Monday, April 29, 2019

Love Lies Bleeding Ridiculous

'What do we say to the God of Death?' 'Not today.' So, dear blog reader, Game Of Thrones' much-anticipated 'Battle For Winterfell' episode - The Long Night - arrived in the UK in the early hours of Monday morning in an eighty one minute blood-splattered orgy of total and utter effing righteous, tool-stiffening carnage. God, it was good. Proper, zombie-giant-eye-stabbing, dragonfire-burning, guts-literally-wrenching, '... and-the-dead-shall-rise-and-slay-the-living' mental in all its pompous, overblown, terrifying beauty. Full of heroism, anguish and, magnificently, more than a splash of redemption. Albeit, it was as dark - both literally and metaphorically - as it is possible to imagine and a bit more besides. As for those on-screen deaths, dear blog reader - him. And her. And ... the thing. (If you're wondering, there were the confirmed deaths of at least seven regular characters - eight if you're counting dragons - some of them major fan-favourites and at least a couple of whom had been part of the cast since episode one.) This blogger, unsurprisingly, thought the whole thing was absolutely great. And to think, dear blog reader, there are people out there who claim never (not never) to have seen a single episode of Game Of Thrones and, seemingly, want a sodding medal for it! They don't know what they're missing. Again, literally and metaphorically. The Interweb, obviously, var nigh melted under the crushing cascade of reviews which descended from a great height overnight in the episode's wake. Take, completely at random, the following sampling from the Gruniad Morning Star, the Washington Post, Forbes, Radio Times, the Independent, the Daily Scum Mail, the Den Of Geek! website, the Daily Torygraph, IGN, the Digital Spy website, Rolling Stain, the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, the Chicago Sun-Times, the NME, the New York Post, the Boston HeraldVox, CNN, Esquire and The Verge. And about a million or several others too. All of which, obviously, contain much spoilerisation if you're at all bothered by such malarkey.
Director Miguel Sapochnik returned to Westeros for Sunday's episode. The EMMY-winner was previously behind the camera on acclaimed episodes such as Hardhome, Battle Of The Bastards and The Winds Of Winter. Last year, Entertainment Weekly's James Hibberd interviewed Sapochnik at some length on-set in Northern Ireland. The interview gives some valuable insight into the extraordinary effort that went into pulling off the episode.
Meanwhile, from someone you've never heard of at the Torygraph who likes doing 'list features' instead of real journalism, here's sixty one things which you, apparently, didn't know about Game Of Thrones. This blogger, as it happens, knew about forty three of them and - whilst he is very definitely a fan of Game Of Thrones - he's hardly, what you'd classify as an expert on the minutia of its many and various doings. Others out there in the wide wide world of GOT fandom will know considerably more than he. Just in case the Torygraph - or any one else for that matter - are intending on doing any more examples of this kind of thing.
Speaking about her biggest challenge whilst filming Game Of Thrones, Maisie Williams told Vogue: 'When I was twelve, I thought it was a great idea to play Arya left-handed because she favours that side in the books.' She continued: 'Eight years later and I'm still paying for that mistake. I had to keep it up for continuity. In the beginning, I just had to do a little sparring.' Maisie appeared to regret the decision now Arya is constantly using her thin sword, Needle. She said: 'Now, I'm doing entire fight sequences with the wrong hand and I'm like, "Why did I ever think this was a good idea?"'
The CIA blew the cover of one of its former deputy directors after revealing he had a cameo in last week's episode of Game Of Thrones. David S Cohen made a brief appearance in episode two of the popular adult fantasy drama's final series as one of the unnamed residents of Winterfell being served soup by Ser Davos (Liam Cunningham). The CIA revealed Cohen's cameo in a tweet which read: 'Little birds, be on the lookout for a former deputy director of ours wandering through Westeros in tonight’s episode of Game Of Thrones.' Cohen served as deputy director of the CIA under President Barack Obama from 2015 to 2017. He responded to the agency's tweet by suggesting that they had 'blown his cover.' However, he had already hinted about his forthcoming cameo in a tweet posted the week before. 'You seem to have good sources in Winterfell,' he wrote in response to Playboy's Washington correspondent, who was first to report the planned cameo. In an interview with NBC, Cohen revealed that he asked his brother-in-law, David Benioff, one of the showrunners on the HBO show, if he could be an extra while they were celebrating Thanksgiving in 2017.
'Is he H?' 'Sorry, no comment!' If the fifth episode of the current series of Line Of Duty proved one thing, dear blog reader, it's that the majority of the previous four episodes this year had, largely, been a case of classic Jed Mercurio misdirection. And that, despite Anna Maxwell-Martin's extremely ambitious Patricia Carmichael seeming determined to prove otherwise, Ted Hastings almost certainly isn't 'H'. Although, he might be and it's all double (or triple) bluff! Whether he will end up going to The Slammer for (probably) someone else's bad and naughty crimes and who actually is the mysteriously-initialled Big Bad, next week's 'feature length' series finale may provide some answers. The smart money remains on Polly Walker's slimy and duplicitous Gill Biggeloe. But, don't be at all surprised it this series - of all series - doesn't throw in a completely left-field curve-ball and reveal that, actually, it's been Kate Fleming all along. Stranger things have happened, dear blog reader. Reviews of the latest episode can be found in the Torygraph, the Gruniad Morning Star, the Daily Scum Express and the Digital Spy website among others. Approach with extreme caution if you haven't seen the episode yet and don't want to be spoilerised like a big spoilerised thing with massive spoilerised knobs upon it.
'If I wanted to be screwed till my arsehole bled I'd go down to Torture Garden on a Friday night!' As previously noted, dear blog reader, this blogger does not intend to review any episodes of the second series of From The North favourite Killing Eve currently showing in the US until the episodes become widely available in Britain at a later date for fear of spoilerising anyone who wishes not to be spoilerised. Although, that said, when it does turn up over here you're really going to want to check out the Doctor Who joke in this week's episode; it was brilliant! And quite perceptive, too. However, if you're not bothered about any such spoilerising malarkey then, extremely spoilerising reviews of series two, episode four are available to utterly spoilerise your entire day at, for example, Vanity Fair, the Torygraph, The AV Club, Rolling Stain, Vulture and Entertainment Weekly among many others.
'When Gotham needs me, I will return.' A regular feature for the last four year in From The North's 'favourite TV shows in the world, bar none' lists, From The North favourite Gotham came to an end last week with its one hundredth - and final - episode, The Beginning ... In which yer actual Bruce Wayne his very self, a decade after we last saw him, returned to his home in a somewhat Chiropteran guise. Reviews of the episode can be found at the Digital Spy website, CNN, Den Of Geek!, The AV Club, TV Line, IGN, TV Fanatic, Screen Rant, the Daily Scum Express and The Hollywood Reporter. This blogger, if you're wondering, thought it was great. And, was a fitting end to one of the best and most consistently entertaining - if, occasionally, more than a wee bit bonkers - dramas US TV has produced in the last decade. It did not go gently into that Dark Knight and for that, we should all be grateful.
Whilst the climax of the Gotham series finale was undoubtedly the arrival of The Batman and Jeremiah's terrifying descent into The Joker was satisfying, there was one moment between Catwoman and Bruce which was both intriguing and, as it had no obvious conclusion, frustrating. Reflecting on an older Selina Kyle's confronting Bruce over his disappearance from Gotham a decade earlier ('I didn't want to be protected, I wanted you!'), showrunner John Stephens suggested to TV Line that there is potential in Catwoman's years between episodes eleven and twelve of Gotham's final series. When asked if Gotham was setting up plans for a Catwoman series, Stephens said: 'I don't know that [the idea was] planted. I'd say [we are] hopeful.' A spin-off would make sense given that the production went to all the trouble of re-casting Camren Bicondova's role. Explaining the decision to bring Lili Simmons on-board as an older Seina, Stephens told The Hollywood Reporter that it was actually Camren's idea. 'We talked a lot about what the finale was going to be, who Selina would be ten years on. [Camren] felt that she had played Selina as a character from thirteen to eighteen years old and she didn't feel that she wanted to play her at twenty eight. We respected her point of view and went around looking for someone who both could fill the role and hopefully would bear some similarity to Cam.'
'You are not made in God's image. We are made in yours. With all your flaws.' The patchy and flawed-but-interesting second series of From The North favourite American Gods also ended this week with a - somewhat atypical - patchy and flawed-but-interesting episode called Moon Shadow. Reportedly beset with behind-the-scenes production problems (although sources vary as to just how much disruption these actually caused) and the departure of a number of key figures both in front of and behind the camera, the second series of the Neil Gaiman adaptation admittedly wasn't as good as the - extraordinary - first year. But, it still managed to do the business when it really needed to. Hopefully, with the hiring of a new showrunner - Chic Eglee who previously worked on The Shield and Dexter - the recently commissioned third series will prove to be a bit less schizophrenic.
'My daughter, who thinks I died thirty years ago, is inside that bar.' The latest episode of From The North's current favourite TV show on all the planet, bar none, Doom Patrol was a, somewhat unexpected but, nevertheless, utterly beautiful character study of the team facing up to the things which shaped them. In Frances Patrol, while Larry pays a visit to his long-lost lover, Cliff and Rita travel to Gator Country in an attempt to reconnect with Cliff's daughter. Vic worries about his operating system and, with Jane, goes searching for Flex Mentallo. It was nowhere near as off-the-wall as some of the previous episodes, but it was every bit as inventive and charming. Reviews can be found here, here, here, here, here, here and here.
Not many TV dramas manage to get as far as the best part of six full series and one hundred and thirty episodes into their run before they reveal the true identity of their lead character. But, that's what From The North favourite The Blacklist managed with the second of two episodes broadcast this week, Rassvet. At least, for the moment, that's their story and they're sticking to it. More than a few reviewers of the episode seemingly, like this blogger, have their doubts as to whether we've really, finally, honestly, heard the whole truth and nothing but about the man we've been calling Raymond Reddington for the last six years. See, for example, here, here, here, here and here. The great thing about The Blacklist has always been - and remains - its ability to be both imaginative and infuriatingly vague, often at the same time.
