Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Week Forty Four: That Is The Land Of Lost Content

Strictly Come Dancing secured another overnight ratings victory over The X Factor on Saturday. According to overnight figures, Strictly played to an average audience of 9.16 million on BBC1 from 6.30pm, up from the previous week's average of 8.65 million. It peaked with 10.1 million viewers around 7.45pm, making it the highest-rated episode of the series so far. BBC1's evening continued with 4.6 million overnight punters for Doctor Who at 8.25pm, 3.78 million for Casualty at 9.10pm and 3.51 million for Match Of The Day at 10.30pm. Most, presumably, there solely to watch yer actual Keith Telly Topping;s beloved (though unsellable) Magpies securing their first win of the season against Leicester City. Albeit, seeing Southampton give The Mackems of Blunderland the hiding of a lifetime was, admittedly, an additional attraction. Again, with regard to Doctor Who, it's worth noting that Flatline's overnight audience, the lowest of the current series of Doctor Who by a couple of hundred thousand, is likely to rise considerably once the final, consolidated ratings are published next week, given that the series is currently averaging a timeshift of around 2.1 million viewers per episode. The episode had an AI score of eighty five, the joint highest of the series so far. On ITV, The X Factor averaged 7.38 million from 8pm, peaking with 8.07 million around the 9pm mark. The Chase was earlier watched by 3.08 million from 7pm. The returning The Jonathan Ross Show had an audience of 2.43 million at 10.20pm. A repeat of Dad's Army was, again, BBC2's highest-rated show of the evening, playing to 1.51 million at 8.30pm. It was sandwiched between Penguins: Spy In The Huddle and Simon Schama On Rembrandt: Masterpieces Of The Late Years, which scored respective ratings of eight hundred and ten thousand and seven hundred and forty thousand punters. Channel Four's evening kicked off with seven hundred and seventy thousand for Grand Designs at 8pm, while a showing of the 2011 movie Fast Five appealed to eight hundred and ten thousand). Channel Five's movie picked up slightly higher ratings, with the Sergio Leone classic spaghetti western The Good, The Bad And The Ugly airing to eight hundred and eighteen thousand. Midsomer Murders was again Saturday's most popular multichannel show, averaging eight hundred and ninety five thousand on ITV3 from 9pm.

Strictly also won the Sunday evening overnight ratings battle, gained around six hundred thousand viewers week-on-week to average 9.11 million at 7.15pm. On ITV, The X Factor dropped around two hundred thousand, falling to 8.31m at 8pm. Downton Abbey was slightly up on the previous week's episode, with 7.48m at 9pm. Earlier, Sunday Night At The Palladium attracted 3.35m at 7pm. Earlier on BBC1, Countryfile appealed to 6.05m at 6.15pm, while Antiques Roadshow brought in 5.42m at 8pm. Our Girl continued with 3.73m at 9pm and Match Of The Day 2 scored 2.35m at 10.35pm. BBC2's Human Universe was seen by 1.12m at 7pm, followed by Wonders Of The Monsoon with 1.54m at 8pm and Sacred Rivers with 1.78m at 9pm. On Channel Four, Secret History had an audience of nine hundred and eighty eight thousand at 8pm, while Homeland's latest episode was watched by 1.24m at 9pm. Channel Five's broadcast of Forbidden Kingdom brought in nine hundred and forty four thousand at 7.15pm, followed by Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves with eight hundred and fifteen thousand at 9pm.

Gotham stayed above a million overnight punters for its second episode on Channel Five. The imported drama dropped just four hundred thousand from last week's launch episode to 1.35m at 9pm. Earlier, Police Interceptors brought in seven hundred and thirty seven thousand at 8pm, while Under The Dome continued with six hundred and twenty seven thousand. BBC1's Inside Out was seen by 3.50m at 7.30pm, followed by Panorama with 2.10m at 8.30pm. The New Tricks series finale was the most-watched show of the night outside soaps, bringing in 4.47m at 9pm. On BBC2, University Challenge drew 2.70m at 8pm, followed by Only Connect with 2.10m at 8.30pm. The Kitchen's latest episode brought in eight hundred and eighty thousand at 9pm, while Never Mind The Buzzcocks had nine hundred and forty nine thousand at 10pm. ITV's Grantchester continued with 4.09m at 9pm. Earlier, The Undriveables gathered 2.57m at 8pm. On Channel Four, Odious, Full of His Own Importance Jamie's Comfort Food interested 1.12m at 8pm, followed by Sarah Beeny's How To Sell Your Home with 1.14m at 8.30pm. Twenty Four Hours In Police Custody was watched by 1.63m at 9pm, while Eight Out Of Ten Cats had an audience of seven hundred and eighty eight thousand at 10pm. On FOX, The Walking Dead's latest episode attracted seven hundred and twenty one thousand viewers at 9pm.

Here are the final and consolidated ratings figures for the Top Twenty Five programmes for week-ending Sunday 12 October 2014:-
1 The Great British Bake Off - Wed BBC1 - 13.51m
2 Strictly Come Dancing - Sat BBC1 - 9.74m
3 Downton Abbey - Sun ITV - 9.66m
4 The X Factor - Sun ITV - 9.32m
5 Coronation Street - Mon ITV - 8.65m
6 EastEnders - Mon BBC1 - 7.76m
7 Doctor Who - Sat BBC1 - 7.11m
8 Grantchester - Mon ITV - 6.21m*
9 Lewis - Fri ITV - 6.11m*
10 Emmerdale - Mon ITV - 6.07m*
11 Our Zoo - Wed BBC1 - 5.66m
12 Casualty - Sat BBC1 - 5.48m
12 Who Do You Think You Are? - Thurs BBC1 - 5.33m
13 Euro 2016 Qualifier: Switzerland Versus England - Sun ITV - 5.29m
14 Our Girl - Sun BBC1 - 5.28m
15 New Tricks - Mon BBC1 - 5.21m
16 Countryfile - Sun BBC1 - 5.03m
17 Antiques Roadshow - Sun BBC1 - 5.00m
18 Six O'Clock News - Mon BBC1 - 4.92m
19 Have I Got news For You - Fri BBC1 - 4.87m
20 Scott & Bailey - Wed ITV - 4.77m*
21 The ONE Show - Thurs BBC1 - 4.70m
22 Ten O'Clock News News - Sun BBC1 - 4.64m
23 The Pride Of Britain Awards - Tues ITV - 4.52m*
24 The Driver - Tues BBC1 - 4.50m
25 Pointless Celebrities - Sat BBC1 - 4.34m
ITV programmes marked '*' do not include include HD figures. Doctor Who's consolidated figure for Mummy On The Orient Express included a timeshift above the initial 'live' audience of over two million viewers (2.04m to be exact), the seventh time in eight episodes this series that this has occurred. Do we detect a trend emerging here? Saturday evening's episode of The X Factor had a final rating of 8.31 million viewers. Strictly Come Dancing's Sunday episode drew 9.01 million. BBC2's highest rated programme of the week wasCat Watch 2014: The New Horizon experiment with 3.14m. University Challenge drew 2.74m, followed by Human Universe (2.73m), The Great British Bake Off: An extra Slice (2.32m), Qi (2.23m), Peaky Blinders (2.18m) and Only Connect (2.03m). Channel Four's top-rated show was Gogglebox (3.70m) followed by Guy Martin's Spitfire (2.43m) and Homeland (2.37m). Channel Five's best performers were Can't Pay? We'll Take It Away with 1.80m and CSI with 1.71m. Midsomer Murders was ITV3's largest rated programme with nine hundred and sixty eight thousand. The opening episode of The Code drew BBC4's biggest audience of the week (1.02m). The second episode was watched by eight hundred and eight thousand. Meanwhile, BBC Parliament's very welcome fortieth anniversary repeat of the BBC's October 1974 General Election coverage, of huge interest to social and political historians and to anyone who enjoys seeing Sue Lawley being sneering and borderline homophobic about gay-lib and telling crass Irish jokes (true story, watch it if you don't believe me) had an average of eight thousand - very discerning - viewers. Including this blogger. Obviously.

And, on that historically unfortunate bombshell, dear blog reader, here's yer next batch of Top Telly Tips:-

Saturday 25 October
The award-winning screenwriter and novelist Frankie Cottrell Boyce has had a jolly interesting career, taking in everything from scripting British TV's first lesbian kiss on Brookside and his collaborations with Michael Winterbottom on several films including Twenty Four hour Party People and Welcome To Sarajevo to his acclaimed contributions to Danny Boyle's 2012 Olympic Opening Ceremony. But, this week, he tops all of that malarkey, writing the latest episode of Doctor Who - 8:20 BBC1. It's called In The Forest Of The Night (and, yes, the title is taken from William Blake, well spotted). The plot: One morning, the human race wakes up to find the planet has been invaded by its own trees, as overnight a forest has grown everywhere and taken back the Earth. The people are, as you might expect, stunned by this malarkey but The Doctor knows more - this bizarre stranglehold of vegetation means the final days of humanity have finally arrived. Yer actual Peter Capaldi, Jenna Coleman her very self and Sam Anderson star.
For the fourth time in four weeks Qi XL has found its broadcast time shifted - this week, it's being shown at 9:00 on BBC2. Does anyone get the idea that somebody within the BBC scheduling department really doesn't seem to want anyone watching the extended editions of the popular intelligence quiz? If you can come up with an alternative theory, dear blog reader, yer actual Keith Telly Topping would love to hear it. Anyway, yer actual national treasure Stephen Fry his very self continues his exploration of a variety of subjects beginning with the letter L, in this episode asking a range of fiendish questions about Levity, Levitation and Lights. The Last Leg co-host Josh Widdicombe joins yer actual Sue Perkins, Frank Skinner his very self and regular panellist Alan Davies. Given that Frank is such a big Doctor Who fan, of course, one imagines there'll be a right old kerfuffle going on in the Skinner household due to a five minute overlap a'tween the two shows.

