Saturday, April 18, 2015

Don't Go Down The Bingo, Mother, Father's Coming To Tea

The latest documents released by WikiLeaks have revealed the desire of Sony and BBC Worldwide to make a Doctor Who movie. Wikileaks have published thousands of e-mails and documents which it obtained following a cyber-attack on Sony Pictures Entertainment last year. Included in the release are discussions between Sony executives about working with BBC Worldwide to produce a Doctor Who movie. In an e-mail to Sony Pictures Entertainment chief executive Michael Lynton, sent in January 2014, Sony's president of international production Andrea Wong said that although the BBC were interested in the project it was the wrong time to push it. She said that she had discussions with Danny Cohen, the Director of BBC Television. 'Just spoke to Danny Cohen re Dr Who. He said that while there has been tremendous interest (and pressure from BBCWW) to do a Dr Who film, the showrunners feel very clear that they don't want to do one at this moment. That said, over the course of the coming months, the show running team is coming up with an eight year timeline for the brand – laying out all that will happen with it. He says that a film will certainly be a part of that timeline. So the answer is that a film won't happen in the next year to eighteen months, but it is expected that it will happen after that within the eight year horizon. He expects the plan to be laid out by the end of the year.' Lynton replied asking if it would help if he met the showrunners when he visited the UK in March, but Wong advised him against the meeting. 'Spoke to Danny and he doesn't think it makes sense right now and actually might hurt our cause. He said that the creative team on the show have been having the movie conversation with BBC Worldwide in recent weeks and are very hot under the collar that their position on it is not being listened to or accepted.' Neither Sony or the BBC have responded to the specific leak. Sony has strongly condemned the release of material by Wikileaks saying 'We vehemently disagree with WikiLeaks' assertion that this material belongs in the public domain.' Quite how this revelation meets the Wikileaks definition of 'the public interest' is difficult to work out, although having said that, the fact the conversation suggests the BBC believe that Doctor Who will still be up and running as a going concern in 2022 - as suggested by the 'eight year plan' - is, undeniably, very interesting purely on a 'that's good to know' level.
Code Of A Killer topped the overnight ratings outside of soaps on Monday. The John Simm-fronted drama brought in 4.55m for ITV at 9pm. Earlier, Wild Ireland brought in 2.83m at 8pm. On BBC1, MasterChef continued with 4.29m at 9pm. It followed Suicide In The Family, which was watched by 2.39m at 8.30pm. Meanwhile, the return of Game Of Thrones to Sky Atlantic brought in an impressive 1.52m at 9pm. The figure is Sky Atlantic's best overnight performance to date, marking the moment the one-time cult hit went truly mainstream. The eagerly anticipated fifth series opener of the HBO fantasy drama hit had a 6.7 per cent share of the audience. It was a huge audience for Sky Atlantic, forty three times its slot average over the last three months. Unusually for the pay-TV channel, it also put it ahead of two of the five mainstream channels, including BBC2, which had 1.3 million viewers for new documentary series Inside Harley Street and Channel Five's own US import, Gotham, watched by eight hundred and two thousand viewers viewers. Game Of Thrones had more than twice the six hundred and seventy five thousand viewers for the equivalent broadcast of the opening episode last year. However, the fourth series opener also had an early morning simulcast, giving it a total first day audience of 1.2 million. The consolidated audience for the first episode, which will include people who recorded it and watch it over the next seven days, is likely to top three million. With more than twice the audience of Sky Atlantic's most popular homegrown drama, Fortitude, which began with an overnight audience of more than seven hundred thousand and a consolidated rating of 1.7 million, Game Of Thrones was, easily, the most popular programme broadcast on Sky Atlantic to date. On BBC2, Collectaholics continued with 1.28m, before University Challenge interested 2.71m and Food & Drink gathered 1.62m at 8.30pm. Channel Four's Food Unwrapped interested nine hundred and eighty thousand at 8pm, while Travel Man: Forty Eight Hours In Iceland transported 1.28m at 8.30pm. Skint was seen by 1.38m at 9pm, while Caitlin Moran's Raised By Wolves continued with six hundred and fifty thousand punters at 10pm. On Channel Five, Police Interceptors attracted eight hundred and fifteen thousand at 8pm. Person Of Interest had an audience of six hundred and three thousand at 10pm.
Ordinary Lies continued to top the overnight ratings outside of soaps on Tuesday. The BBC1 drama's overnight audience was down marginally on the previous week, but still pulled in 4.43m at 9pm. Later, Millionaire Basement Wars averaged 2.19m at 10.45pm. On BBC2, Collectaholics continued with 1.23m at 7pm, before Back In Time For Dinner interested 2.62m at 8pm and Britain's Favourite Foods - Are They Good For You? gathered 2.18m at 9pm. ITV's coverage of the Champions League tie between Atletico Madrid and Real Madrid - with the punching and the biting and the elbowing and the kids getting sparked an' aal sorts - averaged 2.97m between 7.30pm and 10pm. Channel Four's Burger Bar To Gourmet Star dropped to six hundred and thirty thousand at 8pm and One Born Every Minute drew an audience of 1.36m at 9pm. My Big Fat Asian Wedding was seen by 1.10m at 10pm. On Channel Five, Britain's Horror Homes was watched by nine hundred through punters at 8pm, while Can't Pay? Final Demand Special brought in 1.17m at 9pm. Two Thousand Tattoos, Forty Piercings And A Pickled Ear was watched by eight hundred and thirty three thousand at 10pm.
MasterChef was the most watched overnight programme outside of soaps on Wednesday. The BBC1 cooking competition continued with 4.87m at 9pm. Elsewhere, Evan Davis's interview with oily and rancid coward David Cameron gathered 1.17m at 7.30pm and Secret Britain averaged 3.75m at 9pm. The first episode of ITV's Give A Pet A Home was - every bit as risible, horrifying and diarrhoea-smeared as expected - and was seen by a satisfyingly low audience of 2.53m at 8pm, while the channel's crassly Spitting Image-like Newzoids debuted to 3.34m at 9pm. The Delivery Man was watched by 2.45m at 9.30pm. On BBC2, Collectaholics continued with 1.17m at 7pm, before The Ladykillers: Pest Detectives attracted nine hundred and forty thousand viewers at 8pm and Kill The Christians averaged nine hundred and thirty thousand at 9pm. A repeat of Qi followed with eight hundred and fifty thousand at 10pm, while Newsnight was broadcast to six hundred and forty thousand. Channel Four's The Island With Bear Grylls continued to perform well with 2.21m for its third episode at 9pm. First Dates continued with 1.23m at 10pm. Channel Five's Nightmare Neighbour Next Door was seen by 1.18m at 8pm.

The BBC Erection Debate coverage was the most watched overnight broadcast outside of soaps on Thursday. The David Dimbleby-chaired debate featuring five scum arguing why you should vote for them brought in 4.27m for BBC1 at 8pm, while the reaction show which followed averaged 3.53m at 9.30pm. And, the reaction was 'what a right load of disgusting scummish scum, don't vote for any of them, it only gives them ideas.' Question Time ended a night of political programming with 2.66m at 10.45pm. On BBC2, Collectaholics continued with 1.28m at 7pm, before Coast Australia was seen by 1.58m and churlish,bitter old Red Jimmy McGovern's miserable-as-a-bag-of-misery Banished concluded with 2.02m at 9pm. All of whom, presumably, slit their own wrists immediately afterwards. Inside Number Nine had an audience of nine hundred and twenty thousand viewers at 10pm. ITV's Tonight gathered but 1.72m at 7.30pm, before Double Decker Driving School averaged 2.18m at 8.30pm and Ice Rink On The Estate had an equally unimpressive 1.32m at 9pm. The Supervet continued with 1.86m on Channel Four at 8pm, while The Island With Bear Grylls brought in 2.32m at 9pm. On Channel Five, The Hotel Inspector appealed to 1.02m at 9pm and The Mentalist brought in six hundred and thirty two thousand for its latest episode at 10pm. E4's latest The Big Bang Theory was watched by nine hundred and thirty two thousand at 8.30pm. Mad Men's final season brought in a mere sixty thousand Gruniad Morning Star readers in the same timeslot for Sky Atlantic.

Highlight of the Erection Debate was, undoubtedly, a bit at the end which proved that a picture can, indeed, tell a thousand words.
Nigel No Mates's comments during the debate about money 'going over Hadrian's wall' (from England to Scotland) inspired many comments on social media, as voters in both countries rushed to point out that the famous Roman monument is actually miles away from the current border between the two countries - eighty miles at its East end - and that money going over Hadrian's Wall would actually land in Cumbria or Northumberland.
Speaking of the erection, it never ceases to be funny when Rachel Riley has the unfortunate task of spelling out a rude word on the Countdown board. This time it was a stiff eight-pointer.
Have I Got News For You was Friday's highest-rated overnight show outside of soaps. BBC1's topical panel show was seen by an average of 4.61 million overnight viewers at 9pm. The figure is slightly up on last week's 4.57 million figure. The ONE Show kicked off BBC1's evening with 3.17 million viewers at 7pm, followed by 2.95 million for A Question Of Sport at 7.30pm. MasterChef continued with 4.33 million at 8.30pm, while a repeat of Mrs Brown's Boys played to 2.94 million at 9.30pm. Featuring guests such as Carey Mulligan and Amanda Holden, The Graham Norton Show was watched by 2.91 million viewers at 10.35pm. Weekend Escapes With Warwick Davis returned to a risible 2.41 million viewers on ITV at 8pm, while the second-episode-that-was-actually-the-first-episode of Slow Train Through Africa With Griff Rhys Jones (see below) was watched by 2.41 million at 9pm. On BBC2, Collectaholics finished with 1.10 million at 7pm, followed by 1.87 million for An Island Parish: Falklands and 1.92 million for Gardeners' World. Sex & The Church continued with six hundred and ninety thousand viewers at 9pm, while The Clare Balding Show could only attract six hundred and seventy thousand at 10pm. Gogglebox continues to prove popular on Channel Four, with this week's episode drawing an average audience of 3.28 million at 9pm. It was sandwiched between Marvel's Agents of SHIELD with seven hundred and twenty thousand at 8pm and Alan Carr: Chatty Man with 1.17 million at 10pm. Channel Four's evening ended with Virtually Famous, which returned to three hundred and thirty thousand at 11.05pm. Secrets Of Great British Castles was seen by seven hundred and seventy eight thousand at 8pm on Channel Five, while a double-bill of NCIS: New Orleans and NCIS drew respective audiences of seven hundred and ninety eight thousand and nine hundred and twenty three thousand respectively.

