Sunday, September 30, 2012

Week Forty One: Some Kind Of Innocence Is Measured Out In You

Jimmy Savile, the eccentric radio DJ and Jim'll Fix It and Top of the Pops presenter who was knighted in 1990, was a sexual predator who abused girls as young thirteen, an investigative documentary to be broadcast by ITV next week will allege. 'Up to ten' women are said to have come forward to claim that they were sexually assaulted by Savile during the 1970s, when they were teenagers, and that their lives were 'destroyed and devastated' as a result. The abuse, they claim, ranged from rape to indecency, and is alleged to have taken place in various public places, including schools, hospitals and the BBC studios where the entertainer hosted his family-oriented shows. Exposure: The Other Side Of Jimmy will be screened on Wednesday on ITV, weeks before the first anniversary of the broadcaster's death at the age of eighty four. In a statement issued on Friday, the BBC said it had 'conducted extensive searches of its files' to establish whether there was any record or allegation of misconduct by Savile during his time at the BBC but 'no such evidence had been found. While the BBC condemns any behaviour of the type alleged in the strongest terms, in the absence of evidence of any kind found at the BBC that corroborates the allegations that have been made it is simply not possible for the corporation to take any further action,' it said. A former Surrey police officer and child protection expert, Mark Williams-Thomas, will present the programme, which will, according to the Gruniad Morning Star, include interviews with 'at least' two women who have waived their rights to anonymity. In 2007, the police reportedly received a complaint from a woman who said that she had been indecently assaulted by Savile in Surrey, where he was a regular visitor to Duncroft school in Staines. The allegation was investigated at the time but no further action was taken.

Yer actual Keith Telly Topping is indebted to his old mate Ian Abrahams for pointing him in the direction of Gavin Fuller's latest Daily Telegraph review of Doctor Who. For those dear blog readers who haven't got elephantine memories, in the early 1990s Fuller won the BBC's Mastermind series. In one of the rounds his specialist subject was Doctor Who and, thus, for the next twenty years he's made something of a career for himself trading on his 'expertise' on the show. (To be fair, he's by no means alone in that regard - lots of others have made themselves similar media careers based on much the same premise, yer actual Keith Telly Topping being not least among 'em.) ‎'Despite Arthur Darvill's best efforts,' Fuller writes in his review, '[Rory] tended to be something of a wet blanket, so perhaps it was apposite in the end.' As Abie notes, that was yer actual Gavin Fuller 'yet again proving that he might know everything about Doctor Who but he doesn't understand Doctor Who at all.' What He said.
The Angels Take Manhattan, incidentally, had an overnight audience of 5.9m punters on BBC1 - up four hundred thousand week-on-week and five hundred thousand on the equivalent episode last year, the second-highest audience for any show of the night - by a distance - and with an audience peak of 6.4m during the last fifteen minutes. The final, consolidated ratings, including timeshifts, will be released in about eight days time.

