Friday, September 23, 2016

We Should Probably Bury It

Mary Berry will not be a judge on The Great British Bake Off when it moves to Channel Four, but Paul Hollywood has said that he will remain. So, to sum up, then, Channel Four have spending a staggering amount of money,a small fortune, in fact, and bought what is, currently, the most popular programme on British TV but both of the show's presenters and one of the two judges - three of the four people who have help to make it currently the most popular programme on British TV - will not be involved in it in future. Anybody else wondering if C4 are wanting their money back right about now? Two words, Jay Hunt. Top. Gear. Next. Mary said that she was staying with the BBC 'out of loyalty,' in much the same - very admirable - way that Mel Giedroyc and Sue Perkins did last week, adding that the BBC had nurtured both her and the show. She said that Bake Off was 'a unique and brilliant format from day one' and that she was 'just sad for the audience who may not be ready for change.' But Hollywood - getting his greed right on - claimed that he was 'delighted' to be staying on the show. And, one imagines, even more delighted with a geet mounds of filthy wonga he will, no doubt, be making in the short-to-medium-term. 'It's been a huge part of my life in the past few years and I just couldn't turn my back on all that,' he said. Last week, Giedroyc and Perkins announced that they were leaving the production, saying they were 'not going with the dough.' Hollywood, who has signed a three-year deal with Channel Four, said: 'I want to thank the BBC and Mel and Sue for making my time in the tent great fun and really rewarding.' He also thanked his fellow judge in a later tweet, adding: 'She has made the right decision for her.' Berry, Hollywood, Giedroyc and Perkins have all appeared on the show since the first series was broadcast on BBC2 in 2010. Greed Productions, which makes the series, said, presumably through gritted-teeth: 'We respect Mary's decision not to join the next chapter of the Bake Off story. We are immensely grateful to her for all her work and for her recognition today that Love Productions had made a unique and brilliant format from day one with Bake Off. The whole family, crew and team that made Bake Off for the BBC, and who will now make it just as brilliantly for C4, will miss her.' Berry said in her statement: 'What a privilege and honour it has been to be part of seven years of magic in a tent. The Bake Off family - Paul, Mel and Sue have given me so much joy and laughter. My decision to stay with the BBC is out of loyalty to them, as they have nurtured me, and the show, that was a unique and brilliant format from day one. I am just sad for the audience who may not be ready for change, I hope they understand my decision. I wish the programme, crew and future bakers every possible success and I am so very sad not to be a part of it. Farewell to soggy bottoms.' Charlotte Moore, the controller of BBC1, said: 'Mary is an extraordinary woman, loved and adored by the British public and the BBC is her natural home,' adding: 'I can't wait to cook up more unmissable shows with her in the future.' One imagines that the BBC are now in discussions with Mel, Sue and Mary about how they can create a format for them which will retain the majority of Bake Off's massive audience. It was announced last week that The Great British Bake Off was moving from BBC1 to Channel Four. The network has signed a three-year deal with Greed Productions, which makes the programme. It is understood the corporation had offered Greed Productions fifteen million knicker per year to keep the show on the BBC. That would have been double the amount the BBC currently pays for the show and its sister programmes, An Extra Slice and various Sport Relief specials. But, this semeingly wasn't enough for Greed Production who got their greed right on and demanded an extortionate twenty five million smackers. Giedroyc and Perkins left the show the day after its move to Channel Four was announced, seemingly disgusted with the whole fiasco. 'We made no secret of our desire for the show to remain where it was,' they said in a joint statement. Channel Four will begin broadcasting what is left of the programme in 2017. How many of those who currently watch it on the BBC will follow it to its new commercial home when three-quarters of the reasons for watching it are no longer there has yet to be established.

Channel Four has bought 'a very expensive car with one wheel' in The Great British Bake Off, according to its former boss. Michael Grade strongly criticised the channel's decision to buy the show. Earlier, Mary Berry announced that she would no longer be a judge out of 'loyalty' to the corporation, a decision which Lord Grade said he 'respected.' Channel Four has defended itself, saying it had 'secured a much-loved show free-to-air for British audiences.' Meanwhile the ex-lack of culture secretary, the vile and odious rascal Whittingdale has voiced fears that The Great British Bake Off could suffer a similar fate to Top Gear. Speaking to Martha Kearney on Radio 4's The World At One, the vile and odious rascal Whittingdale - who is now, seemingly, passing himself off as the BBC's bestest friend in all the land that am - said that he was 'surprised' Channel Four had bought the programme and feels it 'raises questions as to whether it's appropriate.' And, just to conclude this round-up of people who have nothing whatsoever to do with The Great British Bake Off mouthing off about it, minutes after Mary Berry's resignation from The Great British Bake Off was announced, worthless opinion-on-everything gobshite Davina McCall suggested that Channel Four should make the show 'sugar free.' Although, what the Hell it has to do with her, she didn't say.
Cast members of The West Wing - the best TV drama ever made ... which doesn't have the words 'Doctor' and 'Who' in the title - are to campaign for the US Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton in Ohio this weekend. Richard Schiff, Allison Janney, Bradley Whitford, Dule Hill, Joshua Malina and Mary McCormack will reunite to help organise events across the state. The stars of the former hit US political TV drama will appear in towns including Cleveland, Sandusky and Toledo. The West Wing, also starring Martin Sheen, ran on NBC from 1999 to 2006. Martin, of course, played Democratic President Josiah Bartlet in the multi Golden Globe-winning drama, played out within the enclaves of The White House. If you missed it, it's currently being repeats on Sky Atlantic, daily. It was bloody good. And, there's a not-bad episode guide to the first three-and-a-half series which is still available for a ludicrously cheap price on amazon. Good book, that. Local author, apparently. Sheen's former co-stars will go on the Clinton campaign trail to rally the public to vote, according to a campaign statement. 'The actors will discuss why they are supporting Clinton and urge Ohioans to register to vote ahead of the 11 October deadline and to get involved in organising their communities ahead of November's election,' the statement said. Sheen, however, won't be joining his former West Wing colleagues and, neither will Rob Lowe or, seemingly From The North favourite, Janel Moloney. Sheen has nonetheless previously stated his support for Clinton - and been damning of her Republican rival (and hairdo) Donald Trump. Sheen also appears in a new anti-Trump video called Save The Day made by The Avengers director and Buffy The Vampire Slayer creator Joss Whedon.
This blogger very much enjoyed the opening episode of Gotham series three - Better To Reign In Hell - the preview disc of which turned up at Stately Telly Topping Manor earlier this very week. By Hell, they crammed a lot of plot into forty three minutes there.
Here's the sixth instalment in From The North's latest semi-regular series don't you just wish, dear blog reader, that they still made movie posters like this?
CJ de Mooi, a former panellist on the BBC2 quiz show Eggheads, has been very arrested on a European arrest warrant under his real name, Joseph Connagh, for an alleged killing, Scotland Yard have said. The forty six-year-old from Monmouthshire was extremely arrested at Heathrow Airport on Wednesday, according to the Metropolitan Scuzzers. The warrant, issued in the Netherlands, relates to an allegation of murderisation. Connagh was scheduled to appear at Westminster Magistrates' Court on Thursday. He previously revealed in his autobiography that he 'may have killed a man' while he lived on the streets two decades ago. He claimed that he punched a man who approached him with a knife and then threw him into a canal in Amsterdam in 1988. He wrote: 'He caught me on the wrong day and I just snapped.' He added: 'I fully suspect I killed him. I've no idea what happened to him.' Connagh, originally from Barnsley, became a panellist on the BBC show, which features five quiz champions competing as a team against different challengers, in 2003 after winning a series of game shows. He adopted the name de Mooi when modelling.
