Sunday, June 23, 2019

I Worship A Celestial Sun

Blimey, dear blog reader, The Doctor's new costume might, possibly, cause a bit of controversy with the more conservative-end of Doctor Who fandom ...
In actual fact, of course, Tuesday was Jodie's thirty seventh birthday and - like many people at places of employment up and down the country - she rocked up to work in, ahem, her 'birthday suit.' Congratulations to one of the tabloids - well, if you can class the Metro as a newspaper, which might be pushing things a bit - for managing to get to that borderline-suggestive headline before this blogger did. The photo was posted by Jodie's cast-mate, Mandip Gill on her Twitter page. This blogger thinks that it's Bradley Walsh's unimpressed and somewhat pained expression which makes it art.
It was previously reported in several media outlets that the Belgian actress Aurora Marion would be guest starring in an episode of Doctor Who's forthcoming twelfth series. Marion's Instagram account this week reveals that she will portray the real-life World War II wireless operator Noor Inayat Khan, who was posthumously awarded the George Cross for her services in the Special Operations Executive. Inayat Khan was a British Women's Auxiliary Air Force service member of Indian and American descent trained for wireless operation and fluent in French. As an SOE agent she became the first female wireless operator to be sent into occupied France to aid The Resistance during World War II. In October 1943, Noor was captured and interrogated by the Nazis and, after two escape attempts, was executed at Dachau in September 1944. So, it will be jolly interesting to see if the Daily Scum Mail, the Sun and the Torygraph will go down the same, louse shitscum, 'too politically correct' nonsense route they tried last year when the series returns and tells an - admittedly fictionalised - account of the story of a twenty four carat British war hero. Place your bets now, dear blog reader./
More than twenty thousand Christians have, reportedly, signed a petition calling for the cancellation of Good Omens, the television series adapted from the late Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman's acclaimed 1990 fantasy novel. Unfortunately, however, they addressed their petition to Netflix when the series is actually made by Amazon Prime. The six-part series was released last month, starring national heartthrob David Tennant as the demon Crowley and Michael Sheen as the angel Aziraphale, who collaborate to prevent the coming of the Antichrist and an imminent apocalypse. This blogger , as previously noted, thought it was great and the series will probably feature, bigly, in From The North 'best TV shows of 2019' list come the end of the year (although, admittedly, this blogger could've done with considerably less of that lanky streak of worthless rancid piss Bloody Jack Bloody Whitehall stinking up the gaff with his presence). A second series is not - and, never has been, planned, the six episodes having taken up all of the plot of the novel that it's based on. Pratchett's last request to Gaiman before he died was, reportedly, that Gaiman adapt the novel they wrote together; Gaiman wrote the screenplay and worked as showrunner on the BBC/Amazon co-production, which the Radio Times called 'a devilishly funny love letter to the book.' But some alleged Christians, marshalled by the 'Return to Order' campaign, an offshoot of the US Foundation For A Christian Civilisation, disagreed. More than twenty thousand supporters decided to ignore The Word Of The Lord from Matthew 7:1 and judge not lest they, themselves, be judged by signing an Interweb petition in which they say that Good Omens is 'another step to make Satanism appear normal, light and acceptable' and 'mocks God's wisdom.' Let us leave aside, for a second, the almost one hundred per cent failure rate of every single Interweb petition (and any subject). Even those which get considerably more support than twenty thousand. God, the Christians complain in their petition, is 'voiced by a woman' - Frances McDormand - the Antichrist is 'a normal kid' and, most importantly, 'this type of video makes light of Truth, Error, Good and Evil and destroys the barriers of horror that society still has for The Devil.' They are, as a consequence, calling on Netflix to cancel the show. Which Netflix couldn't do even if they wanted to since they had nothing whatsoever to do with its production in the first place. Though, good on them, Netflix responded in jest with a 'promise' to halt production on Good Omens instantly. Amazon added that they would cancel the Netflix hit Stranger Things in return. This blogger thinks it's so nice to see Christianity bringing people together like this, don't you think dear blog reader? Gaiman himself responded to the petition, writing: 'I love that they are going to write to Netflix to try and get Good Omens cancelled. This is so beautiful. Promise me you won’t tell them?' Return to Order is, apparently, 'based on the writings of the author John Horvat II' (no, me neither). It 'calls upon Americans to put principles into actions by working toward what is called an organic Christian society.' Another of its petitions, in April, called on Walmart to 'stop selling Satanic products' following a 2018 protest against an allegedly 'blasphemous' ice cream chain called Sweet Jesus.
Meanwhile, national heartthrob David Tennant and Cush Jumbo have been announced as the leads in Deadwater Fell, Channel Four's four-part crime drama from Grantchester writer Daisy Coulam. Deadwater Fell 'tells the story of two families in the aftermath of an unthinkable crime.' One night the community of Kirkdarroch is drawn to Kate and Tom Kendrick's family home in the forest by the flicker of flames and the smell of smoke. Amid the confusion of the house fire, Kate and her three children are found dead and Tom, who is alive, is rushed to hospital. It soon becomes apparent, however, that Kate and her children were not killed in the fire and the village realise that 'something unspeakable' has happened. What, we don't know. It's unspeakable. As the fingers of suspicion point first to Tom, then to others within the community as more details of that night emerge, Kate's best friend Jess Milner becomes desperate to understand what could have caused such a tragedy and what - unspeakable - secrets lie at the root of this terrible act. Tennant has been cast as Tom, while Jumbo plays Jess. Rounding out the cast are Anna Madeley as Kate and Matthew McNulty as Steve, Jess' partner who was born and raised in Kirkdarroch, where he serves as a police sergeant. Daisy Coulam created the series and is writing the scripts. Kudos are producing, with Emma Kingsman-Lloyd, Karen Wilson, Tennant and Coulam serving as the executive producers. Caroline Levy is the series producer. Lynsey Miller will direct. Deadwater Fell was originally commissioned by Channel Four's Head of Drama Caroline Hollick and Commissioning Editor Manpreet Dosanjh in January. Production is set to get underway later this month on location in Scotland.
Redemption, action and a whole lot of tears: the finale of BBC1's Years & Years had plenty of all of these. Yet, despite making confident predictions about the rise of bio-tech and a populist right-wing Prime Minister, the drama finished with a surprisingly uncertain climax, leaving viewers with many questions. And unfortunately, it seems that we are unlikely to get answers on-screen: there will not be another series of Years & Years, as the drama was only ever intended as a one-shot series. Radio Times spoke to Russell Davies to get his insight into the dystopic and, at times, hopeful finale he had created. Firstly, there was the question of Vivienne Rook, the tyrannical Prime Minister played by Emma Thompson who was, finally, exposed as running several death camps across the country. Although viewers saw her being led away by The Law outside Downing Street, her fate is far from certain: the show suggests that Rook either lives out her days in prison, escapes and is on the run, or she is haunted by the digital spirit of Edith (Jessica Hynes) and forced to run through an endless corridor until the end of time. So, which of these three was the definitive ending, Radio Times demanded to know? Atypically, Big Rusty merely noted that there isn't one. 'It's for the viewer to make up their own mind,' he said, a shockingly brave thing for a TV writer to dare to suggest in 2019; that the audience should actually do some of the work. 'You can believe what Edith says or you can think [Rook] was just taken away outside Downing Street, put in a car and left staring out in a very Thatcher-esque way. It's all about choices. It would be a shame if Viv Rook was just arrested and sentenced to prison. I think she's caused so much harm, so much death. Actually, as a viewer, I think you want more of an ending to that. You want more of a punishing ending to her. You want her to meet her doom in that corridor. Well, Emma Thompson did, anyway - she loved that bit!' The finale also warned that Britain wasn't safe forever, with another populist leader - the politician with a spinning bow-tie shown on Question Time during the episode's close - on the rise. 'I didn't want to make it look like the downfall of Viv Rook led us into the sunny planes of Nirvana where all our problems will be over,' Rusty explained. 'People will still suffer. The country will go from highs to lows, from left to right.' He added: 'People always compare Viv Rook to Nigel Farage or to Boris Johnson or Trump. Actually, the real point of Vivienne Rook is that she's like us. She sounds like everyone on Twitter all the time - she has that aggression, that sense of humour, that literal take down of any person, issue or thing. That's us. We wonder where Donald Trump came from and then we go online and talk like that. And we wonder where all the anger comes from. Those people are not separate from us - they're part of our personality.' A point which Davies made beautifully in the series itself, most notably in Anne Reid's dinner table 'this is the world we built' speech, which even the Torygraph lauded as one of TV's greatest ever monologues. Rook's fate wasn't the only ambiguous one. Viewers never got to find out what happens to Edith, specifically whether her trans-human operation was a success. Although we see scientists uploading Edith's memories to the cloud (via a few futuristic water-tanks) as the character dies, we never find out if her consciousness lived on. Instead, we see the Lyons family gathered around a device (the old Alexa-type machine Señor from previous episodes), the screen cutting to black after grandmother Muriel asks the digital version of Edith 'is that you?' Did Edith survive, Rusty was asked? 'I will never answer that question,' he replied. 'That's the end. That's the last episode. You'll be kept in suspense forever.' While viewers may never get a definitive answer, perhaps the question misses a vital point. Davies was keen to highlight Edith's final words, questioning what, exactly, is human identity and whether each person is just part of one larger entity. 'You're wrong. Everything you've stored, all those downloads, bits of me that you've copied onto water. You've got no idea what we really are. I'm not a piece of code. I'm not information, all these memories. They're not just facts. They're so much more than that. They're my family, my lover. They're my mum, my brother who died years ago. They're love. That's what I'm becoming: love.' Although Davies said that he wrote this dialogue in thirty seconds ('not allowing for the ten years of thought that built up to that'), he claimed that keeping it in the script took 'a lot of guts. I can absolutely guarantee you there'll be people rapidly taking the piss out of that. It takes a lot of nerve and a deep breath to say "I believe in this speech and I'm going to transmit this on BBC1. That I believe the human race has this potential - the fact that we can love and be loved,' he explained. 'Wherever we use the word love, there's a certain amount of embarrassed, usually male, viewership watching, thinking "you can't do that, put a gun in their hand!" There will be people taking the piss and I don't care. Go and watch something else! They're the kind of people that I'll never be friends with, never bother with. I think it's wonderful and I'm immensely proud of it.' And, not only is Rusty full of pride that he kept in this speech about human identity in a major BBC1 drama, he says that he couldn't be happier tackling these themes with the show's very last line. After all, "is that you?" isn't just a question that Muriel asks 'Edith', but something that Davies is putting to all viewers. 'That's what the whole series is asking - "how much of everyone else are you?"' he explained. 'It's the best three words you could possibly end on. It's the perfect ending.'