Karen Gillan has been talking to The Big Issue about life after Amy: 'I feel like I'm prepared for all the possible genres after playing Amy. And I certainly want variety, that's for sure. What I enjoy most about acting is being versatile. I like actors like Robin Williams, who can do crazy, absurd characters. I would love to be an actor like that. The one I am really getting into recently is Olivia Colman. She does Peep Show and is brilliant at comedy, but I just watched Tyrannosaur. I was on a train going through the Highlands of Scotland crying my eyes out. I want to play character roles, generally. That is my main ambition.' And on the subject of how she wants Amy remembered: 'I love this girl. I would be too scared to act like her, but I get this artistic licence playing her. I love her dry sarcasm, wit and grumpiness. I'm not a grumpy person. I want to see her go out in flames of glory, where we see her at her absolute best. I just want people to look back over the Pond-era fondly. I have had the best years of my life on this show, hand on my heart.'
Similarly, yer actual Arthur Darvill was interviewed by TV Choice about his departure from the show: 'I can't really conceive that I've even been in it, yet! Do you know what I mean? When we're filming we concentrate so much on making each moment good. Then you see a screen with your face on or a big poster and you're like, "Oh, that doesn't quite compute in my mind." I just get on with my job, I don't think it will hit any of us – all three of us, really – until we've been a few years out it. Then we'll realise what we've been doing for the last few years. I can't speak for anyone else but I'm so proud of what we've done on this show, and it's been the best job I've ever had.' And what he plans to do next: 'I don't know if you can have a plan really. I do have a vague plan – I want to play some horrible people and I want to do some comedy, and I want to do some more theatre. Variety.'
Matt Smith, it would seem, got some parental feedback on the episode: 'I showed my mum some of the rushes,' he told TV Choice. 'The last couple of scenes, and she was in tears. So that's good. That's a good sign. I think it's a fantastic farewell. I think it's hugely dramatic. There are wonderful twists. There's a great backdrop for a city. I think it's a fitting end to two of our greatest companions ever. I think Steven has written them out heroically, which is fantastic. You sort of want to go with a bit of a bang, don't you?' The Lord Thy God Steven Moffat talked about writing the final episode for Rory and Amy at the BAFTA preview in Cardiff earlier in the week: 'After showing Amelia Pond in the garden as a young girl in The Eleventh Hour, Karen's first episode, the final shot in Saturday's The Angels Take Manhattan is a punchline I have been waiting to tell for two and a half years. This weekend's episode is more devastating for The Doctor, at certain points he becomes useless and emotional. It was torment and hell trying to write the episode, I struggled for ages to work out a fitting ending and changed my mind until I finally got it right.' The writer continued: 'I must have rewritten it twenty odd times. I kept changing my mind about the exact way they'd leave, alive or dead? One or both of them? Their fates kept changing every five minutes until I hit on what I thought was right. Hopefully, there are scares and emotion."

And, finally on the subject of Amy and Rory tossing themselves off the roof of the hotel to create the time paradox, I quote from the a close personal friend of yer actual Keith Telly Topping, who noted on Facebook concerning what seems to be a disturbing trend in recent BBC quality drama: 'The bloke from Life On Mars tossed himself off. Sherlock [also] tossed himself off. This is becoming a habit at the BBC.' Well said.
And, on that bombshell, as it happens, here's yer actual Top Telly Tips:

Saturday 6 October
Camelot faces a new Golden Age, but even as the city flowers and blossoms, the dark seeds of destruction are being sown with a black wicked naughtiness of Morgana's evil heart. Cor. Merlin - 7:45 BBC1. King Arthur and his knights undertake a dangerous mission into the unknown in search of answers - but once there, Merlin finds himself locked in a battle unlike any that he has fought before. Colin Morgan, Bradley James, Richard Wilson Angel Coulby and Katie McGrath, star, as usual, in the opening episode of the show's fifth series, Arthur's Bane.

Katy Brand, Sue Perkins and David Mitchell join regular panellist Alan Davies to answer Stephen Fry's obscure questions about people whose names begin with 'J' in the fourth Qi XL of the new series - 9:00 BBC2. This one's on the subject of yer actual Jack and Jill.

With one odious, dreadful and, thankfully, unloved ITV star-vehicle flop - Red Or Black? - having just ended, to a chorus of 'so what?', why not bring back another one. Therefore, odious, risible Take Me Out, the show that makes lowest common denominator trash like Big Brother looks like I, Claudius by comparison returns at 7:00. Unfunny boil on the face of TV comedy Paddy McGuinness is back with a new line-up of thirty - really desperate - single women, all hoping to be whisked off on a hot date to the Isle of Fernandos and then make mucho wonga by selling their story to a tabloid afterwards. This, ladies and gentlemen, is 'light entertainment' in the Twenty First Century. Tonight, the love lift delivers the first four eligible bachelors - a Chorley postman, a cat-loving personal trainer from Port Talbot, a tarot card-reading musician from London and a Leamington Spa student. Utterly hateful.

Comedy World Cup - 8:00 Channel Four - hasn't turned out to be as monumentally dreadful as this blogger suspected it would be. It has, if anything, been worse. Why, David Tennant? Why, for the love of God, why? Former national heartthrob Tennant asks the questions as the comedy quiz tournament continues, with two more teams competing for a place in the semi-finals. Captains Andy Parsons and Omid Djalili do battle, joined by Jon Richardson and The Chuckle Brothers, and Daniel Sloss and Joe Pasquale respectively. Not, really, this isn't the punchline of a Mad Frankie Boyle joke, those are, genuinely, the people taking part. You simply couldn't make it up. At the end of the series the final two teams will go head to head to find the ultimate champions.

