Saturday, August 06, 2016

Citius, Altius, Fortius

Block two of filming has begun for Doctor Who's series ten, in Cardiff this week. With yer actual Peter Capaldi and Pearl Mackie her very self spotted wearing period clothing.
Benedict Cumberbatch has sort-of addressed (ie not really addressed at all in any meaningful way) largely media-created uncertainty over the future of Sherlock. Benny and Martin Freeman started shooting the new series in May. Yer man Ben joined Amanda Abbington plus the show's co-creators The Lord Thy God Steven Moffat (OBE) and Mark Gatiss for a panel at Comic-Con in San Diego last week, when he was asked how long the show could keep going for. 'We'll see how this series lands,' he responded. 'It's been great fun to come back and do it. How it will continue in the future, who knows? It's not just about what any of us want. It's about what's actually right for the show, to be honest. And that has to be judged very carefully. Think about the very limited but classic British output of certain shows and there aren't that many of them. It's a painful thing to say, but maybe series four is it. Who knows? I don't know. I don't want to say this is it because we have too much fun doing it. But generally, we have to see how this lands.' So, there you go. Clear as mud but, waffly enough to allow another batch of 'Sherlock might finish next year says star' stories for every national newspaper to speculate, endlessly about. Well done, Ben, you know what they say - there's no such thing as bad publicity! 'The actors aren't the only ones who are busy,' he added. 'Mark and Steven are pretty tied up. Mark is an actor, as well as a producer and writer. It's all of us being stretched in different directions. Also, this has run longer than most American series. You don't want to compromise it by continually doing it, just because we could carry it on. There's lots of stuff to weigh. Really, we will have to see. No one has decided on it, so there's no "yes" or "no" to an end or a beginning.' Steven Moffat (OBE) went on to say: 'We have to take it one season at a time. We don't know what the future will be and it's not entirely down to us. Hopefully, we'll do more. I find it hard to imagine that we won't. But, in terms of a specific plan, there are ideas that we haven't gotten to yet.' During the panel, Amanda told fans about the new series: 'It's really dark. It's the darkest Steven and Mark have written.' Filming on the third episode of the new series, reportedly, concluded this week.
The first images from the BBC's remakes of Steptoe & Son, Til Death Us Do Part and Hancock's Half Hour have been released. The Lost Sitcoms project sees episodes which have been lost from the archives - or, you know, junked - re-recorded with a new cast from the original scripts. Simon Day dons the iconic glasses and bald head as Alf Garnett, while Jeff Rawle and Ed Coleman take on Albert and Harold Steptoe. The episode of Til Death Us Do Part - A Woman's Place Is In The Home - will see Alf return to an empty house and burned supper. It co-stars Lizzie Roper as Else, Sydney Rae White as Rita and Carl Au as Mike. Meanwhile, the Steptoe & Son episode - A Winters Tale - sees Harold try to go on a skiing holiday without his dad. The Hancock's Half Hour episode - The New Neighbour stars Kevin McNally as Tony Hancock, with Kevin Eldon, Robin Sebastian, Katy Wix and Jon Culshaw co-starring. The Lost Sitcoms form part of a new series of remakes including a Keeping Up Appearances prequel called Young Hyacinth, alongside Are You Being Served?, The Good Life, Up Pompeii and Porridge.
Yer actual Sean Bean is to play a Catholic priest in a new six-part drama written by bitter Red Jimmy McGovern (Old Labour) for BBC1. One imagines that will be a right bundle of laughs. The series, which has the working title Broken, will be set in Liverpool. The BBC said that it would follow Bean's character as he and his congregation 'struggle to reconcile their beliefs with the hypocrisies demanded by contemporary Britain.' Bean was nominated for a BAFTA and won an EMMY for playing a transvestite teacher in McGovern's misery-inducing Accused in 2013. McGovern is also known for writing Cracker (which was really good), Hillsborough (which was also really good), Hearts & Minds (ditto) and The Street and Common (which weren't). 'I was very excited at the prospect of working with Jimmy McGovern again,' Bean, the Sharpe and Game Of Thrones actor said. 'His scripts are raw and real and he creates fantastic and interesting characters that resonate with society today.' And, they make you want to slit your own wrists and die, obviously. McGovern said: 'It's fantastic, because I've been trying to work with Sean again ever since he played Tracie Tremarco in Accused, which was astonishing stuff, so I'm over the moon he's jumped on board with Broken.' Bean will also serve as executive producer on the series.
The latest Doctor Who Magazine Special Edition takes a look at how the world's longest-running family science-fiction drama has travelled to locations far and wide. In its early days Doctor Who was recorded on cumbersome cameras tethered to claustrophobic and often inadequate studios. The show rarely escaped those confines during the 1960s - and when it did it was, usually, just to a gravel pit down the road - but as technology improved, producers and directors became more adventurous. Location shooting has helped to create some of the most memorable episodes in the series' long history. This publication tells the story of those episodes and the people who made them. Elsewhere in this issue Andrew Pixley revisits the Portmeirion location shoot for The Masque Of Mandragora, Matthew Kilburn celebrates Doctor Who's greatest quarries and Alan Barnes meets some of the fans who are dedicated to location hunting. There's a map showing alien invasions of the British Isles, guides to the European location shoots for City of Death and Arc Of Infinity, a trip behind the scenes of The Rebel Flesh and The Almost People and much more. Doctor Who Magazine Special Edition: On Location is on sale now, price five English pounds and ninety nine pence from all good newsagents. And, some bad ones as well.
Peter Davison's autobiography will be published in the UK on 6 October. The book is titled Is There Life Outside the Box?: An Actor Despairs and looks at the life and career of the popular actor. It will be published by John Blake Publishing Ltd. 'His fans have spoken, but despite their requests, Peter Davison has gone ahead and written his autobiography anyway,' says the press release. 'The artist formerly known as Peter Malcolm Gordon Moffett has starred in a number of television series including Love For Lydia, A Very Peculiar Practice, At Home With The Braithwaites and The Last Detective and became a national treasure for having his arm up a cow in his role as Tristan Farnon in All Creatures Great & Small. He made his first stage appearance with an amateur dramatic company, but The Byfleet Players loss is now the West End's gain as he now has a number of musicals to his name. Most recently he starred in the box office record-breaking Gypsy. One thing is for sure: of all the British screen and stage actors of the last fifty years, Peter Davison is certainly one of them and, within these pages, intrepid readers will at last have the dubious honour of sharing in his life and times as he despairs over whether there truly ever can be life outside the box.'
