Friday, May 22, 2015

What's The Point Of Rhetorical Questions?

Yer actual Peter Capaldi has, according to the Daily Scum Mail, 'turned daredevil' when filming a parachuting scenes on Barry Island beach for the new series of Doctor Who. Blimey, that's taking the Pertwee-obsession a bit too far, Pete,mate.
Who was Missy? That was the question Doctor Who fans were asking throughout series eight, before the sensational reveal that the character, played brilliantly by yer actual Michelle Gomez, was The Doctor's old nemesissy, The Master, now having undergone a sex-change regeneration. But, The Lord Thy God Steven Moffat wanted to have a little fun with the fans before then. The showrunner has admitted that he tried to plant a red herring during the filming of penultimate episode Dark Water. In the actual broadcast, Missy originally passes herself off as a cyborg, claiming that her name is an acronym for 'Mobile Intelligence Systems Interface.' However, when Michelle Gomez initially recorded the line, she said something quite different. 'I actually had her say she was a "Random Access Neural Interface,"' The Moffinator told the audience at a Royal Television Society event, this week. The Rani, of course, was a character played by the late Kate O’Mara. The Rani, a nefarious Time Lady, clashed with Colin Baker and Sylvester McCoys' Doctors in two stories during the 1980s - both of which were, to be honest, a bit rubbish. 'Many fans', allegedly, speculated that Missy would turn out to be a new regeneration of the villain. Many others, didn't. The Moffat, he claims, believed that 'leaks were inevitable' but, in this particular case, no-one took the bait. 'Whenever I arrange skullduggery, no-one ever buggering notices,' he said, seemingly, properly disappointed by this turn of events. 'We thought "everyone's bound to overhear that. Deaf bunch of bastards!' This is not the first time that Steven has tried to prank the audience with an old villain. 'When e did The Day Of The Doctor, we went to the trouble of having John Hurt's character referred to as Omega throughout,' he said. 'Is nobody stealing scripts these days? What's the matter with people?' Sarky bleeder.
Speaking of yer man The Moffat, Steven noted this week that it was exactly ten years since his first episode for the popular long-running family SF drama - The Empty Child - was broadcast. 'If it means anything, I've enjoyed the decade that followed,' this blogger told him. And, yer actual Keith Telly Topping has.
Doctor Who fans could see a return of the character of River Song. The Lord Thy God Steven Moffat said that he hasn't ruled out the possibility of bringing Alex Kingston's character back at some point in the future. He told Radio Times: 'It entirely depends on whether we've got a good story. It's certainly not ruled out. I have a sort of worry about keeping anybody around in The Doctor's life for too long. Because he's The Man Who Leaves.' The Moffat's predecessor, yer actual Russell Davies, is also championing the character's return to the show. 'I mentioned in passing to Russell that we were probably done with River,' Moffat added. 'He said, "You can't be done with River! No, no, no. Capaldi and Kingston, it's a sex storm!'
Now, dear blog reader, to a sadly far more depressing aspect of the Doctor Who world. Just when you think you've seen an example of the very worst that the more mental corners of fandom can throw up, along comes an Internet piece like this to prove you wholly incorrect. To sum up then, one Cindy Davis - who, according to her Twitter account is a grown woman and not a six year old - thinks that a man deserves to have physical violence inflicted upon him for the perfectly dreadful crime of 'producing a TV show in a way I don't like.' Good on ya, Cindy, you're a total credit to humanity. This blogger is all for freedom of speech within the boundaries of the law as it currently stands - hence this very blog. But, that suggestion, actually, isn't. Do you ever get the feeling, dear blog reader, that when this blogger - and others - have spent years trying to convince anyone that would listen that Doctor Who isn't a programme for children, he might, just, have been wrong.
Yer actual Keith Telly Topping is pure dead grateful to his good friend Kathy Sullivan for alerting him to the following: 'The International Association of Media Tie-In Writers is to present the 2015 Faust Award to Terrance Dicks. The award honoring [sic] a grandmaster in the field goes to Terrence for the extensive contributions he has made during his long career.' The award will be presented at a ceremony in July at Comic-Con in San Diego, where the IAMTW will also be presenting the Scribe Awards, honouring the best media tie-ins of the year. IAMTW is a professional organisation for authors of books based on TV shows, movies and games. The organisation is dedicated educating the public about this field, enhancing the professional status of its members and to providing a forum for tie-in writers to share information, support one another, and discuss issues relating to our industry. And, of course, this excellent news, gives yer actual Keith Telly Topping yet another excuse to use that photo of Keith Telly Topping and Terrance enjoying a very nice Thai meal in Los Angeles with friends a couple of years ago. You knew that was going to happen, right?
'For years Star Trek fans have been the butt of jokes about their penchant for wearing pointy ears and attending science fiction conventions. But the police feared British fans of the cult American show might boldly go a little too far one day' according to claims made in a particularly sneering and badly written piece in the Torygraph. The article, by one Elizabeth Roberts, alleges that Scotland Yard kept a 'secret dossier' on Star Trek, The X-Files and other US SF shows 'amid fears' that British fans would 'go mad and kill themselves', 'turn against society' or 'start a weird cult.' As this blogger's old mate Danny Blythe wisely pointed out, 'apart from killing ourselves, haven't we mostly done all of that anyway?' Other American TV shows Roswell and Dark Skies and the film The Lawnmower Man were also, allegedly, 'monitored' to 'protect the country from rioting and cyber attacks', the Toygraph claims. Presumably, yer actual Keith Telly Topping - as the (co)author of books on three of those subjects - was also under heavy surveillance by The Law during the Millennium period. Which is rather cool, actually. Although, it does explain one or two things ... The sudden non-delivery of a bunch of issues of Spank Monthly to Stately Telly Topping Manor in late 1999, for one. Special Branch was, the Torygraph claims, 'concerned' that people 'hooked' on such material 'could go into a frenzy' triggered by the Millennium 'leading to anarchy' in the streets and loads of manic ultraviolence with kids getting' sparked and aal sorts. Yeah, that certainly sounds like one or two SF conventions this blogger has been to. This undated 'confidential' report to the Metropolitan Police, 'thought to have been filed around 1998-99' according to the Torygraph, listed 'concerns' about conspiracy theorists who believed the end of the world was nigh. Albeit, the fact that one of the series specifically mentioned in this alleged report - Roswell - didn't even begin transmission in the US until October 1999 and wasn't shown in Britain until the first week of the new Millennium (on Sky), means this blogger smells the pungent whiff of made-up bullshit hereabouts. 'Fuel is added to the fire by television dramas and feature films mostly produced in America,' the report is alleged to have said. 'These draw together the various strands of religion, UFOs, conspiracies, and mystic events and put them in an entertaining storyline.' Well, sometimes. It added: 'Obviously this is not sinister in itself. What is of concern is the devotion certain groups and individuals ascribe to the contents of these programmes.' Which, again, to be fair is a pretty good summation of most fandoms and Doctor Who's in particular. See above and the lass who wants to punch Steven Moffat simply because produces the show in a way she doesn't like. The alleged dossier – called UFO New Religious Movements & The Millennium – was, allegedly, 'drawn up in response to the 1997 mass suicide by thirty nine cultists in San Diego known as Heaven's Gate.' The group members were 'ardent followers of The X-Files and Star Trek' according to Special Branch. Though, as another of this blogger's friends, Christopher Heer notes, 'the idea of Trek fans organising a rebellion is hilarious. Three weeks in we'd still be arguing about uniforms!' The 'secret' briefing note was obtained from the Met under the Freedom of Information Act by Sheffield-based 'British X-Files expert' Doctor Dave Clarke while researching a new book, How UFOs Conquered The World. So, it's obviously not that secret then is Dave managed to get a copy. Clarke, who teaches investigative journalism at Sheffield Hallam University, said: 'The documents show the police and security services were concerned about the export of some new religious movements concerning UFOs and aliens from the USA in the aftermath of the mass suicide by followers of the Heaven's Gate. It's no coincidence this occurred around 1997 – which was the fiftieth anniversary of the birth of UFOs and the Roswell incident – at a time when the net was buzzing with rumours about aliens and cover-ups.' A - one supposes, rather surprised - Met spokesman said: 'We have no knowledge of this.' No shit?
Game Of Thrones had a small ratings boost on Sky Atlantic on Monday according to overnight figures. The fantasy drama continued with 1.16m for a controversial episode at 9pm - up slightly on the previous week's overnight audience of 1.05m. The RHS Chelsea Flower Show proved to be a ratings hit for BBC2, with three million punters at 8pm. The Detectives followed with 1.77m at 9pm, while Episodes was watched by nine hundred and ten thousand at 10pm. On BBC1, Antibiotic Apocalypse interested 2.04m at 8.30pm, whilst the New Tricks repeat run continued with 2.62m at 9pm. ITV's Wild Ireland brought in 2.37m at 8pm, before Scammers was seen by 2.60m at 9pm. On Channel Four, Damned Designs appealed to 1.06m at 8pm and Benefits Street lost around half-a-million overnight viewers for its second episode, with 1.99m at 9pm. Channel Five's Gotham had an audience of seven hundred and fifty nine thousand at 9pm, while Big Brother continued with 1.09m at 10pm.