The series-long The Trial Of A Time Lord is to be the next Doctor Who Bluray box-set, scheduled to be released by BBC Studios in September. So, if you're only buying the 'good' ones, dear blog reader, this may well be one to consider avoiding. The fourteen episodes formed one long (and, frankly, somewhat tedious) narrative - albeit, nominally split into four separate stories - in 1986, with five episodes written by the late Robert Holmes, four by Philip Martin and five - properly awful ones, particularly the finale - by Pip and Jane Baker. These pitched Colin Baker's Doctor (you know, the crap one) against Michael Jayston's The Valeyard. And, threw The Master into the mix for no obvious reason. In addition to material created for the previous DVD box-set release, the Series Twenty Three Collection will include all of the episodes 'newly remastered from the best available sources' and 'extended edits' of all fourteen episodes in addition to the broadcast versions (so, you'll be getting more of Terror Of The Vervoids, dear blog reader. If that isn't a reason not to buy the thing then nothing is). The four-part 'stand-alone edition' will also include 'updated FX'. Or, in other words, some FX. The are new episodes of the Behind The Sofa series featuring Baker, Nicola Bryant, Bonnie Langford, Mark Strickson, Frazer Hines and Matthew Waterhouse. In The Writers' Room, Eric Saward, Philip Martin, Christopher H Bidmead and Waly K Daly discuss the 'Lost' series twenty three, the planned series which was aborted after Michael Grade's decision to place Doctor Who 'on hiatus' in 1985. There is also The Doctor Who Cookbook Revisited in which 'brave cast members tackle some of their original recipes' from the 'official' 1980s cookbook which lots of gullible Doctor Who fans - this blogger very much included - paid good money for in 1986, glanced through once and then stuck in a cupboard and never even looked at it again. In The Doctor's Table, fans can join Colin Baker 'and friends' for dinner. Hopefully, they will be eating something from The Doctor Who Cookbook. And then, suffering a night of the flamin' abdabs afterwards on general principle. There is also the very excellent Matthew Sweet 'in conversation with Bonnie Langford', previously unseen studio footage, 'rare archive treats', contemporary convention footage, HD photo galleries, scripts, costume designs and more in the PDF Archive. So, if you've got forty quid to waste, dear blog reader, then you will want to pre-order this ghastly collection forthwith. The trailer for the DVD release - featuring Colin over-acting his little cotton socks off ... and usual - can be viewed here. Some people, let it be noted, really rather like this era of Doctor Who dear blog reader and that's entirely fine - it is, after all, a free country. Keith Telly Topping would simply like to make very clear that he isn't one of them. This blogger, in fact, thought it was a right load of arse. Next -
Filming has begun on the Game Of Thrones prequel series, provisionally titled The Long Night, which has been created by Jane Goldman and George RR Martin. Entertainment Weekly reports that filming has begun on the spin-off: 'The shooting location is a familiar one: Northern Ireland, which served as the production of hub for Game Of Thrones during its entire run. It is not yet clear if the prequel will also shoot in other countries as well.' The vpilot episode is being shot with a cast that includes Naomi Watts, Naomi Ackie, Denise Gough, Miranda Richardson, Josh Whitehouse, Jamie Campbell Bower, Sheila Atim, Ivanno Jeremiah, Alex Sharp and Toby Regbo. Jane Goldman is the showrunner. 'Taking place thousands of years before the events of Game Of Thrones, the series chronicles the world's descent from the golden Age of Heroes into its darkest hour,' HBO's description of the drama states. 'From the horrifying secrets of Westeros's history to the true origin of The White Walkers, the mysteries of the East to the Starks of legend, only one thing is for sure: It's not the story we think we know.'
This week saw the UK debut of the George Clooney-produced adaptation of Catch-22. The Gruniad Morning Star's Stuart Heritage's piece, Has George Clooney Broken The Curse Of The Unfilmable Novel? is worth a glance, although you might want to skip past his very out-of-place sneer regarding Good Omens. On the other hand, the BBC's resident specky slapheed, Will Gompertz didn't think much of it. As a matter of pure disinterest, dear blog reader, this blogger, a big fan of Joseph Heller's acclaimed 1961 novel, thought it was great.
Imelda Staunton, Francesca Annis, Russell Tovey and Stephen Rea have been cast in ITV's forthcoming four-part drama Flesh & Blood. The story concerns three adult siblings - Helen, Jake and Natalie - who are 'thrown into disarray' when their recently widowed mother, Vivien, declares that she is in love with a new man. As she nears her seventieth birthday, the siblings' suspicions are heightened when retired GP Mark sweeps their mother off her feet, shifting her priorities away from her children. The happiness of her forty five-year marriage to their late father, Terry, is called into question, which 'sends a seismic shock through the lives of the siblings.' Years of secrets, lies, rivalries and betrayals come to the surface 'and threaten to blow apart everything they've held dear.' With their large family home overlooking the Kent coast, their inheritance and the happy memories of their childhood all suddenly threatened by the arrival of Mark, the siblings attempt to find out more about their potential new stepfather. But, will their long-buried grudges and their own various complicated personal lives allow them to pull together and sort this shit out to everyone's satisfaction? Imelda Staunton has been cast as Mary, who has lived next door to Vivien for forty years and, despite not being family, appears unhealthily attached to Vivien and her family's unfolding drama; From The North favourite Annis plays Vivien, Tovey is Jake and Rea is Mark. Grantchester's Claudie Blakley, Lydia Leonard (most recently seen in Gentleman Jack), Sharon Small, Lara Rossi, Keir Charles, Vincent Regan, David Bamber, Stephanie Langton and Clara Indrani complete the cast. Sarah Williams created the series and wrote the scripts. She also serves as an executive producer alongside Silverprint Pictures' Creative Director Kate Bartlett. Letitia Knight is the series producer, while Louise Hooper is attached to direct. Production is currently underway in London and 'along the Sussex coast.'
After months of uncertainty, ITV has confirmed that Cold Feet will return for a ninth series. Six more episodes of the BAFTA-winning comedy-drama will begin filming later this year, with the show set to be shown in 2020. In February, the broadcaster insisted that 'no decision' has been made concerning the show's future, with an alleged - though suspiciously anonymous and, therefore, almost certainly fictitious - 'source' allegedly telling Radio Times that a 'verdict' was, allegedly, 'expected to be reached in the coming weeks.' Now, four months later, creator and writer Mike Bullen has been given the green light and the popular cast - Jimmy Nesbitt, Hermione Norris, Robert Bathurst, Fay Ripley and John Thomson - are all set to return to Manchester for another series. 'I think we were all overwhelmed by the amazing response to the latest series,' Bullen said. 'Jenny's cancer in particular seemed to touch a nerve with viewers. There are still stories to tell for these characters but I'm conscious that we've raised the bar. The delight at being recommissioned has already been replaced by trepidation at the weight of expectation.' At the end of series eight, Jenny (Ripley) was dealing with her cancer treatment and, with husband Pete (Thomson) by her side, preparing herself for the road ahead. She had just face the death of her friend and fellow patient Charlie. David (Bathurst) was putting his life back together with the support of his friends, while the group had just found out about the burgeoning love affair between Karen (Norris) and Adam (Nesbitt). ITV's Head of Drama, Polly Hill said: 'We're delighted to be returning to Manchester for more of Cold Feet. The audience reaction to the last series was incredible with many saying it is getting better with age! We're pleased to be working again with Mike Bullen whose moving, funny, complex and absorbing scripts are a joy to commission.'
Channel Four has come out in support of Hollyoaks to deny tabloid claims that the long-running soap was 'facing the axe due to falling ratings.' The Sun claimed that the soap's future was in danger 'due to the decline in numbers,' stating that viewing figures have gone from a high of eight hundred thousand in January, the most watched episode of 2019 so far, to a June average of four hundred and fifty thousand. In 2015 the show averaged over one million. According to the tabloid's alleged - though suspiciously anonymous and, therefore, almost certainly fictitious - 'sources' the channel is 'worried about the downward trajectory of audience figures' and fear they won't recover. 'They don't want to see it go,' the paper was allegedly told, 'but need to justify its existence and the numbers won't have to go much lower before that becomes impossible.' The Sun also states that Channel Four 'bosses' - that's tabloidese for 'executives' only with less syllables - are 'making a last-ditch effort to turn things' around with 'a planned overhaul' apparently dubbed internally as 'Project Chester.' When contacted by Radio Times, Channel Four assured the magazine of their 'continued and robust commitment to the show,' with an official statement declaring: 'Hollyoaks is hugely valued and not under threat and we're of course very happy and incredibly proud of the well-deserved Best Soap award win. It has a huge reach for sixteen to thirty four audiences, in fact our share of this demographic on E4 - the first-look episode - is up, which means Hollyoaks is the only UK soap to be up year-on-year. Hollyoaks epitomises our remit for serving young audiences across Channel Four and E4 and we're incredibly proud it was also recognised as Best Soap at the British Soap Awards earlier this month.' Hollyoaks' nightly E4 broadcasts are regularly the highest-rated programmes on the Freeview channel, figures which were apparently 'not included in the tabloid report.' A British tabloid running an article on TV ratings and quoting inaccurate figures stripped of any additional context, dear blog reader? What were the chances?
The dissonance between From The North favourite Nick Cave's fire-and-brimstone Night Of The Hunter bombast in songs like 'The Mercy Seat' and 'O'Malley's Bar' and the sensitive, intellectual soul who sang 'The Ship Song' is one of rock and/or roll music's most pleasing juxtapositions. This week, Nick was playing in Birmingham and was asked about the impact of From The North favourite Peaky Blinders on his career, Nick's classic murder ballad 'Red Right Hand' being used as the popular period gangster drama's theme song. During a Q&A an audience member asked: 'A few years ago, a new show aired on BBC and the opening scene had a man walking down a bleak street in early-1900s Birmingham, to your song 'Red Right Hand'. Have you seen a spike in interest in your music and your person as a result of Peaky Blinders?' 'Fucking Birmingham!' Nick joked, adding, 'It's a great show. So many people come up to me and say "I'm a huge fan" and have discovered my music through Peaky Blinders. But was Birmingham really like that?' 'It still is,' came the reply.
Nikolaj Coster-Waldau hasn't let the grim fate of Jaime Lannister scare him away from TV. With Game Of Thrones barely cold in its grave, Coster-Waldau is already diving into an all-new TV series according to The Hollywood Reporter. The popular Danish actor is joining The Umbrella Academy actor John Magaro, Lola Kirke, Judd Hirsch and Ben Schnetzer in the FX pilot Gone Hollywood. This Disney-produced pilot will also feature a Game Of Thrones reunion as Jonathan Pryce will also feature. Gone Hollywood will, reportedly, 'blend real-life and fictional events in the early 1980s movie industry' as a group of power-hungry young agents arrive on the scene to overthrow the old guard of Hollywood studio bosses. Gone Hollywood is being created for FX by Ted Griffin, who previously co-created the cult comedy Terriers and also worked on Ocean's Eleven and Matchstick Men.
