Sunday, October 14, 2018

The Ghost Monument: I've Got Nothing But The Holy Ghost

'Right, quick update. I made a terrible mistake, we shouldn't be here. I'm going to fix it and get you guys home, I promise. Soon as I figure out were we are.' 'How're you going to do that?' 'Not sure. Treating it as a chance to surprise myself. Oh, by the way, welcome to what I presume is your first alien planet. Don't touch anything!'
'Are we going to die?' 'Oh, hi Yaz! Sorry, I forgot you were there!' ... 'You can be honest with me, are we going to die?' 'One day, yes, comes to us all. But, not right now, not if I've got anything to do with it!'
'This sand is getting in my eye something rotten.' 'Want to borrow my shades? They're, like, an old pair of mine. Well, I say "mine", I can't remember who I borrowed them off, now. It was either Audrey Hepburn or Pythagoras.' 'Eh? Pythagoras never wore shades.' 'You obviously never saw him with a hangover!'
'Ah, a hologram, I thought it might be. Good one, though. I love a good hologram. I was a hologram once, for three weeks. The gossip I picked up! What are you, projection reality, or AI interface? Cos if you're interface, those are excellent nose-hairs!' ... 'Pretty cruel race, leaving the loser stranded.' 'The rally's a test of survival. How far will we go? How will we react when challenged? It's the ultimate test.' 'Interesting use of the word "we" seeing as though you're not here.'
'I promise, I will keep you alive and I will get you back home. I'm really good in a tight spot. At least, I have been historically, I'm sure I still am ... Right, let's get a shift on.'
'All right, anyone can focus on the negatives!' 'What are the positives?' 'What he called The Ghost Monument, that's my ship. It's here.' 'It didn't look all-that.' 'It's very all-that, thank you very much!'
'Put the gun down, Ryan.' 'What's your better idea?' 'Out-think them!'
'Here's a lesson. The answer was on the floor, you just reached for the wrong thing!'
'How's the injury?' 'Painful.' 'Hope it's made you reconsider your entire philosophy!'
'Can you read it? What's it say?' '"We are scientists. Abducted, tortured and made to work while our families are held hostage. We are forced to find new ways of destruction; poisons, weapons, creatures, we gave them our minds and they made us the creators of death. This planet has been left scorched and barren from our work. The atmosphere and water are toxic, killing machines and creatures inhabit every corner. We had no choice to obey. The Stenza. We are trying to destroy all of our work before they can use it against others." There's two words below that. "They're coming." That's how it ends.'
'You lead, but you are scared - for yourself and for the others.' 'Yeah well, who isn't?' 'You are afraid of your own newness. We see deeper, though, further back - the timeless child!' 'What did you just say?' 'She doesn't know.' 'What are you talking about? What can you see?' 'We see what is hidden. Even from yourself. The outcast, abandoned and unknown.' 'Get out of my head!'
'Oh, you've redecorated. I really like it!'
'Look at us, four people who barely know each other stranded on a planet called Desolation. No route-trackers, no way off and, judging by what you've just told us, very little hope of survival. I need all the information I can get including, but not limited to, what this Ghost Monument actually looks like when it appears.'
In what is, rapidly, becoming a weekly observation, dear blog reader, as usual, Keith Telly Topping thought that was great. Not quite as much sparkling and witty dialogue as The Woman Who Fell To Earth, perhaps, but another terrific set of performances from Jodie, Tosin, Mandip and That There Bradley. The new titles and theme music are terrific; loved the Venusian Aikido reference; loved 'I've never heard of Moomenbeens'!; loved the Custard Cream! And, the episode (one of two filmed on location in South Africa) looked beautiful - they've clearly thrown a lot of money at the new series and it shows. 'Come on, please. Give us this. It's all right. It's me. Stabilise. Come to daddy. I mean mummy! I really need you right now. My beautiful Ghost Monument ... I've missed you!'
The Ghost Monument was watched by 7.11 million overnight viewers, a share of thirty three per cent of the total available TV audience, according to initial figures. The numbers, although as expected lower than last week's series premiere (due, at least in part, to a 'curiosity viewing' audience element that The Woman Who Fell To Earth attracted), they were enough to make Doctor Who the third most watched programme of the week on overnights, behind two episodes of Strictly Come Dancing. Strictly took top spot for Sunday with 9.2 million watching the results show. The Saturday edition got 10.6 million. Just before Doctor Who, Countryfile had 4.94 million overnight viewers, while later, the BBC1 drama The Cry attracted 4.59 million. It was a good night all round for That There Bradley Walsh who also had 4.8 million watching The Chase: Z-List Celebrity Special on ITV, directly opposite his latest Doctor Who appearance. ITV's highest rated programme was The X-Factor with 5.1 million. Opposite The Cry, the opening episode of ITV's 9pm drama Butterfly drew 2.8 million. As usual, final and consolidated figures will be released next Monday and will include those who recorded the episode and watched it later.
Meanwhile, still on the subject of ratings, the final and consolidated Plus Seven Day audience for The Woman Who Fell To Earth was a - properly staggering - 10.54 million punters on television (a timeshift increase of 2.6 million viewers over the initially reported overnight audience of 8.2 million) and 10.9 million with the addition of iPlayer viewing via computers and other platforms. This is the largest audience of any Doctor Who episode since the 2013 Christmas special, The Time Of The Doctor, which was watched by 11.12 million viewers. It is the highest audience for a Doctor Who episode that wasn't a 'special' of some description (Christmas, or otherwise) since 2008's Journey's End (10.57 million) and also beat Matt Smith's 2010 debut, The Eleventh Hour (10.09 million). The addition of those extra four hundred thousand viewers on computers also meant that the episode overtook Strictly Come Dancing as the most watched programme on British TV in the week ending 7 October. Strictly took the next two places with a total of 10.88 million watching the Saturday episode and 9.90 million for the Sunday results show. Channel Four had fourth place with The Great British Bake Off (8.91 million). The highest-rated ITV show of the week was Monday's Coronation Street (7.80 million). This is only the fourth occasion in its entire fifty five year history that Doctor Who has had the most watched programme of any given week. The last time that Doctor Who topped a weekly chart was with The Day Of The Doctor in November 2013 (watched by 12.8 million punters). The episode also had the largest audience for the debut story of a new Doctor ever, beating both Christopher Eccleston's first episode, Rose, in 2005 (10.81 million) and the opening episode of Tom Baker's 1974 debut story, Robot, (10.8 million). Doctor Who's audience was split forty nine per cent male to fifty one per cent female, a reversal from the 2017 figures which had a small majority of male audience. The episode had an audience Appreciation Index score of eighty three out of one hundred.
Next week's Doctor Who episode, Rosa, concerns the American civil rights icon Rosa Parks, who famously refused to give up her seat to a white man on a bus in Montgomery, Alabama in 1955, an act which, subsequently, helped to inspire the protests of Doctor Martin Luther King and the entire American civil rights movement. It has been rumoured for some months that Jodie's Doctor would be meeting Rosa on her travels, with location filming having taken place in South Africa, doubling for the American Deep South of the 1950s. The episode has been written by showrunner Chris Chibnall with the former Children's Laureate, Malorie Blackman and guest-stars Vinette Robinson as the titular heroine. Episode four of the current series is called Arachnids In The UK and features The Doctor, Yaz, Graham and Ryan finding their way back to South Yorkshire only to discover that ''something is stirring' with the spiders of Sheffield. It guest-stars Chris Noth and Shobna Gulati and has been written by Chris Chibnall and directed by Sallie Aprahamian.
Unless you've been lost in the universe - à la the TARDIS - you'll know that yer actual Jodie Whittaker's Doctor Who debut was an 'uge critical and commercial hit (see above). Not only did series eleven's premiere The Woman Who Fell To Earth draw more overnight viewers than the debut episodes of either Peter Capaldi or Matt Smith (though not, as you may have, incorrectly, read elsewhere David Tennant), the era of the new Doctor has also, encouragingly, broken another boundary. According to the journalist Robin Parker, overnight ratings for the opening episode managed to attract more young girls than boys. 'More girls than boys (under-sixteen) watched Jodie Whittaker's Doctor Who debut - three hundred and seventy eight thousand versus three hundred and thirty nine thousand,' Parker wrote. 'Last year's series opener [had] one hundred and forty three thousand girls versus three hundred and ninety thousand boys.' Which is hugely encouraging as younger female viewers has always been one demographic that Doctor Who rather under-performed in, even when the show was pulling in regular audiences of ten million viewers.
Amongst the almost universally positive coverage of Doctor Who's 2018 opening weekend, this blogger wishes to highlight a few specific articles. For instance, a properly lovely op-ed piece by the BBC's Tom Gerken, Doctor Who: How The Dyspraxic Assistant Became My Hero, is well worthy of your attention.
The Metro had a related piece, concerning the positive reaction to the portrayal of Ryan, Doctor Who Praised By Dyspraxia Foundation For Showing Ryan's Condition On Primetime Telly in which they revealed that Chris Chibnall's nephew suffers from dyspraxia, hence his commitment to increasing public awareness of this - quite common but rather misunderstood - condition.
Also worth checking out is the Washington Post's Travis Andrews' report, Jodie Whittaker's Debut As First Woman In Doctor Who Lead Role Shatters Expectations.
Then there's Doctor Who Karaoke As The Cast Join In With A Sing-Along showcasing the vocal stylings of The Bradley Walsh Quartet and their well-'andsome take on Heart's turgid eighties power-ballad, 'Alone'. Skill!
And, of course, let's have a big round of applause for some worthless cheb-killjoy of no importance at the Sun for this gem: Doctor Who Fans Claim Jodie Whittaker's Sonic Screwdriver Looks Exactly Like A Vibrator. No it bloody doesn't you very silly man. Well, all right, it does. A bit.
It would appear, dear blog reader, that there has also been some considerable confusion in parts of Doctor Who fandom concerning The Doctor's The Woman Who Fell To Earth line: 'It's been a long time since I bought women's clothes.'
