Saturday, July 14, 2018

A Dream Within A Dream

As previously predicted - by just about everyone - Doctor Who fans in the UK will get their first (ahem, legal) chance to see yer actual Jodie Whittaker in action on Sunday. 'Teaser footage' promoting the next series of the popular long-running family SF drama will be broadcast during the BBC's half-time coverage of the World Cup final (no doubt, introduced with a trademark cheeky-chappy grin by Gary Lineker his very self). And, even though England are not playing in the final - you might have heard - it is still expected that the final between France and Croatia will attract viewing figures well in excess of ten million. Sunday's footage will come almost exactly a year after Jodie was first revealed to be replacing yer actual Peter Capaldi as The Doctor during the Wimbledon 2017 men's singles final. Jodie's companions on the new series will be played by That There Bradley Walsh, Tosin Cole and Mandip Gill. You knew all that, right? In an interview published this week with US magazine Entertainment Weekly - which includes several 'exclusive' on-set photos, Jodie said that the new series will be 'hopeful and fizzing with wonder.' Which all sounds immensely marvellous. Next Thursday Jodie, Cole and Gill will also be appearing at Comic-Con in San Diego where more details about the series are expected to be revealed. Earlier this month, BBC Studios took legal action in the US after a short clip of the Whittaker's first episode was naughtily leaked online.
Mandip Gill has claimed that the new Doctor has 'a similar energy' to Matt Smith's Doctor. Mandip, who plays one of The Doctor's new companions, Yasmin, compared Jodie's Doctor to Smudger's in that interview with Entertainment Weekly. 'She has a similar energy to Matt Smith's Doctor,' said Gill. 'Very high energy. Jodie has that about her Doctor.' Showrunner Chris Chibnall echoed Gill's sentiments, describing Jodie's Doctor as 'incredibly lively. She's funny, she's warm, she's inclusive, she's energetic,' said Chibnall. 'She's the greatest friend you'd ever want to have as your guide around the universe.' Jodie told the publication that her incarnation 'speak[s] at a hundred miles an hour' and described the popular long-running family SF drama as 'hopeful and fizzing with wonder.'
The next issue of Radio Times looks like it might also be worth a punt.
Official Doctor Who merchandise has been unveiled this week. The range includes action figures which vary from the more-or-less realistic to the stylised, with Funko Pop, Funko 'Rock Candy', Titan and Titan Kawaii ranges of figurines available from next week. No, me neither. However, perhaps the most enticing items on offer for cosplay fans is the chance to replicate The Doctor's new costume, with US company Her Universe debuting Jodie's rainbow striped top, long coat and blue pants at San Diego Comic-con next week and selling them at Hot Topic stores after that. The costume will also be available for UK fans - you know, in the country that actually makes the bloody show in the first place - from 'a different source' which, seemingly, will be announced in due course.
Welcome to the club, Jodie. You have some illustrious predecessors. And Colin Baker, obviously.
With President - and hairdo - Rump inflicting himself on the UK this week, it appears that he has brought over with him some, ahem, interesting fellow-travellers.
And, after that bombshell, here's a picture of a Cyberman smokin' a fag. They're very bad for you, pal. Albeit, not as lethal as gold-tipped in your particular case.
A peak audience of twenty six-and-a-half million punters watched England play pretty well but still go out of the World Cup on ITV, according to initial overnight figures. That made the climax of the semi-final the most-watched five minutes of British TV since the 2012 Olympic opening ceremony. Wednesday's audience peaked between 9.30pm and 9.35pm just as England tried - unsuccessfully - to find an equaliser at the end of extra time against Croatia. The overall TV match average for the semi-final was 24.3 million, though that does not take into account the thousands of people watching in pubs or on outdoor big screens at events around the country. ITV said there were also a record 4.3 million requests to watch it online on ITV Hub. About eight per cent of viewers watching TV in the UK at the time were tuned into the game. Hopefully, the rest were watching Picnic At Hanging Rock (see below). The ratings reflected the huge interest in England's first World Cup semi-final since 1990. The previous highest audience during this World Cup was 23.6 million for the climax of England's penalty shootout win over Colombia in the second round, also on ITV.
Mind you, dear blog reader, ITV's coverage was - as usual - woeful. At one point during the match, Glenn Hoddle told twenty odd million viewers: 'He [Harry Kane] was at a cute angle.' What, as opposed to an ugly one, Glenn? Jeez, a paving slab in Preston would be more use as an alleged 'expert' than that plank. Meanwhile, back in the studio, Lee Dixon added that Kieran Trippier 'Never fails to disappoint with his free-kicks.' Except for the one he scored with, obviously. And, then there was The Curiously Orange Roy Keane with a face as sour as eight-day-old milk as well as having, seemingly, been tangoed. Keane, let it be noted, has gone through his Mahmoud Ahmadinejad-lookalike phase and emerged with his face-like-a-slapped-arse demeanour still in tact. Which is an achievement. Of sorts. One thing in his favour, however, was that he appeared to be on the verge of sticking one-on Ian Wright at one point. Now that would've been worth watching.
