Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Week Forty One: You Have The Right To Free Speech (So Long As You're Not Dumb Enough To Actually Try It)

Oi, dear blog reader. Wanna see a publicity shot of yer actual Peter Capaldi and the legend that is Hermione Norris her very self in the next episode of Doctor Who wearing spacesuits? Of course y'do.
American broadcaster Retro TV will broadcast the classic 1971 Doctor Who adventure The Mind of Evil in colour next month, the first television channel in the world to do so since the late 1970s. With the original transmission tapes long-since erased, by the beginning of the 1980s only black and white prints of the episodes were still held by the BBC, meaning that the story has only been available to broadcasters around the world since then in that format. However, 2013 saw the story prepared for release on DVD with a newly colourised episode one by Stuart Humphryes and Peter Crocker and colour-recovered episodes two to six by Richard Russell. Premiered at the British Film Institute in March last year, the story - a particular favourite of yer actual Keith Telly Topping - has since been shown a number of select locations and made available on DVD and streaming services such as Hulu. But, Retro's broadcast will mark the first time the story can be enjoyed in colour on broadcast television once more.
Now ... Want to see another picture of yer actual Peter Capaldi looking a bit shifty from Kill The Moon, dear blog reader? Fair enough. Can't say I blame you, personally.
For years the divine Goddess that is Gillian Anderson was an acclaimed stage and screen star, yet all anyone wanted to talk about was The X-Files. Aye, yer actual Keith Telly Topping is probably guilty as charged on that score. Now, though, the focus attention is not on the classic Nineties SF thriller but rather her latest co-star Jamie Dornan. He plays serial killer Paul Spector alongside Gillian's Stella Gibson in BBC2's acclaimed thriller The Fall. Gillian - of whom all of us here at From The North are big fans - said: 'He's very, very funny and good at telling stories. He's a good mimic as well. He's a lovely lad. On the first series, people were like, "Who is this guy? Is he an ex-model or something?" Now people don't want to talk to me about The X-Files. They only ask about Jamie Dornan.' Gillian's character has only had one very brief encounter with Spector in the drama so far but the pair are tipped to have a dramatic confrontation in the second series when it starts in November. Gillian and Jamie meet up around the Belfast set in between takes. Speaking about her character, she told Red magazine that she can relate to the cool, aloof, sex-starved Gibson. She added: 'There are aspects of Stella I'm familiar with in my own personality. I feel I've been able to make peace with myself more because she's so unapologetic about the island that she is. [I am a solitary person], I mean my partners have consistently said, "You live this life I have no idea about." The idea of saying, "I'm thinking about doing this film, let's talk about what it means for our life," it's challenging for me. My first instinct is to decide, "Can I do this? Yes I can."' In the interview, Gillian also talks about losing her younger brother to a brain tumour three years ago. 'It had a profound effect on all of us. He was just extraordinary. He made it a lot easier for all of us. It did make me change priorities and realise life is short. And that it's important to follow one's heart, I think, and make the most out of the time we have.' And, Gillian also talked about about having therapy when she was fourteen. 'It kept me sane and alive. I seriously needed it. I'm not going to get into details. But I find that it's important to work things through.' She also spoke about sexism in Hollywood and revealed that the pay disparity between herself and her X-Files co-star David Duchovny was 'massive' at the start of the series. She added: 'But that happens all the time in Hollywood. It's, "Do this for me, I'll get you a job." All the stuff about people in ­entertainment who have abused their position, it's built into our society. There are things that are intolerable in terms of the perception of women. The ­expectation is that, if a woman is wearing a short skirt, she's "asking for it."'

Yer actual Benedict Cumberbatch will be joined by his Sherlock co-star Andrew Scott his very self in the cast of BBC2's next major Shakespeare adaptation. Filming has begun on The Hollow Crown: The Wars Of The Roses, which will encompass Shakespeare's Henry VI Parts I, II and III and Richard III. The first photo to be released shows Benny on horseback as Richard III. His kingdom for one, as it were. Scott, who plays Jim Moriarty in Sherlock, will appear as Louis XI. The cast of the three-part drama will also include Sophie Okonedo as Queen Margaret, Hugh Bonneville as Humphrey Duke of Gloucester and Sally Hawkins as Eleanor Duchess of Gloucester. Tom Sturridge will star as Henry VI, Sir Michael Gambon will play Mortimer, while Philip Glenister will play Talbot, Ben Miles will play Somerset, Keeley Hawes will play Elizabeth, while Dame Judi Dench will appear as Cecily Duchess of York. Dominic Cook‎e, the former artistic director of the Royal Court theatre in London, will direct the films. They will follow the first Hollow Crown films, the epic adaptations of Richard II, Henry IV Parts I and II and Henry V that were broadcast in 2012.
Gotham will be broadcast in the UK from Monday 13 October on Channel Five, it has been announced. The US crime series, which is based on the Batman franchise and is set in Bruce Wayne's fictional home city, will be shown at 9pm. Gotham focuses on the early career of Detective James Gordon (Ben McKenzie) and will also explore the origins of numerous iconic Batman characters such as The Penguin, The Riddler, Catwoman, Poison Ivy and The Joker. The young Bruce Wayne also appears, in a role that was significantly expanded after teenage actor David Mazouz was cast. Gotham began airing in the US in September and has attracted a great deal of praise from critics. As it happens yer actual Keith telly Topping has just received a preview copy of the first two episodes and can report that it's pretty good, so far. More or less what I expected when I first heard about the series, 'Tim Burton's Goodfellas-meets-Smallville'. And Sean Pertwee is properly terrific as Alfred. Check it out when it gets here.
Strictly Come Dancing beat The X Factor in their weekend ratings battle, drawing more overnight viewers on both Friday and Saturday evenings than its rival, the Wee Shughie McFee, the sour-faced Scottish chef off Crossroads's vanity project. Strictly had a Friday overnight average of 6.5m viewers as it went head-to-head with the ITV show, which drew a surprisingly low 5.8m. Strictly also topped primetime overnights of Saturday with more than eight million viewers. The BBC1 dancing competition was watched by 8.18m from 7pm, with the latest Doctor Who episode The Caretaker taking 4.89m in the later slot of 8:30pm to accommodate the return of Strictly - almost exactly the same figure for the BBC's popular family SF drama as the previous week. Once again, as with all five episodes so far this series, expect a two million or so timeshift to take that figure up to somewhere around seven million on final and consolidated ratings. The Caretaker, incidentally, had an AI score of eighty three. Casualty continued with 3.98m from 9.15pm, before The National Lottery Live had 3.04m. On ITV, The X Factor was watched by 7.34m from 8pm. Strictly's Saturday show was down by around a million viewers on the overnight 9.2m audience that tuned in to see the equivalent episode last year. The X Factor was screened on a Friday for the first time and that episode's figure was one of the smallest overnight audiences the talent contest has had since it launched in 2004 - though it was still double ITV's usual figure in that particular slot. Elsewhere on ITV on Saturday, The Chase attracted 3.39m in the 7pm hour and the risible Through the Keyhole was gawped at by 3.23m sad crushed victims of society from 9.20pm. On BBC2, Restoring England's Heritage drew six hundred and forty one thousand from 7pm and The Culture Show featuring an interview with Hilary Mantel was seen by four hundred and eighty three thousand from 7.30pm. Highlights of the second day of The Ryder Cup appealed to 1.72m from 8.30pm. Channel Four broadcast the Jake Gyllenhaal and Michael Peña drama End Of Watch to four hundred and fifty one thousand from 9.15pm. The Mel Gibson war drama The Patriot was watched by six hundred and seventy eight thousand from 8.30pm on Channel Five. On the multichannels, Boardwalk Empire continued with seventy nine thousand from 9pm on Sky Atlantic.

The X Factor bounced back in the overnight ratings on Sunday evening, however. The ITV talent show's Boot Camp stage rose by around two hundred thousand viewers from the previous Sunday to an average of 8.5 million at 8pm. Downton Abbey dropped around four hundred thousand punters from the previous week's series opener to 7.71m at 9pm. Earlier, Sunday Night At The Palladium was watched by 4.13m at 7pm. On BBC1, Countryfile appealed to 5.32m at 7pm, followed by Antiques Roadshow with 4.68m at 8pm. Lacey Turner's Our Girl continued with 3.73m at 9pm. BBC2's Ryder Cup coverage scored 1.86m at 7.30pm as Europe gave them Yankies a damned good shellacking, while a repeat of Mock The Week had an audience of nine hundred and eighty five thousand at 9.30pm. On Channel Four, Operation Maneater was seen by six hundred and forty four thousand at 8pm, followed by the movie Magic Mike with eight hundred and sixty eight thousand at 9pm. Channel Five's broadcast of Gone In Sixty Seconds appealed to seven hundred and seventy seven thousand at 9pm.