In the latest episode of Have I Got News For You - presented by the Goddess on minxy terrificness that is Victoria Coren Mitchell - comedy line of the week came for good old reliable Paul Merton. 'One way to ruin both this programme and Top Gear would be for Ian [Hislop] and Jeremy Clarkson to swap places! What sort of car would Disraeli have driven?'
The divine Victoria her very self was, as usual on outstanding form. 'According to the Green Party their tax on plastic bags will raise "perhaps one billion pounds." I like the word "perhaps!"'
ITV is 'investigating' why the wrong episode of Slow Train Through Africa With Griff Rhys Jones was broadcast on Friday last week. The show launched with its fourth episode, rather than the first. The series follows Griff's journey southwards from North Africa and - as usual, features the comedian and presenter talking very very fast in that odd uniquely Griff Rhys Jones-style (until, suddenly, he realises that he's talking too fast and deliberately slows down to a snails pace). But judging by the evidence of the first episode to be broadcast, watched by 2.4 million overnight punters, it appeared as though his journey had begun in Namibia. An ITV spokeswoman told Broadcast Now: 'The episode that played out last Friday did not correspond to the running order as billed and we're looking into how this happened.' Presumably, it was because some berk wasn't paying attention. Mind you, this is Griff Rhys Jones we're talking about, he does have the ability to put people to sleep if you're not careful. The series will now be broadcast in its original order, but with fourth episode left out. So, that won't be in the slightest bit confusing for any regular viewers it may still have by that stage.

In other news, we've had a few nice days weatherwise in the UK this last week, dear blog reader. You might have noticed. Don't get too excited, though. That was the summer, that was.
Whinging Christopher Eccleston has whinged that working-class actors are finding it tougher than ever to make it in the industry. The former Doctor Who and Our Friends In The North actor was brought up in the slums of Salford. He warned that British culture has become 'bland' because of the dominance of actors from more privileged backgrounds than what he had. 'I still feel insecure, like a lot of my working-class contemporaries. I had a sense acting wasn't for me because I'm not educated,' he told Radio Times magazine. Eccleston, who left Doctor Who after one series as the Time Lord in 2005, said: 'I was a skinny, awkward-looking bugger with an accent, as I still am. British society has always been based on inequality, particularly culturally. I've lived with it, but it's much more pronounced now, and it would be difficult for someone like me to come through.' He added: 'You can't blame Eddie Redmayne, Benedict Cumberbatch and others taking their opportunities but it will lead to a milky, anodyne culture. To an extent, that's already happened.' Eccleston, who now stars in new ITV thriller Safe House, said: 'I confess I don't watch much film or television drama but I'm aware of the predominance of white, male roles. It's not just about the working class. There's not enough writing for women or people of colour. It frustrates me when they insist on doing all-male Shakespearean productions – a wonderful intellectual exercise, maybe, but it's outrageous because it's putting a lot of women out of work.' The actor, whose parents supported his ambition to become an actor, said that the 'Billy Elliot cliche is very offensive.' Eccleston previously said he left Doctor Who after one series because 'I didn't agree with the way things were being run, or like the culture that grew up around the series.' He said of the way he played the Time Lord: 'I wanted to move him away from RP for the first time because we shouldn't make a correlation between intellect and accent, although that still needs addressing. I hope I'll be remembered as one of The Doctors. I have no ill feeling towards the character or the series. I don't watch it and am not keen to discuss it because I want this to be about Safe House. That's my mortgage.'

Yer actual Benedict Cumberbatch's opinion on these particular views is not, at this time, known. But, we can probably guess.
David Harewood has joined the cast of ITV's upcoming epic drama Beowulf. The Homeland actor will play the warrior Scorann in the channel's re-imagining of the classic Anglo Saxon saga. Harewood joins the previously announced Kieran Bew as Beowulf his very self, William Hurt as Hrothgar and Joanne Whalley as Rheda. Created by James Dormer, Tim Haines and Katie Newman, the thirteen-episode series is set in the mythical Shieldlands, a dangerous land populated by both humans and fantastical monsters. And their mums. Also starring in the project are Ed Speleers, David Ajala, Ian Puleston-Davies, Ellora Torchia, Gisli Orn Gardarsson, Susan Aderin, Kirsty Oswald, Laura Donnelly, Edward Hogg, Alex Price, Jack Rowan and Itoya Osagiede. Filming on Beowulf began last month in County Durham - another wild and mythical place as far as most people in the broadcasting industry are concerned.

Disney XD has signed a deal to broadcast episodes of Doctor Who in the US. The network will broadcast series two to four featuring national heartthrob David Tennant from May, Deadline reports. After Tennant's first episode as The Doctor is shown on 9 May, the series will continue on 13 June with eight episodes until 20 June.
The Musketeers creator Adrian Hodges has stepped down as showrunner ahead of the upcoming third series of the BBC's flop historical drama. Hodges adapted Alexandre Dumas's novel for BBC1, but revealed to the Geek Syndicate website that he will not return for the next run of episodes. 'I just felt that after the last season I was totally knackered,' he claimed. 'I love the show but it had been a very intensive four years really - and what I didn't want to do was go straight into developing a new season. I just didn't quite have the energy to do that.' The BBC was only able to recommission The Musketeers thanks to financial backing from BBC Worldwide and BBC America, who also contributed to the first two series as its woeful ratings in the UK certainly didn't justify another series. 'The Musketeers has delighted audiences at home and around the world and we're thrilled that we've been able to financially support bringing a third series to the BBC, with improved value for the licence fee payer,' a BBC Worldwide spokesman claimed, unconvincingly, back in February.
The divine Goddess that is Claire Goose and Matt Bardock have been cast in The Coroner. BBC1's new daytime drama stars Goose as a solicitor named Jane, who returns to her home town to take up the post of coroner. Soon, Jane finds herself investigating sudden, violent or unexplained deaths in the seaside town, and - together with Detective Sergeant Davey (Bardock) - attempts to solve cases in the name of justice. And, you know, stuff. The Coroner, produced and commissioned by BBC Birmingham Drama Village, begins filming earlier this month in Totnes. Goose, best known for Waking The Dead, said: "I am incredibly excited and proud to be working on this new drama. "I can't wait to be in Devon over the next few months. It's such a beautiful place, even more so at this time of the year."
Sky Atlantic has announced the start date for True Detective's second season. The HBO drama will arrive in the UK just one day after its US premiere, being broadcast on Monday 22 June. Following the acclaimed Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson's story arc as troubled cops in season one - the best single drama on TV anywhere in the world in 2014 in this blogger's not in the slightest bit humble opinion - the crime drama returns with a fresh conceit based on a similar theme. Colin Farrell, Taylor Kitsch, Vince Vaughn and Rachel McAdams lead the new season of True Detective, as it explores corruption amongst California law enforcement. A trailer for the forthcoming series has recently been doing the rounds. Which despite this blogger's scepticism that it couldn't possibly be as ground-breaking and tool stiffeningly stunning as the first series - actually looks really good.
Amanda Holden has denied claims -albeit, claims by nobody you'd trust as far as you could comfortably spit - that her nipples have been insured for two million smackers. And neither, apparently, are her brain cells, although she has the same number of those as she has nipples. Of course, the chances of Amanda losing her nipples in, say, an industrial accident of some kind are considerably less than her brains leaking out of her ear if she leans over to one side.
Although, if she were to lose her nipples in some form on industrial accident, that would definitely be a case of Injury Lawyers For U, insured or not. Or, she could just get Wee Shughie McFee, the sour-faced Scottish chef off Crossroads to kiss it better.
Have I Got News For You's executive producer has explained that Jezza Clarkson will host the show 'when he's ready.' The presenter had been booked to appear on the BBC panel show next week - in what would have been his first television appearance since not having his contract renewed at Top Gear - but he pulled out of the scheduled appearance last week. Executive producer of the long-running comedy news quiz Richard Wilson (I don't believe it) has told the Gruniad Morning Star that Clarkson - seen right during his days in The Jackson Five - chose not to appear because he didn't feel the time was right. 'People pull out of the show quite frequently,' Wilson said. 'We do get people who are booked but can't do it. He's pulled out in the past because of filming commitments but he just doesn't feel the time's right to do it. I think there was a big flurry of press about him doing it because the billings went out to listings. I don't know if there was an official announcement saying he was doing it, but we just have to move on. We'll have him back when he's ready.'

And, in another non-story story run by the Gruniad - who don't seem able to get through a day without shoehorning nice, comfortable Middle Class hate figure Jezza Clarkson into their shitty rag - the second series of BBC mockumentary W1A has 'hit the televisual nail on the head once again' with its opening episode featuring a controversial incident involving Jeremy Clarkson and the word 'tosser.' Writer John Morton came up with the plot a year ago, the Gruniad claim in a particularly sneering article atypical of their Clarkson coverage which, one imagines, goes down well with the hippy Communists in North London who read their rotten, squatting-on-every-fence newspaper - in which the BBC’s beleaguered head of values, Ian Fletcher (Hugh Bonneville) has to deal with Jezza hitting the headlines over his extensive use of the epithet in the hit BBC2 series Top Gear. As a result, the show features a BBC 'damage limitation meeting' during which the narrator, national heartthrob David Tennant, says, 'traditionally the first item on the agenda is Clarkson.' W1A's hapless intern, Will, has to watch four years' worth of Top Gear in order to count up the number of times Clarkson has said the word 'tosser' to see if it has 'breached guidelines.' However, as a reaction to the exit of Clarkson from Top Gear – which Morton snitched to the Gruniad took place on the very day that the W1A episode was being edited – the former Top Gear host's face had been pixellated from footage of the motoring show that Will watches and his name bleeped out. Morton said three changes were made following Jezza's departure from the the show. As well as the pixellation and bleeping, a line was added in which Tennant says, 'since the making of this documentary, certain events have happened as a result of which for technical reasons means we are unable to mention certain individuals by name.' Not something that the Gruniad has any problem with, seemingly, since they enjoy mentioning Clarkson on a daily basis. Morton explained: 'I wrote this episode back in July or August last year. The only thing we did [when editing] was to add one voiceover and bleep Clarkson, but not Jeremy, ridiculously, and clumsily pixellate his face. We hopefully made a couple of little jokes out of it. We weren't asked to make any changes at all [by the BBC]. The Clarkson thing is quite a minor strand. It was written six or seven months ago and all we did was a little tweak to acknowledge things that happened in the real world.' Morton has become renowned for his prescient writing in W1A. An episode of his Olympics comedy Twenty Twelve featured the Olympic countdown clock breaking, which then happened in real life. 'When you create a world that's in parallel to the real world you feel you sometimes get a feedback loop which you can't predict or control,' he said. The opening episode of W1A also features a Royal visit and the threat of the BBC losing the rights to Wimbledon - both potentially contentious issues for the real-life corporation. Morton said that he hoped the show, which returns to BBC2 on 23 April, would be 'ring-fenced' in the BBC's charter renewal, which takes place at the end of 2016 and which also runs as a theme throughout the programme. 'If W1A could become a little part of that conversation it could be interesting and funny,' he said. Yeah. Effing hilarious, mate. Glad you find the charter renewal so drop dead amusing.

