Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Week Forty Five: Between The Emotion And The Response Falls The Shadow

Armando Iannucci, who helped to make yer actual Peter Capaldi a star in The Thick Of It, said that the actor is 'smart, funny and thoughtful' in Doctor Who – but 'always hilarious' when he breaks into a run. Iannucci said that some of Capaldi's most memorable moments in the BBC1 role had nothing to do with the script but 'what he does with his pauses and his changes of tone. He'll just say, "Oh good" or "You'd better go outside" in this particular way and it sticks with you far more than the finest scripting,' Iannucci wrote in the latest issue of Radio Times. 'Is he a good Doctor?' asked Iannucci. 'The Peter I know is the smart, funny, thoughtful guy – and I think he's exactly what The Doctor should be. I'll give you a tip though – watch him run. It's always hilarious. Stop it, pause it and go back. It'll be worth it every time.' It is in the nature of the Time Lord's adventure through space and time that breaking into a trot and occasionally a full-on sprint is an inevitable part of the job. Peter, who ran around a bit as Malcolm Tucker in The Thick Of It, has not as much practice as his immediate predecessors. There are two episodes to go in Capaldi's first series as The Doctor, with last Saturday's instalment written by Frank Cottrell-Boyce watched by an overnight audience of more than five million viewers. Broadcast slightly later than the fifty one-year-old programme's traditional slot to make way for Strictly Come Dancing, Doctor Who's consolidated viewing, including people who watch it recorded or on-demand in the following seven days, typically tops seven million. Iannucci said that Capaldi had 'the air of the classic Doctor. His Doctor is a completely different character from any previous Doctor, but also from Malcolm,' said Iannucci. 'I’ve watched every episode with my three kids – they're twenty, fifteen and twelve. They've been amazed by the transformation. The eldest has seen Malcolm Tucker but the others just know Peter from when he's been over to the house.' Iannucci said that he was 'worried that the twelve-year-old in particular wouldn't take to the idea of an older guy but they're drawn to him. He's funny in a bamboozled way,' said Iannucci. 'And that allows Clara more space so they've become a proper, classic double act. He's also the first Doctor to give off that air of the tremendous responsibility – which you never quite saw before. Is he a good Doctor? He's how the Doctor should be.' Former Doctor Tom Baker also said Capaldi was a 'wonderful choice. Instantly one felt: this fellow comes from far, far away, he's strange. An instant frisson. And what's the word? Yes, got it! Alien. I salute him.' The latest issue of the Radio Times features Peter Capaldi on its front cover as the magazine looks at the two-part series finale which starts this Saturday. Famous fans, TV critics, children and personalities share their thoughts on the latest incarnation including Professor Brian Cox (no, the other one), Marc Almond and Keeley Hawes.
Strictly Come Dancing topped Saturday's primetime overnight ratings and gave The X Factor yet another damned good thumping in the process. Which, simply imagining the lip-curling scowl on Wee Shughie McFee, the sour-faced Scottish chef from Crossroads' mush at the very thought of it is, let's face it, always funny. Despite the much-anticipated return of Wee Shughie McFee, the sour-faced Scottish chef off Crossroads and Wor Geet Stroppy Cheryl Fernandez-Versini-Whatsherface to its judging panel, the ITV talent show has been unable to reel in its BBC1 rival, with Strictly doubling its lead over The X Factor from last week. The BBC1 pro-celebrity dance competition averaged 9.52m punters from 6.30pm, enjoying a peak audience of 10.38m at 7.45pm. By contrast, ITV's The X Factor managed 7.22m from 8pm, the biggest gap of the season so far between the two Saturday night juggernauts. The latest Doctor Who episode In The Forest Of The Night was watched by 5.03m - five hundred thousand up on the previous week's overnight figure. The episode had an audience appreciation index score of eighty three. That was followed by Casualty, which continued with 4.02m. Earlier, Pointless Celebrities attracted 4.74m. The channel's night culminated with Match Of The Day's 3.47 million. BBC2's Restoring England's Heritage had eight hundred and six thousand viewers from 7pm, with a Dad's Army repeat and Qi XL drawing respective audiences of 1.68m and 1.13m from 830pm and 9pm. ITV's The Chase drew 3.07m in the 7pm hour and The Jonathan Ross Show continued to struggle with 2.53m from 10.10pm. On Channel Four, Walking Through History was seen by eight hundred and ninety one thousand in the 8pm hour. The Reese Witherspoon movie This Means War attracted eight hundred and forty six thousand afterwards. Channel Five's live boxing bout between Stuart Hall (no, the other one) and Randy Caballero was watched by five hundred and forty four thousand from 8.30pm. On the multichannels, ITV3's Midsomer Murders had an audience of eight hundred and ninety four thousand from 9pm.

And, Strictly's dominance over The X Factor continued on Sunday with an audience of 9.54 million as former rugby star Thom Evans's made a surprise exit between 7.20pm and 8pm on Sunday. Its Sunday night lead over the ITV Show was over three times larger than the previous week when the difference between the shows had been a mere five hundred thousand. The X Factor had 7.62 million for its results show between 8pm and 9pm, down by around seven hundred thousand viewers from last week's average. Downton Abbey's latest snoot-fest was watched by 7.57m at 9pm. Strictly had the advantage on Sunday of following BBC1's popular Countryfile, watched by 6.7 million viewers between 6.20pm and 7.20pm. Antiques Roadshow appealed to 5.47m at 8pm. The excellent documentary Tutankhamun: The Truth Uncovered drew 2.91m at 9pm and Match Of The Day 2 scored 2.55m (23.5%) at 10.35pm as yer actual Keith Telly Topping's beloved (though unsellable) Magpies picked up their first away win of the season at Stottingtot Hotshots. The X Factor had to piggyback on ITV's new Bradley Walsh game show Keep It In The Family, which began with 3.21 million viewers, down seventeen per cent on ITV's three-month slot average. Speed With Guy Martin was back for a second series on Channel Four with 1.65 million viewers from 8pm, ahead of BBC2's Wonders Of The Monsoon, with 1.6 million. Human Universe attracted 1.11m to BBC2 at 7pm, whilst Afghanistan: Lion's Last Roar had 1.03m at 9pm. On Channel Four, the latest episode of Homeland was watched by 1.20m at 9pm. Channel Five's broadcast of the risible Angels & Demons was seen by 1.07m. Foo Fighters: Sonic Highways on BBC4 attracted one hundred and thirty two thousand viewers. The Scum's last-gasp 1-1 draw with Moscow Chelseki FC was watched by just under two million viewers on Sky Sports 1 between 3.30pm and 7pm, with a five-minute peak of 3.2 million – the most watched programme of the day on pay-TV channels. The BBC3 repeat of Doctor Who had an overnight of one hundred and fifty thousand viewers.

ITV crime drama Grantchester rose by around five hundred thousand overnight viewers from the previous episode to top Monday's ratings. Perhaps thanks to New Tricks concluding last week, the period drama appealed to an average of 4.63 million from 9pm. Earlier, Countrywise brought in 3.35m at 8pm. BBC1's Inside Out interested 3.19m at 7.30pm, whilst the documentary Baby P: The Untold Story was seen by 2.38m at 8.30pm. On BBC2, University Challenge was watched by 2.66m at 8pm, followed by Only Connect with 1.92m at 8.30pm. Intruders launched with nine hundred and fifty one thousand at 9pm, while its second episode fell to seven hundred and one thousand at 9.45pm. Channel Four's How To Sell Your Home attracted 1.01m at 8.30pm, followed by Twenty Four Hours In Police Custody with 1.57m at 9pm and Eight Out Of Ten Cats with 1.22m at 10pm. On Channel Five, Marilyn Monroe: The Missing Evidence had an audience of eight hundred and fifty six thousand at 8pm. Under The Dome continued with six hundred and thirty eight thousand at 10pm. Gotham's latest episode held steady from last week, rising slightly to 1.36m at 9pm.

BBC1's new drama The Missing topped Tuesday's overnight ratings outside soaps, opening with 5.76m at 9pm. On BBC2, Great Interior Design Challenge brought in 1.60m at 7pm, followed by the start of a new series of Autumnwatch with 2.67m at 8pm and Human Universe with 1.63m at 9pm. ITV's Wilderness Walks With Ray Mears gathered 2.31m at 7.30pm, while a repeat of Midsomer Murders appealed to 1.95m at 8pm. On Channel Four, Obsessive Compulsive Cleaners drew an audience of 1.66m at 8pm, You Can't Get the Staff attracted 1.13m at 9pm, while Gogglebox had 1.08m at 10pm. Channel Five's Caught On Camera was seen by eight hundred and forty four thousand at 8pm, followed by the CSI series finale with 1.05m at 9pm. On BBC3, the new well-trailed series Life Is Toff was seen by five hundred and eighteen thousand at 10pm. Sky1's new series The Flash began with five hundred and ninety eight thousand. Storage Hunters UK attracted big audiences for Dave. The new series launched with 1.05 million viewers at 8pm, followed by a second episode with nine hundred and forty nine thousand.

Here's the final and consolidated ratings figures for the Top Twenty Five programmes for week-ending Sunday 19 October 2014:-
1 Strictly Come Dancing - Sat BBC1 - 10.30m
2 Downton Abbey - Sun ITV - 9.75m
3 The X Factor - Sun ITV - 8.97m
4 Coronation Street - Wed ITV - 8.91m
5 The Apprentice - Tues BBC1 - 8.22m
6 EastEnders - Mon BBC1 - 7.81m
7 Emmerdale - Wed ITV - 7.08m
8 Doctor Who - Sat BBC1 - 6.71m
9 Countryfile - Sun BBC1 - 6.15m
10 New Tricks - Mon BBC1 - 5.84m
11= Lewis - Fri ITV - 5.50m*
11= Antiques Roadshow -Sun BBc1 - 6.60m
13 Grantchester - Mon ITV - 5.12m*
14 Pointless Celebrities - Sat BBC1 - 5.11m
15 Our Girl - Sun BBC1 - 4.93m
16 The Great Fire - Thurs ITV - 4.91m*
17 Six O'Clock News - Mon BBC1 - 4.91m
18 Casualty - Sat BBC1 - 4.90m
19 Have I Got News For You - Fri BBC1 - 4.79m
20 Scott & Bailey - Wed ITV - 4.64m*
21 Holby City - Tues BBC1 - 4.59m
22 Ten O'Clock News - Thurs BBC1 - 4.50m
23 Not Going Out - Fri BBC1 - 4.39m
24= The ONE Show - Tues BBC1 - 4.36m
24= BBC News - Sun BBC1 - 4.36m
ITV programmes marked '*' do not include include HD figures. Doctor Who's consolidated figure for Flatline included a timeshift above the initial 'live' audience of over two million viewers (2.17 million to be exact), the eighth time in nine episodes this series that this has occurred. Saturday evening's episode of The X Factor had a final rating of 8.39 million viewers. Strictly Come Dancing's Sunday episode drew 9.61 million. BBC2's highest rated programme of the week wasUniversity Challenge with 3.12m. Trust me, I'm A Doctor drew 3.02m, followed by The Apprentice: You're Fired (2.80m), Only Connect (2.25m), Peaky Blinders (2.20m), The Great British Bake Off Masterclass (2.16m) and Qi (2.15m). Channel Four's top-rated show was Grand designs (2.42m) followed by Stan Up To Cancer (2.13m) and Homeland (2.11m). Channel Five's best performers were the opening episode of Gotham with an excellent 3.20m and CSI: Crime Scene Investigation with 1.88m. Midsomer Murders was ITV3's largest rated programme with nine hundred and fifty eight thousand. The Code drew BBC4's biggest audience of the week (seven hundred and twenty one thousand). Cosmonauts: How Russia Won The Space Race was watched by five hundred and seventy nine thousand.