There's an interesting piece by the Gruniad's Sirin Kale slapping down, with great vengeance and furious anger, the pathetic whingings of half-a-dozen sour-faced malcontents on Twitter that Killing Eve 'isn't as good as it used to be.' Personally, this blogger would reintroduce the death penalty for such slander and blasphemous rumourage (and, he'd make sure it was bloody cruel and unusual, an'all). So, dear blog reader, Keith Telly Topping is pretty sure you'll all agree it's probably a jolly good thing that this blogger isn't, you know, in any sort of position of power or authority. You don't want that, dear blog reader. The world doesn't want that.
Discovery and BBC Studios have closed the UKTV transaction splitting up the multi-channel broadcaster. The completed deal came after the agreement, first announced in April, got the go-ahead from Ofcom last week. BBC Studios has now assumed full control of the UKTV brand, the VOD service UKTV Play and the entertainment channels Alibi, Dave, Drama, Eden, Gold, W and Yesterday. Discovery has acquired the lifestyle channels Really, Home and Good Food - the on es nobody watches. The deal cost BBC Studios one hundred and seventy three million knicker. As a result of the deal, several of the channels owned by BBC Studios and Discovery have relocated from their existing EPG slots on Freeview. Dave moved to channel nineteen (from twelve), Home moved to forty two (from twenty five) and, as you'll know if you've seen any of the - many - adverts featuring From The North favourite Tony Robinson, Yesterday has moved from nineteen to twenty five. 'UKTV has always been an important part of the BBC Group, creating value for licence fee payers and British programme makers,' said Marcus Arthur, the President of UK & Ireland for BBC Studios and the new CEO of UKTV. 'UKTV's award-winning brands, innovative commissions and premium acquisitions have delivered large and loyal audiences who love great TV. As a wholly-owned part of BBC Studios we will support its future content ambitions, building on its history of success over many years.' James Gibbons, the Executive Vice-President and General Manager, UK & ANZ, for Discovery, added: 'Today marks an exciting milestone for Discovery, as we welcome UKTV's lifestyle channels to our substantial UK portfolio. We are committed to deepening our position with viewers as the leader in real life entertainment by building great brands that power people’s passions and deliver value to our partners.'
And, in somewhat-related news, UKTV is expanding their slate of original series. The commercial broadcaster has commissioned a new scripted comedy starring Jon Richardson for Dave, a Death On The Tyne sequel Dial M For Middlesbrough for Gold and - in news which is sure to delight many From The North readers, this blogger much included - a new eight episode Dave Gorman series for Dave. 'The latest crop of UKTV Originals demonstrates our commitment to finding and backing the very best talent both in front of and behind the camera. Our indie partners continue to help us raise the quality and ambition of our shows across more genres,' claimed UKTV's Director of Commissioning Richard Watsham. 'These new series span both feature length and half-hour scripted comedy as well as an evolution of one of Dave's most watched comedy entertainment shows, from the brilliant mind of Dave Gorman,' he added. 'And with our future position as part of BBC Studios, I'm particularly excited about the opportunities to grow our UKTV Originals slate further going forwards.' Meet The Richardsons offers 'a fictional window into the funny and frustrated marriage of Jon Richardson and Lucy Beaumont.' Jon and Lucy - both of whom this blogger has a lot of time for - will play 'exaggerated versions of themselves' as viewers get a glimpse into their home and work lives, 'surrounded by their celebrity friends and their Hebden Bridge neighbours.' Sounds rather good. The six episode series is being written by Lucy Beaumont and Tim Reid and is produced by Second Act Productions. Lee Hupfield and Eddie Stafford are the series producers and directors. Dial M For Middlesbrough is a sequel to both Murder On The Blackpool Express and Death On The Tyne. The feature-length outing will be another Agatha Christie-inspired whodunnit, though specific plot details were not immediately available. UKTV said that is would feature 'another all-star cast.' Jason Cook, who wrote both of the previous - very funny - films, is returning to write the script. Shiny Button is producing. Dave Gorman: Terms & Conditions Apply is an eight episode series fronted by Gorman, his first new series since From The North favourite Modern Life Is Goodish ended in 2017. Once again Dave will be bringing his trusty laptop along but now, in each episode, he will also be joined by three comedy guests 'as they cast their eye over his latest modern world discoveries, compete in mischievous games and generally try to unscramble the baffling morass of non-stop information that surrounds us in the Internet age.' Avalon are producing, with Modern Life Is Goodish's James Fidler (who, tragically, didn't call his son Adil) serving as the series producer. Paul Wheeler will direct. The series will be recorded in July and August. David announced at the end of series five of Modern Life Is Goodish that he was quitting the hit format as it was burning him out. He revealed that he was working over one hundred hours a week during production. The format of Terms & Conditions Apply would, therefore, appear to take some of the pressure off his work load. Dave said: 'I'm delighted to be getting the band back together and making another show for Dave. I'm still trying to navigate my way through the bombardment of non-stop information but hopefully, this show will prove I'm far from alone in finding it all quite so baffling.' UKTV is reportedly 'eyeing a late 2019 premiere,' for all three.
Two-time Oscar winner Glenda Jackson is set to play the lead role the BBC's upcoming adaptation of Elizabeth Is Missing, marking the eighty three-year-old actress' first return to the screen in over twenty five years. Adapted from Emma Healey's bestselling novel, the one-off feature-length drama is written by Andrea Gibb and will star Jackson as Maud, a woman struggling with dementia while attempting to piece together what has happened to her best friend Elizabeth. After Elizabeth goes missing, Maud is convinced that something terrible has occurred and she sets out to solve the mystery, all the while fighting against time as her dementia worsens. As Maud becomes more forgetful, the distinctions between past and present begin to blur - and she begins to wonder whether the mystery is connected to the decades-old unsolved disappearance of her own sister, Sukey. On joining the cast, Jackson said that she was 'delighted' to be returning to television. 'Emma's novel and Andrea's screenplay paint the most striking portrait of a woman in the grip of a devastating condition. I am delighted to be making my return to television to play Maud, a character it's impossible not to be charmed and moved by.' Piers Wenger, the Controller of BBC Drama said: 'We are thrilled that Glenda Jackson is returning to the BBC and will be at the heart of this inspiring and extraordinary tale. Andrea Gibb's brilliantly crafted script and adaptation of Elizabeth Is Missing explores important themes told through emotion, warmth and humour.' Jackson won two Oscars in the 1970s for Women In Love and A Touch Of Class, but she later retired from acting and entered into politics, serving as a Junior Transport minister in Tony Blair's government. However, in 2015 she returned to the stage, winning a TONY Award for her performance in Three Tall Women on Broadway.
Much excitement reportedly surrounds Adrian Edmondson - who used to be funny - joining the cast of EastEnders. Now, the production has revealed when he makes his first appearance on screen. The former star of The Young Ones and Bottom will be introduced on the episode broadcast Tuesday 25 June as Daniel Cook, a fellow cancer patient of Jean Slater (Gillian Wright) who she meets in hospital during a chemotherapy appointment. Daniel is set to become a new love interest for Jean, but any romance is clearly a way off yet as their first meeting sees the stressed Mrs Slater becoming increasingly exasperated at his unique sense of humour - which quickly goes from amusing to irritating. Much like Ade's later career, in fact. As the atmosphere gets more and more strained, Jean loses her rag, gives Daniel a piece of her mind and they end up clashing. How will tension turn to attraction for the pair? The recent summer 2019 trailer showed Jean throwing a drink in bewildered Daniel's face, so it’s obviously going to be a slow burn love story. 'At first Jean is unsure about Daniel,' an EastEnders spokesperson said at the time Edmondson's casting was announced. 'But as he offers support in his own unique way, she warms to him and the pair strike up a bond.' The soap's executive producer, Jon Sen added: 'Adrian is a phenomenal talent who brings his unique blend of intelligence, warmth and humour to the role of Daniel. We're all over the Moon he's coming to Walford!'
Odious, full-of-his-own-importance (and, you know, sacked) smear Jeremy Kyle has reportedly refused to give evidence to a parliamentary inquiry into reality TV. Presumably, because he doesn't fancy the idea of being asked a lot of impertinent questions by some hectoring, bullying thug who won't take 'no' for an answer. And, if you look up the word 'irony' on Google, dear blog reader reader ... The presenter had been due to speak to MPs next week, following the - extremely satisfying - cancellation of his daytime talk show by ITV last month following the death of a recent guest, Steve Dymond. The chair of the digital, culture, media and sport committee, Damian Collins (another odious, full-of-his-own-importance smear, said: 'The Jeremy Kyle Show is an important programme as part of our inquiry into reality TV. We believe that Jeremy Kyle himself is an important witness. We sent an invitation through his representatives, and we have now heard that he has declined to appear. We will be pursuing this matter with his representatives to fully understand the reasons why he has declined and we will make a further statement in due course.' Senior staff involved in the show, including the managing director of ITV Studios, Julian Bellamy and the director of entertainment, Tom McLennan, will give evidence to the committee on 25 June. MPs will also grill the channel's director of aftercare, Graham Stanier, who is - at least in theory - responsible for ensuring the welfare of the show's participants. Dymond is believed to have killed himself about a week after appearing on the programme in which he failed a lie detector test while attempting to convince his fiancee that he had not been unfaithful to her. The construction worker was found dead by his landlady after splitting from Jane Callaghan. The inquiry was launched to investigate whether TV companies give guests enough support after they appear on reality television programmes. It will also look into shows such as ITV's hugely successful Love Island. That show came under criticism after the former contestants Sophie Gradon and Mike Thalassitis took their own lives. The channel announced changes to its 'duty of care policy' ahead of the new series - including a minimum of eight therapy sessions for participants when they return home. Since The Jeremy Kyle Show was taken off air, Kyle has not kept a very low profile, only issuing a brief statement to claim that he and his team were 'utterly devastated by recent events.' The recent events, presumably, being ITV's decision to shovel The Jeremy Kyle Show into the nearest gutter along with all the other turds rather than the death of someone to whom they, in theory at least, had a duty of care towards. Though Kyle could now be found in contempt of parliament, other recent high-profile snubbings reflect the pathetically limited powers that politicians have to 'force' witnesses to give evidence before them. Dominic Cummings, the director of the Vote Leave campaign during the 2016 EU referendum, was found in contempt of parliament for refusing to appear at a committee hearing on fake news. His 'punishment' was a formal 'admonishment' from the House of Commons. Which, one supposes, he was heart-broken about.
