Friday, August 24, 2018

Acts Of The Apostles

The BBC has announced the full list of writers and directors for the new series of Doctor Who, launching this autumn on BBC1. Showrunner Chris Chibnall, said: 'We have a team of writers who've been working quietly and secretly for a long time now, crafting characters, worlds and stories to excite and move you. A set of directors who stood those scripts up on their feet, bringing those ideas, visuals and emotions into existence with bravura and fun. Hailing from a range of backgrounds, tastes and styles, here's what unites them: They are awesome people as well as brilliant at their job. They love Doctor Who. And they've all worked above and beyond the call of duty in an effort to bring audiences something special, later this year.'
The former Children's Laureate Malorie Blackman has written over sixty books for children and young adults including the Noughts & Crosses series of novels and her book Pig-Heart Boy, which was subsequently adapted into a BAFTA-winning, six-part TV serial. Malorie says: 'I've always loved Doctor Who. Getting the chance to write for this series has definitely been a dream come true.' Ed Hime was nominated for a Craft BAFTA for his first episode of Skins and won the Prix Italia for his radio play The Incomplete Recorded Works Of A Dead Body. 'Writing for this series comes down to the adventure really and telling emotionally engaging stories to bring everyone along with you,' he said. The playwright and screenwriter Vinay Patel's television debut, Murdered By My Father, won the 2016 Royal Television Society Award for Best Single Drama and was nominated for three BAFTAs. Vinay says: 'I grew up watching shows like Star Trek and Quantum Leap on the edge of my dad's bed and I loved how they managed to capture the imagination of a kid like me as well as acting as a moral compass. I never imagined that I'd get to write for Doctor Who – I was pretty thrilled.' Pete McTighe is the originating writer of Wentworth, the female prison drama which has sold to over one hundred and fifty countries. He has written over a hundred hours of TV drama and been nominated for five Writers Guild Awards. Pete says: 'My entire television career has quite literally been an elaborate plan to get to write Doctor Who - and no one is more shocked than me that it paid off. I've been having the time of my life working with Chris and writing for Jodie and the new team and can't wait for everyone to see what we've been up to.' Joy Wilkinson has been selected as a Screen International Star of Tomorrow and has had two screenplays featured on The Brit List. Her TV scripts include the critically-acclaimed BBC five-parter The Life & Adventures Of Nick Nickleby, while her theatre work has won prizes including The Verity Bargate Award. Joy says: 'I loved the show and felt like it might be a good fit for me, but I knew it was really hard to get onto. So quite frankly I'm still pinching myself to be here!' Sallie Aprahamian has been directing television for over two decades with critically acclaimed shows including Extremely Dangerous, The Sins, Real Men, The Lakes, Teachers and This Life. Sallie's memories of Doctor Who go back to the 1960s. 'I watched the First Doctor from behind the sofa through my fingers, frightened and exhilarated. I was really delighted, as a fan and as a director, to be invited to work on the first female Doctor's series. What a brilliant time to be on the show!' Jamie Childs, who directed Jodie Whittaker's reveal as The Doctor, returns for the opening episode of the new series. Jamie says that Doctor Who represents 'an important part of our television landscape. We tend to avoid making many shows in Britain that really allow the audience to properly escape, and Doctor Who has been doing this for decades. So yes, sign me up - I've always wanted to be part of that! There really aren't many shows made over here that allow the viewer to travel to another universe.' Jennifer Perrott wrote, directed, produced and executive produced her award-winning short film The Ravens. Since finishing Doctor Who she has been directing Gentleman Jack, the forthcoming BBC/HBO historical drama series created by Sally Wainwright and starring Suranne Jones. Jennifer says: 'Doctor Who is an iconic show and one I'd loved as a child, especially when Tom Baker was The Doctor. Space travel has become more a part of modern life and this has opened the door for more human stories to be told amidst the escapist fantasy of saving the world from alien invasion. The aliens are now as emotionally complex as the humans, and I was really excited by that.' Mark Tonderai went to school in Zimbabwe and architecture school in Kingston, before landing a job at the BBC as a trainee presenter. Mark has directed the full season of The Five, Impulse, Lucifer, Gotham, Black Lightning, Nightflyers,the acclaimed psychological thriller Hush and the Jennifer Lawrence thriller House At The End Of The Street. Mark says: 'What was really crucial in my decision to direct the show was Chris Chibnall. I'm a huge fan of his and I like the way he sees the world. He has this ability to entertain and also deliver truths - questions, too - about who we are. And he does it all with a hint of a smile.'
The former Doctor Who Executive Producer and current BBC Drama Controller Piers Wenger has shared his views on what he believes Jodie Whittaker brings to the role of The Doctor. Jodie was  this week placed fifteenth in the Radio Times TV One Hundred, a list of, according to the publication, 'the hottest TV stars of the past twelve months.' Celebrating Jodie's placement, Wenger said: 'It's a testament to the energy and focus that Jodie has brought to Doctor Who that it's hard to distinguish where one ends and the other begins. She said from the start that she could only do it her way and so it has become. Gone is the daffiness and idiosyncrasy of her predecessors in favour of a Doctor with energy, spark and relatability.' Somewhat inevitably, this rather throwaway statement was much commented upon by a certain section of Doctor Who fandom on social media with very loud voices (you know, Those People) as being some kind of coded 'insult' to all of the previous Doctors when, in fact, it was nothing of the sort. Still, a week wouldn't be a week if parts of Doctor Who fandom didn't have something to whinge about, would it?
Meanwhile, the BBC's content director Charlotte Moore also congratulated new showrunner Chris Chibnall who placed even higher that Jodie in this utterly meaningless annual 'Biggest Knobs In Telly' poll. The Chib occupies the number two spot. Moore said: 'Chris is a wonderfully talented multi-award-winning writer whose catalogue of work speaks for itself. I can't wait to see his passion and vision for Doctor Who come to life on BBC1 this autumn. As a lifelong fan himself, I know he will bring something very special to the hit series to captivate old and new fans across the globe.'