Indeed, according to this rather hyper-ventilating website article, that one line is 'driving fans crazy.' It isn't doing that, or anything even remotely like it, if you were wondering. But it is, seemingly, making some fans rather curious as to what, exactly, it implies.
There are, of course, any number of perfectly logical potential scenarios to explain this line which do not involve the implication that William Hartnell was not the first Doctor and that The Doctor has 'been a woman before.' We'll leave aside The Brain Of Morbius and the whole 'possible others Doctors'-thingy since 2013's The Time Of The Doctor pretty much answered the question once and for all of exactly how many Doctors there have been (and, which actors they were played by).
So, these possible scenarios include, 1. That The Doctor did some fab-Sixties-gear shopping for Susan down Carnaby Street or The King's Road when they first arrived on Earth pre-An Unearthly Child. Most notably, the Bob Dylan-style leather cap which, one presumes, Susan didn't acquire anywhere other than 1960s London.
2. That it is a reference to the market scene in The Crusade (this blogger's thanks go to his old mucker, the very excellent Danny Blythe for suggesting that one).
3. That it is a reference to any number of possible off-screen adventures where The Doctor said to Polly/Victoria/Zoe/Liz/Jo/Sarah-Jane/Leela/Romana/Tegan/Peri/Mel/Ace (no, actually, probably not Ace)/Rose/Donna/Amy/Clara, 'oi, fancy a new frock? I'm paying!' (Lovely artwork, by Shawn Van Bressen, incidentally. Found here.)
4. That it is a reference to The Green Death. But, only if we assume that, when Mister Pertwee was in drag, he actually bought his own gear and didn't, ahem, 'borrow it from an (older) lady of his acquaintance.'
5. That it is a reference to a regular topping-up of the TARDIS's various dressing rooms on the assumption that the clothes contained therein don't just, you know, magically appear there but have to be acquired somewhere.
Or, most likely of all, 6. That it is a reference to the dress that The Doctor bought River in Last Christmas (thanks to Jackie Toombs for reminding this blogger of that) and the phrase 'a while' is, like time, somewhat relative.
This blogger is over-thinking all of this, yes?
The overwhelming majority of punters who expressed a preference, therefore, appear to have thoroughly enjoyed Jodie and co's debut. Not everyone is a fan, of course, but one particular slap-down of a whinging clot was so satisfying not just because the young person involved didn't like The Woman Who Fell To Earth and said so, forcefully, but rather the way he chose to express it. And about whom. It started when this blogger's former writing partner, Paul Cornell wrote enthusiastically about the episode on Twitter. The first reply to which was from one JR Hunter (no, me neither), who replied to Paul's comments: 'Yea [sic] I could tell you never [sic] seen previous doctor who's[sic].' Paul maintained a dignified - if somewhat amused - silence and it was, therefore, left to around eighty other people to, subsequently, explain to young JR that, in fact, Paul Cornell has been writing both about and for Doctor Who (acclaimed novels, comics and three episodes of the TV series itself) since several years before JR was even born in 1996. As examples of 'making yourself look like a complete bloody fool in front of the entire Internet' go, dear blog reader, that was a good one.
Radio Times has claimed - seemingly, using the evidence of half-a-dozen stray comments on Twitter - that 'some Doctor Who viewers outside the UK struggled to understand the accents.' Well, of course they can't, they're all bleeding foreigners, aren't they? This, y'see dear blog reader, is what's happened since we stopped running the world. Anyway ...
Incidentally, dear blog reader, who remembers this little gem from last year which, rightly, became a - much-mocked - Interweb sensation?
Well, it would seem that someone has taken Brian from London's idea and, as it were, made a full breast of it. Which is nice. Unless they're earmuffs, of course. In which case, it's this blogger that has made a bit of tit of himself. Or, two to be strictly accurate.
Meanwhile, stand by for a truly shocking new claim about The Doctor's purpose in being here on Earth so often ....
She always seemed so pro-British when she used to be a man.

Usually, whenever the BBC announce a Doctor Who news release but that it's embargoed until midnight, it either involves something incredibly important, like a casting announcement of The Doctor or a companion or, by contrast, it's something indescribably trivial. Like, for instance, when everybody in fandom got themselves really excited about what the midnight news on 1 October 2015 could possibly be all about and, ultimately, it turned out to be a press release announcing the spin-off no one had asked for, Class. Well, on Wednesday of this week, in mid-afternoon news leaked that there would be a 'major' announcement forthcoming later that evening at the witching hour. Immediately, optimistic speculation began among some fans that it would be the revelation that, perhaps, a missing 1960s episode (or several) had been recovered in some Third World dictatorship and returned to the BBC. Or - and this was far more prevalent because Doctor Who fans tend to resemble rescue dogs in that because they perceive they've been badly treated in the past, they expect it to happen again - there was much pessimistic speculation. That it would be an announcement that Jodie is only doing one series (extremely unlikely), or that there would be no new series in 2019 (also extremely unlikely), or some other dire and wretched horrorshow designed to piss-off Doctor Who fans in a week where they should be doing noting but celebrating. In the event, this 'major' announcement turned out to be of the 'completely and utterly banal' variety. Nothing more than the information that the BBC have done a fashion deal with Selfridges to sell some Doctor Who-related clothes and accessories (for, one cynically presumes, vastly inflated prices). Which, if you look up the term 'spectacularly underwhelming pants' on Google, you'll find that one pretty near the top of the list. Literally and metaphorically.
Dear blog readers should also, probably, be made aware of New Trump's thigh-slappingly brilliant parody story, New Doctor Who Slammed As 'Unrealistic' After Showing Working Train Between Sheffield And Manchester! 'The BBC has apologised for not warning viewers in advance, but promised nothing in the new series would be as terrifying as getting the last train from Manchester Piccadilly to Meadowhall.' It's funny, dear blog reader, cos it's true.
Things we learned from this week's Qi: It was, according to the divine Goddess and From The North favourite Victoria Coren Mitchell, five years before her husband, David Mitchell, would put a kiss on an e-mail! If this was anyone else Victoria was talking about, we'd think she was joking. But, David? Yeah, this blogger can totally see that.
From The North's Comedy Line Of The Week award goes to Friday night's episode of Would I Lie To You? Which, whenever the Godlike genius of Bob Mortimer appears on it is always comedy gold with his glorious mixture of random surrealism and cheeky self-mockery. In this particular episode, Bob claimed that he always cracks an egg into his bath and has done for twenty years. He does this, he claimed, because Teeside rock-singer Chris Rea once told him to so whilst they were making a record celebrating Middlesbrough getting to the FA Cup Final (which they did, it was in 1997). 'And, if you knew Chris, it's just so Chris,' Bob explained, adding: 'And, a couple of weeks later he sent me a gold doily. These things are so Chris.' 'I think it's fair to say that if anybody else had made this allegation we wouldn't be giving it a moment's consideration but, somehow, coming from Bob, it might be true!' noted David Mitchell having been the victim of several previous bizarre Mortimer flights-of-fancy which have turned out to be completely kosher. But, this - tragically - wasn't one of them. One imagines that David certainly won't be putting a kiss on any e-mail to the Would I Lie To You? production team the next time he finds out that Bob is due to appear.
Victoria screenwriter Daisy Goodwin has claimed that TV dramas are 'airbrushing reality' by having 'too many powerful female characters.' No, this isn't a joke, a woman TV writer really has just said that there are too many powerful female characters on television. Goodwin referred to the recent successes of BBC dramas Bodyguard and Killing Eve. Both featured women characters in prominent positions, as the Home Secretary in Bodyguard and as an MI5 agent in Killing Eve. Goodwin told the BBC that these narratives 'pretended sexism and racism in our institutions' had gone away. Bodyguard, the last episode of which was the BBC's most watched drama in ten years, featured a number of women in high-profile roles including From The North favourite Gina McKee as Anne Sampson, head of the Metropolitan Police's counter terrorism unit and Pippa Haywood as Lorraine Craddock, head of the Met's specialist protection branch. This was alongside another From The North fave, Keeley Hawes playing the Home Secretary, Julia Montague and Anjli Mohindra as the suicide bomber Nadia Ali. Presumably, Goodwin is suggesting that, to highlight 'reality,' several of these fine actresses should not have been cast but, rather, replaced by men. Quite how that helps The Sisterhood, this blogger isn't sure. Killing Eve, written by Fleabag actress Phoebe Waller-Bridge, see two female leads playing a dangerous cat-and-mouse game across Europe - Jodie Comer as assassin Villanelle and Sandra Oh as Eve Polastri, an MI5 agent with a female boss and assistant. 'There's something slightly troubling about the fact that there's lots of women in power but even the snipers [in Bodyguard] were women,' Goodwin told BBC Radio 4's World At One. 'All the police officers were women and I just don't believe that is necessarily an accurate representation of what goes on in the police at the moment. I think its unrealistic to pretend on television that women and men are treated equally and that's not the case,' Goodwin added. Though, Goodwin stopped short of naming which of these actresses she, personally, would not have cast in the dramas so that we can all see what a rotten lot women really have in life. Which this blogger feels is a shame. She added that it was 'a two way split' as 'on one hand you want to promote positive role models for little girls but [on the other] let them know it's not that easy and you might have to deal with a lot of negative remarks.' A tip Daisy, love, when you're in a hole, it's usually a good idea to stop digging. Goodwin did not comment upon the 'realism' of the casting of Jodie Whittaker in Doctor Who as everyone knows that Time Lord society is, also, a hideously oppressive patriarchy. The ITV writer, who has also written a number of novels, said that she 'thinks' progress 'could' be made with more dramas that 'reflect reality and the Me Too debate. I think it's extraordinary that the Me Too scandal erupted a year ago and we have seen nothing on screen that really reflected it. It's a much more live issue now than it has ever been. Would anyone make a drama like Prime Suspect now? Where you have a very credible, brilliant female character who is battling sexism within the police force?' So, why aren't you writing such dramas, Daisy, instead of Victoria? This is Daisy Goodwin, dear blog reader, author of a TV drama about the most powerful woman in British history. Double standards? This blogger will leave it up to you to come to a conclusion on that one.
