Media in the Press 26.11.10

Former MSP, Tommy Sheridan, has been cleared of accusations that he lied under oath about an alleged sex party during his successful defamation action against the News of the World four years ago. As reported in yesterday’s Media in the Press, on, the former leader of the Scottish Socialist Party had faced perjury charges for denying that he participated in the purported gathering.

Reads page 21 of The Scottish Sun: “A total of eight subsections of the indictment were deleted at the High Court in Glasgow. The accusations related to a ‘sex party’ at the Moat House, Glasgow, in June 2002, allegedly involving Sheridan and his brother-in-law.”

The charges were dropped after witness, Matthew McColl, faced claims that he lied about evidence. McColl had claimed, in four separate statements to the police, that Sheridan was not present at the Moat House hotel on the night of the alleged events, before changing his story at the trial and claiming that Sheridan was in attendance.

After the collapse of McColl’s evidence, prosecutor Alex Prentice said that parts of the perjury charge would be deleted. Prentice is quoted, saying: “I have been able to review matters and I have moved to delete some parts of the indictment.”

Despite this acquittal, as The Herald reports (page 5), Sheridan still has to fend off further accusations: The former MSP “faces one charge of trying to persuade a friend to commit perjury and another perjury charge that contains 14 separate allegations”.

Returning to The Scottish Sun (page 53), columnist Robin Galloway has hit out at STV’s decision not to air the first season of popular, period drama, Downton Abbey. Writes Galloway: “Thanks to STV’s unique programme scheduling policy, this TV smash was denied to Scots viewers. Instead, we were force-fed new episodes of flagging cop show Taggart. Though STV bosses say they may 'allow' Scottish viewers the chance to watch the series in the future.”

Adds Galloway: “If you can’t wait until STV decide to grant you the privilege to view one of the finest TV period dramas this century, Downton Abbey is now out on DVD.”

Staying with the Sun (page 40), TV broadcaster, Jonathan Ross, is returning to the BBC to take part in a programme on astronomy. Ross, who was suspended by the broadcaster for making a prank phone call to comedian, Andrew Sachs, two years ago before leaving earlier this year, will feature in the new series of Stargazing Live in January.

BBC television boss Jana Bennett is quoted, saying: “He left on good terms – we never shut the door.”

Elsewhere, there could be a return for another TV favourite. The Scottish Sun (page 3) reports that Still Game star, Greg Hemphill, has hinted that he may revive the popular comedy. Hemphill is quoted, saying: “It’s hard for shows to come back. We’ll see what happens – you never know.”

Meanwhile, the Scottish Daily Mail (page 21) reports that this year’s festive TV offerings will have a familiar feel. Says the Mail: “In what readers will recognise as a familiar story, the four main terrestrial channels are expected to present more than 360 hours of repeats between them.” The re-runs on offer will include Dad’s Army on the BBC, E.T. on ITV and Poirot on Channel 4.

And finally, if you didn’t find today’s The Media in the Press terribly thrilling, just be thankful it isn’t April 11 1954. The Mail (page 3) dubs it “the most boring day of the 20th century”. 

The ultimate slow news day was calculated by feeding 300 million facts into a search engine which recorded that nothing of note happened on this day. Writes Andrew Levy: “The best the machine could muster for the day was the fact that Belgium had its fourth post-war general election and a Turkish academic who taught electronics was born.” 

But April 11 1954 could have competition: there is another contender for the slowest news day of all-time. The Mail reports that on April 18 1930, an announcer informed the nation in the 6.30pm bulletin: “There is no news.”