Friday, October 21, 2016

Stop Me If You Think You've Heard This One Before

In case there was ever any doubt (which, there wasn't by the way), The Doctor will be coming face-to-face with his Mad! As! Toast! Time Lady nemesis Missy again in the new series of Doctor Who. Filming on the second block of episodes for series ten began this week and yer actual Michelle Gomez, who plays the female regeneration of The Master, told 'I can officially say that I will be starting back on Doctor Who soon.' It isn't as if Gomez hadn't already been hinting at a return for some time. In July she was quoted as saying: 'I don't know, absolutely, if I'll be back or not,' before immediately going on to talk about a forthcoming first meeting between Missy and Pearl Mackie's new companion, Bill. 'I'm very excited to see what [Missy will] do,' Gomez told Radio Times: 'I'm more excited to see what Missy will do with [Bill]. I'm intrigued to see what Steven [Moffat] has in store for our first meeting.'
The BBC has released a new set of pictures from the first episode of the upcoming Doctor Who spin-off, Class: 'It's a new term at Coal Hill Academy, and students are preparing for their Autumn Prom. But when the school comes under attack from the monstrous Shadow Kin, four alienated students must form an unlikely alliance to defeat them.'
Yer actual Benedict Cumberbatch his very self has denied that Sherlock is ending after its upcoming fourth series. Oh jeez, this this story still going? This is getting a bit like lightbulb still on. Talking to The AP, the actor 'slammed' - that's tabloidspeak for 'criticised' only with less syllables - 'irresponsible journalism' following an interview he gave to GQ which led to widespread media reports that Sherlock would be ending. Benny said that he 'wanted to set the record straight' that he isn't done with the deerstalker just yet. Irresponsible journalism? In this day and age? Surely not? Benny claimed that the GQ journalist 'tried to make something sensational' out of a quote he gave, leading to 'a complete distortion' of what he actually said, which was that the fourth series is 'the last one ... for now.' Yer man Cumberbatch reiterated that the 'end of an era' to which he was referring centred on the idea that Sherlock is a series that cannot be feasibly produced in any regular kind of pattern. He was, he said, 'only conveying what was already apparent' to anyone paying attention to the workload that both Cumberbatch his very self and his co-star, Martin Freeman, are tackling both on TV and in the cinema. 'We love doing the show and all I'll say about it is that we're all very busy, we're all doing other things now and you have to see the fourth season to realise why, for now, it's not going to happen again in the same regularity that it has been happening. But, we'll never say never and, when it's right and if it's right we'll do more.' Which is what everyone with half-a-brain who isn't a tabloid scum journalist assumed that he'd said in the first place. This blogger, for instance, Keith Telly Topping noting on this very blog: 'So, to sum up, then, the next series of Sherlock might be the last ... but it probably won't be. Which is, pretty much, what everyone connected to the hugely popular drama has been saying for the last few months.' Earlier this year, of course, Sherlock co-creator The Lord Thy God Steven Moffat (OBE) also spoke about the possibility that the fourth series might be the last, saying that he wasn't sure 'how long we can keep it going.' But, he also said, very specifically, that he would be 'moderately surprised' if the fourth series of Sherlock were to be the last and yet the screamed headlines failed to reflect that. A month later, he hinted that some plot elements he and co-creator Mark Gatiss had devised for Sherlock and John had been kept back for a possible fifth series: 'In terms of a specific plan, there are ideas that we haven't gotten to yet,' The Moff said.
Keith Telly Topping very much enjoyed yer man Jezza Paxman's introduction to the - highly impressive - Jesus College, Cambridge team on Monday night's University Challenge. 'Let's meet The Jesus Four,' said Jezza. Excellent name for a band, that. There'll probably be one getting signed up to an indie label any day now. They could, indeed, be bigger than The Be-Atles (thanks to Keith Telly Topping's old mate Carl for that joke).
Following University Challenge, as usual, Only Connect provided viewers with one of the TV comedy highlights of the week (part, the first) in the form of the divine Goddess that is Victoria Coren Mitchell's closing remarks: 'Thank you for watching and not switching over to ITV to see someone fail to win a holiday from Ant and Dec!'
Things we learned from Would I Lie To You? this week: Number one - the divine Victoria and husband David Mitchell own a BMW which they have changed the colour of three times (twice via vinyl wrapping). Nothing remotely Obsessive Compulsive about that, clearly. However orange juice does not make David 'go berserk' - which was, obviously, a huge relief to his many fans - and, according to David, he has seen moon rock before ('admittedly, from a very great distance!')
TV Comedy line of the week (part, the second): The very excellent Chris Kamara, making his debut on Have I Got News For You, with a brilliant assessment of the forthcoming US Presidential erection: 'I can't believe they'd want to replace a black president with an orange one!'
TV Comedy line of the week (part, the third) came from Sandi Toksvig's - more than decent - debut as host of Qi. Sandi noted that one possible origin of the word 'quiz' is that it was, allegedly, created by the Irish theatre proprietor Richard Daly as a bet simply to get a word that he'd made up into the dictionary. 'So, really, when the police say they're quizzing a suspect, that's wrong isn't it?' asked Alan Davies. No, Sandi pointed out, because that use of quiz comes from 'inquisitive' and 'inquisition.' 'You've got it! You're in the right chair,' Alan said with a sly little grin concerning Sandi's illustrious predecessor. 'I've got a cold feeling now!' Later, Alan - who won the episode - came up with a correctly correctington answer about the word 'Nazi' having actually been coined by German exiles as something of an insult and, therefore, that no self-respecting member of The Third Reich would have described themselves as such. 'All this time, you've been intimidated,' suggested Cariad Lloyd to an Alan now free from Stephen Fry's horrifically repressive influence. Phill Jupitas then attempted to throw Alan off his game with a quick General Melchett impression. 'After fourteen years, he finally understands the format!'
The recently-revived drama Cold Feet has been commissioned for a further series, ITV has confirmed. The comedy drama returned to screens last month after a thirteen-year break. The opening episode of the latest series was watched by an average overnight audience of 5.8 million viewers and a final and consolidated audience of 6.41 million punters. It also received broadly warm reviews from critics and viewers, including this blogger who, to be honest, was never that much of a fan of the original but quite enjoyed the recent revival. Screenwriter Mike Bullen tweeted: 'Yay! We get to do this all again! Thanks to all our fans for making this possible.' Production on the new eight-part series will begin in Manchester in March. Bullen added: 'We all said we only wanted to bring Cold Feet back if we could maintain the standard previously set. I've been blown away by the show's reception among viewers and critics alike. It has exceeded even my hopes. This recommission confirms that we didn't screw it up. I shall take a moment to bask in the warm glow, okay, done that. Now the hard graft resumes.' ITV's director of television Kevin Lygo said: 'It's with some trepidation that you return to much-loved shows, but Mike Bullen's contemporary take on the five friends and their lives has been a wonderful thing. We were obviously delighted that the audience agreed and we're pleased to be able to confirm that Cold Feet will return again for a further series.' The channel said that the programme had been their most successful drama launch so far this year. In August, Fay Ripley told the BBC that returning to the programme after more than a decade felt like 'putting on an old jumper.' Presumably, a nice comfortable and well-maintained one rather a dirty, stinking one that'd been in the cupboard for a decade and was full of holes.

The six hundredth episode of The Simpsons has been broadcast in the US, making it one of only two scripted primetime shows to reach the milestone. The other, Gunsmoke, ran for twenty seasons from 1955 to 1975 and holds the record for the most episodes, with six hundred and thirty five a record which, at the current rate, The Simpsons should pass in about eighteen months time. The Simpsons, which began as a series of shorts of The Tracy Ullman Show in 1987 (you knew that, right?) has more series than Gunsmoke to its name, but currently has fewer total episodes. The animated comedy broadcast a Hallow'een special, Treehouse Of Horror XXVI, to mark its six hundredth show. The annual Treehouse Of Horror episodes have become a staple of The Simpsons, broadcast each October and featuring parodies of thriller and horror movies and TV shows. Sunday evening's episode included parodies of The Hunger Games and the Colin Firth film Kingsman. Assuming The Simpsons is renewed for another series - and, there's probably more likelihood of FOX cancelling FOX News than there is of The Simpsons getting the chop any time soon - it will overtake Western drama Gunsmoke sometime in 2018. The Simpsons recently overtook Lassie, which broadcast five hundred and ninety one episodes, to become second longest-running scripted primetime series behind Gunsmoke. Earlier this year, it was announced the first hour-long episode of The Simpsons would be broadcast in 2017.
The Walking Dead has been renewed for another series, before the start of the seventh series next week. The zombie drama, made by US TV network AMC, will be followed by The Talking Dead - a show which discusses storylines with cast, crew, fans and critics. The final scene of the sixth series showed new baddie, Negan, played by Jeffrey Dean Morgan, killing one of the main cast with his barbwire-covered baseball bat which he calls Lucille. The programme's producer, Scott Gimple, recently reassured fans that they would find out who Negan's victim is in the first episode of the new series. Talking about his character, Morgan said that Negan is 'worse than The Governor' from series three, who was played by David Morrissey. 'It's not just the charisma,' he told fans at New York Comic Con earlier this month. 'A lot of people follow him out of fear of getting an iron to the face. Or worse. But he's also kept a lot of people alive for a long time.' Executive producer Gale Anne Hurd also said that fans would see more of The Walking Dead's world, including King Ezekiel (played by Khary Payton) and his tiger Shiva, instead of the story being focused on a single compound or area as it often has in the past.
