Thursday, August 30, 2018

Steep Learning

'Doctor Who is getting ready to go all Hollywood with its next series, throwing in some huge CGI effects to propel new lead Jodie Whittaker to brave new worlds,' according to the Metro (if not to a real newspaper). Although details of the first female Doctor's reign at the helm of the TARDIS have been sparse (or, as the Metro add, 'basically non-existent'), new series director Jennifer Perrott has given fans a small hint of how the series is 'set to be a visual feast.' Speaking about one of the computer generated worlds the last of the Time Lords will inhabit in the new season, Jennifer said that things are 'about to get zany. I did have a zany action sequence in studio where we just had the actors, green screen and fans blowing their hair – the entire world around them will be created with visual effects,' she told Doctor Who magazine. 'I can't wait to see what those geniuses at [effects house] DNEG create for that.' Jennifer also revealed that she had binge-watched the BBC's popular long-running family SF drama in preparation for her work on the upcoming series. As a fan of the show as a child, especially Tom Baker's Doctor, she said that she had 'to go on a bit of a binge' to 'get the creative juices flowing' for her stint in the director's chair.
'Part of the joy of writing for Doctor Who is to try to surprise your audience, no matter what their age,' the novelist Malorie Blackman, who was revealed to be part of the new series' writing team alongside showrunner Chris Chibnall earlier this summer, told Doctor Who Magazine. 'I love unpredictability - where you introduce the unexpected, even into a story the audience may already think they know.' Dedicated Doctor Who fans who have read Blackman's 2013 short story The Ripple Effect, which introduced a universe filled with peaceful Daleks, may have already noted her intriguing approach to Doctor Who material. In the same interview, Blackman described her episode as 'heartfelt, thought-provoking and timely.' In a similar vein, Murdered By My Father scriptwriter Vinay Patel suggested that his episode might bring the series back to its roots, describing his tale as 'educational, epic [and] emotional.' However, if some fans are worried that the new series be entirely focused on teachable or serious issues, other writers suggested that this could be one of the most entertaining runs of Doctor Who yet, with Pete McTigh, Joy Wilkinson and Ed Hime describing their episodes as a 'creepy, fun, rollercoaster,' 'dark, funny, squelchy' and 'really rather spooky' respectively. The squelchy one sounds particularly intriguing. According to director Sallie Aprahamian, during the filming of one episode the crew had to deal with 'howling rain storms, snow, lots of mud and bright sunshine, sometimes within minutes of each other,' which disrupted production a significant amount. Other directors had more luck, however, with both Jennifer Perrott and Jamie Childs managing to dodge the worst of the apocalyptic weather. 'I have to say Wales never let me down. I don't think I got bad weather once, apart from the one time I wanted a specific type of "bad" weather and I got it,' Childs recalled.
The broadcast date of the new Doctor Who series continues to be the source of much hot and fevered speculation. Based on absolutely nothing whatsoever except, perhaps, a very literal take on the first day of Autumn, The Sunday Times recently claimed that Jodie Whittaker's debut would begin on Sunday 23 September. However, the recent - seemingly official - announcement by the BBC that the episode's press event will be held on 24 September and that these events usually take place around a fortnight prior to the series' TV debut, means that most informed speculation within fandom currently points towards a more likely broadcast date during the weekend of 6 and 7 October. Whether Doctor Who will be moving from Saturday evenings to Sundays, something which has been the focus of much debate since the Daily Mirra speculated on it some months ago, remains to be seen - although this blogger certainly would not be surprised by such a change. Indeed, as the Digital Spy website's Morgan Jeffrey noted recently, it could well be the best thing that has happened to the series since it returned to TV in 2005.
Another thing fandom got very excited about this week was the publication on the National Library of Wales website of dozens of previously unseen location photographs from the 1967 Doctor Who story The Abominable Snowmen.
Titan Comics and BBC Studios have revealed launch details for the first issue of Doctor Who: The Thirteenth Doctor. The new comic featuring Jodie Whittaker's Doctor will feature variants from leading artists including Babs Tarr, Sarah Graley, Katie Cook, Ariela Kristantina and Paulina Ganucheau.
From The North's recommended 'you really ought to give this article ten minutes of your time' award of the week goes to the very excellent Jenny Colgan's piece in the Grunaid Morning Star, The Bolshie, Brilliant History Of The Women Of Doctor Who. Check it out, dear blog readers, it will probably make your day.
Alleged - although, suspiciously anonymous - 'sources' have (allegedly) told Variety that one of Jodie's TARDIS predecessors, yer actual Matt Smith, has joined the cast of Star Wars: Episode IX, which is currently in production in at Pinewood. If true it is, at this time, unknown whether Smudger's character will be on the side of the rebels or of the evil empire. Smudger would be joining returning cast members Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac and Adam Driver, as well as newcomers Keri Russell, his former Doctor Who castmate Richard E Grant, Dominic Monaghan and Naomi Ackie in the movie. Billy Dee Williams is reprising his role as Lando Calrissian and the late Carrie Fisher will feature as Leia in the final part of The Skywalker Saga, using previously unreleased footage shot for Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
It's a rather busy time for yer man Matt at the moment what with him just having completed his work on the second series of The Crown. He also recently appeared on Radio 4's long-running Desert Island Discs. The BBC website has produced a jolly helpful piece about eleven surprising things we learned from the broadcast. Albeit, it includes at least two completely unsurprising things for anyone that knows pretty much anything about Smudger's life; surely, everyone knows by now that Matt was a talented teenage footballer until a persistent back injury wrecked his dreams of Premiership glory and that, before being cast as The Doctor, he had never previously watched an episode of the BBC's popular family SF drama?
HBO unveiled a new trailer for many of its upcoming shows this week, from True Detective series three to Big Little Lies series two. And, hidden away among several shots of the last series of Game Of Thrones, at one minute and ten seconds in is one new clip featuring Jon Snow, Sansa Stark and a not-so warm embrace.
