Biased Fiona Bruce Reassures Tory Chairman Brandon Lewis on Question Time

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sat, 21/09/2019 - 5:58am in

Can the Beeb’s political bias get any more blatant? This is a piece of news that Mike covered on his blog last Friday, and it’s important. I’m afraid it’s taken me a week to cover it myself here, because I’m afraid I’ve been unavoidably busy. But this does need further scrutiny, as it’s part of a mountain of evidence showing just how blatant the Beeb is in its outright bias towards the Tories. On last Thursday’s edition of Question Time, host Fiona Bruce asked Tory chairman Brandon Lewis a question he couldn’t answer. After Lewis struggled to say something, Bruce decided to reassure him by saying that she was ‘only teasing’.

As Mike asked in his article, how is that impartial? It contrasts very strongly with the way the show and Bruce herself treats left-wing guests. Bruce gaslit Diane Abbott when she appeared on the show, telling her that she was wrong even when she was perfectly right. She allows right-wing guests time to answer while cutting left-wing panellists short when they give a reply she doesn’t like. The producers also suddenly sprang right-wing mouthpiece Isobel Oakeshott on Carole Cadwalladr when the Guardian journo was due to appear on the show in order to embarrass her. And in a glaring show of massive journalistic cowardice, QT’s producers pulled out of appearing with Cadwalladr at an event at the Edinburgh Television Festival. Despite having agreed to appear with her, they suddenly found that unavoidable events meant they couldn’t.

The Sage of Crewe over at Zelo Street has also pointed out how the Beeb regularly packs the panel and audience with people from Conservative and right-wing organisations to the exclusion of the left. All while claiming impartiality, of course.

And then there’s the massive bias on the mainstream news programmes. This was shown yesterday by Laura Kuenssberg revealing that Omar Salem, who had criticised BoJob to his face for his destruction of the NHS, was a Labour activist and gave his twitter handle. Salem was the father of an ill seven-day old child being treated at the hospital the Comedy Prime Minister was visiting. He was supported in his comments by a doctor at the hospital, who was appalled at the low standards of patient care due to government policies. But Kuenssberg’s action had the effect her Tory masters were no doubt hoping for: Salem was deluged with abuse by right-wing trolls. Kuenssberg has rightly been criticised for this, and defended on ITV by the odious Piers Morgan in a demonstration of the kind of boorishness and plain bias that has made him notorious.

Kuenssberg the troll: She started a Twitter dogpile on the father of a sick child

Kuenssberg, like her mate John Pienaar and the rest of the BBC news team, has hardly wasted any opportunity that has come her way to attack the Labour party. She has vociferously and aggressively promoted the anti-Semitism smears, as has a recent Panorama special. And there have been any number of the news team, who have left the Beeb to take up residence as Tory spin doctors. And several them have come to the Beeb from the ranks of the Tory party. Like the Manchester Goebbels, Nick Robinson, who was head of his branch of the Young Conservatives or whatever.

It looks to me very strongly like there are only two questions that mean anything in any application to the Beeb’s news service.

  1.  Did you go to public school?
  2. Are you a member of the Tory party?

If you answer ‘yes’ to both questions, you’re in.

Thanks to Rachel Riley For Getting More People to Donate to Mike’s Libel Defence Fund

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sat, 21/09/2019 - 4:31am in

Internet bully Rachel Riley scored an enormous own goal this week when she decided to jump on the bandwagon for a new non-profit organisation trying to help people deal with internet trolls. It’s a real problem. Nearly every day at one time there was yet another story in the papers about the real harassment innocent people, including MPs and ‘slebs, as well as ordinary folk have suffered from bullying. What is most worrying is the vicious abuse heaped on schoolchildren and young people on social media. It’s turned many children’s lives into a living hell, and tragically, some have become seriously ill or tried to end it all.

A group of celebrities including Gary Lineker appeared to state that they would no longer be publicising the abuse they received on social media. Instead they are going to mute, block and report the most abhorrent abuse they receive to the rozzers, in order to deprive the trolls of the oxygen of publicity. The charity the Centre for Countering Digital Hate, which has launched a ‘don’t feed the trolls’ campaign, is encouraging people to mute and take a break from social media before escalating the situation into something unlawful.

Hungry for more publicity, Rachel Riley jumped in, and appeared on the Victoria Derbyshire show trying to present herself as yet another victim of the evil trolls. Instead, all she did was remind people of what a horrible troll she herself is. The peeps on Twitter responded by reminding her that she was one of the worst trolls around. They mentioned how Riley bullied a 16 year-old schoolgirl with anxiety problems. This was the girl Riley had smeared as an anti-Semite, because she happened to have posted up a piece supporting Jeremy Corbyn. As a result, the girl was dogpiled by Riley’s supporters. They also reminded her that she was part of the Gnasherjew troll collective. This is partly run by David Collier, a bald thug and ardent, bitterly intolerant Zionist, who can’t bear to see Israeli apartheid criticised. He’s one of the three people behind the Gnasherjew monicker, and he specialises in going through people’s net traffick in the hope of finding anything he can twist into sounding vaguely anti-Semitic, so he can smear them. Tom London, who is Jewish, also sent a Tweet to Derbyshire telling her that she should have done due diligence on her guest, who many Jews and non-Jews consider a troll because of the way she smeared people as anti-Semites. Others pointed out how how they had to mute and block Riley because of her abusive tweets smearing them and other as anti-Semites. To show how baseless her accusations are, they reminded the world how she had confused the Durham Miners’ Gala to the KKK because they happened to play Hava Nagila. Another tweeter, Leftworks, gave an example of the kind of abuse Riley metes out to people she accuses of anti-Semitism, and encouraged his readers to give to Mike’s CrowdJustice fund.

