Friday, May 18, 2018

Immensely Marvellous

Russell Davies has revealed some Doctor Who titbits - allegedly gleamed from friends working on the BBC's popular long-running family SF drama - saying that there is 'a real buzz' about the new series starring yer actual Jodie Whittaker. Speaking to Matt Baker and Alex Jones on The ONE Show on Tuesday, the former Doctor Who showrunner said: 'Down in the Cardiff there's a real buzz about it. People I know working on the show keep saying, "It's brilliant, it's brilliant, it's brilliant."' So brilliant, in fact, they said it thrice. On Jodie Whittaker's casting, Davies added: 'Science fiction is interested in the future. This is the future: get left behind or join in, that's what I say.'
In a similar vein, Radio Times have published this week what is, frankly, a bit of fluff-piece on how 'awesome' a screen couple they believe yer actual Jodie Whittaker and That There Bradley Walsh make. To which this blogger can only add that - whilst he agrees Jodie and Bradley are totally geet lush and aal that - he considers anyone who uses the word 'awesome' in a conversation when describing anything other than a divine intervention of some sort needs a ruddy good slap.
Appearing on this week's The Graham Norton Show, national heartthrob yer actual David Tennant revealed that the Doctor Who fanbase was 'quite scary at first.' No shit! Come on, David, you were a fan before you ever appeared on the show, you should've known that in advance. 'It's quite a small club. It does feel like once you've been The Doctor, you're always The Doctor. We do form a small support network,' David told Norton. 'It's quite an unusual job and it's humbling to be at the centre of that. It has such a huge fanbase all over the world that it is quite scary at first.'
Emilia Clarke wants everyone to know that she does not play 'strong' female leads, just female leads. In an interview at the Cannes Film Festival on Tuesday as part of the Kering Women In Motion talks, the actress condemned the usage of the phrase 'strong women' by journalists as sexist. She said its usage is 'senseless' for a female lead. 'If it's not strong, what is it? Are you telling me there's another option, that there's a weak option?' Clarke asked. 'You think a lead in a movie is going to be a weak woman? It just doesn't even bear having the conversation, so enough already with the strong women, please.' Clarke used male leads as an example by pointing out that they are rarely - if ever - referred to as 'strong men,' unless they are physically strong. She said the solution to her frustration is to eliminate the phrasing entirely. 'Unless I'm packing guns I don't know about, then let's change that,' she continued. Clarke suggested different adjectives can be used in questions such as 'What does it feel like to play someone with power?' or 'How does it feel to play a female lead in a big blockbuster movie?' 'Take the "strong" out of it, find another adjective,' Clarke said. 'I'm just playing women.'
Benedict Cumberbatch his very self is to play the man who masterminded the Vote Leave campaign during the Brexit referendum in a new Channel Four docudrama. The popular actor will play Vote Leave's campaign director Dominic Cummings. The two-hour drama, which has the working title Brexit, has been written by the political dramatist James Graham. Channel Four said it would 'explore the myriad tactics employed to swing one of the most surprising referendum results in living memory.' Vote Leave was the official 'out' campaign during the 2016 EU referendum and was backed by cabinet ministers including Boris Johnson and Michael Gove. Most of the drama's action will take place during the build-up to the vote and 'will explore the anatomy of a modern data-driven election campaign and the divisive figures driving it from the shadows,' Channel Four said. The broadcaster added that the drama would set out 'not to be an analysis of who was right and who was wrong, but rather is the story of how it happened, and why.' During the campaign, Benny himself signed a letter saying that Brexit would 'damage' the creative industry. Cummings was one of the referendum's leading strategists and has said the out campaign 'probably' would not have won without the infamous - and, to date, entirely misleading - bus pledging an extra three hundred and fifty million smackers a week for the NHS. He has not commented on Channel Four's plans, but has been at loggerheads with Channel Four News over their reporting of Vote Leave's spending during the referendum. So, an amusing stitch-up is not, entirely, beyond the bounds of possibility. The group's spending is currently being investigated by the Electoral Commission. Vote Leave has also come under scrutiny for its Facebook campaign after it enlisted a data firm that may have improperly received users' data. Vote Leave has denied any wrongdoing. One or two people even believed them. Graham wrote the script for Coalition, a 2015 Channel Four docudrama about the aftermath of the 2010 General Erection. He also created political stage dramas including This House, Labour Of Love and Privacy. Graham said: 'I'm so excited - not to mention a little nervous - to have this chance to try and get under the skin of what happened during that historic vote. I hope by going behind the scenes of the campaign, we're able to interrogate the consequences of what happened during these eight weeks that have changed the country forever.' Graham's retelling of the EU referendum is likely to prove contentious, partly because disputes about how the campaign was conducted are still raging. Alongside the Cumberbatch-led drama, Channel Four has announced more new programmes. They include a 'late-night entertainment show' hosted by grime-type person Big Narstie (no, me neither) and stand-up comedian Mo Gilligan (ditto) and filmed in front of a live studio audience. As opposed to a dead one, presumably. The pair will be joined by various z-list celebrity guests to 'dissect popular culture and trends.' Sounds hideous. Channel Four's new director of programmes, Ian Katz, described the series, given the working title The Big Narstie Show, as 'frankly bonkers.' Set to be broadcast at 11pm, it fills a slot earmarked by Katz as a space space for 'outlandish ideas.' Meanwhile, a new reality show, The Circle, will 'ask provocative questions' about interaction in the age of social media. Contestants will live in separate apartments and only be able to communicate anonymously online through The Circle - a voice-activated social media platform. 'It is only when someone is "blocked" that the others will learn about who they have really been interacting with,' the broadcaster said.
The final episode of Gotham's fourth series was broadcast this week and it killed off a couple of regular characters. One of them, twice. Solomon Grundy was shot, then healed and returned to normal as Butch by Hugo Strange. Then he got murdered again (seemingly for good this time) by The Penguin. Elsewhere in the episode, Barbara Kean decided to stab Ra's Al Ghul (with a bit of help from Bruce Wayne). And that was the end of his shit. Again. There was lots of stabbing going on, actually, both Lee Thompkins and The Riddler suffered from - presumably, non-fatal - knife-wounds inflicted by each other whilst poor Selina Kyle spent the entire episode in a coma having been shot in the last episode. Speaking to Variety about getting fatally shot, Drew Powell who played Grundy admitted: '[That] would probably take another dip in the Slaughter Swamp to recover from.' He also spoke about leaving the show and revealed that, despite 'some sadness,' he 'felt so grateful' having been a part of Gotham for four years. 'It's going to be really interesting to see the fan reaction,' Powell said of the finale. 'It's very shocking. I would love to have a camera on fans watching that scene. I do think the reaction will be physical for a lot of people. I think the fans, who've really grown to love Butch as I have - and Grundy - [would want] a proper send-off for him. I think they did that.' This week, of course, FOX renewed Gotham for a fifth and final series - to be broadcast in 2019 - which will see Bruce Wayne complete his transformation into The Batman after five years of - really rather good - build-up.
The producers Gotham are reported to be working on another new Batman-related series. Producers Danny Cannon and Bruno Heller are partnering with US subscription channel EPIX on a ten-episode prequel series called Pennyworth, all about the early years of Bruce Wayne's butler Alfred. According to an official synopsis, Pennyworth will follow ex-Special Forces soldier Alfred in the 1960s as he first works with Bruce's father, Thomas Wayne, in London. It isn't a Gotham spin-off as such and Sean Pertwee is not expected to have any role in Pennyworth, despite both shows coming from the same writing team. Pennyworth and Gotham will 'exist in two separate universes.' 'As genuine fans of these classic DC characters, as well as the incredibly talented Bruno Heller and Danny Cannon, we couldn't be more excited to make Epix the home of this series,' Epix president Michael Wright said in a statement. Earlier this week, as reported by this blog, FOX renewed Gotham for a fifth and final series which will apparently finally see Bruce (David Mazouz) complete his journey to Batman after five years of build-up.
