Monday, May 20, 2019

End Game

'Love is more powerful than reason.'
'No one is very happy ... Which means it's a good compromise, I suppose!' In late 2016, in the annual From The North 'best and worst TV shows of the year' list this blogger wrote, in relation to the recently completed sixth series of the hugely popular adult fantasy drama Game Of Thrones: 'The producers believe that they have "about fifteen hours" of story left to tell. Will this include Arya finally getting to see the rest of what's left of her family? Bran walking again? Cersei dying, horribly? Brienne and Jaime running off hand-in-brass-hand into the sunset? Daenerys and Yara nakedly lezzing things up? (The latter is admittedly unlikely but, let's face it, there isn't a text in existence which wouldn't be improved by that.) Will it, in short, be an ending that, actually, makes sense and satisfies everyone? No chance. But, millions will be there to watch it unfold. Like the man said: "The things we do for love."' Well, some of those things did, indeed, come to pass (though, tragically, the Dany/Yara thing wasn't one of them). But as for the 'it won't satisfy everyone' prediction ... Spot on yer actual Keith Telly Topping. This blogger doesn't want to say 'I told you so' dear blog reader, but he did tell you so. Of course, in relation to the way in which Game Of Thrones was always going to end, there was another memorable piece of dialogue from the series which was worth bearing in mind.
'Oblivion is the best I could hope for!' So, dear blog reader, what did yer actual Keith Telly Topping make of the Game Of Thrones finale? He rather liked it, as it happens. In fact, he thought it was great. Which, he is sure, will shock and stun all dear blog readers. He liked that after the 'uge, fek-off carnage of last week, (a bit of righteous monarch-stabbing and throne-melting aside) it was more a relaxed and thoughtful conclusion than many were expecting. And, it was funny too, in places just as the best episodes of Game Of Thrones have always been. He liked that most of the surviving characters he was actually bothered about - Tyrion, Davos, Bronn, Brienne, Sam - ended up not only still alive but actually in positions of some authority and able to use their acquired wisdom and sagacity to take The Newly Formed Six Kingdoms (And Their Autonomous Northern Ally) forward. And, he liked that the only other character he was really bothered about - Arya - ended up on a ship bound, seemingly, for Americos. He loved Sam's beautiful little speech on the concept of democracy being laughed down by the nobility. There's a revolution in the offering a few hundred years down the line. He loved Tyrion's Asperger's-like straightening of all the Council chairs. He loved: 'You cannot.' 'Yes I can, I'm King!' He enjoyed the way in which the series ended with the four surviving children of Ned Stark - the character whom we all thought at the beginning that this series was supposed to be all about - taking their father's legacy forward in their own, very different, ways. (Okay, yes, technically, three children and one nephew!) Most of all, perhaps, he was satisfied that, after eight years and seventy odd hours of drama, violence, nudity and The Sex, it had an ending. An actual, proper, honest-to-The Lord Of Light ending. And, a new beginning. An ending and a new beginning which will not have satisfied everyone, no doubt, that was never going to happen. But an ending and a new beginning nevertheless. Though, let it be noted, this blogger is still more than a bit narked about the lack of any Dany/Yara action. Sadly, dear blog reader, we cannot have everything. After all, where would we keep it? Reviews of the Game Of Thrones finale - of, admittedly, various degrees of literacy and common sense - can be found pretty much everywhere. Take, for example, the Grunaid Morning Star, The Atlantic, Rolling Stain, the Radio Times, the Independent (which, as usual, was all whinge, whinge, whinge, whinge, whinge), the Washington Post, Forbes, CNBC, the Polygon website, the Sun, Vulture, the Screen Rant website, Vox, The Hollywood Reporter, the Huffington Post website, the Torygraph, the Collider website, Vanity Fair, the Pop Culture website, the Den Of Geek! website, IGN, the NME, the TV Fanatic website, the Daily Scum Express (another, not wholly unexpected, whinge-fest - albeit, one without any direct references to the late Princess Diana. So, that's a first), the Digital Spy website, the Los Angeles Times and plenty of other places. Or, you could just watch the Goddamn episode yourselves, dear blog reader and make up your own mind as to whether it was any good or otherwise. A radical suggestion, this blogger fully realises, but then that's yer actual Keith Telly Topping for you, always full of radical suggestions.
'You were exactly where you were supposed to be.' So, in the finest traditions of the BBC News's really bloody annoying habit of showing all the football results on Saturday nights just before Match Of The Day starts, if you don't want to know the final score, dear blog reader, you might want to look away now.
By the way, in the highly unlikely event that anyone from HBO happens to be reading From The North, this blogger would like to pitch a The Small Council spin-off in the style of The West Wing (albeit, more like Aaron Sorkin's original idea of it being a series in which the President is hardly ever seen or, we just keep catching glimpses of the back of his head as he leaves the room). The characters are all there already: Tyrion/Leo, Davos/Toby, Bronn/Josh, Brienne/CJ and Sam/well ... Sam. It could work. No, really, it could. Has any dear blog reader got HBO's number?
It may now be a part of history, dear blog reader, but some people are - apparently - really unhappy with the way in which the final series of Game Of Thrones developed; especially with regard to certain aspects of character development (and, one character in particular). And, they haven't exactly been shy it telling anyone that will listen (and, indeed, anyone that won't) about their disappointment in this regard. A couple of, in this blogger's opinion, quite well-written and, in the case of the latter admirably balanced, articles by The New Statesmen's Jonn Elledge (This Is The Only Way Daenerys' Story Could End, So Stop Whining About It) and the Gruniad Morning Star's Graeme Virtue (A Song Of Ice & Ire: How Game Of Thrones Enraged Its Audience) attempt to explain the context in which some of these complaints have surfaced. For what it's worth, to a greater or lesser degree, this blogger is in agreement most of what both if these authors conclude. He feels that Game Of Thrones has been, right to the end, great. No surprise there, obviously. Not always easy, admittedly. In fact, often downright difficult. But, that's the choice the producers made; in many ways that's what made the series so popular with such a wide cross-section of viewers across the world in the first place, that sense of constantly reinforced moral ambiguity. This blogger's view has always been that, when it comes to TV drama, producers and showrunners have to be allowed to follow where their instincts lead them even if that route proves not to be popular with a section (almost always a minority, even if it is, usually, a very vocal one) of their audience. One can't make a TV show second-guessing where your audience want you to take their favourite characters. Well, no on second thoughts, one can do exactly that and some series infamously have tried to; but going down that particular bridal path often spells disaster. Because, at the end of the day, once the production has made their choices, that's the show, they're not going to go back and reshoot it if some of the audience don't like it. Although, charmingly, it would appear that some Game Of Thrones fans want HBO to do exactly that. Gotta level with you, guys, that's not going to happen. Surely that's what fan-fiction is for? To provide the disaffected with the ending that they'd hoped for rather than the one they were given. As another Gruniad writer, Luke Holland, noted: 'Stop the nitpicking! This season of Game Of Thrones is miraculous ... War brings out the monster in everyone. There are no winners, only survivors. The real enemy is human weakness. The Bells hammered these themes - the very themes of Game Of Thrones itself - home in spades. It's never been a show that gives fans what they want, because it's never given the characters what they want. It does, however, give them what they need. "If you think this has a happy ending," said Ramsay Bolton in season three, "you haven’t been paying attention."' Nevertheless, there is clearly a fierce passion on both sides of this argument which, no doubt, will baffle those can't understand why some people get so vexed and serious about a TV show. Case in point, this blogger had a major - and by major, he means Brigadier-General - ding-dong with a friend of over twenty years, a really good friend at that, over exactly this subject following the broadcast of The Bells. One in which some pretty harsh and unbecoming things were said. Thankfully, that was all sorted out quite quickly and the pair of us are okay and, have agreed to disagree. And, having hated the second-to-last episode this blogger's friend, apparently, loved the finale. But it does demonstrate that even relatively sane and rational individuals (Keith Telly Topping's friend this is, not Keith Telly Topping himself, he rejects both of those charges) can get themselves into quite a state over something as, in theory at least, ephemeral and trivial as how a TV show is made. This will, no doubt, have some 'normal' people rolling their eyes and telling us to 'grow up' and all that nonsense. To which this blogger's inevitable reply is a dismissive '... and, what's your great contribution to society then, mate?' The ending of Game Of Thrones was always going to be, as CNN's Lianne Kolirin noted 'a poisoned chalice.' Perhaps we shouldn't be surprised that, ultimately, it failed to satisfy everyone. Even if it did satisfy this blogger. Next ...
The majority of the cast, at least, seem to have, broadly speaking, enjoyed it.
'Let Villanelle know that the safeword is "gentlemen." We're running out of good safewords!' As previously noted, dear blog reader, this blogger does not intend to review any episodes of the second series of From The North favourite Killing Eve - currently showing in the US - until the episodes become available in Britain (confirmed this week as being sometime in June) for fear of spoilerising anyone who wishes not to be spoilerised. However, if - and only if - you aren't all that bothered about such spoilerisation shenanigans then, spoilerising-type reviews of series two, episode seven - Wide Awake - are available to spoilerise your very life today. At, for example, the Meaww website, Entertainment Weekly, the TV Fanatic website, Rolling Stain, Indie Wire and The AV Club.
Killing Eve's producers have said that Jodie Comer's greatest skill is not being 'too politically correct.' Sally Woodward Gentle, the BAFTA-winning producer also behind The Durrells, characterised Comer as 'playful' and said that she is 'a perfect fit' as the psychopathic assassin Villanelle. Speaking to the Torygraph ahead of the UK release of series two, Woodward Gentle explained: 'Jodie does everything she is told to do but she is also very thoughtful about the script, she has got her own opinions. She is brilliantly clever and instinctive, its interesting watching her during a read-through as she doesn't want to overwork stuff. She is great, she isn't too politically correct which means she can get into the psychopathic head of Villanelle and so she doesn't abide by the same rules as Sandra Oh when she is playing Eve, who isn't a psychopath.' Comer herself disclosed her talent for the many accents required by the role comes from joking with her father as a child. Speaking in London last week, the twenty six-year-old said: 'I think it comes from growing up, if there was an advert on the telly with a silly voice on, me and my dad would always impersonate it around the house.' The actress added that the multitude of languages spoken by her character don't come as naturally to her. 'It's something I really enjoy doing, I remember when I auditioned, they told me about the languages. You always get told that if you are asked in an audition whether you can ride a horse, you say yes, even if you can't. So that's what I did with the languages, it was a really exciting but equally terrifying part of playing Villanelle.'
'Give me answers or I give you bananas up your ass. Peels on. One at a time!' The second-to-last episode of From The North's current favourite TV show on the planet, Doom Patrol - Penultimate Patrol - was a pitch perfect confection of ludicrous plot devices, beautifully self-aware dialogue ('did I never mention the sentient, teleporting gender-queer street Vic and I hung out on whilst Jane lost her shit and tried to get married?'), an origin story for Mister Nobody, a big stompy SF robot, an obscene orgasm joke and an unexpected climactic revelation from Niles about the 'accidents' which caused Larry, Rita, Cliff, Jane and Vic to become as they are. And it was beautiful, dear blog reader. Funny, touching, mad-as-bloody-toast and filled with glorious little moments (like the bit where Rita hijacks the narration) and great performances all round. This blogger got a dizzy little fanboy rush on at the oblique references to The Brain and Monsieur Mallah; at Alan Tudyk's claim that he can control 'this whole streaming channel'(!) and at the Groundhog Day time-loop which Niles finds stuck himself in watching, in horror as The Doom Patrol are killed (by the big stompy robot) over and over again. Reviews of the episode can be found here, here, here and here.
For the first of this week's From The North's semi-regular feature Songs This Blogger Really Likes Turning Up On The Soundtrack Of TV Series This Blogger Also Really Likes feature, we have The Bellamy Brothers' cheesy seventies anthem 'Let Your Love Grow' making a surprise appearance in a bar sequence in the latest episode of NCIS, Lost Time.
The second of this week's entries in From The North's semi-regular feature Songs This Blogger Really Likes Turning Up On The Soundtrack Of TV Series This Blogger Also Really Likes feature, was Cream's 'I Feel Free' used at the climax of the series final of The Blacklist.
Doctor Who will, reportedly, be filming in Gloucester this week. Gloucester Cathedral made the announcement on its website calendar for 23 May, saying it would be closing the cathedral for the filming. 'The Cathedral will be closed today, with no access for visitors, due to filming,' the website noted. 'Lunchtime Eucharist and Choral Evensong are cancelled. The Monk's Kitchen remains open.' This is not the first time the series has filmed in Gloucester, the 2008 Christmas episode, The Next Doctor, filmed scenes in the city. The series has also recently been filming near its production base in Cardiff whilst, earlier in the year, Jodie and her colleagues That There Bradley Walsh, Mandip Gill and Tosin Cole spent several weeks on location in South Africa.
