Sunday, November 23, 2014

Week Forty Nine: Where Have All The Good Times Gone?

Fans eagerly awaiting the return of the hit BBC drama Sherlock have been warned to 'expect tragedy' in series four. Co-creator Mark Gatiss his very self dropped some - not particularly subtle - hints in a recent interview, after The Lord Thy God Steven Moffat similarly said that the upcoming episodes starring yer actual Benedict Cumberbatch as the sleuth would be 'devastating'. 'Expect tragedy as well as adventure, that's just how it goes,' Mark told Radio Times, adding that the show's plotline would not, necessarily, follow that of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's original novels and short stories. 'Just because it's in the stories, doesn't mean it'll happen in the series,' he said. 'There's an awful lot of changes and an awful lot of places to go and things to do. It should be clear by now that while, of course, Doyle is our absolute God, we have gone quite a long way away as well. We've introduced Sherlock and Mycroft's parents – I don't think they've ever been seen in any adaptation – so there are lots of surprises to come.' One character who, potentially, could be facing an uncertain future is John Watson's wife Mary, played by Amanda Abbington. 'While we play fast and loose with the original stories, we generally follow the trajectory of what Conan Doyle did,' Martin Freeman his very self recently told the Torygraph. 'So [Watson] gets married and then Mary dies – so at some point, presumably, she'll die.' Should Mary face her demise in the next series, fans could see Watson move back into the Baker Street flat with Holmes, as happens in the Conan Doyle books. Although what fate awaits the Watsons' unborn child is, equally, unclear. But with Sherlock, anything could happen. A one-off Sherlock special begins production in January for a possible Christmas 2015 broadcast while a further three episodes will be shot later in the year to be broadcast in 2016.
Yer actual Martin Freeman his very self is, according to the Radio Times, 'in talks' to star alongside Thirty Rock's Tina Fey in a black comedy Taliban Shuffle, an adaptation of journalist Kim Barker’s wartime memoir. The story details Barker's time in Kabul, writing stories about militants and what it's like to be a woman in wartime Iraq and Pakistan, as well as dealing with the boredom, violence and promiscuous nature of life as a war correspondent. Freeman is said to be up for the role of Barker's love interest, a dedicated Scottish photojournalist. Fey will take the lead role as well as join as a producer alongside Lorne Michaels, with Glenn Ficarra and John Requa directing. The Wolf of Wall Street's Margot Robbie is also said to have joined the cast, playing a competing hard-core on-air reporter. In the meantime, Freeman will be back on the big screen as Bilbo Baggins in The Hobbit: The Battle Of The Five Armies, which arrives in cinemas next month.

For British Doctor Who fans, the Time Lord is the star of the show but it seems that in other parts of the world Peter Capaldi and co sometimes get second billing to the man behind the scenes, The Lord Thy God Steven Moffat. 'He's always getting pulled into photoshoots with us and saying "Oh, no one's interested in me,"' Capaldi told Radio Times. '[But] we went on stage in Mexico and [the reaction to Moffat] was like Sting or Bono.' Jenna Coleman her very self has had to get used to legions of adoring fans but even she was forced to admit, 'Steven is more popular here. I went outside the hotel yesterday to sign [autographs], and they were like "Where’s Moffat?!"' Details of The Moffinator's phenomenal following in Mexico are revealed in Earth Conquest, a forty five-minute film documenting the Doctor Who World Tour, which launched the eighth season this summer. Footage from the film, which makes up part of the series eight DVD extras, shows the party arriving in Mexico City to be met by screaming fans who don't seem particularly excited by either Peter or Jenna, but instead are chanting 'Moffat! Moffat! Moffat!' 'We all in Mexico adore, admire, Steven Moffat, because he's a hell of a writer,' gushes one fan. 'We all love to him to play with our feelings.' Steady. The Lord Thy God Steven Moffat appears to take it all in his stride. Whether his comparative popularity in the Central American country is down to a regional delay in broadcast – meaning Coleman and Capaldi are less well known – or simply to the appreciation of quality writing and original storylines is uncertain. But as far as Mexican fans are concerned, Doctor Who is in very safe hands.
The Apprentice dropped around 1.3 million viewers week-on-week after going up against I'm A Z-List Former Celebrity Desperate To Get My Boat-Race Back On TV ... Please Vote For Me To Stay Here As Long As Possible (I'll Even Eat Worms If You Want) on Wednesday, overnight data reveals. The BBC1 series fell to an average audience of 5.10m at 9pm, down from the previous week's 6.4m. BBC2's spin-off, You're Fired! was seen by 2.02m at 10pm. ITV's I'm A Z-List Former Celebrity Desperate To Get My Boat-Race Back On TV ... Please Vote For Me To Stay Here As Long As Possible (I'll Even Eat Worms If You Want) was watched by 7.96m at 9pm after a day off for the football. This was down by around 1.2m from its previous episode on Monday. Earlier, Surprise, Surprise brought in 3.76m at 8pm. BBC2's MasterChef: The Professionals gathered 3.27m at 8pm, followed by The Great Continental Railway with 2.04m at 9pm. On Channel Four, Posh Pawn appealed to 1.37m at 8pm, followed by Liberty Of London with six hundred and eighteen thousand at 9pm and Confessions Of A Copper with four hundred and sixty five thousand at 10pm. Channel Five's Gibraltar: Britain In The Sun interested eight hundred and one thousand at 8pm, while Can't Pay? We'll Take It Away was seen by 1.04m at 9pm. Wentworth continued with four hundred and ninety six thousand at 10pm.

I'm A Z-List Former Celebrity Desperate To Get My Boat-Race Back On TV ... Please Vote For Me To Stay Here As Long As Possible (I'll Even Eat Worms If You Want) bounced back in the ratings on Thursday. The ITV show gained back around four hundred thousand overnight punters from Wednesday's episode, topping the night with an average of 8.38 million from 9pm. Earlier, Paul O'Grady's For The Love Of Dogs appealed to 4.52m at 8.30pm. On BBC1, Watchdog intrigued 3.45m at 8pm, followed by Life Story with 2.89m at 9pm. Question Time brought in 2.76m at 10.35pm. BBC2's MasterChef: The Professionals gathered 2.64m at 8pm, while The Fall continued with 2.16m at 9pm. Russell Howard's Good News failed to amuse 1.10m at 10pm. On Channel four, Amazing Spaces was watched by 1.49m at 8pm, followed by Twenty Four Hours in A&E with 1.29m at 9pm. Babylon dipped to three hundred and forty thousand at 10pm. Channel Five's Underground Britain was seen by six hundred and twenty six thousand at 8pm, while Muggings & Mayhem attracted four hundred and fourteen thousand at 9pm. Sky1's latest episode of Arrow had an audience of three hundred and fifty three thousand at 8pm.

And I'm A Z-List Former Celebrity Desperate To Get My Boat-Race Back On TV ... Please Vote For Me To Stay Here As Long As Possible (I'll Even Eat Worms If You Want) was also Friday's highest-rated show with an average audience of 7.73 million. Despite a drop in viewers compared to Thursday's episode, the horrifying Victorian freak show attracted a thirty four per cent audience share. Elsewhere on ITV, Secrets From The Sky was seen by 2.65 million at 8pm. On BBC1, The ONE Show kicked the evening off with 4.04 million at 7pm, followed by 3.74 million for Still Open All Hours at 7.30pm. The evening continued with 2.78 million for Citizen Khan at 8.30pm, 3.77 million for Have I Got News For You at 9pm and 3.14 million for Not Going Out at 9.30pm. With guests including Dustin Hoffman, Judi Dench and Jennifer Aniston, the channel ended the night with 3.31 million for The Graham Norton Show at 10.35pm. The Home That Two Built was seen by 1.09 million at 7pm on BBC2, followed by 1.92 million for Mastermind immediately afterwards. Tigers About The House, Mock The Week and Qi had audiences of 1.22 million, eight hundred and seventy thousand and 1.32 million respectively. Gogglebox was, once again, Channel Four's highest-rated show with 2.08 million at 9pm. It was sandwiched between Marvel's Agents of SHIELD with nine hundred and twenty thousand at 8pm and nine hundred thousand for Alan Carr: Chatty Man at 10pm. On Channel Five, Ice Road Truckers returned for a new series with 1.09 million at 8pm, followed by eight hundred and fifty two thousand for Ben Fogle: New Lives In The Wild at 9pm. Family Guy was among the most popular multichannel shows, peaking with six hundred and fifty eight thousand for the second of four episodes on BBC3.

TV comedy line of the week came from the latest episode of Qi during which Stephen Fry was talking about his recent appearance in 24: Live Another Day in which he played the British Prime Minister. 'Non-specified in terms of party,' Stephen added. 'Like almost every Prime Minister we've had for the last twenty years!'
Also worthy of mention was a subsequent section where Stephen was telling the sad story of the life of the Antechinus, a small marsupial which, quite literally, shags itself to death. 'It doesn't eat or sleep, it just goes from one female to the next in a testosterone-driven frenzy for fourteen days. To get the necessary energy, the male's body strips itself of all their vital proteins and shuts off their immune systems. By the end of the fortnight, they're bald, gangrenous, ravaged by stress and infection and, ultimately, keel over and die. Russell Brand, take note!'
Strictly Come Dancing continued with almost 9.2 million overnight viewers on Saturday evening. The popular BBC1 pro-celebrity dancing competition came top of the overnights on primetime with an audience of 9.17m from 7pm. Atlantis followed with 3.62m from 8.15pm, before Casualty recorded similar numbers (3.62m). On ITV, The X Factor's Elton John versus Whitney Houston Week (I'm genuinely not making this up, dear blog reader) drew 7.51m from 8pm. I'm A Z-List Former Celebrity Desperate To Get My Boat-Race Back On TV ... Please Vote For Me To Stay Here As Long As Possible (I'll Even Eat Worms If You Want) was watched by 7.76m from 9.40pm. The Chase attracted 3.11m earlier in the evening. On BBC2, Flog It! Trade Secrets averaged eight hundred and ninety nine thousand punters from 7.30pm. Perry and Croft: Made In Britain and Dad's Army followed with 1.08m and 1.67m respectively and Qi XL drew 1.05m viewers from 9pm. Channel Four's Walking Through History was watched by nine hundred and forty two thousand in the 8pm hour. It Was Alright In The 1970s - which, actually, it wasn't - averaged 1.53m from 9pm. Channel Five broadcast the movies Christmas Wishes (five hundred and thirty thousand) and The Long Kiss Goodnight (five hundred and fifty five thousand). On the multichannels, a Sherlock repeat was seen by six hundred and fifty five thousand on BBC3 from 9pm.

Strictly Come Dancing was down marginally from the previous week but still, easily, topped Sunday's overnight ratings. The BBC show dipped by around two hundred thousand viewers week-on-week, attracting an average audience of 9.87 million at 7.15pm. ITV's I'm A Z-List Former Celebrity Desperate To Get My Boat-Race Back On TV ... Please Vote For Me To Stay Here As Long As Possible (I'll Even Eat Worms If You Want) was down by around 1.1m from its launch, but up by 1.2m from Saturday night's episode, being watched by 8.94m. The X Factor dropped by over four hundred thousand punters from last Sunday's results show with 7.76m at 8pm. Keep It In The Family garnered 2.78m at 7pm. Earlier on BBC1, Countryfile appealed to 6.51m at 6.15pm. Antiques Roadshow was seen by 5.58m, followed by the new Michael Palin drama Remember Me with 5.28m at 9pm. Match of the Day 2 scored 2.42m at 10.35pm. On BBC2, Secrets Of The Castle interested 1.52m at 7pm, followed by Sue Perkins's Mekong River with 2.30m at 8pm. World's Greatest Food Markets gathered 1.19m at 9pm. Channel Four's Woolly Mammoth Autopsy drew 1.38m at 8pm, followed by the latest episode of Homeland with 1.04m at 9pm and a broadcast of Sarah Millican's live show with six hundred and eighty six thousand at 10pm. On Channel Five, Will Smith's Hancock had an audience of 1.12m at 7.15pm, followed by The Green Hornet with six hundred and sixty nine thousand at 9pm.