The Conservative party has given its clearest signal yet that it aims to 'clamp down' on BBC finances in a manifesto that promises to freeze the licence fee ahead of charter renewal negotiations while continuing to 'top-slice' the annual charge to fund superfast broadband across the country. Just one more reason, if you actually needed one, not to vote for any Tory scum standing in your particular constituency, dear - British - blog reader. In a sign that the odious right-wing party believes suspected profligacy at the corporation could be a vote winner - with glakes - the manifesto promises the electorate that its negotiations with the corporation will 'save you money' as it will focus on providing 'value for money.' The BBC's Royal Charter - established in the 1920s - must be renewed by the end of 2016, leaving just nineteen months after an election for the 'comprehensive review' of the BBC's funding and structure. In a sign that there is still much to play for the details of the plans for the BBC adds 'pending charter renewal' to the promise to keep the licence fee frozen at £145.50 a year. So, in fact, the manifesto is simply confirming the status quo until the next charter period. The BBC has argued that further services will have to be cut if the licence fee continues to fall in real terms with BBC3 already earmarked for an online-only future in a bid to save money. The last charter renewal negotiations allowed one hundred and fifty million knicker for broadband roll out, money largely spent by BT. However, the manifesto appeared to offer support for the licence fee as the best way to fund the BBC.
Mishal Husain has been named broadcaster of the year at the London Press Club Awards. The host of BBC Radio 4's Today programme was nominated alongside colleagues Tulip Mazumdar and Alison Holt, as well as Channel Four's Matt Frei. Husain also presents BBC television bulletins, having joined Today in 2013. She has previously presented the Ten O'Clock News, Newsnight and Breakfast. She has reported from around the world including Pakistan after the death of Osama bin Laden, Cairo during the Egyptian revolution and China during the Beijing Olympics. 'It's wonderful and much deserved,' said the BBC's director of news James Harding.
There's a jolly fascinating piece in the Gruniad by Andy Hamilton and Robert Duncan on the creation and making of Channel Four's cult 1990s newsroom comedy Drop The Dead Donkey, a particular favourite of this blogger.
Midsomer Murders will return for an eighteenth series, it has been confirmed. ITV has commissioned six new feature-length episodes of the popular crime drama to be broadcast in 2016. Filming has already begun on the episodes, which will once again star Neil Dudgeon and Gwilym Lee. Manjinder Virk will join the cast as Doctor Kam Karimore, a pathologist who helps DCI Barnaby and DS Nelson in their investigations into the blood-soaked carnage of the small English rural town which has a crime rate greater than Baltimore. Executive Producer Jo Wright said: 'We are back for even more episodes next year thanks to ITV, which gives us the chance to explore more strange and entertaining tales of Midsomer life. And with a new pathologist who will cause DS Nelson trouble in more ways than one.'
On top of, rightly, getting criticised for messing up ITV's breakfast offering, alienating Champions League viewers to the point where he, publicly, got his arse kicked into the gutter along with all the other turds and being the presenter chiefly responsible for Radio 5Live's current ratings slump, odious greed-bucket (and drag) Adrian Chiles has now been fingered for a long-ago celebrity interview fiasco. And the fingerer in question is his former joined-at-the-hip sofa partner horrorshow (and drag) The Curiously Orange Christine Bleakley (who on this evidence is no longer even on first name terms with her former Daybreak oppo). 'I remember on The ONE Show, Morrissey came on,' the wretched Bleakley grassed like a filthy Copper's Nark to the Radio Times. 'His mum was a big fan of ours. But Adrian Chiles called his mum by the wrong name and he was quite upset! It was a complete and utter disaster after that.' Many would argue The ONE Show under the rotten coupling of Chiles and Bleakley was a complete and utter disaster long before that. Admittedly, not as amusingly huge and towering a complete and utter disaster as Daybreak from which the gruesome pair where notoriously, and very satisfyingly, sacked,of course.
And, speaking of waste-of-space useless ITV breakfast flops, Susanna Reid has grovellingly apologised to viewers who tuned into Good Morning Britain on Monday after one of its guests repeatedly swore live on-air. Although, to be fair, it must be almost impossible not to swear if you find yourself on Good Morning Britain dear blog reader. You know your life has really hit the bottom when that happens. Reid and guest host, oily twat Piers Morgan, were interviewing daredevil climber Alain Robert, who is known as 'the French Spiderman' (or, you know, L'Homme Araignée Français if you want to be slightly more accurate), on the ITV show when he dropped the F-word. Twice. The scallywag. Oily twat Morgan asked Robert, speaking via a video-link from Dubai: 'You've done one hundred big climbs now, skyscrapers. How many times have you thought "I might die here"? How many times have you thought "This might be the moment I fall"' Robert replied: 'Many times. But the thing is, as long as you're not falling ... It's just like a fucking warning, like you're nearly falling. I'm quite good at that, just saving my ass.' Oily twat Morgan said: 'You see, you are a nutcase, but a brilliant nutcase. This world is full of brilliant explorers over the centuries and you're one of those guys. It's mad to normal people like us, but to you, this is what you love doing, isn't it?' Robert said: 'I think if I wasn't doing that kind of stuff, life would be boring. I need to feel pretty much dead to feel like that I am fucking alive.' At which point a panicking Reid said: 'Okay. Slightly more frank language at this time in the morning than we're normally used to on Good Morning Britain so apologies for that.' Oily twat Morgan, who is standing in for regular presenter Ben Shephard for the week, said: 'Did he just use the ...? He did, didn't he?', to which Reid replied: 'Well, I think we’ll just gloss over that, apologies.'
Almost a year on since the one million quid plus launch of Good Morning Britain figures released this week show that ITV's latest breakfast flop has pulled in even fewer viewers than its much-maligned predeceasing flop, Daybreak. Which is, frankly - and to use some Alain Robert-style language at this point, fucking hilarious! And, despite high-profile signings such as Susanna Reid from the BBC, GMB is still being regularly having its ass caned red raw by rival BBC Breakfast just as Daybreak was. The ITV show has averaged about five hundred and sixty thousand viewers since it launched last April, compared with a little more than six hundred thousand for Daybreak during the same time period the previous year. In comparison BBC1's Breakfast pulls in around 1.5 million on weekdays, even though some predicted it would suffer when it moved from the capital to Salford three years ago. Although ITV originally said GMB would 'break new ground' by 'being more news-focused', and comparisons with Good Morning America were made, the show appears to have moved back into what one industry expert called, 'the GMTV-comfort zone.' Originally launching with four presenters around a desk and seven hundred and ninety thousand viewers, increasingly it has reverted to type by focusing more on two presenters and simpering,bland interviews on the sofa. Alleged 'sources' allegedly told the Gruniad Morning Star - tragically, that isn't alleged, it does exists - that despite executives visiting the US to study the success of Good Morning America, GMB has 'become more like the old GMTV' in a bid to recapture the axed breakfast brand's heyday. Perhaps it is no surprise as the editor and top executives running and in overseeing the show are all former GMTV staff and just six of the nineteen key on-screen presenters, editors and reporters are non-GMTV veterans. At the time it went off-air in 2009 having been axed following damaging evidence that it had deceived viewers more than thirty five million quid's worth of phone-in competitions, GMTV had about a twenty four per cent audience share. In contrast, GMB has averaged just more than fifteen per cent in the year to the end of March, although the broadcasting landscape has changed a lot in six years with more people getting their morning news from social media. It is understood that ITV has said it will give GMB another year to give it more time to build, rather than go through another expensive relaunch. Poaching Reid – who is thought to earn about three hundred thousand smackers a year – did not come cheap, neither did the new set, graphics and branding. ITV also said that for the first quarter of 2015, ITV's breakfast show's ratings have been up year-on-year for the first time in ten years. A spokeswoman said: 'Ratings for the first quarter of 2015 show that Good Morning Britain is up compared to the same period last year and March saw our highest full month audience figures yet.'Which proves that there are lies, there are damned lies and there are ITV statements. She added: 'ITV is pleased with the show and confident about it going forward. It is here to stay.' One or two people even believed her. It has continued experimenting to boost ratings such as bringing in oily twat Piers Morgan while Ben Shephard is on leave, although overnight figures show audiences have remained broadly the same. However, oily twat Morgan's arrival brought some publicity to the show which has more often than not hit the headlines more over Reid's wardrobe malfunctions than the content of the show itself. Good Morning Britain is too big for ITV for it to fail. Despite lower audiences than BBC's Breakfast it continues to be lucrative for ITV with competitions and advertising bringing in key revenue. Accounts filed for ITV Breakfast Broadcasting Ltd, which include the hopeless and not even remotely missed Daybreak and Lorraine Kelly's series Lorraine, show that in the year to 31 December 2013 turnover – which comes mostly from television advertising revenue and money from interactive services – was sixty seven million knicker, while operating profit was eight million quid. The financials for 2012 and 2013 seem to show that no matter what the content is on-screen, or how many people watch it, advertisers have continued to book slots around the show, even when Daybreak, was going through its much-derided 'purple phase'.

Yer actual Peter Davison, who celebrated his sixty fourth birthday earlier this week, is currently appearing in London's West End in the revival of the musical Gypsy. Peter plays Herbie in the show, which is based upon the memoirs of the stripper Gypsy Rose Lee, and which is currently previewing at London's Savoy Theatre. The cast is led by BAFTA award winning actress Imelda Staunton who was asked to take on the role of Rose by the play's lyricist, Stephen Sondheim, after he saw Staunton's performance as Mrs Lovett in the 2012 production of Sweeney Todd.
And now,dear blog reader ... LPs we wish we had in our collection. Number Two:
Foll0wed, inevitably, by number three:
You can put your hands up if you get bored with this joke, incidentally, dear blog reader.

Okay, you can all put your hands down now.