And, speaking of The Biggest Knobs In Telly, Jodie and The Chib's former Broadchurch colleague Olivia Colman has been named 'the most powerful person in British television,' according to a ranking by the Radio Times. A list which is based on ... Christ-only knows what; probably whatever box-sets the staff of Radio Times have been watching recently, one suspects. The actress, who will appear as Queen Elizabeth in the next series of Netflix's The Crown, comes top of the magazine's TV One Hundred 'power list,' which attempts to 'rank the on-screen and behind-the-scenes individuals who have had an exceptional past year in British television.' Colman rose to prominence in Channel Four's Peep Show (though, this blogger was well-aware of Colly before that thanks to scene-stealing roles in Green Wing, Look Around You and the movie Hot Fuzz) before making award-winning appearances in Broadchurch and The Night Manager. She is also due to star in the BBC's forthcoming Les Misérables drama and as Strawberry in an adaptation of Watership Down. Busy lady. Damned fine actress as well - a very definite From The North favourite - although whether she really is 'the most powerful individual in the industry' as several media outlets have asserted is another question entirely. As previous noted, Chris Chibnall takes the runners-up slot, while third place is shared by siblings Daisy May and Charlie Cooper - the creators, writers and stars of This Country. Which, this blogger has to confess he has never watched, although he has heard jolly good things about from some people whose opinions he - usually - respects. Other people who make the top ten include Wor Geet Canny Declan Donnelly, who is preparing to host 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) without long-term on-screen partner Wor Geet Canny Ant McPartlin, the BBC natural history presenter David Attenborough and Luther's Idris Elba. Hugh Grant is in seventh place following praise for his performance in A Very English Scandal, one spot above Vanessa Kirby, who won a BAFTA for her portrayal of Princess Margaret in The Crown. Benedict Cumberbatch, who is preparing to play Vote Leave boss Dominic Cummings in a forthcoming Channel Four drama, comes ninth following his performance in Sky's Patrick Melrose, while another From The North fave, yer actual Nicola Walker completes the top ten after appearing recently in The Split and Unforgotten. Other individuals to make the top twenty include Derry Girls writer Lisa McGee, the BBC journalist Carrie Gracie and that risible oily twat Piers Morgan. The list is, the magazine claims, 'drawn up by dozens of actors and industry executives from major broadcasters and independent production companies,' including Sir Lenny Henry (last, briefly, funny in 1983), ITV director of television Kevin Lygo and Amazon's director of original TV Georgia Brown. Radio Times staff then choose the final ranking. Susanna Lazarus, Radio Times' associate editor, said: 'At a time of rapid change in the way we watch TV, how appropriate that our list is topped by a brilliant performer who has starred in some of the biggest broadcast shows of recent times and is soon to become the queen of on-demand as the lead in Netflix's The Crown.'
Yer actual Mark Gatiss has written and directed a ghost story for BBC4. Channel editor Cassian Harrison announced the news this week during Edinburgh TV Festival. The one-off thirty minute piece, titled The Dead Room, was filmed at Maida Vale studios and stars Simon Callow in the lead role. The Dead Room follows a radio horror series and its veteran presenter Aubrey Judd, who discovers that 'all is not quiet right in his spooky studio.' Callow is joined by Anjli Mohindra, Susan Penhaligon and Joshua Oakes-Rogers. Speaking about BBC4's creative progression, Harrison explained: 'I'm immensely proud of how BBC4 continues to stand as a truly unique offer in UK broadcasting and of the ongoing support of our audiences, with the channel showing some of its best figures ever this year.' The channel editor also unveiled three more forthcoming projects - The Yorkshire Ripper, You, Me & Eugenics and The Plague - stating: 'This selection of upcoming titles gives a glimpse of the diversity of programming we have coming down the line, with bold new narrative forms, hard-hitting journalism, the best of international drama and eclectic partnerships with some of the UK's biggest creative talents.'
From The North favourite Derren Brown has finally made good on his promise from earlier this year, as Netflix have announced a new special to launch later this year. Following his Channel 4 special The Push, which was added to the streaming service in February and saw Brown as he attempted to convince someone to commit murder, Derren will be back for a new Netflix special entitled Derren Brown: Sacrifice. In Sacrifice, Dazzling Dezza will attempt to 'radically transform one man's prejudices' using covert psychological techniques and 'ultimately create a scenario in which the man will have to decide whether or not to make the ultimate sacrifice' and lay down his own life for a complete stranger that he wouldn't normally have identified with. Earlier this year, Dezza said that he was working on two Netflix specials. Brandon Riegg, Netflix's VP of 'unscripted originals and acquisitions,' also confirmed during the Edinburgh TV Festival that four more new unscripted original series will be coming to the streaming service. These will include a global culinary competition, an extreme magic show, an 'action comedy game show' and a documentary series about the thigh-slapping goings-on at Blunderland Football Club last season. So, the latter probably should also be classified as a comedy. The Final Table will see the world's most renowned chefs fighting for a spot at the elite 'Final Table', as twelve teams of two chefs from around the world are tasked with cooking the national dishes of a number of countries, from Mexico and England, to Japan and India. Sunderland Til I Die [sic], which will give fans of The Mackem Filth (and, there are still one or two) 'the opportunity to relive the most painful season of their beloved club's history,' taking viewers 'behind the scenes of their infamous 2017-18 Championship season.' When, for the second time in two years, Blunderland were extremely relegated. It comes after Sheikh Yer Man City were followed by Amazon's camera's during the same period, documenting their record-breaking Premier League title-winning season. It's probably fair to say that the two clubs had very different results between August 2017 and May 2018, with the North East side's season going from bad to worse to even worse - and then to unbearable. So, that should be funny.
Russell Davies is returning to Channel Four for his long-awaited AIDS crisis drama The Boys, which he first spoke about in 2015. The five-part series will be written by Big Rusty and produced by RED Production Company, which Davies has previously worked with on the likes of Queer As Folk, Casanova, Cucumber and Banana. It will follow three young men across the 1980s and how they are affected by the growing AIDS epidemic. 'I lived through those times and it's taken me decades to build up to this. And as time marches on, there's a danger the story will be forgotten. So it's an honour to write this for the ones we lost, and the ones who survived,' Davies explained. The Boys centres on three eighteen year olds, Ritchie, Roscoe and Colin after they leave home and head to London in 1981. 'Year by year, episode by episode, their lives change, as the mystery of a new virus starts as a rumour, then a threat, then a terror and then something that binds them together in the fight,' the synopsis reads. 'It's the story of their friends, lovers and families too, especially Jill, the girl who loves them and helps them and galvanises them in the battles to come. Together they will endure the horror of the epidemic, the pain of rejection and the prejudices that gay men faced throughout the decade.' The drama is set to go into production in 2019, but there is not yet a confirmed release date.