The result was that Mike had donations suddenly come flooding in by well-wishers, fed up of Riley and her hypocrisy. 

I’ve no doubt that this will have caused her some embarrassment, as Riley likes to present herself as an innocent victim with the support of millions. A few months ago she appeared on Jonathan Ross’ show to thank all her fans for their support against the campaign of abuse she claimed she had received. Which shows you once again how biased the Beeb is. Even on a light entertainment show, there must be no doubt that Labour is irredeemably anti-Semitic and Jeremy Corbyn is a Nazi. On no account must the victims of the witch hunt be allowed to speak for themselves, and especially not people like Mike and the others, who have been smeared and libelled. And if we’re talking about real, horrific abuse, there’s the disgusting attacks directed at Jewish woman of colour, Jackie Walker, after she was falsely accused of anti-Semitism by the Jewish Labour Movement and the woefully misnamed Campaign Against Anti-Semitism. She has been told she should be lynched, and her body set on fire and shoved in bin bags. This would be serious enough in any country, but her parents came from America. Her father was Russian Jewish and her mother was a Black civil rights activist. These were people, who came from communities which had experienced real mass violence in the shape of pogroms and lynchings. Walker wasn’t libeled by Riley, but Riley is part of the wider movement that throws accusations of anti-Semitism around in the hope that the victims won’t be able to defend themselves, and will suffer further abuse.

It’s great that Riley put her foot in it with this attempt to pose as victim for publicity. I’m really glad people decided to give to Mike’s campaign, and hope that her egotistical hypocrisy has also encouraged more people to support other victims of her abuse and vilification.


The BBC’s shame: Three ways in which Laura Kuenssberg’s tweets demeaned public service broadcasting

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 19/09/2019 - 3:55am in

In an incident at Whipps Cross Hospital in East London this morning, Boris Johnson was confronted by an angry father of a sick child who argued that the NHS had been destroyed by successive governments – and criticised him for mounting a publicity stunt. Johnson replied “there are no press here” – despite the fact that the whole confrontation was caught on camera by the journalists who had been invited to the visit.

The event was widely reported as yet another example of Johnson’s inability to cope with any form of public challenge; the latest in a series of incidents in which, confronted by angry members of the public, Johnson has simply failed to cope.

The BBC’s political editor, Laura Kuenssberg, tweeted the following:

But later, her line changed, tweeting that the father was a member of the Labour Party and identifying his Twitter account.

The reaction was overwhelming; the fact that the father was a member of the Labour Party was simply irrelevant.

In fact, Kuenssberg’s later tweets, whether deliberately or not, did three things.

First, they shifted the substance of the story from Johnson’s lies about the press to the status of his questioner. They made the sick father the story, not Johnson. In other words, Johnson’s curious lie about there being no press present was shifted to the sidelines.

Second, they undermined the legitimacy of the questions to Johnson, by suggesting that his motivation was politics, not the ordeal that he and his family had faced. The nature of the story was fundamentally changed.

Third, by referencing his Twitter feed, she was enabling – again, whether deliberately or not – a particular form of social media trolling; the pile-on, in which the Twitter account of an individual is overwhelmed by hostile tweets.

And all this is in addition to the lack of empathy that Kuenssberg’s tweets imply; the sneering and dismissive tone directed at a father concerned about his daughter.

And this matters because this is not some rookie local hack, but the Political Editor of the licence-funded BBC, the national state broadcaster. And the tweets go right to the heart of a growing lack of confidence in the BBC’s ability to cover politics in an impartial way. People who oppose Brexit have come to regard the BBC as the “Brexit Broadcasting Corporation” – from the constant lionising of Nigel Farage to the curious description of opponents of Brexit as “former remainers”, there is an issue here that will not go away. And it is reasonable to ask – what exactly was Kuenssberg implying by her tweet that Johnson’s questioner was a Labour member – that, somehow, his criticism was less legitimate or less honest as a result? That this was a set-up? Or perhaps that he was haunting the corridors of the hospital in which his daughter lay sick on the off-chance that the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland might happen by?

Kuenssberg’s tweets were shoddy, tabloid sensationalism – of a sort that has no place in the output of a senior BBC journalists. For better or for worse, many people will take them as further evidence of the degradation of the journalistic standards at the BBC, if not of outright bias. There is a growing sense among people who in the past have been the BBC’s strongest supporters that the national broadcaster simply isn’t doing its job – and frustration that its response to criticism appears simply to be to close ranks.

What seems certain, though, is that at a time when Britain is facing the most important and divisive political issues since 1945, the BBC needs to be so much better than this. And closing ranks won’t do.

“Doctor Who”: Russell T. Davies’ Road to “Rose Tyler: The Dimension Cannon” Began as “New Who” Spinoff

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sat, 14/09/2019 - 10:15pm in

Big Finish Productions’ Doctor Who audio drama spinoff Rose Tyler: The Dimension Cannon just came out and received strong reviews. Rose (Billie Piper) is still a popular companion and her creator, Russell T. Davies, helped develop the spinoff audio series.

There’s an hour-long cast and writers making-of interview on the series boxset which works like a Criterion Collection-style commentary. It’s an in-depth look at how Big Finish developed the show, and useful for anyone who wants to learn the process of how a show is written and made.

