Wednesday, April 30, 2014

I Ventured In The Slipstream Between The Viaducts Of Your Dream

Well this took far longer than usual, dear blog reader. But, at last, here's the latest bloggerisationisms update. As Bill Bailey might say: 'It's a bit like being smacked around the head with a piece of furniture from Ikea. It hurts, but you've got to admire the workmanship.'

ITV's new drama series Prey topped the ratings outside of soaps on Monday, according to overnight data. The John Simm led drama was seen by an average of 5.7 million punters at 9pm. Earlier, another new series Gino's Italian Escape appealed to 2.7m at 8pm. On BBC1, Bang Goes The Theory attracted 2.8m at 7.30pm, while Panorama brought in 2.3m at 8.30pm. Crimewatch was seen by 3.3m at 9pm. BBC2's World Snooker Championship coverage scored 1.1m at 7pm. That was followed by Restaurant Wars with 1.1m at 8pm. The final episode of Rev had an audience of 1.1m at 10pm. On Channel Four, Britain's Most Extreme Weather was watched by 1.5m at 8pm. One Born Every Minute garnered 1.7m at 9pm and Rupert Everett's Love For Sale appealed to nine hundred and eighty seven thousand at 10pm. Channel Five's Secret History Of UFOs drew eight hundred and fifty six thousand at 9pm, followed by Aliens: Are We Alone? with seven hundred and sixty five thousand at 10pm. The BBC3 documentary My Brother The Terrorist was seen by three hundred and thirty eight thousand at 9pm. On BBC4, Only Connect brought in eight hundred and nineteen thousand at 8.30pm, followed by the new - extremely grim but bloody good - Welsh drama Hinterland with seven hundred thousand at 9pm. On Sky Atlantic, the latest episode of Game Of Thrones thrilled eight hundred and thirty one thousand at 9pm.

ITV's new breakfast show, Good Morning Britain had its ass beaten by the BBC's Breakfast on its opening day, scoring just half as many viewers as its rival. The first show, starring Susanna Reid, had an average audience of seven hundred and sixty eight thousand viewers over two-and-a-half hours. BBC Breakfast had almost double that figure, with an average of 1.5 million punters tuning in. Good Morning Britain's figure was also less than its predecessor, notorious breakfast TV flop Daybreak's average launch ratings of 1.02m back in 2010. Good Morning Britain's first day audience is, however, a marginal improvement recent figures for it's predecessor. Helen Warner, ITV's director of daytime, claimed that she was 'pleased' with the performance. 'The launch was a fantastic team effort, and we are focused on building a strong breakfast brand going forward.' Over the last year, embarrassing fiasco Daybreak had struggled in the ratings against its BBC rival, with an average audience of five hundred and ninety thousand. The five-minute peak audience on Monday for Breakfast was 2.1 million, while Good Morning Britain's highest five-minute peak was 1.2 million. Peak and average viewing figures only give a snapshot of the breakfast audience, given that most people often only tune in for a short period of time. The more accurate 'daily reach' figure adds up the total number of people watching at any time during the broadcast. For BBC Breakfast, the figure is currently 6.8 million. On Daybreak, which ended in shame and ignominy last week, it was 2.3 million. Good Morning Britain will be hoping to improve on that figure - though measurements for Monday's episode are not yet available. The new ITV show is hosted by four presenters, including Reid who left BBC Breakfast earlier this year for a rumoured four hundred thousand smackers salary. Her colleagues include Sky Sports presenter Ben Shephard, Sean Fletcher and Charlotte Hawkins. The first edition ran fairly smoothly, although there was a sticky moment when the weather presenter referred viewers to the Daybreak website during the 07:45 update.

BBC1's latest drama Happy Valley opened with over six million overnight viewers on Tuesday. Sarah Lancashire's new crime drama vehicle was seen by 6.3m at 9pm, up by nearly two million from last week's Jamaica Inn in the same slot. The Comedy Playhouse special Over To Bill was watched by 2.3m at 10.35pm. On BBC2, the World Championship Snooker coverage continued with 1.1m at 7pm. The Big Allotment Challenge dipped by two hundred thousand punters week-on-week to 1.7m at 8pm, followed by Watermen: A Dirty Business with 1.1m at 9pm. ITV's Champions League coverage of Real Madrid's easy win over Bayern Munich scored 4.3m at 7.30pm. On Channel Four, Embarrassing Bodies interested 1.2m at 8pm. Mr Drew's School For Boys appealed to 1.4m at 9pm, while Last Chance School brought in eight hundred and thirty eight thousand at 10pm. Channel Five's Nightmare Neighbour Next Door had an audience of 1.4m at 8pm, followed by Behind Closed Doors with eight hundred and twenty four thousand viewers at 9pm. The Mentalist continued with one million punters at 10pm. Good Morning Britain lost one hundred thousand viewers on Tuesday (or, an eighth of its initial audience), attracting an average audience of seven hundred thousand, less than half that of rival BBC Breakfast which had 1.5 million.

Doctor Who has appointed two new scriptwriters for the upcoming eighth series. Wallander writer Peter Harness and Being Human's Jamie Mathieson have both confirmed their involvement on Twitter. Harness has previously written scripts for Channel Four's City Of Vice, BBC1's Case Histories and the movie Is Anybody There? Mathieson is best known for writing the 2009 comedy FAQ About Time Travel, while he has also written episodes of Being Human and Dirk Gently.
A bunch of mouthy Scottish fishermen have claimed that a website link on the end titles of MasterChef gives 'the wrong advice' about eating cod. What a right load of old crap. As though anybody actually gives a stuff about nonsense such as that. Fishing crews are - according to a typically rancid shit-stirring and trouble-making piece by some absolute louse of no importance at the Gruniad Morning Star - 'furious' with the popular BBC show for linking to the Marine Conservation Society website for advice on 'sustainable fish' in the end titles. The MCS lists cod as 'a fish to avoid', claiming that stocks in the North Sea, the Irish Sea and West of Scotland are among the 'most depleted.' But the Scottish Fishermen's Federation - for such a thing does, indeed, exist - claims that the advice is 'a kick in the teeth' for fishing crews. Not, lads, a kick in the teeth would, actually, involve, you know, actual teeth kicking. This is something different. The SFF chief executive, Bertie Armstrong, whinged: 'We've had a lot of bad reaction from skippers because Scottish fishing has tried extremely hard to be sustainable. Our beef about the Marine Conservation Society traffic light list of guidance is that it is superficial and illogical. If anybody buys fish in the United Kingdom then it has been fished within a quota and is entirely sustainable. That's the measure of it.' He added: 'MasterChef put a seal of approval on the Marine Conservation Society's list of fish to eat and our problem with that is that it is a superficial assessment. We think the Marine Conservation Society list of colours is superficial and misleading. It doesn't help.' A spokeswoman for MasterChef, wearily, said: 'We are very keen to give out the right advice with regards to sustainable fish. We refer to the Marine Society guidelines but we appreciate this is an ever-changing situation and welcome any updated information based on new research and findings.' She also told the Scotsman newspaper - which was also trying to stir up trouble over this utterly nothing story - that cod has not been banned from MasterChef; as, indeed, anyone who has been watching the current series will know, it was used as an ingredient on an episode as recently as last week. She added that the link to the MCS was 'a guide for viewers to find out more information.' And that if you want to eat cod with yer chips and batter, dear blog reader, that's entirely a matter for you.
A review of the BBC's news output has found it to be 'trusted and highly regarded by audiences' but suggests that some viewers can find it 'distant.' Conducted by the BBC Trust, the review also expresses concern that 'younger audiences' use of broadcast news is continuing to decline.' It says that 'there is a risk that they may not turn to the BBC as they get older, as has traditionally been the case.' More than nine thousand people were consulted as part of the review. The BBC's governing body looked at the performance of all of the corporation's UK network news and current affairs across TV, radio and online before drawing its conclusions. The report found that 'audiences think the BBC does significantly better than other news providers in providing up-to-date news giving in-depth coverage and covering a wide range of stories.' It said that 'four out of five UK adults watch, read or listen to BBC News each week, with BBC TV news alone watched by two-thirds of adults.' According to the review, however, some audiences feel that BBC News is 'distant' in its editorial agenda and tone and think it should do more to offer 'fresh perspectives.' The Trust has set out 'a number of actions' that include 'making more use of regional and local reporters on national network news and making further progress in creating a more diverse workforce both on and off air.'
Wee Shughie McFee, the sour-faced Scottish chef off Crossroads and Dragons' Den star Theo Paphitis are among those former clients to have severed ties with Max Clifford after the celebrity publicist's convictions for sexually assaulting teenage girls. And, they've been doing so faster than you can say 'Who? No, not me mate, I hardly even knew the bloke.' Wee Shughie McFee, the sour-faced Scottish chef off Crossroads, who has been 'personally represented' by Clifford for more than a decade in relation to his TV formats The X Factor and Britain's Got Toilets, extremely sacked the seventy one-year-old Clifford mere hours after Clifford was found very guilty of eight counts of indecent assault on Monday. Paphitis, whose lingerie brand Boux Avenue was one of the convicted paedophile Clifford's top clients, also hurried to distance himself from the millionaire PR man according to the Gruniad Morning Star who seemed to think this was all extremely funny. Which, to be fair, it was. Paphitis, the newspaper states, is 'understood' to have terminated Boux Avenue's account with Max Clifford Associates in late 2013, even though a photo of Paphitis still featured prominently on Clifford's company website up until Tuesday. The website,, appeared to have been taken down on Tuesday afternoon as high-profile clients rushed to disassociate themselves from the convicted paedophile and all his sordid doings. Clifford is facing the prospect of jail when he is sentenced on Friday over eight counts of indecent assault concerning four victims, including a girl of fifteen. A jury found Clifford extremely guilty of the assaults at Southwark Crown Court on Monday. He was cleared of two further counts and jurors failed to reach a verdict on one additional count. During the trial, Clifford told journalists that the trial had cost his PR agency about one million smackers in lost business. And, we're supposed to, what, feel sorry for him? He also conceded this month that a conviction would mean 'at least a couple of clients will no longer be clients because [they are assisted] by me hands-on', one of whom is Wee Shughie McFee, the sour-faced Scottish chef off Crossroads. The company, which the convicted paedophile Clifford founded at the beginning of the 1970s and has a staff of eight, moved from its Mayfair headquarters to a more modest office in Weybridge last month in a sign that Clifford was dealing with the financial burden of an expensive criminal trial. Meanwhile on Tuesday, bewildered old Des O'Connor also refused to lend his support to Clifford, an alleged 'close friend' going back decades. The television presenter gave evidence on behalf of the publicist at the trial, describing him as 'pleasant, friendly, helpful, kind.' A spokeswoman for O'Connor said: 'He was asked to appear as a witness and he appeared. He's not making any comment.' Asked whether O'Connor would distance himself from Clifford or stand by him, the spokeswoman added: 'He's not making any comment.' So, that'd be a 'yes', then? Staff at the Royal Marsden hospital in West London, where Clifford was a patron, also on Tuesday said that the publicist had 'not been involved' in the hospital 'for a long time' and was 'no longer a patron.' During the trial, jurors were told that Clifford raised 'a significant amount of money' for the cancer-specialist hospital, where one of his clients, the late Jade Goody received treatment, and organised visits from celebrities including the boxer Muhammad Ali, boyband Westlife and former tennis champion Pat Cash. Immediately after the verdicts two Surrey-based charities, Shooting Star Chase and The Woking & Sam Beare Hospices, said that Clifford would no longer be their patron. The Chartered Institute of Public Relations, which represents publicists in the UK, said: 'This has been a sad and shocking case with repercussions for many. While public relations has not been on trial here, we believe that as a champion of our members' professional interests and a body that works in the public interest, we should put on record that we believe that the actions of Mr Clifford should not be considered as damaging to, or associated with, our profession. Mr Clifford has never signed himself up to industry recognised professional standards, nor is his line of work akin to anything that is undertaken by credible and accountable public relations professionals. There is also no evidence that he has ever engaged in what the CIPR and our members understand as modern public relations activity.' Well, you know what they say, dear blog reader, there are many people who firmly believe that the quality of a person can most easily be judged by the company that they chose to keep. Case in point ...
ITV has pulled the Law & Order: UK series eight finale from this week's schedules. Repeat To Fade was intended to be broadcast on wednesday evening at 9pm, but it will now be replaced by a repeat. The episode - written by Richard Stokes - charts the investigation into the stabbing of a young woman. In a statement, ITV said: 'A change has been made to tonight's schedule in light of recent news events, and a different episode of Law & Order: UK will air on ITV this evening.'

Jon Sopel, the lead anchor of BBC World News, has been appointed as the corporation's new North American editor. Sopel will replace Mark Mardell, who is to become presenter of Radio 4's The World This Weekend and will also present The World At One on Fridays. 'What is decided in Washington affects the whole world, and it will be a great challenge to report on the workings of The White House and Congress – and of course follow the next presidential election,' said Sopel. Yer man Sopel, who was also a chief political correspondent for BBC News, has presented the BBC's coverage of the last three US presidential campaigns. Sopel's appointment comes as part of a wider reshuffle at BBC News, with Katya Adler, the world affairs correspondent, taking over from Gavin Hewitt as Europe editor. 'These appointments are designed to strengthen the BBC's key foreign news team,' said Jonathan Munro, the head of newsgathering. 'Jon has years of experience in covering stories of huge significance at home and abroad. He has delivered countless exclusive interviews, and been on location to witness some of the biggest events of the last two decades. Katya will bring a whole new dimension to our coverage of European affairs, at a time when the nations and institutions of Europe face a series of defining decisions.' Ian Pannell has been appointed international correspondent.

Yahoo has announced two original TV series that will be shown on its website and mobile app. It makes Yahoo the latest technology firm to join the fast-growing market for digital video content. Companies such as Netflix, Hulu, Amazon and Microsoft have been looking to compete with traditional TV programming to attract viewers to their platforms. Some have even been signing deals with Internet service providers to stream videos faster and more smoothly. On Monday, Netflix announced a deal with Verizon - one of the biggest Internet service providers in the US - which will see Netflix servers connected directly to Verizon's network, resulting in faster speeds. 'We have reached an interconnect arrangement with Verizon that we hope will improve performance for our joint customers over the coming months,' Joris Evers, spokesman for Netflix, said in a statement. The firm had agreed a similar deal with Comcast earlier this year. Yahoo said its first two original series will be comedies titled: Other Space and Sin City Saints. The firm said that it has five hundred million streams on Yahoo Screen in the US since it launched its comedy line-up on the website seven months ago. 'We are continuing to build our library with universally loved comedy such as Saturday Night Live and Comedy Central,' Kathy Savitt, chief marketing officer on Yahoo, said. Yahoo added that its two original series will also be available to viewers on Apple TV and Roku. However, the company is likely to face growing competition. Earlier this month, Amazon agreed a deal with HBO that will allow US customers of its streaming service, Amazon Prime, to watch HBO's TV shows, including The Sopranos. It is the first time HBO programming has been licensed to an online-only subscription streaming service. Amazon Instant Video has also announced a series called The After - a post-apocalyptic drama by The X-Files creator Chris Carter - among other commissions. Meanwhile, Microsoft is expected to launch two SF series - Halo and Humans - on its Xbox Live service over the coming months. Sony is developing Powers, a series about detectives investigating people with superhuman abilities, for the PlayStation Network.

The Bletchley Circle's Sophie Rundle has admitted that she was 'gutted' by the show's recent cancellation. ITV announced earlier this month that the period mystery would not be returning for a third series. Due to declining ratings, obviously. 'It was a real shame because we would've loved to have come back,' Rundle - who played Lucy in the drama - whinged to the Digital Spy website. 'I think we were all gutted.' Well, they would be, clearly. Getting the tin-tack from an underperforming show which has been extremely binned, frankly, who wouldn't? However, the actress admitted that the cancellation by ITV was 'not totally unexpected. In the climate that we're in at the moment, it's really hard to get shows re-commissioned,' she said. And, getting a few more viewers might help too. 'Doing a second series was a complete bonus - we only thought we were doing a one-off drama.'

Julie Walters has been cast in Channel Four's upcoming drama Indian Summers. The actress is one of several casting announcements for the ten-part period drama, the channel confirmed this week. Henry Lloyd-Hughes, Jemima West and Nikesh Patel have also joined the cast along with Roshan Seth, Lillete Dubey, Alexander Cobb, Craig Parkinson, Fiona Glascott, Amber Rose Revah, Aysha Kala, Olivia Grant and Edward Hogg. Indian Summers will be set in 1932, in the backdrop of the Himalayas and tea plantations of Northern India. It will follow the decline of the British Raj and the beginnings of modern India, told from both sides of the cultural divide. Filming will begin in the summer, to be broadcast on Channel Four in 2015. The broadcaster said in a statement: 'As Indian Summers begins, the stories of promises, secrets, politics, power, sex and love play out as the British Raj begins to falter and a nation opens its eyes to the possibilities of freedom.'

The great David Threlfall, Nico Mirallegro and Ashley Walters have been confirmed for new BBC drama The Ark. The one-off drama, from the makers of Death In Paradise, is a retelling of the biblical story of Noah. Threlfall, so good recently in Not Like That, Like This will star as Noah his very self, while Joanne Whalley will take the role of his wife, Emmie. Commenting on his role, Threlfall said: 'The story jumped off the page at me from the first reading. It's not just a family saga but the first family saga. It takes its inspiration from many faiths and speaks of values which should be shared across all cultures. It was something I immediately wanted to be part of.' Emily Bevan, Hannah John-Kamen and Georgina Campbell have also been cast in the drama, which has been written by Hustle's Tony Jordan. The actor's playing Noah's three sons, Ham, Jam and spam are not, at this time, known. Belinda Campbell, the drama's Executive Producer, said: 'The Ark is a timeless tale which will touch those who are both familiar with the story from the Bible, as well as those who are seeing it for the first time. Warm and humorous, it tells the tale of the impact on a family when an ordinary man undertakes to do an extraordinary thing.'
A Britain's Got Toilets act has called for a boycott of the show, despite making it through to the second round. Wookey Hole Caves Turbo Jets leader Gerry Cottle criticised the talent show over their treatment on Saturday's broadcast. Writing 'an open letter' to circus acts across the UK - presumably, because he's too skint to buy some stamps and make it a closed letter - he explained that Wookey Hole Caves Turbo Jets' performance was 'altered' for the TV version, being educed from two minutes to twenty seconds and their music being replaced. He whinged to the Wells Journal: 'We were asked to perform on Britain's Got Talent and the researchers came down to see the show when we were in Hammersmith last year. They asked us to do our spectacular cycling act which culminates in seven people riding one bike. The act is normally seven minutes long but we were asked to devise a two-minute version for TV. We choreographed an act for them using modern upbeat music. An instrumental version of 'Bom Bom' by Sam & The Womp and on the night we were given three 'Yeses' and thought we would qualify for the next round.' Cottle also whinged about Wee Shughie McFee, the sour-faced Scottish chef off Crossroads's comments, saying: 'To make things worse Simon Cowell said I don't like circuses and I don't like clowns, even though there were no clowns in the routine. If that was not enough as the troupe walked off he also said - I hate those type of acts. If Simon Cowell doesn't like circuses and he hates these type of acts, why on earth do his researchers contact every circus in the UK asking them to perform on Britain's Got Talent? They are just like lambs to the slaughter and this will seriously damage our business.' Well, you didn't have to go on the show, mate. Nobody held a gun to your head. Albeit, it should be noted that the thought of Wee Shughie McFee, the sour-faced chef from Crossroads being pursued through the streets everywhere he goes by a phallanx of angry clowns is, undeniably, an intriguing one.
Craig Ferguson has announced he is quitting his late-night US talk show after almost a decade in the job. His announcement on The Late Late Show comes just weeks after David Letterman revealed that he would be retiring from his CBS show. Ferguson's show is broadcast immediately after Letterman's, at 12:35am on weekdays, and Craig had once been considered a strong contender to take over the earlier slot when Letterman retired. But, earlier this month it was announced that Comedy Central's Stephen Colbert had got that gig. On his show, Ferguson obliquely referred to Gwyneth Paltrow's separation from Chris Martin, saying: 'CBS and I are not getting divorced, we are consciously uncoupling. But we will still spend holidays together and share custody of the fake horse and robot skeleton, both of whom we love very much.' CBS's NIna Tassler said that Ferguson 'infused the broadcast with tremendous energy, unique comedy, insightful interviews and some of the most heartfelt monologues seen on television.' The network said that it wants to continue with The Late Late Show and is looking for a new host. Ferguson started his career on the British comedy circuit as the character Bing Hitler - yer actual Keith Telly Topping saw him live in 1989, still one of the funniest comedy gigs I've ever been to - following a short-lived period in a 1980s post-punk sub-Postcard group called The Dreamboys alongside his good mate yer actual Peter Capaldi. Whatever happened to him? Ferguson subsequently moved to Los Angeles in 1994 and became a US citizen during his tenure on The Late Late Show. He already has a new job lined up, hosting the game show Celebrity Name Game later this year.