Here, dear blog reader, are the final and consolidated ratings figures for the Top Twenty Four programmes, week-ending Sunday 31 July 2016:-
1 Coronation Street - Mon ITV - 7.32m
2 EastEnders - Mon BBC1 - 6.78m
3 Emmerdale - Mon ITV - 6.15m
4 Celebrity MasterChef - Fri BBC1 - 5.69m
5 Brief Encounters - Mon ITV - 5.57m
6 Countryfile - Sun BBC1 - 5.04m
7 Eat Well For Less? - Wed BBC1 - 4.83m
8 Casualty - Sat BBC1 - 4.80m
9 Long Lost Family - Wed ITV - 4.75m
10 Ten O'Clock News - Wed BBC1 - 4.65m
11 Six O'Clock News - Tues BBC1 - 4.41m
12 Fake Or Fortune? - Sun BBC1 - 4.18m
13 Holby City - Tues BBC1 - 4.12m
14 Hugh's War On Waste: The Battle Continues - Thurs BBC1 - 4.00m
15 BBC News - Sat BBC1 - 3.92m
16 The Musketeers - Sat BBC1 - 3.86m
17 Saving Lives At Sea - Wed BBC1 - 3.47m
18 The ONE Show - Mon BBC1 - 3.44m
19 The Secret Agent - Sun BBC1 - 3.30m
20ITV News - Tues ITV - 3.19m
21 Love Your Garden - Tues ITV - 3.14m
22 Film: Skyfall - Sun ITV - 3.12m
23 Dragons' Den - Sun BBC2 - 3.06m
24 New Zealand: Earth's Mythical Islands - Tues BBC2 - 3.04m
These consolidated figures include all viewers who watched programmes live and on catch-up during the seven days after initial broadcast, but does not include those who watched on BBC's iPlayer or ITV Player via their computers. On BBC2, aside from Dragons' Den and the excellent New Zealand documentary series, University Challenge attracted 2.60 million followed by Full Steam Ahead (2.40 million) and Robot Wars (both 2.34 million). Inside The Factor: How Our Favourite Foods Are Made had 2.28 million. Only Connect was watched by 2.257 million, Gardeners' World by 1.94 million, the latest episode of Versailles (1.67 million), Dad's Army (1.57 million), Mastermind (1.51 million), The Somme 1916: From Both Sides Of The Wire (1.28 million) and Great American Railroad Journeys (1.24 million) The latest Qi repeat attracted seven hundred and fifty three thousand whilst World Cup 1966: Alfie's Boys had eight hundred and sixty one thousand. F1: German Grand Prix Highlights was Channel Four's highest-rated broadcast of the week (2.48 million), followed by Twenty Four Hours In A&E (2.31 million), the movie The Imitation Game (2.17m), Celebrity First Dates (2.08m), shameful and wretched pile of festering faeces Naked Attraction (2.01m) and Nine, Nine, Nine: What's Your Emergency? (1.94m). Eden attracted 1.88 million. Channel Five's top performer was Celebrity Big Brothers with 2.71 million, ahead of Can't Pay? We'll Take It Away! (2.07 million). The Dog Rescuers With Alan Davies attracted 1.37 million. NCIS was seen by 1.23 million. Sky Sports 1's most-watched broadcast was Live German Grand Prix coverage, seen by two hundred and seventy one thousand viewers. The channel's broadcast of the International Champions Cup: Glasgow Celtic Versus Barcelona had two hundred and twenty six thousand, whilst the same competition's clash between The Liverpool Alabama Yee-Haws and AC Milan drew one hundred and two thousand and Borussia Dortmund against Sheikh Yer Man City was seen by one hundred thousand. Sky Sports 2's Monday coverage of England's crushing victory in the second test against Pakistan got three hundred and ninety eight thousand punters. Friday's Live T20 Blast and Yorkshire's fourteen run win at Northampton drew two hundred and eighteen thousand. Transfer Centre was Sky Sports News's highest-rated broadcast with one hundred and twenty one thousand, whilst Sports Saturday was watched by one hundred and nineteen thousand. On Sky Sports F1, Live German Grand Prix had eight hundred and fourteen thousand punters in addition to those watching the race on Sky Sports 1 and the highlights of Channel Four. Endeavour was ITV3's top-rated drama (1.06 million viewers). Lewis was seen by seven hundred and eighty two thousand, Midsomer Murders by seven hundred and twenty thousand and The Booze Cruise by six hundred and ninety six thousand. The Motorbike Show headed ITV4's weekly list with four hundred and twenty four thousand. The movie Open Range drew three hundred and forty five thousand whilst Monster Carp attracted three hundred and thirty one thousand punters. Including Wor Geet Canny Robson Green, one imagines. Thanks to worthless pile of rancid stinking shat Love Island having, mercifully, ended its current series, ITV2's most-watched programme of the week was the movie The Bourne Identity, which drew seven hundred and forty seven thousand. Family Guy had seven hundred and thirty three thousand. Vera, as usual, headed ITV Encore's top ten with one hundred and five thousand viewers. BBC4's broadcast of Norman Wisdom: His Story had an audience of eight hundred and three thousand viewers. The channel's top-ten also included Masters Of The Pacific Coast: The Tribes (seven hundred and thirty nine thousand), Beck: The Silent Scream (six hundred and nine thousand) and BBC Proms 2016 (five hundred and ninety three thousand). Timeshift: The Nation's Railways - The Golden Age Of British Rail attracted five hundred and fifty one thousand. Tutankhamun: The Truth Uncovered drew five hundred and three thousand whilst Sacred Wonders Of Britain With Scottish Neil Oliver & His Lovely Hair was seen by four hundred and seventy one thousand. The classic Natural History documentary series Yellowstone and Generation Sixty Six had four hundred and forty one thousand and four hundred and thirty three thousand viewers resepctively. Sky1's weekly top-ten was headed by Agatha Raisin (eight hundred and one thousand), BBC3 refugee Don't Tell The Bride (five hundred and sixty thousand), Zoo (five hundred and twenty one thousand) and The Last Ship (four hundred and sixty eight thousand). Sky Atlantic's list was topped by Ray Donovan (three hundred and twenty thousand). Ballers was seen by three hundred and eighteen thousand, the first episode of Vice Principals by two hundred and four thousand and Last Week Tonight With John Oliver by one hundred and thirty two thousand. The Fall: Decker Versus Budd had ninety six thousand. On Sky Living, Bones drew seven hundred and thirty nine thousand, Shades Of Blue had five hundred and thirty eight thousand, Chicago Fire, four hundred and sixty thousand and Unforgettable, four hundred and thirty eight thousand. Sky Arts' Master Of Photography drew an audience of one hundred and fifteen thousand. Guitar Star attracted eighty five thousand. 5USA's Chicago PD was watched by five hundred and fifty two thousand viewers. NCIS: Los Angeles drew four hundred and eighty four thousand and NCIS, four hundred and forty thousand. NCIS also topped the weekly top ten of CBS Action (eighty nine thousand) and featured in the lists of FOX (one hundred and twenty nine thousand) and the Universal Channel (one hundred and twenty thousand) as well as Channel Five. Aside, from NCIS, FOX's top ten also included Wayward Pines (three hundred and seventeen thousand), Outcast (two hundred and seventy seven thousand) and Someone Knows My Name (two hundred and forty nine thousand). The Universal Channel's was headed by Mister Robot (two hundred and forty one thousand) and Motive (one hundred and sixty one thousand). On Dave, Suits was the highest-rated programme with four hundred and twenty thousand punters. That was followed by Qi XL (three hundred and seventy two thousand) and Have I Got A Bit More News For You (two hundred and ninety eight thousand). Drama's Death In Paradise was watched by five hundred and ninety thousand viewers. The Doctor Bleak Mysteries had three hundred and sixty eight thousand. Alibi's highest-rated programme was Rosewood (three hundred and sixty three thousand), followed by Quantico (three hundred and thirty eight thousand), New Tricks (one hundred and fifty one thousand), Father Brown (one hundred and forty two thousand) and Inspector George Gently (one hundred and thirty seven thousand). Yesterday's repeat run of the least funny sitcom ever made, Keeping Up Appearances was seen by two hundred and twenty six thousand. Top Of The Pops: 1978 - Big Hits was watched by two hundred and twenty five thousand, The Flying Scotsman: A Rail Romance by two hundred and fourteen thousand and Cilla's Unswung Sixties by two hundred and eight thousand. On the Discovery Channel, Alaskan Bush People's latest series continued with one hundred and ninety one thousand viewers. Deadliest Catch had an audience of one hundred and fifty five thousand, Misfit Garage was watched by one hundred and fifty four thousand and Yukon Men by one hundred and twelve thousand. Railroad Australian had none hundred and nine thousand. Discovery History's Greatest Tank Battles topped the weekly-list with thirty thousand viewers whilst Time Team and Biblical Conspiracies both attracted twenty two thousand and The Man Who Cracked The Nazi Code, nineteen thousand, a figure also achieved by Battlefield. On Discovery Science, Finding Bigfoot - or, not finding it as it turned out - was seen by thirty eight thousand viewers. Discovery Turbo's most-watched programmes was, as usual, the cult favourite Wheeler Dealers (thirty one thousand). In fact, all ten of the Channel's top-ten list were made up of episodes of the car restoration show. National Geographic's list was headed by Wicked Tuna which had which had one hundred and two thousand viewers. The History Channel's top ten was led by Vikings (three hundred and thirteen thousand). On Military History, Ancient Files Unsealed was watched by thirty nine thousand viewers. Coroner: I Speak For The Dead and The Perfect Murder were ID's top-rated programmes of the week (with sixty one thousand viewers and fifty three thousand respectively). Britain's Darkest Taboos and Homicide Hunter headed CI's list (both fifty nine thousand and fifty six thousand). The second episodes of GOLD's Simon Callow vehicle The Rebel - which this blogger rather enjoyed despite most of the best bits having already featured in the much-run trailer - attracted three hundred and five thousand. Comedy Central's largest audience of the week was for the nine millionth showing of an episode of Friends (one hundred and seventy six thousand). Your TV's Snapped had eighty four thousand viewers. On More4, Building The Dream was the highest rated programme with four hundred and four thousand. The Nazi Olympics attracted three hundred and seventy one thousand. E4's latest episode of Hollyoaks drew exactly one million viewers although, for once, it wasn't the channel's most-watched show. That was Tattoo Fixers On Holiday (1.05 million). The Horror Channel's broadcast of Hostel Part 2, attracted one hundred and twenty nine thousand viewers. Dark Matter, headed Syfy's top ten with three hundred and fifty eight thousand. Plants Behaving Badly had forty three thousand on Eden. Tanked was the Animal Planet's most watched programme with forty six thousand. On W, MasterChef Junior was seen by two hundred and twenty four thousand. Susan & Malachi's Country was seen by eighteen thousand on Irish TV.