Here are the final and consolidated ratings figures for the Top Twenty Five programmes for week-ending Sunday 16 November 2014:-
1 I'm A Z-List Former Celebrity Desperate To Get My Boat-Race Back On TV ... Please Vote For Me To Stay Here As Long As Possible (I'll Even Eat Worms If You Want) - Sun ITV - 11.62m
2 Strictly Come Dancing - Sat BBC1 - 11.46m
3 Coronation Street - Mon ITV - 9.04m
4 The X Factor - Sun ITV - 8.86m
5 Children In Need - Fri BBC1 - 8.54m
6 EastEnders - Tues BBC1 - 8.02m
7 The Apprentice - Wed BBC1 - 7.80m
8 The Missing - Tues BBC1 - 7.68m
9 Emmerdale - Mon ITV - 7.34m
10 Countryfile - Sun BBC1 - 8.85m
11 Film: War Horse - Sun BBC1 - 5.42m
12 Atlantis - Sat BBC1 - 5.32m
13 Grantchester - Mon ITV - 5.28m*
14 Six O'Clock News - Wed BBC1 - 5.16m
15 Casualty - Sat BBC1 - 5.06m
16 The ONE Show - Fri BBC1 - 5.04m
17 Pointless Celebrities - Sat BBC1 - 4.88m
18 BBC News - Sun BBC1 - 4.85m
19 Euro 2016 Qualifier: Switzerland Versus England - Sat ITV - 4.69m
20 Holby City - Tues BBC1 - 4.59m
21 Ten O'Clock News - Tues BBC1 - 4.57m
22 Lewis - Fri ITV - 4.53m*
23 Gareth's All Star Choir - Mon BBC1 - 4.39m
24 Children In Need - Fri BBC2 - 4.34m
25 Paul O'Grady's For The Love Of Dogs - Thurs ITV - 4.11m*
Those ITV programmes marked '*' do not include include HD figures. Saturday evening's episode of The X Factor had a final rating of 8.28 million whilst Strictly Come Dancing's Sunday result episode drew 10.53 million. BBC2's highest rated programmes of the week beside the channel's part of the Children In Need telethon were the opening episode of the second series of The Fall with 3.54 million and MasterChef: The Professionals with 3.40m (again, all three episodes - on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday - achieved audience figures above three million). The Apprentice: You're Fired drew 2.86 million, Great Continental Railway Journeys (2.73m), University Challenge (2.68m), The Mekong River With Sue Perkins (2.67m), Only Connect: Children In Need Special (2.28m) and Strictly Come Dancing: It Takes Two (2.12m). Gogglebox was Channel Four's largest-rated show (3.58m), followed Twenty Four Hours In A&E (2.29m) and Speed With Guy Martin (2.10m). Channel Five's best performers were Gotham with 2.51 million, and Can't Pay? We'll Take It Away (1.43m). Midsomer Murders was ITV3's most-watched programme with seven hundred and ninety four thousand viewers. The Natural World drew BBC4's largest audience of the week (seven hundred and fifty nine thousand). E4's The Big Bang Theory had the biggest multichannels audience of all (2.34m). Sky Living's Elementary had nine hundred and thirty four thousand. On FOX, The Walking Dead was watched by 1.15m.

Idris Elba will return to Luther for a new miniseries in 2015. BBC Drama Production and BBC America have confirmed that the series will be back for two sixty-minute episodes. Production is scheduled to begin in London in March, with a broadcast date planned for later in 2015. Which is excellent news. Luther creator Neil Cross teased the continuing adventures of the titular detective in a statement released on Wednesday. 'Ever since we said goodbye to John Luther on Southwark Bridge, there's hardly been a minute when I didn't wonder what happened next,' Cross said. 'So I decided to find out. We're putting the band back together; Luther is coming back where he belongs. Back to the BBC. Back to London. And back to work.' Elba was quoted as saying earlier in the week that he was 'desperate" for at least a one-off Luther special. The miniseries announcement came just a day after FOX commissioned a US remake of Luther, in which Elba is not expected to star. Elba and Cross are on-board to executive produce the US version of the crime drama. Cross is also working on the new series Bay Of Plenty, about a police officer who emigrates to New Zealand to join a Maori police force.

The BBC is to film a new adaptation of Joseph Conrad's The Secret Agent, which deals with a terrorist bomb plot in Edwardian London. Holding On scriptwriter Tony Marchant is behind the three-part BBC1 adaptation of Conrad's novel, which follows a Soho shopkeeper who doubles as a secret agent for the Russian government. The shopkeeper, Verloc, an agent provocateur and member of a largely ineffective anarchist group, is instructed by his handler to bomb the Greenwich Observatory to provoke the British government into cracking down on anarchism. Conrad's 1907 novel has obvious parallels with the terrorist threat the UK has faced since the 11 September 2001 attacks on the US. It was previously adapted as a BBC mini-series in 1992, starring yer actual Peter Capaldi and David Suchet. The Secret Agent adaptation forms part of more than forty hours of new drama commissions unveiled by the BBC on Wednesday evening. Other new shows include a drama from the writers of hit series The Missing and a series based on Len Deighton's Nazi novel SS-GB from James Bond film writers Robert Wade and Neal Purvis. Brothers Harry and Jack Williams, who wrote abduction drama The Missing, have created a new four-part series for BBC1 called One Of Us, set in Scotland. It focuses on the fall out from a double murder and its impact on the two families involved, which aims to 'keep viewers guessing.' The Williams brothers said the drama 'explores big themes and ideas through the lens of a very personal character-driven story.' SS-GB is a five-part series which revolves around the premise that Germany won the Battle of Britain and the Nazis are occupying Britain. Robert Wade and Neal Purvis said: 'Len Deighton's SS-GB is a brilliant tale of espionage that dares to think the unthinkable and we are very excited to be adapting it for television.' Also on the slate is what the BBC called 'a fast-paced and adrenalised cop show', which the corporation said would be broadcast weekdays on BBC1 at 8pm. Cuffs is the first new drama series for this slot in over eight years and may draw comparisons with ITV's long-running police drama The Bill. The BBC's controller of drama commissioning, Ben Stephenson, and BBC1 controller, Charlotte Moore, have also ordered a six-part drama about autism called The A-Word, a series about the first black director of public prosecutions from Peter Bowker called Undercover, The Dresser, a one-off drama directed by Sir Richard Eyre for BBC2 starring Anthony Hopkins and Ian McKellen and the return of Top Of The Lake for a second series. Casting details for the latter were not announced but the BBC said that the story will be set in Sydney. For children, the BBC is making animated versions of Roald Dahl's Revolting Rhymes and Julia Donaldson's book Stick Man. The new commissions come on top of a number of forthcoming dramas, including Dahl's Esio Trot and an adaptation of JK Rowling's The Casual Vacancy, featuring Heeley Hawes and Julia MacKenzie, the first photos of which were released. Stephenson said: 'Only the BBC supports the range of writers and ideas that these new announcements demonstrate. This massive investment signals the future direction of BBC drama – once regarded as only the home of traditional period drama, I now believe we are the home of the best writers and the most ambitious modern drama. The point of the BBC is to deliver range and risk above and beyond other UK broadcasters, and I believe the success of our drama offering this year and the announcements we are making today pave the way for an exciting future.'

Which brings us to the latest batch of yer actual Top Telly Tips:-

Saturday 29 November
Question master and national treasure Stephen Fry continues Qi XL's exploration of subjects beginning with the letter L as he asks a range of fiendish and potentially life-changing questions on the topics of Love & Loveliness - 9:00 BBC2. Joining regular panellist Alan Davies are stand-up and The Last Leg co-host Josh Widdicombe, the Irish actress Aisling Bea and author and comedian Tony Hawks.

Dominic Sandbrook examines science fiction's obsession with alien invasion, from all-out assault to sinister hidden threats. He explores how it has reflected real-life anxieties, whether they be the challenge to Victorian imperial power in HG Wells's The War Of The Worlds, the Cold War paranoia in Invasion Of The Body Snatchers or more recent concerns about racism and immigration in 2009 movie District Nine in the second episode of Tomorrow's Worlds: The Unearthly History Of Science Fiction - 9:45 BBC2. He also celebrates one of the most famous alien invaders of all time - The Dalek. Featuring contributions by Doctor Who showrunner Steven Moffat and former star David Tennant, actor Richard Dreyfuss, Independence Day director Roland Emmerich and special effects supervisors Phil Tippett and Douglas Trumbull.
Peter Boyd learns that he is being removed from the Cold Case Unit in Waterloo, the final two-part story of Waking The Dead - 9:00 Drama. With just a few days left in the job, he re-opens an investigation into the disappearance of sixteen homeless teenagers between 1979 and 1982 - the first case that he ever worked on. However, as the team struggles to find any new information, Grace worries about her colleague's reasons for revisiting his past while a guilt-ridden Sarah becomes desperate to make amends for her role in stitching up Boyd like a filthy Copper's Nark and getting him the jolly old tin-tack. But, it will cost the duplicitous Detective Chief Inspector her virry life. Starring Trevor Eve, Tara Fitzgerald, Sue Johnston, Wil Johnson and Eva Birthistle and with a fabulous guest appearance by Paul McGann.
In the third part of Tony Robinson's World War One - 8:00 Discovery - with the Battle of the Somme in full swing, yer man Tone uses rare stereoscopic images to reveal some of the unprecedented technologies that made the war even bloodier.
Sunday 30 November
Care worker Hannah goes to visit Tom in hospital and is shocked to hear he has escaped, so detective Rob Fairholme opens a missing persons investigation in the latest episode of Remember Me - 9:00 BBC1. Hannah pleads with him to search in Scarborough, haunted by the old folk songs she found in the pensioner's house, but the detective isn't convinced by her hunch and continues his search closer to home. Visiting Tom's home, he finds the ripped photo of the man as a boy - as well as documents revealing he once had a wife who was killed in tragic circumstances. Meanwhile, the post-mortem on social worker Alison Denning proves inconclusive - but oddly, it does show that the dead woman had water in her lungs. Supernatural thriller, starring Mark Addy, Michael Palin and Jodie Comer.
As the CIA thriller Homeland continues - 9:00 Channel Four - Carrie organises a last-ditch operation, while Lockhart and Martha do their utmost to stall Inter-Services Intelligence. Claire Danes, Mandy Patinkin, Tracy Letts and Laila Robins star.

'You should look for more mundane reasons for your murders,' a suspect tells Robbie Lewis in Lewis - 9:00 ITV3. 'It's usually sex or money, isn't it?' Not in this drama, where the motives are generally more tangled than bodies in a minefield. Hathaway and Lewis investigate the murder of a businesswoman connected with an organisation that supports gifted children, who had apparently been blackmailing the father of one particularly promising youngster. Further deaths follow, and as the body count rises, they realise there is a decades-old secret at the heart of the case. Matters are complicated still further by the presence in Oxford of former MI5 spymaster Grace Orde, who is visiting to sign copies of her tell-all memoir - which provides a vital clue to the killer's identity. We have a group of devious Oxford characters whose bonds and alliances may make your head spin: there's the shifty publisher, his deceitful wife and their precocious daughter - an Oxford undergraduate at fifteen. Plus a retired intelligence chief (played by Cherie Lunghi), a free-runner, a pub landlord and a politics don. Detective drama, guest starring Anna Chancellor, with Kevin Whately, Laurence Fox, Clare Holman and Rebecca Front.
With access to the first nationwide survey and state-of-the-art drones mapping the Great Wall of China, the latest Secret History documentary - 8:00 Channel Four - offers new evidence which reveals its extraordinary magnitude, rewrites its millennia-long history and decodes its complex signals system. Using cutting-edge chemistry, the programme also finds out what has kept the wall standing for so long - a simple cooking ingredient found in kitchens across the world.

Monday 1 December
In Wild Weather With Richard Hammond - 9:00 BBC1 - the Top Gear host reveals the hidden secrets at the heart of some of the world's most extreme weather in stunning detail, experiencing extraordinary phenomena first-hand. The first episode focuses on wind and sees the presenter brave temperatures of minus forty five degrees on top of Mount Washington in New Hampshire, where in 1934 the highest wind speed ever measured on land - two hundred and thirty one mph - was recorded. Richard also investigates how wind actually starts, walks into the centre of a man-made tornado and employs fire to make a ten metre-high whirlwind. Expect plenty of middle-class hippy Communist, Gruniad Morning Star reading Green Party frackers to find something to whgine about in relation to this. Which, in and of itself, is usually amusing.
The second round of the student quiz University Challenge continues - 8:00 BBC2 - with two more teams of four pitting their wits against one another as they attempt to secure a place in the quarter-finals. Jeremy Paxman asks the questions. As usual, that's followed by Only Connect - 8:30 - in which host Victoria Coren Mitchell welcomes back two teams as the quiz enters the second round, with three historians taking on a trio of cat lovers for a place in the quarter-finals. They must use patience, lateral thinking and sheer inspiration to make connections between groups of four things that may appear at first not to be linked, with one set of clues consisting of Indian spiritual leader Meher Baba, Cuzco in Peru, Peace and LGBT Community.

Jim Gordon and Harvey Bullock investigate financier Richard Sionis, who is running a deadly fight club where the winners are awarded a job at his firm in Gotham - 9:00 Channel Five. Meanwhile, Bruce Wayne learns a difficult lesson when returns to school and tries to make friends, prompting him to ask Alfred to teach him how to stand up for himself and, you know, chin the bullies. Which he does. Crime thriller based on characters from the Batman comics, starring Ben McKenzie, Donal Logue, David Mazouz and Sean Pertwee.
The exuberant Doctor Lucy Worsley - of whom were all big fans here at From The North - and Len Goodman are learning the Charleston as they step into the Twentieth Century, when dancing was democratised and commercialised in the final episode of Dancing Cheek To Cheek: An Intimate History Of Dance - 9:00 BBC4. Doctor Lucy reckons it should be a breeze as, 'I've got the right haircut for it.' Our hosts are in their element charting how the wild moves of ragtime 'plantation dances', the frivolous Charleston and the sensual Argentinian Tango reflected wider freedoms: women's suffrage, the escape from the horrors of the Great War and that. It's all great fun packed with dollops of social history – did you know that cockney favourite The Lambeth Walk was invented in the 1930s by Mecca executives? Under the instruction of Darren Royston, a historical dance teacher at RADA, Len and Lucy put together one final performance of the most iconic dance of the era in front of a crowd at the Cafe de Paris in London.
Tuesday 2 December
After four weeks of competition, the twelve remaining MasterChef: The Professionals contenders come together to compete in the semi-finals - 8:00 BBC2. They face an Invention test that features an abundant selection of meat, fish, fruit, vegetables and herbs and spices to choose from, but must go back to basics as all the modern machines are removed from the kitchen. Marcus Wareing, sour-faced and scowling Monica Galetti and Gregg Wallace then choose the best eight to go straight through, leaving the four weakest to cook off for the two remaining places in the competition.

