Saturday, October 28, 2017

Click-Bait Generating (Part The Second): What They Need's A Damned Good Whacking

Doctor Who's very first ladygirl Doctor - Jodie Whittaker her very self, just in case you've been asleep for the last three months - will be joined by three new 'regular cast members' (as opposed to 'companions') when the BBC's long-running family SF drama returns next year, the corporation has announced this week. Jodie, who takes over as The Doctor at Christmas, will be joined by yer actual Bradley Walsh, Tosin Cole and Mandip Gill, as well as Sharon D Clarke 'in a returning role.'
Bradley Walsh will star as Graham, Tosin Cole will play Ryan and Mandip Gill will play Yasmin. Braldey said that he was looking forward to being part of the show fifty years after he first became a fan. This is just another interesting career move for the man with one of the most varied CVs on British television. Best-known these days for hosting popular game shows like The Chase and Wheel Of Fortune, fifty seven year old Bradley will also be familiar to Coronation Street fans, having played Danny Baldwin on the soap between 2004 and 2006. He started out as a promising junior footballer on the books of Brentford FC as a teenager. Injuries - including a broken ankle - wrecked his chances of a professional career in the game before Bradley turned to acting and stand-up comedy and launched a music career last year - notching up what is reported to have been 'the biggest-selling debut CD of 2016 by a British artist.' Although, given that nobody under the age of thirty actually buys music in a physical format these days, that isn't, necessarily, the boast it might once have been. A fine actor, too, with a resumé that takes in everything from comedy to serious drama - including a lengthy run on Law & Order: UK where he worked with Doctor Who's new showrunner, Chris Chibnall - this isn't Bradley's first experience of the world of Doctor Who. A fan of the show 'for fifty years,' he appeared as a villain in the spin-off show Sarah Jane Interferes in 2008. He said: 'I remember watching William Hartnell as the first Doctor. Black and white made it very scary for a youngster like myself.' The exact nature of Bradley's appearances are still something of a mystery given Doctor Who's ten-and-a-half month a year shooting schedule and the fact that he has confirmed on several occasions that he remains committed to his ITV contract on The Chase. Gill, who has worked in film, theatre, radio and television, got her first major TV role in 2012 when she was cast as Phoebe McQueen in Hollyoaks. She was on the soap for three years before her character was 'orribly killed by an infamous murderer. She has also appeared in Doctors, Cuckoo and Casualty and she will soon be seen in Kay Mellor's forthcoming BBC drama Love, Lies & Records. Gill said that she was 'over the moon' to join the 'iconic' Doctor Who, adding: 'Certain roles seem unattainable and this is one of those, so much so I didn't believe it to be true for the first few weeks.' Cole is no stranger to the world of SF; he has already appeared in Star Wars: The Force Awakens with a small role as a member of the Red Squadron. He will now join the likes of Warwick Davis, Dave Prowse, Peter Cushing and Felicity Jones who have starred in both Doctor Who and the Star Wars franchise. Cole has also had roles in EastEnders spin-off E20 and in Hollyoaks, so has already worked with Mandip Gill. 'I'm grateful and excited to be a part of this journey with the team,' he said of his casting. 'I'm looking forward to jumping in this Doctor Who universe.' Chibnall described the trio as 'three of Britain's brightest talents.' He added: 'The new Doctor is going to need new friends.' The BBC also confirmed the series will have a ten-week run of fifty-minute episodes in autumn 2018 - not sixty minutes as speculated, wrongly as it turns out, in the Daily Mirra and the Independent recently - starting with a 'special' hour-long episode for the launch. No details about the new characters beyond their names have yet been revealed. Whittaker was unveiled as the next Doctor in July, you might have noticed. The actress succeeds yer actual Peter Capaldi, who took over the role in 2013 and leaves in the forthcoming Christmas special.
Meanwhile, here's a real shocker, courtesy of this blogger's old mucker, Danny Blythe: 'A political cartoon featuring some reasonably-accurately-drawn Daleks!' That's got to be a first.
Pre-production on Jodie Whittaker's first series of Doctor Who began this week and, it would seem, the opening episode's director is already in place. As spotted - by a few people you've never heard of on Twitter - Jamie Childs' credits on his agency Independent Talent Group have been updated to include Doctor Who series eleven, which suggests that Childs be working on an episode (or episodes) in the opening block. Childs, as it happens, was the director of the teaser sequence which introduced Jodie as The Doctor and was broadcast in July. He has also directed episodes of Poldark, ITV's Vera and Stan Lee's Lucky Man.
Doctor Who fans in Australia - and there are quite a few of them, several of whom read From The North regularly - will be able to get their first look at Doctor Who: Shada on the big screen. BBC Worldwide ANZ and Sharmill Films have announced a limited-run theatrical screening of the completed story which combines original live-action footage with animation. In 1979, Shada was set to be the final six-part story of the seventeenth series of Doctor Who. Douglas Adams had completed the script, Tom Baker's Doctor was at the height of his popularity and the series had bigger audiences than ever before (albeit, at least in part because ITV had been on strike for most the previous few months). But, the most 1970s of factors, industrial action at the BBC in November 1979, meant that the studio scenes were never completed and the adventure was abandoned. Now, thirty-eight years on, Shada has finally been completed, combining the original, remastered footage, with brand new colour animation to complete the story. The animation will feature the newly-recorded voices of the original cast, including Tom Baker as The Doctor and Lalla Ward as Romana, performing the original script. Doctor Who: Shada will premiere in cinemas on 24 November.
It has been a while since he last set foot in the TARDIS, but former Doctor (and national heartthrob) David Tennant was reunited with his favourite big blue box in the finale of W1A. The comedy series based on the internal workings of the BBC gave narrator Tennant an excuse to talk about his beloved TARDIS, as fictional public relations guru Siobhan Sharp plotted to do something fun with the spaceship during the much-hyped BBCMe launch. Her plans obviously caused plenty of controversy within the team, with BBC Communications whizz Tracey Pritchard and Sharp almost coming to blows over it. The 'ensuing mayhem' and overarching theme of the show's final episode gave Tennant the perfect excuse to use the word 'time' and discuss the 'future' over and over again. BBC director-general Tony Hall also made a cameo appearance in the episode which marked the end of the show's third series and creator John Morton said we shouldn't expect any more. 'Because this is probably going to be the final one, I wrote it to its conclusion,' he said earlier this year.
David's former Broadchurch co-star, Olivia Colman, will be acceding to the throne in The Crown, a series spokesperson has confirmed. She will take over from Claire Foy, who plays Queen Elizabeth in the early years of her reign, in series three and four of the drama. Foy, who has won a Golden Globe for the part, has previously said that she was 'aware' she would only be in two series. Colman is expected to be seen in the role from 2019. It is yet to be revealed who will play her Prince Philip. A spokeswoman for the production said that the subscription service had 'confirmed' series three and four. Former Doctor Who actor yer actual Matt Smith is currently starring as the Duke of Edinburgh. He and Foy will soon be seen in the second series of the drama, due for release in December. 'This is the last stint,' Foy will be seen telling Graham Norton later in this week's edition of his BBC1 chat show. 'I always knew it was only going to be two series and then the part would be reincarnated and someone else takes over. That's the nature of the part.' Collie, who won a Golden Globe for The Night Manager, will play Her Maj in the years from 1963, when the monarch was thirty seven. Another actress is expected to take over the role in later life in subsequent series. Colman already has form starring as royalty. She played the future Queen Mother in 2012's Hyde Park On Hudson and will be seen as Queen Anne in next year's The Favourite.
Normally, dear blog reader, on any average week, this blogger is doing jolly well if he manages to get but one or two questions on Only Connect right. Imagine, therefore, yer actual Keith Telly Topping's considerable alarm when, on Friday's episode, he managed four (including the music round with The Smiths song, the Fibonacci Sequence question and the cramp/ramp/amp/MP one), one of the walls and several of the missing vowels round (including, Soft Cell as a 'thing that include almonds'). Dead proud, so this blogger was.
TV Comedy Line Of The Week: On Have I Got News For You, Ian Hislop revealed that he is something of a fan of Channel Four's Gogglebox. A programme which, as Paul Merton quickly pointed out, goes out at the same time as Have I Got News For You itself on Friday nights! 'Do you watch this?' Ian asked, horrified. Paul confirmed that, in fact, he does. 'I'm always amazed when I make the edit!' Later, Ian also let slip that, although he doesn't normally watch a lot of TV, he has been watching quite a bit of breakfast telly lately. 'What's the matter, Ian?' asked guest host Rhod Gilbert, 'have you lost your job?'
There was also, in the same episode, a very interesting little character assassination of Žans-Klods Junkers' chief aide, one Martin Selmayr who, Ian Hislop claimed, has some 'form' with regard to the leaking of confidential information. 'There've been occasions where there have only been about three people in the room and the contents of the meeting have then appeared in the Germans papers,' Ian said, adding that Selmayr is 'known as The Monster.' Rhod added that he has a number of additional nicknames, including: Rasputin (which led to a Boney M reference from Lucy Prebble), Stalin and Darth Vader. 'Do you know what the Daily Mail call him?' Rhod asked. 'Editor-in-Chief?' suggested Paul. Who, later, defended his sartorial choice on this week's episode - a rather tasty cravat - as being an homage to the late Roger Moore in The Persuaders! 'That makes me Tony Curtis, excellent!' added Armando Iannucci, with genuine delight.
And then, the single best moment of the episode, occurred at the climax of a spectacularly vicious couple of minutes on the subject of the MP Chris Heaton-Harris who, this week, sent a letter to several universities demanding ze names and ze details of ze lecturers who are teaching ze courses related to Brexit. So zey can be put on Ze List, no doubt. 'One critic accused him of "McCarthyism,"' noted Rhod Gilbert. 'Another said it was "idiotic Leninism". Lenin-and-McCarthyism, eh? Just let it be, I say!' Heh!
TV Comedy Line Of The Week, Number Two. Sandi Toksvig on the latest Qi and a non-sequitar which is sure to become a ringtone in years to come: 'If you've just tuned in, that's Alan Davies pretending to be an otter with a troublesome erection.' You probably had to be there.
'You had one pass,' John Humphreys sternly told a contestant on this week's episode of Mastermind. 'The tradename of the best-selling doll whose middle name in Millicent and surname is Roberts. Real name, as it were, is Barbie. Who knew?' Well, John, one imagines lots of people did - this blogger included. Sadly for her, the lady to whom the question was asked, didn't.
