Monday, December 19, 2016


Yer actual Peter Capaldi has praised the Doctor Who Christmas special for 'harking back' to the days of 'vintage superhero films,' describing modern genre movies as 'grim.' The actor will return in his role as The Doctor in the episode, entitled The Return Of Doctor Mysterio, alongside the returning Matt Lucas and newcomers Justin Chatwin and Charity Wakefield. The theme of the Christmas Day episode is that of classic superheroes, with Chatwin taking on the role of a masked costume crime-fighter known as The Ghost. Capaldi said that the script reminded him of the early Superman movies and that fans will be 'enthralled' with the comedic elements to the episode. Apart from The Special People who will, as usual, hate it and whinge about it to everyone that will listen. And, indeed, everyone that wont. He said: 'When I first read the script I thought "this is wonderful" because it captures the delightful, light comedy touch that existed in the early Superman movies with Christopher Reeves. Superheroes nowadays tend to be a grim lot - but in those days there was optimism and a deliberate naivety that the character of Superman had which was very attractive. But, also the way the scripts were written back then reminded me of Spencer Tracy or Katharine Hepburn kind of scripts - they were very witty, very knockabout, very American.' He added: 'This script is like that so I was very happy to go with this whole idea of The Doctor observing a superhero - it's great fun.' Yer man Capaldi said that the plot for the upcoming episode is 'very much a light-hearted superhero romp.' The Lord Thy God Steven Moffat (OBE) said that he wanted to do a superhero story for the Doctor Who Christmas special because he loves the 'secret identity' such characters have. He said: 'I like the daft superpowers, I like scenes where the two identities being managed by our hero are clashing with each other - they did that beautifully in the Christopher Reeves Superman films and the Tobey Maguire Spiderman movies. That's what's interesting, that's the cool part and you have a certain joyful levity in how you deal with the superpowers because they're fundamentally silly - you can't take them too seriously and I think the Superman movies do that so beautifully.' The episode will see The Doctor join forces with the masked superhero, played by Chatwin, in New York for 'a typical Doctor Who adventure.' Lucas reprises his role as the affable-but-bumbling Nardole after first appearing in the long-running BBC family SF drama in last year's Christmas special, The Husbands Of River Song and Wakefield joins as investigative reporter, Lucy. The unlikely foursome join forces to save the city from a brain-swapping alien and the truth about The Ghost will also be revealed. Of Chatwin, Capaldi said: 'Justin is amazing because he's able to do both of those parts - The Ghost and the mild-mannered Grant - and he's got two different voices that he uses for them. I think comic lightness is a greatly undervalued thing - to be as funny as he is and light but with accurate delivery. He has great charm, a movie star quality which is lovely. The Ghost is a slightly flawed superhero and he's spot-on with all of that.'
Ore Oduba and his partner Joanne Clifton have lifted the glitterball trophy and been crowned 2016 champions in the final of Strictly Come Dancing. The BBC sports presenter beat finalists Danny Mac (no, me neither) and Louise Redknapp to win the series. Fifteen contestants had started the competition, with Oduba calling his eventual victory 'the most incredible experience of my life.' Saturday's final also marked Len Goodman's final appearance as a judge. It was a final crammed with top-scoring dances from all three contestants. Oduba and Clifton scored the first forty of the final and topped the leaderboard, with the two other couples taking joint second. But the final decision was down to voters at home. Following Oduba's final dance - a reprise of week four's jive which earned him straight tens - Goodman called him 'the spirit of Strictly,' as someone who had entered the series 'with no dance background at all.' Oduba described the win as 'the most incredible experience of my life.' He added: 'I've learned to dance, I've made a best friend, I've been on the show that I loved for twelve years.' The presenter thanked the Strictly production crew and the judges and told his dance partner Clifton: 'I love you with all of my heart. I'm so speechless. I just want to say thank you.' She told him: 'You've become a dancer.' During the live show, each couple performed three dances - their favourite of the series, a showdance and a third dance chosen by the judges. Bruno Tonioli called Mac's samba 'one for the history books,' adding that 'it will never be forgotten.' Redknapp had been the 'most consistent dancer,' according to Goodman. This year's other contestants were also present to cheer on the finalists and perform one final group dance which included a reprise of Ed Balls's routine to Psy's 'Gangnam Style'. On his final appearance, Goodman received a standing ovation from the audience and from his fellow judges. Dancers and contestants from former series also paid their tributes. Craig Revel Horwood called Goodman 'extraordinary' and 'a very good friend.' Goodman said: 'I will miss everything about the show.' Hosts Tess Daly and Claudia Winklepicker described the head judge as 'the king' of Strictly, in a programme dedicated to his time on the show which will be shown on Friday. Daly said Strictly had a 'family atmosphere' and Goodman was 'the daddy.' She added: 'There's so many favourite Len moments, just working with him every week is such a treat, you know that little sparkle in his eye, that cheeky little glint he has. I love watching him dance when he comes onto the show at the beginning when we introduce him and he interacts with the audience, he's high-fiving them, he's gliding past them, jiving up a storm.' Whatsherface said Goodman was 'the king of all things ballroom and he's basically the king of Strictly.' She went on: 'He is a master, so everyone totally respects him, both on front of camera but also backstage. So if Len wanders down and goes, "Yeah, it was a good lift," everyone goes, 'Oh, Len liked it," because he is unfailingly honest but also incredibly knowledgeable.'