Killing Eve's Jodie Comer will be reprising her role as the psychotic-yet-unsettlingly-likeable assassin Villanelle in the acclaimed drama's upcoming second series after that cliffhanger of a finale (oh, hang on, if you're watching Killing Eve on BBC1 only and haven't binge-watched the rest of the series on iPlayer, just forget this blogger mentioned that). The actress - who has revealed filming for the second series is 'half complete' - also admitted that she was 'initially worried' whether the follow-up could equal the brilliance of the first series without its writer, Phoebe Waller-Bridge who is busy writing the second series of Fleabag. Call The Midwife's Emerald Fennell, as previously announced, will be taking over as writer on Killing Eve series two. 'It never put me off but it initially worried me, because I think what everyone knows is that Phoebe is so unique and her voice is so distinctive,' the actress told Harper's Bazaar. 'You think, "Oh god - is anyone else going to be able to take the reins?" And you have Emerald, who is so brilliant and also a very close friend of Phoebe, so they have a very similar sense of humour and Emerald really understands the characters and the tone of the show. I've been really excited by the script and where the characters go. Me and Sandra - we're always expected to have the answer, but we're still trying to figure it out,' Comer explained. 'There is sexual chemistry and there is also platonic admiration and fascination. It's something that we haven't put our finger on yet and that's what's so exciting about coming back for a second series. It's open to all possibilities.' The actress added that she would 'love' the drama to continue beyond a second series, although fans will have to wait to see what happens next between Eve and Villanelle. 'The bottom line is they will meet again,' Comer said. 'They're always going to be chasing each other's tails. It's just when that meeting happens and the consequences.'
UK viewers had to wait nearly six months after Killing Eve's debut in the US to see it on BBC1, but you won't be waiting nearly as long for the second series. BBC's Director of Content, Charlotte Moore, announced during her Hewlett Memorial Lecture on Thursday that fans are 'not going to have to wait quite so long next time,' promising: 'It's back on the BBC next year for season two.'
Bodyguard - you know, the drama that Daisy Goodwin has such a low opinion of - has become the BBC's most popular box-set ever with more than thirty six million iPlayer viewing requests to date - making it the biggest drama hit in the UK in more than a decade. The show has smashed the twenty six million requests for Killing Eve and the twenty one million for Tom Hardy's Taboo, first broadcast in January 2017. The record for the thriller starring Richard Madden and Keeley Hawes and written by Jed Mercurio was revealed by Charlotte Moore at a memorial lecture that focused on the increasing impact of Netflix and Amazon on British TV. Moore said that the BBC was 'striking more deals' to make sure it had the digital rights to offer its shows as box sets on the iPlayer. Previously shows disappeared after thirty days and then appeared on services such as Netflix. Outside the UK, Bodyguard - broadcast by the BBC but made by a production company owned by ITV - will be available on Netflix and branded 'an original,' giving the impression it is the US streaming giant's own show. Which it, you know, isn't. 'We know that young people love our programmes, so it's not right that they should be left to discover them on Netflix or elsewhere and lose out on everything else the BBC has to offer,' said Moore, giving the Royal Television Society's Steve Hewlett memorial lecture.
Sophie Turner has revealed that the Game Of Thrones cast have shot 'fake' scenes to prevent series eight spoilers from leaking. Speaking to Vulture at New York Comic Con, Turner said: 'The secrecy is crazy. We have a whole different name for it when we're shooting it. I think this season it was like The Tree Of Life or something.' Revealing that the actors' names are changed on the script and the call sheets, Turner added that they even have a 'drone killer' which shoots down any drones that fly over the set. 'I don't know how it does it. It creates like this field around and the drones just drop,' she claimed. 'Also, we shoot fake scenes. We got into costume in Croatia because we know the paparazzi lurk around there, so we would spend like half a day doing nothing.' It comes after Turner earlier claimed that she's 'still processing' the popular fantasy drama's ending. 'I still don't accept that it's done,' she said. 'It's basically been the majority of my life. I'm still very much processing it.' Meanwhile, Maisie Williams told The ONE Show that she 'dreams' of spoiling the end of Game Of Thrones for fans. 'The show has grown, as we have, into this industry,' she said. 'We've got better at it, as it's become more important to keep secrets. But also, I know what it's like for someone to spoil my favourite TV show!'
Sophie Turner has also admitted that she and Maisie Williams would 'get high and sit in bath tubs' after filming episodes of Game Of Thrones. And, if that mental image hasn't given you an 'uge chimney on, dear blog reader, then you are ... probably a lady. Which is fine, by the way, this is an equal-opportunity blog. The two actresses are close friends in real life and, it seems, they are so close that they've spliffed-up and bathed together. Which is usually a sign a really close friendship. 'We're kind of like loners on Game Of Thrones, just because the past few seasons Maisie and I have sleepovers every night when we're shooting,' Sophie told Vulture. 'Or every night whenever both of us are in town. We just used to sit there and eat and watch stupid videos and smoke weed. I don't know if my publicist will kill me for saying this. We'd get high and then we'd sit in the bath together and we'd rub make-up brushes on our faces. It's fun.' This blogger imagines it's more than just Sophie's publicist that may be a wee bit cross over these revelations. Given that non-medicinal Mary Jane is, like, naughty and illegal. Inside of a bath or out.
Peaky Blinders fans are reportedly 'looking into legal action over an event, which took place last month.' This is according to the NME and, one presumes that they mean these people are looking into taking legal action rather than just looking into it, generally. 'Angry fans are considering taking legal action against the organisers of the Peaky Blinders festival in Birmingham,' the NME claim. The event, which took place in Digbeth between 29 and 30 September had, the magazine claims, 'promised fans the chance to be immersed in the TV show's world, with Victorian-inspired street food, a vintage fairground, historical talks and more.' However, attendees were reportedly 'left unimpressed' by the two-day festival, with many of them - of course - 'taking to social media' afterwards to vent their impotent spleen. 'Immersive was the wrong adjective to use when advertising this "event"' wrote one pissed-off punter. 'They should have gone with; scandalous dangerous or dishonest. Need I say more?' Oh, please do, it's very entertaining. Now, a Facebook group called Blinded By The Peaky Advertising has been set up, with almost five hundred disgruntled whingers signed up to find out what legal action - if any - can be taken against the organisers of the festival. One of the group, Amanda Seabourne, told Birmingham Live: 'We've also emailed Companies House to ask them to investigate the integrity of both companies and their directors.' Organisers had responded to complaints in the form of a letter, in which they apologised for the event 'not living] up to your expectations. We appreciate that bar queues were too long for a two hour period on Saturday - however, we quickly reacted to the problem by adding additional bar staff and also added extra bar staff across for the Sunday event,' it read. The letter also stated that the event 'was not oversold.' The Peaky Blinders festival was not authorised by the production company behind the hit TV drama, who themselves reportedly issued a legal notice to the organisers before the event. Which was seemingly ignored. And, you do that sort of disrespecting of the Shelbys at your peril. They've been known to have people's eyes out for less.
Meanwhile, it has been announced that Peaky Blinders has added Anya Taylor-Joy to the cast for its upcoming fifth series.
Helen Hunt will star in BBC1's World War II drama World On Fire. The Academy Award-winner will be joined by one of this blogger's favourite actresses, Lesley Manville, Jonah Hauer-King and Julia Brown in the drama, by multi-award winning writer Peter Bowker. Also joining the cast are Zofia Wichłacz, Brian J Smith, Parker Sawyers, Tomasz Kot, Bruno Alexander, Johannes Zeiler and Eugénie Derouand. World On Fire is set in the first year of World War II, told through the intertwining fates of ordinary people from Britain, Poland, France and the US. Filming kicks off this week in Prague. Other locations will include Manchester, London, Paris and Berlin. 'World On Fire tells the hidden human stories within the big historical events we think we know,' Bowker says. 'From Harry, a young English translator in Warsaw caught up in negotiations with the Nazis and trying to smuggle his Polish lover Kasia out of the country, to Lois, the girl who is waiting for him at home, a young Mancunian factory worker who will come to take all the opportunities the war can offer to live a different kind of life. To Nancy, a female US war correspondent who can't find peace unless her life is at risk, to the Rossler family in Berlin, worried for their soldier son and willing to do anything to protect their disabled daughter from the attentions of the ruling Nazi regime. These are the stories of the ordinary people who shaped our world. Stories of loyalty and brutality, courage and fear, hopes, stories of love and loss, hopes and dreams forged in extraordinary times.'
Kit Harington has ridden on the back of a massive dragon in the middle of a war with the undead. His next TV role involving a dragon is going to be a shade more family-friendly. The actor is one of the stars loaning his voice to BBC1's adaptation of Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler's children's story Zog for Christmas this year. The half-hour animated adventure will tell the story of an accident-prone dragon and his young friend as he tries to graduate from year five of Dragon School. For his final challenge, he will have to capture a princess. Harington definitely won't be cast against type voicing the noble knight Sir Gadabout the Great, whilst Sir Lenny Henry - last, briefly, funny for about five minutes in 1983 - has been cast as the narrator. 'It's wonderful to have voiced the narrator in Zog for this Christmas,' Henry said. 'The story has a lovely lyricism to it and it's been really good fun seeing the beautiful animation come together. There's a cast of brilliant actors and the story is silly, and outrageous, and surreal, and I like all of those things!'