The Blacklist delivered an almighty twist (and confirmed a long-running fan Interweb theory in the process) in its fifth series finale this week as Megan Boone's character made a shocking discovery. Liz Keen finally worked out that the Maguffin which has dominated the last two series of the - often brilliant but occasionally infuriating - espionage drama (the bones in the duffel bag) belonged to the real (and, seemingly, very dead) Raymond Reddington. Which means that James Spader's character who has claimed to be Red for five years is, in fact, an impostor. Possibly. 'This is something that we've talked about from the inception of the show,' Jon Bokenkamp told Entertainment Weekly. 'It is part of the underlying mythology that we've slowly been unravelling. I think there are a number of episodes that we can go back and sort of map and chart how we got here. Hopefully that is proof of concept to the audience that this is not something we're just winging and that we're on a very specific path, and this is a well-earned reveal.' Bokenkamp confirmed that Spader has known 'for a long time' that he was playing an impostor, but the rest of the cast were kept in the dark. Although the series creator refused to reveal who Spader's character really is, saying that it will play 'a big part' in series six, he said that the dynamic between the impostor and Liz will drastically change. 'He does not know that she knows,' Bokenkamp explained. 'I think that piece of information is really compelling. This blows up everything. Very rarely does anyone know something that Reddington doesn't, right? He's always ahead of the curve. He's a very cunning and smart, brilliant mastermind criminal and yet he didn't see this one coming. So I think that is a real power shift and something that we haven't explored in past seasons.' The episode itself - which included guest appearances by Ryan Eggold (or, at least, his ghost), Julian Sands and John Waters - was pretty much a microcosm of the last couple of series, really good in places, up its own arse in others. The sixth series was officially confirmed by NBC earlier this week.
From The North favourite Gillian Anderson may have - very publicly - walked away from both The X-Files and American Gods, but she's most definitely not short of work. Netflix has snapped up Gillian in order to put her considerable acting talents towards Sex Education. Gillian will play a sex therapist whose son (Asa Butterfield) 'puts her expertise to use solving problems in an ad-hoc sex therapy clinic set up in his school.' The series comes from writer Laurie Nunn and will be directed by Ben Taylor. Gillian has experience playing a therapist, having counselled the serial-killing title character in Hannibal. The actress's schedule eased up considerably recently, after walking away from her role as the goddess Media in American Gods once her frequent collaborator Bryan Fuller quit the series. Sex Education begins production for Netflix in the UK this spring. Also coming up for Gillian is the feature comedy The Spy Who Dumped Me, which hits cinemas in the US on 3 August 2018 and arrives in the UK a week later on 10 August.
As reported by this blog a few weeks ago, the next - P - series of Qi began filming somewhat earlier than usual (during the last week of February, in fact). We now have confirmation of the line-ups and themes from the majority of the 2018 series' sixteen episodes. In order of filming, rather than transmission, Plants will feature Stephen K Amos, Jason Manford and From The North favourite Sara Pascoe; Phenomenal guest-stars Cariad Lloyd, Paul Sinha and Josh Widdicombe and Publicity & Privacy has Bridget Christie, the divine Goddess that is Victoria Coren Mitchell and Phill Jupitus. Paintings & Portraits features Noel Fielding, Hannah Gadsby and Joe Lycett; Parts includes former politician-turned-media-whore Ed Balls, Sara Pascoe and Johnny Vegas and P-Animals has the first appearance in about three series of national treasure Danny Baker, Phill Jupitus and, get this, the actress Teri Hatcher. That should be a good one. Episode seven's theme is not known at this time but it will have on the panel Gyles Brandreth, Jimmy Carr and Sally Phillips. Pastimes sees Joe Lycett's second appearance of the series alongside two newcomers, Ellie Taylor and Phil Wang. Picnics includes Richard Osman, Rachel Parris and Romesh Ranganathan whilst episode ten is this year's Christmas special which features Noel Fielding (whom this blogger was never a particular fan of in The Mighty Boosh but whom Keith Telly Topping is forced to concede has been quite amusing in most of his Qi appearances), Cariad Lloyd and Josh Widdicombe. Postal includes Susan Calman, Matt Lucas and That Bloody Awful Holly Walsh Woman. Pathological sees the great Ed Byrne making his first - long overdue - Qi appearance alongside Rhod Gilbert and Sindhu Vee. Rhod Gilbert and Phill Jupitas also feature in Potpourri with Cally Beaton. The final three episodes are Procrastination with Aisling Bea, Nikki Bedi and That Awful Walsh Woman; Pain & Punishment, with Jimmy Carr, the excellent Alice Levine and Lee Mack and a final - as yet unnamed - episode starring Aisling Bea, Lee Mack, Jason Manford. Obviously, as usual, all episodes will feature the omnipresent Alan Davies and Sandi Toksvig. Expect broadcasts to begin on Fridays sometime in the Autumn (probably around October if the last couple of years are anything to go by) with the extended XL episodes likely to go out the following Saturday. There will also, as usual, be two thirty minute compilation episodes featuring some of the most memorable bits at the end of the series. This particular long-term fan of TV's best comedy panel show is sad to see a lack of semi-regulars Bill Bailey (who is busy on tour at the moment, admittedly), David Mitchell and Ross Noble this year but, by the same token, the absence of That Bloody Awful Jack Whitehall Thing is, as ever, a mercy for which all viewers should, frankly, count their blessings.
TV Comedy Line Of The Week. Guest-host Richard Ayoade asking on this week's Have I Got News For You? whether using the term 'gammon' to describe someone was racist, as Roisin Conrty's - entirely factually accurate - reply: 'Gammon is not a race!' After which came a very amusing little exchange concerning David Cameron being called 'a ham' and his previous with regard to pigs.
There's some good news for fans of The Durrells, ITV has recommissioned the show for a fourth series. From The North favourite Keeley Hawes will be back for another run as family matriarch Louisa, alongside some of the show's other regular stars. The Durrells is based on the series of books by Gerald Durrell, following his time in Corfu with his family in the 1930s. You knew that, right? 'The Durrells has proven immensely popular with viewers and critics alike, so we're thrilled to have commissioned another series,' said ITV's Senior Drama Commissioner, Victoria Fea. 'Simon Nye's writing is witty, big-hearted and hugely engaging, so we're looking forward to seeing what the fourth series has in store.' The new series is due to start filming later this year, with series three having wrapped its run earlier this month.