Sunday 7 October
Branson's political views land him in trouble and Sybil's loyalty is tested to the limit, while Ethel makes a difficult decision about her son's future in Downton Abbey - 9:00 ITV. Anna wonders what is causing Bates' silence, and Carson begins recruiting a footman, with promising candidate Jimmy sparking immediate interest below stairs. Costume drama, starring Allen Leech, Jessica Brown Findlay, Amy Nuttall, Joanne Froggatt, Brendan Coyle and Jim Carter.

Tonight sees the return of Homeland - 9:00 Channel Four - the American award-winning espionage thriller starring Claire Danes and Damian Lewis. Recuperating with her suburban family, ex-CIA officer Carrie Mathison's mental health is beginning to improve - until news reaches her that a former asset has contacted the US embassy in Beirut with troubling information. In Washington DC, Nicholas Brody struggles to keep his many masters happy, and becomes increasingly hemmed in by his lies - while his daughter Dana hides a vital secret.
Stuart Maconie presents a celebration of the fiftieth anniversary of the release of The Beatles' first hit single 'Love Me Do' in Love Me Do 62 - 10:00 BBC1. The presenter meets people who knew yer actual Fab Four back in the day, as he explores the socio-economic situation of Liverpool in the early 1960s, how the city became the hub of a thriving pop culture and how much things have changed since then. Contributors include the artist and future Beatles collaborator Peter Blake, Whispering Bob Harris and yer actual Pete Best his very self.
Monday 8 October
Sandra and the team unearth the ten-year-old case of a poet from Belfast whose burnt body was found in the scrapyard of a known gangster in New Tricks - 9:00 BBC1. Gerry becomes convinced the victim's links with the criminal fraternity led to his demise, but Brian has a different theory - perhaps the secret of his murder lies in his verse? James Murray, Tanya Franks and Bronagh Gallagher guest star, with Amanda Redman, Dennis Waterman, Alun Armstrong and Denis Lawson.

Wonderland - 9:00 BBC2 - features a look back at the heyday of British beauty pageants, recalling the nationally televised spectacles of the 1970s and 80s that propelled winners to stardom. Former beauty queens Carolyn Seaward, Tracy Dodds, Carolyn Moore, Della Dolan and Madeleine Stringer tell tales of their brushes with fame, including dating royalty, rock stars and football players - but also discuss what happened when their time in the limelight came to an end.

Magnificent Machines: The Golden Age of the British Sports Car - 9:00 BBC4 - considers how iconic manufacturers such as Jaguar, Austin-Healey, MG and Triumph prospered during the austerity of the post-war years. The programme explores how Britain briefly became the home of the two-seater vehicle and features memorable motors from the era, including The MG Midget, The Sprite and The Jaguar E-Type. Narrated by Tamsin Greig, with contributions by Stirling Moss and former Top Gear presenter Quentin Willson. Part of the Timeshift strand.

The neurosurgeon finds himself having to choose between trainees Springer and Wilson, who are both equally deserving of a place on his team, while cracks begin to show in Bremner and Shepherd's relationship in Monroe - 9:00 ITV. Monroe's patients include a woman with an aggressive brain tumour, which presents him with one of the most challenging cases of his career. Medical drama, starring James Nesbitt, with Luke Allen-Gale, Michelle Asante, Sarah Parish and Tom Riley.

Tuesday 9 October
In the second of the three-part Ian Hislop's Stiff Upper Lip: An Emotional History of Britain - 9:00 BBC2 - the host explores how the idea of a national character changed during the Victorian era, as suffering in silence came to be regarded as a noble trait - and even a form of civic duty. He visits Ardingly College in West Sussex, the boarding school where he was educated, to consider the benefits and drawbacks of an institutionalised approach to character-building, and talks to MP Rory Stewart, who discusses the emotional demands he faced as a diplomat in Iraq. Finally, he visits the First World War battlefields of the Somme, the place where he believes the flaws in the Victorian value system were brutally exposed.