Tom Hollander stars in the title role in Dylan Thomas: A Poet in New York - 9:45 BBC2 - charting the poet's final days, isn't it? In 1953 Dylan Thomas went to New York for the last time, his marriage a wreck and his drinking out of control, there's lovely. He was on his way to meet Stravinsky and to bask in New York acclaim - but what was he escaping and how did the intended triumph become a requiem? Essie Davis, Phoebe Fox and Ewen Bremner co-star. Andrew Davies's drama appears to be a standard TV biopic of a great but troubled artist, a portrait of the last months of Thomas's life. Meanwhile, his devoted women – wife Caitlin, with whom Thomas had a volcanic relationship, and young American lover Liz – can do little as he suffers for his art.
Ned and Jesse are forced into making an impossible choice - Hani's life in exchange for technology capable of wiping entire cities from the face of the Earth in The Code - 9:00 BBC4. That's followed by the final episode of the Australian conspiracy thriller in which Ned and Jesse face the prospect of their fates being sealed and their story repackaged, leaving the truth beneath the radar - unless they take immediate action. Starring Dan Spielman, Ashley Zukerman and Adele Perovic.
Drama's repeat run of Waking The Dead continues - 9:00 - with another twenty four carat classic, End Game. Old adversary Linda Cummings the completely mad murderess (Ruth Gemmell) taunts Peter Boyd from inside a secure psychiatric hospital, leading the team to discover more murder victims within its confines. As his frustrations rise, Boyd needs help from Grace - but she has been mysteriously forced to take time away from the Cold Case Squad and handed the investigation over to an eminent psychologist who is an expert on Cummings. Guest starring Gina McKee and Alexander Siddiq.

Sunday 26 October
What (or who) killed Tutankhamun? Ever since the tomb of the boy king was discovered in 1922, he has become arguably the most famous pharaoh of all ancient Egypt. But his mysterious death at just nineteen years of age has never been explained. Now, in Tutankhamun: The Truth Uncovered - 9:00 BBc1 - Dallas Campbell reveals new scientific research aimed at getting to the truth. A CT scan of the pharaoh's mummified body creates a full-size image of the real Tutankhamun, while DNA analysis uncovers a shocking secret about his family background - and the genetic trail leads to a revolutionary new theory about his sudden and unexpected death/
Eight years ago, the British Army arrived in Helmand in Afghanistan, confident they could keep the peace, defeat the Taliban and rebuild the impoverished province. Now the troops are leaving, with hundreds having given their lives. The two-part documentary Afghanistan: The Lion's Last Roar? - 9:00 BBC2 - tells the story of the conflict in Afghanistan, beginning with how initial miscalculation led to near catastrophe shortly after the troops arrived.

How ironic that, whilst the reality of Afghanistan is being shown on BBC2, on Channel Four we've got the Hollywood version. Someone's havin' a laugh, clearly. Carrie makes a delicate alliance with her counterpart at Pakistan's secretive Inter-Services Intelligence, and intervenes when Fara fails to recruit a key asset in the latest episode of Homeland - 9:00. Elsewhere, Quinn is still reeling from events in Islamabad, and zeroes in on a potential lead.
With a second series on the horizon, BBC2 offers a timely late-night repeat of the acclaimed first run of The Fall - 10:30. Gillian Anderson is great - I mean proper, award-winning, 'now I remember why I had such a crush on her twenty years ago' great - as a Detective Superintendent in the Metropolitan Police who arrives in Belfast to review the investigation into the murder of a young woman. Running parallel is the story of a killer, possibly the killer (Jamie Dornan, playing brilliantly against type). He's a quiet obsessive, a man who stalks, who watches and who waits. He is also a man with many secrets from many people, and he is surprising, not just a blank-eyed, strangle-happy deviant. The Fall, like its two protagonists, is tightly controlled and very deliberate. Scary, too. When a murder in Belfast remains unsolved, DS Stella Gibson is brought in from the London Metropolitan Police to help catch the culprit. She finds similarities to a case from eighteen months previously and becomes convinced there is a serial killer on the loose, but her superiors are unwilling to make the same connection. Followed immediately afterwards by episode two which includes an opening ten minutes that is one of the most disturbing - and incredible - piece of any TV drama ever made. If you missed this first time around, don't make the same mistake twice.

Monday 27 October
Former LAPD cop Jack Whelan (the always excellent John Simm) finds the quiet idyllic life he has crafted with his wife Amy (Mira Sorvino) shattered when she vanishes in the oepning episode of The Intruders - 9:00 BBC2. Troubled by a violent history, Jack is drawn deeper into the mystery when his high-school friend knocks on his door asking for help with a murder inquiry. The more Jack uncovers, the further down the dark path of his own past he is drawn, and he soon crosses paths with a secret society know as Qui Reverti. Supernatural drama thriller, also starring Tory Kittles. Followed by the second episode in which Jack faces cryptic encounters in Seattle. Looks very interesting.
Sidney is woken in the early hours by a fire in the village and, putting his life on the line, races to rescue Marion Taylor from the burning house, much to the relief of her husband Dominic in Grantchester - 9:00 ITV. But there are questions surrounding the blaze - was it really an accident, and why was Marion so reluctant to leave? Normally Sidney would turn to Geordie to help solve a mystery like this, but he finds the detective is far from his usual self. When Dominic is then found stabbed to death, it's Geordie's junior, Atkins, who is sent to head up the case - and he's not exactly a fan of interfering vicars.
A corrupt businessman, released on police bail, instructs his lawyers to bribe his way out of trouble using the proceeds of his illicit activities in the third episode of Gotham - 9:00 Channel Five. Later, a masked balloon seller snaps a handcuff on him and he floats skywards to his death. Jim Gordon and Harvey Bullock try to track down the vigilante, while Selina attempts to escape, and Oswald Cobblepot returns to Gotham. Thriller based the characters from the Batman comics, starring Donal Logue, Ben McKenzie and Camren Bicondova.

The divine Goddess that is Victoria Coren Mitchell hosts as a trio of politics enthusiasts - for there are, indeed, some people who don't regard the lot of them as a bunch of scum who should be shovelled into the gutter along with all the other shit - take on three people associated with Oxford University in the general knowledge quiz Only Connect - 8:30 BBC2. Both sets of contestants lost in their first appearance, but now have a second chance to remain in the tournament. They must use patience, lateral thinking and sheer inspiration to make connections between four things that may appear at first not to be linked, with one set of clues consisting of Diamond Sutra, Berlin Bronzes, the Rosetta Stone and the Elgin Marbles. They were all nicked by the British Museum would seem to be the answer.
Yer actual Bradley Walsh ('leave it!') hosts this year's The Crime Thriller Awards ceremony - 9:00 ITV3 - from London's Grosvenor House Hotel, featuring eleven awards honouring TV, books and film. Star names attending the event include Sarah Lancashire, Stanley Tucci, Philip Glenister, James Norton, Amanda Abbington, Keeley Hawes, Steve Pemberton, Mark Gatiss, Anna Maxwell Martin, Julie Graham, Stephen Tompkinson and Fay Ripley.

Tuesday 28 October
A family holiday to France ends in tragedy when a couple's five-year-old son is abducted, and although a large manhunt is launched, headed up by one of the country's finest detectives, it seems the odds of finding the youngster are against them in the opening episode of The Missing - 9:00 BBc1. Eight years later, when the fallout has driven the couple apart, the father returns to the original scene to continue the search for his son. He has a shred of new evidence - but will the original lead detective be willing to take up the case again? Drama, starring James Nesbitt, Frances O'Connor, Tcheky Karyo and Jason Flemyng.
On a trip to the fortified Moroccan village of Ait-Ben-Haddou in the Atlas Mountains, Professor Brian Cox (no, the other one) reveals how by watching the stars' motion across the night sky, it is quite natural for man to think he is at the centre of everything in the latest episode of Human Universe - 8:00 BBC2. That view was held for many ages, but innate human curiosity has eventually led to an understanding of mankind's true place in space and time, and an appreciation that Earth is not a focal point but a mere particle of rock in a possibly infinite expanse of space, 13.8 billion years from the beginning of the universe.
Crime Scene Investigator Barry Allen is obsessed with solving the mystery of his mother's murder, a crime for which his father is currently serving time in the opening episode of The Flash - 9:00 Sky1. His interest is also piqued when a couple of his nerdy colleagues come up with a cutting-edge particle accelerator that should offer massive advances in power and medicine. But when the grand unveiling is interrupted by a freak weather storm and Barry is struck by lightning, he ends up spending nine months in a coma - only to wake up feeling much speedier than ever before. Grant Gustin stars as the DC Comics superhero a particular favourite of yer actual Keith Telly Topping as it happens - with Candice Patton and Rick Cosnett. There has, of course, been a previous attempt to bring The Flash to the screen in the early 1990s which, aside from featuring a few novel casting ideas (David Cassidy as The Trickster and Mark Hammell as The Mirror Master, for example) didn't have much going for it. Hopefully, this one will be a bit better.

