Thursday, September 29, 2016

Really Stupid

Let us start the latest From The North bloggerisationisms, dear blog reader, with yet another Sherlock series four location photograph. This one first emerged earlier in the year in the Daily Scum Mail. But, don't let that put you off having a reet good gander at it. It features yer actual Benedict Cumberbatch, Martin Freeman his very self and his bitch. Plus Amanda Abbingdon, obviously. What?
And, here are a few more on location photos from Sherlock series four. See how good this blogger is to you lot?
On a somewhat related theme, Doctor Who's latest series continues filming; most recently at the Grade One listed Kings Weston House in Bristol. Where yer actual Peter Capaldi could be spotted, wearing some really cool Victorian gear and looking like he's telling a small child how big his brain is. 'Size of an Adidas Telstar, young lady!'
The Doctor also, seemingly, found himself in Holby this week. He gets everywhere, that bloke.
You might love him in Sherlock, but what about Benedict Cumberbatch's vocal skills? The actor joined David Gilmour his very self on stage at The Royal Albert Hall in London this week to perform a song by Gilmour's old band, Pink Floyd, 'Comfortably Numb'. Gilmour was playing the third gig of a five-night residency when Benny took to the stage to perform the song, originally sung by glum old misery-guts Roger Waters on Floyd's 1979 double LP The Wall. The actor was following in the footsteps of the late David Bowie, who performed the song during Gilmour's gig at the same venue in 2006. Luckily for us, Benny was captured on camera, singing. Well ... sort of, anyway.
Now, dear blog reader, Keith Telly Topping fully realises that it is really unbecoming to laugh, in a thigh-slapping style(e), at the misfortune of others and this blogger tries to do so as little as humanly possible. But, the following example of schadenfreude is just so funny. That odious, full-of-his-own-importance clown Sam Allardyce has had been very sacked as England manager - 'by mutual agreement' with the Football Association (ie. they very sacked him and he agreed to be very sacked) - after just one match and sixty seven days in charge. It follows a newspaper investigation claiming that Allardyce had offered advice on how to 'get around' rules on player transfers. Allardyce is also alleged to have used his role as England manager to negotiate a deal worth four hundred grand to represent an - as it turned out, entirely fictitious - Far Eastern company. An FA statement said that Allardyce's conduct was 'inappropriate' and that Gareth Southgate would take temporary charge of the England team. '[Allardyce] accepts that he made a significant error of judgement and has apologised,' the FA said. 'This is not a decision that was taken lightly but the FA's priority is to protect the wider interests of the game and maintain the highest standards of conduct in football. The manager of the England men's senior team is a position which must demonstrate strong leadership and show respect for the integrity of the game at all times.' For football fans, who still ultimately - and, much to the disappointment of the various wide-boys, absentee landlords and dodgy crooks that run our clubs - fund the game, thoughts will perhaps turn to the wider culture of money-chasing greed and rule-avoidance, and how the role of the England manager has become entangled in those pursuits. Allardyce succeeded Roy Hodgson in July following England's disastrous performance at Euro 2016 in France and, thus, becomes the national side's shortest-serving full-time manager. Although, ironically, in terms of statistics, his record as England manager of having a one hundred per cent record of wins is unlikely ever to be beaten.
The Daily Torygraph claimed that Allardyce had a meeting with undercover reporters posing as businessmen before he took charge of his first England training session. During the meeting, which was recorded on a hidden camera, it is alleged that Allardyce said it was 'not a problem' to bypass rules on third-party player ownership and claimed that he 'knew of' agents who were 'doing it all the time.' Which is illegal, incidentally. Allardyce, who had meetings in Mayfair and Manchester with the undercover reporters posing as representatives of a fictitious Far East firm that wanted to buy players, had been caught up in an exposé discussing a proposed four hundred thousand knicker arrangement which would have seen him fly to Singapore and Hong Kong to 'address investors' in the non-existent company. He insisted that he would have to 'clear' such an arrangement with his employers, the FA, but was also heard in conversation discussing about how third-party ownership of players can be circumnavigated, in contravention of existing FA and FIFA rules and also making various unflattering comments about his predecessor Roy Hodgson - including mocking Hodgson's speech impediment - and the former England coach Gary Neville, as well as the FA's decision to 'stupidly' rebuild Wembley at a cost of eight hundred and seventy million smackers. Allardyce also complained that the FA's president, Prince William, the Duke of Cambridge, did not attend meetings and he made some unflattering remarks about Prince Harry. Neither of which are sacking offences but, they are quite funny. Allardyce - described by the Gruniad's Daniel Taylor as 'a clot', 'a greedy old fool' and 'one of the most arrogant men in the business' - met FA chairman Greg Clarke and chief executive Martin Glenn on Tuesday to offer what he called 'a sincere and wholehearted apology for my actions.' He left out 'grovelling', please note. He explained that it had been 'a great honour' to be appointed England manager in July and that he was 'deeply disappointed at this outcome. Although it was made clear during the recorded conversations that any proposed arrangements would need the FA's full approval, I recognise I made some comments which have caused embarrassment,' he added. 'As part of the meeting, I was asked to clarify what I said and the context in which the conversations took place. I have co-operated fully in this regard. I also regret my comments with regard to other individuals.' But, the thing that he most regrets, one imagines, is that he got caught. The FA asked to see the Torygraph's evidence on Monday evening, as well as holding a conference call with Allardyce, who left his home in Bolton at 7am on Tuesday in his Mercedes to meet his employers at Wembley and take his caning. It must have been a long and uncomfortable drive back to Bolton for Allardyce - a drive he will never take as England manager again - after utterly failing to convince Clarke and Glenn that he should keep his job. Interestingly, Allardyce's public contriteness seemingly didn't last very long as, within hours, he was whinging that his sacking was due to 'entrapment' and that, in this case, entrapment had won. This, seemingly, was a view shared by one Gary Parkinson of FourFourTwo magazine who claimed that Allardyce was 'assassinated by England's attitude to class and cash'. Whereas, most people in the game seem to think that, on the contrary, Allardyce was 'assassinated' by getting his own greed right on. That's certainly the Daily Mirra's view on the matter, among many others.
In an interview on the FA website, Glenn said that Allardyce - described by the Daily Scum Mail's Martin Samuel as 'a piteous figure undone by greed' - was 'distraught' but that 'discussing a range of issues from potential contraventions of FA rules through to personal comments frankly just don't work when you're the manager of England.' However, Glenn added that it was 'a really painful decision' as the FA believed Allardyce was 'a great fit for England manager and we think could have been extremely successful.' But, now we'll never know.
The former Blackpool, Notts County, Notlob Wanderers, Newcastle United (where he was hated by the majority of supporters), Blackburn Vindaloos (ditto), West Hamsters United (ditto) and Blunderland manager Allardyce won his only game in charge of the national team last month. An injury-time goal from Liverpool Alabama Yee-Haws' Adam Lallana gave England a one-nil win over Slovakia in the first of their 2018 World Cup qualifiers. Allardyce had been due to announce his squad for the next round of qualifiers on Sunday but now Southgate will be in charge for four matches against Malta at Wembley (on 8 October), Slovenia away (11 October), Scotland at home (11 November) and Spain in a friendly (15 November) as the FA searches for a successor. Southgate ruled himself out of the running for the job prior to Allardyce's appointment but the current bookmakers' favourite may become a contender, possibly due to lack of many other viable candidates, depending on results in his caretaker spell. Allardyce - despite his own staggering hubris concerning his abilities - has always been something of an acquired taste to many within the game, both for his a 'I call a spade a bloody shovel' personality, his frequent need to make his mouth go in public - often over issues which are nothing whatsoever to do with him - and as a manager whose tactics have often been ridiculed by his detractors as basic and over-physical. He was successful up to a point at Notlob, getting a hard-working if somewhat unattractive side to respectable 'top ten in the Premier League three years running' type status (albeit, after he left, Notlob's chairman Phil Gartside infamously stated that Allardyce's replacement, Sammy Lee, would be a better manager and the team would play better football than they ever had under Allardyce). But Allardyce was never taken to by the majority of fans of Newcastle, or Blackburn, or West Ham - for a variety of reasons - and his reputation at Blunderland rested purely on keeping the Mackems in the Premier League during his one season in charge at the Stadium Of Plight. The label of being a 'kick and rush' manager always irked Allardyce who once claimed, as befitted someone with a towering sense of his own importance, that if his name was 'Allardici' he would be 'more revered' - and his England vision, outlined during his interview at FA board member David Gill's house in July, was believed to have been 'perceptive and modern.' So it will have been with a heavy heart that the FA's hierarchy listened to Allardyce's pathetic bleatings at Wembley on Tuesday afternoon before sacking the huge ass of a manager they thought would lift the post-Euro 2016 gloom. If the FA felt there was any justification for keeping Allardyce, it would surely have given him the benefit of the doubt. Allardyce never made a secret of his self-considered 'suitability' to be England manager - so he will be heartbroken that the dream he harboured throughout his career is over in a mere sixty seven days. Sadly for Allardyce, the lack of judgement and loose-tongued approach which saw him caught in the Daily Torygraph sting meant that events at Wembley on Tuesday were always heading towards an inevitable conclusion. As Allardyce was making his way to Wembley for his humiliating showdown with his employers which had echoes of so many other farcical FA episodes down the years, he may have been reflecting that one of the reasons he was targeted for the sting by the Torygraph was his apparent proximity to earlier allegations of potential greed. Rightly or wrongly, it could also be one of the reasons why the FA may have been nervous about the prospect of Allardyce's past being dragged back into the public spotlight on the back of these new allegations. A BBC Panorama programme broadcast in September 2006 accused Allardyce - then at Notlob - and his agent son, Craig, of various 'irregularities.' That broadcast prompted an outraged Allardyce to vow to boycott the BBC for life and extremely sue the broadcaster, branding the allegations 'outrageous lies.' Following a period when Allardyce did not speak to the BBC, the threat to sue was never followed through. Allardyce later claimed in his autobiography that he was 'advised' it would 'cost too much money' and 'take too long.' One or two people even believed him. (There is a very good summation of the entire 2006 saga here. Along with Allardyce, several others implicated by that Panorama programme also threatened to sue. Kevin Bond, Harry Redknapp's former assistant at Portsmouth, took his case the furthest - but dropped his libel action against the BBC six days before the case was due to start meaning that, to date, none of the claims made in the programme have ever been legally challenged.) In his book, Allardyce claimed: 'For the record, I've never taken a bung in my life. I might have enjoyed a meal or a bottle of wine on an agent or two but that is it. I was earning one and a half million pounds a year, so I didn't need a little bit extra from an agent. It would have been madness.' Ironically, it now appears it was exactly the fact that he was 'looking for a little bit extra' on top of his - huge - England salary which cost him his 'dream job.' Some may have a modicum of sympathy for Allardyce, brought down by non-footballing matters; there may be those who feel his punishment is harsh and believe that his remarks on third-party ownership were part of a private conversation while his comments on the Duke of Cambridge and Prince Harry were crass but hardly the stuff on which such jobs as England manager should be lost. Which is probably true, but that's not why he got the tin-tack. Ultimately, the bigger argument goes to the heart of the lack of judgement and big-mouthed approach shown by the footballing figurehead of the FA. The FA's statement spoke of the need for 'strong leadership and respect' for the integrity of the game and it, clearly, felt his behaviour was 'unbecoming' of an England manager. In the final reckoning, the FA clearly felt that as guardians of the rules and the body which judges others, Allardyce's words, his naivety and poor judgement in discussing intimate FA and footballing matters with relative strangers, the notion he might even consider himself as a potential adviser to this albeit fictitious company, weighed too heavily against him. Allardyce may still face a Football Association inquiry into the comments he made, specifically on third-party ownership and offering advice to businessmen on how to 'get around' the governing body's rules on transfers according to the Torygraph which promised more disclosures in the coming days, with much speculation surrounding their tease concerning 'at least eight English managers' allegedly involved in rule breaches and, indeed, Thursday brought a second 'victory' for the Torygraph when Barnsley sacked their assistant manager Tommy Wright over corruption claims made by the newspaper. This could all get very messy before it's over.
