Sunday, February 18, 2018

Several Stories High

The BBC was so secretive about Jodie Whittaker's unveiling as The Doctor last summer, it fooled some Doctor Who production staff into thinking that yer actual Peter Capaldi's successor would be a man. In order to keep the gender change a secret, the broadcaster misled some members of the production - particularly the special effects team – by mocking up the storyboards of the regeneration scene. 'We were kept in the dark when it came to the reveal of who the new Doctor was,' explained Milk VFX Visual Effects Producer Louise Hastings to Radio Times. 'We found out it would be Jodie the same time as everybody else, watching the Wimbledon final.' She went on to say: 'The BBC actually had us quote her first scene before we knew it was gonna be Jodie, via storyboards. And the storyboards had been drawn with a man as The Doctor, so that was a bit of a surprise! I was looking through a list of the favourites to be The Doctor and comparing them to the pictures, but I was wrong, I couldn't figure it out. They threw us off the scent.'
Not only is Doctor Who's next series serving up a new showrunner, a new - ladygirl - Doctor, a new composer and a longer-than-usual premiere episode, now it has been revealed that the popular long-running BBC family SF drama is getting a new visual effects team also. 'The decision was made that when Steven Moffat and the rest of his team stood down from Doctor Who and the new team came in, that they would also mix up the vendors as well,' Louise Hastings told Radio Times. 'So we've handed the baton over to our friends at DNEG for the next series.' Milk VFX had been working with Doctor Who since 2005, but starting with series eleven those duties will now fall to Double Negative, who recently worked on the effects for Blade Runner 2049. DNEG has already earned three Academy Awards for their VFX work in the past, for Inception, Interstellar and Ex Machina and the company has received another nomination for this year's Oscars for its work on Blade Runner 2049. In terms of television, the effects firm has previous experience on shows including Black Mirror, Altered Carbon and the BBC's Strike.
Filming continues on the eleventh series of Doctor Who in Sheffield this week. And, Jodie - and That There Bradley Walsh his very self - have been extremely busy winning hearts and minds whilst hanging out with The Fans. Very successfully, it would appear. Which is jolly nice.
Meanwhile, this weekend saw the annual Gallifrey One Doctor Who convention taking place in sunny Los Angeles; an event which this blogger used to regularly attend but, for the last few years, has been absent from ... due principally to financial considerations. As a consequence, Keith Telly Topping usually gets quite understandably a wee  bit depressed around the third weekend in February each year. Because, whilst many of his bestest friends are having fun in California, he's stuck on cold, wet, miserable Tyneside. No justice. Mind you, this year, there were a few reported incidents of locals getting accosted by British tourists. We even have photographic evidence of this.
It happened to that poor chap twice in one day, seemingly. (You are permitted, if you wish dear bog reader, to raise your hand at this juncture and ask the obvious question: 'Who's that tired-and-emotional-looking Scotsman about to clobber yer actual Keith Telly Topping's excellent mate Clay over the bonce and nick his wallet?' But, only if you don't expect a serious answer!)
There's a very good piece by this blogger's old mucker Peter Nolan at the Doctor Who News website. It celebrates the fiftieth anniversary of the first appearance in Doctor Who of (then) Colonel Lethbridge-Stewart (played by the late and extremely great, Nicholas Courtney) in the third episode of The Web Of Fear (the one which, sadly, is still missing). It's a great read and, occurring during the weekend of the previously mentioned Gallifrey One convention, brought to mind an incident from one of this blogger's previous ventures Stateside. Keith Telly Topping fondly remembers a warm, sunny afternoon spent around a swimming pool in Van Nuys in 1999 (when Gally used to be held at the much-missed Airtel Plaza) along with several other fanboys when we were doing a 'daddy, what did you do in the war?' thing with Nick. He was, as usual, charming, courteous, affable and a wickedly amusing raconteur. He sent up the infamous Inferno eye-patch story brilliantly and told dozens of other stories about his career and those he had worked with including, at that time, six Doctors. Memorably, however, he spent all afternoon mistakenly calling this blogger 'Dave' - I think he had got me and David McIntee mixed up. And, the thing is, once he did it the first time, you can't really say to Nicholas Courtney, 'actually, it's Keith, Mister Courtney.' So, 'Dave Telly Topping' this blogger remained. Next week will be the seventh anniversary of Nick's horribly untimely death. He was a great friend to fandom and we all miss him terribly.
TV Comedy Moment of The Week: During the latest, excellent, episode of Qi - Overseas, the series finale - Sandi Toksvig more or less entered a fugue state as Alan Davies and Bill Bailey went off on a deliciously over-the-top ramble about cities and countries they have visited which are 'a bit hilly.' Or, in the case of Amsterdam, not hilly at all. 'No crime in Holland. Or Belgium,' noted Bill. 'Cos, you can see people miles off,' added Alan. It was, more-or-less, at that point that Sandi totally lost it, wondering idly if the spike on the Danish flag she was fondling was sharp enough to kill someone! The XL edition of last week's episode - Occupations & Offices - incidentally, remains to be broadcast after its mysterious non-appearance last Saturday night on BBC2. According to the Qi Twitter page it will be broadcast 'at a later date.' Whatever that means. As usual, two thirty minute compilation episodes of the best bits of the current series will be shown over the next two weeks. Filming for the next - presumably, P - series is scheduled to begin in the summer.
Deliciously Saucy Victoria Coren Mitchell Moment Of The Week: Her opening 'apology for last week's mistake' on Only Connect which was, as it turns out, a thinly-veiled - and very sarky - comment on those people who would wish to put themselves through the ordeal of appearing on the hardest quiz programme on British TV. God, all of us here at From The North love that woman!