And, speaking of CSIs, a twenty five-year-old mystery involving the theft of cash and the death of one of the robbers from gunshot wounds is rekindled when officers discover the bullet-riddled body of one of the witnesses in a location remarkably close to where the original incident occurred in the series finale of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation - 9:00 Channel Five. As neither the money nor a lion figurine that was also taken that day were ever recovered, locals become convinced of a connection, and a former detective - obsessed by the case - also makes his presence felt. Elsewhere, Captain Brass handles a personal crisis after his daughter takes an overdose. Treat Williams guest stars, with Ted Danson, Elisabeth Shue and Paul Guilfoyle.
Alan Yentob returns with a new series of Imagine films - 10:35 BBc1 - beginning with a two-part special shedding new light on the Third Reich's campaign against modern art. It begins with the discovery of a treasure trove of paintings in the flat of reclusive old man Cornelius Gurlitt, hidden since the Third Reich, and belonging to his father Hildebrand Gurlitt, art dealer to the Nazis. These were pieces that Hitler considered 'sickly and degenerate' - similar to his opinion of the Jews - and as such, he tried to rid Germany of both. But he reckoned without a secret world of collectors determined to save the works.

Wednesday 29 October
Doctor Alice Roberts, the Goddess of Punk archaeology - finds out what spiders get up to in people's homes, overcoming her own arachnophobia (or, indeed, her fear of any Middle Eastern state) to enter a house where an astonishing drama unfolds within its walls in Spider House - 9:00 BBC4. She meets entomologist Tim Cockerill, who loves spiders and immerses her in the wonders of web-building and the secrets of fly-catching. Alice then faces the ultimate challenge - to spend the night alone with her eight-legged foes. Remember, if you're having a bath tonight, they're watching you through the overflow ... I'm just sayin'.
Allie introduces her virtual baby project, allowing the pupils to get a taste of parenthood, although Darren can't understand why Rhiannon seems to be taking it so seriously in the latest Waterloo Road - 8:00 BBc1. A penniless Carol hits upon a money-spinning idea by faking an injury in the home economics class, making Maggie fear for her job. Will Vaughan see through her scheming ways? Justin's anger issues reach crisis point after one too many confrontations with Allie, leaving a furious Vaughan (the terrific Neil Pearson) determined his son should face the consequences of his actions.

The discovery of slaves on the Pritchard farm has turned a murder inquiry into a multi-agency operation in the series finale of Scott & Bailey - 9:00 ITV. The enormity of the case brings Dodson to Syndicate Nine, keen to establish Gill's state of mind and efficacy as senior officer. Having been the driver involved in the fatal collision with Cal Pritchard, Janet is under investigation and unable to interview the man's widow Evie. Devastated by the consequences of her actions, the detective eventually finds solace in Chris's calm and kind reasoning, but when an incandescent Evie smells alcohol on Gill's breath, she has all the ammunition she needs to discredit the case and bring the DCI down.
With electronic cigarettes increasing in popularity, presenter Michael Mosley considers whether they are safe to use in Trust Me, I'm A Doctor - 9:00 BBC2. The benefits of caffeine in helping people stay alert are also explored, as well as alternatives to the chemical. Chris van Tulleken investigates whether household chores can legitimately count as exercise, while Saleyha Ahsan offers first aid tips to treat someone suffering from hypothermia. Plus, Gabriel Weston witnesses life-saving surgery that involves removing all the blood from a patient's body. Last in the series.

Thursday 30 October
Peter Powell presents an edition of Top Of The Pops - 7:30 BBC4 - first broadcast on 25 October 1979. Featuring performances by The Specials, Viola Wills, turgid pomp-rockers Queen, Cats UK, The Charlie Daniels Band, Dr Hook, Iris Williams, The Dooleys, Janet Brown, Errol Dunlkey and Lena Martell - oh Christ, how long was 'One Day At A Time' at number one for? Plus, dance sequences by Legs & Co.

David Attenborough details the transition animals go through as they grow up into the adult world in Life Story - 9:00 BBC1. Looking at examples including a tiger cub whose family is under threat, a vulnerable veined octopus and a pair of sibling cheetahs guarding against starvation, the veteran naturalist illustrates how they develop new skills and learn how to survive on their own.
Tommy's power base in London is obliterated and Arthur and Michael are imprisoned as Major Campbell makes his influence felt in Peaky Blinders - 9:00 BBC2. Distraught at the prospect of losing her son to a lengthy spell in prison, Polly compromises herself to secure Michael's freedom. However, her actions risk damaging already fragile relationships. While attempting to regain the upper hand, Tommy is paid a visit by someone from his past. Old wounds are reopened and he finds himself having to make an impossible decision. Starring Cillian Murphy and Sam Neill.

The second of a two-part documentary Inside Holloway - 10:00 Channel Five - exploring the history of the prison and its inmates examines the period from 1948 to the present day. Ruth Ellis was the last woman to he hanged in Britain in 1955, while child-killer Myra Hindley later hatched an escape plan with a prison warden with whom she had fallen in love in a sick and tawdry tale of manipulation. The programme also takes a look at other notable inmates during the 1970s, including Joyce McKinney and Cynthia Payne, who were accused of sex offences and later became tabloid sensations. In the 1980s, affluent middle-class protestors from the Greenham Common RAF base were held at a time when physical conditions were nearing rock bottom. The past twenty years have seen an era of greater emphasis on prisoner therapies, as opposed to brutal punishments. Though it's still not unheard of for a lasses to shit in their own pants when they get sentenced to a tasty stretch of Richard III in the gaff.

Friday 31 October
Former Homeland star Damian Lewis chairs Have I Got News For You - 9:00 BBC1 - with regulars Ian Hislop and Paul Merton, joined by comedienne Roisin Conaty and writer-director Andy Hamilton, poking fun at the stories of the past seven days. Meanwhile, in Qi - 10:00 BBC2 - Stephen Fry continues the comedy panel quiz's exploration of subjects beginning with the letter L as he asks a range of fiendish questions about Lenses, Lungs and Legs. Josh Widdicombe, Jo Brand and Phill Jupitus join Stephen and Alan Davies for larks and that.
The team's abilities are sorely tested as the investigation continues into the murders of American classics student Rose and her lover in Lewis - 9:00 ITV. As Maddox hunts for drug dealer Harrison Sax, Hathaway is convinced the key to cracking the case lies in the stars and, desperate for answers, finds himself turning to one of the chief suspects for guidance. Kevin Whately, Laurence Fox, Clare Holman, Rebecca front and Angela Griffin star in the detective drama.
Actor Larry Lamb reveals how the Roman Empire became the dominant power in the Mediterranean in Rome: The World's First Superpower - 9:00 Vhannel Five. Beginning his quest at the Roma Termini train station in central Rome, he learns how the city was attacked by the Gauls in the Battle of the Allia, fought roughly four hundred years BC. This three-year conflict inflicted great losses and damage, and left the Romans believing that attack was the best form of defence.