The final and consolidated ratings figures for the Top Twenty Seven programmes, week-ending Sunday 11 December 2016 are as follows:-
1 Strictly Come Dancing - Sat BBC1 - 11.46m
2 Planet Earth II - Sun BBC1 - 11.10m
3 Coronation Street - Mon ITV - 8.31m
4 I'm A Z-List Former Celebrity Desperate To Get My Boat-Race Back On TV ... Please Vote For Me To Stay Here As Long As Possible (I'll Even Eat Worms If You Want): Coming Out - Wed ITV - 7.73m
5 The X Factor - Sun ITV - 7.39m
6 Emmerdale - Mon ITV - 7.09m
7 The Apprentice - Thurs BBC1 - 6.89m
8 EastEnders - Mon BBC1 - 6.88m
9 Countryfile - Sun BBC1 - 6.85m
10 Michael McIntyre's Not Very Funny Show - Sat BBC1 - 5.93m
11 In Plain Sight - Wed ITV - 5.73m
12 Casualty - Sat BBC1 - 5.49m
13 Rillington Place - Tues BBC1 - 5.39m
14 Six O'Clock News - Tues BBC1 - 5.12m
15 Have I Got News For You - Fri BBC1 - 4.87m
16 Holby City - Tues BBC1 - 4.61m
17 Pointless Z-List Celebrities - Sat BBC1 - 4.58m
18 My Mother & Other Strangers - Sun BBC1 - 4.48m
19 BBC News - Sun BBC1 - 4.33m
20 The ONE Show - Tues BBC1 - 4.06m
21 Gogglebox - Fri C4 - 4.05m
22= Who Do You Think You Are? - Thurs BBC1 - 3.94m
22= Ten O'Clock News - Mon ITV - 3.94m
24 Watchdog - Wed BBC1 - 3.83m
25 Match Of The Day - Sat BBC1 - 3.70m
26 The Chase - Mon ITV - 3.67m
27 The Martin Lewis Money Show - Mon ITV - 3.66m
These consolidated figures include all viewers who watched programmes live and on catch-up during the seven days after initial broadcast, but do not include those who watched on BBC's iPlayer or ITV Player via their computers. Don't blame this blogger, he doesn't make the rules. Strictly Come Dancing's Saturday night episode attracted 11.34 million punters. The X Factor's programme on Saturday had but 6.19 million. On BBC2, the top-rated programme was Tuesday's episode of MasterChef: The Professionals with 3.53 million punters. The other two nightly episodes of the popular cookery competition attracted 3.18 million and 3.03 million. University Challenge was watched by 3.08 million, Only Connect by 2.58 million and Strictly Come Dancing: It Takes Two by 2.31 million. The Choir: Gareth's Best In Britain attracted 2.30 million viewers followed Titanic's Tragic Twin: The Britannia Disaster (2.22 million), coverage of the FA Cup Third Round Draw (2.16 million), Close To The Enemy (2.01 million), Mastermind (1.97 million), The Apprentice: You're Fired! (1.92 million),the movieThe Lone Ranger (1.91 million), Z-List Celebrity Antiques Road Trip (1.77 million), Coastal Path and Dad's Army (both 1.74 million) and Qi (1.68 million). As usual, Gogglebox was Channel Four's highest-rated broadcast of the week, followed by the movie Paddington (3.01 million), Our Guy In China (2.35 million) and The Last Leg With Adam Hills (2.10 million). Twenty Four Hours In A&E was seen by 2.08 million viewers, whilst Christmas At The Chateau and The Secret Life Of The Zoo both drew 1.99 million. The Secret Life Of Five Year Olds was seen by 1.92 million, Kirstie's Cheap & Nasty Handmade Christmas by 1.90 million, Humans by 1.87 million and Finding My Twin Stranger by 1.80 million. Channel Five's top performer was, The Yorkshire Vet with 1.89 million, ahead of the movie The Expendables 3 (1.64million), Ben Fogle: New Lives In The Wild (1.60 million), Cinderella Christmas (1.55 million) and The Nightmare Neighbour Next Door (1.53 million). Coverage of the Premier League action between Liverpool Alabama Yee-Haws and West Hamsters United on Sky Sports 1 was seen by 1.70 million punters. Sunday's game between The Scum and Stottingtot Hotshots drew 1.60 million. Sky Sports 2's coverage of Live Test Cricket: India Versus England drew one hundred and sixty three thousand. Nico The Brave was Sky Sports F1's most-watched broadcast with twenty two thousand. Gillette Soccer Saturday was - as usual - top of the pile on Sky Sports News HQ with four