This blogger thinks that he was probably about eighteen when he first encountered Peter Weir's Picnic At Hanging Rock - the first UK TV showing of the 1975 movie about the disappearance of a trio of Australian schoolgirls in 1900 was on BBC2 in January 1982. It was an eerie, mesmerising, dreamlike, beautiful and almost indescribable experience and, it was clear to Keith Telly Topping even then, that this was not merely a very good film but, in fact, a cinematic masterpiece. Soon afterwards, this blogger found a copy of Joan Lindsay's 1967 source novel in his local library. That, too, was a mind-blowing discovery with its staggeringly descriptive language, hidden sense of menace and jaw-droppingly quotable dialogue - most notably two of this blogger's favourite lines in any text: 'Everything begins and ends at exactly the right time and place' and the paraphrase of Poe: 'What we see, or what we seem, are but a dream ... within a dream.' Both the novel and the movie are texts that this blogger has returned to, regularly, over the decades since. So, as mentioned in a previous bloggerisationism update, when this blogger first heard that a six-part TV adaptation of Picnic At Hanging Rock was planned - produced by Fremantle Media for broadcast on Showtime in Australia, Amazon Video in the US and BBC2 in the UK - Keith Telly Topping was, frankly, nervous. Thankfully, the first episode of the adaptation, written by Beatrix Christian and Alice Addison, starring Natalie Dormer and broadcast on Wednesday (starting just as England's semi-final was reaching its climax) was much better than one had feared. Much, much better. Positive review of the opening episode can be read here, here, here, here and here.
It has been reported that last Friday was, officially, the final day of shooting on the eighth - and last - series of Game Of Thrones and that the production wrap party took place on Sunday. Well, that was fun whilst it lasted.
Game Of Thrones leads the nominations at this year's EMMY Awards, after being ineligible in 2017. The HBO series has twenty two nominations in total, followed by SF drama Westworld and comedy show Saturday Night Live, both with twenty one. It is the first time in eighteen years that HBO did not have the highest number of EMMY nominations. Netflix leads with a total of one hundred and twelve nominations, beating HBO, which received one hundred and eight. In 2017, The Handmaid's Tale became the first show from a streaming platform to receive the award for best drama. This year several actresses from the dystopian drama have received nominations, including Elisabeth Moss and Alexis Bledel. British actors have also received nominations. Millie Bobby Brown is up for the best supporting actress award for her performance in Netflix's Stranger Things. Black Panther star Letitia Wright is nominated for the Black Museum episode of Black Mirror. Claire Foy, from HBO's royal drama The Crown, is nominated for the best actress award alongside her cast-mates Matt Smith and Vanessa Kirby, who were nominated for the best supporting actor and best supporting actress awards. Benedict Cumberbatch is nominated for Patrick Melrose. The Late Late Show With That Odious Thing James Corden is nominated for the 'outstanding variety talk show' award. But, hopefully, it won't win. Because it's shit.
Perhaps the biggest surprise of the EMMY list was what wasn't on it. Twin Peaks: The Return for instance received ... nothing. Not a sausage. Bugger all. Despite it being, by a distance, the best thing on TV last year and a huge critical hit (if not a commercial one). However, the series' co-creator seemingly isn't too bothered. Mark Frost responded to Twin Peaks' lack of recognition, likening external validation to 'a Popsicle.' 'Thanks for all your kind messages, friends,' he wrote. 'External validation is a Popsicle - fun, tastes good, melts quickly - but don't waste your time chasing the ice cream truck. Life happens elsewhere.'
Friday was a big day for awards nominations with The Crown, Peaky Blinders and The Handmaid's Tale going head-to-head against German series Babylon Berlin in the Rose D'Or awards.
You may think playing a hardened detective investigating emotional cold cases might be more challenging than the role of a high-flying lawyer, but From The North favourite Nicola Walker has revealed the reason why it's sometimes so much easier. It's mainly down to the maintenance that The Split's powerful divorce lawyer Hannah Sterne requires. The actress - who is reprising her role as Cassie in the third series of ITV's critically acclaimed Unforgotten - also said that it was too hard to pick a favourite or compare such dissimilar characters, telling the Digital Spy website: 'It's totally different playing a lawyer and a detective. It was really lovely to get back to Cassie. My make-up call as Cassie on Unforgotten is forty five minutes and on The Split it's considerably longer. They have to do your hair and your make-up. On Unforgotten, I'm in and out and I don't have to worry about how I sit for the whole day so as not to crease the clothes. [For Cassie] I can go into my trailer at lunch time and curl up and it's fine because she's quite ruffled. It's a lot easier to wear Cassie's clothes.' Cassie and Sanjeev Bhaskar's Sunny return in series three to investigate the murder of a teenage girl who went missing at the turn of the millennium after her body is discovered at a building site off the M1 motorway. Four close male friends are placed under the spotlight and their relationships are tested to the limit. 'This year, it's one of those iconic cases – a girl on the front page of the papers that stays with you,' Nicola continued. 'It affected a community completely. Chris Lang provides a really good sense of what we all think about - online trolling and how people really feel when police have done a bad job.' As for Cassie's fraught personal life, it could be looking up for Cassie finally, as the actress also disclosed that her character meets someone while working on the murder case. Sadly it's not co-worker Sunny, although Nicola admitted that she would love that to happen. '[Cassie] does meet someone this series… But she has this massive case on, so that becomes quiet complicated,' she said. 'Because of the case she does meet someone and they go out for the evening. That was really strange to have her out at dinner having a nice time. We were all slightly hysterical that day because we're not used to seeing her in that environment. But yes, she has a date with somebody.' Although she wants a Sunny romance - they came close in the last series - she also thinks it would be a terrible idea. 'I think they should get together,' Nicola went on, 'but the writer doesn't. I don't know what Sanjeev thinks. Absolutely it would ruin it, there's no way, it's not that kind of story. They really love each other but not in that way, not like that. So probably it would be a terrible idea. It's an unusual relationship, proper friendship and you don't see that between men and women in TV very much.'
