Friday, April 05, 2019

Time Only Runs In One Direction

So, dear blog reader, guess whom - if some current hot rumours doing a fair bit of circulating all around the Interweb - may be returning to our very own telly box screens in January of next year? Go on, speculate ...?
'I want to keep my soul un-fucked.' This week saw another quite superb episode of From The North's current favourite drama on the planet, Doom Patrol. That's seven in a row for anyone keeping count. This was one in which a vengeance-driven rodent gets into Robotman's head and messes with it. Quite literally! And, it was fabulous, dear blog reader. Proper mad-brilliant. Mostly gushing reviews can be read here, here, here, here and here.
The next episode - Danny Patrol - will reportedly see another vital part of Grant Morrison's award-winning 1980s comic run of Doom Patrol, Danny The Street, making its first appearance in the TV adaptation. Bona t'vada, Dan.
From The North favourite Gotham is about to reach its conclusion in a couple of weeks time 'and it is going to come as close to the Batman comics as it possibly can,' according to the Digital Spy website. Although, what they're basing that one, they don't day. The show has revealed a trailer for the final two episodes that shows Jeremiah undergoing one final transformation, making him look more like The Joker than he ever has before. Cameron Monaghan has previously talked about the restrictions placed upon the producers of Gotham regarding his character, saying: 'Green was off-limits to us, as well as the name 'Joker', a decision from high up as they wanted to reserve these for films. A decision which, ultimately, I respect. They did not want to dilute the very lucrative brand. It allowed for creativity on our end.'
This week's episode of From the North favourite Only Connect was the three hundredth broadcast. And, for some reasons that remains obscure - if, you know, funny - the producers chose to get The Divine Victoria to celebrate it thus ...
Meanwhile, for the first time since the popular BBC2 intelligence quiz reached the quarter-final stage three weeks ago, this blogger managed to actually get the answers to a couple of questions before either of the teams did this week (or, strictly speaking in the case of the latter, at exactly the same time as one of the teams did).
Sunday's opening episode of the latest series of Line Of Duty was the most-watched show of 2019 so far, according to overnight figures. The first episode of series five was watched by 7.8 million overnight viewers. That also made it the most-watched episode in the history of the police drama so far. In comparison, series four's opener was seen live by 5.4 million, with the finale watched by 7.5 million. The series five premiere went up against Victoria on ITV, with the period drama attracting and overnight of 3.1 million. Line Of Duty's return follows the huge success of writer Jed Mercurio's other hit show, Bodyguard. Line Of Duty's series five opener, which was described by its star, Martin Compston, as 'the scariest yet,' received largely glowing reviews. The Times critic Carol Midgley gave it four stars and wrote: 'Mercurio knows how to begin an episode and is a master at ending one, last night giving us two final shocks like successive thwacks to the head. It is a dependable, wily machine, superior in my view to Mercurio's other baby, Bodyguard.' The Grunaid Morning Star's Lucy Mangan gave it a maximum five stars. 'As ever, nothing is wasted; not a scene, not a line, not a beat,' she wrote. 'For every morsel of information gathered by the team and by the viewer, another turn reveals one hundred hidden possibilities. It fits together flawlessly - you can imagine Mercurio sitting like a watchmaker at his table with the parts spread before him and fitting the loupe to his eye before assembling the whole thing and listening for its perfectly regulated tick.' The Torygraph's Jasper Rees, was also impressed. 'Mercurio's script cleverly comes at a familiar scenario from a new angle,' he wrote. And, he praised the addition of Steven Graham to the cast. 'Graham, a compact parcel of Scouse gelignite, doesn't tend to play softies, so his simmering aggression felt all too credible.' The Daily Scum Express reviewer Neela Debnath wrote: 'Episode one has all the verve and energy we've come to expect from Line Of Duty but season five also feels like it's now a continuation of a much bigger story that fully emerged at the end of the series four finale.' Metro's Keith Watson wrote: 'Few actors do menacing and brooding better than Stephen Graham and he's perfectly cast as John Corbett, a man on a short fuse with a steely coldness to his eyes and a way of making everything he says drip with sinister threat. Corbett's agenda is the lifeblood of this Line Of Duty. It's got balaclavas, it's got the mystery of the letter H, it's got spine-tingling interrogations to come. Line of Duty has the next five Sunday nights under house arrest.' The episode was also well-reviewed in the Radio Times. If you're wondering, dear blog reader, this blogger thought it was great.
From The North favourite Killing Eve's new showrunner Emerald Fennell has suggested that even the show's main characters Villanelle and Eve 'could die in any episode.' But, they're probably not going to. Speaking to Variety, Fennell, 'revealed' that she didn't want viewers to assume that the leads would be 'fine,' as 'no one should feel safe.' The author and actress, who is set to appear as a young Camilla Parker Bowles in the forthcoming third series of The Crown, has taken over writing duties for Killing Eve's second series so that Phoebe Waller Bridge can focus on other projects (mainly Fleabag). 'I never wanted that thing that you often have with famous thriller characters, which is, "they'll all be fine!"' she told the magazine. 'I think it's really important to say, "Okay, well if this is a fight to the death - and demonstrably it is with what happened last [series] - no one should feel safe.' She cited the murder of Eve's MI5 boss, Frank, in series one as an example, telling the magazine: 'The brutality of that and the fact that you never look away from it - there is a sense that both of them are getting into stuff that's properly deadly. Otherwise we don't believe it anymore,' she added. Alluding to the show's dramatic first series finale, which saw Villanelle (Jodie Comer) flee into the street of Paris after Eve (Sandra Oh) stabbed her in the stomach, Fennell also gave fans a hint as to what they can expect from the new episodes. 'We couldn't cheat around the fact that Villanelle is bleeding to death,' she said, before explaining that the second series will see the assassin 'attempting to recover' from the near-deadly injury. 'In the end what we ended up doing was making a virtue of something that usually would be admin in any other thriller. In any other thriller it would have been about getting Villanelle back to her sexiest point again.'
One can tell that Game Of Thrones long-awaited final series is about to kick-off big-style as this week has seen major articles on the series appearing in such august periodicals as the New York Times (Nine Questions For The Final Season) and the Washington Times (A Guide To Prepare You For The Final Season Of Game of Thrones). And, loads of other places far too numerous to list here. Just Google Game Of Thrones, dear blog reader and you'll find hundreds of them. Some admittedly, far more interesting than others.
The first - for the most part spoiler-free - review of the opening episode of series eight of Game Of Thrones had already appeared in the Torygraph. Seemingly, the reviewer - the excellently-named Jane Melkerrins - rather liked it.
Retired banker Irini Tzortzoglou has won this year's MasterChef and said that she has no plans to start a new career running a restaurant. The sixty one-year-old triumphed in the BBC cookery show's first all-female final. For the final three-course challenge, she cooked red mullet with a squid risotto, griddled rosemary lamb chops and a fig and hazelnut baklava. Irini, who took inspiration from her Greek childhood, grew up in Crete and now lives in Cartmel in Cumbria. She was one of fifty six amateur chefs who competed for the coveted MasterChef trophy in the popular show's fifteenth series. Over the course of several gruelling rounds of cooking challenges, they were whittled down to the final three. Irini was particularly pleased to have been in the show's first all-female final and said that she wished she could have shared her trophy with her fellow finalists Jilly McCord and Delia Maria Asser. She said: 'It happened so quickly that I felt all the final that the three of us were like one. We were all doing our own thing, but actually we were in unison - so my instinctive reaction was: "Can I share it with my friends?"' Irini continued: 'We are just lucky we are three women who love and respect each other and have grown to be very fond and appreciative of each other's talents.' Irini said that being filmed throughout the series did not bother her because she remained 'totally focused.' In an interview on BBC Breakfast, she said: 'The cameras didn't disturb me because you really need to ignore them if you want to cook. And the guys are fantastic, Gregg [Wallace] comes and relaxes you - he used to joke with me about Greek history, challenge me, laugh with me - and then John [Torode] is like a younger brother who cares for you, he wants you to do as well as you want to. They didn't bother me at all. In fact, I loved being around them.' Past winners of the show have gone on to open their own restaurants. But, despite impressing some of the biggest names in the food industry throughout the competition, Irini's future plans do not involve opening her own professional kitchen. 'I don't think that at my time of life I want to run a restaurant,' she said. 'I want to spend more time with my mum and I would love to go round Greece and do some research - maybe make a programme, if I'm lucky.'
Graham Norton is to return as host for the 2019 BAFTA Television Awards. The presenter said that it would be a 'pleasure' to reward 'brilliant talent' at the ceremony, held at the Royal Festival Hall on 12 May and broadcast on BBC1. He replaces Sue Perkins who has hosted the awards since 2016. The BBC's Killing Eve and A Very English Scandal lead the nominations, alongside Bodyguard and Sky Atlantic's Patrick Melrose.
Whilst we all wait - very impatiently - for the final six episodes of Qi's P series to have their XL editions broadcast (and, there's still no word on when that's likely to happen), as this blog recently reported, filming is already well underway for the next, Q, series. According to the British Comedy Guide website, episode two - Quiet - will feature semi-regulars Jimmy Carr and Sara Pascoe and first time guest Andrew Maxwell. Almost certainly the first time that Jimmy Carr and the word 'quiet' have featured in the same sentence. Another episode, Qanimals, will also feature From The North favourite Pascoe also with Phill Jupitas and Daliso Chaponda whilst episode four - the theme for which is not known at this time - has guests Susan Calman, Joe Lycett and Holly Walsh. Quills features Jimmy Carr again, along with Tim Allen and Lou Sanders. Episode six - again, not yet named - will include Lycett, Bridget Christie and James Ancaster and episode seven, Quests, guest-stars Jupitas, Alice Levine and dear old camp-as-a-row-of-tents Alan Carr, making his first Qi appearance. Phill Jupitas also appears in Quenching & Quaffing along with Jo Brand and Prue Leith. Quintessentially Qi features Josh Widdecombe, Cariad Lloyd and Holly Walsh. The Christmas episode, Qistmas, will have more - welcome - appearances by Sara Pascoe and Josh Widdecombe along with another From The North favourite, yer actual Johnny Vegas. Queens features David Mitchell, Wor Geet Canny Sarah Millican and Aussie comedian Colin Lane. Wor Geet Canny Sarah is also in Quirky along with Jason Manford and Loyiso Gola. Quarrelling's guest stars Manford again, Aisling Bea and Anuvab Pal. There will be a further four episodes recorded during the next few weeks and From The North will bring dear blog readers details of whom will be appearing in those as soon as we have them.
Martin Freeman has admitted that filming Sherlock 'wasn't that much fun' during the final days of his sixteen-year relationship with co-star Amanda Abbington when he appeared on Radio 4's Desert Island Discs. Marty said that the couple, who announced their split in 2016 and have two children together, have 'stayed friends' for the sake of their former relationship, as well as for the rest of the family. 'I wanted to be civil for us, because when you've loved someone for that long and they have been such an integral part of your life, what - that is supposed to not count now?' The actor went on to say he thinks he and Abbington now co-parent 'pretty well, really.' But, Freeman revealed that 'by the time of the last Sherlock that we've done we were sort of in the midst of splitting up.' Until then, making the show, in which they played John and Mary Watson, had been 'great,' he said. 'I really love working with her.' Marty also told host Wor Geet Canny Lauren Laverne that his chemistry with yer actual Benedict Cumberbatch is 'fairly rare. Probably nothing I've done has resonated with certain parts of the world's population the same way Sherlock has. It just hit a lot of buttons for people,' he said. Yet the intensity of some of the fans' reaction can be 'challenging,' he added. 'By the time we filmed the last ones there were some fans who were so adamant that John and Sherlock were gay, they knew it. And they knew that Steven [Moffat] and Mark [Gatiss] were going to write an episode where we held hands off into the sunset together. So when that didn't happen, there was a chunk of people going, "This is betrayal."' Choosing song by Madness, The Clash, The Style Council, The Be-Atles (a popular beat combo of the 1960s, you might've heard of them) and Leonard Bernstein among others, noted Mod and Motown fan Marty recalled his childhood as the youngest of five. With only three O-levels to his name, he remembered enjoying 'being distracted' by other pupils at school. 'It is more fun to be naughty. There is no way round that,' he said. He chooses scripts, he suspects, when they are 'not begging to be liked' and feels the same way about people. He also talked about his acting heroes, Michael Caine and Tom Courtenay, who 'didn't seem to be doing much, but had a bit of nuance about them.' Freeman's upcoming sitcom, Breeders, created with Simon Blackwell and Chris Addison, is to 'be a reaction' to the shock of parenthood, he explained. Being a parent, Freeman argues, is 'about forty seven light years away from not being a parent' and he said that he finds being presented with 'my own shortcomings' the most 'difficult' side of having children.
Large amounts of vintage television were lost during the 1960s and 1970s, broadcasters junking TV recordings in an age long before home video, DVDs, Blu-rays and twenty four hour repeat channels. You probably heard about it. There were many reasons for this, of course, not all of them cultural vandalism as this blog has already discussed at length in the past. But, there is still hope: over the years, certain 'lost' episodes have been rediscovered (mostly outside of the UK, having once been sold to overseas territories) and so it is with the recent return of two episodes from the 1960s sitcom The Likely Lads. 'It's wonderful,' co-creator Dick Clements told the Digital Spy website. 'I hate the fact that so much has been lost. There are still at least two of our favourite episodes that have never been found.' Devised along with Ian La Frenais, The Likely Lads followed the exploits of two young working class men, Terry Collier (James Bolam) and Bob Ferris (Rodney Bewes), in the North of England. Of the twenty episodes produced between 1964 and 1966, only half are thought to survive, with series two's A Star Is Born and Faraway Places recently having been recovered from a private collection. 'The BBC didn't know that there would be box-sets and DVDs and re-run channels,' noted La Frenais. 'We weren’t the only victims. There's some that I would love to see again. They found a missing one four years ago and we thought, "Oh, shit, we wish they hadn’t" because it was our least favourite!' The Likely Lads was Clement and La Frenais' first series together, but their creative partnership continued with such classic series as its sequel, Whatever Happened To The Likely Lads?, Porridge and Auf Wiedersehen, Pet. 'It was the first thing we ever did,' says La Frenais. 'It was our break into being television writers, which we built upon and fortunately it was never ripped out from under us. So without that, without The Likely Lads, God knows what we would be doing. And it seems to have found its place in television history, as a programme of merit.' The original series concluded after three years, with a misunderstanding leading to the lads being split up as Terry joined the army while Bob remained at home because of his flat feet. The decision to wrap things up was made, La Frenais says, because 'the actors were chomping at the bit to do other thing. Between all of us, it just seemed the right thing to do.' But, continued interest from the public, as well as a curiosity on the part of the writers, eventually led to thoughts of a sequel. 'People kept saying, "So, whatever happened to those two?"' La Frenais recalls. Whatever Happened To The Likely Lads? was a more melancholic show which reunited an older Terry and Bob after several years apart and is generally considered to be one of the few TV sequels that is actually superior to the original that it followed. 'After The Likely Lads, we went off and did two or three movies,' Le Frenais remembered (they included The Jokers, Otley, Hannibal Brooks and Villain). 'We did another television show that didn't work' (probably a reference to 1967's Harry H Corbett vehicle Mister Aitch since their other post Likely Lads series, The Further Adventures Of Lucky Jim was a moderate hit). 'So, when we came back in 1973 to do Whatever Happened To The Likely Lads?, it was the big test for us: "Are we really as good as the promise we'd shown, all those years ago?" And it worked. So I feel personally that Whatever Happened To ... validated us as serious writers and fortunately we followed that very quickly with Porridge.' Again, the sequel series enjoyed a relatively brief run, just two sets of thirteen episodes and a Christmas special between 1973 and 1974. It felt like enough, Clement suggests. 'I think we could have done one more series of Porridge, probably, if things had worked out differently, but doing twenty six of Whatever Happened To The Likely Lads felt right. If we'd gone on for another thirteen with that, I think we would have started to repeat ourselves.' But, the story of Terry and Bob wasn't quite over yet. The final outing was an excellent 1976 film adaptation, which has been remastered and is being paired with the two rediscovered Likely Lads episodes on a new Blu-ray set. 'The movie is essentially the third series,' says La Frenais, suggesting that his and Clement's previous experience writing films allowed The Likely Lads movie to escape the 'curse' that afflicted so many other sitcom spin-off movies. 'I'm not knocking other writers, but the other writers of sitcoms that became movies had not written features. There's an enormous difference between writing a one hundred-minute film and writing a half-hour sitcom. And, we did have a better budget than On The Buses. We went to Newcastle and we shot the shit out of it.' That, though, really was the end. A well-publicised feud between Bolam and Bewes put pay to any thoughts of a second revival, not that Clement and La Frenais were interested. 'I don't think Jimmy [Bolam] would have wanted to have done a third iteration,' La Frenais says. 'No, it never occurred. What would we have done with them? It would have been a programme about middle-age - and what?' However, the duo did share 'a little private conversation' about what might have happened to the lads: having worked all his life to become a successful businessman, Bob would have ended up destitute after a financial crash, while the feckless Terry would have been involved in a traffic accident and won a huge insurance payout for his - unspecified - injuries. But these conversations, Clement says, were 'never serious' - nor they did consider a spin-off featuring Bob and Terry's offspring, along the lines of their recent Porridge revival (which cast Kevin Bishop as the grandson of Ronnie Barker's original Fletch). 'I don't think we feel we know it well enough,' says Clement. 'It's a new generation.' 'Porridge was easier,' agrees La Frenais. 'It's not just age, it's because we don't live [in the UK] and things change so rapidly.'