This year ninety thousand children will spend Christmas in temporary accommodation - and more people are approaching councils to ask for help with somewhere to live. Tonight - 7:30 ITV - follows one such family to see what life is like without a place to call home.
In 2006, Tony is desperate to cover his tracks as he deals with the consequences of his actions and the lack of progress in finding Oliver causes Emily to finally break down in The Missing - 9:00 BBC1. Things are no better for Julien when an unprovoked attack puts him in danger. In the present day, Tony and Julien track down the man they have been searching for. He promises them information, but it comes at a price - forcing the grieving father to turn to his ex-wife for financial help. Drama, starring James Nesbitt, Tcheky Karyo and Frances O'Connor.

To the news: After months of waiting, the Breaking Bad prequel, Better Call Saul, has been given a release date. The spin-off, starring Bob Odenkirk as the opportunistic lawyer Saul Goodman, will debut in the US on AMC on 8 February, with its second episode due to be shown the following night. It will then be shown in weekly instalments every Monday. There is still no word on a UK release date, although the drama is expected to arrive on Netflix across Europe shortly after its AMC run.
Some very good news now, ITV's utter pile of steaming tripe Your Face Sounds Familiar will not be returning for a second series. Oh dear. How sad. Never mind. The total lack-of-entertainment show, presented by odious professional Northern berk Paddy McGuinness and waste-of-space greed bucket, horrorshow (and drag) Alesha Dixon, involved six ridiculously z-list celebrities impersonating - badly - various singers in a bid to win money for their chosen charity. Yes, dear blog reader, it was every single bit as horrible and worthless and risible as it sounds from that description. Asked by the Digital Spy website whether the show would be returning, McGuinness confessed that it would not: 'Because they're bringing back Stars In Their Eyes. Which, for instance, when we did Your Face Sounds Familiar - which I absolutely loved - I really thought we could have done something with that. But at the time when they told me about Your Face Sounds Familiar and we were just going to do it, I actually said, "Why don't you just do Stars In Their Eyes?" And then, lo and behold, I've talked myself out of a job and they are doing it and I've really shot myself in the foot.' Excellent. Could you do that with everything you're involved in, please? Thanks muchly, it really is appreciated.

ITV have reportedly ordered a new drama series based on Robert Louis Stevenson's The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll & My Hyde ... just seven years after the BBC got Steven Moffat to do something similar for them. Charlie Higson will provide the script and serve as executive producer on new show Jekyll & Hyde. The series, which was previously rumoured to be in development earlier in the year, is set in 1930s London and focuses on Robert Jekyll, the grandson of the original Henry Jekyll. Higson said of the project: 'It's an exciting challenge to take Stevenson's work and use it as the basis for a new Jekyll & Hyde. So many superheroes with secret dual personalities have been brought to life thanks to Jekyll and Hyde. He's one of literatures most important and influential characters and it's a privilege to be rediscovering him.'

The Fall will broadcast an extended series finale it has been announced. Yer actual Gillian Anderson confirmed that the concluding episode of the current second series will run for ninety minutes, rather than the standard hour. The actress - who plays Stella Gibson on the BBC2 drama - announced the news during an interview on Chris Evans's BBC Radio 2 Breakfast Show.
Natalie Dormer has been announced to star in BBC2's The Woman In Red. The Game Of Thrones and The Tudors actress will play Lady Seymour Worsley in the one-off Eighteenth Century 'factual drama.' The Woman In Red follows Lady Worsley on trial, after she tries to leave her husband, Sir Richard Worsley (played by Endeavour's Shaun Evans) and elope with his best friend Captain George Bisset (Aneurin Barnard). In a landmark case, a woman's worth and 'material value' as, effectively, one of her husband's 'possessions' are heavily debated.
A first picture from the BBC's upcoming fantasy series Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell has been unveiled. The drama is is being adapted from Susanna Clarke's novel by Doctor Who and Wallander writer Peter Harness. Bertie Carvel leads the series as aspiring London magician Jonathan Strange, while the great Eddie Marsan's Norrell uses his own magical abilities to dazzle townsfolk in the North of England. The destinies of these two men become intertwined during the beginnings of the Industrial Revolution. Marc Warren, Alice Englert, Samuel West and Charlotte Riley all have supporting roles in the much-anticipated BBC1 drama series. Looks really good, this one.
Mad Harriet Harman has urged the lack of culture secretary to defend the BBC from 'fatal wounds' by rejecting pressure from Conservative MPs to swap the licence fee for a voluntary subscription. The deputy Labour leader said that it was crucial for the vile and odious rascal Javid to publicly back the BBC - which he's obviously, not going to do - and that if the Tories were still in power after May's general election she feared the corporation 'would be in peril.' As do many of us albeit, I'm not sure it'd be that much safer under Labour after the small and twatty way it was treated under their own lack of culture secretary the vile and odious rascal Bradshaw during the last parliament. Did you think we'd all forgotten that, Hattie? 'Labour strongly supports the BBC,' Mad Hattie claimed at the Salford International Media festival on Tuesday. 'But the culture secretary must make it clear that he too supports the BBC. At a time when opponents of the BBC are circling, it's imperative for the culture secretary to defend it. You're either backing it or you're attacking it. But he's not backing it and if the Tories get in again, the BBC would be in peril.' Disgraceful Tory gobshite Andrew Brigden has written to the vile and odious rascal Javid calling for 'a review' into whether the BBC licence fee should be replaced with a voluntary subscription system. Up to fifty scum MPs (mostly, though not exclusively from the political right) could back Brigden, according to the Sunday Scum Express - who, of course, have no thoroughly sick anti-BBC agenda to push - and he is 'pressuring' the vile and odious rascal Javid for a 'quick fire' response. 'It's couched in terms of a review but it's clear they want to kill off the licence fee to fatally wound the BBC,' said Harman, who is also shadow lack of culture secretary. 'There are many Tory MPs who oppose the whole idea of public service broadcasting and would love to please the BBC's private sector detractors by dismembering it. And the worry is they think they've got a real ally in the secretary of state. [The vile and odious rascal Javid] has already made sympathetic noises about getting rid of or slashing the licence fee. The BBC is not safe in Tories' hands.' Mad Hattie said that while the BBC should be 'closely scrutinised', the licence fee remains its best funding mechanism, despite its 'imperfections and anomalies. The BBC is not perfect,' she said. 'It gets a lot of public money so it's right that it gets a high level of public scrutiny and accountability and lives up to the highest standards. No one should feel that the BBC is above criticism. I put that into practice myself by protesting about managerial high pay and the lack of diversity on and off screen. But when it comes to the principle of the licence fee we back it because for all its imperfections and anomalies no one's shown a better way of funding the BBC.'

A Downing Street police officer has told the high court how he was 'embarrassed' by the 'childish and overbearing' behaviour of former government chief whip Andrew Mitchell the night before the alleged 'Plebgate' incident. PC Gareth Bonds, who has thirty years' service, was the senior officer on duty at the Downing Street front gates on 18 September 2012 when Mitchell, the MP for Sutton Coldfield, tried to cycle out of Downing Street and was told he should go through the side gate as that was policy. Bonds said: 'Mister Mitchell then raised his voice and stated that he was the government chief whip and that he wanted to leave via the front vehicle gates. He was politely told to use the gate at the side. He again raised his voice and repeated the same phrase: "I'm the government chief whip. I want to leave through these gates." He also stated that he had been let out of the gates on previous occasions. He was raising his voice as though that would work. During this exchange, I stood and watched in disbelief at how childish a grown man in his position was being and found it embarrassing. I, therefore, spoke to my colleagues and told them to just open the gates as it was ridiculous to argue over a gate. I found Mister Mitchell's tone overbearing, but he did not swear at us. He then left.' Bonds said that the incident was the only one like it in his nine years with the Diplomatic Protection Group. 'Most people are quite polite,' he said. PC Alex Jamieson, who was also on duty at Downing Street on the night before the alleged 'Plebgate' incident, told the hearing that Mitchell 'became agitated' and 'refused to listen' when asked to use a side gate rather than the main one. 'I said "exit through there, sir,"' Jamieson told the court. 'Every time I tried to explain, he spoke over me.' In written evidence, Jamieson said that the instructions for 'dealing with cyclists' had been in place for over a year and, while there was no specific policy towards cabinet ministers on bicycles, officers 'used discretion' with figures from the government. 'For example, I was present when Peter Mandelson charged through the main gates about five years ago on foot after his car was delayed in traffic on Whitehall and he was late for a meeting,' he said. 'He was furious at being delayed for five minutes and when I explained that we were clearing two vehicles, he said he wasn't having it and charged though on foot. The gates were already open to let a vehicle in and he wasn't a security threat as I knew who he was, so I did not challenge him.' Jamieson said that, apart from the Mandelson incident, in the five years he had worked at Downing Street he had not come across anyone else who had acted in the way Mitchell did. 'Most people follow the policy when it is pointed out to them.' PC Jamie Dove said that Mitchell ignored him when he opened the pedestrian gate for him that evening. 'I heard Mitchell say to the others: "I have been through this exit two times today already and I am leaving through here now." His voice was determined, but not angry. It was said as an order not a request.' The claims were made during the libel case brought by Mitchell against the Sun for its story on the alleged Plebgate incident. PC Toby Rowland, who claims that Mitchell called him 'a fucking pleb', is counter-suing the Tory MP, who has already admitted swearing but denies using the word 'pleb' during the incident. Mitchell has told the court he was 'stitched up' and said that he believed his complaints about the behaviour of some officers at Downing Street had made him 'a marked man.' The trial extremely continues.

A classic villain from James Bond's past is expected to return for the next 007 outing. Oscar-winning Django Unchained star Christoph Waltz will be playing Ernst Blofeld, the nemesis of 007 first introduced in From Russia with Love, according to the Daily Scum Mail. So, like as not, this is all lies. An alleged 'source' allegedly told the scummish right-wing rag that the 'more serious tone' of the Daniel Craig movies has led producers to 'change the character to fit in with the new-look 007.' Blofeld was originally created by Ian Fleming and Kevin McClory for an abandoned James Bond movie project in 1960 before Fleming used the character in his novel Thunderball. The character featured prominently in You Only Live Twice (played by Donald Pleasence), On Her Majesty's Secret Service (Telly Savalas) and Diamonds Are Forever (Charles Gray), while also appearing in 1983's unofficial Bond movie Never Say Never Again. Blofeld was last seen in 1981's For Your Eyes Only being dispatched down an industrial chimney by Roger Moore after a struggle on board a helicopter. The supervillain has not been referenced since due to an ongoing legal wrangle with McClory. Bond producers Danjaq and distributor MGM acquired the rights to the character last year from McClory's estate, paving the way for Blofeld to return to the film series. Craig, Ralph Fiennes, Ben Whishaw and Naomie Harris will return for there, as yet untitled, Bond Twenty Four, with Léa Seydoux and Dave Bautista rumoured to be joining the cast.

Original Dad's Army star Ian Lavender is to make a cameo appearance in the new film adaptation. The actor, who is also known for roles in EastEnders, Doctors and Casualty, will play an officer in the movie, according the Torygraph. Lavender played the hapless teenager Private Frank Pike, the youngest member of the platoon, in all nine series of Dad's Army between 1968 and 1977. His original role will now be played by Blake Harrison. The remake of the BBC sitcom, which also stars Toby Jones, Bill Nighy, Michael Gambon, Mark Gatiss and Catherine Zeta-Jones, will see Captain Mainwaring, Sergeant Wilson and co go back on parade in Walmington-On-Sea. Dad's Army followed the escapades of a group of Home Guard soldiers as they tried to protect a quiet seaside town from a potential Nazi invasion during WWII. The hugely successful sitcom, which starred Arthur Lowe, Clive Dunn and John le Mesurier, is still repeated on TV to this day. And, it's still funny. Ninety-year-old Jimmy Perry, who co-wrote the original series, is set to produce the new film alongside The Iron Lady and The History Boys producer Damian Jones. As this blogger has previously noted, however, the fact that its director and writer previously collaborated on Johnny English Reborn does not, exactly, fill yer actual Keith Telly Topping with hope that it'll be an unsurpassed masterpiece, a great cast notwithstanding.

