Sunday, August 20, 2017

The Sun Is Eclipsed By The Moon

Yer actual Michael Sheen and national heartthrob David Tennant his very self have been cast as the leads in the BBC/Amazon co-production adaptation of Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett novel Good Omens. According to Variety, the series will be set in 2018, with an apocalypse on the horizon. So, highly realistic in fact. Sheen will play an angel called Aziraphale, while Tennant will appear as a demon named Crowley. Amazon have yet to comment, but Sheen told Variety in a statement that Good Omens was one his favourite stories. 'To be part of the team entrusted with bringing it alive on screen is a bit of a dream come true to be honest,' he said. 'To work alongside Neil, who I think is one of the greatest storytellers of all time, is incredibly exciting. And, just like the rest of the world, I'm a huge fan of David's.' The series will compromise six episodes. Sheen recently starred in Showtime drama Masters Of Sex, which is due to end in November after four series. Tennant's most recent work includes the third series of Broadchurch. Good Omens - Gaiman's first novel - was co-written with Pratchett, who died in 2015. Development of the TV show began with Pratchett back in 2011. After launching on Amazon Prime sometime next year, the series will then be broadcast on the BBC. Good Omens is being co-produced by BBC Studios with Narrativia, the production company of Pratchett's daughter Rhianna and Gaiman's company, Blank Corporation.
Following the revelation that the next Doctor would be yer actual Jodie Whittaker (you might have heard), Jodie spent some time this week apologising to a fellow actress who was also 'tipped' for the role. Phoebe Waller-Bridge, was claimed to be 'a prime contender' to be the next Doctor by numerous media outlets - albeit, not by anyone that actually mattered when it came to the casting of the role. Jodie apologised for the 'weeks of hounding' that Waller-Bridge 'endured' whilst Jodie herself was forced to remain tight-lipped having already been cast. Speaking to Dermot O'Dreary on BBC Radio 2 this week, Jodie said: 'It was just amazing that Phoebe Waller-Bridge had all that and she dealt with it all so amazingly and gracefully. At no point could I just text her and go, "I'm so sorry" - because I was under the radar the entire time until the last few days. I told my husband - that doesn't count does it? - and I told my mum. And, then my Dad was furious! It was a full military operation - I basically whispered for three months. It was getting really tedious that even in my own kitchen I was still talking like that. If the window was open I'd get like, "what have I said?!"'
The identity of the latest actor to play The Doctor was, for the third recasting running, one of the best-kept secrets in yer actual showbiz; for several months numerous daft glakes, tabloids quoting alleged 'insiders', bookmakers and other people with less basic common sense in their head than the average mollusc were speculating on a daily basis about whom it could be, until the reveal finally came and Jodie Whittaker took her hood off. But, according to former TARDIS occupant Matt Smith, he knew what most of the rest of didn't us after, apparently, demanding the answer from 'bosses' at the BBC. 'Bosses' being tabloidese for 'executives' only with less syllables. Speaking at the Boston Comic Con this week, Smudger explained that he 'had' to find out who was to be the next Doctor. 'I was phoning people high-up at the BBC, going "you have to tell me who it is" - there's a week to go. I want to know who it is!' And, it appears the ploy worked, as Smudger then confirmed that he was told by a nameless 'someone' that Jodie had got the gig: 'Eventually,' he noted. 'But only, like, three days before [the official announcement].'
Meanwhile, it would seem that Jodie's first scene in the role has already been filmed. Well, sort of. Check it out, dear blog reader, it's really great.
'Goodbye, Margaret.' Twin Peaks: The Return episode fifteen reviews can be found here. And here, here, here, here, here, here and here.
And, at From The North, dear blog reader, where yer actual Keith Telly Topping did think it was bloody great.
'Your lips are moving and you're complaining about something. That's whinging. This one's been killed six time, you don't hear him bitching about it!' Meanwhile, Game Of Thrones, series seven episode six reviews can be found here and here.
'Death is the enemy. The first enemy and the last.' And here, here, here, here, here and here.
'How did a mad fucker like you live so long?' 'I'm good at killing people!'
Yer actual Keith Telly Topping's own five-words-or-less review, dear blog reader? More red hot dragon carnage. Tasty. Sorry, that's six words.
Four extremely naughty people in India have been very arrested for leaking a Game Of Thrones episode, according to a report by the international news agency Agence France-Presse. The arrests are in response to the online leaking of the hit drama's fourth episode, The Spoils Of War, which leaked from Star India, one of HBO's international distributors, a few days before it was scheduled to be broadcast. The four are accused of 'criminal breach of trust and computer-related offences.' The case was filed by a Mumbai-based company responsible for storing and processing Game Of Thrones episodes for an app, the AFP said. Whether those responsible, if found guilty of course, will suffer a suitably Game Of Thrones-style punishment - beheaded by the former guitarist with Doctor Feelgood; fed to wild ravenous dogs; burned alive by angry dragons; poisoned by Diana Rigg - is, as yet unknown. But, one wouldn't bet against it. The leak of the episode was a separate case to other - much more widely publicised - cyber breaches of HBO by a hacker, who has continued leaking material over the weekend (including episodes of the upcoming return of Curb Your Enthusiasm). Previously, a Star India spokesperson pledged to 'take action' about the leak: 'This confirms the compromise of episode episode of Game Of Thrones season seven, earlier this afternoon. We take this breach very seriously and have immediately initiated forensic investigations at our and the technology partner's end to swiftly determine the cause. This is a grave issue and we are taking appropriate legal remedial action.' The leak did not, seemingly, have all that much of an impact on the popular fantasy drama's performance in the US - in fact, it might even have actually helped it by generating positive online buzz; The Spoils Of War - as previously reported on this blog - set a new ratings record for the network, racking up 10.2 million overnight viewers.
This leaky leakage appears to be something of a recurring problem at the moment for HBO since Game Of Thrones' next episode has also reportedly been pirated and shared online. However, this time, the source of the leak was not hackers or thieves, but rather seems to have been the show being mistakenly released early on its broadcaster's streaming platform. The episode, Death Is The Enemy, was hurriedly withdrawn, but not - of course - before it was copied. Lots. As reported in a recent bloggerisation update, Twin Peaks also recently suffered a similar error. A spokesman for HBO Europe blamed 'an unnamed contractor' for the most latest unintentional blunder, blaming the mistake of human error. The human who erred, presumably, is currently having his knackers removed with a rusty scythe. 'We have learned that the upcoming episode of Game Of Thrones was accidentally posted for a brief time on the HBO Nordic and HBO Espana platforms,' Tom Krogsgaard Nielsen told the BBC News website. 'The error appears to have originated with a third-party vendor and the episode was removed as soon as it was recognised. This is not connected to the recent cyber-incident at HBO in the US.' Reports indicate that high-definition footage from the episode was initially posted to YouTube, the Daily Motion, Instagram and other social media sites. Although that has since been removed, different copies of the complete sixty six-minute episode were reported as still being shared on a number of file-sharing platforms for a few days after the initial leak.
In news that will surprise approximately no-one, Game Of Thrones once again smashed its own overnight ratings record with Eastwatch. A mere seven days after it broke its earlier record with the episode The Spoils Of War, Eastwatch managed to attract an extra half-a-million US overnight viewers, with a total of 10.72 million.
Here's the final and consolidated ratings for the Top Twenty programmes broadcast in the week-ending Sunday 13 August 2017:-
1 Coronation Street - Mon ITV - 7.39m
2 BBC News - Sat BBC1 - 6.86m
3 Athletics: World Championships - Sat BBC1 - 6.66m
4 Trust Me - Tues BBC1 - 6.22m
5 EastEnders - Mon BBC1 - 6.12m
6 Emmerdale - Wed ITV - 5.99m
7 Six O'Clock News - Tues BBC1 - 4.63m
8 Countryfile - Sun BBC1 - 4.25m
9 Ten O'Clock News - Fri BBC1 - 3.90m
10 Match Of The Day - Sat BBC1 - 3.86m
11 Holby City - Tues BBC1 - 3.85m
12 Long Lost Family - Wed ITV - 3.84m
13 Game Of Thrones - Sun Sky Atlantic - 3.44m
14 Athletics World Championships - Tues BBC2 - 3.36m
15 Love Your Garden - Wed ITV - 3.29m
16 Pointless Z-List Celebrities - Sat BBC1 - 2.98m
17 Film: Harry Potter & The Deathly Hallow - Sun ITV - 2.85m
18 Caught On Camera - Mon ITV - 2.81m
19 The ONE Show - Tues BBC1 - 2.73m
20 My Family, Partition & Me: India 1947 - Wed BBC1 - 2.72m
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? As with BBC1, BBC2's schedules were dominated by the World Athletics Championships, the six most-watched programmes of the week on BBC2 being their early evening coverage of all the running, jumping and throwing things. Those apart, Gardeners' World had a total audience of 2.05 million punters. Only Connect (1.79 million) and Nadiya's British Food Adventure (1.74 million) followed. Ten Puppies & Us was watched by 1.64 million, Top Of The Lake: China Girl by 1.46 million, Antiques Road Trip by 1.29 million, This World: North Korea - Murder In The Family by 1.25 million, Man In An Orange Shirt also by 1.25 million and Secrets Of Silicon Valley by 1.06 million. Channel Four's highest-rated broadcast was for Princess Diana's 'Wicked' Stepmother (2.31 million punters), ahead of Animal Rescue Live: Supervet Special (1.63 million) and the movie Night Of The Museum: Secret Of The Tomb (also 1.63 million). Twenty Four Hours In A&E had 1.60 million, Nine-Nine-Nine: What's Your Emergency?, 1.38 million, The Last Leg With Adam Hills, 1.19 million and Get A House For Free, nine hundred and eighty two thousand. The opening episode of the notorious Eden: Paradise Lost could only attract eight hundred and eighty nine thousand punters despite all of the pre-publicity it received and it was diminishing returns from there (Friday's finale drawing a mere six hundred and thirty eight thousand). Britain At Low Tide had six hundred and sixty four thousand viewers and the opening episode of Valkyrien, six hundred and fifty three thousand. Z-List Celebrity Big Brother was Channel Five's top performer with an audience of 1.68 million for Monday'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. GPs: Behind Closed Doors, All New Traffic Cops, The Dog Rescuers With Alan Davies and Make Or Break? rounded-out Five's most-watching list with audiences of 1.30 million, 1.10 million, 1.04 million and nine hundred and thirty one thousand respectively. Monday's Cricket On Five highlights of the conclusion of the fourth England/South Africa test drew nine hundred and twenty two thousand. With the return of The Premier League, Sky Sports Main Event's coverage of the The Arse Versus Leicester was seen by eight hundred and nineteen thousand. The Scum giving West Hamsters United a damned good hiding had eight hundred and two thousand and yer actual Keith Telly Topping's beloved (though, tragically, unsellable) Magpies' shamefully inept and cowardly surrender to Stottingtot Hotshots attracted five hundred and seventy seven thousand. Watford's draw with Liverpool Alabama Yee-Haws had five hundred and seventy six thousand. Simultcasts of all four of these matches also featured in Sky Sports Premier League's top ten - two hundred and fifty eight thousand, three hundred and fifty thousand, two hundred and seventeen thousand and one hundred and ninety seven thousand respectively. The truly astonishingly vanity exercise Mike Ashley Speaks A Load Of Self-Serving Crap Direct was watched by one hundred and two thousand viewers. Who, if they were anything like this blogger, could not have believed what they were paying a Sky subscription to be presented with. Gillette Soccer Saturday, drew two hundred and eleven thousand in addition to the three hundred and seventy four thousand viewers watching the simultcast on Sky Sports News HQ and another two hundred and fifty thousand watching on the Sky Sports Football channel. That's an approximate total of nine hundred and thirty thousand viewers across all channels for the return of Stelling, Tiss, Champagne Charlie, That Bloody Awful Big-Nosed Scouser and Merse. 'Unbelievable, Jeff.' Live Spanish Cup Football was viewed by ninety eight thousand. On Sky Sports Cricket, Friday's coverage of Live T20 Blast was seen by one hundred and seventy six thousand whilst Monday's round-up of England's crushing victory over South Africa at Old Trafford had one hundred and fifty four thousand viewers. With the current F1 season on its mid-summer hiatus, Formula One Legends was seen by nineteen thousand on Sky Sports F1. Don't worry, lads, they'll be back in Belgium next week. Sky Sports Action's Mayweather Versus McGregor: All Access attracted twenty one thousand. Sky 1's weekly top-ten was headed by that wretched festering pool of rancid spew, A League of Their Own (six hundred and thirty eight thousand viewers; every single one of whom needs their sodding heads examined for remote signs of any common sense). Zoo had four hundred and forty three thousand viewers. The Force: North East drew two hundred and seventy six thousand. The Simpsons was viewed by two hundred and forty three thousand. Sky Atlantic's list was, of course, topped by the fifth episode of Game Of Thrones' seventh series with a remarkable 3.44 million viewers, not only by a huge distance the largest multichannels audience of the week but, also, the week's thirteenth most watched programme anywhere on British telly. Which, for a subscription channel, must be a record. A Monday night repeat of the previous week's episode - the one with all the burning and the death - attracted 1.28 million whilst Thronecast was watched by six hundred and ninety six thousand. The latest episode of Ballers had two hundred and twenty six thousand whilst Riviera, despite its quality, continued to shed viewers at an alarming rate, being seen by two hundred and twenty four thousand. Last Week Tonight With John Oliver attracted one hundred and eighty four thousand and Twin Peaks: The Return, one hundred and fifty six thousand punters. In this blogger's opinion, it should be getting as many as Game of Thrones, dear blog reader. But, it isn't. On Sky Living, Chicago Fire drew four hundred and eighty eight thousand whilst Nashville had three hundred and five thousand. How To Get Away With Murder was watched by two hundred and one thousand and Criminal Minds, by one hundred and eighteen thousand. Sky Arts' Laurel & Hardy: Their Lives & Magic was viewed by one hundred and sixty three thousand viewers. A timely repeat of Glen Campbell: I'll Be Me had sixty five thousand viewers. Endeavour was ITV3's top-rated drama (1.02 million viewers). Lewis was seen by nine hundred and twenty eight thousand, Midsomer Murders, by nine hundred and twelve thousand, Foyle's War by four hundred and eighty eight thousand and Doc Martin by four hundred and seventy three thousand. World Series Of Darts coverage headed ITV4's weekly list with two hundred and eighty nine thousand punters. For once, ITV2's list of shame was not topped by ghastly puddle of phlegm, Love Island since the hateful 'z-list celebrity scumfest' has now, mercifully, ended. Instead, the movies The Hangover Part II and Hotel Transylvania were watched by six hundred and ninety thousand and five hundred and eighty thousand respectively. The Americans headed ITV Encore's top ten with one hundred and eleven thousand viewers, followed by Vera (one hundred and eight thousand) and DCI Banks (fifty thousand). The Real Housewives Of New York was watched by three hundred and six 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 First Night Of The Proms (seven hundred and ninety thousand punters). Another hastily arranged tribute show, Glen Campbell: One Last Love Song had seven hundred and twenty seven thousand and Vikings, seven hundred and one thousand. Tornado: The One Hundred Miles Per Hour Steam Engine drew five hundred and eighty five thousand and a repeat of the beautiful documentary The Return of The Flying Scotsman, five hundred and sixty two thousand. Thailand: Earth's Tropical Paradise was seen by five hundred and thirty one thousand. The latest two episodes of Spanish import thriller I Know Who You Are were watched by five hundred and nineteen thousand and four hundred and ninety one thousand, Fair Isle: Living On The Edge, by four hundred and seventy one thousand and Andrew Marr's The Making Of Modern Britain, by three hundred and seventy one thousand. 