Petrolheads lamenting Jezza Clarkson, James May and Richard Hammond's absence from the tellybox now have a chance to see the kings of blokey in the very flesh. The trio recently filmed studio segments in Johannesburg and now fans in the US have the opportunity to see them in Southern California as filming continues on their new Amazon Prime show The Grand Tour. Those who wish to can now apply for places in the ex-Top Gear hosts' 'massive tent' for recording. You will need to be at least eighteen years old and a legal resident of the US to apply (which rules out all but three hundred million people). You will also have to get a move on, because applications for the ticket ballot are only open on Amazon's website until next Monday. 'We were overwhelmed with the customer response to our first studio tent recording in Johannesburg last month and are excited to announce the next location for The Grand Tour,' said Jay Marine, Vice President of Amazon Video Europe. 'The guest list application for our California recording is open today and for a limited time, so get in quick for the opportunity to be one of the fortunate fans in our first ever studio audience in America.'
Meanwhile, yer man Jezza is, perhaps, not known for being the most selfless of individuals, but his latest adventure appear to show him in an entirely new light. The former-Top Gear presenter is reported to have 'saved' a group of tourists who were being swept out to sea whilst on holiday in Majorca. He told the Sun: 'I helped four of them. I rescued two French and two Germans. They burst out laughing when they saw who was rescuing them.' He also said that he apologised to his new friends 'for Brexit.' Declaring himself to be 'better at diplomacy than Boris Johnson' and then said that he went to the pub. The foursome were reportedly unaware of the grave danger they were in. Jezza added: 'I loved seeing the look on their faces. They didn't realise they were going to float off to North Africa. We were on a bigger boat but there was a rib at the back so we used that to tow them back in. They were all in their twenties and a mile out to sea. You'll never paddle back in from there.' Interestingly, whilst several British newspapers including the Daily Scum Mail and the Daily Mirra - neither the biggest Clarkson fans in the past - reported this act of heroism, the Gruniad Morning Star did not. Which is so odd because, normally, if they can crowbar Clarkson into a story of any sort (usually with a sick agenda smeared all over it an inch thick), they will.
Suits has been recommissioned for a seventh series, to be made up of sixteen episodes in 2017, bringing the cult comedy drama beyond the one hundred-episode mark. The renewal comes as the series moves through its current sixth season - where faux lawyer Mike Ross is in prison after signing a plea deal. Chris McCumber, the NBC/Universal Cable Entertainment executive in charge of the USA channel, revealed that Suits is averaging more than three million viewers since it returned to US screens in July .
Emilia Fox is to appear alongside Dawn French in the forthcoming TV drama series Delicious. The Silent Witness actress will play 'a love rival' to French's character in the Sky1 show. Others joining the cast include Iain Glen and Sheila Hancock. The four-part drama, written by Mr Selfridge's Dan Sefton, is described as 'an honest and compelling story of love, sex, lies and betrayal.' Fox said that she was 'absolutely delighted' to be part of Delicious. 'As a starter it's heaven to be working with Dawn French and Iain Glen again,' she said. 'For main course - an absolute treat to be working on such great scripts. For the perfect recipe - a brilliant crew, cast and production team. I can't wait to tuck in.' Glen said: 'The script for Delicious was irresistible. Funny, poignant and unpredictable. I can't wait to dig my teeth into this feast of a drama.' Lots of really piss-poor eating puns there, let's hope the script is a bit better than those. French plays 'the culinary genius' Gina, who was once married to Glen's character, Leo Vincent, a successful entrepreneur, chef and hotel owner. Fox's character Sam, Leo's new romantic partner, confides in Gina over her suspicions that Leo is having an affair - only to discover that Gina herself has become the 'other woman.' French and Fox last starred opposite each other in James Corden's piss-poor alleged BBC 'comedy' The Wrong Mans. Delicious is expected to be broadcast later this year or early in 2017.
BBC weather presenter Louise Lear had an attack of the giggles in the middle of a live broadcast on Wednesday. Lear struggled to contain her laughter after newsreader Simon McCoy went to her for an update. It was not clear what, exactly, caused her such amusement.
Not much happens in Carlisle by the look of things. Even a very brief visit to the city by Stephen Fry recently for a spot of lunch with his husband, Elliot, got the Cumberland News all excited. 'We were busy on the Thursday, but there were a few tables spare on the Friday when they arrived,' the owner told the newspaper. 'We had a few people in the front dining room but they were able to have the back dining room to themselves.' This constitutes 'news', apparently. Well,in Carlisle, it does.
Leeds Festival 2016 has unveiled the arena-sized comedians, global stars and popular club nights joining the Alternative Stage for the August Bank Holiday weekend extravaganza. Leading the comedy line up is the great Bill Bailey, returning to Leeds after his incredible performance there in 2014.
Eddie Izzard is to play a young Edward VII in a film starring Judi Dench as Queen Victoria. The brilliant comic and world-renowned action transvestite will portray Dirty Bertie, when he was still Prince of Wales in Stephen Frears's movie Victoria & Abdul. Dench is reprising the role of Victoria which she previously played alongside another comic icon, Billy Connolly, in Mrs Brown. The new film tells the story of the unexpected friendship the monarch struck with Abdul Karim, a young clerk who travelled from India for the Queen's Golden Jubilee. Karim is said to have help Victoria 'see a changing world through new eyes,' despite the royal household trying to destroy their relationship. So, it's Mrs Brown Part II, basically. The screenplay is by Billy Elliot writer Lee Hall and based on Shrabani Basu's book of the same name. Co-financed by BBC Films and made by Working Title, Victoria & Abdul is scheduled to go into production this year for a release in 2017.
Worthless waste-of-space horrorshow (and drag) Amanda Holden will be rocking up at Cackle's Academy, as she has joined the cast of The Worst Witch remake. So, that'll definitely be worth avoiding, then. Newcomers Meibh Campbell and Tamara Smart have been cast as Maud Spellbody and Enid Nightshade respectively, while Ethel Hallow (originally portrayed in the 1998 TV series by Felicity Jones) will be played by Jenny Richardson.
A rare copy of the comic in which Superman made his debut has been sold at auction for nine hundred and fifty six thousand dollars. Action Comics number one cost ten cents when it first went on sale in 1938. The copy sold by Dallas-based Heritage Auctions is one of about one hundred originals known to still exist. Its condition was rated around five out of ten. But, it is still far from the most expensive comic ever sold - a nine out of ten-rated copy of the same edition fetched 3.2 million bucks in 2014. Heritage said that the copy sold on Thursday came from the collection of 'an unnamed East Coast comic book fan' who had bought it in the 1990s for twenty six thousand dollars.
Channel Four's Gogglebox has paid tribute to its former narrator, the late Caroline Aherne. The actress and comedian died last month aged just fifty two after a battle with cancer. Wednesday evening's Gogglebox: Brexit Special concluded with the caption 'In loving memory of Caroline Aherne.' Noel Gallagher's 'Half The World Away', the theme song to The Royle Family, which Aherne created and starred in, was then played over the end credits. At the time of her death, Gogglebox creator Tania Alexander tweeted that she was 'beyond sad' about the loss 'of my dear pal Caroline Aherne.' Craig Cash, who appeared alongside Aherne on The Royle Family and co-wrote the show, has taken over as the narrator of Gogglebox.
Jeremy Vine is probably best known for his BBC Radio 2 show and for his antics with pie charts and graphics during general erections. But now, he has been announced as the new host of Crimewatch, taking over from Kirsty Young alongside Radio 1's Tina Daheley. 'I grew up watching Crimewatch,' Vine said. 'It is one of the most powerful programmes the BBC has ever broadcast with the power to change and save lives and of course, to solve crimes. To present it is a great honour and with this new format Crimewatch will be even more at the heart of the BBC1 schedule.'
Castle may be over, but Nathan Fillion is sticking with its parent network ABC. Having wrapped up his eight-series run as Richard Castle earlier this year, Fillion will join the cast of Modern Family in the autumn, co-creator Steve Levitan announced this week at the Television Critics Association press tour. Speaking as part of a panel with other ABC comedy showrunners, Levitan revealed that Fillion will play a weatherman called Rainer Shine. Martin Short will also make a guest appearance in the series' second episode.