Qi XL finally returns to BBC2 on 4 May with the episode Procrastination (oh, the irony) according to the BBC or, an entirely different episode, Phenomena according to Radio Times. Confused? You will be. Either way, this will be the first of five Qi episodes from the P series which have yet to receive their XL debut over four months since the standard, thirty minute, versions were first broadcast. Quite what the Hell the BBC have been playing at with their all-over-the-place scheduling of one of their flagship comedies this series is not known but it has, undeniably, been bloody disrespectful. Listen, it's really very simple, just show the whole series in one sixteen week block either side of Christmas and make sure the XL versions go out on the Saturday after the standard episodes are shown on Fridays. It's hardly rocket science.
Monday evening saw the final of series fourteen of From The North favourite Only Connect on BBC2. The Divine Victoria - and, for reasons best-known to the producers (other than the fact that it was, you know, funny) a clockwork monkey - presented the big prize to the winners, The Dicers who beat The Time Ladies. It was worth watching not only because it was brilliant, as always, but also for an unexpected reminder of just how ludicrously difficult the questions on 3-2-1 used to be!
From The North favourite Peaky Blinders has been 'accused of glorifying violence and promoting toxic masculinity' by some US-based academic whom you've never heard of. Which, of course, gave some louse of no importance at the Daily Scum Mail a right good excuse for a bit of extremely 'toxic' BBC bashing. The award-winning drama, which revolves around the lives of the Shelby crime family in post-World War One Birmingham, has become one of the broadcaster's most popular programmes. It is loosely - very loosely - based on a real-life gang who used the same name, referring to their peaked flat caps, and the show is expected to return for a hotly-anticipated fifth series later this year. Academic Doctor George S Larke-Walsh, of the University of North Texas, has published a paper claiming the drama's writers use the war 'as an excuse to justify and romanticise violent behaviour.' Larke-Walsh, according to the Scum Mail, 'previously obtained a PhD in film studies at the University of Sunderland before moving to the US and has written other papers on The Godfather and The Sopranos looking at the connections between Italian-American crime families.' Nice work if you can get it ... said the blogger whose own writing career focused on pop-culture subjects, TV shows and horror movies. Listen, Keith Telly Topping is in no position to cast aspersions, dear blog reader! He won't even pass judgement over the University of Sunderland. Hell, he wouldn't pass water over the University of Sunderland. Anyway, the producers of Peaky Blinders, the Scum Mail sneers, said the show 'invites viewers to consider the effect of violence on men, and the terrible and long-lasting consequences on both men and women of gang violence, poverty and, most of all, armed conflict.' Larke-Walsh told The Times which first reported this crap as 'news', that she is a 'fan' of the BAFTA-winning and internationally popular drama but 'wanted to highlight the complex nature of its depiction of violent masculinity.' Dear blog readers who follow the link above to the Scum Mail's website might like to have a brief gander at some of the below-the-line comments from Scum Mail readers for an example of real, honest-to-God (and, for the most part barely literate) 'toxic masculinity.' And then, perhaps, take a shower afterwards.
NCIS: Los Angeles will return for its eleventh series, while NCIS: New Orleans, which had been plagued by behind-the-scenes issues this year, will be back for a sixth. After NCIS star and executive producer Mark Harmon signed a new deal to return for a seventeenth series of the franchise's flagship drama last week, CBS subsequently has handed out renewals for both NCIS spin-offs. That all three series are returning could mark a sign of how little things may change for the network following the departure of CBS CEO Leslie Moonves, with the veteran executive always typically having a say in both new and returning series. 'Both shows have been key pillars to the CBS schedule for several years,' CBS Entertainment president Kelly Kahl said on Monday in a statement. 'They offer heroic stories, big stars and have attracted a passionate, loyal fan base. We’re excited to have Chris [O'Donnell], LL [Cool J], Scott [Bakula] and these terrific casts back to bring more terrific NCIS stories to viewers in the US and around the world.' NCIS: Los Angeles is one of just a handful of series to match or better its eighteen to forty nine ratings this series. CBS is also using the spin-off's tenth series to stage a reunion for several cast members of the show which launched the NCIS franchise, JAG. As for NCIS: New Orleans, the Scott Bakula-led spin-off has begun to show its age in its fifth series, with ratings falling more than ten percent; it has proven less capable of succeeding without the NCIS flagship as its lead-in. Additionally, a number of 'behind-the-scenes issues' reportedly 'prompted the firings' of former showrunner Brad Kern and executive producer Adam Targum. The three NCIS dramas - all produced in-house at CBS TV Studios - join a 2019-2020 broadcast slate at CBS which also includes the previously renewed Young Sheldon, Mom, Criminal Minds (for its final series), Blue Bloods and the rookies FBI, God Friended Me, The Neighborhood and Magnum PI. Still to be determined are the futures of Bull, Hawaii Five-0, Instinct, Life In Pieces, Madam Secretary, MacGyver, Man With A Plan, SEAL Team, SWAT, The Code, Fam, Happy Together, Murphy Brown and The Red Line.
While Lucifer may not yet be a redeemed show, it has found itself a second life on Netflix, where its upcoming fourth series is set to arrive in early May. In the first full trailer for the new series all is, generally, well in Lucifer's self-made paradise, but all that it takes is the return of an age-old love to knock the fallen prince on his devilish ass. Inbar Lavi joins Lucifer's cast as Eve, one half of The Original Sin, who comes back into Lucifer's life out of the blue and makes quick work of convincing him to more fully embrace his dark inner nature.
Joss Whedon's new series The Nevers for HBO will reportedly feature Outlander star Laura Donnelly in a lead role. The drama is about a group of Victorian women 'who find themselves with unusual abilities, relentless enemies and a mission that might change the world,' according to HBO. Whedon is once again working with his former Buffy The Vampire Slayer and Angel colleagues Magic Jane Espenson and Doug Petrie on the show which is going straight to series.
There is a terrific article by the Gruniad's Malcolm MacKenzie, How Coronation Street's Screen Queens Conquered Television which is well worth a few moments of your time, dear blog reader. If nothing else, it includes the following paragraph: 'As ITV's flagship soap, Corrie is on the box six times a week and the BBC and other networks know to capitalise on anticipation to see what its breakout stars do next. "They're not stupid, are they? They know what gets the ratings," says [producer Jonathan] Harvey. "They want as many people watching their shows as possible and if they think a certain performer is going to help them do that, of course they're going to use them." Plus, he adds, "it's easy to get a good show reel" out of Coronation Street: "I can't imagine any casting director watches every episode avidly, but if they are considering Julie Hesmondhalgh for the lead in something, there are plenty of clips on YouTube of her dying beautifully, or being really funny, on Corrie." Doctor Who is so fond of using Street stars that Twitter has dubbed it "Coronation Street in space." [Katherine] Kelly played the otherworldly teacher Miss Quill in the Who spin-off Class, [Sarah] Lancashire was super nanny to the adorable Adipose aliens and Suranne Jones played the actual TARDIS made flesh. The last series alone was a virtual Rovers reunion, with Bradley Walsh, Shobna Gulati, [Julie] Hesmondhalgh, [Siobahn] Finneran and Jonathan Dixon. By 'eck - it's an invasion not even The Ood saw coming.'
Another highly recommended piece in the Gruniad is Stuart Jeffries' piece From Shafted To Club X: The TV shows So Shocking They Were Taken Off-Air. It's one of those kind of 'let's do an article which lists a bunch of TV show that have little in common except for something obscure' that people like the Digital Spy website specialise in and which normally irritate this blogger to the point of vexation. This one is a bit better-written than the norm, admittedly and it does include one paragraph that justifies its existence: 'Pulling the plug mid-broadcast is one thing. Banning a show after it has aired is quite another. That is what happened to an episode of The X-Files that aired in October 1996. Viewers complained that Home, about a murderous inbred clan, was "too disturbing." Children discover the body of a deformed baby in a field, Mulder and Scully investigate and, eventually, find an incestuous family who bump off anyone who threatens their lifestyle, including the limbless matriarch Ma Peacock, who lives on a rolling cart under a bed. It was never broadcast again, except on Halloween 1999, when FOX used the furore generated by its own ban to boost ratings, billing the show as "so controversial it's been banned from television for three years." At the time, co-writer James Wong said: "We didn't think we were pushing the envelope of taste in the way people seem to ascribe to us – "Oh, there's incest, there's killing a baby."' For what it's worth, this blogger's view of Home hasn't changed since he wrote about it in less-than-glowing terms in the book X-Treme Possibilities two decades ago: 'There is nothing redeeming in this dreadful waste of time and talent, just waves of repulsive images. Defenders of this episode have described it as a "tribute" to horror movies and accused me of being squeamish. Not a bit of it, if Home had an ounce of originality behind the gore, then it might have still worked, but the episode is just a bunch of borrowed plot devices strung together for effect; echoes of To Kill A Mockingbird and Psycho at the beginning give way to a depressingly ugly series of set-pieces taken from The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and The Hills Have Eyes. The US transmission contained a pre-titles warning of the carnage to come ("Due to some graphic and mature content, parental discretion is advised"). A pity they didn't include a warning about insulting the audience's intelligence too.' Never a big fan of that one, was yer actual Keith Telly Topping dear blog reader. You might have guessed!
Whilst yer actual Jodie Whittaker is no longer in the cast for the second series of BBC1's Trust Me, the creator of the medical drama has been geet busy 'paying homage' to its former lead with lots of references to her new role in Doctor Who. From Time Lord toys to TARDIS screen-savers, there are plenty of Doctor Who allusions, links and sight-gags in the drama, with Dan Sefton previously telling Radio Times that these references are, not only deliberate, but that they have also become 'part of the plot.' The Doctor Who and Trust Me extends to one of the new series lead actor's, Alfred Enoch, the son of William Russell, who played Ian Chesterton in Doctor Who from 1963 to 1965 (you knew that, right?) Radio Times is currently keeping tabs on all of the Doctor Who-related 'Easter Eggs' featured in Trust Me which include a David Tennant action figure briefly glimpsed in episode one and a TARDIS screensaver on a mobile phone in episode two.