London-based drama Informer is coming to BBC1 – a 'gritty' counter-terrorism thriller coupled with complex, character-driven themes. Sounds good so far although this blogger has learned from past experience that the term 'gritty' is often industry shorthand for 'depressing and, in places, needlessly violent.' Hopefully, that's not the case here. Created and written by newcomers Rory Haines and Sohrab Noshirvani, Informer tells the story of Raza, played by Nabhaan Rizwan, a second generation British-Pakistani man from East London who is coerced by Counter-Terrorism Officer Gabe Waters, played by the very excellent Paddy Considine, into becoming the titular Copper's Nark. The impressive cast also includes Sharon D Clarke, another From The North fave Jessica Raine, Arsher Ali and Bel Powley. Still sounding good. Ahead of Informer's debut next week, the cast have been praising the show's diversity, representation and just why it's important that it is broadcast on BBC1. And, there's a trailer which doesn't tell viewers much that the previous description hadn't already but still, confirms that Paddy Considine's in it, so it should be good.
Viewers now have a pretty good idea of which iconic Batman villains will be appearing the the fifth and final shortened series of Gotham, but what about those evildoers who have fallen by the wayside? Gotham showrunner John Stephens has been happy to reveal who didn't make the cut no matter how much he wanted them to be featured. Speaking to the website, Stephens admitted that despite 'five years' of pushing for it, The Condiment King is yet to make his appearance. 'I've been trying to get Condiment King in for five years, but every time I pitch Condiment King, people are like, "We're not going to be doing Condiment King,"' he lamented. Elsewhere on Gotham's cutting room floor is Ventriloquist, another villain Stephens said that he was keen to include – especially as the series gets set to pick up the comics' No Man's Land arc. 'Every time we wrote him in, he just kept getting squeezed out by the story, so we have Easter eggs with him in the story, obviously,' Stephens explained. 'We [also] have smaller gangs that feature throughout No Man's Land that we've put into the story as well, but I would say Ventriloquist is probably the big one that we didn't do.' Teasing the - long hoped for - arrival of a Harley Quinn-esque character, Stephens recently confirmed that Jeremiah will soon 'get a girlfriend who dresses in a multi-coloured fashion. I wouldn't describe it as a healthy relationship,' he added,. '[And] she likes roller skates.'
American Gods' troubled second series seems to have been somewhat cursed, with original cast members and showrunners leaving in numbers. Thankfully, the production seems to be on track now, with a new trailer being released last week that, at least, looked encouraging for fans of the Neil Gaiman adaptation. However, Emily Browning has admitted that losing original showrunners Bryan Fuller and Michael Green last year was a 'terrifying' moment. 'If you had spoken to me about it a few months ago, I would have been in a very different place with it,' Emily, who plays Shadow's late(ish) wife Laura Moon, told TV Guide. 'I think we were all nervous at the beginning. Just being totally honest, we all loved Michael and Bryan, and it was their vision, and losing them was terrifying.' Yet she also revealed that she had seen rough cuts of the first few series two episodes, continuing: 'Chris Byrne was our second unit director last season and is now a producing director and is the fucking hero of American Gods. The way that the show looks was always him and it's still him. We obviously had a huge road bump,' she added. 'But I feel like we're going to give you guys something really cool.' Following Fuller and Green's exits, it was revealed that From The North favourite Gillian Anderson had also left the show, the series losing arguably its most high-profile name (though, Ian McShane may disagree with that). That was all followed by new showrunner Jesse Alexander quitting, too. Or, possibly having his ass sacked after the cast has effectively mutinied - sources differ. The departures have meant that Gaiman has taken a more central role in series two. The author told the Den of Geek website: 'The plan going in was to make five seasons and it seems to be actually running according to plan, currently.' Gaiman added: 'Lakeside was going to be season three and that's where we'll be going in season three. Meanwhile, Cairo, Illinois and The House On The Rock are in season two. We wanted to go there this season and that's exactly what we did. So that's the current plan. The tale can grow in the telling and there are more characters and more things to be done. There are also stories that were written that weren't just in the novel. There's The Monarch Of The Glen, Black Dog, the others that came after that. There's also a whole other novel as well, so it may keep going.'
It was nice to see NCIS's latest episode take a rather jaundiced sideways glance at American TV's overloading of tacky scripted-reality shows with the revelation that the - entirely made-up but horribly plausible - Real Wives Of War is Tim McGee's currently viewing of choice. Poor lad, marriage to Delilah seems to have cured Timothy of his previously mentioned appreciation of Doctor Who. This, dear blog reader, is why yer actual Keith Telly Topping has never succumbed to walking down the aisle. Well, that and the fact that no one's ever asked him, obviously.
Star Trek: Discovery series two will officially launch in the UK 18 January 2019 on Netflix. The news was announced at this weekend's New York Comic-Con by executive producer Alex Kurtzman, where it was also confirmed that every Friday following the premiere, a new episode of the thirteen-part series will be made available to stream. During San Diego Comic-Con earlier this year, Kurtzman discussed his interest in including a disabled character at some point in the near future, noting: 'I'm very curious about what differently abled means in the future, when modern medicine has advanced to a place where so many of the things that are problems now are gone.'
ITV has set itself a challenge with its latest drama Butterfly. It tells the story of a transgender child and a family struggling to know how best to deal with the transition. There are myriad pitfalls in turning such an emotive issue into primetime entertainment. Sensitivity, veracity, understanding for the subject and the individuals it affects, lie on one side. On the other, there's regard and respect for your audience and its differing opinions. Earlier in the year, Nicola Shindler, of the drama's makers Red, told the Mirra: 'We're going to get it wrong for some people.' And some whingers have expressed their objections online, pre-transmission. But Butterfly's producers believe that drama is the best format in which to enhance understanding, even if widespread acceptance is not expected. They also have the support of transgender and gender-variant equality campaigners, who call the three-parter 'a game-changer.' It stars Anna Friel as Vicky, mother to eleven-year-old Max (Callum Booth-Ford), who wants to become Maxine. Emmett J Scanlan plays father Stephen. Alison Steadman takes the role of Vicky's mum and Millie Gibson is Max's sister Lily.
One of the writers behind the Danish drama and From The North favourite Borgen is to turn the murder of the Swedish journalist Kim Wall into a six-part TV series – but the killer, the self-taught rocket engineer Peter Madsen, will not feature. 'I don't want to make a crime series that is beguiled by the perpetrator or the crime,' said the director and screenwriter Tobias Lindholm in a press release announcing The Investigation. 'It's, therefore, a fully conscious decision that the perpetrator will at no time figure in the series.' Wall, who wrote for the Gruniad Morning Star and various international publications such as the New York Times and Time magazine, disappeared on 10 August after joining Madsen for an interview on his home-built submarine. In April, Madsen was extremely sentenced to life in The Big House, the country's harshest possible sentence, for torturing, sexually assaulting and murdering the journalist, before dismembering her body and throwing it into the sea. The series is being made in close cooperation with Kim Wall's parents, Ingrid and Joachim Wall, as well as with the Copenhagen police's head of homicide, Jens Møller. 'We decided early on that Kim's fate should not be forgotten,' Wall's parents said in the release in which they also said they 'trusted' Lindholm to tell the story 'from the right perspective and with respect for all who knew and loved Kim.' Lindholm said that the involvement of Jensen and the Walls was 'imperative' for him to be able to tackle the story with 'the same realism' he had employed in his Oscar-nominated film A War, which was based on interviews with Danish soldiers serving in Afghanistan. 'I wish, in the same manner, to make a crime series that cuts out all the colourful stuff and depicts the reality and the facts soberly and precisely,' he said. The film is being produced by Miso Film, a production company owned by the London-based Fremantle Media, in collaboration with Denmark's TV 2 and Sweden's TV4 and C More channels.
Rob Lowe has lined up a new project with ITV, where he will appear in truly bizarre-sounding crime drama, Wild Bill. This is said to concern a 'high-flying American policeman' Bill Hixon - played by Lowe, who will also act as producer. Hixon is, for reasons probably explained in the series (but, not in the press release) appointed as Chief Constable of the East Lincolnshire Police Force. No, this isn't 1 April. Honest. The six-part drama has been created by The Hunted's David Griffiths, Kyle Killen, Dudi Appleton and Silent Witness' Jim Keeble. Landing in Boston (that's the one in Lincolnshire, as opposed to Massachusetts, obviously) Lowe's character will be joined by his fourteen-year-old daughter Kelsey as they 'hope to flee from some recent personal pain.' So, essentially, it's Tin Star in reverse, then? As Bill settles into these strange new surroundings (and, let's face it, they don't come much stranger than Lincolnshire), he 'begins to question everything about himself.' Like, why he signed up for this implausible gig in the first place, perhaps? This blogger is forced to confess, dear blog reader, that the initial scenario as described above sounds absolute crap. However, given that Rob Lowe is one of Keith Telly Topping's favourite actors, this blogger is willing to give Wild Bill a fair crack of the whip. Reportedly 'thrilled' to be involved with the series, Golden Globe nominee Lowe said: 'As an actor, Wild Bill is a larger than life character who's outrageously articulate, has nothing to lose and revels in being an American fish-out-of-water. As a executive producer, I'm excited to work with such talented partners and to come back to work in the UK, which I always love.' Keeble and Appleton added: 'Wild Bill gives us an chance to write about modern Britain and modern crime through unique eyes. We wrote this for Rob Lowe, for his smart-talking, anarchic, soulful voice. Displacing Rob in Brexit-Britain and specifically in Boston, Lincolnshire allows us to tell stories that are left field and unexpected. We wanted to write something that couldn't take place anywhere else, or at any other time.' Filming on Wild Bill is scheduled to commence next month, with a release date yet to be announced.