A Very English Scandal, which begins on BBC1 this weekend, is a story both of its time and timeless. Hugh Grant plays Jeremy Thorpe, a rising star Liberal politician, who stood trial on suspicion of attemptingbegins on BBC1 this weekend, is a story both of its time and timeless. Hugh Grant plays Jeremy Thorpe, a rising star Liberal politician, who stood trial on suspicion of attempting to have his ex-lover Norman Scott (Ben Whishaw) killed - his decisions were fuelled, says Grant, by his 'terrifying ambition to rise, rise, rise' combined with a 'very complicated inner turmoil about being gay.' Russell Davies has adapted John Preston's book, based on true events, as a three-part TV drama. 'It's a riveting story,' Grant said. 'You sort of can't believe that it could've happened.' 'It's bleak and absurd when you read the cold facts,' echoed Whishaw. 'You almost can't believe it. It seems so odd. What these people did to each other was savage. They were obsessed with each other for a very long time.' Grant was a schoolboy when the real Thorpe was in the dock for attempted murder in 1979. 'I remember these events, I grew up during them, and it was a very riveting and juicy business,' he said. 'It was all happening when I was at school and it was a source of much sniggering. The jokes were all good: "Join the Liberals and widen your circle" - so I do remember it.' A Very English Scandal too is a blackly comic affair, an aspect that attracted both Grant and Whishaw, though the latter was born a year after the trial and 'had no idea who Jeremy Thorpe was. I was attracted to the humour of it,' Whishaw explained. 'Also, I felt a sort of connection to Norman and I wanted him to like it – and thankfully he does, we're told.' While most of the figures involved with the real Thorpe scandal have since died, Scott - the would-be victim - is still alive at seventy eight. 'This is a very big part of his life and so I think he just wanted it to be done well, to be told properly.' said the actor playing him. 'He was treated so badly by the press back in the day and public opinion seemed to be so strongly against him, so there was a chance to set the record straight to some degree and give his side of the story, perhaps.' Scott was allowed to watch an early cut of A Very English Scandal 'not for his approval,' says Davies, 'but because we thought that was the decent thing to do. He had no say, there was no potential for him to cut scenes or to change anything. And he loved it. It was a very big honour, that moment. I felt quite vindicated as a writer, because he said I got it right.' Davies is happy to concede, though, that Grant did even more research on that Thorpe affair than he did. 'I quite respect Stephen [Frears, the director] and Russell and Ben Whishaw, so I thought I better try and be good,' Grant deadpans. 'I read every single book there is on the subject, I went to meet lots of people who knew Thorpe, I dug up old films - some of them out of the bowels of the BBC, that haven't been seen for decades. I don't if it did any good, but it seemed to soothe me a bit.' 'In the end,' Davies added, 'he was feeding stuff back to me and I was putting it into the scripts! I really hope people sit and watch it and see what a brilliant performance it is that Hugh gives. I think sometimes people kind've shrug at the name "Hugh Grant" - they think they know what they're going to get and actually that's a proper actor at work. It's a masterful performance.' Grant himself says that he was surprised to be offered A Very English Scandal, having previously worked with director Frears on the Oscar-nominated 2016 film Florence Foster Jenkins. 'I'm always very surprised that Stephen would want me in anything. I was making these big commercial romantic comedies which I thought he would probably spit on. In fact, he probably does! He sent me the script and rang me up to ask what I thought and I said, "Well, which part?" – I'm about four hundred years too old to play Thorpe at the beginning of this story, but it was a lovely thing to do. It's helpful to get older and uglier - you get more unusual parts. Maybe they suit me better!'
There was a very fine second episode of The Bridge's fourth series shown this week. Particularly the thirty second sequence of Saga and Henrik shagging like bunnies which, one is sure, will have spectacularly boiled the piss of some repressed fekker at the Daily Scum Mail. As usual, both Sofia Helin and Thure Lindhardt were on terrific - if somewhat morose - form throughout. This blogger also very much enjoyed the lad who writes the reviews at the Gruniad noting: 'The Bridge is not a show big on laughs, but seeing a mugshot of Patrik in full clown make-up on the evidence wall was worthy of A Touch Of Cloth.' He's got a point.
Two men have papered over a billboard in East London due to concerns that it 'glamorises violence' at a time of rising crime in the capital, earning praise from the local MP - and the Gruniad Morning Star, obviously - and attracting criticism from the actors portrayed on the hoarding. The poster for Sky’s police comedy-drama Bulletproof features two gun-toting actors, one of whom is pointing his weapon as though he were about to enter combat. Richard Selby, 'an IT consultant,' decided to act - the Gruniad claims - after he saw the billboard on a busy Walthamstow street when leaving a leisure centre with his eight-year-old son. 'It felt wrong to me,' he told the Gruniad. 'Especially in the light of the shootings and stabbings that we've endured all over London, but particularly in this area, so I thought I'd cover up the guns with something else.' Selby enlisted the help of his 'friend', Graham Clifford, a local headteacher and plastered a cardboard carrot and hairdryer over the two handguns. The poster provider, Primesight, subsequently covered it up with a blank canvas, prompting the two men to replaster the carrot and hairdryer. When asked whether he had any plans to cover other billboards, Selby said: 'I don't want this to be the start of a vigilante career where I spend my life dedicated to plastering on billboards.' Oh, you should mate, you're clearly very good at it. 'I have a life to resume. I think I've made the point. The [London] mayor, Sadiq Khan, has been very vocal about putting a ban on advertising unhealthy food on tubes and buses and selling junk food near schools,' said Selby. 'I would say if we're going down that line, shouldn't we perhaps think about some guidelines for appropriate advertising when it comes to violence and weapons also near schools? I'm totally against the idea that carrying a handgun is normal for anyone in our society and this contributes to a culture where guns are considered cool and acceptable.' The actions provoked an angry response from the actors Noel Clarke and Ashley Walters. 'They only vandalised our poster and made it a cute story because it's us,' Clarke wrote on Instagram. 'If they covered posters with white actors holding guns it would be a full-time job. And would it even make news?' Stella Creasy, the Walthamstow MP, replied in an attempt to 'communicate local concerns.' She invited Clarke to Walthamstow 'to meet the parents who are upset to understand why the location of the poster was so potent.' Walters also weighed into the debate, explaining that 'due to traumatic personal experience,' he has seen the effect violence can have on a community. 'The poster with me and [Clarke] holding guns is not glamorising violence. Our characters are armed policemen,' he wrote. 'Stella Creasy should spend more time asking the government why they waste money on war every day - actually destroying people's lives around the world - meanwhile leaving Londoners lining up for food banks. If that's not pushing people into violence, I don't know what is.'
Evangeline Lilly has accused a 'misogynistic' former co-worker of 'intentionally' injuring her on the set of Lost. The actress appeared on a panel with stuntwomen in Hollywood this week and relayed a story which, she claims, happened while filming Lost. Lilly alleges that a stunt coordinator working on a Lost episode did not take kindly to her wanting to perform her own stunt, so he rejected her request to wear a protective fabric on her arms whilst shooting the scene. The scene required her to roll over a 'massive' tree branch and each take rubbed the skin off her forearms - but Lilly claims the crew would only rub a liquid bandage solution on her skin in-between takes as she was asked to perform the stunt over and over again. 'There were open wounds, pus-y and oozing,' she alleged. 'I looked like a mutant. My mum said, "You'll never be able to wear an evening gown again!"' Lilly suggested that her treatment was punishment from a 'misogynistic' co-worker for defying his authority and acknowledged that, today, she would have backed down and let a stunt performer do the scene instead. In the past, the actress has spoken about the 'harsh environment' on the Lost set, which caused her to develop a serious skin condition from sustained filming in a tropical setting.
Former-NCIS star Pauley Perrette has thanked CBS for supporting her after she raised 'a workplace concern.' The popular actress, who recently left the long-running drama, tweeted: 'I want to thank my studio and network CBS. They have always been so good to me and always had my back.' The network put out a statement, reported via Deadline, which stated: 'Pauley Perrette had a terrific run on NCIS and we are all going to miss her. "Over a year ago, Pauley came to us with a workplace concern. We took the matter seriously and worked with her to find a resolution. We are committed to a safe work environment on all our shows.' Perrette has not spoken in detail about what led her to leave NCIS, but in a series of tweets she dismissed a number of tabloid reports about it and used the phrase 'multiple physical assaults' – although she did not explicitly name the show in relation to these. 'I refused to go low,' she wrote, 'that's why I've never told [sic] publicly what happened. But there are tabloid articles out there that are telling total lies about me. Maybe I'm wrong for not "spilling the beans." Telling the story, the truth. I feel I have to protect my crew, jobs and so many people. I've been supporting anti-bullying programs [sic] forever. But now I know because it was me! If it's school or work, that you're required to go to? It's horrifying. I left. Multiple Physical Assaults. I really get it now. Stay safe. Nothing is worth your safety. Tell someone.' The actress filmed her final scenes in April, with her last episode being broadcast earlier this month. Whether The Wrap's claims that all of this malarkey has its roots in Mark Harmon's dog attacking a member of the crew remains unconfirmed (and, frankly, a bit unlikely).
Homeland actor Navid Negahban, who played Abu Nazir, has said that the terrorism drama will be remembered as 'pivotal' in the history of US television. Which may be true - it was certainly weell made although, to be honest, this blogger rather losat interest by around the middle of series three. In an exclusive interview with the Digital Spy website, Negahban spoke about his role as The Shadow King in Legion and how he hopes he will get to face Professor X on-screen. But, he also talked about his time on Homeland and how he views it as 'a truly significant' series. 'Homeland, at the time that it was created, was a revolutionary show for American television,' he said. 'We'd never had a show that would question authority, or talked about those issues that most people might think about, but don't dare to ask or don't dare to talk about it. To me, when I did Abu Nazir, it was a pivotal moment in my career and in the history of American television. If it wasn't because of Showtime, we would have never been able to do that show. And that was the thing. I'm sad to see it go, but I think it did what it was supposed to be doing.'