Here are the final and consolidated ratings for the Top Twenty Eight programmes broadcast in the week-ending Sunday 22 October 2017:-
1 Strictly Come Dancing - Sat BBC1 - 11.49m
2 The Great British Bake-Off - Tues Channel Four - 8.47m
3 Liar - Mon ITV - 8.71m
4 Coronation Street - Wed ITV - 7.79m
5 Gunpowder - Sat BBC1 - 7.49m
6 Countryfile - Sun BBC1 - 6.95m
7 EastEnders - Mon BBC1 - 6.94m
8 The X-Factor - Sat ITV - 6.79m
9 Emmerdale - Mon ITV - 6.75m
10 The Apprentice - Wed BBC1 - 6.73m
11 Doc Martin - Wed ITV - 6.42m
12 Casualty - Sat BBC1 - 5.94m
13 Antiques Roadshow - Sun BBC1 - 5.87m
14 Six O'Clock News - Mon BBC1 - 5.70m
15 Our Girl: Nepal Tour - Tues BBC1 - 5.23m
16 Pointless Z-List Celebrities - Sat BBC1 - 4.99m
17 Cold Feet - Fri ITV - 4.97m
18 Have I Got News For You - Fri BBC1 - 4.88m
19 The Last Post - Sun BBC1 - 4.77m
20 BBC News - Sun BBC1 - 4.47m
21 Paul O'Grady's For The Love Of Dogs - Thurs ITV - 4.29m
22 Holby City - Tues BBC1 - 4.07m
23 Eat Well For Less? - Wed BBC1 - 3.90m
24 The Graham Norton Show - Fri BBC1 - 3.89m
25 Bad Move - Wed ITV - 4.00m
26= Ten O'Clock News - Wed BBC1 - 3.73m
26= The ONE Show - Mon BBC1 - 3.73m
28 Match Of The Day - Sat BBC1 - 3.65m
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. Which is shame but, there you go. What can yer actual Keith Telly Topping do about it, dear blog reader, he's just one man? Anyway, the Sunday night Strictly Come Dancing results episode had a consolidated audience of 9.83 million punters. Given that the ratings for the opening five episodes of this year's competition have all been (marginally) up on the equivalent episodes from 2016, with each passing week that exceptionally silly lady at the Gruniad Morning Star who claimed, before a single episode had even been broadcast, that Strictly Come Dancing was 'in a fight for its survival' looks more and more plankish. As with virtually everything else that gets printed in the Gruniad Morning Star, frankly. The X-Factor - which, despite some of its lowest ever audiences during this series probably isn't 'in a fight for its survival' either, at least not yet - drew a total of 5.71 million viewers for its Sunday results episode. After the, generally appalled critical savaging that the opening episode of Lee Nelson's Porridge remake received, the third episode of the sitcom was again not featured in BBC1's top thirty most viewed programmes completely, thus achieving final viewing figures of less than 3.63 million. Chances of Dick and Ian getting a recommission for that one? Unlikely, this blogger would speculate. But then, stranger things in the wide, wide world of the tellybox have happened, dear blog reader. Twatting About On Ice getting a forthcoming revival on ITV being but one of them. On BBC2, the highest-rated show was the excellent Chris Packham: Asperger's & Me with 2.85 million. University Challenge drew 2.64 million, Louis Theroux: Dark States, 2.41 million, Gardeners' World, 2.06 million, Saving Lives At Sea, Strictly Come Dancing: It Takes Two and Mastermind, all 1.91 million. Only Connect was watched by 1.88 million, The Apprentice - You're Fired! by 1.82 million, the start of a new series of From The North favourite Qi by 1.80 million, Dad's Army by 1.55 million, Flog It! by 1.43 million, Coast: The Great Guide, by 1.39 million, a figure also achieved by both W1A and unfunny waste-of-oxygen Upstart Crow. In the case of the latter, 1.39 million people who, frankly, wouldn't know a joke if it gave them a haircut. Robot Wars attracted 1.33 million. Channel Four's highest-rated broadcast was, of course, The Great British Bake Off. F1: United States Grand Prix Live (3.46 million),Gogglebox (2.92 million) and George Michael: Freedom and Z-List Celebrity Hunted (both 2.61 million) followed. Grand Designs had 2.11 million viewers, Travel Man: Forty Eight Hours In Rome, 1.93 million, Ugly House To Lovely House With George Clarke and The Great British Bake-Off: An Extra Slice, both 1.72 million, The Supervet, 1.66 million, Educating Greater Manchester, 1.60 million, Tricks Of The Restaurant Trade, 1.59 million and The Last Leg With Adam Hills, 1.56 million. Hidden Britain By Drone was seen by eight hundred and sixty three thousand. Channel Five's top performer was The Yorkshire Vet, with an audience of 1.61 million. Can't Pay? We'll Take It Away!, Paddington Station 24/7, Rich House, Poor House and Ben Fogle: New Lives In The Wild rounded-off Five's list with audiences of 1.60 million, 1.60 million, 1.41 million and 1.40 million. Becky Watts: Killed For Kicks was watched by 1.18 million and Bad Habits, Holy Orders, by 1.12 million. Following the latest the international break, the return of some proper footie on the Sky Sports Premier League channel brought audiences of five hundred and thirty five thousand for Stottingtot Hotshots pants-down hiding of The Liverpool Alaabam Yee-Haws. 1.18 million punters watched Herr Klopp's Reds getting utterly humiliated Sky Sports Main Event. Meanwhile, Sunday's other game, relegation threatened Everton Soft Toffees getting five put past them by The Arse had three hundred and seventy six thousand on SS:PL, plus six hundred and thirty seven thousand on Main Event. Further Premier League action, Moscow Chelski's squeaky victory against Watford was watched by four hundred and eighty six thousand on Main Event and an additional two hundred and fifty eight thousand on SS: PL. West Hamster United versus Brighton & Hove Albinos (ninety five thousand, plus three hundred and eighty six thousand on Main Event and one hundred and twenty four thousand on Sky Sports Mix) and Leicester Versus West Bromwich Albinos (ninety one thousand, plus three hundred and fifty two thousand) were the other Premier League games covered this particular weekend. The big Championship derby of the weekend, Ipswich against Norwich drew one hundred and eighty four thousand on Main Event and one hundred and sixty three thousand on Sky Sports Football. Millwall versus Birmingham drew one hundred and seventy eight thousand on Sky Sports Football, whilst Barcelona against Malaga had ninety three thousand. Gillette Soccer Saturday was seen by one hundred and ninety thousand on the Premier League channel, two hundred and seventy six thousand on Sky Sports Football and three hundred and ninety four thousand on Sky Sports News HQ. On Sky Sports Cricket the channel's highest audience of the week was live coverage of the India Versus New Zealand ODI with twenty one thousand. A similar audience watched Cricket's Greatest Games. Don't worry, guys, The Ashes starts soon. Live United States Grand Prix coverage was viewed by six hundred and five thousand punters on Sky Sports F1 and a further two hundred and fifty one thousand on the Sky Sports Main Event simultcast. Live WWE Late Night Raw attracted thirty eight thousand viewers on Sky Sports Arena. Sky 1's weekly top-ten was headed by the return for a new series of The Flash with nine hundred and ninety one thousand viewers. Modern Family had eight hundred and ninety thousand thousand. Worthless, rancid stream of festering, toxic spew A League Of Their Own, attracted eight hundred and twenty one thousand punters - every single one of whom needs to take a damned good look in the mirror for any remote signs of common sense, dignity or self-worth. The equally unfunny Stella drew six hundred and fifty seven thousand. For shame, people of Great Britain, for shame. The Russell Howard Hour was seen by six hundred and thirty six thousand. It's not all bad news, however. DC's Legends Of Tomorrow, Arrow and Supergirl all featured in the top ten whilst Sing: Ultimate A Cappella did not. So, it would appear that the British viewing public does, sometimes, recognise a stinking, foul turd when they are presented with one. Sky Arts' Landscape Artist Of The Year was viewed by two hundred and eighty seven thousand viewers. Wor Geet Canny Brian Johnson's A Life On The Road drew forty two thousand punters. Sky Atlantic's list was topped by episode seven of Tin Star with two hundred and seven thousand. Ray Donovan had two hundred and four thousand, Last Week Tonight With John Oliver, one hundred and forty six thousand, the fourth part of The Deuce, one hundred and three thousand, Curb Your Enthusiasm, eighty one thousand and the latest Game Of Thrones repeat, seventy eight thousand. On Sky Living, Criminal Minds drew by seven hundred and sixty nine thousand whilst Chicago Fire had five hundred and twenty seven thousand. Law & Order: True Crime attracted two hundred and thirty three thousand. Sing was watched by 1.63 million punters on Sky Cinema Premiere. Midsomer Murders was ITV3's top-rated drama (seven hundred and twenty thousand viewers). Foyle's War was seen by six hundred and thirty thousand. Coverage of the World Series Of Tars was seen by three hundred and thirty six thousand on ITV4. Hornblower and The Chase: Z-List Celebrity Special drew two hundred and eighty one thousand and two hundred and sixty nine thousand, respectively. ITV2's top-ten was headed by full-of-its-own-importance bucket of diarrhoea, Z-List Celebrity Juice, seen by 1.26 million sad, crushed victims of society. The movies Lord Of The Rings: The Two Towers and The Haunted Mansion attracted seven hundred and five thousand and five hundred and eighty thousand. Vera - an episode that, remarkably, this blogger hadn't previously seen - headed ITV Encore's top ten with seventy thousand viewers, followed by Upstairs Downstairs (fifty one thousand) and Jordskott II (forty four thousand). Shallow and appalling The Only Way Is Essex, was viewed by nine hundred and twenty two thousand of exactly the sort of specimens who enjoy such risible and ugly exercises in z-list-celebrity-by-non-entity on ITVBe. Similarly tripe conceit, The Real Housewives Of Cheshire was seen by six hundred and thirty five thousand. Broken Britain in a sentence, dear blog reader. BBC4's list was headed by Britain's Lost Masterpieces (seven hundred and nineteen thousand) and The Hidden Killers Of The Tudor Home (five hundred and ninety three thousand). Lucy Worsley: Elizabeth I's Battle For God's Music had five hundred and fifty seven thousand. England's Reformation: Three Books That Changed A Nation drew five hundred and forty one thousand, Tunes For Tyrants: Music & Power With Suzy Klein, five hundred and thirty one thousand and The Viet'Nam War, four hundred and ninety thousand. Ocean Giants attracted four hundred and fifty four thousand, The Real White Queen & her Rivals, four hundred and thirty four thousand and Beck, four hundred and five thousand. 5USA's latest Chicago PD episode was viewed by six hundred and sixty seven thousand punters, NCIS: Los Angeles by five hundred and fifty seven thousand, Castle by four hundred and sixty eight thousand, Bull by three hundred and fifty one thousand and Longmire by three hundred and seventeen thousand. On Five Star, Home & Away scored four hundred and nineteen thousand. The Delta Force topped the most-watched broadcasts of CBS Action (one hundred and twelve thousand). Medium attracted one hundred and one thousand on CBS Drama. For FOX's sake, The Gifted's third episode was watched by five hundred and eighty five thousand. American Horror Story: Cult had two hundred and seventy one thousand and Lucifer, two hundred and two thousand. Law & Order: Special Victims Unit continued with two hundred and sixty eight thousand viewers on The Universal Channel, followed by Private Eyes and the movie Coyote Ugly (one hundred and eighty seven thousand and one hundred and thirty seven thousand, respectively). On Dave, the second episode of Red Dwarf XII give the channel another bumper audience, 1.18 million punters. Smeggin' Hell! Funny as a geet ugly boil on ones sore chap, Taskmaster was watched by six hundred and fifty two thousand very undiscerning punters. Another example of laughless tripe, Zapped was seen by four hundred and sixty six thousand. have I Got A Bit More News For You had three hundred and forty three thousand and Qi XL, by two hundred and sixty six thousand. Drama's Father Brown attracted five hundred and thirty four thousand viewers and Inspector George Gently, four hundred and sixty six thousand. Death In Paradise was seen by four hundred and thirteen thousand New Tricks by three hundred and ninety nine thousand. Normal Drama Channel staples, Inspector George Gently (one hundred and eighty nine thousand), Death In Paradise (one hundred and nineteen thousand) and New Tricks (ninety one thousand) also appeared in the weekly top-ten of Alibi. Sony TV's weekly list was headed by the movies The Return of The Pink Panther (fifty one thousand), Jumanji (forty eight thousand) and Dracula: Dead & Loving It (forty three thousand). Yesterday's repeat of the documentary Prince Philip - The Plot To Make A King drew two hundred and twenty eight thousand, whilst Who Do You Think You Are? attracted one hundred and ninety thousand and David Starkey's Monarchy, one hundred and eighty thousand. Your