Thursday, August 29, 2019

"A Jest's Prosperity Lies In The Ear Of Him That Hears It"

Some major, albeit, hopefully temporary, changes are afoot at Stately Telly Topping Manor which will - in the short term at least - probably affect the frequency of forthcoming From The North bloggerisationisms updates. Be not afear'd, dear blog reader. Yer actual Keith Telly Topping remains committed to your happiness and well-being. if not, necessarily, his own.
'We own the ropes, who's going to hang us now, eh?' The return of Peaky Blinders on Sunday evening has been broadly praised by critics. Set in 1929, the fifth series of the popular period gangster drama begins as the Wall Street Crash hits and Tommy Shelby is forging a career as an MP. The Daily Scum Express's Fay Watson said: 'Everything that makes Peaky so great is right back in there for fans to enjoy. From the killer soundtrack to enough cigarettes to make you feel like coughing yourself.' In her five-star review, Watson continued: 'What the episode really excels in [is] its ability to avoid the creakiness of plot that could result from its longevity. This comes into its own in one of the final scenes of the episode, where in a conversation with a journalist, Tommy rivals the menace of Al Pacino's Michael Corleone and showcases what makes the show so compelling.' Writing in the Metro, Tilly Pearce said in her four-star review: 'Peaky Blinders season five has been one of the most anticipated returns to TV for the past year, so Tommy Shelby and the gang had some high expectations to fill. Thankfully, they do - and then some. Welcome back, fellas.' She praised Cillian Murphy and his ability to 'portray a million emotions through one look" but acknowledged the performances of the rest of the cast. One of the best things about Peaky Blinders is there are no weak links - with every actor standing out in their own right within this twisted Birmingham gangster world.' Ed Power in the Independent wrote the new series had arrived 'with [a] swagger' and was 'slick, a bit superficial and absolutely gripping. It's a reminder, too, that Peaky Blinders is at its best when it sets realism to one side and spirals into a Brummie-noir fever dream. There's lots of that in the episode. As is the tradition, the show literally hits its stride when Tommy dons cap and walks in slow motion while some interesting punk rock strikes up in the background. Scenes such as this encapsulate what Peaky Blinders has become. It's a rock'n'roll riot in vintage clobber and, judged by those standards, an absolute triumph.' The BAFTA-winning Peaky Blinders is being shown on BBC1 for the first time with this new series - a move which meant another hit period drama, Poldark, had to been brought forward to an earlier slot. Peaky Blinders' move gave it its highest overnight ratings so far, pulling an average audience of 3.7 million people, peaking at four million. ITV1's new Jane Austen drama Sanditon, being shown at the same time, attracted an average overnight audience of 3.3 million, peaking at 3.6 million for its first episode. Peaky Blinders' channel hop was a point picked out by Gerard O'Donovan's four-star review in the Torygraph. 'There's no sign of Peaky Blinders softening its act yet, despite a promotion to BBC1 and, even more provocatively, to Sundays,' he said. He went on to praise the look and atmosphere of the episode, while still poking fun at one scene in particular when Tommy 'emerged from the mist on horseback against an impossibly panoramic West Midlands landscape' before picking up the phone to order a hit. Ludicrous in any other hands, but here positively mythic,' he said. He also highlighted the actresses in the show, led by Helen McCrory. 'The women ... in Peaky Blinders have power, if only by association with Tommy, the pivotal point of all their lives. And none more so than Helen McCrory's parodically sensual Polly.' Of course, some critics were determined to be contrary. Odious Jim Shelley in the Daily Scum Mail felt it was all a case of deja vu whinging 'the episode had everything you'd expect from its grand return or season debut.' But, he continued that it lacked 'a special ingredient that took it to another level the way other gang dramas like Gomorrah, Boardwalk Empire, or The Sopranos had long before they reached their fifth series. Peaky Blinders didn't take any chances with its audience or give us something we hadn't seen before.' And, jaded disappointment was the tone of Stuart Jeffries in his three-star review in the Gruniad Morning Star, a newspapers which, as previously noted, has a somewhat schizophrenic history when it comes to Peaky Blinders (from sneering to having its tongue rammed so far up the production's asshole there was no room for anyone else to get in there). Jeffries whinged that the episode was 'a poor show' but, good news for fans as 'the formula is the same. Sharp duds that reprove today's sartorial slobathon? Check. Caps that allow middle-aged chumps like me to feel ancestral connection with their great-grandads? Check. Gaudy, exploitative violence? Sure,' he sneered. 'The six-abreast Reservoir Dogs strut across cobbles, backlit by factory flames? But of course. Cillian Murphy as mob boss Tommy Shelby in existential crisis like Tony Soprano? Oh, go on then.' But Jeffries, added that 'the pleasure of watching period drama is pointing out its shortcomings.' And, showing how fekking pure dead clever you think you are to all of your Middle Class hippy Communist colleagues, obviously. By contrast, one of those colleagues - Sarah Hughes - wrote a piece on the episode that was much more positive. 'Steven Knight has always been particularly good at beginnings and this ferociously paced opening episode was one of his best yet. It set a number of storylines in play, from the effect of the Wall Street Crash of 1929 on the gang's legitimate business to Tommy’s attempts to build a political career as a man of the people-style politician. It also threw in a reminder in the brutal closing moments that the middle Shelby brother remains a killer at heart, albeit one who is no longer quite so impervious to the aftermath of his decisions.' This blogger, if you're interested, thought it was great, dear blog reader.
'May Carleton spoke about you the way I imagine one might about a party they barely remembered, where you crash the car into the dovecote and live on champagne and cocaine for three whole days - you know that kind of party?' And, if anything, Monday night's second episode - Black Cats - was even better. And, it seems Sarah at the Gruniad agrees with this blogger's assessment. Maybe, Sarah could have a word with her sneering colleague, the odious Jeffires and advise that he, you know, shut up.
Meanwhile, the unexpected appearance of Tommy's dead wife, Grace (Annabelle Wallis), in the opening episode certainly had lots of viewers talking. And, whether Grace was supposed to be an actual ghost or a grief symptom of Tommy's is not made clear in the episode, this one scene would nevertheless seem to now qualify Peaky Blinders as an example of the Telefantasy genre in much the same way as Ron Craven's interactions with his dead daughter, Emma, shoehorned Edge Of Darkness into the same column. Believe it or not, dear blog reader, there are people who care about this sort of thing. This blogger, for one! Peaky Blinders has, of course, delved perilously close to supernatural plotlines before - from the supposedly 'cursed' jewel which may (or may not) have caused Grace's death to Polly's uncannily accurate pregnancy premonitions.
The final episode of Poldark has been warmly received by critics, although some viewers whinged that they were disappointed. The fifth and final series of the period drama, which starred Aidan Turner and began in 2015, drew to a close on Monday. An average audience of 4.1 million overnight viewers tuned in to watch the episode live. That number will climb when catch-up figures are included. The show was praised by Roisin O'Connor in the Independent, who called for the drama to carry on. 'While many would argue it is about time the show concludes, Poldark's soap opera nature is precisely why it wouldn't be a poor decision to continue,' she said. 'Beneath the ruffles and wigs are stories with real heart and characters we can fall in love with again and again. Which is why you can't help but feel hope, as the show ends on Ross's last words to Demelza: "I will return."' The Gruniad Morning Star's Emine Saner said the finale was 'as gloriously hammy and cheesy as a croque monsieur.' In her review, she added: 'It has pushed me to my limits with its jumpy approach to time and ludicrous storylines and the finale nearly sent me over the edge. And yet, like that moment when Dwight Enys grabbed George as he was about to go over the Cornish clifftop in episode three, they pulled it back. Just.' The episode also received four stars from Joe Clay in The Times, who said the series 'went out with a bang. There were scenes between Ross and Demelza (Eleanor Tomlinson) that showed off the superb chemistry that exists between the actors,' he wrote, adding: 'Farewell for now, then, Poldark, you've been proper 'ansom.' Ally Ross in the Sun was happier to see the back of Poldark, saying his end had come 'about a series too late for his good and my own liking.' But then, nobody that actually matters gives a shite about what Ally Ross of the Sun thinks. About anything.
It has been confirmed that From The North favourite Qi will return to Beeb2 for its latest - Q - series next Friday, 6 September with an episode called Quirky featuring Loyiso Gola, Jason Manford and Wor Geet Canny Sarah Millican. The second episode of the series, Quintessential, follows a week later, with Cariad Lloyd, Holly Walsh and Josh Widdicombe. As with last year, there is no initial news as to when the extended XL editions of the these episodes will be shown. So, it looks as though the BBC have decided to ignore the pleas of most viewers who just want them to show the damn things in the same week and stop faffing about. Which is bloody annoying, frankly.
