Saturday, June 29, 2019

"Reason & Love Keep Little Company Together Nowadays"

It was recently revealed that The Judoon - the rhino-like aliens who operate as a kind of outer-space police force - will be making their first Doctor Who appearance in nearly thirteen years. Showrunner Chris Chibnall has revealed some intriguing new details about The Judoon's return, including an update to their design and some casting details. 'The Judoon are back. I love typing those words,' Chibnall wrote in his semi-regular column for Doctor Who Magazine. 'From the moment I broke the news to people within the production (producer Nikki Wilson whooped with delight when I told her), through the tone meeting, read-through and now watching the glorious rushes coming in, we've all had Judoon-based grins on our faces. Knowing that we'd be filming in broad daylight with Judoon on the streets of Gloucester, we made a plan to release an official photo with The Doctor (why would she be looking cross?) the night before,' he said. 'Though I must admit I hadn't clocked it was being released at the exact start time of episode two of Russell Davies' amazing Years & Years on BBC1. Sorry, Russell!' The Chib went on to reveal a few new details about The Judoon's return, confirming that voice actor Nick Briggs (best known, of course, for voicing Daleks in the series) would reprise the vocal performance he invented for the creatures' debut in 2007. 'I got to alert our voice maestro, Nicholas Briggs, before the public announcement, to ask to him to reprise his Judoon. Nick instantly replied in Judoonese (you never lose it). Judoon on the end of my phone! I love this job, have I mentioned?' Chibnall wrote. 'It's ridiculously thrilling to hear him talking Judoonese down the phone to me, from his shed at the bottom of his garden.' Chibnall also said that veteran Doctor Who monster performer Paul Kasey will film his first adventure with Jodie Whittaker's Doctor inside the Judoon costume, which has itself had a bit of a makeover since its previous appearance. 'We have a slightly updated Judoon head from Kate Walshe and her team of geniuses at Millennium FX: same brilliant design, just updated with a little more animatronic tech,' he wrote. 'And inside that updated head, the no-need-to- be-updated Paul Kasey. As I'm sure you know, Paul has been an Ood, a Cyberman, a Slitheen, an Auton, a Hath, a Clockwork Man, a Robot Santa, a Zygon and many more, across the years. Doctor Who monster royalty is back in front of the cameras,' he continued. 'I'm at Roath Lock for a tone meeting on the next block of episodes and can't resist nipping down onto set (what a set!) to say hello and tell him, "Welcome home. It really does feel like home," he says. Welcome back, Judoon. Shame you're going to cause so much havoc for The Doctor,' Chibnall concluded.
Ever since he posted a photo dressed up in his dad's old Doctor Who costume a few years ago, fans have been keen for Sean Pertwee to have a role in the long-running BBC family SF drama. And, while Gotham star Sean certainly isn't keen on jumping into his dad's shoes, saying that it would be 'too strange' to play The Doctor, he has now once again noted that he has been approached by the production about starring in the series (having previously been asked to in 2015), though at the moment he's keeping pure dead schtum about exactly how the conversations went. 'I should be careful what I say, but there were noises made about me being involved in some capacity,' he told the latest issue of Doctor Who Magazine. 'I would very much like to do that, as an ode to my father, if I was lucky enough to be asked.' Pertwee, reportedly, already has a few ideas about how he could fit into the Doctor Who world, suggesting that his close familial connection to the series could lend itself to some interesting character choices. 'People will focus on it, because of my relationship with the Doctor Who family, so it would have to be something a little more interesting. An evil son or something weird,' he said. 'You figure it out. I don't know what, but I would like to do something, as an ode to my dad. I really would.' Given that the series has previously cast two of Patrick Troughton's sons in recent years (David in 2008's Midnight and Michael in 2014's Last Christmas), one imagines that the production could pull it off - and given his propensity for a bit of Venusian Aikido-style 'Hai!'s when playing Alfred in Gotham, who knows what sort of malarkey Sean and yer actual Jodie Whittaker might get up to?
As previously alluded to on From The North, the episode of Killing Eve broadcast in the UK this week - Desperate Times - included not only that utterly extraordinary Amsterdam sequence (with, let it be noted, that bloody song) and, also, Eve and Jess's really funny discussion about the most fanciable Doctor Who companion! This blogger told you they were both worth waiting for, dear blog reader.
The final episode of From The North favourite Professor Brian Cox's The Planets was broadcast this week to great acclaim. Into The Darkness - covering Voyager II's explorations of Uranus and Neptune and New Horizons visit to Pluto was a thing of beauty and the kind of programme that this blogger pays his licence fee for. And, in Brian's 'why do we explore?' speech at the end, provided viewers with one of the standout TV moments of the year whatever some bell-end of no importance at the Independent thinks.
National heatthrob David Tennant, Hayley Atwell and From The North favourite Lee Ingleby are set to star in Criminal, Netflix's twelve episode police procedural from George Kay and Jim Field Smith. The series is set to premiere later this year. Criminal is set in four different countries: France, Spain, Germany and the UK. It takes place exclusively within the confines of a police interview suite. This stripped down, cat-and-mouse drama focuses on the intense mental conflict between detectives and suspects. There are three episodes per country; with each written, directed and starring talent from each of the four countries. Kay and Field Smith co-created the series, which is being produced by Idiotlamp Productions and is being filmed at Netflix's production hub at Ciudad de la Tele in Madrid. In addition to Tennant, Atwell and Ingleby, the UK cast includes Katherine Kelly, Nicholas Pinnock, Mark Stanley, Rochenda Sandall, Shubham Saraf, Youssef Kerkour and Clare-Hope Ashitey.
The revelation - made during an interview with the talkRadio's Ross Kempbell - that Bashin' Boris Johnson likes to relax by crafting and painting model buses from cardboard has produced plenty of media coverage. Less widely covered, but far funnier in this blogger's opinion, was From The North favourite Simon McCoy who, speaking on the BBC News Channel after the clip was broadcast, asked: 'Wonder what he writes on the side of it?' Which, obviously, some abject louse of no importance at the Daily Scum Express described as 'a shocking anti-Brexit swipe' (still, at least it keeps the Scum Express from writing about Princess Diana for a day, one supposes) but, which pretty much everyone else that isn't a right-wing bag of scum-filth seems to have found bloody hilarious.
A record-breaking peak overnight audience of 7.6 million punters watched on BBC1 as England's ladywomen beat Norway three-nil to reach the Women's World Cup semi-finals on Thursday. That was thirty eight per cent of the available audience share and beat the previous best for a women's game - 6.9 million for England's 23 June win over Cameroon in the previous round. The average match audience for the Norway game was 6.8 million, with 6.02 million for the overall programme. England will face the winners of Friday's game between France and USA on Tuesday. The BBC added that the 2019 tournament has extended its record for TV reach to 22.2 million, well in excess of the 12.4 million mark set in 2015 during the World Cup tournament in Canada. It is the third time in a month that a new record peak audience has been recorded by the BBC during the tournament.
With the forthcoming fiftieth anniversary the Apollo 11 Moon landings next month, there's a lovely interview with From The North favourite James Burke at the ibc website about the BBC's - now, mostly missing presumed wiped - studio coverage of the historic event. 'The entire time I was working on the live broadcast I was doing it all by keeping mouth shut as I didn't know when they would talk,' noted James. 'The control gallery was urging me to say something, but it was lucky I didn't because [Neil Armstrong] said "one small step for man" at that point and that is my fondest memory of the coverage.'
Maisie Williams will appear in her first post-Game Of Thrones role in a newly commissioned Sky comedy with the working title Two Weeks To Live. The series is 'about a trio of misfits who find themselves in danger after a prank goes horribly wrong.' Maisie will play Kim Noakes, 'a young woman raised in isolation and taught survival skills following her father's suspicious death.' All of which sound hilarious, obviously. Leaving her rural retreat for the first time, deer-skinning, pistol-stripping Kim heads for the city on a mission to honour her dad's memory, quickly encountering socially awkward Nicky and his brother Dave at a local pub. After a couple of drinks, the trio find themselves in possession of a massive bag of stolen cash and on the run from a murderous gangster and the police. '[I'm] looking forward to getting into something new,' said Williams of the six-part 'comedy'. 'I think Two Weeks To Live has really great potential and I want to make something incredible with this wonderful team!' The series is written by Gaby Hull, whose first series was ITV's - not particularly impressive - thriller Cheat. The comedy will be something of a departure for Williams, whose previous credits include the thriller Cyberbully, the animated web series Gen:Lock, an acclaimed run as Ashildr in Doctor Who and the girls' school mystery The Falling, which earned her a London Film Critics' Circle Award.
The BBC medical thriller Trust Me has been cancelled after two series. Because it was shit and no one was watching it. The first nail in the coffin for the drama was Jodie Whittaker scrapping her first series role of Cath Hardacre to play the lead in Doctor Who, but the series limped on and enlisted some new talent in the shape of Alfred Enoch for a second series. Following a 'significant' slide in the ratings however, the broadcaster has decided to dump the series into the nearest shredder. A BBC spokesperson to the Sun: 'We are very proud of Trust Me but it won't return. We thank the brilliant cast and crew and look forward to working with Dan Sefton in future.' Trust Me isn't the only BBC project to be cancelled in recent weeks, with the Martin Clunes' sitcom Warren getting chopped after just one series last month and Geri Horner's All Together Now meeting the same - thoroughly deserved - fate last week.