Peaky Blinders has found itself a new home in the shape of BBC1 ahead of its fifth series. The historical drama's move was confirmed this week at the Edinburgh TV Festival by Charlotte Moore. As well as hoping to build on its average BBC2 audience of over three million punters, Peaky Blinders will be given 'more creative headroom to experiment' when it moves to BBC1, Moore confirmed. 'Peaky Blinders is world class drama at the top of its game and the time has arrived for it to move to the UK's biggest channel,' she said in a statement. 'Steven Knight's epic storytelling is authentic and utterly compelling and I want to give it the chance to be enjoyed by an even broader audience on BBC1. We couldn't have asked for a better response to series four and the impact it had with young audiences.'
The Big Bang Theory will broadcast its final episode in 2019, ending one of the longest-running sitcoms in US history. The programme's twelfth and final series will premiere on 24 September and is expected to conclude in next May. Set in Pasadena, the series originally focused on two physicists and their aspiring actress neighbour. The Big Bang Theory has attracted more than eighteen million viewers every year since its sixth series was shown in 2012. The production teams and CBS said in a joint statement they were 'forever grateful' to the fans. 'We, along with the cast, writers and crew, are extremely appreciative of the show's success and aim to deliver a final season and series finale, that will bring The Big Bang Theory to an epic creative close,' it read. The series has won seven EMMYs from forty six nominations, including four Outstanding Lead Actor wins for Jim Parsons, who plays the socially inept character Sheldon Cooper. Sheldon became the major success story of the show, earning a spin-off series, Young Sheldon. The other stars of the sitcom are Johnny Galecki, Simon Helberg, Kunal Nayyar, Kaley Cuoco and Mayim Bialik. In 2016, the principal cast earned about a million dollars per episode, although there were reports that they accepted a pay cut to ensure other cast members got rises. Entertainment Weekly report that these large pay packets and the show's many years in production meant it was probably the most expensive show to produce on television which may explain why it was not picked up for a thirteenth series.
Sherlock's Andrew Scott is joining the cast of the multi award-winning Fleabag. Phoebe Waller-Bridge's dark comedy has just started filming its second series. The BAFTA-winning actor joins the line-up that includes Olivia Colman, Sian Clifford, Bill Paterson and Hugh Skinner. The first series was adapted from Waller-Bridge's award-winning play and won a BAFTA and two Royal Television Society Awards. Waller-Bridge said: 'I can't believe they let me do this again. I'm so happy to be back with the incredible Fleabag team and I'm as surprised as anyone about where this series has taken us, thank God for Andrew Scott.' Since the last series, Waller-Bridge has appeared in Solo: A Star Wars Story and written and executive produced two series of Killing Eve for US TV, which will be on BBC1 soon. Little had been revealed about what direction the second series of Fleabag would take. Speaking at the start of filming, Shane Allen, controller of comedy commissioning at the BBC, said that the scripts were 'sparkling with Phoebe's unique voice that combines a whip smart complexity of character with pin sharp funny lines scattered everywhere. The themes of this series are very distinct from the first series which delivers on the challenge Phoebe set herself. It's a superb team and cast from top to bottom and with Fleabag you can never escape a reference to the bottom.'
Big Brother is still watching you. But, increasingly, the public isn't watching Big Brother or Z-List Celebrity Big Brother. The latest z-list celebrity series of the long-running sick Victorian freak show launched last week but has been overshadowed by Love Island, beset by complaints over racist language - see below - and the behaviour of its contestants and has been without Stormy Daniels, who was supposed to be the current series' biggest draw, who pulled out hours before the first episode was due to be broadcast. Now Channel Five controller Ben Frow has said that he is planning 'for a year without Big Brother,' with the broadcaster's contract to broacast the show due to run out at the end of this year. While his statement falls short of formal confirmation that it will be cancelled - he subsequently clarified that he would 'never say never' to recommissioning it - Frow has repeatedly said that he would 'prefer to focus on other projects' as he attempts to 'reposition' his station with more upmarket programmes. Big Brother, which was first shown on Channel Four in 2000, heralded the start of a new sick Victorian freak show television era and has been a Channel Five mainstay since it switched to the network in 2011. But, the latest z-list celebrity series launch, delayed to avoid a clash with Love Island, attracted just two million overnight punters last Thursday and ratings have since 'dropped substantially,' according to figures from the analysis service Meanwhile, Love Island opened with almost three million, despite being shown on the less prominent ITV2. 'It's a dilemma for Channel Five. Big Brother is both a show in decline but is still Channel Five's biggest show,' said Chris Curtis, the editor of the industry magazine Broadcast. 'It attracts lots of young viewers which are very appealing for advertisers - but it's a heritage show and it slightly feels it's from a previous era. It's also very expensive and it is a very big investment to maintain it.' This year's Z-List Celebrity Big Brother - the twenty second series in the UK - was hit hard by the decision of the pornographic actress Stormy Daniels, who claims that she had an affair with Donald Trump, to pull out of the programme at the last minute. Producers had already constructed a set and a series of Trump-related challenges, which they used regardless. 'We built a whole week around Stormy,' whinged Frow, pitifully. 'I flew someone out to accompany her here. She disappeared on us. I was miffed. I was bloody furious, actually, we built The White House and the whole goddamn thing around her.' To make matters worse, the show has continued to attract headlines for all the wrong reasons. The forthcoming 'civilian' version of the programme could, potentially, be the franchise's last outing on UK television. Curtis said that the show's future would, ultimately, depend on whether there were 'better ways' for Channel Five to spend the show's budget: 'If you free up that money to take some bets on new fresh shows, can you get a better return in terms of viewership and revenue - and also a reputational boost for the channel?'