Yer actual was vexed on Thursday, dear blog reader. Pure dead hopping cross. Aal geet stroppy and discombobulated in his frothing anger. Verily, he had his mad reet up, so he did. The reason? Having dragged his sorry ass half way across Toon at the crack of dawn to do some swimming, he got there to find that the pool was shut because 'there's something wrong with the water.' Which, I think, is code for some inconsiderate twonk has just shat in the damn thing. Don't these people know this is the only form of exercise yer actual Keith Telly Topping gets? Anyone - and I mean anyone - who posts 'first world problem' to this will be 'instantly' killfiled, by the way. That is all.
This blogger is indebted to the divine Goddess that is Lisa Power for alerting me to the following Charity event, An Evening With John Hurt which will be taking place on 9 May in London (at The Tabernacle in Powis Square, specifically). Check out the website for further details and prices if you want to pop along.

In what is, perhaps, the least surprising media-related news of the year so far, Harry Hill's revamp of Stars In Their Eyes has reportedly been dropped by ITV after one series. Because it was shit and no one was watching it. The show launched in January but struggled - hilariously - in the ratings and received many poor reviews from critics who considered that if this wretched, risible exercise had been any more of a dog, it would have shed. The Sun has now claimed that the show will not be returning for a second series. The report claims that while ITV executives were 'happy' with the show - and, if they were, that really does explain much - the low ratings and struggle to capture viewers mean that it will not be getting any more episodes. However, Hill is expected to maintain a relationship with ITV, with the report alleging that he recently filmed a pilot called Harry Hill's Tea Time. The show - apparently described as 'TV Burp meets cookery' - would see Hill preparing a three-course meal with a celebrity guest. Yeah, that sounds like exactly the sort of format to have viewers flocking back to to Harold.
Dave will follow Al Murray's Pub Landlord erection campaign in a documentary. A ninety-minute programme -as yet, seemingly, untitled - will feature highlights of the stand-up's campaign, which has seen him mount a challenge to UKiP's Nigel Farago. Richard Watsham, Director of Commissioning for UKTV, said: 'This documentary is an important step for Dave as we continue to broaden our offering and raise the ambitions of our originations. This is a bold statement about the direction of travel for commissions on Dave. I'm particularly pleased that The Pub Landlord has chosen to share his extraordinary story exclusively with our viewers.' Steve North, General Manager for Dave, added that there has been 'incredible interest and excitement' around the Pub Landlord's bid for political office. 'Dave viewers will enjoy being up close and personal with The Guv as he takes on all comers including Nigel Farage. As Dave increasingly commissions original programmes, we want to reflect major news and events on air but always in Dave's unique way,' he said. Murray recently kicked off his political campaign by travelling to Thanet District Council's offices in a fire engine. The one-off film will be shown on Dave on the night of the General Erection (7 May) at 10pm just after the polls close. But, whilst the pub' are still open. How bizarre.
Chris Evans has confirmed that TFI Friday's anniversary special will be broadcast on 12 June. The date was previously rumoured, but has now been confirmed by the presenter, who will celebrate the Channel Four show's twentieth anniversary with a ninety-minute episode. Evans also revealed that he had the 'first, proper grown-up production meeting' about the special this week. 'All went well,' he wrote on Twitter. 'TFI Friday will return - live 9pm, Channel Four, Friday 12 June for a ninety minute special.' Evans also shared another countdown video on YouTube titled 'TFI Friday - Fifty Nine Days To Go', featuring a number of clips from the Channel Four series which originally ran from 1996 to 2000.

More4 has acquired the rights to broadcast the Norwegian series Heavy Water War. The drama - known in Norway as Kampen Om Tungtvannet - tells the true story of how Norwegian saboteurs destroyed Nazi Germany's hopes of developing an atom bomb during the Second World War. The series covers key events in the 1930s and 1940s, which saw the Nazis come close to developing a nuclear weapon to use on their enemies. Espen Kloumann Høiner, Dennis Storhøi and Christoph Bach lead the cast, with Anna Friel starring in a supporting role. In uniform. Oh, God yes. Anyway, the opening episodes of Heavy Water War were seen by more than 1.2 million Norwegians when they premiered on NRK in January.
The Canadian filmmaker Paul Almond has died, aged eighty three. The director was behind the ground-breaking and long-running Seven Up! documentary, which focused on a group of fourteen British seven-year-olds. The 1964 special has continued every seven years since as the Up series. Almond co-created the project, before Michael Apted took over the series. Almond died on Thursday of last week in California from complications relating to a recent heart attack, his son Matthew said. Born in Montreal in 1931, Paul attended Bishop's College School, McGill University and Balliol College, Oxford where he read Philosophy, Politics, Economics, edited the University magazine Isis, played for the Oxford University Ice Hockey Club and was president of the university Poetry Society. At the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, he worked primarily as a director and producer, and also wrote several scripts. He did similar work in England firstly for the BBC and then for Associated British Corporation and Granada TV (where he created Seven Up!) before embarking on a career as a feature-length film-making. The filmmaker came up with the idea for Seven Up! with Granada producer Tim Hewat while discussing the British class system in a pub. Hewat is said to have remarked: 'Give me a child until he is seven and I will give you the man,' allegedly originated by St Ignatius Loyola, the founder of the Jesuits. Originally intended as a one-off, researcher Apted later revisited the children every seven years. Its most recent version Fifty Six Up was broadcast in 2012. Almond also wrote and directed a trilogy of films called Isabel, Act Of The Heart and Journey, which starred his second wife Geneviève Bujold. He also directed Sean Connery in a version of Macbeth in 1961, episodes of Alfred Hitchcock Presents, ITV Playhouse, The Edgar Wallace Mystery Theatre, Armchair Theatre and Festival. After an absence from filmmaking of almost a decade, he went on directing three more films: Ups & Downs (1983), Captive Hearts (1987) and The Dance Goes On (1991), the later featuring Bujold, and their son Matthew Almond. He later wrote the Alford Saga, which contained eight novels based on the lives of his pioneer ancestors in Canada.

NASA's New Horizons spacecraft has taken the first true colour photograph of Pluto and its largest moon Charon – whilst speeding toward the dwarf planet at four kilometres a second. The - somewhat blurry - pictures were taken from around seventy million miles away. They were taken by the probe's six centimetre telescope, called Ralph. 'Scientific literature is filled with papers on the characteristics of Pluto and its moons from ground based and Earth orbiting space observations, but we've never studied Pluto up close and personal,' said John Grunsfeld, the associate administrator of the NASA Science Mission Directorate. 'In an unprecedented flyby this July, our knowledge of what the Pluto system is really like will expand exponentially and I have no doubt there will be exciting discoveries.' The New Horizons probe set off nine years ago (when Pluto was still classified as a planet), and so far has travelled more than three billion miles. The craft is the fastest human-made object to leave Earth's orbit and has picked up extra speed thanks to a gravity-assist flyby slingshot around Jupiter. It will encounter Pluto on 14 July this year. 'This is pure exploration; we're going to turn points of light into a planet and a system of moons before your eyes!' said Alan Stern, the New Horizons principal investigator from the Southwest Research Institute in Texas. 'This Twenty First Century encounter is going to be an exploration bonanza unparalleled in anticipation since the storied missions of Voyager in the 1980s.' As the probe flies by, the Ralph telescope should be able to pick up ground features on Pluto and Charon, as well as the dwarf planet's other four smaller moons. The spacecraft also has a larger monochrome camera for detail, as well as spectrometers, an ion analyser, and a dust analysis unit. The probe also carried a more unusual piece of cargo – human remains. Pluto was discovered by American astronomer Clyde Tombaugh in 1930, and New Horizons will carry an ounce of his ashes past his discovery and out into the rest of the universe. We can expect to get much better pictures of Pluto as the probe approaches, although getting them back to Earth is a slow and arduous process. Due to the huge distances involved, the probe can only send back data at a about one kilobite per second and the signal takes more than four hours to get back to Earth. Once past Pluto, the probe will explore the rest of the Kuiper Belt. NASA is using the Hubble telescope to scout out a possible route to other objects of interest, and the craft should be able to send data back for up to a decade to come.
Still in space, usually there's not much to see on Uranus according to astronomer Imke de Pater of the University of California, Berkeley. But last year was its stormiest on record. Ever since its equinox in 2007, when the Sun shined directly on its equator, the solar sysstems' seventh planet has been becoming more active. Last year it hit a new peak. When analysing infrared images of Uranus, Professor de Pater's team noticed eight large swirling storms in its northern hemisphere in August 2014. One of these storms was the brightest ever observed. It reflected thirty per cent as much light as the rest of the planet, the team reported in the journal Icarus. Nobody had expected it, says de Pater. It shows how little we understand even about planets inside our own Solar System. The team analysed bright patches on images of Uranus. These spots of light represent clouds. They deduced how thick the clouds were, and how high up in the atmosphere. From the altitude they could then infer what the clouds were made of. The clouds they saw were extremely high up. As they rose ever higher, methane gas condensed into methane ice, causing the clouds to glow. Uranus takes eighty four Earth years to travel around the Sun. For half this time one of its poles is in darkness. But during the 2007 equinox each pole was equally lit up, and astronomers expected that this change in illumination would cause a particularly stormy year. While we frequently see images from Mars, Jupiter and Saturn, Uranus has only ever been fleetingly visited by one space craft, Voyager 2. But that was in 1986 and it only observed a 'featureless haze' of dense clouds. That's why scientists rely on images taken at the ground-based Keck observatory in Hawaii. Increasingly, they also combine these with images taken by amateur astronomers, as their telescopes are powerful enough to see Uranus.
For the latest Keith Telly Topping's 45 of the Day, dear blog reader, here's Freddie Parrot Face Davies singing Bill Owen's 'So Lucky'. And, why not? Well, there's several reasons why not, frankly, but we're stuck with it now.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

The Diary Of A Mod Household

John Simm and David Threlfall's drama Code Of A Killer topped the Easter Monday overnight ratings. The first episode of the real-life drama brought in five million punters for ITV at 9pm. Earlier, Wor Geet Canny Robson Green's More Tales From Northumberland featuring Wor Geet Canny Robson green was seen by 3.13m at 8pm. On BBC1, a holiday showing of Wallace & Gromit: A Matter Of Loaf And Death attracted 2.91m at 7.30pm, while MasterChef continued with 4.40m at 8.30pm. A Mrs Brown's Boys repeat had an audience of 3.40m at 9.30pm. On BBC2, Antiques Roadshow drew 1.52m at 7pm, while Food & Drink interested 1.37m at 7.30pm. University Challenge continued with 2.56m at 8pm. Later, Morecambe & Wise:Song And Dance entertained 1.44m at 8.30pm, before Kew On A Plate brought in 1.05m at 9.30pm. Channel Four's The Secret Life Of Four-Year-Olds was watched by six hundred and seventy thousand at 7.30pm, before Travel Man: Forty Eight Hours In Istanbul had 1.07m viewers at 8.30pm. My Big Fat Gypsy Grand National averaged 1.38m at 9pm, while Raised By Wolves continued with six hundred and twenty thousand at 10pm. On Channel Five, Police Interceptors was watched by eight hundred and thirty three thousand at 8pm. Gotham followed with seven hundred and forty two thousand at 9pm and Person Of Interest was seen by five hundred and forty three thousand at 10pm.