ITV will no longer commission comedy shows with all-male writers' rooms, the broadcaster's head of comedy has said. Saskia Schuster said that she 'realised' last year 'an awful lot of my comedy entertainment shows are made up of all-male writing teams.' She said: 'Too often the writing room is not sensitively run. It can be aggressive and slightly bullying.' She has now changed ITV's contracts and female writers have been shoehorned in to join shows like ITV2's risible, worthless Celebability. There has been 'a significant lack of shows written by women or with women on the writing teams,' Schuster said. Last year, when reviewing the gender balance of sitcom scripts she was sent, she realised that for every script she received from a female writer, she got five from men. After consulting writers, producers, agents and performers, 'the first thing I did was I changed my terms of commissioning,' she told Channel Four's Diverse Festival in Bradford on Monday. 'I won't commission anything with an all-male writing team.' Schuster has launched a scheme called Comedy Fifty:Fifty to encourage more female comedy writers. She said female writers struggle because it is difficult to compete for jobs with men who have more writing credits, they can't find producers who 'get' their voice and can develop their script to its full potential and they 'don't thrive' as the lone female voice in a writers' room. 'There can all too often be a sense of tokenism towards the lone female,' Schuster wrote on the Comedy Fifty:Fifty website. 'Or the dominant perception is that the female is there purely so the production can hit quotas.' She has now changed ITV's contracts so any shows that are commissioned or recommissioned 'must aim towards fifty/fifty gender representation.' Comedy Fifty:Fifty has 'set up a database which currently has details of four hundred and sixty female writers.' Many producers had complained that 'there aren't any female writers [or] we don't know where to find them,' she said. Schuster also runs events where, she says, she 'forces' her producers to have ten-minute conversations with three female writers. She has set up 'confidence workshops' and is launching a mentoring network next month. She has assigned young female writers to 'shadow' shows like Roman lack-of-comedy Plebs, which is written by two men and, also hopes to extend the equality target to cover directors and crew members. Writer Brona C Titley has been brought onto the team for Celebability, which didn't have any female writers for its first two series - most likely because no woman would want to have anything to do with such a depressing waste of oxygen. She told the Diverse Festival that she had been in fifteen writers' rooms in recent years and had been the only woman in eight of them. 'If you have the same type of writers in terms of race or sexual orientation or gender, then you're only getting one kind of joke and if you've got different voices in the room, you're getting different kinds of jokes,' she said. 'You want to represent the wide audience that's watching. You want diversity in voice, or else it won't be as funny because it won't be appealing to as many people.'
Puppets from an animated version of The Wind In The Willows have returned home thirty years after they were feared lost. Twenty-five figures - including Ratty, Mole and Toad - have been donated to The Waterside Arts Centre in Sale. The figures were created in the 1980s by Manchester-based animation studio Cosgrove Hall, which also made Danger Mouse and Chorlton & The Wheelies. They had been kept in storage for twenty six years and were discovered when they were put up for auction. The figures belonged to Andrew Dunning, an animatronics and set designer who acquired them following the production of The Wind In The Willows film in 1983. A spokesman for The Waterside said it was 'beyond thrilled' to get them back thanks to Dunning's 'generosity and kindness.' The handmade puppets range in height from five inches to the tallest, Badger, who is fourteen inches. Peter Saunders, who was head of the team that made them, said it was an 'amazing turn of events. The puppets disappeared after they were displayed in an exhibition many years ago and everyone thought they were gone for good,' he said. 'It's great that they've turned up and have been donated to the Cosgrove Hall archive.' Cosgrove Hall also created the Danger Mouse spin-off Count Duckula, Terry Pratchett's Truckers and Noddy's Toyland Adventures, but its characters were put into storage when the studio shut in 2009. The puppets will go on display later this year.
Whilst the Polish historian and political scientist Jerzy Targalski was conducting a television interview with the Dutch news program Niewsurr recently his cat, Lisio, tentatively climbed up on Jerzy's side and then settled onto his shoulders. Ever the professional, Targalski calmly continued with the interview on without acknowledging his feline interpoler, although he did have to manually move Lisio's tail away from his eyes several times.
A man has been bailed after 'an incident' at Warner Brothers Studios reportedly left another man in hospital with a neck injury. A spokesperson for Hertfordshire Constabulary said that the fifty four year-old was 'arrested on suspicion of wounding with intent to do grievous bodily harm.' Police told the BBC in a statement that a man in his forties sustained 'a small laceration' to his neck. An ambulance took him to hospital and he was later released after treatment. The arrested man was released on bail until Wednesday 17 July. They were 'known to each other,' said police, adding that enquiries are continuing. And, that both were 'old enough to know better.' Eight films in the Harry Potter series were shot at the studios in Leavesden and part of the lot is now taken by the Making of Harry Potter tourist attraction. A spokesperson for Warner Brothers said: 'I can confirm that there was an isolated workplace incident at the Warner Brothers studio production facility and the police are now handling the matter.'
Keith Raniere, a self-described 'self-help guru' accused of leading a naughty sex cult which enslaved women, has been found very guilty of all charges against him. Raniere was convicted by a jury after a six-week trial in Brooklyn. He allegedly oversaw a 'slave and master system' in his group, Nxivm. He was convicted of all counts, including racketeering, sex trafficking and child pornography. Raniere, who pleaded not guilty to all charges, could face life in The Big House for a bad and naughty crimes. During the trial, the court heard how female recruits in the group were branded with his initials and coerced into having The Sex with Raniere. Raniere maintained that Nxivm was 'a self-improvement organisation', but investigators said that, actually, it was a sex-trafficking operation disguised as a mentoring group. Recruits were told it was an all-female group and were asked to hand over compromising materials which were later used to blackmail them, prosecutors said. Raniere was arrested by the FBI in Mexico last year. His defence team said the alleged sexual relationships were consensual. But, the jury didn't buy it. When the verdict was read outside court, former members of Nxivm gave the prosecution team a round of applause. According to Nxivm's tagline, Raniere and his organisation were 'working to build a better world.' But, witnesses called to testify at his trial painted a starkly different picture of the man. Raniere, the court heard, ran a secret society within Nxivm called DOS. As the 'grandmaster' of DOS, he was a 'predator' who 'exploited and blackmailed' women, including a fifteen-year-old girl, prosecutors alleged. Raniere forced his 'slaves' to give him nude photos of themselves and 'other compromising materials,' telling them that they would be made public if they disobeyed him, the court heard. Every August, Nxivm members - called 'Nixians' - would pay two thousand bucks or more to gather in Silver Bay, New York to celebrate Raniere's birthday week, according to court documents. A former member testified that the week included 'tribute ceremonies' to Raniere, who was referred to as 'The Vanguard' by his followers. Another former member of the alleged sex cult, identified by prosecutors as Daniela, testified she was 'groomed' for weeks before she turned eighteen for Raniere to take her virginity. The same woman was allegedly confined to a bedroom for two years - all because she gained weight and asked to see a man other than Raniere. In her closing arguments, prosecutor Moira Penza said that Raniere was 'a crime boss with no limits' who 'tapped into a never-ending flow of women and money.' In his defence, Raniere's lawyer Marc Agnifilo told the court that no women were 'ever forced to do anything' against their will. 'You may find him repulsive, disgusting and offensive,' Agnifilo said. Particularly when his prog rock LP collection briefly became a major focus of the case. 'We don't convict people in this country for being repulsive or offensive,' Agnifilo claimed. 'Unpopular ideas aren't criminal. Disgusting ideas aren't criminal.' But, possession of Yes and Genesis LPs really ought to be criminal. A jury of eight men and four women dismissed the defence's arguments, convicting Raniere for the catalogue of abuse, forced starvation and sexual exploitation he subjected his victims to and sending his sorry ass to The Slammer. Raniere was at the top of this structure as the only man, but had a number of female deputies. Female recruits were allegedly branded with Raniere's initials and expected to have The Sex with him, as part of the system. Five female members of Nxivm - including a liquor heiress and an actress - have also pleaded extremely guilty to a series of charges for their involvement. The most high profile of these was former Smallville actress Allison Mack who is, herself, facing a shitload of jail. In April she pleaded very guilty to racketeering and racketeering conspiracy charges, despite previously denying the accusations. Mack admitted to recruiting women by telling them they were joining a female mentorship group. She is now scheduled to be sentenced in September and will face a maximum sentence of twenty years in The Joint for each of the two charges. Clare Bronfman, the heir to the Seagram alcohol fortune, in April also pleaded guilty to conspiracy to conceal and harbour illegal immigrants for financial gain and fraudulent use of identification. She was accused of pumping more than one hundred million dollars into Nxivm. In March, the co-founder of the group, Nancy Salzman, pleaded guilty to charges of racketeering. She is due to be sentenced in July. Lauren Salzman, the daughter of Nancy and Nxivm employee, Kathy Russell, also pleaded guilty over their involvement. On its website Nxivm described itself as a 'community guided by humanitarian principles that seek to empower people and answer important questions about what it means to be human.' Based in Albany, the group was founded as Executive Success Programs [sic] in 1998. Billed as 'a personal development company,' it claims to have worked with more than sixteen thousand people. Members of the group are reported to include wealthy socialites and Hollywood actresses. According to the group's website, it has suspended enrolment and events 'because of the extraordinary circumstances facing the company at this time.' No shit?
Author and reality TV type individual Ree Drummond's daughter was arrested in April, recently revealed court documents show. Multiple outlets report that Paige Drummond, aged nineteen, whose mother is the star of the Food Network's Pioneer Woman apparently, was 'arrested for possession of alcohol by a person under twenty one years of age and public intoxication.' Documents show that she was charged and jailed in mid-April in Oklahoma, where her family lives. Paige 'did appear in a drunken condition' when police arrested her and she was carrying an open container of beer at the time. The district attorney reportedly granted the Drummonds' request to dismiss the charges from Paige's record in May and she paid around four hundred dollars in court fees. Drummond's cooking show, Pioneer Woman and her various spin-off endeavours, have made her one of the most successful celebrity chefs in America.