England are now 'the laughing stock of world football' following the departure of Allardyce according to BBC pundit Alan Shearer. 'I'm angry, I'm sad, I'm staggered at the misjudgement from a guy who said this was his dream job,' the former England skipper told BBC Radio 5Live. Before elbowing someone in the mush. Probably. Shearer, who scored thirty goals in sixty three games for England, said: 'It's incredible and a catastrophic misjudgement by Sam and his advisers. I'm angry at the whole situation. I didn't think England could stoop any lower from what happened in the summer at the Euros. Now here we are, a laughing stock of world football.' He said he believed the England job 'looks a poisoned chalice,' adding: 'It's a very, very difficult job, some would say the impossible job.' Graham Taylor certainly did. The former FA chief executive David Bernstein also told BBC Radio 5Live: 'The hubris of it all is extraordinary. This is a man earning three million pounds a year. I wonder whether there's a pay-off or not. I hope not, because I don't think fifty or sixty days' work merits a pay-off. There's no question he brought the FA and football into disrepute and that's not acceptable. I have very little sympathy.'
Meanwhile, check out this list of things which lasted longer than Allardyce's England reign.
Jezza Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May are set to stir up trouble around the world on The Grand Tour, so it was only a matter of time before they brought it all ack home. Now we know exactly where Jezza and co will be taking their anticipated Amazon Prime show in the UK, with Whitby the chosen location. Yes, Whitby. Who'd've thought it? Revealing the news, Jay Marine, VP of Amazon Video Europe, said 'our first UK stop on The Grand Tour will be the historic North Yorkshire town of Whitby, so we invite fans to get in early to join Jeremy, Richard and James for thrills, spills and fish and chips by the seaside.' The Grand Tour has been shooting around the world, with stops in Johannesburg and California already filmed. Each location will also have a live audience in a tent.
The presidential debate between Hillary Clinton and well-known hairdo Donald Trump was watched by eighty four million people on US TV, breaking a previous record set thirty six years ago. Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan's debate in 1980 drew eighty million viewers. The viewing figures only count those who watched the debate on the thirteen US TV channels which carried it live, meaning the true figure may well be much higher. Millions are also thought to have watched worldwide through online live streams or in bars and 'at parties.' For, such things do exist. The data provider Nielsen said that viewers stayed tuned through the ninety eight-minute debate. Trump told his supporters on Tuesday that he 'knew' the debate would have 'one of the largest audiences in the history of television' but he 'took a deep breath' and 'pretended I was talking to my family. You just block it out,' he said. In 2015 the NFL's Super Bowl won the biggest US TV audience to date when one hundred and fourteen million people watched New England play Seattle. There are two more presidential debates to come between the candidates - on 9 October and 19 October - before the election on 8 November. On 9 October, Clinton and Trump will have competition for the attention of the US; NFL teams the Green Bay Packers and the New York Giants will be playing at the same time as the second debate.
Lord Sugar-Sweetie is not one to mince his words, so just don't get him started on The Great British Bake Off's move to Channel Four. According to Lord Sugar-Sweetie, showing forecasting abilities that both Nostradamus and Paddy Power would've been proud of, it will be 'a total disaster.' Lord Sugar-Sweetie also had some strong words for 'greedy production companies' that sell their BBC formats for more money, arguing that it was not 'morally correct. I think [the BBC] are getting a raw deal these days,' Lord Sugar-Sweetie told the Radio Times. 'I mean, because they make something successful like Bake Off or The Voice then suddenly a commercial channel comes along and just goes and buys it off them and greedy production companies sell it to them. I don't find that morally correct. Think about their personal credibility as the production company, if this thing bombs on Channel Four. The difference between fifteen million viewers, which Bake Off got, to possibly settling down to about three million on Channel Four, surely that's got to mean something to them, hasn't it? It's not always the money, you know.' Given what he said, it is not surprising that he wants The Apprentice to remain on the Beeb, saying that his 'loyalty' is with the broadcaster. 'I don't wish to sound too much of a big head,' he said. Oh, it's a bit late for that, Alan, mate. 'But the rights owner would need to run it past me first of all, because they'd need to sound out whether I'd go with it and then would be told no. I wouldn't do it,' he added. Lord Sugar-Sweetie previously criticised the production company after the news broke that Bake Off was moving to Channel Four, arguing that Greed Productions had made 'a fatal error. BBC One got fifteen million viewers apart from the fist episode Channel Four will settle through the run at three to four million,' he suggested.
Lord Sugar-Sweetie also said that he would like the BBC to commission a new programme focusing on the progress of past winners of The Apprentice. He said that such a series 'would show what a great service the programme is performing for young entrepreneurs, young people, to inspire them.' The BBC swiftly said that there are 'no current plans' to broadcast such a spin-off. Speaking about some of the show's past winners, Lord Sugar-Sweetie said: 'They've turned into great business people.' He added: 'I think the BBC need to do something about that. They need to do a programme, for example, on where they are now.' Earlier this year, BBC2 broadcast a spin-off programme from Dragons' Den, Pitches To Riches, which charted the trajectory of several business ideas the Dragons had invested in. Lord Sugar-Sweetie added that the success of previous Apprentice winners was 'what motivates me to carry on doing [the show].' Well, that and the money. And, ego, obviously. 'They're doing very well and they don't get enough publicity. The BBC doesn't get enough publicity over the purpose of this programme. I enjoy watching these young people grow a business from scratch really and that's why I get a great buzz out of it. Ricky Martin [2012 the series winner] has got about twenty five people working for him, Tom [Pellereau, the 2011 winner] has eight or nine working for him, Leah [Totton, the 2013 winner] has got two clinics now.' He added: 'They are one of the reasons why the candidates flock to the auditions because they want to be them.' Not every previous contestant on the show has gone on to success in the business world, of course. 'You get a few people that are picked up by the media because of their outlandish comments and they go and pursue a separate career,' Lord Sugar-Sweetie said. 'Lots of them have tried. Katie Hopkins has found herself a special niche in the market. She's a bit like Piers Morgan on steroids and, of course, the media lap it up. And the more controversial she wants to be, the more they lap it up.' Interestingly, whilst he mentioned the infamous Hopkins, he didn't mention the former contestant who took him to an industrial tribunal, lost and ended up penniless and on the dole, Or, the one who died. Claude Littner and Karren Brady have returned to assist Lord Sugar-Sweetie on the new series of The Apprentice, which begins on 6 October on BBC1. The businessman said that the show's tasks had been 'updated' for 2016. 'One of the things I love about this process is, as I'm getting older, I've got a great production team that keep me on my toes as far as technology is concerned. With a lot of the tasks some of the stuff we're going to be doing didn't exist twelve years ago. For example, there's a virtual reality episode in there.' Lord Sugar-Sweetie said that he believes 'the freshness of the contestants' keeps the show relevant, adding: 'One of them was eleven years old when The Apprentice first started and has watched it since then and here they are, turning up to be one of the contestants in the show. We have a new audience growing every year and that's the excitement of the programme.' Lord Sugar-Sweetie was speaking just hours after Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump took part in a televised debate with the Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton. From 2004 until last year, Trump appeared as the figurehead of the US version of The Apprentice. Asked for his thoughts on his former US counterpart, Lord Sugar-Sweetie said: 'Well he's not as good as me, as far as The Apprentice is concerned, is he? He's not in my class, quite frankly. I saw the debate with him and Hillary Clinton and what comes to mind is that it's like a US version of Would I Lie To You? As many people have said it is quite a frightening thought that he may be the most powerful man in the world shortly.' Karren Brady added: 'For me personally, I think Hillary Clinton, another woman leader across the world, means the world is a safer and better place.' Lord Sugar-Sweetie also did not shy away from talking about UK politics, commenting that the outcome of the EU Referendum in June made him 'fear for our country.' Referring to the vote to leave the EU, Lord Sugar-Sweetie said: 'I was very clear in my views, I think they've made a fatal mistake. Lots of people are saying nothing has changed. Well, exactly. Nothing has changed because we haven't even started [the process of leaving] yet.'
The first trailer for Netflix's The Crown is in - and it looks rather good. Indeed, the Independent reckons it makes 'being the Queen look like Game Of Thrones.' Only, without the dragons, obviously. The Royal biopic series - starring Claire Foy and Matt Smith - which comes to Netflix in November, chronicles the life of Queen Elizabeth II. Based on Peter Morgan's 2013 play The Audience, the series will chart the life of Queen Elizabeth as she prepares to take the throne aged twenty five during a fraught time for Britain and, especially, for Prime Minister Winston Churchill (John Lithgow).