Lost footage of popular beat combo The Scaffold from 1969 has been 'found behind a cupboard in Nigeria.' The Scaffold - featuring poet Roger McGough, comedian John Gorman and Sir Paul McCartney's younger brother Mike McGear - sang 'Lily The Pink' on the BBC's The Talk Of The Town first broadcast on 24 January 1969. The footage was unearthed in the Nigerian capital, Abuja, by TV archivist Philip Morris. It had subsequently been shown in New Zealand, Gibraltar, Algeria and then, finally, found its way to Nigeria. 'Fortunately for us it had fallen down the back of a cupboard for me to find it all those years later,' Morris said. 'I am very very happy about it.' Morris, an archive preservation expert who specialises in recovering missing material, has previously found missing a bunch of Doctor Who episodes in the West African country, as well as lost The Morecambe & Wise Show episodes in a derelict cinema in Sierra Leone.
Chilling Adventures Of Sabrina star Michelle Gomez says that although the Netflix series has developing a large and devoted fanbase in the months since its release, it still has 'a way to go' before it measures up to the Doctor Who fandom. The actress, who starred as Missy in Doctor Who before appearing in the opening series of Sabrina, says that she loves being part of both fan groups - but that it's impossible to compare the two. Except in a big fight, of course. 'I don't think any fandom can quite compare to the Doctor Who fandom, who I am eternally loyal to and grateful for,' Gomez told Radio Times ahead of her appearance in series two of Chilling Adventures Of Sabrina. 'I mean, that fandom has grown up over fifty years, from generation to generation to generation. Sabrina fandom is definitely this generation, because it was born in this generation. It seems to be as passionate as the Doctor Who fans for sure, but you know, it’s just the beginning for Sabrina and we have a long way to go. We seem to be earning that intense loyalty, but it's still in its infancy.' Gomez played Missy in Doctor Who for three years before, seemingly, bowing out for good in Peter Capaldi's finale. However, she has hinted in the past that she would be open to returning to the series. 'Oh gosh, yeah of course I would, I'd love to have a little run around with [Jodie Whittaker],' she said. 'I don't know if that's ever gonna happen but I'm completely open to it and I'd love to see Missy come back in and just get to play again. I don't know how that's going to work but I'm always open to offers.'
Peaky Blinders lead Cillian Murphy is reportedly 'in talks' to join the cast of A Quiet Place 2. A follow-up to Josh Krasinski's 2018 post-apocalyptic horror movie, which received acclaim from critics and cinemagoers alike, was confirmed last year and the actor is set to direct and write the sequel. Emily Blunt, Krasinski's wife, will reprise her role from the first film as Evelyn Abbott. Alleged 'sources' allegedly told The Hollywood Reporter late last week that Murphy is 'currently in negotiations with producers' about a role in A Quiet Place 2, which is scheduled for release on 15 May 2020. According to the outlet, Murphy's character will be 'a man with mysterious intentions who joins the family unit' referring to Blunt’s character and her two children, Regan and Marcus. Armageddon and Transformers director Michael Bay will return as one of three producers on the new film, along with Andrew Form and Brad Fuller. Filming on A Quiet Place 2 is due to start in the summer.
According to the Daily Mirra - if not a source a tad more reliable or trustworthy - yer actual Danial Craig has flown out to begin filming the next James Bond movie in Norway. Of course, he might've just been going there to check out the fjords. Anything's possible.
The last six months of Marilyn Monroe's life are to be retold in a new drama from the writer of BBC1's Trust Me. The series will explore the actress's relationship with Hollywood studio bosses and with US President Jack Kennedy. BBC Studios is developing the series with writer Dan Sefton and producer Simon Lupton, of Seven Seas Films. Sefton, whose medical drama Trust Me returns this year, said that he was 'thrilled to bring this incredible true story to the screen.' Monroe, star of such films as Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, Bus StopThe Seven Year Itch, The Misfits and Some Like It Hot, died in August 1962 at the age of thirty six. Her death, attributed to an overdose of sleeping pills, has been the subject of much controversy and speculation ever since. The series, with the working title The Last Days Of Marilyn Monroe, will be based on parts of Keith Badman's 2010 book The Final Years Of Marilyn Monroe. According to the BBC, it will be located 'where the harsh glamour of 1960s Hollywood and the hard-edged politics of Washington intersect.' BBC Studios' Anne Pivcevic said that the 'ambitious' drama series would tackle 'big themes such as power, love, loyalty and politics.' 'Marilyn's desire to be taken seriously as an actress and her battle with the powerful men who control the studio system is sadly as relevant today as it ever was,' said Sefton. It is not yet known who will play Monroe, who was portrayed by Gemma Arterton last year in an episode of Sky's Urban Myths.
Four million overnight viewers tuned into BBC1 on Monday evening for a documentary looking at the murder of TV presenter and newsreader Jill Dando. Jill, who was known for her work on Crimewatch, was shot and killed on the doorstep of her home in the middle of the day in April 1999. It remains one of Britain's most high-profile unsolved killings. Early reviews of the documentary have described it as 'sensitive' and 'powerful' but lacking in answers. Which, given the fact that the murder is unsolved, was perhaps somewhat inevitable. The Independent gave the show the full five stars, saying it was 'sensitively produced' and was 'a fitting and balanced tribute.' It added that the documentary 'explains the pessimism of detective Hamish Campbell - who doesn't think the mystery will ever be solved - with the help of interviews with Dando's friends and family and original police decision logs.' The Torygraph gave the show four stars, describing it as 'a powerful re-examination' but suggesting 'a distinct lack of answers.' Notable by its absence was an interview with Barry George, who spent eight years in jail for her murder before having his conviction overturned in 2008. Explaining why, a BBC spokesperson said: 'Barry George's arrest, conviction, appeal, retrial and acquittal are addressed in the film with archive footage to recount the events. It was not necessary to have a present day interview with Mister George as this film set out to tell the wider context of Jill's death and the fact her murder remains unsolved. Barry George has been kept informed of the nature of the film and transmission.' The Gruniad Morning Star wrote the film was 'more moving for its spareness, leaving the talking to Dando's friends and family.' In its review, The Times opted said the show contained 'no sensational revelations, just sad frustration.' Ahead of the show being broadcast, the late presenter's brother, Nigel Dando - who learned of his younger sister's death from a TV news bulletin - told BBC Bristol that he 'remains hopeful' that one day the case will be solved. Dando said: 'I will eventually find answers no matter how long it takes. At the moment these questions are still open-ended and still haven't been answered.' He added that he wanted to ask the killer, if he or she was ever found, why they did it. 'It's such a pointless thing to have happened. I believe there was no reason, it was just an act of random brutality and Jill was in the wrong place at the wrong time.'
The BBC has signed 'the biggest ever deal' to sell its programmes, agreeing to provide its landmark natural history shows to a new global streaming service run by the Discovery Channel for three hundred and eighty million knicker. It is 'the largest content deal the BBC has ever done' and will last for ten years, director general Tony Hall said. BBC natural history shows will be on the new Discovery platform everywhere except the UK, Ireland and China. The Discovery service is expected to launch by the end of 2019. The BBC and Discovery will also work together to film new natural history programmes, which will be screened by the BBC in the UK. Lord Hall said: 'The licence fee payer will really benefit from this because whatever money we can make from being part of this streaming service globally, of course we will put that back into more programmes which people here can watch. Equally, because we've got this partnership for developing new programmes jointly with Discovery, they'll also see those programmes.' The deal also gives Discovery the streaming rights to hundreds of hours of existing BBC documentaries. In total, the BBC will receive around thirty million notes per year. Asked whether he was sure that would still be good value in a decade's time, Lord Hall, tragically, did not tell the questioner to mind their own Goddamn business but, instead, said: 'We think we've got a good deal here and think it's appropriate over the ten years.' The Discovery streaming service is expected to cost US viewers no more than five dollars per month. The BBC and Discovery also announced plans to split up the ten channels run by UKTV, which they currently jointly own. BBC Studios, the corporation's commercial arm, will take full ownership of seven entertainment channels - Alibi, Dave, Drama, Eden, Gold, Yesterday and W (ie. all of the ones that people actually watch) - while Discovery will get Good Food, Home and Really. The BBC is paying Discovery one hundred and seventy three million smackers for that deal, which is coming from BBC Studios'coffers and is not licence fee money, Lord Hall said.
The actor who played Zammo McGuire in Grange Hill in the 1980s is to return to BBC screens as a new character in EastEnders. Child actor Lee MacDonald, who is now fifty, rose to fame more than thirty years ago as the loveable Zammo, a character who later ran into drug problems. MacDonald will appear on the BBC soap in two episodes this spring. He will play a bus driver, who takes on Mick Carter - played by Danny Dyer - in a radio competition to win gig tickets. MacDonald, who after subsequent small roles in The Bill and Birds Of A Feather, quit acting to run a South London locksmith and key-cutting firm, said: 'I am absolutely chuffed to bits and so excited to be briefly joining the cast of EastEnders. I can't say too much yet but watch this space. Top banana!' In 1986, MacDonald was involved in one of the most memorable scenes in children's TV history. This was after Zammo, who had previously overdosed on heroin in the back room of the amusement arcade where his friend Roland worked, came back to school - apparently clean - but was caught by friends trying to hide drugs in a toilet cistern. The storyline was intended to warn children off substance abuse and as part of the campaign the cast of the show also had a top five UK chart hit with their anti-drugs charity song, 'Just Say No'. The Grange Hill cast were then invited to the USA to perform the LaToya Jackson cover at The Yankee Stadium in New York. After years out of the spotlight, MacDonald appeared in a child stars edition of Pointless Celebrities in 2008.
James Corden has criticised the exclusion of 'chubby' people in films and on TV, saying they 'never really fall in love ... never have sex.' As someone who has struggled with his weight for much of his life, this blogger finds himself forced to agree one hundred per cent. That said, anything which conspires to keep that odious, full-of-his-own-importance Corden individual off this blogger's telly box is, frankly a damned good thing. Classic double-edged sword, really. Speaking on the latest episode of David Tennant's podcast, that odious Corden individual added that 'certainly no-one ever finds you attractive' on-screen if you are a larger size. He added that those actors are, at best, cast as the 'good and funny friend' of someone who is attractive. That odious Corden individual whinged that being excluded from roles spurred him on to write Gavin & Stacey. Which was a real pity as it was about as funny as a big hairy wart on ones chap-end. He said: 'I had no idea if I'd be able to write. It came about because I had done a film with Shane Meadows, I'd done a Mike Leigh film and done Fat Friends on ITV. And now I was in this play, which was the play to see [The History Boys]. I was in this play with seven other boys who were at a similar age and a similar place in our careers. And pretty much every day, three or four of these boys would come in with this massive film script under their arm.' He was offered 'the hottest script' along with two other History Boys actors, he explained. 'They both got sent the script [for the lead roles] and I got sent just two pages to play a newsagent at the start of this film. I really felt like people were going, "We think you're quite good. It's just because of what you look like." If you only watch television or films, if an alien came back and they had to take a reading on planet Earth by just watching films or TV, they would imagine that if you are chubby or fat or big, you never really fall in love, you never have sex. Certainly no-one really ever finds you attractive. You will be good friends with people who are attractive and often will be a great sense of comfort to them and perhaps chip in with the odd joke every now and again.' He added: 'It felt like if the world of entertainment was a big banquet table, people are like, "There isn't a seat for you here." I was like, "If that's not going to happen then I'm going to try to make something happen for myself."' He has previously touched on his frustrations on the way Hollywood represents larger people. In an interview with Rolling Stain magazine in 2016, he said: 'I could never understand when I watched romantic comedies. The notion that for some reason unattractive or heavy people don't fall in love. If they do, it's in some odd, kooky, roundabout way - and it's not. It's exactly the same.'
ITV's chief executive Carolyn McCall has claimed that the broadcaster cannot keep up the 'aftercare' of Love Island contestants 'indefinitely.' Well no, each year they've got a new batch of desperate fame-hungry wannabes landing on their doorstep and much, much more money to make off the back of them and their antics. By Hell, the milk of human kindness has really gone sour at ITV - the makers of The World In Action and This Week - over the last few decades, hasn't it There was criticism of the reality show following the recent death of Mike Thalassitis, who took part in the 2017 series. 'We can do everything we possibly can to look after people and to do our duty of care but you can't do that forever,' McCall claimed. 'There has got to be a framework and it will come to an end.' However, McCall said that the broadcaster was 'changing its procedures' to make sure counsellors do stay in contact with former contestants 'for longer. 'We will do much more in a much more structured way,' she claimed. McCall also said that 'making a link' between what happened to Thalassitis and Love Island would be 'an extremely tenuous thing to do given how happy he was' on the ITV2 show. 'All his mates have said that and that he'd done two other reality programmes since then,' she told the Broadcasting Press Guild on Thursday. The ITV boss also acknowledged the 'devastating' death of 2016 contestant Sophie Gradon and revealed how 'tragic' it was for the Love Island team because 'they know them as people and they become friends.' Love Island winner Dani Dyer has also given her views on the debate, claiming that 'many' of her fellow contestants had 'experienced moments when they had been struggling. It is tough going from literally being no-one then all of a sudden overnight coming out and being someone,' she told The Jonathan Ross Show. She said that Thalassitis's death had been 'such a shock' and 'absolutely devastating for everyone.' She added: 'It is difficult, you go from one extreme to the other and it's sad that it ended that way.' Asked whether she felt she had been given 'access to help' after her stint on the show, she said: 'Yes I have had that, I have one hundred per cent had that fully.' In an interview, which will be shown on Saturday, she also detailed the 'tests' she had to go through before and after going into the villa and said that Love Island's psychologist told her to contact them whenever she needed to. In an interview with GQ magazine, Josh Denzel, who was on Love Island with Dyer in 2018, said: 'I do feel like you kind of get thrown into the lion's den and if you survive then you're just free to enter the world again.'Denzel said there should be more focus on contestants after the fame starts to 'slow down.' He said: 'It's like, "How do I transition to going back to just the guy or the girl that I was before?"' He and his fellow contestants such as Wes Nelson, Jack Fowler and Adam Collard have a Whatsapp group and all 'checked on each other' after hearing the news about Thalassitis, he revealed. Speaking to BBC News earlier this month, Collard praised the team behind the show. 'I know they obviously want to make good TV but the main priority is always looking after you,' he said. The twenty three-year-old revealed that before appearing on the show he was 'made aware' by producers in advance how he was going to be portrayed and had a 'thorough' psychiatric assessment. 'When I left the villa, the chaperone I lived with the week before I went in came to see me and we became good friends. Even when I broke up with my girlfriend, who I met on the show, I think I got a text or phone call from every single one of the [Love Island] team, including the runners and producers,' he said. Following Thalassitis's death, ITV said that the show's medical support would be 'independently reviewed' and that the production team would 'proactively check up' on contestants after they had left the show. The statement also said ITV would deliver 'bespoke' training to all future contestants to include social media and financial management. 'Conversations about mental health have never been more important,' the statement concluded.
How proper nice it was to see From The North favourite The Brokenwood Mysteries getting a small but perfectly formed mentionette in this article of the Digital Spy website, Seven Great TV Shows On Channels You've Barely Noticed.
Rhod Gilbert has announced he will be leaving his BBC Radio Wales weekend show 'with immediate effect.' Rhod has hosted the Saturday morning radio programme since 2006. The fifty-year-old's touring schedule means it is 'proving impossible' to carry on with the weekly show, he said. Rhod will have a chance to say thanks to his listeners in a live show from the Machynlleth Comedy Festival on 4 May. In a statement, the stand-up comedian'said: "Despite what I say on-air, I love doing the show. But, having returned to stand-up and with such a busy live touring schedule this year, it's proving impossible. I am never there and it's getting embarrassing, so I am standing aside, with immediate effect.' Gilbert said that he would 'love to come back' and do specials on Radio Wales in the future. 'So, after so many happy/miserable/disappointing/tedious (delete as applicable) years on the station, with regret, I'm out. For now. But watch this space.' He added: 'Thanks for listening my dear listeners; it has been a chaotic ball.' The programme, regularly broadcast from Rhod's kitchen, is a mix of music and chat with co-hosts and fellow comedians including Chris Corcoran, Lloyd Langford and Sian Harries.
Channel Four is 'in advanced talks' about moving its national headquarters into the Majestic building in Leeds city centre. Last year, the broadcaster announced it was moving from London and transferring two hundred of its eight hundred staff. The broadcaster said that it was 'in the final stages' of negotiations with developer Rushbond Group, which owns the former cinema and nightclub. Channel Four is expected to move into the Majestic in the second half of 2020. Jonathan Allan, Channel Four's chief commercial officer, said: 'Leeds offered a wealth of potential locations for our national HQ but the Majestic really stood out as an iconic building which will put Channel Four at the heart of the city centre. It's an incredibly impressive redevelopment and offers the right mix of location, connectivity and space for our organisation and great facilities for our staff and our partners in the industry.' Leeds was chosen above Birmingham and Greater Manchester, which were also on the headquarters shortlist. The channel has also announced it will open 'creative hubs' in Bristol and Glasgow, with around fifty staff in each. It is all part of a plan to increase the amount Channel Four spends on programmes outside London by two hundred and fifty million notes over the next five years.