The BBC is releasing Doctor Who's first adventure in a new dimension - virtual reality. The Runaway is an animated mini-episode set inside the TARDIS, where the viewer plays The Doctor's new - temporary - companion. Jodie Whittaker reprises her role as The Doctor in cartoon form, animated by Passion Animation studios. The viewer wakes up in her TARDIS after 'a space accident' and is immediately involved in an emergency situation as The Doctor tries to take a cute-but-rather-volatile alien occupant back to their home planet. There are some interactive elements – at one point the viewer has to pilot the TARDIS, at another use the Sonic Screwdriver, but it is more of a scripted drama-piece than a game. The plot, delivered mostly via a monologue from Jodie her very self, is necessarily slight, but makes for an enjoyable thirteen minutes. Zillah Watson, the head of the BBC VR hub, said that they had 'worked hard' to produce something with Pixar-quality animation on a BBC budget. Fans will be delighted that the animation gives the clearest view to date inside The Thirteenth Doctor's TARDIS, as it is much more brightly lit than it has been on the TV show. As the story unfolds, at times one gets a real urge to peer round the corners and see a bit more of the console and the script cleverly delivers a few surprises where action suddenly develops away from where your attention has been focused. But you don’t hop around lots of different planets or sets and viewers are largely kept in a stationary position, so they cannot freely explore the environment. Watson praised the lively performance of Jodie and writer Victoria Asare-Archer, saying that when making VR projects, the BBC must 'always remember what they already know' about making good drama. She described the episode as 'a magical adventure' that 'shows the enormous potential virtual reality has for creating new kinds of experiences that appeal to mainstream audiences.' This is not, of course, the first time that Doctor Who has been animated. David Tennant appeared in two adventures, The Infinite Quest and Dreamland and the BBC has animated several missing stories from the 1960s. Doctor Who has also been made interactive before, with 2005's Attack Of The Graske being available via the red button on TV sets. If The Runaway has a flaw, it's that it falls between two stools - there's not enough for the user to actually do to call it a game but, equally, it's not really an episode of the series either. It was released on 16 May, downloadable for free from the Oculus Store and Vive Port for use on Oculus Rift and HTC Vive. The BBC will also be placing it in over forty libraries around the UK for people without headsets at home, with Watson saying that for every VR project, the BBC is trying to get a broader audience interested in putting on a headset, 'perhaps for the first time.'
A fascinating interview with Doctor Who composer Segun Akinola by this blogger's old mate Paul Simpson is available to read at the BAFTA website.
The much-anticipated forthcoming Jean Luc Picard series had its title revealed. It is, perhaps unsurprisingly, Star Trek: Picard. Well, at least it does what it says on the tin, seemingly. The CBS All Access series is set to launch later this year, the streaming service's second ongoing Star Trek series following From The North favourite Star Trek: Discovery. Patrick Stewart shocked and stunned fans when he announced that he would be returning to Star Trek in August 2018 at a convention in Las Vegas. Details about the series have been slim, but we know it will take place about twenty years after Picard's last onscreen appearance in Star Trek: Nemesis and that Jean Luc is, likely, no longer a Starfleet captain. It was also stated that the destruction of Romulus would play a key role in the series. Stewart is not making his return to the Star Trek universe alone; Jonathan Frakes will be working on Picard as a director. We also know that Picard will have a new supporting cast, featuring the likes of Alison Pill and Harry Treadaway.
Clive Russell, Catherine Schell, Sherlock's Jonathan Aris, Sacha Dhawan, Nathan Stewart-Jarrett and Youssef Kerkour have all joined the cast of BBC1's new Dracula adaptation from The Lord Thy God Steven Moffat (OBE) and Mark Gatiss his very self. Dracula is 'a new take on the classic Bram Stoker novel' (you knew that, right?) As previously reported, Danish actor Claes Bang (best known for appearances in Borgen and The Bridge) is playing the titular role. Other cast members include John Heffernan, Joanna Scanlan, Dolly Wells, Morfydd Clark and Lujza Richter plus an expected role for yer man Gatiss. The first series will consist of three feature-length episodes ala Sherlock. Netflix is on board as a co-producer and will serve as the global broadcaster for the series outside the UK. Production began earlier this year at Orava Castle in Slovakia, before moving to Bray Studios.
Another new photo from the forthcoming fifth series of From The North favourite Peaky Blinders has been released on Twitter this week. It featured Sophie Rundle as Ada Shelby looking all pensive and discombobulated. Which is intriguing.
The BBC has released the trailer for their Philip Pullman adaptation, His Dark Materials, which is set to premiere later this year. The series, which was developed for television by Jack Thorne, is produced by Bad Wolf and New Line Cinema in association with BBC Studios Distribution and Anton Capital Entertainment and stars Dafne Keen, James McAvoy, Clarke Peters, Ian Gelder, Ruth Wilson, Will Keen, Ariyon Bakare, Georgina Campbel, Anne-Marie Duff, James Cosmo, Lucian Msamati, Mat Fraser, Geoff Bell, Simon Manyonda, Lewin Lloyd, Daniel Frogson, Tyler Howitt and Archie Barnes among others.
Stephen Poliakoff's much-trailed Cold War drama series Summer Of Rockets will premiere on BBC2 on Wednesday May, it has been announced. Summer Of Rockets is set during 1958 and follows Samuel, a Russian Jewish émigré, inventor and designer of bespoke hearing aids, whose clients include the former Prime Minister Winston Churchill, who he is approached by MI5 to demonstrate his work. The series, which was written and directed by Poliakoff, is produced by Little Island Productions and stars Toby Stephens, Keeley Hawes, Linus Roache, Timothy Spall, Lily Sacofsky, Lucy Cohu, Gary Beadle, Mark Bonnar, Ronald Pickup, Rose Ayling-Ellis, Greg Austin, Jordan Coulson, Matthew James Thomas and Fode Simbo.
BBC2 has ordered a two-part factual drama Salisbury, which explores the impact of the 2018 Novichok poisonings on Salisbury and the community. The drama 'tells the story of how ordinary people reacted to a crisis on their doorstep, displaying extraordinary heroism as their city became the focus of an unprecedented national emergency.' The BBC said that casting would be announced in due course. Salisbury was commissioned by BBC2 Controller Patrick Holland and the BBC's Controller of Drama, Piers Wenger. It is being written by Adam Patterson and Declan Lawn. Wenger, said: 'BBC2 plugs into contemporary issues and dilemmas of the modern world, and has a rich history of exploring true stories from different perspectives in a sensitive and considered way. The poisonings in Salisbury shocked the nation and had a huge impact on an unsuspecting community. This drama will capture the bravery, resilience and personal experience of the local people who faced a situation of unimaginable horror, so close to home.'
Fans of the popular sitcom The Big Bang Theory have said their final farewell to the show after it was broadcast in the US. Since first hitting screens in 2007, The Big Bang Theory has become one of the most successful comedies in TV history - winning seven EMMY Awards. It initially centred around a group of awkward male scientists and their interactions with their new female neighbour. The cast paid tribute to the show, with Johnny Galecki posting on Instagram. Galecki, who played Leonard Hofstadter, posted a video showing Big Bang Theory creator Chuck Lorre snapping the clapboard for the final take of the final live scene of the series. Kaley Cuoco, who played neighbour Penny, who lives opposite Leonard and Sheldon (Jim Parsons) posted a video of the cast hugging, while fellow cast member Melissa Rauch said that being in the show was 'one of the greatest experiences of my life.' In its review, CNN said the series, 'closed with a big dose of heart' while the Indiewire website said the finale 'delivers an ending true to itself.' Mayim Bialik, who plays Amy Farrah Fowler added her voice, along with Jim Parsons, who posted a photo of the cast. Parsons has earned four EMMYs and a Golden Globe for his portrayal of Sheldon Cooper. The cast were among the highest paid actors on television and last summer, Parsons reportedly walked away from a two-season deal worth around fifty million dollars. In 2017, the primary cast took pay cuts in order to boost the wages of Rauch and Bialik, who were earning a fifth of their salary.
Things we learned watching the cricket on Sky Sports this week. Viewers already knew that Big Rob Key is a major TV fan having recently name-checked both Line Of Duty and Game Of Thrones during commentary stints. He also managed to shoehorn a reference to Broadchurch into a discussion with Michael Atherton and Ian Ward on which one of several England pace bowlers are like to miss out on selection for the World Cup squad during Tuesday's third ODI.
Private Eyes has secured a new UK home. 5USA has acquired the Canadian drama series featuring Jason Priestley. The show's first series will premiere on 5USA next month. Set in Toronto, Private Eyes follows an ex-pro hockey player Matt Shade (Priestley) who 'irrevocably changes his life when he decides to team up with fierce PI Angie Everett, took over her father's agency after his death, to form an unlikely investigative powerhouse.' Cindy Sampson stars opposite Priestley. The series was created by Tim Kilby and Shelley Eriksen and is produced by eOne in association with Corus Entertainment. Canadian broadcaster Global has recently renewed the series through to its third series. eOne previously licensed first run UK rights to the series to Universal TV. They plan to broadcast the show's third series later this year. This agreement further extends the relationship between eOne and 5USA, who have previously worked together for such shows as Rookie Blue, Scott & Bailey remake The Detail and Designated Survivor.
Frankie Drake is making a stop in the UK. The, rather attractive, UKTV and CBC's co-production Frankie Drake Mysteries recently began production on its ten episode third series with a shoot in London. Production will continue on location in Ontario through to the autumn. Frankie Drake Mysteries is set in 1920s Toronto and follows the city's only female private detectives as they take on the cases the police don't want to touch. The drama series stars Lauren Lee Smith, Chantel Riley, Rebecca Liddiard, Sharron Matthews, Wendy Crewson and Grace Lynn Kung. The third series of Frankie Drake Mysteries sees Frankie 'face a family secret while episodes bring her and the Drake Private Detectives team into the world of British aristocrats, illegal boxing, the supernatural and political fundraisers.' As with the first two series, the producers have tapped a prominent British actor to guest star. Honeysuckle Weeks, best known for her recurring role on Foyle's War, will play Agatha Christie. She follows in the footsteps of Laurence Fox, who appeared in series one and Alan Davies, who guest starred in series two.
The third and final series of cult drama Legion will receive its British premiere on FOX UK on Thursday 4 July, it has been announced. Legion tells the story of David Haller, a man who believed himself to be schizophrenic only to discover that he may, actually, be the most powerful mutant the world has ever seen. From childhood, David shuffled from one psychiatric institution to the next until, in his early thirties, he met and fell in love with a beautiful and troubled fellow patient named Syd Barrett (no, the other one). After Syd and David shared a startling encounter, he was forced to confront the shocking reality that the voices he hears and the visions he sees are actually real. With the help of Syd and a team of specialists who also possess unique and extraordinary gifts Ptonomy Wallace, Kerry Loudermilk and Cary Loudermilk David unlocked a deeply suppressed truth: he had been haunted his entire life by a malicious parasite of unimaginable power. Known as The Shadow King, this malevolent creature appeared in the form of David's friend Lenny Busker, but was actually an ancient being named Amahl Farouk. During an epic showdown, David managed to push Farouk out of his body and gain control of his mind. Unfortunately, the subsequent hunt for Farouk reawakened the dark voices in David's head and, within them, a lust for power. At odds with everyone he once considered a friend, David enlists the help of a young mutant named Switch whose secret ability is key to his plans to repair the damaged he caused. The series - which is as weird as fuck but rather addictive in its own peculiar way - is produced by Marvel Television and FX Productions and stars Dan Stevens, Rachel Keller, Jeremie Harris, Amber Midthunder, Bill Irwin, Aubrey Plaza, Navid Negahban, Hamish Linklater and Lauren Tsai.
