Monday, August 28, 2017


On Tuesday of this week, dear blog reader, the Daily Mirra - a British tabloid newspaper with a long-established and well-deserved reputation for true and accurate reportage ... at least, when they were still hacking people's phones, anyway - published an 'exclusive' story which claimed that Jodie Whittaker's companion in the next series of Doctor Who will be played by the actor, comedian, quiz show presenter and former footballer Bradley Walsh. The Mirra backed this allegation up with a collection of alleged 'quotes' from an anonymous - and therefore, probably fictitious - alleged 'source'. Possibly, this is the same alleged 'source' whom the same alleged newspaper allegedly spoke to in April (that's not alleged, there definitely is a month called April) when they claimed a similar 'exclusive' that Kris Marshall had not only been cast as the next Doctor but had already joined the production at that stage and would be appearing in the then forthcoming series finale, The Doctor Falls. Frankly, dear blog reader, if the Mirra told this blogger that black was a darker colour than white yer actual Keith Telly Topping would ask someone else for a second opinion. They were a much more reliable news source when they used to just hack peoples phones and have done with it. Nevertheless, this story was, of course, widely picked up by several other media sources - albeit, not by the one which actually matters when it comes to stories relating casting in BBC dramas, the BBC News website. These included a rather atypical sneering piece in the Daily Scum Mail which claimed that Doctor Who fans had 'reacted badly' to the - alleged - news. Ask all of us did you? No, of course not. This was based, seemingly, on about half-a-dozen whinging comments from malcontents posted on Twitter - which is, as we all know, now The Sole Arbiter Of The Worth Of All Thing. (A similar article, albeit, taking several much more positive comments as its source - and, therefore, diametrically opposed to the Scum Mail's thoroughly nasty piece - can be found at the Movieplot website for balance in this regard.) Now, as it happens Bradley Walsh, is a friend of a friend of this blogger so yer actual had inquired - via our mutual friend - as to whether there is any truth in this claim, some truth in this claim, or no truth in this claim whatsoever. No reply as of yet. Though, this piece in the Radio Times certainly suggests that if Bradley has been cast in Doctor Who it's much more likely to be in a guest or recurring role - a Jackie Tyler/Wilf-type scenario - rather than as a series regular. For what it's worth, this blogger thinks Bradley Walsh would be a terrific addition to the Doctor Who cast; he's a fine actor with a wide range of experience, including serious drama, light drama, sitcoms, soaps, stand-up comedy as well as presenting. I've also, briefly, met the chap - once, several years ago - and he appeared to be a thoroughly nice (and very funny) man. Chris Chibnall hiring Bradley wouldn't be that odd, anyway. The Chib was the showrunner on the first series of ITV's Law & Order: UK, in which Bradley played the detective Ronnie Brooks. Whilst he is probably best known these days as the host of popular ITV game show The Chase, Brad has been acting for over twenty years appearing in, for instance, Coronation Street as Danny Baldwin from 2004 to 2006 and also guesting on the Doctor Who spin-off Sarah Jane Interferes in 2008. So, this certainly wouldn't be the worst news in the world, if it should happen to be true whatever those glakes on Twitter quoted by the Daily Scum Mail may think. Nevertheless, given the majority of the above two paragraphs, this blogger intends to stick to his usual healthy scepticism when it comes to unconfirmed Doctor Who casting stories in the tabloids and believe it when he sees it.
If you're as excited as this blogger is to see the new Doctor, yer actual Jodie Whittaker in action, you've got nothing - but nothing - on departing series showrunner The Lord Thy God Steven Moffat (OBE). In fact, The Moff his very self is so excited to see the new Time Lady take to the TARDIS that he's been going over all the released information like the most fanatical of fans - albeit with marginally better show-connections than your average Doctor Who watcher. 'Jodie Whittaker - what an amazing, thrilling, brand new choice,' Steven said in the new issue of Doctor Who Magazine, on sale this week from all good newsagents. And some bad ones as well. 'Like all of you, I've been pouring over every picture, examining every performance, searing her into my brain. I see her face when I close my eyes. I now think she's been The Doctor for twenty years! Remember that little announcement film? Fills me with nostalgia.' However, being part of the Doctor Who family for a while longer (as well as the man in charge of Whittaker's debut episode, the forthcoming Christmas special Twice Upon A Time) Steven also has a better inside track that the rest of us – including a sneak pick at Jodie's newly-filmed introductory scenes. But, surprisingly, the screenwriter was keen to keep his mind unspoiled, deciding that interfering in incoming showrunner Chris Chibnall's new era was very much not The Done Thing. 'Her very first performance as The Doctor is in the can,' Steven said. 'And, here's the thing. The rushes were sent to me! The new Doctor in action for the very first time. Oh, the temptation. 'But, I steeled myself,' he went on. 'Not my Doctor, not my show, not any more. Strictly Chris' business. It was time to be an industry professional, respectful of his colleagues, not a drooling fanboy. Never, in all my years, has my self-discipline been so tested.' Steven then added: 'She was great, by the way!' This blogger never doubted it for a second, Steven.
The next issue of Doctor Who Magazine is out this week and features an exclusive interview with the new Doctor, yer actual Jodie Whittaker. Sharing her feelings about becoming The Doctor, Jodie says: 'Chris [Chibnall] wouldn't have cast me as The Doctor because he wanted me to repeat anything that had gone before. And I think as a fan you don't want to watch something that's an imitation of something that's gone before. Or what would be the point of recasting?'
The Doctor Who Appreciation Society have launched an auction on behalf of Syrian Refugees in North London, a charity run from Muswell Hill Methodist Church and supported by the current Doctor, Peter Capaldi and his wife, Elaine. A number of items are up for auction, including the original read-through script for the episode Listen, signed and illustrated by the actor. The auction ends at 5pm on 4 September - visit the DWAS website for full details.
Russell Davies has criticised the government for treating the BBC with 'contempt' as he collected a lifetime achievement award at the Edinburgh television festival. Big Rusty, who is responsible for acclaimed hits including Queer As Folk, Casanova and Cucumber, accused ministers of 'warding off the BBC' while focusing 'too much attention' on satisfying billionaire tyrant Rupert Murdoch. Future employment prospects were 'difficult to divine,' he said as he collected his award. 'I don't want to get all state-of-the-industry standing here but it's a tough time in a tough industry, seriously. It's been genuinely hard to know who to work for these days. You can find yourself having to work for companies that don't pay their tax or having to work for companies that put Donald Trump in power. It's getting dodgy out there. [And] we do have a government which treats the BBC with contempt.' The Swansea-born Davies was awarded an OBE for his services to drama in 2008, the same year he stepped down as executive producer of Doctor Who. After accepting his award, he told the audience that, despite the uncertain outlook, he felt he had been 'fortunate' in his career. 'I just want to say, because we can all have a good moan afterwards in the bar, but you look at the young people here and it's more important to stand here and say I've had such a laugh in my job, I've had such a good time and it is a brilliant industry. I have worked with Daleks, Casanova, I've worked with gays, I've worked with Penelope Wilton, I worked on children's programmes, I've worked in documentary, I worked on a quiz show with Terry Wogan, I worked with Jesus, I worked in Cardiff, Manchester, at Granada, I've worked with all sorts of shows, I've worked with David Tennant, Billie Piper, Freema Agyeman, I'm so lucky. I've been a presenter on Play School, I've actually been to Norway with Keith Chegwin. I love my job and I hope you all grow up and get in the industry and love the job too.' At the awards ceremony, BBC1 was named channel of the year, while Channel Four drama National Treasure was named new programme of the year, beating Apple Tree Yard, The Crown, Interview With A Murderer, Slum Britain: Fifty Years On and Flowers. The best factual programme went to Employable Me while the best international co-production gong went to The Tunnel: Sabotage. Left Bank Pictures, the production company behind The Crown, The Replacement, Outlander and The Halcyon, was named production company of the year and the moment a young boy was given a pair of football boots on Rich House, Poor House was voted TV moment of the year.
Rusty also staunchly defended Chris Chibnall's decision to hire Jodie Whittaker as the first female Doctor. Whilst the decision to change the Time Lord's gender has been, broadly speaking, met with positivism by most fans, there remains a small narrow-minded group of worthless shit-from-brains bigots who have accused the BBC of 'bowing to PC culture' - or, some similar bollocks - in hiring a woman for the traditionally male role. Russell slapped-down such rank and disgraceful nonsense in the latest issue of Doctor Who Magazine, arguing that the role of The Doctor has continuously evolved ever since William Hartnell (who was a man) regenerated into Patrick Troughton (who ... was also a man. But, a very different man). 'This isn't some big political strategy by the BBC,' Russell argued. 'This is one man, Chris, moving into the big chair and deciding that's what he wants to do. There will be some kids sitting down on Christmas Day who don't follow the news – and The Doctor will change into a woman and they won't know. For those kids, it will be as mysterious and as exciting as it was in 1966 when William Hartnell changed into Patrick Troughton. The programme has never been that original since.' Whittaker has also received support from former Doctors David Tennant, Matt Smith, Tom Baker, Colin Baker and (and soon-to-be-former Doctor) Peter Capaldi.
Jenna Coleman her very self was a guest on The ONE Show on Thursday when Alex Jones and Matt Baker presented the segment Doctor Who Do You Think You Are. It was actually Jenna herself who discovered that Prince Philip, played by Matt in The Crown, is a direct descendant of her own Queen Victoria. 'I'm, technically, his fictional great, great grandma. That's quite a turn of events,' Jenna noted. Jones then surprised her guest with the news that Victoria also has ties to a character once played by her other Doctor Who co-star, Peter Capaldi. 'He played Charles I in a television drama [The Devil's Whore] back in 2008, so he is Queen Victoria's great, great, great, great, great uncle,' Jones noted.
'Bad, bad binoculars!' Reviews of the - utterly remarkable - sixteenth episode of Twin Peaks: The Return can be found here. And here and here.
And here, here, here, here, here and here. And, probably lots of other places as well.
'What the fuck kind of neighbourhood is this?' 'People round here are under a lot of stress, Bradley!'
'I am - one hundred per cent - awake!' Next week's two-part finale simply cannot come quick enough, dear blog reader.
'You know who's coming for you. You've always known.' Meanwhile, the Game Of Thrones series seven finale - The Dragon & The Wolf - did only go and effing blow the entire world's tiny collective brain into a million fragments in the early hours of Monday morning (UK time). Because it was truly well-shocking and well-stunning, dear blog reader. What with her. And him. And ... the thing. See here. And herehere, here, here, here, here, here, here, here and here. And a shitload of other places as well. Listen, just type the words 'Game Of Thrones' and 'mindfucked' into Google's search engine and you'll probably find most of them. Or, don't if you want to avoid spoilers (and, hey, good luck with that!) So, now we wait another, what, eighteen months, for six more episodes (albeit, all of them likely to be of extended - feature film-style - length). That'll be fun.
'She thinks I'm was an idiot to trust you. Lots of people seem to think that, actually.' 'I'm about to step into a room with the most murderous woman in the world who has tried to kill me. Twice. That I know of! Who's an idiot?' 
'I'm pleased you bent the knee to our queen. I would have advised it, had you asked. But, have you ever considered learning how to lie every now and then? Just a bit.' 'I'm not going to swear an oath I can't uphold. Talk about my father, if you want, tell me that's the attitude that got him killed, but when enough people make false promises, words stop meaning anything.' 'That is, indeed, a problem. A more immediate problem is that we're fucked!'
'When the snows fall and the white winds blow, the lone wolf dies. But the pack survives.'
'Men without cocks. You wouldn't find me fighting in a army if I had no cock. What's left to fight for?' 'Gold?' 'I spend my life around soldiers. What do you think they spend their gold on?' 'Family?' 'Not without a cock, you don't!' 'Maybe it is all cocks in the end?!' 'And yet your brother has chosen to side with the cockless?' 'Yes, he's always been a champion of the downtrodden!'