TV's repeat run of Bones series two brought in one hundred and three thousand. On the Discovery Channel, Gold Rush was seen by three hundred and eighty three thousand viewers. Garage Rehab had one hundred and seventy one thousand, Alaska: The Last Frontier, one hundred and thirty four thousand, Diesel Brothers, ninety six thousand and Ed Stafford: Left For Dead, eighty seven thousand. Wor Geet Canny Robson Green's Ultimate Catch had sixty six thousand. From The North cult fave Wheeler Dealers appeared in the weekly top tens of both Discovery Shed (sixty three thousand) and Discovery Turbo (twenty two thousand). Discovery History's Toy Hunters headed the top ten with twenty three thousand. Massive Machines attracted eighteen thousand. On Discovery Science, Food Factory was seen by fifty four thousand. On Quest, Salvage Hunters was watched by three hundred and twenty six thousand. Pick's Z Nation had an audience of three hundred and forty four thousand. National Geographic's list was headed by Air Crash Investigations and Lost Ships Of Rome. They were watched by one hundred and twenty four thousand and sixty nine thousand respectively. National Geographic Wild's Man Versus Animal was viewed by thirty four thousand. The History Channel's most-seen programmes were WW2 Treasure Hunters (one hundred and thirty four thousand) and Forged In Fire (seventy seven thousand). Ancient Aliens on the Military History channel was seen by thirty three thousand. Jo Frost On Britain's Killer Kids, The Murder Of Laci Peterson, Leah Remini: Scientology & The Aftermath and Homicide: Hours To Kill were Crime & Investigation's top-rated programmes with one hundred and fourteen thousand, forty seven thousand, forty one thousand and forty thousand blood-and-snots-lovers, respectively. From The North's current favourite afternoon distraction, Homicide Hunter drew thirty seven thousand. Gone, Six Degrees Of Murder, American Monster and Britain's Deadly Women headed Investigation Discovery's list (seventy four thousand, sixty thousand, fifty two thousand and forty eight thousand respectively). Martin Kemp's Murder Files was watched by forty one thousand people who, presumably, thought it was a documentary about the back-stage goings on during the final Spandau Ballet tour. It wasn't. GOLD's - seemingly never-ending - repeat run of Mrs Brown's Boys had two hundred and five thousand. Comedy Central's largest audience of the week was for Impractical Jokers with four hundred and eleven thousand. On More4, Nine-Nine-Nine: What's Your Emergency? was the highest-rated programme with four hundred and fifty thousand. Richard Wilson's Highland Fling had three hundred and eighty six thousand and Hunt For The Arctic Ghost Ship, three hundred and eight four thousand. E4's list was topped by a new series of The Big Bang Theory 2.59 million, by a huge distance the largest multichannels audience of the week). Hollyoaks had nine hundred and fifty one thousand. The latest episode of The Exorcist, headed Syfy's top-ten with one hundred and ninety three thousand whilst Blood Drive was watched by one hundred and ten thousand. The Horror Channel's weekly list was topped by Stephen King's Thinner (two hundred and ninety thousand) and several episode of Star Trek: Voyager - horrible, certainly, but horror? Amicus' schlock 1972 masterpiece Tales From The Crypt was seen by one hundred and six thousand. Waterloo Road, Growth Of London and Scotland Yard topped Talking Pictures list, with ninety three thousand, sixty three thousand and fifty six thousand respectively. The A-Team had one hundred and ninety seven thousand on Spike. Frontier Borneo was viewed by twenty six thousand on Eden, whilst South Pacific and The Life Of Mammals both had twenty two thousand. Treehouse Masters was the Animal Planet's most-watched programme with sixty eight thousand. MasterChef Australia on W attracted three hundred and twenty six thousand punters. True Crime's Fatal Attraction was seen by seventy three thousand viewers. On True Entertainment, M*A*S*H, was watched by one hundred and twenty two thousand punters. Scandimania drew seventy two thousand on Good Food. TLC's list was headed by Counting On (one hundred and twenty seven thousand). Shameful loose stool water Geordie Shore on MTV was viewed by four hundred and ten thousand pure total glakes whilst equally worthless Teen Mom 2 had two hundred and fifty eight thousand. Ghost Adventures was seen by two hundred and forty three thousand on Really. For a channel with that name, they show an awful lot of programmes about non-existent crud. Tom & Jerry had one hundred and seventeen thousand viewers on Boomerang. Lawrence Of Arabia topped PBS America's weekly list with twenty three thousand. On Cbeebies, Our Family was seen by five hundred and twenty thousand, Apple Tree House by four hundred and sixty nine thousand, Nelly & Nora by four hundred and fifty seven thousand and Clangers by four hundred and thirty nine thousand. Piny Institute Of New York had ninety nine thousand on the Pop Channel. On AMC, Fear The Walking Dead was watched by fifteen thousand. American Restoration drew one hundred and twelve thousand punters on Blaze. Keeping Up With The Kardashians attracted two hundred and eight thousand viewers on E! whilst Total Bellas had one hundred and two thousand. Britain's Next Top Model pulled in one hundred and forty six thousand on Lifetime. The Phil Mack Country Show was seen by thirty five thousand on Keep It Country. Airwolf drew thirty six thousand on Forces TV. Queen Victoria's Children attracted forty eight thousand on London Live. Relentless drew one hundred and fifty four thousand to the Movies 4 Men channel.

And now, dear blog reader, for the latest '... and this crap constitutes "news", apparently?' story. Louise Minchin accidentally swore on BBC Breakfast earlier this week. Stop the presses. As the presenters were talking about viewers' comments to a news story about sprinkler systems being fitted in schools, Louise couldn't quite get the words out that she wanted, much to co-host Dan Walker's amusement. 'Ian says all schools irrespective of age should be shit... fit ... fitted, I'm sorry, with sprinklers across the whole of the UK. Sometimes I should speak slower.' This, dear blog reader, is the sort of rank and utter bollocks that some glakes chose to care about.
This Morning viewers were quick to mock witless waste-of-space cretin Amanda Holden for a daft question that she asked Major Tim Peake. The British astronaut was on Thursday's episode of the alarmingly lightweight ITV daytime magazine show to talk about life in space and his experiences on-board the International Space Station. Seemingly, however, Holden had not bothered to do any research as to what Major Tim's mission actually was. She said: 'A question I would like to ask and I don't know whether you'd be allowed to answer it really because it might be a naughty thing, is when you went to the Moon, did you take a piece of the Moon and bring it back home with you?' Of course, no astronaut has walked on the Moon since 1972 and while Major Tim did go on a spacewalk whilst he was on the ISS, he didn't land on the Moon. Or, anywhere even remotely close to it. Tim handled the idiotic question with grace by telling Holden he wasn't on the Moon, leading Amanda to try to backtrack by asking if there was anything 'floating about you could steal.' What planet is she on, one wonders?
The Great British Bake Off has been cleared over the Noel Fielding refrigerator joke. Ofcom received fifty five whinges - from arseholes with nothing more constructive to do with their time, seemingly - over the sequence which saw That Bloody Weirdo Fielding inside a fridge during the 'Showstopper Challenge', with co-host Sandi Toksvig opening and closing the door on him. The broadcasting watchdog has confirmed that Bake Off won't get into trouble over this. 'We assessed complaints that a scene in this programme was potentially dangerous and could be imitated by children,' an Ofcom spokesperson said. 'We found that the scene was very brief and occurred later in the programme, when younger children were least likely to be watching.' Tragically, Ofcom did not take the opportunity to publicly name and shamed the fifty five planks that wasted Ofcom's valuable time having to deal with this crap or, indeed, tell the fifty five to grow the fek up. Which, some might regard as an opportunity very much missed.
'Not to speak ill of the dead, but he was a Grade-A bastard!' There was another fine episode of Gotham broadcast in the US this week - a very good review of which can be found here - featuring the welcome return of From The North favourite Morena Baccarin.
Twin Peaks: The Return left the fate of Dale Cooper and Laura Palmer ambiguous in one of TV's most perplexing cliffhangers of all time, but it turns out we may get some answers after all. Just two months on from the Showtime series prelexing viewers and spawning an Interweb-melting number of fan theories, co-creator Mark Frost has sort of hinted that a fourth series of the cult masterpiece isn't entirely impossible. 'I haven't decided yet [about the future],' Frost admitted to IndieWire. 'I think it's still an open question and it's one that we're looking at and one that I think Showtime is musing as well.' Those comments are certainly more encouraging than David Lynch's recent insistence that there have been 'zero talks' about making more Twin Peaks. 'It's something you have to think long and hard about,' Frost acknowledged. 'We'll make the decision when the time is right. There certainly is no sense of urgency about it.' As previously noted in some ways, this blogger kind-of hopes that all this talk of further Twin Peaks comes to nothing. That would be too conventional, too obvious, far too ordinary for a series which was always, from Day One, as truly out-there as Twin Peaks. But, only in some ways. In others, this blogger, like everybody else, would really like to know where Dale and Laura are, what the Hell's up with Sarah, what happened to Audrey, whether Phillip Jeffries is going to spend eternity as a giant steampunk teapot ... et cetera. Keith Telly Topping is only human after all.
Filming for the eighth - and final - series of yer actual Game Of Thrones - a popular television series, you might have heard of it - is, reportedly under way. At least it is according to the Independent's Jack Shepherd who, in a piece of journalism worthy of some sort of really cheap prize has, seemingly, scoured lots of social media sites, found half-a-dozen references to actors on the popular fantasy drama, being back in Northern Ireland and, printed this as 'news'. One is sure Jack's parents are very proud of him in his new role as a stenographer rather than a journalist. Does anyone remember when the Indi used to be a 'real' newspaper? No, this blogger neither, Keith Telly Topping is only fifty four.
Something of a terrible tragedy occurred this week on ITV4 during their daily repeat run of The Avengers. Diana Rigg only went and regenerated into Linda Thorson. It's all downhill from here, dear blog reader (a handful of really very good episodes notwithstanding). This blogger is with Al Bundy on that score: 'This isn't an Emma Peel Avengers. This is a Linda "We-Couldn't-Get-Anybody-Else-To-Do-The-Show" Thorson Avengers. We've been hornswoggled.'
The latest episode of this blogger's old mate Greg Bakun's seriously excellent podcast, From The Archive is now extremely available. And, it's free, too; subscribe at iTunes.
And, speaking of Classic British TV, the excellent Kaleidoscope group have this week announced that a long-missing episode of Till Death Us Do Part (Sex Before Marriage, first broadcast on 2 January 1967) has been recovered. Previously only a couple of short clips and an audio recording of the episode were known to exist. The episode was previously held by a private collector. The BFI will show the episode as part of its next Missing Believed Wiped event in London on 16 December.
'Pipes wants to see everybody.' There is a fascinating piece on the BBC News website celebrating the thirty fifth anniversary of Stephen Volk's notorious, bowel-shatteringly scary Ghostwatch which so messed-up the head of yer actual Keith Telly Topping (as a reasonably balanced twenty nine year old, let it be noted) in October 1992. Mind you, in the interests of historical accuracy, this blogger should note that he'd spent much of the day in Leicester watching his beloved (though, even then unsellable) Magpies getting beat so he was already in a perfectly horrified mood by the time he got home just in time to watch the damn thing. Never repeated, but available of DVD should you wish to be disturbed beyond belief, Ghostwatch still has a power and a menace that most dramatic television programmes will never get within a hundred miles of. Especially if your only experience of Michael Parkinson is of that nice chap who gives away pens to Octogenarians on afternoon telly.