Line Of Duty series five may be a while off yet, but its creator is already talking about 'a fresh feel' for the next outing. Jed Mercurio has revealed that the series will include 'new characters and new situations,' explaining that it falls into the 'architecture' of the BBC drama. 'Season five feels like it's very fresh territory,' he said at the Royal Television Society's Anatomy Of A Hit: Line Of Duty panel as reported by Radio Times. 'There are things we haven't done before, characters we haven't seen before and that, I think, is part of the construction of the series. We have that architecture which allows us to rejuvenate the format,' he added. 'Possibly we've arrived at that accidentally but because it would appear now that we have this situation where the audience is intrigued about what we've got to offer based on who the guest lead is going to be, what other characters there are, what the fundamental premise is, we've been very fortunate that as the series has gone on, people have engaged with every story.' Last weekend, Martin Compston revealed that series five would begin filming in Belfast in September.
A mysterious Star Trek project that was being worked on by The Wrath Of Khan director Nicholas Meyer has reportedly been postponed. Last year, the writer/director claimed that he was working on a Star Trek-related project separate from Discovery and the movie franchise, but remained tight-lipped on any further details. However, he has now claimed that it is 'not going anywhere anytime soon,' largely due to an ongoing legal battle between TV rights holder CBS and Paramount/Viacom. This week, CBS filed a lawsuit against parent company National Amusements and its shareholders in attempt to free themselves from control amid a possible merger with Viacom. 'I was hired to write a stand-alone Star Trek-related trilogy, [details of which] I can't discuss or I'd have to kill you,' Meyer said at a Shakespeare & Star Trek panel discussion. 'I was writing it for CBS [All] Access but, at the moment, CBS is at a war with Paramount/Viacom [about merging].' He added: 'They're in a power struggle which turned really nasty this past week when CBS decided to sue Viacom. So I don't think my project is going anywhere in a hurry, because everything is on hold while they sort out this merger business. That's my story and I'm stickin' to it.'
US networks have been bringing down their reaping axes on a whole host of series over the past few weeks - mostly, because they were shit and no one was watching them - but where one door abruptly closes, another one sometimes opens. Such is the case for Brooklyn Nine-Nine, which was picked up and saved for another - albeit shortened - series by NBC after FOX's decision to very cancel the sitcom was met with social media outrage. A similar thing may be happening to Lucifer, which was recently dropped after three seasons by FOX due to not very good ratings. The show's lead, Tom Ellis has now taken the Save Lucifer campaign to BBC's Newsnight after admitting that he was 'crushed' by the news. Although, not literally, obviously because they would be well messy. Speaking to - a very uninterested-looking Emily Maitlis about the fans' impassioned response to Lucifer's cancellation, Ellis said that he was 'absolutely bowled over" by their support. It's encouraged not only myself, but the people who make the show, to try and find a home for it because it feels such a shame that so many people feel so upset that it's finished so abruptly.' Ellis also conceded that networks make the decisions to renew or cancel a show because of business; 'If a show isn't doing the right business for a network, then they've every right to cancel it,' he said. 'We are trying to find a place. I think the obvious place would be something like [Netflix or Amazon],' Ellis added. 'There are other places we can take it and those are potentially exciting places. Who knows? Watch this space is all I can say.' Dunno. Ask Miranda Hart if she's got any plans for another series of Miranda, maybe?
The CW has unveiled its Charmed reboot's first trailer. Unsurprisingly, it looks crap. Mind you, the first series of the original was equally unpromising and that, eventually, turned into a really good little show. So, give we'll it a chance.
Channel Four is launching a new sitcom with the working title Happy AF about a woman trying to pull her life back together after 'a teeny little nervous breakdown' and pursuing happiness. The six-parter is the brainchild of Aisling Bea - so good in The Fall and always very entertaining in her appearances on Qi - who plays Aine. Another popular Irish comedienne, Sharon Horgan, will play her sister Shona, who will be battling huge issues of her own, such as her mortality and whether her boyfriend will fit in her flat following the purchase of a new coffee table. Aine works at a foreign language school and is set to meet a wide range of 'foreign and lost' characters who battle their own issues - some social and some mental - while on the search for happiness. So, a Twenty First Century version of Mind Your Language, then? Sounds ... interesting. Fiona McDermott, Head of Comedy at Channel Four, says: 'In Happy AF, Aisling has created a comedy which makes me laugh, makes me cry and which frequently stops me in my tracks with its compelling and arresting portrayal of Aine's search for a little piece of happiness in a messed up world. I am thrilled to be working with Aisling and Merman on such an intelligent, warm, witty and fearless project.' Elsewhere as part of Channel Four's new commissions, they've green lit another new comedy, MAXXX about a formerly famous boyband star, who is now a drug-addled laughing stock and on the quest for a comeback along with his manager, Tamzin. The Handmaid's Tale's O-T Fagbenle is set to write, direct and star as the titular character in the show. Expect 'surprise cameos' and for it to be 'smart, rude, shameless and funny as hell' according to McDermott.
For those of you hoping for expert help in deciphering the stars this year, you're out of luck - as the BBC has reportedly made the decision not to broadcast a 2018 version of Stargazing Live. Professor Brian Cox (no, the other one), who has presented the show alongside Dara O'Briain, is said to have revealed the news while chatting to a UK radio station in Australia. Coxy reportedly said the Australian version of Stargazing Live 'isn't a great deal of use to listeners in the UK. The BBC has decided that you don't want to watch Stargazing this year and I profoundly ­disagree with that decision,' he said. A spokesperson for the Beeb insisted that Brian is still making a programme for BBC2, 'a major new science series' which will be announced 'soon. We are in discussions with the production team about future series of Stargazing Live, they added, indicating that the series may return next year.
Mrs Brown's Boys 'creator Brendan O'Carroll has admitted what he would kill off his titular character should the show be cancelled by the BBC. Not that there's an immediate likelihood of that happening, obviously, this is all just hypothetical malarkey in an interview with that ever-reliable bastion of truthful and accurate reportage, the Daily Lies. 'We are booked to do Christmas specials for the BBC until 2020 but if they go, "We are going to drop you as we don't think it's strong enough" then I'd kill Agnes off,' O'Carroll told the risible excuse for a tabloid. 'Our final episode would be the funniest show I've ever written for the first twenty four minutes. Then the last four minutes would break your fucking heart.' Reflecting on the show's success, O'Carroll said: 'After the downturn in the economy, Brexit and that fucking clown in America, people have been getting scared and when they get scared they get nostalgic and want to look at when things were better. Along comes Mrs Brown - this woman from the 1970s who has this mindset that a clip on the ear doesn't do any harm and that nostalgia makes people feel a bit more comfortable. The audience says, "This doesn't threaten me. It just makes me laugh." And we give them an hour of relief on a Saturday night. Laughter really is the best medicine.'