CBS's 'culture-clash comedy' The Great Indoors is coming to ITV2 soon. Starring yer actual Stephen Fry, it is 'a multigenerational comedy that snipes at millennials, media and hipster culture,' apparently. Sounds awful, frankly. The Great Indoors follows Joel McHale's character, Jack, a reporter 'with a Bear Grylls spirit' who becomes 'a desk-bound boss attempting to run the digital department of his adventure magazine The Great Outdoors.' Fry plays Roland - the magazine's enigmatic founder, traveller and explorer - who reassigned Jack's role. The cast also includes Christopher Mintz-Plasse who plays tech geek Clark, Christine Ko who plays 'social media whiz' Emma, Shaun Brown, Susannah Fielding who plays Fry's on-screen daughter, Brooke and Chris Williams as Jack's best friend, Eddie. 'The Great Indoors combines a cast of fresh and experienced talent, with a creative team that has worked on some of television's best known comedies, for a dynamic take on the modern media workplace,' claimed Stephen Tague, the Senior Vice President, Europe for CBS Studios International. Rosemary Newell, ITV's Director of Digital Channels and Acquisitions believes the show will 'speak to a forgotten audience.' Whatever the Hell that means.
A man has been very charged with burglary following a break-in at Wee Shughie McFee, the sour-faced Scottish chef off Crossroads's palatial London mansion last year. Cash and jewellery were reportedly taken from the Holland Park property on 4 December 2015. Darren February, aged thirty two, is due before Hammersmith Magistrates' Court on 5 October. At the time Wee Shughie McFee, the sour-faced Scottish chef off Crossroads said that he had been asleep in the property, along with his partner Lauren Silverman and their baby son, Eric.
Good Morning Britain viewers - all twelve of them - 'got into a furore' earlier this week, at least, according to the Daily Mirra, as the flop ITV breakfast programme dedicated several news segments to Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie's divorce rather than reporting on the recent police shooting and riots in the American city of Charlotte. And, by 'furore' what the risible tabloid actually meant was that half-a-dozen people whinged about the matter on Twitter and, since they're unable to hack peoples phones to get stories these days, one of their 'journalists' was done a story on 'the Twitter backlash.' Albeit, on this occasion, the Twatterers have been whinging not entirely without just cause, let it be noted. And then, the producers of the ITV programme wonder why it is that Good Morning Britain still gets a pants-down ratings spanking on a daily basis from BBC Breakfast. Despite the ITV 'news' programme having 'the volatile situation' in the US as its headline story of the day - following the killing of disabled forty three-year-old Keith Lamont Scott - Good Morning Britain chose, instead, to focus heavily on the world-shattering story that two actors who've been married for a while had decided to get a divorce. With alleged 'celebrity experts' (whatever the fek that not-a-real-job-type-job constitutes) and a live video link to US Entertainment Editor Ross King in Los Angeles, some viewers thought it was 'way too much', considering there was some, you know, 'real news' happening elsewhere in the world. One - nameless - viewer quoted by the Mirra allegedly said: 'With everything that's going on in the world, I can't believe Good Morning Britain have spent the last half hour talking to "experts" about Brangelina.' This blogger, on the other hand, can easily believe such a thing; I mean, with intellectual heavyweights like Ben Shephard and Horrible Kate Garraway fronting their coverage, what did you really expect from Good Morning Britain, serious journalism? If so, you're looking in the wrong place.
Less than a month after finding a new controller of drama commissioning (ITV having poached the BBC's Polly Hill, so the BBC's near-inevitable response was to poach Channel Four's Piers Wenger), it appears the Beeb will soon have another key fiction commissioning post to fill: Broadcast magazine reports that Christine Langan, the much-admired head of BBC Films, is on the verge of joining Steve Coogan's Baby Cow (having previously worked with Coogan on both Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa and Philomena). The tricky and awkwardly-timed challenge of replacing her threatens to spoil the summer holidays of Alan Yentob, who retained his post as chairman of BBC Films when he stepped down as the BBC's creative director and is made harder because, repeating the Wenger ploy by raiding Channel Four for the head of its Film4 is surely ruled out, as this is new Film4 boss Daniel Battsek's first month working there.
Watching a tear-jerking film 'helps in social bonding,' according to researchers with, seemingly, nothing better to do with their time. The findings could explain our attraction to dramatic works of fiction - even if they make us cry. Experiments by an Oxford University team suggest 'tragic films and other dramatic works' trigger a rush of feel-good chemicals, endorphins. This acts as a natural painkiller and helps us bond with the people around us, they report in the Royal Society journal Open Science. The human fascination with story-telling was forged in ancient times when we began to live in hunter-gatherer communities, said Professor Robin Dunbar, who led the research. Enjoying fiction is a hallmark of human society but, until now, scientists have not investigated its evolutionary basis - usually, because, they've had more important things to be be looking into. 'Fiction is widely studied by humanities academics as it is an important feature of human society, common to all cultures,' said Dunbar, professor of evolutionary psychology at Oxford University. 'Yet the reasons why fiction can be so engrossing and the functions for this have not been widely studied by psychologists or behavioural biologists. There are good social reasons: folklore enables us to pass on wisdom or ingrain community values, bringing us together. While that is important, it does not fully explain why we are willing to return again and again to be entertained.' An Oxford team of scientists, psychologists and classicists decided to test whether drama triggers the release of endorphins. They showed volunteers the film Stuart: A Life Backwards, the dramatised story of a homeless man with a troubled childhood. The team tested changes in pain threshold before and after viewing the films as a measure for endorphin release using the wall-sit test. This is where someone rests their back against the wall as if they were sitting on a chair and holds it for as long as possible. 'Those who had the greatest emotional response also had the greatest increase in pain threshold and the greater their sense of being bonded with their group,' said Professor Dunbar. He also thinks our affinity for emotive fiction 'may' have evolved in the context of cohesion of social groups, as the endorphin effect has also been seen in comedy, singing and dancing. 'This is not to say that this one chemical effect alone is the only reason for dramatic fiction - there are other aspects of human psychology at work - but we believe that it is an important reason for our enjoyment of fiction,' he added. The research was 'an unusual collaboration' of researchers from the fields of arts and science. Doctor Sophie Duncan, a Shakespeare scholar, said that they 'wanted to understand how and why fiction works and the meaning of getting lost in a book.' The study shows 'you can give yourself an endorphin high through fiction,' she said. 'Watching tragic drama is good for you - it's good for our health,' she told BBC News. 'It boosts endorphins which are our body's natural painkiller.'
Two sexually explicit adverts for sexy telephone chat-lines on the back page of the Sunday Sport have been banned by regulators, despite claims from the advertiser that the move would 'amount to censorship.' The adverts were illustrated with pictures of women in the process of undressing and with their breasts partly exposed and were accompanied by taglines including 'XXX Sex Stories' and 'Filthy Sex Chat with Hot TGirls!' The publisher of the Sunday Sport - they have their knockers - argued that the newspaper was 'clearly targeted at adults'(or, at least, people with the physical age of adults, but the mental age of a mollusc) and it had run similar advertising before and had received no complaints. The advertiser, Worldwide Digital Media, claimed that to 'prohibit the ads from being placed in the newspaper, would be highly selective and restrictive, and would amount to censorship on the UK's free press.' The ASA took a different view. The complaint was made by a campaign group, Not Buying It, which is currently hosting petitions against the Daily Sport and its advertising on its website. Though the Advertising Standards Authority cleared similar adverts inside the newspaper, it said that their appearance on the back page 'could' expose them to children. In its ruling the ASA said that 'if the paper was left in public places or around the house,' the adverts 'could be seen by children.' Something one could also say about, you know, the latest issue of Spank Monthly. Just an observation. It added: 'We also understood that the Sunday Sport was usually displayed in retail stores alongside other newspapers in a readily visible position (as opposed to appearing on the top shelf) and, therefore, the back page was more likely to be seen inadvertently by children.'
