Sunday, October 07, 2018

The Woman Who Fell To Earth: The Female Of The Species ...

'So, today, I want to talk about the greatest woman I ever met. Smart. Funny. Caring. Proper special.'
'Don't be scared. All of this is new to you. And, "new" can be scary. We all want answers, stick with me you might get some.'
''Empty pockets! I hate empty pockets.'
'Don't panic, not the end of the world. Well it could be the end of the world. But, one thing at a time!'
'I'm with him, we don't get aliens in Sheffield!'
'Two weird things, one city, one night. Makes me nervous.'
'I'm just wondering whether there's been anything else out of the ordinary tonight?' 'It's the nightshift in Sheffield, everything's out of the ordinary!'
'I'm just a traveller. Sometimes, I see things that need fixing, I do what I can.'
'You don't look like an alien.' 'You should've seen me a few hours back. My whole body changed. Every cell in my body, burning. Some of them are still at it now, re-ordering, regenerating.' 'Sounds painful.' 'You have no idea! There's this moment when you're sure you're about to die. And then, you're born. It's terrifying. Right now, I'm a stranger to myself. There's echoes of who I was and a sort of call towards who I am. And, I have to hold my nerve and trust all these new instincts. Shape myself towards them. I'll be fine in the end. Hopefully! I'll have to be because you guys need help and if there's one thing I'm certain of, when people need help, I never refuse. Right, this is gonna be fun!'
'I suppose you'll be blaming this on the dyspraxia as well? Can't ride a bike, started an alien invasion ...!'
'Get in, it actually worked.' 'Of course it worked, I'm not an amateur!'
'Tim Shaw?!'
'Sonic screwdriver. Well, I say "screwdriver", it's a bit more multi-purpose than that. Scanner, diagnostics. Tin-opener! More of a sonic Swiss Army Knife. Only without the knife. Only idiots carry knives!'
'Have you got family?' 'No. I lost them a long time ago.' 'How did you cope with that?' 'I carry them with me. What they would have thought and said and done. Make them a part of who I am. So, even though they're gone from the world they're never gone from me.'
'When you say "soon to be leader", what are you now, the Office Junior?'
'Why are you calling me "Madam"?' 'Because ... you're a woman?' 'Am I? Does it suit me? ... Sorry, half-an-hour ago I was a white-hair Scotsman!'
'We're all capable of the most incredible change. We can evolve while still staying true to who we are. We can honour who we've been and choose who we want to be next, now's your chance. How about it?'
'Don't worry, I've got a plan?' 'Really?' 'Well, I will have by the time I get to the top!'
      So, dear blog reader, in what may well be the biggest surprise in the history of big surprises, this blogger thought that was bloody great. From this episode, we learned that you should never, not never, throw kebab-salad at a nasty looking alien. Which is knowledge well-worth having this blogger feels. One - major - question, though; why is That There Bradley Walsh, Britain's most famous celebrity Arsenal fan, wearing a West Hamsters United scarf?! (Admittedly, it could've been Aston Villains. Or Burnley. It was claret-and-blue, anyway.) What's that all about? Anyway ... 'Who are you?' 'I'm glad you asked that again. A bit of Adrenalin, a dash of outrage and a hint of panic knitted my brain back together. I know exactly who I am. I'm The Doctor, sorting out fair play throughout the universe. Now, please, get off this planet!' Jodie Whittaker, dear blog reader, is The Doctor. This blogger is proud to say that he never doubted this for a single second.
The Woman Who Fell To Earth was watched by an astonishing overnight audience of 8.2 million viewers, a share of forty per cent of the total TV audience, according to initial figures. The audience grew throughout the episode, peaking at 8.52 million for the final fifteen minutes. The rating makes Doctor Who the third largest-rated programme of the week, just behind two editions of Strictly Come Dancing. It is the highest overnight rating figure for the BBC's long-running family SF drama for several years - in fact, since Mat Smith's finale, the 2013 Christmas episode The Time Of The Doctor which had an overnight of 8.3 million. The debut episode of Peter Capaldi's Doctor, Deep Breath, had an overnight of 6.8 million viewers, Matt Smith's first episode, The Eleventh Hour had an overnight of eight million. The highest rating for Sunday was for the results show of Strictly Come Dancing with an average of 9.04 million watching. ITV's top-rated programme was The X Factor, with 4.69 million watching. Against Doctor Who, Five Gold Rings had but 2.71 million. Official - consolidated - figures, which will be released by BARB next Monday, will include those viewers who recorded the episode and watched it later, including iPlayer viewage. They are expected to be considerably higher than the initial figures, Doctor Who always having a sizeable timeshift audience (which, for a programme about time travel is rather comforting). For what it's worth, this blogger was confidently expecting an overnight figure for Doctor Who of around six million for the episode, based on the sort of overnight audiences that successful TV dramas appears to attract these days. And, such a figure would've been considered a very good achievement within the industry. Last night's figure, for context, is higher than the overnights for the first three episodes of the recent BBC ratings sensation, Bodyguard. The BBC's big Sunday night 9pm drama, The Cry (featuring former Doctor Who star Jenna Coleman) had an overnight audience of 5.7 million for its opening episode last week and that was widely hailed as a major success. An overnight of 8.2 million in 2018 is, frankly, easily the equivalent of Rose's 9.9 million overnight back in 2005. In fact, arguably, it's even more stunning than that figure was. If Chibnall and Jodie weren't already the toast of the BBC, they are now!
Mike Hale's fascinating review of The Woman Who Fell To Earth in the New York Times, The Doctor Regenerates and So Does Doctor Who is worthy of five minutes of your time, dear blog reader. 'There is, in comparison to recent seasons, scant reference to the show's mythology, as if Mr Chibnall is consciously distancing himself from it,' writes Hale. 'The TARDIS, The Doctor's time-and-space ship disguised as a police box, does not appear and there is, for all intents and purposes, no travel in either time or space. Beyond any momentary quirks, though, there are deeper changes in style and spirit that are likely to be more permanent. Mr Moffat's Doctor Who was like an hour spent hanging out with clever undergraduates whose imaginations were on overdrive, saturated in both canonical and pop-culture and enamoured of wordplay and brain teasers. It was frosted, sometimes too heavily, with moral dilemmas, light conundrums and the kind of romanticism associated with ancient British universities. It could leave you cold or drive you crazy, but there wasn't much else like it on television. In Mr Chibnall's debut, words and ideas no longer have pride of place - the game playing is gone, along with the sharply morbid sense of humour. This Doctor Who feels like a lot of other TV shows, not just in its writing but in its pacing, its cinematography, its use of music. When the scary monsters appear, you could be watching any other well-made but conventional science-fiction or horror show. Or a police procedural, for that matter. Everything about the show is more ordinary, which may have to do with levels of inventiveness but also feels like a choice. Mr Chibnall has eased off the throttle, lowering the sensations per minute.'
Whilst some abject prick of no importance at the Torygraph considered the episode as 'too dark and dour,' most reviews of The Woman Who Fell To Earth were, by contrast, highly positive. Take Allison Shoemaker's review at Roger 'The Doctor, in short, is still the Doctor, but is also something - and someone - new. To see a series with a history this long headed off in such a promising new direction would be thrilling regardless; Whittaker's performance is irresistible to both the critical and Whovian [sic] pieces of my mind. It encompasses the quickness of David Tennant, the grounded energy of Christopher Eccleston, the undeniable foreignness of Matt Smith and both the questionable social graces and the slight twinge of long-accepted loss of Peter Capaldi. Whittaker apes none of the performances of these men, nor any of their predecessors (though her costume does nod to several of them). She, as The Doctor herself puts it in a scene near the episode's climax, honours who she's been, while embracing who she'll become. It's a performance that feels simultaneously newborn and ancient and there's nothing more Gallifreyan than that.' Word.
Trainspotter fandom moment: Did you know, dear blog reader, that The Woman Who Fell To Earth was, as far as this blogger is aware, only the tenth Doctor Who story in fifty five years not to feature the TARDIS in it. It follows: Mission To The Unknown (1965), Doctor Who & The Silurians (1970), The Mind Of Evil and The Dæmons (both 1971), The Sea Devils (1972), The Sontaran Experiment and Genesis Of The Daleks (both 1975), Midnight (2008) and The Lie Of The Land (2017). So, just in case you've forgotten what it looks like, it's the blue thing on the right. No, the blue thing on the right, behind That There Bradley Walsh ...