The first semi-final of the 2015 Eurovision Song Contest topped the multichannel overnight ratings on Tuesday. Live coverage from Vienna brought in seven hundred and ninety thousand viewers and a four per cent share of the available audience for BBC3 from 8pm. BBC1's Twenty Four Hours In The Past was the night's most watched programme outside of the soaps with 3.17m at 9pm. Which, in and of itself is a quite shocking indictment of ... something. Don't come to this blogger looking for a quick answer on that score. The Dog Factory followed with 1.28m at 10.45pm. On BBC2, Antiques Road Trip interested 1.37m at 7pm, before The RHS Chelsea Flower Show was seen by 3.03m at 8pm, and The Detectives was watched by 1.81m at 9pm. Midsomer Murders averaged 1.94m for ITV between 8pm and 10pm. On Channel Four, Kirsty & Phil's Love It Or List It gathered 1.50m at 8pm, while No Offence continued with 1.45m at 9pm. Channel Five's The Dog Rescuers appealed to eight hundred and eighty eight thousand viewers at 8pm and Blinging Up Baby: You Won't Believe It! brought in nine hundred and ninety two thousand viewers at 9pm. Big Brother continued with 1.01m at 10pm.

Inspector George Gently topped the overnight ratings outside of soaps on Wednesday evening. The drama continued on BBC1 with 5.32m between 8pm and 9.30pm, while Peter Kay's Car Share immediately followed with 4.87m. On BBC2, Antiques Road Trip interested 1.01m, before coverage of The RHS Chelsea Flower Show appealed to 2.16m at 8pm, and the latest Horizon documentary was watched by 1.65m at 9pm. A Qi repeat followed with 1.10m at 10pm. ITV's wretched, mawkish, trite Give A Pet A Home wrapped up its toxic and nauseous six-episode run with two million overnight punters at 8pm, down half-a-million viewers from its opening episode in April. Meanwhile, Newzoids concluded its first - and probably only - series with 1.47m at 9pm having lost approximately two-thirds of its initial viewers after kicking-off with 3.34m for its first episode in April. Laughless alleged 'comedy', The Delivery Man, which debuted to 2.45m last month, brought in a risible nine hundred and five thousand overnight viewers for its final episode at 9.30pm. And, thus ended ITV's much-trailed Wednesday night line-up for the last couple of months. One trusts there would have been a few people clearing out their desks at ITV Towers on Thursday morning having commissioned and made those three fiascos. The World's Most Expensive Food had an audience of 1.37m on Channel Four at 8pm, while The Island With Bear Grylls wrapped up its series with 1.95m at 9pm. Channel Five's hideously sneering Benefits Britain: Big Families Special appealed to 1.47m at 9pm, while Big Brother continued with 1.03m gawping waste-of-space lovers of Victorian freak shows at 10pm. On E4, Jane The Virgin was watched by one hundred and fifty five thousand at 9pm, while Nashville was seen by one hundred and sixty thousand at 10pm. Sky Atlantic's The Affair pulled in one hundred and thirty three thousand for its third episode at 9pm.
The British Soap Awards somewhat underperformed in the overnight ratings on Thursday evening. The two-hour ceremony, which saw EastEnders take home most of the prizes, pulled in 3.92m at 8pm on ITV. Figures were down 1.2m overnight viewers on last year's event, which had was broadcast on a Sunday evening just one day after the live ceremony. Emmerdale was the most-watched programme of the day, attracting 4.96m at 7pm on ITV. Channel Four's High Class Call Girls documentary excited an average overnight audience of 1.19 million viewers. Earlier, Born Naughty? as watched by 1.35m at 8pm, followed by Bear Grylls's Born Survivor with 1.33m at 9pm. On BBC1, Watchdog brought in 3.20m at 8pm, followed by the last Shark episode with 2.59m at 9pm and Question Time with 2.50m at 10.35pm. BBC2's Chelsea Flower Show coverage continued with 2.42m at 8pm, while The Game attracted 1.17m at 9pm. The Clare Balding Show was watched by five hundred and twenty thousand viewers at 10pm. On Channel Five, The Hotel Inspector interested 1.07m at 9pm, while Big Brother's latest episode was seen by nine hundred and sixty one thousand at 10pm. BBC3's coverage of the second Eurovision Song Contest semi-final was watched by six hundred and nineteen thousand at 8pm, slightly ahead of Britain's Deadliest Rail Disaster on BBC4 with six hundred and sixteen thousand at 9pm. On E4, The Big Bang Theory had an audience of eight hundred and sixty nine thousand at 8.30pm. On Sky Atlantic, the series finale of Mad Men brought in eighty three thousand at 10pm.
Big Brother's latest eviction episode was seen by an average audience of 1.06 million overnight punters. The live episode, which ran from 9 until 10.30pm on Channel Five, peaked with 1.17 million viewers at 10pm. The final episode of Peter Kay's Car Share closed with an evening high of 4.52 million at 9.30pm on BBC1, while The Graham Norton Show was seen by 3.26 million at 10.35pm. BBC1's evening started with 3.07 million for The ONE Show, followed by 2.67 million for The RHS Chelsea Flower Show and 2.22 million (11.2%) for a repeat of The Vicar Of Dibley at 8.30pm. Have I Got News For You had an overnight audience of 4.21 million viewers at 8.30pm. A second episode of The Chelsea Flower Show was watched by 2.09 million on BBC2 at 8.30pm. It was preceded by 1.07 million for Antiques Road Trip at 7pm, while Mary Berry's Absolute Favourites continued with 2.23 million at 8pm. On ITV, Weekend Escapes With Warwick Davis and Man & Beast With Martin Clunes continued with respective audiences of 2.35 million and 2.30 million. Eight Out Of Ten Cats Does Countdown was Channel Four's highest-rated show of the night with 1.14 million at 9pm. It was sandwiched between Marvel's Agents of SHIELD with six hundred and sixty thousand and Alan Carr: Chatty Man with nine hundred and ninety thousand.

The Eurovision Song Contest averaged more than 6.6 million overnight viewers on Saturday. The music event, which saw Sweden's Måns Zelmerlöw win the big prize, was watched by an average overnight audience of 6.64m from 8pm on BBC1. The Eurovision coverage helped BBC1 to win primetime overall on the night, with a twenty nine per cent share of the available audience compared to ITV's twenty per cent. Despite suffering a large drop week-on- week, Britain's Got Toilets still drew 7.41m on ITV, the highest audience of the evening. Elsewhere on ITV, Ninja Warrior continued with 3.9m and risbble, waste-of-space rubbish Play To The Whistle saw its udience drop to a lughably poor 1.83m. BBC2's coverage of The RHS Chelsea Flower Show managed 1.15m punters. A repeat of the 2012 adaptation of Great Expectations followed with seven hundred and sixty four thousand viewers from 9pm. On Channel Four, The World's Most Extreme... was watched by five hundred and seventy nine thousand during the 8pm hour whilst Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes took seven hundred and forty two thousand afterwards. The latest Big Brother 'highlights' - and, I use that word quite wrongly - attracted five hundred and ninety four thousand from 9.20pm. CSI was watched by five hundred and ninety eight thousand viewers. On multichannels, Foyle's War averaged seven hundred and ninety eight thousand on ITV3.