Here are the final and consolidated ratings for the Top Twelve ITV programmes broadcast in the UK during the week-ending Sunday 11 February 2018:-
1 Coronation Street - Mon ITV - 8.52m
2 Emmerdale - Thurs ITV - 7.34m
3 Rugby: Six Nations Live - Sat ITV - 6.28m
4 The Voice - Sat ITV - 6.01m
5 Twatting About On Ice - Sun ITV - 5.15m
6 Endeavour - Sun ITV - 5.05m
7 Girlfriends - Wed ITV - 4.92m
8 Jamie Bulger: A Mother's Story - Thurs ITV - 4.45m
9 The Chase - Tues ITV - 3.86m
10 The Martin Lewis Money Show - Mon ITV - 3.83m
11= What Would Your Kids Do? - Tues ITV - 3.68m
11= ITV News - Tues ITV - 3.68m
These consolidated figures - published weekly by the British Audience Research Bureau - include all viewers who watched programmes live and on various forms of catch-up TV and video-on-demand during the seven days after initial broadcast. They do not, however, include those who watched programmes on ITV Player via their computers. You knew that, right? Figures for ITV, Channel Four and Channel Five do not include viewers who watched programmes on any of the various '+1' channels. Sadly, for the third week running, the BBC did not provide any data to BARB for the period in question. Quite what the blithering fek is going on over at Broadcasting House with regard to the ratings is unknown to this blogger. But he rather wishes that they would get their shit together sooner rather than later and get it all sorted. Especially since these - very time-consuming - ratings round-ups are tragically incomplete without knowing what people were watching on BBC1, BBC2, BBC4 and Cbeebies. Anyway, The Bulger Killers: Was Justice Done? was Channel Four's highest-rated broadcast of the week with 2.47 million viewers. Hunted attracted 2.32 million. Twenty Four Hours In A&E (2.28 million), the series finale of Derry Girls (2.24 million) and Kirstie & Phil's Love It Or List It (2.21 million) came next. Eight Out Of Ten Cats Does Countdown had 2.07 million viewers, First Dates Hotel, 2.03 million, George Clarke's Amazing Spaces, 1.57 million and The Last Leg With Adam Hills, 1.54 million. With Z-List Celebrity Big Brother having now ended, Cruising With Jane McDonald was Channel Five's highest-rated broadcast (1.98 million). The return of The X-Files (1.43 million), Elizabeth: Our Queen (1.43 million), The QE2 (1.40 million) and GPs: Behind Closed Doors (1.13 million) rounded-off Five's most-watched list. On Sky Sports Premier League, Gillette Soccer Saturday was watched by three hundred and fifty two thousand, whilst three hundred and thirty one thousand punters viewed Jeff, Tiss, Merse, Thommo and Champagne Charlie on Sky Sports News and sixty two thousand more watched on Sky Sports Football. Southampton's draw with Stottingtot Hotshots was seen by four hundred and fifty eight thousand on SS PL, plus 1.02 million punters thousand on Main Event. Yer actual Keith Telly Topping's beloved (though unsellable) Magpies' hard-fought - and very much enjoyed by everyone - win over The Scum at St James' Park had four hundred and forty eight thousand plus eight hundred and thirty six thousand on Main Event. Sheikh Yer Man City again Leicester City drew three hundred and seven thousand on Premier League and five hundred and thirty nine thousand on Main Event. Live EFL and coverage of the Birmingham derby between Aston Villains and Birmingham City was seen by eighty three thousand punters on Sky Sports Football and three hundred and fifty eight thousand on Sky Sports Main Event. Sheffield United versus Dirty Leeds had seventy nine thousand, plus two hundred and one hundred and ninety six thousand on Main Event. Barcelona's La Liga clash with Getafe attracted fifty four thousand to Sky Sports Mix. Formula One Legends was viewed by twenty three thousand on Sky Sports F1. Live coverage of South Africa's ODI against India had sixty four thousand punters of Sky Sports Cricket. Sky 1's weekly top-ten was headed by Hawaii Five-0 with eight hundred and eighty six thousand viewers and NCIS: Los Angeles, with seven hundred and thirty three thousand). From The North favourite The Blacklist (seven hundred and fifteen thousand), Modern Family (six hundred and sixty four thousand) and Strike Back: Retributions with its trailer apparently celebrating starvation and wet knickers (six hundred and sixty thousand) came next. The return of Jamestown brought in audiences of five hundred and forty eight thousand for the opening episode and four hundred and forty five thousand for the second. Sky Arts' Portrait Artists Of The Year was seen by three hundred and sixteen thousand viewers. Laurel & Hardy: Their Lives & Magic had ninety five thousand. Sky Atlantic's top ten was dominated topped by Britannia (two hundred and ninety five thousand) and Blue Bloods (two hundred and sixty seven thousand). On Sky Living, Chicago Fire drew five hundred and one thousand whilst Madam Secretary, had four hundred and eighty three thousand. America's Next Model attracted three hundred and twenty thousand, How To Get Away With Murder, two hundred and thirty six thousand and Britain's Most Evil Killers & Their Naughty Wicked Ways, one hundred and fifty eight thousand. Baywatch was the most-watched film on Sky Cinema Premiere, seen by eight hundred and thirty three thousand. Mune: The Guardian Of The Moon drew two hundred and sixty three thousand. Midsomer Murders was ITV3's top-rated drama (1.11 million viewers). Endeavour was watched by six hundred and sixty four thousand and Lewis, by four hundred and seventy eight thousand. ITV Racing was watched by four hundred and fifty five thousand on ITV4. ITV2's list was headed by Jurassic World (1.29 million) and rancid puddle of festering spew Survival Of The Fittest (1.05 million people who should be damn-well embarrassed to show their faces in public after surrendering their intelligence to such crass phlegm). Vera sat a'top ITV Encore's top-ten with seventy two thousand viewers, followed by Heartbeat (fifty three thousand). Shameful, worthless bucket of diarrhoea The Real Housewives of Orange County drew three hundred and sixty hundred thousand of exactly the sort of specimens who enjoy such risible and ugly exercises in z-list-celebrity-by-non-entity on ITVBe. BBC4's top-ten was ... as previously noted, non-existent and, thus, this blogger is unable to tell dear blog readers how many punters were watching the opening two episodes of Modus. Or, the final episodes of Spiral for that matter. Criminal. 5USA's repeat run of NCIS was viewed by four hundred and thirteen thousand punters, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit by three hundred and forty eight thousand and CSI: New York by two hundred and thirty four thousand. One of the channel's Sunday afternoon Columbo triple-bill, An Old Fashioned Murder, drew two hundred and twenty four thousand. On Five Star, Home & Away scored four hundred and forty nine thousand. The movies The Last Samurai and The Guns Of Navarone drew two hundred and sixty five thousand and two hundred and forty eight thousand respectively on Five-Spike. NCIS was also the most-watched broadcast on CBS Action (one hundred and forty thousand) and FOX (nine hundred and sixty one thousand). Judy Judy attracted ninety two thousand to the horribly mis-named CBS Drama. For FOX's sake, aside from NCIS, The Orville had five hundred and nineteen thousand and Bull, five hundred and seven thousand. NCIS also continued its - seemingly endless - repeat run on the Universal Channel with ninety six thousand viewers in a top ten headed by Chicago Med and Major Crimes (three hundred and seventy one thousand and three hundred and forty nine thousand). On Dave, an episode of Would I Lie To You? was watched by three hundred and forty five thousand whilst Live t The Apollo had three hundred and thirty three thousand and appalling, laughless bollocks Taskmaster, three hundred and ten thousand. Channel staples Red Dwarf, Qi XL and Dave Gorman's Modern Life Is Goodish drew two hundred and sixty four thousand, two hundred and forty eight thousand and two hundred and forty six thousand respectively. Drama's Death In Paradise was viewed by four hundred and sixty thousand whilst The Inspector Lynley Mysteries attracted three hundred and seventy six thousand viewers, New Tricks, two hundred and seventy eight thousand and a welcome repeat of Ashes To Ashes, two hundred and sixty five thousand. Frankie Drake Mysteries headed the weekly top-ten of Alibi with two hundred and ninety thousand, followed by Murdoch Mysteries (two hundred and twenty five thousand). Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries got one hundred and thirty thousand. The Sony Crime Channel's most watched broadcast was Person Of Interest (one hundred and thirty three thousand). Orange Is The New Black was seen by one hundred and twenty two thousand. On the Sony Movie Channel, My Cousin Vinny was watched by two hundred and one thousand, Brewster's Millions by one hundred and eighty seven thousand and Ned Kelly by one hundred and sixty three thousand. Yesterday's Impossible Railways drew three hundred and fifty six thousand. Porridge had two hundred and seventy seven thousand. On Your TV, Castle brought in one hundred and twenty seven thousand and Bones, one hundred and twenty four thousand viewers. The Discovery Channel's Gold Rush was seen by five hundred and seventeen thousand viewers. Wheeler Dealers had three hundred and ninety six thousand, Street Outlaws, one hundred and seventeen thousand and Moonshiners, ninety four thousand. Former From The North fave Wheeler Dealers also appeared in the weekly top tens of both Discovery Shed (twenty one thousand) and Discovery Turbo (twenty thousand). Discovery History's Blowing Up History headed the top-ten with forty three thousand. Crimes That Shook The World attracted twenty six thousand whilst Tony Robinson's World War I had twenty one thousand. On Discovery Science, How Do They Do It? was viewed by sixty two thousand. Salvage Hunters on Quest was watched by three hundred and fifty four thousand and Goblin Works Garage by two hundred and seventy two thousand. Pick's Brit Cops had an audience of two hundred and twenty eight thousand. The Search For Alfred The Great, The Victorians and Henry VIII: Mind Of A Tyrant topped PBS America's weekly list, with thirty seven, thirty four thousand and thirty one thousand respectively. National Geographic's list was headed by Wicked Tuna and Russia's Toughrst Prisons. They were watched by sixty thousand and fifty one thousand. National Geographic Wild's Africa's Hunters was viewed by ninety eight thousand. The History Channel's most-seen programme was The Curse Of Oak Island (two hundred and eighty six thousand thousand), followed by Vikings (one hundred and ninety six thousand) and Hunting Hitler (one hundred and ninety thousand). Ancient Aliens on the Military History channel was watched by thirty six thousand and Sean Bean On Waterloo, thirty two thousand. The latter being almost unique in that it is a programme about a military subject rather than speculative nonsense about extra-terrestrials featuring mad blokes with mad hair appearing on the Military History channel. Homicide Hunter, Robbie Coltrane's Critical Evidence, The First Forty Eight and They Took Our Child, We Got Her Back - the title of which one would have thought would've saved any potential viewers from actually bothering to watch it since they know the outcome - were Crime & Investigation's top-rated programmes. They attracted eighty two thousand, seventy five thousand, sixty one thousand, fifty three thousand and forty one thousand blood-and-snots-lovers, respectively. Evil Online, Swamp Murders, Murder Comes To Town, Evil Lives Here and Blood Relatives headed Investigation Discovery's list (fifty five thousand, fifty three thousand, fifty three thousand, fifty two and fifty thousand respectively). Comedy Central's largest audience of the week was for an episode of Impractical Jokers with two hundred and forty nine thousand. GOLD's repeat run of funny-as-a-kick-in-the-cobblers Gavin & Stacey continued with two hundred and sixty four thousand punters in a top ten entirely made up of episodes of that and equally dated and unfunny conceits The Good Life and Dinnerladies. Not so much GOLD, one could suggests, as sort of tarnished brass. On More4, Car SOS was the highest-rated programme with five hundred and five thousand, followed by Twenty Four Hours In A&E (four hundred and fourteen thousand), Rebecka Martinsson: Arctic Murders (three hundred and fifty six thousand) and Come Dine With Me (three hundred and fifty two thousand). E4's list was topped by Hollyoakes with nine hundred and fifty four thousand and Z-List Celebs Go Dating with nine hundred and forty six. Once again, dear blog reader, Broken Britain summed up in a short sentence. Second Wives Club was the most watched programme on E! (eighty one thousand) whilst fifty three thousand punters were trying, in vain it would seem, to be Keeping Up With The Kardashians. This Old House was watched by one hundred and thirty four thousand on Home. The Horror Channel's weekly list was topped by several episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation, one of which attracted one hundred and forty five thousand. The Fog (one hundred and twenty seven thousand), Terrordactyl (one hundred and ten thousand) and Tales From The Crypt: Bordello Of Blood (one hundred and seven thousand) also featured in the channel's top-ten. The Librarians headed Syfy's top-ten with two hundred and forty five thousand, followed by Total Recall (one hundred and fifty one thousand) and Merlin (one hundred and three thousand). The League of Gentlemen, Laughing Gravy, Albert RN and The Music Box topped Talking Pictures list, with eighty five thousand, seventy eight thousand, seventy six thousand and seventy five thousand respectively. TLC's list was headed by My Four Wives (two hundred and fourteen thousand). Twenty six thousand punters watched Sister Sister on The Vault. True Crime's Forty Eight Hours and Deadly Women were seen by fifty two thousand viewers and forty six thousand viewers. On True Entertainment, M*A*S*H was watched by one hundred and thirty four thousand punters. MasterChef USA on W attracted an audience of two hundred thousand. Horizon was viewed by twenty four thousand on Eden. Chasing Pluto and The Space Age: NASA's Story both had twenty thousand. Finding Bigfoot: Further Evidence was the Animal Planet's most-watched programme with thirty eight thousand people who just won't take 'it doesn't eixts' for an answer, seemingly. Rick Stein's Food Heroes had seventy one thousand people on Good Food. Geet worthless pants Geordie Shore on MTV was viewed by six hundred and thirty thousand glakes. Most Haunted drew two hundred and eighty one thousand on the woefully mis-named Really. Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated had seventy five thousand viewers on Boomerang. Zoinks! Cbeebies was yet another BBC channel to have its data unreported. Alvinnn!!! & The Chipmunks had an audience of one hundred and sixty one thousand on the Pop Channel. Andi Mack drew one hundred and forty thousand on The Disney Channel. Funeral Directors attracted thirty two thousand on London Live. Horizon: Curing Alzheimer's attracted thirty thousand and the movie Spare The Rod, twenty eight thousand. The Dressmaker, was seen by seven hundred and three thousand on Film4. Fort Yuma attracted one hundred and thirteen thousand on the Movies4Men Channel.

BBC iPlayer had its most successful year in 2017, with episodes of Blue Planet II, Taboo and Doctor Foster the most popular shows. Viewers streamed an average of two hundred and seventy two million programmes per month, an eleven per cent increase on the previous year. December was the best month on record, according to the latest figures, with three hundred and twenty seven million requests to watch programmes – a seventeen per cent increase on the same period in 2016. The figures were boosted by the decision to make a range of box-sets and classic programmes available over Christmas. The head of BBC iPlayer, Dan Taylor-Watt, said it had been 'an extraordinary year. In 2018, we'll be looking to build on these successes and continue to make BBC iPlayer a must-visit destination in its own right.' The most popular show on iPlayer was the first episode of David Attenborough's series Blue Planet II, which had four million seven hundred and sixty eight thousand streaming requests. That was followed by the first episode of Taboo, the historical drama in which Tom Hardy played a man taking on the evil East India Company, with four million four hundred and sixty four requests. The drama, which is due to return for a second series, was written by Steven Knight, the creator of Peaky Blinders and based on a story created by Hardy and his father. Third in the new top ten was the first episode of the second series of Doctor Foster with three million six hundred and seventy seven thousand requests, followed by the first episode of Three Girls, the BBC1 drama starring Maxine Peake based on the true stories of girls who were victims of grooming and sexual abuse in Rochdale. The top ten was completed by the second episode of Blue Planet II, The Six Thatchers episode of Sherlock and episodes of Peaky Blinders, Line Of Duty, Apple Tree Yard and the second episode of Three Girls. The BBC is trying to compete with Netflix and Amazon, which have have come to dominate the instant video market in a remarkably short space of time. It now regularly makes box-sets such as Peter Kay's Car Share, Motherland and Feud: Bette & Joan available to view straight after broadcast of the first episode. December was the best month on record, due to box-sets and classic shows being made available over Christmas. They included re-runs of Louis Theroux's Weird Weekend, Leaving The Cult and Killing For Love.
Meanwhile, dear blog reader ...
Good question. In no particular order, then. Shetland, back for another series and as grimly addictive as ever. Check out the Gruniad's - atypically sneering - review, here.
The very disappointing Trauma. God help him, this blogger even agreed with the Daily Scum Mail's lowly opinion of it: 'Doctor Foster without a heroine, with no likeable characters and a ghost. Trauma was traumatic for all the wrong reasons.' The Radio Times also gave it a - thoroughly deserved - pasting. How can something with such a good cast turn out so ordinary?
The much-anticipated Collateral which got mainly positive reviews. Like this one from The New Statesman and this one from the Torygraph.
Requiem, which is still ticking along nicely, albeit like many viewers this blogger still hasn't got the faintest clue what's going on a lot of the time. Something he shares in common with the Torygraph. And the Metro.
Britannia. Still totally bonkers and still a lot of fun.
Jamestown. Also still totally bonkers and still lots of fun. And, this week, the subject of this piece in the Daily Scum Express. Which it a bit like that soliloquey in Macbeth, full of sound and fury but, ultimately, signifying nothing.
And, Endeavour. Here's the Radio Times' review of the latest episode.
Jed Mercurio, the creator behind the BAFTA-nominated Line Of Duty, recently joined Twitter - well, it is now The Sole Arbiter of The Worth Of All Things ... according to some lice of no importance at the Gruniad Morning Star - and shared the exciting news that he is officially at work on the next series. Responding to a tweet from Line Of Duty actor Martin Compston welcoming him to Twitter, the writer revealed: 'Just started writing series five.'
