Friday, September 02, 2016

We Help The Hopeless

Sherlock series four wrapped filming last month - as reported by this very blog - and, now, we've got our first official image, released by the BBC this week. It's a dark and moody one, with a dramatic squint from yer actual Benedict Cumberbatch, while Martin Freeman his very self looks off into the distance.
Meanwhile, dear blog reader, here's the final and consolidated ratings figures for the Top Eleven programmes, week-ending Sunday 21 August 2016:-
1 Olympics 2016 - Tues BBC1 - 8.57m
2 Olympics 2016 - Mon BBC2 - 6.88m
3 Coronation Street - Mon ITV - 6.84m
4 EastEnders - Thurs BBC1 - 6.62m
5 Emmerdale - Fri ITV - 5.82m
6 BBC News - Sun BBC1 - 5.40m
7 Ten O'Clock News - Thurs BBC1 - 4.97m
8 Six O'Clock News - Mon BBC1 - 4.83m
9 Countryfile - Sun BBC1 - 4.46m
10 Fake Or Fortune? - Sun BBC1 - 4.10m
11 Long Lost Family - Wed ITV - 3.81m
Again, with Olympic coverage dominating BBC1, BBC2 and BBC4's schedules, this particular week's list is somewhat shorter than usual. These consolidated figures include all viewers who watched programmes live and on catch-up during the seven days after initial broadcast, but do not include those who watched on BBC's iPlayer or ITV Player via their computers. Among the highlights of BBC1's Olympics programmes were Tuesday evening collection of Max Whitlock's gymnastic double and Laura and Jason doing their biking stuff in the Velodrome (8.57m), Monday's women's team gymnastics and Mark Cavendish in the Omnium (7.40 million) and Thursday's combination of triathlon, hockey, taekwondo and athletics (5.81 million). On BBC2, aside from their own Olympic programming (topped by Monday night's women's hockey coverage), Dragons' Den was the channel's most-watched non-Olympic show with 3.43 million viewers; Gardeners' World had 2.41 million. Only Connect attracted 1.97 million, followed by Full Steam Ahead (1.92 million), Highlands: Scotland's Wild Heart (1.88 million), Robot Wars (1.85 million), Skies Above Britain (1.79 million) and Pointless (1.77 million). University Challenge drew 1.51 million. The movie Transformers: Dark Side Of The Moon was Channel Four's highest-rated broadcast of the week (two million viewers), followed by Nine, Nine, Nine: What's Your Emergency? (1.94 million), Great Canal Journeys (1.88 million), another movie Men In Black III (1.70 million) and Location, Location, Location (1.56 million). Shameful and wretched pile of festering attention-seeking faeces Naked Attraction was seen by 1.34 million cretins with, seemingly, nothing better to do with their time whilst a particularly funny episode of Eight Out Of Ten Cats Does Countdown - with Sean Lock on fine form - was seen by 1.30 million. Channel Five's top performer was, inevitably, sick Victorian freak show Z-List Celebrity Big Brothers - with 2.30 million - ahead of The Dog Rescuers With Alan Davies (1.35 million), On Benefits (1.12 million), GPs: Behind Closed Doors (also 1.12 million) and Can't Pay? We'll Take It Away! (1.08 million). Celeb Trolls: We're Coming To Get You had nine hundred and twenty one thousand viewers whilst One Punch Killers was seen by seven hundred and sixty nine thousand. With the Premier League back in full swing, coverage of The Scum Versus Southampton topped Sky Sports 1's weekly list with eight hundred and eleven thousand punters, followed by West Hamsters United's first home league game at their new stadium against Bournemouth(seven hundred and four thousand), the Monday night clash between Moscow Chelski FC and West Hamsters at yer actual Torpedo Stamford Bridge (six hundred and twenty four thousand) and the Wear-Tees derby between The Mackem Filth and The Smog Monsters From Hell (five hundred and ninety three thousand). On Sky Sports News, Gillette Soccer Saturday's second episode of the new Premier League season was the most watched programme with four hundred and ten thousand (the simultcast on Sky Sports 1 drew an additional three hundred and one thousand punters). On Sky Sports 2, Live T20 Blast: Finals Day was watched by two hundred and sixty two thousand (most of them for Bumble's commentary on the mascots race, obviously), whilst coverage of the East Anglian derby between Ipswich and Norwich had two hundred and thirty one thousand. Sky Sports F1's repeat of the Canadian Grand Prix was seen by eighteen thousand. Endeavour was ITV3's top-rated drama (1.21 million viewers). Lewis was seen by 1.07 million, Doc Martin by six hundred and eighty six thousand and Foyle's War by six hundred and seventy three thousand. The movie The Young Victoria was watched by four hundred and seventy eight thousand. The Motorbike Show headed ITV4's weekly list with three hundred and twenty eight thousand whilst The Chase: Celebrity Specials was watched by three hundred and ten thousand and Mr Bean by two hundred and fifty two thousand. Why, for the love of God, why? ITV2's most-watched broadcast was yet another showing of the movie The Hobbit: The Desolation Of Smaug, which drew six hundred and thirty five thousand viewers. A Family Guy repeat had five hundred and fifty four thousand. Vera headed ITV Encore's top ten with ninety three thousand viewers, ahead of DCI Banks which had fifty five thousand. BBC4's list was, like BBC1 and BBC2, dominated by Olympics coverage, with Saturday night's programme - featuring handball, basketball, modern pentathlon and Brazil getting their revenge over Germany in the football - attracting seven hundred and thirty one thousand viewers. Sky1's weekly top-ten was headed The Last Ship (five hundred and twenty three thousand), Zoo (four hundred and forty six thousand), Don't Tell The Bride (four hundred and forty five thousand) and The Simpsons (three hundred and twenty nine thousand). Sky Atlantic's list was topped by Ray Donovan (two hundred and sixty four thousand). Ballers was seen by two hundred and sixteen thousand, Band Of Brothers by one hundred and forty three thousand and Last Week Tonight With John Oliver by one hundred and twenty seven thousand. On Sky Living, Shades Of Blue drew six hundred and sixteen thousand, Chicago Fire had five hundred and fifty thousand, Unforgettable, five hundred and twenty nine thousand and My Kitchen Rules Australia, two hundred thousand viewers. Sky Arts' Master Of Photography attracted an audience of eighty one thousand. Shania Twain: Still The One Live In LA drew sixty six thousand, The Seventies had forty eight thousand and Legends In Concert: Elvis Presley got forty two thousand. Oasis Live At The Barrowlands was seen by forty thousand. Tunes. 5USA's NCIS: Los Angeles was watched by five hundred and six thousand viewers. Chicago PD attracted five hundred and two thousand, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, three hundred and fifty six thousand, NCIS: New Orleans, three hundred and forty one thousand and CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, two hundred and ninety nine thousand. Bad Girls topped the weekly top-ten for CBS Action (seventy seven thousand). FOX's list included Outcast (three hundred and fourteen thousand), Someone Knows My Name (two hundred and sixty one thousand), NCIS (one hundred and fifty thousand), Tyrant (one hundred and forty four thousand) and Family Guy (one hundred and fourteen thousand). The Universal Channel's list was headed by Motive (one hundred and sixty thousand), White Collar (one hundred and thirty six thousand) and Mister Robot (one hundred and twenty eight thousand). On Dave, Suits was, as usual, the highest-rated programme with five hundred and thirteen thousand punters. That was followed by Top Gear (four hundred and forty three thousand), worthless, unfunny Gavin & Stacey (three hundred and seventy six thousand), Have I Got A Bit More News For You (three hundred and fifty one thousand), Dynamo: Live At The O2 (three hundred and thirty five thousand) and Would I Lie To You? (three hundred and four thousand). Drama's The Doctor Blake Mysteries was watched by three hundred and eighty nine thousand viewers. Dalziel & Pascoe had three hundred and fifty eight thousand, Silent Witness, three hundred and twenty eight thousand and Murdoch Mysteries two hundred and eighty three thousand. Alibi's highest-rated programme was Rosewood (three hundred and seven thousand), followed by Rizzoli & Isles (one hundred and ninety seven thousand), Death In Paradise (one hundred and forty six thousand), Inspector George Gently (one hundred and twenty seven thousand) and King & Maxwell (one hundred and thirteen thousand). The latest episode of Yesterday's repeat run of 'Allo 'Allo was seen by one hundred and eighty one thousand. The start of a repeat of the best sitcom ever written, Whatever Happened To The Likely Lads? was watched by one hundred and sixty eight thousand, Jeeves & Wooster by one hundred and sixty seven thousand and The Queen's Sister by one hundred and sixty five thousand. On the Discovery Channel, Alaskan Bush People's latest series - in which, at least according to that never-ending trailer, someone is 'goin' t'jail' ... for something - continued with one hundred and forty six thousand viewers. Misfit Garage had an audience of one hundred and fourteen thousand, Yukon Men was watched by one hundred and twelve thousand, Street Outlaws by ninety four thousand and Deadliest Catch by eighty nine thousand. Discovery History's Jesus Code topped the weekly-list with forty four thousand viewers, whilst Vulcans, Victors & Cuba had thirty four thousand, Al Murray's Road To Berlin and Time Team both attracted thirty one thousand and Defcon 2: Cuban Missile Crisis drew twenty two thousand. On Discovery Science, How It's Made was seen by fifty seven thousand viewers. NASA's Unexplained Files was watched by fifty two thousand conspiracy theorists. Who are, obviously, not completely mental. Discovery Turbo's most-watched programmes was, as usual, the cult favourite Wheeler Dealers (thirty thousand). National Geographic's list was headed by No Man Left Behind which had ninety thousand viewers. The History Channel's top-ten was led by The Bastard Executioner (one hundred and sixty nine thousand). On Military History, What Really Happened? was watched by forty thousand. The Perfect Murder, Forensic Detectives and Dateline With Tamzin Outhwaite were ID's top-rated programmes of the week (with forty two thousand viewers, forty two thousand and thirty eight thousand murder-lovers respectively). Wouldn't it be, like, totally 'mazin' if it was exactly the same forty two thousand punters that watched the first two? But, it probably wasn't cos that would be, like, odd. Crimes That Shook Britain and Homicide Hunters headed CI's list (sixty seven thousand and fifty nine thousand). GOLD's repeat of Only Fool & Horses drew one hundred and seventy seven thousand. Lovely and, indeed, jubbly. Comedy Central's largest audience of the week was for an episode of Live At The Apollo (one hundred and fifty two thousand). Your TV's Snapped had seventy four thousand viewers whilst Crimes Of The Rich & Famous drew sixty four thousand. On More4, Phil Spenser's Stately Homes was the highest-rated programme with three hundred and eighty four thousand. Selling Homes With Amanda Lamb attracted three hundred and sixty two thousand. E4's latest episode of Hollyoaks drew nine hundred and thirty six thousand viewers. The Horror Channel's broadcast of The Sand attracted one hundred and sixty five thousand. Dark Matter, headed Syfy's top-ten with three hundred and forty four thousand. Frozen Planet had thirty thousand on Eden. Lone Star Law was the Animal Planet's most-watched programme with thirty seven thousand. On W, Extreme Makeover: Home Edition was seen by one hundred and fifty six thousand. Wynonna Earp was watched by one hundred and forty one thousand on Spike. The X-Files drew one hundred and thirty thousand.

