Saturday, June 03, 2017

The Lie Of The Land: On The Buses, Up The Stair, By The Television

'I woke up and The Monks were here. And they've always been here.'
'The Monks have been with us from the beginning. They shepherded humanity through its formative years, gently guiding and encouraging. Like a parent clapping its hands at their baby's first step. They have been instrumental in all of the advances of culture and technology. They watched, proudly, as man invented the light bulb, the telephone and the Internet. They were even there to welcome the first men on The Moon. And, they have defended us too. Who can forget the time The Monks defeated The Daleks? The Cybermen? The Weeping Angels? Two species sharing a history as happily as they share a planet. Humanity and The Monks are a blissful partnership. How lucky Earth is to have an ally as powerful and as tender as The Monks that asks for nothing in return for their benevolence but obedience ... So relax, do as you are told. our future is taken care of!'
'I used to have an imaginary friend. Till he left me for someone else!'
'You deserve an explanation. Human society is stagnating. You've stopped moving forward. In fact, you're regressing.' 'This isn't exactly much better.' 'It's safer.' 'Not so much for the people The Monks are killing.' 'The Romans killed people. And saved billions more from disease, war, famine and barbarism.' 'No, wait, what about free will? You believe in free will. You whole thing is ... You made me write a three thousand word essay on free will!' 'You had free will and look what you did with it? Worse than that, you had history. History was saying to you "look, I've got some examples of fascism here for you to look at. No? Fundamentalism. No? Okay, you carry on." I had to stop you. Or, at least, not stand in the way of someone else who wanted to. Because the guns were getting bigger and the stakes were getting higher. And any minute now it was going to be Goodnight Vienna. By the way, you never delivered that essay.' 'Because the world was invaded by zombie Monks!' 'And whose fault was that? I didn't ask for my sight back. No, you took it upon yourself to ignore me, to do what you thought was best. All I can say is we are lucky it was a benevolent race like The Monks and not The Daleks. Yes, I know The Monks are ruthless, I get that. Yes, they played with history, I'm not exactly thrilled by that. But, they bring peace and order.'
'You're actually doing this. Do you have any idea how hard the last few months have been? How hard it's been to hold onto the truth. It would have been so easy to just give in and believe their lies. I didn't. I fought against it for you. For when you came back. And now you're saying you've joined them?'
'It's just a woman. The way you and Nardole have been carrying on I thought you had a monster in here, or something.' 'I have.' 'Missy, Bill, Bill, Missy the other Last Of The Time Lords.' 'Why have you got a woman locked in a vault? Because even I think that's weird and I've been attacked by a puddle!' 'She's going Cold Turkey from being bad. I want to ask if you've had any dealings with The Monks before.' 'Of course, I've had adventures too. my whole life doesn't revolve around you, you know!' 'Did you defeat them?' 'I did!' 'How?' 'I've got some requests. I want some new books, some toys - like a particle accelerator - a 3D printer and a pony!' 'I don't think you really grasp what's going on here. Nice people generally don't haggle over the fate of a planet!' 'I once built a gun out of leaves, do you think I couldn't get through a door if I wanted to? I'm here, right, I'm engaging the process!'
'So, when you defeated The Monks, that's how you did it?' 'Well, at this point, all that was left of the bloodline was a wee girl. And I just pushed her into a volcano.' 'It's me. The lynch-pin is me.' 'Awkward!' 'So, you're saying I have to die?' 'If you were just to die then everyone's false memories would have to fade and that could take ages. It's actually better if you keep breathing [but] your brain just keeps transmitting nothing. That would blot out the residue false memories.' 'What would be left of me?' 'You'd be a husk. Completely and irrevocably brain-dead. You couldn't even get on Celebrity Love Island!' 'Even if that was the truth, the fact that you're suggesting it shows there's been no change. We don't sacrifice people, it's wrong. Because it's easy.' 'You know, back in the day I'd burn an entire city to the ground just to see the pretty shapes the smoke made. I'm sorry your "Plus One" doesn't get a happy ending. But, like it or not, I just saved this world because I want to change. Your version of good is not absolute. It's vain, arrogant, sentimental. If you're waiting for me to become all that, I'm going to be here for a long time yet!'
'The only down side is, if we did this, it's not worth me starting any long books.' 'Okay, well, let's put a pin in it for now as they say and see if we can think of something else!'
'You said the safest place for me was by your side. That's what's protecting The Monks. It's why their plan works.'
'Somewhere in there, The Monks must have some kind of a machine that creates and broadcasts the myths of their history. The ones that are powered by, carried by, fed by your brainwaves. So, we get in, I plug myself into it and replace the signals that they're receiving with my brainwaves and beam out the true history of the world. Ho-ho, yes! I could also thrown in some other stuff. Things that I can change just by thinking. Racism. People who talk in cinemas!' 'Are you sure? This would be an incredibly sophisticated transmitter powerful enough to beam highly detailed propaganda to the entire world twenty four-hours-a-day. And, you're going to plug your brain into it?' 'I know, it doesn't stand a chance!'
'The Monks are not our friends. They have invaded Earth and made its people slaves. They cling on to power by means of a powerful transmitter broadcasting myths and lies that suggest they have always been here. In fact, they have only been here a few months and have falsified and manipulated our history. Our mission is to interrupt their broadcast and replace it with the true history of Earth which will weaken and undermine The Monks' power. The Monks are not our friends.'
'Fake News Central!'
'Bill, whatever you're planning there's no need for this. Let me try again, he caught me unawares. A cup of tea and I'll get my second wind!'
'Oh, you clever, brilliant, ridiculous girl! Look at that! All the pictures I gave you. I thought I was just being kind but I was saving the world! Bill, if there's anything left of you in there, listen, you have to keep thinking about your mum; the memory you created. The voice, the smile, The Monks can't get near it. Fill your mind with it, push it into every corner. Your filling its mind with one pure, uncorruptable, irresistible image and it's broadcasting it to the world because it can't help it. All those years you kept her alive inside you, an isolated sub-routine in a living mind. Perfect. Untouchable. She's a window on the world without the marks. Absolutely loved, absolutely trusted. That window is opening everywhere. A glimpse of freedom. But, a glimpse is all you need. The lie is breaking. Bill's mum, you just went viral!'
'I'm bored. You haven't been to see me in six months. No one has, no even that bald bloke who looks like an egg!'
'It's exciting, isn't it? It's a turning point. Humans have learned that they can overthrow dictators and stuff. It's like a turning point. we just have to band together.' 'Well, it's not quite as simple as that. You! Appalling hair! This thing that we're sitting on, what is it?' 'Err ... We thought they were just, like, filming something here. Or something?' 'Thank you. Very helpful. Now go away. Or something. You see, The Monks have erased themselves. Humanity is doomed to never learn from its mistakes.' 'Well, I guess that's part of our charm?' 'No, it's really quite annoying! Anyway I mustn't keep you. Three thousand words. The Mechanics Of Free Will. Now six months overdue!' 'Why'd you put up with us, then?' 'In amongst seven billion, there's someone like you. That's why I put up with the rest of them!'
'I keep remembering all the people I've killed. very day I think of more. I didn't know I even knew their names. You didn't tell me about this bit.'
'Whatever it takes, I'm going to save you from yourselves.' As usual, dear blog reader, this blogger thought that was great. 'I don't usually let someone erase my brain on a first date but, seeing as it's you!'
It was also, incidentally, proper terrific to see one of this blogger's favourite actresses, Emma Handy (probably best known to most dear blog readers for playing Paula McIntyre in Wire In The Blood) in a small role early in the episode.
Not for nothing, dear blog reader, but the fact that this blogger managed to write the majority of the first part of this bloggerisationism update whilst still keeping one eye of Howie Goodall's fascinating BBC2 Sgt Pepper documentary - St Pepper's Musical Revolution - is, this blogger reckons, pretty damn impressive. But then as you all know, this blogger is Keith Telly Topping, The Guv'nor Of The Goggleox and he has The Power. Or something. Next ...
Doctor Who showrunner, The Lord Thy God Steven Moffat (OBE) - you know that right? - has confirmed that the very excellent Rachel Talalay will be directing the 2017 Doctor Who Christmas episode, the last one before new showrunner Chris Chibnall takes over the series. Talaley has directed the final two episodes of both series eight and nine of Doctor Who, including the highly acclaimed Heaven Sent, as well as directing the upcoming finale to the current series. The Moffat confirmed her involvement while speaking at the first ever US Sherlock convention: 'Making big-budget spectaculars on no money at all is what we need and Rachel's got such a deep background and such great ability at that!' he said. 'We're just finishing up on the finale episodes and planning the Christmas one, which she's also directing - which is my very last one.'
Steven Moffat talked lots and lots of Sherlock at the convention. Plus a bit of Doctor Who as well, and you can read all about it, here.
One of the original Ice Warrior masks, first used in the eponymous 1967 Doctor Who story, has been found and restored by Toybox Treasures. The prop thought to have been used in Doctor Who in both the Patrick Troughton and Mister Pertwee eras, was acquired last year. The decision was taken to preserve the prop using a specialist team led by Mike Tucker, the BAFTA award winning model maker who has worked on both the original and revived versions of Doctor Who. In preserving the Ice Warrior's head, all existing pieces were used. Colours were matched for age with layers of silver paint added for an exhibition removed, revealing the orange eye sockets. The Ice Warriors first appeared on Saturday 11 November 1967 in a six-part story. Their success ensured their return the following series in the story The Seeds Of Death. The first colour appearance came in 1972 in the Mister Pertwee story The Curse Of Peladon ('there is no plot. I am being completely honest with you!') followed by The Monster Of Peladon two years later. A full report on the restoration, including an exclusive interview with Tucker is published in Doctor Who Magazine issue five hundred and thirteen.