Meanwhile, more than one thousand whinges have been made about Z-List Celebrity Big Brother to the media watchdog Ofcom - after a mere five days of it being on-air. They relate to when contestant Rodrigo Alves used 'the N-word' in a conversation with another housemate. And, it was 'non-controversial' either. Some viewers suggested that Channel Five should have instantly removed Alves from the sick Victorian freak show for using the offensive word. Producers instead gave him 'a final warning' and said that if he repeated the language he would be evicted from the house. Ofcom said it has received one thousand and forty eighty whinges about the incident, which was shown on the second day of the current series of Z-List Celebrity Big Brother. Rodrigo used the word when describing what kind of partner he preferred. Ofcom is currently deciding whether action will be taken against Channel Five for its handling of the incident. 'We will assess these against the broadcasting code before deciding whether to take it forward for investigation,' it said in a statement. Some viewers have compared producers' response - or lack of it - to Rodrigo's language to that of Emily Parr, a contestant who was on the show 2007. She was removed five days into the programme after she used the same word in a conversation with housemates.
Like Charmed, Roswell and, possibly, Buffy The Vampire Slayer, another cult US noughties drama Veronica Mars could be about to be revived. The popular teen thriller has been the subject of revival-talk for close to a year, but Entertainment Weekly reports that creator Rob Thomas is now 'actively working on a deal' to make it happen. US streaming service Hulu is reported to be 'negotiating' with Thomas for an episodic series which will be a revival, not a reboot. Kristen Bell is expected to reprise her title role as the amateur detective should the series get the go-ahead, despite her commitment to her leading part in the third series of NBC's hit comedy series The Good Place. Bell first hinted that Veronica Mars revival efforts were taking place late last year, insisting at the time that any such project would not be crowd-sourced like the 2004 reunion movie which raised $5.7 million on Kickstarter. 'Personally - and I think that Rob probably agrees - (a) we'll never make the fans pay for it again and (b) the format works better as an episodic [series], where you get a little more of it,' the actress said last October. 'We want to do a miniseries. We are willing to put the effort in. I mean, if I have to do it as Murder, She Wrote at eighty, we're going to do it. It's going to happen.' Veronica Mars was originally broadcast in the US for two series on UPN and then moved to The CW for one final series before its cancellation in 2007.
Game Of Thrones will end in 2019, you might have heard about it, it's been in the papers and everything. To see it off, a Game Of Thrones-themed beer has been released which viewers can drink (probably whilst watching this favourite characters die one by one) during series eight. HBO has partnered with New York-based Brewery Ommegang to create the new beer called King in the North, according to the brewery's official website. 'Inspired by Jon Snow, this barrel-aged imperial stout is brewed to sustain a leader through a long, dark night,' Brewery Ommegang's website says. 'The beer pours jet black with a thick tan head and has aromas of roasted malt, coffee, and chocolate blend with those of oak, bourbon, and vanilla.'
Bad news for those who, having read the above, now really fancy a pint of King in the North. A large new global study published in The Lancet has confirmed previous research which has suggested that there is 'no safe level of alcohol consumption.' The researchers admit that moderate drinking 'may' protect against heart disease but found that the risk of cancer and other diseases outweighs these protections. A study author said that its findings were 'the most significant to date' because of the range of factors considered. The Global Burden of Disease study looked at levels of alcohol use and its health effects in one hundred and ninety five countries, including the UK, between 1990 and 2016. Analysing data from fifteen to ninety five-year-olds, the researchers compared people who did not drink at all with those who had one alcoholic drink a day. They found that out of one hundred thousand non-drinkers, nine hundred and fourteen would develop an alcohol-related health problem such as cancer or suffer an injury. But an extra four people would be affected if they drank one alcoholic drink a day. For people who had two alcoholic drinks a day, sixty three more developed a condition 'within a year' and for those who consumed five drinks every day, there was an increase of three hundred and thirty eight people, who developed a health problem. One of the study authors, Professor Sonia Saxena, a researcher at Imperial College London and a practising GP, said: 'One drink a day does represent a small increased risk, but adjust that to the UK population as a whole and it represents a far bigger number and most people are not drinking just one drink a day.' The lead author of the study Doctor Max Griswold, at the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, University of Washington, said: 'Previous studies have found a protective effect of alcohol on some conditions, but we found that the combined health risks associated with alcohol increases with any amount of alcohol. The strong association between alcohol consumption and the risk of cancer, injuries, and infectious diseases offset the protective effects for heart disease in our study. Although the health risks associated with alcohol start off being small with one drink a day, they then rise rapidly as people drink more.' Well, bummer.
Danny Boyle has dropped out of directing the next James Bond movie, blaming 'creative differences.' The Trainspotting director was due to take the director's chair for the twenty fifth outing in the franchise, with production scheduled to begin at Pinewood in early December. But a statement, posted on the official James Bond Twitter account, revealed on Tuesday that he had quit. It was announced by franchise producers Michael G Wilson and Barbara Broccoli and current lead actor, yer actual Daniel Craig. The as-yet untitled film - Craig's fifth time as Bond after Casino Royale, Quantum Of Solace, Skyfall and Spectre - had previously been given a provisional release date of 25 October 2019 in the UK although that now appears to be subject to change. Oscar-winning director Boyle was set to reunite with Craig, the pair having worked together on a short film - featuring Bond and the Queen - for the 2012 London Olympics. While it was to be Boyle's first Bond, Craig has previously said it will be his final appearance as 007. When it was announced in May - after months of speculation - that Boyle had been hired, Wilson and Broccoli, of EON Productions, said they were 'delighted' to have the 'exceptionally talented' director on board. Boyle was set to work alongside Trainspotting writer John Hodge, who was to create an original screenplay. It is not clear if Hodge is still involved in the project. A replacement for Boyle, who won the best director Oscar for Slumdog Millionaire, has yet to be announced. It is not the first time that creative differences have been blamed for a director's departure from a major franchise recently, with Solo losing both Phil Lord and Christopher Miller mid-production last year. Ron Howard eventually took over. In 2013, Boyle told BBC News that he 'wouldn't be the right kind of person' to take on a Bond movie. And, the previous year, when asked if he could direct a Bond film he replied: 'No, I'm not very good with huge amounts of money.'
Danny Dyer's eye-popping diatribe about Brexit on Good Evening Britain has been named the TV moment of the year at the Edinburgh TV Festival Awards. The EastEnders actor infamously ranted about former the Prime Minister - and oily scumbag - David Cameron on Good Morning Britain's live late-night spin-off show in June. Dyer hilariously accused Cameron of having 'his trotters up' in France while the country was left with 'the mad riddle' of Brexit.
