Tuesday, September 06, 2016

Everything Is Broken

While chatting to fans on set of the currently-filming series ten, yer actual Peter Capaldi 'let slip' - or, slightly more accurately, 'said' - that the series was planned to return to our screens next April. Which most of us sort of expected anyway and which is in-keeping with the BBC's previous suggestions that the popular long-running family SF drama would be returning 'sometime in Spring.' 'We'll be on at Christmas and then it starts again in April, I think,' Peter told a fan on location. The Radio Times has video evidence. Plus lots of pointless speculation as to why this should be.
Meanwhile, The Lord Thy God Steven Moffat (OBE) told Radio 1's Newsbeat 'we've just started working on the Christmas episode.' There has been - and continues to be - a lot of secrecy around what will feature in the special. 'It's got a lot of heart, but it's got a lot of brain too. Figure that one out,' Steven told the radio programme. He added that the production team have 'four episodes in the can' for the new - tenth - series already and that The Doctor's new travelling companion, played by Pearl Mackie, is 'a breath of fresh air in the TARDIS.'
A lost Doctor Who adventure from 1966 whose original master tapes were junked in the 1970s is to be released in animated form, the BBC has confirmed. The animated The Power Of The Daleks is based on a few surviving short film clips, photographs and the full audio recordings featuring the original cast.
The six-part story was the first full outing of Patrick Troughton's Doctor. It was not, as several newspapers stated, the story that featured 'the first Doctor Who regeneration,' that actually occurred at the end of the previous story, The Tenth Planet, the fourth episode of which is also missing from the BBC's archives. In the days before home entertainment, hundreds of Doctor Who episodes were junked by the BBC once they had been sold to some overseas territories - ninety seven of them are still missing. The Power Of The Daleks was the story in which Patrick Troughton assumed the role which had, for the previous three years, been played by William Hartnell. The animated adaptation will be made available on 5 November 2016 at 5:50pm on BBC Store, fifty years to the minute after its first broadcast on BBC1. The adventure sees the newly regenerated time-traveller battling The Daleks with his companions Polly (the lovely Anneke Wills) and Ben (the late Michael Craze) on the Earth colony of Vulcan (no relation) in the year 2020. It is one of the best-remembered Doctor Who stories of the 1960s despite - in common with most stories of the era - being broadcast only once in the UK and, in terms of overseas, only being sold to Australia and New Zealand. The Power Of The Daleks animation is being produced by the same team behind the animated version of a lost Dad's Army episode which was released on BBC Store in February. A special screening of the first three episodes of The Power Of The Daleks will take place at BFI Southbank in London on 5 November, with a DVD release to follow on 21 November. Charles Norton, producer and director of the black-and-white animation, said it was 'the most ambitious Doctor Who archive restoration ever attempted. Intelligent, suspenseful and magnificently staged, The Power Of The Daleks is one of the great lost classics of 1960s television,' he added. As usual where there was a big Doctor Who-related story about to hit the hwadlines, the BBC placed a news embargo on the release of details of midnight on 6 September. An embargo which was, promptly, ignored by several national newspapers which had the news up on their websites during mid-afternoon. Sometimes, you wonder why the BBC bother.
Just to let you know, dear blog reader, that this blogger got the John Ford question on this week's Only Connect and was disgusted - dis-effin'-gusted - that neither team spotted it. Pfft. Amateurs! (This blogger also knows unlike, seemingly, at least one of the teams that Van Dyke is not only Dick's forename but, also, a type of beard!)
Don't you just wish, dear blog reader, that they still made movie posters like this, part three?
A twenty-four carat masterpiece of a movie, of course but, this particular poster - used to advertise The Italian Job in the US and in some European countries - doesn't really have an awful lot to do with the contents of the film, except in the most obscure of tangents. (Note, also, that in some territories, the poster lady's bottom got a wee bit more coverage than in others. In every sense.) The various, UK posters are, of course, considerably more iconic.
Right, dear blog reader, and now - after having blown the bloody doors off - here are final and consolidated ratings figures for the Top Twenty Three programmes, week-ending Sunday 28 August 2016:-
1 The Great British Bake Off - Wed BBC1 - 13.58m
2 The X Factor - Sat ITV - 7.89m
3 Victoria - Sun ITV - 7.51m
4 Coronation Street - Wed ITV - 7.41m
5 EastEnders - Thurs BBC1 - 6.76m
6 Casualty - Sat BBC1 - 6.53m
7 Emmerdale - Mon ITV - 6.32m
8 Are You Being Served? - Syn BBC1 - 6.26m
9 Countryfile - Sun BBC1 - 5.83m
10 Antiques Roadshow - Sun BBC1 - 5.79m
11 One Of Us - Tues BBC1 - 5.66m
12 Porridge - Sun BBC1 - 5.38m
13 Ten O'Clock News - Wed BBC1 - 4.91m
14 The Chronicles Of Nadiya - Wed BBC1 - 4.86m
15 Six O'Clock News - Mon BBC1 - 4.85m
16 Eat Well For Less? - Mon BBC1 - 4.61m
17 BBC News - Sun BBC1 - 4.53m
18 Holby City - Thurs BBC1 - 4.13m
19 Pointless Celebrities - Sat BBC1 - 3.98m
20 Ripper Street - Mon BBC2 - 3.73m
21 Mrs Brown's Boys - Mon BBC1 - 3.71m
22 Long Lost Family - Wed ITV - 3.69m
23 Match of The Day - Sat BBC1 - 3.59m
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. With the Olympics now over, it was rather a case of 'back to normal' this week, with the returns of Bake Off and The X Factor and the first episode of ITV's Victoria pulling in big numbers. The X Factor's Sunday night programme attracted 7.32 million viewers. Aside from their usual big-hitters, however, it was quite a rotten week for ITV with the much-hyped (and much-awful) Go For It being watched by 2.71 million punters and the much-criticised Five Hundred Questions managing but 2.33 million. On BBC2, aside from the welcome return of Ripper Street, Inside The Factory: How Our Favourite Foods Are Made drew 3.11 million, The Great British Bake Off: An Extra Slice had 2.94 million, Dragons' Den 2.84 million viewers, University Challenge 2.77 million and Only Connect 2.54 million. Gardeners' World had 2.51 million and An Hour To Save Your Life attracted 2.25 million, followed by Full Steam Ahead (2.01 million), Robot Wars (1.84 million), Mastermind (1.67 million), Highlands: Scotland's Wild Heart (1.58 million) and Skies Above Britain (1.54 million). The latest repeat episode of Qi drew nine hundred and sixty four thousand. New drama The Watchman was Channel Four's highest-rated broadcast of the week (2.18 million viewers), followed by F1: Belgian Grand Prix Live (2.12 million), Nine, Nine, Nine: What's Your Emergency? (2.11 million), Location, Location, Location (2.04 million), The Supervet: Bionic Specials (1.91 million) and Eight Out Of Ten Cats Does Countdown (1.83 million). Shameful and wretched pile of festering attention-seeking faeces Naked Attraction was seen by 1.43 million brain-dribbling cretins with, seemingly, nothing better to do with their time or intellect (or, lack of it). Hidden Britain By Drone was watched by one million viewers. Channel Five's top performer was, inevitably, sick Victorian freak show Z-List Celebrity Big Brothers - with 2.37 million - ahead of On Benefits (1.40 million), The Dog Rescuers With Alan Davies (1.30 million), GPs: Behind Closed Doors (also 1.13 million) and Neighbours (nine hundred and twenty one thousand). None of the Sky Sports channels - not one of them, and there's about ten of the buggers now - appear to have submitted their data for this particular week. Which is a bit remiss of them, frankly. Endeavour was ITV3's top-rated drama (1.28 million viewers). Midsomer Murders was seen by eight hundred and thirty two thousand, Lewis by eight hundred and fifteen thousand and Foyle's War by seven hundred and seventy six thousand. Paul O'Grady: For The Love Of Dogs was watched by five hundred and thirty seven thousand. Cycling: La Vuelta A Espana Highlights headed ITV4's weekly list with three hundred and eighty five thousand whilst MotoGP Highlights attracted a similar figures. Benidorm was watched by three hundred and fifty nine thousand. ITV2's most-watched broadcast was, inevitably, The Xtra Factor, which drew nine hundred and sixty five thousand viewers. The movie The Amazing Spider-Man had six hundred and eighty one thousand and Family Guy six hundred and five thousand viewers. DCI Banks headed ITV Encore's top ten with fifty seven thousand viewers, ahead of Vera which had fifty two thousand. BBC4's list was headed by the excellent documentary The Queen Mary: The Greatest Ocean Liner (nine hundred and fifty seven thousand), followed by Beck: In The Name of God (six hundred and seven thousand), Ten Things You Didn't Know About Tsunamis (five hundred and seventeen thousand), Atlantis: The Evidence (four hundred and sixty three thousand) and The Flying Scotsman: A Rail Romance (four hundred and fifty three thousand). Jumbo: The Plane That Changed The World drew three hundred and ninety eight thousand and Lifestory three hundred and fifty eight thousand. Sky1's weekly top-ten was headed Zoo (four hundred and fifty thousand), The Last Ship (four hundred and fourteen thousand), BBC3 refugee Don't Tell The Bride (three hundred and forty three thousand) and The Simpsons (three hundred and forty thousand). Sky Atlantic's list was topped by Ballers (two hundred and thirty nine thousand). Ray Donovan was seen by two hundred and twenty one thousand, Last Week Tonight With John Oliver by one hundred and forty six thousand, Vice Principals by one hundred and ten thousand and a Game Of Thrones repeat by one hundred and five thousand. On Sky Living, Shades Of Blue drew five hundred and seven thousand, Chicago Fire had four hundred and eighty two thousand, Unforgettable, four hundred and nineteen thousand, Nashville, two hundred and seventy seven thousand and My Kitchen Rules Australia, two hundred and twenty four thousand viewers. Sky Arts', like Sky's various sport channels also, seemingly, couldn't be bothered to put their figures in to BARB for this week. Maybe they all had something far more important to do over at Sky Towers. 5USA's Chicago PD was watched by five hundred and forty eight thousand viewers. NCIS: Los Angeles attracted five hundred and twenty one thousand, NCIS: New Orleans, four hundred and eighty eight thousand, Law & order: Special Victims Unit, four hundred and ten thousand and NCIS, two hundred and eighty one thousand. NCIS also featured in the top ten of CBS Action ninety two thousand), which was headed by JAG with one hundred and eighteen thousand. FOX's list was also headed by another NCIS episode (one hundred and eighty three thousand) in a top-ten which also included Tyrant (one hundred and sixty five thousand), American Dad! (one hundred and fifteen thousand) and Family Guy (one hundred and eleven thousand). The Universal Channel's list was headed by the movie The Bourne Ultimatum (two hundred and one thousand). Its predecessor The Bourne Identity had one hundred and fifty eight thousand. Mister Robot drew one hundred and thirty nine thousand. On Dave, Suits was, as usual, the highest-rated programme with four hundred and seventy two thousand punters. That was followed by Coming To America (three hundred and eighty three thousand), Red Bull Soapbox Race (three hundred and fifty two thousand), The Blues Brothers (three hundred and fifty thousand), Mock The Week (three hundred and forty two thousand), Qi (two hundred and ninety one thousand) and Would I Lie To You? (two hundred and eighty eight thousand). Drama's New Tricks was watched by four hundred and thirty nine thousand viewers. The Doctor Blake Mysteries had three hundred and forty nine thousand, Silent Witness, three hundred and forty six thousand and Murdoch Mysteries two hundred and eighty seven thousand. Alibi's highest-rated programme was Rizzoli & Isles (six hundred and eleven thousand), followed by Rosewood (three hundred and twenty six thousand), Death In Paradise (two hundred and thirty four thousand), Inspector George Gently (one hundred and fifty three thousand) and Sherlock (one hundred and twenty five thousand). The latest episode of Yesterday's repeat run of Jeeves & Wooster was seen by one hundred and ninety seven thousand. The Two Ronnies was watched by one hundred and ninety four thousand, 'Allo 'Allo by one hundred and eighty seven thousand, Yes Minister by one hundred and seventy five thousand and Whatever Happened To The Likely Lads? by one hundred and seventy thousand. On the Discovery Channel, Alaskan Bush People's latest series - in which, at least according to that trailer which is shown about every five minutes, someone is 'goin' t'jail' ... hopefully for life - continued with one hundred and seventy nine thousand viewers. Misfit Garage had an audience of one hundred and fifty four thousand, Yukon Men was watched by one hundred and twenty nine thousand, Deadliest Catch by one hundred and fifteen thousand and Mobsteel by ninety four thousand. Discovery History's Codes & Conspiracies topped the weekly-list with thirty five thousand viewers. Babylon Mystery and Biblical Mysteries Explained were both watched by twenty three thousand, whilst Vulcans, Victors & Cuba, Human Sacrifice and Time Team all attracted twenty one thousand. On Discovery Science, NASA's Unexplained Files was seen by fifty one thousand viewers. How It's Made was watched by forty five thousand. Discovery Turbo's most-watched programmes was Fast N' Loud (forty four thousand)as they've now, seemingly, run out of episodes of Wheeler Dealers to show for the fifty eighth time. National Geographic's list was headed by No Man Left Behind which had ninety thousand viewers. The History Channel's top-ten was led by Mountain Men and The Bastard Executioner (one hundred and sixty three thousand and one hundred and fifty four thousand respectively). On Military History, What Really Happened? was watched by seventy two thousand. Murder On CCTV, The Perfect Murder and Mothers That Killed were ID's top-rated programmes of the week (with fifty five thousand viewers, fifty three thousand and fifty three thousand murder-lovers respectively). Wouldn't it be, like, totally 'mazin' if it was exactly the same fifty three thousand punters that watched the latter two? But, it probably wasn't because that would be, like, totally weird. The Krays and When Life Means Life headed CI's list (sixty six thousand and sixty three thousand). GOLD's repeat of unfunny and rotten as a badger's muff Gavin & Stacey drew one hundred and sixty three thousand. This blogger resigned from the viewing public in protest at this occurrence but, I don't think it did much good. Not Going Out had one hundred and forty seven thousand and The Royle Family one hundred and forty four thousand. Comedy Central's largest audience of the week was for Impractical Jokers (three hundred and sixty thousand). Your TV's Snapped had seventy four thousand viewers whilst Crimes Of The Rich & Famous drew sixty four thousand. On More4, Sarah Benny's Four Rooms was the highest-rated programme with four hundred and sixty thousand. Phil Spencer's Stately Homes attracted four hundred and fifty two thousand, Grand Designs, three hundred and eighty seven thousand and Selling Houses With Amanda Lamb, three hundred and sixty four thousand. E4's latest episode of Hollyoaks drew nine hundred and ninety two thousand viewers. The Horror Channel's broadcast of After Life attracted one hundred and seventeen thousand. Their top-ten list for the week also included one of the very worst movies ever made, by anyone, ever - Last Girl Standing - which was watched by seventy five thousand people who, clearly, didn't know what they were letting themselves in for. Or, perhaps they did. The channel also showed Landmine Goes Click (ninety nine thousand), which is also pretty awful. Though, not as cosmically awful as Last Girl Standing. Dark Matter, headed Syfy's top-ten with three hundred and sixty two thousand whilst a broadcast of Star Trek: First Contact drew one hundred and sixty thousand. Trek - Spy On The Wildebeest had ninety thousand on Eden. Tanked was the Animal Planet's most-watched programme with forty seven thousand. On W, Tuesday's EastEnders repeat was seen by two hundred and forty six thousand. Jonathan Creek was watched by one hundred and sixteen thousand. Wynonna Earp attracted one hundred and seventy nine thousand on Spike. Car Crash TV and The X-Files both drew one hundred and sixty 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 ninety one thousand people who really need to have a good, hard look at themselves in the mirror. The Vault's Summer Is Pop! was seen by twelve thousand punters.