Popping up on BBC entertainment shows seems to be all the rage these days for ex-politicians and now, former Liberal Democrat leader and Deputy Prime Minister (yes, this blogger could scarcely believe it either) Nick Clegg is trying his hand at comedy for the first time on Have I Got News For You. Well, that is if one doesn't count his disastrous decision in 2010 to climb into bed with David Cameron for a tiny lick of power and, as a consequence, cause the virtual meltdown of Lib Dem support in the country five years later as 'comedy', per se. Clegg will have to wrangle Ian Hislop and Paul Merton as host of the Have I Got News For You series premiere on Friday 7 October. 'Call me a glutton for punishment as I know Hislop and Merton don't pull their punches but I couldn't turn down the offer to present an episode of Have I Got News For You,' Clegg admitted. No, of course you wouldn't mate. Because you're a crass attention whore, just like all politicians you can't resist the lure of the cameras. 'I like to think five gruelling years of coalition government will have been good preparation,' he added. Joining Clegg, Hislop and Merton on the panel for HIGNFY's premiere will be the Scottish comedian Kevin Bridges and a 'special' second guest to be revealed closer to transmission.
It's been six years since yer actual Mickey Smith last appeared on Doctor Who. But now his alter-ego, the very excellent Noel Clarke, has told the Digital Spy website that he would consider returning to the series behind the camera. Clarke has directed four movies since 2008, with his latest - Brotherhood - debuting at number two at the UK box office. 'If they asked me, then it would be a consideration,' he said, before adding: 'But they haven't asked me, so I'm not considering it!'
Jo Brand has admitted that the 'real-life' stories that her new Channel Four social worker comedy Damned are based upon are 'much, much worse' than portrayed. The six-part series which started this week - and which, on the strength of the first episode, looks like being one of the best new comedy's of the year - features Jo and Alan Davies as two overworked employees at a children services department, suffering from budget cuts, stress and personal problems. However, the two leads revealed that the material they were mining from real-life social workers was 'much darker' than what appears on the show. 'What actually happened to generate these comic ideas is much, much worse than what we portray,' Jo told the Independent. 'We've made it much nicer. So if you think what we show is bad, it's nothing compared to what is really happening.' Davies added: 'Nobody would believe those stories, so we couldn't put them in the show.' The pair also admitted that working on the series gave them 'a new awareness' of the strain put upon social workers. 'The backdrop to this series is that serious politics is almost like a pantomime, while social workers deal with the day-to-day reality of trying to help people in the face of budget cuts,' Davies explained. They also argued that comedy 'helps' these stories reach a larger audience, Brand saying: 'What comedy does is enable you to get across to people a message about something that is really awful. But just because something makes you laugh, it doesn't mean you don't respect the situation of the people you're focusing on.' Drawing upon her previous experience as a psychiatric nurse, she added: 'I was dealing with the most appalling circumstances. In those situations, you use humour because it relaxes people. It's either that or smoking sixty fags a day - something I'd like to have done in this, but we thought that wouldn't be so entertaining.'
Sir Tom Jones will return to The Voice when the talent show makes its debut on ITV, two years after criticising the BBC for firing him from its judging panel. The Voice, which ran for five series on BBC1, moved channels when ITV acquired its rights last year. Jones will be joined on the panel by Oscar-winning actor and singer Jennifer Hudson and Gavin Rossdale, the lead singer of Bush. They're a popular beat combo, just in case you didn't know. Long-running coach – the only judge to have appeared on every series of the UK version of the talent show – will complete the line-up, which is set to be broadcast in 2017. Jones, who was replaced by Boy George in the final BBC series, said: 'I'm looking forward to returning to my big red chair on The Voice UK. I had some great times on the show and I can’t wait to again discover and help some brand new talent. And of course be back with my pal'
All users of the BBC's iPlayer service will have to log in with a personal account from early 2017. Users of BBC services can already create an online account - known as a BBC ID - but this is not currently required in order to access iPlayer. From Tuesday, BBC ID holders also have to add a postcode to their account. Which, so long as you have a house, shouldn't really be too much of a problem for anyone. TV Licensing has access to the information but the BBC says that it has 'no current plans' to use it 'for enforcement purposes.' Emphasis on the word 'current' there, obviously. The corporation says the changes are 'part of an attempt' to make its services 'more personal and localised.' Anyone watching BBC programmes via iPlayer has been required to have a TV licence since the start of this month. A BBC ID - which allows users to personalise BBC content such as online news - currently requires only an e-mail address and a password, though anyone wishing to comment on stories must also provide a date of birth. About seven million accounts already exist, the BBC said. The rule change earlier this month closed the so-called 'iPlayer loophole.' Previously, a TV licence was only necessary for viewers watching live television, allowing iPlayer users who only watched programmes after they had been broadcast to avoid paying the annual fee. Which, was naughty, frankly. Now if they try any of that malarkey they'll get hunted down and pinched by the bobbies. Which, obviously, no one wants. The BBC has said 'significant numbers of new people' have bought a licence since the new rules came into effect. BBC director of radio, Helen Boaden, said that the move was 'not connected' to changes to the supposed loophole, but was 'about giving you a better BBC.' She added: 'We will keep our processes under review to make sure they are effective. The government has asked us to review whether a verification system for accessing the iPlayer will be required in the future.' Tony Hall, the BBC Director General, said: 'By learning about what you want and like we can take you to more of the great programmes you love, stories you might be interested in and content you might otherwise never have discovered. This is a real transformation - reinventing public service broadcasting for the digital age.'
The Doctor Who Appreciation Society have announced details of their forthcoming event dedicated to yer actual Jon Pertwee. Taking place on the 23 October between 1:00pm and 5:30pm, Polarity Day will celebrate Mr Pertwee's time as The Doctor, with guests including Katy Manning, Richard Franklin, Bob Baker and the Godlike Terrance Dicks. The day will also feature a showing of the 1971 four-parter The Claws Of Axos. Tickets to the main event is free, and may be applied for via post - see the DWAS website for further details. There will also be opportunities for photos and autographs at 'an additional charge.' Members of the Society will also be able to apply for separate tickets to attend the unveiling of the new Heritage Plaque in honour of Mr Pertwee by his widow, Ingeborg and daughter Dariel, with an invited audience of his friends and colleagues.
A statue of comedy legends Eric Morecambe and Ernie Wise will be unveiled in their 'spiritual home' of Blackpool in October. It will mark the seventy fifth anniversary of the duo's debut performance as a double act at Liverpool's Empire Theatre in 1941. The eight foot bronzed sculpture has been designed by Graham Ibbeson, who made the statue of Eric in the comedian's hometown of Morecambe in 1999. Eric's widow, Joan, said: 'It will be a day that will live with us forever.' Speaking on behalf of herself and Ernie's widow, Doreen, she added: 'We never dreamed of seeing a statue unveiled to both Eric and Ernie in Blackpool, a town that we have so many happy memories of from all the many shows the boys performed there over the years.' The comedians appeared in more than one thousand shows in the seaside town. In 2014, the sculpture of Eric in Morecambe was reinstalled after a man tried to saw off one of its legs. A statue of Ernie was unveiled in his Yorkshire hometown of Morley in 2010.
The Great British Bake Off winner Nadiya Hussain said that she has had 'no offers' from Channel Four to present the show. 'I love writing, cooking and baking. I'm enjoying what I'm doing and I don't want it to be taken away from me,' she told the BBC. When asked if Channel Four had approached her to host the show when it moves from the BBC next year, she told Newsround that she had not. Channel Four signed a three-year deal earlier this month with Greed Productions - you might have heard about it. But, judge Mary Berry will not move after she quit The Great British Bake Off last week citing 'loyalty' to the BBC, a few days after presenters Mel Giedroyc and Sue Perkins also decided not to make the move to Channel Four. Paul Hollywood is the only Bake Off regular to have agreed to stick with the show and switch to Channel Four, so there is much speculation currently doing the to who as to who will present and judge the show. Hussain was asked by BBC Breakfast about her views on Bake Off changing channel, but responded by saying: 'It's old news. Change happens, change comes, wherever it [the show] goes I just want it to do well, whatever happens, wherever it goes.' But when asked about the importance of Giedroyc and Perkins to the show, she said: 'Mel and Sue are so important to the show. Every time I was falling apart they'd come and say, "It's just cake, come on you can do this."' She added it is 'the least competitive competition in the world' and that 'you like each other, there's camaraderie in the competition, you don't see that anywhere else.' She said: 'You want to win and do really well and you want everyone to do well as well.'
Channel Four has announced the five z-list celebrities who will be taking part in a one-off revival of The Crystal Maze. Former footballer Rio Ferdinand is confirmed, along with The Last Leg's Josh Widdicombe who is, at least, a little bit less z-list than the others. They will be competing against Paralympic athletics champion Jonnie Peacock, radio presenter Sara Cox and former Coronation Street actor, Michelle Keegan. The show was originally broadcast in the early 1990s. The revival will be broadcast next month to raise money for Stand Up To Cancer.
NBC has reportedly given 'a script commitment plus penalty' to a TV remake of The Italian Job. According to The Hollywood Reporter, NBC's remake follows 'a make-shift family of expert criminals who are forced out of retirement when an opportunity arises to get their beloved "patriarch" out of jail. At the core of this dysfunctional family is Charlie Croker, a handsome and charming ex-con who tried to go straight, but like the rest of his crew, can't resist the adrenaline rush of the high-stakes heist world.'
NCIS showrunner Gary Glasberg has died at the age of fifty. The cast and crew of the popular US crime drama series are said to be 'in mourning' following the news that Glasberg died in his sleep on Tuesday night. Glasberg served as the creative force behind both NCIS and its New Orleans spin-off - and earlier this year was involved in a deal to renew NCIS through to 2019 on CBS. Following the news of his death, the cast of NCIS paid tribute to Glasberg's legacy: 'Gary was our rock, our cheerleader, our team captain. He inspired us with his leadership, his creative instincts and keen insight. NCIS will not be the same without him, and each of us will miss his smiling face and unwavering humour, which lifted us every day.' Before he helped turn NCIS into one of TV's most widely-seen franchises, Gary also worked on The Mentalist as well as animated shows like Rugrats and Aaahh!!! Real Monsters. Glasberg is survived by wife and fellow TV producer Mimi Schmir and their sons Dash and Eli.