The biggest revelation? Davies pretty much created the story years ago… just not as an audio drama.

 The Dimension Cannon” After All

The Origin of “Doctor Who” Spinoff “Rose Tyler: Earth Defence”

When Billie Piper left Doctor Who in 2006, Davies pitched a spin-off special called Rose Tyler: Earth Defence.

“It was actually commissioned by the controller of BBC One and budgeted,” Davies told Doctor Who Magazine at the time.

The spinoff would have featured Rose on her alternate Earth working with her mother Jackie and that world’s version of Pete Tyler in their version of Torchwood.

“It was going to be fantastic. We’d have had a lovely budget and done brilliant things with it, maybe one Bank Holiday special a year.”

Davies changed his mind when they filmed Piper’s final appearance as Rose Tyler in the season finale.

“It spoils Doctor Who if we can see Rose… if we see as a concrete fact that her life continues to be as exciting without the Doctor.”

The Road to “The Dimension Cannon”

Big Finish knew about Rose Tyler: Earth Defence and asked Davies for permission to develop it as an audio series. The timing was good since Billie Piper had agreed to play Rose again in new Big Finish audio stories with David Tennant as the 10th Doctor. Davies happily gave him his blessing.

Then they hit a creative snag.

The writers and producers found that the stories they came up with were too similar to the Torchwood and UNIT spinoffs… but then Davies made a suggestion. Why not have the stories about Rose crossing dimensions to alternate Earths in search of the Doctor? This would take place before the finale of series 3 of the new show, where Rose finally finds the right Earth and find the Doctor at last.

This means Davies pretty much created Rose Tyler: The Dimension Cannon after all. He gave the writers the pitch and they ran with it. His influence is so strong that the four episodes all have a character-driven and diverse, inclusive storylines that feel like he was stll showrunner.

Rose Tyler: The Dimension Cannon will probably return for future stories.

Rose Tyler: The Dimension Cannon is available now at £24.99 on CD or £19.99 on download. Don’t forget that every CD purchase from unlocks a download exclusive via the Big Finish app and the Big Finish website.

The post “Doctor Who”: Russell T. Davies’ Road to “Rose Tyler: The Dimension Cannon” Began as “New Who” Spinoff appeared first on Bleeding Cool News And Rumors.

The “Doctor Who” TARDIS Comes To The VIVE Cosmos

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sat, 14/09/2019 - 4:10am in


Games, BBC, Doctor Who

Would you like to explore Doctor Who’s TARDIS in VR? The BBC and HTC have come together for a special event where you can do just that. To celebrate the launch of the VIVE Cosmos, the two will be holding a special VR session at the Protein Studios experience in Hackney, where you can check out the TARDIS from Doctor Who: The Edge of Time. We have more details below of how you can sign up for the experience below, but if you’re a fan of the series, this is going to be a must-attend event.

The "Doctor Who" TARDIS Comes To The VIVE CosmosCredit: HTC

Attendees will be amongst the first to try Doctor Who: The Edge of Time, produced by Maze Theory for BBC Studios, and have the chance to take up the role of the Doctor’s assistant. After stepping into the TARDIS, players will interact with the Doctor themselves and will try to pilot the spacecraft – which is temperamental at the best of times – before embarking on an epic adventure to solve the mystery behind the ‘Reality Virus’.

During the event, visitors will use HTC’s newly released VR headset, the VIVE Cosmos, which is built to be the highest performance and most versatile headset on the market. Fans can sign up for a free 15-minute slot or simply turn up on the day to secure a walk-in slot (subject to availability). Please note, players must be aged 12+.

  • Dates: Friday 27th September between 10.30am – 7pm and Saturday 28th September 2019 10am – 4pm
  • How much: Free to attend
  • How: Members of the public can sign up for a slot on Ticket Source via
  • Where: Protein Studios, 31 New Inn Yard, Hackney, London EC2A 3EY
  • Nearest tube: 10 min walk from Old Street underground station or 5 min walk from Shoreditch High Street Overground station
  • Please note: Players must be aged 12+

The post The “Doctor Who” TARDIS Comes To The VIVE Cosmos appeared first on Bleeding Cool News And Rumors.

“Doctor Who”: Freema Agyeman Returns as Martha Jones in Big Finish “Torchwood: Dissected” Audio Drama

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 11/09/2019 - 1:15am in

Big Finish announced this week that Freema Agyeman will return to play former Doctor Who companion Martha Jones in Torchwood: Dissected. This marks Agyeman’s debut in a Big Finish audio drama, with the actress starring alongside Eve Myles, who reprises her role as Torchwood agent Gwen Cooper.

As the official synopsis goes:

doctor whoBig Finish


Gwen Cooper turns up on Martha Jones’s doorstep with a dead body in tow. She needs to ask one final favour of her. And to find out why they stopped being friends.

A lot’s happened to Torchwood since Martha left. A lot’s happened to Martha since she left Torchwood. And there’s something very odd about the dead body Gwen’s brought with her. Tonight she’s going to be getting more answers than she bargained for.

Don’t you just hate it when a friend brings you a dead body?

A Jolly Homecoming for a “Doctor Who” Alum

“Aw mate, the nostalgia has been quite overwhelming,” Agyeman spoke about returning to the character of Martha Jones. “It really is like stepping into comfortable old shoes. It feels like about five minutes ago and yet so much time has passed. That’s the wonderful thing about the Whoniverse – you never feel on the outside of it. It’s great to be back.”