The BBC has obviously been doing some brainstorming about how to follow Chris Evans' departure from Top Gear. How about a trio of presenters rather than one big-name celebrity fronting the show with some other people helping? Sound familiar? If a photo shared on the Top Gear Twitter account is anything to go by, the BBC may be attempting to cast Matt Le Blanc, Rory Reid and Chris Harris as the new Clarkson, Hammond and May. Could work. The photo of Joey and co having a reet good chuckle about something on-location confirms that work on the next series has now, officially, begun. The trio were pictured at Dunsfold in Surrey, the test track regularly used by the BBC show.
Charlie Stayt might want to do a bit more research the next time he has a comedian on BBC Breakfast. A cringeworthy and buttock-clenchingly embarrassing moment occurred on Monday morning's show when he attempted to relay Catherine Tate's most famous catchphrase back to her, only to quote from Little Britain instead. Ooh, elementary schoolboy-type error, matey.
ITV executives are currently kicking themselves for rejecting a Victoria Christmas special for 2017. The period drama's creator and writer, Daisy Goodwin, revealed at an event at London's Science Museum this week that the network had the chance to broadcast a seasonal special of the hit show this year. However, in a royally tragic move, they said no. Goodwin said: 'We did offer them one for this year but they went, "Um ..." I don't think they knew how big the show was going to become. I wish we had one this year. I bet they are wishing they had one now but we will have one for next year.'
Caitlin Moran is seeking funds to revive her Raised By Wolves sitcom. The show, written by Moran and her sister Caroline and based on their upbringing, was cancelled by Channel Four last month after two series. The siblings are attempting to raise three hundred and twenty grand by 20 November in order to fund 'at least' one new episode. 'Our dream is to make a whole series,' they wrote on Kickstarter. 'But TV is really spendy - it involves a lot of people. The more money we get, the more we can spend on the production.' The show, which tells of a single mother raising a large family in Wolverhampton, was named best sitcom at the Rose d'Or awards last month. 'We were like, "Okay. You know what - let's do this. Let's do Raised By Wolves 3 - through Kickstarter!"' the Morans continued. Well, presumably one of them did, unless they chanted it in unison. Which, let's face it, would be just weird. 'They do it all the time in the US. Let's be the first UK show to give it a go.' As of Tuesday morning, just over forty grand had been raised towards the goal. So, just another two hundred and eighty grand to go.
Despite once vowing never to return to the BBC, John Cleese is apparently ... returning to the BBC in a new sitcom. Almost forty years after making his last BBC show, Fawlty Towers, the seventy six-year-old grumpy old geezer is reported to be appearing in a new series called Edith, named after its titular character. Who, won't be played by Cleese, just in case you were wondering. The Scum Mail On Sunday - that well-known friend of the Beeb - reports that 'Edith is the principal character. John is one of the leading male roles, but it is very much a supporting role to Edith.' It is believed that the sitcom is in 'the early stages of development' and the title character is yet to be cast. And, according to the BBC's head of comedy, Cleese is 'in discussions' to appear in the sitcom. Earlier this year, Shane Allen, the BBC's comedy head, told the Daily Torygraph: 'We're in discussions about a piece that he might be in. It's a sitcom and it's very early days. He's a comedy God and the door is always open to him. There are certain people who have earned their badges, who have got the right to do what they want.' It comes after Cleese criticised the Beeb's comedy department as 'an awful lot of crap' in 2014 and claimed that executives had 'no idea' what they are doing. He also told ShortList last year: 'There's no way I want to work in TV, especially at the BBC. I have a nasty feeling a large proportion of the commissioning editors have no idea what they're doing.' But now, seemingly, he's happy to take their money. So, no quite staggering sick hypocrisy there, then.
Bitter old Red Ken Loach has whinged about the current crop of TV period dramas for indulging in 'fake nostalgia.' In response to a question about Lord Snooty's Downton Abbey in a Radio Times interview, Loach said: 'This rosy vision of the past, it's a choice broadcasters make. "Don't bother your heads with what's going on now, just wallow in fake nostalgia." It's bad history, bad drama. It puts your brain to sleep.' Good grief, bitter old Red Ken Loach whinging about a programme created by a Tory - what were the odds? I mean, he's not necessarily wrong in the case of Downton Abbey being a right load of snobbish shite but, still, sod off back to the Swinging Sixties, Ken, this is the Twenty First Century and you're a man out of time. Loach added that nostalgic dramas were 'the opposite of what a good broadcaster should do, which is stimulate and invigorate.' And entertain, you forgot that one, mate. The whinging filmmaker also said that broadcasters should 'diversify' so regions could create their own dramas. 'The directors I know in television say it's a nightmare. That's true for all the broadcasters, but the BBC is a rotten place for a director.' What the Hell is it about people in the TV industry who seem to believe that the best way to get viewers to watch their stuff is by dissing the hard work of other TV professionals? As a fully paid up member of the general public, this blogger had to tell bitter old whinging Red Ken Loach - and others who indulge in this sort of crass malarkey - that such comments usually have exactly the opposite effect on me. The BBC said, rather wearily, in a statement: 'Oh Christ, is that whinging old fart still alive? We hoped he's died years ago.' Well, no, they didn't actually but it would have been really funny if they had. In fact, they said: 'The quality, range and ambition of BBC Drama is evidence of an organisation in top creative form that supports both the director's voice and reflects the whole of the UK. From world-class British directors like Peter Kosminsky redefining period drama with Wolf Hall, or Julian Farino's BAFTA-winning Marvellous, visionary directors have a home on the BBC and this means we also attract directors from across the world like the EMMY-winning Susanne Bier on The Night Manager to Oscar winner Jane Campion. BBC Drama is produced across the nations and regions of the UK from Happy Valley to Peaky Blinders, The Fall, Shetland, Poldark, The A Word, Last Tango in Halifax and Ordinary Lies.' Or, in other words, whinging old Red Ken Loach is talking a right load of crap. Just like all whinging old Reds frequently do. Take Jezza Corbyn, for one. This blogger imagines bitter old whinging Red Ken Loach is a big fan. Loach also 'took aim' at the BBC over its news output. And again, big surprise. 'Its notion of news has got to be challenged. The BBC is very aware of its role in shaping people's consciousness, it's manipulative and deeply political,' he added. The BBC, rather wearily one suspects, said: 'BBC News is independent and adheres to clear published editorial guidelines including on impartiality. The BBC is consistently rated the most trusted and accurate news provider by the majority of people in the UK.' So, to sum up then, bitter whinging old Red Ken Loach is talking a right load of crap. Again. To repeat, what were the odd?
ITV's director of TV, Kevin Lygo, has called for 'more fun and lightness' in TV drama, saying that he is 'a bit tired of endless murders' on the small screen. So, one imagines bitter old whinging Red Ken Loach won't be working for ITV any time soon. Hey, bonus. Speaking at a BAFTA event on Monday, Lygo said that he wants more 'happy, life-affirming' dramas like The Durrells and The Good Karma Hospital. Notice, he pick two of them very small handful of dramas ITV have produced in the last couple of years that have acquired an audience of more than, you know, the writer and his family. 'I bet you well over half our drama output will always have in some way crime at its heart,' he added. But, he claimed, such programmes 'don't have to be quite so brutalised. I'm a bit tired of endless murders where in the first five minutes someone, always a woman or a child, is abducted, raped, knifed, killed or bludgeoned,' said Lygo. 'In comes a hard-bitten cop with a drinking problem or a woman who never got over the fact that her parents were murdered and couldn't solve the crime and in six weeks they find the killer and it ends up being Pauline Quirke around the corner. There are brilliant versions of that show and not great versions and I just feel: enough. They will always be around but the success of The Durrells was a positive thing, a sweet, happy, well-made brilliantly performed show, perfect for a Sunday evening.' There has been lots of debate over the last couple of years about the perceived prevalence of rape and sexual violence in contemporary TV drama, including a recent opinion piece by Radio Times TV editor that awful Graham woman, who suggested 'the brutal opening scene in ITV's new crime drama Paranoid is one murder too many.' One column in the Daily Scum Mail described BBC2 drama The Fall as 'an invitation to share an extended rape fantasy.' This,of course, from a newspaper that supported Hitler. But the drama's writer, Allan Cubbit, came out fighting and defended the programme in an interview last month. 'There has been one female death in The Fall across the first eleven episodes and that was the character of Sarah Kay. The other ones are reported, but I only showed the murder of one woman on-screen, which I needed to do to show what it was that Paul Spector was about. I don't expect to be applauded for my restraint, but I do think that compared with a great many other dramas I could mention The Fall has never indulged itself in that way.'