A twenty one-year-old Australian tradesman has been bitten by a venomous spider on the penis for a second time. According to media reports, the man was using a portable toilet on a Sydney building site on Tuesday, when he suffered a repeat of the incident five months ago. Presumably, he enjoyed it so much the first time he wanted another go. A bit like rollercoasters. Or ten-pin bowling. Or sodomy. Jordan, who preferred not to reveal his surname, said that he was bitten on 'pretty much the same spot' by the spider. 'I'm the most unlucky guy in the country at the moment,' he told the BBC. 'I was sitting on the toilet doing my business and just felt the sting that I felt the first time. I was like "I can't believe it's happened again." I looked down and I've seen a few little legs come from around the rim.' He said that being bitten the first time had made him wary of using portable toilets. 'After the first time it happened I didn't really want to use one again,' he said. 'Toilets got cleaned that day and I thought it was my opportunity to go use one. Had a look under both seats and then I sat down did my business. Next thing you know, I'm bent over in pain.' The tradesman said that he was 'not sure' what type of spider bit him on this occasion. One of his colleagues took him from the worksite in North-West Sydney to Blacktown Hospital - although many of his workmates were quick to see the lighter side of the situation. 'They got worried the first time,' he claimed. 'This time they were making jokes before I was getting in the car.' The hospital declined to discuss the matter, citing patient privacy. Jordan was released from hospital and said that he expected to return to work 'soon' but was 'unlikely' to be using the on-site toilet again. 'I think I'll be holding on for dear life to be honest,' he said. The redback spider, closely related to the black widow spider, is distinguished by a long red stripe on its abdomen. Its bite causes severe pain, sweating and nausea. Although there have been recorded cases of deaths from redback bites, none have occurred since the development of antivenom in 1956.
The parents of a Queensland man who had his testes removed after he died say they have been 'devastated' by the ordeal. Tony Deane's partner Leith Patteson applied to the Supreme Court hours after he died unexpectedly in April this year to have his testes removed and frozen, so she could one day apply to use the sperm to fall pregnant. The court was given several sworn affidavits from the couple's friends, who said that they had already tried to conceive a child and were 'ecstatic' when they thought they had fallen pregnant. The pair met online in September 2015 and became engaged a month later after Deane moved from New Zealand to Toowoomba, West of Brisbane. Lawyers for the man's parents, who had flown to their son's Toowoomba Hospital bed from New Zealand, said it was 'in the interest of justice' not to object to the application in court. Particularly, as he wouldn't be needing his Jacob's Cream Crackers in the immediate future. A letter from the woman's lawyer said that if the family consented to the removal of the testes, she would 'not oppose' the family's wish to return Deane's body to New Zealand. His mother Gaye Deane spoke for the first time, saying the process had been 'devastating. If we had our way we would have liked our boy brought home in one piece,' she said. I believe that Tony would not have wanted a child brought into this world if he could not be there to raise it.' The court said that it had to make a swift decision about the removal of Deane's testes, because the tissue became unusable twenty four hours after death.

A row between a spy and his wife almost compromised World War II D-Day operations, newly released MI5 files show. Juan Pujol, who was codenamed Agent Garbo, had helped to convince the Nazis that the landings would not take place in Normandy but rather in the Pas-de-Calais. But, after being confined to their London house to protect his identity, his wife threatened to go to the Spanish embassy in a row in June 1943. She said that she would 'tell all' unless she was allowed to visit her mother. The family was based in Harrow, where Agent Garbo had a network of sub-agents sending false intelligence reports to his German spymasters. His feedback of false information to the Nazis diverted them away from the scene of the actual D-Day landings, in Normandy, on 6 June 1944. Mrs Pujol not only struggled to cope with the pressure of the family's double life but also became homesick. She was missing Spanish food and became upset at her husband being absent from home so often. Fears that the Pujol family would be recognised on the streets of London, led to Mrs Pujol being frustrated at the restrictions imposed on her and their two children. In the files, released from the National Archives, the moment Mrs Pujol confronted her husband's case officer is recorded. 'I don't want to live five minutes longer with my husband,' she screamed at Pujol's MI5 case officer, Tomas Harris. 'Even if they kill me I am going to the Spanish embassy.' Other secrets revealed in the files include the revelation that plans were put in place for Agent Garbo to be used as a spy working against the Russians leading up to the Cold War, the historian and peace campaigner E P Thompson - best known for The Making Of The English Working Class - was the subject of MI5 surveillance for twenty years and The Times columnist David Aaronovitch, whose Communist parents had been under MI5 surveillance, told the Today programme how he found out that his sister had been spied on in school and his own birth was noted by MI5 before his extended family had been told. Agent Garbo would not only deceive the Nazis by pretending to be their agent and provide false information but he also tricked his wife into staying quiet. Despite Garbo's case officer coming up with the idea to tell his wife that he had been sacked, the double agent did not think this would be enough. Because Mrs Pujol was not able to go back to Spain, he suggested a plan to convince her that her outburst had led to him being arrested. She was even taken to visit him, blindfolded, in a detention camp and, after the reunion, was 'convinced' of the need to support his undercover work. MI5's legal adviser, Major Edward Cussen, told her that he had 'decided' her husband should be released and allowed to continue the mission. 'He reminded her that he had no time to waste with tiresome people and that if her name was ever mentioned to him again, he would simply direct that she should be locked up,' Harris noted. 'She returned home very chastened to await husband's arrival.'
Whether you were lucky enough to make it along to Kate Bush's 2014, twenty two-show residency at London's Hammersmith Apollo - as several of yer actual Keith Telly Topping's mates were - or not, the singer has just announced the ultimate souvenir - a new triple live CD. Before The Dawn will be released on 25 November, with each CD marking a different section of the concert. Act One features a seven-song set including 'Hounds Of Love' and 'Running Up That Hill', with Act Two featuring the suite of songs from side two of Bush's 1985 LP Hounds Of Love, known as The Ninth Wave, including spoken the word 'The Astronomer's Call.' The third and final act includes another suite of songs from Bush's 2005 CD Aerial, known as A Sky Of Honey, including 'Tawny Moon' - a new song, sung by Bush's son Bertie McIntosh, which will get its first official release. The CD also includes 'Never Be Mine', a song which didn't make it into the concert set-list which was drawn entirely from Hounds Of Love, The Sensual World, The Red Shoes and Aerial - but is thought to have been recorded during rehearsals. That should keep fans busy for some time, which is good as Bush said those shows would be her last live performances 'for a little while.' And, let's not forget her only other tour took place in 1979.
Yer actual Keith Telly Topping's beloved (though unsellable) Newcastle United made the greatest comeback since Lazarus when they fought back from three-one down to win a seven-goal thriller with two goals in stoppage time at home to Norwich City. It was a comeback to rival any in The Magpies long and illustrious (though, occasionally comical) history. Pick one from your own personal memory bank, dear blog reader, depending on your age: Alan Shearer's treble in the epic four-three win over Leicester City in February 1997, Mark McGhee's late winner in a five-four classic also against The Foxes in January 1990, Kenny Wharton, The Pride Of Blakelaw forcing the ball over the same Gallowgate goal-line to see off Fulham, three-two in November 1983 or Bob Moncur's last-minute tap-in against Nottingham Forest in the FA Cup 'riot game' in 1974 which was, ultimately, annulled from the records. It even revived memories of those two legendary five-four FA Cup victories against Manchester City and Fulham back in the 1950s that Keith Telly Topping's dear old father always used to bang on about. On this occasion, of course, it wasn't Jackie Milburn or Len White in the number nine shirt but rather Dwight Gayle who scored a hat-trick for the hosts, his third coming dramatically in the sixth minute of added time, less that sixty seconds after Yoan Gouffran had levelled the game. After Gayle's opener, goals from Graham Dorrans, Cameron Jerome and Jacob Murphy had apparently put Norwich on course for victory. But Gayle's second set up a stunning Magpies fightback. The hosts applied intense pressure in the closing stages and were rewarded, first with Gouffran's close-range finish from DeAndre Yedlin's cross and then Gayle's last-gap winner. Victory lifted Newcastle to third in the Championship table from ninth and denied Norwich top spot, which they were set to occupy as they took a three-two lead into stoppage time. Gayle could have put the hosts in front at least twice before he opened the scoring from Matt Ritchie's first-half cross, but Norwich - who had rarely threatened - levelled through Dorrans' penalty moments before half-time after Gouffran had clumsily fouled Robbie Brady in the box to concede a spot kick. The visitors then became increasingly dangerous on the counter-attack and Jerome curled them into the lead before Murphy's deflected strike looked to have sealed a Canaries victory and the three points. But Rafael Benitez's side fought back to earn an eighth win from their past ten games in all competitions. As the excellent report on the game put it, 'glorious, unexpected, ridiculous, Newcastle United.' Yep. What they said.
The night was also notable in that someone appears to have bought Aleksandar Mitrović an inflatable Rafa Benitez for his birthday. Aw, bless.
Some very sad news, now. The former Australia fast bowler and sports commentator Max Walker has died at the age of sixty eight. Part of the great mid-seventies Australian side which also included the Chappell brothers, Dennis Lillie, Jeff Thomson and Rod Marsh, Max, who had cancer, played thirty four tests between 1972 and 1977, taking one hundred and thirty eight wickets at an average of twenty seven. Cricket Australia's chief executive officer James Sutherland said: 'The cricket world will be deeply saddened to hear of Max's sudden passing. He was a great character, with a big smile and positive approach to life. He will be sadly missed.' Nicknamed 'Tangles' because of his unorthodox bowling style and known for his trademark handlebar moustache, Max also played in seventeen one-day internationals and was among the players who featured in Kerry Packer's breakaway World Series Cricket which transformed the modern game. He made his last international appearance in 1981 and after retirement became a successful commentator and author. Australia coach Darren Lehman added: 'Max was a larger-than-life character who was a true legend of the game. He was charismatic and loved by all who came in contact with him. It was an absolute pleasure to meet him on many occasions and we shared many great conversations about the game and life over the years.'

Monday, September 26, 2016

The Corpse In The Copse

The titles of the first two new Sherlock episodes which will be broadcast in 2017 have been revealed. The BBC confirmed the episodes will be called The Six Thatchers and The Lying Detective. Yer actual Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman his very self will reprise their roles as Sherlock Holmes and John Watson respectively. Because, if they didn't then the seris would be, you know, finished. The fourth series of the BBC's updated adaptation of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's detective will begin in January, probably on New Year's Day although that is yet to be officially confirmed. Both actors were seen filming scenes in Cardiff and London earlier this year. It has already been announced that Toby Jones will play a villain called Smith in one of the episodes of the new three-part series. The Six Thatchers is likely to be based, possibly loosely, on Sir Arthur's very famous 1904 short story The Adventure Of The Six Napoleons, while the second episode's title is thought to be a reference to the rather less well-known 1913 tale, The Adventure Of The Dying Detective.
Meanwhile, this interesting Sherlock location shot - taken back in April in London - cropped up in the press this week and seems to, thankfully, knock on the head one persistent - and quite horrible - online fan theory; that Mary Watson would be kicking the proverbial bucket early in the series and lose the baby at the same time. Of course, Steven and Mark would never do such a dreadful thing. No, hang on, they bloody would an'all if they thought they'd get a good story out of it! But clearly, unless this is all another one of Sherlock's drug-induced hallucinations, she's had enough time to, as it were, drop the sprog. Yer actual Keith Telly Topping confesses himself to be jolly pleased about that.