'Viewers were left outraged after a "spanking model" revealed she was forced to drop out of university because of the vile abuse she received from classmates,' the Sun reports. And, by 'viewers', they actually mean half-a-dozen people you've never heard of expressing an opinion on Twitter, just for context. Appearing on Channel Five's Student Sex Workers, Ella Hughes said that she had 'struggled to make ends meet' when she was studying Law at Southampton Solent University. She recalled in the programme how she 'fell into the porn industry' because she 'couldn't hold down an average job' and so, 'decided to seek out alternative job options.' She explained: 'It's such an intense course, there's not much time in between seminars and doing your assignments.' Ella started off in the industry as a web-cam model before she was approached by a company specialising in online spanking videos. 'Although she was sceptical at first, Ella says her first ever video was the "best twenty minutes of my life" and it racked up over four million views online,' the Sun notes. Since then, Ella has 'won awards for her work' and 'was even named among the top three "spankies" in country.' As for the money, Ella can make up to four hundred knicker-a-day making custom-made videos for clients and 'earns an astonishing thirty thousand pounds-a-year' getting her bum smacked. However, Ella, in the programme, revealed that she has 'lost a lot of friends' when they discovered she had been working as a cam-girl whilst some of her classmates at university had labelled her 'a slag.' She said: 'I got a lot of hate, even though they were watching the videos. To watch it and then somebody based on their actions, I think, is so snide.' Even though Ella stopped going to her seminars to avoid rude comments, her classmates continued to send her abusive messages on social media, the Sun alleges. Ella's tutors also told her that 'porn and law don't mix' - which, actually, is completely untrue. Just ask Gary Glitter about that - and urged her to leave the profession. Instead, she left them. Discussing her decision to drop out of uni, Ella said: 'I feel like I was being crushed more and more. I decided for myself it wasn't the best environment to be in.' Despite dropping out of her course, Ella then joined the Open University to complete her law degree. Good for her. And, whilst it's rather odd - though, admittedly, a pleasant surprise - to see the Sun being so sympathetic towards someone involved in adult entertainment, one has to wonder what certain other right-of-centre tabloids with less tolerance towards those who do not live within what they consider to be a morally-acceptable worldview would've made Student Sex Workers. Like, this infamous case for example.
An age-check scheme designed to stop under-eighteens from viewing pornographic websites has been delayed a second time. The changes - which mean UK Interweb users may have to prove their age - were due to start on 15 July after already being delayed from April 2018. The lack of culture secretary confirmed the postponement saying that the government had 'failed to tell European regulators about the plan.' Completing the notification process 'could take up to six months.' In the House of Commons, the lack of culture secretary the vile and odious rascal Wright said that 'an important notification process was not undertaken for an element of this policy.' He said the UK government had failed to inform Brussels about key aspects of the scheme. The vile and odious rascal Wright snivellingly apologised for the delay and said that it was still the government's intention to bring in the age-checking system. The plans for compulsory age-checks for UK porn viewers - which the government has described as 'a world-first' - were designed to stop children 'stumbling across' inappropriate content. Once enacted, it will mean pornographic sites will have to verify the age of UK visitors by law. If they fail to comply they will face being blocked by Interweb service providers. There has been confusion over how it will be enforced, with suggestions that websites could ask users to upload scans of their passports or driving licences, or use age-verification cards sold by newsagents nicknamed 'porn passes.' Campaigners have also repeatedly 'raised concerns' about the privacy and security of the scheme. Critics also say that teens may find it 'relatively easy' to bypass the restriction or could simply turn to porn-hosting platforms not covered by the law. Twitter, Reddit and image-sharing community Imgur, for example, will not be required to administer the scheme because they fall under an exception where more than a third of a site or app's content must be pornographic to qualify. Likewise, any platform that hosts pornography but does not do so on a commercial basis - meaning it does not charge a fee or make money from adverts or other activity - will not be affected. Furthermore, it will remain legal to use virtual private networks, which can make it seem like a UK-based computer is located elsewhere, to evade the age checks. However, the authorities have acknowledged that age-verification is 'not a silver bullet solution' but, rather, a means to make it less likely that children stumble across unsuitable material online.
Facebook has overturned a ban it made this week on displaying the cover of Led Zeppelin's Houses Of The Holy LP, which features images of naked children. The website Ultimate Classic Rock had posted the image on Facebook, but it was taken down. UCR was outraged - and you really don't want to get a fiftysomething metalhead angry, dear blog reader - after it was told 'there are rules regarding nudity and solicitation that we have to follow' by a Facebook representative after the image was, allegedly, 'flagged by other members of the community.' Facebook has now reversed the decision. 'As our community standards explain, we don't allow nude images of children on Facebook,' a spokesperson told UCR. 'But we know this a culturally significant image. Therefore, we're restoring the posts we removed.' The cover of the 1973 LP was designed by Aubrey Powell of Hipgnosis, the collective that became renowned for its cover designs for The Pink Floyd, 10cc and many other hippies. It features collaged images of two children with their bare bums turned to the camera, posing on Giant's Causeway in Northern Ireland. The children in the image, siblings Stefan and Samantha Gates, said in a 2007 interview that they were 'unfazed' by the naked photoshoot. 'We were naked in a lot of the modelling shoots we did, nothing was thought of it back then,' Samantha said. 'You probably couldn't get away with that now.' As, indeed, Ultimate Classic Rock, briefly, found out. 'The decision comes amid growing consternation at Facebook's policies on nudity,' the Gruniad Morning Star claims. The US organisation National Coalition Against Censorship staged a naked protest outside Facebook's New York offices earlier this month. It was quite a sight. 'The nudity ban prevents many artists from sharing their work online,' reads a statement on NCAC's website. 'The ban disproportionately affects artists whose work focuses on already-marginalised bodies, including queer and gender-non-conforming artists. The policy also prevents museums and galleries from promoting exhibitions featuring nudes.' Facebook has, reportedly, 'since agreed to re-evaluate its nudity guidelines.' This week a separate protest was made against Instagram, owned by Facebook, by sex workers and adult models who argue that the social network's 'unpredictable policies on nudity' are affecting their livelihoods.
Eight properties were evacuated close to where a mobile crane exploded in Rothbury. The county's fire and rescue service said the move was 'a precaution.' No-one was reported hurt in the incident. Lovely place, Rothbury. This blogger has always rather fancied living there. Although, obviously, not if the gaff is on fire at the time.
For all of those dear blog readers - well, two of them anyway - who have recently contacted From The North to ask if this blogger has any information about just what the blithering fek is going on at this blogger's beloved (though still unsellable) Magpies vis-a-vis, Rafa The (seemingly, soon-to-be-former) Gaffer and/or the proposed takeover which would transform the club into Sheikh Yer Newcastle United, this blogger, sadly, can only tell you this.
Former UEFA president Michel Platini has been released by French anti-corruption investigators after being questioned over the awarding of the 2022 World Cup to Qatar. Platini was head of European football's governing body until being very banned in 2015 for ethics breaches. The former France midfielder and three-time Ballon d'Or winner has always denied any wrongdoing. One or two people even believed him. Qatar beat bids from USA, Australia, South Korea and Japan in 2010. Platini was taken into custody and questioned in Nanterre, a suburb in Paris, on Tuesday. He was released from custody later that night and emerged from the police stations with a big smug grin plastered all over his mush. 'It was long but considering the number of questions, it could only be long, since I was asked about Euro 2016, the World Cup in Russia, the World Cup in Qatar, FIFA,' said Platini. Officials have been investigating alleged corruption connected to the 2018 and 2022 World Cups for the past two years and were reported to have interviewed Sepp Blatter, the former president of FIFA, in 2017. In a statement, Platini's lawyers reiterated that he had not been arrested and had 'expressed himself serenely and precisely, answering all the questions, including those on the conditions for the awarding of Euro 2016, and has provided useful explanations.' Whether Platini's 'serenity' extended to giving details of a lunch which he allegedly attended in Paris just days before the controversial vote in 2010, with the then French president Nicolas Sarkozy at his official residence and the Qatari head of state we just don't know. It has long been suspected that the prospect of important bilateral trade deals between the two nations and the subsequent Qatari takeover of Paris St-Germain may - or may not - have been used as leverage to get Sarkozy's support. Platini has always denied that was the reason why he changed his mind to vote for Qatar, rather than the US as he had, reportedly, intended to vote for. Platini's lawyers added: "'e has nothing to do with this event which doesn't concern him at all. He is absolutely confident about what's next.' FIFA said that it was 'aware' of Platini's questioning, but added it was 'not in a position to comment further.' Platini was banned over a two million Swiss francs 'disloyal payment' from Blatter, who was also extremely banned from football for his part in the matter. Blatter has also always denied any wrongdoing. Not a single person on the planet believed him. Platini's eight-year ban was later reduced to four on appeal and will expire in October 2019. Qatar's bid team has been previously accused of corruption, but was cleared following a two-year FIFA inquiry. However, former Football Association chairman Greg Dyke told BBC Radio 4's PM programme that the decision to award Qatar the 2022 World Cup was 'a bizarre one. I think anyone who was involved in that decision has to be questioned because it was such a bizarre decision,' he said. 'It was against the advice of their own technical committee, who said they didn't think it would be safe and as we now know they have had to move it to the winter to make it safe. And Qatar didn't meet all sorts of criteria, so it was always a very odd decision. I like Michel Platini. I thought he was a good leader for UEFA and he was a very likeable, charismatic man. In some ways it's sad that this is being dragged up again but if you look at the wider picture of why was that World Cup awarded to Qatar, there are still so many questions to be answered.'
England ladies manager Phil Neville insists that his team's playing style is 'non-negotiable' after they beat Japan to top Group D at the Women's World Cup. England were put under heavy pressure in Nice but two Ellen White goals and some resolute defending were enough to see them through to the last sixteen. Neville maintains his expansive, possession-based style is one he wants to persevere with. 'The style is non-negotiable however far we go,' he said. 'When you get to last sixteen it's about winning. We place a big emphasis on winning as we like to play in a certain style. In the second half [against Japan], because we were so open and fatigued, we probably got exposed a little bit. But we got another clean sheet, won another game and we've played three and won three. We're where we want to be - in the last sixteen, ready to attack the business end of the tournament. We played well for ninety minutes against Argentina, we played well for seventy eight minutes against Scotland and today there were glimpses, but with seven changes we probably didn't get the control we wanted in the first half and the start of the second half.' After White opened the scoring with a clever finish over the onrushing Ayaka Yamashita, Japan grew into the game, with England happy to sit back and absorb pressure. And, while their back four were able to repel the majority of the Japanese threat, there were times when Karen Bardsley came to the fore, making one particularly impressive save to keep out Kumi Yokoyama's swerving thirty five-yard free-kick. Further up the field, Bardsley's Sheikh Yer Man City team-mate Georgia Stanway impressed on her first World Cup start and it was the twenty-year-old who made White's opener. 'Bardsley was great,' Neville said. 'I think she was our player of the match today. You talk about the best keepers in the world and we've seen some brilliant ones in this competition. She's up there in the top three for me.' He added on Stanway: 'She is incredible. When we named the team she looked a bit surprised and nervous so we said pretend you're in the park, playing with your friends. She's going to be one of the best players in world football if she keeps her feet on the ground, keeps working hard and keeps listening to coaches.' Eyebrows were raised when Neville made wholesale changes to his starting XI for the second successive game - sending out a side with eight different faces from the team which beat Argentina on Friday. And, England did perhaps lack fluidity at times, with Toni Duggan and Demi Stokes, who were making their first appearances of the tournament, struggling to get into the game. But Neville is determined that rotating his team is the best way forward, saying: 'We picked our strongest team to play against Japan. That's what rotation is about, not about putting twenty three players into a hat and picking out eleven - we strategically plan each rotation and made eight today. We knew at times we were going to suffer, but it was a game we needed to have to keep us focused.'