Jon Pertwee was the first honorary president of the Doctor Who Appreciation Society, which celebrates its fortieth anniversary this year. In honour of Mister Pertwee, the Society is currently raising funds for a new Heritage Plaque, which is aimed to be installed at the New Wimbledon Theatre (the venue that played host to the premiere of the stage play Doctor Who: The Ultimate Adventure in 1989). As part of the fund-raising, DWAS are selling badges based on the TARDIS roundels, which can be purchased in sets of seven via their website. The actor will also be celebrated at a special one-day event held by DWAS, Polarity Day, which will take place in London on the 23 October. In 2014 the Society unveiled a plaque in memory of Doctor Who's first producer, Verity Lambert at the Riverside Studios in London. Mister Pertwee himself was also remembered in 2002 - along with William Hartnell and Patrick Troughton - when plaques commemorating the first three Doctors were unveiled at the former BBC Television Centre.
Yer actual Jenna Coleman has 'hit back' - that's tabloidese for 'criticised' only with somewhat less syllables - at some utter arseholes of no consequence that you've never heard of on Twitter who have suggested she is 'too pretty' to play Queen Victoria. Because, as we all know, Twitter is The Sole Arbiter Of The Worth Of All Things. At least, according to the Gruniad Morning Star. And, everyone on it was a close personal friend of Her Majesty. Jenna also revealed during a radio interview earlier this week that she is still in touch with her former Doctor Who co-star yer actual Peter Capaldi who still teases her about the dropping of her middle name. And this is 'news' apparently, at least in the Radio Times.
'Mass surveillance' will not be used to catch people who watch catch-up BBC content following the introduction on Thursday of new rules to close the 'iPlayer loophole' according to the Gruniad. Not that anybody with a single ounce of credibility ever suggested for a single second that mass surveillance would be used. Just the Torygraph. Still, why let a little fact like that stop the Gruniad from talking shite. As usual. Enforcement body TV Licensing said that it expected 'the vast majority of people' to 'obey the rules' which extend the requirement for a licence beyond live viewing. Yeah well, that sounds completely reasonable, I mean people are so law-abiding, usually, are they not? 'Reports' - though, again, not particularly convincing ones - had suggested that the BBC 'might' use a new 'fleet' of detector vans to monitor Wi-Fi connections for people using iPlayer. However, a spokesman for TV Licensing told the Press Association it did not plan to carry out any form of mass surveillance or, indeed, anything even remotely like it. Mainly because such a course of action would be stupidly expensive. 'We expect most people will simply obey the law,' he said. 'We are not going to use mass surveillance techniques, we are not going to ask Internet providers for IP addresses, and in fact we will simply use existing enforcement processes and techniques which we believe to be adequate and appropriate.'
Less than four months after bidding farewell to Casualty, Sunetra Sarker has lined-up a TV comeback. The popular actress joined the cast of ITV's Broadchurch for its third and final series, currently filming on location in Somerset (where the cowshit lies thick). Sunetra was spotted filming with Jodie Whittaker, who is reprising her role as Beth Latimer.
Sunetra joins an impressive cast for this final series of Broadchurch, including Lenny Henry (last funny, briefly, in 1983), Coronation Street's Julie Hesmondhalgh, Sarah Parish, Charlie Higson and BAFTA-winner Georgina Campbell. And, of course, David Tennant and Olivia Colman. Can't forget them.
TV Comedy Moment Of The Week, as usual these days, came from Only Connect: 'Hello and welcome to Only Connect,' said yer actual Victoria Coren Mitchell by way of introduction. 'Which you should think of as an Old Firm game without the hatred, the sectarianism ... or the football.' Sharp.
Good old Mad As Toast Jezza Paxman has been accused of insulting 'millions of people' after he branded pensioners 'virtual corpses' riddled with 'incontinence and idiocy.' This blogger, rapidly approaching his mid-fifties his very self, does not intend to editorialise or, indeed, comment on this matter whatsoever. Oh no, very hot water. The former Newsnight presenter - who is sixty six and a pensioner himself - has become 'embroiled' in a dispute with Mature Times (no, me neither) a newspaper aimed at the over-fifties, after he launched 'a scathing attack' on the publication. Its publisher, Andrew Silk, obviously was Goddamn pissed off by this occurrence and 'hit back' by claiming that Paxo was 'clearly in denial' about his own age and likened him to Jeremy Clarkson, 'without the charisma.' Or, indeed, the multi-million pound Amazon deal. In a column for the Financial Times, Paxo wrote: 'At the reception desk of a hotel to which I checked in this week was a pile of free copies of Mature Times, which calls itself "the voice of our generation." Oh God, I thought, the cheeky bastards are including me. Back off. For this must be the most unfashionable publication in Britain. Who wants to be called "mature," like an old cheese? We all know that "mature" means on the verge of incontinence, idiocy and peevish valetudinarianism. They might as well have named it the Surgical Stocking Sentinel or Winceyette Weekly. The paper is adorned with advertisements for hearing aids, recliner chairs, copper insoles, stairlifts, devices to help you in and out of the bath and Your Life After Death, a book written by someone called Joseph who, apparently, is dead. I should rather be keeping company with Joseph than looking forward to any of these products: why do people who run these dreary publications assume that, apart from a cruise somewhere in the company of other virtual corpses, this sort of stuff is all we want?' Gosh, he was in a really grumpy mood that day, wasn't he? Paxo his very self went on to accuse the elderly - all of them, presumably - of 'being humourless' and said that there was 'a strong case' to 'restrict their ability to vote' in polls such as the EU referendum. 'It's simply not fair to allow people to vote for a future they won't live to enjoy or endure. The case for curtailing the franchise is undeniable,' he added. He also said that politicians were 'too frightened' to confront the 'whiffy vested interest' of old people. 'They have every reason to laugh at the way government-after-government has skewed things in their favour. Yet the most striking thing about rooms full of old people is how very little you see them laughing.' Silk wrote a rebuttal in Mature Times - which, obviously, Paxo is unlikely to read and, therefore, might be considered a bit, you know, pointless - in which he 'took issue' with Paxman's 'massive ego.' Ho, ho, many have tried, matey. Most of them with considerably more ego that yer man Paxo. This is a man who makes government ministers quiver with a withering stare. And takes the piss out of Sting for being a hypocrite (as well as a balding ex-milkman from Waalsend). Silk wrote: 'He is sixty six, so he obviously does not see himself as one of the people he wants to poke fun at, which is irrational. This could be his Gerald Ratner moment. I see similarities between him and Jeremy Clarkson. He could be Clarkson without the money - Clarkson has made a living from being offensive. Paxman tries to be the intellectual one but he's lacking the charisma of Clarkson. I suspect that with the high media profile enjoyed by Mr Paxman, comes a massive ego as well – but perhaps it's time for that ego to contemplate a little. Mr Paxman, you have just insulted over twenty one million people (yes that's how many over fifties there are in the UK), you have called them "cheesy and on the verge of incontinence" and I'm sure, on reflection you may regret such a statement.' No, I don't think he will, pal. Jezza Paxman does not do the regret word. He added: 'I'm all open for criticism and I'm happy to accept this where it's due – but what I really, really do object to is being referred to as a "cheeky bastard" - in fact I'd go so far as to say that it's downright insulting and unprofessional for a man of Mr Paxman's standing to use such language in such a way. I also object to the degrading and demeaning language that he used towards our readers.' Silk asked Paxman to apologise and 'consider contributing' a more reasoned article to the next edition of Mature Times about how the over-fifties contribute to society. 'I must say, I'm not holding my breath – but the invitation is there – let's see if you're man enough - or should I say "Mature" enough to take me up on it!' he said.
Gotham is soon to return for a third series and the Digital Spy website had got access to a couple of new trailers. The latest features a cover of Metallica's 'Nothing Else Matters' and, as the website notes, 'plenty of costumed bad guys looking to run the city. One of them, we think, might be famous Batman villain Killer Croc.'
Renee Zellweger has said the current appetite for tabloid news and gossip is 'a cause for concern and attention.' The actress was recently the subject of unwanted headlines over her appearance, with many publications, and social media users, speculating whether she had received cosmetic surgery. As if that's any business of anyone other than Zellweger herself. 'It's disconcerting when you see something you know is not true becoming the truth, simply because its been repeated enough,' she told the BBC's Fiona Bruce. 'It opens the floodgates for something that could be of far greater consequence.' Zellweger added that she thought the trend was 'leading to an ambiguity' between news and entertainment, which was 'lowering the level of social discourse.'
Poldark's Demelza played by Eleanor Tomlinson, apparently, is not a real redhead. And this utter trivia constitutes 'news,' it would seem. The actress made the admission that the collar and cuffs don't match on This Morning to 'stunned' hosts Eamonn Holmes and Ruth Langsford. 'I'm not a redhead - I'm naturally blonde,' she said. 'I love [being a redhead], it's really great.' This blogger - with fifty two years experience - concurs, it's all right.
It is one of the most iconic TV catchphrases ever, but Jeremy Vine has confirmed that he won't be telling viewers not to have nightmares when he takes over presenting Crimewatch next week. Vine will be the new host of the programme alongside Tina Daheley when it returns in a regular Monday primetime slot. But, he told the Digital Spy website that he won't be using the traditional 'don't have nightmares' end to the show. 'We had a conversation about it,' he said. 'It's a funny thing where you have a catchphrase where you want to say something like it but you don't want to actually say that. I think that catchphrase was of its time and I think Nick Ross did an amazing twenty three years and he's the defining presenter of Crimewatch, no question.'
You should already be aware of Let The Right One In from the magnificent 2008 Swedish movie adaptation - Låt Den Rätte Komma In, a particular favourite of this blooger - the, rather disappointing frankly, 2010 American remake Let Me In starring Chloë Grace Moretz, or even one of its many stage adaptations - including a London run in 2013. But now we're getting another chance to delve into the dark world of Oskar and Eli as John Ajvide Lindqvist's novel is reportedly being adapted for TV. Unfortunately, it's American television so, like as not, it'll be absolute crap. If the Swedes or the Danes had done it now, that would've been worth watching. The novel has previously been in development as a TV series with Teen Wolf showrunner Jeff Davis at A&E, but this week's report reveals that Davis and Let The Right One In have begun a new life as a pilot for TNT. Let The Right One In tells the story of twelve-year-old Oskar, a shy lonely bullied boy who befriends Eli, a centuries-old vampire girl after she moves into the area with her mysterious guardian around the time a series of strange murders plagues the town. 'Let The Right One In combines elements of horror, revenge thriller and adolescent romance into an unforgettable and truly unsettling tale,' TNT's executive vice president of original programming, Sarah Aubrey, said in a statement. Well, the novel and the first film version did, at least. 'This novel is a watershed of rich storytelling, making it an abundant source which [executive producers Jeff Davis, Marty Adelstein, Becky Clements, and Simon Oakes] will bring to life in this all-new adaptation.' Despite having many previous versions to consider, TNT's pilot will primarily draw from the original source material, Lindqvist's 2004 novel. Davis, who wrote the script for the pilot, is still on board as executive producer while the pilot is being produced by Tomorrow Studios in association with Turner's Studio T.
Triathlons are jolly tough things at the best of times - unless you happen to be named Brownlee, in which case, they at least appear piss-easy - but one competitor in a Dublin event last week got more than he bargained for when he and a stag collided. Photographer Erik Scraggs managed to snap the very moment that Shane O'Reilly was struck by the animal as he cycled through Phoenix Park. O'Reilly told the Irish broadcaster RTÉ that he had been left with a cracked helmet following the incident on Sunday, but managed to carry on. The park is home to around five hundred deer. 'The helmet definitely saved me,' Shane added. 'Apart from that, my shoulder was a bit sore and I had a headache.' Blimey, you've just been hit by a deer mate, we get it, you're hard! The competitor bravely completed the race in two hours twenty five minutes. Scraggs said that he never thought the stag would 'try and leap over the cyclists.' But, it did. 'As I was standing waiting for a group of cyclists to approach, I heard a rustling behind me and I turned to see a couple of stags ruining parallel to the road,' he said. 'I had a feeling they might make their way across the cyclists' path, so I tracked them though my lens. I never envisaged that they would actually try and leap over the cyclists. It all happened so fast, It was a really heavy crash. It was a relief to see the competitor get back to his feet and continue.'
