Sunday, March 11, 2018

Delayed Reactions

Jodie Whittaker's first series of Doctor Who will, reportedly, bring The Doctor and her new trio of TARDIS companions face-to-yer-actual-face with the legend that is Alan Cumming his very self. The X-Men and The Good Wife actor (and, let's never forget, as if we could, The High Life!) revealed on the latest edition of Will Young and Chris Sweeney's podcast Homo Sapiens that he either already has or soon will start filming a guest appearance on Doctor Who as King James I (1566 to 1625). The wisest fool in Christendom and all that. 'I'm about to go and do an episode of Doctor Who,' the TONY-award winning actor said. 'I'm so excited! I've never been in it.' Alan also indicated that his character could become a recurring figure in Doctor Who when he was asked if he was going to be a baddie. 'Like, a nice baddie,' Cumming said. 'I'm like a sort of dandy, foppy character who becomes all right in the end. They said he might come back.' Cumming subsequently posted a video on Twitter admitting that he hadn't realised he was not supposed to announce his casting before the BBC had a chance to do so officially. A bit of boastful foolishness worthy of James I his very self, in fact! It's a good job yer man Chris Chibnall is somewhat more laid back about spoiler-type malarkey than his predecessor, Al. The Moffinator would've likely ripped yer Goddamn knackers off for such things!
The Doctor Who production team, incidentally, celebrated International Woman's Day this week (it was on Thursday, if you didn't know) by posting a photo of some of the many ladies who work on the show, including its new lead.
We might not have seen the last of the Tenth Doctor yet. National hearthtrob David Tennant has suggested that he would return to Doctor Who for its sixtieth anniversary show in 2023. While appearing at the Wizard World Cleveland 2018 panel alongside former Doctor Who co-star yer actual Billie Piper, the former Doctor was asked whether he would consider rejoining the BBC's popular long-running family SF drama for another anniversary story. 'They are exciting those episodes, but I think you have to be careful not to do them too often. They have to be a novelty. The fiftieth was a great thing to be a part of,' Tennant replied, before asking: 'When's the sixtieth? Will we still be upright? Maybe then.'
Graham Strong, the chap responsible for the survival of many high-quality audio recordings from missing Doctor Who episodes of the 1960s has donated his tape collection to Mark Ayres of The Doctor Who Restoration Team, in order for it to be properly archived. Graham started recording the audio from the series when he was fourteen, using a domestic reel-to-reel, quarter-inch, tape recorder, the only way of preserving audio recordings at the time. The first recordings were made via a basic crystal microphone, hanging over the television speaker with a plant pot placed on the top of the TV to keep the microphone in place. Following The Daleks' Master Plan episode seven in early 1966 Graham, a keen electronics student, managed to wire the audio input into the tape recorder, directly to the audio output of the television set. A highly dangerous procedure which broke every rule of electrical safety but one which, thankfully from the point of view of posterity, resulted in recordings which were of exceptional quality. In fact, the surviving recordings are so clear that they often exceed the quality available on the surviving film prints of the episodes and, as a result, a number of Doctor Who DVD's of early episodes contain audio taken from Graham's recordings rather than the film print. Graham was one of a small number of early fans who recorded audio from the now missing stories. However, he is believed to be the only one to record directly from the television, resulting in the superior quality of his recordings.
A life-sized portrait of the composer - and twenty four carat genius - Delia Derbyshire has been spray-painted onto a university building. The musician is best known for arranging the Doctor Who theme tune when she was employed at the BBC's Radiophonic Workshop. Her picture has been painted on the Ellen Terry building in Coventry by Bristol street artist Stewy to mark International Women's Day.
There was yet another properly superb episode of Gotham broadcast in the US this week - A Beautiful Darkness - complete with the series first appearance of yer actual Batman his very self. Well, sort of. Reviews of the episode can be read here, here, here and here. And, probably lots of other places as well but those were the first four that this blogger came across.
Also, this week that's now two really good X-Files episodes broadcast in a row after the latest - far more traditional than of late - episode, Familiar was shown in the US on Thursday. That's a jolly dangerous precedent for yer man Chris Carter to be setting. He might actually get people to start watching it again. Two episodes before it ends. Reviews can be vara'd here, here, here and here.
Completing a trio of top-quality US drama, this week's episode of The Blacklist was, also, a good'un, particularly a terrifying opening sequence which recalled both Survivors and the end of series two of Millennium. And, you can read all about it here, here and here.
North East MasterChef fans couldn't believe that a Chicken Parmo was served up on one of this week's episodes. And that the judges didn't know what one was. The dish is, basically, a deep fried chicken burger smothered in melted cheese; it is a takeaway staple on Teesside and some parts of Durham. This blogger's actually had one (it was in Billingham if you're taking notes). It was all right, actually, although you can get a heart-attack just looking at one if you're not careful.
Contestant Wor Geet Canny Anthony O'Shaughnessy - from Th' Toon as it happens and, thus, getting the support of all of us here at this blog on geographical and well as culinary grounds! - served up a Chicken Parmo (or, at least, his take on one) during the second round. It was praised by the critics, including 2007 MasterChef winner Steven Wallis, as being something new. 'This is the most original plate of food we have had the whole day. Who knows, this could be the next big thing,' Wallis said. John Torode compared the dish to 'a chicken burger without the bun' and Gregg Wallace added that it tasted far better than it looked. Viewers in the North East were quick to point out on social media that they have been having eating Chicken Parmos for years. Anthony, who works as a call operator at North East Ambulance Service in Hebburn, impressed with all three of his dishes on the episode; a trio of very tasty-looking Syrian dishes, the Chicken Parmo with pickled cabbage coleslaw and beetroot ketch-up and a gorgeous chocolate and Broon Ale desert. And then on Friday, Anthony again progressed to the next round, even managing to impress notoriously hard-to-please Jay Rayner with his pecan pie. (Although, apparently, some people that you've never heard of on Twitter had a right good whinge about whether it was a pie or not. Twitter being, of course, The Sole Arbiter Of The Worth Of All Things.)
Yer actual Jezza Clarkson will be grilling contestants as the new host of the ITV quiz Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? It is returning for a week this spring to celebrate its twentieth anniversary. Which, of course, gave some Middle Class hippy Communist louse of no importance at the Gruniad Morning Star the opportunity for a reet good sneer. They're very good at that sort of thing at the Gruniad, dear blog reader. You might have noticed. The former-Top Gear presenter is replacing previous host Chris Tarrant, who said in 2014 that his days as a game show host were over and that he thought the programme had 'run its course.' On Friday, Jezza said: 'I have always loved the show and am thrilled to be involved with its rebirth.' The Grand Tour presenter described himself as a 'big fan' of quiz shows, saying: 'I'm looking forward to hosting this iconic TV show and hopefully making a few millionaires.' The show, which sees contestants asked a series of increasingly difficult questions as they try to win the one million knicker prize, will run for seven nightly hour-long episodes. The elusive jackpot can only be won if all fifteen questions are answered successfully. A series of lifelines are offered, including asking the audience, asking a friend or taking a fifty-fifty option. ITV has promised 'a number of new twists' for the show's return. Millionaire became a hugely popular global TV format, with versions in countries including the US, India, Australia, Japan and Russia and it inspired Danny Boyle's Oscar-winning film Slumdog Millionaire. ITV's head of entertainment Siobhan Greene said: 'I hope Millionaire will be introduced to a whole new generation. And with TV legend Jeremy Clarkson asking the questions, frankly anything could happen. I can't wait.' In the UK, just five contestants managed to walk away with the million smackers prize (not counting the one who did so by, allegedly, 'procuring the execution of a valuable security by deception' and ended up in court over it).