Scotchland ladies suffered from 'appalling' decisions in the draw with Argentina which ended their Women's World Cup, whinged head coach Shelley Kerr. The Scotch led three-nil but conceded twice before a twice-taken VAR-awarded penalty made it three-all in stoppage time. Lee Alexander initially saved the penalty but was judged - rightly - not to have had at least part of one foot on the goalline despite having been warned by the referee before the kick was taken that this rule would be enforced with extreme prejudice. 'I'm gutted for the players, gutted for the support, but the officiating was really, really poor,' whinged Kerr. 'For seventy minutes we played well. The bottom line is we have conceded three goals but the first goal is from a free-kick; that changes the whole complexion of the game. Some of the decisions were appalling to say the least. It doesn't take away the fact we were comfortable in the game and conceded three goals but there is a ball on the pitch, we try and make a substitution and it's just an absolute farce.' Kerr was referring to referee Hyang-ok Ri allowing an Argentina free-kick to be taken while substitute Fiona Brown was coming on. After losing against both England and Japan, Scotchland needed to win to stand a chance of reaching the last sixteen. But, they didn't. With sixteen minutes left and leading three-nil, they were on course to be one of the four best third-placed sides going into Thursday's final fixtures in Groups E and F but the draw ultimately means they finish bottom of Group D. Goals by Kim Little, Jen Beattie and Erin Cuthbert had put the Scotch in control but Milagros Menendez got one back for Argentina and within five minutes it was three-two as a Florencia Bonsegundo shot went in via crossbar and Alexander's hand. Then came the dramatic finale when Argentina were awarded a penalty after Sophie Howard's trip on Aldana Cometti was reviewed by the video assistant referee and Bonsegundo scored the spot-kick at the second attempt. 'People will argue you can't concede three goals but it does put you under pressure when you concede one,' whinged Kerr. 'We didn't deal with the ball around the edge of the box with the second one and obviously the third is a penalty. I can't really say any more about the decisions. We have been a victim of them every game. We still have to do better and see the game out but right now it's a bit raw.' Perhaps, however, BBC Sports' Tom English was somewhat closer to the truth with his piece Scotland Must Face Capitulation Truth.
David Wang may never play for Wolverhampton Wanderers, the Birmingham Live website has been told. The nineteen-year-old, who was listed in the Gruniad Morning Star's 'sixty best football talents in 2017,' joined Wolves from Spanish club FC Jumilla in January and signed a four-and-a-half year contract. Wang was immediately loaned out to Portuguese side Sporting Lisbon and spent the second half of the season training with their B team without making an appearance. However, an alleged - though anonymous and, therefore, probably fictitious - 'source' allegedly 'close' to Wang has allegedly confirmed that the Spain-born winger holds a Chinese passport which will make it 'incredibly difficult' for him to obtain a work permit to play in England. Work permits are usually only granted to players who play for nations inside FIFA's top fifty and China currently sit seventy third. Wang is yet to play for China's national team, although he did spend a short period training with their under-sixteens in 2015. A similar situation developed recently at Wolves' Black Country rivals West Bromwich Albinos, who signed China striker Zhang Yuning for six million knicker in 2017. Yuning never saw any action in Albinos colours before returning to his homeland to sign for Beijing Guoan in February.
Eoin Morgan broke the record for the number of sixes in a one-day international with an astonishing display of hitting in England's one hundred and fifty-run World Cup win over Afghanistan on Tuesday. Captain Morgan hammered seventeen sixes - including three in one over - in making one hundred and forty eight from seventy one balls, his outrageous and audacious ball-striking providing stunning entertainment to an Old Trafford crowd that lapped it up. Morgan went past the previous best of sixteen, jointly held by Chris Gayle, AB de Villiers and Rohit Sharma and England's total of twenty five sixes also set a new record for any team in a single ODI innings. Jonny Bairstow made ninety, Joe Root eighty eight and Mooen Ali spanked thirty one not out in just nine balls as the hosts racked up three hundred and ninety seven for six in their fifty overs, England's highest total in a World Cup match, bettering the three hundred and eighty six for six they accumulated against Bangladesh ten days ago. There was never even the remotest danger of Afghanistan getting close to succeeding in the subsequent run-chase and they ended a processional second half of the game on two hundred and forty seven for eight. The win lifted England to the top of the ten-team table, ahead of Australia on net run-rate. Afghanistan remain rooted to the bottom, having lost all five of their games so far. Taken in isolation, Morgan's performance was awesome, yet it was made all the more impressive for two reasons. Firstly, this was the same player who was debilitated by a back spasm in last Friday's win over the West Indies. He could barely walk up the pavilion steps, was unable to sit during his post-match news conference and was a doubt to play in this game until the morning of the game. In addition, it was a complete contrast to the first part of England's innings. For as comfortable as Bairstow and Root were on a used wicket against some respectable bowling, their progress was rather sedate with only occasional bursts of outrageous violence. Morgan changed all that. When he arrived at the end of the thirtieth over, England were one hundred and sixty four for two. With the left-hander as the catalyst, the final fifteen overs brought one hundred and ninety eight runs in a stunning blur of six-hitting which turned fielders into spectators and spectators into fielders. When the Afghanistan bowlers dropped short, Morgan heaved the ball over the leg side, often into the massive temporary stand. When the ball was pitched up, he smashed it impressively straight. He had one life, on twenty eight, when Dawlat Zadran barely got one hand to a difficult chance at deep mid-wicket. After that, Morgan pummelled one hundred and twenty runs from the next forty six balls he faced to the delight of the rocking Old Trafford crowd. His first fifty came from thirty six balls and his second from twenty one. In the fourteen balls he faced after reaching three figures, one of which was the ball which got him out, he plundered a further forty seven runs. When he was finally dismissed, caught at long-off, he received a handshake from bowler and opposite number Gulbadin Naib, then departed to a rapturous standing ovation. England are slowly growing into this tournament and, in doing so, have put their sole defeat by Pakistan a fortnight ago - a game in which their fielding was awful - well behind them. Sterner tests await. They still have group games against Australia, New Zealand and India to come. But, this was the type of contest which England teams of the past would have approached with nervous trepidation; yet, bar Bairstow dropping two catches (one, admittedly, a difficult one, the other far more straightforward), Morgan's men ruthlessly dealt with the weakest team in the tournament. Four of their batsmen have now made hundreds in the tournament - no other team has more than two centurions - and, in a competition where extreme pace has yielded the greatest success, Jofra Archer and Mark Wood have twenty one wickets between them. England will dearly wish for Jason Roy to be fit for at least the knockout stages. With the opener absent because of a hamstring injury, James Vince made a characteristically handsome twenty six, then holed out in characteristically frustrating fashion. Even before this game, Afghanistan were not having an enjoyable time in Manchester. On Monday evening, police reportedly had to be called to a restaurant after 'an altercation' between some of their squad and a member of the public. They lost an important toss on Tuesday - this game might have been different had their spinners been giving a decent total to defend. But, that did not excuse a fielding performance which was littered with errors or bowling that crumbled in the face of Morgan's assault. Rashid Khan, their star leg-spinner, conceded one hundred and ten runs from nine overs, the joint second-worst return in ODI history and the most expensive ever in a World Cup match. When Archer bowled Noor Ali Zadran in the second over of the reply, there was the feeling that a batting line-up which had already struggled in this tournament could disintegrate. To their credit, they showed great spirit, none more so than Hashmatullah Shahidi, who made seventy six despite suffering a sickening blow to the helmet from Wood. Morgan's fifty seven-ball century was England's fastest in a World Cup and their fifth fastest in all ODIs, England hit more sixes in one innings than they have ever managed in an entire World Cup campaign before Tuesday, the thirty three sixes in the match (including, let it be noted, eight by Afghanistan) is a record for a World Cup match and more than all of the teams managed in the entire inaugural tournament in 1975. Morgan and Joe Root added one hundred and eighty nine off one hundred and one balls, of which Morgan made one hundred and forty two whilst England scored one hundred and forty two off the final ten overs of their innings. And then, of course, typically, England being England, they went and blew all of their hard work on Tuesday by losing their next game, to Sir Lanka at Headingley on Friday. Which was really bloody annoying.
A former nurse who allegedly 'posed as a man online' in order to trick women into sending her naked pictures of themselves has been jailed after repeating the offence mere months after being freed from The Big House. Mind you, this is according to the Daily Mirra. So you, know, it's perfectly possible that this is - like much else in that sorry excuse for a newspaper - a total load of old crap. Adele Rennie, who was given three years in The Slammer, allegedly 'used a voice-changing app and pretended to be a wealthy lawyer using the Tinder dating site.' In 2017, when she adopted the persona of a doctor, she was jailed for twenty two months and placed on the sex offenders register for ten years after duping ten victims with the same scam. She was once again sent to prison for three years this week for 'targeting more women,' convincing at least one of them to send her nude pictures, according to reports. One of her latest three victims was matched with a profile of 'Dan', a thirty one-year-old man from Troon, to whom the woman gave her Instagram username. 'Dan' said that he was a half-Italian criminal defence lawyer working in Ayr and Edinburgh. But, the victim suspected that 'he' had been trawling her followers after he warned one was in trouble with the police for harassing girls and her ex-husband was 'keeping tabs' on her, Kilmarnock Sheriff Court heard. Days later, 'Dan' asked for the victim's mobile number then called from a withheld number in a voice she described as 'strange and tinny.' He claimed that a gang had vandalised his Jaguar and he was embarrassed to be driving a fifteen-plate model. 'Dan' alarmed the woman by saying that he went to the same places as her including a Morrisons supermarket and a gym. They arranged to meet but 'Dan' cancelled, saying the victim had 'too much baggage.' He then sent her a video of Dean Castle country park in Kilmarnock, where she had been, a picture of the brand of tea she liked and hinted that 'he' knew her post code. The woman feared she was being stalked. Ruaraidh Ferguson, prosecuting, said: 'Her fear grew so much that she did not feel safe in her own home and went to stay with family members.' A dinner date at So LA restaurant in Glasgow was arranged but after 'Dan' changed his online username the victim called 'him' out, prompting 'him' to deny that he was lying then block her. The woman went to the police, said Ferguson, adding: 'She told officers she had no intention of returning to her home address until the person responsible for these acts was caught and she was safe.' Detectives played her an audio clip of Rennie's disguised voice from her 2017 prosecution and the victim confirmed that it sounded like 'Dan'. 'Dan' told his second Tinder match victim that he was a high court advocate originally from Newton Mearns. 'He' sent her pictures of food dishes 'he' had allegedly made, claimed to have 'a condo in Thailand' and said that 'his' car had been vandalised. But, she doubted his grammar was that of an advocate and suspected he was 'catfishing' her with a fake persona after claiming that he got a client to 'steal back' a Range Rover from an ex-partner. A few days later, the woman was Tinder matched with 'Jack', who tried to persuade her to get back in touch with 'Dan' and even gave her 'his' phone number. She was then contacted by police and discovered that her number was on Rennie's phone under the name Laura. The victim told officers that the male voice 'threw her off.' Rennie then targeted another woman on Tinder, posing as Daniel McKinnon, a newly-single criminal lawyer with a Labradoodle dog living in a large house in Troon. Ferguson told Sheriff Elizabeth McFarlane: 'He said he'd just been on a case and he didn't like the judge, Liz McFarlane. You sentenced the accused in 2017.' The woman suggested using WhatsApp so she could get 'Daniel's phone number, but Rennie replied: 'No, you don't know what kind of weirdo you'll have on there. We'll just have Tinder for now.' The woman discovered 'Daniel's location was three miles from her's and messaged: 'I know who you are.' She was then blocked. Rennie, of Kilmarnock, initially claimed that she was a victim of 'a conspiracy' between her previous victims but, later, pleaded very guilty to 'computer misuse offences causing fear and alarm' to her victims in January. One of the victims in Rennie's first reign of deceit, Abbie Draper, also gave evidence. Neil McPherson, defending, said that graduate nurse Rennie had worked at Crosshouse Hospital and Glasgow Royal Infirmary, where she was a charge nurse specialising in stroke and general medicine. McPherson added: 'She describes herself as someone who has always suffered from low self-esteem, lack of confidence and felt she has never fitted in.' Jailing weeping Rennie, Sheriff McFarlane told her: 'You have behaved in a cold and calculated way in order to humiliate, hurt and harass other people who have done absolutely nothing to deserve it.'
