Downton Abbey movie: release date, cast, review round-up, filming location and everything else you need

When it was announced that Downton Abbey would be finishing with a final sixth series back in 2015, fans were devastated.

For five years, the exploits of the Crawley family, their friends, enemies and staff entertained much of the nation, until the creator and writer Julian Fellowes decided to take it out on a high.

But then, in 2016, a Downton movie was announced – and now, it’s almost upon us. Here’s everything you need to know…

When will it be in cinemas?

Downton Abbey will be released in the UK on 13 September 2019.

Maggie Smith is back on fine form as the Countess (Photo: Universal / Focus Features)

Fans who have missed the Countess (Maggie Smith) and her biting cut-downs, simmering upstairs-downstairs elicit affairs and just a general taste of the retro good life will be pleased to know that it looks ready to deliver on that front.

But the main thrust of the film seems to centre around some royalty coming for dinner.

It is set 18 months after the end of the finale series, in 1927.

Who appears in it?

Most of the main cast from the ITV series will also be appearing in the movie.

Read more:

Julian Fellowes reveals his new production, Belgravia

Expect to see Hugh Bonneville (Robert Crawley), Laura Carmichael (Edith Pelham, Marchioness of Hexham), Michelle Dockery (Lady Mary Talbot), Matthew Goode (Henry Talbot) and Joanne Froggatt (Anna Bates).

Also returning are Jim Carter as Charles Carson, Raquel Cassidy as Phyllis Baxter, Brendan Coyle as John Bates, Kevin Doyle as Joseph Molesley and Michael C. Fox as Andrew “Andy” Parker .

Hugh Bonneville as the Earl of Grantham (Photo: Universal / Focus Features)

Other actors include Harry Hadden-Paton, Rob James-Collier, Allen Leech, Phyllis Logan, Elizabeth McGovern, Sophie McShera, Lesley Nicol and Douglas Reith.

Newcomers to Grantham House include Imelda Staunton, Geraldine James, Tuppence Middleton, Simon Jones, David Haig, Kate Phillips, and Stephen Campbell Moore.

Where was it filmed?

The primary set for the Downton Abbey castle in both the film and TV series is in actual fact, Highclere Castle in Hampshire.

The Gothic style house, which boasts grand, historic rooms such as a library and a great hall, is set in 1000 acres of parkland.

In real life, it is the home of the 8th Earl and Countess of Carnavaron, whose family have lived there since 1679 – Julian Fellowes, reportedly had the castle in mind when writing the series.

While some scenes are filmed in studios and other locations, the exterior shots and certain indoor scenes are filmed at Highclere.

Other film locations for Downton Abbey include Bampton Village in Oxfordshire, which appears in the ITV series as the village of Downton, Cogges Manor Farm in Oxfordshire, which is the setting for Yew Tree Farm and Basildon Park in Berkshire, where the interiors of Grantham House are set.

What do the reviews say?

Overall, the critics seem to have been appreciative, with the film holding an early approval rating of 85 per cent from the review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes after the previews.

However, many of these come from US writers, a country that famously goes wild for Downton’s idealised version of aristocratic English life.

Indeed, Empire magazine call the film “England as Americans see it, a horrendously dated perspective”, and reviews from critics on this side of the pond are far less kind.

That publication called it an “aggressively gentle nostalgia trip”, although it also acknowledged that the “big-screen debut will likely delight” fans of the series.

The Guardian described it as “the most intensely glucose and sometimes baffling Christmas special,” adding “every so often you can feel the rhythmic thud of where the ad break would normally go” on TV.

Despite all this, reviewer Peter Bradshaw again conceded that while it is “at all times ridiculous” it was also “quite enjoyable”.

What does Julian Fellowes say about the film?

Speaking during a Twitter Q&A, he said: “The idea of a film didn’t really cross our minds when doing the series. When we finished, the idea of a film started to form. I was keen to bring the theme of a royal visit, where everyone upstairs and downstairs would be on their best behaviour. This became the centre of the film.”

He was also asked if it was nice to have the cast together again. He replied: “Very slightly strange to find ourselves back in Highclere and everyone back in their costumes. It was peculiar but very nice. And they’ve all been doing different things, so it’s certainly nice to have everyone back sitting around the dining table again.

“It was nice coming home.”

More film

The post Downton Abbey movie: release date, cast, review round-up, filming location and everything else you need appeared first on

Read More

Drake the TV producer: How the rapper went from winning Grammys to reviving Top Boy for Netflix

Drake is a rapper. Not just any rapper, a rapper whose album Scorpion was streamed over a billion times in just one week and who has the most charted songs of any solo artist in Billboard history. He’s a rapper with five studio albums, three compilation albums and six mixtapes. He’s won four Grammys and two Brits. As a Canadian, he’s almost as big an export as maple syrup. So why was he on stage at an east London cinema last week, introducing a new series of Channel 4’s long dead drug-dealing drama, Top Boy?

“I want to thank you all so much for allowing me to be a part of this,” Drake told the audience at Hackney Picturehouse, where the premiere for the third season was held. “I just hope it’s half as captivating as Love Island and we’ll be on our way.” He is executive producer on the drama and is credited with being the catalyst for the show’s revival after he posted a screenshot from the first series on Instagram back in 2014.