The filming and production for Good Omens sounds every bit of immense as the story itself. Now, the last day of principal photography has arrived in Cape Town and writer Neil Gaiman has marked the occasion with a message to cast and crew. 'Over a hundred days of shooting,' he wrote, in a photograph of the call sheet shared by director Doug Mackinnon. 'We've been frozen and broiled, sandstormed and snowed, dogbitten and burned down. We've not had any two days of shooting that were like any other two. Through it all we've persisted, telling a story about Peace versus War, about looking after this world because it's the only one we have, about making the right choices. Thank you, all of you, from Terry Pratchett and from me.' Gaiman and the late Terry Pratchett wrote the fantasy novel together in 1990. If you've never read it, why not, it's great? But, anyway, it's a comedy about the angel Arizaphale and the demon Crowley (played in the series by Michael Sheen and David Tennant) as the End Times rapidly approach.
Unheard testimony from the families of victims of an attack on an IRA funeral by the loyalist paramilitary member Michael Stone and of a revenge attack at a subsequent funeral that killed two British corporals is to be revealed in a BBC documentary to mark the thirtieth anniversary of the dreadful atrocities. The Funeral Murders features accounts from family members of the three men killed by Stone at the first funeral - Kevin Brady, Thomas McErlean and John Murray - who, the BBC said, have not spoken to the media until now about the day their relatives were murdered. The film has been made by acclaimed film-maker Vanessa Engle, who has previously won praise for her candid questioning in revelatory television documentaries such as Inside Harley Street. In The Funeral Murders, Engle has also spoken to the funeral director who conducted both funerals in March 1988 as well as ex-army and ex-Royal Ulster Constabulary figures - none of whom have spoken about the events publicly before. Viewers around the world were shocked by the Milltown cemetery deaths, which happened at the funeral of three IRA members shot dead by the SAS in Gibraltar. Television news cameras captured the scenes at the graveyard in Belfast as Stone fired shots and threw grenades at mourners, failing to kill his intended targets - Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness - but killing the three men and injuring sixty people, including pensioners and children. He hatched the plot, he claimed, 'in revenge' for the IRA's Enniskillen Remembrance Day memorial service bombings the previous year. Three days later, at Brady's funeral in West Belfast, the death toll mounted after two British army corporals, Derek Wood and David Howes, who were driving down West Belfast towards the funeral cortege, were mistaken for loyalist paramilitaries preparing another attack or for SAS members (sources vary). They were beaten by some members of the crowd and then taken away and shot by the IRA. Engle's hour-long film includes perspectives from republicans and loyalists, including Adams, as well as the security forces and family members of those who were killed. Those sharing their stories for the first time have felt unable to relive the trauma before or have not trusted the media to tell their tale but now want to remember those who died. The re-examination of one of the most notorious chapters in contemporary Irish history is particularly timely with the Irish border issue once again under the spotlight during Brexit negotiations. Engle said: 'Beyond its value as a document of historical record, the film also has contemporary resonance, thirty years on from the funerals in showing how enduring conflict arises when groups of people have politically polarised views.' The film will be broadcast in March on BBC2.
The Librarians has been cancelled by TNT after four series. The fantasy-adventure drama starring Rebecca Romijn has recently wrapped its fourth run on the US cable channel, but TNT had already made a final decision on its fate. Producer Dean Devlin broke the news to fans on Twitter. However, he states that he has not yet giving up hope of finding the show a new home.
Game Of Thrones is going all out in series eight, at least if a new series of set pictures are anything to go by. HBO have reportedly spent a whopping one million knicker on the construction of a new castle in Belfast's Titanic Quarter, turrets and ramparts included. And, it is near completion. It is reportedly the most expensive project of its kind in Northern Ireland, with work on it having lasted five months thus far.
An ex-private investigator who was used by The Sunday Times has spoken about the alleged criminal activity that he was allegedly involved in to obtain information for the paper. John Ford claimed that he 'targeted' politicians such as Tony Blair and Gordon Brown when they were in government. He said that his methods included 'blagging' or pretending to be a bank or utilities account holder to get private information. The Sunday Times said that it 'strongly rejects' the claim that it had ever commissioned anyone to act illegally. Well, they would, wouldn't they? One or two people even believed them. Ford claims that he was contracted by the paper between 1995 and 2010, during which time he said that he targeted members of the Labour government elected in 1997 and also members of the public. Asked to describe the nature of his attacks on members of the cabinet, he responded: 'Aggressive, unprincipled. Fishing expeditions often.' Talking about the techniques he used to get information, he said: 'I did their phones, I did their mobiles, I did their bank accounts, I stole their rubbish. Hundreds of telephone interceptions, hundreds of bank interceptions. Utilities. I've been through mortgages. I've stolen rubbish. I'm afraid the list is endless.' A spokesperson for The Sunday Times said that the paper had 'a strong record of investigative journalism over decades and has employed many contributors and researchers to work on stories, or parts of stories. The paper strongly rejects the accusation that it has in the past retained or commissioned any individual to act illegally. Some allegations related to the research work of John Ford have been aired previously and we cannot comment on the specifics of these new allegations which all predate 2011.' The Sunday Times has also claimed that it has 'always' been its expectation and practice that its contractors work within the law. Ford said he went after fifteen to twenty members of the cabinet during the New Labour era. John Prescott, who was deputy prime minister between 1997 and 2007, told BBC Radio 4's Today programme that he believes he was targeted. 'I'll be taking legal advice,' Prezza said, adding he wanted to find out: 'Are these stories true? Did The Sunday Times act in the way that [Ford] now said he did?' Prescott admitted some stories may be in the public interest, but questioned whether it was right for papers to use private information illegally accessed by private investigators to find them out. Referring to Ford's admission of using illegal methods to get stories, Prescott said: 'He said he did it. I want to know what the truth is - The Sunday Times denied it all the time. There are public interest issues [in some stories] - there clearly are. Have they a right, then, to go into the banks? Have they a right to pay somebody as an investigator - not a journalist, an investigator - just to get a news source? Would you have them go into your bank accounts to find how much you get paid?' he asked. Ford's admissions come just days after the government scrapped the second phase of The Leveson Inquiry. The first phase of the inquiry looked into the broad area of press ethics and the relationship between the press, politicians, police and the public. The second phase was withheld 'in order to avoid prejudicing criminal trials' all of which are, now, complete. Explaining his decision to the Commons last week, the lack of culture secretary the vile and odious rascal Hancock weaselled that the second stage should not go ahead because 'it would be costly and deal with past failures.' Instead, he argued, 'the more urgent task' was to 'sustain' newspapers - particularly local titles - at a time when 'they are under immense strain.' Victims of press abuse argue that they were promised the second phase by David Cameron when he was prime minister. Who, seemingly, lied to them. So, no surprise there, then.