Environmental activists rocket to the top of the most-wanted list when the task force discovers the group is trying to gain possession of a highly destructive weapon in the latest episode of The Blacklist - 9:00 Sky Living. Cooper sends Liz and Ressler to thwart the eco-terrorists' political stunt, which in turn gives Liz the chance to escape an overbearing acquaintance. Meanwhile, master manipulator Red tricks a loved one to get what he wants. Also, the discerning viewer is advised to watch out for a bit of almost-naughty nudity (well, as close as you're likely to get from US network TV, anyway).
In Secrets From The Sky - 8:00 ITV - Ben Robinson and Bettany Hughes visit Stonehenge, hoping to shed light on the purpose behind its construction. Robinson's images from the air reveal that the landscape is the product of thousands of years of worship, celebration and remembrance of the dead, while on the ground, Bettany builds a picture of how superstition and belief inspired people to redesign the world around them, and how modern perceptions of the role of the ancient monument are still changing.
And, for to the news: For a television audience to be prepared to journey into a parent's bleakest nightmare, they need to feel in safe hands. On 28 October, the actor James Nesbitt will attempt to take viewers to a very dark place with the launch of the BBC1 drama series The Missing, an eight-part thriller which tells the story of the disappearance of a young child on a family holiday. Nesbitt, who said the role had been 'the most involving' he had taken on since the film Bloody Sunday, told the Observer that the team behind The Missing have 'earned the opportunity' to confront people with such a difficult story because of the care taken to be truthful. The actor, who recently starred as Bofur in Peter Jackson’s Hobbit films, said that, although British television drama has become 'obsessed with crime and violence', The Missing can be defended as a properly considered, human tale. 'We are becoming inured to the horror in a lot of these shows, so whether it will be too much for viewers is an interesting question. I believe if these stories are told truthfully, then audiences are prepared to go there. But not if they are told exploitatively,' he said. Nesbitt, who also returns to TV screens next month as police commissioner Richard Miller in Channel Four's satirical drama Babylon, said that in The Missing he had immersed himself in the role of grieving father Tony Hughes, going so far as to pin police reports and photographs to the walls of the room he stayed in during filming in Belgium. 'Perhaps our imagination needs crime stories to fulfil some craving we have, as a way to assuage a darkness in ourselves,' he said. Although the BBC drama is not based directly on recent events, the plot of The Missing does have some echoes of real-life cases such as that of Madeleine McCann. 'Whatever the BBC and the writers say, there are going to be parallels there in cases we have all heard about. It takes you right back here. And it does make you want to hug your own children to you,' said Nesbitt. As the drama unfolds, jumping between dual time frames, the fragility of family happiness becomes a strong theme. 'It is not a conscious plan, but behind all these dramas the notion that we should not be taking things for granted is out there I am sure,' said Nesbitt, adding that good drama, while a commercial entertainment, still has the ability to show viewers the best and the worst human qualities. 'It is a pretty truthful bit of writing and I think that is why people will go with it. It shows the ramifications for other people of something like that happening.' Nesbitt, who has spoken in the past about his own struggle to keep family life going – he reportedly separated last year from Sonia Forbes-Adam, his wife of nineteen years – also said that he has asked himself whether he chooses roles that suit his own state of mind. 'My stock answer is that I am always led to a part by good writing, but as I get older and I get more into self-examination I wonder if I pick things to reflect where I am. Not as escapism, but I will play a role that gives me an opportunity to face things or talk about things that I am too much in denial about in my own life,' he said. As the father of two daughters, Nesbitt added that he had hoped that being a parent might help him with The Missing. 'I had thought I would be able to draw on that to locate the character, but I wasn't able to get myself to think about it directly. It was better in the end to concentrate on finding Tony and then I wasn't having to imagine losing one of my daughters. For me, the experience of this role was most akin to the one I had making Bloody Sunday.' The series was written by Harry and Jack Williams, the two sons of novelist and dramatist Nigel Williams, and was directed by Tom Shankland. 'The writing is sometimes simple, but very compelling, and part of what works is also the unusual fact of having one director all the way through. That's not done often at all. And without sounding too actorish, I hope, it made it feel a little like doing a play in that we were all working together throughout. I also felt I got to know and like my character, with all his faults, and so I felt there was a responsibility towards him, too.' Filming in Brussels allowed the cast and crew to focus on the story, he said. 'It meant we were all disconnected from our own lives, and that reflected the story, too, where a man is dealing with a system he doesn't understand and where he does not speak the language.' Living in an apartment, rather than the hotel where his character stays, Nesbitt surrounded himself with suggestive props. 'I did put all the things on the walls that Tony would have had there, including police reports. It was a great privilege to have that time to put into a role. Getting any work is amazing, but something which is actually a challenge really is.' After two years filming with Jackson in New Zealand, the actor said that he feels he has re-entered the real world. 'Coming to a part like this now, it is a very good reminder of what a realistic drama can be and why you do it. The Missing takes its audiences very seriously and realises there are plenty of good dramas out there. I just hope people watch it.' His appearance in starring roles on two channels this autumn will be exposing, Nesbitt knows. 'I hope people don't just think "oh, Jesus,"' he said, adding that he suspects the new series of Babylon, written by Peep Show authors Sam Bain and Jesse Armstrong, is 'even stronger' than the pilot episode shown in February. 'It has found itself. It is a brilliant look at the world of policing when everywhere they go there are either TV cameras or phones filming them. It gets at both the difficulty of all that and the sexiness of it, for want of a better word.' He is, he expects, already an over-familiar face for some viewers. 'Most people seem to know who I am and when I meet someone who doesn't know me, it is a relief, but also quite annoying, if I am honest. The main thing is though that I don’t want to have regrets about the way I play a character.'
Disgraced and disgraceful naughty old scallywag and convicted groper Dave Lee Travis’s three-month suspended sentence for indecent assault will not be referred to the court of appeal, the Attorney General has said. Jeremy Wright QC found that the sixty nine-year-old criminal's sentence for indecently assaulting a TV researcher on The Mrs Merton Show in 1995 was 'neither wrong in principle nor unduly lenient.' Convicted groper Travis was found very guilty at London's Southwark crown court and sentenced by Judge Anthony Leonard last month. A spokesman for the Attorney General's office said: 'The judge marked the seriousness of the offence by imposing a three-month sentence of imprisonment, the maximum under the guidelines being six months. It was neither wrong in principle nor unduly lenient to suspend that sentence.' The case was considered for referral to the court of appeal after four members of the public contacted the Attorney General's office to complain about the sentence. Convicted groper Travis's trial heard that the former Top Of The Pops presenter, who became a household name in the 1970s as the self-styled 'hairy cornflake', got a 'weird sexual thrill' when he indecently assaulted the woman, who is now a successful TV personality, in 1995. He cornered her in the corridor of a BBC television studio where she was smoking and commented about her 'poor little lungs' before squeezing her breasts for ten to fifteen seconds. Travis was found not guilty on a second indecent assault charge and the jury was discharged after it was unable to agree a verdict on a count of sexual assault. He faced a retrial after jurors failed to reach verdicts on those two charges earlier this year. He was cleared of twelve additional counts of indecent assault at his original trial in February.
The Commons committee on standards is being pressed to decide what action parliament should take against three leading News International executives alleged to have misled the culture select committee about their knowledge of phone-hacking. The request by the culture select committee last week is a test case for parliament on how it will respond if witnesses are judged to have knowingly misled a parliamentary inquiry. The committee in May 2012 found that three executives - Les Hinton, Tom Crone and Colin Myler - and News International itself had misled the committee by giving false or misleading evidence, findings broadly denied by those concerned. The report by the select committee was endorsed by the Commons in May 2012. MPs decided, without a vote and after a short debate, to refer the committee report to the commons standards and privileges committee. That committee has said it will look at the possibility of 'admonishing' the witnesses. The 2012 select committee report found that Hinton, the former News International chief executive, 'misled the committee in 2009 in not telling the truth about payments to [the jailed former Scum of the World royal editor] Clive Goodman and his role in authorising them, including the payment of his legal fee.' It also found that Crone, the company's former legal affairs manager, 'misled the committee in 2009 by giving a counter-impression of the significance of confidentiality in the [Professional Footballers' Association chief executive] Gordon Taylor settlement … and sought to mislead the committee about the commissioning of surveillance.' Crone and the former Scum of the World editor Colin Myler weresaidto have 'misled the committee by answering questions falsely about their knowledge of evidence that other News of the World employees had been involved in phone-hacking and other wrongdoing.' The Scum of the World and News International 'corporately misled the committee about the true nature and extent of the internal investigations they professed to have carried out in relation to phone hacking.' It was agreed no action against the three should be taken pending decisions by the courts whether to pursue further criminal charges against them. In July 2012 the standards committee agreed to seek written evidence from the News International executives pending the start of oral evidence sessions in which the accused would be entitled to be legally represented. Most of the evidence sessions would be heard in public. The committee also agreed a procedure by which those charged with potential contempt could hear the potential charges against them. The standard of proof would be the same as set during a case against an MP or peer. It was agreed that no hearing should go ahead if the DPP said it might prejudice a pending criminal inquiry. The Crown Prosecution Service announced at the beginning of this month that it was to take no action against Crone on potential charges to hack phones and pervert the course of justice. 'It has been agreed for years that the punishment for misleading a parliamentary inquiry and so committing a contempt requires updating. In theory both Houses can summon a person to the bar of the House to reprimand them or order a person's imprisonment.' The last time a non-member was reprimanded at the bar of the House was in 1957, when the editor of the Sunday Express, John Junor, was 'rebuked' for remarks he had printed about MPs and petrol rationing in the aftermath of the Suez crisis. Erskine May states witnesses who have prevaricated, given false evidence, wilfully suppressed the truth or persistently misled a committee have been considered guilty of contempt of parliament. The recent inquiry by the joint select committee on parliamentary privilege warned against imposing a fine against someone found guilty of misleading parliament, fearing this might require the civil courts to pursue the individual for the fine. Many MPs are reluctant to allow the civil courts to intervene in the activities of parliament. Bernard Jenkin, the chair of the public administration select committee suggested it 'might be necessary' for the standards committee to give any individuals alleged to have misled a select committee a chance to defend themselves in front of an independent body, probably with some of the evidence being heard in public. He added it was also possible the reputational damage to a businessman found to have misled parliament would be sufficiently damaging that it might not be necessary to impose a fine.

The actress and presenter Lynda Bellingham, has died at the age of sixty sixfrom cancer. Her agent, Sue Latimer, said she died on Sunday, 'in her husband's arms'. The actress, best known for her long-running role as the mother in a series of Oxo TV adverts, had been battling colon cancer since being diagnosed in July 2013. Bellingham said that she had planned to end her treatment to limit her family's suffering after it spread to her lungs and liver. In a statement on behalf of Bellingham's family, Latimer said: 'Lynda died peacefully in her husband's arms yesterday at a London hospital.' She added: 'Actor, writer and presenter - to the end Lynda was a consummate professional.' A regular in recent years as a co-host of daytime chat show Loose Women, Bellingham became a household name during the 1980s as the mother in the popular series of Oxo adverts, a role she was to play for some sixteen years between 1983 and 1999. Before her 'gravy fame', the actress had appeared in a number of series, including General Hospital, Z Cars, The Fenn Street Gang, The Sweeney, Billy Liar, The Fuzz, The Pink Medicine Show, The Professionals, Shoestring, Blakes 7 Filthy, Rich & Catflap and Angels. Later, she took on the role of James Herriot's wife Helen in the revived series All Creatures Great And Small and was the subject of This Is Your Life in 1993. For Doctor Who fans, she became a regular in 1986 series The Trial Of A Time Lord playing The Inquisitor, The Doctor's 'judge'. In 2007 she appeared on the BBC's celebrity talent show Strictly Come Dancing. Several tours in the play Calendar Girls followed from 2008, but plans to appear in A Passionate Woman in 2013 were cancelled owing to the diagnosis of her illness. She also presented her own cookery series My Tasty Travels and most recently Country House Sunday. Lynda's husband, Michael Pattemore, told Yours magazine, for which his late wife was a regular columnist, that she had been unable to die at home as she had hoped. 'She was in too much pain and they didn't have it under control enough for me to be able to look after her,' he said. He told the magazine: 'I just want her to be remembered as an actress more than anything, not as a celebrity or one of the Loose Women. She started her career as an actress and never thought of herself as a celebrity - she's always been an actress.' Speaking earlier this month, Bellingham said her decision to give up chemotherapy was 'a huge relief because I took back some control of myself.' The first twenty minutes of Monday's Loose Women was dedicated to the show's former co-host. 'The mood is very different in the studio today,' host Ruth Langsford said. 'It's a very sad day for us here on Loose Women ... but we want this to be a celebration of Lynda.' A final interview with Bellingham, which was recorded a few weeks ago, will be broadcast on Wednesday. During an emotional appearance on the show recently, the actress told viewers: 'Grasp it all, don't be afraid, enjoy the bits you can and tell your family you love them while you have the chance.' After her death was announced, Christopher Timothy, who starred opposite Bellingham in All Creatures Great and Small, described her as 'a real friend. She was a life force. She was funny, she was loyal, talented and a great mum,' he told the BBC. 'On set, she was "one of the boys" really - she was naughty and funny. We've all been expecting it, but it is so unjust she didn't make her last Christmas as was her intention.' Michael Redfern, who played Bellingham's TV husband in the Oxo commercials, said 'everyone liked her. I think she was just normal, I think that's all it was,' he said. 'She was like the lady next door, the wife, your mother. She had everything, just a very open person.' Lynda was born in Montreal, Canada, but grew up near Aylesbury in Buckinghamshire after being adopted. She studied at the Central School of Speech and Drama. The actress, who had two sons and was married three times, was awarded an OBE in 2013 for her charity work.