hundred and seventy three thousand punters and an additional four hundred and eighty six thousand watching on Sky Sports 1. Midsomer Murders was ITV3's top-rated drama (nine hundred and thirty thousand viewers). Foyle's War was seen by five hundred and twenty nine thousand, Doc Martin by four hundred and eighty two thousand and Rosemary & Thyme by four hundred and fifty eight thousand. Benidorm headed ITV4's weekly list with three hundred and ten thousand. The Chase: Celebrity Special and the movies Jaws 2 and Firefox drew two hundred and ninety five thousand viewers, two hundred and sixty three thousand and two hundred and sixty one thousand respectively. ITV2's most-watched broadcast was wretched, worthless spew Celebrity Juice (2.04 million viewers). For shame Great Britain, for shame. The Polar Express attracted 1.05 million and Love Actually eight hundred and ninety four thousand. DCI Banks headed ITV Encore's top ten with fifty eight thousand viewers, ahead of Vera (fifty three thousand) and Poirot (forty three thousand). BBC4's list was topped by the fifth and sixth episodes of imported drama Modus (eight hundred and sixty four thousand and eight hundred and thirty seven thousand respectively), followed by Digging For Britain (six hundred and eighty one thousand), Vienna: Empire Dynasty & Dream (six hundred and nineteen thousand), Ian Hislop Goes Off The Rails (five hundred and eighty three thousand) and the movie The Ipcress File (four hundred and eighty one thousand). Dangerous Earth drew four hundred and forty thousand and Julia Bradbury's Railway Walks had four hundred and twelve thousand. Britain's Treasure Islands was watched by four hundred and eight thousand. Sky1's weekly top-ten was headed by The Flash (nine hundred and thirty seven thousand). Arrow was seen by seven hundred and six thousand, DC's Legends Of Tomorrow by six hundred and eighty one thousand and Supergirl by five hundred and thirty seven thousand. Unfunny honk Trollied drew four hundred and thirty nine thousand punters all with sludge for brains, seemingly. Sky Atlantic's list was topped by Westworld (eight hundred and seventeen thousand). The start of the channel's much-trailed repeat run of Game Of Thrones attracted two hundred and forty four thousand whilst The Affair was watched by two hundred and thirty eight thousand. Divorce was seen by two hundred and two thousand. On Sky Living, the latest episode of Criminal Minds attracted nine hundred and seven thousand whilst From The North favourite The Blacklist attracted eight hundred and ninety eight thousand. Blindspot had seven hundred and ninety six thousand viewers and Greys Anatomy, six hundred and one thousand. Conviction drew five hundred and sixty two thousand and Nashville, three hundred thousand viewers. Sky Arts' Landscape Artist Of The Year was watched by one hundred and fifty two thousand viewers. 5USA's Castle was seen by four hundred and seventy four thousand viewers and Law & Order: Special Victims attracted four hundred and four thousand. NCIS topped CBS Action's list (one hundred and three thousand). FOX's most watched programmes were The Walking Dead (1.53 million), Talking Dead (two hundred and eighty thousand) and American Dad! (two hundred and thirty seven thousand). The Universal Channel's weekly list was headed by Chicago Med (three hundred and thirty seven thousand), Major Crimes (three hundred and twenty nine thousand), Pure Genius (one hundred and sixty eight thousand) and NCIS (one hundred and twenty six thousand). On Dave, Dave Gorman: Modern Life Is Goodish was the highest-rated programme with six hundred and thirty two thousand punters, followed by Qi XL (three hundred and forty two thousand), Have I Got News For You (three hundred and seven thousand) and Room 101 (two hundred and seventy five thousand). The latest episode of Drama's repeat run of Death In Paradise