Twin Peaks fans, did you - by any chance - wonder exactly how Cooper didn't greet Gordon Cole 'properly' in episode four? Wonder no more.
Game Of Thrones fans are, of course, highly used to having to wait around for their next dose of Big Fek-Off-Mad-Violence – the forthcoming seventh series was pushed back several months – but it looks as though they will have to hang in there even longer for series eight, which might not appear until as late as 2019. Huge efforts are, reportedly, being poured into production to make the final series of six episodes as 'cinematic' as possible, which might mean a delay on it being broadcast. When asked by Entertainment Weekly if there is the possibility it would be delayed as late as 2019, HBO president Casey Bloys replied that this was entirely possible. '[David Benioff and DB Weiss] have to write the episodes and figure out the production schedule. We'll have a better sense of that once they get further into the writing.' He added: 'One of the hallmarks of the show has been how cinematic it is. The show has proven that TV is every bit as impressive and in many cases more so, than film. What they're doing is monumental. When you see these battles in season seven and what I imagine season eight will be, it's a big, big show. We've done a lot of great shows, but this one combines the complex characters we love with a huge cinematic scope. I think this is the first show to prove that can be done – and we're the first people to pay for it.'
Harvard University has launched a Game Of Thrones-related academic course. Time magazine has revealed that Harvard will be offering the course this autumn, which is on medieval history and iscalled 'The Real Game Of Thrones: From Modern Myths To Medieval Models'. The class will look at the way the popular adult fantasy drama 'echoes and adapts, as well as distorts the history and culture of the "medieval world" of Eurasia from circa 400 to 1500 CE.' It will explore 'a set of archetypal characters at the heart of Game Of Thrones - The King, The Good Wife, The Second Son, The Adventurer and so on - with distinct analogues in medieval history, literature, religion and legend.' The class will be taught by Sean Gilsdorf, a noted medieval historian and Administrative Director and Lecturer on Medieval Studies, alongside Racha Kirakosian, an assistant professor of German and the Study of Religion. 'Game Of Thrones does dramatise nicely some fundamental things going on in medieval courts. Tensions between a Queen and the younger women who marry their sons are some "Real Housewives Of Tenth-Century Germany" kind of stuff, where you see these women going after each other,' Gilsdorf explained. 'Kind of stuff ...'? Does anybody else remember when schools used to employ, you know, people who talked like adults?
We may have to wait until next year to get our latest hit The X-Files, but the first details of its next mini-series are already starting to emerge. Following confirmation that Mulder and Scully will be back, writer and producer Glen Morgan has teased what fans can expect from the new season. Speaking to the Den Of Geek website, Morgan also confirmed that he will be writing two episodes for the upcoming series. And, even better news, he reveals that his brother, Darin, will also write again. Which is the best news of all since Dazzling Dazza Morgan is The Man. On his own return to the SF drama, Glen Morgan added: 'It's the same as it's been for twenty years. Everyone gets along, it's like a family.' FOX recently confirmed that The X-Files will return to screens next year with a ten-episode run, compared to the last series' six.
Of course, at the moment, both David and From The North favourite Gillian are a bit busy with other projects. Both of which have their own rabid following.
And, speaking of the latter, Gillian's performance as Media on American Gods has already provided viewers with some iconic cultural icons, but there were a couple of famous faces that we missed out on. While we've recently seen her as Lucille Ball and Marilyn Monroe, in keeping with the Neil Gaiman novel's continuity of Media manifesting as female characters, the Starz series also gave us Media as David Bowie and Gillian has revealed the list of powerful male pop icons that Media could have taken on. 'The fact that she does manifest as male and female and however Bowie might identify himself,' she told Entertainment Weekly. 'I mean, certainly, you say "worship" and Michael Jackson was worshipped as much as any female icon we've ever had. Actually, we discussed Michael Jackson at one point as a character I might do and Prince.'
The trailer for next week's two-part series finale of Gotham has appeared, featuring our first look at the very excellent Xander Siddig as classic Batman villain Ra's Al Gul. The first episode of the two, incidentally, is called Destiny Calling - presumably, named after the james single of the same name and thus continuing Gotham's seemingly never-ending obsession with British punk, post-punk and indie. There's also a rather good behind-the-screens video featuring an interview with Xander doing the rounds. Sadly, if you're in the UK neither of these links will work. Obviously, this is the first consequence of Mister Trump deciding he knows so much better than everyone else and pulling out of the Paris Accord. Next, one imagines, he'll be announcing plans to build a wall to blot out the Sun.
Filming has now concluded on the fifteenth - O - series of Qi. As usual, sixteen episodes are in the can and, the good news is that, once again, that unfunny waste-of-space rancid dong-end Jack Whitehall is extremely conspicuous by his absence. Keith Telly Topping likes this news. Bring him more news of this sort. Offices & Occupations will feature David Mitchell (who, as usual, will be funny but very angry), debutante Deirdre O'Kane and Richard Osman. Odorous has guests Nish Kumar, Wor Geet Canny Ross Noble and the very lovely Sally Phillips who is making her first appearance on the popular long-running BBC comedy panel show. Oceans also features Mitchell along with Aisling Bea and Joe Lycett. Bea crops up for a second time this series in episode four, Occult, along with that unfunny twonk Russell Brand (making his first, and hopefully last, Qi appearance) and That Bloody Weirdo Noel Fielding. So, if you're looking for one episode this year to miss, that might be the one to go for. Organisms, the fifth episode into production, has a second appearance by Nish Kumar together with semi-regular Cariad Lloyd and Holly Walsh (another alleged comedian whom this blogger finds about as funny as a itchy rash on his scrota). Openings sees a welcome return to the show for the excellent Rich Hall on a panel with giggly Scottish small person Susan Calman and Josh Widdicombe. Objects includes another first-timer, Alice Levine along with, Cariad Lloyd and Wor Geet Canny Sarah Millican. Opposites's panel is Jimmy Carr, top Aussie bloke Colin Lane and another From The North favourite, the delightful Sara Pascoe. Overseas features the great Bill Bailey, Desiree Burch and, again, Colin Lane whilst Ova & Out also has Bill Bailey along with first-timer Grayson Perry and Jan Ravens. O'Come - which, one imagines will be this year's Christmas episodes - features panellists Jason Manford, Romesh Ranganathan and Holly Walsh. So, in case of the latter, that's Christmas well and truly ruined. Ologies sees Bailey's third appearance of the series, along with Phill Jupitus and Claudia Winkleman making her first Qi appearance. The thirteenth episode filmed, Operations, includes a fourth Bill Bailey guest slot (cos, one can never have too much of Bill), Rhod Gilbert and Katherine Ryan. Oddfellows guest-stars Jimmy Carr, From The North favourite Victoria Coren Mitchell and Jason Manford. The final two episodes into production were Odds & Ends with Matt Lucas, Romesh Ranganathan and Liza Tarbuck, and Omnishambles, featuring Stephen K Amos, Cally Beaton and Josh Widdicombe. Obviously, production order does not, necessarily, indicate broadcast order. All episodes are presented, as usual, by yer actual Sandi Toksvig (before she gets too busy baking stuff on Channel Four). And, Alan Davies will also be there. Doing, you know, stuff. The episodes will be shown on BBC2 in the autumn (and, if last series is anything to go by, into 2018). And, then they'll be turning up regularly on Dave.
Did you know, dear blog reader, that according to the Qi Elves Twitter account, 'in early drafts of Star Wars, Yoda was called Buffy'? God, I hope that's true! If this blogger ever does another edition of The Complete Slayer, that nugget is definitely going in!
There's a very fascinating Michael Palin interview with the Radio Times that this blogger urges - that's urges - you to check out, dear blog reader. Covering a wide range of subjects it can be read here.