Stephen Frears is to direct a forthcoming adaptation of James Graham's Quiz for ITV. The acclaimed director has been approached by independent television production company Left Bank Pictures. Twice Oscar-nominated Frears is one of the most influential directors of his generation and is currently BAFTA-nominated for the BBC's A Very English Scandal. It is not clear at this stage whether the show is a one-off or multi-part drama. Graham is a British playwright who has written a series of blockbuster hits about the world of politics in recent years, including This House and Ink, which chronicled billionaire tyrant Rupert Murdoch's ownership of the Sun. Quiz, which premiered at the Minerva Theatre in Chichester in 2017, centred on the scandal of the former British Army Major Charles Ingram, who was found guilty in court of cheating on the ITV show Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? The play later transferred to London. Graham described the incident, in which Ingram's wife and a friend allegedly coughed in the audience each time he said the right answer, as 'the most British crime in the history of the world.' Earlier this year, Graham wrote Brexit: The Uncivil War for Channel Four, which starred yer actual Benedict Cumberbatch. The combination of Frears and Graham will excite fans of both. Frears is among the most garlanded English directors still working today, with credits including My Beautiful Laundrette, High Fidelity, The Queen and Philomena. Last year, he directed A Very English Scandal, Russell Davies's acclaimed three-part drama for the BBC, starring Hugh Grant as the former Liberal Party leader Jeremy Thorpe. It has been nominated in four categories at the BAFTA TV awards held in London next month. The filmmaker has been brought on board for Quiz by Left Bank Pictures founder Andy Harries, who like Graham, is a graduate of the University of Hull. In recent years he has become one of the most powerful figures in British television, having made The Crown for Netflix. A date for broadcast of the ITV adaptation of Quiz has not yet been set.
Riverdale viewers have said an emotional farewell to Luke Perry after his poignant final scenes were broadcast, almost two months after the actor died. Writer Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa said that Wednesday's episode of The CW series was the last Perry filmed. It was 'a beautiful, true moment between a father and his son,' he wrote. 'Wish these scenes could go on forever.' Luke died in March at the age of fifty two after suffering a stroke. Perry, who played Fred Andrews, was seen in two scenes in the episode, culminating in a heart-to-heart with on-screen son Archie, played by KJ Apa. Fred was seen reassuring Archie after his boxing opponent Randy died in the ring. The Hollywood Reporter's Emma Dibdin wrote: 'Though brief, the scene encapsulates the warmth and humanity Perry brought to Fred, as well as his role as the show's moral compass.' TV Line's Dave Nemetz said: 'Though Fred didn't get killed off or leave town or anything like that, he did remind us why he's the best parent on Riverdale by a country mile.' There are three remaining episodes of Riverdale's current third series and producers have not yet revealed how Perry's character will be written out.
Blue Peter has named Richie Driss as its thirty eighth and newest presenter. Driss will make his debut on the CBBC show on 16 May, co-hosting with Lindsey Russell and the show's new dog, Henry. The thirty-year-old from St Albans previously worked as a presenter for Joe Media and had his own series on the 'urban culture' website GRM Daily. 'To say that becoming a Blue Peter presenter is a dream come true doesn't even begin to describe it,' said Driss. 'To be named presenter of the longest running children's television programme in the world is a far bigger achievement than I ever dreamed possible.' He added: 'I cannot wait to get started and follow in the footsteps of the sixty years of iconic presenters who have worn the famous Blue Peter badge before me. I am going to give it my all, no matter what the job throws at me.' Driss joins the show following the departure of long-standing presenter Radzi Chinyanganya last week. Acting editor Matthew Peacock said that Driss 'really stood out' at their rather gruelling-sounding screen-tests. 'Richie really impressed us during his auditions and showed that he has plenty of Blue Peter spirit when he came face to face with a Burmese python and took on a ninja assault course,' he said. 'We're sure he will be a big hit with the legions of Blue Peter fans.'
A proposal to put plaques on some buildings in Thame to promote its role in ITV's Midsomer Murders has been refused. The town council wanted to fit six red plaques to listed buildings, but on Wednesday evening South Oxfordshire District Council sneeringly rejected the bid. Some po-faced fraction of no importance from the district council whinged that such a happenstance would 'compromise the historic and architectural interest of the buildings.' Yes, dear blog reader, Hot Fuzz's NWA is, indeed, alive and well and living in Oxfordshire, it would seem. Thame has featured as the fictional town of Causton in the popular ITV series since 1997. Filming has taken place in Thame, Wallingford, Dorchester-on-Thames, Warborough, Henley and Watlington and walking tours have sought to capitalise on the programme's popularity. South Oxford District Council snivelled: 'Whilst the visitor may wish to "arrive in Midsomer," it is important to also recognise that Midsomer is not real and that the market town of Thame is historically significant in its own right and not as the set of a television programme.' The Oxfordshire Blue Plaques scheme said it 'could not support' the project. It said Thame's 'unspoilt [sic] and authentic character must surely be the main attraction for most tourists rather than the precise identification of the sites.' John Nettles starred in the series as Tom Barnaby until 2011, when Neil Dudgeon took over as lead detective John Barnaby when his on-screen cousin retired.
TV naturalist and From The North favourite Chris Packham has condemned the hanging of dead crows outside his home in the New Forest by some sick fuck as 'ghastly.' It comes as the licensed shooting of crows has been halted after a challenge by the Wild Justice campaign group of which Packham is a, highly visible, spokesperson. Natural England has revoked licences for controlling sixteen species of bird, including several types of crow. Chris posted a picture of the crows on social media and said opponents were 'lashing out.' What is believed to be his address has also appeared in an online post urging people to 'dump dead lambs' at his property. Chris said: 'All it does is strengthen my resolve to make the UK countryside a better place for wildlife and the people who live and work there. In a very sad and perverse way this ghastly action indicates that I'm making progress. As I've always said "I'm not here to make friends - I'm here to make a difference."' A Hampshire Constabulary spokesman confirmed a report of criminal damage has been made with the incident believed to have taken place between 8pm on Wednesday and 7am on Thursday. Wild Justice was set up by Chris and other campaigners to take legal cases on behalf of wildlife against public bodies. In February it challenged the general licences which allow farmers to shoot birds including wood pigeons, jackdaws and magpies that allegedly damage crops or attack livestock. A statement said: 'We haven't changed the law, we have merely shown that the current system of licensing of killing of certain species of birds, developed and administered by a statutory wildlife agency, is unlawful now and presumably has been for decades.' Natural England said that it revoked three licences for controlling certain wild birds following the challenge and was working on 'alternative measures' which would allow 'lawful control' of the bird species to continue 'where necessary.' The move provoked a backlash from farmers groups and others. A petition calling on the BBC to 'sack Chris Packham' - which, thankfully, they're not going to do or anything even remotely like it - has received more than eighty five thousand signatures from, no doubt, perfect specimens of humanity. But, a counter petition has since been set up opposing any potential (and, as noted, not even remotely likely) sacking, saying 'as a journalist [Packham] should be allowed to use his platform to inform everyone the reality of our dying planet.' This whole malarkey, dear blog reader is, of course, a very useful reminder of an age old truism. There are some good people in the world and there are some bad people in the world. Most of us are somewhere in the middle just trying to get through life without interacting too much with the latter. And then, dear blog reader, there are some people who are just scum. Trying not to interact with them is usually a good idea too but, sometimes, it's unavoidable.
News organisations are, according to the Gruniad Morning Star, 'fighting to open Harvey Weinstein's next court appearance to the public, after both prosecutors and defence attorneys asked for it to be held behind closed doors.' At a hearing set for Friday, ahead of the 'disgraced movie mogul's trial in New York' on rape and sexual assault charges, the sides will argue over whether some of the many women who have accused Weinstein of sexual assault - besides the ones involved in the criminal charges - will be allowed to testify at his June trial. But, prosecutors and defence attorneys have both asked the judge to shut out reporters and spectators from the court proceedings, which are normally - though, not always - open to the public. Prosecutors say they want to preserve Weinstein’s right to a fair trial and the privacy of his accusers. Weinstein's lawyers say news coverage of potential testimony against him could 'taint' the jury pool. Both reasonable arguments. However, the Gruniad sneers, 'news organisations including the Associated Press and New York Times argued in court papers that the sides have not met the high legal standard necessary' to shut the public out of the courtroom. 'Clearly, there is no rational basis let alone "compelling circumstances" that could justify the parties' effort to suppress this information now that it is in the public domain as a result of widespread news reporting,' wrote Robert Balin, a lawyer for the news organisations. Balin argued that sealing the hearing would do nothing to protect Weinstein's right to a fair trial because the accusations have been 'widely covered in the news media.' Weinstein is charged with raping a female acquaintance in a hotel room in 2013 and forcibly performing oral sex on another woman. He has denied all allegations of non-consensual sex and pleaded extremely not guilty. Prosecutors are looking to introduce evidence of Weinstein's uncharged misconduct - a tactic also used at the trial of Bill Cosby, where five other women testified the comedian had drugged and assaulted them. The judge in the case, James Burke, is expected to hear arguments from the news organisations at the beginning of the hearing and then rule on whether it will proceed publicly or be sealed. The judge threw out an attempt by Weinstein's defence team to get the charges dismissed in December. The onetime Hollywood mogul has since shaken up his defence team, parting ways with attorney Benjamin Brafman and hiring Jose Baez and Ronald Sullivan to represent him.