That - really bloody annoying - Vodafone advert starring yer actual Martin Freeman, in which the actor seems to be breaking up with his partner but is, really, trying to leave a mobile phone firm, has been extremely banned for 'being misleading.' Though, not for being shite although, to be honest, that should be the greater of its - many - crimes. The Advertising Standards Authority said that the advert 'implied' it was possible for customers to leave a contract with Vodafone at any time. However, people are only allowed to quit during the initial thirty-day 'cooling off' period. Vodafone said it would 'make sure' its thirty-day rule was 'clear' in its marketing. Quite why it hadn't done that already is, probably, a question well worth asking at this juncture. The ASA acted after whinges from eleven customers, who 'challenged' the advert's veracity. One imagines that all eleven had previously been stung by some Vodafone small print. Clearcast, which pre-approves most British television advertising, said that Vodafone 'wanted to highlight' that its service guarantee was for thirty days, whereas other companies only allowed customers a fifteen-day period of grace. In the advert, Freeman's character says, 'I haven't got the strength to keep arguing with you,' before a few seconds later, adding, 'I'm leaving' whilst his girlfriend (or, possibly wife), played by Seline Hizli, noisily drinks a milkshake. A voice from the phone immediately replies: 'You can't leave, you're still within your contract.' At which point, we realise what is actually going on. And, immediately don't care any more. A voiceover then states: 'Breaking up's never easy. But unlike other networks, Vodafone has a thirty-day service guarantee, so if you don't love us you can leave us.' The ASA ruled that the advert was 'ambiguous' regarding when the thirty-day rule applied and felt it 'suggested' that customers could leave whenever they wanted. It accepted that Vodafone had published the address of its terms and conditions website page in a caption, but felt that still did not change the impression given. The authority ruled that the advert must not appear again in its current form and told the company its future advertising must not misleadingly imply that its service guarantee applied at any time. Or, they'll kick Vodafone geet hard in the knackers, presumably. A Vodafone spokesperson weaselled: "Our "love us or leave us" thirty-day service guarantee is the best in the market. We already make clear that the thirty days is from the start of a customer's contract in our terms and conditions, and will also make sure this is totally clear in our marketing.' Yadda, yadda, yadda. It is the second Vodafone advert featuring Freeman to be banned by the ASA. Last month, it ruled that the phone company was 'misleading customers' into believing that those who suffered a loss of Internet service would be eligible for a discount on their bill. In February, another Vodafone advert with Freeman, about the ability to make emergency calls from an area with no signal, was cleared by the ASA. One would imagine that, given the number of Marty's acting roles which are getting taken off the air all of a sudden, the next series of Sherlock might not be as far away as some people believe! Also on Wednesday, the authority announced that it had banned an advert for the Nissan Leaf electric car, which it said was 'misleading' customers - in this case about the amount of time needed to charge the vehicle. Following a BBC investigation three people whinged and the ASA ruled that the advert 'did not convey the potential degree of variability' in achieving a certain amount of charge. It said: 'We concluded that the claims had not been substantiated and were likely to mislead.' Nissan said: 'We were very disappointed with the ruling made by the ASA, although of course we will respect their decision. We constantly review and react to customer feedback to ensure that we are giving the very best possible service and information.'
The firm set up by former Top Gear presenters Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May to produce their big budget Amazon motoring show The Grand Tour made more than seven million quid in profits last year and paid almost the same UK tax bill as the digital giant themselves. Which was reported - through gritted teeth - by some Middle Class hippy Communist of no importance at the Gruniad Morning Star who was, clearly, vexed that a) something involving yer man Clarkson is hugely successful and b) they're reporting on someone doing something potentially a bit morally (if not legally) naughty and it's not Jezza and co. That must really stick in the craw of all the professional offence-taker at the Gruniad Morning Star. The third series of The Grand Tour - one of Amazon's biggest hits and driver of subscribers to its Prime video subscription service - is due to be shown later this year. Chump Holdings, the company set up to produce The Grand Tour, reported a pre-tax profit of £7.6m last year. Chump paid a UK corporation tax bill of one-and-a-half million smackers. Exactly what it was supposed to. Amazon, which is on the brink of a one trillion dollar stock market valuation, had a UK corporation bill of four-and-a-half million knicker last year. However, tax credits and deferrals from previous years meant that the company, which has been strongly criticised for the amount of tax it pays in the UK, ultimately paid £1.7m tax on its profits to HMRC. Earlier this month, the chancellor, Philip Hammond, said that he would introduce a 'digital services tax' - primarily targeting Google and Facebook - while the chief executive of Tesco has called for an 'Amazon tax' on online sales to address the failure to properly tax the digital giants. Chump Holdings' four directors - Jezza, Hamster, Cap'n Slowly and producer Andy Wilman - took home £5.2m in remuneration and fees for 'presenting services,' which equates to roughly £1.3m each. And, again, you can just seen he snarl on the face of the Gruniad's Mark Sweeney as he had to type that sentence. The company accounts show turnover, listed as 'television production,' was twenty six million knicker last year, which relates to the terms of Amazon's commissioning agreement for each series. The company paid just over three million quid in wages and salaries to its twenty seven production and administration staff last year. 'The directors are keen to continue focusing on producing quality programming whilst ensuring that the company's overheads are kept stable,' Clarkson and his fellow directors said in the financial filing. 'The directors are satisfied with the results for the year and the financial position at the year end and will continue to pursue business opportunities as they arise in the future.'
From The North favourite Stephen Fry and Bill Turnbull have been praised by the NHS for speaking openly about their battles with prostate cancer. NHS chief Simon Stevens thanked broadcaster Stephen Fry and former BBC News presenter Bill Turnbull for urging others to seek help for prostate cancer treatment and symptoms. 'The Turnbull and Fry effect could help save lives. A debt of gratitude is owed to Bill Turnbull and Stephen Fry for the work they have done to urge men to seek medical advice if they think something isn't right,' Stevens said. Both men have received treatment for prostate cancer this year. Figures of patients seeking treatment for a urological cancer have increased since Fry and Turnbull publicly discussed their health battles and urged others to seek help. Between April to July 2018, there was an thirty six per cent increase in patients compared to the same period in 2017. While the NHS prostate cancer advice page saw a two hundred and fifty per cent increase in March 2018. This directly coincides with when Turnbull publicly spoke about suffering from the disease. It is the largest increase since there was a similar surge of queries in 2014 following a successful advertising campaign about prostate cancer awareness featuring another From The North favourite Bill Bailey. I know, I know, From The North has lots of favourites but it's always worth highlighting when one of them does something noteworthy. Stevens said that the NHS will be investing ten million quid to cope with the increased capacity of patients seeking treatment for urological cancers. 'This additional investment will help ensure the NHS can manage this jump in demand, so that all people with suspected cancer are tested and treated quickly,' he said. Fry publicly thanked Stevens on Twitter and said that he was 'very touched' by the kind words, but added that the gratitude 'should go to all the medical professionals' that helped both himself and Turnbull battle the disease.
New David Bowie specials are coming to both BBC2 and BBC4 in the coming months. A 'new landmark film,' David Bowie: The First Five Years, will be shown on BBC2 in 2019 and BBC4 will broadcast David Bowie At Glastonbury, 2000 in October 2018 to coincide with the forthcoming release of the set on CD and DVD recently mentioned on this blog. David Bowie: The First Five Years is the final part of the trilogy of films, all made by BBC Studios Production, looking back on the legendary performer's life and work. It follows the acclaimed and award-winning David Bowie: Five Years in 2013 and David Bowie: The Last Five Years in 2017, all produced and directed by Francis Whately. The film - which will be broadcast fifty years after the release of Space Oddity - is, like its two predecessors, a ninety minute film which explores the David Bowie before Ziggy Stardust, a time when so many of the ideas that would ultimately turn him into the icon he later became were germinated. Starting in 1966, soon after David Jones changed his name to Bowie, the film traces his interest in everything from Holst to Pinky & Perky, from Anthony Newley to Tibetan Buddhism and how he used all these influences to create not only Ziggy, but the material for his entire career. Speaking in one of the archive clips featured, David says: 'I spent all my formative years adopting guises and changing roles, just learning to be somebody. I wanted to be accepted as David Bowie - a person that you will always watch to see what kind of thing he is doing.' Francis Whately says: 'Making this trilogy has been an incredible experience for me, unearthing rare recording, footage and archive and the privilege of speaking to so many of his friends and collaborators who were so open in talking about the Bowie they knew, loved and admired so much. He is possibly now even more famous in death than in life and I hope this film will bring some new understanding to this great artist from the early years of his incredible life.' The film also unearths a report, deep from the BBC Archives, following a BBC Radio audition on Tuesday 2 November 1965 of David Bowie & The Lower Third. Their audition material included a rocked-up version of 'Chim-Chim-Cheree' from Mary Poppins as well as two original numbers, 'Out Of Sight' and 'Baby That's A Promise'. The BBC's 'Talent Selection Group' describe the band as having 'quite a different sound,' but also felt that David himself - 'a Cockney-type'(!) - had 'no personality,' was 'not particularly exciting' and 'will not improve with practice.' And thus, they rejected him. This, of course, has given plenty of newspapers over the last few days the opportunity to run rather sneering 'the BBC thought David Bowie was crap'-type features (see here and here, for instance). It's worth remembering, however, that David and his previous band, The Manish Boys, had already appeared on BBC television earlier in 1965 (in March, on BBC2's fantastically-named pop show, Gadzooks, It's All Happening!) And, that David was not the only future Twentieth Century icon to get a big fat 'no' from Auntie. On 23 November 1962, up-and-coming Liverpool four-piece The Be-Atles, with their debut single 'Love Me Do' already in the Top Twenty, auditioned for Ronnie Lane, the Light Entertainment auditioner for BBC Television. After a ten-minute set, Lane politely told Brian Epstein he wasn't interested. It would six months (and two number one hit singles) later before The Be-Atles finally made their BBC TV debut (on 16 April 1963 on The 625 Show) although, by that time, they were already a regular feature on BBC radio. Anyway, back to The Grand Dame. David Bowie At Glastonbury, 2000 relives the night of Sunday 27 June 2000, when Bowie closed Glastonbury with a two-hour performance. At Bowie's insistence, only around half-an-hour of that legendary set was broadcast on the BBC at the time - the first five songs ('Wild is The Wind', 'China Girl', 'Changes', 'Stay' and 'Life On Mars?') and, two encores ('"Heroes"' and 'Ziggy Stardust'). Fortunately BBC cameras captured the whole set. Now BBC4 are screening an hour of highlights from that career-defining performance, including previously unbroadcast performances of the likes of 'Ashes To Ashes', 'Starman' and 'Let's Dance'. Bowie was returning to the festival for the first time since 1971. Having released a string of highly-regarded nineties CDs like 1: Outside, Earthling and ... hours, from the moment Bowie walked out on The Pyramid Stage resplendent in an Alexander McQueen frock coat with his hair in luscious Hunky Dory waves and launched into 'Wild Is The Wind', it was clear that he had decided to embrace both his back catalogue and his legend. And, he did despite the fact that, as he alluded to during the set, he was recovering from a nasty bout of laryngitis. Arguably it was one of his greatest live performance since the 1970s, one that still both summarises and embraces his legend.