A former TV presenter - of sorts - 'failed to make it clear' that she was being paid to send a tweet about a snack, the advertising watchdog has ruled. AJ Odudu posted a picture of an Alpro Go On yoghurt-type pot in her hand alongside the caption 'Fave summer snack vibes.' The tweet should have been marked to show that she was being paid to promote the company's products, the Advertising Standards Authority said. Odudu, a former presenter on Big Brother's utterly worthless spin-off show, Bit On The Side, 'should have included a clear identifier' in the post to let people know it was marketing, rather than her own editorial content, the ASA said. Odudu, who currently has more than twenty five thousand followers on Twitter - which, in and of itself, is a perfect illustration of why Twitter is a completely sodding worthless entity with no redeeming features whatsoever - has been 'warned' to mark future similar posts with '#ad' to 'clear up any doubt.' Although, quite what they will do to her if she fails to comply with this order is not really clear. Send the boys round to break her fingers one-by-one, perhaps? In its ruling, which was sparked by one lone whinge, the ASA said the advert 'was presented in a similar "voice" to Ms Odudu's other tweets and did not include any clear identifier, such as "#ad", to demarcate it from her own content. While we noted that the tweet contained the advertiser Twitter handle and campaign hashtags, we did not consider that this would make clear to consumers the commercial intent of the content or the editorial control exercised by the advertiser.' The company, which specialises in soya food products, has pledged to 'ensure' any future marketing communications are marked up as adverts.
A newspaper advertisement for an Enid Blyton gift shop featuring a golliwog has been very banned after the advertising watchdog found that it was 'likely to cause serious offence.' No shit? Corfe Castle's Ginger Pop Shop – which describes itself on its website as 'all about Enid Blyton and her era' – ran an advert in a local Dorset paper, the Purbeck Gazette. It featured an illustration of a golliwog holding a pint of ginger beer with text underneath reading 'English freedom.' Underneath this it read 'Visit our shop and get the tea towel.' Two readers, who believed the depiction of the golliwog character was racist, complained to the Advertising Standards Authority that the advertisement was offensive. The shop's owners said that they 'did not accept' the golliwog represented 'negative racial stereotypes,' claiming that it had 'a long history with origins in a children's book in the late Nineteenth Century.' Which is true. Mind you, so have various hugely offensive racist words. So, that's not really a defence for using them, is it? They believed that the character in the original books - and on Robertson's marmalade badges - was 'heroic' and was 'an aspirational role model,' but acknowledged that it had become stereotyped over time. They also provided a letter from a supporter and a comments book from their shop, which they said showed most passers-by were 'positive' about the fact they sold golliwogs. Ginger Pop had produced a tea towel intended to celebrate one hundred and twenty years of golliwogs, which it said included words far removed from the minstrel doll stereotype. The Purbeck Gazette claimed it had 'checked the legality' of the advert prior to running it and had 'been told' it was 'within the law.' Presumably, whoever told them that has now been sacked. It had not directly received any complaints itself. The ASA said that it 'understood' there had been 'some local controversy' around the tea towel and that the advert was 'a reference' to that. However, it did not consider that all readers would be 'aware of that background.' It said 'many people were likely to view the character as representing negative racial stereotypes' and its inclusion in a press advert was 'likely to cause serious or widespread offence.' Including the words 'English freedom' was 'likely to make this worse' because 'in combination with the image it could be read as a negative reference to immigration or race.' The ASA therefore extremely banned the advert.
Boris Johnson only campaigned to leave the EU to 'set himself up as the next Conservative leader,' Sir Alan Duncan said the day before June's EU referendum. Sir Alan said he believed the now-foreign secretary, who is his current boss, wanted to 'lose narrowly' and be 'the heir apparent' to his old mate David Cameron. The foreign minister's comments were made a day before the vote to a BBC documentary, Brexit: A Very British Coup? Johnson has said the UK will be 'better off' outside the European Union. In his first interview after becoming foreign secretary he said: 'There is a huge opportunity and I have been very struck by how excited and how positive people here are about the opportunities for Britain.' The UK voted by fifty two per cent to forty eight per cent to end its membership of the EU in a referendum on 23 June. You might have heard about it. In a behind-the-scenes documentary, Brexit: A Very British Coup?, Sir Alan - then a backbench MP but now a minister in Johnson's Foreign Office - predicted the result would be fifty two per cent for Remain and firty eight per cent for Leave. Nearly, mate, very nearly. He questioned the motives of Johnson in backing the campaign to exit the EU. 'I think there are a lot of Leave people who don't believe it and I've always thought that Boris's wish was to lose by one so that he could be the heir apparent without having to have all the you know, shit of clearing up all the mess, that's always been my view of Boris.' He added: 'By championing leave, he can be the great heir apparent of the future, darling of the activists, but actually it would be quite good if he didn't actually win the referendum because there would be total chaos.' Speaking after the result was known, Sir Alan warned that the UK was entering 'a period of deep instability and uncertainty' and 'potentially ultra-dysfunctional government. And, you know, the first thing we hear is Michael Gove says he is going to negotiate with David Cameron about being in charge of the negotiations. Well, these people have got to remember they might have won a referendum, but they don't run the country.' Johnson, popular among Tory activists as one of the leading Vote Leave figures, argued that leaving the EU would be Britain's 'independence day.' He said the UK could 'take back control' - of its money, its immigration system and its democracy and accused Remain campaigners of 'talking the country down.' After the referendum and David Cameron's ensuing resignation, Johnson unexpectedly withdrew from the race to be the next Tory leader and PM, positions he is long thought to have harboured desires for. He said that he did not believe he could provide the leadership or unity needed, after then Justice Secretary and fellow Brexit campaigner Michael Gove made his own bid for the job. And, hilariously, lost. But in a shock move just over a week later - with Johnson's fortunes seen to be at their lowest ebb - Cameron's successor, Theresa May, appointed him as foreign secretary in her new cabinet. Possibly 'for a laugh,' we just don't know yet. In that role, he has stressed that Brexit does not mean Britain will be leaving Europe, just 'leaving the EU,' and said that he wanted the UK to be 'a great global player.'
ITV drama Victoria is to return for a second series, the broadcaster has confirmed. Both yer actual Jenna Coleman - who stars as the young queen - and Tom Hughes, who plays Prince Albert, will return to their roles. Daisy Goodwin will also continue to write and executive produce the series. Goodwin said: 'Even though she reigned in the Nineteenth Century, Victoria is a heroine for our times. In the next series she faces the very modern dilemma of how to juggle children with her husband and her job. As Victoria will discover, it's hard to be a wife, a mother and ruler of the most powerful nation on Earth.'
