Wednesday, September 26, 2018

How Goes Your Patience, Doctor?

The Thirteenth Doctor - as played by yer actual Jodie Whittaker (you knew that, right?) - arrived in Sheffield for the press screening of the first episode of the new series of Doctor Who on Monday accompanied by twelve friends. All of whom had, seemingly, committed something of an ultimate fashion faux pas and turned up to a party wearing the same gear. The event was extremely preceded by a red carpet parade of the cast and crew, attended by some lucky fans who had won tickets in a public ballot.
So, as you can imagine dear blog reader, Doctor Who fans gathered in their masses in Sheffield to celebrate the press premiere of the first episode of the new series. Jodie Whittaker walked the red carpet before the screening, as did her co-stars That There Bradley Walsh, Mandip Gill and Tosin Cole. The premiere came two weeks before the show will be launching on yer actual Beeb1 (see below). It took place in Sheffield, largely because the first episode - The Woman Who Fell To Earth - is set in that particular fine South Yorkshire city. 'It's exciting because we've worked so hard on it for the last couple of years, so to get to celebrate and share with the fans and potentially with new fans we know what's coming and we can't wait to share it,' said Jodie, herself a Yorkshire-type person, of course. 'And, also being in Sheffield - to conclude this epic journey here is great.'
The BBC has confirmed that Doctor Who will debut at 6.45pm on Sunday 7 October. The Woman Who Fell To Earth, will run from 6.45pm to 7.45pm on BBC1. 'In a South Yorkshire city, Ryan Sinclair, Yasmin Khan and Graham O'Brien are about to have their lives changed forever, as a mysterious woman, unable to remember her own name, falls from the night sky,' reads the episode synopsis. 'Can they believe a word she says? And can she help solve the strange events taking place across the city?' Go on, guess! Doctor Who will be broadcast directly after the hugely popular Countryfile. And, it will be followed by the Strictly Come Dancing results show. ITV will be offering a game show in opposition, Five Gold Rings presented by Philip Schofield (tragically, without either Holly Willoughby or, indeed, Gordon The Gopher). BBC2 will be showing King Arthur's Britain: The Truth Unearthed a - really rather good - documentary, previously shown on BBC4, delving into the murky historical period of the Arthurian legends. Channel Four viewers can enjoy Phil Spencer's Stately Homes, wherein the property expert returns to look round more of Britain's stately homes, beginning with Longleat House in Wiltshire. Channel Five is showing the 2013 feature film Jack The Giant Slayer. BBC America has confirmed that Doctor Who will be simulcast, making a transmission time of 1.45pm East Coast Time. So, that'll be, like, three hours earlier for all this blogger's chums in California.
Anyway, back to Monday's press event: Jodie said that she wanted to bring 'an energy and childlike enthusiasm and joy and hope' to the long-running show's first female Doctor. Despite much discussion about her gender, she described the Time Lady as 'one of the [most] genderless roles I've ever played' whilst admitting it would 'sometimes be relevant' in the worlds or historical periods her character visits. The first episode's debut was followed by a question and answer session with Jodie and new showrunner Chris Chibnall who described Jodie's Doctor as 'fizzing, funny [and] smart.' He added that he is hoping to make Doctor Who's new Sunday evening slot 'a weekly appointment for families' in an age when young viewers are used to bingeing on any number of glossy edge-of-the-seat adventure shows. 'This is Doctor Who in an era of Netflix - you've got to keep up,' he told Radio Times. 'You've got to keep up with Black Mirror, you've got to keep up with all the DC shows in the US. So it's just making sure it's fit for purpose. I think you tell great stories with great actors. And you tell stories that feel resonant to people's lives.'
The event was covered on the BBC's national News At Six and also on the regional news magazine show, Look North.
The next series of Doctor Who is all about newness - a new Doctor, three new companions, a new showrunner and a new title sequence and a remix of the theme tune. Segun Akinola is the composer for series eleven of the BBC's popular long-running family SF drama, writing the music for all ten episodes of series eleven (plus the Christmas special), as well as providing a fresh take on the legendary theme. However, Chris Chibnall has announced that The Woman Who Fell To Earth, may not open with the revamped titles and music. 'You'll have to wait till episode two to see [the new titles and theme] in situ,' The Chib said in the latest issue of Doctor Who Magazine. 'Episode one starts a little differently.'
Meanwhile, The Chib his very self has also revealed his 'Doctor Who manifesto' to Radio Times, including thirteen reasons to watch the new series. 'As I came to the end of Broadchurch, I was mulling over ideas for my next projects. All that changed when Steven Moffat, my predecessor as Doctor Who showrunner, ambushed me over dinner, saying, "I'm sorry but I'm about to derail your life. I'm leaving Doctor Who. We've all had a chat and agreed you're the best person to take over,' Chibnall told the magazine. 'I think my mouth opened and closed silently for a few moments, like a fish. My first childhood memories, my first memories of being alive, are of Doctor Who - a strange, hypnotic set of images and sounds, monsters emerging from the sea, drawing me towards the corner of the lounge. Seemingly aimed at me as a young child, but also slightly forbidden, a bit too grown up - a show happy to scare and thrill and entertain me and my parents. I vividly remember discussing the first cliffhanger sight of a Sontaran, in 1973, with my beloved great aunt Billie. She died young, nine years later. I wish she was here now to see Jodie Whittaker's Doctor crash to Earth.' The thirteen reasons, incidentally, if you've only got an attention span of seven seconds and can't be bothered to read the article are as follows: You don't need to know anything about Doctor Who; Each episode will be a new adventure; That There Bradley Walsh is a proper star; But he's not the only one; Here be monsters; The Doctor's a woman - and that's okay!; The theme music is the same ... almost!; The mystery of the missing TARDIS continues; New stars, new writers; You won't find it on Saturday night; We've been keeping our secrets close to our chest; There's a galaxy of stars and We can all live the dream.
Yer actual Jodie Whittaker has been chatting a lot about her latest role of late. You might have noticed, dear blog reader. After revealing that she is 'not being paid less than any other Doctor' and saying, magnificently, that she 'can't even begin to debate' arsehole shitscum sexist bigots (of whom, there aren't many but those that there are have sodding big gobs), Jodie has talked about one 'depressing' aspect of her new role. Discussing the significance of The Doctor being a woman, Jodie told Stylist: 'It's a moment that's incredibly important, but also slightly depressing that it's 2018.' She continued: 'I want to enjoy it. I mean what a thing, for the rest of my life, for that to be me. But this has got to be the end of it being a big surprise.' Jodie added that 'we should look up to characters regardless of their gender. This is hopefully a moment that leads to us realising that we can have female heroes. Gravity made millions and millions of dollars; Wonder Woman made millions and millions of dollars. We should look up to characters regardless of their gender.' She also pointed out that she is 'playing an alien' ergo 'let's not limit ourselves to only looking up to people who look like us.' Word, sister. 'That's the future we want. And to realise that having different points of view in a situation is interesting and exciting, not terrifying. And mine isn't that different. I sometimes feel like being a woman is like talking about being an alien.'
In a - rather entertaining - lifestyle piece with the Gruniad Morning Star this week, Jodie also revealed, amongst other things, that she drinks half a bottle of wine a day. Bloody Hell, half a bottle, Jode? Every day? That's borderline alcoholism, isn't it? You might want to cut back, Jodie m'love - unlike The Doctor, your liver doesn't regenerate every few years.
Mind you, a handful of her TARDIS predecessors also had considerable form in exactly this sort of dirty rotten plonky-style behaviour. As illustrated here ...
With the Doctor Who press launch taking place on Monday, the next week will see promotion for Jodie Whittaker's debut series begin in earnest, with the show's new lead making appearances on a number of BBC television and radio programmes. The current schedule includes appearances on Shaun Keaveny's 6Music show on Thursday 27 September from 7:00am, Jodie getting on the sofa at The Graham Norton Showon Friday, Saturday Breakfast With Dermot O'Dreary on Radio 2 on Saturday from 8:00am and Saturday Mash Up! on CBBC also Saturday from 9:00am.
Starburst magazine - which this blogger must admit he's surprised to discover is still going - has claimed that one of their reporters has been told (well, actually, the word they used was 'suggested [to]') that this year's Doctor Who Christmas episode will be set on - and, presumably, broadcast on - New Year's Day rather than the traditional Christmas Day. 'It's just a suggestion at this stage and we're fully prepared to end up with egg on our face,' the magazine notes. 'But ... there may not be a Doctor Who Christmas Special at all this year. Instead, we might well be getting a Seasonal Special on the first day of next year.'