Worthless, full-of-her-own-importance waste-of-space Fearne Cotton is 'to meet up with McBusted for a new two-part ITV2 series'. Which tells you just about everything you need to know about the truly appalling state of what Britain's most watched multichannel considers to be 'entertainment' in the Twenty First Century, dear blog reader. if you even consider for a second watching this wretched pile of steaming turd then your next move should, probably, be to seek a lobotomy.

The Big Bang Theory has reportedly proved too much for Chinese censors, who have pulled the popular - and, quite funny let it be said - American sitcom from the Internet. Fans hoping to watch the hit show on legal streaming website Sohu in China are greeted with a message which stated that it is unavailable 'due to policy reasons'. All episodes were removed from its services, apparently on the orders of the State Administration for Radio, Film, and Television. The censors last month warned that they would be 'tightening up' on imported dramas, and told websites that US and British TV shows must be 'audited' before going online. Broadcasters who fall foul of the rules face having their equipment, profits, and licences taken away. And, getting the bollocks smacked with a bamboo cane. probably. However, some have dared to criticise the rules for 'being inconsistent.' Which probably means they're first up a'fore the Correction & Chastisement Committee. Whilst The Big Bang Theory is rated for general viewing in the States, Games Of Thrones, which is R-rated for its liberal violence and nudity, is freely aired by State broadcaster CCTV. Media consultant Peng Kan told local website ECNS: 'The fuzzy standards are always a problem. They don't give you an explicit criterion beforehand. But when you make a mistake or when they think you make a mistake, you'll get caught.' However, reports that CCTV is planning its own translations of The Big Bang Theory suggest that the decision to block the online episodes may not be based on protecting public morals alone. Translation service CBM says that it is working on a version of the episodes for CCTV which would be made available in 'an active, healthy and clean way.' The Big Bang Theory is one of the most popular online imports in China, especially among younger people, attracting over one billion views since it first appeared on Sohu TV.
And still the phone-hacking trial continues, dear blog reader. Jeez, it's had a longer gestation period than Apocalypse Now, this bugger. Anyway, in the latest developments, the Prime Minister's former, if you will 'chum', Andy Coulson has denied he ran a 'slapdash' and 'careless' operation at the Scum of the World in which police officers were casually - and illegally - paid for royal directories and the Home Secretary had his phone hacked. The former editor admitted that he 'might' have been 'careless' on occasion, but that this did not amount to being guilty of the several criminal charges he is currently facing. Others beg to disagree. The prosecution, chiefly. The lead prosecutor Anthony Edis QC made the 'careless' accusation after the former editor admitted that he 'didn't pay enough attention' to e-mails in which apparent criminal behaviour was being openly described by his reporters. The former editor of the disgraced and disgraceful Scum of the World was told in an e-mail that a story the paper was planning to run on Prince Harry's health had been 'scammed from Helen Asprey', the private secretary to Harry and his brother, William. Coulson denied that this was a reference to hacking. He also denied that e-mails from his royal reporter, Clive Goodman, about paying police officers and about the young princes didn't raise 'alarm bells' about activities in his newsroom. Edis put it to him that Coulson had already testified he was 'a risk averse' editor. 'Slapdash and careless,' Edis suggested could be added to that description. 'Were you a slapdash and careless editor?' Edis asked. 'I do not think I was slapdash. I think with hindsight, I displayed some carelessness, I would agree with that,' Coulson said. He is facing three charges in the hacking trial at the Old Bailey, one that he conspired to hack phones and two relating to the extremely corrupt payment of public officials. He denies all three charges. Asked if the admission that he was 'careless' was an admission that he 'couldn't care less' about illegal activity at the paper, Coulson responded: 'I do not think it's right to say I didn't care less, but I think on occasion I was careless.' He added: 'I did my best. Having being presented with all of this [as a result] of this very long investigation, I accept that I did not do enough. It doesn't mean I was party to it,' he said. He was earlier accused of 'hiding' a corrupt payment to a police officer for a royal telephone directory in the 'bent system' at the Scum of the World. The former tabloid editor has denied sanctioning a payment to a police officer for the confidential internal directories after e-mail requests from his former royal editor. He told jurors that Goodman's request for payment for seven hundred and fifty smackers and a previous one for a thousand notes during his editorship was 'another example' of Goodman's alleged habit of 'exaggerating' his 'sources' and Coulson did not then and does not now believe Goodman's source actually was a policeman. With hindsight, Coulson said he wished he had 'paid more attention' to Goodman's claim that he was paying a public official, but said that he didn't pay heed to it because he wouldn't have thought it was true. Coulson said that if he had been the type of journalist who paid police, investigators would have found many more incriminating e-mails in his inbox. 'There was thousands of e-mails going in and out of my system, thousands of decisions. If I was a journalist, or if I was an editor who thought it was okay to pay police, you would see tens of thousands of [e-mails requesting] paying police,' he claimed. 'Seriously, you would have found more,' he repeated under cross examination by Edis. He said that the cash payments were 'a lot of money', but not in the context of the scale of payments the paper would have made to alleged 'sources' for alleged stories. Coulson accepted that he 'should have looked harder at the provenance' of the royal phone directories. 'Perhaps you should have called the police, should you, do you think looking back?' asked Edis. 'I think if I had called police, based on the fact that I don't believe it was a policeman, I think they would have told me I was wasting my time.' Earlier, he admitted that it was a risk that others were hacking at the Scum of the World at the time David Blunkett's voicemails were intercepted by his chief reporter. Under intense questioning from the judge, Coulson claimed he felt that if anyone else was involved in the illegal activity, they would have brought it to his attention. Seeking clarification to this attitude to hacking when Coulson was told by Neville Thurlbeck of the Blunkett hacking, Mr Justice Saunders asked: 'In this particular case, Neville Thurlbeck decided to tell you that he had telephone hacked. As you also said, that's a breach of the editor's code. The editor's code is incorporated in the contracts of journalists. Doing something like that could have ended in his dismissal?' 'Dismissal, no. Disciplinary action, yes,' replied Coulson. 'So it looks like Neville Thurlbeck did not take that [PCC editor's code] too seriously,' asked Saunders. Coulson replied that Thurlbeck felt the alleged 'public interest' justified his actions. Saunders asked if, when Thurlbeck phoned Coulson on 21 July 2004, he had prefaced his hacking confession by telling his editor 'I have done something terrible.' 'He didn't use the word terrible,' claimed Coulson. 'Weren't you concerned that other people in the newsdesk weren't having the same wrong view?' Saunders asked. 'No,' Coulson replied. 'Neville Thurlbeck is a senior reporter who considered that he was justified in hacking the voicemail of Kimberly Fortier,' Saunders asked of the hacking of Blunkett's mistress at the time. 'He was wrong,' said Saunders. 'Yes,' replied Coulson. 'Was there not a risk that other people on the newsdesk were doing exactly the same thing because they also got it wrong?' 'It was a risk, I felt, they, rightly or wrongly, they would bring it to my attention of the lawyer or me,' replied Coulson. If that was the case, then why didn't he do something about it, the judge asked. 'In hindsight, I sincerely wish I had, but I did put in place the school of excellence,' Coulson claimed, referring to a training course journalists were required to take on the paper. Coulson has been accused of 'inventing' the public interest justification for exposing Blunkett's affair with a married woman in the Scum of the World to cover the illegal phone-hacking which proved he was having the relationship. Edis accused Coulson on Monday of 'fabricating' his defence for listening to the former Home Secretary's intimate voicemails left on Kimberly Fortier's phone ten years ago. The former Scum of the World editor denied that this was the case and claimed that after he listened to part of the voicemails, it appeared there were 'several reasons' to reveal Blunkett's affair. He said that Thurlbeck, who played the messages to him, felt that Blunkett was 'distracted in his job as Home Secretary and that he was sharing information that he should not be sharing, that these together provided some justification' for publication. Coulson said that one of the alleged messages allegedly related to a terrorist arrest and to a visit Blunkett was making to or from GCHQ. There was also a message indicating that Blunkett was considering making the affair public himself. 'That had nothing to do with you at all, that's up to him [to expose his affair] to decide, not you to decide,' Edis said. Coulson said 'rightly or wrongly' that 'if someone is considering taking it public anyway' that influenced his thinking about publication. At this point the judge interjected: 'About to give up their own privacy?' Edis intervened: 'So you will do it for them?' Coulson replied, grumpily: 'I've explained my decision.' He also admitted to lying to Blunkett about his 'sources' for the story. Initially he told jurors that he was 'disingenuous' with Blunkett and preferred to using that instead of 'lying.' After repeating this, the judge intervened again, asking him firmly: 'Were you telling a deliberate untruth? Yes or no?' Coulson paused for a moment and then answered: 'Yes.' Earlier Coulson had claimed that he did not know at the time hacking was a criminal offence, but he did know it breached the Home Secretary's privacy and this could have risked an injunction or high court privacy action post publication. Edis pressed him further on his claim that he thought publication of the story in August 2004 was 'justified' because the Home Secretary was sharing sensitive information about terrorist arrests. But none of this was in the story, Edis said. 'If it's in the public interest, this is something the public want to know, that's all it means [public interest], so if it's something in the public interest, you need to tell them don't you?' Edis asked. 'I agree,' Coulson replied. 'This public interest stuff is just an invention by you built around voicemails,' Edis said. 'If terrorist arrests had mattered to you in the slightest, it would be somewhere in the story, but it's not is it?' Coulson replied: 'I did explain. It's my mistake.' A week ago Coulson admitted for the first time that he had listened to Blunkett's voicemails in 2004 and after initially telling Thurlbeck to 'stop' his investigation, he was eventually persuaded that there was a 'public interest' in exposing Blunkett. Cross-examining Coulson, Edis also challenged him on this claim that a message which Coulson said he had heard about the Home Secretary travelling to or from GCHQ was in the public interest. 'So, hold the front page – the Home Secretary has been to GCHQ, is that what you thought?' Coulson replied: 'The Home Secretary revealing his whereabouts – it might be sensitive information.' Edis responded: 'The Home Secretary's whereabouts very often are a matter of public record in this country' adding 'you thought this is a cracking story?' Coulson replied: 'I certainly thought it was a story, I certainly thought I was something I had to give proper and serious thought to.' He said that it was his decision alone to hide the origin of the story as hacked voicemails although he did get legal advice from a News International lawyer who told him that he was 'concerned about the breach of privacy.' Edis put it to Coulson that it would have been the 'simplest thing in the world to say "look David, we have you on voicemail."' Coulson said this would have led the paper down an 'aggressive' path. He was asked if a News International lawyer advised him to keep the voicemails from Blunkett. 'No, it was my decision,' said Coulson. Edis put it to him that the reason he had not revealed the hacked voicemails to Blunkett was 'in order to avoid legislation.' 'In part,' replied Coulson. 'You've been trying to suppress what had been done ever since, haven't you?' Edis asked. Coulson replied: that he had not. Coulson said he did not tell well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Rebekah Brooks, who was editor of the Sun, about the Blunkett story, even though call records showed they were in contact at the time. The court has heard they enjoyed an on-off sexual relationship over nine years which resumed around the end of 2003 and continued intermittently until around early 2007. But Coulson said there were professional no-go'areas. "There was a closeness but that did not extend to the sharing of each others' exclusives,' he said. 'There was a clear line drawn.' Coulson has admitted he did not 'apply his mind' enough when a Scum of the World reporter got illegal access to the phone billing records of Prince Harry's former girlfriend Chelsy Davy. He told the jury that when he received an e-mail to that effect in 2005, he did not 'reach the conclusion' that it meant the paper had phone records belonging to the royal's girlfriend. Edis put it to Coulson that the e-mail shows '[Clive] Goodman got access to private telephone records relating to Chelsy.' Coulson replied 'I accept if you take the sentence in isolation I might reach that conclusion' but he added that the e-mail was 'loaded with other information.' The e-mail said there were sixty calls and texts from Davy to Prince Harry in one month. 'Chelsy is driving Harry nuts, we've been having a very quiet look at this independently,' the e-mail said. Coulson accepted that 'from this distance' it could mean the phone billing records were being checked which he admitted 'might have been part' of what he described as 'the dark arts' used by investigative journalists on the paper. But he said that he did not apply his mind to what the 'telephone records' reference might have meant or where Goodman might have got them. Asked by Edis if he would accept that the records were 'an intrusion' into Davy's privacy, Coulson replied: 'To my mind, it fell into the data protection area. There was a lot of confusion on that area and I think there continues to be a lot of confusion on this in the industry.' Pressed on journalists getting accessing to private phone billing records, Coulson said: 'I didn't apply my mind enough to that particular area. I accept the word "traffic" was occasionally used in the paper and I didn't apply my mind to precisely what that meant.' Coulson also claimed that he did not know an e-mail from Prince Harry to his private secretary seeking help on an essay about the Iranian embassy siege when he at Sandhurst had come from a hacked voicemail. He said that Goodman 'did not show' him the 'transcript' of the voicemail which was read to court. Edis asked if 'with the young royals' it was 'any investigation method' was 'fair game.' Coulson denied this was the case, citing e-mails that showed the Scum of the World had shown 'restraint' in relation to the two princes. He also denied, again, having heard a voicemail from Sienna Miller apparently declaring her love for Daniel Craig. The jury was told of an e-mail to Coulson in which a journalist told him that the reporter who has already admitted to hacking Craig's phone should 'be a byline on the story.' Coulson was told in the e-mail that 'Dan has played a crucial part of the story. He reignited the interest through his checks.' Coulson said a journalist 'making his checks certainly didn't raise concerns with me.' Earlier, Coulson has denied that he was 'an incompetent editor' after claiming he 'knew nothing' about budget pressures on the hacker Glenn Mulcaire's one hundred thousand smackers-a-year contract. Coulson told the jury that he was not 'involved' in a decision taken the day after a budget meeting in 2005 in relation to Mulcaire's company Nine Consultancy. Coulson also admitted that David Cameron would 'probably not' have hired him as his spin doctor (and, if you will, 'chum') had the Prime Minister 'been told' that Coulson had listened to David Blunkett's voicemails. Coulson said that 'it may be right, if I explained [to the Prime Minister] what I explained to the jury now, the job wouldn't have been offered to me.' Coulson admitted that he knew of - and was a party, after the fact, to - at least one instance of hacking at the Scum of the World, telling jurors that he had listened to the then-Home Secretary's intimate voicemails in 2004. Coulson was hired by the Prime Minister to be his, if you will, 'chum' in May 2007, months after he quit as editor of the Scum of the World and took 'ultimate responsibility' for the extreme jailing of the paper's former royal editor Clive Goodman and the phone-hacker Glenn Mulcaire, even though Coulson claimed that he had 'no knowledge' of their illegal activities. The jury heard that he went on to become the Head of Communications at Downing Street after the Tories came to power as part of a coalition in May 2010 but that he resigned in January 2011 after the phone hacking scandal blew up big-style. Under cross-examination, Coulson was asked: 'If what you had done in relation to Blunkett became public you would never have kept that job would you?' Coulson replied: 'I can't say for sure. I think it may well have meant I didn't get the job. I can't say that with certainty. The media temperature around this issue is considerably higher now than it was then, but it may be right, if I explained what I explained to the jury now, the job wouldn't have been offered to me.' He denied being 'part of a continuing cover-up' when the Gruniad Morning Star and the New York Times reported on more widespread hacking at the Scum of the World in 2009 and 2010. Edis asked if Coulson 'offered any information' following the Gruniad's exposé in the summer of 2009. He said that he did not. He was then asked if he covered the hacking up. 'I did not cover anything up,' Coulson claimed. Did he offer any information up in September 2010 after the New York Times article about phone hacking? 'Yes, with a large number of false allegations, yes. That caused a huge wave of publicity,' replied Coulson. He was asked about a private breakfast meeting he had with well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Rebekah Brooks, then the chief executive of News International, on 14 January 2011 at The Halkin Hotel, days before he resigned from No 10. Edis asked if well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Brooks had told Coulson that News International's long-term position had changed and it was now co-operating with the police and 'the three e-mails implicated [a journalist who cannot be named for legal reasons] in phone-hacking in your time were going to be released to the police.' Coulson replied: 'I can't remember her giving me that sort of specific information.' Coulson repeated an earlier assertion made in front of the jury that he had 'made up his mind' to quit Downing Street over the Christmas period and that he had not told well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Brooks, his former lover, of his decision. Edis asked if well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Brooks told him that 'evidence was about to released' which meant 'the single rogue reporter' position which News International had held, publicly, for four years 'was about to be blown out of the water.' 'I don't know. I don't think she did,' claimed Coulson. Earlier Coulson admitted that a News International lawyer, who also cannot be named for legal reasons and who he had consulted over the Blunkett voicemails, 'made a mistake' by not raising 'alarm bells' about potential criminality back in 2004. The jury heard that the lawyer did raise concerns about privacy but not about a criminal dimension. Edis asked Coulson if he had 'a big row' with the lawyer after his royal editor Clive Goodman and Glenn Mulcaire were arrested two years later on similar offences. 'I just wonder if you think [the lawyer] had underperformed.' Coulson said that he thought the lawyer had 'made a mistake.' The trial continues.