The BBC's latest drama, Bodyguard, debuted this week with largely positive reviews from the critics and a big thumbs-up from this blogger who thought the first two episodes (broadcast on Sunday and Bank Holiday Monday were great). Albeit, seemingly, not everyone was happy with it. And, the Daily Scum Mail also found something to whinge about. As usual. Richard Madden plays David Budd, a troubled war veteran with PTSD who is assigned to protect a controversial politician played by From The North favourite Keeley Hawes. The Daily Torygraph's Michael Hogan said it was 'riveting' and he 'had to remind myself to breathe. Starting with a suicide bomb attack and only becoming more breathless, this was edge-of-the-seat, shush-the-family fare.' Daily Scum Express critic Molli Mitchell also recalled the 'intense' opening scene and compared it to 'something like a Jason Bourne film.' She wrote: 'The opening scene of Bodyguard was all too real and the message all too familiar for a country whose terror level threat is currently at severe. Yet, the authenticity of the show is what makes it a truly terrorising thriller.' The Gruniad Morning Star's Lucy Mangan gave it five stars and wrote: 'The first twenty minutes of Bodyguard would be pure James Bond if it were not for the fear and doubt that convulse Budd when he is preparing to do his flinging or his saving. By the end of last night's opening episode, it was clear he has created something as dark and moreish as ever.' Morgan Jeffrey from the Digital Spy website saw rather less of Bond in the character of Budd: 'Commanding and powerful when the job requires it, but also painfully vulnerable behind the confident facade, Madden's Budd is no Superman: despite the sidearm and suit, there's very little of James Bond in this nuanced portrayal of a deeply troubled war veteran.' Metro's Sarah Deen suggested that the drama came 'at just the right time' and wrote: 'What makes Bodyguard so unsettling is that it's grounded in reality - events that take place could happen. Have happened.' She also had praise for the series' writer, Jed Mercurio: 'It's typical of Mercurio - long takes, close-ups of frantic expressions, silences saying more than words. And the horror, although it is averted, takes place on something as mundane as a train journey, something millions of us do every single day.' Hawes plays the ambitious and duplicitous Home Secretary, Julia Montague, who has very different views on war compared with Budd. However Heat magazine's Boyd Hilton points out that the drama is 'not making any political point. It's just set in that world of politics and this very interesting relationship between someone who has been in wars that politicians allow to happen and this particular politician herself.' Mercurio said that the idea for Bodyguard started out as a desire to set something within the political world. 'With my experience on Line Of Duty I was aware of the different specialisations within the police, so the idea of the specialist protection unit, which looks after politicians, diplomats and royalty, felt like a really good area in which to set the story.' The six-part drama debuted on BBC1 on Sunday night attracting an overnight audience of 6.7 million viewers - peaking at 6.9 million - making it one of the biggest TV drama launches of the year.
And, speaking of Line Of Duty, the popular police drama seems to have officially kicked off filming for series five. The cast, including Vicky McClure, Adrian Dunbar and Martin Compston have reunited for a group photo. Whilst most of the details on the next batch of episodes from Jed Mercurio are under wraps, one or two details have emerged. Most recently, Compston shared an image of the script's cover page, saying on Instagram: 'Even better on second read. Mister Mercurio has done it again. Gonna be some ride can't wait to pull the waistcoat on again.' He also revealed in May that filming would begin 'around September. Hopefully, I survive it, you never know,' he added. However, he also said that if Mercurio decided to kill off Steve Arnott, he would be 'gutted to go but you've got to trust [Jed].' There are also persistent rumours that Stephen Graham is being lined up as for series five, though this is yet to be confirmed.
ITV has announced a new three-part series from Doctor Foster writer Mike Bartlett. Directed by Julia Ford, The Man stars Ken Nwosu in the lead role of Thomas Benson. The psychological drama will explore 'the corrosive effects of bullying' and focuses on 'the competitive world of middle management.' Set in a business park in Reading, The Man follows 'the personal and professional life' of Thomas Benson (Nwosu) - a hardworking father and husband. Executive Producer, Catherine Oldfield, said: 'After the success of Trauma, I'm delighted to be reunited with Mike to work on The Man for ITV.'
Richard Gere and Helen McCrory are at the head of a crumbling media empire in the first look at the BBC's MotherFatherSon. New images of the BBC series offer a glimpse into the media conglomerate founded by the fictional self-made American magnate Max (Gere), who owns news outlets in London and around the world. Max is gearing up to hand over his empire to thirty-year-old son Caden (Billy Howle), but there's one thing standing in the way: Caden's self-destructive tendencies. Caden's downward spiral will reunite Max with his former wife, heiress Kathryn (McCrory), and uncover family secrets that should have definitely stayed buried. MotherFatherSon was created by novelist Tom Rob Smith, who recently transitioned to TV with BBC2's London Spy and The Assassination Of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story. His impressive cast for MotherFatherSon includes Sarah Lancashire, Sinéad Cusack, Danny Sapani, Joseph Mawle and Pippa Bennett-Warner. The series will be Gere's first recurring TV role in over thirty years, with the actor recently saying: 'I'm so pleased to be working now with the BBC on this extraordinary eight-hour project with such talented people and which resonates so much to the time we live in.'
'From what I can eavesdrop on, a Russian sex-trafficking politician has been murdered in Vienna.' 'Oh, no.' 'I know, bummer.' The first trailer of the much-anticipated Killing Eve has appeared online. And, a second appeared soon afterwards. Killing Eve centres on two women, Eve (Sandra Oh) a bored, intelligent, pay-grade MI5 security officer whose desk-bound job doesn't fulfil her fantasies of being a spy and Villanelle (Jodie Comer) a mercurial, talented psychopathic killer who clings to the luxuries her violent job affords. Killing Eve, which also features The Bridge's Kim Bodnia, premiered on BBC America earlier this year and has garnered a huge following stateside. The drama, written by Phoebe Waller-Bridge, was nominated for several EMMY Awards and won the Television Critics Association Awards gong for Outstanding New Programme. It will be shown on the BBC soon(ish).
Lookers employees donned their flat caps in a Peaky Blinders-style tribute to the West Midlands as they completed the latest leg of their 'Electric Charge charity challenge' in aid of Ben. Participants in the carbon-neutral challenge, which will see a relay of electric and hybrid vehicles travel two thousand miles down the country to all one hundred and fifty four of the retailer's franchised dealerships, donned attire inspired by the hit BBC television series as they passed through the home of its infamous Shelby family. No one knows why.
Autumnwatch is moving across the Atlantic this year with a week of special reporting from New England. The BBC2 team will 'celebrate the golden landscape in the US region famous for its colourful autumn.' The week-long special will be broadcast in October, with filming taking place throughout New Hampshire. The programme will take a look at local wildlife as well as nature's impact on Native American culture. The series will be presented, as usual, by Chris Packham, Michaela Strachan and Gillian Burke. Each programme will be a mix of live pieces from a cabin studio on the shores of Squam Lake in New Hampshire and footage of wildlife captured in the run-up to winter. The series will be a co-production between the BBC and PBS in the US. Julian Hector, head of BBC Studios' natural history unit, said the show would 'bring the spectacle of the great American fall and the autumn animal characters to BBC Two audiences in an incredibly fresh and memorable way.'
Former-NCIS colleagues Michael Weatherly and Cote De Pablo are becoming executive producers on a new show. Titled MIA and being developed by CBS, their collaborative project will focus on 'a newly-minted homicide detective who gets assigned to a straight-edged partner in Miami.' One wonders who in the wide, wide world of sport those two parts could possibly be played by? However, whilst on duty, 'she struggles to hide the personal entanglements from a final undercover job and risks jeopardising her future.' According to TV Line, Weatherly and De Pablo - who portrayed the popular characters of Tony DiNozzo and Ziva David on NCIS - will be joined on the new series by Riverdale's Shepard Boucher, taking up writing responsibilities. A reunion between the NCIS performers has been rumoured in the past, with Bull star Weatherly previously revealing that he hoped to be working with De Pablo in the future. 'Whether or not it's in Bull or in some other iteration of an NCIS, I would say there's always the chance of [me reuniting with Cote],' he told the Digital Spy website. 'She's one of my favourite people. For eight years we got to have a lot of fun. Certainly, in terms of chemistry, I've never had anyone like that rattle my brain!' The fifty-year-old also shared an interest in returning to NCIS at some stage having left the long-running navy crime drama in, broadly, good terms two years ago. 'I absolutely see worlds where DiNozzo and other characters could pop up [again],' he said. 'It is something I'm very keen to explore when the time is right.'