Tom Holland charts how mankind's interpretation of prehistoric remains and fossils has changed over the centuries, exploring ancient stories developed to explain the discoveries of bones and fossils in Dinosaurs, Myths and Monsters - 9:00 BBC4. He also reveals why some of these myths went on to influence the work of modern palaeontologists, and learns how traditional Native American stories led to one of the most important archaeological discoveries of the Nineteenth Century. Historian Holland uses toys and animations as a backdrop to his study of what our ancestors made of outsized dinosaur bones. It's a whistle-stop history of palaeontology that suggests how landmark discoveries may have influenced everything from Homer's poems and Chinese dragons to Sioux legends and even Wagnerian opera. It's an intrepid mix of colourful conjecture and circumstantial evidence but Holland makes it all entertainingly plausible. You may, however, question the need for the host actually to be in the Med in order to ram one plastic triceratops into another on a restaurant tabletop.

While delivering alcohol to Thomas Aune, Frank is given the idea of investing in art as a means of laundering money in Lilyhammer - 10:00 BBC4. Geir Elvis Tvedt conducts his own investigations in New York. Comedy crime drama, starring Miami Steve Van Zandt.

Wednesday 10 October
Tonight sees the opening episode of the third series of Great British Food Revival - 8:00 BBC2 - as the show exploring British produce returns, beginning with Michel Roux Jr investigating strawberries. They small and red and they taste nice with cream, Michel. Next. He gets tennis pundits Sue Barker, Andrew Castle and Tim Henman to take part in a blind taste test, learns how a charity is reviving the practice of gathering strawberries by gleaning, and visits East Malling in Kent to get a glimpse of the fruit's possible future. Meanwhile, James Martin tries to revive the fortunes of watercress, working as a street salesman in London's Covent Garden and meeting a man with a remarkable amount of knowledge about the salad crop.

The detective receives a disturbing phone message from estranged brother Roy and heads to Harrogate to find him in the return of DCI Banks - 9:00 ITV. Meanwhile at a murder scene, the team is introduced to new recruit Helen Morton, who quickly alienates her colleagues with her tactless style. The officer then makes matters worse when she finds evidence linking Banks to the victim's body and speculates he could be a suspect. Unaware everyone is searching for him, the DCI begins to delve into Roy's life and soon uncovers questionable business transactions and associates. Crime drama, starring Stephen Tompkinson, with Caroline Catz and Andrea Lowe.

Tom Dyckhoff examines the six buildings shortlisted for this year's Stirling Prize for architecture - as well as those that have been nominated for the ignominious Carbuncle Cup in The Culture Show - 10:00 BBC2. Charlie Luxton explores the growing trend for self-built homes, and Olly Wainwright investigates how young architects have responded to Britain's economic difficulties.

Thursday 11 October
Sam finds a way into the home of Jack Turner, employed as tutor to his grandson Edward, enabling her and the team to continue surveillance of the millionaire's secret activities from within and out in the second episode of Hunted - 9:00 BBC1. But while they soon discover he is bidding on the contract to build a multi-billion-dollar dam in Pakistan, any evidence of illegal dealings eludes them. Then a briefcase passes through the businessman's hands, so Zoe and Ian track it to its destination in the hope of finding answers. Espionage thriller from the pen of X Files writer Frank Spotnitz, starring Melissa George, Stephen Campbell Moore, Patrick Malahide, Morven Christie and Lex Shrapnel.

Scientists, pilots and aviation experts participate in a staged aeroplane crash in a remote area of Mexican desert, hoping the exercise will reveal more about what happens to aircraft and their occupants during forced emergency landings in The Plane Crash - 9:00 Channel Four. Pilot James 'Jim-Bob' Slocum will put a Boeing 727 passenger jet on a crash course, parachuting out minutes before impact - with former US Navy pilot Leland 'Chip' Shanle then taking charge of the craft via remote control from a chase plane. So, that's clearly the secret of being a successful pilot, acquire a really silly nickname. After the crash, experts will analyse the site, along with data collected from cameras, instruments and hi-tech crash test dummies, to learn more about what happens when aeroplanes are forced out of the sky.