And, it's worth noting that at least one lady viewers - who has her knockers - only went and guessed the outcome of Eurovision. And, wanted to share information this with the world.
Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell showed a sharp - and, very disappointing - week-on-week overnight ratings drop on Sunday. Episode two of the supernatural drama, based on Susanna Clarke's acclaimed best-seller, had an overnight audience of but 2.57m at 9pm on BBC1 - down considerably on last week's corresponding overnight audience of 4.53m. What a shame as it was a really good episode, as well. That aside, it was a pretty good evening for BBC1, with Countryfile leading the night with an audience of 5.77m at 7pm, followed by 5.35m for the Antiques Roadshow at 8pm. The final day of the Premier League season saw Match Of The Day's highlights attracting 3.09m punters at 10.30pm. And, to the relief of millions, yer actual Keith telly Topping's beloved (though unsellable) Magpies managed to shake off their cowardly, slovenly lethargy of the previous four months to record their first victory in twelve games against a West Ham United team which already seemed to be on the beach and, thus, condemn yer actual Hull City to relegation and a season in the Championship. On ITV, episode four of World War II-era drama Home Fires led the night for the channel, with a respectable 4.47m tuning-in at 9pm. Earlier in the night, Warwick Davis's wretched, worthless Z-List Celebrity Squares was watched by a hilariously awful 1.57m at 7.15pm, followed by an overnight audience of 3.08m for Sunday Night At The London Palladium at 8pm. BBC2 opened primetime with seven hundred and sixteen thousand for A Very British Airline at 7pm. Demolition was down slightly on the previous week's overnight with 1.44m at 8pm, while Armada: Twelve Days To Save England was watched by 1.8m at 9pm. Channel Four's highest-rated programme in primetime was a screening of the Danny Boyle thriller Trance, which attracted nine hundred and ninety two thousand punters from 9pm. On Channel Five, the latest episode of Big Brother drew an audience of but eight hundred and forty nine thousand, while Stevie Wonder: An All-Star Grammy Salute had six hundred and twenty five thousand at 10pm. BBC3's coverage of Radio 1's Big Weekend From Norwich peaked with four hundred and sixty six thousand at 9pm, with performances from Taylor Swift and George Ezra.


The BBC's global audience has passed three hundred million, with television overtaking radio as the most popular platform for international news for the first time in the corporation's history. The number of people tuning in to services such BBC Global News and the BBC World Service hit three hundred and eight million a week in the year to the end of March. Tony Hall, the BBC Director General, has set a target global reach for BBC news and entertainment content of five hundred million punters by 2022, meaning the corporation needs to add about thirty million per year. The figures, which includes people looking at news content on the BBC's Facebook page and on YouTube, shows that television has overtaken radio as the most popular platform for BBC international news for the first time. The BBC's overall weekly global news audience hit two hundred and eighty three million in the year to the end of March, up seven per cent or eighteen million people year-on-year. The figures show that one hundred and forty eight million people per week tuned in to BBC international news content on television while radio services managed one hundred and thirty three million. There were fifty five million who sourced BBC news online. 'In times of crisis and in countries lacking media freedom, people around the world turn to the BBC for trusted and accurate information,' said Fran Unsworth, director of the BBC World Service group. 'Thanks to our digital innovation we now have more ways than ever before of reaching our audience – from the WhatsApp service we set up during the West Africa Ebola outbreak, to our pop-up Thai news stream on Facebook following the military coup.' The figures show that the BBC World Service, of which the corporation took over full funding last year, increased its audience by ten per cent to two hundred and ten million. The largest proportion of the rise came from new World Service TV news bulletins being provided in non-English languages. BBC World Service English showed the largest growth of a single service, rising twenty five per cent to fifty two million consumers per week, fuelled by listeners in Nigeria, America, Pakistan and Tanzania. The BBC World Service has shut fifteen language services since 2006, although it did launch a Facebook news service for Thailand in 2014. The reach of BBC Global News hit one hundred and five million, with World News TV viewing rising twelve per cent and those turning to BBC.com for news rising sixteen per cent. 'The consumption of branded BBC services across TV, radio and digital platforms speaks to the international appetite for premium content across all the genres for which we are best known – primarily news, but increasingly for drama, factual and entertainment,' said Tim Davie, the chief executive of BBC Worldwide.

Another three episodes of the next - M - series of Qi were filmed in London last week; episodes five, six and seven of the sixteen episode series featured guest appearances by, Aisling Bea, débutant Danny Bhoy and Jimmy Carr, the very excellent Bill Bailey, Jo Brand and a first appearance for Greg Davies and Aisling Bea again, Susan Calman and Sandi Toksvig respectively. Onthe latter, with those three, Alan Davies will be lucky if he can get a word in edgeways. So, that'll be an ice change! A further three episodes are scheduled to be filmed on Tuesday and Wednesday or next week.
Dakota Blue Richards has joined the cast of ITV's Endeavour as a regular character. The former Skins and Golden Compass actress will play WPC Shirley Trewlove in the Inspector Morse prequel series opposite Shaun Evans as the title character. Trewlove is described as 'a thorough, determined and forthright officer', who becomes a valuable member of the force and attracts the admiration of Endeavour. Creator Russell Lewis said of the character: 'Bright, capable and brave, Shirley Trewlove is a very welcome addition to the ranks of Oxford's Finest. While very much a young woman of the 1960s, Trewlove also evokes a very particular kind of timeless British heroine. The sort of clear-eyed, resourceful young woman one wouldn't be surprised to find behind the wheel of the ambulance in Ice Cold In Alex or keeping Robert Donat company across the moors in The Thirty Nine Steps. In Dakota we have found our perfect Trewlove.' Richards said: 'It's very exciting to be joining the talented cast of Endeavour. WPC Trewlove is incredibly astute and enthusiastic and I can't wait to see how her story unfolds.' Endeavour's third series picks up from 2014's previous run, which saw Endeavour Morse framed for the murder of the corrupt Chief Constable Rupert Standish, while the life of Fred Thursday (the always excellent Roger Allam) hung in the balance after being shot in the chest. Series three will have four two-hour episodes, which are once again written by Russell Lewis. Inspector Morse author Colin Dexter also returns as a consultant for the series.

Amanda Holden has denied that Britain's Got Toilets is fixed. One or two people even believed her.
Yer actual Jezza Clarkson has said that being dropped from Top Gear 'was my own silly fault.' Well, yeah. Punching a producer geet hard in the mush certainly wasn't anybody else's fault, mate. The broadcaster was speaking to his old chum, BBC Radio 2's Chris Evans, in his first interview since not having his BBC contract renewed. He said that leaving the show had 'left a huge hole' in his life - and, in the BBC's finances - 'that needs to be filled.' Jezza admitted that he had 'taken phone calls' from other broadcasters who wanted to poach the Top Gear team - and their massive international fanbase - but said: 'I'd be a fool to jump into something. I have been at the BBC for twenty seven years. When you emerge after twenty seven years, you find the world is changed. When you learn how the world works, you can start to work out what to do,' he continued. 'In the meantime I'm getting really good at tennis. My forehand has improved immeasurably.' On Thursday, Clarkson launched what he called a 'badly organised world tour' with his former co-hosts Richard Hammond and James May in Belfast. He said that the production was 'Top Gear in all but name' - but the team were now 'able to make their own films' for the big screens 'without any meddling' from the BBC. 'It's broadly the same thing it's been for the last ten years,' he added. Speaking to Evans, Clarkson said that the show was 'very much my baby, I absolutely adored it. I worked all through the night and paid attention to every tiny bit. And then, suddenly you are not asked to do that any more. I was very sad.' But the presenter said that he did not harbour any resentment towards the BBC. 'There are some dreadful people in it,' he said, 'but there are also some really talented, brilliant people. I will never complain about it.'

Top Gear, of course, achieved huge success with Jezza, Richard Hammond and James May at the helm - but it almost didn't happen. The show's former executive producer, Andy Wilman, has revealed that the BBC almost got rid of Hammond after just one series in 2002 as they 'had a wobble' about his involvement. He told the latest issue of Top Gear magazine: 'For a while, for some reason I cannot fathom, the BBC management had a wobble about Richard staying and, in their usual classic HR style, said to him in December: "We may not want you back for the second series, but, anyway, have a good Christmas."' Someone - although Wilman doesn't actually name him or her - at executive level within the BBC was alleged to be 'unsure' whether to bring in two new presenters following the show's return to air in 2002, as the other original presenter Jason Dawe also left after on series 'due to things not working out.' Whatever that means. 'There was no doubt that Richard would stay,' Wilman continued. 'It was about this time we had another visit from the BBC Meddling Department, who told us that market research showed our show was attracting young, lifestyle, trendy viewers to BBC2 so, perhaps, we should think about getting a young, lifestyle, trendy presenter. Ever keen to assist, we searched high and low and eventually came up with just the man - James May!' The producer - who left shortly after Clarkson's contract at the BBC was not renewed - said that the 'meddling department' also pointed out that the show's audience was almost half female. 'Before they had a chance to follow that up with the inevitable suggestion to get a woman presenter, we shooed them out and carried on,' he said.
Good Morning Britain is reportedly being investigated by Ofcom over Nigel Farago's recent appearance. The flop ITV breakfast show is accused of breaching impartiality rules when the UKiP leader - and failed parliamentary candidate - was interviewed by Horrible Kate Garraway and Ben Shephard on 1 May. The presenters asked Farago about his chances of being elected as MP for South Thanet (which were, as it turned out, zero), but failed to reflect the position of other candidates standing in the constituency. An Ofcom spokesperson said: 'Ofcom is investigating whether the programme was duly impartial to ask Nigel Farage about his prospects of winning the Thanet South constituency without reflecting the position of other candidates.' Farago - amusingly - failed to be elected as an MP and subsequently resigned as leader of UKiP. However, he was reinstated just days later after the party rejected his decision. Last week, BBC News reporter Norman Smith accidentally used the word 'cunt' during a report on Farago and tensions within his party. Which was funny. And, quite possibly, accurate.
 