ITV decided not to make an offer for The Great British Bake Off because it feared that if the show's stars were not signed up it would be 'baking powder and a tent,' the broadcaster's TV chief has revealed. Channel Four secured Bake Off in a seventy five million knicker deal last month after the show's producers - Greed Productions - got their greed right on and were unable to agree a new deal with the BBC. However, it received a considerable - though, admittedly, hilarious - blow when presenters Mel Giedroyc and Sue Perkins decided not to 'go with the dough' and remain on the BBC. They were later joined by judge Mary Berry. Her fellow judge Paul Hollywood got his greed on and has said he will follow the show to Channel Four. ITV's Kevin Lygo snitched to Broadcast magazine in a particularly sneering interview that Greed Productions had told him there was 'no guarantee' Giedroyc, Perkins and Berry would be attached. 'You really are buying some sort of baking powder and a tent,' Lygo sneered. 'I said, "If you can't guarantee it, then no, it's not for us thank you very much."' Greed Production had previously claimed that having decided the BBC had not offered enough coin to satisfy their greed, they sold the programme to Channel Four specifically because it was a 'public service broadcaster' like the BBC and suggested that they 'rejected bigger offers' from ITV and Netflix. Therefore, if Lygo's claims are true - and, it's a big 'if' - then it would appear Greed Productions lied in some of their initial comments about the move. Lygo also said that the BBC should 'examine closely' why it had lost the show, describing the move to Channel Four as 'just a really weird screw-up.' Quite what the Hell this has to do with him, he didn't elaborate. But, he added: 'It will be studied by television sociologists in years to come, I suspect, about what the fuck went on with that show.' Something which, one could suggest, will also occur over how it was that someone at ITV came to commission this year's impressive run to colossal drama flops - Beowulf, Jeykll & Hyde, Houdini & Doyle, JerichoDoctor Thorne et al.
The Channel Four News presenter Fatima Manji has questioned whether the press regulator will prohibit hate speech on the grounds of freedom of expression after it cleared the odious slime Kelvin MacKenzie over his criticism of her wearing a hijab while reporting on the Nice terror attacks. In an unsuccessful appeal against the ruling of the Independent Press Standards Organisation, Fatima said that its decision was 'fundamentally flawed' and 'legitimised discrimination.' In the appeal, Manji, said that she and her family had to take safety precautions after she was 'singled out personally by Kelvin MacKenzie because of my religion.' The letter says: 'This was akin to hate speech and incitement against an individual. Freedom of expression does not stretch to allow such speech if the newspaper personally targets the individual.' She concludes: 'Many will question when would IPSO ever find a breach of the clause prohibiting prejudicial references to an individual's religion.' In an interview on BBC Radio 4's Today programme, Manji said that IPSO had given 'a green light for newspapers to attack minorities and Muslims in particular. To know that it is effectively open season on minorities on Muslims and minorities in particular is frightening.' In his column for the Sun on 18 July, the paper's former editor accused Channel Four News of 'editorial stupidity' for allowing Manji to wear a hijab when 'there had been another shocking slaughter by a Muslim' in Nice. Manji and ITN complained to IPSO claiming that the article breached the watchdog's code on the grounds of discrimination, harassment and accuracy. The regulator also received seventeen hundred other complaints about the article. But on Wednesday, IPSO ruled that 'in the context of the attack,' MacKenzie was 'entitled to question' Manji's headdress 'under free speech.' In its ruling, IPSO said: 'While the columnist's opinion was undoubtedly offensive to the complainant - and to others - these were views he had been entitled to express.' Manji said she feared for her safety after the MacKenzie column was published. In her appeal letter she says: 'Pundits called radio stations to talk about my being "lynched" in support of MacKenzie. This report was a devastating personal attack on me, highly prejudicial and pejorative, designed to cause me significant distress by linking me to terror. It is clearly prejudicial and pejorative to link me to the murder of eighty four people because I happen to be a Muslim and wear a hijab. Not only that, it prejudicially and inaccurately links me to a terrorist attack, which the vast majority of Muslims (including myself) believe to be absolutely abhorrent and against the teachings of Islamic principles. Indeed many of the victims of this attack were Muslims themselves, including a woman who like me was named Fatima and also wore a headscarf.' It added: 'There is also no consideration that the publication of this column led to fears about my physical safety in general given the current climate of Islamophobia and the risk that my being depicted next to the words "terror" could lead to unwarranted attention or even abuse on the streets. Indeed my family and employer took precautions to ensure my safety in the days following the publication of this column.' A spokesman for IPSO confirmed that it had rejected Manji's appeal. He said: 'The appeal has already been dealt with as part of the process. Any review that she has within the process has been exhausted.' In its ruling, IPSO said: 'The article did not include a prejudicial or pejorative reference to the complainant on the grounds of religion. The article did refer to the complainant but it did so to explain what triggered the discussion about a legitimate subject of debate: whether newsreaders should be allowed to wear religious symbols. In the committee's view, the columnist was permitted to identify what prompted his discussion, rather than merely raising it in the abstract. Furthermore, he was entitled to express his view that, in the context of a terrorist act which had been carried out ostensibly in the name of Islam, it was inappropriate for a person wearing Islamic dress to present coverage of the story.'
Undercover tabloid scum Mazher Mahmood, known as 'The Fake Sheikh', has been very jailed for fifteen months for tampering with evidence in a case involving singer Tulisa Contostavlos. The reporter and his driver, Alan Smith, were both found extremely guilty of conspiring to pervert the course of justice earlier this month. Judge Gerald Gordon said that Mahmood had wanted to 'enhance' his reputation. Smith was sentenced to twelve months, suspended for two years. Immediately after the sentencing News UK announced that Mahmood - a former Scum Of The World investigations editor - had been sacked after working for the company for twenty five years. A company spokesman said that any civil claims brought against the company over Mahmood's past work would be 'vigorously defended.' Following the guilty verdict earlier this month, lawyers announced that eighteen other people targeted by Mahmood - who also worked for The Sunday Times and Sun on Sunday - planned to bring civil claims against him, which could total eight hundred million smackers. Some of the individuals were convicted of crimes which, they argued at the time, came as the result of false evidence. Judge Gordon told the pair: 'You, Alan Smith, agreed to and did alter your original witness statement to remove the passage that you both realised could be used to support Tulisa Contostavlos's case in an entrapment hearing. Mazher Mahmood, it was your idea. You were the intended beneficiary and you made use of a loyal person, partly an employee, in order to achieve your purpose. The motive was to preserve and enhance your reputation. You wanted another scalp and Miss Contostavlos's conviction would have achieved that. And to achieve that, when you saw a problem, you were prepared for the court to be deceived.'
As Mahmood was sent down, a man, believed to be one of Mahmood's many alleged past victims, shouted from the public gallery 'your turn now Mazher.' And, presumably, the chap in question will be happy to know that, tonight, Mahmood is getting used to the concept of slopping out for the first time. After the sentencing hearing, former London's Burning actor John Alford, whose case is among those being taken up by the Criminal Cases Review Commission, said: 'It's taken over twenty years for some of us, but finally a judge and a jury of our peers has woken up to Mazher Mahmood's lies. We would now like to ask Parliament to honour their promise to the British people and implement Leveson part two. Our three estates, the monarch, our Parliament and our judicial system, must be held accountable, yes? But they must not be held to ransom by a corrupt or unscrupulous press. So please let's cleanse this stain on our democracy once and for all.' The first part of The Leveson Report, in 2011-2012, examined press ethics, but hearings into ties between newspapers and the police were put on hold amid criminal inquiries over phone-hacking. Former page three model Emma Morgan, who plans to sue Mahmood over a drugs sting in the 1990s, said: 'As far as a guilty man receiving fifteen months jail, of which he's going to serve seven-and-a-half months, at the end of his career, I don't think it's quite the same as what he gave me in a sense. It was a life sentence at the very beginning of my career.' Mahmood's lawyer, John Kelsey-Fry QC, had said his client stood before the court as 'a very frightened man. Whatever people say of him today, that career has provided some valuable service,' he claimed. One or two people even believed him. 'He has brought catastrophe upon himself and a lifetime's work will be forever tarnished.' During the trial at London's Old Bailey, the court heard that Contostavlos had been 'targeted' by Mahmood, posing as an influential film producer who wanted her to star in a Hollywood blockbuster. Mahmood met the singer at the Metropolitan Hotel in London in 2013 and she allegedly arranged for him to be sold half-an-ounce of cocaine by one of her contacts for eight hundred quid. The former N-Dubz singer and The X Factor judge was later arrested and charged with being concerned in the supply of a class A drug, after Mahmood handed 'evidence' to police. But her trial was eventually thrown out, the Old Bailey was told, after driver Smith was found to have changed his police statement, removing comments that she made to him expressing her disapproval of hard drugs. A News UK spokesman said that Mahmood was 'originally suspended pending an internal inquiry' after the Tulisa Contostavlos trial collapsed, but the inquiry had been 'superseded' by the criminal process. Mahmood, they claimed, had led 'scores of successful investigations' during his twenty five-year career with the company which had 'led to the exposure of criminality and wrongdoing. It is a source of great regret that his time with the company should end in this manner,' he said.