Strictly Come Dancing's latest series launch episode got an overnight average of 9.3 million viewers on Saturday night - a record overnight audience for an opening episode of the show. The audience peaked at 10.1 million as the BBC1 show's fourteenth series began, with celebrities and professional dancers meeting for the first time. Contestants include singers Anastacia and Will Young, actress Lesley Joseph and former Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls. Last year's launch episode got an overnight average of 8.7 million viewers. Balls, who was paired with 'fierce and fabulous' new Russian dancer Katya Jones, said that he and his wife - Labour MP Yvette Cooper - found watching his performance 'traumatic.' You weren't the only ones, trust us Ed, baby. 'I'm not sure whether I was more traumatised by my dad moves, which looked rather more dad-like than I had expected, or the pictures of me with all of these sparkling celebrities looking like I'm about to serve them the drinks in this bow tie,' he said. Well, you know, you volunteered, mate. No sympathy. Dancers now have three weeks to master their first routine and lick their z-listers into shape before the live shows begin. Meanwhile, overnight ratings for ITV's The X Factor improved from last weekend, when its series opener got an average overnight audience of 6.8 million - its lowest overnight for an opening episode in ten years. Saturday night's third episode - broadcast after Strictly had finished - got an overnight average of 8.3 million, with a peak of 9.2 million.
Claudia Whatsherface has quit the BBC's movie review show, Film 2016, after six years of fronting the programme. The presenter succeeded Jonathan Ross as host of the revamped weekly show and said that leaving 'wasn't an easy decision.' Winklepicker, who also co-hosts Strictly Come Dancing, said that Film 2016 'simply deserves someone who can give it their all.' A new series will return this autumn with the new presenter to be announced 'in due course,' the BBC said. Winklewonka, who lists The Godfather and The Shawshank Redemption as her favourite films, said: 'I'm incredibly sad about leaving the film show and it wasn't an easy decision. At this time of year I juggle all kinds of things for TV and radio and the show simply deserves someone who can give it their all.' She added that she would 'miss' film critic Danny Leigh, who has co-presented the show alongside her and the team behind Film 2016. Mark Bell, the BBC's head of arts commissioning, said: 'We've loved having Claudia on Film 2016 and I'd like to thank her for all her hard work and commitment to the show.' The long-running film show, first broadcast forty five years ago, was fronted by film critic Barry Norman for twenty six years. He was succeeded by Ross in 1999, who stayed at the helm for a further eleven years. Winkleshell will still present the BBC's The Great British Sewing Bee and host a Radio 2 show as well as Strictly.
James May might be focused on speed for his new Amazon car show but the BBC has commissioned a second run of 'slow TV' hit The Reassembler which will be broadcast at Christmas. The first series of James May: The Reassembler saw the former Top Gear co-presenter take on projects including spending ten hours putting together the three hundred and thirty one component parts of a petrol-engined lawnmower and a Fender strat. 'Here we go then. More workshop cock-ups and cod philosophy,' said Captain Slowly. 'To be honest, I'd probably be doing this even if no one was filming it. There's a lot of false jeopardy in TV, but this is absolutely real; I really do stand there for hours putting things back together.' BBC4 has commissioned a second run of the show that will include May putting together a Hornby toy train and track, a 1960's Kenwood Chef food mixer and a 1976 Honda Z50A mini-trail bike. 'The great thing about reassembling bits of the past is that you're reminded of how terrible it all was,' said May. 'These are warnings from history – ignore them at your peril. It took me all bloody day to get that old record player back together. I celebrated by going out and buying a new tablet, with a massive memory.' BBC4 has upped the second series to four thirty-minute programmes, from the three which constituted the first run in April. The corporation said that the first series of the show had reached an average audience of more than one million viewers per episode across all platforms. 'BBC4 has long celebrated passion and expertise and I'm absolutely delighted that James May is coming back to the channel to get to grips with four more engineering marvels from our past,' said Cassian Harrison, channel editor at BBC4. 'As we discovered last time, if you want to understand what something is, then you have to understand how it works and what makes it work … and James is the man to slowly find out.'
BBC2 is to dedicate its Saturday night schedules to the arts during the autumn, the corporation has said. The channel will cover subjects including music, performance, art, literature and cinema from 1 October. Poet and musician Kate Tempest will lead an evening dedicated to National Poetry Day as part of the season. Other highlights will include a documentary fronted by Alan Bennett, which will follow the author to iconic locations from his life. As part of the season on BBC2, Julie Walters will narrate The Secret Life Of Sue Townsend, in which Stephen Mangan, Ian Hislop and Isy Suttie will pay tribute to the author, who died in 2014. A documentary, Christie's At Two Hundred & Fifty, will see Christie's auction house open its doors to the BBC. The channel will broadcast Young Men - the first feature film from all-male dance company BalletBoyz, the only dance company to release a full-length film to date. Alan Yentob will front an episode of Imagine in which he will profile author Marlon James, the first Jamaican writer to win the Man Booker Prize. On Artsnight, Michael Palin will interview Jan Morris who made her name as a journalist by breaking the news of the conquering of Everest in 1953 and went on to become one of Britain's greatest travel writers. Poets Sabrina Mahfouz, Michael Symmons Roberts, Liz Berry, Andrew McMillan, Imtiaz Dharker and Sean O'Brien will attempt to capture a day in the lives of contemporary Britons in verse with Railway Nation: Across Britain In A Day. Actors, comedians, dancers and other performers, starting with Kate Tempest, will stage cutting-edge shows for Performance Live. BBC2 channel editor Patrick Holland said: 'Great arts programming has the power to bring audiences to the cutting-edge, as well as to much loved art and artists. By focusing Saturday nights around arts, music, performance and cinema, we want to create space for new ideas, authored film-making, and the very best talent.'