Parents - including two US actresses - accused in a college admissions scandal have been told to 'be careful' while discussing the case with their children. Particularly, no doubt, the fact that they might all end up in The Joint because of it. A judge told defendants, including Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin, that they should take care 'not to obstruct justice' during family discussions. Prosecutors had wanted the wealthy parents to require a lawyer present. The first group of parents accused of paying twenty five million bucks in bribes appeared in Boston federal court on Wednesday. The elaborate scheme, which allegedly aimed to acquire places for children at elite US universities, was revealed by federal investigators last month. In total fifty people, including thirty three parents and college athletic coaches, have been charged. The first thirteen parents involved appeared in court this week. They were told their legal rights, the charges against them and possible penalties for the alleged crimes up to and including eye-watering fines and long spells in The Slammer. During the hearing, US Magistrate Judge M Page Kelley imposed conditions on all the defendants' bail, ordering them to surrender their passports and not to have firearms in their homes. Prosecutors had wanted the accused to be 'banned from discussing the charges with their children.' Although how, exactly, they planned to enforce such a ban, they did not say. 'The kids in these cases are witnesses and this could raise obstruction of justice issues,' prosecutor Eric Rosen argued in court. But Judge Kelley, who appears to be one of the few people involved in this case with a modicum of common sense, said: 'I just don't think that's realistic.' No shit? She did, however, recommend the accused 'seek legal advice' about 'any such family discussions' so as to 'avoid the risk of interfering with the case.' Some of the parents charged in the scheme have started plea negotiations with prosecutors. On Wednesday, packaged food entrepreneur Peter Sartorio became the first to say that he will plead extremely guilty. Desperate Housewives actress Huffman did not speak as she left the court. Loughlin, an actor in US sitcom Full House, signed autographs for fans outside. The FBI code-named the investigation Operation Varsity Blues - ironically named after a 1990s film about the pressures of sports scholarships. The case relates to the period between 2011 and 2018, when investigators claim that parents tried to 'cheat' the usual US admission process. They say parents paid bribes, had exams altered and even had their children edited onto stock photos to pretend that they played sports. The two actresses are the most high-profile indictments, but others charged include prominent business executives. Loughlin is accused along with her husband of paying nearly five hundred thousand dollars in bribes to get their two daughters admitted to University of Southern California. Investigators claim they helped the girls get in on rowing scholarships, even though neither student had ever actually participated in the sport. Huffman is accused of paying fifteen thousand dollars to William Rick Singer - the self-confessed mastermind of the alleged scam - to have her daughter's exam questions 'covertly corrected' in 2017. Neither actress entered a plea at this stage, but both have said they understood the charges against them. The pair have not commented publicly since the scandal broke. None of the students has been charged by investigators. The FBI said that some were 'kept in the dark' about the lengths that their parents were secretly going to. The University of Southern California has said it will deny all applicants linked to the scam and is reviewing 'case-by-case' those implicated who were already admitted or have graduated. One student, who was studying at Yale University, has already had their admission revoked over an alleged 1.2 million dollar bribe uncovered by the FBI probe.
Sister Cristina Scuccia, the Ursuline nun who became a secular singing sensation in 2014, will participate in a new edition of Italy's Dancing With The Stars this week. Milly Carlucci, host of the show, requested permission from Sister Cristina's superior, Giovanna Fiorile, who, 'after a time of prayer and discernment,' granted approval. Explaining her motivation, Carlucci told Famiglia Cristiana that Cristiana 'is a living testimony of how faith can open the heart to the world and give strength, energy, a capacity to embrace others as unique and unrepeatable.' She said that everybody at Dancing With The Stars wanted Cristina on the show this year because 'Sister Cristina is a ray of light that will bring a wonderful message.' The religious sister says that her own motivation for accepting the invitation was based on the Gospel. 'The Gospel itself warns us: "Woe when everyone speaks well of you," while Saint Paul writes that we have been given a spirit of strength, not of fear,' she said. 'Thus, it is okay to take a chance. The faith should not be ghettoised. If through my participation even one soul can be touched, then it will have been worth it,' she added. As the producers of the show prefer to maintain an air of suspense, Cristina's dancing partner is currently unknown, but the nun does not think she will be partnered with a man, as happens to the fictitious Constanza who appears on a Dancing With The Stars parody in the Italian TV show Che Dio Ci Auiti. The winner of the competition will take home - or take back to the cloister - a million dollars. Not everybody agrees with Sister Cristina, however. A commenter named Francesca writes, 'I have never read about Jesus Christ singing, dancing or entertaining His Apostles with wisecracks and jokes.' This blogger has never read about Him bombing abortion clinics either but several alleged Chrsitians claims to have done so in His name. Another - no doubt perfect - individual named Richard added: 'No, Sister Cristina. The message of Christ should not be mixed with so much worldliness.' The bible, of course, also states 'judge no, lest ye be judged' (Matthew, 7:1) and, indeed, Francesca and Richard have been judged. They're both, seemingly, worthless bigoted scum. Next ...
A conviction for sexual offences against z-list celebrity publicist and convicted sex offender, the late Max Clifford has been extremely upheld by the Court of Appeal. Clifford died in 2017 while serving an eight-year jail term for indecent assaults on four young women and girls. He had always maintained his innocence and his daughter had continued to try to clear his name after his death. But, ruling on Tuesday, Lady Justice Rafferty said that nothing the judges heard 'came anywhere near imperilling the safety of this conviction' and dismissed the appeal with casual disdain. Clifford was very jailed in May 2014 after being convicted of a string of indecent assaults carried out between 1977 and 1984. He branded his accusers 'fantasists,' but was very convicted at London's Southwark Crown Court. Before he died after suffering heart failure at the age of seventy four, Clifford won the right for his fight to overturn his conviction to be heard at the Court of Appeal. His daughter Louise continued the challenge after his death but, after scrutinising the case against him in March, the Court of Appeal comprehensively rejected it on all grounds. When sentencing Clifford after his 2014 trial, Judge Anthony Leonard said that his personality and position in the public eye were the reasons his sick and sordid crimes were not revealed earlier.
The ex-chairwoman of the official pro-Brexit campaign has sidestepped calls to apologise after the group dropped its appeal over a spending fine. The Electoral Commission fined Vote Leave sixty one grand after ruling it exceeded spending limits during the referendum. Asked by the BBC if she would say sorry, Gisela Stuart instead defended the organisation's record. The watchdog had said: 'Serious offences such as these undermine public confidence in our system.' Vote Leave - which was fronted by well-known hairdo Boris Johnson and the rat-faced loathsome wretched odious nasty slavver-merchant, George Formby lookalike Gove - was fined in July for spending more than the seven million knicker limit. The campaign said at the time the watchdog's findings were 'wholly inaccurate' and 'politically motivated.' But on Friday - the day MPs voted for the third time to reject soon-to-be-former prime minister Theresa May's withdrawal agreement - the campaign dropped its appeal, claiming that it had 'run out of money' to pursue the case. When asked on The Andrew Marr Show if she would apologise Stuart, former Labour MP, replied: 'At every stage we were rule-compliant according to the legal advice we were given at the time. Our biggest problem was that we destroyed all our data and therefore some of the evidential basis people were asking for.' She claimed that laws governing spending - and the way they are interpreted by watchdogs such as the Electoral Commission - 'needed rewriting.' She also argued that the Remain side of the campaign spent more money than the Leave side anyway. The Vote Leave campaign was found to have funnelled over six hundred and seventy five thousand smackers through pro-Brexit youth group BeLeave, days before the referendum in 2016. This helped ensure it did not breach the seven million quid limit. The founder of BeLeave, Darren Grimes, was fined twenty grand and referred to the police, along with Vote Leave official David Halsall. Vote Leave bosses say they were 'given the go-ahead' to give the money to BeLeave and they 'acted within the rules.'But the commission didn't buy their claims and found that there was 'significant evidence of joint working' between Grimes and Vote Leave and that Vote Leave 'should have declared the spending as its own.' On Friday, an Electoral Commission spokesman said: 'Vote Leave has today withdrawn its appeal and related proceedings against the Electoral Commission's finding of multiple offences under electoral law. Serious offences such as these undermine public confidence in our system and it is vital they are properly investigated and sanctioned. We look forward to receiving the sum in full.'
A man has been charged over a protest near St Pancras station in Central London that led to a number of Eurostar services being cancelled on Saturday. The high-speed service to Europe was halted when a man carrying an England flag was spotted on a viaduct. Terry Maher, from Camden, has been charged with obstructing the railway and causing a public nuisance. He was remanded in custody and will face Westminster magistrates on Monday. Eurostar passengers faced major disruption when power was shut off to overhead lines at the station.
Meanwhile, it's jolly sweet to see someone at the BBC News website having a bit of fun with the whole Brexit fiasco whilst the rest of us are suffering nothing but stress, anxiety, anger and boredom at the whole sodding mess. Most notably, by starting off each day's news round-up with a US TV-style 'previously on Brexit ...' And, with the article Game Of Thrones, hamsters and other things that didn't last as long as Brexit. Oh, how we all laughed. Until we stopped.
Now, dear blog reader, a necessary reminder that, when you're appearing on national television, lighting is very important.
The Ministry of Defence has reportedly launched an investigation into a video which appears to show soldiers firing shots at a picture of Comrade Corbyn. The video, which or may not be genuine, appears to show four paratroopers using a portrait of the Labour leader for target practice. An Army spokesperson said that it was 'aware' of the video and was investigating. 'This behaviour is totally unacceptable and falls well below the high standards the Army expects,' they said. A Labour Party spokesman called the behaviour 'alarming and unacceptable' but said that they 'have confidence' in the Ministry of Defence to 'investigate and act' on this incident. Conservative MP Tom Tugendhat, a former lieutenant colonel who served in Iraq and Afghanistan, said the video was 'disgraceful.' Rory Stewart, Conservative minister for prisons, told the BBC's Victoria Derbyshire that it was 'completely wrong' and was 'outrageous behaviour. They should not be political - they are there to defend the country and the Queen,' he said. The emergence of the video comes at a time of heightened alarm about the safety of MPs as tensions rise over Brexit. Labour MP Jess Phillips tweeted: 'This is absolutely hideous and irresponsible under this or any climate.' And Angela Rayner, Labour's shadow education secretary, said she hoped the investigation would be conducted 'thoroughly and the conclusions made public.' It is believed the short clip first circulated on Snapchat before being posted on Twitter. So, it should be fairly easy to track down its origin and establish the veracity of it, whether or not it was, specifically, staged for the cameras, confirm whether any serving members of the armed forces were involved and, if they were, have 'em up on a charge and in The Glass House faster than you can say 'gross insubordination and acting like a complete twat.'
YouTube has placed more restrictions around the video channel of English Defence League founder and convicted criminal Stehen Yaxley-Lennon. Clips uploaded by Yaxley-Lennon have been removed from search results and he is blocked from streaming live events via the site. Messages warning that his videos 'may not be appropriate' for all viewers will also play before clips. YouTube had already, in January, decided to suspend adverts on Yaxley-Lennon's channel. It had imposed the further restrictions after talking to external experts and academic researchers about the types of videos shown on the channel, reported Buzzfeed. 'We are applying a tougher treatment to Tommy Robinson's channel in keeping with our policies on borderline content,' it told the news site. Buzzfeed said that the steps taken by YouTube would make Yaxley-Lennon's videos 'undiscoverable' unless followers 'sought them out specifically.' The latest action comes after politicians called on YouTube to follow other social media companies in limiting the exposure Yaxley-Lennon enjoyed on their platforms. Yaxley-Lennon has also had pages on Facebook and Instagram removed. Last year, he was banned from Twitter and Paypal ceased processing payments on his behalf. And, he is now thought to rely on e-mail and Snapchat to correspond with his followers. All four of them.
Huddersfield Town equalled the record for the earliest relegation in a Premier League season as second-half goals from Luka Milivojevic and Patrick van Aanholt earned Crystal Palace all three points at Selhurst Park on Saturday. The Terriers' defeat, combined with victories for Burnley and Southampton, confirmed the visitors' demotion back to The Championship after two seasons. Huddersfield, who have propped up the table since December, join Derby County and Ipswich Town as the only teams in Premier League history to be relegated with six or more games left to play. Fulham, who were beaten two-nil by Sheikh Yer Man City, their eighth consecutive Premier League defeat looked likely to join then - something which was subsequently confirmed by their four-one hiding at Watford on Wednesday. Some woeful defending from Fulham - who have now conceded seventy six goals, the worst record in the top flight - contributed to both goals against Sheikh Yer Man City, with Timothy Fosu-Mensah and Joe Bryan both guilty of gifting the ball to City near their own goal. The Cottagers remained second bottom, sixteen points from safety with six games remaining. On Sunday, Moscow Chelski FC staged a remarkable late recovery to snatch a controversial two-one victory at relegation-threatened Cardiff City and ease the intensifying pressure on beleaguered boss Maurizio Sarri. The result was a major blow to Cardiff's bid for Premier League survival, leaving them on twenty eight points, five points adrift of safety although they did, at that time, have a game in hand over Burnley. A series of highly contentious decisions by referee Craig Pawson late on left Cardiff's manager, Neil Wazzock, purple-faced with impotent rage and looking for all the world like someone who'd just down a pint of curdled milk. Which, to be fair, was geet funny to watch. Burnley, Southampton and Brighton & Hove Albinos all have thirty three points although Brighton had two games in hand over Burnley and one over the other teams in the relegation battle, including this blogger's beloved, though still unsellable Magpies whose defeat to The Arse on Monday means they remain on thirty five points and still in danger of getting sucked into the relegation dogfight.
The subsequent midweek games had a significant effect on both the top and bottom of the Premier League; in addition to the long-expected confirmation of Fulham's relegation on Tuesday, the following day saw further defeats for Cardiff City, Crystal Palace and Brighton & Hove Albinos at Sheikh Yer Man City, Stottingtot Hotshots and Moscow Chelsi FC respectively. Thus, leaving the bottom of the table looking like this.
So, anyway, back to Neil Wazzock who had a right stroppy lip-on after Moscow Chelski FC's come-from-behind theft of the game at Cardiff. Ordinarily, one would have felt a great deal of sympathy for a manager in such a situation but then, this is Neil Wazzock we're talking about. Wazzock criticised referees' boss Mike Riley, saying that officiating standards 'have gone backwards' under his watch and that Riley 'struggles to understand the game.' Wazzock 'expects to be contacted' by the Football Association over comments made following Sunday's defeat. Wazzock labelled Premier League officials as 'the worst in the world' and targeted Riley, who is head of the Professional Game Match Officials Limited. Wazzock, who has escaped any charge for a stand-off with Craig Pawson at the final whistle, said: 'I'm sure they'll ask for my observations and I'll send them. I'd imagine people in the FA feel sorry for me if I'm honest. I don't think Mike Riley and myself are close Christmas card list-wise. When I see people like Paul Durkin, Graham Poll and Mark Clattenburg - who were top referees and know the game as well as the laws - I think it's criminal they're not involved. Mark Halsey, he knew how to handle players and he could give major advice to some of these referees. I always thought Mike Riley was a manufactured referee from day one when he refereed a game at Hartlepool against me. I don't think he's changed since then. He's been manufactured, almost like a robot. He knows everything about the rules but I feel these people struggle to understand the game and the human element.' Wazzock suggested that Premier League referee Michael Oliver's approach to the job was a better one to follow. 'Referees should be looking at the way Michael Oliver referees because he doesn't do everything by the book,' Wazzock added. 'That's why he's going to be one of the best in the world. [With] some of the younger ones the personality comes before the refereeing. Lot of referees are like Mike Riley, that's why we have gone backwards a bit and it's disappointing because there are enough ex-referees who can give education and knowledge to make our referees the best.' Wazzock says his players were left 'broken-hearted' by the weekend loss. 'You just have to get on with it and get onto the next one,' Wazzock said. 'You realise not many more things could go against us, apart from an earthquake or something. It was only a game of football, I'm sure a lot of the country would be happy, especially the teams around us. It shows how fine a balance football is.'
UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin says that he will ask referees to 'be brave' and stop matches where there is racial abuse from fans. Moscow Chelski FC and England winger Callum Hudson-Odoi was subjected to sick racist abuse in games against Dynamo Kiev and Montenegro last month. 'The moment a match is stopped, or it's not played, I think that ninety per cent of normal people in the stadium would kick the asses of those idiots,' said Ceferin. 'It's 2019, it's not one hundred years ago.' Sheikh Yer Man City and England forward Raheem Sterling suffered alleged racist abuse from Moscow Chelski FC fans in a Premier League game at Torpedo Stamford Bridge in December, while a study published in November found that half of football supporters in the UK have witnessed racism while watching matches. Sterling has called on football's authorities to 'take a proper stance' and 'crack down' on racist abuse. Moscow Chelski FC boss Maurizio Sarri, Liverpool Alabama Yee-Haws's Jurgen Klopp and Stottingtot Hotshot's Mauricio Pochettino are among the managers to say they would be prepared to take their players off the pitch to combat racist chanting. 'We will speak to the referees again and tell them to be confident, not to be afraid to act,' said Ceferin, the head of European football's governing body. 'This is a huge problem. Not just the Balkans, all Eastern Europe. There's not much immigration there because everybody wanted to go to Western Europe because of economic reasons, jobs, a better life. So it takes some time. But of course you see Italy, one of the biggest problems with racism, sexism and homophobia. You have England, where you have problems. It's a problem of intolerant people, not a problem of nations.' Anti-discrimination charity Kick It Out said last week that 'it's time for UEFA to take strong, decisive action - fines won't do,' adding: 'Extended stadium bans or tournament expulsion are what's needed.' Ceferin does not believe that UEFA's punishments need to be tougher. 'I don't see any tougher sanction than forbidding the fans, matches played in front of empty stadiums, which has happened in Croatia a few times and the money sanctions,' he said. 'If it's chronic, we could throw out a club team or a national team from a competition. Everything is possible. But that is a last resort.' Football Association chairman Greg Clarke says it must take 'a default position' of believing those reporting racism or discrimination. 'One of the first rules is to listen to the person who has been affected and believe them,' said Clarke at the UEFA Equal Game conference at Wembley where Ceferin was also speaking. 'I worry that there is an undue burden on the player to report incidents themselves. I would like to see a review of on-field incidents too. I understand completely that when two people are involved in an exchange it is often the word of one person against another. But actually that's not the case any more. The grounds that competitions are played in are full of cameras, recording every angle. We should go that extra mile. We owe it to our players.' Clarke believes it is 'time to examine' UEFA's three-step process for halting matches. 'The protocol asks the referee to stop the match if "racist behaviour is of a strong magnitude and intensity." I don't now think that is good enough and we should take this opportunity to revisit these thresholds,' said Clarke. 'There should be no judgement call on whether something is of a strong magnitude. Racism is racism.'