And, speaking of 'stupid boys', horrible full-of-his-own-importance Dave Whelan has been accused of anti-semitism after the Wigan Not Very Athletic owner told the Gruniad Morning Star that he believes 'Jewish people chase money more than everybody else.' Which, coming from a former money-grabbing flogger of cheap and shoddy sports gear such as Whelan is, frankly, a bit rich. A Chinese community leader, Jenny Wong, also said that Whelan was 'condoning racism' by claiming that it is 'nothing' to describe a Chinese person as 'a chink.' The comments came on the day that one of Wigan's shirt sponsors, the kitchen appliances firm Premier Range, announced that it was ending its agreement with the club, describing its position as 'untenable'. They were followed some hours later by another sponsor, the energy drinks firm Ipro. Whelan - whom this blogger has long regarded as big-mouthed waste-of-space, particularly over his obscene attempted defence of the Wigan player Callum McManaman after the latter had put Massadio Haïdara in hospital with a horrific knee-high tackle in 2013 - had been explaining his appointment on Wednesday of Malky Mackay as Wigan's new manager. This, despite the fact that Mackay is currently under investigation by the Football Association for alleged racist and anti-semitic comments in e-mail and text exchanges with Cardiff's former head of recruitment Iain Moody whilst Mackey was Cardiff manager. The three texts or e-mails which Mackay had sent to Moody included one describing the Cardiff City owner, the Malaysian millionaire Vincent Tan, as 'a chink.' In another, Mackay referred to the Jewish football agent, Phil Smith, saying: 'Nothing like a Jew that sees money slipping through his fingers.' It is worth noting at this point, incidentally, that Mackay himself has accepted that he did wrong and has apologised for his offensive comments on several occasions, which isn't excusing in any way what he said, but it does make a very interesting contrast to Whelan's spectacularly foot-in-the-gob comments this week. Whelan said that he saw neither of these comments as offensive, nor did he consider the other text, in which Mackey referred to there being 'enough dogs in Cardiff for us all to go round', when Mackay had signed the South Korea international Kim Bo-Kyung to be worthy of censure. Whelan claimed that he does not believe the reference to Smith was offensive, first explaining that he believed Mackay was only 'reflecting' that Jewish people 'love money' like everyone does. 'The Jews don’t like losing money. Nobody likes losing money,' Whelan told the Gruniad having, seemingly, not realised that the old truism 'when you're in a hole it's a good idea to stop digging' is, in most cases, pretty sound advice. Asked whether he believed that what Mackay had said was offensive, because the claim Jews 'love money' has been used as a negative stereotype, Whelan blustered: 'Do you think Jewish people chase money a little bit more than we do? I think they are very shrewd people.' Asked by a Gruniad journalist - who, one imagines must have been quite literally rubbing his hands together in glee at the juicy quotes he was getting fed - whether he, personally, believed that, Whelan, the seventy seven-year-old multimillionaire and former owner of JJB Sports, said: 'I think Jewish people do chase money more than everybody else. I don't think that's offensive at all.' Whelan said he did not think there was 'a lot wrong' with anything that Mackay said and there was 'no malice or disrespect' in the statement about Smith. He added: 'It's telling the truth. Jewish people love money, English people love money; we all love money.' Whelan's remarks were condemned by Simon Johnson, a former FA and Premier League executive who is Jewish and is the chief executive at the Jewish Leadership Council. 'Unfortunately Mr Mackay and now Mr Whelan have referred to some of the worst old-fashioned tropes which have been used in the past as the basis of anti-semitism and stereotyping of Jewish people,' he said. 'Mackay used offensive language to insult a fellow participant in football using a tawdry racial stereotype.' Whelan said 'we’re all against racism in football,' and that it was 'right' that Mackay had attended diversity education courses since his acrimonious exit from Cardiff. However, he then added that the word 'chink' is, he considered, 'not offensive' - something which, frankly, he doesn't get to decide, it's surely up to those people who are being described thus to say whether they consider it to be offensive or otherwise - and that he, himself, used it in relation to Chinese people when he was younger. 'If any Englishman said he has never called a Chinaman "a chink" he is lying,' Whelan claimed. Which, yeah, that's possibly true - it's certainly true in the case of this blogger - but that doesn't make it right now or right in the past. Plenty of British people, this blogger very much included, used that and other words and phrases which were examples of casual racism in everyday conversation over many decades without really thinking about it. The point is, we know better now. Or, some of us do, at least. 'There is nothing bad about doing that. It is like calling the British Brits, or the Irish paddies,' Whelan claimed. Which it isn't, or anything even remotely like it and anybody who thinks it is really does need to go on a diversity education course. Wong, the director of the Manchester Chinese Centre an organisation devoted to Chinese community cultural understanding, said that chink 'is an insult, racist.' Whether it's 'racist' or not, per se, this blogger will leave up to other people to decide but there is no denying that it is, at the very least, a racial comment and its use, as a pejorative, is similarly not open to question. 'I remember at school in the 1970s a skinhead kicking me, calling me "chinky, chinky,"' Wong added, sadly. 'It has stopped now; things have changed for the better. We have legal protection against racism and that is important; it is not political correctness. As a football manager, this man should not have said it.' Whelan later said, rather too late one could suggest, that if anyone had been offended by his comments - which clearly, some people were - 'to please accept my sincere apology.' He then tried the old 'many of my best friends are ...' defence: 'I would never insult a Jewish person. I have got hundreds and hundreds of Jewish friends.' He told Sky News: 'I've got loads of Chinese friends and I would never, ever insult the Chinese.' Except just now, when you did. Whelan, digging an even bigger hole for himself by disclosing the details of what, one presumes would have been private conversations, also told the Gruniad that he has been 'advised' by two 'influential' people at the top of the FA that 'nothing will come' from the investigation into Mackay over the text messages when he was at Cardiff, largely because the exchanges were made in private communications, which the FA chairman Greg Dyke has previously said are beyond the organisation's disciplinary processes. The FA was quick to issue a statement which said: 'No assurances have been given as to the outcome of this case.' And, one imagines that those two 'influential' people will probably not have been very impressed with Whelan's comments, even if they did tell him what he claims they did. Earlier in the day Premier Range became the first of the sponsors to pull out, before Whelan had made his remarks, saying: 'The texts Mr Mackay has admitted to sending are wholly unacceptable – and the thoughts expressed within them are a shocking reminder of a past we thought football had left behind. A team that would employ a man who expresses views such as these is not the kind of team Premier Range wish to deal with.' Ipro said after Whelan's comments it 'actively encourages positive working relationships that are not based on colour, race, nationality, religious belief, sexual orientation or age and cannot condone racism, sexism or homophobia. As a result, it is with deep regret that Ipro Sport will be severing its relationship with Wigan Athletic.' Whelan later said, rather stroppily dear blog readers may consider, that he will resign as Wigan chairman if the Football Association punishes him for his comments. Which is, sort of, the modern football equivalent of 'I'm taking my ball and going home.' The FA said that its investigation into Whelan's comments would be treated 'as a priority.'

A watercolour thought to have been painted by Adolf Hitler has sold at an auction in Germany for one hundred and thirty thousand Euros. Rumours that it has been purchased to hang in the boardroom of Wigan Athletic cannot, at this time, be confirmed or denied. The 1914 painting of Munich's city hall was put up for sale by two elderly sisters. Their grandfather had bought the painting in 1916. A private buyer from the Middle East, who 'wished to remain anonymous' - no shit?! - bought the work, auction house Weidler said. Experts generally consider Hitler's artworks to be of not particularly high quality so, you've got to conclude that anyone buying one of his paintings, especially for this sort of coin, isn't doing so because they're an art lover. The auction was held in Nuremberg. Of course. The auction house said that bidders from four continents had 'expressed an interest' in the work. The signature 'A Hitler' is seen on the watercolour painting Altes Rathaus (Old Town Hall). The original bill of sale was included with the painting, which contributed to the relatively high sale price, auction house director Kathrin Weidler said. The sellers would donate ten per cent of the proceeds to a charity that helped disabled children, Weidler added, according to Reuters news agency. And keep the other ninety per cent for themselves. Obviously. Previous sales of Hitler's art have, unsurprisingly, caused controversy and been criticised by some relatives of Holocaust survivors. As a young aspiring artist, Hitler sought admission to the Vienna Academy of Fine Arts, but was rejected. Because he wasn't very good. After founding the National Socialist Party in the 1920s, and a period in prison for a failed putsch, Hitler then became military and political leader of Germany from 1933 to 1945, launching World War Two and causing the deaths of millions, including six million Jewish people under Nazi rule. So he was clearly, you know, a complicated figure, let's put it that way. And he only had one. Allegedly.

Yer actual Keith Telly Topping's beloved (though unsellable) Newcastle's remarkable reversal in fortunes continued with victory over Hapless Harry Redknapp's Queens Park Strangers, a fifth successive league win - and, sixth in all competitions - that puts The Magpies fifth in the Premier League. Moussa Sissoko's strike with quarter of an hour left was enough for the Black and Whites, who were bottom of the Premier League on 22 September. The French midfielder - captaining the side in the absence of Fabricio Coloccini - collected Sammy Ameobi's pass before driving it into the net on the turn to send the Strangers back to London with nul points and firmly rooted to the foot of the table. Newcastle's day was, however, somewhat soured by what appeared to be another serious injury to Ryan Taylor, who was making his first league start in thirty two months. For just over half an hour, the afternoon had belonged to the popular Taylor who had recovered from two potentially career-ending cruciate ligament injuries, as he shone in midfield. Sometimes breaking up play effectively from a central role, sometimes unnerving Queens Park Strangers courtesy of expert dead-ball delivery, he played like a man who had never been away from the game. As Newcastle boss Alan Pardew put it: 'Ryan was pulling the strings.' Then Taylor went down in his own penalty area. The physio arrived, manipulated the player's knee and, immediately, extended a consolatory arm. Eventually, Taylor got to his feet and limped off to a standing ovation from the fifty thousand punters at St James' Park, with tears streaming down his face. Despite initial fears that Ryan could have suffered a injury similar to the two which kept him sidelined for the majority of two full seasons, the thirty-year-old later tweeted after he had received an MRI scan at the Royal Victoria Infirmary that he had experienced 'no major problem.' Before he left the field he looked like The Magpies' most potent weapon having twice tested the Strangers goalkeeper Robert Green, and Ryan's departure appeared to unsettle the home side for a while. Newcastle eyes then looked to Ayoze Perez to break the deadlock, with the Spanish under-twenty one international striker having scored three goals in his last three games. He should have grabbed his fourth when he was played in by Sissoko, only to dwell on his shot too long, allowing the alert Robert Green to block. Sissoko has, arguably, been Newcastle's best player this season and he was rewarded for another diligent display when he combined with Ameobi before launching an angled effort beyond the reach of the Strangers keeper. Defeat was the Hoops' seventh on their travels in all competitions this season and sees them slip to the bottom of the pile thanks to Burnley's win at Dirty Stoke. Hapless Harry Redknapp's side had four shots on target, but none troubled Newcastle keeper Tim Krul. Maybe if Hapless Harry spent a bit more time on the training pitch and a bit less making those crappy six-six-six adverts he side might win a few matches. Who can say? Joey Barton, returning to his former club, inevitably, enjoyed the last word – clearing Papiss Cissé's shot off the line in the dying moments.

Lewis Hamilton - who, for once managed to keep a straight face and not whinge like a bairn - clinched his second drivers' world championship with a comfortable victory in the season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. The 2008 champion became only the fourth Briton to win two world titles. Hamilton, second in qualifying, took the lead at the start and controlled the race, as Mercedes team-mate and title rival Nico Rosberg suffered car trouble and finished fourteenth. 'This is the greatest day of my life,' Hamilton said. '2008 was a great year in my life. The feeling I have now is way, way past that. The greatest feeling ever.' Hamilton moves level with Jim Clark and Graham Hill with two world F1 titles, and is one behind Sir Jackie Stewart. He also joins a number of other drivers on two titles, including his great contemporary rival Fernando Alonso. Michael Schumacher is the all-time record holder with seven, while the most successful current driver is Sebastian Vettel on four. Rosberg, who started on pole, was left struggling by the failure of his hybrid system. With two laps to go, he was told he could retire by his engineers at Mercedes but said: 'I would like to go to the end.' As Hamilton crossed the line, Prince Harry, attending the race, took to the team radio to say: 'Lewis, well done for not making the British public sweat. You are an absolute legend.' Hamilton stood on his car to celebrate after he returned to the pits and then went over to embrace girlfriend, the singer Nicole Scherzinger - seen left, kissing Hamilton's helmet - and his family, who had flown in for the race day to support him. The Englishman's win was his eleventh of the season, compared to Rosberg's five, and he finished sixty seven points clear at the top of the title standings. It was the thirty third grand prix win of Hamilton's career. Rosberg, who entered the race needing to win and hope that Hamilton finished lower than second in order to win the title, was never in the position he needed to overhaul his rival. While Hamilton made a perfect start to the race under the setting sun at the impressive Yas Marina circuit, Rosberg's Mercedes bogged down and the Briton was into the lead well before braking for the first corner. Hamilton completed the first lap 1.2 seconds in front and inched clear until he was almost three seconds in front by the time he made his first pit stop on lap ten, always giving the impression of being in complete control. The gap stayed at around that margin until lap twenty three, near half-distance, when Rosberg began to suffer from a failure of the energy recovery system on his Mercedes. From then on, it was a matter of damage limitation for Rosberg, who constantly asked his team over the radio to tell him what he needed to do to finish in the top five - the result that would give him the title should Hamilton have been forced to retire. 'How's it looking, to be in the position I need if Lewis has a problem?' Rosberg asked after about thirty four laps. 'It's not looking good, Nico,' his engineer Tony Ross told him. 'What the hell does that mean?' Rosberg snapped back. 'What times do I need to do?' 'Just drive flat out,' he was told. But, lacking one hundred and sixty horsepower for thirty three seconds of the lap, Rosberg was helpless as he slipped down the field, battling problems with his brakes, which were put under extra strain as a result of his problems. When Rosberg hit trouble, Mercedes put Hamilton's car into a conservative setting and the tension he was feeling as he neared his goal became apparent when he said: 'Please don't turn up the car - I am comfortable. I can go faster if I need to.' Williams took a shot at beating Hamilton to the race win by putting second-placed Felipe Massa on to super-soft tyres for a short final stint at his second pit stop with twelve laps to go. Massa closed to within nine seconds of Hamilton with eight laps to go and kept reducing the gap but Hamilton controlled his pace to ensure he had plenty of margin in hand to keep Massa at bay. Williams took a double podium with Valtteri Bottas taking third, ahead of Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo, who drove brilliantly to take fourth after starting from the pit lane because both Red Bulls were found to be illegal after qualifying. 2009 World Champion Jenson Button took fifth for McLaren in what could be the final race of an illustrious career - McLaren have yet to choose whether Button or his younger team-mate Kevin Magnussen will partner Fernando Alonso, who is moving from Ferrari, in 2015. The Force India team used an inverted tyre strategy to take a strong sixth and seventh with Nico Hulkenberg and Sergio Perez. Ricciardo's team-mate the reigning world champion Sebastian Vettel, who also started from the pit lane, was eighth. Alonso, in his last race for Ferrari took ninth, ahead of team-mate Kimi Raikkonen and Magnussen.