Given Drake’s appreciation for British rap (J Hus, Skepta and Giggs are just a few of the MCs who have joined the Canadian on stage), his involvement in Top Boy’s revival isn’t that surprising; the leads are Kano (Kane Robinson) and former member of So Solid Crew Asher D (Ashley Walters). What is impressive, however, is just how committed he was to getting it off the ground. Speaking on Lauren Laverne’s Radio 6 Music show, Walters said: “I thought he watched it on Netflix, but he told me he actually watched it on YouTube. He was literally having to find part one, part two to piece it together – his dedication is real.

“He got in contact with me after he’d seen it and was asking when the next season was coming out and I said, ‘it’s not happening, it’s been cancelled’. He said, ‘We’ll see about that’.” A new 10-minute documentary charting Top Boy’s legacy reiterates the rapper’s dedication: it was Drake who did the bulk of the pitch to Netflix, where the show now lives; he went to the first table-read; he tells the cast they’ll all be back together when they’re “winning awards.” For Drake, this is so much more than a financial investment.

Most people will have either willingly or unwittingly heard a Drake song, but perhaps not many will realise that the young Aubrey Drake Graham started his career on TV. Starting as all child stars do – with adverts – he was eventually signed up to the teen drama, Degrassi: The Next Generation and his character, Jimmy Brooks quickly became a show favourite.

Following his exit in 2009, Drake scored minor roles in The Border and romance dramas Sophie and Being Erica, before making music his full-time job. That’s not to say he wasn’t still reaping the benefits of his on screen time: in 2017 he posted a royalty cheque from the Degrassi production team for the grand total of $8.25 (£6.70) on Instagram.

View this post on Instagram

Degrassi money still coming in don't sleeeeeeeep…💰💸💵💴💴💶💷

A post shared by champagnepapi (@champagnepapi) on

In 2017 the Hotline Bling star dipped his toe back into the world of TV but in a more behind-the-scenes role. He was executive producer on The Carter Effect, a documentary about the NBA star, Vince Carter, whom he credits with inspiring him to try his hand at something new: “It just let me know that it was possible. It was confidence. It was the realisation that it was attainable.”

Read more:

Little Mix’s Jesy Nelson reveals suicide attempt in new cyber-bullying documentary

In the same year, Drake announced that he was working on various projects with Steve Golin (The Revenant, Spotlight), film studio A24 and – to seal a hattrick of television deals – Apple, who are due to release their own streaming service later this year. “My taste in television or movies is always kind of similar to my approach to music, which is, I like when people really hit the nail on the head with real human emotions,” he told The Hollywood Reporter.

Drake’s next move was as executive producer on HBO’s Euphoria, a controversial and often explicit drama series about American teenagers. With naked penises and scenes of drug-taking from the off, the show has been praised for its complex characters and sensitive handling of often difficult subjects. Drake lauded the show as “one of the most remarkable creations I have ever been a part of.”

Drake is committed to hyping up “authentic” drama from across the world – and with the power he has to step in and save a production he deems worthy of continuing such as Top Boy, it seems there is no stopping his growing TV presence. Next, he’s set to executive produce Ready For War, a documentary about immigrants to America who serve in the military, then are deported from the country once their duty is over.

Just three projects in to his producing career, it already looks like Drake has the golden touch. If you thought he’d peaked with his musical output, just wait – the Drake era of TV is upon us.

Top Boy series three will be available to stream on Netflix from 13 September.

More from TV

The post Drake the TV producer: How the rapper went from winning Grammys to reviving Top Boy for Netflix appeared first on

Read More

Is Bear Grylls’ Treasure Island the hardest reality TV island? Not if you remember Shipwrecked, Eden and Castaway 2000

“Tropical the island breeze,” Madonna once sang, “All of nature wild and free, this is where I long to be, La Isla Bonita.” Pop has long been transfixed with island living, but it’s reality TV that is truly obsessed.

While there are many songs that tell of love stories played out on sun-kissed beaches and cocktails in hammocks, the cut-throat world of the isle-based television competition is slightly… different. Try 12 humans spending three months shivering in unseasonal monsoons, screaming at each other about loyalty, while wasting away on a diet of rice and coconut shavings. Anyone for another Pina Colada? Oh, that’s right, there’s only rainwater.

Let’s get this straight: there is nothing exotic or glamorous about reality TV competitions set on an island. Whatever dream the contestants are sold, they can guarantee that somewhere, there’s a gang of producers sitting in a darkened room chanting “Lord of the Flies! Lord of the Flies!” as they turn on the night-cam to show a contestant downing a can of cold beans from the group tuckbox. Life on these picture-perfect islands is anything but a holiday.

But the shows keep being produced, and the contestants keep applying, with the latest show, Treasure Island with Bear Grylls, starting on Channel 4 on Sunday night. Does nobody learn from island horror stories of yore?

Bear Grylls on Treasure Island on Channel 4
Bear Grylls is packing 12 survivalists off to a remote island with the promise of cold, hard cash (Photo: Channel 4)

Apparently not because 12 people have been packed off to a Pacific island for five weeks, during which time bundles of cash eventually adding up to £100,000 will be parachuted onto the island. The question is: do the people who discover it want to share the money with the group or is it finders keepers? As we already know, nothing divides a tribe like the promise of cold hard cash.