A bride-to-be who wanted a 'no-fuss and low-key' hen party had to be rescued by the RNLI after her party's hire-boat ran aground in a river. Four women were celebrating on the River Dart in Devon, on Saturday when the vessel became stuck in mud as the tide went out. An RNLI spokesperson said that the party were travelling to Dartmouth when they 'got into difficulty.' The spokesman said the group were 'cold, but otherwise unhurt.' Posting on the Dart RNLI Lifeboat Facebook page the crew said: 'They came back to the lifeboat station for a warm drink and to meet and thank the lifeboat crew. The girls were on a hen party and the irony is that the bride to be had requested a "no-fuss and low-key day." The hens who had arranged the day thought an afternoon afloat on the beautiful River Dart would set the mood for dinner in Dartmouth in the evening. Best laid plans and all of that. I don't think they will ever forget the hen party.'
New evidence suggests that the famous fossilised human ancestor dubbed 'Lucy' by scientists died falling from a great height - probably out of a tree. A big tree, obviously. CT scans have shown injuries to her bones similar to those suffered by modern humans in similar falls. The three million-year-old hominin was found on a treed flood plain, making a branch her most likely final perch. It bolsters the view that her species - Australopithecus afarensis - spent at least some of its life in the trees. Writing in the journal Nature, researchers from the US and Ethiopia describe 'a vertical deceleration event' which they argue caused Lucy's death. Or, 'falling and hitting the ground' as we normal people say.. In particular they point to a crushed shoulder joint, of the sort seen when we humans reach out our arms to break a fall, as well as fractures of the ankle, leg bones, pelvis, ribs, vertebrae, arm, jaw and skull. 'We weren't there - we didn't see it - but the subset of fractures that we've identified are fully consistent with what's reported in a voluminous orthopaedic surgical literature about fall victims who have come down from height,' said lead author John Kappelman from the University of Texas. 'It's tested every day in emergency rooms all around the planet.' Discovered in Ethiopia's Afar region in 1974, Lucy's forty per cent-complete skeleton is one of the world's best known fossils. She was around three feet seven inches tall and is thought to have been a young adult when she died. Her species, Australopithecus afarensis, shows signs of having walked upright on the ground and had lost her ancestors' ape-like, grasping feet - but also had an upper body well-suited to climbing. The bones of this well-studied skeleton are in fact laced with fractures, like most fossils. But with modern tools such as high-resolution CT scanners, researchers can start to unpick which ones were injuries and which ones happened during the intervening millennia. 'These fractures have been known since she was discovered,' Professor Kappelman told BBC News. 'I've looked at this fossil for thirty years and I knew that these fractures were there.' It was during a brief break - s'cuse the pun - in Lucy's 2008 tour of US museums that Kappelman and his colleagues found time for the scans. 'We were able to get permission from the Ethiopian government and, after the exhibit closed down in Houston, we brought Lucy here to the UT campus - in secret, for security purposes. And we have a high-resolution CT scan here. We scanned everything. We worked twenty four/seven, ten days straight without a break.' Without those precious scans, Kappelman said, Lucy's injuries would never have come to light. 'What it allows us to do is literally look inside mineralised rocks and bones. And Lucy - as much as we love her - she's a rock. She's fully mineralised.' By peering inside the bones in minute detail, the scanner showed that several of the fractures were 'greenstick' breaks. The bone had bent and snapped like a twig: something that only happens to healthy, living bones. So the injuries happened whilst Lucy was alive - but they also show no signs of healing, so these misfortunes apparently befell her at the time of her death. A fatal fall also fits with the fact that Lucy's tiny first rib is broken. This bone is small and heavily protected, Kappelman explained; if it's fractured, you're having a really bad day. 'When you look at rib fractures, the first rib is the most rarely fractured. It take a high amount of chest trauma.' But the shattered top of the fossilised humerus bone - Lucy's upper arm - is the most compelling piece of the puzzle. 'If our hypothesis stands up it tells us that Lucy was conscious when she reached out her arms to break her fall,' said Kappelman. The researchers even used their scans to 3D print Lucy's humerus and discuss it with orthopaedic surgeons. So far, they have all agreed. 'At this point I'm nine from nine,' Kappelman said of his blind tests on unsuspecting bone doctors, adding that he printed out the bones in an enlarged form so that they appeared human. 'Everybody agrees this is a fall from height.' In fact, 3D printing is now something that anyone with an interest in Lucy can do. The researchers, in partnership with the government of Ethiopia, have made the files available online. 'The Ethiopian ministry has agreed to release 3D files of Lucy's right shoulder and her left knee. So anyone with an interest in this can print Lucy out and evaluate these fractures and our hypothesis, for themselves.' Nancy Lovell, a professor of anthropology at the University of Alberta, commented that the fracture findings were 'surprising but convincing. It seems fantastical but there's nothing to contradict their interpretation,' she told the BBC. 'And, their use of really good, computerised imaging helps. Taken individually, the pieces all look perfectly plausible.' Lovell is uncertain about the precise height and speed of the fall, which the Texas-led team estimated at twelve metres and thirty five miles per hour (so, you know, pretty high and very fast). 'People die from falls. People fall off ladders and die of head injuries - it doesn't have to have been a really tall tree,' she said. '[But] we certainly think the area where she was living was treed at the time.' Professor Chris Stringer, from London's Natural History Museum, said that the idea of a tree fall was 'a good fit' with our understanding of how Australopithecus afarensis lived. 'They could have been in trees some of the time for feeding, nesting, or protection,' he said. 'If Lucy had young, for example, trees would certainly have been a safer option than the ground when predators were around.'
Darrell Ward, one of the long-haul drivers made famous on TV's Ice Road Truckers, has been killed in a plane crash at the age of fifty two. Ward, from Montana, has been one of the featured drivers for the last five of the History Channel show's ten series. The show follows a group of drivers as they battle the elements to deliver supplies to remote communities in Northern Canada. A statement on Ward's Facebook page said that he had been travelling from a truck show in Dallas to start filming the pilot for new a documentary about the recovery of plane wrecks in Montana. The statement said that his co-pilot, who was unnamed, also died in the crash. 'Trucking has always been a large part of Darrell's life; from running the harvest rigs with his grandparents and family, to driving trucks from Montana to Alaska and all roads in between,' it read. 'In his free time, you could usually find Darrell giving back to the community any chance he got, he had promoted the most recent food drive to help victims in the Louisiana Floods and was scheduled to appear as the grand marshal for the Truck Convoy for Special Olympics in Nova Scotia.' The message added: 'His motto, "any road, any load" fits his personality perfectly.' A statement from the History Channel said: 'We are saddened by the tragic loss of Darrell Ward, a beloved member of the History family. He will be greatly missed and our thoughts are with his family during this difficult time.'
Girls in Britain are 'becoming more miserable,' suggests the Children's Society's annual report. Among ten to fifteen-year-old girls, the charity's report says fourteen per cent are 'unhappy with their lives as a whole,' and thirty four per cent with their appearance. Researchers were told of girls feeling 'ugly or worthless.' The figures for England, Wales and Scotland for 2013 to 2014 represent a sharp rise in unhappiness on five years previously. By contrast the study found that boys' sense of happiness remained stable. Although, if it's any consolation, ladies, some of us are, in fact, frequently as miserable as you're alleged to be. If not more so. It usually depends on the weather.
A television sports presenter who was placed in a coma after contracting malaria in Rio has arrived back in the UK. Charlie Webster, who has worked for Sky Sports and ITV, became unwell after watching the Olympic opening ceremony. She was taken to hospital where she was diagnosed with a rare strain of the disease. Webster, from Sheffield, is in a 'stable but serious' condition at St James's Hospital in Leeds. In a statement she thanked the public for their support and said that doctors in Brazil had saved her life.
More than a million applications have been made for the seven hundred thousand tickets available to see the championships at which yer actual Usain Bolt and Mo Farah his very self will - probably - make their final track appearances. Both have said they intend to retire after next year's World Athletics Championships in London. It will be the final competition for Jamaica's nine-time Olympic champion sprinter Bolt whilst Magic Mo plans to focus on marathon running after London. Organisers said that one million, forty seven thousand tickets have been applied for and five of fourteen sessions are already oversubscribed. They include the one hundred metres final, which should be Bolt's swansong and which more than two hundred thousand punters want to see. The capacity for the championships at the London Stadium - now home to Premier League side West Hamsters United - will be around fifty thousand per session. The IAAF World Championships take place place from 4 to 13 August, 2017.
The decision not to press charges in the alleged abuse case against Sir Cliff Richard is being reviewed according to the Press Association. The singer was the subject of a long-running South Yorkshire Police investigation which centred on sexual assault accusations dating to between 1958 and 1983 made by four men. Officers investigating allegations of historical sex offences were filmed searching his apartment in Berkshire in 2014, leading to him being publicly named as the subject of the probe. The seventy five-year-old was never arrested or charged with any offence and his case was discontinued by the Crown Prosecution Service in June on the grounds of 'insufficient evidence.' But, at the beginning of August an application under the 'victims' right to review' scheme was lodged by an accuser - challenging the decision by the CPS not to pursue a case. The process allows an alleged victim, within three months of the original decision, to call for it to be reviewed. It is understood that a lawyer will look at the evidence before deciding to uphold or overturn the decision made by the CPS. A spokesman for the CPS confirmed that they had received an application under the victims' right to review scheme over the decision made in relation to the star. He added: 'It is ongoing.' Sir Cliff, it is important to note, utterly denies the allegations made against him. Meanwhile, the Sunday Mirra reports that 'BBC bosses' have told Sir Cliff they will 'not be rolling over' in their 'one million quid legal fight' with him. The singer announced that he intended to sued the corporation following their decision to screen a live broadcast of the moment police officers raided his home two years ago. Sir Cliff instructed lawyers to 'take action' after accusing the broadcaster of 'misuse of private information.' But the Sunday Mirra revealed the BBC have now responded to Cliff's lawyers maintaining their decision was entirely 'justified' as they claim showing the footage was 'in the public interest.' The Beeb has also made clear that the decision was 'signed off' by a number of senior executives, who all agreed the decision to screen the raid was correct. And, they have said that 'insiders' had three days notice and three days of consultation to 'the highest level' of the Corporation, before deciding to break the exclusive. The alleged 'insider' allegedly told the Sunday Mirra: 'The BBC have told Sir Cliff's team that they are in no doubt everything was done by the book. They have said that the journalist who was given the story at the BBC went to the Head of News, who contacted BBC legal and even consulted an external media lawyer to clarify their position. This took three full days. It was not a spur of the moment thing to broadcast the raid. It was planned and strategic for the entire broadcast of the story. The BBC are steadfast that this is a public interest story and they were only following a legitimate tip-off from a national constabulary.' An independent police review in February 2015 sharply criticised the agreement in 2014 between the force and the BBC, when the broadcaster agreed to a one-month delay reporting on the allegations of historical sex abuse in return for advance notification of the raid. The parliamentary Home Affairs committee had already condemned the force's handling of the case as 'utterly inept,' but said that the BBC was 'within its rights to run the story.' The alleged 'insider' allegedly added that Sir Cliff is still allegedly 'intent' on going 'all guns blazing' for South Yorkshire Police in a separate action.