As yer actual Keith Telly Topping may have mentioned in the past, dear blog reader, he is one of the approximately twenty thousand people in the UK who, daily, fills in an online questionnaire for a leading market research company which helps to compile the Audience Appreciation Index (or, AI). This blogger has been doing it for several years and he's entirely happy to help; it is, after all, an opportunity to let the broadcasters - via the BARB - know what he thinks about the programmes that he watches. Sadly however, he has to report that there has been a significant - and marked - apparent 'dumbing down' in the questionnaire's contents of late and a series of, frankly, bloody stupid questions being asked. To wit: In addition to rating all programmes watched, the viewer is also asked to give an opinion on the following statements:-
What does that even mean? It might be applicable to an air freshener but a television programme? It is particularly annoying to be asked this question when you're giving your views on an episode of a thirty-forty-fifty year old drama on ITV4 like The Professionals, The Sweeney or Ironside that you've just watched.
Not an unreasonable question to ask, admittedly - albeit, perhaps a bit too 'a thirtysomething market research executive trying to sound like someone who is down wi da kidz.' But - as with all of these questions - it is then followed by a multiple-choice series of potential answers: agree strongly; agree slightly; neither agree not disagree; disagree slightly and disagree strongly. So, how in the name of all that is holy can one agree or disagree slightly that something was or wasn't 'brilliant'. It either was or it wasn't, there's no quantifying its inherent brilliance or lack of brilliance, surely?
Yes, I agree strong in this instance. I 'learnt' that these people, seemingly, do not know how to spell 'learned' probably. Which is very useful to know.
This one is especially irksome depending on the programme one happens to have watched. If it was an episode of, say, Time Team then this blogger can see that an appropriate answer might be something along the lines of: 'Yes, watching this programme encouraged me to get more interested in archaeology and seek more information about historical groups in my area.' Fine. But, what about when you're watching, for example, Doctor Who? 'Yes, this programme encouraged me to build my own time machine and travel the universe'? Or, [spooks]. 'This programme encouraged me to join the security services and combat national and international terrorism. With extreme prejudice'? As Alexei Sayle once noted, quite wisely Keith Telly Topping feels: 'Cak-bloody-cak.'
And finally we have the most moronically-worded question of all. Different to what? In relation to, for example, an episode of The Sky At Night, it would certainly have been different from, say, an episode of Strictly Come Dancing. No question about that. But, was it different to a previous episode of The Sky At Night? In content, arguably yes; in concept, not really. So, for Christ's sake you guys, sort yourselves out. You sound like a bunch of brain-damaged morons or the victims of cruel medical experiments. I'll tell you what, if you pay this blogger a decent sum, he'll even design a series of questions for you that will tell you far more about viewers opinions on the programmes they comment upon than the nonsense you're currently asking them. Whoever came up with these, frankly, should be horsewhipped through the streets until they say they're very sorry for coming up with such lousy, lowest-common-demoninator crap and that they'll never do it again. Here endeth the rant.
Donald Trump definitely can't count on The West Wing's CJ Cregg giving him any help in saving his administration from any more PR disasters. Which, given that she was a fictional character most of us had probably already worked out. Allison Janney made light of the current trouble in the Trump administration on Friday night's episode of The Graham Norton Show, when asked what President Bartlet's one-time press secretary would think of her current real-life counterpart, Sarah Huckabee Sanders. 'Firstly, CJ would go nowhere near that administration,' Allison - widely tipped to pick up an Oscar for her performance in I, Tonya - said. 'It's probably one of the hardest jobs but I can't watch [Huckabee Sanders]. It is horrifying. I'm kind of speechless because I might say something that will get me into trouble!' Janney, who won four EMMY Awards for her portrayal of CJ in The West Wing, also acknowledged that she has always felt pressure to live up to the idealistic political spokesperson. 'Fans of the show wanted so much for it to be real,' she said. 'They wanted Martin Sheen to be the President. Aaron Sorkin wrote CJ brilliantly, she was incredibly smart and it was great to play a character that was the cleverest person in the room. As a result, people assumed I was that person and I have been offered jobs at a news station and as a political pundit. It was extraordinary. It made me very shy of meeting people because I wasn't her. I would love to be like her, she was thrilling.'
Alan Partridge is returning to live TV as the host of a weekday magazine show - twenty five years after making his BBC debut. This Time With Alan Partridge sees the character stand in as the co-host of an early evening magazine programme that has more than a few similarities to The ONE Show. It is described as 'a heady mix' of consumer affairs, news, 'highbrow interviews and lightweight froth.' So, just like The ONE Show in other words. The character, played by Steve Coogan, last fronted live TV in the 1990s with chat show Knowing Me, Knowing You. A-ha. The fictional show was brought to an end when Partridge 'accidentally fatally shot' a guest live on-air. Filming on This Time With Alan Partridge started this week. The BBC said: 'This Time is the perfect shop window for a man of Alan's gravitas and will - or should - see him finally recognised as one of the heavyweight broadcasters of his era.' They added that the agenda was 'very much the sweet-spot for a man whose CV boasts over two decades of weekday local radio. With an array of diverse subjects on the agenda, it promises the perfect fit for a man whose broadcasting style has been described as "equidistant between chitchat and analysis,"' the Corporation said. As with The ONE Show, Partridge will be joined by a co-presenter, Jennie Gresham, played by Susannah Fielding, who has appeared in Black Mirror, The Great Indoors, The C Word and Doctor Who. Tim Key reprises the role he played in Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa - although this time, instead of being Sidekick Simon he's billed as Simon Denton. The six-part series, written by Coogan alongside Neil Gibbons and Rob Gibbons, is to be shown on BBC1 later this year.
Wor Geet Canny Cheryl looks set to be making a comeback to prime-time TV after taking part in a pilot for a new BBC series. The thirty four-year-old former Girl Aloud acted as a mentor on the talent show The Greatest Dancer, planned for Saturday nights on BBC1. Alesha Dixon and Jordan Banjo hosted the pilot, which was filmed earlier this week - but will not be broadcast. Glee's Matthew Morrison and Strictly Come Dancing professional Oti Mabuse were also part of the ormat. So, all that should be well worth avoiding, then. The series, which currently has no planned date for transmission, is being produced by Wee Shughie McFee, the sour face Scottish chef off Crossroads' TV company Syco and Thames.
Since it began in 2004, Strictly Come Dancing has been one of the BBC's biggest hits - you might have noticed - and it sounds like executives at the Beeb want more of the same, not only via The Greatest Dancer but also another dance-orientated format, Drop The Beat. Promising to be 'edgier' than Strictly, Drop The Beat is, according to Deadline, 'to be aimed at a younger audience and families.' The format is the brainchild of Tim Hincks' and Peter Fincham's production company Expectation, which is backed by BBC Worldwide. After losing The Voice to ITV in 2015, the BBC's reality shows have failed to match the ratings behemoth that is Strictly, with Let It Shine's future apparently 'up in the air' and the current woeful All Together Now surely due for an early bath. Speaking at the Edinburgh International TV Festival in August, BBC Entertainment Controller Kate Phillips revealed that there are up to fifty shows currently in paid development at the Beeb. How many of these 'feature a voting element', we just don't know, dear blog reader. But, we can probably make an educated guess.
Star Trek: Discovery's recently concluded first series delivered some of - most of, in fact - its best episodes when it reintroduced The Mirror Universe. But the producers behind the revived SF franchise understandably don't want to do overdo it and have stated that there are 'no plans' to do it again for series two. 'The Mirror Universe was perfect for season one,' showrunner Gretchen J Berg told ET, 'because one of the themes of the season was literally self-discovery for Michael Burnham, figuring out who she was. In order to return to Mirror, we would have to have a really good reason to go, better than the reason that we went this year. What we've learned on Star Trek is never say never about anything, but for now, I'm really proud of the story we told in Mirror, and we're going to let people sit with those for a while and maybe we'll be going back again in the future.'