Here are the final and consolidated ratings figures for the Top Twenty Fouro programmes for week-ending Sunday 21 September 2014:-
1= The Great British Bake Off - Wed BBC1 - 10.28m
1= Downton Abbey - Sun ITV - 10.28m
3 The X Factor - Sat ITV - 9.70m
4 Coronation Street - Mon ITV - 8.20m
5 Cilla - Mon ITV - 7.85m
6 EastEnders - Tues BBC1 - 7.40m
7 Doctor Who - Sat BBC1 - 6.99m
8= New Tricks - Mon BBC1 - 5.47m
8= Emmerdale - Mon ITV - 5.47m*
10= Who Do You Think You Are? - Thurs BBC1 - 5.39m
10= Antiques Roadshow - Sun BBC1 - 5.39m
12 Ten O'Clock News - Thurs BBC1 - 5.50m
13 Our Girl - Sun BBC1 - 5.22m
14 Our Zoo - Wed BBC1 - 5.21m
15 Countryfile - Sun BBC1 - 5.02m
16 BBC News - Sun BBC1 - 4.80m
17 Casualty - Sat BBC1 - 4.78m
18 Scott & Bailey - Wed ITV - 4.74m*
19 DIY SOS: The Big Build - Thurs BBC1 - 4.69m
20 Six O'Clock News - Fri BBC1 - 4.58m
21 Holby City - Tues BBC1 - 4.17m
22 Pointless Celebrities - Sat BBC1 - 3.90m
23 Formula 1: The German Grand Prix Highlights - Sun BBC1 - 3.86m
24 UEFA Champions League Live - Tues ITV - 3.84m
ITV programmes marked '*' do not include include HD figures. As mentioned, Doctor Who's final figure included a timeshift over the initial 'live' audience of over two million viewers for the fifth week running. It's final figure was just seven thousand short of hitting the seven million mark for the fifth week running as well. Sunday evening's episode of The X Factor had a final rating of 9.35 million viewers. Friday's Would I Lie To You? on BBC1 drew 3.53 million, three hundred thousand up on the previous episode. As mentioned last week, ITV's current batch of dramas continued to pull in unexpectedly low figures. The impressive Cilla aside, Scott & Bailey is well down on its last series, whilst the latest episode of Chasing Shadows was watched by 3.18 million. BBC2's top rated programme of the week was The Motorway: Life In The Fast Lane with 2.75m, followed by University Challenge (2.66m), The Great British Bake-Off: An Extra Slice (2.54m) and Gardener's World (2.13m). Only Connect attracted 2.03m. Channel Four's highest-rated show was Educating The East End (2.10m) followed by Eight Out Of Ten Cats Does Countdown (two million viewers). Channel Five's best performer was CSI: Crime Scene Investigation with 1.94m. Midsomer Murders was ITV3's best performer with nine hundred and sixty nine thousand. Big Hits: Top Of The Pops 1964 To 1975 drew BBC4's biggest audience of the week (eight hundred and fifteen thousand). Family Guy was BBC3's most watched show with 1.08m.

Cilla held steady in the ratings for its final episode on Monday, overnight data suggests. The three-part ITV biopic of Cilla Black her very self rose to 6.03 million overnight viewers at 9pm. Earlier, The Undriveables was seen by 2.60m at 8pm. On BBC1, Inside Out appealed to 3.52m at 7.30pm, while Panorama brought in 2.33m at 8.30pm. New Tricks continued with 4.60m at 9pm. BBC2's University Challenge had an audience of 2.83m at 8pm, followed by Only Connect with 2.03m at 8.30pm. An excellent Horizon featuring Michael Mosley and Alice Roberts pulled in 1.48m viewers at 9pm, while Never Mind The Buzzcocks returned with new host Rhod Gilbert and an average audience of 1.11m at 10pm. Evan Davis's debut as lead presenter of Newsnight attracted an average of five hundred thousand viewers, almost half the number who witnessed Jeremy Paxman's swansong. On Channel Four, Jamie's Rotten, Risible Comfort Food attracted 1.17m at 8pm. Gadget Man garnered 1.04m at 8.30pm. New series Twenty Four Hours In Police Custody drew 1.62m at 9pm, followed by Jon Richardson Grows Up with five hundred and thirty two thousand at 10.30pm. Channel Five's Ultimate Police Interceptors was seen by seven hundred and forty seven thousand punters at 8pm. Too Tough To Teach interested six hundred and fourteen thousand at 9pm whilst Under The Dome was watched by five hundred and fifty nine thousand at 10pm.

BBC1's The Driver was the most-watched overnight programme outside soaps on Tuesday evening despite a drop in the ratings. The David Morrissey drama fell around six hundred thousand viewers from last week to 3.74 million at 9pm. Later, My Nine Hundred And Ninety Nine Pound Wedding was seen by 1.78m at 10.35pm. ITV's Champions League coverage of Sheikh Yer Man City's 1-1 draw with AC Roma scored 3.22m on average from 7.30pm. On BBC2, One Hundred Thousand Pound House: Tricks Of The Trade appealed to 2.03m at 8pm, followed by Motorway: Life In The Fast Lane with 2.32m at 9pm. Channel Four's Posh Pawn attracted 1.22m at 8pm. Gordon Ramsay's Costa Del Nightmares was watched by 1.43m at 9pm, while a Gogglebox repeat drew 1.02m at 10pm. On Channel Five, Sarah Payne: Britain's Worst Crimes interested seven hundred and ninety three thousand at 8pm, followed by the latest CSI with 1.12m at 9pm and Secrets & Lies with four hundred and sixty four thousand at 10pm.

Kevin Whately, star of detective series Lewis, has said there will be one more series of the long-running drama - whether that's one more after the series they've already filmed but is yet to be shown or not, the article didn't specify. Speaking to the Radio Times, the actor said: 'Everything has a life span and I think it's gone on long enough.' The sixty three-year-old added that he is now older than John Thaw when he died in 2002. Robbie Lewis, of course, started out as the partner of Thaw's titular character in Inspector Morse, which clocked up seven series and five specials between 1987 and 2000. 'I suppose it's a sentimental thing but I wouldn't want to do more Lewis than we did Morse because I do still think of it as an offshoot,' added Kevin of the ITV serial. 'It's a long time to play one character, but sometimes it only feels like yesterday that we started.' Whately, who has appeared in a host of other TV shows including Auf Wiedersehen, Pet and Peak Practice, said that he wanted Lewis to have a young female Muslim sidekick, but the programme's producers 'pooh-poohed the idea.' His crime-solving partner in the drama is played by Laurence Fox. Fox said of Lewis: 'I don't really understand why people like it. I mean, I'm really grateful that they do, but I've never quite worked it out.' The drama first came to screens in 2006, while another Morse spin-off, Endeavour, which looks at the early career of the detective, started in 2012. Lewis came to an apparent end early last year - indeed, ITV all but stated that no further episodes would be made - with the retirement of its two lead characters. But, seemingly, they've both been drafted back into the force, spawning the new series which begins on 10 October. In it, Whately and Fox will be joined by series regulars Clare Holman and Rebecca Front and a new character, Lizzie Maddox, played by Angela Griffin.

Claudia Whersherface has responded to criticism over her Strictly Come Dancing hairstyle. And once again, dear blog reader, let us simply marvel in awe at the utter shite that some people chose to care about. In a tweet, the presenter hinted that her original fringe style will be making a return. 'No fringe equals bad. Fringe equals good. Consider it done,' she stated. Right. And this is news, apparently.

Yer actual Jim Broadbent and Vanessa Redgrave her very self have joined the cast of the BBC's adaptation of The Go-Between. Broadbent will play the older Leo, while Redgrave will star as the older Marian in the ninety-minute adaptation of the classic LP Hartley novel. It will be familiar territory for Oscar-winner Broadbent who, as a twenty one year old student about to go off to drama school, made his first film appearance as an uncredited extra in the 1971 film adaptation. The actor said: 'Having been an extra in the first adaptation of The Go-Between in 1971, I was thrilled to be asked to be in this new version. It is a tremendous novel and Adrian Hodges's script captures it perfectly.' Joanna Vanderham, Stephen Campbell Moore, Ben Batt and Lesley Manville will also star in the adaptation which is currently filming.

