Friday, November 24, 2017

Hit The North

'Lots of planets have a North' said Christopher Eccleston's Doctor when his companion, Rose Tyler, asked him why an alien would sound as though they were from Greater Manchester. And now Doctor Who fans 'are echoing his sentiments,' saying that they would like Jodie Whittaker to keep her Yorkshire accent when she takes over the TARDIS as the next Doctor. At least, they have according to this piece of abject fluff published in the Radio Times. Because, obviously, the magazine has asked all of us what we think. No, sorry, this blogger got that wrong, apparently they didn't. Previous Doctors have often opted to keep their natural accents - Sylvester McCoy and Paul McGann being two very good examples - but the extremely Scottish David Tennant was asked to adopt the estuary English style he'd previously used in Russell Davies' Casanova when he was cast - by Davies his very self - in the role. 'Russell said we'd like to not go for another obvious regional accent, because I suppose they'd done that,' Tennant said in an interview with SFX. 'Not that, I hasten to add, a slightly off-London accent isn't a regional accent, because it is, but it reads slightly more generically than a Scottish accent does.' 'We asked more than two thousand five hundred Whovians for their thoughts on what Jodie Whittaker should do with her own accent when it came to the role and a whopping eighty four per cent said that she should keep it,' the magazine wrote. So, two thousand five hundred glakes who don't mind being described with the wretched, hateful 'W' word is what the Radio Times means when they claim that 'Doctor Who fans' have expressed a particular viewpoint. You, dear blog reader, might consider that a) this is a pretty small sample size given that the global audience for the BBCs long-running family SF drama is estimated at over one hundred million. And, of course, b) not one single Doctor Who fan - not one - would ever willingly describe themselves as a 'Whovian.' Not, if they have an ounce of dignity and self-respect in their bodies, that is.
A series of location photos of yer actual Jodie Whittaker - still wearing Peter Capaldi's costume so, one assumes they're shooting the opening episode - and That There Bradley Walsh have appeared in, amongst other publications, the Daily Scum Mail and, the Sun and the Sheffield Star (some of the filming, in addition to the series' usual South Wales locations, also appears to have taken place in Jodie's own homegirl turf, Yorkshire). And probably lots of other places as well.
By the way, is That There Bradley Walsh wearing a West Hamsters United scarf? It certainly appears to be claret and blue. This blogger always thought he was a famous fan of The Arse.
As the Twelfth Doctor approaches his final story, BBC Radio 2 is to broadcast a two hour documentary looking behind the scenes of Doctor Who. Broadcast on Thursday 21 December at 8pm, the programme sees Bloody Annoying Jo Whiley 'gain exclusive access to the Doctor Who team.' She catches up with the stars of the series on the set - including Pearl Mackie, David Bradley, The Lord Thy God Steven Moffat (OBE) and, obviously, Peter Capaldi his very self. She also hears from Matt Lucas and 'digs into the BBC Doctor Who archive.' There will be stories from behind the scenes, including how Lucas approaches being recognised by fans; the radical ways in which Mackie's life has changed; Pele's reaction to signing a Brazil shirt for The Doctor and how Doctor Who has always been with Peter Capaldi - from dressing up as a Dalek as a child to karaoke singalongs to The Killers (all in the name of getting into character). Radio 2 can be heard worldwide via the BBC Radio iPlayer.
BBC North is offering fans the chance to watch this year's Christmas Doctor Who episode, Twice Upon A Time at special preview screenings across the region. Starting in Hartlepool and finishing just before the big day itself in Bradford, the Christmas tour will take in eight locations across Northern England to 'spread a little festive fun throughout the region.' As well as Doctor Who, there will be an opportunity for comedy fans in two locations to see the first of three new episodes of cult favourite The League Of Gentlemen. And in two cities, children will be able to get an exclusive preview of an animated version of the classic classic The Highway Rat. As well as a preview of these hotly-anticipated shows, fans will also be able to pose for photos on the BBC's red carpet and with props from the programmes. Adrian Mills, the General Manager of BBC North says: 'We can't wait to bring this wonderful seasonal programming direct to our audiences in the North and we're sure they’ll enjoy this exclusive BBC content.' Tickets will be available through a ballot which will be open from today for ten days via the BBC Shows and Tours website which also gives a list of the locations. The ticket ballot will close on Sunday 3 December and tickets will be allocated via a random draw with forty five per cent going to local postcodes, forty five per cent going to the surrounding county and ten per cent to the rest of the UK. Or, you know, Southerners. As noted, the ten locations are listed on the website although the one that most interests this blogger is on Sunday 17 December at St Nicholas Cathedral in Newcastle with two shows at 7pm and 8.30pm.
Good old Mad Tom Baker has made a surprise appearance on camera as The Doctor donning his trademark scarf in a newly-released episode. The eighty three-year-old actor has returned to complete the unfinished story Shada, filmed in Cambridge, thirty eight years after it was abandoned. The parts not filmed in 1979 will be completed with animation and Baker's voice, but he has also filmed a special scene. It will be his first on-screen return to the role since a brief Children In Need cameo in 1993. Baker played the Time Lord between 1974 and 1981. Filming for Shada, which was written by Douglas Adams, was started in 1979. But strike action at the BBC meant studio scenes were never completed and the six-part story was eventually abandoned. It has now been released by BBC Worldwide with the original footage combined with new colour animations and voiceovers to complete the story. In the new scene, Mad Tom was filmed at BBC Television Centre in London on the set of the original TARDIS. Speaking about returning to the role, Baker said The Doctor 'probably never left me. That's why I can't say away from it, it was a lovely time of my life,' he added. 'I loved doing Doctor Who, it was life to me. I used to dread the end of rehearsal because then real life would impinged on me. Doctor Who when I was in full flight, then I was happy.' Of his time filming Shada in Cambridge, Baker said: 'Mostly I remember being mocked by the students on the [River] Cam because I wasn't very good at punting, I kept losing the pole.' The newly-recorded lines from Baker as the Doctor and HIS EX-WIFE, Lalla Ward, as Romana follow the original script by Adams. The story finds the Doctor and Romana in Cambridge working alongside a retired Time Lord, Professor Chronotis, to defeat the evil Skagra who is attempting to steal the secrets to the Gallifreyan prison planet Shada. Jem Roberts, author of The Frood: The Authorised & Very Official History Of Douglas Adams, said that the author later used the character Chronotis and parts of the plot in his novel Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency. 'Adams was probably glad that Shada was not finished, so he could use it for the backbone of his novel. He was a great believer in recycling,' he said.
'Never thought my high-heel shoes from Paris would be stepping through the shit of Small Heath again.' Wednesday saw another cracking episode of Peaky Blinders, which kicked-off with a magnificent scene dealing with the aftermath of last week's bloody Mafia massacre of John and Michael. Moodily, Tommy stood starting out of his window as a beautiful piano version of Nick Cave's death row ballad, 'The Mercy Seat' scored his troubled mind. The episode also saw the debut of Aiden Gillan as Aberama Gold. Just as in Game Of Thrones, he can convey so much with just a look. Which is probably just as well because, accents, he's not so good with. But he did get the best line of the episode. 'Tommy Shelby, OBE. No wager today. But with this penny, I will buy a flower for your grave. When the day arrives.' The most dramatic moment, however, was the closing scene with Adrien Brody's Luca, whose unpredictable stillness and soft voice plays out like an import from The Godfather, Part II. The line-up of engraved bullets on the table with each Shelby's name was especially chilling, followed by a cunning reveal which pulled Tommy's assumed control of the situation from beneath him. As Luca mutters, 'None of you will survive,' it's hard not to feel we might have the best villain the drama has seen yet.
Comedy Moment(s) Of The Week. Number One: Have I Got News For You's Ian Hislop on this week's budget: 'He [Philip Hammond] seems to have done enough to survive. It's great being in a really weak government, because you listen to all your critics and you write it down and then read if out in The Budget. And everyone says: "He's brilliant! Universal Credit not working, that's a fantastic thought. Not enough homes, how did he think of that?" The idea that everyone else has been saying this for the last fifteen years, it's gone. Suddenly, he gets all the credit. Not Universal Credit, obviously!' Steven Mangan added that 'this is the news that The Chancellor has delivered a brilliant-slash-terrible budget ... according to how much white cider you drink!' He noted that the Daily Mirra had described The Budget as amounting to 'backdoor cruelty' which, Mangan said 'I think is one of the films on Damien Green's computer.' When asked what the Queen had given Prince Philip as a seventieth wedding anniversary present this week, Paul Merton suggested 'Northumberland?' But the best moment was when the delightful Steph McGovern asked Ian if Paul is a bad loser. 'I wouldn't know,' said Paul, with brilliant comic timing.
TV Comedy Moment(s) Of The Week. Number Two: Nish Kumar's anguished cry of 'it smells of racism!' on the latest episode of Qi when presented with a - genuine - perfume based of the various odours described in the Book of Revelation. That was closely followed by Sandi Toksvig's own revelation that, in an effort to lure big cats in the wild so that they can be filmed for nature documentaries tests were carried out on a variety of perfumes to see which ones they liked the best. 'They discovered that there was a clear winner, Calvin Klein's Obsession kept big cats interested for eleven minutes. By comparison, Nina Ritchie's L'Air Du Temps, ten minutes and the effects of Revlon's Charlie, fifteen-and-a-half-seconds!' 'And, some mild blistering?' suggested Alan Davies.
TV Comedy Moments(s) Of The Week. Number Three: Dave Gorman's Modern Life Is Goodish continues to provide some of the best comedy on TV. This week's episode contained a dazzling array of topics, from a recent - unsuccessful - CV received by the production team, the phenomena of ascribing names to different generations, to a wonderful table-turning trick played on Dave by The Goddess-Like Mrs Gorman. Who can, seemingly, recognise Dave's hands anywhere. One of the best bits of the episode was Dave's claim that a map of Mick Jagger's family tree is a dead-ringer for the opening four bars of '(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction' - it isn't, incidentally, but it would be brilliant if it was. However, as Dave himself noted, you can't always get what you want.
Another brilliant moment occurred when Dave was discussing the ways that different generations text each other. 'I don't think you can define a generation by the technology they use,' Dave noted. 'I think you have to define them by how they use that technology.' Dave then declared himself to be a member of 'Generation Spells Everything Properly In Text Messages.' He also noted that defining members of this collective is not as simple as 'young people do, old people don't.' Using his own family to illustrate, Dave noted that his brothers and sisters tend to spell things properly in text messages whilst both their children and, perhaps surprisingly, their parents use all those awful text-speak abbreviations (you know the kind of thing, 'U' instead of you, '4' instead of for. Or four. Et cetera). 'Generation Spells Everything Properly In Text Messages are stranded, like as island, between the two!' Dave suggested a possible reason for this; mobile phones became affordable for the average man or woman in the street in the early Nineties, 'I was in my Twenties, I'd only recently left formal education behind me, so I didn't treat it as alien, I just used it as another way to communicate and did so using all of the same grammar and syntax that my mother - who was an English teacher - and the rest of her generation had taught me,' Dave continued. 'At that time, my mum was in her Fifties, they didn't want mobile phones, they were scared of mobile phones, that generation. They didn't get mobiles for another ten years or more. And, they didn't do it because of us, they did it because of our children. It was when my brothers' children were ten, eleven, twelve years old and they started saying "you haven't go a mobile? Man you're so square, I wanna send you a text message", that is when they were finally cajoled into getting mobile phones, to communicate with their grandchildren. And, because that's who they wanted to communicate with, that's who they copied. They thought "the rules are different. How do you do this?" they asked. And, the grandchildren explained how. So I use a mobile phone using the grammar taught to me by these people, but they use a mobile phone using grammar taught to them by [other] people. Who are idiot children!' Dave Gorman, ladies and gentlemen, the angrier he getting, the funnier he becomes!