A man described by the Manchester Evening News as 'a thug' launched 'a furious court rant,' ripping off his shirt and demanding a prison officer pick it up, after being jailed for attacking a woman following a night out. Lorenzo Mason was, reportedly, 'incensed' that the judge ignored his pleas to be spared The Slammer for dragging the victim into the street by her ankle then punching and stamping on her head. He admitted assault occasioning actual bodily harm and was sentenced to The Joint at Manchester Crown Court on Tuesday. Simon Barrett, prosecuting, told how the victim had been on a night out with a friend in the Levenshulme area of the city in 11 July last year. They had met up with Callum Dalton, her friend's boyfriend and he agreed to give them a lift home. Mason was also in the car and suggested they go to a party instead, Barrett said. 'They agreed to do that and the group stopped at a petrol station to get alcohol,' he told the court. 'But, during the journey there was an argument in the vehicle during which the victim and her friend say Mason was abusive. The victim said she didn't like [Mason] and that she was going to walk home.' The court heard that the victim was eventually persuaded to continue to the party and Mason directed them to an address in Longsight. When Dalton pulled up at around 2.15am, Mason once again became abusive to the victim and her friend and there was 'a physical altercation' in the back of the car with punched being thrown and the like. 'Sickening' CCTV footage from a nearby address was shown to the court of Mason dragging the victim out of the car and into the street where he punched, kicked and stamped on her. Mason eventually walked off, leaving the victim being cared-for by her friend. But, he returned around ten minutes later, having changed his clothes, the court heard. He armed himself with a metal grid from the street and again approached the victim, who was lying on the floor, carrying the weapon above his head. Fortunately, he was prevented from carrying out any further violence by Dalton. The victim was taken to hospital with what were described as 'horrific injuries' including a cut to her eyebrow, bruising to her scalp, cuts to her cheekbone, scratch marks to her chest and bruises and cuts to her ankle. The court heard that she later suffered seizures and vomiting and had to return to hospital for a full CT scan. Her employer said that she was unable to work for a period due to her facial injuries meaning she also suffered a loss of income, the court heard. Mason has a long history of criminal offences including a robbery on a bookmakers using an imitation firearm in 2010. The Manchester Evening News reported at the time how he took his mask off too early during the robbery and police issued a CCTV appeal which was recognised by his mother. When police turned up at his house, she blurted out 'I presume you're here about what's in the paper' and showed officers a copy of the paper with the image of her son's face. Mason committed further offences whilst in prison and, with that in mind, Judge Patrick Field declined a plea by the defence for him to suspend any prison sentence for the latest assault. 'It was a deeply shameful incident,' the judge told Mason before sending him to The Big House for eighteen months. 'In the dock, burly Mason reacted with fury, ripping off the white shirt he was wearing and throwing it to the ground,' the Manchester Evening News reported. 'Now wearing a black vest, he stomped off down to the cells, shouting at the dock officer: "You pick it up. Take it down, it's your job." There was a short confrontation before the dock officer picked up the shirt.'
A woman has been sent to The Slammer for four months for stealing ice creams from a discount store. Police called to the scene found Jacqueline Clarke and her look-out, Mandy Wilson, standing outside Poundland licking one pound ice creams. Serial shoplifter and drug addict Clarke's record was described as 'deplorable' by the sheriff, who sent her to the Pokey. In the dock at Dunfermline Sheriff Court were Clarke and Wilson. They both admitted that on 5 June, at Poundland in Dunfermline, they 'stole a quantity of ice creams.' Deputy fiscal Azrah Yousaf said that at around 10.40am, both women were seen in the shop premises. 'The accused, Clarke, had put her handbag on top of a freezer and was putting items into it. Her co-accused appeared to be acting as a look-out,' added Yousaf. 'They were stopped by security guards and both of them apologised. There were twenty ice creams stolen at a value of twenty pounds. Two of them were consumed and so only eighteen ice creams were recovered.' And, they were all a bit defrosted by the time Plod arrived. Defence solicitor James Moncrieff claimed that his client Clarke had 'a long-standing difficulty' with drug misuse. 'She had taken Valium and doesn't recall too much about this incident. The items were taken to be sold for drugs money,' he added. 'The crime was not well-executed. She was standing outside the shop eating one of the ice creams when police located her. It was a pretty stupid theft and the items taken were not likely to have much monetary value.' And, had limited resale value ... particularly if the defrosting had continued. Defence solicitor Elaine Buist, representing Wilson, claimed that her client had also consumed Valium before the offence. 'She didn't appreciate the quantity of ice creams being taken. She thought they were just taking some to eat, not to sell,' she added. Clarke was jailed for four months because of her long list of previous offences, many for shoplifting. She had been put on a restriction of liberty order for another theft earlier this month. Sheriff Charles MacNair told her: 'You have a dreadful record.' Sentence on Wilson was deferred until July for reports.
Doctor Thomas Bower has successfully sued the beer company Brewdog for 'discriminating against' men in their 'Pink IPA' campaign intended to highlight the gender pay gap. Despite Pink IPA being sold at a fifth cheaper than Punk IPA, to reflect the gender pay gap and to '[expose] the sexist marketing techniques used to target women, particularly within the beer industry,' many women pointed out that they didn't actually need a pink label to make it acceptable to partake in beer drinking (though they were grateful for the pound off). Nevertheless, whether one felt something effectively marketed as ladygirl beer was patronising to women or not - and, this blogger can see a decent argument for both viewpoints, as it happens - its point was to start a conversation about the fact that women get paid, on average, eighteen per cent less than men in the UK. So, one would think most people would be in agreement that this wouldn't be the ideal basis upon which to launch a legal case over the discrimination of men. Bower, on the other hand, was so outraged that he was not granted access to the four quid price tag on Pink IPA due to him having, you know, a penis, that he went on to sue the company over the issue. And, he won. The twenty seven-year-old software engineer from Cardiff said that the problem arose for him because he 'felt forced to identify as female' in order to get the drink for four knicker instead of a fiver. After complaining to the company and receiving a response to say this was not discrimination because the price difference was 'part of a national campaign to raise awareness about the gender pay gap,' Bower went on to pursue his legal options. He ended up taking Brewdog to a small claims court, requesting damages and an apology for 'direct discrimination and breach of the Equality Act 2010.' Alternatively, he offered the chance for Brewdog to apologise 'publicly' in exchange for dropping the claim. The brewery did not take the complainant up on his offer and went on to lose the case in court. Brewdog was ordered to pay a bag on sand in damages, which Wales Online reports Bower has donated to charity. It is not known exactly which charity the money has gone to. A transcript of the judge's ruling from the case read: 'In my judgment, it is clear that in this case the claimant has been directly discriminated against by the defendant because of his sex. The fact that by identifying as female he was still able to purchase a Pink IPA makes no difference. I accept what Doctor Bower says, namely that identifying as female was the only way he could purchase a Pink IPA at a cost of four pounds.' The judge conceded in his judgement that Bower must have felt 'humiliated,' which was 'not a pleasant experience for him.'
An 'attack squirrel' housed in an Alabama apartment and fed methamphetamine by its owner to make sure it stayed aggressive was rescued on Monday, officials said. The squirrel was removed from the alleged 'drug den' by investigators following a bust at an apartment in Athens, according to authorities. One man, identified as Ronnie Reynolds was arrested at the scene, but the Limestone County Sheriff's Office is still looking for another suspect - the alleged 'caretaker' of the squirrel - identified as Mickey Paulk. The sheriff's office said that prior to the drug raid, officials were told Paulk kept an 'attack squirrel' in his home. It's illegal in Alabama to have a pet squirrel. Particularly, an 'attack' one. Officials found the squirrel and released it into the wild, per a recommendation from Alabama's Department of Conservation. 'There was no safe way to test the squirrel for meth,' the sheriff's office said. Drug paraphernalia and body armour were seized from the apartment.
If you thought you had seen every extreme sport that could be thought up by the human mind, dear blog reader, think again. The Booty Slapping Championships is Russia's newest - officially approved - spectator sport. To reach the pinnacle of any sporting activity talent, months of training, a strict diet and unwavering dedication are, usually, what you need. But, when the goal is to hit your opponent so hard across the bottom that they fall over, it leaves more than a few questions as to how to reach an elite level. RT Sport caught up with the inaugural Booty Slapping Championship winner Nastya Zolotaya in Nizhny Novgorod to find out exactly just what it takes to become a Booty Slapping Champion. 'My ass was red and blue,' Nastya told the channel. 'But, the redness went away after a while.' Quality entertainment.
Asia Hughes apparently had 'an overwhelming urge to twerk' on a street in broad daylight. As you do. Twenty seven-year-old Asia from Toledo in Ohio caused some drivers 'to become distracted' as she twerked on a utility pole, according to WTOL. Hughes wore a thong which reportedly 'exposed her buttocks' as she 'danced in a provocative manner.' Along with dancing on the utility pole, she also 'twerked in the middle of the street.' Police said that 'several' cars 'swerved to avoid hitting her' and 'a few stopped to watch her performance art.' A police officer eventually arrived at the scene and extremely arrested Hughes on the spot. She continued to twerk as the police officer placed her in handcuffs and took to The Slammer. Hughes was subsequently charged with 'disorderly conduct and hindering movement of others.'