For days, Russia's main national TV channels were practically silent on the attempt to kill the former spy Sergei Skripal in Salisbury with a nerve agent, but this changed in Wednesday's main evening bulletins. The comment by Kirill Kleimenov - the presenter on government-controlled Channel One's flagship Vremya news programme - sounded like a veiled, mocking threat to anyone considering becoming a double agent for Britain. 'I don't wish death on anyone, but for purely educational purposes, I have a warning for anyone who dreams of such a career,' he said. 'The profession of a traitor is one of the most dangerous in the world,' Kleimenov said, adding that few who had chosen it had lived to 'a ripe old age.' Alcoholism, drug addiction, stress and depression resulting in heart attacks and even suicide were the 'professional illnesses of a traitor,' according to Kleimenov. He also had a second piece of advice for such 'traitors or those who simply hate their country in their free time': 'Don't choose Britain as a place to live. Something is wrong there. Maybe it's the climate, but in recent years there have been too many strange incidents with grave outcomes there.' The remarks stood out from the rest of the evening's coverage, which followed the line often taken by Russian state media in similar circumstances - denial and wry bemusement that anyone should be pointing the finger at Russia. On NTV - ultimately controlled by state gas company Gazprom - a presenter said that the Western media were accusing Russia of poisoning Skripal and his daughter 'despite the lack of any evidence' or any 'expert conclusions.' Its London correspondent, Liza Gerson, mentioned the role of the UK's Porton Down research facility in the investigation, pointing out that it tested chemicals used against German soldiers in World War One. She also took a swipe at Boris Johnson's warning to Russia this week, saying the foreign secretary was known for his 'unpredictable antics' - which, to be fair, is true - and was 'an infant in a man's suit.' Yep, that's pretty hard to argue against, too. On the state channel Rossiya 1, the presenter said that the British authorities 'didn't even try' to seek Russia's co-operation in the investigation, 'but have already discovered a Russian trace in the case.' Yes. Two of them. They are both currently lying in hospital beds fighting for their lives. Before the leading TV channels picked up the story, it had been widely covered by Russian newspapers, news websites and niche liberal outlets such as Dozhd TV and Ekho Moskvy radio, as well as the relatively little-watched state news channel Rossiya 24. 'The British media continue to fan anti-Russian hysteria,' one Rossiya 24 report said, adding that attempts to find a 'Kremlin trace' were based 'not on facts, but purely on rumours and fabrication.' The channel's UK correspondent reported the 'interesting detail' that Britain's 'secret' Porton Down facility manufactures the VX and sarin nerve agents, as well as other 'UK weapons of mass destruction.' Which may be true or may be false, but it does rather lead to the obvious question of exactly how 'secret' Porton Down actually is if they know all that? News websites widely reported remarks by Andrei Lugovoi - a suspect in the killing of former Russian security officer Alexander Litvinenko in London in 2006 - dismissing talk of a Russian trace. 'The English suffer from phobias,' Lugovoi - now a member of the Russian parliament - told the RIA Novosti news agency. Dozhd TV's take was entirely different from the state media. Here, a presenter said that the discovery that Skripal was poisoned by a nerve agent means 'Russia is in for a high-profile criminal investigation.' On Tuesday Labour MP Yvette Cooper asked the home secretary to review fourteen other deaths which have not been treated as suspicious by UK police, but have allegedly been 'identified' by alleged 'US intelligence sources' as being. allegedly, 'connected' to the Russian state.
NME will no longer be available as a weekly magazine, its publisher has announced. The final edition was released on Friday after sixty six years as one of the UK's most iconic publications. And, about twenty five years since this blogger was a regular reader. Its publisher Time Inc UK said the decision to stop its print edition is due to rising production costs and 'a tough advertising market.' Instead, it will be 'focusing investment on further expanding NME's digital audience.' The magazine launched in 1952, its website went live in 1997 and the magazine went free from September 2015. Time Inc's UK group managing director Paul Cheal said: 'NME is one of the most iconic brands in British media and our move to free print has helped to propel the brand to its biggest ever audience on The print reinvention has helped us to attract a range of cover stars that the previous paid-for magazine could only have dreamed of. At the same time, we have also faced increasing production costs and a very tough print advertising market. Unfortunately we have now reached a point where the free weekly magazine is no longer financially viable.' NME will continue to publish occasional special issues in print, such as its new paid-for series NME Gold.
During his short life, Nick Drake recorded some of the most influential music ever to come from the British folk-rock scene. Largely ignored at the time, his three LPs have influenced artists like Norah Jones, Beck, REM and Elton John. To mark what would have been his seventieth birthday, Radio 2 has announced he will be inducted to its Folk Hall of Fame. Drake's sister, the actress Gabrielle Drake, will accept the award on his behalf in April. 'I think Nick would have been quietly amazed, amused but above all, honoured. And, indeed, grateful. As I am on his behalf,' she said. The honour will be bestowed at the Radio 2 Folk Awards, at Belfast's Waterfront Hall. Born in Myanmar in June 1948, Drake came to Britain with his parents and sister, while he was still a small child. He attended Marlborough College alongside contemporaries including Captain Mark Phillips and Chris De Burgh, where - in contrast to his popular image as a shy, reclusive character - he was a popular teenager, who was good at athletics and played in a number of school groups. Inspired by Bob Dylan, he took up guitar and started gigging in London while studying English at Cambridge. One of his performances, at Camden's Roundhouse in 1967, was attended by Ashley Hutchings, the bass player with Fairport Convention, who introduced Nick to the band's producer Joe Boyd. Boyd, along with engineer John Wood, shaped Drake's first two LPs on Island Records - his 1969 debut, Five Leaves Left and the truly majestic Bryter Layter, released the following year. The records showcased Drake's gentle, plaintive meditations on love and longing, pairing his ethereal voice and melancholic vision with sweeping strings and jazzy orchestrations. They were well-received by critics but sold relatively poorly, reputedly sending Drake into a bout of depression which worsened when Boyd left for the US. In late 1971, Drake recorded what was to become his final LP, Pink Moon. A darker collection of songs, they stripped away Boyd's production, leaving Drake's delicate voice alone with his acoustic guitar - except on the title song, where he overdubbed a brief, moving piano part. Reviews were uncertain about Drake's unadorned arrangements. Melody Maker said that the singer seemed 'embarrassed and shy', while Sounds magazine said 'the songs are not sufficiently strong to stand up without any embroidery at all.' Rolling Stone was more enthusiastic, with Stephen Holden declaring: 'The beauty of Drake's voice is its own justification. May it become familiar to us all.' Nonetheless, the LP, as with his previous two, sold only a few thousand copies and Drake retreated to his parents' home in Tanworth. It was there, in his childhood bedroom, that he died, aged twenty six, after taking an overdose of prescribed anti-depressants. Since his death, his reputation has grown. His LP have been reassessed and regularly feature in 'best of' polls. Brad Pitt is a fan - and presented a Radio 2 documentary about the singer in 2004. Drake will be admitted to Radio 2's Folk Hall of Fame on Wednesday 4 April.
For those dear blog readers interested in anniversaries, twenty two years ago on Sunday of this week, 11 March 1996, the final episode of Our Friends In The North was broadcast, with that extraordinarily beautiful final scene of Geordie (a very young Daniel Craig) walking across the Tyne Bridge to a soundtrack of 'Don't Look Back In Anger'. A moment of beauty in a series full of them. A series which, of course, in addition to its many other great elements was also the one that helped to launch the careers of The Ninth Doctor, James Bond, Frank D'Amico and ... Jack's Mam from Hebburn. (This blogger is well aware the divine Gina McKee's done a hell of a lot more than that, dear blog reader, he was merely looking for an amusing line to get out of this piece, that's all!) The funny thing is, people forget this now but the first couple of episodes of Our Friends In the North got absolutely slated by some of the critics - the Gruniad Morning Star, in particular, were their usual sneering selves about it being an overblown, expensive flop. Then, once a few other critics started saying 'do you know what, this is actually bloody brilliant,' they rapidly changed their tune. They're very good at that sort of thing, the Gruniad. We shouldn't be surprised, really, rewriting history is the sort of thing Stalinists have a particular talent for.