The BBC should 'cough up' and pay for TV licences for all over-seventy fives, the prime minister has sneered. It comes after the BBC announced in June that it would restrict the benefit to those in low-income households. Speaking to reporters at the G7 summit, well-known hairdo Bashing Boris Johnson said that the BBC's funding settlement had been 'conditional' on it continuing to fund the free licences - something the corporation disputes. Labour accused Bashing Boris of 'blaming the broadcaster for government policy.' The BBC hit back at Johnson, saying: 'We've reached the fairest decision we can in funding free TV licences for the poorest pensioners, while protecting BBC services. If the BBC funded all TV licences for the over-seventy fives it would mean the closure of BBC2, BBC4, the BBC News Channel, the BBC Scotland channel, Radio 5Live and several local radio stations. It is a matter for the government if it wishes to restore funding for free licences for all over-seventy fives.' Continuing to fund the free licences would have cost seven hundred and forty five million knicker - a fifth of the BBC's entire budget - by 2022, the corporation said. The decision, meaning around 3.7 million people aged over seventy five will have to pay £154.50 for a colour TV licence from next June, sparked protests outside BBC studios. Johnson told reporters at the summit in Biarritz: 'The BBC received a settlement that was conditional upon their paying for TV licences for the over-seventy fives. They should cough up.' People aged over seventy five were granted free TV licences when Labour was in power, in 2000 which the government paid for. Maintaining it was a Conservative manifesto pledge in 2017. However, the charter agreement hammered out with Conservative ministers in 2015 saw the BBC - under huge political pressure and at suspiciously short notice - assume responsibility for funding the commitment from 2020. A BBC spokeswoman said: 'It was the government which decided to stop funding free TV licences for the over-seventy fives and Parliament gave responsibility to the BBC to make a decision on the future of the scheme. There was no guarantee that the BBC would continue to fund free licences for the over-seventy fives.' In June, the lack of culture secretary at the time the settlement was reached, the vile and odious rascal Whittingdale, said 'it was understood that this would be a possible outcome.' In the same month, the BBC insisted that cutting the salaries of their highest paid talent would not save anywhere near enough money to pay for over-seventy fives' licences. 'Even if we stopped employing every presenter earning more than one hundred and fifty thousand pounds, that would save less than twenty million,' said director of policy Clare Sumner. 'If no senior manager were paid over one hundred and fifty million pounds that would save only five million.' Limiting the scheme to households where one person receives pension credit is expected to cost the BBC around two hundred and fifty million notes million by 2022. Labour deputy leader Tommy Watson ('power to the people!') called on the government to 'stop passing the buck. This prime minister's disregard for older people is appalling,' he said. 'Because of this government's refusal to fund the concession, millions of older people will have their free TV licences scrapped next year.' And, Labour MP Ben Bradshaw - a former BBC journalist - said: 'The BBC is an independent broadcaster. It's not a branch of the Department of Work and Pensions. This was always going to happen - the BBC was stupid to accept this as part of the licence fee [settlement] but it certainly wasn't a condition of it. And, if the government wants over-seventy fives to continue to receive free licences it needs to fund it.' Some six hundred and thirty thousand people have signed a petition organised by charity Age UK, which is calling on the government to take back responsibility for funding the free licences and honour the Tories' 2017 manifesto commitment. Age UK director Caroline Abrahams said: 'The BBC and the government clearly are in different places on this and it is old people who are in the middle - which we are very uncomfortable about. The government created this situation by passing responsibility for the licence fee to the BBC at the last settlement without giving them all the money to pay for it. Whether the BBC is quite as skint as it is telling everybody I can't possibly say, I'm not a media commentator. It would be sensible for the two parties to come together and draw a line and try to stop this escalating row.'
Meanwhile, Channel Four News has said that Downing Street froze it out of a planned interview at the G7 summit because of criticism of Bashing Boris Johnson by the channel's head of news, who had described him as 'a known liar' and 'a coward.' According to the editor of Channel Four News, Ben de Pear, a team of journalists had flown to Biarritz after being invited but Downing Street advisers then said that Dorothy Byrne's previously reported criticism of the prime minister - and hairdo - had 'resulted in access being denied.' He added that the programme was 'looking for clarity' after Bashing Boris was said to have suggested the lack of access was 'due to a shortage of time.' The row follows a warning last week by Byrne, Channel Four's head of news and current affairs, that politicians - including Johnson and Comrade Corbyn - were adopting the tactics of Donald Rump by declining to appear on major news programmes to subject themselves to scrutiny. In a speech at the Edinburgh television festival, she asked: 'Here is what we all need to decide: what do we do when a known liar becomes our prime minister?' The Channel Four News Twitter account claimed that a planned interview with Johnson, who spoke on Sunday to a range of media outlets including the BBC and ITV on the fringes of the summit in the French city, had been cancelled, despite the team being told to travel to the summit for the interview. 'Decision by 10 Downing Street was made following criticism from Dorothy Byrne that Mister Johnson limits access to media like Putin,' it stated. It added that Downing Street's reasons for the cancellation had varied, with one senior adviser allegedly saying that the interview was scrapped 'because of Byrne's speech.' Alleged - though anonymous and, therefore, probably fictitious - Downing Street 'sources' have, allegedly, briefed that they were 'unhappy' about the Byrne speech at the Edinburgh television festival, but 'decided not to take action.' Although what 'action' they could have taken is a question perhaps best left for another day. Mind you, all of this is according to the Gruniad Morning Star so, it is probably worth taking with an unhealthily large pinch of salt. However, the same alleged - though anonymous - 'sources' allegedly said that an interview Byrne gave to Sky News after her Edinburgh speech 'crossed the line of impartiality' for a broadcaster. Attempts were also made to 'brush off' the idea the prime minister was 'evading scrutiny,' with Downing Street pointing out that he had granted interviews to 'a range of other broadcasters.' Just not Channel Four News. Bashing Boris himself was tackled about the issue by ITV's political editor, who suggested that the prime minister had 'shot himself in the foot' in the response to Byrne's critique. Johnson sidestepped the specific issue around the Channel Four interview, insisting he had been 'speaking to lots of other media.' It was unclear which specific comments Downing Street allegedly took such umbrage against. In her interview with Sky News, Byrne said: 'That L word isn't a word that I would bandy about but I think that when we are divided the one thing that we must unite on is the central importance of truth. In the US it has started to be that a number of political figures have said that each person's truth is just a matter of their own opinion, there is no such thing as truth,' she said.
The humble Melton Mowbray pork pie is at the centre of an unlikely political dispute about British exports. Bashing Boris Johnson had claimed that pork pies are exported to Thailand and Iceland, but cannot be to the US 'due to red tape.' However the Melton Mowbray Pork Pie Association said that the pies were not exported to Thailand and Iceland. Downing Street insisted that such pies were exported, citing producer Walker & Son - however, the company immediately said that this was 'not correct.' Walker & Son told the BBC that it had, previously, exported 'a tiny amount' of pork pies to Singapore, but had not done so for 'at least two years' and is, now, 'entirely focused on the UK market.' When asked if the company had ever exported to any other countries, the spokeswoman said she was unsure. The topic of pork pies arose on Sunday at the G7 summit in Biarritz, when Bashing Boris was discussing a possible post-Brexit free trade deal with the US. Johnson spoke about trying to 'prise open the American market' by removing restrictions on UK exports. Offering an example of an American trade restriction, Johnson claimed: 'Melton Mowbray pork pies, which are sold in Thailand and in Iceland, are currently unable to enter the US market because of, I don't know, some sort of food and drug administration restriction.' Matthew O'Callaghan - who chairs the Melton Mowbray Pork Pie Association, which represents the pies' makers - told Radio 4's Today programme that, as far as he knew, the claim was entirely wrong. Asked if Johnson was correct in his assertions, O'Callaghan replied: 'Not really. With all of these things there is a little bit of give and take. We don't actually export to Thailand or Iceland.' When pressed, O'Callaghan said: 'Not that I know of I'm afraid. It is certainly available in Iceland the shop!' O'Callaghan said that there was 'a possibility' that pies 'could' be exported frozen to the US or Australia and cooked in the country. Speaking about trading with the US, O'Callaghan said: 'A Melton Mowbray pork pie is a delicate fresh meat product so the Food and Drug Administration, like most other countries in the world, are very aware of meat products and you have to go through all the regulations to get them over there. Because of the short shelf life it is not really viable economically.' In response to O'Callaghan's comments, Downing Street continued to insist that Bashing Boris was correct when he said that Melton Mowbray pork pies are exported to Thailand and Iceland. And, therefore, that Bashing Boris knows more about pork pies than the people who make them. Although, if the lady from Channel Four is to be believed, he certainly tells plenty of them. Bashing Boris's remarks, Downing Street added, were 'based on a briefing note' from the Department for International Trade, which claimed that the company Walker & Sons exports 'small shipments' to Iceland, Thailand, Singapore and the Caribbean. It also claimed that the information 'came from a document' produced by Walker & Son. However, when contacted by the BBC, Walker & Son - which says it makes eighty per cent of all of the UK's Melton Mowbray pork pies - said it no longer exports any pork pies. 'We are entirely focused on the UK market,' a spokeswoman said. The company said it used to export a 'tiny amount' to Singapore - but had not done so 'for some time.' The BBC also spoke to the British owner of one independent retailer in Singapore, who said they previously stocked pork pies, but that their distributor 'unfortunately doesn't do them now, due purely to demand rather than restrictions.' Melton Mowbray pork pies are distinctive as they are made from uncured pork, to ensure the inside is grey in colour. The Melton Mowbray pork pie has special protected geographical status under EU rules, similar to Stilton cheese or Champagne. It means that only producers making pork pies using the traditional recipe and in the vicinity of Melton Mowbray can use the town's name. During the Tory leadership contest earlier this year, Johnson waved an Isle of Man kipper at the final hustings and claimed EU regulations require kipper suppliers to keep their products cool with ice pillows when they are delivered. However, the EU rule covers fresh fish and not smoked products, such as kippers and it is for national governments to set any rules.
Actors, writers and, you know, normal people have all criticised the Daily Torygraph columnist Charles Moore for claiming that Olivia Colman has 'a distinctly left-wing face' in remarks which suggested she was unsuitable to portray The Queen in the upcoming series of The Crown. The suggestion provoked bemusement on Twitter, with the comedian David Baddiel describing it as 'idiot columnist rhetoric' and Little Britain actor Matt Lucas saying it did not make 'the remotest sense.' Like most of the shite that the odious, hateful, full-of-his-own importance louse scum has to say. 'Speculation builds about how well Olivia Colman will succeed Claire Foy as the Queen in the coming third series of The Crown,' Moore sneered on Monday. 'Ms Colman herself has expressed anxiety on this score. There is no doubt that she is one of the best actresses of the age, but I have a doubt, too. She has a distinctly left-wing face. This is hard to describe, but easy to recognise. It is something to do with looking slightly resentful and ironic at the idea of having to play a public role which satisfies the demands of others. The real live Queen has no such face - allowing almost no difference discernible in public between the role and the person. I hasten to add that I have no idea what Olivia Colman's political views are. I just have a hunch, which I hope will be proved wrong.' What an ignorant twat. Colman, who came to prominence in comedy series Peep Show, won best actress at this year's Oscars for her performance as Queen Anne in The Favourite. She has replaced Foy to play Queen Elizabeth II during the early 1960s to early 1980s for series three and four of The Crown, which will be shown on Netflix in November. Her contemporaries derided the suggestion that she would not succeed in the role. The writer Will Black tweeted: 'To be fair though, Charles Moore looks exactly like my perception of a callous, creepy, misogynistic, embittered, out of touch, enraged, impotent and dated Tory hack. He looks like one of those pompous establishment psychopaths John Fortune played brilliantly.' Well, quite.
Despite recent comments from Kevin Lygo, ITV is giving scripted comedy on the main channel another go. The broadcaster has ordered Kate & Kolo, a six-episode studio sitcom starring Brenda Blethyn and Jimmy Akingbola. Kate & Kolo follows the titular Kate, a working-class woman who runs an old-fashioned café in a neglected seaside town and who develops a strong, if sometimes volatile, friendship with Kolo, an asylum-seeking African doctor. Well, that sounds about as funny as Love Thy Neighbour, despite the presence of From The North favourite Brenda in one of the title roles. Admittedly, comedy greats Guy Jenkin and Andy Hamilton have created the series and are writing the scripts. Under ITV's fifty/fifty scheme, the duo will also supervise a trainee writer. Production is expected to get underway in 2020 ahead of a premiere later that year. ITV said that further casting would be announced at a later date. 'ITV is the perfect home for Kate & Kolo, written by two of the country's top writers and with two great actors like Brenda and Jimmy, it's a wonderfully funny and sometimes touching comedy about real people coping with life at the sharp end,' claimed Jimmy Mulville, the Managing Director of Hat Trick Productions.
The BBC has handed out a pilot order to Bumps, a comedy from writers Lucy Montgomery and Rhys Thomas. Amanda Redman is to star in the lead role. The pilot has been commissioned as part of the BBC's Comedy Playhouse strand, which was most recently used to successfully pilot King Gary. Bumps follows Anita, a divorcee with two grown up kids and no stork on the horizon threatening to bring grandchildren. Anita may be in her sixties, but inside she feels twenty. She's adventurous, energetic and a bundle of fun. She wants to pack as much into life as she can whilst she still has her own joints. With the aid of an egg and sperm donor she decides to have a baby. Unbeknown to her it happens to be at the same time as her forty year old daughter, Suzanne, discovers that she is expecting her own first child. Anita hasn't really thought through the impact a baby will have on her body. Or her psyche. Or her finances. Not for a second has she considered how her decision to have a child will impact on her children. She thinks she's earned the right to do what she wants and she doesn't realise the emotional bomb she's detonated. 'Bumps brings a modern spin on the family sitcom through its lens on the mother and daughter dynamic,' said the BBC's Controller of Comedy Commissioning Shane Allen, who commissioned the pilot alongside the BBC's Director of Content Charlotte Moore. 'Rhys and Lucy have created a vibrant world of endearing characters who capture the dysfunction, frustration and love at the heart of family life.'
'Could you ask me in front of all of these people, all of these witnesses, could you please ask me: am I going to play Obi-Wan Kenobi again?' Ewan McGregor said to Lucasfilm boss Kathleen Kennedy as Star Wars fans screamed from the audience of Disney's D23 Expo. The answer, of course, was 'Yes.' It has been a long time coming. There have been rumours of an Obi-Wan spin-off for some years, originally as a movie - but when the Han Solo film prequel (2018's Solo) underperformed at the box office, it seemed Disney had put Obi-Wan on ice. However, the rumours returned when the launch of new streaming service Disney+ was announced. Could this provide a potential home for an Obi-Wan Kenobi TV series, fans wondered? It turns out that it could and Ewan McGregor, who played the character in the Star Wars prequel movies, is firmly on board. 'It's been four years of saying "well, I don't know,"' he told fans. 'Now I can say "yes, we're going to do it."' With the show now officially confirmed, we can hopefully look forward to more details soon. But, according to Kennedy, the scripts are already in the works and filming will begin next year. Disney+ also has two other Star Wars TV shows on its slate: bounty hunter series The Mandalorian and an, as yet untitled, show featuring Diego Luna's Cassian Andor before the events of Rogue One.
Could Death In Paradise's Humphrey Goodman be set for a comeback? Kris Marshall has declared he 'absolutely' wants to return to Saint Marie for a cameo and the show's executive producer is, reportedly, quite prepared for that eventuality. Marshall announced that he was leaving Death In Paradise in 2017, passing on the baton to Ardal O'Hanlon, who now leads the cast as Jack Mooney. The Daily Mirra boldly claimed that an alleged 'show insider' had, allegedly, confirmed Marshall left Death In Paradise to take over from Peter Capaldi as The Doctor in Doctor Who. Only, he hadn't. Does anyone else remember when the Daily Mirra used to be a real newspaper? No, this blogger neither, dear blog readers, he's only fifty five. Unlike his unfortunate predecessor in Death In Paradise, Richard Poole (Ben Miller), Humphrey managed to escape Saint Marie without being extremely murdered. Instead, he moved to London to be with the woman he loved. Asked if he would take up an opportunity to bring his character back for a cameo, Marshall replied: 'Absolutely.' The actor originally left Death In Paradise because it was 'no longer practical' to spend half-the-year filming in Guadeloupe. But, speaking at a press event for his upcoming Jane Austen drama Sanditon, Marshall said: 'Would I go back and do a cameo in Death In Paradise? Unequivocally yes.' In fact, Sanditon and Death In Paradise are both made by the same production company and Belinda Campbell is an executive producer on both. 'Great question. Loving this,' Campbell joked as she listened to Marshall's answer. 'My ex-boss and my current boss is over there,' the actor explained, gesturing towards Campbell. 'And so, unequivocally yes.'
Fans of Breaking Bad will only have to wait until October for the movie El Camino. Netflix teased fans with a trailer for the film and tweeted that it will be on the streaming service on 11 October. It will see Aaron Paul returning as crystal meth cook Jesse Pinkman and it has been written by the show's creator, Vince Gilligan. It is still unknown if Bryan Cranston, who played Walter White, will return for the film. Earlier this week Bob Odenkirk, who plays lawyer Saul Goodman in the series, revealed that the whole movie had already been shot. Which, if it's due to be released in six weeks time, is hardly bloody surprising. Speaking to The Hollywood Reporter, he that he is, himself, surprised the 'secret' of the movie's production never got out. According to Netflix, El Camino will see Jesse escape from captivity and 'come to terms with his past in order to forge some kind of future.' It is, reportedly, a sequel to the series. A prequel, Better Call Saul, has already run for four series on Netflix and a fifth is planned for next year. Aaron Paul certainly hinted to Variety magazine that he would be involved, pointing out 'in case you haven't caught up on the TV series, Walter dies, so it has to star Jesse. When it comes together I'd love to be a part of it. I would love to do it.' A bigger question is whether Bryan Cranston will return as Walter White - despite him and Aaron posting the single word 'soon' on social media in July. Bryan's Breaking Bad character might be dead in the series but he has told Entertainment Tonight, 'rigor mortis has a way of allowing that to happen. Could be in a flashback, or a flash-forward. I'm still dead, Walter White, I don't know what could happen.'
Pluto's status as a planet has, once again, been called into question after the head of NASA said that he believed the celestial body to be a planet. Speaking at the FIRST Robotics event in Oklahoma, NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine placed himself firmly on one side of the Pluto debate. 'Just so you know, in my view Pluto is a planet,' he said. 'You can write that the NASA administrator declared Pluto a planet once again. I'm sticking by that, it's the way I learned it and I'm committed to it.' Pluto was declared to be a planet in 1930 after it was discovered by astronomer Clyde Tombaugh. At the time it was believed to be the ninth planet from the Sun, existing on the outer edges of the solar system on the fringes of what subsequently became known as The Kuiper Belt. Its status remained unchallenged for the next sixty two years later until some other, similarly-sized, objects were discovered in the same region of space. In 2005, astronomers discovered a dwarf planet called Eris that was twenty seven per cent larger than Pluto. A year later, the International Astronomical Union laid out its official definition for what constituted a planet and Pluto was not included. Since then, it has been classified as a 'dwarf planet,' though the icy object has attracted a dedicated following of people who refuse to accept that Pluto should not be considered a planet simply because of size. In 2015 NASA's New Horizons mission to Pluto made several major discoveries which added fuel to the debate. Alan Stern, the NASA scientist who led the New Horizons mission, subsequently co-authored a paper calling for Pluto to be 'reclassified.' The Society for the Preservation of Pluto as a Planet (for they do, indeed, exist) has campaigned for Pluto's status to be upgraded. And, for what it's worth, this blogger is with them on this score since his late mother was always most keen for her son to know that size doesn't matter. 'For over seventy five years school children all over the world have learned that our solar system has nine planets,' the group's website states. 'Pluto's status as a planet has sparked the human imagination for decades. Now is not the time to downgrade Pluto's status.'
Now, dear blog reader, here's a really gorgeous picture of Hadrian's Wall at Housesteads Fort in Northumberland in the early morning light. There's no particular reason for it to be here other than the fact that this blogger's been there several times and has some very good memories of family trips to the gaff. Plus, it's pretty, isn't it?
Peter Murphy, the former singer of Bauhaus, has announced that he has made 'a full recovery' from the heart attack he suffered earlier this month. The sixty two-year-old was taken to hospital when he experienced shortness of breath before a gig in New York. He has since been in intensive care at Lenox Hill Hospital in Manhattan. Murphy said after 'seeing myself go through the rigours of intensive care, I am very happy to say that I have made a full recovery.' Murphy went on to thank the medical team for their care, his colleagues for 'saving my life' and his friends and fans' for their support. 'Thanks to the superb team of doctors, specialists, nurses and care staff. I am so glad to say I am up and running again,' he said on Instagram. 'My tour manager Brian Lowe and my assistant Chantal Thomas were directly instrumental in saving my life and to whom I cannot thank enough. I also want to thank every single friend and fan who has been supporting me throughout this ordeal. I remain grateful especially to my Bauhaus bandmates.' His statement also encouraged fans to donate to the American Heart Association. Doctor Akshai Bhandary, director of the cardiac care unit at the Lenox Hill hospital, said that Murphy had 'an angioplasty operation' and received two stents to his right coronary artery. 'Since then, Mister Murphy has done excellent and is expected to make a full recovery,' Doctor Bhandary said in a statement. 'We wish Peter and his family the absolute best.' Due to his heart attack, Murphy was forced to postpone four concerts in his twelve-show residency at New York City's Le Poisson Rouge.
Stevie Wonder's 'Superstition' has topped a poll of the most popular Motown songs of all time in the UK. The 1972 single beat classics by The Jackson Five, Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell and The Temptations. The list of the top one hundred Motown track songs was compiled by the Official Chart Company based on all time downloads and streams. 'I am proud to have been chosen at the top of such an incredibly talented group of artists,' said Stevie. Overall the singer-songwriter had the most songs on the list with twenty. His next most popular song was 'Signed, Sealed, Delivered (I'm Yours)', which was at five. 'Motown is one of the all-time great labels and I've been associated with it all my life. Many of the artists have been my friends and family,' said Wonder. 'I am proud to have been chosen at the top of such an incredibly talented group of artists.' The top ten includes two Jackson Five songs: 'I Want You Back' at number two and 'ABC' at number seven. Marvin Gaye and Terrell's classic 'Ain't No Mountain High Enough' is at number three. The full list was unveiled on Radio 2 on Monday to celebrate sixty years of Motown Records. Craig Charles played a selection of songs from the list before Trevor Nelson presented part two of the list. Charles said: 'They are songs that have inspired, informed and entertained me for the whole of my life. From bubblegum pop to political protest and social agitation. The music from the motor city is cross generational, timeless and guaranteed to put a wiggle in your walk.' Nelson added: 'The top three are three of the most timeless songs of all time, true classics which appeal to music lovers of all ages.'
This blogger's beloved (though, tragically, unsellable) Newcastle's win at Stottingtot Hotshots last Sunday will 'hopefully shut a few people up,' says alleged 'manager' Steve Brucie (nasty to see him, to see him, nasty). Not this blogger, it won't. Keith Telly Topping still feels Brucie's appointment was a massive backward step for a club which has specialised in such nonsense over the last decade and one feel-good victory (with, admittedly, a fine performance from the players) isn't going to change that any time soon. And that the managerial abilities of Bruice (nasty to see him, to see him, nasty) are still, validly, open to question at this time. Record signing Joelinton's first-half goal was enough for The Magpies to earn their first league win of the season as reported in a previous bloggerisationisms update. Brucie (nasty to see him, to see him, nasty), who replaced Rafael Benitez this summer, has been criticised by some - for which read 'most' - fans since the start of the season. 'We have tried to quieten the storm. After two games, it's been hard to get that criticism. I hope that gives us a little a bit of time,' Brucie said. 'It is only the first win but we have seen some big performances today.' An opening-day defeat by The Arse was followed by a cowardly three-one loss to promoted side Norwich. Following the match at Carrow Road, comments about the players' warm-up by defender Paul Dummett led fans -and, parts of the media - to criticise aspects of Bruce's management, while former Newcastle striker Michael Chopra said that players 'did not know their jobs.' Speaking to Sky Sports, Brucie added: 'The only way we can respond to criticism is like that. We have had a tough week so we have had to respond in the right way and thankfully the players have. I mean, to say I "cannot even do a warm-up" is mad. I have managed nine hundred-odd games and over the years you would think there would be some sort of respect. I go back to the fact that whoever took over from Rafa Benitez was going to get the abuse. I hope that is a line in the sand.' You've got two hopes, pal. Bob Hope and no hope. Speaking of hope: 'I hope Steve Bruce can do well at Newcastle. He is a friend of mine and if there is anyone I want to achieve success at the club, it is him,' wrote Alan Shearer in a piece on the BBC Sport website. You've got two hopes as well, Big Man. 'The one-nil victory at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium is a huge result for Steve because it has been a tough start for him. He has had two poor results, including one very poor performance. This will be massive for his confidence and for the players too.' Albeit, any extended feel-good factor earned by one battling performance in the capital lasted all of but four days before Wednesday saw The Magpies defeated on penalties to Leicester City in the Carabao Cup and Bruice (nasty to see him, to see him nasty) with a face like a smacked arse in the press conference afterwards whinging about 'cruel' and 'frustrating' luck. It has all the makings of one of those seasons, dear blog reader.
But, not for Bury it doesn't. Bury have been expelled by the English Football League after a takeover bid from C&N Sporting Risk collapsed. The League One club had been given until 5pm on Tuesday to complete the deal, having been granted an extension to Friday's initial deadline. Bury have become the first team to drop out of the EFL since Maidstone's liquidation in 1992. League One will comprise twenty three clubs for the rest of the season, with only three teams to be relegated. 'When the news broke at Gigg Lane, fans instantly let out a huge cry - for help, of disbelief,' said BBC Radio Manchester's Mike Minay. EFL executive chair Debbie Jevans said that it was 'one of the darkest days' in the league's history and added: 'I understand this will be a deeply upsetting and devastating time for Bury's players, staff, supporters and the wider community.' No shit? 'There is no doubt today's news will be felt across the entire football family.' The EFL had suspended each of Bury's first six fixtures this season, requesting evidence The Shakers could pay off creditors and had the funding to make it through the campaign. In a statement at 11 o'clock on Tuesday, the league said that it had decided 'after a long and detailed discussion' to withdraw Bury's EFL membership 'with enormous regret. No-one wanted to be in this position but following repeated missed deadlines, the suspension of five league fixtures, in addition to not receiving the evidence we required in regard to financial commitments and a possible takeover not materialising; the EFL board has been forced to take the most difficult of decisions,' Jevans claimed. Bury were initially given until Midnight on Friday to either provide the required information or find a buyer to take them over. With the third-tier side effectively an hour from being thrown out of the EFL, owner Steve Dale told BBC Radio Manchester that he had sold the club and they were set to survive. That news subsequently secured them an extension over the Bank Holiday weekend to complete the deal, but C&N Sporting Risk quickly 'expressed concern' that it was still not enough time. An estimated three hundred volunteers turned up at Gigg Lane on Tuesday to help get the ground ready for Saturday's scheduled game against Doncaster Rovers, but their efforts were in vain. Reacting to news of The Shakers' expulsion, Bury North MP James Frith was critical of the EFL and claimed there was 'a lack of consistency' in how it has treated the situations at Bury and nearby Notlob - allowing The Wanderers to play games whilst under threat of expulsion but not Bury, for example. 'I'm angry. My head is in my hands. I feel Bury is the victim… and those left to pick up the pieces are the town and the community. Yes we will rise again and keep the faith but we shouldn't be at this point,' he told 5Live. 'We have to make this a moment in time for lower league football. We are just the latest victim of this. I have had clubs speak to me who are a default payment on a mortgage away from this.' Founded in 1885 and first elected to the Football League nine years later, Bury were playing in what is now known as The Championship as recently as 1999 and have twice won the FA Cup, in 1900 and 1903. No club has ever dropped out of the third tier before and The Shakers also become the first FA Cup winners to have been expelled by the League. England women's manager Phil Neville, whose mother Jill resigned as Bury's club secretary last week, described their demise as 'an absolute disgrace' on Friday. Supporters staged numerous protests in the build-up to the deadline, with former director Joy Hart handcuffing herself to a drainpipe outside their ground and a coffin reading 'RIP Bury FC 1885-?' was placed at the directors' entrance. Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham also wrote to EFL chief Jevans pleading for the club to be granted more time 'given the urgency of Bury's plight.' At the end of April, Bury were celebrating promotion back to the third tier of English football, but they were already enduring a torrid time off the pitch. The club was in deep financial trouble when Dale bought it - for a quid - in December from previous owner Stewart Day, with players and staff often being paid late. A winding-up petition filed against the club was adjourned three times before eventually being dismissed by the High Court on 31 July. By then, creditors had approved a company voluntary arrangement put forward by Dale, which was proposed to help settle some of their debts. The CVA meant unsecured creditors, including HM Revenue & Customs, would be paid twenty five per cent of the monies owed - but also triggered a twelve-point deduction in the League One table under EFL rules. Furthermore, the EFL were 'unsatisfied' that Bury had given 'enough evidence of their financial viability,' leading to a string of postponed fixtures while the organisation awaited 'the clarity required.' On 9 August, The Shakers were given a fourteen-day deadline to provide the necessary information or face expulsion. The EFL had already outlined how it intended to balance the leagues if Bury were expelled: The current League One season would be completed with twenty three teams, with the number of relegation places reduced to three. Four teams will still be promoted from League Two this season, ensuring League One is rebalanced in 2020-21. Only one team will be relegated from League Two, with two to be promoted from the National League as usual. It is not yet certain what will happen to Bury Football Club, its staff and players or the stadium. Paul Wilkinson was appointed manager on 2 July, but has not taken charge of a game.
There was better news for Notlob Wanderings a day later, as their survival was secured - for the time being at least - after Football Ventures (Whites) Limited completed its protracted takeover of the club. Administrators had warned that the club could be placed into liquidation on Wednesday without a finalised takeover. That looked to have collapsed on Monday, leading to bleak warnings about the future of the one hundred and forty five-year-old club. 'I'm delighted we've finally reached a satisfactory conclusion with the sale,' said joint administrator Paul Appleton. 'I have every sympathy for the staff, players and fans who have been forced to stand by while their club was taken to the brink. I am delighted their loyalty, dedication and patience has finally been rewarded.' On Tuesday, the Football League had gave Notlob fourteen days to complete a deal or face expulsion from the competition like nearby neighbours Bury. 'At times it has been difficult to keep our counsel but we took a decision to remain on the sidelines even when further damage was being inflicted by delays outside of our control,' said a statement on behalf of Football Ventures. 'Now we are excited to begin restoring this magnificent football club to its rightful position, securing its future for the fans, the loyal club staff, and the players.' As a result of the takeover Notlob are now out of administration, with their place in the EFL no longer under threat. 'These past few months have undoubtedly been challenging and, at times, fraught - never more so in the past few days - and I would like to thank all parties for their efforts in achieving the desired outcome,' said EFL executive chair Debbie Jevans. Appleton praised one of the main creditors, the Eddie Davies Trust for being 'willing to find a compromise to save the club' during the talks - but he was critical of the club's former owner Ken Anderson whom, he claimed. was 'responsible' for the deal initially collapsing on Monday. He added that the Trust was 'determined not to allow Bolton Wanderers to suffer any longer at the hands of Ken Anderson. Sadly, Mister Anderson has used his position as a secured creditor to hamper and frustrate any deal that did not benefit him or suit his purposes,' he added, bitterly. 'Thankfully, with the assistance of the Trust and others, we were able to overcome this obstacle.' Notlob, who started the season with a twelve-point deduction, called off last week's game against Doncaster Rovers amid 'welfare concerns' for younger players, while Phil Parkinson also resigned as manager. 'At times, some of the hurdles appeared insurmountable and the frustration felt has been immense, not least by the supporters who have had to endure too many weeks of uncertainty,' added Appleton. 'Now there can be a fresh start with owners who, I believe, will run the club for the good of the supporters and the community as a whole.' Football Ventures (Whites) Limited, led by Sharon Brittan, were named as preferred bidders on 1 July by administrators David Rubin & Partners. The takeover has faced numerous hurdles since then, with the deal appearing to have collapsed completely on Saturday despite being close to completion the previous day. In a statement issued on Monday, the administrators said that if they were unable to resurrect the move, the club was 'not in a position to carry on trading' and would enter liquidation, leading to the 'inevitable loss of over one hundred and fifty jobs.' Wanderings were beaten five-nil at home by Ipswich Town on Saturday in front of just five thousand four hundred and fifty four fans - the lowest attendance for a league game at the University of Bolton Stadium in its twenty two-year history. With the majority of the club's senior players having left, they have fielded sides made up almost entirely of youth-team players in their five matches so far this campaign - including their youngest-ever side against Coventry City on 10 August. 'It's just fantastic. I was down at the stadium when the statement came through. It's what everybody has been waiting for,' said Maggie Tetlow, co-founder of the Notlob Wanderings Supporters Trust. She told Radio 5Live: '[The new owners] have got a good track record in business.' Bolton were relegated from the Premier League in 2012. Four years later their football existence was threatened as former striker Dean Holdsworth was part of a takeover at the club. Anderson took control after Holdsworth's company Sports Shield was wound up. Wanderers entered administration in May after being relegated from The Championship, before Football Ventures agreed a deal to take over the club. The deal was almost stopped after Laurence Bassini, who had bid to buy the club before administration, was awarded a court order blocking the sale on 8 August. The court order was adjourned, paving the way for the takeover to continue before it eventually collapsed. The club called off their match against Doncaster last week citing welfare concerns, having only five senior outfield players available. And, only four of them had shorts. Parkinson resigned last Thursday after three years with the club and a young side lost against Ipswich on Saturday.
Ex-Liverpool striker Dean Saunders has been very jailed for ten weeks for refusing to provide a roadside breath test. The - soon-to-be-former BT Sport pundit was stopped by police on suspicion of drink-driving in Boughton, Chester, on 10 May. Saunders, who was capped by Wales seventy five times, was slurring and had to prop himself up against his Audi when he was asked to get out of the vehicle, Chester Magistrates' Court heard. Jailing Saunders, District Judge Nicholas Sanders called him 'arrogant.' Outside court, Conor Johnstone, defending Saunders, claimed that his client would be appealing against the sentence as he 'believed it was excessive.' Saunders was refused bail and his application to appeal will be heard at the crown court at a later date, Mersey Cheshire Crown Prosecution Service confirmed. Saunders, who was sent straight to The Pokey, was 'in shock' and 'disappointed' with the sentence, his lawyer said. The former Derby County, Oxford United and Aston Villains forward told the court he had been at Chester Races and had drunk two pints. The court heard how a police patrol spotted Saunders' car 'driving at speed' and 'failing to give way at a roundabout,' causing another vehicle to brake. He was arrested for failing to provide a breath test and taken to a police station when he, again, 'refused to comply.' His lawyer suggested that the alcohol 'might' have 'interacted' with the medication he takes for injury to his knees and for his asthma. One or two people even believed him. Judge Sanders said: 'Throughout these proceedings you have shown yourself to be arrogant, thinking you are someone whose previous and current role in the public eye entitles you to be above the law. In fact the opposite is true - someone in the public eye should expect a deterrent sentence when they flout the law.' Saunders had initially denied failing to comply with a roadside breath test and failing to provide a sample at a police station, but later changed his tune and pleaded extremely guilty. He was also banned from driving for thirty months and ordered to pay court costs of six hundred and twenty notes.
People who post racist abuse on social media 'hide behind fake identities,' said Ole Gunnar Solskjaer after The Scum's Marcus Rashford was targeted by numbskull bellends this week. No shit? Did you work that out for yourself, Ole? Of course they do, that's how they manage to get away with posting their hideous, repulsive views. If they did it under their own name, they'd be - rightly - arrested and up a'fore the beak for hate-crimes. Rashford was abused after missing a penalty in Saturday's shock two-one home loss to Crystal Palace. Which is sick and wrong on so many levels (although, it was a rubbish penalty). His teammate Paul Pogba was also targeted after a spot-kick miss. Anti-discrimination body Kick It Out called the abuse 'vile' and said 'decisive action' needs to be taken against those responsible. Which, indeed, it should, although finding them first might be a step in the right direction. Earlier this week, Twitter said it will 'meet any stakeholders' to show the 'proactive work' being done to tackle abuse after Pogba was targeted following a missed penalty in a one-all draw at Wolverhampton Wanderings. Several of Pogba's team-mates - including Rashford - criticised the abuse, while England women's manager Phil Neville called for footballers to 'boycott' social media.
Bologna manager Sinisa Mihajlovic made an emotional return to the dugout after being diagnosed with leukaemia just six weeks ago. The fifty-year-old Serb oversaw a draw in Bologna's opening Serie A game of the season at Hellas Verona. Mihajlovic, who has vowed to 'win this battle,' is having chemotherapy. He promised his players he would be with them for the first game and he made it after spending the previous forty one nights in hospital. According to reports in the Italian media, Mihajlovic has kept up to date with events at the club by watching live videos of training sessions from the cancer ward of the Sant'Orsola Hospital in Bologna. His appearance at the game was announced in a simple Twitter message by the club an hour before kick-off, while there were lots of messages of support - including one from Serie A rivals Napoli stating, 'Forza Sinisa Mihajlovic.' There were also chants of supports from the visiting fans when Mihajlovic, looking physically weak, came out with his team at the start of the game. The former Yugoslavia defender, who played for Roma, Sampdoria, Lazio and Inter Milan among others, returned to Bologna in January for his second spell in charge and guided them to a tenth place finish.
England's - genuinely - remarkable one wicket win in the third test written about (at length) in From The North's last bloggerisationisms has, needless to say, taken up a lot of ink and bandwidth in the days afterwards. There might have been a crucial meeting of world leaders, Brexit and a kerfuffle about the BBC licence fee to fret about. But Ben Stokes's batting heroics have given Britain's newspapers the perfect bank holiday Monday front page. The Sun splashes on the cricket with the headline Go Urn, My Son, a fitting pun on the fact that Stokes has single-handedly kept The Ashes battle alive. BBC Sports' Stephen Shemlit went down an inevitable route, evoking the spirits of 1981 and 2005 with his article Ben Stokes Evokes Memories Of Ian Botham & Andrew Flintoff whilst the BBC's cricket correspondent Jonathan Agnew felt that Headingley 2019 tops Edgbaston 2005. Interestingly, Agnew - who used to be a cricketer of some description - used his column just a day previously to declare England Waste Their Chance - It Feels Like Ashes Are Gone. Tell you what, Aggers, despite your career of two hundred odd first class games for Leicestershire (and, let us never forget, a whopping three tests for England) you, seemingly, haven't grasped the ability to tip sugar, let alone, the outcome of a cricket game. To be fair to Agnew, he was hardly alone - all manner of journalists were writing off England's chances on Saturday only to be looking like foolish fools following Ben Stokes' single-handed heroics on Sunday. Take former England captain Michael Vaughan, bemoaning in the Torygraph that You Do Not Win Tests With Players Who Love Whacking White Balls. Oh, do you bloody think so, Vaughny? His piece on Monday morning sheepishly avoided mentioning his crass defeatist whinging of a day previously and, by the end of the week he was using an interview with 5Live to talk, in almost Mystic Meg-style language about the English summer being 'written in the stars.' Jesus, some people don't half talk a right load of old crap! Nevertheless, the manner of England's astonishing and unexpected victory did bring out some extraordinarily good writing from the pres box. Take the Gruniad Morning Star's Vic Marks - one of this blogger's favourite writers - and his piece Ben Stokes Inspires England To Sensational Third Test Win. Vic's Gruniad colleague, Sam Perry, had a typical Gruniad Morning Star - albeit, perhaps for once, understandable - right good sneer during his round-up of the Australian media's coverage of the events at Headingley in Benevolence, Blame And Everything In Between: How Australia Reacted To Ashes Defeat. 'While Wikipedia was busy revising its explanation of The Ashes to "a test cricket series played between Ben Stokes and Australia," across the wide brown land there is benevolence, blame and everything in between. And it's not just cricket experts proffering reactions. The result in Leeds went to the very top (administratively speaking), with Prime Minister Scott Morrison electing to comment from the G7 Summit in Biarritz, saying he was awaiting some stick from his UK counterpart,' wrote Perry. He added: 'According to the Kübler-Ross model, denial is the first in five stages of grieving and The Australian ensured that sizeable market was catered for with its headline: Ben Stokes Was Out, So Third Test Heroics Should Not Have Counted. Close your eyes and you can just about imagine a nine-year-old child conjuring such a line after an unfavourable call in a backyard cricket game. Is that the age of Australia's collective conscience? It's hard to say, though what is more sure is the uptick in online traffic from the UK this headline will garner.' Another former England cricketer, Derek Pringle - one with a far more impressive international career than Agnew - wrote a splendid piece in the Metro: 'There are test innings which attract universal admiration and then there are those rare few that serve as monuments to the game we love and play and which become milestones in the folklore. Ben Stokes' unbeaten one hundred and thirty five against Australia at Headingley on Sunday is one of those, possibly even its finest - a bravura display of batting that went thrillingly from first to sixth gear when all but the last man had crashed around him.' In the Torygraph, where Michael Vaughan had already made himself look like a right foolish fool, both Nick Hoult and Scyld Berry wrote admirable think-pieces about, Stokes in the case of the former and the test as a whole from the latter. 'It might not have been the greatest test match,' Berry wrote, somewhat flying in the face of popular opinion being widely expressed elsewhere, 'because there have been two thousand three hundred and fifty seven of them. But Ben Stokes's match-winning and series-saving one hundred and thirty five was, unequivocally, the finest ever played for England because of the immensity of the pressure he was under.' The Independent's Jonathan Liew's Ben Stokes Resurrects England From The Ashes With Innings Of Bravery, Violence And Pure Undiluted Theatre and Matt Dickenson's Ben Stokes: True Greats Shape World Around Them in The Times and Nick Friend's When Adrenaline Dismantled Logic: Ben Stokes' Bloody-Minded Headingley Miracle are also worthy of a few moments of your time.
Specsavers look to have granted Ben Stokes' request to offer Jack Leach free glasses for life after his role in England's unlikely third test victory. While Stokes, understandably, took most of the plaudits on Sunday after his incredible innings sealed a remarkable comeback win to keep the series alive, Leach also played a vital part. The Somerset spinner only added one run in an hour as England - skittled for a measly sixty seven in their first innings - successfully chased down three hundred and fifty nine, but by getting through seventeen deliveries unscathed he provided the final platform necessary for his batting partner to flourish at the other end. Leach cleaning his spectacles became a focus of attention on social media and, after his match-winning knock, Stokes tweeted the series sponsor, Specsavers, to say: 'Do yourself [sic] a favour and give him free glasses for life.' That post commanded over nine thousand retweets and fifty six thousand likes and Specsavers responded an hour later in the affirmative.
Six people were injured after two lightning strikes at the season-ending golf Tour Championship in Atlanta. Play was suspended at 4.17pm local time because of thunderstorms in the area and at 4.45pm there were two lightning strikes close to the fifteenth green at East Lake Golf Club. A tree was hit and debris from that strike injured six people, the PGA Tour said. A statement added that the injuries 'do not appear to be life-threatening.' Organisers said paramedics tended to six fans on the course, with five were taken to hospital by ambulance. Though the identities of the injured were not revealed, speculation exists that at least one of them was called Bernie.
'Trolls' who posted 'insulting' and 'defamatory' comments about BTS have been reported to police in South Korea. Big Hit Entertainment, the company behind the pop band, says that it is 'taking action' over posts that 'exceed the reasonable and accepted boundaries of expression and personal commentary.' The firm did not go into detail about the nature of the comments. However, it has previously sued over claims of 'sajaegi' - bulk-buying CDs to inflate BTS's chart position. Earlier this summer, the company also asked for court authorisation to seize and destroy bootleg merchandise being sold outside the band's concerts. In a statement, Big Hit explained that it 'routinely monitored' social media and message boards for posts about its artists that contained 'ill-intentioned criticism, the spreading of groundless information and personal attacks.' It has also established a hotline for fans to report allegedly offensive or defamatory content. The company claims that police have already launched investigations into its complaints, adding: 'We have responded with zero tolerance against insults and defamation against our artists. We emphasise that there is, and will be, no leniency or settlement with the perpetrators of these acts.' Unlike the UK, where 'truth' is a defence against defamation charges, South Korean law allows for an individual to be punished if they make a factually-accurate statement which brings another person 'into disrepute.' Even if they really deserve it. In the wake of the Me Too movement, there have been calls for a revision of the law, which makes it particularly difficult for victims of sexual assault to speak out publicly. There is, however, no suggestion whatsoever that members of BTS have been accused of sexual assault. The 'Report Army' Twitter account, which helps BTS fans identify and report offensive content, suggests contacting Big Hit over death threats, 'trolling' and offers to sell the band's personal information. BTS, who won their first MTV Award on Monday night, are the most successful band to emerge from the K-pop scene and recently sold out two nights at Wembley Stadium. Earlier this month, however, Big Hit announced the septet were 'taking an extended period of rest and relaxation' in order to 'rest and recharge in their own personal ways.'
Love Island type person Theo Campbell says that he has lost sight in his right eye after he was hit by a champagne cork. Campbell, who appeared on the 2017 series of the ITV2 show, was on holiday in Ibiza when the accident happened. He was taken to hospital and subsequently underwent surgery. In an Instagram post, he wrote: 'Two eye surgeries later after a really unfortunate accident, I've lost all vision in my right eye as it got split in half. Who would have thought a champagne cork would be the end of me? But I still have one eye left, looking at the bright side of things.'
Jay Aston Colquhounis, a former member of Eurovision Song Contest-winning group Bucks Fizz, has been selected as a parliamentary candidate for the Brexit Party. The fifty eight-year-old will run to be an MP in the London seat of Kensington, currently held by Labour. She was announced by party leader Nigel Farage on Tuesday as one of six hundred and thirty five 'approved candidates.' 'I want to stand for the Brexit Party and fight to uphold democracy for the sake of the people,' said the singer. Who once sang about 'The Land Of Make Believe'. Just, you know, for context.
Model heads of Guy Fawkes, Oliver Cromwell and Sir Thomas More have been stolen from the front of a London tourist attraction. They were taken from the entrance of the London Bridge Experience on Saturday morning. A man was captured on CCTV using a rope to tug the figures down before walking away with Fawkes's head under his arm. The attraction is offering four hundred quid for help to find the models, saying: 'We just want our heads back.' The custom-made heads were part of a recently-installed entrance at the attraction, which tells 'the dark history of London Bridge.' The real heads of Fawkes, More and Cromwell were all thought to have previously been put on display on the bridge. After they had been cut off, obviously. In the CCTV footage, the very naughty man can be seen kicking Fawkes's head from a spike and walking away with it in his hands and the other two heads in a bag. James Kislingbury, director of the London Bridge Experience, said the thief had 'caused significant damage' to the entrance. 'We just want our heads back,' he said. No arrests have yet been made.
Emergency services were called out to an Essex seafront on Sunday after beachgoers claimed they were struggling to breathe. Police, paramedics and the fire service attended the beach at Fourth Avenue in Frinton-on-Sea, after receiving calls. The cause is unknown and is being investigated. Miriam Lansdell told the PA news agency: 'My daughter started coughing. She said "I don't feel good. It hurts to breathe in."' The mental health worker from Derbyshire said that she also had difficulty breathing as she lay on the sand drying off after a dip in the water. She added that they all began to breathe more easily when they moved further away from the beach, but took the ten-year-old girls to a walk-in clinic to be checked over by medical staff. Lansdell said that her father had been 'told by someone in a speedboat,' whom he assumed to be associated with the coastguard, that there 'might' have been a fuel spill. She said: 'My dad said he had been asked to get out of the water by a man on a boat. He asked why and the man said there had been a fuel spill. He said if anyone is having breathing difficulties they should probably call an ambulance.' She added: 'It's not what you expect when you go for a day out to the beach.' The speculation that a fuel spill might have been to blame was not confirmed by either the police or the ambulance service. One person tweeted that there were 'lots of people coughing heavily,' whilst a mother claimed that her son 'began coughing after swimming' and had to be given his inhaler. A spokeswoman for East of England Ambulance Service said: 'We are aware of an incident on Sunday 25 August with reports of a number of people suffering from coughing on the seafront off Fourth Avenue, Frinton. We are assisting the police and fire services with this incident. The cause is currently unknown.' Essex Police said that its partner agencies were 'working to try to establish the cause' as quickly as possible and advised people not to go into the sea for the time being.
The Queen is said to be 'extremely upset' after 'vandals' spray-painted a sixty foot 'tag' on a royal railway viaduct, 'ruining an iconic view of Windsor Castle.' Mind you, this according to a report in the Sun so, it's probably a load of made-up shite. The graffiti was, reportedly, painted overnight and 'ruins the view for visitors to Her Majesty's favourite home.' Oh, the tragedy. An alleged - though, suspiciously anonymous and, therefore, probably6 fictitious - royal 'source' allegedly told the newspaper: 'The Queen was extremely upset to hear that this view of Windsor Castle has been turned into such an eyesore.' And, you wouldn't like to see The Queen when she's upset, dear blog reader. 'Her aides have been asked to see what can be done to have this gratuitous vandalism cleaned up and the views across to Windsor Castle restored to their former beauty.' The graffiti artist is unknown, the newspaper adds, 'but the tag HELCH has been scrawled on many other sites in and around London including many bridges on the M4, M1 and M25.' So, that'll probably be Helch, then. Just a wild stab in the dark y'understand.
And now, dear blog reader, the From The North headline of the week award. Which, this week, goes to the Radio Today website for Radio Presenters And Journalists Among Top Jobs For Psychopaths. As someone who has done both of those jobs in his time, dear blog reader, Keith Telly Topping is forced to concede that, yeah, it's a fair cop.
Second prize in the same category goes to BBC News for the epic Metal Detectorists Taken Ill Eating 'Cannabis Cakes' In High Melton.
One of Stately Telly Topping's neighbours was having a barbecue over the Bank Holiday weekend, dear blog reader. And, it smelled delicious. Yer actual Keith Telly Topping was not invited, however. And, he was actually quite sanguine about that. Mainly because they had the sound of 'Africa' by Toto blaring out for what seemed like two hours (it was actually only four minutes and fifty five seconds, but it appeared to be far longer). To be honest, if this blogger had been invited round to the gaff, he would have kicked the sodding stereo up a-height. So, his omission from the guest list was probably for the best for all concerned in the end. Because, dear blog reader, this blogger really hates that  sodding song!
Meanwhile, dear blog reader, actual edible living things appeared to be growing in the grounds of Stately Telly Topping Manor. This was most definitely a new development. Though, apparently, not a unique situation. 'We've had a couple of bushes appear out of nowhere,' one of this blogger's dear fiends told him. I think the garden is better prepared for Brexit than the government is.'
So, come Bank Holiday Monday, there you go, dear blog reader, whaddya reckon? £1.99 in a plastic punnet from Morrisons?
Mind you, and, if you will excuse the pun dear blog reader, a short tip: If you should ever think about taking a stroll through the palatial splendour of Stately Telly Topping Manor's manicured lawns in search of blackberries, don't do it in shorts. Just sayin'.
Gosh it was hot on Bank Holiday Monday at Stately Telly Topping Manor when this blogger did his first spot of blackberry picking since he was about twelve; and, thank goodness for the gloves, frankly. In fact, this blogger was about the only person in the area stupid enough to venture out in such oppressive heat. Except for the neighbourhood cat, obviously. Aw, kitty, this blogger knows exactly how you felt ...
So, anyway dear blog reader, as mentioned in the last bloggerisationisms update, Keith Telly Topping has gained himself some - temporary - employment. Tuesday was the final day of freedom for this blogger before the graft started but, he had a few chores to do in town - most notably visiting his employment adviser, Norma, who had arranged the interview last week to let her know that this blogger had, you know, got the gig. Remarkably, this blogger got that out of the way by 9.20am (and, unexpected bonus, got a weekly travel pass thrown in for his trouble. So that's fifteen quid which he had expected to have to cough up, saved). This blogger then had brecky at McDonald's and then, this was the bit that he thought was going to be the easiest task, wanted to pick up copies of the bus time tables for the 62, 63 and 63X which got to his new place of employment. Of course, that, ultimately, proved to be far harder than anticipated. Keith Telly Topping tried the Monument Metro station. The information desk was closed (seemingly permanently). He tried the Central Library. That didn't open till 10am. He tried the information desk in Eldon Square to see if they could advise him where he would be able to acquire what he was after. The lady there, whilst being very pleasant, in short didn't have a frigging clue! Finally this blogger wandered up to Haymarket bus station next to Marks & Spenser - with hindsight, he probably should've tried there first - and, yes, they had a rack with everything he was after on public display. This blogger then got the bus to Morrisons and, thereafter, to Aldi to pick up all of the stuff he would be needing for the next day's packed lunch. He got home, totally exhausted and wondered, loudly, God only knows what state he would be in the following evening after a full day's Captain Kirk.
The first day on the job was certainly bracing, dear blog reader! And, to be fair, not at all unpleasant. The job itself is no problem and pretty much what this blogger expected it to be (answering the phones and some basic computer work) and the company themselves seem quite decent; the commute, however, is utterly Hellish (two buses and an hour in each direction if you make the connections in time; therefore, in practice, closer to an hour-and-twenty(ish)-minutes in each direction). Keith Telly Topping is now working for the next seven days straight before he gets a couple of days off. The hours are a bit ... meh, admittedly (shifts on a rota - 11.30am starts and 8pm finishes for the next couple of days for example, though the weekend hours are a bit more civilised). The pay's pretty good, though. However, dear blog reader, expect to see not a whole Hell of a lot of From The North for at least the next couple of weeks whilst this blogger works out whether he is coming and/or going! Probably both, simultaneously.
And finally, dear blog reader, Sheila Steafel, who died this week aged eighty four, was a versatile and funny character actress with a gift for comic timing and was a regular face on British television for six decades. As well as being the female cast member on The Frost Report (1966) alongside the emerging talents of John Cleese, Ronnie Barker and Ronnie Corbett she also played opposite and, in her own words, 'sometimes against' many of the leading TV comedians of the era, including Peter Cook and Dudley Moore (in Not Only ... But Also), Roy Hudd, Tommy Cooper, Spike Milligan and Kenny Everett. After the success of The Frost Report, a Golden Rose of Montreux winner, she was very much in demand for guest roles in comedy series. Regular parts included Ivy Watkins in the Granada sitcom How's Your Father (1974), the White Lady in all three series of Richard Carpenter's The Ghosts Of Motley Hall (1976) and the literary agent supporting debut novelist Diane Keen as she starts to overshadow Tim Brooke-Taylor in You Must Be The Husband (1987). But, while she was a great comic foil on TV, she shone as a stage performer in one-woman shows at the Edinburgh festival and London theatres. In The Late Sheila Steafel (1981), Steafel Solo (1982), Steafel XPress (1985) and Victoria Plums (1995) she delivered comic songs and monologues supplied by writers including Keith Waterhouse, Barry Cryer, David Nobbs, Andy Hamilton and Dick Vosburgh. Vocally dexterous but also a fine physical actress, she created Miss Popsy Wopsy, a klutzy ingenue - a music hall entertainer who was never, quite, on note and always just behind the beat. She performed the character in her shows and several times in The Good Old Days in the 1970s and 1980s. In person, she could deliver witticisms and deadpan put downs, making her a fine addition to panel shows like Juke Box Jury, Call My Bluff and Blankety Blank. Born in Johannesburg, Sheila was the younger of two children of Harold, a garage owner from Lancashire and his wife, Eda. Harold directed and performed in amateur productions, particularly of Gilbert and Sullivan and the young Sheila's mother was a talented pianist so her childhood was surrounded by drama and music. She also sang at the local synagogue, where both Harold and Eda were involved. Sheila was educated at Barnato Park school in the Middle-Class suburb of Berea and one year narrowly avoided being expelled for writing a risqué pantomime. At Witwatersrand University she studied fine art, but abandoned the course to travel to Britain to audition for RADA in 1953. She did a term at its preparatory academy, but was reportedly told she was 'unusual' and would probably have to wait until she was in her thirties and become a character actor. Undeterred, she enrolled instead at the Webber Douglas Academy, where she won the Margaret Rutherford award for comedy. After stints in rep in Blackpool and Lincoln, in 1959 she worked as an usherette at The Players' Theatre in Charing Cross, which presented Victorian music hall shows and eventually she plucked up the courage to ask for an audition. She passed and while there honed her comedy skills, created Popsy Wopsy and began to get noticed. Her first West End opportunity came in 1961, when she took over the role of Barbara opposite Tom Courtenay in Billy Liar, directed by Lindsay Anderson. In 1972 she played opposite Robert Morley in How The Other Half Loves at The Lyric and she was cast as a female Harpo Marx in A Day In Hollywood, A Night In The Ukraine (1979), at the insistence of Vosburgh, its writer. She won rave reviews. She was a memorably eccentric, hip-flask swigging Mistress Quickly in an RSC production of The Merry Wives Of Windsor (1985), played Meg in The Birthday Party at the Bristol Old Vic (2006) and carried on to the last performance despite needing spinal surgery when playing Mrs Brice in Funny Girl in Chichester (2008). Her films included the camp classic Daleks' Invasion Earth 2150 AD (1966), Hammer's Quatermass & The Pit (1967) and Bloodbath At The House Of Death (1984), with Everett and Vincent Price, co-written by Cryer. On radio she was a regular cast member of the topical comedy show Weekending for five years from 1977, was to be heard in plays and readings and performed in her own vehicles Steafel Plus (1982) and Steafel With An S (1984). In later years she made character appearances in popular TV series such as Doctors (seven different roles between 2005 and 2016) and Holby City (three between 2007 and 2016). Her CV also included appearances in Unforgotten, The Tenth Kingdom, Grange Hill, Rab C Nesbit, Minder, Bluebirds, Super Gran, Honky Tonk Heroes, Can We Get On Now, Please?, Diary Of A Nobody, Q6, The Goodies, Sykes, Tarbuck & All That!, The Tommy Cooper Hour, Some Matters Of Little Consequence, The Val Doonican Show, Z Cars, Cribbins, Oh, Brother!, The Troubleshooters, The Wednesday Play, Horne A'Plenty, The World Of Beachcomber, The Illustrated Weekly Hudd, Frankie Howerd, Danger Man, It's Dark Outside, Off Beat, The Big Noise, Sergeant Cork, Hugh & I, The Younger Generation, Kipps, No Hiding Place and the movies Never Too Young To Rock, Digby The Biggest Dog In The World, Melody, Percy, This Smashing Bird I Used To Know and Otley. In 1958 she married the actor Harry H Corbett. After their divorce in 1964 she had various relationships but never married again. She described their time together and her career in her autobiography, When Harry Met Sheila (2010), and also published a series of short anecdotal stories based on real-life encounters, Bastards (2012).