There was an hilarious bit of abject nonsense published in the Metro earlier this week about Mel B's widely reported tax problems in which the author - the legend that never was Andrei Harmsworth - cites a report on The Blast website (no, me neither) which states that Mel's one hundred and eighty eight grand-per-week salary is being 'garnished'. This blogger thinks that what they actually meant was 'garnisheed'. One is a legal term in which a person's bank can be ordered to withhold a portion of the person's income to pay off debts to the third party; the other is sprinkling something nice on top of food to make it look and taste better. Keith Telly Topping will leave it up you, dear blog reader, as to which, you think, is which.
Monday was a very odd day, dear blog reader - you might have noticed. First Dave Davies quit The Kinks - to be replaced by Rab C Nesbitt, seemingly. Then Ginger Baker left Cream and then, apparently, Brian Johnson quit AC/DC. Thus, this blogger has the following - very important - announcement to make ...
Then, the following article appeared on the BBC News website. Which, falls squarely into the 'Fair comment' column, this blogger would've said.
And then, on Tuesday ...
On a somewhat related subject, does anyone think Mister May could possibly look any less enthusiastic when he found out whom Thursday night's dinner guests at Downing Street were to be?
Though, the biggest revelation in all this is how unaware most people previously were that Mrs May is, seemingly, married to Wally Batty from Last Of The Summer Wine.
President - and hairdo - Rump kicked-off his European trip this week in memorable fashion, telling NATO members to spend more on defence and accusing Germany of being 'totally controlled by Russia' during the NATO summit in Brussels on Wednesday. That evening, on The Late Show, Stephen Colbert had some fun with Rump's assertion that Germany was 'totally controlled by Russia' because it draws over one-third of its gas from the country, an idea which drew criticism from German chancellor Angela Merkel. 'I'll tell you who had sex with a porn star, Angela Merkel. Oh, Angela loves to get spanked with a rolled-up Der Spiegel,' Colbert said, referring to Stormy Daniel's allegations that she had a sexual relationship with Rump and that she spanked him with a magazine with his face on it. The point of the monologue was to show hypocrisy in Rump's accusation, given that the president - and hairdo - has expressed 'admiration' for Russian president The Butcher of Grozny. 'We should have seen all this coming because right before he left on the trip, Trump talked about his three stops. Guess which one he was most excited about?' Colbert then played a clip of Rump speaking about his tour to the NATO summit, the UK and to meet Putin in Helsinki, in which the president - and hairdo - said that the Putin meeting 'may be the easiest of them all.'
'My American friends are asking me about President Trumps's observation that the British "like him",' John Cleese told his Facebook followers on Friday. 'I regret this is quite unfounded. The explanation for this canard is that Trump is "pronoid." Pronoid is the opposite of paranoid. A paranoid person thinks, without any basis in reality, that everybody is out to get them. A pronoid person is someone who thinks, without any basis in reality, that everybody likes them. The fact is that the British loathe Donald Trump. This is because he is the polar opposite of a "Gentleman," who has qualities the British admire. A fine example is Gareth Southgate. To the British, a "Gentleman" is a man who is modest, well-mannered, self deprecating, quietly intelligent, considerate of other people's feeling and well-informed. He is not vulgar, inflated, vain, boastful, noisily ignorant, sleazy and common as muck. I hope this clears up any confusion.' Yeah, that seems to pretty much clarify the situation, John. Thanks for that.
Buffy The Vampire Slayer creator Joss Whedon is returning to TV for a new series. The writer/director has recently been dipping his toes back into the medium by producing Freeform's detective series Pippa Smith: Grown-Up Detective, after taking a lengthy sabbatical into the film world for The Avengers and Justice League. On Friday, HBO announced that it had signed Whedon to write, produce, direct and serve as showrunner of The Nevers, 'a science fiction series set in the Victorian era.' The Nevers are 'a gang of Victorian women who find themselves with unusual abilities, relentless enemies and a mission that might change the world,' according to a description released by HBO. Whedon announced the show in a typically-witty statement: 'I honestly couldn't be more excited. The Nevers is maybe the most ambitious narrative I've created and I can't imagine a better home for it than HBO. Not only are they the masters of cinematic long-form, but their instant understanding of my odd, intimate epic was as emotional as it was incisive. It's been too long since I created an entirely new fictional world and the HBO team offer not just scope and experience, not just "prestige", but a passionate collaboration. I could go on, but – I'm impatiently grateful to say – I have work to do.' HBO seems equally excited about the collaboration, with programming president Casey Bloys praising Whedon as both 'incredibly talented and prolific. We look forward to meeting the strange, multifaceted characters of The Nevers, to learn their stories, see them in action and share them with our viewers,' the HBO executive added. 'We're honoured that Joss chose HBO as the place to build his ambitious new world and we are excited to get started.'
Tamara Lawrance and Hayley Atwell will lead an all-star cast in the BBC's adaptation of the acclaimed Long Song. Andrea Levy's novel, which won the Walter Scott Prize for historical fiction, sheds light on Britain's history of slavery during colonial rule in Jamaica. It will be directed by Mahalia Belo. The three-part series takes place during the dying days of slavery in the Nineteenth century, on a plantation run by the cunning Caroline Mortimer (Atwell) and tended to by her resolute young slave July (Lawrance). Both of their worlds are turned upside down when a new overseer named Robert Goodwin (Jack Lowden) arrives intent on revolutionising the way the plantation is run. A synopsis says: 'During a time of social unrest and turmoil, this powerful story is told from July's perspective as she looks back over her life; the tone is funny, defiant and indomitable. It's a story about the injustices that humans inflict upon each other and the unexpected ways in which people's humanity sometimes overrules their prejudices.' The larger cast will also include Lenny Henry (who was last, briefly, funny in 1983), Sharon Duncan-Brewster, Ayesha Antoine and Ansu Kabia. Sounds terrific. Apart from Lenny Henry, obviously. 'Every day at work is enlightening. A real blessing to be amongst this cast and crew, playing a character as subversive as July,' Tamara Lawrance said. 'She relishes mutiny with wit and courage; finding ways to win in spite of her circumstances. She also rings true to Jamaica's national heroes - Nanny, Paul Bogle and Sam Sharpe - who, by standing up for their own humanity, shifted world history. I believe stories like these illuminate the legacy of slavery in relation to where we are today. It's all still relevant!' Hayley Atwell added: 'I am delighted to be part of this beautiful story written with warmth, sensitivity, humour and intelligence by Andrea Levy. Playing the deeply-flawed Caroline Mortimer is a thrilling challenge and entirely new territory for me as an actor. Audiences will fall in love with the story's remarkable heroine, July, who endures on-going abuses of power with dignity and poise, surviving injustices that were devastatingly prevalent during this time and place in history. It is a story that demands to be told.'