ITV has ordered Honour, a two-part drama exploring the police investigation into the real-life 2006 murder of Banaz Mahmod, who was the victim of a so-called 'honour killing' by two of her cousins. Keeley Hawes will feature in the two-parter, although she won't be playing Banaz, obviously. She's a good actress, dear blog reader, but she's not that good. Honour tells the story of Detective Chief Inspector Caroline Goode (played by Hawes) and her 'passionate search to discover the fate of the missing twenty-year old.' Goode discovered that Banaz had been to the police five times to report threats to her life from members of her own family. Appalled that her own colleagues had missed multiple opportunities to prevent a so-called honour killing, Caroline vowed that she would not rest until she finally got justice for Banaz. The drama is being produced by Hera Pictures in association with Hawes' production company Buddy Club. Gwyneth Hughes is writing the scripts. Production is set to get underway in September. 'Gwyn's scripts beautifully and sensitively tell the story of Caroline Goode's investigation into the tragic murder of Banaz Mahmod,' said ITV's Head of Drama Poly Hill, who commissioned the drama. 'I am proud to work with Liza and Hera Pictures, to bring this important story to screen on ITV.' Keeley Hawes added: 'It is a privilege to be working on Honour as Buddy Club's first ever project. In a time where honour killings are still rife, it is critical to shine a light on such an important subject. Banaz Mahmod's story and Goode's subsequent investigation, is certainly one that needs to be told and I am proud to be a part of it.' Predictably, of course, given the nature of the story, the production has already received criticism from some people you've never heard of before it has been shown (or, indeed, even filmed). A day wouldn't have a 'y' in it if some people on the Interweb didn't find something to whinge about, would it?
One of the core Line Of Duty trio would have been killed off long ago, showrunner Jed Mercurio has revealed - if it weren't for the super-strong friendship between those three actors. While Mercurio has gained a reputation for killing off main characters in unexpected ways, AC-12's Adrian Dunbar, Martin Compston and Vicky McClure have all survived five series and counting. Speaking at The South Bank Show Live, the screenwriter told Melvyn Bragg that it was 'no accident' he'd kept the same three lead actors. 'I mean, they're really good actors,' he said. 'But, of course they get on really well with each other, we all get on very well, and if that hadn't happened, one of them would have been - you know - killed. In an unexpected way that would propel the story forward.' Memorable Line Of Duty deaths have included the premature killing of series lead Danny Waldron (Daniel Mays), the shooting of Lindsay Denton (Keeley Hawes), the assassination of John Corbett (Stephen Graham) and the completely unexpected moment when AC-12 newcomer Georgia Trotman (Jessica Raine) was chucked out of a hospital window in her very first episode. But despite Mercurio's habit of killing off his characters, he still shocked Bodyguard fans with the murder of his two main character, Home Secretary Julia Montague (Hawes). Explaining how he decides whether to get rid of a character or keep them alive, Mercurio said: 'It's always got to be about what's in the best interests of the series, because it's not in the best interests of the character to be dead. So the way I would approach it is to look at what new story you get from that. And if the audience has got a real attachment to the character, it means that they're invested in whether there will be justice for that character - or, if it's a mystery, whether they'll be invested in finding out what might have actually befallen them.'
Dear blog readers who watch as much UK telly as this blogger does may, like him, have been somewhat smacked around the face of late by a constant stream of trailers for WATCH's new Emily Atack vehicle, Adulting. In which the former Inbetweeners, Twatting About On Ice and I'm A Z-List Former Celebrity Desperate To Get My Boat-Race Back On TV ... Please Vote For Me To Stay Here As Long As Possible (I'll Even Eat Worms If You Want) type individual (nice girl, bit thick) claims she wishes to 'find out what it takes to be an adult.' Whatever it is, Em, on the evidence of this trailer, you ain't got it. The series has already got a thorough pants-down hiding of a review from the Gruniad Morning Star's sour-faced Chitra Ramaswamy who wrote: 'It is worth issuing a warning that, if you find the concept of "adulting" - which essentially means the completion of such quotidian tasks as working, laundry and taking care of oneself; what the rest of us call "living" - as infantilising and sexist as I do, you might want to bugger off and do some quiet, unscripted adulting of your own right now.' However, it's not so much the contents of the series in and of itself which interests this blogger so much as a line in the aforementioned trailer in which twenty nine year old Atack describes her current obsession with 'adulting' as 'a quarter-life crisis.' Which rather suggests that Atack - twenty nine, remember - believes that she will live until at least the age of one hundred and sixteen. An interesting life-goal for someone who, elsewhere in the same trailer, admits that she drinks too much. If you're planning on breaking the current record for this country's oldest ever confirmed 'supercentenarians' (held, at the time of writing by Charlotte Hughes from Hartlepool who died in 1993 a couple of months before her one hundred and sixteenth birthday), you might want to think about cutting down on the alcopops, Em. Mind you, dear blog reader, Emily's - much more famous - cousin, yer actual Sir Paul McCartney (MBE), appears to be having his own go at living forever.
According to a screamed headline in the Daily Mirra - if not anywhere a touch more reliable or trustworthy - Blackadder To Return One Last Time As Richard Curtis Plans TV Special. Of course, as anyone with half-a-brain in their head could, probably, have worked out given the fact that barely a week has gone by since 1989 in which a variant of this story hasn't done the rounds somewhere, the article begins rather less definitively. 'Curtis has said he's desperate to get Blackadder and the gang back together once more, either on TV or on the stage,' not that he's actually going to. ''The filmmaker is keen to have the notoriously anti-authoritarian character, played by Rowan Atkinson, become a grumpy old man,' the Mirra continues. So, in other words, one of the two writers of Blackadder would, sort of, like to do another episode for old times sake but the actual star of the thing - the one without whom such a production couldn't even be contemplated - hasn't said 'yes' or even 'maybe, let me think about it' yet. This nothing article owes its origins to an interview Curtis recently gave another well-known deposit of always truthful and accurate reportage, the Daily Lies: 'The thing about Blackadder was, it was a young man's show criticising older people, saying how stupid those in authority were,' said Curtis. 'So I did once think: "If we ever did anything again, it should be Blackadder as a teacher in a university, about how much we hate young people!" I'm always hoping Rowan and I will do one last live show and bring on Blackadder for a ten-minute bit.' Curtis added: 'Getting Rowan and Tony Robinson on stage together again would be gorgeous.' The Black Adder and its various sequels and specials ran from 1983 until 1989, with the fourth and final series seeing the characters through World War One. Apart from a - frankly, not very good - one-off special in 2000, Blackadder: Back & Forth, there have been no signs of a return since its last run. Curtis's co-writer, Ben Elton, previously hinted that the show 'could' return for a fifth run, saying it will never really be finished. Fantastically vague word 'could', isn't it? Mind you, Elton could do with another hit, he's barely written a joke worthy of the name since around 1990. He told Event magazine: 'Blackadder is not finished. We'll never officially close it down.' The series - which also starred Stephen Fry, Huge Laurie and Tim McInnery - was always meant to end tragically, but its finale was never seen as a definitive conclusion. Producer John Lloyd added: 'It was always the idea that the last episode would be this tragic thing, but I don't think we ever decided that it would be the last series. And I suppose in many ways we still haven't decided.'
Sir Michael Palin is to serve as the executive producer on five new Radio 4 specials to mark the fiftieth anniversary of Monty Python's Flying Circus. The shows, due to be broadcast in September, will feature 'never-before-released material from the Monty Python sound archives.' The anniversary will also be marked by a month-long season at BFI Southbank. The 5 October anniversary of the BBC's broadcast of the first episode will also, reportedly, be marked by a world record attempt. Organisers are hoping to encourage 'the largest gathering of people dressed as Gumbys' in history. In a statement, the surviving Pythons said that their comedy had endured 'because we live in an increasingly Pythonesque world. Extreme silliness seems more relevant now than it ever was,' they continued. Last year Sir Michael - the only Python to be knighted - discovered a number of unseen sketches in his personal archives.
At Entertainment Weekly's recent Angel twentieth anniversary cover reunion shoot, there was plenty of joyful reminiscing about happy days on set - mostly due to David Boreanaz 'being a total prankster' according to the magazine - but, the surviving cast and creators also took a moment to pay their respects to two actors from the popular vampire drama who have since died: Glenn Quinn and Andy Hallett. When Buffy The Vampire Slayer and Angel creator Joss Whedon saw Hallett performing in a karaoke bar, he dreamed up the part of the singing demon Lorne. 'Joss created this idea of a bon vivant who could read people's minds when they sang,' said co-creator David Greenwalt of the green-skinned, devil-horned charmer. 'We interviewed Andy because he was who [the character] was based on, and he was the best of anybody who read for it.' Like his character, Hallett easily won over his co-stars. 'He brought so much to the table,' said J August Richards. 'He was the life of the party and made us all laugh. He was a beautiful man.' Hallett - whom this blogger had the great good fortune to meet and interview twice - died in 2009 at the horribly untimely age of thirty three from heart failure. Sadly, that wasn't the first loss the cast endured. Glenn Quinn, who played the half-demon Doyle during Angel's first season died of a heroin overdose in 2002 at age thirty two. 'Glenn played a great character, but also became a really close friend of mine,' recalled Boreanaz. 'God rest his soul.'
The Angel reunion cover-shoot brought together Boreanez, Richards, From The North favourite Charisma Carpenter, James Marsters, Alexis Denisof and Amy Acker. All of them looking great.