The Netherlands' Duncan Laurence won the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest with his song 'Arcade' on Saturday. He had been the bookmakers' favourite to win and topped the leader board with four hundred and ninety two points after the public vote. The UK's Michael Rice came bottom, after getting but three points from the public vote and a total of sixteen points for 'Bigger Than Us'. And, spent the entire night with a face like a smacked arse. Of course, it's worth remembering that when the former winner of the BBC's wretched All Together Now was announced as being the latest individual selected to fail for Britain, he reportedly insisted, in a sweetly naive comment, that he had 'a chance' of winning. So, coming absolutely last must've been a bit on an unwanted reality-check for the poor chap. That'll be back to the Job Centre on Monday, presumably. Laurence said: 'Here's to dreaming big, this is to music first, always.' The last time The Netherlands won the competition was 1975 (Teach-In's memorably rotten 'Ding-A-Dong'). The audience joined in as Laurence performed the song again at the end of the show. Italy finished second with four hundred and sixty five points and Russia third with three hundred and sixty nine. The ceremony also saw last year's winner Netta perform, while singers from previous contests Conchita Wurst, Mans Zelmerlow, Gali Atari, Eleni Foureira and Vjerka Serdjucka sang each other's songs Madonna also performed just before the voting results were announced. She kicked off her set with a version of 'Like A Prayer', with backing dancers dressed as monks. She went on to sing 'Future', her new single featuring the rapper Quavo. 'A slightly muted response to Madonna there,' said the BBC's commentator Graham Norton. A section of her performance in which her backing dancers displayed Israeli and Palestinian flags was not an 'approved' part of the act, organisers said. 'In the live broadcast of the Eurovision Song Contest Grand Final, two of Madonna's dancers briefly displayed the Israeli and Palestinian flags on the back of their outfits. This element of the performance was not part of the rehearsals which had been cleared with the EBU and the host broadcaster, KAN. The Eurovision Song Contest is a non-political event and Madonna had been made aware of this.' The organisers also said that Iceland's Eurovision act could face 'punishment' after displaying Palestinian flags during the live broadcast. During the final, the band members held up Palestinian flags while their public vote was being announced. In a statement, Eurovision said that the 'consequences of this action' will 'be discussed by the contest's executive board.' Alongside the contest, there were clashes in central Jerusalem as ultra-orthodox Jews protested against Eurovision and its sinful, wicked ways and crimes against music. They objected to the scheduling of the Eurovision Song Contest on the Jewish Sabbath, resulting in angry scenes as demonstrators clashed with police. At one point, a small number of women held a counter protest, showing their bras. It was quite a sight. There were other protests in Tel Aviv over Israel's occupation of the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Golan Heights. The Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel has been using social media to oppose holding the contest in Israel because of its treatment of Palestinians. It accuses Israel of trying to 'whitewash' discrimination, which it likens to Apartheid.
BBC4 has signed a deal with DR International Sales to acquire the UK broadcast rights to the Norwegian drama State Of Happiness. The series will be shown in the channel's traditional Saturday night foreign drama slot this summer. State Of Happiness is set in the summer of 1969 in the small coastal town of Stavanger. International oil companies have been test drilling for years, but nothing has been found and they are in the process of leaving. Phillips Petroleum, however, are contracted to drill a final hole. It follows stories of four young people growing up in a country that, in a matter of a few years, will change from being a small fishing nation and European outpost, to becoming a leading oil nation. The The eight episode drama series is produced by Maipo Film for NRK and stars Anne Regine Ellingsæte, Amund Harboe, Malene Wadel and Per Kjerstad. Mette Bølstad is the head writer, while Synnøve Hørsdal and Ales Ree are the producers. Petter Næss and Pål Jackman directed. State Of Happiness marks the latest in a string of deals for BBC4 recently. Earlier this year the channel picked up Australian drama Safe Harbour and extended existing agreements for Cardinal, Trapped and Follow The Money.
From The North favourite Hannibal will be repeated on 5USA from Saturday 25 May at 10pm, it has been announced. Developed for television by Bryan Fuller, Hannibal was a contemporary take on the characters from Thomas Harris' Red Dragon novel and revolved around FBI Special Agent Will Graham and Doctor Hannibal Lecter. The thirty nine episode series, produced by Gaumont International Television, starred Hugh Dancy, Mads Mikkelsen, Caroline Dhaverna, Lara Jean Chorostecki and Laurence Fishburne. Notable guest stars included Gillian Anderson, Lance Henriksen and Eddie Izzard. If you haven't seen it before, dear blog reader, it's well worth checking out. Though, Keith Telly Topping advises that you don't have too heavy a Saturday night dinner beforehand.
ITV has axed The Jeremy Kyle Show - although not with an actual axe, because that would have been a bit messy - after fourteen years following the death of a guest who took part in the programme. Steve Dymond was reportedly found dead on 9 May a week after filming an episode of the sick Victorian freak show, during which he took a lie detector test. ITV's chief executive Carolyn McCall said that the decision to shovel the odious Kyle and his parade of, seemingly willing, participants into the nearest gutter was a result of 'the gravity of recent events.' Following the announcement, a committee of MPs launched an inquiry into whether enough support is offered to guests on TV shows during and after filming. Whether Kyle himself and his producers will be hauled before the committee and interrogated (in a thoroughly hectoring and invasive way) about their role in this malarkey so they can see how uncomfortable the process appears is not known at this time. But we can dream, dear blog reader. Dreaming, as Blondie once said, is free. The Jeremy Kyle Show was never free. But it was, frequently, cheap. ITV's statement said: 'Given the gravity of recent events we have decided to end production of The Jeremy Kyle Show. [It] has had a loyal audience and has been made by a dedicated production team for fourteen years, but now is the right time for the show to end. Everyone at ITV's thoughts and sympathies are with the family and friends of Steve Dymond. The previously announced review of the episode of the show is under way and will continue. ITV will continue to work with Jeremy Kyle on other projects.' Damian Collins MP, the chair of the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport select committee and someone seldom short of an opinion on pretty much any subject you'd care to name, said that the broadcaster had made the right decision. 'However, that should not be the end of the matter,' he said. 'There needs to be an independent review of the duty of care TV companies have to participants in reality TV shows.' Programmes like The Jeremy Kyle Show risked 'putting people who might be vulnerable on to a public stage at a point in their lives when they are unable to foresee the consequences,' he said. No shit? And, you've only just realised this, have you mate? Most viewers could have told you that from the day the first episode went out in 2005. The committee will, reportedly, question broadcasting executives and regulators about such 'duty of care' concerns. Love Island, another ITV show, has also come under scrutiny of late after the deaths of two former contestants.
    The Jeremy Kyle Show was the most popular programme in ITV's daytime schedule, with an average of one million viewers - something which, frankly, says so much about ITV, about what constitutes 'entertainment' these days and, indeed, about what a right bloody state Britain in the Twenty First Century is in. More than three thousand episodes have been broadcast since its debut. Following Dymond's death, ITV initially took the show off-air and suspended filming. The pre-recorded episode Dymond took part in was based on the subject of infidelity, a regular topic for the sick Victorian freak show. A member of the audience who was at the recording snitched to BBC News that Dymond 'collapsed to the ground' and was 'sobbing' when he, reportedly, failed the lie detector test on the programme. Lie detectors were a regular fixture on the programme, which often featured disputes between partners and family members. And, fights. Lots and lots of fights. Broadcasting regulator Ofcom has told ITV to 'report back its initial findings' on Dymond's participation in the programme by Monday. 'While ITV has decided to cancel the programme, its investigation into what happened is continuing and we will review the findings carefully,' an Ofcom spokesperson said. The watchdog is now examining whether to update its code of conduct to protect people taking part in reality and factual shows. 'We're examining whether more can be done to safeguard the welfare of those people, similar to the duty of care we have in the broadcasting code to protect under-eighteens,' the spokesperson said. On Tuesday morning ITV were, seemingly, minded to wait for the coroner's verdict before deciding what to do with the show. In the following twenty four hours, however, the evidence grew that his appearance on the show had 'a devastating impact' on Dymond's life. That evidence - and the fact that ITV is plastered across front pages once again (and, not in a even remotely good way) - will have weighed heavily on the ITV board's mind. Every national newspaper, seemingly, lined-up to find someone who had once appeared on The Jeremy Kyle Show had had their lives ruined by the experience. Except, curiously, the Sun who, instead, produced a series of articles all of which seemed designed to smear the name of the late Steve Dymond and bemoan ITV's decision to cancel the show. Like this one. And this one. And this one. None of which, obviously, had anything whatsoever to do with the fact that Sun Bingo was the sponsor of The Jeremy Kyle Show. Clearly, these two aspects of this extremely tragic turn of events have no connection at all. ITV's director of television, Kevin Lygo, has tried to reinvent the broadcaster of late and this programme was an anomaly within his offering: different in both tone and editorial approach. Nevertheless, it was a ratings hit in its slot and much of its loyal audience will be despondent about it being pulled. For all that nonsense however, it is vital to remember that this is ultimately an exceptionally sad story of a troubled individual who was found dead in his flat. Owen Jones, author of Chavs: The Demonisation Of The Working Class, was among those who welcomed the decision to cancel the show, which he said 'consisted of putting vulnerable people from disadvantaged backgrounds in stocks to have eggs thrown at them.' TV critic Emma Bullimore told BBC 5Live that she was 'surprised' by the speed of ITV's decision to cancel the show. 'Usually these things take a review and it's ages, but with this one the public opinion and the pressure they were under was so strong that they didn't really have another option,' she said. 'I don't think this is the end of this kind of television,' Bullimore added. 'There's no getting away from the fact that whether you like it or you find it reprehensible, there is a loyal audience for this show.' Indeed. There was also once 'a loyal audience' for bear-baiting and cock-fighting. Fortunately we, as a society, progressed. Infamously in September 2007, a Manchester District Judge, Alan Berg, was sentencing a man who headbutted his 'love rival' whilst appearing on the show. Judge Berg was reported in the Manchester Evening News as saying: 'I have had the misfortune, very recently, of watching The Jeremy Kyle Show. It seems to me that the purpose of this show is to effect a morbid and depressing display of dysfunctional people whose lives are in turmoil' and that it was 'a plain disgrace which goes under the guise of entertainment.' He described it as 'human bear-baiting' and added that 'it should not surprise anyone that these people, some of whom have limited intellects, become aggressive with each other. This type of incident is exactly what the producers want. These self-righteous individuals should be in the dock with you. They pretend there is some kind of virtue in putting out a show like this.' Speaking to BBC Radio 4's World At One programme, former ITV chief executive Stuart Prebble said the cancellation was 'a good decision,' but that producers 'do take seriously their duty of care.' One or two people even believed him. He said: 'The producers of these programmes walk a very thin line and and they know they do. If you are always tip-toeing close to the edge as I think this show did, perhaps it is not surprising that something like this will eventually happen. [ITV] have done the right thing - a speedy and effective review, and the faster these things are dealt with the better.' All previous episodes of The Jeremy Kyle Show have been taken down from the channel's catch-up service, ITV Hub. Episodes will not be broadcast on ITV2 either and the show's YouTube channel has been deleted as ITV appears to be trying to pretend that the show never even existed. Meanwhile, the Sun were reporting that 'traumatised Jeremy Kyle Show staff have suddenly found themselves scrambling for jobs with "no support from the show" after it was axed,' and that 'staff now feel they've been "hung out to dry" and are upset at receiving no aftercare.' Oh, the irony. A spokeswoman for Portsmouth coroner's office said that an inquest into Dymond's death would be 'likely' to be opened 'within the next few days,' following the result of the post-mortem investigation. Kyle himself weaselled on Thursday that he was, allegedly, 'devastated by recent events.' Although, one suspects that, in reality, it was more the 'being very publicly sacked and thrown into the nearest sewer' part rather than the 'someone has killed themselves after appearing on my show' part that was the more devastating for Jezza.
Of course, The Jeremy Kyle Show's format is not new in television terms, far from it - indeed, the programme has been described as, in terms of format and meanness, pretty much identical to The Jerry Springer Show, which was even more popular (if, often, equally as troubling) two decade ago. In relation to the latter, The West Wing's author Aaron Sorkin once memorably parodied it and the people who watch it when President Bartlet happens upon an episode by chance: 'I was watching a television programme before, with a kind of roving moderator who spoke to a seated panel of young women who were having some sort of problem with their boyfriends; apparently, because the boyfriends had all slept with the girlfriends' mothers. And they brought the boyfriends out and they fought, right there on television. Toby, tell me, these people don't vote, do they?' The answer to that question, of course, always used to be 'no, thankfully, they don't.' Post-Brexit and with a Rump in The White House, however ... It makes you think, doesn't it?