James Bolam has strenuously denied that there was 'a feud' with his The Likely Lads co-star Rodney Bewes who, as noted in a previous bloggerisation update, died on Tuesday at the age of seventy nine. The sitcom and its - even better - sequel, Whatever Happened To The Likely Lads? followed the escapades of two young working class men in the 1960s and 1970s North East. During the show's run, Bolam and Bewes had reportedly been close friends, going out together for meals in the evenings with their wives. However, after it ended, the pair did not speak for decades, with claims that they fell out after Bewes told an anecdote which revealed that Bolam's wife was pregnant. It was said that even when Bewes's wife, fashion designer Daphne Black, died in 2015, Bolam did not get in touch with Bewes to offer his condolences. There were also suggestions that Bewes had been upset that Bolam did not wish to film any more series of the show because he was busy with other projects. Speaking to the BBC on Wednesday, Bolam insisted that the pair had 'drifted apart' due to busy schedules rather than any specific fall-out. In which case, it's rather odd that Bolam has never spoken about this earlier since Rodney had been telling, essentially, the same story about the alleged fall-out for years. 'This is what happens in acting,' Bolam told BBC Radio Sussex. 'You work with people, who get to know them, you like them, we have a great time and the job finishes and you go off and it all starts again with other people and you can't keep contact with everybody that you know.' After the Whatever Happened To The Likely Lads? ended, Bewes continued acting, working occasionally on TV but, mainly as a stage performer. Though he won the Stella Artois Prize at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in 1997, he never replicated the success of his 1960s and 1970s stardom. Bolam famously refused to grant permission for terrestrial Likely Lads re-runs. This hit Bewes, who claimed he was struggling financially - he could have earned up to four thousand smackers per episode. 'To stop other people earning money is cruel,' Bewes said at the time. Whilst Bewes was burdened with an overdraft, Bolam's career flourished - he went on to star in, among others When The Boat Comes In, The Beiderbecke Connection, Only When I Laugh, Born & Bred and, more recently, New Tricks. Bolam said on Wednesday: 'I think that Rodney wanted to do some more Likely Lads and I never did, I felt that what we had done was, to me, so perfect and so right that to try and bring it back. There was some suggestion that we had other writers come in and I just thought, "Well, I don't think it will work" and so I didn't want to do it. I was busy doing other things.' Bewes lamented the loss of their friendship, but also frequently complained of Bolam's alleged self-centred attitude, once saying, 'It's this actor's ego thing - he thinks he is important. Actors aren't important. I'm not important; I have fun. I think Jimmy takes himself very seriously as an actor.' Bolam insisted that he had nothing but fond memories of their work together. 'I am very sad to hear about Rodney's passing and my thoughts are with his family,' he said. 'What I will always remember is all the happy times we had making the show.' He added: 'It's been quite a depressing week for me because another actor that I worked with a lot, Keith Barron, died as well recently and I've been thinking "Oh god, they're all going" and it is a bit depressing. All one thinks at a time like this is their families and my thoughts are with them and my sympathies and I just wish them well.'
Speaking of things claimed by Rodney Bewes, this blogger is indebted to his old mucker Mark from the very excellent So It Goes for alerting Keith Telly Topping to Richard Herring's column in the Metro in which Richard tells about a curious encounter with Rodney: 'I was lucky enough to meet the former Likely Lad in a bar one evening and had a quick chat with him. Some stars don't like to talk about the show that made them famous but Bewes didn't even wait to be asked. I'm always delighted to listen to actors' anecdotes, even though nearly all of them end with Laurence Olivier saying a very bad word. Bewes was waxing lyrical about the seminal sitcom that made his name but then he said something that made me gasp and utter one of the swear words that Laurence Olivier was fond of using – but with a "me" after it. Bewes claimed that Jimi Hendrix had played on the theme tune to The Likely Lads. Pull the other one, mate; it's got Bob Holness playing the saxophone solo from 'Baker Street' on it. Bewes has something of a reputation for exaggeration and I expressed disbelief. However, he stuck to his guns. He said that they'd been recording the theme tune at a studio with Mike Hugg (the drummer with Manfred Mann who also wrote a few TV theme tunes), when Jimi knocked on the door. He'd been recording in the room next door and had liked what he'd heard and asked to join in. Bewes said that he went home that night and told his wife he'd been jamming with Jimi Hendrix and she said: "Oh Rodney, why do you keep making this rubbish up?" Bewes looked at me with his wide and innocent eyes saying: "But this time it was true."' Check out the full article for some very interesting speculation on Richard's part. Albeit, it does rather bring to mind all those stories of Derek Dougan's psychedelic period.
Of the dozens of really rather decent bits of journalism related to the death of Rodney Bewes, a couple deserve particular highlighting. Firstly, there was Mark Lawson's retrospective, Rodney Bewes: one of TV's great class acts in the Gruniad. In the same newspaper, Alexis Petridis writes eloquently about Ian La Frenais and Mike Hugg's memorable theme tune: 'Like the show itself, the music is very much a product of its era: between its clomping beat, liberal application of echo, a chord pattern that is simultaneously triumphant and oddly wistful (not unlike the kind of chord sequence known as a "glam descend", found everywhere from 'Metal Guru' to 'All The Young Dudes') and arms-around-your-mate singalong quality, it might easily have been the handiwork of Slade. Dejection, camaraderie, longing, the early Seventies: its theme is Whatever Happened To The Likely Lads? in a nutshell.'
The MasterChef: The Professionals producers were up to their old tricks again, on Tuesday's episode. As it began, as usual, some of that evening's contestants were featured in opening soundbites. One of those was Bradley. 'I can cook, I will cook and I will fight for my place in this competition,' said Bradley, confidently. He's going straight home, the collective audience - as one - thought. Because, they've watched this programme before and they know that anyone who even comes close to bigging themselves up during their pre-match interviews - and, more importantly sees that bigging-up included in the final cut of the episode - is about to face hideous national humiliation on a grand scale. It's happened a hundred times already and it'll continue to happen until contestants realise what the MasterChef production team are up to when they ask the apparently random question 'so, how do you think you'll do, then?' Because it's hilarious, basically. But, Bradley's 'oops' was nothing compared to the case of Stephen. 'I'll be very disappointed if I do anything less than get to the final,' was his opening comment. Needless to say, Stephen, by the end of the episode was, indeed, 'very disappointed' to be going home without even making the quarter finals, let alone the final itself. So, yet again, we offer the viewers tip to all MasterChef contestants, for the love of God don't boast about your own superlativeness, even if you believe in yourself and your own abilities, totally and utterly. Because, if it does all go wrong - which, sooner or later it probably will - the producers will think nothing of including your moment of what now looks like self-aggrandising hubris as part of their editing choices and you'll look very silly indeed before the nation. When it comes to MasterChef, unless you are going to win the damn thing - and, like the movie Highlander, there can be only one of those - it's probably best to err on the side of self-deprecation before you schail into hischtory. At least that way, no one watching will be standing on their sofa applauding when you eventually do crash and burn. And, no one has to get beheaded either.
There was even more thigh-slapping hilarity on Wednesday's episode of MasterChef: The Professionals. Firstly in the case of Jack who seemed absolutely astonished that his ultimate dream of owning his own 'restaurant-slash-micro-bakery' where he could, and these were his own words, just bake bread and listen to reggae all day didn't appear to impress Marcus and Monica one iota. They looked even more scowly-faced than usual - presumably, because anybody who uses the word 'slash' in a sentence that doesn't involve actual slashing deserves to be fined for criminal misuse of the English language. 'Who's going to run the restaurant if you're listening to music?' asked Monica. Jack didn't have an answer for that. Nor indeed, was his pigeon dish in the skills test seemingly up to much cop. But that was nothing to the reaction that his signature dish - which was, essentially, a Sunday roast dinner with three oversized and, apparently rather burned, 'chips' on the side - brought from Marcus. It was simple and it was devastating: 'I'm shocked!' he said. He looked shocked as well. In fact, he looked so shocked and so apoplectic that, for a second, this blogger thought he was going to punch Jack's lights out of daring to put such a woefully unrefined plate in front of him. 'Miles tougher than what I was expecting it to be,' noted Jack once he'd got his, inevitable, 'never darken our door again' marching orders - though, thankfully, by that time he had escaped from Marcus's withering thousand-yard stare with his life just about intact. 'It's probably going to give me a kick-start to push-on a little bit and maybe not be so chilled-out and take things a bit more seriously?' You think? Honestly, mate, if you enter MasterChef: The Professionals and you're not already 'taking it seriously' then you've probably just wasted your own - and everyone else's - time.
Then there was Brazilian David, a head pastry chef who had what might have been the single worst skills test round in the history of the programme. Having said that he had ambitions to be the first chef to get a Michelin Star for 'just doing deserts,' he proved that he's probably got no chance whatsoever of getting one for his savoury work. 'I want to blow peoples' minds,' he said. He certainly blew Monica, Marcus and Gregg's minds when he put cooked meat on the same metal tray and some raw meat and then, when told not to do that, subsequently put the same cooked meat on a chopping board that had been used to chop up the raw meat and hadn't been wiped down yet. 'Seven minutes left to poison us,' noted Gregg Wallace, pithily. It was a disaster and, at the end of the richly deserved slapping he got from the judges David sat, disconsolately, in the interview room looking like he was about to burst into tears. It might be an idea to forget about the Michelin Star until you've mastered a few health and safety basics, mate. Things did improve a little for David in the signature round, although it was noticeable that his strawberry desert was loved by Gregg - who likes anything sweet - but rather underwhelmingly picked-over by the other two (you know, that actual chefs, including one who has a couple of Michelin Stars). David, like Jack, was sent thoroughly packing, claiming that he was a better cook than what he'd shown and that it was 'probably the pressure that got to me.' You know what they say, 'if you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen.'
Yer actual Matt Smith has said that he is 'completely fine' with being replaced in The Crown. Ahead of The Crown's series two premiere, Smudger has revealed that he is 'ready to say goodbye' to his role of Prince Philip – even if it is getting more exciting. Speaking to TV Guide, Smudger admitted that he thought the series' decision to switch actors as the characters age will be 'really fascinating to see,' providing they pull it off. 'I think it's really interesting to see how people are going to reinterpret it and I think it keeps it fresh,' he said, before hinting that he might have got bored if he had stayed in the role. 'And I think it's difficult to sustain an actor's interest over six [series],' he added.
Holby City fans on social media have reportedly spotted 'some ingenious references to Doctor Who' in the recently-released trailer promoting Paul McGann's debut in the long-running medical drama. Paul will be making his first appearance as Holby's new lead surgeon, Professor John Gaskell, who takes charge when the entire unit is plunged into darkness. Did you notice a plethora of visual references to McGann's Doctor Who TV movie from the 1990s dear blog reader?