So as we prepare ourselves for another round island-based missteps and in honour of all the contestants who have ended up with third-degree sunburn by day three, here are the toughest of the island-based reality TV show to air on UK television:


Shipwrecked 2016
The cast of Shipwrecked 2016 (Photo: Channel 4)

The premise

Back in 1999, Channel 4 pulled together a motley crew of students and twentysomethings and shipped them over to a tropical island for 12 weeks. These were more innocent times and there was no cash incentive to win – there were few fame-hungry #influencers desperate for exposure, just a gang of people with not much else to do over the summer, really, and a free holiday sounded pretty nice. Essentially, whoever managed to get the biggest tribe together won the glory of the game and a flight back home.


It was largely all harmless fun and games until 2006, when producers decided that there wasn’t quite enough screaming-on-the-beach drama, so retitled it Shipwrecked: Battle of the Islands. The tribes were split up and put on different islets and, as predicted, it all got a bit more feral. Stealing, shagging, island attacks were all fair game.

Low points

Living on a diet of lambs tongues. Killing Geri the chicken. Casting out one annoying member to live by himself who then had an outbreak of coldsores. Maybe the lowest of them all, though, was the revival earlier this year, which saw the show transform into a poor man’s Love Island.

Time it would take for the average person to SOS out of there

It’s all a massive LOL until it appears you’re in your own personal version of The Beach. Ten days.

Castaway 2000

Castaway 2000
Castaway 2000 saw 36 participants create a new society in the Outer Hebrides (Photo: BBC)

The premise

A new millennium and the dawning of a new era saw 36 men, women and children sent to Taransay, a Scottish island in the Outer Hebrides “to build a sustainable self-sufficient community from scratch”. With no prize to win, no real structure and no crew (the contestants had to film themselves for a whole year) it’s no surprise this show didn’t stand the test of time.


Not exactly a walk in the park. The production seemed to be cursed from the start when the castaways’ possessions were dropped and lost during an airlift. There was an outbreak of flu on the island, the weather conditions made things incredibly grim, and once again, there were massive arguments, which ultimately just made the whole experience thoroughly miserable. Still, it launched Ben Fogle’s career, so every cloud.

Low points

The mass influenza, obviously, the contraband mobile phones and the small case of one Castaway, Ron Copsey, who sued the BBC and production company Lion TV for libel. He won £16,000 from the case.

Time it would take for the average person to SOS out of there

Sounds insufferable. Two days.


Eden on Channel 4
Eden was taken off air after four episodes, but no one told the contestants (Photo: Channel 4)

The premise

As if there were no lessons to be learned from Castaway 2000, in 2016 Channel 4 tasked 23 people with building a brand new society (i.e. Eden) on the Ardnamurchan peninsula in northern Scotland. Turns out, rejecting capitalism and going off grid with a group of complete strangers wasn’t exactly a dream come true.


The very depths of hell. Thirteen of the original line-up left for reasons ranging from hunger, to claims of bullying and even “disillusionment” within the camp (read: screaming ideological rows). A few changed their mind and tried to rejoin, only to be banned by the rest of the group. This was meant to be a grown-up version of the island reality genre, but in the eternal words of Love Island’s Michael, it all ended up being pretty “chaldish”.

Low points

That would have to be the series’ cancellation after just four episodes, without letting the contestants know. Yep, they still spent a whole year cut off from everything even though the show wasn’t on air. What?

Time it would take for the average person to SOS out of there

Turns out it’s the grown-ups who are more likely to go fully feral. Four days.

Love Island

Love Island 2019 islanders
Love Island is by far the most successful yet brutal of all the reality TV islands (Photo: ITV)

The premise

Are you single, you loser? Then why not make your love life even more woefully complicated by entering this Blind Date-meets-Hunger Games television show! A bunch of perma-tanned, micro-swimwear sporting singletons are transported to a Mallorcan villa. On arrival, they’re matched up with a stranger for the next 12 weeks with the hopes of finding The One, £50,000 in prize money or, at the very least, landing a five-minute daily presenting slot on This Morning.


It’s less of a of a light-hearted dating show and more of a summer-long endurance test. Just as one couple hook up, an ex or a hot new bod is thrown in to turn their heads. Either that or the audience cruelly votes to split them up and send one half of the love match home.

Low points

Dani Dyer being shown footage of her then boyfriend, Jack Fincham, on a date with his ex and sobbing uncontrollably. Curtis Pritchard admitting that his head had been turned to Amy Hart, who cried: “I was coming in here to tell you I loved you!”. Plus, every single relationship apart from four have split up by the end of that same year. Savage doesn’t even begin to cover it.

Time it would take for the average person to SOS out of there

Having to strip off and sit in swimwear next to the model-types. Don’t even bother getting on the plane.

Treasure Island with Bear Grylls starts on Sunday 8 September at 9pm on Channel 4.

More from TV

The post Is Bear Grylls’ Treasure Island the hardest reality TV island? Not if you remember Shipwrecked, Eden and Castaway 2000 appeared first on

Read More

Treasure Island with Bear Grylls line-up: contestants on the island reality show, where it’s filmed and when it’s on Channel 4

You’d think potential reality TV contestants would have learned from the likes of Shipwrecked, Castaway 2000 and the ill-fated Eden that island-based reality competitions are rarely all a barrel of laughs.

But now a new contender has come along, and Channel 4‘s Treasure Island with Bear Grylls looks as though it’s likely to send the islanders savage.