The BBC's reporter James Cook had a lucky escape after a tree hit him as he delivered a radio report about Hurricane Lane in Hawaii. Luckily, Cook suffered no injuries, but his laptop was destroyed. You can listen to his - rather startled - report here.
President - and hairdo - Rump has responded to speculation that he might be impeached by warning that any such move would damage the US economy. In an interview with Fox & Friends, he claimed that the market would 'crash and everybody would be very poor.' Oh well, them's the breaks. He was speaking after Michael Cohen, his ex-lawyer, pleaded extremely guilty to violating election laws and claimed that he had been 'directed' to do so by Rump. The President - and hairdo - has rarely spoken about the prospect of being impeached. Correspondents suggest that it is 'unlikely' Rump's opponents would attempt to impeach him before November's mid-term elections. 'I don't know how you can impeach somebody who's done a great job,' Rump told Fox & Friends.
Regular listeners to From The North's favourite comedy podcast - Bob Mortimer and Andy Dawson's Athletico Mince - will be well aware of the duo's obsession with The Hapless Steve McClaren. Not just his ridiculous 'hair island', 'clown car' and, ahem, interesting alleged domestic life with The Fat Lass and Casper The Snake, but also his membership of the British Managers Club and their cunning 'infiltrate, destroy and exit' policy. A policy which has previously served McClaren so very well at Derby County (twice), Nottingham Forest, this blogger beloved (though unsellable) Magpies and, most spectacularly, as alleged manager of England. It looks like we can now add Queens Park Strangers to that growing list as, just four games into his reign at Loftus Road, Hapless Steve is looking like a prime candidate for the first Championship managerial large-leaving-bonus 'victim' of the season. McClaren said that his side's calamitous seven-one defeat at West Bromwich Albinos last Saturday was 'unacceptable.' Strangers suffered their largest defeat for more than thirty years and their pants down spanking at The Hawthorns signalled their worst-ever start to a season. Having gone in level at half-time, the Strangers completely capitulated after the break, conceding six goals in just under forty minutes. 'I am shocked, I couldn't believe the collapse,' Hapless Steven told BBC 5Live after the defeat. 'It is unacceptable, we can't have that. It's unacceptable for the fans, it's unacceptable for the club.' He added: 'After conceding the third goal it was too much of a collapse, too much of a shock for myself and it must have been for everyone else. Goals change games but we can't react like that, I've never seen that, it's unacceptable and we mustn't let that happen again.' But, they did, just three days later. On Tuesday, Hapless Steve was insisting that he is still 'the right man' to lead the Strangers after he was mercilessly jeered by Strangers fans following a fourth successive Championship defeat, this time a three-nil hiding at home to Bristol City. The Strangers currently sit rock bottom of the table, still waiting to pick up their first point under Hapless Steve (and his hair island). 'I knew this was a tough job and it wouldn't happen overnight,' the fifty seven-year-old said, rather woefully, at a 'you could've heard a pin drop' press conference after the Bristol game. '[Being booed] is society now. It's the reaction and this is normal. The message to the supporters and it's a difficult one, is patience. Am I determined to put this right? Yes.' Whether Hapless Steve has the ability to do so or, even if he does, whether he will get the chance to before he gets handed his P45 (and a, presumably, quite significant termination pay out) is another matter entirely.
Crewe Alexandra's players will reportedly reimburse the cost of the tickets purchased by the one hundred and fifty three fans who travelled to Tuesday's six-nil defeat at Colchester United, according to manager David Artell. Crewe trailed two-nil inside eight minutes and undefeated Colchester went on to dominate the League Two game. 'The players will put their hands in their pockets, without a shadow of a doubt, because the fans deserve credit for coming all of this way and they don't deserve that,' Artell told BBC Radio Stoke. Artell's side won their opening game of the season six-nil at home to Morecambe on 4 August. Tuesday's loss left them with four points from their first four games.
Rochdale manager Keith Hill has told disgruntled fans who want to see him sacked to call the club's chairman Chris Dunphy and make their request. A foolish thing to say, one could suggest, since it's probably that many of them will, football fans being the bolshy type who really hate to be told what to do by someone who, through their continued patronage of the club, effectively pay the staff's wages. Hill said 'supporters have a choice' after Tuesday's four-nil defeat by Barnsley. 'If you are going to beat us with a stick, just phone the chairman and say you don't want Keith Hill to be the manager,' Hill told BBC Radio Manchester. 'That will be okay, I've got no problem with that whatsoever. I'm sure they would sack me.' Hill also said that fans 'have got to be supporting players better' after Harrison McGahey was the subject of mock applause after being taken off free-kick duties. 'Try to support the players, try to support the football club,' Hill said. 'When Harrison is taking a free-kick, something that he has been working on in pre-season and was delivered perfectly in the sessions and he gets them wrong and then there is a cheer when he is not taking it, that sort of thing really does wind me up. It's our fifth season is succession in League One and we have got to be supporting the players better than that.' Hill is currently in his second spell in charge of the club and led Rochdale to promotion to League One in his first full season back at the helm in 2013-14. He guided the club to top-ten finishes in three successive seasons in the third tier before they narrowly avoided relegation last term. Rochdale have won just one of their four league games to date this season and are eighteenth in the table with four points. Asked if he wants to remain in charge at Spotland, Hill replied: 'Not for people who don't respect me, that is the biggest thing. I've made sacrifices for this job and I really enjoy doing this job with this group of players, for the chairman, Bill Goodwin and the rest of the board of directors and all that work here.'