A satirical comedy about Adolf Hitler is one of eight titles that Germany is considering as its submission for next year's foreign language Oscar. Er Ist Wieder Da (Look Who's Back) imagines Hitler waking up in modern-day Berlin and getting his own TV show. Based on a novel by Timur Vermes, the film was a box-office hit when it was released in Germany last year and was subsequently bought by Netflix. Germany's submission will be chosen by an independent jury on 25 August. The last German film to win the foreign film Oscar was Das Leben Der Anderen (The Lives Of Others) in 2007. Der Untergang (Downfall), a - terrific, if much-parodied - film about Hitler's final days, was also nominated for the award two years earlier. Other films Germany is considering for the 2016 award include Toni Erdmann, a comedy about a father and daughter relationship which was well received at this year's Cannes Film Festival. Er Ist Wieder Da is one of four titles on the shortlist which have at least some connection to the Nazi era. Others include a new version of The Diary Of Anne Frank and a film about the notorious German prosecutor Fritz Bauer.
For the first time, the US government has given a private spaceflight company the equivalent of a passport to the Moon. Moon Express, a little-known spaceflight company, announced the federal approval on Wednesday morning. The Federal Aviation Administration confirmed the move in a statement. The company is aiming to send a robotic lander to the Moon by the end of 2017 and, while it still needs to manufacture and test its spacecraft, not to mention launch it to the Moon aboard a yet-to-be-flown rocket, it now has regulatory approval from the federal government to, eventually, do that. The company's decision to navigate the complex web of federal approval for such a space exploration mission before completing the design and build of its technology reflects the fact that bureaucratic complications rank high on the list of uncertainties for private spaceflight companies such as they. Better-known space firms, such as SpaceX, have also had to gain regulatory approval for their activities, though none has yet attempted to send a spacecraft to the Moon. Or beyond. A number of government agencies including the State Department, NASA and the FAA signed off on Moon Express's plan to fly to the Moon after the company requested the government's approval earlier this year. 'There is no existing regulatory framework for private missions beyond Earth orbit, which is the fundamental reason why Moon Express created a proposed framework out of necessity to fill the regulatory gap for its 2017 lunar mission,' Moon Express CEO Bob Richards told Mashable in an e-mail. Of course, before Richards and his company set their sights on the Sea Of Tranquillity, there is a lot more to accomplish besides getting permission. Moon Express still needs to build and test its spacecraft designed to land on the Moon and perform a series of tasks to win the thirty million dollar Google Lunar X-Prize competition, which is designed to bolster the burgeoning industry. The company is also hoping to hitch a ride aboard a Rocket Lab Electron, a type of rocket which has yet to even perform a test flight. In other words, that 2017 date may be a bit optimistic. It may seem odd that a company is developing a regulatory framework for something which isn't even possible yet, but with the regulatory box checked, at least Moon Express won't come up against some unforeseen last-minute bureaucratic issue that will keep it on the ground. 'We have solved the regulatory barrier that was preventing us from launching to the Moon in 2017, so we're back to focusing on the challenges we can solve ourselves: building the Moon Express spacecraft and business,' Richards said. This ruling is somewhat unprecedented. 'Our 2017 Mission Approval is a critical achievement for Moon Express, as there was no possibility of us conducting a mission without it,' Richards said. 'It's also a landmark decision by the US government supporting commercial space sector, representing a pathfinder for private sector commercial missions beyond the Earth's orbit.'
After-school clubs appear to be the next venture of a national 'religious' group which sought to install a statue of Satan outside two state capitols to protest Christian monuments on public grounds according to ABC News. The Satanic Temple contacted nine public school districts across the country this week seeking to start 'after-school Satan programmes.' In all but one district, religious clubs are operated by the Child Evangelism Fellowship's Good News Clubs, in which students can study the Bible and pray, according to temple co-founder Lucien Greaves. Several districts contacted by The Associated Press said that they were 'reviewing' the group's request and noted their facilities were 'available to community groups.' Mat Staver, founder of a Christian legal aid group which has represented the Child Evangelism Fellowship, said that Greaves' organisation was 'illegitimate' and 'an atheist group masquerading' as religious. Far be it from this blogger to pick holes in Mister Staver's argument but, belief in a Judeo-Christian construct such as Satan would suggest, by the very nature of what the word actually means, that they cannot be 'atheist'. Look it up in the dictionary, mate, if you don't believe me. Greaves described Satanism as 'an atheist philosophy' whose believers 'feel it provides everything a religion provides to be legitimised as such.' The Satanic Temple, which is based in Salem, Massachusetts - oh, the irony - and has 'chapters' in several states, said that it wants to 'counter well-funded fundamentalist Christian organisations' that it believes are 'eroding the separation of church and state in public schools.' Greaves said that the after-school programme would show 'that people can be of different religious opinions and still be moral, upright people. We think that when kids are being exposed to the idea that they will burn in Hell and other supernatural ideas, that there is a positive upshot to being exposed to the presence of a Satanic afterschool programme,' he said. Greaves said that his group could pose 'tough legal fights' if its requests are denied. In Utah, the Granite School District said that if the group meets 'set requirements,' including paying rent, there's nothing the district can do to stop it. District spokesman Ben Horsley said that the group won't be able to put up fliers in schools or talk to students during school hours, the same arrangement given to the Good News Club. Springfield Public Schools in Missouri also said that it was 'reviewing' the group's request. It noted that granting requests to use the district's taxpayer-funded facilities 'does not constitute the district's endorsement.' The school district in Prince George's County, Maryland, described a similar policy and noted 'parental permission' was required for after-school activities. The other districts are in Georgia, California, Florida, Oregon, Washington state and Arizona. The Satanic Temple has taken up similar causes outside schools, including seeking to install an eight-foot-tall bronze statue of Satan at the Oklahoma Capitol to 'stand in contrast' to a similarly-sized Ten Commandments monument. Oklahoma's Supreme Court later banned all religious displays on Capitol grounds. The group is seeking to do the same outside Arkansas' statehouse, where a Ten Commandments monument has been proposed.

Just to prove that it's not just daft American planks that produce truly idiotic news stories, here's one from our own fair land. Faizah Shaheen had just come through passport control at Doncaster Airport on her way back from Turkey, where she'd spent two weeks on her honeymoon, when two police officers approached her. The officers asked to see her passport and informed her that she had been 'reported' for reading 'a suspicious book' and was 'to be questioned under Schedule Seven of the Terrorism Act' under which the police can detain individuals without grounds for suspicion of involvement in criminal activities, including terrorism. Faizah was released within fifteen minutes but what, you may be asking, could she possibly have been reading that led to such a incident? A bomb-making manual, perhaps? How To Kill The Infidel For The Glory Of Allah? No, the book she was reading, on her flight out two weeks previously, was in fact Syria Speaks: Art & Culture From The Frontline. Faizah told the Independent: 'I became very angry and upset. I couldn't understand how reading a book could cause people to suspect me like this. I told the police that I didn't think it was right or acceptable.' The twenty seven-year-old, from Leeds, works as a child and adolescent mental health services practitioner for the NHS, where part of her job is to assess vulnerable young people at risk of becoming radicalised. 'I said that to the police. I'm actually part of trying to fight radicalisation and breaking the stereotypes,' she said. 'It was a very hurtful experience to go through, I fight for different causes and then to be victimised and experience this first-hand made me realise how bad it is.' Faizah says that she feels like she was discriminated against specifically because of her faith. 'I do question if whether it would be different if it was someone who wasn't Muslim.' The book, which was reported by Thomson Airways cabin crew, is an award-winning collection of essays, short stories, cartoons, poems, photographs and songs by Malu Halasa. Jo Glanville, the director of English PEN – which supported the book's publication with a grant towards translation – said that Thomson Airways should be 'highly embarrassed about this gross act of misjudgment. The current culture of anxiety around extremism now means that even our reading material has become grounds for suspicion of terrorist activity,' she said. 'The freedom to read any book, no matter the subject, is a fundamental cornerstone of our liberty.' Glanville also called Schedule Seven a 'continuing problem' and said that it was 'overdue for reform.' Zaher Omareen, the co-editor of Syria Speaks, condemned Faizah's detention as 'a despicable incident.' Thomson weaselled in a statement: 'Our crew undergo general safety and security awareness training on a regular basis. As part of this they are encouraged to be vigilant and share any information or questions with the relevant authorities. We appreciate that in this instance Ms Shaheen may have felt that over-caution had been exercised. However, like all airlines, our crew are trained to report any concerns they may have as a precaution.' One wonders whether any member of Thomson Airways cabin crew would have 'reported', let's say for the sake of argument, a white man reading a book about, for instance, football hooliganism - of which there are literally dozens - on the suspicion that he might've been about to kick-off big style if somebody looked at him in a funny way. The answer, of course, is that they would never do that in a million years. And the detaining, however briefly, of Faizah is, in fact, an effing disgrace over which, one would like to think, someone, somewhere is getting the tin-tack. Still one trusts that the parents of the Thomson's staff member that so heroically snitched up Faizah like a filthy stinking Copper's Nark are very proud of him or her.