In David Bowie: The First Five Years, with remarkable, unheard audio recordings, archive and unpublished documents alongside unique and exclusive interviews with David's family, girlfriends, boyfriends and early collaborators, the film will tell how David Robert Jones became David Bowie, how David Bowie became Ziggy Stardust and how Ziggy became immortal, changing the musical landscape as he did so. This is the story that finally makes sense of one of the greatest icons of the Twentieth and Twenty First Centuries. Contributors to the documentary include Bowie's cousin Kristina Amadeus and his former girlfriend and muse Hermione Farthingale - both of whom have never before been filmed talking about him; the late Lindsay Kemp in his last filmed interview, David's longtime producer and collaborator Tony Visconti, former girlfriend Dana Gillespie, lifelong friends Geoff MacCormak and George Underwood, Bowie's early producers Mike Vernon and Tony Hatch and Woody Woodmansey, the last remaining Spider From Mars. Further highlights in the film include a deconstruction of Bowie classics including 'Space Oddity' and 'The Man Who Sold The World' through the eight-track masters and previously unheard demos, alongside master tapes from songs that Bowie wanted to forget, such as 'The Laughing Gnome' - a song which this blogger loves, incidentally and which has a surprising link to The Velvet Underground. Plus, never-before-seen footage of Bowie's journey on the Trans-Siberian Express in 1973, just before he killed Ziggy off at The Hammersmith Odeon. David Bowie: The First Five Years will show how the Sixties were the blueprint for the Bowie of the future. How without the influences, struggles and failures of the decade, there would have been no Ziggy Stardust, no Halloween Jack, no Thin White Duke, no Low or "Heroes" or Scary Monsters, no Elephant Man, no Jareth The Goblin King. And, certainly no Blackstar. It was the Sixties that made Bowie the multi-faceted artist whose career influenced generation after generation of musicians. The Bowie of the Sixties was possibly the most fascinating Bowie of them all.
And, speaking of The Grand Dame, this blogger been listening to the newly arrived Loving The Alien (1983-88) box-set a lot this very week. However, unlike many purchasers, he suspects, Keith Telly Topping's first point of call wasn't the 2018 version of Never Let Me Down which this blogger has a horrible feeling will be every bit as as rotten as the 1987 version (working on the assumption that it's damned difficult to polish a turd).
Instead, Keith Telly Topping went straight to the 'new' Serious Moonlight CDs. Now, here's the thing - this blogger has always been a bit 'iffy' about the video of the particular tour; 'immaculately played, but a bit soulless, stadium pop' was the description Keith Telly Topping has often used in the past. But, he has to confess - stripped of the visuals and taken purely as an audio experience - the CDs actually sounds bloody good. The show is not without its flaws - smothering 'Life On Mars?' in loud drums and a horn section remains as much of a sacrilege now as it did in 1983! But still, when all is said and done, it's far, far better than this blogger remembered from the last time the video of the show was broadcast on Sky Arts. Keith Telly Topping doesn't know whether Tony Visconti has managed to find something that was always there buried in the mix which improves it or whether it's simply the lack of being forced to look at David in that suit with that haircut which helps matters. But, this blogger is forced to concede, David Bowie live in 1983 wasn't anywhere near as ... ordinary an experience as he has sometimes claimed in the past. Mark that one down as this week's 'astounding revelation.' Glass Spider on the other hand ... still a stinker, I'm afraid. Not even a genius like Visconti could make that dog sound any less overblown and pompous.
A US astronaut and a Russian cosmonaut were forced to make an emergency landing after their Russian Soyuz rocket malfunctioned en route to the International Space Station. Shortly after taking off from Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, Nick Hague and Alexey Ovchinin reported a problem with the rocket's booster. The men were forced into a 'ballistic descent,' with their capsule landing a few hundred miles North of Baikonur. They have been picked up by rescuers. 'The search and recovery teams have reached the Soyuz spacecraft landing site and report that the two crew members are in good condition and are out of the capsule,' US space agency NASA said. Russia said it was suspending any further manned flights, and an investigation into what went wrong had begun. The launch appeared to be going smoothly, but some ninety seconds later NASA, on its livestream, reported that a problem 'seemed to have occurred' with the booster rocket between the first and second stages of separation. Footage from inside the capsule showed the two men being shaken around at the moment that the fault occurred. Shortly afterwards, NASA said they were making a 'ballistic descent' meaning their capsule descended at a much sharper angle than normal and would have been subjected to greater G-force. The capsule separated from the failing rocket and later deployed parachutes to slow its descent. Soyuz is one of the oldest rocket designs but, also, one of the safest. The malfunction appeared to occur around what is termed 'staging,' where the ascending vehicle goes through the process of discarding its empty fuel segments. The astronauts were certainly aware that something was not right because they reported feeling weightless when they should have felt pushed back in their seats. The escape systems are tested and ready for exactly this sort of eventuality. It would have been a reasonably uncomfortable ride back to Earth, however. The crew would have experienced very sharp accelerations and decelerations on the return. There is already much discussion about the current state of Russian industry and its ability to maintain the standards of yesteryear. Whatever the outcome of the inquiry, this event will only heighten those concerns and will underline to the US in particular the need to bring online new rocket systems. These vehicles, produced by the Boeing and SpaceX companies, are set to make their debut next year. The crew seem to have been unharmed by the experience. Search and rescue teams were quickly on the scene, three hundred miles North of Baikonur, near the Kazakh city of Dzhezkazgan. They reported that Hague and Ovchinin were 'alive and well' and the Russian civilian space agency, Roscosmos, later issued photos of them having their hearts and blood pressure monitored. Thursday's incident is thought to be the first launch mishap for a Russian Soyuz booster since a Soyuz mission was aborted in 1983. A rocket malfunctioned shortly before launch and the crew vehicle was ejected to safety. In recent years, Russia's space programme has faced a number of technical failures - thirteen since 2010. Last year, contact was lost with a Soyuz rocket's Fregat upper stage, which was carrying a new weather satellite and eighteen secondary satellites. Earlier in 2017, at least nine of a payload of seventy three satellites were reported 'dead on arrival or severely degraded' after separation from their Soyuz launch vehicle. In August, a hole appeared in a Soyuz capsule already docked to the ISS which caused a brief loss of air pressure and had to be patched. In this instance, Russia that said the hole may have been drilled 'deliberately' although, by whom (or what), they did not speculated. One of the most serious but non-fatal US incidents involved Apollo 13 - a mission to the Moon in 1970. An oxygen tank exploded two days after launch causing a loss of power and leading to the mission being aborted. The crew were able to carry out repairs and return to Earth six days later. You've probably seen the film. It was excellent. Russia's Deputy Prime Minister Yuri Borisov said that no further manned missions would take place 'until we believe that the entire situation guarantees safety.' He rejected suggestions that the incident could 'harm' US/Russian relations, saying that they 'recognised' it was 'a hi-tech industry linked to risk,' but he added: 'We certainly won't conceal the reasons, it is uncommon for such situations.' Space co-operation is an area which has survived otherwise tense relations between Russia and the US. NASA has been paying for seats on Soyuz rockets to ferry its astronauts to and from the International Space Station since the Space Shuttle programme ended in 2011. The crew already on the ISS will not be affected by Thursday's aborted mission, Russia's Tass news agency reported, quoting an unnamed alleged 'source' as allegedly saying they 'have enough supplies.'
A man has been very arrested in Germany in connection with the rape and murder of the Bulgarian journalist Viktoria Marinova. Bulgarian officials say that a man named Severin Krasimirov has been detained at their request. The country's Interior Minister, Mladen Marinov, said the suspect was 'a DNA match' for evidence recovered at the crime scene. Bulgarian authorities said that there was 'no evidence to suggest' the attack was linked to Marinova's work. She had recently hosted a TV programme in which two investigative journalists discussed alleged fraud involving EU funds and prominent businessmen and politicians. However, chief prosecutor Sotir Tsatsarov claimed that the attack 'seemed to have been a spontaneous sexual assault,' adding that 'all possibilities' were 'still being considered.' Krasimirov left Bulgaria for Germany on Sunday, the day after the rape and murder, Bulgarian newspaper 168 Chasa reports. Bulgarian officials said that he was 'known to police' and was suspected of attacking Viktoria Marinova while she was jogging in a park on the bank of the River Danube in the Northern city of Ruse. Her body was found in the park on Saturday. Her mobile phone, keys, glasses and some of her clothes were missing, prosecutors say. Some of her personal belongings were allegedly found in Krasimirov's flat. He will face extradition under a European arrest warrant. German police said that the twenty-year-old man had been detained in Stade, near Hamburg. His mother is said to live in the town. Viktoria Marinova was a presenter on a current affairs talk programme called Detector on the TVN channel and her last show had covered alleged corruption involving EU funds. The two investigative journalists on that programme, Attila Biro and Dimitar Stoyanov, were themselves arrested in September whilst looking into the case. Those details led to widespread speculation that Marinova's death might have been linked to her work as a journalist. The murder has shocked the country and reignited the debate about freedom of the media in Bulgaria. Despite investigators downplaying - if not ruling out - the possibility of the crime being related to Marinova's work, fellow journalists point out that there are 'deep suspicions' about a possible political dimension. That is because of a 'terrible' media atmosphere where the harassment of journalists is common. Journalist Albena Bachvarova writes in that despite calls from Europe for a swift investigation, it remains to be seen if Brussels will maintain pressure on Bulgaria - or whether it will go back on focusing on bigger problems, like Hungary and Poland. She was the third high-profile journalist to be murdered in the EU in the past year. In October 2017, Maltese journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia was killed by a car bomb near her home and in February this year Slovakian journalist Jan Kuciak and his fiancée Martina Kusnirova were shot dead. But Bulgaria's Prime Minister Boyko Borissov defended his country's record, insisting that journalists were 'free to report' in Bulgaria. One or two people even believed him. 'In three days, I've read monstrous things about Bulgaria - none of them are true,' he said of the global reporting on Marinova's murder.