John Simm and David Threlfall will lead the cast of ITV drama Code Of A Killer. The crime drama is based on the true story of Alec Jeffreys' discovery of DNA fingerprinting and its use by Detective Chief Superintendent David Baker in bringing a double murderer to justice. Simm stars Jeffreys who discovered the DNA fingerprinting technique while working at Leicester University in 1984. Threlfall plays Baker, who headed up a double murder investigation in the mid-1980s with the help of Jeffreys' discovery. James Strong (whose work on Broadchurch, United and Doctor Who this blogger is great admirer of) will direct, while the screenplay is written by Michael Crompton with input from Professor Sir Alec Jeffreys and former Detective Chief Superintendent David Baker their very selves. Filming for Code Of A Killer is due to begin at the end of September. Sounds great.

Samantha Morton, Tahar Rahim and yer actual John Hurt are to lead the cast of new crime drama The Last Panthers. Sky Atlantic will team up with Canal+ for the series, which focuses around the pursuit of stolen goods following a diamond heist. Morton plays a determined loss adjustor, while Hurt stars as her disreputable boss. Rahim plays a French-Algerian policeman also in pursuit of the diamonds. The director of Sky Atlantic, Zai Bennett, the arsehole who cancelled Ideal when he was in charge of BBC3 let's remember, claimed: 'As Sky continues to invest in more original programming, The Last Panthers is the perfect series to add to Sky Atlantic's exciting drama slate. It has all the ingredients to ensure our customers will love it and it will flourish on the channel - on and off screen world-class talent combined with a gripping and thought provoking story.' But, frankly, if Zai Bennett - a man who once commissioned a reality show from Kerry Katona when he was at ITV2 - told me black was darker than white I'd still want a second opinion from someone who knew what they were talking about. Nevertheless, The Last Panthers does sound rather good with that cast, and will be broadcast on Sky Atlantic in the UK, Ireland and Germany in 2015.

It's not as good as it used to be before Tim Vine left the cast, admittedly, but nevertheless Not Going Out will return for its seventh series next month. BBC1 has confirmed that the new series of the channel's current longest-running sitcom will launch on Friday 17 October. Yer actual Lee Mack and Sally Bretton her very self will return as flatmates Lee and Lucy in the ten-part series, along with Katy Wix as Daisy and Bobby Ball as Lee's father. Hugh Dennis and Abigail Cruttenden join the cast as Lee and Lucy's new neighbours, Toby and Anna, who soon struggle to deal with sharing a building with Mack and Bretton's characters. As you would. During the series, Lee and Daisy appear on the quiz show Pointless, while the season finale - a Christmas special - will finally reveal if Lucy and Lee will get together.

Coronation Street actress Anne Kirkbride is to take an extended break from the long-running soap, producers have confirmed. Kirkbride, who made her first appearance in 1972, is expected to be absent from the show for up to three months. A spokeswoman for the production said that they were 'happy' to grant Kirkbride a break from her role. The sixty-year-old remained on-screen during the absence of her character's husband Ken, played by William Roache. The actor resumed his work on the soap in June, five months after he was cleared of rape and indecent assault charges. This came more than a year after Roache's arrest when he was initially written out of the programme. During his trial, Kirkbride was among a number of Coronation Street cast and crew who took the witness stand in Roache's defence. Kirkbride's character shored up the Barlow family during Roache's lengthy absence from Weatherfield, explaining that he had gone to Canada to look after his ill grandson, Adam. The makers of Coronation Street have not disclosed the specific reasons for Kirkbride's request for an extended leave of absence.

And, on that bombshell, here's your next batch of Top Telly Tips:-

Saturday 4 October
'HellO Earth, we have a terrible decision to make. An innocent life versus the future of all mankind.' It's another typical day in the TARDIS as The Doctor, Clara and Courtney arrive in the near future on a run-down space shuttle heading for the moon in Kill The Moon, the latest episode of Doctor Who - 8:30 BBc1. Crash-landing on the surface, the travellers are confronted with the sight of a mining base full of corpses - whilst vicious, spider-like creatures wait in the dark, ready to attack. So, Alien basically. Terrific. But, just when she needs him the most, Clara is left wondering whether The Doctor really is a good man after all - or even her friend. Yet Peter Capaldi and Jenna Coleman her very self star in the long-running family SF drama adventure, with Sam Anderson, the great Hermione Norris (Cold Feet, Wire In The Blood, [spooks]) and - one for the nostalgia brigade - Porridge's Tony Osoba, who appeared alongside both Tom Baker and Sylvester McCoy's Doctors Destiny Of The Daleks (1979) and Dragonfire (1989). Written by Wallander's Peter Harness.
Speaking of the excellent Tony Osoba he was, of course, along with Rudolph Walker and Don Warrington one of the first black actors to appear regularly on British TV in the early 1970s and was (and, indeed, remains) a particular favourite of Keith Telly Topping his very self. As such, I've always felt that Tony deserved far more than things like being cast in an episode of The Professionals as 'Handsome Negro' (I'm genuinely not making this up). The world was so much simpler in 1978. And, mostly, not in a remotely good way, either.
Many public schoolboys get together to form a rock and/or roll band, but few of them go on to become multi-million-selling recording artistes despite making truly turgid, earache inducing hippy drivel shite that evaporates on contact with the brain. But that's exactly what happened to Genesis. Especially the latter part, as we discover in Genesis: Together & Apart - 9:15 BBC2. Did we really fight The Punk Wars for this, dear blog reader? Its core members - Peter Gabriel, Mike Rutherford and Tony Banks - met at Charterhouse, a very public school in Surrey for the sons of stockbrokers and began playing together with other students in 1967. Playing music that is, of course. Because public schoolboys 'playing together' in other ways -  cricket, for example - had been already going on for some time previously. Anyway, a few years and some personnel changes later (including the addition of guitarist Steve Hackett and balding drummer and Tory arsehole Phil Collins) and the 'classic' line-up was in place. But, relationships within the band were always fraught; Gabriel left for an - occasionally interesting - solo career in 1975 which would lead to a few really good hit singles, duets with Kate Bush and a memorable parody by Simon Day. Rutherford, Collins, Banks and Hackett carried on without him (until Hackett left two years later). Here, they're all back together again to discuss their careers in depth and with lots of pretension. Rare archive footage helps tell the story. But, a tip - play it with the sound down whenever there's any singing. Some years ago, dear blog reader, yer actual Keith Telly Topping bought himself a copy of Genesis's 1974 Genesis Live LP on cassette. for reasons which probably made sense at the time (it was probably a phase he was going through). He still has it and keeps the copy on top of the PC especially so that if he ever starts getting highfalutin, vainglorious ideas above his station he is able to look at that cassette and say to himself 'you once paid good money for that, you complete bell-end', thus keeping his feet firmly on the ground and his ego comfortably in check. True story. Although, he does confess he quite likes bits of The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway. And quite a bit of Duke. Oh, and 'Supper's Ready'. And 'Follow You, Follow Me'. But that's all. Honest. Never trust a hippy, dear blog reader.

A concerned woman knocks on the vicar's door on Christmas Eve and announces that her husband is missing in the sixth and final episode of the Swedish period crime drama Crimes Of Passion - 9:00 BBC4. When the man in question is subsequently found extremely murdered, the vicarage and the village are soon teeming with press photographers, forensic experts and, of course, the police. Which, in Sweden in the 1950s essentially means Christer Wijk and his, ahem, 'friend' Puck. Who, isn't actually a police officer but who, nevertheless, finds herself allowed to waltz into just about every crime scene and investigation in the country like she owns the gaff. Very soon they are busy turning yuletide in a peaceful, snowy village into a Christmas that no one will ever forget. Starring Tuva Novotny, Ola Rapace and Linus Wahlgren.
Blitz: London's Firestorm - 8:00 More4 -is a properly excellent documentary using dramatic reconstructions and CGI to depict the most catastrophic night of bombing in London during the Second World War. Tens of thousands of incendiary devices fell on the city during the attack on 29 December 1940 - an assault which Hitler (who only had one) hoped would break the British people's resolve. But, of course, it didn't. Already accustomed to raids, most fled for shelters and the Underground when the bombardment started - but emerged the next morning to find that many had died in the attack.