Yer actual rock and/or roll God Roger Daltrey (CBE) his very self has admitted that he would 'love' to join Jodie Whittaker in the TARDIS for an adventure in time and/or space and revealed that he was close to making a guest appearance on the show in the mid-1980s. Speaking to the Daily Scum Mail newspaper, Roge said: 'I was almost in it in the Eighties. It was around the period that Bonnie Langford was in it and I know her so she spoke with the producers who loved the idea. We tried but it was a busy period with touring and recording. I was so unhappy we never got around to it but I am now hopeful that I may get the call up with the new female Doctor Jodie Whittaker. It would be a dream come true.'
The BBC has confirmed that next Sunday's episode of Doctor Who will have a - slightly - later start time than Jodie Whittaker's debut. The Woman Who Fell To Earth, premiered at 6.45pm and was around sixty minutes in duration. As reported by Radio Times, The Ghost Monument will begin ten minutes later, at 6.55pm. Since episode two - and, indeed, the rest of the series' episodes - are fifty minutes long, that still means the Strictly Come Dancing results show will begin at 7.45pm. The episode, written by Chris Chibnall, sees Jodie Whittaker's Doctor and her new friends 'stuck in a hostile alien environment.' Only, not Sheffield this time.
Jodie, meanwhile, appeared on Stephen Colbert's US chat show on Wednesday night, giving one unwitting American subtitler the rare opportunity to try and get to grips with a Yorkshire accent. Predictably, it didn't go at all well.
Whilst everyone with half-a-brain in their skull falls head-over-heels in love with the first series of Killing Eve, production on a second series is well under way. We don't have a confirmed broadcast date yet, but filming on the second run of Killing Eve has already begun in Amsterdam, London and Paris. However, there's some bad news. The acclaimed first series was written by Phoebe Waller-Bridge and it's her funny, clever, inventive and just-a-bit-dangerous scripts that are one of the main reasons why the drama has been such a hit on both sides of the Atlantic (a superb cast notwithstanding). However, as Phoebe is currently busy filming a new series of Fleabag, the writing responsibility for series two of Killing Eve been passed to Call The Midwife's Emerald Fennell.
Bodyguard has now become one of the top five most-watched TV programmes of this decade, new figures show. The final episode of the acclaimed BBC thriller had a huge consolidated audience of 14.34 million. Only four other - none-sporting - programmes have managed to get higher ratings this decade: The X Factor, EastEnders, The Great British Bake Off and Coronation Street. The figures, published by BARB, include those viewers who recorded Bodyguard's finale and watched it up to seven days later. It means that the series has outperformed many of the decade's highest-profile dramas including Doctor Who, Sherlock and Downton Abbey. Bodyguard has also managed to beat this decade's most-watched episodes of Strictly Come Dancing and Britain's Got Toilets and I'm A Z-List Former Celebrity Desperate To Get My Boat-Race Back On TV ... Please Vote For Me To Stay Here As Long As Possible (I'll Even Eat Worms If You Want), along with last year's natural history blockbuster Blue Planet II. The size of Bodyguard's audience will doubtless fuel speculation about a second series, but as yet the BBC and the show's creator, Jed Mercurio, have said nothing official about a possible return for David Budd (Richard Madden). Mainly since Mercurio is a bit busy with his other great creation, Line Of Duty at the moment. When compared with some of this year's live events, the final episode of Bodyguard also pulled in more viewers than England's World Cup matches against both Panama and Belgium (albeit, both of those were shown in mid-afternoon). It was, however, still some way behind the 20.73 million who saw England's semi-final defeat to Croatia, which remains the largest TV audience of 2018 so far. The biggest TV audience of this decade was set by the closing ceremony of the 2012 Olympics, which was watched by 24.46 million punters.
AC-12 will be facing off against their 'most dangerous enemy yet' when Line Of Duty returns for its fifth series in 2019. For weeks, the BBC series has been dropping hints about 'a mysterious new character' - to be played by This Is England's Stephen Graham - suggesting that he will be the next major villain of the popular crime drama. On Wednesday, it was confirmed that Graham will be playing the leader of The Balaclava Men who have been plaguing AC-12 with a string of brutal crimes. Graham's character, John Corbett and Lisa McQueen (played by Rochenda Sandall) are 'key figures' in organised crime under the command of the shadowy 'H', who all become 'persons of interest' to AC-12 when a series of crimes 'rock the community' two years after the last Balaclava Man attack. 'It's an honour to have been asked to be part of the Line Of Duty team,' Graham said of joining the show. 'I'm especially looking forward to working with Martin Compston and Vicky McClure again.' Returning favourites McClure (Kate Fleming), Compston (Steve Arnott) and Adrian Dunbar (Ted Hastings) are all signed on, as are Maya Sondhi (Maneet Bindra), Polly Walker (Gill Biggeloe), Aiysha Hart (Sam Railston), Tony Pitts (Les Hargreaves) and Andrea Irvine as Roisin Hastings. There will be some fresh faces too, including Taj Atwal, Susan Vidler, Richard Pepple, Sian Reese-Williams, Ace Bhatti and Elizabeth Rider. 'Thanks to such a fantastic response from the Line Of Duty audience, it feels extra special to be back filming series five,' Vicky McClure said. 'I absolutely love working with Martin and Adrian and Jed has without a doubt stepped it all up a gear this series. His writing just gets better and better. We have lots of great new cast members and I'm over the moon Stephen is on board, he's a good friend and one of the finest actors. I'm already excited for the twists and turns to hit the screens.'
Any Qi fan worthy of the name knows about the famous Qi Elves, the behind-the-scenes researchers who source the fiendishly difficult questions for every episode. But Pandora, an elf credited for her work on the current Series P, has got some of the show's more rabid fans wondering if there is more to her than meets the eye. Particularly as it seems that on every episode, her surname is spelled differently. So far in four episodes this series, the 'Puzzle Wrangler', who tweets from @QIPandora, has been credited as Pandora Pacelin, Pandora Pallift, Pandora Pelico and Pandora la Palet. On Twitter, Pandora regularly complains about her name being misspelled. 'Question - what is it called when the first letters of your tweets spell out an important word or phrase?' she asked after this Monday's episode was broadcast. A visit to the website reveals that these surnames appear to be clues to a series-long puzzle which will run - like the current Qi series - into 2019, with a prize to be awarded to a lucky winner at the end. Pandora has also revealed that work has begun on the next - Q - series: 'So the Elves are on a strict Q-themed diet of Quavers, Quaker Oats and Quality Street. Thanks Tesco for the free swag. Any chance of some (te)Quila?'
Mind you, the Qi Elves don't get everything right, it would seem. Having previously announced on Twitter that the P series of Qi XL would be starting on BBC2 on Saturday 6 October, seemingly the BBC themselves did not agree. You might have noticed if you'd been looking for it. Instead, the series will actually begin on Saturday 13 October.
Game Of Thrones' Iain Glen has claimed that the drama's final series will include 'some epic moments' that will 'bring the cast together.' In an interview with the Daily Scum Express the actor said that the final episodes will features some 'monumental set pieces,' adding that the cast were 'together for lots of it.' Speaking about the finale, Iain added: '[They] read like the six best scripts. The final scripts are really special.' But he also warned that the show's ending would be 'emotional' for fans. 'We all sat down for the read-through of six feature-length episodes,' he said. 'They took longer to film, cost more, and are more surprising. It was very emotional, Game Of Thrones will stick with us all forever and we were very lucky to have been a part of the show. The realist won't sink in until it comes to next year when we should be filming, but we're not.' Reflecting on his eight years on the massively popular HBO series, Iain added: 'It allowed me to travel all the world. I am one of the lucky ones who made it through!'
