Sunday, September 10, 2017

Facing The Strange

Rolling Stain's article, Why Twin Peaks: The Return Was the Most Groundbreaking TV Series Ever - wordily subtitled David Lynch and Mark Frost's twenty five-years-later murder mystery was not only a masterpiece, it may have permanently changed the medium - is well-worth a gander, dear blog reader. Check it out, here. This blogger particularly recommends the following - lengthy - bit: 'The film is about aging [sic] and the vast gulfs of space and time we don't realise we've travelled until circumstances force us to confront them. That description fits The Return like a magic ring. Both in the story and behind the scenes, the people of Twin Peaks have grown old; the men in particular, from Bobby Briggs to Deputy Hawk to Big Ed Hurley, have greyed and weathered like stone. And the litany of cast members who died between then and now is long and heartbreaking: Miguel Ferrer, Catherine E Coulson, Warren Frost, Michael Parks, Frances Bay, Don S Davis, Jack Nance, Frank Silva and, of course, David Bowie. (The Thin White Duke would probably be delighted to discover his character Philip Jeffries spending eternity as a gigantic steampunk teapot.) And as much as the Black Lodge itself, aging [sic] is the source of so much of Twin Peaks' power and pain. It's not just the twenty five-year gap that both the audience and Agent Cooper endured. Shelly Briggs watches her daughter Becky fall prey to an abusive husband just as she did as a teenager - while she herself has unwittingly fallen back into a pattern of attraction to "bad boys" with her own new boyfriend, a mysterious and malevolent drug dealer. The Log Lady is dying of cancer, just like Sheriff Harry S Truman, stranded off-screen as the saga moves on without him. Audrey Horne is trapped, frightened and alone, in a limbo we may never learn the truth about; she was likely raped by the doppelgänger of the man she saw as a hero. Coop himself is doomed to repeat his pattern of almost but not quite saving the day, supremely confident until the very moment he realises he's blown it again. Even as an older, living woman, Laura Palmer is forever linked to the house of horrors where she grew up. And her mother Sarah ... well, God only knows what's been eating away at her (or through her) all those years. Even America itself is still paying for the sins unleashed by the bomb, itself just the most symbolically resonant manifestation of the country's power to destroy. Sure, Big Ed Hurley may have gotten his happy ending with Norma Jennings, but his forlorn face several episodes earlier as he contemplates the wreck of his life could well be the face of the whole season.' And, this bit: 'Twin Peaks: The Return was a dazzling work of filmmaking. But unlike its jittering cameras, flashing lights, billowing smoke and ambient whooshing and whirring, its emotional foundations were rock solid. We may marvel at the cosmos Lynch and Frost created - a universe of vast purple oceans, towering metal fortresses, billowing red curtains and infinite fields of stars. We may spend another twenty five years attempting to puzzle out Audrey's location, the glass box's bankroller, the true identity of "Judy" and what, exactly, became of the girl with the bug in her mouth. But there's nothing ethereal or mysterious about abuse, trauma and the irresistible death-march of time. That part of Twin Peaks, the part that counts most, is as clear as your reflection in the mirror.' Yeah. That's pretty much covered it, this blogger would have said. A work of outstanding genius and, by a distance, the best TV show of the year, if not the decade, so far. If not the century so far. It'll take something truly remarkable to better it, too.
The ending of Twin Peaks: The Return was never going to be straightforward and easy to understand and anyone who thought for a single second it was going to be is, without question, the world's stupidest glake and deserves nothing but withering contempt and, possibly, a good hard slap in the mush with a wet kipper. But, the finale left even its star Kyle MacLachlan somewhat baffled, saying he was 'reeling about what it all means.' MacLachlan reprised his acclaimed role as FBI agent Dale Cooper - and at least two, possibly more, doppelgängers - in the eighteen-episode series, twenty six years after the cult show had last been seen.
Some - alleged - 'fans' of Twin Peaks have, reportedly, been 'struggling with mixed feelings' about the finale according the BBC News (for which read 'a few dozen malcontents have been whinging on Twitter about it that some lazy moron masquerading as a jorunalist has reported as "news"'), but it was widely praised by critics. And, far more importantly, by this blogger and most of his friends. MacLachlan said that there had been 'no discussions' about whether or not there could now be a further series, but said it was 'incredibly satisfying' to have the finished product out in the world. He told The Hollywood Reporter: 'I'm still processing what I saw. I know I filmed it. I filmed it a long time ago, actually. But I had no idea how it was going to fall into the context of everything. I'm still reeling. Reeling, I think, is the word, about what it all means.' He added: 'Good art asks questions, you know? It doesn't always provide answers.' Director David Lynch hasn't provided any further information on the ending, with the actor saying: 'He's just presenting his creation, and we all have our own take on it.'
Yer actual Peter Capaldi has suggested that viewers 'may see' Clara Oswald in the upcoming Doctor Who Christmas special, which will mark his own final appearance as The Doctor before he regenerates into That There Jodie Whittaker. Appearing at San Francisco Comic Con this week, the actor was asked whether we will ever see his long-time companion Clara (Jenna Coleman) again. After a particularly long silence Peter smiled, enigmatically, in that Scottish way of his. 'I think you may' he, eventually, answered. So, that'll be a 'yes', then? 'I'll see her again, you may see her again too, but I won't tell. I won't spoil things. She's still there. Everyone in Doctor Who is still there,' Peter added.
Meanwhile astonishing telly-related revelation of the week: Did you know, dear blog reader, that both yer actual Peter Capaldi and Tony Head his very self auditioned for the role of Benjamin Sisko in Star Trek Deep Space Nine in 1992? Well, you do now. Full details here.
Game Of Thrones has come under the scrutiny of scholars at an international academic conference. Experts from countries including Australia, Denmark and New Zealand have been speaking at the event, held at the University of Hertfordshire. Topics including the show's huge fanbase and copyright issues were discussed at the symposium on Wednesday and Thursday. The appearance of any dragons at the event cannot, at this time, be confirmed. Organiser Kim Akass claimed that the event would mark the show's 'place in TV history.' The senior TV and film lecturer said her university had spent two years planning the conference and decided to stage it as the cult drama was a Twenty First Century TV phenomenon. We used to study Shakespeare when this blogger was at school. Just sayin'. 'We decided that now - before it gets to the final season - it would be a good time to investigate why it's such a huge phenomenon and what we can learn from it.' The fantasy epic is based on George RR Martin's best-selling books. A society dedicated to the writer has also been launched during the event at the university's Hatfield campus. One speaker travelled from France to present a paper at the conference, based on research for her PhD thesis on how the show manages to appeal to fans across the globe. 'It is one of the biggest hits of the Twenty First Century and a phenomenon that everyone knows,' said Julie Escurignan. 'It is a show that is so complex and so people get attached to it and exchange a lot about it because there is so much mystery.' The TV series, first broadcast in 2011, had its seventh season aired simultaneously this summer in the US on HBO and in the UK on Sky Atlantic. At the conference, about thirty five delegates heard insights into the show's cult success, the death of key characters and its adaptation for adult colouring books. Following a string of computer-hackings and shows being leaked ahead of broadcast, issues surrounding copyright were also being discussed. It is not the first time the university has staged a conference on a cultural phenomenon - in 2015, it hosted a three-day event on werewolves.
'Someone tried to kill me. They're gonna try again and, when they do, I'm gonna burn this town to the ground.' The first series hasn't even been broadcast in full yet, but Sky Atlantic already has a good feeling about its latest drama. The channel renewed the revenge thriller Tin Star for a second series, days before the first premiered this week. The series - the first episode of which was broadcast on Thursday and which this blogger thought was really very good indeed - stars Tim Roth as British police officer-turned-small-town-Canadian-sheriff Jim Worth, who tries to escape his past and protect his family. The series also has a great cast joining Roth, with Mad Men's Christina Hendricks, The Casual Vacancy's Abigail Lawrie, True Blood's Christopher Heyerdahl, Kevin Hanchard and Genevieve O'Reilly all taking part. 'When Tin Star launches this week, Sky Atlantic viewers will not only experience a hugely powerful tale of revenge with captivating, uncompromising characters, but will be left in no doubt as to why a second series was an absolute must,' said Anne Mensah, the head of drama at Sky.
Thing we learned from TV this week. Number one: According to Victoria Coren Mitchell on Only Connect the first nine-tenths of the 'Theme From Magpie' were an accurate restating of the famous nursery rhyme. However, despite what it said in the song (and, what it says on Wikipedia for that matter), 'ten' is, apparently, 'for a marriage never to be old' rather than 'a bird you must not miss.' This blogger has his doubts about that, personally. Though, if Victoria Coren Mitchell says something, it carries such instant authority that you kind of want it to be true even if it isn't!
Cold Feet made something of a triumphant return to ITV on Friday. And, this blogger is forced to concede it was actually rather good. This blogger has always had something of a off-on relationship with Cold Feet; he's always admired the quality of the acting from the regulars (well, since Silly Little Helen Baxendale got the well-deserved boot) but has, occasionally, felt a bit 'meh' about the writing and the characterisation. But, this week's episode, at least, was a cracker.
Unlike Z-List Celebrity MasterChef which, perhaps, reached its desperate nadir this week with a bunch of contestants whom this blogger - whose job it is to watch TV till his eyes go pop - had, literally, never heard of. When 'the Reverend Kate Bottley from Gogglebox,' is one of your star attractions, you know the word 'celebrity' is being, tragically, misused.
