heavily criticised after several riders were injured in accidents, the Russian swimmer Yuliya Efimova, who had previously been banned for doping, was repeatedly - and disgracefully - booed for the dreadful crime of 'trying to jump higher than a Brazilian.' And, of course, there was the saga of the diving pool turning a livid shade of green. You, literally, couldn't make it up. Although, as it happens, US swimmer Ryan Lochte did. The gold medallist was - eventually, after much prodding - forced to grovellingly apologise to the people of Brazil for 'over-exaggerating' claims that he and three team-mates were robbed at gunpoint in Rio. Or, lying, in other words. The IOC announced in June that a group of ten refugee athletes would compete in an Olympics for the first time. The team of swimmers, judokas and runners competed under the flag of the IOC. 'We are equal now,' said marathon runner Yonas Kinde, who is originally from Ethiopia. 'We compete like human beings, like the others.' Elsewhere, USA's Abbey D'Agostino and New Zealand's Nikki Hamblin were given fair play awards after stopping to help each other during their five thousand metres Semi-Final. And, there were several proposals as the love bug bit Rio. One of the hottest tickets in town seemed to be for Dan Walker's BBC4 Olympic coverage from Copacabana beach. Highlights included a Brazilian hen party popping in, which ended with Dan getting an invitation to the wedding and, of course, the Copacabinmen.
Now, dear blog reader, as previously noted on this blog the other day, Gracenote Sports is a website which creates 'a Virtual Medal Table' for the Olympic games 'based on data from events with world fields from London 2012 up to Rio 2016.' Or, it guesses who's going to win what, in other words. The website's pre-games predictions were: in first place US - thirty eight golds, eighty eight medals in total; second China - twenty nine golds, seventy one in total; third Great Britain - eighteen golds, fifty six medals in total. So, that would be wrong, wrong and very wrong in that order. What do you do for an encore, guys? Predict the Grand National will be won 'by a horse'? Gracenote's 'head of analysis,' (or, 'head of guessing') Simon Gleave, told BBC Sport: 'The seventy total medals for China and twenty six golds came very close to our Virtual Medal Table's pre-Olympic prediction of seventy one and twenty nine.' Yeah close. A bit like Tom Daley was close to making the diving final on Saturday. 'However,' he continued, 'it is that slight underperformance in gold medals which allowed Great Britain to take second place in the medal table. Initially, it looked as though it would be close for second place, with China just taking it, but the surprise gold medals from Nick Skelton and the women's hockey team made Great Britain the most likely country to finish second. Beating the London total of sixty five medals was a realistic possibility once Britain won nine medals on 16 August - the best day's medal haul since Beijing 2008.' Or, in slightly less bullshitting words 'China won less medals than we thought they would, Britain won more. We guessed. We got it wrong. Sorry.'
Gleave suggested that Britain had 'outperformed' in track cycling, artistic gymnastics, diving and flat-water canoeing. 'All provided more gold medals than the data suggested,' he added. All of which is jolly interesting considering that three days into the games, Gleave was busy really bigging up the website's pre-tournament claims ('Obviously we get some medals wrong but generally, most right,' claimed Gleave very arrogantly) when the BBC website contacted him for some quotes for a think-piece they were doing on the number of fourth-placed finishes British athletes had got in those early days of competition. In that same interview, Gleave suggested that the British team were 'underperforming' (the only other team to do so, he stated, were Mongolia). Interestingly, after three subsequent days of Britain not 'underperforming' or anything even remotely like it, suddenly Gleave - who, remember, doesn't get many predictions wrong - had revised his 'expected medals total' up to sixty. Wrong again, Si. You're really not very good at this malarkey, are you? 'Predicting medals per event is a very challenging process, particularly if trying to get the colour of the medal correct,' he later weaselled to the Beeb. Which, kind of renders your 'job' as 'head of analysis' somewhat redundant one could suggest, y'daft plank. As previously noted by this blog, just stick to guessing in future, Si me auld sparra, it's served most of us very well over the years. And, if this bloke tells you who he predicts is going to win the US Presidential election, dear blog reader, be sure you put your mortgage on whoever he's predicted to lose.
Next ...
Only twenty years ago, Great British were languishing thirty sixth in the Atlanta Olympics medal table, their entire team securing only a single gold between them - Redgrave and Pinsent in the rowing. As that nadir was being reached back in 1996, and various tabloids were going down the 'why are we so rubbish?' route, a pivotal change had already taken place. The advent of the National Lottery in 1994 and the decision of John Major's government to allocate significant streams of its revenue to elite Olympic sport, set in motion a funding spree unprecedented in British sport. From just five million smackers per year before Atlanta, UK Sport's spending leaped to fifty four million quid by Sydney in 2000, where Britain won twenty eight medals - their best performances since the 1920s - and leaped to tenth on the medal table, a performance which was slightly bettered in Athens in 2004 and smashed in Beijing in 2008. By the time of London 2012 - third in the medal table, sixty five medals - that spending had climbed to two hundred and sixty four million notes. Between 2013 and 2017, almost three hundred and fifty knicker in mainly lottery funds will have been lavished on Olympic and Paralympic sports. While the financial support is welcome and is a significant reason behind the stunning improvement, that funding brings its own pressures. A more professional environment with all the coaching, nutritional, scientific support has allowed supremely talented individuals to prosper, but there is now an expectation to succeed and with so many sports fighting for the cash pot, failure results in funding cuts. About three-quarters of Britain's total Olympic funding comes directly from the National Lottery, making it broadly immune from many of the cuts that have affected much of the government's spending since 2008. It has reinvigorated some sports and altered others beyond recognition. Gymnastics, given nothing at all before Atlanta, received £5.9 million for Sydney and £14.6 million in the current cycle. In Rio, Max Whitlock won two gymnastics golds; his team-mates delivered another silver and three bronzes. As a talented teenage swimmer, Adam Peaty relied on fundraising events laid on by family and friends to pay for his travel and training costs. That changed in 2012, when he was awarded a grant of fifteen grand and his coach was placed on an elite coaching programme. In Rio, Peaty became the first British male to win a swimming gold in twenty eight years - much to the green-eyed fury of the rest of the world who mutter, darkly about how the British manage to keep beating them. Britain's tally of six golds continued their amazing success in track cycling, in which they have won twenty of the thirty golds on offer over the past three games. Of those wins, twelve have come in individual races - to Sir Chris Hoy (three), Jason Kenny (three), Laura Trott (two), Victoria Pendleton (two), Sir Bradley Wiggins and Rebecca Romero. The other eight were won in team events. Such success has made cycling Britain's top sport by a very wide margin, with twenty five golds from the past five Olympics, almost double the amount achieved in rowing - Britain's second-most successful sport over the same period. Rowing was, in fact, Britain's best-funded sport in the last Olympic cycle, awarded £32.6 million by UK Sport. Cycling was second, receiving £30.2 million. Despite winning three golds and two silver medals in Rio, rowing fell one short of its minimum medal target of six. It was one of two sports that narrowly failed to live up to pre-games expectations, with GB's modern pentathletes failing to win a medal after being set a minimum target of one (archery, fencing and weightlifting were not set a medal target). Otherwise every other sport in which Britain was targeted to win at least one medal met, or exceeded, those expectations. Cycling winning twelve medals - six of them gold - beat the maximum target of ten it was set. Which was nice. Particularly as it got the Aussies and the French and the Germans all stroppy and discombobulated. And, that's never a bad thing. (There's actually a very good piece on the BBC Sport website about the French reaction to Britain's success, which is both illuminating and, in a way, rather sad.)
Of course if, like that tosser in the Gruniad the other day, you want to have a right good whinge about paying for all this success, dear blog reader, here's something for you to consider.
Dunno about anyone else, but this blogger reckons that's, actually a price broadly speaking worth paying. It's also worth noting at this juncture that a single issue of the Gruniad Morning Star costs two pounds per day. You know what the answer to all this malarkey is, don't you?
Among the other highly readable articles on BBC Sports' Rio Olympics round-up are: Funniest moments of the games, Did the IOC's gamble pay off or did Brazil fail to deliver?, Cutest animals, and other alternative prizes, Miranda Hart's love letter to Team GB and the greatest show on Earth in stats.

'Like every other sports nut in the country I'm sleep-deprived,' writes yer actual Keith Telly Topping's favourite TV reviewer, the Metro's Keith Watson. However, Keith had a few complaints, noting that Judy Murray 'wasn't the only one with her finger poised over the mute button as the English language got mashed into submission by commentators who favoured fanboy cheerleading over describing what was actually happening.' The gold medal in Keith's table 'for Most Mutable Presenter' goes to Gabby Logan. 'For someone who once came third for Wales at cartwheeling or something. Logan certainly knows everything there isn't to know about athletics. Never one to pipe down And let Michael Johnson speak sense, she had me muting for Britain.' Also attracting yer man Watto's ire was 'the miseries who complained about BBC4 being used for something other than documentaries about canals and Victorian undergarments- seriously, can't you exist for a fortnight without those?' What, Victorian undergarments? Sixteen days without them and yer bits might be a bit chaffed, Keith mate. Trust one who knows.
And, speaking of keks, Mongolia wrestler Ganzorigiin Mandakhnaran's coaches stripped-off in protest at the judges' decision against him in his bronze-medal match. It was quite a sight,to be honest. Mandakhnaran was leading against his opponent, Ikhtiyor Navruzov of Uzbekistan, by seven points to six and was on his way to a bronze medal in freestyle wrestling for his weight class. But he celebrated too soon - he danced around Navruzov for the last eighteen seconds and the judges penalised him for 'not engaging in the fight.' Then, after his corner appealed, the judges just gave the medal to Navruzov. Ganzorig's coaches exploded with rage, took their shoes off to throw them at the floor and ended up stripping in protest. Mandakhnaran did not get the medal back.
The authoritarian leader of Turkmenistan, Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov, has criticised the country's sports officials and athletes after the ex-Soviet Central Asian nation failed to win any medals at the Olympics. 'It's disappointing that even with all the facilities provided, you could not justify the trust of the motherland,' Berdymukhamedov - who is, obviously, not a mental nor nothing - told the sports committee chief, Kaakbay Seiidov, in an angry encounter shown on state television. Turkmenistan, which has a population of around five million, has never won any Olympic medals, but the fitness-loving Berdymukhamedov likes to cast the energy-rich country as a haven for sports enthusiasts and warned Seiidov to 'make good on these shortcomings in the near future or face the sack.' In April, state employees were coerced into performing pre-work, open-air fitness exercises as part of an annual month-long drive to boost healthy lifestyles. Berdymukhamedov - who, to repeat, is definitely not a mental - is regularly shown on television playing sports and, on occasion, winning horse races. Turkmenistan was represented in Rio by nine athletes across five disciplines. Turkmenistan's neighbours Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan both enjoyed their best-ever medal hauls at Summer Games, taking seventeen and thirteen medals respectively.