The leader and deputy leader of the far-right Britain First have been found very guilty of religiously aggravated harassment and sent to The Big House. Paul Golding and Jayda Fransen were arrested over the distribution of leaflets and posting of online videos during a gang-rape trial. Fransen was convicted of three counts of religiously aggravated harassment. Golding was found guilty of one charge. Both were jailed at Folkestone Magistrates' Court. Fransen was handed a thirty six-week sentence in The Pokey and Golding got eighteen weeks. During their trial in January, the court heard they had targeted homes and people in Kent whom they believed were connected to a rape trial at Canterbury Crown Court where three Muslim men and a teenager were convicted of rape and jailed. The pair, both from Penge, were arrested in May last year. They denied a total of seven counts of harassment. Judge Justin Barron threw out three of the charges, while Fransen was found guilty of three and Golding of one. He told the court the pair were 'well-known, controversial and generate their own publicity,' but his verdict was based 'solely on admissible evidence heard in court.' He said that their words and actions 'demonstrated hostility' towards Muslims and the Muslim faith. 'I have no doubt it was their joint intention to use the facts of the case [in Canterbury] for their own political ends. It was a campaign to draw attention to the race, religion and immigrant background of the defendants.' Both Fransen and Golding were convicted on a joint charge of 'religiously aggravated harassment' after an incident last May at a pizza takeaway in Ramsgate, when Fransen banged on the windows and doors of the shop and screamed 'paedophile' and 'foreigner'. However, in each case, they instead targeted innocent members of the public. They filmed the abuse and then released it on social media and through the Britain First website. They also posted offensive leaflets through the letterboxes of houses in the area where the defendants lived. Giving evidence, Fransen had denied being a racist and said she had carried out campaigns against people accused of sex offences, while Golding told the court he had 'often' acted as her cameraman. Fransen was convicted of abuse after visiting a house she wrongly believed to be the current address of Sershah Muslimyar, a defendant in the trial. She was also convicted of visiting the Kent home of another defendant, Tamin Rahmani and shouting racist abuse through the front door while his pregnant partner Kelli Best was there. During sentencing Fransen spoke over the judge, saying: 'This is a very sad day for British justice. Everything I did was for the children of this country and they are worth it.' As Britain First supporters left the courtroom they hurled abuse at court staff and members of the press, shouting 'no surrender.'
A man has pleaded not guilty to stealing actress Frances McDormand's Oscar after last Sunday's ceremony. McDormand was named best actress - but her statuette briefly went missing at the lavish after-show Governor's Ball. Terry Bryant filmed himself holding a statuette and telling other guests he was a winner, before being very arrested. His lawyer Daniel Brookman said: 'There's a difference between holding an Oscar and what he is charged with, so that will play out in court.' The forty seven-year-old had been in police custody on a grand theft charge, but was released without having to pay bail following Wednesday's hearing after the judge ruled that he did not pose a flight risk. Judge Deborah Brazil heard testimony from Bryant's rabbi, Naomi Levy, who described him as 'a sweet, gentle man of faith.' Levy added: 'I think we are living in an unusual time in America. I believe that maybe perhaps his story is a commentary on our whole society and its obsession with its fifteen minutes of fame.' Police said that Bryant was a ticket holder for the Governor's Ball. He was ordered to return to court on 28 March. Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office said that he faces up to three years in The Big House if convicted. The Oscar was retrieved and later returned to McDormand, who won for her role in Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri. It is the actress's second Oscar, twenty one years after her first for Fargo.
Kenedy scored his first two goals for yer actual Keith Telly Topping's beloved (though unsellable) Newcastle as The Magpies eased their relegation fears with a fine three-nil win over a desperately poor Southampton side at a rockin' St James' Park. The hosts - whose hard-fought victory over The Scum three weeks ago appears to have given the players a small dose of self-belief which had been missing-in-action for much of the season so far - went ahead after just sixty three seconds. Kenedy, on loan from Moscow Chelski FC, collected Jonjo Shelvey's pass on his chest, spun and shot on the half-volley past Alex McCarthy. Kenedy then doubled the advantage, finishing off a quick counter-attack from a Southampton corner after good work by Ayoze Perez and Dwight Gayle. The hosts added a third in the second-half when the impressive Shelvey set up an unmarked Matt Ritchie, who steered his shot from twenty yards into the bottom corner. Southampton's best chance fell to substitute Josh Sims, but his strike was well saved by Martin Dubravka. Newcastle - who have lost just one of their last six league games - moved up from sixteenth to thirteenth in the Premier League, five points clear of the bottom three.
Elsewhere, Jose Mourinho said that he 'doesn't care' whether people think his The Scum side deserved the two-one victory over The Liverpool Alabama Yee-Haws which strengthened their grip on second place in the Premiership. Marcus Rashford scored twice on his recall to the starting eleven to give The Special One's side the points despite a largely defensive display in which they had just thirty two per cent of possession and only two shots on target. 'It was a complete performance by us with two different halves,' Mourinho said. 'If people don't think we deserved it, I don't care.' The win meant that The Scum narrowed the gap on runaway leaders Sheikh Yer Man City to a mere thirteen points - at least until City play at Dirty Stoke on Monday - but, more pertinently, The Scum are now five points clear of the third-placed Merseysiders. Cenk Tosun scored for the second successive game to seal a third straight home win for Everton as Brighton & Hove Albinos finished with ten men at Goodison Park. The Toffees took the lead when Gaetan Bong steered the ball into his own net when trying to clear a curling cross by Yannick Bolasie intended for Theo Walcott. Tosun, who scored his first Everton goal at Burnley last week following a move from Besiktas in January, doubled the lead with a quality finish from outside the penalty area. Anthony Knockaert was sent off for an ugly challenge on Leighton Baines before Wayne Rooney had a penalty saved by Brighton keeper Mathew Ryan after Shane Duffy brought down Dominic Calvert-Lewin. Swansea hung on for a hard-earned point at Huddersfield despite having Jordan Ayew sent off after only eleven minutes. Ayew was shown a straight red card by referee Michael Oliver after a challenge on Jonathan Hogg when he caught the Huddersfield captain high on the leg with his studs. The Terriers dominated afterwards but could not force a way through, going close when Steve Mounie's volley was brilliantly touched onto the bar by Lukasz Fabianski. Tom Ince hit the post in the last minute for the hosts, but Swansea held out for a draw despite not having a single shot in the entire match. In the day's late kick-off Moscow Chelski FC revived their hopes of a top four finish as they got back to winning ways with a two-one victory over lowly Crystal Palace. The Blues remain fifth but their win saw Antonio Conte's team close the gap on fourth placed Stottingtot Hotshots to two points - at least until Spurs play Bournemouth on Sunday. Palace remain in the bottom three, a point behind Southampton.