Glen's Game Of Thrones cast-mate Peter Dinklage has promised that Tyrion Lannister's ending in Game Of Thrones' final series will be 'beautiful.' Although tight-lipped about the ultimate fate of his popular character, Dinklage suggested that viewers will be 'in for it' when the show returns next year. 'There are no better writers in television than Dan Weiss and David Benioff,' he told Entertainment Tonight. 'They ended it brilliantly. Better than I could have imagined and you people are in for it. It ends beautifully for my character, whether it be tragic or not.'
After Paul Anderson recently revealed that the next series of From The North favourite Peaky Blinders has started filming, the BBC confirmed this by releasing the first official image of Cillian Murphy. And, a horse. 'Series five of Steven Knight's crime family saga finds the world thrown into turmoil by the financial crash of 1929. Opportunity and misfortune are everywhere,' reads the synopsis. 'When Tommy Shelby MP is approached by a charismatic politician with a bold vision for Britain, he realises that his response will affect not just his family's future but that of the entire nation.' Given that description and the period in which the action takes place, this blogger is betting that the politician involved is likely to be Oswald Mosley. Steven Knight said: 'The story of the Peaky Blinders and of the Shelby family gets woven into the political fabric of Britain and Europe as the 1920s end and the thirties begin. Tommy Shelby faces the darkest force he has ever faced and his struggle is as relevant today as it was then.'
Filming is also currently underway on the fifth series of another From The North fave, Shetland which, like Peaky Blinders, will be broadcast on BBC1 during 2019. Douglas Henshall who plays Jimmy Perez said that it is 'quite a tough storyline' and 'it gets quite Gothic towards the end.' The fourth series has been nominated for a number of Scottish BAFTA awards. Author Ann Cleeves recently published her eighth and - she insists - final novel on which the series is based, Wild Fire.
New images and a trailer of yer actual David Tennant and Michael Sheen his very self from the set of Good Omens have been revealed this week. Neil Gaiman's TV adaptation of his acclaimed co-written fantasy novel is coming soon to Amazon Prime Video and fans have a first look at how the characters of Aziraphae and Crowley have made the jump from page to screen.
It remains one of the most touching moments of the Queen's reign. Now Olivia Colman has recreated the moment that the monarch met families affected by the Aberfan disaster in late 1966. The aftermath of the tragedy is being recreated in the small Welsh village of Cwmaman for the next series of The Crown. BAFTA-winner Colman will star as Her Maj in the third series of the hit drama to be shown next year. She has been filming a recreation of events after the Aberfan tragedy on 21 October 1966, when a colliery waste-tip collapsed, with slurry engulfing Pantglas Junior School in the village. A total of one hundred and forty four people - including one hundred and sixteen children - died in the tragedy on the last day before half term. Eight days after the disaster Queen Elizabeth visited the village for the first time, speaking to villagers, including some of the bereaved parents. She has returned to the village on four occasions since. Colman was filmed leaving a small terraced house, flanked by police officers and mourning villagers. She was dressed in a fur-lined coat with matching hat and clutching a black leather handbag and bouquet of flowers. Actors were also seen carrying funeral wreaths through the streets. One - anonymous - onlooker, who watched the filming, snitched to the tabloids: 'It was all very dignified, Olivia Colman is clearly taking her role very seriously. There was a very sombre mood. I think everyone involved in the production realises what an awful tragedy Aberfan was.' Director Benjamin Caron said that it was 'important' the disaster was marked in the new series. Big Pit National Coal Museum, in Blaenavon, has also been used as a location although producers decided against filming in Aberfan itself. Tobias Menzies was earlier spotted in a Rolls Royce in a small Welsh village in his role as Prince Phillip.
Marcella is to return for a third series, it has finally been confirmed. The ITV thriller, from The Bridge writer Hans Rosenfeldt and starring From The North favourite Anna Friel, has been confirmed by Variety as returning to ITV in the UK and to Netflix worldwide 'sometime in 2019.' The publication states that Rosenfeldt is 'hard at work' writing the eight-part series and will 'focus more on the fractured psyche of the titular character.'
Keeping Faith was one of the unexpected hit dramas of 2018. It started as a small BBC Wales drama which was broadcast in English alongside a Welsh version, titled Un Bore Mercher, on S4C, but then it took off in popularity. A second series of both language versions were officially confirmed by the Beeb in April and production has now begun with the series expected to be shown next year. Starring Torchwood and A Very English Scandal's Eve Myles, the second series will see her character, Faith Howells, attempting to put her life back together after her husband's disappearance. 'I'm thrilled that this brilliantly written drama found such a place in the audience's heart,' said Eve. 'I'm so excited to be back in the beautiful west Wales landscape working with a terrifically creative and talented team -it's a joy.'
Following the news that a new version of Buffy The Vampire Slayer is in early stages of production, some of the cast of the original series have been defending the idea. Sarah Michelle Gellar has admitted she is 'at peace' with the proposed remake. 'At the end of the day, it's all about great storytelling,' she explained. 'If a story lives on, then I think it should be told in any incarnation it can be told in.' David Boreanaz is also, reportedly, 'very happy' about the new Buffy, telling a Comic-Con panel he was 'all for it.' Speaking at the event, David reassured the audience: 'It's a good thing. Let's just embrace [it]. I'm very happy for them. They want to embrace a new generation, something new. I think it's fantastic. I hope that it becomes huge and successful.' Writer and producer Marti Noxon has recently admitted that she was worried about the proposed series. 'I'll be honest, initially I was like, "Nooo! Don't touch the sacred text!"' she said. 'But. the more I learned about it, the more excited I got. I'm excited that there is a female showrunner and that she's a woman of colour writing about a woman of colour. So I'm actually really pumped for it.'
Starz has unveiled the first trailer for American Gods' second series. The - short - clip made its debut at New York Comic-Con on Friday during a panel with the cast. The second series will pick up hours after the series one finale, where Wednesday revealed himself to his minder, Shadow, as the Norse God Odin. As creator Neil Gaiman put it during the panel: 'Everything is about to get better ... and worse.' Which, given the much discussed and extremely troubled production of the second series, could be taken in any number of ways.
Danny John-Jules has revealed the reason behind his Death In Paradise departure. Currently competing on Strictly Come Dancing, Danny said that a 'lack of razzmatazz' influenced his decision to leave BBC1's exotic crime series. Cos obviously, there's not much 'razzmatazz' in filming in the Caribbean for six months each year. The actor recently spoke to TV Times, where he admitted: 'I left Death In Paradise because I wanted to get back on stage. I needed a bit more razzmatazz in my life and then along came Strictly!' Danny had featured in every series of Death In Paradise since its debut in 2011, portraying Dwayne Myers alongside first Ben Miller, then Kris Marshall and most recently Ardal O'Hanlon. On his Strictly experience, Danny said: 'I haven't done a [stage] show for more than twenty years, so this is as close as I'm going to get to doing the jazz hands again. I've also been working on my one-man show about Sammy Davis Junior, that's why I'm always wearing a bowler hat!'
Fans enjoying the fiftieth anniversary of Dad's Army will be overjoyed at the announcement this week that the sitcom's three missing stories are to be 'faithfully re-created.' The Lost Episodes, to be shown on the Gold channel in 2019, will comprise new productions of episodes three, five and six of Dad's Army's second - 1969 - series; The Loneliness Of The Long-Distance Walker, A Stripe For Frazer and Under Fire. It was, of course, standard practice for the BBC to record over or discard tapes of programmes from this era - particularly episodes made in black and white once transmission switched to colour later in 1969. Dad's Army as it happens was less affected than many other BBC productions from the wiping of videotape (there are, of course, still ninety seven episodes missing from Doctor Who's early monochrome days for insatnce). Nevertheless, the three Dad's Army episodes are amongst the most highly-regarded on the Beeb's many missing items. Pete Thornton, head of scripted at UKTV, said: 'The Lost Episodes are currently being cast, with an extensive hunt on to find the perfect candidates to take on the daunting task of bringing these much-loved comedy characters to life once more. We've been working on this project for several years and will be respecting the genius of the original series. If ever there was a time to stick to the script then this is it. We are hugely excited and not a little intimidated by this opportunity, but being plucky and hopefully not too incompetent Brits, we aim to see the task through.' Fans are especially eager to see The Loneliness Of The Long-Distance again. The story, which was originally broadcast on 15 March 1969, focused on the character of Joe Walker, who received his call-up papers from the regular army. Realising his value to the platoon, Walker's colleagues employ subterfuge to try and keep him in the Walmington-on-Sea Home Guard. In A Stripe For Frazer - first broadcast on 29 March 1969 - Jonesie and Frazer battle it out for the right to be made up to the platoon's corporal, while Captain Mainwaring finally takes delivery of his officer's cap. Under Fire, which concluded Dad's Army's second series on 5 April 1969, saw Mainwaring organising the men to become firefighters when incendiary bombs fall on the town. Needless to say the entire enterprise backfired spectacularly and with hilarious consequences. Gerald Casey, Gold's channel director, added: 'As a Dad's Army devotee, I'm utterly thrilled that we're exclusively bringing these legendary lost masterpieces from Jimmy Perry and David Croft to life again after fifty years.' A Stripe For Frazer was previously remade in 2016 when animators used an audio recording of the episode as well as Radio Times on-set photographs to bring the story back to life. That same year, a big screen remake - starring Bill Nighy, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Toby Jones, Tom Courtenay and Michael Gambon was released. But, that was a right load of old shite.