STV has announced that it will close its struggling second channel STV2, as part of 'a broader shift towards online content' and a reorganisation which will result in fifty nine job losses. Publishing the broadcaster's three-year 'growth strategy' on Wednesday morning, STV's new chief executive, Simon Pitts, who took over from Rob Woodward in January, set out plans to drive viewers to STV Player, with more than a third of profits expected to come from outside linear TV advertising by the end of 2020. The closure of STV2, which was launched last spring following a merger of local and city digital services around Scotland, will mean the end of STV News Tonight, its flagship 7pm nightly news programme anchored from Glasgow by Halla Mohieddeen, with twenty five jobs affected. The broadcaster had previously boasted that the second channel allowed the company to put Scotland's first 'Scottish Six' news programme on-air. The five local TV licences that were part of STV2 will be sold to That's Media, while wider restructuring of the news operation will result in a further thirty four job losses and around one million knicker cost-cutting. STV's head of news will also be replaced. The cuts follow an announcement by BBC Scotland on Tuesday that its new TV channel for Scotland will be on-air from next February, subject to Ofcom approval. The new channel had initially planned to start broadcasting in the autumn. 'We have had to make some tough decisions but I think STV has to modernise to prepare us for the current state of news consumption, in order to be able to compete as other organisations have done,' said Pitts. 'There are also competitive issues at play, BBC Scotland has fifteen times the programme budget of STV2. To reach break even we would have had to increase the audience and commercial returns five-fold. BBC Scotland would have made that even more difficult than it already is.' Reaction across the political spectrum has raised concerns about the future of the news sector in Scotland. The Scottish Labour leader, Richard Leonard, described the news of redundancies at STV as 'painful,' noting that the new chief executive had recently accepted an eight hundred and fifty thousand quid 'golden hello' to start the job, while the Scottish Conservatives' shadow cabinet lack of culture secretary, Rachael Hamilton, described it as 'a “hammer blow to broadcasting in Scotland.' John Toner, national organiser at NUJ Scotland, said that the job cuts were 'a devastating blow' to staff who had 'tried to make STV2 work' for four years. 'This will lead to a massive reduction in the breadth and depth of news coverage viewers in Scotland currently enjoy,' he said. 'The NUJ will work with STV management to try to reduce the number of redundancies required, and we are resolved that compulsory redundancies will be strongly opposed.' In April, Alan Clements, the head of STV Productions, announced that he was leaving the company after a decade.
Production of the MTV show Catfish has been suspended following claims of sexual harassment against its host, Nev Schulman. The allegations surfaced after a former participant on the show posted a YouTube video last week claiming that she was 'harassed.' Schulman denies the allegations, saying what he has been accused of 'did not happen.' In a statement to the New York Daily News, MTV said it is 'conducting a thorough investigation.' Catfish follows Schulman as he investigates people using fake online profiles. He is being accused of 'inappropriate conduct' by a woman who appeared on the cyber-dating series in 2015. In a YouTube video uploaded on 12 May, the woman claims Schulman 'picked apart' her sexuality as a lesbian and propositioned her for sex. 'The behaviour described in this video did not happen,' Schulman said in a statement. 'I'm fortunate that there are a number of former colleagues who were present during this time period who are willing to speak up with the truth. I have always been transparent about my life and would always take responsibility for my actions - but these claims are false,' he added. Schulman originally shot to fame with his 2010 documentary Catfish. The film followed Schulman's story as he built a relationship with a woman who used fake social media profiles to interact with him. The concept became the basis for the MTV show, which began in 2012. Its seventh season began in January. MTV is working with third party production company Critical Content to investigate the claims against Schulman.
Caroline Flack has 'chastised' former Z-List Celebrity Love Island-type people for 'not making more out of their exposure' on the series. Appearing on AOL Build, the presenter - who will be hosting the fourth series of the sick Victorian freak show this summer - praised last year's contestant Camilla Thurlow for using the platform given to her to 'further the humanitarian work' she had done previously. However, Flack didn't sound particularly impressed with other Z-List Celebrity Love Island alumni, as she appeared to criticise them for wasting the opportunity and using their fame for 'teeth whitening deals.' '[Thurlow has] gone on and used what she's gained from that show and put it to good use,' Flack said. 'It's not all about coming out and getting teeth whitening deals,' she added, seemingly with specific reference to Jessica Rose. 'You can go in and use it as a public platform and do something, as [Thurlow]'s done it.'
David Bowie released two classic studio LPs between 1978 and 1982 (Lodger and Scary Monsters), as well as a wealth of work for film and television soundtracks. The Grand Dame also found time to embark upon a massive world tour, documented by the double live CD Stage. On 29 June, EMI Parlophone will revisit that prolific period with Welcome To The Blackout (Live London 78), as well as two special vinyl reissues exclusively for 'brick and mortar' retail stores: Christiane F: Wir Kinder Vom Bahnhof Zoo and David Bowie In Bertolt Brecht's Baal. The new releases begin with the CD and digital debut of Welcome To The Blackout. This live CD features performances recorded at Earl's Court in London on 30 June and 1 July 1978 during Bowie's Isolar II Tour (better known as The Stage Tour). The music was released earlier this year on vinyl as a strictly limited-edition triple-LP set for Record Store Day 2018. And, hot stuff it is too with David and his band on blistering form. Tony Visconti recorded the 1978 concert which was later mixed by Bowie and David Richards. The set naturally focuses on songs from the two LPs Bowie released in 1977 - Low and "Heroes" - as well as earlier career highlights such as a suite of songs from Ziggy Stardust, 'Fame', 'The Jean Genie' and 'Station To Station' and the first ever live performance of 'Sound And Vision'. Welcome To The Blackout (Live London '78) will be available as a two-CD set as well as digitally for download and streaming in both standard and high-definition versions. Christiane F: Wir Kinder Vom Bahnhof Zoo is the soundtrack to the 1981 film based on the autobiography by the German actress Christiane Vera Felscherinow. The soundtrack incorporates songs from several Bowie LPs, including 'Stay', 'Warszawa', 'V-2 Schneider' and 'Look Back In Anger'. As well as providing the soundtrack, Bowie also appeared as himself in the movie, performing 'Station to Station'. Released on vinyl for the first time in thirty years, this fan favourite will be pressed on limited edition red vinyl and available exclusively at retail stores. The set includes Mark Adams' original liner notes from the 2001 CD issue. David Bowie In Bertolt Brecht's Baal features Bowie performing five songs which were written for German playwright Bertolt Brecht's 1918 play Baal. Bowie recorded this EP with Visconti at Hansa Studios in Berlin in November 1981 some months before appearing as the title character in the BBC's adaptation of Baal. Recently, all five songs on the EP were re-released as part of the exclusive Re:Call 3 compilation which accompanied the box set, A New Career In A New Town (1977-1982). This new limited edition ten inch vinyl reissue comes in a six-panel sleeve that replicates the original 1982 packaging and is available exclusively at retail stores.
Yer actual Keith Telly Topping's beloved (though unsellable) Newcastle United admit they took a huge 'financial gamble' to win promotion back to the Premier League, with their wage bill in the 2016-17 season the highest in Football League history. New figures released this week show the club paid wages of over one hundred and twelve million smackers, almost double the Championship's other promoted clubs, Brighton & Hove Albinos and Huddersfield Town, combined. The club lost over ninety million notes that year although that was partly off-set by average attendances at St James' increasing to over fifty one thousand per game during the Championship season. The Magpies said that the approach was 'only possible' because of the 'financial support' of want-away owner Mike Ashley. Under manager Rafael Benitez, Newcastle extremely won the Championship in 2017 to gain promotion back to the Premier League at the first attempt and they finished tenth on their return to the top flight this season. High profile gutless cowards such as Moussa Sissoko, Georginio Wijnaldum, Andros Townsend and Florian Thauvin left after the club's relegation in 2016 but over fifty million knicker was spent on twelve players the following season in the Championship - including as Dwight Gayle, Matt Ritchie and Mo Diame. 'An immediate return to the Premier League was vital to restore the financial stability and future prospects of the club,' managing director Lee Charnley said. 'With the support and backing of the owner we took what was, in essence, a financial gamble on securing immediate promotion.' The one hundred and twelve million figure on wages and salaries includes 'promotion bonuses and onerous contract provisions' but was thirty seven million quid higher than in the previous season in the Premier League. The overall operating loss of ninety million smackers compares to a profit of one million quid the previous season. The loss after tax stands at £41.3m.