Matt LeBlanc has signed a two-series deal with the BBC to continue hosting Top Gear. LeBlanc will be joined by Chris Harris and Rory Reid with regular appearances from Eddie Jordan, Sabine Schmitz and The Stig. Co-host Chris Evans stepped down from the BBC2 show after one series. LeBlanc was, by common consent of most viewers, one of the few successes of the rebooted series which was broadcast earlier this year. BBC2 editor Patrick Holland said: 'I am thrilled Matt LeBlanc is returning to Top Gear. He's a huge talent whose love of cars is infectious.' He added: 'I can't wait for the series to return to BBC2 next year.' Mark Linsey, director of BBC Studios, says: 'Matt was hugely popular with Top Gear viewers last series with his humour, warmth and obvious passion for cars and for the show, so I couldn't be more delighted that he's agreed to come back and do more for us.' Harris and Reid will continue with their BBC3 show Extra Gear, whilst also appearing with LeBlanc on the main BBC2 series. Last month, the former Friends star said that he was 'keen' to return for a second series of the motoring show. Top Gear's future prospects were thrown into doubt in July when Evans announced he was stepping down. Speaking after his departure, Evans said the series had proved LeBlanc and Top Gear 'were made for each other.' LeBlanc was 'the man' and 'a total mensch,' Evans said, denying reports that the pair's relationship broke down during filming. Evans' resignation followed falling ratings, with overnight audiences dropping from 4.4 million to 1.9 million viewers during the course of the twenty third series. Evans said working on Top Gear had been 'an honour, privilege and pleasure,' and that he had 'tried his best' at the helm but 'it was not meant to be.'
It was utterly horrifying to discover watching Monday night's episode of University Challenge that there appears to be a student at Birmingham University who don't know that 'Life On Mars?' was from Hunky Dory, and a whole team of students from Belfast University who don't know that 'Ashes To Ashes' was from Scary Monsters and 'Sound & Vision' was from Low. Pfft, 'young people.' In't maaaa day, dear blog reader, we damn-well knew which David Bowie hit came from which LP. And, that The Man Who Fell To Earth was a film not an LP. Give them all detention, Jezza.
Things we learned from Only Connect this week. Victoria Coren Mitchell claims not to be able to pronounce the word 'Wolves'.
Here are final and consolidated ratings figures for the Top Twenty Six programmes, week-ending Sunday 18 September 2016:-
1 The Great British Bake Off - Wed BBC1 - 13.29m
2 The X Factor - Sat ITV - 8.88m
3 Coronation Street - Mon ITV - 7.82m
4 EastEnders - Tues BBC1 - 7.01m
5 Victoria - Sun ITV - 6.91m
6 Cold Feet - Mon ITV - 6.41m
7 Emmerdale - Mon ITV - 6.36m
8 Poldark - Sun BBC1 - 6.17m
9 Antiques Roadshow - Sun BBC1 - 5.75m
10 Our Girl - Wed BBC1 - 5.44m
11 Casualty - Sat BBC1 - 5.37m
12 Countryfile - Sun BBC1 - 5.25m
13 One Of Us - Tues BBC1 - 4.81m
14 Six O'Clock News - Mon BBC1 - 4.63m
15 Holby City - Tues BBC1 - 4.60m
16 BBC News - Sun BBC1 - 4.45m
17 DCI Banks - Wed ITV - 4.22m
18 Mrs Brown's Boys - Sat BBC1 - 4.12m
19 Paul O'Grady: For The Love Of Dogs - Thurs ITV - 4.09m
20 Ten O'Clock News - Thurs BBC1 - 3.80m
21 Joanna Lumley's Japan - Fri ITV - 3.70m
22 The ONE Show - Mon BBC1 - 3.68m
23 The Doctor Who Gave Up Drugs - Thurs BBC1 - 3.66m
24 Pointless Celebrities - Sat BBC1 - 3.65m
25= Match Of The Day - Sat BBC1 - 3.40m
25= Would I Live To You? - Fri BBC - 3.40m
These consolidated figures include all viewers who watched programmes live and on catch-up during the seven days after initial broadcast, but do not include those who watched on BBC's iPlayer or ITV Player via their computers. I dunno why, they just don't, all right? Don't blame me, I don't make the rules! The X Factor's Sunday night programme attracted 7.82 million viewers. The much-hyped (and much-Godawful) Go For It continued to struggle for ITV, being watched by a mere 2.75 million punters. On BBC2, University Challenge was the week's most-watched programme with 2.77 million viewers. Ripper Street's latest episode (the vampire one!) was seen by 2.74 million and cult favourite Only Connect by 2.51 million. Note that the channel's top three performing programmes are all broadcast back-to-back on Monday evenings. Clever bit of scheduling by someone, that. The Great British Bake Off: An Extra Slice ... Of Greed drew 2.28 million punters whilst Gardeners' World had 2.16 million, New York: America's Busiest City, 1.98 million and Mock The Week, 1.82 million viewers. The Great British Menu and The Hairy Bikers: Chicken & Egg were both watched by 1.77 million. Mastermind attracted 1.63 million and Dad's Army, 1.54 million. Celebrity Island With Bear Grylls was Channel Four's highest-rated broadcast of the week (3.16 million viewers), followed by Thursday evening's episode of The Last Leg: Live From Rio (2.25 million). Five other episodes of the popular Adam Hills-fronted comedy chat show featured in the Channel's top eight most watched broadcasts. F1: Singapore Grand Prix Highlights was seen by 1.91 million viewers, whilst Saturday's coverage of Paralympics 2016 had 1.60 million. Channel Five's top performer was, Can't Pay? We'll Take It Away! - with 2.24 million - ahead of Gypsy Kids: Our Secret World (1.63 million), On Benefits (1.54 million), Secrets Of The SAS: In Their Own Words (1.33 million), Eamonn & Ruth: How The Other Half Lives (1.31 million punters) and When TV Goes Horribly Wrong (1.29 million). Celebrity Botched-Up Bodies drew 1.20 million whilst Undercover: Nailing The Fraudsters had nine hundred and sixty thousand. After three weeks of not bothering to get their figures in, the Sky Sports channels finally got their collective finger out and submitted their data to BARB. On Sky Sports 1 coverage of Moscow Chelski against The Liverpool Alabama Yee-Haws was watched by 1.04 million whilst Sottingtot Hotshots victory over The Mackem Filth drew eight hundred and seventy nine thousand. Crystal Palace versus Dirty Stoke attracted four hundred and eighty two thousand. Live Super League Play Off on Sky Sports 2 had one hundred and fifty three thousand. Gillette Soccer Saturday was watched by four hundred and fifty five thousand on Sky Sports News HQ and a further three hundred and seventy seven thousand on Sky Sports 1. Unbelievable, Jeff. Live Singapore Grand Prix was seen by eight hundred and two thousand on Sky Sports F1. Midsomer Murders was ITV3's top-rated drama (nine hundred and forty two thousand viewers). Doc Martin was seen by seven hundred and forty three thousand, Foyle's War by six hundred and ninety six thousand and All New It'll Be Alright On The Night by four hundred and forty four thousand. MotoGp Highlights headed ITV4's weekly list with three hundred and forty thousand viewers whilst the movie Exit Wounds attracted two hundred and sixty one thousand, Mr Bean had two hundred and fifty one thousand and Licence To Kill was watched by two hundred and forty four thousand viewers for its first showing on Saturday and then exactly the same figure for a repeat on the following Friday. Wouldn't it be, like, totally 'mazing if the same two hundred and forty four thousand James Bond fans tuned in to both broadcasts? But, that would be ridiculous, particularly in relation to Licence To Kill! ITV2's most-watched broadcast was the worthless steaming shower of rancid, horrible stinking diarrhoea Celebrity Juice (watched by a staggeringly sad 1.33 million people, every single one of whom should be bloody well ashamed to show their face in public after viewing so much as a second of this wretched horseshit). Family Guy drew six hundred and seventy thousand. The movie The Mummy Returns had six hundred and five thousand and The Xtra Factor, five hundred and seven thousand viewers. Vera headed ITV Encore's top ten with sixty thousand viewers, ahead of Downton Abbey which had fifty three thousand and DCI Banks with fifty two thousand. BBC4's list was headed by Beck with seven hundred and eighty two thousand viewers, followed by British Sitcoms: Sixty Years Of Laughing At Ourselves (five hundred and ninety one thousand), Billy Fury: The Sound Of Fury (five hundred and forty thousand), Lost Sitcoms: Steptoe & Son (five hundred and thirty seven thousand) and The Everly Brothers: Harmonies From Heaven (five hundred and twenty seven thousand). World War Two: 1942 & Hitler's Soft Underbelly drew five hundred and eight thousand and Clydebuilt: The Ships That Made The Commonwealth, four hundred and fifty six thousand. The Brecon Beacons With Iolo Williams was watched by four hundred and twenty six thousand, The Magic Of Mushrooms, three hundred and thirty two thousand and Top Of The Pops 1982, three hundred and twenty six thousand. Sky1's weekly top-ten was headed by the much-trailed (and, actually, rather decent) Hooten & The Lady (a very impressive 1.20 million punters), The Last Ship (five hundred and two thousand), Mount Pleasant (four hundred and sixty six thousand), Zoo (four hundred and forty three thousand) and Ridiculous Ross Kemp's Extremely Silly World (four hundred and twenty five thousand). Sky Atlantic's list was topped by the third episode of The Night Of (two hundred and sixty nine thousand). Ray Donovan was seen by two hundred and thirty nine thousand, Ballers by one hundred and sixty five thousand, a Game Of Thrones repeat by one hundred and nineteen thousand and Aquarius by ninety four thousand. On Sky Living, Chicago Fire drew five hundred and nine thousand, Shades Of Blue had four hundred and thirty six thousand, Nashville, three hundred and sixty four thousand and My Kitchen Rules Australia, two hundred and eighteen thousand viewers. Sky Arts' Discovering Film had seventy three thousand viewers whilst The Queen Group: Live At Wembley attracted sixty six thousand. 5USA's Chicago PD was watched by six hundred and forty five thousand viewers. NCIS: Los Angeles attracted four hundred and seventy nine thousand, Criminal Minds: Suspect Behaviour, four hundred and fifty three thousand, Castle, four hundred and twenty two thousand and CSI: Cyber, three hundred and nine thousand. NCIS was seen by two hundred and fifty two thousand. NCIS also topped CBS Action's list (one hundred and twenty four thousand) and featured in the top-tens of FOX (one hundred and twenty seven thousand) and The Universal Channel (seventy five thousand). FOX's most watched programmes were American Horror Story (five hundred and sixteen thousand), Wolf Creek (two hundred and eleven thousand) and Tyrant (one hundred and thirty thousand). The Universal Channel's list was headed by Major Crimes with two hundred and seven thousand, Motive, one hundred and twenty two thousand and Mr Robot, one hundred and eight thousand. On Dave, the second episode of Dara O Briain's Go Eight Bit was the highest-rated programme with six hundred and eighty one thousand punters. Eighty thousand punters up on the opening episode after this blogger confidently predicted that ratings for the show would not so much drop as plummet. Shows what Keith Telly Topping knows! That was followed by Suits (four hundred and thirteen thousand), Would I Lie To You? (three hundred and sixty five thousand), Qi XL (three hundred and sixty four thousand), Mock The Week (three hundred and fifty six thousand) and Have I Got A Bit More News For You (three hundred and eighteen thousand). Drama's Murdoch Mysteries was watched by four hundred and forty nine thousand viewers. Death In Paradise had four hundred and twenty four thousand, Father Brown, four hundred thousand viewers, New Tricks three hundred and eighty nine thousand and Dalziel & Pascoe three hundred and twenty eight thousand. Alibi's highest-rated programme was Rizzoli & Isles (four hundred and forty seven thousand), followed by Rosewood (two hundred and sixty nine thousand), King & Maxwell (one hundred and five thousand), Inspector George Gently (ninety one thousand) and Jack Taylor (seventy six thousand). Yesterday's 'Allo 'Allo repeat run was seen by two hundred and fifty nine thousand. Fawlty Towers: Basil's Best Bits was watched by one hundred and eighty four thousand, Great British Railway Journeys by one hundred and sixty nine thousand, Whatever Happened To The Likely Lads? by one hundred and sixty one thousand, Secrets Of The Bible by one hundred and fifty eight thousand and Murder Maps by one hundred and fifty six thousand. On the Discovery Channel, Fast 'N Loud's latest series continued with one hundred and ninety nine thousand viewers. Alaskan Bush People had an audience of one hundred and sixty two thousand, Gold Divers (featuring that really annoying Emily woman who 'wants all the gold') drew eighty seven thousand whilst The Last Alaskans was seen by seventy one thousand. Discovery History's Out Of Egypt topped the weekly-list with thirty four thousand viewers. Greatest Tank Battles and Tony Robinson's Time Walks were both watched by twenty four thousand, whilst Killer Tanks, Seven Ages Of Britain and Time Team all attracted twenty one thousand. On Discovery Science, How it's Made was seen by fifty six thousand viewers. Discovery Turbo's most-watched programme was, as usual Wheeler Dealers (fifty three thousand, the top performing of nine episodes featuring Mike and Edd in the channel's weekly top ten). The one programme that wasn't Wheelers Dealers, Rods N' Wheels (twenty six thousand). National Geographic's list was headed by Yukon Gold which had ninety four thousand viewers and No Man Left Behind (seventy six thousand). The History Channel's top-ten was led by Barbarians Rising and Ice Road Truckers (two hundred and fifty seven thousand and one hundred and fifty two thousand respectively). The Bastard Executioner was seen by one hundred and twenty one thousand. On Military History, Rome's Lost Legion was watched by twenty seven thousand and Hooked - Illegal Drugs by twenty five thousand. Real Prison Breaks, The Perfect Murder and FBI Case Files were ID's top-rated programmes of the week (with seventy two thousand viewers, sixty six thousand and fifty nine thousand murder-lovers respectively). A repeat of a particularly memorable episode of a series called Evil Stepmothers - Newleydead - which this blogger happened across at some obscure hour of the morning when he couldn't sleep didn't make the top ten list. Tragic frankly, as it was gripping stuff. Jack The Ripper, After The First Forty Eight and Killer Kids headed CI's list (forty six thousand, forty six thousand and forty one thousand). GOLD's repeat of Only Fools & Horses drew two hundred and seventeen thousand. Comedy Central's largest audience of the week was for Impractical Jokers (three hundred and sixty six thousand). Your TV's Sensing Murder had eighty thousand viewers whilst Corrupt Crimes drew fifty eight thousand. On More4, coverage of Paralympics 2016 was the highest-rated programme with five hundred and thirty eight thousand. Sarah Beeny's Four Rooms attracted three hundred and ninety seven thousand punters, My Floating Home, three hundred and ninety five thousand, Selling Houses With Amanda Lamb, three hundred and sixty eight thousand and Phil Spencer's Stately Homes, three hundred and thirty nine thousand. E4's latest episode of Hollyoakes drew 1.16 million viewers. The Horror Channel's broadcast of Triangle attracted one hundred and eighty eight thousand. Their top-ten list for the week also included the abysmally wretched Lesbian Vampire Killers (one hundred and seven thousand), the 1958 classic The Blob (ninety thousand thousand), Hammer's The Devil Rides Out (seventy six thousand) and The City Under The Sea (sixty two thousand). Dark Matter, headed Syfy's top-ten with three hundred and twenty six thousand whilst Hunters had two hundred and twenty three thousand. Wild Canada and Deadly Sixty On A Mission were both watched by twenty nine thousand viewers on Eden. Tanked was the Animal Planet's most-watched programme with forty one thousand. On W, MasterChef Australia was seen by two hundred and seventy nine thousand. Can't Pay? We'll Take It Away attracted two hundred and twenty nine thousand on Spike, whilst the movie Rio Lobo was watched by one hundred and seventy thousand. Katie Price's Pony Club - possibly the most offensively dreadful TV programme made since ... TLC's last Katie Price vehicle was watched by one hundred and forty eight thousand people who really do need to have a good, hard look at themselves in the mirror. The Vault's Where Are They Now? was seen by twenty four thousand punters.

Strictly Come Dancing trounced The X Factor by more than one-and-a-half million overnight viewers on Saturday. The return of the hit BBC1 show to the Saturday evening schedule drew an average overnight audience of 8.6 million viewers and a forty five per cent share of total TV viewing between 6.30pm and 8pm. The show – which saw Daisy Lowe top the leader board with her waltz and Ed Balls come extremely last – attracted a fifteen-minute peak of 9.3 million. Saturday was well up on Strictly's slightly below-par debut on Friday night when 7.2 million overnight punters tuned in, five hundred thousand down on the opening episode of the 2015 series but still well up on 2014's 6.5 million. Strictly was well ahead of Wee Shughie McFee, the sour-faced Scottish chef of Crossroads' The X Factor which drew an overnight average of seven million viewers and a thirty five per cent share between 8pm and 9.45pm. The Saturday night show had a fifteen-minute peak of 7.3 million.

The BBC has confirmed that the new Doctor Who spin-off, Class, written by Patrick Ness, will launch its first two episodes on BBC3 on Saturday 22 October. The first episode of the 'young adult' series will feature the current Doctor, yer actual Peter Capaldi. Canadian broadcaster SPACE have confirmed via Twitter that they will be broadcasting Class starting on the same day the series launches in the UK.
Here's the seventh batch of From The North's latest semi-regular series don't you just wish, dear blog reader, that they still made movie posters like this?
The BBC commissioned a Barbara Windsor biopic not long after the actress made her final appearance in EastEnders. Entitled Babs, it will explore the actress's lonely London childhood, her difficult relationships with her father and her ex-husband, Ronnie Knight, as well as her breakthrough role in the Carry On series. Now Windsor - she has her knockers - has revealed that casting is underway for the biopic and that she is as keen as the audience to find out who will be stepping into her shoes. Speaking to The Press Association at a charity lunch she was hosting the week, Windsor said: 'I keep phoning up and saying when can I come and see who's playing me. Who's playing my dad. Who's playing my husband. All I know is they're doing auditions as we speak. I've seen the beautiful pictures of it and I mustn't get too close to it and say "Oh no I wouldn't do that" or "I wouldn't do that." There's a lovely writer from EastEnders,' she continued, 'the wonderful Tony Jordan. He knows me and I've worked with him so I think they will get it right. And I know a lot of the other people and I trust them. I think it'll be a bit different.' Jordan previously said: 'The opportunity to tell the story of the amazing Dame Barbara Windsor was too good an opportunity to miss, I think people will be surprised that there's a lot more to her than just the Carry On films and EastEnders. There's a reason that, as a nation, we've all taken Barbara to our hearts, I think it is because she's always been one of us, never forgetting where she came from.'
Ofcom has launched an investigation launched into comments about bisexuality made by Christopher Biggins on Z-List Celebrity Big Brother. The broadcasting watchdog said that it had received twenty complaints about Biggins's remarks, broadcast on Channel Five on 1 August. The former actor was extremely removed from the Big Brother house a few days later. The Victorian freak show's producers said that they took the decision because he had made 'comments capable of causing great offence.' During a conversation about homosexuality, the openly gay Biggins had 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.' The sixty seven-year-old was warned three times by Big Brother producers for comments which could cause 'widespread offence.' The final one involved a conversation where he said AIDs was 'a bisexual disease.' Which, just to be clear about this, it isn't and never was. After he had his ass removed from the house and thrown into the gutter along with all the other turds, Biggins claimed that he was he was 'very sorry and very sad.' One or two people even believed him about the being 'very sorry' part. An Ofcom spokesperson said: 'We are investigating whether a contestant's comments about bisexual people were offensive and breached generally accepted standards.'
Andrew Marr is to chart his recovery from a stroke amid the summer's momentous political events for a one-off BBC2 documentary. Andrew Marr: My Brain & Me will cover the last six months as Marr juggled covering developments such as the Brexit vote and Theresa May becoming Prime Minister with the ongoing recovery from the stroke which, he believes was in part caused by stress. Marr had a stroke at the start of January 2013, leaving him partially paralysed down his left side. In an interview with the Gruniad Morning Star later that year he said: 'My grandfather used to say, "Hard work never killed anyone." Well, I suppose I've done my best to disprove his theory.' Although intensive physiotherapy has helped restore some movement, Marr has seen limited progress over the last year and the documentary will follow him exploring possible new treatments. Marr returned to his Sunday morning politics show just nine months after the stroke and has since fended off a challenge from Robert Pestinfestation's competing programme on ITV. He has also written his first novel, Head Of State, and begun appearing in culture programme Artsnight along with Lily Cole. The documentary, expected to be broadcast early next year, will also see Marr return to the hospital where he was treated and meet those who oversaw his care, as well featuring interviews with his family and friends. Marr will also meet other stroke victims who have been affected in different ways, including a man who can no longer recognise his wife after decades of marriage and a woman who has trouble speaking but can still sing. The presenter said: 'Stroke can happen to anyone at any time and is one of the biggest killers in modern society: but to begin to recover, is to be taken on a journey into cutting edge discoveries about the human brain and to learn lessons that go way beyond getting better from an illness. If this film helps other people who have gone through what I have gone through, and their families, that's all I can possibly ask for.' BBC2 channel editor Patrick Holland said: 'This is a tremendously important documentary by one of Britain's most respected and loved broadcasters. It is both humbling to see Andrew's response to his stroke but also hugely life affirming. Brain injury from a stroke has an impact on many families in the UK, so this film is not just brave and personal, it will speak to the broadest of audiences.'
Kiefer Sutherland's TV comeback in Designated Survivor is now available to watch in the UK. Available to stream on Netflix, the conspiracy theory political drama stars Sutherland as a low-level US cabinet member who is suddenly promoted to President after an attack which wipes out everyone above him at the State Of The Union. So, it's obviously mined from the same logic-seam as 24 came from. Thrust into one of the world's most important jobs, Tom Kirkman (Sutherland) has to deal with not only a potential terrorist threat but all the baggage that comes with being the leader of the free world. Designated Survivor marks Kiefer's first TV comeback since playing Jack Bauer in 24 and you can follow it on a weekly basis as Netflix plan to roll out episodes in line with its US broadcast, according to Deadline.
It seems that it's not just the viewers who are worried about The Great British Bake Off's much-publicised move to Channel Four. The Torygraph reports that a committee of MPs are going to 'probe' the move over 'concerns' that the broadcaster 'fell foul of rules' which require it to 'champion innovative new programming.' Just like when Paul Hollywood prods bread, only, you know, different. 'We will have the BBC and Channel Four in front of the committee and Bake Off is definitely something that we will ask about when they next appear,' explained Damian Collins, the acting chairman of the culture, media and sport select committee. It is claimed that Channel Four paid a whopping twenty five million knicker a year to Greed Productions to win the rights to Bake Off from the Beeb. Critics of the move believe that it may not have met Channel Four's remit to demonstrate 'innovation, experiment and creativity.' 'They have, essentially, poached a show which is very successful from another public service broadcaster and at some considerable cost,' wittered former lack of culture secretary the vile and odious rascal Whittingdale. Although, since he got extremely sacked from his post, one could, legitimately, wonder what the blithering fek any of this has to do with him. 'The irony is, if Channel Four had commissioned Great British Bake Off at the very beginning, rather than the BBC, it would have been applauded.' However, Channel Four's chief creative officer, Jay Hunt, argued that the broadcaster need commercially successful shows to provide the money to pay for public service programming and 'more risk-taking drama.' One or two people even believed her. Quite what Bake Off will look like on Channel Four is anyone's guess though as Mary Berry broke the Interweb last week by revealing she will not be following the show across the channels, even though Hollywood will be.
Hollywood's decision to stay with The Great British Bake Off as it switches to Channel Four seemingly hasn't made him very popular online. And former Bake Off contestant Ruby Tandoh was the latest to 'hit out' (that's 'criticise', only with less syllables) at the judge, calling him 'a peacocking manchild' on Twitter. Ooo, get her. 'Ah, a peacocking manchild lingering wherever the money is,' she wrote. 'I am shocked. This, from a man who turned up to work revving a rental Lamborghini. Or was it a Ferrari? I don't remember. The air was thick w[ith] testosterone. I will be told off for this,' she said immediately afterwards. 'I did it all for you, my friends.' Quite whom will be 'telling off' Tandoh, and whether this telling off will include and actual spanking is not, at this time, known. But, dear blog readers can be certain that when one of the tabloids publishes another story concerning Tandoh's Twitter posts, From The North will be there to examine the entrails.
Coronation Street actor Marc Anwar has reportedly been sacked for posting tweets about Indians which ITV said were racially offensive. Anwar's Twitter account has now been locked, but the Sunday Mirra reported that 'racially offensive messages' posted on his page described Indians as 'bastards' and 'piss-drinking cults.' At least, this blogger thinks the last word was cults. Another tweet allegedly said: 'Why the fuck do Pakistani artists want work in fuck-face India? Do you love money so much?' The Sunday Mirra also said that the actor 'quickly deleted' two of the most offensive tweets on Friday night but, not before someone took a screen-grab of them. Anwar becomes the first Corrie actor to be sacked for naughty behaviour in public since 2013, when Chris Fountain made a series of offensive comments in online rap videos and, also, got the tin-tack. Anwar's remarks, which were apparently posted on Friday, came just days after seventeen soldiers were killed, sparking a UN clash between India and Pakistan. After ITV were 'alerted to' Anwar's tweets by the Sunday Mirra (ie. after the tabloid nitched him up like a Copper's Nark), he is said to have been 'sacked within hours.' I mean, not undeservedly so, either for a) making such horribly offensive comments in the first place and b) being so utterly stupid as to make them in a public forum where anybody could see them. That's Twitter for you, dear blog reader, an excellent place for someone getting themselves into trouble via their own rank stupidity. There is however, it should be noted, something really rather tawdry about the way that tabloid newspapers seems to take great glee in reporting this sort of thing. You're supposed to report the news, guys, not to make it. Anyway, let that be a lesson to everyone, racism is sick and wrong and if you do it, you will be found out and will, like as not, suffer personally and financially for voicing it. So, you know, it might be an idea to cut it out. In a statement, ITV said: 'We are deeply shocked by the entirely unacceptable, racially offensive comments made on Twitter by Marc Anwar. We have talked to Marc and, as a consequence of his comments, he will not be returning to Coronation Street with immediate effect.' ITV confirmed that pre-filmed episodes with the actor, who has also appeared in Hollywood films such as Captain Phillips and Fifty First State, will still be broadcast but that his presence in the soap will be 'minimised' until his character can be written out.
Ronnie and Roxy Mitchell leaving EastEnders is going to be the end of an era for the BBC soap, especially now that it has been suggested it's going to be a permanent departure. Actresses Rita Simons and Sam Womack are, according to tabloid reports, said to be 'upset' by the news that the Mitchell sisters are being bumped off as they had hoped to have the option to return at some stage in the future. Other cast members are also said to be 'disappointed' that they were 'not consulted' about the death storyline. A an alleged 'source' allegedly told the Sun: 'Everyone's in shock. The cast are really upset as it's come out of the blue.' The exit comes under new producer Sean O'Connor. Already under O'Connor's stewardship, the much-loved character Paul Coker has been killed off, as well as announcing the departures of other favourites, including Babe Carter, Masood Ahmed, Lee Carter, Claudette Hubbard, Buster, Briggs, Pam and Les Coker and Kyle Slater. The alleged 'insider' allegedly added: 'People are worried who's going to be next. The script for Roxy and Ronnie's deaths has been written, but none of the actors know what's going to happen.' A spokesperson for the BBC refused to comment, saying: 'We know how much our audience hate to have any future storylines spoilt so we will not comment on speculative stories.'
The hit 2013 novel Apple Tree Yard is being adapted by BBC1 as a four-part series and the BBC have released the first image from the production. Emily Watson plays the lead, Yvonne Carmichael, in the small-screen version of Louise Doughty's book. Yvonne lives a contented, conventional suburban life, until a chance encounter leads to an impulsive and passionate affair with a charismatic stranger (played by Ben Chaplin). Soon, her entire world spirals into chaos and a life-changing act of violence lands Yvonne in court. 'This compelling story makes for addictive viewing as Emily Watson takes us into the heart of darkness,' said Manda Levin, executive producer for Kudos. Watson, a pathologically law-abiding woman, finds herself in the Old Bailey accused of complicity in a shocking act of violence. 'Her extraordinary performance ensures Yvonne's terrible fall from grace is as moving as it is challenging. Apple Tree Yard is about a moment of transgression and the price one woman has to pay for it.' Watson herself said: 'I am both relishing and daunted by the prospect of taking on this role; it's grown-up, steamy and of queasy moral complexity.' Doughty's Apple Tree Yard has been translated into twenty six languages and has sold over a quarter of a million copies in the UK alone.
Yer actual Jezza Paxman has spoken about having depression in an intimate new profile. The former Newsnight presenter spoke candidly about seeing therapists and taking antidepressants for 'several years' and he insisted that he should not be labelled 'a victim. I don't see any reason to be ashamed of saying I've suffered depression, as have a vast number of people,' he told The Times. 'What I'm really not willing to do is try to appear as a victim.' Speaking of having therapy, Paxo explained that having cognitive behavioural therapy teaches you 'a new perspective,' and passed on advice to readers. 'The great thing is that unless we are all finished, the sun's going to come up tomorrow,' he continued. 'It's always worst in the middle of the night and what seems insurmountable at 3am, at 8am looks completely different. The critical thing they teach you doing CBT is there is another way of looking at things. I would really like to learn that skill.' When asked whether CBT helped him, however, he added: 'I don't think I was conscientious enough. But that is the key question: when everything seems black and shrouded in gloom and there seems no way out, is there another way of looking at it? Though, if you're in the grip of really serious depression, that's almost impossible.' Paxo discusses his depression in his new memoir, A Life In Questions, recalling suffering from insomnia and nightmares after losing three close friends and a stint of war reporting aged thirty five. 'I didn't exactly have a breakdown,' he said. 'But it was pretty like one.'
Laurence Fox has admitted that he barely sleeps and has suffered anxiety attacks since his split from his wife, Billie The Piper. Laurence and Billie were married for eight years and have two sons together and Laurence said that he has been 'deeply traumatised' by the divorce. He told the Sunday Mirra: 'The physical symptoms of trauma and suffering are profound panic attacks for an extended period of time and I've never had a panic attack in my life before last year. It's like being plugged into an electric socket where you go mental. I've learned to put on my running shoes and sprint as fast as I can until I can't move any more, then there's something else distracting me and the endorphins kick in and you start to feel better. Thankfully they're getting less all the time.' He added: 'I haven't slept for six months, even with sleeping pills. I go to bed the same time, same bed as the kids and just lie awake, sleeping two or three hours. My mind's whirring round. I'm seeing an amazing therapist, I love her. You've got to seek help, from your family, a therapist, a fitness trainer, whatever it is. Family and friends might be the best people for this stuff but they've got their own lives. My brother, Robin, has saved me in this whole situation. He saw it all, what I didn't see, knew what was coming and tried to tell me about it.'
Cycling's golden couple yer actual Laura Trott and Jason Kenny his very self have got very married. The couple, who boast ten Olympic gold medals between them, got hitched on Saturday in a ceremony away from the media spotlight. Kenny tweeted a picture of his new wife on Sunday saying 'good Morning, Mrs Kenny.' Trott's father also wrote: 'So pleased to announce that my darling daughter married Jason Kenny yesterday.' Kenny's image of his new wife pictured her in bed with their two dogs, Sprolo and Pringle at her feet. She posted on Instagram: 'The happiest day of my life. With all my family and close friends I married my best friend. We had the most amazing day and I'm so pleased to finally be able call Jason my husband.' The pair, who live in a cottage just outside Knutsford, reportedly turned down an offer of mucho disgraceful wonga to have the wedding featured in a celebrity trivia magazine and managed to keep the details of the event a secret from the press until it had actually happened. The relationship between the two began in the build-up to the London 2012 Olympic Games. Trott has said 'it wasn't love at first sight' when she first met Kenny who, she said, never spoke to her in training. Kenny said in response, that he 'never said hello to anyone' and he could not 'help being grumpy.' The Bolton cyclist famously popped the question whilst the pair sitting on the sofa watching an episode of EastEnders just before Christmas in 2014.
A 'strange' cloud on Saturn's moon Titan which seems to 'appear out of nowhere' may form through process similar to one that depletes the ozone layer at Earth's poles. This process involves reactions with solid crystals rather than vapour. The cloud, which NASA officials described as 'impossible' in a statement, is made of dicyanoacetylene, which is one of several hydrocarbons that give Titan's atmosphere it's orange-brown hue. One cloud just like it was first seen by Voyager 1, which passed Saturn in 1980. Strangely, though, there didn't seem to be enough dicyanoacetylene in Titan's atmosphere to make such a cloud - only one percent of the amount needed. Observations of this newer cloud, taken by the Cassini orbiter currently exploring Saturn's system, yielded similar results: The spacecraft saw a high-altitude cloud, but there was not enough raw material to make one. At first, the scientists thought the problem was that the Voyager instrument wasn't sensitive enough to pick up the dicyanoacetylene. But when Cassini got the same result, that explanation was scrapped, researchers said in the NASA statement. Clouds are usually formed via condensation; a gas will rise to a certain height before cooling enough to turn to liquid vapour. This is what water does on Earth, forming clouds and what methane does on Titan. In the upper atmosphere, the process differs slightly; in that case, warm air is pushed to the poles and then sinks, where it condenses into clouds. Carrie Anderson, a planetary scientist at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Centre in Greenbelt, Maryland, led a team at Goddard and the California Institute of Technology that proposed a different model for those clouds' formation: reactions among solid ice particles. Under this process, crystals of another hydrocarbon, cyanoacetylene, would condense as the gas moves downward through Titan's upper atmosphere. On the way, the crystals get coated by hydrogen cyanide. The little coated particles get hit with ultraviolet light from the sun, and the result is a reaction that forms dicyanoacetylene ice and hydrogen. This process is similar to one on Earth involving clouds that sometimes form in the stratosphere and chlorine-bearing chemical pollutants. The chlorine chemicals stick to the ice crystals, react when hit with UV light and create ozone-destroying chemicals. The study appears in the journal Geophysical Research Letters.
Further evidence has been obtained to show that Jupiter's icy moon Europa throws jets of water out into space. Scientists first reported the behaviour in 2013 using the Hubble telescope, but have now made a follow-up sighting. It is significant because Europa, with its huge subsurface ocean of liquid water, is one of the most likely places to find microbial life beyond Earth. Flying through the jets with an instrumented spacecraft would be an easy way to test the possibility. One could even attempt to capture a sample of ejected material and bring it back to Earth for more detailed biological analysis. The alternative - of trying to land on the moon and drill through perhaps tens of kilometres of ice to examine the ocean's water - would be immensely challenging. Hubble made its latest identification by studying Europa as it passed in front of Jupiter. The telescope looked in ultraviolet wavelengths to see if the giant planet's light was in any way being absorbed by material emanating from the moon's surface. Ten times Hubble looked and on three of those occasions it spied what appeared to be dark 'fingers' on the edge of Europa. What is more, the location for these prominences looks very similar to the region where Hubble two years ago detected an excess of oxygen and hydrogen - the component parts of water. Taken together, the new work and the earlier observations make a compelling case that H20 is being hurled - if only sporadically - into space from cracks in Europa's surface. The suggestion is that the jets reach several hundred kilometres in height before then falling back on to Europa. A similar phenomenon has already been seen up close at Enceladus, the icy moon of Saturn. It has vast plumes of water vapour emanating from a series of fissures at its south pole. The Cassini spacecraft, in orbit currently at Saturn, has even dived through the emissions to 'taste' some of their chemistry. But the probe's instrumentation is not designed to detect the presence or activity of microbes. That would require a mission dedicated to the task. NASA has just sent a satellite to Jupiter called Juno, but again this has no life-detection equipment on-board and, in any case, is not going anywhere near Europa in the course of its work. Both NASA and the European space agency do however have future missions in the planning stage that will visit Europa to make repeated flybys, and the determination that the moon has water jets will surely factor into the organisations' thinking. Hubble has been working at the limit of its capabilities to see the moon's jets.
In 2010, the physicist Stephen Hawking voiced concern about the possibility that humans might contact hostile extraterrestrial life by transmitting signals into space. However, SETI senior astronomer Seth Shostak told Business Insider that it is 'too late' to consider whether we should send such transmissions because we've already been doing so for decades.
A Canadian man used a wine bottle to fend off a bear attack, and managed to walk away from the confrontation with just a few claw marks and a sore back. Jack Ballantyne was reportedly 'drinking in a remote area' of La Ronge, Saskatchewan on Friday morning, when a bear approached him in a sinister manner. Ballantyne has lost some of his hearing and did not initially hear the approaching and did not realise he had, as it were, a bear behind, his sister Rose told the CBC. 'All he remembers is that the bear took a swipe at him, hit him and he went flying,' Rose said. Ballantyne used his wine bottle 'to defend himself' - yeah, this blogger's tried that defence before. Usually, judges don't buy it - and said that he punched the bear in the nose, according to the CBC. He went to the hospital a few hours later after suspecting internal bleeding, but had recovered by Saturday morning. 'I'd say he's really lucky, I don't know what he did but he's very lucky and we're all relieved to see that he was okay,' his sister said.
Bemused customs officials in Austria have stopped a Moroccan woman, who travelled to Graz airport with a bag containing her husband's entrails. The man's intestines had been wrapped carefully in two containers, Austrian media reported. The woman, who has not been named, explained that she suspected her deceased husband had been poisoned, according to Kleine Zeitung. She wanted a toxicology test carried out on her husband's tissue. He died during an operation in Morocco, the newspaper reported. When the woman arrived in Graz, a doctor was called to examine the intestines but said that a proper investigation could not be carried out without the whole body. Police said the woman had not broken any laws. The entrails have been stored temporarily ahead of further forensic investigation.
A family have had their home fumigated due to an infestation of 'deadly spiders' which they say arrived in a bunch of bananas from their local ASDA. Ashley Gamble, from Leicester, told the Sun that 'dozens' of the spiders 'emerged from a cocoon' on the fruit. There is speculation that they were Brazilian wandering spiders, a bite from which can cause an 'extremely painful erection' and 'possible death.' Ooo ... I dunno about you lot, dear blog reader, but this blogger would sooner have the extremely painful erection, thanks all the same. ASDA claimed that finds like this were 'rare' and it was 'investigating further.' Gamble, who moved his family out of the home for a brief period, said it was like 'something out of a horror movie.' A horror movie featuring spiders, presumably rather than one featuring, you know, vampires or something? 'All our bananas are washed and sprayed before they are transported to the UK and every single piece of fruit is manually checked for quality and stowaways,' a spokeswoman for ASDA said. 'We sell one billion bananas every year and the chance of finding a spider is incredibly low, but very occasionally one hangs around to give us a fright.' To rid the property of the spiders a pest control firm heated the house up to sixty degrees to neutralise them. Paul Gale, from the company, said that Brazilian wandering spiders were 'potentially lethal. They are from a humid, moist climate. The heat we're putting in is a dry heat and they are unable to live.' Matthew Holden, from the Nottingham Reptile Centre, said their venom could cause 'an extremely painful erection.' However, he added that the 'spiders in fruit stories' could be 'blown out of proportion' as they were probably more likely to be harmless and from the UK. There has been no independent confirmation of what species was found at the house.
Cote d'Ivoire footballer Serge Aurier, who plays for Paris St-Germain, has been very sentenced to two months in jail for elbowing a police officer. Aurier was also fined six hundred Euros in damages over the incident at a Paris nightclub in May. He will remain free pending an appeal, which means he could play for PSG in the Champions League on Wednesday. The twenty three-year-old was suspended earlier this year over his comments about the then-PSG coach Laurent Blanc. Aurier was very convicted on Monday of elbowing a police officer after leaving a nightclub in the early hours of 30 May. The defender had been stopped to take a breath test after leaving a Parisian nightclub when he allegedly got all stroppy and uppity. According to the police account, the officer involved needed to take a day off work to recover from his injuries. Aurier denied the charge, arguing that he was 'a victim of police violence.' The PSG defender has had a troubled year. His suspension from the Ligue 1 side in February came after he appeared to use homophobic language to insult then-coach Laurent Blanc. He also called his team-mate, Angel di Maria, 'a clown' as he answered fan questions on social media. On Friday, he was sent off for a foul in the first half of PSG's Ligue 1 match against Toulouse.
An actor has been found very murdered at the rented home of Canadian talk-show host George Stroumboulopoulos in the Hollywood Hills neighbourhood of Los Angeles, police said on Friday. The body of Richard Hong was found at the house by officers responding to reports of a burglary, said Officer Norma Eisenman, a Los Angeles Police Department spokeswoman. 'Officers were directed to a male, the apparent victim of a homicide,' Eisenman said, adding that witnesses reported seeing a man in a black jacket fleeing the area on foot. That suspect remained at large despite a search of the neighbourhood using dogs and a helicopter. The Los Angeles Times, citing a coroner's spokesman, said that the victim had 'sustained head trauma.' 'Many of you have seen the reports of a homicide which occurred early this morning in the home I rent in Los Angeles,' Stroumboulopoulos said in a post on Twitter. 'I only have a few details but it seems like it was the result of a break in,' he said. 'The victim was a dear friend of mine, who was staying at my place while I was away. I am heartbroken.' Stroumboulopoulos said that he was sending the message from a plane en route to Los Angeles from New York 'so I can be with my friends there, who are also devastated.' Stroumboulopoulos is best known as the host of a CBC talk show, George Stroumboulopoulos Tonight.