BBC1's Ordinary Lies continued its overnight ratings dominance on Tuesday. The drama series gathered 4.48m at 9pm to top the overnight ratings outside soaps, though it lost three hundred thousand viewers from last week. On BBC2, Collectaholics was seen by 1.44m at 7pm, before Back In Time For Dinner had an audience of 2.72m at 8pm and Dara & Ed's Great Big Adventure was watched by 1.75m at 9pm. The latest episode of ITV's Tonight attracted but 1.47m at 7.30pm, while a Midsomer Murders repeat brought in 2.15m between 8pm and 10pm. Channel Four's Burger Bar To Gourmet Star continued with eight hundred and forty thousand at 8pm and One Born Every Minute was seen by 1.48m at 9pm. A repeat of The Billion Pound Hotel was seen by 1.02m at 10pm. On Channel Five, Britain's Horror Homes had nine hundred and ninety three thousand punters at 8pm, while Benefits & Bypasses: Billion Pound Patients interested 1.05m at 9pm. BBC3's Stacey Dooley Investigates was seen by four hundred and fifty four thousand at 9pm, while E4's The One Hundred topped the multichannels with five hundred and forty four thousand in the same timeslot.

The Island With Bear Grylls returned to strong ratings on Channel Four, according to overnight figures for Wednesday. The survival skills series had an overnight audience of 1.63m at 9pm. Later, First Dates averaged 1.15m at 10pm. However, it was MasterChef that topped the ratings once again, bringing in 4.80m at 8pm on BBC1. Secret Britain interested 3.90m at 9pm and Match Of The Day attracted 1.82m at 10.45pm. On BBC2, Collectaholics continued with 1.07m at 7pm, while The Ladykillers: Pest Detectives gathered 1.20m at 8pm. This World was watched by nine hundred and eighty thousand at 9pm and a Qi repeated interested seven hundred and eighty thousand at 10pm. ITV's horrifyingly wretched and dreadfully obnoxious Big Star's Little Star appealed to 3.16m sad, crushed victims of society who couldn't even be bothered to pick up the remote control and switch over to something less, you know, shite at 8pm, followed by the latest episode of DCI Banks with 3.71m at 9pm. Channel Five's Nightmare Neighbour Next Door was seen by 1.07m at 8pm, followed by OAPs Behaving Badly with eight hundred and ninety six thousand viewers at 9pm and Dangerous Dog Owners & Proud with five hundred and ninety thousand at 10pm. Meanwhile, ITV2's broadcast of Skyfall topped the multichannel ratings with seven hundred and seventy four thousand punters between 8pm and 10.45pm.

MasterChef topped the overnight ratings again outside soaps on Thursday. The latest episode of the popular cooking contest was seen by 4.54m at 8pm. The Truth About Your Medicine Cabinet followed with 4.12m at 9pm, while Question Time interested 2.48m at 10.45pm. On BBC2, Coast Australia was watched by 1.50m, before churlish, bitter old Red Jimmy McGovern's miserable-as-fek Banished continued with 1.89m at 9pm and Inside Number Nine had an audience of eight hundred and sixty thousand at 10pm. ITV's Tonight gathered 1.59m at 7.30pm, before Double Decker Driving School averaged 2.27m at 8.30pm and Ice Rink On The Estate had 1.39m at 9pm. The Supervet continued with 1.40m on Channel Four at 8pm, while the second episode of The Island With Bear Grylls rose to 2.01m at 9pm. On Channel Four, The Last Days Of Mary Queen Of Scots interested eight hundred and twelve thousand at 8pm, while The Hotel Inspector was watched by 1.06m at 9pm. The Mentalist followed with six hundred and fifty nine thousand at 10pm. E4's latest episode of The Big Bang Theory attracted an audience of nine hundred thousand at 8.30pm. Sky Atlantic's Fortitude concluded its debut series with four hundred and seventy six thousand at 9pm, while the first episode of Mad Men's final seven episodes brought in one hundred and nine thousand.

Have I Got News For You returned to 4.57 million overnight viewers on Friday on BBC1. Hosted by Daniel Radcliffe, the first episode of the forty ninth series earned a twenty one per cent audience share at 9pm. It was the evening's highest-rated show outside of soaps. It was sandwiched between the latest episode of Masterchef with 4.23 million viewers and a repeat of Mrs Brown's Boys with 3.05 million. The ONE Show kicked BBC1's evening off with 3.68 million at 7pm, followed by 3.14 million for A Question Of Sport. Featuring guests such as Harry Enfield and Paul Whitehouse, The Graham Norton Show returned to 2.92 million at 10.35pm. The final episode of Barging Round Britain With John Sergeant was seen by 2.86 million on ITV, while Slow Train Through Africa with Griff Rhys Jones opened to 2.25 million at 9pm. BBC2's Golf: The Masters Highlights attracted nine hundred thousand, followed by 1.63 million for An Island Parish: Falklands and 2.06 million for Gardeners' World. The evening continued with eight hundred and thirty thousand for Sex & The Church and ended with eight hundred and ninety thousand for The Clare Balding Show at 10pm. Over on Channel Four, the latest episode of Marvel's Agents of SHIELD was seen by six hundred thousand, followed by 3.03 million for Gogglebox at 9pm. The evening ended with 1.16 million for Alan Carr: Chatty Man Grand National Special at 10pm. Channel Five's evening began with one hundred and forty eight thousand for The Gadget Show at 7pm, followed by nine hundred and fifteen thousand for Secrets Of Great British Castles and eight hundred and thirty thousand for NCIS: New Orleans. NCIS rounded the evening off with eight hundred and thirty three thousand. Midsomer Murders was among he highest-rated multichannel shows, attracting an average audience of six hundred and thirty thousand between 8 and 10pm on ITV3.

Britain's Got Toilets returned to more than nine-and-a-half million overnight viewers on Saturday evening. The ninth series of the ITV talent show averaged 9.58m from 8pm, down from last year's première which attracted 10.5 million overnight punters. Ninja Warrior UK began its run with 3.68m and Play To The Whistle premiered to 2.92m from 9.20pm. On BBC1, the latest episode of Atlantis managed but 2.57m before The National Lottery: In It To Win It drew 2.58m. Casualty attracted 4.18m from 9.20pm. BBC2's four hour golf coverage of The US Masters averaged 1.4m between 7.30pm and midnight. And, was every single bit as tedious as you might suspect. On Channel Four, the action movie Independence Day had an audience of 1.03m from 6.40pm. Afterwards, I Give It A Year starring Rose Byrne and Rafe Spall was watched by a million viewers. On Channel Five, CSI: Crime Scene Investigation's latest instalment drew nine hundred and fifteen thousand from 10.10pm.

Countryfile topped the ovrnight ratings on Sunday. BBC1's long-running factual show was watched by 5.82m at 6.30pm, while a rare weekend episode of MasterChef gathered 5.07m at 7.30pm. Antiques Roadshow followed with 4.54m at 8pm. Poldark added three hundred thousand viewers for its latest episode with 5.53m at 9pm. On BBC2, coverage of Jordan Spieth's Masters golf win averaged 2.45m between 6.30pm and 12.15am. ITV's The Chase: Celebrity Special was watched by 2.64m at 6.30pm, before Off Their Rockers brought in 2.99m at 7.30pm. Vera rose to 4.56m for its latest episode at 8pm - which this week didn't have any obvious geographical cock-ups - whilst highlights of The Olivier Awards averaged six hundred and eighty two thousand at 10.15pm. Channel Four's Three In A Bed continued with six hundred and ninety thousand at 7pm, while Britain's Winter: Storm Heroes interested eight hundred and sixty thousand at 8pm. Indian Summers followed with seven hundred and ninety thousand viewers at 9pm. Spider-Man and Olympus Has Fallen were Channel Five's Sunday evening film selections, with the former bringing in nine hundredand sixty fur thousand at 6.30pm and the latter attracting 1.27m at 9pm.

BBC viewers were 'astounded' - at least, according to the Digital Spy website who, presumably, asked all of them - to be welcomed to Poldork - rather than Poldark - by a BBC announcer on Sunday.