BBC News is being 'unfairly attacked for bias' as Britain goes through 'the nastiest period in its national life since 1945,' according to John Simpson, its world affairs editor. And, frankly, it's about sodding time that someone at the Beeb had the courage to stand up to the crass and ignorant bullies on the left and the right of the political spectrum and told them to go fuck themselves. The seventy four-year-old journalist has said that he is 'fed up' with the complaints and whinges being directed at the corporation’s news output, which has been attacked by senior figures in the Conservative and Labour parties as well as campaigners on both sides of the Brexit debate. Simpson said that it was not just people on the political extremes accusing BBC News of bias but 'the middle-of-the-roaders. Maybe it's because they're so used to social media, and hearing only the kind of views they like, that they're enraged by having to listen to arguments they hate,' he told the Radio Times. 'At present it's Brexit. Before that it was Scottish independence. People have allowed themselves to be persuaded that there's something wrong with being given open and unbiased information from BBC journalists.' In July the two BBC broadcasts that received the most complaints were both items on Newsnight and related to allegations of political bias. A total of one hundred and seventy two whingers whinged that the programme's presenter should not have described Facebook facilitating illegal campaigning by Vote Leave during the referendum as an 'allegation' and one hundred and nine whingers thought its coverage of claims of antisemitism within Labour was 'biased against the party.' 'It is the broadcasters' job to give people the range of opinions they won't necessarily get in their newspapers,' Simpson said. 'And it's also our job to hold politicians' feet to the fire, whether they like it or not.' He said that he would like to see a fact-checking team attached to every news programme, to counter each false statement that is made. Will Moy, the director of fact-checking organisation Full Fact, gave qualified support to Simpson's view. He said that Full Fact had noticed people had become 'quicker to assume bad faith by the media,' as opposed to genuine errors. Politicians have also worked out that they can use social media to communicate directly with their constituents, which allows them to avoid their messages being interrogated and challenged. Moy added: 'The BBC is not perfect. There are reasonable criticisms to make, including that they don't have enough people who understand what is going on on Brexit, although that is true of all media. The more we throw mud at these institutions, the more we risk obscuring the value of their effort to be a neutral voice for all of us. They can get things wrong without compromising their underlying ethics.' Simpson's comments follow an argument between the Radio 4 Today programme presenter Nick Robinson and the LBC radio presenter and remain supporter James O'Brien. O'Brien said that impartiality in news coverage was 'all too often, in reality, bias,' since it required broadcasters to give 'false equivalence to those speaking objective truth and those making baseless assertions.' Robinson countered that to follow such logic would create the circumstances for a British version of FOX News, the overtly right-wing scumbag US network which presents pro-Trump opinion as 'fact.'
Witless, worthless blonde ... thing Holly Willoughby will replace Wor Geet Canny Ant McPartlin as the co-presenter on ITV's I'm A Z-List Former Celebrity Desperate To Get My Boat-Race Back On TV ... Please Vote For Me To Stay Here As Long As Possible (I'll Even Eat Worms If You Want) alongside Wor Geet Canny Declan Donnelly, as MacPartlin, following his drunk-driving conviction, takes time off to deal with an addiction to prescription drugs. Willoughby – who co-hosts This Morning, is one of ITV's biggest names (although Christ only knows why) and has known McPartlin since their days hosting children's TV - said that the move 'will not be permanent.' She added: 'I love Ant and want to send him my best wishes and support for a continued recovery. These are big shoes, not to fill, but just to keep warm for a little bit. I couldn't be more excited to have been asked to stand alongside Dec for the next jungle adventure.' Willoughby's absence from the This Morning sofa will force ITV to find a stand-in host to accompany Phillip Schofield on the daytime TV show. Oh, the manifest tragedy. ITV's director of programmes, Kevin Lygo, announced that McPartlin would be replaced while speaking last week at the Edinburgh TV festival and suggested that Piers Morgan or Jeremy Corbyn could step in. Wor Geet Canny Ant and Wor Geet Canny Dec have been stalwarts of ITV's light entertainment coverage for nearly two decades, graduating from a career in children's TV. But their careers have stalled recently as McPartlin struggled with addiction after the breakdown of his marriage and he announced he would be taking a break from presenting until 2019 after he convicted in April for drink-driving. Speaking about McPartlin in Edinburgh, Lygo added: 'The good news is that he's doing really well. He's doing everything he should be doing to get better. We collectively all thought, let's give him a good amount of time off. This is a slow procedure, that's what we've decided to do.' Willoughby was criticised earlier this year for appearing to gloss over McPartlin's conviction for drink-driving. While discussing the incident with the Gruniad Morning Star, she said: 'It's not something anybody should be talking about. Out of respect for him, I love him to bits, it's not something that I find very easy to talk about. Because it's a friend. His is not my story to tell. He's just got to look after himself, that's all.' Which is true. Although, not driving his car into other people's whilst over the legal limt would probably be a good start in looking after himself. And, indeed, others.
Meanwhile, dear blog reader ...
Though, not soon enough for this blogger's liking. Next ...

A teenager with dwarfism who was allegedly told he was 'a safety risk' for a catering course has been offered a job by Gordon Ramsay. Louis Makepeace, aged eighteen, claims that bosses at the Heart of Worcestershire College 'discriminated' against him after being ruled out of the field due to his size. The aspiring chef said that he was 'appalled' by their actions. The college told the BBC 'at no point has Louis been told he could not attend his course,' which begins next month. One or two people even believed them. However, it confirmed 'adjustments Louis requires will need to be agreed before an unconditional offer can be given.' Ramsay blasted (that's tabloidese for 'criticised' only with less syllables) the college for 'a disgusting attitude' and said that he would 'offer [Louis] an apprenticeship any day.' A spokesperson for Ramsay subsequently confirmed that Ramsey's tweet was a formal offer of work. 'Gordon's tweet was a genuine offer of help for Louis Makepeace, should he wish to pursue his cooking career within the Gordon Ramsay Restaurants chef apprentice programme,' the spokesperson said. She added that the star of the Kitchen Nightmares and F Word TV shows had 'supported and mentored hundreds of young chefs throughout his career and strongly believes no one should be discriminated against in the workplace due to a disability.' Louis, from Worcester, said that he was 'initially offered a conditional place' for the hospitality and catering course earlier this month, but claims that the college then 'backtracked' because he was deemed 'too small for the kitchen.' His mother Pauline, claimed that the course leader told her Louis should not do the course as he 'would not be allowed to work in a restaurant kitchen.' Louis said: 'I wanted to learn the skill, but I'm appalled by the way this has been handled by the college. I'm not sure I would want to study at the college now, as they've messed me about and dragged it out for too long. I still want to cook and one day open my own cafe or restaurant.' He added: 'I'm excited by Gordon Ramsey's offer on Twitter. Let's see what happens.' The Heart of Worcestershire College weaselled in a statement: 'The college has undertaken a review process to ensure all the appropriate adjustments to the kitchens that Louis needs to allow him to safely and successfully commence his course, and to ensure his needs are met throughout his time at college are in place. Due to the timing of Louis' application, this process is still ongoing and after further discussions, we hope to have a final outcome by the end of this week.'