To the disappointment of almost exactly no one, the Doctor Who spin-off Class has been officially cancelled by the BBC. Because it was crap and no one was watching it, basically. That's usually the reason why shows which get cancelled are cancelled. The news was confirmed by BBC Three controller Damian Kavanagh speaking at a Broadcasting Press Guild. 'No, [we're not bringing it back]. There was nothing wrong with it – I thought Patrick did a great job, he explored an amazing world. In honesty, it just didn't really land for us on BBC Three. Things sometimes don't and I've got to make decisions about what we're going to do from a drama point-of-view. There are always times when you do something and you have to decide that it's not going to come back. Class is just one of those things.' Class was created to appeal to the 'young adult market' and, initially, released in the UK on BBC3, now an online only platform. It was hoped that 'high-quality original content' would drive young viewers to the online station. However, the decision meant that Class was initially only seen by a fraction of the audience it would have received on a broadcast channel. Class did not make the BBC iPlayer Top Twenty in its first seven weeks and failed to secure over one million viewers at any point. The series was later repeated on BBC1, but as a late-night double bill, where it struggled to find any sort of an audience, getting viewing figures around a third of the timeslot average. As the Digital Spy website noted: 'No-one - not even the BBC - seemed entirely sure who the show was for. A teen-oriented drama with adult themes, spun-off from a series intended (primarily) for children, the tone of Class was every bit as confused as that muddled origin would suggest. Like a hormonal teenager, the eight-part series was all over the place, with quite literal mood-swings ... Perhaps the biggest problem with Class, though, the one truly denying it success, was that it sorely lacked a big selling point. Clearly, spinning itself off from Doctor Who was not enough to guarantee success - and, even when the flagship was at its popular peak ten years ago, its spin-offs didn't just ride its coattails. Both Torchwood and The Sarah Jane Adventures justified their own existence. Class never quite did. With an uncertain and flawed first series failing to immediately prove that the show could stand on its two feet, Class ended up looking like the spin-off no-one asked for. And ultimately, it was the spin-off no-one wanted.' In June, writer and creator Patrick Ness announced that he would not be involved in any future commission of Class and now the BBC has finally confirmed that the Corporation would not be making any more episodes.
Here are the final and consolidated ratings for the Top Twenty Three programmes broadcast in the week-ending Sunday 3 September 2017:-
1 The Great British Bake-Off - Tues Channel Four - 8.72m
2 Coronation Street - Wed ITV - 7.31m
3 The X-Factor - Sun ITV - 7.28m
4 Strike: The Cuckoo's Calling - Sun BBC1 - 7.25m
5 Trust Me - Tues BBC1 - 6.33m
6 EastEnders - Tues BBC1 - 6.31m
7 Emmerdale - Tues ITV - 6.17m
8 Victoria - Sun ITV - 6.09m
9 Countryfile - Sun BBC1 - 5.23m
10 Celebrity MasterChef - Wed BBC1 - 4.97m
11 Six O'Clock News - Mon BBC1 - 4.89m
12 Ten O'Clock News - Mon BBC1 - 4.71m
13 BBC News - Sun BBC1 - 4.67m
14 Ambulance - Thurs BBC1 - 4.66m
15 Casualty - Sat BBC1 - 4.56m
16 Fake Or Fortune? - Sun BBC1 - 4.54m
17 World Cup 2018 Qualifier: England Versus Slovakia - Fri ITV - 4.19m
18 Long Lost Family - Wed ITV - 3.71m
19 Holby City - Tues BBC1 - 3.66m
20 Diana: The Day Britain Cried - Tues ITV - 3.53m
21 The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo - Mon BBC1 - 3.51m
22 Who Do You Think You Are? - Thurs BBC1 - 3.40m
23 The ONE Show - Fri BBC1 - 3.35m
24 Cannonball - Sat ITV - 3.22m
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? ITV's The X-Factor returned with an audience of 7.24 million viewers for its opening, Saturday, episode. Although the Gruniad Morning Star claimed that its overnight audience of six million was the lowest since 2004, the final and consolidated audience for the episode is, in fact, slightly higher that last year's opening episode. Still, what do you expect from the Gruniad, dear blog reader, accuracy? On BBC2, Dragons' Den had a total audience of 2.78 million punters. University Challenge (2.29 million), Mountain: Life At The Extreme (2.11 million) and World's Busiest Cities (2.04 million) followed. Gardeners' World was watched by 1.88 million, Nadiya's British Food Adventure by 1.82 million, Saving Lives At Sea by 1.73 million, Only Connect, by 1.65 million, the latest episode of Top Of The Lake: China Girl by 1.58 million, The Big Family Cooking Showdown by 1.56 million, Whitney: Can I Be Me? by 1.55 million and Mastermind by 1.48 million. Celebrity Antiques Road Trip had 1.36 million, Astronauts: Do You Have What It Takes?, 1.29 million and the latest Qi repeat, 1.15 million. Channel Four's highest-rated broadcast was, of course, for The Great British Bake Off - down on last year's BBC1 opener of 13.58 million but, nevertheless, a huge figure for C4 and the largest audience for any programme on the channel since the London Paralympics Opening Ceremony in 2012. Z-List Celebrity Island With Bear Grylls (2.34 million) and Educating Greater Manchester (2.25 million) followed. F1: Italian Grand Prix Highlights had 2.24 million, Nine-Nine-Nine: What's Your Emergency?, 1.95 million, Lego Masters, 1.88 million, Twenty Four Hours In A&E, 1.81 million and The Great British Bake-Off: An Extra Slice, 1.74 million. From Russia To Iran: Crossing The Wild Frontier drew 1.71 million, Location, Location, Location, 1.52 million and The Secret Life Of The Holiday Resort, 1.51 million. Naked Attraction attracted 1.23 million and Eight Out Of Ten Cats Does Countdown, 1.16 million. With sick Victorian freak-show Z-List Celebrity Big Brother having, thankfully, ended, Channel Five's top performer was Cruising With Jane McDonald, with an audience of 1.94 million. Can't Pay? We'll Take It Away, Inside Balmoral and the movie Fifty Shades of Grey rounded-off Five's most-watching list with audiences of 1.86 million, 1.52 million and 1.49 million. Z-List Celebrity Five Go Motorhoming was watched by 1.43 million. With The Premier League not on this week thanks to the international break, Sky Sports Premier League's top-ten was dominated by excitement over the the transfer deadline. Deadline Day Transfer Centre coverage from 10pm attracted one hundred and eighty four two thousand (plus one hundred and forty eight thousand on Sky Sports Main Event and a whopping four hundred and eighteen thousand on Sky Sports HQ). The Sky Sports Football Channel was concentrating on World Cup Qualifiers this week with Wales's match with Austria drawing two hundred and sixty thousand and France versus The Netherlands being seen by two hundred and four thousand. Live EFL: Portsmouth Versus Rotherham attracted one hundred and eighty four thousand punters. On Sky Sports Cricket the channel's highest audience of the week was, for the second week running, for a domestic game - two hundred and two thousand watching the Live T20 Blast final between The Nottinghamshire Outlaws and The Birmingham Bears. Coverage of Live Test Cricket: England Versus West Indies and the - properly exciting - second test at Headingley had one hundred and seventy seven thousand, plus a further two hundred and forty five thousand on Sky Sports Main Event. Live Italian GP: Race was seen by six hundred and forty five thousand punters on Sky Sports F1 and a further three hundred and fifty five thousand on the Main Event channel. Sky 1's weekly top-ten was headed by Zoo (five hundred and thirty six thousand), the second episode of the much-trailed The Last Ship drew four hundred and forty eight thousand viewers. Charity kick about Game4Grenfell was seen by three hundred and twenty one thousand and The Simpsons by two hundred and ninety four thousand. A 'best of' episode - a contradiction in terms if ever there was one - of that wretched festering pool of rancid spew, A League Of Their Own was watched by seventy eight viewers on Sky Sports Mix; every single one of whom, frankly, needs their bloody heads examined for any vague sign of common sense or self-respect. Sky Atlantic's list was topped by the Monday night repeat of the final episode of Game Of Thrones' seventh series with 1.27 million viewers, the largest multichannels audience of the week. Thronecast was watched by eight hundred and thirty five thousand. The latest episode of Ray Donovan had two hundred and seven thousand whilst, Ballers drew one hundred and fifty six thousand and the Twin Peaks: The Return finale, one hundred and thirty eight thousand. On Sky Living, Chicago Fire was watched by four hundred and sixty one thousand whilst Nashville had three hundred and five thousand. My Kitchen Rules Australia attracted two hundred and four thousand and How To Get Away With Murder was seen by one hundred and ninety two thousand. Sky Arts' Andre Rieu: Making The Magic was viewed by seventy thousand viewers. Too Young To Die had sixty six thousand. Midsomer Murders was ITV3's top-rated drama (eight hundred and fifty thousand viewers). Lewis was seen by eight hundred and twenty five thousand, Doc Martin by five hundred and thirty three thousand, the movie The Secret Garden by five hundred and eight thousand and Foyle's War by four hundred and forty one thousand. Coverage of the World Cup Qualifiers between Spain and Italy on Saturday and Hungary versus Portugal on Sunday coverage headed ITV4's weekly list with six hundred and fifty nine thousand and six hundred and forty five thousand punters respectively. Cycling: La Vuelta A Espana Highlights drew five hundred and sixty five thousand. The film Charlie & The Chocolate Factory was watched by seven hundred and seventy three thousand on ITV2. Vera headed ITV Encore's top ten with seventy eight thousand viewers, followed by The Americans (seventy five thousand) and Whitechapel (sixty one thousand). Worthless, shallow smear of appalling shite There's Something About Megan was watched by two hundred and seventy eight thousand of the sort of specimens who enjoy such risible exercises in z-list-celebrity-by-non-entity on ITVBe. BBC4's list was headed by the latest episode of the popular Italian import Inspector Montalbano (nine hundred and thirty one thousand punters). Britain's Outlaws: Highwaymen, Pirates & Rogues had five hundred and eighty thousand and Andrew Marr's The Making Of Modern Britain, five hundred and twenty two thousand. First Night Of The Proms drew four hundred and ninety four thousand and The Normans, four hundred and eighty two thousand. This blogger knew a bloke called Norman, once. True story. The fascinating documentary Frank Lloyd Wright: The Man Who Built America was seen by four hundred and fifty eight thousand. Scotland's War At Sea drew four hundred and fifty five thousand, Fossil Wonderlands: Nature's Hidden Treasures attracted three hundred and forty one thousand. 