Yer actual Benedict Cumberbatch featured in a new trailer promoting BBC Drama this week. The Sherlock actor has recorded William Shakespeare's 'All the World's a Stage' monologue from As You Like It for the promo, which was before The Missing on BBC1 on Tuesday evening. The promo featured moments from BBC dramas of the past, present and future. Upcoming dramas featured in the trailer included the adaptation of JK Rowling's The Casual Vacancy, Esio Trot starring Dame Judi Dench and Dustin Hoffman, Damian Lewis drama Wolf Hall, Jimmy McGovern's new series Banished, the new version of Poldark, Susanna Clarke's Strange and Norrell, One Child and The Interceptor. Past dramas featured included the likes of The Singing Detective, House Of Cards, Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, This Life, Pride and Prejudice, Criminal Justice, Small Island, [spooks] and Life On Mars. Doctor Who, Last Tango In Halifax, Sherlock, Call The Midwife, Line Of Duty, Happy Valley, EastEnders and Luther were also included. BBC Drama Controller Ben Stephenson said: 'It's a privilege to premiere a new trailer tonight that celebrates BBC Drama. Who better than yer actual Benedict Cumberbatch to narrate this special film that showcases the BBC's unique role in nurturing talent and its powerful storytelling from the past, present and future.'
The first images from the upcoming Dad's Army movie have been revealed. Bill Nighy and Catherine Zeta-Jones lead the cast in the big-screen reboot of the classic sitcom. The film will see Nighy play Wilson and Zeta-Jones take on the role of glamorous journalist Rose. Toby Jones is starring as Captain Mainwaring, with Oliver Parker directing. Blake Harrison will play Pike, with Sir Michael Gambon as Godfrey, Daniel Mays as Walker, Sir Tom Courtenay as Jonesy and Bill Paterson as Fraser. Shooting on the movie version - which counts Perry among its executive producers - begins this month on location in Yorkshire. The cast is, undeniably, terrific although the fact that the director and the scriptwriter's last collaboration was Johnny English Reborn does not, exactly, fill one with confidence that it'll be an unsurpassed masterpiece.
Meanwhile, is this the greatest tabloid headline since Becks Wears My Keks? I think it might be.
And now, because we always like to give the public what they want here at From The North, a photo of yer actual Victoria Coren Mitchell her very self looking stunning when guest presenting Have I Got News For You last week.
After the horrors suffered watching that odious, risible, unfunny lanky streak of piss Jack Whitehall stink up the gaff in the previous episode, Qi XL was back on the ball in its latest episode with Alan Davies, Frank Skinner, Sue Perkins and Josh Widdecombe all on particularly fine form. Loved the bit where Stephen Fry got to demonstrate 'fun with liquid nitrogen and magnets'!
Sherlock star and co-creator Mark Gatiss his very self is to play Peter Mandelson, the spin doctor during the New Labour era in a TV drama based on the back room deals that led to the coalition government in 2010. Blimey, I know some of Mark's Doctor Who episodes haven't proved a hit with some of The Special People but, turning him into The Prince of Darkness, that's a bit much. The one-off Channel Four drama, Coalition, aims to portray the 'astonishing rise' (if not, necessarily, the subsequent spectacular fall) of deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, a 'rank outsider' who 'would decide the fate of the country'. And, proceeded to complete bugger it up. Gatiss would seem perfectly placed for the role of Mandelson. He has already claimed to have drawn inspiration from the politician, credited with rebranding the Labour party during the 1990s, for the part of Mycroft Holmes, Sherlock's older, smarter brother, who secretly runs the government in the hit drama, once saying he imbued the character with 'reptilian and Mandelsonian' qualities. Bertie Carvel, who won several awards for his performance as Miss Trunchbull in the stage adaptation of Roald Dahl's Matilda, is cast as Clegg. Mark Dexter, of The Bletchley Circle and Ripper Street, plays David Cameron and Ian Grieve takes on the role of Gordon Brown, a part he has already taken on in the play The Confessions Of Gordon Brown. Channel Four said that the drama, due to be broadcast in 2015, will deliver 'penetrating insight into one of the most influential and significant political decisions of recent years.' Written by James Graham, whose political play This House, set at the end of James Callaghan's Labour government, was a hit at the National Theatre, Coalition 'charts the emotional wrought, politically charged and often frenzied moments which led to Nick Clegg's astonishing rise from rank outsider to the man who would decide the fate of the country.' Graham told the Sunday Times: 'As with many of the parts Gatiss has played, there is that slight darkness, slight edge that Mandelson has. But he also has the capacity for that three-dimensional pathos. We also need to avoid Mandelson descending into the stereotype.'

If you missed it on Tuesday, dear blog reader, allow this blogger to highly recommend Janina Ramirez's superb BBC4 documentary Architects Of The Divine: The First Gothic Age in which Nina - a big favourite of all of us here at From The North - looked back at the Fourteenth Century, a time when craftsman and their patrons created the Perpendicular Gothic, a new form of architecture that was to be Britain’s first cultural style. A little, thoughtful, handsomely shot gem. Catch it on iPlayer.
ITV's thriller Wire In The Blood is the latest British-made series to be optioned for a US TV remake. ABC - the company which is also said to be working on a Silk remake - is planning to adapt the Robson Green drama, Deadline reports. Based on the 'Bradfield' novels by Scottish crime writer Val McDermid, Wire In The Blood ran for six series between 2002 and 2008. Wor Geet Canny Robson starred as the troubled, but brilliant, clinical psychologist Tony Hill, with Hermione Norris playing his police partner Carol Jordan for the first three series. Simone Lahbib later replaced Norris as Alex Fielding for the fourth, fifth and sixth series. Also featuring Emma Handy and Mark Letheren, Wire In The Blood was, actually, really jolly good and has recently undergone a complete repeat run on ITV3. The American version, if it's made, will be written by AM Holmes - the crime novelist and former producer of Showtime's The L Word. 'Bringing the iconic character Tony Hill to American audiences has been a passion of ours for a number of years,' said David Hoberman, executive producer for Mandeville Films and Television. Other UK series being adapted for US television this development season include The IT Crowd on NBC and Friday Night Dinner on CBS. One of Robson former starring vehicles, Touching Evil was also the subject of a US remake, produced by actor Bruce Willis's production company, Cheyenne Enterprises/ But, it was crap.

Sherlock, Doctor Who and Tom Riley were among the winners at the 2014 BAFTA Cymru Awards, isn't it? The awards, which are held annually to celebrate achievements by performers and production staff in Welsh-made films and television programmes, took place in Cardiff on Sunday evening. Sherlock was the biggest winner of the night, collecting three awards. The popular detective drama picked up the award for Television Drama. It also won in the technical categories, with Arwel Wyn Jones picking up the award for Production Design for his work on the show. Claire Pritchard-Jones also won the Make Up and Hair category for Sherlock. Doctor Who picked up the award for Special, Visual Effects and Graphics, with Tîm Effeithiau and the Effects Team winning the category for their work on the BBC's long-running family SF drama. Tom Riley was named Best Actor for his work on Da Vinci's Demons, while Rhian Blythe won Best Actress for Gwaith/Cartref. Griff Rhys Jones won the award for Best Presenter for his work on A Great Welsh Adventure, while The Call Centre was named Best Factual Series. Nerys Hughes won the BAFTA Special Award for Outstanding Contribution to Television. There's lovely.

The Fall has released the first trailer for the forthcoming series two. Yer actual Gillian Anderson shared the video on her Twitter account on Sunday. Which is very nice because, of course, it gives this blogger an excuse to illustrate this with another image of Gill her very self. Never a chore, frankly. The BBC recently confirmed that second series of The Fall will begin on Thursday 13 November on BBC2.
And from that to this week's Top Telly Tips:-

Saturday 1 November
'Clara Oswald has never existed.' In, Dark Water, the first of the two-part Doctor Who series finale - 8:15 BBC1 - The Doctor finally comes face-to-face with Missy, the mysterious woman who has been popping up throughout the series, greeting various dead characters as they have entered what she and her assistant, Seb, have variously described as 'The Promised Land', 'Heaven', 'the afterlife' and 'the Nethersphere'. It turns out that plans have been drawn up and an impossible choice is looming, as the sinister organisation known only as 3W promises: 'Death is not an end'. Oh, and The Cybermen invade London. Again. Plus, what, exactly, is the deal with Clara. Yer actual Peter Capaldi and Jenna Coleman her very self star, with guest appearances from Michelle Gomez and Capaldi's former The Thick of It co-star Chris Addison.
Another week, another new slot for Qi XL - this time, the quote ludicrously late hour of 11:15 on BBC2. Yep, that seems to finally nail the notion that someone at the BBC simply doesn't want anybody to watch the damn thing. Anyway, question master Stephen Fry continues the comedy panel quiz's exploration of subjects beginning with the letter L as he asks a range of fiendish questions about Lenses, Lungs and Legs. With comedian and The Last Leg co-host Josh Widdicombe, Jo Brand, Phill Jupitus and regular panellist Alan Davies.
Frankenstein & The Vampyre: A Dark And Stormy Night - 9:00 BBC2 - is part of the BBC's Gothic Season and is, as you might expect from the title, an exploration of one of the most significant moments in Gothic fiction history. The night of what the horror novelist Stephen King once called 'one of the maddest British tea party of all time', when Lord Byron, Mary and Percy Bysshe Shelley and John Polidori gathered together on the shores of Lake Geneva at the Villa Diodati, to tell each other ghost stories. This docu-drama is based on the group's letters, journals and diaries and examines what happened the night the tale of Victor Frankenstein, the modern Prometheus, and his wretched creature, as well as the modern vampire were born. Including contributions by authors Neil Gaiman, Charlaine Harris and Margaret Atwood.
In the latest episode of Walking Through History - 8:00 Channel Four - yer actual Tony Robinson visits the Cairngorms National Park to discover how Queen Victoria and Prince Albert helped shape Scottish traditions and imagery, such as tartan, bagpipes and caber-tossing. Starting in Pitlochry, he traverses the Killiecrankie Pass, where the Jacobites won the Battle of Killiecrankie, and ends his trek at Balmoral and the fantasy castle Albert built as his and Victoria's Highland escape.
Sunday 2 November
This week's Storyville - 9:00 BBC4 - is a documentary chronicling the American magician James Randi's attempts to expose supposed faith healers, fortune-tellers and psychics who have borrowed tricks from illusionists and masters of prestidigitation like Randi himself - and his British counterpart, Derren Brown - to swindle the gullible. The programme examines his rivalry with spoon-bending mentalist Uri Geller, as well as how he exposed evangelist Peter Popoff's use of in-ear receivers in the 1980s.

Carrie receives a tip from Redmond regarding Quinn's lead, Saul calls in a favour with an old friend in the Pakistani military and Fara uncovers a deep-rooted conspiracy in Homeland - 9:00 Channel Four. Homeland always has been good at planting conundrums like a trail of breadcrumbs for the audience to follow, and so far series four hasn't disappointed in the way that the last couple of years have. Such as: who was the 'dark asset' that Sandy (the dead CIA station chief) was trading secrets with? Was Langland in on the arrangement? Who is the long-haired man Quinn spotted on footage of the street mob, wearing an earpiece? Does his presence mean the mob was the work of Pakistani intelligence? What were the drugs young Aayan hid at his friend's house? And not forgetting, will Carrie get it on with Quinn? The answer to some, all or, indeed, none of these questions may be answered tonight. CIA drama, starring Claire Danes, with guest appearances from Mad Men's Mark Moses and Art Malik.
No television documentary on any kind of horror theme can resist images of bubbling liquids in chemistry flasks, or fractured, flickering bits of jagged film. So it will surprise no one that Alice Roberts's leaf through Mary Shelley's Frankenstein is accompanied by all of these in The Secret Life of Books - 8:30 BBC4. If you haven’t read this Gothic horror classic then maybe Alice her very self will pique your interest. Poor Victor Frankenstein and his creature have been cruelly abused at the hands of Hollywood. But Shelley's source material is a complex, layered novel, which, Alice hears, roams widely through varied and numerous philosophical ideas when she examines the original manuscript at the Bodleian Library in Oxford. Alice also visits Villa Diodati where, during the long, dark, wet summer of 1816 Mary Godwin, her husband-to-be Percy Shelley, their pal Lord Byron and his doctor, John Polidori amused one another by making up ghost stories.
Monday 3 November
Jack returns home to find Amy sleeping soundly in bed, but his relief at her reappearance is short-lived when she asks for a divorce the next day. Meanwhile, Gary calls with alarming news, Madison hitches a ride to Seattle as she tries to evade capture, and a deal from Richard's past continues to haunt him. The real interest lies with terrifying devil-child Madison (the brilliant young actress Millie Brown), who reveals an unnerving knowledge of Mozart to the startled woman she's bribed into giving her a lift to Seattle. None of this can end well. Supernatural thriller, starring John Simm and Mira Sorvino.
Sidney takes Geordie to Johnny Johnson's London jazz club, hoping to leave their worries in Grantchester for the night, but the backstage murder of Johnny's sister Claudette puts paid to that in the latest episode of Grantchester - 9:00 ITV. When Archie, the victim's father and owner of the club, calls in a police officer pal to crack the case, Geordie immediately detects the copper is corrupt, while Sidney makes an important discovery about Claudette that she had kept hidden from all but those closest to her. As every lead seems to come back to Archie's violent past, recriminations within the family begin to play out.
Cobblepot turns up at Gordon's apartment and passes on information that Maroni and Falcone are at war about development plans for the Arkham district in Gotham - 9:00 Channel Five. The detective and Bullock are assigned to the case of a murdered councillor and his aide, and when another politician is found burned alive at the asylum, Gordon deduces that the gangsters are trying to sway the vote in their preferred directions. However, Ed Nygma's research reveals the same peculiar murder weapon was used for all of the killings. Crime thriller, starring Ben McKenzie.