The much-anticipated Snowpiercer TV pilot seems to have found a new director a few weeks after Scott Derrickson's exit. The director announced his departure last month, citing 'a radically different vision' to his on the part of the showrunner. However, it's now being reported that Doctor Who and Black Mirror director James Hawes is joining the project as director and co-executive producer, according to Variety. Derrickson originally said that he would not return for re-shoots after citing 'differences' with new showrunner Graeme Manson, who himself took over from Josh Friedman following his departure in January.
EastEnders' Bonnie Langford is leaving the soap after three years of playing the role of Carmel Kazemi. The actress's final scenes are due to be broadcast in the autumn, but it is thought that the door will be left open for Carmel to return at a later stage. Carmel's exit story will tie in with the show's ongoing knife crime story, which saw her teenage son, Shakil, killed in a fatal stabbing in May.
For the first time ever in the UK, Qi, came to the stage this week (a stage version featuring Stephen Fry has, previously, been performed in Australia). The stage version took place at the Latitude Festival with guests, including Rachel Parris, Lou Sanders and Marcus Brigstocke alongside Alan Davies and Sandy Toksvig. And, you can read a review of the show here, written by Simon Topping (as far as this blogger is aware, no relation).
Sacha Baron Cohen is to return to TV with a new satirical comedy series that will begin next week on Channel Four in the UK and Showtime in the US. The comedian has been 'secretly filming' the seven episodes for a year. The show, which premieres on Showtime on Sunday, marks Cohen's first full series for TV since Da Ali G Show in 2004. Showtime said that Who Is America? 'will explore the diverse individuals across the political and cultural spectrum' in the US. The network promises that it will show the comedian 'as you've never seen him before.' So ... funny, perhaps? The series will begin in the UK on Channel Four on Monday.
Television and radio presenter Richard Bacon is in a medically-induced coma after becoming critically ill with suspected pneumonia. He was taken to hospital eight days ago after becoming unwell on a flight to Britain from the United States. The former Blue Peter and 5Live presenter had been well enough to post photos of himself on social media. But his sister confirmed that his condition had worsened and he has had to have a tracheotomy to help him breathe. Bacon started his career on BBC Radio Nottingham before going on to present on national television and radio including The Big Breakfast, Top Of The Pops and his own show on BBC 6Music. He then broke into the US media scene where he has a show on FOX TV. He now lives in Los Angeles. His sister, Juliet Bacon, said in her Instagram post she had been visiting him in intensive care for a week. Radio Nottingham presenter Dean Jackson who helped to launch Bacon's career by giving him his first job has kept in touch with the family. 'He is being kept in the coma to get more oxygen into his system but they are hoping to reduce the sedative soon, so hopefully there will be good news,' he said. In March, Bacon spoke to Radio 5Live about his recent diagnosis of ADHD, saying he 'wouldn't change it for the world.' Pneumonia is the swelling of the tissue in one or both lungs, which is usually caused by a bacterial infection. It's very nasty - this blogger once has a (relatively minor) dose was it wiped him sideways for a fortnight. When a person has pneumonia the tiny sacs at the end of breathing tubes in their lungs become inflamed and fill up with fluid. The Gruniad Morning Star subsequently reported that Richard had been brought out of the coma and was - slowly - recovering in hospital.
House Of Cards actress Robin Wright has claimed that she and former co-star Kevin Spacey 'only knew each other between "action" and "cut".' The pair appeared as White House power couple Claire and Frank Underwood in the Netflix series. Spacey was hastily written out of the show after being accused of sexual assault, allegations which he denies. 'I didn't know the man,' Wright can be seen saying in an advance clip from an NBC interview that will be broadcast this week. The actress goes on to describe Spacey as 'an incredible craftsman.' She added: 'Kevin and I knew each other between "action" and "cut" and in between set-ups, where we would giggle.' It is the first time that Wright has spoken about her relationship with Spacey since the allegations came to light towards the end of last year. The eight-episode final series of House Of Cards, expected to be released by Netflix this autumn, will focus on Claire Underwood's career. The character became the US president at the end of the last season, a position previously held by her on-screen husband.