The odious Patrick Mercer, a former Conservative frontbencher, has dramatically resigned his seat after he was allegedly caught allegedly asking questions in parliament allegedly in exchange for thousands of quid from an allegedly fake lobbying firm. Allegedly. His resignation will trigger an automatic by-election in his Newark seat, likely to be held after the European elections next month in which UKiP is currently leading the Tories in the polls, prompting questions about whether Nigel Farago might choose to stand for the seat. Though Farago soon told the BBC that he would not consider standing. MPs on the cross-party standards committee decided at a meeting on Tuesday to recommend that Mercer should be suspended from parliament for six months when it publishes a report into the allegations on Thursday. The magazine The Week first reported the committee's decision on Tuesday afternoon. Mercer has been sitting as an independent MP after he resigned the Tory whip last year in the wake of the allegations made after a Panorama investigation. Mercer won the seat with a comfortable majority of sixteen thousand at the 2010 general election in which a UKiP candidate came a distant fourth. But there may be nervousness in Downing Street that UKiP could put in a strong performance in a by-election in the wake of the European parliamentary elections. Farago has previously said that he would be prepared to stand in the by-election after next month's European elections. But the UKiP leader, who declined to stand in the Eastleigh by-election where the party had a strong base, appears to be acting cautiously in regard to Newark where his party came a distant fourth in the 2010 general election. The recommendation of a six-month suspension by the standards committee is one of the most severe penalties that can be imposed on an MP. Mercer resigned the Tory whip last year 'to save my party embarrassment' after he accepted four thousand quid from undercover reporters posing as lobbyists. He subsequently failed to declare two thousand smackers of the money. Journalists working for Panorama recorded Mercer agreeing to set up a parliamentary group to campaign for the return of Fiji to the Commonwealth. Panorama reported that Mercer has submitted five parliamentary questions in relation to the new group.

Meanwhile, a UKiP council candidate has extremely resigned his membership of the party following sickly racist remarks about the former comedian Lenny Henry. William Henwood tweeted that Henry should emigrate to 'a black country' and compared Islam to the Third Reich. He did so after the fomrer comedian said there should be more black and ethnic minority people in creative industries. UKiP said that comments by Henwood, from North London, 'did not represent' the party's views although they then tried to deflect criticism by whinging about the media's reporting of Henwood's comments. A party spokesman said that it had been 'mutually agreed' Henwood should leave the party. Asked about his tweets, Henwood, who is on the council candidates' list in Enfield, told the BBC: 'I think if black people come to this country and don't like mixing with white people why are they here? If he (Henry) wants a lot of blacks around go and live in a black country.' Ignoring the fact that Henry didn't 'come to this country' he was, in fact, born here. Henwood's comments provoked condemnation from senior figures in other parties, with Conservative Health Secretary the vile and odious rascal Hunt calling them 'absolutely disgusting' and saying they were racist. Which might well be the first time the vile and odious rascal Hunt has said anything this blogger actually agrees with. Congratulations, Henwood, I never thought anybody could ever say owt which would make that happen. I hope you're satisfied.
The Italian judges who reinstated the guilty verdict against twice convicted murderer Amanda Knox say that she delivered the fatal knife blow to British student Meredith Kercher. Explaining their ruling, the judges said that Knox and her Italian boyfriend, Raffaele Sollecito, killed Meredith 'after a violent argument.' Knox and Sollecito were originally convicted of the murder in 2007. They were acquitted on appeal in 2011, but that ruling was extremely overturned in January. Knox, who is currently in the US, was sentenced to twenty eight years and six months in pokey for her dreadful and wicked crimes. Her former boyfriend received twenty five years. Both had pleaded not guilty. Explaining its reasoning on Tuesday, the appeals court in Florence said that the victim's wounds indicated multiple aggressors. The judges said they believe both Knox and Sollecito wielded knives, as another man, Rudy Guede, held the victim down and committed a sexual assault. But it was Knox who 'delivered the only mortal blow', striking Meredith Kercher with a kitchen knife, presiding judge Alessandro Nencini concluded. The prosecution had originally argued that Meredith was killed in sex game which had spiralled out of control. But in its explanation, the appeals court agreed with a later theory that she was killed after a violent quarrel. It said Knox and Miss Kercher had 'fought over money' on the night of the killing. In a statement on Tuesday, Knox said the court's reasoning was 'not supported by any credible evidence or logic.' Both Knox and Sollecito are expected to appeal against the latest decision. The trial will now go back to Italy's highest court, the Court of Cassation, which could uphold or overturn the verdict. If it upholds it, officials are expected to begin the lengthy process to extradite Knox from America, where she returned on her release from prison in 2011. Meanwhile, Guede is already serving a sixteen-year prison sentence after being convicted of Meredith's murder at an earlier trial.

The charity that represents Wikipedia in the UK has condemned edits made from government computers after more incidents of vandalism emerged. The BBC has discovered that the phrase 'all Muslims are terrorists' was added to a page about veils. Another edit deleted text in Cherie Blair's entry about the flat-buying scandal that made headlines in 2002. The Liverpool Echo last week revealed that insults had been added to the entry for The Hillsborough Disaster. Stevie Benton, from Wikimedia UK, told the BBC: 'We find this kind of vandalism appalling.' Wikimedia UK is the local arm of the global Wikimedia Foundation, the charity set up by the online encyclopaedia's founder Jimmy Wales to support the thousands of volunteers who edit and maintain Wikipedia. 'Wikipedia is the encyclopaedia that anyone can edit,' Benton added. 'This openness has led to an enormous reference work of great value. While vandalism does occasionally happen we are grateful to the many thousands of volunteers who write, edit and organise the content.' In an e-mail, the Cabinet Office reiterated its statement on the matter. 'The amendments made to Wikipedia are sickening. The behaviour is in complete contravention of the Civil Service Code. It is entirely unacceptable.' It added: 'The Civil Service Code applies at all times, and we take breaches very seriously. We have already announced an investigation to examine offensive edits to Wikipedia, and will look at other concerns raised.' The BBC found more than a hundred instances of inappropriate editing, vandalism and deletion made by computers accessing Wikipedia through the two IP addresses known to be used by government machines. A change made to the entry for 'veil' in October 2006 added: 'It should be noted that the word Veil, when the letters rearraged [sic], spells "evil". Since the Veil is mostly worn by Muslims, and all Muslims are terrorists (with the argument for this being that all terrorists have been Muslim), this fact should be dually [sic] noted by all.' The comment was removed by a Wikipedia volunteer just six minutes after they were first posted. Nasima Begum, a spokeswoman for the Muslim Council of Britain, told the BBC: 'It is these types of attitudes that create an unnecessary climate of fear and hostility. It is shocking and cause for great concern that inflammatory comments like these should be sent from someone within the government.' As well as vandalism, large passages of text were found to have been deleted. In 2002, Cherie Blair made a public apology after it had emerged that she had bought two flats, at a discounted price, with help from the convicted fraudster Peter Foster. Paragraphs about the incident in Blair's Wikipedia entry were removed by a government PC in October 2005. Later, a different user would revert the changes, arguing that they were 'relevant to the subject's reputation.' Other edits made by government machines included: In the entry for The London Bombings, links to websites detailing a variety of conspiracy theories were added; the article for former Prime Minister Tony Blair was deleted in its entirety and replaced with the words 'he should be assassinated'; homophobic insults were added to the entry for the odious and risible Daily Scum Mail columnist Richard Littlejohn and the celebrity chef Jamie Oliver also had homophobic insults added to his page. Benton praised the work of Wikipedia editors in correcting the changes. 'Edits of this nature are removed very quickly by the volunteers who write and edit Wikipedia,' he said. 'Often in a matter of minutes.' Edits made by government computers have come under close scrutiny following the Liverpool Echo's report showing how insulting remarks about Liverpool fans were added to the page detailing The Hillsborough Disaster. The changes were identified by analysing edits made by two IP addresses - and - known to be connected to the Government Secure Intranet. The GSI is used to allow government machines to connect to the Internet securely. The Cabinet Office has admitted that, due to the nature of its computer network, it would be 'almost impossible' to track down who is responsible for the offensive remarks. A spokesman said: 'We are exhausting every option. Anyone with information should contact the Cabinet Office.' Unlike most people's home Internet connections, where an IP address can often be used to pinpoint one particular computer, large organisations tend to mask individual machines for security reasons. It is also possible to 'spoof' IP addresses to make the source of a connection look like it is coming from somewhere else. However, several of the offensive messages were made prior to the government IP addresses being publicly disclosed in 2008. Government machines were also used to vandalise, or troll, on several pages, including: In the entry about indie band The Libertines: '[T]he more astute critics correctly identify the band as scum' and added a remark about lead singer Pete Doherty's drug use; comments about the footballer Wayne Rooney that said he was 'currently knocking off "queen chav" Coleen McGlochlin' (the couple have since married); the deletion of the entire post for Irish politician Christopher Byrne, replacing it with simply 'is a sexy beast'; the changing the entry for the BBC presenter Peter Levy to list 'Adolf Hitler' as an ex-partner and describing Arsene Wenger as being 'made of clay.' Mind you, that last one could have an element of truth to it.

Yer actual Keith Telly Topping's beloved Newcastle United's manager Alan Pardew still believes that he has 'a long-term future' at the club despite six consecutive defeats and growing unrest - which is now bordering on outright mutiny - amongst fans. A number of Magpies supporters vented their hot frothing anger during a comprehensive 3-0 defeat by The Arse on Monday. 'I know they're disappointed and angry at the moment that we haven't got a result,' said Pardew. But he added: 'I'm looking at the job as a long-term opportunity for myself. That's how you have to focus.' The Magpies started the year only four points off a Champions League position. During the first half of the season, they had defeated The Scum at Old Trafford for the first time in the league since 1972 and had also recorded back-to-back wins over Moscow Chelski FC and Stottingtot Hotshots. By the halfway stage of the season they were eighth and had thirty three points from nineteen games. But since the departure of influential midfielder Yohan Cabaye to Paris St-Germain at the end of the January transfer window, the Magpies have picked up only nine points from a possible thirty nine. On Monday, goals from Laurent Koscielny, Mesut Ozil and Olivier Giroud ensured that Newcastle's miserable run continued. They had failed to score for the fifth time in six matches and have now found the net just thirteen times in their last eighteen games. Fans at the Emirates Stadium carried banners stating 'Pardew out' and chanted 'six in a row' in reference to their worst run since 1986-87. Other chants included 'Alan Pardew, it's never your fault' - a reference to a recent press conference in which Pardew attempted to blame the media for the team's recent form - and 'You're nothing special, we lose every week.' Pardew, who was given an eight-year contract by owner Mike Ashley in 2012, said that he could understand the supporters' feelings. 'I've got the greatest support in the country but not when you have six defeats next to your name,' he said. 'It's not comfortable and it's a pressure that's on us all.' Yeah. But, mostly, you mate. 'It's important if you're leading a group to be strong. The media don't leave you alone and you have to show character.' Pardew, who returned to the touchline on Monday following a seven-game ban for sticking the nut on some hapless Hull midfielder, has not given up hope of finishing the season 'on a high' and called on the supporters to 'get behind the team' for Saturday's home game against Cardiff. Because, of course, they haven't been getting behind the team every single game since Christmas no matter how inept or downright bastard cowardly the performances have been, haven't they? Jesus, Pardew pal, a tip. When you're in a hole, it's probably a good idea to stop digging. Personally, this blogger thinks it's likely that Pardew will be gone sooner rather than later - although, it genuinely wouldn't surprise me if Ashley decided to keep him just to piss the supporters off in another bit of 'I know better than you' type cock thrusting of which the odious fat Cockney flogger of dodgy sorts gear seems to specialise in. There's also the question of Pardew's lengthy contract and how much it would actually cost the club to rid itself of him - although one imagines that some performance-related get-out clauses have been built into the small print. Ashley, after all, isn't that stupid. Is he? But, sadly, whatever happens very little will actually change. Any manager at Newcastle United is going to be hamstrung by the demands of the owner - which, as they have been publicly stated are, a top ten finish (which for all of the utter shite that Pardew's team have served up for the last four months they still might, just achieve - and, to be honest, most of us would've probably taken that, happily, at the start of the season), forget about the cups (they're not important, apparently) and spend as little money as possible on new players but find young'uns that we can sell for a profit after a couple of years. That's Newcastle's position now, just as - broadly speaking - it's Villa's and Stoke's and West Brom's and West Ham's. That's the league we're all playing in now - eighth to fourteenth. As long as Ashley stays at Newcastle - and that's basically, until he can find a buyer, which probably isn't going to be any time soon - then any manager he employs is going to be faced with much the same situation. If anybody thinks for a second that with Pardew gone Ashley is suddenly going to get ambitious and go out and hire a Mourinho or a Van Gaal or anybody else in that sort of league, then they're sadly deluding themselves. It certainly appears that Pardew has lost the dressing room and is incapable of inspiring his players to anything other than surrender before kick-off so he may well be gone in the summer. But, the next bloke, whoever that is - various media commentators have suggested Moyes. Aye, dream on - is going to have exactly the same problems (if not more given the squad they will be inheriting). Starting with what happens when Loic Remy pisses off in the summer. The thing that really grates this blogger's cheese about this season is the way in which, effectively, from Christmas onwards, everybody at Newcastle has been on their holidays; the players, the management, the ownership, the lot of them. You need about thirty six to thirty eight points to avoid relegation from the Premier League, that's the first thing to which everybody looks at the start of any season; Newcastle were just about there on Boxing Day (they had thirty three points after a 5-1 win over Stoke). Since then, they've all just been going through the motions. Sadly, that's what happens when you have limited ambition, once you achieve your bottom line, you don't look for anything more.

The drummer for the - really lousy - German rock band Scorpions has been sentenced to a month in jail in Dubai for offensive behaviour, according to local media. It is claimed that James Kottak, an American national, was convicted of 'insulting Islam', raising his middle finger and 'being under the influence of alcohol.' Kottak admitted to drinking alcohol but denied the other charges. The reported incident occurred at Dubai airport on 3 April, when Scorpions were en route to Bahrain for a concert. Kottak was arrested following a disturbance in the transit hall, the National newspaper reports. The court heard that he started swearing and talking about 'non-educated Muslims', then flashed his middle finger. Witnesses also testified that they heard Kottak shouting that he would not travel with a group of Pakistani and Afghan passengers. Denying the charges, he said: 'I did not curse Muslims or Islam. I would never do such a thing even if I was drunk,' according to Gulf News. However, he admitted drinking alcohol without a licence and was fined Dh2,000 (which is about three hundred quid), reports said. Kottak is expected to be released and deported in the coming days as he has been in custody since his arrest. Best known for their wretched power ballads, including the 1990 hit single 'Wind of Change', Scorpions have released more than twenty LPs since they formed in 1965. None of which are much cop. Kottak joined the band in 1996.