5USA's latest Chicago PD episode was viewed by six hundred and fifty one thousand punters, Castle by four hundred and seventy thousand, NCIS: Los Angeles by four hundred and fifty four thousand and Bull by three hundred and ninety thousand. NCIS topped the most-watched programme list of CBS Action (one hundred and nineteen thousand). Bad Girls attracted one hundred and twenty thousand on CBS Drama. No data appears to have been submitted to BARB for the FOX Channel this week. Which, one imagines, will likely cause billionaire tyrant Rupert Murdoch to get his strap out the cupboard and take someone to the woodshed. Ransom was seen by three hundred and seventeen thousand viewers on The Universal Channel, followed by the movie Romeo Must Die (one hundred and thirty four thousand) and Law & Order: Special Victims Unit (one hundred and seven thousand). On Dave, Live At The Apollo was watched by three hundred and thirty seven thousand, Not Going Out by three hundred thousand, Kelly's Heroes by two hundred and eighty one thousand, Qi XL, by two hundred and fifty eight thousand and Would I Lie To You?, by two hundred and twenty eight thousand. The Top Gear: East Coast Road Trip episode had two hundred and twenty seven thousand. Drama's Inspector George Gently was seen by five hundred and fifty four thousand viewers and New Tricks by three hundred and forty thousand. Murdoch Mysteries was watched by three hundred and thirty nine thousand and Shetland, by three hundred and twenty seven thousand. Jonathan Creek drew two hundred and eighty two thousand. Alibi's highest-rated programme of the week was Rosewood (two hundred and thirty six thousand) whilst The Coroner had one hundred and fifty eight thousand and Death In Paradise, one hundred and thirty nine thousand. Sony TV's top ten was headed by My Best Friend's Wedding (thirty three thousand). Yesterday's Impossible Engineering had two hundred and twelve thousand, whilst Jim Clark: The Quiet Champion attracted one hundred and seventy three thousand. Churchill & The Fascist Plot had one hundred and forty eight thousand. On the Discovery Channel, Deadliest Catch was seen by one hundred and sixty five thousand viewers. The bloody annoying woman on Gold Divers had one hundred and forty one thousand, Yukon Men, one hundred thousand, Modern Dinosaurs, eighty seven thousand and Treehouse Masters seventy sixty thousand. From The North fave Wheeler Dealers appeared in the weekly top tens of both Discovery Shed (forty six thousand) and Discovery Turbo (twenty nine thousand). Discovery History's Biblical Mysteries Explained headed the top ten with twenty six thousand. Diana: Tragedy Or Treason attracted twenty three thousand whilst Deadliest Tech had twenty two thousand and Seven Ages Of Britain, twenty thousand. On Discovery Science, Food Factory was seen by fifty two thousand viewers. On Quest, Salvage Hunters was watched by three hundred and forty seven thousand. Pick's Air Ambulance ER had an audience of two hundred and seventy nine thousand. National Geographic's list was headed by Air Crash Investigations and Nazi Megastructures, both watched by fifty thousand. National Geographic Wild's Turf Wars: Lions & Hippos was viewed by forty nine thousand. The History Channel's most-seen programmes were An American Ripper In London (two hundred and thirty thousand) and Forged In Fire (one hundred and nineteen thousand). Britain's Bloody Crown on the Military History channel was seen by twenty eight thousand punters and DB Cooper: Case Closed by twenty seven thousand. UFO Hunters had twenty two thousand viewers although what the Hell such a programmes was doing on a channel called Military History is a question for, perhaps, another day. Live PD: Police Patrol, Britain's Darkest Taboos and The First Forty Eight were Crime & Investigation's top-rated programmes with sixty nine thousand, forty two thousand and thirty nine thousand blood-and-snots-lovers, respectively. Faking It: The Tears Of A Crime, American Monster, Coroner: I Speak For The Dead and Murder On CCTV headed Investigation Discovery's list (one hundred and ninety nine thousand, one hundred and six thousand, seventy one thousand and forty nine 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. GOLD's the documentary The Story Of Only Fools & Horses had five hundred and forty eight thousand. Comedy Central's largest audience of the week was for Impractical Jokers with three hundred and four thousand. Your TV's repeat of Bones series four continued with eighty one thousand viewers. On More4, Outlander was the highest-rated programme with five hundred and sixty two thousand. All Gardens Great & Small had three hundred and fifty three thousand, the movie Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, three hundred and five thousand and A Year On The Farm, two hundred and ninety five thousand. E4's list was topped by Hollyoakes (nine hundred and forty three thousand). The latest episode of Midnight Texas, headed Syfy's top-ten with three hundred and thirty nine thousand. The Horror Channel's weekly list was topped by four episodes of Star Trek: Voyager (one hundred and ninety three thousand), the channel seemingly still having run out of actual horror movies to show. Final Girl had one hundred and thirty five thousand, When Worlds Collide, one hundred and fourteen thousand, Drag Me To Hell, one hundred and thirteen thousand and an episode of The Invaders, ninety eight thousand. Scotland Yard, A Family At War and Glimpses: Sam Kydd topped Talking Pictures list, with fifty one thousand, forty six thousand and forty one thousand respectively. On Forces TV, The Phil Silvers Show was seen by twenty nine thousand. Because, no matter how many times you've seen it before, you can't beat a bit of Bilko. The A-Team had two hundred and six thousand on Spike. Rise Of The Continents was viewed by forty four thousand on Eden, whilst Sea Of Creepy Monsters had twenty eight thousand, despite the crappy title. Bondi Vet was the Animal Planet's most-watched programme with thirty two thousand. MasterChef Australia on W attracted two hundred and eighty five thousand punters. True Crime's Psychic Detectives was seen by sixty eight thousand viewers and The Devil You Know by sixty six thousand. On True Entertainment, yet another sodding Diana documentary, Diana: Queen Of Hearts, was watched by one hundred and fifteen thousand. Jeez, I mean, I know the lass was popular with a lot of people and all that - this blogger was even a, minor, fan himself - but, seriously, the number of hours of TV over the last fortnight have could have been spent on entertainment but were, instead, devoted to mawkish, risible tripe like this has been staggering. And numbing. A repeat of an old episode of The Great British Bake Off - when it was on the BBC and used to be, you know, good - drew eighty one thousand on Good Food. Channel Four, to be fair, got a few more for their new series. TLC's list was headed by Outdaughtered: Busby Quints and Baby Changes Everything (with one hundred and sixty two thousand and one hundred and fifty two thousand viewers respectively). Shameful waste-of-oxygen Geordie Shore on MTV was viewed by seven hundred and ten thousand whilst equally worthless Teen Mom UK had three hundred and five thousand. Ghost Adventures was seen by three hundred and one thousand on Really. Which, given that ghosts do not exist, should probably think about changing its name to No-Not-Really. Scooby-Doo: Mystery Incorporated had one hundred and nineteen thousand viewers on Boomerang. Zoinks. Sinking Of An Aircraft Carrier and Twenty First Century Warship topped PBS America's weekly list with twenty nine thousand and twenty seven thousand viewers respectively. On Cbeebies, Bing was seen by four hundred and forty nine thousand, Olobob Top by three hundred and ninety nine thousand and Clangers by three hundred and seventy five thousand. Alvinnnn!!! & The Chipmunks had one hundred and ninety five thousand on the Pop Channel. Five Star's most watched show was Home & Away with four hundred and twenty nine thousand. On AMC, 2012 was watched by twenty eight thousand. Hardcore Pawn drew ninety three thousand punters on Blaze. Botched attracted ninety five thousand viewers on E! The Real Housewives Of Beverley Hills had one hundred and fourteen thousand on Lifetime. Dead Man Running and Live: Notting Hill Carnival, were the most-watched shows on London Live, with fifty three thousand and thirty one thousand.

Former Doctor Who writer Gareth Roberts appears to have got himself into a shitload of very hot water over various Twitter comments he, seemingly, made about the transgender community. When the Hell will people realise that Twitter is just Bad News and really not a very good place to say, well, pretty much anything? Mind you, the sight of Pink News having a right - and not entirely undeserved, let it be noted - pop at one of the most proudly 'out' gay men currently working in the media in the UK was, granted, something not many of us ever thought we'd see. Nor, indeed, was the concept of Pink News sharing a story - and a sense of moral outrage - with the Torygraph. The latter of whom then went and spoiled it by also using this as an opportunity to illustrate the story with a photo of Jodie Whittaker, who has absolutely no connection whatsoever to this matter.
And, speaking of people on The Naughty Step, Kirsty Gallacher - or, 'shamed Kirsty Gallacher' as her News International colleagues at the Sun seemingly took great delight in calling her - returned to presenting Sky Sports News just twenty four hours after she was handed a two-year ban for drink driving. The forty one-year-old 'appeared comfortable, confident and carefree' reading sports news as an alleged - though anonymous and, therefore, probably fictitious - 'TV sources' allegedly confirmed that she had 'received backing from her bosses.' Though, again, this is according to the Sun so caution - and, outright scepticism - is probably the order of the day. Gallacher, admitted to driving a vehicle while well above the legal limit, at Slough Magistrates' Court earlier this week. She was also fined eighty five quid and ordered to carry out one hundred hours of community service. As if keeping her current job and having to sit alongside smug-faced odious gobshite Jim White throughout Transfer Deadline Day isn't punishment enough. The court heard how the mother-of-two had left the Sky Sports studios in West London to meet up with friends at a bar on Friday 11 August and 'partied into the small hours.' She left the bar in a taxi at around 3am, keeping her red BMW X4 parked outside. She returned in a cab to pick up her car, shortly after 10am. Gallacher was arrested in Eton after witnesses alleged saw her 'driving erratically' at around 11am. Officers tracked her BMW using CCTV and 'smelled alcohol' when they approached her. They conducted a roadside breathalyser test and Gallacher was shown to have an alcohol level of one hundred and six microgrammes in one hundred millilitres of breath. The drink-drive limit is thirty five microgrammes per one hundred millilitres. Gallacher had been 'going through tough divorce proceedings' with ex-husband Paul Sampson at the time and was, she claimed, 'horrified' by the situation. Jasvir Kaar Bhatti, probation officer, said: 'There was no intention to drive while over the limit. She did not realise she was over the next day.' He added: 'She does not have a drink problem. She works long hours and drives a lot so she does not usually drink. There are divorce proceedings going on at the moment which are stressful. She is very remorseful and apologises.' Jennifer Dempster, in mitigation, said that her client was 'not someone who normally drinks to excess' and was 'of good character.' She added: 'This is not intentional drink driving, she was not leaving the pub at midnight and driving home. She is horrified she is in this position. This is a young lady, it has been a stressful time. There are difficulties arising from the breakdown of her marriage, the final hearing for which is next week.' Dempster called for a financial penalty for her client because despite earning a decent wage, her substantial monthly outgoings would mean a fine would 'still have a punitive effect.' She added: 'There is not a huge amount left over.' Dempster also asked for Gallacher not to be given a community order because of the 'media circus' which would follow her. However, this was dismissed by Judge Davinder Lachhar. He said: 'Just because there is a media circus that does not change the sentence.' He told Gallacher: 'I take into account the mitigation of the family proceedings. I give you credit for pleading guilty.' As Judge Lachhar passed sentence upon her sorry ass, Gallagher was reported to be 'visibly upset,' snivelling, biting her bottom lip and 'struggling to find words to confirm that she had understood' her punishment.