An updated version of The Island with Bear Grylls, things are shaken up by adding the chance to win thousands and thousands of pounds throughout the competition – and not having to tell the other contestants.

When’s it on?

Treasure Island with Bear Grylls starts on Channel 4 on Sunday 8 September at 9pm. There are six episodes in the series.

What’s the premise?

 “Unfair shit happens in life all the time. Why would the island be any different?”. Ahh, it’s the life-affirming, glass-half-full statements from contestants like this that set the tone for this ultra-competitive gameshow on a beach.

Twelve people have been packed off to a Pacific island for 35 days, but over the course of this time, bundles of cash that eventually add up to £100,000 are parachuted onto the island. The question is: do the people who discover it want to share the money with the group or is it finders keepers?

How difficult is it?

Nothing divides a tribe like the promise of cold hard cash, and even the most altruistic of characters turn into a bastardised tropics version of Gordon Gekko, in damp swimwear. The conniving, fraud and lying starts from day one and it only goes downhill from there. 

The opening credits show a woman vomiting and the first episode shows one cast members drinking his own piss, less than 24 hours after on the island.

Add to that the rising paranoia that everybody around you is out to potentially shaft you. To wit: very.

Who is in the cast?



The 30-year-old former Royal Marines Commando who lives in Sunderland. After six years in the military, he is now working as a wedding photographer and graphic designer.



The 42-year-old Paediatric Neurosurgeon working in Northern Ireland.



The 33-year-old writer who lives in Liverpool. She ghost writes reality TV stars’ autobiographies/fitness books and also works in the fitness and nutrition industry, running retreats and boot camps.



The 30-year-old self-employed dental nurse from Suffolk.



The 51-years-old and lives in Kent. He is Company Director for his own building consultants business and undertakes projects across the UK.



The 28-year-old from Essex and works as an ITU (intensive therapy unit) nurse, giving one-to-one nursing care to patients on full life support or induced comas.



The 58-year-old who lives in Berkshire and owns and manages a portfolio of properties with her husband in the area.



The 75-year-old from Scotland. She is the oldest contributor to ever go on the island. She lives with her husband, Euan and has three children, six grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. Alongside her husband she manages their Airbnb. She’s a world silver medallist for her jams and marmalades.



The 24-year-old Jack lives in London. He is a fully qualified plumbing and heating engineer and for the last year and a half has been running his own business.



The 55-year-old lives in Devon with his husband James and runs his estate, Bridwell Park. He’s a member of the British aristocracy and his first cousin once removed is The Duke of Edinburgh – his father and The Duke were cousins. His great, great, great grandmother was Queen Victoria.



The 20-year-old from Yorkshire is a waitress supervisor in a local restaurant. Her passion is fitness and when she’s not working or with friends she’s at the gym with her personal trainer.



Originally from Middlesborough and has recently moved to Manchester. He’s a 27-year-old double glazing salesman and a father to be.

What does Bear Grylls say about the show – and the addition of the £100,000 prize drops?

“It just amplifies so much of who we are and it strips it right back. Looks, material things and all the things that society places so much value on, and so actually, if you don’t have it and it’s taken away what do you really value? And then you start dropping money back into the equation and it’s like dropping grenades onto this island, it really was like that,” Grylls said.

“We would watch the footage come back every day and we’d be like, “Oh wow!” You couldn’t anticipate how people reacted and you never know what people’s characters are like. You never know them really well because it’s just words, and until I hear you’re good under pressure, you never really see what people are made of and that’s the art of the island.”

More television

The post Treasure Island with Bear Grylls line-up: contestants on the island reality show, where it’s filmed and when it’s on Channel 4 appeared first on

Read More

Saffron Barker: who is the Strictly 2019 contestant, and YouTube star involved in train suicide controversy?

Saffron Barker is one of the contestants taking part in the new series of BBC One’s Strictly Come Dancing.

The social media star was a surprise choice for the line-up, but here’s everything you need to know about Barker.

Who is she?

Barker, 19, has over four million followers across her combined social channels and averages 15 million views a month on her YouTube channels.

In 2017 she released a book, Saffron Barker Vs Real Life, which reached number one on the Sunday Times bestsellers list, and her popularity has also gained her three successful homeware ranges with Primark.

Barker is also a supporter of several charities and this year completed the London Landmarks Half Marathon for the Make A Wish foundation. Her first marathon was the London Marathon, running for Dementia Revolution in memory of her Great Grandad Ted.


Why did she cause controversy in 2018?

Last year, Barker made a vlog post in which she rolled her eyes and complained about her train being late, after a person died by suicide.

She said: “It should have taken me 50 minutes and instead it took four and a half hours, so that was amazing. Obviously, it’s really sad, someone did get hit by a train. But it meant that I couldn’t get home.

Read more:

Who else is on the line up for this year’s Strictly?

“And it wasn’t just I couldn’t get home, it was just the most stressful thing. They were doing no buses to help anyone. I was in an hour taxi line stood in the cold.”

There were calls from her fans for Primark to stop working with Barker, and she lost followers from her social media channels following her insensitive remarks.

She later apologised: “I completely understand how insensitive my comments were. I can see how it would appear that I wasn’t being considerate of the awful incident but in no way did I mean it like that.”

“My frustrations were not towards the victim but the overall situation. Anyone that knows me knows there was no disrespect.”