The final and consolidated ratings for the Top Twenty Six programmes broadcast, week-ending Sunday 28 May 2017:-
1 Britain's Got Toilets - Sat ITV - 10.06m
2 Match Of the Day Live: The FA Cup Final - Sat BBC1 - 7.50m
3 Coronation Street - Mon ITV - 7.37m
4 EastEnders - Tues BBC1 - 6.70m
5 Emmerdale - Mon ITV - 5.93m
6 Doctor Who - Sat BBC1 - 5.79m
7 Six O'Clock News - Tues BBC1 - 5.58m
8 Countryfile - Sun BBC1 - 5.46m
9 Grantchester - Sun ITV - 4.95m
10 Antiques Roadshow - Sun BBC1 - 4.78m
11 The Durrells - Sun ITV - 4.76m
12 Ten O'Clock News - Tues BBC1 - 4.59m
13 Have I Got News For You - Fri BBC1 - 4.50m
14 Holby City - Tues BBC1 - 4.44m
15 BBC News - Sun BBC1 - 4.35m
16 The Fifteen Billion Pound Railway: The Final Countdown - Mon BBC2 - 3.91m
17 Keith & Paddy's Worthless, Unfunny, Shat-Stinking Picture Show - Sat ITV - 3.73m
18 Kat & Alfie: Redwater - Thurs BBC1 - 3.47m
19 The Met: Policing London - Wed BBc1 - 3.36m
20 Gogglebox - Fri C4 - 3.28m
21 Mrs Brown's Boys - Sat BBC1 - 3.26m
22 Long Lost Family: What Happened Next? - Tues ITV - 3.20m
23 The Graham Norton Show - Fri BBC1 - 3.15m
24 The RHS Chelsea Flower Show - Mon BBC2 - 3.14m
25 Paula - Thurs BBC2 - 3.08m
26 The Andrew Neil Interviews - Mon BBC1 - 2.95m
These consolidated figures, published weekly by the British Audience Research Bureau, include all viewers who watched programmes live and on various forms of catch-up TV and video-on-demand during the seven days after initial broadcast. They do not, however, include those who watched on BBC's iPlayer or ITV Player via their computers. Doctor Who had another close-to two million timeshift over the initially-reported overnight audience figure (4.01 million). ITV's wretched Take Me Out sank to one of its lowest ever consolidated audiences, but 2.65 million punters. It was a gold letter week for BBC2 with its three top-rated programme of the week - The Fifteen Billion Pound Railway, RHS Chelsea Flower Show coverage and the opening episode of the drama Paula all achieving audiences of three million plus. They were followed by Bake Off: Crème De La Crème (2.11 million), Great British Menu (1.97 million), the much-trailed White Gold (1.67 million), Horizon (1.63 million), the latest episode of Versailles (1.56 million) and Jane Austen: Behind Closed Doors by 1.47 million). Gogglebox was, as usual, Channel Four's highest-rated broadcast. The feature-length debut of The Handmaid's Tale followed with 2.83 million. Then came F1 Monaco Grand Prix coverage (2.25 million), The Last Leg With Adam Hills (2.01 million), The Trial: A Murder In The Family (also 1.65 million) and First Dates (1.62 million punters). The Yorkshire Vet was Channel Five's top performer with an audience of 1.89 million, ahead of Can't Pay? We'll Take It Away! (1.67 million), Great British Royal Shits (1.26 million), GPs: Behind Closed Doors (1.22 million) and Nightmare Tenants, Slum Landlords (1.15 million). The third episode of Elizabeth I drew 1.07 million and NCIS was watched by nine hundred and three thousand viewers. With the end of the Premier League season, Sky Sports 1's audiences suddenly took a dramatic tumble. Live EFL Playoffs was seen by three hundred and thirty six thousand punters whilst the Live Scottish Cup Final attracted one hundred and eighty three thousand. Never mind chaps, it'll soon be August again. On Sky Sports 2, a lack of the fibta was compensated by the start of the international cricket season with England's first two One Day Internationals against South Africa drawing two hundred and ninety two thousand and two hundred and thirty six thousand punters respectively. England won both, of course. Live International Rugby: England Versus The Barbarians had one hundred and thirty six thousand whilst Live Copa Del Rey Final was seen by ninety one thousand. Live Rugby League Summer Bash topped Sky Sports 3's list with fifty four thousand whilst, on Sky Sports 4, the Live European Tour Golf attracted seventy two thousand. Monday's Sky Sports Tonight was top of the shop on Sky Sports News HQ, with one hundred and fifty one thousand punters now that Jeff, Kammy and the Soccer Saturday chaps have been bunged into a cupboard for the summer. Try and resist the temptation to bunch Phil Thompson up the hooter if you can, lads. Sky F1's coverage of the Monaco Grand Prix was watched by five hundred and two thousand and, an additional one hundred and eighty six thousand on the Sky Sports Mix simultcast. Sky1's weekly top-ten was headed by the fourth episode of the much-trailed - and really good - Jamestown (an impressive 1.07 million viewers). Modern Family was seen by eight hundred and eighty three thousand, NCIS: Los Angeles by eight hundred and forty three thousand, Hawaii Five-0 by eight hundred and twenty one thousand and The Blacklist by seven hundred and thirty one thousand. The Flash had seven hundred and eleven thousand, The Simpsons, four hundred and sixty three thousand and Arrow, three hundred and ninety seven thousand whilst the latest episode of Supergirl continued with three hundred and seventy eight thousand. Sky Atlantic's list was topped by the latest episode of Blue Bloods (three hundred and two thousand) whilst Silicon Valley was seen by one hundred and eighty five thousand punters. Last Week Tonight With John Oliver had one hundred and sixty seven thousand, Game of Thrones, one hundred and fifty nine thousand, Veep, one hundred and thirty one thousand, the third episode of Twin Peak: The Return, one hundred and twenty four thousand and Band of Brothers, sixty three thousand. On Sky Living, the latest episode of Criminal Minds was seen by nine hundred and fifty four thousand whilst Elementary had eight hundred and fifty six thousand. Blindspot drew six hundred and ninety three thousand, Madam Secretary, four hundred and eighty eight thousand, Nashville, three hundred and forty four thousand and the worst-acted drama on television, Scandal, a shameful three hundred and thirty thousand. Sky Arts' Master Of Photography was watched by one hundred and sixty seven thousand viewers. The rarely-repeated Beside Bowie: The Mick Ronson Story had sixty thousand. Lewis was ITV3's top-rated drama (seven hundred and sixty four thousand viewers). Midsomer Murders was seen by six hundred and eighty thousand and Foyle's War by five hundred and thirty eight thousand. Benidorm headed ITV4's weekly list with two hundred and eighty eight thousand punters. ITV Racing Live was seen by two hundred and eighty three thousand. ITV2's most-watched broadcast was the latest episode of worthless rancid, stinking pile of fetid, toxic spew Z-List Celebrity Juice (1.30 million brain-damaged planks). Family Guy had seven hundred and seventy eight thousand whilst Britain's Got More Toilets (seven hundred and seven thousand) completed ITV2's list of shame. Vera headed ITV Encore's top ten with sixty seven thousand viewers, followed by DCI Banks (sixty five thousand) and Agatha Christie's Poirot (forty seven thousand). The Real Housewives Of Cheshire was seen by six hundred and fifty seven thousand of the sort of people 'for the hard of thinking' who enjoy such risible exercises in z-list-celebrity-by-non-entity on ITVBe. BBC4's list was topped by the dramatic finale of Hinterland (six hundred and forty nine thousand viewers) and from The North favourite Lucy Worsley's The First Georgians: The German Kings Who Made Britain (five hundred and eleven thousand). Next came Sharon Osbourne: The Dodgiest Deals In Rock And/Or Roll (four hundred and sixty one thousand), Secrets Of The Super Elements (four hundred and thirty six thousand) and Jago: A Life Underwater (four hundred and twenty thousand). 5USA's NCIS was viewed by five hundred and ninety four thousand viewers and Law & Order: Special Victims Unit by four hundred and ninety thousand. NCIS also featured in the weekly most-watch programme lists of Channel Five, CBS Action (one hundred and twenty two thousand), the Universal Channel (one hundred and three thousand) and FOX (seven hundred and seventy nine thousand viewers). Prison Break was second in FOX's viewing figures with seven hundred and thirty eight thousand. Bull had three hundred and seventy nine thousand whilst Outcast was seen by one hundred and eighty four thousand. The Universal Channel's latest episode of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit attracted three hundred and twelve thousand and Chicago Justice, two hundred and thirty six thousand. Bates motel had one hundred and thirty one thousand and Chicago Med, one hundred and nine thousand. On Dave, unfunny nonsense Taskmaster drew eight hundred and fifty four thousand. For shame, Great Britain, for shame. Dara O Briain's Go Eight Bit had three hundred and eighty three thousand. Channel staples Not Going Out, Would I Lie To You? and Qi XL attracted three hundred and forty seven thousand, three hundred and four thousand, two hundred and fifty three thousand respectively. Drama's Dalziel & Pascoe was watched by four hundred and ninety eight thousand viewers. New Tricks was seen by four hundred and eighty five thousand, The Inspector Lynley Mysteries by four hundred and sixty five thousand, Mercy Street by four hundred and fifty thousand, Death In Paradise by four hundred and forty seven thousand and Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries by three hundred and ninety two thousand. Life On Mars drew two hundred and ninety nine thousand. Alibi's highest-rated programme was Rosewood (one hundred and ninety nine thousand) whilst Death In Paradise had one hundred and forty four thousand, Father Brown, one hundred and nineteen thousand and Quantico, one hundred and eleven thousand. On the Sony Channel, Saving Hope drew fifty nine thousand, Orange Is The New Black, forty six thousand, Hustle, thirty eight thousand and [spooks], thirty thousand. Yesterday's repeat run of One Foot In The Grave attracted two hundred and forty thousand, whilst A Tale of Two Sisters was seen by two hundred and three thousand. On the Discovery Channel, Cooper's Treasure was watched by one hundred and sixty eight thousand viewers. Gold Divers had one hundred and sixty one thousand, Tanked, one hundred and twenty four thousand and Deadliest Catch one hundred and twenty one thousand punters. From The North favourite Wheeler Dealers topped the weekly list of Discovery Shed (twenty six thousand) and also appeared in the top ten of Discovery Turbo (twenty one thousand). Discovery History's The Executioners headed the top ten-list with thirty one thousand. Hitler's Gold attracted thirty thousand and Why Ancient Egypt Fell had twenty seven thousand. Time Team as watched by twenty two thousand. On Discovery Science, Ho It's Made was seen by fifty thousand