“I first met Freema back in 2006 working on Doctor Who Confidential,” director Scott Handcock said. “I watched Martha Jones arrive and grow, and it’s a pleasure to welcome her back to the world of Torchwood. It’s something we’ve been chatting about for years, and to finally make it happen with the amazing Eve Myles (who adores her and vice versa) is a real treat!”

Writer Tim Foley talked about uniting two of science fiction’s most courageous female leads:

“Martha Jones is back! And I’ve locked her in a room with Gwen! It’s such a delight to pit these two against each other. This is quite an experimental story – you’ll be listening to an autopsy in real time, which was such a fun challenge. Luckily for me Eve and Freema spar off each other marvellously, stuck in a lab with nothing but a corpse for company…”

Torchwood: Dissected starring Agyeman and Myles, will be released in February 2020, priced at £7.99 for download or £9.99 for CD. All CD purchases unlock a download option via the Big Finish app and the Big Finish website.

The post “Doctor Who”: Freema Agyeman Returns as Martha Jones in Big Finish “Torchwood: Dissected” Audio Drama appeared first on Bleeding Cool News And Rumors.

“Rose Tyler: The Dimension Cannon”: Billie Piper & Co. Shine in Big Finish “Doctor Who” Audio Drama Spinoff [SPOILER REVIEW]

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sun, 08/09/2019 - 11:35pm in

Rose Tyler is one of the most popular characters in the new Doctor Who. She was the entry point for an audience discovering the show for the first time. You could say she was the face of the new show, bringing in a female  Billie Piper played her with an unforced warmth and kindness that won everyone over. You love the Doctor because Rose loves the Doctor. Russell T. Davies knew what he was doing when he created Rose, her mother Jackie and Pete. She was a working class girl from a London council estate who became an epic Science Fiction heroine who saves the universe. What’s not to love?

 Billie Piper and Co. Shine in “Doctor Who” Spinoff [Review]

Billie Piper had played Rose Tyler previously in new stories with David Tennant as the 10th Doctor in some Big Finish audio productions. It was only a matter of time before they decided to give her a solo series and this is it. Rose Tyler: The Dimension Cannon takes place after Rose was lost to another universe at the end of Season 2 of the new show. It’s about the time she spent traveling between dimensions trying to find her own universe and reunite with The Doctor. That reached a climax at the finale of Season 3 in “Journey’s End”. Davies apparently helped develop these new stories, so you can feel like they’re canon.

 Billie Piper and Co. Shine in “Doctor Who” Spinoff [Review]

1.1 “The Endless Night” by Jonathan Morris

The first episode is a kind of set-up, easing us into the idea of Rose traveling across dimensions on her own. She’s testing out the transporter dial to make sure it works properly while searching for the Doctor.

She decides to test how different this universe is by looking up people she knows. She finds a version of Clive Finch, who was researching conspiracy theories about The Doctor in the first episode of the new TV show. In this world, he’s alive, but is a UFO nut who never heard of The Doctor at all. Clive is thrilled about the idea of parallel worlds and the Doctor and agrees to help her.

Then she looks up her mother Jackie and father Pete Tyler, but finds they never married and she was never born on this world. Then the sun blinks out and the world starts to end. London is thrown into wintry night and there’s nothing Rose can do. She could leave, but she has to try to save her parents and Clive. Things don’t go as planned and Rose has to suffer the heartbreak of leaving people to their deaths.

 Billie Piper and Co. Shine in “Doctor Who” Spinoff [Review]

1.2 “The Flood” by Lisa McMullin

Rose and Clive, who’s now a part of her team, arrive on an Earth stuck in endless rain due to climate change. The government is keeping secrets as protesters and activists fight to uncover exactly what those secrets are. Rose meets this world’s version of Pete, still a tinkerer and techie, but now part of The Resistance. She also discovers that his wife Jackie was killed by armed police at a protest. Jackie and Pete don’t have a daughter, but instead a son named Robbie.

Rose and Clive decide to help The Resistance expose the secret behind the endless rain. Clive meets this world’s version of Carole, who was his wife in “Rose”, and falls in love with her. Rose and Robbie sneak into No. 10 Downing Street to bug the Prime Minister.

Once again, Rose is confronted with a world without a Doctor and how dire things get.

1.3 “Ghost Machines” by AK Benedict

This time Pete decides to join Rose on her mission to see what it’s like. They end up on a world with mass automation. All the work is done by machines driven by AIs. Cars are self-driven. And the tech genius who made this all possible? This world’s Pete Tyler. Pete here has made his tinkering and tech savvy into a global tech industry that’s changed the world.

But there’s always something wrong in techno-paradise.

This world’s Pete has disappeared, and Rose and Pete decide to investigate why cars are malfunctioning and killing their passengers. This turns out to be more than a “rise of the machine revolution” story. In a world where everything is recycled, including the dead, the AIs that run the machines are all dead people! They’re pissed off! And they want to die!

That’s a cool Science Fictional dystopian concept.

Once again, Rose and Pete discover how alternate versions of the people they know are still fundamentally the same, for better or worse. This story is the closest to a traditional Doctor Who story, but again with a tinge of pessimism from the Doctor’s absence.