She added: “It was wrong of me and I should have been more considerate to what was going on.”

In a follow-up vlog, she added: “I would never in a million years roll my eyes at the victim”.

‘Grateful’ for Strictly opportunity

Speaking about joining Strictly, Barker said: “I am really excited to go on the Strictly journey and am feeling very grateful for the opportunity.

“I’m looking forward to learning all of the dances, finding out who my partner is, getting to wear the costumes and to just experience this once in a lifetime opportunity.”

Who else has been announced?

David James MBE, a former England number one goalkeeper, comedian Chris Ramsey and EastEnders actress Emma Barton, who plays Honey Mitchell, will all be putting their dancing shoes for the new series.

The 17th series of the NTA and Bafta award-winning entertainment show produced by BBC Studios will return in the autumn – the official date is still to be confirmed – on BBC One, putting the sparkle back into Saturday and Sunday nights.

More television

The post Saffron Barker: who is the Strictly 2019 contestant, and YouTube star involved in train suicide controversy? appeared first on

Read More

Michelle Visage: who is the Strictly Come Dancing 2019 contestant, and RuPaul’s Drag Race judge?

When the latest round of celebrities was announced for this year’s Strictly Come Dancing, perhaps most fabulous to put on her dancing shoes was Michelle Visage.

Best known as Ru Paul’s BFF on Ru Paul’s Drag Race, here’s everything you need to know about the flamboyant star.

Read more
Michelle Visage interview

Who is Michelle Visage?

Michelle Visage (Photo: BBC)

Michelle Visage is an American singer, television host, radio DJ, and media personality.

Michelle was born Michelle Lynn Shupack in September 1968 in New Jersey, and she moved to New York as a teenager with the hope of being an actress.

She became part of the club scene and the New York ball scene, and she learnt to vogue from the godfather of the scene, Willi Ninja.

She first changed her name to Cara, face in Spanish, but then changed it to the Spanish word for it instead, Visage.

Michelle first met Ru Paul in 1980 in the nightlife scene, and in 1990, she became a member of the band Seduction, who had hits like Two Make It Right, Heartbeat and Free Your Body.

She went on to become a radio DJ and presenter, and then moved over into TV. She has been a judge on the American reality competition television series RuPaul’s Drag Race since season three and on all seasons of the spin-off show RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars. Michelle will appear on RuPaul’s Drag Race UK, which is set to air on BBC Three this October.

Michelle was also on the fifteenth series of Celebrity Big Brother finishing in fifth place.

Most recently, she has appeared as a judge on the first two seasons of Ireland’s Got Talent.

This year, Michelle made her West End debut as Miss Hedge in Everybody’s Talking About Jamie.

Is she married?

Michelle now lives in California with her husband, the author David Case, and her two daughters, Lillie and Lola.

What does she say about the UK?

In an interview with i earlier this year, she said that she first came to the UK when she was 13 years old: “And I  fell in LOVE. I always feel like there’s an otherworldly connection. In another life, I was a gay, black, British man. One hundred per cent.” As a straight, white, American woman why does she think that? “You just figure things out. I firmly believe in past lives. When you have such a connection with something, there has to be an explanation.

“There’s a sense of peace and serenity that I get here that I don’t get in the United States. In other countries I feel like a fish out of water and I don’t in the UK.”

What does she say about joining Strictly?

Michelle says: “Getting to do Strictly in my favourite place on Earth is an actual DREAM! I’m so excited to show that being 50 doesn’t mean life stops. Things may not work like they did when I was 20, but 50 also means ‘FABULOUS!’ There are plenty of women like me out there who still ‘got it’ and we still ‘plan to use it!’ so slap on the sequins, point me to the dance floor and watch me Paso my Doble!”

More television

The post Michelle Visage: who is the Strictly Come Dancing 2019 contestant, and RuPaul’s Drag Race judge? appeared first on

Read More

Who will replace Jamie Laing on Strictly Come Dancing? The latest replacement news after his injury

We’ve had our very first injury of this year’s Strictly Come Dancing without one episode of the show airing.

Made In Chelsea star Jamie Laing announced on Thursday that he has had to pull out of this year’s dancing competition because of an injury to his foot – so who will replace him?

Laing said: “I’m absolutely devastated that I’m unable to continue in the competition, I was so excited to hit the dance floor! I would like to wish the lovely couples all the very best and hope they enjoy their time on the show to the fullest.”

It’s believed the BBC will have one or two celebrities already on the books as a replacement for issues like this, and it’s expected that the slot has already been filled.

Who are the new contenders?

Before the names of the celebrities were painstakingly slowly released over a week, there were plenty of rumours flying around as to who might be taking part.

Names that came up this year – but who didn’t end up signing on the dotted line – are football manager Sam Allerdyce, Gogglebox‘s Scarlett Moffat and TV personality Vogue Williams.

Chris Evans also claimed he was taking part, but wasn’t on the final line-up.

Emily Atack: From Inbetweeners to the jungle (Photo: ITV)
Emily Atack (Photo: ITV)

Other celebrities currently floating to take Jamie’s slot about are TV presenter Tim Lovejoy, Made In Chelsea‘s Spencer Matthews, ex-rugby star James Haskell and Emily Atack, who is currently bookies favourite.

What do viewers think?

But viewers have their own ideas about who should step into his dancing shoes.