Oscar-winning actor Rami Malek is to play a villain in the twenty fifth official James Bond film, but the movie still does not have a title. The cast and creative team have been unveiled at a launch event in Jamaica, with Fleabag creator Phoebe Waller-Bridge confirmed as one of the writers. The as yet unnamed film, which will be released next April, will be Daniel Craig's fifth and final outing as 007. Malek won an Oscar for playing Freddie Mercury in Bohemian Rhapsody. The official plot summary mentions 'a mysterious villain armed with dangerous new technology.' And, that's different from the previous twenty four movies how, exactly? Details of Malek's character have not been revealed and he wasn't at the official launch on Thursday, but sent a video message confirming he will play a villain. 'I'm stuck here in New York in production but I'm very much looking forward to joining the whole cast and crew,' said the Egyptian-American actor, who is currently filming TV show Mister Robot. 'I will be making sure Mister Bond does not have an easy ride in this, his twenty fifth outing. See you all soon.' After watching that, Craig joked that he was 'scared' about what lay in store for the not-so-secret agent. The official plot summary reads: 'Bond has left active service and is enjoying a tranquil life in Jamaica. His peace is short-lived when his old friend Felix Leiter from the CIA turns up asking for help. The mission to rescue a kidnapped scientist turns out to be far more treacherous than expected, leading Bond onto the trail of a mysterious villain armed with dangerous new technology.' At the launch, producer Barbara Broccoli said that Bond's attitudes to women would 'move with the times.' Because, that's never been tried before. 'The Me Too movement has had a huge impact - rightfully, thankfully - on society and these films should reflect that, as everything we do should,' she said. Craig told BBC News: 'Bond has always adapted for the times. But you're dealing with a character who is flawed, who has issues and I think that's something that's worth still exploring and grappling with. Of course, we wouldn't be movie-makers or creative people if we didn't have an eye on what was going on in the outside world.' It was also confirmed that Ralph Fiennes and Ben Whishaw will return as M and Q respectively, with Naomie Harris coming back as Moneypenny and Rory Kinnear again Bill Tanner. Lea Seydoux is reprising her Madeleine Swann character from 2015's Spectre, while Jeffrey Wright is returning as Felix Leiter. As well as Malek, new cast members include Lashana Lynch, Billy Magnussen, Ana de Armas, Dali Benssalah and David Dencik. Writer and actress Waller-Bridge, who was also behind the first series of Killing Eve, is just the second female writer in Bond history - after Johanna Harwood, who worked on Dr No and From Russia With Love. Barbara Broccoli said: 'Daniel suggested Phoebe, who we all love, so we leapt at the opportunity and she's been amazing, doing great work.' The other co-writers on Bond Twenty Five are Neal Purvis and Robert Wade along with Scott Z Burns, whose credits include 2007's The Bourne Ultimatum. The film is being directed by Cary Joji Fukunaga, whose credits include the first series of HBO's True Detective and Netflix's Maniac. Fukunaga said: 'Daniel is my favourite Bond and I want to make sure this run of films, which have been fantastic, have a really great next chapter and keep upping the ante so whoever is next has a harder job.' Fukunaga came on board last year after Danny Boyle left the project over unspecified 'creative differences.' There are also changes elsewhere behind the camera. Cinematographer Linus Sandgren, who won an Oscar for La La Land, comes in as director of photography, while editor Tom Cross won an Oscar for Whiplash.
One chap clearly didn't get the memo regarding Avengers: Endgame - or he did, but chose (unwisely) to ignore it - and got chinned for his trouble outside a Hong Kong cinema after shouting out spoilers to fans waiting in line to see the next showing of the movie. Taiwanese media reported that the man, who was not identified, was 'left bloodied' outside a cinema in Causeway Bay. A photo of the purported victim circulated online and showed him sitting on the street with claret a-pouring after, seemingly, getting his face kicked right in. Earlier, an 'open letter' was shared on Instagram by Marvel Studios filmmakers Joe and Anthony Russo in the hours after some leaked footage and images from Avengers: Endgame was shared online. The Russos pleaded with early-screening audiences to 'be reticent' regarding major plot points. 'When you see Endgame in the coming weeks, please don't spoil it for others, the same way you wouldn't want it spoiled for you,' the Russos said. In what we must presume to be a joint statement as the only alternative was that they pair of them chanted it, simultaneously.
Viddy well, Droogies, a previously unseen manuscript for a follow-up to Anthony Burgess's novel A Clockwork Orange has been unearthed in his archive. A Clockwork Condition, which runs to two hundred pages, is a collection of Burgess' thoughts on the human condition and develops the themes from his 1962 book. The novel told the story of the state's - ultimately successful - attempts to cure a teenage delinquent, Alex, of his sick and depraved ultraviolence. The unfinished non-fiction follow-up is described as 'part philosophical reflection and part autobiography.' In it, Burgess also addressed the - mostly media-created - controversy surrounding Stanley Kubrick's 1971 movie adaptation of A Clockwork Orange. The film, starring Malcolm McDowell as Alex, was accused by a few scum tabloids of inspiring 'copycat' crimes and was banned by some local councils in the UK. Horrorshow. And drag. Kubrick withdrew the film from distribution in the UK after a few months and it was only after the director's death, in 1999, that the film was re-released in UK cinemas and made available for home viewing. A Clockwork Orange was, however, a huge box office success in Europe and in the US and was nominated for the Oscar for best picture in 1972 (losing to The French Connection). The manuscript for A Clockwork Condition was never published and was found among papers at Burgess's house in Bracciano, near Rome. When the house was sold after the writer's death in 1993, the archive was moved to Manchester, where it is being catalogued by the International Anthony Burgess Foundation. Burgess himself described the work as a 'major philosophical statement on the contemporary human condition,' outlining his 'concerns' about the effect on humanity of technology, in particular media, film and television. It also explains the origins of his novel's unusual title. 'In 1945, back from the army,' an extract reads, 'I heard an eighty-year-old Cockney in a London pub say that somebody was "as queer as a clockwork orange." The "queer" did not mean homosexual: it meant mad ... For nearly twenty years I wanted to use it as the title of something. It was a traditional trope and it asked to entitle a work which combined a concern with tradition and a bizarre technique.' Professor Andrew Biswell, director of the International Anthony Burgess Foundation, said: 'This remarkable unpublished sequel to A Clockwork Orange sheds new light on Burgess, Kubrick and the controversy surrounding the notorious novel. The Clockwork Condition provides a context for Burgess's most famous work and amplifies his views on crime, punishment and the possible corrupting effects of visual culture.' Professor Biswell said that the author abandoned the manuscript when he came to realise 'he was a novelist and not a philosopher.' He then published a short autobiographical novel tackling some of the same themes, The Clockwork Testament, in 1974. On Friday, the Design Museum in London launched a major Stanley Kubrick exhibition, which included material from his Clockwork Orange adaptation.
The American space agency's InSight lander appears to have detected its first seismic event on Mars. The 'faint rumble' was reportedly picked up by the probe's sensors on 6 April - the one hundred and twenty eighth Martian day of the mission. It is the first seismic signal detected on the surface of a planetary body other than the Earth and the Moon. Scientists say the source for this 'Marsquake' could either be movement in a crack inside the planet or the shaking from a meteorite impact. Or, possibly, an Ice Warriror farting though, admittedly, that's a touch less likely. NASA's InSight probe touched down on the Red Planet in November last year. It aims to identify multiple quakes, to help build a clearer picture of Mars' interior structure. Researchers can then compare this with Earth's internal rock layering, to learn something new about the different ways in which these two worlds have evolved through the aeons. InSight's scientists say the character of the rumble reminds them 'very much' of the type of data the Apollo sensors gathered on the lunar surface. The vibrations picked up by InSight's sensors are made audible in this video and record three different types of signal. The wind on Mars; the reported 6 April event and the movement of the probe's robot arm as it takes photos. Astronauts installed five seismometers that measured thousands of quakes while operating on the Moon between 1969 and 1977. InSight's seismometer system incorporates French (low-frequency) and British (high-frequency) sensors. Known as the Seismic Experiment for Interior Structure, the instrument was lifted on to the Martian surface by the probe's robotic arm on 19 December. Both parts of the system observed the 6 April signal, although it wasn't possible to extract any information to make a more definitive statement about the likely source or the distance from the probe to the event. 'It's probably only a Magnitude one to two event, perhaps within one hundred kilometres or so. There are a lot of uncertainties on that, but that's what it's looking like,' said Professor Tom Pike, who leads the British side of the seismometer package. Doctor Bruce Banerdt is NASA's chief scientist on the InSight mission. He added: 'This particular Marsquake - the first one we've seen - is a very, very small one. In fact, if you live in Southern California like I do, you wouldn't even notice this one in your day-to-life. But since Mars is so quiet, this is something that we're able to pick up with our instrument.' The team is investigating three other signals picked up only by the low-frequency sensors - on 14 March (Sol one hundred and five), 10 April (Sol one hundred and thirty two) and 11 April (Sol one hundred and thirty three). However, these were even smaller than the Sol one hundred and twenty eight event and the InSight scientists do not have the confidence yet to claim them as 'real' seismic events. The probe's prime mission is set to run for two Earth years - a little more than one Martian year. Given the time taken to make this first detection, it might suggest InSight should record another dozen or so seismic signals in the initial operating period, explained Professor Pike. 'When you've got one, you don't know whether you were just lucky, but when we see two or three we will have a better idea,' the Imperial College London researcher told BBC News. 'Of course, if the other three are confirmed then we could be looking at quite a large number of detections over the next two years.' SEIS was developed and provided for InSight by the French space agency. The UK Space Agency funded the five million smackers British involvement. Sue Horne, the UKSA's head of space exploration, commented: 'Thanks to the Apollo missions of the 1960s we know that Moonquakes exist. So, it's exciting to see the Mars results coming in, now indicating the existence of Marsquakes which will lead to a better understanding of what's below the surface of the Red Planet.'