viewers. On Quest, Salvage Hunters was watched by three hundred and thirty five thousand. Pick's The Force: Essex had three hundred and thirty six thousand and The World's Most Evil Murdering Bastards drew two hundred and sixty two thousand. National Geographic's list was headed by the latest episode of Genius with one hundred and fifty eight thousand viewers, followed by Wicked Tuna (ninety nine thousand) and Supercar Megabuild (eighty six thousand). National Geographic Wild's Man-Eater Of The Congo was watched by fifty two thousand and Hollywood Killer Bear by twenty eight thousand. The History Channel's weekly list was topped by Forged In Fire (one hundred and seventy eight thousand) and Vikings (one hundred and fifty four thousand). On Military History, Dogfights was watched by thirty three and punters. The Jail Atlanta: Sixty Days In, Britain's Darkest Tattoos, Ice Cold Killers and Unusual Suspects were Crime & Investigation's top-rated programmes with fifty four thousand, fifty two thousand, fifty one thousand and fifty thousand blood-and-snots-lovers, respectively. The Real Story With Maria Elena Salinas, Murderisation Calls and Truth Is Stranger Than Florida headed Investigation Discovery's list (sixty six thousand, fifty nine thousand and fifty thousand). The latest of GOLD's Mrs Brown's Boys repeats had three hundred and eight thousand. Comedy Central's largest audience of the week was for The Middle (three hundred and ninety two thousand). Your TV's repeat of Bones series five continued with one hundred and four thousand. On More4, The Good Fight was the highest-rated programme with seven hundred and six thousand. Selling Houses With Amanda Lamb had three hundred and forty six thousand and Twenty Four Hours In A&E, two hundred and ninety thousand. E4's list was topped by Made In Chelsea (1.03) million viewers) and Hollyoaks, (nine hundred and fifty six thousand). The Librarians, headed Syfy's top-ten with sixty four thousand. The Ninth Gate headed The Horror Channel's top ten (one hundred and three thousand), which also included Frozen (ninety five thousand), Seed Of Chucky (also ninety five thousand), Darkness Falls (eighty five thousand) and Horsemen (sixty two thousand). The movie Summertime topped Talking Pictures list with thirty two thousand thousand. The Terminator drew one hundred and ninety four thousand punters on Spike. Attenborough's Paradise Birds was watched by twenty six thousand on Eden. The Zoo and Pit Bulls & Parolees were the Animal Planet's most-watched programmes with thirty five thousand and thirty three thousand respectively. Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders on W attracted two hundred and fifty six thousand punters. Stacey Dooley: Booze, Bar Crawls & Bulgaria had one hundred and eighty two thousand. On the True Crime channel, The Riverside Killer had eighty thousand punters. True Entertainment's M*A*S*H was watched by one hundred and sixteen thousand. Taggart had one hundred thousand fans of marrrrdahhhh. Rick Stein's Taste Of Italians Opera attracted sixty four thousand on Good Food. TLC's list was headed by Say Yes To The Dress (one hundred and sixty three thousand). Shameful waste-of-oxygen Geordie Shore on MTV was viewed by eight hundred and seventy six thousand people who enjoy watching attention-seeking glakes swanning around Th' Toon like the own the drum. Most Haunted was seen by three hundred and thirty two thousand people who really do need their heads examining for signs of brains on Really. Mr Bean: The Animated Series attracted ninety two thousand on Boomerang.

Typical, isn't it? You're asked to appear on one of your country's biggest dating shows and then you can't take part because your penis is too big. German rapper Farid Bang (stop tittering at the back, please) revealed on Facebook that while the producers of Adam Sucht Eva had asked him to take part in the show, he had to turn them down because his manhood was simply too massive. 'I finally made it. Adam is looking for Eve,' he wrote in a Facebook post last month (helpfully translated by the Sun). 'Unfortunately, I have to cancel because of the fact that my voluminous manhood feature would worry German viewers watching in their homes. It would give people complexes, which would also greatly increase the divorce rate.'
This week's NCIS series finale should, in theory at least, see the long-awaited wedding of Tim McGee and Delilah. However, TV Guide suggests that things may not go smoothly. Which is very unusual for a TV wedding, obviously.
Twenty two new episodes of The Blacklist's fifth series will begin in the autumn. While NBC hasn't officially announced a date for the series premiere yet, they have announced that the series will be moving form Thursday nights to Wednesdays.
Britain's Got Talent judge and resident waste-of-oxygen Amanda Holden has 'come under fire' for being a woman and wearing a dress, after viewers 'slammed' her latest outfit choice as 'inappropriate.' 'Slammed', of course, being banal tabloid-speak for 'criticised' only with more syllables. Following Thursday's live semi-final, Amanda found herself the centre of attention of both judges and viewers alike after she went for it with a plunging, bejewelled dress. Ofcom confirmed that it received two hundred and sixteen whinges about the judge's attire from people with nothing better to do with their time, seemingly. In a statement to the Sun, the broadcasting watchdog clarified: 'We will assess these complaints before deciding whether or not to investigate.' Or, whether to tell those making such whinges to grow the fek up. This blogger's money is on the latter, frankly.
The return of Nigella Lawson (she has her knockers) and a 'hard-hitting film' from sour-faced Anne Robinson are among the 'highlights' of the BBC's upcoming slate of factual programming. BBC factual controller Alison Kirkham also announced more than thirty five hours of new content starring the likes of Chris Packham and Miriam Margolyes on Thursday. Lawson makes her BBC2 comeback for the six-part series Nigella: At My Table, in which she 'shares the dishes her own family love most and tweaks each of those recipes in her own inimitable style.' And, licks the spoon afterwards. Obviously. 'I'm excited to be making this new series and to share with viewers many new recipes alongside favourites that have evolved as I've cooked them over the years,' she said. 'At My Table continues my celebration of home cooking, infusing everyday with pleasure and flavour. What matters most in life is the connections we have with each other and food is always at the heart of this.' Nigella: At My Table marks her return to TV for the first time since Simply Nigella ended in 2015. Robinson will mark the fiftieth anniversary of the Abortion Act of 1967 in a one-off documentary where 'a select group will hear evidence on both sides of the abortion debate.' BBC2's Abortion: What Britain Really Thinks will then ask that same group how they would rewrite the the Abortion Act, which established the circumstances in which an abortion is considered legal and which circumstances are still punishable under the law. 'Abortion remains one of the most contentious and highly debated subjects,' Robinson said. 'For millions of women, worldwide it's likely to be a traumatic choice. During the course of a ground-breaking programme we will get to prod and probe the subject, as never before. A woman's right to choose? A father's right to have a say? After what time is an abortion unacceptable? Is it insupportable at any time? Fifty years on from the l967 Abortion Act we will discover just what the nation now thinks about abortion.' Chris Packham's Me & My Asperger's is 'a journey into the mind of the presenter' as he tries to share how the development disorder shapes his view of the world. The BBC2 film also follows Chris as he interviews a family putting their child through a controversial form of 'treatment' in hopes of 'curing' his Asperger's and tells the presenter's own life story through interviews with his sister and partner. On BBC1, Miriam Margolyes will take a trip across the one thousand mile stretch of Middle-America from Chicago to New Orleans to examine how the country's political landscape has changed since the election of Donald Trump. After living in Los Angeles for more than fifteen years, Miriam is struggling to come to grips with a country that seems to have so drastically altered its tolerant political leanings over the past year. 'I am tremendously excited to be making this series for the BBC on an extraordinary journey of discovery in America at a unique time in its history,' the actress said. Three sixty-minute episodes of Miriam's Great American Adventure have been commissioned. The BBC has also commissioned an interview with Prince Harry about the twentieth anniversary of his mother Diana's death, a season of specials about the seventieth anniversary of the Partition of India, a Britain's Greatest Invention competition featuring Len Goodman, David Harewood and Angela Scanlon, as well as a home makeover show starring Claudia Winkleman.
She isn't the first TV presenter you might associate with a drugs test, but Angela Rippon has tested extremely positive for opiates after eating poppy seeds in a loaf of bread. A likely story. The test picked up the presence of morphine, derived from opium, after Rippon ate a loaf of poppy seed bread and a poppy seed bagel over the course of three days for the fourth series of Rip Off Britain: Food. The experiment came about after a contributor to the programme claimed that he had been fired from a previous job at a power station after a routine drug test showed opiates in his system. Dumbfounded at first, he realised that the answer must be the poppy seed bread he had eaten for his breakfast toast. Rippon said: 'In more than fifty years of broadcasting I've found myself in a number of extraordinary situations. But I must say I never thought I'd find myself taking a drugs test, let alone have it come back positive.' The BBC show explains how drug tests are becoming more common in work environments where employees drive, operate heavy machinery or where the job is a matter of public safety. Consulting Professor Atholl Johnston, a toxicology expert at Queen Mary University, about her own result, Rippon asked: 'Does that mean that if I was taking a test as an employee, that my employers could say there's a possibility, Rippon, that you're a drug taker?' Johnston said: 'The amount of morphine in a poppy seed will vary quite considerably depending on when and where it was harvested. In fact, when tests have been done there's about a six hundred-fold variation in the amount of morphine in poppy seeds.'