There was a proper top quality Record Player on Thursday evening at the Tyneside, dear blog reader. This week yer actual Uncle Scunthorpe was playing an LP which yer actual Keith Telly Topping has to confess he was not greatly familiar with (Vampire Weekend's latest offering) but this blogger - and, I think, a few other regulars - were rather impressed with. It reminded me somewhat of Mercury Rev in places. And, Paul Simon in others. Best bit of the night, however, was a really intense discussion about how much of an odious, risible, balding, Tory tax-exile twat Phil Collins is on a scale of one to ten. With one being 'not much of a twat' and ten being 'really very twatty indeed'. This blogger suggested twelve. Although, on reflection, Keith Telly Topping feels that he may have been a little lenient there.

So, on that bombshell, we come to yer actual Keith Telly Topping's 33 of the day. Which is this.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Keep Your Friends Close, And Your Enemies Closer

Series eight of Doctor Who saw yer actual Peter Capaldi take up the role of The Doctor, with an average consolidated audience of 7.4m viewers per episode in the UK. This an increase of thirty nine per cent on the overnight figures that were reported, crassly and without any contextualisation, by various parts of the media on the day after initial broadcasts. Including, most depressingly, the BBC's own website. (Dear blog readers should be advised that the original headline to this article when it appeared on 13 November was Steven Moffat Plays Down Who Ratings Slip - which Steven Moffat, in fact, did not do since there hasn't been a 'ratings slip' for him to 'play down' or anything even remotely like it. The article also included several inaccuracies not the least of which was flat out wrong overnight ratings figures quoted for Deep Breath. It was, seemingly, 'amended to clarify the context for the comments made by Steven Moffat' a day later. Presumably after the tosser that wrote it in the first place had been given the most spectacular bollocking of his or her lifetime by somebody in a position of authority at BBC News and told, next time, to stick to the bloody facts.) Anyway. these figures include the 9.2 million average audience that watched Deep Breath, Peter Capaldi's début episode, which is the highest audience figure for a single, non-special, episode of Doctor Who since The Eleventh Hour, the opening episode of series five (Matt Smith’s début) in 2010. The numbers show how Doctor Who has consistently achieved big audiences across its last four series – series seven also had an average consolidated audience of 7.4m per episode; series six attracted 7.5m and series five was viewed by 7.3m, entirely justifying Steven Moffat's recent comments that Doctor Who's audience has hardly changed during the last five years even if the way in which some of those faithful viewers consume the show has. There have, additionally, been over 18.9m requests to watch Doctor Who series eight on BBC iPlayer - an average of 1.6m requests for each of the twelve episodes. At the present time iPlayer figures are not included in the final, consolidated ratings released by the British Audience Research Board. In the US, consolidated figures for the first ten episodes have seen series eight experience a twenty three per cent uplift in total audience in 'Live Plus Seven' figures on series seven. The series eight première was the show's highest-rated series opening ever on BBC America, and is the first BBC Worldwide series ever to simultaneously hold the number one slot in the 'Main TV Season Charts' across all major Electronic Sell-through platforms in the US within forty eight hours of episode one's release on 24 August 2014. In Canada, on the Space channel, the first ten episodes of series eight have seen a twenty two per cent uplift in consolidated audience size on series seven. The Lord Thy God Steven Moffat said: 'We never take it for granted, but the miracle has happened again - the nation has taken a brand new Doctor to its heart.' Danny Cohen, the Director of BBC Television added: 'It's been an outstanding debut series for Peter Capaldi as Doctor Who [sic] and I'm very grateful to Peter, Steven Moffat and everyone involved. In this new world, we only know the total viewing for a programme after thirty days - and in the case of Doctor Who this means that the drama is performing exceptionally well.' Doctor Who Extra, which offers viewers a behind the scenes look at making one of the nation's best loved family SF dramas has had 1.3m BBC iPlayer requests and reached 2.4m people on BBC Red Button to date.

Meanwhile, Peter Capaldi his very self has revealed that he turned down an audition for the Doctor Who 1996 TV movie. Paul McGann was eventually to play the eighth Doctor in the one-off - intended to serve as a pilot for a potential co-produced series. 'I knew I wouldn't get it,' Peter explained at an event this week to launch the Doctor Who series eight DVD box-set. 'I loved the show so much that I didn't want to have anything to do with it, unless it was going to be me [definitely playing the part]. I didn't want the disappointment [after] going through all the palaver - jumping through hoops for something I [knew I would] would never get.' Peter added that he feared he was not well-known enough at the time to be taken seriously as a contender to play The Doctor. 'It was an American pilot and I knew they would go for somebody who was well-known - which Paul was, and he was fantastic. So I said to my agent, "Thank you very much, but I don't want to go along."' Capaldi is not the only Doctor to have turned down the chance to audition for the role in the 1990s. After he was cast as The Doctor in 2004, Christopher Eccleston also revealed that he had declined an invitation to audition for the role in the TV Movie.
After more than fifty years, twelve lead actors and several hundred episodes, the legacy of Doctor Who has never been greater – and The Lord Thy God Steven Moffat is feeling the pressure. Speaking at the panel to promote the series eight DVD, Moffat was asked by host Frank Skinner whether he ever feared 'crashing' the long-running series, having taken over the reins from Russell Davies in 2010. 'Yes of course you do,' Moffat (Thou Shalt Worship No Other Gods Before He) said. 'Any time you make a big shift in it or a big change in it, which we did this year, then you're properly worried – it's like you're curator of the crown jewels or something.' Still, yer man Moffat went on to explain how he put aside such concerns, which he considers an 'essential practice' to make the series: 'You have to shut that off in your mind,' he said. 'You've got to treat it like you own it – even though you don't. You have to sort of be bold with it, you have to sort of behave as if you were allowed to do this. If all you were ever doing is tending to the upkeep of the monument, then it's not gonna be a proper TV show.' These comments echo those made by Moffat last week, when he said that Peter Capaldi had 'saved the series' by forcing it to change. 'A show dies when it's reliable like a pair of old slippers,' he explained at a Royal Television Society event. 'If any reviewer says that about a show, that show is gone within a year.'
After the cliffhanger of Sherlock series three we all suspected that the next instalment of the detective drama – whatever form it might take and whenever it might be – was likely to address the apparent return of the late Jim Moriarty. Andrew Scott's BAFTA-winning mad-as-toast villain made an ambiguous appearance at the end of the final episode when the closing credits were interrupted to show Moriarty taking over television screens across Britain and repeating the question 'Did you miss me?' And when the titles finally ended there was a flash of the man himself, looking straight down the barrel of the camera. But after apparently shooting himself through the head at the end of the previous series, could Moriarty really still be alive? Or is it some trick from beyond the grave that, according to BBC1, will see Benedict Cumberbatch's detective returning from 'the briefest of exiles to face one of his biggest mysteries yet'? Whatever the answer, the Sherlock special – currently in pre-production and due to start shooting in January – will solve the mystery 'completely', co-creator Mark Gatiss his very self has told the Radio Times. But when Mark, Benny and co then turn their attention to series four, will the one-off episode (which may or may not be shown next Christmas) be the last we'll see of one of the best-loved villains in TV history? Gatiss's answer is as enigmatic and tantalising as you might expect: 'It's very hard to put a lid on Andrew Scott.'
I'm A Z-List Former Celebrity Desperate To Get My Boat-Race Back On TV ... Please Vote For Me To Stay Here As Long As Possible (I'll Even Eat Worms If You Want) topped the overnight ratings on its return on Sunday. The crass, horrifyingly meat-head ITV reality show attracted an average audience of 10.07 million viewers at 9pm. That, in and of itself, is a truly dreadful indictment of something or other dear blog reader although, cause for at least a modicum of celebration, was the fact that this was the risible, odious, voyeuristic freak-show's lowest-rated launch episode for several years. It was down around 1.5m from last year's average ratings of 11.54m and also down from 2012's 10.26m. Earlier, The X Factor - featuring the first play of Band Aid Thirty - climbed by over a million viewers from the previous week to 8.20m at 8pm. This is the first time the show has attracted over eight million viewers in four weeks. Meanwhile, Keep It In The Family attracted 2.78m at 7pm. On BBC1, Strictly Come Dancing rose by around seven hundred thousand viewers week-on-week to 10.03m at 7.15pm, making it the highest-rated results show of the current series so far. Earlier, Countryfile appealed to 6.79m at 6.15pm, while the movie War Horse was seen by 5.05m at 9pm. BBC2's live tennis coverage scored one million viewers at 6pm, followed by Human Universe also with a million viewers at 7pm. Sue Perkins's Mekong River documentary interested 2.35m at 8pm, while World's Greatest Food Markets brought in 1.27m at 9pm. On Channel Four, Speed With Guy Martin continued with 1.51m at 8pm, followed by the latest episode of Homeland with 1.14m at 9pm. Channel Five's broadcast of Dumb and Dumber was watched by nine hundred and ninety eight thousand at 5.45pm.

And, I'm A Z-List Former Celebrity Desperate To Get My Boat-Race Back On TV ... Please Vote For Me To Stay Here As Long As Possible (I'll Even Eat Worms If You Want) was also the winner on Monday evening, overnight data reveals. The show dropped around eight hundred thousand viewers from Sunday's launch episode, but still attracted an average audience of 9.29 million at 9pm. Earlier, Countrywise brought in 2.97m at 8pm. On BBC1, a repeat of Room 101 was seen by 2.10m at 8.30pm, followed by a repeat of New Tricks with 2.87m at 9pm. BBC2's Strictly: It Takes Two attracted 2.14m at 6.30pm. University Challenge drew 2.64m at 8pm, followed by Only Connect with 2.07m at 8.30pm. Intruders continued with four hundred and seventy two thousand at 9pm. On Channel Four, Dispatches interested 1.14m at 8pm. How To Sell Your Home was seen by 1.18m at 8.30pm, while Twenty Four Hours In Police Custody had an audience of 1.04m at 9pm. Channel Five's documentary Jack the Ripper: Missing Evidence attracted nine hundred and ninety five thousand at 8pm, followed by the latest Gotham with 1.07m at 9pm and Under The Dome with six hundred and seventy thousand at 10pm. On BBC4, Intimate History Of Dance appealed to 1.09m at 9pm.

The Missing dropped to below five million overnight viewers when it went up against live football on Tuesday. The BBC1 drama lost around eight hundred thousand viewers week-on-week, falling to 4.98 million at 9pm. ITV's coverage of the Scotland versus England friendly - which England won 3-1 - scored 6.19m from 7.30pm. On BBC2, MasterChef: The Professionals continued with 2.66m at 8pm, followed by Secrets Of The Castle with 1.24m at 9pm and The Walshes with four hundred and eighty four thousand at 10pm. Channel Four's Obsessive Compulsive Cleaners attracted 1.21m at 8pm, followed by You Can't Get the Staff with nine hundred and fifty two thousand at 9pm and Gogglebox with 1.04m at 10pm.

Here are the final and consolidated ratings figures for the Top Twenty Seven programmes for week-ending Sunday 9 November 2014:-
1 Strictly Come Dancing - Sat BBC1 - 10.52m
2 Downton Abbey - Sun ITV - 9.95m
3 Coronation Street - Mon ITV - 9.08m
4 The X Factor - Sat ITV - 8.58m
5 EastEnders - Mon BBC1 - 7.84m
6 The Apprentice - Wed BBC1 - 7.72m
7 The Missing - Tues BBC1 - 7.66m
8 Doctor Who - Sat BBC1 - 7.60m
9 Countryfile - Sun BBC1 - 7.14m
10 Emmerdale - Mon ITV - 7.08m
11 Six O'Clock News - Mon BBC1 - 5.33m
12 The Royal British Legion Festival Of Remembrance - Sat BBC1 - 5.22m
13 Grantchester - Mon ITV - 5.14m*
14 Pointless Celebrities - Sat BBC1 - 4.98m
15 Lewis - Fri ITV - 4.87m*
16 BBC News - Sun BBC1 - 4.71m
17 UEFA Champions League Live - Tues ITV - 4.70m
18 Holby City - Tues BBC1 - 4.49m
19 Life Story - Thurs BBC1 - 4.41m
20 Paul O'Grady's For The Love Of Dogs - Thurs ITV - 4.40m*
21= Gareth Malone's All Star Choir - Mon BBC1 - 4.33m
21= Ten O'Clock News - Tues BBC1 - 4.33m
23 The Passing Bells - Mon BBC1 - 4.17m
24 Remembrance Sunday: The Cenotaph - Sun BBc1 - 4.01m
25 Gogglebox - Friday Channel Four - 3.92m
26 Have I Got News For You - Fri BBC1 - 3.91m
27 Watchdog - Thurs BBC1 - 3.90m
Those ITV programmes marked '*' do not include include HD figures. As mentioned in the last bloggerisationisms, Doctor Who's consolidated figure for the series eight finale, Death In Heaven, included a timeshift above the initially reported 'live' audience of over two million viewers for the tenth time in twelve weeks (2.15 million, to be exact). The series' average timeshift across all twelve episodes of the series was 2.06 million. For the second week running, Saturday evening's episode of The X Factor had a final rating higher than the Sunday evening results show (7.85 million). Strictly Come Dancing's Sunday result episode, meanwhile, drew 9.69 million, meaning that the BBC show whipped The X Factor's bare ass on both Saturday and Sunday for the sixth week running. BBC2's highest rated programme of the week was MasterChef: The Professionals with 2.98m (all three episodes - on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday - achieved audience figures in the 2.90 - three million range). University Challenge drew 2.92 million, followed by The Apprentice: You're Fired! (2.88m), Great Continental Railway Journeys (2.68m), The Mekong River With Sue Perkins (2.52m), Only Connect (2.28m), Peaky Blinders (2.24m), Strictly Come Dancing: It Takes Two (2.15m) and Qi (2.07m). Gogglebox was Channel Four's largest-rated show, followed by the channels' broadcast of The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (2.67m), Twenty Four Hours In A&E (2.52m) and Speed With Guy Martin (2.12m). Channel Five's best performers were Gotham with 2.45 million, Black Market Britain Undercover Sting (1.66m) and Can't Pay? We'll Take It Away (1.63m). Midsomer Murders was ITV3's most-watched programme with seven hundred and eighty seven thousand viewers. Detectorists drew BBC4's largest audience of the week (seven hundred and four thousand), followed by Inspector Motalbano (six hundred and sixty two thousand). E4's The Big Bang Theory had the biggest multichannels audience of all (2.47m). Sky 1's The Flash had 1.48m.