In the least surprising telly news of the year so far, it has been announced that Poldark - rather than Poldork - is to return for a second series on BBC1. The news comes as the channel celebrates its best start to the year in a decade. From 1 January to 31 March 2015, BBC1 took its highest share since 2005 - with a twenty three per cent share in all hours and twenty five per cent in peaktime. Poldark has so far achieved a consolidated series average of eight million viewers per episode. Charlotte Moore, Controller of BBC1, said: 'It's been an outstanding start to the year for programme-makers on the channel and their ambition has been in evidence throughout. I've been proud to watch a BBC1 at the top of its game, bursting with creativity and modernity, which has brought the nation together and sparked the national conversation. I want to make sure viewers feel BBC1 is part of their lives and that's about making sure there is something on BBC1 for everybody. It's exciting to see BBC1 being recognised today as the most-nominated channel in this year's BAFTA TV Awards. I can also exclusively announce that Sunday's night new phenomenon Poldark that has captured the nation's hearts has been commissioned for a second series. Aidan Turner will return as Ross Poldark and Eleanor Tomlinson as Demelza in a new eight-part series written by Debbie Horsfield that will cover books three and four of Winston Graham's series.'
Here are the final and consolidated ratings for the Top Twenty Five programmes, week-ending Sunday 5 April 2015:-
1 Coronation Street - Mon ITV - 8.43m
2 EastEnders - Mon BBC1 - 7.82m
3 General Erection: Leaders Debate - Thurs ITV - 7.06m
4 Poldark - Sun BBC1 - 6.95m
5 The Voice - Sat BBC1 - 6.87m
6 Emmerdale - Mon ITV - 6.80m
7 MasterChef - Wed BBC1 - 6.12m
8 Ordinary Lies - Tues BBC1 - 5.77m
9 Ant and/or Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway - Sat ITV - 5.64m
10 Casualty - Sat BBC1 - 5.60m
11 England Friendlies: Italy Versus England - Tues ITV - 5.56m
12 Six O'Clock News - Mon BBC1 - 5.24m
13 Vera - Sun BBC1 - 4.98m*
14 The Ark - Mon BBC1 - 4.81m
15= BBC News - Fri BBC1 - 4.70m
15= Antiques Roadshow - Sun BBC1 - 4.70m
17 Michael McIntyre's Easter Night At The Coliseum - Sun BBC1 - 4.57m
18 Holby City - Tues BBC1 - 4.50m
19 Ten O'Clock News - Thurs BBC1 - 4.42m
20 DCI Banks - Wed ITV - 4.41m*
21 The ONE Show - Tues BBC1 - 4.16m
22 Countryfile - Sun BBC1 - 4.13m
23 Match Of The Day - Sat BBC1 - 3.95m
24 Gogglebox - Fri Channel Four - 3.91m
25 Pointless - Fri BBC1 - 3.84m
These figures, as usual, do not include iPlayer or ITV Player viewers. ITV programmes marked '*' do not include HD figures. BBC2's most-watched programme of the week was University Challenge (3.04m) followed by Back In Time For Dinner (three million viewers), churlish, bitter old misery-guts Red Jimmy McGovern's Banished (2.74m), Only Connect (2.55m), Springwatch At Easter (2.39m) and Caribbean With Simon Reeve (2.24m). Gogglebox was, as usual, Channel Four's most watched programme of the week, followed by Twenty Four Hours In A&E (2.10m) and Great Canal Journeys (2.02m). Channel Five's top-rated broadcasts were Gotham (1.80m), The Nightmare Neighbours Next Door (1.55m), CSI: Crime Scene Investigation (1.38m), NCIS:New Orleans (1.29m) and The Mentalist (1.27m). E4's The Big Bang Theory was the mutichannels most-watched programme of the week (1.55m). Midsomer Murders was ITV3's most-watched show with eight hundred and eighty six thousand viewers. Endeavour was watched by six hundred and forty two thousand and Lewis by five hundred and seventy two thousand. Inspector Montalbano was BBC4's highest-rated programme (seven hundred and four thousand). The second episode of The Quizeum attracted four hundred and sixty eight thousand). BBC3's weekly ratings list was topped by the movie Pretty Woman (nine hundred and thirteen thousand) in a top ten that also included six episodes of Family Guy and just one original commission - Bluestone 42. And then people wonder why the channel is about to be kicked online. 5USA's The Mysteries Of Laura attracted five hundred and eighty thousand, followed by Castle (four hundred and thirty nine thousand), Law & Order: Special Victims Unit (four hundred and four thousand) and NCIS (three hundred and thirty three thousand). The Universal Channel's most-watched drama was Sleepy Hollow with one hundred and eighty eight thousand, followed by How To Get Away With Murder (one hundred and forty one thousand). Criminal Minds on Sky Living drew eight hundred and five thousand, followed by The Blacklist (seven hundred and seventy eight thousand). Sky 1's The Flash brought in 1.17m. On Sky Atlantic, the latest episode of Fortitude attracted eight hundred and eighteen thousand punters. On Dave, Would I Lie To You? attracted three hundred and sixty eight thousand viewers, followed by Not going Out (three hundred and fifty thousand), Qi XL (three hundred and forty two thousand) and, of course, Top Gear (also three hundred and forty two thousand). They tried to ban it, they tried to burn it, but it keeps sticking out. Drama's Judge John Deed repeat was watched by three hundred and forty six thousand. Watch's Grimm had five hundred and sixty two thousand. On FOX, the latest episode of The Walking Dead was watched by 1.09m viewers whilst the channel's continuing broadcast of NCIS season twelve drew six hundred and sixty six thousand punters. On Sky Sports News, Gillette Soccer Saturday had an audience of three hundred and ninety two thousand.

Some light relief, now, dear blog reader. Would anybody like to see a picture of yer actual Karen Gillan with something hot and throbbing between her thighs? Done.
That was nice. In fact, let's have another one.
That's a Lambretta GT 1965, incidentally, if anyone was wondering. The transport of choice for every self-respecting Mod who can't afford a proper Vespa. Which was exactly what Steph was telling Jimmy as they sped down the Goldhawk Road, no doubt.
Jezza Clarkson has pulled out of his planned appearance as guest host of Have I Got News For You. He had been due to appear on the third episode of the new series on 24 April in his first BBC appearance since being dropped as a co-presenter of Top Gear. Jimmy Mulville, the managing director of show producers, Hat Trick Productions, said that he expected Clarkson to be available for a show later in the year. Mulville said: 'On reflection, Jeremy Clarkson has decided not to host Have I Got News For You. We fully expect him to resume his hosting duties later in the year.' 'Jeremy's contract has not been renewed on Top Gear but he isn't banned from appearing on the BBC,' a BBC spokesman said. Which will obviously be a huge disappointment to lots of smears of no importance at the Gruniad, the Mirra, the Scum Mail and the Torygraph. And that, in and of itself, it the single best reason of all from having Jezza back on the Beeb as often as is humanly possible. Clarkson has, of course, hosted the satirical news quiz on numerous previous occasions going back over a decade.
Smug-as-owt (but, quite entertaining for all that) David Mitchell is to play William Shakespeare in a new BBC2 sitcom. The actor will play the bard 'before he became famous' in Upstart Crow, Broadcast reports. A non-broadcast pilot for the comedy project will be filmed in front of a live studio audience on 27 April at The London Studios. An audience call-out stated: 'A purloined play, a wise wife, a stroppy teen and the underhand machinations of England's sexiest spy combine in a mirthful entertainment suitable for groundlings and gentlefolk alike.' Sounds thigh-slapping. Upstart Crow takes its name from a criticism of Shakespeare, which suggested that he copied other writers' ideas. Meanwhile, Ben Elton has also been linked to the project, but this has yet to be confirmed by the BBC.
Lewis has been renewed for a ninth series. Kevin Whately and Laurence Fox will reprise their roles as Robbie Lewis and James Hathaway for the ITV drama, alongside Angela Griffin as Lizzie Maddox. The ninth series will see the arrival of a new Chief Superintendent at Oxfordshire Police, who clashes with Robbie over his 'traditional approach' to police work. Lewis's romantic interest, Laura Hobson (Clare Holman) will also consider taking an early retirement, while Hathaway finally confronts his past. ITV's Director of Drama Steve November said: 'We are delighted that Kevin and Laurence are returning for a ninth series of Lewis. Each story is complex and intriguing and Detectives Robbie Lewis and James Hathaway are a formidable partnership much loved by ITV viewers.' Production for series nine of Lewis will take place in May in and around the city of Oxford.
Fresh from playing Captain Mainwaring in a new film version of Dad's Army, Toby Jones is to take a lead role in BBC1's forthcoming adaptation of John Lanchester's critically acclaimed novel Capital. The star of The Girl and the drama Marvellous will play the smug investment banker Roger Yount in Lanchester's state-of-the-nation tale of the metropolis. Set in a gentrified street in South London, Capital features an impressive cast, three of whom are contenders for the forthcoming BAFTA Television awards. Jones is joined by fellow nominees Gemma Jones, who plays the oldest inhabitant of Pepys Road and Adeel Akhtar, from Channel Four's Utopia, who plays local newsagent Ahmed. Capital's line-up also includes Lesley Sharp from ITV's Scott & Bailey. Robert Emms is also in the cast. Lanchester's story of a street propelled into affluence by banker bonus-fuelled property prices features a range of characters who represent the widening gap between the haves, the have-nots and the have-yachts. The three-part drama charts the relationships of the inhabitants of the houses on Pepys Road, including that between the buffoonish Roger and his wife Arabella, played by Diana Rigg's daughter, Rachael Stirling. Other players in the drama, directed by Euros Lyn, include those who pass through the street, such as the Polish builder Bogdan, played by Polish-born actor Radoslaw Kaim and Quentina, the Zimbabwean refugee with a PhD working as a traffic warden while under threat of deportation, played by Wunmi Mosaku, who previously featured in the BBC dramas Moses Jones and Truckers. The residents' lives change when one day they all receive a mysterious postcard saying: 'We Want What You Have.' According to the BBC: 'As the mystery of the postcards deepens, we learn more about this vivid and unforgettable ensemble of characters. Interweaving stories reveal lives filled with love and loss, fear and greed, fortune and envy, and, most recognisable of all, family and home. Stories bursting with piercing and funny observations on modern life and urban existence, of ordinary people who find themselves caught and changed by a city at a time of extraordinary flux.' Capital has been adapted for television by Peter Bowker - the author of Blackpool, Occupation, Desperate Romantics and Eric & Ernie - who worked with Toby and Gemma Jones on the BBC2 film Marvellous, the poignant story of Stoke City kit man and lay preacher Neil Baldwin, a drama for which they have both received BAFTA nominations. Filming of Capital has already started and the production is due to be broadcast this year. Lanchester said: 'It's going to be very exciting and very strange to have something on the telly, rather than sitting on the sofa watching it.' Toby Jones said: 'Obviously I am thrilled to be part of such a fantastic, diverse and talented cast and, also, I'm excited to renew my working relationship with Pete Bowker.' The BBC executive producer Lucy Richer said: 'It is wonderful to see such a stellar cast starring in Capital. They are sure to bring Peter Bowker's stunning scripts to life in their portrayal of such funny, true and brilliant characters.'

Line Of Duty, Happy Valley and The Missing are among the leading nominations for the BAFTA Television Awards 2015. The BBC series' stars Keeley Hawes, Vicky McClure, Sarah Lancashire, James Norton, James Nesbitt and Ken Stott have also been recognised in the acting categories. There were also three nominations for the Neil Baldwin biopic Marvellous - Single Drama, Leading Actor for Toby Jones and Supporting Actress for Gemma Jones. Sherlock's Benedict Cumberbatch and The Lost Honour Of Christopher Jefferies's Jason Watkins make up the Leading Actor category, while Sheridan Smith and Georgina Campbell complete the actress field for Cilla and Murdered By My Boyfriend respectively. Elsewhere, Harry & Paul's Story Of The Twos, The Wrong Mans, Moone Boy and Detectorists will compete for the Scripted Comedy prize. There are also individual nominations for the likes of Rev's Olivia Colman and Tom Hollander, W1A's Hugh Bonneville and Jessica Hynes, Episodes' Tamsin Greig and Mrs Brown's Boys' Brendan O'Carroll. Meanwhile, Ant & Dec and Graham Norton pick up their seventh Entertainment Performance nominations, going up against Strictly Come Dancing's Claudia Whatsherface and Leigh Francis. The Reality & Constructed Factual category pits The Apprentice 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) against newer shows The Undateables and The Island With Bear Grylls. Netflix's Orange Is The New Black and House Of Cards will go up against True Detective and The Good Wife for the International TV accolade. The BAFTA Television Awards will take place at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane on Sunday 10 May.