The woman who helped Channel Four snatch The Great British Bake Off from under the Beeb's noses is leaving the broadcaster after more than six years. Jay Hunt, who vacates her post in September, said that it had been 'a thrilling time to be at the helm' as chief creative officer. Hunt had claimed that the purchase of Bake Off from Greed Productions was to 'save it for the nation.' One or two people even believed her. Mind you, this is also the woman that once commissioned notorious 'comedy' flop Big Top for the BBC so, pretty much everything she says should, probably, be taken with a pinch of salt. She had previously been named as a favourite to take over from C4 chief executive David Abraham, who is stepping down. A decision on his successor is expected to be announced within days. Hunt became the channel's chief creative officer in 2011, having previously been BBC1 controller. As well as buying Bake Off, Hunt also bought the UK rights to The Handmaid's Tale. She said that she was 'looking forward to an exciting summer of sport' and 'the richest autumn schedule we've ever had, with big shows from the Great British Bake Off to Electric Dreams,' promising it would be 'business as usual' until she leaves. In a statement, she said: 'I've loved being at Channel Four and am incredibly proud of how far we have come creatively. From the multiple channel of the year awards to the raft of global hits, we've had real success. I've been lucky to have a superlative boss in David Abraham and to have been supported by the best commissioning team in the business. I also owe a huge thank you to the brilliant producers, directors, writers and on-screen talent who've made it such a thrilling time to be at the helm.'
The BBC have confirmed that the third series of Poldark - further shirtless scenes and all - will begin on Sunday 11 June.
A former BBC radio presenter has told a court he found watching his wife with a young stranger 'erotic.' Tony Wadsworth claimed that his wife Julie was, 'a very special human being' who had found the daytime encounter in a Warwickshire woodland 'exhilarating.' The couple are currently on trial at Warwick Crown Court accused of assaulting seven boys in the 1990s. Mrs Wadsworth accepts having sexual encounters with 'young men' but has repeatedly denied that they were under age. The husband and wife duo were employed in BBC local radio at the time of the alleged offences. Giving evidence in his defence, Wadsworth described two separate encounters involving up to three males each time. He told the court that they appeared to be 'sixteen, seventeen, possibly eighteen.' Wadsworth described a claim that he had illegal sexual encounters as 'outrageous,' and denied a prosecution allegation that he 'had a threesome' with his wife and a boy at his then home in Warwickshire. When describing the couple's first encounter in the woods with one of the complainants, Wadsworth said he found it 'erotic' to watch his wife with the young stranger. 'She felt empowered as a woman,' he said. He claimed that he and his wife had been 'kissing and cuddling' when they became aware of a young man watching them. Wadsworth said: 'I turned, looked around and saw this fella and must confess it was something of a shock. It was clear what he was hoping to do. He came forward as I stepped to one side.' He said that the encounter took place 'without a word being exchanged' and added: 'After the heat of the moment was over, it was all very embarrassing and awkward. We tidied ourselves up and we all went our separate ways.' Asked by his barrister Michelle Clarke why he allowed his wife to be approached by another man, Wadsworth said that her past with an abusive partner had 'left her insecure.' He told jurors that he wanted to prove others found her sexually desirable. 'I think it's fair to say that Julie was and to some extent still is today a damaged person,' he said. 'And as our relationship developed she began to confide in me and tell me about her abusive partner who was absolutely vile - the things he perpetrated on her. So I did my best to bring out the woman inside her, I suppose.' Mrs Wadsworth has accepted going on to have a sexual relationship with the first complainant, after bumping into him some years later. Her husband claimed that he was angry when he discovered that tryst and rejected a Facebook friend request from the complainant in 2015. He said the couple - who previously worked for BBC Leicester and Birmingham-based BBC WM - had taken part in a second woodland encounter involving three males. Afterwards he said that the couple agreed what was happening was 'ridiculous, foolhardy and stupid and there would be no repetition.' The couple, from Broughton Astley, Leicestershire, deny five counts of outraging public decency which allege they engaged in sexual activity 'against a tree' in view of others between July 1992 and June 1996. Mrs Wadsworth has pleaded not guilty to eleven charges of indecent assault, while her husband denies nine counts of the same offence. The trial extremely continues.
Police have confirmed they are now investigating the death of a zookeeper killed by a tiger. Rosa King died at Hamerton Zoo Park in Cambridgeshire on Monday. Police attended the scene, but on Tuesday morning said publicly that King's death was 'non-suspicious' and that they would not be investigating the death. Particularly as they had a reasonably good idea who done it. They have now said that whilst the 'circumstances' are not suspicious, her death is still 'unexplained.' So, presumably, the tiger is now being considered innocent until proven guilty. A joint investigation by police and Huntingdonshire District Council - which is responsible for licensing the zoo - is under way. A Cambridgeshire Police spokeswoman said that the decision to collaborate on the case had been made on Tuesday afternoon. A spokesman for the zoo said it was 'co-operating fully with the investigation.' Which, again, is a very odd thing for anyone to say since, if the didn't co-operate that would be a) mighty suspicious and b) quite possibly illegal in and of itself.
Two South Carolina men were charged with harassing an alligator after forcing the creature to drink beer. Joseph Andrew Floyd Junior and Zachary Lloyd Brown were reportedly on a public dirt road near the city of Hardeeville on Wednesday when they saw the young alligator crossing the road. (To get to the other side, just in case you were wondering why the alligator crossed the road.) The duo picked up the startled reptile and poured beer down its throat before releasing it. It later swam away in a nearby pond, Floyd Junior told state wildlife authorities. The two men then uploaded photographs of their crass and daft antics to social media. Which wasn't a particularly smart thing to do as it subsequently led to their arrest. The men were charged with harassing wildlife under South Carolina's alligator management legislation. 'Alligators are protected under state law and even federal law where they are still listed as threatened solely due to their similarity of appearance to other endangered crocodilians worldwide,' said SCDNR alligator programme coordinator Jay Butfiloski. I'm not making this up, dear blog reader, that's the chap's name. Whatchamagonnag'do?
Police arrested a man Thursday who was suspected of throwing semen on women in various Portland-area stores. Manuel Banuelos-Alcala, a forty seven-year-old Beaverton man, was arrested in the parking lot of a Safeway store on Southwest Barbur Boulevard on suspicion of 'third-degree sex abuse,' Portland police said in a news release. Detectives learned after his arrest that he 'likely' threw semen on another woman Thursday inside the Safeway, police added. A police spokesman previously said that a man, since identified as Banuelos-Alcala, was suspected of such activity at Lamb's Garden Home Marketplace, a K-Mart in Beaverton and Milwaukie and Barbur Boulevard Safeway stores. Portland police publicised the semen-throwing cases and a woman contacted detectives to say she was also a victim of such activity the previous week. Detectives were doing follow-up work at the store on Thursday afternoon when they saw someone matching the suspect's description in a parked car. They approached and arrested him without incident. Police said Banuelos-Alcala could face more charges. Detectives think he may also have thrown semen at other people who didn't realise it.
Staff working at a 7-Eleven in Oregon were just trying to serve up some hot dogs when their microwave suddenly exploded. They called the police, and, when the authorities checked out the situation, they didn’t find a bomb inside. Instead, they said that it contained a urine sample. According to local Beaverton, Oregon news station KATU, officers evacuated the convenience store and brought in the explosives unit. After careful inspection, they determined that a urine sample had been wrapped in a hand warmer and was being heated in the microwave by someone who fled the scene before the explosion. Whilst Oregon is one of the few places in the US where recreational cannabis use is legal, it's still legal for employers and the government to drug test people. Police believe that the person they are looking for was on their way to a drug test and called into the store to heat up a sample of clean urine. 'It appears that whoever was on his/her way to do a drug test did not feel that it was warm enough, so they decided to microwave it at 7-Eleven,' Mike Rowe, a police spokesperson, said. 'The chemical make-up of the hand warmer did not agree with the microwave and exploded.' Police plan to check the security cameras to find their suspect.
Reports that a tainted buffet caused 'a severe diarrhoea incident' at a Florida strip club are entirely false. The rumour stemmed from a regional fake news website and quickly made its way around social media where, seemingly, many daft glakes only went and believed it. According to Snopes, the fake claim originated on the Border Herald, a 'disreputable website' which 'masquerades as a genuine news source.' The article claimed that after eating a free buffet consisting of chicken, ribs and shrimp, the dancers and guests at the strip club suddenly became ill. It purported: 'A popular strip club in Jacksonville, Florida has been closed until further notice after several dancers contracted diarrhea [sic] last Friday night. The cause of the incident, which remains under investigation, has been initially linked to a contaminated buffet at the venue. While the investigation continues, the venue has not been named. Patrons at the venue who were sitting near the stage were the most directly affected by the incident, which occurred close to 11pm. According to a witness at the venue, three dancers were performing on separate poles when the first sign of trouble emerged. "They had a hard time getting off the stage," said one witness, who stayed to watch the aftermath of the incident. 'High heels and diarrhea [sic] really don't mix."' Predictably, no news media local to Jacksonville reported any such occurrence on 27 May 2017 (or at any other time for that matter). Border Herald is one of many regional fake news sites, very few of which carry disclaimers warning readers that their content is untrustworthy.
A Swiss court has issued what may be the first-ever fine for clicking the 'Like' button on social media, with CNN reporting that a man will have to pay a roughly four thousand dollars fine for liking - and thus, in the court's view, both sharing and endorsing - a series of statements which were found to be naughty and libellous. The comments in question were written by a third party and, apparently accused an animal rights activist of 'anti-Semitism, racism and fascism.' (According to BBC News, the activist also successfully sued several other people who had actually made the comments in the first place.) 'The defendant clearly endorsed the unseemly content and made it his own,' the court said in a statement explaining its decision. Facebook had distanced itself from the case, claiming that there was 'no direct link' to its platform. In any case, the decision - which seems to be the first time that a 'like' or other reaction button has been legally interpreted as 'speech' per se - suggests just one more reason we all need to be careful while posting online. So, the next time you see someone on Facebook suggesting all of the horrible things they'd like to see done to Donald Trump or Theresa May or Jeremy Corbyn, you might want to think twice before clicking 'like'. Who knows who may be watching and how pure-dead rock-hard their lawyers are? Meanwhile, there's still no word on what kind of harsh penalty awaits anybody still using the 'Poke' button in 2017.