Here are the final and consolidated ratings for the Top Twenty Five programmes broadcast in the UK during the week-ending Sunday 19 November 2017:-
1 Blue Planet II - Sun BBC1 - 13.11m
2 I'm A Z-List Former Celebrity Desperate To Get My Boat-Race Back On TV ... Please Vote For Me To Stay Here As Long As Possible (I'll Even Eat Worms If You Want) - Sun ITV - 12.21m
3 Strictly Come Dancing - Sat BBC1 - 12.05m
4 Coronation Street - Wed ITV - 8.07m
5 The Apprentice - Wed BBC1 - 7.19m
6 Children In Need - Fri BBC1 - 7.12m
7 Countryfile - Sun BBC1 - 6.84m
8 EastEnders - Tues BBC1 - 6.83m
9 Emmerdale - Wed ITV - 6.62m
10 Michael McIntyre's Big Show - Sat BBC1 - 6.59m
11 Casualty - Sat BBC1 - 5.46m
12 The X-Factor - Sat ITV - 5.27m
13= Love,Lies & Records - Thurs BBC1 - 5.14m
13= Six O'Clock News - Tues BBC1 - 5.14m
15 Pointless Z-List Celebrities - Sat BBC1 - 5.11m
16 Howards End - Sun BBC1 - 4.97m
17 BBC News - Sun BBC1 - 5.95m
18 England Friendlies: England Versus Brazil - Tues ITV - 4.83m
19 Ten O'Clock News - Fri BBC1 - 4.74m
20 The A Word - Tues BBC1 - 4.35m
21 The ONE Show - Fri BBC1 - 4.23m
22 Holby City - Tues BBC1 - 4.07m
23 DIY SOS: The Big Build - Wed BBC1 - 4.05m
24 Match Of The Day - Sat BBC1 - 3.95m
25 Paul O'Grady's For The Love Of Dogs - Thurs ITV - 3.93m
These consolidated figures - published weekly by those smashing people at 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 programmes on BBC's iPlayer or ITV Player via their computers. The return of Sir David Attenborough to BBC1 continues to dominate all before it with the fourth episode of Blue Planet II achieving the series' fourth consecutive audience of over thirteen million. The Sunday night Strictly Come Dancing results episode had a consolidated audience of 11.39 million punters. The X-Factor, on the other hand, drew a total of but 5.12 million viewers for its Sunday results episode. A small improvement on the previous week's total of 4.91 million but, still one imagines, really not the sort of figure that either Wee Shughie McFee, the sour-faced Scottish chef off Crossroads or ITV (or, more specifically, ITV's advertisers) would consider to be an acceptable audience. The Weakest Link Z-List Celebrity Special For Children In Need topped BBC2' weekly top thirty with 3.45 million viewers, a fraction ahead of the return of Peaky Blinders, which attracted 3.44 million. MasterChef: The Professionals continues to do excellent business for Beeb2, with the three nightly episodes attracting audiences of 3.37 million (Wednesday), 3.31 million (Thursday) and 3.10 million (Tuesday). University Challenge had 2.98 million punters. The Boy With The Topknot drew 2.60 million, followed by Strictly Come Dancing: It Takes Two and Nigella (She Has Her Knockers): At My Table both with, 2.25 million, The Apprentice - You're Fired!, 2.17 million and Rugby Union coverage, 2.10 million. Z-List Celebrity Antiques Road Trip was watched by 1.99 million, Rich Stein's Road To Mexico by 1.93 million, the depressingly awful Motherland by 1.72 million, Only Connect, by 1.67 million, Mastermind, by 1.54 million and Dad's Army!, by 1.41 million. Channel Four's highest-rated broadcast, now that The Great British Bake Off, had finished, was for Gogglebox with 3.27 million. Guy Martin's WWI Tank (2.57 million) and The Secret Life Of Four Year Olds (2.37 million) came thereafter. The Secret Life Of The Zoo had 1.99 million viewers, Ugly House To Lovely house With George Clarke, 1.73 million, First Dates, 1.58 million, Nine-Nine-Nine: What's Your Emergency?, 1.55 million, Grand Designs: House Of The Year, 1.53 million, The Last Leg With Adam Hills, 1.43 million, Food Unwrapped: Supermarket Special, also 1.43 million and Lifers: Behind Bars, 1.32 million. Channel Five's top performer was the forty seventh terrestrial showing of Pirates Of The Caribbean: The Curse Of The Black Pearl, with an audience of 1.89 million. Jo Brand's Cats & Kittens, Chris Tarrant: Extreme Railways Journeys, All New Traffic Cops and Ben Fogle's New Lives In The Wild rounded-off Five's most-watched list with audiences of 1.59 million, 1.47 million, 1.26 million and 1.19 million. Following the international break, Premier League action was back on Sky Sports Premier League. The North London derby between The Arse and Stottingtot Hotshots (one all Spurs fans will ant to forget in a hurry) was seen by three hundred and sixty seven thousand plus eight hundred and five thousand on Sky Sports Main Events. Watford's crushing defeat of Under New Management West Hamster United drew two hundred and eighty thousand and six hundred and ninety eight thousand on Main Event. The live rugby international between England and Australia was Main Event's highest non-football related audience with five hundred and seventy four thousand (two hundred and sixty three thousand also watched on Sky Sports Action). Gillette Soccer Saturday was watched by two hundred and forty six thousand punters on SS PL, two hundred and one thousand on Sky Sports football and two hundred and ninety seven thousand on Sky Sports News. Unbelievable, Jeff. Live EFL, Fulham versus Derby attracted one hundred and forty seven thousand viewers of Sky Sports Football. The World Cup Qualification Play-Off second leg between The Republic Of Ireland and Denmark was watched by one hundred and twenty six thousand on the Football channel and two hundred and forty five thousand on Sky Sports Main Event. Atletico Madrid against Real Madrid had one hundred and twenty two thousand, another World Cup Qualifier, Sweden's dramatic elimination of Italy, was watched by one hundred and eleven thousand (plus three hundred and ninety three thousand of Main Event) and Dirty Leeds versus The Middlesbrough Smog Monsters, ninety five thousand (with two hundred and seventy two thousand on Main Event). More Spanish League action, Girona against Real Sociedad, was Sky Sports Mix's, most watched broadcast with thirty six thousand. NF highlights of Tennessee versus Pittsburgh drew twenty four thousand and the oddly addictive NFL Redzone, twenty one thousand. Sky Sports Cricket's highest audience of the week was live coverage of the Ram Slam T20 Challenge with twenty five thousand. And, one imagines the chaps over at Sky are now absolutely delighted that they didn't get the rights to The Ashes this time around. Once again, Sky Sports F1 didn't post any figures for this particular week. Live WWE Late Night Raw attracted seventy three thousand viewers on Sky Sports Arena. Sky 1's weekly top-ten was headed by Marvel's Inhumans with eight hundred and forty two thousand viewers and The Flash, by eight hundred and thirty eight thousand. The return of Strike Back continued with seven hundred and fifty four thousand whilst Living The Dream had six hundred and sixty one thousand. Brilliantly, Supergirl (six hundred and thirty one thousand), DC's Legends Of Tomorrow (six hundred and twenty four thousand) and Arrow (five hundred and thirty nine thousand) all attracted larger audiences than that rancid stream of festering spew Bounty Hunters, featuring odious, unfunny lanky streak of piss Bloody Jack Bloody Whitehall, which continued to shed viewers like a dog sheds hair (five hundred and twenty two thousand a drop of over one hundred and seventy thousand punters from the previous episode). It's still too many, however. For shame, people of Great Britain, for shame. Sky Arts' Landscape Artist Of The Year was seen by one hundred and eighty eight thousand viewers. Pink Floyd: Wish You Were Here drew seventy nine thousand. Sky Atlantic's list was topped by Last Week Tonight With John Oliver with two hundred and twelve thousand. The Deuce attracted one hundred and seventy six thousand, the latest Game Of Thrones repeat, one hundred and seventeen thousand, Babylon Berlin, eighty nine thousand and Curb Your Enthusiasm, also eighty nine thousand. On Sky Living, the latest episode of The Good Doctor drew by 1.01 million whilst Criminal Minds, had eight hundred and fifty four thousand. Blindspot attracted seven hundred and twenty nine thousand and Grey's Anatomy, six hundred and eighty four thousand. The Great Wall was the big movie of Sky Cinema Premiere, seen by three hundred and thirty seven thousand. In The Valley Of Violence drew two hundred and forty three thousand. Midsomer Murders was ITV3's top-rated drama (eight hundred and sixty one thousand viewers). Foyle's War was seen by five hundred and thirty six thousand. A never-less-than-welcome repeat of An Audience With Billy Connolly was seen by three hundred and twenty five thousand people on ITV4. The 1990 action movie Hard To Kill drew two hundred and ninety thousand. ITV2's list of shame was headed by full-of-its-own-importance bucket of phlegm, Z-List Celebrity Juice, seen by 1.39 million sad, crushed victims of society. I'm A Z-List Former Celebrity Desperate To Get My Boat-Race Back On TV ... Please Vote For Me To Stay Here As Long As Possible (I'll Even Eat Worms If You Want) ... Extra Camp had 1.06 million. We live in strange and troubling times, dear blog reader. The Frankenstein Chronicles topped ITV Encore's top ten with eighty six thousand viewers, followed by Vera (seventy seven thousand). Shallow and appalling tripe The Real Housewives Of Cheshire, was viewed by six hundred and eighty three thousand of exactly the sort of specimens who enjoy such risible and ugly exercises in z-list-celebrity-by-non-entity on ITVBe. Similarly wretched conceit, Tamara's World was seen by three hundred and fifty five thousand. Broken Britain in a sentence, dear blog reader. BBC4's top-ten was headed by the second episode of the current series of Detectorists (a superb 1.52 million) and Venus Uncovered: Ancient Goddess Of Love (five hundred and twenty thousand). Storyville: Toffs, Queers & Traitors had five hundred and six thousand. SAS: Rogue Warriors drew four hundred and ninety nine thousand, Border Country: The Story of Britain's Lost Middleland, four hundred and eighty seven thousand and Gods & Monsters: Homer's Odyssey, four hundred and twenty seven thousand. 5USA's latest Chicago PD episode was viewed by seven hundred and twenty six thousand punters, NCIS: Los Angeles by five hundred and thirty two thousand, Bull by three hundred and ninety five thousand, Castle by three hundred and eighty thousand and Longmire by three hundred and thirty two thousand. On Five Star, Home & Away scored four hundred and eighty six thousand. The A-Team had two hundred and thirty nine thousand on the newly renamed Five-Spike. NCIS was the most-watched drama on CBS Action (one hundred ten thousand). Medium attracted seventy three thousand on CBS Drama. For FOX's sake, The Walking Dead's latest episode was watched by a whopping 1.42 million. The Gifted had four hundred and thirty seven thousand, American Horror Story: Cult, three hundred and two thousand, Lucifer, two hundred and eighty six thousand and Talking Dead, two hundred and eighteen thousand. Major Crimes continued its repeat run on the Universal Channel with two hundred and thirty two thousand viewers. On Dave, Red Dwarf XII give the channel another bumper audience, nine hundred and one thousand punters. From The North favourite Dave Gorman's Modern Life Is Goodish was watched by five hundred and seventeen thousand very discerning punters. On the other hand, laughless tripe Zapped had three hundred and sixteen thousand. Qi XL drew, two hundred and fifty five thousand and Would I Lie To You?, two hundred and forty seven thousand. Drama's The White Princess attracted six hundred and ninety one thousand viewers, Death In Paradise, six hundred and seventy thousand thousand and Kiwi import The Brokenwood Mysteries, five hundred and one thousand. Inspector George Gently was seen by four hundred and fifty four thousand. Drama Channel staple, Father Brown (one hundred and twenty one thousand) headed the weekly top-ten of Alibi. Sony TV's list was crested by a particularly rotten movie, I Am Wrath (fifty nine thousand), whilst Hustle drew thirty three thousand. Yesterday's First Britains drew two hundred and forty seven thousand, whilst Porridge attracted two hundred and eight thousand and Blackadder The Third, one hundred and eighty thousand. Rome's Invisible City (one hundred and sixty two thousand) and Walking Through History: The Tudor Way (one hundred and fifty seven thousand) followed. On Your TV, Bones brought in eighty one thousand and Murderous Affairs, seventy four thousand. The Discovery Channel's Gold Rush was seen by four hundred and eight thousand viewers who, apparently, enjoy watching large shouty men with large shouty beards shouting at the camera like a bunch of five year olds. Fast N' Loud had two hundred and fifty three thousand, Alaskan Bush People, one hundred and seventy one thousand, Finding Escobar's Million, one hundred and sixty thousand and I Am Bruce Lee, sixty seven thousand. James May's Toy Stories had sixty two thousand and Wor Geet Canny Robson Green's Ultimate Catch fifty nine thousand. From The North fave Wheeler Dealers appeared in the weekly top tens of both Discovery Shed (twenty five