The United States Socher Federation announced on Wednesday that it has suspended mouthy full-of-her-own-importance bad loser Hope Solo for six months for her disgraceful comments after the US women's football team's Olympic Quarter-Final loss to Sweden. Solo described the Swedes as 'cowards' following the match, which America lost on penalties after a one-all draw. Solo's US national team contract has also been terminated with immediate effect, although she reportedly will still be able to play for her club team, the NWSL's Seattle Reign. US Socher president, Sunil Gulati, said in a statement that he had 'private conversations' with Solo about her conduct - which have been controversial in the past - and that those 'played into' the suspension. 'The comments by Hope Solo after the match against Sweden during the 2016 Olympics were unacceptable and do not meet the standard of conduct we require from our National Team players,' Gulati said. 'Beyond the athletic arena, and beyond the results, the Olympics celebrate and represent the ideals of fair play and respect. We expect all of our representatives to honour those principles, with no exceptions. Taking into consideration the past incidents involving Hope, as well as the private conversations we've had requiring her to conduct herself in a manner befitting a US National Team member, US Socher determined this is the appropriate disciplinary action.' Some of Solo's teammates spoke out publicly after the Sweden game, saying that they were 'disappointed' with Solo's comments. 'That's not our team,' midfielder Megan Rapinoe said. 'That's not what this team has always been. That's not what this team will be in the future. It's frustrating sometimes as an athlete, you're thrust into the spotlight and I think this team has always done a really amazing job of understanding that we have this incredible platform, let's do something good with it. Let's inspire, let's be badass, let's be fierce, let's be competitive. But we're gracious and we're humble and we play the game a certain way, whether we win or lose. We've been on the winning side quite a bit and when we find ourselves on the other side, we need to handle that graciously. Unfortunately that wasn't the case.' Is it just this blogger or, does anybody else really dislike people who, even when they're apologising for something, still manage to big-up themselves and their achievements? Former national team player and current ESPN analyst Julie Foudy was also highly critical of Solo in the immediate aftermath of the Sweden game. 'I shook my head. I thought, why is that necessary?' Foudy said. 'There's a long history and tradition with our national team of respecting others when you lose, so I don't agree with it at all. To call them cowards for playing a tactically smart game is ridiculous and classless. And it really doesn't represent the house that we built with the US team.' THis is not the first national team suspension for Solo who, as noted, has considerable form in being ungracious, sneering and arrogant in the past. The goalkeeper was also suspended for thirty days last year for 'an incident' during a January training camp. Solo was reportedly in a car with her husband, the former NFL player Jerramy Stevens, when Stevens was pulled over at 2am, arrested and very charged with driving under the influence. That came a year after Solo was accused of domestic violence following 'an altercation' with her half-sister and seventeen-year-old nephew. Those charges were eventually dismissed, but that decision was reversed on appeal. The case is still going through the courts. Solo also infamously criticised coaches after being benched for Briana Scurry in a 2007 World Cup Semi-Final. 'It was the wrong decision and I think anybody that knows anything about the game knows that,' she said at the time. 'There's no doubt in my mind I would have made those saves. And the fact of the matter is it's not 2004 anymore, it's 2007 and I think you have to live in the present. And you can't live by big names. You can't live in the past.'

And, speaking of naughty American sports-type person, the swimwear manufacturer Speedo and the fashion label Ralph Lauren are dropping their sponsorship of disgraced Olympic swimmer Ryan Lochte. The companies made their announcements after Lochte lied about being robbed at gunpoint by a policeman after a night out during the Rio Olympics. Speedo said: 'We cannot condone behaviour that is counter to the values this brand has long stood for.' Lochte and three team-mates had in fact vandalised a petrol station toilet door. They had been returning to the Olympic village after a night out in Rio when they tried, unsuccessfully, to use the locked toilet and urinated outside instead. Ralph Lauren, which has removed Lochte's image from its website, said that its sponsorship had been 'only for the Rio Olympics' and 'would not be renewed.' The value of Lochte's Speedo sponsorship has not been disclosed. The contract reportedly expires this year after ten years. Speedo said that it would donate a fifty thousand dollar portion of Lochte's sponsorship fee to the charity Save The Children's Brazilian operation. The US business magazine Forbes calculated that in the year of the 2012 London Olympics, Lochte earned about two million dollars in sponsorships from companies such as Gillette, Nissan, AT&T and Gatorade. Lochte's performance at Rio did not reach the heights of London, but Forbes estimated his endorsements would still have been between one and two million dollars. Lochte is one of the most successful swimmers in history, with twelve Olympic medals and he once had his own reality television show. In Rio, he swam in two events, winning a gold medal in the four by two hundred metres freestyle relay along with team-mate Jack Conger. Lochte's behaviour has been met with disdain - and not a small amount of furious anger - in the US and he has been widely pilloried and mocked in the US media and by many members of the general public. On 19 August the New York Post carried a front-page headline describing him as The Ugly American, along with the slogan Liar, Liar, Speedo on fire. After first claiming that he and his three team-mates had been 'robbed' by 'bogus policemen,' Lochte later back-tracked and admitted that he had, while still drunk, 'left details out' and 'over-exaggerated some parts of the story.' Despite the mass of evidence stacked against him, including CCTV footage, however, he continues to deny that he actually lied in his initial account to Brazilian police: 'I wasn't lying to a certain extent,' he claimed in a TV interview to utter derision from many Americans. 'I over-exaggerated what was happening to me.' I think it's the 'to a certain extent' defence, after the statement that he was not lying which makes it genius, dear blog reader. You've almost got to admire sheer bloody-minded stubbornness like that. Lying, sir? Not me, sir? I said a load of things that weren't true, but I wasn't lying, sir. Meanwhile, that defence was looking even less feasible after he was snitched up good and bleeding proper by one of his co-accused. Which, admittedly, was funny. 'We appreciate his many achievements and hope he moves forward and learns from this experience,' Speedo said of Lochte. Syneron Candela - a hair removal company - is another sponsor of Ryan Lochte. It said on Sunday that its sponsorship of the swimmer was 'an ongoing investigation.' The swimmer's other sponsors - for the moment, anyway - include mattress maker Airweave.
Usain Bolt posted an emotional farewell to Rio on Twitter, although it would be just as apt in reference to the nine-time gold medal winning sprint legend. 'We came, we saw, we conquered. Rio I have endless love for you,' he said. But not before he'd attempted to show his athletic abilities extend beyond sprinting, with considerable success.
Usain apparently 'stirred up controversy' - with whom, those making such a claim do not say - after a twenty-year-old Rio student named Jady Duarte reportedly shared photos of herself in bed with the Jamaican sprinter. Presumably, after he'd indulged in a bit of world record speed, ahem, 'passing of the baton,' as it were. According to the Daily Scum Mail - who else? - Duarte released the pictures after Bolt celebrated his thirtieth birthday on Sunday. This comes following reports of the nine-time Olympic gold medallist spotted 'twerking' with 'an unidentified woman' while celebrating his birthday at a Rio nightclub on 21 August. According to HollywoodLife, the Jamaican superstar was filmed with a woman, dressed in a white crop top and blue jeans. Reports say the video was taken the day after Bolt won his ninth gold in the men's relay. Bolt had said that he was going to party after winning his ninth gold medal. Which, one could suggest, he'd deserved to do after all of his hard work.
Sports fans seem to have drank Rio dry if this tweet is to be believed.
Michael Conlan will face disciplinary action by amateur boxing's world governing body over his angry reaction to his controversial Olympics defeat, according to AIBA president Doctor Ching-Kuo Wu. The Irish boxer made a very rude naughty gesture to the judges after he lost by unanimous decision to Vladimir Nikitin and gave a profanity-laced - though, admittedly, pretty funny - post-fight interview. Wu said: 'He immediately showed his finger to the referee-judges. Disciplinary action will follow, you can't humiliate in public our judges.' Wu also denied accusations of corruption by AIBA in Rio. Wu said: 'People accusing AIBA of corruption, please give me the evidence. I have no mercy to those [corrupt] people. I hate manipulation, corruption.' Wu suggested legal action would be taken against those who have accused the AIBA of corruption. In addition to the Conlan result other controversial decisions in Rio included another Russian, Evgeny Tishchenko, being awarded victory against Kazakhstan's Vassiliy Levit in the heavyweight boxing final. 'I felt in my mind, nothing wrong [about the decision]. But the next day, suddenly it becomes a very controversial issue. It was really surprising,' said Wu, who was at ringside for the fight. As well as gesturing at the judges, Belfast fighter Conlan swore and claimed he was 'robbed' and 'cheated' following his bantamweight quarter-final exit at the hands of Nikitin. And, he wasn't the only one, either, Paddy Power seemed to have agreed with him. 'The International Olympic Committee says this is totally unacceptable. He put himself in a difficult position, I can tell you,' added Wu. AIBA sent home several referees and judges after debatable verdicts at the games and the fall-out from the Conlan fight is set to result in a change to the scoring system at the 2020 Tokyo Games. Wu said: 'We always assign the evaluators of the referees and judges to watch for fair play. If they find certain referees and judges not meeting expectations, or if some mistake is made, then immediately we interview them. The [suspension usually] runs three days. This time, we sent them home. Our policy is zero tolerance. I want perfect. The best. Since [the Conlan fight], we want to totally review our [scoring] system and how to improve. It will be transparent. We will continue to work to make it in a more perfect condition.'
An Olympic marathon runner from Ethiopia staged a daring protest against his home government when he crossed the line in Rio on Sunday. As he took a deserved silver medal, Feyisa Lilesa crossed his arms above his head - a gesture made by the Oromo people who have suffered brutal police crackdowns in his native country. Yes, just like Adam Ant in the 'Prince Charming' video. No, this blogger doesn't think there's any direct link between the two. Unless, of course, you know different, dear blog reader. Lilesa is from Oromia, home to most of Ethiopia's thirty five million Oromo people. He repeated the protest gesture later at a press conference, saying that his life would be in danger if he returned home. Human rights groups say that Ethiopian security forces have killed ''hundreds of people in recent weeks as they crack down on anti-government protests. Explaining his actions, Lilesa said: 'The Ethiopian government are killing the Oromo people and taking their land and resources so the Oromo people are protesting and I support the protest as I am Oromo. The Ethiopian government is killing my people so I stand with all protests anywhere as Oromo is my tribe. My relatives are in prison and if they talk about democratic rights they are killed. I raised my hands to support with the Oromo protest.' The runner claimed that he might be killed or imprisoned if he returned to Ethiopia. 'If not kill me, they will put me in prison,' he said. 'I have not decided yet, but maybe I will move to another country.' So, there's a chance for Bahrain to pick up another potential medallist for Tokyo. Asked if he was worried about being sanctioned by the International Olympic Committee, Lilesa said: 'I cannot do anything about that. This was my feeling. I have a big problem in my country, it is very dangerous to make protest in my country.' Rule fifty of the Olympic charter bans political displays or protests and the IOC say they are 'gathering information' about the case. Of course, they have a long history of attempting to stamp down on any hint of political protest. The American duo of Tommie Smith and John Carlos were, infamously, stripped of their medals after the pair did the so-called 'black power salute' on the medal stand at the 1968 Summer games. (Actually, it was a Black Power salute, or anything even remotely like it, rather it was a - dignified protest against America's treatment of its black population.) There has been a wave of protests in Ethiopia in recent months over a series of frustrations, including attempts by the governments to reallocate land in the Oromo and Amhara regions. Protesters in the Amhara region - from the Welkait community - first took to the streets of the city of Gondar in July over the reallocation plans. The Oromos, who make up around a third of the population, have joined the protests over long-held frustrations that they are excluded from the country's political process and the economic development. New York-based Human Rights Watch says that more than four hundred people were killed in clashes with the security forces in Oromia, although the government disputes this figure.