Media watchdog group Media Matters has called for an investigation into FAUX News after allegations that the billionaire tyrant Rupert Murdoch cable TV channel hired a private investigator to obtain the phone records of its reporter, Joe Strupp. According to a report on Friday in New York Magazine, FAUX News general counsel Dianne Brandi 'ordered an investigation' into Strupp, who was quoting 'anonymous sources' about the internal workings of the network. Unnamed alleged executives allegedly quoted in New York writer Gabriel Sherman's article say that the practice of 'taking phone records' was common: 'This was the culture. Getting phone records doesn't make anybody blink.'
Media Matters president Bradley Beychok said that the organisation is 'considering all legal options. From what we witnessed with Rupert Murdoch and News Corp's prior phone-hacking scandal, it's critical for an immediate investigation of Roger Ailes and any other current or former FAUX News employees who may have been involved in this illegal practice,' Beychok wrote. 'Roger Ailes and FAUX News broke the law by hacking into the phone records of Media Matters employees. Anyone involved in the illegal hacking should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law and we are considering all legal options.' A spokesperson for Brandi denied the allegations to Sherman. During the period when the right-wing network was acquiring phone records of journalists, the Gruniad Morning Star was reporting on the phone-hacking scandal at Murdoch's disgraced and disgraceful Scum of the World, a scandal which eventually led to the closure of the newspaper in shame and ignominy, nine convictions on various charges and the resignation of senior management. In 2014, Andy Coulson, formerly the deputy editor of the Scum of the World, was handed an eighteen-month prison sentence on charges related to the hacking scandal, of which he served less than five months. Well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Rebekah Brooks, editor of the paper at the time of the scandal, was cleared of charges and hired on as CEO of Murdoch's News UK in September 2015 despite her defence in the phone-hacking case being that, while editor of the Scum of the World, she knew nothing - na-thing - of what was going on in the office that she was supposed to be in charge of. Which some found to be ... let's say curious at leave it at that. Telephone records are considered to be 'protected information' under US law and obtaining them without legal permission is very punishable by up to ten years in The Big House. Robert A Mintz, a partner at McCarter & English who specialises in white-collar crime, told the Gruniad that he 'did not know of circumstances' under which an investigator could look at Strupp's phone records without obtaining a subpoena beforehand. 'If I just wanted to find out who you call, I don't think there's any legal way that I could go and get that,' Mintz said. The practice might be used to 'weed out leakers' and then kept secret, he added, but it would not be within the law. Though Ailes was ousted by the Murdochs – the executive's relationship with Lachlan and James Murdoch The Small is reported to be 'particularly tense' – his lieutenants Bill Shine and Jack Abernethy have been promoted to run the network in his stead. When Ailes was very dismissed in August amid accusations of decades-long harassment of multiple female employees, Sherman claims that the TV executive had lost favour with the Murdoch family over his support for Republican nominee Donald Trump. According to Sherman, Ailes believed that James Murdoch The Small was 'trying to get rid of him' in order to help elect Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton. James Murdoch The Small's wife, Kathryn, is a former employee of the Clinton Foundation. In August 2015, Murdoch The Small called Ailes about FAUX News's consistent and uncritical and brown-tongued arse-licking support of Trump and told him 'This has gone on long enough,' according to the report. Ailes told Murdoch The Small that he would 'allow' his anchors to question Trump more vigorously than usual, but he told another colleague he already 'knew the score.'
Meanwhile, the Faux News channel has settled the sexual harassment case against it by one of its former top news presenters, Gretchen Carlson. Her complaints saw its chief executive, Roger Ailes, leave the channel during the summer. Carlson had complained that Ailes had 'victimised' her and 'ruined' her career for rejecting his advances. The company grovellingly apologised and has reportedly paid Carlson twenty million dollars in compensation. 'We regret and apologise for the fact that Gretchen was not treated with the respect and dignity that she and all of our colleagues deserve,' said Twenty First Century FOX. Carlson had claimed that Ailes, one of the most prominent figures in the US news industry, first demoted her then sacked her after she spurned his advances. Ailes denied the allegations but nevertheless resigned after an investigation by FOX brought forward similar complaints from a number of other female employees. Carlson said: 'I am gratified that Twenty First Century FOX took decisive action after I filed my complaint. I want to thank all the brave women who came forward to tell their own stories and the many people across the country who embraced and supported me.' In her complaint, made after she was sacked in June this year, she said that Ailes 'unlawfully retaliated against Carlson and sabotaged her career because she refused his sexual advances and complained about severe and pervasive sexual harassment.'

There's a jolly interesting piece by Huw Fullerton of the Radio Times on the new series of Would I Lie To You? featuring contributions from David Mitchell, Rob Brydon and Lee Mack. Check it out, dear blog reader.
And, speaking of excellent articles this blogger should alert you to, dear blog reader, the BBC News site has a picture piece on the fiftieth anniversary of the start of filming on The Prisoner which you can read here.
Poldark series two has a familiar newcomer: John Nettles, former star of 1980s classic Bergerac and then Midsomer Murders, is coming on board as gruff landowner Ray Penvenen. His character is an ageing old grump who prefers cows to people and he gets involved when his niece Caroline Penvenen (played by Gabriella Wilde) attracts the amorous attentions of the ghastly fortune hunter Unwin Trevaunance (W1A's Hugh Skinner). Penvenen is a far cry from Nettles' most famous roles – Segreant Jim Bergerac and Inspector Tom Barnaby. Both roles saw him attract the attentions of a huge number of adoring (mostly female) fans who wrote him hundreds of letters. 'Nowadays of course, I get those consoling letters,' he says. 'I don't think they lust after me, they pity me. My Poldark character, as it were, is the very antithesis of the charismatic man Bergerac pretended to be. He's a rather morose, ageing chappy and prone to illness, who has one wonderful line which I think defines his character when he remarks to Demelza that he prefers cows to people, a remark that I thought that was lovely.' Did the veteran actor have anything to teach Aidan Turner a thing or two about dealing with amorous fan attentions? 'He didn't need any advice,' Nettles says. 'Actors have become much more savvy about the nature of television celebrity these days. We were not. The kind of celebrity culture that exists now didn't exist in the 1980s. It was a degree towards it, but it wasn't quite there in the sense that it is now. And you learn about that; your agent tells you about the pitfalls and the dangers of it and so on. I think they’re all pretty much clued-in, particularly someone who's intelligent and as talented as our man Aidan is,' he adds. 'The cast are lovely. I hate saying good things about other actors, but Aidan, in fact all the cast, is as charming off as he is wonderful on camera.' Nettles says he is still recognised the world over for his work on Bergerac. But it is Midsomer Murders that gets the most attention given its extraordinary worldwide popularity. Germany is one of the countries where Midsomer is loved and it is a country which Nettles has a lot of dealings in his other sideline as an historian specialising in books on the German occupation of the Channel Islands. 'I don't know why Midsomer Murders is so popular; I've asked this many times and I've asked the Germans particularly because I've become very fond of them, to be honest. And they say it's the irony, the sense of humour and so on. The unwillingness to take itself seriously. They like that very much indeed. It's a wonderful contrast to the depressed psychotics who occupy the world of television detectives these days. Another of the places where Midsomer Murders and Bergerac [are] most successful is Scandinavia. Absolutely wonderful. They regard their dramas as slightly boring. But Midsomer Murders is A-OK. It is quite bizarre, but, then again, across the world, it's taken very differently by different people. I've had letters from Georgia, from Southern Russia and they seem to think it's some kind of documentary.' He still marvels as the sunniness of Barnaby – 'he'd be optimistic if he was surrounded by a death ray' – in stark contrast with Bergerac. 'Even in those days, and certainly now, if you're going to be a television detective you have to be loaded down with all kinds of emotional, dysfunctional features of your character. I mean, dear old Bergerac, or dear young Bergerac as he was then, he had a gammy leg, he was going through a nasty divorce with his wife, he was a recovering alcoholic, it's a wonder he can get up in the morning let alone solve any crimes. And he also had to drive that ridiculous car.'

Royce Pierreson is joining the cast of Line Of Duty. The Murdered By My Boyfriend actor will play DC Jamie Desford - a new recruit to police anti-corruption unit AC-12. 'I have no idea how much I can say, so I'm not going to say much,' he told the Digital Spy website. 'But, I start filming in a few weeks, end of September - we had the read-through last week. Obviously the show is one of the best things around, so I'm happy to get on board. I'd seen episodes here and there, but when I got the first audition, I started watching it properly on Netflix and that was it - I was hooked. So I can't wait to get going.'
Now, dear blog reader, what in the wide, wide world of sport do you think that some American TV executive reckons Nineteenth Century literary classic Oliver Twist needed a bit more of? 'Sex and crime solving,' seemingly. At least that's what NBC apparently believes, since they're reported to be turning Charles Dickens' masterpiece about poverty in Victorian London into 'a sexy crime procedural' called Twist. According to the Hollywood Reporter, in this modern update, Olivia Twist is a woman in her twenties - not a shy young orphan boy - who 'forms a band of outsiders to solve crimes that the police are ignoring.' Sometimes, dear blog reader, you simply don't need a punchline.
A vintage Jaguar sports car which featured in Only Fools & Horses has sold for more than one hundred and fifteen thousand smackers. The white E-Type Jag series III was driven by Del Boy and Rodney in an episode of the BBC series. In the 1981 episode, the pair borrowed the car from John Challis's character, Boycie, for 'a night on the tiles.' It had been expected to fetch eighty five grand in an auction at Blenheim Palace but sold for considerably more. Finished with a blue leather interior, the 1973 series III roadster, owned by a Swansea businessman, includes a die-cast model signed by both David Jason and John Challis. A 1961 Jaguar once owned by the company's founder was also due to be auctioned. The Mk X, built in Coventry, belonged to Sir William Lyons and was made to his personal specifications - with a leather interior and rear picnic tables in walnut. Tasty.
Many words and phrases that William Shakespeare is credited with first popularising were already in common usage when he was writing, an Australian academic has claimed. 'His words were mostly in circulation already or were logical combinations of pre-existing concepts,' writes Doctor David McInnis of the University of Melbourne. McInnis attributes the anomaly to an Oxford English Dictionary 'bias' towards 'famous literary examples.' 'A wild goose chase' is among the phrases whose provenance he questions. According to the OED, the earliest example of the phrase is to be found in Romeo & Juliet, which was believed to have had its first performance in either 1594 or 1595. According to McInnis, however, the English poet Gervase Markham published a book about horsemanship in 1593 that uses the phrase 'at least six times.' Another disputed phrase is 'eaten me out of house and home,' thought to originate in the play Henry IV Part 2 that Shakespeare is believed to written between 1596 and 1599. McInnis claims that he found an earlier example in a digital resource - Early English Books Online - which dates from 1578. According to the academic, 'The Complete Works Of Shakespeare was frequently raided [by the OED] for early examples of word use, even though words or phrases might have been used earlier, by less famous or less literary people.' Shakespeare's skill, he goes on, was to 'refashion' existing phrases to make them 'concise and catchy' - though he does concede that certain well-known idioms were all the bard's own invention. One of the latter is 'to make an ass of yourself,' a phrase which derives from Bottom's magical transformation into an ass in A Midsummer Night's Dream. McInnis's claims, reprinted in Tuesday's Daily Torygraph, were originally made in an article he wrote for the University of Melbourne's online magazine. A spokesperson for the OED said that its own 'revision programme' had already uncovered earlier evidence for many words and phrases previously attributed to Shakespeare. The spokesperson also highlighted a piece on the Oxford University Press blog, in which academic linguist Edwin Battistella suggested 'about half' of the items formerly believed to be Shakespeare coinages were now shown in the OED as having been used earlier.

Radio 4 has enlisted one of the UK's leading court artists to sketch the fictional trial in The Archers. Julia Quenzler has provided media outlets with drawings from cases involving serial killer Harold Shipman, psychotic mass murdering dictator General Pinochet and filthy old kiddie-fiddler Rolf Harris. Obviously at different times, this blogger is fairly certain those three never appeared in the dock, together. She will now depict the trial of Helen Titchener, which begins on-air later. In the week-long trial, Helen will face charges of attempted murder and wounding with intent after stabbing her husband, Rob. The stabbing in April was the culmination of a long-running domestic abuse storyline which gripped listeners. The first mock court sketch to be released shows Rob (played by Timothy Watson) giving evidence, with Helen (Louiza Patikas) in the dock. More of Quenzler's drawings will be released during the week on The Archers website and social media accounts. Quenzler, who has been a court artist for thirty years said, the process had been 'fascinating.' On Rob's abusive behaviour, she said: 'I can't let that influence me at all. I was basing his appearance on the actor's photograph but also the script. I was reading the script and noting his reactions, the tone of his voice, imagining what he would be doing with his hands while he was in the witness box.' The process had been very different from drawing a real trial, she said. 'In this case, having to work from a script, I was working from imagination. I was given a few photographs of the actors but I was reminded that obviously many listeners have conjured up their own image of how each character looks.' She told BBC 5Live the only exception was Helen: 'She has recently had a very short haircut and also lost weight so I did slightly alter her appearance.' Quenzler also revealed she had to tell friends she was working on 'a secret project,' as she was sworn to secrecy over the outcome of the trial. Creating the court sketches also took far longer than usual. Normally I will leave the court room after fifteen minutes, then I take my notes off to a press room where I can work on my drawing. I usually have about an hour to work on it, and then it will be ready to be filmed for the lunchtime news. These took quite a lot long longer because of the research and referring back to the script.' The Archers storyline on domestic abuse has helped highlight the kind of controlling or coercive behaviour targeted by new laws, a leading prosecutor has said. Siobhan Blake, chief crown prosecutor for Mersey-Cheshire, said: 'I think this storyline has really gone some way to demonstrate the way that this type of abuse builds over a continuous time and repeats. I think it will give the public quite a good understanding of the sort of behaviours that this offence is trying to target.' At the end of last year a new domestic abuse law came into force targeting people who subjected spouses, partners and family members to repeated or continuous controlling or coercive behaviour. The law also covers when the abuser monitors the victim on social media or spies on them online. Offenders can face up to five years in the pokey.
Emily Maitlis, the Newsnight presenter, suffered 'considerable stress' and 'feared for her safety' and that of her family after receiving letters from a former Cambridge University 'friend' who had already been extremely jailed for harassing her, a court heard. Edward Vines met Maitlis when they were both students at Queen's College in the 1990s. 'They were friends while they were there and, at some stage, Mr Vines fell in love with Emily Maitlis, a love it seems she did not return,' the jury was told. 'Thereafter it seems their friendship broke down. You won't hear the details from Miss Maitlis's side but it seems to have developed into an obsession with her until the present day,' Julian Lynch, prosecuting, told Oxford Crown Court. It was an obsession which, head added, had 'ultimately lead to a number of criminal offences.' Vines, accompanied in the dock by three nurses, denies two counts of breaching a restraining order without reasonable excuse by writing two letters to Maitlis at her BBC address last year and of e-mailing and writing two letters to her mother, Marion, a psychotherapist. In his first 'long and rambling' letter to her, Vines accused Maitlis of lying about his harassing her, of exaggerating her account and of committing perjury. He claimed also to have suicidal thoughts, the jury heard. The court was told Vines' behaviour had seen him jailed for four months for harassing Maitlis in 2002 and court appearances for breaching a restraining order in 2008, when he was made the subject of a hospital order and in 2010 and 2013 when he was given further suspended sentences. In 2014 he served four months in stir for a further breach. He is currently awaiting sentencing after admitting two further counts on 22 August 2016, the jury heard. The letters centred around Vines' belief that he had been the subject of a miscarriage of justice and his wish to fully resolve why Maitlis had acted 'scornfully' towards him after he told her that he loved her while in their second term at Cambridge. There was 'no dispute' Vines had written the letters and e-mails, said Lynch. The question for the jury to decide was had he had 'reasonable excuse.' In a brief written statement to the court Maitlis, who did not appear in person, said that the letters, which she had immediately passed to BBC security without reading, had caused her 'considerable stress and makes me worry about my safety and that of my family.' The court heard that after Maitlis had distanced herself from Vines he had continued to write, had turned up at her work place on one occasion and at her home address on another. Reading aloud the first letter, Lynch said it was 'long and rambling and ultimately goes to show it is a long-term obsession.' In it Vines claimed that Maitlis had 'lied' in 2002 when she told a court she had distanced herself from him after he declared his love for her. He claimed that she had 'remained friendly' with him for three months after that and had been 'friendly and affectionate' to him in letters at the time. He also claimed Maitlis had 'lied' when she gave evidence that he had written her around fifty letters in the twenty five years since they met and that the truth was he had written 'twenty three in total' and that they were not 'threatening and bullying.' He also stated Maitlis had only reported Vines for harassment at the time of the murder of TV presenter Jill Dando. Vines claimed that he and his therapist had 'examined' two letters and a postcard from Maitlis. Vines believed her treatment of him was due to the fact she 'was attracted to him' and was 'dismayed' he had not made the romantic overtures she had expected because he was 'too frigid.' In his second letter to Maitlis, Vines wrote asking to meet to resolve the alleged resentment. 'No way I will give up as this matter affects me on a daily basis.' He added: 'I am thinking of committing suicide.' In an e-mail to Maitlis's mother, Marion Maitlis, he expressed his wish to talk to her daughter. 'I need to speak to her if I'm to lead my life in peace and prosper,' he wrote. In a letter he told her mother that he would continue to write 'no matter how many times I have to go the prison.' He also enclosed a letter to be passed on to her daughter, the court heard. When interviewed by police, Vines told officers that he 'did not believe' he was guilty of harassment. He said he had 'caved in' and pleaded guilty in 2002 because of 'an enormous amount of media pressure.' In 2008, he told officers, he had been psychotic and not fit to plead. He said the letters were 'a last resort.' He had tried to complain about his conviction to the criminal case review board but was refused because he had pleaded guilty, he told officers. He also claimed that police had 'lost a file' that he had allegedly handed to them in 2013 accusing Maitlis of perjury. He told officers he had 'a reasonable excuse' for sending the letters as he had 'no legal avenues to seek to achieve justice.' It is alleged that between 10 May 2015 and 26 June 2015, 'without reasonable excuse', Vines sent letters to Maitlis, which he was prohibited from doing by a restraining order imposed at Oxford Crown Court on 26 January 2009. It is also alleged that between the same dates and 'without reasonable excuse' he contacted Maitlis's mother, Marion, by sending her e-mails and letters, which he was prohibited from doing under the same restraining order. Vines was found very guilty and extremely jailed for three years. And, hopefully, given the help he clearly needs in not being such a plank in future and leaving the woman alone.

The actor Ed Harris - a particular favourite of yer actual Keith Telly Topping - is to make his West End stage debut this year in a revival of Sam Shepard's play Buried Child. The sixty five-year-old star of Apollo 13 and The Truman Show will act alongside his wife, Amy Madigan, in Shepard's 1978 portrait of a dysfunctional family. They will play farming couple Dodge and Halie, roles they played earlier this year in New York. Buried Child runs at Trafalgar Studios in London from 14 November to 18 February 2017. Harris and Madigan married after appearing in 1984 film Places In The Heart and have since featured in a number of films together, including Harris's directorial debut Pollock. Madigan was nominated for an Oscar for her role in 1985's Twice In A Lifetime and was also seen as Doctor Katharine Wyatt in the TV drama Grey's Anatomy. Buried Child is described as 'a dark, macabre and painfully funny family drama' which casts 'a brutal light on disenfranchised Americans.' The play, which won a Pulitzer Prize in 1979, was first seen in London at the Hampstead Theatre in 1980.
A man has been very charged with theft after Eddie Izzard had his trademark pink beret snatched from him during a pro-Europe rally in London this week. Steady Eddie was walking with thousands of March For Europe demonstrators along Whitehall on Saturday when his hat was stolen. The comedian immediately gave chase - in high heels, an'all - and retrieved his headwear 'with the help of police.' Given the fact that Eddie's run more marathons that most marathon runners, you really do have to cast some doubt on whether the beret's alleged tea-leaf had thought this bit of daft skulduggery through in advance. David Czerwonko, of Clitherow Road in Brentford, has been charged with theft. He was bailed until 19 September when he will appear at Westminster Magistrates' Court, police said. The beret has since been taken away by police as evidence. Which is a bit hard on Eddie, frankly. 'Sorry, pal, you can't have your trademark beret back, it's got a due-date in court.'
Robbie Coltrane has said that he was 'appalled' by the number of public figures who have been accused of historical abuse in recent years. Although, one would be rather astounded if he hadn't. The actor plays a fictional celebrity who is accused of historical sex crimes in the Channel Four drama National Treasure, which begins later this month. Referring to real-life revelations, he said: 'Every day another story [comes out], and I think it appals all of us.' Well, yeah, it does rather. He added that he believed appearing in the mini-series was 'an important thing to do.' He said: 'The power of drama is you can deal with these things in a way that the judiciary, the police and Parliament can't, or seem unable to.' The actor said that he had avoided meeting naughty old scallywag and right rotten rotter Jimmy Savile, who was found to have been a serial abuser who had preyed on children and adults over several decades. 'I never wanted to meet him. I always thought he was creepy,' Coltrane claimed. 'The big question is, what kind of culture was going on that he got away with it for as long as he did?' At least seventy two people were sexually abused by Savile in connection with his work at the BBC and the corporation 'missed opportunities' to stop his abuse because of 'a culture of fear,' the Dame Janet Smith review concluded earlier this year. Coltrane said that he hoped 'advances in communication and technology' meant similar abuse would be less likely to occur now. 'With the way electronics and social media [are], hopefully it won't happen again, that you could not get away with it these days. That's what you'd hope,' he said. Asked whether it was 'a difficult decision' to appear in the drama, Coltrane said: 'Not once I read the script.' The four-part drama's screenplay was written by Jack Thorne, who also wrote Harry Potter & The Cursed Child, which is currently playing in London's West End. Co-star Julie Walters agreed that National Treasure 'was wonderfully written and written in a complicated, multifaceted way.' The actress plays the wife of Coltrane's character, one of many people around him whose lives are 'torn apart' by the allegations. 'You look at these cases and for me it's the wife you want to know about,' Walters said. 'Women like that are fascinating. The reasons she stands by him were fascinating to go into.'
The actress Tina Hobley whinged that she has 'struggled' to 'drive, dress [and] wash my hair' since an accident on the Channel Four reality show The Jump. Hobley broke her arm in two places and injured her knee and shoulder in a fall in the z-list celebrity sports programme in February. The show saw z-list celebrities 'compete at' (for which read 'injure-themselves attempting') winter sports, including ski-jumping, bobsleigh and speed skating. The actress was one of several z-listers forced to quit the most recent series after getting themselves quite badly hurt. And, we're supposed to, what, feel sorry for her? She was, seemingly, aware of the possibility of getting injured when she read the original pay-cheque. As with Rav Wilding's injury whilst training for Pro-Celebrity Drowning reported in a previous bloggerisation, one does rather feel somewhat less that wholly sympathetic towards a z-list celebrity who was happy enough to sign up for these sort of crass, exploitative and frankly dangerous TV formats in the first place and then, when it all goes tits-up, whinge about how mega-awful their lives have become because of it. Well, you shouldn't have gone on The Jump in the first place then, Tina, should you, m'love? That would've sorted everything. Anyone with half-a-brain in their head could've told you it was potential sodding dangerous. In an interview with that true bastion of hard-hitting journalistic excellence, Hello! magazine, the former Holby City actress described how the accident meant she had, allegedly, 'lost out on acting' work, including, allegedly, a role in the ITV drama Broadchurch. 'My injuries have had a huge impact on my life and on the family,' she whinged. 'For much of the year I haven't been able to drive, dress, wash my hair or have a bath unaided. My elbow came out of its socket and my arm was broken in two places. I tore my rotator cuff in my shoulder - a common rugby injury which has ended careers - and I had a full rupture of my ACL in the knee. My daughter has had to help me put my clothes on. And for months at a time I haven't been able to take the kids to school, run errands or do any of the things I love like yoga, cycling or walking any kind of distance.' The actress claimed that her injuries had been 'worse than originally feared' and that she had sustained 'three major traumas.' Well, four, if you count being interviewed by Davina McCall. Hobley, an actress whose work this blogger always rather enjoyed on Holby City incidentally, is due to have another operation on her knee later this month. She said that she now had 'a different attitude' towards her physical health. 'My body is so precious and I wouldn't put my body or my family through that trauma again,' she said. Channel Four issued a statement at the time grovellingly apologising for the accident. It said: 'Tina's fall was caused by simple human error when members of the ground crew failed to clear the outrun. All those involved have been spoken to and extra procedures have now been put in place by the producers to ensure that this will not happen again.' Oh, so that's all right, then. The human who erred, incidentally, was 'given a jolly good talking-to.' Or something. The Jump hit the headlines after a series of accidents during its 2015 series. Former Olympic gymnast Beth Tweddle needed surgery on her spine after a crash, while Made In Chelsea-type person Mark-Francis Vandelli fractured his ankle. swimmer Rebecca Adlington dislocated her shoulder, athlete Linford Christie pulled a hamstring, ex-EastEnders actor Joe Swash chipped a bone in his shoulder, Girls Aloud singer Sarah Harding injured a ligament and Heather Mills hurt her knee and thumb. And, made a real meal of it but still didn't get much sympathy because, frankly, no one likes her very much. One would've thought that after the first of these injuries occurred - and, certainly after the most serious, Beth Tweddle's - most of those taking part in The Jump would have told Channel Four where to shove their 'z-list celebrity sports reality show.' Sadly, of course, this fails to take into account the utter desperation of most z-list celebrities to get their boat-races on TV even if they are in traction and the rest of their bodies are encased in plaster at the time. Another series of The Jump is reportedly planned for next year although, quite why any z-lister, no matter how desperate they are for another lick at fifteen seconds of fame, fame, fatal fame, would want to take part is another matter entirely. But, no doubt, they'll find a few. They always do.
Mark Linsey, the head of the BBC's recently created production arm BBC Studios, has been explaining why one of the jewels in the corporation's crown has lost a little of its lustre. 'Top Gear was a phenomenon, but it certainly didn't start as a phenomenon,' he told the Gruniad. 'It grew over time. When you are trying something new, albeit with a well-known format, but certainly with a new cast, it is going to take time. If you look at the first series of the Clarkson era it didn't even have James May in it. It took ten years to grow and the new Top Gear needs time to grow. It certainly didn't surprise me it didn't do the audience figures of the previous series.' That Linsey describes the previous decade as 'the Clarkson era', according to the Gruniad - a newspaper whose Middle Class hippy Communist journalists and readers were always some of Clarkson and Top Gear's biggest supporters, were they not? - 'sums up what many have said about Top Gear, that without [Clarkson] as the linchpin for the presenting line-up, the show can’t reach the heights it once occupied.' Yeah, pretty much. And, the fact that, seemingly, no one realised that when they, loudly, celebrated Clarkson and co leaving for pastures Amazon speaks volumes about how frigging stupid some people are. Of course, Top Gear has already lost the man meant to be Jezza's replacement, Chris Evans, who quit after one - not very good - series saying that he 'gave it my best shot.' Aren't they, therefore, looking for another frontman? 'No we are not at the moment,' claims Linsey. Top Gear's latest series was, he suggests, 'built around an ensemble. Matt LeBlanc was an important part of that ensemble. Clearly the viewers enjoyed Matt LeBlanc and we want him to come back. Clearly they enjoyed the other Chris [Harris] and Rory [Reid] – they have told us that. All the elements were there of an ensemble rather than just focusing it on Chris [Evans] and I think that is evident in the way that we produced it. There will be change, but we will be building on the characters that worked, ie Rory, Chris and Matt LeBlanc.' The BBC has a few months to sort out what it is doing with Top Gear, but the Gruniad Morning Star has been talking to Linsey at the pre-launch event for another, more sparkly jewel in its line-up, Strictly Come Dancing. In the run-up to the publication of The White Paper on the BBC in May, there were numerous calls for it to 're-examine' its approach to big mass-appeal entertainment shows. The then lack of culture secretary, the vile and odious rascal Whittingdale, had previously questioned whether the BBC should be making shows like Strictly, but rapidly changed his mind in power, calling the show 'admirable' and suggesting it was just the sort of 'distinctive' fare the corporation should be doing. Because, the fat, odious Whittingdale, like most bullies, is happy enough to be aal big of the gob until someone - in this case a decent-sized chunk of the British public who answered his request for comments about the government's proposals - stands up to them, at which point, such bullies usually shite in their own pants and run a mile. Since Dangerous Dave got the big-boot, post-Brexit, the vile and odious rascal Whittingdale has been given more time to spend with his his various Internet 'friends' after he received the old tin tack in Theresa May's new cabinet. To, no doubt, much celebrating within and outside of, the BBC. The vile and odious rascal Whittingdale was not, however, so kind about shows like The Voice, which had brought in high ratings but few plaudits from, you know, reviewers in the Torygraph. So what sets Strictly apart? 'No one else would have thought of bringing ballroom dancing to Saturday peak,' claims Linsey. 'Ballroom had its tradition but it’s come back in a very different form. I think only the BBC would do that. I think, also, right from the word go it had a joyousness, a celebration of people's talents and transformation that is very much part of the BBC.' He adds pointedly: 'And also, entertainment is very much part of what the BBC does.' The BBC decided to let The Voice move to ITV, yet Linsey says there should be 'no pull-back' from entertainment programming more broadly. 'These discussions around what the BBC should be doing and what it shouldn't be doing, particularly in entertainment have been going on for a long time, but we have a heritage of delivering mainstream entertainment that [are] popular to our viewers. I think it would be very sad if we don't do that.' Top Gear and Strictly are two of the biggest shows that are now produced by teams ultimately reporting to Linsey. BBC Studios and its roughly two thousand staff were officially separated out from the rest of the corporation in April, but most of the unpicking of the organisation from the rest of the BBC until then had been overseen by Linsey's predecessor, Peter Salmon, formerly head of BBC North. However, Salmon announced in April that he was leaving to join Studios' direct competitor Endemol Shine (followed earlier this summer by former BBC2 controller Kim Shillinglaw) and Linsey, previously acting director of television after the departure of the - not in the slightest-bit missed - Danny Cohen, took on the job. That doesn't mean, however, that most of the work is already done. Several senior executives at Studios have gone, giving Linsey 'an opportunity to bring in the people I felt were needed.' There are further hurdles to clear. 'We've had the nod from the government in The White Paper that they are happy with where we are,' says Linsey. 'We are now going through the regulatory process with the [BBC] Trust. We've just submitted the regulatory proposals for that that will play out with them and we hope to get their approval sometime in the autumn, with a view to going commercial sometime next year.' Getting government approval came with a nasty surprise. Until The White Paper's publication, BBC executives were working on the assumption that, in return for freeing Studios to make programmes for other broadcasters, a minimum of forty per cent of BBC shows would be opened up to tender from independent producers, as had been negotiated with industry association PACT. Yet, the figure decided upon by the government was one hundred per cent of everything currently produced by Linsey's division – equivalent to a total budget of four hundred million smackers a year. 'It was a surprise, we had agreed forty per cent with PACT over two years, so it was a surprise when it was all opened up to contestablility,' says Linsey. 'But I think the important thing about contestability is that it will drive creativity, it will make us more competitive and it will certainly focus our minds on how we are spending our money.' That freedom means working with other partners as well and inevitably Studios is looking at the likes of Amazon and Netflix, as well as US broadcasters as partners. Yet doing so comes with a potentially controversial downside. Studios is likely to find itself making programmes which will show on other channels or platforms long before they appear on those run by the BBC, or indeed, the TV screens of many licence fee payers. Having to deal with such complex windowing is inevitable and Studios will have 'to wash its face,' in Lindsey's words. Yet, he adds, it will remain 'first and foremost a public-serving organisation' and that may sometimes make it harder to compete with rivals. 'We are part of the BBC group, the BBC is a public service broadcaster, it has the licence fee, so at times we will have to do what is best for the BBC group as a whole and the licence fee payer, which might not be what's best for BBC Studios,' he says. 'Yes, we will be commercial in certain areas. But really we are there to be part of the BBC group and part of the BBC values. That may mean that commercially we don't always participate as other production arms would.' He remains confident nevertheless that the organisation will be able to hold on to the biggest BBC contracts against the likes of ITV Studios. 'Will we still be making EastEnders in ten years' time? Yes, I think we will. It's an important show for the BBC, I think we are the best people to make it. It's doing extremely well. The audience shows no signs of diminishing and I think there is very good justification why it should remain with BBC Studios.' And, what about the other concern: that creating a separate, commercial production arm for the BBC (and putting all BBC programming out to tender) lays the ground for selling off the corporation bit-by-bit, starting with Studios? 'That's not the intention, certainly not why I would be doing this job. We can see very much our purpose is reputational, it's safeguarding those genres that other producers or broadcasters don't necessarily do. We are not a PLC; others, particularly the larger producers, the more consolidated producers, have year-on-year growth to achieve. We are not under that pressure. And, certainly, we don't want to be privatised.'

The Be-Atles (a popular beat combo of the 1960s, you might've heard of them) LP Live At The Hollywood Bowl, featuring highlights from two of the band's shows in Los Angeles in 1964 and 1965, was the first but also the last time the band was officially recorded in concert. First released in 1977, and totally overshadowed by the sound of seventeen thousand screaming fans, it has never been re-issued on CD. Until now. Giles Martin, the son of The Be-Atles late producer Sir George Martin, has remixed the recordings at Abbey Road and gave BBC News an example of how modern studio techniques were able to reduce the screams of lots of ltitle girls who just pissed in their own knickers at the sight of The Fab Foursome.
NASA has released spectacular new images of Jupiter acquired by its Juno probe. The pictures show the swirling clouds of the gas giant at both its poles - views that no previous mission has managed to acquire in such detail. Juno captured the data last weekend as it made its first close approach to the planet since going into orbit in July. The flyby took the spacecraft just four thousand kilometres above Jupiter's multi-coloured atmosphere. The data downlinked to Earth from the encounter is still currently being analysed, but principal investigator Scott Bolton said that 'new things' were already obvious. 'First glimpse of Jupiter's North pole and it looks like nothing we have seen or imagined before. It's bluer in colour up there than other parts of the planet, and there are a lot of storms,' the Southwest Research Institute scientist explained in a NASA statement. 'There is no sign of the latitudinal bands or zones and belts that we are used to - this image is hardly recognisable as Jupiter. We're seeing signs that the clouds have shadows, possibly indicating that the clouds are at a higher altitude than other features.' Jonathan Nichols from the University of Leicester, is a member of the Juno mission's science team. He told the BBC News website that his colleagues were 'bowled over' when they first saw the pictures: 'The team's reaction was amazement. "Look at these images; they are coming from Jupiter; we're flying over the pole for the first time!" It's just jaw-dropping.' When the Juno probe arrived at Jupiter in July, its instruments and camera were switched off. It had to perform a critical rocket manoeuvre to get into orbit and engineers did not want the complication of taking pictures at the same time. But, after successfully turning around the planet, Juno booted up its other systems and, last Saturday's return pass was the first opportunity to get a good look at the gaseous world. The probe's Jovian Infrared Auroral Mapper has acquired unique views of Jupiter's Southern aurora. Earth telescopes have tried but failed to get such images. And Juno's Radio/Plasma Wave Experiment has recorded the blizzard of particles moving through the planet's super-strong magnetic field. Juno's quest is to investigate the secrets of the Solar System by explaining the origin and evolution of its biggest planet. The spacecraft's remote sensing instruments will look down into the giant's many layers and measure their composition, temperature, motion and other properties. We should finally discover whether Jupiter has a solid core or if its gas merely compresses to an ever denser state all the way to the centre. We will also get new information on the famous Great Red Spot - the colossal storm which has raged in Jupiter's atmosphere for hundreds of years. Juno will tell us how deep its roots go. And Doctor Nichols said that Jupiter was 'a wonderful laboratory' to try to understand even more distant places. 'We can go to Jupiter and kick the tyres to see how it works, but that then gives us some insights on lots of other objects in the Universe. We can use Jupiter as an analogue for things like brown dwarfs and exoplanets - basically, any fast-rotating body with a magnetic field can be modelled in some way like Jupiter.' The spacecraft is currently flying on an ellipse around Jupiter that takes fifty three days to complete. Its next close approach is due on 19 October, when the probe will fire its main engine to tighten the circuit to just fourteen days. This configuration will then be held until February 2018 when the spacecraft will be commanded to make a destructive dive into Jupiter's atmosphere. By that stage, however, scientists hope to have built a formidable data-set to help answer their most pressing questions about this vast world. Jupiter is eleven times wider than Earth and three hundred times more massive, it takes twelve Earth years to orbit the Sun and a Jovian 'day' is ten hours long. In composition it resembles a star, it is mostly comprised of hydrogen and helium; under pressure, the hydrogen becomes an electrically conducting fluid, this 'metallic hydrogen' is likely the source of the magnetic field. Most of the visible cloud tops contain ammonia and hydrogen sulphide. Jupiter's 'stripes' are created by strong East to West winds. The Great Red Spot is a giant storm vortex twice as wide as Earth.
Much of Earth's life-giving carbon could have been delivered in a planetary collision about 4.4 billion years ago, a theory suggests. Carbon is the key ingredient for all life on our planet. But how Earth acquired its volatile elements - which have low boiling points - such as carbon and sulphur remains a subject of some debate. A team of scientists now argues that a collision between Earth and an embryonic planet like Mercury could provide the answer. Details of the work appear in the journal Nature Geoscience. 'The challenge is to explain the origin of the volatile elements like carbon that remain outside the core in the mantle portion of our planet,' said Rajdeep Dasgupta, a co-author of the study from Rice University in Houston. According to a widely accepted idea called the Late Veneer Hypothesis, Earth formed from material that was largely devoid of volatiles. These elements, such as carbon, sulphur, nitrogen and hydrogen, were added later on by space rocks after Earth's core had finished forming. 'Any of those elements that fell to Earth in meteorites and comets more than about one hundred million years after the Solar System formed could have avoided the intense heat of the magma ocean that covered Earth up to that point,' said Yuan Li, from the Guangzhou Institute of Geochemistry at the Chinese Academy of Sciences. 'The problem with that idea is that while it can account for the abundance of many of these elements, there are no known meteorites that would produce the ratio of volatile elements in the silicate portion of our planet.' The group had previously published papers showing that if even if carbon had not vaporised into space when the planet was largely molten, it would have ended up in the metallic core of our planet - because the iron-rich alloys there have a strong affinity for carbon. But if this is the case, where did the carbon in the mantle and biosphere come from? The team used laboratory experiments that can recreate the high-pressure and high-temperature conditions that exist deep inside Earth and other rocky planets. They found that one scenario that could reconcile the discrepancies in the carbon-to-sulphur ratio and carbon abundance was an embryonic planet like Mercury colliding with and being absorbed by Earth, early in its history. 'Because it's a massive body, the dynamics could work in a way that the core of that planet would go directly to the core of our planet, and the carbon-rich mantle would mix with Earth's mantle,' said Dasgupta.

Europe's comet lander Philae has been found. The little robot is visible in new images downloaded from the Rosetta probe in orbit around the icy comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. European Space Agency officials say that there is 'no doubt' about the identification - 'it's as clear as day,' one told the BBC. Philae was dropped on to the comet by Rosetta in 2014 and initially sent back much valuable data but fell silent sixty hours later when its battery ran flat. Although it relayed pictures and data about its location to Earth, the lander's actual resting place was something of a mystery. It was assumed that Philae had bounced into a dark ditch on touchdown - an analysis now borne out by the latest pictures, which were acquired from a distance of 2.7 kilometres from the duck-shaped icy body. The images from Rosetta's high-resolution Osiris camera were downlinked to Earth late on Sunday night and have been processed. Philae is seen wedged against a large over-hang. Its one metre-wide box shape and legs are unmistakable, however. Rosetta had previously surveyed this location - dubbed Abydos - without success. 'Candidate detections' were made but none were very convincing. The difference with the latest sighting is a closer-in perspective and a change in the seasons on the comet, which means the hiding place is better illuminated. The discovery comes just a few weeks before controllers plan to crash-land Rosetta itself onto the comet to formally end its investigation of 67P. Although there is no hope of reviving the lander - some of its equipment will have been broken in the cold of space - simply knowing its precise resting place will help scientists to make better sense of the data it returned during its three days of operation back in 2014. 'It was very important to find Philae before the mission ended, to understand the context of its in-situ scientific measurements,' said Professor Mark McCaughrean, ESA's senior science advisor. 'But, it was probably just as important to provide some emotional closure for the millions who have been following both Philae and Rosetta through the trials and tribulations of their exploration of this remarkable remnant of the birth of our Solar System. And there's one big final adventure to come on 30 September as Rosetta itself descends to the comet, doing unique science close-up before the mission ends for good,' he told BBC News.
A Playboy model could face up to six months in the pokey after the target of her 'body-shaming' social media post has come forward to complain. Good. That'll hopefully teach her not to be such a horrible school sneak in future. Dani Mathers, surreptitiously snapped a photograph of this poor woman - who is reported to be in her seventies - showering in a gym locker room in Los Angeles and posted it on Snapchat, sneering: 'If I can't unsee this then you can't either.' What a total hero you are, Dani. Lots of people struggle with weight issues, just be thankful you're not one of them. The woman whose photo was taken without her knowledge has now complained, rightly, to Los Angeles police, reports TMZ and Mathers could face up to six months in The Big House if convicted of a misdemeanour charge of 'dissemination of a private image.' Where she is likely to have a cell-mate called Large Marge who says things like 'you is maaa lil' puppy now!' 'We did receive the case from the LAPD. It's currently under review from our office. We will be making a final decision soon' about prosecution, Office of Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer told ABC News. After the 2015 Playmate of the Year was roundly - and rightly - attacked on social media for the July photo and her hideous, sneering comments, she claimed that she had posted it 'accidentally' and had only intended to send it to a friend. One or two people even believed her. 'It was absolutely wrong and not what I meant to do. I chose to do what I do for a living because I love the female body and I know body-shaming is wrong,' she said in a Snapchat video after removing the post in question having realised just how deep in the shit she's is over this malarkey. 'The photo was taken as part of a personal conversation with a girlfriend and because I am new to Snapchat I didn't realise I had posted it and that was a huge mistake.' Oh, so that's all right then - you only intended to embarrass this poor lady to one person rather than hundreds? That changes everything. 'I know I have upset a lot of people out there but please believe me this is not the type of person that I am. I have never done this before and I will never do this again.' Which, hopefully, is true. Although it is also to be hoped that Mathers will have plenty of further time to ruminate on the manifest error of her ways during her forthcoming stay in the county jail. LA Fitness, where the photo was taken, has extremely banned Mathers from its entire chain of gyms, for life. She was also suspended from her job at a local radio programme, TMZ reported at the time. The Los Angeles Police Department opened a criminal investigation into the post and had asked the woman in the photo to identify herself and aid in the probe.
Hungarian prosecutors have filed charges against a very naughty camerawoman accused of kicking and tripping refugees fleeing from police near the Southern border with Serbia last year. Petra Laszlo was extremely fired from her job at N1TV, a television station with nationalist sympathies, after video footage spread online appearing to show her kicking a girl and a young man. Her prosecution for 'disorderly conduct' comes as political tensions mount over Europe's migration crisis in the region. Hungary is holding a referendum on whether to accept EU migrant quotas on 2 October, the same day as the far-right Freedom party is standing in presidential elections in neighbouring Austria. Prosecutors described how hundreds of migrants broke through a police cordon and out of a holding area and headed towards Szeged, a nearby city, in September last year. Laszlo was directly behind the police officers and filmed migrants as they ran. 'While filming, she kicked a young man in the shin with a swift kick of the sole of her right foot and, also, kicked young girl around the knee with her right foot,' the prosecutors said in a statement. There was no evidence of a racially motivated hate crime, they added. Last year Laszlo told the daily Magyar Nemzet that she 'felt remorse' over what had happened. 'I am practically in shock from what I did, and what was done to me,' Laszlo said. 'I am not heartless [or] racist. I am a woman, a mother of small children, who has since lost her job and who made a bad decision in panic.' Prosecutors said that she had not kicked a man carrying a small child, one of the accusations she had faced during last year's online furore. '[Laszlo] kicked toward a man carrying a child in his hands, but the kick did not reach the man. The man carrying the child still fell, because one of the policemen tried to catch and restrain him and he lost his balance as he broke free.' The man, a football coach named Osama Abdul Mohsen, went on to Spain where a sports school offered to find him work.
A mother reportedly 'watched in horror' as 'a sick thug' punched her five-day-old baby in the face in a supermarket. According to reports, the hooligan 'suddenly belted' tiny Elsie Rose in a Tesco, then calmly apologised and said: 'Sorry I thought it was a doll.' Elsie's sister Libby, aged seven, believed this sick twat had killed Elsie in the store in Baguley, Greater Manchester, the Sun claims. 'I'm absolutely broken and torn apart. I can't believe what me and my daughter had to see last night it was just so horrific,' Elsie's mother, Amy Duckers, said. 'I never ever want anyone to have to go through that again. We all heard the punch land on my little baby. We didn't react at first as we were just so shocked. Then I just screamed. He could easily have killed her.' Elsie was rushed to hospital but thankfully is not believed to have been seriously injured. Greater Manchester Police said a man had been arrested on suspicion of assaulting the baby. Presumably the first question they'll be asking him is what the sodding hell he thought he was playing at?