Northumbria Police are reportedly investigating an alleged incident involving England goalkeeper Jordan Pickford. Video published on social media appears to show the Everton player 'involved in a fracas' on a Wearside street. 'At 12:19am, police received a report of a disturbance involving a large group of individuals on Tunstall Road, Sunderland,' a spokesperson said. 'Enquiries are ongoing to determine the circumstances surrounding the incident and locate those involved.' They added: 'Nobody is believed to have been seriously injured and no arrests have been made.' Everton had earlier confirmed that they are also investigating the incident. The FA is aware of the incident but it is seen as a club matter. 'The club has been made aware of an alleged incident involving one of our players and we are looking into the matter,' Everton said. Pickford played on Saturday as The Toffees beat West Hamsters United two-nil at The London Stadium. He became the most expensive British goalkeeper in history after Everton paid twenty five million smackers to sign him from Blunderland in June 2017.
A Sheikh Yer Man City fan has been forced to resign from his new police job due to 'embarrassment' after he ran onto the pitch at an FA Cup match. Harry Eccles pleaded extremely guilty to going onto the playing area during the Swansea versus Sheikh Yer Man City game at Swansea's Liberty Stadium on 16 March. He was given an eighteen-month conditional discharge at Swansea Magistrates' Court. Three other fans were given football banning orders. The court was shown footage of Eccles, a police room operator, running onto the pitch after City striker Sergio Aguero celebrated his goal in the eighty eighth minute. Lee Davies, defending, claimed that Eccles was guilty of 'over-exuberance' and added that he had to resign from his new job with North Wales Police due to 'embarrassment.' And, committing a crime, obviously. Superintendent Steve Jones, from South Wales Police, said: 'I hope they serve as a stark reminder to anyone attending a football match in South Wales with the intention of committing offences that this behaviour will be dealt with robustly.' A fifteen-year-old from Bury and a sixteen-year-old from Swansea were also arrested for pitch encroachment during the match and have received youth cautions.
The pilot of the plane which crashed into the English Channel with Emiliano Sala on-board, was not qualified to fly at night, BBC Wales has reported. David Ibbotson is 'thought' to have been colour-blind and his licence restricted him to flying in daytime hours only. Sala died when the plane carrying him from Nantes to Cardiff crashed late on 21 January. The Air Accidents Investigation Branch said that licensing 'continues to be a focus' of its current investigations into the causes of the crash. Regulatory authorities have confirmed that Ibbotson, from Crowle in North Lincolnshire, did not hold a 'night rating' on his UK private pilot's licence. His UK licence was mirrored by a US pilot's licence - enabling him to fly the US-registered Piper Malibu in Europe. The public record of his Federal Aviation Administration licence states Ibbotson 'must have available glasses for near vision' and that 'all limitations and restrictions on the United Kingdom pilot licence apply.' Alleged 'sources' have allegedly told BBC Wales that Ibbotson's licence restricted him to 'flights by day only.' An alleged 'aviation source' allegedly told BBC Wales that the ability to be able to 'differentiate between green and red lights' is 'key' to flying in the dark. 'Anything that's on the UK licence applies to the US licence as well, so he couldn't do anything more than the UK licence allows. Flying outside the restrictions of your licence is illegal and that's likely to affect the insurance cover for the flight.' European aviation rules define night as 'the time from half-an-hour after sunset until half-an-hour before sunrise.' Flight plans seen by BBC Wales indicate the flight scheduled to take Sala for his first training session with Cardiff City had been due to leave Nantes airport at 9am local time on 21 January. But, the flight was postponed until 7pm, at the request of Sala, to allow him to spend the day saying goodbye to his former Nantes teammates. By the time that Ibbotson taxied a Piper Malibu plane on to the runway ready for take-off shortly after 7pm, it would have been around an hour and ten minutes after sunset. Speculation about the legality of the flight has so far centred around the question of whether it complied with restrictions concerning private pilots flying passengers in Europe in a US-registered aircraft. As a private pilot, Ibbotson was not allowed to carry passengers 'for remuneration or financial reward.' A preliminary report from the AIIB, released in February, stated that he could only fly passengers 'on a cost-share basis.' As the aircraft was US-registered, pilot and passenger must have 'a common purpose' for making the journey and the pilot 'must dictate when a flight leaves.' The report adds that the flight 'must not be made for the purpose of merely transporting the passenger.' In an interview in February, the football agent Willie McKay, who commissioned the flight, told the BBC that he and his family had paid for the flight. He was not involved, he said, in selecting the plane or the pilot and it was not a cost-share arrangement. The plane disappeared off radar North of Guernsey in the Channel Islands just after 8pm. Sala's body was recovered from the wreckage of the plane in early February but Ibbotson's body has not been found. The European Aviation Safety Agency states that to obtain a night rating, a pilot must undergo five hours of theory and five hours of flight training. In their preliminary report, the AAIB said that because Ibbotson's pilot licence and log book had been lost in the crash, it had 'not yet been able to establish what ratings he held' or how many hours he had flown recently - although it was known he had completed approximately three thousand seven hundred flying hours. Investigators would normally look to establish how many hours a pilot had flown in the last twenty eight and ninety days before a crash. The AAIB is expected to publish its full report into the tragedy early in 2020.
Portsmouth beat Blunderland on penalties to win The Checkatrade Trophy following a compelling two-two draw in front of a competition-record crowd of eighty five thousand punters at Wembley. Blunderland midfielder Lee Cattermole was the only player not to convert from twelve yards in the shootout as Craig MacGillivray saved to his left. The game finished one-one after ninety minutes as Nathan Thompson's header cancelled out an Aiden McGeady free-kick. Jamal Lowe's exquisite lob over Jon McLaughlin looked to have won it late in extra-time for Pompey, only for McGeady to pounce again in the one hundred and nineteenth minute to take the game to a penalty shoot-out. Oli Hawkins struck the decisive spot-kick as Portsmouth won five-four on penalties. Cattermole, the sole surviving Blunderland player from the club's previous Wembley appearance in the 2014 League Cup final, was the only player not to score from the spot, allowing Hawkins to net the decider.
Casper the snake is looking for a new home with the news that Queens Park Strangers have extremely sacked Steve McClaren - and his infamous hair island - following a run of but one win in fifteen Championship games. The fifty seven-year-old, who was (disastrously) England coach between August 2006 and November 2007, was appointed at Loftus Road in May 2018. Strangers have won just once in the league since 26 December and are currently seventeenth in the table, eight points above the relegation zone. McClaren's assistant John Eustace has been placed in interim charge while the club search for a new boss. 'Making a decision such as this is never easy, particularly when you are talking about someone as professional and dedicated as Steve,' chief executive Lee Hoos said in a statement on the club website. 'It is well documented that we are in a period of transition as we work hard to make the club financially stable. As we look to the future, and taking recent results into account, we feel now is the right time to re-evaluate where we are.' McClaren, who won sixteen of his forty six games in charge of The R's, had been working under financial restrictions at Loftus Road following the club's forty two million knicker settlement with the English Football League last summer for breaches of Financial Fair Play regulations during the 2013-14 season. The club only made two permanent signings last summer, bringing in defender Toni Leistner and veteran full-back Angel Rangel on free transfers, before signing thee players on season-long loan deals. The R's began the Championship season with four consecutive defeats - including a thigh-slappingly hilarious seven-one loss to West Bromwich Albinos but - despite appearing to be McClaren's latest 'infiltrate, destroy and exit' job - recovered during the autumn and, after beating Ipswich Town on Boxing Day, were two points off the play-off places. McClaren guided Queen's Park Strangers to the fifth round of the FA Cup for the first time since 1997, but ultimately paid the price for their poor league form in 2019, with a seven-match losing streak in January and February seeing The Hoops slide down the table. 'I would like to thank our fans for their patience and unwavering support during what has been a very difficult run of results, at a time when the club faces well-documented challenges,' Strangers chairman Amit Bhatia said. 'We must now work towards ending this season positively and building for the future.' The club's director of football, Les Ferdinand, added: 'Steve has worked incredibly hard during his time with us but as we start to make plans for next year we feel this change is necessary now, rather than wait until the end of the season, or risk having to make such a decision early in the new campaign.' McClaren's departure from Loftus Road adds yet another disappointing chapter to his mostly very disappointing managerial career, which has seen him take charge of five English clubs and two other sides in Europe. He won the League Cup in 2003-04 with Middlesbrough, who he then led to the UEFA Cup final in 2006, before leaving Teesside that summer to take charge of the national team. However, his spell with England only lasted eighteen games and he left the role after England failed to qualify for Euro 2008 following a calamitous three-two defeat by Croatia at Wembley. He rebuilt his career in the Netherlands, guiding Twente to the Eredivisie title in 2009-10 and then became the first Englishman to manage in Germany's Bundesliga in 2010 - but was very sacked by Wolfsburg in February 2011 with the club one point above the relegation zone. A short stint in charge of Nottingham Forest followed - he resigned after one hundred and twelve days after three wins in thirteen games - before he returned to Twente for a second time in 2012. He then had two spells in charge of Derby County, either side of a truly disastrous spell mismanaging this blogger's beloved (though unsellable) Newcastle United, guiding Th' Toon to the brink of relegation with the sort of rank incompetence which, frankly, had to be seen to be believed. McClaren lost a Championship play-off final with The Rams in 2014 and won just six of twenty eight Premier League games in charge of The Magpies during 2015-16. His second spell at Derby lasted a mere five months and came to an end in March 2017, with the club ten points adrift of the play-off places in the second tier.
One person who, seemingly, was neither surprised or, indeed, overly upset by McClaren's sacking was his predecessor at Loftus Road, Ian Holloway who sneered that he has 'no sympathy' for McClaren. 'He took my job,' Holloway whinged on talkSPORT. 'I still had another year left at the club. I'm still being paid by them now. [McClaren] was talking to the chairman while I was in the job saying what he'd do. He hasn't been able to do that. What goes around comes around. He had my babies and took my kids,' Holloway added. 'It means the world to me. I felt I was in the best position to do that job. The owners made their choice and that’s football at the end of the day. Would I go back? It depends who calls me. Les [Ferdinand] didn't want me to go.'
Notlob Wanderings' next two Championship home games - against Ipswich Town and The Middlesbrough Smog Monsters - are 'in doubt' after the club were issued with an order preventing fans from entering the ground. The area's Safety Advisory Group met on Tuesday and said it 'was not prepared to put the public at risk.' Notlob players went on strike on Monday after staff were not paid on time for the second month in a row. The EFL said that they 'hoped' the fixtures would take place as planned. One option could be to play the matches behind closed doors. 'We will work with the club and offer them any practical assistance that is available to us in an attempt to find a successful and timely resolution to the issue,' an EFL statement said. Notlob, who are up for sale and battling relegation, said that they would be 'unable to meet the obligations' of their safety certificate until after Wednesday's High Court appearance over unpaid debts. Staff will not be paid their March wages until Wednesday at the earliest, with owner Ken Anderson claiming that talks 'are ongoing' with potential buyers. SAG members agreed it 'would be a challenging timeframe' to put an 'adequate operation in place to protect the safety of spectators' for the games against Ipswich on Saturday and The Boro next Tuesday. 'We recognise that Bolton Wanderers is at the heart of our community and this is a deeply regrettable situation,' a spokesperson for SAG said. 'We have done everything we can over recent weeks to support the club at this difficult time. Every effort has been made to give the club enough time to put adequate match day operation standards in place, but regrettably the law gives us no alternative but to issue a prohibition notice. Safety and security remain our primary concern and while we recognise that spectators may be disappointed, we are not prepared to put the public at risk.' It is the second time in as many months the SAG has highlighted 'concerns' over safety at the University of Notlob stadium, with the game against Millwall on 9 March eventually given the green light to go ahead three days before. Notlob's squad are refusing to train until at least Wednesday in support of other staff who are still waiting for their March salaries, while payments were also late in February. Earlier on Tuesday, Anderson said that he had 'accepted an offer' for Wanderings that was less than what he paid for the club. 'I sincerely apologise to everyone, unreservedly, for this and would again request their continued patience during these difficult times,' Anderson said. 'Fortunately, [club staff] did not choose to go on strike and their loyalty to the club cannot be questioned, unlike the players' decision which, unfortunately, has a negative rather than a positive logic behind it. I am not quite sure what the players think striking will achieve.' Getting paid? Just a wild stab in the dark, obviously.
Gatesheed have been kicked out of their ground because of money owed to the local council, but have now 'agreed in principle' to a takeover deal by the former Rochdale chairman Chris Dunphy. They will be allowed to play this season's remaining home games at the International Stadium, but cannot train there and have vacated their offices. That will remain the case until the club and council reach a settlement. Current owner, Doctor Ranjan Varghese put Gatesheed up for sale in early March. 'This action follows a protracted period of negotiation with the current owner to settle outstanding debt,' said a Gatesheed Council spokesperson. 'To be clear, the issue is with the company, not the club. Gateshead Council is a long-time supporter of the club and it remains our wish that Gateshead FC has a long and prosperous future, preferably with the stadium as its home.' Gatesheed's players and staff have not been paid this month, but the club hopes to rectify that by next week. Varghese only took over The Tynesiders in July, but financial issues have seen the club operate under a transfer embargo for a large part of his tenure. It is unclear how soon the takeover deal will be completed. 'We're not there yet and [the takeover deal] is only in principle, but there is enormous potential in the club and the town,' said Dunphy. 'One thing we're looking forward to is working with the people up here. A football club is about the supporters, not the person who owns it.'
A burglar who broke into an FA Cup-winning footballer's home has been extremely jailed for five years. Luke Stuttard stole a car and jewellery from former Ipswich Town player Mick Lambert in January. He was jailed at Ipswich Crown Court after admitting one count of burglary. Twelve other burglaries were 'taken into consideration.' Lambert initially thought his 1978 FA Cup winner's medal had been stolen, but he later found it under his bed. The defender, now aged sixty eight, came on as a substitute for Roger Osborne, who scored the only goal in the victory over The Arse. Stuttard was arrested following a burglary in the town on 13 January when a patio door was smashed and key stolen from inside. After being charged, he was interviewed by police and admitted twelve other offences, including the burglary at Lambert's house. Stuttard's bad and naughty crimes took place between 3 January and 23 January and resulted in sixty grand's worth of items being stolen and fourteen thousand smackers of damage. One of these was at Lambert's home in Ipswich on 18 January, when a Ford Fiesta, a TV and jewellery was stolen. The day before Stuttard had broken into a house in Belstead and stolen jewellery and a Mercedes E220. Detective Constable Duncan Etchells said: 'Hopefully the sentence given in this case will provide some peace of mind to Stuttard's victims and also act as a deterrent to other would-be burglars.'