Hit BBC drama Bodyguard had an overnight average 10.4 million viewers as the series drew to a suitably thrilling close on Sunday. The audience reached its peak - eleven million - in its final five minutes. The overnight ratings make the show - the brainchild of Line Of Duty creator Jed Mercurio - the most watched drama of the year so far. In fact, it is the biggest overnight drama figure for British TV since 10.5 million saw Downton Abbey's series two finale in November 2011. No BBC drama has drawn a bigger overnight audience since Doctor Who, whose Christmas Day episode in 2008 was seen by 11.7 million viewers (although several episodes of Sherlock and a couple of Doctor Who have had larger final and consolidated figures). The figure for Bodyguard, of course, does not take into account the number of people watching in pubs or on outdoor big screens or, indeed, those who will watch the episode in the coming days on iPlayer. The final, consolidated audience figure will be released by BARB in around a week's time. Mercurio told the BBC that he was 'humbled, delighted and grateful' at the show's success and credited 'the magnetism of the leads.' He added: 'I don't think you can plan for success, all you can do is create something you think people will be interested in.' On talk of a second series, he said: 'We're just starting those talks, it's still too early to say.' Richard Madden - who played the show's ex-soldier turned protection officer David Budd - retweeted a thank you from the BBC to everyone who was watching the 'epic finale.' Anjli Mohindra, who played suicide bomber Nadia, praised Mercurio for putting so many female actors in powerful roles in the show. 'I do believe Jed Mercurio wrote a list of those roles as gender neutral and the right person with the right energy got the job,' she told the BBC. Mercurio also offered his thanks on Twitter to the show's makers, stars and fans. And, found time to set his followers straight over some examples of 'Bodyguard pedantry.' The director of BBC content, Charlotte Moore, praised the finale for the way it 'gripped the nation and got everyone talking ... in a display of masterful storytelling.' Simon Heath the CEO and creative director of World Productions said: 'At a time when we are told that linear TV is dying, it has been thrilling to see the number of viewers flocking to watch Bodyguard live. We're so grateful for all their support.' TV critics at most of the nations were effusive in their praise for the episode. Sara Wallis at the Daily Mirra wrote: 'If the nation's heart rate could have been monitored during the mind-blowing finale of BBC1's Bodyguard, it would have been off the scale.' Th Sun's Andy Halls added: 'There were moments last night where, for a good thirty seconds or so, I genuinely held my breath. Don't get me wrong, there were moments of genuinely ludicrous action. But is it the best new drama we've had in years and the best thing on TV in 2018.' Loathsome and worthless bigot Jan Moir from the Daily Scum Mail weaselled: 'There is a fine line between great drama and absurdity and there were moments when Bodyguard and its bloodied Caped Crusader nearly fell into total farce. Yet it never did. The tense scenes managed to be both gripping and touching. Bryony Gordon of the Daily Torygraph wrote: 'Watching the final episode unfold felt a bit like witnessing a grade-A student open up their envelope on exam results day to find a string of Bs. It had tried too hard to impress and ended up collapsing under the weight of its own expectations.' This was a view almost, but not quite, shared by Carol Midgley at The Times: 'Hallelujah for that last cracking ten minutes of Bodyguard. Because up until then I was finding this climax a touch underwhelming. There were many plot holes here but this was event TV and Mercurio, skilled at wrongfooting his viewers, gave us two final twists.' The Gruniad Morning Star's Lucy Mangan was far more impressed: 'It has all been a retro-rush. Weekly episodes parcelled out like old times. Cliffhangers you talked about next day by the new watercooler, Twitter.' Mike Ward of the Daily Scum Express gushed: 'Bear in mind the story still has several tantalising loose ends. Not wishing to put pressure on Mercurio, but series two can't come quickly enough.' Perhaps the best review was by From The North favourite Keith Watson at the Metro - fresh from getting a trousers-down hiding from this blogger over his sneery review of the opening episode of Killing Eve last week. Cool Keith, thankfully, got back his mojo this time around: 'After all the theories, the clues, the Jed herrings, the blind alleys, what did mercurial writer Jed Mercurio serve up for his Bodyguard finale? A massive explosion, a security service-led coup d’état, a resurrection? Not on your life, he rolled out that mother of all shockers: a happy ending. Of sorts. This has been a brilliant, compulsive, five-star mind-trip of a series, a reminder that when mainstream TV gets it right, we can still be turned into water-cooler junkies on a Monday morning. So, it seems a tad churlish to knock a star off at the eleventh hour. But the pay-off made you wonder if this was a show where they filmed five different endings and finished up picking one with a Hollywood remake in mind ... Yes, there were moments when plot plausibility was stretched to breaking point but such was Bodyguard's swagger that they were easy to forgive. Loose ends were tied, villains unmasked. But we still don't know, for sure, for absolute definite, that Home Secretary siren Julia Montague is dead. Yes, we're clinging to that theoretical thread. Roll on series two.' What he said.
Speaking of From The North favourite Killing Eve, there's a very good piece by John Dugdale in the Gruniad Morning Star in praise of Phoebe Waller-Bridge's creative decisions in her adaptation of Luke Jennings' original Villanelle novels. It has also been announced this week (on the Devon Live website if not anywhere slightly more high-profile) that filming on the second series of Killing Eve has already begun and may, allegedly, be 'finished by Christmas.'
Episode two of Killing Eve - for those who are still watching on telly as opposed to having downloaded the whole series off iPlayer - got a glowing review from the Torygraph, which you can check out here, dear blog reader.
From The North's TV Comedy Line Of The Week comes, as usual, from Monday's episode of this blogger's beloved Qi, another particularly entertaining one - Piecemeal. Good old mental-as-anything Giles Brandreth's description of the late Fanny Craddock for those younger viewers who may not remember the shrill, full-of-hr-own-importance TV chef of days gone by as: 'An interesting cross between Mary Berry and Jeremy Clarkson!' Funny and accurate.
Jenna Coleman's - much-trailed - new drama The Cry finally has a release date; it will fill the void left by Bodyguard. The four-part series will launch on Sunday 30 September at 9pm. The Cry follows Coleman's Joanna as she struggles to cope after the birth of her first child with her husband, Alister (Top Of The Lake's Ewan Leslie). After the family relocate to Australia, their newborn suddenly goes missing and the couple's already fragmented relationship unravels further, as does Joanna's state of mind and her faith in her capabilities as a mother. The disorientating psychological drama is adapted from the best-selling novel by Helen Fitzgerald, although viewers are warned that the conclusion is revealed in the first page of the book. So, if you're one of those people who likes to avoid spoilers, you might want to give that one a miss. Speaking previously about the challenges that the role presented, Jenna said: 'I first read Jacquelin Perske's script on a plane. It felt like walking a tightrope, racing page to page, unsettling, unknowable, uncomfortable, and thrilling. I look forward to tackling this challenge and bringing it to the screen.' The ensemble cast also features familiar faces from Australia and Scotland, including Asher Keddie, Stella Gonet and Alex Dimitriades.
Bodyguard has been a huge (critical and ratings) hit for BBC1 and now it has been announced that the acclaimed drama is coming to Netflix. The streaming network has acquired the rights to show the thriller outside the UK and Ireland. However, it is not the BBC that has done the deal. In fact, the show has been sold to Netflix by ITV Studios. The drama was made by production company World Productions, which was bought by ITV's programme-making and distribution subsidiary ITV Studios last year. Deals like this are now normal practice in the TV world. Media commentator and journalist Kate Bulkley says that public service broadcasters like the BBC and ITV have been doing more commercial tie-ups like this in recent years as a way to stay competitive. 'The market for programmes and series is getting increasingly competitive because we have many more players who are eager to get their hands on premium content,' Bulkley told the BBC. 'They include Netflix, Amazon, Apple, Facebook and YouTube - it's important for the BBC and ITV to up their game and compete for the talent and the projects that will hopefully be hits.' World Productions has also made Line Of Duty for the BBC, The Bletchley Circle for ITV and Save Me for Sky Atlantic. And, ITV Studios makes one of the BBC's other biggest hits, Poldark, through another of the production companies it has snapped up, Mammoth Screen. This strategy has helped to boost ITV Studios' revenues by thirteen per cent to £1.6bn in 2017. It claims to be the world's fastest-growing production and distribution business. Netflix was brought in as an investor during Bodyguard's early production stages in exchange for international rights to stream it. Netflix now has a number of partnerships with UK production companies and broadcasters for shows including Channel Four's The Great British Bake Off and the BBC's Black Earth Rising and Wanderlust. ITV Studios international president Maria Kyriacou said Bodyguard was 'a perfect example of a show produced locally which has huge global appeal.' Bulkley adds that the increasing pressure to compete commercially to produce and sell top quality content, spurred on by the growth of Netflix and Amazon Prime, has been felt in the BBC too. Like ITV, the corporation now has its own commercial arm, BBC Studios, which is free to make content for other broadcasters. 'BBC Studios is a relatively new business - there used to be BBC Worldwide, which was the commercial arm who would sell programmes made by BBC, Channel Four and ITV,' Bulkley explains. 'But in April this year it was put together with the in-house production business of the BBC and the whole entity was renamed BBC Studios.' This decision came about because the BBC felt it should be allowed to sell to other broadcast companies and make money just like studios associated with ITV and Channel Four do. 'There is now a fully commercialised production entity, which is good for the BBC because it means that they are not only producing for the BBC but for other broadcasters - the idea is that the best ideas win and if the BBC doesn't want [to broadcast] a certain programme they can make it for someone else. It has been hard for the past BBC production team to think more commercially, so freeing them up has given them a whole new perspective.' The Netflix deal for Bodyguard was announced on the day BBC Director General Tony Hall told the Royal Television Society that the corporation risked 'getting left behind' in the face of limited funding. 'A decade ago, premium high-end drama might have cost one million pounds an hour in today's money,' he said. 'Premium drama today costs many times that figure routinely. That has resulted in the BBC needing to spend significantly more just to stand still.' Bulkley says that the 'content arms race' is only going to continue as broadcasters and streaming services compete for shows they think will bring in viewers. 'With Bodyguard, it was a commercial deal for a premium drama, which costs you five to six million pounds an episode because you have to pay actors and directors and also because you want it to look good - you have to go to locations and make them look slick,' she says. 'In this competitive environment you have to make shows stand out, so what's happening is a lot more creative deal making. In the old days, the BBC would make a show and sell it round the world - now they need to be able to greenlight a project quicker because other companies like Netflix and Amazon have big chequebooks. To make these premium deals you need money and you need to move quickly.'