West Bromwich Albino's manager Alan Pardew's position is under further scrutiny after a heavy defeat by Leicester left The Baggies eight points adrift of safety. The hosts had taken the lead when Salomon Rondon poked home from close range from Oliver Burke's low cross. Leicester equalised in spectacular fashion when Jamie Vardy volleyed past Ben Foster from Riyad Mahrez's ball. Mahrez then got on the scoresheet himself after half-time. Kelechi Iheanacho put the game beyond West Brom when he headed in Ben Chilwell's cross. Leicester completed the rout in injury time when Vicente Iborra headed home from a corner. With fixtures against The Liverpool Alabama Yee-Haws, The Scum and Stottingtot Hotshots to come in their remaining eight matches, West Brom's survival hopes look somewhat forlorn if not, yet, mathematically impossible. A handful of West Hamsters United fans invaded the pitch at London Stadium after three second-half Burnley goals condemned the hosts to a third consecutive defeat. 'Shameful, shameful scenes,' noted Soccer Saturday's Jeff Stelling, adding: 'The team have disgraced themselves on the field, the fans have disgraced themselves off it.' He didn't say: 'Oh, the humanity,' but it was touch-and-go at one point. Hamsters captain Mark Noble pushed one pitch invader away and another sprinted on holding a corner flag shortly after Chris Wood added to Ashley Barnes' opener for the visitors as things started to turn ugly. Following a dreadful mistake by Hamsters' goalkeeper Wankhands Hart, Wood made it three for Sean Dyche's men, who closed the gap on sixth-placed The Arse to two points and won their first away game since November. Hamsters' owners David Sullivan and David Gold were forced to leave the directors box with a police escort near the end of the game as supporters chanted 'sack the board' and got all uppity and discombobulated, The London Stadium becoming a seething cauldron of hate and recrimination. The Hamsters are in sixteenth place, three points above the bottom three.
Still on the subject of the malarkey that was kicking-off at The London Stadium, this blogger feels compelled to highlight comments made by Match Of The Day's Martin Fisher when describing what was taking place. Yes, absolutely no one wants people running on the pitch; that's a criminal act anyway and is punishable by - quite severe - legal measures for those caught doing so. But, whilst Fisher was saying things like 'I've never seen such scenes at a Premier League venue' and talking about the 'toxic' atmosphere inside the stadium, this blogger was far less happy about his extremely hyperbolic comments regarding the fan protest which was taking place in front of the directors box. 'Is this really the way to protest about it?' asked Fisher, rhetorically (failing to suggest any alternatives which those unhappy fans might have wished to practice instead) and also talking about these being 'disgusting scenes.' Now, admittedly, viewers only saw what the BBC coverage allowed them to but that 'disgusting scenes' comment accompanied not the blokes running on the pitch but, rather, pictures of what appeared to this blogger to be merely a bunch of working people who had paid a great deal of presumably hard-earned money to watch their favourite football team, voicing their (not inconsiderable) displeasure at the 'entertainment' they were being served. Is that really 'disgusting', Martin? It's a Hell of strong word to be throwing into a box of fireworks like a lit match. Interestingly exactly the same point was made by Sam Wallace the chief sports writer of the Torygraph and John Cross of the Mirra on Sky's Sunday Supplement the next day, that people do have a right to protest. Dissent is good. Protestation is good so long as it's done within the boundaries of the law as it currently stands (and, in certain circumstances even if it isn't). Without loud - and, with certain sections of backward-looking society very unpopular - protest, women would not have the right to vote in this country. Without protest, civil rights legislation would not have been passed in the US and people of colour would still be regarded as second-class citizens in Alabama. Without protest, South Africa would still be living under an Apartheid regime. Without protest, gay rights would not be a de facto accepted part of life. Some people may regard football supporters protesting that they don't like the way their clubs are being run as very small potatoes compared to the overthrow of Apartheid and they're right but, nevertheless the point still remains. Wallace pointed out on Sunday Supplement, that football supporters have a long and - in some ways noble - tradition of protesting against unpopular club owners. So, whilst no one in their right mind condones people running on the pitch - 'crossing a red line' was the phrase Wallace used ... even though it's actually a white line - what, exactly, is so wrong about telling the owner of your football club that you'd like him to either spend some more money or go away and let someone else do the job?
This blogger has to say there appears to be, in his opinion, too damn much of this sort of arrogant 'we know better than you' nonsense in football punditry. This blogger well recalls an incident a few years ago when an England match featured a section of the Wembley crowd indulging in some booing at that over-paid full-of-his-own-importance prima donna Ashley Cole for what the crowd considered to be a poor performance. After the game, the panel (this was ITV so it was largely made up of former Arsenal players, obviously) seemed to be suggesting how dare these grubby punters voice their displeasure at The Great Ashley Cole? 'Who the Hell do these working class oiks think they are?' appeared to be the general consensus of Wright, Dixon, Chiles et al. Let's just get this into perspective here, this is working men and women who had - particularly in the case of Wembley for an England match - paid positively obscene amounts of coin to be there, being criticised for expressing an opinion by barely-articulate glakes who haven't paid a single penny to be there but, rather, were being paid to pass their, usually worthless, comments on what was going on. This blogger has said this before, dear blog reader, but it bears repeating, football generally and football clubs in particular take for granted the goodwill of their paying punters at their peril. Because, there might just come a day where those supporters decide, 'do you know what, I'm sick and tired of having my support (and my money) taken for granted, I'm not going this weekend, I'll do some shopping instead.' At which point, presumably, all of the wide boys and absentee landlords who run our football clubs would presumably crap in their collective pants and run a collective mile. Here endeth the lecture. Except to add that the Match Of The Day coverage also wasn't helped by the BBC's decision to employ 'a plank of wood in the shape of Frank Lampard' to give some thoughts from his 'once in a generation' mind on matters involving one of his former clubs. Presumably, their 'plank of wood in the shape of Ian Wright' was busy that afternoon. Jeez, where's Shearer when you really need him?
Cardiff continued to pile the pressure on Championship leaders Wolverhampton Wanderings with a three-two victory over relegation-threatened Birmingham. The Bluebirds had a sixth straight win wrapped up by half-time thanks to goals from Nathaniel Mendez-Laing, Craig Bryson and Callum Patterson. Birmingham reduced the deficit early in the second half through Craig Gardner's penalty and Maxime Colin scored a second deep into stoppage time but Cardiff held on to move back to within three points of Wolves ahead of the leaders' derby clash at Aston Villains. Which ultimately saw Wolves fall to their heaviest Championship defeat of the season as they were given a right good - four-one - hiding by The Villains. Aleksandar Mitrovic continued his stunning start to life at Fulham with both goals as the Cottagers snatched a two-one win at play-off chasing Preston Both Ends. The on-loan Newcastle striker opened the scoring on sixty nine minutes and made it seven goals in five games in stoppage time to stretch Fulham's unbeaten run to fifteen matches. The Middlesbrough Smog Monsters consolidated their place in the play-off spots with a third successive victory to deepen Barnsley's relegation fears. Daniel Ayala set sixth-placed Boro on their way in the first minute before in-form pair Adama Traore and Patrick Bamford put the hosts in full control. Kieffer Moore got one back for Barnsley but the defeat sees them remain a place above the bottom three. Bristol City and Sheffield United lost ground on the top six following goalless draws at Burton Albinos and Ipswich Town respectively. Millwall leapfrogged Brentford and stretched their unbeaten run to eleven games as George Saville scored in the first minute for the second time this week. His previous such effort came on Tuesday against Hull, who on Saturday eased their relegation fears in thrilling fashion with a four-three victory over Norwich in a manic match. Jackson Irvine put the Tigers in front early on but they found themselves three-one down with half-time approaching after James Maddison scored a second penalty to complete his hat-trick. Abel Hernandez netted a spot-kick either side of the break to level the scores before Harry Wilson earned Hull a memorable win. Blunderland remain rock bottom of the Championship after Eberechi Eze netted the only goal to ensure Queens Park Strangers took advantage of The Mackems goalkeeper Jason Steele's red card just after half-time. Aaron Wilbraham's stoppage-time header earned lowly Notlob a draw at Sheffield Wednesday, who thought they had sealed the points through George Boyd's seventy eighth-minute strike. Dirty Leeds appeared to be on course for a morale-boosting win at Reading only to draw two-two following Eunan O'Kane's own goal.