Bloody Christopher Bloody Biggins has been removed from the Celebrity Big Brother house for making 'a number of comments capable of causing great offence,' the Victorian freak show has said. Programme makers did not disclose the comments made by Bloody Biggins, who had been the bookmakers' favourite to win the crass, bear-baiting-style TV show. But they said the Channel Five show 'does not tolerate offensive language.' Bloody Biggins had sparked controversy four days earlier over comments that bisexual people were 'the worst type.' Opening Friday's live show - which saw Grant Bovey voted out of the house - presenter Emma Willis made brief reference to Bloody Biggins's removal but gave no details. A statement posted on the Celebrity Big Brother website said that the show had 'taken the decision to remove Christopher Biggins. Since entering Big Brother, he has made a number of comments capable of causing great offence to housemates and the viewing public,' it said. 'Big Brother does not tolerate offensive language capable of causing widespread offence.' During a conversation about homosexuality earlier this week, the openly gay actor said: 'The worst type though is, I'm afraid to say, the bisexuals. What it is, is people not wanting to admit they are gay.' He was then seen agreeing with fellow contestant Renee Graziano's comment that 'You have to pick a team.' The programme's producers have not said whether these comments were among those that they considered before ordering Bloody Biggins to leave the house. Two of the other housemates have also received official warnings over their behaviour in the show's first week. Singer Aubrey O'Day (no, me neither) was warned for spitting in reality TV regular Stephen Bear's sandwich. Bear himself received a warning after throwing a mug, which smashed a glass window, following a row with Heavy D from the TV show Storage Hunters. Anybody got any idea whom these people are? Bloody Biggins won ITV show I'm A Z-List Former Celebrity Desperate To Get My Boat-Race Back On TV ... Please Vote For Me To Stay Here As Long As Possible (I'll Even Eat Worms If You Want) in 2007. Bloody Biggins is said to be 'very sorry and very sad' over his very public removal from the TV show. Although, one suspects that, actually, he is 'very sorry and very sad' at the probability that his career, such as it was, is now effectively screwed as no other reality TV programme is going to want to touch him with a bargepole after this malarkey. The other contestants on this year's Celebrity Big Brother, incidentally, are: Renee Graziano of Mob Wives, former X Factor-type persons Chloe Khan and Katie Waissel, the actor Frankie Grande, reality TV regulars Lewis Bloor and Marnie Simpson, former EastEnders actor Ricky Norwood, Loose Women presenter Saira Khan and former page three model and pop wannabe, Samantha Fox. All of which will, hopefully, give dear blog readers an idea of just what a desperate z-list fiasco the latest series of Celebrity Big Brother is. So, no change there, then.
Former deputy PM and oily smeg Nick Clegg has claimed to the BBC that the rat-faced loathsome wretched odious nasty slavver-merchant, George Formby lookalike (and tit) Gove was 'behind' the Sun's Queen Backs Brexit story. The Palace angrily complained about the story, which quoted 'an [alleged] anonymous source' as allegedly saying the Queen had, allegedly, 'let rip' at Clegg The Oily Smeg about Europe at Windsor Castle. Clegg told a forthcoming BBC documentary on Brexit that the rat-faced loathsome wretched odious nasty slavver-merchant, George Formby lookalike (and tit) Gove 'obviously communicated it. Well, I know he did.' The rat-faced loathsome wretched odious nasty slavver-merchant, George Formby lookalike (and tit) Gove has previously denied briefing the story, which was published in March and the Sun has claimed it 'had two sources.' One or two people even believed them. The rat-faced loathsome wretched odious nasty slavver-merchant, George Formby lookalike (and tit) Gove claimed: 'I don't know how the Sun got all its information and I don't think it's really worth my adding anything to what's already been said.' Well, he would wouldn't he? Key figures from both sides of the campaign in the EU referendum spoke to BBC political editor Laura Kuenssberg for the documentary Brexit: The Battle For Britain, which will be broadcast on Monday. Clegg The Oily Smeg said: 'I mean, the idea that the Queen of all people would even bother to give someone as insignificant as a "here today, gone tomorrow" deputy Prime Minister a tongue-lashing about Europe I just think is so preposterous, so it was not true. I think it was very, very disrespectful of Michael Gove to have done that.' The Independent Press Standards Organisation subsequently ruled the headline had been 'inaccurate,' following a complaint from Buckingham Palace. The Sun stood by the story. Meanwhile, Anna Soubry - who was Business Minister - told the documentary that the Remain camp's failure to focus on immigration, which was a main focus for the Leave campaign, was a 'terrible, terrible mistake.' She added: 'We did fear on the economy, keep on about the economy which was right, but not all the way over it because people got bored and tired with that. It was like we kind of made and won that argument, so then the vacuum appeared and then bang, in they came with their killer card, which was immigration and we refused to engage in it.' The divide in views among Conservative ministers also features in the programme. Craig Oliver - the ex-Downing Street director of communications who was knighted in David Cameron's crony=rewarding resignation honours list - told the programme that the Prime Minister only found out Boris Johnson was to campaign to leave the EU 'fifteen minutes before his public announcement.' Oliver said that there had also been 'a moment of surprise' when Cameron realised the rat-faced loathsome wretched odious nasty slavver-merchant, George Formby lookalike (and tit) Gove was to chair the Vote Leave campaign. The rat-faced loathsome wretched odious nasty slavver-merchant, George Formby lookalike (and tit) Gove had previously 'given the impression that he would not play a very significant role' in the campaign, Oliver claimed. Oliver said that it was 'naive' to suggest the government had not needed to call the referendum, adding: 'You could either deal with it now or the reality is it would pop up again in a few months, or a few years.' Meanwhile, Will Straw, who headed the Britain Stronger In Europe campaign, told the programme it had taken six months to get a meeting with one of Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn's advisers. 'They did not want to work with us, despite the fact that I'd been a candidate for the Labour Party at the 2015 election,' said Straw. Asked what he thought Corbyn's attitude to the UK's EU membership was, Straw added: 'He was lukewarm about it.' Labour peer Lord Mandelson also accused Corbyn of undermining the campaign to keep Britain in the EU. He said the Labour In campaign felt its efforts were at times 'undermined' and 'sabotaged' by Corbyn and those around him, adding that it was 'very difficult' to know what the Labour leader's motives were. Corbyn has arrogantly rejected any and all criticisms that he had not been in the vanguard of the referendum campaign. He told an audience on Thursday: 'We spent a lot of money on it, we did a lot of campaigning. I travelled the whole country doing a very large number of meetings.' Gisela Stuart, the Labour MP who co-chaired the Vote Leave campaign, told the programme she believed an 'unravelling of the Labour heartlands not feeling that the Labour Party was representing them' was 'a real problem' for the Remain side. 'The minute you left the M25 ring, there was a real groundswell of people who wanted to leave, which was something the metropolitan liberal elite simply had not recognised. People were coming up and it was like revealing an unpleasant secret: "You know, I'm voting Leave and even worse, I'm a Labour Party member and I'm voting Leave."'
Dramatic footage has been filmed and distributed on the Interweb of a man jumping onto a moving car and punching the windscreen in a rage. Ooo, pure dead vexed, so he was. The man - who is, obviously, not mental nor nothing - can be seen jumping onto a car bonnet in Leicester city centre and shouting at the driver, before the driver continues to drive. Onlookers said that the man then jumped off and began punching other cars. As you do. Leicestershire Police said that a man had been arrested for criminal damage and assault and was treated at hospital for his own injuries. The drama unfolded on Burleys Way, close to the junction with St Margaret's Way, just before 6pm on Thursday. BBC reporter Amy Woodfield, who recorded the footage as a passenger in another car, said: 'I don't know what caused the drama. He was furious. He was possibly a pedestrian or running because he was in running gear. He started approaching other cars as well and I started to get a bit scared that he might jump on our car. You could see the blood dripping from his hand and knee and he was grinning as he was walking around.'
The chairman of Ofsted has grovellingly apologised after he called the Isle of Wight 'an inbred poor white ghetto' where 'there has been inbreeding.' Nice. David Hoare claimed that he had been 'trying to highlight the unacceptably poor performance of schools on the island over many years.' Hey, David, mate, a tip - when you're in a hole, it's probably a good idea to stop digging. His comments, made at a recent teaching conference, prompted calls for him to resign. Hoare apologised 'for any upset or offence' he may have caused.
For those dear blog readers interested in the strange intricacies of the forthcoming US Presidential election, there's a jolly fascinating, albeit highly speculative, piece on that very subject written by the BBC's Anthony Zurcher which you can read here.