Apple has hired Jay Hunt - the former controller of BBC1 and chief creative officer of Channel Four - to join its video team. Hunt was responsible for the commissioning TV shows including Sherlock and Luther at the BBC before helping Channel Four lure away The Great British Bake Off. Mind you, she also commissioned Big Top, Don't Scare The Hare and The Ludicrous Ms Dahl so, you know, let's not get too carried away with the idea that she was so sort of commissioning genius. Her title at Apple will be creative director, Europe, worldwide video. Apple has not specified what it involves, but she is expected to commission programmes on its behalf. Until now, Apple's own programming has served as an adjunct to its Music subscription service and included Planet Of The Apps - a business reality TV competition - and Carpool Karaoke - a spin-off from James Corden's Late Late Show. However, the US firm has committed one billion dollars to acquire and produce further content over the coming months, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal. Earlier in the year, Apple revealed it had hired two Sony Pictures TV executives. Jamie Erlicht and Zack Van Amburg had overseen Breaking Bad, Better Call Saul and Rescue Me among other US shows. These developments have fuelled speculation that the company is preparing to launch a video subscription service to rival Netflix and Amazon Video, with original content, after failing to convince the US networks to let it sell bundles of their programming. 'It seems like Apple is going for a worldwide push already, even though it hasn't yet made much headway in the US,' Tom Harrington, an analyst at research firm Enders Analysis to the Gruniad Morning Star. 'Jay Hunt is exceptional in the commissioning space. She's exceptional at finding programmes that fit the outlet she's working at. She could have worked anywhere she wanted.' Apple is not the only US tech giant investing in the TV industry. Facebook launched its Watch service in the US in August, offering cookery, fitness and travel-themed programmes among other content. Twitter is developing news programming in conjunction with Bloomberg and Buzzfeed and has also acquired streaming rights to several sports events. Google continues to invest in its YouTube Red service, which produces advert-free films and shows for subscribers.
The chief executive of Channel Four has defended the broadcaster's seventy five million knicker purchase of The Great British Bake Off, saying it did not 'steal' the show from the BBC. One or two people even believed him. David Abraham claimed to the digital, culture, media and sport select committee on Tuesday that the independent company behind the show, Greed Productions, had been 'unhappy' and that Channel Four had only 'intervened at the point the decision was being made to leave the BBC. This was not a snatch from the BBC,' he claimed. Abraham said that the deal had been 'a financial success' despite a dip in viewing figures since the show moved channels. 'Audience feedback and reaction in the media is that many people prefer the show in its new guise than the version on the BBC. That is obviously subjective, but I think it has been a successful transfer.' He produced absolutely no evidence to support this 'subjective' claim. The Conservative MP Rebecca Pow argued that the new line-up, comprising the original judge Paul Hollywood and newcomers Prue Leith, Sandi Toksvig and Noel Fielding, were 'all old-hat presenters seen everywhere else. What's fresh about it apart from the ingredients?' she asked. Abraham, who is standing down at the end of the week after seven years as chief executive, said: 'It is a much-loved show, but like all shows needs to be kept fresh. We haven't meddled with the format but there has been some imagination applied to the casting. It is a commercial hit that draws in audiences that can help pay for other parts of our business that are not profitable. Bake Off helps to pay for Channel Four News, in effect. We make no apology for acquiring a hit that helps us do that.' When challenged that viewing is 'well down' on the heights of the last series on the BBC, the final of which drew fourteen million viewers, he said Channel Four's version was the biggest hit the broadcaster had since Big Brother's peak more than a decade ago. Abraham said Bake Off, which reaches the semi-final on Tuesday night, has attracted ten million viewers per episode on Channel Four when live, catch-up and repeat viewing is totalled. The Channel Four chairman, Charles Gurassa, said: 'If we had been unsuccessful we would have seen millions of pounds of advertising - it is the biggest show on TV - potentially going to a competitor. We were competing with ITV, Sky and Netflix. There wasn't a nil-cost option for us.' Abraham said that the show had 'met and exceeded' financial targets, recouping more than the twenty five million smacker-a-year needed to make it a profitable deal. He also defended the controversial documentary My Week As A Muslim, which was broadcast on Monday night, featuring a white woman in brownface and a prosthetic nose to make her look Pakistani. The documentary, which was made without consulting groups such as the Muslim Council of Britain, happened to be filmed in the week of the Manchester Arena terrorist attack. A spokeswoman for the MCB said that there was value in consulting beyond those directly involved in programme-making. 'This may help the production understand the potential national impact of sensitive issues, the strength of feeling of which appears to have been underestimated,' she said. Abraham said: 'I thought, personally, it was a thoughtful programmer, a responsible programme, all the participants entered into the process voluntarily. Clearly you can't enter into a project like this and negotiate with multiple parties.' Abraham and Gurassa offered few details on whether Channel Four would be relocating from the capital. They said only that they were 'confident' of reaching a deal with the government to move 'some functions' out of London, such as a much bigger proportion of its one hundred and twenty-member commissioning team. Abraham admitted that only 'three or four' of the team lived outside the capital. The broadcaster also indicated that it was 'likely' to spend a higher proportion of its six hundred and twenty nine million quid annual programming budget on shows made by production companies based outside London.
The BBC has reportedly launched an investigation into one of its radio presenters after he was accused of sexual harassment. The unnamed presenter is being investigated by the BBC's corporate security and investigations team, which is led by Carol Ann Kinley-Smith, a former Metropolitan police detective. The Daily Scum Mail reported that four women who claim to have been groped by the man have submitted formal complaints to the BBC. He is alleged to have approached women from behind and put his hand underneath their skirt.
Actresses Selma Blair and Rachel McAdams are the latest women to make allegations against film director James Toback. They are among more than two hundred women who have made claims about his behaviour. Cruel Intentions star Blair told Vanity Fair that Toback sexually assaulted her and then 'intimidated her' into silence, while McAdams claimed that he 'propositioned' her in a hotel room when she was a student. Toback has denied allegations about him originally made in the LA Times. Last Sunday the newspaper published claims of harassment made by thirty eight women. Toback denied those original accusations and did not respond when the paper published new accounts, which had not been verified. Blair claimed in the article that Toback persuaded her to 'perform a monologue' while she was topless in a hotel room in 1999. She said that he then rubbed himself against her leg, then told her: 'There is a girl who went against me. She was going to talk about something I did.' He then, allegedly, told Blair that the girl in question would 'end up in the Hudson River with cement blocks on her feet' if she ever spoke about what happened. In her account, McAdams claims that Toback invited her to his hotel room after asking her to 'audition' for a role and that 'pretty quickly the conversation turned sexual. It was all so confusing,' she told Vanity Fair. 'I kept thinking, "When are we getting to the rehearsal part?"' Toback allegedly went to the bathroom and returned to make a sexual proposition. McAdams said that she 'excused herself,' feeling that she had been in the room 'forever. I kept thinking, "This is going to become normal any minute now. This is going to all make sense. This is all above-board somehow,"' she is quoted as saying. 'Eventually I just realised that it wasn't.' McAdams said that she 'felt lucky' that 'he didn't actually physically assault me in any way.' Blair and McAdams' accounts come after fellow actress Julianne Moore accused Toback of sexual misconduct.
Meanwhile, the rat-faced loathsome wretched odious nasty slavver-merchant, George Formby lookalike (and tit) Gove has been forced to snivellingly apologise - 'unreservedly' - after comparing being interviewed by BBC presenter John Humphrys to 'going into Harvey Weinstein's bedroom.' The - one imagines soon-to-be-former - environment secretary was taking part in a special edition of Radio 4's Today programme in front of a live audience when he made the remarks. Pretty much all of whom gasped at the sheer crassness of such a stupid, unhelpful comment from the rat-faced loathsome wretched odious nasty slavver-merchant, George Formby lookalike (and tit) Gove. He said in such an interview, 'you hope to emerge with your dignity intact.' The rat-faced loathsome wretched odious nasty slavver-merchant, George Formby lookalike (and tit) Gove claimed that it had been 'a clumsy attempt at humour.' Because, of course, making jokes about women being - allegedly - sexually harassed is exactly what one expects from a member of the cabinet.
Coronation Street actor Bruno Langley has left the ITV drama 'following an internal inquiry,' the broadcaster says. The departure of Langley, who played the character Todd Grimshaw for sixteen years, followed claims that he assaulted a woman in a bar, the Sunday Mirra said. Langley confirmed that he had left the soap and denied any claims of wrongdoing or involvement in any naughty malarkey, telling the paper that he would 'make a further statement in due course.' ITV said, rather flatly: 'Bruno Langley is no longer contracted to Coronation Street.' Langley played Todd Grimshaw, the first openly gay character in the soap's fifty seven-year history, after first joining the programme in 2001. He also appeared on two episodes of Doctor Who in 2005. And, he was quite good in the first one. Langley's contract with the show reportedly ended on 26 October following an inquiry. In a statement, Langley said: 'Sadly, I will no longer be working on Coronation Street. Acting on the show has been the fulfilment of a personal dream. Playing the role of Todd Grimshaw since I was seventeen years old has been a huge part of my life and an absolute honour. I would like to thank all of my friends who work on the show for their love, friendship and support during this extremely difficult period. I will make a further statement in due course, and when I am able to do so.'
Heathrow Airport says that it has launched an internal investigation after a USB stick containing security information was reportedly found on the street. The Sunday Mirra reported that the USB stick had seventy six folders with maps, videos and documents, including details of measures used to protect the Queen. A man is alleged to have found it in West London and handed it into the paper, it said. Rather than, you know, handing it to the police or the proper owners as, one hopes, most people would do. Blimey, what a hero you are, mate. Heathrow said that all of its security plans had been reviewed and it was 'confident' the airport was secure. 'We have also launched an internal investigation to understand how this happened and are taking steps to prevent a similar occurrence in future,' it said. The Sunday Mirra said there were 'at least' one hundred and seventy four documents on the stick, which it said was found on the pavement, and some were marked as 'confidential' or 'restricted', but could be read. Some files allegedly 'disclosed the types of ID needed to access restricted areas,' a timetable of security patrols and maps pinpointing CCTV cameras, the paper claimed. One document highlighted recent terror attacks and talked about the type of threat the airport could face, it said. The statement from the airport said Heathrow's 'top priority' was the safety and security of passengers and staff. 'The UK and Heathrow have some of the most robust aviation security measures in the world and we remain vigilant to evolving threats by updating our procedures on a daily basis.'
England produced a sensational performance to come from two goals down to thrash Spain five-two and win the Under-Seventeen football World Cup in India. The Three Lions had never gone beyond the quarter-finals in the tournament before but emulated England Under Twenties who won their own World Cup in June. The margin of victory did not flatter Steve Cooper's side, who were superb throughout and could consider themselves unlucky to fall behind to a double from Barcelona forward Sergio Gomez. Heads did not drop, however and from the moment that Wolverhampton Wanderings forward Morgan Gibbs-White added to Rhian Brewster's eighth goal of the tournament to equalise, England looked the most likely winners. Phil Foden, an outstanding talent for Sheikh Yer Man City and the man of the match, stole in at the back post to put England ahead and added the fifth late on with a neat shot. Moscow Chelski FC defender Marc Guehi also got on the scoresheet, with the fourth from close range, as England avenged Spain's victory in the European Championship final in May. The stereotypical roles of the two nations were reversed, as England bossed possession and Spain looked to hit on the counter, a tactic that worked as Gomes twice profited from half-cleared balls inside the area. Those goals were two of just five Spanish efforts on target though, while England had twenty five shots on goal. Liverpool Alabama Yee-Haws striker Brewster secured the tournament's golden boot with the header that put the game back within reach but it was the players just behind him who really stood out. In player of the tournament Foden and Moscow Chelski FC winger Callum Hudson-Odoi, this England side had the players to seriously hurt Spain, almost at will in the second half. Poor Bloody Fulham wing-back Steven Sessegnon also impressed, setting up the first two goals with powerful overlapping runs, while another major player, Jadon Sancho, was not involved after being recalled by his new club, Borussia Dortmund. It may be twenty one years since England's senior men's team reached the last four of a major tournament and the Football Association may be having a bad time of things off the pitch, but on it, at all other levels, the signs are good. England won the European Under-Nineteens Championship with a two-one victory over Portugal in Georgia in July, the Under-Twenties won the World Cup in June, Aidy Boothroyd's Under-Twenty Ones lost on penalties to Germany at the semi-final stage this summer and this Under-Seventeen side lost the Euro final to Spain on penalties in May.