Duran Duran's Simon Le Bon-Bon has furiously denied sexually assaulting a fan, saying that her story is 'simply untrue.' Shereen Hariri claims that the singer 'groped' her whilst signing autographs at the record store where she worked in 1995. Writing on Facebook, she alleged Le Bon-Bon was posing for photos when he grabbed her 'butt cheek' and started 'making his way down my butt to my genitals.' 'I was shocked and completely frozen,' she continued, adding that she is not seeking compensation, only an apology. Hariri, who is now forty seven and works as a therapist in Los Angeles, claimed that she was 'afraid of the consequences' of confronting the singer after the incident. 'If I made a scene, I'd be in the press: The "Girl Who Accused Simon Le Bon." I'd probably be fired, rejected, ignored, even hated,' she wrote. She changed her mind, she claimed, after the release of Donald Trump's notorious 'grab them by the pussy' tape in October 2016. 'I decided that time's up. I'm not holding this secret anymore,' she wrote in her statement. 'I want everyone to know what this man did to me. I hope he comes clean publicly. I hope he make amends to his wife and daughters.' In response, Le Bon-Bon posted a message on Duran Duran's official Facebook page, challenging the depiction of the 1995 incident, at The Wherehouse music store in Los Angeles. 'The behaviour that Ms Hariri has accused me of, would have been just as inappropriate and unacceptable to me then as it is today. But the allegation is simply untrue. When Ms Hariri first contacted me about her claim months ago, I proposed meeting with her in person so I could set the record straight. Instead, she has decided to pursue this publicly. I have always been one who can admit to my mistakes and apologise for my failings. But I cannot apologise for something I did not do.' Underneath his statement, Duran Duran's publicist and assistant Katy Krassner added her own defence of the singer. 'I was also at the in-store event in 1995,' she wrote. 'And I can tell you that what he is being accused of did not happen. Simon was never out of my sight that entire day, as each of the people on the Duran Duran team were "assigned" to a band member to help with the record signing. Apart from anything else, as any fan knows, these kinds of events are a whirlwind of quick handshakes and photo calls which literally last a matter of seconds. The idea that he sat there, right next to his band mates, in front of a bunch of cameras, reaching behind him to sexually assault someone that day is simply ludicrous.'
Harvey Weinstein has pleaded not guilty in a third sexual assault case. Weinstein, who appeared in court in New York on Monday, had already pleaded not guilty to all charges in the first two cases, in June. The sixty six-year-old, who has been on one million dollars bail since his arrest in May, has denied having non-consensual sex, his lawyers have previously said. He has been accused of sexual misconduct by more than seventy women. Those accusations gave rise to the Me Too movement, which has seen hundreds of women accusing dozens of high-profile men in business, government and entertainment of sexual abuse and harassment. The new charges against Weinstein, which date back to 2006, are punishable by a minimum sentence of ten years in The Big House and a maximum of life imprisonment, while he faces up to twenty five years in prison if convicted of either of the offences relating to the first two women. Those two cases, which allegedly took place in 2004 and 2013, involve rape and sexual assault charges. The new charges - which Weinstein denied at the State Supreme Court - include two counts of predatory sexual assault for allegedly forcing a woman into oral sex. Speaking outside the courthouse, lawyer Benjamin Brafman said that his client - who was described as looking 'pasty and pale' by reporters - was innocent. 'Today was a formality,' he said. 'Mister Weinstein is not a predator; he is not a rapist and I believe that when this case is over we will ultimately see him be exonerated.'
A hungry rat has been blamed for a power failure during a ballet in Australia. Dancers and audience members were plunged into darkness during the second-half of a Sleeping Beauty performance by the Australian Ballet. About two thousand patrons had to be evacuated by torchlight from the theatre in Adelaide after realising the outage was not an artistic effect. State energy authorities later confirmed 'rodent damage' as the cause. '[Crews] found a rat that crawled inside one of our eleven thousand-volt pieces of equipment and had blown a fuse,' a spokeswoman from South Australia Power Network said. The power outage affected the city's entire riverside arts precinct and stopped another dance performance in the Adelaide Festival Centre. Dancers initially carried on with the performance before they were stopped by management. They received a standing ovation from an audience lit by the glow of mobile phones, the Adelaide Advertiser newspaper reported. The theatre's programming director, Liz Hawkins, told the Australian Broadcasting Corp the incident was 'unprecedented' but that patrons had responded 'with good grace.' The ballet won't be rescheduled, but the audience will be given either a refund or 'some other form of compensation.' The rat, it is presumed, did not make it.
An Australian restaurant has been fined after its staff 'dumped' two drunk, unconscious women on the street. The incident at the Korean BBQ diner in Sydney was 'one of the worst breaches of liquor laws in years,' authorities said. The group of three women had each consumed eight shots of Korean soju liquor within thirty five minutes, before two of them collapsed at their table. Waiters and other diners then carried the unconscious pair out of the venue and left them on the footpath. One woman vomited while she was being removed, the Independent Liquor and Gaming Authority said in its report about the incident. The women only received medical help when patrolling police officers noticed a group of people gathered outside the Gangnam Station restaurant. 'It's hard to imagine a worse case of a venue failing in its obligations to prevent misuse and abuse of alcohol,' an ILGA representative said. Staff continued to serve the women bottles of soju despite clear signs of intoxication. The report said that the women were 'swaying and struggling to sit upright' at their table. The restaurant has been fined two thousand two hundred Australian dollars and is facing restrictions around its opening hours amid other sanctions. In Australia, anyone serving alcohol as part of their job has to do a mandatory Responsible Service of Alcohol training course. It specifically tackles how to deal with intoxicated customers and when to stop serving them.
A motorist was reportedly stopped by police whilst driving sitting on a bucket and steering with pliers. The battered car, which also had no front wing, bumper, headlights and a flat tyre was pulled over in King's Lynn. N-F-N, one could suggest. Norfolk's roads policing unit tweeted pictures of 'the most un-roadworthy car' imaginable and said that there were 'too many offences to mention.' Police said that the driver has been reported to court. 'Yes this was driven on a road and yes he was sitting on a bucket and steering with a pair of mole grips,' officers sneered, as they posted pictures of the vehicle.