Armando Iannucci is leaving the award-winning political satire Veep after being at the helm since it was first broadcast on HBO in 2012. The Scottish comedian, author and producer departs just days before the show begins its fourth season on Sunday. In a statement to the Hollywood Reporter, HBO said: 'We have had conversations with Armando for some time about the challenges of maintaining his family life in London and producing a show in the states. Armando is not replaceable but we are confident that Veep will continue to be produced at the highest levels with new showrunner David Mandel. David has worked with HBO for many years as executive producer, writer and director for Curb Your Enthusiasm.' Mandel will work with Julia Louis-Dreyfus, who stars as the disaster-prone Vice-President Selina Meyer, after the pair first collaborated on Seinfeld. Iannucci had suggested his time working on Veep was drawing to an end in recent interviews, and when asked about his next projects, he told the Gruniad Morning Star: 'The one thing I don’t want to do is look at American politics or British politics. I feel I have done that.' He has also been widely touted as a possible screenwriter for Doctor Who, which would see him reunited with Peter Capaldi, whom he worked with on the series Veep is based on, The Thick Of It. Veep has not been renewed for a fifth season yet, but with the success of the show and the rapid appointment of Mantel, it looks likely to return after its fourth season finishes later this year.

So, would anyone like to see a picture of yer actual Karen Gillan with something hot and throbbing between her thighs? Oh, hang on, we've done that one, haven't we? Still .. it's too good an opportunity to miss.
Channel Four has commissioned a new political sitcom. The satirical Ballot Monkeys will focus on politicians campaigning for the four main parties in the run-up to the General Election. Trevor Cooper, Ben Miller, Sarah Hadland and Hattie Morahan star as candidates for Labour, the Lib Dem, UKiP and the Conservatives. The show will intercut between the various campaign buses. Drop The Dead Donkey and Outnumbered creators Andy Hamilton and Guy Jenkin will write the five-episode sitcom. The pair said in a statement: 'We're very excited about this. We don't think anyone's done anything like this before, although we may find out why.' Fiona McDermott, Channel Four's commissioning editor for comedy, added: 'We haven't yet decided whether we're brave or bonkers but a real-time satirical sitcom like Ballot Monkeys could only be handled by the remarkable Andy Hamilton and Guy Jenkin. We are thrilled to have them and such an amazing cast on board our buses.'
And, speaking of political comedy, worthless bell-end Ed Milimolimandi has stated that the BBC's licence fee settlement should be renewed and will be under any future, hypothetical, Labour government. Which, of course, there won't be so don't get too excited. Speaking to Radio Times, the Labour Party leader - whose next job after the forthcoming erection will likely include the words 'do you want fries with that?' - indicated that he would push for the renewal next year if he wins the general erection next month. 'I am a supporter of the BBC and I think it should be renewed,' he said. 'I'm not going to get into the level, which will be a matter for negotiation and discussion. I think it's incredibly important that we protect the BBC. It's recognised around the world and is a benchmark for standards in Britain.' On the BBC's spending, Milimolimandi commented: 'The BBC needs to take seriously the issue of management salaries. All organisations should. But I think Tony Hall is taking it seriously. 'Obviously, people have their frustrations about the BBC, but that doesn't take away from its importance.'

Fortitude has been recommissioned for a second series on Sky Atlantic. The broadcaster has ordered ten new episodes of the arctic thriller following its international success. 'It's a privilege to return to Fortitude,' said writer Simon Donald. 'It's a place where the real and the feared live side by side, where old dark secrets thaw out into the chill light of the arctic day. I'd never been anywhere like Fortitude before and I can't wait to go back.' Sky Atlantic channel director Zai Bennett added: 'Simon Donald created a unique and unsettling story which, week after week, has captivated our customers. I am absolutely delighted that we will be bringing Fortitude back next year with a story that promises to engage, challenge and enthral us all over again.' But then, Bennett let us remember, was the waste of space arsehole that cancelled Ideal when he was in charge of BBC3. So, frankly, if he told this blogger black was darker than white I'd want a second opinion.
Gold's first original - alleged - sitcom You, Me & Them is 'both funnier and more dramatic' in its second series than it was in its first, Anthony Head has promised. Although, to be fair, it could hardly be less funny and dramatic than the major disappointment of last year's first batch of episode. Which were crap.
The advertisement, which repeatedly uses the phrase 'ship this bed', has been banned from being shown when children could be watching, according to a report in the Gruniad. The Castleford-based company's advert features lines such as 'We've just shipped this bed ... and it felt great' - referring to Bedworld's free shipping policy. Ten viewers - clearly with nothing better to do with their time - whinged about the advert, believing that the word 'ship' had been used instead of 'shit.' Because they sound similar. Interestingly, so do 'complainants' and 'bell-ends'. Well, in code. Five of these whingers also mentioned that the advert had been broadcast when children might be watching television. Won't someone think of the children? Bedworld said that it had checked all of the sound in the advert and was 'certain' that 'ship' had been clearly pronounced on every occasion. The ASA concluded that the advert was unlikely to cause serious offence when shown, but said that it must not be aired again without a time restriction. It said: 'We acknowledged that what had been said sounded similar to the expletive "shit"; however the actors were, in fact, saying "ship/ped". In the context of the ad, we considered that viewers who might have been offended by bad language were likely to recognise the pun being used and therefore were likely to understand what the actors were saying.' The ASA added: 'While the expletive had not been used, the two words did sound similar; we considered that younger viewers were unlikely to register the distinction between the two when spoken in the ad. We considered that "shit" was likely to be a word that parents may want their children to avoid, that children may already recognise as bad language and that was unsuitable for them.' Presumably adverts using the words 'funk', 'can't', 'clock', 'pass', 'tanker' and 'semprini' are also banned. Jesus, has everybody taken the frigging stupid pill this week, or what? Some people are just artholes.
Sky Living boss Antonia Hurford-Jones will leave the broadcaster as the channel moves away from original commissions. Sky is moving its commissioning budget to Sky1 and will now focus on US acquisitions, Broadcast reports. In a note to staff, director of Sky entertainment channels Stuart Murphy said: 'As part of a strategic realignment of the entertainment portfolio we have decided to supersize Sky1, dramatically increasing the investment in home-grown shows on our main entertainment channel. As part of this reallocation of budget, the majority of home-grown shows on Sky Living will move over to our main entertainment channel from next fiscal, with Sky Living focusing almost exclusively on US dramas going forward.' He added of Hurford-Jones's departure: 'I'd like to thank Antonia for all her hard work, creative inspiration, relentless enthusiasm, shocking sense of humour and great friendship in a role she has performed brilliantly. Please wish her all the best in her next step in what will no doubt continue to be an incredible career.' Hurford-Jones joined Sky four years ago as entertainment commissioner and moved to Sky Living in 2012.

The BBC's editorial complaints unit has utterly rejected a complaint about a controversial documentary on Rwanda which questioned official accounts of the 1994 genocide. A group of scholars, scientists, researchers, journalists and historians who made the complaint now plan to appeal to the BBC Trust over the decision. Rwanda's Untold Story, broadcast on 1 October 2014, sparked controversy by suggesting that President Paul Kagame may have had a hand in the shooting-down of his predecessor's plane, which triggered the mass killings. It also quoted US researchers who suggested that many of the more than eight hundred thousand Rwandans who died in the 1994 genocide may have been ethnic Hutus, and not Tutsis as the government maintains. Kagame accused the BBC of 'genocide denial' in the documentary, which he said had chosen to 'tarnish Rwandans, dehumanise them.' The corporation emphatically rejected the claims. Last November, a group of forty eight people, including former president of the International Committee of the Red Cross Cornelio Sommaruga, Bishop Ken Barham and investigative journalist and author Professor Linda Melvern, wrote to BBC director general Tony Hall to 'express concern' over the documentary. Their letter claimed that the BBC had been 'recklessly irresponsible' in broadcasting the film, said it contained 'serious inaccuracies' and claimed part of its content 'promoted genocide denial.' The criticisms were rejected by Jim Gray, deputy head of current affairs, so last month they took their case to the BBC's editorial complaints unit. Their complaint claimed that the documentary was 'in breach of BBC editorial guidelines', including its commitment to 'truth and accuracy, impartiality, serving the public interest and distinguishing opinion from fact.' It was backed by a fifteen-page document claiming the programme 'promoted denial of the genocide of the Tutsi', changed the meaning of events and tried to reinterpret the facts and 'change reality.' The complainants accused the film of being 'misleading and biased', saying it had promised 'evidence that challenges the accepted story of the Rwandan genocide' but had instead used 'discredited material' produced by defence lawyers in the trials at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda. They also criticised the BBC journalists who made the film for relying on 'unverified witness testimony' in the programme. Finally, they claimed there had been 'concerns' among BBC staff about the film and questioned whether, given its sensitivity, it should have been considered at a high level within the corporation. The editorial complaints unit produced a detailed response to the allegations, but found the film had not breached BBC guidelines. One of the complainants, Melvern, said in response: 'The ECU determined no breaches in editorial guidelines took place and declared the programme justified for "good editorial reasons", produced in a spirit of "journalistic inquiry". None of our concerns was addressed. The ruling failed to provide answers to our questions. No evidence was forthcoming. The ECU wrote that judgments handed down at the ICTR had "little relevance" when considering "other accounts" of the genocide. The programme was simply presenting "dissenting views", "alternative perspectives" and "controversial theories" about the genocide of the Tutsi claiming all the while that this would not mislead viewers. The BBC claims that the documentary did not damage the history of the genocide of the Tutsi – we maintain it did just that.' Melvern said an appeal will be lodged with the BBC Trust next week. A spokesperson for BBC News said: 'Throughout the making of this programme, which we acknowledge raised extremely painful issues, our guiding principle was to respect the immense suffering of the Rwandan people and cover an immensely difficult subject in a measured way, not to downplay nor conceal events.' Last month, the UK called on the Rwandan government to lift its ban on BBC radio broadcasts in the country's most common language, which was imposed in the wake of the documentary. A Foreign office spokesperson said that the UK government 'recognises the hurt caused in Rwanda by some parts of the documentary', but it was 'concerned' by the move to suspend the BBC's FM broadcasts and hold an official investigation. The inquiry, set up by the government-appointed Rwanda Utilities Regulatory Agency, urged its government to take criminal action against the BBC. Its report said: 'The documentary made a litany of claims and assertions that are problematic in a number of ways and which we consider to violate Rwandan law, the BBC's own ethical guidelines and limitations to press freedom. We also find the documentary to be minimising and denying genocide, contravening domestic and international laws.' A BBC spokesperson said: 'We are extremely disappointed by the findings of this commission. While we do not yet know the full implications for the BBC in Rwanda, we stand by our right to produce the independent journalism which has made us the world's most trusted news source. We strongly reject any suggestion that any part of this documentary constitutes genocide denial.'