Here's the final and consolidated ratings for the Top Twenty Four programmes broadcast in the week-ending Sunday 20 August 2017:-
1 Coronation Street - Mon ITV - 7.97m
2 EastEnders - Mon BBC1 - 7.03m
3 Emmerdale - Mon ITV - 6.40m
4 Trust Me - Tues BBC1 - 5.76m
5 BBC News - Sun BBC1 - 5.32m
6 Celebrity MasterChef - Wed BBC1 - 5.29m
7 Fake or Fortune? - Sun BBC1 - 5.13m
8 Ten O'Clock News - Thurs BBC1 - 5.11m
9 Far From The Madding Crowd - Sun BBC1 - 4.95m
10 Countryfile - Sun BBC1 - 4.91m
11 Easyjet: Inside The Cockpit - Mon ITV - 4.76m
12 Casualty - Sat BBC1 - 4.71m
13 Six O'Clock News - Fri BBC1 - 4.60m
14 Who Do You Think You Are? - Thurs BBC1 - 4.53m
15 Sir Bruce Forsyth: Mister Entertainer - Fri BBC1 - 4.09m
16 Holby City - Tues BBC1 - 4.01m
17 Long Lost Family - Wed ITV - 3.84m
18 Match Of The Day - Sat BBC1 - 3.83m
19 DIY SOS: The Big Build - Thurs BBC1 - 3.76m
20 Film: Harry Potter & The Deathly Hallow Part II - Sun ITV - 3.65m
21 The ONE Show - Mon BBC1 - 3.28m
22 When Miranda Met Brucie - Sat BBC1 - 3.27m
23 Love Your Garden - Wed ITV - 3.25m
24 Game Of Thrones - Sun Sky Atlantic - 3.19m
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. Don't ask this blogger why, dear blog reader, they just don't all right? On BBC2, the return of Dragons' Den for a new series had a total audience of 2.83 million punters. University Challenge (2.50 million), Gardeners' World (2.26 million) and Nadiya's British Food Adventure (2.16 million) followed. The Big Family Cooking Showdown was watched by 2.15 million, Only Connect, which finally seems to have recovered some of the audience it lost in its move from Monday to Friday, by 1.82 million, Ten Puppies & Us by 1.78 million, Mastermind by 1.74 million, Saving Lives At Sea by 1.70 million and Dangerous Borders: A Journey Across India also by 1.70 million. The movie The Lady In The Van drew 1.64 million, Astronauts: Do You Have What It Takes?, 1.47 million and the second episode of Top Of The Lake China Girl, 1.42 million. The opening of the disappointing Quacks had 1.25 million, No More Boys & Girls: Can Our Kids Go Gender Free?, 1.17 million and the later Qi repeat, 1.15 million. Channel Four's highest-rated broadcast was for the opening episode of the much-talked about drama The State (2.11 million punters), ahead of Saturday's episode of Child Genius (2.08 million) and Flights From Hell: Caught On Camera (two million). Twenty Four Hours In A&E had 1.93 million, From Russia To Iran: Crossing The Wild Frontier, 1.66 million, Eight Out Of Ten Cats Does Countdown, 1.44 million and Nine-Nine-Nine: What's Your Emergency?, also 1.44 million. Naked Attraction attracted 1.20 million, Catching The Tax Dodgers, 1.13 million and Taxi For Mum & Dad, nine hundred and eighty thousand. Z-List Celebrity Big Brother was Channel Five's top performer with an audience of 1.73 million for Wednesday's episode, the wretched Victorian freak-show accounting for six of the top ten programmes on the channel. Broken Britain summed up in a sentence, dear blog reader. The Dog Rescuers With Alan Davies, GPs: Behind Close Doors, All New Traffic Cops and Nightmare Tenants, Slum Landlords rounded-out Five's most-watching list with audiences of 1.38 million, 1.18 million, 1.14 million and eight hundred and eighty eight thousand respectively. With The Premier League now fully up and running, Sky Sports Main Event's coverage of Stottingtot Hotshots Wembley fiasco against Moscow Chelski FC was seen by eight hundred and fifty thousand (plus four hundred and forty thousand on Sky Sports Premier League). Yer actual Keith Telly Topping's beloved (though tragically unsellable) Magpies gutless and cowardly non-performance at Huddersfield had five hundred and six thousand (and two hundred and twenty one thousand for the Sky Sports PL simultcast) and Swansea getting right good hiding off The Scum attracted four hundred and sixty four thousand (plus two hundred and fifty six thousand on Sky Sports PL). The opening day of the first day-night test in this country, Live Test Cricket: England Versus West Indies at Edgbaston had two hundred and five thousand whilst Live EPL: Blunderland Versus Dirty Leeds, one hundred and ninety one thousand (plus on hundred and sixty one thousand on Sky Sports Football). Gillette Soccer Saturday, drew four hundred and forty four thousand on Sky Sports News HQ, plus one hundred and sixty three thousand on Sky Sports PL and two hundred and fifty nine thousand watching on the Sky Sports Football channel. On Sky Sports Cricket, Friday's coverage of Live T20 Blast was seen by one hundred and seventy six thousand. With the current F1 season on its mid-summer hiatus, Formula One Legends was seen by twelve thousand on Sky Sports F1. Sky Sports Action's Live Rugby Championship: Australia Versus New Zealand attracted seventy nine thousand whilst Sky Sports Golf's Live Solheim Cup coverage had one hundred and three thousand. Sky 1's weekly top-ten was headed by Zoo (three hundred and eighty three thousand), The Simpsons had two hundred and seventy one thousand viewers. The Force: North East also drew two hundred and seventy one thousand. A 'best of' programme - a contradiction in terms if ever there was one - of that wretched festering pool of rancid spew, A League of Their Own was watched by one hundred and ninety six thousand viewers; every single one of whom, frankly, needs their sodding heads examined for remote signs of any common sense. Sky Atlantic's list was, of course, topped by the fifth episode of Game Of Thrones' seventh series with 3.19 million viewers, by a huge distance the largest multichannels audience of the week. A Monday night repeat of the previous week's episode attracted 1.02 million whilst Thronecast was watched by six hundred and seventy three thousand. The latest episode of Ray Donovan had three hundred and five thousand whilst, Last Week Tonight With John Oliver drew two hundred and eighty seven thousand and Riviera, despite its quality, continued to shed viewers, being seen by two hundred and sixty nine thousand. Twin Peaks: The Return had one hundred and fifty seven thousand punters. In this blogger's opinion, it should be getting as many as Game of Thrones, dear blog reader. But, it isn't. Presumably because dragons are more sexy than Kyle MacLachlan. Just guessing. On Sky Living, Chicago Fire drew four hundred and thirty thousand whilst Nashville had three hundred and fifty thousand. How To Get Away With Murder was watched by two hundred and three thousand and Criminal Minds, by one hundred and sixteen thousand. Sky Arts' The Seven Ages Of Elvis was viewed by one hundred and ninety one thousand viewers whilst a repeat three days later attracted eighty three thousand. Elvis: The Final Hours had one hundred and twenty seven thousand. Endeavour was ITV3's top-rated drama (1.11 million viewers). Lewis was seen by eight hundred and ninety seven thousand, Midsomer Murders, by eight hundred and thirty eight thousand, Foyle's War by six hundred and seventeen thousand and Doc Martin by five hundred and twenty three thousand. World Series Of Darts coverage headed ITV4's weekly list with four hundred and fifty four thousand punters. Cycling: La Vuelta A Espana Highlights drew four hundred and two thousand. The movies Nanny McPhee: The Big Bang and The Hangover Part III were watched by six hundred and thirty one thousand and six hundred and five thousand respectively. Victoria headed ITV Encore's top ten with one hundred and seven thousand viewers, followed by Vera (one hundred and two thousand) and The Americans (eighty four thousand). Botched was watched by two hundred and seventy one thousand of the sort of specimens who enjoy such risible exercises in z-list-celebrity-by-non-entity on ITVBe. BBC4's list was headed by the return for a new series of the popular Italian drama import Inspector Montalbano (1.16 million punters). Vikings had six hundred and thirty one thousand and Andrew Marr's The Making Of Modern Britain, five hundred and forty six thousand. Thailand: Earth's Tropical Paradise drew five hundred and twenty one thousand and Fair Isle: Living On The Edge, four hundred and sixty six thousand. Timeshift: Sword, Musket & Machine Gun was seen by three hundred and ninety two thousand as was Fossil Wonderland: Nature's Hidden Treasures. Milton Keynes & Me was watched by three hundred and eighty five thousand, The Town That Thread Built, by three hundred and sixty two thousand and Professor Brian Cox's Wonders Of The Universe, by three hundred and fifty seven thousand. 5USA's latest Chicago PD episode was viewed by six hundred and twenty three thousand viewers, NCIS: Los Angeles by five hundred and fifty four thousand, NCIS: New Orleans by four hundred and twenty nine thousand, Bull by four hundred and twenty two thousand and Castle by three hundred and eighty six thousand. NCIS - as usual - topped the most-watched programme list of CBS Action (ninety nine thousand). Medium attracted eighty two thousand on CBS Drama. American Dad! was the most-watched show on FOX with two hundred and thirty two thousand. An NCIS series thirteen repeat drew one hundred and forty one thousand and Family Guy, one hundred and thirty nine thousand. Ransom was seen by two hundred and eighty four thousand viewers on The Universal Channel, followed by Chance (one hundred and twenty five thousand) and the movie Along Came A Spider (one hundred and fourteen thousand). On Dave, Have I Got A Bit More News For You was watched by three hundred and forty thousand, Room 101 by three hundred and thirty nine thousand, Live At The Apollo by three hundred and ten thousand, Qi XL, by two hundred and ninety nine thousand and Not Going Out, by two hundred and ninety thousand. Drama's New Tricks was seen by four hundred and thirty two thousand viewers and Murdoch Mysteries by three hundred and seventy three thousand. The Doctor Blake Mysteries was watched by three hundred and thirty eight thousand. Alibi's highest-rated programme of the week was Rosewood (two hundred and sixty seven thousand) whilst The Coroner had one hundred and eighty one thousand, Inspector George Gently, one hundred and thirty five thousand, Father Brown, one hundred and thirty three thousand and Death In Paradise, one hundred and twenty nine thousand. The Sony Channel's top ten was headed by Law & Order: Criminal Intent (forty one thousand). Yesterday's repeat run of Only Fools & Horses had five hundred and forty eight thousand, whilst Mike Hawthorn: On The Limit attracted four hundred and thirty thousand. From The North favourite, The World At War attracted one hundred and eighty four thousand. On the Discovery Channel, Deadliest Catch was seen by one hundred and eighty seven thousand viewers. Gold Divers had one hundred and sixty nine thousand, Yukon Men, one hundred and twenty four thousand, Naked & Afraid XL, one hundred and one thousand, Junkyard Empire, eighty three thousand and River Monsters sixty nine thousand. From The North obsession Wheeler Dealers appeared in the weekly top tens of both Discovery Shed (twenty one thousand) and Discovery Turbo (twenty eight thousand). Discovery History's How We Built The Bomb headed the top ten with thirty four thousand. More Industrial Relations attracted twenty four thousand whilst Time Team had twenty three thousand. On Discovery Science, Food Factory was seen by eighty five thousand viewers. On Quest, Salvage Hunters was watched by two hundred and forty seven thousand. Pick's Air Ambulance ER had an audience of two hundred and eighty two thousand. National Geographic's list was headed by Nazi Megastructures with sixty seven thousand viewers, followed by Air Crash Investigation (fifty nine thousand). National Geographic Wild's The Lakeshore Killers was watched by fifty thousand. The History Channel's most-viewed programmes were the latest episodes of Forged In Fire (two hundred and forty three thousand) and Robert Redford's The West (two hundred and eleven thousand). An American Ripper In London had two hundred and two thousand. The Unseen Holocaust on the Military History channel was seen by thirty five thousand punters. Britain's Darkest Taboos, Killing Spree and Cold Case Files were Crime & Investigation's top-rated programmes with fifty thousand, forty seven thousand and thirty six thousand blood-and-snots-lovers, respectively. Faking It: The Tears Of A Crime, The Perfect Murder, I Am Homicide and Murder On CCTV headed Investigation Discovery's list (one hundred and twenty nine thousand, seventy four thousand, seventy four thousand and sixty five thousand respectively). Remember, dear blog reader, despite what the title of just about every programme on Investigation Discovery may suggest, murder is quite rare. Don't have nightmares. The latest of GOLD's Mrs Brown's Boys repeat run had one hundred and seventy five thousand. Comedy Central's largest audience of the week was for Lee Evans: Monsters with two hundred and twenty eight thousand. Your TV's repeat of Bones series two continued with seventy nine thousand viewers. On More4, The Yorkshire Dales & The Lakes was the highest-rated programme with five hundred and fifty nine thousand. The latest episode of Outlander had five hundred and forty three thousand, A Year On The Farm, four hundred and seventy four thousand and a repeat of the much-hyped Princess Diana's 'Wicked' Stepmother, four hundred and twelve thousand. E4's list was topped by Hollyoaks (nine hundred and seventy nine thousand) and Made In Chelsea: Ibiza (nine hundred and fifty four thousand). The fourth episode of Midnight Texas, headed Syfy's top-ten with three hundred and seventy seven thousand. The Horror Channel's weekly list was headed by XMoor (two hundred and five thousand). The channel's top-ten also included Hangman (one hundred and forty nine thousand), Planet Of The Sharks (one hundred and sixteen thousand), The Invaders (one hundred and one thousand) and several episodes of Star Trek: Voyager. Scotland Yard, The Marked One and She topped Talking Pictures list, with fifty thousand, forty three thousand and forty two thousand respectively. On Forces TV, Hogan's Heroes was seen by thirty seven thousand and The Phil Silvers Show by twenty eight thousand. America's Toughest Prisons drew one hundred and seventy nine thousand on Spike as did the latest episode of The A-Team. Presumably, the prisons that Hannibal, Face and BA used to break Murdock out of each week weren't featured in America's Toughest Prisons? Because those always looked as soft as shite. The Hunt was viewed by sixty four thousand on Eden, whilst Big Blue Live had sixty thousand. Zoo was the Animal Planet's most-watched programme with sixty two thousand. Bondi Vet and Pit Bulls & Parolees were watched by fifty thousand and forty two thousand respectively. Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders on W attracted three hundred and eighty three thousand punters. True Crime's Law & Order: Criminal Intent was seen by fifty six thousand viewers and Puppet Master by forty three thousand. On True Entertainment, Taggart was watched by one hundred and sixty seven thousand. The Great British Bake Off drew fifty two thousand on Good Food. TLC's list was headed by Outdaughtered: Busby Quints and Katie Price: My Crazy Attention-Seeking Life (with two hundred and fifteen thousand and one hundred and seven viewers respectively. All of them with more time on their hands than is properly healthy for them). Shameful waste-of-oxygen Ex On The Beach on MTV was viewed by four hundred and fifty four thousand whilst equally worthless Teen Mom had two hundred and eleven thousand. Ghost Adventures was seen by three hundred and twenty thousand and Most Haunted by two hundred and sixty one thousand on Really. Which, given the nature of those programmes and the fact that ghosts, you know, do not exist, should probably think about changing its name to No-Not-Really. Be Cool, Scooby-Doo! had sixty eight thousand viewers on Boomerang. Zoinks. The Charge of The Light Brigade and Jerusalem: Centre Of The World topped PBS America's weekly list with twenty six thousand and twenty three thousand viewers respectively. Tattoo Nightmares drew fifteen thousand geet hairy heedbangers on Scuzz. On Cbeebies, Sarah & Duck was seen by four hundred and eighty five thousand, Bing by four hundred and sixty six thousand and Topsy & Tim by four hundred and fifty six thousand. Alvinnnn!!! & The Chipmunks had two hundred and eleven thousand on the Pop Channel. Five Star's most watched show was Z-List Celebrity Big Brother with six hundred and twenty nine thousand. On AMC, Better Call Saul was watched by seventeen thousand. Hardcore Pawn drew one hundred and thirty one thousand punters on Blaze. Life of Kylie attracted forty four thousand viewers on E! The Real Housewives Of Beverly Hills had ninety six thousand on Lifetime. Desmond's and the movie The Football Factory, were the most-watched shows on London Live, both with thirty thousand. Probably not the same thirty thousand punters, obviously. Cos, that would be weird. Sabrina, The Teenage Witch attracted twenty thousand on The Vault.

