Monday, September 03, 2012

Spineless Swines, Cemented Minds!

The Lord Thy God Steven Moffat (Thou Shalt Worship No Other Gods Before He) and Jenna-Louise Coleman have thanked 'in the know' Doctor Who fans for keeping secret the massive, Internet-breaking twist in Saturday's season premiere Asylum of the Daleks. Yer actual Keith Telly Topping wasn't, himself, in the know although, if he had been, he'd've tried his damnedest not to blab his mouth off about it. Coleman made an unexpected appearance as Oswin Oswald minutes into the episode, surprising fans who had been led to believe that she would not be appearing until the Christmas special (and, under a different character name). However, Oswin was killed off in the episode's closing moments, leaving some viewers scratching their collective heads as to how she will be able to make her eventual reappearance as the Doctor's new companion. or, in yer actual Keith Telly Topping's case, not particularly bothered as he trusts The Moffster to come up with a cunningly fiendish explanation. Speaking on the Doctor Who website, the twenty six-year-old actress - who was really very good indeed in the episode - said: 'Hello! Hope we gave you a good surprise! Thanks to all the fans who kept it quiet! More to come. Watch this space!' Moffat also thanked fans: 'I hope you all got a nice surprise when Jenna popped up in Doctor Who several months early. If so, that surprise came to you courtesy of the frankly magnificent ladies and gentlemen of the press, and of the many Doctor Who forums and blogs too. This show has been seen at four separate screenings, across four different countries and yet not one person gave one spoiler. From all of us on Doctor Who, a heartfelt thank you for helping us tell our story.'

Channel Four has said that viewing figures for its Paralympic coverage are 'exceeding expectations' and rejected claims that it is not showing enough live coverage of the event. The broadcaster paid around nine million smackers to win the rights to an event and is devoting more than one hundred and fifty hours of coverage on its main channel. It said that its coverage of the first night of athletics peaked at 3.6 million punters on Friday evening. That was the night Hannah Cockroft won Britain's first gold in the main stadium and made Channel Four the most watched channel during the 9pm hour, with 2.9m watching BBC1 and 2.6m tuned to the UEFA Super Cup on ITV. Coverage of the Paralympics Opening Ceremony peaked at more than eleven million, Channel Four's biggest audience in a decade. A Channel Four spokesman rejected claims that the broadcaster had spent too long chatting with guests in the studio and not enough showing live coverage. He said more time was devoted to explaining the sports and classification system over the first couple of days and pointed out that Channel Four also had three live streams continuously running on its interactive channels. Including these interactive channels, it is devoting an unprecedented five hundred hours of coverage to the Paralympics. In 2008, the BBC showed nightly highlights on BBC2, together with some live programming at the weekends and on its interactive service. Channel Four 'insiders' allegedly claim that criticism they have not shown enough live sport is 'unfair.' They cleared the schedules on Thursday and Friday, moving a planned afternoon block of programming including Deal Or No Deal and Come Dine With Me to More4, to ensure wall-to-wall coverage. Some - whinging - viewers complained that Britain's opening wheelchair basketball match, a narrow defeat to Germany in overtime, was not shown live. Nor was Ellie Simmonds' swimming heat on Saturday morning, in which she recorded a personal best and narrowly missed the world record. But Channel Four pointed out that given the volume of events taking place at the same time, there were times when it would have to make editorial choices between sports on its main channel. It also has to contend with the Olympic Broadcast Service, contracted by the Games organisers to provide coverage, not having cameras at all events. Channel Four will have to send its own news cameras to the shooting, rowing and marathon but will not be able to provide live coverage. The broadcaster has staked much on the Paralympics, hoping it will help redefine its image while breaking even commercially. It spent five hundred thousand smackers on a talent search to recruit a team of new disabled presenters, who have been paired with established broadcasters including Clare Balding and Jonathan Edwards. It is particularly pleased that ratings appear to be holding up throughout the day, with eight hundred thousand viewers staying tuned for The Last Leg, a nightly round-up show with the Australian comedian Adam Hills, after 11pm on Friday. Which, yer actual Keith telly Topping has caught a couple of and which are rather good.

Aaron Sorkin's TV drama The Newsroom is about a cable news channel owned by a conglomerate which also owns a tabloid magazine, you probably already know this dear blog reader. It's not as good as The West Wing. Hell, it's not even as good as Studio 60 On The Sunset Strip, but it's not bad, as you'd expect from yer man Sorkin. In the latest episode to be shown in the UK – which contained a reference to 'the News of the World in London,' in case anyone missed the point, and a comparison between one executive and James Murdoch the small – a whistleblower claimed that the magazine had been hacking phones and e-mails. Last December's Channel Four comedy drama Hacks apart, this appears to be the first time that a television drama has tackled the phone-hacking saga, and it's piquant that it was screened on Sky Atlantic, itself part of a TV company – BSkyB – connected by ownership to a tabloid title. Were any of the Murdochs watching, one wonders?