A Canadian woman's first act upon winning the Canadian lottery was to threaten to sue her nephew for his half of the million Canadian dollar win. 'See you in court,' Barbara Reddick told Tyrone MacInnis as they both posed with the giant novelty cheque in Nova Scotia province. Both their names were on the winning ticket from Wednesday night's Chase The Ace draw. But Reddick - getting he greed right-on - claims that she never promised to split the jackpot with Tyrone. 'I'm taking him to court,' she told those gathered at the winners' ceremony on Thursday in Margaree Forks, a small community of about three thousand four hundred people, according to the CBC. 'I'm getting a lawyer tomorrow.' She denied that the two had an agreement. But her nephew told reporters: 'Yes, we did.' Reddick said: 'He's lying.' She claimed that she just put her nephew's name on the ticket 'for luck because he's like a son to me - he was.' Reddick told reporters that she had only promised to share possible winnings from a smaller draw, not for the jackpot. 'He was lucky, but not for half-a-million dollars,' she said. Bernice Curley, the chairwoman of the Margaree Forks Chase the Ace committee, said that she was 'taken aback' by the family feud. 'I'm a little bit disappointed that happened at the end,' she told CBC. Chase The Ace is a lottery game popular all over Canada's East coast and often raises money for charity, in this instance for the regional fire services.
A man who was filmed haranguing a woman for wearing a Puerto Rico flag shirt at an Illinois park has been extremely charged with a hate crime. Timothy Trybus was previously charged with disorderly conduct and assault. He allegedly demanded to know if a Latina picnicker was a US citizen in last month's incident. As if that's any business of his. A police officer who was filmed standing by as Mia Irizarry pleaded for his help has quit the department. Irizarry used her mobile phone to film the confrontation, which unfolded on 14 June as she set up a picnic for her birthday at Caldwell Woods in the Chicago suburbs. In the clip a white man approaches her and demands to know why she is wearing her shirt, which had Puerto Rico written on it. 'You should not be wearing that in the United States of America,' he shouts, repeatedly jabbing his finger at her in an untoward manner. 'Are you a citizen? Are you a United States citizen?' Irizarry called on a nearby park police officer for help. But the officer, Patrick Connor, showed abject cowardice turning his back and walking towards his patrol car. The suspect continued to harangue Irizarry for about ten minutes before other officers - who weren't, seemingly, apologists for racists - arrived and arrested his sorry ass. The Forest Preserve District of Cook County Police Department - where Connor worked for twelve years - announced he had resigned late on Wednesday. At a press conference on Thursday, Superintendent Arnold Randall said Connor was 'very remorseful' when he resigned. But, he said that the officer considered it 'an unfortunate incident' and felt he was not 'given a fair shake.' Randall added that Connor's personnel file will say that he did not leave 'in good standing' and will include a note that he left 'with discipline pending.' He added that officials will 'review' the mandatory diversity training that officers are required to take. Connor had taken the course a year ago, officials claim. Randall said that Irizarry deserved to be praised for her response amid a national trend of 'racially charged, abusive incidents we're seeing throughout the country. We might start with the fine example presented by Mia Irizarry and her family, who handled this ugly incident with great composure, never stooping to the level of the man who attacked her,' he said in a written statement. He added that the park staff had - one trusts grovellingly - apologised directly to Irizarry and refunded the money she had paid for her permit. The video had angered public officials in the state of Illinois, as well as the governor of Puerto Rico which is, of course, a US territory. Trybus, if convicted, faces a right shitload of time in The Big House. During which, hopefully, he will be able to reflect upon the error of his ways and the wretched nastiness of racist behaviour. Meanwhile, just to prove that racism is more than just a one-way street, a thirty-year-old African-American woman has been arrested and charged with attempted murder after allegedly using a brick to bludgeon a ninety two-year-old Latino man near Los Angeles. Laquisha Jones was also charged with 'elder abuse' over the 4 July attack. A witness said Jones told the victim, Rodolfo Rodriguez: 'Go back to your country.' Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department said the assault 'may' have been triggered by Rodriguez accidentally bumping into a young girl who was with Jones. He suffered a broken jaw, broken cheekbones, two broken ribs and bruises on his face, back and abdomen in the sick attack, US media reports.
A Houston woman accused of offering to sell her two-year-old daughter for sex at a cost of twelve hundred dollars has been extremely sentenced to forty years in prison. Twenty-five-year-old Sarah Marie Peters was sentenced Thursday after pleading very guilty to charges that include promotion of prostitution. Authorities say that undercover officers in Montgomery County, North of Houston, 'encountered Peters online' on a social media site. They say she forwarded photos of young girls and asked if there was anyone who wanted 'to have fun' with her daughter. Detectives watched Peters board a bus in Houston with her daughter to travel to Conroe, where she thought she was meeting a man who would pay for sex with the toddler. Her daughter is the custody of state Child Protective Services.
Amnesty International has condemned the Iranian authorities for publicly flogging a man who was convicted of consuming alcohol when he was fourteen or fifteen. Local media published photographs of the man - identified only as MR - being given eighty lashes in a square in the Eastern city of Kashmar on Tuesday. Prosecutors say that he was very arrested in the Iranian year of 1385 (March 2006 to March 2007) and sentenced the following year. It is not clear why the punishment was carried out more than ten years later. The photographs show a young man tied to a tree being flogged by a masked man in uniform. A small crowd of people can be seen watching at a distance. And, presumably, getting a geet chimney on whilst doing so. 'The circumstances of this case are absolutely shocking, representing another horrific example of the Iranian authorities' warped priorities,' Amnesty's Middle East and North Africa Director, Philip Luther said in a statement. 'No-one, regardless of age, should be subjected to flogging; that a child was prosecuted for consuming alcohol and sentenced to eighty lashes beggars belief.' The Young Journalists Club website quoted Kashmar's prosecutor as saying MR consumed alcohol at a wedding where an argument caused a fight in which a seventeen-year-old boy was killed. He was not suspected of involvement in the death. Article two hundred and sixty five of Iran's Islamic penal code states that the punishment for consumption of alcohol by a Muslim is eighty lashes. More than one hundred other offences are punishable by flogging, including theft, assault, vandalism, defamation and fraud, as well as acts that Amnesty said should not be criminalised, such as adultery, intimate relationships between unmarried men and women, 'breach of public morals' and consensual same-sex sexual relations. Luther said that Iran should abolish all forms of corporal punishment. But, of course, they're not going to because they, seemingly, enjoy being total bastards. As a party to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the country was 'legally obliged' to forbid torture and other cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment or punishment, he noted. 'It's simply unacceptable that the Iranian authorities continue to allow such punishments and to justify them in the name of protecting religious morals.' In 2014, six Iranians were sentenced to prison and ninety one lashes after being arrested for the dreadful crime of appearing in a video dancing to Pharrell Williams' song 'Happy'.
More 'long lost' settlements have been found across Wales as their outlines show as crop marks in the heatwave. An unknown Celtic site has been discovered in the shadow of a castle ruin near Tywyn in Gwynedd, according to aerial archaeologist Toby Driver. Prehistoric settlements have also emerged in Monmouthshire along with a suspected Roman fortress. 'All around Wales we are adding in new bits of history,' said Driver, who uses a light aircraft to find sites. 'Right across Wales we have got some stunning discoveries. It is a strange and exciting thing to see. It has been an incredible three weeks,' he told BBC Radio Wales' Good Morning Wales programme. The Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales has released photographs from Driver's discoveries following flights from Haverfordwest Airport in Pembrokeshire. In Gwynedd, an additional Celtic settlement has emerged on the valley floor between the castle ruins of Castell y Bere and hillfort Craig yr Aderyn. He found the outline of a suspected Roman watch tower on the nearby coast. And in South Wales, a new Roman fortress and town between Caerwent and Caerleon has appeared in the dry conditions. The crop marks are made by vegetation drawing on better nutrients and water supplies trapped in long-gone fortification ditches - leading to lush green growth that stands out. But they can disappear as quickly as they emerge once the weather conditions change. Driver said: 'I have been doing this job since the late Nineties and I've not seen conditions like this across the country. This is the time when long lost buried archaeological sites, Roman villas, Roman forts, prehistoric settlements appear fleetingly in crops.' His research is expected to prompt further research on the ground in the months to come.
Back to the World Cup now, dear blog readers, and Kenyans have reportedly 'reacted furiously' to news that twenty Kenyan MPs travelled to watch the World Cup at the taxpayers' expense. They were watching four games, including the final, in a two-week trip to Russia estimated to be costing hundreds of thousands of US dollars. The MPs caught the attention of Kenyans when they posted selfies in a stadium. Sports Minister Rashid Echesa told BBC News that he had authorised only six MPs to travel, to 'help understand how to organise such big events.' Kenya have never qualified for a World Cup final and are currently ranked one hundred and twelfth out of two hundred and six nations by football's world governing body, FIFA. Albeit, they're still a few placed above Scotland. However, Kenya is one of the world's most successful athletics nations and has submitted a bid to host the 2023 World Athletics Championships. But, many Kenyans thought the trip was 'a waste of money' in a country where the average person lives on a salary of around one hundred and fifty dollars per month. Senate Clerk Jeremiah Nyegenye, who is head of the Parliamentary Service Commission that determines the responsibilities and remuneration of legislators, claimed that the trip was worthwhile. 'It is their responsibility to understand sports, how to host such international tournaments,' the Star newspaper quotes him as saying. 'This is not a holiday and it is too simplistic to look at it as a joyrider mission.' An alleged parliamentary 'source' has allegedly told the BBC that members of parliament 'usually' travel first class. When travelling on official business, Kenyan MPs are also entitled to daily allowances for expenses of around a thousand dollars. One of those who travelled, Senator Millicent Omanga, certainly seemed to be enjoying herself judging by selfies posted on her Facebook page.
And now, dear blog reader, here's the single best tweet related to the World Cup so far!
Broadcasters have been ordered to stop their cameras zooming in on 'hot women' in the crowd at football matches, FIFA's diversity boss says. Federico Addiechi said that football's world governing body needed to 'help tackle sexism' at the World Cup. 'We've done it with individual broadcasters. We've done it with our host broadcast services,' he said. Anti-discrimination group Fare Network claims that sexism has been 'the biggest problem' at Russia 2018. It has been monitoring games and says it has 'documented more than thirty cases.' Asked if the 'crackdown on cutaways' of female fans would become official FIFA policy, Addiechi said: 'This is one of the activities we definitely will have in future - it's a normal evolution.' He said it was 'not yet a proactive campaign' but said FIFA would 'take action against things that are wrong.' Before the tournament there were concerns that homophobia and racism would be the major areas of concern but Fare Network executive director Piara Powar said that sexism was the main focus of discrimination logged by his team - mainly of Russian women being 'accosted in the streets' by male fans. However, Powar believes that the real number of incidents is likely to be 'ten times this.' Powar added there had been 'several cases' of female reporters being grabbed or kissed whilst broadcasting. When asked how FIFA could combat this, Addiechi said it has 'been working' with the local organisers and Russian police to identify these fans, some of whom have lost their FAN-IDs (a document all spectators must have to obtain access to stadiums at the World Cup) and been forced to leave the country. During Russia 2018 photographic agency Getty Images published a photo gallery of 'the hottest fans at the World Cup' featuring exclusively young women. The gallery was later removed by Getty, who said that it was 'a regrettable error in judgement' and that 'an internal investigation would be made.'