Luther is to be remade for US television by the FOX network. The BBC thriller starring Idris Elba is to be 'retooled' for American audiences - whatever the hell that means. Give him a guns, probably - with the project having received a put pilot commitment, according to Variety. This means that FOX will pay 'a significant penalty' if it does not broadcast the new Luther pilot, increasing its chance of being picked up to series. Elba will executive produce the remake, but is not expected to reprise the lead role. Starring the British actor as tortured police detective John Luther, the original series - created by Neil Cross - ran for three series on BBC1 between 2010 and 2013. And was really rather good.
Odious, unfunny, lanky streak of worthless pale piss Jack Whitehall has suggested that ITV should be 'made to answer' on the subject of how the controversial comedian Dapper Laughs managed to land his own TV show with the broadcaster. Oh, the irony. Oi, pot, there's kettle over here calling you black.
And, speaking of odious, horrible, full-of-their-own-importance glakes, millionaire horrorshow (and drag) Myleene Klass might have gained a lot of attention for herself after she 'went all Jeremy Paxman' on Ed Milimolimandi in a TV debate over the proposed mansion tax, but it seems to have rebounded on her, somewhat, with at least some of the audience. A number of viewers were, it would appear, so offended by the idea of a talentless, full-of-herself millionaire lecturing the Labour leader on his plans to imposed a tax on millionaires should Labour win the next election that they have started a petition aimed at getting her dropped from her advertising work with Littlewoods. Earlier this week, the thirty six-year-old former pop singer criticised the Labour leader over his pledge to impose a mansion tax during the ITV show The Agenda. Klass accused Milimolimandi of 'pointing at things and taxing them.' Many viewers have accused her of being 'deeply insensitive' during a time of supposed public austerity, especially since she herself has an estimated net worth of eleven million quid and, seemingly, has now cast herself as the spokesperson for other extremely well off people who may be asked to pay a bit more money to help those who are not so fortunate as them at some stage in the future. Obviously, she's decided that she was more photogenic than Gryff Rhys Jones. Having been accused of having extremely offensive opinions, some are now calling on Littlewoods, the company for whom Klass fronts a series of particularly obnoxious adverts, to drop the former Hear'Say poppet from their campaigns as a sign of respect to, you know, the rest of the country. The petition at the website argues that the company's pay-weekly customers are among the worst hit by economic hardships - something which Klass's argument that mansion tax is 'unfair' rather pisses in the face of. This will, of course, have as little chance of success as the - equally ludicrous - petition about getting the BBC to repeat old Doctor Who episodes mentioned on this blog a couple of weeks ago, albeit, in just one day the Klass petition had attracted fifteen times as many signatures as the other did in a fortnight. It reads: 'Myleene Klass has demonstrated unacceptable conduct and spoken unacceptably publicly in such appalling economic times. We the British public call upon you to make you position regarding the words of Myleene Klass clear and end your business relationship with her as the face of your brand. Miss Klass (estimated net worth eleven million pounds) showed a complete lack of class when she made comments about the unfairness of this tax on the super-wealthy of British society who make up less than 0.05 per cent of the population.' Littlewoods have apparently 'been made aware' of the campaign, but are yet to make any comments on the future of Klass at their company.
TV physicist Brian Cox (no, the other one) and the visual effects team behind the film Gravity will tell the story of the universe using cutting-edge augmented reality technology in a live show next year. Professor Coxy, effects wizards Framestore and film director Kevin Macdonald are using a system called Magic Leap. Magic Leap has not been seen in public, but reports suggest that its headgear projects images onto users' eyes. The show will be part of the Manchester International Festival next July. Titled The Age Of Starlight, it is one of the first three productions to be announced for the eighteen-day event. Also on the line-up are a ballet created by choreographer Wayne McGregor, musician Jamie xx and artist Olafur Eliasson and a family show telling the life story of children's TV favourite Mr Tumble.
Broadchurch will be back in the New Year, it has been confirmed. Detectives Alec Hardy (David Tennant) and Ellie Miller (Olivia Colman) will return to ITV in January 2015. 'There was a boy, and he was killed. I caught the killer. So why am I still here?' Alec asks in the third two-part teaser for the return of the popular crime drama, which was shown on Sunday. A follow-up teaser featured Miller saying: 'There was a boy, and he was killed. What happened then destroyed my family, my job and my town. So what do I do now?' Series one of Chris Chibnall's drama focused on a small coastal town in Dorset rocked by the murder of eleven-year-old Danny Latimer, as Alec and Ellie tried to track down his killer. Very little is currently known about the second series of Broadchurch, although Jodie Whittaker, Andrew Buchan and Arthur Darvill are among those reprising their roles from the first series. Meanwhile, Charlotte Rampling, Marianne Jean-Baptiste, Meera Syal, Eve Myles and James D'Arcy will join the cast for the new series.
The presenter of BBC4's recent Architects Of The Divine (part of the Gothic season), and the current repeat run on the same channel of the superb Chivalry and Betrayal is, of course, Doctor Janina Ramirez, whom we're all big fans of here at From The North. That is how she appears on Twitter, Facebook and in the credits of her previous TV work. So how did the commissioning editor, executive producer, producer/director and the rest of the team behind Architects Of The Divine sign off on a transmission version naming her as 'Nina' Ramirez? Was it somebody at BBC4's idea that if they start shortening everybody's name, they might attract da kidz, and that, innit?
Here's a really rather marvellous piece of journalism, about the unlikely - but, seemingly, sincere and warm - friendship which sprang up between the academic and broadcaster Mary Beard and the comedian Tony Law (both of whom we're, also, big fans of here at From The North). Does the soul good to read something like this every now and then, frankly.
Julian Assange's prolonged sojourn at the Ecuadorian embassy in London has inspired a new BBC4 sitcom. Asylum is described 'a satirical comedy about a government whistleblower and a millionaire Internet entrepreneur trapped together in a London embassy.' Presumably, any resemblance being, you know, entirely coincidental. Four Lions actor Kayvan Novak will star in the comedy, which he conceived with his Fonejacker producer, Tom Thostrup. Although, given the fact that he's already been the subject of a movie which even yer man Benedict Cumberbatch couldn't sell, one has to wonder if Channel Four really think they're going to be pulling in the numbers with this project. WikiLeaks founder Assange has been in Ecuador's London embassy for more than two years. He initially took refuge there in 2012 to avoid extradition to Sweden, where he faces charges of sexual assault and other alleged naughty badness. Charges which, it is important to note, he denies. Asylum forms part of a series of shows created to mark the eight hundredth anniversary of the Magna Carta's signing. The Taking Liberties season includes a day of debate, a documentary filmed inside the House of Commons and a series on the struggle to win votes for women. Tony Hall, the BBC's Director General, said that he was 'delighted' to announce a season 'examining what Magna Carta's key themes of freedom, power and justice mean to Britain and the world today.' The corporation, he said, 'should be the place where the great events in our nation's history are commemorated.'

Coronation Street is to broadcast a special live episode to mark ITV’s sixth decade on-air. The longrunning soap, which also filmed live episodes to mark its fortieth and fiftieth anniversaries in 2000 and 2010, will broadcast live for one night next September. The 2010 episode, which featured a dramatic tram crash, won several awards for the Manchester-set show. Producer Stuart Blackburn, who masterminded Emmerdale's live special to celebrate its fortieth anniversary in 2012, said it was 'an honour to be at the helm' of Coronation Street for the occasion.
A British antiques expert who restored items for royalty was a child abuser involved in a notorious paedophile campaign group, the BBC has revealed. Keith Harding was active in the Paedophile Information Exchange, according to documents seen by the BBC. A former chairman of the British Horological Institute, he appeared alongside dirty old scallywag and right rotten rotter Jimmy Savile in a Christmas edition of Jim'll Fix It. Harding, who died in June, had been convicted of sex offences in the 1950s. A man who appeared on the Christmas 1980 Jim'll Fix It episode as a boy has claimed the feature was 'set up' by the production team, who approached the family and asked for a letter to Savile to be written. It has not been possible to establish the precise motive for Harding's appearance on the show. Richard Scorer, from the legal firm Slater & Gordon, which is representing nearly two hundred alleged victims of Savile, described the Jim'll Fix It revelation as 'extremely troubling. It is precisely the sort of allegation that the government child abuse inquiry needs to investigate in detail,' he said. Child protection campaigners have called for the official inquiry into historical abuse to examine the extent of Harding's business and political links. He was convicted of indecent assault against four children aged eight and nine in the late 1950s and was a 'Schedule One' offender - meaning that his convictions remained on his police file for life. But, he was later given the Freedom of the City of London and became a member of the Worshipful Company of Clockmakers, meeting business and political figures at the height of his career. The clockmaker and music box expert ran a museum regularly visited by children, despite social services allegedly 'being aware' twenty years ago of his previous convictions for child abuse. Harding's involvement with PIE, which campaigned for the age of consent to be reduced to four, has never previously come to light. BBC News says that it has seen 'confidential social services reports' from 1995 which confirm Harding's 'PIE involvement.' One of his former employees said that the clockmaker had described his role for the group as 'membership secretary.' Social services documents described his convictions as a 'real cause for concern' and warned that children should not be left unsupervised with him. In December 1980, the BBC's Jim'll Fix It filmed Harding at his workshop in Islington where he fixed a music box belonging to a thirteen-year-old girl whose letter was shown on-screen requesting the repair. She then appeared along with her younger brother in the studio with Harding and filthy kiddie-fiddler and sick bastard Savile. The girl's brother, Dean, who is now in his forties, has told BBC News the feature was, allegedly, 'set up' by the production team who instigated the item by approaching the family. He claimed: 'She was asked to write that letter. The way it came about was that my uncle was asked by his then girlfriend, who was a researcher at the BBC, if anybody in the family had a musical box. Obviously the letter must have been done after the facts.' Savile was one of Britain's most prolific sex abusers and is thought to have assaulted hundreds of people between the ages of five and seventy five over a fifty year plus period. Dean claims that he and his sister were chaperoned by a relative throughout their time on the programme and that nothing untoward took place. But, he described later learning about both Savile and Harding as 'very hurtful', adding: 'It takes away your childhood.' It is unclear what motivated Harding's appearance and who, if anyone, at the programme instigated it. Two - anonymous - 'sources' who worked on Jim'll Fix It at the time both said that they 'did not recall' the events leading up to Harding's appearance and denied knowing such 'set-ups' of guests ever took place. So, either they are lying, or this Dean character is, since both can't be correct in their assertions. The BBC said that it 'could not give a commentary' on the case as it was thirty four years ago but pointed to the current inquiry being carried out into dirty old scallywag and right rotten rotter Savile's activities at the corporation. In 1987, Harding moved to Gloucestershire where social services were, the BBC News website claims, 'aware' of his previous criminal convictions. Gloucestershire County Council declined to comment on the fact that he continued to run a music box museum in Northleach, which was regularly visited by children, until his death aged eighty two in June. A spokesman for the museum said that children were 'always accompanied by adults.' Harding also featured on the children's television programme All Over The Place, which visited his museum in 2012. PIE disbanded in 1984 and a number of its known members have since been convicted of sick and sordid child abuse offences. Speaking to social workers in the 1990s, Harding reportedly denied being a member of the group and said that he acted as a 'counsellor' to its members. But, a document held by police in the mid-1980s listed Harding as PIE member - number three hundred and twenty nine - next to his North London address. The Metropolitan Police's Operation Fairbank, which is investigating allegations of historical abuse, is understood to be 'aware' of Harding's background - albeit, the fact that the bloke is now dead does, sort of, make one wonder what exactly they're going to do if they find out that he was invovled in any filthy goings on. Dig him up and put him on trial, perhaps? In a statement, the BBC said: 'Today's BBC has appropriate safeguards in place to protect children and young people. Dame Janet Smith is making an impartial and independent investigation into the historical culture and practices of the BBC, which will identify lessons to be learned from the Savile period.' The Corporation of London said that Harding's vetting for the Freedom of the City was carried out 'by his livery company.' About eighteen hundred people receive the honour each year. The Worshipful Company of Clockmakers said that Keith Harding did not disclose his offences and was 'never involved in the running of the company.'
Well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Rebekah Brooks 'signed off' on 'virtually all' cash payment requests when she was editor at the Sun, it has been claimed at a trial of journalists on the tabloid accused of approving naughty payments to public officials for stories. The head of news at the Sun was asked by the trial judge on Tuesday afternoon what proportion of payment requests the editor refused to sign off. 'A very small percentage,' Chris Pharo replied. Asked whether he could 'give an idea' of the percentage, he said 'two to three per cent.' Pharo is on trial along with five other current and former Sun journalists for allegedly approving unlawful payments to public officials, a charge which they all deny. Well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Brooks, is not. Pharo said 'what you might get is a protracted process of her stalling on the payments', before clarifying to the judge that in two to three per cent of cases there would be 'no payment at all.' He was being quizzed by prosecutor Peter Wright QC, about an e-mail in February 2006 telling staff that, with immediate effect, no cash payments would be paid 'without Rebekah's approval.' Pharo had replied to the e-mail containing the edict, by saying this would 'dramatically increase my workload.' This was because up to that point, a cash payment could be approved by a deputy editor, he said. Earlier in the trial, Pharo had claimed that he had to deal with so many cash payment requests by his reporters that he spent half of his time in the editor's office. In a grilling by Wright, he was accused of creating 'a cock and bull story' to explain the paper's 'practice' of paying public officials at a criminal trial. Opening his cross examination, Wright put it to Pharo that the 'ends justified the means' at the Sun and there was a 'preparedness to pay public officials.' Pharo replied: 'That's not true,' Pharo claimed. 'I stayed silent at the police station, because I was absolutely terrified.' He went on to tell jurors that the company had decided to hand him and others 'to the police' and repeated earlier references to three million e-mails being deleted by the company. This, Wright put it to him, was what upset him. 'That's what grates you isn't it? That the company shopped you?' Pharo replied: 'No, what really grates me is that the company has provided a fraction of the evidence in this case and we fitted the bill.' Wright asked him how these missing e-mails could exculpate him, suggesting they were a 'smokescreen' in his trial. 'I simply don't think we're looking at anything like the full picture,' Pharo claimed. 'I am not using it as a smokescreen.' Wright went on to quiz him about the paper's decision to run a story Mumbai Raid Fear on Xmas Shoppers four years ago. The article reported that Metropolitan police firearms officers were 'patrolling shopping centres' including Westfield and Bluewater as fears that al-Qaeda might be inspired to commit a British version of a massacre by the terrorist attack in India. 'Did you consider it was for you to decide to jeopardise any on going operation that may be undertaken by counter terrorism in the metropolis?' Wright asked. 'I don't for any moment accept your [assertion] that [the story] would jeopardise a counter terrorism [operation] in the metropolis,' claimed Pharo. Pressing him on the issue, Wright asked him if it was not 'arrogant' of the Sun to decide it was in the public interest to reveal a confidential operation. 'No,' said Pharo, explaining that the story suggested the police were 'already deployed and active.' Pharo was being quizzed about the story in relation to an e-mail request for a payment of seven hundred smackers to a 'source' who was 'well-placed in the Met.' He also said that there were 'no instructions' at the paper after well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Brooks told a parliamentary select committee in 2003 that the Sun paid police officers. He said that he was 'shocked' about what well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Brooks said to the Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee and that it caused 'a great deal of consternation in the office and the wider industry.' Presumably, since paying police officers for information was then and remains now extremely illegal. 'After that statement by Rebekah Brooks about the "we pay police officers", did anything change?' Wright asked. 'No,' claimed Pharo. He said that there was 'no legal guidance' given to reporters on the matter until The Bribery Act came out in 2010. The trial continues.