One person said the show should be getting political for the new star: “I am officially starting the campaign for Rory Stewart to to replace Jamie Laing on Strictly.”

Read more

Jamie Laing pulls out of Strictly due to injury

Another commented that they could poach someone from another reality TV show: “Isn’t the obvious answer to replace him with Jamie from Bake Off? (Wouldn’t even have to change the name tag), Jamie Finn.”

While one fan suggested bringing back a YouTuber from the last series of Strictly, which isn’t how this works at all: “Joe Sugg can replace Jamie!”

What happened to Jamie?

The reality TV star was pictured in west London at the weekend with crutches and a medical cast on his left foot. The Sun reported at the time that “it’s touch and go for Jamie and bosses are waiting to see how his results look after he gets a proper X-ray done”.

Executive Producer for the dancing show, Sarah James, said: “We are so sad that Jamie won’t be able to take part in the series, he had already lit up the ballroom during the launch show with his boundless energy and enthusiasm. We all wish him a full and speedy recovery.”

More television

The post Who will replace Jamie Laing on Strictly Come Dancing? The latest replacement news after his injury appeared first on

Read More

Who got shot in EastEnders? Hunter Owen’s possible victims – and why fans think it’s Louise Mitchell

It’s the newest soap whodunnit – but rather than there being an unknown killer, viewers on EastEnders have been left to guess who the victim of a gun shot is.

On Thursday night’s episode of the long-running BBC soap there was a bit of an altercation in the Queen Vic, which led to a gun being fired. Just as the camera was ready to swing to who got hit, the famous theme tune kicked in – a classic cliffhanger.

The storyline was all part of a revenge plot by Hunter Owen, who wanted to punish Jack Branning for getting him locked up for the murder of Ray Kelly.

He burst into Walford’s favourite pub, threatening Mick and Linda Carter, before his mum, Mel Owen also joined in.

Hunter Owen (CHARLIE WINTER) (Photo: BBC)

But then Keegan Baker saw that Hunter was brandishing a gun, and shouted this out, and the pub residents – who were gathered for the fall out of what should have been a wedding reception – started to panic and flee.

Hunter jumped onto a table but was then ambushed by a gang of the ‘Enders, pulling him to the floor. Then: a shot was fired.

Who’s been shot?

As the Walford residents were dealing with the fall-out of a cancelled wedding – Whitney Dean and Callum Highway – it was a packed Queen Vic, with most of the main cast gathered, so it could be anybody in trouble.

Most likely is Mick, Jack, Keegan, and Kush Kazemi, who all tried to take down Hunter. But Whitney, Callum, Linda, Mel and Louise Mitchell were also in close range. Then, there’s also the possibility that Hunter was shot by his own gun.

While viewers won’t find out who was hit until Friday night’s episode, it hasn’t stopped them trying to do a bit of armchair detective work on social media.

The potential victims

One person suggested: “Callum 100 per cent is the one who got shot. His secret goes with him to the grave that way. Plus the pictures of the funeral Ben was in a suit. Can’t see him going to the funeral of anyone else who jumped on the gun.”

While another fan said: “Ben is shot – but he isn’t the one who dies. EastEnders are 100 per cent plotting a death that no one would expect by throwing in all the major characters and a shooting to entice us.”

Another viewer said: “My money is on Whitney. Or possibly (and hopefully) Mel. Doubt it will be Louise as we’ve still got the whole double baby situation to look forward to – no doubt that will all come out at Christmas … another good ol’ Mitchell Family Christmas.”

But somebody else thought the opposite: “Got a feeling it was Louise who got shot….the way they included Lisa looking for her just moments before it happened, it’s gotta be.”

The good news is the mystery will be solved by 8.30pm tonight. But what’s the fall out going to be?

EastEnders airs on BBC One on Mondays and Fridays at 8pm, and Tuesdays and Thursdays at 7:30pm.

The post Who got shot in EastEnders? Hunter Owen’s possible victims – and why fans think it’s Louise Mitchell appeared first on

Read More

Britain’s Got Talent: The Champions line-up: the BGT acts appearing in week 2, from Lost Voice Guy to Jai McDowell

Simon Cowell’s “best of the best” show returns for a new set of global contestants to do battle once again.

It’s the second week of Britain’s Got Talent: The Champions and there’s another stellar line-up of nine acts who will be taking to the stage.

Here’s what to expect from episode two of the series:

When’s it on TV?

Britain’s Got Talent: The Champions is on ITV on Saturday 7 September 8:30pm.

Who will be appearing on this week’s show?

100 Voices of Gospel

100 Voices
100 Voices of Gospel (Photo: ITV)

100 Voices of Gospel is a gospel choir that reached the final of Britain’s Got Talent in Series 10. They contain members from over 20 countries, and in their audition, they performed ‘This Little Light of Mine’.

Paul Zerdin

Paul Zerdin
Paul Zerdin (Photo: ITV)

Paul Zerdin is a British comedian and ventriloquist from London. He was the winner of the 10th season of America’s Got Talent.

Gao Lin and Liu Xin

(Photo: ITV)
Gao Lin and Liu Xin (Photo: ITV)

Gao Lin and Liu Xin are a married couple from China. The acrobatic dancers first gained notoriety on the inaugural season of Asia’s Got Talent, but were eliminated in the finals. They also appeared on Britain’s Got Talent in 2017, but were disqualified before the semifinals due to an immigration issue.