Someone else from the extended Sky family who is probably getting the bollocking of all time right about now is Sky News political correspondent Jon Craig who, several newspapers gleefully reported, 'appeared to have a bit of a meltdown' after stumbling over his words on live TV.' Craig put his head in his hands after stuttering over a word in the middle of reporting on the latest Brexit talks. Yeah, mate, that's how all of us Remainers feel on a daily basis. The reporter was saying: 'Theresa May and David Davis are pleading with both supporters and opponents of Brexit to back the legislation being debated by MPs today.' He then started to say what sounded like 'pulling the European ...' before putting his head in his hands and repeating 'Pulling - God! God! God! God!' Whether God is involved in the Brexit negotiations has not yet been confirmed by any of the other parties. Craig then fell silent and was saved from further embarrassment by his colleague who said 'we'll go back to Jon Craig as soon as we've sorted out the issue there.' This blogger thinks that the blaming of Craig's cock-up on 'issues' is what makes it art. Of course, Craig isn't new to this sort of malarkey as long-term readers of this blog may recall. Take this one, for example, when he 'dropped the "C-Bomb"' on Jeremy Hunt. Well, we've all done it. Or, this one, when Craig 'lost his composure' during a report from Westminster on David Cameron's Brussels trip and bellowed 'Oh, fucking hell,' momentarily looking back in annoyance to Elizabeth Tower. Yeah. Politicians make this blogger want to swear all the time too, Jon, mate.
Susan Calman has strongly defended her decision as an openly gay woman to dance with a male professional dancer on Strictly Come Dancing. The Scottish comedian, writer and broadcaster has 'faced criticism on social media' - albeit, not from anyone that you've ever heard of or should give a damn about what they think. About anything - for taking part in the show because it does not have same-sex dancing couples. Or, in other words, half-a-dozen PC thugs on Twitter have been stirring up the shit and this constitutes 'news', apparently. Because, again, Twitter is now The Sole Arbiter of The Worth of All Things, according to the Gruniad Morning Star and BBC News. Susan - of whom this blogger is something of a fan - said (rightly) that the criticism had 'offended' her, adding: 'No one can say I haven't stood up for my community. The idea that people are depressed by it or upset by it, I think, offends me because I've done a fuck of a lot for that community!' Damn straight, sister. If you'll excuse the rather inappropriate - and unintentional - pun. The BBC News site adds that 'it is understood show bosses have not ruled out same-sex couples in future.' For 'show bosses' read 'executive producers' only with less syllables. Susan is one of fifteen celebrities taking to the dance floor on the hugely popular BBC1 contest. The forty two-year-old said that she was 'absolutely not disappointed' that she would not be paired with a woman and that it was her own decision to dance with a man. She said: 'I think politically, there's nothing more powerful than having an openly gay woman on the biggest show on television, whose wife's on the front row, doing what she wants to do.' She added: 'For the gay community to criticise me and try to get me what they want to do is, I think, as difficult as suggesting the straight community are trying to. No one is holding me hostage in this room, making me wear a dress and dance with a man. I want to learn how to dance.' Susan suggested she was receiving more flack as a gay woman than gay male contestants had done on the dance show - including The Reverend Richard Coles, a fellow member of the class of 2017. 'I have protested, I have picketed, I have fought, I have been spat on, I have been punched - and I want to dance,' she said. 'There will be a time for same-sex dancing. I think what annoyed me slightly is that I seem to be getting it in the neck. Will Young didn't get it, Judge Rinder didn't get it, Richard Coles isn't getting it. It seems to me as a woman, he's not getting it the same way I am. And for me to be getting it is, I think, unfair. I seem to be getting the brunt of the LGBT community.' Richard, meanwhile, said that he would be 'more than happy' to dance with a male partner. 'We've had a discussion about it actually. It's in no sense that anyone resists the idea in principle, it's just a question of doing it. I think it's a good year to do it actually, with the fiftieth anniversary of the Sexual Offences Decriminalisation Act.' Susan said that the issue had become 'a bigger deal than it should have. To put the weight of the LGBT community on me - and changing platforms and changing perceptions - is unfair, upsetting and is ignoring the impact I will have in the biggest show on television. A lot of people are very supportive of my decision, but it's making this about my sexuality instead of a woman wanting to learn how to dance. The idea that people are depressed by it or upset by it, I think offends me because I've done a lot for that community.'
Richard Coles, incidentally, thanked his Facebook fiends - this blogger included - for their kind comments about his entrée into the world of Strictly. 'This morning,' Richard noted on the Sunday after his debut, 'I became one of the first clergymen to be papped outside his church for not doing something illegal.' Though, hopefully, not the last.

John Motson will call time on his BBC commentary career aged seventy two after the conclusion of the current football season. The broadcaster, popularly known as 'Motty', is in his fiftieth consecutive year with the corporation. He covered ten World Cups, ten European Championships, twenty nine FA Cup finals and more than two hundred England games. 'I've absolutely loved my time commentating for BBC Sport,' said Motson. 'I've been fortunate enough to witness some of the biggest moments in football history mere yards away from the action, so I've really been very lucky.' Motson, known for his trademark sheepskin coats and encyclopaedic knowledge of the game, wants to continue his links with the sport. 'I'm hoping to keep my association with football and with broadcasting - I'm not retiring from everything, I'm retiring from the BBC,' he said. He will commentate on eighteen games over the course of the Premier League season as part of a 'farewell tour' before a last appearance during the BBC's FA Cup final programme in May 2018. The announcement comes as Motson made his return to the Match Of The Day programme at Brighton & Hove Albinos versus West Bromwich Albinos on Saturday. Barbara Slater, BBC director of sport, said: 'John Motson is a real asset to the football world and he will be sorely missed. It isn't hard to see why he is so highly treasured, not just by the BBC but also by the nation, due to his instantly recognisable voice, wonderful sense of humour and his incredible dedication to the sport. As he moves on from commentating for BBC Sport, we wish him the best of luck for the future.' The son of a Methodist minister, Motty joined the BBC in 1968, following stints as a reporter on the Barnet Press and the Sheffield Morning Telegraph. After starting out as a sports reporter on Radio 2, he made his breakthrough on Match Of The Day during the infamous FA Cup replay between Hereford and yer actual Keith Telly Topping's beloved (though, even then, unsellable) Newcastle in February 1972. Originally billed as a five-minute segment, Hereford's shock two-one win - thanks to Ronnie Radford's flukey thirty-yard toe-poke that Willie McFall should have saved - saw the match promoted to the main game. Despite rivalry with Barry Davies, from 1979 to 2008 Motson was the BBC's voice on most major finals such as the FA Cup, European Championships and World Cup. That run included his record-breaking sixth World Cup final in Berlin in 2006 and his twenty ninth FA Cup final in 2008. In 2001, he became an OBE for services to sports broadcasting. 'I thought about wearing my sheepskin, but I didn't think it was appropriate,' said Motson, standing resplendent in morning dress. Research by speech experts that year found Motson had the perfectly pitched voice for football commentary. The study said he had twice the range, spoke at double the speed and could be twice as loud or soft as the average person.
An - allegedly 'controversial' - episode of Peppa Pig has been pulled off the air in Australia for a second time, after whinges that it told children to pick up and play with dangerous spiders. Mister Skinny Legs, a 2004 episode of the popular children's show, was removed from online publication by the national public broadcaster, the ABC, in 2012 for sending the 'inappropriate' message that spiders were friendly and not to be feared. In the episode, Daddy Pig tells a frightened Peppa that spiders are 'very, very small' and 'can't hurt you' after the eponymous arachnid entered her room. The children are then depicted picking the spider up, tucking it into bed and offering it some tea. Which is an nice message to send out to children - that not everything needs to be scary. This advice from the British-produced show was deemed to be 'inappropriate for Australian audiences' and the ABC banned the episode from future broadcast. The episode had not been broadcast on TV, but was 'accidentally published online due to a technical problem,' the ABC said at the time. To be fair, not all Australian spiders are 'very, very small' and some certainly can hurt you. Last year footage of a huntsman spider carrying a mouse up a fridge in the Queensland town of Coppabella became an Internet sensation – the huntsman's leg span can be as large as sixteen centimetres. Australia's dangerous spider species include the venomous redback spider, the funnel-web spider, white-tailed spider and wolf-spider, according to the Australian Museum. It estimates two thousand Australians are bitten each year by redback spiders and forty by funnel-webs. Although actual deaths from spider bites have been rare since anti-venoms were introduced to Australia about thirty years ago, the odd one does still occur. Data released in January revealed twelve thousand six hundred people were admitted to hospital in Australia for spider bites of one sort of another between 2000 and 2013. On 25 August, the episode was broadcast again on Nick Jr, a children's channel affiliated with Nickelodeon and available on the Australian pay TV service Foxtel. A Sydney mother, named only as Jess, lost her shit over this malarkey and told Fairfax Media that she, proudly, had complained. The channel initially refused to pull the episode, saying Mister Skinny Legs 'did not look real. The episode is light-hearted, friendly and very mild in impact; the overarching message of the episode is about respecting all creatures,' it said. 'The context of the way the spider is portrayed in the episode lessens any impact of scariness or danger; the spider does not look real, it has a smiley face and is shown in context of a show with other talking animals.' But, after being contacted by the media, whinged at and threatened with having the story blown up out of all proportion into a full-scale 'scandal', Nick Jr, showing the sort of backbone the BBC normally displays when bullied by self-interest groups - said that it would remove the episode from programming rotation, despite continuing to maintain that it 'does meet our criteria.' The five-minute episode shows the two children discovering the spider in the bathroom sink and eventually befriending it. 'George wants the spider to be his friend,' the narrator says. 'George likes the spider and the spider likes George.' At the end of the episode, the children pour it a cup of tea alongside a set of dolls. 'We are all going to have tea with Mister Skinny Legs,' Peppa announces. 'Peppa likes Mister Skinny Legs, everyone likes Mister Skinny Legs,' the narrator then declares. Well, everyone except Australians, it would seem.