In Mock The Week - 10:00 BBC2 - Canadian comedienne Katherine Ryan, Radio 4 favourite Milton Jones and Stand Up for the Week's Josh Widdicombe join Dara O Briain and regular panellists Hugh Dennis, Andy Parsons and Chris Addison to offer a satirical take on current events. Last in the current series.
Michael Ashcroft explores president Franklin D Roosevelt's Second World War scheme to train African-Americans as fighter pilots in Heroes of the Skies - 8:00 Channel Five. Racial prejudice had seen these recruits barred from securing important positions in the US Army, and they were still largely sidelined even after Roosevelt's programme began - until in June 1944 they were called on to protect Allied bombers conducting key raids over Germany. The pilots, known as the Tuskegee Airmen after their training base in Alabama, faced opponents with far superior machinery - but their heroic feats helped to turn the tide in one of the war's most significant aerial battles.

Friday 12 October
She was one of the broadcasting stars of the Olympics - now Clare Balding hopes to put in a gold medal-winning performance as guest host for the welcome return of the comedy news quiz Have I Got News For You - 9:00 BBC1. As ever, the programme pokes fun at the week's news with team captains Paul Merton and Ian Hislop and their guests.

Me & Mrs Jones - 9:30 BBC1 - is a new comedy starring Sarah Alexander as a single mother with a complicated love life. Gemma seems to spend all her time ferrying her twins around and dealing with her ex-husband and his Swedish girlfriend. So when a good-looking man asks her out, it comes as a welcome offer. But before she knows it, there's a second man on the scene - only this one is young enough to be her son. Neil Morrissey, Nathaniel Parker and Robert Sheehan co-star.

In the latest episode of Qi horrible, odious, full-of-his-own-importance unfunny glake Jack Whitehall makes his début, joining regular panellist Alan Davies and comedians Jimmy Carr and Cal Wilson to answer Stephen Fry's fiendish questions about joints. Might well be the first episode of Qi this blogger has ever missed.
Or, alternatively, you could watch England against San Marino on ITV. That's bound to be exciting. Unfortunately, however, it's presented by odious greed-bucket (and drag) Adrian Chiles. Jack Whitehall or Adrian Chiles? Blimey, what a horrorshow. Take yer actual Keith Telly Topping's advice, dear blog reader. Have a nice Friday night out on the pop instead.

And so to the news: Paul Merton says that his stay in a psychiatric hospital in the late Eighties was a good thing. 'It acted as an ego brake,' he said. 'I was getting a bit Charlie Big Potatoes — I'd got what I wanted ever since I could remember.'

The editors of BBC2's Newsnight and the two flagship bulletins on BBC1 are among the contenders for the vacant job of head of the BBC News channel. Newsnight editor Peter Rippon and James Stephenson, who edits the 6pm and 10pm news programmes on BBC1, are understood to be the final shortlist for the job, which is likely to be announced next week. Sam Taylor, the BBC's head of editorial development, is also believed to be in the running for the role. The job became vacant with Kevin Bakhurst's departure earlier this month to become managing director of news and current affairs at Ireland public service broadcaster RTE. There has been speculation that if Rippon got the job then his role on Newsnight would be filled by Jasmin Buttar, currently deputy editor on BBC Radio 4's Today.

Gary Barlow has revealed that he nearly quit The X Factor last year. But, sadly, he didn't.

Chris Ramsey has, reportedly, been collared by police who thought he was a burglar – because he was trying to break into his parents' home. The comic set off the alarm at the house in South Shields, where he is staying during a run of shows in the North East – prompting officers to swoop. He tweeted: 'Just had five police cars and two riot vans at my mam's house because the neighbours thought I was a burglar. Couldn't make that up. The first copper didn't recognise me and he was proper searching the house, then his six mates came and started saying "Oooosh!" Incredible.' He added: 'In all fairness, amazing response. I feel safe!'