Former Crimewatch presenter Rav Wilding is reported to be suing the production company behind ITV's colossal flop Splash!, saying that an injury he suffered while training for the worthless, risible diving show has 'derailed' his career. Much as the show could be said to have derailed the career of its host, Tom Daley. Wilding, the ex-Strictly Come Dancing contestant, claimed that he had to cancel his wedding and has now put his home on the market because of the accident, which occurred in pre-show training in 2013. Wilding underwent surgery after snapping the hamstring tendons in his left leg during a somersault dive on the third session of training for the now - mercifully - defunct ITV show. The ex-soldier and policeman was discharged from hospital on Christmas Eve but readmitted on New Year's Day 2014 after suffering from a pulmonary embolism at home. His injuries meant that he did not appear on the diving show, which was made by production company Twofour. Legal firm Irwin Mitchell said Wilding now has 'one leg shorter than the other' and 'cannot walk or stand without pain.' He needs a lift in his shoe to 'walk properly' and has been told he will never be able to run or play rugby again. Wilding called the injury 'an absolute nightmare' which has 'completely changed my life.' He added: 'It breaks my heart that Jill [Morgan] and I had to cancel our wedding.' He said of his TV work: 'I have been in a few things here and there, but the active physical work is no longer possible. I used to play rugby every week, go running and, having been in the army and a police officer in the past, my fitness was pretty high. I used to get active jobs based on my fitness, but now I can't do those things, the opportunities aren't really there any more, so it's changed the entire course of my career.' He said: 'I'm still in pain every day. It has turned my world upside down.' Lauren Hurney, a serious injury lawyer at Irwin Mitchell, said: 'Sadly Rav appears to have been let down during his training for Splash! He has been left with a life-changing injury which has already had a profound effect on his career, relationship and finances. We have written to Twofour and are currently awaiting a response.'
The Crystal Maze is set to return to TV screens for a one-off 'special,' twenty one years after it was 'axed' (or, 'cancelled' as people who aren't afraid of using words with more than one syllable, say). According to the Gruniad Morning Star Channel Four is looking to bring back 'the classic game show' as part of the Stand Up To Cancer fundraising event in October. Reports - albeit, not from anyone that you'd trust as far as you can spit - had suggested national heartthrob David Tennant would host the show but, the Gruniad sneers, 'it is understood that this is not the case.' They really think they're effing it, don't they? In fact, it was later announced that the revival will be hosted by Stephen Merchant, someone else who thinks he's it. So, that's definitely one very good reason to avoid it like the plague in that case. The problem-solving adventure game show - which saw contestants taking part in a series of challenges in order to win 'time crystals' - ran from 1990 to 1995. It drew up to six million viewers at the height of its success. Mostly readers of the Gruniad Morning Star, interestingly, as were many of the contestants, the sort of people brilliantly parodied in Half Man, Half Biscuit's 'Paintball's Coming Home'. The programme was originally presented by Richard O'Brien, with Ed Tudor-Pole taking over for the final two series by which time, hardly anyone was watching it. A spokesman for Channel Four said: 'Channel Four is looking at a special Crystal Maze for Stand Up To Cancer.'
Coronation Street 'bosses' - or 'producers as normal people call them - have apologised after nearly three hundred viewers whinged about a comment a character made about her hair. The episode on Bank Holiday Monday saw Eva Price, played by Catherine Tyldesley, visit Audrey's hair salon, where she remarked: 'I have more roots than Kunta Kinte. No idea who that is, by the way, just something my mum used to say.' Kunta Kinte, of course, was a character from the novel Roots: The Saga Of An American Family, which was later adapted into an international hit TV miniseries where he was played by LeVar Burton as young man and, later, by John Amos. Based on a real-life ancestor of the author Alex Haley, it tells the story of a man taken from Gambia and sold as a slave in the US. It has recently been remade although the new version hasn't been broadcast in the UK as yet. TV watchdog Ofcom said: 'Ofcom has received two hundred and seventy eight complaints about Coronation Street, which aired on Monday. We will assess these complaints before we decide whether to investigate or not.' A spokeswoman for the soap said: 'We apologise if this dialogue has caused offence.' Quite why it should have caused offence, or over what, is - at this time - unknown. But, if you go onto Twitter, dear blog reader, someone will probably give you a reason.
A TV advert for Captain Morgan Rum featuring a raucous boat party has been very banned for implying that alcohol can make you more confident. This blogger's experience of alcohol is that, in some circumstances, it can make onemore confident ... but, it can also make one depressed, angry, psychotic and violently and copious sick and bowking rich brown phlegm deep into the night. So, you know, swings and roundabout, innit? The advert featured a party on a sailing ship with 'a fun-loving man' who has the face of the Captain Morgan pirate logo which adorns the rum's bottles superimposed over his own. The man is seen dancing with friends to Chic's 'Le Freak', upending a sofa and swinging on a rope from deck-to-deck with text saying 'Captain the dance floor,' 'Captain the night' and 'Put your Captain face on.' The advert ended with a shot of the Captain Morgan product range and the line 'Live like the Captain.' The Advertising Standards Authority received an unspecified number of complaints from 'Alcohol Concern' (no, me neither) and one from a member of the public that the advert was 'irresponsible' because it implied that drinking alcohol could contribute to an individual's popularity or confidence. Diageo, which owns the rum brand, said that the advert 'shows enjoying a night with friends and taking charge of a night out and staying in control.' One or two people even believed them. They claimed the use of the Captain Morgan face image on the main character 'did not symbolise alcohol consumption' and 'no booze was shown in the party scenes at all.' The ASA didn't buy it for a second, and said that viewers 'would equate' the brand and the character with the rum brand. 'Viewers were therefore likely to understand that the central figure's behaviour resulted from his consumption of Captain Morgan rum,' said the ASA. 'We considered that the use of "captain" as a verb to mean being in charge or in control carried connotations of enhanced confidence, dominance, and ability to lead others. In that context we considered that the phrases would be understood by consumers as invitations to achieve a confident, uninhibited attitude through consuming Captain Morgan rum.' The ASA said that while the main character was not shown drinking 'we considered that the superimposed Captain Morgan face implied that he had already consumed the product and thus linked his confident behaviour to this consumption.' The ASA banned the advert under rules relating to responsible alcohol advertising. 'We concluded that the ad implied that drinking alcohol could enhance personal qualities and was therefore irresponsible,' the ASA said.
An international team of scientists from the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence is investigating 'mysterious signal spikes' emitting from a six-billion-year-old star in the constellation Hercules which is ninety five light years - or, a fucking long way - away from Earth. The implications are extraordinary and point to the possibility of the existence of a civilisation far more advanced than our own. Not that such a concept would be all that difficult to imagine; I mean, if they've reach the concept of finger painting they're already only a few steps away from us. The unusual signal was originally detected on 15 May 2015, by the Russian Academy of Science-operated RATAN-Six Hundred radio telescope in Zelenchukskaya, but was 'kept secret' from the international community. Presumably for the nefarious purposes of some dastardly scheme dreamed up by The Butcher Of Grozny and his grubby acolytes. Interstellar space reporter Paul Gilster broke the story after the researchers quietly circulated a paper announcing the detection of 'a strong signal in the direction of HD164595.' The star is considered to be sun-like in nature with a nearly identical metallic composition to our own sun. So far, a single Neptune-like planet has been discovered in its orbit - HD164595B. But as Gilster explained, 'there could, of course, be other planets still undetected in this system.' Decorated Italian SETI researcher and mathematician Claudio Maccone along with Russia's Nikolai Bursov of the Special Astrophysical Observatory are the principal scientists working on the apparent discovery. They claim that 'permanent monitoring of this target is needed.' 'The signal conceivably fits the profile for an intentional transmission from an extraterrestrial source,' said Alan Boyle, author of The Case For Pluto who reported the story for Geekwire. 'In any case, the blip is interesting enough to merit discussion by those who specialise in the search for extraterrestrial intelligence.' The signal's strength indicates that if it in fact came from a isotropic beacon, the power source would have to be built by a Kardashev Type II civilisation. (The Kardashev scale is used to determine the progress of a civilisation's technological development by measuring how much energy was used to transmit an interstellar message.) An 'Isotropic' beacon means a communication source emitting a signal with equal power in all directions while promoting signal strength throughout travel. In his acclaimed work Transmission Of Information By Extraterrestrial Civilisations, Soviet astronomer Nikolai Kardashev explained that a Type II civilisation would be 'able to harness the energy of their entire host star.' Plus, they've probably developed beyond I'm A Z-List Former Celebrity Desperate To Get My Boat-Race Back On TV ... Please Vote For Me To Stay Here As Long As Possible (I'll Even Eat Worms If You Want). The most common hypothetical example of this would be a Dyson Sphere which is a massive artificial structure that could completely encapsulate a star and transfer the energy to a nearby planet. Basically, if the signal was beamed out into the galaxy without aim or direction, that would require an enormous amount of power to actually be detected. But, what if the signal was beamed specifically at our solar system? That would require less energy and could indicate the presence of a Kardashev Type I civilisation meaning that it could be a highly technological, contemporary society which harnesses the solar energy emitted by its local star, much like our planet does with solar panels. This particular civilisation's social structure is theorised to be completely globalised and interconnected. So, they've just reached an equivalent of I'm A Z-List Former Celebrity Desperate To Get My Boat-Race Back On TV ... Please Vote For Me To Stay Here As Long As Possible (I'll Even Eat Worms If You Want). 'The signal is provocative enough that the RATAN-Six Hundred researchers are calling for permanent monitoring of this target,' said Gilster. And that's exactly what is transpiring. As of this week, the SETI institute is diverting its Allen Telescope Array in Northern California to investigate while their counterparts at METI International will use Panama's Boquete Optical Observatory. The detection of the mysterious signal and the ensuing investigations will be discussed at the IAA SETI Permanent Committee during the sixty seventh International Astronautical Congress in Guadalajara on 27 September, the same day and location where Elon Musk will reportedly reveal his plans to colonise Mars (although, see below, Elon might have one or two other things on his mind at the moment besides getting to Mars).
Stargazers in parts of Africa have been treated to a spectacular 'ring of fire' in the sky as the sun was almost - but not completely - eclipsed. An annular eclipse happens when the moon is farther away from the Earth than during a total eclipse. The result is a bright circle of sunshine surrounding a dark, shadowy core. The best views were seen in Tanzania, where the event lasted about three minutes. The near-eclipse could also be viewed in parts of Gabon, Congo-Brazzaville, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Madagascar and the French Indian Ocean island of Reunion. The moon does not move in a perfect circle around the earth - instead, its orbit is slightly elliptical. That means the distance of the moon varies between around two hundred and twenty five thousand to two hundred and fifty two thousand miles. When the moon is farther away from the earth, it appears smaller - and does not totally cover the sun's disc during a total eclipse. The result is also known as a 'ring of fire' eclipse. The next eclipse is due to take place in February 2017, and can be seen from parts of South America and Africa.