Meanwhile, a Channel Four docudrama which imagined a future where UKiP won the general erection - instead of, as in reality, getting just one seat - has been cleared by Ofcom. UKiP: The First One Hundred Days generated more than six thousand whinges - from glakes - following its broadcast in February and was called 'biased' by Nigel Farago. After an investigation, however, Ofcom have begged to differ, ruling that the docudrama was 'not misleading' and had been 'duly impartial'. The show, it said, had been 'clearly presented as a fictional drama. The depictions of UKiP policy were closely based on the party's recent announcements, in particular on immigration and the EU,' the media regulator went on. The programme had also included 'numerous statements, both from archive clips and from actors, who expressed support for UKiP and its policies.' The Channel Four drama mixed real news footage with fictional scenes involving a newly elected UKiP MP, played by the actress Priyanga Burford. It also depicted rioting in the wake of a hypothetical UKiP erection victory and the establishment of a new 'National Pride Day.' An Ofcom spokesman said that it had 'carefully investigated this dramatisation of what the first one hundred days under a UKiP government would be like and has found the programme did not breach the Broadcasting Code.' Whether Ofcom also told the six thousand whiners to, you know, 'grow the fuck up' and take their beating like adults is not, at this time, known. Although, it would be terrific if they did.
Ofcom is investigating The Paul O'Grady Show after the host inhaled helium live on-air. The broadcasting watchdog will determine whether it was dangerous for the presenter to inhale the gas on the pre-watershed ITV show. Helium is often inhaled as a party piece, but can prove dangerous as it cuts off oxygen to the body and can even cause gas bubbles in the blood in extreme cases. An Ofcom spokesman said: 'Ofcom has opened an investigation into whether it was harmful for the presenter to demonstrate inhaling helium gas during this live pre-watershed show.'
Yer actual Bradley Walsh has revealed why he traded ITV's Law & Order: UK for his new BBC1 series Sun Trap. Brad appears opposite Kayvan Novak in the comedy about two ex-journalists and their 'antics' in Spain. The actor and presenter told the press that it had become 'tricky'for him to fit Law & Order: UK into his increasingly busy schedule. 'You have to set aside so much time for drama,' he explained. 'Law & Order was a six-month shoot, so everything [else] has to be crammed into the rest of the year.'
Freddie Flintoff his very self will be the face of a new BBC2 series later this year. Special Forces: Ultimate Hell Week will see members of the public challenged to complete the drills, marches and interrogations the Armed Forces have to go through. Why anybody with half-a-brain in their head would wish to do such a thing, unless they're a helplessly addicted self-publicity whore is another question entirely. The six-part series will use challenges normally reserved for those who join the SAS, US Navy SEALs, Russia's Spetsnaz and the Philippines' NAVSOG. Discussing his new venture, yer man Flintoff said that it will offer a 'great insight into what our Armed Forces go through on a daily basis.' Meanwhile, BBC2 Controller Kim Shillinglaw said that the show will involve 'a lively new format highlighting some of the most extreme selection processes in the world, it will be fascinating to see what sort of person survives to the end,' she added. Sounds crap.
ITV will explore the early life of Queen Victoria in a new drama. The eight-hour series Victoria will follow Britain's longest-reigning monarch as she leaves childhood behind and ascends to the throne at the age of just eighteen.
A drama about the 'tragedy and passion' of the difficult lives of the Brontë family is to appear on BBC1, written and directed by Last Tango In Halifax author Sally Wainwright. It will explore the relationships between Charlotte, Emily and Anne and their brother Branwell, who was latterly an alcoholic and drug addict. All three sisters managed to produce great literary works - The Tenant Of Wildfell Hall, Jane Eyre, Wuthering Heights et al - before their untimely deaths at the ages of thirty eight, thirty and twenty eight respectively. Wainwright said she was 'thrilled' to be involved with the project. The BAFTA-winning writer, whose other credits include Happy Valley, described the sisters as 'fascinating, talented, ingenious Yorkshire women.'
Reece Shearsmith has been cast in BBC2's Stag. The actor and writer will be joined by Rufus Jones and Sharon Rooney for the 'dark comedy thriller.' JJ Feild, James Cosmo, Tim Key and Amit Shah have also been confirmed for the cast. The three-parter from Jim Field Smith stars Peep Show actor Jim Howick as a meek schoolteacher who struggles to survive 'the stag weekend from hell.' While on a deer-stalking expedition in the Scottish Highlands, the hunting party realises they, themselves, are the prey while sordid secrets begin to emerge. Smith said: 'I can't believe this fantastic roster of talent is joining us for seven weeks of hell in the Highlands, and can only assume they haven't read the scripts properly.' Stephen Campbell Moore, Borgen's Pilou Asbaek and Christiaan van Vuuren will also appear in Stag.