A woman who claimed an online cult centred on aliens and the end of the world was behind her boyfriend's murder has been sentenced to up to forty years in The Joint. Or, less, if Armageddon happens before then. Barbara Rogers reportedly told police that Steve Mineo had asked her to kill him in Coolbaugh Township, Pennsylvania, because he believed the leader of the cult was 'a reptilian pretending to be a human.' She claimed the 2017 point-blank shooting was an accident. A jury, however, found her very guilty of third-degree murder in March. 'We are most likely going to be appealing it. It was very unfair,' a handcuffed Rogers told reporters after the sentencing, WNEP-TV reported. 'My boyfriend had a gun. He told me to hold it here and press the trigger. Oh my God, he’s dead!' she told a nine-one-one operator, the Pocono Record reported. Two years ago, Lieutenant Steven Williams with Pocono Mountain Regional Police was quoted as saying that Rogers claimed Mineo told her he wanted her to kill him because he was 'having online issues with a cult.' 'Apparently they belong to a cult,' Williams said. 'He was upset with the cult, felt he was being harassed and he was frustrated. And he asked his girlfriend to kill him. And she did.' He said the group's literature pertains to a 'new-age alien agenda' and accents apocalyptic biblical themes from the Book of Revelation.
The vile and odious rascal Hunt has promised well-known hairdo Boris Johnson 'the fight of his life' as the two compete to become the next Conservative leader and PM. Johnson said that he was 'honoured' to get the backing of one hundred and sixty MPs in the final ballot of the party's MPs - more than half of the total. The vile and odious rascal Hunt got seventy seven votes - two more votes than the next candidate, the rat-faced loathsome wretched odious nasty slavver-merchant, George Formby lookalike (and tit) Gove. Johnson and the vile and odious rascal Hunt now face a vote involving up to one hundred and sixty thousand Tory members, with a result due by late July. All three hundred and thirteen Conservative MPs took part in the final ballot in the House of Commons, with one paper spoilt. The vile and odious rascal Hunt, of course, did his utmost to fuck up the BBC when he was the lack of culture secretary and his utmost to fuck up the National Health Service as health secretary. He now has a chance to go for the hat-trick and fuck up the entire country as Prime Minister. And yet still, he'd be a marginally more preferable choice for many - this blogger, very sadly, included - than Boris. This, ladies and gentlemen is Britain in 2019. Horrifying, isn't it?
Police were reportedly called to the London home of Boris Johnson and his partner in the early hours of Friday after neighbours reportedly 'heard a loud argument.' The Gruniad Morning Star claimed that Carrie Symonds 'was heard telling the Conservative MP to "get off me" and "get out of my flat."' The argument, the Gruniad alleged, 'could be heard outside the property where the potential future Prime Minister is living with Symonds, a former Conservative party head of press.' An anonymous, though presumably quite easily identifiable, neighbour allegedly snitched to a Gruniad reporter that they had 'heard a woman screaming followed by "slamming and banging."' At one point Symonds could, allegedly, be heard telling Johnson to "get off me" and "get out of my flat." The neighbour further grassed that, after 'becoming concerned', they had knocked on the door but received no response. 'I [was] hoping that someone would answer the door and say "We're okay." I knocked three times and no one came to the door,"' the neighbour claimed. The neighbour decided to call nine-nine-nine. Two police cars and a van arrived within minutes, shortly after midnight, the Gruniad claimed but left after 'receiving reassurances' from both the individuals in the flat that they were safe. When contacted by the Gruniad on Friday, police initially claimed that they 'had no record' of a domestic incident at the address. But, when given the case number and reference number by a sneering Gruniad journalist - one Jim Waterson, seemingly - as well as identification markings of the vehicles which were called out, they issued a - hasty and highly reluctant - statement. 'The caller was concerned for the welfare of a female neighbour. Police attended and spoke to all occupants of the address, who were all safe and well. There were no offences or concerns apparent to the officers and there was no cause for police action.' One imagines that, in the - now highly likely - event of well-known hairdo Johnson becoming Prime Minister in the very near future, Waterson and, indeed, the anonymous (but easily identifiable) neighbour may well find themselves subject to rather intense 'scrutiny' by MI5 and subject to intensive probing into their private lives by Johnson's close friends at the Daily Torygraph. And, indeed, in the case of the Torygraph, that didn't even take twenty four hours. Once again, dear blog reader, this is Britain in the Twenty First Century. You voted for it. (Allegedly) Bashing Boris and Symonds have increasingly appeared together at public events in recent weeks. The neighbour claimed that they 'recorded the altercation' from inside their flat 'out of concern for Symonds.' On the alleged recording, allegedly heard by the Gruniad, Johnson can, allegedly, be heard refusing to leave the flat and telling Symonds to 'get off my fucking laptop' before there is, allegedly, a loud alleged 'crashing noise.' Symonds is, allegedly, heard saying that Johnson had 'ruined' a sofa with red wine: 'You just don't care for anything because you're spoilt. You have no care for money or anything,' she claims. Which is odd because most people believe that Johnson cares about nothing else but money. The neighbour snitched: 'There was a smashing sound of what sounded like plates. There was a couple of very loud screams that I'm certain were Carrie and she was shouting to "get out" a lot. She was saying "get out of my flat" and he was saying no. And then there was silence after the screaming. My partner, who was in bed half asleep, had heard a loud bang and the house shook.' Johnson left his wife, Marina Wheeler, last year and began a relationship with Symonds, 'who has been credited with revitalising his appearance and approach to politics.' She was part of his team when he publicly launched his campaign for the Tory leadership earlier this month. In recent weeks the couple have been sharing a flat in a converted Victorian house. It has been reported that they intend to move into Downing Street together if - or, more likely, when - he is elected leader.
And, speaking of - alleged - violence in relation to Conservative politicians, Mark Field has been extremely suspended as a Foreign Office minister after grabbing a female Greenpeace activist by the throat at a black-tie City dinner. The MP has snivellingly apologised for 'confronting' Janet Barker and marching her away as protesters interrupted a speech by Chancellor Philip Hammond. But, he claimed, he had been 'genuinely worried' she 'may have been armed.' One or two people even believed him. He also alleged that his actions were 'instinctive.' Personally, this blogger believes that we should be very worried about a man whose 'instinctive' reaction to a woman saying something he doesn't like is to grab her by the neck and pin her to a wall. Barker told the BBC that Field should 'reflect on what he did' and suggested he 'go to anger management classes. He certainly manhandled me in a way in which was very disagreeable,' she said, but added that she did not intend to complain to the police.
A by-erection will be held in Brecon and Radnorshire after over ten thousand local people signed a petition to remove the constituency's Conservative MP, Chris Davies. Davies was very convicted of a false expenses claim in March. A total of nineteen per cent of the constituency's electorate signed the petition - the threshold is ten per cent. Davies is the third MP to have faced a recall petition and the second to be unseated through the process. Tory leadership candidate the vile and odious rascal Hunt said: 'Whatever the rights and wrongs of his expenses claim, I have only ever known Chris Davies as a decent and honest man and a very diligent local MP.' The recall petition was triggered after Davies's conviction for an offence relating to how photographs for his constituency office were invoiced. He had tried to split the cost of seven hundred knickers worth of pictures between two office budgets by creating fake invoices, when he could have claimed the amount by other means. The politician made an 'unreserved apology' following his sentencing at Southwark Crown Court in April, when he was fined fifteen hundred smackers and told to carry out fifty hours of community service. Davies has been MP for Brecon and Radnorshire since the 2015 general erection, when he beat incumbent Liberal Democrat Roger Williams with a majority of over five thousand. In the 2017 erection Chris Davies's majority rose to eight thousand. The constituency is within the county of Powys, where the Brexit party came top in May's European Parliament erections. The Liberal Democrats and Labour have already selected candidates for the by-election, while the Brexit Party will also be taking part. Liberal Democrat prospective candidate for Brecon and Radnorshire, and the party's Welsh leader, Jane Dodds said: 'Thousands of residents across Brecon and Radnorshire have taken the chance to demand better than a Westminster politics that fails to take their concerns seriously.' A spokesman for Welsh Labour, who have selected local town councillor Tom Davies, said: 'The recall result is another huge blow to Chris Davies's credibility to serve as Member of Parliament. This is a mess all of his making.' He said the Tories 'must not drag their feet' and call 'an immediate by-election.' Richard Tice the Brexit Party chairman said: 'The sheer scale of the vote to force a recall and a by-election shows how strongly the level of dissatisfaction with politics in the country is rising up the agenda.' Recall petitions are launched when MPs receive a custodial or suspended sentence, are barred from the Commons for ten sitting days or are convicted of providing false information about their expenses.
A power cut which disrupted rail traffic on a Japanese island last month was caused by 'a rouge slug,' officials say. More than twelve thousand people's journeys were affected when nearly thirty trains on Kyushu shuddered to a halt because of the intruder's naughty actions. Its electrocuted remains were found lodged inside equipment next to the tracks, Japan Railways says. The incident in Japan has echoes of a shutdown caused by a weasel at Europe's Large Hardon Colluder in 2016. When the weasel took a fatal chew on wiring inside a high-voltage transformer, it caused a short circuit which temporarily stopped the work of the particle accelerator and forced Brian Cox (no, the other one) to do more TV work to pay for the repairs. In Japan, local media on the trail of the slug reported that it 'managed to squeeze through a tiny gap' to get into a load disconnector. It's a bloody slug, mate, that's what they do. A British cousin of the ill-fated mollusc achieved notoriety in 2011, the Gruniad Morning Star reports, when it crawled inside a traffic light control box in Darlington and caused a short circuit, resulting in 'traffic chaos.'
A man urinating off a bridge in Berlin has caused 'a number of injuries,' according to the Berlin Fire Department. The unidentified man having a slash from the low lying Jannowitz Bridge onto a tourist boat on Friday evening. A number of people on board the boat jumped up in surprise, hitting their heads as the boat passed under the bridge. Four people were taken to hospital by ambulance with head lacerations. It is not known if the man was subsequently grabbed by the bobbies.
One million calendars have been printed with incorrect information because of a change to next year's early May Bank Holiday. The government has announced the bank holiday, originally set for Monday 4 May, would be switched to Friday 8 May, to mark the seventy fifth anniversary of VE Day. Avonside Publishing, in Melksham, Wiltshire, said that there was 'not enough time' to reprint the 2020 calendars. Boss David Higgins said customers would have to 'use a pen to correct them.'