BBC boss Danny Cohen has dismissed claims that Children In Need is holding back on eighty seven million quid in funds. And, how jolly nice it is, just for once, to see someone in a position of authority at the Beeb actually stand-up for the corporation, showing a bit of backbone and telling those who would do the BBC down to, basically, go fuck themselves. Bravo, Danny. More of this, please. Cohen was responding to 'reports'- not from anyone that you'd actually trust as far as you could spit, frankly - that the annual charity drive was 'not using a large amount of donations' from its investment portfolio. Writing in an official blog post, Cohen explained how the charity handles its donations, while insisting that' vulnerable children will suffer' if people stopped sending money each year. 'I have read with deep dismay this week's headlines about Children In Need,' he wrote. 'Accusations have been made that the charity is sitting on a large cash pile whilst asking the British public to donate more. The implication is that Children In Need is both not spending its money wisely and doesn't actually need further public donations anyway. Nothing could be further from the truth. Taking a piece of superficial detail, in isolation, and without the supporting facts, doesn't explain what is going on. It misleads. The truth here is simple and straightforward. Children In Need does indeed have money in the bank - this is because it often provides grants to charities, community centres, hospices, youth groups, counsellors and many others as a three-year commitment. This allows the heroes who run these places to properly plan ahead in a world of tightening austerity.' Cohen, who opened his blog by highlighting a school in North London which benefits from Children In Need grants, continued: 'Like most responsible charities, Children In Need does not hand over these multi-year grants in one lump sum at the beginning of the period. 'Instead, the money is released over time so that the charity can monitor the work being done and feel confident that every penny the public has donated is being spent wisely and with the greatest possible impact on the lives of young people. This is a responsible, prudent way of managing charitable donations and explains why BBC Children In Need holds the cash it has. The charity needs the money to fund the commitments it has made to thousands of organisations throughout the UK.' Cohen concluded that the BBC will not miss out if the charity folded, but rather young children in difficult situations. 'Understanding this basic and responsible accounting drives a juggernaut through these irresponsible accusations that risk having the most insidious of consequences. If members of the public choose not to give to Children In Need as generously as they have in previous years, the people who will suffer will be vulnerable children living troubled lives. The victim will not be the BBC. It will be those children. This is an untenable prospect. I hope everyone will get behind Children In Need – just as they have always done - to support this year's appeal and make it the most successful ever. The children and teachers at that school in North London, and many others, would appreciate it.'
A fire alarm interrupted the broadcast of ITV's Lorraine on Monday morning. Presenter Lorraine Kelly apologised to viewers as the siren sounded and everyone in the London Studios - including herself - evacuated the building. Sadly, they all came back later.

The Wright Stuff has been cleared by Ofcom after offensive language was broadcast. The Channel Five talk show, presented by Matthew Wright, 'came under fire' (albeit, again, not from anyone that actually matters) following a caller's foul-mouthed outburst on an episode broadcast on August 19 this year. The caller, who was identified as 'Jason', was put through to speak to Wright live on-air. The pair were discussing how Jason had become 'close' to his wife's best friend. At one point, Jason explained: ' ... And then I fucked her in the pussy.' Wright, initially, did not appear to hear the comment and asked Jason to repeat the phrase. Which he, gleefully, did. Jason's call was immediately terminated and Wright grovelled: 'I've had this wonderful run of good luck with callers, going on for years, and you've just spoilt if for me. What an idiot, what a moron, go off to ITV with your friends.' Oooo. Get her. In response to Ofcom's concerns, Channel Five stated that The Wright Stuff follows 'a strict protocol' when choosing viewers to put to air and that 'this case was no different.' They also explained that 'Jason' was 'made aware' that he should not use any offensive language or swear, which he chose to ignore. Ofcom's decision, published in its Broadcast Bulletin, stated: 'It was unfortunate in this case that the caller was given an opportunity to repeat the highly offensive phrase on-air before he was cut off, and that the incident was not followed by an immediate apology (although Mr Wright did apologise to viewers approximately one minute later). Nonetheless we noted Channel Five's representations in which the Licensee set out its formal procedure for vetting all callers to The Wright Stuff before they are allowed on-air. This includes a researcher warning every caller not to use offensive language. Channel Five said it had followed the procedure in this case.'

Meanwhile, BBC Radio 1 broke broadcasting guidelines when Lily Allen and Ed Sheeran swore on air at the Big Weekend festival, Ofcom has said. Allen swore six times during her performance at the station's event in Glasgow in May, which went out live between 17:30 and 18:00. Presenter Scott Mills warned listeners that the sets 'may contain strong language.' But Ofcom - who, let us remember, are a politically appointed quango, elected by no one - ruled the 'offensive' language was broadcast when 'children were particularly likely to be listening.' The BBC said that there was an immediate apology after the broadcast. It explained a 'comprehensive risk assessment' had been carried out and that singers were told not to swear in writing and on signs in their dressing rooms. Ofcom noted that Sheeran swore during one of his songs at 18:45. It added that, as Allen was known to use strong language, 'it was reasonably predictable that her set could contain the most offensive language.' Before Allen came on stage, Mills issued the warning: 'Now don't forget this set may contain some strong language, it is live on Radio 1's Big Weekend. We're about to see Lily Allen. If you're easily offended please go to the website and check out some other performance.' The BBC explained that it had 'considered' cutting away from Allen's set twice, but a senior producer decided to continue because apologies had been given and it was believed that 'not many' children would be listening. It also stated that, in retrospect, Radio 1 should have stopped broadcasting Allen's set live after the second song which contained offensive language and edited the rest of her performance. The watchdog received two complaints specifically about Allen's swearing and another about offensive language across the whole weekend. Ofcom said that as Radio 1 was 'both the event promoter and broadcaster' of Big Weekend, it had 'a lot of control' over the scheduling of performances. The watchdog pointed to a previous incident in 2011 when members of The Black Eyed Peas swore during a live performance at the same event. Radio 1 was warned at the time that it should 'take steps' to avoid strong language during live performances. Ofcom said the station 'should have been more aware of this risk' in light of the previous incident. Meanwhile, in its findings, the BBC Trust's editorial standards committee concluded that the live output on Radio 1 and online was 'a serious breach' of the editorial guidelines for harm and offence. A BBC spokesperson said: 'We note the findings of Ofcom and the Trust; we have examined our procedures and tightened them accordingly.'

And, we end the latest bloggerisationisms with a couple of personal bits and bobs. Monday of this week was, dear blog reader, the first time that yer actual Keith Telly Topping had been in the pool since last Wednesday - for variety of reasons. And, yer actual only went and done a new Briths, European and Commonwealth All Comers PB, didn't he?
Tuesday's Stately Telly Topping Manor recipe of the day for us dinner was for Chicken Tikka Masala with basmati rice. This included, fairly obviously chicken, rice, masala sauce plus wild mushrooms, spring onions, shallots, red onions, red peppers, garlic, ginger, lemon juice, honey and various spices (cayenne, turmeric, paprika, coriander, cumin, rosemary, ground black peppercorn and chilli powder). Method: First, boil the rice. Second, cook everything else in a big fuck-off pot until it's hot. Third, put it on a plate and, you know, eat the bugger. This was the latest episode of Cooking Made Really Simple With Yer Actual Keith Telly Topping. Next week, boiling an egg.

For the latest Keith Telly Topping's 45 of the Day, dear blog reader, here's a bit of yer actual Carly Simon.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Flatline: Relative Dimension