was watched by five hundred and ninety thousand viewers. New Tricks had four hundred and forty two thousand, followed by Last of The Summer Whine (three hundred and fifty thousand), Dalziel & Pascoe and Murdoch Mysteries (both three hundred and thirty nine thousand). Alibi's highest-rated programmes were Crossing Lines (one hundred and ninety nine thousand), Rosewood (one hundred and forty three thousand) and Quantico (eighty four thousand). On The Sony Channel, Saving Hope was watched by seventy eight thousand and The Longest Yard by fifty two thousand. Yesterday's repeat run of Porridge continued with two hundred and seventy six thousand. On the Discovery Channel, Gold Rush had four hundred and ninety four thousand viewers. The latest series of From The North favourite Wheeler Dealers continued with two hundred and eighty six thousand whilst Alaska: The Last Frontier was seen by one hundred and twenty five thousand, Tanked by one hundred and sixteen thousand and Legend Of Croc Gold by one hundred and three thousand punters. Discovery History's World War II In Colour topped the weekly-list with thirty five thousand. Battle Castle With Dan Snow had thirty thousand, as did Bloody Tales From History. Rome: Power & Glory drew twenty eight thousand. On Discovery Science, How It's Made was seen by fifty thousand viewers. Discovery Turbo's most-watched programme was Dream Cars with forty four thousand. National Geographic's list was headed by Mars which had one hundred and sixty four thousand viewers and Highway Thru Hell (sixty four thousand). The History Channel's top-ten list was topped by The Curse Of Oak Island (three hundred and sixteen thousand). American Pickers attracted an audience of one hundred and seven thousand. On Military History, Ancient Aliens was watched by forty two thousand. The Perfect Murder, 1980s: The Deadliest Decade and Britain's Deadliest Lovers were ID's top-rated programmes of the week (with sixty two thousand viewers, fifty thousand and forty thousand murder-lovers respectively). The First Forty Eight, The Jail: Sixty Days In and The Killing Season headed CI's list (seventy three thousand, seventy thousand and fifty eight thousand). GOLD's broadcast of the Royle Family Christmas special The New Sofa attracted one hundred and sixty six thousand, whilst Only Fools & Horses had one hundred and fifty two thousand and Bring me Morecambe & Wise Xmas drew one hundred and forty eight thousand. Comedy Central's largest audience of the week was for The Middle (two hundred and eighty two thousand). Your TV's Corrupt Crimes was seen by ninety seven thousand. On More4, the Father Ted Christmas special was the highest-rated programme with five hundred and forty four thousand. Car SOS attracted four hundred and sixty one thousand punters and Eight Out Of Ten Cats four hundred and seven thousand. E4's latest episode of the massively popular The Big Bang Theory drew 2.38 million viewers, by a distance the largest multi-channels audience of the week. Hollyoaks had 1.13 million viewers. The Horror Channel's broadcast of Hostel Part 3 attracted one hundred and fifty nine thousand. The top ten list also included Lovely Molly (one hundred and forty eight thousand), Forget Me Not (seventy six thousand), Girls Against Boys (also seventy six thousand) and When A Stranger Calls (sixty two thousand). The Librarians, headed Syfy's top-ten with three hundred and ninety five thousand whilst The Exorcist had two hundred and seventy three thousand. Secrets Of The Earth and Lost Land Of The Volcano were watched by thirty two thousand and twenty six thousand respectively on Eden. Tanked was the Animal Planet's most-watched programme with thirty seven thousand. On W, Inside The Ambulance attracted one hundred and ninety seven thousand punters. Extreme Christmas Trees was seen by one hundred and forty two thousand people on TLC.