This Morning is used to its fair share of bewildering stories and outrageous moments, but the show's latest guest shared an intimate occurrence which must have left viewers more than touch befuddled. On Tuesday, a woman appeared on the programme as part of Supernatural Week, claiming that she had sex with a ghost - not once but twice - adding that it was 'really, really pleasurable.' Natasha Blasick - who is, obviously, not mental nor nothing - told hosts Phillip Schofield and The Curiously Orange Christine Bleakley that she 'felt someone enter' her room one night but could not see who or what it was. 'I could feel that somebody was touching me and the hands were pushing me against my will and I could feel the weight of the body on top of me. I couldn't see anybody but I could feel the pressure, the energy, the warmth pushing in different directions.' She added: 'The first time I was very confused by all of that but then I just decided to relax and it was really, really pleasurable. I really enjoyed it - this is what happened.' Alleged 'psychic' Patti Negri - who is also, clearly, not mental nor nothing but who may well be a complete charlatan claiming alleged supernatural powers which many believe do not exist - was on hand to defend 'spectrophilia' - sexual arousal of ghosts - and refuted claims that the non-consensual experience could be seen as assault.
Some truly dreadful news, now: Bob Hoskins, best known for his roles in The Long Good Friday, Mona Lisa and Who Framed Roger Rabbit?, has died of pneumonia at the age of seventy one. Bob's agent said that he died on Tuesday in hospital, surrounded by family. The actor won a BAFTA and was Oscar-nominated in 1987 for the British crime drama Mona Lisa, in which he starred opposite Sir Michael Caine. Bob had announced that he was retiring from acting in 2012 after being diagnosed with Parkinson's disease. 'We are devastated by the loss of our beloved Bob,' the actor's family said in a statement. 'Bob died peacefully at hospital last night surrounded by family, following a bout of pneumonia. We ask that you respect our privacy during this time and thank you for your messages of love and support.' Sir Michael, a close friend who also appeared with Bob in the films Sweet Liberty and Last Orders, remembered Bob as 'one of the nicest and best actors I have ever worked with.' Dame Helen Mirren, who memorably played his screen wife in The Long Good Friday, also paid tribute, describing Bob as 'a great actor and an even greater man' whose 'inimitable energy seemed like a spectacular firework rocket just as it takes off. When I worked with him on his iconic film The Long Good Friday, he was supportive and unegotistic,' she added. 'I had the honour of watching the creation of one of the most memorable characters of British film.' Those sentiments were echoed by Timothy Spall, who appeared with Bob in the BBC drama The Street. He said that Bob was 'an adored man and a deeply respected and admired actor [who] was able to make people laugh and cry.' Stockily built and adept at playing both light and heavy roles, Bob became an international star of the cinema after a long career in the theatre and on television. Robert William Hoskins was also regarded as a quintessential Cockney, despite the fact that he was born in 1942 in Bury St Edmunds in Suffolk. His mother Elsie, a nursery school teacher, was evacuated there during the Blitz and returned to London with him shortly after his birth. Growing up in Finsbury Park, the young Bob battled dyslexia. He also got into literal battles with local toughs, one of whom left him with a knife wound in his stomach. 'A common misperception of me is that I am a tough guy,' he said in an interview in 2007. 'You don't end up looking like me if you are a tough guy. I just have a big mouth with little to back it up.' After school he started training as a commercial artist and, later, took a variety of jobs, including Covent Garden porter, circus worker and deckhand in the Norwegian Merchant Navy. He became an actor completely by accident. One evening in 1966, he was waiting in the Unity Theatre bar for his friend, the actor Roger Frost, to finish an audition. Whilst drinking at the bar, Bob was given a script and told 'You're next.' He did the audition and got the part, with Frost ending up as his understudy. Frost recalled that 'Bob was a natural. He just got up on stage and was brilliant.' The audition led to him working for five years in repertory theatre, where his roles ranged from Shakespeare to a fire-eater. Bob joined the Royal Court Theatre in 1972, had a season with the Royal Shakespeare Company at the Aldwych Theatre in 1976 and enjoyed a successful run at the National Theatre, notably as Nathan Detroit in its 1981 revival of Guys and Dolls. On the small screen, he appeared in small roles in the likes of Softly Softly, Play For Today, Van Der Valk, The Main Chance, Thick As Thieves (a curiously little remembered sitcom in which he co-starred with John Thaw) and Rock Follies. His first major television success was in On The Move (1976), a BBC educational series intended to tackle adult illiteracy. Each episode featured a running storyline in which Bob appeared as Alf Hunt, a furniture removal man who had difficulty reading and writing. A proud but sympathetic character, Alf would open up to his friend Bert, played by Donald Gee, about his fears and frustrations. His progress as he sought help attracted a huge following well beyond the show's expected target audience. Up to seventeen million viewers watched the Sunday tea-time programme, according to George Auckland, who would subsequently take charge of the BBC's adult education programming. It was Alf's very human drama - and, specifically, Bob's captivating performance - that drew them in. A national campaign to tackle illiteracy was boosted by the series. On the Monday after each episode, says Auckland, 'there would be queues around the block' at adult literacy centres. There's a strong argument, he says, that this makes Bob Hoskins 'the best educator Britain has ever produced.' Auckland recalls a scene, reminiscent of Bob's famous closing shot in The Long Good Friday, 'in which you can see the exasperation on his face' as Alf struggles with his homework. Writing in the Gruniad, Mark Lawson noted approvingly that Bob 'gave Alf a vulnerability and poignancy far beyond the requirements of a public information short.' In the same year, Bob came to even wider attention in Dennis Potter's period drama Pennies From Heaven as the sheet music salesman Arthur Parker. Later, he played Iago in Jonathan Miller's production of Othello. Pennies From Heaven became a cult favourite in the United States and established Bob there as a star, though he would later say the role of Parker had been 'very painful' to play. Only five feet six inches tall - he described himself as 'a short, fat, middle-aged man with a broken nose and a bald head' and his leading ladies, like Cheryl Campbell in Pennies From Heaven often towered over him - Bob was soon being forecast as a successor to Edward G Robinson and James Cagney. The connection was cemented by his properly unforgettable performance as Harold Shand in the 1980 classic The Long Good Friday, in which he played a ruthless London gangster with dreams of redeveloping the Docklands but who ends up a victim of his own elaborate schemes. 'Remember, scare the shit out of them, but don't damage them. I want 'em conscious and talkative. And lads, try and be discreet, eh?' It's just one of numerous sparkling lines of jaundiced poetry that Bob delivers throughout the movie in an amazing double-act with Mirren (it was a star-making vehicle for both of them). As he memorably notes as he's being driven off to his death at the hands of the IRA at the film's climax: 'What a diabolical liberty!' Yet Bob almost missed out on one of his most memorable roles. When he was offered the part of the pugnacious Shand he was still afflicted with a tape worm, contracted while shooting Zulu Dawn in South Africa, that had required a stay in hospital. Directed by John Mackenzie, The Long Good Friday was produced for just nine hundred thousand pounds. Although initially designed for the cinema the production was eventually financed by Black Lion, a subsidiary of Lew Grade's ITC Entertainment for broadcast - heavily cut - on the ITV Network. Before the planned TV transmission however, the rights to the film were bought by George Harrison's Handmade Films for a - hugely successful - cinema release. It went on to become one of the most important and influential British gangster films ever made. Bob's Hollywood career was further enhanced by The Cotton Club in 1984, though that role too might well have eluded his grasp. Speaking on Desert Island Discs in 1988, the actor recalled getting a phone call after midnight from a man introducing himself as Francis Ford Coppola. 'I said "And this is Henry VIII. You've just woke my kids up - thanks very much" and I put the phone down,' he revealed. Bob won the best actor award at the 1986 Cannes Film Festival for Mona Lisa, in which he played an ex-convict hired to drive a high-class prostitute around London. Neil Jordan's gritty yet sentimental drama would also win Bob a BAFTA and saw him receive his only nomination for an Academy Award. Two years later, he was memorably cast by director Robert Zemeckis as a bumbling private detective in Who Framed Roger Rabbit? Bob would later admit to being driven to distraction by the demands of working with a non-existent co-star - a cartoon rabbit added after his live-action scenes had been completed. 'You have to learn to hallucinate,' he told Desert Island Discs host Sue Lawley, revealing he found himself imagining animated characters for months afterwards. 'There were weasels and rabbits all over the place - I couldn't stop it.' The years that followed that 1988 hit would see him take on a range of roles - a pirate in Steven Spielberg's Hook (and its sequel, Neverwhere), a serial killer in Felicia's Journey and a cameo as himself in the Spice Girls film Spice World. He also took up directing, first in 1988 with The Raggedy Rawney and again in 1995 with family film Rainbow, and became synonymous with the phrase 'It's good to talk' after appearing in a British Telecom advertising campaign. Bob was offered elocution lessons early in his acting career but chose to retain his recognisable London accent. 'If I'm going to present something as real, I have to cling on some reality myself,' he explained. On film, his credits also included Mermaids, Mrs Henderson Presents, Nixon (in which he was superb as J Edgar Hoover) and Made in Dagenham. His last film role was as one of the dwarves in 2012's Snow White and the Huntsman. In a 2007 interview with the Grunaid, Bob spoke of his regret at appearing in Super Mario Bros (1993). He revealed that despite being generally praised for his performance on the film, he was extremely unhappy with it and was greatly angered by his experiences making it, referring to it as 'the worst thing I ever did.' Bob also had a small role as a rock band's manager in the Pink Floyd film The Wall. He was slated to be a last-minute replacement in the film The Untouchables if Robert De Niro had not decided to play Al Capone. When De Niro did decide to take the role, the director Brian De Palma mailed Hoskins a cheque for twenty thousand dollars with a 'thank you' note, which gave the actor one of his favourite and most oft-repeated stories. 'I phoned him up and said "Brian, if you've ever got any films you don't want me in, son, you just give me a call!"' Dame Judi Dench, who starred opposite Bob in Mrs Henderson Presents, told the BBC News website: 'I'm so very sorry to hear this news, and am thinking of his family at this sad time.' The film critic Jason Solomons called The Long Good Friday 'a great Londoner's movie. London ran through him like a stick of rock,' he added. Tributes to the actor have appeared swiftly on Twitter, with BAFTA saying it was 'deeply saddened' to learn of his death. Vicky McClure, who worked with Bob on Shane Meadows' 1999 film A Room For Romeo Brass, said: 'He was one of the best. I feel honoured to have met & worked with him.' Sherlock creator and actor Mark Gatiss, who appeared as Rat opposite Hoskins' Badger in a 2006 adaptation of The Wind in the Willows, tweeted a picture of the two together, praising Bob as 'a true gent and an inspiration.' James Woods, who starred with Hoskins in Nixon, tweeted: 'what a terrible loss. A great guy and a superb artist.' Samuel L Jackson also spoke of his sadness at the news, saying: 'Truly saddened by the passing of Bob Hoskins. A truly gigantic talent and a gentleman.' Bob is survived by his second wife, Linda, and four children Alex, Sarah, Rosa and Jack.

And so to yer actual Keith Telly Topping's 33 of the Day. This Thursday sees the very welcome return of yer Uncle Scunthorpe's Record Player at the Tyneside for another eight weeks of quality groovy listening.
The opening night features one of the greatest, and most beautiful, records ever made, and a particular favourite of yer actual Keith Telly Topping, Astral weeks by Van The Man his very self. Tasty.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Week Nineteen: Bullet Got The Wrong Bloke

For those dear blog readers who think they might have read it earlier, yer actual Keith Telly Topping is sorry to have to inform you that this blog page its very self has, indeed, been extremely updated. So, now you'll have to read it again. Hey, what can I tell you, dear blog reader? I only work here.
Chris Addison has taken a few moment off from being, frankly, as annoying as hell on Mock The Week (and, occasionally, Qi as well) to say that Peter Capaldi is a 'perfect' choice for the lead role in Doctor Who. The actor and - alleged - comedian insists that his former The Thick Of It co-star, who has taken over the role of The Doctor in the BBC's long-running family SF drama, will be 'fantastic' and believes that Capaldi will bring back an air of slightly menacing mystery to the part. In an interview with ShortList magazine, Addison revealed: 'I've said it for years - he's the perfect Doctor. We've had terrific Doctors recently, but they've all been missing this note I loved when I was a kid: that you didn't know if you were safe with The Doctor. He was this terrifying, mercurial figure, he could be an imp or an evil genie; it would turn on a sixpence.' Addison believes that Peter's portrayal will be 'darker' than Matt Smith and David Tennant's recent portrayals. He added: 'There were moments of darkness in Matt Smith's and David Tennant's Doctors, but Peter is able to play that note of imperiousness. I think he'll be this generation's Tom Baker.'

Doctor Who and Peaky Blinders each won two honours at the BAFTA Craft awards on Sunday evening, while Strictly Come Dancing took a special prize in its tenth year. Doctor Who's fiftieth anniversary programming won a pair of awards to further add weigh to The Lord Thy God Steven Moffat's mantelpiece; The Day of The Doctor won the prize for Special, Visual and Graphic Effects, whilst Mark Gatiss's biopic An Adventure In Space And Time won an award for Make Up and Hair Design. BBC2's well-regarded period drama Peaky Blinders also picked up two prizes at the ceremony, one for Photography and Lighting and the Best Director (Fiction) for Otto Bathurst. Broadchurch's composer Ólafur Arnalds won the award for Original Television Music for his work on the popular ITV crime series. Period dramas in general gained prominence with ITV's Downton Abbey, the BBC's Ripper Street and Dancing On The Edge all winning - for costume design, production design and sound (fiction) respectively. Educating Yorkshire scooped the prize for Editing (Factual). The team behind Ant and/or Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway were named Entertainment Craft Team 2014, while The X Factor took home the award for Multi-Camera Direction. In the writing categories, The IT Crowd's Graham Linehan and In The Flesh's Dominic Mitchell won in the comedy and drama categories respectively. Channel Four also had wins with D-Day: As It Happens for digital creativity, The Murder Trial for director (factual) and Rebuilding The World Trade Center for photography (factual). The BBC's David Bowie - Five Years took the award for sound (factual) and whilst The Fall won for editing (fiction).
So far all of the announced writers for series right have already written for Doctor Who previously, but some new blood could soon be on the way. Speculation is mounting that Peter Harness – the writer of Wallander, Case Histories and the upcoming BBC adaptation of Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell – is working on a script for the show. If this is, indeed, the case, it is unclear at this time whether such a potential script would be for series eight; as we know from the past, scripts are prone to being shifted about from series to series depending on a number of factors. Harness is certainly a fan of the show. In a past interview he stated that he considered 2005′s The Parting Of The Ways the 'perfect end to what is I think the definitive series of Doctor Who.'
Peter Capaldi his very self will 'completely revitalise' Doctor Who, Tom Riley has said. Not that it needs revitalising, of course, or anything even remotely like it, its last two episodes having been the most watched and fourth most watched drama productions on UK television during 2013. Riley will appear in an upcoming episode of the BBC's long-running popular family SF drama's eighth series, written by Mark Gatiss. 'I think Peter's going to completely revitalise the show - not that it needed revitalising!' the actor told Flicks And The City seeming to suddenly realise what an effing idiotic thing he'd just said. All of which kind of makes this story the most pointless thing in the history of pointless things. 'He's going to bring something completely different to The Doctor,' Riley wittered on. 'When you change a lead actor, everything's going to change - but you can rest assured he's going to absolutely smash it.' The Da Vinci's Demons lead described the script for Gatiss's new episode - which is rumoured to be entitled Robots Of Sherwood - as 'really fun' but refused to confirm rumours that he will play a version of the mythic hero Robin Hood in the episode. 'The thing about Doctor Who is it's chased around the world, so there's fifty fans hanging out at every location,' Riley said. 'So the photos are out there of what I'm doing and people are putting it together - what they think I might be playing - but I can't say until they tell me I can!'

Meanwhile, commenting on his role in the coming eight series of Doctor Who, yer actual Ben Miller has said: 'As a committed Whovian I cannot believe my luck in joining the Twelfth Doctor for one of his inaugural adventures. My only worry is that they'll make me leave the set when I'm not filming.' Aside from using that hateful word which no actual Doctor Who fan with an ounce of self-respect or dignity in their bodies would be caught dead uttering, that all sounds rather decent. Yer man Ben is, of course, best known as one half of the comedy duo Armstrong and Miller before finding success in dramas, including Primeval and, more recently, as Richard Poole in the first two series of the BBC's Death In Paradise. Ben's partner in comedy, Alexander Armstrong, appeared in Doctor Who's 2011 Christmas Special, playing Reg Arwell, but this is Ben's first time on the show. He will be starring in the episode written by yer actual Mark Gatiss. The Lord Thy God Steven Moffat noted: 'Mark Gatiss has written us a storming villain for his new episode, and with Capaldi in the TARDIS, we knew we needed somebody special to send everybody behind the sofa. And quite frankly, it's about time Ben Miller was in Doctor Who!'

Suranne Jones her very self has revealed that she would 'love' to return to Doctor Who. The actress - a particular favourite of this blogger - starred in the critically acclaimed episode, The Doctor's Wife, as Idris, who consumes the matrix of the TARDIS and then assists The Doctor, Amy and Rory escape from an asteroid controlled by Michael Sheen's House, who has been collecting the energy from other Time Lords' TARDISes. Talking to lovely Toby Hadoke on his Big Finish Podcast, Suranne said: 'Wouldn't it be nice if Peter Capaldi walked into one of his rooms in the TARDIS and found Idris' body there, plugged her in and had a little adventure with her?' Yes. Yes it would. So, let's do that then, please, Steven. Written by Neil Gaiman his very self, the award-winning The Doctor's Wife proved to be one of the most intriguing and captivating episodes of the last few years. Suranne herself was particularly highly praised for her virtuoso display as Idris, while Matt Smith's Doctor clearly shared a touching yet intimate relationship with the character.

His past and future familiarity with the mind-bending complexities of time travel, astro-physics and Daleks has evidently put The Doctor in a good place to grapple with the contradictory principles of dream and reality found in Surrealist art. Peter Capaldi's Doctor is The Tate's latest recruit for its series of Unlock Art films, which seek to introduce art movements as varied as Pop and Performance Art to the masses. For Exploring The Surreal, Peter spends time on the psychoanalyst's coach pondering how Freud's ideas about psychoanalysis and the unconscious mind shaped the Surrealist movement, before making some TARDIS-style appearances besides works by some the key players in the movement including Miro, Ernst and Dali. Of the latter's Lobster Telephone he says: 'It's about food and sex.' Isn't all art? The wry exploration moves swiftly onto how the movement's playful yet sometimes disturbing nature impacted contemporary culture and society; from art and theatre through to pop, humour and even politics. The five-minute film, which has been developed for The Tate as part of a deal with Le Méridien Hotel and Resorts, can be seen here. Peter his very self, of course, has some history with art, in 2008 he wrote and presented A Portrait Of Scotland, a fascinating documentary detailing five hundred years' history of Scottish portrait painting.

One of the most often asked questions in certain corners of Doctor Who fandom has finally been answered after Billie Piper revealed that yer actual David Tennant was a better kisser than Christopher Eccleston his very self. Billie is probably the best-placed person to answer such a question having tonsil-wrestled with both the ninth and tenth Doctors during her tenure as Rose Tyler. Mind you, so did John Barrowman, for that matter. Anyway, according to the Radio Times, the rather precocious question was asked by a young Doctor Who fans at the Awesome Con in Washington DC recently. However it seems as though the young person in question did have an ulterior motive as he had, apparently, been bribed twenty bucks by his saucy mom to do so. Billie explained: 'I think I've kissed David more. So I think we are more practiced, more well-versed and, therefore, our technique is somewhat better.' Can't argue with that. Billie then made sure that the child's family paid up the twenty dollars he was promised in front of everyone who was attending the event. Although, they probably took it back off him in the car on the way home.

Now dear blog reader, about a month ago there was a very persistent rumour circulating around the periphery of various Doctor Who forums - like Outpost Gallifrey and Planet Mondas et cetera - that we should all expect an announcement from either the BBC or TIEA (the company responsible for recovering prints of The Enemy Of The World and The Web Of Fear last year) sometime around Easter regarding the potential recovery of additional missing Doctor Who episodes, possibly the entirely of the William Hartnell stories Marco Polo and The Smugglers. Not that these rumours were actually put about by anyone that actually knew anything about anything. As usual. Anyway, the rumour mostly stated that 'they' - you know, the great 'they' who are in charge of the eternal whatsit - had deliberately held off any official statements on this matter until after 1 April so as to avoid any chance of the news being misconstrued as an April Fools prank. Inevitably, of course, Easter came and went and now we're in the last week of April and still nowt's been announced and nor is it likely to be in the immediate future (watch, now, being the contrary sods that they are, 'they' will probably make a big announcement today just to make yer actual look like a prize plonker. Not for the first time, admittedly). Has that put an end to such rumours I heard you ask, dear blog reader? Has it shite as like. Of course it hasn't, this is Doctor Who fandom we're talking about after all.

Former Doctor Who actors are to open and close this year’s season of celebrity speakers at the Cambridge Union, the university's historic debating society. Yer actual Sylvester McCoy will kick-off the series of talks on 7pm on 4 May while his successor, Paul McGann, will bring the series to a close at 3pm on 19 June. The details of the talks are yet to be confirmed but the usual format is a speech or an interview between the speaker and a Union officer, followed by a Q&A. It seems likely that both sessions will focus on the actors' time on Doctor Who. McCoy played the Time Lord for three years from 1987 to 1989 when the series was put on hiatus. He was seen most recently as the wizard Radagast the Brown in The Hobbit films. McGann starred as The Doctor in a one-off TV movie in 1996 - it was wasn't very good, even though he was - but reprised his role in a mini-episode for the show's fiftieth anniversary last November and has made no secret of his affection for the part. He is also sure to field questions on student favourite Withnail & I, the cult 1987 movie in which he and Richard E played as a pair of drink-and drug-addled 'resting' actors at the end of the Sixties. In between Sylv and Paul's appearances, an eclectic selection of well-known names from all walks of life will address the Union. Among them are z-list gobshite Katie Hopkins, Baywatch legend David Hasselhoff, designer Cath Kidston and One Day author David Nicholls – who also wrote Starter for Ten, the romantic comedy about a University Challenge team. The Russian and Ukrainian ambassadors to the United Kingdom will also appear.

Martin Freeman may have thrown into question much of what we thought we knew about where Sherlock will go next. Which is nice. Co-creators yer actual Mark Gatiss and The Lord Thy God Steven Moffat told the media earlier this year that they had already produced outlines for series four and five of the massively popular BBC detective drama – which ended in January with the apparent return of Moriarty – and the assumption has been that questions about the arch-villain will be answered at the beginning of the fourth season. But Marty now says that the next viewers see of himself and co-star Benny Cumberbatch his very self could be a one-off episode. 'Mark Gatiss may beat me up,' Marty told Alan Carr at the recording of this Friday's Chatty Man for Channel Four, 'but there is an idea for this one-off special that's such a good idea, and as I was listening to it I thought "we’ve just got to do this." I don't know when we are going to be able to do it, unfortunately. It's a fantastic, really mouth-watering idea. But I really don't know when we are going to get to do it.' Marty repeated that the next series of Sherlock could be 'a long way off' which will not surprise fans – there have traditionally been two years between series and he and Benny's diaries become busier and busier as both their stars continue to rise in the firmament. What is new is the idea of a one-off special which could, perhaps, clear up the enigmatic final scenes of series three, in which Andrew Scott's supposedly dead Moriarty appeared in an animation on TV sets and electronic billboards across London. Another possibility is that Gatiss and Moffat (Thou Shalt Worship No Other Gods Before He) are lining up a long speculated Sherlock Christmas special, with Gatiss having made no secret of the fact that Arthur Conan Doyle's Christmas short story The Blue Carbuncle – a well-loved mystery involving a valuable stolen gem stone – is among his favourite of the original Sherlock Holmes adventures.