'Oh, that can't be good!;
'Something nearby is leeching all the exterior dimensions.' 'Aliens?' 'Possibly. Oh, who am I kidding? Probably!' Time And Relative Dimension In Space. An acronym which has found a place in the Oxford English Dictionary. Doctor Who is forever exploring the nuts and bolt of both time and, indeed, space but it has rarely ventured into the other component of the acronym. The clue as to what the latest episode of the BBC's popular long-running family SF drama is about is, somewhat, in the title, Flatline, as a new menace from a 2D plane assails locals on a Bristol housing estate, quite literally flattening them into the walls. 'Whatever they are,' says The Doctor at one point, 'they're experimenting, testing, dissecting.' Separated from Clara, he has his own problems when the TARDIS its very self starts to shrink. After Clara stormed off two episodes ago, viewers might have wondered if they would ever see her again. However, one thing the climax of Kill The Moon proved is that here is a companion who is quite willing to speak her mind and is more than capable of going it alone. And sure enough, here she is, for once apart from The Doctor and facing a menace from another dimension, an enemy that exists beyond human perception. She has people to save - but how is it possible to hide when the walls provide no protection? What starts out as a basic 'locked room mystery' story with a bit of a horror twist soon turns personal as Clara, The Doctor and the TARDIS her very self all find themselves under threat from an unnamed species for which death is a mere by-product of its quest to understand how our dimension works.
'Whatever the are, they are experimenting. They're testing. They're ... dissecting. Trying to understand us. Trying to understand three dimensions' Directed by Line Of Duty's Douglas Mackinnon - who did such a brilliant job with Listen earlier in the year - and written by Jamie Mathieson (who also scripted last week's Orient-Express excursion), Flatline is a tense and startlingly imaginative piece of television. It pokes fun at the Time Lord, gives Clara and graffiti artist Rigsy (Big School's Joivan Wade) - whose resemblance, or otherwise, to any similarly-named graffiti artist dead or alive in real-life is, of course, purely co-incidental - a chance to prove their mettle, and it invents a foe that is properly dimensionally transcendental.
'These readings are very ish-y.' According to much pre-publicity, this is the 'Doctor-lite' episode of the current series. To be honest, though, you struggle to support that description in terms of The Doctor's actual engagement with the story. And, for that matter, the amount of time that he's actually on-screen. It's true that circumstances mean he and Clara are separated for much of the episode, but he is always there to lend her a hand – quite literally, if fact.
'Clara, I need you to pick up the TARDIS.' Clara's increased attention in this year's episodes seems to have drawn mixed reactions with some of fandom whingers who've spent considerable time boo-hooing to anyone that will listen about the series having become, if you will, Clara Who. But, frankly, they're the kind of Special People whom one would usually cross the street to avoid and, their opinions are worthless to the point that no one should gives a good God damn what they think. About anything. Anyway, intentionally or not this episode certainly taps right into the increased prominence of Clara - armed, here with the sonic screwdriver and psychic paper - trying out living in the Doc Marten boots of The Doctor. It's done in a playful, witty way at first - 'Does this mean I'm you now?' and 'I'm The Doctor. But, you can call me Clara!' - but Clara quickly learns that being The Doctor is not as easy as she might previously have thought, particularly when lives are at stake. It's a clever little dark mirror to the final scenes of Kill The Moon and it brings back some of the prevalent themes this year reflecting on the nature of Capaldi's regeneration. Clara's 'Doctor' even gets a bunch of companions of her own in the shape of a Community Service gang. Joivan Wade's Rigsy is the stand-out here whilst the excellent Christopher Fairbank gets a meaty, snarly role. 'Looks like your number's up, George!'
'Apparently, they're in the walls.' There is a terrific central idea at the heart of this episode and it's one that, rather surprising, the series hasn't tackled before, particularly given that reference to 'Relative Dimension' within the TARDIS acronym. As with Mummy On The Orient Express, Mathieson doesn't hesitate to enter chilling territory, with Mackinnon again giving the episode an clammy air of impending doom, with some very effective use of light, shadows and unusual perspective via weird camera angles. He injects an air of macabre claustrophobia which means that there are some genuinely scary moments and a very nice visual treatment for this week's menace – as well as for those poor unfortunates that find themselves affected by its various doings. Like The Foretold, the enemy creatures here are nicely realised and brought to life with some impressive CG, particularly once they have 'evolved'. It's rare that CG work can be as unnerving as it is in this episode and huge credit should be awarded to the team for what they manage to come up with.
'I don't know if you'll ever hear this Clara. I don't even know if you're still alive.' We're back to present day Earth this week but, due to a mix of a malfunctioning TARDIS and some plot contrivance, The Doctor and Clara land a hundred miles away from Danny and Coal Hill and are, immediately, thrown into the middle of a gritty, urban nightmare. That said, it's not all darkness – there are some wonderful moments of character humour, as well as one of either the cleverest or the daftest visual gags the programme has ever done. The relationship between The Doctor and Clara takes yet another turn and, it has to be said, The Lord Thy God Steven Moffat was probably right in his comparison of their relationship with that of Sarah Jane Smith with her two Doctors – like that, the change in the leading man has brought out a whole new side of the companion. 'In a universe as immense and bizarre as this you, it never pays to judge.'
Continuity: There are references to Full Circle ('if the TARDIS were to land with it's true weight, it would fracture the surface of the Earth.' 'Yeah, maybe a story for another time!'), The Edge Of Destruction, Logopolis (the Cloister Bell) and Death To The Daleks (the conceit of a power supply being directly linked to dimensional instability). There were also a few nods in the general direction of Fear Her, Army Of Ghosts, Hide, Image Of The Fendhal, Journey To The Centre Of The TARDIS, The Robots Of Death (the 'perspective' scene), The Girl Who Waited ('I hacked your optic nerve'), Deep Breath ('he's a pudding brain, worse, he's a florescent pudding brain'), Frontios ('structural integrity is failing'), The Christmas Invasion ('you are not wlecome here, this plane is protected!') The Sea Devils ('we can reverse the process'), Resurrection Of the Daleks ('a lot of people died... and maybe the wrong people survived') and Planet Of Fire ('what do you mean, "shrink ray?"')
'Please don't do that, that's just wrong!' The dialogue is, again, great. 'There's not enough power. The TARDIS couldn't boil an egg at the moment,' for instance. And: 'I am the one chance you've got of staying alive. That's who I am.' And: 'Will you not spoil this moment of me not knowing something, it happens to rarely!' And: 'Stop laughing, this is serious!' And: 'Why Doctor Oswald, you are hilarious!' And: 'It's bigger on the inside ...' 'You know, I don't think that statement's ever been truer!' 'What are you, aliens or something?' 'No. well, he is!' And: 'He's usually out of the box.' And: 'They can't jump, can they?' The Doctor/Clara exchanges, in particular, are some of the best of the series so far. 'Nice. Not technically lying!' And: 'It takes quite a lack of imagination to beat psychic paper!' And:'Are we really hiding from killer graffiti?' 'Oh, we'll have to think of a better name for it than that.' And: 'I just hope I can keep them all alive.' 'Hah! Welcome to my world. So, what's next Doctor Clara?' 'Lie to them. Isn't that what you always do?' And: 'We're not calling it a deflattener!' And: 'Do you want the good news or the bad news? ' 'We're in the bad news. I'm living the bad news!' And: 'I quite liked that headband.' And: 'You are monsters, that is the role you are determined to play. So, it seems that I must play mine. The man that stops the monsters.' And: 'Your last painting was so good it saved the world, I can't wait to see what you do next!' And: 'That's how you think isn't it?' 'Largely so other people don't have to.'
'Oh, he's a bright one, hang on to him!' We're given plausible reasons as to why The Doctor acts the way he does, and while it's not all that far away from what we would have guessed, it's important - and, actually, quite life-affirming - to hear the normally closed-off Twelfth Doctor actually state out loud something which is very close to his mission statement; even if, as Clara realises, it's very unlikely that they'll save everyone from a horrible death. 'Welcome to my world,' The Doctor intones grimly. 'You were an exceptional Doctor, Clara. Goodness had nothing to do with it.'
'Sorry, I stopped listening a while ago.' Although some of the ideas may sound a little like the remake of Fear Her there is, trust me, no need to worry on that sore. In fact, if you're looking for a closer recent parallel, then it could probably be something like Turn Left, or maybe Blink. But let's be clear: Flatline is a true original. An episode that kind of reminds you why you watch Doctor Who in the first place. The utter, incandescent fury of Capaldi towards the end of the episode is where the series has been heading since Deep Breath; perhaps the Twelfth Doctor's defining moment was in Flatline where he saves as many lives as he can, can't get too attached because he knows that everyone can't make it and hides his sorrow of that behind cynical bluster. But, his true terror is of what he's capable of when he finds someone who is deliberately causing harm. The clever bit is that, on a smaller scale, we can probably all recognise elements of ourselves in that. And, that's why he's so reluctant to tell Clara how well she did when taking on in his role. Plus, The Addams Family bit was well funny.
'This is huge. Not literally huge ...' Flatline, then, is Doctor Who showing, once again, that when it comes to imaginative ideas and a constant thirst for the new, it's where it's been since 1963, ahead of the pack. 'Of course, the next stage! 3D!'
The Apprentice dropped around six hundred thousand viewers for its second episode on Wednesday, overnight figures reveal. The latest episode still easily topped the night with 6.07 million punters at 9pm on BBC1. BBC2's You're Fired spin-off brought in 2.18m at 10pm. Later on BBC1, A Question of Sport attracted 1.93m at 10.35pm. BBC2's repeat run of Horizon: Cat Watch continued with 1.04m at 7pm, followed by Trust Me, I'm A Doctor with 2.74m at 8pm and the documentary Swallowed By The Sea with 2.18m at 9pm. On ITV, Celebrity Squares risibly failed to entertain 2.91m at 8pm, while Scott & Bailey held steady with 3.71m at 9pm. Channel Four's Supervet was seen by 1.66m at 8pm. Grand Designs gathered 1.88m at 9pm, followed by Cutting Edge with seven hundred and sixty three thousand at 10pm. On Channel Five, The Nightmare Neighbour Next Door attracted 1.44m, followed by Can't Pay? We'll Take It Away with 1.57m at 9pm. Wentworth's latest episode was seen by six hundred and twenty four thousand viewers at 10pm.

The Great Fire's launch episode topped Thursday's overnight ratings outside soaps. The new ITV period drama attracted an average 4.44 million at 9pm. Earlier, Paul O'Grady's For The Love Of Dogs appealed to 4.38m at 8.30pm. On BBC1, Watchdog interested 3.17m at 8pm, followed by Crimewatch with 3.21m at 9pm. Question Time brought in 2.13m at 10.35pm. BBC2's It Takes Two had an audience of 1.74m at 6.30pm, while Horizon: Cat Watch continued with 1.27m at 7pm. The Great British Bake Off Masterclass drew 2.04m at 8pm. Peaky Blinders' latest episode had an audience of 1.59m at 9pm, up over one hundred thousand viewers from last week's episode. On Channel Four, the series finale of Location, Location, Location was seen by 1.25m at 8pm, followed by Educating The East End with 1.18m at 9pm and Scrotal Recall with four hundred and thirteen thousand at 10pm. Channel Five's Benefits Britain intrigued seven hundred and forty nine thousand at 8pm, while No Foreigners Here attracted six hundred and six thousand at 9pm. The new Clive Owen drama The Knick debuted with one hundred and five thousand at 9pm on Sky Atlantic. Homes By The Sea launched with five hundred and sixty five thousand at 9pm on More4.