To the surprise of no-one, the first episode of Planet Earth II was the most requested show on BBC iPlayer so far this year. The BBC has revealed that the series tops the list of the most popular iPlayer programmes, with the breathtaking Islands episode having been watched more than 3.8 million times. The build-up to the new series was phenomenal – with a number of trailers giving audiences a glimpse of what they could expect from the second series of the BBC epic – and it didn't disappoint. 'With swimming sloths, a 'lonely' snow leopard and the hatchling marine iguanas running away from the snakes, Planet Earth (and Sir David Attenborough, of course) captured our hearts. The extraordinary Planet Earth II tops the most popular list in this record-breaking year for BBC iPlayer,' said Charlotte Moore, the director of BBC content. 'In 2016, it has enabled audiences to enjoy a range of high quality programmes when and where they want to, and find content they might otherwise have missed.' England and Wales's Euro 2016 match, the opening episode of The Night Manager and several Great British Bake Off episodes were also among the top ten most requested episodes of 2016.
Fewer than a third of people believe that the BBC licence fee should be scrapped, a survey has found. Support for the annual fee rises with the age and income level of respondents, according to the survey conducted by Strategy Analytics as part of its quarterly consumer metrics study. Just twenty nine per cent of those surveyed believed that the licence fee should be scrapped. While forty one per cent felt that the fee was still the best way to fund the corporation, twenty eight per cent thought it should be advertiser-funded in the same way as state-owned Channel Four. Just fifteen per cent believed there should be a subscription fee only for those who want BBC services. The report also revealed that many people are 'hazy' on the details of the licence fee – just forty four per cent know that it costs in the range of one hundred and twenty five to one hundred and forty nine quid. The average estimate of the cost was £124.29 – fifteen per cent lower than the real charge. The 'fair' amount people thought they should be charged averaged £101.57 – thirty per cent lower. The survey revealed that just over eight per cent of respondents, equivalent to 1.6 million households, admitted they do not pay the licence fee. The study found that people were split over new rules to close the so-called iPlayer loophole; previously those using only the digital catch-up service were not legally required to pay the licence fee. Almost half (forty seven per cent) of those surveyed disagreed with the move, while forty per cent agreed. Of the one thousand and twenty three people surveyed, seventy one per cent said that they felt the BBC was 'important' to them and were 'satisfied' with the services it provides. 'Overall the BBC has strong appeal with and satisfaction among the British public, although it struggles to identify with younger and lower income groups,' said David Mercer of Strategy Analytics. 'These are the groups who tend to be most resistant to the idea of the licence fee. So the BBC will be under pressure to increase its ratings with these audiences if it wishes to retain the licence fee in future charter negotiations.'
A small girl who offered to replace Big Ben's chimes on BBC radio has been 'let down gently' after an editor warned her of the long hours which could be involved in such a gig. Eight year-old Phoebe Hanson wrote to BBC Radio 4's PM programme saying that she worried how the 'bongs' would be replaced whilst Big Ben is being repaired next year. PM's editor, Roger Sawyer, told Phoebe: 'It would be quite a task.' The Big Ben bell, after which the Palace of Westminster's Elizabeth Tower is more commonly known, is expected to fall silent early next year for the first time since 2007 for a three-year renovation project. The work will cost twenty nine million knicker and involve repairs to the clock's hands, mechanism and pendulum. Replying to Phoebe's letter on 12 December, Sawyer said that he was 'very much taken with your idea,' but there could be some 'operational obstacles' because 'the bongs are live.' He explained: 'You'd have to rush in after school each day (and at the weekend), rush home for tea, homework, a bit of chillin', then a quick sleep. And then - here's the hard bit - you'd have to rush in again at midnight, because there are live bongs again before the midnight news. That's an awful lot of work for someone who is still quite young. I wouldn't like to do all that.' Speaking to BBC News, Phoebe's father said: 'She was listening to Radio 4 in the car and Eddie Mair was saying that Big Ben would stop chiming next year, and she said, "Oh no, we have to do something about it. I want to write a letter." She was absolutely stunned to get a reply and was so pleased she took it to school and showed everyone. She takes things very literally as she is on the autism spectrum, so I think she still wants to do the bongs. I'm very proud of her. I work in IT and we try to increase our Internet presence, but then she has stepped in and done it in one fell swoop. She thinks I should drive her up to Broadcasting House and back twice a day,' added. Sawyer said that although he was surprised to receive the letter, he was aware that the bongs at the end of the programme 'seem to chime with the younger audience especially - no pun intended.' Yes it was, mate, don't sugar-coat it! He said that Phoebe's hand-written letter - accompanied by a covering letter - suggested she could 'hum' the Westminster chimes before playing her own instrument for the bongs and that she could record everything on her own microphone brought with her to the studio. 'What I say to people who ask what the job [of working on PM] entails is that it requires a lot of determination and tenacity, but also what is vital is imagination and free thinking,' he said. 'She has a great future because she has that ability to problem-solve in a free thinking way. Those are the kinds of skills that the BBC needs.'