A 'special' - and one uses that word quite wrongly - episode of Bargain Hunt featuring members of the Happy Mondays and Pulp had to be reshot after one of them was found to have broken the rules. The rule break was only discovered after filming had completed which meant that the end of the show needed to be recorded again. The episode saw Pulp's national treasure Jarvis Cocker and keyboard player Candida Doyle go up against Bez and Rowetta to find hidden gems at an antiques fair in Kent. Trouble soon emerged. The show's rule book does not allow for family and friends to take part in the auctions but Bez's girlfriend bid and won his team's two auction items, a mirror and a music turntable, securing them an eight quid profit which was enough to give them victory. Despite losing ninety five knicker on their auction items, Cocker's team was given the win when the infringement came to light. Bez, who handed back the eight smackers profit, said: 'It was a genuine error. My girlfriend thought she was helping out.' Executive producer Paul Tucker, whose production team is based in Cardiff, said: 'We have rules and regulations on Bargain Hunt and we have to make sure they abide by them. It was picked up by a runner and we verified there were clearly misdemeanours going on. It was a genuine rule that was broken and we had to reshoot the end.' Tucker added: 'They are rock and rollers and they live on the edge as they did in the eighties. It's not a surprise but in the end it was quite amusing.'
US cable giant Comcast has submitted the highest bid in the auction for broadcaster Sky, valuing the company at more than thirty billion smackers. Comcast beat billionaire tyrant Rupert Murdoch's FOX in a rare blind auction process set by the UK's Takeover Panel. Which is, it must be said, really funny ... even if it does mean that Sky customers (this blogger included) might end up paying higher subscriptions. The firm's chairman and chief executive said that it was 'a great day for Comcast.' Sky has recommended its shareholders accept the bid, saying it was 'an excellent outcome' and 'represents materially superior value.' The UK company's twenty three million subscribers and Premier League football rights make it one of Europe's most profitable TV companies. Comcast's bid equated to £17.28 per share, beating Fox's of £15.67 per share. FOX had looked set to take over the sixty one per cent of Sky it does not already own until Comcast topped its bid. In July, FOX raised its offer to twenty four and a half billion knicker, but this was trumped by a twenty six billion quid bid from Comcast. The process has also been beset by regulatory issues amid concerns over media plurality and the degree of billionaire tyrant Murdoch's influence over the UK media landscape. Brian Roberts, the chairman and chief executive of Comcast, said: 'Sky is a wonderful company with a great platform, tremendous brand, and accomplished management team. This acquisition will allow us to quickly, efficiently and meaningfully increase our customer base and expand internationally. We now encourage Sky shareholders to accept our offer, which we look forward to completing before the end of October 2018.' Jeremy Darroch, Sky chief executive, said it was 'the beginning of the next exciting chapter for Sky.' He added: 'As part of a broader Comcast we believe we will be able to continue to grow and strengthen our position as Europe's leading direct to consumer media company.' In a statement, FOX grumbled that it was 'considering its options' for the thirty nine per cent shareholding it currently has in Sky. It added: 'We are proud to have played such a significant role in building the incredible value reflected today in Comcast's offer.' The future of Sky has been hanging in the balance for more than eight years. The process began when billionaire tyrant Murdoch's News Corp company put forward a bid for full control of what was then BSkyB. That bid was scuppered by the phone-hacking scandal which engulfed billionaire tyrant Murdoch's UK tabloid newspapers - notably the disgraced and disgraceful Scum of the World - and tarnished the firm's - already dodgy - reputation. The bid was revived in December 2016, by which time News Corp had been broken up, leaving Twenty First Century FOX as one of its successors. The process has been complicated by Disney's deal to buy most of FOX's assets, which is due to be completed next year if approved by international regulators. In the end this epic battle was settled by a very rare three round auction organised by the UK Takeover Panel. If the sealed bids had been very close, Twenty First Century FOX and its new owner Disney may have battled on. But the thirty plus billion quid offer tabled by Comcast was ten per cent more than Disney-backed FOX was offering and was described as 'a knockout blow' by people close to the deal. Both companies wanted Sky and its twenty three million subscribers to help them compete against new streaming competitors like Netflix and Amazon. The victory will be sweet revenge for Brian Roberts who lost out to Disney in a previous battle to buy Twenty First Century FOX. In the end, Comcast perhaps needed it more urgently with their home market in the US dwindling. But the biggest cheers will be from Sky shareholders - who have seen the value of the company driven up by two deep-pocketed rivals in the auction room. Comcast will pay them £17.28 a share - nearly double what they were worth a year ago. A necessary reminder, dear blog reader, that, as with most things in life, ultimately greed always wins.
BBC2 is being completely rebranded for the first time in more than twenty five years as the channel looks to reinvent itself in the face of threats from streaming services such as Netflix. The channel's controller, Patrick Holland, also confirmed BBC2 was working with the Black Mirror creator, yer actual Charlie Brooker, to develop new programmes and revealed Eva Green, Eve Hewson and Marton Csokas would star in a big-budget adaptation of Eleanor Catton's Booker prize-winning novel The Luminaries. Holland said traditional television channels still had 'enormous influence' and he could offer 'a curated channel in an age where you've got all of this choice.' But, with the average age of a BBC2 viewer now in their sixties, the channel was facing up to the need to reach a younger audience, he said. BBC2 has already refocused its budget towards its primetime output but Holland said his channel's ability to 'broadcast to millions of people on any given evening' meant it 'could still set the tone' of the national debate. 'Netflix cannot do that, Amazon cannot do that. An ongoing schedule gives you an ongoing dialogue with the audience. I wouldn't swap that for anything.' As part of the revamp, BBC2 will drop its on-screen identity based around physical representations of the number two, which it has used in various forms since the early 1990s. This will be replaced by a series of colourful visualisations based on a simple curve, which the controller said represented the channel's 'constant evolution, constant eclecticism, constant sense of quality.' Whatever that means. It is also 'easier to rework and cheaper to create than the old branding.' Holland said that Brooker was working on new projects. 'He's still working for us. There are things cooking. They haven't finished cooking yet. They're still in development,' he said. Other programmes heading to the channel include Riz Ahmed's Englistan, which will tell the story of three generations of a British Pakistani family; the 'quite pricey' drama MotherFatherSon starring Richard Gere; and a new documentary series charting the rise of Syria's ruling Assad family. The controller said that he was no longer interested in commissioning celebrity-fronted documentaries, which have 'clogged up schedules' for years. 'That sense of being told things by presenters in a traditional way is something we've moved on from. When you're immersed in the story and able to make some connections yourself, it's more grownup television and more emotionally engaging.' He also said contestants on University Challenge 'needed to be aware of the risk of social media abuse' before going on the quiz show. 'The most important aspect of duty of care is talking through all the things that could happen and then it's their choice whether they want to consent.' As part of the rebrand Holland is looking to work with Esme Wren, the editor of Newsnight, to 'reinvigorate' the current affairs programme and make sure it 'fits better' with the rest of the BBC2 schedule, such as by theming discussions around documentaries. 'My role on BBC2 is to try and make the channel as engaged with the modern world, to make it engaged in the big questions of our time, but to do it in a way that brings extraordinary storytelling to the fore,' he said.
The Night Manager won praise from viewers when it premiered a few years ago - including this blog - and talk of a second series has been rife ever since, even though the novel the series was based on never actually got a sequel. However, even though a second series seemed to be underway with a bunch of writers reported to have signed on to the project, one of the show's producers has now put a bit of a dampener on things. 'Actually, not being cute, I really don't know,' executive producer and son of author John Le Carré, Simon Cornwell, told Television magazine. 'We don't have scripts for it yet and we would only think about making a second series of The Night Manager if it was going to be really good. And I'm sure that Hugh [Laurie] and Tom [Hiddleston] and Olivia [Colman], who are not exactly underemployed actors, won't want to come back unless it's excellent, frankly. And, you know, we have all of Le Carré's body of work to pick from.' That's a somewhat less optimistic scenario than a few months ago, when one of the writers, Charles Cumming, gave a hopeful update and said viewers could expect 'some' of the first series' characters to return.
Game Of Thrones' legacy in Northern Ireland is to be celebrated by converting several filming locations into tourist attractions. As the hit adult fantasy drama finishes filming in Northern Ireland after a decade, fans will be given the opportunity to visit sets from the show. Formal tours of Linen Mill Studios in Banbridge, where some of the action is shot, are among the attractions. Each site will also feature displays of costumes, props and weapons. Sets for locations such as Winterfell, Castle Black and Kings Landing will be opened to the public. It is hoped they will open some time in 2019. 'HBO is thrilled to celebrate the work of the Game Of Thrones creative team and crew by preserving these locations and inviting fans to visit Northern Ireland and explore Westeros in person,' HBO's Jeff Peters said. 'We look forward to opening the gates and sharing the excitement of stepping inside these amazing sets with Game Of Thrones fans from around the world. The opportunity to celebrate Northern Ireland's pivotal role in the life and legacy of the show and share its culture, beauty and warmth is also a huge inspiration behind these legacy projects.' John McGrillen, chief executive of Tourism NI, said the project would be 'a game-changer for Northern Ireland on a global tourism level. We very much welcome this exciting announcement by HBO and look forward to attracting many more visitors to our beautiful country as a result, he added. Councillor Paul Greenfield of Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council said the Line Mill Studio tour would be 'a boost for the region' and for Northern Ireland as a whole. 'For many years Titanic Belfast and the Causeway Coast have dominated the tourist trail in Northern Ireland. This announcement by HBO gives us an opportunity to add a third significant destination to the tourist trail in Northern Ireland and this will allow us to retain tourists in Northern Ireland for longer periods of time, as well as attract new group of tourists interested in screen tourism.' Last year a tapestry chronicling the story of the epic was opened at the Ulster Museum in Belfast and a series of decorated doors referencing key scenes were unveiled at venues across Northern Ireland.