Four in ten adults say there is too much violence and swearing on British TV - though, to be fair, that means six in ten do not - while a third feel that there is too much sex on TV, according to Ofcom's latest attitudes to broadcasting survey. It found one in five adult viewers had been 'offended' by something they had watched on TV in the past year. This blogger very much included. I mean, Adrian Chiles. Say no more. Ofcom said that 'older adults' (for which read 'repressed Daily Scum Mail readers') were 'more likely' to find there was 'too much' sex, violence or bad language on TV and to whinge about it, accordingly. However 'younger adults' were more likely to feel there was an 'acceptable amount.' Or, indeed, not enough. Almost half of over-sixty fives said that sexually explicit content should never be shown. The survey found there was also a difference between the views of men and women, with men more likely to say that especially violent content should be freely available on TV after the 9pm watershed. Women are more likely to object to sexually explicit material and say that it should only be available on subscription services. Eight in ten adults felt that TV programmes should be regulated, with nine in ten adults were aware of the watershed (one really has to wonder about where the fuck the one-in-ten who didn't have been for the last thirty years). Three out of ten people questioned felt that programmes had 'got worse' over the past twelve months, with 'too many repeats' being given as the most popular reason. Although, if the repeats are more than a year old then it does, rather, render their answer as a contradiction in terms. Also cited were lack of variety (forty three per cent), general lack of quality (thirty two per cent) and too many reality shows (thirty per cent). Connected TV (TV hooked up to the Interweb), has been used by forty four per cent of UK adults in the past ten months, with catch-up services being the most popular thing to watch this way (thirty four per cent). The survey also looked at attitudes to radio programmes, with two-thirds of listeners saying the service they get from local radio stations is important to them.
If you were a Buffy The Vampire Slayer fan, dear blog reader, then twelve years ago this week you were probably watching the final episode of Joss Whedon's ground-breaking series. Sarah Michelle Gellar took to Instagram on Friday to create a collage of scenes from the show to mark the anniversary.
The TV production company behind Britain's Got Toilets has confirmed that the studio it was filming in was evacuated following the discovery of a World War Two bomb in Wembley on Friday. A spokesman for the show said: 'We were just about to start our rehearsal and were trying to build the set when the building was evacuated, so that process has been delayed for the moment. It has not been great, but it is not detrimental at this stage.'
The BBC has announced plans to devote a whole day to FA Cup final coverage on 30 May, bringing back its tradition of dedicated programming for the football event. Build-up to the big kick-off will include special editions of Pointless, Saturday Kitchen and TOTP2, as well as special content on Radio 5Live and the BBC Sport website. The Arse will face off against Aston Villains on BBC1 from 5.15pm, with live build-up from yer actual Gary Lineker on Match Of The Day at 3.55pm. Danny Cohen, the BBC's Director of Television, said: 'The BBC has delivered so much unique FA Cup programming to audiences since its return to BBC TV this season, it's only fitting to end the competition on such a high.'
Football's governing body - the not even slightly corrupt as hell FIFA - has launched an investigation after a BBC news team was arrested in Qatar while reporting on the plight of migrant workers building stadiums for the 2022 World Cup. The four-strong crew had been invited by the Qatari's Prime Minister's office on an 'official' (for which read 'official') tour of new accommodation for construction workers. It was part of a - somewhat ludicrous - public relations drive in the wake of an international outcry over the alleged slave-like conditions for workers exposed by a Gruniad Morning Star investigation. But, despite official permission to report in Qatar, the crew were subsequently arrested by the security services, interrogated and held in jail for two days before being released without charge. Or, indeed, explanation. The Qatari government defended the arrests and accused the BBC crew of 'trespassing.' FIFA, which has been repeatedly criticised for the way Qatar won the bid to host the 2022 World Cup, was helping to run the tour. It said it was investigating the arrests. 'Any instance relating to an apparent restriction of press freedom is of concern to FIFA and will be looked into with the seriousness it deserves,' it said in a statement. For which read, 'no it won't.' The BBC's Middle East correspondent, Mark Lobel, was one of those detained, along with his cameraman, a driver and translator. Speaking about his ordeal, Lobel said that his interrogators never explained why he had been detained but showed him surveillance photographs of his movements in Qatar. 'They had actually photographed my every move since I arrived,' Lobel told BBC Radio 4's Today programme. After their release, members of the team were allowed to take part in the 'official' tour of a migrant accommodation block but their equipment remained confiscated and Qatar has offered no explanation or apology for the arrests. 'We are fine,' Lobel said. 'The worrying sign of this is that it might be a crackdown on the media to deal with the problem at the same time that other parts of the government are trying to change their image.' In an article for the BBC News website, he added: 'Whatever the explanation, Qatar's Jekyll-and-Hyde approach to journalism has been exposed by the spotlight that has been thrown on it after winning the World Cup bid.' Qatar's head of communications, Saif al-Thani, claimed that the BBC crew were arrested after 'departing from an official tour.' And, that's a crime in Qatar, apparently. Which sort of makes one wonder whether fans travelling to the 2022 World Cup will also face a few night in the pokey for, oh I dunno, 'looking at me in a funny way' or something. He said: 'We gave the reporters free rein to interview whomever they chose and to roam unaccompanied in the labour villages. Perhaps anticipating that the government would not provide this sort of access, the BBC crew decided to do their own site visits and interviews in the days leading up to the planned tour. In doing so, they trespassed on private property, which is against the law in Qatar just as it is in most countries. Security forces were called and the BBC crew was detained.' No apology was issued, but Thani added: 'The problems that the BBC reporter and his crew experienced could have been avoided if they had chosen to join the other journalists on the press tour. They would have been able to visit – in broad daylight – the very camps they tried to break into at night. Reporters from the Associated Press, AFP, the Gruniad and Le Monde have filed stories on what they saw and heard in Qatar, and we invite interested readers to review their reports, which are available online. By trespassing on private property and running afoul of Qatari laws, the BBC reporter made himself the story. We sincerely hope that this was not his intention. Moreover, we deeply regret that he was unable to report the real story, which is that the government and the private sector are making significant progress in efforts to improve the lives and the labour conditions of guest workers in Qatar.' Human Rights Watch, which has highlighted Qatar's poor record on labour conditions, described the arrests as 'jaw-droppingly awful PR.' It pointed out that last week a German television crew was also arrested on a tour of Qatar. HRW Gulf researcher Nicholas McGeehan said: 'Qatar put itself in the harshest of spotlights when it won the right to host 2022 and this is not the way to deal with the inevitable press attention. If it wants to put an end to media criticism, it needs to make some serious reforms to its labour system. Claiming that the arrest and intimidation of BBC journalists was legitimate on account of their "trespassing" is probably the lowest point so far in a dismal series of PR disasters.'
An alleged plan by the Home Secretary to allegedly introduce counter-extremism powers to 'vet' British broadcasters' programmes before they are transmitted has, allegedly, been attacked in the bluntest terms as a threat to freedom of speech by one of her own Conservative cabinet colleagues, according to the Gruniad Morning Star. The (former) vile and odious rascal Javid wrote to David Cameron to say that, as the lack of culture secretary, he was unable to support the vile and odious rascal May's proposal to give Ofcom the new powers to take pre-emptive action against programmes that included 'extremist content', in a letter sent just before the start of the general erection campaign. The (former) vile and odious rascal Javid, who moved from the Department of Culture, Media and Sport to become lack of business secretary after the erection, said in the letter that the plan would move Ofcom from a regulator 'into the role of a censor.' Which, given that it isa politically appointed quango, elected by no one is, obviously, not a good thing and only the stupidest and most seriously mental glake in the whole wide world would think that it was a good thing. So, that'd be the vile and odious rascal May, seemingly. Such a move would involve 'a fundamental shift in the way UK broadcasting is regulated', moving away from the current framework of post-transmission regulation which takes account of freedom of expression, the (former) vile and odious rascal Javid said. The leaked memo from the then lack of culture secretary came in response to a request made by James May's sister on 6 March to ministers on the cabinet's Home Affairs committee and the National Security committee. She was, the Gruniad claim, seeking clearance for publication of her extremism strategy, which included the broadcasters' censorship proposal. 'It is not clear exactly what the outcome was following Javid's objection,' the Gruniad note although the fact that the (former) vile and odious rascal Javid now has a different job may, or may not, be significant in this regard. Next week's Queen's speech is expected include 'loosely specified powers' to 'strengthen the role of Ofcom to take action against channels which broadcast extremist content' according to a statement released by Downing Street last week. The Home Secretary last hinted at her wish to see the introduction of pre-broadcast banning powers in the immediate aftermath of the murder of Lee Rigby in Woolwich two years ago, when Conservative MPs expressed strong criticism of a BBC Newsnight interview with the radical Islamist activist Anjem Choudary. The vile and odious rascal May questioned what the BBC was doing in interviewing Choudary and said the government had to look at the role of Ofcom in relation to 'what is being beamed into people's homes.' But, when the Prime Minister's Extremism Task Force reported in December 2013, it did not include any moves towards pre-broadcast censorship and the subject was presumed to have been dropped. Extremist Task Force, incidentally, is the name of a new drama on Sky starring Ross Kemp. Probably. At the time the idea was compared to Margaret Thatcher's moves to tell broadcasters to deny terrorists the 'oxygen of publicity', which led to a full-scale row over a BBC decision to broadcast an extended interview with Martin McGuinness. That led to a journalists' strike and, two years later, the resignation of the then Director General. In the (former) vile and odious rascal Javid's letter, dated 12 March, the minister voiced his concern about the risk that the revived censorship proposal would be used 'otherwise than intended, not least given the difficulty of defining extremism, and the consequent likelihood of the government being seen to be interfering with freedom of speech without sufficient justification.' The (former) vile and odious rascal Javid even went as far as adding: 'It should be noted that other countries with a pre-transmission regulatory regime are not known for their compliance with rights relating to freedom of expression and government may not wish to be associated with such regimes.' Objections from the (former) vile and odious rascal Javid and to a lesser extent from other senior Conservative cabinet ministers, including Big Fat Eric Pickles, Theresa Villiers, Nicky Morgan and that slapheed Chris Grayling, prevented the Home Secretary from publishing her extremism strategy, A Stronger Britain, before the erection, the Gruniad claims. The Javid leak undermines claims - made by the former Nick Clegg - that it was the Lib Dems alone who blocked May's extremism strategy during the coalition. Last week's Downing Street statement also confirmed there will be legislation to introduce new banning orders for extremist organisations and extremism-disruption orders to 'combat groups and individuals who reject our values and promote messages of hate', which will deny their access to the airwaves and to social media. So, that's large chunks of Doctor Who fandom in a bit of trouble by the look of things. The vile and odious rascal May has already revealed plans to require the Home Office 'extremism analysis unit' to set out clearly for the first time which individuals and organisations the government and public sector should or should not engage with: 'This will make sure nobody unwittingly lends legitimacy or credibility to extremists or extremist organisations.' The commitment to produce legislation giving Ofcom a stronger role to take action against channels which broadcast extremist content suggests The Queen's Speech will go much further than simply keeping its powers under regular review. Ofcom, Javid's letter said, already has 'strict rules' to ensure that material that is likely to 'incite hatred' is not broadcast on radio, television or in on-demand programmes. He says that Ofcom has already taken 'robust action against UK broadcasters which have breached these rules.' The minister told the PM: 'However, Ofcom does not have the powers to approve programmes before they are broadcast and nor do we consider that it should have these powers as has been proposed in paragraph one hundred and eleven of the strategy. Extending Ofcom's powers to enable it to take pre-emptive action would move it from its current position as a post-transmission regulator into the role of censor.' The then lack of culture secretary said that he was 'unable to agree' to the publication of May's extremism strategy with the wording in that particular paragraph and suggested that it be replaced with a paragraph setting out the previously agreed position that Ofcom's powers be 'kept under regular review.' The Home Office said they refused to comment on 'leaked ministerial documents.' Who it was that leaked the document to the Gruniad in first place and whether they are currently having their various naughty bits slammed in a drawer by Special Branch is not, at this time, known. Bu, we can probably guess.
Newsnight will broadcast Labour's official leadership hustings, as part of the party's desire to 'let the public in' on the contest. The debate will be presented by the BBC's chief correspondent, Laura Kuenssberg, and broadcast live at 7pm on BBC2 and the BBC News channel on Wednesday 17 June. Labour's acting leader, Mad Hattie Harman, said that the party must have the public in the forefront of their its mind as it elects a new leadership team. Indicating that she didn't believe this to have been the case previously. She said: 'If there is one question that should drive the thinking as we elect a new leadership team it is this: which candidate has the best qualities and leadership skills most likely to win over the support of the public? That’s why our hustings have got to be different. As I said last Monday, I want members and supporters who elect our new leader to see not just how the candidates react and relate to the party faithful but also to see how they react and relate to those we need to win over. We need robust, tough, televised hustings which involve the public. And we cannot just hold hustings in our Labour heartlands, we have to go to areas where we didn’t win.' The hustings will be held in Nuneaton, an area widely seen as typical of the kind that Labour extremely failed to win over during this month's general erection. The BBC will select the audience and decide on the format of the debate. Coverage and analysis will continue on the BBC News channel from 8pm and Newsnight will broadcast 'highlights' and discussion at 10.30pm. Led, presumably, by Gary Linekar, Alan Shearer and Robbie Savage. Details of any further Labour leadership and deputy leadership hustings events have not yet been announced, but Harman indicated that other debates could take place with different broadcasters. Ian Katz, the Newsnight editor, said: 'Five years ago Newsnight staged the first televised hustings in the race to succeed Gordon Brown as Labour leader and we're delighted to be giving viewers a ringside seat for the fascinating argument over the future of the party at this pivotal moment.' In a speech at Labour HQ in London on Monday, Harman said any registered voter would be able to help choose the party's next leader for a three quid fee. She said that people who were not party members or affiliated supporters through a union or Labour-linked organisation would be able to vote. Harman said: 'Anyone – providing they are on the electoral register – can become a registered supporter, pay three pounds and have a vote to decide our next leader. This is the first time a political party in this country has opened up its leadership contest in this way and I think there will be a real appetite for it out there.' Labour's leadership contest, the results of which will be announced on 12 September, was triggered after the resignation of Ed Milimolimandi in the aftermath of the party's catastophic defeat in the general erection. Candidates need to be nominated by thirty five Labour MPs and nominations close on 15 June. The candidates who have announced their intention to stand are: Liz Kendall, the MP for Leicester West and the shadow minister for care and older people, Andy Burnham, the MP for Leigh and the shadow secretary of state for health, Yvette Cooper, the MP for Pontefract and Castleford and the shadow Home Secretary and Mary Creagh, the MP for Wakefield and the shadow secretary of state for international development.