Sunday 5 October
You're never far away from a repeat episode of QI XL these days, especially on Dave. But, new episodes have been harder to locate since the end of last year. Until now, the start of a new series - 10:30 BBC2. So, fans of Quite Interesting panel shows should be rejoicing in the streets as yer actual Stephen Fry returns for a brand new series of the extended edition. We're now up to the letter L. That's quite a broad base for the guests to tackle, but the question master tonight narrows it down slightly by concentrating on the animal kingdom, taking in everything from lonely whales to larval locomotives. Showing off their knowledge of all things natural are the comedians Wor Geet Canny Sarah Millican and Wor Geet Canny Ross Noble plus dry Aussie funny man Colin Lane. All three have all been on the show before, of course, so should know the drill by now. But just in case they need anything explaining to them, Alan Davies is also present and (hopefully) occasionally correct. Though, I wouldn't bank on it. Of course, it isn't long before it all starts to get properly filthy. As usual, Stephen asks a perfectly innocent question about the sound that a lonely whale makes and the ensuing banter suddenly spirals off into ... well, you get the idea. Fry, whose obsession with gadgetry matches his love of language, also gets to demonstrate how a fish can drive a tank. 'What has thirty two brains and sucks?' Stephen asks at one point. 'The front row' Alan replies. God, it's good to have it back.

Of all BBC4's lid-lifting documentaries about light entertainers, The Secret Life Of Bob Monkhouse - 9:00 - is perhaps the finest. Monkhouse didn't take entertaining lightly at all: the crux of this film is the revelation that his house was full of an archive of cine film, VHS tapes and other memorabilia, charting not just his own career but those of many others too. Monkhouse was an obsessive, lifelong student of the art of comedy, always wanting to know how performers had chosen this word or that phrasing, how they'd finessed their act to make the most important sound in the world, the laugh from the audience, that little bit louder and richer. As he memorably once said 'When I told them I wanted to be a comedian, they laughed. Well, they're not laughing now.' Bob's - full house, if you will - collection included many films and TV broadcasts long thought to be lost. Yet the real joy of this programme, first shown in January 2011, is in getting to know Monkhouse and his humble dedication. For him, comedy was life. Told through the archive of films, TV shows, letters and memorabilia that he left behind after his death in 2003, contributors include Ronnie Corbett, Barry Cryer and Michael Grade. And Lenny Henry who, himself, was last funny in about 1983.

Molly and Smurf return to the UK for rest leave, but with their comrades facing a big threat in Afghanistan, they find it hard to switch off and settle into life back home in Our Girl - 9:00 BBC1. A bit like Martin Sheen's character in Apocalypse, Now, if you will. Though, obviously, not as well acted. As Molly finds Smurf is the only one who understands how she feels, their friendship eventually deepens into something more serious - but then he makes a declaration which could ruin everything. Before long, they are back in the field, where Molly comes under threat from an old enemy. Military drama, starring Lacey Turner and Iwan Rheon.

When it comes to the opposite sex, Lady Mary is a little ahead of her time in Downton Abbey - 9:00 ITV. A foreign diplomat died in her bed during the first series and, following the death of her husband, she's since been involved in a bizarre love triangle. Now, she's getting up to all manner of naughty mischief and hanky panky with Lord Gillingham. It's supposed to be a secret, but her cover story is almost blown - until not usually loyal and unappreciated Violet saves the day. It seems that the battle axe may have more reason than most to sympathise with her granddaughter's position when a face from her past reappears, hinting at a hidden past of her own. Gosh. Meanwhile, Carson is dismissive of Mrs Patmore's latest problem, Branson receives a proposition about the estate's future and the circumstances of nasty valet Green's demise are scrutinised - again. Also, a character farts during dinner and is forced by the etiquette of the day to go outside and shoot himself. No, sorry, that's an episode of Ripping Yarns. Easily makes to make. Period, class obsessed, drama from the word processor of Lord Snotty.

Monday 6 October
Steve McAndrew brings his dying father to London so he can spend his final days in a nearby hospice in the latest episode of New Tricks - 9:00 BBC1. But, how much time he can spend with his dad is anyone's guess - the UCoS team is hard at work investigating the cold case murder of fifty five-year-old interpreter, Agnes Bradley. A DNA sample provides a link to a rebellious teenager and the team wonders if the killer could be related to him. But a whole new can of worms is soon opened when investigators discover that the young man's mother was raped - could the same person have killed Agnes? Gerry and Steve hope that interviewing her friends from a local chess club may shed new light on the matter, but it's a possible professional issue that could hold the key to unlocking the mystery. Denis Lawson, Dennis Waterman, Nicholas Lyndhurst and Tamzin Outhwaite star with a guest appearance by the great Ian Hogg.

The Kitchen - 9:00 BBC2 - is a new documentary series following eight very different households in their kitchens, as they cook, eat and share their lives. It's late August in this first instalment, and cameras observe the Barry-Powers blended family in Cardiff, as mum Louise struggles to meet the culinary demands of five children, while the Harrars in Staffordshire get passionate about their Punjabi recipes, and single mother Sue Evans and her grown-up daughter Ginny try to keep 10-year-old Gabriel amused in Birmingham. The activities of fitness fanatics Matt, Dave and Xanthi, pensioners Marilyn and Wilfred, the Garbutts family, the Mitchell-Cotts and the Gales are also scrutinised.

Grantchester - 9:00 ITV - is a detective drama set in a 1950s Cambridgeshire village, where local vicar Sidney Chambers (James Norton) develops a sideline in sleuthing - as you do. He does this with the, initially reluctant, help of grumpy Detective Inspector Geordie Keating (Wor Geet Canny Robson Green). The cleric's first case finds him presiding over the funeral of a solicitor, who is believed to have taken his own life. However, the dead man's mistress has a different theory - and feeling unable to go to the police, she asks Sidney to examine it for her. He uncovers evidence that the suicide was staged, but while he's busy delving into the personal life of the victim, will the vicar miss his own big chance with Amanda Kendall (Morven Christie), the woman he secretly loves? With Tessa Peake-Jones, Kacey Ainsworth and Rachel Shelley.

Victoria Coren Mitchell hosts Only Connect - 8:30 BBC2 - as a team of chess enthusiasts takes on a trio of linguists in the quiz testing general knowledge and lateral thinking. The players must make connections between four things that may at first not appear to be linked, with one set of clues consisting of apt, apposite, awl and anion. Well, they all begin with A, obviously, but I'm guessing it might be a bit harder than that. Cos, if it isn't, Only Connect really is dumbing down.

Tuesday 7 October
A teenager bursts into Las Vegas PD headquarters and shoots officer Blake Hughes in the latest episode of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation - 9:00 Channel Five - before spraying more bullets around the precinct and making his way to the interrogation room, where he takes DB Russell and the man he was questioning hostage. A stand-off ensues, with Nick Stokes wanting to give Russell more time to talk the youth into surrendering, while officer Robert Dolan wants to charge in with a SWAT team.
Professor yer actual Brian Cox (no, the other one) examines how it was that in a universe made of stars, rocks and endless space, a conscious civilisation was born in Human Universe - 9:00 BBC2. His latest adventure takes him from a submerged space station in Star City on the outskirts of Moscow, to Ethiopia, high above in the great Rift Valley, where he encounters the geladas, mankind's distant ancestors. Despite once being Africa's most successful primate, a species who at one time roamed across the entire continent, these days they are found in one just place in the remote Ethiopian Highlands. Cox investigates why these ancestors retreated, yet modern mankind has expanded across the planet.
Millions of people have cats in their homes, yet they know very little about them. Are they playful pets, fearsome fighters or deadly hunters? In a three-part Horizon programme Cat Watch 2014 - 8:00 BBC2 - Liz Bonnin joins forces with some of the world's leading feline experts to conduct a ground-breaking scientific study using GPS trackers and mini-cameras to follow 100 cats in three very different environments to find out what they get up to when they leave the house. The first edition examines how cats see, hear and smell the world with the senses developed by their wild ancestors, and looks at why this could be making life difficult for them in the modern world. Continues tomorrow.
Vince McKee's life goes from bad to worse in the final part of The Driver - 9:00 BBC1. Ros wants him out of the house because of his illegal activities, and he's in the police's sights after officers uncover new evidence. While the gang gets ready for a major job, Vince offers depressed mate Col an escape plan, but for the long-suffering cab driver, everything is closing in. Life as he once knew it is over, but can Vince find a way for himself and his family to start afresh with a second chance? Forced into a corner, he decides to work with the authorities, but if he messes up, it could be the choice between a life in prison or a lethal sentence courtesy of The Horse. David Morrissey, Claudie Blakley, Ian Hart and Sacha Parkinson star in the conclusion of Danny Brocklehurst's edgy thriller.