1.4 “The Last Party on Earth” by Matt Fitton

Jackie joins Rose on a mission to another Earth where they decide to check out the Powell Estate where they lived on their world. There they find an endless series of house parties as they search for signs of The Doctor. They find that they don’t exist in this world, nor does Mickey, but his grandmother and some other friends do. Rose and Jackie discover the reason everyone is partying is because the world is going to end in 8 days. With nothing else to do, everyone on the estate finds their own way to pass the time. Some choose to party. Some choose to stay indoors and wait for the end. Rose and Jackie become catalysts to bring families back together. They can’t save the world, so the least they can do is bring together two boys who are in love but separated by homophobia.

This story feels the closest to a Davies story. The Science Fiction takes a backseat in a tale about a community of people who pull together in the face of adversity.

Less Fan Service, More Drama This Time

This spinoff is more character-driven than the other Doctor Who spinoffs. It explores the theme of identity and whether people are always the same under different circumstances. Rose Tyler always works best as the audience stand-in as she encounters different versions of Pete and Jackie. It also deals with Rose’s ambivalence with her relationship with the Pete who adopted her, since they both know he’s not technically her father.

Piper, Shaun Dingwall, Camille Coduri and Mark Benton are all at the top of their game here. Their performances effortlessly convey the charisma and lovability of the characters that we remember from the TV series. Of course, the excellent scripts are a big help. The quality of the writing is as good as anything on British television. It’s not about superheroes or cops but ordinary people trying to do the right thing. They feel like character dramas that that are commonplace on the BBC without any sense of inferiority. This is a mark of Big Finish’s increasing confidence and evolution since they started in 1999.

Rose Tyler: The Dimension Cannon is available now at £24.99 on CD or £19.99 on download. Don’t forget that every CD purchase from unlocks a download exclusive via the Big Finish app and the Big Finish website.

The post “Rose Tyler: The Dimension Cannon”: Billie Piper & Co. Shine in Big Finish “Doctor Who” Audio Drama Spinoff [SPOILER REVIEW] appeared first on Bleeding Cool News And Rumors.

Scientists Demand Outlawing Teaching of Creationism in Wales

Here’s a different issue to Brexit and the Tories, but one which, I think, also raises profound questions and dangers. According to today’s I for 6th September 2019, David Attenborough has joined a number of other scientists backing a campaign to ban the teaching of Creationism as science in Welsh schools. The campaign was started by Humanists UK. The article, titled ‘Attenborough calls for creationism teaching ban’, by Will Hazell, on page 22, runs

Sir David Attenborough is backing a campaign urging the Welsh Government to outlaw the teaching of creationism as science from its new curriculum.

The broadcaster is one of dozens of leading scientists to sign a letter calling for evolution to be taught at primary level as well as an explicit ban on teaching creationism as science.

Humanists UK, which organised the letter, claims the draft national curriculum does not teach evolution until ages 14 to 15.

The letter reads: “Pupils should be introduced to [evolution] early – certainly at primary level – as it underpins so much else.

“Without an explicit ban on teaching creationism and other pseudoscientific theories as evidence-based, such teaching may begin to creep into the school curriculum.”

In 2015, the Scottish Government made clear that creationism should not be taught in state schools, while in England, state schools – including primaries – have to teach evolution as a “comprehensive, coherent and extensively evidence-based theory”.

The new Welsh curriculum, due to be rolled out in 2022, set out six “areas of learning and experience”, including science and technology.

A spokeswoman for Wales Humanists said it “could allow schools much more flexibility over what they teach”. “This is very worrying, as it could make it much easier for a school to openly teach creationism as science,” she added.

But a spokesman for the Welsh Government denied the claims, saying: “It is wholly incorrect to claim that evolution will only be introduced at 14 to 16.

“We believe that providing children with an understanding of evolution at an early age will help lay foundations for a better understanding of wider scientific concepts later on.”

Both Mike and I went to an Anglican comprehensive school, which certainly did teach evolution before 14 or 15 years of age. In the first year I can remember learning about the geological history of the Earth and the formation of the continents. We were also taught evolution, as illustrated by the development of the modern horse from ancestral species such as Eohippus.

Theories of Evolution before Darwin

I am also very much aware that the history of religious attitudes towards evolution is much more complex than the accepted view that Christians and other people of faith are uniformly opposed to it. One of the first books promoting the evolution of organisms from simpler ancestral forms was written by Erasmus Darwin, Charles Darwin’s grandfather. Erasmus Darwin was part of the late 18th century scientific group, the Lunar Society, who were the subject of book, The Lunar Men, published a few years ago by the British writer and academic, Jenny Uglow. I think Erasmus was a Quaker, rather than a member of a more mainstream Christian denomination, but he was a religious believer. In his book he argued that the evolution of different organisms made the existence of a Creator ‘mathematically certain’. Erasmus Darwin was followed in turn by the great French scientist, Lamarck, who published his own theory of evolution. This was highly influential, and when Darwin was a student in Scotland, one of the lecturers used to take him and the other students to a beach to show them the shells and other fossils showing the evolution of life. And one of the reasons why Darwin himself put off publishing his magnum opus, The Origin of Species for so long was because of the reception of another, preceding book on evolution, Joseph Chambers’ Vestiges of the Natural History of Creation. Chambers’ book had caused a sensation, but its arguments had been attacked and refuted on scientific grounds. Darwin was afraid this would happen to his own work unless he made the argument as secure as possible with supporting facts. And he himself admitted when it finally was published that even then, the evidence for it was insufficient.