The Sun came into possession of a Labour MP’s mobile phone after a thief smashed the window of her car and stole her handbag, a jury has heard. Siobhain McDonagh had parked her car in Tooting in October 2010 and had left her handbag inside, which contained, among other things, her mobile phone which was not password protected, the jury at the Old Bailey was told by the prosecution opening the case against Sun journalist Nick Parker. Within minutes the car window had been smashed and the phone was stolen, along with the rest of the contents of her handbag, Michael Parroy QC, said. Some forty five minutes later, the alleged thief, Michael Ankers, 'was using the handset with his own SIM card in it, having on his own account thrown away the SIM originally in the phone', Parroy said. The next day Ankers contacted the Sun and told them that he had acquired the phone of an MP. He claimed that he had 'found' the phone on the tube. An arrangement was then made that Ankers would meet the Sun reporter Nick Parker, at a hotel in Richmond, the jury was told. Parker is on trial for five alleged offences including 'dishonestly receiving stolen goods', and of unlawfully accessing the phone between 17 October and 21 October 2010. He has denied all the charges. Ankers has been very charged with theft of the phone and of 'dishonestly receiving stolen goods', charges which he also denies. Parroy said that at the meeting Parker, 'either personally, or via a technician, downloaded the contents of the phone onto his own laptop or more likely, read what was on the phone and typed the contents into his own laptop. Both of them knew they had no business whatsoever going into the phone, looking at its contacts, e-mails et cetera,' the prosecutor said, going on to add that the next day, Parker met Ankers again with a photographer accompanying him, by which time the phone had been handed in to the police. 'He arranged that meeting to be photographed because he thought the phone to be stolen,' said Parroy and therefore must have known he was 'acting dishonestly.' Parroy told jurors that Parker was 'not entitled just because he is a reporter, to interrogate someone’s else’s phone he has no business to have in his possession at all.' Parker has also pleaded not guilty of aiding and abetting a police officer, Alan Tierney, whom the jury heard had previously pleaded very guilty to misconduct in public office in 2009. In addition, the Sun journalist has pleaded not guilty to a fifth count, one of aiding and abetting a prison officer, who was charged with misconduct in public office in 2007. Lee Brockhouse, an office at HMP Swaleside, is on trial with Parker at the Old Bailey, as is Ankers. Brockhouse is accused of entering into an agreement with the Sun and disclosing confidential information to the paper in exchange for money. Parroy told jurors that Parker 'knew perfectly well that Tierney was a police officer' and that, as a public servant, he had no lawful right to sell stories to the press. 'Nonetheless, Parker was prepared to encourage the officer to act in this way so he could buy the stories for his paper,' said Parroy. Brockhouse has also been charged with selling stories to the People newspaper, which he also denies. Parroy said that Brockhouse and Tierney 'felt safe, no doubt' in dealing with the Sun because they knew the press policy was to keep sources confidential. But, he said, while a free press was an essential part of a free society, it did not mean the press were 'above the law' or that public servants were entitled to sell information they get as part of their jobs to newspapers.

Paul O'Grady has settled a phone hacking claim against the publisher of the disgraced and disgraceful Scum of the World. O'Grady received what was described as 'substantial' damages as part of the settlement, the High Court in London heard. News Group Newspapers - formerly News International, owned by billionaire tyrant Rupert Murdoch. Whom no one is scared of any more - accepted that O'Grady's voicemail had been extremely hacked and that there was 'a misuse of his private information.'

Robert Peston devotees who missed his appearance last week on Only Connect should at once track it down on iPlayer, as there was a classic Pestoninfestation moment to savour. Appearing in a Children In Need celebrity special of the popular lateral thinking quiz, the BBC economics editor was generally off the pace but suddenly sharpened up for a question about the way one drinks tequila. Why was he so expert on this topic, presenter Victoria Coren Mitchell wondered. 'Actually, most breakfast sequences, before I go on the Today programme, a quick shot' Pesto offered by way of explanation.
Alex Salmond has been labelled a 'paranoid loser' by a former BBC chairman, following the former Scottish National party leader's whingy criticism of the corporation's coverage of the Scottish independence referendum. Sir Christopher Bland urged the BBC to mount a robust defence of its journalism, after Salmond compared the corporation's independence referendum coverage to a 'state broadcaster' screening 'propaganda.' 'I haven't yet seen, other than the rather feeble [BBC] corporate affairs response, somebody taking him on and saying "really, Salmond, you're a paranoid loser and you really shouldn't insult the BBC like that,"' Bland told The Voice of the Listener & Viewer autumn conference in London on Tuesday afternoon. Salmond, speaking to the Daily Record on Monday, accused the BBC of helping to secure a 'No' vote in September's Scottish independence referendum. 'There is a difference between being a public service broadcaster and a state broadcaster, and I don't think the people at the top of the BBC understand the difference. That is a tragedy,' he said. Bland, who chaired the BBC board of governors between 1996 and 2001 and is also a former BT chairman, was speaking at a VLV conference session on the challenges facing recently appointed BBC Trust chair Rona Fairhead. Bland said that the Trust should not defend the indefensible over charter renewal. 'I don't think the existing structure of the Trust and the BBC is defensible. All organisations tend to perpetuate themselves; it would be a great thing if the Trust could say "This isn't working, here is how it should work going forward." A different model, plainly, is needed.' He advised Fairhead not to appear on the Today programme on Radio 4 or BBC2's Newsnight: 'Don't think these people are your friends – they are not.'

Mister Bonio out of The U2 Group has been been injured after falling off a bike in Central Park, New York. Tragically, it wasn't very serious. It is believed that Mr Bonio out of The U2 group toppled off his bicycle when he was unbalanced due to his towering ego. The U2 Group revealed on its website that Mister Bonio out of The U2 Group will require surgery on his arm 'to repair it.' Whether this will also involve sewing up his gob to shut the fucker up for a bit is not, at this time, known. The U2 Group featuring Mister Bonio, Mister The Edge and ... the other two out of The U2 Group were due to start a week-long residency on The Tonight Show With Jimmy Fallon, which they had to postpone. 'We're sure he'll make a full recovery soon, so we'll be back!' said the statement from Mister The Edge out of The U2 Group and the other two out of The U2 Group. 'Much thanks to Jimmy Fallon and everyone at the show for their understanding.'
EastEnders has been praised for the handling of a prostate cancer storyline. Prostate Cancer UK has said that the BBC1 drama is helping to 'break down one of the biggest taboos around men's health.' Viewers discovered this week that Timothy West's character, Stan Carter, has prostate cancer, after he told his family he had refused treatment for it. The charity has hailed the plot as a 'potential lifesaver.' Owen Sharp, chief executive of Prostate Cancer UK, said: 'When EastEnders first hit our screens thirty years ago, prostate cancer just wasn't talked about. It was a dirty little secret "down below". Treatment options were extremely limited and survival rates were terrible. Things are getting better, but we have a way to go. Some men, like Stan, are still reluctant to talk about prostate cancer, and reach out for help.' The charity's Karen Sumpter, who advised the show's writers on the storyline, said that they had 'done a fantastic job of presenting the real issues men face.' Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in UK men, with forty thousand new cases diagnosed every year. It develops very slowly so there may be no signs of any symptoms for several years. Earlier this year, EastEnders also tackled the subject of breast cancer when Carol Jackson - played by Lindsey Coulson - was diagnosed with the illness. She was also identified as a carrier of the gene-mutation increasing the risk of developing the disease. Her daughter, Sonia, tested positive as a carrier, leaving her to consider potentially invasive procedures to prevent the development of breast cancer.
Ofcom is to investigate EastEnders over a storyline in which Linda Carter, the Queen Vic landlady, was raped. More than ninety people - presumably with nothing better to do with their time - complained to the media watchdog and several hundred viewers also whinged to the BBC over the episode screened on 6 October and what a right shite state of affairs all this malarkey was. Or something. The BBC has defended the storyline as part of the soap's 'rich history' of portraying difficult issues. The broadcaster said it had been careful to avoid any graphic depictions. The show's makers also contended that the attack was 'implied and was not explicit.' Separately, Channel Five has been censured by Ofcom over swearing on three shows - Big Brother, It Takes A Thief To Catch A Thief and and The Hotel Inspector Revisited, all of which were repeated during the daytime. The broadcaster admitted that 'human error' meant it had failed to broadcast a warning over offensive language prior to a screening of It Takes A Thief To Catch A Thief at 10:30am on 22 March, 2014. The channel said that as a result of this error, it had reviewed its internal records to ensure that all pre-watershed versions of programmes were correctly labelled and reviewed by its compliance team. And, that the human who erred has since been taken to the woodshed and given a jolly good smacked bottom. Allegedly. All screenings were daytime repeats of evening shows and Ofcom ruled that the channel did not take 'appropriate steps' to avoid frequent use of offensive language before the watershed. Which, let's face it, is a fekking serious offence. Three people - who, definitely, had nothing better to do with their time - complained to Ofcom about a Big Brother episode screened at lunchtime on 7 August, which involved a conversation between five of the housemates. Ofcom noted fourteen instances of different variations of the same swear word within a fifty-second part of their conversation. The fact that there were fourteen naughty words used isn't the most surprising thing here, the fact that someone actually counted them, this blogger would suggest, is. Channel Five claimed that 'none of the language identified was used in connection with violent or particularly aggressive behaviour.' The tone of the conversation was 'light' and 'in-keeping with the kind of banter' which was frequently heard in the house 'when alcohol had been consumed,' the broadcaster added. A sodding likely excuse.
And, speaking of bad naughty language, and shit, Band Aid is back – you might have noticed, dear blog reader. And, of course, so are Bob Geldof's passionate, expletive-ridden television appearances. The musician famous for supposedly telling TV viewers in 1985 to 'give us your fucking money' – even though that is, actually, a misquote – was taken off-air by Sky News on Monday when he said the incredibly naughty word 'bollocks' twice during a short period of time. The scallywag. Sky News presenter Jayne Secker asked Geldof to respond to critical reactions to the re-recording of 'Do They Know It’s Christmas?' for victims of Ebola: 'A lot of people are saying, "look at all the people in that room, a lot of wealthy people, if they all paid their taxes in the right way, we wouldn't need these kind of fund-raising singles,' Secker said, not unreasonably, actually. 'What would you say to that?' she asked. The answer was nothing if not predictable from Saint Bob. 'I think they're talking bollocks,' Geldof responded. Fair enough. Next ... 'That’s pretty colourful language. If you could not use any more, we'd appreciate it,' Secker continued - some hope - before asking Saint Bob to respond to criticism from Ian Birrell, founder of the Africa Express project, who described the entire Live Aid Project as 'patronising and perpetuating myths again.' Oh, that's asking for trouble. 'Complete load of bollocks,' Geldof replied, prompting Secker to swiftly wrap up the interview: 'Okay, I'm afraid we'll have to apologise for that language again and there we will leave it. Sir Bob Geldof, thank you very much for joining us today.' Geldof's rant during the original Live Aid broadcast in 1985 made television history. 'Get your money out now,' he shouted at viewers. 'There are people dying now, so give me the money.' Geldof swore at one point in the broadcast, saying 'fuck the address, let's get the numbers,' but this is often misquoted as him having said 'give us your fucking money.'
Veteran actor and presenter Bernard Cribbins has been awarded the annual JM Barrie Award for a lifetime of unforgettable work for children on stage, film, television and record. The Action for Children's Arts JM Barrie Award is given annually to a children's arts practitioner or organisation whose work, in the view of ACA, will stand the test of time. The JM Barrie Award was formerly the ACA Peter Pan Award, presented as part of the Great Ormond Street Hospital Children's Charity Awards. Bernard has featured in many iconic BBC Children's programmes over the last forty years, including Jackanory, The Wombles and, most recently, Old Jack’s Boat on CBeebies. In 2007 he appeared in the Doctor Who Christmas special, Voyage Of The Damned, playing Wilfred Mott. The character returned in several episode of series four where it was revealed that Wilfred was the grandfather of Donna Noble. Bernard's first contact with Doctor Who came in the 1966 feature film Daleks' Invasion Earth 2150 AD, where he played Tom Campbell alongside Peter Cushing's portrayal of The Doctor. The award was presented at Broadcasting House at a ceremony attended by the BBC's Director General Tony Hall and a range of Bernard's colleagues from across the decades, including Chris Jarvis, CBeebies presenter and writer on Old Jack's Boat, the actress Jan Francis, former Blue Peter presenter Peter Duncan and Kate Robertson, daughter of Elisabeth Beresford, the creator of The Wombles. Messages were received from Sir George Martin, Russell Davies and John Barrowman. Also in attendance were Jenny Agutter and Gary Warren, who appeared in The Railway Children in the 1970 film, which co-starred Bernard as the station master Albert Perks.