A rocket operated by the aerospace company SpaceX has exploded on the launch pad at Cape Canaveral where it was being test-fired ahead of a launch. The force of the blast shook buildings several miles away. SpaceX said 'an anomaly' had occurred - no shit? - while the rocket was being loaded with fuel. Thankfully, no-one was injured, it confirmed. The rocket's payload, an Israeli-built communications satellite for Facebook due to launch on Saturday, was also very destroyed, it added. Facebook, in partnership with Eutelsat Communications, had been due to use the Amos-Six satellite to deliver broadband Internet coverage for swathes of sub-Saharan Africa as part of its Internet.org initiative. Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, who is currently visiting Africa, said he was 'deeply disappointed' to hear that the satellite had been destroyed. 'We remain committed to our mission of connecting everyone and we will keep working until everyone has the opportunities this satellite would have provided,' he wrote on his own Facebook account. A leading Israeli space official said that the loss of the Amos-Six satellite, valued at more than two hundred million dollars and owned by Spacecom, was 'a major blow' to the industry. 'As far as the Israeli communications satellite industry is concerned, this is a very severe blow which could place the future of the industry in doubt if it is not dragged out of the mud,' said the chairman of the Israel Space Agency, Isaac Ben-Israel. SpaceX said in a statement: 'The anomaly originated around the upper stage oxygen tanks and occurred during propellant loading of the vehicle. As per standard operating procedure, all personnel were clear of the pad and no-one was injured. We are continuing to review the data to identify the root cause.' SpaceX is aiming to create a new era of reusable rockets and affordable private space travel and has used its Falcon-Nine rocket to take supplies to the International Space Station. In December last year, the California-based company successfully landed a Falcon-Nine back on Earth after a mission to launch orbiting satellites - a first in rocketry. SpaceX is run out of Hawthorne near Los Angeles by yer actual Elon Musk, who - ironically - made his fortune with Internet companies. As well as being the rocket company's CEO, he also heads up the Tesla electric car company.
Astronomers in the US have uncovered previously unknown objects in the outer reaches of the Solar System. They include an icy body with an orbit that takes it so far from the Sun that it is probably influenced by the gravity of other stars. The discoveries were found during an effort to locate a possible ninth planet, whose presence has been inferred indirectly. The study is set to be published by The Astronomical Journal. Co-authors Scott Sheppard and Chad Trujillo have submitted the details of their discoveries to the Minor Planet Centre, which catalogues such objects, along with asteroids and comets. Their search was carried out using several observatories around the world, including the Blanco telescope in Chile and the Subaru telescope in Hawaii. One of the new objects, known for now as 2014 FE72, is the first distant Oort Cloud object found with an orbit entirely beyond Neptune. Its orbit takes it some three thousand times further than the Earth is from the Sun. The Oort Cloud is the large shell of objects that occupies the outermost region of the Solar System. Doctor Sheppard, from the Carnegie Institution for Science in Washington and Doctor Trujillo, from Northern Arizona University, have been analysing how the new planet-like bodies fit into larger theories about a ninth planet lurking in the Solar System's furthest reaches. The evidence for this planet has largely been deduced by peculiarities of distant Solar System objects. One of the new celestial bodies, 2013 FT28, shares characteristics of its orbit in common with the bodies whose positions and movements lent support to the Planet Nine idea - but it also shows some differences. Based on analysis of other small bodies in the outer Solar System, astronomers have proposed that - if it exists - the ninth planet is several times more massive than Earth and is at least two hundred times further than the distance between the Sun and Earth. The new work should help constrain the location of this proposed ninth planet. 'The smaller objects can lead us to the much bigger planet we think exists out there,' said Sheppard. 'The more we discover, the better we will be able to understand what is going on in the outer Solar System.' Pluto, discovered in 1930, was previously known as the ninth planet. But its planetary status was removed - by some people that you've never heard of - in 2006, following the discovery of an object of comparable size in the Kuiper Belt, a ring of icy bodies just beyond Neptune.
The BBC has released a new image from the Doctor Who spin-off series, Class. The image shows the characters Miss Quill, played by Katherine Kelly, and April played by Sophie Hopkins. The image marks the end of four months filming on the series, written by yer actual Patrick Ness.
You had one job, ITV4. Well, you probably had a few in reality - but, still, that was one hell of a mistake you guys made on Thursday of this week. As motorcycling fans around the nation - all twelve of them - were psyching themselves up for a fascinating documentary about the Dunlop family from 10pm, titled Road, they probably weren't expecting to stumble across the 2009 Viggo Mortensen post-apocalyptic drama, The Road. What a different one definite article makes. It's fair to say ITV4 viewers, by and large, weren't exactly in a forgiving mood and took to social media to give full vent to the wrath of their bombast.
The Greek government has landed itself almost two hundred and fifty million Euros from a controversial broadcast licence auction which will see the number of national channels in the country cut from eight to four. Prime minister Alexis Tsipras's government claimed that the auction would 'crack down on corruption' in the media sector and 'enable better regulation.' But critics say that the move is merely a ploy to replace established TV barons – who have opposed Tspiras's leftist Syriza party in the past – with others more to his liking. State minister Nikos Pappas said thst the auction – the first in twenty seven years – meant Greece now has 'TV channels which will inform Greek people objectively, not depending on their owners' links to the political leadership.' A secretive auction saw Greece's most powerful media executives locked away for more than three days with a ban on mobile phones. One top executive was seen taking a sleeping mattress into the Athens building for the multi-day process. The four ten-year licences were won by three shipowners and a construction mogul, the latter considered close to the Tsipras government. The government made two hundred and forty six million Euros from the auction, handing licences to incumbent Skai TV and to Antenna TV – which has a wide-ranging multimedia deal with Vice Media including a daily TV show. 'We were not contesting a licence, we came to negotiate ransom,' Costas Kimbouropoulos, Skai's representative, told Reuters. Skai and Antenna are both owned by shipowning families – the latter by Yiannis Alafouzos, who also controls Athens football giants Panathinaikos. Two new entrants – construction magnate Ioannis Kalogritsas and shipowner Vangelis Marinakis, owner of another Greek football team, the current champions Olympiakos – picked up the other licences. Greece's oldest private channel, Mega, failed to make the cut and was eliminated before the bidding even started. Leading channels Alpha and Star were also knocked out in the process. The government has claimed that four channels is 'enough' to be viable based on a TV advertising market estimated at about two hundred and eighty million Euros annually. The Athens Journalists' Union described the process – which is likely to lead to hundreds of job losses – as 'a badly-written reality show.' Or, a reality show in other words. Greece's top administrative court later this month will examine requests by several of the channels to annul the process. The government has said stations that broadcast nationwide without a licence will be blocked in ninety days.
Jackass-type person Steve-O managed to break both of his legs – and sprain his wrist – in 'an ill-fated skateboard stunt.' In the clip – filmed by professional skateboarder Tony Hawk in San Diego – the forty two-year-old perches his board on a wooden box and attempts to land as a speeding car smashes through the structure. On his first attempt, the 'daredevil' - or 'utter plank', take your pick - missed the skateboard completely and then landed on his feet, but appeared to suffer no serious injury as he preserved for a second crack at the trick. A third attempt saw the stunt go horribly wrong and left O screaming in pain after landing rather awkwardly and suffering multiple injuries. That'll teach him. Except, it probably won't.
FIFA El Presidente, Gianni Infantino said that 'football history' was made after video replays were used for the first time in an international match during France's three-one friendly win over Italy in Bari this week. Video was used when Italy appealed for a penalty after a perceived handball in the box by defender Layvin Kurzawa. Referee Bjorn Kuipers stopped play while TV replays were consulted and it was decided not to award a spot-kick. Infantino hopes the technology will be used at the 2018 World Cup in Russia. Trials have already taken place in the United Soccer League - the third tier of football in the US - and it will also be tested in six other countries during the next two years, including Germany and Italy. 'You could see that the referee stopped play for a couple of seconds and during those seconds the two referees in the truck verified that there was no penalty,' Infantino told Italy's Rai TV. 'We've seen football history here,' he added. 'We're in 2016 so it's about time to try it.'
England posted the highest ever one-day international total as they beat Pakistan by one hundred and sixty nine runs at Trent Bridge on Tuesday to secure an ODI series victory. Alex Hales struck a record one hundred and seventy one and Jos Buttler made England's fastest ever fifty from just twenty two balls as England hit a remarkable four hundred and forty four for three in fifty overs. This surpassed the four hundred and forty three for nine posted by Sri Lanka against The Netherlands in 2006. Pakistan were forced to bat aggressively but their batsmen struggled to build partnerships as they were bowled out for two hundred and seventy nine. England have now won eleven of their past twelve ODIs against Pakistan and have a fourteen-eight 'Super Series' lead, with two ODI games and a Twenty/20 match remaining. Robin Smith's one hundred and sixty seven against Australia in 1993 was the previous highest score by an Englishman in an ODI. Hales had made seven and fourteen in his previous one-day innings against Pakistan but, he played positively after England won the toss and batted first on a good pitch. Despite Jason Roy's early dismissal to a short Hasan Ali delivery, Hales' aggressive nature saw him register a fifty five-ball half-century, before earning a reprieve on seventy three when he was caught off a no-ball. His fourth one-day century was brought up from eighty three deliveries but still Hales accelerated as he launched Hasan over mid-wicket to break Smith's twenty three-year record. Hales targeted the on-side and left-arm seamer Wahab Riaz came in for particularly harsh and brutal punishment as the Notts man struck forty four runs from twenty six deliveries. He was trapped LBW by the next ball but left the field having hit twenty two fours and four sixes. Joe Root played a fine supporting role to Hales, making eighty five from eighty six deliveries from a partnership of two hundred and forty eight, but England could have stumbled once he fell in the thirty seventh over. Root became the sixth England player to make five consecutive half-centuries in ODIs. However Jos Buttler kept up the pressure on Pakistan with a succession of powerful shots all around the ground. England scored three hundred and twenty one in their last thirty overs, hitting a boundary every four deliveries. Buttler struck a towering six over long-on and scooped Hasan to fine leg as he registered his half-century. England captain Morgan added to the carnage by striking a Wahab delivery into the crowd for six as England passed their previous highest one-day total of four hundred and eight. Buttler had a late reprieve as he was bowled off another Wahab no-ball, before Morgan made his thirty first one-day half-century by clubbing another six into the stand. Buttler then struck the final ball of the innings over extra cover for four to finish on ninety not out and register a remarkable, unbeaten one hundred and sixty one-run partnership with Morgan (who ended with fifty seven not out). Pakistan seamer Wahab Riaz's figures of nought for one hundred and eleven were the second most expensive in ODI cricket. England's fifty nine boundaries were the most conceded in a one-day international innings. Pakistan did not help themselves with a poor showing in the field, with several woeful misfields giving England early boundaries. The visitors were forced to bat aggressively from the start but the pressure of England's extraordinary total meant they could not build partnerships that would last through the innings. Sharjeel made a quick half-century, flicking Chris Woakes off his hips for three consecutive boundaries before eventually being caught on the rope. Ben Stokes took his first wicket since injuring his calf as he had Babar caught at cover, before Liam Plunkett dismissed Malik with a ninety miles per hour delivery. The innings petered out before Mohammad Amir's entertaining cameo at the end, as he made the first ever half-century by a number number eleven in ODIs. Amir made an attacking fifty eight, thrashing Mark Wood for consecutive sixes before being caught and bowled by Woakes.