Alexa Lauenburger

Alexa Lauenburger
Alexa Lauenburger (Photo: ITV)

Alexa is a 10-year-old dog trainer from Germany. She won Das Supertalent in 2017.

Lost Voice Guy

Lost Voice Guy
Lost Voice Guy (Photo: ITV)

Lee Ridley is a stand-up comedian. His disability means he’s unable to speak, so he uses a communication aid in his routines. He won the 12th series of Britain’s Got Talent in 2018.

Antonio Sorgentone

Antonio Sorgentone
Antonio Sorgentone (Photo: ITV)

Antonio Sorgentone is a 37-year-old pianist from Abruzzo, Italy. He won the 2019 edition of Italy’s Got Talent, with his musical talents.

Mersey Girls

Mersey Girls
Mersey Girls (Photo: ITV)

The Mersey Girls are a dance troop of five girls, who made it through to the final of BGT in 2017. They finished in fourth place.

Deadly Games

Deadly Games
Deadly Games (Photo: ITV)

Deadly Games, also known as Alfredo & Anna Silva, are a knife thrower duo act from Season 11 of America’s Got Talent. They were eliminated in the semi-finals.

Jai McDowall

Jai McDowall
Jai McDowall (Photo: ITV)

Jai McDowall is a Scottish singer–songwriter who won the fifth series of Britain’s Got Talent in June 2011.

What’s the big idea of the show?

Britain’s Got Talent: The Champions brings together the world’s most talented and memorable acts from past series of Got Talent. The acts will compete in this supersized version of BGT, all trying to be crowned the ultimate champion and walk away with the cash prize and coveted Champions Trophy.
Simon Cowell, Amanda Holden, Alesha Dixon and David Walliams return to the judging panel as they take their seat ready to be impressed by a whole host of global talent.
Each week, two acts make it through to the grand finale – the first is a Golden Buzzer act chosen by one of the judges or Ant and Dec while the second is voted through by superfans in the arena audience.

Week one saw two acts voted through to the final:  Kseniya Simonova, Amanda Holden’s Golden Buzzer choice and Bello and Annaliese Nock, who got through on the superfan vote.

More television

The post Britain’s Got Talent: The Champions line-up: the BGT acts appearing in week 2, from Lost Voice Guy to Jai McDowell appeared first on

Read More

Jamie Laing pulls out of Strictly Come Dancing 2019 after suffering injury

The show hasn’t even started yet, but the first person to come crashing out of Strictly Come Dancing is Jamie Laing.

The Made In Chelsea star announced today that he has had to pull out of this year’s dancing competition because of an injury to his foot.

Laing said: “I’m absolutely devastated that I’m unable to continue in the competition, I was so excited to hit the dance floor! I would like to wish the lovely couples all the very best and hope they enjoy their time on the show to the fullest.”

The reality TV star was pictured in west London at the weekend with crutches and a medical cast on his left foot. The Sun reported at the time that “it’s touch and go for Jamie and bosses are waiting to see how his results look after he gets a proper X-ray done”.

Laing will still appear in the launch show

As the Strictly launch show is pre-recorded, Laing will still feature in this programme which airs Saturday 7 September.

Jamie Laing Strictly Come Dancing 2019 BBC One
Jamie Laing (Photo: BBC)

Executive Producer for the dancing show, Sarah James, said: “We are so sad that Jamie won’t be able to take part in the series, he had already lit up the ballroom during the launch show with his boundless energy and enthusiasm. We all wish him a full and speedy recovery.”

Who else is on the show?

Read more:

Everything you need to know about this year’s Strictly

Despite the inevitable frenzy of speculation and leaks, the BBC opted to drip feed this year’s celebrity contestants over a succession of days through the likes of The One Show, Good Morning Britain and various BBC radio outlets.

The line-up contains an Olympic and Paralympic gold-medallists, a former England goalkeeper, soap actors and, for the first time, a viscountess. Here it is in full:

Who are the Strictly 2019 professionals?

Nancy Xu Strictly Come Dancing 2019 professional
Nancy Xu is the new professional dancer to join the Strictly Come Dancing 2019 line-up (Photo: Press)

There have also been some changes in the line-up of Strictly professional dancers this year, following the departure of Pasha Kovalev after the last series.

He was replaced by the Latin dancer Nancy Xu, who starred in the hit West End and Broadway show Burn The Floor.

She joins an 18-strong cohort of pros – a handful of reserve dancers are not allocated celebrity partners, and have to make do with popping up in the intimidatingly proficient group dances throughout the series.

When is Strictly Come Dancing on TV?

The launch episode is set to air on 7 September, when the celebrities will find out which professional dancer they’ve been paired with.

The show will then return a few weeks later, likely on 21 September, kicking off the weekly shows.

The competition will continue through October and November before ending in the week leading up to Christmas.

More television

The post Jamie Laing pulls out of Strictly Come Dancing 2019 after suffering injury appeared first on

Read More

The Dog House: what time the series is on Channel 4 tonight, and what to expect

In troubling times, we can all do with sitting down and watching some very good boys on TV. Handy, then, that Channel 4 is devoting a whole series to an animal charity that re-homes disowned dogs to new friendly faces.

The Dog House is a documentary series that looks set to tug on heart-strings as it portrays stories of a variety of breeds find new loving homes.