The Other Reasons for Darwin’s Loss of Faith

Darwin certainly lost his faith and it’s a complete myth that he recanted on his deathbed. But I think the reasons for his loss of faith were far more complex than that they were undermined by his own theory, although that may very well have also played a part. Rather, he was disturbed by the suffering in nature. How could a good God allow animals to become sick, prey on each other, and die? I might also be wrong here, but I think one of his daughters died, and that also contributed to his growing atheism. As you can understand.

Christian Acceptance and Formulation of Theories of Evolution

At the same time, although Darwin’s theory did cause shock and outrage, some Christians were prepared to accept it. Bishop Samuel Wilberforce, when he debated T.H. Huxley on Darwin’s theory, opened the debate by stating that no matter how uncomfortable it was, Christians should nevertheless accept the theory if it were true. And after about two decades, the majority of Christians in Britain had largely accepted it. One of the reasons they did so was theological. Some of the other theories of evolution proposed at the same time suggested that evolution was driven by vital, supernatural energies without the direction of a creator. The mechanistic nature of Darwin’s theory of evolution by natural selection rebutted the existence of these non-materialistic forces, so that Christians could still believe that God was in charge of the overall process.

In the 1840s in Britain, Samuel Baden-Powell, a professor of Mathematics at Oxford, proposed a view of evolution that attempted to prove that it was driven by the Almighty, by comparing it to the manufacturing process in factories. In 1844 the Polish writer, Juliusz Towianski, published his Genezis z ducha – ‘Creation through the Spirit), an explicitly religious theory of evolution. He believed that God had created the world at the request of disembodied spirits. However, these were given imperfect forms, and since that time have been striving to ascend the evolutionary ladder back to God through a process of transformation and catastrophe. By the 1900s in many Christians eye evolution had become an accepted theory which posed no obstacle to religious faith. The term ‘fundamentalism’ is derived from a series of tracts, Fundamentals of Christianity, published in America in the early 20th century. This was published as a response to the growth in religious scepticism. However, it fully accepts evolution.

Scientists Against Evolution

The Intelligent Design crowd have also pointed out that rather than being the sole province of churchmen and people of faith, many of Darwin’s critics were scientists, like Mivart. They objected to his theory purely on scientific grounds.

Creationism, Christianity and Islam

If the history of the reaction to Darwin’s theory is rather different than the simplistic view that it was all just ignorant religious people versus rational scientists, I also believe the situation today is also much more complex. A decade ago, around 2009 when Britain celebrate the 150th anniversary of the publication of the Origin of the Species, there was a determined attack on Creationism, particularly by the militant New Atheists. Some of this was driven by anxiety over the growth of Creationism and the spread of Intelligent Design. This was framed very much as combating it within Christianity. The problem with that is that I understand that most Creationists in Britain are Muslims, rather than Christians. There was an incident reported in the press in which one Oxford biologist was astonished when a group of Muslims walked out of his lecture. This was Steve Jones, who presented the excellent Beeb science series about genetics and heredity, In the Blood back in the 1990s. One male student told him frankly that this conflicted with their religion, and walked out of the lecture hall, leaving Jones nonplussed. The far right Christian Libertarian, Theodore Beale, alias Vox Day, who really has some vile views about race and gender, caustically remarked on his blog that this showed the powerlessness of the scientific establishment to opposition from Islam. They were so used to Christians giving into them, that they didn’t know what to do when Muslims refused to cave. That said, I would not like to say that all Muslims were Creationists by any means. Akhtar, who led the demonstrations against the Satanic Verses in Bradford in the late ’80s and early ’90s, angrily declared in one of his books that Salafism – Islamic fundamentalism – did not mean rejecting evolution, and he could point to Muslims who believed in it.

Scepticism Towards Evolution Not Confined to the Religious

Another problem with the assumption that Creationism is leading to increasing scepticism towards evolution is that the statistics seem to show the opposite. Back around 2009 there was a report claiming that 7 out of 10 Brits didn’t believe in evolution. One evolutionary biologist was quoted as saying that this was due to the marginalisation of the teaching of evolution in British schools, and demanded that there should be more of it. Now it might be right that people don’t believe in evolution because of its teaching or lack therefore in British education. But this was the same time that the New Atheism was on the march, led by Dawkins’ book, The God Delusion. This was supported by statistics showing that Christianity and church attendance was well in decline in this country. According to the stats, although many people identified as Christians and about 70 per cent at the time declared they believed in God, the actual number who go to church is far smaller. Only a few years ago further polls revealed that for the first, atheists were in the majority in this country. The growth of disbelief in evolution can’t simply be explained as the product of Creationism, whether Christian, Muslim or whatever.

Atheists and the Problem of Persuading Creationists to Accept Evolution

There’s also the problem here in that, however, well meant Humanists UK’s campaign may actually be, at one level they and Richard Attenborough are the last people, who should be leading it. They’re atheists. A few years ago Attenborough was the subject of an interview in the Radio Times, in which he photographed chatting with Dawkins. He was also quoted as saying that he had stopped believing in God when he was child, and at school he used to wonder during services how anybody could believe in such rubbish. He’s not the first or last schoolkid to have felt that. But it does mean that he has a very weak personal position when dealing with Creationists. Many Creationists object to the teaching of evolution because not just because they think it’s unscientific, but because they also believe that its a vehicle for a vehemently hostile, anti-Christian or simply irreligious and atheist political and intellectual establishment to foist their views on everyone else. A campaign insisting on the teaching of evolution by an atheist organisation like Humanists UK will only confirm this in their eyes.