And, two days later, half-centuries from Ben Stokes and Jonny Bairstow led England to a four-wicket win over Pakistan and a four-nil lead in the series. Stokes made sixty nine, the recalled Bairstow sixty one and Moeen Ali an unbeaten forty five as the hosts recovered from seventy two for four to chase down two hundred and forty eight with two overs and four wickets to spare at Headingley. Pakistan's two hundred and forty seven for eight featured eighty from captain Azhar Ali and Imad Wasim's fifty seven not out off forty one balls. Adil Rashid claimed three for forty seven and Moeen did not concede a single boundary in his two for thirty nine. Victory may not have been as comprehensive as England's record-breaking performance at Trent Bridge, but it gave them an unassailable sixteen-eight lead in the 'Super Series'. They have now won twelve of their past thirteen one-day internationals against Pakistan, and will complete a five-nil series whitewash if they triumph at Cardiff on Sunday. That England's chase was orchestrated by three players who did not contribute with the bat in their four hundred and forty plus thrashing of the Pakistan attack in Nottingham illustrates the current depth in their side. Indeed, man of the match Bairstow was selected only after wicketkeeper Jos Buttler pulled out with a hamstring strain half-an-hour before the game. Stokes, not required to bat on Tuesday, combined aggression and maturity, while Bairstow replicated the sparkling test form he has shown this year. Driving powerfully down the ground, Stokes dominated a fifth-wicket stand of one hundred and three with Bairstow spanning twenty overs as he compiled his highest ODI score in England. Their partnership reversed the momentum of the innings after Mohammad Irfan had located Jason Roy and Alex Hales' outside edges in the first seven overs, Joe Root top-edged Hasan Ali to fine-leg and Eoin Morgan steered Umar Gul straight to slip. Although Stokes holed out at deep mid-wicket off Imad Wasim to leave England one hundred and seventy five for five, the composed Bairstow mixed clever placement with the occasional lusty blow to take them to within sight of victory. After Bairstow was run out chasing another quick single with twenty three required, Moeen - another batsman not needed in Nottingham - completed the job with a straight six. For all Pakistan's increased competitiveness - this was the closest match of the series by far - they have still not passed two hundred and seventy five runs in four attempts and Irfan, their best bowler with two for twenty six, managed only five overs before a calf problem forced him off the field to the visible irritation of Pakistan coach Mickey Arthur. Azhar was the only member of the Pakistan top seven to score more than twenty four as England's spinners prospered on a dry surface offering slow turn. Moeen's economical ten-over spell yielded the wickets of Babar Azam - caught cutting - and Mohammad Nawaz, beaten by the turn and easily stumped by Bairstow. Liam Plunkett took another superb catch (to go with several he's made earlier in the series) leaping to his left at mid-on to account for Sarfraz Ahmed off Rashid, who also trapped Mohammad Rizwan in front and ended Azhar's cautious one hundred and eight-ball innings courtesy of a miscued drive to long-off. Belated aggression came courtesy of Imad, the left-hander hitting seven fours and a six in his second successive ODI half-century. But for all Irfan's early efforts with the ball, the target proved well within England's grasp as the home side, once again, metaphorically got Pakistan face-down in the clarts. Which makes a nice change cos it's usually in the past been other teams doing that to England.
The revamped Checkatrade Trophy has begun this week with record low attendances, managers named as substitutes and a fifteen-year-old for whom the club needed permission to play from his headteacher. In a bid to revive the competition formerly known as The Johnstone's Paint Trophy, League One and League Two clubs voted in favour of expanding the competition to add Premier League and Championship development squads on a one-season trial basis. There was also a change to a group-stage format, rather than the straight knockout tournament it was last season. However, the 'overwhelming majority' of fans were reported to be against the idea and have, seemingly, voted with their feet, with Shrewsbury's New (formerly Gay) Meadow and Bolton's Macron Stadium both recording their lowest ever attendances. Some of the other attendance headlines from Tuesday's action include: three hundred and ninety two paying punters fans watching Fleetwood against Blackburn Vindaloo's development squad, a crowd of four hundred and sixty one at AFC Wimbledon to watch their match against Swansea, Accrington Stanley ('who are they?' 'exactly!') attracting but five hundred and eighty five fans for their match against Crewe, Port Vale's lowest crowd in a competitive game for thirty years - one thousand one hundred and ninety eight - of which one hundred and twenty were supporting visitors Derby County and Wycombe selling only but three tickets in advance of their trip to Northampton, although eventually seventy four away fans rocked up and were among the fourteen hundred and eight at the Sixfields Stadium. Three years since officially retiring from playing, forty three-year-old Wycombe Wanderers manager Gareth Ainsworth stepped onto a football pitch for the six hundred an first time when he came on against Northampton. Facing an injury crisis and with his side two-nil ahead, the former Queens Park Strangers midfielder came on as an eighty fifth-minute substitute to help see out the game. But wouldn't you just know it - he promptly set up his side's third goal, laying the ball into the path of Garry Thompson to help end Northampton Town's twenty nine-match unbeaten run. It was not just Ainsworth on his side's bench on Tuesday, with Exeter City boss Paul Tisdale naming himself on the bench alongside fifteen-year-old Ethan Ampadu. Sadly, Tisdale did not come on, or else we may have seen the first footballer wearing a cravat and bowler's hat - the Exeter manager's regular outfit on the touchline when coaching. Ampadu was not the only fifteen-year-old involved on Tuesday either, as Luton named striker Connor Tomlinson on the bench for their trip to Gillingham. Tomlinson came on to make his debut at the age of fifteen years and one hundred and ninety nine days, becoming the youngest first-team player in the club's long history as they won two-one. Tomlinson's contemporary - fifteen-year-old Emeka Obi, born in June 2001 - also made his debut for Bury late on in their four-one win over Morecambe.
This blogger - along with, he suspects, most other supporters of his beloved (though very unsellable) Magpies - really and genuinely, would like to thank yer actual Stottingtot Hotshots from the bottom of our collective heart for them taking Moussa Sissoko off our hands for thirty million snots on transfer deadline day. In fact, if you want any more overpaid, under-performing, play-when-they-feel-like-it (which-isn't-very-often) greedy cowards that you wish to stump up top dollar for, this blogger believes we've still got one or two hanging around the gaff in a cupboard somewhere that Rafa The Gaffer hasn't been able to get shot of yet. One time offer, buy one Sissoko, get a Tiote free. As the Evening Chronicle's Lee Ryder pointed out shortly after the Sissoko deal was concluded, Newcastle's transfer policy over the last few windows has been little short of one disaster after another but this time, for once, they appear to have, broadly speaking, got things right. Thanks to the sales of over-paid, under-performing, play-when-they-fancy-it (which-isn't-very-often) greedy cowards Andros Townsend (for thirteen million knicker), Gini Wijnaldum (for twenty five million smackers) and Sissoko (for thirty million), United have managed to buy or take on loan twelve players during the summer transfer window and still end up making a thirty one million quid profit. And, most of the players signed appear, at least on the evidence so far, not to be over-paid, under-performing, play-when-they-fancy-it (which-isn't-very-often) greedy cowards but, rather, lads who might not have as much natural talent as the likes of Townsend, Wijnaldum and Sissoko but do a bit more than turn up once a week, pull on a black and white shirt and then do as little as humanly possible for ninety minutes and still think they justify massive wages. A necessary difference one feels. 'The main thing is that the club is in control and we are signing players who are right for this club and for our Championship campaign. It cannot be the other way around,' Rafa The Gaffer noted. 'We are only interested in bringing players to Newcastle who want to work hard for the club and the team; not players who want to be at another club maybe next year or the year after. We are not a stepping stone, we are Newcastle United. Every player should be honoured to wear the shirt of this club. They should feel the same passion that the fans feel, then you have a great relationship between the players and the supporters in the stadium. It is magical when that happens and it can help us achieve great things together.' What a great pity it is that the people in charge of the club's transfer policy didn't have that basic principle in mind when they signed the likes of Townsend, Wijnaldum, Sissoko, Tiote, Coloccini, Cisse, Sylvain Marveaux, Gabriel Obertan, Remy Cabella, Daryl Janmaat, Florian Thauvin, Siem De Jong, Henri Saivet, Emmanuel Riviere, Seydou Doumbia, Facundo Ferreyra, Michael Owen and various other soulless mercenaries who've taken our money and -to a greater or lesser degree - also taken the piss. Hope we didn't inconvenience your careers too much, lads. If this blogger was an Everton fan, he'd be absolutely delighted that Sissoko reportedly (and sneeringly) chose not to answer his phone when rung by Ronald Koeman and think themselves jolly lucky that they had one hell of fortunate escape. And, if he was a Stottingtot Hotshots fans, he'd be recalling the words of John Lydon when The Sex Pistols ended their final gig in San Francisco in 1978. 'Ha-ha. Ever get the feeling you've been cheated? Goodnight!'
Naughty Hopeless Solo has decided to end her season with the Seattle Reign of the National Women's Soccer League. The beleaguered goalkeeper, who was extremely handed a six-month suspension and saw her contract with US Soccer terminated last week, announced her departure from her professional club team in a rather self-pitying statement issued on Tuesday. US Soccer extremely suspended Solo following disparaging comments she made about Sweden during the Olympics, calling her opponents 'a bunch of cowards' for their defensive play during the Quarter Finals in which they defeated America on penalties. Which was funny. She won't be eligible for selection to the national team again until next February. Before a match last weekend against the Portland Thorns, the Reign announced that Solo had been granted 'an indefinite personal leave.' Haley Kopmeyer took over for Solo in goal and the Reign won three-one. 'Coming to terms with the fact I was fired from the US Women's National Team after seventeen years of service has been devastating. After careful consideration, I have decided to end my season with the Seattle Reign, an organisation I love playing for,' Solo whinged. 'Mentally, I am not there yet. After watching the team's win against Portland this weekend and seeing Haley Kopmeyer playing so well in goal, I truly believe this decision is what's best for me and for the Reign organisation.' Reign head coach and general manager Laura Harvey issued a statement saying that while the team was 'disappointed' with Solo's decision, it was 'understood and respected' her. 'Hope has always wanted what is best for our team - she is a relentless trainer, a fierce competitor and demands from herself nothing less than excellence on the pitch,' Harvey claimed. The three-time defending champion US women were handed their earliest-ever exit from the Olympics earlier this month when Sweden won on penalty kicks following a one-all draw. Sweden's coach, Pia Sundhage, who led the US team to gold medals in Beijing and London, replied to Solo's post game 'cowards' comment by stating: 'It's okay to be a coward if you win.' Sweden went on to play in the final against Germany and, although they lost, they ended the tournament with a silver medal. Solo ended it getting her ass very sacked. There's a moral in that story, somewhere. Solo had caused a stir or two in Brazil even before the comment about Sweden because of social media posts over the Zika virus, showing her wearing mosquito netting and armed with insect repellent. Brazilian fans booed her mercilessly and shouted 'Zika!' every time she touched the ball. While somewhat talented in goal, controversy has shadowed the thirty five-year-old Solo throughout her career. She still faces a possible trial on misdemeanour domestic violence charges after a 2014 incident at her sister's home, when she was accused of being intoxicated and assaulting her sister and seventeen-year-old nephew. Solo said she was 'a victim' in the altercation. One or two people even believed her. Earlier this year, an appeals court in Washington state rejected Solo's request to avoid trial. In early 2015 while Solo was at a team training camp in Southern California, her husband Jerramy Stevens was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence in a US Soccer team van. Solo was with him at the time. The former Seattle Seahawks tight end later pleaded no contest and was very sentenced to thirty days in the county jail and four years on probation. Solo herself was suspended by US Soccer for thirty days over the incident. There were other incidents as well, including Twitter comments she made about former team-mate Brandi Chastain during the London Games and public criticism of coach Paul Ryan during the 2007 World Cup over his decision to start Briana Scurry in the Semi Finals, a match that the Americans lost.