A signed letter from Muhammad Ali to Nelson Mandela offering his condolences on the death of an anti-apartheid leader has sold for seven thousand two hundred notes. The typed letter, signed by the boxing legend on 'Muhammad Ali in South Africa' stationery, dates from 1993. It was sold in an auction in Devizes. Auctioneer Andrew Aldridge said: 'It's fair to say Muhammad Ali was the greatest sportsman of all time and Nelson Mandela was one of the greatest figures of the last century.' The letter was typed by the personal assistant to the general manager of the Elangeni Hotel in Durban, where former world heavyweight champion Ali was staying at the time. Henry Aldridge & Son said that the letter was sold to 'a collector' in the US. It was expected to fetch between six and eight grand. The letter also includes an explanation as to why Muhammad Ali's name was typed incorrectly by the personal assistant, who has sold the letter. 'It is a truly iconic cross collectable and will appeal to collectors of Ali memorabilia as well as those who collect Nelson Mandela material, items relating to Apartheid, political history and collectors of iconic memorabilia,' Aldridge added. 'Ali was only in South Africa for a short period in April 1993, arriving shortly after the assassination of Chris Hani on 10 April. Hani was the chief of staff of Umkhonto We Sizwe, the armed wing of the African National Congress. He was a fierce opponent of the Apartheid government and was murdered by a far-right extremist outside of his home in Boksburg. Against that backdrop Ali arrived in South Africa at a time when the country stood on the edge of a precipice with civil war a possibility. He attended Hani's farewell at the FNB Stadium in Johannesburg on 19 April 1993 and when he appeared to the crowd, they chanted "Ali! Ali!"' Aldridge said that Mandela kept a photograph of himself with Ali on his desk and his favourite book, in his later years, was an autographed copy of Ali's biography.
Donkeys have been taken away from a Vale of Glamorgan church nativity show after a child was bitten by one. The animals were part of Barry Christmas Story at St Mary's Church. There is no news as yet on whether the crazed beast of burden was taken to a secure location and humanely killed with hammers. But, it's likely. The Church in Wales apologised and said that it 'acted swiftly' after incident on Thursday. A spokeswoman added: 'As generations of Barry children have learned from riding donkeys on the local beach they are among the more stubborn and unpredictable of God's creatures.' This comes after the church was criticised (albeit, no by anyone that actually, you know, matters) for using live donkeys - as opposed to dead ones, presumably - in a Cardiff nativity scene, with animal welfare campaigners calling it 'Victorian-style exploitation.' Speaking about the bite, the church spokeswoman said that the donkeys played 'a crucial role in the nativity story and are a very popular addition to other church events throughout the year.' She added: 'We would remind children to treat all donkeys with care and respect and ask families to keep a watchful eye on younger children in particular when in the company of these much loved animals.'