An Olympic woman marathon runner from India has alleged she was not provided water and energy drinks by Indian officials at designated stations. OP Jaisha claimed that she 'could have died' after the women's marathon in Rio. Jaisha finished in eighty ninth place and collapsed after finishing the twenty six race in two hours forty seven minutes nineteen seconds last week. Indian officials denied the allegation and claimed that Jaisha and her coach had refused refreshments. The Athletics Federation of India said officials in Rio were 'not told' by the athletes or their coaches about any specific requirement for any drinks. 'It is the responsibility of the organisers to provide water and energy drinks. For that there are water and energy stations throughout the course,' senior AFI official CK Valson told the Press Trust of India news agency. 'We could have provided water and energy drinks to our athletes but neither they nor their coaches informed us that they would need water and energy drinks separately.' Jaisha said she ran 'in scorching heat' and there was 'no water available' from Indian officials during the race. 'Only once in eight kilometres did we get water [from the Rio organisers] which did not help at all. All the countries had their stalls at every two kilometres but our country's stall was empty,' she was quoted as saying by PTI. Jaisha had to be taken to hospital after finishing the race. 'We are supposed to be given drinks by our technical officials, it's the rule. We cannot take water from any other team. I saw the Indian board there but there was nothing,' she said. 'I had a lot of problem, I fainted after the race. I was administered glucose, I thought I would die.' Jaisha said she got 'no response' from officials when she asked why water was not provided to her at the stalls. 'I don't know who to blame for this. Maybe nobody realises the seriousness of a marathon, the fact that we have to run forty two kilometres,' she said. India's Sports Minister Vijay Goel has said that he will 'investigate' the allegation. 'I'll look into this and if there was negligence of any sort, action will be taken,' he told NDTV. India finished with two medals at the games, fewer than the six medals it won during its best-ever performance in London four years ago. Indian boxers were threatened with disqualification after they turned up in shirts which didn't have India's logo - a key requirement at the games. Goel himself was, reportedly, warned after some of his staff allegedly 'behaved rudely' and tried to enter venues without proper accreditation. The minister received further criticism when he wished luck to Indian sprinter Srabani Nanda, but ended up posting the picture of another athlete, Dutee Chand, with his tweet. The appointment of a radiologist as the chief medical officer of the Indian team in Rio also received criticism. Authorities, however, said that the radiologist, the son of a senior sports official, 'knew sports medicine well.' Some hockey players complained that they were invited to an official function to celebrate India's Independence Day, but 'were only given peanuts to eat instead of proper dinner.'
Russia will not compete at next month's Paralympics in Rio after extremely losing an appeal against a ban imposed for state-sponsored drug cheating. The Court of Arbitration for Sport upheld the International Paralympic Committee's ban on all Russian competitors. The IPC made the decision in light of The McLaren Report, which detailed 'a state-sponsored doping programme' operated by Russia. The Paralympics begin on 7 September. The IPC's decision to ban the entire Russian team 'was proportionate in the circumstances,' according to the CAS panel, which said that it would publish the full grounds for its decision at a later date. It added that the Russian Paralympic Committee did not file any evidence 'contradicting the facts' put forward by the IPC. The IPC's decision is in marked contrast to the International Olympic Committee, which - in an act of cowardice so brazen as to verge on the criminal - chose not to hand Russia a blanket ban from the Olympics. The IOC was widely criticised for ignoring the World Anti-Doping Agency recommendation to ban Russia completely. Instead, each individual sporting federation was given the power to decide if Russian competitors were allowed to compete. A three-person IOC panel then had the final say. In the end, more than two hundred and seventy Russian athletes were cleared to compete at the Olympics, with Russia winning fifty six medals in total and finishing in fourth place in the medals table. Russia had been set to take two hundred and sixty seven competitors across eighteen sports at the Paralympics. The CAS statement added that it had 'not looked' at the 'natural justice rights or personality rights' of individual Russian athletes in making its decision. IPC president Sir Philip Craven, who has described Russia's anti-doping system as 'broken, corrupted and entirely compromised,' and claimed the country had put 'medals over morals,' said he was 'greatly encouraged' by the CAS decision. He said it was 'not a day for celebration,' adding: 'We have enormous sympathy for the Russian athletes who will now miss out. It is a sad day for the Paralympic movement,' said Craven. 'But, we hope also a new beginning. We hope this decision acts as a catalyst for change in Russia and we can welcome the Russian Paralympic Committee back as a member safe in the knowledge that it is fulfilling its obligations to ensure fair competition for all.' Russian sports minister, Vitaly Mutko, claimed that the ban was 'political' and 'not within legal framework,' while the Russian Paralympic team's lawyer Alexei Karpenko, called it 'a black day for the sports judiciary.' He said: 'I can only express huge disappointment at the ruling. The rights of Russian Paralympians have been blatantly violated. Regardless of whether the Russian Paralympics Committee is guilty of the charges, punishing innocent athletes and not allowing them to defend themselves - which was an opportunity afforded to the Russian Olympics athletes - this is a flagrant violation of human rights.'
As one Olympics ends, newly released documents have highlighted controversial events prior to another one thirty years ago. A campaign to fast-track British citizenship for South African runner Zola Budd triggered 'a major government rift,' the documents show. The Foreign Office warned the Home Office against giving the teenage athlete 'special treatment' to enable her to compete at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics. Ministers said that 'any circumvention' of the ban on South Africans competing 'may hurt the UK's anti-apartheid stance.' But, the Home Office said Budd's 'talent' made the case 'a priority.' Budd, who had set a world record for the five thousand metres at the age of seventeen and became a household name for running barefoot, registered as a British citizen in April 1984 in time for her to compete at the Los Angeles games four months later. She ran for Britain in the three thousand metres - where she tangled with the American runner Mary Decker in one of the most famous moments in Olympic history and ultimately finished down the field. A media campaign was launched to encourage Budd's father to urge her to apply for British citizenship, by virtue of her paternal grandfather being British, thereby bypassing the boycott on South African athletes taking part in international competition because of its apartheid policy. Previously unseen files, released by the National Archives, reveal wrangling over the issue broke out at cabinet level with the then Foreign Secretary Geoffrey Howe urging the then Home Secretary Leon Brittan to delay the decision on whether to grant the runner a British passport. In a draft letter to Brittan in March 1984, in which Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher was copied in, Howe wrote: 'I think the consequences for the government could be very damaging if we laid ourselves open to the charge that this young girl was receiving special treatment, gifted and exceptional though she may be.' The letter warned that the move could lead to 'possible withdrawals' by other nations from the Olympics and from the 1986 Edinburgh Commonwealth Games and suggested that it would 'undermine' the Gleneagles agreement, a Commonwealth pact discouraging sporting contact with South Africa and be seen as 'a device to circumvent anti-apartheid politics.' It added: 'To give exceptional treatment to a South African national to enable her to avoid the sporting restrictions inflicted on her country and compete for Britain in the Olympics will be seen as a cynical move which will undermine that good faith. We will be open to charges by South Africa of double standards and duplicity.' The file reveals a raft of concerns from the Foreign Office about the case, with officials in South Africa being 'inundated' with immigration inquiries from other people with similar claims on citizenship to Budd. There were also concerns the government was 'giving in to chequebook journalism' and 'commercial influences' that had a stake in getting Budd to run in the Olympics - Budd's case was being heavily pushed by the Daily Scum Mail - and that it was 'opening itself up to criticism' by treating her as 'an exceptional case.' In a reply, Brittan said that he 'understood the delicacy of the circumstances,' but added: 'It would be very difficult to defend a delay which led to [Budd] being unable to attempt to qualify for the United Kingdom for this Olympics unless, as a government, we were prepared to state publicly that we would not take account of her apparent talent in judging whether priority should be given to the handling of her case.' Ater the Olympics Budd continued to compete for Britain during 1985 and 1986 - to no great success - and, controversially, returned to South Africa later in the decade. She competed for South Africa at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics after the country was re-admitted to international competition following a referendum vote to end the apartheid system and the commitment to hold the country's first multi-racial election.
The BBC should have tried to keep hold of Top Gear presenter Jeremy Clarkson whose talent they could ill afford to lose, former Director General Mark Thompson has said. While Jezza could be 'a deeply objectionable character,' he 'spoke to people who didn't find much else at the BBC,' Thompson said in an interview with The Sunday Times Magazine. 'Clarkson can be a deeply objectionable individual - and I say that as a friend,' Thompson told the magazine. 'I don't think people should punch their colleagues. It's hard to keep them if they do'” He added: 'But, I would say his pungent, transgressive, slightly out-of-control talent was something the BBC could ill afford to lose. He spoke to people who didn't find much else in the BBC.' The rebooted Top Gear was launched following Clarkson's departure, fronted by Radio 2 presenter Chris Evans and former Friends star Matt LeBlanc, but - despite a few promising moments - it was something of a ratings flop. Thompson left the BBC in 2012 to work as chief executive at the New York Times. A self-confessed Top Gear fan, Thompson described LeBlanc's performance in the revamped series as 'promising.' He described Evans as 'a great broadcaster' but said: 'I couldn't work out why he didn't impersonate Chris Evans, rather than Jeremy Clarkson.'