thousand) and Discovery Turbo (twenty thousand). Discovery History's Tony Robinson's World War I headed the top ten with thirty one thousand, the same number as watched In Search Of Eden. Who Framed Jesus? attracted twenty six thousand. On Discovery Science, Outrageous Acts Of Science was seen by thirty six thousand. Salvage Hunters on Quest was watched by four hundred and twenty four thousand whilst Wheeler Dealers was viewed by two hundred and seventy nine thousand. Pick's Z Nation had an audience of two hundred and forty seven thousand. National Geographic's list was headed by The Long Road Home and Airport Security. They were watched by ninety three thousand and forty six thousand respectively. National Geographic Wild's Savage Kingdom was watched by thirty seven thousand. The History Channel's most-seen programmes were WW2 Treasure Hunters (one hundred and forty four thousand) and X Company (sixty two thousand). Ancient Aliens on the Military History channel was viewed by forty one thousand. Homicide: Hours To Kill, Leah Remini: Scientology & The Aftermath, Crimes That Shook The Bugger Out Of Britain and After The First Forty Eight were Crime & Investigation's top-rated programmes with sixty six thousand, sixty four thousand, fifty four thousand and fifty two thousand blood-and-snots-lovers, respectively. From The North's current favourite afternoon distraction, Homicide Hunter drew twenty nine thousand. Dead Silent, Home Alone, Six Degrees Of Murder, Deadly Women and Gone headed Investigation Discovery's list (seventy two thousand, seventy two thousand, sixty five thousand, fifty seven thousand and fifty six thousand respectively). GOLD's repeat run of Mrs Brown's Boys continued with two hundred and twenty four thousand punters. Comedy Central's largest audience of the week was for Impractical Jokers with three hundred and eighty four thousand. This, dear blog reader, is what Americans find funny, it would appear. Mind you, look at whom they elected as President and then tell this blogger it's a country that doesn't do irony. On More4, Nine-Nine-Nine: On The Frontline was the highest-rated programme with four hundred and eighty nine thousand. Great Canal Journeys had three hundred and ninety two thousand and Four In A Bed, three hundred and ninety thousand. E4's list was topped, as usual, by The Big Bang Theory 2.39 million, by an 'uge distance the largest multichannels audience of the week. Made In Chelsea had nine hundred and sixty seven thousand and Hollyoakes, nine hundred and fourteen thousand. Two hundred and eleven thousand people - with, it would appear, nothing better to do with their time - decided they wished to be Keeping Up With The Kardashians on E! whilst Total Divas had fifty eight thousand. The latest episode of The Exorcist, headed Syfy's top-ten with two hundred and forty two thousand whilst a repeat of Merlin was watched by one hundred and eight thousand. The Horror Channel's weekly list was topped an episodes of Star Trek: Voyager, attracting one hundred and forty eight thousand. The Human Jungle, Switzerland In The 1950s, Secret Mission and Scotland Yard topped Talking Pictures list, with fifty eight thousand, fifty six thousand, forty five thousand and forty four thousand respectively. Attenborough & The Giant Egg was viewed by thirty one thousand on Eden. Alaska: The Last Frontier was the Animal Planet's most-watched programme with seventy five thousand. Inside The Ambulance on W attracted two hundred and sixty four thousand punters. True Crime's Cutting Edge was seen by fifty nine thousand viewers. Deadly Women drew fifty three thousand. On True Entertainment, M*A*S*H, was watched by one hundred and forty two thousand punters. River Cottage: Winter's On The Way had eighty five thousand on Good Food. TLC's list was headed by My Six Hundred Pound Life (eighty eight thousand). Escape To The Country was watched by one hundred and five thousand on Home. The Bay Of Pigs and Paleo Sleuths jointly topped PBS America's weekly list both with twenty thousand. Shameful pitiful and wretched toot Teen Mom 2 on MTV was viewed by two hundred and forty nine thousand planks whilst equally worthless Just Tattoo Of Us had one hundred and eighty six thousand. Most Haunted drew three hundred and five thousand on Really. For a channel with that particular name, they appear to show an awful lot of programmes about non-existent subjects. Wacky Races had one hundred and two thousand viewers on Boomerang. It was the episode where Dick Dastardly and Muttley didn't win, in case you were wondering. Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated attracted seventy five thousand. Zoinks! On Cbeebies, Apple Tree House was seen by five hundred and seventy five thousand, Peter Rabbit by five hundred and forty one thousand, Sarah & Duck by five hundred and thirty five thousand and Gigglebiz by five hundred and twenty three thousand. Alvinnn!!! & The Chipmunks had one hundred and eight thousand on the Pop Channel. On AMC, We Were Soldiers was watched by six thousand. The Curse Of Oak Island drew one hundred and three thousand punters to Blaze. Britain's Next Top Model pulled in one hundred and sixty one thousand on Lifetime. The Michael English Show was seen by thirty seven thousand on Keep It Country. Knight Rider drew one hundred and eighteen thousand on Forces TV. We Still Kill The Old Way attracted sixty five thousand on London Live whilst Confessions From The Underground had fifty seven thousand. Sniper, drew one hundred and thirty six thousand to the Movies 4 Men channel. Every Christmas Has A Story was watched by one hundred and ninety one thousand punters on Movies24. It's going to be a long five weeks until the actual event, is it not?

Unseen footage of Eric Morecambe and Ernie Wise will be screened in a new special on BBC2 this Christmas. The hour-long programme features home movies of the popular double act with their wives, friends and colleagues, with the footage combined with new interviews from those who appear in the movies. Eric & Ernie's Home Movies is being made by Shiver, the ITV-owned production company which previously made Morecambe & Wise Forever for ITV3. Executive producer Mark Robinson told Prolific North: 'Eric and Ernie's home movies are a treasure trove. We've become familiar over the decades with so many classic Morecambe & Wise sketches and routines but this gives us the chance to see Eric and Ernie in the way their nearest and dearest knew them. The footage shines a light on an era when they were in their twenties and thirties, newly wed, often on the road and still building up to becoming the legends we all know them as today. We are incredibly lucky to be working with the Morecambe & Wise estate on this programme and grateful to them for allowing us access to this private collection.' Shane Allen, the BBC's controller of comedy commissioning, added: 'This wonderfully preserved home movie footage shines a new light on what a lifelong close and special friendship Eric and Ernie enjoyed. It's really moving to see them in their private lives sharing happy times with friends and family. This Christmas marks forty years since their huge audience special of 1977 and comes just before the fiftieth anniversary of their first BBC series in 1968.'
The makers of Blue Planet II used a normal television while editing the soundtrack of the programme because of concerns that viewers would whinge about the narration not being audible. The BBC team used a TV rather than a music theatre or studio to review the final mix so they could understand how the natural history programme would sound in a family living room and set the narration, music and sound effects to the appropriate levels. The BBC has faced a number of whinges about sound in its programmes, including viewers claiming that they cannot hear what is being said in drama programmes and the music being 'too loud.' Whether those viewers have been told - as they most certainly should have been - to quit whinging and to wash their cloth-ears out with soap and water is not, at this time, known. In response to those whinges, the BBC said: 'Oh, Christ, not this bollocks again. If you're having problems hearing our programmes, wash yer cloth-ears out with soap and water and quit whinging.' Well, no, actually they didn't. Because the BBC are far too polite to say any such thing. But, this blogger is not. Anyway, actually what the BBC said was: 'The BBC takes audibility very seriously and the producers thought carefully about the sound and music in advance of transmission. The sound quality and level was carefully checked before the film was shown and it met industry technical standards. That said, we take comments from our viewers very seriously.' Blue Planet II features music by the award-winning composer Hans Zimmer, as well as sound effects added after scenes were filmed. The BBC has received whinges about the 'loudness' of Zimmer's - genuinely beautiful - score and the added sound effects, but James Honeyborne, the executive producer of Blue Planet II, said that the makers of the programme 'had worked hard' to get the right balance. 'There's a lot going on with narration, with music, with sound and that's why you mix it to try to get those levels right and an evenly paced television experience. That takes place in a big music theatre,' he told the Radio Times. 'But what perhaps people don't know is that we then huddle around the TV in the corner of this huge room and we sit and we actually listen to the finished film and do the final mix review on a normal television, because it's all very well doing it in a big music theatre but at the end of the day this is being made for a television audience and you need to check that you've got everything as right as you can. We absolutely try to get the balance right.' Blue Planet II has been an overwhelming success for the BBC so far. The first episode is currently the most watched programme of 2017, with over fourteen million people tuning in. Its audience has been larger than those for the rival Sunday night shows Strictly Come Dancing and The X Factor and the programme has been particularly popular with sixteen- to-thirty four-year-olds. Honeyborne said: 'The original Blue Planet series in 2001 was broadcast immediately after the horror of the Twin Towers and people connected with it because of a sense of despair about the world. Is the same thing going on now? I think you're right that people do like to escape to natural history and the respect and love for Sir David [Attenborough] is still very much there. He is the master storyteller. I'm sure there are multiple factors, but at the heart of this I do get a sense, looking at the demographics, that more young people are watching – there's a key environmental interest by the younger generation coming in to play. It's interesting that one of the most used words on Twitter and discussions around the first episode was "amazed."'
Rachel Riley has celebrated filming her two thousandth episode of Countdown with a photo from her very first. She said that most of her favourite moments as co-presenter of the popular Channel Four puzzle show are 'too rude to type.' She shared a photograph of herself in front of the programme's famous clock, captioned: 'This was my first episode in 2009, today is my two thousandth!' On the episode, she was treated to flowers and a cake on the set to mark the occasion.
A role in upcoming thriller Save Me ended up 'saving' Suranne Jones, the actress has claimed. From The North favourite Suranne described working on the Sky Atlantic series as 'therapeutic' after experiencing 'a tough time' in her own life. 'It was a real difficult time for me, personally,' she said at a Sky showcase event. 'I'd just lost my mother and I'd just had a child, so actually going to work and telling stories like this. It's therapeutic in a very bizarre way. It was difficult, but I came out of it feeling like something had shifted, that something had happened.' Save Me is the story of Nelly Rowe (played by Lennie James, who also created and wrote the series), a charming chancer whose life is turned upside down when he is accused of kidnapping his estranged daughter. Soon, he is reunited with the girl's mother Claire (played by Jones) and sets out to prove his innocence and catch the real culprit. 'My story is a thriller set on a housing estate in South East London and that's what's unlikely,' James said. 'Nelly is an unlikely hero and also their relationship. when you first see them together in the pub, you're thinking, "There's no way those two were ever together – it would never, ever happen – that's just Lennie James's fantasy!" But then gradually, as you get to know their personalities, you see what it was that he did for her and what she did for him. In my original idea, [the lead character] was much more accomplished, he was ex-Special Branch or something like that. But the minute I got the sense of Nelly and who he is, at the centre of the story, then the whole world opened up in a different way.' Save Me will be broadcast on Sky Atlantic in 2018.