Wednesday 8 October
Unable to get used to the fact she was second choice for the sergeant's job, Rachel Bailey punishes Janet for keeping the truth from her, and although Will cheers her up with the news she has been chosen for a vice initiative, the detective is soon stung by Gill Murray's harsh words in Scott & Bailey - 9:00 ITV. Meanwhile, an unconscious baby is admitted to hospital with injuries which do not match his parents' explanation of events. And, when an unregistered child-minder and her boyfriend enter the equation, it's unclear to the police who had the boy's best interests at heart. Lesley Sharp, Suranne Jones, Amelia Bullmore and Danny Web feature.

There's no shortage of British actors playing aloof, super-intelligent characters on US TV – Jonny Lee Miller in Elementary and Tom Mison in Sleepy Hollow are just two examples. Now there's another one. In Forever 11:00 Sky 1 - Ioan Gruffudd plays Doctor Henry Morgan, a medical examiner in New York, who has a secret. He's immortal and has been for some two hundred years. And, he's not happy about it, trying to solve the mystery of his 'curse' and finally get some peace. He doesn't understand why he's like he is and, having had to watch a string of friends, family and lovers die while he lives on, is a bit of a pisser, frankly. In he first episode, Detective Jo Martinez comes snooping to figure out why a deadly train crash - one in which Henry was `killed' - took place. Co-starring Judd Hirsch and Alana De La Garza.

The American 'child intervention industry' is worth in excess of two billion dollars, with more than one thousand private facilities devoted to 'turning troubled kids around.' But while the idea of sending misbehaving youngsters to a residential facility where they will be instilled with a sense of discipline - and, probably thrashed within an inch of their lives for fun - may sound appealing to frazzled parents, the system does have its critics. The True Stories documentary Extreme Brat Camp - 10:00 Channel Four - takes a look at the beliefs and ambitions behind these camps, and discovers their ideologies could come as a shock to British parents. The programme also finds that while many courses are well-run, there are also fears that with no federal body to regulate and monitor the industry, some could potentially be open to poor standards and even abuse.

Treasures Decoded - 9:00 More4 - examines the mysteries surrounding the Ark of the Covenant. According to the Bible, the legendary gilded case was made by the Israelites three thousand years ago to carry the stone tablets on which the Ten Commandments were written by Moses as they wandered through the desert. The programme searches for the truth about the famous lost artefact, investigating what power it was said to hold, and what may have happened to it.

Thursday 9 October
Yer actual David Jensen presents an edition of Top Of The Pops - 7:30 BBC4 - first broadcast on 4 October 1979. With performances by XTC, Blondie, Matumbi, Buggles, Sad Cafe, Squeeze, Rainbow, The Jags, Lena Martell and The Police. Plus, dance sequences from Legs & Co.
Following in the footsteps of Julie Walters, Sheridan Smith, Mary Berry and Billy Connolly, the last in the current series of Who Do You Think You Are? - 9:00 BBC1 - focuses on Twiggy. Four decades ago, Neasden-born Lesley Hornby found her life transformed when a reporter spotted her photo on the wall of a London hairdresser, and she was dubbed the 'face of the sixties'. Suddenly the sixteen-year-old Twig The Wonder Kid was catapulted into life as a supermodel, travelling the world, mixing with some of its biggest stars and eventually appearing in films such as The Boyfriend and The Blues Brothers. In the one hundredth episode of the popular genealogy show, Twiggy examines her family's past, where she discovers a history involving strong women and a hint of crime.

Many people were surprised when it was revealed that Tom Hardy had agreed to take a break from films to appear in the second series of the gangster drama Peaky Blinders - 9:00 BBC2. But he had good reasons for doing so - it reteamed him with his Dark Knight Rises co-star Cillian Murphy and Peaky Blinders creator Steven Knight, who wrote and directed Hardy's film Locke. There's also a role this season for the actor's real-life partner, Charlotte Riley. Hardy debuts in this week's episode as enigmatic mobster Alfie Solomons, who crosses paths with Tommy while the latter is in London searching for Polly's long-lost children. Solomons is a dangerous man, and Tommy will be lucky to get away unscathed. Meanwhile, ghosts from Arthur's military past continue to haunt his troubled mind.

Dara O Briain and regulars Hugh Dennis and Andy Parsons are joined by Rob Beckett, Ed Byrne, Milton Jones and Zoe Lyons on the topical comedy quiz Mock The Week - 10:00 BBC2. The panellists give their take on the week's major news stories and participate in a series of stand-up spots and improvised games.

Friday 10 October
Friday is certainly a big night for comedy panel shows on the BBC at the moment with Have I Got News For You - 9:00 - joining Would I Lie to You? - 8:30 - on BBC1 and, testing our knowledge of the baffling and the obscure, Qi is back on BBC2 at 10:00. Stephen Fry continues the comedy panel quiz's exploration of subjects beginning with the letter L as he asks a range of fiendish questions on the topic of Location, with points being awarded as usual for interesting answers as well as correct ones. Irish actress, comedienne and writer Aisling Bea makes her first appearance on the programme, joining fellow stand-ups Jason Manford and Johnny Vegas and regular panellist Alan Davies, who are all hoping they don't fall into the Qi elves' traps and set off the klaxon.
Rob Brydon, David Mitchell and Lee Mack are join by comedians Rhod Gilbert and Hal Cruttenden, interior designer and Dragons' Den investor Kelly Hoppen and Carol Vorderman (and her award-winning arse) on Would I Lie To You?, whilst Sue Perkins tops off a busy week, having helped crown The Great British Bake Off champion on Wednesday, she hosts tonight's episode of Have I Got News For You.

After a heist takes place at a bank in Warsaw, Red sees the opportunity to blow the whistle on the institution's money-laundering activities in The Blacklist - 9:00 Sky Living. But Liz suspects that his intentions are not as honourable as they seem. As if they ever are. Meanwhile, the task force welcomes a new recruit, former Mossad agent Samar, who impressed Cooper during the hunt for Lord Baltimore.

The last time we saw Robbie Lewis and James Hathaway, the former was about to quit his job and go off into a long-deserved retirement with his girlfriend Laura Hobson (Clare Holman) - presumably involving lots of The Sex - whilst the latter was all for going into Jean Innocent's office the next morning for give her his own 'that's it, I quit' letter. However, a return of Lewis - 9:00 ITV - reveals that Lewis (Kevin Whately) has indeed started his new life away from the force. But it seems that peace and quiet really doesn't suit him - which is just as well, as newly promoted Detective Inspector Hathaway (Laurence Fox) is struggling to find a sidekick, and within just four weeks of his promotion is already onto his second sergeant, the feisty Lizzie Maddox (Angela Griffin). So, Innocent (the excellent Rebecca Front) decides to reunite the former partners to look into the murder of a neurosurgeon, a case with potential links to the worlds of animal rights and blood sports. In the first of this two-part story, suspicion falls on glamorous widow Erica (Kara Tointon), but it turns out there are plenty of other people in the victim's inner circle who were driven by fear and loathing.