Former national heartthrob David Tennant investigates the Bard's tale of monarchy, madness, murder and suicide, asking what it is about the play's title character that remains so compelling four hundred years after his creation in My Shakespeare - 9:00 Sky Arts 1. With his own acclaimed performance as Hamlet in 2008 still fresh in the mind, David talks to a variety of other former Hamlets, including Simon Russell Beale, Jude Law and Ben Whishaw, to discover some of the challenges of playing the vengeful Danish prince.
Tuesday 4 November
Possibly the most feared and respected chef in the country replaces Michel Roux Jr as a judge in the new series of MasterChef: The Professionals - 8:00 BBC2. Anyone who's seen Marcus Wareing on Great British Menu- or, indeed, on various guest appearances on MasterChef itself - knows how tough Gregg Wallace's new oppo can be. Yet, oddly, he's all cheery smiles and encouraging chat as he meets the first five professional chefs taking their places in the brand new MasterChef kitchen. The other good news is that the equally fierce, scowling Monica Galetti is still on board and ready, as usual, to make grown men cry for their mummy. Here, setting a really difficult skills test in today’s edition: assembling a croquembouche in twenty minutes. Piss easy. In this first heat, five chefs from around the nation have an hour to cook a dish that showcases just what they can do, before one must leave. The remaining four chefs then face Monica's skills test, before Marcus asks them to prepare an inspired plate of food featuring quail, with the judges deciding which three make it through to the next round. Continues tomorrow.
Professor Brian Cox (no, the other one) concludes his exploration of humanity's place in the cosmos by examining what the future holds in Human Universe - 9:00 BBC2. In Florida, he learns about the latest efforts to protect Earth from potential catastrophic events and joins a team of NASA astronauts who are in a submerged laboratory that simulates space as they train for a future mission to an asteroid - should one ever be discovered heading to Earth. At the National Ignition Facility in California, the physicist witnesses the world's most successful fusion experiment in action, one which he believes may unlock a way to the stars that will not destroy the planet in the process. Coxy his very self is good at creating awe and his almost poetic wonder over the massive massiveness of the Saturn V makes it clear to the viewer the staggering power which  was needed to escape the Earth's gravitational pull. His bigger point is that the rocket was based on the same technology our furthest ancestors used: fire. But fire has now taken our civilisation as far as it can, he says. 'What next for the apes who went to space?' Last in the series.

It's three days after Oliver went missing, and with little information to go on, suspicion falls on a known paedophile living in the area in the second episode of The Missing - 9:00 BBC1. With the police keeping Tony and Emily in the dark, Tony is tempted to learn more from an ambitious journalist who claims to have obtained information about the suspect in custody. In the present day, the father's campaign to have the investigation reopened gathers momentum when he and Julien, the detective in charge of the original case, find the first piece of concrete evidence. Drama about the disappearance of a five-year-old boy on a family holiday to France in 2006, and the father's search for the child eight years later. Jimmy Nesbitt, Tcheky Karyo, Frances O'Connor and Jason Flemyng star.

In the second of two Imagine programmes - 10:35 BBC1 - we learn how the end of the Second World War signalled the beginning of another battle in the German art world. Many people continued to work in the museum jobs they had held during Nazi times, so people involved in looting art might now be in charge of deciding whether to return it. However, for families of collectors who had lost their art there seemed no hope. Only now, with the discovery of the Gurlitt hoard in Munich, have some of their expectations been raised - and old disappointments been repeated. Presented by Alan Yentob.

Wednesday 5 November
 The students are shocked by the return of Gabriella Wark to Waterloo Road - 8:00 BBC1 - and despite her claims that she has turned over a new leaf, she gets a frosty welcome from Kacey, whose hopes of competing in the Commonwealth Games were ended in the accident caused by the trouble-maker. Taking their friend's lead, Lisa and Shaznay mark the returnee out as an easy target. Allie feels uneasy as Vaughan and the boys prepare to visit Olga on her birthday - and with the couple so wrapped up in their own problems, they don't notice Justin and Tiffany are growing closer. Hector finds an ally in Sue - and it soon becomes clear there's a chemistry between them.
Michael Portillo ventures once more onto the European rail network to retrace journeys featured in George Bradshaw's 1913 publication Continental Guide, beginning by travelling through Russia in Great Continental Railway Journeys - 9:00 BBc2. He starts in the industrial city of Tula, before visiting Leo Tolstoy's former home of Yasnaya Polyana and learning how the author's life and works were intertwined with the railways. Michael then boards the train that runs from the Caspian Sea to Moscow, where he performs an important role in a dramatic opera at the Bolshoi Theatre, before exploring the beauty and history of St Petersburg and riding on the first railway ever built in Russia. Hate to admit it, dear blog reader, but I really do rather enjoy Mister Portaloo's TV programmes and, especially, his rail travelogues. Ever since he got out of parliament he seems, shockingly, to have turned himself into a relatively nice human being. Who'd have predicted that? More Tories should try it, frankly. This blogger nominates Iain Duncan Smith for a kick-off.
Secrets Of The Universe: Great Scientists In Their Own Words - 9:00 BBc4 - is, as the title might suggest, a documentary following the stories of renowned physicists of the Twentieth Century and the discoveries they made, told in their own words. Yeah, like I say, you got that from the title, right? Archive material provides an insight into the lives and personalities of the men and women who transformed people's understanding of the universe, from unlocking the secrets of the atom to solving the mysteries of the cosmos. The human side of scientific endeavour is revealed, showing how the advances made depended greatly on the character and personality of the scientists involved. A look at the personalities behind a century of paradigm-shifting discoveries in physics, we start with Einstein, obviously, though the programme perhaps misses a trick by not really allowing the great man to speak for himself. Instead, we get a voiceover run down of his relativity theories. Thankfully we hear more from the most engaging and loquacious of physicists: Richard Feynman. His enthusiasm is utterly infectious. 'I get a kick out of thinking about these things. I can't stop; I could talk for ever,' he notes. Narrated by Michael Pennington.

DiNozzo, McGee and the FBI continue to track political connections to a case, and Bishop sends  Tony a souvenir in the latest episode of NCIS - 9:00 FOX. Meanwhile, Gibbs and Special Agent Pride chase leads in New Orleans after evidence points to a copycat killer. Starring Mark Harmon, David McCallum and Pauley Perrette with a guest appearance from the very excellent Scott Bakula.

Thursday 6 November
Mike Read presents an edition of Top Of The Pops - 7:30 BBC4 - first broadcast on 1 November 1979. That's, if he hasn't been banished from the airwaves for his astoundingly ill-advised UKiP Calypso malarkey before then, of course. Featuring performances by Sparks, The Ramblers, Darts, The Jam (aw, yeah!), Lene Lovich, Thin Lizzy, Suzi Quatro, BA Robertson and Lena Martell. Plus, dance sequences by Legs & Co.
The importance of homes to animals, not only as a place to live but as a shelter from the elements and a refuge from enemies is the focus of Life Story - 9:00 BBC1. A pack of African hunting dogs have made their home on a vast plain in Zambia, but it's far from safe as they must battle hyenas and protect their young. Hermit crabs on a tropical island settle down in empty snail shells - and when a new property washes ashore, they all form a queue, then move up the housing chain until all the shells are taken. On the edge of the Sahara are chimpanzees, whose survival relies on knowing where to find water in the most extreme droughts. Here the elders lead a troop on a brutal trek to a dried-out riverbed to dig wells. On of the joys of this series is the way David Attenborough can leap between different continents in the blink of an eye. So as well as the hunting dogs we have the struggles of weaver ants in Australia defending their nest – built by using their own grubs like portable glue guns. And if you've never encountered a pika before – a mousy little rodent in the Rockies – he's a cheeky little character.

It is the day of the Epsom Derby and Tommy is there to carry out the mission given to him by Major Campbell, but he plans to turn the situation to his advantage by bringing his gang to the racecourse and striking a blow against Sabini in the final episode of Peaky Blinders - 9:00 BBC2. However, more than one of his adversaries have forged secret schemes, and as he readies his troops, Tommy receives shocking news that will change everything. Writer Steven Knight has spent the preceding episodes winding up the springs of his plots and subplots and now it's time: That's one cog in Tommy’s plan. He also has to murder an Army officer on behalf of Winston Churchill (so it can be blamed on Irish rebels) and avoid being killed by Campbell afterwards. The trouble is – so often the case with Tommy – that matters of the heart have a way of interposing themselves at the worst possible moment. Superb period gangster drama, starring Cillian Murphy and Sam Neill. Last in the series.
Fred And Rose: The Untold Story - 10:00 Channel Five - is a documentary examining the crimes and motives of serial-killing couple Fred and Rose West, using testimonies from family members and those who were close to the pair as well as dramatic reconstructions. Once could try to ignore the ghoulish reconstructions which pepper this lurid series about the folie a deux that was the Wests. But, however much you might wish to turn away from yet another examination of their sick and murderous depravity, it's still a story which exerts a powerful hold. An impressive cluster of criminal psychologists, authors and behavioural experts – even West's brother Doug – lead us through Fred's early years in Herefordshire as an oafish jack-the-lad to his eventual meeting at a bus stop with a teenage Rose Letts. The pair were sexual sadists who would go on to progress from an unhealthy interest in S&M to torture, rape and murder young women at their Gloucester home. The opening programme explores the events in their early lives that may have led to them becoming murderers, starting with their chance meeting in Cheltenham when she was fifteen and he was twenty seven. The film investigates whether the couple's behaviour was rooted in their childhoods, with Fred West's claims that he was sexually abused by his parents denied by them in their first full-length interview.

Friday 7 November
Jo Brand takes charge for another half-hour of laughs pulled from the news in Have I Got News For You - 9:00 BBC1. With guests including Pointless co-host Richard Osman joining team captains Ian Hislop and Paul Merton to take some well-aimed potshots at the week's headlines and other stories.

You can debate the virtues of the ideal Qi guest, but tonight's is a pretty perfect line-up - 10:00 BBC2. Sara Pascoe, Bill Bailey and the Reverend Richard Coles all have so much to chip in and riff with that the episode reaches some kind of comedy plateau where the questions feel almost like an interruption to the general flow of drollery. Sara, one of this blogger's favourite comediennes, has astonishing facts about rats' love lives, Bill, in his usual surreal way, objects to the phrase 'the birds and the bees' on the basis that bees are 'sexless lackeys for a monstrous sugar giant' - the lad's got a point - and Richard ponders the uselessness of a tie rack in a vicarage. He also enlightens us on what it means to be soundly firked. That's firked dear blog reader. Yer actual 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 L-themed Larks - a 'Liblabble', as he calls it.
A case from thirteen years earlier returns to haunt Robbie when the evidence comes under review in Lewis - 9:00 ITV. Graham Lawrie was incarcerated in a secure psychiatric hospital after being found guilty of the murders of three police officers, but now the findings of the forensics lab have been called into question and an appeal has been launched. As Lawrie remains locked up ahead of his day in court, PC Mark Travis is lured to an isolated location with a hoax call and falls victim to a killer who uses the same weapon as that used in the original murders. The title of this penultimate episode – Beyond Good and Evil – gives viewers a clanging great Nietzsche alert, a heads up that every serial killer's favourite philosopher will hang heavily over the plot. And so he does. There are big close-ups of the titular book as the murderer of three police officers in 2001 prepares for an appeal hearing. Robbie was the investigating officer and there are claims that the DNA evidence was compromised. Anger and tension crackle between Lewis and Hathaway after another police officer dies in exactly the same way as the first trio of victims. Surely the convicted killer can't be to blame? Or is he, in the way of TV multiple murderers, a clever, Hannibal Lecter-type puppet-master?
The hunters become the hunted when the discovery of a mutilated corpse leads Liz to investigate the bloody underworld of animal poaching in the latest episode of The Blacklist - 9:00 Sky Living. As Red provides a lead on who could be behind the murder, Ressler develops an unhealthy habit. Drama, starring James Spader, Megan Boone, Diego Klattenhoff and Harry Lennix.

Or, if you prefer your comedy about as funny as a serious case of testicular rot, there's always Citizen Khan - 8:30 BBC1.

And now, dear blog reader, for today's ...
It's the truly Earth-shattering question of whether Wee Shughie McFee, the sour-faced Scottish chef off Crossroads will be giving Wor Geet Stroppy Cheryl Fernandez-Versini-Whatsherface back on the judging panel for The X Factor in 2015. That's if there is an X Factor in 2015. A story which was front page news in the Mirra, the Scum Express and the Sun on Monday morning. As if anybody with half-a-frigging-brain in their skull actually gives a monkey's fek about such utter trivia. Here's an idea, lads and lasses of Fleet Street, how about you trying reporting the bloody news for once instead of bollocks like this? There's plenty of it about if you know where to look. No, that's far too much like hard work, isn't it?

Plans for an 'Eric Morecambe Day' and a sculpture of him with comic partner, Ernie Wise, have been proposed after his statue in his home town was vandalised. The Marine Road Central statue was removed after the 11 October incident. Jim Cadman, who will lead the project to create the two new tributes, said the vandalism had become 'a springboard for further celebrating Eric's memory.' A public meeting on Wednesday put forward the new ways to 'achieve a last legacy for Morecambe's favourite son.' Cadman, business partner of the statue's sculptor Graham Ibbeson, said the 'galvanising effect the attack has had in the local community [and] nationwide has been truly inspirational. There seems to be a great willingness to use this as a springboard for a way of further celebrating Eric's memory and the joy he brought to his millions of fans.'
Things we learned from CSI this week: Every single time that Brody, Sara and Finn decide to go on some form of girlies fun time (even if this one was a CSI's conference) carnage and bloody mayhem, inevitably, are never far away.
The actress Elizabeth Norment, who played Nancy Kaufberger, the secretary to Kevin Spacey's character in US TV drama House Of Cards, has died aged sixty one. Spacey paid tribute on Twitter, writing: 'We all loved her and she leaves a void in all of us here at HoC's.' The show's writer Beau Willimon said: 'Everyone at House of Cards is deeply saddened by Elizabeth's passing. She was a talented actress, a warm soul and a good friend to us all.' Norment's character worked for Spacey's politician Frank Underwood, a cunning congressman from South Carolina, in the Netflix series. The actress died in New York on 13 October, her sister told The Hollywood Reporter. She had also previously had roles in the TV shows Law & Order, St Elsewhere, Party of Five, ER and Mad About You. On the big screen, she appeared in The Woman in Red, Runaway and Romy and Michele's High School Reunion.
A painting sold by Sotheby's in London for forty two grand is at the centre of a legal battle amid claims that it could actually be the work of Italian baroque master Caravaggio and worth up to eleven million smackers. Which is quite a bit more than forty two thousand notes, dear blog reader, just in case you were wondering about that. Former owner Bill Thwaytes, of Penrith in Cumbria, has accused the auction house of 'professional negligence.' When it was sold in 2006, it was attributed to 'a follower' of the artist. Thwaytes claimed that more should have been done to determine whether it was by Caravaggio, who died in 1610. The oil painting The Cardsharps depicts a wealthy man falling victim to two cheats at a card table. Ironic, really, considering the kerfuffle it's now causing/ It was bought by the Thwaytes family in 1962 for one hundred and forty quid. Which is quite a bit less than the forty two grand they got for it in 2006 so, you'd imagine they'd be happy with their investment. But, it would seem not. In 2006, Thwaytes asked Sotheby's to value the work and the auction house concluded that the painting was one of several copies made of the original, which is on display at the Kimbell Art Museum in Fort Worth, Texas. In the 1950s, the Thwaytes family sold a genuine Caravaggio, The Musicians, to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. Thwaytes, he claims, 'suspected' his version of The Cardsharps was also likely to be authentic. But Sotheby's decided the copy was not created by the Italian master himself and attributed it to a Seventeenth Century follower. The painting was sold for forty two thousand knicker. But its new owner - a British collector - has declared it to be by Caravaggio and, as a consequence, worth millions. Which it is, or not, is now the subject of some debate. Speaking at the High Court in London on Monday, Henry Legge QC, for Thwaytes, said that the issue was not whether it could be proved on the balance of probabilities that the painting was by Caravaggio. The core of the case, he said, was a claim of negligence. He said that Sotheby's had 'failed to thoroughly research' the painting, consult outside experts or 'properly advise' Thwaytes. Sotheby's is defending the claim and has described suggestions the painting is worth eleven million smackers as 'preposterous.' In papers submitted to the court, the auction house said that its experts were competent to assess the artwork and none of the leading scholars who have examined it since it was sold think it is by Caravaggio. Thwaytes, and some of the world's leading Caravaggio experts, will give evidence at the trial, which is due to last for four weeks.
Police think 'an Oasis fan' may be responsible for breaking into an art gallery to steal a picture of the band. Whether they mean any Oasis fan or one (or more) specific one is, at this time unclear but, just so we're absolutely straight about this, yer actual keith Telly Topping - who is, very much, an Oasis fan - never done it. He has a cast iron alibi. He was in Stately telly Topping Manor at the time of the incident, writing this blog. A window was reportedly smashed at MASA-UK on Bolton Street in Bury, in the early hours of Monday morning. Oh, well, in that case, scrub the last alibi. Yer actual Keith Telly Topping was still in Stately Telly Topping Manor but was in bed with a big dirty woman. Just so we're clear. The black-and-white painting by Olga Tsarevska Loma of the group is inscribed with 'otz2013'. Referencing Oasis songs, PC Katherine Gosling said she was not aware of 'a master plan' behind the theft and that 'some might say' a fan was responsible. Oh look, a funny copper. Almost. Tell you what, stick to the day job, Katherine and leave the comedy to the professionals. She added: 'This was the only piece taken and some might say we are therefore looking for an Oasis fan - similarly it may have been stolen to order. Regardless we are keen to find it and return it.'
A former personal assistant to Adam Clayton of The U2 Group has lost an appeal against her conviction for stealing more than two million smackers from the bass guitarist. In 2012, Carol Hawkins was found extremely guilty of one hundred and eighty one counts of theft from his bank accounts. The judge said she had used the money to fund 'a lavish lifestyle.' The expensive items she bought included twenty two racehorses and a New York apartment. The Irish Court of Criminal Appeal has upheld the conviction. It has still to rule on the severity of her jail term. The former PA was very sentenced to seven years in pokey after her 2012 trial, but later appealed both her conviction and the length of the jail term imposed. Originally from North London, Hawkins later moved to Dublin and took up a position of trust in the multi-millionaire musician's home. Her original trial was told that she embezzled the money from two of Clayton's bank accounts over a four-year period, from 2004 to 2008. The fifty one-year-old, who carried out housekeeping duties for Clayton, reportedly spent the cash on shopping sprees and on her children's education. At the Court of Criminal Appeal in Dublin, her lawyers had argued that her conviction was unsafe on several grounds. These included alleged inadequacies in the disclosure process of her trial, admission of prejudicial evidence and the refusal to exclude witnesses from court during cross-examination.Her barrister told the court that the privacy afforded to Clayton during the 2012 trial had 'effectively hamstrung' Hawkins' defence. However, the three judges who heard her case were having none of it and dismissed all grounds of the appeal. They will rule on her appeal against the jail term within the next few days.

An unmanned supply rocket bound for the International Space Station has exploded shortly after its launch from Virginia. Antares, built by Orbital Sciences Corp, combusted seconds after leaving the seaside launch pad at Wallops Flight Facility. The cause of the cargo ship malfunction has yet to be determined. The initial planned launch of the spacecraft on Monday was delayed due to a yacht in the surrounding danger zone. The flight was expected to be the third contracted mission with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. The rocket was due to carry nearly five thousand pounds of supplies to six astronauts aboard the International Space Station. It included experiment kits for the astronauts to conduct tests on blood flow to the human brain and the analysis of meteors. Officials said there were also some pre-packaged meals and freeze-dried crab cakes on board. 'We will understand what happened, hopefully soon, and we'll get things back on track,' said Frank Culbertson, executive vice-president of Orbital Sciences. 'We've all seen this happen in our business before, and we've all seen the teams recover from this, and we will do the same.'
Two men were thrown out of a UKiP event in Gateshead on Wednesday evening after loudly telling odious rat-faced smear Nigel Farage to 'fuck off back to Toad Hall.' This blogger isn't quite sure why that's thigh-slappingly hilarious rather than just merely, you know, funny. But is it. Michael Holt told The Huffington Post he and Josh Wright decided to launch the protest because they do not like 'the way that political culture in the UK is totally fixated with race and immigration' and that 'Nigel Farage is a big part of the reason that that has been allowed to happen. This is England and I don't want people like him giving our country a bad name around the world by going around spreading his bigotry, stirring up tension and making people wrongly think that the weak and vulnerable are responsible for our nation’s problems,' he said. Good on ya, chaps.

On Tuesday, dear blog reader, much to his own surprise since he hadn't been feeling over clever for the previous couple of yays, yer actual Keith Telly Topping his very self only went and set a new British, European and Commonwealth All Comers PB of thirty one lengths at the pool.
Which he was, you know, delighted about, even if he did need oxygen by the finish. On Wednesday he managed a mere but twenty eight lengths at the pool. Yes, yer actual keith Telly Topping does fully realise that, before Tuesday, 'but twenty eight' would have equalled yer actual's British, European and Commonwealth All Comers PB and all that. But, hey, once you've cracked the thirty barrier - and started comparing yourself to Aquaman - 'but twenty eight' is just 'but twenty eight'. What can yer actual keith Telly Topping tell you dear blog reader? The mathematics are unequivocal.

For the latest Keith Telly Topping's 45 of the Day, dear blog reader, in belated tribute to the late Jack Bruce, here's a taste of yer actual Cream on Beat Club. Check out Clapton's perm, dear blog reader, it's a darzah!