Footballers in Spain have 'not ruled out' strike action over a plan to stage a top-flight league match in the United States, says the players' union. Real Madrid's captain, Sergio Ramos and Barcelona vice-captain, Sergio Busquets were among the high-profile players to attend a meeting on Wednesday to discuss their 'concerns' over the issue. La Liga agreed a fifteen-year deal with US media company Relevent on Friday. The players' union - the AFE - says that its members were 'not consulted' by La Liga. Players from all of the La Liga sides met in Madrid on Wednesday to discuss the issue with AFE president David Aganzo. Among those in attendance were Ramos and Real Madrid team-mate Nacho, Barcelona duo Busquets and Sergi Roberto, Leo Baptistao from Espanyol, Bruno from Villarreal and Atletico Madrid players Koke and Juanfran. Aganzo said: 'The problem is the lack of common sense, a schedule where only the export of soccer benefits - nobody counts on the fans. We need to fix it with the bosses. The captains are outraged, they're against it, they are unanimous. It does not make sense. We are talking about an agreement that has a validity of fifteen years without consulting the players.' On the possibility of strike action, he added: 'We will try not to reach that extreme but we are willing to go to the end if necessary.' Aganzo said that the players would meet again in September. Asked last week when the US-based match would take place and whether it would be a regular fixture, La Liga told BBC Sport it 'cannot confirm the teams, match, date or season.' The AFE said players 'do not understand the unilateral decisions,' adding: 'La Liga is distancing the fans of the players, something that harms the show and the essence of football.' After the meeting the league said in a statement: 'La Liga will meet with AFE in the appropriate forum to discuss the plans to play a match outside of Spain.'
Three different players scored hat-tricks as Borussia Mönchengladbach thrashed fifth-tier Hastedt in the German Cup first round. Thorgan Hazard, debutant Alassane Pléa and Raffael scored three each, with Florian Neuhaus and Jonas Hofmann also scored in Gladbach's biggest ever cup win. Hastedt, who play in the local Bremen-Liga, scored the final goal of the game through Diyar Kücük. Earlier on Sunday, Cologne won nine-one at Berliner FC Dynamo. The German Cup first round traditionally pits smaller teams, often amateurs, at home to higher-ranked sides. On Saturday, holders Eintracht Frankfurt lost two-one at fourth-tier Ulm. For whom Johann Gambolputty De Von Ausfern Schplenden Schlitter Crasscrenbon Fried Digger Dingle Dangle Dongle Dungle Burstein Von Knacker Thrasher Apple Banger Horowitz Ticolensic Grander Knotty Spelltinkle Grandlich Grumblemeyer Spelterwasser Kurstlich Himbleeisen Bahnwagen Gutenabend Bitte Ein Nürnburger Bratwustle Gerspurten Mitz Weimache Luber Hundsfut Gumberaber Shönedanker Kalbsfleisch Mittler Aucher Von Hautkopft of Ulm did not feature. Which was probably just as well for the programme printers as they might have run out of ink. Bayern München needed a late goal from Robert Lewandowski to beat Drochtersen/Assel.
Hardcore fans of Lazio football club in Italy have circulated a letter saying women should be banned from part of the Curva Nord of Rome's Olympic Stadium. The Lazio ultras have gained a reputation for sick violence, racism and anti-Semitism. Before the first game of the season, an unofficial flyer was handed round saying the stand was 'a sacred place' where women were 'not allowed.' Lazio blamed 'a few fans. We are against any discrimination,' it claimed. Lazio spokesman Arturo Diaconale, quoted by Italian media, said 'we didn't know anything about this [flyer], it was an independent initiative by some of the Curva Nord fans. It's not the position of society. There is a huge number of Lazio fans, whereas this is an initiative from a few fans. We cannot always intervene to prevent politically incorrect demonstrations like this one.' The ultras' flyer said that women should 'go to other parts' of the stadium. The pamphlet called for 'women, wives and girlfriends' to avoid the first ten rows of the stand. 'Those who choose the stadium as an alternative to the carefree and romantic day at the Villa Borghese [a Roman historic house and park], should go to other parts,' it read. The flyer is signed 'Direttivo Diabolik Pluto,' who is one of the leaders of a group of Lazio ultras known as the Irreducibili. Last season the club was fined after supporters displayed anti-Semitic stickers showing Holocaust victim Anne Frank in a Roma shirt. A group of women fans from the Curva Nord, quoted by the Italian football website, expressed 'indignation' over the flyer. They said the Curva Nord had 'a sacred role' and 'we distance ourselves from those Lazio fans whose inappropriate behaviour lowers the Nord's value. And we distance ourselves from those whose gestures and words show they have forgotten that it was a woman who gave birth to them.' Carolina Morace, coach of the AC Milan Women's First Team, said those who wanted to ban women from the first ten rows of the Curva Nord 'should be banned from the stadium. Sexism is also violence,' she said. Quoted by the daily Il Messaggero, she said 'some' social media comments on the Lazio controversy 'lead one to think that there is not the slightest respect for women, for sportswomen, for their passion. The football world must help to overcome all forms of discrimination, not to exacerbate them, as happens all too often: I will always fight to ensure that stadiums are hospitable to everyone.' Manila Nazzaro, a Lazio fan who was Miss Italia in 1999 and is now a well-known TV presenter, said that 'the rules of the pack' were 'common to all fans,' not just Lazio's. 'Some environments remain purely masculine, which men love to share with other men, just as there are some that women love to share with women.' She said that 'in the collective's ideal the Curva is purely masculine. When there were really ugly episodes like the Anne Frank stickers, I was the first to criticise. This time let's take it more lightly.'
Now, we don't often do plus for charideee on From The North, you may have noticed. However this blogger's old mucker, the very legend that is Mick Snowden, is doing a charideee walk shortly - one hundred kilometres (that's sixty two miles for those of you who never really got the metric system) trudging across a plethora of movie and TV locations between Eastbourne and Arundel. 'When we go past The Grand Hotel, Brighton, it's just like Quadraphenia ... only without the scooter budget,' adds Mick, helpfully. Sponsorship donations can be given here or, you can text MBHF50 followed by your donation, to 70070. It's all in aid of British Heart Foundation which is a fantastic cause, even if this blogger doesn't actually have a heart himself.
During England's recent, calamitous, defeat in the third test against India, Test Match Special's Jonathan Agnew read out a genuinely moving e-mail about how a fan of the programme spent the final hours of his life listening to its coverage of the test. It really is worth three minutes of your time, dear blog reader and can be heard here.