In the second episode of Anarchy In Manchester - 10:30 Sky Arts 1 - presented by the legend that is Doctor John Cooper Clarke his very self, we get another selection of highlights from Tony Wilson's ground-breaking 1970s Granada TV music show So It Goes, featuring performances by The Stranglers, Nick Lowe & Rockpile and some quite remarkable spittle-drenched footage of The Clash at the Elisabethan Suite in Belle Vue in late 1977 playing one-hundred miles per hour versions of 'Capital Radio', 'Janie Jones', 'What's My Name?' and 'Garageland'. 'Here we are on TV. What does it mean to me? What does it mean to you? Fuck all!' Tell 'em all about, Joe.
To the news now: For more than fifty years the famous dotted wall at BBC Television Centre has proudly displayed the corporation's logo, signalling to the world that it is the home of some of television's biggest hits, from Fawlty Towers to Only Fools And Horses. But on Saturday the corporation carefully removed the huge letters from the wall, turned off Television Centre's broadcast signal and, officially, handed over its former West London headquarters to developers six months ahead of schedule. It marked the end of an era for a building familiar to generations of television viewers. Designed in the shape of a question mark by architect Graham Dawbarn and officially opened by the Queen in 1960, the famous brick frontage and 'atomic dot' wall provided a backdrop to shows from Blue Peter to Children In Need. The corporation decided to sell Television Centre for two hundred million quid in 2012 to developer Stanhope and move staff to the redeveloped Broadcasting House in Central London and MediaCity in Salford, as part of a plan to save money and make the corporation less London-centric. Stanhope will build around nine hundred and fifty new homes on the fourteen-acre site – to be known from now on as Television Centre – along with a new branch of members' club Soho House, plus offices, restaurants, cafes and shops. Parts of the site, such as the wall and famous 'doughnut' centre, are listed and will be retained, but the plans include opening up the area in front of Television Centre to create a giant public piazza which will be similar in size to Trafalgar Square. Although the BBC no longer owns Television Centre, it will retain a presence, having taken out leases of around fifteen to twenty years for a fifth of the site, including three studios, dressing rooms and offices for its commercial arm, BBC Worldwide. 'It's the changing of the guard,' said Chris Kane, head of BBC commercial projects. 'Television Centre is moving into a new chapter, it is going into an intermission almost, releasing an enormous amount of capital value for the BBC. But also the BBC coming back in is a tangible demonstration of a new BBC.' The corporation stopped making programmes and moved production staff out of Television Centre last year - one of the last to be made there was the Doctor Who fiftieth anniversary biopic An Adventure In Space And Time - but it has kept a broadcasting signal going there as a back-up. Kane said it had been 'no mean feat' removing all the BBC's possessions from the building after fifty years of occupation: 'When you're selling a house you just turn the key, move out and hand over. Not here.' As well as desks and office equipment, more than five thousand electrical circuits were disconnected and more than four thousand pieces of broadcasting equipment, worth around four million quid, have been redeployed around the BBC. There will be an auction in November of equipment and memorabilia such as the Match Of The Day set, a Doctor Who backdrop and photos of celebrities such as Eric Morecambe and Ernie Wise. A previous auction held in June raised around ninety thousand smackers. Featured items included desks used on the set of Newsnight.
The three-month suspended sentence given to convicted groper Dave Lee Travis is to be reviewed by the Attorney General's office. The sixty nine-year-old was sentenced on Friday after being found extremely guilty of indecently assaulting a TV researcher on The Mrs Merton Show in 1995. The Attorney General's office said that four people had complained that the sentence was 'unduly lenient.' It will now consider whether to refer the sentence to the court of appeal. Sentencing the convicted groper Travis at Southwark Crown Court on Friday, the judge, Anthony Leonard QC, said the dirty old scallywag Travis had committed 'an intentional and unpleasant sexual assault.' And, he told the former radio DJ that he had 'taken advantage' of a young woman 'in a vulnerable position.' A spokeswoman for the Attorney General's office confirmed that on the day of the sentencing it had been contacted by four members of the public complaining that the sentence was too lenient. Under the Unduly Lenient Sentence scheme, anyone can complain about sentences handed down in England and Wales. The spokeswoman said: 'We will be asking the CPS to send us more information on this particular case so that a law officer can decide if the sentence should be referred to the Court of Appeal.' Attorney General Jeremy Wright and Solicitor General Robert Buckland have until 24 October to decide whether or not to refer the case to the court. After being sentenced on Friday, the convicted groper Travis whinged to the press outside the court that the case should never have been brought against him. Which, one imagines, is exactly the sort of thing that most convicted criminals say after they've been caught and dealt with by the courts.

The killer of EastEnders character Lucy Beale is to be unmasked during a special live broadcast to mark the soap's thirtieth anniversary next year. Lucy was found dead on Walford Common in April, but viewers will not discover the identity of her killer until the anniversary in February 2015. The suspects so far include her father Ian, Jake Stone, Jay Brown and Billy Mitchell. Every episode that week will have a live element, with one thirty-minute episode to be broadcast entirely live. The plans mean many of the cast and crew will remain in the dark about the murderer's identity. BBC drama controller Ben Stephenson said that the thirtieth birthday schedule was 'the most ambitious anniversary any soap has attempted. Live week allows us to keep loads of secrets from the cast, crew and the audience until the very last minute,' he said. 'With shocking reveals and unguessable twists, it's going to be a week that will change Albert Square forever.'

Countdown's Rachel Riley had her day brightened up in the studio by an unexpected erection. Riley posted the awkward moment from the Channel Four daytime quiz on Twitter, when someone successfully found an eight-letter word. 'Gotta love the day job!"' she wrote.
The editor-in-chief of the Sunday Mirra has grovellingly apologised to two women for the unauthorised use of their pictures in a sting which prompted the Conservative MP Brooks Newmark to resign as Civil Society minister. Lloyd Embley said that the newspaper stood by the story by a freelance reporter who used a photograph of Malin Sahlén, a Swedish model, for a fictional Twitter account claiming to be a Tory PR woman named Sophie Wittans. The media commentator Steve Hewlett said on BBC's Newsnight that the reporter responsible for the sting was Alex Wickham, who writes for the Guido Fawkes blog. It has also been reported that two other newspapers - the Sun On Sunday and the Scum Mail On Sunday - had been offered and rejected the story. The reporter posed as Wittans and exchanged messages with several Tory MPs before convincing Newmark to swap numbers and share explicit pictures of himself with 'her'. Embley said that there was 'a clear public interest' because of Newmark's roles as minister for Civil Society and co-founder of Women2Win – an organisation aimed at attracting more Conservative women into parliament – but, he added that the investigation had been carried out before the Sunday Mirra's involvement. 'We thought that pictures used by the investigation were posed by models, but we now know that some real pictures were used. At no point has the Sunday Mirror published any of these images, but we would like to apologise to the women involved for their use in the investigation,' he said. Charlene Tyler, from Boston in Lincolnshire, whose 'sunbathing selfie' was allegedly used in the sting, wanted to 'tell her side of the story' and would be featured in this week's Sunday Mirra he added. Whether she will be paid for this 'exclusive', he didn't reveal. Tyler told the Daily Torygraph on Monday that it was 'quite wrong' for the paper to have used her photo without permission, and that she felt Newmark had done nothing wrong. 'I think grown adults can do whatever they like as long as both of them are over the age of consent,' she said. Which is true, legally, if not necessarily morally. Particularly when concerning a married father of five who is a member of parliament. 'I don’t think it's something to resign over,' she added. The Sunday Mirra's leading rival, the Sun, confirmed that it had turned down the story. Meanwhile, Malin Sahlén whose photo was used on the fake Twitter account said that she felt 'shocked and exploited' by the unauthorised use of her picture. She told the Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet: 'I do not want to be exploited in this way and that someone has used my image like this feels really awful, both for me and the others involved in this.' The model said that the photograph of her was three years old and that she had previously reported several fake Facebook accounts for using her image. 'I am shocked and it is unpleasant for someone to use the picture without permission.' The other MPs targeted in the sting included Mark Pritchard, MP for The Wrekin in Shropshire, who said on Monday that he would contact Scotland Yard and make a formal complaint to the Independent Press Standards Organisation over accusations of entrapment. 'It is in the public interest that their actions are fully investigated. This is the first real test as to whether the new body, IPSO, has any teeth,' he said. John Wittingdale, the chairman of the Commons media select committee, said on Monday that he believed IPSO should investigate the matter.