Bert Trautmann was born in Germany but he went on to have one of the least likely careers in British football. The former prisoner of war from Bremen became one of the most acclaimed goalkeepers of his generation, playing eventually for Manchester City. Now the film The Keeper tells his story to a new generation. David Kross is twenty eight. As a teenager in Germany, his first big film was Knallhart. Then in 2008 his role in The Reader, opposite Kate Winslet, brought international fame. But, as a child, what he really wanted to be was a professional footballer. 'I always loved the game,' he says. 'From five years old until I was fifteen, I was totally sure I'd be a footballer. It was the same with most of my friends but for me, it didn't work out. So I became an actor.' In The Keeper, hehas been called upon to revive his skills on the pitch. It's the true story of Bernd Trautmann, born in 1923, who was in the Luftwaffe in World War Two. In 1944, Trautmann was captured by British troops and ultimately sent to a prisoner of war camp near Wigan. Somewhere along the way, the name Bernd became Bert. His talent as a goalkeeper registered and he ended up playing for local side St Helens Town in the Lancashire Combination League. In 1949 he moved to Manchester City as a professional and stayed until 1964, turning out for the club more than five hundred times. He died in 2013. The film is a German-British co-production and in Germany it's called Trautmann. But director Marcus Rosenmüller admits that few Germans under sixty five would know who the central character is. 'But, that's not a big problem because the story really has to work as a love story and a family drama. It's not just a sports bio-pic, although of course the football scenes have to be convincing.' A lot of the hard work of giving the story emotional depth rests with Freya Mavor, who made her name playing Mini McGuinness in the final series of Skins on E4. She plays Trautmann's first wife, Margaret. Mavor can't claim to compete with her co-star's passion for football but says: 'I've lived quite a lot in France, so when France won the World Cup last summer, I did go a bit mad.' From the ages of nine to thirteen Mavor lived in La Rochelle on France's Atlantic coast; at nineteen she moved to Paris. Her fluency in the language means that she has been in several French films. 'I've always loved French cinema and I was obsessed with not sounding like a tourist. So it's brilliant to be accepted as an honorary French person in film.' But was it hard to produce a convincing accent for post-war industrial Lancashire? 'The big test was to sound authentic for people in St Helens and Manchester now,' Mavor says. 'But, I also wanted to understand the society which Margaret came from historically. There's a fascinating book by Norman Longmate called How We Lived Then. It was a huge help in understanding what the war was like for most people.' Kross confesses that, though much of the film is set there, he never actually went to St Helens. 'A lot of The Keeper was filmed in Northern Ireland and our football ground was in Belfast. But that's how films work. Later, when you see me at Wembley with Man City, that's mainly CGI: we were actually filming at Augsburg in Bavaria.' It was in the 1956 FA Cup final, when Manchester City were playing Birmingham City, that Trautmann took on legendary status. Fifteen minutes from the end, with city leading three-one, Trautmann dived at an incoming cross and was knocked out in a collision with Birmingham's Peter Murphy in which he was hit in the neck by Murphy's right knee. No substitutes were permitted in those days, so Trautmann, dazed and unsteady on his feet, carried on. For the remaining minutes he defended his net, making a crucial interception to deny Murphy once more. Trautmann admitted later that he had spent the last part of the match 'in a kind of fog.' His neck continued to cause him pain, and Prince Philip commented on its crooked state as he gave Trautmann his winner's medal. Trautmann attended that evening's post-match banquet despite being unable to move his head and went to bed expecting the injury to heal with rest. As the pain did not recede, the following day he went to St George's Hospital, where he was told he merely had a crick in his neck which would soon go away. Three days later, he got a second opinion from a doctor at Manchester Royal Infirmary. An X-ray revealed he had dislocated five vertebrae, the second of which was cracked in two. The third vertebra had wedged against the second, preventing further damage which could, potentially, have cost Trautmann his life. The film starts with a short, but powerful section, in which we see Trautmann fighting in World War Two where he won an Iron Cross fighting on the Eastern Front. Kross says that those scenes were essential. 'We have to understand the times he grew up in and the criminal regime which dominated Germany. Bert was part of the Hitler Youth and he went through a sort of brainwashing. He absolutely wanted to be a soldier. But there are interviews Bert did near the end of his life in which he talks about seeing civilians shot in Ukraine and how that changed him.' Kross says The Keeper is, basically, about a man 'seeking a new home. I think that's the emotional centre and that's what I needed to get right as an actor.' In the last part of his life, Trautmann lived in Spain and it was there that director Rosenmüller went to talk to him, several years before filming began. 'We spent a week talking to him and as I sat there, I wondered why no one had filmed his story already. There is such drama in how Margaret accepts him and then how his teammates accept him and then England accepts this man they thought was a Nazi.' Rosenmüller always knew there would be a German release for the film but he resisted the temptation to reshoot Kross's scenes in German. 'Visually the German and English versions are ninety eight per cent the same and David was in the odd position of dubbing himself into his own language. Almost all the German is spoken early on and in fact that helps the drama - the audience sees that Bert is lost in a world he doesn't understand.' Kross comes from Schleswig-Holstein, near the Danish border, but he now lives in Berlin. For a year he was at drama school in London but he has worked in German and English-language films. So where does he now see the centre of his acting career? 'I would love to do more British-German co-productions. But that doesn't really happen much: it has to be a story which will interest both audiences and the film industry doesn't very often come up with these stories.' Mavor, meanwhile, has been filming a four-part fantasy in French called Il était une seconde fois for Netflix.
A veteran Australian rules football broadcaster has grovellingly apologised after laughing at an amputee's attempts to toss a coin before a match. Sydney Swans ambassador Cynthia Banham appeared to struggle while performing the ceremonial role before Swans' AFL match against Adelaide Crows. Eddie McGuire sneeringly joked on-air that people tossing the coin should practise. 'The comments show not only a lack of empathy, but also ignorance,' a Swans statement said. Academic and journalist Banham had both her legs amputated after a plane crash in Indonesia in 2007. She was performing the pre-match coin toss - used to decide which team kicks off towards which end - while using her walking stick. McGuire, presenting coverage for Fox Footy, provoked sycophantic laughter from his co-commentators as he said: 'I think we should introduce a five thousand dollar fine to anybody who's tossing the coin and can't do it properly. Every week, we have someone dropping it on their foot. Come on, toss it up properly, for goodness sake. Practise in the week, you know you're going to do it. It can't be that hard can it, guys?' The sick, bully-boy comments drew criticism from disability campaigners and on social media. 'The Sydney Swans are incredibly disappointed by inappropriate comments made tonight by Eddie McGuire,' the Swans statement added. Fox Footy's parent company, FOX Sports, said the comments were 'disappointing' and apologised. McGuire, who was withdrawn from covering a game on Saturday, later apologised on-air and issued a statement in which he said he was 'deeply sorry and regretful for the comments I made last night about the coin tossing system. I should never have spoken without properly viewing the footage. I unreservedly apologise to Cynthia, her family and the Sydney Football Club for the pain and hurt that my comments have caused.'
And now, dear blog reader, David Bowie Songs Reimagined as Pulp Fiction Book Covers. Check it out.
Meanwhile, would you like to see a picture of The Grand Dame wearing a pair of gynormous Dan Dares, dear blog reader? Of course you do; who wouldn't?
The Rolling Stones have been forced to postpone their latest tour of the US and Canada because Sir Mick Jagger is reported to have fallen ill. In a statement, the band said that doctors had 'advised' Jagger not to tour because he 'needs to receive medical treatment.' The seventeen-date tour was due to kick-off in Miami on 20 April, before travelling across North America until a finale in Canada on 29 June. Jagger apologised directly to fans on Instagram and Twitter. 'I really hate letting you down like this,' he wrote. 'I'm devastated for having to postpone the tour but I will be working very hard to be back on stage as soon as I can.' In a statement to Rolling Stain magazine, the band's publicist said Jagger was 'expected to make a complete recovery, so that he can get back on stage as soon as possible.' They did not give any further details about his illness. The band's No Filter world tour officially started in September 2017 with a concert in Hamburg. They then toured venues across Europe and the UK throughout the rest of 2017 and 2018, before announcing the US and Canada leg in November 2018. Tour promoters AEG Presents/Concerts West are telling fans to hold on to their tickets, as they will still be valid at any rescheduled concerts. Subsequently it was confirmed that Sir Mick's health problems involved surgery to replace a heart valve but that he is expected to make a full recovery and that the tour will, hopefully, resume in July. Although the main shows will all be rescheduled, the band's headline performance at the New Orleans Jazz Festival has been cancelled, with organisers currently seeking a replacement.
The Cure have been inducted into the Rock and/or Roll Hall of Fame but that news has been overshadowed by a spectacularly awkward interview on the red carpet. Robert Smith's blunt - and hilariously dry - response to a very over-excitable American interviewer has been viewed more than eight million times on the Interweb. It becomes glaringly apparent that Smudger was a lot less enthusiastic about The Cure's induction than their interviewer, a hyperactive airhead thing named Carrie Keagan (no, me neither). Of course, inevitably, some utterly worthless gobshite of no importance at the Gruniad Morning Star felt it necessary to have a right go at Robert for, simply, being Robert Smith. Middle Class hippy Communists, dear blog reader. Don't you just lurv them the mostest, baby?
Elvis Costello & The Imposters will team up with Blondie for a thirteen-date co-headlining tour this summer that opens on 20 July in Bethel, New York, and focuses largely on the East and West coasts, wrapping up 10 August in Seattle. Tickets for the tour go on sale this week. Elv released his most recent CD, Look Now, late last year following the singer/songwriter's cancer scare from which he is now, thankfully, recovered. Blondie last released a new CD, Pollinator, in 2017 and they are due to release an archival box set later this year from reissue specialists Numero Group.
The Prodigy have thanked fans for turning out to celebrate the life 'of our brother Keef.' Thousands of fans lined the streets in tribute to frontman Keith Flint who was found dead at his home near Dunmow on 4 March. On Sunday, Liam Howlett described the funeral as 'truly emotional and overwhelming.' Keith's funeral was held at St Mary's Church in Bocking on Friday. Howlett, along with other band members, Maxim and Leeroy Thornhill, were met by cheers when they arrived at the service. Before the funeral, the band had called on fans to 'raise the roof for Keef' and line the route of the funeral procession through the singer's hometown in Braintree. Speakers were set up outside the church to broadcast the service to the crowds. Howlett thanked fans for their support, saying they 'did [Keith] proud.'
The fashion retailer founded by the former Oasis front man Liam Gallagher has been placed into administration. Pretty Green, which has thirteen stores across the UK, announced the decision on Friday. 'All stores and concessions will continue trading until further notice,' said a statement displayed in the doors of its shops. Two partners at Moorfields Advisory Limited were appointed as joint administrators on 28 March. 'Pretty Green is not immune to the challenges facing the UK high street as customers migrate from purchasing in store to online,' said a spokeswoman for Moorfields. Pretty Green - named after the Paul Weller song of the same name - was founded in 2009 and employs about one hundred and eighty staff in the UK. It was subsequently confirmed that at least one of the Pretty Green stores had been rescued from administration by JD Sports.
The crash which killed both members of British duo Her's and their tour manager was caused by a 'wrong-way driver,' according to US authorities. Stephen Fitzpatrick and Audun Laading died in the collision in Arizona while travelling to a gig in California on Wednesday. Officials in Arizona said that a Nissan pick-up had been 'travelling Eastbound on the Westbound lane' of Interstate Ten before hitting the duo's Ford van. There were no survivors. The band, whose members met as students at the Liverpool Institute of Performing Arts, were driving about three hundred and fifty miles from a performance in Phoenix to Santa Ana in California. In a statement, the Arizona Department of Public Safety said that the crash occurred at about 1am, shortly after it first received reports of the wrong-way driver. The band's tour manager, Trevor Engelbrektson, from Minneapolis, had been driving their van, the department said. The other driver was named as Francisco Edward Rebollar of Murrieta, California. 'Both vehicles were engulfed in flames,' the department said. 'There was no roadway evidence to indicate braking by either vehicle prior to impact. An alcoholic beverage container was located in the debris field.' Officials confirmed that Fitzpatrick, from Barrow-in-Furness and Laadin, from Norway, were among the deceased. The duo's record label, Heist or Hit, described them as 'one of the UK's most loved up-and-coming bands.' They recently released a debut CD and were featured on BBC Introducing. On Monday, before the crash, the band posted on Facebook: 'It's almost home-time for the lads, US tour has gone swimmingly so far. Got a hot sunset date with the Grand Canyon tonight.' Their label said they had been playing nineteen shows on their second tour of America, having released their debut, Invitation To Her's last year. 'They were in America playing to thousands of adoring fans. Fans they made a point of meeting and spending time with, such was their passion and humbleness. The world was at their feet,' the label said. Earlier this month, Her's were filmed by BBC Introducing playing an acoustic performance during the South By Southwest festival in Austin. BBC Introducing presenter Huw Stephens said that the band were 'excellent, funny and clearly loving playing to an American audience. In their interview they spoke about their enduring friendship on tour, how Liverpool had adopted them as they'd moved there from Barrow-in-Furness and Norway respectively, and their excitement about the future,' he said.
Nelly (he's a popular rap combo, yer honour) will reportedly face no further action over a sexual assault claim relating to his UK tour. The rapper was alleged to have 'attacked' a fan after his gig at Cliffs Pavilion in Southend in December 2017. Essex Police began an investigation and, after interviewing the rapper in January, have told him that he faces no further action. The allegations against Nelly, whose real name is Cornell Iral Haynes Junior, came to light in a US lawsuit. It was included in a claim from an American woman, Monique Greene, who said she was raped by the rapper. Prosecutors dropped a criminal case against him because she would not testify. Nelly had denied the allegations and filed a counter-suit. Both suits were settled in September. The Essex Police investigation centred on claims from a fan who alleged that the rapper had invited her to his dressing room after the show and sexually assaulted her. She is reported to have filed a federal lawsuit against him in the US in November.
NASA has called India's destruction of a satellite 'a terrible thing' which 'could threaten the International Space Station.' The space agency's chief, Jim Bridenstine, said that the risk of debris colliding with the ISS had 'risen by forty four per cent' over ten days due to the test. However he said: 'The international space station is still safe. If we need to manoeuvre it we will.' India is the fourth country to have carried out such a test. Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the test - Mission Shakti - with great fanfare on 27 March, saying it had established India as 'a space power.' In an address to employees, Bridenstine sharply criticised the testing of such anti-satellite weapons. He said that NASA had 'identified' four hundred pieces of orbital debris and was tracking sixty pieces larger than ten centimetres in diameter. Twenty-four of those pieces pose a potential risk to the ISS, he said. 'That is a terrible, terrible thing to create an event that sends debris in an apogee that goes above the International Space Station. And that kind of activity is not compatible with the future of human spaceflight that we need to see have happen.' A day after India successfully carried out its ASAT test, acting US defence secretary Patrick Shanahan warned that the event 'could' create a 'mess' in space but said that Washington was 'still studying the impact.' Delhi has insisted it carried out the test in low-earth orbit, at an altitude of three hundred kilometres, so as not to leave space debris which could collide with the ISS or satellites. 'That's why we did it at lower altitude, it will vanish in no time,' G Satheesh Reddy, the chief of India's Defence Research and Development Organisation, told Reuters. Bridenstine said that it was 'true' this would 'eventually' happen. 'The good thing is, it's low enough in Earth orbit that over time this will all dissipate,' he said. China provoked international alarm with a similar test in 2007. The NASA chief said 'a lot' of the debris created by that test 'remained' in orbit. The US military is in total tracking about ten thousand pieces of space debris, nearly a third of which is said to have been created by the Chinese test. Arms control advocates have expressed concern about the increasing militarisation of space. ASAT technology would allow India to take out the satellites of enemy powers in any conflict and the test is likely to fuel the growing regional rivalry between India and China. The announcement also angered opposition parties in India, who have accused Modi of using the test as a political stunt ahead of a general election. Indians will begin voting in national elections on 11 April.
Uranus 'sounds windy' according to a piece of abject nonsense in the Daily Mirra. Doctor Paul Byrne, a planetary geologist at North Carolina State University, has 'revealed' what the planet is 'likely' to sound like. He explained: '[It] depends on where on Uranus you are. Uranus is what we call an ice giant and is composed almost entirely of gases and fluids, so there's no real ground to stand on. From a distance in other words, in space,  there's no sound at all, so you won't be able to hear Uranus.' So, in that case, Doctor Paul Byrne has 'revealed' what Uranus is 'likely' to sound like and it's ... not much. Quality reporting there, Daily Mirra. 'But within the atmosphere itself, there's plenty of sound,' Doctor Paul continued: 'There's wind, which you could hear if you were able to fly through the atmosphere in a helicopter, say, or in a balloon.' But, just in case you were wondering, you can't. 'It's extremely difficult and expensive to get any kind of vehicle to Uranus, so it'll be a long time before we really do hear the planet's weather, but it's certainly possible.'
NASA's Cassini spacecraft has long since bitten the proverbial dust, but the data that it sent back several years ago is now revealing how actual dust affects some of the planet's many moons. As NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory explains in a new blog post, Saturn's iconic rings tend to litter some of its moons with a variety of material, coating them as they drift in orbit around the planet. The researchers focused on a handful of moons that exist close to or within the planet's ring system. The moons Atlas, Epimetheus, Pandora, Daphnis and Pan are much smaller than the planet's larger moons like the icy Enceladus, but in many ways they're just as interesting. Cassini was an incredibly successful mission for NASA, with the spacecraft outliving its expected mission timeline and punctuating its time at Saturn with a series of incredibly risky dives through its rings. Those dives allowed scientists to learn more about the planet - and especially its rings and moons - than ever before. 'The daring, close flybys of these odd little moons let us peer into how they interact with Saturn's rings,' JPL's Bonnie Buratti said in a statement. 'We're seeing more evidence of how extremely active and dynamic the Saturn ring and moon system is.' In a paper published in Science this week, Buratti and fellow researchers reveal that the small moons nearest Saturn's rings are 'likely' chunks of the material that makes up the rings, gradually growing into larger bodies as gravity pulls more ring material to their surfaces. Equally interesting is the fact that Saturn's ice moon, Enceladus, which has a habit of spewing water ice out of its poles and into space, is also contributing to the material building up on the smaller moons. Learning when and how Saturn's moons formed can teach astronomers more about the mechanisms at work in moon creation. This research offers hints at processes that are likely happening all over the universe, including around exoplanets we are only now beginning to discover.