A Northern Virginia mayor is facing drug charges after his arrest in what is described as 'a meth-for-sex sting,' police said. The Gruniad Morning Star reports that Fairfax mayor, R Scott Silverthorne, was very arrested on Thursday after meeting undercover detectives at a hotel. After receiving 'a tip off' about a possible methamphetamine distributor in July, Fairfax County police said in a statement that they began an inquiry and identified a suspect distributing methamphetamine through a website 'used to arrange casual sexual encounters' between men. An undercover detective created a profile on the site and police said that within days the suspect, who turned out to be Silverthorne, made contact and they then communicated by text. Silverthorne, fifty, indicated that he 'could provide methamphetamine for sexual encounters' and undercover detectives agreed to meet for 'a group sexual encounter' in exchange for methamphetamine, police said. Silverthorne arranged to bring methamphetamine and other men, police added. Detectives met Silverthorne at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in McLean on Thursday and he was very arrested after he gave them methamphetamine. Detectives also found Silverthorne's suppliers, Juan Jose Fernandez and Caustin Lee McLaughlin, both of Maryland, and arrested them as well. Fernandez was charged with distribution of methamphetamine, possession with the intent to distribute methamphetamine and possession of drug paraphernalia. McLaughlin was charged with distribution of methamphetamine, obstruction of justice and possession of drug paraphernalia. As detectives arrested McLaughlin, police said tat he resisted and a detective 'used his stun gun.' Police said there were no injuries. All three men were extremely taken to the Fairfax County adult detention centre. Silverthorne was re-elected in May for a third term of the city after a tumultuous year in which the Washington Post reported he lost his job with the National Association of Manufacturers, filed for bankruptcy, lost his home to foreclosure and was diagnosed with cancer. He announced in November that he had been diagnosed with squamous cell carcinoma and the Post said he underwent treatment which ended two months before the election. Police said that he was also a substitute teacher for the Fairfax County public schools. His father, the late Frederick Silverthorne, was mayor of Fairfax in the late 1970s.

Philadelphia is urging residents 'not to swim in dumpsters' after a rented trash bin was filled with fire hydrant water and transformed into a temporary pool. The online news site Billy Penn first reported the shenanigans at a weekend block party in the city. The party's organisers told the site that they 'power-washed' the dumpster, lined the bottom with plywood and tarps and cushioned the corners with pool noodles. However, filling it with hydrant water caused the biggest issue for city officials. The Department of Licenses & Inspections issued a statement saying the city will not 'issue permits' for block party dumpster pools. Spoilsports. Agency spokeswoman Karen Guss said, 'you would think this decision would not require an explanation.' But, she had a go, anyway. Among the reasons given were: Doing thus takes water which should be available in the event of a fire; the strong water pressure could push someone into harm's way and the huge amount of water released could cause a mains break. 'We are not screwing around, Philly,' Guss's statement reads. 'The city strongly recommends that residents opt for recreational options that are safer, more sanitary and less likely to deplete the resources firefighters need in an emergency.'
A student died whilst performing 'an extreme solo sex act' in his bedroom, an inquest has heard. The body of Christopher Harrold was found by his new housemates after 'failing to emerge from his room for two days' according to Metro. He died of auto-erotic asphyxiation – a method of increasing sexual excitement by restricting oxygen flow to the brain by strangulation or suffocation. Police officers found a laptop and mobile phone near him in his room which were both pointing towards him. No further details about the circumstances of his death were given at the inquest at Avon Coroner's Court in Bristol. But, assistant coroner Robert Sowersby said that there was 'nothing to suggest' Harrold had 'any intention of hurting himself.' The inquest heard Harrold has just moved into a new house in Redland, Bristol, which he shared with his close friends Alex Neville, Allison Rubenok and Sarah Becca Whittaker. He had gone home for the weekend on 22 April to spend time with his family and they arrived in Bristol on 30 April to help him move into the house. But, by the morning of 2 May, his friends realised they had not seen him for nearly two days and decided to check his room. Whittaker knocked on his door, but did not receive a reply. When she opened the door, she found Christopher slumped in the corner of his room. She ran out of the room crying and Rubenock went in to find that he had, apparently, hanged himself. In her witness statement, Whittaker said that Harrold had been 'in good spirits' and was 'excited' about moving into the new house. Rubenock had gone to America with him earlier this year for a physics conference. He told her that he had broken up with his girlfriend, Steph, in March. Although he was upset, he did not seem devastated by the break up, according to Rubenock. The court heard police officer Shirley Lindsay found a mobile phone and open laptop, both pointing towards the body. Sowersby said that the items found in the bedroom and the circumstances around the death 'strongly suggested' auto-erotic asphyxiation and he recorded a conclusion of 'death by misadventure.' In a statement to court, Harrold's mother, Carmel Dawson, said that her son was 'a smart, hardworking and competitive' person. He did well in school, with teachers praising him for both his work and attitude. Harrold travelled widely and also loved playing rugby. He would feature regularly for local sides and ran half-marathons. Last year, he was part of a team at Bristol University which developed an optical chip that can process photons in an infinite number of ways. It was a major step forward in creating a quantum computer to solve problems such as designing new drugs, superfast database searches and performing otherwise intractable mathematics, not possible for super computers.

An 'adult performer' in New Zealand has accused the Chiefs Super Rugby team of 'drunken pack mentality' after she was hired for their end-of-season celebration. Radio New Zealand spoke with the stripper, known only as Scarlette, who claimed that she was 'made to feel extremely uncomfortable' during her performance at a hot pool in a Waikato bar. 'I made it very clear that I didn't want to be touched, even though I had a smile on my face it doesn't affect the words coming out of your mouth - that was just me maintaining my professionalism, trying to get out of there safely,' Scarlette alleged. The performer said that there were no members of Chiefs management present at the celebration, which left her to ask the players herself that they settle down and behave themselves. 'Which they didn't,' she claimed. 'Things escalated. I told them not to pull this stuff with me. It's not on. It was a pack mentality.​ Basically, they wanted me to be a whore, which I wasn't there to be. And when I went to collect payment they short-changed me and basically just made it very hostile and I had to leave immediately, because I was quite upset. I was on my own there so you would think they would see that I was one woman walking into a group of - I mean, I don't know how many of the rugby team but there were a lot of people there. I had one of the players going through my phone, they proceeded to lick me in places that I don't totally agree with. I felt like I was pressured for that.' Scarlette expressed her 'right to speak out' against the ill-treatment, and said that the players 'should not be exempt' from the same rules as anyone else, just because they are professional athletes. 'Why am I not allowed to speak out and why should I accept that that's the norm? It's not in my life and it shouldn't be in any other girl's life,' she said. The Chiefs bowed out of the Super Rugby competition last Saturday after a twenty five-nine defeat at the hands of rival outfit, the Hurricanes. Since then, things have gone from bad to worse for the Hamilton-based franchise. Forward Michael Allardice was in trouble on Tuesday for shouting 'homophobic slurs' directed at a Waikato man and two friends during celebrations at the hot pools. 'Here come the gays, here come the gays,' Allardice admitted to saying. He later grovellingly apologised for the comments. Chiefs CEO, Andrew Flexman, said that it was 'a bad look' for the franchise, but warned others 'not to take the accusations as gospel. You have got to remember this is one person's accusation and her standing in the community and culpability is not beyond reproach,' Flexman told There's another one of those 'when you're in a hole, stop digging,' moment it would appear. 'I don't think it's a good look,' he added. No shit? 'Clearly it's something as an organisation, it's not good and it's not acceptable.' It is currently unclear what penalties, if any, will be imposed on players by Chiefs management. The Chiefs main sponsor sparked outrage for dismissing the woman's claims,particularly after a second allegation of impropriety was made by another woman. The Chiefs' sponsor, Gallagher, was accused of 'victim blaming in the extreme' after its corporate services executive, Margaret Comer, said that she was 'reluctant to say that the boys were out of line.' Comer, who is a trustee on the board of Waikato Women’s Refuge has since apologised for her comments. Doctor Ang Jury, the chief executive of New Zealand Women's Refuge, said that whilst she was 'appalled' by the allegations, the comments made by 'prominent public figures' were of equal, if not greater, concern. 'I couldn't believe my ears about what Margaret Comer said,' Jury noted. 'It's victim blaming in the extreme. I don't think we can pretend for a moment that we don't still have a very sexist culture.' The scandal is a major blow to rugby in New Zealand, which trades on a wholesome, clean image, with players revered across the country. All Blacks coach Steve Hansen has called for an end to so-called 'mad Mondays,' saying they have 'no place' in modern professional rugby.