Salford City goalkeeper Max Crocombe was sent off for urinating during his side's two-one win at Bradford Park Avenue. The twenty four-year-old New Zealander was shown a straight red card in the eighty seventh minute of the National League North game for having a widdle in an untoward manner. 'He was told by the steward twice not to do it and he went ahead and had a pee,' snitched Park Avenue secretary Colin Barker. Crocombe later apologised for his actions, saying that he has been 'in an uncomfortable position' and 'made an error in judgment.' Writing on his Twitter account, he added: 'My intention was never to offend anyone and I'd like to apologise to both clubs and sets of supporters.' But, you know, when you've got to go, you've got to go, particularly if you're bustin' for a slash. A spectator reportedly made a formal whinge and snitched Crocombe up to the poliss good and proper like a dirty stinkin' Copper's Nark. Barker added: 'He went to the side of the stand as I understand it. I didn't actually see it, but the referee definitely sent him off for it because he was alerted to it by his linesman.' Earlier this month Giovanni Liberti was banned for five games for urinating at away fans in a Serie D game in Italy. One has heard about footballers taking the piss out of opposition fans before but, seldom, giving it.
And now, dear blog reader ...
Soon-to-be-former Prmie Minister Theresa May has reportedly 'ordered an investigation' into claims about the conduct of minister Mark Garnier. Garnier has admitted asking his secretary to 'buy sex toys for him' and calling her 'sugar tits,' according to the Scum Mail on Sunday. The PM has asked the Cabinet Office to look at whether his reported actions 'broke the ministerial code,' Health Secretary the vile and odious rascal Hunt told the BBC. The Prime Minister is writing to Commons Speaker John Bercow, calling for a new contractually-binding grievance procedure to be set up for all MPs and their staff, Hunt told The Andrew Marr show. May will also be asking Bercow for 'his advice' on how 'the culture at Westminster can be changed,' the vile and odious rascal Hunt added. Hunt said that recent newspaper claims about 'inappropriate behaviour' by MPs and ministers were 'totally unacceptable, if true.' Asked about the working culture at Westminster, Hunt said: 'Things have got better in recent years but there is still some way to go. There are mums and dads who have daughters who are politics students hoping to get a job in Westminster and they must be able to be confident that if they get that job, their daughter will not be subject to some of these behaviours that we have been seeing.' Asked about the idea of setting up a new body that complaints can be referred to, Hunt said: 'I think there is merit in the idea of having someone anonymous that you can talk to if you are unhappy about the way you have been treated.' Garnier's former secretary, Caroline Edmondson, told the Scum Mail on Sunday that Garnier had given her money to buy two vibrators at a Soho sex shop. Edmondson, who has since left to work for another MP, was quoted as saying that on another occasion in a bar, in front of witnesses, Garnier told her: 'You are going nowhere, sugar tits.' The Scum Mail reported that Garnier, an international trade minister, had admitted the claims, saying: 'I'm not going to deny it, because I'm not going to be dishonest. I'm going to have to take it on the chin.' The newspaper said that Garnier had 'conceded' his actions 'could' look like 'dinosaur behaviour' in 'the current climate,' but added: 'It absolutely does not constitute harassment.' Meanwhile, former Welsh Secretary Stephen Crabb was reported by the Sunday Torygraph to have admitted sending 'explicit' messages to a nineteen-year-old woman after a job interview at Westminster in 2013. The married MP, who admitted meeting the woman 'a few times,' was quoted by the paper as saying that he had been 'foolish' but that there had been no sexual contact. 'I accept any kind of sexual chatter like this is totally wrong and I am sorry for my actions,' the MP for Preseli Pembrokeshire told the newspaper. Crabb resigned last year as work and pensions secretary following reports of a similar incident.
The manufacturers of a new brand of 'luxury' black toilet paper in Brazil have been accused of racism for using the slogan 'Black is Beautiful' as part of an advertising campaign starring a famous white actress. The Personal VIP Black toilet paper was launched on Monday by Santher, a Brazilian company based in São Paulo, with a glossy advertising campaign starring Marina Ruy Barbosa, a white, red-haired, blue-eyed actress who appears naked except for swaths of the black toilet paper. Black activists and commentators accused the company of 'appropriating' the name of a cultural movement from the 1960s which spread around the world and was also used by South African anti-apartheid campaigner the late Steve Biko. Not only that of course, but also black toilet paper is a jolly bad idea since there's every possibility that one would not be able to see whether one has successfully wiped all of the clinkers off ones arse. Just a thought.
A couple have 'revealed' how The X Factor interrupted their sex in a very painful and bloody way. According to Metro - so, not a 'real' newspaper, then - Emma Pearce and Allan Blake were having The Sex in their living room when Emma 'jolted around' to watch the show which was on TV in the background. One imagines it must've been a thoroughly engrossing slab of The Sex if Emma got distracted by Dermot O'Dreary and Wee Shughie McFee, the sour-faced Scottish chef off Crossroads, but that's by-the-by. Explaining how they ended up in having The Sex during the show, Emma told the paper: '[Allan] left the room during the adverts and came back with a naughty grin on his face, telling me he was "in the mood." I'd no idea why - we hadn't been watching anything sexy - but I said I was up for it too, so long as I could still watch The X Factor.' Wow, how romantic. 'Things started happening, but Allan's head kept blocking the telly. I'm still not quite sure how it happened, but I sort of jolted my body, so I could see Dermot reading the results properly and must've accidentally pushed him the other way.' In the process she managed to rip the skin on his penis. Which, one imagines, made his eyes water. Emma, from St Austell, said: 'Next thing I knew, there was blood everywhere.' Well, that's The X Factor for you.
A student teacher has spoken - again, to Metro, if not to a proper newspaper - about how she got a vibrator stuck right up her arse during The Sex. Emma Phillips, a mother of one from Wallasey, first thought that her boyfriend, Lee, had 'hidden the vibrator under a pillow as a prank.' But then when she pressed down on her stomach 'she felt a buzzing inside her.' The couple tried to remove the naughty device 'using a fork handle and barbecue prongs,' the Metro claims, but it was firmly rammed right up there and 'all efforts failed.' Emma was rushed to hospital to have the offending item taken out and, now she has gone to the newspapers - well, to the Metro, anyway, which almost counts - in an effort to warn people 'not to be afraid of getting help in embarrassing situations.' Or, alternatively, not to stick a ruddy big vibrator up ones bum till it gets stuck. One or the other. Emma said: 'We were looking around the bed in case it had fallen out. When I leaned on my stomach I could feel it vibrating - it was stuck low down and at one point was even wedged behind my hip.' She added: 'For a while Lee was suggesting all kinds of wonderful options. He tried a kitchen fork handle, which we won't be using again and said that he could feel it at one point but that it was too far up - it was a goner. He tried barbecue prongs too but after an hour of trying we knew were going to have to go to hospital. We were both a bit shocked.' Emma said: 'We'd both been drinking the night before so we couldn't drive. I had to make the most embarrassing call to the ambulance at 7am. The call handler said "tell me exactly what the problem is" so I had to tell him.' One imagines that was an interesting conversation. During the forty five-minute journey to Wrexham Maelor Hospital, Emma was 'perched on one of the seats' and was hurried into a room for observations. Emma said: 'At that point it was just more surreal than anything. I didn't feel much pain - I was in too much shock.' Doctors carried out an x-ray to work out where the still-buzzing vibrator was and realised it was too high up and would be too painful for them to manually extract it while she was awake. Emma said: 'I think at that point it started getting quite serious. The doctors were really good - they all moved quite quickly and were so reassuring telling me they saw it quite often which was quite a relief. At first we were jokey about it but then realised it wasn't much of a joke especially when there was talk of going through my stomach if they couldn't get it.' As she was being wheeled to theatre doctors told Emma if they couldn't extract it rectally they would have to go through the bowel and take some out which could mean at least six months with a colostomy bag. Emma said: 'I think before that I thought of it as just a little operation to get it out, I still wasn't taking it that seriously. When he said that it was really scary.' Emma underwent the minute-and-a-half surgery which involved placing a camera down her throat and the surgeon pressing on her stomach before manually extracting it. Doctors offered her the toy as a keepsake but she declined. Though, helpfully, Metro provided her with one so they could take her photograph with it looking geet startled.
If you have ever questioned why some women choose not to come forward when they believe they have been sexually assaulted or harassed, here is an example that may help you understand it a little better. A judge in Quebec presiding over a sexual assault trial referred to the victim as being 'overweight' and suggested that she may have been 'flattered' by her attacker's attention. Nice. Carlo Figaro - a forty nine-year-old cab driver - was found very guilty in May of 'forcibly kissing and licking' the face of a seventeen-year-old passenger, as well as touching her breasts and genitals over her clothes, according to Vice. During Figaro's trial, presiding Judge Jean-Paul Braun described the non-consensual kiss as 'an acceptable gesture' and said, 'it can be said that she is a little overweight, but she has a pretty face, huh?' Braun also suggested that the victim may have been 'flattered' by the assault because she came from a sheltered background and Figaro is 'good-looking,' doesn't look his age and 'likes to wear cologne.' Braun further argued that there are 'degrees of consent,' saying that getting consent for a kiss is different from getting consent to touch someone on the behind. He questioned which actions would have required Figaro to get consent, according to the CBC. Ultimately, Braun found Figaro guilty and said in his ruling that, while the victim may not have made it clear that she did not want to be kissed, her body language and words made it clear that she did not want what came after that. Figaro has not yet been sentenced and is currently appealing his conviction. He will appear in court again in November. As for Braun, Quebec Justice Minister Stephanie Vallee told reporters on Wednesday that Braun's comments were 'unacceptable' - no shit? - and said that she planned to file a complaint with Quebec's magistrates council.
The cucumber is a versatile vegetable, dear blog reader, albeit one that this blogger isn't very keen on. He prefers a nice shallot, personally. Nevertheless, the cucumber can be used in any number of sandwiches and salads. But, now it appears it has become a little too versatile, with 'a new baffling and concerning trend' of 'cucumber cleansing' reportedly taking off. Proponents of the 'cucumber cleanse' suggest that you peel a cucumber and 'insert it into the vagina [applicable to ladies only, obviously] and twist around, in and out movements to cleanse the yoni.' They suggest that this 'resets your pH balance' (which is probably doesn't) and 'leaves you smelling fresh.' Actually, it leaves you smelling of cucumber but, that's a minor side-issue. Several instructional videos exist, although Hell would freeze over before this blogger would go doing a Google search for them. At least, not before wiping his Internet browsing history afterwards. Enter Doctor Jen Gunter to warn that this is not only a waste of a good cucumber, but it could have negative impacts on ones health. In a blog post titled Don't cleanse your vagina with a cucumber. Please, Doctor Gunter explains that there are 'a number of reasons' why one should not put a peeled cucumber into ones mott to 'cleanse' it. They include: 'VAGINAS ARE NOT DIRTY' and 'ATTEMPTS AT "CLEANING" THE VAGINA ACTUALLY DAMAGE THE VAGINA.' Both, of course, being excellent reasons not to turn yourself into an unorthodox salad bowl. 'This idea that some kind of vaginal cleansing is required, be it a peeled cucumber or the "feminine washes" sold at drugstores, is misogyny dressed up as health care and I am having none of it. Vaginas are not dirty,' Gunter writes. 'By damaging lactobacilli and the mucosa, attempts at vaginal cleaning increase a woman's risk of contracting HIV or gonorrhea if she is exposed. Paradoxically it will also cause odour.'