Pulitzer Prize-winning author Michael Chabon is taking the showrunner's role on CBS All Access' Star Trek: Picard according to The Hollywood Reporter. Chabon, who has been part of the show's creative team since Picard was first announced, has been named showrunner of the upcoming series. He will continue working with fellow executive producers Akiva Goldsman and Alex Kurtzman, the stewards of the Star Trek TV franchise, on day-to-day production. 'Star Trek has been an important part of my way of thinking about the world, the future, human nature, storytelling and myself since I was ten years old,' said Chabon. 'I come to work every day in a state of joy and awe at having been entrusted with the character and the world of Jean-Luc Picard, with this vibrant strand of the rich, intricate and complex tapestry that is Trek.' Picard will follow Patrick Stewart's character, who is living 'a radically altered life,' as Kurtzman put it, since his last appearance in the Star Trek universe, the 2002 film Nemesis. A teaser for the series shows shots of a vineyard and bottles of Chateau Picard wine, with a woman's voice asking: 'Why did you leave Starfleet, Admiral?' '"Daring, whimsical, humane, lyrical, celebrated": words that describe both Jean-Luc Picard and the literary genius of Michael Chabon,' said Kurtzman. 'Despite a laundry list of accomplishments most writers only dream of, Michael shines with the heart and soul of a Trekkie who's finally found his dream job. We're so fortunate to have him at the helm as we explore this next chapter in the great captain's life.' Chabon won the Pulitzer for his novel The Amazing Adventures Of Kavalier & Clay and has written Wonder Boys, The Yiddish Policeman's Union, Moonglow and other novels. His screenplays include John Carter, Netflix's upcoming series Unbelievable and the Calypso episode of Star Trek: Short Treks. He had a story credit on Spider-Man 2. Star Trek: Picard also stars Alison Pill, Michelle Hurd, Evan Evagora, Isa Briones, Santiago Cabrera and Harry Treadaway. Star Trek: Discovery veteran Hanelle Culpepper is directing the first two episodes.
Channel Four has announced the cast for The Light. Joanna Scanlan, Sidse Babett Knudsen, Mark Lewis Jones and Genevieve Barr are set to appear opposite Sarah Lancashire in the four-part drama from Jack Thorne. The Light is set in the fictional Welsh town of Glyngolau and explores a forgotten community devastated by disaster. An explosion on the construction site of a much-needed and sought-after regeneration project in this 'left-behind' town claims the lives of many children who have broken into the building site to make mischief. The four-parter follows Polly Bevan (Lancashire), the wife of the local politician who championed the project. Their rebellious daughter, Leona, had led a group of friends who broke onto the site on the day of the explosion, but now is left with a lifelong disability after the disaster. As communal grief gives way to a torrent of anger and blame, the community finds itself torn apart. Unwilling accept that their children were to blame, the families cry for justice. It falls to Polly to hold the community together and to face the challenging truths that begin to emerge. Scanlan has been cast as Angela Griffiths, who lost her daughter in the accident; From The North favourite Knudsen as Harriet Paulsen, the executive at Kallbridge Developments which has overseen the project in Glyngolau, Jones as Councillor Iwan Bevan, Polly's husband, Barr as Debbie Kethin, whose husband, who died in the disaster and was responsible for site security. Rounding out the cast are Jade Croot, Nabhaan Rizwan, Eiry Thomas, Shaun Parkes, Adrian Scarborough and Ruth Madeley. The Light is the third and final entry in a trilogy of Jack Thorne dramas for Channel Four, following National Treasure and Kiri. Thorne wrote the scripts for The Light, which is set up at independent production company The Forge. Sandra Goldbacher is attached as director. Production is now underway on location in Wales.
The second series of Agatha Raisin will receive its UK premiere on Sky One on Friday 12 July 12th with a double-bill, it has been announced. Based on the novels by MC Beaton, Agatha Raisin follows the titular PR guru who gives up her successful career in London for a new dream life in the quiet village of Carsely, but soon becomes an amateur sleuth, entangled in mischief, mayhem and murder. As you do. The drama series is produced by Acorn Media Enterprises in association with Company Pictures and stars Ashley Jensen, Mathew Horne, Matt McCooey and Katy Wix. In the show's six episode second series, having cleared herself of murdering her ex-husband, Agatha returns from a disastrous trip to Cyprus. The new episodes are based on the Beaton novels The Wizard Of Evesham, The Curious Curate and The Fairies Of Fryham, which were adapted by Julia Gilbert, Chris Murray and Chris Niel. Acorn TV, who saved the series after it was cancelled by Sky, have recently ordered a third series.
The BBC's four-part drama Dark Money will premiere on Monday 8 July and will then continue to be broadcast daily in the same time-slot, it has been announced. Dark Money concerns The Mensahs, an ordinary working-class family from North London whose youngest son has recently finished filming a major Hollywood movie role. But Manny and Sam's world is shattered when Isaac reveals that he was abused whilst in America by a renowned filmmaker. Although guilt-ridden, the family decide to accept a substantial pay-off to keep silent, believing the money will help start a new life, enable them to heal and avoid the publicity hell of pressing charges against a celebrity. Needless to say, they're wrong. The four-parter, which was written by David Addai, is produced by The Forge and stars Babou Ceesay, Jill Halfpenny, Rebecca Front, Susan Wokoma, Olive Gray, Ellen Thomas, Arnold Oceng, Joseph May, Rudi Dharmalingam and Gary Beadle. Lewis Arnold is the director.
The television drama All Creatures Great & Small is making a comeback. The series, based on the real-life adventures of the Yorkshire vet James Herriot, originally ran on BBC1 from 1978 to 1990 and is now being given 'a fresh interpretation' by Channel Five. Presumably, because no one at Channel Five has any original ideas of their own. The six-part series, a co-production with the American broadcaster PBS, is due to start filming on location in Yorkshire later this year. The series, which includes a Christmas special, will be shown next year to coincide with the fiftieth anniversary of the original publication of Herriot's much-loved books. Sebastian Cardwell, the digital channel controller at Channel Five, said: 'James Herriot has a special place in the heart of the public and the commission of this iconic drama series, against the stunning backdrop of the Yorkshire Dales, is set to bring joy to a new army of TV viewers. The original books affectionately captured a unique slice of British life. In challenging times we hope the charming and heartwarming stories of community and compassion will resonate with new audiences.' The production has not yet announced the casting for the lead role. Christopher Timothy played Herriot in the original TV series, which also starred Robert Hardy, a pre-Doctor Who Peter Davison, Lynda Bellingham and Carol Drinkwater. At its peak, All Creatures Great & Small pulled in audiences of more than thirteen million. Prior to that, Herriot's first book had been made as a film - starring Simon Ward and Anthony Hopkins - in 1975. The new series will be created by Playground, the production company behind the hit dramas Howards End and Wolf Hall, with a promise to 'remain faithful' to the books. 'It is a responsibility we take very seriously,' claimed Colin Callender, chief executive of Playground. 'The series will embrace the fun and nostalgia of revisiting the England of the past, while celebrating Herriot's values that, despite all our current upheaval, still underpin British life today.' The bucolic depiction of country life seems a far cry from the Channel Fove of old, the former home of Z-List Celebrity Big Brother. Its schedule was once described as 'films, football and fucking.' Albeit,m by some sneering Middle class hippy Communist fek of no importance at the Gruniad Morning Star. Though, like a broken clock, even they are right twice a day. However, the broadcaster has made a return to drama in the past year under Ben Frow, Channel Five's director of programmes. This includes Cold Call, which is set in a woman's prison and Fifteen Days, a murder mystery set at a Welsh farmhouse. In 2010, the BBC commissioned a three-part series, Young James, based on the earlier years of Herriot's career. It was filmed and set in Glasgow. It was shit.