Monty Python's Flying Circus's Terry Jones has been diagnosed with a severe variant of dementia. The seventy four-year-old is suffering from 'primary progressive aphasia,' which affects his ability to communicate. As a result, Terry is 'no longer able to give interviews,' his spokesman said. The news was confirmed as BAFTA Cymru announced that the Welsh-born comedian is to be honoured with an outstanding contribution award. The National Aphasia Association describes primary progressive aphasia as a neurological syndrome in which language capabilities become slowly and progressively impaired. 'It commonly begins as a subtle disorder of language, progressing to a nearly total inability to speak, in its most severe stage,' their website states. Terry was a member of the legendary comedy troupe with Terry Gilliam, John Cleese, Eric Idle, Michael Palin and the late Graham Chapman. He directed Monty Python's The Life of Brian and The Meaning Of Life and co-directed Monty Python & The Holy Grail with Gilliam. Kathryn Smith, director of operations at Alzheimer's Society, said: 'We are deeply sorry to hear about Terry Jones's diagnosis of dementia and are thinking of Terry and his family during this time. His award was announced at the BAFTA Cymru nominations party, ahead of the British Academy Cymru Awards on 2 October. Terry is proud and honoured to be recognised in this way and is looking forward to the celebrations,' his spokesman said. Hannah Raybould, the director of BAFTA Cymru, said: 'We are very much looking forward to celebrating the work of Terry Jones during the ceremony with a look back at his work from 1969 to the present day.' Terry's long-time writing partner, Michael Palin released the following, moving, statement on Facebook: 'Terry J has been my close friend and workmate for over fifty years. The progress of his dementia has been painful to watch and the news announced yesterday that he has a type of aphasia which is gradually depriving him of the ability to speak is about the cruellest thing that could befall someone to whom words, ideas, arguments, jokes and stories were once the stuff of life. Not that Terry is out of circulation. He spends time with his family and only two days ago I met up with him for one of our regular meals at his local pub. Terry doesn’t say very much but he smiles, laughs, recognises and responds and I'm always pleased to see him. Long may that last.'
A portrait of Sir David Attenborough has been unveiled to commemorate his ninetieth birthday - in a museum where he once volunteered. The painting was revealed by the veteran broadcaster and naturalist at New Walk Museum, in Leicester. David grew up in the city and worked as a volunteer at the museum as a teenager. The artist - Bryan Organ - has also painted Sir David's brother, Richard Attenborough, Prince Charles and former Prime Minister Harold Macmillan. The portrait of Sir David was commissioned by the City of Leicester Museums Trust and will complement the portrait of Lord Attenborough, the acclaimed actor and film director, which also hangs in New Walk Museum. Sir David said it was 'an honour' to sit for Organ. When asked what he made of the portrait, he said: 'I haven't had the chance to have a look at it - I mean, I've only seen it obliquely. As far as I can see, it's very nice. It was great fun sitting with Bryan, the only problem was the painting got in the way.' The Attenborough brothers grew up in the city where their father was principal of the then University College Leicester.
Holly Willoughby will front ITV's new - wretched - dating show format Meet The Parents. So, that should be well-worth avoiding, then. Meet The Parents will see contestants, if you will, meet the parents of their potential date, where they can ask them absolutely anything and everything about the poor unfortunate soul waiting in the wings. Sounds absolute tripe. It's hardly surprising, therefore, that it's got witless waste-of-space thing Holly Willoughby presenting it. Avoid it like the plague, dear blog reader, it will rot your brain and, probably, give you nightmares.
A TV journalist in China who was photographed wearing sunglasses and holding an umbrella to shelter from the sun has been suspended from her job. The unnamed journalist was photographed while conducting an interview in Xiamen city on efforts to help the city recover from Typhoon Meranti. Her appearance was a stark contrast to the volunteers she was interviewing as they helped clean up after the storm. The images 'went viral,' with 'many' accusing her of being 'unprofessional.' Xiamen TV station said in a statement: 'One of our journalists didn't obey our rules and failed to conduct an interview properly. That damages the image of [the] journalist and had a negative impact on the public.' Weather officials said that Typhoon Meranti was the strongest storm of its kind this year. At least one person in China died and another was killed in Taiwan. On mainland China the storm struck southern Fujian province particularly badly. Online comment, mainly on China's Twitter-like Weibo network, has been divided over the journalist's image and behaviour while reporting on the aftermath of the storm. A Shanghai-based female TV journalist, Yijing Lin, cast more light on the angry reaction. She told the BBC that it 'must be understood in the context of the expectations and image the Chinese public has of journalists. I wouldn't call it a stereotype, but it does happen,' she said. 'I see adventurous people who don't mind getting their feet dirty,' an image that many would associate with journalists reporting in the aftermath of bad weather. Lin argues that the Chinese public wants to see their journalists as 'smart and intellectually driven.' The perceived focus on appearance does seem to be what has enraged people and, in this instance, it has had serious consequence for the journalist involved. It is unclear if the suspension will eventually lead to dismissal, or time in a Labour camp, but the issue has certainly got China talking about the ethics of journalism as well as the power of online indignation.
The undercover alleged 'journalist', Mazher Mahmood, 'plotted to change a witness statement' in a case against the pop singer Tulisa Contostavlos, the Old Bailey has heard. The reporter known as 'The Fake Sheikh' and his driver Alan Smith both deny conspiring together, intending to pervert the course of justice. Contostavlos had been accused of supplying cocaine but the case against her collapsed in 2014. Prosecutors said that Mahmood had a 'vested interest' in her prosecution. The court heard that Contostavlos had been 'targeted' by the self-styled 'King Of The Sting,' who posed as an influential film producer who wanted the singer to star in 'a Hollywood blockbuster.' The singer had allegedly arranged for Mahmood to be sold half-an-ounce of Charlie by one of her contacts for eight hundred knicker. The former N-Dubz star and X Factor judge was later very arrested and charged with 'being concerned in the supply of a class A drug,' after Mahmood handed evidence to police like a dirty stinking Copper's Nark. Mahmood, of Purley, and Smith, from Dereham in Norfolk, are accused of arranging to alter a written statement the latter had made to police because it was 'favourable' to Contostavlos's defence. Opening the trial against Mahmood and Smith, Sarah Forshaw QC told the jury: 'In effect, the hearing in June 2014 put Mahmood and his journalistic process on trial. He liked to call himself The King Of [The] Sting, he boasted in a book he had written of the number of convictions that he, personally, was responsible for. He knew that if it could be shown that he had acted improperly as an agent provocateur, inducing Miss Contostavlos to do something she would not otherwise do, his own credibility and standing and the prospect of conviction in the case might both be severely damaged.' Forshaw added: 'Miss Contostavlos had expressed her disapproval of hard drugs to his own driver, that was the bit of the statement that was altered. Smith had told the police officer making the statement that he remembered that while driving Miss Contostavlos that she had spoken about someone in her family being dependent on cocaine.' Smith had told a police officer she seemed 'really negative about cocaine' but, a day later, he told police he wanted to retract 'that part' of his statement, the court heard. It is alleged that in the intervening twenty four hours Smith had sent a copy of his interview to Mahmood and they had exchanged 'a number of texts and calls.' During a pre-trial hearing at Southwark Crown Court in June 2014, Mahmood said, on oath, that he had 'not spoken to Smith' about Contostavlos's comments. 'He deliberately misled the court - not only had he discussed it but he had been sent a copy of the statement,' Forshaw said. When later giving evidence to the jury in the case, Mahmood admitted he had 'seen' a copy of Smith's statement and Contostavlos's trial subsequently collapsed, she added. Forshaw told the jury: 'There is no doubt that Smith did change his statement. The change would undoubtedly have disadvantaged Miss Contostavlos's case. It would have deprived her of supporting evidence from Mahmood's own right-hand man that she made an anti-drugs comment at a time when untainted by any influence or pressure.' She said that the evidence in the case was 'overwhelming,' adding: 'Mahmood may be the master of subterfuge and deception. But on this occasion it is he, together with his employee, who are exposed.' The pair are extremely charged with conspiring together to do an act, namely that Smith would change a draft statement to police, with the intention to pervert the course of justice, between 22 June and 22 July 2014. They both deny the charges. The trial continues.