Billionaire tyrant Rupert Murdoch's Twenty First Century FOX has pledged to 'ensure' the independence of Sky News as it seeks to overcome issues surrounding its propose takeover of Sky. The company claimed that it would 'commit' to maintain Sky News for at least five years and would establish 'a fully independent board' for the channel. FOX has been trying to buy the sixty one per cent of Sky that it does not currently own. Last month, the regulator said that a FOX-Sky deal was 'not in the public interest' on grounds of media plurality. The Competition and Markets Authority provisionally found that if the deal went ahead as planned, it would give the Murdoch family 'too much control' over news providers in the UK. However, the CMA found the deal would not be 'against the public interest' on the grounds of broadcasting standards. At the time, the CMA put forward possible remedies to address the plurality concerns, which were: stopping the deal going through; spinning-off or selling-off Sky News or insulating Sky News from the Murdoch Family Trust's influence. FOX's proposals regarding Sky News were made in response to the list of possible remedies and were released by the CMA this week. FOX said that the combined effect of its proposals meant 'there could be no circumstances in which, post-transaction, the MFT or members of the Murdoch family could influence, whether directly or indirectly, the editorial line or policy of Sky News.' In its response to the CMA, Sky said it 'considered' FOX's proposals would be 'an effective and comprehensive solution to any potential concerns.' The competition regulator is due to present its final report to the lack of culture secretary, the vile and odious rascal Hancock by 1 May and he has said he will make a decision on the deal by 14 June. The picture has been complicated by the announcement in December that Disney had agreed to buy most of FOX's business, so it may end up owning Sky. Disney's proposed takeover, which still has to be approved by US regulators, includes FOX's current thirty nine per cent stake in Sky. If the Sky-FOX deal does finally go through, the whole of Sky would be likely to transfer to Disney's ownership.
A campaigning group opposed to billionaire tyrant Rupert Murdoch's proposed takeover of Sky has won permission to launch a legal challenge to the media regulator's ruling that the broadcaster would remain 'fit and proper' to hold a UK licence if it was owned by Twenty First Century FOX according to the Gruniad Morning Star. A high court judge said that the activist group Avaaz would have its case for a judicial review of Ofcom's decision heard before 30 June. 'The case is arguable and may raise some important points of principle,' said Justice Morris. 'Permission is hereby granted.' Avaaz has argued that Ofcom's process and decision was 'flawed in a number of ways,' including that it was 'too easy' for subjects of fit and proper tests to be cleared. It also claimed that the regulator had 'made errors' when assessing FOX's compliance with the UK broadcasting code, drew 'wrong conclusions' from allegations of sexual and racial harassment at FOX News and ignored the role billionaire tyrant Murdoch's son, James The Small, would play as chief executive of Twenty First Century FOX. They also said that billionaire tyrant Rupert Murdoch was not a fit and proper person to shovel shit from one place to another, let alone run a television station. Probably. The judge said that it was 'not necessarney' for the outcome of Avaaz's court case to be known before Ofcom publishes its verdict on the takeover in April. The deal is being scrutinised because it raises media plurality issues, as full ownership of Sky would give the Murdochs. If Avaaz were to win its case then Ofcom would be forced to reconsider its 'fit and proper' decision, which could provide yet another hurdle for the Murdochs. Which, admittedly, would be funny. An Ofcom spokesman said: 'We will defend our "fit and proper" assessment, which was independent, expert and based on the evidence.'
Ruth Wilson has responded to Alice Morgan's apparent return from beyond the grave in Luther series five after location photos emerged. Filming on the new four-part series began in early January and Wilson was spotted shooting with Idris Elba, despite fan favourite Alice The Completely Mad Murderess having apparently been 'killed' off-screen by Megan (Laura Haddock). Appearing on Empire's three hundredth podcast, Ruth said that Alice 'may be' back or it 'might be' a dream sequence. 'I might get shot if I say anything. Maybe you can ask me later, I'll still answer with the same answers,' Wilson added like a geet teasy-teaser. One of the main reasons that Alice didn't appear in series four was because Ruth's commitment to award-winning US drama The Affair left her unable to take part in the two-part series.
Roswell has joined the long list of reboots currently in development in the US and The CW network have signed up Julie Plec - showrunner of The Vampire Diaries and creator of The Originals - to direct the pilot episode according to Entertainment Weekly. If a series gets ordered off the back of the pilot, then Plec will serve as executive producer. Carina Adly Mackenzie, who has wrote several episodes of The Originals as well as The Flash, will be reuniting with Plec on the pilot. And, if the reboot does make it to a series, there's yet another one of Keith Telly Topping's bibliography that could be due for an update. It's also, seemingly, another example of the glaring obvious fact that no one in the US television industry seems capable of coming up with an original idea these days. Meanwhile, Deadline reports that Grey's Anatomy's Jeanine Mason has been cast in the lead role of Liz Ortecho, a biomedical researcher who returns to New Mexico and discovers her high school crush is an alien.
BBC1 and Netflix's new Friday night thriller Requiem could return for a second series. Writer Kris Mrksa's supernatural drama centres around the suicide of cellist Matilda Gray's mother leading her to a Welsh town haunted by the disappearance of a local girl. It's not bad although as noted above, after a couple of really good opening episodes, it has rather started to meander a bit. The possibility of making a second series is something which intrigues writer Kris Mrksa, but he's also cautioning that no decisions are made yet. 'If the planets align and if we all decide that it's the right thing to do, then it could come back [for a second series],' he told Radio Times. The writer went on to reveal: 'I originally conceived of it as a two-part story and it's a possibility.'
The TV adaptation of Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials is about to start filming. Confirming that the BBC series is gearing up to start shooting, a report in Broadcast revealed how many episodes are planned and where they will be shot. Production company Bad Wolf will be bringing Pullman's Oxford-based stories to life in its studio in Wales. It is believed that 'all exteriors' on His Dark Materials will be shot on location in Wales, excluding some establishing shots which will take place in the Arctic. It has also been revealed that the series – which will be written by Jack Thorne – will be 'ready to roll' once the headline cast has been finalised. His Dark Materials is, Broadcast state, planned as a five-series, forty-episode saga, with its first series based on Pullman's first instalment of the trilogy, Northern Lights. Mind you, planning something for five series and actually making five series of it does, rather, depend on the show finding (and keeping) an audience. Ask ITV's watch-word for vast, hubris-filled over-ambition, Beowulf. Speaking about the mammoth task of adapting such a rich and imaginative story (and universe), Thorne reassured fans of Pullman's novels last year that he will be 'as loyal to the books' as he possibly can. 'The advantage of television is we can slow down. In the film and on stage they had so much plot to get through, so much plot to churn through, whereas we've got the luxury of having time to get to know [lead character] Lyra, and spend time in her world.'
Former BBC Look North presenter Christa Ackroyd is facing a tax bill of up to four hundred and twenty thousand knicker after losing a legal battle with HM Revenue & Customs. Ackroyd and HMRC were 'in dispute' over the nature of her BBC contract and whether she had paid too little tax. She was one of a number of people employed by the BBC via personal service companies. Ruling against her, a tax tribunal said that HMRC had 'never suggested' she was 'a tax cheat' or 'had acted dishonestly.' Ackroyd said the ruling had brought an end to 'five horrendous years of innuendo and gossip' surrounding her financial affairs. A BBC spokesman said that the use of personal service companies was 'entirely legitimate and common practice across the industry.' Ackroyd presented Look North in Yorkshire from 2001 to 2013 after joining from ITV's rival news programme Calendar. The tribunal heard she was employed via two fixed-term contracts agreed between the BBC and her personal service company, Christa Ackroyd Media Ltd. HMRC argued that, as an employee of CAM, the company was liable for income tax and national insurance payments while Ackroyd claimed she was 'a self-employed contractor' and CAM had no further liability. Ruling in favour of HMRC, the tribunal said: 'We do not criticise Ms Ackroyd for not realising that IR35 legislation was engaged. She took professional advice in relation to the contractual arrangements with the BBC and she was encouraged by the BBC to contract through a personal service company.' HMRC says Ackroyd is liable for unpaid tax between 2008 and 2013 totalling four hundred and nineteen thousand one hundred and fifty one smackers. Ackroyd claims that the unpaid figure is approximately two hundred and seven thousand quid. The tribunal said the parties had forty two days to either reach an agreement on the figure or seek a further ruling. Ackroyd said: 'The contract issued by the BBC has now been deemed a contract of employment rather than freelance and is as such subject to different tax rules. That it has taken five years is an indication of the complexity of IR35 legislation regarding freelance broadcasters. As you can imagine I have suffered five horrendous years of innuendo and gossip suggesting I am a tax cheat. This judgement proves once and for all I am not.' A BBC spokesman said that paying Ackroyd via CAM was 'standard industry practice at the time' when she was taken on in 2001. He added: 'Until last year it was for individuals with service companies rather than those engaging them to determine their status for tax purposes. The use of personal service companies is entirely legitimate and common practice across the industry as it provides flexibility for both individuals and organisations. An independent review conducted in 2012 found that there was no evidence that the BBC had attempted to avoid income tax or NIC by contracting in this way.'