The Jeremy Kyle Show's 'bosses' (that's tabloidese for 'producers' and 'executives' only with less syllables) have been heavily criticised - and, indeed, borderline publicly humiliated - by MPs for putting guests through lie detector tests without knowing how 'accurate' those tests were. Which, if you look up the phrase 'oh, the irony' on Google, you'll find this topping the suggested links. Damian Collins MP, chair of the House of Commons culture select committee - and a man seldom short of an opinion ... on pretty much anything - said that the producers' lack of expert knowledge was 'astonishing.' Although, frankly, this blogger reckons that if there is anyone who claims to be an 'expert' on such a ludicrous pseudo-science as the polygraph, they need to be horsewhipped through the streets to a place of execution and then, be strapped up to a lie detector with ten thousand volts running through it and asked if they can answer thirty questions truthfully. You know, for a laugh. ITV could film such conceit and show it, mid-mornings, in the slot left vacant when The Jeremy Kyle Show was, hastily, shovelled into the nearest sewer along with all the other turds. The committee opened an inquiry after Kyle's show was abruptly cancelled in May, following the death of participant Steve Dymond who tragically died around a week after reportedly 'failing' a lie detector test. At a hearing on Tuesday, ITV's chief executive Dame Carolyn McCall claimed that the show had 'followed the correct procedures' - one or two people even believed her - but that the broadcaster would not make any similar series involving lie detectors in the future. Collins labelled The Jeremy Kyle Show's makers 'irresponsible' after executive producer Tom McLennan admitted that the polygraphs used during the show's fourteen-year history were 'not one hundred per cent accurate' and that he 'did not know' how reliable they were. Totally unreliable, matey. Because, they're a ludicrous pseudo-science, created by the man whose other great contribution to humanity was the character of Wonder Woman. You'd have just as much success in trying to determine truth or falsehood by consulting the entrails of chickens. 'I'm not a lie detector expert,' McLennan weaselled to the committee. No shit? Collins told him: 'If it wasn't for the lie-detector test, we might not be sitting here today.' The Jeremy Kyle Show often saw guests clashing over issues like break-ups, child access, addiction and family feuds. The programme dealt with 'really vulnerable people' who were led to believe the results were accurate, Collins added. 'It's being presented as black and white,' he said. 'That is causing considerable distress to the people receiving the results. I can't see how someone can give informed consent to take part in a lie detector test when they have got no idea how accurate it is, or even what the range of accuracy is for that test.' Jo Stevens MP, also on the committee, said that programme-makers had 'a duty of care' and that if producers didn't know how accurate the lie detectors were, then 'the entire premise of the show is fake.' And, again, no shit? However, Dame Carolyn claimed that members of the production team 'told guests in advance' that the tests were 'not infallible' and 'prepared them' for the results. 'They used to go through with participants the worst consequences of a lie detector test,' she claimed. 'They would actually talk to participants about how they would feel, what they would think, if the lie detector test went against them.' ITV 'probably went beyond what is required' to explain that the results were not necessarily reliable, she alleged. 'I honestly think that the team did whatever they could to explain that. There will be some individuals that would not listen, I think, probably. That's just human nature. But I think the production team would have done everything they could to ensure people understood what they were getting into on that show.' Julian Bellamy, ITV Studios' managing director, confirmed that the broadcaster would continue working with Kyle - but not on another 'conflict resolution' show. He said that there had never been an Ofcom complaint upheld against them regarding the treatment of the twenty thousand participants in the history the show. McLennan said: 'We know the show was controversial. But we did take our duty of care very seriously.' However, Paul Farrelly MP branded it 'trash TV' and said the makers of the show 'should be ashamed of themselves.' 'You're picking on members of the general public,' added Giles Watling MP, a former actor whose credits include the TV series Bread. '[You're] tear[ing] them apart in public, which is part of the entertainment in a sort of Roman Colosseum-type way.' Kyle himself last week turned down a request to appear before the committee, which is investigating reality TV. McLennan said that viewers 'respected Jeremy, they loved Jeremy and they wanted to hear his thoughts. Jeremy was a fantastic presenter.' He went on: 'Jeremy did have a strong opinion about the lie detector. He's got very strong views. He strongly believed in the tests.' The committee's inquiry will invite a range of former TV participants and programme-makers to give evidence over the coming months. It will also consider the wider issues facing reality TV shows, such as Love Island. On Tuesday, Dame Carolyn defended ITV over questions regarding the perceived lack of different body types on the dating show. 'We do a range of shows,' she said, noting that I'm A Z-List Former Celebrity Desperate To Get My Boat-Race Back On TV ... Please Vote For Me To Stay Here As Long As Possible (I'll Even Eat Worms If You Want), Ant and/or Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway and Britain's Got Toilets, as well as The X Factor and Love Island featured 'normal people.' 'They are very different shows and they show the diversity of Britain completely,' she claimed. 'For Love Island, the most important thing on that is the people are young and healthy. They are all within the healthy range of BMI or above. They are not all the same shape, there are variations of shape. Although I take your point, they are all fit, healthy, young individuals because it's a dating show.'
A rare first stereo pressing of The Be-Atles' debut LP found at a day care centre has sold for over two grand at auction. Auctioneer Will Gilding discovered the Please Please Me vinyl at Marlow House in Desborough, Northamptonshire. The record, a genuine 1963 stereo copy on the black and gold Parlophone label, had been reportedly 'in storage' for ten years. Pamela Goodman, a trustee at Marlow House, said that she was 'giggling like an idiot and whooping' as the record fetched four times its estimated value. Plus, you know, 'Twist And Shout' really makes one want to 'gin like an idiot and whoop'. Obviously. She said that they will spend some of the money on 'specialist cutlery' for their centre users. As has been mentioned on this blog, periodically, whenever they haven't got anything more serious to publish, one of the tabloids may do an article on record collecting. Inevitably, this will include a list of the ten rarest records in the world and, alongside The Sex Pistols' 'God Save The Queen' on A&M and other legendary rare records, will be a flat statement that stereo copies of the first LP by The Be-Atles (a popular beat combo of the 1960s, you might've heard of them) are worth megabucks. What usually happens thereafter is that a few gullible people will search through their vinyl, find they have a stereo copy of Please Please Me (which they bought for a fiver at HMV in the mid-eighties) and rush to their local second-hand record shop only to be told, amusingly, that what they've got is worth a couple of quid, if that. Records (particularly the successful ones) used to remain on catalogue for long periods but, every so often, a new batch would be pressed with a slight amendment to either the cover, or the label, or both. So, for anyone who thinks they may have a valuable item gathering dust in a cupboard, please note; the - very rare - Please Please Me variant to which these sort of price tags refers is one that was available, for a short time only, in early 1963 when almost all records sold were mono rather than stereo. It can be easily identified by its black label, which features distinctive gold lettering. Not the subsequent black with yellow lettering, or black with silver lettering, both of which are as common as muck. It's also worth noting that price quoted refer to a record in mint condition. Chances are if you bought Please Please Me in 1963, you'll have played it few times since. Each time you put the stylus on the record, you're diminishing any potential resale value. Finally, a word of advice to all would-be record collectors. Remember, any record is only 'worth' what someone else is prepared to pay for it. In strictly scrap-value terms what you've actually got is twelve inches of black plastic with a hole in the middle housed in a cardboard sleeve. The raw materials are worth no more than a few pennies. Please Please Me was originally released in March 1963, with the stereo version appearing a month later. It was auctioned in a music memorabilia and vinyl auction at Gilding's Auctioneers in Market Harborough. Gilding described the LP, bought by an Internet bidder, as the 'standout lot. With The Beatles comes its own hype and hysteria, Beatlemania is still strong,' he added.
Rafael Benitez's - with hindsight, utterly inevitable - departure from this blogger's beloved (though still, tragically, unsellable) Newcastle United will leave the long-suffering Toon Army nursing an acute and bitter sense of betrayal. And - if this is actually even possible - widen the already gaping chasm of outright loathing between themselves and the club's owner, Mike Ashley. Some Magpies supporters began Monday of this week publicising a 'Rafa Appreciation Week' as the clock ran down on Rafa The Gaffer's contract, due to expire on Sunday, only to end the day organising a, rather forlorn and utterly meaningless, 'protest' at the Sir Bobby Robson statue at St James' Park as Rafa prepared to clear out his desk. Only at Newcastle, dear blog reader. 'We have worked hard to extend Rafa's contract over a significant period of time. However, it has not been - and will not be - possible to reach an agreement with Rafa and his representatives,' the club claimed in a statement. One or two people even believed them. 'Rafa's coaching staff, Paco de Míguel Moreno, Antonio Gómez Perez and Mikel Antia, will also leave the club on 30 June. We would like to thank Rafa and his coaching team for their efforts over the last three years and their significant contribution to what has been collectively achieved.' The inclusion of the word 'collectively' was, understandably, met with utter derision on Tyneside. 'We would also like to thank our supporters, players and staff for their patience during a period of uncertainty.' One is sure that the vast majority of Newcastle's long-suffering supporters, players and staff would, collectively, like to tell the club's hierarchy exactly where they can shove their bland offer of 'thanks'. 'The process to appoint a successor will now begin,' they concluded. Which, one imagines, will be a right good laugh and, at the same time, a painful exercise in the blind leading the blind. This was the latest, devastating, blow to the club's loyal-to-the-borders-of-stupidity support as a manager whom they trusted to the point of hero-worship simply could not find enough common ground with Ashley to contemplate staying on Tyneside. Or, far more likely, Ashley had made Rafa, to paraphrase Don Corleone,  'an offer he couldn't accept.' This blogger will leave it up to you to form an opinion on that one, dear blog reader. Thus, a week before the new pre-season starts, the club has announced that Benitez's contract will not be renewed. Unbelievable, but sadly inevitable given the lack of positivity which has been coming out of Barrack Road all summer long. With the benefit of hindsight, this blogger thinks all fans should have probably worked out where this was heading as soon as the much heralded 'talks' between Rafa and Ashley, held soon after last season finished in the second week of May, didn't produce the announcement of the signing of a new contract within days. All talks of potential takeovers have gone suspiciously quiet - as they have done on least a dozen occasions before during the previous decade - and, with pre-season due to start next Monday, this leaves the club in limbo ahead of what will, surely, be another battle-to-avoid-relegation campaign. The club's biggest asset has gone leaving a squad which is already woefully weak with players already leaving and several more expected to follow or to be agitating for moves out of this toxic swamp in the coming weeks.