Yer actual Benedict Cumberbatch has spoken for the first time about stepping in to stop a cyclist being robbed in Central London. The Sherlock actor told chat show host Ellen DeGeneres tat he saw 'a delivery guy getting surrounded by some guys' last November and stopped to intervene. 'I didn't think twice about knives or acid or any of the other things that can be part of that situation so it was a bit foolhardy,' he revealed. The actor was hailed a hero when details of the incident emerged this year. In an interview broadcast on Monday, though, Benny said that it had 'all got a bit exaggerated' and that he felt 'a bit weird talking about it.' It was reported in June that Benny was in an Uber car with wife, Sophie Hunter, when he saw four alleged muggers set upon a Deliveroo cyclist in Marylebone High Street. The driver of the car said that the actor 'jumped out, ran over and pulled the men away' and that the alleged assailants had 'eventually run away.' 'I just stopped the Uber that we were in and got out and tried to calm the kids down,' said Cumberbatch when asked about the incident by DeGeneres. 'I also tried to stop traffic so they could witness it and if anything did happen, there were people there and that might scare any violence out of the situation.' No arrests were made after the incident, which was reported to the police at the time. Benny recently filmed a Channel Four docudrama about the Brexit referendum and will soon be heard playing the title character in animated film The Grinch.
Poldark's Aidan Turner has won a Stage Debut Award for his performance in The Lieutenant Of Inishmore. He won the best West End debut award, beating Breaking Bad actor Bryan Cranston and Diversity's Ashley Banjo. Turner thanked director Michael Grandage in his speech, calling the role 'one of the most incredible jobs I've ever worked on.' Turner played a terrorist deemed too violent to be a member of the IRA. One critic described him as 'a revelation.' He took a break from filming the fifth series of Poldark to accept the award. Other big winners at The Stage Debut Awards, which took place on Sunday night, included Amara Okereke for her performance in the West End's Les Miserables. She was the first black woman to play the role of Cosette. Katy Rudd won for directing The Almighty Something at Manchester Royal Exchange, whilst Akshay Sharan pick up a prize for his role as a native Pakistani who becomes disenchanted with the West post-9/11 in The Reluctant Fundamentalist at The Yard Theatre in London.
Mock The Week has been a TV comedy staple for well over a decade. But, its host explains, comedians aren't always enthusiastic to appear on it. Mad Frankie Boyle, Russell Howard and Andy Parsons are among those who experienced significant career boosts after appearing as regular panellists. These days, Dara Ó Briain and Hugh Dennis are the only two of the original line-up who remain on the show, both having appeared in every episode. But, Ó Briain tells BBC News: 'The world is full of comedians who are reluctant to do Mock The Week. Firstly, the show is quite intense anyway, even though it's not what it was when it was Frankie and Russell - that really was competitive. Now it's far looser, more fluid conversation than it was. It used to be boom, boom, cut across each other, elbows and it's just thankfully relaxed a lot now. So now we are a lot more listening to each other and riffing off each other than we ever were.' Jo Brand and Rory Bremner are among those who have said they wouldn't want to return to the show. Bremner left after two years as a regular panellist, telling The Torygraph that he felt there was 'a highly competitive and quite aggressive tendency there,' while Brand wrote in the Gruniad Morning Star: 'We just don't like the prospect of having to bite someone's foot off before they let us say something.' But in recent years, Ó Briain claims, the 'basic identity' of Mock The Week has changed and it has become 'a much less one-linery type show. Obviously, Frankie was a one-liner comedian, so he was coming in with staccato bursts of brilliant but brutal stuff that meant it wasn't conversational. Frankie is the end piece of a jigsaw. Nothing else could attach because Frankie would close the topic off with a brilliant one-liner. So it meant it was very staccato as a show. Whereas I'm much more waffly, I want to mess around, and also, the show went younger because younger comics came through. Also, you're expected to do the stand-up round, and do the walking out round, it's not an easy show to do.' Boyle's tendency to seize the limelight was perhaps most noticeable in the Scenes We'd Like To See and If This Is The Answer What Is The Question rounds. Boyle would often either get to the microphone first or come up with particularly offensive - albeit, usually hilarious - suggestions, which would be difficult for others to follow because of the huge reaction from the audience. But a look at the more recent episodes sees a more genial feel take over, where the microphone time is more evenly spread and comedians bounce off each other more. Ó Briain says: 'People are very happy to do Mock a few times, and then go, "right, I've done my Mock." So we now have settled into a position where it's me and Hugh [Dennis], moving generations of comics through.'
An Irish TV channel has grovellingly apologised after one of its promotional idents was criticised by viewers. Albeit, we're talking half-a-dozen whinging malcontents on Twitter rather than anyone that, you know, matters. TG4 aired an ident which featured computer generated giants carrying around caravans and kicking one into the sea. The ident was broadcast on the same day that a woman in Galway died after her caravan was blown into the sea by Storm Ali, a story which lead the news programme that immediately followed the broadcast of the ident. Needless to say, the Twitter whingers had something of a field-day with that. TG4 have issued a statement apologising for the broadcast, saying: 'The ident is one of a series of six, running since 2013, which are auto-scheduled. The ident broadcast once yesterday and was immediately removed from the schedule. TG4 sincerely apologise for the unfortunate scheduling of this ident and for any undue stress caused.' According to the Irish Times, TG4 has said it hasn't received any complaints about the clip to date. The woman has been named in reports as Elvira Ferraii from Switzerland. She was staying on her own near Claddaghduff, at the Clifden Eco Beach Camping and Caravan Park. The incident is said to be taken place at 7:45am on Wednesday. Storm Ali was named on 18 September when an Amber weather warning was introduced. As well as Elvira, a man in his twenties was killed by a falling tree in County Armagh. Over one hundred thousand homes in Northern Ireland lost power, with multiple roads and motorways being closed.
UK adults spend an average of twelve hours a week watching on-demand TV, around eight times longer than they spend exercising, a survey has found and the Gruniad Morning Star has reported. Only twelve? Pfft. Lightweights. This blogger manages triple that, at least, on even a poor day. Hey, what can Keith Telly Topping say, dear blog reader? It's his job. The survey also found that the average adult spend seventeen hours using a smartphone or tablet and twelve hours using social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. In comparison, they were found to spend just one hour and thirty minutes a week doing 'moderate physical activity' such as riding a bike, swimming, playing tennis or hiking. Of those questioned, fourteen per cent said they did not do any exercise at all and thirteen per cent said they did fewer than thirty minutes of moderate exercise a week, meaning twenty seven per cent of adults are classed as physically inactive. Exactly what percentage of those surveyed told the question to fek right off and mind their own sodding business is not, at this time, known. Which is a pity, frankly. Only twenty seven per cent said they did more than one hundred and fifty minutes of exercise, as recommended by the chief medical officer. The study of two thousand and seventy six adults, conducted by ComRes for the health body UKActive, found that the average UK adult spends six hundred and twenty four hours a year - or twenty six days - watching on-demand TV such as Netflix, BBC iPlayer and Amazon Prime TV. Steven Ward, the chief executive of UKActive, said: 'Advances in technology and entertainment have captured our imaginations but as we slip into box-set binges, so many people are losing the balance and enjoyment that physical activity brings to our lives.' The survey was commissioned to coincide with National Fitness Day on Wednesday, which is organised by UKActive to encourage people to take part in physical activity. 'The trick to getting more exercise is finding what motivates you to be active - it could be about fun, fitness or friends, just remember to get up and get moving,' said Ward.
Sir David Attenborough has criticised the BBC, saying it has failed to make enough arts and culture programmes. The naturalist and broadcaster said the corporation 'does not prioritise' these shows because they do not attract a big enough audience. 'If you're a public service broadcaster, people of all kinds should be catered for,' he said. Sir David was speaking in an interview celebrating the ninety fifth year of Radio Times. He said that, as a public broadcaster, the BBC has 'a responsibility' to show programmes on a range of topics. 'I don't think the BBC does enough [arts and culture],' he told the magazine. 'It's not enough simply to say: "Well, it doesn't get a big enough audience." If you're a public service broadcaster, what you should be saying is: "We will show the broad spectrum of human interest."' Blue Planet II, which was narrated by Sir David, was the most watched TV programme of 2017, reaching 37.6 million viewers in the UK. The environmentalist has also written and presented such series as Planet Earth, Life In Cold Blood and Zoo Quest. In response to Sir David's comments, BBC Arts said that they would 'love to do even more' coverage. The veteran broadcaster also defended the BBC, saying that gaps in its arts and culture coverage were not entirely its fault. 'There are lots of gaps in the BBC's coverage now, and that's because they are harried and badgered by all sorts of people,' he said.