5USA's latest Chicago PD episode was viewed by five hundred and sixty nine thousand viewers, NCIS: Los Angeles by four hundred and fifty nine thousand, Castle by four hundred and forty thousand and Bull by three hundred and ninety three thousand. NCIS - as usual - topped the most-watched programme list of CBS Action (one hundred and twenty nine thousand). Medium attracted eighty two thousand on CBS Drama. American Dad! was the most-watched show on FOX with two hundred and thirty thousand. Family Guy drew two hundred and seven thousand and an NCIS series thirteen repeat, one hundred and eight thousand. Ransom was seen by two hundred and thirty seven thousand viewers on The Universal Channel, followed by Major Crimes (one hundred and eight thousand) and Chance (one hundred and four thousand). On Dave, Not Going Out was watched by three hundred and seventy thousand, the movies Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me and Black Hawk Down, by two hundred and ninety five thousand and two hundred and eighty four thousand respectively, Qi XL, by two hundred and sixty seven thousand and Have I Got A Bit More News For You, by two hundred and twenty seven thousand. Drama's New Tricks was seen by four hundred and thirteen thousand viewers and The Doctor Blake Mysteries by three hundred and ninety thousand. Murdoch Mysteries was watched by three hundred and eighty two thousand. Alibi's highest-rated programme of the week was Rosewood (two hundred and ten thousand) whilst The Coroner had one hundred and forty five thousand, Death In Paradise, ninety five thousand and Father Brown, eighty one thousand. The Sony Channel's top ten was headed by Saving Hope (fifty one thousand). [spooks] drew forty six thousand. Yesterday's Impossible Engineering had one hundred and ninety six thousand, whilst a repeat of Porridge attracted one hundred and eighty thousand. On the Discovery Channel, Deadliest Catch was seen by one hundred and forty one thousand viewers. Street Outlaws: New Orleans had one hundred and one thousand, Yukon Men, ninety seven thousand, Naked & Afraid XL, seventy four thousand, British Treasure, American Gold, sixty six thousand and From The North favourite Wheeler Dealers sixty four thousand. Wheeler Dealers also appeared in the weekly top tens of both Discovery Shed (twenty six thousand) and Discovery Turbo (also twenty six thousand). Discovery History's Hitler's General headed the top ten with twenty three thousand. Al Murray's Road To Berlin attracted eighteen thousand, as did Edge Of War, whilst Battlefields had sixteen thousand. On Discovery Science, Food Factory was seen by sixty thousand viewers. On Quest, Salvage Hunters was watched by two hundred and fifteen thousand. Pick's Warehouse Thirteen had an audience of three hundred thousand. National Geographic's list was headed by Nazi Megastructures with forty two thousand viewers, followed by Air Crash Investigation (thirty nine thousand). National Geographic Wild's Destination Wild was watched by fifty three thousand. The History Channel's most-viewed programmes were the latest episode of Robert Redford's The West (two hundred and twenty five thousand) and American Ripper In London (one hundred and thirty four thousand). The Real Bronson on the Military History channel was seen by forty one thousand punters. The First Forty Eight, Cold Case Files, Killing Spree and Vanished With Beth Holloway were Crime & Investigation's top-rated programmes with sixty thousand, thirty one thousand, thirty one thousand and thirty thousand blood-and-snots-lovers, respectively. The Perfect Murder, Murder Calls, Murder On CCTV and Murder Among Friends headed Investigation (& Murder) Discovery's list (sixty thousand, fifty five thousand, forty eight thousand and forty seven 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 Gavin & Stacey repeat run had two hundred and forty one thousand. Why, for the love of God, why? Comedy Central's largest audience of the week was for Most Ridiculous with one hundred and seventy five thousand. Your TV's repeat of Bones series three continued with seventy six thousand viewers. On More4, Outlander was the highest-rated programme with five hundred and ninety eight thousand. The Yorkshire Dales & The Lakes had four hundred and thirty one thousand and a repeat of the much-hyped (and, frankly, extremely disappointing) Diana: In Her Own Words, three hundred and seventy six thousand. E4's list was topped by Don't Tell The Bride (1.11 million glakes) and Hollyoakes (nine hundred and eight thousand). The third episode of Midnight Texas, headed Syfy's top-ten with three hundred and eighty thousand. The Horror Channel's weekly list was headed by the 2005 version of The Fog (one hundred and thirty eight thousand). The channel's top-ten also included Asteroids Versus Earth (one hundred and twenty two thousand), The Reef (one hundred and seventeen thousand), the Hammer masterpiece Quatermass & The Pit (one hundred and one thousand) and several episodes of Star Trek: Voyager. The Night Has Eyes, My Number Came Up and an episode of Scales of Justice topped Talking Pictures list, with forty thousand, forty thousand and thirty nine thousand respectively. On Forces TV, Hogan's Heroes was seen by twenty one thousand. World's Deadliest Weather: Caught On Camera drew two hundred and forty two thousand on Spike whilst The A-Team was watched by two hundred and thirty two thousand and America's Toughest Prisons, two hundred and twenty nine thousand. Presumably, the prisons that Hannibal, Face and BA used to break Murdock out of each week wasn't featured in the America's Toughest Prisons because those always looked, frankly, as soft as shite. The Natural World was viewed by thirty five thousand on Eden, whilst Killer Whales had twenty one thousand. There's lovely, isn't it? Wild Planet was the Animal Planet's most-watched programme with fifty eight thousand. Alaska: The Last Frontier and Lions Of Sabi Sand: Brothers In Blood were watched by thirty one thousand and twenty four thousand respectively. Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders on W attracted two hundred and fifty seven thousand punters whilst a repeat of Smudger's Doctor Who finale, The Time Of The Doctor, had one hundred and thirty three thousand. True Crime's Prison Wives was seen by seventy nine thousand viewers and Law & Order: Criminal Intent by fifty eight thousand. On True Entertainment, Taggart was watched by one hundred and sixty six thousand. Inside Heston's World drew seventy four thousand on Good Food. 'God damn you all to Hell!' Oh, different Heston, apparently. TLC's list was headed by Outdaughtered: Busby Quints and Katie Price: My Crazy Attention-Seeking Life (both with one hundred and ten thousand viewers with more time on their hands than is proper healthy for them, frankly). 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. Most Haunted was seen by three hundred and six thousand and Ghost Adventures by two hundred and seventy four thousand on Really. Which, given the nature of those two programmes and the fact that ghosts, you know, don't exist, should probably think about changing its name to No-Not-Really. Be Cool, Scooby-Doo! had eighty seven thousand viewers on Boomerang. Zoinks. The Hobbit Enigma topped PBS America's weekly list with thirteen thousand viewers. Ten Best Rock Tracks Of The Year! drew six thousand geet hairy heedbangers on Scuzz. On Cbeebies, Bing was seen by four hundred and seventy seven thousand, Sarah & Duck by four hundred and sixty one thousand and Olobob Top by four hundred and thirty eight thousand. Alvinnnn!!! & The Chipmunks had one hundred and seventy on thousand on the Pop Channel. Five Star's most watched show was Z-List Celebrity Big Brother with six hundred and forty four thousand. On AMC, Irresistible was watched by twenty thousand. Hardcore Pawn drew one hundred and thirty one thousand punters on Blaze. Life of Kylie attracted one hundred and ninety five thousand viewers on E! The Real Housewives Of Beverly Hills had one hundred and sixteen thousand on Lifetime. The Secret History Of Our Streets and the movie The Magnificent Seven Deadly Sins, were the most-watched shows on London Live with forty seven thousand and forty five thousand respectively. Top Fifty OMG Slaying Queens attracted seventeen thousand on The Vault. Though why is another matter entirely.

Peter Dinklage is asking Game Of Thrones fans to stop buying huskies after the number of the animals being reported as abandoned started to significantly rise. Charities believe this is because Northern Inuit dogs, which look like huskies, appear in the TV series as Direwolves. Peter wants people to take on 'deserving homeless dogs' instead. 'If you're going to bring a dog into your family, make sure that you're prepared,' he said. 'Shelters are also reporting that many of these huskies are being abandoned - as often happens when dogs are bought on impulse, without understanding their needs.' The charity Blue Cross also suggests that people don't realise how much work is involved in looking after a husky. 'Huskies can pull sleds across hundreds of miles of icy terrain. They are not happy with simply slobbing in front of the telly.' Before Game Of Thrones began in 2011, the number of huskies being abandoned was reported to be around ten per year, but Blue Cross said that last year eighty one such dogs were abandoned in the US alone. The wolf-like dogs are originally from Siberia and have distinctive blue or multi-coloured eyes.
The BBC is to launch 'a topical radio panel show' where the host and most of the guests will be women. Radio 4 has commissioned a pilot of Where's The F In News?, created and presented by Have I Got News For You series producer Jo Bunting. The station said that it would be 'an energetic and intelligent female-anchored show' with a 'predominantly female panel.' The gender balance on panel shows has been a contentious issue for some. In 2014, the BBC's then director of TV pledged to have 'at least one' woman on every such show in response to criticisms - from some people with an agenda - that they were 'too male-heavy.' Bunting said: 'Apparently if a woman speaks in a meeting for fifty per cent of the time a man speaks, he genuinely thinks she's spoken the exact same amount as he has. When I read that, I thought, "how can I really annoy that man?" So I've created a show featuring a shedload of intelligent and funny women.' The Where's The F In News? panel will 'use the events, trends and talking points that they think should be top of the news agenda as a starting point for a number of fresh and funny challenges,' the BBC claimed. So, that'll no doubt be thigh-slappingly hilarious and well-worth a listen. The show is one of a raft of new comedy commissions announced by Radio 4 for 2018 and 2019.
The BBC is moving its new cooking show to avoid a clash with The Great British Bake Off when it launches on Channel Four. Channel Four poached - or, should that be coddled - Bake Off from the BBC and has scheduled the new series to start at 8pm on Tuesday 29 August. The Big Family Cooking Showdown has been shown on BBC2 at the same time on Tuesdays - but it will now move to Thursdays. The BBC said that Channel Four's choice to move Bake Off from its previous Wednesday slot would be a 'surprise' for viewers who 'may see this as a cynical move.' However, Channel Four said: 'We made the decision about where to schedule The Great British Bake Off a few months after acquiring it and we haven't moved it since then.' One or two people even believed them. 'It is in the original Tuesday evening slot where the majority of past series have played.' Bake Off has been shown on Wednesdays on BBc1 for the past three years, but was on Tuesdays from 2010 to 2013. A BBC spokeswoman said: 'Channel Four's decision to move Bake Off from its traditional Wednesday slot will be a surprise to many viewers who may see this as a cynical move. We never intended for our new cookery show to clash with theirs. There is room for both and we don't, in this instance, see any public value in two public service broadcasters going head-to-head in this way.' She said that moving The Big Family Cooking Showdown was 'in the best interest of viewers.' The new series of Bake Off will start with cake week - one of the traditional challenges when the show was on the BBC. The BBC lost the contract to broadcast The Great British Bake Off last year after Greed Productions, the makers of the show, signed a three-year deal with Channel Four. For shitloads of filthy wonga. Mary Berry, Mel Giedroyc and Sue Perkins subsequently decided not to move with the programme and remain with the BBC. The Big Family Cooking Showdown debuted on BBC2 on 15 August, hosted and judged by former Bake Off winner Nadiya Hussain, presenter Zoe Ball, TV cook Rosemary Shrager and chef Giorgio Locatelli.
ITV has confirmed that the second series of Victoria will be going head-to-head with BBC1's Strike. The royal drama's second series begins on Sunday 27 August at 9.05pm, with the adaptation of JK Rowling's Cormoran Strike novels starting just before that at 9pm on the same night on BBC1. It is not the first time that Victoria has had to battle with a BBC heavyweight as the first series was engaged in a Sunday night clash with Poldark. Victoria's second series will largely focus on Victoria (yer actual Jenna Coleman) growing her family, despite the fact that the queen her very self isn't entirely keen on the rapid expansion. It will follow Victoria as she learns to balance her responsibilities as parent and monarch, with the second series also introducing Diana Rigg as the Duchess of Buccleuch. Who, incidentally, in real life was a mere twenty six years older than Victoria. Jenna Coleman, incidentally, is thirty one. Diana Rigg is seventy nine. Just sayin'. Strike is based on the crime thrillers that Rowling wrote under the pseudonym Robert Galbraith, starting with Strike: The Cuckoo's Calling. The Musketeers' Tom Burke stars in the series as the title, a mentally-scarred soldier-turned-private-detective who takes on dangerous cases from his dingy West End office. Also starring Holliday Grainger, the first episode revolves around Strike investigating the supposed suicide of supermodel Lula Landry, with the case quickly unravelling into a deeper conspiracy that puts his life at risk.
Marina Benedict, most recently seen in the Prison Break revival, has been cast in the forthcoming fourth series of Gotham as the owner of a fight club. She will be playing Cherry, whose club is in the dangerous neighbourhood The Narrow and is frequently filled with Gotham's biggest delinquents. Also joining the series, according to TVLine, will be Benjamin Stockham, who has been cast as Alex Winthrop, the grandson of a museum curator who Bruce Wayne happens to be in contact with when tracking a mysterious artefact. The fourth series of Gotham begins in the US on 21 September.

The BBC is remaking Alfred Hitchcock's The Birds as a period drama. The 1963 movie starred Tippi Hedren as Melanie Daniels, a wealthy San Francisco socialite who follows a potential boyfriend to a small town in California where birds have started terrorising the local residents. However, the BBC's adaptation will have a few noticeable differences. Produced by Heyday Television (is owned by the Harry Potter franchise producer David Heyman), The Birds will remain true to Daphne du Maurier's original 1952 novella, the source for the movie. Thus, the BBC take will be set in rural Cornwall, where a farmhand and his community are being terrorised by flocks of seagulls shortly after the end of the Second World War. The Birds will be written by Irish playwright and writer Conor McPherson, who previously adapted the novella as a play in 2009. His previous directing and writing credits include films The Eclipse and The Actors.
The X-Files fans are reported to be 'buzzing' - presumably not in a 'just having taken marijuana' way, obviously - over the news that Oscar-nominated Hollywood legend Barbara Hershey is joining the series. Hershey has been cast in the eleventh series of the popular SF drama as Erika Price, a power-player from an unnamed shady organisation according to Deadline. Hershey is the first major new character to be confirmed for series eleven, with previous announcements confirming the return of familiar faces like Walter Skinner, Agent Reyes and the young FBI team of Einstein and Miller. As well as David and Gillian, obviously. Unlike last year, eight of ten episodes in the new series will be standalone 'Monster-of-the-Week' style adventures. Which is jolly good news as those are usually pretty good - particularly if Darin Morgan has written them. But, there will apparently still be tie-ins with the overarching alien mythology. Which isn't such good news since those are mostly written by Chris Carter and are, oftentimes, a right load of old bollocks. FOX entertainment president David Madden told reporters at last week's TCA press tour that the premiere will pick up 'from where the season finale left off,' as the alien colonists invaded. 'You'll be launched into a very urgent adventure that has a lot to do with William - Mulder and Scully's kid,' he revealed. 'So, the search for William will be a significant thread through the show. You will see The Cigarette Smoking Man. You may see The Lone Gunmen somewhere along the line. There will be other characters from the previous mythology that will be reprised.'
Matt LeBlanc has given viewers a taster of what they can expect from the next series of Top Gear. The twenty fifth series of the show - due to be broadcast in spring 2018 - will see Joey from Friends return to host alongside Rory Reid and Chris Harris. 'I think we've tried to broaden the demographic of the show,' the presenter claimed. 'Try to make it not lose the petrolhead nature of it but maybe open it up to people who aren't so petrolheady.' Which, in relation to Top Gear is a little bit like remaking Jaws without the shark. 'Expand the comedy, try to have bigger, broader films, but it will be more of the same in the sense it starts with the car,' Matt continued. LeBlanc will return to the UK in the coming weeks to shoot footage for the show - so far he's been filming in Norway, France, Italy and California. 'It will be closer to what it was last year versus the season before,' he added. The most recent series was more popular with critics than the one before it - which, disastrously, saw Chris Evans sharing hosting duties with Matt. And, to be fair, this blogger though the most recent series was something of a return to form. But LeBlanc declined to discuss UK viewing figures, which have been significantly lower since the departure of Jezza Clarkson, James May and Richard Hammond two years ago. BBC2 controller Patrick Holland has previously said that Top Gear's last series drew a 'much healthier' audience - whatever the Hell that means - and it should not be compared to the Clarkson era, which was a 'completely different' show. Certainly it was a more popular one. Arguably, it was also a better one. In fact, there's no arguably about it, it just was. The BBC has also said that younger audiences rated the most recent series 'far higher' than they did previous ones. Although, they produced no specific data to back up this, curiously vague, claim. What, exactly, does 'younger audiences' mean? Were those sampled old enough to have seen any previous series? Et cetera. Matt was speaking from Los Angeles as he promoted the last series of Episodes, the comedy he starred in alongside Stephen Mangan and Tamsin Greig. The fifty-year-old said it will be 'hard' to leave behind the show, which has been an 'inspiring, magic, special journey.'
Labour has accused the government of 'interfering with the independence of the BBC and Ofcom' after the lack of culture secretary demanded - demanded, she said - that the media regulator should 'scrutinise' the broadcaster more closely. Tom Watson - power to the people - Labour's shadow lack of culture secretary, said that the vile and odious rascal Bradley had made a 'serious mistake' by writing to Ofcom to call for the media regulator to set more quotas for the BBC's radio and TV content and to hold the broadcaster to account over the diversity of its on-screen and off-screen workforce. Watson warned that the BBC's political independence would be questioned 'if elected politicians try to bully its regulator into changing the rules.' The MP added: 'For a secretary of state to try to influence Ofcom in such a heavy-handed way is a serious mistake. I hope Karen Bradley will realise, on reflection, that she should let Ofcom get on with its job and get on with her own.' In a letter sent at the end of last month, the vile and odious rascal Bradley expressed 'a collection of concerns' about how Ofcom planned to regulate the BBC, claiming these had been raised 'by a number of stakeholders.' None of whom she actually named. The lack of culture secretary questioned the lack of quotas for the BBC's radio content - such as the breadth of Radio 1's playlist - as well as future requirements for arts, music and religious programming on BBC1 and BBC2. She also claimed that the government wanted the BBC to be 'leading the way on both on and off-screen diversity in equal measure' and expected Ofcom and the BBC board to 'hold [the BBC] to account for delivering in this important area.' The minister's letter drew a firm response from the chair of Ofcom, Dame Patricia Hodgson, who said in a reply to the vile and odious rascal Bradley that it was 'important' the regulator was 'transparently independent.' The work of Ofcom is in particular focus because it is also advising the lack of culture secretary on whether the takeover of satellite broadcaster Sky by billionaire tyrant Rupert Murdoch's Twenty First Century FOX should be allowed. Ofcom became the first independent regulator of the BBC earlier this year under a new Royal Charter agreed between the government and the broadcaster. The media regulator published a draft operating licence that outlined how it plans to monitor the corporation. A consultation on these plans - which closed on 17 July, a week before the vile and odious rascal Bradley's letter - has generated heavy criticism of Ofcom for not doing more to improve the diversity at the BBC. Asked about the letters, a spokesperson for the vile and odious rascal Bradley's Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport said: 'We are committed to ensuring that the reforms introduced in the new charter are in place. Following a consultation on the BBC's operating licence, the secretary of state wrote to Ofcom to reiterate that the key reforms must be reflected.' An Ofcom spokesperson said: 'As the BBC's independent regulator, we are proposing clear rules to ensure the BBC is distinctive and sets itself apart from other broadcasters. We will carefully consider all responses to our public consultation, before reaching final decisions in the autumn.'
Andrew Scott's performance in Hamlet will be broadcast on the BBC next year. The critically-acclaimed stage production of Shakespeare's play may be coming to the end of its limited run at The Harold Pinter Theatre soon, but BBC2 viewers will be able to catch the full performance from the comfort of their home in 2018. The production, which is directed by Robert Icke and stars BAFTA-winning Sherlock actor Scott, enjoyed a sell-out run at The Almeida Theatre this year, before transferring to The Harold Pinter Theatre for a limited season, which is due to end on 2 September. 'It has been a real joy to work with such a gifted and dedicated company of actors on bringing this most-famous play to audiences in 2017,' said Icke. The production has been 'on a wonderful journey from The Almeida to The West End, and I am very much looking forward to this next step on BBC2. To be able to offer our version of Hamlet to as wide and diverse an audience as possible has always been of paramount importance to us and now we are thrilled to be able to bring it to people across the country.' BBC2 Controller Patrick Holland added: 'Andrew Scott's Hamlet is utterly thrilling. His performance makes each familiar word of the play feel like it is being newly discovered. The staging in a modern-day Denmark makes for a startlingly resonant and challenging production. I am delighted that it is coming to BBC2.' Icke's production of Hamlet also stars Angus Wright as Claudius, Downton Abbey's Jessica Brown Findlay as Ophelia and Juliet Stevenson as Gertrude.
Silent Witness actress Liz Carr has said that being attacked by a man with scissors was 'very frightening' but she was 'relatively unscathed' after the incident. Carr, who plays forensic examiner Clarissa Mullery in the popular long-running BBC drama, was with her personal assistant when the assault happened near London's Euston Station last week. A man has been detained under the Mental Health Act, police said. 'Thanks to everyone who has sent their love and good wishes following last week's stabbing,' Carr said. 'Just to reassure you that whilst it was very frightening at the time, I came out of it relatively unscathed and was even back home later that night. Looking forward to returning to filming on Silent Witness next week where thankfully all the violence is fake!' The forty five-year-old, who uses a wheelchair, suffered minor cuts. Both women were taken to hospital and later discharged. Liz also tweeted: 'I want to say an extra thank you to the amazing paramedics, ambulance crew and A&E staff. Save The NHS.' The incident occurred on 10 August. A Scotland Yard spokesperson said: 'A man - aged in his twenties - was arrested at the scene on suspicion of GBH. He was taken into custody at a North London police station. He was subsequently detained under the Mental Health Act.'
Former Strictly Come Dancing contestant Laila Rouass says that she had to hide in a restaurant freezer as the attack in Barcelona was taking place. At least thirteen were killed and dozens more injured after a man drove a van into crowds of people on the tourist street, Las Ramblas. The actress, who has previously appeared in Holby City and Footballers' Wives, was on holiday in the city. The forty six-year-old recounted her ordeal on Twitter in a series of posts.
The BBC has criticised Iran for imposing an asset freeze on staff at its London-based Persian-service, the latest crackdown against the corporation’s Iranian employees. Tehran's judicial authorities have issued a court order listing more than one hundred and fifty BBC Persian journalists and former contributors, preventing them from conducting financial transactions or selling properties in their homeland because of their 'affiliation' with the Beeb. BBC Persian is banned in Iran but its radio shows and TV channel are still popular with an audience hungry for news not controlled by the state-run channels. They are watched by millions of Iranians via illegal satellite dishes on residential rooftops. The broadcaster claims that research suggests it has an audience of around thirteen million viewers in Iran, making it BBC News' seventh-biggest market worldwide. Its Iranian staff, who have been victims of a campaign of intimidation and smears in recent years, are unable to return to Iran for fear of reprisal and most – if not all – BBC Persian staff cannot visit their families. 'We deplore what appears to be a targeted attack on BBC Persian staff, former staff and some contributors. It is appalling that anyone should suffer legal or financial consequences because of their association with the BBC,' said Francesca Unsworth, director of the BBC World Service. 'We call upon the Iranian authorities to reverse this order urgently and allow BBC staff and former staff to enjoy the same financial rights as their fellow citizens.' The latest crackdown is a sign that the authorities are renewing pressure on the corporation and stepping up a wider crackdown on journalists after the re-election of Hassan Rouhani as president. Iran is 'one of the world's five biggest prisons for journalists,' according to Reporters Without Borders. At least ten journalists and seventeen citizen-journalists are currently incarcerated. It emerged on Sunday that Sasan Aghaei, an Iranian journalist with the reformist Etemaad newspaper, had been arrested. About one hundred and forty employees work for BBC Persian from outside Iran, but authorities have maintained a campaign of harassment against them by summoning their family members who still live in the country. A number of staff have also been victims of false allegations of sexual misconduct, duplicated Facebook accounts, fake blogs and online identity theft designed to discredit them. The Gruniad Morning Star claims that 'at least one' BBC Persian employee has been prevented from leaving Iran after visiting her home country. The UK has refused to grant visas to a number of family members to visit the journalists in the UK. Britain, often dubbed by Iranian hardliners 'the old fox,' has a special place in Iranian official demonology. They consider BBC Persian as a 'subversive' arm of Britain Secret Intelligence Service, MI6, aimed at fomenting regime change in Iran. Historical suspicions dates back to the 1941 Anglo-Soviet invasion of Iran and later to the, still unacknowledged, MI6-engineered coup against the country's first democratically elected Prime Minister, Mohammad Mossadegh, who had dared to nationalise the Anglo-Iranian oil company. BBC News said on its website that the latest ruling against BBC Persian staff was issued by Shahid Moghadas courthouse, which is based in Tehran's Evin prison. 'The BBC was not notified of the court order and only learned about the asset freeze when a relative of a BBC Persian employee tried to sell a property on their behalf,' said an article carried by the BBC. The imprisonment of British-Iranian woman Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, who has been sentenced to five years in jail, may also be connected to Iran's hostile view of the BBC. Her husband, who has condemned the criminal charges as 'a self-serving fabrication,' has indicated that her imprisonment might be connected to her previous work at the BBC in London.
Keith Telly Topping absolutely loves this time of the football season; on Saturday 19 August this blogger's beloved (though tragically unsellable) Magpies, without a game that day, actually went up two places in the Premier League table due to other results. Maybe that's the trick for Rafa The Gaffer's team this season, avoid playing if you possibly can. At this rate, they might even end up in the top six instead of the bottom three as seems far more likely at the moment. (Normality, for the Magpies, was thoroughly restored on Sunday with an atypically gutless, cowardly and shamefully inept performance - and defeat - at Huddersfield. Another season-long relegation battle looks likely for Newcastle. Whether that will be with Rafa as the Gaffer is another matter entirely.)
      Elsewhere, The Scum's manger, Jose Mourinho, said that he 'let the horses run freely' after a blistering three-goal burst in four second-half minutes saw his team sweep aside Swansea City to continue their impressive winning start to the new Premier League season. Having initially struggled to unlock their opponents' well-drilled defence despite taking an early lead, The Scum then opened the floodgates after eighty minutes as Romelu Lukaku confidently struck his third goal in two games for the club. Paul Pogba added a third two minutes later with a delicately lifted finish and, shortly afterwards, substitute Anthony Martial fired in to give The Scum their second four-nil win from their first two matches of the campaign. The Arse's manager, Arsene Whinger, was up to his usual whinging malarkey, whinging that his side were 'denied a goal and a penalty' as Jese Rodriguez enjoyed a dream start to his Dirty Stoke career by scoring the winner against The Gurners. Former Real Madrid winger Jese, who was thrust straight into Mark Hughes' side after arriving from Paris St-Germain on Wednesday, slid in from a tight angle after being left unmarked to pick up Saido Berahino's pass. Sadio Mane earned Liverpool Alabama Yee-Haws their first league win of the season as Crystal Palace suffered a second straight defeat despite an improved display at Anfield. Jurgen Klopp's side were heading for a frustrating draw after wasting a string of chances when Mane prodded past Wayne Hennessey for his second league goal of the campaign. Palace, beaten three-nil at home to Huddersfield in their opening match, should have scored when the game was goalless. Christian Benteke was unmarked and eight yards out but blazed over the bar from Ruben Loftus-Cheek's pass. Harry Maguire scored his first Leicester goal as The Foxes eased to a first win of the season against a timid Brighton & Hove Albinos side in a scrappy affair at The King Power Stadium. The hosts led inside a minute when Shinji Okazaki tapped in after new Seagulls goalkeeper Mathew Ryan spilled a low effort from the impressive Riyad Mahrez. Brighton's Glenn Murray had a goal disallowed for offside before the break but, in truth, the newly promoted side offered little threat as they fell to a second successive defeat in the top tier. Craig Shakespeare's side produced an efficient display without ever seeming to build relentless pressure, but their day was soured a little in injury time when Jamie Vardy was forced to hobble off after contesting a fifty-fifty ball with Ryan. Ten-man West Hamsters United twice came from behind but Charlie Austin's injury time penalty gave Southampton their first victory under Mauricio Pellegrino. Having failed to score in their last six home matches, The Saints took the lead after only ten minutes when Manolo Gabbiadini side-footed past Grossly Over-Rated Wankhands Joe Hart. The Hamsters' problems then spiralled, as Marko Arnautovic was sent off for elbowing Jack Stephens in the mush, before Dusan Tadic made it two-nil from the penalty spot after Jose Fonte brought down Steven Davis. Summer signing Javier Hernandez thought he had snatched an unlikely comeback for the visitors with two goals from close range either side of half-time. But The Hamsters conceded a second penalty when Pablo Zabaleta bundled into Maya Yoshida and substitute Austin coolly slotted past Hart to leave Slavan Bilic's side bottom of the league after two games with a goal difference of minus five, one worse than Palace and Brighton. Substitute Hal Robson-Kanu scored the winner and was later sent off as West Bromwich Albinos made it two wins from two with victory at Burnley. The match was short on entertainment until Robson-Kanu gave it a shot of adrenaline with a brilliant strike. The Welsh international, who came on seven minutes earlier, pounced on a Matt Phillips flick, held off two challenges and fired in low past keeper Tom Heaton. However, the striker did not see out the rest of the match as he was shown a red card in the eighty third minute for catching Matt Lowton with his elbow. Burnley wasted chances at the other end, and will be hoping Leeds striker Chris Wood, who they look likely to sign, will be less profligate. Brazilian winger Richarlison was described as 'a great talent' by manager Marco Silva after his first Premier League goal helped Watford to victory over Bournemouth at The Vitality Stadium. Richarlison, an eleven million knicker summer signing from Fluminense, opened the scoring when he prodded the ball into the net from close range following a cross from The Hornets record signing Andre Gray. Substitute Etienne Capoue doubled The Hornets lead with a fine twenty five-yard strike late on. Bournemouth had chances as Benik Afobe had a shot saved by Heurelho Gomes and Joshua King headed over. The Cherries have now lost both Premier League games this season, while Watford have picked up four points.
Conor Hourihane grabbed a hat-trick as Aston Villains answered their - many - critics in some style with a scintillating four-two home triumph over Norwich City in The Championship. Keinan Davis made a sparkling first-team debut up front and was involved in The Villains' two first-half goals - scored by Hourihane and Andre Green. The Canaries hit back with a sixtieth-minute strike from Josh Murphy, but Hourihane bagged his second eight minutes later and, although Norwich stormed back through Nelson Oliveira's strike on seventy nine minutes, Hourihane made sure of Steve Bruce's Villains' first Championship win of the season after just one point from their first three games by completing his hat-trick five minutes from time. Nathaniel Mendez-Laing's second-half goal helped table toppers Cardiff maintain their perfect start to the season with a two-one victory over fellow high-flyers Wolverhampton Wanderings. After a goalless first-half at Molineux, Joe Ralls converted Junior Hoilett's cross from the left to give The Bluebirds the lead. Leo Bonatini levelled from close range, the first goal conceded by Cardiff in the Championship this season. Mendez-Laing's fourth league goal of the season restored the lead for Neil Warnock's side, though, as Wolves' own one hundred per cent start was brought to an end. Ipswich are hot on the heels of Cardiff after they completed their own fourth win in succession with a comfortable two goal triumph at home to winless Brentford. Martyn Waghorn scored his fourth goal of the season to put The Tractor Boys in front and Joe Garner added a second just after the break. Nottingham Forest continued their fine start to the season by beating The Middlesbrough Smog Monsters two-one at The City Ground. Barrie McKay handed the hosts the lead, while former Forest striker Britt Assombalonga, a fourteen million knicker summer signing for 'Boro, wasted a couple of good chances either side of the break. Daryl Murphy, brought in from Newcastle to replace Assombalonga, made the visitors pay with a penalty after Ben Gibson, who went on to score a consolation, fouled Ben Brereton in the box. ten minutes from time​ David Nugent scored twice to leave Notlob Wanderers still searching for their first win after a two-one defeat at The Macron Stadium. Nugent put Derby in front after eight minutes and the former England striker added his second midway through the first-half, with Gary Madine scoring a consolation for Notlob in added time. Idrissa Sylla scored a last-gasp winner as Queens Park Strangers came from behind to beat Hull two-one at Loftus Road. Jarrod Bowen handed The Tigers the lead before Matt Smith levelled and Sylla got the second. Sheffield United secured bragging rights in the South Yorkshire derby against Barnsley with a win at Bramall Lane in the day's early kick-off. Billy Sharp got the only goal of the game, but both sides were reduced to ten men as Leon Clarke and Angus MacDonald walked after a geet rive-on punch-up with kids gettin' sparked and aal sorts just before half-time. Steven Fletcher's second-half strike secured Sheffield Wednesday a one goal win at Poor Bloody Fulham, Jordan Hugill scored the only goal in Preston Both End's victory against Reading, while Bristol City and Millwall played out a goalless draw. In the final game of the day, Dirty Leeds overcame want-away striker Chris Wood's absence to maintain their unbeaten start to the Championship with a two-nil win at Blunderland. Wood, who is reportedly close to a move to Burnley, was not even in Thomas Christiansen's squad for the fixture at The Stadium Of Plight. However, being without the New Zealand international had little impact on his team-mates as Dirty Leeds produced a controlled display to claim the points against The Mackems who continued their uneven start to the season, currently sitting mid-table with five points from their four games.
One Walsall fan has found himself with an invitation to meet the team and have his travel to Portsmouth reimbursed after taking to social media to say he got his accommodation plans a little wrong. In an effort to find a cheap hotel room for a weekend away to watch The Saddlers take on Pompey in League One, fan Davey Drew apparently booked into digs eleven miles away. That eleven miles, however, unwittingly turned out to be across The Solent on the Isle of Wight, an entire ferry trip away from his intended destination. Inconvenient, for sure. But Walsall boss Jon Whitney and his players saw the funnier side and were quick to offer to help cover costs and arrange to meet the fan who needlessly took to the high seas to follow them. While all the extra travel did not ultimately end with victory celebrations, as Portsmouth and Walsall played out a one-all draw, there are worse stops to make on away days.
One thing has become abundantly clear in the early weeks of the EFL this season - you get your money's worth by watching Yeovil Town. There have been twenty tow goals in their first three League Two games so far. However, of those twenty two, fourteen have been goals they have conceded. After being on the receiving end of an eight-two pants down hiding at Luton on the opening day, they bounced back by beating Accrington Stanley (Who Are They?) At that stage, you could say The Glovers season was pretty much back on track, albeit after just two games. But Yeovil managed to lose four-three against Forest Green on Saturday, despite twice leading by two goals. In contrast, Northampton Town left it until their third game of the season to register their first league goal. Unfortunately for The Cobblers it was a consolation as they were defeated four-one away at Charlton Not Very Athletic. Carlisle United cruised to a comfortable win over Cheltenham to register their first home win of the League Two campaign. Harry Pell's own goal and a Reggie Lambe header in the first half virtually settled the issue and defender Tom Miller put the outcome beyond doubt with a second-half strike. Carlisle's first attack produced a fifth-minute goal as Shaun Miller forced a corner and Danny Grainger's inswinger from the right had the Cheltenham defence panicked. In the ensuing scramble, Pell's attempted clearance flew past his own goalkeeper Jon Flatt and into the net to the vast amusement of the home supporters. Accrington Stanley (Who Are They?) striker Billy Kee bundled home a stoppage-time winner to end pre-season promotion favourites Mansfield's unbeaten start to the League Two season. Sean McConville's corner was not cleared and, in a goalmouth melee, Kee scrambled home his third goal of the campaign two minutes into added time to seal a two-one victory for the hosts. Exeter maintained their unbeaten start to the League Two season with a hard-fought win over Lincoln at the other St James' Park. Reuben Reid grabbed the only goal of the game before the break with a fine strike following neat build-up play from Liam McAlinden. Donal McDermott scored the only goal of the game as top of the table Swindon Town prevailed at Morecambe. Substitute Jabo Ibehre scored the only goal of the game as Cambridge earned their first win of the season by inflicting a fourth straight defeat on bottom club Crawley. In The National League, Kieron Cadogan grabbed a last-minute winner for early pace-setters Sutton in a pulsating win three-two at Chester. Bromley built on their exciting unbeaten start to the season with a win at home to struggling Hartlepool whilst Gatesheed bolstered their unbeaten start to the campaign with a resounding three-nil victory over Macclesfield. The Tynesiders led after just five minutes when Fraser Kerr prodded in Richard Peniket's centre at the far post. Jordan Preston and Jordan Burrows added subsequent strikes. Guiseley turned impending defeat into victory against Torquay at Nethermoor Park with two late goals.
The former-Premier League footballer Peter Beagrie has been extremely sacked as a Sky Sports pundit after being convicted of an assault on his partner. The fifty one-year-old ex-Everton, Manchester City and Bradford City winger reportedly punched Zarah Blake while he was 'angry and drunk,' his trial heard. Beagrie, of Killinghall in North Yorkshire, was sentenced to a twelve-month community order on Tuesday. He said that he intended to appeal against his conviction. In a statement following the hearing at Skipton Magistrates Court, Beagrie said: 'I am innocent, something I have maintained from the outset; that is why the verdict was so devastating. I will be appealing.' He said that he was still with Blake, adding: 'This has been an upsetting and traumatic time for us and we both feel there is no other alternative but to appeal.' The court heard that he punched his partner during an argument in Harrogate in April. A Sky Sports spokesman said: 'When we first became aware of the charge, we removed Peter from our coverage pending his case. Following the outcome we have terminated his contract with immediate effect.'
Real Madrid forward Cristiano Ronaldo said that the decision to suspend him for five games is 'persecution.' The thirty two-year-old failed in his appeal against the ban for the red card he received in Real Madrid's three-one win against Barcelona in the Super Cup a fortnight ago. He was given a one-match ban for receiving two yellow cards and a further four game ban for pushing the referee after he had been sent off. The bookings at the Nou Camp were for taking off his shirt to celebrate his goal and for a dive. Ronaldo will miss Wednesday's second leg and will not return to domestic action until 20 September against Real Betis. However, he will be able to play in the Champions League. In an Instagram post, after his failed appeal, he whinged: 'It seems to me exaggerated and ridiculous, this is called persecution.' It's also called funny. Madrid had signalled their intent to appeal against Ronaldo's second yellow card shown for diving eight minutes from time when he went down inside the area under pressure from defender Samuel Umtiti. The forward was only on the field for twenty four minutes as he was introduced as a second-half substitute and fired into the top corner ten minutes from time to give Madrid a two-one lead. It was Ronaldo's tenth red card of his career.
England took nineteen wickets on the third day to beat a thoroughly piss-poor West Indies side inside three days and by an innings and two hundred and nine runs in the day-night test at Edgbaston. West Indies, forty four for one overnight in reply to England's five hundred and fourteen for eight declared, were bowled out for one hundred and sixty eight and then, after being asked to follow-on, for a shamefully inept one hundred and thirty seven. James Anderson took three for thirty four in the first innings and Stuart Broad three for thirty four in the second to move above Sir Ian Botham into second place on the all-time list of England's leading test wicket-takers. England took the lead in the three-match series, with the second test beginning at Headingley on Friday. That and the final match, at Lord's, will revert to traditional playing hours after this contest was held under lights to help England prepare for The Ashes. Whilst they have been given experience of playing with the pink ball, a poor West Indies side did not look likely to provide any sort of examination before the tour of Australia. Off the field, the staging of the floodlit game can be seen as at least a partial success - the three days that have seen play were close to a sell-out - but the contest itself was not befitting of the historic occasion. England's captain Joe Root said before the match that it was an opportunity for some members of his top order to earn a place on The Ashes tour. However, the home side batted only once, meaning Mark Stoneman and Tom Westley, who both made eight, must wait for the second test for another chance to impress. Dawid Malan registered his highest test score, but sixty five is unlikely to be enough to guarantee his place on the plane. As for the West Indies, who have not won a test in the UK for seventeen years, their capitulation resulted in the test being even more one-sided than was feared beforehand. Although the cloudy skies in Birmingham made bowling conditions favourable, England often had to do little more than find a full length and wait for the visiting batsmen to miss, play across the line or edge the ball. Eight West Indies batsmen were out twice on Saturday, and in all they scored two hundred and nineteen runs for the fall of those nineteen wickets - the most they have lost on a single day of test cricket. Anderson took the only wicket on Friday evening before rain interrupted proceedings and he had a hand in each dismissal as West Indies lost three wickets for three runs when play resumed on Saturday. Kyle Hope fended a rising delivery to gully and Roston Chase played on either side of Kieran Powell being run out by Anderson's direct hit from mid-on. The West Indies were without the technique, application or patience to survive, so Jermaine Blackwood chanced his arm to hit an unbeaten seventy nine from seventy six balls. At the other end, Toby Roland-Jones' full length accounted for Shai Hope and Shane Dowrich, Moeen Ali had Jason Holder caught behind by Jonny Bairstow and Stuart Broad also went full to dismiss both Kemar Roach and Alzarri Joseph. When Tom Westley produced another direct hit to run out Miguel Cummins - the batsman was not even close to making his ground - it typified the hopelessness of The West Indies' effort. With a first innings lead of three hundred and forty six and, after bowling a mere forty seven overs, England enforced the follow-on, with The West Indies' only real goal to drag the match into a fourth day. Instead, they lasted for just another forty five overs. Kraigg Brathwaite, the sole West Indies player not to bat twice in the day, made forty but, after he and Blackwood were removed, a three-day finish was inevitable. Both fell to off-spinner Moeen, Brathwaite LBW on review and Blackwood stumped by a distance after an inexplicable charge down the track that brought back memories of Tino Best getting the red mist when urged by Freddie Flintoff to 'mind the windows' at Lord's in 2005. Broad, once more bowling full and straight, got to work on the lower order, at one point taking three wickets for four runs in eleven balls to reach three hundred and eighty four Test wickets, one ahead of Botham who was commentating for Sky Sports at the moment that his total was surpassed. Chase was LBW, Dowrich bowled and Holder caught at first slip off the first ball he faced. Anderson returned to clatter an inswinger into the stumps of Roach before Roland-Jones had Joseph held by Ben Stokes at third slip to end the match under a night sky and to the soundtrack of a raucous Hollies Stand. Victory was England's third biggest innings victory over the West Indies. This was the first time West Indies had lost nineteen wickets in a day; the previous highest was eighteen against England at The Oval in 1933. Broad is now fifteenth in the all-time list of test wicket-takers for any country. This was the first time that England's two leading wicket-takers have played in the same match since Fred Trueman and Brian Statham in 1963. Alistair Cook was named man of the match for his flawless two hundred and forty three in England's innings. The remainder of the series against West Indies will be 'sad to watch,' according to former England captain Michael Vaughan. 'Every time they have arrived in England, [The West Indies] seem to have got worse,' Vaughan told BBC's Test Match Special. The Windies squad is without established stars Chris Gayle, Dwayne Bravo and Darren Sammy after a disagreement with Cricket West Indies over selection and payment. However, their decline from the all-conquering sides of the late 1970s and 1980s can be traced back to the mid-1990s - they have not won a series away from home against any team other than Bangladesh and Zimbabwe since 1995. 'There are a lot of young players in The West Indies side and you need to give them time, but I find it difficult to think they can go on without any senior players,' said Vaughan, who captained England in fifty one of his eighty two tests. 'There is no one there to teach them. I really fear that this series could be one of the saddest for test cricket.' England, who were themselves rated as the worst team in the world in 1999, drew a three-Test series in West Indies as recently as 2015. 'I don't think this era of cricket is any different to any other era,' said England coach Trevor Bayliss. 'There have always been strong teams and one or two that are struggling. West Indies are going through a rough time but twenty, forty, sixty years ago there were other teams that were going through rough periods.' Joe Root said that West Indies' display should not detract from the performance of his own side, who beat South Africa three-one in their previous test series this summer. 'We talk about being ruthless,' he said. 'We played some really good cricket and it's important we look to back that up.'
EastEnders was hugely popular on BBC iPlayer in July, taking up sixteen spots in the twenty most-watched programmes. Seven episodes of the BBC soap landed in the top ten most-requested shows, totalling around 7.8 million streams. EastEnders' highest-charting episode was the one that got moved to BBC2 on 7 July due to bloody tennis coverage, being requested a total of 1.2 million times by viewers on the catch-up service. The soap's second-highest performer was the episode which included Phil Mitchell's long-awaited return to Walford on Tuesday 25 July. The month's most popular broadcast on BBC iPlayer was the first episode of crime drama In The Dark, which received 1.6 million requests. Other top-performing dramas during July included the Doctor Who series finale and the return of crime drama Top Of The Lake.
The second series of Doctor Foster is nearly upon us, and the BBBC have released the first full trailer for the upcoming episodes. In it viewers can see the return of the excruciating tension that dominated the first, 2015, series – as Gemma (Suranne Jones) is confronted by her ex-husband, cheating Simon Foster (Bertie Carvel).
A Twin Peaks actor has been charged with attempted second-degree murder. Jeremy Lindholm - who appeared in episode six of the new series - was apprehended after allegedly beating his girlfriend with a baseball bat. Police in Spokane, Washington responded to a call made from a local business on Wednesday evening. A statement from Spokane Police read: 'The suspect, forty one-year-old Jeremy Lindholm, was fleeing out the back of the business when Officers arrived on scene. Lindholm still had the baseball bat in hand as he fled, but quickly gave up when confronted by Officers in the alley. He was then taken into custody. Officers interviewed the victim and witnesses at the location. Officers learned that this incident was domestic violence-related. There was also surveillance video of the incident from inside the business, which showed an extremely violent assault perpetrated by Lindholm. After watching the video and taking statements into account, Officers felt that the victim's life was in danger, and there was information suggesting the intent of the suspect was to kill the victim.' In addition to attempted second-degree murder, Lindholm received 'several other charges' including assaulting the alleged victim's friend. Authorities also confirmed that the alleged victim's injuries were 'non-life-threatening.'
The latest Admiral advert appears to be a wee-bit more self-referential that usual, dear blog reader.
Yer actual Daniel Craig will be reprising his role as James Bond one more time. 'I just want to go out on a high note. I can't wait,' he said on The Late Show With Stephen Colbert on Tuesday. Craig has been 007 in the past four Bond films and reports had already suggested he had agreed to carry on for the twenty fifth movie in the franchise due to be released in November 2019. Craig succeeded Pierce Brosnan as Bond and made his debut in Casino Royale in 2006. He has since played the spy in Quantum Of Solace (2008), Skyfall (2012) and Spectre (2015).
The British Airways safety video - director's cut might just amuse, dear blog reader; particularly From The North favourite Gillian Anderson's cheeky contribution.
The - unquestioned - headline of the week comes from The Huffington Post: Gruesome-Sounding Injuries Are Rising As More People Groom Their Pubes.
Meanwhile, here's a big scary water cat, dear blog reader.
The Cassini probe has begun the final phase of its mission to Saturn. The satellite has executed the first of five ultra-close passes of the gas giant, dipping down far enough to brush through the top of the atmosphere. It promises unprecedented data on the chemical composition of Saturn. It also sets the stage for the probe's dramatic end-manoeuvre next month when it will plunge to destruction in the planet's atmosphere. Cassini is currently flying a series of loops around Saturn that thread the gap between its atmosphere and its rings. Monday's swing-by saw the spacecraft got closer than ever before to the cloud tops - skimming just sixteen hundred kilometres above them. This low pass was designed to allow the probe to directly sample the gases of the extended upper-atmosphere. Saturn's bulk composition is thought to be about seventy five per cent hydrogen with the rest being helium (bar some trace components), explained Nicolas Altobelli, the European Space Agency's Cassini project scientist. 'It's expected that the heavier helium is sinking down,' he told BBC News. 'Saturn radiates more energy than it's absorbing from the Sun, meaning there is gravitational energy which is being lost. And so getting a precise measure of the hydrogen and helium in the upper layers sets a constraint on the overall distribution of the material in the interior.' Cassini will send all the data back to Earth during its next contact on Tuesday. Dipping down into the atmosphere should create a drag on the spacecraft, requiring Cassini to use its thrusters to maintain a stable flight configuration and stop itself from tumbling. But the mission's scientists think that any buffeting effects ought to be manageable. They are hopeful that when the post-pass analysis is done, the probe will be permitted to go even lower on the remaining four dip-downs before 15 September's goodbye death plunge. The Cassini mission still has some big outstanding questions about Saturn. One of these relates to the length of a day on the planet. Researchers know it is roughly ten-and-a-half hours, but they would like a more precise number. The solution should come by looking for an offset between the magnetic field and the planet's rotation axis, but frustratingly all the probe's observations to date show these two features to be almost perfectly aligned. 'All magnetic field theory as we know it requires an offset,' said Linda Spilker, the US space agency's Cassini project scientist. 'To generate a field, you need to keep the currents in the metallic hydrogen layer inside Saturn flowing and without the offset the thinking is that the field would simply go away. What's going on? Is something shielding our ability to see the offset, or do we simply need a new theory? But without the tilt, without being able to see the tiny wobble, we cannot be more precise about the length of a day.' Spilker added that the mission team would continue to work on the problem. Cassini is a joint venture between the US, European and Italian space agencies. They are ending the probe's operations after twenty years because it is running low on fuel and will soon become uncontrollable. Scientists want to avoid the possibility of a future collision with Saturn's moons Titan and Enceladus both of which could, conceivably, support simple microbial life. The only way to prevent that is to deliberately drive the probe to destruction in the atmosphere of the giant planet.
Sharon and Billy Hahs have travelled the world chasing total solar eclipses. How are the couple now preparing for one in their backyard? The BBC News website asked them that very question.
Guests aboard the Royal Caribbean's Total Eclipse Cruise will have an extra surprise in store for their once-in-a-lifetime viewing experience, Bonnie Tyler. The rough-voiced Welsh songstress of 'Total Eclipse of the Heart' fame, will reportedly be on board to perform her 1983 hit single just as the Moon sails across the Sun. And, if that isn't enough to make the Sun reappear soon afterwards, nothing will be, dear blog reader.
An Italian provincial governor has defended the killing of a rare female brown bear in the Alps, claiming that it was 'a threat to humans.' The fourteen-year-old bear, called Kj2, was shot dead by foresters on Saturday, after it mauled an elderly man walking his dog last month. Trentino governor Ugo Rossi said that the killing would not stop a project to reintroduce bears to the region, but their habitat 'must be limited.' About fifty bears live in the province. Conservation groups have protested over the shooting and demanded 'better management' of the EU-funded bear project, called Life Ursus. Ugo Rossi said that the shooting was 'an absolute necessity' because of the risk to people at a peak period for tourism. 'Anywhere in the world, when the danger rises above a certain level, the animal has to be killed to ensure people's safety,' he said. Brown bears from Slovenia started to be reintroduced to Trentino in 1999, a region where they had been exterminated by hunters. Rossi said Life Ursus would continue, but the original plan to let the bears 'roam widely' would have to be 'revised.' WWF Italy said bears 'must not pay the price for human errors' and pointed out that too many dogs had been let off the lead in the Alpine forests where the bears were roaming. The organisation urged the authorities to 'work to eliminate the causes of such unpleasant episodes.' The attack by Kj2 on 22 July happened in the Mount Bondone area. The female bear reportedly had two or three cubs with her. Shooting Kj2 was 'simply a cold-blooded execution, a real crime,' the Italian animal welfare group Enpa said. Kj2 had been tranquillised and fitted with a radio collar in early August. A DNA sample was taken and Kj2 was identified as the bear involved in the July attack, because some of her hairs were found at the scene. The fate of her cubs since Saturday's shooting is not known. At the time that bears were first reintroduced to Italy's Adamello Brenta national park, the park's website says, more than seventy per cent of locals surveyed agreed with the project. Niki Rust, a WWF technical adviser in wildlife, told the BBC News that Kj2 'might have been doing what any bear would do at this time of year - defend her cubs. Bears are not by nature aggressive to humans, but if provoked they can become a problem,' she said, adding that raising awareness of how their own behaviour could 'provoke' bears was 'vital. WWF believes you should only reintroduce a species after really strong evidence that the local community accepts the species and that the environment is suitable.' As top predators, bears are 'important for the ecosystem,' helping to control the numbers of deer and wild boar, Doctor Rust added.
A woman can get rid of her child's middle name because of its 'association with a notorious public figure,' a judge has ruled. The mother argued the name - which, apparently, 'cannot be known for legal reasons' - was 'infected with bad connotations.' The child's father objected to the change as he 'preferred' the middle name, but a family court ruled that it could be dropped. At a previous hearing, a judge said that continued use of the name 'would damage the child's emotional welfare.' The child's father had appealed against a decision from a less senior judge, but Judge Mark Rogers dismissed this. In a family court in Lincoln, the judge said that the name was 'not eccentric or, in itself, offensive.' But he ruled the 'association' was enough to allow the mother to drop the middle name. Judge Rogers added: 'The child is most commonly known by the first name but the father uses both and says he favours the middle name.' The judge did not reveal the child's name or sex or the parents' identities in his ruling.
MTV is to bring back Unplugged as the station continues its efforts to return to its music channel roots. The Unplugged series saw artists perform stripped-down - often acoustic - versions of their songs in front of a small live audience. It was particularly popular in the 1990s but was cancelled in 2009. Now, MTV plans to bring it back from 8 September - with Shawn Mendes the first singer to appear in the reboot. Previous artists to do Unplugged sets include Nirvana, R.E.M., The Cure, Oasis, Jay-Z, Lauryn Hill, Adele, Mariah Carey and Katy Perry. 'At MTV, the brand equity is still so strong,' MTV's Armani Duncan, told Variety. 'It gives an opportunity to bring back nostalgia and also recruit an entirely new consumer who may not know what Unplugged was because they weren't born.' Mendes, who will record his set in Los Angeles, said that he was drawn to the Unplugged brand after watching a clip from Pearl Jam's 1992 show. 'It wasn't so much about the commercial, showman side of it - it was really about the music,' he said.

A childhood friend of The Pink Floyd legend Syd Barrett is developing a hospital garden in Syd's honour. Syd's Garden will be 'laced with little clues' about the late singer, according to Stephen Pyle. Designed as a restful area for patients and staff, it will open in the grounds of Addenbrooke's Hospital in Cambridge in 2018. Barrett, a founder member of The Pink Floyd, died in 2006 after living locally as a semi-recluse for three decades. The garden has been designed by sculptor Pyle and Paul Herrington, a garden designer. Their charity, Art Garden Health, creates and maintains green spaces for NHS hospitals at no public cost. Addenbrooke's offered them a plot a year ago and fundraising got under way. Pyle knew Syd as a young man when the two began Saturday art classes at Cambridge's Homerton College. They were also members of band Those Without, which toured Cambridge youth clubs and pubs between 1963 and 1965. They studied together at the Cambridge School of Art before Barrett left for London and Pyle began a career in theatre set design. 'Syd's sister said he liked roses,' said Pyle. 'And there'll be a striped colour theme, which fans will recognise. The artwork on his first solo album is turquoise and orange and Paul worked with those colours. There's also a nod to Abbey Road's crossing.' The centrepiece will be a circular sculpture, depicting a teenage Barrett on a bicycle, armed with a guitar and a paint palette. 'This was the Syd I knew at art school,' said Pyle. 'The eighteen-year-old, the free wheeler. He wasn't ambitious for glory, just very creative and anarchic. He was very charismatic - and very, very talented.' He described Barrett as 'a celebrated son of Cambridge,' who returned to the city and lived there until his death in 2006. In October 2016 a specially-designed artwork unveiled in the foyer of the Cambridge Corn Exchange in October 2016, where Syd played his last live gig. A blue plaque was also dedicated to him in Cambridge as part of BBC Music Day 2017.
A pair of boots worn by yer actual Ringo Starr on stage in 1963 are to go under the auctioneer's hammer in Liverpool. Unlike the leather boots worn by the rest of The Fab Four, Ringo had his own suede versions of the distinctive pointed-toe footwear with a lower heel. This was so he could use the pedals of his drum kit while performing on stage. The sale has been organised by The Be-Atles Shop in Liverpool. Its owner estimates the boots will fetch up to five thousand knicker in the 26 August auction. The size-seven boots were given to a family friend by Ringo's mother and stepfather in the 1960s and have remained in his possession ever since. The sale organisers describe them as 'worn but in good condition.' And, they don't stink, apparently. More than three hundred Be-Atles lots are up for sale in the auction. These include front door of the Arnold Grove home where George Harrison his very self was born and a Cavern Club membership card from 1960. Be-Atles Shop owner Ian Wallace said: 'It's just incredible that these things keep turning up. We have never had a pair of Be-Atles boots for sale before.' The auction will be held at the Liverpool Philharmonic Music Room on 26 August. The Be-Atles, incidentally, were a popular beat combo of the 960s, you might have heard of them.
The drummer with indie group Belle & Sebastian has been reunited with his band after accidentally being left behind at a supermarket car park in the US. Richard Colburn waited in vain in his pyjamas for four hours for the band's bus to return after the unscheduled stop at a Walmart in North Dakota. His band mates only discovered he was missing after driving five hundred miles. The band, who formed in Glasgow in 1996, are currently touring North America. They had been travelling from Missoula in Montana to a gig at St Paul in Minnesota when they made a late-night stop at Walmart in the town of Dickinson on Tuesday. Singer Stuart Murdoch told Minneapolis radio show, The Current, that the band had stopped to buy water before taking to their bunks for the night. He said: 'I was coming out the Walmart and he was coming into the Walmart and he was waving very happily in a good mood and that was the last time that we saw him.' Murdoch said that the band returned to the bus completely oblivious to the fact that their drummer was still inside the store. 'He was probably thinking that someone was going to notice but the trouble is that everyone went to bed.' Murdoch said that it was only hours later, when the band had long since crossed the state line, that they realised Colburn was missing. He said: 'There used to be a system, but because we all have mobile phones these days, everybody's got a little bit blasé. 'It used to be that you would leave a pass on the passenger seat for the last person and that's how the driver knew. Richard didn't have his phone with him.' After waiting in the car park for four hours, Colburn used his credit card to check into a hotel. Inspired by an episode of The West Wing - probably the two-part series four opener, Twenty Hours In America - Murdoch said that his 'instinct' was 'to get the word out' that Coburn had gone missing. He tweeted asking for help to get the drummer to their next show, telling fans that the gig was 'hanging in the balance.' He said: 'We didn't know how we were going to get him from that desolate spot to St Paul, so we tweeted and lots of kind people tweeted me back saying "I'm in Fargo, maybe I could get there, I'm in Bismark, maybe we could work something out." I even had a friend who was driving down from Winnipeg on the way to the show here. So, currently, we have him in a car driving to Bismark and the only question is will they let him on the plane with no ID and in his pyjamas.' Murdoch joked that one former manager had suggested that organising the band's eight members was like 'herding cats' and had suggested fifteen years ago that they all be micro-chipped. The band have since posted to say that Colburn was now 'safely back in the fold.' And, as this blogger's good mate Danny Blythe noted, if Drummer Left In Car Park isn't the name of the next Belle & Sebastian CD, there really is something wrong with the world.
Pineapples have appeared on a list of items 'banned' from this year's Reading and Leeds Festivals, alongside fireworks and weapons. Organisers said that this was because fans of Oxford band Glass Animals (no, me neither) bring 'hundreds' of the fruit to its gigs, in a nod to song 'Pork Soda' which includes the lyrics 'pineapples are in my head.' Glass Animals' drummer, Joe Seaward, said it would be a 'challenge' to get in with pineapples. 'Anyone who wasn't bringing a pineapple definitely is now,' he added. Other items banned from the festivals include weapons, fireworks, drones and glass. And drugs, obviously. A spokesman for Reading and Leeds Festivals said: 'Organisers were a little concerned about hundreds of pineapples turning up on site so decided to ask fans not to bring them along.' He added: 'The tongue may be slightly in cheek on this one.'
Spotify has removed several white supremacist bands from its service, following recent events at Charlottesville. Earlier this week, a music news website published a list of thirty seven 'white power' bands which were being streamed online. Less than forty eight hours later, Spotify announced that they had removed 'some' of the bands from its service in America. The Swedish company says that it is also considering taking down the other named artists on the list. This blogger applauds Spotify's decision to remove 'white supremacy music' after the horrific events of Charlottesville. What Keith Telly Toping is less clear about is why it took the horrific events of Charlottesville for Spotify to notice that 'white supremacy music' wasn't something they wanted on their service in the first place. If Spotify could, possibly, clarify that, it may help. Some of the artists named by Digital Music News are still available for streaming in the UK. A spokesperson for Spotify in the UK told BBC Newsbeat 'any takedowns [Spotify] issue are effective for all markets, not just a specific country.' 'Spotify takes immediate action to remove any such material as soon as it has been brought to our attention,' said Spotify in an official statement. 'We are glad to have been alerted to this content and have already removed many of the bands identified today, while urgently reviewing the remainder.' Spotify also gave a second statement to Billboard magazine, which outlined its stance on offensive music. 'Illegal content or material that favours hatred or incites violence against race, religion, sexuality or the like is not tolerated by us,' it claimed. One presumes that President - and hairdo - Trump will be tweeting soon that some of these are 'fine, upstanding' bands and asking why The Redskins, Billy Bragg and The Style Council haven't, also, been removed? Earlier this week, Reddit removed 'Physical Removal,' a section of the website, because of its sick, disgusting alt-right content.
The family of Johnny Cash have taken to social media to condemn a white supremacist who was captured on film wearing a T-shirt bearing the late country singer's name during a march in Charlottesville. Writing on Facebook, singer Rosanne Cash called the unnamed man 'a self-proclaimed Neo-Nazi, spewing hatred and bile,' and added: 'We were sickened by the association.' Rosanne said that her late father was 'a man whose heart beat with the rhythm of love and social justice.' She added: 'He received humanitarian awards from, among others, the Jewish National Fund, B'nai Brith and the United Nations. He championed the rights of Native Americans, protested the war in Viet'nam, was a voice for the poor, the struggling and the disenfranchised and an advocate for the rights of prisoners.' In the moving post, Rosanne said the eleven-time Grammy Award-winner - who died aged seventy one in 2003 - 'would be horrified at even a casual use of his name or image for an idea or a cause founded in persecution and hatred. Our dad told each of us, over and over throughout our lives, "Children, you can choose love or hate. I choose love."'
James Murdoch The Small – the chief executive of Twenty First Century FOX and son of Donald Trump ally billionaire tyrant Rupert Murdoch – has become one of the most prominent voices yet to condemn the US president's response to sick and crazed Neo-Nazi violence in Charlottesville. In a memo to colleagues obtained by The Hollywood Reporter, Murdoch The Small pledged to donate a million dollars to the Anti-Defamation League, which works to combat anti-semitism. Wow, there's a surprise; James Murdoch The Small has a moral compass. Who knew? Billionaire tyrant Rupert Murdoch is known to speak regularly to the US president - and hairdo - and Twenty First Century FOX is the parent company of FAUX News, which is a regular cheerleader for Trump. '[W]hat we watched this last week in Charlottesville and the reaction to it by the President of the United States concern all of us as Americans and free people,' Murdoch The Small wrote in the memo. 'These events remind us all why vigilance against hate and bigotry is an eternal obligation – a necessary discipline for the preservation of our way of life and our ideals. The presence of hate in our society was appallingly laid bare as we watched swastikas brandished on the streets of Charlottesville and acts of brutal terrorism and violence perpetrated by a racist mob.' Murdoch added: 'I can't even believe I have to write this: standing up to Nazis is essential; there are no good Nazis. Or Klansmen, or terrorists. Democrats, Republicans, and others must all agree on this and it compromises nothing for them to do so.' He went on to say that he and his wife, Kathryn, would be donating a million bucks to the Anti-Defamation League in the wake of the tragedy, which left one civil rights activist dead. On Wednesday, Kathryn tweeted a link to a Politico article headlined, Time for My Fellow Republicans To Stand Up & Be Counted, in which Matt Latimer, a former speechwriter for President George W Bush, denounced Trump and called on politicians to 'put country before party.' Business leaders have been abandoning Trump since his bellicose press conference when he blamed Saturday's violence in Charlottesville on 'both sides' and claimed that among the white supremacists and people carrying Nazi flags involved in the march there were 'very fine people.' On Thursday it emerged that the presidential advisory council on infrastructure will disband along with two panels that Trump hastily scrapped on Wednesday when faced with mass resignations. Some senior Republicans, including Senator Bob Corker of Tennessee, have also turned against him. The relationship between Trump and billionaire tyrant Rupert Murdoch, the current chairman and acting CEO of FAUX News, goes back decades. Earlier this year the Australian-born media mogul was ranked highest in a New York Times list of Trump's top advisers outside The White House, someone the president speaks to 'on the phone every week.' FAUX News has remained loyal to Trump through scandal after scandal, although even some of its hosts have spoken out over the Charlottesville fallout. The network has been rocked by a slew of sexual misconduct lawsuits against various presenters and executives. It also ran a shamefully fabricated a story about the circumstances surrounding the death of Democratic party aide Seth Rich.
A 1940s US government film warning about the dangers of intolerance and what a bunch of jolly bad eggs them there Nazis were has made a comeback following the violent - and fatal - Neo-Nazi rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, at the weekend.
But remember, dear blog reader, even Neo-Nazis have rights. Whether they should or not is another matter entirely ...
A fifty four-year-old Virginia man was arrested on Monday afternoon after he went on a drunken rampage at a truck stop in Dauphin County. According to, Craig Troccia was at the Flying J Truck Plaza on Highway Eighty One when he smashed in the windshield of his own vehicle, then poured a cup of urine - presumably, although, not definitively, his own - inside the vehicle. Witnesses say that Troccia told a passing black man to 'go back to Africa' and then pulled down his pants, exposing his genitals to the man and everyone else in the parking lot. Which, one imagines, was quite a sight. It was then that Troccia pulled out a gun and said that he would kill the black passer-by and everyone else at the truck stop. Virginia State Troopers swiftly arrived on the scene, which reportedly 'sent Troccia into a frenzy.' 'I'll fucking kill you for calling the police!' he allegedly shouted as officers closed in on him. Troccia then threatened a trooper and members of the officer's family before being arrested, restrained, taken into custody and loaded into the back of a police cruiser. During transport, police reports said, Troccia continued to spew a variety of death threats against the arresting officers and repeatedly slammed his head and body into 'the various panels of the vehicle.' At the Dauphin County Jail, Troccia was charged with thirty four criminal counts including ethnic intimidation, aggravated assault, indecent exposure, open lewdness, public drunkenness, assault, 'terroristic threats' (yes, it is a proper word, apparently. No, this blogger was surprised as well), intimidation of a witness, resisting arrest, criminal mischief and harassment. The website joked: 'Mom, what did they arrest Uncle Craig for?' 'Everything, honey!'
And now, dear blog reader ...
Residents of Royal Tunbridge Wells reportedly 'aren't happy' this week after the news that a 'kinky sex festival' is set to take place in a nearby woodland. Although whether all of the residents of Royal Tunbridge Wells 'aren't happy' and, how the person writing this ludicrous article knows this isn't made clear. Did he ask all of them? Flamefest - which is set to run this weekend - will welcome five hundred guests for three days of 'adult play' including the opportunity to take part in an outdoor S&M dungeon and get some kinky education lessons. According to organisers, festival-goers are encouraged to 'explore pain, experience pleasure and fulfil their fantasies.' 'Naturally, the event has caused uproar in the local community,' the report claims. Well, naturally. Locals have 'expressed their disgust at the event' with 'one man' allegedly saying: 'This is not the kind of thing we want going on here. These people are coming for an orgy.' Another alleged person allegedly told the Daily Scum Mail: 'We don't want a bunch of perverts descending on our town.' So, that's two - anonymous, and therefore probably fictitious - locals who have, allegedly, expressed some displeasure. Any more? Flamefest's event manager Helen Smedley has tried to calm the alleged - media created - 'furore.' She has specified that members of the public will 'in no way witness' any outdoor sex. 'It will involve music, workshops, getting at one with nature,' she commented. 'We allow people the safe place to have sex, we're monitors, just to make sure everyone's safe. There's nothing that happens in view. People go off to their tents to meet like-minded people.' Smedley also insisted that the festival is concerned about local residents and are doing everything they can to ensure the festival remains as private as possible. 'We have strict rules on sex and nudity outside one tent which is completely blacked out,' she added. 'We are really concerned about the residents and making sure this passes with as little difficulties for them as possible.' Local councillor Dianne Hill said that she had received 'several' complaints from residents close to the festival's location. Hill claimed that she was 'no prude' but admitted that Royal Tunbridge Wells 'is the wrong place for this sort of thing.' Exactly what 'that sort of thing' amounted to, she didn't say. Presumably, because she didn't know.
Anyway, does anyone fancy a takeaway, dear blog reader?
'This woman is very angry after being promised a jumbo-sized sausage - only to be disappointed with a puny offering,' claims an article in the Metro (so, not a real newspaper, then). And, this nonsense constitutes 'news', apparently. Sarah Francis, forty two, is the paper claims 'trying to come to terms with her ordeal' after finding a packet of frozen 'extra large bangers was in fact filled with smaller sausages.' Oh, the manifest tragedy. Sarah made the discovery at Swindon Farmfoods in Wiltshire. The puny sausages left her feeling 'cheated' and 'thoroughly disappointed,' the Metro claims. As, indeed, is this blogger at the fact that some arsewipe will actually have be paid to write and distribute this utter horseshit. Do you ever feel, dear blog reader, that the entire world has gone quite mad?
A Washington Township man who posed as his estranged wife on Craigslist in an attempt to frame her for his own murder could serve just a day in jail, or almost two years. Or something in-between. Reportedly, the sentence of up to twenty three months in The Big House will run concurrent to the sentence Christian Koelsch, thirty, previously received on an assault conviction. That stems from a domestic violence incident he wrote about in the Craigslist advertisement in which he posed as his wife, requesting someone to help 'her' to 'take care of' her ex-husband, even if it meant killing him. Police determined that Koelsch was behind the advertisement after Craigslist provided information about the account that created the advert. On Wednesday, Koelsch pleaded very guilty to falsely incriminating another person in connection to the Craigslist advert. In that, Koelsch, posing as his wife, wrote that 'most recently he took an argument father [sic] than ever when he beat me and abused me,' according to court documents. On the assault charge, Koelsch had originally been sentenced to probation. But, gaining the new conviction violated his probation and he was resentenced on 26 July, to spend between four and nineteen months in Franklin County Jail and six months on probation. Koelsch is also prohibited from having contact with his estranged wife and has been ordered to complete domestic violence treatment.
Video footage of a fight between a local McDonald's employee and a customer is going viral on social media according to the New York Post. A witness, Alfredo Sanchez told KFOX14 that the fight started over some french fries. The incident occurred on Sunday night at a McDonald's in El Paso, Texas. 'We were eating and all of a sudden, like, I hear my friend say, "like, what the heck,"' said Sanchez. It was probably, more likely 'what the fuck', but he was on TV at the time. 'And like, I see a guy come in with a big dog.' Sanchez recorded the ensuing confrontation on his phone. Sanchez claimed that an unidentified man was 'irate' over an issue about his food order and the length of time he had to wait for it. He told KFOX14 that the man swiped a cookie display off the restaurant's counter and started threatening an employee. 'The guy takes off his shirt and he's ready to fight him, jumps over the counter and that's when he hits the guy,' he said. 'He just punches him, right here, right on the lip.' Sanchez said that he was 'reluctant' to intervene. 'I was like, I'm not getting in this, but I'm recording, just for proof, to protect me too. What if the guy attacks me? What if the dog does something?' The El Paso Police Department confirmed officers were called out for reports of a fight going on at that McDonald's location. Police said no one was arrested and the investigation is still on-going.
A teenager who jumped over a glass railing at the Denver Zoo to snap a closeup of a rhinoceros is banned from the zoo for life.The incident occurred on Friday in the Clayton F Freiheit Elephant House, according to zoo officials. The boy jumped a three-foot, six-inch glass railing which separates a public path from a staff walkway in front of an indoor enclosure, the zoo said in a news release. After taking the photo he 'promptly jumped back over the railing into the public space.' The intruder was never inside the rhino enclosure. He was removed from the zoo by police and cited for trespassing. 'The safety of Denver Zoo's guests, animals and staff is our top priority and we take these matters very seriously,' zoo officials said.
A woman was arrested outside a Forida middle school on Tuesday after a sheriff's deputy allegedly spotted her snorting cocaine off the screen of her smartphone while her car was parked in the student pick-up line. A Lee County sheriff's deputy allegedly spotted Christina Hester using a credit card to chop up 'a white powdery substance' sprinkled on her phone screen in a car parked outside Lexington Middle School, reported. The deputy then allegedly saw Hester snort the substance through a straw, the report stated. The deputy then brought her inside her office, according to the Miami Herald, and asked Hester if she had anything in her car. The woman allegedly responded that she had 'a little bit of drugs.' Hester was then promptly arrested and charged with possession of cocaine and drug paraphernalia.
After allegedly using a child as a shield and leading sheriff's deputies on a chase, a Waterboro man is being held without bail at York County Jail in Alfred. Vincent Cole was arrested and charged with violation of conditional release, refusing to stop for a police officer and driving to endanger, all Class E misdemeanours; endangering the welfare of a child; operating after suspension; and failure to wear a seat belt. Cole was reportedly denied bail. On Sunday, York County sheriff's deputies responded to a report of a disturbance, according to a news release from York County Sheriff William King. Cole had, allegedly, been 'involved in a domestic disturbance with his girlfriend.' He was not at the scene when deputies arrived. Deputies were aware that Cole had bail conditions from a prior arrest for elevated aggravated assault in which he is suspected of stabbing a bystander, King said. In addition, one condition of Cole's release following the earlier charges was that he stay at his Orchard Road residence from 8pm to 6am, King added. When deputies cleared the residence at 8:20pm, Cole had not returned home. Deputies searched around the Lake Arrowhead community in Waterboro for Cole and deputies eventually found him driving, despite having a suspended driver's license, according to the sheriff. When deputies tried to stop Cole, he attempted to elude them. Cole sped up and took a series of abrupt turns. As he approached his house, he opened the vehicle door and jumped out of the moving vehicle. The vehicle crashed into some debris and came to a stop when it struck a boulder. Cole fled into his house with deputies in close pursuit, police said. Cole did not comply with orders to submit to arrest but advanced toward a deputy. The deputy drew his stun gun and again ordered Cole to submit. Instead, Cole allegedly grabbed a small child police believed to be his daughter and attempted to use the girl as a shield. The child's mother retrieved the child from Cole and he then submitted to arrest.
A woman was arrested after allegedly stealing a construction pickup truck and trying to elude police in Denver on Friday morning. Police in unmarked vehicles pursued the truck without lights and sirens on after it was taken from a gas station. Dennis Wilkes, an employee with Advanced Traffic Services, said that he left the truck running when he went inside the store. The woman then jumped into the truck and took off, he said. Police found the truck by tracking it by its GPS device. Officers attempted to pull over the vehicle, but when the driver didn't stop, they backed off and followed at a safe distance. The woman could be seen running red lights and weaving in and out of traffic before getting out at a Burger King parking lot. She then jumped into the back seat of an SUV which drove off at high speed. However, police quickly stopped and surrounded the vehicle. With guns drawn, officers pulled three people out of the vehicle, including the woman who was seen trying to ditch the stolen truck and hauled all of their asses off to jail. The other two people in the SUV were eventually released when police determined that they had no connection to the woman or the stolen truck. No one was injured in the incident.
The actor, writer and inventor of The Doctor's Sonic Screwdriver, Victor Pemberton, has died at the age of eighty five. Victor was one of a select group of people to have both written for and appeared in Doctor Who. In 1967, while trying to get writing work, he was earning money playing bit parts on TV including that of a scientist in the Doctor Who story The Moonbase. But, his real love was writing and when his friend Peter Bryant took over as the series Story Editor, Victor was brought in as Bryant's assistant. He script-edited The Tomb Of The Cybermen for Bryant, writing the poignant scene between The Doctor (Patrick Troughton) and Victoria (Debbie Watling) where The Doctor explains how their lives are different. Victor returned to freelance writing to script Fury From The Deep, which saw the departure of the character Victoria from the series. It also saw the introduction of the Sonic Screwdriver. Fury From The Deep - this blogger's first concrete memory of watching Doctor Who as a terrified five year old - was Pemberton's only contribution to the TV series, but one of which he was very proud. 'The cost of mounting Fury was astonishing, for budgets for filming in those days was minuscule and when you think that a helicopter had to be used and fake foam sprayed onto the sea, no wonder I got a few glares from the production crew! However, the late Hugh David did tell me that the scale of it was a challenge that he greatly enjoyed and, as far as I'm concerned, he met that challenge superbly. But the great joy of getting Fury onto the screen was working with dear old Pat Troughton, who was already a friend, together with Debbie Watling, who had the best scream in the business and Fraser Hines, who was the best practical joker!' In 1976 Victor wrote the audio adventure Doctor Who & The Pescatons, initially released as an LP and cassette starring Tom Baker and Lis Sladen. He also wrote the Target novelisations of both Fury From The Deep and The Pescatons. Victor was born in London in 1931. His first job was as a mail delivery boy for a timber magazine in Fleet Street, followed by a short spell in the publicity and printing department of Twentieth Century FOX. Two years of national service in the Royal Air Force followed, where he set up an entertainment system for the troops. His father brought him his first typewriter after he expressed a desire to become a writer. His first drama scripts were for BBC Radio. In 1961 he wrote The Gold Watch, a play based on the extraordinary circumstances of his father's retirement. Many other radio scripts followed, including The Slide, a memorable seven episode science-fiction serial about an earthquake in the South of England. TV followed in 1965 with a script for a children's series on ITV called Send Foster. After Doctor Who, Victor contributed to series such as Tightrope, Timeslip, Ace Of Wands, The Adventures Of Black Beauty and the prison drama Within These Walls. In 1993 he invented the character of The Lighthouse Keeper for the Jim Henson children's series Fraggle Rock. In 1987 Victor formed Saffron Productions Ltd making a number of documentary films, including Gwen: A Juliet Remembered and Benny Hill: Clown Imperial for the BBC. In 1990, Headline Book Publications asked him to write a novelisation of his autobiographical BBC radio drama, Our Family. He went onto write fifteen further novels. In 2016 he undertook his Arctic Adventure, travelling alone by car through seven countries of Europe and Scandinavia to reach the Norwegian town of Bodo in the Arctic Circle, in order to raise money for the charity Help for Heroes. Victor's partner, the actor David Spenser, died in 2013.
Doctor-turned-author Richard Gordon, who wrote the Doctor books in the 1950s and 1960s, has died aged ninety five. The books formed the basis for a franchise of seven movies and the television and radio comedy series, Doctor In The House, as several sequels. The plot revolved around the trials of medical students at the fictional St Swithin's Hospital in London. Under his real name, Gordon Ostlere, the author, who lived in Kent, worked as an anaesthetist in London and Oxford and was also a ship's surgeon. His first book, Doctor In The House, was based largely on his own experiences. The film version of the same name starred Dirk Bogarde as the recently qualified Simon Sparrow and was also made into a stage play. In total, Gordon wrote more than three dozen books. His first novel not in the Doctor series was about a plastic surgeon between the wars, which was published in 1967. He also wrote The Private Life Of Florence Nightingale, which depicted her as a lesbian and similarly titled books on Jack the Ripper and Doctor Crippen. With his wife, also an anaesthetist, Richard produced a book for parents, called A Baby In The House. The author famously refused to appear on This Is Your Life in 1974. The programme was being broadcast live and when he was approached by presenter Eamonn Andrews, Gordon swore angrily and walked off in a huff. However, he was persuaded to appear on a show that was broadcast a week later.
The former Glamorgan spin bowler Don Shepherd has died at the age of nine. Shep remains the leading wicket-taker in Glamorgan's history, having claimed two thousand one hundred and seventy four first class victims in a twenty two-year career with the county. His career total of two thousand two hundred and eighteen first-class wickets is the highest achieved by an England-qualified player never to have played test cricket. After retiring from playing he worked for BBC Wales Sport for more than thirty years, even commentating this season. Shepherd was one of Wisden's five cricketers of the year in 1970. He made his Glamorgan debut in 1950 and by the time that he retired in 1972 Shep was among the most respected bowlers in the first-class game. He claimed one hundred wickets or more in a season on twelve occasions and, over the course of his career, could boast an average of 21.32. Shepherd started his career as a medium pace bowler, but switched to spin in the mid-1950s to immediate effect - taking a match total of ten for eighty five against Warwickshire in the last game of the 1955 season. His off-cutters were delivered at quicker pace than usual and he used to ask his wicketkeepers to stand back from the stumps to compensate for the speed. That he never played for England was a measure of the quality of his contemporaries - particularly Fred Titmus, Derek Underwood and Ray Illingworth. Shortly before his death as he celebrated turning ninety, Shepherd shared the memories of his career with BBC Wales Sport. 'It never worried me [not playing for England]. I played for MCC against the West Indians at Lord's in 1957 and I played for a Commonwealth team under Australian captain Richie Benaud,' Shepherd said. 'If I'd been an Australian, he told me I would have played quite a lot of times. But there were so many terrific off-spinners around towards the end - Fred Titmus, David Allen, John Mortimore, Ray Illingworth - and they could bat, while I was a bit of a slogger. I was happy enough doing what I did and what happened to me through my life.' Memorably, Shep starred for Glamorgan when they beat the touring Australians in 1964 - claiming nine wickets in the match. He also captained the county when they again beat the Aussie tourists in 1968. But the real highlight of his county career when he was vice-captain of the Glamorgan team that won the County Championship in 1969. Shepherd toured Sri Lanka and the Far East with the MCC in the winter of 1969-70. After his retirement in 1973 Shepherd's status as a hero in his native Wales was underlined by his work as a commentator on BBC Wales, where his mellow tone confirmed the general perception that Shepherd was one of sport's true gentlemen.
The veteran entertainer Sir Bruce Forsyth - who died on Friday aged eighty nine - had a career spanning nearly eight decades, in which he went from a struggling variety performer to Saturday night TV immortality. On the way, he became one of the most recognisable entertainers in the business, driven by what appeared to be an inexhaustible energy. He ultimately became synonymous with the plethora of game shows that seemed to dominate television light entertainment in the 1960s, 70s and 80s, although he often said that he felt he had become typecast as a genial quizmaster. Then, at an age when most performers would have put their feet up, his career enjoyed a huge late revival with the BBC's Strictly Come Dancing.
As a compere, game show host, singer, dancer and fleet-footed comedian, Brucie was in a class of his own, providing an authentic link between the old days of variety music hall, where he started as a youthful sensation just before the outbreak of the second world war and the new craze for audience participation and reality television. He had appeared in variety with the great Max Miller, admiring the way that Miller put his foot on the footlights to lean over and reach out to the audience, but his real idol (and, subsequently, good friend) was Sammy Davis Junior and Bruce aspired to the same distinction as an all-rounder on the variety stage. His flashing, sometimes tetchy-seeming, personality and distinctive 'edge' paradoxically endeared him to audiences – he wasn't lovable, or 'cuddly' like his friend Ronnie Corbett, for example; he used the game-show participants or the celebrity dancers on Strictly to feed his own performance and impeccably timed double-takes (expressions of mock disbelief or patronising, po-faced quasi-pity), to the camera, rather in the style of another friend, Eric Morecambe.