It was all-change this week on ITV's woefully inept Good Morning Britain, as oily twat Piers Morgan and Susanna Reid took a break. Replacing Morgan was another hateful worthless excuse for a human being, Jeremy Kyle who appeared with regular stand-in Horrible Kate Garraway. And, if social media is anything to go by - and, just this once, it might be - it appears viewers tuning-in were not overly keen on Kyle's trademark shouty presenting approach. In what Yahoo News - not a 'real' news source, admittedly - described as 'an incredible turn of events,' some commentators were actually calling for the return of oily twat Piers Morgan after having not even been absent for a single show. In tomorrow's GMB poll 'which do you prefer, bullshit or dogshit?' presumably.
A former Canadian Prime Minister has said that female television newscasters who show bare arms 'undermine credibility and gravitas.' Kim Campbell, who served - briefly - as Prime Minister in 1993, came under fire shortly after her tweet on Tuesday. For 'talking absolute crap', basically. Campbell - who is definitely not mental, just in case you were wondering - included a link to a blog post which suggested 'people who wear more clothing are viewed as smarter.' She said the blog post 'proved' she was right to think it was 'demeaning' to 'go sleeveless on television.' Her tweet pointed to a blog post by a US 'communication coach' called Nick Morgan, who referenced a study suggesting people are seen as smarter when they cover up. Exactly what a 'communication coach' is, how one becomes one, and whether it constitutes a 'real job' or not, we simply don't know. 'Apparently, we humans are pretty simple creatures. If you show up in front of us with skin exposed, we're going to think about your body. If you're wearing lots of clothing, we're going to think about your mind,' Morgan wrote. He told readers preparing for a public speech to 'think about what this means when you put on that sleeveless dress, women, or that expensive, cool-looking casual t-shirt, men. It means you're going to look less brilliant than if you covered your arms.' People who commented on Campbell's tweets were quick to point to women like former US First Lady Michelle Obama, who often wore sleeveless dresses. Campbell responded, saying that that Obama 'doesn't read the news.' Which is accurate. Others also noted that, under the US constitution, citizens have the right to bare arms. Apparently. And, just to repeat, Campbell is definitely not mental. Next ...
GVC, the online gambling firm behind yer actual Foxy Bingo, has been fined three hundred and fifty thousand knicker for 'repeatedly misleading consumers' with offers of free bonuses, on the same day that regulators announced 'a crackdown' on gambling adverts. The fine comes as GVC is in the process of taking over Ladbrokes in a deal worth up to four billion knicker which would create the UK's largest gambling company. It marks the start of a tougher regime for gambling advertising, as rules governing promotions such as a campaign featuring the disembodied head of the actor Ray Winstone urging gamblers to 'Bet in-play ... Nahhhhh!' were tightened. The stricter rulebook will also forbid adverts which appeal to problem gamblers or 'play fast and loose' with free bet offers. The Competition and Markets Authority is already investigating the fairness of so-called 'free bets' and announced this year that three leading firms had agreed to change their policy. Winstone's days of encouraging punters to bet during live matches appear to be over as the advertising regulator targets adverts that appeal to 'problem' gamblers. The two bodies that set the code that UK advertisers must abide by - the Committee of Advertising Practice and the Broadcast Committee of Advertising Practice - highlighted adverts which 'exploit people's vulnerabilities or play fast and loose with eye-catching free bet and bonus offers.' Top of the list is a ban on adverts that 'create an inappropriate sense of urgency, like those including "bet now!" offers during live events. This will mean the end of so-called 'in-play' betting offers calling on viewers to gamble as they watch a live event, of which Winstone is the most well-known face for the online gambling company Bet365. The new rules include curbing the 'trivialisation of gambling,' such as by encouraging repetitive play and ending undue emphasis on giving punters 'money motives' for gambling. Also banned will be advertising which give an 'irresponsible perception of risk or control,' such as by telling viewers they have a 'risk-free deposit' or bonus. Gambling companies will also have to be 'more responsible' when they offer free bets and bonuses, which are often advertised as if there are no strings attached. 'We won't tolerate gambling ads that exploit people's vulnerabilities or play fast and loose with eye-catching free bet and bonus offers,' said Shahriar Coupal, the director of the two committees. While rules don't come into effect until 2 April, GVC has already fallen foul of existing regulations. The Gambling Commission, which regulates the industry, on Wednesday fined GVC an eye-watering three hundred and fifty thousand smackers for 'repeatedly defying' a 2016 ruling by the Advertising Standards Authority that adverts for its Bwin website were 'misleading.' The promotion offered gamblers a free bet worth up to thirty notes when they deposited money in a Bwin account but a customer snitched that they could not collect their free bonus until they had staked a further one hundred and two quid. The ASA upheld the complaint, rejecting GVC's argument that restrictions on the offer were 'clearly set out' in the small print of the terms and conditions. Despite the ruling, websites owned by GVC repeated the transgression a further seven times, the Gambling Commission said. Richard Watson, programme director for the regulator, said: 'This fine should serve as a warning to all gambling businesses that we will not hesitate to take action against those who mislead consumers with bonus offers or fail to ensure they are correctly licensed.' Last year the Gambling Commission said that more than two million people in the UK were either 'problem gamblers' or 'at risk of addiction.' The industry regulator said the government and industry were 'not doing enough' to tackle the problem.
The Campaign for Real Ale has apologised after one of its branches published a crossword clue with the word 'negro.' The crossword, printed in Derby CAMRA's bi-monthly magazine, also suggests 'effeminate' men share a name with a sex toy. The publication has been described as 'homophobic' and 'disgusting' by some social media users. CAMRA said that it had 'begun' an investigation. The crossword features on the back page of the January/February issue of Derby CAMRA's free magazine, The Derby Drinker. One clue reads: 'US negro could become an operational doctor.' Another asks readers to fill in the squares with a word which relates to: 'A sex toy or an effeminate man.' In a statement, Colin Valentine, CAMRAa's national chairman, said: 'On behalf of CAMRA, I'd like to apologise for the offence caused by the publication of very inappropriate crossword clues in The Derby Drinker magazine, which involved a small number of members at local level. We do not condone the use of such language and it does not represent CAMRA, the views of our wider membership, or the values we stand for.'
Four 'senior' West Bromwich Albino players were interviewed by police after allegedly 'stealing' a taxi outside a fast-food restaurant in Barcelona on Thursday. Catalonia police told BBC Sport that the players - Gareth Barry, Jonny Evans, Jake Livermore and Boaz Myhill - were interviewed but not arrested after the incident in the early hours. The Premier League club said that it was investigating the incident, which happened during a training trip. Mossos d'Esquadra - the Catalan regional police force - said the four players involved wanted to go out in Barcelona, but found everything closed so took a taxi to a fast-food restaurant. When they left, at approximately 5:30am, it is alleged they took the taxi and drove back to their hotel - without the driver. Police were alerted by the hotel and taxi driver, who was reunited with his vehicle at about 8am. Baggies boss Alan Pardew said the players involved had 'broken a midnight curfew,' adding it was 'unacceptable' and he 'felt a bit let down. It wasn't what we wanted,' he added. 'We've gone there to try to get ourselves ready and up for the run-in and this is obviously not ideal.' West Brom, who are currently bottom of the Premier League, have won just one of their past twenty five league matches. The club said it had 'instigated its own investigation into the incident' and said the players 'will be subject to the full rigours of our internal disciplinary procedures.'