Dad's Army will also be the subject of a four-part documentary series, hosted by Alexander Armstrong, to be shown on Gold in November. Saluting Dad's Army will 'celebrate the impact of the enduring classic and pays tribute to the people who created it.' So, a clip-show in other words.
Congratulations are extremely due to BBC News for walking away with From The North's latest Headline of the Week award when they announced that Zoe Ball will be the new host of Radio 2's The Breakfast Show.
CBS has dropped NCIS: New Orleans showrunner Brad Kern following the completion of a 'third internal investigation' into allegations of misconduct, harassment and unprofessional conduct. The studio hired an outside counsel, Kate Gold, to pursue its third investigation into Kern in August, after initially suspending Kern from NCIS: New Orleans and from his production deal with CBS Television. A spokesperson told The Hollywood Reporter on Tuesday: 'We have ended Brad Kern's role as consulting producer on NCIS: New Orleans and his overall deal with the studio.' Kern has not publicly addressed the allegations. Kern was formally suspended by CBS while the network conducted the investigation. TV Line reported that the show was conducting a third investigation into claims that Kern - one-time Charmed producer - created 'toxic, sexist and altogether hostile work environments.' At the end of 2017, CBS confirmed that Kern had previously been the subject of an inquiry on two occasions. The results were inconclusive. 'We were aware of these allegations when they took place in 2016 and took them very seriously,' CBS said at the time. 'Both complaints were acted upon immediately with investigations and subsequent disciplinary action. While we were not able to corroborate all of the allegations, we took this action to address behaviour and management style and have received no further complaints since this was implemented.'
Noel Edmonds - who is definitely not mental nor nothing - has extremely failed in a bid to get Lloyds Bank's black horse TV adverts banned, as the former TV presenter's sixty million knicker legal battle with the banking group becomes increasingly acrimonious. The former Deal Or No Deal presenter's claim stems from a historic fraud scandal at the bank's HBOS Reading arm, which affected sixty small business owners, relating to losses from the collapse of his entertainment firm Unique Group a decade ago, as well as the alleged 'distress and humiliation' he claims that he has suffered. Keystone Law, representing Edmonds and other victims of the alleged fraud, lodged a complaint with the advertising regulator against the bank's TV campaign featuring its famous black horse. The advert features a black horse running past a memorial service, a neighbourhood with a mother caring for her baby and on a beach with children. A voiceover said: 'Yesterday, today and tomorrow we have been and always will be by your side.' Music lyrics in the background included the line 'we've come a long, long way together/through the hard times and the good' (from Camille Yarbrough's 'Take Yo Praise', if you were wondering). The law firm alleged that the advertising campaign was 'misleading' and should be banned because it objected to the way Lloyds Bank, which acquired HBOS after the fraud, had 'handled customers affected by the scandal.' Lloyds said that the claims in the advert were not misleading and that eighty five per cent of those it identified in a review as affected by the scandal had accepted compensation. The Advertising Standards Authority rejected Keystone's complaint, saying the advert did not break its rules. The watchdog said the claim to customers to literally be 'by your side' was 'advertising puffery.' The ASA said it did not believe that viewers 'would interpret the claim to be a commentary on the situation of the victims of the HBOS fraud case, or to think that it was directly connected to their engagement with Lloyds Bank in 2018. We did not consider the details of the HBOS fraud case to be material information that needed to be included in the ad to prevent customers from being misled.'
An advert for Costa Coffee has been banned for urging customers to buy a bacon roll rather than avocados. Even though some - including this blogger - may regard that as entirely sensible advice. The radio advert featured a voiceover which said there was 'a great deal on ripen-at-home avocados' but they will 'only be ready to eat for about ten minutes, then they'll go off.' The advert advised listeners to choose the 'better deal' of a roll or an egg muffin. Two listeners - with, seemingly, nothing better to do with their time - complained that the advert, which was broadcast in June, 'discouraged people from opting for fresh fruit.' As if anyone (who isn't a Middle Class hippy Communist Gruniad Morning Star reader) actually gives a flying fek about such nonsense. The advertising watchdog agreed with the crass whinges and upheld them. Costa claimed that the advert played on 'the frustration and unpredictability of the avocado.' And, the fact that they taste like shit. Probably. The chain claimed it was 'not suggesting' that listeners must choose between the two breakfast options - although, that appeared to be exactly what it was doing - but, rather, that it was 'telling people about its promotional offer.' The organisation which clears advertisements for broadcast, Radiocentre, said that consumers would see the advert as 'a light-hearted remark' about the experience of buying non-ripe avocados. Which, apparently, all bar two of them did. In its ruling, the Advertising Standards Authority - an entirely humourless, self-regulating quango, elected by no one - suggested that consumers would 'interpret' the advert as a comparison between the experience of eating an avocado and a bacon roll or egg muffin. 'We considered that, although the ad was light-hearted, it nevertheless suggested avocados were a poor breakfast choice and that a bacon roll or egg muffin would be a better alternative and in doing so discouraged the selection of avocados,' the ASA said. All radio and television adverts must comply with the UK Code of Broadcast Advertising which states that comparisons between foods must not discourage fruit and vegetables. The advert must not be broadcast again and Costa has been told to get their shit together and make sure its future adverts do not 'condone or encourage poor nutritional habits.' Or, offend Middle Class hippy Communist Gruniad Morning Star readers. Obviously.
The Aston Villains have extremely sacked manager Steve Bruce after winning only one of their past nine Championship matches this season. The Villains - and, their notoriously fickle support - are currently twelfth in the Championship table and drew three-three with bottom club Preston Both Ends on Tuesday. Fifty seven-year-old Bruce, who was appointed two years ago, had been under increasing pressure from Villa's notoriously fickle supporters, with one fan throwing a cabbage at him before Tuesday's game. The cabbage was uninjured. As was the vegetable, apparently. Bruce ed the club to the Championship play-off final last season, where they lost to Fulham at Wembley. Bruce, who leaves The Villains exactly two years to the day since his predecessor, Roberto Di Matteo was sacked, is the first manager to lose his job in England's second tier this season. Though, almost certainly not the last. 'We would like to place on record our gratitude to Steve and his team for their hard work and commitment. We wish them well for the future,' a club statement said. 'The process of recruiting a new manager has begun.'
Glasgow gig-goers got lucky this week as they witnessed the former Doctor Who actor yer actual Peter Capaldi take to the stage in his home town. The ex-Doctor and Oscar winner joined The Blow Monkeys to play guitar during the band's set at the Royal Concert Hall. The Blow Monkeys are currently supporting fellow 1980s hit makers Level 42 on their UK tour. And, you can see Peter, if you will, digging his scene with Blow Monkeys' main-man Doctor Robert here. Skill.