Chris Packham believes that lynxes and wolves would have 'a positive impact' on the eco-system and local economy if they were reintroduced into the UK. The Springwatch presenter told Radio Times in the latest issue of the magazine that we need large predators to have a 'sustainable working landscape. Wolves live in Portugal, Spain, Italy and in Sweden too. There have been only two fatalities since the year 2000, both in the US and certainly none in Europe. What we would like to move towards is a more tolerant society that understands the fact that to have a sustainable working landscape we need large predators,' he noted. Packham - whom all of us at From The North have a lot of time for - says that persuading the UK to bring back the wolf and the lynx was 'proving a difficult task.' No shit? 'We have lived without them in the UK for such a long time that people are very resistant to the idea of them coming back, which is a shame because we do know better and we do need them and it would be tremendously exciting. If we did have wolves – which would have to be in Scotland – and lynxes then lots of people would pay to go see them and they would be a great asset to the community.' Particularly the singing ones.
Lottery funding worth ninety eight million quid is being given to nine heritage sites, including projects to preserve Britain's scientific and technological history. The Heritage Lottery Fund said it hopes some of the projects will inspire young people to take a greater interest in science and technology. One of the biggest awards - worth just over twelve million wonga - is for Jodrell Bank in Cheshire, home to the Lovell Telescope. Physicist and TV presenter Brian Cox (no, the other one) welcomed the support for it. 'When I was young, visiting Jodrell Bank was one of the things that inspired me to become a scientist,' he said. 'The rich scientific history of the UK is a key part of our culture and Jodrell Bank is the stand-out icon of UK science and engineering,' he added. Jodrell Bank is the only remaining site in the world that showcases the entire story of the development of radio astronomy. The funding will create an exhibition pavilion to explain the role the site played in international scientific development. There will also be a new volunteer and skills programme and a schools programme that will reach an additional six thousand school visitors a year. London's Science Museum will receive eight million knicker for a major redevelopment of its medicine galleries, which is due to be completed in 2019. It will showcase three thousand objects from the world's largest medical collection and reveal personal stories of how lives have been transformed by changes to medicine and health over the last five hundred years. The Great Central Railway, which runs through Leicestershire and Nottinghamshire, is being given ten million smackers to create a new heritage railway museum in Leicester. Some exhibits will come from the National Railway Museum in York, which has been part of the project. The British Library will receive over nine and a half million quid for its project to digitise the nation's 'rare, unique and most vulnerable' sound recordings and open them up online for people to hear. It will ensure the survival of more than half a million recordings, ranging from interviews with Kindertransport child refugees from Nazi Germany to extinct birdsong, accents and dialects from around Britain.

And now ...
Channel Four has commissioned a new series of Dom Joly's Trigger Happy TV more than a decade after it was last on screens. Got to say, it was format that yer actual Keith Telly Topping always considered to be about as funny as testicular cancer, personally, but I know some people liked it. The comic told BBC London's Robert Elms he was bringing the show back, but it would be 'more cinematic' than the original series. 'So it's not coming back as the original show, it's coming back as a Trigger Happy stunt show, so I'm quite excited about that,' he said.
Trinity Mirra is being very sued by more than seventy z-list celebrities, sports stars and politicians after the newspaper group was ordered to pay over 1.2 million smackers in damages to eight phone-hacking victims. Davina McCall, the television presenter, and Sheryl Gascoigne, the former wife of ex-footballer Paul Gascoigne, are among scores of high-profile figures suing the Daily Mirra and Sunday Mirra publisher, the high court in London heard this week. Speaking after Trinity Mirra was extremely ordered to make the record payouts, David Sherborne, the barrister for the victims, told the court there was 'somewhere in the region of seventy other claims' in preparation. Earlier on Thursday the newspaper group was ordered to pay two hundred and sixty thousand knicker to the actress Sadie Frost and one hundred and eighty eight thousand quid to Paul Gascoigne his very self as part of payments totalling over a million notes over phone-hacking at the Daily Mirra, Sunday Mirra and the People. Sherborne told the judge that a number of the seventy fresh claims were 'substantial' even in comparison to the six-figure payouts announced by the judge, Mr Justice Mann. In addition to the seventy claims, four celebrities' cases were also being 'managed': those of McCall, Sheryl Gascoigne, the actor Holly Davidson and the comedian John Thomson. A further ten alleged victims have settled out of court. Trinity Mirra announced after Thursday's ruling that it was considering an appeal, saying that its initial view was the basis used for calculating the level of damages was 'incorrect.' However, it also said it was increasing the amount of money set aside to deal with the legal cases from twelve million smackers to twenty eight. Dear blog readers with longer memories may recall that Trinity Mirra spent years denying that any of that there phone-hacking had taken place at any of its titles, no siree Bob. Robert Ashworth, a former Coronation Street producer who told the court that phone-hacking had 'ruined his media career' and his marriage to soap actor Tracy Shaw, was awarded two hundred and one thousand smackers for the invasion of his privacy. EastEnders actor Lucy Taggart received a one hundred and fifty seven thousand quid pay-out, while another EastEnders actor, yer actual Shane Richie, got one hundred and fifty five thousand knicker. Coronation Street actress Shobna Gulati was awarded one hundred and seventeen thousand smackers, BBC executive Alan Yentob was awarded eighty five thousand and flight attendant Lauren Alcorn got seventy eight thousand. The pay-outs dwarf those paid by News UK, the publisher of the disgraced and disgraceful Scum of the World, to phone-hacking victims. In contrast to those pay-outs, the Trinity Mirra damages were decided by a high court judge after the victims refused to settle out of court. In his judgment, Mr Justice Mann found that phone hacking went 'far beyond' that carried out by the Sunday Mirra's self-confessed 'in-house phone hacker', Dan Evans. 'The practice was so widespread and so frequent in the newspaper that it is likely that some of them will have hacked, though not all the time,' Mann said.

Dave will rebrand itself as 'David' - for one day only on 18 June - to mark the launch of new series Hoff The Record. The spoof reality series - the trailers of which, to be fair, look really funny - stars David Hasselhoff as a fictionalised version of himself, hoping to salvage his crumbling showbiz career in the UK. The first episode will be broadcast on Thursday 18 June 18 at 9pm - and a second series has already been commissioned.
With only two hundred and sixteen shoplifting days until Christmas, Netflix is already trumpeting its coup seasonal signing - A Very Murray Christmas. Directed by Sofia Coppola, it sees Bill Murray playing himself as he tries to put together a holiday TV show which appears doomed because of a terrible snow storm. Guests arrive in the shape of George Clooney, Amy Poehler, Chris Rock and Miley Cyrus to help sing, dance and lift our Christmas spirits. Bah and, indeed, humbug. Next ...