The body which organises the EMMYs has spoken out after Hillary Clinton accused Donald Trump of claiming the annual television awards are rigged. The US Television Academy tweeted an infographic outlining its procedures after well-known hairdo Trump's criticisms were re-aired. During the debate, Clinton remarked that Trump had attacked the EMMYs because his The Apprentice reality show had lost 'three years in a row.' 'Should have gotten it,' her opponent sneered in their last TV debate. Trump has never accused the EMMYs of being 'fixed' per se, but he did suggest that they 'had no credibility' after they gave an award to The Amazing Race. 'The EMMYs are all politics,' he wrote in 2012. 'That's why, despite nominations, The Apprentice never won - even though it should have many times over.' During the debate, Clinton brought up The Apprentice's EMMY record after Trump refused to commit to accepting the election result were he to lose. 'Every time Donald thinks things are not going in his direction, he claims whatever it is is rigged against him,' she said. 'There was even a time when he didn't get an EMMY for his TV programme three years in a row and he started tweeting the EMMYs were rigged against him.' In 2004 and 2005 The Apprentice was denied the award for outstanding reality-competition programme, losing on both occasions to The Amazing Race. In 2006 the programme was nominated again, this time for its cinematography, only to miss out once more to the globe-trotting contest show. Trump has made reference to the snub on several occasions since, dubbing The Amazing Race 'a piece of crap' in an episode of The Apprentice last year. 'I got screwed out of an EMMY,' he was heard saying in an episode broadcast last January. 'Everybody thought I was going to win it. And then they announced the most boring show on television' - the name of which was beeped out when the show was broadcast. The reference to Trump's long-standing whinge prompted contradictory responses from both Julia Louis-Dreyfus and her former Seinfeld co-star Jason Alexander. 'The EMMYs are not rigged,' wrote the former, who has won the outstanding lead actress in a comedy series for the last five years for her political satire Veep. Alexander joked that he 'knew the EMMYs were rigged,' having missed out on an award at seven consecutive ceremonies for his Seinfeld role. Others to have commented include television producer Greg Berlanti, who made reference to Alec Baldwin's impersonation of Trump on Saturday Night Live. 'The closest Donald Trump will ever get to an EMMY is when Alec Baldwin wins one for playing him,' tweeted the executive producer of Supergirl and Arrow.
Strictly Come Dancing's Brendan Cole had reassured fans that, contrary to Internet reports this week he is not, in fact, dead. Which is, obviously, jolly good news for Brendan.
Jodie Foster is to direct an episode of Charlie Brooker's satirical drama series Black Mirror. The actress and director will be behind the camera on an episode in the fourth series of the show, to premiere on Netflix on 2017. Rosemarie DeWitt, currently to be seen in the Oscar-tipped La La Land, will appear in Foster's episode. The third series of Black Mirror makes its debut on Netflix this week, following its move from Channel Four. It will be the first of two six-episode series to be made under the deal. Brooker retweeted a link to Variety reporting Foster and DeWitt's involvement with the series, saying: 'This is true.' Foster won Academy awards for her performances in The Accused and The Silence Of The Lambs in 1989 and 1992 respectively. The fifty three-year-old has since moved into directing with such films as Little Man Tate, The Beaver and Money Monster. Black Mirror is described by Netflix as 'an anthology series that taps into our collective unease with the modern world.' Bryce Dallas Howard, Kelly MacDonald and Jerome Flynn, are among those appearing in the forthcoming third series.
Harry Shearer is reported to be extremely taking legal action against the entertainment group Vivendi, claiming that it has denied him and others profits from 1984's This Is Spinal Tap. Shearer alleges that Vivendi, which acquired the film in 1989, 'engaged in fraud' to hide revenues. The Simpsons actor is seeking over one hundred million knicker in compensatory and punitive damages. 'I think it's important to challenge the status quo, not just for myself but for all my fellow artists, musicians and creators,' Shearer said in a video posted on Twitter. His legal action claims that, 'according to Vivendi,' the four creators' share of merchandising income between 1984 and 2006 was 'just eighty one dollars.' Directed by Rob Reiner, This Is Spinal Tap was an, if you will, rockumentary which followed the misfortunes of a fictional British heavy metal band as it promoted its latest record (Smell The Glove) on a tour of the US. You knew all that, right? Shearer, who also voices The Simpsons characters as Monty Burns and Ned Flanders, said that he, Reiner and the film and band's other creators - Christopher Guest and Michael McKean - had 'poured themselves into nurturing and perfecting the paean to rock loudness that has entertained so many people.' Despite the film's worldwide success, he said, the four had fallen victim to 'fuzzy entertainment industry accounting schemes' which also had affected others in the industry. 'It is stunning that after all this time the only people who haven't shared Spinal Tap's success are those who formed the band and created the film in the first place,' he added. Shearer accused Vivendi of 'wilfully manipulating certain accounting data' and 'ignoring contractually-obligated accounting and reporting processes. Vivendi and its subsidiaries have, at least in our case, conducted blatantly unfair business practices,' he went on, referencing StudioCanal and Universal Music Group.
Roald Dahl's Revolting Rhymes will be brought to TV for two Christmas specials on BBC1. Magic Light Pictures, the producers behind The Gruffalo, will adapt the stories. The collection of six rhymes, which retell classic fairytales with different twists and endings, were written by Dahl in 1982. David Walliams, Tamsin Greig, Dominic West and Rob Brydon will voice characters in the programmes. Revolting Rhymes will be shown as two half-hour films that weave together five of Dahl's rhymes - Little Red Riding Hood, Snow White, Three Little Pigs, Jack & The Beanstalk and Cinderella. Walliams and Brydon will voice the Ugly Sisters as well as Jack's mother and the King respectively, while Gemma Chan will voice Snow White and Dominic West will play the Wolf. In a statement, West said: 'The incredible poems written by Roald Dahl have been beautifully brought to life by the production team and I was delighted to take part in the project. I look forward to enjoying them with the family this Christmas.' Walliams added: 'I absolutely loved working on these films. I'm a massive fan of Dahl's work and to be able to voice his characters was a real treat.' The voice cast also features Bertie Carvel, Bel Powley and Isaac Hempstead Wright, while Rose Leslie will voice Red Riding Hood.
Ex-Blue Peter presenter Helen Skelton is to host Lorraine Kelly's ITV chat show when Kelly goes on holiday. And on that bombshell ... Skelton, who co-presented the BBC's swimming and diving coverage at the Olympics in Rio, will fill the hot seat on Lorraine from 24 to 28 October. The thirty three-year-old said was 'so excited' to filling Kelly's shoes and looking forward to the show's cookery items. Lady Gaga, James Arthur, Sophie Ellis-Bextor and Jodie Kidd will be among her guests. She will also speak to former Coronation Street actress Tracy Brabin, the new Labour' MP for the Batley and Spen after this week's by-erection prompted by the senseless murder of Jo Cox. Fiona Phillips, Gaby Roslin and Lisa Snowdon took turns to host Lorraine when Kelly last took time off in August.
The divine Goddess that is Victoria Coren Mitchell is to present a new BBC Radio 4 series called Women Talking About Cars. The BBC said that the radio show would 'explore of what cars symbolise to women today, including freedom, power, refuge, novelty and familiarity.' The four-part series, which will feature a different guest every week, begins on 30 November. Dawn French, Olivia Colman, Sarah Millican and Germaine Greer will be among the interviewees. Victoria said: 'I'm really looking forward to sitting down with some of the greatest women in modern British culture and talking about the pros and cons of the five-speed manual gearbox.' Cars will be used 'as a vehicle to share memories and take a comic look at life, love, sex, work, childhood, adulthood and adventure,' the BBC said. Rather than, you know, just a vehicle to drive you around the place. The episodes will be recorded in front of a live audience at the BBC's Radio Theatre. Members of the public will be invited to take part in the programme and share their own memories, such as driving to a first job, doing the school run or picnic trips in a campervan. French, who will appear on the first episode, said: 'It will be great to get together with Victoria for a good old girly natter about the torque stats on the BMW Luxus 850.' BBC Radio 4 comedy commissioning editor Sioned William said of Victoria: 'She's brainy, witty and - I'm reliably informed - can change a tyre in under five minutes.'
Bob Shennan, the current director of BBC Music and controller of Radio 2, Asian Network and 6Music, has been made the BBC's new director of radio. His appointment follows the departure of Helen Boaden, the former director of radio, and James Purnell's appointment as director of radio and education. Shennan, who takes up his new post from 8 November, will look after the day-to-day running of BBC network radio. He will also work with Purnell on the BBC's overall radio strategy. Purnell, to whom Shennan will report, said he had 'an outstanding breadth of experience and has made a huge contribution to BBC Radio over many years. I am looking forward to working with him on the next chapter for BBC Radio,' he told staff. Shennan joined the BBC in 1987 and was head of BBC Sport from 1998 to 2000. He left the BBC in early 2008 but rejoined the corporation later that year to become controller of Radio 2 and 6Music.