Scandinavian crime drama and From The North favourite The Bridge (Broen) is returning for its fourth and sadly final series in 2018, this time being shown on BBC2. Creator Hans Rosenfeldt had already suggested that the fourth series would be the acclaimed drama's last and it has now been confirmed, with Sofia Helin and Thure Lindhardt reprising their roles as Malmö detective Saga Norén and her Danish partner, Henrik Sabroe. Set two years after the third series, Rosenfeldt and co-writer Camilla Ahlgren have alluded to what we can expect in the final episodes. 'Saga is coming to terms with the dire consequences of being accused of her mother's murder when a macabre crime seemingly linked to migration takes place. Meanwhile, Henrik continues his desperate search for his children,' they said. Executive producer Anders Landstrom added: 'It is obviously very sad to say goodbye to Saga after four incredible seasons, but our talented writers, Hans and Camilla have an extraordinary end in store for viewers. Sofia has played the role of Saga with a rawness and truth rarely seen on-screen and it's been a pleasure to work with her and Thure on a series of which we are immensely proud.' The Bridge is BBC4's highest-ever rating drama, but will make the switch to BBC2 for its final run in 2018. 'It is great to see this fantastic series back and on BBC2,' said the channel's controller Patrick Holland. 'The Bridge has helped redefine television drama in recent years and it is fitting that its final series will be showcased on BBC2.' Bit of a kick in the Jacob's Cream Crackers for BBC4, though.
Michelle Dockery swaps her aristocratic title for a rifle and a face covered in mud for her new Netflix series Godless. Dockery's latest role as a hardened, gun-toting widow in Scott Frank's critically-acclaimed western is her biggest departure from Lady Mary to date. She isn't immediately recognisable in one of her first scenes as outcast Alice Fletcher opposite Jack O'Connell's Ray Goode – her face is covered in mud, and she speaks in a low, weary midwestern accent. The seven-part series – set in 1884 – follows Frank Griffin (Jeff Daniels) and his group of violent outlaws on the merciless hunt for former ally Goode (O'Connell), who is seeking refuge in Fletcher's property. Fletcher lives with her Native American son and brooding mother-in-law (Tantoo Cardinal) on a ranch in New Mexico, situated on the outskirts of a town mainly populated by women after a mining accident wiped out most of the local men. She is fiercely protective of her ostracised family and is a deft hand with her rifle, which she isn't afraid to use when under threat. Dockery plays Fletcher with confidence and a dynamic resilience – her aim is to protect her family and property at all costs. There's also potential for a showdown with the women against Griffin's men – the females prove themselves as tough and as adept with their weapons and horses as the their male counterparts.
A British camera operator has died while shooting a stunt sequence for a BBC drama in Ghana. Mark Milsome, whose credits include Saving Private Ryan and Sherlock, was working on upcoming drama The Forgiving Earth when the incident occurred. The BBC said it was 'deeply shocked and saddened' by the news, calling Milsome 'a much respected colleague.' His agent said that he would 'be greatly missed' and that an investigation into Saturday's incident was under way. 'We all need answers to this dreadful tragedy,' said Sarah Prince. It has been reported that Milsome was taking part in a night shoot for a car stunt scene. Milsome's many credits also include Game Of Thrones, The Theory Of Everything and James Bond film Quantum of Solace. His agent said that Mark was 'an incredibly talented cameraman, a gentle gentleman [and a] genuinely loved member of the film industry family.'
This Morning went off-air unexpectedly during Monday's live show, with ITV blaming technical problems. Sadly, it came back on later. Viewers were left unable to watch the programme - hosted by Phillip Schofield and Holly Willoughby - for more than twelve minutes. Whichwas, obviously, very sad. The presenters were speaking to guest Ben Fogle when the picture suddenly cut out. ITV apologised for the 'glitch' and said that it was 'looking into' what had caused the problem. Viewers were met with a message saying the broadcaster was 'working hard to fix the issue.'
As reported in a previous bloggerisationism, David Lynch recently series said that there was 'nothing to talk about' in regards to another series of Twin Peaks. However: 'I've learned never say "never,"' he told The Hollywood Reporter in a recent interview, before going on to have his say on the Twin Peaks: The Return finale. Dismissing the idea that it was a cliffhanger or more of a 'philosophical' ending, David hinted that the final chapter of Twin Peaks may not have been written yet after all. 'But you know, I always say that there should be some room to dream,' he said, also admitting that 'it's too early' to say what would lure him and Mark Frost to revisit the series. Which is similar to what co-creator Frost told the Digital Spy website. When asked if 'that was it' for the iconic drama, Frost said: 'It's too early to say about any possible future of the show from here on out.'
The US government has filed formal charges against the man they say is responsible for the widespread HBO cyber attack which leaked confidential information about Game Of Thrones, Curb Your Enthusiasm and Westworld. A federal indictment filed in a New York district court on Tuesday identified Iranian national Behzad Mesr of orchestrating the hack in order to extort HBO out of six million dollars in Bitcoin and being a very naughty man. Investigators also drew ties between Mesr's Turk Black Hat Security group and the Iranian government, although they stopped short of alleging that Tehran was directly involved in the cyber attack. A federal warrant has been issued for Mesr's arrest on charges of computer and wire fraud, identity theft as well as unauthorised computer use, meaning he could be apprehended by international authorities if he ever travels outside of Iran. Not that such a thing is likely now he knows the Feds are on his ass, one imagines. 'He will never be able to travel outside of Iran without fear of being arrested and brought here to face these charges,' US Attorney Joon Kim said in a press conference. 'The memory of American law enforcement is very long.' US officials did not confirm or deny whether HBO contacted Mesr about paying his ransom. When news of the hack first came to light over the summer, the network said that it was 'not engaging' in any such negotiations. 'While it has been reported that a number of e-mails have been made public, the review to date has not given us a reason to believe that our e-mail system as a whole has been compromised,' an HBO spokesperson said at the time. 'We continue to work around the clock with outside cybersecurity firms and law enforcement to resolve the incident. Meanwhile, our dedicated employees continue to focus on delivering the high quality of entertainment and service for which we are known.' Among those urging HBO not to give in to the blackmail was Game Of Thrones star Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, despite the fact that hackers had obtained his and his castmates' private data.
HBO is reportedly changing its Golden Globes submission for the seventh series of Game Of Thrones. According to sources, the popular adult fantasy drama will have two of its cast submitted for nomination in the Lead Actor category at the 2018 Golden Globes, which will be held in January. The actors in question being Emilia Clarke and Kit Harington. No actor or actress from Game Of Thrones has ever been eligible to compete as a lead role at the ceremony before, with Clarke and Harington getting supporting nominations previously (Clarke three times and Harington once). The choice to move the pair to the lead category arguably reflects the narrative shift in Game Of Thrones during the most most recent storylines.
Emilia Clarke sounds somewhat narked with anyone criticising the nudity on Game Of Thrones. 'I'm starting to get really annoyed about this stuff now because people say, "Oh, yeah, all the porn sites went down when Game Of Thrones came back on." I'm like The Handmaid's Tale?,' she told Harper's Bazaar. 'I fucking love that show and I cried when it ended because I couldn't handle not seeing it. That is all sex and nudity. There are so many shows centred around this very true fact that people reproduce. People fuck for pleasure – it's part of life.' Earlier this year, Emilia spoke about being 'more comfortable' with the sex scenes on the show as Dany has been taking control more. 'I get a lot of crap for having done nude scenes and sex scenes,' she explained. 'That, in itself, is so anti-feminist. Women hating on other women is just the problem. That's upsetting, so it's kind of wonderful to have a scene where I was like, "There you go!"'
Yer actual Benedict Cumberbatch returns to TV in the first look at his upcoming TV version of Melrose. The Sherlock actor will lead Sky Atlantic's adaptation of Edward St Aubyn's semi-autobiographical Patrick Melrose novels, about the highs and lows of an affluent playboy. Each episode in the TV adaptation of Melrose will be based on one of St Aubyn's novels and will take place during different eras of the title character's life, as he battles substance abuse and trauma from his childhood in the South of France in the 1960s, New York in the 1980s and Britain in the early 2000s. Winning the role of Patrick Melrose was 'a dream' for Benny, who once told fans in a Reddit Q&A that Edward St Aubyn's troubled playboy was the character he'd most like to play. Benny is an executive producer on Melrose with Adam Ackland and Far From The Madding Crowd writer David Nicholls. 'We are delighted to be part of this incredible series,' the actor has said. 'We have been huge fans of these books for many years and David Nicholls' adaptations are extraordinary.' This role will mark Benny's first TV project since his one-off BBC drama The Child In Time was broadcast in September.
Riviera will return for another series of sex, betrayal and crime. Sky Atlantic has commissioned a second series of the drama set against the French Riviera, with Julia Stiles reprising her role as art curator-turned-amateur investigator Georgina Marjorie Clios. In Sky's official announcement, there is no mention that series creator Neil Jordan will return, which isn't surprising since he publicly accused Paul McGuinness of compromising his original vision.
That Bloody Weirdo Noel Fielding will be taking some time away from The Great British Bake Off to play a hard rock legend in an upcoming Sky Arts series. He has signed up, alongside several other comedians, to star in more of Sky Arts' Urban Myths. The latest series will probably be a bit less controversial than the last, as it sends up some of the more interesting moments in rock and/or roll history. Take for instance, When Bowie Met Bolan. Bad Education's Freddy Syborn has written the comedy about David Bowie (played Luke Treadaway) striking up a friendship with Marc Bolan (played by that odious, unfunny lanky streak of rancid piss Jack Whitehall) while painting their shared manager's (Ade Edmondson) office in the mid-1960s. So, that should be worth avoiding, then. Urban Myths: The Dali & The Cooper tells the story of Alice Cooper befriending the eccentric artist Salvador Dali in 1973, when asked to attend a bizarre dinner party at his home. David Suchet will be playing Dali, whilst That Bloody Weirdo Noel Fielding has been cast as Alice for the comedy written by The Thick Of It and Veep's Roger Drew and Ed Dyson. A third episode, Urban Myths: Public Enemy (featuring Kev Wells) strands the pioneering hip-hop group in Broomhill after being ditched by their tour bus. Luckily, local resident Kev Wells (Philip Glenister) and his Ford Focus come to their rescue. This episode has cast Paterson Joseph as Chuck D and Abdul Salis as Flavor Flav, in a script from Neil Webster. Yeah, boy!
The wife of Simon Thomas has died three days after being diagnosed with leukaemia, the Sky Sports presenter has announced. The forty four-year-old broke the sad news in a Twitter message saying, understandably, that he was 'crushed with indescribable pain.' Gemma Thomas leaves behind the couple's son eight-year-old Ethan, whom Simon described as 'in bits.' The presenter said that his wife had fallen ill three days ago with Acute Myeloid Leukaemia and died on Friday 'surrounded by her friends and family.'

The Good Doctor has become one of the biggest TV hits of the year, but it was actually rejected twice before being made. Daniel Dae Kim serves as an executive producer on the ABC medical drama and has been integral to the show from the beginning. After noticing the original version in South Korea, he acquired the rights and started to adapt it. As he was a star of CBS's Hawaii Five-O at the time, Kim developed it for the network, only for them to reject it after looking at the script. 'CBS actually passed on it twice. That was really unfortunate to me, because they were my home studio. I really wanted to bring something home to them,' he explained to the New York Times. After they rejected it, Kim bought back the rights from CBS and teamed up with Sony's television arm, who brought in David Shore, creator of FOX's successful medical drama House and his version began to attract interest. The Good Doctor eventually landed at ABC with the first half of its debut season pulling in around seventeen million viewers per episode in the US. That's a larger audience than both CBS's NCIS and NBC's This Is Us, making it the current most-watched drama on US network television. It's also ABC's most-watched Monday drama in over twenty years.