Much has changed technologically since NASA's Galileo mission dropped a probe into Jupiter's atmosphere to investigate, among other things, the heat engine driving the gas giant's atmospheric circulation. A NASA scientist and his team at the Goddard Space Flight Centre in Greenbelt, Maryland, are reportedly taking advantage of those advances to mature a smaller, more capable net flux radiometer. This type of instrument tells scientists where heating and cooling occurs in a planet's atmosphere and defines the roles of solar and internal heat sources that contribute to atmospheric motions. The next-generation radiometer is specifically being developed to study the atmospheres of Uranus and/or Neptune, but could be used on any target with an atmosphere. Of all the planets in the solar system, only Uranus and Neptune - the ice giants - remain relatively unexplored. While Voyager 2 took photos of the seventh and eighth planets in the solar system, it did not obtain the breathtaking details that the subsequent Galileo and Cassini missions gathered about Jupiter and Saturn. Even far-flung Pluto scored a close-up look with the New Horizons mission in 2015. A lot remains to be discovered, said Shahid Aslam, who is leading the team developing the next-generation instrument, an effort funded by NASA's Planetary Concepts for the Advancement of Solar System Observations, or PICASSO, programme. Scientists do know that both Uranus and Neptune host a slushy mantle of water, ammonia and methane ices, while their atmospheres consist of molecular hydrogen, helium and methane gas. However, differences exist in these cold outer Jovian worlds. As temperatures fall below minus 333.7 degrees Fahrenheit, ammonia gas freezes into ice crystals and drops out of the atmospheres of both planets. Methane — a blue-coloured gas - becomes dominant. While atmospheric-methane content is similar in both planets, they look different. Uranus appears as a hazy blue-green, while Neptune takes on a much deeper blue. Some unknown atmospheric constituent is thought to contribute to Neptune's colour, Aslam said. Also, Uranus lacks internal heat. Consequently, its clouds are cold and don't billow above the top haze layer. Neptune, on the other hand, radiates as much energy as it receives from the Sun. This internal energy gives Neptune an active, dynamic atmosphere, distinguished by dark belts and bright clouds of methane ice and cyclonic storms. Because NASA has never flown a dedicated mission to the ice giants, details of the physics driving these atmospheric conditions remain elusive, Aslam added. He believes the new instrument could provide answers. It is a successor to a similar type instrument that gathered data about Jupiter's atmospheric conditions before being crushed by Jupiter's atmospheric pressure in December 1995. During that perilous, fifty eight-minute ride deep into the planet's atmosphere, Galileo's net flux radiometer - one of several mounted inside the probe - measured radiation that reached the planet from the Sun above as well as the thermal radiation or heat generated by the planet itself below. These top and bottom measurements helped scientists calculate the difference between the two, a measurement called 'net flux.' In addition to providing details about atmospheric heating and cooling, net flux data reveal information about cloud layers and their chemical composition. 'Actually, you can learn a lot from net flux data, especially sources and sinks of planetary radiation,' Aslam said. Like its predecessor, Aslam's instrument would take a suicidal plunge through the atmospheres of either Uranus or Neptune. But as it made its descent, it would gather information about these poorly understood regions with greater accuracy and efficiency, Aslam said. 'Available materials, filters, electronic detectors, flight computing and data management and processing have all improved. Frankly, we have better technology all the way around. It's clear that the time is now to develop the next generation of this instrument for future atmospheric entry probes,' he said. Instead of using pyroelectric detectors employed on Galileo, for example, Aslam is eyeing the use of thermopile sensors, which convert heat or infrared wavelengths or heat into electrical signals. The advantage is that thermopile circuitry is less susceptible to disturbances and electrical noise. Aslam's team is also adding two additional infrared channels to measure heat, bringing the total to seven, and two additional viewing angles with which to gather these wavelengths and help model light scattering. When light scatters in one field of view due to interactions with aerosols and ice particles, the scattering can contaminate measurements in another field of view. This gives scientists a skewed picture of what's happening when they analyse the data. Furthermore, the instrument's tighter field of view will reveal greater detail about the planet's cloud decks and atmospheric layers as the instrument makes it descent. Just as important, the instrument is smaller and its sensors employ modern application-specific integrated circuits that support fast data sampling, Aslam said.
The Hayabusa-2 spacecraft has sent back images of the crater made when it detonated an explosive charge next to the asteroid it is currently investigating. On 5 April, the Japanese probe released a fourteen kilogram device packed with plastic explosive towards the asteroid Ryugu. The blast drove a copper projectile into the surface, hoping to create a ten metre-wide depression. Scientists want to get a 'fresh' sample of rock to help them better understand how Earth and the other planets formed. Hayabusa-2 has now taken pictures of the area below where the 'small carry-on impactor' device was to have detonated and identified a dark disturbance in which fresh material has been excavated from beneath the surface. Scientists working on the Japanese Aerospace Agency mission said that the blast area on the surface measures about twenty metres in diameter, twice the size of the crater they expected to see. The mission's official account tweeted: 'We did not expect such a big alteration, so a lively debate has been initiated in the project!' Because of the debris that would have been thrown up in this event, Hayabusa-2 manoeuvred itself before the detonation to the far side of eight hundred metre-wide Ryugu - out of harm's way and out of sight. But the probe left a small camera behind called DCAM3 to observe the explosion. Hayabusa-2 later returned to its 'home position' about twenty kilometres above the asteroid's surface. From there, it conducted a search for the crater produced in the explosion. In coming weeks, scientists will command the probe to descend into the crater to collect its fresh samples. Because they will come from within the asteroid, they will be less altered by the harsh environment of space. Bombardment with cosmic radiation over the aeons is thought to change the surfaces of these planetary building blocks. Ryugu belongs to a particularly primitive type of space rock known as a C-type asteroid. It is a relic left over from the early days of our Solar System and, therefore, records the conditions and chemistry of that time - some four-and-a-half billion years ago.
Glenn Murray missed a late chance to all but secure Brighton & Hove Albino's Premier League status as Chris Hughton's side earned a point against this blogger's beloved (though unsellable) Newcastle. For much of the match the Albinos struggled to test a Magpies side that took a first-half lead through Ayoze Pérez's brilliant strike. The home side had not produced an effort on target until the seventy fifth minute when Pascal Groß headed in the equaliser after Murray had nodded Bruno's cross into his path. Hughton - still a very popular figure on Tyneside after his dignified time as manager of United between 2009 and 2010 - had a look of despair on the touchline after Murray's last-gasp miss, but it is debatable whether his side would have deserved to take all three points. Once again they were devoid of invention in attack and broke a club record of eleven hours and thirteen minutes without a goal, which had been held since 1970. At the other end, his defence struggled in the first half against attacking duo Pérez and Salomón Rondón, who combined again for Newcastle's opener. Paul Dummett delivered the ball into the area for the Venezuelan target-man, whose chested knock-down was lashed home by Pérez, his fifth goal in the last three games. The introduction of Solly March in the second half improved Brighton as an attacking force. How Hughton would love to be if Rafa The Gaffer's position. Both managers have spent relatively modest sums in transfer windows, but the Spaniard always seems to get the best out of what has been at his disposal. For a second successive season Benitez's defence and attack have peaked in the second half of the campaign having been as low as eighteenth in the Premiership back in early January. Rondón and Pérez - together with the arrival of record signing Miguel Almirón - have been key to this revival and the duo now combined for seven Premier League goals this season - the most by a Newcastle pair in one season since 1999-2000 when Alan Shearer and Nolberto Solano managed it eight times. And, bar The Seagulls' two second-half chances, The Magpies' defence - currently the seventh tightest in the league - looked untroubled and compact.
Elsewhere, West Hamsters United became the first away team to win at Stottingtot Hotshot's new ground, Cardiff City edged nearer to relegation, while Southampton and Bournemouth shared six goals in a pulsating South coast derby. Michail Antonio's brilliant second-half goal was enough to give the Hamsters what was only their third away win of the season, with Fabian Balbuena clearing Vincent Janssen's header off the line in stoppage time to ensure their three points. Hotshots' boss, Mauricio Pochettino, claimed that his side were 'suffering' from 'stress and fatigue.' Which, if you Google the phrase 'lame excuses for under-performing and grossly over-paid prima donnas losing a football match,' you'll find that one pretty near to the top of the list. Already relegated Fulham's Ryan Babel fired in a superb goal from twenty five yards to condemn Whinging Neil Wazzcock's Cardiff to defeat at Craven Cottage. The result leaves The Bluebirds third bottom with two games left, three points adrift of Brighton and clinging to Premiership survival by their fingertips. Wolves stay in seventh place after a two-one win at Watford. Diogo Jota grabbed the winning goal thirteen minutes from time to send Watford down to ninth in the table. Everton lost ground in the race to possibly take a place in the Europa League next season with a goalless draw at home to Crystal Palace. In the Championship, Sheffield United effectively sealed promotion to the Premier League by beating relegated Ipswich at Bramall Lane on Saturday. Goals from Scott Hogan and Jack O'Connell put The Blades six points clear of third-placed Dirty Leeds whose draw with Aston Villains on Sunday confirmed Sheffield's promotion. Norwich City also clinched promotion with a two-one win over Blackburn Vindaloos. At the other end of the table, Rotherham United were relegated from the Championship after West Bromwich Albinos came from behind to beat them at The Hawthorns. Following Millwall's goalless draw with Dirty Stoke in Saturday's early kick-off, Rotherham needed to at least avoid defeat by The Albinos to have any chance of survival. But their two-one defeat means they will join already relegated Ipswich and Notlob Wanderings in League One next season. The top two teams in League One will be promoted to the Championship, with the next four entering the play-offs. Promotion is between Luton Town, Barnsley, Portsmouth and Blunderland who are all assured of at least a play-off place. Two of those teams will join Charlton Not Very Athletic in the play-offs - as will one from Doncaster, Peterborough and Coventry. The bottom four teams will be relegated to League Two. Bradford City were relegated on 19 April after they lost at Coventry and other results went against them later that day. The remaining three places are between seven teams going into the final day of the season. Lincoln City became the first EFL team to be promoted from League Two when they drew with Cheltenham on 13 April and they clinched the title on 22 April. Bury, Mansfield, Milton Keynes and Forest Green are assured of at least a play-off place. All five are still able to claim one of the two remaining automatic promotion spots. Bury will be promoted if they win their game in hand at Tranmere on Tuesday. The bottom two teams will be relegated to the National League. Yeovil Town's relegation was confirmed after a two-two draw at Northampton. They will go down with either Notts County or Macclesfield. Goal difference means County are likely to go down unless they win their final game and Macclesfield lose theirs. Leyton Orient were promoted to League Two from the National League after a goalless draw with Braintree on the final day of the National League season to clinch the title. Six teams - AFC Fylde, Harrogate Town, Wrexham, Eastleigh, Solihull Moors and Salford City now go into a two-tier round of play-offs to decide the second promotion place. Maidstone United, Havant & Waterlooville, Braintree Town and Aldershot Town have been relegated and will be replaced by the champions and play-off winners of the National League North and South divisions. Torquay United clinched the National League South title on 13 April, with Stockport County making sure of the North title this weekend. In the North play-offs, Altrincham, Blyth Spartans, Chorley, Spennymoor Town, Bradford Park Avenue and Brackley Town are involved. The South play-offs involve Bath City, Wealdstone, Woking, Welling United and Chelmsford City.