Benitez and Ashley always seemed the most unlikely of marriages since they came together in March 2016, following the sacking of Ashley's last, disastrous, appointment, Steve McClaren. The Spaniard has never been shy of engaging in political manoeuvring; he proved that with his sometimes fractious relationships with those above him at several clubs. At Valencia, he made his infamous 'I hoped for a sofa and they bought me a lamp' quote over the club's transfer policy whilst, at Liverpool, many inside Anfield reportedly felt no matter what level of control and finance he was handed, he would have wanted more. Ashley, meanwhile, is the billionaire who runs a club he bought - seemingly hoping for a quick resale and profit but without bothering to do any due diligence and thus didn't realise either the size of the debt the club's previous ownership had run up or the fact that a credit crunch was just around the corner and the days of rich men buying Premier League football clubs as their playthings was about to be a thing of the past - his own way. He is someone who cedes control to no-one, helped by a skin so thick that it is hard to think of any owner of any football club in the world so utterly unmoved by dissent, discontent or outright hatred from supporters. In fact, to be frank, the biggest surprise is that Ashley and Benitez have lasted so long together. The public relations battle, of course, is a no contest. Benitez is - and will continue to be - seen by the club's supporters and by the media as a manager of no little tactical brilliance who has had Newcastle punching well above their weight for the last two seasons, with Ashley viewed as the quasi comedy villain who has claimed another backstabbing victim to go in the cupboard alongside Kevin Keegan, Alan Shearer and Chris Hughton. A tenure of abysmal failure and unmitigated disaster has, it would seem, hit a new low. Even the most pessimistic and hardened United supporters couldn't have envisaged as shambolic a summer as this, but we really should have since we've had plenty of previous experience. Who can blame Rafa and his colleagues for walking away? He had comparatively little to work with in terms of transfer funds and playing squads and each successful survival was something of a minor miracle. During his time at Newcastle, Benitez managed to re-unite an, at times openly mutinous, fanbase behind his team - who, despite some limitations at least appears to have a pride in the shirt - and succeeded in legitimising the club in football circles, giving The Magpies a measure of direction, respectability and even a splash self-respect, something which Newcastle had precious little of during the tenures of most previous Ashley appointees. The multiple messages of support from current squad players on social media to and about Benitez reflects the depth of feeling for him and the disquiet - within the club as well as outside of it - over his loss. The deal offered to him was almost certainly deliberately designed to engineer his exit - with no room for negotiation - and his departure, once again, makes Newcastle appear to be both directionless and foolish. It has been reported that Benitez himself had no prior knowledge of Monday's announcement until an acquaintance contacted him to say that the news of his departure was being broadcast on Sky Sports News. Another example of atypically classy behaviour from those running the club. Ashley's business model is, it is alleged, that Newcastle is a club which must 'look after itself financially'; but Benitez was not happy with a summer transfer budget, reportedly of between fifty and sixty million smackers plus any money raised from sales, or at least how he would be able to spend it. Ashley reportedly wants a young squad - players with potential sell-on value - and it was very unlikely any long-term contracts would be sanctioned with players aged in their late twenties - a significant bone of contention for Benitez who wished to mix youth with experience in his squad. As the former Newcastle player Joey Barton commented when leaving the club in 2011, Ashley is a businessman - a very successful one, as it happens - and, like many businessmen 'he knows the cost of everything but the value of nothing.' The owner did loosen the purse strings enough to break the club's decade-old transfer record to sign Paraguayan playmaker Miguel Almiron from MLS side Atlanta United for twenty million knicker in January. But, even this rare show of financial boldness failed to persuade Benitez, who wanted to push the club into the top ten of the Premiership, that it would become the norm. He has always wanted a measure of control over the clubs he manages - with some justification, many would argue, given his track record of success, his stature and vast experience - but it would surely not have come as a huge surprise that Ashley was disinclined to give ground. The Spaniard is also likely to have had doubts about whether Newcastle would offer the sort of contracts to attract the calibre of player he wanted to move the team forward, while an upgrade on the club's training infrastructure, another long-running source of concern, had not been addressed. Throw a failure to agree on transfer finance, contracts, control and infrastructure into the melting pot and the relationship between an intransigent, immovable owner and a manager demanding what he was never likely to get was always going to unsustainable.
Ashley and Newcastle can insist they have been trying to get Benitez's signature for well over a year, but the offer of a one-year contract on his current reported six million quid-a-year terms failed to break the impasse. Newcastle may try to argue that they would be right to display a reluctance to hand out long-term deals to players working under a manager only committed for the next twelve months. Once again, one or two people might buy that argument. But not many. As the website noted, in disgust: 'The contempt shown for the fans by the owner is, again, bordering on the criminal. It wasn't our fault he inherited a club with massive debts and we had nothing to do with his recent Debenhams debacle. All self-inflicted but his anger is seemingly taken out on us. Any anti-Ashley chants were brought on by his own ineptitude and mismanagement but instead of making amends, in true barrow-boy fashion, he cuts his nose off to spite his face with petty acts of revenge.' What is beyond question in that Benitez has been a force for good at Newcastle. He restored them to the Premier League in 2017 after having been brought into the club too late to prevent relegation the previous season then followed that with respectable finishes of tenth in 2018 and thirteenth last term. He also, as he did at Liverpool, tapped into the sort of language that Newcastle fans understand, portraying himself as the man on their side, a boast which Ashley could never make. This meant, as Benitez walked around St James' Park surrounded by players and families after the last home game of what turned into his final campaign, there was a hope - albeit, as slim one - that Ashley might find the wriggle room to give Newcastle's supporters and the manager what they wanted. History should have told us all we were deluding ourselves. For Ashley, however, this is another highly damaging episode which can only reduce his standing with Newcastle's support even further; not that Ashley seems at all bothered about that. Indeed, many suspect he appears to enjoy courting bad-feeling and deliberately pissing people off; his decision to rename St James' Park after his odious sportwear company in 2011 aptly proved. All of this nonsense has been conducted against a backdrop of the latest proposed - or, should that be 'alleged'? - takeover project involving United Arab Emirates billionaire Sheikh Khaled bin Zayed Al Nahyan's investment group. A rather facial situation which has, surely, only got as much publicity as it has as a means to get supporters to renew their - price-significantly-adjusted-for-inflation - season tickets (the closing date for which is next week, as a matter of pure disinterest). Ashley's past behaviour suggests he still will plough on with what he wants to do regardless of how many people he upsets or how many gather around Sir Bobby Robson's statue or demonstrate outside Sports Direct on Northumberland Street. The BBC claims that 'the proposed takeover will not, according to those involved, be affected by Benitez's departure - but that has all gone quiet in recent weeks.' Beware, dear blog reader, Arabs bearing gifts. Or, indeed, remember that old maxim 'be careful what you wish for, it might come true.' The number of Newcastle fans who have been heard excited exclaiming variants on 'great, a billionaire is coming to save us from the clown ruining out club' makes this blogger wonder whether this is 2019 or 2007 since he can recalled the same sort of things being said when Ashley was the saviour and the late Freddie Shepherd the despised tyrant needing to be shown the door. Plus ca change, plus ca la meme choice. The next item on the agenda is a new manager, with pre-season training looming and bookies - of course - wasting no time in making a Benitez-less Newcastle favourites for relegation, seemingly with much glee. The list of names being touted around will hardly have fans heading doon Th' Bigg Market in celebration. But, it doesn't really matter which desperate out-of-work plank Ashley picks for the gig, the fact that he will be The Not-Rafa will, surely, doom the tenure of whoever-it-is to dissatisfaction and rancour from Day One. It's Brian Clough coming after Don Revie. David Moyes after Sir Alex Ferguson. Or, to put it another way, it's Chris Evans replacing Jeremy Clarkson on Top Gear. It's Be Here Now following (What's The Story) Morning Glory? It's The Godfather III coming after The Godfather II! Whoever gets the job will be, like all of the above, onto an absolute hiding to nothing whether they're good, bad or indifferent. Sheikh Yer Man City's assistant manager Mikel Arteta is reported to be an early favourite with the bookmakers but why on Earth would he leave the Premier League champions for the abject chaos of Tyneside? The money can't be that good? Jose Mourinho has been mentioned but this is surely a fantasy unless a takeover does go ahead and the former Moscow Chelski and The Scum boss is given guarantees of untold millions to spend and the complete control he has always enjoyed at his previous clubs. And, while Ashley would probably love to appoint someone like Eddie Howe or Sean Dyche, why would either of those highly regarded young managers risk their reputation in a toxic environment when they had such control and popularity at Bournemouth and Burnley respectively? Whoever accepts this role - and, remember, Ashley's previous appointments have included rotten non-entities such as McClaren, Alan Pardew, John Carver and Joe Kinnear. Twice - will have a hard (for which read impossible) act to follow in the hearts of most - if not all - Newcastle's fans. Ashley has failed to keep arguably the best manager he will ever have - one who could have taken the heat away from his office because he is so beloved by supporters and one who actually gave Newcastle some gravitas with his record of managing clubs such as Valencia, Liverpool, Inter Milan, Moscow Chelski FC, Napoli and Real Madrid. This may not matter to Ashley - indeed, it seems not to - as his sole aim appears to be keeping the club in the Premier League (something his previous appointees have, twice, failed to do during his decade at St James') until such a time as can find some joker to pay him three hundred and fifty million knicker to take it off his hands. If he ever does.
And what of Benitez? He, reportedly, has a twelve million knicker-a-year (and as much chow mien as you can eat) offer from the Chinese Super League Club Dalian Yifang on the table. But, this is a manager who has insisted his vision is to make progress at clubs of stature, putting them in the place where they deserve to be. The big jobs in Europe which Benitez will believe fit his profile are not currently available - except for Moscow Chelski and it's doubtful he'd wish to return there - but is China really where the fifty nine-year-old, whose family still live on Merseyside, wants to take himself at this point in his career? As usual, however, the biggest losers in all of this fiasco are Newcastle's fans as they digest the latest sorry episode in the scarcely credible soap opera that is their club.
A former football agent involved in the late Emiliano Sala's move to Cardiff City from French side Nantes has, reportedly, had his sorry ass arrested and been charged with property fraud. Willie McKay arranged the flight that crashed in the English Channel, killing Sala and pilot David Ibbotson. A statement from The Insolvency Service said that sixty-year-old McKay has been charged with two counts of fraudulent transfer of property. He is due to appear at Manchester Magistrates' Court on 31 July. No further details about the case have been released. McKay's son Mark was Nantes' acting agent in the deal for the footballer. The body of Sala - The Bluebirds' record signing - was found in the wreckage of the Piper Malibu N264DB in January. It was found on the seabed thirteen days after it vanished over the English Channel near Guernsey. Ibbotson's body has not been found.