NASA has taken another step to make interplanetary living a reality, naming the three finalists for its ongoing 3D-Printed Habitat Challenge last Thursday. The challenge, which began in 2015, has seen teams competing to design shelters suitable for the Moon, Mars and - optimistically - beyond. For the fourth level of the third phase of the competition, eleven teams were asked to create full-scale renderings of their designs using modeling software, and short videos explaining their choices. Each model was evaluated for architectural layout and aesthetics, as well as the feasibility of their construction and scalability, among other traits. Previous stages focused on architectural renderings and technologies required to build each design's components. Mars Incubators, a collective of engineers and artists, presented a modular design which came third. As you can see, it's very Space: 1999 and, as a consequence, way-cool! New York-based Team SEArch+/Apis Cor won first place with their unique twisted structure, which comes dotted with small holes to let in natural light. Runner-up Team Zoperhous suggested that their modular structures could be printed by an autonomous rover. The three teams split a prize of one hundred thousand bucks between them. The competition is just the latest development in NASA's mission to send humans back to the Moon and, eventually, to Mars. Last November, the agency announced that nine US companies were eligible to bid on 2.6 billion dollars in contracts over the next ten years to deliver services to the Moon and in 2017, President (and hairdo) Donald Rump signed Space Policy Directive One to 'refocus America's space program [sic] on human exploration and discovery.'
Meanwhile, Russia and the United States have set out scientific objectives for their joint mission, Venera-D, which is scheduled to begin at the end of the 2020s. Ludmila Zasova, the manager of the project's bilateral work group and a lead contributor at the Russian Space Research Institute, explained that Russia will produce an orbiter and a lander, while NASA will contribute a long-lived surface station. The Russian spacecraft will enable offloading, after which it will continue to work for two to three hours and the American station will be fully functional on the surface of the planet for up to sixty Earth days. Japan, as well as some European countries, have also expressed their willingness to become involved in the project, according to Zasova: Germany has offered to provide an infrared camera for observation of the planet's surface, Italy has offered two spectrometers and Japan will contribute ultraviolet and infrared cameras. Britain has said it will give the project some chewing gum to help hold it together. The overall cost of the project is estimated to be between eight hundred million and one billion US dollars. Minus the chewing gum, obviously. Zasova explained that 'once the necessary funding is obtained,' a vessel 'may' be launched 'no sooner than 2027.' The joint Russian-US Venera-D project began in 2013. It was suspended in 2014 due to sanctions against Russia, but work resumed in 2015. The initial project was part of the Russian federal space program for 2025. It was later removed from that framework due to budget cuts. From the 1960s to the 1980s the Soviet Union conducted intensive research on Venus. In total, the country's space programme launched sixteen Venera and Vega space probes. Ten of them successfully landed on Venus and each of those explored the surface of the planet for durations ranging from a few minutes to several hours. One of them even took a few pictures. It doesn't look a very inviting place to visit, to be honest. The United States, however, has never managed to successfully land its own spacecraft on Venus with the exception of an unplanned landing by a small probe. Vega 2 landed in 1985 and no more devices have reached the surface of the planet since then. The mission to Venus is complex in comparison with flights to Mars due to extremely harsh conditions on the former planet's surface. A thick layer of cloud surrounds Venus due to high levels of carbon dioxide and the resulting greenhouse effect brings the temperature to over four hundred and fifty degrees Celsius. The atmospheric pressure is about one hundred times that of planet Earth.
Five UK broadband and landline providers will now automatically compensate customers when services do not work. From Monday, customers who experience delayed repairs, installations or missed engineer appointments will be compensated, without having to ask. BT, Sky, TalkTalk, Virgin Media and Zen Internet have joined Ofcom's scheme, which is not compulsory. Hyperoptic, Vodafone, EE and Plusnet have also committed to the plans. According to industry watchdog Ofcom, there are over seven million cases each year where broadband or landline customers suffer delayed repairs, installations or missed appointments. Previously, only about one in seven broadband or landline customers received compensation from providers for these delays. Ofcom consulted on enforcing formal regulations regarding compensation of broadband and landline services in 2017. However, some service providers then approached the regulator independently and offered to pay compensation to customers. This led to Ofcom releasing details of its voluntary automatic compensation code of practice in November 2017. 'We think it's unacceptable that people should be kept waiting for a new line, or a fault to be fixed,' said Ofcom's chief executive Sharon White. She added that the new rules would 'provide an incentive' for service providers to want to avoid problems occurring in the first place. 'But, if they fall short, customers must be treated fairly and given money back, without having to ask for it,' she said. TalkTalk, Sky, Zen Internet and BT all use BT's Openreach network to provide broadband and landline services. In December, the providers agreed a deal with Openreach that if any delays to repairs or installations occurred, Openreach would compensate the providers. The providers would then use that money to automatically compensate their customers. Under the terms of the agreement, if an engineer does not arrive on schedule, or cancels within twenty four hours, the compensation will be twenty five knicker. If a service stops working and is not fully fixed after two working days, customers will be entitled to eight quid per day in compensation. There will also be five smackers-per-day offered for new services not starting on time. Hyperoptic and Vodafone will begin automatic compensation later this year, while EE plans to start paying compensation automatically in 2020. Plusnet has committed to the scheme, but has 'not provided a timescale' for when it will begin providing automatic compensation. Asked why Ofcom had chosen not to implement formal regulations for automatic compensation, an Ofcom spokesman told the BBC: 'This is the quickest way of putting money back in people's pockets. All the largest firms have committed, with more than ninety five per cent of households covered.' He said that customers with providers not in the scheme from Monday could 'choose to switch to a new provider' if they were unhappy with their current service. However, Ofcom added that it was 'keeping a close eye' on the firms within the scheme. 'If they don't comply, we'll step in and take action,' the spokesman said.
People in the UK are 'more likely' to combine drugs with The Sex than those in the US, Canada, Australia or Europe, according to a survey. It found Brits, younger people and those on higher incomes were more likely to have The Chemsex. More than twenty two thousand people took part in the Global Drug Survey's research into substance-linked The Sex. It found alcohol, cannabis, MDMA and cocaine are the drugs most commonly used in conjunction with The Sex. Researchers say understanding people's drug use in relation to The Sex is important so that messages about the harm they can cause can be targeted to the way people live their lives. 'By engaging with your audience and accepting that drugs provide pleasure as well as harms, you can deliver harm reduction messages in a more trustworthy and nuanced manner,' said lead author Doctor Will Lawn. The report found that alcohol was 'the most popular drug.' Around fifty eight per cent of men and sixtyper cent of women who took part in the survey said they had drank before The Sex in the past year. But it's not just booze that is being consumed before Britons get intimate. The report states that people from the UK are 'most likely' to have combined drugs such as cocaine, MDMA and mephedrone with The Sex. It describes British people's use of mephedrone with The Sex as 'particularly striking.' The report claimed that whilst people of all genders and sexual orientations had The Chemsex - gay and bisexual men were 'more likely to have done so.' It also found that 'homosexual men were 1.6 times as likely as heterosexual men to have used drugs with the specific intent of enhancing the sexual experience in the last year.' Doctor Lawn, from the University College London, said that while The Chemsex is 'often associated with gay men,' the study found 'men and women of all sexual orientations engaged in this behaviour. Harm reduction messages relating to substance-linked sex in general should therefore not only be targeted towards gay and bisexual men, as they are relevant to all groups.' Marc Thompson, who leads health improvement at sexual health charity Terrence Higgins Trust, says combining drugs with The Sex 'can increase' the chance of catching an STI. 'Drug use can lead to people taking risks during sex they wouldn't ordinarily take which increases the chances of contracting HIV and other sexually transmitted infections and why testing regularly is really important,' he told Newsbeat. Lavatory seats are also (allegedly) suspect. Just sayin'. 'As this report highlights, drug use and sex is something that is not exclusive to gay and bisexual men but is something that happens across the wider population. Therefore it's vital that everyone knows the potential risks this can result in.' The people who responded to the survey were 'self-selecting rather than a representative sample,' the research noted. It means the number of people who said they combine drugs with The Sex will be 'substantially larger than the general population. However, relative differences between groups are expected to be reliable,' it added.
Cannabis resin sold on the streets of Madrid is 'contaminated with dangerous levels of faecal matter,' a study suggests. So, the next time someone in a pub lavatory asks you if you want to 'smoke some shit,' they might be talking more literally than you'd've ever imagined. Traces of E.coli bacteria and the Aspergillus fungus were found by analysts who examined ninety samples of Mary Jane bought in and around the Spanish capital. The samples of hashish were wrapped up in plastic 'acorns' were the worst offenders, reportedly because of the way they are smuggled into the country. Some forty per cent of these also had 'the aroma of faeces,' the study's lead author claimed. Which makes a change from the usual smell associated with gear which is, vaguely, reminiscent of stale socks and luncheon meat that's a couple of weeks past its sell-by date. Or, so this blogger has heard. Anyway, buying, selling and importing cannabis is, of course, against the law in Spain, as is using it in public - although it is technically legal to grow it for personal use, provided it is not publicly visible and to be consumed in private. José Manuel Moreno Pérez, a pharmacologist from the Universidad Complutense in Madrid, collected ganja samples directly from street dealers, both in the city and the surrounding suburbs. The aim - he said - was to determine whether the drugs sold were 'suitable for human consumption.' At least, that's his story and he's sticking to it. His research team then separated the contaminated samples by shape, with some of them resembling 'acorns' and others 'ingots,' to see if one shape had more contaminates than the other. The study, co-authored with Pilar Pérez-Lloret, Juncal González-Soriano and Inmaculada Santos Álvarez, has been published in the journal Forensic Science International. They found that ninety three per cent of the acorn-shaped samples contained 'dangerous levels of E.coli bacteria,' as did twenty nine per cent of the ingot samples. Some ten per cent of the weed samples were also contaminated with Aspergillus, a dangerous fungus which 'can cause serious health problems.' Most of the samples tested - just over eight eight per cent - were 'not suitable for consumption.' Unless you're listening to some serious dub reggae in which case, hey, whatever gets you through the night. Pérez later explained the contamination - and the smell - to the Spanish newspaper El País. The acorns, he said, were 'more likely to be contaminated' because of how they were brought into the country - the cannabis is wrapped up in small plastic pellets and swallowed before the drug smugglers then 'take a laxative and expel' them in a lavatory. These are then sold by dealers. According to the study, the risks associated with E.coli and Aspergillus are 'serious enough' to make the illegal street vending of hash 'a public health issue.' The E.coli infection, for example, can cause diarrhoea, vomiting, stomach pains, fever and blood in the faeces - and for some people this can then lead to even more serious conditions. Meanwhile, inhaling Aspergillus mould can cause 'serious problems' for people who already have lung conditions, like asthma or cystic fibrosis, or in people who have low immunity. The study says that this is 'particularly dangerous' for cancer patients, who sometimes smoke cannabis to help with the symptoms of chemotherapy. 'These patients have a weakened immune system, meaning that an infection caused by the consumption of contaminated or adulterated hashish could be fatal,' it adds.
A teenage boy has tragically died after falling from the Whispering Gallery at St Paul's Cathedral. Emergency services were called to the cathedral at about 4pm on Monday, but were unable to save the unidentified boy, who was pronounced dead at the scene. Shortly afterwards, St Paul's tweeted it was closing the building. It reopened on Tuesday for morning service and sightseeing. A spokesperson for City of London police said: 'We were called to St Paul's Cathedral on Monday 1 April ... to a report of a male in his late teens who had fallen from the gallery within the building.' The spokesperson added that the death was 'not being treated as suspicious.' A London ambulance service spokesperson said an incident response officer and London's air ambulance attended the scene. 'Sadly, despite the efforts of medics, a person died at the scene,' the spokesperson added. In October 2017, Lidia Dragescu, a talented figure skater, also died after falling from a gallery within St Paul's. In response to Dragescu's death, a spokesperson for St Paul's said: 'Although robust procedures for emergency situations are in place at St Paul's and today's response bore that out, it does not lessen the shock we feel as a close community, especially for those of us who witnessed and responded to this incident.'
A Sussex police sergeant has denied 'smirking' as he was restraining a man who, later, died. Duncan Tomlin had epilepsy and died in July 2014 after he suffered a cardiac arrest in the back of a police van while being arrested in Haywards Heath. During the inquest, the family's lawyer Jude Bunting asked Sergeant Christopher Glasspool 'you think it's funny?' 'No, not at all,' he replied. CCTV from the police van showed Glasspool and two other officers restraining Tomlin. When questioned on a moment of the footage in which Bunting claimed he was 'smiling or smirking,' Glasspool disagreed and said 'it's just a facial expression.' West Sussex Coroner's Court previously heard Tomlin had been drinking and taking drugs on the night and had been 'violently struggling' against officers before he ceased moving altogether. Bunting told the court police guidelines state a person restrained on their stomach should be 're-positioned as soon as possible' onto their side, to allow 'close and careful monitoring' of their breathing. Bunting put it to Glasspool that all he did was occasionally 'glance in the vague direction of his head' during the three to four minutes Tomlin was restrained. Glasspool disagreed and claimed that he could see Tomlin's face as he 'kept turning his head.' Tomlin's head is not visible on the video footage. Bunting asked: 'Did you get complacent?' 'No,' replied Glasspool. Bunting asserted that Tomlin's leg restraints and handcuffs were kept on for 'an inappropriate length of time,' including after he had stopped moving. Glasspool said: 'The priority then was to maintain his airway.' Bunting asked: 'Does the recovery position include leg restraints and handcuffs?' 'No,' Glasspool replied. The inquest continues.
A drunken disturbance in Lochgelly saw a man brandishing a wine bottle at police officers, challenging them to fight and then exposing his buttocks to them. As you do. Well, as he did. Brent Conway then 'tried to ran away' before being pinched by The Fuzz and extremely arrested for his bare-bum antics. Conway appeared in the dock at Dunfermline Sheriff Court. He admitted that on 9 June, 'at Main Street, Lumphinnnans Road and elsewhere in Lochgelly,' he had 'behaved in a threatening or abusive manner by shouting, swearing, brandishing a glass bottle, challenging police officers to fight, exposing his buttocks to them and repeatedly kicked a police van.' Depute fiscal Alistair McDermid said that police were called to 'a group of youths' who were 'gathered on the street.' And, 'up to no good' one suspects. Police told them to move on. 'The accused, who was amongst their number was sais to be 'acting aggressively.' He had a half-full bottle of wine and began to brandish it whilst 'challenging officers to fight. He pulled his trousers down and exposed his buttocks then ran away,' added the depute. It is to be hoped that he pulled his pants up before trying to run away otherwise, he might have tripped over. Conway is already in jail serving a twelve-month sentence. Sheriff Craig McSherry jailed Conway for another six months to be served consecutively.
Maryland attorney Rashad James, who happens to be black, was packing up his papers after a day at Harford County District Court when, he claims, a sheriff's deputy detained him, seemingly believing that James was merely 'pretending' to be a lawyer. The deputy called the attorney by his client's name and, when James informed the deputy that he was, in fact, the attorney the deputy did not believe him. Even after Rashad showed him identification, the deputy still did not believe him. The deputy then called his supervisor. After successfully getting an expungement for a client who was not there, a sheriff's deputy stopped James in the courtroom and began questioning if he was really a lawyer or simply impersonating one. 'After the hearing, that's when I encountered the officer who incorrectly called me by the name of the client. I stated that I was not the client, that I was, in fact, the client's attorney,' James said. The deputy then asked for identification, James says he showed his driver's license. The officer apparently still was not satisfied and wanted more verification since James didn't have his state bar card or business cards neither of which he is required to carry. He had the officer call his supervisor. 'If Mister James were white, this would not have happened,' said Chelsea Crawford, James' fellow attorney. 'There is no plausible explanation other than racial bias,' said Andrew D Freeman of Brown, Goldstein & Levy, an attorney for James. The law firm refers to the incident as 'lawyering while black' in a press release. The Harford County Sheriff's Office claims it has initiated 'a complete and thorough investigation' and that they 'take all complaints seriously.' In the meantime, James is now reportedly carrying his business cards with him at all times.
A woman who claimed she was 'too ill to walk,' received twenty thousand quid in disability benefits while taking part in major kickboxing tournaments. Tammy Horton told assessors that she needed to use a wheelchair and could not dress herself due to chronic pain. But, while claiming the payments, she competed in international matches in the UK in 2016 and 2017 and won medals. Horton was handed a ten-month jail sentence, suspended for two years, at Lincoln Crown Court. Horton admitted charges of failing to notify the Department for Work and Pensions of a change in circumstance between 5 February 2014 and 25 March 2015 and to making a false statement to obtain Personal Independent Payment between 25 March 2015 and 10 May 2017. The court heard that she did suffer from illnesses, including chronic pelvic disease and fibromyalgia, but was not entitled to the over twenty one grand benefits that she was paid and had told the DWP she struggled to walk more than twenty metres. Acting on a tip-off, investigators discovered Horton had joined a kickboxing club in January 2004 and regularly attended sessions while claiming benefits. She competed in two tournaments in 2016 and won a silver medal at another regional tournament in January 2017. The following month, Horton was runner-up in her category at an international event held in Watford. Prosecutor Lisa Hardy told the court: 'This was a lady who expressed that she needed an extra banister fitted just to be able to get up and down stairs. She said that she was limited to walking with crutches or using a wheelchair and that she was on morphine to control the pain.' Sentencing Horton, Judge Andrew Easteal said her actions were 'inexcusable. The contrast between the picture you painted and the reality of the life you were living is breathtaking,' he said. 'This was a planned, detailed, gross deception that went on for several years.' Defending Horton, Edna Leonard claimed that the woman 'had a young daughter whose life would be ruined if she were jailed immediately.'
A man has been extremely jailed after leading police on a forty-mile pursuit whilst towing a stolen caravan. Officers from the Central Motorway Police Group were first alerted to a truck and caravan, being driven on stolen plates, on the A34 northbound towards Trentham during the afternoon of 22 June last year, Staffordshire Police said. The vehicle failed to stop for police and the pursuit began. Steven Beeson admitted driving whilst disqualified and theft of a caravan. He was jailed for twenty months and disqualified from driving for three years. 'Beeson demonstrated some very dangerous driving and was lucky he did not cause a collision with another motorist,' police said.