Armed police evacuated a school after a student wearing a Darth Vader costume was mistaken for a potential attacker in a bullet-proof vest. Officers arrived at Ashwaubenon High School in Green Bay, Wisconsin, after a parent called to say they had seen someone walking through a back door 'carrying a bag and wearing what looked like body armour and a mask.' Students were then evacuated and another nearby school was placed on lockdown as armed officers searched the area. But, the alert ended when officers realised that the suspected assailant was, in fact, a child who had dressed up for Star Wars Day - an annual celebration observed by fans of the SF franchise. Police captain Jody Crocker said that the parent was 'correct' to call the emergency services when most people probably believe that they were being a daft plank. He said: 'The saying "If you see something, say something" certainly applies to this and we always encourage people to report suspicious activity. The outfit actually looked like he wearing a bullet-proof vest or a flak jacket. Coupled with wearing that mask and walking into the back door of the school [it] made a person very concerned.' School headteacher Brian Nelson said he would be speaking to students about the incident as Darth Vadar costumes 'are not part of the dress code.' He added: 'We'll move forward from this and make it a learning experience for our students so we don't have to repeat this.' He also added that the Death Star would have to be bombed in retaliation for all this malarkey. A spokesperson for the student body reportedly said 'these are not the droids you're looking for ...'
The US space agency has renamed its mission to 'touch the Sun' after a living scientist. The Solar Probe Plus mission will now carry the name of Eugene Parker, who conducted pioneering work on the solar winds - the stream of charged particles flowing out from the Sun's atmosphere. The spacecraft will swoop to within four million miles of the Sun's surface, enduring temperatures of about two thousand five hundred degrees. The mission is due to launch in 2018. 'NASA has never named a spacecraft after a researcher during their lifetime,' said Thomas Zurbuchen, the head of NASA's science mission directorate. The change, which comes a few days before Professor Parker's ninetieth birthday, means that Solar Probe Plus, will now be known as the Parker Solar Probe. The mission was originally announced in 2009, and is set to launch next year from Florida's Kennedy Space Centre on a Delta IV Heavy rocket. NASA scientist Nicola Fox, commented: 'I like to call it the coolest, hottest mission under the Sun.'
Headline of the week, this week goes to the Metro (not a real newspaper) and their delightful Please Don't Put Wasp Nests In Your Vagina. Which sounds like pretty sensible advice, frankly. And, the Indi, seemingly concurs.
The Algonquin Police Department and several McHenry, Kane and Lake County fire departments suspended an extensive search on Friday evening for the unidentified man whom witnesses said jumped into the Fox River late Thursday evening after failing to pay his tab at a nearby restaurant. The man had not been located as of Friday evening the Northwest Herald reported. After getting multiple leads about the identity of the man, one of the tips appeared to be valid and was being investigated, Algonquin Police Chief John Bucci said. The man was described as Middle Eastern or Hispanic, about six feet tall, thirty years old and weighing one hundred and sixty pounds, police said. He was last seen wearing a blue shirt, jean shorts and black shoes. And, looking rather wet.
The driver of a minivan swallowed his false teeth, then hit a couple of parked cars in Washington State. Spokane Police said that the driver was heading south when he swallowed his teeth, lost control of the minivan and ran into two cars in front of The Hub Tavern, forcing one of the parked cars to crash into the bar. 'Major structural damage' followed. The driver of the minivan then kicked out his window because he couldn't open his door after the crash. The driver suffered minor injuries and was taken to the hospital to have his stomach pumped to get the teeth back. Spokane Police also said that the driver does not have a driver's licence.
A man from Arizona was arrested after being captured on video having sex with a horse. Yuma County Sheriff's Office said that Christopherson Maynes was caught having sexual intercourse with a mare on a property in Dateland on Monday evening. YCSO said it had 'recovered video evidence' of the suspect. Maynes was arrested on charges of bestiality, indecent exposure and animal cruelty. The mare was said to be unharmed but did look as though it was owed an explanation.
The bodies of a woman and two children have been found at a flat in Liverpool that alcoholic wife-beating Scouse junkie John Lennon once lived in. Police were called to a ground floor flat on Falkner Street, near Toxteth shortly before 7:30pm on Tuesday. A man was detained on suspicion of murderisation before being taken to hospital after falling ill. Merseyside Police believe that the incident was 'domestic in nature.' The statement added that police were not looking for anyone else in connect with the incident. Neighbours snitched to the press that the property in the Georgian Quarter was regularly visited by Be-Atles fans on tours of the city. The flat was formerly owned by the band's manager, Brian Epstein, and Lennon lived there with his first wife Cynthia shortly after they married in 1962. A neighbour, who did not want to be named, said: 'The tours are always stopping at the house because John Lennon used to live there.' He said that a family with two young children had lived in the flat. 'I didn't know them, I just knew there was a family living there.'
On a somewhat related theme, dear blog reader, earlier this week this blogger had a great idea for a new TV detective show. They make records, they solve crime, they get screwed by a dodgy business manager; coming soon The Allen Klein Mysteries.
It was fifty years ago today (well, on Thursday of this week, anyway). Okay, so first a properly shocking revelation - Sergeant Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band is not the greatest LP ever released by anyone, ever no matter what a bunch of old hippies might try to tell you (it's no Motown Chartbusters Volume III and that's a fact). It's not even the best record ever made by The Be-Atles (a popular beat combo of the 1960s, you might've heard of them). In fact, it's not even in their top three (although it is, probably, fourth! Song-for-song it's not a patch on Revolver or Rubber Soul and, arguably, the best of The White Album just about tops it as well). And, a certain proportion of the subsequent critical backlash against it has more than a degree of truth about it (Charles Shaar Murray's infamous 1974 assassination of the LP in the NME which concluded 'Sgt Pepper was the point where rock and roll almost overdosed on its own pretensions, it appears we all had one hell of a lucky escape' was harsh but, given some of the hippy drivel that followed Pepper in its wake, probably a fair shout). It was a hugely influential record of course but, it's got to be noted, that was something of a double-edged sword as well. If one was to start listing records that 'would never have been made if Sgt Pepper hadn't been,' starting with the likes of Their Satanic Majesties Request, Days Of Future Past and Axis: Bold As Love and then taking in things over the next few years as diverse as Ogdon's Gold Nut Flake and Tommy, there's some genuinely great stuff there but, it has be said, you really wouldn't be all that far into such a list before you start including some properly woeful, fey, embarrassingly rotten hippy shite. Indeed, one could agree that the entire Prog genre starts here. For which, you know, there have been War Crimes tribunals ... But, having said all that, Sgt Pepper's is still a beautifully produced record, full of really good - and highly memorable - songs; its cultural impact may have been overplayed at the time and, with hindsight, seems a bit ridiculous now (how was it Kenneth Tynan described it? 'The greatest moment in the history of Western Civilisation'!) This blogger thinks, ultimately, that the old wife-beating Scouse junkie had it closest to the truth when he said about Sgt Pepper: 'It worked cos we said it worked!' It still sounds fekkin' great in Mono, though!
There were lots of discussions on Facebook about Sgt Pepper on Thursday which this blogger joined in with great relish. And, it gave this blogger more than one excuse to use his favourite Be-Atles photograph of all ever. Which is this one.
In case you didn't know, it was taken by yer actual (then) Linda Eastman  few days after she first met her future husband, Paul. The location was at Brian Epstein's palatial Belgravia gaff on-or-around 19 May 1967 at the Sgt Pepper press launch party. Only a select few photographers had been invited but Linda - who had just come over to the UK at the invitation of Eric Burdon to shoot some London bands in their natural environment for an American magazine - had met Macca at The Bag Of Nails or The Ad-Lib or The Scotch Of St James a couple of nights earlier and - presumably, just before he took her back to Cavendish Avenue to, ahem, 'see his etchings' - he invited her along to the party and said 'bring your camera'! Keith Telly Topping loves this particular one (which was, reportedly, Linda's own favourite), it's such a natural photo and it captures them at their happiest (and, probably most pissed and/or stoned. George Harrison, in particular, looks var-nigh comatose).
Remember, kids, today is Sitarday.
Also on Thursday evening, this blogger attended Uncle Scunthorpe's 'special' Record Player event at the Tyneside - the new Giles Martin mix of Sgt Pepper on vinyl. And, truly, it was marvellous in my sight and hearing (The Be-Atles actually had a bass player, it would seem. Who knew?!) Uncle Scunthrope, as usual, put on a superb show - apart from him believing that Wilfred Pickles rather than Wilfred Bramble played Paul's clean grandfather in A Hard Day's Night. Elementary schoolboy-type error, there, Uncle Scunthorpe. Yer actual Keith Telly Topping, with his good friends Christian and Vicky, only went and won the quiz, didn't they? (Keith Telly Topping bagging the ten - ten - English pounds). And then, Chris and Gillian and Billy and Steph dragged - dragged, he alleges. That's this blogger's story and he's sticking to it - yer actual Keith Telly Topping down to the Bacchus and, literally, poured a pint of lager down his throat. Which was probably very bad for this blogger on all sorts of levels but it felt rather nice at the time. Good night, that. This blogger had quite forgotten what they were like.