The Gruniad claims - with no supporting evidence - that it 'surmised' at the Edinburgh TV festival Kirsty Young can write off any future potential freelance work for C4. This was, they alleged, because the atmosphere when she interviewed its chief creative officer Jay Hunt was, according to the scummy hippy Communist louse full of its own importance broadsheet, 'chilly enough for delegates to feel a need for a jumper.' Ho. And, indeed, ho. Friday's Daily Scum Mail, appeared to agree, noting that the session was not subsequently screened online - as is usual with the majority of Edinburgh festival sessions. The Scum Mail claimed to have had confirmation from C4 that 'we felt the questions were unbalanced.' The vile and odious rascal Hunt (no relation), no doubt, expected the butter-wouldn't-melt Desert Island Discs hostess, but instead got a full-on claws-out Kirsty, who put Hunt on the spot about the ethics of programmes like Big Fat Gypsy Weddings and Embarrassing Bodies.

The author of 1970s short novel Jonathan Livingston Seagull has been seriously injured in a plane crash. Richard Bach was reportedly trying to land his plane on San Juan island in Washington state when he hit power lines and got trapped in the cockpit. Local media reported that a group of holidaymakers had to cut him free. His son, James, said his father was flying alone and suffered a head injury and broken shoulder. Bach, seventy six, is known to be a keen aviator. 'Right now we're waiting for the sedation to wear off, for him to fully wake up,' James Bach told the Associated Press. Jonathan Livingston Seagull, published in 1970, is a fable telling the story of a bird which is guided through spiritual lessons. The book, a bestseller made into a film in 1973, gave Bach a loyal following.

Yer actual Jenson Button his very self was dominant as he won the Belgian Grand Prix at Spa, with Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso crashing out on the first corner. Button, who started on pole, was never under threat as Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel fought from tenth to second, ahead of Lotus's Kimi Raikkonen. Hamilton and Alonso were taken out in a multi-car pile-up at the start, triggered by the other Lotus driver, Romain Grosjean. Vettel moves to second in the championship, twenty four points behind Alonso. The German's Red Bulll team-mate Mark Webber is third, twelve points behind Vettel. Raikkonen is one point behind the Australian, fourteen points ahead of Hamilton. Button's victory leaves him sixth, but at sixty three points behind Alonso with two hundred available in the remaining eight races, his title hopes are still a long shot. In Belgium, though, Button was in a league of his own. He qualified on pole by 0.3 seconds and never looked back after converting that position into a lead at the first corner. 'This circuit is so special to most drivers,' Button said. 'The way that it flows, the history here. So to get a victory here, lights to flag, is very special for me.' Behind him, there was drama at the start, triggered when Grosjean moved over on Hamilton at the start. The Lotus's left rear wheel hit Hamilton's right front, knocking the McLaren into a spin and triggering absolute chaos. As the other drivers braked for the first corner to avoid the carnage, Hamilton and Grosjean, out of control, continued at unabated speed, taking out Alonso and Sauber's Sergio Perez. Alonso was especially lucky as Grosjean's car flew over the front of his own, missing his head by about a metre. The incident triggered a shake-up of the field and a safety car. From there, the race developed into a thrilling battle as Button continued serenely at the front. Vettel, on a one-stop strategy like Button, impressed as he made up ground once the race had been restarted on lap five. The world champion made a series of impressive overtaking manoeuvres around the outside of the Bus Stop chicane at the end of the lap, including one on his team-mate Webber. Vettel's pace ensured he took second as Raikkonen and the other drivers on two-stop strategies made their final stops. 'It was a crazy race from where I started,' Vettel said. 'The start was not so good and after the first corner when a lot of cars went off it was pretty crazy, fortunately we came back with a fantastic strategy. It was the right call, and the car was quite good in the race and we were able to pick up some places. I had a lot of fun racing a lot of people, racing Michael [Schumacher]. I'm looking forward already to coming back here next year, this circuit is unbelievable.' Raikkonen was caught up behind the Mercedes of Schumacher, who was slow around the lap but very fast in a straight line. Once Raikkonen had passed Schumacher - in a brave move into the one hundred and eighty mph swerves of Eau Rouge - he briefly closed on Vettel but, realising he did not have enough laps to make up a thirteen-second deficit, was forced to settle for third. He was also hampered by not being able to use all his Kers power-boost system. 'It's nice to be back here,' Raikkonen said. 'There are always a lot of fans and good racing. It's not the easiest day for me and the team - the car was not exactly as we liked. But we had a lot of fighting and we managed to get a lot of points for me and the team.' Schumacher's hopes of a strong finish to a poor weekend for Mercedes were dashed when high tyre wear forced him to abandon his attempt to do only one stop. That dropped him to seventh at the finish, behind the impressive Nico Hulkenberg's Force India and Webber. Toro Rosso's Jean-Eric Vergne, who had a strong weekend after struggling in the first half of his debut season, was eighth, ahead of team-mate Daniel Ricciardo and the second Force India of Paul Di Resta. Williams driver Bruno Senna was eighth heading into the last six laps but had to make a late tyre stop because his tyres were worn out. He dropped to twelfth behind the second Mercedes of Nico Rosberg. It was a terribly unlucky day for Sauber after the strongest qualifying performance in their history. Along with Perez, who was fourth on the grid, Kamui Kobayashi, who started second, was also caught up in the first corner melee and trailed home thirteenth. Grosjean has been given a one-race ban for causing the first-corner crash. The twenty six-year-old Frenchman, who has been involved in seven first-lap crashes in twelve races this season, was also fined fifty thousand Euros. A statement from governing body the FIA said: 'The stewards regard this incident as an extremely serious breach of the regulations, which had the potential to cause injury to others. It eliminated leading championship contenders from the race. The stewards note [that] the team conceded the action was an extremely serious mistake and an error of judgement. Neither the team nor the driver made any submission in mitigation of penalty.' Pastor Maldonado, who failed to finish, has been given a five-place grid penalty for jumping start and another for colliding with the Marussia of Timo Glock. Both will be applied in next weekend's Italian Grand Prix.