Former Australia captain and legendary cricket commentator Richie Benaud has died at the age of eighty four. A pioneering leg-spin bowler and fine middle order batsman, Benaud played in sixty three tests for the Aussies, twenty eight of them as captain, before retiring in 1964 to pursue a career in journalism and broadcasting. His final commentary in England came during the thrilling 2005 Ashes series, but he continued to work for Channel Nine in Australia until 2013. In November, he revealed that he was being treated for skin cancer. Cricket Australia chairman Wally Edwards said that Richie was 'the iconic voice of our summer', while the Australian government has offered to hold a state funeral. Richie enjoyed a long association with the BBC following his first radio appearance for the corporation in 1960. 'Richie was not just a great cricket commentator, he was one of the finest sports commentators of his generation,' said Barbara Slater, the Director of BBC Sport. 'He was an integral part of the BBC team for decades and will be sorely missed by everyone who had the pleasure of working with him.' Richie built his reputation as a commentator following an outstanding playing career in which he took nine hundred and forty five wickets in two hundred and fifty nine first-class matches and made eleven thousand seven hundred and nineteen first-class runs, scoring twenty three centuries at an average of 36.50. Benaud was the first man to achieve two thousand runs and two hundred wickets at test level (he's been followed by seventeen others, many of them among the great all-rounders of the game). He was also a highly regarded tactician and never lost a series as Australian captain, winning five and drawing two. The highlight of his career as captain was the exhilarating series of 1960-61, when he captained Australia against the visiting West Indies led by Frank Worrell. An extraordinary five-match encounter produced electrifying batsmanship, and bowling that was less concerned with shutting the game down than keeping it moving. It also included the first ever tied test match at Brisbane. Richie, who was born in Penrith, just West of Sydney, into a family of Huguenot origin, had a keen cricketer for a father. Lou Benaud, who had once taken all twenty wickets in a bush match, keenly and wisely guided his two sons, Richie and John, thirteen years younger and who himself played in three tests during the 1970s. After attending Parramatta high school, Richie made his New South Wales debut on the final day of 1948. Three years later, against the West Indies at Sydney, he was first capped by Australia. His selection was frequently questioned in those early years, when much other flowering talent was evident in Australian domestic cricket. In 1952-53 Benaud played against South Africa, recording a duck and having his front teeth smashed while fielding at gully in the Sydney test, which coincided with his honeymoon. It was not the first time he had been hospitalised by a blow to the head. Four years previously he had been hit in the face while batting for New South Wales Second XI in Melbourne. The 1953 tour was, the first of three he was to make to England as a player. In his three tests he averaged just three runs with the bat and took a mere two wickets for one hundred and seventy four before ending the tour in glory with one hundred and thirty five in a festival match at a crowded Scarborough ground, hitting eleven sixes to equal the world record at that time. Against Len Hutton's dominant England tourists in 1954-55 he, again, did little with bat or ball and he also struggled in 1956 on his second tour to England, the Lord's Test apart: having taken a memorably sharp reflex catch in the gully to dismiss Colin Cowdrey, Benaud was at his cavalier best in an innings of ninety seven, ended by a top edge as he tried to reach his hundred in the grand manner by hooking Fred Trueman. On the way home Benaud finally fulfilled his potential by taking seven for seventy two (his best test return) at Madras to set up an Australian innings victory over India. His performances in South Africa in 1957-58 cemented his place in the side. Often bare-headed, and a somewhat stooping, rangy figure at the crease, he cracked a century in both of the two Johannesburg tests, averaged fifty four in the series, and took thirty wickets at a rate of just under twenty two runs each in the five tests. Time and again he and Alan Davidson took the opposition apart and the Australians, led by Ian Craig, finished the tour unbeaten. Within the year, Richie became captain of his country. Craig had fallen ill and, though Neil Harvey was expected to succeed to the leadership, Benaud's name was announced. His first series as skipper was remarkable for a number of reasons. A strong England party, led by Peter May, were widely expected to retain the Ashes. But many of them played below expectation and Australia's attack contained several bowlers whose actions were perceived as highly dubious with whispered accusations of 'chucking'. Benaud's team cruised to a 4-0 victory, the skipper taking thirty one wickets for an average of 18.83 runs each. In 1961 he was made an OBE for services to cricket. The Ashes were retained in England in 1961, though a shoulder injury kept Richie out of the Lord's Test. The decisive victory came in the fourth test, at Old Trafford, when Benaud's six for seventy bowling into the rough outside leg stump set up an unlikely Australian victory. In his final Ashes series, in 1962-63, the tempo reverted to that of the bad old days. Three of the tests were laborious draws. The next season saw the last of Benaud on the cricket field, apart from some later charity matches. He played three tests against South Africa in 1963-64 under his successor as captain, Bobby Simpson, whacking a memorable ninety on his home ground in Sydney, having calmly endured the trauma at the start of the season of captaining for the last time while his key fast bowler, Ian Meckiff, was repeatedly no balled by umpire Colin Egar for throwing. After such an impressive playing career, Richie became perhaps even better known as a prolific author, columnist and commentator on cricket. After the 1956 Ashes tour, he had completed a BBC training course while still a player, marking the beginning of a forty-year association with the corporation. His first BBC radio commentary came in 1960, followed by his first television appearance three years later. With his mellifluous, light delivery, enthusiastically imitated by comedians and cricket fans alike, Benaud also became the lead commentator on Australian television's Channel Nine from 1977. He was shrewd not only from his weight of playing experience but also in the cautious way he rationed opinions. Such guarded humour as he evinced bore the touch of a man who was keen to be seen above all else as discerning. His major advisory work for Kerry Packer during cricket's revolutionary upheaval in the late 1970s alienated him in some traditional quarters, one consequence being a call by some loud-mouthed glakes for Richie to be removed from BBC's television commentary panel. The BBC, thankfully, told the Home Counties bore where to get off. Richie was a survivor, even if his friendship with Don Bradman never quite recovered from that cricket civil war. Benaud become a driving force behind World Series Cricket, his voice lending respectability to the breakaway professional circuit which would ultimately change the game forever. Richie wrote a number of books about the game and there were two biographies about him, one by AG Moyes and a later study by Mark Browning. While a move to preserve Benaud's childhood home failed, he was honoured with a lifesize statue at the Sydney Cricket Ground, his spiritual home - his actual homes having been in Sydney's Pacific-side suburb of Coogee, on the French Riviera and in London. When live test cricket disappeared from the BBC in 1999 he moved to Channel Four and when terrestrial broadcasting ended in 2005 he declined the opportunity to switch to pay TV. His commentating style was beautifully summed up by some advice he once, reportedly, gave to Geoffrey Boycott: 'Don't talk too much, let people enjoy the pictures and, when you speak, try and give the viewers something to add to their experience of watching. Always remember to speak about the picture that the viewer sees, never talk about things the viewer can't see. The viewer is paramount. Pause just before the bowler gets to his delivery stride - this allows the editors to cut for highlights and replays and be aware in commentating that microphones may be live even when they shouldn't be. If you swear off mike in the commentary box, never assume that it's switched off and it might go out to the public.' His Australian cricket television commentary continued until it was brought to a halt by a car accident in 2013 and shortly afterwards he announced that he had skin cancer - a legacy, he suspected, of his bareheaded days on the field. 'When I was a kid we never ever wore a cap because Keith Miller never wore a cap,' Benaud said at the time. 'If I knew, when I was at school and playing in my early cricket days, the problems that would have come if I didn't do something about protection of the head and using sunscreens and all sorts of things like that, I'd have played it differently. It's one of those things in life: you live and learn as you go along.' One of Richie's last public contributions was a touching voiceover tribute to Phillip Hughes, who died when struck by a bouncer in November 2014. It was screened before Australia's test series against India last December. Richie's first marriage, to Marcia Lavender, with whom he had two sons, Greg and Jeffery, endedc in divorce; he later married Daphne Surfleet, who had been secretary to the cricket writer and broadcaster EW Swanton. Richie is survived by Daphne, by his sons, and by his brother, John.

And now, yer actual Keith Telly Topping's further adventures splashin' aboot in the waata. This week saw yer actual manage three consecutive twenty six lengthers at the pool on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday mornings. All of this, please note, despite him feeling as rotten as Rotten Ronnie Rotten of Rotten Row and fairly Jacob's Cream Crackered on at least two of those days. It's about will power, dear blog reader. Apparently.

Keith Telly Topping's old mate Greg Bakun has been at it again at his, always excellent, From The Archives site with an extensive bloggerisation on the recent - and very welcome- DVD release of Citizen James. Check it out.
Yer actual Keith Telly Topping has found a new contender for the greatest website ever, dear blog reader. One celebrating an activity that he spent far too much of his impressionable youth indulged in.
Hands up who remembers eating far too many 'chocolate Pertwees' back in the long cold summer of 1974?
Thirty five years ago this very week dear blog reader, yer actual Keith Telly Topping's most favouritest band in the whole world, ever, The Jam, returned from a short American tour to find that their single 'Going Underground' was spending its second week at number one in the UK. And, they played it on Top Of The Pops introduced by Peter Powell (wearing a particularly nasty pair of leather trousers). And this, to this day, still no one - least of all the Goddamn Modfather his very self - can explain why Paul Weller chose to wear a kitchen apron on national telly in celebration! The public gets what the public wants.
So, anyway dear blog reader, in 1981, UB40 released a single called 'I Am A One In Ten' about the misery of being unemployed. In 1982, UB40 released another single called 'So Here I Am Standing At A Bus Stop Wishing I Was Somewhere Else' about the misery of going to work. This blogger is not saying either position is, inherently, wrong but they would seem to be mutually exclusive. Come on, lads, make your minds up. Just a bit of food for thought, there.
For the latest Keith Telly Topping's 45 of the Day and extra special treat, dear blog reader. Here's seven and a half minutes of Liquid Gold. You can form a queue to thank me if you want.
Remember kids, Disco Stu doesn't advertise.