Stewart Donald's proposed takeover of Blunderland could be concluded 'as early as next week,' The Mackem Filth have said in a statement. Eastleigh chairman Donald and current Blunderland owner Ellis Short met with Football League executives on Friday to discuss the takeover. Donald already has a deal in place to purchase The Black Cats from Short, but requires formal approval. Sunderland were very relegated from the Championship to League One in April. 'Following a meeting with the EFL on Friday and the provision of further information, we can now confirm that the proposed sale of the club could be concluded as early as next week,' said a club statement. 'We would like to place on record our thanks to the EFL for their assistance during the process, at what is a very busy time of the football calendar for them.' After the meeting in London, American Short declined to answer any questions from BBC Sport regarding details of the deal and its progression. The BBC was told at the beginning of May that Donald had agreed the sale of his National League side Eastleigh but, so far, there has been no official confirmation of this. He has previously said if the deal for Blunderland was allowed to go through, it would be 'spectacular.' It has been reported that Short has agreed to clear debts in order to push through the sale of a club that has been relegated in successive seasons after spending ten years in the Premier League.
Former Everton manager Sam Allardyce says that he knew he would be sacked before it happened. And, so did pretty much everyone else which made the odious, full-of-his-own-importance plank getting the old tin-tack even funnier. Allardyce maintains that more Everton fans backed him than wanted him out. Because, obviously, he asked all of them. Allardyce was dismissed from his post on Wednesday, six months into his tenure, after finishing eighth in the Premier League. He had a year left on the contract he signed in November, but says he learned of his fate before meeting owner Farhad Moshiri. 'It seemed to be done and dusted through the media,' he told Talksport.
West Hamster United want to speak to former Sheikh Yer Man City boss Manuel Pellegrini about their current managerial vacancy. There are reports in his native Chile that Pellegrini has already signed a contract but, the BBC reports that a deal is not yet done. The sixty four-year-old, who manages Chinese Super League side China Fortune, has been identified as a possible replacement for David Moyes, whose contract has not been renewed. Newcastle boss Rafa Benitez also remains of interest to West Hamsters - indeed, the Mirra this have been really pushing that particular angle with a shitehawk 'exclusive', something which the Torygraph was keen to pour cold water on. The Spaniard has twelve months remaining on his Newcastle contract and there is reported to be 'an acknowledgement' from West Hamsters that getting Benitez out of St James' Park would be difficult. Pellegrini managed Sheikh Yer Man City between 2013 and 2016 and won the Premier League title in his first season in charge. The former Real Madrid manager also guided City to the semi-finals of the Champions League in 2016, the only time the club has reached that stage in their history. West Hamsters chairman David Sullivan has pledged to appoint a manager with 'a proven level of success at the highest level.' Shakhtar Donetsk manager Paulo Fonseca had been heavily linked the job - including reports that he met Sullivan on Monday - but he signed a new contract to stay at the Ukrainian club on Thursday.
In Saturday's FA Cup final at Wembley, Moscow Chelski FC beat The Scum thanks to Eden Hazard's first-hal penalt.y After the game, the always gracious Jose Mourinho whinged that his former club did not deserve to win the cup, accusing them of 'defending with nine players' during the final. Yes, that's Jose Mourinho whinging about someone winning a game of football by parking the bus. Oh, the irony ...
Alex Reid has been given a High Court injunction against his ex-wife Katie Price after it was alleged that she shared private photos of him on Z-List Celebrity Big Brother's Bit On The Side. Price has been faced with legal action after Reid claimed that the photographs and video she shared were of 'a sexual nature.' This injunction will now prevent Price from sharing 'private and confidential information' about Reid.
Crowds of people were, reportedly, 'left disappointed' after 'a mix-up' led to them missing a flypast by an RAF Typhoon over the Derwent Dam. Ooo, aal stroppy and vexed, so they were, with their mad right up. And, let us once again, simply stand up and salute the utter shite that some people chose to care about. Spectators were initially informed that a Lancaster Bomber, marking the seventy fifth anniversary of the Dambusters raid, would not fly due to bad weather. They were then told its replacement, a Typhoon, would also not fly, only for it to roar overhead moments later. The RAF has grovellingly apologised to those who attended the event 'for the confusion.' Andy Millikin, the Officer Commanding the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight, tweeted that the Lancaster and, later the Typhoon, 'could not make it' to the dams 'due to poor weather.' However, not long after his post, the Typhoon flew overhead as many people had already started leaving the Ladybower Reservoir area. It is understood that the confusion arose when the pilot said he could not fly the proposed route due to low cloud. However, he then 'overcame the problem' by flying in a different direction but this message was not passed on. The flypast was to mark the one hundredth anniversary of the Royal Air Force and seventy fifth anniversary of the Dambusters raid by 617 Squadron.
Front-line officers in remote, rural communities could be 'routinely armed' in order to 'deal with terror threats,' police chiefs have said. Because, as noted in the movie Hot Fuzz, everyone is tooled up and packing heat in the country. Including farmers. And farmer's mums. The move is being 'considered' by the National Police Chiefs' Council because of a lack of specialist counter-terrorist firearms officers. It comes after a drive to recruit these officers in England and Wales fell short by about one hundred. Police said that arming officers in remote areas would be 'a last resort.' Counter-terrorist specialist firearms officers are trained with special forces to deal with a raft of situations, including hostage rescues and terror attacks. Plans were put in place to bolster the UK's capacity for armed responses in the wake of the Paris terror attacks in 2015, in which one hundred and thirty people died. Over the past two years, the Home Office has funded an extra eight hundred and seventy four armed officers in England and Wales - bringing the total to more than six thousand four hundred in April 2017. But on a practical level, police chiefs have estimated that in rural communities, such as Devon and Cornwall, a firearms unit could be between thirty and seventy miles away in the event of a major incident. Two years ago, police warned that 'unarmed and vulnerable' officers in rural communities would be 'sitting ducks' in the event of a terror attack. Since then, huge investment and effort has gone into improving armed police capacity and capability, as the latest announcement shows - but gaps remain. Armed response vehicles, which are intended to be first on the scene of a firearms incident, are an expensive asset, with thirteen officers required to double-crew a vehicle twenty four hours a day, seven days a week. That is why police chiefs are looking at alternatives to deploying ARVs in areas where there's a low risk of a terror attack, such as allowing front-line officers to carry guns. It goes against the grain of British policing for officers to be routinely armed, but there is increasing support for it among those polled in a Federation survey and it remains firmly on the table as an option. Any decision on arming officers is a matter for the chief constable of each of the forty three local forces covering England and Wales, as well as the national British Transport Police.
A Canadian woman could be facing charges after an irate confrontation at a Langley Tim Hortons on Monday ended in faeces being thrown at staff. On Wednesday, surveillance video showing Tim Hortons staff being harassed was posted on Liveleak and YouTube. In the video, which has no sound, a woman can be seen apparently screaming at staff before pulling down her strides, squatting against a wall and dropping a large one. She then picks up the excrement and throws it at staff. Langley Royal Canadian Mounted Police officer Holly Largy confirmed that the RCMP 'received a complaint.' She said a woman was detained and released - presumably after she washed her hands - but is to attend court at a later date. The British Columbia Prosecution Service will 'review the circumstances' and determine if charges will be laid. The Tim Hortons employee had apparently denied the woman access to the restroom. 'Our current understanding is that the team member used their discretion in this case and denied access to this guest based on past behaviour and out of concern for the immediate safety of team members and guests in the restaurant. As matters escalated, the Team Member contacted local authorities for assistance,' Tim Hortons said in a statement. The company says that they are working with the franchise owner and will be 'looking into this matter further. We are deeply concerned by this video as the safety of our team members and guests is always a top priority for us. In limited cases across the country, restaurants have a restricted access policy for restrooms to ensure the well-being of our guests,' the statement said.