Scientists report that they have 'definitive evidence' for water-ice on the surface of the Moon. The ice deposits are found at both the North and South lunar poles and are likely to be 'ancient in origin.' The result comes from an instrument on India's Chandrayaan-One spacecraft, which explored the Moon between 2008 and 2009. Details of the work have been published in the journal Proceedings Of The National Academy Of Sciences. The distribution of the ice deposits is patchy. At the lunar South pole, most of the ice is concentrated in craters. At the Northern pole, the water-ice is both more sparse and more widely spread. The Moon Mineralogy Mapper instrument aboard Chandrayaan identified three specific signatures of water-ice at the lunar surface. M3 not only picked up the reflective properties one would expect from ice, but was able to directly measure the distinctive way its molecules absorb infrared light. This meant that it could differentiate between liquid water and vapour and solid ice. Temperatures on the Moon can reach a searing one hundred degrees Celsius in daytime, which doesn't provide the best conditions for the survival of surface ice. But because the Moon is tilted on its axis by about 1.54 degrees, there are places at the lunar poles that never see daylight. Scientists estimate that temperatures in permanently shadowed craters at the Moon's poles do not rise above minus one hundred and fifty seven degrees. This would create an environment where deposits of water-ice could remain stable for long periods. The result supports previous indirect detections of surface ice at the Moon's South pole. However, those results could potentially be explained by other phenomena - such as unusually reflective lunar soil. If there's enough ice sitting at the surface - within the top few millimetres - the water might be accessible as a resource for future human missions to the Moon. It could potentially be turned into drinking water for the occupants of a lunar base, or 'split' into hydrogen and oxygen for rocket fuel. The split oxygen could also be used by astronauts for breathing. Surface water ice has also been found on other Solar System bodies, such as at the North pole of the planet Mercury and on the dwarf planet Ceres.
Once upon a time, two early humans of different ancestry met at a cave in Russia. Some fifty thousand years later, scientists have confirmed that they had a daughter together. DNA extracted from bone fragments found in the cave show that the girl was the offspring of a Neanderthal mother and a Denisovan father. The discovery, reported in Nature, gives a rare insight into the lives of our closest ancient human relatives. Neanderthals and Denisovans were humans like us, but belonged to different species. 'We knew from previous studies that Neanderthals and Denisovans must have occasionally had children together,' says Viviane Slon, researcher at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany. 'But I never thought we would be so lucky as to find an actual offspring of the two groups.' Present-day, non-African humans have a small proportion of their DNA that comes from Neanderthals. Some other non-African populations, depending on where they live, also have a fraction of their DNA that comes from an Asian people known as Denisovans. The fact the genes have been passed down the generations shows that interbreeding must have happened. However, the only known site where fossil evidence of both Denisovans and Neanderthals has been found is at Denisova cave in the Altai Mountains of Siberia. And, very few - less than twenty - so-called 'archaic humans' (those belonging to species other than Homo Sapiens) have had their genomes sequenced. 'Out of this very little number we find one individual that has half-and-half mixed ancestry,' Doctor Slon told BBC News. When other studies are taken into account, 'you start to get a picture that over all of our evolutionary history humans always mixed with each other.' Neanderthals and Denisovans are known to have overlapped in time in Eurasia. The two groups lived until about forty thousand years ago; Neanderthals in the West and Denisovans in the East. As Neanderthals migrated Eastwards, they may have encountered Denisovans at times, as well as early modern humans. 'Neanderthals and Denisovans may not have had many opportunities to meet,' says Svante Pääbo, director of MPI-EVA. 'But when they did, they must have mated frequently - much more so than we previously thought.' The girl's story has been pieced together from a single fragment of bone found in the Denisova cave by Russian archaeologists several years ago. It was brought to Leipzig for genetic analysis. 'The fragment is part of a long bone and we can estimate that this individual was at least thirteen years old,' says Bence Viola of the University of Toronto. The researchers deduced that the girl's mother was 'genetically closer' to Neanderthals who lived in Western Europe than to a Neanderthal individual who lived earlier in Denisova Cave. This shows that Neanderthals migrated between Western and Eastern Europe and Asia tens of thousands of years before they died out. Genetic tests also revealed that the Denisovan father had at least one Neanderthal ancestor further back in his family tree.
A six foot albino corn snake has been handed in to police in Newcastle after a woman found it on a Quayside street. The passerby and her friend caught the animal in an alley off Dean Street and put it in a cardboard box, before handing it in to Forth Banks station. Officers have named the -entirely harmless to humans - snake 'Sandra' and it has since been collected by the RSPCA. A police spokesman said: 'Hopefully the RSPCA can find out where it came from and return the snake to its owners.'
New Zealand's minister for women cycled to hospital to give birth to her first child. The Green Party's Julie Genter said that she went by bicycle to be induced because 'there wasn't enough space in the car.' She posted pictures on Instagram of she and her partner enjoying 'the beautiful Sunday morning ride.' In June, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern became the second world leader to give birth whilst in office. Both she and Genter attended the public Auckland City Hospital. Genter, also the country's associate transport minister, is a well-known and outspoken cycling advocate. 'This is it, wish us luck!' she wrote to her followers, adding: 'My partner and I cycled because there wasn't enough room in the car for the support crew, but it also put me in the best possible mood!' The journey using an electric bike was 'mostly downhill,' the keen cyclist said. 'Probably should have cycled more in the last few weeks to get the labour going!' US-born Genter had previously announced her pregnancy on Instagram, saying: 'We're going to have to get an additional seat for the bikes.'
Large numbers of emus - thankfully without accompanying Rod Hulls - have reportedly been 'flocking to an outback mining town' in New South Wales as Australia continues to struggle with extreme drought. The flightless birds are desperately searching for food and water in Broken Hill, local animal rescue services say. 'They're actually walking down our main street. We're seeing mobs of them,' wildlife worker Emma Singleton said. Separately, the Australian Prime Minister has announced 'extra aid' for farmers hit by the drought. 'I want to say to our farmers, we have your back,' Malcolm Turnbull told reporters, as he announced an increase in funds to help deal with extreme aridity in New South Wales. Australia's most populous state, which produces about a quarter of the country's agricultural output, was officially declared entirely in drought on 8 August. In Broken Hill, around six hundred miles West of Sydney, groups of rampant emus have been seen 'running laps of the main street, eating gardens and gate crashing football matches,' ABC News reports. Well, you know, they're only human. Or, avian. Anyway, Singleton, who works for the Rescue and Rehabilitation of Australian Native Animals, said: 'We've had fourteen on a sporting oval. They've been out there for weeks - the locals in that area are giving them food and water.' She told ABC that her organisation had been averaging two or three calls from 'concerned residents' per day. According to Reuters news agency, five emus have been hit by cars in the past week alone. But Singleton said that their 'biggest concern' was possible dog attacks. Parts of New South Wales have had the lowest rainfall on record, with less than ten millimetres of rain recorded in some areas in July. As well as failing crops, farmers there have been struggling to feed and water livestock. Turnbull said some had spent as much as ten thousand Australian dollars per truckload of hay just to feed their animals. On Friday, a convoy of twenty three trucks carrying two thousand three hundred bales of hay for more than two hundred farmers arrived in New South Wales from Western Australia, some three-and-a-half thousand kilometres away. The problem is not confined to the state, with more than half of neighbouring Queensland in drought and parts of Victoria and South Australia also experiencing dry conditions. The dry spell has also led to dozens of unseasonal bushfires across New South Wales.
And, in other emu-related news, a stretch of the A1 motorway had to be closed for the second time in twenty four hours when, reportedly, 'an escaped emu got on to the road.' Again, thankfully, without Rod Hull in tow because that would've just been a right mess. A 'rolling road block' was put in place in County Durham between junctions fifty nine and sixty on Thursday while the bird's owner 'attempted to recapture it.' Bet that would've been worth watching. Referencing Michael Parkinson infamously being attacked by the TV puppet Emu, Highways England said: '1980's chat show hosts are advised to avoid the area.' The bird was captured shortly after.
A Scot accused of running a precious metals fraud scheme in the US has been placed on the FBI's 'most wanted' list. Glasgow-born James Ward is alleged to have offered investors bogus deals involving precious metals such as gold, silver and platinum. The FBI allege that he received about four hundred thousand dollars from at least twelve investors between September 2007 and March 2010. He went on the run after being charged in Florida with wire fraud in 2012. The FBI - who'd like to have a word with Ward over all this malarkey - states on its website: 'Ward allegedly operated an entity called Kastle & Hawk, Inc, which solicited investors to buy precious metals such as gold, silver, and platinum on a leveraged basis. Instead of investing the approximately four hundred thousand dollars Ward received from at least twelve investors, Ward allegedly used the money for his own personal use and benefit. No precious metals were ever acquired for investors.' The FBI lists Ward's occupation as 'securities broker.' It also describes him as blond but 'may change his hair colour frequently.' The agency added that Ward, who has previously lived in Miami Beach, may travel to the United Kingdom, Canada and Mexico.
Dozens attended a rally held by the Satanic Temple at the Arkansas State Capitol in Little Rock on Thursday. The rally comes after the Arkansas legislature approved the placement of a Ten Commandments monument on the Capitol grounds. During the Satanic Temple's Rally for the First Amendment, a more than eight-feet-tall Baphomet statue was unveiled. Those against the rally also attended, telling KATV they had 'hoped to spread God's love.'
Two English-speaking tourists who are being hunted by police for stripping off in a monumental Italian fountain have been called 'idiots' by the country's deputy Prime Minister. The men were filmed frolicking aboot in the bare in the fountain in Piazza Venezia in Rome, with one pulling down his underwear and posing for photographs with his dong hanging out. It was quite a sight. The footage has 'sparked outrage' - albeit not with anyone that actually, you know, matters - and their behaviour described as 'ignorant.' Which it probably is, but in the great scheme of things there are, surely, more important things to worry bout than this crap. Italian deputy PM, Matteo Salvini said: 'Italy is not their home bathroom.' The video, published on a blog in Rome, shows the pair in their underpants grinning and bathing in the fountain at the Altare della Patria, a monument in honour of the first king of Italy after the country's unification. The monument also holds the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, in memory of all fallen soldiers. The two men laugh and joke with each other in the water, before one pulls down his underwear and smiles for the camera. Some passers-by laugh and take photographs, although others can be seen shaking their head and appearing to tell the two men to get out of the fountain and, you know, grow the Hell up. The local police said that the incident, which occurred on Sunday, was 'illegal and offensive' and it was 'trying to find' the two men. It said the pair are 'foreign' and 'native English speakers.' Matteo Salvini tweeted: 'I will know how to educate these idiots if they are caught.' Meanwhile, Rome's deputy mayor, Luca Bergamo, said he 'condemns' such behaviour, which he said 'offends each of us, the memory of our country and the fallen, to whom the monument is dedicated. We are faced with a behaviour that denotes stupidity and ignorance, lack of respect for the history of Rome and Italy. Once identified by the local police, who is actively working to track them down, they will get the maximum punishment possible.' Earlier this month, the Gruniad Morning Star reported that a fight broke out between tourists as they queued for a 'perfect selfie' at Rome's Trevi Fountain.
Healthline has claimed that 'health disparities' and higher rates of HIV and STIs observed in the LGBTQIA communities are due to discrimination in the sex education world. So, the California-based health information provider has adopted the gender-inclusive term 'front hole' in place of the medical term, 'vagina' in their latest LGBTQIA safe sex guide. 'For the purpose of this guide, we'll refer to the vagina as the "front hole" instead of solely using the medical term "vagina,"' the document explained. 'This is gender-inclusive language that's considerate of the fact that some trans people don't identify with the labels the medical community attaches to their genitals. For example, some trans and nonbinary-identified people assigned female at birth may enjoy being the receptors of penetrative sex, but experience gender dysphoria when that part of their body is referred to using a word that society and professional communities often associate with femaleness. An alternative that’s becoming increasingly popular in trans and queer communities is front hole.' The document went on to claim, 'lack of representation and anti-LGBTQIA bias' in standard safe-sex guides 'stigmatises certain sexual behaviours and identities' and is 'directly related to higher rates of HIV and STIs' reported within LGBTQIA communities. However, three days later Healthline appeared to have amended the webpage and also issued a statement claiming that 'Some people are under the impression that Healthline is now using the term "front hole" instead of vagina. This is simply not true. In no instance in this guide are we saying we want to replace the word vagina,' the statement went on. 'Nothing in the article indicates we're endorsing a change in verbiage.' A notice added to the top of the section titled, Why we need an LGBTQIA-inclusive safe sex guide reads: 'We've updated this section to clarify how we use terms referring to genitals.'
From The North's Headline of the Week goes to the FOX News website for their hyperventilating Tennessee man arrested after throwing biscuit 'really hard' at ex-girlfriend's face, police say. This blogger thinks it's the addition of 'really hard' that makes it, you know, art.