On Friday morning, dear blog reader, there was a programme on the National Geographic Wild channel called Bite, Sting, Kill. Oh, if only someone would, what a much nicer world this would be (especially after hearing a brief snatch of the hateful whinging Waalsend slapheed's truly horrifying version of 'A Day In The Life' during the quiz at the previous evening's Record Player). Oh Sting, where is thy death?
The blog's suddenly started to get popular again of late, dear blog reader. No, Keith Telly Topping has no idea why either. (In case anyone is wondering about that one outrageous spike in the middle of 2011, it occurred when From The North got linked-to on the official House website because we'd posted on old photo of Huge Laurie his very self in the altogether from the shooting of Maybe Baby. From The North always used to pootle along with a daily average of between five hundred and one thousand page-hits in those days and that particularly day it got four thousand two hundred and ninety five. Ironically, it was very the day that yer actual Keith Telly Topping was in Edinburgh with The Legend That Is Alfie Joey doing Monopolise at the Comedy Festival so he missed the whole bloody malarkey. This blogger got home to Stately Telly Topping Manor at about 4am, switched on the computer and said 'hang on ... what's been going on here, then?!'
And now, today's thought for the day.
Roy Barraclough, who played Rovers Return landlord Alec Gilroy in Coronation Street, has died aged eighty one. Actor and character were poles apart – Barraclough quiet and modest, Alec pompous, shifty and mean-spirited – but they shared a love of the theatrical that stemmed from childhood. Lancashire-born Barraclough was also known for his long-time partnership with Les Dawson, especially their portrayal of gossiping housewives Cissie and Ada. His death on Thursday morning came after a short illness, his agent said. Gilroy was actually the fifth character to be played by Barraclough on Corrie. In 1965, he was a guide when Street residents visited the Blue John Mines in Derbyshire, in 1967, he was an uncredited vacuum cleaner demonstrator a year later, he was I-Spy Dyer, the window cleaner who sold his round to Stan Ogden and there was a role in 1970 as a smarmy bed sales assistant. Alec was first seen in the long-running serial in 1972 as steward of the New Victoria working men's club, where Rita Fairclough sang. Three years later, he was back running a theatrical agency that managed Rita, the piano accompanist Ernest Bishop and some more bizarre acts. He joined the soap permanently in 1986, with his character marrying Bet Lynch and the pair becoming fixtures behind the bar of the Rovers Return.
Barraclough described Alec as 'an amalgam of people I've known,' adding 'there's the devious side of a few agents. He was quite nasty in the early days, with a hard streak, but he has mellowed over the years.' The actor constantly had itchy feet to get back to stage work. For a couple of years, he was appeased when the Street's producers allowed him eight weeks away from the studios. In 1992, he decided to call time on his run in the soap. He was back, briefly, three years later before returning full-time for another three-year run before he finally left Coronation Street at Christmas 1998. Executive producer Kieran Roberts said: 'Roy was a delightful person as well as a wonderful actor and will be greatly missed by all of us connected with the programme. The fact that the character of Alec Gilroy was at the heart of the show for so many years and was held in such affection by so many fans is a tribute to Roy's genius, for drama as well as comedy.' Roy was born in Preston, the only child of Phil, a goalkeeper for Fleetwood FC, then of the Lancashire Combination league and his wife, Florence. Roy fell in love with the theatre through visits to Preston's Royal Hippodrome and Blackpool's Grand. During twelve years working as a draughtsman at a Preston engineering factory he acted with local amateur dramatics groups in his spare time and spent a summer as a holiday-camp entertainer on the Isle of Wight. In 1962, he turned professional by joining the repertory company at the New Theatre, Huddersfield, as stage manager and, within two weeks, he was acting. He sometimes played the piano, too, most notably accompanying the comedy star Hylda Baker. He moved on to the Victoria theatre, Stoke, where he was upset by poor reviews of his performance as Falstaff in Henry IV, but one of his contemporaries, Ben Kingsley, encouraged him to carry on. In 1966, Barraclough joined the company at Oldham Coliseum theatre, performing alongside Barbara Knox and Julie Goodyear, who had both already made brief appearances in Coronation Street. TV beckoned, with bit parts in the Manchester-based Granada Television series City '68, The War Of Darkie Pilbeam, Gazette and Tom Grattan's War. Then came the regular role of Harry Everitt, the scruffy husband of Lorna (played by Kathy Staff), in Castle Haven (1969), an ITV daytime serial about the residents of flats in two large Victorian houses in a Yorkshire coastal town. Both comedy and drama roles followed. He played Frank Wilgoose, the lodger of a feuding married couple, in the sitcom The More We Are Together (1971) and gained a legion of young fans in the children's series Pardon My Genie (1972) as Mister Cobbledick, owner of a hardware shop where the polishing of an old watering can released a four thousand year-old genie (played first by Hugh Paddick, then by Arthur White).
An even bigger audience saw him alongside Dawson when their partnership began. Roy joined the comedian in 1972 for the fourth series of Sez Lez, when their Cissie Braithwaite and Ada Shufflebotham characters emanated from an impromptu performance they did while waiting to record a sketch, based on their shared love of the variety performer Norman Evans's Fanny Fairbottom drag routines on the 1930s. Barraclough fashioned Cissie as the 'more refined' of the pair, influenced by an aunt of his 'who always thought she was slightly above the rest of the family.' Together, they 'mee-mawed' (mouthed words) and adjusted their bosoms to audience hilarity. Sir Ian McKellen rated the pair in the top ten best drag acts ever. The partnership with Dawson continued until the comedian's sudden and tragic death in 1993. A year earlier, after finishing his first lengthy stint in Coronation Street, Barraclough starred in Feed, a stage play written specially for him by one of the serial's writers, Tom Elliott, and performed at the Bolton Octagon. He played Harry Troop, a retired entertainer in a nursing home recalling his glory days in the music halls. In 1994, another Street writer, John Stevenson, created the TV sitcom Mother's Ruin for him. Barraclough took the part of Leslie, a bachelor and health food shop owner living with his mother (played by Dora Bryan). More successful was Jimmie Chinn's 1994 TV play A Different Way Home, with Barraclough as a fussy old bachelor trying to settle differences with his sister following the death of their mother. Three years later, he starred in a stage version at Oldham Coliseum, playing both parts as monologues and he took the play on tour in 2001. His other theatre roles included Doctor Watson to Robert Powell's Sherlock Holmes in a 1993 tour of Sherlock Holmes: The Musical. Later TV parts included the corrupt Blackpool mayor Onan Van Kneck in the comedy-thriller serial Funland (2005) and the Reverend Barticle in All The Small Things (2009), Debbie Horsfield's drama about a church choir. He enjoyed a short run in Last Tango In Halifax as Maurice, the lifelong friend of Derek Jacobi's septuagenarian enjoying a twilight-years romance, which was ended by his character's death. He also had a cameo as himself in the cult 2002 movie Twenty Four-Hour Party People. Roy was seen on-screen most recently last year, in a - sadly, woeful - revival of Are You Being Served? His numerous other TV appearances included Last Of The Summer Wine and Casualty, with stage work including Death Of A Salesman. Roy was awarded the MBE for services to drama and charity and had been the patron of Willow Wood Hospice in Greater Manchester for more than twenty years. He died at the hospice following his illness.
In 1977, the television presenter John Noakes, who died this week at the age of eighty three, climbed Nelson's Column without a safety harness (or any insurance) for an episode of the BBC's enduring children's magazine show Blue Peter. After shinning up one ladder, Noakes swung himself dauntlessly onto another one, tilted forty five degrees from the vertical. 'At this level,' said Noakes in a matter-of-fact voiceover, 'the plinth on which Nelson stands overhangs the column. I found myself literally hanging on from the ladder with nothing at all beneath me.' Nothing, that was, but a fifty-metre drop to the lions of Trafalgar Square below. Truly, they don't make television presenters like John Noakes any more. 'It's a long way up, really,' he said with magnificent understatement as he stood on the plinth alongside Britain's naval hero, a remark so refreshingly bland it proved that Blue Peter was not always scripted. During his twelve years as a Blue Peter presenter, Noakes often climbed things or jumped out of other things going at high speed - for a while, held the British civilian freefall parachuting record, twenty five thousand feet, as well as, once, memorably sliding down three-quarters of the Cresta Run on his arse after the bobsleigh he was travelling in overturned. Soon after John joined Blue Peter in December 1965, his then co-presenter Christopher Trace, who had no head for heights, had baulked at taking part in an outside broadcast which included climbing to the top of a tower crane. The show's then producer, Edward Barnes, asked Noakes if he would do it instead: 'Aye, all right, I'll have a go.' That daredevil can-do attitude stood John in good stead and marked him out from his more sensible co-presenters, Valerie Singleton, Peter Purves and Lesley Judd. There are fans of the show who will always remember the moment that Noakes bared his bruised bum to camera after coming off his bobsleigh as he shot down the Cresta Run. One simply can't imagine Peter or Val doing that. Noakes was the show's longest-serving presenter, appearing for more than twelve years and was often seen, on-screen with his dog, Shep. A family statement said that John had 'endured and suffered from' Alzheimer's disease in recent years. Whilst he will be greatly missed by his wife, family and many friends his release from continuing ill-health must be counted as a blessing,' it added. 'His many escapades with his faithful companion, Shep, during his time with Blue Peter, will live on in many peoples memories. That is how his family would like him remembered.' John Noakes was born the son of a mill worker in March 1934 in the Yorkshire village of Self near Halifax. His parents divorced when he was nine and John lived with his grandmother before going to a local fee-paying school on a scholarship where he excelled in cross country running and gymnastics. He quarrelled with his father and left home at sixteen to join the RAF as a mechanic. A year later he legally changed his surname to Noakes, after a well-known Canadian trumpeter of the time, Alfie Noakes, who had become his stepfather. Notoriously defensive in the few media interviews that he did, Noakes had always refused to reveal his original surname - Bottomley - on the grounds that he didn't like it. He left the RAF and went to work at Heathrow as an aircraft fitter for BOAC but he was already becoming interested in acting. A series of mundane jobs provided the money to attend acting school and he made his first professional appearance in a summer stage show with Cyril Fletcher. He spent six months in the Broadway production of Arnold Wesker's, Chips With Everything, before moving back to Britain to work in rep in Surrey where he met his wife, Vicky. In 1965 he was appearing in a play in Leicester when Blue Peter's editor, Biddy Baxter, spotted his photograph in a local paper. At the age of thirty one, ancient by the standards of modern children's presenters, he passed an audition and made his first appearance on Blue Peter on 30 December 1966.