After a Virginia man was reported missing, then found hours later on the side of the road, he told police that he had been kidnapped, drugged and held against his will by 'members of a motorcycle gang.' The FBI now says that he fabricated the entire story and several others so he could disappear and start a new life with his mistress. Larry Wayne Price Junior was very arrested last week and charged with lying to federal authorities. Prosecutors said after Price's wife reported him missing 14 April, police in his hometown of Bluefield and the county sheriff's office 'launched a massive search' which included the use of state police helicopters and dogs. Price was located that night by a driver who noticed him on the side of the road on Route Sixty One near Gratton, Virginia. An affidavit written by an FBI agent says that when Price was taken to a hospital, he told police he had been kidnapped by two strangers, drugged and held against his will. He said that he was taken to a business he owns, Hawg Pit Cycles in West Virginia, where he said his keys were taken and the store's safe was robbed. He also said that the men pointed a gun at him and stole his pocketknife and his own handgun. But, when police reviewed security video from the motorcycle shop, they found no indication the shop had been disturbed and no sign of a robbery or the white van Price had described, the affidavit said. When the FBI interviewed Price, he changed his story and said that he was kidnapped by members of a motorcycle gang. He also told authorities he thought he may have been kidnapped because he owed someone money. When asked to whom he owed money, Price said maybe he should 'plead the Fifth' and said he thought it best to say 'that he made it all up, he needed to clear his head, and say he disappeared on his own,' the FBI agent added. Agents discovered he contacted a woman the day he was reported missing. Price said the woman managed a restaurant he owned and denied having an affair with her. She eventually told authorities that she had Price had discussed 'wanting to disappear.' She said they decided to move in to a house near her father's home to start a new life together.
A woman was 'horrifically burned' after balloons filled with hydrogen exploded in a fireball while she was lighting her twenty first birthday cake. Sanjana was left with burns to her hands, leg and face after hydrogen balloons caused a small inferno at a hotel in Mysore, India. Footage - gleefully obtained by FOX News - shows the girl in a light blue dress standing at the head of the table surrounded by half-a-dozen friends. As they gather around the wooden table with their mobile phones to film Sanjana strike a match to light her birthday cake candle. The footage then shows the large candle flames reaching out to nearby red and black hydrogen balloons causing a bright yellow fireball to erupt. Piercing screams are then heard with Sanjana running away. She was taken to a nearby hospital where she was treated for burns to her hands, legs and face.
A woman was arrested on Friday night after verbally and physically assaulting staff during 'a drunken temper tantrum' at a KFC restaurant in Australia. The unidentified woman was recorded by another customer, Andrew Moschakis, at the Adelaide KFC on Friday evening. Moschakis said that the woman was trying to pay for her order via bank transfer because she did not have cash or card on hand, news.com.au reported. 'Then she got very aggravated and started screaming and yelling,' he said. In the recording the woman is seen picking up EFTPOS machines and whipping them at KFC employees and at the menu monitors - one of which she hits - whilst 'screaming curse words and insults.' 'That almost got you,' the woman says after one of the EFTPOS machines seemingly comes close to a staff member. After the video stops, Moschakis said that the woman grabbed a twenty four-pack of Seven-Up cans which were on the counter and threw those as well. 'Then two guys came, they said they were from the store across the road, they both pinned her down until four to five police on horses came and put her in cuffs,' he told the news outlet. It is not immediately clear if the police and their horses entered the KFC or whether it was just the police and they left the horses outside. Probably the latter. 'There was no calming her down,' Moschakis added. 'She was psychotic.' According to Newshub, KFC employees 'fled to the kitchen' and placed the call to police. The woman, aged twenty, was charged with disorderly behaviour, property damage, two counts of assault and two aggravated counts of assaulting police. She was bailed to appear in court at later date. The woman, whom various media outlets reporting the story have chosen not to name, lamented her violent rampage in a post on her Facebook page. She wrote that it was 'time for me to get my life in check, stop drinking' and that she 'can't go on like this any more. Alcohol is a drug and its [sic] time for me to make a change and go back to the gentle girl that was once me,' she wrote. A KFC spokesman said management was relieved that no one was injured.
A New Jersey school board member has been caught on camera cursing at a police officer who pulled her over for speeding and calling the local police chief 'a skinhead cop.' South Orange-Maplewood School Board Member Stephanie Lawson-Muhammad can be heard using profanity when being issued tickets by the South Orange officer in dashcam video of a27 April traffic stop. Lawson-Muhammad can be heard telling the police officer that she is 'scared of cops because you guys hurt black people' and suggesting that she would contact local officials.
A tough, working-class upbringing and research into the haunts of London's gangland bosses informed the gritty, hard-hitting drama which Trevor Preston brought to television in two standout series - Out (1978) and Fox (1980), both produced by Verity Lambert. Equally at home with classic children's adaptations (1967's The Lion, The Witch & The Wardrobe) or the cynical, dark and angry espionage world of Callan, Trevor Preston was once described by Troy Kennedy Martin as 'the best TV writer in the world.' At his best, that descriptor is not far wide of the mark.
      Preston, whose death in late April aged seventy nine on reached this blogger this week, was given his own programmes by ITV after writing several jaw-dropping episodes of The Sweeney. If Z-Cars had signalled a switch away from the homely image of the police depicted in Dixon Of Dock Green, The Sweeney left no doubt about brutality and bending of the law within the force as a means to an end. Preston wrote the first episode of the series - Ringer - after a pilot film scripted by its creator, Ian Kennedy Martin. It is Preston's menacingly witty dialogue that many viewers of the series can still quote almost ver batum, like Jack Regan's memorable introduction of himself and George Carter to a teenage villain in that first episode: 'We're The Sweeney, son and we haven't had any dinner! You've kept us waiting!' The programme was the first popular success from Euston Films, set up by the ITV company Thames Television to make filmed dramas for the small screen. Euston's practice of shooting fast-moving action on location with handheld sixteen millimetre cameras to give a sense of realism made it the perfect producer for Preston's own creation for Thames, Out, in which Tom Bell starred as Frank Ross, a bank robber released from The Nick after eight years and obsessed with finding the Copper's Nark responsible for his incaseration. Preston gave his characters a psychological complexity rare on television at the time and fashioned Ross as immaculately turned-out in his three-piece suit and with a stillness and intensity that froze all who came into contact with him. The director, Jim Goddard, served the writer well in the six-part serial with techniques such as stylised flashbacks of the robbery. Goddard was at the helm again - and the criminals were the lead characters once more - when Euston made Fox, Preston's series about a South London family with gangland connections that the director regarded as a 'television novel' because of its structure. Peter Vaughan was the patriarch, Billy Fox, held in awe by his neighbours, with Bernard Hill, Derrick O'Connor, Larry Lamb, Eamon Boland and a very young Ray Winstone as his five sons. The underlying theme was family loyalty and Preston described it as 'The Forsyte Saga in thirteen episodes about somebody who lives in Clapham.' Another contemporary review dubbed it 'a Cockney I, Claudius.' It won Preston BAFTA's 1981 Television Writers' Award. Although he continued to write for TV, Preston's career was punctuated by bouts of depression. They had begun when he was eight years old and either inspired his writing - when he transferred his anger to the printed page - or laid him low. He was born in Erith in Kent, the second of four children of Phyllis, a teacher and Robert Preston, who fought in both wars. When his father returned to civilian life, Preston recalled sitting alongside him on a horse and cart making deliveries for a bakery. Trevor also played among the ruins of bombed buildings and admitted to being 'a bit of a tearaway.' He read crime novels, played the guitar in a skiffle group, enjoyed opera and jazz and gained a love of films through visits to the Regal Cinema in Bexleyheath.