Neil Gaiman's novel Anansi Boys is getting a star-studded adaptation for Radio 4. Although it's not a sequel to American Gods, it does features that novel's trickster God Mister Nancy who will be played by Lenny Henry (last, briefly, funny in 1983). The six-part mythical fantasy will follow Anansi and his unsuspecting sons Charlie (Jacob Anderson) and Spider (Nathan Stewart-Jarrett). 'I'm delighted to have this amazing cast of actors bring Anansi Boys to life for Radio 4,' Gaiman said. 'Anansi Boys started for me over twenty years ago when Lenny Henry and I were working on [the original TV version of] Neverwhere together. He told me that it was wrong that back then there really weren't any horror films with black leads and I said, "Well, I'll write you one." And then it wasn't a film, but a novel and it wasn't horror but a strange mixture of mythic family comedy, romance and crime drama (with some scary bits). When I was writing the novel I had Lenny's voice in my head and I'm delighted that in this dramatisation Lenny is Mister Nancy and Anansi The Spider – to me he is inseparable from this project. But the talent behind the microphone is astonishing. We even got Earl Cameron, a month after he turned one hundred, to come in and play Dragon. This is the fifth adaptation of one of my books or stories that Dirk Maggs and Radio 4 have done. I think it's the best of them all.'
Channel Four has grovellingly apologised after posting a video on Facebook of a 'joke' with an apparent reference to one of the worst atrocities of The Troubles. The clip, which appeared on the All 4 Facebook page, was taken from an episode of the US sitcom Black-ish that was broadcast on the E4 channel last week. Discussing the IRA, a character refers to taking 'down a couple of fish and chip shops to be free of British rule.' A brother of one Shankill bomb victim said that the clip had left him 'angry.' Nine civilians - including two children, aged seven and thirteen - were killed by an IRA bomb that exploded at a fish shop in west Belfast in 1993. The Facebook clip - titled 'Nothing tears a family apart like politics' - was posted on Thursday night. It was removed from the site on Friday morning after more than two million people had viewed it, with some commenting to express their disgust. Channel Four said it apologised 'if any offence was caused,' adding that the short video was 'posted on social media, out of the context of the episode, in error.' How lovely to see one of those non-apology apologies 'if any offence was caused.' Offence was caused, so how about trying to apologise for causing offence. In the clip, two parents - father Dre and mother Bow - discuss the political position adopted by their son, whom they believe has aligned himself with the Republican Party in the US. Dre attempts to explain that to Bow, who misunderstands him, believing him to mean that her son has become a member of the IRA. She says: 'So if you got to take down a couple of fish and chip shops to be free of British rule, Dre, you got to do what you got to do.' The episode was originally broadcast in the US in 2015, but was shown in the UK last week.
It's twenty two years since Anna Friel won her last major awards - a National TV Award and a TV Times Award for her role in the Channel Four soap Brookside. Now, her recent career resurgence has been crowned with another trophy - best actress at the International EMMY Awards for ITV drama Marcella. The forty one-year-old was among a number of UK winners at the New York ceremony. Sir Kenneth Branagh won best actor for Wallander, while Alan Partridge's Scissored Isle was named best comedy. BBC2's Exodus: Our Journey To Europe, which gave cameras to migrants, won best documentary. The International EMMYs are awards honouring TV made outside the US. Friel triumphed for playing Marcella Backland, the former detective who returns to the police force to help solve an old serial killing case while also trying to save her marriage. Written by Sweden's Hans Rosenfeld, it was billed by ITV as 'Scandinavian noir on the streets of Britain.' Despite her performance being recognised by the global TV professionals who vote for the International EMMYs, Friel wasn't nominated by British voters for this year's BAFTA TV Awards. Filming on the second series of Marcella has just concluded and it will be screened in early 2018. As well as Marcella, Friel recently starred alongside Sean Bean in Jimmy McGovern's absolute misery-fest Broken and is due to appear on ITV again in the forthcoming Butterfly, as the mother of a schoolboy who identifies as a girl. Meanwhile, Sir Kenneth Branagh's International EMMY win came for another British take on Scandi-noir - in the BBC's adaptation of Henning Mankell's Wallander novels. Steve Coogan picked up the comedy award for Alan Partridge's Scissored Isle, which was shown on Sky Atlantic in the UK. Monday's ceremony was due to have included a special award for Kevin Spacey, but that was hurriedly withdrawn in light of the recent allegations of sexual misconduct and bad naughtiness against him.
Former television presenter John Leslie has been charged with sexually assaulting a woman in an Edinburgh nightclub. The fifty two-year-old former Wheel Of Fortune and Blue Peter host is alleged to have put his hand up the woman's skirt. The woman was on a hen night when the alleged incident took place at Atik in the city's Tollcross area. It is reported to have occurred at an event to mark the club's re-opening in June. A Police Scotland spokesman said: 'Police in Edinburgh have charged a fifty two-year-old man following a report that a twenty six-year-old woman was the victim of a sexual assault at a nightclub in the Tollcross area on Sunday 25 June. The report is currently under consideration by the Procurator Fiscal.'

The star of Transparent has signalled he is leaving the production after being accused of inappropriate behaviour. 'I don't see how I can return,' Jeffrey Tambor said in a statement. Last week the EMMY-winning actor said that he was 'not a predator' after two transgender women working on the Amazon show made claims against him. Tambor again expressed regret if his actions had been 'misinterpreted' in his statement but denied that he had ever 'deliberately harass[ed] anyone.' His apparent departure from the Amazon drama follows reports that the studio was investigating claims he acted inappropriately towards his personal assistant. This prompted Trace Lysette, an actress on the show, to accuse Tambor of pressing himself against her while filming the show's second series. 'Playing Maura Pfefferman on Transparent has been one of the greatest privileges and creative experiences of my life,' Tambor said on Sunday. 'What has become clear over the past weeks, however, is that this is no longer the job I signed up for four years ago. I've already made clear my deep regret if any action of mine was ever misinterpreted by anyone as being aggressive, but the idea that I would deliberately harass anyone is simply and utterly untrue. Given the politicised atmosphere that seems to have afflicted our set, I don't see how I can return to Transparent.' Amazon had, reportedly, already been exploring ways for the show to continue without its seventy three-year-old lead.
Sir Richard Branson claims that he has 'no recollection' of an alleged incident after a singer publicly accused him of 'inappropriate behaviour' at a party on Necker Island. Antonia Jenae claimed that the billionaire Virgin boss had put his face in her cleavage after she had been invited to his Caribbean home alongside Joss Stone. Jenae, a backing singer, told the Sun that the alleged incident happened 'totally out of the blue' and that she was 'shocked' by it, adding: 'His behaviour was disgusting.' She told the paper she was 'speaking out' following the scandal that has engulfed Hollywood. A spokeswoman for Virgin Management said Stone, members of her family and her band had been invited to Necker Island in June 2010. She added: 'Everyone appeared to enjoy their time on the island. Richard has no recollection of this matter and neither do his family and friends, who were with him on the island at the time. There would never have been any intention to offend or make anyone feel uncomfortable in any way and Richard apologises if anyone felt that way during their time on the island.' Virgin also issued a statement from Stone's father, Richard Stoker, who was on the island at the time. In it, he said: 'Joss and the group had a wonderful afternoon on Necker Island, everybody entered into the party spirit and it was wonderful getting to know Richard and his family.'

David Cameron may have done 'some sort of a deal' with billionaire tyrant Rupert Murdoch to win the Sun’s support for the Conservatives in the 2010 general erection, Ken Clarke, the former justice secretary, has claimed. 'Quite how David Cameron got the Sun out of the hands of Gordon Brown I shall never know,' Clarke said. 'Rupert would never let Tony [Blair – Brown's predecessor] down because Tony had backed the Iraq war. Maybe it was some sort of a deal. David would not tell me what it was. Suddenly we got the Murdoch empire on our side.' The Sun switched its support to the Conservatives in 2010 after backing Labour in the previous three general erections. Clarke made the comments in an interview with the Competition and Markets Authority as part of its investigation into Twenty First Century FOX's proposed takeover of Sky. He claimed that 'within a few weeks' of winning the general erection in 2010 he had a meeting with well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Rebekah Brooks – then the chief executive of billionaire tyrant Murdoch's News International, the owner of the Sun and The Times – in which she 'described herself as running the government now in partnership with David Cameron' and said that she wanted the government 'to buy prison ships.' 'I found myself having an extraordinary meeting with Rebekah who was instructing me on criminal justice policy from now on, as I think she had instructed my predecessor, so far as I could see, judging from the numbers of people we had in prison and the growth of rather exotic sentences,' Clarke told the CMA. 'She wanted me to buy prison ships because she did accept that the capacity of the prisons was getting rather strained, putting it mildly. She really was solemnly telling me that we had got to have prison ships because she had got some more campaigns coming, which is one of her specialities. I regarded this as a very amusing conversation and took not the slightest notice. As long as I was justice secretary, we would not have any of this.' Clarke said that appointing Andy Coulson, the former editor of the Murdoch-owned Scum Of The World, as Cameron's director of communications 'was part of the deal [with billionaire tyrant Murdoch], I assume' and that it was 'absurd' to think that billionaire tyrant Murdoch's newspapers were 'not influential.' Clarke previously referred to his meeting with well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Brooks in his memoirs last year. In the book, called Kind Of Blue, Clarke said he never had a meeting with well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Brooks again. He was interviewed by the CMA alongside Ed Milimolimandi, the former Labour leader, Vince Cable, the Liberal Democrat leader and the Labour peers Lord Puttnam and Lord Falconer. The cross-party group of politicians are long-term opponents of billionaire tyrant Murdoch and FOX's proposed eleven billion smackers' takeover of Sky. Clarke dismissed the idea that Sky News would not become like FOX News – more partisan – if the deal went through. He described FOX News as one of 'the ultimate examples of savagely political American television,' adding: 'The idea that we allow the owner of FOX News to buy Sky News, assuming he will resist the temptation and be a changed man who will carry on running according to British broadcasting standards, entirely impartial. Believe that, you believe anything.' Cameron has always denied he did a deal with billionaire tyrant Murdoch to win the support of his newspapers. One or two people even believed him. He told The Leveson Inquiry in 2012: 'There was no overt deal for support, there was no covert deal, no nods and winks. There was a Conservative politician, me, trying to win over newspapers, trying to win over television, trying to win over proprietors – but not trading policies for that support.'
Sir Brian Leveson has been asked to advise ministers on holding the second part of a public inquiry into the British press and is reviewing submissions made by newspapers on future regulation of the sector. The judge was asked by David Cameron to chair the first part of the public inquiry following the phone-hacking scandal but after recommending the creation of a regulator backed by statute in 2012, he left the subject behind. Ministers are now reported to be 'consulting with Leveson' on whether to press ahead with the second part of the inquiry, investigating corporate malpractice and the relationship between the media and the police, which had been due to take place following the phone-hacking trials. The judge has also been asked to consider responses to section forty of the Crime and Courts Act 2013, which has not been enacted but if introduced would force newspapers to cover the legal costs of the claimant in a libel case unless they joined an approved regulator and offered low-cost arbitration. No national newspaper has signed up to an approved regulator. The majority of newspapers are members of Ipso, which is not formally recognised by the Press Regulation Panel, although the Gruniad Morning Star and Financial Times regulate themselves. Leveson himself has largely avoided discussing press regulation and his inquiry since it concluded. In a rare interview with the Jewish Chronicle in 2015, Leveson said it was 'for others' to determine press regulation following the publication of his report. 'What has happened since its publication is for others to determine – not for me,' he said. 'It is inappropriate for me as a serving judge to get involved in those kinds of discussions. I have to be very careful, because the one thing I cannot talk about is politics.'
There's a great piece on Stephen Fry by Niamh Horan of the Irish Independent concerning the public reaction to the potential prosecution of Stephen under Ireland's 2009 blasphemy laws over comments in made on Gay Byrne's RTE show The Meaning Of Life. You can read it, here. This blogger particularly enjoyed Stephen noting that he was 'pleased' the gardai 'could not find enough people to be outraged in order to pursue the complaint further.'