You'd be hard pushed to get yer actual Benedict Cumberbatch and David Tennant his very self together in a production nowadays. A decade ago, however, it was a different story when the then lesser-known pair united for a Radio 4 adaptation of Mansfield Park. With Benny and Dave in the cast before the roles that made their careers, the 2003 retelling of young Fanny Price's story is soon to be dug out of the archive to mark two hundred years since the original publication of Jane Austen's celebrated novel. Also starring Tim Piggott-Smith, Felicity Jones and Julia McKenzie, the ten-episode drama will begin broadcasting on Radio 4Extra on Monday 12 May. Both Benny and David remain regular fixtures on British radio, with the former starring in 2013's Neverwhere and John Finnemore's comedy Cabin Pressure while the latter's long string of roles includes last year's Every Seventh Wave and The Great Scott.

Some old mates of yer actual Keith Telly Topping, Telos Publishing, have revamped their website and to mark the change it is offering ten per cent off all purchases for a limited period. The publisher of genre books is a UK-based independent press which was set up by yer actual David Howe and Stephen James Walker his very self in 2000. Its wide-ranging portfolio includes Doctor Who plus other cult TV shows, film, crime, mystery, thrillers, horror and dark fantasy. Including a few by this blogger. David said: 'It was time for a change. The original site had served us well for many years, but the world of online sales has moved on and we needed to catch up! One of the issues with the original site was that we couldn't easily offer discounts without extensive coding work. But the new site allows us to be flexible and to present sales and offers across our range, whenever we want.' Telos's catalogue has grown since the company's inception and now features more than one hundred and forty titles. It specialises in guides to a variety of cult television and film series but also has a growing fiction catalogue, including works from authors such as Simon Clark, Graham Masterton, Mike Ripley, Hank Janson, Andrew Hook and Sam Stone. New titles for 2014 will include an extensive guide to the TV series The Avengers. The revamped Telos site can be found here and there are sale offers across the entire range, with some titles at ninety nine pee. 'We decided to reduce the prices across all the ranges, where the books had been available for some time, or where we had fairly high stock levels remaining,' David added. Hopefully this means that buyers can pick up some bargains, whether from our well-received Time Hunter series, which spun off from our Doctor Who fiction range, or across our horror novels and novellas, where titles by authors such as Stephen Gallagher, Steve Savile, George Mann and T M Wright can be snapped up.' Telos is also currently offering ten per cent off everything bought via its website. The discount can be obtained by entering the code 'newwebsite14' at the checkout, and the offer is available until Saturday 31 May. Whilst you're there ask them if it isn't about time this one got reprinted!

MasterChef topped the ratings outside of soaps once again on Thursday, according to overnight data. The popular BBC1 cooking competition's overnight audience was marginally down on Wednesday's episode but up one hundred thousand punters from the previous Thursday to 4.7 million at 8pm. It was a properly hilarious episode starting with the the two geezers who didn't even make it to the second round. Former squaddie David was the latest person to fall for the production team's oldest trick in book; getting them to big themselves up in the Green Room like there's no tomorrow and then harsh and bitter reality slapping them, geet hard, in the mush like a wet kipper when John Tordoe and Gregg Wallace informed him that his food, actually, wasn't worth getting excited about. 'I thought I'd done a good dish' he said, sulkily, after having been told that he, you know, hadn't. Others, who know better, did not agree. Lank-haired heavy metal wrestler Alex was also jolly entertaining in his apparent ineptness although he, at least, seemed to realise he was a bit out of his league quite early on. The big surprise was that the standard of the second round was also pretty woeful and, in the end, only one of the contestants, Sophie, made it through to Friday's quarter final. Albeit even she had a bit of stroppy drama queen moment, noting: 'It feels like you're being told off. And, I'm a mummy and a teacher, I'm not used to being told off myself!' Get used to it, Sophie, chuck, you're in The Big Boys (And Girls) League now. 'I didn't expect three of us to go' said full-time dad and marathon runner Robin, with his lip almost tripping him up and looking, for all the world, like a man who'd just got a paper cut from his eviction notice. 'Gutted.' Yeah, but think of the entertainment you're giving to millions, mate. Later on BBC1, Parking Mad interested 4.1m at 9pm, while the final Life And Death Row repeat was seen by 1.7m at 10.35pm. On BBC2, Digby Jones: The New Troubleshooter appealed to eight hundred and ninety two thousand at 8pm, followed by Protecting Our Parents with nine hundred and forty three thousand at 9pm. ITV's watchword for utterly risible characterless travelogue shite, Ade At Sea, attracted but 2.2m at 8.30pm, while Nicky Campbell's new series Wanted: A Family Of My Own brought in an equally terrible 2.1m at 9pm. Bad night for ITV, soaps aside. On Channel Four, Posh Pawn continued with 1.5m at 8pm, followed by Kevin's Supersized Salvage with 1.3m at 9pm. Channel Five's Beware Cowboy Builders appealed to seven hundred and twenty three thousand at 8pm, while the Harold Shipman documentary Catch Doctor Death attracted eight hundred and sixty nine thousand voyeurs at 9pm. Person Of Interest had an audience of six hundred and ninety eight thousand at 10pm. On E4, The Big Bang Theory out-rated everything on Channel Five with 1.2m at 8pm, followed by How I Met Your Mother with six hundred and eleven thousand at 8.30pm.

It was another steady, rather than spectacular night for BBC1 on Friday, The ONE Show kicking off the night with 3.67m at 7pm followed by A Question Of Sport with - a really not very good at all - 2.61m and EastEnders pulling in 7.19m at 8pm. MasterChef had its highest Friday overnight audience of the series so far, 4.06m for an episode in which mumsy Sophie was the only competitor deemed worthy of a place in the semi-final. It also saw an appearance of the loathsome restaurant critic, horrorshow (and drag) Kate Spicer and her scowling boat-race as a guest judge. In a stroke, she destroyed the dreams of the previously impressive young Megan by describing her red bream and curry with apple dish as 'one of the most ill-judged dishes I've eaten in a long time.' Mind you, Megan had already done a pretty good job of talking down her own chances when saying that the only other person who'd ever tasted her - frankly odd - creation was her dear old dad. 'So, your hopes of mixing fish and fruit is resting on the culinary expertise of your father?' asked a nervous-looking Gregg Wallace, possibly remembering that Megan had narrowly avoided poisoning him and John Tordoe in the previous round by almost forgetting to remove the gills from her crab. Aw well, Megan's dad, it seems to have been your fault that it all went tits up, in that case! 'I always judged food on MasterChef as if it were in a restaurant,' the horrible Spicer said. 'People say "oh, you're so mean", but no, if that dish was brought to me [in a restaurant] I would have complained.' Sadly, no one had either the balls nor the wit to point out to the horrible Spicer - and her horrible face - that she isn't in a restaurant, rather she's on a television show being fed, for free, on the licence fee payer's coin. And, that it might be an idea for her to untwist her horrible face and show a bit of Goddamn gratitude for that. This blogger is absolutely praying that one day some contestant will so get the hump with her when she's just been acidic and spiky about their cheese on toast that he'll give her a right good hard fist in the mush. That'd be quality telly and, one imagines, would push the ratings for MasterChef through the roof. Even if it is on opposite Coronation Street. Another excellent episode of Have I Got News For You came next. Hosted by Martin Clunes, the panel show attracted 4.48 million viewers at 9pm, making it Friday evening's highest rated overnight programme outside of the soaps. That was followed by Outnumbered with 2.89m and, after the news, The Graham Norton Show with 3.09m at 10:35. Weekend Escapes With Warwick Davis was seen by an marginally increased audience of 2.88 million at 8pm on ITV, making it the channel's highest-rated show outside of soaps. And, if ITV aren't worried about that then they really should be. It drew a bigger audience than the 9pm repeat of Lewis, which was seen by 2.42 million. BBC2's highest-rated show of the evening was Gardeners' World with 2.23 million at 8.30pm. It was preceded by the final of this year's Mastermind with 2.08 million at 8pm. The evening continued with Natural World and The Trip To Italy, which attracted 1.69m and 1.03m viewers respectively. On Channel Four, Gogglebox was watched by 2.63 million at 9pm, followed by an audience of 1.6m for Alan Carr: Chatty Man at 10pm.

As usual, the TV comedy line of the week came from Have I Got News For You: Guest host Martin Clunes noting that some UKiP non-entity that nobody has heard of had recently described the party's current leader, Nigel Farago, as 'alcoholic, dim and racist.' 'Which I think is the b-side of 'Young, Gifted and Black'' said yer man Clunesy with impeccable comic timing.
Britain's Got Toilets pulled in 9.18 million sad crushed victims of society on Satruday night, topping the primetime overnight ratings. Iver forty two per cent of the available audience tuned into the ITV talent show from 7pm. Later on the channel, quiz show Amazing Greys continued with 3.11m at 8.15pm, and a Law & Order: UK repeat had 1.38m at 9.15pm. The Americans was seen by four hundred and sixty one thousand at 10.15pm. On BBC1, Pointless Celebrities had an audience of 3.38m from 7pm, followed by Dale Winton's National Lottery: In It To Win It at 7.50pm, which attracted 3.62m. Medical drama Casualty was watched by 4.7m at 8.40pm, while Rob Brydon's The Guess List continued with 3.52m at 9.30pm. On BBC2, eight hundred and fifty thousand punters tuned in to be bored utterly titless by coverage of the World Snooker Championship at 7pm, while nine hundred and fifty thousand stuck around for a rare showing of the pilot episode of Porridge at 8pm. New imported drama Generation War kicked-off at 9.30pm with nine hundred and twenty thousand. Channel Four's biggest primetime ratings of the evening came from a showing of James Cameron's Avatar, which pulled in 1.15m from 8.15pm. Grand Designs was seen by four hundred and fifty thousand viewers at 7.15pm. On Channel Five, a double bill of NCIS received four hundred and eighty three thousand and six hundred and eighty one thousand at 7.30pm and 8.15pm respectively, while Britain's Funniest Comedy Characters was seen by eight hundred and four thousand from 9.15pm.

Vera returned for its fourth series with high ratings for ITV on Sunday, according to overnight data. The Brenda Blethyn crime drama vehicle attracted 5.8 million punters at 8pm. This is up over a million from last year's opening episode's overnight rating of 4.5m. Earlier, Catchphrase attracted 3.5m at 6.45pm, followed by Off Their Rockersalso with 3.5m at 7.30pm. On BBC1, Countryfile was, once again, the most watched show of the night with 6.7m at 7pm, followed by Antiques Roadshow with 5.3m at 8pm. The Crimson Field continued with 4.9m at 9pm, while Match Of The Day 2 scored 2.8m at 10.35pm. BBC2's Natural World interested 1.1m at 8pm. Oscar-winning film The Artist appealed to a fraction under a million viewers at 9pm. On Channel Four, For The Love Of Cars brought in 1.2m at 8pm, followed by the latest episode of Fargo with 1.5m at 9pm. Channel Five's broadcast of Rush Hour 2 gathered 1.1m at 8pm, while The Other Guys was watched by nine hundred and seventy three thousand at 10pm.

It usually takes at least a couple of scenes in any episode of Vera/Inspector George Gently/Wire In The Blood/Whatever Happened To The Likely Lads/Auf Wiedersehen, Pet/Spender or anything else filmed within a ten mile radius of Stately Telly Topping Manor before yer actual Keith Telly Topping spots a geographical mistake. In Sunday night's Vera is took just twenty seconds - Joe and his daughter turning right in front of St Nicholas's Cathedral and finding themselves, not on Moseley Street but, instead, half a city away, on Clayton Street West. Hah! You have to get up pretty early in the morning to catch yer actual Keith Telly Topping out when it comes to location spotting in and around Newcastle, ITV! Of course, this sort of thing happens in just about all series, I remember my old mate Paul Cornell telling me, years ago, that he used to do it all the time with Shoestring. Usually where a character would be walking down a street in Bristol and they'd turn a corner and suddenly be in Swindon! Or, as Keith Telly Topping's good pal Deb Williams notes: 'Lovejoy used to amuse me; he'd go into an Antique shop in Long Melford and come out in Lavenham.' Incidentally, for those taking notes, most of the coastal locations in this Vera episode were filmed in the very lovely Northumberland seaside village of Alnmouth (with some bits shot in Newbiggin-By-The-Sea). Other notable locations in the episode included Leazes Terrace next to St James' Park for the scene in which Celine takes Jessie to her therapist.

Now, here's the final and consolidated ratings for the Top Twenty programmes for week-ending Sunday 20 April 2014:-
1 Britain's Got Toilets - Sat ITV - 9.92m
2 Coronation Street - Mon ITV - 8.58m
3 EastEnders - Mon BBC1 - 7.96m
4 Emmerdale - Mon ITV - 6.66m
5 Undeniable - Mon ITV - 6.62m
6 Countryfile - Sun BBC1 - 6.49m
7 The Crimson Field - Sun BBC1 - 6.31m
8 Endeavour - Sun ITV - 5.46m*
9 MasterChef - Thurs BBC1 - 5.36m
10 Shetland - Tues BBC1 - 5.33m
11 Antiques Roadshow - Sun BBC1 - 5.26m
12 Casualty - Sat BBC1 - 5.22m
13 Have I Got News for You - Fri BBC1 - 5.13m
14 BBC News - Sun BBC1 - 5.08m
14 Ten O'Clock News - Thurs BBC1 - 4.54m
16 Law & Order: UK - Wed ITV - 4.51m*
17 Six O'Clock News - Thurs BBC1 - 4.44m
18 Holby City - Tues BBC1 - 4.38m
19 Match Of The Day - Sat BBC1 - 3.99m
20 Parking Mad - Thurs BBC1 - 3.92m
ITV programmes marked '*' do not include HD figures. BBC2's top-rated show of the week was The Big Allotment Challenge with 2.77m viewers. Channel Four's highest-rated show was Googlebox with 3.37m. The Nightmare Neighbour Next Door was Channel Five's best performer with 1.71m.

Tom Hollander has announced that Rev is 'unlikely' to return in the near future. The third series of the cult BBC2 sitcom will draw to a close on Monday. Speaking with BBC Radio 5Live's Richard Bacon, Hollander admitted that he is unsure about the prospect of a fourth run any time soon. 'I really don't know - at the moment, we all want to just pause,' he explained. 'It's such a special thing, Rev. It's been so magical in terms of how much people take it to their hearts. So the idea of not doing it any more is sad but, also, quite attractive because you wouldn't want for it to ever get worse.' However, Hollander did not rule out the possibility of a spin-off movie, admitting that a Rev film is 'something people talk about. I think we need to find a story to justify ninety minutes,' he added. Rev - which also stars Olivia Colman - originally launched in 2010 and was named Best Situation Comedy at the 2011 BAFTA Television Awards.

ITV is reported to be close to commissioning two new thirteen-episode drama series. Kevin Lygo's ITV Studios is currently developing adaptations of The Strange Case Of Dr Jekyll And Mr Hyde and Beowulf, reports the Sunday Torygraph. Walking With Dinosaurs producer Tim Haines is working on Beowulf, whilst the Jekyll And Hyde adaptation will, it is claimed, be written by Charlie Higson. Lygo explained that he is currently looking for co-production deals for both shows to secure international distribution. Although shows of this genre traditionally broadcast on Saturday evenings, it is currently unclear where Jekyll And Hyde and Beowulf would fit into ITV's schedule. Earlier this month, ITV confirmed that its new pay channel ITV Encore will launch on 9 June. The channel will be dedicated to the broadcaster's 'best drama' output.

Odious, risible full-of-her-own-importance gobshite Kay Burley was not slow in giving her opinion on ITV's new morning show. Never short of an opinion is the wretched Burley. The Sky News waste-of-oxygen was seemingly up with the larks on Monday to be one of Good Morning Britain's first viewers, after it launched as the ludicrous fiasco Daybreak's long-overdue replacement. However, Burley may not be tuning in again if her tweetering was anything to go by. Albeit, nobody worth tuppence ha'penny actually gives a bastard stuff about what that sour-faced non-entity thinks. About pretty much anything.
The odious Burley wasn't alone in having her tooth-fillings rattling at the sheer horror of what was on display. The Mirra's live-blogger Rob Leigh said: 'They're smiling so much their faces will need planning permission for grinny extensions.' Some regular viewers on Twitter appeared to loathe the new format too, with one writing: 'Good Morning Britain looks like Loose Women crossed with Nintendo Wii's version of Sky Sports News.' Not a good thing, one suspects. The first edition of Good Morning Britain ran fairly smoothly, although there was a very sticky moment when the weather presenter referred viewers to 'the Daybreak website' during the 07:45 update. One imagines that'll be his ass sacked since everybody at ITV appears to want to forget about Daybreak as quickly as humanly possible and any public reference to it is likely to be a hanging offence. In a very Stalinist way, expect within weeks ITV to be denying that Daybreak ever, actually, existed at all. Good Morning Britain's main exclusive was an interview with Paul O'Grady - his first since he was in hospital late last year with recurring heart problems. The name Good Morning Britain was revived by ITV, more than two decades after it was last used. The original Good Morning Britain ran from 1983 to 1992. It was also the name of a really good single by Aztec Camera with Mickey Jones of The Clash. Check it out, dear blog reader, it's much more watchable than that Susanna Reid gurning for a couple of hours. It replaces the risible flop Daybreak, which went through a number of line-up changes after it launched amid much breast-beating hubris and tons of cash in 2010 with grumpy old greed bucket (and drag) Adrian Chiles and The Curiously Orange Christine Bleakley as hosts thrown at it. Daybreak ran through four editors in its brief lifespan and has become a virtual TV industry byword for sinking rotten toxic toot that should never have been commissioned in the first place but the very public and humiliating failure of which remains a bloody good laugh.

And so to the next batch of yer actual Top Telly Tips:-

Saturday 3 May
An adult reading lesson ends in disaster when a woman grows jealous of her tutor's girlfriend and inadvertently causes her to end up in hospital suffering from an asthma attack in tonight's episode of Casualty - 8:30 BBC1. But that proves to be merely the start of the many problems faced by all manner of characters. An elderly woman and her two grandchildren make plans to have the best day ever, but things start to go downhill when the granny feels pains in her chest and one of the kids tumbles off a climbing frame. Two potential A&E incidents for the price of one. No wonder someone is heard saying, 'I don't know how any of this happened. None of it makes any sense.' Maybe they're echoing the concerns of viewers. Maybe not. Meanwhile, Dixie faces her disciplinary meeting, having moved a patient without permission, Connie raises concerns about Zoe's methods and Fletch's moonlighting as a taxi driver catches up with him. Crikey, bet you never knew so much goes on at Holby General, did you? Oh, you did. Okay. Next ...