Things just go from bad to worse for Blunderland. This week they announced that they will close The Stadium of Plight's upper concourse to home fans from next season, in an effort to save on staffing costs and 'improve match atmosphere.' The decision was prompted by a significant drop in attendances this season to an average of twenty seven thousand six hundred per game in a forty nine thousand-seat stadium. About fifteen hundred season ticket holders are affected by the move and have been sent a letter offering different seats at the same price for the next three seasons. Away supporters will remain in the upper tier of the stadium. Corporate hostility and the directors box will also continue to be seated in that part of the ground. The letter states: 'The decision has now been taken to close the Premier Concourse at the end of this season to both season card holders and match sales, unless demand dictates that additional capacity is required. We believe that closing the Premier Concourse will help us to improve match atmosphere, whilst also reducing the costs associated with safety stewards and kiosk staff in the area.' Although attendances are down, The Mackem Filth's average crowd is still the fourth best in The Championship - but the team's disastrous form this season means that they could be playing in League One next season. If they are relegated, it would be the first time in thirty years that the club had dropped as low as the third tier. Several other clubs have opted to shut sections of the ground in the past, including Cardiff City and Dirty Leeds.
John Motson will deliver his final live BBC commentary this weekend when The Arse face Watford in the lunchtime kick-off on Sunday. Motty will be in the commentary box for Radio 5Live forty eight years after his first live radio broadcast. He announced in September that he would call time on his BBC career at the end of the season and he will continue to appear on Match Of The Day until May. His first radio commentary was Everton versus Derby in December 1969. During his career he has covered ten World Cups, ten European Championships, twenty nine FA Cup finals and more than two hundred England games. Plus this blogger's beloved (though unsellable) Magpies against Hereford in 1972 which remains the only game Motty commentated on that anybody ever talks about.
Sick aggro broke out in the second division of Dutch football when De Graafschap players were attacked by Go Ahead Eagles fans after their four-nil win. Footage from Fox Sports Netherlands shows fans running on to the pitch at full-time, kicking and punching players with kids gettin' lamped and aal sorts before stewards intervened (and, gave most of the thugs a damned good chinning). Go Ahead said in a statement they were 'deeply ashamed' by the actions and 'condemn the behaviour' of their fans. Fox Sports Netherlands reported that police had made seven arrests. The opening of the match was held up by ten minutes because of fireworks being thrown on to the pitch. Go Ahead added in their statement: 'The club makes every effort to take appropriate measures against those responsible.' Henk de Jong, whose De Graafschap side had more four hundred travelling supporters, said: 'Why can we not cheer? Our supporters did not know what they were going through, I think. It could have been eight-nil. They did not know what to do with our tactics and our football was top.'
A player was sent off after a referee mistook his name for dissent. Referee Dean Hulme asked Sanchez Watt, who was playing for Hemel Hempstead Town, for his name as he was about to be booked in a National League South game against East Thurrock United. The twenty seven-year-old repeatedly replied: 'Watt' but Hulme believed he was saying 'what?' and sent him off for dissent. Hulme rescinded the card when it was explained that Watt was not showing dissent. 'It was a human error,' Hemel Hempstead chairman Dave Boggins told BBC Sport. 'The referee was man enough to rectify it. I think everybody found it amusing afterwards - including the referee. He came into the boardroom after the game and explained how he had made the mistake. He was very apologetic and saw the funny side of it. He was a good ref on the night to be fair to him.' The incident happened towards the end of Hemel Hempstead's two-nil win on Tuesday. Watt played three games for The Arse in the League Cup as an eighteen-year-old, scoring against West Bromwich Albinos at the Emirates Stadium in September 2009. He has also played in the Championship for Dirty Leeds and had spells at Sheffield Wednesday, Southend, Crawley and Colchester.
The actress Teri Hatcher has 'gone on the record' (that's naff tabloidese for 'spoken to a journalist') to deny a recent media claim that she is 'down and out.' Star magazine - which is a sort of American equivalent of Heat only without the intellectual baggage - published a story earlier this week which claimed that the fifty three-year-old actress is 'broke and homeless!' and 'living in her van!' on its front cover. Speaking to KTLA Hatcher described the story as 'absurd.' 'On the cover yesterday an article that says exactly that I am broke and homeless and living out of my van,' she said. 'It's categorically false. I am not broke. I have done very well investing my money. I am not homeless and I am not living out of my van.' In fact, Hatcher claims, she is making a new travel series called Van Therapy for YouTube, in which she tours around the country in a VW camper. 'A couple of weeks ago, the magazine reached out to my publicist to say, "We have these paparazzi photos of Teri at the beach," which, by the way, I was filming drive-bys for my show,' she added. 'Reached out' is also tabloidese bollocks for 'contacted' only with less syllables if you were wondering. 'They said they were going to run this story about me being broke and I think they even used the word "suicidal and homeless" and whatever. And my lawyer and my publicist said, "Categorically not true, you can't print that, she's doing a YouTube show, that's her van, she has many homes in many states all over the country. There's nothing about this that's true. And then they went and ran it anyway. And that is even more egregious that it was so purposefully hurtful.' Hatcher, who shot to fame in the TV series Lois & Clark: The New Adventures Of Superman added that she wanted to 'publicly set the record straight' on International Women's Day because she felt like she was being bullied. 'I wanted to talk to you about it today, especially today is International Women's Day and it's been a time where women have been - the Time's Up and the Me Too movement and the voice of women collectively is saying, "We're not just going to take it and accept it and be quiet about it all the way we have for decades." I guess something about this time and maybe exactly because this happened to happen on International Women's Day, I just felt like, even not for me, somebody has to say, "You can't do this. You can't egregiously lie hurtfully with such a ridiculous story. It's a kind of harassment and bullying that we can't take anymore. The reason it's important for me to talk about it is because also on that cover was a picture of Sharon Stone - beautiful picture of Sharon Stone — tripping, I guess, on a curb like many people do. And the caption is, Near Sixty, Sharon Stone collapses. And it just made me think, as actresses age, as women age in our society, magazines like this, they're fostering a culture of disrespect - of trying to take down and take away the power of women, who have accomplished a lot in their careers. Who have a lot still to say.' Hatcher added that she has not ruled out taking legal action against the magazine.
Just days after announcing their impending split, MoneySuperMarket and the the advert producers Mother have unveiled the latest character in their long-running 'Save Money and Feel Epic' campaign - Action Man, who dances in the desert for a fabulously camp animated spot. The advert begins with Action Man dressed in his signature camouflage, radioing in to HQ from the middle of a desert war zone. He announces to his colleagues that he has just saved on MoneySuperMarket 'and, now I feel epic.' The declaration ignites the pumping disco beat of Cece Pinston's 'Finally' and Action Man begins to ostentatiously groove in the sand. As he struts through the dunes, he's joined by a band of similarly energetic male doll dancers. Check it out.