Animal protection groups say that they have successfully suspended the recording of a TV series called Dolphins With The Stars in Portugal. According to the Born Free Foundation, the show involves celebrities training captive dolphins to perform routines and tricks for live audiences. Whether they bothered to ask the dolphins whether they wished to have their moment of telly fame ripped away from them is not, at this time, known. Campaigners argued that the show was 'exploitative' and also contravened zoo regulations in the country. The broadcaster and the zoo said that it had 'educational and scientific value.' A slick trailer for the series states that ten celebrities each 'team up' with a dolphin and the teams 'live together' for a month. Again, whether the dolphins themselves were actual parties to these living arrangements, they didn't specify. Trainers and choreographers work with each pair to create a show that would eventually be judged by a live audience. Dolphins With The Stars has already been broadcast in Lithuania and it is thought that the rights have been bought in Spain and Italy and optioned across Europe. The Portuguese version was being filmed at Zoomarine in Guia, in the Algarve, and was due to be broadcast on 20 June by SIC, a national television network. Daniel Turner, spokesperson for the Born Free Foundation said: 'We are delighted to hear the news. We weren't able to stop it in Lithuania, but the Portuguese were much more receptive. They have very good legislation for zoos that prevents the over-exploitation of animals.' The BFF and the Dolphinaria-Free Europe Coalition, which is made up of nineteen NGOs from eleven countries, sent letters to the Portuguese government claiming: 'The exploitative practices of the TV show contradicted the zoo's legal requirements that dictate a commitment to species conservation, meaningful public education and species-specific animal welfare. It was clear that the use of Zoomarine's bottlenose dolphins would be in breach of those requirements.' The filming of the show was under way, although it is thought that the celebrities had not yet been introduced to the dolphins. Announcing the official suspension of the programme, SIC and Zoomarine said that they had done so on the advice of government regulatory bodies - the Institute for Nature Conservation and Forests and the National Authority for Animal Health. Expressing 'disappointment' with the decision, a press release claimed that they had 'gone to great lengths' to 'strengthen the educational and scientific elements' of the show. The aim had been to 'increase understanding of this magnificent marine species' and 'thus promote marine conservation.' Although quite how the omnipresent voting element fits into this alleged format is not immediately clear. Ensuring the health of the dolphins had been 'of paramount importance' they continued. According to campaigners, more than three hundred whales and dolphins are kept in zoos and theme parks in fifteen European countries. For a long time there has been a debate about the ethics and effect of confinement on cetaceans - the family of aquatic mammals whales includes whales, dolphins and porpoises - especially as more is discovered about their intellectual and cognitive abilities. They are seen as among the most intelligent species on Earth. Although, that said, the fact that, as far as we know, there has never been a TV programme in which dolphins trained humans to jump through hoops for fish would appear to suggest they're not all that bright. They do have complex social networks, recognise themselves in mirrors and have been shown to keep track of more than one hundred words. Of which, several are types of fish, to be fair. Turner said: 'Whales and dolphins are hugely intelligent and social species, which when deprived of space and environmental complexity, develop abnormal behaviours such as stereotypic behaviour, heightened aggression and in some cases, early mortality.' The 2013 documentary Blackfish explored the impact on Orcas of living in tanks at SeaWorld. The resort saw a steep decline in visitor numbers after it was broadcast. However, SeaWorld and similar theme parks strongly refute any claims that their conditions 'inflict harm' on their captive aquatic animals. They maintain that such positions are not scientific, but are the., perhaps, anthropomorphic views of animal rights activists - and that tanks are specially designed to mimic the animals' watery world as accurately as possible. Only, you know, smaller. The majority of dolphins are captive born. European law prevents the capture of wild cetaceans from EU waters for commercial purposes - for example, their use in dolphinaria. But according to the Born Free Foundation there are 'few restrictions to importing wild-caught animals from outside the EU.'

Turkish authorities have charged an ex-boyfriend with the shooting of a young talent show contestant. Mutlu Kaya, nineteen, remains in a critical condition after being shot on Monday in the Diyarbakir province, a conservative region in South-East Turkey. A gun was fired from the garden and through a window of her house as she rehearsed. Her ex-boyfriend, identified as Veysel E, has reportedly been charged with attempted murder. Local media reported that he had denied the accusation, while being 'opposed to Mutlu Kaya's participation on the show.' The twenty six-year-old was one of three men detained by authorities, but the other two were later released. Kaya had reportedly received death threats for singing on Sesi Cok Guzel - roughly translated as Sounds Beautiful - a popular song contest similar to shows like Britain's Got Toilets and The Voice. She had been mentored by Sibel Can, one of Turkey's best-known folk singers, who posted a picture of Kaya on Instagram after the shooting. 'My beautiful girl Mutlu, how could they wound you?' read the caption. 'I am very sad.' In March, Can had visited Kaya at the school canteen where she worked, in order to make sure she joined her team in the competition. The Posta newspaper reported on Sunday that Kaya had received death threats after appearing on the show. 'I am afraid,' she was quoted as telling the show's production team. Her father, Mehmet Kaya, said: 'I just want my daughter to be healthy and don't want anything else.'

The full story of The Kinks - particular favourites of yer actual Keith Telly Topping, of course - is to be told on the big screen for the first time by Julien Temple, the director of The Great Rock 'n' Roll Swindle, reports Screen Daily. Provisionally entitled You Really Got Me after the band's first big hit, the biopic will feature Clouds Of Sils Maria's Johnny Flynn and Pride's George Mackay as Ray and Dave Davies, the original squabbling sibling. Iconic TV screenwriting duo yer actual Dick Clement and Ian La Frenais his very self, known for Porridge, The Likely Lads and its sequel and Auf Wiedersehen, Pet, will work on the script. Ooo, this is sounding better and better. Crucially, producers have obtained the rights to all of The Kinks' best known songs and the Davies brothers themselves are to work on the soundtrack. Fittingly for a film about one of the 1960s' most infamous brotherly partnerships, Temple is also keeping the supporting cast within the family: his daughter Juno Temple will play Ray's former wife, Rasa, who also sang on some of their best known songs including 'Sunny Afternoon', 'Dead End Street', 'Waterloo Sunset' and 'Days'. 'This is an exciting chance to tell The Kinks story in a visceral and real way,' Temple told Screen Daily. 'The lyrics of The Kinks have always been fascinating to me and there is an amazing human story here as well which has yet to be captured on film.' Both Flynn and Mackay are accomplished musicians, with the former a singer-songwriter and the latter having played the lead in the acclaimed 2013 musical Sunshine On Leith, based on the songs of The Proclaimers. Added Temple: 'It's not easy to find British leading men who can deliver the kind of musically compelling performances we need and we have those in Johnny and George.' Film-makers have also secured the rights to both brothers' autobiographies. Temple himself directed the 2010 television documentary Ray Davies: Imaginary Man as part of the BBC's Imagine series, as well as a follow-up piece on Dave for the BBC4, 2011's Dave Davies: Kinkdom Come (both hugely recommended if you can find copis, incidentally). The film has been a long-term passion of veteran British producer Jeremy Thomas, known for Bernardo Bertolucci's Oscar-winning The Last Emperor, The Great Rock 'n' Roll Swindle and, more recently, critically-acclaimed films such as David Cronenberg's A Dangerous Method and Jim Jarmusch's Only Lovers Left Alive. He said: 'This is the story of the brothers growing up and the group's later disbanding. They are the Cain and Abel of rock but their story isn't known as well as it should be.' You Really Got Me is being touted to investors at the current Cannes film festival, where Thomas is a regular visitor.