Two years ago, it called time on Big Brother in advance of a 'fundamental creative overhaul.' But on Saturday Channel Four opens its doors on its latest reality project, as visitors check into Hotel GB. Successful applicants will stay in a building full of cameras, and be beamed into living rooms – but they will also be welcome to leave should the service not come up to scratch. 'I think this is trying to do something completely different from Big Brother, which was looking at Channel Four from the outside in,' claims Jay Hunt, the broadcaster's chief creative officer, adding: 'Channel Four is back.' Taking issue with the food probably isn't for the faint-hearted: in a twist to the reality format, the broadcaster's most prized lifestyle stars will be running the hotel – with Gordon Ramsay presiding over the dining room. Already, an altercation over a vegetarian main has resulted in a well-oiled group of forty diners at an engagement supper being turfed out of the hotel's grey linen-lined walls before it was even officially opened for business. 'They weren't dry runs, they were disaster runs,' said the chef, talking to journalists about trial days before the week-long experiment. 'We turned Hotel GB into Hotel GBH.' If the threat of Ramsay isn't enough to get troublesome customers into line, no-nonsense Mary Portas will be overseeing the rooms side of the business as general manager, with How Clean is Your House's Kim Woodburn keeping things spick and span. Sounds hidious, does it not? Given that Portas said she had already found 'a moist rubber gimp outfit in a Tesco bag' in one of the rooms and been asked if she could provide 'company' for another guest, Woodburn's trademark unshockability might be tested. Seemingly determined to showcase all their lifestyle talent, Channel Four has also shoe-horned into hotel roles Kirstie Allsopp and Phil Spencer – as concierge and maître d' respectively – and Gok Wan, busy designing cocktails as manager of Hotel GB's Chesterfield-heavy bar. Embarrassing Bodies' Dr Christian Jessen will run the gym, while Katie Piper, the presenter and former model whose face was rebuilt after an acid attack – and who did at least used to work in a salon – will run the spa. Business guru Hilary Devey, somewhat unfathomably, will run House of Devey: a hotel shop selling 'everything from evening gowns to dog outfits.' Ensconced in Hotel GB's penthouse with her teacup Yorkshire terriers Mixie and Dixie, Devey pre-empted the almost inevitable clashing of egos by demanding Ramsay cook her pets special meals – 'kidneys, liver, chicken with no seasoning, and very lightly steamed carrots' – before saying she wanted to cure him of his notorious swearing. 'I've brought a thesaurus and a dictionary to help teach Gordon Ramsay a new word instead of the f-word,' she said. 'It's unnecessary; the English language is very beautiful.' For his part, Ramsay replied: 'She's in for a massive bollocking.' That, admittedly, might be worth watching. Were the idea of Hotel GB not quite odd enough, Channel Four has also upped the ante by taking inspiration from other factual entertainment shows. Big Brother filming aside, the celebrities will compete in two teams to make the most money. In an initially outrageous-sounding departure from Big Brother, guests at Hotel GB must pay for their stay: a double room costs one hundred smackers a night, while a personal training session will set them back thirty quid, or a full leg wax twenty notes. The cash will go to The Prince's Trust and The Springboard Charity – which work to tackle youth unemployment. This ties in with the third aspect of Hotel GB: as well as showing us guests and celebrities inside the hotel, Channel Four has selected fourteen trainees, with the aim of finding them work by the end of the show's week-long run. How that soup of ideas will translate to screen remains to be seen: Channel Four will be hoping that it revolutionises television as Big Brother did before it. 'In a sense the joy of this is its unpredictability. The moments the audience will love are the things nobody can predict happening,' said Hunt.

Armando Iannucci's new US-based satirical series Veep is to become available to buy from Tesco's BlinkBox video on-demand service next week. UK customers can buy the entire first season of HBO's Veep from BlinkBox on Monday. The website will be the only place to buy and own all eight episodes of the show in the UK. At least, legally. Veep stars Emmy award-winner Julia Louis-Dreyfus as US vice president Selina Meyer. Inspired by Iannucci's The Thick of It and movie In The Loop, the show follows Meyer and her inner circle as they navigate the often choppy waters of the Washington political scene. Alongside Louis-Dreyfus, Veep also stars Anna Chlumsky as Meyer's chief of staff, Matt Walsh as her press spokesman and Tony Hale as her right hand man. They do battle with Reid Scott's ambitious ambitious interloper Dan Egan and the smug White House liaison Jonah played by Tim Simons.

Want to be on the next series of Rev? The chance to be in the smallest of walk-on parts is being auctioned on eBay – with bidding currently standing at two hundred and fifty five quid. It's stressed that it's a non-speaking role; a member of the congregation in scenes being shot at St Leonards Church next month. The auction is being staged by the Real and Smooth radio stations in aid of Help For Heroes.