A couple accused of being members of an extremely banned British Neo-Nazi group named their baby after that terrible old stinker Hitler (who only had one), a court has heard. Adam Thomas and Claudia Patatas from Banbury, gave their child the middle name Adolf 'in honour of the infamous dictator,' prosecutors claim. Unless, of course, they were naming him after another famous Adolf. Can't think of one of the top of the head but, you know, it is possible. If unlikely. Jurors heard that the couple were also pictured with a convicted racist and 'vehement Nazi' as he held a Swastika flag and performed a racist salute over their baby. Yeah, that suddenly makes the possibility of it being another Adolf the poor nipper was named after even less likely. Both deny being members of the group. Barnaby Jameson, prosecuting, told jurors at Birmingham Crown Court that National Action was 'so extreme and violent' it was banned by the British government in 2016. 'Given that the child was born almost a year after National Action was banned, you may think the use of the name Adolf - even as a middle name - was of significance,' he said. Photographs of the couple's 'close friend' Darren Fletcher, from Wolverhampton, posing with their child were uncovered during investigations into the group, the court heard. They are on trial alongside Daniel Bogunovic, who is also accused of being a National Action member. Jameson warned jurors that the case dealt with 'a world in which any right-thinking person would wish did not exist.' Although, actually, that's possibly not the wisest line of prosecution since being 'right-thinking' is, pretty much, exactly what these people are accused of being. He said that the court would hear of 'hate crime committed by National Action members and the ruthlessness with which they were prepared to spread terror.' Bogunovic and Thomas had 'a particular interest' in 'owning machetes,' he claimed and 'bomb-making instructions' were reportedly found on Thomas's computer. Jameson said that the case was about 'a specific type of terror born out of fanatical and tribal belief in white supremacy.' Describing the terror as 'a cult of violent white racial supremacy,' Jameson said it regarded groups including black, Jewish, Asian and gay people as 'sub-human.' 'It is a terror that can be summarised in two words: white Jihad - in other words, a white holy war,' he said. The jury of six men and six women heard that Bogunovic was among four men convicted earlier this year of 'stirring up racial hatred' after plastering Aston University campus in Birmingham with National Action stickers. Jurors were also told of the defendants' 'associations' with 'other prominent National Action figures.' Jurors heard that photos of 'an arsenal' of weaponry which the 'extremist's extremist' Mikko Vehvilainen had built up were found on Thomas and Patatas' phones. Thomas also stands accused of a having a terrorist document, namely The Anarchist's Cookbook. Patatas, Thomas and Bogunovic deny all the charges and the trial, expected to last four weeks, continues.
By Jove, it's been a bit windy out there this week, dear blog reader, has it not?
Two Russia football internationals under investigation over an attack on a civil servant in a cafe in Moscow should be punished 'in the most severe way,' says the Russian Premier League. Zenit St Petersburg's Aleksandr Kokorin and Krasnodar's Pavel Mamaev are said to have attacked trade ministry official Denis Pak on Monday, leaving him needing medical treatment. The league branded them 'hooligans.' In a statement, it added it was 'outraged' by their 'rowdy behaviour' and general naughtiness. The statement said: 'The Russian Premier League expresses its outrage and strongly condemns their rowdy behaviour. This act not only casts a shadow over the glorious names of FC Zenit and FC Krasnodar, but all of Russian football. We believe that those responsible should be punished in the most severe way. There is no place for hooligans in football.' Russia's interior ministry has opened an investigation into the incident. Although, it will likely conclude that the duo were merely in Moscow 'looking for Salisbury Cathedral.' Igor Lebedev, a member of the Russian Football Union's executive committee, added in televised remarks: 'I think law enforcement agencies will qualify this as hooliganism and punishment for this is quite severe, up to five years in prison.' Zenit said that Kokorin had behaved 'disgustingly' and Krasnodar said they were looking to end Mamaev's contract. 'The investigation is currently establishing all the circumstances of and participants in the incident,' the interior ministry said in a statement. Kokorin has forty eight caps for the national team, but missed this year's World Cup through injury. He has played for Zenit since 2016. 'What happened yesterday in Moscow involving Aleksandr Kokorin has caused great disgust and indignation at the club,' five-times Russian champions Zenit said in a statement. 'We don't think it's necessary to speak of a club punishment for the player - it will come, but right now the management of Zenit and the fans feel nothing but dismay, that one of the country's most talented footballers has behaved disgustingly. We await the legal assessment by the relevant bodies, but from the human and emotional viewpoint such an incident only arouses shame.' Mamaev has fifteen Russia caps and played for CSKA Moscow one hundred and twenty eight times before moving to Krasnodar in 2013. 'We are currently looking into how to terminate a contract with the player,' FC Krasnodar said. 'Unfortunately, contracts are drawn up in such a way that they protect professional athletes to the greatest possible extent. But we will do everything to get it done.'
Possible match-fixing which determined the fate of two top-flight teams is part of a widespread probe into corruption which has rocked Belgian football to its core. Several senior figures have been detained following police raids, with five people charged on Thursday. Two prominent agents and Club Brugge's Ivan Leko were detained, although the coach was among six people later released without charge. Two games are under suspicion - involving Mechelen, relegated on goal difference and Eupen, who narrowly survived. Those matches are Eupen's two-nil defeat by Antwerp on 3 March, part of the penultimate weekend of the regular league season and Mechelen's two-nil win over Waasland-Beveren on the final weekend, on 11 March. Despite Mechelen's victory, they were still relegated, while Eupen scored four goals in the last twenty minutes against Royal Excel Mouscron to win and survive. The Belgian prosecutor's statement revealed that searches were carried out at RSC Anderlecht, Club Brugge, KRC Genk, KV Kortrijk, KV Mechelen, KV Oostende, Sporting Lokeren, AA Ghent and Standard Liege. In addition, there were searches at the homes of six football club board members, four agents in the football players' market, two referees, one former lawyer, an accountancy bureau, two jewellers, two journalists, a trainer and 'some possible accomplices.' Luxury watches, empty deluxe watch boxes, jewels and cash have been seized. Agent Dejan Veljkovic, who has been charged, is alleged to have 'set up financial schemes' with clubs - including KV Mechelen, KRC Genk, Sporting Lokeren, Club Brugge and Standard Liege. Referee Sebastien Delferiere and officials of KV Mechelen and Waasland-Beveren are also among the five people charged. Mogi Bayat, another agent, is suspected of 'having manipulated the transfer' of various players in order to maximise his own fees at the expense of other parties.
The Confederation of African Football has called off Sierra Leone's back-to-back Africa Cup of Nations qualifying matches with Ghana. CAF said the matches were cancelled as Sierra Leone 'did not meet conditions for the lifting' of the FIFA-imposed suspension of the country's FA. African football's governing body has also confirmed that the matches will not be rescheduled. However CAF is yet to clarify whether the games will be awarded to Ghana. It also added that it will decide on Sierra Leone's final two qualifiers against Kenya and Ethiopia at a later date. 'For the two last qualifying days for the Total African Cup of Nations 2019, the CAF Executive Committee will decide in due course depending on the Federation of Sierra Leone statement,' CAF wrote in an e-mail. FIFA acted because of sanctions imposed on the SLFA President Isha Johansen and General Secretary Christopher Kamara. They have denied any wrongdoing and FIFA demanded their reinstatement. CAF said the games had been 'cancelled as SLFA did not meet the conditions stipulated in the letter sent by CAF on FIFA's decision to suspend the federation.' On Tuesday, FIFA rejected a request by the SLFA - signed by Isha Johansen in her capacity as President - to lift the suspension imposed last week. The request was made after an emergency meeting of SLFA and sport ministry officials - featuring both excluded officials - which was aimed at trying to convince FIFA to rescind the ban. But FIFA's basic demand that the President and General Secretary be reinstated has not been met, leading to the cancellation of the matches.
Gibraltar won a competitive game for the first time by beating Armenia in the Nations League - and received an apology from the hosts after the wrong national anthem was played beforehand. The anthem of Liechtenstein was mistakenly used instead of Gibraltar's. Liechtenstein's anthem, interestingly enough, has the same tune as England's national anthem. Which, when England played Liechtenstein in a World Cup qualifier in Vaduz a few years ago led to the hilarious sight of all the skinheads standing up and bellowing 'God Save The Queen' twice! Gibraltar's Football Association said its Armenian counterpart had apologised. Joseph Chipolina's second-half penalty then gave the visitors, who only became a UEFA-affiliated team in 2013, a first competitive victory in twenty three matches. It was also their first points in any competition, as they lost all of their Euro 2016 and 2018 World Cup qualifying matches. Their two previous victories - against Malta and Latvia - had both come in friendly matches. Armenia, who had The Arse midfielder Henrikh Mkhitaryan in their side, are now above bottom-placed Gibraltar only on goal difference in Group D4, six behind leader Macedonia. Liechtenstein also have three points in the group. In what was an eventful day for Gibraltarian footballers, goalkeeper Deren Ibrahim scored from his own half for English National League South club Dartford.