Saturday, October 25, 2014

In The Forest Of The Night: Songs Of Innocence

'You have reached your destination.' 'No we haven't, we're supposed to be in the middle of London.' 'You have reached your destination.' 'Oh, stop saying that!'
'Do you like the forest being in Trafalgar Square? I think it's lovely!' The award-winning screenwriter and novelist Frankie Cottrell Boyce has had a jolly interesting career, dear blog reader, taking in everything from scripting British primetime TV's first lesbian kiss on Brookside - to which he was a regular contributor - and his collaborations with Michael Winterbottom on several films including Twenty Four Hour Party People and Welcome To Sarajevo to his acclaimed contributions to Danny Boyle's 2012 Olympic Opening Ceremony. But, this week, he topped all of them shenanigans by writing the latest episode of Doctor Who. It was called In The Forest Of The Night (and, yes, the title is taken from William Blake, well spotted). The plot: One morning, the human race wakes up to find that the entire planet has been invaded by .... its own trees, as overnight a forest has grown everywhere and taken back the Earth from humanity. The people are, as you might expect, a bit shocked and stunned by all this malarkey but The Doctor knows more than everyone - that this bizarre stranglehold of vegetation means the final days of humanity might well have finally arrived.
'Obviously we wrote all of our scripts [from the eighth series] before we saw [Peter Capaldi],' Boyce told the Radio Times. 'We knew the story and that this guy was going to be older, a bit grumpier, a bit sharper. The minute they had any footage of him they showed [me], but there's an interplay between the writing and what he's trying to bring to it.' With that in mind, what tips and directions did The Lord Thy God Steven Moffat give to Boyce and the other staff writers about writing for Capaldi, he was asked. 'I've had his voice in my head since Local Hero came out in 1980-whatever-it-was,' Boyce noted. 'I think the key note Steven gave was that whereas the other Doctors tell you what they're doing, he'll keep things to himself for a while. Matt would tell you everything, but [Capaldi's Doctor] keeps the process to himself until he acts on it.' It's an approach which Boyce believes echoes another of Moffat's hyperintelligent leading men. 'I guess that's more like Sherlock Holmes,' he added. 'You know the wheels are turning in his head, but he's not really letting you in on the process.'
'A tree is a time machine.' The premise of the episode has The Doctor, Clara, Danny and a gang of precocious Coal Hill pupils - some of whom are more annoying than others, let it be noted - discovering that the whole Earth has been enveloped by trees overnight. 'Don't worry, the trees won't hurt you.' might once have been The Doctor's mantra. Hell, he ever dated a tree once. But, these trees really do have no mercy, it would seem. Meanwhile a young girl in a red hood finds herself - not very originally - lost in this new forest and she might hold the key to solving the predicament. There's an, utterly obvious, environmental message at the heart of the episode as you might expect and, minor criticism, it's not an especially subtle one. Mind you, neither was The Green Death's forty years ago, to be fair. When it comes to things like the environment, subtly isn't one of Doctor Who's strong points. As noted on at least a couple of previous occasions this series, plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose. That's French for 'shut yer effing trap and watch the damn thing instead of whinging' just in case you were wondering. Boyce said that he wanted The Doctor in his episode to be 'removed of his superpowers' and, he is rather powerless here, which is an interesting diversion from the 'all knowing' Doctor Capaldi has presented us with at moments in the last three episodes. As the Doctor exclaims at one point, 'I can fight monsters, I can't fight physics.' He does, thankfully, get to share a couple of properly great scenes with Clara as they ponder the apparent end of the world which might well include some of this blogger's favourite moments of the series.
'You? Have you got a name at all?' As you may expect, dear blog reader, on several level - not least, visually - this is something of a radical departure from the past handful of episodes. It's lighter in tone, if oddly lacking in any obvious direct humour, with a strange and very unconventional story containing no monster of the week to speak of - unless you count the tiger. Nor, indeed, is there really any overt horror element present, apart from the forest itself. Nature is the threat in this episode but, was with Kinda for example, there's a clever Doctor Who twist. The general look and feel of the episode is very impressive. The director, Sheree Folkson who is also making her Doctor Who debut, contributes a visually stunning episode to fit it well with the quasi-fairytale aesthetics in Frankie's script. The accompanying score - from the always reliable Murray Gold - enhances this curiously attractive blend which, again, recalls a handful of the odder, more cerebral and outré episodes from the series past (there's a bit of The Mind Robber, a splash of Castrovalva, a touch of Inferno and a definite hint of The Androids Of Tara floating around in here at various points if you know where to look.Mind you, there's more than a smidgen of Fear Her as well).
'I haven't phoned home, but I know my mum is worried about me.' A number of child actors make up the guest characters this week. Centre stage of them all is Maebh a vulnerable young girl with a haunted past, played by Abigail Eames. As we've discussed previously this year, the casting of child actors can be something of a lottery and having an episode of any series depending for its success on a young child is fraught with dangers at the best of times. We all remember Fear Her. Sadly. It's probably fair to say that In The Forest Of The Night really does need its audience to care about Maebh's thoughts on the world around her for the episode to work. Thankfully, Abigal is really very good here and adds a convincing and charming naivety to the episode. As for the rest of the kids, the performances range from more than adequate - 'anger management' Bradley's good, for instance - to okay at the worst. At least the children are well served with some impressively believable dialogue - what you'd expect from a children's author as good as Frank Cottrell Boyce. One particular stand out is Harley Bird - the voice of Pegga Pig, of course - who plays know-it-all Ruby. In a line reminiscent of Lisa Simpson, Ruby says of the new world they find themselves in. 'There was a forest, there wasn't a forest - nothing surprises us any more.'
'Why would the tress want to kill us? We love trees!' After a few episodes of being relegated to being on the end of phone calls, Danny gets a much larger role here as he takes on the leadership of the Coal Hill kids. Clara's walk down some questionable forest paths continues, of course. Her lying to Danny isn't really followed up in a satisfying way, although one suspects a lot of dangling plot threads are going to be tired together in the forthocming two-part series finale.
Continuity: The Day Of The Doctor ('what are the round bits for?'), The Eleventh Hour ('wood'), The Mark Of The Rani ('trees have no moving parts'), The Ice Warriors ('exactly what they said about the ice age'), Doctor Who & The Silurians ('that;s how this planet grows, a series of catastrophes'), Hide ('she hears voices'), The Doctor Dances ('not everything can be fixed with a screwdriver, it's not a magic wand'), The Long Game ('I've just informed you that a solar fares is going to wipe out your planet'), The Mind Robber, Fear Her, Utopia, Rose ('I don't want to be the last of my kind'), Remembrance Of The Daleks ('the human superpower, forgetting!'), The Ark, Kill The Moon ('I walk this Earth too, I breathe your air') and Mummy On The Orient Express ('what you gonna do, leave them on an asteroid?')
The dialogue is as enjoyable as you'd expect: 'I don't wanna see more things. I wanna see the things that are in front of me more clearly.' And: 'I'm allowed a torch sir, I've got a note. I'm darkness phobic.' And: 'Why are you asking me all the questions? Give someone else a go!' And: 'What are wolves scared of?' And: 'We will create pathways through the trees using carefully controlled fires.' And: 'Do you have an appointment? You need an appointment to see the Doctor.' This particularly blogger loved: 'You need an appointment to see The Doctor.' And: 'Miss Oswald? Dark hair? Highly unpredictable? Surprisingly round face?' And: 'In three hours time, the Ghana Black Star are due to play Sierra Leone in the African Cup of Nations. It does not look like the pitch will be ready!' And: 'Brand new forest?' 'Yes, it's like the New Forest except ... even newer!' And: 'You've got a spaceship, all we've got is Oyster Cards!' And: 'Trees have no moving parts and they don't communicate.' And: 'London has just been taken over by a giant forest, who do you want to talk to, Monty Don?' And: 'What use is "clever" against trees? You can't reason with them, you can't lie to them.' And: 'When the ice age was here, you lot managed to cook mammoth. Now, that there's a forest you'll just have to eat nuts.' 'I can't eat nuts, I've got an allergy!' And: 'She's probably dead by now, anyway. Crushed by Nelson!' And: 'I haven't got an imagination, ask Miss Oswald!' And: 'Any minute now we're gonna find a Gingerbread House with a witch inside!' And: 'Told you they were rubbish!' And: 'There are very good, solid scientific reasons for being really quite frightened just now!' And: 'We were here before you and will be here after you.' And: 'You've been chopping them down for furniture for centuries, if that's love, no wonder they're calling down fire from the heavens.' And: 'Class project - save the Earth.'
'Stick to the path, Red Ridinghood.' As emotional as the episode is, there's still plethora of adventure: 'Stars grow cold, planets implode. Catastrophe is the metabolism of the universe!' proclaims The Doctor on the realisation that this battle may already be over. The episode features some pointed - and slightly disturbing - observations on the way that adults treat children and their innocence ('why does everything have to go?') Boyce's script is literate, witty, informed and in places, very deep and complex. Yet, it's also, simultaneously, the sort of thing that this blogger can imagine a seven year olds understanding, and loving, on a far more basic level. 'Apart from being almost savaged by a tiger and abducted by a Scotsman, she's allowed any nervous ticks she likes!' In The Forest Of The Night is beautiful mixture of ecological polemic, love story, political allegory and comfortingly familiar Doctor Who elements. 'Fear a little bit less, trust a bit more.' Can we have Frank Cottrell Boyce on a permanent transfer, please?
The BBC has announced a special event, held in London and hosted by Frank Skinner, will take place on Monday 17 November, to mark the release of the Doctor Who series eight DVD and Blu-ray set. This will be the first chance the cast have had to reflect on the conclusion of Peter Capaldi's debut series as The Doctor, in front of one hundred and forty lucky fans at a Central London location. BBC Worldwide is offering seventy pairs of tickets for this exclusive event. Fans will be treated to a special screening followed by a Q&A with members of the cast. All they need to do is visit and correctly answer the multiple choice question, when they will subsequently be entered into a prize draw. The competition is now open and will close on Wednesday 29 October. Winners will be selected at random and will be notified within seven days of the closing date. Fans should only enter if they can travel to London for the afternoon of the 17 November. And, if they aren't, you know, one of The Special People. The event venue will be disclosed to winners on their invitation closer to the time. Frank Skinner commented: 'When they asked me to host this event I was over the moon. Luckily the space-dragon incubation period is such that I was in no real danger. I have so many questions I want to ask and, when we're all talked out, I'm planning to finish off by crowd-surfing for ten to fifteen minutes, dressed as Chief Engineer Perkins.' This event continues BBC Worldwide’s celebration of a new Doctor in the world's longest running family SF drama. Earlier this year, yer actual Peter Capaldi and Jenna Coleman her very self travelled the globe visiting Doctor Who fans in Seoul, Sydney, New York City, Mexico City and Rio de Janeiro and this week the interactive and immersive attraction in Cardiff Bay – The Doctor Who Experience – will reopen with an updated adventure featuring the Twelfth Doctor. The DVD and Blu-ray release of The Complete Eighth Series sees The Doctor and Clara encounter previously unimaginable wonders and horrors The time travellers meet a fleet of Daleks as they attempt to rescue a stranded ship of human survivors, face ranks of Cybermen stalking Earth, go back in time and join Robin Hood in a fight with killer robots in Sherwood Forest, become outlaws when they break into the deadliest bank in the cosmos, face a Mummy on the Orient Express, discover a deadly horror dwelling on the Moon and meet the last man standing at the end of the universe. The box set contains all twelve episodes from Peter Capaldi's debut series in the role and is also packed full of extras including four audio commentaries, Doctor Who: The Ultimate Time Lord, Doctor Who: The Ultimate Companion, Doctor Who: Earth Conquest and other stuff.

BBC1's new Sir David Attenborough series Life Story topped the overnight ratings outside soaps on Thursday with 4.41m at 9pm. Earlier, Watchdog appealed to 3.04m at 8pm, and Question Time brought in 2.49m at 10.35pm. On BBC2, Strictly: It Takes Two had an audience of 1.55m at 6.30pm, followed by Big Dreams Small Spaces with 1.35m at 7pm. The Children In Need Sewing Bee gathered 1.66m at 8pm, while the latest episode Peaky Blinders was watched by 1.41m at 9pm. Russell Howard's Good News returned for a new series (and, on a new channel) with 1.27m at 10pm. On ITV, For the Love of Dogs attracted 4.20m at 8.30pm, followed by the second episode of The Great Fire with 2.62m at 9pm. Channel Four's Amazing Spaces was seen by 1.45m at 8pm, while Educating The East End attracted 1.11m at 9pm. Scrotal Recall brought in four hundred and forty five thousand at 10pm. On Channel Five, Underground Britain attracted eight hundred and eighty eight thousand at 8pm, followed by Burglars & Break-Ins with seven hundred and fifty seven thousand at 9pm and Inside Holloway with nine hundred and five thousand at 10pm. The Big Bang Theory returned with impressive ratings for E4. The US sitcom amused an average 1.65 million viewers.