A senior official at Ofqual told exam boards they would be 'very concerned' if the number of students gaining a GCSE grade C nationally this summer went up, the BBC has learned. The exams regulator also said it 'could not accept any apparent grade inflation' in GCSE English. Correspondence between Ofqual and exam boards was obtained by Newsnight under a freedom of information request and broadcast for all the world to see on Friday evening. Ofqual denied 'result fixing' and telling exam boards that pass rates 'must fall.' One exam board, Edexcel, had told Ofqual there was a 'very serious mismatch' between its examiners' grade judgements and the percentage of passes Ofqual required. The Welsh board WJEC was equally concerned and reported 'widespread unease' among the boards. Despite concerns, the regulator told exam boards in teleconferences on 13 July and 17 July that it was 'adamant' grades 'could not rise.' Both Edexcel and WJEC objected, only agreeing to Ofqual's demands after the regulator threatened to order them to change their grades. Ofqual told the BBC these comments 'had to be seen in the context' of its role to prevent unjustified grade rises and to challenge exam boards. Contrary to Ofqual's predictions, GCSE grades actually fell. The correspondence obtained by the BBC shows the regulator had expected them to be in line with previous years. Ofqual recognised they and the exam boards would have to defend the controversial changes in grade boundary for the work marked in schools, known as 'controlled assessment.' In a briefing paper from 31 July one official wrote: 'The rationale has to be based on awarders' qualitative judgements of work seen, not on a statistical fix.' He recognised this would be 'difficult for some boards.' On 22 August, the morning before GCSE results were published, Ofqual sent the exam boards its 'lines' for the following day, or how it would explain the results in public. The regulator's explanation for the fall in grades was that more than twenty thousand students from selective and independent schools had moved to a different exam, the iGCSE. Just eight minutes later a reply came in from the main exam board AQA, saying they would 'probably have a different take on English outcomes. iGCSE may be part of it but I don't think it explains it all by a long way,' the board added. Ofqual told the BBC that the drop was also explained by 'other changes' in the student population. According to Brian Lightman, of the Association of School and College Leaders, 'a statistical fix' exactly defines what was done. He claimsit shows how an attempt was made to 'manipulate' the results without reference to the students' work. His organisation is part of a group currently taking legal action against Ofqual, claiming its actions were unfair.

Alan Davies auditioned to be in The Hobbit movie but was, he says, rejected. 'I was up for it. I auditioned to be a dwarf,' Alan claims. 'I met Peter Jackson and all that, and it was all quite enjoyable going for the part, but no.'

Hollyoaks' producer Emma Smithwick is leaving the soap after more than a year in charge. Smithwick has taken the decision to leave the production and will depart this week. A Lime Pictures spokesperson told the Digital Spy website: 'After eighteen months on Hollyoaks, series producer Emma Smithwick will be stepping down. Executive producers Bryan Kirkwood and Tony Wood will continue to oversee the show. We thank Emma for all her hard work on Hollyoaks and wish her every continued success for the future.' Smithwick commented: 'It has been an extraordinary eighteen months on Hollyoaks, and I have been very fortunate to work with some of the most dedicated teams in the business - from cast and crew to the writers and brilliant editorial team. I have also had the pleasure of working with the hugely talented and capable Bryan Kirkwood, so I know that I will be leaving the show in great hands. I am so excited for the future of the show and want to thank everybody at Lime for making my time on Hollyoaks very special.' Smithwick joined Hollyoaks as series editor in spring 2011, before later being promoted to the position of series producer. Smithwick is credited for working on growing and engaging with the show's younger audience with projects including E4 specials.