There's a very good interview with Aaron Sorkin at the Toronto Film Festival on the BBC News website which it worth a few moments of your time, dear blog reader. This blogger particularly enjoyed: 'The West Wing was a show about the five minutes before and after what we see on CNN.' The most perfect description this blogger has yet seen of the best TV show in the history of the medium (that doesn't have the words 'Doctor' and 'Who' in the title).
Hundreds of viewers have complained after Good Morning Britain broadcast an interview with a therapist who claimed that he can make some gay people straight. Doctor Michael Davidson appeared on Tuesday's show and said homosexuality is 'an aberration,' 'a sin' and 'in some cases, reversible.' Hosts Piers Morgan and Susanna Reid challenged him over his views. Media regulator Ofcom said that four hundred and sixty six people had complained that the ITV programme had given a platform to anti-gay views. Good Morning Britain broadcast an investigation by journalist Josh Parry, who went undercover in a church in Liverpool to pose as a member of the public struggling with his sexuality. He found the Mountain of Miracles and Fire Ministries in Anfield to be offering gay people the chance to 'cure' themselves through prayer and fasting. That was followed by a discussion with Davidson - who is not connected to the Mountain of Miracles and Fire Ministries - and who said there is no evidence that people are born gay. During a heated debate, Morgan told him: 'You know what we call these people? We call them horrible little bigots in the modern world. Bigoted people who talk complete claptrap and, in my view, a malevolent and dangerous part of our society.' Isn't it utterly awful when one is, for possibly the first time in recorded history, forced to actually agree with something The Odious Piers Morgan has said? I don't know about you, dear blog reader, but this blogger feels horribly conflicted at this malarkey. Good Morning Britain has since tweeted asking viewers whether controversial interviewees should be allowed on at all, even if they are challenged.
Amazon has cancelled Christina Ricci's Z: The Beginning Of Everything. The series - based on the life of Zelda Sayre Fitzgerald - had previously been renewed for a second series and had picked up a new showrunner in the form of Stranger Things producer Karl Gajdusek. However, it has now been given the big-E by Amazon, with Deadline reporting that the decision was made while the scripts for series two were in the process of being written.
An American version of Z-List Celebrity Big Brother is currently underway. This is, presumably, Britain's payback to The Yanks for all of the unwanted shit they've sent us over the years - you know, the hoola-hoop, herpes, The Dukes Of Hazzard ...
Death In Paradise has resumed filming after it was temporarily suspended due to Hurricane Irma safety concerns. The popular BBC drama is halfway through production on series seven in Guadeloupe, which has not been hit directly by Hurricane Irma, the most powerful hurricane ever recorded over the Atlantic Ocean. A spokesperson for producers Red Planet Pictures told the Digital Spy website that the production was given the go ahead to resume filming on Wednesday. Filming had previously been suspended due to concerns over the safety of the cast and crew, following the Guadeloupe government issuing a red warning alert to all of its residents about the hurricane.
Gwendoline Christie has revealed she was once harassed by a Game Of Thrones fan whilst sitting on the lavatory taking a dump. The actress appeared on Late Night With Seth Meyers on Tuesday to discuss her work on Game Of Thrones, Top Of The Lake and the forthcoming Star Wars sequel The Last Jedi. When asked by the show's host whether she'd had 'any awkward fan interactions,' Christie revealed there was one particular encounter which sticks in her mind. 'I'm hugely lucky because people always tend to be very, very nice, particularly playing a character like Brienne, people can be very enthusiastic,' she said. 'To one extent [this happened] whereby I was dining in a restaurant [and] I decided to visit the restroom. Without going into details, I entered the cubicle, I shut the door and then underneath the door slid a telephone connected to a hand, and the woman on the other side just said, "Selfie?"'
A 'cat reality show' called Keeping Up With The Kattarshians exists specifically 'to prove there are some good things left in the world.' Despite some critics suggesting that reality TV has gone to the dogs, someone has decided to live-stream the everyday activity of five rescue kittens in a new TV series that broadcasts twenty four hours a day - and it has become something of a success. The show, which is sponsored by the Icelandic Cat Protection Society to promote the adoption of stray cats, sees a dollhouse kitted out with sleeping areas, scratching posts and toys, as well as cameras so that cat-lovers can watch the kittens at any time of the day or night. But, it took a while before the producer was able to get the project off the ground. Inga Lind Karlsdóttir, told LadBible that 'there were many complications that needed to be solved prior to the production. We needed to make sure the whole project would get approval from all the authorities, The Cat Protection Society and the Animal Welfare Office,' she said. 'Then, we set out a plan, found the right spot for the house, the right cameras, made sure the temperature would always be sufficient, same with the lights. And, it was not easy to find the right furniture because of the size, it's abnormal.' The five kittens currently in the house are Halldór, Ragga, Fanndís, Snotra and Gæi, plus Ilmur, who is their mother.
Yer actual Keith Telly Topping's beloved (though unsellable) Newcastle United earned a second successive Premier League win as captain Jamaal Lascelles proved their match-winner in both attack and defence at Swansea. A slow first half was enlivened by a flurry of late chances at both ends and a failed Newcastle appeal for a penalty after Mikel Merino appeared to trip over thin air as he passed Alfie Mawson. Lawdy, issa miracle. Tammy Abraham was a whisker away from giving Swansea the lead but, after he rounded Rob Elliot, his shot was superbly cleared off the line by Lascelles. The Newcastle centre-back then rose highest from a Matt Ritchie corner to score the game's only goal with a thumping header. A first away win in the Premier League since 2015 sees The Magpies climb to tenth in the table, while The Swans slip to fifteenth after losing their opening two home league games of the season for the first time since 1985. Newcastle were without manager Rafael Benitez on the touchline as the Spaniard recovered from surgery to deal with an infection from a hernia operation two years ago. He had overseen a first win of the season in the previous game before the international break - a handsome three-nil victory over West Hamsters United - but his side initially struggled to reproduce that form in his absence. The visitors, however, eventually settled down and Joselu's glancing header was brilliantly palmed away by Lukasz Fabianski. Newcastle grew in confidence in the second half and looked increasingly threatening in attack, with the breakthrough coming after seventy six minutes. There was further good news for Newcastle as assistant manager Francisco de Miguel Moreno told BBC Sport that Benitez would return to the club later this week. 'He wanted to attend [today] but the weather conditions were not the best,' said De Miguel Moreno. 'He has been active in the game and kept in touch with us throughout the game. After the game, Rafa rang us and congratulated all the team because they did a fantastic job. He said "we are now under way."' In Sunday's other Premier League game, Chris Wood scored on his full debut as Burnley beat Crystal Palace and increase the pressure on Eagles boss Frank de Boer.
Sheikh Yer Man City thrashed ten-man Liverpool Alabama Yee-Haws five-nil in an eventful Premier League clash at The Etihad Stadium, where The Reds forward Sadio Mane was sent off in the first half. City went ahead in the lunchtime kick-off through Sergio Aguero before Mane clattered into goalkeeper Ederson with a high challenge at the edge of the penalty area. Referee Jon Moss brandished a straight red card to the forward, with Ederson subsequently taken off on a stretcher and replaced by Claudio Bravo. City made the most of their advantage, as Gabriel Jesus nodded in a second before the break. The Brazilian added third goal in the fifty third minute after being set up by Aguero, before substitute Leroy Sane added a fourth from close range and then curled a superb twenty-yard effort during stoppage time. The Arse eased the pressure on manager Arsene Wenger with a three-nil win at The Emirates Stadium over Bournemouth, who suffered a fourth straight Premier League defeat. Danny Welbeck bundled the Gunners ahead after six minutes, before a fine finish from club-record signing Alexandre Lacazette doubled the lead. Five minutes into the second half, Welbeck slotted a low shot into the far corner as The Arse bounced back from their four-nil drubbing at Liverpool before the international break, with Alexis Sanchez, who looked to be leaving ahead of the transfer deadline, coming on for the closing stages. Brighton & Hove Albinos secured their first win in the Premier League, beating West Bromwich Albinos three-one at a bouncing Amex Stadium. Pascal Groß hooked the ball in at the far post to put The Seagulls in front on the stroke of half-time for what was their first goal since being promoted. The German, signed from Ingolstadt in the summer, added a second on forty eight minutes, before turning provider for Tomer Hemed to head in a third just after the hour. James Morrison pulled a goal back for the Baggies with thirteen minutes left. Stottingtot Hotshots won three-nil at Everton, where Blues forward Wayne Rooney started having last week made headlines for the wrong reasons with his drink-driving charge. Harry Kane opened the scoring when he curled a looping shot from wide on the right over Jordan Pickford. Christian Eriksen added a second before half-time after Everton failed to clear their lines. Kane, who scored twice for England in the World Cup qualifying win over Malta, settled matters with a third goal for Spurs when scoring from close range early in the second half. Champions Moscow Chelski FC won two-one at Leicester, where summer signing Alvaro Morata again found the target. The sixty million smackers capture from Real Madrid broke the deadlock four minutes before half-time with a header, before former Foxes midfielder Ngolo Kante netted a long-range effort. Leicester reduced the deficit through a penalty from Jamie Vardy just after the hour, but Antonio Conte's men closed out a third straight league victory since losing on the opening day at home to Burnley. Watford won two-nil at Southampton to end The Saints' unbeaten start. Abdoulaye Doucoure put the visitors ahead with a low, twenty-yard strike and Dutch defender Daryl Janmaat curled in the second. Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting scored twice as Dirty Stoke ended The Scum's one hundred per cent start to the new Premier League season in Saturday's evening kick-off. Choupo-Moting put Dirty Stoke ahead, powerfully finishing a fine team move for his first goal for the club. That was the first goal The Scum had conceded in five hundred and thirty five minutes of league football, a run stretching back to last season, but Jose Mourinho's side equalised less than three minutes later. Paul Pogba headed towards goal from a corner and the ball was inadvertently directed into the net off the back of Marcus Rashford's head. Romelu Lukaku put The Scum in front shortly after the break but Choupo-Moting levelled in the sixty third minute, heading in Xherdan Shaqiri's corner at the back post.
On-loan Manchester United goalkeeper Sam Johnstone was the hero for Aston Villains as he starred in the goalless draw against Brentford. The Bees are still without a win in the Championship but were the better side throughout the match. The Villains - pre-season favourites for promotion - struggled to create clear-cut opportunities and had to rely on Johnstone to keep a clean sheet and earn a point. Struggling Notlob Wanderings fell to their fourth defeat of the season as a Britt Assombalonga double and a Marvin Johnson strike handed The Middlesbrough Smog Monsters all three points. The fifteen million smackers summer signing from Nottingham Forest opened the scoring before grabbing a second nineteen minutes from full-time. Johnson added a third in the seventy eighth minute to keep Notlob rock bottom of the Championship table. Garry Monk's Smoggies rise to sixth after sealing their third win of the season. Cardiff City's one hundred per cent record is over but Neil Warnock's side remain unbeaten as Danny Ward's header cancelled out Ryan Sessegnon's seventy fifth minute strike. Fulham's seventeen-year-old wonderkid managed to fire into the bottom right corner to give the home side the advantage. But Warnock's impressive Cardiff side rallied and grabbed the equaliser seven minutes from time. The Bluebirds remain top of the Championship table on sixteen points while Fulham have now drawn four of their six league games. Thomas Christiansen's Dirty Leeds United promptly demolished Burton Albinos with a substantial victory at Elland Road. New signing Pierre-Michel Lasogga grabbed two goals in each half to round off an impressive debut performance after joining on loan from Hamburg on deadline day. Kalvin Phillips, Pablo Hernandez and Kemar Roofe were also on the scoresheet as Dirty Leeds climb to second in the Championship table. Norwich bounced back from their poor early-season form as Nelson Oliveira's early finish was enough to beat visitors Birmingham. Timm Klose provided the assist for the Portugal striker to score from close range, in the fifth minute, and it is the perfect response for Daniel Farke's side after they were trounced four-nil by Millwall last time out. The win was Norwich's second of the season while Hapless Harry Redknapp's Birmingham - who added plenty of additions on deadline day - are yet to click into gear. It was honours even at Deepdale as Preston Both Ends and Barnsley shared the spoils. Sean Maguire put the home side ahead after twenty three minutes but Brad Potts, a summer addition for Barnsley from Blackpool, levelled the score three minutes later. Ipswich's impressive start to the season seems a distant memory after they fell to their second successive defeat. The Tractor Boys began the campaign with four straight victories but have hit a stumbling block as Queens Park Strangers ran out winners at Loftus Road. Jamie Mackie opened the scoring, just before half time for the home side, before Luke Freeman doubled the advantage shortly after the break. Ipswich raised some hope as on loan Sheikh Yer Man City midfielder Bersant Celina pulled a goal back late on but it wasn’t enough to gain a share of the spoils. Aden Flint's late goal secured all three points for Bristol City against Reading. With just six minutes remaining the defender fired past Vito Mannone. Clayton Donaldson enjoyed a delightful debut as the deadline day arrival scored twice to give Sheffield United victory. Jack Rodwell scored a stoppage time goal for Blunderland but it was too little too late for Simon Grayson's Mackem Filth. Donaldson opened the scoring in the twenty first minute, with a neat finish past goalkeeper Robbin Ruiter before doubling his tally in the second half. Diogo Jota's excellent strike gave Wolverhampton Eanderings victory over Millwall at Molineux. The on-loan Atletico Madrid midfielder has impressed so far for Nuno's side and his delightful one-two move with Leo Bonatini set him up to fire past Jordan Archer.
James Anderson took a career-best seven for forty two to lead England to a series-clinching nine-wicket victory over West Indies in the third and deciding test at Lord's. Anderson, who took his five hundredth test wicket on Friday, claimed five more on day three as West Indies were bowled out for one hundred and seventy seven, despite sixty two from Shai Hope. Set one hundred and seven to win, England were taken to their target by an unbroken stand of seventy two between Mark Stoneman and Tom Westley. The two-one series win follows a three-one success against South Africa earlier in the summer. Not only does it extend an unbeaten home record against West Indies that dates back to 1988, but also sends England off on their defence of The Ashes on the back of two test series wins in Joe Root's first summer as captain. England now play one Twenty20 and five one-day internationals against the Windies to conclude the home summer before travelling to Australia in October. When England hammered a woeful West Indies in the day-night test at Edgbaston, the series looked likely to be neither a spectacle nor decent preparation for a trip down under. However, a wonderful display by the tourists in the second test at Headingley not only restored some faith in the Caribbean side as a test force, but also set up the pressure situation of a series decider at Lord's. In the end, the low-scoring affair in bowler-friendly conditions has seen England prove themselves as the superior team, even if the scarcity of runs has done little to help the hosts further their search for top-order batsmen. Opener Stoneman and number five Dawid Malan have probably done enough to ensure their places in the Ashes squad which is due to be announced when the domestic season finishes at the end of September. The place of number three Westley is less certain, with the likes of Haseeb Hameed, Keaton Jennings and Alex Hales looking for runs in the final weeks of the County Championship in order to press their claims. After the celebrations of becoming only the sixth bowler to reach five hundred test wickets on the second evening, Anderson found himself in trouble with umpire Marais Erasmus for encroaching on to the pitch in his follow-through. Two warnings left him on the brink of being removed from the attack and necessitated a switch from the Pavilion End to the Nursery End. However, that only helped the thirty five-year-old Lancastrian move the ball down the slope and he found the edge of Roston Chase's bat with the fourth delivery of the morning. Jermaine Blackwood fell in similar fashion, leaving the impressive Shai Hope, the leading runscorer in the series and the last of the recognised batsmen to defy England almost single-handedly. It took a special delivery to remove the twenty three-year-old, angled in and nipping away to give a third catch of the day to Jonny Bairstow and, after that, West Indies were as good as beaten. Devendra Bishoo and Kemar Roach were both bowled as Anderson bettered the seven for forty three he took against New Zealand at Trent Bridge in 2008. The thirty nine test wickets he took this season are the most he has taken in a home test summer. If England are looking for improvements to make for their defence of The Ashes, catching would probably be included on the list. Punished for costly drops at Headingley, their victory here may have come sooner had they not spilled three chances of varying difficulty in the morning session. Stuart Broad put down the most straightforward at mid-off and also missed a tough, diving caught-and-bowled opportunity, while Alastair Cook shelled a sharp one at gully off Moeen Ali. Both sides dropped twenty six catches between them during the series. That, though, is a less of a concern when compared to England's batting, even if Stoneman and Westley were assured in navigating England to their target. Left-hander Stoneman was strong square of the wicket on both sides to follow up the maiden half-century he made in the second test with an unbeaten forty that included the winning runs. Westley arrived after Cook was pinned LBW by the spin of Bishoo and characteristically favoured mid-wicket as well as playing attractive cover drives in forty four not out, his first double-figure score in six attempts. This was the last match behind the microphone for BBC Test Match Special's Henry Blofeld, who ended his career by thanking the listeners. As he completed his final commentary stint, he was given a standing ovation by the Lord's crowd. He later embarked on a lap of honour at the end of play and was even invited to join the celebrations in the England dressing room.
Spotted at Lord's watching the third test match on Friday was the Prime Minister, Theresa May. Because, of course, she hasn't got anything that some may consider, perhaps, more important to do with her time. Like, you know, badly miss-run the country, for instance. May was there to appear live on the BBC's Test Match Special where she expressed her fangirl-style idolisation of Geoffrey Boycott, a man with a criminal conviction for assault and who, as recently as last week, was forced to publicly apologise after making, at best, racially-insensitive comments. Top role-model, PM.
A woman who threw her faeces out of her date's toilet window because it 'would not flush' had to be rescued after she got stuck reportedly 'trying to retrieve it.' As you do. It's always a nightmare when that happens, isn't it dear blog reader? The woman, 'an amateur gymnast' it is claimed, was on a first date with Bristol student Liam Smith when she 'panicked' at having laid a floater and threw the faeces out of the window. Tragically, it did not land in the garden, but 'became wedged between two non-opening windows.' After climbing in head first to retrieve it, she 'became wedged.' Smith had to call the fire service for help. The story first appeared on a crowdfunding page, set up by the University of Bristol student before being picked up by BBC News. Smith, who is raising funds to fix his broken window, wrote that he was on a Tinder date with the - nameless - woman and they went back to the shared house he lives in. 'We'd had a really nice evening,' he said. 'We'd had a meal at a well-known chicken restaurant, had a few beers and then gone back to mine for a bottle of wine and a film.' He said that the woman went to the toilet and when she came back she had a 'panicked look in her eye' and told him what she had done. He said the toilet window opened into a narrow gap separated by another double glazed window. 'It was into this twilight zone that my date had thrown her poo,' he said. He went to find a hammer to smash the window, but she decided to 'climb in head first' after 'the offending package' and it was then that she became jammed. #I was starting to grow concerned, so I called the fire brigade and once they had composed themselves, they set to work removing her from the window,' Smith said. Although the woman was rescued unharmed, Smith said his bathroom window was destroyed. 'I'm not complaining, they did what they had to do,' he said. 'Problem is, I've been quoted north of three hundred pounds to replace the window and as a postgraduate student, that is a significant chunk of my monthly budget.' Smith originally set a crowdfunding target of two hundred smackers, but has already raised more than twelve hundred. He said that he and his date had decided to split the extra cash between two charities, one supporting firefighters and another that builds and maintains flushing toilets in developing countries. Unsurprisingly, the woman does not want to be named but Smith said that he had seen her since and 'who knows what the future holds? We had a lovely night on the second date but it's too early to say if she's the one. But we got on very very well and she's a lovely girl,' he said. 'And we've already got the most difficult stuff out of the way first.' Avon Fire and Rescue service confirmed that it had received a call and freed a woman trapped between external and double glazing. It also confirmed that 'a window was broken in the process.'