A Georgia man was reportedlyvery arrested and charged with 'having a sexual encounter with a farm animal' late last month. According to a Paulding County Sheriff's police report, Freddie Wadsworth, aged sixty five, of Douglasville, was charged with bestiality after his neighbours reported an indecent exposure incident on 27 July. Witnesses reportedly told police that they saw a man, later identified as Wadsworth, performing a sexual act on a goat, which the sheriff's office identified as a white female goat, name unknown. Wadsworth continues to be held for prosecution at the Paulding County Detention Centre. Bestiality is a felony and the punishment for a conviction is between one to five years in The big House.
A ninety-year-old man was arrested for allegedly soliciting a prostitute. Which is, in this blogger's opinion, both ambitious and impressive, frankly. According to court documents obtained by the Cape Cod Times and subsequently reported - no doubt, with great glee - by FOX News, Nicholas Salerno of Dennis Port paid a local woman one hundred dollars to perform a sex act in June. Salerno reportedly noticed that a necklace was missing after the woman used a bathroom in his home. He reported the theft to police, who informed Salerno that he would also be charged with soliciting a prostitute. 'I don't give a [expletive]. I'm ninety years old," Salerno told officers, the Cape Cod Times reports. The woman, later identified as forty eight-year-old Karen Proia, was charged with larceny and prostitution. Both Salerno and Proia pleaded very guilty in court Tuesday.
Veterinarians at Busch Gardens in Tampa, Florida reportedly had to euthanise Pinky The Dancing Flamingo after a man grabbed her from an animal viewing area and 'threw her to the ground' in front of his children. According to a police report, forty five-year-old Joseph Anthony Corrao of Orlando was visiting the theme park with his mother and his three teenagers on Tuesday when he reached into a pen in the Jambo Junction area, picked up a flamingo and threw it down. Police say that his mother told him to 'leave the birds alone' after he picked up another one. That is when, it is claimed, he threw Pinky down so hard that its foot was 'nearly severed,' the police report said. Police spokesman Stephen Hegarty said Corrao 'handled the bird violently.' Park security officers detained him until his arrest by Tampa police. Busch Gardens said that the bird suffered 'traumatic' injuries and could not be saved. 'It was a very sad and hard day for us here,' said a park spokeswoman, Karen Varga-Sinka. Judge John Conrad had strong words for Corrao in court on Wednesday. 'It actually borders on depraved,' the judge said. 'I don't know if you have other issues. I don't know who does that, I really don't. I don't relate to that on any level.' Corrao previously served three years in prison in Florida after being convicted of aggravated assault on a person sixty five or older, felony DUI and fleeing from a law enforcement officer. The judge ordered him to be held in the Hillsborough County Jail on a five thousand dollar bond on a felony count of aggravated cruelty to animals. Pinky was nineteen, a Chilean flamingo hatched at the park in 1996. The attraction has twenty flamingos, a mix of Chilean and Caribbean, but Pinky's dance moves made her a star. 'Pinky loved to dance for our guests,' said Varga-Sinka. 'Her keepers say that this is not a trained behaviour, but a natural behaviour. She loved to show off. Flamingos are filter feeders, using their beaks to strain tasty morsels out of the water around them as they wade. To stir up the tastiest treats, flamingos will stamp their webbed feet. Pinky often performed this toe-tapping behaviour out of the water for guests.' Pinky also appeared on behalf of the park's conservation and education efforts as an ambassador animal. 'She will be sorely missed,' said Varga-Sinka.
A twenty-year-old man was found 'making a nuisance' whilst nude in a Homebase carpark by police. Upon approaching the man, identified as Joshua Hare, at the DIY superstore in Swindon, officers noticed a package 'emerge' from the naked man's foreskin. Ow, that's got to chafe. Following tests, this was confirmed to be seven grams of cocaine.

Meanwhile, here's an Internet story about cats. How very surprising.
A staggering twenty six members of Nigeria's Under-Seventeen football side failed an age test carried out ahead of an African Cup of Nations qualifier. A mandatory Magnetic Resonance Imaging screening of the squad revealed that almost half of them were ineligible to play. Only last year the Golden Eaglets won the Under Seventeen World Cup in Chile for a record fifth time. The players who failed the tests have now left the training camp in Abuja. They were staying there ahead of this week's Cup of Nations qualifying match against neighbouring Niger, which will still go ahead. Many of the expected starting eleven did pass the age test. Accusations of age cheating have blighted Nigeria's success at international age group tournaments in recent years. Former Nigerian FA president Anthony Kojo Williams told the BBC: 'We use over-age players for junior championships, I know that. Why not say it? It's the truth. We always cheat. When you cheat, you deprive the young stars that are supposed to play in these competitions their rights.'
A handful of players from the USA's Olympic basketball team made a rather embarrassing faux pas while out seeing the sights in Rio last week according to the Daily Torygraph. DeAndre Jordan, DeMarcus Boogie Cousins and DeMar Derozan were having a night on the town when, it is claimed, they visited 'a classy looking establishment' called Termas Monte Carlo – which, it transpired, is actually a brothel. The TMZ website reports that the team-mates 'wandered into the venue and had some drinks' – before twigging it was no ordinary bar. To be fair to the players, it doesn't sound like it was a difficult mistake to make for visitors in a strange city. According to a 2014 report by Rolling Stone on Rio's burgeoning sex industry, the city's Termas brothels are 'ostensibly spas.' An alleged 'source' allegedly said that the players 'didn't hang around long' after working out where they were: 'They realised it wasn't the right place for them and immediately left.'
Clare Balding was advised not to take her wedding ring to Brazil for the Olympics, according to her wife. Eagle-eyed viewers noticed that the sports presenter was not wearing the ring in various BBC programmes leading-up to the 2016 Rio Olympics opening ceremony. To one concerned viewer, Claire's partner Alice Arnold responded: 'I'm sure it would be fine but wise not to wear irreplaceable jewellery.' Former BBC Radio 4 newsreader Alice was responding to Twitter messages from fans, with one commenting: 'Why is Clare Balding not wearing her wedding ring?' The couple married last year after fourteen years together.
The 2016 Olympics were formally opened - in the early hours of Saturday morning, European time - with a colourful and pulsating ceremony at Rio's famous Maracana stadium. Broadcast to an estimated global audience of three billion punters, it celebrated Brazil's history, culture and natural beauty, before former marathon runner Vanderlei de Lima lit the Olympic cauldron. Wimbledon champion Andy Murray led the Great Britain team into the arena. The build-up to Rio 2016 has been played out against a deep recession and widespread political protests in Brazil. The games, the first to be held in South America, have also been disrupted by concerns over the Russian doping scandal, scare-stories about the Zika virus and problems with the city's security, infrastructure and venues. But, organisers will hope that the focus can now shift to the action in twenty eight sports, with two hundred and seven teams, after the games of the thirty first Olympiad were officially opened. The cauldron was lit by De Lima, who won bronze for Brazil in the marathon at the 2004 games after he was grappled by an attention-seeking spectator whilst leading the race. The football legend Pele had ruled himself out of performing the role earlier in the day saying that he was not in the right 'physical condition.' With Brazil's economy struggling, the budget for the opening ceremony was thought to be considerably less than the thirty million smackers spent at London in 2012. And, while Rio's event did not match the enormous ambition of the Isles Of Wonder ceremony directed by Danny Boyle four years ago, or indeed, the opening of the Beijing games four years before that, those inside the Maracana and watching around the world were treated to a show which mixed light displays, fireworks, dancing and music. After a simple but emotional rendition of the Brazilian national anthem, sung and played on acoustic guitar by singer-songwriter Paulinho da Viola, video projections beamed on to the floor of the stadium explored the history of the country. Starting with images of micro-organisms dividing - representing the beginning of life - the ceremony highlighted the contributions made by the nation's indigenous peoples, by Portuguese explorers, by African slaves and by Japanese immigrants to Brazil's history and culture. Performers jumped and danced across projections of giant buildings, symbolising the cities of Brazil, while a recreation of a fourteen-bis biplane - the invention of Alberto Santos-Dumont - drew one of the biggest cheers of the evening as it flew across and then out of the arena. The Russian team, cut down to two hundred and seventy one athletes from an initial three hundred and eighty nine following accusations of widespread, state-sponsored doping, received what can best be described as a mixed reaction from the crowd. Although it was considerably better than the one afforded to Acting President Michel Temer, who got booed the second he stood up to speak. One of the warmest welcomes of the evening was given to a team consisting of refugee athletes. They were the penultimate group to enter the stadium. International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach said the refugee team were sending 'a message of hope to the millions of refugees around the globe.' The local crowd of sixty thousand exploded with noise when the Brazil team, with London 2012 modern pentathlon bronze medallist Yane Marques flying the nation's flag, emerged into the stadium last.
