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.