Tony Blackburn is to return to the BBC in January, almost a year after parting company with the corporation in controversial circumstances. He will present an hour-long programme on Radio 2 on Friday evenings, the BBC confirmed. The broadcaster, who is seventy three years old, was taken off-air in February. Director General Tony Hall said at the time that Blackburn had 'failed to fully co-operate' with the Jimmy Savile inquiry. In a statement, Blackburn said: 'I do not seek to criticise the BBC for decisions it has made in the past. I have had a difficult year personally, but I'm pleased to be returning to the BBC and can't wait to get behind the mic again.' A spokesperson for the BBC said: 'The BBC stands by the findings of Dame Janet Smith and the decision it made to take Tony Blackburn off-air at the start of this year based on Dame Janet's preference for the documentary evidence relating to meetings that took place over Tony Blackburn's statements.' Dame Janet Smith's inquiry had rejected the evidence from the DJ. Blackburn, who had threatened to sue the BBC - though he never actually did - said the report included an accusation that he was among celebrities who had 'seduced' a fifteen-year-old girl. In a statement, he denied the allegation and said that he was cleared of wrongdoing at the time of the allegation. He accused the BBC of making him 'a scapegoat' for its own 'cover-up' of abuse.
Meanwhile evil bastard Jimmy Savile's Leeds flat, where the disgraced and disgraceful naughty old scallywag and right rotten rotter lived for more than thirty years, has been demolished. The former TV and radio presenter stayed in the penthouse at Lake View Court in Roundhay Park until his death in October 2011 at the age of eighty four. It was bought by a couple living in the next-door flat in 2013 who said that it had been left 'in a terrible condition.' Planning permission was granted to flatten the top floor flat and build a new apartment. The flat is where Savile - close personal friend of Mrs Thatcher, see below - hosted the weekly meetings of his inner circle, which became known as 'The Friday Morning Club.' It is thought that at least one of his victims may have been abused at the property, but an inquiry could not prove the allegation. One of Britain's most prolific sex abusers, Savile exploited his celebrity status to abuse hundreds of adults and children across the country, assaulting or raping them in television dressing rooms, schools, hospitals, children's homes and his caravan. The abuse is thought to have begun in the mid-1940s, when he was in his late teens or early twenties and lasted until 2009. The revelations prompted the Metropolitan Police to launch Operation Yewtree, set up to investigate historical sex offences.
The home of Eric Morecambe's widow was reportedly been burgled - by scum - whilst she attended the unveiling of a statue of her late husband. Joan Bartholomew was in Blackpool when burglars targeted her home in Harpenden, Hertfordshire. Police said that items of jewellery, including rings and watches, were stolen some time between Thursday and Sunday. The statue of Morecambe and Ernie Wise marks their first stage appearance together. Eric and Joan's son, Gary, who was also at the unveiling on Friday at Blackpool's Winter Gardens, told the Lancashire newspaper The Visitor that thieves 'may have been aware' of his mother's trip via social media. 'They must have known she was away,' he said. 'There wasn't masses of damage. My mum is a very realistic person, she doesn't like to make herself into a victim. It's just the way it is.'
NatWest bank was reported to have frozen the accounts of Russia's state-run broadcaster, RT, its editor-in-chief claimed last week. Margarita Simonyan tweeted: 'They've closed our accounts in Britain. All our accounts. The decision is not subject to review. Praise be to freedom of speech!' An MP from Russia's ruling party said the country's Parliament would 'demand an explanation' from the UK. RT says the bank 'gave no explanation' for its decision. It said the entire Royal Bank of Scotland Group, of which NatWest is part, was 'refusing to service' RT. The broadcaster, previously known as Russia Today, claimed that NatWest wrote to its London office saying: 'We have recently undertaken a review of your banking arrangements with us and reached the conclusion that we will no longer provide these facilities.' The bank said in the latter that its decision was final and it is 'not prepared to enter into any discussion.' A letter posted online by the channel appears to show that the freeze was not in effect yet. It warned that banking facilities 'will be cancelled and closed' from 12 December. MP Sergei Zheleznyak, from the ruling United Russia party, told the privately-owned Interfax news agency: 'We will be demanding an explanation from Britain's official authorities in connection with this situation.' Zheleznyak, who sits on the international affairs committee of the State Duma, called NatWest's refusal to offer its banking services 'outrageous' and 'an infringement of the rights of journalists.' A member of the Russian parliament's upper house, Igor Morozov, has called for the BBC's bank accounts in Russia to be 'arrested' as a reprisal. RT chief Simonyan said that the closure included 'the personal accounts of some senior staff' working in the UK. She told Russian state media: 'They haven't explained the reasons and I think they can't explain them because there can't be any reasons. We have an absolutely transparent operation there, absolutely transparent funding. There have never been any complaints in this regard at all. They have failed to defeat us by simply vilifying us, by picking on our broadcast, so they decided to try the banking flank: "Try broadcasting when all your accounts have been closed." Yet we will try.' RT, which is run by the Kremlin, has previously been sanctioned by UK broadcasting regulator Ofcom for biased reporting. This included claims that the BBC 'staged' a chemical weapons attack for a news report on Syria. Russian media outlets have made inroads into the UK recently. The state-funded Sputnik news agency set up in Edinburgh in August to broadcast live radio programmes from Scotland. It said its goal was 'telling the untold' to Scottish audiences, although critics say it will act as a Kremlin mouthpiece. NatWest later said that a letter had been sent to one of RT's suppliers, not RT itself, and no accounts had been frozen.
TV viewers across Europe have taken part in a interactive courtroom drama centred on a fictional act of terror. The public was asked to judge whether a military pilot who downs a hijacked passenger jet due to be crashed into a football stadium is guilty of murder. Viewers in Germany, Switzerland and Austria gave their verdict online or by phone. The programme was also broadcast in Slovakia and the Czech Republic. The vast majority of those who expressed a preference called for the pilot, Lars Koch, to be acquitted. The show, Terror - Your Verdict, was broadcast by German network ARD and was an adaptation of a play by bestselling author Ferdinand von Schirach. In the fictional plot, militants from an al-Qaeda offshoot hijack a Lufthansa Airbus A320 with one hundred and sixty four people on board and aim to crash it into a stadium packed with seventy thousand people during a football match between Germany and England. Which, obviously, the Germans would win on penalties after extra time. 'If I don't shoot, tens of thousands will die,' German air force Major Lars Koch says as he flouts the orders of his superiors and takes aim at an engine of the plane. Plus, you know, Wayne Rooney would also die. It's a really tough choice, isn't it? The jet later crashes into a field away from the stadium, killing everyone on board. 'The viewer is yanked out of the passivity of television watching,' ARD programming chief Volker Herres told German newspaper Bild. 'He is actively called upon to become both an affected person and take a decision.' In Germany, almost eighty seven per cent of the six hundred and nine thousand viewers who voted believed Koch made the right decision. A similar proportion of viewers backed Koch in Austria and Switzerland. Similar scenarios have been debated since the 2001 9/11 suicide attacks in the US. Then US Vice-President Dick Cheney said later that shooting down the hijacked planes 'would have been justified' to 'prevent greater loss of life.' However, in 2006 Germany's constitutional court ruled that such action would violate Article One of its Basic Law, that 'human dignity was inviolable.' In a TV discussion programme broadcast after the drama, German ex-Defence Minister Franz Josef Jung argued that the lives of the plane passengers were already impossible to save and that the spectators themselves had a right to human dignity. It was a case of extra-judicial emergency, he argued. A former interior minister, Gerhart Baum, disagreed, insisting that the pilot should be found guilty of murder as the fate of the passengers was not certain and human lives could not be measured against each other.
The new host of Sky News' breakfast show Sunrise, Sarah-Jane Mee, has revealed she has 'experienced sexism' as a woman working in sport. The former Sky Sports presenter took over from Eamonn Holmes as anchor of flagship morning programme this week and revealed that throughout her career she has 'had to endure' sexist comments. 'Working in sport can be extremely intimidating,' she told that bastion of hard-hitting journalistic excellence Hello! magazine, adding: 'For a while I had sleepless nights about it. Unfortunately there was and can still be a lot of sexism and patronising behaviour, especially from the old boys in sport. They would make sexist comments and say, "It's just banter." But if I'm not laughing, it's not funny – eventually they stopped.' She added: 'As soon as the men got to know me and realised I knew my stuff, I earned some respect. But I'd still turn up in high heels with a blow-dry. I didn't care. I wasn't going to dress in trainers - I was protecting a professional image.' In 2011, of course, Sky Sports was at the centre of a sexism row after hairy-hands disgrace Richard Keys and fellow football pundit Andy Gray were caught making sexist off-air comments about assistant referee Sian Massey. Mee's career began at Sky as a runner for Sky Sports before moving to ITV in 2002 to become a sports reporter in the Midlands. After a brief radio career on Heart FM's breakfast show, Mee returned to Sky in 2008. Holmes left Sunrise after eleven years as host. Mee said that her predecessor had 'been a big champion' of her career, calling him an 'amazing mentor and friend. He couldn't be more supportive of me taking over. There is a real adrenaline rush to live TV. I'm just so privileged to be in this job.'