Anti-Creationist Campaigns also Attacking Reasoned Critique of Materialist Views of Evolution

Another problem with the campaign against Creationism is that is leading scientists to attack any critique of the contemporary neo-Darwinian theory or materialist views of evolutionary. Gordon Rattray Taylor, a former Chief Science Advisor to the Beeb and editor of the Horizon science series, himself published a detailed critique of conventional evolutionary theory, The Great Evolution Mystery, shortly before his death in 1981. He states in it that he doesn’t want to denigrate Darwin, but he concludes that it is not so much a theory, as a subset of greater theory that has yet to be formulated. He also quotes another evolutionary biologist, von Bertalanffy, who said

‘I think the fact that a theory so vague, so insufficiently verifiable … has become a dogma can only be explained on sociological grounds’.

Rattray Taylor himself concludes

Actually, the origin of the phyla is not be any means the weakest point in the Darwinian position. Many facts remain inexplicable, as we have seen. Modern biology is challenged by ‘a whole group of problems’ as Riedl remarks. Now, however, the attempt to present Darwinism as an established dogma, immune from criticism, is disintegrating. At last the intellectual log-jam is breaking up. So we may be on the verge of major advances. The years ahead could be exciting. Many of these advances, I confidently predict, will be concerned with form.

It is unfortunate that the Creationists are exploiting this new atmosphere by pressing their position; this naturally drives the biologists into defensive attitudes and discourages them from making any admissions.

Evolutionists have been blinkered by a too narrowly materialist and reductionist approach to their problems. But the trend of the times is away from Victorian certainties and Edwardian rigidities. In the world as a whole, there is growing recognition that life is more complex, even more mysterious, than we supposed. The probability that some things will never be understood no longer seems so frightening as it did. The probability that there are forces at work in the universes of which we have scarcely yet an inkling is not too bizarre to entertain. This is a step towards the freeing of the human mind which is pregnant with promise.


This is an effective rebuttal to the charge that challenges to materialist conceptions of evolution are a science-stopper, or that they will close minds. Rattray Taylor’s book was published in 1983, 36 years ago. I have no doubt that it’s dated, and that scientific advances have explained some of the mysteries he describes in the book. But I believe he still has a point. And I am afraid that however genuinely Humanists UK, Attenborough and the scientists, who put their name to the letter, are about making sure Welsh schoolchildren are scientifically literate, that their efforts are also part of a wider campaign to make sure materialist views of evolution are not challenged elsewhere in society and academia.

Brexit Bias on the Beeb: Points West Goes to Weston-Super-Mare

The Beeb, as has been pointed out by countless left-wing websites and academics, ad nauseam, has a very strong Tory bias. It’s shown in its determination to vilify the Labour party and Jeremy Corbyn at every chance it can get, while packing news shows like Question Time with Tory MPs, supporters and members of right-wing think tanks. And this right-wing bias seems to go right down to local news. Points West is the local news programme for the Bristol area, covering not just Bristol, but also Gloucestershire, Somerset and Wiltshire. Yesterday, as part of the coverage of the Brexit debates in parliament and the demonstrations both pro- and anti-, they decided to gauge local attitudes in our part of the West Country. This meant talking to three local MPs, Thangam Debonnaire in Bristol, the Tory MP for Tewkesbury and another Tory from the Forest of Dean. They wanted to talk to the latter because he was one of those who threw their hat into the ring when the party ousted Tweezer and started about deciding her successor. And it was very clear that he was a Brexiteer, who wanted the whole debate to be over and done with and everyone get behind BoJob. He couldn’t, however, say what benefits Brexit would bring his constituents in the Forest, and didn’t answer the question when David Garmston, the interviewer, asked him what he was going to tell them what they would be for his constituents. Instead he just waffled about how he was sure they wanted it over and done with as soon as possible, or were fully informed of the Brexit debate. Or something.

Then it was down to Weston-Super-Mare for a vox pop. The split, their presenter announced, between ‘Remain’ and ‘Leave’ voters was very narrow, 52% versus 48%. They were down in the north Somerset resort town because attitudes in Weston closely followed those nationally. But this wasn’t evident from the people they showed speaking. Points West put out two deck chairs, labelled ‘yes’ and ‘no’, and invited people to sit in them in answer to the questions ‘Do you want an election?’ and ‘Do you support Brexit’. I think they showed four people, of whom only one was Labour and a Remainer. The rest were Tories and very definitely Brexiteers. And what specimens of humanity they were! One was an elderly lady with a Midlands accent, who ranted about Remainers being ‘Remoaners’ and ‘snowflakes’, all the while making gestures suggesting that she thought they all ought to be thrown into the sea. She then went off giggling like an imbecile at what she thought was her own wit. She was followed by an elderly gent, who declared that he wanted a general election that would return the Tories with a massive majority. And then there was a young man from Salisbury, who was also behind Boris Johnson and Brexit.