Luis Suarez scored a hat-trick, while Steven Gerrard and Nuri Sahin also got goals to give Brendan Rodgers his first league win as Liverpool Alabama Yee-Haws boss and lift them up to fourteenth in the Premier League after a 5-2 win at Carrow Road. Steve Morison and Grant Holt were on target for Norwich, who dropped into the bottom three as a result of their defeat. Edin Dzeko’s late goal saw Sheikh Yer Man City come from behind to beat Fulham 2-1 at Craven Cottage. The champions went behind early on when Mladen Petric converted a penalty after John Arne-Riise had been fouled. But Sergio Aguero scored in the forty third minute and Dzeko's winner with three minutes to go sealed the important victory and kept City in fourth place. Yer actual Keith Telly Topping's beloved (though unsellable) Newcastle twice came from behind to leave Reading still waiting for their first league win of the season as the sides drew 2-2 at the Madejski Stadium. Jimmy Kebe put Reading in front on his return from injury, but Demba Ba had the Magpies level within a minute with a well-timed volley. Noel Hunt headed the Royals back into a deserved lead but Ba struck again with just seven minutes remaining to snatch a point. Nikica Jelavic scored twice for Everton as they ran out 3-1 winners against Southampton. Gaston Ramirez headed home Adam Lallana's corner in the sixth minute to put Nigel Adkins' side in front, but Leon Osman and a Jelavic double ensured the Toffees took all three points. Peter Crouch also bagged a brace for Stoke as they saw off Swansea to win 2-0, while Steven Fletcher continued his goal rush for Sunderland as they beat Wigan 1-0. And, in the day's late game, very amusingly The Scum were beaten at home, 3-2, by Stottingtot Hotshots. And, sour-faced Scotsman Alex Ferguson had the bear-faced cheek to whinge about the amount of injury time played. Earlier Moscow Cheslki FC beat The Arse 2-1 at the Emirates Stadium.

Steve Kean says he has been 'forced to resign' as manager of Championship side Blackburn Vindaloos. The Scot has left Ewood Park with immediate effect because his position had become 'untenable,' he said in a statement. Blackburn owners Venky's held talks with Kean at the weekend following a 2-1 home defeat by Middlesbrough. Kean said earlier on Friday that he believed the talks had been 'positive and constructive.' Rovers managing director Derek Shaw insisted he knew 'nothing' about Kean's departure immediately after the release of his statement, before Blackburn later confirmed the Scot's resignation. Rovers were relegated from the Premier League in May but are currently third in the Championship table after taking fourteen points from their first seven matches. Kean had been in charge of the Lancashire club since December 2010 when he replaced the sacked Sam Allardyce. The statement, which was issued through Kean's lawyers on Friday, said: 'For reasons that I cannot discuss on legal advice, it is with deep regret, given my hard work and service for the club for a number of years, that I have been forced to resign as manager of Blackburn Rovers Football Club with immediate effect, due to my position as team manager becoming untenable. I wish to thank all the players and coaching staff for their great support and the majority of the fans, who now see their club heading towards an automatic promotion position back to the Premiership. I wish the club all the very best for the future.' A number of Blackburn supporters have held protests against Kean for much of his twenty one-month reign, but he had continued to retain the backing of Indian owners Venky's. There were more calls for his exit from a sizeable majority of the home crowd throughout Friday's loss against Middlesbrough, which was Rovers' first defeat of the Championship season. A fans' boycott has led to attendances at Ewood Park falling significantly, with the thirteen thousand crowd against Middlesbrough more than nine thousand down on the average crowds they were attracting in the Premier League last season. Former Scotland striker Kevin Gallacher, who helped Blackburn win the Premier League title in 1995, says it is vital for the club to unite following Kean's departure. 'I know a lot of the fans will be out celebrating tonight,' he told BBC Radio Lancashire. 'But there are two halves to a football club, and they haven't joined together at Blackburn for the last eighteen months. They've got to get the boardroom right, they've got to get the management right and they have got to work together - and not just with each other, but for the people of Blackburn.' Following Kean's appointment, Rovers only avoided relegation from the Premier League on the final day of the 2010-11 season with a 3-2 victory at Wolves. However, he was unable to save them from the drop last season, ending the club's eleven-year stay in the top flight.

Kate Middleton's stripper cousin is, reportedly, 'at the centre of a bidding war between rival reality TV shows.' Burlesque dancer Katrina Darling, twenty two, has allegedly been offered deals for 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) and Celebrity Big Brother, the Daily Lies reports. And, once again, sometimes there are simply no punchlines necessary.

And so we come to yer actual Keith Telly Topping's 45 of the Day. Here's a single by The Be-Atles. A popular beat-combo of the 1960s, you might've heard of them.

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