A sadistic man who waterboarded a six-year-old girl and forced her to run barefoot on a treadmill for up to four-and-a-half hours so she would sleep at bedtime has been jailed for twelve years. Garth Gatland, of Cambridge, was described as 'sadistic' after he was convicted of two counts of child cruelty at an earlier trial and was sentenced at Cambridge Crown Court on Tuesday. He had denied the charges against two children, a girl aged six and a fifteen-year-old boy, but a jury found him very guilty. Evidence of cocaine was discovered in the girl's system and 'significant bruises and burns' were found on her back, legs, feet and neck. The court heard that Gatland had also hit the girl with a wooden spoon, made her stand naked in a window, made her stand in stress positions and tipped her out of her bed while she was sleeping 'on regular occasions.' The boy was the victim of regular assaults and made to dispose of and hide drugs for Gatland. The abuse, said to have happened between 2014 and 2016, was reported to police by an acquaintance of Gatland last year. Detective Constable Chris Down from Cambridgeshire Police said said: 'Gatland subjected his victims to a catalogue of sadistic abuse. I hope this sentence will allow the victims to move on with their lives. I would encourage anyone who suspects offences have been, or are being committed against children to report their concerns to police, children's social services or the NSPCC. No matter who we are, we all have a responsibility to report child abuse.'
Thirty three-year-old Tosha Faye Sponsler was arrested on suspicion of stealing goods from the store of cosmetics and perfumery in Lufkin, Texas recently. One of the police officers put the woman in handcuffs and put in the back seat of the police SUV, hooking her seatbelt. Sponsler then took advantage of the absence of police officers who were busy with other things,seemingly. She extracted herself from her handcuffed and got in the driver's seat of the car. After that, she started the engine and escaped, all of this captured on the in-car video. After a twenty minutes pursuit at speeds over one hundred kilometres per hour, Sponsler lost control of the vehicle and drove it off the road. She woman was then detained. For a second time. She was charged with five felony counts: escape from the threat of use of weapons, aggravated assault, unauthorised use of vehicle possession of drugs and resisting arrest. The enterprising Sponsler is now looking at a jolly good long stretch in The Big House as a result of her naughty thieving way.
German pensioner seemingly wreaked havoc at petrol station, crashing into the station's shop after he, allegedly, mistook the accelerator for the brake. Well, we've all done it, haven't we? The pensioner reportedly escaped with minor injuries and, thankfully, no one else was hurt in the incident, which is said to have cost 'more than forty six thousand Euros in damages.'
An air freshener has, reportedly, caused a car to explode outside an Essex B&Q. Pictures showed a silver Ford Focus with its windscreen, doors and roof blown out, with police and firefighters surrounding it, looking a bit discombobulated. One person was hurt following the blast in a car park that caused 'significant damage' to the vehicle in Southend.
A sixteen year old girl who fled her home in Germany to fight for ISIS in Mosul is to stand trial in Iraq and could, potentially, face death penalty. The sixteen-year-old and three other German women were charged this week following their capture in July in ISIS stronghold of Mosul, German weekly Der Spiegel reports. German diplomats said that they were confident the teenager, Linda Wenzel, would be spared the death penalty but said that it 'was possible' she could 'spend years imprisoned' in Iraq, according to Der Spiegel. Footage from Wenzel's arrest showed the girl being jostled through a crowd of jeering Iraqi soldiers. Wenzel's parents had been desperately looking for her since she disappeared from her home town of Pulsnitz, near Dresden, in July last year. She is suspected of converting to Islam after being groomed by ISIS members on social media and reportedly married an ISIS soldier on Iraq. Wenzel was arrested by Iraqi forces after she and a group of twenty female ISIS supporters from various countries barricaded themselves inside a tunnel in the ruins of Mosul with guns and explosives, the Gruniad reports. The decision by Iraq to initiate criminal proceedings against Wenzel and the other German women will come as a blow to German authorities who had been hoping to have them extradited back to Germany.
Someone claiming to be a German university professor, currently teaching in Michigan, reportedly wrote to Reddit's legal advice forum for help this week. He said that a coworker had threatened to sue him for leaving 'volatile' Haribo sugar-free gummy bears on his desk. Apparently, while he was out of his office, the co-worker ate the entire bowl. According to product reviews on Amazon, even eating just a few in a single sitting is enough to 'power-wash your intestines. When the rumbling started I sprinted down the hallway and made it to the bathroom just in time for the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse to stampede from my backside, laying waste to my home's septic system and my will to live,' one - presumably dissatisfied - reviewer testified. 'Eat two at a time. Three if you're brave. But for the love of God and all things on this Earth, do not eat any more,' another warned. 'Not long after eating about twenty of these all Hell broke loose. I had a gastrointestinal experience like nothing I've ever imagined. Cramps, sweating, bloating beyond my worst nightmare. I've had food poisoning from some bad shellfish and that was almost like a skip in the park compared to what was going on inside me,' wrote a third. The sugar-free bear listing on Amazon now includes a warning about what it describes as 'intestinal distress.' That's The Screaming Abdabs to you and me, dear blog reader. That seems to be, roughly, what happened to the alleged professor's, alleged, colleague after she, allegedly, ate an entire bowl of the bears. 'First, she excused herself from any commitments and then she called in sick,' he wrote, 'The next day she confronted me and blamed me for the whole ordeal, that I deliberately placed those gummy bears and it was all a ploy to humiliate her.' The alleged bear-devouring coworker is now, allegedly, threatening to get the alleged professor fired and deported. 'According to her she has already informed HR and her lawyer and that I will be kicked out of the country in no time,' he wrote. 'The only thing I can blame myself on is that me and my colleagues giggled at her bowel distress signals. She claims that I left the bowl in the open and it was baiting her and others to eat the "poison" (her words).' According to nearly everyone who responded in the thread, she doesn't have much of a case. The original poster left food out on his desk, didn't suggest that she eat it and certainly didn't suggest that she eat the entire bowl. Legally speaking, she could sue - in theory, anyone can sue anyone else for pretty much anything - but the consensus seemed to be that she would have a hard time getting any reputable attorney to take the case. The HR issue is another thing entirely and several replies encouraged him to quickly document his side of the story and bring it up with HR. Of course, it should be noted that many stories on r/legaladvice are trollish fictions intended to amuse, rather than real cries for help, so we should, perhaps, take this one with a grain of salt. Or, indeed, a grain of sugar-free Haribo gummy bears.
A man who claims to have married his computer in New Mexico has reportedly sued the state of Alabama for refusing to recognise the marriage, according to court records. This is only the latest in a long string of such lawsuits filed by Chris Sevier, who describes his sexual orientation as 'machinist' and who is, definitely not mental nor nothing. Sevier has filed similar lawsuits in Texas and Utah and filed a suit in Colorado seeking to force a baker to make a wedding cake for him and his computer 'bride,' according to multiple news reports. Sevier filed a federal lawsuit in Alabama's Northern District on 31 August alleging his rights, along with the rights of individuals his complaint identifies as 'an ex-gay' and 'an ex-transgender,' were violated by Governor Kay Ivey, Attorney General Steve Marshall and Blount County Probate Judge Chris Green. In the filing, Sevier claimed he 'married an object in New Mexico with female-like features' and asked Green to either recognise the union or issue him a new marriage license. 'Defendant Green issues marriage licenses to individuals who self-identify as homosexual, but he refuses to issue marriage licenses to zoophiles, machinists, and polygamists license on a basis that can only be described as procedurally arbitrary,' the complaint states. The other plaintiffs, John Gunter Junior, Whitney Kohl and Joan Grace Harley, described as polygamists, were denied a license, the suit states, as the three attempted to marry each other. Green told that the plaintiffs did not make the request in person but called inquiring about getting the licenses. 'I just said I wouldn't do that in Blount County. No way, no how.' While Green's office began issuing same-sex marriage licenses after the US Supreme Court ruling, state law does not grant him the authority to issue polygamist licenses or marriage licenses for people seeking to wed 'an inanimate object,' he said. Ivey and Marshall, the complaint states, violated the plaintiff's constitutional rights by giving 'special treatment' to gays and lesbians but not polygamists or 'machinists.' The complaint argues that the US Supreme Court ruling that legalised same-sex marriage nationwide was the work of 'moral relativist [sic] who have infiltrated the bench like a cancer [and] cannot be permitted to monkey with the Fourteenth Amendment just because they believe that "the ends justify the means."' Sevier, a former Tennessee lawyer, was previously charged with stalking and harassing both country music star John Rich and a seventeen-year-old girl and also pushed for pornography taxes in thirteen states, The Daily Beast reported earlier this year. And, just to repeat, he is definitely not a mental. No way, no how. 'In Alabama, the probate Judges are issuing marriage licenses to self-identified homosexuals based on their sexual orientation or self-asserted sex-based identity narrative,' he asserts. 'The governor and state officials are providing full marriage benefits and privileges to legally self-identified homosexuals but not to self-identified polygamists and machinists for procedural and moral reason.'
Headline of the week - this, or indeed, any other week - must surely go to the Mercury News for Strange naked woman found in California man’s bed. Oh, not her again? The story states that a Northern California man arriving home from work this week discovered 'a naked woman he did not know asleep in his bed.' The unidentified man told officers 'the strange saga' started on Tuesday when he found a parcel ripped open on the porch of his home in Anderson, along Interstate Five about ten miles south of Redding. 'A utility knife that he had last seen inside in the home was lying on the porch, Anderson police said in a statement.' The man then went inside and found a partly eaten sandwich and an open bottle of beer in his kitchen. He also noticed that someone had recently showered in the bathroom and 'strange clothes were strewn about.' He told police that he found the woman sleeping in his bed. He said he woke her up and called nine-one-one. You'd've thought he might have done that the other way around, wouldn't you? Whilst the man was talking with a police dispatcher, the woman got dressed and wandered out to the front porch and sat down in a chair. Police arrived and extremely arrested Michelle Watkins, thirty three, of Junction City, a Trinity County community about forty five miles North West of Anderson. Watkins was jailed for lack of twenty five thousand dollars bail on suspicion of residential burglary, petty theft, possession of stolen property and sleeping in another man's bed during the hours of daylight without permission. Probably.