A hiker has died in the Lake District after falling nearly one hundred and fifty metres while trying to reach a remote cave made popular by a BBC television series. The fifty-year-old man was with a group of friends who had planned to spend the night in the Priest's Hole cave when the accident happened. The 'secret' beauty spot, on Dove Crag near the Cumbrian village of Glenridding, has become increasingly popular with hillwalkers since it featured on the BBC series Secret Britain earlier this year. Cumbrian police said that mountain rescue workers were alerted at 10pm on Saturday following an emergency call reporting that the man, who has not been named, had slipped from a ledge and fallen down the front face of the fell. He was found with fatal injuries after a seven-hour rescue operation involving a coastguard helicopter scrambled from Scotland. Mike Blakey, the leader of Patterdale mountain rescue team, said: 'The helicopter was able to direct the team straight to the man's location, approximately fifty metres below the bottom of the main crag. The man, who had slipped from the ledge, had fallen approximately one hundred and fifty metres vertically and had sustained fatal injuries. This kind of evacuation is always complex as it involves belaying the stretcher down the mountainside and team members literally manhandling the stretcher over each boulder, through dense bracken and over streams. We also deployed four team members to the Priest's Hole to assist the remaining members of the party back to the safety of our base. Our thoughts are with the man's family and friends, including those who were staying the night with him. No matter how many times we deal with such incidents they are always tragic and very sad for all concerned.' He added that there had been 'an increase' in visitor numbers to the Priest's Hole since it featured on Secret Britain in spring, when presenter Chris Hollins made the ascent to the site. The natural shelter, which sits more than six hundred metres above ground, features breathtaking views of the Northern Lake District and has become 'a rite of passage' for some outdoors aficionados. Blakey said that another climber had suffered 'very serious injuries' while trying to access the location during the summer. In April, rescuers searched for a father and son who had been reported missing while trying to find the Priest's Hole, mere weeks after the show was broadcast. Blakey added: 'This group of friends were very well equipped and prepared for their adventure. However, as a team we are seeing more and more people who are attempting to locate the Priest's Hole in the dark and without the right equipment. Indeed, during this rescue we came across three men who had been searching for the cave for a couple of hours. We really would like to remind people that the cave is on the front face of a vertical cliff and it is only accessible by one route. It is always best to plan to stay in good weather and to arrive in daylight. An Ordnance Survey map and good navigation skills are prerequisites.'
TV Adverts That Annoy The Shit Out Of This Blogger & Get Right On His Tit, number fourteen: Can be summed in one simple made-up (and nonsensical) word, dear blog reader. Shpock. God, that woman's voice is so bloody annoying. Get a proper job, love.
Shpock, incidentally if you didn't know (and, unless you're 'a young person', there's no earthly reason why you should) is a Internet app-type thing where you can, you know, buy and sell stuff. And that. Although this chap appears not to be a fan of it or of the people using it. 'It's like a magnet for retards.' Gosh, he's very cross, isn't he?
TV Adverts That Annoy The Shit Out Of This Blogger & Get Right On His Tit, number fifteen: All of those wretched, horrible QuickQuid adverts in which time can be stopped by the click of a finger and which encourage TV viewers to get themselves into vast mounds of debt. But, particularly, the one with the smelly son and the one with the hipster with a dodgy car. Why would any actor, no matter how desperate for work they are, want to appear in annoying nonsense like this? Quick, quick, think. Oh yes, the wonga. Stupid of me to ask, really.
The last surviving original member of The Four Tops - a popular beat combo of the 1960s, you might have heard of them - has revealed that the legendary Motown group almost boarded the plane that exploded over Lockerbie. Pan Am Flight 103 was on its way from London to New York in December 1988 when a bomb went off on board while it was above the Scottish town. Duke Fakir said: 'The producer on Top Of The Pops was the reason we didn't get on that plane.' He explained that the group originally planned two performances for the show. The eighty-year-old said the group - himself, Renaldo Benson, Lawrence Payton and Levi Stubbs - wanted to record the two performances together but were told they could not do both at the same recording session. Speaking in London before attending a performance of Motown The Musical, Fakir explained: 'We had two shows to do and we were going to record them at the same time. One of them was not going out until New Year's Eve and the producer didn't want us to play them at the same time. He wouldn't have it.' Fakir added: 'I was so glad that we didn't do it in one session.' The explosion over Lockerbie killed all two hundred and fifty nine people on board the plane and eleven people on the ground. Former Sex Pistols frontman John Lydon has previously stated that he was also booked on the Pan Am flight, but missed it because his wife took too long packing. Fakir currently performs with a new-look line-up of The Four Tops, who will soon embark on a UK tour with The Temptations.
A rare lunar rainbow - or 'moonbow', if you will - has been photographed in the skies over Northern England. Ben Gwynne captured the sight on the moors above Skipton in North Yorkshire earlier in the week. Lunar rainbows are formed when moonlight, rather than direct sunlight, is refracted by moisture in the atmosphere. On Sunday, a so-called Hunter's Moon - also known as a blood moon - lit up skies over the UK. Gwynne had stopped to take some photos of the moon when he caught sight of the rare moonbow. 'We'd gone into the Dales to take pictures and stopped on the way back to photograph the moon over some trees,' he said. 'I'd never seen one before and getting to photograph it was amazing.' Moonbows appear in areas with high rainfall or in the mist around waterfalls. They often look white to the naked eye, but long-exposure photographs will capture their colours. If you've never seen one, they've very pretty.
This blogger is indebted to his old mucker, Davy Mac, for the following thought: 'Been watching some Star Trek season one, and reached Dagger Of The Mind. Is Helen Noel's skirt the shortest Starfleet miniskirt uniform in the series, or am I imagining things? I'm certainly not having to imagine her matching knickers, which are visible when she's standing upright, let alone bending over.' It's just what you want when exploring strange new worlds, this blogger noted. To have your ass hanging out your uniform.
On a marginally-related theme, this blogger occasionally quite enjoys having a gander at old episodes of Ironside currently being broadcast on ITV4 during the afternoons - immediately after The Sweeney - and was rather startled this week to catch the 1971 episode (Walls Are Waiting) featuring yer actual Bill Shatner as the guest star. The Shat, needless to say, was overacting his plastic toupee off, as usual. Though not unattractively so, let it be said.
A police force accused of suggesting that burglaries should not be investigated if homeowners windows were left open said that its comments were 'taken out of context.' Leicestershire Police's assistant chief constable told the Loughborough Echo that homeowners might 'take notice' if they thought police would not investigate. The Daily Scum Mail re-published the comments with the headline: Now police blame victims for being burgled. Which they didn't, quite, although the comments were still a bit daft. Nevertheless, it's always interesting to watch the Daily Scum Mail publishing inaccurate stories; they're really very good at it. A force spokesman said that the comment was 'hypothetical.' The MP Edward Garnier (no, me neither) has insisted police should 'bear down on criminality.' Whatever the hell that means. The force's assistant chief constable, Phil Kay, told the Loughborough Echo that he would 'far rather' officers focus on preventing crime and protecting the public than spending their time investigating break-ins where 'carelessness may have played a role.' He also said: 'What the National Health Service will say is "we are not going to operate on you because your body mass is too high. They have not helped themselves to prevent an illness." Yet, if people leave doors or windows open there is an expectation the police will investigate.' Yeah, well, that's you job, mate. 'It is right that we try and stop it but it is right that people take responsibility.' A police spokesman claimed that the force 'has no plans to change the way things are investigated.'
Balding and ludicrous rock and/or roll veteran the risible Phil Collins is reported to be coming out of retirement after ten years with a string of dates in London, Paris and Cologne. But ... he promised he wasn't going to inflict any more of his dreadful tuneless crap on the public. You just can't trust anyone these days, can you?
Meanwhile, in further bad musical-related news, arch miserablists Radiohead will reportedly headline Glastonbury next year, in their first UK festival appearance since 2011. So, that should be worth avoiding unless you're feeling particularly suicidal.
On Tuesday evening of this week dear blog reader, following his beloved (though unsellable) Magpies two-nil victory at Barnsley, for the first time since 2011 (and, quite possibly, the last time in a while), this blogger was able to say, ahem: 'We are top of the league said we are top of the league (aw, yeah!), we are top of the league, said we are top of the league.' Okay, yes technically it is a second tier - and, by the look of things, desperately poor - league, admittedly. But, still ... Rafa The Gaffer Benitez's Magpies have now won nine of their last eleven league games and overtook Norwich City at the Championship summit as The Canaries let a two-goal lead slip to draw at Fulham. Another two goals from top scorer Dwight Gayle did for The Tykes at Oakwell and put The Toon up where they belong. How long they'll stay there is another matter entirely, of course.
Meanwhile, there's a very good piece by the Independent's Martin Hardy - author of Touching Distance and Tunnel Of Love - on The Rafa Revolution. How Rafa Benitez Reconnected Newcastle United With Its City To Take Them Top Of The Championship Table can be checked out here. Recommended. 