      On leaving Erith Grammar School, he attended Gravesend and Beckenham art schools. He completed only half of his national service in the RAF because of his health issues, then studied at the Royal College of Art in London. Preston's screen career began in 1963 when the ITV arts magazine Tempo invited the RCA's newly formed film and television design department to produce an episode. He directed The Medium Sized Cage, the story of a disaffected sculpture student moving out of a bedsit and recalling, in flashback, his time there. Between 1965 and 1967, Preston worked on Tempo as a researcher and occasional writer. He switched to children's drama with adaptations of The Lion, The Witch & The Wardrobe (1967), The Tyrant King (1968) - directed by Mike Hodges - and James & The Giant Peach (1976), as well as contributing scripts to series such as Freewheelers (1968) and The Incredible Adventures of Professor Branestawm (1969). Preston also created the memorable Ace Of Wands in 1970, a hugely popular Thames fantasy series which he described as 'a children's crime drama' and which ran for three series. It featured Tarot (Michael Mackenzie), a super-sleuth stage magician and his young assistants (who included Judy Loe and Petra Markham), featured psychedelic opening credits and a superb theme song ('Tarot' by Andy Bown). Trevor later said that Ace Of Wands was 'the best time I ever had working in television.' By then, he had started writing for peak-time adult drama: Callan in 1969, Special Branch between 1969 and 1973 and Public Eye in 1971. He wrote eleven episodes for The Sweeney between its first series, in 1975 and its last, in 1978, including some of the very best and most well-remembered - Abduction, Chalk & Cheese, Poppy, May, Stay Lucky, Eh? and Messenger Of The Gods. This blogger, briefly, corresponded with Trevor during 2008 when we both appeared in the BBC4 documentary series Call The Cops in an episode about The Sweeney. This blogger repeated to Trevor what I said in the episode, that I considered the Raymond Chandler-like speech of jaundiced street-wise poetry that he gave John Thaw in Abduction to be not only one of the finest moments of the series, but one of this blogger's favourite pieces of TV dialogue ever written by anyone: 'I sometimes hate this bastard place,' a tired and angry Jack Regan tells Bill The Driver. 'It's a bloody holiday camp for thieves and weirdos. All the rubbish. You age prematurely trying to sort some of them out. Try to protect the public and all they do is call you "Fascist." You nail a villain and some ponced-up, pinstriped Hampstead barrister screws it up like an old fag packet on a point of procedure, then pops off for a game of squash and a glass of Madeira. He's taking home thirty grand a year and we can just about afford ten days in Eastbourne and a second-hand car. Nah, it's all bloody wrong, my son.' Magnificent.
    After the success of Out and Fox, Preston scripted a 1984 episode of Minder but he found producers no longer receptive to his ideas for series, so he wrote single dramas such as Slayground (1989), Children Crossing (1990) and The Negotiator (1994) before adapting the novels Thicker Than Water (1993), Dylan Jones's story about identical twins and Little White Lies (1998), Elizabeth McGregor's psychological thriller. The Racing Game (1979) had seen Preston adapting Dick Francis and in the 1990s, he continued to provide some great scripts for The Ruth Rendell Mysteries. His 1987 TV movie Billy The Kid & The Green Baize Vampire, directed by Alan Clarke, developed a cult following and was described by the British Film Institute as 'the only vampire snooker musical ever made.' His CV also includes scripts for Hazell, Four People, Love Story, The Protectors, Couples, Shadows (the memorable Dutch Schiltz's Shoes in which Russell Hunter reprised his Ace Of Wands villain, Mister Stabs) and The Secret Adventures Of Jules Verne. Later, Preston teamed up again with Hodges to make the 2003 film I'll Sleep When I’m Dead. He drew on his experience of manic depression to write Flaw In The Motor, Dust In The Blood, a 2008 BBC Radio 4 play about life with bipolar disorder. In recent years, he suffered from cancer and acute arthritis but continued writing for radio and painting. His 1960 marriage to Nettie Bignell ended in divorce. Preston is survived by his two children, Isca and Julian and by his partner of twenty seven years, Susie Elliott.
Bob Bura, who died last month aged ninety three, was one of Britain's most prolific animators. Working with his long-time collaborator, John Hardwick, he produced hundreds of films and live-action puppet sequences. Through their pioneering techniques of stop-motion, they brought to life characters in classic children's television programmes from the 1960s to the 1980s such as Camberwick Green, Trumpton, Chigley and Captain Pugwash. From the start, their programmes were by far the most technically advanced stop-motion films - where each frame represents a movement of an object, and frame by frame forms a continuous sequence - being made anywhere. Through their company, Stop Motion, they perennially invented or modified technologies. For instance, their original Mitchell cameras were designed for normal, continuous filming, so Bob commissioned engineering companies to design machines that would enable the shutters to expose one frame at a time, instead of twenty four frames per second. However, straight animation was not enough - in addition to the puppets, they would often animate the background, projecting another film behind the puppets that would be reflected off a special surface called a transit screen. This acted like millions of microscopic cat's eyes, creating a reflection many times brighter than that of an ordinary mirror. The results were vivid and stunning and can be seen in the series Look & Read (which began 1967) and Words & Pictures. The technique was also used in four ballets for the BBC Schools series Music Time: Petrushka (1968), depicting the original choreography of the 1911 ballet; The Nutcracker & The Mouse King, which won a BAFTA in 1979; Coppélia (1979) and The Sleeping Beauty (1984). All were directed by Alan Platt, a BBC Schools director, who also made sets and high-quality puppets and was their collaborator for twenty eight years. Bura and Hardwick had worked together as puppeteers and entertainers before joining the BBC's Lime Grove studios in the 1950s, where they made animated film inserts and worked in live marionettes for the BBC Puppet Theatre under the producer Gordon Murray, including on the series A Rubovian Legend (1955-1961). By the 1960s it was clear that string puppets were becoming old-fashioned and so they began their pioneering stop-motion work. Still working with Murray, they animated the highly successful Trumptonshire trilogy. The first series was Camberwick Green (1966), set in a picturesque English village with characters including Windy Miller, Mickey Murphy, PC McGarry and Mrs Honeyman and her baby. This was followed by Trumpton (1967) – with the firemen Pugh, Pugh, Barney McGrew, Cuthbert, Dibble and Grubb and Chippy Minton – and Chigley (1969). Each series consisted of thirteen episodes, all narrated by Brian Cant, with settings by Margaret and Andrew Brownfoot and retain, to this day, a cult following amongst Britons 'of a certain age.'
Bura and Hardwick had been commissioned by Murray to make the series in black and white, but they filmed it with a second camera in colour - a decision which paid off in the 1970s via constant repeats. They would often animate a whole one hundred feet reel of film (two minutes of action) in sequence with no mistakes, making it a dream for the editor to compile into a finished film. They insisted on shooting one frame per movement at a time when other studios, to save money, would film two frames per movement. As a result, the movements of the puppets were smooth and not jerky. The pair then worked with the artist and animator John Ryan on the BBC children's series Mary, Mungo & Midge (1969), The Adventures Of Sir Prancelot (1971) and the second version of Captain Pugwash (1974). Ryan produced hand-operated images with, for example, cut-out eyes that could move relative to a character’s face; these were captured by Bura, who lit them and Hardwick, who filmed them. Bob was born in Fitzrovia, one of eleven children of Moise Bura, a Romanian who had escaped a pogrom and later changed his name to Morris and his wife, Lucy, a vaudeville singer. Bob, who attended Netley primary school, had undiagnosed dyslexia, but successfully overcame the lack of understanding of this in early years and much later, aged seventy six, was delighted to get a diagnosis. From an early age his father would take him to West End clubs to sing and perform vaudeville acts such as ventriloquism and fire-eating. For a time in the 1930s he was the family breadwinner. It was while staging Punch and Judy shows on Southsea beach in Portsmouth that Bura first worked with Hardwick. As well as puppet shows they made animated cinema adverts before joining the BBC. For many years they animated from two large adjoining houses in Crouch End, each room spacious enough to be a studio in its own right. One room might be given over to You & Me, a programme for pre-school children that was anchored by a hamster called Alice and a crow; in another might be the set-up for Music Time, a show which involved lots of trickery, with Words & Pictures filmed along the corridor. They worked on productions as varied as The Sky At Night, animating constellations, to music videos and public information films. There was a bohemian atmosphere to the place. Bura would appear through a dense cloud of smoke in the kitchen having just cooked a meal and perform conjuring tricks and they had two small dogs that would wander around but were trained not to disturb the sets. In the early 1980s, the studio was moved to a disused church nearby (as well as one in Somerset), where The Eurythmics recorded 'Sweet Dreams Are Made Of This' upstairs, and which they later took over. After Hardwick’s death in 2004, Bura became increasingly frail. Yet, in his late eighties, he made several appearances as Father Christmas at Hamleys toy shop in London, and was still entertaining and performing magic shows up to 2013.