Public Enemy's Flavor Flav has been arrested in Las Vegas for driving under the influence, speeding, marijuana possession and driving on a suspended licence. He was reportedly pulled over by Nevada Highway Patrol in the early hours of Thursday, allegedly driving seventy three mph in a forty five mph zone. He posted bail the same day. The fifty six-year-old is already facing driving charges in New York, stemming from his January 2014 arrest for speeding on the way to his mother's funeral. He has pleaded not guilty to those charges.
A thirty six year old Brazilian accountant, one Ana Catarian Bezerra, recently won a court case, allowing her to watch porn and have a wank at work. Yes, this blogger is aware that lots of people do this already but, usually, if they get caught, they're given the tin-tack. Ana claimed to have a medical condition which causes a chemical imbalance leading to 'severe anxiety and hypersexuality' and, after some days of legal and medical argument, the court accepted this. She said: 'It got so bad I would have to masturbate up to forty seven times a day. That's when I asked for help, I knew it wasn't normal.' Her physician, Carlos Howert, has prescribed her 'a cocktail' of tranquilisers to help curb Ana's condition. And, it seems to be working as now, he said, she only has to masturbate around eighteen times a day. The court ruled that Ana should be allowed to watch pornography on her work computer and fiddle with herself to her heart's content if the mood takes her. However, her work 'could suffer' her employers noted, as she has to leave her work station whenever she fancies a bit of ladies' alone-time. Now, she will be allowed fifteen minute breaks every two hours so she can surf for porn and, ahem, get her release. Since the ruling, it has been claimed that 'a lot more women' are coming forward alleging they suffer from the same symptoms. Office work in Brazil never sounded so appealing, frankly.
Newcastle's Town Moor is about to become the subject of a year-long BBC project, which will document the sounds and sights, the birds, beasts, people and events connected to what is often referred to as the green lungs of Newcastle. Yer actual Keith Telly Topping's beloved BBC Newcastle has commissioned two local photographers and one of the world's top wildlife sound recordists Chris Watson as part of the project. Here is a short snippet of some of their work so far: click 'play' to hear the sounds of birdsong. Obviously.
The cricket started again this week, dear blog reader; Thursday in front of a virtually full house Lord's was one of the best day's test cricket this blogger can remember watching in at least a couple of years and a jolly necessary reminder - after months of a relentless diet of one day cricket - of why the test format is such a wonderful spectacle. It started with New Zealand's bowler being all over England like a rash for the first hour and then, thanks to Joe Root, Ben Stokes, Jos Buttler and Moeen Ali, England recovered from thirty for four around noon to close with three hundred and fifty four for seven a few hours later. Anyway, the return of The Summer Game gives this blogger an excuse to dig out three photos from The Files. Some years ago, yer actual Keith Telly Topping was surprised to find published in an issue of Wisden Cricket Monthly a photo taken at an international charity match at Northumberland's beautiful county ground, Jesmond, in about 1982 or 1983. That's the great Barry Wood (Lancashire, Derbyshire and England) signing autographs for a line of young children and, just behind, sitting watching the game with rapt attention was yer actual Keith Telly Topping and his late father, Tommy Telly Topping his very self. You can always spot Keith Telly Topping at a cricket match, dear blog reader, because as he's usually got a big white arrow sticking out of the top of his head..
The second picture was one that this blogger recently found when scanning in a load of old family photos which had been stuck in a cardboard box in a cupboard at Stately Telly Topping Manor since yer actual cleared out the late Mama Telly Topping's house after her death a couple of years ago. It was taken by this blogger's father on 4 August 1975 in the Nursery End at Lord's on the day that yer actual Keith Telly Topping attended his first ever day of test cricket. As this blogger has previously written, it was a memorable day for several reasons but, mainly, because it was the day that a streaker ran on the pitch and hurdled the stumps. It was also one of the hottest days in living memory and ended with yer actual Keith Telly Topping spending the rest of a family holiday in Southampton in bed at his Uncle George and Auntie Betty's gaff suffering from severe heatstroke. Ah, summer holidays in the 1970s, dear blog reader. They were the stuff of nightmares.
And, for the sake of completeness, let it be noted that yer actual Keith Telly Topping his very self took a photo of his dad from the same spot - looking over towards The Mound Stand, and The Tavern - a few moments later (and, managed to get the scoreboard in).
Since this was, most probably, taken at lunchtime (note the lack of players on the pitch), England - in the shape of John Edrich and either Graham Gooch or Tony Grieg - would have been batting at the time. They eventually scored four hundred and thirty six for seven declared and Australia, set in improbably four hundred and eighty four to fine in four sessions ended the day on ninety seven for one. The game ended, the next day in a draw. Here's the full scorecard.

Updated to add: England produced a magnificent bowling display to win the first Test against New Zealand by one hundred and twenty four runs on Bank Holiday Monday. In front of a raucous full-house Lord's crowd, the hosts bowled the Black Caps out for two hundred and twenty with 9.3 overs left on the fifth day. Ben Stokes took three for thirty eight, including Kane Williamson and Brendon McCullum in successive balls and Stuart Broad three for fifty. England, who were earlier bowled out for four hundred and seventy eight in their second innings to set New Zealand a target of three hundred and forty five, take a one-nil lead into the second and final Test at Headingley starting on Friday. Sixteen hundred and ten runs were scored in the match, a record in a Lord's Test and only once previously have England overturned a bigger first-innings deficit to win a test. It was a dramatic conclusion to a day which started with the news that England are close to appointing Australian Trevor Bayliss as their new coach. Victory completed a remarkable turnaround for Alastair Cook's side, who had slipped to thirty for four on day one, recovered but then conceded a one hundred and thirty four-run first-innings deficit. It was, frankly, one of the best Test matches of the modern era with fortunes fluctuating throughout. New Zealand held the upper hand for the first session on day one, and most of days two and three but England's fightback with both bat (in both innings) and ball (on the last day) will have repaid much of the goodwill that five days of loud support from a packed Lord's. Perhaps more importantly, a thrilling display will do much to boost public affection for an England side who have endured eighteen months of black turmoil both on and off the field and were playing their first Test since the sacking of coach Peter Moores. Durham all-rounder Stokes was the catalyst on the final afternoon. Having already partnered Joe Root in the first-day fightback and then blazed a mighty eighty five-ball hundred on day four partnering Captain C00k, his over to dismiss Williamson and McCullum was reminiscent of Andrew Flintoff in the 2005 Edgbaston Ashes Test. Bowling with pace and hostility, Stokes twice found bounce to go past Williamson's edge, with a third ball fended to Root at gully. Next ball, roared in by a baying crowd, he produced a vicious in-swinger to McCullum that the dangerous New Zealand captain could only jam down on to his stumps. That twin strike echoed England's dominant start to the innings, when Broad and James Anderson swung the ball on a full length to reduce the tourists to twelve for three. From only the second delivery, Martin Guptill edged a perfect out-swinger to third slip to give Anderson his three hundred and ninety ninth test wicket. Broad then pinned Tom Latham leg before for a first ball duck and had Ross Taylor playing across the line to depart in similar fashion three overs later. Williamson steadied in the company of BJ Watling, promoted above McCullum to number five, but after Stokes's devastating over left the visitors sixty one for five, Corey Anderson arrived to counter-attack. Clubbing through the leg side, left-hander Anderson shared a partnership of one hundred and seven with Watling, who had to endure a barrage of short bowling as Cook regularly shuffled his bowlers and fielders. Both men registered half-centuries in delaying England for more than twentysix overs and the chances of New Zealand surviving were increasing until débutant Mark Wood produced a lifter that Watling edged behind to depart for fifty nine. Soon after, Cory Anderson was leg before to Root, leaving only the tail. Stokes yorked Mark Craig, Moeen Ali took a return catch from Tim Southee and when Moeen brilliantly held last man Trent Boult at Third Man off Broad, England had secured a fifth win in seven tests. Earlier, it was Boult's swing bowling that had accounted for England's last four wickets, after they resumed on four hundred and twenty nine for six. Cook inside-edged behind for one hundred and sixty two, before he had Moeen LBW for a fluent forty three and knocked over Broad and Anderson quickly. That left New Zealand a seventy seven-over chase, a tantalising prospect with all results possible. As it transpired, England's brilliance ensured victory with time to spare. It was a fantastic effort, one that Cook's team should take a lot from. Not only because they have beaten a very good side, who are two places above them in the world rankings, but also for the manner in which they did it.

Aided, considerably, by a virtually empty pool on Monday morning - that is, empty of other swimmers rather than, you know, empty of water - yer actual Keith telly Topping only went and done thirty lengths, didn't he? It was a struggle up to about ... twenty or so, admittedly - mainly because Keith Telly Topping was having to drag Cap'n Boyd's Eye's beard through the water - and then it just went, if you will, swimmingly. Sorry. He did another thirty on Tuesday morning - again, helped by the fact that there weren't many other swimmers in at that time; this blogger appeared to have timed it just right in the crack between the really early birds and the kids coming in later. And, he felt fantastic ... until he got back to Stately Telly Topping Manor and the back pain started kicking in. Twenty eight lengths on Wednesday were completed but, by that stage the back had started to give yer actual some severe gyp and necessitated his first trip to see Doctor Chris since January. The prognosis? 'Yer back's jiggered, Keith Telly Topping but, apart from that, you're a picture of health.' Nice to know.
For the latest Keith Telly Topping's 45 of the Day, dear blog reader, here's a righteous slice of yer actual Mister Echo and his various Bunnymen. Take it away, Mister Echo.