A nightclub has been closed after video footage emerged showing a scantily clad woman riding a horse inside the packed venue, before it appears to panic and throws her off. Clubbers are heard gasping and screaming amid the chaos at the Florida club. Miami Beach city manager Jimmy Morales said that he had revoked Mokai Lounge's business licence. Police and enforcement officers have also launched an investigation after receiving multiple complaints about the incident at the South Beach venue on Thursday. No injuries - to humans or the animal - have been reported. The venue could appeal against the decision, but so far it has not commented. The Miami Beach Police Department said it was 'very concerned.' In a statement on Friday, the City of Miami Beach said it was 'made aware of an incident involving possible animal cruelty and a hazard to public safety.'
Authorities in Japan have warned people of the risk of large flying rocks within a couple of miles of an erupting volcano on Kyushu island. Mount Shinmoedake has been spewing ash for days but eruptions turned explosive very early on Saturday. Volcanic activity there could continue for several months, experts say. In the 1967 James Bond film You Only Live Twice, Mount Shinmoedake was used to depict the exterior of Blofeld's secret lair. On Saturday the country's meteorological agency issued new warnings, saying flying rocks could now be expected to reach a four kilometre radius around the volcano. Vibrations have caused nearby buildings to shake and molten lava is running down one side of the volcano. An eruption in 2011 caused hundreds of people to leave their homes. Japan has one hundred and ten active volcanoes.
Congratulations are extremely due to the Scottish Labour Party whose conference was held in Dundee this week. The party - rightly - faced widespread and withering media ridicule (social and otherwise) after a screen at the event announced that the 'Keir Hardy Awards' would be distributed to deserving members and constituency parties. The phrase 'couldn't organise a piss-up in a brewery' springs to mind at this point. Or, maybe that should be 'a piss-up in a brewerie' [sic]?
An Australian man has sustained burns to his head and hands after trying to use insect spray as a flame-thrower on cockroaches. Emergency services were called to an address in Queensland on Wednesday to treat the man's injuries following the explosion, Seven News reports. The explosion caused serious damage to the front of the house, with images showing windows blown out and holes right through the wall. Police say that the man's injuries and the damage sustained to the house are 'unfortunate results' of 'not listening to the instructions on the can.'
The Utah State Bar is said to be very confused as to how it e-mailed a picture of some boobies to lawyers throughout the state and is 'investigating' how the image was included alongside content promoting its 2018 Spring Convention. Bar communications director Matt Page told the Salt Lake Tribune that they are 'aware of the situation' and 'investigating how it got out,' adding that when he generated the graphic advertising the convention, there were 'no breasts included.' The good news, for anyone concerned that the image may have accidentally come from someone at the Bar's cell-phone photo directory, is that it looks an awful lot like a generic boob image pulled from the Interweb. The Utah State Bar quickly apologised for the mistake on Twitter, though other users thought the situation was too funny to let slip by unnoticed.
A man was arrested this week after authorities say he tried to get into a Los Angeles County jail facility with a fake ID and several weapons. The incident occurred Tuesday in downtown Los Angeles, the Sheriff's Department stated in a news release. Greg Baghoomian entered the lobby of the Inmate Reception Centre and 'quickly flashed a badge' in an attempt enter the facility, according to the Sheriff's Department. When deputies stopped him to check his credentials, Baghoomian ran out of the building toward the LA County Men's Central Jail facility across the street. Deputies notified officials at the Men's Central Jail and they detained Baghoomian. Baghoomian, who authorities say had 'a large fixed blade knife, two Taser devices, gloves and a false FBI credential,' was very arrested on suspicion of bringing a deadly weapon inside a jail facility and impersonating a peace officer. Baghoomian was then booked at the Inmate Reception Centre, which is the same location that he tried to sneak into in the first place.
An Afghan man has admitted to stabbing and severely injuring a family of three and a twenty-year-old compatriot in Vienna because 'he was in a bad, aggressive mood and upset about his life's situation,' Austrian police said on Thursday. Police said in a statement that the man said he had committed all four stabbings and denied that any of his attacks were politically motivated. The attacker was detained shortly after the stabbing of a twenty-year-old man, also from Afghanistan, on Wednesday, police spokesman Patrick Maierhofer told The Associated Press. An hour earlier, he attacked all three members of a family, the sixty seven-year-old father, the fifty six-year-old mother and their seventeen-year-old daughter, also in the city’s downtown area. Police said that the father was still in a critical condition, but his wife and daughter and the Afghan man were stable. All four remain in the hospital. Their names and the name of the attacker were not given.
A man reportedly chopped off his teenage son's hand in Hyderabad on Monday for allegedly 'getting addicted to pornography' on his smartphone 'despite repeated warnings,' police said. Mohammad Qayyum Qureshi, a butcher by profession of Jalpalli colony in Pahadishareef area in the old city, surrendered to the police stating that he had chopped off the right hand between the wrist and the elbow of his eighteen year old son, Mohammad Khalid Qureshi, who works as an assistant at a local cable television operator. 'The father has been booked under section three hundred and seven of Indian Penal Code (attempt to murder) and taken into custody,' Pahadishareef police inspector P Lakshmikanth Reddy said. 'The son has been rushed to a private hospital nearby.' According to police, Qayyum has four children including two sons; Khalid is the elder of the two sons. Recently, Khalid bought a smartphone and is said to have 'got addicted to watching movies and pornography.' Despite repeated warnings, he did not stop watching porn films. On Sunday, Qayyum caught his son watching porn. He tried to snatch the mobile from his son, but the latter resisted and bit the hand of his father. Khalid immediately left home, stating that he would not come back. However, late in the night, the boy returned home when everybody had gone to bed. 'On Monday morning, both father and son quarrelled on the issue again. In a fit of anger, Qayuum picked up the butcher's knife and chopped off Khalid's right hand. Hearing the son's screams, other family members came and immediately took him to a nearby hospital, where the doctors said the hand was ninety per cent severed and the chances of restoring it are bleak,' police said.
A passenger on a Siberian Airlines flight from St Petersburg to Novosibirsk, Russia was very arrested after allegedly attacking his fellow passengers in the middle of a flight. According to passengers who spoke to the Sun, the man punched and strangled men, women and children alike and even tried to attack an infant. The man reportedly walked up and down the aisle shouting obscenities at passengers before being confronted by a flight attendant. 'A steward offered him a seat at the back but he kept walking up and down, and started attacking passengers randomly and beating them,' passenger Stanislav Semenov told the Sun. The rowdy passenger then started physically assaulting people. 'He took a seat next to a young woman and began to sexually harass her,' Semenov said. 'He grabbed and pulled her hair, then he switched to a young man, saying something to him then punching and striking him with his elbow.' The passengers and flight attendants successfully used belts to tie the man up. Once the plane landed in Novosibirsk, authorities boarded the plane and arrested the man. The man reportedly continued the outburst after his arrest, as he was videotaped banging on walls and removing his clothing inside of his holding cell. He was then transported to a nearby hospital to receive a medical evaluation.
Have an old iPhone that needs to be fixed? If you're a Republican, The Used Apple Store in Derry, New Hampshire, says that you should look elsewhere. 'We feel that they are the greatest threat currently in the world,' said Billy Williams, the store owner. The store detailed the ban on Republicans in a Facebook post, which read in part: 'We say "no thank you" to any Republican. If you affiliate with the Republican Party you are not welcome into our store.'