Marvel's Agents of SHIELD returned to more than a million overnight viewers on Channel Four on Friday. The opening episode of the second season was watched by an average audience of 1.1 million from 8pm. It was followed by Gogglebox, which had an audience of 2.95 million at 9pm, and Alan Carr: Chatty Man with 1.34 million at 10pm. Channel Four's evening ended with five hundred and sixty thousand for The Feeling Nuts Comedy Night at 10pm. With an average audience of 4.33 million at 9pm, BBC1's Have I Got News For You was among the evening's most watched shows. The latest episode of Lewis also proved popular, playing to an average audience of 4.31 million at 9pm on ITV. Secrets From The Sky attracted 2.3 million viewers for ITV at 8pm. BBC1's evening began with 3.77 million for The ONE Show at 7pm, followed by 2.88 million for A Question Of Sport at 7.30pm. After an episode of EastEnders, BBC1's night continued with 3.14 million for Would I Lie to You? at 8.30pm, and 3.35 million for Not Going Out at 9.30pm. With guests including yer actual Benedict Cumberbatch and Miranda Hart, The Graham Norton Show rounded off the night with 3.45 million at 10.35pm. The final episode of BBC2's Big Dreams Small Spaces entertained 1.3 million at 7pm, followed by 1.59 million for The Children In Need Sewing Bee at 8pm. Tom Kerridge's Best Ever Dishes continued with nine hundred and ten thousand at 9pm, Gardeners' World had 1.22 million at 9.30pm and Qi finished the evening off for the channel with 1.69 million at 10pm. On Channel Five, Rome: The World's First Superpower was seen by eight hundred and fifty five thousand at 8pm, followed by seven hundred and ninety five thousand for Alex Polizzi's Secret Italy and six hundred and nineteen thousand for Body Of Proof at 10pm. BBC4's showing of Agnetha: Abba & After was among the highest-rated multichannel shows with five hundred and seventy thousand at 11pm.

Miranda will come to an end with two Christmas specials. The sitcom's creator and star Miranda Hart confirmed the news during an interview to promote a new book about the series. When asked by Radio 2's Steve Wright why she had chosen to release The Best of Miranda, the award-winning comic actress explained: 'Because I'm actually coming to the end of the whole sitcom. This is the first time I'm saying it out loud, so it's a bit weird!' Hart continued: 'I'm doing two Christmas specials, but they are going to be the finale of the show, full stop. So I wanted to do a book to celebrate the series and celebrate all the people who have supported it and watched it, so they get to see the scripts and some backstage gossip and all that sort of thing.' Miranda debuted on BBC2 in 2009, moving to BBC1 for its third series in late 2012. Speaking last year, co-star Tom Ellis had hinted that the show would return to television, saying that he felt the story - including his character Gary's on-off relationship with Miranda - needed a conclusion. 'I think there's certainly some more of the story to be told. I can't say when [another series is] going to happen, but I think it's not going to go away.'
A drama about British Muslims who sign up to fight for militant group Islamic State is being developed by Channel Four. Peter Kosminsky, the writer and director behind topical dramas Britz and The Government Inspector, is directing the programme. Channel Four said that the currently untitled drama is in the 'very early stages of development' but 'should' be broadcast in 2016. Production on the drama, which will feature fictional characters, is expected to begin next year. A Channel Four spokeswoman said that the drama would 'seek to cast light on why a small number of British-born Muslims might be tempted to travel to Syria or Iraq to live in and fight for the self-declared Islamic State.' Kosminsky, she continued, will shortly begin 'an extensive six-month research process' before writing the drama. Channel Four's representative said that Kosminsky's previous work showed he had 'an unrivalled track record of tackling sensitive subject matter.' The BAFTA-winning writer, whose other credits include 2011's The Promise, is currently directing Wolf Hall, the TV adaptation of Hilary Mantel's Man Booker-winning novel. Islamic State is a radical Islamist group which has seized large swathes of territory in Eastern Syria and across Northern and Western Iraq. It is estimated that more than twelve thousand foreign nationals from more than eighty countries have travelled to Syria to fight over the past three years.

The BFI has confirmed that two lost episodes of pre-Monty Python sketch show At Last the 1948 Show have been re-discovered. The first and last-ever episodes were recently discovered on reels of sixteen mm film in the private collection of the late David Frost. Frost executive produced the ITV sketch show in 1967 and 1968, with future Monty Python's Flying Circus members John Cleese and Graham Chapman along with Marty Feldman, Tim Brooke-Taylor and Aimi MacDonald. Cleese will be presenting the episodes at BFI Southbank in London on Sunday 7 December as part of the BFI's annual Missing Believed Wiped event. The episodes have not been seen in full since their original broadcasts. BFI television consultant Dick Fiddy said: 'This latest recovery is a crucial find. It represents a key moment in the history of British television comedy featuring the combined talents of some of its greatest exponents. These gifted comedians, all in their twenties and thirties, were let off the leash and allowed to experiment with style and content, resulting in shows which have had an enduring influence on comedy worldwide. Even very recently the famous Four Yorkshiremen sketch - which originated on At Last the 1948 Show - was used as the opener for the Python's stage shows at the 02 and had been performed previously by the team in galas such as The Secret Policeman's Ball. Cleese, Feldman, Brooke-Taylor and Chapman, created, scripted and starred in the 1948 Show and the fact that the show remains very, very funny forty seven years later is a tribute to their extraordinary abilities.' 'It was ground-breaking in a sense in that it was very silly, former The Goodies member Brooke-Taylor told the BBC. 'We were thinking, will we get away with it basically?' The series featured sketches which the Monty Python team would go on to adopt, including The Four Yorkshiremen and the line: ' ... And now for something completely different.' The two episodes were found when Fiddy was invited to explore the collection of Sir David Frost, who died last August. Rewatching the material after many years 'made me laugh a great deal', admitted Brooke-Taylor. 'I think the sketches would be shorter now, but I'm rather pleased with it.' Some of the sketches were previously released on an LP, but this is the first time since their original broadcast that any footage has been available to go with them. Cleese will present the two episodes, on loan from the Frost family, as part of Missing Believed Wiped. The event is also believed include a recently recovered episode of the 1960s BBC 'youth' series A Whole Scene Going featuring The Spencer Davies Group.

And, on a similar note, a rediscovered haul of television dramas that has been lost for forty years or more is set to change the way we think about many of Britain's biggest acting talent. The extraordinary cache of televised plays – described by experts as 'an embarrassment of riches' – features performances from a cavalcade of post-war British stars. The list includes John Gielgud, Sean Connery, Gemma Jones, Dorothy Tutin, Robert Stephens, Susannah York, John Le Mesurier, Peggy Ashcroft, Patrick Troughton, David Hemmings, Leonard Rossiter, Michael Gambon, Maggie Smith and Jane Asher. The tapes have been unearthed in the Library of Congress in Washington DC. After months of negotiation, the library and the New York-based public service television station WNET have agreed to allow the British Film Institute in London to showcase the highlights in November, an occasion which is certain to generate intense nostalgia for what many critics maintain was the golden age of television. A hint of what is to come appears in the joint BFI and National Film Theatre guide for November, which refers to the forthcoming Missing Believed Wiped event and mentions the discovery of hundreds of hours of British TV drama. The tapes are understood to have been sent out to WNET for broadcast and later stored in the TV station's collection inside the Library of Congress, where they were recently catalogued. They were originally broadcast by the BBC and the independent television companies Granada and Associated-Rediffusion between 1957 and 1970. News of their rediscovery was inadvertently leaked to the public in an events bulletin put out at the weekend. The programmes include works by Shakespeare, Chekhov and Ibsen, as well as new work written for weekly strands such as The Wednesday Play and Armchair Theatre. Among other gems found in the archives are a BBC production of Jean Anouilh's version of Sophocles' Antigone starring Dorothy Tutin and David McCallum, that made the front cover of the Radio Times in 1959 but has not been seen since. Notes inside the listings magazine confirm the production was Tutin's BBC television debut and describe her as 'the leading young actress of the contemporary scene.' A BBC production of Henrik Ibsen's Rosmersholm from 1965 stars Peggy Ashcroft with a supporting cast including John Laurie. Maggie Smith and Robert Stephens star opposite each other as Beatrice and Benedick in a 1967 production of Much Ado About Nothing recorded for the BBC, while Sean Connery appears with Dorothy Tutin in a rare BBC Sunday Night Theatre production of Anouilh's Colombe from 1960. The earliest rediscovered recording is a 1957 production of Ibsen's The Wild Duck, directed for ITV by Charles Crichton and starring Tutin opposite Emlyn Williams and Michael Gough. The library's hoard also includes finds of interest for social reasons. A production of Twelfth Night, starring John Wood as Malvolio, was made by Rediffusion for its schools programming in the afternoons. It was a seventy five-minute reduction of the play and was broadcast at the end of a nine-part series that examined the work's cultural and historical background.'Negotiations to secure the release of these dramas have been going on for some time and we have been holding on to the information until the time is right,' said a spokesman for the BFI. 'It is very exciting, but we don't have all the information yet.' Jane Asher appears in a 1962 schools production of Romeo and Juliet, along with another 1967 Play Of The Month staging of the same Shakespeare play, starring Kika Markham as Juliet, Hywel Bennett as Romeo and John Gielgud as the chorus. Among the bit players are Thora Hird and Michael Gambon, while Ronald Pickup plays Mercutio. The Library of Congress initially approached Kaleidoscope, the classic TV experts, who took the good news to the BBC and ITV this spring. 'We brokered the deal for the BFI because so many different companies have copyright over the material,' wrote Kaleidoscope's Chris Perry in a blog this weekend. The cast list for a production of The Young Elizabeth shows Hugh Paddick playing a courtier, while Hannah Gordon stars in a Wednesday Play, The Bond, from 1965. Robert Stephens, who died in 1995, appears several times, starring in a 1967 production of Shakespeare's The Winter's Tale alongside Jeremy Kemp and Anna Calder-Marshall. A year earlier Stephens stars in a 1966 Theatre 625 production of Chekhov's The Seagull with Annette Crosbie and Pamela Brown. An early ITV Play Of The Week from 1963 will also be of great interest to theatre historians. It stars Jill Bennett, the fourth wife of playwright John Osborne, in a production of Chekhov's The Three Sisters with the actress Hilda Barry.

A twenty eight-year-old mixing desk used by BBC Essex is to be stored at the Science Museum in London as part of a move to help preserve a bygone era of radio. The Mark III mixing desk used by the BBC in Chelmsford since 1986 is being replaced with new technology. The desks, designed in the 1960s, were among the last to be designed and built by the BBC, and are still in operation at a handful of stations, including the one yer actual Keith telly Topping used to freelance for! A Science Museum spokesman said the desk was an 'exciting new acquisition.' John Liffen, of the museum, described the equipment as 'a valuable device to explore how people's relationship with radio has changed over time.' The Mark III desk was installed in the corporation's first wave of local radio stations. Geoff Woolf, a technology development manager at the BBC, said: 'The Mk III is entirely analogue as digital audio was very much still in its infancy, with CD players considered to be luxury items. Accommodating PCs, screens and keyboards was not on the agenda when these were designed as in 1986 computers and software to provide studio solutions was still fifteen years away.'
The US TV network AMC, which broadcast Mad Men and The Walking Dead, is to take over the running of BBC America after a one hundred and twenty five million smackers deal with the BBC. BBC America is available in almost eighty million homes in the US via cable and satellite. AMC has bought a 49.9 per cent stake in the channel, while the corporation's commercial arm, BBC Worldwide, will retain 50.1per cent. BBC Worldwide chief executive Tim Davie said that AMC was 'the ideal partner. They are committed to the kind of high-quality, unmissable content that has already gained BBC America one of the most educated, affluent and tech-savvy audiences in all of US television,' he said. BBC Director General Tony Hall said that the deal would 'help us reach new audiences in the US, strengthen BBC America's position for the long term and create opportunities for the UK creative community.' The broadcasters have already co-produced dramas including The Honourable Woman. 'This partnership means we can produce even more top quality drama together,' Hall said. BBC America will be managed as a standalone channel within the AMC Networks portfolio, which also includes Sundance TV and more than sixty international channels. But the channel will be run in line with the BBC's editorial standards and policies. Ed Carroll from AMC Networks said: 'Orphan Black and Doctor Who are just two examples of bold and original BBC America content that creates passionate viewers and fits well alongside AMC Networks shows such as Mad Men, Portlandia and Rectify.'