Felicity Huffman has pleaded very guilty to fraudulently conspiring to win a college place for her daughter and now faces having her pretty ass slung in The Joint. In a Boston court, the Desperate Housewives actress admitted paying fifteen thousand dollars to have her daughter's exam answers 'secretly corrected' in 2017. In a statement last month, Huffman said that she was 'in full acceptance' of her guilt. Prosecutors recommended a four-month prison term and a twenty thousand dollars fine. Huffman was among fifty charged in the college admissions scandal. The wealthy parents charged in the investigation allegedly paid bribes, had exams altered and even had their children edited into stock photos to fake sporting talents. They managed to fraudulently secure spots for the teenagers at elite US universities including Yale, Georgetown and Stanford. Parents and college athletics coaches were charged in the scheme, but none of the children were indicted. Huffman did not speak to reporters outside court as she arrived to Monday's hearing holding hands with her brother. She admitted one count of mail fraud. The EMMY-winning actress snivelled whilst speaking to the judge, according to reporters in the courtroom. Her plea deal recommendation of four months in Pokey was 'at the lower end' of sentencing guidelines, which could have carried a custodial term of up to twenty years stir. According to court documents, Huffman was secretly recorded by the scam's confessed mastermind, William Singer, after he began singing like a canary and co-operating with investigators. Singer helped Huffman falsify a college entrance exam score for her oldest daughter, Sophia Macy, before snitching her up to The Fuzz. When Sophia's school initially wanted to invigilate as she sat her test, Huffman 'expressed concern' to Singer. The actress e-mailed to him, 'Ruh Ro!' - the catchphrase of Scooby-Doo when he was in trouble. Singer arranged so that Sophia could complete the SAT, which is the US college entrance test, 'elsewhere.' Sophia scored an SAT score of fourteen hundred and twenty out of a possible sixteen hundred on the doctored test, about four hundred points higher than a preliminary SAT she had taken a year earlier. The actress is alleged to have 'made arrangements' to cheat a second time, for her younger daughter, before deciding not to do so, according to prosecutors. Her husband - the actor William H Macy - also 'had contact' with Singer, though Macy was spared charges. Huffman said that her daughter was unaware of the cheating and that she felt 'regret and shame' for having 'betrayed' her. She will be sentenced on 13 September. Last month, Netflix announced it would postpone the release of a movie, Otherhood, starring Huffman which was originally set for release on 26 April. It did not specify a new premiere date. Though Huffman was among the most high-profile figures indicted, the fifteen thousand bucks she parted with was among the smaller sums allegedly paid by any of the other parents charged in the scandal, according to court documents. Lori Loughlin, another Hollywood actress ensnared in the scandal along with her husband, has pleaded not guilty to paying five hundred thousand dollars in bribes to have their daughters accepted to the University of Southern California as members of the rowing team and, if convicted, faces a shitload of time in The Slammer.
Martin Clunes has reportedly been dropped as a patron of an animal welfare charity after footage emerged of him riding an elephant in Nepal. He faced 'fierce social media criticism' after climbing on the creature during last week's episode of ITV programme My Travels & Other Animals. In a statement, Born Free confirmed Clunes' 'deeply unfortunate' departure for riding 'a captive, wild elephant.' It said that Clunes' actions 'reinforced' a practice it is 'resolutely against. Born Free has always been opposed to the exploitation of captive wild animals for entertainment and human interactions. There is clear evidence that training, keeping and riding captive elephants causes distress and suffering,' the charity added. During the episode the actor expressed open concern about ding the mammal, but said using the animals for tourist purposes was 'a kinder life than hauling heavy logs.' After clumsily climbing atop the elephant, he is shown apologising, saying: 'I didn't want to hurt her.' The scenes prompted strong reaction, including from Born Free's president Will Travers, who told the Daily Mirra it was 'deeply unfortunate.' The actor is no longer listed as a celebrity patron on the Born Free website. A statement attributed to Clunes said: 'I like to do whatever I can for Born Free whenever I am asked. I love the Born Free Foundation, it steps in wherever there's an animal facing cruelty, abuse or unfairness of any kind ... any animal in any place. It's a truly unique resource for wildlife conservation with a knowledge base built on years of work in the field in so many countries with so many different species. You should love it too.'
Stephen Fry and Little Mix were among those honoured at the 2019 British LGBT awards for defending the community and advancing LGBT rights. Fry was hailed as 'a hero of the people' as he received the lifetime achievement award in London on Friday. TV host Paul O'Grady was given the 'Trailblazer' accolade and boxer Nicola Adams was named Sports Personality. Campaigner Peter Tatchell was named Outstanding Contributor to LGBT+ life for his fifty two years of activism. 'I do my bit, but so do millions of others. Together, we make the change,' tweeted the sixty seven-year-old, ahead of the ceremony which was hosted by Kelly Osbourne. Tatchell credited the US black civil rights movement for inspiring him in his activism, tweeting: 'We should learn from each other and support everyone fighting for freedom.' Other winners at the annual awards included singer Ellie Goulding, who was honoured as an LGBT+ Celebrity Ally, Sex & The City's Cynthia Nixon, who was named Celebrity of the Year and Australia's Courtney Act - winner of last year's Z-List Celebrity Big Brother in the UK - who scooped the Media Moment award. Hayley Kiyoko, was presented with the MTV-sponsored Music Artist prize. Naked Attraction host Anna Richardson shared the Broadcaster or Journalist of the Year award with Liv Little of gal-dem magazine, following a public vote.
Days after performing at Madison Square Garden, yer actual Pete Townshend and Roger Daltrey his very self stopped by The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon for an impressively outre rendition of 'Won't Get Fooled Again'. Joined by The Roots and Fallon himself, the ensemble played the 1971 classic on classroom instruments. Roge sang while shaking a tambourine, Pete strummed a ukelele, Questlove hit the bongos and Kamal Gray played the xylophone. Fallon himself tapped a wood block on a Casio. The group sang the chorus in unison and, in signature style, Pete smashed his uke into bits at the end. Quality item.
An 'incredibly rare' Roman coin minted for an ill-fated and short-lived emperor has been found during work to upgrade an A road. It depicts Ulpius Cornelius Laelianus, who reigned for about two months in 269AD before he was killed. The discovery was made during a dig as part of Highways England's one-and-a-half billion knicker scheme to improve the A14 between Cambridge and Huntingdon. Archaeologist Steve Sherlock said the 'significant' find was 'only the second' of its kind to be unearthed in England. The coin shows Laelianus wearing a radiant crown and was found in a ditch at a small Roman farmstead by archaeologists. Coin expert Julian Bowsher, of MOLA Headland Infrastructure, said: 'Roman emperors were very keen to mint coins - Laelianus reigned for just two months which is barely enough time to do so. The fact that one of these coins ever reached the shores of Britain demonstrates remarkable efficiency and there's every chance that Laelianus had been killed by the time this coin arrived in Cambridgeshire.' The ill-fated emperor usurped the throne and ruled a breakaway empire in what is now Germany and France before being extremely killed, probably by his own soldiers. Doctor Sherlock, who is the lead archaeologist for the A14 project, said that 'discoveries of this kind are incredibly rare.' No shit, Sherlock? Sorry. Another unusual coin discovered during the dig was a Gallic War Uniface coin, minted in 57BC by the Ambiani tribe in the Somme area of modern-day France. Experts believe that it was exported to help fund the British Celtic resistance to Julius Caesar. The A14 roadworks have also uncovered the remains of an Ice Age woolly mammoth and evidence of beer brewing dating to about 400BC. It has also unearthed prehistoric henges, Iron Age settlements, Roman kilns, three Anglo-Saxon villages and a medieval hamlet. The work includes creating a new bypass to the south of Huntingdon and upgrading twenty one miles of road.
Sheikh Yer Man City rounded off an outstanding domestic season by crushing Watford at Wembley to clinch a historic treble. Raheem Sterling and Gabriel Jesus both scored twice as Pep Guardiola's team became the first English men's side to achieve the feat of winning the Premier League, the FA Cup and the Carabao Cup in the same season. They reaffirmed their status as this season's dominant force as Watford were utterly outclassed, City achieving the biggest FA Cup final win since Bury beat Derby six-nil in 1903. Watford's best chance of over-turning the odds came early on when City keeper Ederson saved at the feel of Roberto Pereyra and they were furious when referee Kevin Friend waved away penalty claims after Vincent Kompany blocked Abdoulaye Doucoure's shot with his arm (albeit, with his back turned). The contest was effectively over from the moment David Silva finished from close range after twenty six minutes, Jesus doubling the advantage before half-time after Bernardo Silva's sublime pass. Watford rallied briefly after the break but were always wide open to the counter attack. They were brutally punished by an imperious City side, as substitute Kevin de Bruyne scored from Jesus's pass just after the hour before the Brazilian raced clear for another goal shortly afterwards. Sterling scored twice in the final ten minutes - turning in Bernardo Silva's perfect cross before bundling in the final goal of a memorable display from Guardiola's side. It was City's sixth FA Cup triumph and their first under Guardiola, who has now won six trophies since taking over at The Etihad Stadium in 2016. City's win means that Wolves, who finished seventh in the Premier League table, will play in the two-legged second qualifying round of the Europa League on 25 July and 1 August. City claimed their first league and FA Cup double - the first time it has been achieved since Moscow Chelski FC did it under Carlo Ancelotti in 2010. This comprehensive triumph, however, was about even more than that. The securing of three trophies underscores the scale of City's achievement - and emphasises the hunger and desire which has driven them this season, notably to finish ahead of Liverpool Alabama Yee-Haws in a relentless Premier League title race. Their ability to move to another level when required was on show here at they resisted Watford's early promise - and then brushed them aside. They refused to ease up when Watford were down and out, pressing forward until the final whistle, with substitute John Stones only being denied by the bar in the final seconds as City almost became the first team in win an FA Cup final by seven goals. And it was all achieved without leading goalscorer Sergio Aguero, restricted to a place on the bench alongside De Bruyne, Stones and Leroy Sane. After securing the Premier League title at Brighton & Hove Albinos last weekend, Guardiola stated that he is 'addicted' to winning. This was a performance of class and quality from a team that looks in shape to satisfy the Catalan's craving for years to come.
UEFA investigators reportedly want Sheikh Yer Man City to be extremely banned from the Champions League for a season if they are found guilty of breaking financial rules. However, according to one allegedly 'well-placed source', a final decision is 'yet to be made' by chief investigator Yves Leterme. The former Belgian prime minister, chairman of the investigatory panel of UEFA's independent financial control board, is set to make a recommendation this week. With no vote in such cases, the final decision lies with him. But several of his colleagues are 'understood' to have firmly 'expressed the view' at a recent meeting that a season-long ban would be a suitable punishment if Sheikh Yer Man City are found very guilty according to BBC Sports. Leterme and his team have been looking at evidence first uncovered in a series of leaks published by the German newspaper Der Spiegel last year. The reports alleged that Sheikh Yer Man City had broken Financial Fair Play regulations by artificially 'inflating' the value of a multimillion-pound sponsorship deal. City were fined forty nine million knicker in 2014 for a previous breach of same regulations. The Premier League champions denied any wrongdoing and UEFA said that it 'could not comment on an ongoing investigation.' But, according to the New York Times, investigators now want rules upheld and City punished with a ban. UEFA's adjudicatory chamber would have to decide whether it agreed with any recommendation from Leterme although it is unlikely to apply to next season's competition because City could, and probably will, appeal and even take their case to the Court of Arbitration for Sport. But it would still be a major blow for a club desperate to win Europe's most prestigious club competition for the first time and who could also soon face a transfer ban, with the FA, Premier League and FIFA also currently investigating Sheikh Yer Man City over their signing of youth players. A statement from Sheikh Yer Man City said that the club is 'fully cooperating in good faith with the CFCB IC's ongoing investigation. In doing so the club is reliant on both the CFCB IC's independence and commitment to due process; and on UEFA's commitment of the 7 March that it "will make no further comment on the matter while the investigation is ongoing." The New York Times report citing "people familiar with the case" is, therefore, extremely concerning. 'The implications are that either Manchester City's good faith in the CFCB IC is misplaced or the CFCB IC process is being misrepresented by individuals intent on damaging the club's reputation and its commercial interests. Or both. Manchester City's published accounts are full and complete and a matter of legal and regulatory record. The accusation of financial irregularities are entirely false, and comprehensive proof of this fact has been provided to the CFCB IC.' Financial Fair Play was introduced by UEFA to prevent clubs in its competitions from spending beyond their means and stamp out what its then president, the disgraced and disgraceful Michel Platini called 'financial doping' within football. Under the rules, financial losses are limited and clubs are also obliged to meet all their transfer and employee payment commitments at all times. Clubs need to balance football-related expenditure - transfers and wages - with television and ticket income, plus revenues raised by their commercial departments. Money spent on stadiums, training facilities, youth development or community projects is exempt. The Club Financial Control Body, set up by UEFA, has the ultimate sanction of banning clubs from UEFA competitions, with other potential punishments including warnings, fines, withholding prize money, transfer bans, points deductions, a ban on registration of new players and a restriction on the number of players who can be registered for UEFA competitions. In 2014, Qatar-owned Paris St-Germain received a similar financial punishment to the one Sheikh Yer Man City received. PSG were deemed to have breached FFP rules when the CFCB decided their back-dated one hundred and sixty seven million smackers sponsorship contract with the Qatar Tourism Authority, which wiped out their losses, had 'an unfair value.' That meant the French side exceeded allowed financial losses by a wide margin when, under FFP rules, clubs were limited to losses of thirty seven million notes over the previous two years. They received a fine, a spending cap and were only allowed to register twenty one players for the Champions League for a season. PSG also remain under investigation for their 2017-18 finances when they signed Neymar from Barcelona for a world record two hundred and twenty two million Euros and Kylian Mbappe from Monaco, initially on loan, for one hundred and eighty million Euros.