Eddie Izzard has often got lots of comedy mileage out of the town he grew up in, 'rock n roll Bexill-on-Sea'. Nevertheless, the comedian, actor, political activist and marathon runner will be appearing in Bexhill in December on his Believe Me: A Memoir of Love, Death & Jazz Chickens tour.
There is never a good time for your credit card to be hacked - it has happened before to this blogger and it's awful - but having it done while you're on live TV is probably one of the worst. That's what BBC Northern Ireland's Stephen Nolan had to cope with when he hosted Nolan Live on Wednesday night as he realised his card had been hacked while he was trying to talk about the budget. 'If you think I have been slightly distracted over the past couple of minutes, none of this is in the script,' he told viewers. 'I always keep my mobile phone on during the show and there have been three messages popping up from one of my credit cards,' he explained. 'Apparently I am currently in three hotels in three different parts of the world. I think my cards have been hacked! I have actually been going in here and stopping them on a live television show.' One of his guests, NIPSA's Bumper Graham, didn't exactly have sympathy for the poor chap as he joked: 'You can afford it Stephen.' 'I am currently residing in the Waldorf Beach Resort. Saint Petersburg, I'm staying in too. Hurry up and get this show finished or I am going to be skint by the end of it,' Stephen added.
The once under-appreciated electronic music pioneer behind the Doctor Who theme is to be honoured posthumously with a doctorate from her hometown university. Delia Derbyshire will be awarded an honorary PhD from Coventry University on Monday. Mostly unknown and uncredited during her lifetime, she created a new wave of sounds and arrangements in music during the 1960s and 1970s and paved the way for more women to work in the music production business. Born in Coventry in 1937, Delia's unique sonic palette was shaped by sounds of The Blitz and the air-raid sirens which surrounded her as a child. Highly academic, she won a scholarship to study maths and music at the University of Cambridge, where she immersed herself in sound. After graduating, Derbyshire struggled in what was predominantly a man's industry, being told by Decca Records that it 'did not employ women' in its studios. She turned to teaching but refused to give up and eventually found work as a trainee studio manager at the BBC. It was there, in 1962, that she gained access to the experimental Radiophonic Workshop, developing an entirely new type of music by playing notes on tape and then speeding them up or slowing them down. She went on to transform a written score by Ron Grainer for a new family SF drama, Doctor Who, into an iconic piece of proto-electronica. Due to BBC policies at the time, Grainer – unwillingly – is still officially credited as the sole writer. She would not be credited on-screen for her work until Doctor Who's fiftieth anniversary special, The Day Of The Doctor. Delia stayed at the workshop for ten years, recording sound for a huge variety of radio and TV programmes – all in the days before modern synthesisers and sampling machines. She was later reportedly approached by Paul McCartney to work on a backing track for The Be-Atles 'Yesterday'. In the late sixties, she worked with her colleague Brian Hodgson in setting up the Kaleidophon studio in Camden High Street with fellow electronic musician David Vorhaus. The studio produced electronic music for various London theatres and independent movies and in 1968 the trio used it to produce their first LP as White Noise. An Electric Storm, is now considered an important and influential record in the development of electronic music. But, despite her talent and credit from her peers, Delia failed to gain widespread recognition during her lifetime, eventually becoming disillusioned with the industry and finding work as a radio operator in Cumbria. She later worked in a museum in the area, before taking up a position in a bookshop in Northampton where she met her partner, Clive Blackburn. She died aged sixty four in 2001 and has since been widely acknowledged as a pioneer in electronic music, having inspired the likes of Orbital, The Chemical Brothers and Sonic Boom. Mark Ayres, a composer and sound designer at the Radiophonic Workshop, said: 'Any composer of my generation with an interest in electronic sound and music cannot fail to have been influenced by Delia's talent. It is very fitting that Delia is receiving this posthumous honorary doctorate from Coventry University. Delia was proud of her roots in the city and deeply affected by the damage wreaked upon it during the second world war, though much inspired by the sounds she heard around her during that time.' Clive, Delia's partner of over twenty years, said: 'Delia would be really excited by the developments in electronic music. Digital technology is finally catching up with what she managed to achieve manually in the 1960s using the most rudimentary of equipment.' Coventry University will launch a series of school workshops in Derbyshire’s name on Friday to try to inspire a new generation of children – especially girls – to pursue maths and music. Linked to a touring play about her life, Hymns for Robots by Noctium Theatre, the partnership project will share the story of Derbyshire and her creations at the BBC Radiophonic Workshop.
German police have recovered more than one hundred items stolen from alcoholic wife-beating Scouse junkie the late John Lennon's estate, including three diaries. The diaries were put on display at Berlin police headquarters with other items including a tape recording of a Be-Atles concert (judging by the set list, it appears to be 1965's Shea Stadium gig), two pairs of spectacles, sheet music and a cigarette case. Police said that a fifty eight-year-old man had been very arrested on suspicion of handling stolen goods and was helping them with their enquiries. The items were reportedly stolen in New York in 2006 from Lennon's widow, Yoko Ono. Detectives said much of the haul was confiscated from an auction house in Berlin in July, sparking an investigation to find the rest of the stolen items. Ono identified the objects from photos she was shown at the German consulate in New York, German media reported. The suspect was arrested on Monday in Berlin after police searched his home and cars. Martin Steltner, a spokesman for the Berlin prosecutor's office, said that another suspect, who lives in Turkey, 'is unattainable for us at the present time.' It is understood that the second suspect used to work as a chauffeur for Ono. Steltner said it was 'not clear' when the recovered items could be returned to Lennon's estate. Memorabilia connected to The Be-Atles (a popular beat combo of the 1960s, you might have heard of them) can fetch huge prices at auction. In February, a leather jacket believed to have been worn by Lennon sold for over ten grand at an auction in England to some plank with more money than sense. In September, an original score for The Be-Atles' song 'Eleanor Rigby' was removed from another auction amid claims that it had been stolen. The handwritten score, signed by Paul McCartney, was due to be sold with a guide price of twenty thousand knicker.
Reality TV-type person, Jeremy McConnell (no, me neither) has been extremely jailed for eighteen weeks for missing community service to get a hair and beard transplant. The Z-List Celebrity Big Brother individual was given a suspended sentence after being convicted of assaulting his partner. McConnell had been staying with a friend in South Wales but Cardiff Magistrates heard that he missed eight work appointments in the two hundred-hour order. The court activated the sentence for failing to comply with his punishment and he was hauled off to The Pokey. Dublin-born model McConnell attacked former Hollyoaks actress Stephanie Davis at her home in Rainhill, Merseyside, while she was holding their baby son, Liverpool Magistrates' Court heard. The pair met while appearing on Z-List Celebrity Big Brother together, but rowed during the trial in August and proceedings were stopped at one point. Davis said of the incident in March she thought that 'psychotic' McConnell was 'going to kill' her after taking cocaine. After being found very guilty and having his sentence suspended, McConnell was carrying out the community service in South Wales as he stayed with the family of a friend. Probation Service officers recommended that he be given extra hours of unpaid work, however this was overruled by district judge Wendy Lloyd. Appearing via video link from Liverpool, she described the 'vicious alcohol-fuelled attack' which left Davis with injuries and damaged property. She said: 'Your enthusiasm for co-operation has been short-lived and there is nothing to show in the future things will change.' McConnell was given some credit for completing part of the work and was sentenced to eighteen instead of twenty weeks in The Slammer.
YouTuber (it's 'a thing', apparently) Jack Maynard - who left I'm A Z-List Former Celebrity Desperate To Get My Boat-Race Back On TV ... Please Vote For Me To Stay Here As Long As Possible (I'll Even Eat Worms If You Want) when offensive tweets he posted in 2012 emerged - has grovelling apologised for saying some 'pretty disgusting things.' The tweets, which prompted allegations of racism and homophobia, were published in the Sun newspaper while Maynard, twenty three, was in Australia. He said he was 'young' and 'careless' when he posted them. In an online video, Maynard added: 'I've been really stupid in the past.' The show told viewers that Maynard had left the jungle on Tuesday. A spokesman said that he had departed 'due to circumstances outside camp.' In a video posted on his YouTube channel, Maynard confirmed that he was back in London. 'The least you deserved was for me to come home and sit down and talk to you and explain everything that has been going on,' he told his subscribers. 'I'm so sorry to anyone that I offended, anyone that I upset, anyone I made feel uncomfortable.' Credit to him, at least, for saying he was sorry that he offended anyone rather than the more usual non-apology apology so popular with politicians of saying they are sorry 'if any offence was taken' as though it's the fault of the person taking offence rather than that of the person that said the offensive thing in the first place. Maynard added that he had 'messed up' continuing: 'I've tweeted some bad things, some horrible things, some pretty disgusting things that I'm just ashamed of. I was young I was careless, I just wasn't thinking, this was back when I had just left school and I didn't know what I was doing.' Maynard, who revealed it was also his twenty third birthday, added: 'All I can do is beg and encourage that you guys don't make the same mistake as well. Don't put anything online you wouldn't say to your mum.' Very useful advice, young man. Maynard appeared on Tuesday night's episode of I'm A Z-List Former Celebrity Desperate To Get My Boat-Race Back On TV ... Please Vote For Me To Stay Here As Long As Possible (I'll Even Eat Worms If You Want), but presenters Ant and/or Dec confirmed his removal half-way through the programme.His representative later said that Maynard realised the language used in the now-deleted tweets was 'completely unacceptable.' They said Maynard 'agreed' with the decision to leave the show, which was 'made by his representatives and ITV.'
3200 Phaethon is an asteroid measuring about three miles across which roams our galaxy, passing in and out of planetary orbits on its journey. Next month, it will fly by Earth at approximately six million miles which, in cosmic terms, is on the verge of being too close for comfort. Phaethon is a near-Earth body which orbits the Sun approximately every sixteen months. This year, the asteroid will come closest to Earth in mid-December, a few days before the annual Geminids meteor shower. NASA reports that at its closest proximity, 3200 Phaethon will come within a mere two million miles away of Earth's orbital plane. Along with its proximity to Earth, the asteroid is also - as asteroids go - quite large, about half the size of the asteroid which scientists believe may have caused the extinction of the dinosaurs. As a result, NASA classifies the object as a 'potentially hazardous asteroid'. Or, if it lands on your head, 'definitely hazardous asteroid'. Phaethon is something of a space anomaly and NASA still isn't quite sure exactly how to classify it. Although technically listed as an asteroid, it is the only known asteroid ever observed to be responsible for meteor showers. Usually, meteor showers are the result of icy debris on a comet vaporising as it comes close to the Sun. This causes the debris to blast off into space, with some pieces hitting the Earth's atmosphere at extremely high velocity. Asteroids, on the other hand, are large space rocks which are not large enough to be classified as planets. 3200 Phaethon likely originated somewhere in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter. In fact, most asteroids probably originated from this one pocket in our solar system, because during the system's formation, the birth of gas giant Jupiter prevented any planetary bodies from forming in the gap. Small objects which were present there then collided with each other and fragmented into the asteroids which are still seen in the night sky to this day. NASA says that Jupiter's gravity has caused debris from 3200 Phaethon to be pulled closer to Earth over the past few centuries, which may result in even more breath-taking Geminids meteor showers.
Authorities say that a man who was drunk, naked and having The Sex with a woman while driving in Washington State 'missed a curve and struck a tree.' Washington State Patrol spokeswoman Brooke Bova said that the crash happened at about 6pm on Wednesday on Mountain Highway East near La Grande. Bova added that the woman - who was also naked - was hospitalised 'with broken bones.' From the crash as opposed to The Sex, one trusts. A three-month-old child in the backseat was reportedly uninjured. The News Tribune reported that the driver was extremely arrested and taken to Pierce County Jail on suspicion of felony driving under the influence, vehicular assault and child endangerment, according to Bova who added that the man has three prior DUI convictions. Witnesses told responding troopers both the man and woman were naked when they left the vehicle.