A very naughty Milwaukee woman was caught on camera stealing a snowplow from a community centre. The woman allegedly told police that she is pregnant and two hours before stealing the snowplow truck, she claims that she 'did' heroin and cocaine. Othman Atta, the Operations Manager with the Islamic Society of Milwaukee, says that a woman 'sneaked' onto the property on Monday night. As evening prayer was wrapping up, surveillance video shows the woman taking the Islamic Centre's snowplow truck and driving it right off the lot. 'We didn't think anyone would take a plow,' said Atta. But, of course, they weren't counting on a pregnant woman bombed off-her-face on smack and blow, obviously.
A Utah man who found himself stuck in a boiler room whilst hiding from police ended up having to contact authorities for help, reports The Associated Press. Shane Paul Owen was extremely wanted for a string of burglaries and was pursued by police on Monday when he found himself running into a church to avoid arrest. More than six hours after Owen was accidentally locked in a church's boiler room, he dialled nine-one-one requesting to be 'rescued.' A SWAT team held a stand-off outside the church until Owens called for help.
A Springfield man who has multiple convictions for masturbating while trailing women - and claims not to be able to stop himself from giving it a bit of tug - has pleaded very guilty for doing the same thing earlier this month. Bobby Green pleaded guilty to two counts of sexual misconduct on Tuesday. Green trailed a woman through a Walmart whilst masturbating. When he was caught by a security officer, he evaded the officer and ran to a nearby department store, where he followed another woman and continued masturbating, according to court documents reported on by the Springfield News-Leader. He was charged and, eight days later, was sentenced to two years in the Greene County Big House, a maximum sentence for the sick and sordid crimes of which he stands banged-to-rights a'fore. Green has ten prior convictions for sexual misconduct and is a very registered sex offender, the News-Leader reported. Most of his convictions are for masturbating while following women in public places.
Social media monitoring combined with Facebook's AI mistranslating a post led to a man being wrongfully arrested for 'suspicion of incitement.' A smiling Palestinian construction worker posted a photo of himself leaning against a bulldozer and holding a cup of coffee and a cigarette. He posted the photo on Facebook along with 'good morning' in Arabic. Israeli police, relying on Facebook's translation service, believed the post said 'attack them.' Haaretz reported, 'The automatic translation service offered by Facebook uses its own proprietary algorithms. It translated "good morning" as "attack them" in Hebrew and "hurt them" in English.'

A self-identified 'responsible' gun owner in Kokomo, Indiana is blaming a stripper for the theft of sixteen firearms from the bedroom where he let her stay despite the objections of his wife. 'And that's another thing ... don't let strippers in your house,' Billy Swaggerty told WXIN FOX Fifty Nine News. Reportedly, the stripper moved-in with the married couple last winter. 'I put her in the bedroom with the safes and it came back and bit me,' Swaggerty explained. 'We didn't know that she was a stripper.' Swaggerty claims a ten thousand dollar value for the stolen firearms. 'Word is, she went to her drug dealer and sold my guns for four hundred and fifty dollars,' whinged Swaggerty. 'My worst fear is one of my guns is gonna kill a child.'
A giant 'UFO' resembling 'an enormous glowing ball' lit up the night sky, sparking fears of an alien invasion or the end of days. Mind you, this is all according to the Daily Mirra so it's almost certainly a load of old made-up shite. The huge mass of light illuminated the sky in Northern Siberia. Within minutes, witnesses were speaking of 'aliens arriving' and the 'end of the world.' The 'extraordinary scenes' were captured by photographer Sergey Anisimov in the town of Salekhard, which straddles the Arctic Circle. He said: 'I was taken aback for a few minutes, not understanding what was happening. The glowing ball rose from behind the trees and moved in my direction. My first thought was about the most powerful searchlight, but the speed of changing everything around changed the idea of what was happening. The ball began to turn into an arc and gradually dissipated.' He later returned home to find local children talking about the multi-coloured light show, citing 'aliens' and a 'portal to another dimension.' Some five hundred miles further East, another photographer, Alexey Yakovlev, admitted 'feeling scared' as he witnessed the 'UFO' in Strezhevoi, in the North of Tomsk region, reported The Siberian Times. 'At first I thought, it was such a radiance of such an unusual form, round in shape. But gradually the ball began to expand, it became clear that this is not some radiance - and it became scary. It's good that I was not alone - a group of people cannot hallucinate.' The Russian defence ministry confirmed there was 'an unusual object' flying at high speed over Northern Siberia. But experts have suggested there were two perfectly logical explanations for the eerie spectacle. The first was that a vivid display of the aurora borealis was under way. The second theory is that Russian President The Butcher of Grosny Vladimir Putin was 'attempting to frighten the West' with 'grandiose military exercises by his strategic nuclear forces.' Missiles tests were underway from submarines and aircraft at the time and the exercises included the launch of a super-powerful Topol rocket from Plesetsk cosmodrome, five hundred and fifty miles North of Moscow. From a mobile launcher, it was successfully aimed at the Kura testing range in Kamchatka on the country's Pacific coast. It was the 'trace of this rocket' - capable of carrying nuclear missiles - which caused the phenomenon according to Russian media. Which, for all of its many, many faults, is still marginally more trustworthy than the Daily Mirra.
On a somewhat related note, in September, to much media coverage - because, seemingly, nobody had any real news to report that week - a man who claimed to have 'studied astronomy in Kentucky' and 'deciphered the Book of Revelation' predicted that 'an ominous sign' would appear on 23 September and foretell the world's end. 'It's a very biblically significant, numerologically significant number,' David Meade told the Washington Post. A series of catastrophic events would follow the omen, Meade claimed, culminating in the appearance of a 'mysterious' planet called Nibiru and 'the end of 'the world as we know it.' Meade's claim sold a lot of tabloids, like for instance, this piece of journalistic arse from the Daily Scum Mail. When 23 September passed without incident - no signs, wonders, or the Sign of the Flying Manifest Dancing on the Firmament occurring thence. Cos, if they had, we'd've probably noticed - Meade revised his numerologically significant date, to 15 October. Which - oddly - also then came and went without the world ending. One might have imagined that, after two consecutive spectacular misfires, both Meade and the Nibiru theory would have quietly fucked off from wherever they came from in the first place (the damaged brain of some glake with too much time on his or her hands, probably). Instead, Nibiru now appears to have transcended its erroneous author. Meade isn't even mentioned in the latest batch of tabloid stories, which quote yet another doomsday theorist warning that the end of all things will now take place on 19 November, when Nibiru is supposed to set off a series of cataclysmic earthquakes. '19 November will see earthquake, Armageddon across huge swaths of the planet,' the Daily Scum Express - a newspaper which seems to be somewhat obsessed with this utter bollocks non-story - wrote. The alleged newspaper cited as 'evidence' unnamed 'astronomers and seismologists' - and 'an illegible picture of the Earth,' covered like pincushion in quake markers. Try to establish exactly whom the 'astronomers and seismologists' who supposedly support this theory are and one ends up at, a hilariously loopy conspiracy website that Meade occasionally writes for. The 'quake-pocalypse' theory comes courtesy of a different author, one Terral Croft. He claims that seismic activity has been increasing around the world as the massive 'Black Star' wheels around the edge of the solar system, 'upsetting the planets within.' Meade predicted that Nibiru would approach Earth, maybe even collide with it. But this latest version claims that Earth will simply line-up with the Sun and the 'Black Star' on 19 November, somehow triggering 'a backside-alignment quake event.' Whatever one of those is. Croft's article does not say what, exactly, will happen then. The tabloids have been happy to fill in the blanks, claiming that 'volcanoes will erupt and tectonic plates would smash into one another.' But like every other Nibiru doomsday theory (which go back to at least 2003, as Kristine Phillips wrote in the original Post article) it is based on 'an analysis of pure fantasy.' No shit? Well, that's a surprise. Nibiru, as far as science can tell, simply doesn't exist. 'It would be bright. It would be easily visible to the naked eye,' a NASA scientist wrote several years ago. 'It would already be perturbing the orbits of Mars and Earth.' Astronomy aside, Croft's article cites data from the US Geological Society to argue that earthquakes have been increasing across the Eastern United States and Canada as Niburu approaches its calamitous alignment with the Sun. The agency's earthquake catalogue tells a rather different story. So far, 2017 has seen fewer earthquakes worldwide with of a weaker average magnitude than the same period in 2016. Not that anything, at this point, appears able to stop Nibiru's imaginary advances. In fact, the Express had a breaking update on Saturday - a new theory blaming a Vatican cover-up for all of Nibiru's apparent failures to end the world on schedule citing a 'US Nibiru expert, called CJ who declined to reveal his surname.' Or, indeed, his first name, merely his initials. 'NASA insists the Nibiru theory is an online hoax, and there is no proof Planet X exists,' the paper notes. 'But members of the so-called Nibiru Cataclysm movement say this is a cover-up to prevent panic and reserve space in underground bunkers for the world elite.' None of which will be much use in the event of an earthquake, one could suggest. But, anyway, 'CJ says so many people believe Nibiru is just a conspiracy because world leaders hide the information so well.' The latest Express article, incidentally, is written by one Chloe Kerr, whilst the previous one featured the byline of Lara Deauville. Both of whom should, frankly, be fucking ashamed to draw their pay for writing such worthless, idiotic horseshit.
A woman who allegedly gatecrashed a wedding, threw a drink over her boyfriend and punched a woman she had seen him kissing, has reportedly been arrested. Shelby McDowell told police that she had not been invited to the event at Hammock Beach Parks Resort in Palm Coast, Florida, but had instead gone to spy on her boyfriend, Darby Johns. After the twenty-year-old spotted Johns kissing another woman, she, ahem, made her presence known. The victim told investigators from Flagler County Sheriff's Office that McDowell threw a drink over herself and Johns. Then, she punched the woman in the face before 'making a break to the bathroom.' Several bridesmaids followed and dragged McDowell out of the bathroom stall by her feet before, reportedly, 'pummelling' her right good and proper. Yeah, this blogger has been a few family weddings that have ended with somebody getting their head kicked-in too. McDowell, meanwhile, has been charged with misdemeanour battery for her pains.
A woman was arrested on Monday night at Justin Bieber's temporary Beverly Hills home on suspicion of trespassing - for the third time in a week. Bieber's security team held the woman and called police to the house, Los Angeles Police Sergeant Chris Coulter told the LA Times. Bieber's security told officers that the woman had tried to make contact with the singer three times. The woman was arrested and is being held on bail, Sergeant Coulter added. The woman - arrested on suspicion of trespass - is believed to be in her forties. And, badly in need of some psychiatric help by the sound of things. Bieber was at home at the time of the incident but, reportedly, the woman did not make contact with him.
A twenty seven-year-old woman was extremely arrested on Thursday after reportedly threatening in a Facebook post to run someone over according to Little Rock police. Brittany Nicole Evans of Cabot was taken into custody on a charge of 'terroristic threatening,' which is a real thing, apparently. This blogger was unaware that 'terroristic' was a proper word but, there you go. Evans tagged the potential victim in the reported social media threat, authorities said. The arrest report did not detail a suspected motive for the alleged threat.
Police have cited a Wisconsin man who began drinking after he got locked inside a convenience store's beer cooler. Police were called to a Marshfield Kwik Trip early on Wednesday after a customer noticed a man in the cooler. Employees opened the door around 6am and the man fled. The store manager told police the thirty eight-year-old man drank a beer and three cans of Four Loko before he got out. Police later located the man. According to the police report, he claimed that he wanted to buy beer and got locked inside the cooler just before midnight on Tuesday. He said that he figured he might as well stay inside and drink. 'The subject found himself locked in the beer cooler, knew that Kwik Trip would not sell him any beer, so he decided to remain in the beer cooler,' Marshfield Police Chief Rick Gramza told ABC affiliate WAOW. Police extremely arrested him for theft. The report notes the cooler had a glass door and he 'could have knocked on it for help.'