And now, dear blog reader, it's time for ...
Iranian state television accused the BBC on Sunday of trying to steal 'artistic, historic and cultural documents' from government archives in the Islamic Republic. The BBC had no immediate comment on the claim, coming in a report on the Iranian broadcasting company's website. Iran has a long and sinister history of accusing the British broadcaster as operating as a cover for spies and dissidents. The state television report said that Iranian intelligence officials 'disrupted' the alleged plot by local dependants of the BBC. 'The hostile network of the BBC – against the mores and regulations of media and international law – attempted to steal historical documents from formal archive centres through its local dependents [sic],' the report read, citing a statement by Iran's intelligence department. The TV report did not elaborate. The BBC's Farsi-language service is not authorised to operate in Iran and working for the network is against the law. The BBC says that Tehran also blocks its broadcasts into the country. In 2012, Iran arrested two film-makers over alleged links to the BBC. They were later released. Months afterwards, Iran's state TV claimed the BBC hacked its website to change the results of a poll about Iran's nuclear programme, something which the BBC strenuously denied. In June this year Iranian documentary film-maker and women's rights activist Mahnaz Mohammadi was jailed for five years, charged with collaborating against the state with the BBC. And, just to get this into context, the BBC is, of course, a British institution and national treasure. It is also - much more importantly - a World Class broadcaster with a global reputation for journalistic honesty, integrity, balance, innovation, creativity and quality. Ironically the only places in the world where it isn't highly regarded are in knobcheese fascist dictatorships and in its own backyard where scum politicians and lice newspapers with an agenda use it as their own personal punch-bag. Iran, by contrast is a country that locks up young people and canes them on the arse for daring to have a bit of fun by making a video of themselves miming to a pop song and executes people who chose to express their lack on belief in a faith. So, you know dear blog reader, it's entirely up to you as to which of these two entities you believe in this matter.

And, speaking of oppressive, criminally insane dictatorships, while television sets in Hong Kong blaze with images of the pro-democracy protests that have paralysed the central business district since Sunday, citizens in mainland China have been getting a very different story: that a few thousand people gathered in a local park to celebrate the Chinese government. On Sunday night, tens of thousands of protesters throughout Hong Kong faced down tear-gas and baton charges, but the state-controlled broadcaster Dragon TV did not show these images. Instead, it cheerfully announced that twenty eight civil society groups had spent the weekend in Tamar Park voicing support for the central government's decisions on the region's political future. The broadcast showed a crowd of people waving Chinese flags to celebrate the upcoming sixty fifth anniversary of country-wide Communist party rule. 'We all hope Hong Kong can be prosperous and stable,' said a young man wearing glasses and a red polo shirt. 'I think the National People's Congress's decision can bring us a step closer to fulfilling our requirement for universal suffrage.' Protesters are furious at Beijing's framework for the city's next major election, in 2017, calling it 'fake democracy.' Although central authorities say that they will grant the region's seven million people the ability to choose their next top official, the framework will only allow two or three pro-Beijing candidates to run. Mainland authorities have severely restricted the spread of information about the protests. Censors completely blocked the photo-sharing service Instagram after it was flooded with pictures of unrest. On major social networking sites, pro-democracy posts are vanishing soon after they appear. Searches for 'Occupy Central' and 'Hong Kong protest' on Sina Weibo, the country’s most popular microblog, yielded only irrelevant photos and links to state media reports. Searches for 'Hong Kong' brought up mainly shopping tips and restaurant reviews. Experts say that managing domestic opinion about the unrest has become 'a top priority' for party leaders, who fear that the spread of pro-democratic sentiment on the mainland could loosen the party's vice-like grip on power. 'The Communist party is very clear that if the general election were to indeed happen in Hong Kong, people from many places in the mainland would want the same thing,' said Hu Jia, a prominent activist in Beijing. 'What Hong Kongers have been doing – the student strike, public voting, protesting, and occupying the central city – could definitely inspire a lot of people in China.' He added: 'As for the censorship, it's all because the Hong Kong issue could have a huge impact on the mainland. Yesterday I received hundreds of complaints from people on Twitter saying their Weibo accounts had been either blocked or deleted, most because they talked about the Hong Kong issue.' China's state media has universally condemned the movement as an illegal protest by 'a small minority' of extremists. 'Hong Kong people's motherland is the only one that will truly listen to Hong Kong's voice and Hong Kong people's compatriots on the mainland are the only ones that will prioritise Hong Kong people's concerns and demands,' the Communist party mouthpiece People's Daily said in a Monday afternoon commentary. 'Nobody cares about more about Hong Kong's future than the Chinese people and no government wants stability and prosperity for Hong Kong more than the Chinese government.' It continued: 'People are very pleased to see that the mainstream public opinion in Hong Kong supports and welcomes the decisions made by the central government.' On Monday, the nationalist tabloid Global Times took a stronger position, calling the protesters doomed. 'As Chinese mainlanders, we feel sorrow over the chaos in Hong Kong on Sunday. Radical opposition forces in Hong Kong should be blamed,' it said in an editorial. 'The radical activists are doomed. Opposition groups know well it is impossible to alter the decision of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress on Hong Kong's political reform plan.'
Well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Rebekah Brooks has dropped her application for her legal costs of up to seven million smackers relating to the marathon phone-hacking trial to be reimbursed by taxpayer. She has abandoned plans to recoup the money after News UK – the News Corp subsidiary which, under a previous guise as News International, published the disgraced and disgraceful Scum of the World – which was indemnifying her costs, said it would not be seeking to be reimbursed after she was cleared of all charges. The publisher's decision also means that other defendants in the trial who were indemnified by News UK also acquitted have dropped their cost claims. News UK's decision saves the taxpayer millions of pounds and was made. seemingly, because the company did not wish to become embroiled in a protracted argument about its case. Robert Smith QC, for News UK, said the 'sheer scale' of the exercise of assessing costs had become clear and this had 'troubled' the company. 'It is for that reason that News UK have indicated it did not feel willing to engage in an exercise addressing these issues,' said Smith. A spokesperson for News UK said: 'Given the certainty that our costs would continue to increase disproportionately, we've taken the pragmatic view not to seek repayment from the defendants for legal costs borne by the company.' News UK's decision not to reclaim costs, although expensive, means it avoids a potentially damaging and protracted scrutiny of its stance during and before the trial. In a hearing in July, Saunders warned that when it came to costs applications: 'I have to consider whether any defendant brought it on themselves and also whether I would have to consider News International conduct in relation to the matter.' Although News UK was not a party to the trial, it told the defendants it no longer wanted to be the beneficiary of any costs order. Well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Brooks's counsel said that she had never intended to try and recover any personal expenses in relation to the trial, which would have included rent of a Georgian town house in Bloomsbury, fifteen minutes' walk from the court. It is believed the costs for well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Brooks were between five and seven million knicker, with the total for the other defendants also running to several million. Two of the six defendants acquitted in the trial are, however, seeking all, or a portion of their costs. Millionaire Old Etonian Charlie Brooks, husband of well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Rebekah Brooks, is seeking ballpark costs of six hundred grand including VAT. Stuart Kuttner, former managing editor of the Scum of the World, is seeking one hundred and thirty five grand of costs incurred before News UK indemnified him in January 2013. Robert Smith QC told Mr Justice Saunders at the Old Bailey hearing that 'News UK would not seek or accept any part of any order by way of costs of central funds, public funds.' It is believed the company's decision was made within the last twenty four hours. It emerged during the hearing at the Old Bailey that News UK had indemnified well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Brooks for her legal costs. Well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Brooks's counsel, Jonathan Laidlaw QC, told Saunders that 'any money that would have been subject to a claims cost order would have gone immediately to News to compensate them for the financial support they were good enough to afford her during her trial.' He said that 'as News's position is that they do not want to receive any costs from this trial ... I formally withdraw the application on her behalf.' News UK had also indemnified the legal costs incurred by the company's head of security Mark Hanna, well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Brooks's former secretary Cheryl Carter and security guard Paul Edwards. They also will not be making applications for costs, the judge was told.

Tom and Jerry cartoons on television are being accompanied by a warning that they may depict scenes of 'racial prejudice.' The classic cat and mouse cartoons, some made more than seventy years ago, carry a warning for subscribers to Amazon Prime Instant Video. There have been claims of racist stereotyping in the depiction of a black maid in the cartoon series who shouts 'Thomas!' a lot. Which, this blogger always found quite funny but then, he's a white so that, in and of itself, is probably wrong on all sorts of levels. Amazon's warning says such prejudice was once 'commonplace' in US society. Tom and Jerry, once a staple of children's television on British television, is being presented with a cautionary note about 'ethnic and racial prejudices.' Amazon's streaming subscription service, formerly branded as LoveFilm, includes the cartoons in its comedy collection. But Tom and Jerry: The Complete Second Volume is accompanied by the caution: 'Tom and Jerry shorts may depict some ethnic and racial prejudices that were once commonplace in American society. Such depictions were wrong then and are wrong today.' The wording is similar to disclaimers accompanying some collections of the cartoons on DVD. The warning was attacked as 'empty-headed' by 'cultural commentator' (whatever the hell that means) and professor of sociology, Frank Furedi, who said it was a form of a 'false piousness' and a type of censorship which 'seems to be sweeping cultural life. We're reading history backwards, judging people in the past by our values,' said Furedi from the University of Kent. Tom and Jerry was first produced by the MGM film studio in 1940. The cartoons, directed by William Hanna and Joseph Barbera and produced by Fred Quimby, ran until 1957. There were more than a hundred short films made in this original series, winning seven academy awards. These included The Cat Concerto in 1946, The Two Mouseketeers in 1951 and Johann Mouse in 1952. In the subsequent decades there have been numerous re-launched television versions of the series, with varying styles and varying degrees of critical approval. The claims of racism are longstanding. When the original versions were shown on US television in the 1960s some scenes were edited. Furedi said calls for such trigger warnings were a form of 'narcissism', with the concerns not really being about the content of a book or work of art but about individual students asserting their own importance. 'A tolerant society needs to discuss disturbing art,' he said.