Gogglebox: Celebrity Special played to an audience of 3.72 million overnight viewers on Friday evening. Channel Four's Stand Up To Cancer charity special kicked off with 1.19 million at 7pm, although viewership increased throughout the show. An average audience of 1.53 million watched Taylor Swift and Jamie Oliver's Naked Chef sketch at around 7.30pm, while 1.84 million tuned-in for Andy Murray in Andy Murray: The Movie. Average viewing figures rose to 2.28 million between 8.30 and 9.15pm. On ITV, the second episode of Lewis was the evening's highest-rated show excluding soaps, playing to an average audience of 4.54 million at 9pm. 2.87 million viewers watched Secrets From The Sky an hour earlier at 8pm. BBC1's evening began with 3.55 million for The ONE Show at 7pm, followed by 2.88 million for A Question Of Sport. Would I Lie To You? entertained 3.15 million at 8.30pm, while the channel's evening peaked with 4.05 million for Have I Got News For You with guest host Frank Skinner and an appearance by the excellent Sara Pascoe. BBC1's night ended with 3.24 million for The Graham Norton Show, which featured guests Robert Duvall, and Robert Downey Jr. On BBC2, The Great British Bake Off Masterclass picked up an average of 1.54 million iewers at 7pm, followed by an evening high of 2.18 million for Mastermind at 8pm. Elsewhere, Lorraine Pascale: How To Be A Better Cook informed 1.19 million viewers at 8.30pm, Tom Kerridge's Best Ever Dishes continued with 1.06 million at 9pm, while Gardeners' World played to 1.42 million at 9.30pm. Qi was seen by a slightly reduced audience of 1.77 million at 10pm in an episode enhanced by the presence of the divine Victoria Coren Mitchell but, otherwise, totally ruined by that worthless, unfunny, risible lanky streak of piss Jack Whitehall. Who the hell is it in television who keeps giving this waste-of-oxygen work? Cut it out, will ya. Titanic: Three Hours That Shook The World was Channel Five's highest-rated show of the evening with seven hundred and thirty eight thousand at 8pm, while fie hundred and ninety eighty thousand tuned in for Body Of Proof.
The director behind the first Doctor Who serial, Waris Hussein, is to be honoured at this year's Asian Media Awards. The seventy five-year-old, who was tasked with launching the long-running BBC family SF drama with An Unearthly Child in 1963 and returned to direct the majority of the fourth serial Marco Polo a few months later, will receive the Outstanding Contribution Award at the ceremony on 28 October. Hussein was the first director of Indian origin to join the BBC's Drama Department and, at the time of his appointment in 1960, was the youngest director that the BBC had ever had. He has since gone on to win a BAFTA and an EMMY for his work on the 1978 miniseries Edward & Mrs Simpson and a further EMMy in 1986 for the Barry Manilow musical Copacabana. Hussein is currently preparing to direct a film based on his experience working with the late Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton during the couple's last on-screen collaboration.

Sky has axed Nick Frost's drama Mr Sloane after one series. The six-episode drama, set in 1969, starred Frostie as the hapless titular character and was created by Curb Your Enthusiasm's Bob Weide. Posting on the show's official Facebook page, the production team spoke of their 'disappointment and confusion' over the cancellation. 'The thinking behind this decision is a bit baffling even to us, since Sky had been very supportive during the first series and claims the show to have been a success for them by every measure,' the post read. 'However, there is a new channel head at Sky who, it seems, has a new agenda for the channel that doesn't include our pal, Sloaney. What that agenda is, we imagine, will become more evident over the coming year.' A Sky spokesperson said: 'We can confirm that Mr Sloane will not be returning to Sky Atlantic HD. We're incredibly proud of the series and would like to thank its creator Bob Weide, marvellous cast led by Nick Frost, and Big Talk Productions. Sky has made a huge investment in original new content but as part of that, we do still have to make difficult decisions as to which series we should bring back and where we should explore new opportunities instead. In this case, we have decided not to bring back Mr Sloane but would love to work with the team behind it again in the future.' Meanwhile, the Sky Living comedy Trying Again will also not be returning, according to Radio Times. Chris Addison starred in the show as Lake District tourist officer Matt, who struggles to mend his relationship with his girlfriend (played by Jo Joyner) after she has an affair. The alleged 'comedy' was written by Addison and The Thick of It's Simon Blackwell. A statement from Sky Living said: 'Trying Again won't be returning to Sky Living for a second series [because it was crap and no one watch it, probably] but we'd like to take this opportunity to thank everyone involved in this critically acclaimed comedy.'

Dazzling Dezza Brown was up to his usual mind-boggling tricks on the Stand Up To Cancer telethon on Friday. The illusionist and mentalist was joined by Sherlock couple Martin Freeman (sporting a quite magnificent beard) and Amanda Abbington for a very special card trick. The night raised over fourteen million quid, beating its previous total of eight million in 2012.
The BBC has teased the prospect of a new Benedict Cumberbatch project. An image on BBC1's Facebook page features the caption 'Benedict Cumberbatch filming something special for BBC1 and BBC2. More details soon.'
Meanwhile, Benny's Sherlock co-star Amanda Abbington - wearing a totally different coloured hair to the one she was sporting on Stand Up To Cancer at more or less exactly the same time on another channel! Now, that's magic - provided one of the TV comedy moments of the week during her appearance on Would I Lie To You? with her tale of rabbit murder.
Jim Broadbent and Charlotte Rampling are to star in London Spy. The pair will appear alongside Ben Whishaw and Edward Holcroft in the forthcoming BBC2 espionage thriller. The five-part series - from Child Forty Four author Tom Rob Smith - will begin filming in London next month. Whishaw will play Danny, described as 'an innocent, young romantic' who 'gets caught up in a world of espionage and conspiracy.' As you do. The series will be set on a London street which houses the headquarters of the Secret Intelligence Service on one side and the headquarters of the gay clubbing scene on the other. Whishaw's character falls for the anti-social Alex after a chance encounter, but when Alex suddenly disappears he must decide whether he has what it takes to find out what happened to him. Smith said: 'Ben Whishaw is quite simply one of the best actors in the country. It's an extraordinary privilege, as a writer, to have him play the lead.' Polly Hill, BBC's head of independent drama, added: 'This is a beautifully written love story, caught up in a spy thriller. A wonderfully complex and surprising story, of one man's search for the truth.' London Spy will be broadcast on BBC2 in 2015.