Steve Clarke's Kilmarnock clinched third place in the Scottish Premiership - and a Europa League place - after a late winner against Glasgow Rangers. The home side shrugged off the potential loss of their manager, who is favourite to be named Scotland head coach, to edge out Aberdeen. Veteran former Rangers winger Chris Burke's early strike was cancelled out by Alfredo Morelos' thundering finish. But Eamonn Brophy's late penalty sealed the victory Kilmarnock needed. It means Clarke's side stayed ahead of Aberdeen, who won at Hibernian, on goal difference and secured a return to European football for the first time since 2001. They also ended the visitors' run of seven consecutive victories as Kilmarnock finished their season with a flourish thanks to three straight wins of their own.
Fußball-Club Bayern München were crowned champions of Germany for the seventh successive season with a crushing last-day victory over Eintracht Frankfurt. Niko Kovac's side, who trailed leaders Borussia Dortmund by nine points after twelve games, needed only a draw to secure a twenty ninth Bundesliga title. Kingsley Coman opened the scoring before Sébastien Haller equalised. David Alaba, Renato Sanches, Franck Ribery and Arjen Robben made sure of Bayern's victory at The Allianz Arena. They finished two points ahead of Dortmund, who won two-nil at Borussia Mönchengladbach thanks to goals from England winger Jadon Sancho and Marco Reus. It was fitting end to Bayern's season as legends Robben and Ribery scored in what proved to be a procession to the title. The pair - with twenty two Bundesliga seasons, one hundred and eighty five goals and fifteen titles between them - started from the bench alongside full-back Rafinha, who will also leave this summer. By the time Robben and Ribery came on, Bayern were already three-one up. Bayern players embraced Robben, Ribery and Sanches at the end of the match and they were given the honour of lifting the Meisterschale trophy by captain Manuel Neuer. Bayern can complete the domestic double when they face RB Leipzig in the DFB Pokal final on 25 May.
Benfica avoided a slip-up against Santa Clara to secure their thirty seventh Portuguese league title. The Lisbon-based giants needed only a point in their final match at the (real) Stadium Of Light, with rivals FC Porto looking to take advantage of anything less. However, two goals from Swiss forward Haris Seferovic, one from Joao Felix and Rafa Silva secured a four-one victory. Porto recorded a two-one win over Sporting Lisbon in a game which saw both teams reduced to ten men. Sporting left-back Cristian Borja was shown a straight red in the twentieth minute before Luiz Phellype gave the visitors the lead. Danilo Pereira equalised in the seventy eighth minute before Hector Herrera grabbed a winner three minutes from time. Porto's Jesus Corona received two yellows in stoppage time. Benfica finished the season with eighty seven points, two ahead of Porto, who were last year's champions, with Sporting third on seventy four points.
Antoine Griezmann was jeered by his own fans as he played his final match for Atletico Madrid on Saturday. The French World Cup winner, who joined Atletico in 2014 and signed a new five-year deal last June, announced on Tuesday that he would be leaving. There were chants of, 'out, out, out' (only, you know, in Spanish - so, that'd be 'afuera, afuera, afuera' then) as Atletico trailed two-nil at Levante before goals from Sergio Camello and Rodrigo ensured a point. Rivals Barcelona will pay Griezmann's one hundred and twnety million Euro buyout clause. Wirh Barca having already won the title some weeks ago, Valencia secured the fourth Champions League spot in La Liga on Saturday. The Madrid-based side, promoted to the top flight only two seasons ago, faced Villarreal and had to better rivals' Getafe's result against Real Valladolid. Getafe drew two-two whilst Valencia recorded a two-nil win to join Barca, Atletico and Real Madrid in the Champions League. Getafe finished fifth on fifty nine points along with sixth-place Sevilla - both will play in the Europa League next season.
Ajax Amsterdam capped a memorable season with their first Dutch league title since 2014 as a four-one final-day win at De Graafschap secured a domestic double. Erik ten Hag's side - who came so close to a place in the Champions League final - needed just a point to win their thirty fourth title. First-half goals from Lasse Schone and Nicolas Tagliafico ensured that the title was added to their Dutch Cup win. Dusan Tadic then scored twice - goals in an eleventh consecutive league game. Youssef el Jebli had briefly equalised for the hosts, whose season is not over yet - they go into the relegation play-offs to try and stay in the Eredivisie. Ajax were again outstanding for long periods in the final appearance for midfielder Frenkie de Jong, who agreed to sign for Barcelona for sixty five million knicker in January, while captain Matthijs de Ligt is one of several other brilliant young stars who are also expected to leave this summer. Ajax - and more than one hundred thousand of their fans - threw the party of all parties to celebrate their victory. Huge crowds packed into Amsterdam's Museumplein to celebrate the Eredivisie win and Dutch Cup success. Indeed so many people turned out that Dutch media reported the city's Van Gogh and Stedelijk museums were closed and three secondary schools were forced to move final exams to a different location 'because of the noise.' There were also poignant moments, with Ajax dedicating their title to Abdelhak Nouri, who collapsed during a pre-season friendly against Werder Bremen in July 2017. The midfielder was airlifted from the pitch and it was later revealed he had suffered 'serious and permanent' brain damage. De Ligt also gave a moving speech referencing the late Johan Cruyff, a three-time Ballon d'Or winner and Ajax and Netherlands legend. 'We've shown everyone what Ajax is about, what kind of city Amsterdam is,' he said. PSV Eindhoven, who won three-one against Heracles Almelo, finished second and will join Ajax in next season's champions league, whilst Feyanoord (who beat Fortuna Sittard four-one despite Steven Berghuis's amusing penalty miss) and AZ 67 Alkkmaar will compete in the Europa League.
Kick It Out have 'unreservedly apologised' to Brighton & Hove Albinos following comments reportedly made by its Head of Development Troy Townsend over the dismissal of Chris Hughton. Hughton was sacked by Brighton on Monday after securing them a seventeenth-placed finish in the Premier League. Townsend criticised the decision in a Daily Torygraph interview. Kick It Out said that it apologised 'for the impact the comments have had on the club's reputation.' The anti-racism body added in a statement that it was also sorry for 'any inference' from Townsend's comments that Hughton's sacking was 'linked in any way to his ethnicity.' Hughton, who was contracted with The Seagulls until 2021, was one of just two black managers in the Premier League. The former Newcastle and Norwich boss had guided Brighton to an FA Cup semi-final earlier this season, where they lost to Shiekh Yer Man City at Wembley. Townsend, the father of Crystal Palace forward Andros, described Hughton's dismissal as 'shabby' in the interview. He said: 'We are now at worse than square one. What people don't understand is the real difficulties for black managers getting through the bottle neck at the top of football. We are talking about measly numbers. It's so shabby. What are the expectations of Brighton? Surely it is to stay in the league. You are fourth from bottom and you have got to an FA Cup semi-final. I don't get it. They must have been planning it for some time. Look at how Chris has been treated at Newcastle and Norwich and now Brighton? Being nice is his nature, but I know behind closed doors he is a different guy, he knows how to get his teams going. He has given Brighton another year of Premier League football and he gets repaid like this? Really?' Hughton first joined Brighton in December 2014 and led the club to the Premier League for the first time in 2017.
Notlob Wanderings have set up an emergency food bank with donations from local businesses to help out staff who have not been paid. During a turbulent year for the club on and off the field, non-playing employees have not been paid for April. The Trotters, who were extremely relegated to League One this season, became the first Football League club to enter administration for six years on Monday. 'We're grateful for the support,' club chaplain Phil Mason said. 'Often there is this perception that within football, people are paid a king's ransom, but of course the reality is that a lot of staff behind the scenes are on significantly low wages. They've got mortgages or rent to pay, they may have something coming up within their family and they've got food to put on the table as well as get to and from work.' It has been a tough season for the club, with players still to receive their salaries for March and April, alongside a return to League One after two unsuccessful seasons in The Championship. Businesses have helped provide toiletries and nappies, as well as tinned goods, pasta, rice, freezer meals, frozen vegetables and bread. And, The Community Trust have also been given assistance from within the wider football community, including an unnamed Championship club believed to be Preston Both Ends. 'It's tremendous that we've had support from a Championship club,' Mason told BBC Radio Manchester. 'They have donated a significant amount in terms of ASDA and Sainsbury's vouchers so we can use those in order to get additional provisions for the food supplies that we're offering to staff.' Some staff have found the ongoing problems at the club have exacerbated existing mental health issues and the Trust is offering support and counselling to those who need it. 'It's incredibly stressful for staff, there's no doubt about that,' Mason said. 'The reality is, one in three or four people will have mental health issues and they can be triggered by a whole variety of things, not least of course the fact a person has not been paid or is not sure when they will be paid. They're anxious about the future of the organisation they work for, they don't know whether they're going to be kept on or made redundant and all those issues end up in places of stress and anxiety and that has an impact upon relationships at home, at work and how they feel about themselves and their own self worth.'
A second Grasshopper Zurich match in two months has been abandoned, with the club facing relegation from the Swiss top flight for the first time in sixty eight years. Their away match against Lucerne was halted in the second half as fans threatened to invade the pitch. The twenty seven-time Swiss champions are currently bottom of the table and were losing four-nil at the time of the abandonment. Swiss media said that Grasshoppers fans demanded players hand over their shirts as they were 'not worthy to wear them.' The club said that had it decided to hand over shirts to fans 'because the situation threatened to escalate. The decision does not mean that we approve of unsportsmanlike and humanly questionable behaviour,' they said in a statement. Their match with Sion on 16 March was also abandoned in the fifty sixth minute after some fans threw fireworks on the pitch. Grasshoppers were losing two-nil at the time and Sion were subsequently awarded a three-nil win. The club, bottom of the Swiss Super League and are winless in their past seventeen games, have condemned Sunday's incident. 'It is is shameful and simply unacceptable,' they said. 'The endangerment of spectators, stadium personnel and players is not accepted by Grasshoppers. Rioters break football in this way. They once again prevented the regular course of a championship game and thus hurt Grasshoppers and Lucerne.' The Swiss Football League said: 'The referee saw the safety of the players no longer guaranteed. The SFL will provide information on how to proceed in the coming days.'
Former Wales manager Chris Coleman has been extremely sacked by Hebei China Fortune, the club he took over eleven months ago. Hebei are one place off the bottom of the Chinese Super League with only one win in nine games this season. The club confirmed Coleman's departure in a social media post. It stated: 'After friendly negotiation and agreement reached between the two parties, with immediate effect, Mister Chris Coleman will no longer serve as head coach.' As they lost three-two at home to mid-table Henan Jianye on Saturday, disaffected fans held up a banner which read: 'Hello Mister Coleman, please go home! You're fired!!!' and in Chinese said: 'Coleman, your mum wants you home for dinner.' Coleman led Wales to the Euro 2016 semi-finals, but opted not to continue as Wales manager, joining Blunderland where he was unable to save The Mackem Filth from relegation to League One. After being sacked by The Black Cats, he took over from current West Hamsters United boss Manuel Pellegrini at Hebei.