Neil Young and Daryl Hannah had love to burn over the weekend. According to the Daily Mirra, the longtime couple reportedly got married in 'a small ceremony with close friends' on Saturday in Atascadero, California, which followed an earlier ceremony off the Sun Juan islands aboard Young's yacht. Young's guitarist, Mark Miller, confirmed the news on Facebook, writing: 'Congratulations to Daryl Hannah and Neil Young on their wedding today,' even later adding: 'I only knew about it because one of my friends attended the ceremony in Atascadero and announced it on his page.' The couple have been dating since 2014, around the time that Neil divorced Pegi Young, his wife of thirty six years. Earlier this year, Hannah directed Young in the Netflix film, Paradox.
Interestingly, this news comes eight days into yer actual Keith Telly Topping's current 'this month, I shall be mostly listening to Neil Young' phase - having previously done a month of Elvis Costello, a month of Bob Dylan and a month of The Be-Atles (a popular beat-combo of the 1960s, you might've heard of them).
And, speaking of Bob Dylan ... Oooo, want one!
Boxer Curtis Harper has been heavily criticised by his trainer for leaving the ring after the opening bell of a heavyweight bout in protest over pay. The thirty-year-old American stroppily walked out of the arena when the bell sounded for his bout against Efe Ajagba of Nigeria in Minneapolis. Trainer Nate Campbell said that he was 'embarrassed' by his fighter's move. 'This man disrespected himself, his wife, the fans and me,' Campbell posted on social media. Journalist Jordan Hardy - who works for Premier Boxing Champions, which was broadcasting the fight - said that Harper told her the walkout was 'because of money. He walked out of the ring because he's not getting paid enough to fight and that he wants respect,' she wrote on social media. Promoter Leon Margules told the BBC Sport website that organisers 'had no idea' of Harper's plan before the bout and confirmed the fighter received no payment as a result. 'He signed a contract and agreed to the fight,' said Margules. 'First time we heard about money issues was after he left the ring. He weighed in and showed up on time and even touched gloves before the bell. It is strange. If he didn't like the deal, why did he accept the fight and money?' Harper had reached the bottom of the steps at the side of the ring with just five seconds gone in the round. Fans began booing as he made his way along the walkway out of the ring and officials disqualified him at the one-second mark of the first round. Harper now holds a record of six defeats and thirteen wins, while Ajagba, has six wins from six, including five knockouts. And, now, a 'surrender before kick-off.'
An undercover investigation that led to odious Sam Allardyce's exit as England manager after sixty seven days was justified in the public interest, a report has found. Allardyce left the England job in 2016 after the Daily Torygraph claimed he told reporters posing as businessmen how to 'get around' player transfer rules. The sixty three-year-old lodged twenty five whinges about the story with the Independent Press Standards Organisation. IPSO found in the paper's favour on twenty two of those points. Allardyce whinged that the 'level of subterfuge' employed by the newspaper in its 'Football for Sale' investigation had been 'unjustified' and that it had published its findings 'in an inaccurate and misleading way.' The former West Hamsters United, Blackburn Vindaloos, Blunderland and Everton manager also claimed that the Football Association was 'too hasty' in deciding he had breached his contract and that 'entrapment won.' Which might've been true, but, it was also pure dead funny. In a statement on Wednesday night, Allardyce said: 'Had the FA stuck to their word and waited to see the Telegraph's evidence (as they originally told me they would) they would have seen the allegations made against me were false. It was of course the allegations about third-party ownership that the FA stated were the reasons for my leaving.' IPSO's complaints committee found that the Torygraph's coverage was 'generally accurate' but that the paper had breached the Editors' Code on three specific points. Allardyce was being filmed as part of a ten-month Torygraph investigation that separately unearthed evidence of bribery and corruption in British football. Of the three complaints upheld by IPSO, one related to a suggestion that Allardyce had 'implied' third parties 'could benefit from transfer fees,' which was not true and two wrongly implied Allardyce had offered to tell the Torygraph's reporters how to break ownership rules. The Torygraph published a correction on Thursday. In very small letters on page twenty seven. Probably. However, IPSO ultimately ruled that the Torygraph's use of subterfuge was 'justified'and 'ni the public interest.' In September 2016, Allardyce was filmed telling undercover reporters that it was 'not a problem' to bypass rules on third-party player ownership and claimed that he 'knew of agents' who were 'doing it all the time.' Third-party ownership - when someone other than the buying and selling club owns a stake in a player, typically an investor - has been banned by the Football Association and world football's governing body FIFA. It is a practice which has been described as 'a form of slavery' by Michel Platini, the (disgraced) former president of European football's governing body UEFA. The Torygraph investigation claimed that a four hundred thousand smackers 'deal' was struck for Allardyce to represent the Far East organisation for which the reporters claimed to work and to be a keynote speaker at events. Allardyce, though, stressed to the reporters that he would first have to 'run that by' his employers at the time, the FA. Allardyce also made fun of his predecessor as England manager Roy Hodgson's speech by referring to him as 'Woy', as well as criticising Gary Neville, one of Hodgson's assistants and making comments about FA president Prince William. He described another member of the Royal Family, Prince Harry, as 'a naughty boy.' Still, even a broken clock is right twice a day.
In an interesting article on the BBC Sport website, Ciaran Varley asks the question Does football have a gambling problem? 'The names of bookmakers and online casinos are all over shirt sponsors, stadium names and TV ads. We've looked into football's relationship with gambling.' To which this blogger can only observe that, given that every single player in the second, third and fourth tiers of English football is currently running around with the words 'Sky Bet' emblazoned on their shirts, From The North reckons the answer to that question is 'Christ, yes.'
It is not unheard of for players to be suspended for head-butting, drop-kicking fans, or even biting and opponent - if you're Luis Suarez. But, being suspended for 'blasphemous remarks' might be a first. Former Juventus midfielder Rolando Mandragora has been suspended for one Serie A game after he was caught on television cameras shouting 'Porca Madonna, Vaffanculo, Dio Cane, an insult to the Virgin Mary, while also referring to God as 'a dog.' So, he's also been suspended for making up a conundrum, seemingly. Countdown contestants, beware. The outburst from the international came after Sampdoria goalkeeper Emil Eudero saved his shot in a game which Mandragora's side, Udinese, won one-nil. The remarks initially went unnoticed by officials during the match, but the Lega Serie A - the competition's governing body - later took the incident to review and suspended the twenty one-year-old. 'After acquiring and examining the relevant television images, the player, while cursing without referring to anybody around him, was nevertheless clearly seen by the television images to make blasphemous remarks, visibly identifiable from reading his lips without any margin for reasonable doubt,' a disciplinary report from the Lega Serie A said. Mandragora, who won the Serie A and Italian Cup with Juve in 2017, has spent last season on loan to Crotone before signing for Udinese last month. He has one cap for Italy. 'Mandragora is a good person, the most he deserved was a warning,' said Udinese coach Daniele Prade. There is a strict ban on taking God's name in vain in Italy and, since 2010, the country's football association has disciplined players and coaches heard doing so. Former Juve captain Gianluigi Buffon has been forced to apologise in the past for uttering the word 'Dio' (God). Although, he did once claim that he had in fact said 'Zio' - which means uncle. One or two people - including his uncle - believed him. 'I apologise. If one day I will have the good fortune to meet God, he will be the one to decide whether to forgive me,' Buffon said at the time. Two years ago, Italy's rugby captain Sergio Parisse was also forced to apologise after being filmed uttering a blasphemous phrase before a Six Nations game against France. And, according to the Italian FA's rules, players who wear t-shirts with personal messages to their family, or which make a reference to their religious beliefs, will also be punished. It is not unusual for European countries have blasphemy laws on the statute book, but it is rare that they are invoked.