Game Of Thrones ended its 2017 run with new US ratings records for both its finale and the seventh series as a whole. Sunday's episode The Dragon & The Wolf was watched by a staggering 16.5 million American viewers live and via streams later in the evening, a new high for the series up from the 10.7 million punters who tuned-in for Eastwatch two weeks ago. Game Of Thrones has been consistently breaking its own ratings records ever since the current series opener, Dragonstone brought in 10.1 million viewers back in July. According to The Hollywood Reporter, an scarcely credible ninety per cent of HBO subscribers are now regularly watching the popular fantasy drama.
In the past year, BBC1 has broadcast a string of dark dramas such as The Fall, Apple Tree Yard and Three Girls, but a senior executive at the corporation has said it is time to tone down the violence and commission more 'inspiring stories' instead. Piers Wenger, the controller of BBC drama commissioning, said that he was keen to produce a more 'upbeat' sort of programme. 'I think there is an awful lot of very dark drama across all channels and I would love to see some more inspiring stories. So I would love a Sunday night show which examines heroism and what it means to be a hero. I would love to be pitched more ideas that take us into entertaining worlds - worlds that might even be aspirational.' But, his pitch for new type of television was 'somewhat undermined' - at least, according to some agenda-soaked glake of no importance at the Gruniad Morning Star - by a BBC announcement revealing a new commission, The Barking Murders, based on the crimes of the serial killer Stephen Port, who met his male victims on gay dating apps, telling the story from the point of view of the victims' families. Wenger said he was 'excited' about two forthcoming 'aspirational' BBC dramas, The Split and Press. The Split is about a group of female divorce lawyers and has been written by Abi Morgan, whose credits include The Hour and The Iron Lady. It stars From The North favourite Nicola Walker, Meera Syal and Stephen Mangan. Press will track the fortunes of a tabloid and a broadsheet newspaper as they try to recover from phone-hacking scandals and the rise of digital rivals. It has been created by Mike Bartlett, the writer of Doctor Foster. Asked - by some shit of no importance at the Gruniad - to clarify his comments, Wenger said: 'I think there has to be a mix. Sometimes we need to go to very dark places to take stories apart to understand the world and understand the way the world is changing around us, but we need a better mix.' Charlotte Moore, the BBC’s director of content expanded on his comments by saying that they did not mean the broadcaster would no longer show hard-hitting television. Pointing to The Barking Murders and other upcoming crime dramas, Moore said: 'We will continue to do dark, complex pieces that really challenge and are provocative.' Wenger became the BBC's drama chief last November after leaving his role as head of drama at Channel Four. He was previously the executive producer of Doctor Who. He told his audience at the Edinburgh International TV festival that the corporation did not ask Chris Chibnall, the new showrunner on Doctor Who, to make the title character a woman for the first time. He said it was Chibnall's own decision to bring in Jodie Whittaker. 'Chris has a very, very clear sense of where he wants to take the show and a very clear sense of the qualities that he is looking for in his Doctor and Jodie fitted with that,' Wenger said. 'Obviously he had a relationship with her from Broadchurch. But she read for the part and auditioned for it and she came back a few times. She herself has a very clear sense of the point of having a female Doctor and what she wants to do with that role. I think she will make her unexpected but iconic.' Moore refused to be drawn into a row about another high-profile TV show, The Great British Bake Off. Moore was part of the BBC team that could not agree a deal with Greed Productions, the maker of the cooking competition, to keep it on BBC1. Instead, the new Bake Off series will be shown on Channel Four from next Tuesday, after the BBC's rival signed a three-year, seventy five million knicker deal. Moore said she 'felt very responsible for licence fee payers' money,' adding: 'At the end of the day I can't put all my eggs in one basket.' Or, indeed, all of her cakes in one oven. Despite the loss of Bake Off, Moore said BBC1 was currently in a strong position. The channel has its highest audience share in a decade and is the most-watched channel among sixteen-to thirty four-year-olds. More young people watched Planet Earth 2 than The X Factor final on ITV.
A lot has changed for yer actual Suranne Jones since we last saw her in BAFTA-winning series Doctor Foster, in which she plays a GP who suspects her husband is cheating on her. Two years on, Suranne has now become a mother - and says that this has given her 'a new awareness' of what Gemma Foster went through. 'Being a wife and a mother made me realise the gravitas of that unit falling apart, because I'd go home at night and I'd have a baby to put to bed,' she says. 'So I think it definitely made me realise when two people get together and have a child out of love and then they split. What it is to parent a child and be in each other's lives when you are damaged and hurt without damaging and hurting a child.' Suranne brought her son to set - he doesn't appear in the show, but 'looked much better than I did' on camera, she added. She is now looking forward to spending some time with him. 'The work/life balance for anyone is hard, so I try to keep work separate,' she explained. 'I feel very, very grateful because I did a lot of work and now I'm taking a lot of time off. So I'm there until Christmas now, just down the play park in my Converse.' The second series of the BBC drama takes up the action as Gemma's estranged husband Simon (Bertie Carvel) and his new family return to Parminster, where she lives and works. They are dealing with the bitter repercussions of divorce - with their son, Tom, caught in the middle. Suranne admits that it can be 'uncomfortable' viewing at times but says the show has a 'weird, sexy edge to it. We all know what it feels like to be in a room with an ex-partner,' she added. 'Everybody has had a relationship, everyone has had exes, everybody has been in difficult circumstances. I'm sure myself and Bertie have had those thoughts and feelings; otherwise we wouldn't be able to draw on them. But at the same time, with the style of writing and the style of the programme, you're able to go further. It has a fantastical edge as well as being deep-rooted in naturalism. It also has an exaggerated way of showing how far you could go if you really wanted to.' Carvel, who played Miss Trunchbull in West End musical Matilda, says he found Mike Bartlett's scripts 'exciting' and that the Doctor Foster plot was 'a real page-turner. He gives us incredibly three-dimensional characters,' said the actor, adding that it was 'really fun' to play a character who makes the audience change their opinion about him as the drama progresses. 'Often, you find yourself looking at something from a really different point of view,' he said. 'That's what's exciting about this series as a whole.' Suranne said that the original plan was to give Gemma a new look. After conducting a screen test, though, it was agreed that it didn't work. 'She's moved on, but actually she's comfortable with her bob and her work and she's put up her walls,' says the former Coronation Street actress. 'It was the right decision to move her on but leave her embalmed in a way. And what I got, as well as being exciting and dark and sexy and thrilling and all those things, I looked at them both and thought, "You're both really hurt" and I hadn't seen that before.' Bartlett - the man behind award-winning play King Charles III, recently filmed by the BBC - says that he originally intended Doctor Foster to have only one series. 'But, when we were shooting it, I started to realise there could more - there could be another story or a further story to tell,' he explained. The first series' final scene saw Gemma and her son together, seeing her former husband with his pregnant new partner. 'It looks like a happy ending, but there are lots of threads untied,' Bartlett added. 'There's more to tell, so when we had the opportunity, I thought we should.'
An art dealer and TV presenter has spoken of his 'utter and raw delight' on discovering that a painting once deemed a fake was, in fact, worth an estimated two million knicker. Philip Mould was always convinced the painting was an original by John Constable, but unable to produce proof, he sold it for thirty five thousand smackers. Now, seventeen years later, he has been vindicated. Research by the BBC's Fake Or Fortune? programme found the painting was an early version of Constable's most famous work, The Hay Wain. The presenter - more used to telling other people that they had missed out on fortunes - had his own dealings put under the spotlight in last Sunday's episode of the art detective show. Mould told Radio 5Live that he believed he had got hold of an original, when he paid ten grand for the picture as a young dealer. 'I tried to prove it - but couldn't,' he said of the depiction of Willy Lott's Cottage on the River Stour. So, he sold it on, only to buy it back a few years later and try again to prove its authenticity. Still unable to, he sold it to Gloucestershire businessman Henry Reid in 2000. Reid paid thirty five thousand notes, having 'believed [Mould's] conviction' that he would, one day, be able to prove its true worth. 'I promised the person I sold it to that one day I would return and try and prove it and wonderfully, we were able to do it,' Mould said. 'We have proved that a painting that I bought for a few thousand pounds originally, hoping it was a work by one of the greatest landscape painters who ever lived, is now finally proved to be so. I am so thrilled.' Earlier this year, the 1821 painting The Hay Wain was voted one of the nation's favourite art works. The trail led Fake or Fortune? co-presenter Fiona Bruce to experts in Los Angeles. Mould said that the programme team examined the layers of paint and the work's provenance. 'Art history has moved on so magnificently - and technology - in the last seventeen years. We can do things and find things out that were not possible when I was a youngster,' he said. 'We were able to trace it back through various owners right back pretty well to the brush of Constable himself. We found it in a sale sold by his son after his death which was a real slam-dunker.' Presented with all the evidence, two specialists finally gave it the thumbs up. Despite missing out on a multimillion-pound windfall, the dealer is not bitter. 'I'm enormously happy for [the owner],' Mould conceded. 'It's also wonderful for Constable himself. I had visions of him saying why is my picture being deemed a fake?'
The comedy Fleabag is to return after its creator, Phoebe Waller-Bridge, allegedly dreamed up a new idea on a bus. But the second series of the BAFTA-winning show will not be broadcast until 2019. Waller-Bridge who, according to the Gruiad Morning Star, 'was rumoured to be the new Doctor in Doctor Who before Jodie Whittaker was announced for the part' - albeit, not by anyone that actually knew what the fuck they were talking about - said that it had 'taken a while' to work out how to bring the show back. 'I really struggled thinking about how to come back, because I didn't want to stretch the story even further than I already stretched it, and I felt like the relationship with the audience had evolved by the end,' the actress told the Edinburgh international television festival. 'So, that's what has been taking us so long and me so long, to decide whether or not we’re going to do it again. And then I was on a bus and had an idea! We're really, really excited.' Waller-Bridge added in a statement: 'I asked myself if Fleabag has more to say and, frankly, she hasn't shut up since. Series two will be a whole new adventure and I'm beyond thrilled to be coming back.' Shane Allen, the BBC's controller of comedy, said: 'Fleabag signalled the arrival of a hugely distinctive writer with the mesmerising performing talent to match. Phoebe's career has shot up like a firework display in the last year and the show has been rightly hailed as a modern classic. It'll be thrilling to see where she takes the character in the next series.' The producer of the programme, Lydia Hampson, said: 'It's quite a long wait, but it is happening.' Waller-Bridge wrote and starred in the comedy about a cash-strapped young woman trying to come to terms with a recent tragedy.
It appears as though Bruce Wayne and Selina Kyle could end up as enemies in Gotham as the popular drama series embraces a storyline a little closer to the Batman comics. At least that's according to David Mazouz. The two characters' storylines have been evolving on the show as they approach who they will inevitably become. 'Their relationship will continue to develop and Proto-Catwoman and baby-vigilante Bruce will begin interacting with each other in a way that more closely resembles the bond between Bruce Wayne and Selina Kyle in the comic books,' David told TV Guide. 'In some cases that's straight enemies, but more often it's borderline friends with a lot of sexual tension and opposing views on how to save the day - and who they are saving it for.'
Kai Cole, the ex-wife of Joss Whedon, has accused him of cheating on her with 'actresses, co-workers, fans and friends' during their marriage. Writing in a spectacularly bitter blog post, Cole claims that she is 'a private person,' but doesn't think it is 'fair' to 'me or other women to remain silent any longer.' She said that Whedon 'never conceded the hypocrisy of preaching feminist ideals' while Having a succession of affairs. A spokesperson for Whedon said that the director would not be responding to the post. 'While this account includes inaccuracies and misrepresentations which can be harmful to their family, Joss is not commenting, out of concern for his children and out of respect for his ex-wife.' The couple have been separated for five years, but news of their divorce only surfaced earlier this year. Writing for The Wrap, Cole claimed that she was sometimes uncomfortable with the attention Whedon paid other women. 'He told me it was because his mother raised him as a feminist, so he just liked women better.' She added that her reason for writing the blog was that she wants to 'let women know that he is not who he pretends to be.' Joss Whedon was the creator of the series Buffy The Vampire Slayer and its sequel, Angel. Kai Cole says that in a letter written to her after the couple had separated, Whedon wrote: 'When I was running Buffy I was surrounded by beautiful, needy, aggressive young women.' She claims that after Whedon's first affair on the set of Buffy 'he wanted it all; he didn't want to choose, so he accepted the duality as a part of his life. I believed, everyone believed, that he was one of the good guys, committed to fighting for women's rights.' Whedon has received awards in the past for speaking out in favour of gender equality. 'But, I now see how he used his relationship with me as a shield so no-one would question his relationships with other women or scrutinise his writing as anything other than feminist.' Cole said that she wants his fans and organisations who give him such awards for equality advocacy 'to think twice in the future about honouring a man who does not practice what he preaches.' Whedon is set to write and direct an upcoming Batgirl film for DC Comics. He and Kai Cole have two teenage children. There have also been several - mostly conflicting - media reports since this news broke that the long-running Joss Whedon fan website Whedonesque has closed as a result of all this malarkey.  