England survived a scare to win the fourth one-day international against Pakistan by three wickets and wrap up the series with a game to spare on Friday. Jason Roy's century had the home side coasting their chase of three hundred and forty one, only for his dismissal to spark a collapse of four wickets for fifteen runs. But Ben Stokes made seventy one not out and Tom Curran, who should have been run out on seven, thirty one to get the hosts over the line with three balls to spare. In perfect batting conditions on the Trent Bridge ground where England have racked up the two highest ODI totals of all time, Pakistan posted three hundred and forty for seven. Babar Azam's controlled one hundred and fifteen was the mainstay yet, even with England missing suspended captain Eoin Morgan and rested opener Jonny Bairstow, the visitors' total did not feel like it should have posed a challenge. That England were ultimately tested can only be good for their World Cup preparations and winning with a much-changed side - Chris Woakes, David Willey and Liam Plunkett were also rested - further demonstrates the depth of their squad. England were put under pressure in the second match of the series, when Pakistan almost overhauled three hundred and seventy three in Southampton, but they dominated the third match in Bristol. As far as their World Cup build-up goes, this was a new examination as they recovered after wobbling during a run-chase. In addition, it was a welcome return to form for Stokes, who struggled with bat and ball at the end of the IPL and has not yet taken a wicket in this series. With England needing one hundred and twenty five from just under twenty overs, Stokes first shared forty two with Joe Denly and then, crucially, sixty one with Curran, who earlier claimed four for seventy five with the ball. There was a bizarre moment when Curran should have been run out, only for Pakistan not to appeal despite the Surrey man's bat being on the crease line when the bail was removed. Both Stokes, who struck three sixes and Curran peppered the square boundaries, until Curran was bowled by Hassan Ali in the forty eighth over. Adil Rashid joined Stokes with nineteen needed from the final twelve balls, but Junaid Khan's forty ninth over was taken for sixteen and Stokes won the match from the third ball of the final over. For long periods it looked like Roy would lead England to overhaul a massive total with impunity, just as Bairstow's century was the catalyst for a comfortable chase of three hundred and fifty nine in Bristol on Tuesday. With Bairstow rested, Roy added ninety four with new opening partner James Vince and then one hundred and seven for the second wicket with Joe Root. He was dropped on twenty five by Fakhar Zaman, one of a number of early Pakistan mistakes in the field and scored all around the wicket - his four sixes were close to being the points of a compass. After he reached his eighth ODI hundred from seventy five balls with an incredible maximum over cover, even a double century seemed possible, but when he gloved an attempted pull off Mohammad Hasnain, the fortunes of both sides were reversed. Root was well caught at short third man by Mohammad Hafeez off Imad Wasim, stand-in captain Jos Buttler swept the same bowler to short fine leg for a second-ball duck and Moeen Ali sloppily miscued Shoaib Malik to mid-wicket also without scoring. The collapse made Pakistan favourites, but that was to discount the unflappable Stokes. As the battle for pace-bowling spots in England's World Cup squad continues, much intrigue surrounded the Nottingham new-ball pairing of Mark Wood and Jofra Archer, the two fastest bowlers at the hosts' disposal. With both regularly touching ninety miles per hour, there was an extra dimension to an attack that, at times in this series, has looked one-paced. Indeed, Wood hit Pakistan opener Imam-ul-Haq on the elbow and forced him to retire hurt. Later, Wood also rattled Imad Wasim's helmet whilst Archer bounced the returning Imam. In between, Babar guided Pakistan with his composed century, adding one hundred and seven with Fakhar and one hundred and four with Mohammad Hafeez, who both made half-centuries. However, in such excellent batting conditions, there remained the suspicion that the tourists lacked the intent to get to a total which was going to defeat England. Not only that, but they were kept in check by the home side's fielding and Curran, who boosted his own World Cup hopes with a series of yorkers and slower balls even before his effort with the bat. England have now won seventeen matches in a row chasing at home. A run that goes back to the summer of 2016.
And, England completed a four-nil series win in their final one-day international before the World Cup on Sunday. Joe Root's eighty four and seventy six from Eoin Morgan helped lift the home side to a total of three hundred and fifty one for nine from their fifty overs, a total which looked like being much higher after a rapid start at Headingley. Pakistan seemed all-but-beaten after Chris Woakes' new-ball burst reduced them to six for three, only for Babar Azam (eighty) and Sarfaraz Ahmed (ninety seven) to share a partnership of one hundred and forty six. But, Babar was run out by Adil Rashid and Sarfaraz was brilliantly stumped by Jos Buttler, either side of Rashid's flying catch to dismiss Shoaib Malik off his bowling. With Woakes going on to claim five for fifty four, the tourists were eventually dismissed for two hundred and ninety seven, losing by fifty four runs. England will name their World Cup squad on Tuesday, then play two warm-up games, against Australia next Saturday and Afghanistan the following Monday. They open the tournament against South Africa at The Oval on 30 May. The Pakistan series has seen England demonstrate their awesome batting power and attempt to identify the pace bowlers who will be included in their final squad. On a day when captain Morgan chose to bat first in order to replicate losing the toss and being made to post a total in the World Cup, it was a last chance for David Willey and Tom Curran to push their claims. Willey offers a left-arm option, Curran a cunning selection of yorkers and slower balls. Both can bat and made useful lower-order contributions, but neither bowled a particularly telling spell. It appears that Curran, Willey and Liam Plunkett are fighting for two spots to join Woakes, Mark Wood and Jofra Archer in the final squad. Joe Denly, in England's provisional squad to bat and bowl some leg-spin, was not afforded another opportunity. If England want a stronger spin bowling option, he could make way for Liam Dawson. As for Pakistan, experts at peaking in tournaments and winners of the Champions Trophy in 2017, they have shown only glimpses of their potential at various times throughout the ODI series. In Leeds, their pace bowlers showed some - limited - signs of improvement, while Babar and Sarfaraz provided defiance against all that England could throw at them. They will be benefit from the return of leg-spinner Shadhab Khan, who can play in the World Cup after recovering from hepatitis. Aided by poor Pakistan bowling and worse fielding, the rate England began their innings hinted towards an absolutely massive total. That it did not materialise was down to the control gained by Pakistan's spinners and the recovery of their pace bowlers, none more so than Shaheen Afridi, who picked up four for eighty two. But that is to take nothing away from England's batsmen. Openers Jonny Bairstow (thirty two) and James Vince (thirty three) punished anything loose before Root and Morgan added one hundred and seventeen for the third wicket. Root played glorious drives off the pacemen, then flicked and swept the spinners. Morgan heaved two sixes into the leg side and lofted two more over extra cover. When Morgan became one of four England batsmen to fall to a short ball, it began a period where every home surge was halted by a wicket. Jos Buttler (thirty four) and Ben Stokes (twenty one) made useful contributions, but there may be a slight concern in the England camp over Moeen Ali, who registered a second successive duck. Woakes, Willey and Curran all made impressive cameos in the final overs, the latter's twenty nine from just fifteen balls being full of entertaining swipes and scoops. For all the talk of the extra pace that Archer and Wood provide, it is Woakes who is likely to lead England's World Cup attack and his first two overs at Headingley demonstrated why. On a surface offering a hint of movement, Woakes had Fakhar Zaman caught at second slip. Then he trapped both Abid Ali and Mohammad Hafeez LBW soon afterwards. The classy Babar and doughty Sarfaraz rebuilt the innings with deflections, guides and good running between the wicket. They were comfortable before England's first flash of inspiration. Sarfaraz called for a quick single, then sent Babar back, Buttler's throw was wide but Rashid, with his back turned, backhanded the ball onto the stumps to leave Babar short of his ground. In response, Sarfaraz repeatedly sent Rashid to the leg-side boundary, only for the England man to leap to his left to take an excellent one-handed catch off Malik. The captain presented England's last realistic obstacle until he was removed by Buttler's luck, anticipation and quick-thinking. As Sarfaraz tried to run Moeen to third man, Buttler stuck out his right boot. The ball rebounded into his left foot and, with Sarfaraz trying to get back after setting off for a run, Buttler removed the bails.
A painting of some children playing a game of cricket by the artist LS Lowry is due to go on display before its auction, when it is expected to sell for about eight hundred thousand notes. The rarely-seen oil painting, owned by art collectors Neil and Gina Smith, will go on sale at Sotheby's in London during the Cricket World Cup. It set a world record for a Lowry work when it was last sold in 1996 for two hundred and eighty two thousand knicker. It will be displayed for five days from Thursday at Salford gallery The Lowry. Simon Hucker, senior specialist in modern British art at Sotheby's, said: 'This outstanding painting is in many ways a "classic" Lowry - depicting the tough environment of the industrial cities of the North at the turn of the Twentieth Century and yet, the subject of children engaged in a game of cricket makes it quite unusual.' Born near Manchester in 1887, Lowry is best known for his depictions of working class life, often distinctive for his use of 'matchstick' figures. He studied art while working as a rent collector during the day. His initial drawings were made outdoors, on the spot, often on scraps of paper. After years of painting and exhibiting around Manchester, Lowry received his first one-man exhibition in London in 1939 and rose to national fame. The artist rejected a knighthood in 1968. He died aged eighty eight in 1976, just months before an exhibition at the Royal Academy in the capital. Lowry rarely depicted cricket in his work and only painted a formal match once, a Sotheby's spokeswoman said. Titled A Cricket Match, the 1938 painting will also be exhibited in London between 14 and 17 June. It will be auctioned on 18 June after England play Afghanistan at Old Trafford, in Lowry's birthplace of Stretford. The artwork is estimated to sell for between eight hundred thousand and a million smackers. Lowry's 1949 painting The Football Match sold for five-and-a-half million notes in 2011 - a record price for a work by the artist.
An opportunistic car 'collector' used a test drive to make off with a Ferrari worth two million Euros. The suspect had 'expressed interest' in buying a 1985 Ferrari 288 GTO, police in Düsseldorf said. The man turned up by taxi at the dealership and two hours later, on a test drive, it was time to swap drivers. But, when the seller stepped out of the car, the would-be buyer quickly hit the accelerator and raced off at high seed. The car was later found in a garage. Police say the 'historic vehicle' with twenty seven thousand miles on the clock should be valued at more than two million Euros. A listing for the car on the dealer's website claims that it once belonged to former Northern Ireland Formula 1 driver Eddie Irvine who raced for Ferrari between 1996 and 1999. Similar vehicles are frequently listed with prices around one-and-a-half to two million knicker. They are often sold through specialist auctions at the likes of Sotheby's. Luckily for investigators, the distinctive car - in bright Italian Rosso Corsa red - attracted so much attention that it was quickly found on Tuesday evening after police appealed for witnesses. It was discovered hidden in a garage in the town of Grevenbroich, not far from Düsseldorf city centre. The suspect, however, remains at large. Police have released a photograph of the man inspecting the Ferrari before the theft. The managing director of the dealership told Westdeutsche Allgemeine Zeitung newspaper the man had exchanged calls and e-mails over the course of a number of weeks. Bernhard Kerklo told the newspaper the car could never be sold on the market as it was 'too flashy.' Insiders - the only real buyers for such a rare collector's item - would instantly know it was the stolen vehicle, he said, as all the models of this type ever sold are well-known. Only two hundred and seventy two of the Ferrari 288 GTO were ever built.
Britons get drunk more often than everyone else in the world, a global drug survey suggests. Yay for us, we're the best in the world at something. According to a report examining the drinking habits of thirty six countries last year, Britons reported getting drunk an average of fifty one times in a twelve-month period, which accounts for almost once a week. For the survey, researchers surveyed more than one hundred and twenty thousand people globally of which five thousand four hundred were from England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, between 29 October and 30 December. English speaking countries led the way for how often their citizens reported getting drunk, with the USA, Canada and Australia closely following the UK at the top of the global rankings. The report, which researchers claim to be 'the largest drug survey in the world,' also found that the UK comes in second place behind Australia in how many people 'sought emergency treatment following alcohol use' in the last twelve months. Meanwhile, UK drinkers regretted just under a fifth (eighteen per cent) of their drinking sessions, compared to twenty per cent globally. When it comes to gender, women 'consistently reported feeling regret after drinking' more often than men. Nevertheless, the report showed that people generally 'overwhelmingly like getting drunk.' No shit? The survey's founder, consultant addiction psychiatrist Professor Adam Winstock, said that many people could be doing so in a potentially harmful way and suggested it 'might be time to introduce guidelines' on how people can 'get drunk safely.' This blogger is not this nonsense up, dear blog reader. 'We get told too much is bad and it is, but current guidelines fail to accept the pleasure of intoxication and give little guide on difference between being a little drunk and a lot drunk and doing it three to four times a year versus weekly. We need to have that conversation,' Winstock explained. While the NHS guidelines do not specify a 'safe' level of alcohol consumption, the organisation advises people not to 'regularly drink more than fourteen units of alcohol a week' - the equivalent of approximately nine glasses of wine. 'In the UK we don't tend to do moderation,' Winstock added. You noticed that, did you? The researcher said that until UK drinkers 'adopt a more European' and moderate attitude to drinking alcohol, 'we might have to bite the bullet and think about how to advise people to get drunk drinking less. Getting drunk carries risks of injury and health harm, but we need to start highlighting the risks at different levels of drinking even if they are above safe limits,' he added. The study comes amid new research which found that global alcohol consumption has increased seventy per cent in less than thirty years. The research, published in The Lancet earlier this month, found that UK consumption dropped from twelve litres of pure alcohol a year per adult in 1990 to eleven litres in 2017 - a decline of almost ten per cent. Researchers of the study, which examined almost two hundred countries' alcohol intake over the last three decades, also predicted the number to fall even further by 2030, dipping to under eleven litres a year per adult.