When is a live spectacle not a live spectacle? Viewers in the US had to make do with 'not-so-live' coverage of Rio's Olympic opening ceremony and many were not happy about it. The country's Olympic broadcaster, NBC, decided to show the ceremony at prime time in all time zones - meaning that audiences on the East coast saw it with an hour's delay, while those on the West coast had to wait for four hours after the ceremony had started before coverage began. NBC responded to online criticism by saying that its team 'needed time to edit' the ceremony and 'put it into context for viewers in the US.' In a statement, a spokesperson said: It's not a sports competition. It's a cultural ceremony that requires deep levels of understanding, with numerous camera angles and our commentary laid over it. We think it's important to give it the proper context. And primetime is still when the most people are available to watch.' This, presumably, is the same NBC who received huge criticism over their half-arse coverage of the opening ceremony of the London Olympics four years ago, and, in particular, some thoroughly ignorant comments by co-hosts hairdo Matt Lauer and worthless blonde thing Meredith Vieria concerning the World Wide Web creator Tim Berners-Lee. LA Observed's Bob Timmerman noted: 'After the sixteen days of the Olympics are done, there will be plenty more things people will dislike about NBC's coverage of the games. But, this bit of willful [sic] ignorance of one of the world's most innovative minds and someone who developed a communications medium that has made it possible for NBC to show us the Olympics online, just floored me. I'm not worried about London's ability to pull together a well-run Olympics. I'm more worried about NBC's ability to find on-air talent who are not completely ignorant of any technological development. In the world of television news, it is still acceptable to laugh at one's lack of knowledge about science and technology.' The New York Times has hinted that perhaps the decision to delay the coverage was commercial, as more viewers joined for its 'nakedly promotional introductory half hour.' The newspaper said: 'NBC featured the American athletes it is counting on for story lines, like the swimmer Michael Phelps and the sprinter Allyson Felix; and an intrusive, embarrassing promo touted NBC's most prominent announcers. The nadir of the evening was a five-minute segment, positioned just before the start of the opening ceremony, that was ostensibly about Olympic golf but was really a plug for the NBC/Universal-owned Golf Channel.' In another indication of commercial concerns, the network's executives reportedly lobbied the International Olympic Committee unsuccessfully to have the athletes parade in English language alphabetical order rather than in Brazil's native language, Portuguese. According to a report by Bloomberg, the reason for this was that 'United States' comes right towards the end giving stateside television audiences an incentive to watch to the end. 'Estados Unidos,' on the other hand, comes midway through the parade and provides the audience with an easy point to tune out and turn in for the evening. Meanwhile,writing in Vox, culture editor Todd Van Der Werff said the hosts - the loathsome Lauer and Vieria plus Hoda Kotb - contributed nothing but 'inane chatter,' including joking about how the African nation of Djibouti sounds like 'yer booty'. Oh, how original. Van Der Werff blamed an 'entertainment-first approach' to the Olympics. One can only wonder what amusing comments NBC came up with over name of the games' first gold medallist, America's Ginny Thrasher.

And, still on the subject of brain-dead morons commenting on aspects of the Olympics - in this case, twenty-four carat brain-dead morons, or 'Twitter users' as they are more commonly known - Helen Skelton's short skirt has, apparently, 'caused a Twitter meltdown' as she presented the BBC's Olympic swimming coverage. And this constitutes 'news', seemingly. At least, the Daily Mirra thinks that it does. So, once again, dear blog reader, let us simply stand up and applaud the utter shite that some people chose to care about.
Great Britain's Chris Froome and Geraint Thomas missed out on a medal in the men's cycling road race on the opening day of Rio 2016 as Belgium's Greg Van Avermaet took gold. British hopes ended when the impressive Thomas crashed on the final descent, after Froome and Adam Yates had been unable to stay with the leading group. Thomas remounted to finish the race in eleventh place and then went to hospital for treatment. Froome, who was twelfth, goes for gold again in Wednesday's time trial, hoping to better his bronze behind Bradley Wiggins at London 2012. A thrilling finish saw Van Avermaet win the sprint to the line, leaving Denmark's Jakob Fuglsang to take silver and Poland's Rafal Majka - who had led into the final kilometres - bronze. Yates came home in fifteenth while the other British riders, Ian Stannard and Steve Cummings, did not finish. Before the race Froome had described the picturesque two hundred and thirty seven kilometre race route as 'the most brutal course in Olympic history,' but the three-time Tour De France winner's challenge did not falter until the final twenty kilometres. By then, fewer than forty of the one hundred and forty four starters were left in contention after more than five-and-a-half hours of racing but Britain's riders remained well placed, with Thomas part of a six-man lead group that had opened up a thirty-second gap on what was left of the peloton. Froome and Adam Yates were in that pack along with pre-race favourites Alejandro Valverde of Spain and Italy's Vincenzo Nibali, who was waiting to make his move. It came on the penultimate descent of Vista Chinesa when Nibali bridged the gap. Yates got across too but was dropped early on the final set of ascents when the race completely split and Froome was left with too much work to do. Thomas was Britain's last chance of a medal but did not have the legs to stay with the three leaders - Nibali, Colombia's Team Sky rider Sergio Henao and Majka. That trio looked set to contest the medals until the final descent when Nibali and Henao both crashed out, with Thomas sliding off the road soon afterwards. Majka was left clear but could not hold off Fuglsang or Van Avermaet, who won the sprint to the line along the Copacabana. Olympic gold medallist and BBC cycling co-commentator Chris Boardman said: 'We did not win a medal because ultimately we did not have the legs for it but, tactically, that was the best Olympic road race I have seen from the British team.'
England produced a fine bowling performance to skittle Pakistan for two hundred and one and seal a one hundred and forty one-run win in the third test at Edgbaston. Five bowlers claimed two wickets apiece as England wrapped up victory with thirteen overs to spare to take a two-one lead in the four-match series. Pakistan, set three hundred and forty three to win after England declared on four hundred and forty five for six in their second innings, were undermined by a middle-order collapse of four wickets for just one run. Although opener Sami Aslam hit seventy, five Pakistani players failed to reach double figures. The scale of England's victory was all the more impressive given that they conceded a first-innings deficit of one hundred and three after being put into bat, only the sixth time in history that they have won a test match after trailing in the first innings by one hundred runs or more. Indeed, it is a measure of their powers of recovery that, having lost the first test at Lord's inside four days, they head to The Oval for the fourth and final match later this week knowing they can go top of the World test rankings if they win the series three-one and results in the Sri Lanka versus Australia and West Indies versus India series' go their way. Pakistan's defeat, which ended their own ambitions of becoming the world's number one side this summer, stemmed from a wholly unexpected afternoon collapse on a batting surface which had remained pretty reliable deep into the fifth day. Roared on by a raucous Birmingham crowd in excess of ten thousand on a gloriously sunny day, England effectively settled the contest by reducing the tourists from one hundred and twenty four for three to one hundred and twenty five for seven in the space of twenty three balls with Chris Woakes and Steven Finn each taking two wickets. James Anderson returned after tea to have Yasir Shah caught at fourth slip and Mohammad Amir drove Stuart Broad low to Woakes at point. The damage that England had inflicted before tea was such that even a last-wicket stand of fifty between Sohail Khan and Rahat Ali was no more than a temporary inconvenience, albeit, a rather annoying one for Alistair Cook's men. Sohail eventually drilled a return catch to Moeen to fall for thirty six off thirty seven balls and spark joyous scenes among the England players. Finn was a central figure in England's victory, removing arguably the two most prized Pakistan batsmen to reward an improved performance in what has been a trying summer for the big fast bowler. The wicket of Pakistan captain Misbah-ul-Haq was Finn's first in seventy one overs, a sequence dating back to the third Sri Lanka test in June. Having gone wicketless at Lord's, been dropped at Old Trafford and bowled almost twenty eight overs without success and seen a catch put down in the first innings at Edgbaston, Finn's roar of celebration reflected his obvious relief. In finding late swing back in from round the wicket to bowl the obdurate Islam, Finn - who finished with two for thirty eight - could even have secured his place in the team for the series finale. Earlier, England had batted on from their overnight four hundred and fourteen for five - despite whinging from various sour-faced quarters of the media that they should have declared immediately - smashing a lightning thirty one runs in four overs. Jonny Bairstow could only add a couple of runs to his overnight total before being dismissed LBW by Sohail for eighty three. But Moeen - who was named Man of the Match for his all-round performance - progressed to eighty six not out, including hitting two towering sixes off Yasir in the opening over of the day. Added to the previous day's fifties by Cook (sixty six), Alex Hales (fifty four) and Joe Root (sixty two), this enabled England to declare having set Pakistan an unlikely target of three hundred and forty three and gave themselves eighty four overs to dismiss them. In the end, they needed only just over seventy.