Four men have been dubbed the 'idiots of the century' by a local mayor in Queensland, Australia, after Facebook photos showed them swimming into a baited crocodile trap. 'I was absolutely gobsmacked, this is incredibly stupid and dangerous behaviour. I'm wondering if these fellows are vying for the idiots of the year award or the idiots of the century award,' Julia Leu, the mayor of Douglas Shire, told Australia's ABC Radio. In the photos, the men are seen swimming around the trap, venturing inside the trap and even standing on top of it. The trap was set up after a seventy nine-year-old woman with dementia was reportedly killed by a four-metre long crocodile just two weeks ago. That crocodile was eventually trapped, but the area is a well known habitat for the animals. Queensland's environment minister also chimed in on the incident, seemingly so stunned at the men's stunt that he temporarily lost the power to speak English. 'Srsly?' [sic] Steven Miles tweeted. 'The meat we put in these traps is bait. For crocodiles. Don't swim in them! It's stupid. And illegal.'
A Nigerian man has reportedly killed himself in Katsina state after a 'charm,' meant to protect him from gunshots, remarkably failed to work. According to Daily Trust, 'a show of bravery turned awry' as a member of Isan Gona Vigilante Group, Ahmadu Maikare shot himself extremely dead whilst 'testing' the charm. The incident was said to have occurred at Dubul village in Matazu local government area.
A self-professed 'magic man' has died after accidentally steaming himself to death in a giant wok while trying to 'cleanse body and soul'. The Daily Scum Mail reports that Lim Ba, 'also known as Black Dog,' could be seen sitting in lotus position in a giant metal pan at a Chinese temple in Suala Sanglang, a small coastal village in Northern Malaysia. A lid was placed over the sixty eight-year-old 'in preparation for the steaming' and he clasped his hands in prayer before a fire was lit under the wok. But, after thirty minutes, the performance 'went horribly wrong' and devotees could hear Lim 'knocking frantically from inside.' The lid was raised and Lim was found unconscious, steam billowing out around him. He later was pronounced very dead from major second-degree burns and a heart attack. The country's Star newspaper reported Lim's youngest son, Kang Huai, saying that his father had been performing human steaming for more than ten years, 'despite his family's concerns.'
The talented and accomplished actress Rosemary Leach, who died this week aged eighty one, reminded an interviewer in 2012 that she had never been invited to appear with either the National Theatre or the Royal Shakespeare Company. 'I'm as good as Judi Dench, I'm sure I am,' she added, before saying how lucky she considered herself to have had such an extensive and all-consuming career on television and in films. Viewers had warmed to her expansive features, beautifully modulated voice and emotionally truthful acting on-screen since the mid-1960s. She appeared in such notable series as The Power Game (1965 to 1969), as the lover of a ruthless building tycoon, John Wilder (played by Patrick Wymark), The Jewel In The Crown (1984), as Aunt Fenny in the hit adaptation of Paul Scott's twilight-of-the-Raj mini-series and as the victimised widow who falls for a murderous conman and total cad (Nigel Havers) in The Charmer (1987), an acrid Thirties drama based on a Patrick Hamilton novel. She moved effortlessly across the class and social divide, playing royalty - a starchy, porcelain-voiced Queen Victoria in Claude Whatham's fine four-part Disraeli (1978) and arguably the best of all Queen Elizabeth IIs, in three separate BBC dramas, Prince William (2002), Tea With Betty (2006) and the excellent Margaret (2009) – as well as 'ordinary' mums: she was luminous as Laurie Lee's mother in Cider With Rosie (1971) and heartily earthy as David Essex's mother in That'll Be The Day (1973). Her true valour was rarely seen on stage, though when it was she was usually unforgettable. In 1982, she won the Olivier best actress award for her performance as Helene Hanff, the eccentric Manhattan bibliophile, in Eighty Four Charing Cross Road, an enchanting two-hander, adapted and directed by James Roose-Evans, based on the transatlantic correspondence of Hanff and an antiquarian bookshop manager, who never actually met each other. On the first night, Hanff - small intense, bird-like - appeared on the stage of the Ambassadors theatre alongside her counterpart. Leach looked nothing like her, but had brilliantly distilled the very essence of her charm and character and made her story profoundly moving. Born in Much Wenlock, Shropshire, Rosemary was the second daughter of teachers, Sidney and Mary Leach. Her father was headteacher (as well as organist and choirmaster) at the village school in Diddlebury, near Ludlow. Rosemary was educated at Oswestry school, where she excelled in plays. After a brief spell selling shoes in the Reading branch of John Lewis, she went to London, aged eighteen, to train at RADA. She graduated in 1955 and immediately plunged into the dying days of small regional repertory companies in Amersham, then Coventry, for two years. Her roles grew bigger at the larger reps in Liverpool and Birmingham, where she worked with Bernard Hepton (a lifelong friend and frequent colleague) and Derek Jacobi. But, while the National and the RSC were getting underway in the early 1960s, Leach was establishing herself as a permanent member of what she described as 'a sort of television rep,' making her debut an episode of ABC's Police Surgeon and then appearing in two episodes of the BBC's Z Cars in 1962. The TV die was cast – and she would be nominated, in all, five times for a BAFTA award, never winning one – when she signed up for The Plane Makers in 1963 with Wymark and Barbara Murray. It was a prequel to The Power Game, set in a fictional aircraft factory with trade union struggles, an infighting management and political and personal chicanery at every turn. These were significant TV dramas and the six years of them ended only when Wymark died in 1970. From this point, Leach was much in demand. She was Laura, the amenable wife to 'male chauvinist piglet' Ronnie Corbett in No, That's Me Over Here (1967 to 1970), Now Look Here ... (1971 to 1973) and The Prince Of Denmark (1974), with scripts by Barry Cryer, Graham Chapman and Eric Idle. She figured prominently, as lover and mistress, respectively, in Zola's Germinal (1970), which charted the brutal suppression of a miners' strike in Northern France and Sartre's Roads To Freedom (also 1970), a gripping thirteen-part BBC series set in the period around the start of the second world war. She returned to the stage in the mid-1970s, playing a (then) fashionably bedenimed journalist, a hilariously unlikely amalgam of Jilly Cooper and Jill Tweedie, in Don Taylor's Chekhovian Out On The Lawn at the Watford Palace (with marvellous performances, too, from TP McKenna, Dinah Sheridan and Edward Hardwicke). She joined the founding company in 1976 at George Murcell's St George's Theatre, Tufnell Park, which stuttered on for a decade, with a programme devoted to Shakespeare; the opening season comprised Twelfth Night, Romeo & Juliet and Richard III. Her next (and last) brush with Shakespeare came as Emilia in Jonathan Miller's richly textured BBC Othello in 1981, with Anthony Hopkins blacking up in the lead, just before it became impossible for a white actor to do so, Bob Hoskins as her husband, Iago and Penelope Wilton as Desdemona. Although she had been prominent in television films of The Adventures Of Don Quixote (1973), with Rex Harrison and Frank Finlay and Brief Encounter (1974) which gloriously miscast Richard Burton and Sophia Loren in the Trevor Howard/Celia Johnson roles, her most 'prestigious' film was Merchant Ivory's star-laden A Room With A View (1985), in which she ticked off another notable mother, Mrs Honeychurch. She appeared in two television adaptations of Edith Wharton novels, The Children (1990), scripted by Timberlake Wertenbaker and directed by Tony Palmer and The Buccaneers (1995) directed by Philip Saville, in which she made a marvellous meal of Selina Marable, the snobbish Marchioness of Brightlingsea. In between the Whartons, she materialised in Stuart Urban's An Ungentlemanly Act (1992) as Mavis Hunt, holding the fort in the Falklands during the invasion alongside her husband, the governor, Rex Hunt, played by Ian Richardson. There was more quality work in Jack Rosenthal's scripts for an early suburban sitcom with Hepton, Sadie, It's Cold Outside (1975); his adaptation of Stanley Houghton's Hindle Wakes (1976) for Laurence Olivier - the only television drama that Olivier ever directed and Day To Remember (1986), on Channel Four, in which she struggled through Christmas with George Cole as her husband with dementia. Hepton was alongside, too, in The Charmer, as her 'white knight' admirer. Rosemary's CV also included appearances in Catch Hand, The Edgar Wallace Mysteries, Gideon's Way, Public Eye, Sherlock Holmes, Londoners, Sergeant Musgrave's Dance, Strange Report, Theatre 625 (Alan Gibson's The Cupboard), Kate, The Wednesday Play, Jackanory, Thirty Minute Theatre, Second Verdict, The Velvet Glove, Rumpole Of The Bailey, Life Begins At Forty, Across The Lake, Growing Pains, An Unsuitable Job For A Woman, Down To Earth, Odd Socks and Casualty. A full decade after Eighty Four Charing Cross Road, she returned to the West End in a superb revival by Peter Hall of Terence Rattigan's Separate Tables at The Albery, stretching the critical thesaurus to fully appreciate her magnificent Mrs Railton-Bell, righteous defender of public morality shading into bigotry. The Rattigan revival was safe in her hands and those of Peter Bowles, Patricia Hodge, Ernest Clark and Miriam Karlin. She toured in some creaky revivals of Emlyn Williams and William Douglas-Home before joining one of the longest-running sitcoms of the new millennium, My Family, starring Robert Lindsay and Zoë Wanamaker, dropping in between 2003 and 2007 as Wanamaker's alcoholic mother. Her last movie was Stuart Urban's may i kill u? in 2012, a low-budget black comedy in which a policeman is transformed into a vigilante killer on the night of the Tottenham riots of 2011. Rosemary lived, quietly, with her husband, the actor Colin Starkey, whom she married in 1981, in Kew and later in Teddington. After making The Jewel In The Crown without ever having visited India, she became a devoted traveller to that subcontinent in later life. She is survived by her husband.
Robert Guillaume, two-time EMMY Award Winner and one of the most famous TV personalities on US television in the 1980s, died of prostate cancer on Tuesday of this week. Guillaume, who was eighty nine, played the titular role in TV show Benson, and loaned his instantly recognisable voice to the character of Rafiki in the Disney hit The Lion King. His wife, Donna Brown Guillaume, said in a statement that Robert died at his Los Angeles home, the Independent reported. The gravelly-voiced actor thrived in Broadway musicals before he starred in the cult comedy Soap. Guillaume took the role of the Tate family butler, Benson DuBois, in 1977. His character became so popular that the ABC network created a spin-off for the character, Benson, which ran for seven seasons from 1979 to 1986. In Soap's over-the-top parody of daytime soap operas, Benson's erudite and intelligent perceptions of the madness going on around him anchored the show. Benson refused to be subservient and did not gladly suffer fools – which included most of the rest of the characters. When Benson moved to his own show, becoming butler to Gene Gatling, the governor of a fictional US state, he remained sharp-witted, albeit rather less caustic, as befitted a leading man. Eventually, he ran against his employer for the state house; in a memorable scene they watched the election results sitting side-by-side on the couch. Benson was the part that made Guillaume's career and it was one he felt he was born to play. In a show where every role went against type, Benson was, in his words, 'revenge for all those stereotyped guys who looked like Benson and had to keep their mouths shut.' He became the first African-American actor to win an EMMY Award. The actor won his first Primetime Emmy in 1979 for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series for Soap and another in 1985 for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series for Benson. He also won a Grammy Award for Best Spoken Word Album for Children' in 1995 for the The Lion King Read-A-long Book. In addition, Guillaume also won a TONY Award nomination for his Broadway musical Guys & Dolls. Born Robert Peter Williams in November 1927. Robert's father abandoned his mother, Zoe Edwards and Robert's three siblings. She was an alcoholic prostitute, whom Robert claimed disliked him because his skin was too black and he was raised by his maternal grandmother, Jeannette Williams, a laundress in a church school. Robert was expelled from that school for insubordination and went into the US army, where, by his own account, he was lucky to escape with an honourable discharge. He returned to St Louis and took various jobs before enrolling in night school to study business at St Louis University. He transferred to Washington University in St Louis, where, in a music class, his talent was spotted; soon he gave up business studies. At the Aspen music festival, he was spotted by Russell and Rowena Jeffries, who ran the Cleveland inter-racial theatre group the Karamu Players. There he changed his name from Williams to Guillaume, which he soon discovered few people could pronounce correctly. 'It was the price I paid for my pretentiousness,' he said. Oscar Hammerstein saw Guillaume in Karamu's production of Carousel and invited him to New York, where he joined the touring cast of Free & Easy. He made his Broadway debut in 1961 in Kwamina, but toured with a number of big shows, including playing Sportin' Life in a 1964 New York revival of Porgy & Bess that was also staged, two years later, at the Vienna Volksoper. In 1970 he appeared in Charles Gordone's Pulitzer-winning No Place To Be Somebody, was the lead in the 1972 revival of Purlie, the musical version of Ossie Davis's play Purlie Victorious and joined the off-Broadway cast of Jacques Brel Is Alive & Well & Living In Paris. Guillame made his television debut in Marcus Welby, MD in 1970 and appeared in a number of sitcoms created by Norman Lear, including All In The Family, Sanford & Son, The Jeffersons and Good Times. His CV also included appearances in The Love Boat, North & South, Pacific Station, LA Law, Sports Night and CSI. In 1999 he suffered a stroke on set of Sports Night. Guillaume's life was saved because there was a hospital across the street from the sound stage; he returned to the show three weeks later, with Aaron Sorkin rewriting his part to include Robert's character walking with a cane. He would later become a spokesman for the American Stroke Association and the experience led him to write an autobiography, Guillaume: A Life (2002), with David Ritz. He remained busy acting and providing voiceovers. His last feature film appearance was in Columbus Circle (2012). He is survived by his second wife, Donna Brown, whom he married in 1985 and their daughter, Rachel; a son, the composer and actor Kevin Guillaume, from his first marriage, to Marianne Scott, which ended in divorce and two daughters, Patricia and Melissa, from other relationships. Another son, Jacques, from his first marriage, died in 1990.