AC Milan have struck a deal with UEFA to serve a one-year ban from European football over breaches of Financial Fair Play rules. The club, which finished fifth in Italy's Serie A, will miss next season's Europa League. UEFA will end its proceedings against the Italians for overspending, said the Court of Arbitration for Sport. 'AC Milan is excluded from UEFA club competitions of the sporting season 2019-2020,' said CAS. Milan's ban means that AS Roma, who came sixth, move up to the Europa League group stage while their place in the qualifying rounds is taken by seventh-placed Torino. Seven-time European champions Milan finished one point behind local Milan rivals Inter, who took the final Champions League qualifying place. AC confirmed their 'voluntary acceptance' of the ban and said that they 'hoped' it would 'act as a stimulus' to take them back to the top. 'Whilst saddened by the fact that our fans will not be able to see their team compete in European competition next season, the club recognises and respects FFP,' the club weaselled in a statement. 'The club acknowledges it has no other choice but to accept the sanctions, as it seeks to forge a pathway back to full compliance. AC Milan remains committed to restoring the club to its rightful place at the top of European football.' Milan previously successfully appealed against a two-year ban imposed by UEFA last summer after being found extremely guilty of breaking spending rules between 2015 and 2017. Under UEFA regulations, any club making losses beyond the permitted limits over a three-year period faces possible sanctions and, in some circumstances, a ban. Milan were able to take part in last season's Europa League - going out in the group stage - after appealing to CAS. It is understood this ruling was requested by Milan as part of their overall FFP 'settlement agreement' with UEFA. Milan agreed to take the ban as it was 'in the mutual interests' of both the club and UEFA. The ban allows UEFA to - at least appear to - show that they are clamping down, while Milan get some breathing space in their efforts to move into a more stable financial position.
NASA's Curiosity Rover has discovered that Mars is emitting methane gas - lots of it - and that this 'could' be a sign that life is thriving somewhere in The Red Planet, a report on Saturday claimed. The readings arrived back on Earth on Thursday and have 'sent scientists scrambling for corroborating evidence of subterranean Martian life,' the New York Times reported. 'Given this surprising result, we've reorganised the weekend to run a follow-up experiment,' project scientist Ashwni R Vasavada said in an internal e-mail obtained by the newspaper. It is possible that the methane is a result of geothermal reactions which have nothing whatsoever to do with living organisms, obviously. But, the newspaper states, it is 'also possible' that the gas 'was produced millions of years ago by now-extinct life.' Or, more recently, by the farts of Ice Warriors. The readings - twenty one parts per billion - are the highest methane concentrations detected by Curiosity yet, three times a previous spike detected in 2013. The rover, the New York Times notes, 'has been sniffing around Mars' since landing in 2012.
NASA's newest planetary science mission is a 'quadcopter' which will fly around the surface of Saturn's largest Moon, Titan, the agency announced this week. Sporting eight rotors and a nuclear power source like the Mars Curiosity rover, Dragonfly will launch in 2026 and arrive at Titan in 2034. The mission will build on key discoveries made by Cassini, which saw its thirteen-year mission in the Saturnean system end in 2017. Dragonfly becomes NASA's fourth 'New Frontiers' mission, the programme responsible for sending New Horizons to Pluto and 2014 MU69, Juno to Jupiter and OSIRIS-REx to Bennu. 'New Frontiers' missions are cost-capped at around one billion bucks. 'All of us in The Planetary Society are excited about NASA's selection of Dragonfly as the next mission in the agency's New Frontiers Programme,' said Jim Bell, president of The Planetary Society board of directors and a planetary scientist at Arizona State University. 'Titan is one of the most interesting and enigmatic worlds in the solar system, and its surface, atmosphere, and interior could tell us much about the origin and evolution of potentially habitable planets - including the early Earth. The data from the first drone to explore the outer solar system should lead to many new scientific discoveries and the photos of Titan's exotic landscape promise to be spectacular.' Dragonfly will cover more than one hundred and seventy five kilometres during its two-and-a-half-year mission, initially landing at Titan's vast Shangri-La dune fields, the same region where ESA's Huygens probe landed in 2005. The three-metre-long probe will touch down almost precisely one Saturn year after Huygens' historic descent, meaning that Huygens' experience provides a direct test of the environment through which Dragonfly will enter. The spacecraft will visit new locations using increasingly longer flights, building up to eight-kilometre trips during which it will scan the surface with science instruments and collect samples for analysis. Its lifetime is theoretically limited only by the decay of its plutonium power supply; it could last eight Earth years. The selection of Dragonfly means that CAESAR, the other proposed 'New Frontiers' mission finalist which would have returned a sample from comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko, was not been picked at this time. 'New Frontiers' missions are proposed by scientists at research and academic institutions outside of NASA and must adhere to a specific list of destinations derived, in part, by the planetary science community's ten-year Decadal Survey. Those destinations originally did not include Titan, but they did include comet sample return. 'NASA management added Titan as a potential mission destination just a few years ago, partly in response to scientific discoveries made by the Cassini mission and the Hubble Space Telescope after the release of the Decadal Survey,' said Casey Dreier, chief advocate and senior space policy adviser at The Planetary Society. 'Today's selection suggests that NASA is embracing a faster process for reacting to new data and embracing riskier mission concepts.' Larger than Mercury and covered with thick orange smog, Titan has an organic-rich atmosphere that has been producing complex carbon-rich compounds for four billion years. The moon's atmosphere is almost entirely nitrogen-based, with methane acting much like water does in Earth's atmosphere, forming clouds, raining and producing rivers and seas. High above the ground, solar radiation converts the methane and nitrogen into complex viscous organic gunk which slowly settles onto the surface. A similar combination of energy, organics and water may have originally sparked life on Earth. Dragonfly proposes to sample the materials that form Titan's icy bedrock and snow to determine what compounds they contain. Dragonfly's website says that the spacecraft will use 'mass and gamma-ray spectrometers to measure the chemical composition of Titan's surface.' It will also be equipped with cameras, meteorology sensors and instruments to perform seismic studies. Elizabeth Turtle, a planetary scientist at Johns Hopkins University's Applied Physics Laboratory, will serve as the mission's principal investigator.
Sheryl Crow says that the original studio tapes of LPs including Tuesday Night Music Club and The Globe Sessions 'went up in flames' in a fire at Universal Studios. So, the belief that every cloud has a silver lining is, seemingly, true. The singer told the BBC that 'all her masters' were destroyed when an archive in Los Angeles burned down in 2008. She claimed that she only discovered the loss this month, after her name was mentioned in a New York Times report that uncovered the extent of the damage. 'It absolutely grieves me,' said Crow. 'It feels a little apocalyptic. I can't understand, first and foremost, how you could store anything in a vault that didn't have sprinklers. And secondly, I can't understand how you could make safeties [back-up copies] and have them in the same vault. I mean, what's the point?' Crow is the first artist to confirm the loss of their recordings since the New York Times' investigation was published two weeks ago. It detailed how the fire, which was started by overnight maintenance work, had destroyed thousands of master tapes by some of the most famous names in music history, from Ray Charles, Aretha Franklin and Chuck Berry to Janet Jackson, Nirvana and Eminem. Although the fire was widely reported at the time, Universal Music downplayed the damage to its archives, saying that many of the affected tapes had duplicates in separate storage facilities. The company also disputed the New York Times' investigation, citing - though unspecified - 'factual inaccuracies' in the reporting. Their head archivist, Patrick Kraus, later said that the extent of the losses had been 'overstated. Many of the masters that were highlighted [in the report] as destroyed, we actually have in our archives,' he told Billboard magazine.
More than twelve thousand people have signed a petition to save a Cambridge pub famous for its links with the rock and/or roll band The Pink Floyd from being knocked down. Original member Syd Barrett was known to frequent Cambridge's Flying Pig pub when it was called The Crown and was said to have first met David Gilmour there. Demolishing the Hills Road site has been proposed due to plans for a 'mixed use scheme,' including offices. Pub landlady Justine Hatfield said that support for the pub was 'overwhelming. It's been everything, it's been our world. We do understand the developer is doing what he does but it's very hard,' said Hatfield, who has managed the pub with her husband for twenty one years. A pub has been on the site of The Flying Pig under different names since the 1840s and has long been a popular venue with local musicians. Barrett was said to have first met future Pink Floyd member David Gilmour at the pub in the late 1950s. Gilmour eventually took Barrett's place in the Cambridge group as Syd's increasing drug use took its toll. The pub is situated in the middle of the Hills Road development, which has been put out to public consultation. Johnny Vincent, chief executive of Pace Investments which has proposed the scheme, said that he wanted to get views from the public before making any final decisions. Vincent did not rule out demolishing the building but said that the site would have a pub, adding it was 'absolutely vital' to keep The Flying Pig open in some way.
Sometimes, dear blog reader, a photo doesn't need a caption, merely a song lyric: 'Couldn't escape if I wanted to' for example.
Police investigating reports of a leaked Edexcel maths A-level paper have reportedly arrested two people. Two men were arrested on suspicion of theft and taken into police custody on Monday. Two questions from the paper were posted on Twitter the day before the exam was due to be taken on 14 June. Students were urged to 'get in touch' to buy access to the full paper for seventy notes. The Twitter post has since been deleted. Pearson, which runs Edexcel, said: 'We understand students are rightfully concerned and want a fair playing field.' The company's senior vice-president in charge of schools, Sharon Hague, added: 'Our key priority is ensuring no students are disadvantaged in any way.' Earlier this year, Pearson said that it would be trialling a scheme where microchips were placed in exam packs to track the date, time and location of the bundles.