Center Parcs has announced it has stopped advertising in the Daily Scum Mail. It took the decision after its advert appeared in an online article by odious columnist Richard Littlejohn which criticised the diver Tom Daley and his husband Dustin Lance Black, who are expecting a child. Littlejohn claimed children 'benefit most from being raised by a man and a woman.' Center Parcs said that the placement of the advert was 'completely unacceptable.' It was responding to a complaint from a person who tweeted: 'My son so wants me to book at your parks, but how can I do that if you support homophobia?' The holiday resort firm responded to the tweet: 'We take where we advertise very seriously and have a number of steps to prevent our advertising from appearing alongside inappropriate content. We felt this placement was completely unacceptable and therefore ceased advertising with the Daily Mail with immediate effect. We apologise for any offence this may have caused.' In his article, Littlejohn claimed that he supported civil partnerships - one or two people even believed him - and would prefer a child to be fostered by 'loving gay couples' rather than be 'condemned to rot' in state-run institutions. He added: 'That said and despite the fact that countless single parents do a fantastic job, I still cling to the belief that children benefit most from being brought up by a man and a woman.' London's Southbank Centre earlier announced it would no longer be advertising in the newspaper because of Littlejohn's article.
Max Mosley is reported to be threatening to sue Britain's three largest newspaper groups, claiming they are in breach of the Data Protection Act because they continue to refer to a sadomasochistic orgy involving the former Formula One boss a decade ago. Mosley claims that data protection and privacy laws require the press to stop disseminating information about him which is 'not in the public interest,' but media lawyers as well as the newspaper owners say that his demand is an attempt to 'rewrite the historical record.' According to the Gruniad, underscoring the battle is a long-running row about the state of press regulation after the Leveson inquiry in which Mosley is trying to put pressure on hostile newspapers to create an independent regulator recognised by the state. This week Mosley's lawyers sent a five-page letter to the publishers of the Daily Scum Mail, the Sun and The Times and the Daily Mirra insisting that the titles stop publishing details relating to what he describes as 'a private party' and delete what he claims are 'inaccurate references' about his relationship to a small press regulator called Impress. The Daily Scum Mail and The Times responded by publishing articles attacking Mosley's manoeuvre. Stephen Glover, writing in the Scum Mail, said that it was 'a dark story about how one very wealthy man is trying to undermine the freedoms enjoyed by the press' while an editorial in The Times accused him of 'an attack on press freedom generally.' In an interview with the Gruniad, Mosley said that the newspapers were engaged in 'a commercial campaign' against him because they 'did not like' his privacy campaigning and his arms-length financial support for Impress, which is the first and only press regulator in the UK to have been recognised by the Press Recognition Panel, set up by Royal Charter following the Leveson inquiry. No national newspapers have actually signed up to Impress, however. Mosley accused the titles of referencing the orgy to 'belittle' him and said that he had resorted to data protection law because he did not trust IPSO, the independent regulator set up by the large newspaper groups, including the owners of the Scum Mail, Times and Mirra. 'What the Data Protection Act does is stop people publishing false information or information in breach of privacy. There are exemptions for newspapers; those who are doing their job have nothing to fear,' Mosley said. He added that if the newspapers did not respond within twenty one days he would most likely 'go to court' and sue their arses into the middle of next week. 'The most eye-catching element in the complaint,' the Gruniad notes, is his demand that the titles stop referring in detail to the S&M orgy, which was secretly filmed by one of its participants in the pay of the Scum of the World and published on the front page of the disgraced and disgraceful billionaire tyrant Rupert-Murdoch-owned newspaper with video on its website. Mosley, the son of the British fascist leader Sir Oswald Mosley, took the tabloid title to court in 2008 in a trial which was widely reported at the time. He - very amusingly - won a landmark legal victory, which asserted he had a right to privacy under English law as far as the party was concerned and won sixty thousand smackers in damages. Mr Justice Eady, presiding, also held that 'there was no public interest' for reporting what had happened at the event involving Mosley and thee five ladies involved. Nearly a decade later, Mosley and his lawyers assert under data protection law that newspapers can no longer refer to this 'in any detail' because they 'do not have a public interest exemption' which allows them to do so. Mosley also wants the newspaper groups to stop saying he has control or influence over Impress. He said that his family's charitable trust has 'guaranteed to fund' the Independent Press Regulation Trust, which in turn provided 3.8 million quid in 2015 for four years' worth of funding to Impress in an arms-length relationship. 'It is false information and under the Data Protection Act you mustn’t store it – so cross it out please,' Mosley added. The Times, owned by billionaire tyrant Murdoch's News UK, says that Mosley wants the newspaper to 'purge' its online archives of the references to the both the Scum of the World trial and the funding of Impress. 'The details of Mister Mosley's complaints are complex, verging on arcane, but they boil down to an assertion that the public does not have a right to know that he has donated some three million pounds to support Impress, the country's only state-backed regulator, via a charity set up in his late son's name and that to this extent the regulator is reliant on his largesse,' The Times claimed in a leader this week. The intervention 'comes at a time when there are growing concerns about the implications of existing data protection law – and increasing attempts to use it against the press' the Gruniad whinge. In January, peers voted to 'amend' a data protection bill to implement section forty of the Crime and Courts Act, which would force a newspaper to cover the legal costs of the claimant in any libel case even if it had won, unless it had joined a recognised regulator such as Impress. Mosley said that he hoped to highlight the section forty debate with his legal complaint, arguing that it would force the large newspaper groups 'to revamp Ipso.' However, Theresa May has 'pledged to reverse' the Lords amendment - well, she would, wouldn't she? - and the introduction of section forty is unanimously opposed across Fleet Street - well, it would be, wouldn't it? Mark Stephens, a senior partner and media lawyer at Howard Kennedy said that there were 'good reasons' for law and journalism students to 'study' the details of the Mosley-Scum of the World case, because it was 'a test case for privacy.' He added that if the data protection complaint were to succeed it would have serious implications. 'Effectively people will be able to airbrush history. In terms of using the law, this is entirely novel,' Stephens added.
In this week's most satisfying 'that karma can be a right bitch sometimes story', it has been reported that a big cat poacher has been 'killed and eaten' (not, necessarily, in that order) by the pride of lions that he was trying to hunt. The suspected hunter was 'heard screaming for help' as he was mauled to death by lions in the Ingwelala Private Nature Reserve in Hoespruit, near Phalaborwa in South Africa. The pride were reported to be 'unhurt'. Authorities presume that the man was hunting the lions, who left his head 'almost' untouched, after a hunting rifle was found close to what was left of his body. The man is yet to be named and police in Limpopo have 'requested help' from the Department of Home Affairs to identify him. A local worker said: 'The head was still there but the lions had eaten most of the rest. A scream was heard and the lions were scattered by the sound of gunshots but it was too late to do anything for him. He was eaten.' 'The process of identifying this body has already commenced and it might be made easier as his head was amongst the remains found at the scene,' said Police Lieutenant-Colonel Moatshe Ngoepe. British photographer Charlie Lynham said that two sets of footprints had been found next to the man's remains. Lynham, who is originally from Liverpool but now lives near the reserve, said: 'Two big game rifles and ammunition were found at the scene and that is the weapon of choice used by those hunting big game – especially elephant and rhino in the bush. I cannot say if it was poachers as the matter is under investigation but that is their weapon of choice and they usually work in groups of three and work under cover of darkness. Two sets of footprints have been found running away and obviously the dead and eaten man.' He added that the encounter could be 'poetic justice,' if the victim’s intent was to kill the lions. 'It's a dirty job but someone's got to do it.' Said the lion.
Authorities in Connecticut have said that an alleged 'serial pooper' has been very arrested after defecating in a cul-de-sac for the third time. State Police said that a motion-activated camera set up after the third occasion that faeces was discovered on the street finally caught the suspect's vehicle. Holly Malone was very arrested during an unrelated traffic stop which connected her vehicle to the one that police had identified. The first two incident occurred on 7 and 16 November last year where human excrement and toilet paper was found in a roadway. The motion-activated camera then caught the third incident on 5 December, leading to Malone's car being identified by police, authorities said. Police said that Malone had apologised for her actions, the Associated Press reported, claiming that she is lactose intolerant but sometimes eats dairy products - leaving her 'caught short' and having to stop in the cul-de-sac some miles from her home. Malone was charged with misdemeanour breach of peace and 'creating hazardous conditions.'
A woman who led Kentucky police on a high-speed chase told arresting officers that she was the Virgin Mary en route to pick up the Baby Jesus and 'had permission from God' to speed. WDRB-TV cites an arrest report claiming that a Kentucky trooper attempted to pull over fifty two-year-old Connie Allen, of Tennessee, on Saturday, but she ignored him. A chase then ensued. Another trooper was eventually able to pull in front of Allen, forcing her to stop. He approached her car with his weapon drawn, but she refused to get out and show her hands. The report says that she 'became compliant' when he hit her window with a police baton. Well, you would, wouldn't you? She also allegedly told police that she had 'died five years ago.'
A former waitress from Hot Springs, Arkansas, who was being sought by authorities in the fraudulent use of a customer's debit card last summer, was arrested in Cabot on Thursday after she posted a photo on Instagram. Autumn Royann Partington was taken into custody by Cabot police. She was taken to Hot Springs on a felony charge of theft by receiving of a credit-debit card and two misdemeanour counts of fraudulent use of a credit-debit card. Partington is set to appear in March in a district court for a felony review hearing. According to the probable-cause affidavit in the case, on 29 August 2017, a Memphis man reported the fraudulent use of a debit card belonging to him and his fiancee and noted he had last used it at a restaurant in downtown Hot Springs. He said that he had given the card to a waitress to pay for their meal and noted the waitress took 'an unusual amount of time' to return the card to their table. When he went to use the card the next day, he discovered 'the balance was low.' Upon checking his statement, he found two unauthorised online purchases, one at a wig store and another at a clothing business, he told police. He checked with the wig store and learned the purchase had been made in the name of Partington, according to the affidavit. Police contacted Partington by phone and she reportedly denied any knowledge of the fraudulent orders, but admitted that she did serve the couple and had possession of the debit card at one point, the affidavit said. 'It was determined through investigation that Partington had fled the Hot Springs area,' the news release said. 'It was learned on 8 January that she was in the Cabot area. Partington posted a photograph of herself on her Instagram page with the caption, "I luv [sic] my job.' Luckily, Partington was wearing an apron with the business name,' it said.
An online adjunct professor incorrectly told a student that Australia isn't a country and gave her a failing grade, prompting Southern New Hampshire University to replace the instructor. Buzzfeed News reports that the student in Idaho was assigned to 'compare American social norms to that of another country.' She chose to study social media use in Australia, but the professor gave her a zero on that portion of the assignment, saying Australia is a continent, not a country. It's actually both. University officials told WMUR-TV that the instructor has been 'replaced following an investigation.' In a statement, the university said it 'deeply regrets' the interaction between the professor and student.
Sixty years ago, the ballad singer Vic Damone topped the UK charts with 'On The Street Where You Live', a recording which this blogger had always adored. It was an unlikely achievement in the middle of the rock and/or roll era, but it was a perfect song, perfectly sung. Damone, who has died this week aged eighty nine, was regarded as a singer's singer within the industry. Frank Sinatra applauded his technique, saying that Vic had 'the best pair of pipes in the business.' For all the straightforward faultlessness of his romantic singing, Damone led a complicated life, involving tax evasion, gambling debts and links to the mafia that made Sinatra's own seem positively tame by comparison. On one occasion, when he broke off his engagement to a mobster's daughter, he recalled, he was dangled from a hotel window by his ankles. Not without irony, he titled his autobiography Singing Was The Easy Part (published in 2009). Although Damone was offered the role of the singer Johnny Fontane, whose career is helped by the mafia, in the film The Godfather, Sinatra persuaded him to turn it down, feeling that the film revealed too much about the mob's practices. Al Martino took the role instead and sang Damone's hit 'I Have But One Heart' in the movie. Vic was born Vito Rocco Farinola in Brooklyn, one of five children and the only son, of Mamie and Rocco Farinola, who lived in Bensonhurst, a predominantly Italian neighbourhood. When Mamie was hospitalised with pneumonia in 1931, Rocco taught his son to sing 'You're Driving Me Crazy' at her bedside. Although Rocco expected Vito to follow him in becoming an electrician, the young boy was more interested in his mother's skills as a pianist. Vito attended Lafayette high school in Brooklyn and also worked delivering groceries from the age of twelve. On leaving school, he became an usher at the Paramount theatre in New York. When the up-and-coming Perry Como performed at the Paramount, Vito stopped the lift between floors and asked Como to hear his voice. Como told him to stick with it, so he took his mother's maiden name, Damone, to attempt a singing career. With lessons, he expanded his range and became adept at singing the fashionable ballads of the day: 'Sure, I copied Sinatra – who didn't?' In 1946 Damone had success on a radio talent show hosted by Arthur Godfrey – the music magazine Metronome described him as a 'brown-eyed, curly-topped eighteen-year-old, who even at this young age is a poised performer, a polished singer of popular songs and a name to be reckoned with.' He had his first US hit the following year, with 'I Have But One Heart', which he sang in both Italian and English and he followed it with 'Say Something Sweet To Your Sweetheart', a duet with Patti Page. It was thought that Vera Lynn would repeat the success of her 1949 British single 'Again' in the US, but it was Damone's version which became the hit and his first million-seller. He followed it later that year with another, 'You're Breaking My Heart', based on the classical aria Mattinata. In 1951, Damone appeared in the film musicals Rich, Young & Pretty with Jane Powell and The Strip with Mickey Rooney and Louis Armstrong. He served for two years in the US army during the Korean war, entertaining the troops in Germany and appearing on the forces' station AFN. In 1955 Damone co-starred in the lavish Hollywood musicals Hit The Deck and Kismet - in the latter he and Ann Blyth sang 'Stranger In Paradise'. The next year he recorded 'On The Street Where You Live', a song from the new Lerner and Loewe Broadway success, My Fair Lady. His beautifully controlled vocal resulted in a US top ten hit and he also released a successful LP, That Towering Feeling!, inspired by the song. Because of copyright restrictions, the record could not be released in the UK until 1958, when My Fair Lady was staged in London. It was a number one, beating off competition from a version by the British singer David Whitfield. Vic followed it with a novelty song, 'The Only Man On The Island', his version of which was outsold by Tommy Steele's. Damone’s career was affected by changing tastes: he did not have the charisma to ride over them like Sinatra and nor did he want to sing rock'n'roll. He concentrated on LPs, but had only occasional success – 'You Were Only Fooling' (1965) was a US top thirty hit. His label, Warner Brothers, persuaded him to record Tom Jones's 'It's Not Unusual', but his heart was not in it. However, he remained much in-demand on television throughout the 1960s and 70s in both American and Britain here he had a devoted audience. In 1974, for example, he appeared on Tommy Cooper's Christmas Special. The Radio 2 presenter David Jacobs staunchly promoted his work in the UK, which led to chart placings for the LPs Now (1981) and Vic Damone Sings The Great Songs (1983). Jacobs regarded 'The Pleasure Of Her Company' as Damone's definitive performance. Damone had a stroke in 2000 but recovered sufficiently to undertake a farewell tour which included Carnegie Hall and The Hollywood Bowl. He retired to Miami and his final performance was at West Palm Beach in 2011. He was divorced four times. His fifth wife, Rena Rowan, whom he married in 1998, died in 2016. His son, Perry (named after his mentor, Como), from his first marriage, to the Italian actress Pier Angeli, died in 2014. Damone is survived by three daughters - Victoria, Andrea and Daniella - from his second marriage, to Judy Rawlins.