The BBC has announced three new Sir David Attenborough series, including Waking Giants for BBC1. Attenborough's Paradise Birds and Attenborough's Big Birds have also been commissioned to be shown on BBC2. Waking Giants will follow the recent discovery of dinosaur bones beneath the South American desert, while Paradise Birds will see Dangerous Dave following the avians through the jungles of New Guinea and Indonesia. 'For me birds of paradise are the most romantic and glamorous birds in the world. And this is a film I have wanted to make for forty years,' Attenborough said. Big Birds will follow Attenborough as he meets some of the world's strangest birds. The broadcaster has also announced details of two new landmark series: Shark and Dynasty. The former will feature the BBC's Natural History Unit as they use the latest 4K and high-speed camera technology to observe the behaviour of sharks. Dynasty - which is scheduled to be broadcast in 2018 - is a five-part series from executive producer Mike Gunton. It will follow lions, African hunting dogs, chimpanzees, tigers and emperor penguins as they strive to produce the next generation. Tony Hall, the Director General of the BBC, said: 'No-one does natural history like the BBC. We've got the best back catalogue in the world and an exciting future ahead of us. Today I'm delighted to announce what I think is the most ambitious range of Natural History we've ever commissioned - with Sir David Attenborough going on some big new adventures for us.' Meanwhile, Pets Wild At Heart will look at 'the inner wild side' of the animals that have lived alongside humans for generations, while Ireland - The Wild Edge Of The World will explore the country's spectacular coastline. Three-part series Invisible Nature: Flight and five-parter Animals Like Us - Super Spy will also be shown on BBC1, with three-part series The Wild West commissioned for BBC2. BBC Earth will be the new digital home for BBC nature content in the UK, and will include personalised interactive feature Your Life On Earth, which will reveal to users how much the world has changed around them since their birth.
Six senior Sun journalists were 'prepared to break the law' in the pursuit of a story by paying public officials for confidential information, a jury has heard. The journalists had 'a calculated and deliberate' policy of paying police officers, members of the military and healthcare staff, Kingston crown court was told on Friday. Sources included staff at Broadmoor high-security hospital, with leaks providing confidential information on the Yorkshire Ripper, Peter Sutcliffe, and Rachel Nickell’s killer, Robert Napper. At one point, Sun reporter Jamie Pyatt told his head of news Chris Pharo, of his Broadmoor sources: 'This is a gold mine I've hit in these two contacts.' The sources would 'provide the Sun endlessly.' One of these alleged sources, Broadmoor healthcare assistant Robert Neave, known as 'Tipster Bob', supplied several stories to Pyatt, said Peter Wright, QC, opening the case against the six. The court was told that Neave also gave the reporter Sutcliffe's psychiatric report to read. Pyatt claimed a thousand smackers to pay Neave for a story on Sutcliffe being stabbed by another inmate, and the source, Wright said, also helped the newspaper take a photograph of Napper in the grounds of Broadmoor. In one request, Pyatt e-mailed Pharo and former deputy news editor Ben O'Driscoll, saying that he 'needed cash' for his 'Broadmoor contact' as 'there is a major mole hunt on for my contact and it is obvious he cannot have NI [News International] payments in his bank account.' The six journalists – Pharo, managing editor Graham Dudman, O'Driscoll, picture editor John Edwards and reporters Pyatt and John Troup – all deny conspiracy to commit misconduct in public office. Wright said that the jury would hear evidence that such a 'gross breach of confidence' at Broadmoor had the capacity to cause 'serious disruption.' The information leaked and the 'sensationalist' way it was used by the Sun led to mistrust between patients and staff, Wright said. Such a breach exposes others to the 'risk of reprisal' and was corrosive of trust, he said. 'It exposes staff and fellow patient alike to danger.' The trial has heard that Pharo had at 'least five' reporters who sought authorisation from him for payments to public officials. He authorised cash payments to various public officials, including a source at Sandhurst, where Prince William was undergoing his military training, and a seven hundred and fifty quid 'welcome aboard' payment to a new Pyatt Broadmoor source, the court heard. The Sandhurst source had obtained a photograph of a sergeant, who had trained the prince, and who was accused of killing a police officer in a car crash, the jury heard. Chasing a one grand payment, one reporter emailed Pharo saying his contact was 'my eyes and ears' at Sandhurst, and had obtained the photograph 'at huge personal risk (his army pension!)' Pharo 'realised the value of having someone on the inside at Sandhurst,' claimed Wright, and approved the payment immediately, with the words 'I'll sort it, old son.' Another request, from Pyatt, was for an army private at the Combermere barracks in Windsor, where Prince Harry was based before and after his first tour of Afghanistan. The reporter requested five hundred knicker to get the source 'totally onside for the future.' Later, he requested a thousand quid cash payment for 'an exclusive' on the younger prince's wish to serve at the frontline. Explaining to Pharo why cash was required, Pyatt wrote: 'He is a soldier living in the barracks.' The payment was approved, said Wright. O'Driscoll was also 'no stranger to the activities', said Wright. When requested by Pyatt for a seven hundred and fifty notes cash payment to 'keep this guy on side in Broadmoor', O'Driscoll responded: 'Get it in today, dude.' This 'casual response' demonstrated 'casual indifference to what these men were actually engaged in', said Wright. Troup requested three hundred smackers cash to pay 'a source' for a story about a prisoner suicide at a category A prison. Dudman asked the reporter why it had to be cash, said Wright. Troup responded that the 'tipster is a prison officer' who 'doesn't want any record of his name anywhere.' Dudman replied: 'That’s fine – thanks', the jury heard. Wright said Dudman's reply was 'as casual and matter of fact as it was informative about the methods the Sun used to get leads.' Pharo denies six counts of conspiracy to commit misconduct in public office, O'Driscoll and Dudman each deny four counts, Edwards and Pyatt each deny three counts, and Troup denies two counts. Dudman is accused of paying an unknown City of London police officer or officers for information on the Soham murders of ten-year-old schoolgirls Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman. Leaked information included details about two officers on Operation Fincham, the Soham inquiry, being arrested for allegedly downloading child pornography. Matthew Tapp, who headed the Cambridgeshire police media strategy during the investigation, said that he was 'not aware' of any 'bungs' paid by reporters to officers on the case. He agreed, under cross examination from Dudman's counsel, Oliver Blunt QC, that the arrests of a family liaison officer working with the Chapman family, and an exhibits officer in the case, was 'of public interest' and 'a shattering blow' to the inquiry. While the police force had confirmed the arrests, the details surrounding the allegations that were published in the Sun had not come officially from the police, which would have been 'totally and wholly inappropriate,' said Tapp. Blunt said: 'This wasn't a story about titillation and amusement. This was a horrific story and also an utterly sorry state of affairs with regard to the investigating officers.' The court heard Dudman claimed cash payments of three hundred and fifty and four hundred smackers, allegedly for his source or sources and the requests were made in false names. He also submitted receipts on three occasions for entertaining his contacts at a Chinese restaurant and twice for entertaining at an Indian restaurant, restaurants which were, the jury heard, 'extremely local to his home address.' Questioned by Troup's counsel William Clegg, QC, Tapp agreed that he knew the reporter from working for police forces in East Anglia, and considered him to be honest, and had never heard of any suggestions he had offered money to police officers. The six journalists were arrested on separate occasions between 2011 and 2013. On arrest, Pyatt was asked by police about references to 'police contacts' in his expenses and e-mails, the jury heard. He said it was 'a very, very wide term' that could apply to a girlfriend or wife of a police officer, said Wright. Asked what the term 'public interest' meant, he replied 'public interest is what interests our readers, what makes them when they open the paper say: "That's a great read.' It makes them laugh, it makes them cry.' Wright told the jury: 'It is the prosecution's case that the public interest and what interests the public are two different things.' The trial extremely continues.

There was a fair bit of effing and blinding in John Humphrys' on-stage conversation with fellow BBC radio presenter Nicky Campbell at the Radio Festival in Salford on Monday of this week. It was also a bit like a scene from BBC2's The Trip, except instead of Rob Brydon and Steve Coogan doing impressions of Michael Caine, Humphers and Nick competed with passable imitations of Gordon Brown. Both suffered at Brown's hands – 'fucking BBC Tories' Campbell remembered hearing the former Prime Minister whinge after an interview on Radio 5Live – while Humphrys recalled the phone call from another Campbell – the terrifying Alastair – arranging a hastily convened interview with Tony Blair for his BBC1 show On The Record. 'All right you cunt? You want to come here tomorrow?' Humphrys remembered Campbell telling him. 'Chequers, Blair, one o'clock.' Humphrys also looked back on his controversial 2012 Today interview with Ed Milimolimandi in which he appeared to imply that Milimolimandi was 'too ugly' to lead the Labour party. The Today presenter said it was 'mildly toe-curling' but added: 'I think I would still defend it. He said, "Oh! You are saying I'm too ugly to be Prime Minister are you?" No, of course not. You can't say yes even if you think it, which I don't, obviously.' So ... that's cleared that up.

Viewers saw double during a BBC weather bulletin when two moving images of presenter Helen Willetts appeared on screen at once. 'A technical gaffe' meant that the forecast on Thursday became, if you will, a 'two-cast' as the BBC News channel presenter and her twin guided viewers through the outlook for the next few hours. News presenter Huw Edwards also appeared bemused when the two Helens handed back to him during the broadcast. He told viewers: 'Not just one Helen, but two Helens, and, frankly, I'm happy with two, three, four, five Helens.' Sycophant. A BBC spokeswoman said: 'We experienced a technical problem with our weather graphics which led to two Helens appearing instead of one.'
Seven producer and executive producer roles will be cut from in-house drama in England as part of changes to how the department operates. Mark Freeland, controller of fiction and entertainment, said that the proposals will 'enable drama production in England to become more flexible and dynamic' in 'a highly competitive and changing marketplace. Right now and in the future, drama is such a key genre for BBC Production - in the UK and globally. We need to be in best shape in order to be flexible, fleet-of-foot and on fire, creatively,' Freeland told drama staff in an e-mail on Tuesday. He conceded that the announcement comes on top of 'an unsettling six months' and that there would be 'a difficult day and period ahead for many of you'. BECTU has been advised of the proposals, with the BBC discussing the implications with the union in due course. Under the proposals, BBC drama production in England will move to a 'development business model' with two creative teams - in London and in Salford. Four new development executive positions will be created within the teams, roles that will develop ideas, writers and scripts. But four development producer and producer roles will be cut as part of the plans, along with three executive producer posts in Drama England. 'We have looked very carefully at in-house drama's current and projected business levels and it has become clear that we currently have too many executive producer roles to cover the current workload and to keep us truly competitive,' Freeland said. He added that, in future, producers will be brought in on a freelance basis when they are needed. The proposals are part of wider changes to in-house drama, with three high-profile appointments announced recently to lead the creative teams. Hilary Salmon and Christopher Aird are new drama heads in London, while Hilary Martin is their counterpart in Salford. They replace Kate Harwood, who was head of drama in England. Continuing drama series and daytime drama are unaffected by the proposed changes, but the former will now report directly to Aird. BBC drama production is responsible for shows such as EastEnders, Doctors, Holby City, Casualty, Doctor Who and Our Girl. It faces an uncertain future after Tony Hall proposed that it becomes 'a more commercial enterprise' that competes for all BBC commissions and makes programmes for other broadcasters.

Pixies are to re-release their 1989 LP Doolittle to mark its twenty fifth anniversary, along with previously unreleased demos. Titled Doolittle Twenty five, the three-CD collection features fifty songs including B-sides and BBC radio sessions from The John Peel Show. Announcing the special edition on their website, the band said that nearly half the recordings on the collection had not been commercially released before. The collection will be released on 1 December. Considered one of rocks most influential bands, Pixies formed in 1986 in Boston. While they received only modest success in their home country, they instead found greater popularity in the UK where their four LPs were all top ten hits. They split in 1993 but reunited in 2004, announcing a full tour. To celebrate Doolittle's Twentieth anniversary in 2009, the band went on tour performing the entire LP. Earlier this year they released Indie Cindy, their first studio CD since 1991's Trompe Le Monde, reaching number six in the UK charts.

And finally, dear blog reader, on Tuesday 17 January 1967, you could have been watching all of this on BBC1. In North London, at Abbey Road, The Be-Atles (a popular beat combo of the 1960s, you might have heard of them) were in Studio Two putting the finishing touches to a new Paul McCartney song, 'Penny Lane'. Meanwhile, down the corridor in Studio Three, a hugely under-rated five-piece beat combo from Manchester were recording this. And, that's yer actual Keith Telly Topping's 45 of the Day.