A 'rogue' fish has been removed from a lake after children reported seeing it eating ducks. Something this blogger has also done in his life albeit, usually with hoisin sauce, spring onions and pancakes.  A necessary difference, one feels. The twenty five pound catfish was caught at the man-made lake at the Lakeside shopping centre in Thurrock, Essex, by the Environment Agency. A spokesman said that fishing contests would be held at the lake to reduce the population of 'invasive species.' Officer Ben Norrington said: 'Large fish have the potential to eat wildfowl so we're pleased we could remove it.' The EA said that the animal had been seen eating ducks and other wildfowl. 'Invasive species pose a serious threat to our native wildlife,' Norrington added. The catfish has been relocated to a fully enclosed lake with help from the Catfish Conservation Group.
A Vietnamese woman accused of killing Kim Jong-nam, the half-brother of North Korea's leader, has pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of 'causing hurt by potentially deadly means.' A Malaysian court sentenced Doan Thi Huong to three years and four months in The Slammer, starting from her arrest in February 2017. Huong would have faced the death penalty if found guilty of the murder. Kim, the estranged half-brother of Kim Jong-un, was assassinated at Kuala Lumpur Airport in 2017 in broad daylight, with the toxic nerve agent VX. The development effectively means no-one has been held accountable for Kim's death. 'In the first week of May, she will go home,' Huong's lawyer Hisyam Teh Poh Teik told reporters at the Shah Alam court. Her step-mother Nguyen Thi Vy told BBC Vietnamese that the family was 'very happy. We have felt so thankful for all the support from the government, lawyers and communities,' she said. The judge's decision comes after Huong's Indonesian co-defendant Siti Aisyah unexpectedly walked free last month, after intervention from Malaysia's Attorney General. Huong's hopes of a similar outcome were initially dashed on 14 March, when authorities rejected her request for the murder charge to be dropped and said her trial would go ahead. She cried in the courtroom and told reporters: 'Only God knows that we did not commit the murder. I want my family to pray for me.' Both women have always insisted that they were innocent. They claimed that they were 'tricked' into carrying out the killing - which involved smearing a lethal nerve agent on the victim's face - and believed they were 'part of a reality TV prank.' The BBC's South East Asia correspondent Jonathan Head said that Monday's verdict offers Malaysia 'a face-saving way out of an embarrassing murder trial,' but will also be viewed by many as justice for the last remaining defendant. However, it means that neither defendant was able to testify and give details of how they were brought into the plot, or who recruited them. Kim Jong-nam had been waiting to board a flight from Kuala Lumpur to Macau on 13 February 2017, when two women approached him in the departure area. CCTV footage showed one of them placing her hands over his face, then both women hurriedly leaving the scene. Kim died on the way to hospital from what was later found to be exposure to VX, one of the most toxic of all known chemical agents. North Korea has fiercely denied any involvement in the killing, but four men - believed to be North Koreans who fled Malaysia on the day of the murder - have also been charged in absentia. They remain at large despite an Interpol 'red notice', equivalent to an international arrest warrant.
A mother died from her burns after pouring petrol over herself and setting it alight, an inquest has heard. Ambreen Hussain had 'only meant to scare her husband' after he had an affair, the hearing was told. She died in hospital, four days after catching fire at her home in Middlesbrough on 13 November last year. Teesside assistant coroner, Jo Wharton, recorded a misadventure verdict after saying that she 'couldn't be satisfied' Hussain intended to take her own life. Footage from the house's CCTV cameras showed the woman dousing herself in petrol used for a child's scooter and standing in the back yard with a white, lit piece of paper. Even though she wasn't seen to apply the paper to her body, she then erupted into flames. Her husband, Mobeen, frantically tried to douse the fire, throwing a pan of water over her and desperately trying to put out the fire with his bare hands. Tragically, despite his efforts and those of neighbours, she died in Newcastle Royal Victoria Infirmary four days later. A post mortem gave her cause of death as multiple organ failure due to burns which affected more than ninety per cent of her body. A statement from Acting Detective Inspector Jeremy Commons of Cleveland Police said that the house's CCTV cameras captured Mister Hussain coming to his wife's aid, wrapping his arms around her in an attempt to put the flames out. He then took her out the front door, with Mrs Hussain still walking and neighbours tried to help, wrapping her in cling film. There was 'no indication that his wife was going to do what she did,' he said. Hussain attended the inquest but his statement was read out by a coroner's officer. He said that problems with their marriage had begun six months before when Ambreen found out about his affair. On 13 November, they argued and she went into the kitchen. He saw her 'pouring something over herself' and then she 'instantly set on fire.' Hussain, who is still being treated for hand injuries, said: 'It was all just a blur - I was trying to put the fire out with my own hands. I do not think she meant to set herself on fire - I think she was just trying to scare me.' The coroner said Mrs Hussain - a 'much-loved wife, mother and daughter' – had been 'angry' due to the argument with her husband. Referring to ADI Commons' statement that it didn't look like the flame had made physical contact with Ambreen's body, she said that to record a suicide verdict, he had to be satisfied Hussain took her own life and intended to do so - and she could not be satisfied that was her intention. Recording a misadventure verdict, she said: 'Her death was attributed to an accident that occurred due to a risk that was taken voluntarily.'
A 'barbaric attack' on a woman involved her being kicked in the face and 'whipped with a belt like a dog,' a court has heard. The 'shocking behaviour' of James Heffernan was described by Judge Stuart Rafferty QC as 'absolutely despicable' and 'savage, persistent and cruel.' Jailing him for three years for inflicting grievous bodily harm, the judge imposed a restraining order 'without restriction of time' to stay away from the victim. Nottingham Crown Court heard how she was attacked in three stages after she asked Heffernan if she could join him and his friends to continue drinking as she passed by his address. 'His reaction to that was wholly disproportionate and unjustified,' explained Chris Jeyes, prosecuting. 'He kicked her in the face as she reached for her handbag. She took his car keys and threw them into a neighbouring garden, in essence, so he wouldn't be able to follow her.' Heffernan pursued her outside, pulled her back into the living room by her hair. He pushed her to the ground and repeatedly kicked her to the head and face. She went outside and banged on patio doors of a property next door. 'The defendant followed her outside and began the third part of this sustained attack,' added Jeyes. 'He took off his trouser belt and whipped her about six times. She blacked out and awoke outside a neighbouring property. She says her clothing had been changed. The defendant denies doing that. It could be, of course, friends changed the clothing, rather than the defendant.' Judge Rafferty told Heffernan in the dock: 'The nature of this attack, on any view as I have said, was barbaric. She got out again and, with your belt, I am entirely satisfied, whipped her with it like a dog.' The woman had a swollen, blackening right eye and her jaw was broken in two places. The court heard about the medical problems she has had to endure after surgery to fit mini-plates in her jaw. She developed an infection and needed antibiotics and three teeth had to be removed. Her victim impact statement told how she had not worked since the attack and no longer socialises. 'She observes the defendant could have killed her during the incident,' said Jeyes. Digby Johnson, mitigating, said the arrival of the woman 'opened a whole can of worms which had gone before.' The woman was allegedly part of a group which had been responsible for breaking his car and house windows and 'causing substantial amounts of inconvenience for him,' explained Johnson. But the judge was having none of it and told Heffernan: 'She may have been someone who drank. She may have been someone who was a nuisance to you from time to time, but none of that forgives what you did. If she was such a person, you had legal remedies you could take to ensure you got rid of her. Those remedies were not taken.'
A Swedish couple have 'requested official permission to flash their bottoms at their next door neighbour's security camera,' according to the Daily Scum Mail. So, that's probably a load of made up nonsense. The 'unusual inquiry' was, allegedly, sent to the Swedish Data Protection Authority as part of a complaint against the neighbour in Lund. The couple who, of course, are not named - allegedly claim that the resident was 'peeking' into their private garden, conservatory and bedroom, with the recording device. As part of their complaint into their loss of privacy, they officially requested permission to flash their bare backsides at their neighbour. A lawyer for the authority, Nils Henckel, said that he and his team of investigators have yet to visit the house to assess the situation.
A Wisconsin woman reportedly called the police on Sunday after she got into an argument with her husband when he brought home 'the wrong type of chicken,' authorities said. The woman reported 'a verbal argument' with her husband, Brown Deer police wrote in a release titled, 'Noteworthy calls from the weekend.' The man later agreed to stay with his father for the night. It is unclear at this time what part of a chicken the woman wanted, what dish she was intending to cook and what piece of meat her husband ultimately brought. The identities of those involved were not released. Including the chicken.
Two grammar schoolgirls have been excluded from classes for twenty days after being accused of attempting to 'poison' a teacher with a severe nut allergy. Alexandra McDonald and Maddie Colley have both denied allegations that they scattered crushed peanuts on the teacher's desk. Alexandra's father, Pete McDonald, is reported to be 'so angry' by this allegation that he paid nearly six hundred quid for his daughter to take a lie detector test. Presumably, no one had the heart inform Mister McDonald that not only are lie detectors inadmissible in courts - even in the US where they are taken somewhat more seriously than they are in Britain - but, also, that just about everyone involved in the process admits they are based on ludicrous pseudo-science, are quite easy to 'beat' and that he'd've better spent his money consulting the entrails of chickens for 'proof' that his daughter was telling the truth since that's just as reliable as a polygraph. And, one imagines, considerably cheaper. The incident happened last week at Rochester Grammar School in Kent. McDonald has 'hit back' (that's tabloidese for 'criticised' only with less syllables) claiming that school officials issued the punishment 'on a probability.' But the school said that parents were 'aware' of 'the no-nuts policy,' which has been in place for twenty years. A school spokesman said: 'Following an internal investigation, we took the decision to temporarily exclude two students for their part in an extremely dangerous incident that could have had fatal consequences. We make no apologies and are surprised a parent of one of the students does not see the seriousness of their actions and is contesting the decision to exclude.' A teacher allegedly told the girls' parents that they were 'seen giggling in the same corridor' but 'didn't notice them with any nuts.' Alexandra claims that she was 'searching for her blazer' during a free period with Maddie, when a teacher ordered them downstairs to another classroom. When they returned, they saw the crushed food on the floor but 'thought nothing of it' as break time had just finished. Mister McDonald told the Kent Messenger: 'She has never been in any trouble before. This is the harshest punishment before expulsion. When I heard why she was excluded I had to get the school to repeat it twice, I couldn't believe it. The exclusion will be appealed to the school governors, so I got the lie detector done to prove her innocence.' Alexandra, who studies geography, PE and religious studies, hopes to attend the University of Kent but her exclusion 'could hit her plans,' as she sits her mock A-levels in isolation at a different school. She said: 'I'm gutted. When I was told I was going to be excluded I was shocked, I couldn't speak ... It definitely was not me. I loved school and the environment, I thought all the teachers were really friendly, understanding and there to help.' Maddie's mother, Michelle Colley, said her daughter's exclusion was 'really disappointing,' adding that the first day of punishment was on Maddie's birthday. She said: 'We have tried to convince the school but they have made their decision based on probability and they won't listen to any other argument. This will go on her permanent record if it doesn't get sorted. I fully believe her - if it was a practical joke she would have admitted it by now.' People who are allergic to nuts can go into anaphylactic shock and - in the most serious cases - their throats can swell and they can choke to death if they don't get urgent treatment.
A woman who hurled racial abuse at a garage owner has been very jailed alongside her pickaxe-wielding nephew. On 24 October 2017, Sarah Crone from Oldham was reportedly driving her silver Nissan Juke into an industrial estate in Moston when her vehicle was clipped by the rear end of a low loader. The owner of a local garage - a man in his thirties - noticed the vehicle as being part of his fleet and went out to speak to Crone. On doing so, he was 'met with a barrage of racial abuse' before being threatened that Crone's nephew would come to the garage and 'sort him out.' A short time later, forty-year-old John Thornley turned up in his Audi Q7 wielding a pickaxe. Without any warning, Thornley struck the man with the weapon, luckily only grazing his neck but he bore the main brunt of the blow on his collarbone. When the victim went to call the police, Thornley fled the scene. Crone told responding officers that she had been 'attacked' by someone at the garage and, therefore, had asked Thornley to 'come to her rescue.' When questioned why he didn't stay at the scene, Crone told them Thornley was 'on the school run.' Despite pleading her ignorance, CCTV shown to the jury at Manchester Crown Court, influenced their decision to find her very guilty of assault and racially aggravated public order. Thornley previously pleaded guilty to the assault. They have both been jailed for more than a year.
There is no escape from the long arm of the law in Sweden, it would seem. Not even if one is sitting, naked, in a sauna. Police spokewoman Carina Skagerlind reports that an off-duty police officer found himself sitting in the same sauna in Rinkeby, a Stockholm suburb, as a known fugitive who had dodged a jail sentence for aggravated assault, among other offences. Skagerlind said after recognising each other, the naked police officer 'calmly told the man that he should consider himself arrested.' She said that the officer called colleagues to pick up the fugitive, adding 'the arrest was undramatic and the wanted man didn't try to flee.'
A teenage woman and two men have been very arrested on suspicion of 'an armed heist' which saw a number electronic goods 'snatched' from an address near Newquay. Superintendent Ian Drummond-Smith, Devon and Cornwall Police's commander for East Cornwall, praised Newquay police for their 'excellent work' after the three people were extremely taken into custody 'for a knifepoint robbery.'
A woman has been jailed after she tried to pass her boyfriend heroin via a kiss while he was under escort on his way to prison. Marta Zasada reportedly had the heroin wrapped in tin foil and under her tongue when it was detected by gardaí in Bandon in County Cork. Clonakilty District Court heard that on 12 December 2017, Zasada's boyfriend, Emil Hudi, was being transported to prison when he asked his escorts if he could contact Zasada to get some money. But, when the escorts and Hudi met with Zasada, gardaí believed she was nervous and noted she had no money with her. Sergeant Paul Kelly told Judge James McNulty that they asked Zasada to open her mouth and found the heroin wrapped in foil under her tongue. The Judge asked: 'Was the suspicion that she was to hand over the heroin by mouth kissing?' Kelly said: 'That is correct, Judge.' Zasada has thirty four previous convictions, with her solicitor Plunkett Taaffe saying her record was 'entirely linked to heroin addiction.' She pleaded very guilty to possession for purposes of sale and supply as well as a simple possession charge and a failure to appear in court on a previous occasion. She had been on temporary release from prison last November and unlawfully at large when she returned to her native Poland for drug treatment. She returned to Ireland a fortnight before she was arrested. Among her previous convictions was a charge of attempting to get heroin to Hudi while he was in prison. Judge McNulty said of Hudi, who was present in court: 'He is bad news. He is certainly bad news for Marta and he is no help to her.' The judge said Hudi had 'prevailed on her' to deliver controlled drugs to him while he was under escort on his way to prison, in what he described as 'a tormented kind of love. There they are, now stuck in a fatal attraction and a fatal addiction.' He sentenced Zasada to nine months in The Joint on the more serious drugs charge with another three months to be served concurrently on the simple possession and placed her on a probation bond for one year. On her release from prison, the judge said she 'may wish to consider turning left' at the exit of Limerick Prison and 'staying away' from Bandon and Hudi.
A one hundred and four-year-old woman has ticked off another item on her bucket list after being arrested by the police. Anne Brokenbrow, who has never fallen foul of the law previously, grinned as officers 'detained' her inside the care home where she lives and bundled her into a waiting police car. She had revealed her desire to be arrested as part of a charity scheme where residents write down what they want most at Stokeleigh Care Home in Bristol. She wrote: 'My wish is to be arrested. I am one hundred and four and I have never been on the wrong side of the law.' Anne, who has dementia, was put in handcuffs by PC Stephen Harding and his colleague PCSO Kelly Foyle before being taken for a drive by the officers. Whether they used reasonable force to pacify her or she stained injuries falling down the stairs to the cells, we just don't know. She said: 'I had a lovely day, it was interesting. Nothing like that ever happened to me before. They put the handcuffs on, I had the lot. What did it feel like being a criminal? Well, it will make me much more careful of what I say and do. But the police were very nice throughout.'
The Victoria state Court of Appeal dismissed a case filed by David Hingst, a fifty six-years-old engineer who claimed that his former supervisor constantly harassed him by 'farting five to six times a day.' Hingst issued the case against his former boss, Greg Short, with a lawsuit of over a million Australian dollars for constructive dismissal and loss of earnings after his resignation from Melbourne Construction Engineering. The state appeals court declared that 'farting is not considered as a high degree accusation for bullying with such a heavy amount fine.' The court's judges wrote that Hingst argued 'flatulence constituted assaults' and alleged that Short 'would regularly break wind on him or at him, Short thinking this to be funny.' Hingst is reportedly not satisfied with the decision and has stated his intention to take the case to the Australian High Court. He maintains that 'bullying' forced him to leave to avoid Short's bottom bursts, stating: 'He would fart behind me and walk away.'
A Minnesota sheriff's office reportedly encountered a couple of road hogs earlier this week. A driver who was pulled over for having trouble staying in his lane turned out to be operating the vehicle with a two hundred and fifty-pound pig on his lap, Sergeant Jason Foster told Minneapolis news station KMSP-TV. The driver also had a smaller pig with him. Both pigs can be seen in a photo posted to social media by the Chisago County Sheriff's Office. In the post, the sheriff's office noted that its officers have encountered plenty of drivers distracted by things like cellphones, food or changing the radio station, but catching someone driving with a lap pig 'was a first.' Foster told the TV station that the man had the pigs on his lap because he was 'moving to another part of the state' and didn't want the pigs to get cold on the journey. The sergeant let the driver off with a warning. And, a request for a bacon sandwich at his earliest convenience. Probably.