A boy climbed into a tank at an aquarium to steal a turtle which he then hid under his jumper, police have said. Which, frankly, sounds like a sodding daft thing to do. The mud turtle, known as Clyde, was taken from Blue Planet Aquarium in Ellesmere Port, Cheshire on Tuesday. 'The boy was completely soaked and had no top on, which may have attracted your attention,' said Detective Sergeant Rob Grantham of Cheshire Police. And, with detecting skills like that, one can only assume that Rob's promotion to Inspector is already in the post. Without specialist care, Clyde may die, he added. Aw, that's not cool. CCTV images appear to show the boy carrying something under his jumper, which police believe was the very turtle in question. Police also released an image of a woman they would 'like to speak to' as part of their investigation into Clyde's kidnapping. Or, turtlenapping. Thankfully, the Torygraph reported two days later that Clyde had been returned to the aquarium and was unharmed. Who doesn't enjoy a happy ending?
Candidates who wear brown shoes, 'loud' ties or 'ill-fitting suits' can fall foul of 'opaque' codes of conduct, the Social Mobility Commission found. Firms recruit for front office roles from a few elite universities and only hire those who 'fit in,' it said. So, seemingly, Frank Zappa was right, brown shoes really don't make it. Chairman Alan Milburn said that 'arcane culture rules' were locking working-class candidates out of City jobs. The report's authors found that managers placed 'as much importance' on a person's speech, accent, dress and behaviour as their skills and qualifications. 'Relatively opaque codes of conduct also extend to dress,' the report suggested. 'To provide one example - for men the wearing of brown shoes with a business suit is generally, though not always, considered unacceptable by and for British bankers within the investment banking (corporate finance) division.' The report quoted one candidate, from 'a non-privileged background,' describing the feedback he received from a mentor after an interview. 'He said you're clearly quite sharp, but you're not quite the fit for [this bank]. You're not polished enough. He looked at me and said, "see that tie you're wearing? It's too loud. Like you can't wear that tie with the suit that you're wearing." What kind of industry is this where I can be told that I'm a good candidate, I'm sharp, but I'm not polished enough?' The report found that, when picking candidates for jobs that involved dealing with clients, managers often selected those who fitted the traditional image of an investment banker. It quoted one candidate as saying that the 'typical' corporate finance banker is 'usually someone pretty smooth, very fast talking, well-connected typically, likely to come from a pretty decent background, likely to be very polished, probably come from a good family and so on. And that would be stereotypical, but still true, I think.'

An alleged serial cellphone thief was arrested after he stole a mobile while waiting for his court hearing. Police said that the accused, Faisal Iqbal Shaikh, a suspect in several cases of cellphone theft, was waiting for his case to be heard at the Thane sessions court on Wednesday when he approached court stenographer, Nandini Purarkar. Shaikh repeatedly asked her how long it would take before his case came up for hearing. Purarkar told him to wait for his turn. Shaikh then, allegedly, spotted Purarkar's cellphone in a corner and pocketed the phone. When Shaikh's case finally came up for hearing, he was nowhere to be found. Purarkar only realised that her phone was missing during the lunch break when she wanted to make a call. She tried dialling the number but found it switched off. Purarkar immediately approached the Thane Nagar police and told them of her suspicions about Shaikh and his alleged naughty ways. It was, she told then, probably a robbery. And, indeed, a bit of skulduggery. The police summoned Shaikh's lawyer and instructed him to call Shaikh, who answered the phone. Shaikh told his lawyer that he was going home and would meet him in court at the next hearing. Police officers turned up at Shaikh's home in Mumbra and questioned his father, who told them that Shaikh visits Mumbra railway station every evening to sell stolen phones. The police nabbed Shaikh after laying a trap for him at the station and recovered two cellphones from him, including the one allegedly belonging to the stenographer. Senior Inspector Mandar Dharmadhikari, Thane Nagar Police Station said, 'The accused has been arrested. We recovered two mobile phones from him.'
Swiss prosecutors have told the BBC that they are very investigating German football legend Franz Beckenbauer as part of a corruption inquiry. In March, football's world governing body FIFA began looking into six men for their part in Germany winning the rights to host the 2006 World Cup. Swiss prosecutors now say they have launched their own investigations, linked to that of FIFA. Beckenbauer, who headed Germany's bid, has denied corruption. Last October, he said that he had 'made a mistake' in the bidding process to host the competition but denied that votes had been bought. Germany beat South Africa twelve-eleven in the vote, which took place in July 2000. Germany's Spiegel magazine reported on Thursday that the investigation centred on payments made from 2002 to 2005 which added up to more than ten million Swiss francs. Further details are expected to be released by Switzerland's attorney-general later on Thursday. In March, it emerged that six men were being investigated by FIFA's ethics committee. Last October, Beckenbauer - pictured below with a couple of gentlemen who, in no way, could be described a complete and total crooks - said that he did not give 'money to anyone in order to buy votes.' But in a statement, he said: 'In order to get a subsidy from FIFA [for the organisation of the 2006 World Cup] those involved went ahead with a proposal from the FIFA finance commission that in today's eyes should have been rejected. I, as president of the then-organising committee, bear the responsibility of this mistake.' Beckenbaeur captained West Germany to victory as hosts at the 1974 World Cup and was coach when they next lifted the trophy, in Italy sixteen years later. The former defender went on to manage French side Marseille and German giants Bayern Munich, where he is now honorary president.
Oscar-winning actor Jim Broadbent will play 'a major part' in the seventh season of TV fantasy Game Of Thrones. Details of Broadbent's character have not yet been revealed - but Entertainment Weekly quoted a spokesperson as saying he would have 'a significant role.' The versatile sixty seven-year-old actor won an Oscar in 2002 for Iris. The seven episodes in Game Of Thrones' seventh series will be filmed over the winter before reaching screens next summer. It will be the HBO drama's penultimate season. Meanwhile, an alleged 'source' has, allegedly, told EW that filming on the seventh series had begun.
Full of his own importance Eamonn Holmes is to step down as anchor of Sky News's Sunrise after eleven years presenting the breakfast show. The move will end his run of twenty three years on breakfast TV in total - he joined Sky in 2005 after twelve years on GMTV. Holmes said that he had to 'step away from the daily studio commitment for a while' to produce and present more documentaries. 'To those who have worked or woken up with me on Sky News over the years - thank you. I hope you appreciated that I tried to do it differently,' he said.

ITV's new TV chief is to take 'a more relaxed' attitude to occasionally airing News At Ten in a later slot, a strategy which would free up more primetime space and make for fewer clashes with the BBC's 10pm news bulletin. It is understood that Kevin Lygo, the ITV Studios boss who replaced Peter Fincham as ITV director of television earlier this year, has 'no intention' of permanently moving its nightly news bulletin to avoid the so-called 'battle of the bongs' with the BBC. ITV has already occasionally shifted News At Ten back to make space for live events such as I'm A Z-List Former Celebrity Desperate To Get My Boat-Race Back On TV ... Please Vote For Me To Stay Here As Long As Possible (I'll Even Eat Worms If You Want), Champions League football and Britain's Got Toilets. A report in Broadcast magazine had claimed that Lygo was 'keen' to permanently move News At Ten to a later slot to maximise an extra half-hour of primetime for programming including ninety-minute dramas or thirty minutes of reality, comedy, chat or panel shows. However, according to one senior - though anonymous and, therefore, possibly fictitious - 'source'quoted by the Gruniad Morning Star, Lygo is to take a more 'relaxed approach' to the relatively fixed opportunities to shunt News At Ten to 10.30pm. A permanent change of slot would cause major ructions with ITN, which produces ITV News for the broadcaster, given that the new-look programme only launched in October last year. 'We are not moving News At Ten,' said a spokesman for ITV. 'There are occasions when the main bulletin moves for big entertainment event programming or sport, but we have no plans to permanently move it from the 10pm slot.'
Nepal has imposed a ten-year mountaineering ban on two climbers who claimed to be the first Indian couple to have climbed Everest, officials say. A government investigation concluded on Monday that photographs purporting to show the pair at the top of the world's highest mountain were 'faked.' Officials say that the ban is intended to deter other climbers from 'making spurious and dishonest claims.' The pair's claims to have reached the peak in May were queried by other climbers. They argued that photos purporting to show Dinesh and Tarakeshwari Rathod at the summit were 'obviously doctored.' Nepal's tourism department initially certified their ascent but has now rescinded that decision after conducting an investigation. Tourism department chief Sudarshan Prasad Dhakal told the AFP news agency that an analysis of photos submitted by the Rathods revealed they had 'superimposed themselves and their banners' on photos taken by another Indian climber who actually had conquered Everest. 'Despite several attempts to get clarifications from them, they did not co-operate with us during the investigation. The two Sherpas that assisted them are also absconding,' Dhakal said. 'The ban should serve as a warning for mountaineers to follow ethics.'The Rathods - who both work as constables in the Western Indian city of Pune - in July denied the claims, as did the guides who climbed with them. But a climber based in the Southern Indian city of Bangalore, Satyarup Sidhantha, later told reporters that the photographs presented by the Rathods as 'proof' of their climb actually belonged to him. Suspicions were further aroused because of the time-lag between the day the Rathods claimed to have reached the summit and their news conference announcing their achievement. It was alleged that the couple could not possibly have reached the summit so soon after they were seen to have arrived at the base camp and that the photos appeared to show them in two different sets of clothes and boots while on the climb. Many of those who have succeeded in scaling the twenty nine thousand and twenty nine feet mountain have subsequently gone on to have lucrative careers as motivational speakers and authors. More than four hundred and fifty people, including more than two hundred and fifty foreigners, climbed Everest during the recently-concluded spring season. It followed two consecutive years of poor weather - made worse by the Nepal earthquake of 2015 - which resulted in almost all Everest attempts being abandoned. Mountaineering is a major source of income for impoverished Nepal and this year's succession of successful summits is expected to provide the industry with a major fillip.
A Rhode Island man has been extremely charged with shooting corncobs at his neighbour's home. Well, a man must have a hobby. The Westerly Sun reports that Jeffrey Osella was very arrested Tuesday. Police say that he answered his door 'shirtless and had corn kernels stuck to his chest.' They allege that Osella used 'a potato gun' to shoot corncobs at his neighbour's house, which is currently up for sale. The gun is made of PVC pipe and uses a light accelerant such as hair spray which can be ignited. Police say Osella and his neighbour have 'a long-running disputes.' Osella is charged with disorderly conduct and firing in a compact area.
Police are reportedly hunting for a nude man - hey, aren't we all? - who held up a South Carolina convenience store at gunpoint and escaped with only Reese's peanut butter cops. Well, they are terrifically tasty (albeit, you really need a drink with them). The 'naked candy bandit' walked into a Scotchman store in Myrtle Beach just before midnight last Monday, a Horry County Police Department report notes. An officer responding to a 911 call spoke to a fifty one-year-old worker who 'states a unknown black male came into the store naked with a gun in his hand and stole candy.' The victim said that the suspect pointed the gun at him 'while he was running toward the candy.' The robber stole 'Reeses peanut butter cups and left,' reported the police, who estimated that the suspect was between eighteen and thirty years old. The suspect, the employee said, was 'naked except for a bandanna over his face and a pair of black shoes.' The gunman, the witness added, did not say anything or approach him. The responding officer - who was unable to locate the robber - reported that the convenience store 'does have video surveillance but it was unavailable at the time of this report.' Which is jolly inconvenient.
American Gothic, the iconic painting by Grant Wood, is coming to London next year - the first time it will have been seen outside of North America. The Royal Academy said the work will be part of an exhibition on 'Depression Era art.' It shows an Idaho farmer holding a pitchfork with his wife by his side and what is often described as 'a church' in the background (it's actually based on a genuine farm building in Eldon, Iowa). America After The Fall: Painting In The 1930s opens on 25 February 2017 and will run until 4 June. American Gothic was part of the American Regionalism movement which saw artists attempt to reflect the regions affected by the Great Depression, triggered by the Wall Street Crash of 1929. The figures were modelled on Wood's sister, Nan Wood Graham and Wood's dentist. Tim Marlow, director of artistic programmes at the Royal Academy, said it had 'never left American soil' before and is 'metaphorically embedded in the American soil in the Midwest. From the beginning it has been seen as an icon because it's emblematic of American Regionalism, a kind of quiet, understated power,' he said. Marlow said American Gothic was 'slightly sidelined as a mere populist painting' but was now seen as 'something that is both popular but also deeply profound.' The painting has a new found 'resonance' as the US gears up for the forthcoming presidential election, he said. Stretching a point, a bit,surely? 'I think it will be wonderful to see it decontextualised out of America and recontextualised in London,' Marlow added. The painting is one of forty five from the period that will be displayed. Works by Thomas Hart Benton, Jackson Pollock, Edward Hopper and Georgia O'Keefe will also be included.
A man who was filmed jumping onto a moving car and punching its windscreen has been jailed for nine weeks. Michael McCabe, of no fixed address, pleaded very guilty to racially aggravated criminal damage and two other counts of criminal damage. Plus another count of 'being a daft plank,' seemingly. Mobile phone footage shared on social media showed him damaging cars near St Margaret's Way in Leicester, during the afternoon rush hour on 4 August. McCabe was also convicted of two assaults at Glenfield Hospital. Leicester Magistrates' Court heard that McCabe started shouting racial abuse at a couple in one of the vehicles and as the driver tried to drive away slowly, he punched the windscreen and damaged the wipers. The couple said the language he used 'scared' them. McCabe jumped on to two other cars, hitting their windscreens, before police arrived. The court heard he kicked out at officers and there was a scuffle on the floor before he was taken into custody. Magistrate Paul Forrester-Brown was told McCabe 'quickly admitted' causing criminal damage and said that he could not remember much of what happened as he had 'drunk one and a half litres of vodka and beer.' Jeez, one isn't surprised he couldn't remember much about the incident after drinking that much. It's surprising he could remember his own name. The nine week sentence was given for what were described by Forrester-Brown as 'unprovoked assaults.' McCabe, who appeared via video link from Lincoln Prison, was also found extremely guilty of punching a patient and a nurse at the Bradgate Mental Health Unit at Glenfield Hospital on 13 August.
A 'terrified woman' has 'claims she saw an eight foot tall and fanged werewolf walking' not with The Queen (though that would've been more musically apt) but, rather 'on two legs.' And, his hair was perfect. Mind you, this shat is according to the Daily Mirra so, you know, pinch of salt and all that.
The Victoria & Albert Museum is hoping to replicate the success of its David Bowie exhibition with a major retrospective of The Pink Floyd. The Pink Floyd Exhibition: Their Mortal Remains, marking fifty years since the release of the popular beat combo's first single, will include a laser light show and previously unseen concert footage. The 'immersive' show will feature three hundred and fifty objects and artefacts, including instruments and original artworks. It will run from May to October 2017. The V&A promised 'an immersive, multi-sensory and theatrical journey through Pink Floyd's extraordinary world' which will 'chronicle the music, iconic visuals and staging of the band, from the underground psychedelic scene in 1960s London to the present day.' Rumours that items for sale with include a small bottle of Roger Waters' bitter tears cannot, at this time, be confirmed or denied. The Pink Floyd were formed in 1965 by four Cambridge students - Waters, Syd Barrett (the talented one), Rick Wright and Nick Mason. Barrett left three years later and was replaced by David Gilmour. The band has sold more than two hundred million records worldwide - including 1973's The Dark Side Of The Moon, which stayed in the US album chart for more than a decade (and, actually, sounds better now than it did when it was first released). Mason attended the launch at the London museum, which flew a giant inflatable pig over its roof for the occasion. And, why not? V&A director Martin Roth said: 'The V&A is perfectly placed to exhibit the work of a band that is as recognisable for its unique visual imagery as for its music. Pink Floyd is an impressive and enduring British design story of creative success. Alongside creating extraordinary music, they have for over five decades been pioneers in uniting sound and vision, from their earliest 1960s performances with experimental light shows, through their spectacular stadium rock shows, to their consistently iconic album covers. The exhibition will locate them within the history of performance, design and musical production by presenting and complementing the material from Pink Floyd's own archive with the V&A's unrivalled collections in architecture, design, graphics and literature.' The exhibition will also include items from some of Pink Floyd's LP covers and stage performances including The Dark Side Of The Moon, Wish You Were Here (another good one), The Wall (meh ... so, so) and The Division Bell (utter shite), as well as instruments, handwritten lyrics, architectural drawings and psychedelic posters. After it was announced in 2012, the V&A's David Bowie exhibition became the fastest-selling in the museum's history. The Pink Floyd Exhibition: Their Mortal Remains will run from 13 May 13 to 1 October next year.
The distinctive looks of Gene Wilder, whose death was announced this week, helped him to create roles which he made his own. His performances combined sentimentality, comedy and suppressed rage, often veering between idiocy and apoplexy. Films such as Young Frankenstein, Silver Streak and The Producers established him as one of Hollywood's top comedy talents. But, behind the corkscrew hair, the bulging eyes and the twitchy mannerisms, lay a much gentler, more reflective man. He was born Jerome Silberman in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, in June 1933 and later described his childhood as 'sane but disturbed' and was always drawn to acting by the 'chance to be someone else.' When he was eight years old, Wilder's mother - to whom he was very close - had a heart attack. Her doctor reportedly took the confused child to one side and told him: 'Don't ever get angry with her, you might kill her.' He then added: 'You can make her laugh, though.' For years afterwards, Gene harboured the genuine belief that any harsh words could end his mother's life. His parents sent him to a military school in Hollywood where, as the only Jewish boy, he recalled the bullying which made his life a misery. He quickly returned home where he became involved with the local theatre, making his first public performance at the age of fifteen in a production of Romeo & Juliet. He took a course in Communication and Theatre Arts at the University of Iowa before moving to England to pursue his studies with the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School. He said that he often felt stifled by his acting lessons in Britain, but became the first American to win the English Schools Fencing Championship. He admitted that he had 'always worshipped Errol Flynn.' In 1956, he was drafted into the US Army where he found himself posted as an aide in a psychiatric ward, helping to administer electro-shock therapy to patients. On his discharge, he went back to acting, having changed his name to Gene Wilder, partly, he later said, because he could not imagine 'a Jerry Silberman being asked to play Hamlet.' He also became an outspoken critic of the US involvement in Viet'nam and would later oppose the invasion of Iraq. In 1961, he had a small part in a production of Arnold Wesker's Roots and made his Broadway debut as the comic valet in The Complaisant Lover. His first breakthrough came in 1963, when he starred alongside Anne Bancroft in a Broadway production of Bertolt Brecht's play, Mother Courage & Her Children. Bancroft was then dating her future husband, Mel Brooks, who invited Wilder to look at a screenplay provisionally entitled Springtime For Hitler. At the time, Brooks lacked the money to turn the brilliantly offensive (and, offensively brilliant) idea into a film so, in the event, Wilder's first cinema role was that of Eugene Grizzard, the undertaker captured by the eponymous gangsters in 1967's Bonnie & Clyde. A year later Brooks finally began casting what was now renamed The Producers. Wilder's role as Leo Bloom, the neurotic accountant who conspires with Zero Mostel to produce a play so dreadful and inept that its failure is guaranteed and they will be able to claim the insurance money only for Springtime For Hitler to become a runaway success, brought him his first Oscar nomination in 1968, for Best Supporting Actor. Wilder was liberated by the spontaneity of Brooks's direction and the pair enjoyed an extremely successful partnership. In 1971, he gave a tour de force performance as Willy Wonka in Mel Stuart's film adaptation of Roald Dahl's children's novel Charlie & The Chocolate Factory. Wilder - whose singing in the movie, particularly on the classic 'Pure Imagination' is spellbinding - stipulated that he would not take the role unless Wonka's opening scene saw him pretending to be crippled and leaning on a cane. It became one of the film's most memorable moments as Wilder halts, tumbles forward then leaps back on to his feet. 'I knew that from then on,' Wilder said, 'the audience wouldn't know if I was lying or telling the truth.' (Dahl himself, reportedly, did not enjoy the film feeling that Wilder's energetic performance took the limelight away from the character of Charlie whom, he considered to be the real centre of the story.) In Woody Allen's 1972 comedy Everything You Wanted to Know About Sex (But Were Afraid to Ask), Wilder played a doctor who was in love with a sheep. He was reunited with Brooks for another twenty four carat classic, the 1974 spoof Western Blazing Saddles and the inspired lunacy of his trigger-happy Waco Kid, burned out at twenty nine, helped create a worldwide cult hit. In the same year Young Frankenstein brought him and Brooks another Oscar nomination, this time for screenwriting. Gene moved into directing and screenwriting with another spoof, The Adventures Of Sherlock Holmes' Smarter Brother (1975) and The World's Greatest Lover (1977), both stylish pictures laden with quirky humour which saluted the style of his mentor Brooks. Gene spoke of an almost 'telepathic rapport' he enjoyed with Richard Pryor and the comic duo blundered their way through a series of films, including Silver Streak in 1976 and Stir Crazy in 1980. 'I have an affinity with people who've had a tough time in their lives,' he later said. When Pryor's ill-health prevented his appearing again with Wilder in Hanky Panky in 1982, the part was rewritten for the doyenne of the Saturday Night Live line-up, Gilda Radner. The two also co-starred in The Woman In Red (1984) and Haunted Honeymoon (1986), both of which were critically panned and she became Wilder's third wife, but tragically died of ovarian cancer in May 1989. Radner had been misdiagnosed in the months before her death and, for the next five years, Wilder channelled his energy into saving 'the hundreds of other Gildas out there.' In 1990, he established a Los Angeles cancer detection centre in her name and even went to Congress to speak out for early medical screening for women at risk. Gilda's Clubs sprang up all over America. Wilder married again in 1991 and, later returned to performing. For two years, he starred in the NBC sitcom Something Wilder and, in 1996, made his London stage debut in Neil Simon's Laughter On The Twenty Third Floor. He continued to act, notably appearing as The Mock Turtle in a star-studded US TV version of Alice In Wonderland and in episodes of the sitcom Will & Grace, but he was becoming increasingly disenchanted with the limelight. 'I don't like show business, I realised,' he explained on a Turner Television tribute. 'I like show, but I don't like the business.' He was scathing about 2005's Charlie & The Chocolate Factory, the Warner Bros remake of Willy Wonka starring Johnny Deep, describing it as 'a money-making exercise.' The same year he published a very personal account of his life, Kiss Me Like A Stranger: My Search For Love & Art. Over the following seven years he published three novels, My French Whore, The Woman Who Wouldn't and, in 2013, Something To Remember You By: A Perilous Romance. For all the vicissitudes he suffered in his personal life, the boy who kept his mother alive with his funny voices succeeded in conveying his own quirky brand of humour to millions of others. Gene married the actress and playwright Mary Mercier in 1960, with whom he had appeared in a New York production of Roots. When that ended in divorce, in 1967 he married Mary Joan Schutz, adopting her daughter from an earlier marriage. His fourth wife, Karen Webb, survives him.

No comments: