Wednesday, August 07, 2019

I Will Converse With Iron-Witted Fools

The Doctor is heading to HBO Max after the WarnerMedia streaming service picked up the exclusive streaming rights to Doctor Who. The service will have all eleven series of the SF fan-favourite's post-2005 run 'at launch' in spring 2020 including the SVOD premiere of series eleven, which stars Jodie Whittaker her very self. As part of the deal with BBC Studios, the streamer will be the exclusive SVOD home for future series once they have first been broadcast on BBC America. In addition to Doctor Who, HBO Max has licensed seven hundred episodes of BBC series including The Office, Top Gear, Luther and The Honourable Woman. 'Doctor Who is one of television's all-time, most beloved series, on both sides of the pond and we are happy to be the exclusive streaming stewards for this BBC gem,' said Kevin Reilly, the Chief Content Officer of HBO Max. 'Another series to further define the high-quality content experience consumers can expect from HBO Max.' 'As any Doctor Who fan knows, the iconic TARDIS is bigger on the inside and it's a good thing because the TARDIS is about to welcome a whole new slew of fans coming to the show through this deal with HBO Max,' added Nigel Gaines, the Interim President of BBC Studios America. 'HBO Max's ambitious content line-up is the perfect complement to the Doctor Who global franchise, in addition to some of our most award-winning and game-changing UK dramas and comedies.' 'Doctor Who is a programmer like no other - an incredibly rich world of stories, packed with adventure, regeneration, heart (two actually) and hope. Our audience is incredibly dedicated and engaged and we can't wait to work with HBO Max to tell our stories from across all of time and space,' said Sally De St Croix, Doctor Who's Global Franchise Director. These British dramas will join the likes of The Sopranos, Sex & The City, Veep and Game Of Thrones on HBO Max, as well as previously announced acquisitions The Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air, Pretty Little Liars and all two hundred and thirty six million episodes of Friends. HBO Max will also be 'the exclusive out-of-season streaming home to a string of new Warner Brothers produced dramas for The CW,' including the highly-anticipated new DC series Batwoman and Katy Keene. The streamer will also be home to From The North favourite Doom Patrol, with the first series available at launch and new episodes set to debut simultaneously on DC Universe and HBO Max.
The first official Peaky Blinders-themed 'festival' will take place in Birmingham in September. It will feature live music from Mercury Prize nominees Anna Calvi and Nadine Shah and Primal Scream. A similar event last year, which was not approved by the makers of the show, reportedly left some fans unhappy and taking to social media for a right good whinge. 'I wanted to put together a festival sanctioned by us but not to comment on anybody else's attempt,' creator and writer Steven Knight told BBC News. The Legitimate Peaky Blinders Festival will be held in Birmingham on 14 and 15 September. The BBC drama follows the fortunes of the Shelby family and their naughty gangster ways, starring Cillian Murphy as Tommy Shelby. You knew that, right? The event will see two hundred actors 'recreate Peaky Blinders scenes live in the historic streets, warehouses and factories of Digbeth.' There will also be 'fashion shows and a specially commissioned dance performance by renowned company Rambert.' The line-up for the five music stages includes Mike Skinner aka The Streets and Anna Calvi, who scored the forthcoming fifth series of Peaky Blinders. She said in a statement she was 'thrilled to be performing,' adding that the score was 'a major project for me this year and I'm excited to be bringing a special one-off version of my show to the festival.' Music has played a part in the show's success, with Nick Cave's 'Red Right Hand' played over the opening credits. 'There is some music that is Peaky and some music that isn't,' said Knight. 'It's a bit of an intangible [thing], but just know when you hear it and so we put together bands that feel right. I've never been able to define why it is that sometimes you hear a beautiful Irish folk song sung in a really beautiful melodic way and it's still right. I think what connects all of those things is the words. The lyrics tease you into this slightly mystical, slightly dark, threatening place, which is where the Peakys live.' Knight is reluctant to share many details of the fifth series, which premiered to a select audience at Birmingham Town Hall in July, an event that saw over eight thousand punters apply to attend. The 1920s-set drama is shown in eighty three countries around the world and its popularity has led to unauthorised spin-offs like last year's unofficial festival and a theme bar in Manchester. But Knight said that he had been 'absolutely heartened and thrilled by the response of Peaky fans' who have made artwork and other tributes to the show on their own. 'We weren't doing anything, they were doing it themselves,' he said. 'They've done incredible artwork and tattoos and graffiti on walls and it's been wonderful because it just means people have really responded to the show.' What will be unchanged for Tommy Shelby in series five is his nicotine habit, Knight said. Murphy is estimated to have smoked more than three thousand (herbal) cigarettes 'in the line of duty.' Following a report that suggested that Netflix showed 'much more tobacco' than on US TV or cable, the streaming service - which is not bound by traditional broadcasting rules - has pledged to cut back on how often smoking is shown in its original shows. The first four series of Peaky Blinders are available on Netflix, as well as on the BBC iPlayer in the UK. According to Knight, it's all about historical accuracy. 'The key is in the fact that we're trying to be as true to that world as possible and that's what people did,' he said. 'People did smoke a lot in those days. And that's what we're reflecting in the same way that we wouldn't have a modern car on the street.'
This blogger whinged at some considerable length in the last bloggerisationism update about the Radio Times website's damned annoying habit of clickbait articles - specifically related to Doctor Who - which promise much in the headline but, actually, contain zero information. You might have noticed, dear blog reader. Pure dead-vexed, so he was. Had his mad, right up. Well, it seems that Doctor Who is not alone in this regard. Peaky Blinders is also copping a flat-cap full of utterly spurious clickbait. For instance, check out Kimberley Bond's piece Could Line of Duty's Vicky McClure join Peaky Blinders? To which the answer is ... 'maybe. Maybe not. Don't know.' Steven Knight has admitted that Vicky would be 'great' in the popular gangster drama - well, of course she would, she a superb actress - but has made absolutely no comment about whether this is likely to happen, or even could be feasible at any stage in the future (given McClure's busy schedule as the current most employable actress on British TV). And yet, it takes Bond nine sodding paragraphs to say all of this when it could've been done in about two lines. Getting paid by the word, were you Kimberley? As this blogger asked last time around, 'does anyone else remember when the Radio Times used to be written by grown-ups?'
The Romper website's Chrissy Bobic's piece The Twenty Three Best Episodes Of Game Of Thrones Ranked To Help You Relive Every Brutal Moment Again is highly recommended, dear blog reader. Interestingly, for all of the Gruniad Morning Star bores who can't write anything about Game Of Thrones' eighth and final series without mentioning the words 'divisive', Chrissy's list contains two of those final six episodes; and, yet somehow manages to miss the best episode of that series, A Knight Of Seven Kingdoms. This list also, bafflingly, excludes this blogger's own favourite episode, series seven's mad-as-toast Beyond The Wall - 'Game Of Thrones does Where Eagles Dare'. And, both Battle Of The Bastards and Blackwater should've been much higher. According to, you know, this blogger - who is a very well-known author, journalist and broadcast so you should definitely listen to what he says! But, it's jolly hard to argue with Chrissy's choice of a top three. Anyway, check it out, dear blog reader and see whether you agree with her or not.
Filming on the BBC's forthcoming much anticipated adaptation of Dracula from Sherlock creators yer actual Mark Gatiss and The Lord Thy God Steven Moffat (OBE) recently concluded. Announcing a wrap after seven 'extraordinary' months, Mark revealed on Twitter that as the filmmakers were readying the drama's last shot, a bat flew into the studio. Fortunately, Gatt, Moff and producer Sue Vertue appear to have survived the ordeal with their blood intact.
This blogger had been assured well in advance from dear fiends in the US that the FX mini-series Fosse/Verdon, which began its BBC2 run this week, was well worth catching. And, on the evidence of the opening two episodes, the plaudits which have been heaped on Sam Rockwell and Michelle Williams in the title roles are, thoroughly, justified. Not only that but the pitch-perfect recreations of two of Fosse's most celebrated directorial moments - the '(Hey) Big Spender' routine from Sweet Charity and 'Mein Herr' from Cabaret - simply had to be seen to be believed. Though, if you read the thoroughly sniffy, 'well, it was all right, I suppose' reviews from some glakes of no importance in the Gruniad Morning Star and the Independent you'd think you were watching another show entirely.
The single most moronic and numbskull comment in the history of television critique - in, of course, this blogger's opinion - appeared this week in The Sunday Times. 'Killing Eve has received fulsome praise from You Sayers and others but not from me. It's absolute tripe. Perhaps I'm in a minority of one,' noted one Peter Mickler (no, me neither). Not necessarily, Peter. There are, after all, some damned strange fekkers out there walking the streets and, seemingly, able to vote. I mean, look at Brexit. And Bashing Boris. And President Rump. 'nuff said, really. Next ...
Writer/producer Alex Kurtzman is a very busy man. He is involved into both the forthcoming Star Trek: Lower Decks and Star Trek: Discovery and his latest project will see him developing a TV adaptation of Walter Tevis' SF novel The Man Who Fell To Earth for CBS All Access. Most SF fans may be familiar with The Man Who Fell To Earth from Nicolas Roeg's shit-weird-but-utterly- brilliant 1976 film adaptation starring the late David Bowie. He was a popular beat combo, you might've heard of him. In it Bowie played the otherworldly, tragic hero Thomas Jerome Newton a humanoid alien who comes to Earth to retrieve water for his drought-stricken home planet. Kurtzman is developing the new series with fellow Star Trek: Discovery writer Jenny Lumet. The duo will co-write the episodes - which will be a continuation of the story not a reboot - with Kurtzman directing, according to Deadline. 'Walter Tevis' visionary novel gave us a Tech God Willy Wonka from another planet, brought to life by David Bowie's legendary performance, that foretold Steve Jobs' and Elon Musk's impact on our world,' Kurtzman and Lumet said in a joint statement. 'The series will imagine the next step in our evolution, seen through the eyes of an alien who must learn what it means to become human, even as he fights for the survival of his species.' There is no word yet on the new series' release date or cast.
The latest episode of the excellent From The Archives podcast hosted by this blogger's old mucker Greg Bakun and featuring a contribution from another of this blogger's dear fiends, Robert Franks, is now extremely available and can be heard here. It features jolly exciting news about recent Doctor Who vintage audio discoveries plus segments on the recovery of archive material featuring The Be-Atles (a popular beat combo of the 1960s, you might've heard of them) and The Rolling Stones (another popular beat comb of the 1960s, you might've heard of them too).
And, here's a picture of the latter just in case you'd forgotten what they look like.
In other archive telly news, the final six episodes of Top Of the Pops which were known to be missing from the BBC's archives include two from December 1976 and four from 1977. From September of that year, every episode of the BBC's long-running chart music show survives in one form or another and the vast majority of them have been able to be viewed again as part of the (excellent) ongoing repeat run on BBC4, which commenced in 2011 and is still going. The existence of these six missing episodes was always subject of much speculation and conjecture. The late Ken Holmes who possessed one of the largest collections of home recordings on domestic videotape in the UK was known to have all taped all six episodes. The fate of the original tapes, however, was unknown. Now, thanks to a mutual acquaintance of Ken and Kaleidoscope, the TV preservation and archive organisation, Kaleidoscope has obtained the material which survived with Ken's widow. The first steps to their recovery have now taken place, with episodes assembled from all of the available footage. Ken did not record every part of every programme but often some of that missing footage exists from other sources. The original recordings were made on a Panasonic NV3160 reel-to-reel machine. Of the six episodes that were recorded by Ken, only the final one - from September 1977 and hosted by yer actual Kid Jensen - is complete, with the others all missing at the least the opening segments and the chart run-down (which Ken often skipped when recording these shows) - and some do not contain every performance as seen in the original transmissions. Fortunately, Kaleidoscope has been able to access much of the missing footage. The six episodes include performances by popular beat combos as diverse as Mud, The Electric Light Orchestra, Tina Charles, Smokie, Racing Cars, Brotherhood Of Man, The Jam, The Motors, The Boomtown Rats, Eddie & The Hot Rods and Black Gorilla (doing the epic 'Gimme Dat Banana'!) Plus lots of Legs & Co - dancing to bangin' tunes by David Bowie, Jean-Michel Jarre and Elvis Presley amongst others. Although at least four of the episodes will, likely, never be seen in public again in full since they were presented by that right rotten albino kiddie-fiddler Jimmy Savile and the convicted sex offender David Lee Mister Hairy-Cornflake. The 4 August 1977 episode (the majority of which has been recovered) is of particular interest to this blogger as it feature's The Jam's second UK TV performance of their second single, 'All Around The World' a full three weeks before the - much more famous and, thankfully, still existent - performance on Granada's Marc. The work to recover these episodes is still ongoing, because the recordings are in need of further restoration and some fresh transfers. But, it's great to know that at least the vast majority of these important bits of broadcasting history are, once again, back in safe hands.
From The North favourites Nick Frost and Simon Pegg's Truth Seekers is coming to Amazon Prime Video. The streaming service has secured global rights to the comedy horror series and will broadcast Truth Seekers in over two hundred countries and territories. 'Nick and I are delighted that Truth Seekers has found a home with Amazon Prime Video. We're looking forward to working closely with them and creating something very special,' said Peggy. 'These are truly exciting times for television and I can't think of a better partner than Amazon to accompany us on a return to the smaller screen.' Truth Seekers follows a team of part-time paranormal investigators who team up to uncover and film ghost sightings across the UK, sharing their adventures on an online channel. However, as they stake out haunted churches, underground bunkers and abandoned hospitals with their array of homemade ghost-detecting gizmos, their supernatural experiences grow more frequent, more terrifying and even deadly, as they begin to uncover a conspiracy that could bring about Armageddon for the entire human race. The series, which has an order for eight episodes, hails from Pegg, Frost and Miles Ketley's production company Stolen Picture. It is being written by Pegg, Frost, Nat Saunders and James Serafinowicz. Jim Field Smith is attached to direct. Amazon said that further casting would be announced at a later date. 'Simon, Miles and I, and everyone at Stolen Picture, are incredibly happy to be making Truth Seekers with our new partners, Amazon Prime Video,' commented Frosty. 'It's been nothing but a joyride in seeing this mad tale of paranormal conspiracy unfold in all its understated brilliance. Amazon's commitment and support of the show and of original programming generally, showed us that we couldn't be collaborating with a bigger or better team.'
The BBC has announced the cast for Elizabeth Is Missing. From The North favourite Sophie Rundle (most recently seen in Gentleman Jack and, soon to feature in the new series of Peaky Blinders), Helen Behan and Maggie Steed are set to star opposite the previously-announced Glenda Jackson in the feature length adaptation of Emma Healey's novel. Rundle has been cast as Sukey, Behan as Helen and Maggie as the titular Elizabeth. Rounding out the cast are Liv Hill, Nell Williams, Mark Stanley, Sam Hazeldine, Neil Pendleton, Stuart McQuarrie, Linda Hargreaves, Michelle Duncan, John Paul Hurley, Brian Ferguson, Cara Kelly, Julie Hannan, Anna-Maria Nabirye, Nabs Aziz and Tom Urie. The script was written by Andrea Gibb.
ITV's new drama series Deep Water will premiere on Wednesday 14 August, it has been announced. Deep Water is set against the backdrop of the Lake District and follows the lives of three 'complex and vibrant' women, each struggling to keep their heads above very deep water. The six episode series, which is based on the Paula Daly novels, is produced by Kudos and stars From The North favourite Anna Friel, Sinead Keenan and Rosalind Eleazar.
Ian Hart, Tanya Moodie, Joanne Whalley and Kerrie Hayes have joined the cast of Sky Atlantic's Tin Star for its third and final series. Created by Rowan Joffe, Tin Star tells the story of Jim Worth, an ex-Metropolitan police detective who has moved with his family to the Rocky Mountains to start a new life as a local police chief in an idyllic rural community. The drama series is produced by Kudos and Gaumont UK and stars Tim Roth, Genevieve O’Reilly, and Abigail Lawrie. The first series was a bit over-the-top mad but nevertheless, highly watchable. The second, err ... wasn't. Series three will pick up thousands of miles away from the Canadian town of Little Big Bear with Jack, Angela and Anna returning to the UK twenty years after leaving to confront the sinister truth they ran away from in the first place. Production on series three is now underway in Liverpool.
This blogger very much enjoyed the latest episode of Jim Al-Khalili's excellent BBC4 series Revolutions on the development of the rocket. Not least, because it dispelled one, oft-quoted, myth which always rather annoys this blogger every time it is voiced publicly. That is, the idea that the Americans initiated in the infamous Operation Paperclip in the closing overs of World War II and spirited Wernher Von Braun and his rocket-building mates from under the noses of the British - who wanted them for war crimes - to New Mexico 'because they wanted a space programme.' No, they did not - what they actually wanted from Von Braun and his team was intercontinental ballistic missiles. And, boy did they get them. The space programme was an accidental - albeit, highly welcome - by-product of the ensuing missile programme.
BBC4's repeat of the 2018 Storyville film The Farthest: Voyager's Intersteller Journey this week was also very welcome. The story of the the planning, development, launch and missions of Voyager I and Voyager II remains an epic of human achievement, personal drama and almost miraculous success. Launched sixteen days apart in 1977, the twin probes have defied all the odds, survived countless near misses and almost forty years later continue to transmit revolutionary information across unimaginable distances back to Earth. With less computing power than a modern hearing aid, they have unlocked the stunning secrets of our solar system and are now, both, travelling, quite literally, where no man has gone before. Or, probably will for a very, very long time. As one of the NASA team said in the documentary: 'It's a pretty small spacecraft and it's a pretty big universe!' Beautiful.
Watching programmes on a TV set is still, by a not inconsiderable distance, the most popular way for UK audiences to watch television - but streaming is catching up. Traditional viewing - including catch-up within twenty eight days - still accounts for most TV watching, with an average of three hours and twelve minutes per day. But according to Ofcom's latest Media Nations report, this marks a drop of eleven minutes since 2017. Average daily viewing of streaming services rose last year to twenty six minutes. The number of UK households signed up to the most popular streaming platforms - Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Now TV and Disney Life - increased from 11.2 million in 2018 to 13.3 million in 2019. The total number of UK streaming subscriptions rose by a quarter in 2018 - from 15.6 million to 19.1 million - with many homes signing up to more than one service. The report found that two in five of UK adults now consider online video services to be their 'main' way of watching TV and film. Despite traditional TV viewing declining, the five main public service broadcasters - BBC1, BBC2, Channel Four, ITV/STV and Channel Five - held their share of viewing, at fifty two per cent. But viewers now watch fifty minutes less traditional TV each day than they did in 2010 - and those in the younger age bracket (sixteen to twenty four) have halved the time they spend watching TV that way during the same period. This is the second Media Nations report to be published by Ofcom. The first, which came out in 2018, found that Friends topped a list of the UK's most popular shows on paid-for streaming services. It was the same again this year, with Friends at number one and accounting for around two per cent of all streams. Amazon's car show The Grand Tour was the second most streamed, followed by You, The Good Place and Brooklyn Nine-Nine, which are all on Netflix. The BBC's Line Of Duty is still the most-watched programme overall this year to date with 12.1 million punting tuning in to the final episode. The same channel's Bodyguard was the most-watched drama in 2018, with 14.3 million viewers for its final episode. Yih-Choung Teh, strategy and research group director at Ofcom, said: 'The way we watch TV is changing faster than ever before. In the space of seven years, streaming services have grown from nothing to reach nearly half of British homes. But traditional broadcasters still have a vital role to play, producing the kind of brilliant UK programmes that overseas tech giants struggle to match. We want to sustain that content for future generations, so we're leading a nationwide debate on the future of public service broadcasting.'
Channel Four News presenter Jon Snow (he 'knows nothing') has been cleared by the media regulator after saying that he had 'never seen so many white people in one place' while describing a pro-Brexit protest - partly because video footage of the crowd did indeed show that the protesters were overwhelmingly white. The journalist was reporting from outside parliament on 29 March, the day Britain had been due to leave the EU, when he made the unscripted comments, prompting thousands of whinges to Ofcom that his remarks had been racist or offensive. 'It has been the most extraordinary day,' Snow said at the end of the hour-long programme. 'A day which has seen - I've never seen so many white people in one place. It's an extraordinary story. There are people everywhere, there are crowds everywhere.' Members of the public variously whinged to Ofcom that Snow was 'implying' that differing views on Brexit are based on race; implied a potential link between Brexit supporters and white supremacists; encouraged racial tensions or was biased, given that the racial background of participants in similar pro-remain marches had not been referred to in the same way. Many of the whinges against Snow's comments had been spurred by a social media campaign among pro-Brexit campaigners. Channel Four later issued a statement apologising for 'any offence caused' (not, please note, 'any offence given', which they should have said) but - rightly - stood by their presenter. They insisted that Snow's comment was justified under the broadcasting code as it was 'reflecting his observation that in a London demonstration of that size, ethnic minorities seemed to be significantly under-represented.' In its ruling Ofcom said that it 'acknowledged the large number of people protesting and in the crowd appeared to be predominantly white' and 'sufficient context' had been provided. However, it warned Channel Four needed to 'be careful,' given Snow's comments followed a discussion involving the writer Will Self, who had made reference to 'ethnic nationalism' in the context of Brexit, which 'could' have implied 'there was a link between Brexit supporters and white supremacists.' Which, obviously, there isn't. Oh no, very hot water. 'In the context of the current volatile public discourse surrounding Brexit, particular care is needed to fully contextualise any ambiguous statements in programmes on sensitive issues that have the potential to cause offence to audiences,' the broadcaster snivelling. In a separate ruling, Ofcom also cleared Brexit party leader that awful Farage individual of using his LBC show that same evening to say that 'Jon Snow should be attacked' for his comments on the crowd being white. Farage had swiftly made clear on the same programme that he meant Snow should 'only be verbally attacked' for, allegedly, 'showing bias.'
An Emmerdale actor who bit a man's face after an argument outside a pub has been cleared of assault. Mark Jordon, who played Daz Spencer in the soap, was accused of attacking Andrew Potts in July 2018 outside the Farrars Arms in Oldham. A jury at Manchester's Minshull Street Crown Court found him very not guilty of affray, unlawful wounding and assault by beating. Jordon had denied the charges and claimed he acted in self-defence. Speaking outside court, the actor said that he was 'grateful to the jury for proving my innocence' and pleased his 'awful ordeal' had come to an end. The court previously heard Jordon bit Potts - really hard - in 'sheer panic and fear' after being, himself, attacked. Jurors heard that the row started in a beer garden on 1 July, where Jordon was celebrating his engagement to Laura Norton, who plays Kerry Wyatt in the soap. Jordon claimed Potts had made 'vile comments' about his daughter and had a video of her which he would post on YouTube. CCTV footage showed Jordon having to be held back from Potts, who threw some punches at him. Jordon said that the footage showed him trying to grab Potts' phone, not trying to be violent. The court heard Potts and his partner left the pub and walked down the road, but were later confronted by Jordon, who got out of a taxi. Jurors were told Jordon bit Potts' thumb and the palm of his hand and the pair fell to the ground, where the actor then bit his eyebrow. They heard Jordon, who had been due on the set of Emmerdale on the day after his arrest, suffered a fractured wrist when he was kicked by Potts. Jordon told the jury he bit Potts 'in self-defence,' adding that it was 'not planned, regretful and in the moment.' Norton broke down in tears in the public gallery as the verdicts were delivered. Outside court, Jordon said that he was 'looking forward to getting back to our engagement and my career, which has been on hold.' His character was last seen on the soap in January, when he moved away from the village to begin a new life in London. A spokesman for the soap said there were 'no current plans' for the character to return.
Martin Scorsese's latest film, The Irishman, will be shown for the first time outside the US at the BFI London Film Festival. The Oscar-winning director said that he is 'extremely honoured' the crime movie will be played at the festival's closing night gala on 13 October. Scorsese and the film's stars, Robert De Niro, Al Pacino and Joe Pesci, are due to attend. The world premiere will be at the New York Film Festival two weeks prior. The Irishman 'examines the influence of organised crime in post-war America' - well, it is a Marty Scorsese film, what were the odds? - as told through the eyes of World War II veteran-turned-hustler and hitman, Frank Sheeran - played by De Niro. It sees Scorsese reunite with Gangs Of New York screenwriter Steve Zaillian, who has adapted the film from Charles Brandt's novel, I Heard You Paint Houses. 'This picture was many years in the making,' said Scorsese. 'It's a project that Robert De Niro and I started talking about a long time ago and we wanted to make it the way it needed to be made.' He added: 'It's also a picture that all of us could only have made at this point in our lives. We're all very excited to be bringing The Irishman to London.' Earlier in the year there was speculation around whether or not the Netflix-backed movie would appear at the Cannes Film Festival in May - due to the festival's 'ongoing debate' with the streaming giants.
Newcastle United have signed French winger Allan Saint-Maximin from Nice for a reported sixteen-and-a-half million knicker. Saint-Maximin, a France Under-Twenty One international, has signed a six-year deal at St James' Park. 'He has all the attributes you would want in an attacking player,' Steve Brucie (nasty to see him, to see him, nasty) said. Earlier on Friday Newcastle announced the signing of Netherlands defender Jetro Willems on a season-long loan from Eintracht Frankfurt with a subsequent option to buy. The twenty five-year-old left-back - who has twenty two international caps - made thirty six appearances in the Bundesliga last term.
This blogger's beloved (though, tragically unsellable) Newcastle concluded their pre-season programme on Saturday with a two-one victory over French opposition St Etienne which was somewhat more emphatic than the final scoreline suggests. New signing Joelinton and teenager Matty Longstaff netted for The Magpies before Les Verts pulled one back after a rare foray upfield, Gallowgate old boy Mathieu Debuchy being on target. However that margin of victory could have - and should have - been far greater; Miguel Almiron's first goal for Th' Toon continues to elude him despite several chances, he and Jonjo Shelvey rattling the woodwork and last-ditch interventions denying Isaac Hayden and Yoshinori Muto among others. St James' Park was bathed in sunshine for the first home game in charge of The Magpies for Stevie Brucie (nasty to see him, to see him, nasty), but his entrance was low key and without any fanfare. Clad in their new orange change kit, the game began with United's latest signings Allan Saint-Maximin and Jetro Willems on a subs bench which also included Christian Atsu for the first time in pre-season. However Matt Ritchie was omitted after limping off at Hibernian in midweek and pre-season ended with no pitch time at all for the injured trio of Dwight Gayle, Lejeune Florian or DeAndre Yedlin. Martin Dubravka returned in goal but had virtually nothing to do in the first half. At first it seemed that the visitors who finished fourth in Ligue 1 last season might dominate but St Étienne created little against Newcastle's three-five-two formation. Having scored his first goal for the club at Easter Road, Joelinton came close to another on twenty minutes after Fabian Schär 's long-range effort was blocked and fell to him, only for his shot to be scrambled away for a corner. Hayden then rounded the visiting keeper, only for his goalbound effort from a narrow angle to be headed clear by Wesley Fofana. Record signing Joelinton wasn't to be denied however and scampered forward to reach Schär's excellent through-ball before forcing it beyond the advancing keeper and into the Leazes End goal on thirty nine minutes. Shelvey then came close to a second when his powerful free kick bounced down off the crossbar and on the goal line before being cleared to safety. Almiron was causing problems with his pace but his end product remained wayward and he was denied once again two minutes into the second half, taking Shelvey's through-ball but failing to beat the keeper. The Paraguayan then had another effort blocked soon after before bursting into the box again in the fifty seventh minute and unleashing a shot that grazed the crossbar. Almiron and Joelinton then made way as new pair Willems and Saint-Maximin arrived, along with Muto - who quickly had the ball in the net, only to be denied by an offside flag. Willems and Saint-Maximin then combined for the latter to see his shot well saved, before the moment of the afternoon arrived for the sixteen thousand crowd. Matty Longstaff had been on the field just a matter of seconds when he took a pass from his older brother, Sean, on the edge of the St Etienne area before hitting a screamer which flew into the roof of the net. Further goals seemed likely but after Muto was denied from close range by an instinctive block, it was the Ligue 1 side that broke their duck; Debuchy was allowed to head in a corner as the defence lost concentration with five minutes remaining. The game ended with Saint-Maximin limping off in the company of a physio after coming a cropper while twisting and turning in the box. The afternoon was punctuated on the hour by loud anti-Mike Ashley chanting from a sparsely-populated Strawberry Corner, followed by a couple of lacklustre choruses of 'Stevie Bruce's black and white army.'
Meanwhile, following the Daily Scum Mail's suspiciously-timed 'exclusive' Mike Ashley interview with regular Ashley-apologist Martin Samuel in which some - frankly, Stalinist-style - rewriting of history was done at Rafa Benitez's expense it was interesting, this week, to see comments coming from the two most high-profile departures from Tyneside this summer. Speaking to his own website, Rafa The (Former) Gaffer talked about the 'good times' he had in Newcastle and of 'the ongoing kindness and positivity' he received (and, continues to receive) from the fans. 'They appreciated the commitment we had when choosing to stay at Newcastle and the efforts we made to continue being there, but unfortunately, as they say in England, "a leopard can't change its spots." A lot of things kept us attached to the club, to the city and to its fans, but a lack of project as well as unfulfilled promises meant we had to look forwards and follow a different path, as others such as Alan Shearer and Kevin Keegan have done whilst continuing to be supported and to support the team. There is nothing wrong with thinking about the past, but it's also important to look to the future. For this reason, all I have left to say is that I truly wish the team and Steve Bruce the best for the following season.' Classy, in a way that Ashley can only dream of appearing. And, jolly clever use of two other Newcastle icons who were, similarly, used and abused by That Awful Ashley Individual in previous years. He's a smart man, is Rafa and if Ashley thinks for a second that he has any chance of winning a public relations war against Benitez, he's a bigger fool than most Newcastle fans had previously suspected. Later that same day in an interview with The Athletic, Ayoze Pérez made the following observation: 'Things could be done better over there at Newcastle, but Leicester have given me the opportunity to do great things hopefully. There is big ambition. I think how football works, the way you have to look at football, that is the difference between Leicester and Newcastle. There is big motivation here to keep growing and to get better here at Leicester. I didn't feel they had it at Newcastle.' It was interesting to note when these comments were reprinted in the Evening Chronicle, some spawny-eyed parrot-faced wazzocks wittering on about how Ayoze had swapped Newcastle for 'a smaller club.' Leicester City, of course, won the Premier League in 2016. That's a full ninety years after the last time Newcastle achieved the same feat. Of course, there are many things which make a club 'big'; support through the turnstiles, turnover, how many replica shirts you sell in Malaysia alongside simply counting what's been in the trophy cabinet recently and only a foolish fool would attempt to claim that, under most criteria, Newcastle are not a 'big' club (they are reported to be among the twenty richest clubs in Europe, for example). But, then again, Blunderland are also a 'big' club and, look where they are at the moment. Bottom line, it would be nice if The Magpies could manage to turn that impressive support and all of those sales of replica shirts into, you know, a League Cup win, or something. Not that this is at all likely under the current regime, obviously.
Stephanie Frappart will become the first woman to referee a major men's European match when she takes charge of the UEFA Super Cup final between Liverpool and Chelsea on 14 August. Frappart will lead a team that also includes two female assistant referees when the Champions League winners face the Europa League holders in Istanbul. The thirty five-year-old Frenchwoman refereed July's Women's World Cup final in Lyon. UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin said he was 'delighted' by her appointment. 'I have said on many occasions that the potential for women's football has no limits,' he added. 'As an organisation, we place the utmost importance on the development of women's football in all areas. I hope the skill and devotion that Stephanie has shown throughout her career to reach this level will provide inspiration to millions of girls and women around Europe, and show them there should be no barriers in order to reach one's dream.' The assistant referees will be Frappart's compatriot Manuela Nicolosi and Michelle O'Neill of the Republic of Ireland. Leading male referee Cuneyt Cakir, who took charge of the 2015 Champions League final, will be the fourth official. Frappart became the first female referee to take charge of a Ligue 1 match in April and is in the pool of officials for the top flight of men's football in France for the 2019-20 season. In 2014, she was also the first woman to referee a Ligue 2 fixture. 'Stephanie has proved over a number of years that she is one of the best female referees, not just in Europe but across the world,' said UEFA chief refereeing officer Roberto Rosetti. 'She has the ability to officiate on the biggest stage, as she proved at this year's Women's World Cup final.' Swiss former female referee Nicole Petignat took charge of three UEFA Cup qualifying round matches between 2004 and 2009.
Promotion favourites Poor Bloody Fulham Haven't Got A Chance suffered a blast of Championship reality with a shock opening-weekend loss at Barnsley. Former Derby midfielder Luke Thomas struck a debut goal for the hosts to stun Scott Parker's Fulham, back in the Championship after a solitary Premier League campaign. Fulham have retained the bulk of the squad that could not fend off top-flight relegation last term, but failed to gel on a frustrating afternoon at Oakwell. Cardiff also suffered a bloody nose on their return to the second tier, as Wigan Not very Athletic pulled off a fine three-two win at the DW Stadium. Michael Jacobs and Josh Windass both scored in four second-half minutes to put Wigan ahead, after Joe Ralls had handed Cardiff the early lead. Omar Bogle levelled for Cardiff as Neil Warnock's Bluebirds rallied again. But just when the visitors started to think about chasing a winner, up popped Wales midfielder Lee Evans with a fine long-range effort to seal Wigan's victory. Kadeem Harris fired a debut goal as ten-man Sheffield Wednesday claimed a three-one win at Reading. After Harris had opened the scoring, Yakou Meite headed Reading level after the break. But just two minutes later Sam Hutchinson headed in Barry Bannan's cross to put Wednesday back in front. Goalkeeper Keiren Westwood was sent off with ten minutes to play, but Wednesday not only managed to hold out - replacement forward Lucas Joao fired in a third for the visitors. Promoted Charlton sealed a battling two-one win at Blackburn Vindaloos, with defender Ben Purrington and striker Lyle Taylor on target. Purrington grabbed the equaliser at Wembley en route to Charlton's thigh-slappingly hilarious League One play-off win over Blunderland in May and was back on the scoresheet at the start of the new campaign. Taylor's close-range strike spared Dillon Phillips' blushes, after the Charlton goalkeeper had put through his own net to gift Blackburn an equaliser. Two goals in as many minutes turned the tide for Swansea to secure a two-one home win over Hull. Kamil Grosicki had the visitors ahead after just three minutes, a lead they held until the break. But after the interval Swansea took control, with Spanish striker Borja Baston equalising from close range and then Mike van der Hoorn nodding in Nathan Dyer's cross for the winner. Kristian Pedersen headed home the only goal as Birmingham beat Brentford, with full-back Steve Seddon laying on the crucial cross. Jed Wallace fired Millwall to a home win over Preston, with summer recruit Connor Mahoney teeing up the winner. Jordan Hugill and Eberechi Eze both found the net as Queens Park Strangers saw off Dirty Stoke two-one at the Bet365 Stadium. Sam Clucas clawed one back late on for Stoke, but the hosts could not conjure an equaliser. Nottingham Forest lost two-one to West Bromwich Albinos in the evening kick-off. The Championship kicked-off on Friday evening with a thrilling three-three draw between newly-promoted Luton Town and Middlesbrough Smog Monsters. James Collins scored a late equaliser to deny Jonathan Woodgate a winning start as Boro boss. Boro were made to pay for Britt Assombalonga's missed penalty while they were leading three-two, as Collins struck from ten yards with five minutes left to secure a draw. Four goals were shared in the opening thirty seven minutes of an entertaining contest at Kenilworth Road.
Blunderland were held by Oxford as they started their second quest to escape from the mire of League One. Tariqe Fosu scored on his Oxford debut after his summer move from Charlton Not very Athletic to give the visitors a surprise lead. Lynden Gooch levelled from the spot four minutes after the break for The Mackem Filth after he was fouled by Josh Ruffels. But Jack Ross' side, who lost to Charlton in the play-off final in May, extremely failed to find a winner. Portsmouth slipped to a surprise defeat to Shrewsbury at the New Meadow. John Giles' stunning strike condemned Pompey to an opening-day loss and their disappointing afternoon was compounded when Ross McCrorie was sent off with nine minutes left. Stricken Notlob Wanderings, who start the season with minus twelve points, lost two-nil at Wycombe. Paul Smyth struck just after the break and Fred Onyedinma added a late second for The Chairboys. The Trotters went to Adams Park only after the EFL gave the game the go-ahead following Bolton providing financial assurances. Phil Parkinson's side travelled to the game with only three contracted senior outfield players and eight of the squad made their debuts. Bury's game with MK Dons had already been suspended after Bury failed to convince the league of their own financial viability. Ipswich Town, relegated from the Championship last season, began life in the third tier for the first time since 1957 with a one-nil win at Burton Albinos. Luke Garbutt scored an early winner while Stephen Quinn was dismissed late on for the hosts. Ian Henderson's double - one from the penalty spot - and Rhys Norrington-Davies' second-half strike earned Rochdale a three-two win at promoted Tranmere. Sid Nelson conceded an early penalty for Henderson to score and he added a second after the break before Norrington-Davies got in on the act. Dale needed to survive a late Rovers rally though after Stephen Dooley's own goal and Connor Jennings' injury-time goal before Rushian Hepburn-Murphy was sent off to end the hosts' hopes. Darren Moore's Doncaster reign started with a draw with Gillingham as he needed Kieran Sadlier to rescue a point after Alex Jakubiak put the visitors ahead. Freddie Ladapo scored a debut goal and Clark Robertson struck a late winner for Rotherham in their two-one win at AFC Wimbledon. Loanee Robertson fired in with six minutes left to cancel out Joe Piggott's leveller for The Dons. Jay Spearing's penalty and Armand Gnanduillet's goal gave Blackpool the perfect start to the season in their two-nil win over Bristol Rovers. Joey Barton's Fleetwood also secured an impressive three-one win at Peterborough. Harry Souttar and Josh Morris put The Cod Army two ahead; Ivan Toney pulled one back for the hosts but Danny Andrew's free-kick banked the points for Fleetwood. Elsewhere, Zain Westbrooke's second-half winner gave Coventry victory over Southend.
Salford beat Stevenage two-nil in their first-ever Football League match. Emmanuel Dieseruvwe's historic double gave his side a winning start in League Two in Saturday's lunchtime kick-off. Mansfield came back from a two-goal deficit at half-time to secure a draw with Newport despite finishing the game with ten men after Jacob Mellis' red card. Joss Labadie put Newport ahead, before Padraig Amond scored from the spot to double his side's lead but Mansfield struck back in the second half with goals from Krystian Pearce and Danny Rose. A Callum McFadzean double inspired Plymouth to a three-nil win at Crewe Alexandra. First-half goals from McFadzean and Joel Grant gave Plymouth a solid base before the former added a third in stoppage time to seal the victory. Swindon began their league campaign with a two-nil win at Scunthorpe. Jerry Yates fired The Robins ahead before Keshi Anderson's seventieth-minute goal ensured the win for Swindon. Leyton Orient marked their return to the Football League with a victory against Cheltenham. The club's late manager Justin Edinburgh's last signing Josh Wright scored the only goal of the emotional game, which saw Cheltenham's Luke Varney and Rohan Ince sent off within the space of two minutes in the second half. Grimsby Town scored two second-half goals in a win at Morecambe And Wise. A close-range finish from Elliott Whitehouse and an added-time effort from Max Wright was enough to give The Mariners the points. Carlisle held on to record a two-one win over ten-man Crawley. Harry McKirdy put Carlisle ahead in the sixth minute and though Beryly Lubala equalised, Stefan Scougall restored the lead for Carlisle before Lewis Young was dismissed for Crawley in injury time. Colchester secured a point in a one-all draw with Port Vale. Vale have not lost on the first day of a season since 2004 and took the lead in the fifth minute through Tom Pope's penalty before Luke Norris equalised for Colchester. Walsall got off to a winning start under new manager Darrell Clarke, with James Clarke scoring in his side's win over Northampton. Forest Green also got off to a winning start, with substitute Taylor Allen firing in the only goal of the game to give his side a victory over Oldham Not Very Athletic. Ryan Bowman secured all three points for Exeter with an eighty eighth-minute strike as they ground out a win over Macclesfield. Relegated Bradford were held to a goalless draw by ten-man Cambridge after Liam O'Neil's dismissal.
A giant pie has been revealed as Wigan Not Very Athletic's new mascot for the upcoming season. More than ninety primary schools were invited to submit ideas - with over half of the entries opting for a pie. Crusty The Pie was chosen as the winner of the competition, after the Championship club decided against using a mascot last season. It made its debut at The Latics' season opener against Cardiff City. Local children Cayden, eight and Neve, nine, designed and presented the mascot and walked out alongside Crusty on Saturday. 'We designed Crusty like this because everyone in Wigan loves pies,' the schoolchildren said. 'It took us about thirty minutes or an hour to design - it took a long time to choose the exact colours.' Wigan Not very Athletic's Head of Business Development and Customer Experience, Jonty Castle, added: 'It should put a smile on people's faces. It is a bit of light-hearted fun and a great opportunity for the children involved.'
Notts County endured a miserable start to life in the National League as they had two men sent off in a narrow defeat at Eastleigh. Relegated County, who made six signings on Thursday after a takeover of the club was finally completed, were handed an early reality check to life in the National League when Reda Johnson headed Eastleigh in front after getting on the end of Jack Payne's corner. The (other) Magpies were reduced to ten men when Michael Doyle was sent off. Debutant Damien McCrory followed Doyle down the tunnel in stoppage-time. Magpies manager Neal Ardley said he would not make excuses following the defeat, but added that County need to add to their squad. Quickly.
A Europa League qualifying match was suspended for more than thirty minutes after a Northern Irish referee was hit by an object thrown from the crowd. Hungarian side Honved said the 'scandalous' scenes during the match against Romanian outfit Universitatea Craiova should have seen it called off. A mass brawl broke out between players in the last minute of extra time and a smoke bomb was thrown from the stands. Referee Arnold Hunter was struck by an object and needed treatment. An ambulance arrived on the pitch and the match did not restart for more than half-an-hour. The fourth official then took charge and when the game resumed Craiova won three-one on penalties to reach the third qualifying round. Honved said in a statement that the delay took place while referees, UEFA delegates and club representatives discussed whether it should be called off. 'What was unacceptable to our club was what happened at the end of the meeting to put the referee or our players at risk,' the statement added.
A referee improvised by using a harmonica instead of a whistle during Tiptree Engaine FC and Stanway Rovers Reserves' pre-season friendly. The original referee was running late and needed a stand-in for the beginning of the match. But the substitute ref didn't have a whistle and had to make do with a harmonica. And, boy, could that cat blow.
Goals Soccer Centres, which runs outdoor football centres in the UK, has uncovered 'improper behaviour' in the preparation of its financial accounts stretching back to 'at least' 2010. The firm has blamed 'a number of individuals' for the behaviour. Following the revelations, the company's shares are set to be kicked off the stock exchange. The news will be a blow for Sports Direct boss Mike Ashley, who owns a nineteen per cent stake in the firm. Goals said that, as the issues with the accounts stretch back nearly a decade, there was 'material uncertainty' surrounding its historical financial statements. Dealing in the firm's shares was suspended in March when Goals revealed that 'substantial' VAT errors were likely to cost it twelve million knicker. At the time, it claimed the blunder 'may have an impact on future profitability' and it delayed the publication of its financial results for last year as it worked to revise them. It had until the end of September to release those results but now it expects to miss that deadline. 'The directors do not now believe this timeframe for the audit is achievable,' the firm told shareholders. As a result Goals no longer expects its shares to resume trading. The listing of its shares on the AIM market is 'expected to cease and cancellation will be effective from 30 September 2019.' Goals, which has forty five pitches in the UK, said 'conversations' were continuing with HMRC over its tax bill but revealed there had been 'no material developments' in those talks. Nevertheless, it said UK sales had increased over eleven per cent so far this year. They were up almost fifteen per cent in the US where it runs sites in California. In January, the East Kilbride-based firm warned on profits after it said that selling food and drink and offering children's birthday parties, had increased costs as it had to hire more staff.
A warning message attached to gambling adverts does 'little or nothing' to reduce the amount that people bet, according to research. Academics at the University of Warwick measured the effect of the industry's responsible gambling slogan: 'When the fun stops, stop' and found it 'did not show any significant effect on gambling behaviour.' No shit? Because telling someone who is addicted, 'you wanna stop that, mate' has such a one hundred per cent success rate in all areas, doesn't it? They also pointed to the fact that the word 'fun' is printed in much larger font than any other word in the message, which is meant to promote 'more responsible gambling.' But, doesn't. Researchers from the university's psychology department asked five hundred and six people, who said they were fans of Premier League football and also had experience of sports betting, to place small wagers after viewing adverts, some of which contained the warning label and some of which did not. They found that those who had seen the, allegedly, 'responsible' gambling message bet more often than those who had not. While the difference was 'not statistically significant enough to indicate conclusively that the message is counterproductive,' the researchers concluded that it 'did not achieve its aim of promoting more responsible gambling behaviour.' Gillian Wilmot, who chairs the industry's Senet Group, which is responsible for the slogan, said it had 'generated substantial awareness of the link between negative emotional states and problem gambling, giving young men an accessible phrase to challenge each other's behaviour in a way that has now passed into popular culture.' Whatever the fuck all of that corporate-speak drivel means. 'Discouraging all betting was never its purpose,' she added. Again, no shit? Instead, it 'aims to get gamblers to pause and reflect, in much the same way as the Bet Regret messaging.' However, she claimed that the group was considering upgrading the warning message, including shrinking the size of the word fun. 'Last year, we initiated a review of the campaign, informed by a substantial behavioural study and the new creative will reflect a change to the relative size of the word fun in response to feedback.' One of the report's authors, Doctor Lukasz Walasek, said: 'The purpose of the "When the fun stops, stop" warning labels is to encourage more responsible gambling behaviour. Yet there is hardly any evidence suggesting that such labels are effective.' The slogan is likely to appear much less often on television in future after the industry introduced a voluntary ban on advertising during sports events in response to concern about the impact on children and vulnerable people. Which, if it means those bloody annoying Bet365 adverts with that spotty oik wittering on about his 'smarts' appear less frequently on the Stately Telly Topping Manor gogglebox, will be a real bonus. Many - this blogger included - having become increasingly concerned about the complex relationship that, in particular football, has with the betting industry. And, the hypocrisy of, for example, handing out bans to players found to have engaged in betting, or fines to clubs whose sponsors are betting companions if their juniors teams wear strips containing the sponsor's logo whilst, seemingly, having no problem whatsoever with all three of the EFL leagues being sponsored by SkyBet. And, thus, seeing every single player in the Championship and League's One and Two running around with the SkyBet logo on their shirts.
Kilmarnock and Police Scotland are reportedly investigating after the roof of a shelter covering disabled supporters collapsed as Glasgow Rangers fans went geet mental and celebrated a stoppage-time winner at Rugby Park in, shall we say, an exuberant fashion. Connor Goldson's ninety first-minute header secured a two-one Scottish Premiership victory for the Ibrox side and sparked an invasion of the pitch. A roof covering disabled Rangers fans caved in, with one man being injured. 'He received medical treatment at the ground,' said a police statement. Meanwhile, four men were extremely arrested for alleged breach of the peace offences but these were not related to the pitch invasion. There were 'issues' before the game with Rangers fans getting into Rugby Park because of problems with electronic turnstiles. Police Scotland confirmed that they 'assisted' Kilmarnock officials and that all away supporters were in the ground fifteen minutes after kick-off.
Seven allegedly naughty men have been very arrested after 'a large fight,' which is 'thought to have involved football fans,' broke out on a Tube train in Central London. The mass brawl took place while the train was at Great Portland Street Station on Sunday. The men were all held on suspicion of violent disorder and general punching and remain in custody, British Transport Police said. Supporters of Sheikh Yer Man City and Liverpool Alabama Yee-Haws, who were playing at Wembley, were in the station at the time. The two clubs met in the Community Shield match with Sheikh Yer Man City ultimately winning on penalties. Metropolitan Line trains, which serve Wembley Stadium, travel through Great Portland Street. The BTP said that no injuries were reported. Despite all the punching.
Lewis Hamilton staged a thrilling fightback to catch and pass Max Verstappen for victory in the Hungarian Grand Prix. Hamilton's eighth win of the season puts a headlock on the championship after a tense race-long battle between the drivers and their strategists at the Mercedes and Red Bull teams. Hamilton came very close to pulling off a brave move for the lead around the outside of the one hundred and fifty miles per hour Turn Four. But, a gamble by Mercedes to make an extra pit stop gave Hamilton much faster tyres for the closing stages and he closed a twenty-second deficit in less than twenty laps to pass Verstappen for the lead with three laps to go. It puts Hamilton sixty two points ahead in the championship with nine races to go - and a maximum of two hundred and thirty four points available. It was a mouth-watering fight between the greatest driver of his generation and the man who is emerging as the leader of the next and the first time they had disputed a Grand Prix victory in such a way. The two were in a race of their own, with the Ferraris more than a minute behind at the flag and Hamilton's team-mate Valtteri Bottas taken out of contention by a touch with Hamilton and then Ferrari's Charles Leclerc on the first lap, which broke the Finn's front wing. There was stalemate between Verstappen and Hamilton in the first stint, after the Dutchman converted pole position into a lead at the first corner and Hamilton moved into second by passing Bottas, who had qualified ahead, into the second corner. But as the time for pit stops approached, Hamilton closed right in on Verstappen, forcing Red Bull into an early stop on lap twenty five to ensure Mercedes did not do the same and under-cut them into the lead. Mercedes left Hamilton out for another six laps, hoping to benefit from fresher tyres at the end of the race. Hamilton rejoined six seconds behind, but was on Verstappen's tail within four laps and attacking hard. But the Hungaroring is a notoriously difficult track on which to overtake and Hamilton was forced to improvise. On lap thirty eight, he was closer than ever to Verstappen and after tracking him through Turns One, Two and Three, Hamilton tried a bold move around the outside of Turn Four. It would have come off, but for a flick of oversteer in the middle of the corner and he ran into the run-off area, giving Verstappen some breathing space. After another ten laps of closely following Verstappen and conversations with the team about how hard passing was going to be, Mercedes took a risk. They called Hamilton for fresh medium tyres on lap forty eight, with twenty two to go, the idea being to come back at Verstappen with fresher rubber at the end of the race. For a while, it looked like it would not work. Hamilton was twenty seconds adrift when he rejoined from the stop and in seven laps had only gained just over four seconds. But with thirteen laps to go, Hamilton started to turn on the pace and take chunks out of Verstappen's lead. With ten laps to go, Hamilton was eleven seconds behind, but five laps later he was on Verstappen's tail and his closing speed was so superior that he swept easily into the lead around the outside of Turn One at the start of lap sixty seven. The Ferraris were next best, but they were in a separate race, losing nearly a second a lap throughout the race. Leclerc was in third for much of the race but while he went for a conventional strategy, Sebastian Vettel was never far behind and he ran long on his first stint and fitted soft tyres for his second stint, while Leclerc was on hards. Vettel closed in gradually in the second stint and passed Leclerc for third with two laps to go. McLaren's Carlos Sainz drove another excellent race to be best of the race in fifth, impressively beating the Red Bull of Pierre Gasly into sixth. Alfa Romeo's Kimi Raikkonen was seventh, ahead of Bottas, who fought back on a two-stop strategy after dropping to last following an early stop to replace his front wing. Lando Norris took ninth in the second McLaren and Anglo-Thai Alexander Albon passed the Racing Point of Sergio Perez for tenth in the closing laps to take the final point. F1 now heads into its four-week summer break before reconvening at the Belgian Grand Prix on the magnificent Spa-Francorchamps track on the first weekend of September. Despite their poor performance in Hungary, Ferrari could well go there as favourites, given the prodigious straight-line speed of their car.
It was a good afternoon all round for yer man Lew. Especially when he got to hang out after the race with Mister Blackadder his very self.
Our galaxy, the Milky Way (you knew it wasn't just a chocolate bar, right?), is 'warped and twisted' and not flat as previously thought, new research shows. Analysis of the brightest stars in the firmament shows that they do not lie on a flat plane as shown in academic texts and popular science books. Astronomers from Warsaw University speculate that it might have been 'bent out of shape' by 'past interactions' with nearby galaxies. The new three dimensional map has been published in the journal Science. The popular picture of The Milky Way as a flat disc is based on the observation of two-and-a-half million stars out of a possible two-and-a-half billion. The artists' impressions are therefore 'rough approximations' of the truer shape of our galaxy, according to Doctor Dorota Skowron of Warsaw University. 'The internal structure and history of the Milky Way is still far from being understood, in part because it is extremely difficult to measure distances to stars at the outer regions of our galaxy,' she said. To gain a more accurate picture, Doctor Skowron and her colleagues measured the distances of some of the brightest stars in the Milky Way, called Cepheid variable stars. These are massive young stars that burn hundreds, if not thousands, of times brighter than our own Sun. They can be so bright that they can be observed at the very edge of the galaxy. Not only that, they also pulsate at regular intervals at a rate that is directly related to their brightness. This enables astronomers to calculate their distance with great precision. Most of the stars were identified by the Optical Gravitational Lensing Experiment at Las Campanas Observatory in Chile's Atacama Desert. Przemek Mroz, a member of the OGLE team, said that the results were surprising. 'Our results show that the Milky Way Galaxy is not flat. It is warped and twisted far away from the galactic centre. Warping may have happened through past interactions with satellite galaxies, intergalactic gas or dark matter (invisible material present in galaxies about which little in known).' The Polish results support an analysis of Cepheid variable stars published in February in Nature Astronomy journal by astronomers from Macquarie University in Australia and the Chinese Academy of Sciences.
Named after the physicist Eugene Parker, NASA's Parker Solar Probe mission was launched in August last year to study the outer corona of the Sun at incredibly close distances. Just seventy eight days after launch, it became the closest man-made object to the star after surpassing the previous record of twenty six million miles set by the Helios 2 spacecraft in 1976. With a mission to better understand the Sun's plasma that extends millions of kilometres into outer space, the Parker Solar Probe has recently completed two successful solar encounters and will eventually get as close as 3.83 million miles from the Sun's surface. Data speeds for inhabitants of Earth may be subject to varying experiences and expectations but NASA's Parker Solar Probe, sending science data from two close encounters of the Sun, has been performing exceptionally well for the mission team. 'On 6 May 2019, just over a month after Parker Solar Probe completed its second solar encounter, the final transmission of twenty two gigabytes of planned science data - collected during the first two encounters - was downlinked by the mission team at the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory, or APL, in Laurel, Maryland,' said NASA, adding that this figure is 'fifty per cent more' than the team had expected to have downlinked by this point in the mission. The Parker Solar Probe's telecommunication system has been performing 'better than pre-launch estimates' and that has prompted an extra twenty five gigabytes of data to be recorded and sent back from the probe's second encounter. NASA says that this additional data will be downlinked to Earth between 24 July and 15 August. To broaden our understanding of the Sun, the agency will eventually release this information to the public but an estimated date hasn't yet been provided. 'There are four instrument suites on Parker, gathering data on particles, waves and fields related to the Sun's corona and the solar environment. Scientists use this information - gathered closer to the Sun than any previous measurements ' along with data from other satellites and scientific models to expand on what we currently know about the Sun and how it behaves.' For the curious, getting to know how the spacecraft endures such close proximity to the Sun is indeed a - literal - burning question. That's why NASA has covered the Parker Solar Probe with a special four-and-a-half inch thick carbon-composite shield designed to withstand temperatures of nearly two thousand five hundred degrees Fahrenheit. During its planned seven year mission, the spacecraft is expected to complete a total of seven flybys of Sun and will be closest to the star in 2024, at which point NASA estimates that the probe will be travelling at nearly four hundred and thirty thousand miles per hour, the fastest speed ever for a man-made object. Faster, even, than The Stig used to go on Top Gear in a Bugatti Veyron. The probe's third solar encounter will begin on 27 August and its third perihelion (nearest point to the Sun in its orbit) is expected to occur on 1 September.
Using NASA's Hubble Telescope, researchers have discovered a rugby ball-shaped exoplanet nine hundred light-years from Earth which is being described as 'hotter than hot.' Known as WASP-121B, this 'hot Jupiter' is so close to its star that the temperature in its upper atmosphere reaches a blazing four thousand six hundred degrees Fahrenheit. Roughly the same as the temperatures reached in a Mediterranean disco around eleven o'clock on a Saturday night in early August. Astronomers were able to figure out the temperature due to heavy metals, such as iron and magnesium, escaping the planet's atmosphere instead of condensing into clouds.
There appears to be stronger evidence of a possible ocean on ancient Mars. A recent study, published last month in the Journal Of Geophysical Research: Planets, indicates that the meteor that created the seventy five-mile Lomonosov crater may have produced a 'mega-tsunami' that left its mark on the planet. Either that, or a lot of Ice Warriors all farted at pretty much the same time. One or the other. The crater's rim is the same height as the estimated depth of the ocean and resembles marine craters on Earth. Also, a hole in the Southern lip of the crater could have been the result of the ocean flowing back from that direction. Earlier evidence had hinted the ocean's shores were shaped by at least one impact in the same general area as the Lomonosov crater - this latest study, however, has narrowed things down to a specific impact site. Scientists are quick to caution that there is no definitive proof that Mars had an ocean billions of years ago. More data would be needed to verify that the Lomonosov theory lines up. Even if that evidence doesn't materialise in the near future, though, the findings suggest that future Mars missions could focus their search for traces of life in a relatively limited area.
Large clouds of painted lady butterflies are being spotted across the UK and Ireland and experts believe we are seeing a mass emergence that happens every ten years. Weather conditions and food sources are providing ideal conditions for the species to thrive. Sightings of painted ladies - otherwise known as Vanessa cardui - have prompted countless pictures and videos to be posted to social media. About eleven million of the butterflies were seen in the UK during the last 'painted lady year' in 2009. Simon Milne, Regius Keeper at the Royal Botanic Garden in Edinburgh, describes the phenomenon as 'an amazing wonder of nature.' On a normal day, in a regular year, Simon said that he would expect to see about ten to fifteen of the species at the botanic gardens. But he has encountered thousands of painted ladies in the past few days and predicts that this year could see bigger numbers than ever before. We are currently seeing a wave of home-grown butterflies, which are the descendants of those carried on winds from sub-Saharan Africa, along with newer arrivals from continental Europe. Despite their delicate appearance, the insects can cover up to one hundred miles each day as they migrate. Tom Prescott, senior conservation officer with Butterfly Conservation Scotland, says that 'favourable breeding conditions' mean we could see another wave of butterflies at the end of the summer 'come early autumn, we could be up to our knees in them,' he said. Numbers depend on favourable conditions earlier in the year, where the butterflies spend winter, warmer temperatures and suitable wind conditions as they migrate North. The species often lay eggs on thistles, giving them the name Thistle Butterfly. Adults tend to feed on flowering plants and are often attracted to buddleia plants. The public is being asked to submit butterfly sightings online to help Butterfly Conservation monitor numbers of this and other breeds. Many butterfly species have been in decline. According to the Butterfly Conservation Society, there is 'evidence of the serious, long-term and ongoing decline of UK butterflies.' Their five-yearly research - last published in 2015 - indicated seventy per cent of species declining in occurrence and fifty seven per cent declining 'in abundance' since 1976.
A plaque has been unveiled to celebrate a nightclub where The Jimi Hendrix Experience, Cream, David Bowie and The Who once played. The Blue Moon Club was open between July 1965 and May 1967 in Cheltenham, hosting many young artists who later become big names. Former owner, John Norman, said: 'It was like the Wild West - bands were breaking all over the place.' The plaque was unveiled on a paving slab outside the High Street location where the club used to be based. 'This is great for Cheltenham. This is their heritage, this is Cheltenham at its best. People who come here, they can walk by and see this and it means so much,' said Norman. The club was run by Norman and his late brother, Eddie, as well as John's partner, Bill Reid. The plaque was commissioned, paid for and organised by the Blue Moon Society. Speaking at the unveiling, Norman added: 'This is all due to the customers who made it all possible. All these people here, were customers of the Blue Moon and they've come here today to support this.' Steve Winwood played at the club in 1965 when he was the sixteen year old singer with The Spencer Davis Group. 'It was quite little-known that this venue was where essentially a lot of rock of roll began in the UK - who would have thought it would have been Cheltenham? I just had to swing by and have a look,' he said.
A tiny island that has 'everything and nothing' needs new staff to work in a pub which never closes its doors. The successful applicants will get their own cottage to live in, a commute of a few hundred metres and a ready-made group of friends. Lundy, which has a population of twenty seven permanent staff, lies eleven miles off the coast of North Devon and is just three miles long and half-a-mile wide. Despite its isolated location, current staff say life there is never lonely. The Landmark Trust, which has been managing Lundy for fifty years, is advertising for two couples to move to the island. Three of the four people will work as general assistants at the only pub, the Marisco Tavern and the fourth job is for an island maintenance person. The pub keeps its doors open twenty four hours a day so people can use the payphone, or campers can avoid the rain. It is also the only building on the island to have lighting after the generators shut down for the night - another quirk new staff will have to get used to in their own homes. Island manager Rob Waterfield said the biggest skill staff needed was tolerance. 'You have really got to learn to accept people's faults and their idiosyncrasies,' he said. Like, sacrificing a virgin to their pagan Gods to ensure a good harvest in a giant Wicker man, that kind of thing. He added that the pub was 'a massive part of the community' and added: 'Everyone meets up, everyone goes. It is a really old-fashioned way of living.' Zoe Barton, who came to Lundy with her partner two years ago, said that island life was 'quite vibrant' and it was hard to be lonely. 'Sometimes you want a night in and you have to say "I want to be alone tonight." You have to be specific or people will keep texting you like "when are you coming down for a drink,"' she said. Working in the tavern will mean serving staff, volunteers and visitors, including many who return regularly to the island. The pub is decorated with historic flotsam and jetsam rescued from the many wrecks and previous supply ships.
A batch of 'eggings' has prompted calls to ban teenagers from buying eggs, flour, ketchup and mayonnaise. 'Young people' have, reportedly, been 'throwing baking goods and condiments' at cars and houses in the suburbs of Nunthorpe and Marton on Teesside. The naughty scallywags. Mind you, there's sod-all else to do in Nunthorpe and Marton so, one supposes, they're just using their initiative. Independent councillor Jon Rathmell said that there had been 'a spike in anti-social behaviour' in the past two weeks. 'The latest craze appears to be them buying eggs and flour to throw at people's houses and cars,' Rathmell claimed. 'It is unacceptable and distressing for the victims.' Residents posting on social media have called the mess 'not a prank or funny' and called the culprits 'mindless idiots.' Rathmell has called on local businesses to refuse to sell 'certain items' to children or teenagers 'who are in groups or look like they are up to mischief.' So, that's all children and teenagers, then? Shop owner Sag Hussain was one of those who supported the idea, the Local Democracy Reporting Service said. His approach to anti-social behaviour was to 'nip it in the bud and take positive action,' he said. So, if you're thinking about making a nice Yorkshire pudding batter and you live in Teeside, when you go to the shop, make sure you carry proof of how old you are.
Workers have reportedly 'raised onlookers' eyebrows' by testing the strength of a new four million smackers bridge by jumping up and down on it. The technique was spotted on the one hundred and eighty seven foot high cantilever bridge, at the Thirteenth Century Tintagel Castle in Cornwall. Emma Knight, who filmed the test, said: 'I hope that they have more scientific tests than just jumping up and down in the middle. What if it had collapsed? It's a risky thing to do.' English Heritage claimed that 'every bridge toward the end of its construction needs to be tuned for the traffic it will carry' and 'for a footbridge, the best way to do that is to use actual people.' The bridge is due to open on 9 August.
A man accused of trying to steal the original Magna Carta has pleaded not guilty in court. Mark Royden, from Canterbury is accused of attempting to steal Ye Olde Magna Carta from Salisbury Cathedral and of causing criminal damage to the glass case where it is kept on public display. It is alleged that on 25 October last year, Royden did use a hammer to try to break into the case and thieve away the precious kingly document. The Magna Carta was not damaged during the conflagration and no-one was injured. The cost of replacing the case was more than fourteen thousand dublons. In his second court appearance at Winchester Crown Court, Her Honour Judge Evans told Royden that he would stand trial for his alleged wicked and naughty crimes next year. He has been released on bail until his next court appearance in October and been ordered not to enter Salisbury Cathedral or the cathedral close. It is not clear whether the punishment if found guilty of the alleged crime is equally Medieval; a spell in the stocks, perhaps? Or, being 'ung, drawn and quartered? Magna Carta is priceless - one of Britain’s most influential legal documents. It is a charter of rights agreed by King John in the year 1215. First drafted by the Archbishop of Canterbury to make peace between the unpopular King and a group of rebellious barons, it promised the protection of church rights, protection for the barons from illegal imprisonment, access to swift justice for all men (and some dogs) and limitations on feudal payments to the Crown, to be implemented through a council of twenty five barons. Neither side stood behind their commitments and the charter was annulled by Pope Innocent III, leading to the First Barons' War. That's just in case you thought Tony Hancock's alternative explanation was an accurate one. ('Does Magna Carta mean nothing to you? Did she die in vain? Brave Hungarian peasant girl who forced King John to sign the pledge at Runnymede and close the boozers at half-past-ten! Is all this to be forgotten?') There are three other copies of the Magna Carta apart from the one in Salisbury, two held in the British Library and one bin Lincoln.
A cache of wartime tank shells has been safely blown up by the Royal Navy after being discovered on Kilve beach in Somerset by people out walking. Watchet Coastguard put a cordon in place and discovered more of the shells near the shoreline. The bomb disposal team decided to detonate the cache on the beach after assessing the condition of the devices. A controlled explosion was carried out and the beach was reopened on Saturday.
A temporary export bar has been placed on a ten million knicker painting by one of the UK's most celebrated artists, JMW Turner. The masterpiece, The Dark Rigi, the Lake of Lucerne, depicts a scene in the Swiss mountains - but there are fears it could be exported for sale abroad. because, obviously, we don't any Johnny Foreigners getting their greasy hands on it. Arts minister Rebecca Pow said that it would be 'a terrible loss to the whole country' if the painting went overseas. The export ban runs until 1 December, in the hope the money can be raised to buy it and keep it in the UK. The work, a watercolour painted in 1842, is the only remaining work from the Rigi series - Turner's three paintings of the Rigi mountain - which is not in a public collection. Zap-Bam Pow said: 'Turner is one of Britain's greatest ever artists and The Dark Rigi is a beautiful and emotive work painted at the pinnacle of his career. This work is of national importance and if it were to go abroad it would be a terrible loss to the country. I hope that by placing a temporary export bar, we can ensure that funds can be raised to save The Dark Rigi for the nation so it is able to go on public display.' Zap-Bam Pow, who has been in her current post since May, made that her decision after 'advice' from the Reviewing Committee on the Export of Works of Art and Objects of Cultural Interest. The 'we don't want any nasty Johnny Foreigners coming over here with their filthy foreign ways and taking our paintings.' Or something. The committee's job is to advise the government on exporting cultural property. The decision on the export licence applications for the watercolour has now been deferred until 1 December. If 'a serious intention' is made to raise the ten million quid funds to purchase the artwork, the export bar may be extended until 1 June 2020. Zap-Bam Pow ought tO have a word with her new boss, Bashing Boris, ten million knicker is merely change for him. Turner, who was born in London in 1775, is considered one of the greatest figures in the history of landscape painting.
A woman who burgled the house of a couple whilst they slept in bed has been extremely jailed for four years. Abigail Green-Margetts was spotted leaving the property with a handbag and food after she had gone in through an unlocked front door last month. Derby Crown Court heard how Green-Margetts 'fled the scene on a push bike,' but was 'spotted by police officers nearby when she was sitting on a bench.' Judge Robert Egbuna, described Green-Margetts as 'a prolific burglar' as he handed her a a spell in The Slammer for her burglarising ways. He said: 'You are thirty one years-of-age and you just cant keep out of people's houses. On the last occasion you appeared before the court, it was your third-strike burglary and if you received a fourth you were told you would come back. You entered the house in the early hours of the morning and you were seen by someone, a neighbour, who called the police and you were arrested shortly afterwards. This is your fourth strike burglary, committed within four months of your release.' The incident took place in Newbold, Chesterfield, on 19 June.
A teenager who drove a van over a roundabout, catapulting it into the air, has been extremely banned from driving. For ever. Ryan Lamb was heading to Sundown Festival, near Norwich, last September when he crashed on the Stag roundabout on the A11 at Attleborough in Norfolk. Lamb, who was seventeen at the time of the incident, denied driving a motor vehicle dangerously, but the judge wasn't having it and he was found very guilty at Norwich Magistrates' Court. The defendant was disqualified from driving, ordered to retake his test and pay three hundred and ten notes, plus an eighty five quid victim surcharge. Three people were hurt in the crash but none had life-threatening injuries, Norfolk Police said.
A fan of the rapper A$AP Rocky (he's a popular beat combo, m'lud) has been arrested in Washington DC after allegedly threatening to 'blow up' the Swedish embassy. The rapper is currently jailed in Sweden, awaiting trial for an assault charge after footage emerged of him and his entourage allegedly punching and kicking two men on a Stockholm street. According to a written statement by a Secret Service officer, Rebecca Kanter is accused of 'screaming at embassy staff, accosting a group of students visiting the embassy and damaging property.' She was arrested after refusing to leave the premises and charged with 'wilfully injuring and damaging property of a foreign government and refusing to depart a foreign embassy.' The previous day she had allegedly thrown liquid from a Coca-Cola bottle at the embassy and shouted: 'I'm going to blow this motherfucker up.' She wrote on social media that she had 'defiled the House of Sweden. Why aren't I getting press for A$AP?' Rocky's case has drawn further attention after Donald Rump intervened to put pressure on Sweden to release him. 'Sweden has let our African American community down in the United States. Give A$AP Rocky his freedom,' he wrote on Twitter. Swedish prime minister Stefan Löfven responded, saying 'in Sweden, everyone is equal before the law,' with Karin Olofsdotter, the Swedish ambassador to the US, affirming: 'The government is not allowed, and will not attempt, to influence legal proceedings.' Former prime minster Carl Bildt wrote: 'Political interference in the process is distinctly off limits! Clear?'