Dwight Gayle and Mo Diame were at their ruthless best in front of goal as the Championship leaders yer actual Keith Telly Toping's beloved (though unsellable) Magpies won their first-ever meeting with The Burton Albinos to ensure they top the table at Christmas. Gayle opened the scoring at the Pirelli Stadium with a cheeky little flick at the near post after fine approach play from Matt Ritchie. Burton quickly levelled when Lloyd Dyer tapped in Jackson Irvine's cross. But, Diame showed great strength to go through on goal and coolly put the Magpies' second away. Ritchie and Gayle both missed decent chances to extend Newcastle's lead after half-time, while Lucas Akins blazed one chance over the bar for The Brewers, who also had a late spell of pressure but seldom troubled Karl Darlow's goal. Newcastle, moved a point clear of second-placed Brighton & Hove Albinos after The Seagulls' injury-time victory in the evening kick-off against Birmingham. The Brewers had faced a daunting task of trying to contain the team with the best away defence, best away points tally and most goals scored on the road in the division. They could easily have been ahead had Magpies defender Paul Dummett not made an outstanding last-ditch clearance early in the first-half. But ultimately, with Jonjo Shelvey dictating play from midfield, Newcastle's extra quality told in the final third to ensure the visitors will go into their Boxing Day game at home to Sheffield Wednesday on forty nine points from twenty two games, nine points ahead of third-placed Reading.
The veteran ITN war correspondent Michael Nicholson, whose career spanned more than five decades, has died aged seventy nine. Nicholson reported on the fall of Saigon in 1975, the Falklands War, the Balkans conflict, the Gulf War and the 2003 invasion of Iraq. He joined ITN in 1964 and was the network's senior foreign correspondent between 1989 and 1999. He died while on a cruise with his wife Diana. ITN chief executive John Hardie said tat Michael was 'a true legend.' Nicholson, who died on 11 December, presented reports from around the world on ITV's flagship current affairs programme Tonight and for News At Ten. He had four children and three grandchildren. He was widely known for smuggling an orphaned girl out of Sarajevo while reporting on the conflict - and bringing her back to the UK, where he and his wife adopted her. The correspondent met nine-year-old Natasha Mihaljcic while he was working on a story about children being trapped by shelling in the Bosnian capital in 1992. He went on to write a book about the events which was used as the inspiration for the 1997 film Welcome To Sarajevo. Nicholson was ITN's first bureau chief in South Africa in 1976 and was the first television correspondent to live in the country during Apartheid. He also witnessed the toppling of Saddam Hussein's statue in Baghdad in 2003. Nicholson was on holiday in the Lake District when the Falklands War began. Flown by a chartered aircraft to Southampton he boarded the aircraft carrier HMS Hermes for the six week journey to the South Atlantic. He commented about the experience: 'this was the first war, other than Northern Ireland, where I was among my own people. It made it a very special war and the Falklands a very special place.' Michael and the BBC journalist Brian Hanrahan were regularly flown over to the Royal Fleet auxiliary ships to broadcast their phoned-in reports back to London, as broadcasting from Royal Navy ships was forbidden. After the conflict, Nicholson was awarded the South Atlantic Medal. Following the war, Michael became the television newscaster on ITN's early evening News at 5:45. His newsreading career ended when he resigned in March 1986 and went back 'on the road.. He became Channel Four's Washington Correspondent for Breakfast News in 1989 and ITN's Chief Foreign Correspondent between 1989 and 1999. On resuming his career as a war reporter, Nicholson joined the Royal Navy destroyer HMS Gloucester reporting on the Gulf War in 1991. He was named the Royal Television Society's Journalist of the Year in 1991, later winning the title a further three times. In 1998 the Royal Television Society named him Specialist Reporter of the Year and in 1992 he was given BAFTA's prestigious Richard Dimbleby Award for his services to television. He was an EMMY Honours finalist in 1969 for the documentary Christmas in Biafra and again, forty years later, for Shooting The Messenger his harrowing documentary about the deliberate targeting of journalists and film crews in conflict zones from Sri Lanka to Zimbabwe and the Middle East. In 1992 he was awarded the OBE. The former ITN presenter Sir Trevor McDonald said Nicholson 'was almost without doubt the finest television journalist of his generation. His aggressive pursuit of stories came to symbolise what the new kid on the block, as ITN then was, was all about.' ITV News presenter Alastair Stewart said that he was 'deeply saddened to learn of the death of ITN giant.' Hardie added: 'Michael Nicholson is rightly regarded as a true legend of ITN. As a journalist he is renowned and revered throughout our industry and beyond for his courage, his intelligence, and his compassion.' In a statement, his family described him as 'an amazing father, devoted grandfather, loving husband and dear friend.' Michael is survived by his wife, Diana and their children, Thomas, William, Ana and Natasha.