Dave Myers, one half of the Hairy Bikers chef duo, left the Countdown team with something of a conundrum when he came up with an unusual choice of word in an episode of the long-running quiz. The presenter, who starred in last year's Strictly Come Dancing, was doing a stint in dictionary corner on Friday's show when he offered up the seven-letter word 'todgers' – much to the amusement of host Nick Hewer and Rachel Riley. It was left to dictionary corner supremo Susie Dent to explain that the word could have counted because it is in the dictionary.
And, speaking of todgers, the lack of culture secretary has warned that the entire system of funding the BBC would be 'up for debate' if the Conservatives win the next election. Which is merely one very good reason for hoping that they, you know, don't. In comments which reveal the extent of the battle faced by the BBC in the run up to the renewal of its charter in 2016, the vile and odious rascal Javid said: 'We need to take a fresh look at how to fund the BBC for the long term. There are various funding models out there. Charter review should rule nothing out or rule anything in.' Asked exactly what alternatives there are to the current model of an annual flat-rate licence fee, the vile and odious rascal Javid weaselled that he 'hasn't made any decision' before going on to mention a subscription model such as that funding commercial rivals such as Sky and a 'state-owned commercially funded model' similar to Channel Four. The minister indicated that the charter review process will start in earnest next June once the election is over and a review of licence fee enforcement is complete. Such a review will give the government and the BBC just eighteen months to hammer out a deal, whereas the last review process took three years. Just before his appearance before the Commons select committee on media, culture and sport, the government announced that David Perry QC, a leading criminal law barrister who has worked on several high-profile cases including the prosecution of Abu Hamza and the cash for honours scandal, would lead its independent review into whether non-payment of the BBC licence fee should be decriminalised. The vile and odious rascal Javid was the final figure giving evidence to the select committee's inquiry into the future of the BBC. In her first appearance before the committee since her appointment as chair of the BBC Trust two weeks ago, Rona Fairhead appeared to back the BBC's decision to close the BBC3 TV channel before the Trust had even received final details of the proposal. Talking of the challenges of producing for an online-only world, Fairhead said: 'The idea of moving BBC3 and making it online in and of itself is good,' before going on to add: 'We haven’t done our final review of BBC3. It's a really difficult challenge. [Younger viewers] are certainly watching very differently, typically they watch on the go.' Odious Tory gobshite Philip Davies accused Fairhead of having 'gone native in record time' as she seemed to think that everything at the BBC was wonderful. Fairhead, the former FT group executive, replied, 'I don’t think I have gone native, I don’t ever intend to go native.' Outgoing trustee David Liddiment, who is standing down after eight years, said that there was a 'widespread view that the Trust was not fit for purpose' and admitted there was a 'faultline in the way that the Trust was set up.' He also raised eyebrows among committee members by suggesting that 'few licence fee payers had heard of the Trust.' Having brought forward his review into decriminalisation last month, the vile and odious rascal Javid repeated his opinion that the cost of the licence fee was 'too high for some people', with cases of non-payment taking up ten per cent of the time in magistrates’'courts. 'I do think £145.50 a year for some families is a lot of money,' he said. To other questions including those from committee chair John Whittingdale about the TV licensing authorities using powers under RIPA to chase people over non-payment of licence fee, the vile and odious rascal Javid said that he had 'no answers' but added that asking such questions 'suggests there will always be a licence fee.' The vile and odious rascal Javid said the much-criticised BBC Trust model of governance should be reviewed. 'I think there definitely needs to be a fresh look at what the governance structure should be in the charter review process. Some people have said should there be one board. Other ideas out there are should [media regulator] Ofcom have a role. Another idea I've heard about is should there be a BBC Trust-type structure but independent from the BBC, for example not funded by the BBC. These are good questions. I don’t have an answer at this point.' In comments that recognised controversy over executive pay and the Jimmy Savile fiasco the vile and odious rascal Javid said: 'The Trust has had to deal with significant challenges and they have made some mistakes which has been well recognised over the last few years and part of that is down to governance. There's a bit of a question-mark over how accountable BBC has been to licence fee payers.' However, the vile and odious rascal Javid seemed less keen on scrapping the idea of a charter altogether, saying, 'The current structure of the royal charter is still relevant today. Anything that has big impact on the independence of the BBC should be treated very carefully. Notwithstanding that parliament's role is very important in holding BBC to account. What I would absolutely expect and certainly happen if I was Secretary of State at the time [of charter review] is once government puts forward a proposal for charter it should be debated in the house and MPs given an opportunity to share their views.' Among other issues the vile and odious rascal Javid suggested would have to be part of the charter review process were spinning off BBC Worldwide, as well as the full privatisation of the BBC TV production operation. Of the latter, he said: 'This comes back to whole issue of the size of the BBC and does it need to be doing everything it does.' The vile and odious rascal Javid said that he used to be a fan of Newsnight, now anchored by Evan Davis following the departure of Jeremy Paxman. 'It's not that it is too late, I don't find it as compelling viewing as it was before,' he said. 'Maybe it has something to do with when one of the presenters left or something.' However, the vile and odious rascal Javid revealed himself to be a Doctor Who fan, telling MPs it was the one BBC show he 'never missed.' Though, with friends like the vile and odious rascal Javid, who needs enemies?
A police raid at the home of veteran pop star Sir Cliff Richard has been described as 'inept' by a group of MPs. The home affairs select committee said South Yorkshire Police should not have tried to 'cut a deal' with a BBC reporter who approached them about the story. The committee's report looked into how the BBC obtained details in advance of the raid in Berkshire on 14 August. South Yorkshire Police claimed its actions were 'well intended' but admitted they were 'ultimately flawed.' Sir Cliff denies an alleged historical offence of sexual assault at a religious event in Sheffield in 1985. The committee said police sometimes decided to publicise the name of the subject of an investigation for operational reasons - for example, to encourage potential witnesses to come forward, but it was wrong to do so otherwise. The MPs said that when the BBC journalist approached South Yorkshire Police about the story ahead of the raid in Sunningdale, the force should have contacted senior BBC executives to explain how any premature publication could have damaged the investigation. BBC Director General Lord Hall confirmed to the committee that the broadcaster would act on such requests from chief constables, the report said. The committee said that without such an approach the BBC was 'well within its rights' to run the story - although Sir Cliff had 'suffered enormous, irreparable damage to his reputation' as a result. Committee chairman Keith Vaz said: 'South Yorkshire Police's handling of this situation was utterly inept. The force allowed itself to hand over sensitive information to a journalist and granted him privileged access to the execution of a search warrant. The e-mail exchanges could easily be mistaken for a script from The Bill. The force should have refused to co-operate and explained to senior BBC News executives why the premature broadcasting of a story, which they claimed the journalist threatened, would have prejudiced the investigation.' Vaz added: 'No British citizen should have to watch their home being raided by the police live on television. Sir Cliff Richard has suffered enormous and irreparable damage to his reputation and he is owed an apology over the way matters were handled. Police forces should consider carefully how they deal with approaches from journalists on such matters in the future. Someone in possession of sensitive information decided to leak details of the investigation to the media. We deplore this. South Yorkshire assert that the journalist stated it came from Operation Yewtree. The journalist denies this. South Yorkshire should have alerted the Metropolitan Police immediately. Their reasons for failing to do so are unsustainable.' BBC Trust chairwoman Rona Fairhead told BBC Radio 4's Today programme the matter had been 'an editorial decision.' Fairhead, speaking in her first BBC interview since taking up the position earlier this month, said: 'Clearly, I have huge sympathy for anyone, whether they are a celebrity or not, if they are known and publicised to be part of a police investigation, particularly if it doesn't lead to charges. But I have to say this is an editorial decision. It is a matter for the executive and the Home Affairs select committee did say that the BBC was entirely appropriate in making this report.' South Yorkshire Police said in a statement: 'Whilst we believe our actions in relation to dealing with the media were within policy and were well intended, they were ultimately flawed and we regret the additional anxiety which was caused to Sir Cliff Richard. South Yorkshire Police has changed the way it deals with this type of media enquiry. In high profile cases the force no longer provides privileged briefings to reporters, nor does it confirm information which media sources seek to verify.' The force said that it was 'fully co-operating with the Metropolitan Police investigation regarding the original source of information.' Sir Cliff has been has been interviewed under caution by appointment with police but has not been arrested or charged. He says the claim of an assault is 'completely false.' A BBC spokesman said: 'The committee chairman has already said that the BBC acted "perfectly properly" in handling this story, and we're pleased today's report confirms this. Our reporter said very clearly he did not reveal his sources to South Yorkshire Police. We stand by his account.' Scotland Yard said it had 'no evidence' to substantiate the claim that Operation Yewtree had been the source of the leak. 'Any suggestion or speculation that the MPS (Metropolitan Police Service) may have been responsible for the leak of information to the BBC about such a sensitive and live investigation causes us grave concern,' it said in a statement. 'Officers who have responsibility for Operation Yewtree have worked for years to build trust amongst the victims of abuse, giving many of them the confidence to speak out and report offences. Over the last two years the Yewtree team has routinely handled and received a significant amount of information and intelligence that is high-profile, sensitive and newsworthy, none of which has come into the public domain. Indeed, the MPS has faced criticism from the media for not providing them with greater levels of information. If any further information comes to light that allows us to investigate this matter further we will of course do that.'

Rwanda has suspended BBC broadcasts in the Kinyarwanda language with immediate effect because of a film questioning official accounts of the 1994 genocide. The Rwanda Utilities Regulatory Agency said that it had received complaints from the public of incitement, hatred, revisionism and genocide denial. At least eight hundred thousand ethnic Tutsis and moderate Hutus died in the genocide. The BBC has denied that any part of the programme constitutes a 'denial of the genocide against the Tutsi.' On Wednesday, Rwandan MPs approved a resolution calling on the government to ban the BBC and to charge the documentary-makers with genocide denial, which is a crime in the country. Those killed in the genocide are generally believed to be mostly members of the minority ethnic Tutsi group, and Hutus opposed to the mass slaughter. The BBC programme Rwanda, The Untold Story, includes interviews with US-based researchers who say most of those killed may have been Hutus, killed by members of the then-rebel Rwandan Patriotic Front, which has been in power since 1994. The programme also included interviews with former aides of RPF leader President Paul Kagame, accusing him of plotting to shoot down the presidential plane - the act seen as triggering the slaughter. He has consistently denied previous such accusations. RURA said that it had established a commission of inquiry to investigate the allegations it had received about the programme, after which further action may be taken. The cabinet is meeting next week to discuss parliament's recommendations. The BBC broadcasts affected by the suspension are produced by the BBC Great Lakes service, which was initially set up in the aftermath of the genocide as a lifeline service.

Goodfellas actor Frankie Sivero has filed a lawsuit against FOX claiming The Simpsons character of Louie, a member of Springfield's Mafia, was based on his portrayal of Frankie Carbone in Martin Scorsese's film. That's according to legal documents made public on the Deadline website. It's twenty three years since Louie made his debut opposite the long-running cartoon's mob boss, Fat Tony in the episode Bart The Murderer (first broadcast in October 1991). But now, apparently, Sivero wants two hundred and fifty million dollars for the alleged 'infringement.' He claims that he was 'the originator of the idea and character' of Louie, as he based Goodfellas' Frankie Carbone on his own personality. In the documents, he claims that at that time, in 1989, he was living in the same apartment complex as James L Brooks, when 'they saw each other almost every day.' He also claims that he was promised a film and a part in the future of The Simpsons and that he lost money because he was 'type-cast' as a result of Louie. Like Frankie, Louie has black curly hair, but Dan Castellenata, who voiced the character, said that he based the voice on Joe Pesci. It's not the first time this year that Sivero has taken legal action after claiming his rights to the Goodfellas character were infringed. In July he filed a suit against a Californian sandwich shop, Deli Belly, because they named an Italian-style sandwich 'the Frankie Sivero' after he once ate there. As Goodfellas' Jimmy Two Times would say 'somebody get the papers, the papers'. FOX Entertainment, which makes The Simpsons, has so far not commented on the claim. Although one suspects when they do, the second word will be 'off'.