The BBC is marking the sixtieth anniversary of Blue Peter next month by digitising all its surviving episodes so that viewers can find their favourite moments to share online. The move is part of a celebration of the diamond jubilee of the world's longest-running children's programme, which will feature an hour-long live special starring many of Blue Peter's past presenters including Valerie Singleton and Peter Purves - who will take part in one 'uge mother of a 'here's one I made earlier' crafting extravaganza. During the birthday episode on 16 October, singer Ed Sheeran will be given a gold Blue Peter badge (why, we simply don't know), current presenter Radzi Chinyanganya will be winched above the aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth to see the crew lined-up to spell out the show's name at sea, while co-host Lindsey Russell will attempt a solo hot-air balloon flight in the Arctic Circle. In addition, a Blue Peter diamond jubilee time capsule will be sealed in the National Archives and BBC1's The ONE Show - which is hosted by former Blue Peter presenter Matt Baker - will take a look back at some of the programme's highlights. The special will be shown on CBBC and repeated on BBC2, meaning Blue Peter will briefly return to the main channels - it was moved from BBC1 to CBBC in 2012. Famous for its badges, pets and references to sticky-backed plastic, Blue Peter began in 1958. With its format of 'makes', bakes, competitions and presenter challenges, it became a staple of British children's lives. More than five thousand episodes have been broadcast, fronted by thirty seven presenters. Favourite moments obviously include Lulu the elephant running amok in the studio with the late John Noakes, Singleton and Purves in 1969 and Anthea Turner demonstrating how to make a version of a Thunderbirds Tracy Island toy. Despite rising competition from the likes of YouTube, the show continues to bring in young audiences. It received more than one hundred thousand messages or letters from viewers in 2017 compared with forty thousand in 2011, helped partly by the decision to move the programme from London to Salford seven years ago. Blue Peter's editor, Ewan Vinnicombe, said that all the former presenters - well, the ones that are still alive, anyway - were keen to be involved in the sixtieth birthday celebrations and explained how viewers would be able to share the vintage footage on social media: 'BBC Archive [has been] going through digitising every episode of Blue Peter there's ever been into the digital archive so we can then please all the different audiences for all the different clips they want.' Russell said that she thought the secret to the show's success was that it had 'moved with the times' and harnessed technology. 'It's still got that same structure and definitely the same values; it's about the badge, about being brave, going outside your comfort zone, going for it and believing in yourself and taking on an adventure – all of that's still there,' she said. However, it had also evolved, Russell added: 'We play a game during the show which, is "spot Shelley the tortoise," so if you can spot Shelley you jump on to the fan club online and say where she is hiding; then the winner gets a shout-out. It's about mixing those new things. So as long as you mix that in with the old - we're still doing makes, still doing bakes, got some live music, it is the show it always was but with those 2018 elements woven in.' Russell said the presenters' challenges were now bigger than ever and the show attracted a more diverse audience: 'I think it has broader appeal - we have cool music on the show. If you said what a Blue Peter fan is like, it's anyone and everyone from six to eighteen-year-olds. It's not the "safe" show it used to be [but] it's the still the same kind of framework.' Chinyanganya said: 'Blue Peter, over the last sixty years, has been about core values and ambition and as long as those key things are there - we're trying to be the best versions of ourselves - then I don't see why that will not continue, in spite of the other distractions that are there.'
The famous photograph in which it was revealed that Joanna Lumley was to play a starring role in The New Avengers was actually an example of sexist 'upskirting', the actress has claimed. Although the character Purdey was her breakthrough role and she was able to choose her hairstyle and some of her clothes, Lumley said that she faced 'misogynistic attitudes' while fighting to make the character 'more progressive.' Lumley revealed that she wanted Purdey in the 1976 television series to portray 'a more feminist image' and thought she should be in tights and flat shoes instead of stockings and high heels. Against the wishes of producers and the press, Lumley wore tights to the photoshoot to announce her part in the show - but was told the event would not be covered unless she quickly changed into stockings. Lumley described a scene she thought of as indicative of the attitudes towards women at the time, telling the BBC's Andrew Marr Show: 'When we launched it and were about to say "ladies and gentlemen, the new Avenger girl will be Joanna Lumley" it was outside the Dorchester and we'd got a great big Rolls Royce, they'd got all the accoutrements, an umbrella, they'd got a bowler hat, they'd got all the things that looked a bit Avenger-ish and they said "Joanna if you could just come up in the Rolls Royce and hoik up your skirt and show us your stockings" and I said "but I'm wearing tights!" There was a dull roar from the press gang and they said "if you're not wearing stockings we won't cover the occasion and we won't take any pictures."' She then claimed that she had to run into the Dorchester and 'ripped the stockings off' an 'oldish woman' in exchange for a five pound note. However, because the lady was significantly shorter than Lumley, the stockings only came up to just above her knees - and they weren't a pair. Lumley explained: 'So, one had a huge thing at the top, one had a little thing and they only came up to just above my knees, I stood there and they said "put a gun in your stocking," I put a gun there. They would only take a picture of me - talk about upskirting - if I had stockings on and a gun in my stocking.' However, she added that she 'loved' playing the role, especially the combat scenes in which she relished being able to practice her kick.
PJ Harvey to write score for a West End play starring From The North favourite Gillian Anderson. The singer-songwriter has confirmed on her website that she will score director Ivo Van Hove's stage adaptation of All About Eve at London's Noël Coward Theatre next year. The play will star Gillian and Lily James and runs from 2 February until 11 May. It was made into an Oscar-winning film in 1950, starring Bette Davis as Margo Channing, a fading Broadway star. Tickets for the run go on sale on Friday.
Ofcom - a politically-appointed quango, elected by no one - is to launch an inquiry into Z-List Celebrity Big Brother after it received more than twenty five thousand whinges about Roxanne Pallett's allegation that she was 'physically abused' by Ryan Thomas. The watchdog confirmed that it was 'investigating whether this programme broke our rules on offensive content.' Pallett left the Z-List Celebrity Big Brother house on 1 September in a reet stroppy huff after claiming that she was 'punched' by Thomas. She later snivellingly apologised to Thomas, saying that she had 'overreacted' to 'a playful act.' Thomas received a formal warning from the producers after appearing to use his fist to make contact with Pallett's body. The former Coronation Street actor went on to win the final edition of the sick Victorian freak-show. Channel Five confirmed earlier this month the show's most recent series would be its last and that Big Brother would also end when the current series has finished. Ofcom said it had received twenty one thousand five hundred whinges about the initial incident, which was broadcast at the end of August. It said that it had also received an additional three thousand seven hundred and forty seven whinges afterwards. Pallett quit her job on York-based radio station Minster FM after facing a huge public backlash over her behaviour. The former Emmerdale actress - and shameless self-publicist - also pulled out of playing Cinderella in pantomime in Chesterfield. For which, one trusts, the people of Chesterfield will be so happy, they'll be straightening their crooked church spire in celebration. Ofcom has also launched an investigation into Loose Women over Kim Woodburn's appearance on the ITV show on 29 August. The watchdog said that it had received seven thousand nine hundred whinges after Woodburn was seen rowing with panellist Coleen Nolan before flouncing off the set in tears. Woodburn, best known for presenting How Clean Is Your House? - and, for pretty much nothing else - and Nolan 'fell out' when they both appeared on Z-List Celebrity Big Brother last year. As if anyone with half a brain in their head actually gives a stuff about such rank, arrant nonsense. Ofcom's spokeswoman said that it was investigating whether the programme 'fell short of generally accepted standards.'
If you're the kind of soft-headed glake that thinks Christmas can't come soon enough then you're in luck. A dedicated Christmas movie channel has started broadcasting - in the last week of September - and it's going to show nothing but festive films from now until January. Truly, dear b log reader, there is no God. The channel is called True Christmas and it takes over the channel True Movies. If you've got Sky you'll want to know where it is so you can avoid it - Channel 321 - and for Freeview users can find avoided by simply not going to Channel 62.
Six Coronation Street actors and the former-boxer Big Frank Bruno are among the latest z-list celebrities to settle phone-hacking claims with News Group Newspapers. Sixteen cases were heard at London's High Court, including Kym Marsh - who plays Michelle Connor in the ITV soap - and Jimmi Harkishin, who plays Dev. The comedians Les Dennis and Bob Mortimer also received payouts. NGN paid 'substantial damages' to sixteen claimants and snivellingly apologised for hacking at the disgraced and disgraceful Scum of the World. The firm - formerly called News International - made no admissions in respect of alleged hacking at the Sun. One or two people even believed them. NGN has settled more than one thousand claims since the phone-hacking scandal began to emerge in 2005. Other Coronation Street actors to receive payouts included Kate Ford, known for her role as Tracy Barlow and Samia Ghadie, who plays Maria Connor. Alan Halsall, who plays Tyrone Dobbs in the soap and his ex-wife Lucy-Jo Hudson, who played Katy Harris from 2002 to 2005, also settled their claims. The former world heavyweight champion Bruno claimed that no-one believed he had been hacked. 'For years I said I was being hacked, but people just said, "Poor old Frank he's really lost it this time,"' he said. 'No amount of money will never pay for the stress this caused, the sleepless nights and the countless rows I had with people who I thought had leaked stories to the press. The people who did this are the lowest of the low. Gutter press is a good description.' He added: 'My mum used to say that we need to forgive those who have wronged us and, despite what I have been through, I will try and put this horrible episode behind me.' The other cases to be settled included Carole Caplin, the ex-style adviser to Cherie Blair, Sam Preston, ex-singer of band The Ordinary Boys, the model Nancy Moir, wife of the comedian Vic Reeves and Rupert Lowe, the ex-chairman of Southampton Football Club. Lawyer Claire Greaney of Charles Russell Speechlys, which represented some of the claimants, added: 'Everyone has the right to privacy and confidentiality. Violating that right was simply unacceptable. While our clients have a public profile, their private life is just that - private - and should be respected as such.' Each of the claimants settled their cases and received damages - estimated to be, like, totally wads of wonga - and asnivelling apology in open court for misuse of their private information. The Scum of the World was closed in shame and ignominy in 2011 after its owners, billionaire tyrant Rupert Murdoch's News International, admitted the scale of hacking that had been going on, dating back many years (after years of having denied doing any such thing).