Out in his own uncategorisable stratosphere, the singer and pianist Fats Domino, who died this week aged eighty nine, sold astonishing quantities of records from the start of the 1950s until the early 1960s. Domino was an original, one of the creators of rock'n'roll and by far the biggest selling rhythm and blues artist of that era. He was crucial in breaking down the musical colour barrier, but too mainstream and popular to retain much credibility as a blues singer. Nevertheless, he brought a new, heavy back-beat to white ears, yet trailed old-fashioned, jazz-band habits behind him. Elvis Presley revered him and called Fats 'the real king of rock n roll' and Paul McCartney reportedly wrote 'Lady Madonna' in emulation of his unique style (Fats returned the compliment by covering the song in 1970). His famous records were many, stretching across a decade from the early 1950s: 'Valley Of Tears', 'I'm Walkin', 'The Big Beat', 'I'm In Love Again' (reportedly the first rock'n'roll record that a thirteen year old George Harrison bought), 'I Want To Walk You Home', 'Be My Guest', 'Country Boy', 'Walking To New Orleans', 'Three Nights A Week', 'My Girl Josephine', 'It Keeps Rainin', 'What A Party' and, in 1963, when he finally left Imperial Records for ABC-Paramount, 'Red Sails In The Sunset'. Yet, his chart placings were oddly modest. His only British Top Ten success was the classic 'Blueberry Hill' in 1956. In the US he never topped the mainstream charts and by 1962 had no Top Twenty entries. Yet in the mid-1970s it was still true that, with record sales of sixty or seventy million, few had outsold him except Elvis and The Be-Atles. He always behaved like a star. When he toured he took two hundred pairs of shoes and thirty suits on the road and wore big diamond rings. Thus he asserted himself on the era's extraordinary multiple bills. On the first, in 1956, Domino was with BB King, Hank Ballard, Jerry Lee Lewis, James Brown and Duane Eddy. A 1957 tour put him in among The Drifters, Frankie Lymon, Chuck Berry, Eddie Cochran, LaVern Baker, The Everly Brothers, Paul Anka and Buddy Holly & The Crickets. His performing style was simple, like his songs – he would sit at the piano sideways on to the audience, showing his solid right profile and turning his head to grin as he sang and played, but he would add a touch of flamboyance at the end by pushing the piano off-stage with his stomach. Born Antoine Domino in New Orleans, to Donatile and Antoine Domino Senior ( a violinist on the local music circuit), his parents were both of Creole origin and French Creole was spoken in the family. Young Antoine began playing the piano in public at the age of ten. He was dubbed Fats by the bassist of Billy Diamond's band at his first professional engagements, at The Hideaway Club on Desire Street. He said the youngster's technique reminded him of two other great piano players, Fats Waller and Fats Pichon. The city's pianists of the era included such revered figures as Professor Longhair and Amos Milburn (from whom Domino took what became his trademark six/eight hammered triplets), but his main influence was the Chicago pianist Albert Ammons, first recorded in the 1930s. Domino left school at the age of fourteen to work in a bedspring factory by day and played in bars by night. He was offered a record deal by the Imperial boss Lew Chudd and cut his first sides in December 1949, with the trumpeter/arranger Dave Bartholomew's band. This would remain much the same on Domino's huge hits of a decade later and the band would tour behind him for more decades still. The tenor saxist, Herb Hardesty, would support Domino for half-a-century. The second number recorded was 'The Fat Man' (named after a radio detective), which sold eight hundred thousand units in the black market and gave the twenty two-year-old Fats the first of many gold discs. In an interview with the BBC in 1973, Domino spoke about his early life. He said: 'I was seventeen when I made my first record in 1949. I never thought about being professional. I used to work in a lumberyard and that's where I first heard a number on a jukebox and I liked it. It was a piano number. It was called 'Swanee River Boogie' by Albert Ammonds.' Despite both musical heavyweights coming from New Orleans, Fats said he only met another hero, Louis Armstrong, twice in his life. He told the BBC: 'I liked the way he was singing 'Blueberry Hill'. See, a lot of people think I wrote 'Blueberry Hill' but I didn't. That number was wrote in 1927 and I recorded that song in 1957. We just put a different background and I just sing it the way it would fit me and it came out great for me.' Domino and Chudd soon fell out with Bartholomew, the man held to have given Domino his musical credibility. Domino recorded without him, using his own musicians, including his brother-in-law, Harrison Verrett. The rift was healed in 1952, after Bartholomew persuaded Domino to play piano on Lloyd Price's 'Lawdy Miss Clawdy'. It was one of the great contributions to embryonic rock'n'roll. Domino's early singles had mixed success, but he re-signed to Imperial and packed out live shows, clinching his stardom at Alan Freed's Cleveland Arena show in 1953 and thrilling the new white audience for black music at Freed's New York rock'n'roll Jubilee Ball in January 1955. Then came 'Ain't That A Shame'. Though Pat Boone's cover version topped the pop charts, Domino's original chased it, the blackest sound that had ever hit the hot one hundred at that stage and the number one R&B side for eleven weeks. Domino rarely took sole composer-credit for songs. Most were written with Bartholomew, some by Bartholomew alone, including 'Blue Monday', a hit from the 1956 Frank Tashlin film The Girl Can't Help It, starring Jayne Mansfield and Tom Ewell, in which Domino appeared, as he did (this time with top billing) the following year in Jamboree. Domino's voice had dropped an octave around the end of 1954. Before that, his was a high, reedy voice; by 'Ain't That A Shame' he had a rich warm baritone. What unites the two styles as much as the shared big beat is Domino's magnificently quirky pronunciation, New Orleans-based but carried to a disarming extreme. His way with the title of his hit 'My Blue Heaven' ('Mah, Blee-oo, Heh-VON') still delights, as does the rhyming he could achieve: 'cryin' with 'down', 'man' with 'ashamed'. Irrational pronunciation was always a factor in rock'n'roll's appeal – there is no overestimating the attraction of non-received English in the 1950s. In his amiable, non-confrontational way, Domino offered this liberation early. His career dipped in the 1960s when a new black consciousness rejected many of the pre-soul stars and white consciousness shied away from hit-singles artists and the suddenly embarrassing, unhip simplicities of 1950s music. Creatively, the 1960s and beyond was one long period of decline. The songwriting ended; a 1961 LP showed a painting of nonchalant, cigarette-smoking Domino as if he were Dean Martin; another was called Twistin' The Stomp. He sounded equally perplexed on 'Ah Left Mah Haaaat In San Francisco' and The Beatles' and 'Lovely Rita', but he understood country material perfectly, as with Hank Williams's 'Jambalaya' and 'You Win Again'. Nor could decline be blamed on his tendency to cover 'standards'. Some of his biggest hits had made rock'n'roll classics of them, especially 'When My Dreamboat Comes Home', 'Blueberry Hill' and 'My Blue Heaven'. He sometimes proved his mastery of boogie-woogie on them too: gasp at his Stephen Foster makeover on 'Swanee River Hop'. There was one fine later LP, the self-produced Sleeping On The Job, cut in New Orleans in 1978. Authentic and fresh, it surprised pretty much everyone, perhaps even Fats himself. He never managed that again. Domino was reduced to night clubs and Las Vegas. It demonstrates his limitations and artistry that he could play his hour's worth with such enthusiasm so many hundreds of times. But his vice was gambling and trying to work off his debts by touring only kept him in the Vegas trap. Worries thinned him. Even yellow crimplene suits couldn't disguise his being disappointingly less than massive, yet he still pushed the piano off stage with his stomach at the end of his high-energy show. He was still at it in London at the Royal Festival Hall in 1985 and the Royal Albert Hall in 1990, his mike still placed so that he took up a supplicating pose, crouched down, head twisted round and upwards, radiant smile fixed on the punters in the circle. Illness overtook him in 1995, on another UK tour with Little Richard and Chuck Berry. His performance ended when he tried the piano stomach-push in Sheffield and was taken to hospital with breathing problems. He would not tour again, restricting his live appearances to his home city. He refused to travel to Cleveland, for his induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and even declined a White House invitation from Bill Clinton to receive a National Medal of Arts in 1998. He was at home when his house was one of those wrecked by Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Domino had always lived in the badly hit Lower Ninth Ward – he had built his mansion there – and though he and his wife, Rosemary, whom he had married in 1948, were rescued by a Coast Guard helicopter from their roof, he was thought to be missing for several days afterwards. His daughter Karen, living in New Jersey, recognised him in a newspaper photograph of survivors at a shelter in Baton Rouge. It was months before Domino could revisit his home and reportedly only three of his many gold discs were retrieved. Moved by the widespread concern for his welfare, Domino responded with a new CD, Alive & Kickin', donating proceeds to the Tipitina's Foundation, dedicated to preserving and restoring New Orleans' musical culture. The title song opened with as simple a lyric as any of Domino's classics: 'All over the country, people wanna know/Whatever happened to Fats Domino?/I'm alive and kickin'.' Alive, maybe and living back in New Orleans, but in rather poor health. Domino was to have been the closing act at the city's first post-Katrina jazz festival in May 2006, but he was admitted to hospital shortly beforehand. A year later, at the 2007 festival, he gave what would prove to be his last live performance, of just five songs. A tribute CD, Goin' Home, by artists including Doctor John The Night Tripper, Norah Jones, BB King, Willie Nelson, Toots &The Maytals and Neil Young, was released later that year. Other artists continued to record and perform Domino's repertoire. He was one of the few true giants of postwar American popular music: no one sounded like him, yet ask who he influenced and the answer is more-or-less everyone. He and Rosemary had thirteen children. She died in 2008.
And finally, dear blog reader, the following was spotted by a relative of this blogger in Schipol Airport. Fifteen cents? Cheap at double the price!