Thursday, dear blog reader, was one those days. You know the sort this blogger means, he is sure? Nightmare and-a-half (possibly even three-quarters). It started off with a scheduled gas safety check at Stately Telly Topping Manor which was supposed to be 'sometimes between 7.45am and noon' and, inevitably, ended up being far closer to the latter than the former. You get these about every nine months or so and they're no problem, they usually take maybe twenty minutes. Except this one didn't. Everything was fine - including the installation of new carbon monoxide sensors - right up to the last moment when the engineer said, almost as an afterthought, 'oh, can I have a quick look at your gas cooker, make sure everything's okay with that?' This blogger pointed him in the direction of the device and the lad almost shat himself. 'How long you had this?' he squealed. 'Well, I moved in here in 1989 and it wasn't new then' this blogger replied. The top and bottom of all this was that the appliance was (and has been for some time, apparently) extremely unsafe. Okay, these things happen, in life. The engineer shut off the supply to the appliance easily enough. Ordering a new one (and, in theory at least, getting them to deliver it that afternoon, which was a complete bonus as this blogger had expected it'd be next week at the earliest) was the easy part. Getting the old cooker out of the kitchen and down the stairs (having moved Gillian The Bike out of the way first, obviously) and into the garden so the local Envirocall could come and take it away, on Keith Telly Topping's lonesome, that was a touch more difficult. Did this blogger say 'a touch'? And, of course, it was one of those things where, once you'd started, you couldn't stop half way though and think 'oh, I'll leave that till later.' Anyway, this blogger was jolly proud of his feat of gymnastic cooker-based trickery (though, he suspects his back probably won't be over the coming days). But, the really fun part was then spending an hour on his hands and knees with various kitchen cleaning fluids, dozens of wet wipes and the like, lots of scouring pads and other general cleaning ephemera, attempting (with ... partial success, let's put it that way) to get rid of about thirty years worth of collected 'stuff down the back of the cooker.' This blogger is never - not never - doing that again. And then, for a variety of reasons far too complex to go into here, the new cooker couldn't be delivered that afternoon, or the next day, or over the weekend. As it stands, it may be in situ by Monday. Or, maybe not. So, at the moment this blogger is currently living on the odd thing he can cook in the microwave, chicken sandwiches, biscuits and takeaways. So, no change there then!
Thus, dear blog reader, this blogger's general mood at the moment is sort of something like this ...
At least this blogger's music system is still operative. Here is a small sample of some of The Playlist at Stately Telly Topping Manor over the last couple of weeks. 'We dance all day in this house!'
Flippy the flipping burger-flipping robot that started work this week in a California restaurant has been flipping forced to take a break because it was 'too flipping slow.' The robot was installed at a Cali Burger outlet in Pasadena and replaced human cooks - in a blaze of publicity and much wringing of hands and muttering 'this is the beginning of the end for humanity.' Mostly from this blogger who quite fancies a job at McDonald's if anyone's interested. But, after just one day at work, the robot has been taken offline, so that it can be upgraded to cook more quickly. Its human helpers are also getting extra training to help it keep up with demand at the restaurant. USA Today reported that the robot was still in place behind the grill at the burger joint but was 'switched off.' A sign said that the robot would be 'cooking soon' but gave no date for when it would, once again, be flipping hamburgers. The robot is believed to have been given time off because news about it spread widely and led to more interest and orders than the restaurant could handle. In a statement Miso Robotics, which made Flippy, said that it was 'testing the code' that controls the robot to ensure that it can 'cook quickly enough to fulfil orders at peak times.' Prior to starting work, Flippy was said to be 'capable of cooking up to two thousand burgers a day.' Cali Burger said that it was also working with staff to show them 'the best way to prepare and place the raw patties and other ingredients in its burgers to ensure Flippy works as fast as possible.' Anthony Lomelino, head of technology at Cali Burger, told USA Today that kitchen staff 'needed to learn to choreograph their movements' around the motions of the mobile, spatula-fitted arm which Flippy uses to cook. Cali said that it started to use the robot to 'get around the problems it has recruiting staff.' The high turnover rate among staff in fast-food restaurants meant it often spent time and money training people to prepare food only to have them leave after a few months. Eventually, said the chain, burger-flipping robots will be installed in up to fifty of its restaurants.
Fast-food chain KFC has returned to its old supplier after suffering chicken shortages that forced it to temporarily close hundreds of outlets and made it look incompetent. Last month, the chain experienced 'widespread distribution problems' after it decided to switch its logistics contract from Bidvest to DHL. But now, Bidvest has signed a new agreement with KFC UK & Ireland to supply up to three hundred and fifty of its nine hundred restaurants. Bidvest pledged 'a seamless return.' Until 13 February, all of KFC's chicken was delivered by Bidvest. But after the contract switched to DHL, which uses software developed by the firm Quick Service Logistics, many of the food giant's outlets began running out of chicken products. At the time, DHL blamed 'operational issues' at a warehouse near Rugby it was using for deliveries nationwide. 'Our focus remains on ensuring our customers can enjoy our chicken without further disruption,' said a KFC spokesperson. 'With that in mind, the decision has been taken in conjunction with QSL and DHL to revert the distribution contract for up to three hundred and fifty of our restaurants in the North of the UK back to Bidvest Logistics. We've been working hard to resolve the present situation with QSL and DHL. This decision will ease pressure at DHL's Rugby depot, to help get our restaurants back to normal as quickly as possible.' KFC said more than ninety seven per cent of its restaurants were now open for business, but there would be 'some limited menus' before full service was resumed. Paul Whyte of Bidvest said that the firm was 'delighted' to resume its partnership with KFC. He added: 'KFC are a valued customer and we will provide them with a seamless return to our network.'
Make-up Designer Dorka Nieradzik has died at the age of sixty eight. Dorka Nieradzik worked on thirty episodes of Doctor Who, covering nine stories between 1980 and 1988. Her first story was as Make-up Artist on the Tom Baker story The Leisure Hive. One of her first tasks was to dramatically age Baker, using a mixture of make-up, prosthetics and hairpieces. She then covered the final Baker story, Logopolis, designing The Watcher, the ghostly apparition that helped The Doctor regenerate. For Peter Davison's Doctor, she worked on the stories Four To Doomsday and Time-Flight, turning renowned actor Stratford Johns into a large frog-like creature as well as disguising Anthony Ainley's Master as the alien Kalid. For reasons that the plot of Time-Flight never adequately explained, let it be noted. She designed the make-up for three Colin Baker stories, Vengeance On Varos, Revelation Of The Daleks and Mindwarp, before working on two Sylvester McCoy stories, The Happiness Patrol and Silver Nemesis. Dorka Nieradzik was born in March 1949 in Tarnowskie Góry, Silesia, Poland as Dorka Dorota Malgorzata Nieradzik, moving to Scotland, the home of her mother, at an early age. She began her career in the theatre working as a wardrobe assistant before winning a place as a BBC make-up training course. At the BBC she worked on most genres of programme, with credits as diverse as Last Of The Summer Wine, The Onedin Line, Top Of The Pops, By The Sword Divided, EastEnders, Only Fools & Horses, French & Saunders, Yes Minister, Foyle's War and the Dennis Potter drama's Cold Lazarus and Karaoke. She later worked on the feature films Elizabeth: The Golden Age, Duplicity, The Boys Are Back and Shoot 'Em Up as the personal stylist for the actor Clive Owen. She won a BAFTA award in 1995 for make-up on Cold Comfort Farm and in 2000 was honoured her with a special BAFTA award for her contribution to the industry. In 2004 she was made MBE for her services to drama. Dorka died on 12 February 2018. She is survived by her father, her sister Anushia and brother, David.