Notlob Wanderings have been told that they must complete their two remaining Championship fixtures this season by the English Football League Board. The EFL called off Saturday's match with Brentford after Notlob's players said that they would not play for the club again until they received outstanding wages. Notlob have been told to rearrange that game 'at the earliest opportunity.' An EFL statement said the 'ownership difficulties' at the relegated club 'remain a significant concern.' Former Watford owner Laurence Bassini has reportedly agreed a deal to take over the club from Ken Anderson, which remains subject to EFL approval. When it was announced on 17 April, Notlob said 'significant funds' would be made available to pay outstanding wages and a number of long-term creditors. However, a club statement on Saturday said that Anderson is receiving 'independent advice from his professional advisors' regarding the takeover, with claims that Bassini had promised to 'arrange payment for players and coaching staff' and had 'failed to make the funds available.' In his own statement, Anderson claimed that he was giving Bassini 'until close of play on Monday to complete the outstanding matters' and that 'the ball is now firmly in Mister Bassini's court. Unfortunately, we never really know what Mister Bassini's true intentions are,' he added. Before the Brentford postponement, Bassini told Sky Sports News that he would pay the players and had transferred a million knicker to 'settle the bill' so that the game could go ahead, but he 'did not have control' to pay them and he was still awaiting a share certificate from Anderson. The EFL statement added: 'We will look to work with both parties over the next week to bring all outstanding matters to a speedy conclusion. It should be recognised that the resolution is not in our hands but we will assist where possible, with the long-term interests of Bolton Wanderers and its supporters our priority.' Wanderings' players and members of the coaching staff are still awaiting wage payments for March and this month's salaries are due on Tuesday. On Friday, the first-team squad issued a joint statement saying that the financial situation was 'creating mental, emotional and financial burdens for people through no fault of their own.' They added that it was 'placing great strain on ourselves and our families.' The players also apologised to supporters for what 'may be seen as drastic action' but stressed that the decision to go on strike had 'not been taken lightly' and that they had taken the stance 'with deep regret.' In their statement on Saturday morning, the EFL said it was 'satisfied that a team can be selected from the players they have registered and available to them' for their remaining two league fixtures, even if first-team players do not make themselves available for selection. The EFL would have forced Notlob to play Saturday's fixture had their under-eighteen team not been involved in a match on Thursday, bringing concerns about 'potential player welfare issues.' The EFL statement read: 'This same issue will not reoccur as the club is able to plan the players' preparation and recovery time accordingly.' BBC Sport claims the the Professional Footballers' Association believes it is 'up to the EFL' to reach a solution which protects the integrity of the Championship - but that it is 'not keen' on the idea of youth-team players being used en-masse to fulfil Notlob's remaining games.
Montenegro have been ordered to play their next home match behind closed doors following the sick and wicked racist abuse of England players by some of their supporters in a Euro 2020 qualifier in Podgorica in March. England won five-one but the match was entirely overshadowed by the sick racist chanting from some home 'fans' directed at several England players, including Danny Rose. Montenegro will also reportedly have to display a UEFA banner with the wording 'Equal Game' at their next game and have been fined twenty thousand Euros. That fine was for different charges of setting off fireworks, throwing objects, crowd disturbances and blocking stairways. In a statement the Football Association said: 'We hope that their next home match being played behind closed doors sends out a message that racism has no place in football or in wider society.' But, sadly, it probably won't because racist numbskulls, generally, can't be reasoned with. A pity, dear blog reader, but if history has taught us anything about racist numbskulls it's that when it comes to rational thought, racist numbskulls are about as thick as pig's shit and twice as nasty. Rose later said that he 'can't wait to see the back of football' and suggested he was 'frustrated' at the lack of action taken against fans' racism. The left-back said: 'When countries get fined what I probably spend on a night out in London, what do you expect?' Although, if Rose really does spend around twenty grand on a night out in London then that, in and of itself, is a pretty shocking indictment of how grossly overpaid many modern day footballers are when twenty grand is probably the annual salary of some of the Stottingtot Hotshots fans who watch Rose play on a weekly basis. Anyway, that's an entirely separate matter and one that, really, should be left for another day. UEFA's disciplinary committee announced a number of punishments on Friday. They included Slovakia being fined forty three thousand Euros for a number of charges including illicit chants during their Euro 2020 qualifier against Hungary; Hungary themselves given a partial stadium closure for a number of charges including racist behaviour and fined twenty three thousand Euros from the same match; Dynamo Kiev fined sixty thousand Euros (following a Europa League game against Moscow Chelski FC; Fußball-Club Bayern München fined twelve thousand Euros for blocking stairways during a Champions League tie against Liverpool Alabama Yee-Haws; The Republic of Ireland fined ten thousand Euros after some of their fans threw tennis ball onto the pitch during a recent Euro 2020 qualifier against Georgia. Raheem Sterling scored England's fifth goal against Montenegro in the eighty first minute and celebrated by putting his hands to his ears, a gesture he later said was 'a response' to the sick racist abuse, which was also aimed at Callum Hudson-Odoi. In injury time Rose was booked following a strong challenge on Aleksandar Boljevic, with more racist chants aimed at the twenty eight-year-old. Montenegro coach Ljubisa Tumbakovic subsequently claimed that he did not 'hear or notice' any racist abuse - one or two people even believed him - but England manager Gareth Southgate said 'there's no doubt in my mind it happened - it's unacceptable.' The minimum punishment from UEFA for an incident of racism is a partial stadium closure, while a second offence results in one match being played behind closed doors and a fine of fifty thousand Euros. Montenegro's next home match is a qualifier against Kosovo on 7 June.
Paris St-Germain forward Neymar has been banned by UEFA for three European games for insulting match officials on Instagram after the Champions League defeat by The Scum. The Brazilian called referee Damir Skomina's late penalty decision made using the video assistant referee system, 'a disgrace' on social media. Neymar, who was injured, watched The Scum overturn a two-nil first-leg deficit. He will now miss half of next season's Champions League group stage. Neymar said that the penalty, which was scored by Marcus Rashford, 'doesn't exist.' The twenty seven-year-old went on to add: 'It's a disgrace. Four guys who know nothing about football watch a slow-motion replay in front of the television.' The referee reviewed footage of the ball striking the hand of PSG defender Presnel Kimpembe before awarding the visitors an injury-time penalty that gave them a three-one win in the second leg on 6 March, enabling them to progress on the away goals rule. 'What can he do with his hand while his back is turned?' whinged Neymar, who missed both legs with a broken metatarsal. Neymar returned to action after a three-month injury absence as a half-time substitute as PSG celebrated winning Ligue Un by beating Monaco on Sunday.
Police are investigating after a referee was forced to abandon a match in the Republic of Ireland after allegedly being wrestled to the ground. Sunday's game in County Wexford was called off during the second-half with visitors Gorey Celtic winning five-nil at Ballagh United. 'It is alleged that a man in his fifties was assaulted by a player while refereeing a match,' said a police spokesman. Irish referee Daniel Sweeney suffered a broken jaw in a separate attack in November. The latest incident occurred as the sides played in an end-of-season match refereed by Michael Comiskey in division four of the Wexford League. 'A complaint of minor assault was reported to Gardaí following a soccer match at the Ballagh, Enniscorthy,' said a police spokesman. 'The injured party did not require medical attention. Enquires are ongoing.' Wexford Football League Secretary Gertrude Rowlands told BBC Sport: 'We await the referee's report and a full investigation will take place by the WFL.' John Lavery, secretary of Gorey Celtic, said that the player involved was not from his club, while the home side declined to comment further. The Irish Soccer Referees' Society expressed its concern about assaults on officials in November after the attack on Sweeney in a car park following Mullingar Town's match at Horseleap in County Offaly. 'Without referees there is no game. We, as referees, should be viewed as a resource and in turn we should be given the protection and respect we deserve,' said president Paul O'Brien. Three Mullingar players were banned for forty years each by the Combined Counties League over the incident. Another ex-Mullingar player had his lifetime playing ban extended to include all football activities.
A spot of unfortunate fielding has made headlines in the cricketing world. The short video clip of the moment when a fielder failed to stop the ball and then was accidentally hit - on the arse, really hard - by his own teammate during Spondon Cricket Club's fifth team's game against Kirkby Portland has been viewed more than two-and-a-half million times on Twitter. The clip was retweeted by England's Stuart Broad and Joe Root and even made the news in Australia. Martin Burley, captain of Spondon's fifth side, who were batting at the time, said that the passage of play was 'something every club cricketer could relate to.'
The UK's shale gas commissioner - the so-called 'Fracking Tsar' - has fracking resigned after just six fracking months, saying that fracking is being 'throttled' by fracking rules preventing mini-earthquakes. Suggesting that she believes mini-earthquakes are something worth not preventing. A controversial stance. Current government rules mean fracking must be suspended every time a 0.5 magnitude tremor is detected. But Natascha Engel said that this 'cautious approach' to earth tremors had created 'a de facto ban on fracking.' She claimed that campaign groups 'were driving policy' - but the groups say fracking damages the environment. And welcomed her decision to frack off. In her resignation letter to Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Greg Clark, Engel claimed the government was 'pandering to what we know to be myths and scare stories' about shale gas extraction. She whinged to BBC News that when she took up the post, there had been 'an understanding' that fracking would 'struggle to develop' if the 'really ridiculously low limits' on tremors had not been increased. Engel said that the role had been her 'ideal job' but 'where you've got government in such terrible paralysis, you do have to do something as dramatic as this' in order to have your voice heard. She added: 'The profile of environmentalism has really been raised and I think the need to reduce our carbon emissions is absolutely urgent and fracking is absolutely one way we can do that.' A spokesperson for the government said that it was 'confident' current regulations 'strike the right balance in ensuring the industry can develop, while ensuring any operations are carried out safely and responsibly.' Ministers created the commissioner role to give confidence in regulation to local communities, the industry and regulators. In January, the government told shale firm Cuadrilla it had 'no intention of altering' the regulations after the rules repeatedly halted work in Fylde, in Lancashire. Labour leader Comrade Corbyn has called for a fracking ban which he has said is 'not compatible with climate change prevention.' On Wednesday, the party is expected to call for a dramatic fracking cut in the UK's carbon emissions and to press the government to declare 'a national climate emergency.' Engel's departure will be welcomed by green groups who said her 'pro-fracking views' precluded her from being an honest fracking broker. A spokeswoman for the environmental protest group Extinction Rebellion said Engel's fracking resignation meant the government should 'rethink' its fracking policy and move away from fossil fuels. The key issue is a government rule that forces the industry to stop fracking every time there is a micro-tremor of 0.5 magnitude. Engel said: 'This amounts to a de facto ban. The paralysis we are seeing in Parliament [on fracking policy] is made worse by social media and a powerful environmental lobby making impossible demands on CO2 emissions.' The government said it wanted to support fracking because gas produces fewer carbon emissions than coal. Engel said the result of the 'over-strict' regulations would be difficulty in making those CO2 reductions, lower economic growth and less energy security - as the UK would need to import gas rather than produce its own. She continued: 'These points have been made repeatedly but ministers ignore them and instead allow campaign groups to drive policy. So many local businesses face collapse. They have invested vast amounts to "get ready for shale" as the government had told them to. There is, therefore, no purpose in this role.' She pointed out that forty nine geoscientists had recently called on the government to 'relax' what they called the 'over-zealous regulations.' The Lancashire for Shale group said that her fracking departure was 'a damning indictment of government dithering,' calling for ministers to take another fracking look at 'overly cautious rules on mini-earth tremors.' A spokeswoman said: 'Instead of listening to the science and expert opinion, politicians appear to be taking their steer from a vocal minority, aided and abetted by well-funded international campaign groups and their slick PR machines.' Environmentalists will be delighted with Engel's decision to fracking quit. They argued that fracking rules on the crowded land of the UK must be far more fracking rigorous than in the open spaces of America. More fundamentally, they said that it was fracking madness for the UK to be seeking more gas when firms have already discovered far more fossil fuel than scientists say can be burned without wrecking the fracking climate. Greenpeace UK head of politics Rebecca Newsom said that the fracking industry had been fracking 'stuck in a time warp' and that 'it's not surprising some of its backers are getting tired of waiting,' adding: 'What's bad news for frackers is good news for everyone else.' Environmental charity Friends of the Earth said Engel's suggestion that fracking could help reduce carbon emissions was fracking 'outrageous.' It added that the government had already 'bent over backwards to help the fracking industry,' despite it being fracking 'bad news for our climate and environment' and 'deeply unpopular' with the fracking public. Earlier this week, the former CBI head Adair Turner said there was 'no place for fracking' if the UK was to play its part in holding global temperature rise down to 1.5C. The government's policy has also been influenced by its own backbenchers. This week, the Teesside MP Simon Clark said in Parliament that the time for fracking had 'come and gone.'