It has been rumoured for many months and now it can, finally, be confirmed; in honour of its fiftieth anniversary, The Be-Atles' iconic self-titled 1968 LP (probably better known to you and me, dear blog readers, as The White Album) is getting a golden anniversary deluxe re-release. The box-set will be available from 9 November via Apple. The original double LP's thirty songs have been given a tasty remix and polish by Be-Atles archive overseer Giles Martin (the son of The Be-Atles' producer the late Sir George Martin) and engineer Sam Okell in both stereo and 5.1 surround audio. The super deluxe set also features twenty seven legendary acoustic demos recorded at George Harrison's palatial country gaff in Esher in May 1968 plus over fifty session over-takes, many of which have never before been released (at least, officially). The super deluxe edition arrives with seven - that's seven - discs in total, as well as a one hundred and sixty four-page book of rare photographs, a fold-out poster, reproductions of hand-written lyrics, articles by yer actual Sir Paul McCartney (MBE), Kevin Howlett and John Harris. The deluxe edition includes the Esher Demos, a limited edition four-LP vinyl box set, a twenty four-page booklet. A standard double LP vinyl edition will also be available. The White Album has always been been the deepest mystery in The Be-Atles career - their wildest, strangest, most experimental and, often, most brilliant work. 'Before the Leicester group Family issued their innovative debut album Music In A Doll's House in August 1968, The Beatles had been planning to call their new work A Doll's House (supposedly after Ibsen),' wrote Ian MacDonald in his acclaimed critique of the The Be-Atles' output, Revolution In The Head. 'The clash was unfortunate since this was an apt title for this musical attic of odds and ends, some charming, others sinister, many tinged with childhood memories, all absorbed in the interior worlds of their authors. There is a secret unease in this music, betraying the turmoil beneath the group's business-as-usual façade. Shadows lengthen over the album as it progresses: the slow afternoon of The Beatles' career.' But, as it turns out, The White Album is even weirder than anyone realised. 'They were a band on fire,' says Martin. 'It's double or triple Sgt Pepper - the four walls of this studio couldn't hold them anymore.' Part of The White Album's mystique is all of the drama that went into it - the arguments and bad vibes during the five months it took to make the double LP are the stuff of legend. So, all the humour, excitement and camaraderie on display in the new set may come as something of a shock. Case in point: a previously unknown version of 'Good Night' where John, Paul, George and Ringo all harmonise over Lennon's folk guitar - like several of the songs on the LP, influenced by their friend Donovan teaching John, Paul and George how to finger-pick during their trip to India to hang out at Sexy Sadie's Ashram in early 1968. As Martin admits, 'You listen to them sing together and ask, "This is The White Album?' The release follows in the wake of last year's acclaimed four-CD anniversary edition of Sgt Pepper. But this is an even deeper dive into the archives, since the LP covers so much ground. In May 1968, just back from India, the group gathered at George's bungalow in Esher to tape unplugged versions of many of the new songs they had stockpiled. Over the next two days, working either together or solo, they busked through twenty seven songs. The tapes then sat in a suitcase in George's house for years. Seven of the songs came out on Anthology 3; others have appeared on bootleg but have never been officially released in any Be-Atle version, including John's 'Child of Nature' (later rewritten as 'Jealous Guy') and George's 'Sour Milk Sea' and 'Circles'. The Esher tapes alone make this collection essential, with a fresh homemade intimacy that is unique. Martin says: 'They're rough takes, but spiritually, the performances stand on their own.' With their batteries recharged from their Indian retreat, all four Be-Atles were hitting new peaks as songwriters - even Ringo, who contributed 'Don't Pass Me By'. They couldn't wait to get back into the studio. They had no idea how much trauma they were in for. Coming back from India with more songs than they knew what to do with, The Be-Atles hit upon a smart idea for the first LP on their own, recently formed, Apple label. Make it a double and include everything. So, from 30 May to 17 October 1968, they virtually lived in the studio. And, Yoko Ono lived there with them. Geoff Emerick - their engineer since Revolver - quit because the atmosphere got so bad. George Martin was frequently bored and sometimes left sessions in the hands of his young assistant, Chris Thomas. A depressed Ringo quit the band and departed to Sardinia for a fortnight and the band carried on without him (Paul plays drums on 'Back in the USSR' and 'Dear Prudence'). A deeply cheesed-off George Harrison managed to place four of his songs on the LP but tried over one hundred takes to get fifth - 'Not Guilty' - to work, felt it still wasn't right and buggered-off to Greece in a temper to cool his jets. Yet, amid all this malarkey and bitching, The Be-Atles, almost despite themselves, were busy creating a masterpiece. A massively flawed, hugely self-indulgent and bitterly personal masterpiece, admittedly. One that includes 'Rocky Raccoon.' And 'Wild Honey Pie.' This blogger mentioned flawed, yes? But, really, that's all incidental. Where The Be-Atles is good, it's brilliant and where it's bad, it's still fascinating. This is the Beatles LP that one would take to a hypothetical desert island because of the variety and the strangeness of the moods it creates - alternatively bright and yet also often sinister and shadowy. What McCartney's biographer Barry Miles described as the LP's 'sprawling chaos.' Thirty four songs were recorded, thirty made the record ('Not Guilty' and 'What's The New Mary Jane?' missed out and remained unreleased for nearly thirty years, 'Hey Jude'/'Revolution' became the biggest selling Be-Atles single of all time). Many of them could have done with some further group input but, by this stage, they were acting virtually as each other's session-men, if that. A fact evidenced by Paul recording 'Why Don't We Do It In The Road?' (a song John admired greatly) without bothering to ask for John's help despite the fact that he was just down the corridor in Abbey Road mixing 'Revolution 9'. Although, interestingly, Ringo in particular has stressed in several interviews how he actually prefers The White Album to Sgt Pepper because there was more direct band activity involved in its creation. For example, the session which produced 'I Will' (a really simple song) went on all night although, even here, The Be-Atles could throw off a little gem like the medley of McCartney's 'Step Inside Love' and the make-it-up-as-we-go-along 'Los Paranoias' between takes. The finished set features 'Dear Prudence', 'While My Guitar Gently Weeps', 'Happiness is a Warm Gun', 'I'm So Tired', 'Blackbird', 'Julia', 'Sexy Sadie', 'Helter Skelter', 'Long, Long, Long' (this blogger's favourite ever Be-Atles song as it happens) and, yes, 'Revolution 9'. The new edition has versions of other songs from the same period: 'Hey Jude', 'Lady Madonna', 'The Inner Light' and 'Across the Universe'. They also include rehearsal takes of oldies like 'Blue Moon' and 'You're So Square (Baby I Don't Care)'. It shows what should have been evident all along from the original record - they sound like a true band. It is a strange, baffling, challenging work. It's often wonderful. Would it have been better as a single LP as George Martin reportedly wanted? Who cares, frankly, it wasn't that. History will judge what we got instead. This author is with Sir Macca all the way on that score: 'It was the bloody Beatles White Album! Shut up!'
And now, dear blog reader, the non-TV Comedy Moment Of The Week.
Watching the County Championship game between Surrey and Essex at The Oval on Sky Sports Cricket on Monday, this blogger noted that Mark Butcher and Nick Knight were discussing potential bowling changes. 'I think a change is going to come,' said Butch. And, indeed, it did when Essex's Sam Cook came on at the Vauxhall End. Obviously.
England have called up uncapped Surrey opener Rory Burns to the test squad to face Sri Lanka this winter - the first tour since Alastair Cook's retirement. Burns captained Surrey to the County Championship title this year and is the leading scorer in Division One, with thirteen hundred and nineteen runs at an average of sixty nine. Kent batsman Joe Denly and Warwickshire fast bowler Olly Stone are also named in the squad for the first time. England face Sri Lanka in three Tests in November. Denly previous played nine one-day internationals and five Twenty20 matches for England in 2009 and 2010. He has hit three centuries to help Kent win promotion from Division Two this season, scoring seven hundred and ninety eight runs at thirty six and he provides England with an additional leg-spin option having taken twenty first class wickets this year. Stone was named in the one-day squad to tour Sri Lanka on Wednesday and has taken thirty seven wickets for Warwickshire in Division Two this season. Somerset left-arm spinner Jack Leach has been recalled for the first time since his test debut against New Zealand in March, with all-rounder Moeen Ali and leg-spinner Adil Rashid the other two specialist spinners in the sixteen-man squad. Lancashire opener Keaton Jennings retains his place, despite struggling during a summer in which he scored but one hundred and ninety two runs in six tests at an average of nineteen. Burns is likely to open alongside Jennings following the retirement of England's highest test run-scorer Cook, who scored a farewell century in the final Test of England's four-one series win over India earlier this month. Burns has hit four centuries and seven fifties in Division One this year and scored more than a thousand first class runs in each of the past five seasons. 'I'm really delighted,' he told BBC Radio London. 'There has been a bit of hearsay about me getting called up and I've had a lot of questions about it, so it was nice to get the call to put an end to that, stop worrying about it and just get on with my business. I've never been to Sri Lanka before so that'll be something new and I'm looking forward to getting going.' Denly has batted at three for Kent this season but has previously opened and national selector Ed Smith said that he was 'another option' to bat at the top of the order should Jennings' shocking run of form continue. 'It took Joe a while to develop into the player that people saw he could become and he's now really matured into a calm, classy, assured cricketer,' said Smith. Surrey middle-order batsman Ollie Pope is selected after making his first two test appearances against India this summer. England's two leading wicket-takers, Lancashire's James Anderson and Stuart Broad of Nottinghamshire, are also included, with all-rounders Sam Curran, Ben Stokes and Chris Woakes providing the other seam options. England play five one-day internationals and a Twenty20 match before the three-test series against Sri Lanka.
An investigation into a claim that Moeen Ali was called 'Osama' by an Australia player during the 2015 Ashes has been closed. Cricket Australia claimed that 'no new evidence' had been presented. The governing body launched an investigation after Moeen wrote about the incident in his autobiography. 'We have followed up with the England and Wales Cricket Board and confirmed the incident was investigated at the time,' CA said. 'A response was provided to Moeen. Moeen elected not to progress the matter any further at the time and we have not been able to ascertain any new additional evidence through our enquiries. As such, the matter is considered closed. We take a zero-tolerance approach to remarks of this nature, they have no place in our sport, or in society and any allegations raised with us are treated seriously and respectfully.' Moeen said that the comment was made in the first test of the 2015 series, which England won three-two to regain the Ashes. In an extract of his book published in The Times, Moeen said: 'An Australian player had turned to me on the field and said, "Take that, Osama." I could not believe what I had heard. I remember going really red. I have never been so angry on a cricket field.' The alleged slur appears to be a reference to the Islamist terrorist Osama Bin Laden. Moeen said that he told 'a couple' of team-mates about the incident and believed that England's coach, Trevor Bayliss, had raised the matter with then Australia counterpart Darren Lehmann.
West Hamsters United are reported - by the Gruniad Morning Star if not anything more reliable - to have complained to TalkSport about criticism from broadcaster and former midfield skinhead clogger Danny Murphy regarding their handling of contract negotiations with Declan Rice after learning that Rice's agent has also represented Murphy. Ooh, 'potential conflict of interest' and all that malarkey. Big fight, little people. Murphy argued that it was 'ridiculous' that The Hamsters were yet to reward Rice's impressive performances with a new contract when he appeared on squawking Scottish thing Jim White's TalkSport show on Monday and warned that the club 'risked losing their brightest young talent' if the matter were not resolved soon. The nineteen-year-old has entered the final two years of his deal and rejected an offer worth around fifteen grand a week in the summer. Yet West Hamsters, who are thought to be 'confident' that Rice's contract contains an option that will allow them to extend it until 2021, are determined not to be pushed around and believe that Murphy should have declared his own connection with Neil Fewings, who landed Rice as a client this year. 'I'm amazed West Ham haven't got him a new contract sorted,' Murphy said. 'Why haven't they sorted it? This lad hasn't just come into the first team, he's been around since last season. This is typical of lots of clubs who forget to reward young lads when they're doing really well - and I don't mean stupid money, I don't agree with young lads who aren't in the first team earning twenty thousand pounds a week. But, he is on a very low contract, playing at the top level, dealing with some top players and looking very, very accomplished. All of a sudden he's only got next season on his contract and what, West Ham think the big clubs aren't watching him now? I'm amazed at West Ham, it's ridiculous for a lad of this talent. It shouldn't have got to this. You can't let this happen.' Rice has received rave reviews since breaking into West Hamsters' first team last season and excelled as a defensive midfielder in the draw with Moscow Chelski FC at The London Stadium last Sunday. Yet his relationship with the club has grown complicated since signing with Fewings, a prominent figure at Wasserman Media Group, one of the world's top agencies. Rice, who is comfortable at centre-back or in midfield, receives three thousand knicker a week and it is understood that his representatives are asking West Hamsters to offer a basic wage of thirty thousand quid a week. However, West Hamsters are 'believed to be wary of giving the teenager too much too young,' after thirty six first-team appearances, the Gruniad claim. They do not want to harm his progress and believe that a contract worth fifteen thousand snots per week plus 'lucrative appearance bonuses' is 'a more realistic figure.'
Germany has beaten Turkey to host Euro 2024 after a vote by UEFA's executive committee on Thursday. The two countries made final bid presentations before voting took place in Nyon, Switzerland. The decision means Germany will stage the European Championship for the first time as a unified country, with West Germany having hosted the 1988 tournament. Turkey is yet to host a major international football tournament. It has seen previous attempts to host the Euros in 2008, 2012 and 2016 fail, as well as the 2020 Summer Olympics. Euro 2024 will return to a single-host format after Euro 2020 is held across Europe, including Germany. Before announcing the winner, UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin said that Germany and Turkey had made 'very strong bids.' And that they were both winners. Although Germany was the actual winner. After announcing the winner, he added: 'The procedure was transparent. The voting was democratic. Every democratic decision is the right decision so I can only say I am looking forward to seeing a fantastic Euro in 2024.' Euro 2024 will feature twenty four teams, taking place in June and July, with fifty one games scheduled for up to thirty two days. Berlin will stage the final, while matches will also take place in Cologne, Dortmund, Dusseldorf, Frankfurt, Gelsenkirchen, Hamburg, Leipzig, Munich and Stuttgart.
A video of Colorado's football mascot accidentally shooting himself in the groin with a T-shirt cannon has - unsurprisingly - gone viral. And, in other news, it seems that bears do, indeed, shit in the woods. Thousands of fans watched - in amusement - from the stands as Chip The Buffalo doubled over clutching his furry groin after the incident. He was trying to launch a T-shirt into the excited crowds but, clearly, didn't notice that he was holding the gun the wrong way around. One imagines that made his eyes water. Medics were called onto the pitch and he was carried away 'for a check-up.' Thankfully, Chip posted later on Twitter letting fans know that there was no lasting damage done.
Blunderland have extremely terminated alleged midfielder Didier Ndong's contract after he failed to return to the club this summer. The Gabon international joined the League One side for over thirteen and a half million smackers in 2016 but has not played for The Mackem Filth since January. The Black Cats agreed a fee - reported to be £6.6m - with Italian club Torino in June, with Blunderland pursuing Ndong legally for their financial losses. He was contracted with the club until 2021 but he has not reported for training since the start of pre-season in July. 'No reason was given for his failure to report and continued absence,' said a club statement. 'Sunderland AFC retain the right to pursue the player and any club he may subsequently join in relation to compensation for the value of the player.' Papy Djilobodji - who cost Blunderland eight million knicker in 2016 - also had his contract very terminated on 12 September after returning to training late and then 'comprehensively' failing a fitness test.
A passenger aircraft has come down in a lagoon off Chuuk International Airport in Micronesia after it missed the runway, airport officials say. The Air Niugini plane from Papua New Guinea was seen sitting in shallow water just off the coast. Locals responded by approaching the plane in small vessels to help rescue the thirty six passengers and eleven crew. A hospital official told Reuters that four passengers were 'in a serious condition' after the crash. The aircraft was flying from the island of Pohnpei in Micronesia to Port Moresby, the capital of Papua New Guinea, stopping at Micronesia's Weno island on the way. Air Niugini said its Boeing 737-800 had 'landed short of the runway' amid 'reduced visibility' due to rain and poor weather. An investigation is due to begin, airport officials said. Passenger Bill Jaynes told reporters that the incident had been 'surreal. I thought we landed hard until I looked over and saw a hole in the side of the plane and water was coming in. I thought, well, this is not like the way it's supposed to happen,' he added.
Pope Frankie told a crowd of young people in the Estonian capital Tallinn on Tuesday that he 'understood' many of them were 'upset' by the sexual abuse scandals currently rocking the Catholic Church and that the institution had 'lost credibility' as a result. It was the Pope's first reference to the sex abuse crisis since arriving in the Baltic region on Saturday and came on the same day as bishops in Germany released a damning report into abuse by Catholic priests in the country over the past seven decades. 'We know - and you have told us - that many young people do not turn to us for anything because they don't feel we have anything meaningful to say to them,' the Pope said in Tallinn on the final day of his four-day Baltic tour. 'In fact, some of them expressly ask us to leave them alone, because they feel the Church's presence as bothersome or even irritating. They are upset by sexual and economic scandals that do not meet with clear condemnation by our unpreparedness to really appreciate the lives and sensibilities of the young.'
The Royal Mail has 'urged' environmental campaigners to stop posting crisp packets without envelopes in protest at non-recyclable bags. Walkers have reportedly been 'flooded' with empty packets which have been sent with their freepost address simply placed directly on them. Campaigners had asked people to post the bag and 'flood Walkers social media with pictures of us popping them in the post.' However, Royal Mail has now stepped in as post without envelopes have to be sorted by hand rather than machine - causing delays. A spokesperson said: 'We strongly encourage customers not to post anything into the postal system which is not properly packaged. Crisp packets can't go through the machines, they are not normal mail items therefore my hardworking colleagues need to manually sort them, which adds to time.' A Walkers spokesperson said: 'We recognise the efforts being made to bring the issue of packaging waste to our attention. The returned packets will be used in our research, as we work towards our commitment of improving the recyclability of our packaging.' Royal Mail said it had handled about thirty crisp packets so far. So, not so much a 'flood', more a dribble. Walkers has pledged to make all its packaging one hundred per cent recyclable, compostable or biodegradable by 2025.
A BBC presenter has reportedly received death threats meant for a rapper with the same name who released a music video calling for white babies to be killed. One social media user sent a message to BBC Radio Norfolk breakfast show host Nick Conrad saying: 'You're going to die.' YouTube has since suspended the music video after it was condemned by anti-racism groups. Conrad has reported the threats made to him to the police. The French rapper's video, called 'Hang White People', called for white babies to be killed and their parents hanged. The Paris prosecutor has launched an inquiry, according to French broadcaster BFMTV. The BBC's Conrad - who definitely does not want to see any babies killed, white or otherwise - said that he first became aware of the messages on Wednesday evening. 'I just saw all these messages popping up on my phone in French,' he said. 'A French friend rang me and said have you seen all these comments online? I'd never heard of him before.' One individual who posted a threatening message to the BBC presenter telling him he was going to die, later apologised for his mistake. So, that's all right, then. However, Conrad said that 'keyboard warriors' should 'think twice' before sending out such threats.
A passenger flying for the first time reportedly 'sparked panic' on a flight in India when he tried to open the rear exit of the plane, mistaking it for the door to the lavatory. And, when he did that, he wasn't the only one who suddenly and desperately needed a dump. A police spokesman said that the man in his late twenties was seen by fellow passengers and when challenged he 'told them he needed to use the washroom urgently and kept tugging at the exit door.' Cabin crew on the GoAir flight from Delhi to Patna were 'forced to wrestle the man away from the door,' according to Indian media reports and he was 'persuaded' to take a seat for the remainder of the flight before being handed over to airport security upon arrival. A spokesperson for GoAir told the Independent that the incident took place on Saturday evening. The plane landed safely. 'A passenger was trying to open the rear door of the aircraft while in the air,' the spokesperson said. 'A co-passenger raised the alarm and he was intercepted by the crew. Post arrival, the passenger was handed over to CISF for further investigation.' CISF, a branch of the Indian military which has been in charge of airport security since 2001, told the Times of India that the man had successfully unlocked the rear door but was unable to open it due to cabin pressure. That claim was contradicted by an airline source, who said that the doors cannot be unlocked when there is a big difference in pressure between the cabin and outside the plane. CISF escorted the man off the plane upon arrival at Patna and handed him over to local police, who questioned him about his motives. Sanowar Khan, the officer in charge of the local police, said that there was 'pandemonium' on the flight when the young man, a banker and first-time flier, started trying to open the door. Khan told the Torygraph: 'People asked him why he was [trying to open the door]. He told them that he needed to use the washroom urgently and kept tugging at the exit door. Pandemonium prevailed amid all this and he was restrained and finally handed over to us. He said that the confusion happened because he had boarded a flight for the first time in his life.'
A Swedish Interweb company broke gender discrimination rules by using a popular meme in an advertisement, the country's advertising regulator has ruled. Bahnhof posted a version of the 'distracted boyfriend' meme on Facebook, to advertise job vacancies. The image, which shows a man looking at a woman in a red dress while his girlfriend looks on in horror, has been widely parodied online. But the regulator said that the image was discriminatory to both men and women. The regulator, Reklamombudsmannen, said the image 'objectified women' by showing the man's 'appreciative reaction.' It was also 'sexually discriminatory' towards men by 'imparting a stereotype picture of men looking at women as being interchangeable.' In a statement, Bahnhof said: 'Anyone who supports both the Internet and meme-culture knows precisely how this meme is used and interpreted. We explained both the purpose of the image and meme-culture for the regulator but they have chosen to interpret the post in a different way.' The ruling has been largely ridiculed online by people who suggested the regulator had failed to correctly interpret the image.
Yer actual Kylie Minogue will be making platform announcements around the UK to mark BBC Music Day on Friday. The singer has recorded a series of messages encouraging commuters to share their love of music. 'Please let passengers sing and dance their way off the train first before trying to get on board,' says the singer in one of the announcements. 'I truly believe in the power of music to bring joy and lift the soul,' said the BBC Music Day ambassador. And, let's face it, if you're using the British rail system you're probably in need of a lift of your soul. 'Hopefully my little messages for train passengers will be a nice surprise and a reminder of the power of music,' added Kylie. The announcements will be heard at stations in Birmingham, Glasgow, Leeds, London, Manchester and Reading on Friday. So, if you're travelling by rail on Friday but you're not using any of those stations, that's just your tough luck, isn't it?
A British woman has been found to have a dead turtle inside her vagina. The ex-pat was taken to hospital in Tenerife, reportedly after 'experiencing severe abdominal pains.' Her doctors then made 'the shocking discovery.' It is unclear how, exactly, the turtle ended up inside the woman and she told doctors that she has 'no recollection' of it being put there. At least, that's her story and she's sticking to it. She claimed that she began experiencing pain two days after going out partying with friends. Police were called to the hospital by a doctor who was 'concerned' that the woman may have been the victim of a sexual assault, ABC News of the Canary Islands reported.
Two people are recovering from minor injuries after a large tent collapsed on them at an annual Sausage Fest in Richland, Washington. Organisers said that volunteers were getting ready to take the large, orange parachute down because of the wind when the pole cracked, sending the crowd scattering. Sausage Fest co-Chair David Fetto told Action News it that the injuries happened 'as folks ran for safety,' not from debris falling from the tent. 'I've already been brought to tears once about this,' he said. 'We're thankful. God blessed us when this thing fell that people were able to get out of the way because it could have been a lot worse.'
Kimberly Thompson, Beyoncé's former drummer, has reportedly filed for a civil harassment restraining order against Beyoncé, according to court records viewed by Pitchfork. Thompson alleges that Beyoncé is practicing 'extreme witchcraft' and 'magic spells of sexual molestation' to 'harass' her. Among other allegations, Thompson also claims that Beyoncé 'murdered my pet kitten.' And, looked at her in afunny way. Probably. Pitchfork claim that Thompson had a request for a temporary restraining order denied by Los Angeles Superior Court on 19 September. In an e-mail to Pitchfork, Thompson 'confirmed that accuracy of the documents.' 'All accusations I survived are real,' she wrote.
Convicted sex offender Bill Cosby allegedly claimed to have been 'hit in the face with a stale hotdog bun' and fell down stairs on his first day in prison, according to media reports - albeit, not from especially reliable sources. Radar Online (no, me neither) claims that an alleged - though anonymous and, therefore, almost certainly fictitious - Montgomery County courthouse 'source' allegedly overheard an alleged phone call allegedly made via speakerphone by Cosby to his wife, Camille, shortly after he was extremely sentenced to up to ten years in The Big House for sexual assault. 'He said he had a stale hotdog bun thrown at him and he fell down a few steps because he wasn't being guided,' the alleged 'source' allegedly told Radar Online. At eighty one years old and legally blind, Cosby is in the minority in the Pennsylvania prison population. The gossip website also claimed that Cosby told his wife, to 'grab the chequebook' and hire 'anyone and everyone' who could facilitate his early release from The Pokey. Andrew Wyatt, a publicist for the disgraced and disgraceful comedian, paints a rather different picture, however. He told TMZ that Cosby was being 'treated very well. He said, first off, people were "amazed" to meet him and see him, and they're just treating him very nicely,' Wyatt claimed in the interview. 'He said they're very respectful to him.' Following Cosby's sentencing hearing, Wyatt told the media that his client had been 'subjected to the most racist and sexist trial in the history of the United States.' Quite a few poor black men from America's inner cities disagreed with that assessment. 'They persecuted Jesus and look what happened,' Wyatt added, according to CNN. Err ... the miracle of the resurrection, followed by two thousand years of inter-faith war. '[I'm] not saying Mister Cosby is Jesus,' added Wyatt, hurriedly. Because, he really isn't. 'But we know what this country has done to black men for centuries.' Notorious former NFL star, actor and jailed felon OJ Simpson also weighed in on Cosby's incarceration, telling TMZ: 'I think they should've let him do his time under house arrest.' Simpson claimed that Cosby 'would need protective custody' during his sentence. 'The problem is the nature of the crime,' he said. 'Rapists are frowned upon in prison.' Simpson, who did not add whether he believed all convicted sex offenders should be allowed to serve their sentences at home or, just the famous ones, spent nine years behind bars after being extremely convicted of armed robbery and kidnapping, before being released last year.
One of London's oldest pie and mash shops is closing down after one hundred and twenty eight years 'because of vegans,' its fuming - and, not in slightest mental - manager has claimed. Mind you, this is according to the Metro so, you know, a healthy pinch of salt may be required with your chosen meal. AJ Goddard's Pie & Mash has been serving traditional pie, mash and liquor to the people of Deptford since Queen Victoria sat on the throne (presumably, after having a decent plateful, herself). But now, manager Simon Clarke says that he is going to have to shut up shop after years of dwindling revenues. Clarke has put the blame on 'gentrification' in the area and the trend of people 'becoming vegans.' Simon claimed that loyal regulars have been coming for more than fifty years and travel from as far as Wales for his shop's £3.50 pie and mash deal. But, his once booming trade has dwindled as the area underwent 'significant social change' since the turn of the century. Simon said: 'I don't know if it's the oldest but it's definitely one of the oldest. People that have moved in around here over the last few years are definitely into fad diets.'
A Pennsylvania man has been sentenced to one hundred years in The Big House for what authorities say was the largest collection of child pornography state law enforcement officials have seen. Lawrence Jamieson was sentenced on Monday in federal court after pleading extremely guilty in September 2017 to sex crimes and child pornography charges. With good behaviour he could be out if ninety nine years.
A man in Indiana was very jailed over the weekend after he was accused of reaching for his handgun to end a dispute with his longtime friends over a Bruno Mars song. Roger D Washburn is facing a charge of battery after the incident at his home in Greenwood. The investigation began when a man told officials from the Johnson County Sheriff's Office that he and another man were hanging out with Washburn. The man told police that they have all been friends for fifty years. The man said they were talking when an argument broke out over a song and its artist. The man said the song they were debating was sung by Bruno Mars, but Washburn said that it wasn't. And, that was when it all kicked off, big-style, seemingly. When the man showed Washburn proof that it was, indeed, a Bruno Mars song, the argument 'grew more intense.' He told police that they both stood up and continued to argue until Washburn pulled a gun on him. The man said that he responded to the brandished weapon by calling Washburn a 'chicken [expletive]' and Washburn swung the weapon at him, striking the man in the face and arm. Really hard. The gun went off when Washburn struck the man, he told police. The victim claimed that he took a swing at Washburn and missed and the gun then went off a second time. Fortunately, no one was shot during the incident but, dignity waved a little white flag and crawled off into a hole to die. When asked why no one called police, the man claimed that he and his other friend were 'shocked' over what happened. They eventually decided to tell the police a few hours after it happened. Police went to Washburn's home and he admitted to hitting his friend in the face with his revolver, according to a police report. He was taken to the Johnson County Jail on suspicion of battery and criminal recklessness with a deadly weapon. And, shockingly poor pop culture knowledge. Probably. The police report does not specify which Bruno Mars song was at the centre of the argument.
So, dear blog reader, Keith Telly Topping's Monday morning went like this: A long walk down Wharrier Street and through Walker Park to the doctors, then to Gregg's, the Pharmacy, the Post Office, Heron's supermarket, another long walk through Walker Park and along Brampton Avenue to Aldi, got bus to Byker, went to ASDA, had another long walk down Shields Road to the bank, had another long walk up Shields Road to McDonald's - for a much needed coffee - had another long walk (actually, by this time, a long limp) to the bus stop, and then had a shorter - but still rather painful - walk home. Which was ... bracing.
And finally, dear blog reader, sunset over Stately Telly Topping Manor. Pretty, isn't it?