Ched Evans has welcomed the response by ITV's Loose Women to a complaint about its discussion of his rape acquittal. The Chesterfield striker's family said that they were considering legal action following an episode of the daytime talk show broadcast on Monday. Presenter Ruth Langsford told viewers that the programme was 'happy to reiterate' Evans was unanimously cleared of all charges after a retrial. The footballer's website called this 'an apology' (which it, sort of was, albeit not quite the grovelling apology normally given when someone on a TV show says something potentially libellous) and declared that the matter is 'now closed.' In 2012, Evans was found guilty of raping a nineteen-year-old woman in a hotel room in Rhuddlan, Denbighshire, the previous year. He served half of a five-year prison term. But that conviction was quashed on appeal last April and on Friday of last week he was found very not guilty of the same charge at Cardiff Crown Court. The player's website reacted to Monday's Loose Women discussion with a statement saying that he had served 'thirty months for a crime he always denied and has now been exonerated of.' It added that Evans had 'always acknowledged his behaviour was morally unacceptable but consensual.' It said 'opinion is acceptable' but criticised comments made on the programme, specifically those by the broadcaster Gloria Hunniford. A spokesman for Loose Women confirmed on Monday that the programme was 'responding' to a complaint from the father of Evans' partner. During Thursday's show, Langsford said: 'On Monday, we broadcast an item relating to the recent case involving the footballer Ched Evans. Following the programme we received a complaint on behalf of Mister Evans regarding a comment made during the course of that item concerning the capacity of the individual to consent. We are happy to reiterate that Mister Evans was acquitted after a jury unanimously found him not guilty, having carefully considered the issue of consent. We just wanted to say that today.' Aye. We'll mark that one down as a very much an example of a 'non-apology apology.' Evans' website followed that with a statement which said: 'Today we are pleased that Loose Women apologised to Ched Evans in respect of a statement made by Gloria Hunniford earlier this week which was inaccurate. We are pleased that this episode is now finalised.' In a separate incident, North Wales Police is reported to be investigating allegations of the complainant in Evans' case being named on social media, despite having the legal right to lifelong anonymity.
Harry Redknapp's wife was reportedly seriously injured when she was run over by a Range Rover driven by the former football boss. Witnesses described seeing Sandra Redknapp get her coat caught under the car as her husband pulled away. The Sun claimed that Mrs Redknapp was heard 'yelling in pain' as she fell to the ground in Poole Road, Bournemouth. The wife of the former Stottingtot Hotshots manager was reportedly rushed to hospital on Tuesday after the 'freak accident.' The Sun reported that Mrs Redknapp had been 'dropped off at the shops' by her husband in his Range Rover when she got her coat and foot caught. The incident took place in Westbourne, which is four miles away from the couple's home in Sandbanks. Redknapp didn't realise that his wife was stuck and drove away. Ooo. Nasty. Speaking to the BBC, the former Bournemouth, West Hamsters United and Portsmouth boss said: 'It was just a freak accident you know. Sandra went across the road and unfortunately she had gone behind the car to cross over the road and as I went to drive off I drove over her ankle. Its lucky, if the full weight of the car had gone over the ankle God knows what would have happened to her. She had an operation on her ankle that went well.' The couple returned home Twenty four hours after the accident took place and Mrs Redknapp was pictured walking on crutches with her right leg in a cast.
Due diligence was carried out on Sam Allardyce before his appointment as England manager, the Football Association chairman Greg Clarke had claimed. Odious lardbucket (and drag) Allardyce extremely left his role in September after sixty seven days in charge following a newspaper investigation - or, you know, stitch-up - claiming that Allardyce offered advice on how to 'get around' rules on player transfers to undercover reporters. Asked by MPs whether the FA had 'looked into' previous - entirely unproven - allegations against Allardyce made by a 2006 BBC Panorama programme, Clarke said that 'no significant issues' were found. In response to Panorama, the then Bolton manager Allardyce denied claims he had received illegal payments from agents. Although, perhaps significantly, the claims were never legally challenged. An inquiry by Lord Stevens later suggested that Allardyce 'may' have had 'a conflict of interest' with his agent son, Craig Allardyce, but found 'no evidence of any irregular payments.' The chair of Commons Select Committee, Damian Collins MP - who really seems to think he's it - told Clarke on Monday it was an 'institutional failure' if the FA did not fully examine the former England manager's 'background.' And, he did so using parliamentary privilege meaning that even if Allardyce was of a mind to sue his arse into the middle of next week for suggesting he may have been guilty of wrongdoing, he couldn't have. Collins, the committee's acting chairman, also used parliamentary privilege to repeat previously withdrawn allegations about Neil Warnock, the former Crystal Palace and current Cardiff City manager made by the footballer Jason Puncheon. Because, unlike when you're on Loose Women, if you're an MP and are covered by parliamentary privilege you can say whatever you like, no matter how libellous, and not get done for it. Though, you can get publicly ridiculed for 'talking crap,' admittedly. Allardyce's stint as England manager lasted only one match following his appointment in July. The former West Hamsters United, yer actual Keith Telly Topping's beloved (though unsellable) Newcastle United, Notts County, Blackburn Vindaloos and Blunderland manager was filmed in July 2016 telling undercover reporters it was 'not a problem' to bypass rules on third-party player ownership and claimed that he 'knew' of agents who were 'doing it all the time.' The Torygraph investigation also claimed that a four hundred thousand knicker deal was 'struck' for Allardyce to represent the Far East firm the reporters claimed to work for and to be a speaker at events, although Allardyce said that he would have to 'run that by' the FA first. Allardyce said he 'made a significant error of judgement,' but that 'entrapment had won' following his departure from the England job. He added: 'Although it was made clear during the recorded conversations that any proposed arrangements would need the FA's full approval, I recognise I made some comments which have caused embarrassment.' Clarke said the FA is still waiting for the Torygraph and police to release the full information from their investigation. Answering questions from MPs at a Commons select committee into football governance, Clarke said that Allardyce was given a pay-off when he left England, but refused to disclose the sum. On Friday, FA vice-chairman David Gill told BBC Sport that Allardyce's exit was 'a complete disappointment' and that 'no-one saw it coming.' Well, except the Torygraph, obviously.
Sunderland need to 'rebuild' having 'lost their identity,' according to the club's chief executive Martin Bain. They haven't lost their identity, mate, they're still The Mackem Filth, everybody knows that. Stop talking such daft nonsense like a silly pillock and get on with your job. The Black Cats are currently bottom of the Premier League, with a mere two points after eight games and are odds-on with bookmakers to be relegated. 'It's probably lost its identity at times trying to be a club it's not,' Bain told the club website. 'The job is to build, almost rebuild. It's apparent that we've got a journey to embark upon.' Bain took over as chief executive in July, replacing Margaret Byrne, who resigned in the wake of former Blunderland winger - and convicted sex offender - Adam Johnson being found very guilty of sexual activity with a fifteen-year-old. One of Bain's first tasks was to recruit ex-Everton and The Scum boss David Moyes after odious Sam Allardyce left the club to become England's manager. Briefly. Very briefly. Blunderland avoided relegation by two points last season and have also struggled in the two previous campaigns. 'We can't change the past, but we can change the future,' said Bain, rather philosophically, of his work with Moyes. 'From both our perspectives it's about rebuilding.' Bain also claimed that the club will have to be 'more savvy' in the transfer market. 'This club has to get better at buying and selling,' he said. 'Like it or lump it, we should be looking at bringing players to this club and selling them for a greater value. We have to look at acquiring players at a younger age, too.' Meanwhile, 'stress' could be contributing to Blunderland's growing injury list, according to midfielder Steven Pienaar. Well, either that or malingering and incompetence. One or the other.
Football officials from Thailand and Australia have banned chanting at next month's World Cup qualifying match 'out of respect' for the late Thai king. Football associations in the two countries have also said that fans should 'wear black, grey, or white.' Yeah, like that's going to happen in the case of the Aussies. Thais are currently observing a year-long period of national mourning after the death last week of King Bhumibol Adulyadej, eighty eight, who reigned for seventy years. A year? Jeez, our monarch will be lucky if she gets three days. Considerably less from her eldest son, one imagines. People in Thailand have been asked to wear black and avoid 'joyful events.' Well, in the case of their football team, that shouldn't be too difficult. The Football Association of Thailand had tried to move the 15 November match to a later date, but the Australian side - as is their right - asked for the game to go ahead. In a statement on its website, Football Federation Australia said banners, flags, and megaphones would be 'banned' and 'joyful activities' were 'strictly prohibited both inside the stadium and surrounding areas.' And, no smiling when you win, either. Thailand's Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn has been named as the king's successor, but has asked for a delay in the process. Strict lese-majeste laws protect the most senior members of Thailand's royal family from any insult. Which probably means that yer actual Keith Telly Topping is now on Ze List. Wouldn't be the first time, trust me dear blog reader, I'm used to it by now - see below. Public discussion about the succession can be punishable by lengthy jail terms.