Lucky diners were accidentally served a four-and-a-half thousand quid bottle of red wine at a restaurant. Hawksmoor Manchester said on Twitter that it hoped the customers had enjoyed their evening after being given the pricey 2001 bottle of Chateau le Pin Pomerol. The diners had ordered a two hundred and sixty knicker Bordeaux but received the bottle 'of the same vintage' which was seventeen times the price. A 'mortified' staff member who made the error has been urged to keep their 'chin up' as 'one-off mistakes happen.' It was only afterwards that the restaurant's manager realised the mistake, a spokesman said. Hawksmoor's original message sparked a flurry of amused responses, including 'we need to go to Manchester' and 'bet they wouldn't be able to tell the difference.' Others praised restaurant management for not bollocking the staff member involved. Hawksmoor founder Will Beckett said that a manager from another branch had been 'helping out' and offered to find the wine for a waitress, but 'picked up the wrong bottle.' The restaurant has, subsequently, posted a picture of the two offending bottles side by side, with the caption 'they look pretty similar.' The diners, who were eating at the bar, were lucky enough to be served 'something spectacular' and ordered a second bottle so, they clearly enjoyed it, according to Beckett. 'At that kind of level you're into a rarity, a flavour profile you won't find anywhere else,' he said. They did not realise they had drunk a four-and-a-half thousand smackers bottle, while the second bottle they asked for was 'unavailable.' Beckett said that the staff member involved was 'brilliant and we know she is brilliant' so there was 'no point' in criticising her for a one-off mistake. 'I am going to tease her for this when she stops being so mortified,' he added. According to the Cult Wines online tasting guide, only five hundred cases of the 2001 Chateau le Pin Pomerol were made. It describes the vintage as a 'tremendous effort,' adding: 'Its deep ruby/plum/purple colour is accompanied by an extraordinary perfume of creme de cassis, cherry liqueur, plums, liquorice, caramel and sweet toast.' And, it gets you pissed. But, then again, so does a bottle of £1.99 plonk from Aldi.
Buying one of Jimi Hendrix's guitars or collecting a lock of Charlotte Brontë's hair may seem like the ultimate act of fandom. But would you sink your teeth into a piece of cheese made from their armpit bacteria? No, of course you wouldn't dear blog reader, you're clearly not, you know, mental. However, a new exhibit at the Victoria & Albert Museum asks just that, taking celebrity culture to, literally, the next level. As part of an exhibit called Food: Bigger Than The Plate, the museum is showing off five types of cheese made from microbes collected from celebrities. So how does one turn the human microbiome into a chunk of cheddar? As a museum blog post explains, milk is transformed into curds by a unique starter culture or bacteria, which determines whether the cheese will ripen into a nice cheddar or a bit of gouda. It turns out that many of the bacteria used to make cheese are similar to bacteria encountered on human skin. That is why sometimes the scent of sweaty feet and stinky cheese overlap. Some of the bacteria on the human body also has the power to turn fresh milk into cheese and that was used to make the 'cheese selfies.' Scientist and cheesemakers at the London biolab Open Cell collected bacteria from celebrity armpits, ears, noses and bellybuttons. The bacteria was then grown in the lab until suitable strains could be selected for cheesemaking. Suggs, the singer of Madness was one who chose to be immortalised in cheddar. That knobcheese out of Blur chose Cheshire cheese and celebrity chef Heston Blumenthal went for comté. Great British Bake-Off runner-up and food writer Ruby Tandoh chose Stilton while Rapper Professor Green (no, me neither), who admitted he hates most cheese, insisted his belly-button bacteria be turned into mozzarella, the only cheese he can almost tolerate. The big question, of course, is why? Tandoh, writing in the Gruniad Morning Star says that, for her, the cheesemaking project, dubbed Selfmade, is 'a reaction' to what she sees as over-reaction and restrictions on food cultures and traditions like raw milk cheese. 'This kind of stubbornly strange, silly, unsterile food antic is right on cue,' she writes. 'Raw-milk cheese is permitted in Scotland but is under threat and it is against this backdrop that our cheese selves roll in: stinking, fermenting rebuttals to a food culture that values control over spontaneity, consistency over organic growth.' This isn't the first time that researchers have made human cheese. In 2013, Rohini Chaki at Atlas Obscura, biologist Christina Agapakis and odour-loving artist and researcher Sissel Tolaas created eleven types of human cheese, including one from bacteria collected from the belly button of the writer Michael Pollan.
An Arkansas woman has been sentenced to fifteen years in The Slammer for posing as a sheriff's deputy to trick authorities into releasing her boyfriend from jail, officials said. Maxine Feldstein pleaded very guilty to forgery, being an accomplice to escape and criminal impersonation in the second degree after helping her boyfriend escape the Washington County Detention Centre. On 27 July 2018, officials with the Washington County Sheriff's Office received a call from a woman who identified herself as Deputy Kershaw of the Ventura County Sheriff's Office and said that she faxed over paperwork detailing the release of Nicholas Lowe. He was being held by the Washington County Sheriff's Office in connection with an arrest warrant out of Ventura County for felony theft. He was scheduled to be extradited, but 'Kershaw' said in an e-mail to authorities her department was 'having issues with overcrowding. All low-priority extraditions have been suspended,' the e-mail reportedly said according to KFSM-TV. 'The Ventura County Sheriff's Office herby [sic] rescinds the previous rendition order of inmate Nicholas Delrey Lowe from your custody and release any holds implemented by Ventura County,' it continued. Officials took the email at face value and released Lowe from jail. Two days later, an actual deputy from the Ventura County Sheriff's Office contacted the Washington County and was told what had happened. 'We do not have a Deputy Krenshaw,' Captain Garo Kuredjian told the Ventura County Star. Deputies from Washington County said they found video showing Feldstein visiting Lowe in jail on 27 July. During the visit, Lowe reportedly told Feldstein to get the fax number for the sheriff's agencies from both counties and to claim all low-priority extraditions were suspended while posing as a member of the Ventura County Sheriff's office, officials said. Warrants were issued for the arrests of Lowe and Feldstein on 1 August and they were arrested a little over two weeks later. Lowe pleaded very guilty in February to third-degree escape and was sentenced to a year in prison. He was given credit for one hundred and sixty seven days served and must abide by a five-year suspended sentence after he is released, authorities said. Judge Mark Lindsay on Monday sentenced Feldstein to thirty years in the state Department of Correction, but suspended half the sentence.
A woman in India is recovering from surgery after doctors removed a motorbike handle from her uterus. The woman was reportedly admitted to MY Hospital, in Indore, Madya Pradesh with severe stomach pains. Doctors did an X-Ray before spotting a large object. A CT scan confirmed a motorbike handle in her uterus, small intestine and bladder. Doctors took the mother-of-six straight into surgery and a team of nineteen doctors conducted the four-hour long surgery during which they were forced to remove the woman's uterus. Associate Professor, Doctor Sonia Moses said: 'She told us that the handle had been inserted inside her vagina by her husband when he was intoxicated with alcohol. He had warned her not to tell anyone or he would hurt her. The object had been inside her for almost two years and it had become severely infected with her organs perforated and eroded. And she was left in excruciating pain. Her uterus had been completely eroded which is why we had to remove it but we managed to repair her bladder using a stent through her urinary pipe. She will not be able to have any more children.'
A US middle school has closed for the remainder of the school year after authorities found it was contaminated with radioactive chemicals. Officials say that a nearby air monitor detected enriched uranium and neptunium-237 at Zahn's Corner Middle School in Piketon, Southern Ohio. There are more than three hundred pupils and twenty five staff at the school. A nearby nuclear plant made weapons-grade uranium for the Department of Energy until its closure in 2001. 'There's just not a playbook in how we deal with this,' superintendent Todd Burkitt told local broadcaster WLWT. 'We're kind of writing the script as we go.' Scioto Valley Local School District said that the school would remain closed 'until the source, extent, level of contamination and potential impacts to public health and environment can be determined.' According to their letter, both enriched uranium and neptunium are 'contaminants of concern' at the nearby Portsmouth Gaseous Diffusion Plant. The plant made nuclear materials for the US Department of Energy and the US nuclear weapons programme between 1954 and 2001. 'After the Cold War, weapons-grade uranium enrichment was suspended and production facilities were leased to the private sector,' the Department of Energy says on its website. 'In 2001, enrichment operations were discontinued at the site.' Operations are now under way to decommission and decontaminate the site. CNN reports that scientists from the Northern Arizona University took air, water and soil samples in the area as authorities set to work creating a waste disposal facility nearby. The scientists' report, combined with the Department of Energy's annual assessment, convinced the local district to shut the school. Local councilwoman Jennifer Chandler told CNN that five children in the district had been diagnosed with cancer in the past five years, three of whom have died. 'You don't want to make a claim that you can't back up,' she said. 'How is this caused? Is this a genetic cancer? Is this an environmental cancer? I'm not a medical professional. This isn't a game, you know. These are people's lives.'
In the last bloggerisationism update, Keith Telly Topping mentioned the horribly untimely death of his old mate Paul Condon. Many of Paul's huge number of friends have joined together to set up a Just Giving fundraising page to raise money for the Alzheimer's Society in memory of Paul, 'our dear daft friend who recently passed away.' At the time of writing donations are already well on the way to the goal of two thousand pounds. Details of Condon's Companions can be found at the following link.
Twin Peaks actress Peggy Lipton, who first rose to fame in 1960s US TV show The Mod Squad, has died from cancer aged seventy two. Peddy died surrounded by her family, including her daughters Kadida and Rashida Jones, from her marriage to the music producer Quincy Jones. 'Peggy was - and will always be - our beacon of light. She will always be a part of us,' they said in a joint statement. 'We feel so lucky for every moment we spent with her,' they added. Peggy, born in New York, began modelling at the age of fifteen, before landing the role of hippy delinquent-turned-detective Julie Barnes on ABC's The Mod Squad in 1968. Her performances earned her four EMMY nominations over the following years and a 1971 Golden Globe award. The counterculture show made her a figure of cool but - amid brief affairs with both Paul McCartney and Elvis Presley - her memoir, Breathing Out revealed that she felt 'too unsure of herself' to fully enjoy her rapid rise to fame.
She married Quincy Jones in 1974 and took a career break to look after their two daughters. The couple faced a sick racist backlash at a time when high-profile interracial relationships were 'a source of controversy.' Amongst bigots and twats if not anyone that actually mattered. Peggy's mother, Peggy said later, 'found it difficult' until the birth of her grandchildren. 'She thought I was going to be with a white prince charming or some great Jewish king. She couldn't envision my life with a black man and mixed-race babies,' revealed Peggy in her memoir. The break-up with Jones saw Lipton return to acting as Norma Jennings - the kind owner of the Double R Diner in ABC's mystery drama series Twin Peaks created by Mark Frost and David Lynch. She reprised the role in both Lynch's big-screen sequel, Fire Walk With Me (1992) and 2017's acclaimed revival, Twin Peaks: The Return.
After the separation, Rashida stayed with her mother, while Kadida moved to live with Jones. Both daughters grew up to reflect their parents' artistic streaks. Kadida appeared in a number of music videos following her relationship with the late rapper Tupac Shakur, while Rashida landed a breakthrough role as Ann Perkins on the NBC comedy Parks & Recreation. Describing her mother as her 'best friend', Rashida told Oprah Winfrey's website in 2008 that Peggy was 'a constant support' at her auditions and the 'most unconditionally loving person.' The pair starred on stage together in 2002's Pitching To The Star, alongside Lipton's brother, Richard. A few months after the play concluded its run in 2004, Peggy was first diagnosed with colon cancer. Discussing its impact, Rashida told Winfrey that Peggy decided her job 'was to find joyful moments during what could have been a terrifying time for both of us. Just because a situation is grim doesn't mean you don't have every right to smile. It isn't about "being strong" and pretending everything's okay; it's about finding joy where you can. My dad has always said, "Approach life with love and not fear." It's such a dynamic way to live.' In recent years, eggy continued to appear in occasional supporting roles in films including 2017's A Dog's Purpose, alongside her small screen return to Twin Peaks.