As we rejoin the German-language drama Generation War - 9:00 BBC2 - the five young friends are struggling to make sense of the oncoming storm in which they find themselves caught. It's May 1943 and the campaign on the Russian front is going badly. Stalingrad, the battle of Kursk, you know the score. Bad time to be a German, frankly. Brothers Wilhelm and Friedhelm are increasingly demoralised, trapped in battles which feel hopeless: 'You kill before they kill you. That's all,' says Friedhelm, whose high ideals in the opening episode have been cauterised by the grimness and depression of war. Back in Berlin, meanwhile, glamorous Greta's singing career is starting to take off. She clings to her idea of stardom, however much it bumps up against the realities of war, sipping champagne and acting the diva even in the midst of horror. She's the most reluctant of the friends to give up her illusions but, you sense, it won't be long before that's shattered to fragments under the jackboot of oppression. By the end of the episode, Greta has been parcelled off to the Soviet Union by her SS lover, Dorn, to entertain the troops, meeting Wilhelm, Friedhelm and Charlotte two years after their last encounter. Meanwhile, Viktor is on a train being transported to a concentration camp, but he manages to escape with a Polish woman and flees into the forests. It's an often dispiriting drama in many ways, but in the battle scenes, it's grippingly powerful. One long sequence in tonight's episode, where Wilhelm's unit are trying to capture a Russian telegraph station, conveys the terror Stalingrad-style of street fighting almost too well. Starring Tom Schilling, Volker Bruch and Katharina Schuettler. In German.

And speaking of the 1940s, if you missed it in 2012, allow this blogger to thoroughly recommend a repeat of William Ivory's unabashedly sentimental fact-based drama Bert & Dickie - 9:00 Drama - about plucky rowers Bert Bushnell and Dickie Burnell, who won one of Britain's few gold medals in the double sculls rowing at the 1948 London Olympics. It will bring a tear to your eye and make you proud to be British, if you can chain up your cynicsm against the railings of emotional balance for ninety minutes. You probably won't even mind feeling that you have been rather manipulated by a story about jolly well pushing yourself to your limits to make your dad proud. Which both Bert and Dickie do as the pair of them have significant daddy issues, as it happens. There's a class division too, always a BBC drama staple: Bert (Matt Smith, terrific even out of the TARDIS) is a working-class young man who's chippy and rude when he first meets his sculling partner, Dickie Burnell (Sam Hoare). Dickie is Eton and Oxbridge educated and a member of the Leander Club (the rowing equivalent of the MCC). But – you can see this coming – they soon learn to appreciate each other and bury their differences as they power through exhaustion to find glory. Thrown together just a few weeks before the games, although both are experienced oarsmen, neither has competed in the double sculls before, leading to a month of intensive training during which they push themselves to physical and emotional limits as they chase their dream of bagging gold. With James Frain, Douglas Hodge and Geoffrey Palmer.

Sunday 4 May
A man is observed loitering on the sea front at Whitley Bay. Yeah. It happens a lot, dear blog reader, take yer actual Keith Telly Topping's word for it. It's a funny place for a bit of loitering is Whitley Bay. Not as regular an occurrence as it is in nearby Cullercoates, admittedly, but that's a different story. Anyway, later that night the loiterer is found on the beach, extremely dead, having been brained on the back of the heed and left to die. Possibly, for his loitering ways, and that. 'It could have been a hockey stick, a rifle butt maybe a giant stick of rock,' says the police coroner, but Vera's not laughing. Oh no. Thus begins tonight's episode of Vera - 8:00 ITV and, sad to report Brenda Blethyn's wretched sub Cheryl Cole accent still hasn't improved. Anyway, back to the loitering dead man. He is David Kenworthy, whose family have made a fair bit of moolah out of local property. 'It doesn't make any sense,' mutters his dad (the great John Woodvine) and his stepmother (Christine Kavanagh) at every opportunity. Perhaps they didn't know about the loitering. Actually not much of this makes sense to Vera Stanhope either, so she drags poor old Joe from the Spanish City slot-machine arcade to some bookshops to dilapidated flats and back again in her attempts to find out what happened. What she does know is that there are some dark secrets loitering in the Kenworthy family's past. But, despite her gentle coaxing (for which read calling everyone 'pet'), she's struggling to find out what they are. A witness spotted arcade owner Larry Crowe arguing with David on the night of the killing and a search of the suspect's property uncovers a bloodied baseball bat. However, Crowe has a cast-iron alibi and it's clear he wasn't the only person that the victim met that night. A second death then leaves Vera facing mounting pressure from her superiors to crack the case and struggling to answer the question of why David was drawn to the seafront on the evening of his father's retirement. Unless he just fancied a look at St Mary's Lighthouse at twilight, of course. Well, it is very pretty.

Malvo does the unexpected in the blackmail operation, Molly sets a trap, Gus debates whether he should come clean and Lester's return to work has complicated repercussions in episode three of Fargo - 9:00 Channel Four. Black comedy-drama inspired by the Coen brothers' much-loved film, starring Martin Freeman, Billy Bob Thornton, Allison Tolman and Colin Hanks.

A repeat, but a jolly good one is Easter Island: Mysteries Of A Lost World - 9:00 BBC4. The demise of Easter Island's civilisation has long been cloaked in mystery. The popular belief is that deforestation and over-exploitation of natural resources led to ecological catastrophe, anarchy and cannibalism among the indigenous population; an ominous parable about contemporary environmental concerns, you could say. if you were a really pessimistic sod. Here, archaeologist Jago Cooper sets out to challenge these assumptions. Cooper looks at the latest scientific evidence to re-examine what happened to the civilisation that once thrived on Easter Island in the Pacific Ocean more than three hundred years ago. It is famous for the hundreds of Big Heed statues that have survived in the desolate landscape, and many people believe the inhabitants' overuse of resources led to their demise. However, the presenter thinks this is a misreading of events and the real reasons for the culture's downfall is far more shocking.

Monday 5 May
Fugitive detective Marcus Farrow is jolly lucky that he's being chased by such a panicky and disorganised cop, a woman who was indecently hasty in charging him with the murder of his wife and son in the second episode of Prey - 9:00 ITV. Detective Inspector Susan Reinhardt (Rosie Cavaliero) really is something of a complete plank, always one step behind Farrow (John Simm, broody and excellent as always) as he pelts through the streets of Manchester in writer Chris Lunt's breathless thriller. She even spends valuable time stalking her ex-husband and his new wife, pestering them with fresh croissants and lots of sarcasm. As you do. But, Farrow is a man with a mission as he takes us through Manchester's public transport hubs dodging his pursuers, the people who were once his friends and colleagues. And he's not just trying to escape their clutches, he's also investigating a murder, which is, frankly, a lot for a wanted man to take on, particularly when his face is plastered all over newspapers and the Internet. Who says men can't multi-task? Desperate to clear his name, the fugitive discovers some shocking truths and believes someone close to home may have information about Abi and Max's grisly and bloody deaths. Cat-and-mouse thriller, also starring Craig Parkinson, Anastasia Hille and Adrian Edmondson.

In King's Landing, Cersei and Tywin plot the next move for the Lannisters and the Crown as they prepare for Tommen's coronation in the latest episode of yer actual Game Of Thrones - 9:00 Sky Atlantic. Daenerys discusses her plans for the future with her advisers and Jon Snow (no, the other one) embarks on a new mission. Possibly involving Toby Gruntsplatter The King's Snotgobbler his very self. Possibly not. You'll have to watch to find out. Fantasy drama, starring Lena Headey, Charles Dance, Emilia Clarke and Kit Harington.

In When Corden Met Barlow - 9:00 BBC1 - having buried the murdered Fenster, Keaton, MacManus, Hockney and Verbal kidnap Kobayashi, intending to kill the lawyer if he does not leave them alone. Unbowed, Kobayashi reveals that Edie Finneran, Keaton's lover, is in his office, and he threatens to have her killed as well as do terrible things to the genitals of members of the families of the four surviving thieves, should they refuse the lucrative-but-dangerous job offered to them by Keyser Söze. Oh no, sorry, hang on, that's The Usual Suspects, isn't it? Well, to be honest, you're probably better off digging out the DVD of that than watching this thoroughly odious arselick example of pro-celebrity cock stroking featuring the least funny man in the world 'getting up close and personal with the man behind the music of his youth.' Horroshow, dear blog reader. And, indeed, drag. A pox on it and everyone involved in it.
Tuesday 6 May
Nevison confides in Kevin about the kidnappers' ransom demands, making the accountant realise the enormity of the situation he has created in Happy Valley - 9:00 BBC1. His boss now faces two problems - raising the money and telling his ill wife that their daughter has been abducted. Catherine's search for Tommy gains momentum when she receives a tip-off regarding his whereabouts, much to the concern of Claire, who thought her sister had put all that in the past, and adding to her woes, things are strained when Catherine's grandson, Ryan, is unwelcome at a family dinner. Sarah Lancashire stars, with Steve Pemberton, George Costigan, James Norton, Karl Davies, Siobhan Finneran and Joe Armstrong.

Scott Mills and Laura Whitmore host coverage of the first semi-final of The Eurovision Song Contest - 8:00 BBC3 - live from Copenhagen. Sixteen acts perform, but only ten will go through to the Grand Final on Saturday. The presenters also talk to the UK's entry, Molly, and discuss all things Eurovision.

In The French Revolution: Tearing Up History - 9:00 BBC4 - Doctor Richard Clay examines the history of the French Revolution through art, telling the story of the turbulent conflict through examples of iconoclasm - including the stone masons who pulled down statues outside Notre Dame, and the introduction of coded signs of anti-Christian state legislation outside churches, which still exist today.
The arrival of Sherlock's older, smarter, fatter brother Mycroft (Rhys Ifans) in New York causes tension between Holmes and Joan Watson - especially when the reason for his shock visit comes to light in the latest episode of Elementary - 9:00 Sky Living. However, a kidnapping case offers a welcome distraction for the pair. Jonny Lee Miller and Lucy Liu star.

Tonight also sees the return of the classy psychological thriller Hannibal - 10:00 Sky Living, starring the superb double act of Mads Mikkelsen and Hugh Dancy. In a - genuinely astonishing - opening sequence to the second series, Jack Crawford (Larry Fishburne) visits Hannibal Lecter at his home and immediately attacks him. A protracted and brutally vicious fight ensues, ending with Doctor Lecter stabbing Big Jack in the neck with a shard of broken glass. Bleeding profusely, Crawford manages to lock himself in Lecter's wine cellar. As - with a steely look of determination on his face - Lecter throws himself at the door in an effort to break it down, a caption appears - 'Twelve weeks earlier' - and the viewer suddenly realises that what follows over the next twelve episodes is going to be the majority of a series told entirely in flashback. Now, that's clever. So, anyway, twelve weeks ago we were in the immediate aftermath of the FBI's resident high-functioning sociopath Will Graham getting his ass thorough;y arrested and thrown into the Baltimore Facility For The Totally Mental as the suspected Chesapeake Ripper. With the blood and the screaming and the ... horns. And, the vomitting up of Abigail Hobbs's extremely dead ear. That was a bit of a give-away, wasn't it? Kade Prurnell (Cynthia Nixon), an investigator for the Inspector General's Office, warns Jack Crawford of his possible misconduct, while pressuring the world's sexist behavioural psychologist Alana Bloom (the divine Caroline Dhavernas) to recant her complaint; namely Crawford's dreadful mishandling of Will Graham's perceived instability. Alana, bless 'er, refuses stressing that the truth must go on record and that whilst she doesn't wish to fuck up Jack's career, she wants everyone to know that poor Will didn't know what he was doing when he, apparently, killed all those people. She is also looking after Will's dogs until such times as he's let out of the loony bin because as we know from previous evidence, both of them are compulsive collectors of waifs and strays. Lecter, meanwhile, gets to walk a mile in his nemesis Will's shoes as an FBI consultant when six partially preserved bodies are found in a river. Lecter theorises that the killer is preserving the bodies to create a human model collection - a piece of performance art, as it were - and that those in the river are imperfect cast-offs. In the Baltimore asylum, Will Graham - now free from the Encephalitis which so clouded his mind for most of the first series - is determined to uncover how Lecter stitch him up like a kipper and enlists Alana to help him recover his lost memories through hypnosis. This is his design, as it were. Whilst not immediately successful, he later has a flashback of Doctor Lecter forcing poor Abigail's lughole down his throat through a plastic tube. Then, the killer strikes again, kidnapping a young man and taking him to an empty silo where his sick collection is revealed: an interconnected collage of naked bodies. Not for those weak of stomach it has to be said but, if you like your drama dark and nefarious and, if you enjoyed something like True Detective, then you need to get on board with Hannibal, dear blog reader. You will not regret it. Oh, and Gillian Anderson's in it as well, if you need any more persuasion.
Wednesday 7 May
After six weeks of heats, sixty hopefuls - some of them, truly terrible (usually the ones with a hugely inflated sense of their own brilliance) - have been whittled down to the most promising six in MasterChef - 8:00 BBC1. Place your bets. Now it's the first of the semi-finals, in which they face a big catering challenge - in Albert Square of all places. The busy EastEnders cast and crew have strictly one hour for lunch and their schedule is as tight as Ian Beale's wallet, so the two teams - serving sixty main courses and sixty desserts each from specially constructed tents - cannot be late. Cos, if they are, Phil Mitchell and Mick Carter will be giving them a very nasty hiding. After that challenge - assuming they avoid a Walford sandwich - it's back to the studio to come up with their own refined dish, before Gregg Wallace and John Torode send one of the hopefuls home.

In Billy Connolly's Big Send Off - 9:00 ITV - the well-known Scottish comedian embarks on 'a personal and enlightening journey' exploring attitudes toward death and dying. The Big Yin addresses his own feelings and beliefs about what happens to us all at the end of our lives. In the first of two programmes, Billy's trip takes him from a funeral convention in Texas and a drive-through funeral parlour in Los Angeles to a voodoo ceremony in New Orleans. He also chats to his old friend Eric Idle about how the hit single 'Always Look on the Bright Side of Life' has become such a popular song choice for people's final send-off in humanist funerals.
The testosterone-snorting US action drama 24 makes its eagerly awaited return - 9:00 Sky1 - four years after big knobbed armour-plated killing machine Jack Bauer waged his one-man war against a political conspiracy - becoming an extremely wanted man in the process. Now he's back and holed up in London, just as his old boss James Heller - formerly Secretary Of State With A Machine Gun and now, the big cheese his very self, the US president - is paying a visit to tell the British what to think. So, no change there, then. As ever, both men are being followed by trouble. Yer actual Kiefer Sutherland stars in the first of twelve episodes - designed to streamline the action and keep the tool-stiffening violence to a maximum - with old favourites Mary Lynn Rajskub, William Devane and Kim Raver joined by Michelle Fairley, Benjamin Bratt, Tate Donovan and Stephen Fry, as the prime minister. Oh, if only. Followed, immediately, by episode two.

Booth digs into the family history of a murdered heiress and his investigations reveal her stepmother could be responsible for her death in the latest episode of Bones - 9:00 Sky Living. However, when the victim's parents reveal their daughter was being held to ransom, the case is completely turned on its head. Meanwhile, Jack Hodgins is faced with a dilemma when his long-lost schizophrenic brother suddenly reappears.

Thursday 8 May
In New Battle Of The Sexes - 9:00 BBC2 - Kirsty Wark explores whether there is a new trend in society at large in which it is acceptable to write and talk about women in an overtly sexual manner, often bordering on the offensive and at times abusive. A new trend? H-okay. The Newsnight presenter examines everything from bomb threats sent to those campaigning for more women to feature on banknotes to explicit pop videos, and from extreme 'laddism' at universities to rape jokes in the schoolyard.

Between April and July of 1986, elderly residents of South London were targeted by Kenneth Erskine, who embarked on a spree of sexual assault and murder that shocked Britain. In the documentary The OAP Killer: First Kill, Last Kill - 9:00 Channel Five - criminologist David Wilson examines Erskine's childhood and early foray into petty crime. And, it also explores the differences between his first and last murders in an effort to understand what triggered these terrible crimes and what led to him eventually being caught. Featuring interviews with relatives, friends and neighbours of the victims, as well as psychiatrists, journalists and police detectives assigned to the case.

The terrific - and rather disturbingly alluring - Doctor Lucy Worsley examines how yer actual George II had to adapt to a growing middling rank in society who were no longer content with being subjects in the second episode of The First Georgians: The German Kings Who Made Britain - 9:00 BBC4. Affairs of the state began to be openly discussed in coffee houses, and the king and his ministers were mocked in satire - with George becoming an easy target due to his frequent absences. His wife Caroline went on to popularise a medical breakthrough against smallpox, but it was their son, Frederick the Prince of Wales. who had the popularity the monarchy needed to survive in the modern era.

Tonight's Playhouse Presents - 9:00 Sky Arts1 - is Nosferatu in Love. When his wife leaves him, an actor starring in a new production of horror classic Nosferatu in the Czech Republic jumps on a Vespa and speeds away from the set, still in full vampire costume and make-up. He ends up in a small town, where he meets a petty crook who offers to take him under his wing for a night on the town. Comedy drama, written and directed by Peter Straughan, starring Mark Strong.
Friday 9 May
Actor and comedian David Mitchell (you know, Victoria's bloke) hosts Have I Got News For You - 9:00 BBC1 - with comedy screenwriter Andy Hamilton taking sides with either Paul Merton or Ian Hislop as they ridicule those in power and laugh at the latest stories.

Lizzy finds herself unable to trust Red now that the truth about her father's untimely death has come to light and, with Tom's agenda still unclear, she doesn't feel safe in her own home in the penultimate episode of The Blacklisat - 9:00 Sky Living. Attempting to keep danger at bay, the agent refuses to collaborate with Red, only for the wily ex-con to present her with a case that's too urgent to ignore. James Spader, Megan Boone, Diego Klattenhoff and Harry Lennix star.
Steve's son Joe and his assistant Emma join him and Rob on the final leg of their culinary tour of Italy as they take the ferry from Naples to Capri, where they have lunch at Il Ricci in the last episode of The Trip To Italy - 10:00 BBC2. Afterwards, Rob asks Emma for advice about whether he should go back to Lucy, while Steve tells Joe he is going to buy a house closer to him. Comedy, starring Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon.
To to news now: Father Ted star Pauline McLynn is joining the cast of the BBC soap EastEnders. The Irish actress will have a 'recurring guest role' as Charlie Cotton's mother, Yvonne. Pauline, who played the housekeeper Mrs Doyle in the cult Channel Four sitcom, will make her first appearance next month. 'I know that viewers are going to both love and be intrigued by Yvonne Cotton,' Dominic Treadwell-Collins, the show's executive producer, said. 'I have always been a little in love with Pauline McLynn, so I'm so excited that she's joining the Cotton family.' He added that it was 'about time Albert Square had another Irish character.' McLynn, who also starred in Channel Four drama Shameless and the - really not very funny at all - BBC sitcom Jam and Jerusalem, is best known as the scatty Mrs Doyle in Father Ted, a role she played over the duration of the show from 1995 to 1998. 'It is a thrill to join EastEnders, my favourite soap, and in particular any chance to be part of a Dot Cotton storyline is not to be passed up - June Brown is a legend and I feel privileged to act with her,' the actress said. Her on-screen son, Charlie (played by Declan Bennett), arrived on the square earlier this year following the death of his father Nick - Dot Cotton's trouble and troublesome son. There have been a number of shifts in the soap's cast in recent months - Danny Dyer led the charge, joining the show as new Queen Vic landlord Mick Carter in December 2013, alongside Timothy West as his on-screen father, Stan. On Good Friday, cast regular Lucy Beale - played by Hetti Bywater - was extremely killed off in a dramatic 'whodunnit' storyline, whilst earlier this month Patsy Palmer - Albert Square stalwart Bianca - announced that she would be leaving the show this autumn.