People around the world are 'becoming more angry, stressed and worried,' according to a new global survey. No shit? And, they needs a survey to suss that out? Of some one hundred and fifty thousand people interviewed in over one hundred and forty countries, a third said that they suffered stress, while at least one in five experienced sadness or anger. The annual Gallup Global Emotions Report asked people about their positive and negative experiences. The most negative country in the world was Chad, followed by Niger. The most positive country was Paraguay, the report claimed. The US was the thirty ninth most positive country, the UK was forty sixth and India ranked ninety third. Researchers focused on the experiences of participants the day before the survey took place. Interviewees were asked questions such as 'did you smile or laugh a lot yesterday?' and 'were you treated with respect?' in a bid to gain an insight into people's daily experiences. In the interests of full disclosure, dear blog reader, Keith Telly Topping has to confess that he was one of the respondents to this particular survey from the UK. But, he'd had quite a nice time the day before taking it and, thus, his own answers probably helped to push Britain a couple of places higher up the chart than it would've been on a 'normal' day at Stately Telly Topping Manor. Anyway, around seventy per cent of people who expressed a preference said that they experienced a 'considerable' amount of enjoyment the day before the survey. Well, the weather was nice and there was some decent stuff on telly so, you know, it was to be expected. The poll found that levels of stress were 'at a new high,' while levels of worry and sadness also increased. Some thirty nine per cent of those polled said that they had been worried the day before the survey, and thirty five per cent were stressed. All of those stress were also worried at the same time meaning that four per cent of those who replied were worried but not stressed about it. Latin American countries including Paraguay, Panama and Guatemala topped the list of positive experiences, where people reported 'feeling a lot of positive emotions each day.' The poll claims that it is 'reflective of the cultural tendency in Latin America' to 'focus on life's positives.' A spectacular example of cultural stereotyping which might qualify as racism. Just sayin'. Chad had the highest score for negative experiences. More than seven-in-ten Chadians said that they had 'struggled to afford food' at some point within the past year. As many as sixty one per cent of people in the country said they had 'experienced physical pain.' The country suffers from inadequate infrastructure and internal conflict, while health and social conditions compare unfavourably with those elsewhere in the region. Despite Chad's high score for negative experiences, people in the US and Greece were, allegedly, more stressed than Chadians. Well, one of them has an economy that's every bit as ruined as the Parthenon and the other one has Donald Rump as it's President so, you know, that's broadly speaking to be expected. Greece had the 'most stressed' population in the world with fifty nine per cent saying they experienced stress on the day before the poll. Around fifty five per cent of US adults said they were stressed.
Potholes on Teeside have been 'filled within days' after penis graffiti was painted around them according to reports. The phallic symbols of a massive dong and a pair of geet big hairy balls were sprayed around a number of potholes on roads in Middlesbrough earlier this week. Middlesbrough Council claimed that a road-mending team which was already in the Acklam area 'acted quickly' to fix the phallus-adorned potholes 'once it was made aware of them.' Resident Brad Nicholson said that the potholes had been there for more than a year, adding: '[That's] the power of the willy.' Nicholson, who shared a picture of a filled-in pothole on Facebook, said the holes appeared two years ago but only became a problem about a year ago. He said he did not know who painted the penises - at least, that's his story and he's sticking to it - and that even if he did know, he wouldn't grass, but then added: 'It's about time something was done about all the potholes in Middlesbrough.' A spokesman for Middlesbrough Council said: 'Middlesbrough, like all local authority areas in the country, has issues with potholes and repairs are carried out on a priority basis determined by the risk they pose to highway users. Currently, however, we are carrying out pre-planned works in the Acklam area and staff were able to visit the nearby site on Fane Grove when the matter was reported to us and have patched over the hole.' In January, Essex County Council pledged to act after a similar protest in Saffron Walden.
A thirty eight year old Israeli woman was extremely arrested in Rome on Thursday after she reportedly carved into a Colosseum pillar the names of her husband and children. She was released from police custody and will face a judge in the next few days. Calling the incident 'an expression of rudeness' the manager of the site, Alfosina Russo, told the Italian newspaper La Repubblica that the damage was 'light' and the pillar will be repaired soon. This is, according to the Jerusalem Post, not the only incident in which Israeli tourists have been caught defacing heritage sites. In 2011 an Israeli couple allegedly 'stole spoons and knives' from the Auschwitz museum site and were pinched by the Polish authorities. They were allowed to exit the country after they paid a fine. Heritage sites around the world face the problem of tourists who sabotage them or deface them. China has announced it 'will not tolerate' the theft of bricks from its Great Wall and has begun to routinely inspect those who visit the site as some tourists can't resist taking a brick from it back home.
As it happens, dear blog reader, this blogger his very self has been to the Colosseum. But, all he took away from that particular Roman holiday was the memory of getting absolutely stung to the tune of twenty Euros by a couple of right cowboys in plastic armour for getting his picture taken with them outside the gaff. True story.
A naughty Russian agent who reportedly 'tried to infiltrate US political groups' has been sentenced to eighteen months in The Slammer, telling the court: 'I destroyed my own life.' Maria Butina tried to insinuate herself into the National Rifle Association in an effort to sway American policies in favour of Moscow. After pleading not guilty, she later reversed her position, admitting to a single count of conspiracy in December. The thirty-year-old has been in custody since July. She will face deportation immediately after her sentence is served. Butina told the court: 'My parents discovered my arrest on the morning news they watch in their rural house in a Siberian village. I love them dearly, but I harmed them morally and financially. They are suffering from all of that. I destroyed my own life as well. I came to the United States not under any orders, but with hope and now nothing remains but penitence.' Despite prosecutor's claims that she damaged US national security, Butina said that she had 'no intention' of harming the American people. Her sentencing came on the same day that US President Donald Rump travelled to speak at the NRA convention in Indianapolis. In court on Friday, US District Judge Tanya Chutkan said that she had 'received and reviewed' two dozen character letters for Butina. But the judge was reportedly unmoved by Butina's apology, saying that her actions 'jeopardised our country's national security' and sent her Russian ass to jail, US media said. 'This was no simple misunderstanding by a overeager foreign student,' Judge Chutkan said. At the end of the hearing, Chutkan wished Butina well. 'You are a young woman, you are smart, you are hard working.' Judge Chutkan said, 'I wish you the best luck.' Federal prosecutor Erik Kenserson described Butina as 'an agent of a foreign government' with 'undoubtedly serious intentions,' though stopped short of calling her activities espionage. 'While it is certainly true that the defendant was an American university student,' Kenerson said, 'she did this for the benefit of the Russian Federation.' As part of a plea deal, Butina had agreed to co-operate with investigators. Judge Chutkan noted on Friday that Butina had provided 'substantial assistance' in the form of snitching to law enforcement. Prosecutors said they 'expected' the deal would 'provide information' about Russia's efforts to interfere in US politics. Prosecutors said Butina was 'directed' by 'a senior Russian official' to infiltrate conservative political groups, including an unnamed pro-gun lobbying organisation presumed to be the NRA. In a statement read in court, one of the prosecutors said Butina had drafted, in March 2015, a document called Diplomacy Project which called for 'unofficial communication lines' between high-ranking US officials and Russia. She acknowledged that she worked with 'two Americans and a Russian official.' The Russian government has previously described the case as 'fabricated.' One or two people even believed them.
A woman previously jailed for having sex with a dog is reportedly facing prison again, this time for robbing a bank. Somewhat incompetently. The Daily Mirra reports that 'perverted Amber Finney,' was 'caught by sickening footage of her engaging in sexual activity with her dog in 2017.' Finney made criminal history after becoming the first person in Warren, Ohio ('America', the Mirra helpfully adds for those readers who, you know, weren't sure) to be convicted of bestiality. She has now reportedly pleaded very guilty to robbery after police followed her footprints in the snow from a bank to her home five hundred yards away. Finney will have background checks before Judge Pete Kontos of Trumbull County Common Pleas Court sentences her in about four weeks, reports The Vindicator. 'The brunette, who has a paw tattoo on her chest, walked into a Chase bank with a hooded sweatshirt covering her face in February,' the newspaper claims. She handed a cashier a note saying which said: 'Give me all the money and no die [sic] packs.' Finney reportedly told the bank teller that she 'did not want to hurt her.' Which was thoughtful. She then left the bank with one thousand dollars after being told that it was 'the most which could be handed out.' Police arrested Finney at a house nearby after following footprints in the snow.