The actor and comedian Tim Conway, best known for his work on The Carol Burnett Show, died this week in Los Angeles, according to his publicist. He was eighty five and had been battling a longtime illness prior to his death, Howard Bragman, Conway's representative, told CNN. Conway won three EMMYs for co-starring in The Carol Burnett Show, which ran from 1967 to 1978 and a fourth as a member of its writing team. He also briefly headlined his own variety series and co-starred in several Disney live-action comedies during the 1970s, such as The Apple Dumpling Gang and The Shaggy DA. Before then, he starred as bumbling Ensign Charles Parker in the comedy McHale's Navy, from 1962 to 1966. In his later years, Conway did numerous guest appearances - winning additional EMMYs for roles in the sitcoms Coach and Thirty Rock - and voiceover work in animation, including SpongeBob Squarepants. 'I'm heartbroken. He was one in a million, not only as a brilliant comedian but as a loving human being,' Burnett said about Conway in a statement. 'I cherish the times we had together both on the screen and off. He'll be in my heart forever.' Burnett said that she will dedicate a previously scheduled performance of her one-woman show, An Evening Of Laughter & Reflection Where The Audience Asks Questions, to Conway's memory. Conway was married twice, first to Mary Anne Dalton from 1961 to 1978; they had six children. He is also survived by his second wife of more than thirty years, Charlene Fusco.
Doris Day, who died this week at the age of ninety seven, was the fresh-faced girl who became one of the world's most bankable movie stars. Her glittering singing career included timeless classics like 'Secret Love', 'Qué Será Será' and 'Perhaps, Perhaps, Perhaps'. On-screen, the wholesome, girl-next-door never failed to find love. Off-screen, she could not have had less luck in relationships: she married four times. One of them frequently beat her and another one robbed her and left her bankrupt. Later in life, she suffered the agony of watching her beloved only child, her son Terry, die of an untreatable tumour. She retreated to a house in California, surrounding herself with animals and campaigning for their welfare.
Doris Mary Ann Von Kappelhoff was born in Cincinnati, the descendant of German immigrants, in April 1922. But for decades, she would insist that she was actually born in 1924. In 2018, a copy of her birth certificate was discovered of the state Office of Vital Statistics to settle the dispute. She shrugged it off. 'I've always said that age is just a number,' she said. 'I've never paid much attention to birthdays.' Her father, who worked as a music teacher, left his wife for another woman when Doris was twelve and she was brought up by her mother. Doris attended dance classes from an early age and, by the time she entered her teens, was performing regularly with her dance partner, Jerry Doherty, winning prizes at local pageants. The pair had dreams of trying their luck in Hollywood but, the night before they were due to depart, Day's car was hit by a train. One of her legs was badly broken; her dancing career lay in ruins.
It took months to recover. She passed the time singing along to the radio and, as she put it, 'discovered a talent I didn't know I had.' She was particularly enamoured with the sound of Ella Fitzgerald. Her mother arranged singing lessons for her which led to sessions on a local radio station, where she was heard by the bandleader Barney Rapp. According to Rapp, he auditioned about two hundred singers before signing the young Doris Kappelhoff. The song that bowled him over was 'Day By Day'. Rapp suggested she took inspiration from the title and change her name. Kappelhoff was too long to display on the scrolling marquees outside concert venues. Her breakthrough came while she was working with Les Brown & His Band Of Renown, with whom she had her first hit, 'Sentimental Journey', in 1945. By this time she had met, married and quickly divorced her first husband, the musician Al Jorden, who sadly proved a disgraceful, physically abusive, shit.
The couple had one child, Terry. Her second marriage, to actor George Weidler in 1946, lasted just eight months after he failed to come to terms with the success of her career. By the time she left Les Brown in 1946 she had become one of the highest-paid female vocalists in the world with a string of chart hits. After singing at a party given by songwriter Sammy Cahn, Doris Day was given a Warner Brothers contract and top billing in her first feature. Michael Curtiz cast her in Romance On The High Seas (1948), after she delivered an emotional version of George and Ira Gershwin's 'Embraceable You' at the audition. Impressed by her voice and wholesome good looks, Curtiz chose her even though she had never acted before.
Over the next few years, she starred in a series of musicals, including Tea For Two, On Moonlight Bay, By The Light Of The Silvery Moon, April In Paris, I'll See You In My Dreams and Young At Heart (opposite Frank Sinatra). Her roles were usually undemanding, but as the tomboy who morphed into a beautiful blonde, audiences found Doris Day irresistible and US soldiers serving in the Korean War voted her their favourite film star. She had a honey voice, short, buttercup-coloured hair, a sunny smile – and as many scruples as freckles. If Marilyn Monroe was 'the girl downtown' at Twentieth Century Fox, Day was the archetypal 'girl next door' at Warners.
Day was first seen as a spunky but naive showgirl in more than a dozen candyfloss Warner Bros musicals between 1948 and 1955. Then, from 1959 until her retirement from the big screen in 1968, she became a sophisticated urban woman defending her honour and independence in a series of glossy, sex-battle romantic comedies for Universal Studios. In 1952 she formed her own production company, in partnership with third husband, Martin Melcher, and a year later starred in the musical Calamity Jane, which contained a string of hit songs including the Oscar-winning 'Secret Love' and 'The Black Hills Of Dakota' and 'The Deadwood Stage'.
Day also handled a few dramatic roles with ease. She was the long-suffering girlfriend of a trumpeter (Kirk Douglas) in Young Man With A Horn, Ginger Rogers's sister in Storm Warning about a Ku Klux Klan murder and wife of a baseball player (Ronald Reagan) in The Winning Team, in which she laid on her charm thickly to compensate for his lack of it. (She and Reagan became friends and, subsequently, political allies.) She surprised the critics with the strength of her performance in Love Me Or Leave Me, a fictionalised account of the life of nightclub singer Ruth Etting, who suffered the violent attacks of her gangster husband, played by James Cagney. Day sang more than a dozen ballads (scored by Percy Faith) in Love Me Or Leave Me, her first film for MGM. After the film was released, Day was reportedly deluged with mail from fans attacking her, a Christian Scientist, for playing a woman who smoked, drank and wore scanty costumes.
There was also a great performance in the Alfred Hitchcock thriller The Man Who Knew Too Much, which spawned one of her biggest hits, 'Qué Será Será' and provided her with another lasing friendship, to her co-star James Stewart. Back at Warners, Day appeared in one of her liveliest musicals, The Pajama Game (1957), adapted from the Broadway show by George Abbott and Stanley Donen.
Her biggest cinema hit came in 1959, with Pillow Talk, where her on-screen partnership with Rock Hudson, earned her an Academy Award nomination for Best Actress. The duo made three entertaining romantic comedies together, Pillow Talk being followed by Lover Come Back (1961) and Send Me No Flowers, in all of which the pair were rivals-cum-lovers, she a decent working girl, he an amorous rogue. At one stage in Lover Come Back, someone compares Hudson to a bad cold. Day replies: 'There are two ways to handle a cold. You can fight it or you can give in and go to bed with it.'
Day played variations of the same character in That Touch Of Mink (1962), with Cary Grant; Move Over, Darling and The Thrill Of It All (both 1963), with James Garner and Do Not Disturb (1965), with Rod Taylor, but none of these later leading men provided quite the same chemistry she'd had with Hudson. She continued to make films in the late 1960s, some of them such as Glass Bottom Boat (in which she also co-starred with Rod Taylor) and Where Were You When The Lights Went Out?, did very well at the box office. But as the sexual revolution of the 1960s stormed Hollywood, Doris went out of fashion. Critics poked fun at the wholesome image: one declaring himself 'so old, I remember her before she became a virgin.'
She turned down the lead role in The Sound Of Music, declaring herself 'too American' to play a nun from Salzburg. However, in her late films The Ballad Of Josie, Caprice and, finally, With Six You Get Eggroll (1968), she failed to find roles that suited her age. It seems a pity that she refused Mike Nichols's offer to play the seductive Mrs Robinson in The Graduate, a plum role which, instead, went to Anne Bancroft. Day wrote: 'I could not see myself rolling around in the sheets with a young man half my age whom I'd seduced. I realised it was an effective part, but it offended my sense of values.'
Her husband, who had been managing her career, died suddenly in 1968 and Day was horrified to discover that he had squandered all her earnings, leaving her bankrupt. Prior to his death, and without her knowledge, he had also committed her to a television series; Day was exhausted but honoured the contract and The Doris Day Show ran successfully for five years until 1973. Day fought a long battle in the courts against her husband's business partner, the lawyer Jerome Rosenthal. She was eventually awarded more than twenty two million dollars, then the biggest civil settlement in Californian legal history - although she eventually settled for a quarter of that sum. In 1976, she was married for the fourth time, to Barry Comden, who was a waiter at one of her favourite restaurants. The marriage ended in 1981 when Comden whinging that Doris appeared more interested in her animals than she was in him. There was a brief comeback when she released her twenty ninth studio CD, My Heart, which contained songs she had recorded but never released during the 1980s. It reached the UK Top Ten in September 2011. Doris Day had been a strong advocate for animal welfare since founding Actors & Others For Animals in 1971, which campaigned against the fur trade. Following her retirement she ran the Doris Day Animal League at her home in Carmel, her house filled with stray animals rescued from the streets. She repeatedly turned down the offer of a lifetime achievement Oscar but, in 2004, she was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by George W Bush for her work as an entertainer and her commitment to animal welfare. Her fear of flying prevented her attending the ceremony in person. In the same year Terry, who had been a successful songwriter and producer with The Byrds and The Beach Boys, died of melanoma. Doris remained active in choosing which films, adverts and TV shows got to play the Doris Day hits, but resisted all attempts to lure her out of retirement. She chose dogs and cats over fame and fortune, but had no regrets. 'I've always believed things work out exactly as they're supposed to,' she told one interviewer.
The weather has turned really nice in the UK over the last few days dear blog reader. If you're UK based then you probably noticed. Which, given the winter we've just had (almost Westerosesque in its ferocity at times) has made for a pleasant change. On Tuesday evening, the blogger actually even went so far as to go out for a walk. In the end, admittedly, Keith Telly Topping only got as far as the local Chinese takeaway and then came back home. Although, there was one jolly odd thing about it - the TV which they have behind the counter in The Royal Sky always seems to be permanently tuned to ITV2. And, usually, whenever this blogger goes into the gaff to get his King Prawn Curry with boiled rice, they always seem to be broadcasting an (old) episode of The Jeremy Kyle Show. But, on that particular evening, there was something else on instead. How very curious ...
The manicured lawns of yer actual Stately Telly Topping Manor have been given their first damned good hard strimming of 2019 this week. This blogger managed to get the job about half-done on Wednesday; the rest was completed over the weekend once the battery on the strimmer had been recharged. And, once yer actual Keith Telly Topping had recovered from his then-current state of 'being completely Jacob's Cream Cracker'd.' Obviously. Look, dear blog reader, these are artist's hands. This blogger doesn't do manual labour if he can possibly avoid it.
Thursday was a real scorcher, dear blog reader. It was hot outside, it was even hotter inside and it was very hot in town (to the extent that the freezer aisle in Morrison's was absolutely packed with exhausted-looking punters not even buying stuff just, seemingly, enjoying being cool). So, the Stately Telly Topping Manor standing fan (Fiona) got her first thorough workout since last September. And, even Gareth Southgate seemingly found this to be good. Well, he's always appreciated the fans, has Gareth. (This blogger's thanks go to his dear Facebook fiend Carl for that sharp little one-liner!)
Normally when this blogger happens to be on the bus going into town to do some shopping and there's a copy of the Metro lying around, Keith Telly Topping will invariably pick it up and do the crossword (not the cryptic one, obviously, this blogger is not that smart; rather it'll be the piss easy, 'found at the bottom of a budgie's cage, four letters ending in IT' sort). Anyway, it is a twenty five minute trip from Stately Telly Topping Manor to Monument and usually, by the end of that, this blogger will have managed to get through three quarters or maybe slightly more of an average crossword. On Tuesday, however, he did the whole thing in nine minutes flat. He was finished by Byker! All of which would appear to prove that, either Keith Telly Topping is getting smarter or the Metro quick crossword is getting easier. One or the other (this blogger tends towards the latter, personally). At least it also suggests that this blogger is keeping Alzheimer's at bay.
Meanwhile, yer actual Keith Telly Topping spotted this vintage advert during a random browse of the Interweb earlier the week. This blogger wonders if this 'total mind power' thing works in reverse at all? Because, he's had a pair of tits for years which he's been trying to shrink.
Finally, dear blog readers ...
And, always remember ... (Seriously, HBO, if you're at all interested, give this blogger a call).