A Romanian hacker who targeted high-profile US politicians has been very sentenced to fifty two months in prison. Marcel Lazar, known online as Guccifer, pleaded extremely guilty in May to charges of 'aggravated identify theft' and 'unauthorised access of a computer.' Lazar, who targeted former Secretary of State Colin Powell and the Bush family, was arrested on hacking charges in Romania in 2014 and given four years in the slammer. He was extradited to the US to face further charges in March 2016. The forty four-year-old inadvertently uncovered Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton's private e-mail account in 2013 after hacking the account of her former political adviser, Sidney Blumenthal. Two years later, it was revealed that Clinton exclusively used her personal account, which was connected to a private server at her New York residence, while serving as Secretary of State. Clinton's use of private e-mail while at the State Department became the subject of an FBI investigation and has dogged her on the campaign trail. Earlier this year Lazar claimed that he had hacked into her private server, but the Clinton campaign has denied there was any such breach. The FBI also has said there is 'no evidence' to prove he had hacked her. Lazar, a former taxi driver in Romania, is believed to have hacked into about one hundred US e-mail accounts between 2012 and 2014. In June, a hacker who goes by the alias Guccifer 2.0 claimed data breaches on the Democratic National Committee and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. US intelligence officials have said they believe that Guccifer 2.0 is 'linked to Russian intelligence services,' suggesting that the hack was state-sponsored. There is no known connection between Lazar and Guccifer 2.0.
Former Premier League referee Mark Halsey's claims that he was 'told to lie' after a game have been hotly denied by the body which oversees match officials. Halsey claimed on Twitter that he had 'seen an incident and been told to say I haven't seen it.' He spoke out after Sheikh Yer Man City's Sergio Aguero received a retrospective three-game ban for violent conduct in a recent match. However, the Professional Game Match Officials Limited said: 'There is no pressure to include or omit anything.' The body's statement continued: 'Match officials submit their reports, including critical incidents, directly to the FA. Match officials ensure that their reports are a full and accurate description of the incident.' Halsey, who retired in 2013, also pointed out these were 'issues' he had previously mentioned in his autobiography three years ago. He later added: 'To be fair to the FA, it's not them, it comes from within the PGMOL.' Formed in 2001, the PGMOL was established when referees turned professional and aims to improve standards across the Premier League, Football League and FA competitions in England as well as training and development. Had the incident that saw Aguero banned by a Football Association panel for elbowing West Hamster's Winston Reid been witnessed by a match official, including referee Andre Marriner, the retrospective punishment would not have been possible. Former The Scum captain Gary Neville said Halsey's claims were 'too big' to avoid 'a full investigation.'
El Salvador's national football team claim that they refused a bribe to fix Tuesday's World Cup 2018 qualifying game against Canada. At a news conference after the game, team members played an audio recording of the person allegedly offering various incentives. Canada must beat El Salvador in Vancouver and must now hope that Mexico defeat Honduras in the final round of Group A games to stand a chance of progressing. El Salvador themselves cannot progress to the final round of qualifying. 'It's the most dramatic thing in football I've seen for some time now,' investigative journalist Declan Hill told the BBC World Service. 'The entire team came in with their coaches and said they had been approached on Saturday. They played an eleven-minute conversation with the attempted match-fixer. He was offering each player a variety of money per minute depending on the result they could get. The most they would have got for allegedly fixing the match would have been about three thousand dollars per player.' Hill said that the offer was, allegedly, made by an El Salvadorian who knew some of the players, but who wanted to aid the Honduras national team. Canada, El Salvador, Honduras and Mexico are members of the Confederation of North, Central America and Caribbean Association Football. Three CONCACAF nations will qualify for the 2018 World Cup automatically, with a fourth entering a play-off against a team from the Asian Football Confederation.
Guatemala's Carlos Ruiz has become the highest scorer in World Cup qualifier history after scoring five goals in his final international appearance.Guatemala beat St Vincent & The Grenadines nine-three as Ruiz, thirty six, took his record to sixty eight goals in one hundred and thirty three games. The striker has now scored thirty right goals in World Cup qualifiers, beating Iran's Ali Daei's previous record of thirty five. Despite the victory, Guatemala missed out on World Cup qualification, after USA beat Trinidad & Tobago four-nil.

Spennymoor Town's goalkeeper Dan Lowson scored an outrageous eighty-yard goal during his side's five-three win away at Radcliffe Borough in the FA Cup first qualifying round this week. Which you can see, here. Skill. The experienced keeper punted the ball up field from a free-kick inside his own penalty area before seeing it bounce over his opposite number Matthew Johnson and nestle in the back of the net.
And, the aptly named Tom Tonnks of Stourbridge scored from just inside the Peterborough Sports half during his side's three-one win in Saturday's FA Cup first qualifying round.

Yer actual Jenson Button will not race in Formula 1 in 2017 but will remain with McLaren as an ambassador. The 2009 world champion will work with the team and could race again in 2018, having signed an extended two-year contract. Belgian Stoffel Vandoorne will be promoted from reserve driver to partner double world champion Fernando Alonso. Button said that after racing in F1 since 2000 he had 'come to the conclusion' over the summer break in August that he wanted 'to take a break.' He and McLaren chairman Ron Dennis devised what Dennis described as 'an innovative solution' to the problem to keep all their options open for the future. Dennis said that the offer 'reflected the esteem' in which McLaren held Jens, who has driven for the team since 2010. Button said it was 'a dream to have that rest and have the opportunity to race in 2018.' Jenson will be McLaren's reserve driver and will race if either Alonso or Vandoorne are unable to for any reason. The thirty six-year-old will do work in McLaren's simulator, attend a number of races to work with the team, maintain an F1 level of fitness and 'remain current,' as he put it. 'There are many things I want to do that I haven't been able to do because of the F1 schedule,' Button said. 'When you drive in F1, it is your life and I definitely need a break from that in 2017. In 2018 the team have an option on me to race for McLaren-Honda, which is pretty awesome. It is a long way in the future but this has been a very interesting week for me with Ron. This is something that really works for me, and I am so, so happy we have come to this agreement and I will do everything I can to make sure this team is as good as it possibly can be.' Dennis said: 'To avoid any confusion, forget the word "retirement." Jenson is one of the team's drivers for the next two years. It is a very practical and logical solution that Jenson get his mind balanced and re-established and relaxed and then look at the future.' He added that Button had turned down offers from 'other teams' in favour of staying with McLaren in his new role. The McLaren chairman denied that the move was 'an insurance policy' in the circumstances - Alonso's contract expires at the end of 2017 and he has made it clear he will not decide on his future until he has driven next year's cars. And, it is unclear how the highly-rated Vandoorne will fare in his debut season against one of the sport's all-time greatest drivers. Vandoorne said: 'I am always up for a challenge and I am very positive about it. In F1, you have to go up against the best and I'm looking forward to the challenge.' Button said: 'Stoffel has definitely stood out as a driver coming through the junior categories and he has been so well educated learning from two world champions. He is in a good position to do well, but apart from that it's complete guesswork.' Alonso paid tribute to Button as 'the best team-mate I ever had in terms of performance - feedback, with engineers and car development was great with him.' Button, who has been linked to setting up a team in World Rallycross, where his late father John raced in the 1970s, said that there was 'a possibility' of racing in another category next year but 'at the moment I'm not thinking about anything apart from the rest of this year. I don't really know where it is going to take us in the future but it is exciting and a great opportunity.' World champion Lewis Hamilton said: 'Jenson has been an extraordinary British champion. He has done seventeen years. It is a long, long stint. I wish him all the best. He is still young, healthy and fit. What he has achieved is fantastic.' And, there's a superb piece by the BBC Sports' Andrew Benson which this blogger cannot praise highly enough. 'Jenson Button is one of an elite handful of drivers who have emerged as true superstars of Formula 1 in the last decade. Along with Fernando Alonso, Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel, Button has been a member of a group who were at the forefront of what in future years will be looked back on as a golden era of F1 talent. He and McLaren chairman Ron Dennis were at pains to emphasise that his decision not to race next season, made public at the Italian Grand Prix on Saturday, was not a retirement announcement. But, of course, there is at the very least a possibility that Button may never race in F1 again. Either way, his absence from the track next year will deprive the sport of an exceptional driver and an intelligent and thoughtful character.' Yes. What he said.
Two judges have been asked to leave a panel that picks the Nobel prize for medicine in a scandal surrounding a disgraced Italian transplant surgeon. The decision to drop Harriet Wallberg and Anders Hamsten came after the Swedish government sacked the entire board of the prestigious Karolinska Institute, where the scientist worked. Paolo Macchiarini was seen as a leading specialist on windpipe transplants. But two of his patients died and he was accused of falsifying his work record. Macchiarini denies all the charges against him. The two judges who lost their positions on the Nobel panel have both served as heads of the Karolinska Institute and were among several individuals suspected of ignoring warnings about the Italian windpipe scientist. The case has come as a severe blow to the institute. In a report on the case on Monday, a former Swedish judge said he had 'never seen such negative references' and questioned why the surgeon had been initially hired and then had his contract extended. 'Confidence in the two principals is so seriously damaged that it has been exhausted,' assembly secretary Thomas Perlmann told Sweden's TT news agency. 'The damage is so great, and of such a character, that we will ask them to resign from the Nobel Assembly.' The fifty-member Nobel panel is due to announce the winner of the annual prize next month.