The US Department of Agriculture says it will 'stop killing cats' in a research programme, following strong public criticism. Cats and kittens have been used to research toxoplasmosis - a potentially deadly parasitic illness usually caught from cats or tainted food. The animals were fed infected meat and the parasite's eggs harvested for use in other experiments. After the research the animals were euthanised. Or, you know, murdered. Veterinary groups say that the disease is 'treatable' and the cats should have been cured and adopted. More than three thousand kittens have been murdered since the programme was launched in 1982, campaigners The White Coat Waste Project say, with the programme costing more than twenty two million dollars. In March, bipartisan legislation, known as The Kitten Act, was introduced in Congress to end the practice, describing it as 'taxpayer-funded kitten slaughter.' In a statement, the USDA said that 'toxoplasmosis research has been redirected and the use of cats has been discontinued and will not be reinstated.' One of the key figures behind the bill, Democrat Representative Jimmy Panetta, said that the announcement showed what was 'possible in politics.'
A middle school teacher claims that she was fired from her job after an old topless selfie which she once sent to an ex-boyfriend appeared in a student's inbox. Three years ago, Lauren Miranda, a seventh-grade maths teacher at Bellport Middle School in New York sent the private photo to her then-boyfriend, a teacher in the district. The couple soon split, but in January, the photo - which Miranda claims she has never made public - was attained by a student. Miranda was extremely fired from the South Country Central School District on Wednesday for 'not being a role model,' according to a three million dollar million dollar lawsuit from attorney John Ray. This, despite a December 2017 evaluation, describing Miranda an 'outstanding and highly effective' teacher who was 'genuinely dedicated' to her students. Upon the discovery of the selfie, says the lawsuit, administrators 'interrogated' Miranda 'with the intention of humiliating, embarrassing and berating' her about the photo. 'Lauren was called into a meeting with all these men who flashed her photo on a computer screen and said, "Is this you?"' Ray told Yahoo Lifestyle. Miranda was suspended without pay, says the lawsuit and, on 27 March, the school board voted to fire her ass. 'That picture was never posted,' Miranda said at a press conference, according to WPIX 11. 'How it got out is the million dollar question. If a male teacher's nipples were displayed, there would be no punishment.' Miranda said that her principal told her, '"How can I put you in front of a classroom where boys would be able to pull out their phone and look at this image of you?"' Ray said that his client is also being denied tenure, for which she was eligible this year. 'The school district's motive is discriminatory - they intended to sexualise her because she's a woman.' He says the school would not reinstate Miranda's job instead of a lawsuit. 'I loved my job, I never woke up in the morning and didn't want to go,' Miranda said at the press conference. 'I loved my students, my faculty. I really thought this is where I was going to spend the next thirty years of my life.'
Cincinnati police officer Kevin Brown's decision to fire a Taser at an eleven-year-old girl suspected of shoplifting from a grocery store in August immediately drew criticism from city officials and other concerned individuals. But, Ohio state Representative John Becker (Republican, needless to say) had a somewhat different take. Had it been his daughter, he announced in a newsletter, 'I'd be ashamed and embarrassed that she did something stupid enough to get herself tased.' Becker's remarks appeared in his newsletter Beckerisms some weeks after the Cincinnati Mayor John Cranley apologised for the officer's actions and the county prosecutor said that the girl would not face charges. An internal review released this month found that the officer had violated multiple rules; a departmental hearing is pending. Becker also addressed police shootings in his newsletter. If his child were to be shot by police, he wrote, 'rather than blaming the cop, I'd be blaming myself and endlessly soul searching to figure out how I failed as a parent and why my kid grew up to be a punk.' He added, 'Based on the evidence of what I see on television, it often times appears to me that justice was delivered to the dead punk.' When he tased the girl, Brown was working off-duty as a security guard at a Kroger market. Police say he believed the girl was shoplifting. A report stated that the girl had stolen items, including a backpack, candy, and baby clothes totalling just over fifty dollars. Brown fired his taser from about ten feet away, striking her body just below her waist. Body camera video includes Brown telling the girl, after he tased her, 'Sweetheart, the last thing I want to do is tase you like that. When I say stop, you stop. You know you're caught, just stop. That hurt my heart to do that to you. Then I got to listen to all these idiots out here in the parking lot, telling me about how I was wrong for tasing you.' Later, also captured on video, the girl cries as EMTs remove the taser barbs from her skin. Police Chief Eliot Isaac has said that Officer Brown's use of the Taser was 'unnecessary in this circumstance.'
A South Jersey man was arrested on Tuesday after police say he was 'fighting with himself' and then exposed his genitals in a Little Egg Harbor Township Wawa. Police say they were called to the Mystic Islands Wawa after staff has altered them to a male 'acting suspiciously.' Witnesses say Jason Cramer was 'under the influence of something.' After speaking with him, Cramer was sent on his way and claimed that he had made arrangements for transportation home. Fifteen minutes later, police were called back to the Wawa after witnesses say Cramer began 'fighting with himself' out front of the store, reportedly punching himself in the face and scratching his eyes. Several witnesses told police that Cramer had pulled down his pants, exposed and grabbed his genitals and began yelling obscenities at customers. Cramer was extremely arrested and charged with lewdness. He was released and transported home, pending a future court date.
'All Hell' reportedly 'broke loose' on a recent flight when a drunken woman described as 'a demon' demanded a Pepsi but was told that only fruit juice was being served. At which point, she went off-it. The unidentified Spanish woman then began screaming and drinking from a flask soon after boarding the TAP Air Portugal flight in Lisbon for a trip to Malaga on 9 March, according to the Daily Scum Mail. But 'turbulence erupted' when flight attendants informed her that they had no Pepsi, only fruit juice. 'Her hands had turned into claws. She looked like a demon. She was the worst passenger I have ever seen on an airline and I fly quite a lot,' an anonymous - and, therefore, probably fictitious - thirty eight-year-old British tourist snitched to the outlet like a dirty stinking Copper's Nark. 'She was getting out of her seat – her face was bright red,' the tourist said. 'The way she was acting, it was like she was possessed.' The woman is believed to have flown into a rage because she wanted to mix the soft drink with the alcohol that was, allegedly, in her flask. The nameless snitcher added that after boarding late, the woman also got into an argument with a flight attendant about putting her bag in the cargo hold. 'Stewardesses were telling her you have to put it away but she was like "no!" She started speaking English and said, "I have my books, I have my jewellery, I have my money in there - I need my bag,"' he said. The captain later left the cockpit to speak with the agitated woman and handed her a note banning her from the airline, the man claimed. 'She started screaming more. She was jabbering that her house was in Spain and that she was Spanish,' he said. In Malaga, police boarded the plane to arrest the woman, whom they labelled 'a banshee.' 'This was an unruly passenger situation and all required procedures were followed,' airline spokeswoman Marisa Ferreria told the New York Post in a statement.
Cosimo Cavallaro has decided to help President (and hairdo) Rump build his border wall between the United States and Mexico using Cotija cheese, named after the Mexican town that it originates from. The cheese wall began with two hundred blocks of cheese steeped to twenty five feet, however people's donations have extended it to one thousand feet. The cheese wall is just forty five feet from the border fence with Tecate and aims to 'make America grate again.' Made from expired milk, the blocks of cheese are used, the artist said, to 'make an important statement' about the 'political environment we are living in today.'
A sheriff has fined a man who claimed he had 'mistakenly' struck the buttocks of a woman in Dundee city centre. Christopher Ruxton, of Arbroath, claimed he thought he was touching a female friend outside of a branch of TSB in November 2017. He pleaded guilty to assaulting the woman by striking her buttocks and putting his arm around her body. Solicitor Nick Whelan claimed that Ruxton had apologised to the woman 'upon realising the mistake.' He was fined two hundred and seventy knicker.
A Utah woman is facing a plethora of charges related to her alleged actions at a child's birthday party at her Harrisville home. According to charging documents, forty-year-old Rhianna Renae Nivens partied with at least twelve minors, ranging in ages of fourteen to seventeen on 9 February. Police say that during the party, minors drank alcohol and smoked marijuana - the scallwags - and Nivens knew about it, even joining in to drink with some of the teens. The minors told police that at one point, Nivens went upstairs where, according to court documents, she out on a risqué outfit which they described as red and black lingerie which exposed the defendant's breasts, buttocks and vagina. Police say that Nivens then 'danced sexually' for about ten minutes, including giving several minors lap dances. At least one minor recorded the events, according to police. Nivens is facing four counts of dealing in harmful material to a minor by an adult, all third-degree felonies; four counts of lewdness, a class B misdemeanour and four counts of contributing to the delinquency of a minor, a class B misdemeanour.
Controversial vaginal mesh implants can be offered again on the NHS in England once 'certain conditions' are met, health watchdog NICE has said. Some women have been left unable to walk, work or have The Sex after having the implants, which are used to treat pelvic organ prolapse and incontinence. Use of vaginal mesh was halted across the UK last year amid safety concerns. NICE said that operations 'must be performed by specialist surgeons at specialist centres' before their reintroduction. All instances - and outcomes - of vaginal mesh operations should also be recorded on a national database 'to help with future decision-making,' it said. The NHS is not compelled to act on the guidelines - which are for England only - and the 'pause' on vaginal mesh surgery remains in place for the moment. But, services are expected to take NICE recommendations into account when planning and delivering care. Under the new guidelines, each patient would receive 'a decision aid' - detailing all the latest evidence on available treatments - and mesh implants would be used only after non-surgical options, such as lifestyle changes and pelvic floor training, had failed. NICE said that the 'limited evidence' meant 'the true prevalence of long-term complications following surgery with mesh is unknown.' But Labour MP Owen Smith, who chairs a cross-party group of MPs on surgical mesh implants - and, who does not, actually, have a vagina himself, as far as we know - told the BBC's Victoria Derbyshire programme he was 'deeply disappointed.' About the decision, that is, not about not having his own vagina. Obviously. 'The updated guidelines appear to disregard mesh-injured women's experiences by stating that there is no long-term evidence of adverse effects,' he said. 'Thousands of women have faced life-changing injuries following mesh surgery and they must not be ignored.' He said that the suspension of vaginal mesh 'should continue' until an independent review - led by Baroness Julia Cumberlege - publishes its findings later this year. Baroness Cumberlege agreed, saying that her team has set 'five conditions that would need to be met before the pause could be lifted and the use of mesh could be contemplated. Those conditions have not yet been met and it is clear to us that it will be some considerable time before they are. This means that, now and for the foreseeable future, mesh should not be used to treat stress urinary incontinence, either in the NHS or the independent sector. The scale and intensity of this tragedy is truly shocking - lives have been ruined.' Studies suggest as many as one in ten patients can 'experience complications' including chronic pain and difficulties walking.
And now, dear blog reader, the runner-up in the latest From The North Headline Of The Week award. Which goes to the Sun for My Boyfriend's Eight-And-A-Half Inch Penis Caused Us To Break Up Because Having Sex Was So 'Hard'. Which was also the runner-up in the From The North Headline Containing Too Much Information Of The Week award.
That is followed, inevitably, as night follows day, by the winner of the From The North Headline Of The Week award (and, indeed, the From The North Headline Containing Too Much Information award) which comes from an article on the Vice website somewhat tenuously linked to the BBC comedy Fleabag: 'She Spanked Me In Time To "Fast Car"' - People Told Us About Their Most Fleabag Moments.
A Virginia woman stands accused of embezzling more than ninety three thousand dollars, which she allegedly funnelled toward her wedding and a buttock lift, 'amongst other expenses.' Media outlets report Vanessa Cline worked as a bookkeeper for No Limits Construction, replacing another who was convicted of stealing more than one hundred and fifty thousand bucks from the same company. One would love to know if it was the same HR person who hired both and whether he or she is still working for the company. To misquote Oscar Wilde 'to employer one allegedly fraudulent worker might be regarded as misfortune; to hire two looks like carelessness.' The Stafford County Sheriff's Office says that the owner of the business contacted authorities last week after American Express told him his company's credit card was behind on payments and would be closed. An internal investigation identified Cline as the likely culprit and she was promptly arrested Wednesday. A search warrant affidavit suggests that other unauthorised purchases included an all-terrain vehicle, airline tickets, perfume and groceries were uncovered.
Tania Mallet, who played the Bond girl Tilly Masterson in Goldfinger, has died aged seventy seven. Tania, a cousin of Dame Helen Mirren, starred alongside Sean Connery in the 1964 film. The Blackpool-born actress had been working as a model when she was cast by producer Cubby Broccoli - a world she ultimately returned to and prioritised over film. Her death was announced via the official 007 Twitter account. The role ultimately saw her slain on-screen by the steel-rimmed hat of Goldfinger's henchman Oddjob. Her appearance reportedly followed a failed audition to land the role of lead Bond girl Tatiana Romanova in 1963's From Russia With Love. Speaking to James Bond fan site MI6 in 2003, Tania said that although filming had been 'an interesting experience,' she had always been 'more comfortable' in a small studio with 'just a photographer and his assistant. The restrictions placed on me for the duration of the filming grated, were dreadful and I could not anticipate living my life like that,' she added. The 'dreadful' pay also discouraged her. 'Originally, I was offered fifty pounds per week, which I managed to push up to one hundred and fifty, but even so I earned more than that in a day modelling. So, the six months I worked (or was retained to work) on Goldfinger were real sacrifice.' In 1961, she appeared on the cover of Vogue and was featured in the Michael Winner documentary Girls Girls Girls! Mallet was related to Mirren through her mother, whose younger brother was Dame Helen's father. Mirren's 2007 memoir In the Frame: My Life In Words & Pictures described Mallet as 'a loyal and generous person' who helped pay for for her brothers' education with her income as a model.
Valery Bykovsky, who was the eleventh person to venture into space and who held the unbroken record for the longest solo spaceflight, has died aged eighty four. Bykovsky first flew aboard a Vostok Five spacecraft in June 1963 and would go on to take part in two further Soviet space missions. His record-setting solo flight saw him spend five days in space aboard the Vostok Five, orbiting the Earth eighty two times. Bykovsky was among the first group of USSR cosmonauts alongside Yuri Gagarin, the first person to travel to space. His death, on 27 March, was confirmed by Russia's federal space corporation Roscosmos. He leaves Alexey Leonov - the first spacewalker - and Boris Volynov as the final surviving members of that pioneering first group. 'Bykovsky belonged to the first generation of Soviet cosmonauts, who wrote many bright pages in the glorious history of Russian manned cosmonautics,' officials at the Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Centre in Star City said in a statement. Valery Fyodorovich Bykovsky was born in August 1934 in Pavlovsky Posad, near Moscow. As a boy, he moved around due to his father's job at the Ministry of Railways, spending seven years of his youth living in Iran. In November 1955, he graduated from the Kachinsk Military Aviation Academy with top marks in flying and combat training. He started serving as a pilot the following year. The First Soviet Cosmonaut Team, a history of the pioneering group, quotes Bykovsky's father as saying: 'He has always been courageous and exciting, and dangerous professions attracted him.'
After his successful selection as a cosmonaut, Bykovsky was launched into orbit aboard Vostok Five, a mission which lasted from 14 to 19 June 1963. The spacecraft entered a lower-than-expected orbit. And, while the craft was in good technical shape, it become apparent a few days into the mission that it was losing altitude faster than expected. To prevent an uncontrolled re-entry, Soviet officials decided to curtail the flight and bring Bykovsky back to Earth. Although it has long since been surpassed in duration by missions carrying more than one crew member, it remains the longest solo space flight. Bykovsky's mission overlapped with that of Valentina Tereshkova, the first woman in space. At one point, the two Vostok spacecraft were said to have come within three miles of each other. Tereshkova is now the last person alive to have flown in a Vostok, the first generation of Soviet-crewed spacecraft. Bykovsky would have commanded the second flight of the USSR's following Soyuz spacecraft, the general design which is still in use today. But the first flight, Soyuz One, crashed at high speed in April 1967 after its parachutes failed, killing its sole occupant, the cosmonaut Vladimir Komarov. The same parachute fault was picked up in the Soyuz Two craft, causing Valery's flight to be cancelled. Bykovsky trained for the Soviet Union's programme to land on the Moon, which was also cancelled after Apollo 11 touched down in the Sea of Tranquility in July 1969. In September 1976, he made his second spaceflight on the Soyuz Twenty Two mission. Bykovsky and fellow cosmonaut Vladimir Aksyonov spent a week in orbit photographing the surface of the Earth with a specially-built camera. The cosmonaut's third and final orbital flight would come on Soyuz Thirty One, which docked in orbit with the Salyut Six space station on 28 August 1978. Bykovsky and Sigmund Jähn, the first German in space, spent six days on Salyut Six, visiting the orbiting outpost's two resident crew members Vladimir Kovalyonok and Aleksandr Ivanchenkov. Their tasks were to deliver supplies to the crew and carry out scientific experiments aboard the station. Over his career, Bykovsky spent a total of nearly twenty one days in space. He left the cosmonaut corps in 1982 and later worked in several roles at the Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Centre at Star City. Bykovsky was married to Valentina Mikhailovna Sukhova, with whom he had two sons.
And, finally dear blog reader ...