A doughnut shop in Portland, Oregon, faced 'a backlash' on social media after posting a picture of a frosted-laden doughnut bearing the image of the recently deceased serial killer and cult leader Charles Manson. Voodoo Doughnut took down the photo before reposting it with the caption, 'Not celebrating. Villains die too.' Following even more criticism, the store removed the post entirely, the Willamette Week reported. Voodoo Doughnut, it is claimed, has a history of paying 'tribute' to 'celebrities' after their deaths, confections which they call 'obituary doughnuts,' a spokeswoman Sara Heise told Vice's food news site.
A mother has asked her son's school to take Sleeping Beauty 'off the curriculum' for its 'inappropriate sexual' message. Mind you, this is according to the Daily Scum Express, so it's probably a load of bollocks. I mean, can anyone confirm that Sleeping Beauty is on 'the curriculum' in the first place and, if so, what 'curriculum'? Mother-of-two Sarah Hall, from Northumberland Park, says the fairytale promotes unacceptable behaviour which should not be read to young children, the newspaper claims. She argued that it 'teaches children that it is okay to kiss a woman while she's asleep which, she says, is not acceptable.'
Detectives in Lambeth have released an image of a man wanted for questioning after a small camera was discovered in the toilet of Starbucks in Vauxhall. The small device was hidden in a grate in the ceiling in the only customer toilet at the coffee shop. The device was spotted by a member of the public on Tuesday and police were called. Officers attended and the device was seized. Police believe that the camera had been installed for a maximum of three to four weeks and believed that it was installed 'for the purpose of voyeurism.' The contents of the device have been examined by police and feature a number of video files of members of the public using the toilet. This has also uncovered images of a male suspect, who police believe placed the camera at the location. The identity of the male who police believe placed the camera at the location is currently unknown. Detectives have released his image in the hope that someone will be able to identify him.
A Florida couple pleaded very guilty on Friday to beating the owner of a chicken restaurant and her teenage daughter over complaints that their chicken was cold and they didn't get enough fries in their order. Nathaniel Eric Smith and Latasha Denise Smith pleaded guilty in Camden County Superior Court to aggravated assault and cruelty to children in the beating, officials said. The June incident outside the Baxley restaurant was captured on surveillance video and broadcast on several television networks. It showed Latasha Denise Smith beating Jeanette Norris, Qwik Chick's owner. When Norris' fifteen-year-old daughter left a vehicle to assist her mother, Nathaniel Smith punched her in the face, knocking her down. Norris had a broken nose and her daughter was treated for a concussion, reported the Florida Times-Union. After the complaints about cold chicken and not enough food, the restaurant refunded the Smiths' money, but the woman persisted in cursing Norris and beating on the restaurant's takeout windows. The couple was recognised on the video and warrants were issued for their arrests. There were at large for some days but surrendered to the Bryan County sheriff. Superior Court Judge Robert Guy accepted the Smiths’ guilty pleas and will sentence them at a later date.
Surveillance video shows a woman crawling through the window of a Maryland McDonald's drive-thru after closing, seemingly to get a refill. The woman can be seen going through the window, getting a drink and then wandering off to get more. She is seen filling a box with food before passing it to someone outside and fleeing the scene. Police are asking for the public's help identifying the woman seen in the footage. So that she can be banged up in The Pokey for her bad and lowdown ways, obviously.
A man lost partial sight in his eye following a 'vigorous' morning sex session with his partner, doctors have revealed. Well, we've all done it. The twenty nine-year-old was reportedly 'enjoying an extended romp at home' when the incident occurred, resulting in the loss of sight in his left eye. He presented his symptoms to doctors at an emergency eye clinic later in the day, it was reported in the British Medical Journal. The publication suggested that a burst blood vessel caused by an orgasm was to blame. Doctors said that the Valsalva manoeuvre, or holding breath before climax, caused an excessive amount of pressure to build up behind his retina. This in turn caused a haemorrhage, which resulted in obstruction of his vision. 'During orgasm the Valsalva manoeuvre can produce a sudden increase in retinal venous pressure resulting in vessel rupture and haemorrhagic retinopathy,' the journal stated. The report noted that men are more likely to hold their breath during sex to delay ejaculation, making them more prone to this type of injury. 'The autonomic effects of orgasm on the eye are well-known and have been associated with other ocular pathology, including angle closure glaucoma [damage to the optic nerve due pressure build up],' the report concluded. 'Prior to ejaculation, retinal vascular tone decreases, allowing vessels to dilate and become engorged.' Thankfully for the man his symptoms were only temporary – a follow-up appointment three days later confirmed that his vision had returned to normal. So, you see, what your mother told you wasn't true, it doesn't make you go blind.
In a study by the Innovation Centre of US Dairy, it was found that seven per cent of Americans believe chocolate milk comes from brown cows. That works out at over sixteen million people. The research was conducted on one thousand people all of whom were, shockingly, over the age of eighteen. A whopping forty eight per cent of people said they didn't know where chocolate milk came from. And then people still wonder why Donald Trump got elected.
An Oregon woman has been extremely jailed after her inmate boyfriend died following a kiss the two shared to conceal the transfer of drugs into a prison. Melissa Ann Blair kissed Anthony Powell last year to pass seven balloons filled with methamphetamine into his mouth. Two balloons later ruptured in his stomach and he died of methamphetamine toxicity, prosecutors said. A judge said both Powell and Blair were to blame for the death. 'It was tragic and sad but he shares responsibility for what happened,' US District Judge Marco Hernandez said of Powell. The forty one-year-old inmate was serving a life sentence for aggravated murder in the death of his mother-in-law, who was stabbed, according to court records. Blair, was visiting her boyfriend at the Oregon State Penitentiary on 2 June 2016 when she passed the drugs. A lawyer for Blair claimed that she had 'felt coerced' into the scheme even though Powell was behind bars. 'It was a very Svengali-type situation where he had total control over her life,' John Ransom said. 'She had to do whatever he said.' Judge Hernandez sentenced her to two years in The Federal Big House on a drug conspiracy charge.
FIFA has warned Peru that a proposed new law would break the governing body's rules, but a politician claims that the South American country will 'definitely' go to the World Cup. Peru became the thirty second and final side to seal their World Cup qualification when they beat New Zealand two-nil in a two-legged play-off. Peruvian congresswoman Paloma Noceda denied that the new law would see government take over Peru's football association. Such a move would go against FIFA rules and the body is said to be investigating. A FIFA spokesperson told the BBC Sport website: "FIFA sent a letter to the Peruvian FA on 23 November 2017, informing them that the current draft of the Peruvian Sports Law, which was presented to the respective committee of the Peruvian congress on 2 October 2017, includes certain items that, if implemented, would contravene the FIFA Statutes. FIFA will continue to monitor the situation.' FIFA rules do not allow any governments to interfere with or take over the running of national associations. In March, Mali were suspended from international competition when the government dissolved the executive committee of the country's association. Noceda, in an interview with Peruvian radio station Exitosa on Wednesday, said 'in no way at all' was the government proposing to take control of the Peruvian FA. She added: 'I don't know how any part of the proposal could have been interpreted in this way. Maybe these worries about potential state interference could come from the FPF or from FIFA, who could see it this way, but we in the commission and I believe everybody in congress, want the best for sport in this country.'
David Cassidy, who found fame in The Partridge Family before going on to become a 1970s teen pop idol, has died aged sixty seven. 'David died surrounded by those he loved, with joy in his heart and free from the pain that had gripped him for so long, a family statement said. He was admitted to hospital last week after suffering multiple organ failure. Earlier this year the singer told the media that he had dementia and would stop touring in order to 'enjoy life.' Cassidy was born in New York to a theatrical family. His father, Jack, was a successful singer and actor and his mother, Evelyn Ward, was also an actress. As his parents were frequently touring on the road, David spent much of his early years being raised by his maternal grandparents in a middle-class neighbourhood in New Jersey. In 1956, he found out from neighbours' children that his parents had been divorced for over two years and had not told him. David's parents had decided because he was at such a young age, it would be better for his emotional stability to not discuss it at that time. In 1956, Cassidy's father married the singer and actress Shirley Jones. In January 1969, David made his professional debut in the Broadway musical The Fig Leaves Are Falling. It closed after four performances, but a casting director saw the show and asked Cassidy to make a screen test. Later in the year, he moved to Los Angeles and, after signing with Universal Studios, featured in episodes of Ironside, Marcus Welby, MD, Adam-Twelve and Bonanza. He became a star playing Keith Partridge in The Partridge Family, a frankly rather twee sitcom about a mother - played by Cassidy's real-life stepmother, Shirley Jones - and her five children who formed a rock and roll band. Don't laugh, dear blog reader, it was the 1970s, there were far more barmy TV formats during the decade than that. The show spawned several hit songs, such as 'I Think I Love You' and a cover of Neil Sedaka's 'Breaking Up Is Hard To Do'. Following the sitcom David enjoyed a hugely successful solo career in music whilst continuing to act. He received Grammy nominations and sold more than thirty million records worldwide with hits like 'Cherish', 'Could It Be Forever', 'How Can I Be Sure?', 'Daydream', 'If I Didn't Care' and covers of 'Please Please Me', 'CC Rider Blues' and 'I Write the Songs'. At the peak of his fame in the 1970s, his fan club reportedly had a bigger membership than that of The Be-Atles and Elvis Presley combined. Hundreds of fans were injured in a stampede at a London concert at the White City Stadium in 1974, with a fourteen year old girl, Bernadette Whelan, dying a few days later from injuries sustained in the crush. Out of respect for the family and to avoid turning the funeral into a media circus, a deeply affected Cassidy did not attend the service, although he spoke to Bernadette's parents and sent flowers. Cassidy stated at the time that this would 'haunt' him until the day he died. Cassidy later stated that he was broke by the 1980 although his acting career was soon reignited and his CV would subsequently include appearances in The Love Boat, Fantasy Island, Tales Of The Unexpected, the 1990s version of The Flash (as The Mirror Master), The Ben Stiller Show, Malcolm In The Middle, and CSI. In 1985, his music career was also revived with the release of the single 'The Last Kiss' (a top ten hit in the UK where David still had a large fanbase), with backing vocals by George Michael. Michael cited Cassidy as a major career influence and interviewed Cassidy for David Litchfield's Ritz newspaper. In 1981, David had toured in a revival of a pre-Broadway production of Little Johnny Jones, a show originally produced in 1904 with music, lyrics, and book by George M Cohan. However, David received negative reviews and was replaced by another former teen idol, Donny Osmond, before the show reached Broadway. David, in turn, was himself a replacement for the lead in the original 1982 Broadway production of Joseph & The Amazing Technicolor™ Dreamcoat. Cassidy also appeared in London's West End production of Time and returned to Broadway in Blood Brothers alongside Petula Clark and his half-brother, Shaun Cassidy. In 2015 he filed for bankruptcy. Between 2010 and 2014, he was arrested three times for drink-driving and was ordered to undergo rehab as part of his sentence in 2014. In 1994, Cassidy, in collaboration with Chip Deffaa, wrote his autobiography, C'mon, Get Happy ... Fear & Loathing On The Partridge Family Bus. Cassidy also wrote a memoir, Could It Be Forever? My Story, published in 2007, which gave further details about his personal life. He divorced three times and had two children. Cassidy's first wife was the actress Kay Lenz, whom he married in April 1977 and divorced in the early 1980s. His second wife was horse breeder Meryl Tanz, whom he married in 1984. His daughter, the actress Katie Cassidy, was born in 1986 from a relationship with Sherry Williams Benedon. Cassidy married Sue Shifrin in March 1991. They had one child, Beau.