Amazon Prime Video is, reportedly, seeking a host for an original TV series to be seen around the world. Currently, this is a temporary position to cover an absence due to pneumonia.
The League Of Gentlemen is to return to the BBC for three new episodes. This year marks the twentieth anniversary of the dark comedy, which began on BBC radio before moving to TV from 1999 to 2002. Its comeback isn't a massive surprise - yer actual Mark Gatiss hinted at it last year. BBC2 controller Patrick Holland described it in Edinburgh on Wednesday as 'a much-anticipated return.' He also confirmed that the character of Alan Partridge would also return to the channel - but would not reveal any further details. All four of The League Of Gentlemen's original creators - Gatiss, Steve Pemberton, Jeremy Dyson, and Reece Shearsmith - will reunite for the new episodes. Pemberton told the Daily Mirra: 'I think there is still an appetite for it, people still remember it, we are all still great mates and I see no reason why not. We won't rush it, it's something we want to go get it right.'
The champion of Z-List Celebrity Big Brother's 2017 series has been announced as former Girls Aloud singer Sarah Harding, one of the few people in it whom this blogger had actually heard of. Sarah takes home fifty grand for her chosen charity, Haig Housing, which provides housing for ex-servicemen.
Meanwhile, Channel Five executive Ben Frow has indicated that he would consider getting rid of Big Brother. Speaking at the Edinburgh International TV Festival, the executive said that the reality TV series has 'declined' and questioned whether or not the show should continue on the channel. 'I'd be much happier with a channel without Big Brother on it. I want our own programmes,' Broadcast reported him as saying. Big Brother will remain on Channel Five until at least the end of 2018. In 2015, Channel Five and Endemol Shine UK subsidiary Initial agreed a three-year deal which sees two series of Z-List Celebrity Big Brother and one series of Big Brother produced every year for the duration of the contract. The agreement also included rights for spin-off shows related to the franchise. At the time, Channel Five's then chief operating officer, Paul Dunthorne, said: 'Big Brother in all its guises brings a huge and varied cross section of viewers to Channel Five and typifies the appointment-to-view programming we want on the channel.' And, that's why no one with any self-respect or dignity watches Channel Five, probably.
Ben Whishaw and Hugh Grant have joined the cast of the BBC's forthcoming A Very English Scandal. The three-part drama will chronicle the Jeremy Thorpe affair which rocked the British political landscape in the 1970s. Russell Davies, former EastEnders executive producer Dominic Treadwell-Collins and director Stephen Frears are also attached to the project. The series will tell the story of the Liberal Party leader Jeremy Thorpe and Norman Scott, a model with whom Thorpe had a secret relationship with around the time homosexuality was decriminalised in the UK. Fearing the revelation of this could damage his rising political career, Thorpe allegedly tried multiple tactics to keep Scott quiet, but failed. As he became more and more desperate to conceal the truth, Thorpe conspired to silence his ex permanently.
ITV has promised that thoroughly rotten late-night alleged 'comedy' series The Nightly Show will never - not never - replace News At Ten again. Earlier this year, ITV tried out the new format in which presenters from David Walliams to Davina McCall and Dermot O'Dreary each hosted a week in the 10pm slot traditionally reserved for the news. The Nightly Show battled rollercoaster ratings and harsh reviews for most of its eight weeks, yet there was talk all throughout its run that a second series was still possible. At the Edinburgh Television Festival on Wednesday, ITV's programming director Kevin Lygo bristled when asked if there were plans to bring The Nightly Show back at 10pm in the future. 'Certainly not at ten o'clock,' he said. 'The challenge is can it work for us later, that sort of thing. I don't know.' Lygo also acknowledged that ITV's attempt at a US-style late-night comedy show didn't 'really' work - no shit? The viewers could've told you that, Kev - and would need 'a significant retooling' in order for it to return. 'The theory was that if you build the show there would be these fun people you would slot in each week,' he explained. 'What happened, of course, on week four you'd have a new host who would come on and say "I'm not doing that" and you'd have to reinvent the show. Ten o'clock maybe was too early, particularly for ITV. Maybe it was a bit of a shock.'
A Thai lawyer has dropped his criminal defamation suit against a BBC correspondent who investigated foreigners being scammed of their retirement homes in the country, the broadcaster has said. Jonathan Head, the BBC's South-East Asia correspondent, faced up to five years in The Big House after his report exposed how two foreign retirees had Phuket properties stolen from them by a network of criminals and corrupt officials. Rights groups have said that the case highlights how Thailand's broad defamation and computer crime laws scuppers investigative journalism and make it difficult to uncover wrongdoing in a country where corruption is alleged to be endemic. The lawyer who brought the suit – Pratuan Thanarak – decided to drop the charges against Head on the first day of the trial on Wednesday. 'The plaintiff has withdrawn his case against BBC journalist Jonathan Head, but as the trial of his co-defendant is continuing we cannot comment further at present,' the BBC said in a short statement. Foreigners cannot own land in Thailand but they often get around this rule by putting assets in the name of Thais, or by setting up majority Thai-owned shell companies. The 2015 BBC report detailed how a network of Phuket criminals, aided by corrupt officials, stole properties from foreigners by forging land title transfers. One of the victims who featured in the report, a British national named Ian Rance, is a joint defendant in the prosecution. He still faces a single defamation charge and up to two years in jail if convicted. Rance said that he had lost $1.2m worth of properties after his then wife and a gang of money-lenders forged property paperwork. According to the report, Pratuan admitted on tape to certifying Rance's signature without him being present, a move which helped the wife transfer his properties out of his name. She was later convicted and jailed for the scam, but Rance has been hit by a slew of legal cases since going public, a common outcome faced by whistleblowers in Thailand which markets itself as an ideal retirement destination for wealthy foreigners. The criminal complaint filed by Pratuan alleges that Rance 'defamed' him by talking to the BBC sometime in September 2015 but there are no details of what was said or how it was defamatory. The BBC has said that it will continue to fund Rance's defamation defence. Unlike most countries where defamation is a civil crime, in Thailand it is a criminal offence. Private citizens can also launch their own prosecutions and they are not forced to pay costs if they lose. Similar cases have been brought in recent years. Local news site Phuketwan closed down in 2015 after running out of money in its successful bid to defeat a suit brought by Thailand's navy. Andrew Drummond, a British crime reporter, left the country the same year because of multiple cases brought by those he exposed, as did British labour rights activist Andy Hall in 2016.
Andrew Neil is to step down as the presenter of the BBC's The Sunday Politics after five years in the post. He will be replaced by the former Channel Four News journalist Sarah Smith. Neil, who is in the process of renegotiating his BBC contract, will continue to present The Daily Politics and This Week. A BBC spokeswoman said that he would 'still be an important figure in BBC news politics' but she could not 'specify any further' what his role would be. Smith, who started at the BBC and returned from ITN to be the public broadcaster's first Scotland editor in 2015, expressed her happiness at being given the new role. 'Andrew is one of the great political interviewers who leaves big shoes to fill. I am thrilled to take on this role at such an exciting time in British politics. I am very much looking forward to working with The Sunday Politics team.' Neil edited The Sunday Times for more than a decade before joining the BBC. He also worked under billionaire tyrant Rupert Murdoch as the founding chairman of Sky TV. Neil said Smith would prove 'a great choice' as presenter, adding: 'I loved presenting Sunday Politics, it was a privilege and honour to hold the political discourse up to the light for all those years.' Neil added that he would 'miss [the job] greatly,' but was 'delighted' to continue in his other BBC roles, as well as other projects. 'I wish Sarah the best of luck with this challenging and wonderful production,' he said. Smith will take the chair when the programme returns on Sunday 17 September, after its summer break.
Channel Four has defended a new drama about a group of young Britons who travel to Syria to join Islamic State, saying that it has been 'carefully researched' and deals with 'an important subject to confront and explore.' The State, a four-part series written by Peter Kosminsky, began on Sunday with an overnight audience of 1.4 million. Kosminsky and the production team spent eighteen months on the programme, including speaking to Isis recruits who had returned to the UK. The first episode followed two British men and two women who go to Syria to join Isis, where they are segregated with only the men being trained to fight and all four are encouraged to forget their past lives. Future episodes will show what Kosminsky described in pre-broadcast publicity as 'an arc of disillusionment' about Isis recruitment. 'I absolutely hope it will have a deterrent impact,' he said this month. Whilst the opening episode brought praise from many critics and viewers, some wipe of no importance at the Daily Scum Mail accused Kosminsky and Channel Four of 'glorifying Isis.' The fact that it didn't do that or anything even remotely like it proves an age old truism about the Daily Scum Mail - that if you try to show them a point, they'll miss it. However, the drama won the support of Charlie Winter, a senior research fellow at the international centre for the study of radicalisation at King's College London, who has studied Isis closely. 'It had very clearly been extremely well researched,' Winter said. 'It certainly wasn't superficial research going into this. I was really impressed. There were a lot of scenes straight from Islamic State propaganda. It was clear the researchers had watched a tonne of propaganda to make it seem as legit as possible.' Winter said that some of the criticism levelled at the programme was 'ludicrous. There was a headline, something like The State under fire for giving a face to terrorists. But that's the point. It's absolutely necessary that we realise these are people who have done bad things but they're still people. If it provokes a conversation - a more nuanced, less emotional conversation ' then I think that's a good thing.' A Gruniad Morning Star review called the drama 'clever, gripping and genuinely enlightening,' but the headline on a Daily Scum Mail review said the programme was 'Pure poison. It's like a Nazi recruiting film from the 1930s.' And, of course, the Daily Scum Mail would certainly know all about that since they were such big fans of Herr Hitler themselves back in the 1930s. Channel Four said: 'The State is based on extensive factual research and offers an unflinching insight into the horrific actions of Isis, which we believe is an important subject to confront and explore.' The broadcaster added: 'Across the four episodes the series explores in depth the cruel reality of the characters' experiences of life in Syria and, at no point does it endorse nor encourage others to follow in their footsteps. Though it is a difficult and challenging subject, we believe it's more important than ever to confront these urgent issues.' Bethany Haines, the daughter of David Haines, who was killed by Isis in 2014, had called on the channel to postpone broadcast of the programme. Writing in the Scum Mail, the twenty-year-old said: 'The last thing those families need is a drama about Islamic State on TV at the same time their lives have effectively been torn apart by that same group.' Kosminsky, who directed the successful BBC adaptation of Wolf Hall, said earlier this month that he feared being 'accused of being an apologist for a truly nasty organisation' because, to understand why young Muslims joined a 'horrific death cult' he had needed to show what attracted them to it. 'We are trying to say: "bear with us while we try to understand what's going on,"' he said. 'But, of course, to do that you have to sympathise with the characters and allow them to be initially excited and glad and then slowly see the disillusionment creep in.'
A discussion on milk allergies went off script during an ITV News broadcast when a little girl started walking round newsreader Alastair Stewart's desk before climbing onto it. Stewart was conducting an interview with Lucy Wronka and her two children, Iris and George, when Iris decided she to go walkabout. Seeing the toddler ambling about the studio, Stewart remarked: '[She] will do whatever she chooses to do for the next couple of minutes,' before continuing the interview with her brother. George told the newsreader about his experiences while his sister scaled the news desk during the network's lunchtime bulletin. She then found her head creeping into shot as her mother, trying to keep a straight face, discussed new guidelines surrounding testing babies for milk allergies. Finishing the segment, with Iris now on all fours over his papers, Stewart said: 'Mary Nightingale, I think, will have a more peaceful time at 6.30. From all of us, a very good afternoon to you.'
Harry Styles (he's a popular beat combo, apparently) is going to star in a one-off 'entertainment' show which will be broadcast on BBC1 in the autumn. Harry Styles At The BBC will be hosted by his friend and Radio 1 DJ Nick Grimshaw (and his stupid haircut). Styles will, apparently, perform song from his self-titled debut CD and chat to Nick about his life, being a solo artist and starting his acting career. The show will be filmed in front of a live studio audience in Manchester and be broadcast in November. So, that's giving you a couple of months to find something more worthwhile to do with your time on that particular night, dear blog reader. Styles premiered his debut single 'Sign of the Times' on The Radio 1 Breakfast Show and Grimshaw slavvered that he 'can't wait' for the show. 'Harry is a great performer and full of so many wonderful stories about his extraordinary career, which he'll be sharing with us.' Guy Freeman, who is the editor of 'special events and formats' at BBC Studios, said: 'These shows are all about creating a world in which superstars like Harry feel incredibly comfortable and alongside their brilliant, live performances, can simply have fun and enjoy revealing more of themselves to viewers than is ever normally possible.' Styles follows in the footsteps of Adele and Michael Buble who both had a TV show of their own on the BBC.
Snobbery and 'lazy contempt' from critics and social media is killing the sitcom, according to Blackadder writer Ben Elton as quoted in the Gruniad Morning Star. Although, given that just about everything Ben Elton has written since about 1989 has been about as funny as a good hard kick in the Jacob's cream crackers, some might argue that, on the contrary, 'lazy contempt' from the likes of Ben Elton towards the viewer is what is really killing the sitcom. The former comedian and author - whose recent contribution to the genre, The Wright Way was considered by this blogger to be the worst single programme made by anyone during 2013 - warned 'we are in danger of losing something of real value in our culture,' pointing to shows now regarded as British television classics such as Dad's Army, Fawlty Towers and Only Fools & Horses. Elton argued that, 'a great and original television art form is dying, it really is' and said that 'once the studios and the talent base that support it are lost' they 'will never come again.' Giving the inaugural BBC Ronnie Barker Comedy Lecture, Elton said that because sitcoms require lots of people to make them, as they are recorded live like a theatre show, if they are not given a chance beyond a first series they will die out. He explained: 'All that [effort] makes these shows very, very expensive. An expense that frankly is easy to duck if you're just going to get slagged off for doing it anyway. While there's nothing we can do about shrinking budgets, fractured audiences and TV companies turning their precious facilities into prime real estate, it might help if commentator, critic and columnist alike stopped treating studio sitcoms with such thoughtless contempt.'
Channel Four needs The Great British Bake Off to attract at least three million viewers per episode - presumably in terms of final and consolidated ratings figures rather than merely overnights - to break even on its seventy five million knicker deal to buy the show, the creative chief of the broadcaster has admitted. Jay Hunt told the Edinburgh International TV festival that she would be 'delighted' if the programme attracted between five million and seven million viewers when it is broadcast for the first time on Channel Four. 'If it gets five, six, seven [million] I would be absolutely delighted,' Hunt said. 'This show breaks even at around three million, so anything North of that would be fantastic.' Channel Four averages around one million overnight viewers for the Tuesday night slot. Ratings for Bake Off are likely to fall considerably after the switch from BBC1: last year's final attracted a peak audience of 14.8 million, making it the most popular show of the year. Channel Four's highest ever audience was 13.8 million, for the drama series A Woman Of Substance in 1985, while Big Brother brought in almost ten million viewers at the peak of its popularity at the start of the millennium. Bake Off has moved from the BBC after Channel Four paid seventy five million quid to the programme's maker, Greed Productions, to broadcast it for the next three years. The cost of purchasing Bake Off means that a lot is riding on the programme being a commercial success. The broadcaster has resisted the temptation to offer advertisers the chance to pay for product placement, in order to 'protect the integrity' of the show, but it has signed sponsorship deals with Lyle's Golden Syrup and Doctor Oetker worth an estimated four million notes. The programme will include more than fifteen minutes of adverts and run for seventy five minutes which is sure to go down well with viewers. Hunt, who is leaving Channel Four next month, denied that the broadcaster had 'poached' Bake Off from the BBC, saying that Greed Productions and the BBC had 'reached an impasse' and the programme had to move. Which is, of course, total and utter bollocks. She claimed: 'At that point it was a totally legitimate conversation [about buying the show] for us to be having.'
During an appearance on Good Morning Britain this week, Charlotte Hawkins revealed that the new series of Strictly Come Dancing will debut on BBC1 on 9 September.
On Thursday evening yer actual Keith Telly Topping was watching ITV3, dear blog reader. He does so occasionally. Anyway, there was an episode of Lewis which Keith Telly Topping didn't recall ever having seen before, even though he thought he'd seen all of them. (If you're taking notes, it was the finale episode, 2015's What Tangled Lies, the one featuring David Warner and Mali Whatsherface out of Hinterland). This blogger must have watched it when it was originally shown on ITV but her could be buggered if he remembered anything about it. Anyway, the very next evening, the channel also broadcast an episode of Endeavour which, similarly, this blogger couldn't recall having seen before, even though he thought he'd seen all of those too. (The episode was Harvest a, really rather attractive, variant on The Wicker Man guest-starring Sheila Hancock first broadcast in January of this year.) Conclusion: ITV3 are happily fucking with this blogger in one of two ways - either they are keeping all the episodes of Inspector Morse spin-offs that this blogger, for once reason or another, hadn't seen and then dumping them all on him in one week. Or, alternatively, they are making new episodes behind everyone's back just to mess with Keith Telly Topping's head. This blogger favour theory two, personally.
Keith Telly Topping also finally caught up with the three episodes of Victoria which he missed first time around on ITV Encore this week. This blogger wonders, is it just him, or does anyone else get the overwhelming urge every time Tom Hughes says 'but, she's The Qveen' to add 'she's the Qveen, she's the Qveen of the rapping scene'? Just Keith Telly Topping, then?
Speaking to the Digital Spy website ahead of the return of Victoria for its second series, writer Daisy Goodwin said that her favourite thing about Dame Diana Rigg, who has joined the cast this year, is that 'at the end of every day in her contract she has a bottle of Prosecco. She drinks just one glass and shares the rest with the make-up ladies.'
Yer actual Keith Telly Topping's beloved (though, tragically unsellable) Magpies scored their first goals and recorded their first points of the Premier League season with an impressive win over a struggling and very poor West Hamsters United side. Both teams began the new campaign with two defeats - in Th' Toon's case made even worse by an effective surrender-before-kick-off earlier in the week in the League Cup against Nottingham Forest and playing like a bunch of girls in their previous two league games - and it was anticipated this contest would be a war of attrition, even at this early stage of the season. There was, however, much to entertain the crowd and United took the lead in the thirty sixth minute when recent signing Joselu scored from close range after good work from Mikel Merino and Christian Atsu. Newcastle grew in confidence after the break and it was two-nil when the excellent Matt Ritchie delivered a great ball into the area which was headed in by Ciaran Clark. In the closing moments, substitute Aleksandar Mitrovic made sure of the three points when he took the ball around that bloody wankhands Joe Hart before slotting it into the empty net. The Hamsters remain rooted to the bottom of the table, having conceded ten goals in three games.
Elsewhere, The Scum moved back to the top of the Premier League table after claiming a third win from three games with Saturday's two-nil victory over Leicester City. Jose Mourinho's men have now scored ten league goals without reply so far this season, but things did not all go their way at Old Trafford. Kasper Schmeichel saved Romelu Lukaku's penalty six minutes into the second half and it took until twenty minutes from time for The Scum to make the breakthrough. Marcus Rashford took advantage of slack marking to sweep in following a corner three minutes after his introduction off the bench. Rashford's fellow substitute, Marouane Fellaini, added a second after Jesse Lingard's shot to leave Leicester, the 2015-16 champions, with three points from their opening three matches. Sheikh Yer Man City claimed a late win over Bournemouth as defeats for West Hamsters United and Crystal Palace put pressure on Slaven Bilic and Frank De Boer at the bottom. Bournemouth are also without a point after three games this season as Pep Guardiola's City claimed victory through Raheem Sterling's stoppage-time winner. The England forward was subsequently sent off after earning a second yellow card for his celebrations at netting the decisive strike. A decision which made yer actual Alan Shearer proper vexed on Match Of The Day. Gosh, he was so angry, this blogger thought he was going to elbow Phil Neville right in the mush. Which, to be fair would've been a sight to see. Garth Crooks was a bit discombobulated by the whole malarkey too. Gabriel Jesus had cancelled out Charlie Daniels' stunning strike as Sheikh Yer Man City came from behind for a second win from three games following Monday's draw with Everton. There was also a geet-rive on with kids getting sparked an' aal sorts at the end with Bournemouth claiming, not particularly convincingly, that a 'misunderstanding' led one of their stewards to allege that he was struck by Sheikh Yer Man City's Sergio Aguero when television pictures proved that he clearly wasn't or anything even remotely like it. Whether the steward will, deservedly, have his ass extremely sacked for lying and trying to get Aguero into trouble is not yet known. Palace and The Hamsters are both without a point after three games. De Boer's Eagles are also yet to score after a two-nil defeat to previously winless Swansea and were booed off the pitch by their own fans three matches into the Dutchman's reign. Tammy Abraham, on loan from Moscow Chelski FC, scored his first Premier League goal a minute before half-time and Jordan Ayew added a second within three minutes of the restart for The Swans. Huddersfield are on seven points, alongside Sheikh Yer Man City, after being held to a goalless draw by Southampton. The Terriers are still to concede a goal and lead Guardiola's men on goal difference. Miguel Britos was sent off for a sickening two-footed challenge on Anthony Knockaert after twenty four minutes, but Brighton & Hove Albinos are still chasing a first Premier League goal this season. They have their first point though and maiden clean sheet following a goalless draw at Watford. In Sunday's games, West Bromwich Albino's one hundred per cent winning start to the season came to an end as a terrible defensive mix-up between Ahmed Hegazi and Ben Foster gifted Dirty Stoke a draw at The Hawthorns. The Baggies were on course to join The Scum on nine points at the top of the Premier League after Jay Rodriguez headed home his first league goal for the club on his home debut. But in attempting to clear a seemingly innocuous chipped cross from substitute Ramadan Sobhi, Hegazi and Foster both missed the ball - allowing Peter Crouch to head into an unguarded net. Burnley's new signing Chris Wood scored a dramatic injury-time equaliser to deny Stottingtot Hotshots their first Premier League win at Wembley. Spurs had looked on course for victory after Dele Alli put them ahead with a calm finish after Ben Mee fluffed a clearance from a corner. Moscow Chelski FC produced a dominant home performance to comfortably beat Everton for their second win of the Premier League season at Torpedo Stamford Bridge. Cesc Fabregas broke Everton's resistance by coolly clipping into the bottom corner from Alvaro Morata's instinctive knockdown, ending a smart move that began with a quick free-kick. Morata's thumping header doubled Moscow Chelski's lead before the break, the Spaniard gleefully finishing from Cesar Azpilicueta's perfect cross. And, Liverpool Alabama Yee-Haws produced a dazzling attacking display to destroy The Arse as Arsene Wenger's side were humiliated at Anfield. Wenger surprisingly chose to leave out summer signing Alexandre Lacazette, and the fifty two million knicker striker could only look on as every one of The Gunners' old, familiar failings were brutally exposed by Liverpool's pace, movement and desire. Roberto Firmino headed in Joe Gomez's cross to give The Reds a seventeenth-minute lead to start an attacking blitz that ended in a final scoreline that actually flattered The Arse. Sadio Mane, Mohamed Salah and Daniel Sturridge added subsequent goals against an Arse side that appeared to have little stomach for the fight.
In The Championship, Hull City ran riot with a four-nil victory over Notlob Wanderers. Adama Diomande opened the scoring for Hull. Six minutes later, Jarrod Bowen doubled their advantage and just before the half hour mark, Kamil Grosicki made it three-nil. With two minutes to play Bowen grabbed his second and Hull's fourth. At Ashton Gate, Bristol City settled for a point, against Aston Villains. It took an hour for the game to spring to life, Jamie Paterson scored to give the Robins the lead. However that lasted only four minutes, thanks to Stottingtot Hotshots' loanee Josh Onomah scoring a long-range effort, to equalise for The Villains. Barnsley piled more misery on Simon Grayson, as his Blunderland side lost three-nil at Oakwell. First-half goals from Ike Ugbo and Harvey Barnes put The Tykes two goals up then, with just over twenty minutes to play, George Moncur scored Barnsley's third to leave The Mackems in nineteenth place in The Championship. It was quite the afternoon for Millwall, as they beat Norwich City four-nil at The Den. Lee Gregory and George Saville put Millwall two up in the opening twenty minutes, Jed Wallace added their third minutes before half-time and Shaun Hutchinson made it four late on. Ipswich Town lost two-nil at Portman Road to Poor Bloody Fulham, thus ending The Tractor Boys' one hundred per cent start to the season. Neeskens Kebano put Fulham in-front on the thirty fifth minute. The London side scored a second six minutes after the restart, Rui Fonte netting for The Cottagers. Sheffield United recorded another home win, courtesy of a three-one victory over Derby County. Billy Sharp opened the scoring four minutes in. Johnny Russell added a second before half-time. Craig Bryson did plus one back for County, however Sharp scored his second, eight minutes into stoppage time. Cardiff City maintained their perfect start this afternoon, defeating Queens Park Strangers two-one in the Welsh capital. Matt Smith did give the visitors the lead on fifteenth minutes, however The Bluebirds soon hit back. Junior Hoilett equalised against his former employers moments later. Then, on the stroke of half-time Sol Bamba put Cardiff two-one in-front. In Saturday's evening kick-off, Dirty Leeds United continued their bright start with a two-nil win at Nottingham Forest. Kemar Roofe put Dirty Leeds in-front. With three minutes to play Ezgjan Alioski fired a second. Elsewhere The Middlesbrough Smog Monsters drew nil-nil with Preston Both Ends. In West-London, Brentford also played out a goalless draw against Wolverhampton Wanderings. Burton Albinos drew one-one with Sheffield Wednesday and Reading saw success on their travels with a two-nil against Hapless Harry's Birmingham City at St Andrew's.
Gianluigi Buffon thinks Serie A referees are overusing the video assistant referee system after Juventus conceded a penalty using the method for the second game in a row. The Italian top flight is one of the leagues trialling VAR this season. Juve beat Genoa four-two on Saturday with both sides having penalties awarded following video consultation. 'They are overusing it and making mistakes. I don't like it this way, it's not good,' Buffon said. 'It's something which, if used sparingly, could give us excellent results and be a good thing for football. In this way, we won't know the real value of a referee. If everyone was a little calmer and more objective, and accepted mistakes, we would accept results with more humanity. Another thing is that in football, it's not a penalty every time there is contact. You can't stop the game every three minutes - it makes it like water polo.' Juve also conceded a penalty to Cagliari on the opening day using VAR, although Buffon saved it in a three-nil win. Coach Massimiliano Allegri is also unimpressed. 'Matches become very long and we don't know when they're going to finish,' he said.