Film studio Warner Brothers has asked Google to remove its own website from search results, saying that it 'violates copyright laws.' It also asked the search giant to remove links to a number of legitimate movie streaming websites run by Amazon and Sky, as well as the film database IMDB. The request was submitted on behalf of Warner Brothers by Vobile, a company which files hundreds of thousands of takedown requests every month. The self-censorship was first spotted - and guffawed about - by news blog Torrent Freak, which said Vobile had made 'some glaring errors.' In one request, Google was asked to remove links to the official websites for films such as Batman: The Dark Knight and The Matrix. Licensed online movie portals such as Amazon and Sky Cinema were also snitched-up for alleged copyright infringement. 'Warner is inadvertently trying to make it harder for the public to find links to legitimate content, which runs counter to its intentions,' said Ernesto Van Der Sar, from Torrent Freak. Companies such as Vobile typically work 'on behalf' of major film studios, reporting illegally uploaded copies of movies and television programmes. Google's transparency report says that Vobile has submitted more than thirteen million links for removal. It also reveals other potential mistakes - such as film studio Lionsgate reporting a copy of London Has Fallen found on the Microsoft download store. 'Unfortunately these kind of errors are very common,' said Van Der Sar. 'Piracy monitoring firms often use automated systems to find and report copyright infringing websites. I'm fairly certain that this happened here as well, considering the obvious mistakes that were made. A good approach would be to white-list non-infringing sources such as warnerbros.com and amazon.com - but apparently that didn't happen.' After reviewing the Warner Brothers report, Google decided not to remove links to Amazon, IMDB and Sky Cinema from its results.
Reggae band UB40 have praised Comrade Jeremy Corbyn as 'an incorruptible politician' who will 'put working people first' as they backed his campaign to remain as Labour leader. The group, who have sold seventy million records, said Comrade Corbyn had 'inspired young people' and offered 'a believable alternative' to business as usual. In 1981, you may remember, UB40 had a hit with 'One In Ten', a song about the misery of unemployment. In 1982, UB40 had another hit with 'So Here I Am Standing At A Bus Stop Wishing I Was Somewhere Else', a song about the misery of going to work. They're both great songs, but hey, make yer minds up, lads, eh? The thoughts of other bands who were, if you will, 'big in the eighties' - The Style Council, Wham!, The Thompson Twins, The Belle Stars, Toto Coelo, The Goombay Dance Band et al - on Comrade Corbyn's abilities (or lack of them) are not, at this time, known. But this blogger will certainly report them when or if they become public.
A man dressed himself in a Disney princess costume to pester unsuspecting women and leave dozens of bras on driveways reports the Daily Mirra. Ian Qualters who, the paper claims, 'has an IQ of fifty three,' was very arrested and told police during his interview 'his head was up his arse.' Qualters hurled underwear and bikini tops onto women's properties while they were at an early-morning fitness class. His bizarre behaviour also saw him wear swimming costumes as he harassed women in the Cheshire town of Ellesemere Port. Qualters was handed a criminal behaviour order two months ago for dressing in a pink Disney princess outfit as he peered through neighbours' windows. Among the conditions, he was banned from wearing women's swimwear and fancy dress in public, entering a garden or driveway without permission and approaching lone females. Qualters, who lives with his father in Little Sutton, was back in court where he admitted two counts of harassment between 11 July and 17 August and one count of breaching his criminal behaviour order.

Stories of insurance companies refusing to pay out have existed for about as long as insurance companies themselves. Yet few can be as surprising, elaborate, or involve as many bizarre details as the case of British expat Christopher Robinson and the fire that destroyed his $1.6 million mansion in New Zealand. According to the Independent, Robinson, in his late sixties, moved to a remote part of North Island near Kerikeri with his wife and two children in 2005. On 9 September 2011, the couple drove four hundred kilometres from home to visit Hamilton. That night, shortly before midnight, neighbours in Kerikeri phoned the emergency services to say that the Robinson home was in flames. It, along with Robinson's E-class Merc, was reduced to cinders. Yet almost five years later to the day, the family has not received a penny from insurance giant IAG. That's because, according to a lengthy account of the proceedings in New Zealand's Stuff magazine, IAG's fire investigators believe Robinson set the fire himself - remotely. Sifting through the remains of the home, they found an Acer desktop computer which, forensic tests showed, had been 'remotely accessed' on the night of the fire. They also found the burned-out remains of two printers, which were connected to the Acer and tell-tale burn marks to suggest the fire had involved the use of an accelerant. The investigators' theory, according to Stuff, is that Robinson used his Macbook Pro in Hamilton to log in to the Acer remotely. The Acer then (according to the theory) sent a command to the printer, which pulled through a piece of paper, which pulled a piece of string, which was attached to a switch. The switch would then turn on a twelve volt battery, heating an element that would light a match, setting alight a flammable liquid and, finally, bringing down the whole house. The theory may sound farfetched, but the evidence of remote access on the Acer in particular was enough for police to take it seriously, and Robinson was charged with arson and making a fraudulent insurance claim. According to a New Zealand Herald report from earlier this year, the insurance company's theory collapsed when prosecutors could not prove that a print command had actually been sent, despite extensive forensic work on all the computer equipment in question. Yet IAG still insists the fire was started deliberately and refuses to pay out. A civil case on that front is pending. For his part, Robinson told Stuff he believes the fire was started by intruders. The idea he would use an elaborate Rube-Goldberg machine was nonsense, he said. 'Why would you use such a system rather than just plugging a cheap time-switch into the wall-socket?' The plot thickened further, if possible, when Robinson e-mailed IAG executives and their lawyers threatening to discredit the company online if they didn't pay up. In May this year, he was found very guilty of blackmail, the Herald reports and sentenced in June to nine months' home detention. With everything invested in the Kerikeri mansion, Robinson is now formally bankrupt - a status which is making it difficult for him to chase IAG for his pay-out. IAG, meanwhile, say that the failure of the criminal case against Robinson 'changes nothing' about their view that is was a deliberate fire.
A man dialled 999 for the police after he was asked to leave a café by the proprietor who had seen him writing a negative TripAdvisor review after he was served tea 'made with the wrong teabag' according to the Torygraph. Sevjan Melissa said that she asked Roberto Lattarulo to leave when he allegedly 'intimidated' staff after being given a lemon and ginger teabag instead of a lemongrass and ginger one. Melissa, the owner of Birdie Num Nums in New Cross, South-East London, said that she apologised and offered a full refund of two knicker 'and a cake' as 'a gesture of goodwill.' She claims that Lattarulo ignored her and started writing a negative TripAdvisor review in front of her. She then asked him to leave. Lattarulo admitted to the Torygraph that he rang 999 to complain that he was being 'unfairly evicted' from the premises, but the police informed him it was 'a civil matter.' Lattarulo’s TripAdvisor review criticised the cafe's 'shocking customer service.' What a great shame it is that there isn't a website where customer service staff - like this blogger who spent twenty years in just such a series of jobs - cannot post extremely negative reviews about pushy, self-entitled, full of their own importance customers, don't you think?
More than two dozen students at New Castle Middle School in Indiana were recently 'sickened' after trying Carolina Reaper peppers that a classmate had brought in, according to the school's principal. Carolina Reapers are considered to be the hottest chili peppers in the world. They are rated up to 1.57 million units on The Scoville Sscale, a measurement of the totally sodding insane spiciness of chili peppers. In comparison, jalapeno peppers rate anywhere from three to ten thousand Scoville units. 'We had a student whose father grows these Carolina Reaper peppers and he brought several of them to school and passed it around during lunch,' New Castle Middle School principal Jaci Hadsell told ABC News. The incident came to teachers' attentions after one child had apparently rubbed the peppers' oils in his eyes and began 'flailing around' in agony, Hadsell said, adding that overall, 'more than two dozen' students complained of burning sensations in their mouths, faces and bottoms. 'We provided them milk to try and coat their stomachs and then we made the decision to call our local EMTs,' Hadsell explained. While helping students recover from the burning sensations, they 'watched very carefully about the possibility of anaphylactic shock. Fortunately, no one had to be transported to the county hospital and, once everyone was okay, they were released to their parents,' Hadsell said. She added that the child who brought in the peppers was 'appropriately disciplined.' Which presumably involved shoving one of the peppers somewhere no pepper has been before?
A college in China is trying to stop 'excessive' toilet flushing by giving students electronic passes to access the facilities on campus. Each student at Kunming Health Vocational College in Yunnan province is assigned six hundred and fifty gallons of water per month on a pre-loaded card which must be swiped to use the toilets, Chuncheng Evening News reports. If they get flush-happy and go over that quota then they'll have to pay extra, although the amount isn't specified. Yunnan has endured repeated droughts in recent years. In 2013, China Daily reported that 'changing rainfall patterns' were 'causing the problem,' and that climatologists said it could get worse over the next twenty years. One teacher at the college told Yunnan Online that the ration 'should' be 'more than enough' for everyday use and that the new system will 'encourage students to conserve water.' But, the site said it had 'caused widespread concern,' something echoed among thousands of comments on Chinese microblogging site Weibo. Some users were 'shocked' and 'stunned' by the idea or think that it's a waste of money, although others feel it's 'reasonable' considering the water shortages. Several said they were worried about the 'potentially smelly consequences' of the quota in the event of floaters. 'Won't this encourage students not to flush the toilet?' asks one person, while others wonder what the university would do should 'that unpleasant scenario unfold.'

Richard Neville, the co-founder of 1960s counterculture magazine Oz, has died aged seventy four, his family said. The Australian author died in the coastal town of Byron Bay in New South Wales surrounded by relatives. Oz was launched in Sydney on April Fool's Day in 1963, before Neville took it to the UK. Known for tackling taboo topics like homosexuality, abortion, police brutality and censorship it sparked the UK's biggest obscenity trial. In a statement posted on Facebook, Neville's wife, Julie Clarke Neville, wrote: 'Our wonderful Richard has gone on to his next adventure.' Oz co-founder Richard Walsh told the Australian Broadcasting Corp that Neville had been suffering from Alzheimer's and his death was 'not a shock. I'm glad that he has finally come to the end of the Yellow Brick Road,' he said. He added that Neville had been 'charming in the right sense of the word. He just loved people of all kinds.' Neville founded Oz with Walsh and artist Martin Sharp in 1963. The magazine twice faced legal charges of obscenity in Australia. He then travelled to London to establish a British version of the magazine, but in 1971 went on trial for 'corrupting the morals of children.' The high-profile 1971 trial saw Neville and two other editors - Felix Dennis and Jim Anderson - briefly - jailed after a trial that became something of cause célèbre. They were subsequently freed on appeal after a huge public outcry and the trial was the focus of a 1991 BBC drama, The Trials Of Oz, in which Richard was played (excellently) by Hugh Grant. Neville went on to cover American elections for British newspapers - working as a freelance journalist for the New York Times, High Times and the Soho News. He also wrote several books including Play Power and Hippie, Hippie Shake. He is survived by his wife, Julie, and two daughters, Lucy and Angelica.