Mark Cavendish finished second as Peter Sagan won a sprint finish to retain his title at the Road World Championships in Doha on Sunday. Slovakia's Sagan beat the 2011 champion Cavendish after a one hundred and sixty mile race as Belgian Tom Boonen, who won the 2005 title, came third. Cavendish had followed Sagan but his sprint was checked when he was caught behind Australia's Michael Matthews. 'I am just disappointed I messed up tactically,' Cav told BBC Sport. 'I came with so much speed and power. I wanted to be on Peter's wheel. I knew the Norwegians would hit out early into the headwind and I knew Sagan would just get the right wheel and I could float off him. I told Adam [Blythe] to come with a few hundred metres to go and when he came alongside, it spread everyone and everyone jumped and I had nowhere to go. The hard thing was losing Luke Rowe to a puncture which would have given us three in the front and he would have been valuable at the end. I am just going to have to settle for another second this year.' Cavendish's podium finish rounds off a year that has seen the thirty one-year-old win four stages of the Tour De France, the madison track world title with Sir Bradley Wiggins and his first ever Olympic medal, with silver in the omnium. Crosswinds in the desert split the peloton with one hundred and seventy kilometres to go but Cavendish and fellow Briton Blythe, who eventually finished twelfth, managed to stay in the main group. Fancied names caught out included German sprinters Marcel Kittel and Andre Greipel and France's Nacer Bouhanni, who could not close the gap and they knew their races were over a long way from the finish line. Five Belgian riders, including Olympic champion Greg van Avermaet, made it into the front group and they were able to dictate the tactics as they tried to set up Boonen for the win. However, Sagan, who in July won the points jersey at the Tour De France for the fifth successive year, timed his sprint for the line to perfection. 'I don't believe it, I'm still in shock,' said Sagan. 'I'm very happy because in the crosswinds I was the last to make it into the lead group. It felt a bit like a headwind at the finish so I had to go from a long way back in the sprint.'
Ex-Australian cricket captain Michael Clarke has said that some players have been 'like a tumour' on the sport, but denied calling former team-mate Shane Watson 'a cancer.' Appearing on Australian Channel Nine's Sixty Minutes programme this week, Clarke addressed many of the controversies that defined his one hundred and fifteen-test career. He spoke about how he thought that he was 'a bad vice-captain' and that he had 'riled' former team-mates. But, he also attempted to clarify previous comments about some of his team-mates. According to leaked court documents, former Australian coach Mickey Arthur claimed that in 2013 Clarke had called Watson 'a cancer' on the national side. But Clarke told the programme: 'No, I didn't say that. I said that there is a number of players, a group in this team at [that] moment, that are like a tumour and if we don't fix it, it's going to turn into a cancer.' Asked if that applied to Watson, Clarke replied: 'Shane was one of those players, yes.' Clarke also shed light on an infamous dressing-room bust-up at the Sydney Cricket Ground in 2009 after the test win over South Africa. Team-mate Simon Katich reportedly grabbed the then vice-captain Clarke by the shirt over a disagreement about when the team song would be sung. Clarke said that he had 'every reason' to be angry, but 'I don't think my language was appropriate.' Clarke also revealed that cricket has never been the same for him after the death of his close friend Phillip Hughes. Hughes was hit in the neck by a ball in November 2014 and died a few days later. 'I guess I probably tried to tell myself that there was a chance he'd be okay,' Clarke said. 'But, I think I knew there wasn't. I spent the whole night talking to him. That breaks my heart the most. It was always hard to play cricket after that. I felt fear for the first time in my life when I played cricket.'
And now ...
Food outlets selling hot dogs in Malaysia have been asked to rename their products or risk being refused halal certification. The Malaysian Islamic Development Department, a religious government body, said that it had adopted the ruling after 'complaints' from Muslim tourists. Director Sirajuddin Suhaimee said that the name 'might cause confusion.' But, only to the terminally stupid. 'In Islam, dogs are considered unclean and the name cannot be related to halal certification,' he said. Malaysian halal food guidelines say 'halal food and halal artificial flavour shall not be named or synonymously named after non-halal products such as ham, bak kut teh, bacon, beer, rum and others that might create confusion,' local media said. Muslim-majority Malaysia practises a moderate form of Islam but conservative attitudes are on the rise. On Monday, popular pretzel store franchise Auntie Anne's was refused halal certification unless it renamed its 'Pretzel Dog.' Suhaimee said it was 'more appropriate' to call it a 'Pretzel Sausage.' A representative of the US chain described it as a "minor issue" and said the firm was fine with changing the name on the menu. Malaysian Tourism and Culture Minister Nazri Aziz slammed the ruling, calling it 'stupid and backward.' Yep, pretty much. 'Hot dog is "hot dog lah". Even in Malay it's called hot dog - it's been around for so many years. I'm a Muslim and I'm not offended,' he told reporters, adding that there was 'no reason' for the religious body to take offence at the word. 'It comes from the English language. Please do not make us seem stupid and backward.' I'm afraid that ship's already sailed, Nazri me auld dear. The ruling has also 'garnered ridicule' and 'stirred debate' among Malaysians on social media. But, nobody gives a knickers what some people on Twitter think about pretty much anything.
On Tuesday dear blog reader, yer actual Keith Telly Topping was forcibly reminded of a necessary truism of the Twenty First Century. Never, ever under any circumstances, do a Google search using your own name. God, there are some really angry people out there.
A day later, this blogger had an interesting attempted scam telephone call. Sometimes this blogger can't be bothered when getting such calls and Keith Telly Topping simply puts the phone straight down. But, on other occasions, if he's in the right mood, he'll have a bit of fun with them. This was one of the latter. It came from a Glasgow number (0141) and a chap with an Asian-sounding voice but claiming to 'Philip Jones' calling from 'Internet Security' to say that hackers had got into my PC and that they were going to shut my computer down to stop it from 'e-mailing their customers' and then issue me with 'a rescue package.' This blogger gave his usual response if he's in a playful mood. 'Oh, that's sounds really terrible. Tell me, is it just my computer that's infected or is it all of the computers in the police station?' That's worked several times in scaring off a few dodgy geezers in the past but, it seems Keith Telly Topping might've used it once too often as 'Philip Jones' had, clearly, been alerted to this blogger's cheeky-monkey malarkey. 'You are not a real policeman,' he suggested. Not that this blogger had - technically - claimed to be. Because that's, you know, illegal. 'And, you're not a real Internet security firm,' this blogger replied. Touche. 'Philip' then got rather abusive. 'I'm going to fucking shut down your fucking computer if you don't do what I fucking tell you,' he shouted. 'Philip' obviously has a big future in the diplomatic service. But, he said it so pathetically and with such a high-pitched and indignantly childish voice that this blogger couldn't help but burst out laughing. 'Go on then,' Keith Telly Topping instructed. 'I'll wait for you to do that. It should be interesting to watch.' 'You ... you are a fucker,' 'Philip' advised this blogger. 'Is this actually part of the script or have you started ad-libbing yet?' Keith Telly Topping asked. 'Because, I've got to tell you, Philip, if you had reached someone who actually believed your ludicrous story calling them "a fucker" might've blown your chances of scamming them. You may want to think about dialling that down a bit if you get through to, say, a little old lady who buys your story.' By now 'Philip' was just screaming a lengthy stream of obscenities. This blogger let him carry on for about fifteen seconds and then closed with 'thank you so much for calling, Philip, please do call again.' I actually enjoyed that.
On Thursday evening, yer actual Keith Telly Topping attended Uncle Scunthorpe's latest Record Player event at The Tyneside. Because the featured record was, quite probably, this blogger's favourite LP of all time, yer actual Hunky Dory. In which a Kentish singer-songwriter hippy with mad hair went to America, had his head totally blown by Iggy and Lou, came back home and made what is, probably, the best LP ever made by anyone. Ever. Although, it should be noted, the ticket should have included the warning 'the slideshow that Uncle Scunthorpe has put together to accompany this marvellous record may include traces of mime' The horror. Though,n fairness,there was also cake.
Techno malarkey: This week, this blogger bought a new one of them 'DVD recorder/HDD things what can pause live TV and that.' Quite a nice one as it happens, a Panasonic DMR-EX97EB - a lovely beast which, thanks to Keith telly Topping having a load of Argos gift tokens left over from doing some market research for an online company some months ago only cost this blogger about twenty five quid in real terms. In the mean time, Keith Telly Topping also decided to get in a new telly since the old one (a Phillips) is starting to show some signs of being one the verge of konking out. Thing is. this blogger has always rented his TV sets from Radio Rentals (or, Box Clever as they are now) ever since we first moved into Stately Telly Topping Manor. Mainly because it's a big item and if it should ever blow up they will replace it within twenty four hours. So, this blogger rang them up, spoke to the lovely Lucy, got everything sorted and that will be delivered next week. Then, a sudden thought hit Keith Telly Topping in the mush like a wet haddock. The Stately Telly Topping Manor Sky box, is an really old'un and works off a scart-lead unlike the new DVD and the new telly, both of which are HDMI. Bugger. So, about thirty minute and two phone calls to Box Clever technical support later, we discover that there is, in fact, a scart-to-HDMI cable available which they will happily provide me with (free of charge an'all which was nice of them). But, what a sodding faff! Technology. This blogger hates the advance of it and wishes we could all go back to the stone age. Or, the 1970s, whichever is cheaper.