Steve Coogan has been cast in a US TV series that was to have starred the late actor Philip Seymour Hoffman. Hoffman had been due to begin filming the lead role in Happyish at the time of his drug-related death in February. Showtime will shoot a new 'pilot' show, starring Coogan as a Briton in New York whose world is disrupted when he gets a much younger boss. Show creator Shalom Auslander said Coogan 'possesses the unique combination of talents this role demands. Steve's range is astounding,' continued the writer and producer, describing Coogan as 'a comedy legend [and] a gifted satirist.' The original Happyish pilot also featured Rhys Ifans and comedian Louis CK alongside Hoffman's character. It is not yet known whether any of the original pilot's actors will reprise their performances in the reshot version. Meanwhile, the FOX network has announced it is developing a TV series based on the Will Smith romantic comedy Hitch. Smith will executive produce the spin-off from his 2005 film, in which he played a New York 'date doctor' who assists lovelorn singletons.

FA Cup football is returning to BBC television this season after the broadcaster made a new four-year deal with BT Sport. Sixteen live matches will be broadcast on TV, while BBC Radio 5Live and local radio will broadcast live commentaries. All the goals of the competition will be available to watch on the BBC Sport website. Coverage starts this Monday 27 October with Mark Chapman presenting the first round FA Cup draw live from St George's Park. The draw will be shown on BBC2 and broadcast on 5Live at 7pm. The deal for the BBC to broadcast the competition will last until 2018. And, best of all, it keeps Adrian Chiles off my telly.

Former Dr Feelgood guitarist Wilko Johnson has said that he has been 'cured' of the terminal pancreatic cancer with which he was diagnosed in 2012. The sixty seven-year-old was initially given ten months to live after rejecting chemotherapy, but had radical surgery to remove the tumour earlier this year. 'It was an eleven-hour operation,' Wilko said at the Q Awards in London. 'This tumour weighed three kilos - that's the size of a baby,' he continued. 'Anyway, they got it all. They cured me.' The guitarist went on his 'farewell tour' in 2013 and recorded a CD with The Who's Roger Daltrey. 'I thought that was going to be the last thing I ever did,' he told BBC News entertainment correspondent Colin Paterson after the ceremony on Wednesday. Then, at the end of last year, a doctor got in touch and said 'something strange' was going on because he was still alive. Johnson went to see a cancer specialist at Addenbrooke's Hospital in Cambridge and it was discovered that he had a rare form of tumour. He then had the surgery in April. After the initial diagnosis, he was 'absolutely convinced that this thing would kill me,' Johnson said. 'I accepted it. I didn't lose a minute's sleep about that.' The musician said that he had spent a year 'calmly accepting the idea that I was going to die.' He said: 'I decided that was the way to deal with it - not to curse it or fight it or anything like that. Just try and enjoy the time left, which I'd done. In order to do that, you have to accept, yes you're going to die, which in itself was quite an experience because it gives you a whole different way of looking at things. And then for someone to come up and say "We can fix it" ... When they first said they could operate, I was thinking, "What are they saying? They may be offering me two or three more months life?" But, no they weren't, they were saying they could get rid of the tumour, and that's what they did. And it's gone. I don't have cancer. It's so weird and so strange that it's kind of hard to come to terms with it in my mind. Now, I'm spending my time gradually coming to terms with the idea that my death is not imminent, that I am going to live on.' He said that he was 'still recovering' from the operation. When asked what he would do next, he replied: 'I don't know really.' Johnson's declaration came as he accepted the Icon Award at the Grosvenor House ceremony on Wednesday. Johnson's operation also involved the removal of his pancreas, spleen part of his stomach, small and large intestines and the removal and reconstruction of blood vessels relating to the liver.

Singer Alvin Stardust has died aged seventy two after a short illness. He had recently been diagnosed with metastatic prostate cancer and died at home with his wife and family, his manager said. Born Bernard Jewry in the East End of London in 1942, his hits included 'My Coo Ca Choo', 'Jealous Mind' and 'I Feel Like Buddy Holly'. The former rocker had been due to release his first studio CD in thirty years on 3 November. He recently announced the record, titled Alvin, was finished and would represent 'a new and exciting departure' of which he was 'immensely proud'. Stardust grew up in Mansfield and started playing guitar as a schoolboy. He met one of his biggest influences, Buddy Holly, at a gig in Doncaster in 1957 and played backstage with the singer and his band The Crickets. Bernard signed his first record deal in 1961 as the frontman of Shane Fenton & The Fentones. The Fentones were actually an unknown teenage band who recorded a demo tape and mailed it in to the BBC with the hope of being picked to appear on television. While waiting for a reply, the band's seventeen-year-old singer Shane Fenton (whose real name was Johnny Theakston) died as a result of rheumatic fever. The rest of the band (Jerry Wilcox, Mick Eyre, Bonny Oliver and Tony Hinchcliffe) decided to break-up, but then they unexpectedly received a letter from the BBC inviting them to come to London for an audition. Theakston's mother asked the band to stay together and to keep its name, in honour of her son's memory. Bernard, who was working as the band's roadie at the time, was asked to join and to use Shane Fenton as a pseudonym. The combo had a handful of minor hits in the UK over the next couple of years basing their sound on that of The Shadows: 'I'm A Moody Guy', 'Walk Away', 'It's All Over Now' and their biggest hit, 'Cindy's Birthday'. These and several subsequent less successful singles were all issues on Parlophone where The Fentones were labels-mates with The Be-Atles (who supported them at a couple of gigs on Merseyside in 1962). Jewry later also appeared in Billy Fury's movie Play It Cool. He was managed by Larry Parnes. Jewry disappeared from the spotlight for a decade after the break-up of The Fentones, working in music management and performing at small venues with his wife Iris Caldwell, the sister of Rory Storm. In 1973 he signed with Magnet Records and took on the name that would make him famous. 'It started off as Elvin Starr, because they wanted a kind of rocky, country name,' he recalled in 2010. 'But [a woman] who was doing promotion for us said it wasn't "glam-rocky" enough, so it became Stardust and then Alvin.' 'My Coo Ca Choo', the debut song under his new guise - with its trademark echoy Elvis-influenced hiccuping-style vocals - peaked at number two in the singles chart whilst the follow up, 'Jealous Mind', made number one. 'Red Dress' and 'You, You, You' were also sizeable hits. Known for his rockabilly quiff, sideburns, and black leather gloves, Alvin projected a glowering persona which he said he adopted because he was nervous and 'didn't want to be found out.' His success led to him being part of a Green Cross Code road safety campaign in 1976, which saw him instructing children to look both ways before they crossed the road ('they must be out of their tiny minds!') That success continued into the 1980s with 'Pretend', 'I Feel Like Buddy Holly' and 'I Won't Run Away' all making the top ten. Once described as 'the Godfather of British Rock 'n' Roll' by Keith Richards, Alvin made sporadic acting appearances in Hollyoaks, The Grimleys and Doctors. In 1989, he hosted his very own Sunday morning children's series on ITV called It's Stardust. He also appeared on stage in such musicals as Godspell, The Phantom of the Opera and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang at the London Palladium, in which he played the fearsome Child Catcher. Alvin was married three times. With Iris, he had two sons, Shaun and Adam. His second wife was the actress Liza Goddard, with whom he had a daughter, Sophie. Alvin went on to marry Julie Paton, an actress and choreographer, with whom he had another daughter, Millie. Shaun is now a headmaster of a school in Reigate, while his brother is a producer and DJ who records under the name Adam F. DJ Tony Blackburn remembered the singer as 'a great showman' who would be 'sorely missed. Performing was his life,' added the veteran broadcaster. 'He had this bad boy image, but he was not like that at all,' Blackburn continued. 'On stage he was brilliant, but off stage he was just an ordinary guy.' Alvin, a committed Christian, was also remembered as 'a great bloke' by his former Hollyoaks co-star Jeremy Edwards.

Jack Bruce, bassist from 1960s band Cream, has died aged seventy one, his publicist confirms. Legendary supergroup Cream, which also included Eric Clapton and Ginger Baker, are considered one of the most important and influential bands in rock history. They sold thirty five million LP in just over two years and were given the first ever platinum disc for 1968's Wheels of Fire. Bruce wrote and sang many of the songs, including 'I Feel Free', 'White Room' and 'Sunshine Of Your Love'. Born in the Glasgow suburb of Bishopbriggs in 1943, Jack's parents travelled extensively in Canada and the USA and the young Bruce attended fourteen different schools. He finished his formal education at Bellahouston Academy and the Royal Scottish Academy of Music, to which he won a scholarship for cello and composition. At the same time, he was playing bass in Jim McHarg's Scotsville Jazzband to support himself. The Academy reportedly disapproved of its students playing jazz. 'They found out,' Bruce told Musician magazine. 'They said "you either stop, or leave college." So I left college.' Jack left the academy - and Scotland - at the age of sixteen and eventually found his way to London where he became a member of the influential Alexis Korner's Blues Inc, where Charlie Watts, later to join The Rolling Stones, was the drummer. He played in a number of bands throughout the early 60s, including John Mayall's Blues Breakers and Manfred Mann (it's his bassline on the worldwide hit 'Pretty Flamingo') before joining Clapton and Baker in Cream. He had previously played with Bkaer - with whom he enjoyed a tempestuous, often violent, relationship - in The Graham Bond Organisation two years earlier. Cream split in November 1968 at the height of their popularity, with Bruce feeling he had strayed too far from his ideals. They only made four LPs - Fresh Cream, the stunning Disraeli Gears, Wheels Of Fire and Goodbye - but they had a massive influence over a couple of generations both both British and American guitars bands. Cream's music included songs based on traditional blues such as 'Crossroads' and 'Spoonful' and modern blues such as 'Born Under A Bad Sign' and 'Badge', as well as more eccentric songs such as 'Strange Brew', 'Tales of Brave Ulysses' and 'Toad'. In particular, they provided a heavy yet technically proficient musical theme which foreshadowed and influenced the emergence of Led Zeppelin, The Jeff Beck Group and Black Sabbath. Bruce never again reached the commercial heights he did with Cream but his reputation as one of the best bass guitarists in the business grew throughout the subsequent decades. As a session musician he was much in demand and he turned up on many chart records (like The Scaffold's 'Lily The Pink' for one, rather ridiculous, example). Collaborative efforts with musicians, in many genres – hard rock, jazz, blues, R&B, fusion, avant-garde, world music – were a continuing theme throughout Bruce's career. Alongside these he produced a long line of highly regarded solo Lps. In contrast to his collaborative works, the solo work usually maintain a common theme: melodic songs with a complex musical structure, songs with lyrics frequently penned by Pete Brown with whom he'd worked in Cream, and a core band of world class musicians. This structure was loosened on his live solo CDs and DVDs, where extended improvisations similar to those employed by Cream in live performance were often evident. In May 2005, he reunited with his former Cream bandmates for a series of concerts at London's Royal Albert Hall. Bruce's death was announced on his official website, and confirmed by his publicist Claire Singers. She said: 'He died today at his home in Suffolk surrounded by his family.' A statement from his family said: 'It is with great sadness that we, Jack's family, announce the passing of our beloved Jack: husband, father and granddad and all-round legend. The world of music will be a poorer place without him, but he lives on in his music and forever in our hearts.'

For the latest Keith Telly Topping's 45 of the Day here's a tasty bit of Northern Soul from the archives.