A man who got a tattoo which reads 'England World Cup 2018 Winners' claims that he 'does not regret' it. One or two people even believed him. Jamie Richardson, from Leeds, had the tattoo three weeks before England played their semi-final against Croatia. 'It is better to have believed and lost than not to have believed at all,' he said, paraphrasing Alfred Lord Tennyson. Whether he continued by quoting Pete Townshend ('I expect that I'll regret you but the skin-graft man won't get you') is, at this time, unknown.
The FA has been fined seventy thousand Swiss francs (which is about fifty grand) after Dele Alli, Eric Dier and Raheem Sterling wore 'unauthorised' socks at the World Cup. Not, this blogger is not making this up. The players wore branded ankle support socks over official Nike socks, ignoring a FIFA warning to stop. FIFA said the FA's fine was for 'breaching media and marketing regulations and the FIFA equipment regulations.' FIFA said that 'several' England players 'continued to display unauthorised commercial branding on playing equipment items before and during the quarter-final match between Sweden and England.' The Swedish FA has also been punished with the same fine for a similar 'sock offence' earlier in the tournament. That makes it the joint second highest fine at the World Cup behind Argentina's one hundred and five thousand Swiss franc punishment after their fans threw objects and chanted homophobic abuse. Which is, obviously, nowhere near as serious as 'wearing the wrong sort of socks,' clearly.
Workers at a Fiat Chrysler plant in Italy are to take strike action after its main investor decided to pay one hundred and twelve million Euros to sign well-known winker Cristiano Ronaldo for Juventus. Both the football club and the carmaker are controlled by the Agnelli family through their holding company. For the USB union, the decision means Fiat is 'missing out on investment.' It said that the firm 'needed to guarantee' the future of thousands of people, 'rather than enriching only one.' The union added it was 'unacceptable' that while Fiat Chrysler workers were making 'huge economic sacrifices,' millions of Euros were being spent on the purchase of a player. The four-year deal to capture Ronaldo from Real Madrid was announced on Tuesday amid concern that Juventus might have vastly overpaid for the thirty three-year-old forward. However, football finance expert Rob Wilson, of Sheffield Hallam University, said that Juventus should earn more than enough money from Ronaldo to cover the transfer fee and his wages. He added: 'The marketing leverage that Juve will be able to create will be significant. Added to that the likelihood that he will strengthen the team, it seems plausible that they will be more successful domestically and qualify routinely for the Champions League. That means more sponsors, more TV money and more prize money.' Born on the island of Madeira, where the airport is named after him, Ronaldo has had a successful career at Real Madrid, scoring four hundred and fifty goals in four hundred and thirty eight games for the club after signing for them from The Scum. As captain of the Portuguese national team in the World Cup, he scored four goals, including a hat-trick against Spain. Portugal made the last sixteen of the tournament, in stark contrast to Italy, who failed to qualify for the first time since 1958. Although Juventus and Fiat Chrysler are run as entirely separate businesses, they are both controlled by Exor, the investment holding of the Agnelli family. The USB union has called for a strike at the Melfi plant in Southern Italy, which makes cars including the Fiat Punto and the 500X. Its members will walk out at 10pm local time on Sunday and remain on strike until 6pm on the following Tuesday. However, the impact of the stoppage is likely to be limited. The factory is just one of seven Fiat Chrysler plants in Italy and the USB does not represent many workers there.
Formal confirmation of yer actual Keith Telly Topping's beloved (though unsellable) Magpies third summer signing has now come from the club, following Tuesday' successful completion of medical checks on Kenedy. The twenty two year-old Brazilian travelled to Tyneside on Monday evening after agreement was reached with parent club Moscow Chelski FC on a season-long loan. Signed initially on loan last January (after a previous attempt to do so in August 2017 had failed), Kenedy played thirteen games in black and white last season and instantly gained cult status at Gallowgate amongst supporters. Acknowledging that the deal was done, Rafa Benitez told journalists on Tuesday that: 'I'm pushing him now. If he plays this season like he did last season, I will be happy but, still, he has to score more goals! Everybody knows what he did last year. He was a great player for us. I think it's good for the fans and the team. The fans will be excited to have Kenedy for another year.' Following claims and counter-claims in the media, it appears that no provision for a permanent transfer has been made in the loan agreement - although it is speculated that there's a 'preferred bidder' clause. Whether Th' Toon wanted to agree a price for a player who will have twelve months of his Moscow Chelski FC contract remaining at the end of this latest loan is unclear.
William Hughes, the actor who played The Master as a young boy in Doctor Who, has died at the appallingly young age of twenty. William played The Master in the 2007 episode The Sound Of Drums. At the age of eight, he was the youngest actor to play the Time Lord. He also appeared in the 2008 Torchwood episode Sleeper. From Mumbles in Swansea, William, gave up acting shortly after appearing in Doctor Who. His interests turned to Boxing, joining the Bonymaen ABC boxing gym in Swansea. Fighting for the club he won three Welsh titles, before winning gold and bronze at the Great Britain championships. He won Gold at the 2017 British Universities and Colleges Sports Championships. He was described as 'tremendously talented' by former World Champion Enzo Maccarinelli, who mentored the young athlete. William studied at Bishop Vaughan Catholic School in Swansea, where he was described as 'an exceptionally talented sportsman.' He had just completed he first year of a finance degree at Queen Mary University in London. It is believed he died on 9 July whilst on holiday on the Greek island of Corfu. A spokesman for the Foreign & Commonwealth Office confirmed their staff were 'supporting the family' of a British man following his death in Corfu and were in contact with the Greek and UK police.