Ofcom has opened a - long overdue - investigation into how the Premier League sells live TV media rights for its football matches in the UK. It follows a complaint from Virgin Media, which said that more matches should be available for live broadcast. In a statement, the Premier League said the way it sold its audio-visual rights was 'compatible with UK and EU competition law.' BSkyB and BT share the rights to televise Premier League football games. The price for the latest rights deal - covering 2013 to 2016 - rose by seventy per cent to three billion smackers when it was announced in 2012. The Premier League will soon be starting the bidding process for the next tranche of rights from 2016 onwards. Virgin claims that the current arrangements 'for the "collective" selling of live UK television rights by the Premier League for matches played by its member clubs is in breach of competition law.' In particular, it has raised concerns about the number of Premier League matches for which live broadcasting rights are made available. Ofcom said: 'Virgin Media argues that the proportion of matches made available for live television broadcast under the current Premier League rights deals - at forty one per cent - is lower than some other leading European leagues, where more matches are available for live television broadcast.' Virgin argues that this 'contributes to higher prices for consumers of pay TV packages that include premium sport channels and for the pay TV retailers of premium sports channels.' Tom Mockridge, Virgin Media's chief executive, called Ofcom's investigation 'welcome news. The fact remains that fans in the UK pay the highest prices in Europe to watch the least amount of football on TV. Now is the right time to look again at the way live rights are sold to make football even more accessible,' he said. 'We look forward to working constructively with the Premier League, the wider industry and Ofcom to ensure a better deal for football fans.' In a statement, the Premier League said: 'We note that Ofcom has launched an inquiry. Ofcom has stated that this is at an early stage and it has not reached a view as to whether there is sufficient evidence of any infringement. The Premier League currently sells its audio-visual rights in a way that is compatible with UK and EU competition law and will continue to do so.' Ofcom said that the investigation would be carried out 'under the terms of the Competition Act.' It added that it was 'mindful of the likely timing of the next auction of live UK audio-visual media rights, and is open to discussion with the Premier League about its plans.' Ofcom also said it would look at the issue of how many games are moved from their traditional 3pm kick-off times on Saturdays, because of TV scheduling needs. As part of this, it will approach the Football Supporters' Federation and certain other supporters' groups to understand their views. Malcolm Clarke, chair of the Football Supporters' Federation, said: 'Premier League football might be a global phenomenon but without fans in the stands, it wouldn't have the same appeal. People want to see the world's best players, but they also want to see stands packed to the rafters with fans. That vibrancy is a key part of the TV "product." Ofcom also acknowledges the importance of Saturday 3pm kick-offs to fans. All-too-often TV's needs come before match-going supporters as games are shunted around the calendar.'

[spooks]: The Great Good has been confirmed for release next year. The spy thriller, based on the BBC and Kudos Film and Television's long-running TV series, will open in UK cinemas on 8 May 2015 through Pinewood Pictures. Game Of Thrones actor Kit Harington will lead the cast of the movie, with [spooks] veteran Peter Firth reprising his role as Harry Pearce.

A blue plaque has been unveiled in Torquay to mark the birthplace of Peter Cook. Widely regarded as one of Britain's greatest comedians - and, a particular favourite of this blogger - Peter was born in Middle Warberry Road in November 1937. The son of a diplomat, Peter is best known for co-writing and starring in the 1960 satirical review show Beyond The Fringe and, for his work with Dudley Moore. Cook died in 1995 from complications relating to liver disease, aged fifty seven. The plaque was unveiled by the Torbay Civic Society. Society chairman Ian Hanford said that Cook's parents had been working in Africa but moved to Torquay, ensuring their son was born in England. Becky Bettesworth, who lives in the house on Middle Warberry Road, said that her family was 'so excited' to learn Cook had been born there. Peter rose to prominence with Beyond The Fringe, which also featured Dudley Moore, Alan Bennett and Jonathan Miller. It had great success in the West End and later on Broadway. He then went on to run satirical magazine Private Eye and also opened The Establishment, London's first satirical nightclub, in 1961. Cook had success with Dudley Moore during the 1960s and 70s in shows including Not Only ... But Also. Peter maintained connections with Torbay throughout his life. He was a fan of Torquay United - as well as, more famously, Spurs - and married his third wife at Oldway Mansion in 1989. Hanford said Peter was 'absolutely besotted' with The Gulls and often wore a club scarf on stage.
Prolific TV writer and producer Glen Larson has died at the age of seventy seven. The executive was responsible for a string of action-packed hits, including Knight Rider, Magnum PI, Quincy ME and the original Battlestar Galactica. Knight Rider's David Hasselhoff paid tribute on Twitter, saying that Larson had 'seven TV series at one time! Without him there'd be no KITT and Michael.' Larson died of oesophageal cancer at the University of California, Los Angeles Medical Center on Friday night. Also an accomplished singer and composer, he co-wrote the theme songs for many of his shows, including the frequently sampled tune from Knight Rider and the orchestral score for Battlestar Galactica. He was nominated three times for an EMMY, once for a Grammy (for Battlestar Galactica), and received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1985. Larson was born in January, 1937, to a Swedish immigrant mother and a Swedish-American father in Long Beach. His entertainment career started in the 1950s, when he was a member of the all-male singing quartet The Four Preps. He helped write and compose some of their hits, including 'Twenty Six Miles (Santa Catalina)', 'Big Man' and 'Down By The Station'. Where he would make a lasting mark, however, was in television during the 1960s and 70s. After working as a writer for Quinn Martin on productions including The Fugitive (where he had his first writing credit), Larson signed a production deal with Universal Studios. His first hit series was Alias Smith & Jones, a popular Western starring Pete Duel and Ben Murphy which described the activities of outlaws Hannibal Heyes and Kid Curry, concentrating on their efforts to go straight. By 1968, Larson had worked his way up to an associate producer on the series It Takes A Thief and quickly rose through the ranks to produce some of the biggest TV shows of the time. At one point, he had five shows airing at one time, his son said. A list of nearly four dozen TV credits also includes The Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Mysteries, BJ & The Bear, The Fall Guy, McCloud, The Virginian, The Six Million Dollar Man, The Sword Of Justice and Buck Rogers In The Twenty Fifth Century. Glen is survived by his wife, Jeannie Pledger, his brother, and nine children from two marriages.

Jimmy Ruffin, the Motown singer who scored his biggest hit with 1966's masterpiece 'What Becomes of the Broken Hearted?' has died at the age of seventy eight. News of his death follows reports last month that he was seriously ill and in intensive care at a Las Vegas hospital. Born in Mississippi, Ruffin moved to Detroit in the early 1960s and was signed to Motown's Miracle label before, later, becoming a mainstay of the company's Soul imprint. He moved to the UK in the 1980s, where he recorded songs with Paul Weller's Style Council and Heaven 17. Ruffin's other hits included 'I've Passed This Way Before', 'Gonna Give Her All The Love I Got', 'Farewell is A Lonely Sound', 'It's Wonderful (To be Loved By You)' and, post-Motown, 'Hold On To My Love', a top 10 hit in 1980. His younger brother, David, one of the members of the classic line-up of The Temptations, died in 1991 of a drug overdose, prompting his sibling to become an outspoken anti-drug campaigner. A family statement said that Jimmy was 'a rare type of man who left his mark on the music industry. We will treasure the many fond and wonderful memories we all have of him' the statement said. Motown's founder, Berry Gordy, said Jimmy was 'a phenomenal singer. He was truly underrated because we were also fortunate to have his brother, David, as the lead singer of The Temptations, who got so much acclaim' Berry told Rolling Stone. Jimmy's other credits include Jimmy Ruffin's Sweet Soul Music, a seven-part series he made for BBC Radio 2 in the 1990s. His last CD, There Will Never Be Another You, was released in 2012. Born in Collinsville, Mississippi, Jimmy began singing with his younger brother a gospel group, The Dixie Nightingales. In 1961, Jimmy became a singer as part of the Motown stable, mostly on other singer's sessions but also recording occasional singles for its small subsidiary label, Miracle. He was then drafted for national service. After leaving the army in 1964, he returned to Motown, where he was offered the opportunity to join The Temptations to replace Elbridge Bryant. However, after hearing his brother, David, they hired him for the job instead. Jimmy therefore decided to resume his solo career. In 1966, he heard a song about unrequited love written for The Spinners, and persuaded the writers - Willie Weatherspoon, Paul Riser and Jimmy Dean - and producer Mickey Stevenson that he should record it himself. His recording of 'What Becomes of the Broken Hearted?' became a major success, a top ten hit on both sides of the Atlantic which propelled Jimmy into the A-league of Motown artists. Jimmy found success in the United States difficult to sustain, and began to concentrate instead on the British market. In 1970, 'Farewell Is A Lonely Sound', 'I'll Say Forever My Love' and 'It's Wonderful (To Be Loved By You)' each made the UK top ten and he was voted the world's top singer in one British music poll. He also teamed up with his brother David to record the LP I Am My Brother's Keeper, a modest success in 1970. He left Motown in the mid-70s and recorded for the Polydor and Chess labels, where he recorded 'Tell Me What You Want'. In 1980, Robin Gibb of The Bee Gees produced his LP Sunrise and the hit single 'Hold On To My Love', on the RSO label. In the 1980s, Jimmy moved to live in Britain, where he continued to perform successfully. In December 1984 he collaborated with Paul Weller and The Style Council for his benefit single 'Soul Deep', produced to raise money for the families of striking miners affected by the UK miners' strike. Jimmy was attracted to the cause as his own father had worked in the mines in Mississippi. He also recorded duets with both Maxine Nightingale and Brenda Holloway. Jimmy is survived by his children Arlet, Philicia, Jimmie, Ophelia and Camilla.

Yer actual Keith Telly Topping was at a funeral on Tuesday morning, dear blog reader. An old friend of his late uncle, as it happens. And, a sombre and very cold affair (in every sense of the word) it was too. Still, it was nice to see Keith telly Topping's cousin, David and his family and Keith Telly Topping's mother's cousin, Selby, for the first time since, probably Mama Telly Topping's funeral eighteen months ago. On the way home, yer actual Keith Telly Topping was delighted to spot the Continental Christmas Market is now open at the top of Grainger Street, so he stopped and had a bratwurst with onions. Because he could. A day earlier, Keith Telly Topping had been to see Doctor Chris for his latest medical check-up. The general consensus being that yer actual Keith Telly Topping's back is, essentially, cattle-trucked beyond redemption but that everything else is, all things considered, reasonably okay. Including the fact that this blogger had lost nine pounds in weight since his previous check up around eight weeks earlier. That'll be a combination of all the swimming and those two days during the previous week when yer actual Keith Telly Topping didn't eat at all because he was spewing copious amounts of rich brown phlegm, like as not. (This blogger doesn't want to freak anybody out nor nothing but he'd been feeling really queesy all that day and, not to get too graphic, but the matter finally come to a head - and, you know, out of the head and into the toilet. It was a bit like a cross between that scene in The Exorcist and that scene in Jekyll where Tom Jackman tries to flush away a severed ear.) And, finally, in relation to yer actual Keith Telly Topping's continuing adventures in water, twice this week he's managed to do a full thirty lengths at the pool, having somewhat underperformed at the back end of last week. Due, mainly, to the spewing, and that.

For the latest Keith Telly Topping's 45 of the Day, here's a bit of righteous Hollies.