There was a clear rapport between the police officer and the man he shot Monday night on a dark Ohio street the Washington Post reports. Newly released footage from Clark County Sheriff's Deputy Jake Shaw's body camera shows him drawing his service weapon during a traffic stop and firing two shots at what he thought was an approaching, gun-wielding assailant. One round struck the man in the abdomen; the other missed. But the man was not an attacker. It was, in fact, Andy Grimm, a photographer with the local newspaper, the New Carlisle News. Shaw realised his mistake as he ran toward Grimm, who was screaming on the ground. The video captures few clear images of the encounter as Shaw manoeuvred to put pressure on Grimm's gunshot wound. The audio, however, remains crystal clear. 'Andy, I thought it was a friggin' gun, dude,' Shaw says. 'Stay strong with me. I love you, brother.' Through the commotion, Grimm explains he was in the area to photograph lightning storms sparking across the sky, and stopped to photograph the traffic stop. 'I need you to call my wife,' Grimm says repeatedly. 'I thought you saw me wave, dude.' It was unclear from the video how the men knew each other, though it is not uncommon for local journalists to become acquainted with first responders. Grimm has been working at the paper for years, said his father Dale Grimm, who received a phone call from his son from the ambulance. 'He said he got out, parked under a light in plain view of the deputy, with a press pass around his neck,' Dale Grimm told the Washington Post. 'He was setting up his camera and he heard pops.' Dale Grimm and his son run the family-owned newspaper, located in New Carlisle, just outside Dayton. 'We know the deputy. This is a small town of five thousand people. We know the deputies. We work with them on a daily basis. We have an excellent relationship with them,' the elder Grimm said. Andy Grimm tells Shaw, 'I don't want you to lose your job for this' in between streams of agonised expletives in the video. Clark County Sheriff Deborah Burchett did not respond to an e-mail requesting comment. In a brief statement on Tuesday, the sheriff's office said that Shaw had been placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation. 'Our hearts and prayers are with Mister Grimm as he recovers and with Deputy Jake Shaw and we ask the community to keep both of them in your hearts and prayers as well,' the statement said. The sheriff's office referred all further questions to the state attorney general's Bureau of Criminal Investigation, which is looking into the shooting. Paramedics arrived about five minutes after the shooting, according to the video. Grimm tells Shaw and others his camera is his 'livelihood' and asks for it to be secured on his way to the emergency room. He also, seemingly, didn't lose his sense of humour. In the video, Shaw tells one first responder that he fired two shots at Grimm. 'Thank God you missed one,' Grimm replies.
On 4 September members of Cumberland District Royal Canadian Mounted Police were called to a home in East Wallace according to a posting on their Facebook page. The caller indicated that a man had intentionally set a home on fire following a verbal dispute over whether the man was sober enough to drive. The man and woman were 'known to one another.' RCMP members and volunteer fire fighters from the area arrived on the scene to find heavy smoke coming from the home. A man was seen by witnesses leaving the area in a truck. He was later arrested by police and was taken to a detachment for a breath test. Gordon Edward Spicer, has been charged with Arson and Impaired Driving. He was held in custody overnight. The fire was extinguished and the basement and main floor of the home sustained severe damage. The matter remains under investigation.
Holger Czukay, the co-founder and bassist of the iconic German band Can, has died the Cologne newspaper Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger reports. He was seventy nine. Holger was reportedly found dead in his apartment which had been converted from the original Can recording studio in Weilerswist near Cologne. It marks the second loss for the band this year; drummer Jaki Liebezeit died in January whilst Holger's wife of twenty five years, Ursula, also died in July. A prolific inventor, Czukay helped to pioneer sampling, which at the time involved the laborious process of manually cutting tape. 'The bass player is like a king in chess,' he once reflected. 'He doesn't move much, but when he does he changes everything.' Aside from his work with Can, Holger released several solo CDs, including his most recent, 2015's Eleven Years Innerspace. Can - one of this blogger's favourite bands - began in 1968 with the core quartet of Czukay, Libezeit, Irmin Schmidt (keyboards) and Michael Karoli (guitar). The group had several vocalists, most notably Malcolm Mooney (1968 to 1970) and then Damo Suzuki (1970 to 1973). They were part of a loose 1970s movement rather insensitively dubbed 'krautrock' by the British music press, along with bands including Neu!, Faust, Kraftwerk, Amon Düül II, Ash Ra Temple and Tangerine Dream most of whom produced very different sorts of music but, because they all came from West Germany, tended to get lumped into the same general bag. However, Can described themselves as an 'anarchist community' and the group's experimental spirit allowed Czukay plenty of room to explore various aspects of electronic music and recording. Drawing from backgrounds in the avant-garde and jazz, Can incorporated minimalist, electronic and world music elements into their often funk-inflected jam music. They even had occasional commercial success both in Germany and the UK, with singles such as 'Spoon' and 'I Want More' reaching the charts. Through LPs such as Monster Movie (1969), Tago Mago (1971), Ege Bamyasi (1972) and Future Days (1973), the band exerted a considerable influence on avant-garde, experimental, post-punk, ambient, new wave and electronic music. Although Can witnessed some success, their impact was more cultural than commercial, with artists such as LCD Soundsystem's James Murphy, Joy Division, Julian Cope, Echo & The Bunnymen, Siouxsie & The Banshees, The Fall, The Jesus & Mary Chain, Primal Scream, Talking Heads, David Bowie and The Flaming Lips at various times citing them as an influence. Kanye West has sampled Can and Johnny Lydon reportedly formed Public Image Ltd in the shape of Can's classic line-up. In addition to playing bass for the band, Czukay also engineered and recorded the vast majority of their LPs. Holger left Can shortly after their 1977 LP Out Of Reach was released to focus on his a solo career. He released his solo debut Movie! the following year. His solo work would take him on an open-ended voyage of discovery in which he explored techniques of music collage and 'found sounds,' often mixing random fragments recorded from short-wave radio broadcasts into aural tapestries. He built a home studio using vintage recording equipment acquired from a 1950s radio station and considered material captured on a simple dictaphone recorder every bit as valid as sophisticated studio recordings. He strove to maintain a fresh, almost naive approach to his work. 'The universal dilettante is actually the most precious musician you can imagine,' he claimed. Czukay was born in the Baltic port of Danzig, then the Free City of Danzig, but his family fled as the second world war reached its climax and the Russians advanced towards the city (which subsequently became Gdansk in Poland). Czukay recalled arriving in Berlin by train in February 1945. After the war ended, the family were sent to a camp run by the Russians, but managed to escape and reach the nearby American zone. By the start of the 1960s, Holger was studying music with a bass player from the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra. 'He told me "okay, if you continue playing like this, you can become a bass player in an orchestra,' Holger recalled, but this did not appeal to him. He moved to Cologne and sought out the eminent avant-garde composer and electronic music pioneer Karlheinz Stockhausen, who took Czukay on as a pupil. A fellow student was the keyboard player Irmin Schmidt, who felt inspired to start a band after seeing Andy Warhol and The Velvet Underground on a trip to New York. Czukay credited Leibezeit with broadening his own musical thinking. 'Jaki is one person whose criticism I take to heart,' he said. 'He made me understand rhythm is the greatest concentration of music, that one single drumbeat can contain all the music in the world.' Czukay had made his first solo foray with Canaxis Five (1968), on which he worked with co-producer Rolf Dammers. Czukay also collaborated with many artists over the course of his career, including U.N.K.L.E, Brian Eno, Cluster and The Eurythmics. He recorded the Balearic disco classic 'Snake Charmer' in 1983 with New York DJ Francois Kevorkian, Mister The Edge out of The U2 Group and Public Image Limited's Jah Wobble and also made a pair of collaborations with Japan singer David Sylvian.
Mike Neville, the face of television news for decades in the North-East of England, has died. The eighty-year-old was known to viewers in the region for more than forty years as presenter of the BBC's Look North and then North East Tonight, Tyne Tees Television's early evening local news programme. He retired in 2006 and died peacefully in hospital, his family said. Born in Willington Quay, Wallsend in 1936, Mike's first job at the age of fifteen was at the Northern Guild of Commerce and Chamber of Trade. He was subsequently an editorial assistant at the Daily Scum Mail's Newcastle offices. In 1955, he began two years of National Service in Cyprus where he rose to the rank of Corporal in the Wiltshire Regiment. After a short time as an insurance agent, he joined the repertory company of the Newcastle Playhouse. Mike launched his broadcasting career at the independent station Tyne Tees in 1962. After moving to the BBC two years later, he presented Look North for decades as well as the Nationwide programme during the 1970s and 80s. Mike was known for his humour and, when a BBC official described him as 'the most efficient piece of equipment at the BBC' he was quick to make a joke of it. 'I'm the only piece of equipment that isn't allowed to go on well-oiled,' he said. For many years he formed a popular double-act with his colleague and close friend, the late George House. The two, in addition to appearing on Look North, made many other programmes for BBC North, usually involving comedy pieces pointing out the gulf between ordinary Geordies and officials speaking Standard English. They were also responsible for a series of recordings, beginning with the LP Larn Yersel' Geordie in collaboration with the writer Scott Dobson in 1971. A series of three programmes, The Mike Neville Show, was broadcast in 1975 based on Mike's experiences whilst completing National Service, in repertory theatre and on television. Returning to ITV in 1996, he fronted its main regional news show but was away from the screen for almost a year from July 2005, following emergency surgery to remove a blood clot. Neville was an instantly-familiar face to anyone growing up in the North East in the last fifty years. As the website noted: 'Although he was not a famous Newcastle United fan, his gentle digs on-air at Mackem-sympathiser, Doug Wetherall, always gave the impression that his loyalties were black and white!' He was, as BBC North's Jeff Brown noted, 'simply The Godfather of regional TV.' Millions of viewers gladly welcomed Mike into their homes from Monday to Friday nights, his calm and unflappable style bringing an air of assuredness and humour to teatimes on Tyneside and his authoritative tones were usually a backdrop to evening meals across the region. An actor in his early days, Mike had the happy gift of being able to cope with any situation. Even in retirement he remained a popular figure with a public that loved him for what he was - a TV star but always one of their own. Tyne Tees managing director Graeme Thompson had described his stepping down as 'the end of an era for television in the North-East.' Speaking to the BBC after he retired, Mike explained he had no regrets about remaining in the North East. 'I actually hated working in London,' he said. 'Up here, it is like working with family.' As well as a lifetime achievement award from the Royal Television Society, he was awarded an MBE for services to broadcasting. In 1989, Mike received a 'Gotcha' award from Noel Edmonds as part of Noel's Saturday Roadshow after being pranked into thinking he was filling several minutes of live air-time because a technical fault had delayed the broadcast of Wogan. Mike lived in Whickham with his wife, Pam, whom he married in 1962 having met her in repertory theatre in Blyth.