He became instantly recognisable, not least because his broad Yorkshire accent was very much at odds with the Received Pronunciation which was the norm in the 1960s BBC. His first task was to conquer the nervousness engendered by having to perform on live TV so he decided to invent a character behind which he could hide. 'Idiot Noakes has an extrovert personality, is light-hearted and jokey,' he noted. 'A bit of a buffoon who would do anything for a laugh or a few pence. I switch the personality on when I turn up to do the job and off when I leave.' Noakes initially teamed up with two existing presenters, Christopher Trace and Valerie Singleton. When Trace left two years later he was replaced by Peter Purves, completing what many fans of a certain age still claim to be the classic Blue Peter presenter line-up. Whilst the handsome Purves - already a well-known face to the nation's youth from a six month stint on Doctor Who - was the school dandy and captain of the football team and Singleton the rather prim head girl, Noakes was the class joker, the cheeky boy in the back row constantly disrupting the lesson. He threw himself into the various challenges which came his way; white water rafting, climbing the mast on HMS Ganges and travelling up the Amazon were some of the high spots.
Like other presenters he was expected to have an animal and, in 1966, Patch arrived in the studio, the son of Petra, the existing Blue Peter dog. Patch died suddenly from a rare disease at the age of five and Noakes broke down in tears when he gave his young audience the sad news. But Patch's demise opened the door for Shep, an enthusiastic black and white Border Collie who became Noakes' new and constant companion. John became a favourite with young viewers as the show's action man, and continued to play on that image in several series of the spin-off series Go With Noakes (1976 to 1980), where he travelled around the UK with Shep. That led to his much overused catchphrase 'Get down, Shep!' which even became the title of a - really shite - single by the alleged 'comedy' group The Barron Knights. But, behind the scenes at Blue Peter, a furious row was developing between Noakes and Biddy Baxter. A legendarily formidable character, Baxter had very clear ideas of how her presenters should behave, refusing to allow them any editorial input and insisting they work from scripts rather than an autocue. Valerie Singleton, later recalled in an interview that Noakes was the only person capable of standing up to Baxter and getting away with it. Noakes complained of the long hours and poor pay, later saying that he had once worked for a nine week period with just a day and a half off. The demands were huge; a twice-weekly live programme coupled with a punishing schedule of location filming all took their toll. His feud with Baxter would continue to simmer; 'Biddy Baxter was an awful woman,' he said in 1999. 'I don't want to talk about her.' One another occasion, Noakes called her 'a stupid woman' during a televised 2008 documentary celebrating the show's fiftieth anniversary. In the same year he initially turned down an invitation to attend a reception at Buckingham Palace to mark fifty years of Blue Peter. 'Biddy was a very difficult woman,' he said.
'She was a bully who treated me like some country yokel from Yorkshire. I couldn't abide her then, so I won't pretend I am looking forward to rubbing shoulders with her now.' He finally relented after the Queen sent him a personal message naming him as her favourite Blue Peter presenter. Noakes quit the programme in 1978 sparking a huge row over the future of his partnership with Shep. He had been told he that would be allowed to keep the dog which, technically, belonged to the BBC, but he was specifically prevented from using Shep in any future advertising. Once he had left, Noakes duly recruited a similar-looking dog, called Skip, so that he could do a series of pet food commercials. After leaving Blue Peter Noakes worked for a further eighteen months on Go With Noakes, before setting off with his wife on a round-the-world yacht trip. The couple's voyage was scuppered when their boat was badly damaged by a giant wave off the coast of North Africa and they ended up in Mallorca, where they eventually made a home. Noakes continued with some further television work, presenting a 1983 children's documentary series, The Dinosaur Trail. He was reunited with Purves and Singleton in 2000 when the three came together to dig up the time capsule that they had buried during a Blue Peter episode in 1971. Purves told BBC News that Noakes's death was 'very sad' but added that the Alzheimer's had become 'extremely serious' in recent years. Remembering his friend, Peter said: 'He was unique. He had qualities that no-one else had and he'll be remembered very fondly by a lot of people and none more so than me.' He was 'very, very brave' in doing his many stunts and adventures, Purves added. 'We had so much fun together over the years. There were hundreds and hundreds of happy memories. I'll never forget him.' John Noakes will, in fact, be remembered for many things not least his revelling in the merry chaos which erupted when a frightened baby elephant called Lulu misbehaved in the Blue Peter studio during a live episode in 1969. He cried 'ooh, get off me foot!' as he tried to get hold of the terrified creature. The rest was twenty four carat television history.
With the help of the RAF, Noakes jumped out of a plane in 1973 to became the first civilian in Europe to freefall from a height of nearly five miles. And, in a task that would never pass a modern health and safety risk assessment, Noakes scaled a series of ladders to reach the top of Nelson's Column. Nine years after he left Blue Peter, Noakes returned to the BBC on a programme called Fax! presented by Bill Oddie after a viewer had contacted the programme with the question 'Whatever happened to John Noakes and Shep?' John appeared on the show along with his wife and spoke about what he had been doing since retiring from television. During the course of the interview, however, Noakes tearfully revealed that Shep had died just three days earlier. In 1999, Noakes returned to TV to co-host an ITV series entitled Mad About Pets and in 2004, he took part in the Living TV reality show I'm Famous & Frightened! Which, sadly, was tripe. A year later, he appeared in the Channel Five programme Britain's Worst Celebrity Driver. He also appeared in a Blue Peter-themed edition of The Weakest Link. It was noted at the time that when the presenter, Anne Robinson, in her trademark tactless fashion spoke about Shep, John became visibly upset. In 2013, he appeared with Peter Purves in an episode of Pointless Celebrities. By June 2015, however, the Alzheimer's had begun to affect his life and John was widely reported in the media as being missing from his home in Andratx. His wife had alerted local police, who confirmed that Noakes had a diagnosis of Alzheimer's and had been living with the condition for some years. Thankfully, he was found later the same day, close to his home. In 1979, Noakes wrote a children's book, The Flight Of The Magic Clog, published by Lion with illustrations by Toni Goffe. In the book, Mister Brooks takes Mickey the brainy one, June the talkative one, Barbara the pretty one and Eric the clumsy one on an adventure against the international villain Baron Wilhelm Doppleganger and his secret arms factory, using a giant magic flying clog. BBC Director General Tony Hall described Noakes as 'one of the BBC's most loved children's presenters.' In a statement, he said: 'He was a warm and engaging presenter who appealed to all ages and provided children's TV with some of its most memorable moments. He will be missed by his many friends and family.'
Bulgarian Bogdan Dochev - the linesman who failed to spot Maradona's infamous 'Hand of God' goal against England at the 1986 World Cup - has died aged eighty. Argentina won the quarter-final two-one - with Tunisian referee Ali Bin Nasser later claiming that he was waiting for Dochev to give him an indication of whether he had seen anything untoward when Maradonna scored the first goal. Dochev said later: 'Diego Maradona ruined my life. He is a brilliant footballer but a small man. He is low in height and as a person.' Discussing the incident with the Bulgarian media a few years ago, he added: 'Although I felt immediately there was something irregular, back in that time FIFA didn't allow the assistants to discuss the decisions with the referee. If FIFA had put a referee from Europe in charge of such an important game, the first goal of Maradona would have been disallowed.' TV pictures showed Bin Nasser looking towards Dochev as he was running back towards the centre circle after the goal had been scored. Bin Nasser added: 'I was waiting for Dochev to give me a hint of what exactly happened but he didn't signal for a handball. The instructions FIFA gave us before the game were clear - if a colleague was in a better position than mine, I should respect his view.' Dochev was Bulgaria's top referee in the 1970s and 1980s and also officiated at the 1982 World Cup. He took charge of the first leg of the 1983 UEFA Cup final between Anderlecht and Benfica.
And finally, dear blog reader, this blogger rang up to arrange a doctor's appointment for next week and discovered that Doctor Chris is currently on holiday and, therefore, unavailable. 'I can fit you in with Doctor Howe,' the nice lady at the surgery said. 'Doctor Who?' Keith Telly Topping asked. 'No, not Doctor Who, Doctor Howe.' Great, it's always been an ambition of this blogger to find himself stuck in the middle of an Abbott and Costello routine.