Bruce sometimes expressed his regret at being rather sidetracked by game shows and his film career never really took off. His resilience as a personality on television, however, was truly remarkable. He bounced back from the disappointment of being moved to the afternoon schedules by television executives at ITV; there was a huge bust-up in 2000 when he left Play Your Cards Right and denounced David Liddiment, the new channel controller, as someone who had stripped him of his dignity. But having launched a comeback as an unlikely guest host on the BBC's satirical flagship Have I Got News For You in 2003, he regained his place in the national affection with Strictly and in 2011 he was knighted following a noisy public campaign. He displayed a true vaudevillian's talent for catchphrases; as Tommy Trinder (whom he succeeded on Sunday Night At The London Palladium) had 'You lucky people,' so Bruce patented first 'I'm in charge' followed by 'Nice to see you ... to see you, nice!' and 'Didn't he do well?' on The Generation Game. In a 2011 interview with Mick Brown in the Daily Torygraph, he explained his longevity and extraordinary energy, as a result of his experience in variety: 'This other person turns up and thank goodness I've never known him to be late. He just gets into me and I go and perform and that's what I do.' In 2013, at the age of eighty five, he became the oldest performer ever to appear at the Glastonbury festival, in the same year that The Rolling Stones also made a belated debut there.
Bruce Joseph Forsyth-Johnson was born in the North London suburb of Edmonton in February 1928. His father owned a chain of local garages and both Bruce's parents were Salvation Army members who sang and played music at home. The young Bruce was a direct descendant of William Forsyth, a founder of the Royal Horticultural Society, whose name was given to the plant forsythia. Bruce's interest in showbusiness was kindled at the age of eight and he was, reportedly, found tap-dancing on the flat roof of the family home after watching his first Fred Astaire film. 'As soon as I got home from school,' he recalled, 'I'd take up the carpet, because there was lino underneath and start tapping away.' On the outbreak of war, he was evacuated to Clacton-on-Sea in Essex, but insisted on coming home after just three days, continuing his dance lessons with Tilly Vernon and even running his own classes in one of his father's garages. He made his stage debut at the age of fourteen as 'Boy Bruce, The Mighty Atom,' appearing bottom of the bill at the Theatre Royal, Bilston. He made his TV debut the following year as an eleven year old in a BBC programme called Come & Be Televised, just three years after regular BBC TV broadcasts began. He performed a song and a tap dance routine and was interviewed by the programme's host, Jasmine Bligh, who asked what his ambition was. He replied: 'I want to become a star and buy my mum a fur coat.' Bruce turned professional three years later and his first advert in trade paper The Stage read: 'Bruce Forsyth: available for anything.'
Live entertainment was a way of escaping the pressures and dangers of wartime Britain and there was a huge demand for acts, no matter how mediocre they might be. But there was to be no fast track to success. There followed a long, hard slog of around sixteen years of variety halls and summer shows across the country, interrupted by two years national service with the RAF in Warrington and Carlisle after the war (in which Bruce's older brother, John, was killed on an RAF training exercise in Scotland in 1943; his body was never found). Bruce, as he later noted, performed in church halls and theatres, sometimes sleeping in train luggage racks and waiting for the big break.
That came in 1958, at a time when he had been unemployed for more than three months and was seriously considering giving up the business and getting a proper job. 'I gave myself five years and I thought, if I don't do any good in five years, I don't want to end up being a frustrated performer [so] I'll get out of the business,' he said. 'The five years were nearly up and I got the job at the Palladium.' Bruce was asked to take over from Tommy Trinder as the presenter of Sunday Night At The London Palladium, a televised variety show, made by Lew Grade's ATV company for the ITV network. It was the Strictly Come Dancing of its day and was, at the time, probably the most watched programme on British TV. Bruce had finally found the fame he had always craved, appearing not in front of a couple of hundred people in a theatre, but the more than ten million who regularly tuned-in to the show. 'The pubs would empty when it came on,' he told an interviewer. 'We would get calls saying: "Can't you start it later?"' Originally booked for two weeks, he stayed five years, by which time he was Britain's highest-paid entertainer, earning a thousand smackers a week.
Bruce, who led a busy - and, sometimes complicated - private life, with a penchant for showgirls, singers and beauty queens, had made his Windmill Theatre debut in 1953, performing impressions of Tommy Cooper; he also married one of the Windmill dancers, Penny Calvert and they formed a song-and-dance double act. He later divorced Calvert and she wrote an account of her husband's perpetual absence, called Darling, Your Dinner's In The Dustbin. A popular element in the Palladium show was a feature called Beat The Clock, in which contestants, egged on by Bruce, had to complete quirky tasks as a huge clock ticked down. The segment gave a hint of his future television role and he went on to host some of the most popular television game shows of the next two decades.
Brucie released a string of singles in the 1960s and 1970s, although none of them made the charts. Some were novelty songs related to his TV career - like 1959's 'I'm In Charge', named after his Sunday Night At The London Palladium catchphrase. Others were jolly pop songs and in 1968 he sang the odd patriotic ditty 'I'm Backing Britain', the anthem of a - not even remotely successful - government-backed campaign to boost the economy by urging workers to work an extra half-an-hour a day for free. Bruce also appeared on Top Of The Pops in 1975 performing Barry Manilow's song 'Sandra'. That was also a flop. Bruce's jazz piano playing, influenced by George Shearing and Bill Evans, was better than competent and his high level of versatility was fully apparent in 1964 when he made a cabaret debut at the new Talk Of The Town (his impressions included Nat King Cole, Frank Sinatra, Anthony Newley and Frank Ifield, as well as Sammy Davis) and starred in Little Me, his one West End musical, at The Cambridge. Little Me, with a book by Neil Simon, songs by Cy Coleman and Carolyn Leigh and choreography by Bob Fosse, involved Bruce in seven roles and twenty nine costume changes as he played the various lovers of an old movie star, Belle Poitrine ('Real Live Girl' is probably the show's best known song). Little Me had starred the great Sid Caesar on Broadway but Bruce made the various roles his own – they ranged from a virginal doughboy and goose-stepping movie director to a scaly old miser and billionaire newspaper baron. He scored a critical success, although the show ran for only ten months.
A film debut followed in Robert Wise's Star! (1968) with Julie Andrews as Gertrude Lawrence - Bruce played her father and did a music hall turn with Beryl Reid as her mother - and Daniel Massey as Noël Coward. He then stalled badly in Tony Newley's self-indulgent autobiographical fantasy Can Heironymus Merkin Ever Forget Mercy Humppe & Find True Happiness? (1969) with Joan Collins and Milton Berle. He later said that he wished he had done more acting. 'I'd like to have done more of that, but in Britain we tend to pigeonhole people. In Britain I'm really known as the game show [host]. That's the pigeonhole they've put me in, and that's where I'm stuck.' He missed out on a role which could have really launched his film career, Fagin in the 1968 version of Oliver! But, he was excellent as a vivid spiv in the cult Disney film Bedknobs & Broomsticks (1971).
By the time the latter movie came out, however, he was already established on The Generation Game, an early evening 'hook' for the BBC's now-legendary 1970s Saturday stay-at-home night of The Basil Brush Show, Doctor Who, The Morecambe & Wise, The Duchess Of Duke Street, Match Of The Day and Parkinson. Life was the name of the game, as Bruce sang in the game show's title song, before telling the audience that he wanted to play the game with them. 'Let's meet the eight who are going to generate,' said Brucie, after encouraging his blonde assistant, Anthea Redfern, to 'give us a twirl.' (Redfern became the second Mrs Forsyth in 1973 though they divorced six years later; Bruce had met her at a 'Miss Lovely Legs' competition in a London nightclub.) The contestants (an older and a younger member in each of the four family duos) played for prizes - often rather cheap and ridiculous ones - they had to memorise as they passed by on a conveyor belt laden with kitchen appliances, fondue sets and cuddly toys. At its peak, the programme attracted twenty million viewers, who tuned-in to watch Forsyth seemingly having as much fun as the competitors. The presenter argued with his BBC managers about the show's early evening timeslot but, he eventually accepted his role as the 'warm-up man' for the classic BBC Saturday line-up. It was on The Generation Game that Bruce introduced his famous 'thinker' pose, appearing in silhouette at the beginning of each show. The idea came from the classic circus strongman pose, something he had perfected during his days in variety. Bruce presented the show from its first episode in 1971 until 1977 (except for one episode when he had 'fluand Roy Castle filled in for him). During this decade, Bruce also made a lucrative sideline in adverts for Stork margarine and toured extensively with his one-man show and realised a lifelong ambition in taking it to Broadway in 1979. The New York Times raved but other reviews were mixed and Bruce never really recovered from being branded 'a Broadway flop' with 'jokes older than Beowulf.' Bruce left the BBC in 1978 - rather acrimoniously - one a series of high-profile (and high-salaried) poaches by LWT's Michael Grade which also included Morecambe & Wise and Match Of The Day in an effort to break the BBC's monopoly on the nation's Saturday evening viewing habits. At ITV, he presented Bruce Forsyth's Big Night, which was also transmitted on Saturday evening. However, the show - to some considerable tabloid glee - was not a success and lasted for just one series whilst his replacement on The Generation Game, Larry Grayson, proved to be even more successful that Brucie had been.
Bruce remained with ITV however, and, after a couple of years of projects with various degrees of success - including a popular one-off special with Sammy Davis Junior in 1980 - he hit pay-dirt again with more game shows, Play Your Cards Right, where the audience joined in the cries of 'higher' or 'lower' as the contestants tried to guess the value of a series of playing cards and, later, The Price Is Right. Michael Grade said of Bruce: 'He knows how to get laughs out of people but it's never cruel and he leaves their dignity intact.' Sir Bruce left game shows behind for a while to star in a Thames sitcom, 1986's Slinger's Day - a sequel to Tripper's Day, which ended when its star Leonard Rossiter died in 1984. Bruce played an officious, overbearing supermarket manager, Cecil Slinger. In the early 90s, he even returned to the BBC and The Generation Game. In 1995, a year after his final Generation Game appearance, he received a lifetime achievement award for variety at the British Comedy Awards.
The entertainer was, by this time, a Rolls-Royce-driving, vocally Maggie Thatcher-supporting multimillionaire and married, since 1983, to his third wife, Wilnelia Merced a former Miss World. He later claimed that he regretted becoming so associated with game shows and wished he had done more variety work on TV. Play Your Cards Right was cancelled in 1999 and, with changing tastes in entertainment, his TV career began to slide.
He returned to the theatre - but experienced an unexpected revival after his wife watched an edition of the satirical quiz, Have I Got News For You and suggested he could present the programme. After calling the show regular, Paul Merton, he landed the gig and offered to be 'a little bit deadpan. But the team said, "No, be Bruce Forsyth!"' he would recall. He used the occasion to self-deprecatingly parody some of his old game shows and was a revelation to a younger audience.
The appearance led to Bruce, an accomplished tap dancer since his teens, being offered the job of hosting Strictly Come Dancing, which began a year later. Widely viewed with some scepticism when it launched, the celebrity dance show went on to become one of the most-watched programmes on TV by the time it reached its fifth series in 2007 and provided something of a glorious Indian Summer to Bruce's career. He brought his own brand of avuncular good humour to the proceedings - reassuring many of the contestants with the phrase 'you're my favourites.' 'His particular character and personality went a long way to making the show what it is,' said former contestant that bloody awful Widdecombe woman. But, the presenter once revealed that Strictly 'was never the show that I thought it would be. I thought it'd be a comedy show - me getting among the contestants and showing them how to dance and them all falling over,' he told ITV's This Morning. 'It was a different show.' In 2010 he appeared on the BBC's Who Do You Think You Are? programme, and was grimly affected – though he never shed a tear; he didn't 'do' crying, he said – to discover that his great-grandfather, a landscape gardener, had deserted two families and died in poverty.
Sir Bruce remained a national institution, partly thanks to Strictly. He was invited to carry the Olympic torch during its tour of the UK in 2012. The then-eighty four-year-old danced a few steps with the flame and jogged a short distance before handing it over to the next runner.
After missing a handful of episodes because of illness, he decided to 'step down from the rigours' of regularly presenting Strictly in 2014. 'I'm not retiring,' he insisted. 'That's the last thing in the world I want to do. This isn't Brucie walking into the sunset.' He continued to host the Christmas and charity editions of Strictly - all of which were taped, as opposed to live broadcasts. Away from entertainment, Bruce's biggest passion was golf and he took part in many pro-celebrity tournaments. Though this, in and of itself, provided plenty of ammunition for younger comedians in the 1980s who saw 'Bruce and Tabby having a round' as symptomatic with the rather safe nature of TV light entertainment at the time. Note entirely undeservedly, either.
His house was next to the course at Wentworth in Surrey, where he played with many of the world's best players, practising in the bunker in his own back garden. During his career, Bruce's multiple talents and years of application sparked an enduring appeal. In 2011 he was knighted after years of campaigning by his fans and a parliamentary Early Day Motion signed by seventy three MPs. But, he suffered from ill-health towards the end of his life. Sir Bruce was, by that stage, too frail to attend the funerals of close friends Ronnie Corbett and Sir Terry Wogan last year. In 2015, the presenter underwent keyhole surgery after suffering two aneurysms, which were discovered following a fall at his home and, the following year, his wife revealed that he still had 'a bit of a problem moving.' Sir Bruce was, ultimately, one of the last entertainers from the tradition of music hall to be working on British television. In many ways his act barely changed across the decades. The same corny gags, the same toothy smile and, above all, the same manic enthusiasm which, almost in-spite of themselves, audiences couldn't help but warm to. 'On stage I think I'm thirty five,' he once said. 'Working takes over my whole body and I become a younger man - that's why I won't stop.' He will be particularly remembered for his ability to transform run-of-the-mill party games into glorious moments of TV mayhem that enthralled contestants and audiences alike. He is survived by Wilnelia, and their son, Jonathan Joseph; by three daughters - Debbie, Julie and Laura - from his first marriage, two daughters - Charlotte and Louisa - from his second marriage to Redfern and by eight grandchildren.