An investigation is, reportedly, under way after a very naughty man allegedly exposed himself on a Northumberland beach. The man was 'spotted carrying out a lewd act on the dunes in Blyth on Tuesday.' Although, surely, that should be 'in the dunes' as 'on the dunes' sounds like the dunes themselves were the victim. Mind you, this is the Evening Chronicle we're talking about so, expecting accurate English from them is a bit like expecting accurate stories from the Daily Mirra. Once they stopped hacking phones, anyway. A mother, 'who asked not to be named' according to the newspaper, said that the man 'fled the scene' after leaving her daughters shocked. And stunned. She described him as 'short, fat and bald with a white top on.' So, that should narrow the list of suspects down to 'just about everyone North of Teeside and South of Berwick.' 'There are just no words for his disgusting behaviour,' said the woman, who praised Northumbria Police for being 'so quick off the mark' when she reported the unsettling encounter. A Northumbria Police spokesperson said: 'Shortly after 4pm, yesterday, police received a report of inappropriate behaviour on Blyth Beach. It was reported that a man was seen indecently exposing himself near the sand dunes. Enquiries are ongoing.'
The Inbetweeners actor James Buckley has revealed that he 'struggles' to 'cope with fame' and that it causes him anxiety. Speaking on his own digital show, Complete Load Of Podcast, the actor admitted that he felt 'constantly on edge.' His 'celebrity status,' he added, has left him 'close to never leaving my house again.' So, go and work in a call centre instead, then, mate, it's not rocket science - there's plenty of roles in life which produce less anxiety. Responding to a fan's question on the podcast, Buckley admitted his 'low level of fame' was 'good for booking a table at a restaurant' or 'being helped in shops' but he stressed that there were no 'actual pros of being famous. The cons are basically not being able to relax,' he told co-host Matt Whiston, 'not being able to feel like you're not "on" when you leave the house, at any point. I don't wanna whinge about it,' he whinged. 'But, it does make me anxious, it does make me very self-conscious, it does make me uncomfortable.'
A US prosecutor said on Tuesday that a teenage girl who allegedly plotted to kill her best friend also shared child pornography videos of other victims with her co-conspirator. Denali Brehmer, an eighteen-year-old from Anchorage, Alaska, has been indicted in federal court on charges of conspiracy, production and distribution of child pornography and will reportedly face first-degree murder and other counts in state court. Brehmer is accused of luring Cynthia Hoffman on a hike on 2 June and shooting her in the back of the head. Dead. Authorities claim that she plotted online and by text with Darin Schilmiller who court documents say is from New Salisbury, Indiana. He allegedly posed online as a millionaire named Tyler and offered Brehmer 'at least' nine million dollars to kill Hoffman and send him 'videos and photographs of the murder,' according to the Alaska Department of Law. Federal court documents allege Schilmiller also directed Brehmer to sexually assault an eight or nine-year-old and a fifteen-year-old and send videos to him. Brehmer told investigators that she did and video of the fifteen-year-old was recovered by investigators. The US Attorney for the District of Alaska, Bryan Schroder, had a warning for the parents of teenagers. 'For all of the good the Internet can do, it can be a dark place and parents would be wise to monitor the activity of their children online,' he said. Brehmer faces up to thirty years in The Slammer if convicted of conspiracy to produce child pornography, thirty years if convicted of production of child pornography and twenty years if convicted of distribution of child pornography. Schilmiller faces production, conspiracy and receipt of child pornoraphy charges and an additional charge of coercion and enticement of a minor. If he is convicted of that count, he faces a mandatory minimum of ten years in The Joint with a maximum sentence of life. Brehmer and Schilmiller reportedly began discussing 'a plan to rape and murder someone in Alaska' several weeks before Hoffman's murder, according to court documents. Hoffman and Brehmer were described in the documents as 'best friends.' Hoffman was bound with duct tape, shot in the back of the head and pushed into a river near a hiking trail outside Anchorage on 2 June, the Alaska Department of Law said in a statement. Anchorage Police officers discovered her body along the Eklutna River bank two days later. Brehmer allegedly recruited Kayden McIntosh, aged sixteen, nineteen year old Caleb Leyland and two unidentified juveniles to help her carry out the killing. In exchange, 'all of them would receive a significant sum of money for their part in the planning and/or execution of the murder,' according to the department's statement. Hoffman was said to have been brought to Thunderbird Falls by Brehmer and McIntosh in a truck borrowed from Leyland under the ruse they were going on a hike near the Eklutna River, the statement said. They stopped at a clearing and Hoffman's hands and feet were bound with duct tape and duct tape was wrapped around her head and mouth, according to court documents. McIntosh then shot Hoffman in the back of the head with Brehmer's gun, court documents said and she was then put in the river. Phone records show Brehmer was sending videos and photographs to Schilmiller 'at his directive' throughout. A state grand jury indicted all six defendants Friday for first-degree murder, first-degree conspiracy to commit murder and two counts of second-degree murder and other charges. McIntosh is being charged as an adult.
A 1970s trend of using of cooking oil as sunscreen - which, this blogger must admit, he always thought was an urban myth - is making a modern day comeback, according to a new survey reported by the Daily Torygraph. More than a fifth of Britons, the survey claims, 'are now turning to their kitchen cupboards in a misguided attempt to get the perfect summer tan.' And, presumably, not only ending up with third degree burns but, also, smelling like a chip shop into the bargain. The poll, commissioned by ASDA, alleges that a fifth of Britons use cooking oil instead of sun cream in a misguided attempt to tan faster. The poll found that a third of Britons don't bother with sunscreen at all, even though one-in-ten had suffered such severe burns that they were forced to go to the doctor and get some cream. Experts said that cooking oil provides no UV protection and heat up when the skin is exposed to the sun, burning the skin and leaving tissue damage that could cause long-term scarring end even skin cancer. No shit? And, you need 'experts' to tell you that? 'The push for oil as sunscreen,' the Torygraph claims, 'took off in the 1960s, when the tanning furore hit Britain and people could afford to travel abroad on holidays and peaked a decade later.' Many people used baby oil, coconut oil and cooking oil to speed up their tans before scientists discovered that UVA rays damage the skin. 'This trend still persists thanks to misinformation online, with dozens of beauty blogs falsely claiming that oil will speed up tans.' Andy Millward, an Birmingham-based facialist, said it is 'surprising' supermarkets would need to go to such lengths to prevent something 'that really should be common sense. Applying a cooking oil to the skin in the hope of promoting the tanning process is also false and illogical,' he said. 'Ironically, you'd get a healthier looking and longer lasting tan by using a high protection SPF and small amounts of sun exposure over a longer period of time.' People with red and blonde hair are likely to struggle to tan because their bodies do not produce much melanin - something that cooking oil will not solve, 'experts' claimed. Colin Cable, assistant chief scientist at the Royal Pharmaceutical Society, said that people have 'long been taken in' by the dangerous 'urban myth' of using oil instead of sunscreen and that ASDA's move to highlight it is 'a good start. Using cooking oil is the same as going out without any sun protection at all, or any clothing or hats. It's a very worrying trend,' he said. 'With all stuff on the web, you have to be incredibly careful and make sure that they are supported by more than anecdotal evidence.' The Royal Pharmaceutical Society has been following the trend of people resorting to drastic home remedies to fuel the culture of 'binge tanning.' In 2009, it released a report which claimed 'Scottish people' were 'using chip fat' to create their own homemade tanning solutions. What, all of them? Emma Shields, Cancer Research UK health information manager, said that any tans which happen after using cooking oil are 'far from being a sign of health. Getting a tan is actually a sign that your skin has been damaged. And over time, this damage can build up and cause skin cancer,' she claimed.
An arrest warrant has been issued for an art dealer charged with stealing more than a million quid. Angela Gulbenkian, of Battersea, is accused of theft from Art Incorporated Limited and stealing fifty grand from client Jacqui Ball. Gulbenkian failed to appear at Westminster Magistrates' Court earlier this week. A request by her lawyer to adjourn the hearing was rejected after prosecutor Michael Mallon called into doubt the provenance of a doctor's letter. Gulbenkian is accused of two charges - one being theft by finding involving one million, sixty one thousand four hundred and eighty four knicker belonging to Art Incorporated Limited. The other count relates to when she was tasked by Ball with procuring a sculpture by Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama, entitled Yellow Pumpkin. Gulbenkian was charged in April and a previous court listing on 21 May was adjourned as she was said to 'need time to recuperate' from a surgical procedure in Germany. After being asked to adjourn the hearing on the grounds of ill health, bench chairwoman Claire Harris said that there was 'substantial concern about this document [the doctor's letter] and the ambiguity of the document.' Magistrates issued a warrant for her arrest in Germany, but Harris added: 'If defence provides satisfactory evidence, defence can return to the court to make a submission.'
A university has apologised to students after a review found teaching on a health and safety course fell 'short of the standards' expected. The University of South Wales says that it has also 'offered compensation' to students 'affected' by the teaching. An inquiry found a lecturer gave 'seriously incorrect advice' on cooking oil, electrical safety and falling from a height, according to The Times. Who, to be fair, didn't use It's Health & Safety Gone Mad as their headline, for which we should all be grateful. The university says it has 'done everything possible to put it right.' An investigation found that a lecturer - who has not been named - got 'very basic scientific information' wrong - for example he allegedly claimed that bleach was an acid when it is, in fact, an alkaline. He is also alleged to have said that 'voltage' was named after François-Marie Arouet Voltaire (1694-1778), the French philosopher - when, in fact, it is named after the Italian physicist Alessandro Volta (1745-1827). And remember, dear blog reader, knowledge that it was the latter whom voltage is named after will keep you safe in the even of getting ten thousand volts shot through you. Allegedly. The inquiry found that the lecturer, who was teaching safety and business risk modules, suggested that oil could be heated to three hundred and sixty degrees Celsius - when it can actually catch fire at two hundred and fifty degrees. It is claimed that he also told students the 'most important thing' they had to do in the workplace was to 'keep your job and not be prosecuted.' The investigation found a 'clear pattern of inaccuracy, inconsistency and error' in teaching on issues such as the safety of fire doors and barbecuing inside, The Times alleges. In a statement to Radio 1 Newsbeat, the university said that it was 'concerned' the delivery of the course 'fell short of the standards we all expect.' Although, one suspects it would have been more concerned that a newspaper managed to find out all this shit that had been going on before they, themselves, did. 'We take this very seriously,' the statement said before snitching that the individual lecturer concerned no longer works for the University of South Wales. 'We carried out a full inquiry. Where things had gone wrong, we've put that right.' The students affected were studying for a masters degree in safety, health and environmental management. The university said that it offered students the chance to repeat or substitute the affected modules at no cost - so their qualification was not affected. It also offered compensation - thought to be around two thousand smackers a pop - to students 'because of the inconvenience.' A university spokesman said that a review of the course was carried out and seven recommendations have been made to stop it from happening again. The first of which was, don't hire the same lecturer ever again. He added: 'Finally, we've also said sorry, with a formal apology to the students who were affected. There is no evidence or suggestion that any harm has been caused in the health and safety sense by shortcomings in the way the lectures were delivered. But it shouldn't have happened in the first place, and we've done everything possible to put it right.'
The former Z Cars and EastEnders actor Douglas Fielding has died aged seventy three, his family has confirmed. 'We all love and miss him,' they said in a statement, adding: 'He was a well-known actor and lovely man and will be sorely missed.' Doug starred as the popular character of Sergeant Alec Quilley in the long-running BBC police drama from 1969 to 1978. His agent Emily McGuire added: 'It was a privilege to know him and represent him.' In the mid-1980s, Fielding also briefly played EastEnders' first regular policeman, Roy Quick. The actor last appeared on TV screens in an episode of Silent Witness in 2018. over the years, Fielding also appeared in Blake's 7, Grange Hill, Doctors, Juliet Bravo, The Bill, The Knock, Angels, Callan, Softly Softly, Mystery & Imagination and Star Turn. Born in London in 1946, Douglas was a graduate of the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art, appearing in theatrical productions of Henry IV, Saint Joan, The Business Of Murder and Catch Me If You Can. Fielding appeared opposite Clive Owen in the 1996 video game Privateer 2: The Darkening and his film credits included the 1999 drama Holding On and the 2016 drama Hooligan Legacy. He was the nephew of the sports administrator Dame Marea Hartman.
Tributes were also paid on Wednesday to another late British character actor whose CV included appearances in Z Cars and The Bill, Bryan Marshall, after his death at the age of eighty one. The actor was possibly best-known for his roles as Commander Talbot in the James Bond film The Spy Who Loved Me and as duplicitous Councillor Harris in John MacKenzie's classic gangster movie The Long Good Friday. Bryan's other film credits included Alife, a number of 1960s Hammer movies like Rasputin The Mad Monk, The Witches, The Viking Queen and Quatermass & The Pit, Mosquito Squadron, 1970's under-rated thriller I Start Counting opposite Jenny Agutter (a particular favourite of this blogger), Man In The Wilderness, Because Of The Cats and The Tamarind Seed. His later film career included Australian productions such as BMX Bandits, Bliss, The Man From Snowy River II, The Punisher, Country Life and Selkie.
His television credits featured a wide-variety of roles in No Hiding Place, Gideon's Way, Doctor Finlay's Casebook, Villette, Spindoe, Persuasion, Warship, United!, The Forsyte Saga, Dixon Of Dock Green, The Saint, The Avengers, A Family At War, The Onedin Line, Out, The Professionals, Return Of The Saint, Buccaneer, The Chinese Detective, Pulaski, Tales Of The Unexpected, Dick Turpin, Piccadilly Circus, Rooms, Sam & The River, Thriller, Play For Today, New Scotland Yard, Strange Report, Sat'day While Sunday, The Tenant Of Wildfell Hall, This Man Craig, Recap, Robin Of Sherwood, Heartbeat, Dalziel & Pascoe, Time Trax, Prisoner, Special Squad, Golden Pennies, Neighbours, Embassy, Home & Away, Stingers, Water Rats and All Saints. In 1989 Bryan was the original host of Australia's Most Wanted. He had lived and worked in Australia for more than twenty years prior to his death, according to his friend, the agent Esta Charkham. She told the Press Association: 'I will always remember him with a smile on my face because he was the kindest man in the world and a really lovely actor. He was a Battersea boy who got a scholarship to RADA, a proper working class actor who had a fantastic and eclectic career.' Bryan was of Irish descent and was educated at the Salesian College, Battersea before appearing at the Bristol Old Vic and in rep. His most recent appearance was in the Australian mini-series A Moody Christmas in 2012.
Heartbeat actor William Simons, who charmed Sunday evening viewers for nearly two decades as easygoing veteran police constable Alf Ventress, has died aged seventy nine. Welsh-born Simons played the character in all eighteen series of the popular ITV drama. He also appeared in Coronation Street, Emmerdale Farm, Crown Court and Last Of The Summer Wine during his sixty-year career. His agent said: 'He was a wonderful, kind, warm, witty, lovely human being and anyone who ever worked with him or knew him will be devastated.' Simons, who was born in Swansea, was already in his fifties when he landed the biggest role of his career, playing Alf when Heartbeat began in 1992, initially as a vehicle for former EastEnders actor Nick Berry. When ITV subsequently launched a spin-off, The Royal, William was asked to appear in six episodes. According to the Yorkshire Post, Simons enjoyed his role in Heartbeat so much that he bought a house in the village of Goathland, where much of the show's filming took place. But he sold it fourteen years later, explaining in an interview with the Daily Scum Express that Goathland had become so popular with tourists drawn by the Heartbeat factor that 'it was impossible to step outside without being recognised.' He was born in Mumbles in Swansea, the only child of Eileen and Sydney Simons. William's father was a solicitor who was stationed in the area as a captain in the Welch Regiment during the war. The family moved to London when peace came, by which time young William was already showing his talents for acting, singing and dancing. He made his film debut at the age of eight in No Place For Jennifer (1949), alongside Janette Scott in her breakthrough role as a child star. Next he spent fifteen months in Kenya and Tanganyika filming the wildlife conservation drama Where No Vultures Fly (1951), playing Anthony Steel and Dinah Sheridan's son, Tim and reprised the role in the sequel, West Of Zanzibar (1954), with Sheila Sim taking over the role of his mother. Simons also appeared in numerous BBC children's TV serials. He played Christopher Sixpence in A Castle & Sixpence (1954), Peter in Heidi Grows Up (1954), Andrew in Benbow & The Angels (1955), the title role in Bobby In France (1955) and Alfie Cutforth in Rex Milligan (1956). When he developed severe acne in his mid-teens he decided to switch to stage management, but continued to act in Children's Hour productions on BBC radio. However, four years later, he gave up theatre work and returned to television. After several more children's serials, he progressed to adult roles and his career was given a significant boost when he was cast as Abel Garland in the BBC's thirteen-part adaptation of The Old Curiosity Shop in 1962. Character roles followed in many popular series and serials. There were three brief appearances in Coronation Street: as James Peck (1968), a plumber's merchant who received a dud cheque from Len Fairclough and Jerry Booth, as Harry Bates (1972), the common-law husband of Rita Littlewood, who then beat her up and threw her out and as Jim Cawley (1987), a councillor friend of Deirdre Barlow. In 1976, Simons played a police officer for the first time when he took the part of the new village bobby, Will Croft, in Emmerdale Farm. He became somewhat typecast as law upholders, playing Constable Thackeray in the excellent Victorian drama Cribb (1980) and detectives in Juliet Bravo (1985), Rumpole Of The Bailey (1987), The Ruth Rendell Mysteries (1989) and The Bill (1989), before playing Inspector Fox, Patrick Malahide's sidekick, in The Inspector Alleyn Mysteries in the early 1990s, overlapping with his early days in Heartbeat. 'I have played policemen many times in my career,' he said. 'I think I'll be buried in blue!' Simons also appeared as a barrister, Martin O'Connor, in Crown Court on and off from 1973 to 1983, Mandrel, leader of a rebel group on a planet of exploited workers, in the 1977 Doctor Who story The Sun Makers and the pub landlord in both series of the sitcom Haggard. After Heartbeat ended, Simons spent much of his time at his new home in France. He was a patron of the charity Changing Faces. Simons is survived by his second wife, Jackie - they married in 2007 - his first marriage, to Janie whom he married in 1968, ended with her death in 2002.
And finally, dear blog reader, this blogger always enjoys getting feedback from From The North's dear blog readers. Keith Telly Topping was, particularly, pleased to get a comment about the last bloggerisationism update which observed: 'Blue Waffles Disease is considered as a sexually transmitted disease (STD) which also infects the genitals. This infection can harm males as well as females and it's quite harmful.' So, thank you 'gbwhatsapp' for your thoughtful and wholly relevant contribution to the issues which really matter to both this blogger and his - on average, approximately four thousand per day - other dear blog readers. It's always nice to know that ones blog is being read with such diligence and respect.
Blue Waffles Disease, incidentally, if you were wondering - and if you think Keith Telly Topping is being a bit churlish and disrespectful to a concerned individual - is an entirely fictional (and widely known) Internet urban myth. As the - excellent - Healthline website notes: 'Whispers of "blue waffle disease" began around 2010. That was when a disturbing image of blue-tinted, pus-covered, lesion-filled labia, said to be the result of a sexually transmitted disease, started circulating online. While that's definitely [a] labia in the picture, blue waffle disease isn't real. But the picture remains a pervasive - and fake - meme to this day.'