Sir David Attenborough has warned that broadcasters can no longer 'sink money' into ambitious long-running television series because of declining overnight audiences and the increasing number of channels. At an event marking the fiftieth anniversary of BBC2, Attenborough said that the fragmentation of viewing habits meant that companies will soon be unable to fund programmes aimed at 'universality', reported the Torygraph. He said that the place of television in our lives has 'changed dramatically' since the 1960s, when he was BBC2 controller for four years, and predicted that series such as Life On Earth, his own landmark thirteen-part natural history television series broadcast in 1979, may never be made for mainstream television again. Attenborough said: 'Life on Earth got seventeen million viewers on first showing and hundreds of millions since. You could sink money into a production like that because you knew what was going to happen. But every time you get another network on the air, every time you get another satellite on the air, every time you get another circuit, you are diminishing the audience. You won't get audiences of seventeen million again so eventually you won't get the budgets in order to make those sorts of programmes.' He also predicted that Shakespeare would no longer be made for television in twenty five years and that long-running series such as his own would be replaced with two-part documentaries. Speaking of The Great War, the twenty six-part series commissioned in 1964, he said: 'That's taking things seriously, that's giving commitment, that's saying I'm going to show you something I have faith in and is important. Today, I have to say, someone said to me "we've got a new two-part series." I suspect particular organisations will develop which decide they will circulate natural history programmes or second world war documentaries or operas or Shakespeare in a different kind of way. And it won't be available, as it is and should be at the moment, in universality.' Speaking of television's role in people's lives today, he said: 'The place of television in our lives has changed beyond recognition. In 1952, there was a tiny audience, you turned on at certain times and turned off when it was finished. You needed specialist equipment. Now everybody can do it; everybody does do it.'

Graham Norton has expressed reservations about succeeding Sir Bruce Forsyth as Strictly Come Dancing host, saying that he is 'too lazy' to do the job. 'I wouldn't jump at the chance,' he told the Sun. 'I really enjoy the show but it's a very tough gig. It's very hard for a new person to take over and I'm quite lazy.' The Irish comedian and braodcaster has been tipped to take over the BBC1 show following Sir Bruce's announcement he is to step down. John Barrowman and presenter Nick Knowles have also been mooted as potential replacements, albeit not by anyone that actually knows what they're talking about. According to Norton, though, 'the sensible way forward' would be to continue the Tess Daly-Claudia Winkleman partnership which has become a Strictly Come Dancing fixture. The pair co-host the Strictly results show on Sunday and have filled in for Forsyth on some editions of the main Saturday night show. 'I think as a tried-and-tested duo they're great and work really well together,' said Norton. The fifty one-year-old, who also has a Saturday show on BBC Radio 2 and hosts the BBC's coverage of The Eurovision Song Contest, said it would be 'a bit weird' to take on a show that could see him on television on Saturdays and Sundays. In a separate interview, Daly's presenter husband the gurning berk Vernon Kay also tipped his wife and Winkleman to take on the presenting duties full-time. 'She and Tess have a great relationship,' he told the Daily Mirra. 'It would be pretty phenomenal to have such a successful show presented by two women as well.' Unlike Norton, however, Kay did not rule himself out of the running for Brucie's replacement, suggesting that one would have to be 'an idiot' to turn it down the job if it was offered. 'When someone says to you, "Would you like to co-host the most successful show on British television at the moment," who is going to say no?' he told the newspaper. Sir Bruce, who announced his departure earlier this month, has presented the BBC1 ratings winner with Daly since the show began in 2004. The eighty six-year-old went on to reveal that the rigours of the job and criticism over his ability to continue in the role had been factors in his decision.

Dave has announced its first rebranding exercise since its launch in 2007. The popular digital channel, the home of witty banter (and some crap American shows ) - will phase in 'a new identity' on-air and online from Tuesday. Red Bee has designed a new look for the channel, having originally created the launch seven years ago. Over forty new idents and - allegedly - 'humorous' visuals will be used between programmes, UKTV's Will Gunton and Hik Sasaki revealed. 'We want people to think of Dave not just as a place you visit but a mate you want to spend time with, even when you can't get near a telly,' said Gunton. 'In a world crowded with hundreds of channels, Dave has always stood out for its unique personality, which gives us the ability to talk and act in ways which others can't. This refresh is designed to inject this unique persona into everything we do on-and-off-screen and expand the Dave brand to an even bigger audience.' General manager Steve North added: 'Now not only home to all things witty, Dave's distinct and charismatic personality is continuing to bring wit to your world through unexpected and amusing moments of entertainment and flashes of irreverent humour. The updated look and feel Red Bee has created provides a re-energised and more flexible platform for the channel's wide range of brilliant programming.' Red Bee's Andy Bryant added: 'Creating the original Dave brand was one of Red Bee's proudest moments and the channel has gone from strength to strength since then. Now is the time to build on Dave's unique personality and tone of voice with a refreshed identity that exudes the channel's sense of humour in every second between programmes.' Dave recently announced several original comedy commissions, including Alan Davies's As Yet Untitled, three World Cup 2014 football specials and new series of Ross Noble's Freewheeling and Crackanory.

Yer actual Chris Packham has returned to the UK after he was questioned for four hours by the pollis in Malta when he tried to film the illegal hunting of migrating birds. The naturalist and TV presenter said that rare species were being targeted and that hunters were even shooting Montagu's harrier birds on the ground at night. Chris, from Hampshire, whom yer actual Keith Telly Topping has a lot of time for, described Malta as 'an avian apocalypse.' He was questioned after the hunters demanded the police investigate his alleged defamation against them as a bunch of bloody-thirsty criminals. Lawyers for FKNK, the hunters' federation on Malta, also asked the police to look at a transgression of data protection laws. Against the blood-thirsty criminals. Allegedly. In Malta, if a lawyer lodges such a demand - no matter how scummishly mental - the police are legally obliged to investigate. Chris, who is based in Marchwood, in the New Forest, was in Malta making a series of short video blogs for YouTube. He voluntarily attended the pollis station where he was questioned and, subsequently released. Chris, who has presented Springwatch and more recently, Inside The Animal Mind, said: 'Ultimately I want something positive to come out of this. The police seemed to me to be keen to develop a more co-operative working relationship with NGOs such as BirdLife Malta and the Committee Against Bird Slaughter. If that happens as a result of this questioning, then it will be a good outcome as it will lead to more successful prosecutions of illegal hunting activities.' He added: 'The situation on Malta is a very difficult working environment for all parties. Emotions are running high and polarisation between hunters and conservationists is extreme. I'm not here to take sides. I want to help the Maltese people stop the spring hunting and illegal hunting.' A Maltese wildlife official insisted that patrols to stop illegal hunting had been 'stepped up.' Sergei Golovkin, head of Malta's Wild Birds Regulation Unit, insisted that the authorities were 'controlling' the hunters. Allegedly. Malta has an exemption from the EU Birds Directive, allowing its hunters to shoot turtle doves and quail during the spring migration, a crucial stage in the birds' life cycle. But according to Packham, turtle doves were vulnerable, with their numbers down by ninety five per cent. Malta is the only EU country to have a recreational spring hunting season allowing birds to be shot.

Actors in BBC1's Jamaica Inn have faced remorseless criticism on Twitter in recent weeks - as though, once again, Twitter is now The Sole Arbiter of The Worth Of All Things - for apparently mumbling their lines. But now they have come under fire from a harsher critic: Penelope Keith, who played the posh Audrey fforbes-Hamilton in To The Manor Born. Although what the hell any of this has to do with her is another matter entirely since she's been dumped into the bin of 'anybody remember ...? No, me neither.) The extremely posh seventy four-year-old with teeth like a horse, who also played Margo Leadbetter in The Good Life, told the Scum Mail's Sebastian Shakespeare: 'Actors must remember who they're doing it for. They're doing it for the people who look. How can you be an actor if people can't understand what you're saying? Go and be Marcel Marceau if you don't want people to understand you.' Keith, who had elocution lessons as a girl and acted in rep, added: 'A lot of the mumbly actors should have a bash at Oscar Wilde or Noel Coward in the theatre, because if people can't hear what you're saying, they don't laugh and that would bring them up sharp. When I act, I want people to understand the story I'm trying to tell. But the problem is more widespread than acting. I mean, can you understand what most people say?' yeah. Thanks for your contribution to the debate, Penny. No, piss off back to obscurity.

The Last Night Of The Pythons show at London’s O2 Arena is to be broadcast to fifteen hundred cinemas around the world. In the UK alone, more than four hundred and fifty cinemas will take the live feed of the 20 July gig. The date is the last of ten they are performing at the arena. The first date sold out within a minute, despite tickets costing up to ninety five smackers. John Cleese said: 'The response to our planned reunion has been very, very silly. But, we're all touched that so many fans still want to see such old people perform.' Marc Allenby of Picturehouse Entertainment, which secured the international distribution rights for cinemas, said the event would ‘push the boundaries of live cinema broadcasts.'
Amy Williams has signed up to join The Gadget Show. The Olympic gold medallist will team up with Jason Bradbury, Ortis Deley and Jon Bentley when the Channel Five show returns in the autumn. Williams has moved into TV presenting since winning a gold in the Skeleton competition at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics. She previously joined the Ski Sunday team in January 2013 and also commentates for BBC Sport. She also took part in the Sochi 2014 Olympics coverage. Williams said of her new role: 'I'm delighted to be joining the team at The Gadget Show and can't wait to get stuck in testing the latest technology on the market.' Executive producer Ewan Keil added: 'We are really, really pleased that Amy is joining us. I know she will relish our more extreme challenges and will get stuck into everything we throw at her. Happily, she also brings a great deal of technical knowledge to the show.' Williams will replace Rachel Riley, who leaves the show after three series. Channel Five's Guy Davies said: 'I'm pleased to welcome Amy Williams to The Gadget Show team, and I'm sure our audience will take to her immediately. I would also like to thank Rachel Riley for doing such a sterling job and wish her the best of luck for the future.'

An observation from watching Soccer Saturday, dear blog reader. Jesus, but Steve Bruce is looking more and more like George II every day.
The BBC has announced that it is to suspend its membership of the employers' organisation the CBI from 30 May to 18 September. A statement said the suspension would cover the period of the CBI's registration as a supporter of the pro-UK Better Together campaign. A number of organisations have left the CBI because of its opposition to Scottish independence. The statement from the BBC said: 'In order to protect the BBC's neutrality, the CBI and the BBC have agreed to suspend the BBC's membership during the business group's registration period under the terms of the Scottish Referendums Act 2013.' An identical statement was released by CBI Director-General John Cridland. Several bodies have now quit the CBI after it registered with the Electoral Commission as a supporter of the campaign to keep the UK together. The CBI said it was confident the 'vast majority' of its membership agreed with its stance on independence. The registration as a non-party participant allows it to spend up to one hundred and fifty thousand quid on campaigning during the regulated period from 30 May until the referendum on 18 September. A statement from the pro-independence Business For Scotland group said: 'It is inevitably damaging to the credibility and impartiality of both the BBC and ITV if they do not fully resign from the CBI. As things now are, and at least up until the 30 May when the BBC suspension of membership comes into play, people in Scotland are receiving news from two self-declared No supporting broadcasters. That is simply not acceptable.' Broadcaster STV has left the CBI but ITV said that it would remain a member. A spokesman for ITV added: 'We remain entirely impartial on the debate over Scottish independence and our coverage of the issue will, as always, be completely fair and balanced.' Most of Scotland's universities, several quangos, the Law Society of Scotland and two businesses, Aquamarine Power and Balhousie Care Group, have left the CBI. Meanwhile, Robert Gordon University said that after 'extensive consultations' principal Ferdinand von Prondzynski had decided to suspend CBI membership 'for the time being. This will be reviewed after the referendum and the university will maintain its position of neutrality,' a statement added.