These loudmouths reminded me of the Bill Hicks joke about evolution having passed by some pockets of humanity. ‘In some parts of our troubled world, people are shouting ‘Revolution! Revolution! In Kansas they’re shouting ‘Evolution! Evolution! We want our opposable thumbs’. Evolution isn’t supposed to go backwards. But you wonder. All the anxiety about food and medicine shortages – I know people, who are stocking up on their medicines already – as well as the devastation to the economy, manufacturing industry, jobs, all that went unmentioned by the Brexiteers on the sea front. Listening to the old chap declaring that he wanted an overwhelming Tory majority, I wanted to ask him, who he thought would continue paying his pension and if he had private medical insurance if this happened. Because the Tories are determined to cut pensions, one way or another, and they are selling off the NHS. And Nigel Farage has said very openly that we may need to change to an insurance-based system. Which is a not-very-coded way of saying that he’s in favour of it. But obviously these people weren’t concerned about any of that. They just believed everything they read in the papers, like the Heil, the Scum and the Torygraph.

And I doubt very much that these talking heads were representative of the good folks down in Weston-Super-Mare. If attitudes in the city really are like those nationally, then the people sitting on those chairs should be equally split. Instead it looks like the report was very carefully staged to favour the Brexiteers. Just like rather more Tory MPs were interviewed on the programme than Labour.

The programme was on tonight about Sajid Javid and how he grew up in his parents’ fashion shop in Stapleton Road in Bristol. Apparently he still proud of his roots there, despite the fact that it is a run-down area with a reputation. It’s topical, but I still wonder if it was anymore objective than last night’s edition about Brexit. I didn’t watch it, only catching a brief glimpse of it, when one of the interviewers was asking other Asian small businessmen in the area if they shared the national fears about the harm Brexit would do to businesses like theirs. It’s possible that the programme really was more unbiased. But somehow, given the nature of last night’s programme, I doubt it.

“Doctor Who”: Billie Piper Returns in Big Finish Audio Drama “Rose Tyler: The Dimension Cannon”

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 04/09/2019 - 11:45pm in

The Big Finish Productions audio drama juggernaut continues unabated today with the release of Rose Tyler: The Dimension Cannon, a Doctor Who spinoff series without the Doctor. Billie Piper returns to the role in stories set after she ended up in an alternate universe at the end of the second season of “New Who.” She also has her mother Jackie as well as that universe’s version of her father Pete, both alive and well.

Big Finish sent over a treasure trove of information on the new series – beginning with the official trialer for the series:

 The Dimension Cannon” Audio Series


“We’ve been building this travel machine, this dimension cannon, so I could… well, so I could come back. Anyway, suddenly, it started to work and the dimensions started to collapse. Not just in our world, not just in yours, but the whole of reality.”

– Rose Tyler (Doctor Who: Journey’s End)

Rose Tyler’s world is ending.

As she begins a desperate mission to find the one person who can make a difference, Rose discovers that it’s not only her universe at stake. Across alternate dimensions, parallel timelines – where divergences may be tiny or cataclysmic – every Earth is under threat.

Time is running out, but Rose won’t stop searching until she finds the Doctor…

1.1 “The Endless Night” – Jonathan Morris

 The Dimension Cannon” Audio Series

As his parallel universe darkens, Pete Tyler has found a chance of survival. Punch a hole through dimensions and someone can jump through – and maybe find a way to the Doctor’s universe.

On her very first trip, Rose visits an Earth that’s about to get colder. As a long night begins, Rose meets different versions of her parents. And one man who could help her search. His name is Clive…

1.2 “The Flood” – Lisa McMullin

 The Dimension Cannon” Audio Series

Making another leap with a new companion, Rose finds a world suffering environmental change. The rain won’t stop, and the government could be hiding the scale of the impending disaster.

While Rose connects with another version of Pete and a strangely compelling young man, Clive meets someone special of his own. In this world, there was no Clive for Caroline to meet, but love can cross dimensions.

1.3 “Ghost Machines” – AK Benedict

 The Dimension Cannon” Audio Series

Pete decides it’s time he accompanied Rose on one of her dimension jumps. But he couldn’t have picked a worse time. They arrive in a world where technology took an extraordinary path, and where the recently deceased Pete Tyler had a very different kind of success.

As machines start to break down, Pete meets his widow, and he and Rose must confront truths about their ‘family’. But they may not escape this Earth alive.

1.4 “The Last Party on Earth” – Matt Fitton

 The Dimension Cannon” Audio Series

Rose and Jackie Tyler visit a home very close to the one they left behind. But some old friends are missing, and some are unexpectedly present… Rose meets two young men she knows should be together – it can sometimes take the end of the world to see what’s right in front of you.

Meanwhile, the Powell Estate faces Armageddon in the only way it can – by throwing a party.

Directed by Helen Goldwyn with script-editing from John Dorney and Fitton, Rose Tyler: The Dimension Cannon is produced by David Richardson and executive produced by Jason Haigh-Ellery and Nicholas Briggs.


“I love this series. I mentioned identity earlier and it really feels unique to the Big Finish catalogue. This is a Doctor Who spin-off that’s principally about characters.

It’s not about monsters and aliens. There are plenty of threats and lots of thrills. But primarily it’s about the end of the world (in four very different ways) and how characters react to that. It’s not always pretty but sometimes it’s beautiful. And Russell’s [T. Davies] help with the story development was invaluable – he got us to this really interesting and special place. I’m so hugely grateful to him.”

– David Richardson

Piper had this to say about the news of her new audio drama series:

“That’s the great thing about Doctor Who. It challenges new-thinking. It’s progressive and it can be political in amongst these human emotions and relationships. I think that’s its greatest appeal.”

– Billie Piper

Rose Tyler: The Dimension Cannon is available now at £24.99 on CD or £19.99 on download. Don’t forget that every CD purchase from unlocks a download exclusive via the Big Finish app and the Big Finish website.

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