Former German international forward Lukas Podolski is reported to be considering legal action after a right-wing website printed a photo of him to illustrate an article about illegal immigration. An image of the footballer was used Breitbart in a article under the headline: Spanish Police Crack Gang Moving Migrants on Jet-Skis. The website has since amended the article and grovellingly apologised to Podolski. But the World Cup winner is reported to have asked his lawyer to look into the case. Breitbart updated the story with a new picture and said: 'A previous version of this story included an image of Lukas Podolski on a jet-ski. This image appeared as an illustration of a person on a jet-ski.' So, things we learned this week, number one: Sick right-wing scumbags don't jet-ski, seemingly. Of course, if it had been normal skiing, they would have had less problems finding a suitable image - see below. 'Breitbart London wishes to apologise to Mister Podolski,' the editor's note continued. 'There is no evidence Mister Podolski is either a migrant gang member, nor being human trafficked. We wish Mister Podolski well in his recently announced international retirement.' Podolski, who now plays for Japanese side Vissel Kobe, made his final international appearance for Germany in March against England, scoring the only goal in a one-nil victory. He left The Arse in January 2015 to join Inter Milan on loan, before then moving to Galatasaray in Turkey.
Female football fans were made to show their bras to stewards during security searches, a supporters' group has claimed. Grimsby Town fan group The Mariners Trust made the allegation in a letter to Stevenage FC after the two sides met last Saturday. It claimed that some fans wearing underwired bras were also asked by stewards at The Lamex Stadium if they could 'feel' them. Stevenage said that it was 'investigating the matter' before making any further comment when asked by the BBC whether such searches were standard procedure or were due to an increased security risk for that match. The checks, carried out by female stewards, but which the supporters' trust said were 'in full view of male stewards, fans and police,' have been described as 'a gross invasion of privacy.' The letter from the supporters' group alleges stewards asked some female fans 'if they could feel their bras.' Sounds like a line this blogger used in a bar once. True story. The group also said children as young as five were subjected to full body searches and supporters had items which were not listed as being banned confiscated from them, such as 'contact lens solution, cough sweets and medication.' The letter also alleged that a female steward was posted inside a male toilet, adding: 'The steward was asked to leave by Grimsby Town supporters, but she refused despite the fact several male stewards and police officers were stood outside.' The Mariners Trust described the treatment of supporters as 'amongst the worst our fans have experienced in decades of travelling across the world to watch football.' The letter concludes by calling on Stevenage to address the 'serious failings' as 'a matter of urgency to ensure no other visiting team's supporters are treated as animals in the way your club did on Saturday.'
The former England cricketer and BBC commentator Geoffrey Boycott has snivellingly apologised for an 'unacceptable' comment he made about West Indian cricketers. Boycott is reported to have said it would be more likely he would be knighted if he was to 'black his face.' Nice. It is also claimed that during the same Q&A session, Boycott said knighthoods were handed out like 'confetti' to West Indies greats. The seventy six-year-old has now described his comments in Birmingham last Saturday as 'clearly wrong.' No shit? Mind you, most of those West Indies cricketers who have been knighted don't, by and large, have a criminal conviction for assault to their name. Just sayin'. Boycott added he 'loves' West Indian cricket and has 'the utmost respect for its players.' The Q&A event, hosted by Sky Sports presenter Gary Newbon, was held during a break in play during the first test between England and The West Indies and was attended by about two hundred people. Boycott was part of the BBC's Test Match Special commentary team for the day-night test at Edgbaston last week. A BBC spokesperson said: '[Boycott] has, rightly, apologised unreservedly for these clearly unacceptable comments. We use a number of different contributors in our cricket coverage. He remains part of our team.' A spokesperson for Warwickshire County Cricket Club said: 'We were very disappointed by Geoffrey's comments and are pleased to see that he has apologised and recognised that it was unacceptable.'
The orchestral original score for The Be-Atles' song 'Eleanor Rigby' is expected to fetch twenty grand at auction. It was handwritten by producer George Martin and signed by yer actual Paul McCartney, who wrote the lyric. Rigby's name is inscribed on a headstone in a Liverpool graveyard, where McCartney first met future wife-beating Scouse junkie John Lennon at a church fete, although Macca himself has always insisted that this was a co-incidence and that he had created the name from a combination of his friend, the actress Eleanor Bron and a shop called Rigby's in Bristol where he was visiting his then girlfriend, Jane Asher. Deeds for the real Eleanor Rigby's grave and a miniature Bible, dated 1899 and with her name written inside, will also be sold. They were discovered by a distant relative when the estate of two of Rigby's half-sisters was left to the family. Paul Fairweather, from Omega Auctions, said that it was 'an incredible coincidence' for both lots to come up for sale at the same time. 'I expect there to be fierce bidding from across the globe.' With its familiar refrain of 'All the lonely people, where do they all come from?' the song was released as a double A-side single in August 1966 and was, as it happens, the very first record that was bought for this blogger for his third birthday (mainly for 'Yellow Submarine' on the other side, admittedly). The song formed part of The Be-Atles' 1966 LP, Revolver. It also featured - in a memorable sequence - in The Be-Atles' animated movie Yellow Submarine in 1969. The score, written in pencil, includes notes that the song was to be recorded in Abbey Road Studio number two and was to include a string Octet, four violins, two violas and two cellos. The items will be on sale at the Beatles Memorabilia Auction in Warrington on 11 September.
A major UK supermarket may have, unintentionally, infected thousands of people with a pig virus which causes liver and neurological problems, Public Health England has claimed. The big chain - which has yet to be officially identified and is referred to as 'Supermarket X' in the report - has been implicated in the transmission of Hepatitis E, or HEV by new research. HEV is transmitted by sausages and pork products from Europe, mainly Holland and Germany, The Sunday Times reported. Most infected people present few symptoms but others develop serious illness. UK-bred pork is not affected. The government says of HEV on its website: 'Pregnant women and older people, those with weakened immune systems and people with chronic liver disease can experience more severe infections. These patients can require closer observation in case the infection affects their liver function.' Official estimates place the numbers of Britons infected by HEV from pork products each year at between one hundred and fifty and two hundred thousand. Public Health England commissioned research into the issue in 2014 and it was completed two years later - but the findings were held from publication amid fears over 'sensitivity.' It was finally published this summer. It analysed the habits of those infected with a particular strand of HEV - and found Supermarket X's own-brand raw pork sausages to be 'a common purchase' among them. Bengu Said and Professor Richard Tedder of PHE's National Infection Service led the research, writing: 'The implicated products are pork sausages, which require cooking prior to consumption and ready-to-eat pre-packed sliced ham.' They added: 'Only Supermarket X, especially own brand, was significantly associated with HEV.' When asked why it had chosen not to identify Supermarket X, PHE said: 'The association with the supermarket does not infer any blame.' Experts said that the problem was 'one for all retailers and farmers.' But Harry Dalton, a gastroenterologist at Exeter University, told the newspaper: 'In the past four years the number of HEV cases I see has surged. Three of my patients have died from HEV, all were older men with pre-existing liver damage.'
On a related them, a litter of piglets whose bacon was quite literally saved from a barn fire have now been served up as dinner to the firefighters who rescued them in the first place. The eighteen piglets and two sows survived the fire in Wiltshire in February, which saw sixty tonnes of hay catch fire. In what is described as 'a controversial move,' farm manager Rachel Rivers thanked the Pewsey fire team by giving them sausages. She said: 'I'm sure vegetarians will hate this.' You think? The firefighters, however, said that the bangers were 'fantastic.' Some hippy Communist louse of no consequence at the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals claimed that the piglets were 'no better off' for escaping the fire. Although one is sure that those who ate them would beg to differ since if they'd died in the fire they would, probably, have been burned to a crisp and, therefore, inedible. 'We'll be sending Dorset and Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service packs of vegan sausages so that they can see how easy it is to truly be heroes for pigs - by sparing them all suffering,' whinged spokesman Mimi Bekhechi. The animals were given a six-month stay of execution when they were rescued from the farm at Milton Lilbourne. But, having been reared for meat, they were eventually slaughtered and delivered as sausages to the fire station team, which barbecued them. Rivers defended the gift, saying farming is her livelihood and way of life. 'I gave those animals the best quality of life I could ever give until the time they go to slaughter and they go into the food chain,' she said. 'You do feel sad at the end of it but to bring them down for [the firefighters] was a good way of saying "thank you."' The farm's owner, Canon Gerald Osbourne, added: 'An inevitable part of farming is the death of an animal which gives us the food to eat.' The delighted firefighters said that the sausages were 'highly recommended' and thanked the farmer 'for her generosity. We can tell no porkies, the sausages were fantastic,' a spokesman said on Tuesday. However, the fire service has since removed the pictures of the impromptu barbecue from its Facebook page and a spokesman said it would not comment further. Except to repeat that the sausages were delicious. As, indeed, is the irony of the situation.
Four-time Olympic track cycling champion Laura Kenny has given birth to her first child. She announced the arrival of Albert Louie Kenny on Instagram, with a photo of her alongside husband Jason Kenny - himself a six-time Olympic gold medallist. Laura said that Albert was born late on Wednesday, a week over his due date. 'You kept us waiting a week but it was all worth it,' she wrote. The twenty five-year-old retained the team pursuit and women's omnium titles in Rio which she won at London 2012. She has already declared her intention to compete at a third Olympics in Tokyo in 2020 but has said that she will not rush back to the sport. The relationship between the pair began during the build-up to the London 2012 Olympic Games and they married in Cheshire in September.
A volunteer army is being enlisted to help preserve Hadrian's Wall. Severe weather, wear and tear caused by tourism, invasive plant damage and erosion by animals mean parts of the World Heritage site are deteriorating. A team from Newcastle University will be training volunteers to assess the structure and then take practical steps to conserve it. The £1.3m three-year project, funded with Heritage Lottery money, is set to get under way in 2018. It will include 3D surveys with terrestrial laser scanning to understand more about its condition. There will also be limited archaeological excavations and geological work to analyse and map the kinds of stone used in the wall. Professor Sam Turner, from university's School of History, Classics and Archaeology, said: 'This project will give different people interested in the wall and its landscape the chance to work together. We are very excited to have the opportunity to take practical steps that will help conserve and better understand our shared heritage.'
Northumberland-born comedian Wor Geet Canny Ross Noble claims that he is 'perfect' for a role in Mel Brooks' stage version of Young Frankenstein because he brings his 'own hump.'
Are they stars? Are they lost planets? Brown dwarfs, the galaxy's dark, wandering orbs, are some of space's most perplexing features. They are larger than Jupiter but smaller than stars, glow on their own and they're really strange. A new analysis seems to explain at least a few of their mysteries. An international team of researchers sifted through telescope data to try and understand the mysterious behaviour of brown dwarfs' light emissions. After watching a large sample of cold brown dwarfs for a-year-and-a-half equalling around a thousand rotations, they came to what might be a surprising conclusion: The best-fit model for their data turned out something that looked a lot like the planet Neptune. This could have important implications not only for studying brown dwarfs, but for understanding exoplanets in general. 'Our results suggest that large-separation gas giant exoplanet candidates which have near-identical temperatures to the brown dwarfs studies here, may also show banded circulation,' the scientists write in the paper published this week in the journal Science. One of the brown dwarf's mysteries centres around its light-curves; how much light it emits over time. Researchers have noticed confusing patterns, including peaks splitting into two recurring peaks, quickly-brightening blips, and patterns appearing in what looks like randomness. After collecting data from the Spitzer Space Telescope, specifically from the extended missions after it was meant to be decommissioned, the researchers came up with some best-fit models. Those include some features many will already be familiar with, including bands of varying brightness and round, bright spots. In fact, the scientists think that brown dwarfs may look a lot like Neptune. Only, more brown. In other words, maybe the best way to explain these dim, star-like things is with the physics of planets. 'The data for each brown dwarf can be modelled with two or three bands,' the authors write, with waves of varying brightness kind of like a jet stream with and maxima and minima of light instead of air temperatures and pressures. Of course, these are just models, not direct observations and other interpretations are possible. But at least one researcher not involved in this study was excited about the measurements. 'I'm amazed. The data they have is very straightforward, like the brightness measurements over time and watching them change at different wavelengths,' Emily Rice, professor of astronomy at the CUNY College of Staten Island told the Gizmodo website. 'The computer models they do and conclusions they draw is super exiting to me.' Rice was especially excited about the fact that the data came from extended space missions. 'When the space mission launches but you don't know when it's going to end, you never know how much data can come out of it,' she added. There are plenty of other implications for brown dwarfs' atmospheres looking like those of planets. Stars form from clouds of dust, while planets form from disks of dust orbiting stars, said Rice. Brown dwarfs show that something which formed the first way can still end up looking a lot like those formed the second way though the elemental composition is different. That also means studying brown dwarfs may be able to help explain many of the specifics of exoplanets, which are generally more difficult to study given the blinding light of the parent star so close by. 'I would say that brown dwarfs are super exciting. Exoplanets get all the hype recently, but we can't really make these observations with exoplanets,' said Rice. 'We were hoping the science would be true but it doesn't have to be. It's turning out to be true in more interesting ways than we thought. That's super cool.'
The funniest line at this year's Edinburgh Festival - albeit, inexplicably, it didn't win Dave's Joke Of The Festival award - came from good old reliable Mad Frankie Boyle. 'Trump's nothing like Hitler. There's no way he could write a book.'
A man has been found dead at the campsite which hosted a hedonist festival last weekend. Emergency services were called to the campsite in Tunbridge Wells. The man was pronounced dead at the scene and an unconscious woman was airlifted to hospital. Kent Police is treating the death as 'unexplained' but 'not suspicious.' Flamefest, which boasted a 'discreet adult play area' and 'outdoor dungeon', was at the site on Saturday and Sunday. The two-day festival was described on its website as a 'festival for kinky, quirky, creative hedonists,' it showcased musicians and DJs as well as circus-style performers with sword-swallowing and fire-eating. Its adult play area allowed festival-goers to 'explore kinks' and 'play within the boundaries of our common-sense rules' with dominatrixes and monitors. Organiser Helen Smedley, the creator of the festival, declined to comment on the unexplained death. Tunbridge Wells council said that the event was authorised by a temporary event notice and it has 'no discretion to select the type of events held providing they meet the requirements of the relevant legislation.' Council officers undertook site visits in the week running up to the festival, which did not require formal planning permission. A spokeswoman said: 'Tracks which have been laid through the woods do require planning permission. A retrospective application has been sought, which will be assessed on its own merits. If it is not found to be acceptable then enforcement action will be taken. Investigations regarding the felling of trees are ongoing.'
Metro - not a real newspaper, in case you were wondering - appears to have been getting a bit more experimental with their articles than one might expect from a stablemate of the Daily Scum Mail. Take their recent A Beginner's Guide To Spanking: Everything You Need To Know About Making An Impact for example. What next from Metro, we wonder, Golden Showers: No Need For An Umbrella?
Vehicles have been left dangling over the edge of a multi-storey car park in Nottingham, after part of the building collapsed. In the early hours of Saturday morning part of a wall and a floor at the NCP Nottingham City car park on Mount Street fell away leaving two cars and a van hanging over the edge. A spokesman for NCP said that no-one was injured in the collapse and that structural engineers were at the scene assessing the situation. George Cooke, of Scunthorpe, whose car was parked at the site, was nearby when he heard a bang. 'I was not sure what it was. I looked out the window, but couldn't see anything,' he told the BBC. 'I came back and cars were overhanging the car park. It was a bit of a shock.' Roger Black, from Somerset, told the Nottingham Post: 'I've never seen anything like it, the whole wall has completely come away and part of the floor as well. It's a good thing it happened in the early hours otherwise it could have been a lot worse.' The NCP spokesman said: 'An incident has occurred during the night at our Nottingham City car park, where a part of the front facia of the building has fallen and is blocking the entrance/exit of the car park. No one has been injured and no vehicle has been damaged. We apologise profusely for any inconvenience this has caused to our customers parked with us and to customers arriving to park with us today.' A police spokesman said that officers had been called to assist Nottinghamshire fire and rescue service. 'It is not yet known how long the closures will be in place and drivers are being asked to avoid the area,' he said. 'NCP is allowing customers to collect their cars from the car park but no new vehicles are being allowed in at this stage.'
A viscount has abandoned his appeal against a conviction for posting malicious Facebook messages after a judge warned his twelve-week prison sentence could be increased and returned to The Pokey. Rhodri Colwyn Philipps - who insisted on being referred to a Lord Saint Davids - was last month found very guilty on two counts of making malicious communications as reported by this blog. An online post written by his Lordship had offered five grand to anyone who 'ran over' businesswoman Gina Miller, and another related to an immigrant in extremely unflattering terms. A judge said that there was a 'risk' Lord Snot's sentence 'could increase' if he appealed against it. Which, admittedly, would have been funny.
A Virginia woman was arrested on Tuesday for stealing a charter bus from the company she worked for, according to Maryland State Police. Mellat Zerihun Kassa was served a warrant from Virginia's Prince William County Police for the stolen bus. For unknown reasons, police said that Kassa ignored her route, didn't pick up any passengers and drove through Maryland. The Maryland Transportation Authority contacted State Police in reference to a stolen green and white charter bus. The bus had been reported stolen by Woodbridge-based company Potomac & Rappahannock Transportation. The company told police that the bus was being driven by Kassa, who had not been answering her phone or the radio. Troopers located the bus, which was being tracked via GPS, in Harford County. A trooper attempted to make a traffic stop on the bus, but according to investigators, the bus changed lanes, accelerated and drove away. Kassa drove the bus until she reached the toll plaza for the Tydings Memorial Bridge, where she stopped in a lane designed only for passenger vehicles. Troopers ordered Kassa out of the bus and she complied, according to the Baltimore Sun. Kassa was arrested without incident. Police said no one was injured and no vehicles were damaged as a result of the incident.
A cafe has reportedly 'invoked the fury of parents' after banning all children under the age of twelve. Bob Higginson only opened his ocean liner-themed cafe The Chart Room around a month ago in Brixham, Devon. After opening, he quickly announced that while dogs and older children were welcome, those younger than twelve 'would not be catered for.' Since then he has faced calls for a boycott from angry residents, who claim it is a form of discrimination. Higginson said: 'My main demographic is older, more mature people who want peace and quiet. I wanted people to be able to come and discuss the old days and have a nostalgic chat without children running around and distracting them.' He added that children 'break things,' whereas dogs 'often do not.'
A man from Massachusetts was reportedly arrested for allegedly trying to punch a police horse at a street festival according to a statement from Worcester police. This occurred when the police were responding to a disturbance call at a beer tent at the street festival. The fifty nine-year-old man, Donald Pegan was walking between a column of police horses and when officers asked Pegan to stop, he stepped to the side of the horse 'with aggression' and 'quickly raising his fist to punch the horse.' The horse jumped instinctively away from him. He was very arrested and charged with assault, resisting arrest and interfering with the police horse.
A Memphis woman is facing aggravated arson charges after she was detained at a local Walmart store for, allegedly, setting clothes on fire. According to police records, an employee noticed smoke coming from the clothing section and went to investigate. That was when she reportedly discovered Joy Cagle setting an article of clothing on fire. She immediately ran to get a co-worker to act as a witness. That employee told police she, too, saw Cagle setting a smock on fire, which ignited a larger fire. The pair called for help and began evacuating the building, before detaining the suspect with the help of several other witnesses, police said. When questioned, the suspect at first told police she didn't mean to set the clothes on fire. She blamed her ADHD, saying that she needed a lighter and a fidget spinner to 'stay busy.' She then reportedly changed her story and said another man in the clothing section had set the clothes on fire and it was like that when she got there. The lighter and several illegal drugs were found in her possession.
Americans gazed upwards in their millions on Monday, as a total solar eclipse swept the country. It was the first such eclipse to go from the West to East coasts of the US in ninety nine years.
All of which is very lovely however several people in California have reportedly been treated by ophthalmologists this week after attempting to view the recent solar eclipse by putting sunscreen directly onto their eyes. Only in America, dear blog reader. According to KRCR-TV in Redding, California, a nurse practitioner told the station she had seen 'a few customers' who experienced pain 'after they put sunscreen in their eye Monday since they did not have protective glasses.' She said that those patients were 'referred to eye specialists.' She also told KRCR that these were the only eclipse-related eye injuries she'd seen this week. Poison Control says sunscreen in the eyes can be painful and should be rinsed out immediately.
A man has admitted to punching his girlfriend in the face after she turned down his marriage proposal. Metro reports that Andrei Pavel had 'splashed out on an engagement ring and bunch of flowers' to surprise Andrea Nagy with the at her workplace. But when he popped the question and she replied 'no,' he then lost his temper and hit her in the face, knocking her to the ground and leaving her with 'significant injuries.' After being arrested, Pavel, who has no previous convictions, told police officers that he was 'upset by the rejection.' Now the defendant, originally from Stoke-on-Trent, has been banned from contacting his victim for a year after pleading very guilty to assault by beating. North Staffordshire Justice Centre heard that Pavel and Nagy had been in an 'intense' relationship for three months and had moved in together before 'hitting a rocky patch.'
A man screamed 'who are you to tell me what to do?' at a judge. So, the judge jailed him. Which, admittedly, is funny. Jordan Wills will reportedly spend two weeks behind bars after judge Simon James refused to accept his apology for the angry tirade at Canterbury Crown Court. The twenty two-year-old called the judge 'a prick' when he appeared in the dock for an unrelated matter, before starting a tussle with security. When Judge James asked the defendant not to use obscene language, Wills replied: 'Who are you to tell me what to do?' Wills, from Dover, was jailed for two weeks for contempt of court. After the outburst, he was removed from the court, but tried to burst back into the room to shout 'I love you' to his - presumably extremely embarrassed - girlfriend. His lawyer, James Ross, claimed that Wills had 'misunderstood' what was happening in court and 'allowed his emotions to take over,' adding that 'it tipped him over the edge.'
On Sunday, authorities at the Southwell horse track in Nottinghamshire, reportedly caught an attendee trying to smuggle a three hundred an fifty-millilitre bottle of vodka into the venue by way of a large sandwich filled with salami and tomato. According to the Torygraph, security guards were tipped off by the weight of the 'sandwich,' and asked the woman to open it for inspection. A spokesman for Southwell added to FOX News that security took the sandwich from the woman, but didn't dispose of it out of respect for her inventiveness. 'We usually confiscate the alcohol and destroy it, but on this occasion, impressed by the lady's ingenuity, we decided she could collect it after racing had finished,' said the spokesperson. 'Needless to say, she didn't collect the bottle and it is still sat in the racecourse office.'
Another person has been arrested in Albuguerque in a terrifying kidnapping case which 'could turn into a murder investigation' according to media reports. Nineteen-year-old Mariah Ferry was arrested late on Thursday and appeared in court on Saturday morning, where she was told the state wants to keep her under lock and key up until trial. Albuquerque Police say that Ferry is the girlfriend of Chase Smotherman. The two along, with convicted killer Mitchell Overhand, are charged with brutally beating a man over drug money which he allegedly owed them. The three are also accused of showing the victim an image of his friend, dead and sexually mutilated. That friend was later identified as John Soyka who has been missing since 7 August.
Deputies say a suspect is in custody after she was chased down in a stolen car in Spartanburg County South Carolina on Saturday. A victim reportedly called police stating that her car had been stolen. She said that the car had GPS coordinates and, armed with this information, deputies were able to begin their search. Around an hour later, a deputy spotted the stolen vehicle. The deputy attempted to stop the vehicle by activating his blue lights and siren, but the female driver refused to stop and a high-speed pursuit began. In the Boiling Springs area, another deputy attempted to deploy stop sticks at the junction of Highway Nine and Rainbow Lake Road, but the suspect was able to avoid them. At one point, the suspect drove onto a sidewalk and pedestrians had to jump out of the way, deputies claim. During the pursuit, another deputy was partially blocking the intersection at Highway NIne and Old Furnace Road and when the suspect drove that way she collided with the deputy's vehicle. She then attempted to leave the roadway and drive onto the sidewalk again. The chase ended in a wreck and the suspect was extremely taken into custody. The suspect was identified as Shelby Lynn Neely, nineteen, of Spartanburg. She told deputies that she did not stop because she knew she had active warrants and knew that her arrest would lead to a lengthy stretch in The Big House.
A Hong Kong man was extremely arrested at an immigration checkpoint on the border with the Chinese mainland last week on suspicion of trying to smuggle pornography, local media reported. The suspect, who was not identified, was apprehended on 17 August at the Shatoujiao checkpoint in Shenzhen, which links to the Sha Tau Kok immigration control in Hong Kong. Immigration officers noticed the man 'behaving suspiciously' and, when they scanned his backpack they found two hundred and seventy six discs containing pornographic materials, the report said. When asked why he was in possession of the discs, the man was quoted as claiming that he was a garbage collector and had 'found them on the street.'
Cambodian anti-counterfeit police arrested a woman and confiscated about thirteen hundred kilos of fake - and 'harmful' - lotion in Kandal province on Saturday. Touch Yuthea, deputy secretariat of the Interior Ministry's Counter Counterfeit Committee, said that the fake lotion was 'being passed off for the brand name Love Riya.' Yuthea identified the arrested woman as thirty two-year-old Chheng Sreyroth, whose Takhmao City home was raided by forces on Saturday. Yuthea added that the suspect had been distributing the fake lotion over the Internet. 'Before the raid, we received anonymous information from about eighteen people who suspected the location was being used to illegally produce lotion which could harm consumers' skin,' said Yuthea. Police seized thirteen hundred and seventy kilos of the lotion and thirty one other products suspected to be fake, he added. Kandal police chief Eav Chamroeun added that other evidence seized during the raid included contact lists for online distribution and other possible fake products such as acne cream and petroleum jelly. 'After the search, Kandal provincial deputy prosecutor Ek Sun Reaskmey handed over the seized evidence and Chheng Sreyroth to be detained at the Interior Ministry temporarily prior to her first court appearance,' he said.
Long plagued by declining membership, the Boy Scouts of America are considering a campaign to recruit in a previously untapped market: girls. The Girl Scouts, however, aren't having it. A feud between the two largest scouting organisations in the US broke into the open on Tuesday when the president of Girl Scouts of the USA called the Boy Scouts' 'covert campaign' to recruit girls 'reckless and unsettling' in a letter 'obtained' by BuzzFeed News. How they 'obtained' it, they don't say although it appears as though someone has been snithcing like a Copper's Nark good and proper. A Girl Scouts spokesman confirmed the contents of the letter in an e-mail to the Washington Post. 'We were disappointed in the lack of transparency as we learned that you are surreptitiously testing the appeal of a girls' offering to millennial parents,' Girl Scouts President Kathy Hopinkah Hannan wrote to Boy Scouts President Randall Stephenson. 'Furthermore, it is inherently dishonest to claim to be a single gender organisation while simultaneously endeavouring upon a co-ed model.' She said that the Boy Scouts' 'well documented' declining membership - its numbers have dwindled by a third since 2000, to just more than two million as of 2016 - is 'behind' its 'push' to 'include girls.' The Boy Scouts said in a statement to the Post that they are 'considering' including girls in their ranks 'not to boost their numbers,' ho no, perish the thought, but rather 'in response to requests from families' who want their daughters to be a part of the same organisation as their sons. 'The Boy Scouts of America believes in the benefit of single-gender programmes,' said the statement from the Boy Scouts' director of national communications, Effie Delimarkos. 'But, in evaluating the possibility of serving the whole family, we've been having conversations with our members and volunteers to see how to make Scouting accessible for families.'