South African soap fans have been cut off from the country's most popular continuing drama following the August sacking of its cast for demanding better pay. The last recorded episode of Generations was broadcast on Tuesday. The South African Broadcasting Corporation said that it would be 'at least two months' before a 'revamped' version of the show returns - with a completely new group of actors. Generations is South Africa's longest-running soap, having launched in 1994. Watched daily by around seven million viewers, it follows predominantly black middle-class characters working in Johannesburg's advertising industry. The cast first went on strike in August after a long-running dispute over pay and contracts. They claimed they were underpaid and received no repeat fees for their work, which is also screened in other African countries. The actors were asked to continue filming while negotiations were taking place, but were sacked after they did not return to work. The SABC has now run out of new editions to broadcast. 'We don't have enough episodes of Generations, so we will only go until today,' SABC spokesman Kaizer Kganyago told the AFP news agency on Tuesday. 'We are hoping that Generations will have episodes ready for the first week of December.' At the time of the cast's sacking, executive producer Mfundi Vundla told a South African radio station that the actors were 'not irreplaceable' and the soap would continue without them.

BBC World News America has won two EMMY awards for its coverage of the conflicts in Syria and the Central African Republic. Reports from Syria by correspondents Lyse Doucet, Ian Pannell, Paul Wood and Jeremy Bowen won recognition for 'outstanding continuing coverage in a regular newscast.' The BBC's Africa correspondent Andrew Harding won outstanding feature story in a regular newscast. PBS led the overall winners at the News and Documentary EMMYs with eleven triumphs. Four PBS prizes came for its hard-hitting documentary series Frontline, which won for tackling rape in Pakistan, life in Syria and the state of retirement savings in the US. The network also won three awards for its Independent Lens strand, including best documentary and best long-form investigative journalism for The Invisible War, about allegations of rape and sexual assault within the US military. CBS won ten trophies in total, including five for its Sixty Minutes show. The programme was recognised for covering subjects ranging from China's real estate bubble to people in Paraguay who make musical instruments from items on their town's rubbish heap. ABC's Nightline, meanwhile, won three awards.

Monty Python's The Life Of Brian is to have its first ever screening in a Cornish city after it was banned by the council more than thirty years ago. The comedy, about a man who is mistakenly hailed as the Messiah Ubt who is, in fact, 'a very naughty boy'), was banned by some tight-arsed councils across the UK in 1979 for its alleged 'blasphemous' content. Truro's Plaza cinema tweeted that it would hold a charity screening of the film in December. The city council said it would not enforce any ban. The movie tells the story of Brian Cohen, a young Jewish man born at the same time and near Jesus Christ, who is frequently mistaken for the Messiah and finally crucified. Whilst singing 'Always Look On The Bright Side Of Life'. Come on, you don't need to be told that you must have seen The Life Of Brian by now. And, if you haven't, God help you. The parallels with Jesus - and general mocking of the sheep-like nature of religion - caused controversy amongst bigots on both sides of the Atlantic, with claims it 'satirised' Jesus's life. Actually, it did nothing of the sort although it did, magnificently, take the piss out of exactly the sort of people who wanted to see its makers stoned to death. Of course, the controversy helped to making the film a huge box-office success, earning the fourth-highest takings in the UK in 1979, and the highest for any British film in the US that year. BBC film critic Mark Kermode, who is to host the screening, said that the film 'considered by many to be the funniest British film ever made', had never had its ban in Truro rescinded. Truro City Council clerk Roger Gazzard said that he was 'uncertain' if any ban was still in force, but he did not the think the council would impose it for the planned screening. He said: 'It's up to people if they want to watch it or not.' The Life Of Brian currently has a fifteen certificate from the British Board of Film Classification.

Mad Frankie Boyle is back, dear blog reader, returning to the BBC with a one-off programme reflecting on the Scottish referendum. The iPlayer-only affair features a variety of guests – 'because many people consider me a cunt, the BBC have decided I can't be trusted on my own', says Mad Frankie. Who is, indeed, a c-word although frequently, quite a funny one. And, he believes that the BBC is capable of presenting Scotland accurately, despite recent criticism. 'Doctor Who is Scottish and it's difficult to think of a more archetypal Scottish character,' he suggests. 'An old man armed with a screwdriver dragging young women into a phone box.' The lad's got a point.
And, speaking of sour and grumpy Scotsmen, let us now pause for another photo from Kill The Moon
And, now we're done.

Elisabeth Murdoch is reportedly 'expected to quit' the television production company she founded thirteen years ago after it merges with two others. Murdoch, the daughter of billionaire tyrant Rupert, established Shine in 2001 and oversaw its expansion with hits such as MasterChef, and by buying other production companies including Princess Productions and Kudos, maker of [spooks], Hustle, Life On Mars, Ashes To Ashes, Death In Paradise, The Hour and Broadchurch. Anmd Outcast just in case you thought all they produced was of high quality. Shine Group was sold to News Corp, her father's media conglomerate, in 2011 for four hundred and fifteen million smackers, giving Murdoch herself a personal profit of about one hundred and thirty million knicker from the deal. Nice work if you can get it.

This blogger wonders if, when Dino Fekaris and Freddie Perren wrote 'Shake Yer Groove Thang' for Peaches & Herb in 1978 they realised that one day it would be used as the soundtrack to an advert for ladies sanitary products-type things involving 'sensitive bladders'? I'm guessing probably not. Was someone taking the piss? You decide.
A law has come into effect which permits UK citizens to make copies of CDs, MP3s, DVDs, Blu-rays and e-books. Consumers are now legally allowed to keep the duplicates on local storage or in the cloud. While it is legal to make back-ups for personal use, it remains an offence to share the data with friends or family. Making such copies - including ripping CDs to iTunes - had previously qualified as copyright infringement, although cases were rarely prosecuted. The changes were detailed in June, when the Intellectual Property Office issued guidance, but had not come into effect until now. 'These changes are going to bring our IP laws into the Twenty First Century,' said the minister for Intellectual Property, Baroness Neville-Rolfe. 'They will mean that the UK IP regime will now be responsive to the modern business environment and more flexible for consumers.' The change to the law also allows the parody of copyright works. Previously, there has been a risk of being sued for breach of copyright if clips of films, TV shows or songs were used without consent.

In yer actual Keith Telly Topping's many years on this planet, dear blog reader, he has seen some truly thigh-slappingly hilarious shit but this, I think, may well take not only the biscuit but, also, the cup of cocoa as well. He looks more like Yoko than George. And, if you're going to be in a Be-Atles tribute band at least have the courtesy to find a left handed bassist and a drummer with a big nose. Thank you.
Due to a nasty dose of 'feeling really rotten' (and waiting in half the day for the gas man) on Thursday, a doctor's appointment on Friday morning and a sense of general lethargy on Saturday, Sunday morning was yer actual Keith Telly Topping's first time at the pool in a few days. And, of course, being Sunday, the gaff was rammed with screaming kids. Nevertheless, it was a considerable achievement, this blogger reckons, to manage twenty lengths in such circumstances (a feat matched on Monday in somewhat quieter circumstances, let it be noted). Yay me, and all that. Next ...
And so to yer actual Keith Telly Topping's 45 of the Day. This is for the handful of dear blog readers that From The North has in Iran and Hong Kong (and, the United Kingdom, Liechtenstein and the Federated States of Micronesia for that matter). A public service announcement. With guitars.