Following the success of previous archive live recordings, Cracked Actor and Welcome To The Blackout, David Bowie's legendary headlining set from Glastonbury 2000 is set to be released for the very first time. While often regarded as one of the greatest sets in Glasto history, the Sunday night closing show has never been released on either video or audio and only a thirty odd minute segment of it was ever broadcast - as part of BBC2's live Glastonbury coverage that year. David Bowie: Glastonbury 2000 will be released on 30 November on double CD, DVD and a triple LP vinyl - complete with notes from Caitlin Moran, photos of Bowie in his iconic three-quarter length custom Alexander McQueen frock coat and Bowie's tour diary for the memorable 2000 summer tour, originally written for Time Out. 'As of 1990 I got through the rest of the Twentieth Century without having to do a big hits show,' wrote Bowie. 'Yes, yes, I know I did four or five hits on the later shows but I held out pretty well, I thought. Big, well known songs will litter the field at Glastonbury this year. With a couple of quirks of course.' That was something of an understatement; backed by his tremendous touring band - Mike Garson, Earl Slick, Mark Plati, Gail Ann Dorsey, Sterling Campbell, Holly Palmer and Emm Gryner - The Grand Dame was on outstanding form, powering through a twenty one-song set that contained: 'Wild Is The Wind', 'China Girl', 'Changes', 'Stay', 'Life On Mars?', 'Absolute Beginners', 'Ashes To Ashes', 'Rebel Rebel', 'Little Wonder', 'Golden Years', 'Fame', 'All The Young Dudes', 'The Man Who Sold The World', 'Station To Station', 'Starman', 'Hallo Spaceboy', 'Under Pressure', 'Ziggy Stardust', '"Heroes"', 'Let's Dance' and 'I'm Afraid Of Americans'. Although David's equally brilliant set at the BBC Radio Theatre two days later has been widely seen and heard (released on CD as part of the Bowie At The Beeb collection), thus far the Glastonbury performance has been the stuff of - mostly word-of-mouth - legend. 'I often get asked what the best set I've seen here at Glastonbury is and Bowie's 2000 performance is always one which I think of first,' said Glastonbury organiser Emily Eavis. 'It was spellbinding; he had an absolutely enormous crowd transfixed. I think Bowie had a very deep relationship with Worthy Farm and he told some wonderful stories about his first time at the Festival in 1971, when he stayed at the farmhouse and performed at 6am as the sun was rising. And he just played the perfect headline set.'
The Rolling Stones are to celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of their Beggars Banquet LP by releasing a new, expanded edition on 16 November. The original LP was released on 6 December 1968. The new vinyl version will feature both the original Michael Vosse photograph of a vandalised toilet wall – subsequently withdrawn by a nervous Decca Records in the UK and an even more nervous London Records in the US - as well the the 'RSVP' artwork which replaced it. The package will be completed by a mono twelve inch single of the classic 'Sympathy For The Devil', with an etching of the 'toilet' artwork adorning the b-side, plus a flexi-disc of a Mick Jagger interview that replicates one issued by King Records in Japan to accompany the original LP's Japanese release. The new version has been remastered by famed engineer Bob Ludwig, with the lacquers cut at Abbey Road and pressed on one hundred and eighty gram vinyl. So, what with that, the forthcoming Bowie Let's Dance box-set and the Glastonbury CD, The Be-Atles White Album anniversary box-set and new releases by From The North favourites Paul Weller and Elvis Costello, it looks like it's going to be an expensive couple of months for yer actual Keith Telly Topping. Still, that's what overdrafts are for.
Geoff Emerick, the engineer who helped to create the sound world of The Be-Atles (a popular beat combo of the 1960s, you might've heard of them), has died after a heart attack, aged seventy two. A four-time Grammy award-winner, Geoff worked on some of The Be-Atles' most influential and experimental records including Revolver, Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band and Abbey Road. He also worked with Kate Bush, Elvis Costello & The Attractions and Jeff Beck. Giles Martin, the son of The Be-Atles producer George Martin, described Geoff as 'one of finest and most innovative engineers to have graced a recording studio. We have all been touched by the sounds he helped create on the greatest music ever recorded,' he added.
Born in December 1945, Geoff began working at the EMI Studios in Abbey Road as a sixteen years old on 3 September 1962. To familiarise him with his work, he was placed under the supervision of the assistant engineer, Richard Langham. On Geoff's second day of work at EMI, Langham was assigned to work with Norman Smith and their boss, George Martin, on the first proper EMI recording session by The Be-Atles. Emerick was, thus, lucky enough to witness the studio debut of the finalised line-up of The Be-Atles, during which the group, with their recently-arrived drummer, Ringo Starr, recorded what would become their first hit single, 'Love Me Do.' During 1963 and 1964, Geoff spent much of his time working as a tape operator on Be-Atles sessions for hits like 'She Loves You', 'I Want To Hold Your Hand' and 'A Hard Day's Night'. As an assistant engineer, Emerick also helped to record other artists for the label, including Judy Garland. He assisted at the EMI artist test of The Hollies and, after being promoted to recording engineer, worked on the 1966 Manfred Mann number one hit single 'Pretty Flamingo'. He then, at the age of just twenty, replaced Norman Smith (who had, himself, been promoted to producer) as The Be-Atles engineer. On the first session for what became Revolver, in April 1966, John Lennon tasked Geoff with making his voice sound like 'the Dalai Lama singing on a mountain' for 'Tomorrow Never Knows'. Geoff, in his own words, 'played the mixing desk like a modern-day synthesizer,' when producing the final 'live' mix of the groundbreaking song, weaving numerous tape-loops in and out of the sound collage. It was reportedly Geoff''s suggestion to record Lennon's vocal through a Leslie speaker to achieve the ethereal sound that Lennon wanted and to close-mic Ringo's drums, formerly a prohibited practice at EMI. It was also Emerick who enigneered 'Strawberry Fields Forever', splicing together two separate takes of the song and working out how to combine them, despite the fact they had been recorded in different keys and tempo. He won the first of his four Grammys for his work on Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, on which he helped achieve the monumental echo that sustains the closing chord of 'A Day In The Life'. George Martin had wanted Geoff to be named on the LPs cover, such was his contribution to the overall sound, but EMI vetoed the suggestion - it would only be with The Be-Atles subsequent White Album that the industry finally began to openly acknowledge the vital role played by engineers in the process of making a record. Speaking to Variety in July 2017, Geoff said that 'A Day In The Life' had been the highlight of his time with The Be-Atles. 'The night we put the orchestra on it [10 February 1967], the whole world went from black and white to colour.' Yet, after continuing to work with The Be-Atles on The Magical Mystery Tour he infamously resigned during The White Album sessions, claiming that he could not handle the developing tensions between the band members. 'I was becoming physically sick just thinking of going to the studio each night,' he told Music Radar in 2014. 'I used to love working with the band. By that point, I dreaded it.' He walked out on 16 July 1968 - during the recording of 'Cry Baby Cry' - saying that he was fed up with the inter-band feuding. It is also alleged that Geoff had objected to Chris Thomas, George Martin's inexperienced assistant, being elevated to the de facto role of producer in Martin's temporary absence, with the band's acceptance. Geoff later returned to work with The Beatles the following year and won a second Grammy for his work on Abbey Road.
Despite his departure from The White Album sessions, Emerick remained on good terms with Paul McCartney, who invited Emerick to quit EMI and come to work for Apple in 1969. In addition to ongoing engineering duties, Emerick oversaw the building of The Be-Atles' Apple Studio in Savile Row. Following The Be-Atles' break-up in 1970, Emerick continued to work regularly with McCartney. He served as engineer on Band On The Run (1973), which netted Geoff yet another Grammy, London Town (1978), Tug Of War (1982) and Flaming Pie (1997). Emerick later said he felt that he had always been perceived by the other Be-Atles as 'Paul's guy.' As a result, for their own initial post-Beatle solo recordings, Lennon and George Harrison chose to work instead with Geoff's colleagues Ken Scott and Phil McDonald. Following the success of EMI's The Beatles At Abbey Road presentation in 1983, Geoff prepared an LP of The Be-Atles' studio outtakes, Sessions, but it was cancelled before release. In the mid-1990s, the majority of these recordings were used on The Beatles Anthology CDs. Geoff also worked with Elvis Costello (for whom he produced 1982's acclaimed Imperial Bedroom and 1996's All This Useless Beauty), The Zombies (the highly-regarded Odessey & Oracle), Badfinger, Art Garfunkel, America, Jeff Beck, Gino Vannelli, Supertramp, Cheap Trick, Nazareth, Chris Bell, Split Enz, Trevor Rabin, Nick Heyward, Gentle Giant, and The Mahavishnu Orchestra. And also, Big Country and Ultravox but, we can forgive him for those blemishes on an otherwise faultless CV. Other recording projects included Matthew Fisher's solo debut, Journey's End, Kate Bush's first demo recordings for EMI and Nellie McKay's critically acclaimed 2004 debut, Get Away From Me. He also recorded some of the backing tracks for the debut LP by Stealers Wheel, but left the project before completion. In 2003, he received his fourth Grammy, a Special Merit/Technical Award. In 2006, Geoff released his memoir, Here, There & Everywhere: My Life Recording The Music Of The Beatles, co-authored by the music journalist Howard Massey. In the memoir, Emerick wrote that 'working with The Beatles was unlike working with any other artists. With them, anything and everything was possible; they had zero tolerance for the words "no" or "can't." On the other hand, if something wasn't right, they knew it, right away and they had no problem changing direction and moving on. There was no prevaricating; no ifs, ands, or buts; no maybes. It was either good or it wasn't.' In 2007, Geoff was in charge of a re-recording of Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band by contemporary artists, including Oasis, The Killers, Travis, The Zutons and Razorlight. Emerick used the original equipment to record the new versions of the songs, the results being broadcast on Radio 2 in June 2007, marking the LP's fortieth anniversary. Geoff later resided in Los Angeles. In recent years, he had become a regular fixture as a lecturer at Be-Atles conventions and host of production workshops.
Ray Galton, one half of Galton and Simpson, the hugely influential comedy writing team, has died at the age of eighty eight. The scriptwriter died 'peacefully' on Friday evening after 'a long and heartbreaking battle with dementia,' his family said. Born in Paddington in 1930, Ray Galton worked throughout the majority of his sixty-year career with Alan Simpson, who died in February last year aged eighty seven.
Most famously, the duo created Hancock's Half Hour, the radio - and, subsequently, television - comedy that established Tony Hancock as the quintessential disappointed British anti-hero of the postwar years. Many of the lines Ray and Alan gave to 'the lad himself' were soon to enter into the English language and consciousness, from Tony's aggravated 'Stone me!', to his grandiloquent appeal to the rest of the jury in their famous spoof of Twelve Angry Men ('does Magna Carta mean nothing to you? Did she die in vain?') or his observation on how much of an arm a pint of blood occupies in The Blood DonorThe success of the Hancock shows has seen Galton and Simpson regularly described as the effective creators of the situation comedy genre as we know it. The duo went on to create the equally groundbreaking Steptoe & Son, about a squabbling father and son duo of rag-and-bone men. Starring Harry H Corbett and Wilfrid Brambell, it ran for eight series from 1962 to 1974 and spawned two spin-off movies. At its peak, it commanded a TV audience of twenty eight million viewers. Tessa Le Bars, Galton's manager, said: 'I have had the great honour of working with Ray for over fifty years and for the last forty as his manager and friend. With his lifelong co-writer, the late Alan Simpson, they were regarded as the fathers and creators of the British sitcom.' Receiving the entertainment industry's most prestigious award, a BAFTA fellowship, in 2016, Galton's speech referenced several of their greatest scriptwriting triumphs, including the most famous episodes of Hancock's Half Hour, The Radio Ham and The Blood Donor: 'We are happy and honoured to accept this award on behalf of all the blood donors, test pilots, radio hams and rag-and-bone men of the Twentieth Century without whom we would probably be out of a job,' he said.
Born to Christine and Herbert Galton, a bus conductor, Ray grew up on a Surrey council estate. He attended school in Morden, leaving at fourteen for a job as a clerk with the Transport and General Workers' Union. In 1947, aged sixteen, he realised there was something badly wrong with his health. He was six feet four inches but weighed only nine stone and was suffering from permanent sweats, a bad cough and had no energy. His doctor told him to take malt. But Ray's elder brother, Bert, who had just returned home on leave from the Merchant Navy, insisted that he should have an X-ray and took him to a hospital in Sutton, where tuberculosis was diagnosed. Ray soon found himself at the Surrey county sanatorium in Milford, near Godalming. Some of the treatment was nearly as bad as the disease. Liquid had to be removed from the top of his lungs at about a litre a time, which took half-an-hour. For the first year, Galton was not allowed to get out of bed, even to turn on the radio. It was only at the start of his third incarcerated year that a fellow TB sufferer Alan Simpson appeared in the bed next to him. Together the pair formed a firm friendship based on mutual love of the American Forces Network programmes on the ward radio. They enjoying Jack Benny, Bob Hope, Phil Harris and Don Ameche as well as British comedy programmes from the BBC. Soon they began to write their own sketches for the sanatorium's radio station - housed in a broom cupboard. Their first show was called Have You Ever Wondered? Its review - their first - in an issue of the sanatorium's Milford Bulletin said: 'Slick, up to the minute with a dash of satire, a worthy effort indeed.' Once the pair had been cured, Galton and Simpson wrote to Frank Muir and Denis Norden, the leading comedy writers of the day and were invited to the BBC's Broadcasting House for a chat. Their first break came in 1951 with the Derek Roy vehicle Happy Go Lucky. They went on to write for numerous comedy performers, including a lengthy association with Frankie Howerd and, later, for Les Dawson. But their most important creative moment undoubtedly came when they were still in their twenties. On 2 November, 1954, the thirty-year-old Hancock stood behind a radio microphone for the first episode of a new show, his first starring vehicle for the BBC's Light Programme. Seven years later Hancock was the most famous performer in Britain. The alter-ego he played, Anthony Aloysius Saint John Hancock, resident of 23 Railway Cuttings, East Cheam, was an exaggerated version of himself, but dressed like an old-fashioned dandy and was full of delusions of grandeur. The show was first broadcast on radio from 1954 to 1959 and moved to BBC television from 1956. Its regular performers included Sid James, Bill Kerr, Hattie Jacques and Kenneth Williams (whose famous catchphrase, 'Stop messin' about', Galton and Simpson created for him). Speaking in 1997, before the launch of new sitcom about his time as a youth in a sanatorium, Galton said: 'Finding the plots used to be lot easier for me than the writing. Nowadays, I find the ideas much more difficult. Practically everything has been done.'
Steptoe & Son, which began in 1962, grew out of a number of half-hour pilots that Ray and Alan wrote for the BBC under the umbrella title Comedy Playhouse, focusing on a father and son living in a squalid house in West London. The comedy was characterised by a bleak and somewhat fatalistic tone, indeed Steptoe & Son was, at times, a black comedy far closer to contemporary social-realist drama than to sitcom. Both the character played by Hancock in Hancock's Half Hour and Harold Steptoe (Harry H Corbett) were vainglorious (and pretentious) would-be intellectuals and social-climbers who found themselves trapped by the squalor of their lives and by a desire to keep them in their place by their companions (Sid James in the case of the former, Wilfred Brambell in the latter). This theme had already been expanded upon in Galton and Simpson's script for Hancock's film The Rebel (1961), about a civil servant who moves to Paris to become an artist. Gabriel Chevallier's novel Clochemerle (1934) was adapted by Galton and Simpson as a BBC/West German co-production in 1972. Around that time an unbroadcast pilot was recorded for a series to be called Bunclarke With An E, with Arthur Lowe and James Beck. Sadly, Beck died before the project could be developed further.
While both writers continued to work after Steptoe & Son ended, including several projects with Frankie Howerd, they had no further high-profile successes. Duncan Wood, the former Hancock and Steptoe producer, by then at Yorkshire Television, commissioned The Galton & Simpson Playhouse, a seven-part series similar in style to Comedy Playhouse, broadcast in 1977 and featuring the likes of Richard Briers, Leonard Rossiter and Arthur Lowe. None of these pilots led to another series, however. Simpson formally retired from screenwriting in 1978, concentrating on his business interests. Galton then worked with Johnny Speight on scripts, including the under-rated Spooner's Patch (1979 to 1982) about a corrupt police station. He also wrote scripts for sitcoms produced in Germany and Scandinavia. His last sitcom was Get Well Soon in 1997 which he co-created with John Antrobus and which was based on his own experiences in a sanatorium. Galton and Simpson came together again professionally in 1998 to adapt some of their work for the BBC radio series Radio Playhouse. The plays were Cliquot Et Fils, Nought For Thy Comfort, A Clerical Error and the Steptoe & Son pilot The Offer. The duo never ceased to be friends, living within a couple of miles of one another and seeing each other every week. In 1996, Paul Merton - a devoted fan of the duo's work - revived some of their best scripts for a TV series. In October 2005, Galton and Antrobus premiered their play Steptoe & Son In Murder At Oil Drum Lane at the Theatre Royal, York. The play was set in the present day and related to the events which lead to Harold killing his father and their eventual meeting - Albert appearing as ghost - thirty years later. To celebrate Galton and Simpson's sixty-year anniversary as a team, in 2009 BBC Radio broadcast another series of updated plays, called Galton & Simpson's Half Hour. The casts included Frank Skinner, David Mitchell and Robert Webb, Rik Mayall, June Whitfield and Paul Merton. And in 2016, the sixtieth anniversary of the first TV episode of Hancock's Half Hour, BBC4 remade an episode that had been lost, The New Neighbour, with Jon Culshaw and Kevin McNally. Ray Galton's wife Tonia, whom he married in 1956, died in 1995. He is survived by his three children, Andrew, Sara and Lisa and five grandchildren.
Visitors to a renowned sex club in Berlin have been urged to seek medical treatment after a patron was taken to hospital with bacterial meningitis. The KitKatClub said that the man was 'in a serious condition' after attending a party there on Saturday. About one hundred others were treated 'as a precaution.' Bacterial meningitis is spread through close physical contact and can become life-threatening within hours. The nightclub hosts fetish parties which attract visitors from around the world. The man contacted a doctor on Monday and was immediately diagnosed with the disease. He is being treated with antibiotics, Bild newspaper reported. Authorities in Berlin's Reinickendorf district advised anyone who had attended the club on Saturday to 'seek immediate preventive treatment.' 'A friend of the patient could tell us that they were both in the KitKat club, but he did not know who the sick person was in contact with there,' said Patrick Larscheid, director of the Reinickendorf Health Department. The man had attended the CarneBall Bizarre party. The evening has a dress code'of "fetish, patent and leather, uniforms, TV, goth, costumes, evening wear, glitz and glamour, extravagant clothes,' according to the club's Facebook page. The club said that none of its employees had shown any symptoms and added that they had been 'offered antibiotics as a preventative measure.' Meningitis is an infection of the meninges - the protective membranes that surround the brain and the spinal cord. Bacterial meningitis can be very serious if not treated quickly. It can cause life-threatening blood poisoning - sepsis - and can result in permanent damage to the brain or nerves.
A criminal investigation has been launched after a backlog of medical waste - including body parts - was allowed to build up at several disposal sites. It emerged on Thursday that the waste from hospitals had 'not been disposed of in a timely fashion' by contractor Healthcare Environmental Services. The Environment Agency said that the firm was in breach of permits. The Scottish Environment Protection Agency is 'monitoring two sites' where enforcement notices have been issued. The Department of Health in England said there was no risk to the public. Healthcare Environmental Services has a headquarters in Shotts in North Lanarkshire. The contractor removes the waste from a significant number, though not all, hospitals in England and Scotland. The waste was being held at five sites in England and one in Scotland and is stored in secure and refrigerated containers. The problem was first reported by the Health Service Journal, which said that the disposal company was blaming the backlog on 'a shortage of high-temperature incinerators.' A COBRA meeting to discuss the issue was chaired by English Health Secretary Matt Hancock last month, the HSJ claimed. A spokeswoman for the Environment Agency in England said it had found Healthcare Environmental Services to be 'in breach of environmental permits' at five sites which deal with clinical waste. She added: 'We are taking enforcement action against the operator, which includes clearance of the excess waste, and have launched a criminal investigation. We are supporting the government and the NHS to ensure there is no disruption to public services and for alternative plans to be put in place for hospitals affected to dispose of their waste safely.' The Scottish Environment Protection Agency said it was 'working closely' with the Environment Agency and 'robustly monitoring sites in Scotland.' A spokesman added: 'On 12 September SEPA issued enforcement notices to Healthcare Environmental Services regarding sites in Dundee and Shotts, with officers conducting ongoing monitoring.' Healthcare Environmental Services has a transfer station for waste in Dundee and a storage, processing and incineration site at Shotts. SEPA said the company had 'not gone over its agreed regulatory limits' for either of the two Scottish sites. A UK government spokesman said that it was 'monitoring the situation closely' and had made sure that public services - including NHS Trusts - had 'contingency plans in place.' He added: 'There is absolutely no risk to the health of patients or the wider public. Our priority is to prevent disruption to the NHS and other vital public services and work is under way to ensure organisations can continue to dispose of their waste safely and efficiently.' Jonathan Ashworth, Labour's shadow health and social care secretary in England, called on Matt Hancock to make a statement in the House of Commons on the 'staggering revelations' next week. 'When something of this scale is going on which the government has known about for some time they have a responsibility to come to parliament and explain to parliament whether they've got credible contingency plans and to reassure MPs who will represent those 50 hospital trusts,' he told Radio 4's World At One. 'Given the scale of this, it's hugely disappointing that the secretary of state has not done this,' he added.
An outspoken former Conservative party donor has said that he is prepared to go to prison to keep a giant Bollocks to Brexit poster above his London office after he was told to remove it by his local council. Charlie Mullins, the founder of Pimlico Plumbers, accused Lambeth council of interfering with his freedom of speech and succumbing to people's 'sensitivities' over a word which was proven in a 1977 court case not to be obscene. The council claimed that it had 'received complaints' from 'commuters' about the sign near Waterloo station and, as it was not related to his business, Mullins would have to remove it or apply for planning consent, which he would be unlikely to get. One or two people even believed them. 'We had a sign there previously saying, "Nobody voted to be poorer" for six months and Lambeth did not object,' Mullins claimed. 'They say it has nothing to do with our business, but quite clearly it has everything to do with our business. If there is Brexit, we won't have a business. This is just bullying and the advert is not coming down. They will need to put me in prison before that comes down. I am just a business standing up for my rights.' The millionaire, who has a workforce of over four hundred, is one of the country's best-known backers of the campaign to stop Brexit. In 2016, he supported Gina Miller's successful high court bid to give parliament a meaningful vote over the final Brexit deal and he donated to her End The Chaos campaign to publish facts about Brexit. Bollocks to Brexit is the slogan of a grassroots campaign group, which handed out stickers at the recent Labour and Conservative conferences. Mullins has said he 'accepts' that some commuters may find the word offensive but points to the trial over The Sex Pistols' Never Mind The Bollocks ... Here's The Sex Pistols cover. In 1977, the band's reputation soared after a tight-arsed police officer confiscated LPs from a Virgin Records store in Nottingham, arguing that the appearance of the word 'bollocks' contravened the 1899 Indecent Advertising Act, forcing shops around the country to sell the LP under the counter. The record was subsequently ruled to be not indecent after the defence barrister, John Mortimer QC, got an English professor to testify that the word had appeared in medieval Bibles, veterinary books and literature and was a colloquialism for nonsense. Mullins said that a media company had offered to provide him with twenty two electronic sites for a similar advert since the sign had gone up three weeks ago and attracted attention on social media. Lambeth council told Mullins that 'as the sign is not specifically related to the business of Pimlico Plumbers and is well in excess of the size limits, the sign does not benefit from deemed consent and will therefore either need to be removed ASAP or an application for advert consent submitted.' It claimed - very unconvincingly - that it would be an offence under the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 to continue to display it without consent. Although the council received an - unspecified - number of complaints from the public about language, it pointed out that the content of adverts was 'a matter for the Advertising Standards Authority.' A Lambeth council spokesman said it was considering 'whether or not the physical advertisement requires advertisement consent under planning controls and as part of this process, we contacted the company setting out the normal rules and options available to them.' It said planning-related advertising legislation was 'complex and adverts can be displayed without the need for the council's consent' but this was subject to 'various conditions and limitations.' The council said it had made 'an informal approach' to Pimlico Plumbers and, if it did not breach the rules, no action would be taken.
And now, the first in a new, semi-regular, From The North feature, Did You Know? Number one: The bass player in The Plastic Ono Elephant's Memory Band was, seemingly Jesus. Tragically, as John Lennon is squatting down in this photo we are unable to confirm whether he was, as he once claimed to be, bigger than Jesus. Although, the bloke on Jesus's left, clearly, was.
A woman who faked stage-four breast cancer and raised over thirty thousand dollars on GoFundMe was extremely sentenced on Thursday to at least two years in prison. Candace Streng was sentenced to twenty eight months to fifteen years in The Big House with credit for one hundred and eighty two days served after prosecutors said that she lied to friends, family and strangers about having cancer and raised thousands both online and through fundraisers. Prosecutors say since 2015, Streng told friends and family in person and online through detailed Facebook posts that she had breast cancer. In early 2017, prosecutors say she posted that there were 'new types of treatments' which were not covered by her insurance and began asking for money to help pay for the said treatments. Concerned friends set up a GoFundMe account, which she later took control of. Prosecutors claim that Streng also used the media to gain support, interviewing with the Livingston County Press in May 2017 and November 2017. In June of last year, Streng's friends held a fundraiser at Aubree's in South Lyon. They raised six thousand dollars, thinking it was going to be used to pay for her - non-existent - cancer treatments. When police learned that she was lying, she continued to lie to law enforcement about her condition, according to prosecutors. They say that when she found out police shut down her GoFundMe, she reached out to people directly to tell them how to donate to her via PayPal. One woman affected by the situation, Jessica, took a moment to speak before the sentencing, giving examples of how she and her friends had helped Streng. She said that she once took Streng grocery items when Streng claimed she could not lift items over a few pounds. One another occaison, Jessica made a late night run to a Seven-Eleven because Streng said a cherry slushie would make her 'happy.' 'She stole money, lied to our faces, lied to our kids,' Jessica said. Sarah Bees testifiedthat she was part of a group that helped raise over fifty thousand dollars to help Streng. 'What Candace did is inexcusable,' she said. 'Her actions have greatly impacted all of our lives over the past nine months.' As he handed down his sentence, the judge expressed concern for the new ways to commit crimes through technology.
A nineteen-year-old man currently living in Sydenham has been arrested following what is described as 'a string of weird events' involving his former roommate in Kingston. In April of 2018, the victim rented a room to the accused man and, soon after, began noticing 'concerning behaviour,' according to a press release from Kingston Police. On Friday 29 June, the victim woke up and discovered six inches of her hair had been cut off. The victim 'suspected that her roommate was responsible and began avoiding him,' police said. On 4 August, the victim reportedly came home and found that her bed, couch and clothing had all been urinated upon and some alcohol had been stolen from her room. She decided to confront her roommate and 'confirmed that he was responsible.' The accused roommate agreed to move out and the two had no further contact until 27 September, when the victim received an e-mail from the accused. The e-mail had no content, but the subject line contained an offensive statement, according to police. On Wednesday, police located and arrested the accused at his new home. The man is charged with assault with a weapon, theft, mischief, and making indecent telecommunications.
Neighbours of an immigrant family in County Antrim have expressed their revulsion after 'a deranged idiot' urinated through their letterbox. Tragically, whilst he (one has to presume it was a he) was engaged in his urinatory activities, the letterbox didn't snap shut on his little chap and cause the racist numbskull considerable suffrage. The property in Greenisland was targeted in what police are treating as a hate crime. Investigating officers believe urine was sprayed through the letterbox of the house and into a hallway 'simply because of where the residents come from.' Police described the incident as 'pretty disgusting' on social media.
A healthy, thirty one-year-old man checked into a New York clinic with an unusual complaint, it has been reported. After taking 'large amounts of a drug for erectile dysfunction,' which he purchased on the Internet, everything he saw was red - a symptom that no treatment could remedy, even after a year. Doctors diagnosed him with retinal toxicity, an eye disorder which affects how a person sees colour. Specifically, the man had irreversible erythropsia, which is characterised by red-hued vision. The man's symptoms appeared soon after he had taken sildenafil citrate, the active ingredient in popular erectile dysfunction drugs, which he had bought online and drunk in liquid form 'directly from the bottle,' according to a medical report. In a case study, researchers at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York used advanced imaging techniques to examine the man's eyes in detail. They revealed structural changes to his retinas - demonstrating the degree to which sildenafil citrate may have contributed to permanent eye damage. Their findings were published this month in Retinal Cases. The report does not state whether the man's erectile problems have been cured or, indeed, if he is now walking around with a permanent chimney on.
A Newport woman was taken into custody on Monday after police say she exposed herself to responding officers during a drunken domestic incident. According to police, Chiquita Lynn'Ray Thomas 'got into an argument with a family member' at her home and requested that the family member leave. When officers advised her to follow the civil process of eviction, police claim that she bent over and pulled up her nightgown, and 'exposed her buttock and private region while telling police to kiss her exposed buttocks.' Thomas was taken into custody and charged with profane swearing, intoxication and indecent exposure.
A trucking company employee in Western Pennsylvania has been accused of funnelling nearly four hundred thousand dollars in customer payments into his personal bank account.. Investigators say that he 'blew the money on strippers and hockey tickets, among other splurges.' KDKA and WPXI in Pittsburgh report James R Perry Junior was very arrested on Monday on 'theft and other charges.' Perry was the director of credit and collections billing and settlement with R&R Express trucking company, where he allegedly funnelled money to himself dating back to April 2015 to the tune of about three hundred and seventy three thousand nine hundred and twenty eight dollars police say. According to court papers, company and financial records show customers would send their credit card payments to R&R and Perry would then use a computer programme to process the payments and redirect them into his personal checking account.
And now, onto some more personal doings. Tuesday of this week, dear blog reader, was a day that yer actual Keith Telly Topping wants to forget in a hurry. If not sooner. Listen, if anyone ever tries to convince you that as you've got three (completely separate) medical appointments due in the next month why not get them all out of the way on the same day, just don't do it. The main problem - and it did seem like a good idea at the time - was that the appointments could not be arranged back-to-back (oh no, that would be far too easy) but spaced out throughout the day; at 10am, 1pm and 5pm. So, this blogger had to trailing going back-and-forth between Stately Telly Topping Manor and the local surgery. No great chore to do once or twice in a day since, it's only a fifteen minute walk through Walker Churchyard but, after you've done it for the fifth time in one day, it starts to get more than a little wearisome!
Wednesday, on the other hand, was much better. This blogger had a very excellent chat on the dog-and-bone with an extremely excellent old mucker regarding something that this blogger can't discuss at this particular time in any details but which may end up being 'a bit of an opportunity' (and, a bit of a throwback) for yer actual Keith Telly Topping his very self. He said, euphemistically. Very euphemistically. Sorry to be so obtuse, dear blog reader but more news - obviously - once it's all firmed up and sorted. Nevertheless, just to report to anyone that's interested (so, that'll be about four of you) that - after the previous day of unremitting lack-of-feelgood down at the doctors(!) - yer actual Keith Telly Topping is currently in a rather good mood. For a change.
And finally, dear blog reader, aiding in this blogger's general improved disposition of late, the thing which has made this blogger laugh more than just about anything else this week was, and remains, this glorious Ben Pics animation of Bob Mortimer's Jordan Henderson song 'Nut Job!' from the brilliant Athletico Mince podcast.
Truly, dear blog reader, has there ever been a more perfect line in all of rock and/or roll music than 'I once threw a snake/at Paloma Faith's face?' This blogger seriously doubts it.
Only, perhaps, 'Can you see the Sky TV van?/And the donkey by the caravan?/The fat-bloke by the Blue Drink Stand?/He's shoutin' "Jesus Wept, look it's The Fun Bus!' from yet another twenty four carat Bob Mortimer classic anthem.