ITV's glorious crap morning fiasco Daybreak broadcast its final edition on Friday morning. Aled Jones co-hosted the final episode with horrible Kate Garraway, ahead of the launch of its replacement Good Morning Britain on Monday. We've had a lot of fun at From The North concerning Daybreak since it launched in 2010 and, in some ways this blogger feels a little like John Stewart on The Daily Show on the day that George W Bush left The White House. 'I'm gonna miss you so much!' On the other hand, good riddance to bad rubbish, frankly. Daybreak was always a steaming pile of right rotten rancid diarrhoea dear blog reader, piled high by hubris and greed. And, ultimately, that's why it's getting flushed into the gutter along with all the other turds.
Identifying who made sick and offensive changes to a Wikipedia page about the Hillsborough disaster 'may prove challenging', ministers have claimed. The government said that a full inquiry led by Cabinet Office Permanent Secretary Richard Heaton was under way. It came after the Liverpool Echo discovered that Whitehall computers on a secure government network were used to make the comments. The Cabinet Office said the 'sickening' changes were 'in complete contravention of the Civil Service Code.' The government claims it is making 'urgent inquiries' into reports that Whitehall computers were used to make the loathsome and insulting comments about the Hillsborough disaster. Comments were posted from computers on Whitehall's secure Intranet, the Echo said. The Cabinet Office said the claims were being treated with 'the utmost seriousness. We thank the Liverpool Echo for bringing this to our attention,' a spokesman said. 'No-one should be in any doubt of the government's position regarding the Hillsborough disaster and its support for the families of the ninety six victims and all those affected by the tragedy.' In one of the changes, the Liverpool anthem 'You'll Never Walk Alone' was changed to 'You'll Never Walk Again', the newspaper claimed. Steve Kelly, who lost his thirty eight-year-old brother Michael at Hillsborough, said: 'After all these years it's disgusting that people are still trying to put the knife into the families - we're good people. We've tried to maintain our dignity and people are still doing this sort of thing.' Sheila Coleman, spokeswoman for the Hillsborough Justice Campaign, said that the group would be talking to its legal team about 'how to proceed. Clearly we'll be calling for an inquiry - we'll expect those responsible to be identified and appropriate action taken,' she added. Entries in Wikipedia can, of course, be edited by anyone with access to the Internet. The computer used to make those changes can be traced using a computer's IP address, however. Oliver Duggan, the Liverpool Echo reporter who broke the story, said that the paper used a list of thirty four IP addresses for Whitehall computers, released in 2008 by Angela Eagle MP following a parliamentary question. 'In this instance we were able to match up the IP address used to edit the Hillsborough Wikipedia page between 2009 and 2012 with the Whitehall secure Intranet,' he said. Jon Davies, chief executive of Wikimedia UK, said that it was 'appalled by such vandalism' and that it had 'systems in place' to deal with such incidents. 'In this case, none of the offensive comments were up for more than a couple of hours, and most were removed in a few minutes,' he said. The Liverpool football fans died after a crush at the FA Cup semi-final in April 1989. New inquests, set to last a year, were ordered after new evidence revealed by The Hillsborough Independent Panel led to the original inquest verdicts being quashed. A spokesman said that Andy Burnham MP, who 'has a deserved status as an expert on the disaster', would be given the chance to 'view all relevant material from the very outset so that he can assure himself all steps have been taken.' Burnham said it was 'sickening and appalling to think that people in government are aiming this kind of abuse at the Liverpool supporters - particularly the victims and survivors of that tragedy.' He said that 'a full and proper inquiry [to] find the name of the individual or individuals responsible' needed to happen, adding that they must then be 'held accountable - nothing else will do.' Burnham, during his time as Culture, Media and Sport Secretary, was instrumental in a campaign to have classified documents about the disaster released, which led to the formation of The Hillsborough Independent Panel.
Andy Coulson has admitted that he 'didn't tell police' he knew David Blunkett's phone was hacked partly 'to save his own skin.' The former Scum of the World editor and the Prime Minister's, if you will, 'chum', told jurors at the Old Bailey that he decided 'not to volunteer the information' in 2006 when anti-terrorist police swooped on the paper's offices following the arrest of the tabloid's royal editor on suspicion that he had hacked phone connected to the royal family. Coulson last week admitted for the first time that he had listened to Blunkett's hacked voicemails two years before those events after his chief reporter, Neville Thurlbeck, told him that he had voicemails which revealed the former Home Secretary was having an affair. David Spens, QC for the former royal editor Clive Goodan, put it to Coulson that he decided not to divulge his knowledge of hacking to police to protect himself. 'One reason may have been that that [telling police] would have come back to you and your knowledge of phone hacking?' 'It may have done,' said Coulson. 'You chose not to tell police about Neville Thurlbeck hacking because you were concerned to save your own skin,' said Spens. 'I certainly accept the impact on me was a factor but there were other factors,' Coulson replied. So, that would be a 'yes', then? Spens interjected: 'Self preservation usually comes first doesn't it?' Coulson was giving evidence for the sixth day at the hacking trial. He has that said he 'did not help or hinder' the police when they arrested Goodman and the convicted hacker Glenn Mulcaire who was on a one hundred thousand smackers-a-year contract with the disgraced and disgraceful Scum of the World. Both Goodman and Mulcaire were subsequently jailed in 2007 for offences extremely linked to the hacking the mobile phones of the royal household but they were charged again ahead of the trial now under way at the Old Bailey. Mulcaire has pleaded very guilty to more widespread hacking including that of the murdered schoolgirl Milly Dowler. Goodman has not been charged with hacking but has been charged with paying unnamed public officials for royal telephone directories, an offence which he denies. Goodman has alleged as part of the trial that he was 'put under pressure' by Coulson to plead guilty in 2007 in order to 'save the company's reputation.' He has also claimed that he was threatened by an News International lawyer with the loss of his job if he claimed that others were involved in hacking at the paper. Coulson has denied that he instructed Goodman to plead guilty. He has also denied any knowledge that Goodman was planning to implicate him. 'If I felt that Clive Goodman was accusing me, I don't think I would have behaved in the way I did. My memory was I did not have any suspicion that Clive was going to implicate until much later.' It was put to Coulson again that he 'asked' Goodman to plead guilty. 'I hadn't asked him to plead guilty. It was a disastrous day for Clive, for the paper and by this stage the thought was in my mind that I might resign,' Coulson claimed. He was again quizzed about an e-mail in which a News International lawyer - who cannot be named for legal reasons - talks about the possibility of Goodman 'straying off a preferred line.' It is the prosecution's case that this refers to a risk that Goodman might have implicated others in phone-hacking. 'It was not the preferred line to lie,' claimed Coulson. Mr Justice Saunders interjected by putting it to Coulson that 'if he had implicated others it would be true.' Coulson replied that this is with the knowledge of the present day and was not his belief at the time. Coulson also denied that he had 'turned a blind eye' to phone-hacking after his chief reporter played him the tapes of David Blunkett's voicemails. But, he told jurors that it was 'a bad mistake' not to have quizzed Neville Thurlbeck when he phoned Coulson in 2004 to tell him he had heard messages the former Home Secretary left declaring his love for a married woman. In an intense exchange with lead prosecutor Andrew Edis QC, Coulson denied that the reason he didn't question Thurlbeck - or discipline him for breaking the law - was because he had already known about hacking. Edis put it to Coulson that: 'There was only one reason you did not ask him and that's because you already knew that Neville and Glenn Mulcaire were hacking voicemails.' 'That's not true,' Coulson claimed. 'It is because you did not really want to know about phone hacking Neville Thurlbeck had done?' asked Edis. Coulson claimed that he did not know. 'And you've got to assume that he was doing it himself, because you have always denied that you knew about Glenn Mulcaire,' continued Edis. Again Coulson replied that he did not. 'Is it that you would rather not know. Ask no questions?' he was asked. 'I didn't ask questions,' he replied. 'Turning a blind eye?' 'I accept that it was a failure on my part. I don't think I turned a blind eye. To turn a blind eye, you would have to have some knowledge. What I'm saying is it was a mistake, a bad mistake,' Coulson confessed. Coulson claimed that his main concern was to get Thurlbeck to 'stop his investigation.' He felt it was a breach of privacy and a breach of the privacy of a friend of the company and his boss. Edis then put it to him that if Thurlbeck had phoned him to tell him '"I've just robbed a bank", you would not have told him to stop. You would have done something about it. Telling him to stop doesn't really address the problem, because it's something already done.' Coulson said: 'It was my concern that it stopped and that was the instruction I gave him.' The former editor was on holiday in Italy when Thurlbeck phoned him on 21 July 2004. The jury has heard that despite Coulson's instructions, Thurlbeck repitched the story to him two weeks later. The more Coulson listened to the story, the more he thought exposing Blunkett's affair was 'in the public interest.' If not, necessarily, in Blunkett's. Coulson denied that he only admitted he had listened to the hacked messages after he learned that police had found transcripts of the voicemails in a News International safe. Coulson also said that he was 'still in a relationship' with well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Rebekah Brooks around the time he resigned as editor of the Scum of the World. He received a six hundred thousand smackers pay-off from the paper when he extremely quit, the jury heard on Friday. Coulson told the jury that he had started a relationship with his former boss in 1998 but that this had ended soon after. It restarted, he claimed, in '2004, possibly the end of 2003' and continued, in an on-off fashion, 'for years. In between times we had for a long period, the relationship was what it should have been which was a friendship. From 2004 onwards, it was by no means continuous. The affair did continue till around the time I left the News of the World.' Coulson extremely quit the paper on 26 January 2007, the day his royal editor was jailed for phone-hacking offences. Coulson claimed that he confided with well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Brooks about his resignation from the Scum of the World ahead of the public statement. 'Months' after he quit the paper he went to work as David Cameron's Director of Communications. The jury heard that 'around April' Coulson was 'in talks' with George Osborne about the role. He subsequently met Cameron and following the local elections in May a job offer was made. The jury has already heard well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Brooks admit the 'dysfunctional' affair, which the prosecution believed went on between 1998 and ended in 2004 because of the date of a draft letter found on her computer by police. She described Coulson as her 'very best friend' and told him: 'I love you.' Well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Brooks told the jurors in February that she began 'a physical relationship' with Coulson in 1998, at a time when she had split up with her then partner, former EastEnders hard man Ross Kemp. She got back together with Kemp that year and they planned on 'building a life together' but the relationship began to unravel in 2003. Mianly after she was arrested for trying to chin him. She then 'reignited' relations with Coulson and confirmed that there had been 'intimacy' between 2003 and 2005 and that this had happened 'again in 2006.' Coulson told the court on Friday that the pair were still intimately involved 'around the time' of his departure from the Scum of the World in January 2007. The jury also heard Coulson received a six hundred thousand knicker pay out when he quit the Scum of the World, the equivalent of three years' salary. 'I had a two-year contract and as I understood it the contract was two years plus a month for every year's service and I did not consider that to be unusual,' said Coulson. He had previously told jurors that he decided to resign after consultation with his wife Eloise over Christmas 2006 and worked out a deal with a News International executive about 13 or 14 January, two weeks ahead of Goodman's sentencing. Coulson's resignation was kept secret from Goodman and not announced until after the reporter was sentenced to prison on 26 January 2007. Coulson denied that this was to 'keep the lid on the situation' and stop Goodman from 'naming names' of others who knew about hacking on the paper. Goodman's lawyer put it to Coulson that 'the reason you did that was because you were fearful of provoking Mr Goodman into telling the truth about your real involvement. It would risk him coming out with the truth,' he added. Coulson denied this was the case. Spens then put it to Coulson that if he had told Goodman of his decision to resign before Goodman's sentencing, 'his faint prospect of keeping his resignation would go.' The jury heard that Coulson wrote to a News International executive on 13 January to say that he had decided it would 'only work for the company and the paper if there's a clean break' and that he wished to resign. The following day, he proposed a draft statement in which he would say: 'Although I knew nothing of Clive's illegal activities, they were wrong and should not have happened on my watch.' This was deleted from the final public statement, the jury heard. Under cross-examination by Edis, Coulson was questioned about the edition of the Scum of the World carrying the story reporting that 'the hunt for Milly Dowler took a new twist' when it emerged that a voicemail had been left on her phone about a job in a Telford factory. Edis put it to Coulson that he had said the idea that a thirteen-year-old whose face had been all over national TV and press would be working in the Midlands was 'absurd' in his earlier testimony. Yet, Edis said, eleven people from the Scum of the World were working on the story and that 'could not have happened in Telford without you knowing about it.' Coulson replied: 'It could absolutely happen without me knowing about it. It was not my job to track reporters.' He would not have been able to edit the paper if he was 'micromanaging' reporters, he claimed. Coulson said that he 'could not remember' who told him about the new lead that Dowler might have run away from her Surrey home for a job in the Midlands. 'The idea that she could walk into a factory was unbelievable,' he added. Edis asked: 'Is this based on memory or are you inventing it?' Coulson replied: 'I'm not inventing it.' Coulson admitted that if Milly Dowler had been found alive and working at a factory in Telford it would have been a 'better' front-page story than the one the paper did carry on 14 April 2002 about the actor Michael Greco leaving EastEnders. Coulson said he 'did not recall' any conversation with the then editor, well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Brooks, who was holidaying at the time in Dubai, about the Dowler story, which he thought was weak. 'If a story came in that was going to mean the reworking of page one in a significant way I think it is quite likely I would have told her,' he claimed. He told the jurors that he was 'stepping up' from his deputy editorship to edit the paper and he would 'not have been minded to ring Rebekah every five minutes' as this was an opportunity to show he could do the job himself. Coulson is facing three charges including one that he conspired to hack phones. He denies all charges. The trial extremely continues.
The convicted paedophile Max Clifford has been found extremely guilty of eight charges of indecent assault  and other dirty deeds against women and girls as young as fifteen by a jury at Southwark crown court in London. Clifford, seventy one, was convicted following a six-week trial which exposed 'the terrible, festering secret' that he was, if fact, a dirty rotten paedophile filth who 'bullied and manipulated teenage girls' into performing sex acts. After deliberating for thirty two hours, jurors found Clifford very guilty of eight counts of indecent assault between 1977 and 1985. He was found not guilty of two other charges of indecent assault whilst the jury could not reach a verdict on one further count. Clifford was granted conditional bail but told by the judge that this should not be taken as an indication of the sentence which would be passed on him on Friday. Meaning, presumably, that he can look forward to his first taste of slopping out in nick sometime on Saturday morning. The convicted padophile Clifford showed no emotion as the extremely guilty verdicts were returned. His daughter, Louise, also reportedly remained expressionless in the public gallery next to Clifford's office manager, who sat with her head in her hands. The publicist left the courtroom without speaking to the press, which is almost certainly a first since he's normally got plenty to say for himself, hurrying into a private room with his legal team as his supporters – including several employees – waited outside, some in floods of tears. Once outside, Clifford refused to make a statement: 'I've been told by my lawyers to say nothing at all,' he said. Except that he said that, obviously. One of his supporters nodded his head when asked by a journalist whether he felt Clifford had been 'the victim of a witch-hunt.' The guilty verdicts make Clifford the first person to be prosecuted successfully under Scotland Yard's Operation Yewtree investigation, which was sparked by the dirty old scallywag and rotten rascal Jimmy Savile fiasco in late 2012 and has led to a spate of arrests but – until his week – not a single conviction. The BBC's home affairs correspondent Danny Shaw said that the verdicts were 'hugely significant' as the first successful Operation Yewtree conviction. Other previous high profile trials had not led to guilty verdicts and some commentators had opined that this appeared to indicate that juries may have been reluctant to convict on historical sex charges. Throughout the trial, the prosecution tried to convince the jury that the convicted paedophile Clifford was 'a master in the art of intimidation and manipulation' who preyed on starstruck girls by promising to introduce them to the world of showbusiness in return for sick and sordid sexual favours and had done the dirty deeds he stood charged with. The millionaire publicist, who has represented a string of z-list celebrities during his five-decade career, used his New Bond Street office as his own 'sexual fiefdom' and impersonated Hollywood icons to lure girls into his grasp, the court was told. Clifford convinced one eighteen-year-old aspiring actress that she could meet the singer David Bowie if she performed a sex act with Clifford, jurors heard. Another was said to have been promised a role in a James Bond film and Clifford allegedly told a third that he would secure her a role in the TV series Dynasty to repay her favours. Summing up six weeks of evidence, Rosina Cottage QC, prosecuting, described Clifford as 'a risk-taker' with 'an arrogant confidence', urging jurors to reject the defence's claim that he was 'a loving father' who had 'no interest' in young girls. 'He has managed to portray himself in different ways to different people, but don't be fooled,' Cottage said. 'In every case his actions were sudden, unexpected and, frankly, in some cases so bizarre you may think these young women and girls have no idea how to react.' The soon-to-be convicted paedophile Clifford listened from the dock with the aid of a hearing loop as witnesses described how he referred repeatedly to his 'tiny' penis and, at other times, allegedly put on fake accents in telephone calls to his victims. In another alleged assault, which was not a charge on the indictment because it took place overseas, the convicted paedophile Clifford was said to have forced a twelve-year-old girl to masturbate him in a jacuzzi whilst on holiday in Spain after befriending her parents. 'It shows he will take outrageous risks and place the hand of a child on his penis, knowing he had power and control over this girl,' Cottage claimed. Victims of his crimes included a dancer who received a phone call while she was at a nightclub from someone pretending to represent the James Bond producer Cubby Broccoli and was told to find out whether Clifford was circumcised or not. She then 'froze' and realised that she was 'stuck' and feared she would be raped when Clifford took her into the lavatories and assaulted her. The jury found Clifford extremely guilty of four counts of indecently assaulting one victim, who was abused from the age of fifteen after she met Clifford while on holiday with her family in Spain. She said that she was 'blown away' when Clifford told her that she 'could be the UK version of Jodie Foster' and 'felt unable to say no' when he asked her to take off her top and bra. He later forced her to perform oral sex on him and indecently assaulted her. Decades later, the victim wrote an anonymous letter to Clifford, which was found in his bedside table when his home was searched by police. In the letter she told the convicted paedophile Clifford that he 'took pleasure in degrading me', giving him an 'A+ in grooming children.' On the stand Cifford was bullish; dismissive and scornful of the prosecution barrister Rosina Cottage, whom he belittled frequently. He portrayed himself as an innocent man who had been terribly wronged by the allegations of 'fantasists.' He denied everything, but his avowed respect for women was undermined by boasts made in his biography about getting a random woman off the street to strip for photos in his office for a bet and calling others with a fake voice to suggest they had sex with his friends. He insisted that he was sexually interested in older women as opposed to 'silly little girls', but admitted having long-running affairs with female employees in their late teens when he was at least a decade older than them. The convicted paedophile Clifford will be sentenced on Friday. And, if you want a very well written op-ed piece on the verdict, yer actual Keith Telly Topping refers you, dear blog reader, to one of his favourite journalists, Grace Dent of the Indi, and her article How fitting that Max Clifford ended up at the centre of a story that he had no control over.

A UKiP candidate has defended tweets in which he said that the former comedian Lenny Henry should emigrate to 'a black country' and compared Islam to the Third Reich. William Henwood, who is standing in a council election, said that he did not think the messages were offensive. He tweeted after Henry said that there should be more black and ethnic minority people in creative industries as reported on this blog earlier in the week. UKiP claimed that it was 'a non-racist, non-sectarian party whose members are expected to uphold these values.' Henwood told the BBC political correspondent Ross Hawkins: 'I think if black people come to this country and don't like mixing with white people why are they here? If he (Henry) wants a lot of blacks around go and live in a black country.' Henry, of course, was born in Dudley in the west Midlands. Which is close to the Black Country, so perhaps Henwood is merely getting confused. Or, maybe he's a racist shithead, you will have to be the judge of that, dear blog reader. On another occasion Henwood tweeted: 'Islam reminds me of The Third Reich, strength through violence against the citizens.' Henwood, who is standing in next month's local council elections in Enfield later declined to be interviewed on camera. The website - citing a nameless 'source' allegedly 'close to the Henwood family' - claims that Henwood himself was, actually born in South Africa. Henwood - who says on his Facebook page that he studied at Middlesex University and Damelin Collage in Johannesburg - lives on a road with an average house value of over three hundred grand according go the Daily Scum Mail continuing their usual fascinating with house prices. UKiP MEP Roger Helmer claimed that the views did not represent the party but focused on the media's coverage of them, rather than the fact a UKiP candidate had made them in the first place. Helmer, MEP for the East Midlands who is standing for re-election, claimed that Henwood's comments were only being reported because of a campaign against it. Helmer told the BBC: 'We have an individual who has made totally unacceptable comments but you will find individuals like that in all parties and behaviour like that in all parties. I understand why the media and the other parties want to focus on those particular claims about UKIP. We will deal with this appropriately when the party has had time to look at the facts and in the meantime we are quite clear that we are not a racist party and we do not accept comments of that kind.' A UKiP spokesman said: 'Any breach of our rules will be duly investigated and action will be taken. However one has to question why the other parties are spending hours behaving like secret police and trawling through the social media of UKiP candidates who are everyday men and women, rather than actually doing politics. Perhaps if they did they would be better able to tackle us on policy, rather than having to rely on smear campaigns to try to undermine UKiP's increasing popularity.' Ah, so there you go, dear blog reader, these comments were not, seeming, Hewood's fault but, rather, the fault of those who spotted them and reported them. Glad we got that sorted out. 'Were we to return the favour we would find an even greater wealth of embarrassment and disgrace in the other three parties' ranks to also spread across the media,' the statement continued. In the past week UKiP has been attacked by its political opponents for featuring an Irish actor on an election poster about British workers losing out to foreign labour. And the party has also suspended a council candidate in South London for sharing 'repellent' opinions on Twitter. Builder Andre Lampitt, who featured in a party election broadcast, reportedly tweeted rather strong criticism about Islam and Nigerians.

A new feature film for Dad's Army starring Toby Jones and Bill Nighy has been announced. Oh, God in heaven no. I mean, two great actors and all that but, why? Why for the love of God why?! Jones will play Captain Mainwaring - the role which belonged to Arthur Lowe in the original BBC sitcom - while Nighy will take on Sergeant Arthur Wilson, made famous by John Le Mesurier. The film will be produced by original Dad's Army writer Jimmy Perry and BAFTA-winning Damian Jones, reports the Daily Torygraph. Damian, who has worked on Adulthood and The Iron Lady, praised the 'universal appeal' of the franchise. The plot will, it is claimed, 'remain faithful' to the show, with Captain Mainwaring commanding a makeshift troop of Home Guard and defending his home town of Warmington on Sea against a potential German invasion. Eighty episodes of the comedy were aired between 1968 to 1977, while a - not as good as the TV series - movie was also made in 1971.
Yer actual Roger Daltrey has won a major music industry prize for his work with the Teenage Cancer Trust. The singer has organised the charity's annual concerts at the Royal Albert Hall, appearing with The Who on many occasions and booking artists like The Arctic Monkeys, Tinie Tempah and Paul Weller. Presenting the outstanding contribution prize at the Music Week awards, the Goddman Modfather Weller his very self praised Daltrey's 'tireless, fantastic work' for a 'very worthwhile charity.' Ed Sheeran, Robert Plant and yer actual Sir Paul McCartney his very self also paid tribute. 'Hey!' Sir Paul said in a taped message. 'I've been watching the progress for years now, and you're doing a fantastic job. I know the kids appreciate it so much. So Mr Daltrey, Roger, Sir, well done.' Roge his very self, who is a patron of the trust, used his speech to thank the many musicians and comedians who had taken part in his fundraising shows. 'I didn't do this, I just got the idea,' he said. 'The music business, the comedy industry, you're the ones that have made it happen. Keep it going, we do great work. We lead the world in music, and now we lead the world in the way teenagers are treated with cancer. We're pushing it out in America, Australia, New Zealand, Germany. Everywhere. Onward we go.' The Music Week awards are organised by the industry's trade magazine, mainly rewarding those who help discover, promote and support artists.

A cricket team were humiliated after only scoring three runs between them in an innings. Ten Wirral Cricket Club batsmen were out for ducks, only the number eleven troubled the scorers, with the team's other runs coming from two leg byes. It left Wirral some way short of the one hundred and nine they needed to beat Haslington in a Cheshire League Division Three fixture. Whilst an embarrassing loss, it was not a world record lowest score - Somerset league club Langport were dismissed for zero against Glastonbury in a 1913 match. The lowest score in a first-class match is six, made by 'The B's' in a match against against All England at the old Lord's ground in 1810. And the lowest total in a Test is twenty six, posted by New Zealand against England in 1955. At one point Wirral were nought for eight after six overs before the pair of extras and a run from Connor Hobson - who finished top scorer on one not out - dragged the innings into the tenth over. Unsurprisingly, Haslington needed only two bowlers. Ben Istead captured six wickets in his five overs for the concession of the solitary run whilst new ball partner Tom Gledhill returned with figures of four for nought from 4.2 overs. Discussing Wirral's collapse, Matt Garrett, who came in at number nine with the score at nought for seven, told BBC Radio 5Live's Weekend Breakfast programme: 'It all happened in a bit of a blur really. I think I headed into the changing rooms to get my pads on when we were three down and got out to the middle just in time to take my guard when the seventh wicket fell. The reaction in the back of your mind is, "I think we can still do this" but, two balls later when you're following all your team-mates back to the clubhouse, you think perhaps it's not your day.' Showing an admirable sense of humour, Wirral CC tweeted: 'First XI lost by one hundred and five runs today. Sadly the opposition only scored one hundred and eight!' The club also used social media to ask former England internationals and now media pundits Michael Vaughan, Freddie Flintoff, Phil Tufnell and David Lloyd for some coaching. Although, perhaps significantly, not Geoffrey Boycott. Cos, if he came along in their next match both of the openers would be eight not out after three days of attritional defence. Mind, they'd be good eight not outs.

And finally, a piece of advice for all of the staff at BBC Three Counties Radio. Be a bit more careful where you ask your guests to stand next time.
Which brings us to yer actual Keith Telly Topping's 45 of the Day, dear blog reader. Tell 'em all about it, Underworld.