Meanwhile Andy Wilman, the former executive producer of Top Gear, has said that 'senior people' at the BBC 'wanted to get rid of him' and presenters Jezza Clarkson, James May and Richard Hammond and were 'not prepared' to work to keep any of them on the show. Wilman told the Edinburgh TV Festival that there had been 'a perfect storm brewing' long before Clarkson biffed a producer in the mush, which meant 'some of those on both sides' were not prepared to back down. 'We had shit like Argentina go wrong so it was all building. I'm speaking as somebody who loves the BBC, but some people at the BBC didn't want us there. It become personal and confrontational. When everything went to shit in March there was no way back, there was going to be a victory [for someone at the BBC]. Some people didn't have the will to make it work. I didn't have the maturity to make it work. Everyone took a position, we were all entrenched. Which is sad because there were people who wanted to make it work.' Wilman did not name any of the 'senior people' to whom his comments referred. But, he meant Danny Cohen, fairly obviously. He added: 'It was sad, but we were to blame too, I was throwing my toys out of the pram, I was vicious in my reaction to everything and it became thumping heads.' Wilman, who relaunched Top Gear with Clarkson in 2002, is producing the new show for Amazon starring Clarkson, May and Hammond called The Grand Tour, which will be released this Autumn. A montage of scenes from the series shown at the festival featured Clarkson driving through a location from Game Of Thrones, Captain Slowly shooting an assault rifle out of the rear window of a car driven by Clarkson and The Hamster waking up in a dune buggy being flown beneath a helicopter. In the footage, May could be seen with his arm in a sling, and Wilman revealed: 'He fell over the night before filming, coming out of a pub. He rang me up and said "I've broken my arm." His car was automatic so we stuck him on Eurostar, pumped him full of drugs and left him to it. He did more damage to it because he had to keep on going but he's falling to bits anyway. We are not in Usain Bolt territory with that body.' Wilman said 'ninety per cent' of the shoots have now been completed but the team was still working on post-production and filming scenes with a studio audience, in a tent put up in a new location for each episode. It has already been taken to South Africa and will soon make an appearance in the UK. He also joked about 'the numerous things' Amazon lawyers told them they could not say and do to avoid breaching the BBC's copyright on Top Gear, including having a regular track race, or writing down lap times on a leader board. 'You have these meetings where they say can James May still say "cock" or will the BBC sue us? And James says "Well I've always said cock." They got funnier and funnier. This year we went to Namibia to make a film and the lawyers got out a film we'd done [on Top Gear] in Botswana. And the lawyers go "right, there's a scene in there were you go, this scenery is beautiful, so watch that you don't do that." So we're in the desert in Namibia, the Skeleton Coast and we've got to go "For legal reasons, this scenery is shit."' Wilman said that he had not watched the recent series of Top Gear, hosted by Chris Evans. 'I didn't watch it because there was a lot of pain for me. It was everything we did. That doesn't mean I have any ill-feeling to anyone who is making it. Chris Evans, everybody went to work to make something. I would not want to wish them one second of ill. I hope they do succeed, because Christ you can have two car shows. I hope they crack it.'
It was good to see the return of Ripper Street for a new series on Monday evening. Bonkers as ever, but always highly watchable for its terrific cast.
Vic Reeves is to recreate a Dada performance as part of a new BBC4 art season. Vic will explore how Dada helped shape Twentieth Century culture with the help of Armando Iannucci, Terry Gilliam and Arthur Smith. Turner Prize winner Martin Creed will also contribute to Gaga For Dada: The Original Art Rebels. Vic said: 'It was the Dadaists who proved the most important [artists].' Reeves and his team will restage an early Dada performance in Zurich's Cabaret Voltaire, where the movement first began. Dada, according to the Tate, was 'an art movement formed during World War One in reaction to the horrors and folly of the war,' adding that the art, poetry and performance produced 'is often satirical and nonsensical in nature.' Other programmes that are part of the season include Who's Afraid Of Conceptual Art? which explores the suspicion and scepticism often surrounding the movement. There will also be a one-hour special about the eccentric British artist Bob Parks, who was known for his outrageous performances and a documentary coinciding with the fortieth anniversary of the infamous Tate Bricks. In 1976, the exhibition of Carl Andre's one hundred and twenty fire bricks laid out on the floor of the Tate Gallery caused huge controversy with the kind of people who get annoyed about that sort of thing. The documentary will examine whether Andre's artwork paved the way for a greater appetite for conceptual art. Cassian Harrison, channel editor for BBC4, said: 'Bold, baffling, witty and adventurous - there's a lot that BBC4 and conceptual art could be said to have in common - so I'm delighted to celebrate this most uncompromising of art movements with a major season.' The programmes will all fall under the umbrella title, BBC4 Goes Conceptual, following on from the success of last year's BBC4 Goes Pop and 2014's BBC4 Goes Abstract.
Eric Idle will star alongside Professor Brian Cox (no, the other one), Warwick Davis and that bloody weirdo Noel Fielding in a BBC Christmas special 'depicting the birth of the entire universe.' Written by Idle, the one-hour show will feature the return of Rutland Weekend Television, the haphazard station depicted in Idle's well-remembered BBC2 sketch show of the same name during the 1970s. Filmed in front of a live studio audience, The Entire Universe will feature an 'explosion of comedy, music and dance' and will be broadcast on BBC2. Davis plays 'The Big Bang' and Fielding is Einstein, while Game Of Thrones actor Hannah Waddingham tackles time and Robin Ince attempts to keep order. Good luck with that mate, with Eric Idle around. Idle has written songs for the Christmas special, which will be choreographed by Arlene Phillips and combine 'fascinating facts about the birth of the universe with larger-than-life comedy characters.' Foxy Coxy finds himself in a major musical at Rutland Weekend Television, after thinking he is booked to give a lecture. Idle said: 'I am very pleased that Rutland Weekend Television is back on BBC TV with a Christmas special only forty one years after its last one. The world's smallest TV station takes on the world's largest subject: the entire universe.' He added: 'It's fitting that forty one years after Rutland Weekend Television produced a Christmas special with George Harrison, it is back with the Beatle of science, Brian Cox.' Though, whether Coxy will get to sing anything as deliciously mad as 'The Pirate Song' is another question entirely. 'No doubt what Rutland did for TV in the Sevenites it will now do for science – and set it back forty years.' Heh. Coxy added: 'I've made many television documentaries over the years and a constant complaint has been that the music is too loud and obscures the science. This undermines my credibility as a serious scientist. I expect The Entire Universe to be the final nail in the coffin.' This should be worth watching!
As if fans expectations for Game Of Thrones series seven weren't already high enough, Maisie Williams just boosted them about a million per cent. Unlike everyone else who will have to wait almost a year for the continuing adventures of The Seven Kingdoms, Maisie has actually read the scripts. And, basically, lost her shit after finding out what's in store: 'Just finished reading season seven,' she wrote on social media. 'Shit gets REAL. I'd start preparing yourselves now. Scratch that, nothing will prepare you for this. Holy balls.'
Good luck being brave enough to go swimming again after you've watched this terrifying trailer for The Fall's third series. Stella Gibson - From The North fave Gillian Anderson - goes for a few laps in this new footage - but all she hears in her head are taunts from serial killer Paul Spector (the great Jamie Dornan). 'You're under arrest. You're going to prison. In what sense are you free?' Stella asks. 'I live at a level of intensity unknown to you and others of your type,' Spector replies. 'You will never know the almost Godlike power that I feel when that last bit of breath leaves their body. That feeling of complete possession.'
Poldark is back for a second series (and, there's a third on the way, too) - but then what? Aiden Turner has insisted that he is 'happy' to stick with the popular drama so long as the quality stays high. 'You never know how long TV shows are going to last these days,' he told press. 'The standard on Poldark is so high and you need to keep it high, but if it continues to be where it's at, I can't see a reason why we wouldn't continue.' Aidan also addressed the forthcoming 'battle of the TV titans' on Sunday nights, as Poldark goes up against ITV's hugely expensive Jenna Coleman vehicle, Victoria. Aidan played down any idea of a 'rivalry' between the two dramas, insisting that there are no hard feelings. 'It makes a good story in the papers that we're pitched against each other - but it really doesn't feel like that at all,' Turner said.
Harry Potter & The Cursed Child writer Jack Thorne is joining new TV drama Electric Dreams: The World Of Philip K Dick. The ten-part Channel Four and Sony Pictures Television series, based on Dick's short stories, will star Breaking Bad's Bryan Cranston. Other writers attached to the project include Life On Mars co-creator and Doctor Who writer Matthew Graham and Fifty Shades screenwriter Kelly Marcel. Filming is expected to begin early next year. The new writers were revealed at a dinner ahead of the Edinburgh International Television Festival.

David Walliams is to front a revival of the quiz show Blankety Blank in a one-off Christmas special of the TV quiz show - the first full episode since 2002. It was formerly hosted by Sir Terry Wogan, Les Dawson and ... Lily Savage. Walliams tweeted a photograph of former host Sir Terry, saying that he had 'very big shoes to fill.' The panel show, to be broadcast on ITV, will see six celebrities help two contestants win prizes by filling in blanked-out words in a phrase.
Oscar-winning crime thriller The Departed is being adapted for the small screen, according to reports. The 2006 Martin Scorsese film, which starred Leonardo DiCaprio, is being made into an hour-long TV drama by Amazon, The Hollywood Reporter claimed. It will be based on Scorsese's movie as well as the Hong Kong film Infernal Affairs, on which it was in turn based. The Departed won a total of four Oscars, including best director for Scorsese - his first Academy Award. The TV drama will be set in modern-day Chicago and tell the story of a young police officer who goes undercover to infiltrate a Latino gang. It is said to be Warner Bros TV's first co-production with Amazon and the pilot will be written by Jason Richman, who will also be an executive producer. Scorsese's film starred DiCaprio as Billy Costigan, an undercover officer who becomes involved in a Boston crime gang run by Jeff Costello, played by Jack Nicholson. The film also starred Matt Damon and Mark Wahlberg, who won a best supporting actor nomination for his performance as a foul-mouthed police officer. As well as best director, it won Oscars for best picture, best adapted screenplay and best editing. Other films currently being made into television dramas include The Lost Boys, Lethal Weapon and Taken. Because, as previously noted, no one seems to have any original ideas in US TV these days.

Thandie Newton is to star as the guest lead character in the next series of hit BBC drama Line Of Duty. The actres will join returning cast members Martin Compston, Vicky McClure and Adrian Dunbar on the show when she takes on the role of DCI Roz Huntley. The character is described as the police anti-corruption squad's 'most devious opponent yet.' Newton said she 'couldn't be more thrilled' to join the drama, which begins filming its fourth series in Belfast next month. 'I watched the last three seasons of Line Of Duty with breathless admiration for its creators, both behind and in front of the camera,' she said. Compston added: 'It's a testament to how well Line Of Duty has done [in the] last few years that we can attract someone of Thandie Newton's calibre to the show. It's great to have her on-board.' Newton shot to international stardom after appearing in 2000 film Mission: Impossible II and went on to appear in The Chronicles Of Riddick, 2012 and Crash. She also appeared on the small-screen in ER, The Slap and US drama Rogue - and will next be seen in the upcoming TV adaptation of Westworld. The actress follows in the footsteps of Lennie James, Keeley Hawes and Daniel Mays, who have guest-starred as the lead character in Line Of Duty for the past three series. BAFTA-winner Jason Watkins, Lee Ingleby and Royce Pierreson will also appear in series four, which will move to BBC1 after its ratings success on BBC2. Creator and writer Jed Mercurio said that he was 'looking forward to tormenting the nation with ever more diabolical plot twists.'
Malorie Blackman's young adult novel Noughts & Crosses is to be made into a BBC drama series. The adaptation will be based on the critically-acclaimed first book in the series, set in a Dystopian society where black people are the ruling class. It tells the 'forbidden interracial love story' between Sephy, a 'Cross' and politician's daughter and Callum, a 'Nought' and member of the White underclass. The drama is expected to be broadcast next year. Blackman, who was the children's laureate from 2013 to 2015, said that she was 'beyond thrilled' her book was being dramatised. 'Callum and Sephy seem to have meant a lot to readers over the years and I'm excited at the prospect of watching them on my TV,' she said. The series is being produced by Mammoth Screen, the company behind Poldark. The commission was announced at the Edinburgh Television Festival by Charlotte Moore as part of a new raft of programming designed to 'reflect the diversity of modern Britain.'
Channel Four has been censured for showing a 'distressing' advert for the zombie drama Fear The Walking Dead during animated children's film Rango. The Advertising Standards Authority has upheld three whinged about the advert, which was shown twice on a Sunday afternoon in April. It showed glimpses of eerie figures and panicking crowds, accompanied by sirens and other dramatic sound effects. Channel Four showed the backbone of a jelly and apologised, saying it was 'improving its procedures.' Fear The Walking Dead depicts the onset of a zombie apocalypse and the offending commercial was encouraging viewers to watch the first series on Amazon Prime. The advert was screened during breaks in Rango, an animation about a pet chameleon who becomes a sheriff in the Wild West, which was watched by nine hundred and twenty thousand viewers - including one hundred and fifty thousand aged between four and nine. The content of the advert 'created a build-up of suspense that could be distressing to younger children, but that would not be unsuitable for older children to see,' the ASA said. The advert had been cleared by Clearcast, a company that approves adverts for Channel Four and other commercial broadcasters, with no timing restriction. But, Clearcast added 'an advisory' recommending the channel might want to view it to decide whether it was suitable for viewers aged under the age of nine. Channel Four's internal systems 'failed to flag this up,' meaning that the advert was not assessed for its suitability for young children. The ASA ruling said: 'Channel Four apologised for any distress this error may have caused and stated that they took their responsibilities as a broadcaster very seriously and were taking steps to improve how the application of timing restrictions were managed.' The regulator has told Channel Four to ensure adverts that may cause distress to younger children were 'sensitively scheduled' in future. 'We acknowledged that Channel Four was now taking steps to improve how they applied timing restrictions and such advice in their future scheduling of ads,' the ASA said. A Channel Four spokesman said: 'We take our responsibilities as a broadcaster very seriously and we are putting measures in place to prevent this from happening again.' The spokesman blamed the fiasco on human error and stated that the human who had erred had now had his or her naughty bits squeezed in a vice until they promised to be more careful in future.
Agatha Christie is set to loom even larger in the British TV schedules after BBC1 agreed to show seven new adaptations of her classic mysteries. The adaptations to be filmed over the next four years include Ordeal By Innocence and Death Comes As The End. Another, The Witness For The Prosecution, has previously been announced - taking the BBC's total of forthcoming Christie dramas to eight. The commissions come on the back of the TV version of Christie's thriller And Then There Were None, which was shown on the BBC last Christmas. And David Walliams and Jessica Raine starred in Partners In Crime, based on Christie's Tommy and Tuppence detective novels, was broadcast on BBC1 last year. Of the seven newly announced adaptations, three titles have been revealed: Ordeal By Innocence, in which a son is posthumously pardoned of murdering his mother - meaning another member of the family must be guilty, Death Comes As The End, set in Ancient Egypt, in which a young woman suspects her priest father may be tied up in the death of a concubine and The ABC Murders, about a serial killer working his way through the alphabet in 1930s Britain, tracked by Hercule Poirot. Meanwhile, The Witness For The Prosecution will be a two-part dramatisation of the 1925 short story, starring Toby Jones, Andrea Riseborough and Kim Cattrall.
Lord Cashman is to briefly reprise his famous role as Colin Russell in EastEnders, thirty years after he first arrived in Walford. Cashman appeared on the soap for three years from 1986 and generated headlines when his character had the first gay kiss in a British soap opera with boyfriend Barry Clark, played by Gary Hailes. Producers are keeping details of Colin's return tightly under wraps but his visit is set to 'raise a big question' for Dot Branning when he appears in two episodes next month. The actor-turned-Labour MEP said: 'It was a real joy, indeed a privilege, to return to my old home of Albert Square. To be amongst so many friends again, and to be back in the place where thirty years ago I started an amazing journey, an amazing journey which incredibly helped to change the country, and certainly its attitude to lesbian, gay and bisexual people. Arguably without EastEnders I would never have gone into politics; I would not have been one of the founders of Stonewall and its founding chair and I would never have ended up where I am now. As Shakespeare would have said by returning to where it all started "the wheel has turned full circle." And the exquisite joy of having my scenes with the incredible Dame June Brown was a bonus beyond anything else.' Following his acting career, Cashman became MEP for the West Midlands from 1999 until 2014, when he was appointed to the House of Lords. He co-founded the LGBT rights charity Stonewall in 1989.
A senior officer policing a heated derby match allegedly urged the winning team not to score again because he feared a pitch invasion, an ex-player has claimed. Former Hearts striker John Robertson said that the plea was made at half-time during a game against Hibernian at Easter Road in September 1990. Police had been struggling to control the crowd at the game as Hearts took a three-nil lead in the first half. The story emerged in a BBC Scotland documentary on Scottish football. The four-part series traces the last thirty years of the sport in Scotland. The opening programme, I Play For Money, looks at how ambition and financial pressures have left some clubs vulnerable to takeover or collapse during a turbulent period in the game. In the run-up the 1990 Edinburgh derby, Hearts chairman Wallace Mercer had attempted to buy Hibernian from David Duff - a solicitor who had acquired the Easter Road side and, who was later very imprisoned for fraud offences in England. Mercer's takeover bid sparked an ultimately successful campaign by Hibs fans to thwart the deal, but feelings were running high and spilled into trouble at the match. Robertson told the BBC: 'The place was packed to the rafters and it was a horrible atmosphere. Hibs fans were going bananas and rightly so, Hearts fans weren't too happy about it either. We were the Anti-Christ at the time, we were the enemies.' He said that a senior police officer had came into the dressing room at half-time with other officers and told players: 'We fear another pitch invasion, you know, we're going to basically say if you score another goal and Hibs fans invade, we may have to stop the game, so you know, if you can help it, don't score!' Robertson added: 'We were all looking stunned, thinking - some strange request, that. He went out the door and Sandy Clark [the then Hearts caretaker manager] said "Yeah, yeah officer, no problem at all, no worries, I know where you're coming from, we'll leave it at that." He shut the door and said: "Nah, that ain't happening guys!"' As it happened Hearts failed to find the net again in the second half and the score remained three-nil. Rod Petrie, current chairman of Hibs, reflected on the significance of the Hibs fans' campaign. He told the documentary: 'It was probably close to the club's darkest hour and everybody who was part of Hands Off Hibs deserves great credit for the passion that they showed and the determination they showed to save the football club.' Hearts supporter Alex Salmond said: 'Anybody who really understands football understands that you can't have yin-without-yang. You can't have Hearts without Hibs, you can't have Celtic without Rangers and you cannot, must not, ever effectively deprive people of their football loyalties.'
Ofcom has rejected crass and ignorant - borderline racist - whinges that it was 'inappropriate' for Channel Four News to allow a Muslim journalist to present coverage of the Nice truck attack. It has emerged that odious, fat greasy lump of fetid diarrhoea Kelvin MacKenzie, who attacked the decision by Channel Four News in his Sun column and wound-up readers to complain to the media regulator, did not in fact end up lodging a complaint himself. Possibly, because he's an odious, worthless coward, maybe for another reason entirely. Who, honestly, can say? Ofcom received seventeen whinges - from people who are, obviously, in no way whatsoever horrid, bonehead racist bigoted scum, just so we are absolutely clear about that - about Channel Four using Fatima Manji, who wears a hijab, to present news of July's mass killings. Channel Four News has previously made it clear that Manji was rostered to present that day ten days before the Nice terror attack although,quite why they felt they needed to dignify these spiteful, ignorant, wicked whinges with any form of response other than withering contempt is another matter entirely. The former Sun editor attacked Channel Four and Manji in a subsequent column saying: 'Was it appropriate for her to be on camera when there had been yet another shocking slaughter by a Muslim? Was it done to stick one in the eye of the ordinary viewer who looks at the hijab as a sign of the slavery of Muslim women by a male-dominated and clearly violent religion?' The Sun quickly distanced itself from MacKenzie's column, deleting a tweet promoting it as his comments promoted widespread criticism. Manji accused MacKenzie of attempting to 'smear' her religion and 'intimidate Muslims out of public life.' More than eight hundred people have complained to the Independent Press Standards Organisation about the column. Ofcom assessed the seventeen whinges it received that using Manji was 'inappropriate' but deemed that there were 'no grounds' to launch a full investigation into any potential breach of the broadcasting code. 'We received a small number of complaints that it was inappropriate for a presenter wearing a hijab to present a report on the attack in Nice,' said a spokesman for Ofcom. 'We won't be taking the matter forward for investigation. The selection of a presenter is an editorial matter for the broadcaster and the way in which the presenter chose to dress in this case did not raise any issues under our rules.'
Billionaire tyrant Rupert Murdoch's Faux News broke UK broadcasting rules by airing pro-Brexit views on the day of the EU referendum, including accusing the BBC of being like 'a running ad for Remain,' Ofcom has said. Under UK rules broadcasters are not allowed to discuss and analyse election and referendum issues from the point polling starts until they close at 10pm on voting day. An edition of Your World With Neil Cavuto, a weekday business and financial news programme broadcast at 9pm in the UK and simulcast in the US, that was shown on polling day included several discussions of the Brexit vote. A news item explained the positions of the Remain and Leave camps and said that the polls had the vote outcome at 'neck and neck, fifty-fifty' but added that bookmakers were 'eighty four per cent pro-Remain.' However then the five-minute news item, which was broadcast at 9pm, added: 'I mean, we are governed by a bunch of bureaucrats that don't speak English in a funny place called The Hague, which makes no sense at all and it tells Britain what to do, it takes British money, it doesn't send much of if it back – it's a very unfair one-way street when you begin to dig into it and the biggest thing of course is that all of this is all a disguise over the immigration issue.' At 9.50pm, ten minutes before the polls closed, there was a further news item which included statements including that the BBC was 'like a running ad for Remain' and that there was 'a lot of establishment pressure' on the public to vote for Remain. 'I don't know why any Brit, maybe I'm just too much of a Yank, why would any Brit wanna offshore its sovereignty to Brussels?' the news report said. 'There is a lot of propaganda out there and usually that type of brainwashing does work. Politicians, moronic celebrities who don't know anything about trade imbalances, they are waiting on this, the media – the BBC is like a running ad for Remain, and it goes on and on.' Faux News said that the edition of the programme did not 'advocate a particular position on the vote.' One or two people even believed that. It added that it 'presented a summary of the positions others are advocating as to whether the UK should remain an EU member.' However, Ofcom said that this was a right load of old bollocks and that the programme broke the UK broadcasting rules relating to the 'discussion and analysis of election and referendum issues' on polling day. 'Following a careful investigation, we found that Fox News breached broadcasting rules by showing a discussion about the EU referendum while the polls were open on the day of the referendum,' said a spokesman for Ofcom.
When FAUX News chairman Roger Ailes was deposed - in a lurid sex scandal - as one of the most powerful men in US media last month, many expressed surprise and others, disbelief. Not Gabriel Sherman, New York Magazine's National Affairs editor and a man who has most doggedly chronicled the former TV executive's reign. In his 2014 book The Loudest Voice In The Room, Sherman reported that Ailes had offered television producer Randi Harrison an extra one hundred dollars a week in the 1980s if she 'agreed to have sex' with him 'whenever he wanted.' The allegation elicited furious denials at the time but, after FAUX anchor Gretchen Carlson came forward with similar claims and then other women followed suit, Sherman continued to break scoop-after-scoop and Ailes's fate was sealed. Now Ailes, éminence grise to a string of Republican presidents and the taste-maker for the right-wing media, has been ousted by his mentor, billionaire tyrant Rupert Murdoch and FAUX lawyers are reported to be 'investigating allegations' of decades-long sexual harassment. Ailes continues to vehemently deny all of the allegations against him. And, to be fair, to quote Mandy Rice-Davies, 'well, he would, wouldn't he?' 'One of the things that makes it such a challenging story is the power of [FAUX's] media relations department to control the message,' Sherman says by way of understatement. FAUX News's PR arm, especially under Brian Lewis, Ailes's head of corporate communications whom he dramatically dismissed in 2013, was notoriously tough on reporters, denying access to any who offended or challenged the boss. 'That's a reflection of Roger Ailes coming out of the political world,' says Sherman, who joined New York Magazine as contributing editor in 2008 and joined its staff full-time in May of last year. The late Peter Kaplan, a respected editor at the New York Observer, who shepherded Sherman's early career, told him 'to approach the beat as a New York Times reporter would cover the State Department,' Sherman wrote in his book. Ailes, Sherman points out, worked as disgraced former US president Richard Nixon's media consultant, during which time he authored an intricate and influential plan to create a partisan media organisation that could disseminate right-wing talking points for maximum effect. 'He believes that the network should speak with one voice and that the programming you see on the screen is really what the network should represent and so really, any internal leak is contrary to that and he treats leaks as signs of disloyalty.' Ailes never gave Sherman a formal interview. He did accost him at a party over a story that Sherman had written ('This is not an interview,' he told Sherman) and, when the book came out, 'nameless people' championed Ailes in anti-Sherman adverts on Google and anti-Sherman websites. A person or people 'very close to FAUX News' often anonymously smeared Sherman to conservative outlets including Breitbart, once as '[serial fabulist] Jayson Blair on steroids.' The network's anchors have taken shots, too. Ailes told colleagues that while Sherman was writing the book: 'I know where he lives and I'm gonna send people to beat the shit out of him,' according to Politico. In conversation, Sherman is laudably detached, even clinical about the vigour with which Ailes tried to shake him off, the same tone he strikes in the unusual note appended to the end of his book about the six hundred and fourteen sources he interviewed. 'He had amassed power by harnessing television to control the images of politicians and media personalities,' Sherman writes of Ailes. 'And so it made sense that he would seek the same degree of influence over the story he cared about most: his own.' Sherman says that the campaign against him gave him one of his few reporting advantages over the course of composing Loudest Voice. 'I didn't take it personally,' he said. 'It wasn't pleasant to have your reputation maligned on various websites – and reading about threats he made against me, that wasn't fun. But, as a journalist, I just used it as a wealth of material, because he was showing me who he was just by the extreme lengths he went to just to suppress my book.' With his reputation and his legacy in tatters, it looks certain that Ailes will spend years fighting allegations of harassment of the many women at the network, even if Carlson, who has begun legal action personally, settles out of court. But Sherman says the Murdoch family may pay far greater sums in lost revenue than the millions Ailes is alleged to have spent to silence his accusers. 'A lot of people have drawn parallels to the UK phone-hacking scandal but I think in terms of the potential impact on Twenty First Century Fox, this could be far greater,' Sherman says of Ailes's demise. FAUX News is a wildly profitable fiefdom within the Murdoch empire, with revenue of about $2.3bn last year and much lower expenses than either of its less lucrative competitors, CNN and MSNBC. 'The News of the World was not a major profit engine,' says Sherman, who has covered the media since his early days at the Observer. 'By the time the scandal hit, newspapers had fallen on hard times. The News of the World used to be the FAUX News of the Murdoch empire years ago, but it was a dwindling asset – FAUX News is still in its prime. So to have a scandal that rocks it to the core poses a great risk to the corporate parent.' The scandal is so damaging because supporters and detractors of the network all agree on one thing: FAUX News is Roger Ailes. Or was. The man at the centre of that maelstrom is as mercurial and interesting as any in the media world, Sherman says. Ailes is 'a world-historical figure' whose harsh perspective came to define American conservatism in his twenty years running the most-viewed cable news network in America. 'I think he's kind of a historical icon, very much on the level of a J Edgar Hoover; someone who will define their age,' Sherman says. 'He transcends the medium of television.' Contrary to conventional wisdom, Sherman believes Ailes accomplished that transcendence by using FAUX News not as a means to advance a particular established brand of conservatism, but as his personal megaphone. 'He has sort of contradictory positions that are not necessarily completely in-sync with the [right-wing think-tanks] Cato Institute or the Heritage Foundation; classically conservative institutions in America. He's very populist, he's nationalist, he's not for open borders. I reported in my book that one of his immigration plans was to dispatch Navy Seals to the Mexico border with orders to shoot-to-kill anyone crossing. That's not a very nuanced immigration position. At least Donald Trump only wants to build a wall; Roger Ailes wants to kill people.' That minor point of difference aside, in many ways Trump himself is the avatar of Ailes's philosophy and now, Ailes is his advisor. Trump swept the US Republican primaries not by virtue of his political acumen or even basic competence, but on a wave of populist rage beloved of FAUX News viewers but anathema to moneyed conservatives. 'Donald Trump has really repelled a lot of mainstream and conservative Republicans,' Sherman observes. 'So that's really one of Roger Ailes's legacies: reshaping the Republican party as a populist, blue-collar, white nativist party. The Washington elites and the conservative intellectuals, because of Ailes's power, had to kind of hold their noses and graft themselves onto it. Without question, I don't think Roger Ailes is a conservative in the mould of a Bill Buckley. He's unique to Roger Ailes.' Sherman has the New York media world at home as well as at work. His wife Jennifer Stahl has worked at ProPublica and the New Yorker and his father, an adjunct professor at Columbia Business School, has written the occasional op-ed. His career is a stark contrast to Ailes's own: the FAUX News executive worked nearly every job in television during his ascendancy; Sherman has stretched his professional legs occasionally, but he's written about media since 2003. The writer has interviewed twenty women alleging sexual harassment by Ailes; he says their stories are disturbingly similar. 'That's one of the reasons I found these stories so credible,' he says. 'These are women who live all over the country and the time period spans from the 1960s to the mid-2000s and what's remarkable over that forty-to-fifty-year period is that the pattern is exactly the same.' He was surprised, however, by how 'cavalier' Ailes appeared to be during those encounters. 'What's remarkable to me is that for a man as paranoid as he is, that Roger Ailes would be so reckless in his personal behaviour,' Sherman says. 'Because while I knew that he had sexually harassed women in the past, I just couldn't imagine that so many women had experienced it and he'd be able to keep it a secret for so long.' Now Ailes has lost his perch in television – Sherman says he understands that the former executive's 'non-compete clause' bars him from re-entering the media world until he's eighty years old. The consequences of his absence from TV will be major, Sherman predicts. 'We'll see conservative media splintered across the ideological spectrum,' Sherman suggests and, already, sees attention shifting to outlets such as Breitbart, the Conservative site that is also avowedly pro-Trump. 'That'll be really interesting because FAUX was this amazing unifier of all the strands of conservatism together. Ailes used his ruthlessness to kind of keep everyone in line. Now that he's out of the picture, one of my FAUX sources joked that inside FAUX News it's kind-of a Lord of the Flies situation where everyone's trying to kill each other. We could see that transposed to the conservative media landscape as a whole.'
Former radio DJ Chris Denning has pleaded very guilty to twenty one child sex offences committed between 1969 and 1986. The seventy five-year-old, from London, admitted the abuse of eleven boys, as young as eight. He denied three other offences. Denning, a very naughty man, who was arrested as part of a police inquiry into the Walton Hop Disco for teenagers in Surrey, will be extremely sentenced on 6 October. He was part of the original line-up that launched Radio 1 in 1967 - presenting Where It's At? with Kenny Everett - but left two years later. The prosecution said that it 'did not intend to proceed' with a trial on the three charges to which Denning had pleaded not guilty. He is currently serving a thirteen-year jail term for sexual assaults against twenty four victims from the 1960s to 1980s. He will next appear at Southwark Crown Court in front of the same judge who passed sentence on him for those offences in 2014.

Home Office doctors gave the go-ahead for experimental drug trials on children at two approved schools in the 1960s, National Archives files show. Parents were not consulted and the issue of consent was 'left to managers.' At Richmond Hill Approved School in North Yorkshire, housing pupils aged fifteen and older, the most disruptive boys were given an anti-convulsant drug to see if it would control behaviour. The trial of a sedative on girls at a school near Leeds did not proceed. The proposal had been to give all girls at Springhead Park Approved School in Rothwell, which cared for fourteen and fifteen-year-olds, Haloperidol, a powerful sedative now used largely as an anti-psychotic. Approved Schools were on a level between between a children's home and borstal. While children were usually sent there by juvenile courts, they were not imprisoned; the sites were funded and inspected by the Home Office and run by voluntary organisations. The National Archives files feature discussions about the plans for the drug trials from three doctors who are all now deceased. In a document dating from late 1967, Doctor JR Hawkings, a psychiatrist attached to Richmond Hill, wrote to the Home Office asking for permission to conduct a drug trial on boys who were 'impulsive, explosive, irritable, restless and aggressive.' He wanted to give some of them a drug called Beclamide. The anti-convulsant, which has sedative effects and was prescribed for epilepsy, is no longer widely in use. Although Hawkings said that this would be 'a perfectly normal and legitimate therapy for certain types of disturbed adolescent,' he also said it had not been 'widely tested' on such boys. It was to be a 'double blind' trial, with a control group given a placebo and another group given the drug. But there is no indication that the trial was discussed or explained to participants, or any suggestion that their consent was sought prior to the trial. The papers show Home Office psychiatrist Doctor Pamela Mason 'welcomed' Hawkings's plan. On 1 November 1967 she wrote: 'From the clinical or practical point of view these are the boys that can produce considerable problems within a school and this sort of research into possible drug treatment is to be welcomed. I would recommend maximum support for this project.' According to notes on the file, the trial went ahead in 1968, with boys given the drug for six months. There is no record of the outcome in the documents, nor was any paper published in a medical journals. And the files show that the school headmaster told the Home Office 'in view of assurances from the school doctor, from Doctor Hawkings, and from the doctor acting for the manufacturers, the managers had decided that there was no need to consult the parents.' Bob Hammal, a teacher at Richmond Hill between 1968 and 1972, was 'appalled' to learn of the trial. He remembered there were challenges - but generally recalls 'a good relationship' between staff and the boys. 'What really did shock me more than anything was that parental consent was not sought and was not thought to be necessary by the powers-that-be,' he said. Hammal believes that had he, or other colleagues, known at the time, they would have tried to stop it, or acted as a whistleblower if that was not possible. As the Richmond Hill trial got under way, a second trial was proposed, again by a school psychiatrist, at Springhead Park Approved School for girls in Rothwell near Leeds. This was a sister-school to the better known Duncroft in Surrey, a small institution for girls of higher intelligence. In November 1968, Doctor Joyce Galbraith wrote to Doctor Mason at the Home Office 'in strict confidence.' She said that she was 'increasingly concerned' about the tone of the school and unrest amongst the staff. To calm the situation, she suggested giving Haloperidol to every girl in the school, for eighteen weeks. She wrote: 'My suggestion is that we should try some form of drug trial to see if, by allaying the anxiety of the girls chemically, we might perhaps settle the school a little bit more, and give the staff an opportunity to put their own house in order.' Again, Mason supported the plan. The papers in the the National Archives show she wrote: 'I think this sounds a valuable treatment approach to the very real problems that arise from the special nature of girls in residence and in particular the problems presented by younger immature disturbed adolescent girls.' The files also show that Shelagh Sunner, headmistress of the school between 1966 and 1982, did not support the trial. Speaking to the BBC about the National Archives material, she said drugs were 'not the solution' for 'her' girls. 'They weren't mentally sick kids,' she said. 'They needed to work through their emotions.' The trial did not take place after the school's managers blocked it, worried about what the girls' parents would think. Sunner said she was 'not surprised,' though, that the Home Office had initially endorsed it. 'I think they were scratching their head about what they were going to do with this generation of maladjusted kids - because the approved schools were full and there were a lot of them.'
The chairman of the Ofsted education watchdog David Hoare has announced his resignation. Earlier this month, Hoare grovellingly apologised after calling the Isle of Wight 'a ghetto' where there had been 'inbreeding.' Which, even if he believed it to be true was a really dumb thing for a man in his position to say. On Tuesday, Ofsted issued a statement saying that Hoare was resigning 'with immediate effect.' Isle of Wight MP Andrew Turner said that Hoare's comments had been 'inaccurate, insulting and extremely unhelpful.' Hoare said in his resignation statement: 'It has been a great privilege to chair the Ofsted board for the past two years.' He had chaired the board of England's education watchdog - setting the strategic direction for the more high-profile role of chief inspector, currently held by Sir Michael Wilshaw.
Fans of Truman Capote will have the chance to get their hands on an unusual and particularly macabre piece of memorabilia - his ashes. The ashes were owned by Johnny Carson's ex-wife Joanne, who was one of Capote's closest friends and who died last year. Capote, whose seminal books included In Cold Blood and Breakfast At Tiffany's, died in Carson's home in 1984. After his death, Joanne received a portion of his ashes, which have been valued up to six thousand dollars. '[Joanne] often said the ashes brought her great comfort,' according to Julien's Auctions, who will offer the memorabilia for sale on 24 September. Capote was a frequent guest on Johnny Carson's Tonight show, which led him to become 'best buddies' with Joanne Carson, as she later described it. He often stayed and wrote at Carson's Los Angeles home until his death. Joanne told Vanity Fair in 2012: 'He had a writing room in my house - he spent a lot of time here because it was a safe place and nobody could get to him.'
A one-liner about organ donation has been named funniest joke of the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. Masai Graham won with the gag: 'My dad suggested I register for a donor card. He's a man after my own heart.' Heh. Yeah, that is quite funny. The festival's best jokes were selected by a panel of ten judges before being put to two thousand people, who voted for their favourite. Tim Vine, Stewart Francis and Zoe Lyon have previously won the competition, run by the TV channel Dave. Graham, from West Bromwich, claimed the victory after making the shortlist in both 2014 and 2015. He said 'It's an incredible honour to land Joke of the Fringe. Not bad for someone from West Brom!' Stuart Mitchell came second in the poll, with the joke: 'Why is it old people say "there's no place like home," yet when you put them in one ...' This blogger's own favourite, from Will Duggan, came fifth in the poll: 'I went to a pub quiz in Liverpool, had a few drinks so wasn't much use. Just for a laugh I wrote The Beatles or Steven Gerrard for every answer. Came second!' Voters also got to select their most 'groan-worthy' jokes of the festival. They included Adam Hess' one-liner: 'In France, J-Lo is called "I have water"' (which, actually, is quite good) and Darren Walsh's: 'What do you call three members of ABBA in a French slaughterhouse? ABBA trois.'
Doctors have an important message for all musicians: Don’t forget to clean your instruments. Because, it could be a matter of life and death. Their warning was inspired by the case of a sixty one-year-old British bagpipe player who developed a dry cough and breathlessness which worsened over a period of seven years. His condition became so severe that he could only walk twenty yards before fatigue set in. Previously, fit and health, he had been able to walk up to ten kilmetres, according to a case report published Monday in the journal Thorax. Doctors diagnosed him with hypersensitivity pneumontitis, a rare disease of the lungs. HP is the result of an allergic reaction to mold, fungus, dust or other substances a patient breathes. As a result, the tiny spaces in the lungs between the air-sacs, airways and blood vessels become inflamed and breathing can be severely impaired. Typical triggers for HP include exposure to birds or household mold caused by excessive water damage, but the patient had no history of either. Nor did he have any history of smoking. Doctors prescribed the steroid prednisolone and the immunosuppressive drug azathioprine, but they had little or no effect. The only thing which seemed to work was a three-month sojourn in Australia. While there, the man's symptoms improved significantly and he said that he could walk along the beach 'for more than six miles' without stopping. Doctors later realised that the reason his breathing had improved in Australia was that he had left his bagpipes in the UK. At home, the man played his bagpipes daily, even as his breathing deteriorated and more medications were added to his drug regimen. Eventually, the patient's condition became so bad that he was hospitalised. There, doctors treated him with a cocktail of IV antibiotics and an antifungal drug. After he was admitted to the hospital, it occurred to someone to test his bagpipes to see whether they were the source of his HP. The hunch proved to be correct. Samples of air from inside the bag were found to contain the fungi Rhodotorula mucilaginosa, Fusarium oxysporum and various species of Penicillium. The neck of the blowpipe added Trichosporon mucoides to the mix and the chanter reed protector - the part of the instrument responsible for carrying the melody - had many of these same fungi as well. In retrospect, the instrument seems like an obvious culprit. Several of these fungi are known to trigger HP, the report authors wrote, and 'the moist environment of bagpipes promotes yeast and mould contamination, thereby making the chronic inhalation of offending antigens a likely trigger.' The authors were able to find two other cases of musicians being sickened by their instruments. The condition of both - a saxophone player and a trombone player - improved after they 'made a habit of cleaning their instruments' with disinfectants and antiseptics. Sadly, the hospitalised patient never got a chance to improve his bagpipe hygiene. He died several weeks after entering the hospital.

It started as a routine hearing in a Georgia courtroom but ended as 'an extraordinary display of vulgarity - between a defendant and judge.' Denver Fenton Allen, the defendant in a murder case, repeatedly threatened a judge and hurled crude obscenities and aggressive remarks during a hearing, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported. Allen was appearing before Bryant Durham Junior, a superior court judge in Floyd County. The hearing, held in Rome, Georgia, last week, lasted less than twenty minutes. But, in that brief time, Allen and Durham launched a series of obscenities and aggressive remarks at each other in 'a heated exchange' which was filled with 'offensive language,' according to a transcript of the hearing published online. It began when Durham told Allen that he was finding the defendant 'in contempt of court,' after Allen had made 'a obscene comment.' Allen replied: 'I don't care.' Durham said: 'I know you don't. And I sentence you to twenty days for that. If you say anything else, I'm going to add twenty days for everything you say.' Allen responded: 'Fuck you.' 'Forty days,' said the judge, who appeared t be rather enjoying himself. 'Fuck you, again!' Allen retorted and was told he now faced sixty days in The Big House. 'Go fuck yourself,' he continued. 'A year,' said Durham, clearly feeling the twenty days per comment thing wasn't working. 'Your mama!' was Allen's next pithy comment. 'Ten years!' said Durham. Allen responded with another crass statement. 'You know something, this is going to be an interesting trial,' Durham said. The, already charged, conversation continued to spiral downwards from there, as Durham and Allen - who reportedly stands accused in the fatal attack of an inmate - escalated their verbal exchange. Allen often used sexually graphic language, mixed with obscenities. The judge, for his part, said concerning the defendant: 'You know, you look like a queer.' At which point, suddenly, this rather amusing judge suddenly starts to seem a whole hell of a lot less funny. 'Well, okay,' Allen responded. 'So now, you're calling me a queer in the courtroom.' 'I didn't call you one,' Durham said. 'I said you looked like one.' Hmm. An interesting legal distinction, yer honour. Doesn't make it any less homophobic, however. As the clash dragged on, Durham eventually told Allen that he had 'a constitutional right to be a dumbass.' And, later, Allen issued his threat. 'How about this?' he said. 'I'll kill your whole family. When I get in this trial, I will murder your whole family. I'll cut your children up into pieces. I'll knock their brains out with a fuckin' hammer and feed them to you.' 'Are you taking this down?' Durham asked and a court reporter confirmed that they were. He later told Allen that he did not, in fact, have any children. It's unclear if Durham's comments could result in any disciplinary action being taken against him. The Journal-Constitution reports: 'The judge, while provoked in the extreme, made comments that could land him in trouble with the state judicial ethics agency. He not only exchanged vulgarities with Allen, he also said it was his 'guess' that he'd find Allen guilty and that Allen would find out "how nasty I really am."' As the conversation was ending, Durham told Allen that if a similar scene played out again, the defendant would not be staying in the courtroom. Allen responded with a vulgarity. 'Okay,' said Durham. 'I'm subpoenaing you's all in the courtroom,' Allen replied, as he was being escorted out. A full transcript was posted online by law blogger Keith Lee. Quite entertaining it is too. Well, apart from the sickeningly homophobic bit.
Darwin police are searching for four very naughty young scallywags who set three saltwater crocodiles loose in a school administration office. The reptiles were eventually captured with the help of a ranger at Taminmin College at Humpty Doo on Sunday morning. Senior Constable David Gregory said that it was 'not yet known' where the animals came from but all were in a poor condition. 'The ranger that turned up was very concerned for them — they had their mouths taped up,' he said. 'They haven't seen water for a long time and are undernourished.' After they had set the crocodiles loose, the offenders then entered the building with their heads covered and ransacked the office, Constable Gregory said. He warned of 'serious penalties' for animal cruelty, with fines up to fifty thousand dollars. The crocodiles are now in safe hands under ranger care.