In 1946, a young comedian, Jerry Lewis, met a struggling singer, Dean Martin. They decided to form a team. Their act, with its elaborate pattern of sparring and interruption, turned them into a success on the Los Angeles nightclub circuit – and on television, then establishing its hegemony over American popular entertainment. Before long they were in Hollywood, under the sharp entrepreneurial aegis of the Paramount producer Hal Wallis. Between 1949 and 1956, the duo starred in more than a dozen movies, with Martin cast as the worldly philanderer and Lewis as the gormless hanger-on. The humour may have been unsophisticated, but Wallis knew better than to skimp on the production values and the pair became a massive box-office success.
Jerry Lewis, who has died this week aged ninety one, was steeped in show business from the start. As a spokesman for the Muscular Dystrophy Association, he raised vast sums for charity; as a filmmaker of great personal force and technical skill, he made many contributions to the industry, including the invention in 1960 of the video assist, which allowed directors to review their work immediately on the set, which is still in common use. A mercurial personality who could flip from naked neediness to towering rage, Jerry seemed to contain multitudes and he explored all of them. His ultimate object of contemplation was his own, often contradictory, self and he turned his obsession with fragmentation, discontinuity and the limits of language into a spectacle which enchanted children, disturbed adults and fascinated postmodernist critics.
Jerry Lewis was born in March 1926, in Newark. Most sources, including his 1982 autobiography, Jerry Lewis: In Person, give his birth name as Joseph Levitch. But Shawn Levy, author of the exhaustive 1996 biography King Of Comedy: The Life & Art Of Jerry Lewis, unearthed the birth records which gave his first name as Jerome. His parents, Daniel and Rae Levitch, were entertainers (using the surname Lewis on stage) and from an early age Jerry would join them at resort hotels during the summer. An often bored student at Union Avenue School in Irvington, New Jersey, he began organising amateur shows with and for his classmates, while yearning to join his parents on tour. During the winter of 1938 to 1939, his father landed an extended engagement at the Hotel Arthur in Lakewood, and Jerry was allowed to go along. Working with the daughter of the hotel's owners, he created a comedy act in which they lip-synced to popular recordings. By his sixteenth birthday, Jerry had dropped out of school and was aggressively looking for work, having adopted the professional name Jerry Lewis to avoid confusion with the nightclub comic Joe E Lewis. Jerry performed his 'record act' solo between features at movie theatres and soon moved on to burlesque and vaudeville. In 1944 - a 4F classification had kept him out of the war - he was performing in Detroit when he met Patti Palmer, a twenty three-year-old singer. Three months later they were married and in July 1945, while Patti was living with Jerry's parents in Newark and he was performing at a Baltimore nightclub, she gave birth to the first of the couple's six sons, Gary, who in the 1960s had a series of hit records with his band Gary Lewis & The Playboys. The couple divorced in 1980.
By the age of twenty, Jerry was already established as a stand-up comic - his act, significantly enough, featured mimicry of better known performers - and not long afterwards he met Martin. Several of Martin and Lewis's films were loose remakes of earlier Paramount comedies (Scared Stiff, for instance, derived from The Ghost Breakers), with Lewis in roles equivalent to those of the leading ladies in the originals: the fact that this could be accomplished so readily is a measure of the films' essential innocence. When Martin and Lewis parted professional company, reputedly in a spirit of mutual resentment, both went on to successful solo careers. Lewis's first few films on his own were routine mixtures of slapstick and somewhat mawkish sentiment, but in 1960 he opted to write and direct, as well as star in, The Bellboy, a startlingly surreal and all but plotless, account of the travails of a dysfunctional individual at the mercy of modern life. Established on a new footing, Lewis proceeded over the next several years to alternate performing in vehicles made by other directors with directing and producing, and often writing, his own. In the former category, the most rewarding pictures stemmed from Lewis's collaboration with Frank Tashlin, an ex-cartoonist and comedian. Such films as Who's Minding the Store (1963) and The Disorderly Orderly (1964) drew on the cartoon precepts of Tashlin's past to create a fantasy modern age in the grip of faddishness and technology. The most personal of the films Lewis directed himself, The Nutty Professor (1963) and The Patsy (1964), reflected similar concerns, but internalised them in the figure of the star-protagonist.
The Nutty Professor, a conspicuously well-crafted movie, was a reworking of Dr Jekyll & Mr Hyde, in which 'Jekyll' is a nerdish chemistry teacher and 'Hyde' is Buddy Love, a womanising singer whom many at the time assumed was meant as a rather malign parody of Lewis's former partner, though in later years Lewis was at pains to deny this and to maintain that his feelings for Martin were warm. The Patsy, a slapstick satire on Hollywood star-making, was overtly Pirandellian in form and ended on the set of its own production, with Lewis emerging from behind the camera to offer advice to a fellow performer. By the late 1960s, however, Lewis seemed to be losing his way. Whatever critical following he may have had from a small coterie, the mass audience which had hitherto underwritten his efforts showed signs of fading away as family movie-going disappeared. Lewis broke his longtime link with Paramount and, as a freelance, recognising that he was getting older, sought to distance himself from the post-adolescent 'nerd' figure who had been his mainstay. Thus, in Three On A Couch (1966), he moved some distance towards traditional romantic comedy, while Which Way To The Front? (1970) cast him as an eccentric millionaire who during the second world war sought to raise his own private army. In 1972, Lewis tried to go considerably further beyond his past range with a comedy set in Nazi Germany and confronting the Holocaust. The Day The Clown Cried was never released and the only surviving print was acquired in 2015 by the US Library of Congress. As a consequence, it has acquired a - probably undeserved - reputation as some kind of suppressed masterpiece.
During the 1970s, Lewis's career faltered, as did his health, though he gained a new kind of celebrity as front man of an annual US TV telethon to raise funds for combating muscular dystrophy – a function for which he was insistent that he should not be paid and which he continued to fulfil until 2010. In 1980 he directed a further personal film, Hardly Working, which won high praise from devotees in France, where he was accorded the accolade of 'le Roi du Crazy.' The title referred to Lewis's marginalised position by casting him as an unemployed circus clown who finds fulfilment in a mundane job with the post office. For Roger Ebert, writing in the Chicago Sun-Times, Hardly Working was 'one of the worst movies ever to achieve commercial release in this country,' but the film found moderate success in both the United States and in Europe and has, since, earned passionate defenders. However, in 1982, Martin Scorsese cast Jerry, paradoxically, in the straight role of a celebrated comedian in The King Of Comedy. Lewis's performance as the victim of an obsessive fan (Robert De Niro) was a triumph of precise observation and received wide acclaim.
Subsequently he appeared in acting roles in several offbeat movies, including Arizona Dream (1993) and Funny Bones (1995), though without fully recapturing the effect of his performance for Scorsese. In 1995 he made a further new departure by appearing in a Broadway revival of the musical Damn Yankees – in the guise of a latterday Mephistopheles, gloating with macabre glee, in the song 'Those Were the Good Old Days', over assorted tragedies of history. His virtuoso performance stole the show, which subsequently went on tour and in which he had a limited run in London's West End in 1997. His success in the role offered definitive proof that Jerry had transcended the nerd persona to which he had once seemed almost perversely to cling. In 2009, he received the Jean Hersholt humanitarian award at the Oscar ceremony and, later that year, announced that he would return to the screen in the title role of the film Max Rose. The film premiered at the Cannes film festival in 2013 and received a limited release in the US last year. Through it all, Jerry continued his charity work, serving as national chairman of the Muscular Dystrophy Association and, beginning in 1966, hosting the association's annual Labor [sic] Day weekend telethon. Although some advocates for the rights of the disabled criticised the association's 'Jerry's Kids' campaign as condescending, the telethon raised about two billion dollars during the more than forty years Jerry was host. For reasons that remained largely unexplained - but were apparently related to a disagreement with the association's president, Gerald C Weinberg - the 2010 telethon was Lewis's last; he had no further involvement with the charity until 2016, when he loaned his support via a promotional video. Famously, during the 1976 telethon, Frank Sinatra staged a rather awkward on-air reunion between Jerry and Dean Martin, to the visible discomfort of both men.
A more lasting reconciliation came in 1987, when Lewis attended the funeral of Martin's oldest son, Dean Paul Martin, a pilot in the California Air National Guard who had been killed in a crash. Jerry and Dean reportedly continued to speak occasionally until Martin died in 1995. In 2005, Lewis collaborated with James Kaplan on Dean & Me (A Love Story), a fond memoir of his years with Martin in which Jerry placed most of the blame for their break-up on himself. Among Lewis's other books was The Total Film-Maker, a compendium of his lectures at the film school of the University of Southern California, where he taught, beginning in 1967. Jerry is survived by his second wife, SanDee Pitnick, whom he married in 1983, and their daughter, Danielle and by five sons - Gary, Ronnie, Christopher, Scott and Anthony - from his first marriage, to Patti Palmer, which ended in divorce. Another son, Joseph, predeceased him.
Horror film director Tobe Hooper, who set the movie world abuzz with The Texas Chain Saw Massacre in 1974, has died in California, US media report. He died in Sherman Oaks at the age of seventy four, the Los Angeles county coroner was quoted as saying by Variety and Movie Web. His tale of a family of cannibals with oversized kitchen utensils, laced with dark humour, became cult viewing. Hooper also directed Poltergeist and the memorable Salem's Lot TV mini-series. Born in Austin in January 1943, Hooper worked as a college professor and documentary cameraman before breaking into the film world with Chain Saw. Shot in six weeks for less than three hundred thousand dollars, it tells of five young Americans waylaid by the said cannibals in rural Texas. Hooper had got the idea when flustered by crowds in a department store. Finding himself in the hardware section, he imagined cutting his way out with a chainsaw. He used real skeletons as props, adding to the macabre feel of a film that spawned a string of inferior slasher movies. Although sneered at by most contemporary critics, the movie has gone on to achieve a genuine cult following. Hooper's supernatural thriller, Poltergeist, written by Stephen Spielberg and released in 1982, was also hugely successful and became another classic within the horror genre. His TV adaptation of Stephen King's vampire story Salem's Lot was widely acclaimed. Critics admired Hooper for leaving most of the horror to the imagination. Speaking in 2014 to Interview Magazine, Hooper explained why the Leatherface character in Chain Saw wore a mask. 'When you can't see his face, your imagination goes wild,' he said. 'When you can't see, you fill in the blanks with something that's far more interesting than what can actually be shown.' Once banned in several countries, the film spawned six sequels and is said to have influenced other film-makers, notably Ridley Scott when he was making Alien.
The science-fiction author Brian Aldiss has died at his home in Oxford, at the age of ninety two. His death was announced by his literary agents Curtis Brown, who called him an 'author of science fiction classics' as well as 'an entertaining memoirist.' Aldiss's short story Supertoys Last All Summer Long was the basis for the 2001 film AI Artificial Intelligence. Developed by Stanley Kubrick, the tale of a boy-like robot was eventually directed by Steven Spielberg. Aldiss's other works included Greybeard, No Time Like Tomorrow, Hothouse, Barefoot In The Head, Frankenstein Unbound, Seasons In Flight and the Helliconia Trilogy, a trio of novels set on a planet where seasons last for centuries. Made an OBE in 2005 for his services to literature, Brian was a drinking companion of Kingsley Amis and a founding member of London's famous Groucho Club. Alongside JG Ballard, Aldiss pioneered a new wave of science-fiction writing in the 1960s that took the genre into uncharted territory. 'I don't agree with those people who think science fiction as some kind of prediction of the future,' he said on Desert Island Discs in 2007. 'I think it's a metaphor for the human condition.' Born in Norfolk in 1925, as a child Brian discovered the pulp magazine Astounding Science Fiction. In 1943 he joined the Royal Signals and saw action in Burma. According to his publisher, the author died in the early hours of Saturday morning. Greatly influenced by his hero, the science fiction pioneer HG Wells, Aldiss was a vice-president of the international HG Wells Society. He was (with Harry Harrison) co-president of the Birmingham Science Fiction Group. Brian was named a Grand Master by the Science Fiction Writers of America in 2000 and inducted by the Science Fiction Hall of Fame in 2004. He received two Hugo Awards, one Nebula Award, and one John W Campbell Memorial Award. Brian was also a noted man of letters, corresponding with both CS Lewis and JRR Tolkien. Twice married, Brian is survived by his four children, Clive, Caroline, Tim and Charlotte.
Walking to the bus stop one day earlier this week, dear blog reader, yer actual Keith Telly Topping switched on the MP3 player and the first song queued up on His headphones was The Clash's version of 'Brand New Cadillac'. A smile broke out on yer actual Keith Telly Topping's face. After thirty seconds he found himself literally strutting down Wigmore Avenue, in his head looking exactly like Mikey Holding at the start of his long run at The Oval circa 1976. In his head. To anyone else, perhaps glancing out of their window, he must've looked like a complete plank!