The groundbreaking documentary film-maker DA Pennebaker, who captured pivotal moments in the history of rock and/or roll music and politics, has died at the age of ninety four. He was best known for the fly-on-the-wall Bob Dylan documentary Dont Look Back [sic] and the 1973 film which captured David Bowie's final performance as Ziggy Stardust. The War Room, his intimate look at Bill Clinton's 1992 presidential campaign, earned an Oscar nomination. Pennebaker died on 1 August of natural causes, his family said. The documentarian was born Donn Alan Pennebaker in Evanston, Illinois in July 1925 and learned camera technique from his father, who was a commercial photographer. He served in the Navy during World War II, then studied engineering at MIT and Yale. Upon graduation, he founded the company Electronics Engineering, which produced the world's first computerised airline reservation system. After selling the company, Pennebaker directed his first film, the impressionistic short Daybreak Express (1953), which set the grimy elevated trains of New York City to the jazz music of Duke Ellington. In 1959, he co-founded Drew Associates, a collective which hoped to 'loosen up the dry, stale documentary format.' Donn was inspired by Robert Flaherty's 1922 film Nanook Of The North, a silent movie which depicted the struggles of an Inuit hunter and his family in the Canadian Arctic. 'It was about this Eskimo and Flaherty didn't try to tell you everything there was about the life of an Eskimo,' said Pennebaker. 'He just wanted to show you what it was like to be with an Eskimo for little bit. And that's the feeling I tried to put across.' To make his ambition a reality, Pennebaker teamed up with British film-maker Richard Leacock to develop one of the first hand-held, synchronous-sound cameras - which allowed him to get closer to his subjects, capturing unguarded moments and snatches of conversation, dispensing with the need for overbearing narration. 'You wanted to drive the stories by what people said to each other,' Pennebaker said, 'not by what you thought up on a yellow pad.' The first film to use the camera was Primary (1960) which followed John Kennedy and Hubert Humphrey over five days as they campaigned for the Democratic presidential nomination. A short film on jazz vocalist David Lambert brought Donn to the attention of Bob Dylan's manager, Albert Grossman, who invited Pennebaker to join the musician on his 1965 tour of England. The resulting film, Dont Look Back [sic], captures Dylan on the brink of superstardom as he prepares to abandon his acoustic, folk-based sound for the electrified temptations of rock and/or roll. The concert sequences are truly astonishing but Pennebaker didn't want to eulogise his subject, showing him to be a rather callow and at times thoroughly vindictive young man; this was most notable in the sequence where Dylan encourages his British counterpart, Donovan Leitch, to perform before Dylan's hotel room full of sycophantic friends. After Donovan's nervous rendering of his 'To Sing For You', Dylan sneers with mock sincerity 'Hey man! That's a nice song' before picking up the guitar and wiping the floor with the young pretender with a stunning version of' 'It's All Over Now, Baby Blue'. Additionally, there was the bit where Dylan interrupted Alan Price's backstage performance of 'Little Things' to, pointedly - and nastily - ask Price (who was a friend) the touchy subject of why he had recently left The Animals. The film also provided a candid glimpse into Dylan's tortuous break-up with his then girlfriend, Joan Baez. The famous opening sequence of Dont Look Back with Dylan holding and discarding cue-cards to illustrate the lyrics of 'Subterranean Homesick Blues' is, in many ways, regarded as the birth of the music video. The film critic Roger Ebert said that Pennebaker's film 'invented the rock documentary.'
Dont Look Back [sic] was a commercial and critical hit and Pennebaker would also film Dylan's subsequent - notorious - electric tour of Britain in 1966 with The Hawks. But, while some of this footage has been released in different forms over the years (much of it supplying the framework for Martin Scorsese's Dylan documentary, No Direction Home and, re-edited by Dylan himself, in the rarely distributed Eat The Document), Pennebaker's own film of the tour (Something Is Happening) remains unreleased. Nevertheless, the tour itself has become one of the most celebrated events in rock history and some of the Nagra recordings made for Pennebaker's film were later released on Dylan's own records. In 1967, the year that Dont Look Back was commercially released, Pennebaker worked with author Norman Mailer on the first of many film collaborations. He was also hired to film the Monterey Pop Festival. Pennebaker produced a number of films from the event, capturing breakthrough performances from the likes of The Jimi Hendrix Experience, Otis Redding and Big Brother & The Holding Company (featuring Janis Joplin) which remain seminal documents in rock and/or roll history. The first of these, Monterey Pop was released in 1968 in which performers like The Jefferson Airplane and The Who also received major exposure. On Monterey Pop, using handheld sixteen millimetre cameras, Pennebaker thrust the audience right into the middle of the performances; watching with awestruck fascination as Jimi Hendrix laid his guitar on the stage and set the bugger on fire. 'He was a flash of lightning on a dark rainy night, that's all I can tell you,' Pennebaker told Best Classic Bands. 'He lit up the sky. What he did was so seminal, so completely personally delivered, I think it's unique.' Many of Pennebaker's subsequent films centred on musicians ('the very nature of film is musical,' he once said). In 1973, Donn was invited to London to shoot David Bowie's final concert in the guise of Ziggy Stardust at the Hammersmith Odeon. He had no idea who Bowie was at the time - in fact, he initially thought he would be filming Marc Bolan - but he quickly fell under Bowie's spell. 'What I saw when David got on stage, was one person totally holding that stage for two hours,' he later recalled. 'I thought, "There's not many people who can do that, I better get this all on film while it lasts."' Although shown a few times on US TV in edited form, it would be 1983 before Pennbacker's full film, Ziggy Stardust & The Spiders From Mars saw widespread distribution. His other musical films included the acclaimed Depeche Mode road movie 101, the John Lennon concert film Sweet Toronto '69 and Down From The Mountain, about the musicians who performed the songs in the Coen Brothers' film O Brother, Where Art Thou? Pennebaker was one of many participants in Lennon and Yoko Ono's 1971 film Up Your Legs Forever. He also collaborated with Jean-Luc Godard, who had been impressed by Primary. Their initial plan was to film 'whatever we saw happening around us' in a small town in France, but this never came to fruition. In 1968, the two worked on a film that Godard initially conceived as One AM " on the subject of anticipated mass struggles in the United States. When it became clear that Godard's assessment was incorrect, he abandoned the film. Pennebaker eventually finished the project himself and released it several years later as One PM. Pennebaker's film company was also a notable distributor of foreign films in the US, including Godard's La Chinoise, but the endeavour was ultimately a short-lived and costly venture. One of his most renowned works was Company: Original Cast Album, which documented the harrowing eighteen-hour recording session for Steven Sondheim's Broadway musical. A scene in which Elaine Stritch strives to record the perfect version of 'Ladies Who Lunch', as Sondheim holds his head in his hands in despair, is one of the most revealing portraits of creative frustration ever captured on film. Pennebaker was not just interested in music, however, filming profiles of entrepreneur John DeLorean as he developed his ill-fated 'car of the future' in Northern Ireland and Saturday Night Live comedian Al Franken as he transformed into a political campaigner in 2004. The War Room made stars of James Carville and George Stephanopoulos, key figures in Bill Clinton's presidential campaign, who helped steer the candidate through highs (the 'read my lips: no new taxes,' speech) and lows (the Gennifer Flowers scandal). It also earned Pennebaker an Oscar nomination for best documentary feature in 1994. Nearly two decades later, he became the first documentarian to receive an honorary Oscar, recognising his pioneering contribution to cinéma vérité film-making. The director always characterised himself as 'a journalist for hire' and said that his best work came when blended into the background. 'If you're setting up lights and tripods and you've got three assistants running around, people will want to get you out as fast as they can,' he told Time magazine in 2007. 'But if you go the opposite way, if you make the camera the least important thing in the room, then it's different. I've left it on the floor. Sometimes, I'll shoot with it on my lap. Other times, I'll put it on a table and turn it on. You don't make it a big issue.' Pennebaker is survived by his third wife, Chris Hegedus, with whom he worked on numerous films, including The War Room and by eight children.
And now, dear blog reader ...
The semi-regular from The North award for the headline of the week goes, this week, to the HullLive website for the in-depth think-piece Inside The Giant Sex Shop On The Side Of The A63.
Closely followed by the Your Tango horoscope site's fascinating What The Venus-Uranus Square Horoscope Means For Your Love Life And Relationships Until Autumn 2020. The accompanying - lengthy - article, of course, could have been reduced to a single sentence. 'The Venus-Uranus Square horoscope means absolutely nothing for your - or anyone else's - love life and relationships, dear reader because, well, all astrology is complete and total bollocks.' If Your Tango is interested in hiring this blogger to take over their horoscope-writing duties, please don't hesitate to contact Keith Telly Topping through the editorial address. Pros and cons in taking this blogger on, admittedly, but it'd certain be something of a talking point and a potential publicity boon.
The following line from the BBC News site sparked this blogger's attention. If only because it confirmed what Keith Telly Topping had long suspected, that Mister Bercow is soft on ponytails, denim and thirteen bar boogie.
And finally, dear blog reader, a (marginally) amusing personal sidebar from the wacky world of Stately Telly Topping Manor. Because this blogger knows how much you all enjoy those. Earlier this week From The North received an extremely angry, ranty - and very sweary - message posted to this blog (and then, immediately afterwards, posted to the bin) from someone whom yer actual had occasion to block on Facebook a while back (and who only just seems to have noticed this fact a couple of months later). They were blocked, if you're wondering, because they were being a bit of a bore on one particular thread on this blogger's Facebook page and, despite being asked to desist, did not appear inclined to do so. And, frankly, life's too short for a surfeit of interaction with those who have the ability to bore (even if they are perfectly nice people in most other regards). Anyway, it seems that this chap wanted Keith Telly Topping to know that, now he's discovered his blockage, he is intent on telling everyone in the world that is interested (and, indeed, everyone that isn't) that this blogger is 'a twat.' Or something. All of which, kind of, goes to demonstrate why the guy got blocked on Facebook in the first place. A tip for you, mate if you happen to be reading this; everybody already knows that Keith Telly Topping is - or, at least, occasionally has the ability to be - exactly what you've accused him of. Anyone that actually matters in this blogger's life is fine with this fact and everyone else can take a leisurely walk. Still, don't let that put you off - give it your best shot and good luck in your endeavours, young man.
    Someone getting angry, hot and discombobulated with a person whom you've never even met because they don't want to talk to you. That, right there, is the Twenty First Century in microcosm.
Postscript: Since yer actual wrote all of the above, this very determined chap has written at least four - yes, four - further e-mails to Stately Telly Topping Manor. All of which have been binned, unread, as all future attempted correspondence from this rather rude individual will be. One wonders how long it will be before he realises that he's standing in what is, effectively, an echo chamber. Then again, like many people - this blogger very much included, let it be noted - this chap does seem to love the sound of his own voice. Just for context, this blogger is led to understand that the man in question is in his forties. Not twelve. And this blogger is, seemingly, for the moment at least, central to his whole world. Which is both flattering in one way and bloomin' alarming in another.
    As it stands, Keith Telly Topping thinks the whole affair is, frankly, hilarious. It started out as just normal funny but the longer it goes on, the more ludicrous it gets. Anyway, this blogger has no intention of providing a running commentary on this malarkey in future From The North updates (unless they're, you know, comedy genius), despite the obvious temptation. Thus, this is the last time this nonsense will be alluded to. Once again, life's too short. Social media, eh? It bring people together, apparently ...