A primary school head teacher who used a spy pen to film pupils in the toilets at his school has been very jailed for two years and eight months. Ashley Yates, of Filton, used the device to record images in the toilets of The Tynings Primary School in Staple Hill, South Gloucestershire. He admitted six counts of voyeurism and three of making indecent images of children at Bristol Crown Court. The offences relate to seven girls, two boys and six adults. They came to light after a child found a pen inside a disabled toilet at the school and handed it to a caretaker. The court heard that in total the married father filmed twenty two adults and nine children and had confessed to his wife that he was 'a sexual monster.' The judge accepted that Yates' main sexual interest was in adults urinating, but said that he must have realised children were also going to be caught on his camera. Judge Michael Longman described Yates' behaviour as 'devious' and as 'a significant breach of trust' and added that he was a very naughty man. During the investigation, additional adult victims were identified by police.

A magistrate court in southern Laamu Atoll has released a young man arrested on charges of assault on the condition that he goes fishing to earn an income and attends prayers at the island mosque. Ali Thasmeen, aged nineteen, was arrested on the island of Gan for his alleged involvement in a gang fight. The magistrate court released him on Thursday with a set of conditions. 'He signed an agreement. It says he was released from police custody with conditions,' a court official confirmed. These include staying home between 10pm and 7am and attending religious sermons at the mosque. The same court had conditioned the release of a twenty two-year-old man in October on cutting and maintaining his hair 'nice and short.' Critics suggest that the conditions are possibly illegal. 'I don't know whether or not a court can order a person to pray. I suppose that could come under the Islamic Shariah. But a court cannot order a person to go fishing for sure,' said opposition MP, Fayyaz Ismail. The Maldivian Democratic Party lawmaker himself was remanded for more than two weeks when he refused the criminal court's conditions to avoid protests last year. The high court later ruled that the condition were unconstitutional. Lawyer Hussain Shameem, who contested the protest ban, says that the appellate court ruling means that courts can only set conditions on the release of individuals under investigation to ensure that they turn up at court. The criminal court last month released a group of people arrested from the opposition's weekly prayer gathering on the condition they 'stay away' from Malé's main mosque, the Islamic Centre. The opposition has meanwhile criticised the courts' practice of remanding individuals arrested for political activities for long periods of time, despite laws saying that courts can only hold an individual on remand if there is 'reason to believe they may tamper with evidence,' fail to attend court proceedings or abscond from trial.
A truck driver who crashed into a school bus whilst his naked wife was in the cab with him has been sentenced to twenty years in The Slammer. Wow, harsh. A judge in Jacksonville handed down the severe sentence to Shannon Ford. Who, one imagines, promptly shat himself. The crash happened on Highway 301 in Bradford County in September 2014. According to WJXT, the school bus was slowing down to drop off students when Ford's truck slammed into the back of it. The bus had fifteen students on-board at the time. One of them suffered a fractured skull. Prosecutors showed video of the violent collision in court. 'Every time I close my eyes at night, I hear those screams and see those scared little faces,' said Jennifer Swanson, the driver of the school bus. According to WJXT, Ford's wife testified that she had removed her clothes because 'it was too hot' in the cab. Sherry Ford also claimed the impact of the crash tore off her underwear. Which sounds entirely feasible. Shannon Ford blamed the trucking company for the crash. He said that the company 'didn't properly maintain' the truck he was driving.
Two women are accused of robbing a nun at knifepoint according to Yahoo News. Vanessa and Crystal Young, both twenty and, obviously, in no way complete and total worthless shitscum - were very charged with armed robbery after confronting a sister at the Daughters of Mary of Nazareth convent in Quincy, according to police. The sister was walking down the street when, she told police, a woman approached her and attempted to snatch a small satchel from her hand. The nun said that she opened her satchel when she noticed the knife. There was no money inside, but the suspect allegedly wanted it anyway. 'I guess I'll take the rosary beads,' the suspect allegedly told the nun. Young reportedly told the nun that she wasn't going to hurt her. After the victim positively identified the pair, police also discovered that the women were suspects in a previous robbery. They were searched upon arrest and officers found a small locking knife, six cellphones and a chequebook belonging to a Weymouth resident, but did not find the rosary beads.
Scientists have discovered a planet which appears to be similar to Earth circling the star closest to the sun, potentially a major step in the quest to find out if life exists elsewhere in the universe, research published on Wednesday showed. The relative proximity of the planet, known as Proxima B, gives scientists a better chance to eventually capture an image of it, to help them establish whether it has an atmosphere and water. Future studies may reveal if any atmosphere contains tell-tale chemicals of biological life, such as methane, according to a paper published in this week's issue of the journal Nature. 'The key question of our initiative was whether there were potentially life-bearing planets orbiting these stars. We know now there is at least one planet with some characteristics similar to the Earth,' said Pete Worden, a former NASA manager, who was speaking at a European Southern Observatory webcast news conference to announce the find. The planet, located about four light-years from Earth, or twenty five trillion miles, is the closest of some three thousand five hundred planets which have been discovered beyond the solar system since 1995, according to the paper. 'This planetary system is much closer than any other that we know so detailed investigation is easier,' astronomer Ansgar Reiners, with the University of Gottingen told reporters on a conference call. Astronomers got their first hint of a planet circling the sun's small dim neighbour in 2013. But they needed additional observations, using more precise instruments, to make a definitive call. An international team of thirty scientists found the planet after careful and repeated measurements of slight shifts in the colour of the light coming from its host star, Proxima Centauri, which is a small star in the Alpha Centauri system. The shifts, which astronomers call 'wobbles,' are caused by the gravitational tugging of a planet roughly 1.3 times the size of Earth on the parent star. Based on the timing of these wobbles, scientists determined that the planet circles its host star in just eleven days, compared to Earth's three hundred and sixty five-day orbit around the sun. That puts the planet far closer to its parent star than Earth's orbits around the sun. However, Proxima Centauri is so much smaller and dimmer than the sun that its planet's orbit is suitably positioned for liquid water despite being just over four-and-a-half million miles away. 'Chances are good that it's a viable, Earth-like planet today,' said astronomer Pedro Amado, with the Instituto de Astrofísica de Andalucía in Granada. But scientists are unsure if red dwarf stars like Proxima Centauri are good hosts for life. Planets orbiting close enough to keep water liquid would be blasted with one hundred times more high-energy radiation than Earth receives from the sun, though what impact that would have on life is a matter of scientific debate. 'We don't think it's a show-stopper,' Amado said. Magnetic fields and an atmosphere offer a planet some protection. It is unknown if Proxima B has either. Before the discovery of Proxima B, the nearest Earth-like planet to the sun was circling a star known as Wolf 1061, located about fourteen light-years away. Proxima B may not be flying solo. 'We have some suspicions that there is another signal around the star,' Reiners said. More research is needed to determine if there are multiple planets circling Proxima Centauri. The discovery is expected to bolster a one hundred million dollar project unveiled in April and backed by Russian billionaire Yuri Milner to develop a miniature laser-powered spacecraft which can make the trip to the Alpha Centauri system in about twenty years. 'We hope to build a whole system that will send nanocraft to Proxima Centauri and Alpha Centauri within a generation,' said Worden, the executive director of Breakthrough Starshot, an initiative that aims to deploy thousands of tiny spacecraft to travel to our nearest neighbouring star system and send back pictures.

A lawnmower has been blamed for wrongly triggering sensors which predict when the Northern Lights will be visible in the UK. A 'red alert' issued via the Aurora Watch mailing list was swiftly withdrawn after sensor readings were found to be 'spurious.' An investigation revealed a lawnmower had got too close to one sensor, triggering 'a massive spike' in data. Aurora Watch said that it was 'looking into' ways to avoid the incident being repeated. Well, don't get the lawnmower too close would appear to be one potential solution. Just sayin'. The bogus alert was issued during the afternoon of 23 August, after a magnetometer at the University of Lancaster recorded 'a surge' in geomagnetic activity. Aurora Watch is run by scientists at the university and takes readings from lots of magnetometers to work out when the aurora borealis will be visible across Britain. The project draws on magnetometers in Lancaster, Aberdeen, the Faroe Islands and further field. The alert was withdrawn four hours after being released as it emerged only one sensor had recorded the spike in activity. A later update posted to the Aurora Watch webpage said an investigation had revealed that a groundskeeper using a 'sit-on mower' to trim the grass had been 'driving too close to the sensor,' prompting the spike. 'We'll work with the facilities team to try and avoid an incident such as this occurring in the future,' said the scientists. They explained that any metal placed on the instrument or machinery operating nearby could trick it into recording more activity than was actually present. Readings from the Lancaster sensor were not typically used to trigger alerts, they said, but problems with the main sensor in Aberdeen on 23 August meant it had become the lead monitor.
The actor Michael Napier-Brown has died at the age of seventy nine. Michael well be well-known to Doctor Who fans for his appearance in the 1969 story The War Games, playing Arturo Villar, a soldier plucked from the Mexican Civil War who helped The Doctor in his battle against The War Lords. Michael had a long and distinguished career in British Television and theatre. His first credited role was in a 1963 episode of the crime series Maigret. He played Miller in several episodes of the 1970 adaptation of Ivanhoe. Other roles include appearances in the likes of Secret Army, The Dick Emery Show, Terry & June, 1990, Casanova '73, Julius Caesar, Les Misérables, The Borderers and The Troubleshooters. Michael was educated at Bournemouth Grammar School where he developed a love for theatre and took part in various school productions. In 1953 he began a career in journalism with the Bournemouth Daily Echo while continuing to take part in amateur dramatics. From 1955 to 1957 he did his National Service with the Royal Air Force and on leaving, he won a place at The Hampshire School of Drama, washing up in a Forte's restaurant in the mornings to pay for his drama lessons. He was a long standing stalwart of the Nottingham Theatre scene - as an actor, director and writer - and was the last artistic director of Northampton's Royal Theatre. He is credited with discovering Gian Sammarco, the actor who played Adrian in The Secret Diary Of Adrian Mole. His daughter Kate broke the news of his death with a statement on her Facebook page. Michaelis survived by his wife, Vilma Hollingbery, Kate and three grandsons, Henry, George and Tom.
A beachside rock concert featuring The Kaiser Chiefs had to be abandoned when the high tide inundated the arena. The band were due to play the Wave Night Air on Bournemouth beach on Friday night, as part of the resort's four-day annual festival. Concert-goers were told to leave the beach when the sea encroached into the audience area and damaged the stage. Organisers apologised and blamed 'a combination of exceptional wind and sea conditions.' Travis had played earlier in the evening, but with the sea creeping into the audience area and threatening the stage structure, the decision was taken to cancel the Leeds band's headline slot shortly before 10pm. Festival organisers insisted the tidal conditions 'could not be fully anticipated.' Afterwards, fans had a riot. Which was, also, unpredicted. Apparently.