The Copa Libertadores second-leg game between Santos of Brazil and Independiente of Argentina was abandoned after police clashed with the home crowd - who had been told shortly before kick-off that rather than being level on aggregate they were actually three-nil down. Santos fans at the Pacaembu Stadium in Sao Paulo got all stroppy and discombobulated and began throwing missiles at the Independiente bench and on to the pitch with eight minutes of the game to go and the score nil-nil on the night. Many others then stormed the perimeter fence, where police used batons to beat them back. Police then used percussion grenades as some fans climbed over the barriers to get on to the pitch. About forty five thousand Santos fans had bought tickets to the game in hopes of a victory in South America's top club competition after they drew the first leg in Buenos Aires. But twelve hours before the game started, officials at CONMEBOL - the organisation that runs football on the continent - changed that result to a three-nil win to Independiente. It made the decision after its records revealed Santos' Uruguay international Carlos Sanchez had not served the entirety of a ban in the competition handed out three years previously, when he got a red card while playing for River Plate. Santos pointed out they had checked CONMEBOL's own online system beforehand and it had revealed 'no outstanding bans.' Although Santos appealed, the three-nil result was upheld. With the second game abandoned with no change in that overall score, Independiente qualified for the quarter-finals. Leadership in South American football has been severely weakened since the 2015 FIFA scandal, which brought down so many of the leaders at the top of football in the continent. Sao Paulo is the richest and most powerful state in Brazil - fans there will be absolutely foaming at the mouth. This is the club at which Pele made his name; Neymar started there too. Brazilian clubs have often felt that CONMEBOL is against them and this fiasco will have only made that feeling stronger.
Non-league side Litherland Remyca have been thrown out of this year's FA Cup over an unpaid ten knicker fine. The Merseyside club unwittingly fielded a suspended player in the four-two win over Charnock Richard in the extra-preliminary round on 11 August. The player's one-match ban for not paying an 'administrative' fine at his previous club was carried over from last season. Litherland said it is 'a massive blow with numerous implications.' A club statement read: 'The sanctions for a minor administration technicality are considerable, but we must dust ourselves down, learn from the experience and come back stronger.' Charnock have been reinstated and will face Leek Town in the preliminary round on 4 September. Litherland, who play in the North West Counties League Premier Division, beat local rivals AFC Liverpool two-nil in front of the BBC cameras last season.
This winner of this week's From The North headline of the week award, obviously, goes to BBC News for Brest Frisky Dolphin Sparks French Swimming Ban.
A woman claims she was 'deceived' into marrying a stranger in a 'mock wedding' in China. The twenty one-year-old unidentified woman, from Hong Kong, claimed that she was 'asked to play a bride' in a mock wedding as 'part of training' in order to become a wedding planner, the BBC reported. The woman originally signed up to be a make-up artist after seeing a post on Facebook. However, she was 'convinced' by the firm to become a wedding planner instead because she 'could make more money.' She received a week of free training in Hong Kong before travelling to the Chinese province of Fujian for the alleged 'mock wedding.' However, as the simulated wedding went on, she and the groom signed a real marriage document. She was told by the company that the marriage would be 'voided', the South China Morning Post reported. The woman did not realise that she was married until she returned to Hong Kong and sought legal help. 'It's a new form of marriage scam,' Tong Kamgyiu, the director of the Rights & Benefits Committee of the Hong Kong Federation of Trade Unions, told the BBC. 'I feel disappointed and cannot believe it's even happening in modern Hong Kong.' It was not immediately clear to whom the woman was married but she may have to 'apply for a divorce.' Each year, an average of one thousand Hong Kong-China marriage scam cases occur, according to the outlet.
A human body with no head or hands was found in a fish tank at the home of a man who had been missing for two months, police said. The corpse was found when officers raided Brian Egg's San Francisco house, weeks after neighbours first raised the alarm about his disappearance. Residents of his street told local media that they last saw the sixty five-year-old on his daily walk with his dog Lucky in early June. Police first visited Egg's house in July after neighbours grew concerned. They spoke to a man who claimed to live there and said Egg was 'on holiday,' a story that the officers appeared to accept. But, earlier this month, Egg's neighbour, Scott Free, called police again after seeing a private crime-scene clean-up crew turn up at Egg's house. This time police officers searched the house and found the corpse in the fish tank, alleged 'sources with knowledge of the investigation' allegedly told the San Francisco Chronicle. 'It's horrifying,' Free told the newspaper. 'A dead body was in the house this entire time.' Police have yet to identify whether the body is Egg as the remains are 'so badly decomposed that even the sex is unclear.' The city's Medical Examiner is working to establish a cause of death. Although, having his head cut off probably didn't matters.
A group of undercover Detroit police posing as drug dealers reportedly tried to arrest another group of undercover police posing as drug buyers in a mishap which resulted in a brawl between more than two dozen armed officers. 'This is probably one of the most embarrassing things I've seen in this department,' Detroit Police Chief James Craig said on Monday, according to the Detroit Free Press. The incident occurred on 9 November last year when two officers from Detroit's Twelfth Precinct were posing as drug dealers in order to arrest buyers, according to WJBK-TV. Two buyers did subsequently arrive at the drug house, but they were also undercover police officers from Detroit's Eleventh district. The officers reportedly did not know each other. More officers from the Eleventh district arrived to serve a search warrant and 'that's when it started to go terribly wrong,' Craig said. Body camera footage obtained by WXYZ-TV showed the two groups of police officers yelling, shoving and throwing punches at each other. 'They appeared to be like Keystone cops,' Craig said. He added that an internal investigation has been launched to understand how the two precincts made the potentially fatal mistake.