An Australian wildlife carer has suffered a punctured lung as she and her family fought off a savage attack by a kangaroo at their property. Linda Smith and her husband, Jim, were feeding kangaroos hit by drought conditions in Queensland when the six foot grey 'turned on' Jim. The couple and their son fought off the attack, said by wildlife officials to be 'rare,' with 'a broom and a shovel.' The animal 'hopped off into the bush' before emergency services arrived. The incident occurred in Millmerran, about fifty miles South-West of Toowoomba in Queensland. Speaking from hospital, where the couple are both being treated, Mrs Smith told the Brisbane Times that some thirty kangaroos and wallabies usually arrive each night to be fed because of the drought and are given grain and chaff. She said: 'This one kangaroo came in and I thought it was Golly Gosh, one of the kangaroos we have raised. He was a huge grey, would have been at least six foot. Jim was on the ground and the kangaroo just kept at him,' Mrs Smith said. She fetched a broom but the kangaroo knocked it out of her hand and attacked her too. 'Then my son came out to try and help me and hit him over the head with a shovel,' Mrs Smith said. She suffered a collapsed lung, broken ribs, abrasions to her arms and legs and 'other internal injuries' and underwent surgery on Sunday. Her husband suffered multiple lacerations while their son had minor injuries. Queensland Ambulance Service senior operations supervisor Stephen Jones told Agence France-Presse such a vicious attack was 'something that I haven't come across in my thirty-odd years in the service.' He said if Mrs Smith had not intervened to help her husband, 'the outcome may have even been death.' Mrs Smith, who has been caring for animals for fifteen years since finding an orphaned joey, said: 'I don't want this kangaroo to be hunted down and killed, I love animals.'
A chainsaw-wielding Tennessee father had to have his leg amputated after his son ran him over with a lawn mower, police said. Officers were called to a home in Bristol, Tennessee, on 28 June and found Douglas Ferguson bleeding from his head and leg, according to a press release from the Sullivan County Sheriff's Office. A preliminary investigation indicated that he tried to attack his son with a running chainsaw whilst his son mowed the yard. His son, who was not identified, ran over his father with the lawn mower 'as a way to defend himself,' the press release stated. Detectives said the father and son had 'an ongoing feud.' No shit? Ferguson was charged with attempted second-degree murder and violating probation. The Bristol Herald Courier reported that a warrant for Ferguson could not be served until Tuesday of this week because of the severity of his injuries.
A man is in a serious condition in hospital after a dog reportedly bit off his genitals. Emergency services were called to the scene after reports of the attack at a flat in East Lothian on Sunday. According to reports, emergency services found a twenty two-year-old man unconscious in the property lying in a pool of his own blood. The dog, an Olde English Bulldog, was also found covered in blood at the same address. The victim is believed to have lost both of his testicles and his penis in the horrific attack. He was rushed to Edinburgh Royal Infirmary for treatment. The dog is being held in kennels while officers carry out their investigation.
Two women who sat naked in Manchester city centre smeared in strawberry jam did so, they claim, 'in the name of art.' According to the BBC News website, 'startled crowds watched the pair' as they wiped bread on each other and proceeded to eat it. The sticky stunt in Market Street on Wednesday was 'an exercise in artistic expression,' according to Greater Manchester Police. In a tweet, Inspector John Middleton quipped: 'I hope this isn't the start of a new craze that starts to spread.'
Police at a Florida airport removed a passenger who refused to get off a Cleveland-bound flight after she was found to be carrying 'an emotional support squirrel.' Passengers had already boarded Frontier Airlines Flight 1612 at Orlando International Airport on Tuesday when they were told there was 'a situation' (squirrel-related) and everyone needed to get off the plane, passenger Brandon Nixon snitched to the Tampa Bay Times. 'Everyone was a little panicked. You expect the worst when they say something like that,' the Nixon said. 'A lot of people were asking questions. People wanted to know what was going on.' As he exited the plane, Nixon said that he asked a flight attendant if she had any other information. 'All she said was "a squirrel,"' he said. But, once they were back in the terminal, 'word spread pretty quickly' about what was happening, Nixon continued. Frontier said that the passenger involved had noted in her reservation that she was bringing 'an emotional support animal' with her on the flight, but she did not indicate that it was a squirrel. Rodents, including squirrels, are not one of the emotional support animals allowed on Frontier flights, according to the airline's website.
A woman has been very jailed after she reportedly beat up a man who tried to remove a Kinder Surprise from her vagina to get to the heroin that it contained. Steven Brown, was woken up by the screams of Jodine Harvey, when Vincent Rutter tried to retrieve the egg from her minge. They then kept him prisoner in his own home in St Austell, for thirty six hours, subjecting him to 'a lengthy and brutal attack' which left him with seventeen fractured ribs, a punctured lung and a lacerated spleen. Truro Crown Court, where the couple admitted Grievous Bodily Harm with intent, heard that Rutter's friend 'had become concerned' about drug users frequenting the flat where he had lived for twelve years. Prosecutor Joss Ticehurst said: 'It was a sustained attack in various rooms over a period of time. Mister Rutter eventually made it out of the flat when the defendants were asleep.' Describing the motive behind the attack, barrister Ed Bailey said: 'What sparked it off was Mister Rutter trying to extract drugs from Miss Harvey's groin. Hearing her screams, Mister Brown reacted in a way he considers completely inappropriate now he is sober.' Harvey's lawyer, Deni Matthews, said that she had 'no intention' to cause the kind of injuries that Rutter sustained. Brown was jailed for three years while Harvey was sentenced to sixteen months.
Hermes Callijas-Gasperin is a twenty two-year-old Floridian who was arrested for allegedly pelting his mother with sausages inside the kitchen of their Bradenton residence. Officers charge Callijas-Gasperin whith battering his forty one-year-old mother after asking her to make him some food. Although whether the sausages themselves were battered, we just don't know. The victim agreed to prepare a meal, but asked her son to 'give her a few minutes due to being busy.' Unemployed Callijas-Gasperin 'became angry' when asked to wait, according to a probable cause statement. Callijas-Gasperin 'threw the remaining sausages' at his mother, with one sausage striking her in the eye. He also allegedly pushed the victim backwards and placed his hands around her neck. During police questioning, Callijas-Gasperin claimed that his mother walked up and 'bumped' him while he was eating in the kitchen. 'The defendant stated that he got mad, so he threw the remaining sausages at her.' Callijas-Gasperin contended that he had 'done nothing wrong,' adding that he would not have tossed the sausages if his mother would have 'said sorry.' Callijas-Gasperin was charged with misdemeanour domestic battery and booked into the county jail. He has also been ordered to stay at least five hundred feet away from his mother.
A South Carolina man was arrested and charged with attempted murder after shooting his cousin over a bag of salt and vinegar crisps, according to news reports. Authorities in Colleton County took Ryan Dean Langdale into custody on Wednesday after the shooting of his seventeen-year-old cousin on 29 September, the Post & Courier reported. The shooting happened in Ruffin about sixty miles West of Charleston. Langdale first told investigators that the victim 'accidentally shot himself' when he dropped a hunting rifle, according to the newspaper. But, after undergoing surgery for the gunshot wound, the victim admitted to authorities that Langdale had shot him over a bag of crisps. 'Do not touch my chips, or I'll shoot you,' Langdale allegedly told his cousin, the Post reported, citing a sheriff's incident report. Langdale then grabbed a rifle, pointed it at the victim and 'the rifle went off,' the report said. Langdale was very arrested. He has been charged with attempted murder, using a firearm in a violent crime, obstructing justice and being a bloody idiot according to the newspaper.
Yer actual Keith Telly Topping - you know, 'brain the size of an Adidas Telstar' and all that - after having had his massive 'it does everything' telly for almost exactly two years (it was delivered to Stately Telly Topping on 26 October 2016) has, finally, worked out how to watch both BBC iPlayer and UKTVPlus on it. Brain the size of a pea, more like. But, you know what they say, 'better late than never' (the people who say this, presumably, being people who have also taken twenty three-and-a-half months to work out how to do something relatively simple with their technology).
And, finally dear blog reader, on Wednesday this blogger has his annual type-two diabetes check-up. It was, broadly speaking, one bit of good news after another. Keith Telly Topping is alive, for one thing - he has a pulse, which is positive. This blogger's weight was down three kilograms from the last time it was checked; that's still a little up on what it was a couple of check-ups back but, this blogger was really heartened by the figure he got as he'd expected to have ballooned in weight over the last few months due to a lack any obvious regular physical activity). Keith Telly Topping's blood-sugar level was forty seven, down from forty eight last time. It's still not quite at the level it was at a couple of years back when this blogger had got it right down to forty three but, anything less than fifty nine is reckoned to be in the 'low risk' category so forty seven was still terrific news. Blood pressure was more or less exactly the same as last time (one hundred and thirty five over sixty two - once again, well within acceptable levels). Keith Telly Topping's cholesterol was at 2.5 which, again, was down from 3.4 last time (less than four is, apparently, what one is supposed to be aiming for). This blogger's kidney wee-test was 0.6 - last time around it was 0.3 so a slight rise there but, again, less than three is what the 'low risk' level is. The eye test - which was done last week - was all fine too. The only other things coming up are Keith Telly Topping;s bi-annual ECG which he's getting next Thursday and his foot test which will be in early December. No problems are anticipated with either (the fact that this blogger has, you know, horrible feet notwithstanding). 'Whatever it is that you're doing, keep doing it' said Nurse Karen with a twinkly smile that fair made this blogger;s week. Keith Telly Topping also got his annual flu jab from her during the same appointment and - this time - she even asked me which arm he wanted it in, which was a first; they normally just stick it in the right arm without so much as a 'by your leave.' Which is damned annoying as that's the side this blogger sleeps on in bed. Thence, Keith Telly Topping went to pick up his repeat prescription from the pharmacy, called in at the supermarket for a few necessary essentially and at Gregg's for a stottie and then came back to Stately Telly Topping Manor with a big, broad smile on his mush. And, on the way home, he only went and found a five pence piece on the ground, didn't he? That, dear blogger, might just be Keith Telly Topping's best day ever!