Vets are warning that would-be dog owners should 'think twice' before buying breeds with fashionably 'flat-faced' features - because 'of concerns over their welfare.' Pugs, bulldogs, French bulldogs, little shih-tzus and cavalier King Charles spaniels have become much sought-after in the UK, despite wide-ranging health problems. Although, why is a good question since they are, you know, fek ugly. Their 'appeal' is reportedly attributed to having 'squashed' faces and wrinkled noses. Which some people seem to find cute. The British Veterinary Association said that the 'surge' in popularity of these dogs had 'increased animal suffering.' Sean Wensley, president of the British Veterinary Association, said: 'Prospective owners need to consider that these dogs can suffer from a range of health problems, from eye ulcers to severe breathing difficulties. We strongly encourage people to choose a healthier breed or a crossbreed instead.' The warning has been echoed by the PDSA, the Royal Veterinary College, the RSPCA and the Kennel Club. Meanwhile, evidence suggests that an increasing number of the dogs - more correctly known as brachycephalic or short-muzzled dogs - are being abandoned by their owners. Because they're fek ugly, basically.
NASA on Tuesday issued an extremely cryptic press announcement about Europa, an ice-encrusted moon of Jupiter which likely hides twice as much warm, liquid, and potentially habitable water as Earth. The US space agency teased the discovery of 'some surprising activity' out there, three hundred and ninety million miles from Earth, citing the help of images from the Hubble Space Telescope. Everyone will be filled in on the details via a live video stream on Monday 26 September, according to the release: 'Astronomers will present results from a unique Europa observing campaign that resulted in surprising evidence of activity that may be related to the presence of a subsurface ocean on Europa.' They did add, helpfully, 'Spoiler alert: not aliens!' Which, no doubt, disappointed nutters everywhere.
An employee of the Royal Canadian Mint allegedly smuggled over one hundred and eighty thousand dollars in gold from the fortress-like facility, possibly evading multiple levels of detection with a time-honoured prison trick. Hiding the precious metal rammed up his ringpiece. The case against Leston Lawrence, of Barrhaven, concluded in an Ottawa courtroom Tuesday. Justice Peter Doody 'reserved decision' until 9 November on a number of smuggling-for-cash charges, including theft, laundering the proceeds of crime, possession of stolen property and breach of trust. Plus, 'walking in a funny way,' one presumes. The case was also an illuminating look at security measures inside The Mint, the building on Sussex Drive that produces hundreds of millions of gold coins annually for the federal Crown corporation. 'Appalling,' was the conclusion of defence lawyer Gary Barnes, who described the Crown's case as 'an underwhelming collection of circumstantial evidence. This is the Royal Canadian Mint, your Honour, and one would think they should have the highest security measures imaginable,' Barnes said in his closing submission. 'And here. the gold is left sitting around in open buckets.' Indeed, it was not even The Mint that discovered the alleged theft but an alert bank teller. The court was told that, on multiple occasions, Lawrence took small circular chunks of gold - a cookie-sized nugget called a 'puck' - to Ottawa Gold Buyers in the Westgate Shopping Centre on Carling Avenue. Typically, the pucks weighed about two hundred and ten grammes, around seven ounces, for which he was given cheques in the six thousand eight hundred bucks range, depending on fluctuating gold prices, court heard. He then deposited the cheques at the Royal Bank in the same mall. A teller became suspicious at the size and number of Ottawa Gold Buyers cheques being deposited and Lawrence's request to wire money out of the country. She then noticed on his account profile that he worked at The Mint. Bank security was alerted, then the RCMP, which began to investigate. Eventually, a search warrant was obtained and four Mint-style pucks were found in Lawrence's safety deposit box, the court heard. Records revealed eighteen pucks had been sold between 27 November 2014 and 12 March 2015. Together with dozens of gold coins which were redeemed, the total value of the suspected theft was conservatively estimated at one hundred and seventy nine thousand and fifteen dollars. The Crown was not able to prove conclusively that the gold in Lawrence's possession actually came from inside The Mint. It had no markings nor, apparently, had any gold been reported missing internally. The Crown was able to show the pucks precisely fit The Mint's custom 'dipping spoon' made in-house - not available commercially - which is used to scoop molten gold during the production process. Lawrence, whose position has since been very terminated, was an operator in the refinery section. Among his duties was to scoop gold from buckets so it could be tested for purity, as The Mint prides itself on gold coins above the ninety nine per cent level. The great mystery which went unanswered at trial, however, was how did the gold get out of The Mint? The court was told that Lawrence set off the metal detector at an exit from the 'secure area' with more frequency than any other employee - save those with metal medical implants. When that happened, the procedure was to do a manual search with a hand-held wand, a search which he always passed. It was not uncommon for employees to set off the detector, the court heard. Investigators also found a container of vaseline in his locker and the trial was presented with the prospect that a puck could be concealed in an anal cavity and not be detected by the hand-held wand. Although, to be fair, the chap might, simply, have had chapped lips. In preparation for the proceedings, in fact, a security employee actually tested the idea, Barnes said. Lawrence did not take the stand - as is his legal right [ and the Crown was unable to definitively establish how the gold pucks made their way out of the facility except to speculate that Lawrence, stuck them right up his Gary Glitter till his eyes watered. 'We do have compelling evidence,' countered Crown attorney David Friesen, of someone 'secreting [gold] on his person and taking it out of The Mint.' Barnes implied that there were 'many ways' Lawrence could have legitimately obtained the gold - he could have bought the coins, for instance [ and said Lawrence made 'no efforts to be devious' with the gold buyers or the bank. Further, Barnes said, The Mint isn't even sure a theft took place. 'In fact, I would submit The Mint doesn't even know if anything is missing.' In an e-mailed statement Tuesday evening, a Mint spokeswoman claimed that 'several security measures' had been upgraded, including high definition security cameras in all areas, improved ability to track, balance and reconcile precious metal and the use of 'trend analysis technology.'

Network Rail has been extremely fined four million knicker over the death of a former actress at a level crossing. Brenda McFarland, known as Olive, was killed in August 2011 when she was hit by a train at the Gipsy Lane crossing in Needham Market in Suffolk. The eighty two-year-old appeared alongside Sean Connery in The Frightened City in 1961. McFarland's television appearances included roles in The Sweeney, The Troubleshooters, The Champions, Dixon Of Dock Green and a number of high profile BBC drama productions on the 1960s. She also had a film role in Alive & Kicking (1959). She left acting to restore properties and breed horses. The rail firm was sentenced at Ipswich Crown Court having admitted breaches in health and safety regulations. Judge Martyn Levett said the fine would have been six million smackers but for Network Rail pleading at the first opportunity. He said that pedestrians had a five second visual warning of a Norwich-bound train approaching. However, crossing the railway line could take vulnerable users and children about double that time. Network Rail said 'individual mistakes' had been made but the firm had not ignored warnings or been guilty of systemic failings.
Channel Four has agreed to cover the next Summer and Winter Paralympics following its well received coverage from Rio. A letter of intent signed with the International Paralympic Committee covers the 2018 Winter Paralympics in PyeongChang in South Korea and the summer games in Tokyo two years later, as well as the London 2017 Para Athletics Championships. The letter sets out the principles of the deal, with a full agreement expected in coming weeks. The channel fielded an unprecedented team of disabled talent on screen and behind the camera to cover Rio, including Breaking Bad actor RJ Mitte. Channel Four chief executive David Abrahams said that the channel's commitment to the Paralympics reflected its public service remit. 'I'm incredibly proud that our coverage and marketing of the games has both helped change public perceptions of people with impairments and encouraged broadcasters around the world to show Paralympic sport.' IPC president Sir Philip Craven said the channel had 'set an international benchmark' for Paralmypics coverage. He added: 'Whether it is producing international award winning TV advertisements promoting Paralympic sport, recruiting on- and off-screen talent with an impairment or delivering BAFTA-award winning coverage, Channel Four fully understands that its coverage is not only enthralling audiences but changing attitudes towards people with an impairment. Channel Four has built a reputation on innovating and bringing a new approach to Para sport coverage which many other broadcasters around the world are now following. By extending our long-term partnership for a further four years covering London 2017, PyeongChang 2018 and Tokyo 2020 we can work together to build on the great work and achievements of the last four years.'