It's not unusual for restaurant customers to be disappointed when a particularly beloved food item is changed or removed from the menu altogether. Last month, for example, Costco fans complained about the demise of the popular Polish hot-dog. But, when the owners of a restaurant in Maine tried to amend their french fries recently, some people absolutely lost their shit. Things became so hostile that the restaurateurs even received violent threats from customers. Bolley's Famous Franks in Waterville, is a hot dog eatery which has been a family-run business since the 1960s. Owners Jim and Leslie Parsons, who took over the business in 2017, recently ditched their crinkle-cut french fries, which had been on the menu for many years. They replaced them with straight-cut fries. The chips are still hand-cut daily from local Maine potatoes and fried up in sizzling canola oil, the Parsons told TODAY Food. Nothing else changed about the recipe except the way in which they were cut. But a lot of patrons just weren't having it. Ooo, geet vexed so they were. Getting their mad-up and all sorts. Customers whinged about the savoury swap 'using foul language and even threatened to harm' the Parsons' family. 'There was quite a bit of negativity from a few grumbling people who we had to escort out of our business, because they were too rowdy,' Bolley's co-owner Leslie Parsons told TODAY Food. It caused such a stir that the couple put up a post on the restaurant's Facebook page and wrote that the 'unpleasant behaviour' would 'not be tolerated' at the eatery.
Thieves in Paraguay have stolen forty two powerful rifles from the police armoury. During an inspection, officers found that the FN-FAL battle rifles had been stolen and replaced with wooden and plastic replicas. Which, obviously, are a bit less effective when you fire them. The inspection had been ordered after the rifles started appearing a year ago on the black market, where they can fetch up to ten thousand bucks. The rifles had been put into storage but were 'still in working order.' Some of them are thought to have ended up in Argentina while others are believed to have been smuggled to Brazil. Neighbouring Brazil has long complained that many of the illegal weapons seized there have been smuggled into the country from Paraguay. Paraguayan media posted photos of the replicas and called it the 'most embarrassing scandal' in the history of the country's police force. They had been taken to the armoury in the city of Capiatá as the police force was replacing them with newer models. When the rifles first started appearing on the black market, the military ordered an investigation. They honed in on the police armoury and a search revealed the toy rifles. The police officer in charge of the armoury has been extremely replaced but no arrests have so far been made.
Two North Carolina women have been very jailed on child abuse charges after a Snapchat video appeared to show three small children smoking what seemed to be a marijuana joint. Police in Winston-Salem arrested Michaela Pearson and Candice Little in connection with the video. Both defendants are currently locked up in the slammer in lieu of a one hundred and fifty thousand dollar bond after being charged with three counts of felony child abuse and three counts of contributing to the delinquency of a minor, a misdemeanour. In the video, Pearson is seen handing the cigarette to the children. Little apparently recorded the children smoking and posted the video to her Snapchat page. Police have not said what the relationship of the children is to either Pearson or Little. On the video, Pearson can he heard asking the children, 'Which one of you want to hit this?' After one toddler exhales smoke from his nose, Pearson and Little laugh. Pearson and Little were arrested hours after the video began going viral on Facebook. The women were taken into custody at a University Inn & Suites hotel, where cops found drug paraphernalia in the room occupied by the pair. The children, police reported, were 'taken to a local hospital for medical treatment where they remain for observation.'
A Kentucky man is reportedly facing charges after police said he faked a heart attack. The Knox County Sheriff's Department responded to a reported theft at a home in Corbin. Deputies said that Kenneth Ray Couch stole a handgun from the home. While tracking down Couch, deputies learned that he had been picked up by an ambulance at Dixon's market after faking a heart attack. When the ambulance arrived at Baptist Health Corbin, authorities claimed that Couch got out and walked to the cafeteria. He was still there when deputies arrived to arrest his ass. Couch faces charges of first-degree burglary and falsely reporting an incident. He was also wanted in Caldwell County for failure to appear on two counts of theft by deception using cold checks.
In an incident that a Kentucky man 'blames on methamphetamine,' the man's cousin allegedly tried to steal various seemingly random items, including a cheese grater, an empty bottle of Lysol and some soap. Neighbours informed Mason Tackett that his cousin, Phillip Hagans, had been seen carrying items out of his house, but the items weren't the typical targets of a would-be burglar. 'Who steals a cheese grater? He's got the works. Lysol – he stole the empty bottle of spray. What got me the most was my soap. He stole my soap. Who steals soap?' Tackett asked, angrily. After his neighbours' warnings, Tackett headed home to confront his thieving cousin. 'When I finally got down there to the house to look and see what happened, the door was standing wide open. It looked like he was packing up for a yard sale when he come out,' Tackett said. The confrontation 'took a dangerous turn' once Tackett found items belonging to him. 'He was lying, throwing his hands, saying stuff like, "I didn't do it. I didn't do it.' You know, how rogues do and blame it on everybody else,' Tackett said. 'He did pull a gun on me when I got back around the house because I guess he thought I was upset with him.' After being reported to the fuzz, Hagans has been charged with receiving stolen property and being a convicted felon with a firearm.
The Louisiana Office of State Fire Marshal has arrested a Denham Springs woman for setting her couch on fire to 'get the devil out.' JoLynn Winn was booked into the Livingston Parish jail on Friday on one count of arson. Officials said firefighters found Winn at the scene 'suffering from smoke inhalation.' Officials added that Winn told firefighters she had set the couch on fire 'to get the devil out.' Investigators found fire damage in the trailer's living room and determined that the fire started because of the burning couch. Winn was very arrested after she was released from the hospital. Officials said Winn confessed to setting the fire.
A Scotland Yard officer took to Twitter to tell everyone how he arrested a woman at Notting Hill Carnival after she slapped him on the bottom. And, how it made him feel like a man. Inspector Owen Pyle of Southwark police told of his 'ordeal' online following the incident. He said: 'While dealing with an incident at Carnival yesterday a woman thought it'd be funny to slap my bum. She soon regretted it when I arrested her. I don't come to work to be sexually assaulted while doing my job. That kind of behaviour is unacceptable.' When asked by someone if the woman was apologetic afterwards, he said: 'Not initially. Only when she was arrested and escorted away from Carnival.'
The Delhi Police reportedly arrested a woman for allegedly 'creating a ruckus' after being asked by security personnel at the airport to remove power bank from her baggage, a senior police officer said. The woman allegedly got into a geet stroppy huff and threw the power bank on the floor which 'triggered a small blast,' he added. She was arrested yesterday from the airport and later released on bail. Alleged - although anonymous and, therefore, almost certainly fictitious - 'sources' alleged claimed that woman is 'an actress' but the police officials said that they were 'not sure' about what she did for a living.
An Oregon woman is in jail after allegedly attempting to hit a pedestrian with her 2005 Pontiac Grand Am. When deputies from the Baker County Sheriff's Office arrived at the scene of the incident, witnesses advised that a red passenger car attempted to hit Lacey Kolb, aged thirty seven, as she was walking on the street. Kolb avoided being hit by 'taking cover behind several abandoned camp trailers and cars.' Deputies subsequently contacted Susan Graves in the parking lot of a T & T Country Store. Graves was extremely arrested and charged with first degree attempted assault, reckless driving and endangering and 'interfering with a peace officer.'
Police in Majorca have arrested a thirty eight-year-old woman who allegedly forced her sister to live and sleep in the staircase landing of their block of flats for two months. Police reportedly received a warning from the siblings' brother on Sunday 'alerting them of the situation.' The man informed Balearic authorities that his 'homeless' sister had been locked out of the flat she shared with their older sister, following 'a big family dispute' two months earlier. Unable to get into their shared home, the sister decided instead to camp out on the staircase landing, despite it being used by all the building's residents to access their flats. Police who arrived at the scene confirmed that one of the sisters had made a home out of the shared space; her belongings and toiletries lying scattered across the floor. The woman informed the agents that her sister had stolen her keys two months earlier and she'd had 'no other choice' but to sleep on the cold landing floor ever since, Spanish radio station Cadena Ser reported. Police then proceeded to arrest her sister, who defended her move by arguing that her sibling 'caused too much trouble.'
A man dressed in a women's clothing and a wig was extremely arrested after Greenville Police say he recorded a woman in the bathroom from an adjacent stall. According to police, thirty eight-year-old Shawn Thomas Hallett, from Texas, has been charged with Voyeurism after he recorded video of at least one woman in the bathroom a QuikTrip stroe. The victim told officers that she entered the store's bathroom, knocked on a stall door and heard a male voice respond but looked down to see 'female shoes,' so she used the adjacent stall. The victim told officers she saw a cell phone appear under the stall wall next to her so she left and alerted police. Investigators say they found video of the victim on Hallett's phone. He was arrested and his phone was seized.
Indonesia's largest Islamic bodies have denounced the jailing of a Buddhist woman in Sumatra, after she complained about the volume of the adzan, or call to prayer, from her local mosque. The Medan district court sentenced Meiliana, a forty four-year-old ethnic Chinese Buddhist, to eighteen months in jail after she reportedly asked the mosque to turn it down. The conviction under Indonesia's controversial blasphemy law has been criticised by rights groups, with senior figures from Indonesia's two largest Islamic bodies backing them. 'I do not see how saying "adzan is too loud" is an expression of hatred of hostility toward a particular group or religion,' said Robikin Emhas, head of Nahdlatul Ulama legal division. Robikin urged authorities to refrain from using blasphemy laws as 'an instrument to suppress freedom of expression' and said that Indonesian Muslims should take such opinions as 'constructive criticism.' Critics argue that Indonesia's blasphemy law is being used to 'arbitrarily attack minorities.' Amnesty International Indonesia described the court decision as 'ludicrous.' Meiliana's comments, made in July 2016, triggered an anti-Chinese riot in which several Buddhist temples were burned. Critics of her sentence have pointed out that those tried for damaging the temples were only given several months in prison while others were released.
The highly-respected Production Designer Michael Pickwoad has died at the age of seventy three. BAFTA-nominated, Michael joined the Doctor Who team in 2010, taking over from Edward Thomas and marking the first new Production Designer since Rose. Throughout his time on the show he worked across five series, eight Christmas Specials and the fiftieth anniversary special, The Day Of The Doctor, designing seventy one episodes in total. His unique artistic style was felt from his very first episode, the Dickens' inspired A Christmas Carol, all the way through to Peter Capaldi's final episode in 2017. Steven Moffat, who worked closely with Michael said: 'The first time I met Michael Pickwoad properly, I laughed and you probably would have too. We were both heading to Michael's first Doctor Who tone meeting and he'd arrived wearing a tweed jacket and a bow tie. "In costume, I see!" I said. He gave me a bemused smile (I'd get very used to that smile) and we went into a dull white room and discussed flying sharks and cryo-pods for the Doctor Who Christmas special. Some time during the meeting, it occurred to me that Michael hadn't understood why I'd laughed and the more I listened to him talking the clearer it became that he wasn't in costume at all: I was dealing with a designer who dressed exactly like [The Doctor] by accident. Clearly, this man was born for this show. I've never been more right. It wasn't just the outfit either. Never have I met a man with such fund of knowledge, about ... well, everything. If there's a university somewhere that confers degrees in Everything, then that's the one Michael got. Every tone meeting, without exception, yet another nugget of learning would emerge. He was never showing off, of course, never parading his learning - just off-handedly mentioning another arcane branch of knowledge he happened to have mastered. Submarines! Roman Centurians! The interior stairs of large chimneys over history. Once, during the Tone for The Magician's Apprentice, he looked up from the script with that gentle frown which meant he had a question. It was the scene where Peter Capaldi's Doctor rolled into a castle courtyard on a tank, playing an electric guitar. Now, you might think he was worried about creating an entire castle courtyard for what was, in all honesty, one gag, but no. His question was: "Are you sure you mean a Centurian tank? They're the trickiest to drive!" "How many lives has he led?" I asked Brian Minchin, my co-exec, as we left the meeting. I'm still learning from him this morning, as I type this. I looked up some old interviews with him and found this gem: "A production designer should think like a director and behave like a producer." Well that's it exactly, of course - a typical piece of Pickwoad wisdom (I imagine his next sentence would have been about the correcting weighting of duelling pistols, or which sea has the most fish). He had exquisite visual sense, of course, but like a director he always saw everything through the lens. It didn't matter how it looked in the studio, it mattered how it looked on the screen. He nailed that every time. And yes, he behaved like a producer. Doctor Who never had the movie-scale budget it needed and our secret weapon for hiding that was Michael Pickwoad. In no time flat, with next to no money, he gave us arctic vistas, Viking villages, the Sheriff of Nottingham’s castle, any number of spaceships, the best submarine I've ever seen on-screen and the finest ever version of the TARDIS control room. And through it all, he was kind and courteous and funny. The only downside of great men, is that they make terrible losses and we've lost Michael far too soon. He was a genius and a gentleman and we will all miss him. Looking back on all those mad, happy years, I think he was right to wear that tweed jacket and bow-tie. More than that, he was entitled. If Doctor Who had been a designer, instead of a rebel Time Lord, she'd have been Michael Pickwoad.' Chris Chibnall added: 'Everyone at Doctor Who is incredibly saddened to learn that Michael Pickwoad has died. His contribution to the show during Matt Smith and Peter Capaldi's era was immense and varied, conjuring up distant galaxies and historical eras - as well as an iconic TARDIS interior - with equal brilliance. He was a beloved member of the Doctor Who team and we send our sympathy and love to his family.' Before joining the Doctor Who team. Michael had a long and established career. He studied BSc Civil and Environmental Engineering, in 1967 at Southampton University, but subsequently decided to turn his attention to film design. His career on Doctor Who seemed destined as his father the great character actor William Mervyn, appeared in The War Machines opposite William Hartnell in 1966 whilst Michael's mother, Anne Margaret Payne Cooke was an acclaimed theatre designer. Michael's varied career began as an Art Director in the early 1970's, working for the Children's Film & Television Foundation on short films such as Wreck Raisers. In the 1980's he moved onto Production Designer, taking responsibility for the overall visual look of a production on classic British movies such as Withnail & I and The Krays and TV dramas including, Poirot, the US remake of The Prisoner, Marple, Rules of Engagement, Kavanagh QC, Murder Most Horrid, Lost In Austen and more recently Russell Davies' adaptation of A Midsummer Night's Dream and Doctor Who spin-off, Class. His final project, the BBC's Stephen Poliakoff drama series Summer Of Rockets, is yet to be broadcast. He had previously worked with Steven Moffat on the comedy Coupling and on 2007's Jekyll. He is survived by his daughter, Amy, an art director who has also worked on Doctor Who.
Kate Bush has paid tribute to dancer, mime artist and choreographer Lindsay Kemp, who has died aged this week at his home in Italy aged eighty. She described Lindsay - who taught her to dance - as 'inspirational' and 'a truly original and great artist of the stage.' Kemp famously collaborated with David Bowie as he invented his early theatrical personae. In her tribute, Bush said: 'To call him a mime artist is like calling Mozart a pianist. He was very brave, very funny and above all, astonishingly inspirational. There was no-one quite like Lindsay. I was incredibly lucky to study with him, work with him and spend time with him. I loved him very much and will miss him dearly.' David Haughton, Kemp's closest friend and collaborator for forty five years, said his death was like 'losing a part of yourself.' He told BBC News that Kemp had been working up until his sudden death in Livorno and had been 'very busy and very positive. It is a huge shock,' he said. 'But, if it had to happen, this was the best way. He was in a very good period - he had been working and dancing. He had no illness, he was with friends. He suddenly said he felt ill and a minute-and-a-half later he was gone.' LIndsay was also known for his film cameos, appearing as the pub landlord in the cult classic The Wicker Man in 1973, in Derek Jarman's Sebastian (1976) and as a pantomime dame in Velvet Goldmine in 1998.
Haughton, who first met Kemp in 1973, said: 'So many people feel so very deeply about him. So many people have said their lives were changed by his performances. One feels the depth and breadth of inspiration that he has left. He was one of a kind. There won't be another like him. He did ground-breaking work in performance, without the divide of classifying it as dance, music, mime or prose. The concept of what performance is was influenced by him. And he performed in countries all around the world - performance is a very universal language.' Born in 1938 in the Wirrel, Lindsay grew up in South Shields and later, after his father's death, in Bradford and quickly discovered a love of dance. 'I realised that I wanted to dance when I first realised anything at all. I was born dancing,' he said. 'For me dancing has always been a shortcut to happiness.' He first saw Ballet Rambert perform at the age of seventeen and soon after hitchhiked to London to audition. He won a scholarship, but needed to complete his military service first. He told Newsnight in 2016: 'I had a fairly tough time in the Air Force, because I didn't march, I danced.' He returned, untamed, to Yorkshire and enrolled in night classes at Bradford College of Art, where he became friends with David Hockney. He studied under the expressionist dancer Hilde Holger and French mime master Marcel Marceau before forming his own dance company in the 1960s. In 1966, Lindsay first met David Bowie after a performance in Covent Garden when the singer was nineteen. 'He came to my dressing room and he was like the archangel Gabriel standing there, I was like Mary,' Lindsay recalled. 'It was love at first sight.' Bowie became his student - and, for a time, his lover - performing in Kemp's mime ballet, Pierrot In Turquoise and gaining the theatrical inspiration for subsequent creations like Ziggy Stardust. 'He was certainly multi-faceted, a chameleon, splendid, inspiring, a genius of a creature. But I did show him how to do it,' Kemp said. The pair continued to occasionally work together into the 70s, Lindsay providing the androgynous dance troupe for Bowie & The Spiders' legendary 1972 residency at The Rainbow Theare, a flavour of which is captured in Mick Rock's video for 'John I'm Only Dancing'. His signature production during this period was Flowers, 'a pantomime for Jean Genet,' which he performed in the tiny confines of The Bush Theatre in Shepherd's Bush in early 1974. After teaching Bush to dance - she first saw him in another performance of Flowers - Kemp described her as a shy performer who nevertheless was 'dynamic' when she began to move. The singer later dedicated the song 'Moving' to him, pushing a copy of her debut LP under the door of his London flat. Kemp said: 'It was a very moving experience, because I didn't know she was a singer.' Lindsay left Britain for good in the late 1970s, for Spain and then Italy, although he did make a successful return to Sadler's Wells in 1983, dancing Nijinsky as a white-faced, slow motion rag doll in the last stages of insanity. He made his mark on the world of modern dance with shows such as Cruel Garden, a collaboration with Christopher Bruce at Ballet Rambert. Bruce told BBC News: 'He was one of those people you thought was going to live forever and go on working forever. He was one of the most remarkable men ever created in British theatre. He has influenced so many people. He was loved and considered a great artist by so many in theatre. And he would make me laugh for hours - he was a great raconteur.' He added that Cruel Garden, created in just four weeks, was 'one of the toughest productions I've ever made. There was terrific pressure. We fought, we battled away, we compromised and we came up with something which was a wonderful collaboration.' On Twitter, the actor and David Bowie biographer and historian Nicholas Pegg shared a photo of himself on-stage with the singer Marc Almond and Kemp, whom he called 'one of life's originals.'
The celebrated US playwright Neil Simon has died aged ninety one in his native New York City of complications from pneumonia, representatives announced. Simon gained international fame in the 1960s for stage and screen comedies including The Odd Couple and Barefoot In The Park. In 1991 he won the Pulitzer Prize For Drama with Lost In Yonkers. 'Some say he's the most successful playwright since Shakespeare,' Robert Redford once said. Simon was a prolific author averaging at least one play a year for much of his career and his work also included the hit musicals Sweet Charity and They're Playing Our Song. His wife, Elaine Joyce Simon, was at his deathbed along with his daughters, Ellen and Nancy in New York-Presbyterian Hospital, his representatives said. Born in 1927, Simon grew up in New York City during the Great Depression, with his parents' financial hardships affecting their marriage, giving him a mostly unhappy and unstable childhood. He often took refuge in movie theatres where he enjoyed watching comedians like Charlie Chaplin. Following a few years in the Army Air Force Reserve, and after graduating from high school, he began writing comedy scripts for radio and some popular early television shows. Among them were Sid Caesar's Your Show Of Shows from 1950 (where he worked alongside other young writers like Carl Reiner, Mel Brooks and Selma Diamond) and The Phil Silvers Show. He began writing his own plays beginning with Come Blow Your Horn (1961), which took him three years to complete and ran for almost seven hundred performances on Broadway. It was followed by two more successful plays, Barefoot In The Park (1963) and The Odd Couple (1965), for which he won a TONY Award. Both were subsequently turned into successful movies. The latter, in particular, made Simon a national celebrity and 'the hottest new playwright on Broadway.' During the 1960s, 70s and 80s, he wrote both original screenplays and stage plays. His style ranged from romantic and musical comedy to farce to more serious dramatic comedy. Overall, he garnered seventeen TONY nominations and won three. During one season, he had four successful plays running on Broadway at the same time and in 1983 became the only living playwright to have a New York theatre, the Neil Simon Theatre, named in his honour. Simon was married five times, to the dancer Joan Baim (1953 to 1973), the actress Marsha Mason (1973 to 1983), twice to the actress Diane Lander (1987 to 1988 and 1990 to 1998), and latterly to the actress Elaine Joyce. His first wife died of bone cancer in 1973. He was the father of Nancy and Ellen, from his first marriage and Bryn, Lander's daughter from a previous relationship, whom he adopted. His nephew is the US District Judge Michael H Simon and niece-in-law is US Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici.