Sunday, December 02, 2018

It Takes You Away: Norwegian Woods

'A cottage in Norway, in winter with a chimney but no smoke.'
'I wasn't lured. It's not like I gave it credit card details!'
'Stay back! It's fine it's only 2018, I thought we'd leaped into The Woolly Rebellion ... In a hundred and ninety three years there's a complete renegotiation of the sheep-human relationship. Utter bloodbath!'
'You're not hungry, are you? Cos I always carry a cheese-and-pickle sarnie. Just for emergencies.' 'You carry sandwiches with you every time you leave the TARDIS?!' 'I've learned the hard way, ain't I? We can go a long time without eating. And I get a bit cranky with the old low blood-sugar level. Now, I always come prepared.'
'We'd know if we were vampires, right?'
'You turned your house into a fortress to keep your daughter scared?' 'That is a shocking bit of parenting!' ... 'I'm going to hit him.' 'No you're not. I am!'
'What is this place, Ribbons?' 'Antizone.' 'Is this a good thing or a bad thing?'
'Three locks, on a deserted house, in the middle of nowhere ...' 'Maybe we shouldn't be in here.'
'All right, no need to panic.' 'I wasn't panicking.' 'I know, I was talking to myself!'
'Right, what do we know? This mirror is a direct portal between two worlds. We went into it in the real world, we came out of it in this world. But that Antizone sprung up in the middle, splitting the portal in two.' 'The buffer-zone between the two worlds?' 'Exactly, because Antizones only exist where the fabric of the Universe is under huge, terrible threat ... Oh, so that means that wall must be to stop this world and your world from ever touching. But that means this world is dangerous. How can it be dangerous and what has the power to crate a copy-world like this? Unless, oh, no actual way! I've told you about the Solitract, right?' 'I've literally never heard the word before.' 'Solitract? It's a theory, a myth a bedtime story my Gran used to tell me.' 'You had a Grandmother?' 'I had seven, but Granny Five, my favourite used to tell me about the Solitract. In the beginning, pre-time, pre-everything, all the laws and elements and nuts and bolts of the Universe were there. Light, matter, maths and so on, but they couldn't fit together properly because the Solitract was there.' 'So, what is the Solitract?' 'A consciousness, an energy. Our reality cannot work with Solitract energy present. The most basic ideas of the Universe just get ruined. Think of it like a kid with chickenpox - nuclear chickenpox - who wants to join in but always ends up infecting everyone else. Our Universe cannot work with the Solitract in it.' Your gran told you this as a bedtime story?' 'Only when I had trouble sleeping!' ... 'I'm genuinely terrified.' 'This is a separate exiled Universe that is also a consciousness?' 'That's what Granny Five said. A conscious Universe. She also said that Granny Two was a secret agent for The Zygons but she seems bang on with this one!'
'She's not your wife, she's furniture with a pulse!'
'This mirror in your dad's bedroom seems to be a portal.' 'When you say a portal ... ?' 'A doorway to another world. Or dimension. Or who knows what? But, let me tell you, it really messes you up.' 'What are you talking about?' 'I know, big thing to find out. I should have broken it to you a bit more gently. But, like I say, head-wonk!' ... 'Hey Doc, do you think it's safe?' 'I doubt it, it's a juddering dimensional portal in a mirror in a Norwegian bedroom!'
'Graham, we're off. Now.' 'Fine. Come on Grace.' 'Yeah, sorry to be blunt. Hi, Grace. That's not Grace! No offence, Grace!' 'None taken, love.' 'She can't come, Graham, she's not real ... This whole thing is a con, I don't think even Grace knows it. I think this world is a trap and she's part of it. Listen to me, it's her or the real world. You can't have both.'
'Why is there a frog in here? ... There's me thinking the day had no more surprises left.' 'Now please, tell me of your Universe.' 'You think words can do it justice? It's really big and incredibly beautiful. And, apparently, I've just said goodbye to it. But, the thing I'm going to miss the most it the people. My friends.' 'I will be that. We will be that. Friends.' 'Right. Me and a conscious universe masquerading as a frog! BFFs!'
'Let him go, because you do not want those words to be your last ones.' Well, dear blog reader, this blogger thought that wasn't merely great, it was splendid. Not only a proper outstanding episode of Doctor Who, but also That There Bradley Walsh's finest performance on television since he commentated on the 2002 FA Cup Final! Great performances from guests Kevin Eldon and Eleanor Wallwork; a terrific, taut, emotional and beautifully-structured script by Ed Hime full of brilliant dialogue ('there's three of us and only one of him. Not counting the rats!'), directed with considerable flair and élan by Jamie Childs. Surreal, dazzling, utterly out-there. An episode featuring a universe disguised as a talking frog on a chair! Mad! As! Toast! Something of a triumph for all concerned, in fact. This blogger thought it was great, dear blog reader. 'Yes, it is a very nice fjord!'
It Takes You Away was watched by 5.07 million overnight viewers, a twenty five per cent share of the total TV audience, according to initial figures on night when, for some reason, overnight viewing figures across the board were sharply down on previous weeks. Doctor Who the fifth highest-rated programme for Sunday. The largest audience for the day went to ITV's sick Victorian freak show, 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) which had ten million sad, crushed victims of society watching it. The X Factor final had 5.53 million viewers. Strictly Come Dancing's results show drew 9.10 million overnight viewers, while the night's episode of Dynasties drew 5.94 million. The finale of the BBC 9pm drama The Little Drummer Girl had 2.57 million. As, indeed, did Florence Pugh's knickers. The week was, again, tragically dominated on overnights by 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), which took seven out of the top ten places for the week. Strictly Come Dancing claimed the week's top position for Saturday's episode which was watched by an overnight audience of ten million punters. The final, consolidated Seven Day-Plus figures will be released next Monday.
The Witchfinders's Seven Day-Plus ratings have been announced by BARB. The episode had a consolidated audience of 7.21 million punters - an increase over the initially reported overnight figure of around 1.6 million timeshift viewers. This total was made up of 7.03 million watching on TV and an additional one hundred and eighty thousand accessing the episode on iPlayer via PCs, tablets and smartphones. Doctor Who was the fifth most-watched programme on BBC1 during the week-ending Sunday 25 November. It was headed by the two episodes of Strictly Come Dancing (11.70 million and 9.43 million), Dynasties (8.24 million), and Michael McIntyre's Big Show (7.73 million). The Witchfinders was the sixteenth most-watched programme of the week in total, in a top twenty dominated by seven episodes of 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). Four of Coronation Street's six weekly episodes also achieved a rating higher than Doctor Who. The episode had a larger consolidated audience than the other two Corrie episodes and all the week's episodes of EastEnders, Emmerdale and The Apprentice.
The BBC iPlayer has enjoyed its biggest month ever, with Killing Eve and Doctor Who leading the way. Doctor Who's eleventh series premiere The Woman Who Fell To Earth - which, last month, was confirmed as the show's highest series launch ever - received a massive 2.96 million iPlayer requests in the month of October. It was the second-ranked episode for the month. Top of the list belonged to the series premiere of From The North favourite Killing Eve. The episode had a remarkable 3.55 million requests. In fact, six of the top ten entries were for Killing Eve, including the series finale. The opening episode of The Cry starring Jenna Coleman was third with 2.92 million requests. In total, BBC iPlayer had a record-high three hundred and thirty four million requests across the month of October, a year-on-year rise of eighteen per cent. The total exceeded the previous record, January 2018's three hundred and twenty eight million.
The first photo of Jodie Whittaker in the forthcoming New Year's Day Doctor Who special has been released this week.
Tasty. The synopsis for the - as yet untitled - episode confirms that it will be set during New Year's celebrations and will feature 'a terrifying evil.' So, no change there, then. You know what they say, dear blog reader, if it ain't broke, don't fix it: 'As the New Year begins, a terrifying evil is stirring, from across the centuries of Earth's history. As The Doctor, Ryan, Graham and Yaz return home, will they be able to overcome the threat to planet Earth?' The episode has been written by yer actual Chris Chibnall and directed by Wayne Yip, who previously directed two episodes of Peter Capaldi's last series, - The Lie Of The Land and The Empress Of Mars. He also directed two episodes of the 2016 Doctor Who spin-off, Class ... although, one imagines, he doesn't like to talk about that.
Jodie Whittaker her very self is to be the latest celebrity to read a CBeebies Bedtime Story. Jodie will read Ada Twist, Scientist - the third in a series of books by Andrea Beaty and David Roberts - later this month. 'I hope that everyone enjoys it as much as I did,' said Wor Geet Canny Jodie, calling the experience 'an honour.' Previous Time Lords to read a story on the show include David Tennant, in 2009 and Christopher Eccleston in 2010. Jodie will make her CBeebies debut on 7 December. Sir Elton John, Dolly Parton and Hollywood stars Orlando Bloom and Ewan McGregor have all read on the show, which is broadcast daily from Monday to Friday. Last month saw Catastrophe's Rob Delaney become the first personality to read a story signed in Makaton, a form of sign language which he used to communicate with his late son, Henry, who was unable to speak due to a tracheotomy.
For those wanting to continue their Jodie fix before the Doctor Who finale next Sunday, Friday evening also sees the actress appearing in the new series of Channel Four's wretched Jamie & Jimmy's Friday Night Feast, broadcast at 8:00pm, where she will be preparing dishes including roast pork, complete with a double helping of crispy crackling and an authentic Thai beef massaman curry (something she has reportedly been dreaming about since she was eighteen).

Mark Gatiss his very self and The Lord Thy God Steven Moffat (OBE) have unveiled the star of their newest revamped classic, casting Danish actor Claes Bang as Dracula in their upcoming eponymous BBC mini-series, a co-production between the BBC and Netflix. According to the writers, finding Bang's audition was 'one of those moments. Who else could it be than Claes! He has it all. Brilliant, gorgeous, charismatic, lethal. Tall, dark and gruesome all at once. Hell has a new boss.' Probably best known in Britain for his appearance in the acclaimed 2017 movie The Square, Bang has a CV which also includes appearances in popular Scandi Noir favourites The Bridge and Borgen. Following the Sherlock formula of three feature-length episodes, the new take on Bram Stoker's vampire anti-hero promises to 're-introduce the world to Dracula, the vampire who made evil sexy.' The synopsis continues, 'in Transylvania in 1897, the blood-drinking Count is drawing his plans against Victorian London. And be warned: the dead travel fast.' Bang said of his casting, 'I am thrilled to be taking on the role of Dracula, especially when the script is in the hands of the incredible talents of Steven Moffat, Mark Gatiss and the team responsible for Sherlock. I'm so excited that I get to dig in to this iconic and super-interesting character. Yes, he's evil, but there's also so much more to him, he's charismatic, intelligent, witty and sexy. I realise that there's a lot to live up to with all the amazing people that have played him over the years, but I feel so privileged, to be taking on this incredible character.' Dracula will go into production in 2019.
From The North's TV Comedy Moment(s) Of The Week mostly came with the long-overdue return of 'Vic Reeve and Bill Mortimer' to BBC4 for the first episode of Vic & Bob's Big Night Out. All of it, basically but, especially: 'Is that the face of Christ?' 'It's The Turin Shroud. I got it off an out-of-work coroner, it might be [the face of] Roy Wood!'
And: 'Can you do this?' 'No, but I want to!'
Things We Learned From This Week's Only Connect. 'The beach at Weston-Super-Mere has offered donkey rides since 1886,' claimed From The North favourite Victoria Coren Mitchell. 'Donkeys are much more intelligent than most people realise. And, some say it's cruel to take these clever-but-anxious creatures, skittish, ill-tempered, anti-social and somewhat peculiar and force them to parade about in the name of entertainment. Let's meet the teams!'
The BBC has released its full Christmas and new Year TV schedule - including a six-part adaptation of Les Miserables and the return of Idris Elba in Luther. Agatha Christie's The ABC Murders, a new animated interpretation of Richard Adams' Watership Down and Andrea Levy's The Long Song are among the other highlights. And, old favourites such as Mrs Brown's Boys, Call The Midwife and Strictly Come Dancing return to our screens on Christmas Day. Mary Berry and Nadiya Hussain will both present their own cookery shows. Charlotte Moore, the director of BBC content, said: 'We've got a wonderful array of stars to keep everyone entertained, with the very best in drama, entertainment, comedy and documentaries over the festive period. There is something for everyone and I know our audiences will enjoy the fantastic range of magical treats on offer across the BBC.' As has become tradition, another shite David Walliams' book has been adapted for the festive period - this time round, it's The Midnight Gang. So, that should be worth avoiding. And, speaking on things to avoid, Take That mark their thirtieth anniversary with a 'special' (and, one uses that word quite wrongly) one-off programme for BBC1. Younger viewers may be keen to catch the animated version of Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler's Zog. The cast of Goodness Gracious Me will celebrate the popular sketch show's twentieth anniversary alongside z-list celebrity fans. Documentaries focus on the likes of comedian Billy Connolly and The Snowman author and illustrator Raymond Briggs. The festive edition of Doctor Who will, as previously announced, be shown on New Year's Day instead of Christmas Day for the first time since the drama's return in 2005. Watership Down, the classic novel about a warren of intrepid rabbits, features an original song from Sam Smith and will be split over two feature-length episodes. It boasts a stellar cast including James McAvoy, Nicholas Hoult, John Boyega, Gemma Arterton, Peter Capaldi and Olivia Colman. Separately, award-winning screenwriter Andrew Davies - the subject of a documentary also shown over the Christmas period - has adapted Victor Hugo's novel Les Miserables for the small screen. Dominic West takes on the role of Jean Valjean in the French classic, with David Oyelowo as Javert and Lily Collins as Fantine.It will, thankfully, feature absolutely no singing whatsoever. John Malkovich will return to BBC1 playing Hercules Poirot in The ABC Murders, with Rupert Grint appearing alongside him as Inspector Crome. The late Ken Dodd will be remembered in How Tickled We Were on BBC2, with the channel also seeing Chris Packham and Michaela Strachan exploring some of nature's celestial wonders and winter wildlife. Strictly returnees include Anita Rani, Caroline Flack, Aston Merrygold, Jake Wood, Michael Vaughan and that awful Widdecombe woman. So, again, tat might well be one to avoid if you've had a heavy Christmas Day lunch. Arts offerings include Swan Lake from the Royal Opera House on BBC4. And there will be four Top Of The Pops specials on BBC1 over the holiday period. Aled Jones will celebrate Christmas in Edinburgh with a thousand Songs Of Praise viewers, while the Queen's Christmas Message and Carols From King's return once again.
Not Going Out is going live for this year's Christmas episode. The sitcom, which returned for a ninth series in March this year, will broadcast as a live episode on Friday 21 December. The Christmas episode will see Lee (Lee Mack) and Lucy (Sally Bretton) discussing plans for the Ding Dong Merrily On Live Christmas Spectacular, a Christmas variety show that the couple have, reluctantly, agreed to organise in order to raise money for their children's school. However, the job soon gets very stressful as Lee and Sally realise the only confirmed performer is an animal impersonator, and set about trying to rope themselves and their friends into signing up for the show. Speaking about the forthcoming special, creator and star Lee Mack said: 'Live episode of a BBC1 sitcom, what could possibly go wrong? Loads. Which, let's be honest, is why you sadists will be watching. So don't miss out on seeing me end my career.' It won't be the first time the BBC has broadcast a live sitcom, as Mrs Brown's Boys also went live back in 2016.
Bodyguard series two seemed pretty much guaranteed given the immense success of the first series. However, Richard Madden has suggested that a second series 'isn't a given' and that he is planning to discuss the idea with creator Jed Mercurio. 'It was just a plain six-part series - that's what we set out to make, planned to make and that's what we made,' he told IndieWire. 'So, it's quite overwhelming to have this much response to it, this much of a desire for people to want a season two.' Madden revealed that himself and Mercurio are due to 'have a chat and decide, you know, what to do.' He continued: 'Whether that's something we want to do or whether it's better to leave it at that as a one-off piece. I don't think that's been decided yet. We want to be able to tell the best story.'
Danny Dyer is set to host Have I Got News For You. The EastEnders will act as guest host on the topical panel series on Friday 7 December. Regular panellists Ian Hislop and Paul Merton will feature alongside panellists as Sara Pascoe and Judy Murray. Panel show host isn't the only new role that the actor will undertake this Christmas, as he is also currently starring in the UK tour of Nativity! The Musical. He will also reportedly play 'a big part' in this year's Christmas storyline in EastEnders. His character, Mick Carter, is currently in prison, after being wrongly accused of shooting Stuart Highway. Nonetheless, he looks set to be released and things are said to 'reach a fatal conclusion' this festive season with things gettin' a bit tasty in The Square and kids gettin' sparked and aal sorts in The Queen Vic. So, just a standard Christmas Walford, in other words.
The writer of the new BBC drama set in 1880s Ulster says that it warns 'we can't afford to go back' to how things were before the Northern Irish peace process. Death & Nightingales writer Allan Cubitt says there is 'a deeply felt divide' that risked becoming 'active' in the wake of the Brexit border row. 'Representing how divided things were back then is a reminder we can't let that divide reassert itself,' he says. Jamie Dornan and Matthew Rhys co-star in the BBC2 drama which started this week. Set in County Fermanagh before the partition of Ireland, it tells of a young woman, played by newcomer Ann Skelly, who is torn between her Protestant stepfather and her Catholic lover. The region's religious and territorial tensions serve as a backdrop to the three-part drama, which Cubitt adapted from Eugene McCabe's acclaimed 1992 novel. According to the writer, the action in McCabe's novel is set at 'the start of modern terrorism, during the time of the Fenian dynamite campaign.' The campaign involved a series of bombings by Irish republicans which saw blasts at barracks, police stations and other targets in England and Scotland. Sectarian violence continued after Ireland was divided in 1921, reaching its apogee during the period known as The Troubles. Dornan, who was born in County Down in 1982 and grew up in the suburbs of Belfast, says that he remembered that time 'all too well. You can't live and grow up in Northern Ireland in that time and not be affected by The Troubles,' he told reporters after a preview screening of Death & Nightingales. 'I have a very good understanding of it,' he says of the divisions represented in the drama. 'I could relate to it in my own way because I definitely experienced it.' Dornan, who previously worked with Cubitt on the BBC drama The Fall, says he has 'never felt I have any loyalty to either side" of the sectarian struggle. I was very lucky,' he says. 'I went to a school where there was a healthy mix of Catholic and Protestant, I could relate to both sides.' Filming in Northern Ireland this summer enabled the star of the Fifty Shades Of Grey movies a 'welcome chance' to return to the place of his birth. 'I've been pretty crap about going home, so to have an excuse to be home for the summer was amazing. It was a joy.' 'We had unbelievable heatwave weather,' says Cubitt, who also directed the drama. 'I kept wondering what it would be like when it was wet and grey.'
The second series of Killing Eve is, as previously noted, currently in production. Several cast announcements have already been made. Henry Lloyd-Hughes is the latest actor to be signed to the hit drama along with Shannon Tarbet. Back in August it was revealed that Nina Sosanya and Edward Bluemel would be joining Jodie Comer and Sandra Oh, as well as Julian Barratt being confirmed as a guest star.
Idris Elba has confirmed that Ruth Wilson will return to Luther. Which everybody kind-of knew anyway since Ruth was spotted filming on location with Idris during the summer! He has also stated that series five is 'not the end' of Luther - which is, this blogger thinks, the first time since series two that the future of the series - at least, as an on-going TV production - has been confirmed this early by someone who, one presumes, knows what they're talking about. Speaking to Empire about Wilson's character, completely mad murderess Alice Morgan, Idris said that 'the dynamic between them has grown to be one of the best character chess games we've seen on television.' He continued: 'Luther is in awe of her. She is exquisite as a criminal: intelligent beyond belief.' Idris also confirmed of the upcoming fifth series: 'This season is not the end. But there are some real changes that will happen.' Speaking about series five a few months ago, Elba said: 'All I can say is we know how long the fanbase wait for the show, and we're never taking that lightly. So as much as we have to keep one eye on how do we not do what we've done before, at the same time saying to the audience, "This is Luther," so you recognise the traits. That's the tough part. Because after five seasons, you kind of go, "Oh where do we go now?" And for me I'm very excited about the season, it feels very similar to what we've seen but it takes a few turns. Luther is still the character we love to hate.'
The BBC's upcoming epic World War II drama World On Fire has just added yer actual Sean Bean to its already-impressive cast. Bean will join the previously-announced Helen Hunt, Lesley Manville, Jonah Hauer-King and Julia Brown in the series written by multi-award winner Peter Bowker. Bean said: 'I am thrilled to be part of this ambitious drama. Peter Bowker's study of the human stories that thread through this huge global conflict is fascinating and something I look forward to being part of.' Also joining the cast are Blake Harrison, Yrsa Daley-Ward, Ansu Kabia and Ewan Mitchell.
From The North favourite Peaky Blinders is now several weeks into its series five shoot and the new episodes will see several new faces. Brian Gleeson and Anya Taylor-Joy have, as previously announced both joined the BBC period drama, along with Sam Claflin, whose character - looking remarkably like Oswald Mosley - we get our first look at this week. Tommy Shelby is now an MP, but his political career will be far from smooth sailing as the financial crash of 1929 hits. 'Opportunity and misfortune are everywhere. When Tommy Shelby MP is approached by Claflin's 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,' Deadline reports. Cillian Murphy, Helen McCrory and Paul Anderson will all return for the fifth series, which will see the popular drama finally make the jump from BBC2 to BBC1.
Meanwhile a - very good, let it be noted - article on the Stoke On Trent Live website covering recent location filming in the area which includes lots of cool on-set photos, makes a huge play of exclusively 'revealing' when series five will be broadcast. Then, right at the end of the article it quotes showrunner Steven Knight as saying: 'It's due to be aired in late spring.' Well, we knew that already, guys. If you're going to claim genuinely exciting broadcast information, it might be an idea to make sure it a bit less vague that 'sometime between March and June next year'!
Production has resumed on the second series of White Gold, following the dismissal of sexual assault allegations made against its star, Ed Westwick. The BBC2 drama - which is set in the 1980s and also stars James Buckley and Joe Thomas as double glazing salesmen - has started filming once again after production was initially halted in November last year as Westwick dealt with - ultimately unproven - accusations of sexual misconduct, which he had always strongly denied. The actor was accused of sexual assault by three women but each case was dismissed by the Los Angeles County District Attorney in July and no charges were brought against him. In August, Westwick confirmed to TMZ that he would be returning to acting following the dismissal of the charges. He said: 'I'm delighted that everybody got it right. I'll be back to work very soon.' While Westwick will be back to film the second run of White Gold, he was previously edited out of the BBC's Agatha Christie adaptation Ordeal By Innocence while he dealt with the accusations. The broadcast date was pushed back from Christmas 2017 to Easter, with the cast reshooting scenes with Christian Cooke, who replaced Westwick in the role of Mickey Argyll.
It has been announced that The Grand Tour's third series will premiere on Friday 18 January 2019. Available exclusively on Amazon Prime Video, series three of The Grand Tour will see Jezza Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May traverse the globe to compete in epic challenges. Locations visited across the new series include Sweden, Detroit, Nevada, Colombia, Mongolia, China, Scotland and Stansted Airport. Previously, James May appeared on The ONE Show and was asked by host Matt Baker about the upcoming series' budget. 'As little as possible,' he claimed. 'No, it's about the same, I would think. It is quite an expensive show to make. There's a lot of travel involved. There's a lot of crew involved. There's a lot of tech involved, filming in 4K. But that's boring stuff. It's going to look largely the same, but we've moved it on a bit in a way that I can't really tell you about yet because you're the enemy and it's secret!'
A portrait made famous in the BBC sitcom 'Allo 'Allo has been sold for fifteen grand. The Fallen Madonna With The Big Boobies, by fictional artist Van Clomp, was a long-running joke in the comedy, which was produced between 1982 and 1992. The infamous prop was previously sold in 2007 for four thousand knicker to a private buyer. Auctioneer Andy Stowe, said that the latest buyer was from Nouvion in France where the series was set so the painting was 'going home.' The priceless, but elusive, masterpiece was the centrepiece to just about every episode of the sitcom. Stolen and relentlessly pursued by the Germans, the artwork was rolled into German sausages, shoved down trouser legs, hidden in 'the Gâteau from the Château' and singed by an exploding gilded frame intended as a gift for Adolf Hitler (who only had one). Described as 'a rare and important piece of British sitcom history' the prop was one of the few copies of the picture to have survived all nine series of the show. Stowe, from East Bristol Auction House in Hanham, said: 'I've been overwhelmed by the amount of interest. And fifteen thousand pounds for a TV prop is just fantastic. It's sold for more than most real artworks go for; there are Old Masters that can't get that amount.' Set in a café in German-occupied France during World War II and, at least in part inspired by the BBC's highly-regarded resistance drama Secret Army, 'Allo 'Allo - written by David Croft and Jeremy Lloyd - poked fun at the Wehrmacht, the Gestapo, the French Resistance and the British. It managed to overcome some initial negativity that it was 'making fun of the war' and ended up hugely popular with viewers and, eventually, even some critics. Stowe said: "We had twenty five bidders from all over the world but it was a chap from Nouvion in France, the place where the show was set, that got it. It's the best result.'
Sir David Attenborough is appealing for help to find missing episodes of The Royal Institution Christmas Lectures, the first science show broadcast on national television. People are being urged to help unearth past series of the lectures, described by Attenborough and other previous lecturers as 'national treasures from a golden age of broadcasting.' The incomplete BBC archive of the broadcasts is being made available on the Royal Institution website for the first time, but thirty one episodes broadcast between 1966 and 1973 are unaccounted for. Included in the misplaced episodes is footage of Attenborough not seen since it was first broadcast fifty years ago. The Christmas Lectures have been delivered every year by the Royal Institution since 1825, making them the longest-running series of scientific lectures in the world. On 22 December 1936, it became the first science programme broadcast on television. This year's lecture will be given by From The North favourite Professor Alice Roberts, the biological anthropologist and broadcaster, exploring genetics and identity. She will speak about humans' evolutionary past and the ethical challenges that need to be overcome to ensure science is used for the benefit of society. Though the missing lecture episodes are officially believed to have been lost, the BBC and RI believe some individuals may own copies made during the early days of video recorders. Sarah Hayes, the head of BBC Archives, said: 'I don't think the importance of finding these broadcasts, to make them available again for new generations, can be overstated. They are to science what the missing Doctor Who episodes found a few years ago are to science fiction.' Among the other missing lectures are those delivered by Eric Laithwaite, John Napier and the Nobel prize-winning chemist George Porter.
Two long-lost episodes of The Morecambe & Wise Show have been recovered from an abandoned cinema in Sierra Leone. The programmes were thought to be lost after the tapes on which they were recorded were wiped by the BBC under their then archiving policy which saw thousands of shows erased or junked to make space for new recordings. A policy which has previously discussed at length on this blog. For many years, all eight episodes of Eric and Ernie's first, 1968, BBC2 series were missing, presumed wiped, but an edited version of episode six was recovered in 2007. This was a sixteen millimetre black and white telerecording which was subsequently restored to the BBC archive and later released on DVD together with the following year's complete second series. Audio recordings of the entire first series still survive as they were recorded off-air by a fan. In 2012, a sixteen millimetre telerecording of episode two of the series was discovered in Nigeria; this was in an exceptionally decayed condition but has been subjected to an experimental restoration process at the BBC archive which is still on-going. The two recently recovered shows were episodes five and seven of the series, first broadcast on 30 September 1968 and 14 October 1968 respectively. Philip Morris, the archive preservation expert who specialises in recovering missing film, had travelled to Sierra Leone to examine its archives in 2011, only to find the national television station had been destroyed during the country's civil war. 'There was absolutely nothing there,' he told The Times. However, a local contact suggested he return to the capital, Freetown, as he believed some recordings had ended up in the city's abandoned cinemas. One of the buildings contained 'stacks and stacks' of film cans. Although most of these were in poor condition, Morris was able to recover the two Morecambe & Wise Show episodes. Both were 'in perfect condition,' he said. The two thirty-minute episodes include the sketches Old Donegal, Instant Camera, Sailing Around the World, Eric & The Pools and Hollywood Musical. One episode features a guest appearance by Michael Aspel, then a young BBC presenter. Eric and Ernie had returned to the BBC in 1968 after seven years making Two Of A Kind for ATV. Both episodes are set to be shown on BBC2 over Christmas, for the first time since they were first broadcast in 1968. 'This is historically important for British television,' Morris said. 'These things are national heritage, it belongs to us all.'
David Dimbleby could make an unexpected comeback as BBC election night host as the corporation begins to 'secretly' prepare for an emergency erection in case Theresa May’s government collapses. So 'secretly', it would seem, that some louse of no consequence at the Gruniad Morning Star knows all about it. News At Ten host Huw Edwards has been due to take over duties as the main presenter of the BBC's coverage following the 2015 general erection. But Dimbles, who has hosted every general erection night for the BBC since 1979, instead returned for both the 2016 EU referendum and the 2017 snap general erection. These were thought to be his final appearances hosting such malarkey but alleged - though, anonymous and, therefore, probably fictitious - BBC 'sources' allegedly say the current arrangement, which is subject to change and final approval from BBC executives, would mean any erection held in 2019 would, once again, be presented by Dimbles. Edwards is still expected to host the following day's posy-erection coverage, which usually attracts higher viewing figures than the overnight coverage but does not come with the prestige of being able to announce the exit poll result and,nine times out of ten, call the result of the erection. As things stand Edwards would then take over the main slot from Dimbleby for any erection night from 2020 onwards. A BBC spokesperson declined to comment on crass and ignorant Gruniad Morning Star 'speculation' about presenters based on unattributed alleged comments by anonymous alleged 'sources', including the extent of of internal preparations for another snap erection. 'Dimbleby's agent did not return multiple requests for comment,' the worthless Gruniad scum sneered. Executives are said to be 'keen' to stop preparations for an erection from leaking to the media, to avoid the impression that the BBC is seen to be pre-empting ongoing political events. However, they are claimed to be 'considering all options' to ensure they are ready to activate their plans and deploy staff at short notice in the event of a sudden erection call. As a result, the corporation has inquired as to the availability of Elstree Studios in Hertfordshire, where the BBC often hosts its coverage of major political events. If the studio is not available then they could be forced to host the live programme from the corporation's New Broadcasting House headquarters, although this could require the BBC to use a scaled-down set. Issues of studio availability are complicated by the lack of a clarity on when a general erection – or second EU referendum, which would require a similar level of preparation – may, or may not, be held. Other 'concerns' allegedly include potentially commissioning new graphics and ensuring exit poll teams are prepared and whether the BBC would be required to host debates between party leaders – with the corporation already potentially involved in hosting a Brexit debate next month featuring Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn. Dimbles is due to step down as host of Question Time next month with Fiona Bruce - and her award-winning bottom - offered the chance to replace him. The Dimbleby family have been intrinsically associated with televised coverage of British general erections since 1955, when David's father, Richard, began hosting the BBC's programming. David first appeared on a BBC erection night broadcast as a junior reporter in 1964 alongside his father. Richard died the following year, creating a fifteen-year interregnum during which the public had to cope without a Dimbleby hosting the broadcast before David was promoted to the top job in the late 1970s. David's brother, Jonathan, the current host of Radio 4's Any Questions, anchored ITV's erection night coverage between 1997 and 2005, 'meaning that for a decade terrestrial viewers had no choice but to learn the erection results from a member of the Dimbleby family,' according to this sneering louse at the Gruniad. Whom, one is sure, his parents are very proud.
Meanwhile, soon-to-be-former Prime Minister Theresa May has accepted the BBC's offer to take part in a debate on Brexit on Sunday 9 December, two days before MPs vote on her deal. But alleged Labour 'sources' allegedly say that the party has not yet agreed to take part, with Jeremy Corbyn telling This Morning that he preferred ITV's offer. The BBC said it was 'delighted' May had accepted their offer. It added that it would 'discuss debate formats with both parties' and would announce further details soon. Corbyn claimed that he preferred ITV's bid out of 'respect' for sad, crushed victims of society who wanted to watch the 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) final on ITV the same evening. 'I want to watch it myself,' Comrade Corbyn said. When approached by the BBC, ITV confirmed that the final of the sick Victorian freak show would be broadcast at 9pm. It is understood that the BBC debate programme would start at 8pm in Birmingham, after the Doctor Who series finale and Strictly Come Dancing and replacing the final episode of David Attenborough's Dynasties on BBC1. The BBC's assistant political editor Norman Smith said May had accepted this offer 'because there was a view on the government's side that the BBC would address the crux of the issue, namely the deal.' And, that they wouldn't be playing second fiddle to Noel Edmonds and John Barrowman by appearing on the Beeb. May previously rejected calls for smaller political parties to take part in the debate, saying that she and Comrade Corbyn represented 'almost ninety per cent of MPs' in the Commons between them. Which is true. And also, any debate which specifically excludes Wee Jimmy Crankie has to be considered, you know, funny. Green MP Caroline Lucas - her party's sole representative in parliament - whinged that the debate should include dialogue 'about all possible routes forward' - including another referendum. Lib Dem leader Sir Vince Cable - who has also campaigned for another referendum - said that he was 'raring and willing to go' in the TV debate, adding that it would be 'a travesty' if only May and Comrade Corbyn were involved. Plaid Cymru leader Adam Price said ... something in Welsh. Probably. Ahead of the 2017 general erection, May refused to take part in televised debates, with then home secretary Amber Rudd standing in for her on the BBC's debate programme. If the BBC debate does go ahead as proposed it is unclear what will happen to Attenborough's episode and when it will be screened. Theresa May would be selling her Brexit deal to the nation in place of an episode of Dynasties in which 'a tigress must protect her cubs while battling rivals who want to steal her lands and overthrow her.' Oh, the irony. BBC1 could also have to change its plans to show a one-off ninety-minute Jimmy McGovern drama, Care, at 9pm, which stars Sheridan Smith as a mother struggling to juggle childcare with looking after her ill mother. Sio, that sounds like a load of fun …
Sky has warned that plans by the BBC, ITV and Channel Four to 'build a British Netflix' could fall foul of the competition regulator. Although the next line in their warning was 'we hope.' Stephen Van Rooyen, the chief executive of UK and Ireland operations at the pay-TV company, said that public service broadcasters still accounted for 'the lion's share of TV viewing' and that any new venture would 'likely' be investigated by the Competition and Markets Authority. 'You [would] have the full might of the public service broadcasters collaborating together. That must – they still command seventy three to seventy four per cent of viewing share - open up a competition question. It would be subject I would have thought, as it was ten years ago, to a competition review.' Carolyn McCall, the chief executive of ITV, has said that the protracted talks between the public service broadcasters represent 'the last chance' to create 'a credible domestic streaming rival' to Netflix. More than ten years ago the BBC, Channel Four and ITV got together to build video-on-demand service, named Kangaroo, but that was ultimately blocked by the competition regulator. Despite the Sky warning, the idea of a British Netflix has received regulatory backing. On Wednesday, Sharon White, head of the media regulator Ofcom, again urged the UK's PSBs to 'get together' and build a British Netflix. 'If the growth of Netflix and Amazon tells us one thing it is that viewers will flock to single destinations that offer a wide variety of quality content,' she said. 'A common platform could combine the pulling power of Broadchurch, Blue Planet and Bake Off.'
Now that the production is no longer under the threat of being sued by Satan, The Chilling Adventures Of Sabrina has reveal some details about its Christmas special. The occult teen drama will be back for a one-off episode next month that flashes back to Sabrina's childhood. In it, the younger version of the teenage witch will be played by Designated Survivor's McKenna Grace. Netflix's synopsis for A Midwinter's Tale says: 'During our holiday special, we'll get to see what Sabrina was like as a precocious tot. And while The Church of Night celebrates the Solstice, that doesn't stop Li'l Sabrina from asking Santa for something special.' There are also some details on the 'very different' second series. That is when viewers will meet a new character played by Alexis Denisof, best known for playing Wesley in Buffy The Vampire Slayer and its spin-off, Angel. His character, Adam Masters, has just returned to Greendale after working selflessly overseas with Physicians Without Borders to find that his girlfriend Mary Wardwell (good old mad-as-toast Michelle Gomez) has been possessed by the evil Madam Satan. Also introduced in the second series will be a mythic character from literature, a version of Oscar Wilde's youth-obsessed Dorian Gray. Jedidiah Goodacre has landed the role as a remixed incarnation who Netflix says is 'keeping secrets, especially his own", including hoarding a cursed portrait.'
Margaret Atwood is writing a sequel to her novel The Handmaid's Tale, inspired by the state of the modern world. The landmark 1985 book, about life under a totalitarian regime in the US, became a hit TV drama in 2017. In a message, Atwood wrote: 'Dear Readers, everything you've ever asked me about Gilead and its inner workings is the inspiration for this book. Well, almost everything! The other inspiration is the world we've been living in.' The sequel, to be titled The Testaments, will be published on 10 September 2019. The Canadian author said that it would be set fifteen years after the end of the original novel, which has become a feminist classic and would be narrated by three female characters. She did not specifically mention President Trump, but the press release noted that The Handmaid's Tale had become 'a symbol of the movement against him, standing for female empowerment and resistance in the face of misogyny and the rolling back of women's rights around the world.' The original novel told of Offred, one of many women who have been stripped of their previous identities and rights and forced into sexual servitude by the commanders of the Gilead regime. The main part of the novel ended with her being taken away in a van by people she is told are members of the underground resistance. Readers of the sequel will hope to find out whether she was smuggled to freedom, or taken for imprisonment and punishment. Becky Hardie, the deputy publishing director of UK publishers Chatto & Windus, said: 'As a society, we've never needed Margaret Atwood more. The moment the van door slams on Offred's future at the end of The Handmaid's Tale is one of the most brilliantly ambiguous endings in literature. I cannot wait to find out what's been going on in Atwood's Gilead - and what that might tell us about our own times.' Atwood has not revealed whether Offred - or any of the original book's characters - will be among the sequel's three narrators. Two series of the TV version of The Handmaid's Tale have been made, the second of which went beyond the climax of Atwood's original novel. Hulu, which makes the show, has previously said the drama could be on screens for up to ten series. However, the print sequel is not expected to follow the same plot as the later episodes of the TV drama. The new book will be the seventy nine-year-old's first novel since the Shakespeare-inspired Hag-Seed was published in 2016.
And now, dear blog reader, the return of an occasional, semi-regular From The North feature, Adverts On British Telly That Really Grate This Blogger's Cheese.
Number One: The latest in QuickQuid's - already really annoying - series of 'hey, get yourselves into massive debt with a credit company, that'll be good for a laugh, won't it?' ads featuring that bloody rude woman pushing her way past people just so she can catch a train whilst, simultaneously, finding out that her cooker is broken. Oh, the tragedy. Is it really too much to hope that one of the commuters going in the opposite direction gives her a helping hand down the strains?
Number Two: The latest in Top Cashback UK's - already really annoying - series of 'hey, join our website on the off-chance that you might get about five pee off something when you shop online' ads featuring that smug, irritating slapheed Rich Keeble. Take it from this 'nice (Telly) Topping', matey, you're impressing no one.
Number Three: The latest in EE's - already really annoying - 'hey, let's stick Kevin Bacon and a minor celebrity in an unusual situation to flog our crappy mobile phone deals' ads. The one featuring David Mitchell and that trio of irritating brats in a safari park. There is not enough money in the world that should've been able to persuade David Mitchell to take part in this. Is it too much to hope that when David and the divine Victoria are sitting in Chez Coren Mitchell watching a bit of telly and that disgraceful fiasco comes on, the divine Victoria gives David a not-at-all-playful, in fact, really sodding hard punch in the arm before picking up the remote control and switching to another side with a disgruntled 'humphf' of derision? You're an educated, talented - and, one suspects, loaded - chap, David Mitchell, you don't need to do this crap.
Number Four: The latest in Betfair Exchange's - already really annoying - 'hey, why not have a bet on a sporting event? Then another? Then another, until you're addicted and broke and lying in the gutter?' ads featuring some pretty-boy wanker who contrasts gut-instinct with 'smarts'. Seriously, dear blog reader, if you ever meet anyone in any situation who refers to 'intelligence' or 'reasoning' or 'logic' as 'smarts' (because it's got less syllables and will be understood by a Sun reader, presumably) get away from them as quickly as possible, their ignorance may be contagious. Remember, 'when the fun stops, stop.' And, the fun stopped a long, long time ago.
By contrast, here is a new From The North semi-regular feature, Adverts That Should Boil This Blogger's Piss But, Curiously, Don't. Number One: Emilia Clarke flogging Dolce & Gabbana perfume by singing 'Qunado, Quando'. Yes, dear blog reader, Keith Telly Topping knows that he should hate this contrivance on the grounds of ... something or other. But, let's be fair, at least the lass an carry a tune!
A Buffy The Vampire Slayer revival may be somewhere in the far distant horizon but a reunion has already happened between Sarah Michelle Gellar and Seth Green. On Instagram on Thursday, Gellar posted a picture of her and Green with their respective partners, alongside the caption: 'Weeknight adulting, couples edition.' Earlier this year, it was revealed that a new version of the show featuring a black actress as the slayer is in the works. Original Buffy creator Joss Whedon will be involved with the project, in so much as his name will appear as executive producer on the credits although whether he will be involved in the actual day-to-day production is very unlikely. Monica Owusu-Breen (Alias, Lost, Fringe and Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.) has been announced as showrunner.
The defence secretary has called on the public to 'report suspicious activity near military sites' after a Russian TV crew 'prompted an alert' at an Army base. Gavin Williamson issued the warning after Timur Siraziev, of Channel One, was seen outside Seventy Seven Brigade's Berkshire base, the Scum Mail on Sunday reported. The unit works in social media and psychological operations. An alleged Army 'source' allegedly said: 'Timur Siraziev's suspicious behaviour was monitored by the base's security systems.' According to the Scum Mail on Sunday, Siraziev was seen with a cameraman repeatedly passing the barracks in Hermitage on the afternoon of 21 November. Williamson said: 'We take the security of our bases and personnel incredibly seriously. If a member of the public sees anyone acting suspiciously in or around a military base it should be reported to the police as a matter of urgency.' Particularly if they have a Russian accent, answer to the name Boris or, if asked if they are involved in 'espionage' reply 'Da!' With UK-Russian relations already frosty-verging-on-frozen in the wake of the Salisbury Novichok poisoning, GCHQ chief Jeremy Fleming warned earlier this year that Moscow posed 'a real and active threat' to the international community. Last month, the head of the Army, General Mark Carleton-Smith, described Russia as 'a far greater threat' to UK security than the Islamic State group. Siraziev is listed on the Russian Embassy's website as Channel One's bureau chief. When set up in 2015, seventy Seven Brigade was touted as a unit that would 'help the UK to fight wars in the information age' by 'helping to win hearts and minds.' And, computers. Probably. Siraziev subsequently claimed that he 'did not try to penetrate the base.' One or two people even believed him.
Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey will help launch the world's first super-high definition 8K television channel on Saturday. Japanese broadcaster NHK said that it had asked Warner Brothers to scan the original film negatives in 8K for its new channel. Super-high definition 8K pictures offer sixteen times the resolution of HD TV. However, few people currently have the necessary television or equipment to receive the broadcasts. Or, indeed, the eyesight to properly appreciate it. NHK says it has been developing 8K, which it calls 'super-hi vision,' since 1995. As well as improved picture resolution, broadcasts can include twenty four channels of audio for immersive surround sound experiences. It is hoping to broadcast the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games and Paralympic Games using the new format. Television manufacturers including Samsung and LG have announced 8K-capable television sets, but they are still prohibitively expensive for widespread adoption. NHK's new channel BS8K will broadcast programmes for about twelve hours a day. The channel will also broadcast live from Italy to showcase 'popular tourist attractions from Rome, as well as food, culture and history.' NHK said it had chosen to broadcast 2001: A Space Odyssey on its launch night so that viewers could enjoy 'a masterpiece of film history.' Warner Brothers was able to scan the original film negatives, repair scratches and provide an 8K version of the film that captures the 'power and beauty' of the original. 'The many famous scenes become even more vivid, with the attention to detail of director Stanley Kubrick expressed in the exquisite images, creating the feeling of really being on a trip in space, allowing the film to be enjoyed for the first time at home,' NHK said in a statement. In March, the channel will broadcast My Fair Lady starring Audrey Hepburn which, 2001, was also shot on seventy millimetre film. Japanese electronics-maker Sharp began selling its first 8K television in 2015. Viewers will also need an 8K-capable satellite receiver.
Production has, allegedly, begun on a new version of Last of The Summer Wine. So that should be worth avoiding, then.
A 'suspected sex shop thief' had a humiliating and - very public arrest - after a live TV show caught up with her while she was half-naked and watching pornography. Mind you, this is according to the Daily Scum Mail, so it might be a load of old crap. Camera crews from A&E's Live PD were 'doing a ride-along' with deputies from the the Franklin County Sheriff's Office in Ohio, when they served an arrest warrant on twenty three-year-old Storm Wisener. When deputies arrived at Wisener's Columbus home, 'some unusual noises were blasting from the bedroom's television.' After searching the home, officers found Wisener, hiding behind some boxes under a staircase, according to NBC4. They ordered her to put her shoes and a shirt on, as the 'distracting movie' played on in the background. Moans could be heard emanating from the television, with a woman's voice giving out a loud 'Ahhh fuck.' The deputy who was speaking to Wisener gave a - very visible - look at the camera. His detainee also looked a bit embarrassed, as another deputy asked for someone to turn the TV off. Weisener was extremely arrested for for misdemeanour theft charges after she allegedly stole three hundred and eighty three dollars in cash from a box in the manager's office of Cirilla's Adult Store in April. In the warrant she was indicted on felony charges of breaking and entering and possessing criminal tools and another misdemeanour theft charge in relation to the sex shop incident.
A man has admitted sending a series of letters to a BBC presenter in which he threatened to rape her. Gordon Hawthorn, from Street in Somerset, sent threats to attack Points West journalist Alex Lovell over a two-year period. Lovell said that Hawthorn 'stole' her 'freedom with his persistent threats of rape.' He admitted a charge of stalking at Bristol Magistrates' Court and will be extremely sentenced at a later date. Hawthorn was caught following an appeal when a member of the public tipped-off police in March after recognising his handwriting. Hawthorn sent Lovell letters for six years but began making threats during the last two. His conduct 'amounted to stalking and caused Ms Lovell serious alarm or distress, which had an adverse effect on her usual day-to-day activities,' the charge stated. Lovell said: 'In a situation like this, you don't know who your aggressor is - you only know who they claim to be. Gordon portrayed himself as obsessive and sexually violent.'
A bus company has been fined over two million smackers after ignoring warnings about an 'erratic' driver who crashed into a supermarket, killing two people. Midland Red (South) Ltd admitted health and safety breaches after Kailash Chander, then aged seventy seven, smashed into a Sainsbury's in Coventry in 2015. Chander had been driving dangerously when he mistook the accelerator for the brake, a fact-finding trial concluded. The former mayor was deemed unfit to stand trial due to dementia. Midland Red (South) Ltd was sentenced alongside Chander, who received a two-year medical supervision order, after a two-day hearing at Birmingham Crown Court. Chander had been warned about his 'erratic' driving by the company after four crashes in three years, the trial found in September. The bus company, which is part of Stagecoach group, admitted allowing Chander to work more than seventy-hours a week. It also admitted allowing him to continue working despite warnings about his driving. Judge Paul Farrer said 'the failings of the company were a significant cause' of the crash. Warnings about Chander were 'not enforced, and almost immediately ignored,' he said. Phil Medlicott, the managing director of Midland Red (South) Ltd said that the company was 'deeply sorry' and 'bears the weight of our responsibility for this tragedy. We deeply regret the opportunities that were missed to act decisively on emerging warning signs,' he said. Seven-year-old Rowan Fitzgerald was riding on the top deck and died of a head injury when the bus crashed on Trinity Street on 3 October 2015. Rowan's mother, Natasha Wilson, said that her son 'had a heart of gold; he was our sunshine on hard days.' Pedestrian Dora Hancox died after being struck by the bus and a falling lamppost. Her daughter Katrina said she felt 'cheated as I never got to say goodbye to her.' Chander's barrister Robert Smith told the court that the former Leamington Spa mayor was 'traumatised' by the crash and now required full-time care. An expert told the court that he may have been suffering from undiagnosed dementia at the time of the crash. The company has 'made several key changes,' Medlicott said, including stronger controls on working hours and more medical testing for drivers. 'We cannot turn back the clock in this case, but we have done everything possible to learn lessons,' he said.
NASA has landed a new robot on Mars after a dramatic seven-minute plunge to the surface of the Red Planet. The InSight probe aims to study the world's deep interior and make it the only planet - apart from Earth - that has been examined in this way. Confirmation of touchdown came through on cue on Monday evening. It ended an anxious wait in which the robot radioed home a series of updates on its descent. NASA's mission control at California's Jet Propulsion Laboratory erupted into cheers when it became clear InSight was safe on the ground.
The agency's chief administrator, James Bridenstine, celebrated what he called 'an amazing day.' President Rump rang to offer his congratulations on Apollo 11 landing on the Moon, he told reporters. The director of JPL, Mike Watkins, said that the success should remind everyone that 'to do science we have to be bold and we have to be explorers.' InSight is now sitting on a vast, flat plain known as Elysium Planitia, close to the Red Planet's equator and far enough away from all The Ice Warriors so as not to alarm them. Before landing, NASA had described the area as the 'biggest parking lot on Mars.' The first picture of this landscape came back very quickly, within minutes. It showed a smudged, fisheye view of the robot's immediate surroundings. The image was taken through the translucent lens cap of a camera positioned on the underside of the lander. The dust kicked up in the descent obscured much of the scene, but it was still possible to make out a small rock, one of the probe's feet and the sky on the horizon. A later picture captured by a camera on InSight's topside was much clearer.
Like all previous landing attempts at Mars, Insight's race to the surface - the first attempt since 2012 - was a tense affair. It had entered the atmosphere faster than a high-velocity bullet, using the combination of a heat-shield, parachute and rockets to bring itself to a gentle stop. InSight's first critical task on landing was to deploy its solar panels, which were stowed for the descent. The robot had to start generating power to operate its systems and to warm equipment in the sub-zero temperatures which persist on the Red Planet. Notification of the panels' set-up came seven hours after landing. One of the big achievements in the InSight mission so far has been the role played by the two briefcase-sized satellites that were sent to Mars along with the robot lander. It was these mini-spacecraft, called MarCO A and B, that relayed the probe's signals back to Earth during the plunge to the surface. The duo cost less than twenty million dollars and their technologies are now sure to feature much more prominently on future interplanetary missions. And, as if to underline their capabilities, the little satellites also took a picture of Mars. 'Having successfully brought all the data back from InSight during its exciting entry, descent and landing sequence - what you see before you is an image taken roughly four thousand seven hundred miles from Mars, about ten to fifteen minutes after EDL itself,' explained MarCO chief engineer Andy Klesh.
This will be the first probe to dedicate its investigations to understanding Mars' interior. Scientists want to know how the world is constructed - from its core to its crust. InSight has three principal experiments to achieve this goal. The first is a package of Franco-British seismometers that will be lifted on to the surface to listen for Marsquakes. These vibrations will reveal where the rock layers are and what they are made of. A German-led 'mole' system will burrow up to five metres into the ground to take the planet's temperature. This will give a sense of how active Mars still is. And the third experiment will use radio transmissions to very precisely determine how the planet is wobbling on its axis. Deputy project scientist Suzanne Smrekar uses the following analogy: 'If you take a raw egg and a cooked egg and you spin them, they wobble differently because of the distribution of liquid in the interior. And today we really don't know if the core of Mars is liquid or solid and how big that core is. InSight will give us this information.' Scientists understand very well how Earth's interior is structured and they have some good models to describe the initiation of this architecture at the Solar System's birth more than four-and-a-half billion years ago. But Earth is one data point and Mars will give researchers a different perspective on how a rocky planet can be assembled and evolve through time. InSight chief scientist Bruce Banerdt said: 'The small details in how planets evolve are what we think make the difference between a place like Earth where you can go on vacation and get a tan and a place like Venus where you'll burn in seconds or a place like Mars where you'll freeze to death.'
A small plane overshot its destination in Australia by almost thirty miles after its pilot 'fell asleep in the cockpit,' air safety officials say. The pilot was the only person on board the freight flight from Devonport to King Island in Tasmania on 8 November. The incident, classified as a case of 'incapacitation,' is currently being investigated by the Australian Transport Safety Bureau. Officials have not said how the pilot awoke before landing the plane safely. The Piper PA-31 aircraft, operated by Vortex Air, had been due to complete the two hundred and forty kilometre trip. 'During the cruise, the pilot fell asleep, resulting in the aircraft overflying King Island by forty six kilometres,' the ATSB said in a brief statement. Aviation expert Neil Hansford said that Australia had 'strict rules' relating to pilot fatigue. And, indeed, one would hope that everyone else has too. 'There is no way in the world that someone should've taken on that flight fatigued,' he told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. On its website, Vortex Air says that it runs charter flights for 'groups, corporates and leisure travellers' around Australia. The ATSB said it would interview the pilot and 'review operating procedures' before releasing a report next year. Last year, five people died when a plane on its way to King Island crashed moments after take-off in Melbourne.
England have avoided Germany in Euro 2020 qualifying but Northern Ireland must face the three-time winners and the Netherlands in Group C. At forty two in the world, the Czech Republic are the next highest ranked team in England's group, which is completed by Bulgaria, Montenegro and Kosovo. Germany dropped into pot two for the draw after a disappointing World Cup and suffering relegation in the UEFA Nations League. As well as facing Ze Chermans and the Dutch, unlucky Northern Ireland will also play Estonia and Belarus. The Republic of Ireland had, initially, been drawn in Group C but were handed a reprieve as the group already contained two of the twelve host nations for Euro 2020. They were, therefore, placed in Group D instead, along with Switzerland, Denmark, Georgia and Gibraltar. They should, at least, be able to beat Gibraltar. That is, if it hasn't been invaded by Spain by that time. Fellow hosts Scotchland joined Belgium, Russia, Cyprus, Kazakhstan and San Marino in a tough-looking Group I, whilst Wales will meet World Cup finalists Croatia, Slovakia, Hungary and Azerbaijan in Group E. The Euro 2020 qualifiers will take place between March and November 2019, with the winner and runner-up of each group going through directly. The qualifying process is condensed because of this year's Nations League group games, with England and Scotland guaranteed at least a Euro 2020 play-off place should they fail to qualify via their regular qualifying group after winning their Nations League sections. Wembley will stage both the semi-finals and the final of Euro 2020, as well as three group games and a last-sixteen match. Glasgow's Hampden Park and Dublin's Aviva Stadium will each host three group games and a last-sixteen match. England had to be placed in a five-team group, as did Portugal, the Netherlands and Switzerland, to ensure that they have free dates for the Nations League finals in June 2019. Portugal are in Group B along with Ukraine, Serbia, Lithuania and Luxembourg. In Group F, Spain will face Sweden, Norway, Romania, Faroe Islands and Malta. Poland, Austria, Israel, Slovenia, Macedonia and Latvia feature in Group G whilst World Cup winners France, Iceland, Turkey, Albania, Moldova and Andorra will contest Group H. Group J has Italy, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Finland, Greece, Armenia and Liechtenstein.
A petrol bomb was thrown and police clashed with Ajax supporters during the Dutch club's two-nil Champions League win against AEK Athens in Greece this week. Home supporters reportedly threw flares into the stands housing Ajax fans and pictures show flames burning next to the away section. Images also show police officers hitting Ajax fans, leaving some with blood pouring down their faces. Ajax defender Matthijs de Ligt ran over to the visiting fans to plead for calm. At the start of the second half there were further crowd disturbance as several firecrackers were set off. Players from both sides were seen to be rubbing their eyes as smoke drifted across the Athens Olympic Stadium. Ajax secured victory through two goals from former Southampton forward Dusan Tadic to progress to the last sixteen for the first time since 2005. AEK, who had Marko Livaja sent off for two yellow cards, are bottom of Group E without any points.
This blogger thinks it was appalling that UEFA made The Scum play against Young Boys in the Champions League this week, dear blog reader. Couldn't they find some older ones?
An amateur Irish football club have grovellingly apologised after falsely reporting the death of one of their players. Dublin club Ballybrack FC had informed the Leinster Senior League that Fernando Nuno La-Fuente had died in a traffic accident.Their game against Arklow Town on Saturday was postponed whilst a minute's silence was held before other fixtures in the league. However, it later emerged that La-Fuente is, in fact, alive in his native Spain and the league has launched an investigation in this whole malarkey. The league placed a death notice in an Irish newspaper, offering its 'heartfelt condolences' to Fernando's family and Ballybrack FC, before being notified La-Fuente had not, in fact, died at all. 'It has come to the attention of both the club, senior players and the management team that a gross error of judgement has occurred emanating from correspondence sent from a member of the senior set-up management team to the Leinster Senior League,' Ballybrack said on Tuesday. 'An emergency meeting was held and the person in question has been relieved of all footballing duties, within Ballybrack FC, its senior team and roles within the club itself. The club has contacted Fernando to confirm his whereabouts, well-being and are thankful for his acceptance of our apology on this matter. This grave and unacceptable mistake was completely out of character and was made by a person who has been experiencing severe personal difficulties unbeknownst to any other members of the club. At this stage we can only offer our sincere apologies to the Leinster Senior League, our opponents Arklow Town FC and the host of clubs and football people who made contact with us or offered messages of support in recent days.' League chairman David Moran told the RTE that the club's secretary had extremely resigned earlier on Tuesday. 'The young lad didn't die in a motorbike accident last Thursday. He went back to Spain four or five weeks ago apparently,' he added. 'The Leinster Senior League rang yesterday morning. We wanted to show our sympathies and go to the Mass and maybe meet the family and see what we could do to help in this horrible situation. And, we were told he was flown back to Spain on the Saturday. Straight away, that rang alarm bells for us. How would you die early on Friday morning and be flown back to Spain on the Saturday? We checked the hospitals, we checked everywhere. Nobody could find anything about this young fella. Obviously, some of his team-mates released stuff on social media saying he went back to Spain four weeks ago.' The Leinster Senior League had earlier released a statement which outlined its plans for an investigation. 'The Leinster Senior League will co-operate with all relevant agencies in the investigation of this matter and the league will also deal with this issue through their own internal disciplinary procedures,' it said.
A female fan claims that she was sexually assaulted at a German Bundesliga game and was allegedly told by a steward to 'go home and watch on TV' if she did not like it. The woman claims that she was 'repeatedly groped' by a man who also tried to open her bra during Schalke's match against Nuremberg at Veltins Arena on Saturday. Police in Gelsenkirchen said the woman has filed a complaint and they are trying to identify the dodgy geezer allegedly involved in the incident. Officers are also investigating the alleged behaviour of the steward. Police confirmed that they had started a criminal investigation after the woman filed a complaint after the game. Schalke told BBC Sport that they were taking the allegations 'very seriously.' The club have launched an internal investigation and added: 'We are in the process of getting an overview and working in close cooperation with the police.'
A very naughty man who bombed the Borussia Dortmund team bus in 2017 has been given fourteen years in The Slammer for attempted murder. Sergei Wenergold, a German of Russian origin, had hidden bombs packed with metal pins which went off as the bus passed a hedge on its way to a Champions League quarter-final match. The blast, which wounded two people, was initially treated by authorities as a suspected jihadist attack. But Wenergold admitted the plot, saying that he had not meant to hurt anyone. In a bizarre twist, it emerged that the twenty nine year old had planned to 'make money' out of the bombing by betting on a fall in Borussia Dortmund's stock market price. Dortmund's Spanish defender Marc Bartra and a police officer were wounded in the attack. Wenergold was convicted of twenty eight counts of attempted murder.
Cameroon have been stripped of hosting next year's Africa Cup of Nations, says the Confederation of African Football. African football's governing body, CAF, says it is because of delays in the progress of Cameroon's preparation for the tournament, due to start in June. Officials made the decision at a meeting on Friday in Accra, Ghana, that lasted more than ten hours. CAF president Ahmad Ahmad says it will work to 'determine a new organising country by the end of the year.' The tournament is set to be the first held in June and July and will be expanded from sixteen to twenty four teams. Ahmad said last year that Cameroon still needed 'to convince CAF of its ability' to host the event, with the country playing down fears that sanctions would be imposed if preparations were deemed to be behind schedule. But in August the chairman of CAF's Nations Cup organising committee, Amaju Pinnick, said 'nobody is going to take it away from Cameroon.' Morocco have been touted as potential hosts, having stepped in to hold this year's African Nations Championship after Kenya were deemed not ready.
Glasgow Rangers chairman Dave King has told a court that he 'suspects' some shareholders in the club 'have links to organised crime.' At the Court of Session of Edinburgh, King said he is 'now one hundred per cent committed' to making an offer for the remainder of the club's shareholding. He was ordered to do so after being found to have 'worked with others' when taking control of the club in 2015. But King said that he could not make an offer to four shareholders because of their claimed criminal links. He said that a Glasgow Rangers board meeting last Monday concluded that the four 'could not transfer their stakes,' adding that one of them was 'engaged in criminal activities in the USA.' King has been in dispute with The Takeover Panel, who applied to have the South African businessman held in contempt of court for refusing to comply. The Ibrox chairman had argued that he should be allowed to 'ring-fence funding' for the offer in South Africa but told the court, in front of Lady Wolfe, that after 'exhausting all options,' he will now agree to transfer funds to the UK. The Takeover Panel want financial guarantees of around nineteen million knicker to be held 'by a third party.' As part of his evidence, King also listed key shareholders who, he claims, have told him they will not take up the offer. One of the investors mentioned was former chairman of the football board Sandy Easdale. Easdale subsequently told the BBC that he has given 'no such undertaking.' A spokesman for the Easdales said: 'Despite Mister King's evidence today, at no time has Sandy Easdale given him an assurance that he would not sell his shares for twenty pence as stipulated by The Takeover Panel. Neither Mister Easdale nor his brother, James, have ever spoken to Mister King on this matter.'
Palermo have been sold to 'a London-based company' for the price of ten Euros, the Italian second division side's owner has announced. Maurizio Zamparini said that he has sold 'one hundred per cent of the club' at 'a symbolic price.' Zamparini bought Palermo in 2002 and last year stepped down as president. However, his replacement resigned as a takeover fell through. He made around forty five managerial appointments during his time in charge. Zamparini said he was 'profoundly sad' to finally be leaving but is 'thinking of the club's future.' In an open letter to fans, he added: 'The objective for some time has been to find someone to continue my work with more financial power, capable of investments that I was no longer able to make. The new London-based owners will put into action the construction of the stadium and training ground. I have, with a lump in my throat, signed my departure.' When Zamparini took over, Palermo had not been in the Italian top flight for thirty years. They returned to Serie A for the 2004-05 campaign and competed five times in the UEFA Cup and Europa League under his ownership. Players such as Edinson Cavani, Paulo Dybala and Javier Pastore featured during the years before relegation to Serie B in 2014. They returned immediately to the top flight as second division champions, but were relegated again in 2017. Palermo are currently top of Serie B, three points clear of Pescara.
The second leg of the Copa Libertadores final between Boca Juniors and River Plate has been moved more than six thousand miles away to the Bernabeu in Madrid. The Buenos Aires derby was postponed last weekend, following an attack on the Boca team bus by River Plate fans. Boca players suffered cuts from the glass from broken windows and were also affected by the tear gas used by police to disperse the crowds. The match will now take place on Sunday 9 December. The Copa Libertadores is the showpiece club competition in South America, equivalent to the Champions League in Europe. Both sets of supporters will be given an equal allocation of tickets for the match in the Spanish capital. CONMEBOL, South American football's governing body, rejected Boca's appeal to be awarded the trophy without playing. The fixture had been poised to be the biggest club match in the one hundred and twenty seven-year history of Argentine football, and the first leg ended two-two. But it was marred by the attack which led to a number of players, including Boca's former Sheikh Yer Man City, The Scum and Juventus striker Carlos Tevez, reportedly 'suffering from dizziness and vomiting' and being treated by club doctors. The mayor of Buenos Aires, Horacio Rodriguez Larreta, said River Plate 'hooligans' described as the 'mafia of Argentine soccer' were behind the sick and vicious attack. It came a day after police raided the house of a leader of the Barra Brava - the powerful and violent wing of River's hardcore support - and confiscated ten million Pesos and three hundred tickets for the final. River Plate have been fined over three hundred thousand smackers on account of the violence and the Prime Minister of Spain, Pedro Sanchez, has since tweeted: 'Spain is ready to organise the final of the Copa Libertadores between Boca Juniors and River Plate. The security forces have extensive experience of these situations and are already working on the necessary deployments to ensure the event is secure.'
La Liga has taken the Spanish Football Association to court in its fight to play Girona's home league game against Barcelona in Miami. The Spanish top flight has filed a lawsuit with a civil court in Madrid to force the RFEF to approve the match. A decision is expected around the middle of December. 'La Liga has taken a case to court in Madrid and expect a resolution in the coming days or weeks,' a spokesperson for the league said. It is understood La Liga thinks the RFEF's role in bringing the second leg of the Copa Libertadores final to Real Madrid's Bernabeu stadium on 9 December will strengthen its case, as it is a precedent for matches transcending country and regional borders. The RFEF and Spanish players' union have previously been vocal in their objections to the game. AFE president David Aganzo has now said the match will not go ahead next year, but that it could be 'possible' in the future. La Liga agreed to play one game a season in the US as part of a fifteen-year deal with media company Relevent and Catalan neighbours Girona and Barcelona agreed to move their game to the Hard Rock Stadium. In addition to the Spanish FA, the match also needs the approval of FIFA, US Soccer and the Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football. La Liga has previously said it will go to the Court of Arbitration for Sport if FIFA blocks the move. Football's world governing body has not yet formally banned the proposal. Because someone's going to make a shitload of money out of it, obviously. And, FIFA are never one to stand in the way of greed. Usually, their own.
Dutch police are helping officers in Bristol after a pub was badly damaged in a fight in the run-up to a Championship football match. Officers were called to The Luckwell Hotel on Saturday amid the fight, with kids gettin' sparked and aal sorts. Four men were extremely arrested at the hotel on Sunday morning. Millwall and Bristol City were playing at Ashton Gate later in the day. Avon and Somerset Police said they were working with Dutch police because 'a number of fans have travelled from Holland to watch the game.' Superintendent Paul Mogg, said that he believed the disorder involved 'a number of football fans' planning to go to the match. 'We're working closely with Bristol City FC, as well as officers from the Metropolitan Police and colleagues from the Dutch police to apprehend those involved as we know a number of fans have travelled from Holland to watch the game,' he said. 'Anyone else identified as taking part, can expect to be dealt with robustly. Fortunately, it does not appear anyone was seriously injured in the incident but the pub was significantly damaged.'
China's Yu Delu has been very banned from snooker for ten years and nine months after a major match-fixing inquiry. His compatriot Cao Yupeng also pleaded extremely guilty to fixing and was banned for six years although three and a half years of his sentence have been suspended. Suspicious betting patterns in numerous matches were investigated over two years in one of snooker's biggest corruption scandals. The other scandal, of course, being why anybody gives a shit about a pub pastime like snooker. Yu has been described as 'a scourge to the game of snooker.' The pair are the first Chinese players to be banned for cheating. Yu, who manipulated the outcome of five matches over a two-and-a-half-year period, will serve the longest suspension since English player Stephen Lee was given a twelve-year ban in 2013. In one match, the stakes placed on the result totalled sixty five grand, which would have generated a profit of eighty six thousand knicker. The thirty one-year-old reached the semi-finals of the 2016 Scottish Open and was ranked forty three in the world when he was charged. Twenty-eight-year-old Cao, who fixed three matches, was runner-up in the Scottish event last year and world number thirty eight when initially suspended in May. Both players were investigated by the World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association before an independent tribunal ruled on their cases. The tribunal, chaired by David Casement QC, found that Yu 'engaged in deliberate and premeditated corruption to secure substantial financial gain for his friends/associates and himself.' Yu also admitted to lying to the investigator, failing to cooperate with the inquiry and betting on snooker when prohibited from doing so. 'It is very sad when talented players are attracted to the opportunity to make money from fixing matches,' said WPBSA chairman Jason Ferguson. Cao also failed to provide material that was requested during the investigation. He told investigators that he received five thousand quid for each of the matches he fixed and he was initially given an eight-year ban, but this was reduced to six - three and a half of which were suspended - because of his co-operation with the inquiry. 'Cao Yupeng has shown true remorse and he will assist the WPBSA in player education and in its fight against corruption, which is reflected in his reduced sanction,' said Ferguson. Yu was given a twelve-year ban, to match the sanction imposed on Lee five years ago, but this was reduced to ten years and nine months because of his late guilty plea.
For the first time, Bob Dylan and Neil Young have been announced as joint headliners at a UK music festival. Both musicians will play London's Hyde Park as part of British Summer Time on 12 July though it's not yet clear in which order they will play. The pair have shared a stage many times previously, beginning in 1976 at a farewell show for Dylan's former backing group The Band, Th Last Waltz. They have also named-checked each other in several songs. In 2005, Young told Time magazine he was 'a B student' of Bob Dylan, adding: /I'll never be Bob Dylan. He's the master. If I'd like to be anyone, it's him.' Dylan repaid the compliment in 2007, telling Rolling Stone: "[Young is] sincere and he's got a God-given talent. With that voice of his and the melodic strain that runs through absolutely everything he does. There's nobody in his category.'
The iconic Tyne Bridge is unlikely to get a much-needed makeover until at least 2020, councillors have been told . The Tyneside landmark, which recently turned ninety, has not undergone major maintenance since 2000. Newcastle City Council had hoped to bid for government funding for the major refurbishment, but officials said an opportunity 'had not yet arisen.' Quite what was so vitally important that it stopped them applying has not been revealed but, one imagines, it must have been something Earth-shattering. The project, which would include safety checks, repairs and a new coat of paint, is expected to cost up to twenty million knicker. Work on the Grade II listed structure would also include the resurfacing of its dual carriageway and footpaths, according to the Local Democracy Reporting Service. A Newcastle City Council spokesman said: 'The ninety-year-old Tyne Bridge is the North East's most iconic landmark and requires regular safety checks, repairs, preservation and upkeep. The bridge is due a major refurbishment programme to preserve it for future generations, which would include the sizeable task of repainting the structure. We are looking to secure funding from the Department for Transport to allow us to undertake works to fully refurbish the bridge which would cost in the region of fifteen to twenty million pounds.' He added that the work would take 'a minimum of eighteen months to complete.' As part of the project, damaged bird netting that has trapped and killed kittiwakes nesting on the Quayside will also be replaced. Greg Stone, Newcastle's Liberal Democrat opposition transport spokesman, said: 'The Tyne Bridge should be a shining symbol of our city-region at the heart of Newcastle and Gateshead's Quayside, but instead it is becoming a shabby and scruffy symbol of under-investment in Tyneside's transport network.' A Department for Transport spokesman said that it was the council's responsibility to organise funding for the work, adding the government had allocated Newcastle City Council more than thirty million notes of funding for highway maintenance between 2015 and 2021. The bridge was opened in October 1928 by King George V and more than seventy thousand vehicles now cross it every day.
Up to one hundred naughty teenage tearaways surrounded police in a town centre before a mob attacked officers during an 'appalling' disturbance according to media reports. Fireworks and bricks were launched and a community officer was punched in the face in Stanley, County Durham by the scallywags. Police have since launched a text alerts service to inform parents of local disorder, urging them to 'take responsibility' for their children and their bad and wicked doings. It is hoped they will 'be encouraged' to collect the disgraceful scoundrels from disturbances. No, this blogger doesn't think that's particularly likely either, dear blog reader. Mind you, if you've ever been to Stanley, you'll know this sort of rascally behaviour is hardly uncommon in the area. Officers were called out to reports of 'a vulnerable female' at the bus station in the town on the night of 3 November. They were bombarded by the gang of youths upon arrival, then set upon by about twenty hoodie-wearing youngsters in an attack captured on the officers' body cams. Sergeant Dave Clarke said that his officers had been 'forced to use pepper spray' after 'tensions escalated' when some teenagers had 'objected to being told what to do.' Which,again, is pretty much a standard response from teenagers the world over. 'You had a group of six to ten boys wanting to show off in front of their friends and that developed into kicks, karate kicks, punching and people jumping around sparring,' he added. Crikey, the ruffians. 'After at least ten warnings, the officers used the pepper spray.' At which point, tears were shed. In the wake of the attack, the force launched its Be Informed text alert service, to which parents can opt-in to be told whenever there is disorder in the town. Any parent who believes that their child may be in the vicinity of the incident can go and collect them, police said. Sergeant Emma Kay, from Durham Constabulary, said: 'Parents were asked to come and review the footage from the officers' body cams that night and they all agreed the behaviour of the children was appalling. While there is a hardcore group of individuals involved in this incident, there are many more people stood on the sidelines, young people who are going to affect their life chances by continuing to engage in this type of behaviour. We are asking for parents to step up to the plate, take responsibility for your children. Do you know where they are, or are they going to bring trouble to your door?'
A woman has been extremely jailed by an Irish court for causing criminal damage to a €1.50 packet of Pringles according to media reports. Kathleen McDonagh, aged twenty five, opened some Pringles in a Tesco in the city of Cork before she had paid for them. The woman had previously been banned from the store and told the court that she opened the crisps so that security would 'be forced' to let her pay for the package. Instead, she was arrested and sentenced to two months in The Big House for damaging the product, which could no longer be sold. Exactly how much it will cost the Irish state to keep her in Pris for the period is not known although one can speculate that it will be a Hell of a lot more than the cost of the Pringles. The judge was told that McDonagh had a series of previous convictions, including a number for theft or criminal damage. In court, police said that McDonagh had been banned from the store and was known to its staff as a troublemaker when she took the tin of Pringles and headed to the self-checkout area. Security staff approached her to order her to leave the store when she popped the Pringles top and opened the foil seal. An inspector told the court that she said: 'I opened it so you have to leave me pay for it.' 'It was not fit for resale with a loss of €1.50,' the officer told the judge, adding that although the woman wanted to buy the crisps, 'she had no permission to be in the store.' McDonagh's legal representation asked for leniency from the court, explaining that she was recently married and several months pregnant and had entered a guilty plea. The judge, however, was having none of it and decided to impose a four-month prison sentence with two months suspended, noting that the accused had 'deliberately' opened the product when asked to leave by security. He said that it was 'difficult' to see her actions as anything but 'smart Alec behaviour.'
Edinburgh Zoo's male giant panda has had both testicles removed after tumours were discovered by keepers. Yang Guang is said to be 'recovering well' from the surgery, which took place on Saturday. So, be very careful about what you're ordering if you're in a restaurant in Edinburgh over the next few days.
A woman who developed 'a crippling fear of owls' after 'religious grooming' by her doctor has won a damages claim. Sally Brayshaw was taken to religious meetings and told The Devil was 'having a real go' at her by GP Thomas O'Brien. Satan now having a lot more time on his hands after his lawsuit against The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina got called off. Brayshaw claimed the locum doctor, a Pentecostal Christian, suggested she was 'possessed by demons' and advised her not to see a psychiatrist. Probably because he would have told her to stop being so daft. A High Court judge ruled that she was entitled to more than twelve grand. Brayshaw, of Stoke-on-Trent was in pain following an operation when she went to see Doctor O'Brien in August 2012. At a previous hearing, her lawyers told the court the GP 'commended to her a way of healing without medication.' Over the next six months O'Brien engaged Brayshaw 'in a number of religious activities,' taking her to services, giving her religious gifts and setting her television to the Gospel channel to 'soak' her in religious content. On one occasion, Brayshaw said that she was taken to a meeting where a preacher spoke of 'sacrificing an owl.' This left her so terrified of the birds that she could no longer look at a picture of one without 'becoming terrified.' Mr Justice Martin Spencer said it was 'foreseeable' Brayshaw might 'react adversely,' adding: 'By reason of his zealous promotion of the religious aspects, [O'Brien] became blind to the medical aspects and thereby caused or contributed to the deterioration in the claimant's mental health.' O'Brien took no part in the case and his whereabouts are currently unknown. He was investigated by the General Medical Council and struck off in 2015. The judge rejected Brayshaw's claim against the partners of Apsley Surgery, where O'Brien worked as a locum.
Following a threat of legal action, far-right activist Thomas Robinson has backed down from accusations he made against a Syrian schoolboy who was attacked in an incident shared widely on social media. Earlier this week, footage emerged showing the fifteen-year-old - a refugee from Syria - being taunted, grabbed by the throat and pushed to the ground, as other students at Almondbury Community School in Huddersfield. Robinson made unfounded allegations against the teenager Wednesday on and Thursday in a number of Facebook posts and YouTube videos. By Friday, he had deleted the videos and grovellingly admitted to posting 'a fake photograph' purporting to show violence by a Muslim gang whilst, presumably, quaking in his jackboots. The videos were deleted after the lawyer for the boy's family, Mohammed Akunjee, said that his clients planned to sue Robinson. In a letter uploaded to Twitter on Thursday, Akunjee described Robinson's claims as 'false and defamatory allegations' and asked for the videos to be 'removed immediately. We wish to place you on notice that our client intends to pursue legal action against you in respect of the contents of these publications and you will shortly be receiving formal pre-action correspondence in this respect,' Akunjee's letter added. In a video posted on Facebook on Friday, Robinson, whose real name is Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, extremely admitted to making a false claim but reiterated another - entirely unproven - allegation against the boy. Addressing Robinson's claims regarding the teenager, West Yorkshire Police said in a statement on Thursday that they were 'aware of rumours' but that no reports had been made which 'substantiate these claims.' The video of the assault on the Syrian teenager prompted widespread condemnation. It is not yet clear who filmed the incident. The Press Association news agency reported West Yorkshire Police as saying that a sixteen-year-old boy had been interviewed over the attack and would appear in a youth court to face as yet undisclosed charges. New footage emerged on Wednesday showing a teenage girl in a pink hijab being pushed to the ground by teenagers. Akunjee confirmed to CNN that the girl was the Syrian boy's sister. West Yorkshire police said in a statement that it was 'aware of a video showing a girl being assaulted at Almondbury Community School' and was 'now liaising with the girl's family.' Almondbury Community School describes itself as 'inclusive' on its website. Its head teacher, Trevor Bowen, said in a statement that the safety and welfare of students was the school's 'number one priority' and that the 'situation is being taken extremely seriously. Since the incident occurred in October, the school, the local authority and the police have all taken action. We must allow the legal process to take its course, but I want to be absolutely clear that we do not tolerate unacceptable behaviour of any sort in our school.' Little known outside the far-right circles in which he has moved for the past ten years or so, Robinson was among the most marginal of British political figures until he was jailed for breaking the strict rules which govern the reporting of court cases earlier this year. In November, the anti-European UK Independence Party said that it had appointed Robinson as 'an adviser,' in a move that signals the party's further shift to the right, a move which even former UKiP leader - and general toss-pot - Nigel Farage criticised.
FBI agents have discovered an estimated sixteen million pictures of men's genitals during a raid on an NSA employee's home this week. Federal prosecutors have charged Hillary Wang, a National Security Agency employee for fourteen years, with theft of government property and unauthorised removal and retention of classified materials. It is reported that Wang used her Top Secret security clearance to illegally download millions of pictures 'of a sexual nature' off unsuspecting Americans' mobile phones and computers. 'She is obsessed with big black penises and the small size of her Chinese boyfriend's penis' an anonymous - and, therefore, probably fictitious - fellow co-worker allegedly confirmed to reporters when reached by phone. FBI agents seized fourteen computers at Wang's home on Wednesday containing fifty three terabytes of illegally downloaded pictures and documents from the National Security Agency. 'She's a good person, but it's impossible to have a five-minute conversation without her wanting to show you a picture of some black guy's dick on her cell phone,' another anonymous - and, therefore, probably fictitious - alleged former coworker allegedly snitched to local reporters like a filthy stinking Copper's Nark. 'Experts' believe that Wang used a custom-designed algorithm to target users 'dick pics' and automatically download them to her home servers. The employee had been on sick leave for the past two months after battling with severe depression and mental health issues, according to family members. Alleged legal 'experts' allegedly believe that Wang 'could face a maximum of one hundred and sixty six years' in The Slammer if found guilty of theft of government property and unauthorised removal and retention of classified materials.
A Manchester woman racially abused a takeaway worker after she asked for free fried chicken in return for sexual favours, a court has heard. Kelly Fielding went to Chesters Chicken in Northenden just after midnight and started to demand free food. After staff refused she became abusive, Manchester Crown Court heard. 'The defendant then began to offer sexual favours in return for fried chicken,' prosecutor Gemma Maxwell said. As Fielding continued to be abusive, staff gave her four free chicken wings, hoping that she would go away and not come back. But this didn't stop her and she continued to be aggressive. The worker and the takeaway manager then tried to escort her out of the shop and as they did so Fielding slapped the worker to the face. She then called him a 'fuckin Paki cunt.' Which really wasn't very nice. The police were called, but this did not end the incident, which occurred on 29 September. When officers arrived they recognised Fielding as someone they had spoken to earlier. One officer arrested Fielding, but as he tried to handcuff her, she kicked out out and struggled. With the help of a second officer she was restrained and brought to the floor. But as thirty one-year-old Fielding was being detained she continued to kick out and spat at the officer, narrowly missing his face. In an interview with the police, she claimed that she was 'acting in self defence' and said she wanted to make a complaint about the takeaway worker. But, CCTV footage was recovered and Fielding pleaded very guilty to causing racially aggravated harassment, alarm or distress, assault by beating and two counts of assaulting a police officer. This offending also meant she was in breach of a suspended sentence, imposed after she tried to smuggle drugs into prison. Fielding has twelve previous convictions which prosecutors said were 'almost all' for battery or public order offences. She also has previous for racially aggravated assault, the court heard. Defending, Alexandra Sutton said: 'It's unacceptable behaviour on anyone's view.' She claimed Fielding has had drink and drugs problems in the past, but that these are 'now behind her.' The barrister appealed for Fielding to be spared jail, saying that the mother-of-four would be 'at risk' in custody. The judge, Recorder Geoffrey Payne, accepted that she has a 'tragic personal history.' He said: 'Because of the mitigation very eloquently put on your behalf I am prepared to take what some may regard as a lenient and exceptional course today.' The judge warned Fielding that this was her 'last chance,' before sentencing her to an eighteen month community order.
A man was taken to hospital in Arizona this week after accidentally shooting himself 'in the groin area' inside a Walmart in Buckeye, Maricopa County. The local police department tweeted on Tuesday that officers were working what appeared to be 'a self-inflicted accidental shooting' inside the Watson and Yuma Walmart. Buckeye PD later confirmed in an update: 'Adult male accidentally shot himself in the groin area inside the Walmart. Being transported to hospital. No other injuries.' The Arizona Republic newspaper reported the incident occurred after a semiautomatic handgun that was being held in the man's waistband 'began to slip.' The gun, which was not in a holster, discharged 'as he attempted to reposition it,' the man told officers. The Arizona Republic reported that when police officers responded to the shot the man was found 'in the meat section' of the store with 'survivable injuries.' Though, pretty painful ones. Officers said that they filed a report for the unlawful discharge of a firearm but it was believed to have been accidental. And, that charging the poor chap with this after he's shot himself in the todger would've been too cruel - even if had been, you know, funny. The man's identity and condition at the hospital was not made public by law enforcement. Over the years, Walmart has been host to several wince-inducing groin injuries. In May this year, a man who had been released from jail for twenty four hours was left 'with a bruised scrotum' after attempting to flee a Walmart in Vidor, Texas, by jumping over a fence. Ad, not quite making it. Ryan Allen Prajzner had tried to get a refund for items stolen from store shelves, police said. Last year, an woman who 'was intoxicated' after allegedly drinking beer inside Walmart grabbed a paramedic by the testicles as he was evaluating her following her arrest, WKMG reported. And, in 2016, paramedics rushed to a Walmart parking lot in Charlotte, North Carolina, to treat a man who tried to drive himself to hospital after being shot in the groin, WSOC-TV reported.
A Michigan mother who allowed her six-year-old to amass twenty six unexcused school absences spent five days in The Big House and has been placed on nine months of probation. Brittany Ann Horton was sentenced on 16 November after pleading extremely guilty in May to truancy, according to a statement from the Muskegon County Prosecutor's Office. In addition to her jail time and probation, Horton was ordered to pay five hundred and twenty five dollars in fines. She was first contacted by school administrators to 'resolve the absences' in October 2017, according to the statement. After attempts to resolve the issue failed - including a meeting which Horton did not attend - administrators handed the case over to prosecutors. Letters and meetings were set up for Horton in February but she neglected to respond to attempts to contact her. In March, she was charged. After failing to appear at her arraignment, Horton pleaded very guilty in May, but her punishment was delayed to give her a chance to 'fix the problem,' according to the statement. Instead, the child accumulated fourteen additional unexcused
Germany's Interior Ministry has said it regrets serving pork sausage at a conference on Islam in Berlin earlier this week. The ministry said the food selection had been designed for 'the diverse religious attendance' at the German Islam Conference in Berlin. But it apologised 'if individuals felt offended in their religious feelings.' A marvellous example of a non-apology apology in which it made clear that the ministry considers the persons 'a fault' here are those who felt offended rather than those who gave the offence in the first place. The event was led by Interior Minister Horst Seehofer, who in March said Islam 'does not belong in Germany.' Most of the attendees at the Islam conference were Muslims, local media reported. Under Islamic law, Muslims are forbidden to eat pork. And, even the world's stupidest moron knows that and knows that it is really offensive to shove a sausage under a Muslim person's nose and say 'have a bit of this whopper.' The type of sausage on offer was blutwurst which is made of ingredients including pig's blood, pork and bacon. German journalist Tuncay Özdamar wrote on Twitter: 'What signal does Seehofer's interior ministry want to send? A little respect for Muslims, who don't eat pork, is needed.' At the start of the conference, Seehofer reportedly said that he wanted to see 'a German Islam.' But Özdamar added that Seehofer's 'elephant in a china shop' behaviour 'would never gain the support of a majority of Muslims in Germany.' In its response the Interior Ministry added that it had served thirteen dishes, including halal, vegetarian, meat and fish dishes and said that all food in the buffet had been 'clearly marked.' No that you actually need to clearly mark a sausage, everybody knows what one is. Some German media reported that pork in the form of ham had been served at the first German Islam Conference in 2006. In his March comments, which were seen as an attempt to win back voters from the far-right Alternative for Germany party, Seehofer said Islam 'did not belong to Germany' because 'Germany is shaped by Christianity. The Muslims who live among us naturally belong to Germany. That of course does not mean that we should, out of a false consideration for others, give up our traditions and customs,' he said. However last month Seehofer's Christian Social Union party suffered major losses in the Bavarian elections, with the BBC's Germany Correspondent Jenny Hill suggesting that its attempt to harden its tone and policies on immigration 'appeared to have backfired.'
An Egyptian actress who wore a revealing dress to the Cairo Film Festival is to go on trial on charges of 'inciting debauchery,' reports say. Rania Youssef appeared in a lacy, black, see-through outfit that exposed most of her legs, outraging many Egyptians, though some said that she should be able to wear what she wanted. She could be jailed for up to five years if found guilty, an alleged judicial 'source'allegedly told AFP. Youssef has grovellingly apologised. The actress said that she would not have worn the dress if she had known it would cause such controversy. The charges were brought by two lawyers, Amro Abdelsalam and Samir Sabri, who are known for taking celebrities to court. Youssef's appearance 'did not meet societal values, traditions and morals and therefore undermined the reputation of the festival and the reputation of Egyptian women in particular,' Sabri told AFP. The Egyptian Actors' Syndicate also criticised the 'appearance of some of the guests,' which it said 'undermined the festival and the union.' In a social media post, the actress claimed that she had 'probably miscalculated' in choosing to wear the dress. 'It was the first time that I wore it and I did not realise it would spark so much anger,' she said. 'I reaffirm my commitment to the values upon which we were raised in Egyptian society,' she added. Last year an Egyptian court jailed singer Shaimaa Ahmed for two years - later reduced to a year - for appearing in a music video in her underwear while 'suggestively eating a banana.' Meanwhile. in January, prosecutors detained another singer, Laila Amer, after her music video, showing her dancing and making 'suggestive gestures,' sparked controversy.
A California woman accused of 'pushing, punching and choking' a McDonald's employee because she received 'too little ketchup' in her drive-thru order was reportedly arrested this week. Santa Ana police took Mayra Berenice Gallo into custody on Tuesday after 'numerous tips' helped investigators to identify and locate her, officials said in a news release. Gallo is accused of assaulting the McDonald's employee on 27 October. After receiving food from the drive-thru window, Gallo 'apparently became enraged' when she didn't get enough ketchup with her order, Officer Anthony Bertagna told KTLA-TV. She then went into the restaurant through the employee's entrance and asked for more ketchup. Police said that when the worker told Gallo she needed to leave the back area, Gallo 'became combative' and 'began pushing, punching and choking the employee,' KTLA reported. The attack was captured on the restaurant's video surveillance system and showed another employee trying to stop the assault. The attack ended when another man entered the restaurant to help break up the fight. Gallo was jailed after she was arrested on suspicion of assault, police said. Bertagna told KTLA: 'There's no reason to physically assault someone because you didn't get enough ketchup.'
A commander of a B-52 Stratofortress squadron at Minot Air Force Base in North Dakota, was recently relieved from duty after 'sexually explicit and phallic drawings' were discovered inside the bomber's cockpit screens during a recent deployment. A command-directed investigation anticipated to be released by Air Force Global Strike Command in coming weeks will show that Lieutenant Colonel Paul Goossen was removed from command of the Sixty Ninth Bomb Squadron on 27 November because 'penis drawings' were discovered on a moving map software displayed on the nuclear-capable B-52's Combat Network Communication Technology, according to an alleged 'source' allegedly 'familiar with the incident.' The system, used to display common data such as pre-planned routes for sorties and target coordinates, captured the data for post-sortie debriefs. Screengrabs of the images were later used 'for laughs' at an end-of-deployment party, the alleged 'source' allegedly said.
A woman who tried to blackmail a man for two grand with a sex video has been jailed for three years and eleven months. The woman, who cannot be named for legal reasons, forced her victim at knifepoint to drive to his flat and collect six hundred quid towards her demand according to reports. The allegedly 'vulnerable' woman pleaded extremely guilty at Cambridge Crown Court to blackmail and possessing a bladed weapon. Her co-defendant, Ross Olphert, of St Neots, pleaded very guilty to blackmail and was jailed for thirty one months. The woman reportedly met her victim in 2013 'at a sex party' and, afterwards, he regularly paid her for The Sex, prosecutor Daniel Benjamin said. On 3 August, the woman and Olphert threatened to send a video of the man having sex with the woman at the 2013 party to his parents and colleagues. Benjamin said that the woman threatened him with a knife and the victim agreed to collect six hundred notes. The thirty-minute journey was recorded on his car's dashcam. Olphert could be heard punching the victim in the head and the woman held a knife to the man's throat during the journey, the court heard. Claire Matthews, defending the woman, claimed that was she 'vulnerable, known to social care services, with poor mental health and a pattern of suicidal impulses.' Olphert's barrister, Benedict Peers, said he was a senior care worker who used his experience of mental ill health, including ADHD and bipolar disorder, 'to help others.' Olphert believed that he was 'just looking after' the woman, whom he thought was owed the money, the court was told.
Two would-be bank raiders broke into an escape room containing an imitation bank vault. The men were captured on CCTV forcing entry into the building in Ancoats, Manchester, before fleeing with a thousand smackers in cash. Lucardo escape rooms director Adam Conroy said that no one was hurt 'except for our Christmas spirit.' It is not known if the men realised they had not targeted a genuine bank during the raid. Although, one imagines they were pretty damned pissed off when they found out. The men unsuccessfully attempted to break into a safe which the business uses as part of 'pretend bank heists.' Conroy said that the property was empty at the time of the incident. He added: 'I don't think they realised what they'd broken into. It doesn't say a lot about their intelligence. What they didn't realise was all the clues to get into the safe are in the room they were in.' The men left behind an expensive camera as well as an empty soft-drink can, which police later tested for fingerprints and DNA, Conroy added. CCTV shows one of the men wearing a mask on top of his head, although his face is clearly visible. Despite taking the cash, the burglars failed to get their hands on a large imitation diamond kept inside the safe, Conroy said. 'They must have thought all their Christmases had come early. They'd broken into a bank no-one had heard of.' Greater Manchester Police confirmed they were investigating the incident.
A University of Wisconsin chancellor is being criticised for paying adult film actress Nina Hartley five thousand dollars to give a speech on campus about pornography. The My Bare Lady actress assured students during her ninety-minute talk on 1 November that it is 'okay to like porn' and discussed her decades-long career in the adult film industry. Hartley was paid for her appearance by University of Wisconsin-La Crosse Chancellor Joe Gow from his 'discretionary fund' drawing ire from school officials. School president Ray Cross sent a letter a week after Hartley's talk reprimanding Gow for 'using bad judgement' and threatening that the stunt could cost him a raise next month, WISC-TV reported. Cross said that he would 'launch an audit' into Gow's discretionary spending, adding that Hartley's appearance might put school funding in jeopardy. 'Therefore, you are being reprimanded for exercising poor judgment [sic] and for a lack of responsible oversight with respect to the use of state funds,' Cross wrote, crossly. Gow apologised - and promised to reimburse the five grand fee from his own pocket. About seventy students went to see Hartley, a sex educator who appeared in more than a thousand X-rated movies - including several in the Debbie Does ... franchise, including Debbie Does Wall Street and Debbie Duz Dishes. She also had a role in the 1997 movie Boogie Nights. 'The word pornography has such a pejorative connotation - it's been caught up in a lot of emotionally charged conversations,' she told the group, according to the La Crosse Tribune. Hartley said that she viewed porn as 'safe and consensual' - but also a fantasy. 'I wouldn't normally go to a barn on a Tuesday morning to have sex on a hay bale. It's my job and we're professionals,' she said. 'It's okay to like porn. It's okay to not like porn. And it's okay to be confused by porn. You are where you are and you are who you are.' Gow told the Associated Press on Wednesday that he enlisted Hartley to speak on campus because he wanted someone with 'a perspective very different from our own and someone who wouldn't be hateful and target groups.' He said that he found Hartley through an online search for college speakers. 'She seemed like a person who had a life experience dramatically different than the rest of us,' Gow said.
Parents should not expect schools to police children's eating and exercise, or toilet train pupils, Ofsted boss Amanda Spielman will say this week. England's chief inspector for schools will argue that the answer to the obesity crisis lies in the home and parents should not 'abdicate responsibility.' Neither can schools be 'a panacea for knife crime' or child neglect, she will add in her second annual report. Two studies have this year queried the benefit of school anti-obesity schemes. In February, the British Medical Journal reported that a year-long anti-obesity programme involving more than six hundred West Midlands primary school pupils 'yielded no improvements.' And, in July an Ofsted study of sixty schools found 'no link' between efforts to tackle obesity and pupils' weight. Spielman, who will present Ofsted's annual report on Tuesday, will highlight concerns that - by the time they start primary school - almost a quarter of children in England are already overweight or obese. This rises to over a third by the time they move on to secondary school. 'Schools can and should teach children about the importance of healthy eating and exercise in line with their core purpose; their PE lessons should get them out of breath,' she will say. 'But beyond that, schools cannot take over the role of health professionals - and above all parents.' Highlighting the growing evidence of children arriving at reception unable to use a toilet, she will add: 'This is difficult for teachers, disruptive for other children and has a terrible social impact on the children affected.'
A team of doctors who swallowed Lego®™ and timed how long it took to pass through their bowels say the results of their research 'should reassure concerned parents.' In a paper published in the Journal of Paediatrics & Child Health, six researchers from Australia and the UK swallowed the head of a Lego®™ figure in the 'noble tradition of self-experimentation.' Toy parts are the second most common foreign object that children swallow and frequently cause anxiety among parents, but usually pass in a matter of days without pain or ill-effect. For the special Christmas edition of the journal, which frequently features quirky studies, the team decided to put their own bodies on the line. '[We] could not ask anything of our test subjects that we would not undertake themselves,' they wrote in their paper. They developed their own metrics: the Stool Hardness and Transit or 'Shat' score and the Found and Retrieved Time score. The 'Fart' score - how many days it took the Lego®™ to pass through the bowels - was between a day and three days, with an average of 1.7 days. Using the 'Shat' score, the researchers also found the consistency of their stools did not change. They compared 'Shat' and 'Fart' scores to see if 'looser stools caused quicker retrieval' but found no correlation. One of the report's authors, Grace Leo, said that she hoped the report 'made people smile' while also 'reassuring parents.' She said parents 'should seek medical advice' if children swallow things that are sharp, longer than five centimetres, wider than two centimetres, magnets, coins, button batteries or are experiencing pain. But most 'small, smooth, plastic objects' will 'pass easily.' If parents are uncertain, they should seek medical attention, Leo added. 'I can't remember if it was pre or post-breakfast,' she said. 'But we all ingested our Lego®™ between 7am and 9am in our own time zone, with a glass of water. For most people it was passed after one to three stools. But for poor [researcher Damien Roland], he didn't find his, so we made him search every stool for two weeks. I passed it on the first stool afterwards and was very relieved.' None of the researchers experienced any symptoms or pain due to the Lego®™ inside them. But Leo said that people 'should not replicate the experiment' at home. The report noted that it was 'possible' children's bowels would 'react differently' but there was 'little evidence to support this. If anything, it is likely that objects would pass faster in a more immature gut,' they wrote. Leo said: 'Hopefully there is more conversation and awareness of foreign bodies, and a reassurance for parents that, for small foreign bodies, they aren't advised to search through the stool. If it's a small Lego®™ head, you don't need to go poking through their stool. That should save parents some heartache, unless that Lego®™ head is dearly loved.'
Theresa May has backed 'robust" police tactics for dealing with criminals who use mopeds to commit crimes such as snatching bags or phones. Footage of police ramming vehicles into scooters to knock off suspects provoked controversy, with the Met Police saying two thieves had broken bones during such incidents. The Independent Office for Police Conduct has said it is investigating three cases of 'tactical contact.' But, when asked about the approach, the PM said it was 'absolutely right.' And, good fun too. 'These people on these mopeds are acting unlawfully and committing crimes and I think it's absolutely right that we see a robust police response to that,' she said, when asked about the issue during her trip to the G20 summit in Argentina. 'Moped crime has been an issue of concern for some time now, as it has been growing in certain areas, in particular in London.' Senior officers defended the tactic after releasing footage of incidents involving specially-trained drivers, saying it was needed to stop dangerous chases and had helped reduce moped-enabled crime in London by over a third. But, Labour has raised concerns about the approach, which MP Diane Abbott said earlier this week was 'potentially very dangerous. It shouldn't be legal for anyone,' tweeted the shadow home secretary. 'Police are not above the law.'
A beer brewed with an anti-racism message could be discontinued amid a trademark dispute. The name and design of Yellow Belly, an eleven per cent stout brewed by Buxton Brewery and Omnipollo from Sweden, was 'intended to lampoon the Ku Klux Klan.' However, Batemans Brewery said that the name was 'similar' to its own beer, which refers to its native Lincolnshire. The European Union Intellectual Property Office is reviewing the case. Buxton and Omnipollo first released Yellow Belly - a peanut butter and biscuit-flavoured imperial stout - in 2014 after being brought together in The Rainbow Project, a collaborative event randomly pairing seven British breweries with counterparts from around the world, with each duo assigned one of the colours of the rainbow. The brewery explained they drew yellow. It said the 'prime meaning' of the colour was cowardice so chose to design the bottle in a way that would highlight what it saw as the cowardice of racist elements of the far right. The beer became popular with craft beer aficionados but, as a result of the trademark opposition, next year's edition looks set to be the last. Batemans Brewery said it first began brewing a Yella Belly beer twenty years ago as a vanilla pale, with its current iteration, Yella Belly Gold, a 3.9 per cent amber ale. People born and bred in Lincolnshire are known colloquially as 'yellowbellies,' although the origins of the phrase are widely disputed, with the colour of mail coaches, the attire of the Royal North Lincolnshire Militia and a range of animals all being cited as possible origins. Geoff Quinn, owner of Buxton Brewery, said it was 'a shame' to discontinue the beer, but said that it wanted to avoid 'legal wrangles which wouldn't really benefit anyone. We don't see how we could get accused of passing off our beer as theirs or vice-versa,' he said. Henok Fentie, head brewer for Omnipollo, said it was 'a bummer' to discontinue Yellow Belly, but said he would 'rather spend money on putting more hops in our beer' than on legal malarkey. Stuart Bateman, managing director of Batemans, said that he first learned of Yellow Belly when he was called by Omnipollo two months ago alerting them to the issue and had not been contacted since a 'friendly' initial discussion. He said he was 'surprised' by the 'online backlash' from some fans of the beer, but said breweries ought to check other registered names before releasing beers. 'My logic on it is if various people that are going on social media and are adamant about the importance of the name Yellow Belly, then they appreciate there's an importance in branding,' he said. But, he added that he hoped to be able to 'reach a solution' with the other firms. A spokesman for the EUIPO said that it 'could not comment on individual cases' and that a final decision 'has not yet been reached' in this case. Chartered trademark attorney Chris McLeod said that the huge growth in the number of breweries - from about seven hundred across the UK in 2008 to more than two thousand as of last year - meant trademark issues around new beers are 'likely to become relatively common' in the increasingly crowded sector.' While dealing with the EUIPO 'is about as inoffensive or as unaggressive as you can be in objecting to a third party,' he said breweries ought to 'take care' when naming their new products.
A man has admitted to spanking a police officer on the buttocks in an attempt to s'how off to his friends' after a night out. Which is not on, obviously. Especially as you normally have to pay good money for that sort of thing. Apparently. Bradley Richmond, was witnessed 'thrusting his hips' and shouting at two police officers who were on foot patrol in Darlington town centre. Newton Aycliffe Magistrates' Court heard how Richmond had been stood with his friends at around 3.10am on 28 July, when the officers walked past. John Garside, prosecuting, said: 'The officers became aware of the defendant as he was shouting and thrusting his hips back and forth as he called to them. He then used his right hand to slap the buttock of the PC.' Richmond, who has no previous convictions, pleaded very guilty to assaulting a PC in the execution of their duty. Garside read out a victim personal statement on behalf of the PC involved who said he 'felt violated.' Richmond's solicitor, Stephen Andrews, said: 'It's kicking out time and police are on foot patrol and on their way to another unrelated incident when they see Mister Richmond messing about, essentially. It is described as "just showing off in front of his friends," being silly and as the officer is walking past, he taps him on the bottom. He has placed his hand where he shouldn't have, so it is an assault. He is embarrassed and rightly so. He said he won't be acting in this way again.' Richmond was fined one hundred and twelve notes and ordered to pay twenty five smackers compensation to the officer he assaulted.
For the second time in fourteen months, a Florida woman was reportedly arrested for domestic battery after she was 'denied sex.' Rebecca Lynn Phelps, of Hudson allegedly beat her boyfriend - really hard - after she grabbed his genitals while he was sleeping on Thanksgiving night and demanded the two have The Sex. When the man said no, Phelps scratched the victim on his eye, causing it to turn black and blue, the Smoking Gun reports. Phelps denied touching the man, whom she shares a home and child, but was arrested on a misdemeanour domestic battery charge. This is not Phelps' first brush with the law over the same issue; she was also arrested in September 2017 after hitting a man who, allegedly, 'did not want to have sexual relations with her.' In the prior incident, Phelps hit the man in the face and scratched his arm, causing it to bleed. It is not known if the men involved in the arrests are the same.
A visually-impaired man claims that he wants to read Playboy - for the articles - but cannot. On Wednesday, Donald Nixon - who is legally blind - filed a lawsuit against the company's website, claiming that it was in violation of the American with Disabilities Act, TMZ reported. Both and are allegedly 'not compatible' with Nixon's screen-reading software, which allows blind or visually impaired users to read the text with a speech synthesizer or braille display, according to the American Foundation for the Blind. Based on court documents obtained by TMZ, Nixon argued that visually-impaired people could not 'fully and equally use or enjoy the facilities, products, and services.' He reportedly is suing the Playboy company for violating the American with Disabilities Act, in hopes to make their website 'more accessible' for the blind and for 'unspecified damages.' Since 1990, the ADA has protected individuals with disabilities against discrimination in all areas of life, including employment, school and private places, according to the ADA National Network website. Those who violate the policy can face more than one hundred thousand bucks in fines, the Association of Corporate Counsel says.
Female paramedics were 'forced to watch pornography' and were 'subjected to sexually abusive behaviour' while working for a service which covers Somerset. A damning report into bullying has claimed that there is 'a highly sexualised and sexist culture' in some areas across the South West. A probe into South Western Ambulance Service Foundation Trust found that staff had quit their jobs and 'even considered suicide' because of some of the behaviour in the workplace. SWASFT, which serves Somerset, launched a review after an NHS staff survey saw twenty four per cent of the ambulance service's staff say they had experienced bullying or harassment. Ken Wenman, the ambulance service's chief executive, described the review's findings as 'the most important and significant' report he has read in twenty years. According to the Bristol Post, the report found 'sexual banter' created 'an intoxicating atmosphere' for staff and claims that new female employees were referred to as 'fresh meat' or told they were 'going to be put over a manager's knee and spanked.' The study alleged one male and female 'simulated sexual intercourse on the floor' in front of others, including managers who 'failed to intervene.' It said: 'Some male colleagues commented how they found the culture in some work locations to be highly sexualised and sexist.Interviewees also talked about managers openly flirting with new employees in an attempt to exert power and control.' The report found that staff 'brave enough to complain' were, then, 'sidelined for promotions or alienated by other employees.' It quoted one interviewee as saying: 'It was made clear to me if I wanted to progress my career there were sexual favours that were required. Nights out, weekends away. You do as we want you to.' The report adds that as well as sexualised behaviour, people also thought managers and colleagues were 'openly sexist' towards women, implying that because they were a woman, they were 'less capable.' Sexism was also used against women to give unfair workloads compared to men and used 'as a means of control,' the report found. The report also said that while some of the instances were 'historical' it 'left its mark on interviewees' and added: 'Some women talked about being exposed to pornographic material, to being physically propositioned and to behaviours that are frankly bordering on gross misconduct or even sexual assault.' SWASFT chairman Tony Fox said that he 'welcomed' the findings.
A Canadian promoter is staging a music festival next August to mark the fiftieth anniversary of the 1969 Woodstock festival. Bands have not been announced yet, but the W50 Group claims they will be a mix of original bands from fifty years ago and tribute bands. The event will run in a park in Ottawa from 9 to 11 August. The announcement suggests that 'music lovers' are encouraged 'to come dressed up like hippies.' Hopefully, someone will have a thermo-nuclear device pointed at the gaff in case any actual hippies turn up.
A man who allegedly 'laughed at police' when they found no drugs in his pockets was later discovered to be hiding a bag of cocaine up his penis, a court has heard. James Mason reportedly told the officers, 'ha ha, told you I had fuck all on us, you mugs,' when they searched him after 'a disturbance' at a student accommodation block. But the twenty one-year-old was hauled to the Cop Shop anyway for being drunk and disorderly 'after one too many swear words.' And, for 'looking at officers in a funny way.' Probably. On the way to the station the officers noticed that Mason was 'fiddling with his sock' and 'put his hand down his trousers.' He was then strip searched at the station, where he 'pulled a bag of white powder from his penis.' Mason, from Whitley Bay has been fined after pleading very guilty to possession of a class A drug and being drunk and disorderly in a public place. North Tyneside Magistrates Court on Tuesday heard police were called shortly after 10pm on 17 October to a disturbance at Manor Bank student halls, near Manors in Newcastle. When officers arrived they saw a man in the outside courtyard talking to a security guard. Prosecutor Bethany Jendrzejewski said that the man was holding a bottle of Sambuca, 'appeared to be unsteady on his feet, his eyes were glazed and he smelled of alcohol.' She told the court: 'The police formed the opinion he was drunk.' No shit? 'They were informed the male had been involved in a disturbance inside the premises and possibly had drugs in his possession.' The officers told Mason they were going to search him, to which he replied, 'Fuck off, you're not searching me.' He then said: 'Ha ha, told you I had fuck all on us, you mugs' when they found nothing in his pockets. Jendrzejewski said: 'He was warned about his bad language and told to leave the area. But he replied: "I'm going to go back in there and fucking smash their heads in, the mugs."' Mason was cautioned for being drunk and disorderly and taken to Forth Banks police station. On the way the officers saw him 'starting to fiddle with his sock and put his hands down his trousers.' They handcuffed him 'to stop him messing with his clothes' and put in a request to strip search him when they got to the police station, which was granted. At that point, Jendrzejewski said: 'He removed his trousers, pulled back his foreskin and pulled a white bag of powder from his penis. The defendant was asked what it was and replied that it was cocaine.' Mason was fined one hundred and twenty knicker after magistrates said they had 'rarely seen such an example of foolish adolescent behaviour.'
A careless truck driver in China reportedly threw a cigarette butt out of the window onto the road while driving and ended up setting his own truck on fire. According to South China Morning Post, the driver admitted that he was smoking a cigarette and threw it out adding that the wind 'probably' blew it to the back of the truck. He is identified by his surname Wu. Flames and heavy smoke soon engulfed the back of the vehicle as it came off a motorway in Zhangzhou, Fujian province and stopped near a toll station. Luckily, some bystanders rushed to the spot with fire extinguishers and managed to put out the fire, the report added. Investigators ruled out self-ignition as the cause because the rest of the truck was intact. Self-ignition usually occurs in the front and middle part of a vehicle.
A Wisconsin man with 'a host of long-running personal problems' was sentenced to four-and-a-half years in The Federal Pokey on Thursday for 'putting items into some links' at a Johnsonville Sausage factory in March. Jonathan T Lane, who had just started working on the quality control line a few weeks prior, said that he 'just wanted to go home early' when he slipped a cigarette paper one day and a piece of wire three days later, into sausages at the Sheboygan Falls plant. He then pulled them from the production line and alerted supervisors, causing a shutdown. No contaminated products ever left the factory. US District Judge Pamela Pepper said that it seemed 'much more likely' Lane was 'trying to be seen as a hero,' based on his own statement that, after his mother died in 2015, no one ever told him he was doing a good job at anything. 'I always feel unappreciated and fearful that I'll mess up,' Lane told Pepper during his apology for his 'poor choices.' Pepper pointed out that there were 'much easier ways to leave work early' and that, in one instance, Lane actually had to stay later after he flagged one of the affected links. 'I think this goes far beyond doing something stupid,' she said, adding that his 'reckless conduct' created the potential for the contaminated sausages to make it to some consumer's plates. In addition to the prison sentence, Pepper imposed three years of supervised release and ordered Lane to get a mental health evaluation and pay just over forty two thousand bucks to Johnsonville for the product it discarded after worries about Lane's tampering malarkey. In a sentencing memo, Lane's attorney, Ronnie V Murray, noted that Lane suffers from 'PTSD, ADHD, depressive disorder and liver disease, all of which contribute to Jonathan's history of cognitive dysfunction and poor decision-making.' That, in turn, 'got Lane in trouble' for nonviolent, nuisance-type crimes. 'He now finds himself in the most trouble he's ever been in,' the memo added. Lane was charged in May and in August pleaded very guilty to one count of tampering with a food product, with reckless disregard for the risk of injuring or killing another person. Citing Lane's 'many challenges,' including bouts of homelessness, his remorse for the ludicrous sausage scheme and the fact he has 'a good job waiting for him at a tractor factory,' Murray recommended a sentence no longer than six months in The Slammer, plus three years of supervision. 'All of the contributing factors to Jonathan's poor judgement and decision-making can be treated, but more effectively so in the community rather than prison,' Murray said. The prosecution had urged a seven-year prison term. Andrew Scarpace, a student intern for the US attorney's office, called Lane 'arguably a sympathetic defendant' but said that he'd had probation revoked before for lesser state offences and called Lane 'dangerous.'
The New York City Police Department has suspended a detective after learning that he recorded a thirty-second video of his testicles on a body cam in what appears to have been 'a horribly ill-advised prank,' the New York Daily News reported. According to the paper, 'law enforcement sources and internal police documents' said Detective Specialist Raymond Williams of the Seventy Ninth Precinct was suspended on Thursday after the video was 'inadvertently discovered' by a female staffer at the city's Legal Bureau during a review of recordings. Williams worked as a neighbourhood coordination officer. The Daily News reported: 'Williams waited until unsuspecting cop Michael Devonish - another neighbourhood coordination officer - went to the men's room in their Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, station house before he snatched Devonish's body camera and put it to anatomical abuse. On 2 October, Williams took possession of another member of the service's department issued body camera and recorded a thirty two-second second video consisting of him intentionally exposing his testicles while in the Seventy Ninth Precinct Special Operations Office,' according to police documents acquired by the paper. Williams' naked ass and testicles 'were on full display' and 'he even rubbed his penis,' alleged 'sources'allegedly said. 'If he's an NCO, that's worse,' an alleged 'source' allegedly told the paper. 'He's supposed to be a positive influence on the community.'
Andrew Burt, who has died of cancer this week aged seventy three, was one of the original cast members of ITV's rural soap opera Emmerdale when it was launched as Emmerdale Farm in 1972; he played Jack Sugden, the literary-minded farmer forever battling with his younger brother Joe (played by Frazer Hines). The serial, created by the accomplished writer Kevin Laffan and set in the remote Yorkshire Dales village of Beckindale, was built around the matriarchal figure of Annie Sugden (Sheila Mercier). But it was the return of the prodigal son Jack from a life in Rome after his father Jacob's death that kicked started the drama. Joe had given his all to the farm, but Jack was bequeathed the running of it. The twice-weekly drama was otherwise enjoyed for its leisurely pace and picturesque location, its debut hailed by the Torygraph's Sean Day-Lewis as 'Independent Television's earnest attempt to instill [sic] the habit of afternoon television' after the recent derestriction of broadcasting hours. The brooding Jack Sugden had walked out eight years earlier after a row with his father, then found some success as a novelist. Leaving the farm to Jack was Jacob's revenge, forcing him to return. Of his reason for casting Burt, Laffan said he 'had a kind of half-amused way of looking at things. It was essential for Jack to have a cynical outlook.' Realism was paramount for Laffan: he would later decry the show's descent into sensationalism, or what one cast member called 'Dallas with dung.' So, if Jack was seen milking a cow, that is what he was doing. It was one of the skills taught to the cast by the real farmer at the location, Arthur Peel. Burt, keen to move on to pastures new, left Emmerdale Farm in early 1974, reappeared briefly two years later, then was written out, having appeared in more than one hundred episodes, subsequently to be replaced in the role by Clive Hornby. The serial went on to become one of Britain's most popular soaps and switched to peak time. Andrew Thomas Hutchison Burt was born in May 1945 in Wakefield, to Aileen and Hutchison Burt, a psychiatrist, who died when Andrew was eight. On leaving Silcoates School with A-levels that included French, he joined an engineering company in Birmingham with ideas of becoming a sales rep abroad. But performing with the amateur Oldbury Rep gave him thoughts of acting. He trained at Rose Bruford College, Kent, then took a degree in English at the University of Kent before performing in repertory in Perth. After Emmerdale Farm brought him small-screen fame, Burt's prominent roles were as authority figures – such as Lieutenant Peek aboard the frigate HMS Hero, tackling smuggling and the Cold War in the 1976 and 1977 BBCdrama Warship, the captain of the Beagle, Robert FitzRoy, in The Voyage Of Charles Darwin (1978) and Chief Inspector Stanislaus Oates in Campion (1989-90). He was very good as Valgard, a member of the Vanir group of guards, in the 1983 Doctor Who story Terminus and played the leads in two BBC Sunday teatime serials, The Legend Of King Arthur (1979) and Lilliput (1982). He also presented the children's series Stepping Stones (1979-80). With his rich, authoritative tones, Burt was much in demand as a voice-over artist - in dozens of commercials ('Domestos Germguard cleans deep down'), on ITV news programmes and as the Radio Norwich announcer in Steve Coogan's sitcom I'm Alan Partridge (1997-2002). Other roles on his CV included Callan, Blake's 7, Chain, Cribb, Bognor, Rumpole Of The Bailey, Tales Of The Unexpected, Strangers, Angels, Bergerac, The Bill, Wire In The Blood, [spooks], In The Red, The Day Today and Oscar Charlie. Latterly he retired from acting to become a counsellor, gaining great satisfaction from helping people with stress-related illnesses. He was an avid collector of paintings and Michael Ayrton sculptures. Andrew, who was unmarried, is survived by his brother, Ian.
Bernardo Bertolucci, Italian director of Last Tango In Paris and The Last Emperor, has died in Rome, aged seventy seven. Born in Parma in 1941, his other films included The Conformist, The Dreamers, 1900 and The Sheltering Sky. Winner of two Oscars, for directing and co-writing The Last Emperor, Bertolucci was known for his bold visual style and the controversy stoked by Last Tango In Paris's explicit sexual content and Marlon Brando giving Maria Schneider one, geet hard, up the Gary Glitter. Bertolucci reportedly died of cancer after a short illness. His final feature, Me & You, had its premiere at the Cannes Film Festival in 2012. Bertolucci began his career as an assistant director to Pier Paolo Pasolini on his 1961 film Accattone. He directed his first feature, 1962's La Commare Secca, at the age of twenty one. Before The Revolution and The Spider's Stratagem followed, although it was Last Tango that brought him to the attention of the world. The 1972 movie, about an American businessman who begins a sexually charged relationship with a young Frenchwoman, was very banned in several countries. In 2016, a row was ignited after a video emerged of Bertolucci claiming that he did not fully prepare the then nineteen-year-old Schneider, for what he and Brando had planned t do to her in the infamous 'butter scene.' Schneider claimed the scene in question was not in the original script, but the director claimed it was 'a ridiculous misunderstanding.' Bertolucci's most critically successful film was The Last Emperor, a biopic of the Chinese emperor Pu Yi, which won nine Oscars in 1988, including best picture. Bertolucci received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2008 and was awarded an honorary Palme d'Or at Cannes in 2011. Bertolucci's films were often very political in their themes. He was a professed Marxist and, like Luchino Visconti, who similarly employed many foreign artists during the late 1960s, Bertolucci used his films to express his political views; hence they were often autobiographical as well as highly controversial. The Conformist (1970) criticised Fascist ideology, touched upon the relationship between nationhood and nationalism, as well as issues of popular taste and collective memory, all amid an international plot by Benito Mussolini to assassinate a politically active leftist professor of philosophy in Paris. 1900 also analyses the struggle of Left and Right. Tragedy Of A Ridiculous Man (1981) touched upon Italy's recent history of political kidnapping. In the spring of 2018, in an interview with the Italian edition of Vanity Fair, Bertolucci announced that he was preparing a new film. He stated: 'The theme will be love, let's call it that. In reality, the theme is communication and therefore also incommunicability. The favourite subject of Michelangelo Antonioni and the condition I found myself facing when I moved on from my films for the few, those of the sixties, to a broader cinema ready to meet a large audience.' The son of the poet and art historian Attillo Bertolucci (1911-2000), Bertolucci had one brother, the theatre director and playwright Giuseppe (1947-2012). His cousin was the film producer Giovanni Bertolucci (1940–2005), with whom he worked on a number of films.
And finally, on Wednesday of this week, dear blog reader, this blogger received an e-mail from Amazon asking if yer actual Keith Telly Topping would like to add a particular book to his Amazon shopping basket. This blogger did, briefly, consider e-mailing them back to inform them that, actually, since he wrote the fekker in the first place, he already had a few copies lying around Stately Telly Topping Manor. As Twirly once - almost - said, dear blog reader, if you want it, Kerblam! it.