Rome looks set to drop its bid to host the Olympic Games in 2024, after its 'anti-establishment mayor' said it would be 'irresponsible' to be a candidate. Virginia Raggi of the Five Star movement - they're system addicts, apparently - was elected as mayor of the Italian capital in June. There was confusion earlier when reports said that she had 'failed to turn up' for a meeting with a delegation from the Italian Olympic Committee. Rome also pulled out of bidding for the 2020 Olympics 'for financial reasons.' Boston and Hamburg have already pulled out of the running for the 2024 games, leaving Paris, Los Angeles and Budapest as the remaining bidders. Candidate cities must confirm their application and the endorsement of local public leaders by 7 October. Raggi came to power after repeatedly saying that she opposed the 2024 bid, but there were hopes that she might agree to a local referendum. The head of the Italian Olympic Committee, Giovanni Malago, has already indicated that without her support the bid would not go ahead. The International Olympic Committee will elect the host at a vote in Lima in September 2017, with Paris considered to be the favourite after several previous unsuccessful bids including the 2012 games. 'We are effectively asking the people of Rome and of Italy to shoulder the debts. We just don't support it,' the mayor told reporters.
A fell-running champion has admitted very stabbing three top athletics staff at a major UK stadium. Lauren Jeska admitted attempting to murder former Bristol rugby player Ralph Knibbs at the Alexander Stadium in Birmingham on 22 March. She also pleaded guilty to causing actual bodily harm to Kevan Taylor and Tim Begley, who tried to intervene and two counts of possessing a knife. Jeska, of Powys, will be sentenced at Birmingham Crown Court on 15 November. Police said Knibbs suffered 'life-threatening injuries' after being extremely stabbed in the head and neck, and is still recovering from the attack. The former Bristol RFC centre and head of Human Resources & Welfare at UK Athletics, was in court to hear Jeska enter her pleas via video link from HMP Foston Hall in Derbyshire. The court heard that the injuries of Jeska's other victims - accountant Begley and finance director Taylor - were 'not of the most serious order.' Prosecutor Timothy Atkins QC said not guilty pleas to charges of wounding were 'acceptable' to the Crown. 'I have had the opportunity of consulting those who instruct me and they have spoken with the complainants in this matter,' he said. 'During the course of the attack [on Knibbs], Mister Taylor and Mister Begley went to his assistance and both were injured. Thankfully their injuries were not of the most serious order and so the pleas to wounding are acceptable to the Crown given the pleas that have been entered.' Although Jeska admitted possessing two kitchen knives, she denied possessing a bread knife which had been left in a bag before the attack on fifty one-year-old Knibbs. Judge Philip Parker QC was told Jeska, of Wesley Terrace in Machynlleth, had been the subject of psychiatric assessment but 'further reports' would be necessary before she is sentenced. Defending, Julie Warburton said that a diagnosis of autism 'may be raised' at the next hearing, which would be invited to consider whether 'a medical disposal' would be available to the sentencing judge. She was very remanded in custody.
One of the main roads through Coventry will be renamed in honour of the football legend Jimmy Hill. The A444, currently known as Phoenix Way, is expected to be officially renamed Jimmy Hill Way at a ceremony later this year. Hill, who died in December aged eighty seven, is seen by many as Coventry City Football Club's most successful manager. Coventry Council's decision comes after a campaign from the Coventry Telegraph newspaper. Council leader George Duggins said: 'We're really pleased that we are able to honour the man that revolutionised football, both for this city and throughout the sport. He transformed Coventry City Football Club into a major league team and introduced a range of revolutionary changes.' The A444 runs past the club's former Highfield Road ground and also the Ricoh Arena, where the team currently ground-shares with Wasps Rugby Club. There is a statue of Hill outside the Ricoh Arena. Bridges which go over the road are being restored and the lower sections painted light blue as a further tribute. Hill led Coventry City to two promotions during the 1960s before leaving to work with ITV in 1967. He returned to Coventry as managing director in 1975, later becoming chairman, while still working as a presenter and pundit on the BBC's Match Of The Day.
The Aston Villains midfielder Jack Grealish is subject to 'an internal investigation' by the club following reports of his involvement in 'an all-night party,' manager Roberto di Matteo has said. At 07:45AM on Sunday, police were reportedly called to a Birmingham hotel as guests complained of 'a rowdy party,' which the Daily Scum Mail snitched that Grealish attended. No arrests were made and Grealish was not one of up to twelve people ejected from the hotel. 'We are aware of an incident at the weekend,' Di Matteo told BBC West Midlands. 'We started an internal investigation about it, which is still ongoing. When we finish the investigation, we will see what disciplinary action to take.' Grealish was warned by former Villains boss Tim Sherwood in 2015 after he was pictured apparently taking nitrous oxide. He also previously spent time training with Villa's youth team as a punishment when Remi Garde was in charge at Villains Park, after reports that he visited a nightclub following a four-nil defeat at Everton. 'Unfortunately it has happened again. We expect our players to behave in a professional manner at all times, so it is something that we don't tolerate,' added Di Matteo. 'It's important that he understands what he has, and he needs to grow up very quickly.' The Solihull-born former England Under-Twenty One player signed a new four-year deal with the Championship club on 7 September.
A regional newspaper editor has decided that one of their sports reporters should not cover Premier League football team Sunderland because he once made derogatory references to The Mackem Filth of Humanity on Facebook. Well, we've all done it. Joy Yates told readers of the Sunderland Echo that Liam Kennedy will no longer write in the paper about the local club following 'a large number' of whinges from Stadium Of Lighters about comments he allegedly made about the team before he joined the Echo staff. According to a Hold The Front Page article, Kennedy made the comments six years ago. They resurfaced on Facebook and were quickly reposted by some snitch. They were laden with expletives, were highly critical of Sunderland and revealed Kennedy to be a supporter of the club's great rivals, Newcastle United. As, indeed, is yer actual Keith Telly Topping so, you know, this blogger has no intention of getting in the middle of this one! Oh no, very hot water. Kennedy tried to make amends with 'a whole-hearted apology,' in which he admitted to being 'ashamed' at his 'pathetic, infantile posts' which were made before he became a journalist. Though, why the Hell he should have to in a country in which freedom of speech is still, in theory at least, a given, is another matter entirely. 'I am a different person now,' he claimed. 'I was young, daft and trying to be clever.' Being a Newcastle United fan 'does not mean I cannot cover Sunderland AFC with commitment and passion. It will all be done without bias.' But the apology did not assuage the Mackem fans' stroppy and incandescent fury and Yates felt it necessary to stand him down. Kennedy only recently joined the Echo from the Dundee Evening Telegraph. Yates explained that she 'had' to take the concerns of her readers 'very seriously.' So 'for a number of reasons, the decision has now been made that Liam will no longer be covering SAFC.' Sunderland have had a poor start to the season under their new manager, David Moyes. The team is one place off the bottom of the Premier League.