A parrot which warned two alleged drug dealers in Brazil that Plod were coming was 'taken into custody' after it almost foiled the undercover drug raid, authorities said. When the green-and-white bird spotted officers on Tuesday at its owners' Teresina home, it allegedly squawked 'Mama, Police!' Only, in Portuguese, according to the local outlet Which would be 'Mama, Policia!' for the unilingual amongst From The North's dear blog readers. Despite the bird's impressive efforts to tip-off the owners, a man and a woman were arrested by The Fuzz, the outlet reports. Drugs, including crack cocaine and marijuana, were found at the property, as well as large amounts of money. Police did not name the parrot, which has reportedly continued to show its loyalty to its owners and is refusing to, if you will, sing like a canary. The Gruniad reports that a local journalist said the bird 'won't talk' to officers and 'hasn't made a sound.' Authorities believe the parrot was trained to spot police cars. It is being kept - behind bars - at a zoo in Teresina.
Police reportedly arrested a Honolulu woman after she struck a man with a beer mug - really hard - at a bar in Haleiwa. The assault occurred at the establishment on Thursday. Police said that the victim, 'an acquaintance of the woman,' sustained a one-inch laceration to his head. The victim drove himself to a hospital where he was treated for his injury. Police arrested the suspect on charges of second-degree assault and slung her sorry ass in The Joint.
Two French cheeses have been suspended from sale after thirteen children were reported to have fallen ill with E coli bacteria poisoning after eating them.The cheeses - Saint-Félicien and Saint-Marcellin, both made by the Société Fromagerie Alpine in Romans-sur-Isère in the Drôme department - were pulled from shelves on Saturday. The brands are mainly sold in large supermarkets such as Leclerc, Lidl and Auchan. The recall was 'a precautionary measure,' claimed the ministers for health and agriculture, after thirteen children in several French regions were reported to have contracted cases of hemolytic uremic syndrome due to an E coli infection, since 21 March. Investigations revealed that several of the children had eaten these cheeses before symptoms appeared. Anyone who still has cheese from these brands are advised not to eat the product and to take it back to the original point of sale for a refund. Anyone who has eaten the cheese - and later presents with symptoms such as abdominal pain, explosive diarrhoea, or explosive vomiting - should 'consult a doctor as soon as possible,' making sure to mention the possible link to the cheese and potential E coli poisoning. And, if possible, not to explode from either end whilst in the doctor's waiting room. E coli (the bacteria Escherichia coli) naturally occurs in humans' digestive system, but certain strains of it can lead to illness, causing anything from mild diarrhoea to several kidney infections, intestinal bleeding and death. Health authorities have warned that small children, pregnant women, older people, or those with suppressed immune systems should avoid eating cheese and other dairy products made with raw milk. Instead, they should choose cooked-style cheeses, such as Emmental or Comté, or any cheese made with pasteurised milk.
A woman in Toronto has been very arrested after she reportedly stabbed her partner in the genitals during an argument. Canadian police found a man with multiple stab wounds to his Jacob's Cream Crackers when they responded to the incident at an apartment complex on Sunday morning. The man was subsequently rushed to hospital with what were described as 'life-threatening injuries' but his condition was later upgraded to stable. Eyewitnesses claimed that the stab victim 'staggered through the building' whilst 'naked and bleeding.' A woman, named locally as Deidre Martin, has been arrested over the alleged attack. Detectives allege she produced a knife during 'a heated domestic dispute' and proceeded to stab her partner multiple times. She has been charged with attempted murder, aggravated assault, assault with a weapon and possession of weapons dangerous to the public peace. A police spokesman said: 'I know that there's some media reports suggesting he had his genitals taken off. That is not true, but I won't go into the specific injuries.'
Lime scooters in Brisbane have reportedly 'been making suggestive and offensive comments to riders' after 'pranksters' allegedly hacked audio files on some vehicles. The scooters were hacked to make a variety of lewd comments, most of which were 'sexual in nature,' local media outlets reported. At least eight scooters had files affected in the naughty cyber-attack. Lime said that the prank was 'not funny' - although it, actually, is - and that it was working to return the hacked scooters to their 'normal state.' Videos on YouTube uploaded by riders who had received the hacked messages revealed that the scooters had been 'altered.' The Channel Seven TV news station in Brisbane posted further footage of an entire row of hacked e-scooters playing the messages. One message had the scooter saying: 'Don't take me around, because I don't like to be ridden.' Lime spokesman Nelson Savanh told the Brisbane Times that the prank was 'the work of vandals' and that it was checking its entire fleet to see how many of them had been tampered with. 'It's not smart, it's not funny and is akin to changing a ringtone,' he spluttered, angrily. 'It's disappointing that someone has taken this opportunity to poke fun at members of the community in a hurtful way,' added Savanh. Lime e-scooters are currently on trial in Brisbane with the city's council considering whether to grant the transportation firm a licence to operate permanently. The hack comes in the same month that Lime had to issue a software update to many scooters around the world to fix a glitch which led to some riders being injured. The problem meant that the scooters would suddenly slam on their brakes when riders were going at full speed down hill. As detailed on the YouTube video Why Are People DYING On Lime Scooters.
This blogger is thoroughly indebted to his old mucker Danny Blythe for the following observation: 'There was a person in Sheffield City Centre today sporting a sandwich-board which says "Wake Up Satan's Sleeping Cattle." If nothing else, [that's] a great name for a thrash metal album.'
A New Orleans woman has been arrested for beating up her boyfriend with his own prosthetic leg because he wanted to break up with her, Daily Scum Mail reports. Michelle Jackson was arrested two months after the alleged 11 February incident. She and her - now former - boyfriend 'had been drinking' when he told her that he wanted to 'see other people,' according to Captain Jason Rivarde of the Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Office. The man went to sleep without further incident but woke up some hours later with an injured hand and a large cut on his head. Jackson had already fled the scene and, allegedly, told a relative that she had beat the man with his prosthetic leg and believed she may have killed him. She then went on the run. US Marshals finally tracked down Jackson at her home on 10 April and she was booked into a correctional centre on a charge of aggravated battery of the human anatomy.
A ladyperson in Plymouth has been extremely arrested on suspicion of impersonating a police officer. A 'concerned resident' reportedly 'took to Facebook' to share details of the alleged incident which was said to have involved 'a young lady knocking on doors.' The post went on to claim that the woman, allegedly, stated she was 'undercover' with Devon and Cornwall Police and was asking 'a lot of questions that didn't add up.' So, the real Devon and Cornwall Fuzz swooped in and busted her ass.
Studio executive David Picker, who gave The Be-Atles (a popular beat combo of the 1960, you might've heard of them) their movie debut, has died aged eighty seven. Picker, who served as the head of United Artists, Paramount and Columbia for more than half-a-century, died at home in New York at the weekend. The movie producer introduced The Be-Atles to Hollywood with the films A Hard Day's Night and Help! and kick-started the film career of Steve Martin. Picker is also credited with convincing author Ian Fleming that his James Bond novels could make the leap from the written page to the cinema. MGM Studios tweeted: 'We are saddened to hear that a member of the United Artists family has passed away,' describing Picker as 'a true visionary.' As well as helping to bring The Be-Atles and Bond to cinema audiences, Picker oversaw Midnight Cowboy, the only X-rated film ever to win Best Picture at the Oscars. Picker began his career in 1956 at United Artists - the studio founded in 1919 by DW Griffith, Charlie Chaplin, Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks. He helped bring the comedy Tom Jones - starring the late Albert Finney to United Artists in 1963 and accepted the Oscar for best director on behalf of Tony Richardson Picker also helped to launch Steve Martin's movie career with 1979's The Jerk and also producers Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid and The Man With Two Brains. Sony chairman Tom Rothman, who used to work as Picker's assistant told Variety: 'David was the classiest man in our business. A true gentleman and a great film champion.' He added: 'Like many others, I owe the start of my career to him and all of us at Columbia Pictures, benefit to this day from his accomplishments.'
Ken Kercheval, the actor who played oil tycoon Cliff Barnes in the US soap opera Dallas, has died at age eighty three. A spokeswoman at Frist Funeral Home in Kercheval's hometown of Clinton, Indiana, confirmed his death. Local newspaper the Daily Clintonian reports that Ken died on Sunday. Victoria Principal who played his on-screen sister, Pamela, paid tribute on social media describing Kercheval as 'supremely talented' and 'a wonderful story teller, slyly humourous and always unpredictable.' She went on to say she hoped that he and fellow late Dallas stars Larry Hagman and Barbara Bel Geddes are 'throwing a Texas style heavenly party!' 'He was one of those guys who was going to be the next James Dean,' the show's creator, David Jacobs, told The Hollywood Reporter. Kercheval, born in 1935, trained at Indiana University and the Neighbourhood Playhouse in New York. He began his career as a stage actor, appearing with Dustin Hoffman in a 1959 production of Dead End and starring in several Broadway shows during the 1960s. In 1978 he was cast in Dallas' initial five-part mini-series, originally playing Ray Krebbs, the illegitimate son of Jock Ewing. The series - about two wealthy, rival families in the oil industry - became one of the era's signature shows and won four EMMY Awards. It also had a huge global following, with episodes dubbed into over sixty languages across ninety countries. After the show ended in 1991, Kercheval returned for reunion specials in 1996 and 2004 and for a series reboot from 2012 to 2014. Ken was also a prolific film and TV actor. Before and after Dallas, he appeared on shows including Kojak, Starsky & Hutch and Diagnosis Murder. His CV also included appearances in Naked City, The Defenders, The Trials of O'Brien, The Secret Storm, Get Christie Love!, The Disappearance of Flight 412, Rafferty, ChiPs, The Love Boat, Hotel, Matlock, I Still Dream of Jeannie, LA Law, In The Heat Of the Night, Walker, Texas Ranger, ER, Crossing Jordan and the movies Pretty Poison, Rabbit, Run, The Seven-Ups,Network and Blind Obsession. The actor confessed to smoking up to three packs of cigarettes a day and had part of his lung removed in 1994 after being diagnosed with cancer. He was also a self-described 'practising alcoholic' for twenty years before giving up alcohol.
And finally, dear blog reader, Saturday marked the sixth anniversary of the death of this blogger's mother. The following day marked the twenty eighth anniversary of the death of his father. As a consequence around the last week of April each year, yer actual Keith Telly Topping tends to get rather melancholy and a touch introspective during an - in theory, at least - period of quiet reflection on mortality and that. 2019 was no different. So many apologies are due if this week's bloggerisationisms seems a shade more downbeat than usual. This blogger genuinely means it when he uses the excuse that 'it's just the time of year.'