Hatem Ben Arfa's spectacular strike earned yer actual Keith Telly Topping's beloved Newcastle a draw as they came from behind to deny Paul Lambert a first league win as Aston Villains boss. The Second City Scummers had lost Lambert's first two games in charge and, though there may be a tinge of disappointment at missing out on a potential three points, he will be relieved his side are off the mark. The visitors began strongly and took the lead through Ciaran Clark's header. But Newcastle drew level through Ben Arfa's brilliant twenty five-yard drive, his second goal of the season. After such an impressive campaign last year, the challenge for Newcastle was always going to be whether they could sustain the type of form which saw them finish fifth for a place in the Europa League. Following their opening day win against Tottenham, they have now lost one and drawn one as manager Alan Pardew seeks a formula to cope with the challenges of combining the Premier League with European football. Villa, meanwhile, might have been forgiven for beginning the game with a lack of confidence after two successive defeats at the start of the Premier League campaign. But, putting aside their recent poor record on Tyneside - they conceded ten goals during their last three visits - Villa probed patiently and deservedly went in front. A spell of pressure culminated in Clark putting them ahead midway through the first half, finding himself in an unusually advanced position to head home from Barry Bannan's precise left-wing cross. The lead was merited, particularly since Darren Bent had gone close to opening the scoring moments earlier, only for his low drive to be thwarted by the legs of Tim Krul. But Newcastle are a force on their own turf, where they had won five of their previous six games, and possess the firepower to trouble any defence. Their response was a positive one, with Papiss Cissé and Demba Ba always threatening through their lively movement. The home supporters felt they should have had a penalty when Ba tumbled under a challenge from Eric Lichaj, but referee Lee Probert failed to point to the spot. Cissé and Ba had their chances - the former's shot was tipped around the post by Brad Guzan and he headed wide on the stroke of half-time - but it was another one of last season's key players who finally made the breakthrough. Ben Arfa collected the ball on the edge of the area just before the hour mark with seemingly little danger, but he cut onto his weaker right foot and drilled a stunning drive beyond the reach of Guzan. Former Magpies midfielder Stephen Ireland might have snatched victory for Villa with ten minutes remaining, but he smashed wildly off target when free inside the penalty area to the vast amusement of the majority of the fifty thousand crowd. Rolling about on the floor, laughing, so they were. Then, five minutes into stoppage-time, Yohan Cabaye's twenty five-yard kick looked to be heading in the top corner but Guzan saved acrobatically. In the day's other matches, The Scum came from behind to beat Southampton 3-2, and Liverpool Alabama Yee-Haws thoroughly miserable start to the season continued, as they were beaten 2-0 by The Arse.

Ian Bell struck a classy eighty eight as England chased down a modest target of two hundred and twenty one to beat South Africa by six wickets and take a 2-1 lead in the ODI series. Bell added one hundred and forty one with Jonathan Trott, who played through a suspected hand fracture to make forty seven, before Eoin Morgan and Craig Kieswetter saw England home with three overs to spare. Spinner James Tredwell had set England on the victory trail by having three South Africa batsmen stumped. Ravi Bopara (two for thirty four) also impressed as the tourists were restricted to two hundred and twenty for eight. England, who cemented their position at the top of the ICC one-day rankings until the New Year, will win the series if they avoid defeat in the fifth and final match at Trent Bridge on Wednesday. The contest followed a similar pattern to Friday's match at The Oval as South Africa wasted a bright start with the bat and had to settle for a total which was always likely to prove below par. With the ball swinging and seaming around, openers Hashim Amla and Graeme Smith were both gifted a second life by Tredwell in the slips as they put on their third consecutive fifty partnership of the series. Amla, the scourge of England all summer, had only scored four when Tredwell spilled a routine chance off Steve Finn at second slip. For Smith's let-off, however, the blame lay with wicketkeeper Kieswetter, who dived across Tredwell and obstructed his view as the fielder endeavoured to get into position to take the catch. Jade Dernbach made the breakthrough for England as Smith top-edged a bouncer through to Kieswetter, before Amla was clean bowled by a Bopara inswinger five runs short of a half-century. Six balls later, Tredwell deceived JP Duminy with a beautifully flighted delivery and Kieswetter whipped the bails off with the batsman miles out of his ground. Tredwell, finding prodigious spin from the Lord's surface, repeated the trick to remove captain AB De Villiers for thirty nine and Wayne Parnell for five as Kieswetter became the first keeper to claim three stumpings in a one-day international innings in England. Dean Elgar helped prevent a total collapse with a risk-free 35, but with the innings entering the final five overs and the score still well short of the two hundred mark, the tourists were desperately in need of a catalyst. Robin Peterson, with a couple of lusty switch-hits and some improvised scoops lifted the total to respectability with an entertaining thrity one not out off twenty balls. South Africa made the perfect start with the ball as England captain Alastair Cook was trapped LBW by a Dale Steyn inswinger in the first over of the innings. Bowling consistently at speeds over ninety mph and swinging the ball both ways, Steyn kept the pressure on England in a hostile opening burst. In his fourth over, a fierce short ball thudded into Trott's glove, forcing his hand off the bat and requiring lengthy treatment from the physio. Bell took ten overs to find the boundary but once he settled into his groove he was a joy to watch, brutally pulling Ryan McLaren in front of square on the off side and dancing down the track to plant spinner Peterson over the ropes for six. When he finally played a false stroke after racking up his twenty third one-day fifty off eighty eight balls, he was dropped by Peterson at mid-off off the bowling of Lonwabo Tsotsobe and responded by pulling the next ball contemptuously for four. At the other end, Trott battled through the obvious discomfort of his hand injury to keep Bell company and even managed some eye-catching shots as he launched a Tsotsobe short ball over point for four and clattered McLaren through midwicket. When Trott was finally out, trapped LBW on review by Elgar, England appeared well on their way to victory, but a brief rain delay seemed to unsettle the hosts and Ravi Bopara was caught behind lazily wafting at McLaren. Bell seemed intent on bringing up his century in style and had already played a number of false shots when he was caught behind cutting at Steyn. But just when South Africa were sensing a chance to get back into the game, the cool-headed Morgan took control to steer England within reach of their target. He effectively put the contest to bed with three fours off a McLaren over before stepping aside for Kieswetter to finish the job in style. The Somerset wicket keeper hammered Steyn for two fours and sealed the victory with a huge straight six which had several Lord's members scattering for cover in the pavilion.

A woman in Chicago has returned a book to the public library that was seventy eight years overdue. Harlean Hoffman Vision found a rare, limited edition copy of The Picture of Dorian Gray marked with a Chicago Public Library stamp in her late mother's possessions. Reuters reports that Vision only returned the book after receiving assurances that she wouldn't be 'arrested.' The library was in the middle of a rare amnesty period, and Vision took the opportunity to return the book unpunished. Ruth Ledncer, the library's marketing director, said: 'She kept saying, "You're not going to arrest me?" and we said, "No, we're so happy you brought it back."' Vision was later informed that the library caps late fees at ten dollars - if the cap and amnesty were not in place, however, the return of the book would have cost her six thousand bucks.

And so to yer actual Keith Telly Topping's 45 of the Day. Here's another masterpiece of social comment from The Smiths. And, hey, why not?

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