Proposals to introduce new legislation which would pardon gay men convicted under historical gross indecency laws will be brought forward 'in due course,' the government has said. The so-called Alan Turing Law could see thousands of men pardoned for crimes of which they would not even be charged of today. World War Two code-breaker Turing was pardoned in 2013, decades after he was convicted of gross indecency in 1952. A government spokesman said it was 'committed' to the proposal. 'This government is committed to introducing posthumous pardons for people with certain historical sexual offence convictions who would be innocent of any crime now,' the spokesman said. 'We will bring forward our proposals in due course.' Homosexuality was decriminalised in England in 1967. Relatives of Turing have led a high-profile campaign to secure pardons for all the forty nine thousand other men convicted under historical indecency laws. It has also received support from TV presenter Stephen Fry and actor yer actual Benedict Cumberbatch, who played Turing in the film The Imitation Game. The proposal was a commitment in the 2015 Conservative manifesto and has also had backing from the Labour Party. Turing's work helped accelerate Allied efforts to read German naval messages enciphered with the Enigma machine during World War Two. He also contributed some more fundamental work on code-breaking that was only released to public scrutiny in April 2012. The mathematician was given a royal pardon in 2013, nearly sixty years after his suicide in 1954. This followed an official apology by then Prime Minister Gordon Brown in 2009 for how Turing had been treated during his lifetime. The pardon addressed his 1952 conviction for gross indecency, after which he was chemically castrated. He had been arrested after having an affair with a nineteen-year-old man. The conviction meant that he lost his security clearance.
China's first space station is expected to fall back to Earth in the second half of 2017, amid speculation that authorities have lost control of it. The Tiangong-1 or 'Heavenly Palace' laboratory was launched in 2011 as part of an ambitious Chinese plan to catch up with other space powers. However, a senior space official has said the lab had 'comprehensively fulfilled its historical mission.' The lab is currently intact and orbiting at three hundred and seventy kilometres. Speaking at a press conference last week, Wu Ping, deputy director of the manned space engineering office, said: 'Based on our calculation and analysis, most parts of the space lab will burn up during falling.' She added that it was unlikely to 'affect aviation activities' or 'cause damage' to the ground. But in comments reported by the Gruniad Morning Star, Doctor Jonathan McDowell, an astrophysicist at Harvard University, suggested that China might have lost control of the station. 'You really can't steer these things,' he said. 'Even a couple of days before it re-enters we probably won't know better than six or seven hours, plus or minus, when it's going to come down. Not knowing when it's going to come down translates as not knowing where its going to come down.' Most of the eight-tonne station would melt as it passed through the atmosphere, McDowell speculated, but 'some parts' such as the rocket engines, were 'so dense' they might not burn up completely. Earlier this month, China launched its second trial space station, called Tiangong-2, in a bid to operate a crewed outpost in orbit by 2022.
David Baddiel, who used to be a comedian of sorts, had claimed that he almost 'had a threesome' with two members of The Spice Girls. Baddibub told the Mirra: 'I was very keen, Mel B was hot. She seemed to be up for it, too. I met them in The Four Seasons Hotel, where I was talking to film people and they were with Simon Fuller, who was taking them around lots of record company people. They were just starting out and they were excited because I was famous. So I spent a week in a long flirtation with Mel B. Then this particular night I thought, "Right, this is going to happen."' He continued that he 'managed to get in bed' with both Mel B and Mel C. 'Somehow, two of them ended up in bed with me,' he continued. 'But, I didn't end up having sex with either of them because they made so much noise and the hotel security threatened to throw me out.' Don't you just hate it when that happens?
Noel Edmonds - who is definitely not mental or anything - has got himself a new gig. Following the end of Deal Or No Deal in August, The Beard Of Despair's new job is, reportedly, talking to animals to make them feel better. The revelation was made in 'an open essay' for the Gruniad Morning Star posted on Wednesday, in which a cat owner, one Peter Ormerod, described how he filled in a form on Edmonds' website to use his phone-a-pet service. 'What would life be like without our feathered, furry, scalely friends?' the site's blurb reads. 'The answer is pretty miserable. So I want to make these precious chums feel important and appreciated. Its [sic] amazing how a simple brief phone call can pick up the spirits of the most dejected hamster, the most stressed goldfish and the most neurotic cat. Please allow me to call your pet and offer positive words of appreciation and motivation.' Edmonds rang Ormerod and, it is claimed, asked to talk to his cat, Obvy. 'All I can do is present the facts,' said Ormerod. 'On Saturday, at 12.26pm Noel Edmonds phoned me up and then proceeded to talk to my cat, offering her words of affirmation and motivation. Before long, the phone was placed beside the hairy ears of the cat, while Edmonds offered reassurance and hope.'
Someone in North Korea is in a whole shitload of trouble in would seem. The secretive state accidentally opened access to all the websites hosted on its servers, revealing that it only has twenty eight registered domains. On Monday of this week, North Korea's nameserver - which contains information about all of the '.kp' websites - was 'misconfigured,' thus allowing it to be accessed. This meant that Matthew Bryant, a 'researcher,' (allegedly) was able to access the domain names and some of the file data about the site. Bryant dumped all of this on Github - a site that hosts computer code. It is the first real look into the secret online world of North Korea. Some of the websites take a long time to load and some are inaccessible. Among the twenty eight sites listed is one called Air Koryo, a flight booking site and another named Friend, which is presumably some sort of social network. One website which has always been accessible outside of North Korea is the Korean Central News Agency - the state-run propaganda site. A Reddit page lists all of the websites discovered.
An Italian lawyer is suing Emirates airline after being seated next to a plus-sized fellow passenger for a nine-hour flight. Giorgio Destro, from Padua, found the uncomfortable flight from Cape Town to Dubai so frustrating that he is demanding a refund for the price of his ticket, plus damages. Destro - who is, obviously, not an ambulance-chasing scumbag with no redeeming features - told Italian paper Mattino Padova: 'For nine hours, I had to stand in the aisle, sit on seats reserved for the cabin crew when they were free and in the final phase of flight resign myself to suffer the "spillover" of the passenger at my side.' When no compensation was offered, Destro decided to take matters into his own hands. He is suing Emirates for a total of two thousand seven hundred and fifty nine Euros in 'compensation', including two thousand Euros in damages. The 'gold flyer' member claims he asked to move seats a few hours into the flight, but was told the plane was fully booked.
Frozen food retailer Iceland has defended its name after it was reported - albeit, not by anybody you'd really trust - that the Icelandic government was considering legal action to 'protect its identity.' The chain, which employs more than twenty thousand people at more than eight hundred and fifty stores, was founded forty five years ago but has, if you will, 'a frosty history' with its, considerably older, namesake. It was controlled up until 2009 by Icelandic retail conglomerate Baugur before the stake passed to national banks Landsbanki and Gitnir on its bitter collapse. Iceland founder and chief executive Malcolm Walker later completed a management buyout in 2014. The company said on Friday: 'Iceland Foods has traded under the Iceland name in the UK since 1970, and is today one of the UK's most recognised brands. We have also traded as Iceland for many years in other EU countries and in non-EU countries, including Iceland itself. We are not aware that our use of the Iceland name has ever caused any confusion with Iceland the country.' Except, possibly when Kerry Katona was employed as their face and, the slogan 'mum's gone to Iceland' caused a refugee crisis and thousands fled Reykjavik in terror. Promote Iceland - attached to the country's foreign ministry - said that it was 'concerned' Icelandic firms are unable to register the name 'Iceland' across the UK and EU. A spokesman for the ministry told the Press Association: 'I can confirm that this is being looked into, but no decision has been made.' The issue may prove to be an unwanted distraction for the firm as it concentrates on a fightback following years of falling sales in the supermarket price war with discounters. The company, which also owns The Food Warehouse superstore business, has been investing to improve the quality of its products, store experience and advertising.
The BBC Trust has - rightly - said that no action is required over comments yer actual Chris Packham made in BBC Wildlife magazine. The presenter described people involved in hunting and shooting as 'the nasty brigade' in an article last year, not unreasonably some may feel. The corporation received two whinges from readers - who, obviously, had not sick agenda to push in this case - and who were, seemingly, determined to prove Packham's description was entirely accurate, stating that Packham should not have expressed his personal opinion in a BBC magazine. Yes, because, heaven help us in this country if someone cannot publicly state a belief without being descended upon by, you know, nasties. Freedom of speech? Only if it's the freedom to give a speech that I agree with. Twats. Thankfully, the BBC Trust slapped down the whingers and said that the article's strapline had made clear it was an opinion piece. Sadly, they didn't use to opportunity to name - and shame - the two whinging individuals concerned, and hold them up to the ridicule of others. An opportunity missed, one could suggest. In a column in the October 2015 issue, the naturalist - whom this blogger isa big fan of - wrote that conservation groups were 'hamstrung by outdated liaisons with "the nasty brigade" and can't risk upsetting old friends' in the rural hunting and shooting communities. The Countryside Alliance - an arch set of nasty brigaders if ever there were some - whinged like spoiled brats that Packham was 'breaking rules' by 'using his position to spread propaganda' and called for him to be sacked. What a bunch of total funts, trying to get a chap sacked because he disagrees with you. Packham responded, brilliantly, by accusing his critics of trying to 'neutralise' him and others who oppose grouse shooting. In its report, published on Friday, the BBC Trust said that Packham was a freelancer and therefore not a BBC employee, adding he was 'not associated with news or public policy-related output.' It also noted that all parties named in the article had been given a right of reply prior to publication and readers had the opportunity to respond in subsequent issues. Both whingers have had letters published in the magazine in response to Packham's column. In its summary, the BBC Trust said there had been no breach of the impartiality guidelines. The committee also looked at whether Packham had breached the BBC's conflict of interest guidelines. But the report stated: 'It was clear that Mister Packham had been expressing his personal views as an individual and that there was no implication that the charities and other causes he supported were endorsed by the BBC.' Albeit, they should be.
Quality Street is replacing the Toffee Deluxe in its tins of sweets. The brown-wrappered toffee is being replaced by a new choice, the Honeycomb Crunch. 'We wanted to celebrate Quality Street's 80th birthday by introducing the first new sweet for nearly a decade,' says Nestle. 'We did extensive research and found that the Honeycomb Crunch was the most popular option.' People thought there were 'enough toffee-based sweets' in the collection, the firm told Newsbeat, although who these 'people' were and why other people weren't asked for their opinions, they didn't say. However, the Toffee Deluxe is not being withdrawn completely. It will still be available in the special 'Toffee and Fudge pack' and in limited edition tins. 'Those who also want to try the Honeycomb Crunch can find both sweets in a limited edition tin exclusive to Tesco stores.'
An Iowa man was extremey arrested this week for allegedly measuring his penis with a cardboard ruler while at a urinal inside a college library bathroom. The Smoking Gun website states that 'police collared Thomas Morgan, forty two, on a misdemeanour indecent exposure charge in connection with a 7 May incident at the University of Iowa's Main Library in Iowa City.' Morgan, the police say, was inside a restroom when he 'partially turned his body towards the victim/witness who was using a urinal in the bathroom.' Morgan then 'measured his penis against a cardboard ruler,' according to a criminal complaint. The traumatised victim told a police officer that Morgan subsequently 'made a comment regarding his size.' The man added that on top of two of the urinals there were cardboard rulers with 'dark sharpie markings regarding penis size.' It is unclear from the complaint whether the rulers were homemade. The victim told police that he 'felt weird and uncomfortable' seeing the defendant's 'semi-erect penis.' During questioning, Morgan reportedly admitted to measuring himself with the ruler. While he denied 'being aroused,' Morgan told officers that he was 'guilty of being "curious."'
A monkey has caused a countrywide power outage in Kenya, a spokesperson of national electricity provider KenGen said on Wednesday. The cheeky monkey reportedly jumped onto the roof of the Gitaru power station in the capital, Nairobi, fell onto a transformer and tripped it, said the spokeswoman Zebby Sambu. 'The resulting blackout caused power outages across Kenya for several hours, since the plant generates about eighty per cent of the country's electricity. The monkey was alive and had been handed over to the Kenyan Wildlife Service,' added Sambu.
The actor Terence Bayler died in early August at the age of eighty six. Terence appeared in two Doctor Who stories; in 1966 he played Yendom, one of The Monoids' slaves, in the story The Ark. Three years later he returned to the series playing Major Barrington, an officer in the British Army, in the final Patrick Troughton story, The War Games. Terence was born in New Zealand, where he first trained as an actor, appearing the 1952 film Broken Barrier, playing a young journalist who falls in love with a Maori woman. After moving to the UK he made regular appearances on British TV appearing in Moonstrike, Compact, Maigret, Ivanhoe, The Brothers, Upstairs, Downstairs, The Hunchback Of Notre Dame, The Squad, London's Burning, The Bill, Dangerfield, taking the role of The Player King in 1961 adaptation of Hamlet (with William Russell in the title role) and Dennis Potter's Lipstick On Your Collar. In 1971 he needed stitches above an eye after he was injured in a sword fight while the shooting Roman Polanski's adaptation of Macbeth in which he played Macduff. Terence Bayler had a long association with the Monty Python's Flying Circus team, appearing in Eric Idle's series Rutland Weekend Television as well as in The Rutles: All You Need Is Cash (as The Prefab Four's manager, Leggy Mountbatten) and in the 1983 stage play Pass The Butler. He also appeared in two Terry Gilliam films, Time Bandits and Brazil and had a small, but very memorable, role as Gregory in the film Monty Python's The Life Of Brian declaring during the crucifixion scene 'I'm Brian ... and so is my wife.' Earlier in the film, when the assorted throng worshipping Brian Cohen shout in unison 'We are all individuals,' Bayler adds: 'I'm not!' Both of these were, reportedly, ad-libs by the actor. Remembering his friend on his blog, Eric Idle wrote: 'I think the thing I loved most about Terence Bayler was his gentle loving considerate humour. I met him early in my first wife time with his wife Bridget Armstrong and we became good friends. Then I used him mercilessly on Rutland Weekend Television and memorably as Leggy Mountbatten the hopping manager of The Rutles. I loved his commitment to a role and his high seriousness no matter how apparently silly the part. For a writer there is nothing finer than an actor taking your work and making it better than you imagined it. That's why actors are very special people and cherished by scribes. Terence appeared in my play Pass The Butler in The West End in 1983 and was an important part of the little rep company we gathered to take to Tunisia to film The Life Of Brian in 1979. He was a terrific deadpan comedian and great company and as always with such sad news I instantly miss being able to say hello. Or even goodbye. It was a privilege and a pleasure to know him. He enriched my life and I loved him.' In his later years, Bayler starred in the Merchant Ivory period drama The Remains Of The Day and also had a supporting role in Bruce Dickinson's horror movie Chemical Wedding and, most notably, he played The Bloody Baron in the Harry Potter films. Terence wrote the foreword to the book New Zealand Filmmakers (2007), describing the basic filming methods employed on Broken Barrier, an engagement for which he was paid 'six pounds a week plus food and tobacco.' He worked on his native soil again in Pictures (1981), which reunited him with John O'Shea, the director of Broken Barrier and on the 1992 TV mini-series The Other Side Of Paradise. He is survived by his wife, Valerie and by the son and daughter of his first marriage, to Bridget Armstrong.