When’s it on?

The Dog House starts on Channel 4 on Thursday 5 September at 8pm. There are eight episodes in this series.

What’s the big idea?

The Dog House will lift the lid on a dog home – a world in which abandoned or unloved dogs are rehomed to new owners.

Dogs from the rescue centre in May 2019
Dogs from the rescue centre in May 2019 (Photo: Channel 4)

The stories take place in an arena into which humans bring their hopes and histories, and open up their lives to a new four-legged friend who they hope will make their lives happier. And in which dogs find the care they have – up to now – been denied.

Which dog home is it filmed at?

It’s filmed at Wood Green, The Animals Charity in Cambridgeshire, which takes in hundreds of discarded, disowned or neglected dogs every year. The series will follow the 60 strong team who work to counter the worst of our throw-away society, and witness stories of canine rescue. Their ultimate goal is to find each dog a forever home and a new human to love – but finding the right person for each dog takes experience, insight into human behaviour and a bit of luck.

What does Wood Green say about appearing on the series?

It says: “Our vision is a world where all pets are cared for in loving homes for life. We are proud to be the pet charity that makes a difference to the lives of pets and people across the UK – bringing them closer together, as seen in Channel 4’s TV series The Dog House.”

Mozart and Tiny
Mozart and Tiny (Photo: Channel 4)

What can we expect in the first episode?

In the first episode, a terrified abandoned terrier known as Tiny, arrives after his owner of five years has been taken into care, and now he’s got to be brave enough to win over some new owners. Could this be couple Heather and Elliot? They hope that Tiny wants to wear a dog-sized leather jacket, and that he will be the bundle of joy that brightens Heather’s life when she’s feeling low.

Child-friendly Daisy, a Cairn terrier, is the only one of Wood Green’s charges deemed gentle enough for the Kerry family from Peterborough. New to dog ownership, sisters Georgia (8) and Phoebe (6), are both excited and nervous about the idea of taking Daisy home.

And Mozart, a Jack Russell, and Zeus, a recently abandoned Staffordshire bull terrier in turn try to charm couple Paul and Elf. Due to a recent operation Paul is unable to work. He’s looking for a companion to spend his days with – he may have found the perfect pet now.

What does Channel 4 say about the series?

Charlotte Desai, Commissioning Editor said: “We’re often told that Brits are dog-lovers but, with over 100,000 dogs currently homeless, The Dog House will be a fascinating insight into the rehoming process. We hope to reveal not only a great deal about these dogs but also the lives of those seeking to adopt, as well as those seeking to leave dogs at a shelter.”

More television

The post The Dog House: what time the series is on Channel 4 tonight, and what to expect appeared first on

Read More

First Dates Hotel 2019 line-up: here’s who’s looking for love on tonight’s episode

As the summer holidays draw to a close, so unfortunately do all the holiday romances. While some couples are busy arranging budget airlines flights to see each other again at the next possible opportunity, others will remain just another Facebook friend that got away.

But Channel 4 is on hand to provide some much-needed cheer at this time of year by setting up an entire hotel in Italy dedicated to match-making a gaggle of singletons, all presided over by the Gallic charmer, Fred Sirieix.

There are six episode in this series, which could create a potential 18 couples ready to fly back to the UK in the flush of first love… or ready to ghost each other into nothingness.

Here’s what to expect from tonight’s show:

When’s it on?

First Dates Hotel starts on Channel 4 on Thursday 5 September at 9pm.

Read more

Where is First Dates Hotel filmed?

What’s the premise?

First Dates Hotel is back for a brand new series, as an eclectic array of arrivals check in searching for a suitable soulmate. Eager to impress, excited singletons of all ages dot the sun-drenched poolside, with no idea who their dates are going to be. Manager Fred and his team of Cupids are on hand to manage this five star Hotel di Amore, catering to every whim and desire.

Who’s on tonight’s episode?

Robyn and Michael

Robyn and Michael
Robyn and Michael (Photo: Channel 4)

Robyn, 26, works as a receptionist for a luxury car firm, but her love life is stuck in first gear. Having always felt like the ugly duckling compared to her gorgeous group of “galfriends”, she carts around the self-help book Why Men Love Bitches. Unfortunately – or perhaps fortunately – she doesn’t have a bitchy bone in her body.  “Treat them mean and keep them keen” is Robyn’s mantra, which she manages to play along with for approximately seven seconds on her date.

Her date is 6 ft 2ins rugby player Michael, who describes himself on his dating profile as “tall, dark and a handful”. He’s also a self-professed mummy’s boy. “I need to date someone like my mum, but not her as that would be fucking weird,” he says. Here’s hoping Robyn hears those alarm bells…

Richard and Carly

Carly and Richard
Carly and Richard (Photo: Channel 4)

Single dad and builder Richard is keen to find someone he can resonate with on a spiritual level, after being heart-broken by the breakup of his marriage. And fun-time Carly  – a primary school teacher and former model – looks like she could be just the tonic, until she reveals something that is a major turn off for Richard.  Can he move past her honest confession to get a second date?

Perry and Naveed

Naveed and Perry
Naveed and Perry (Photo: Channel 4)

Perfumer Perry – who turns heads around the pool in some fancy gold lamé trunks – seems to have it all, but he’s missing one thing: somebody to come home to. He’s on the scent for a man who can get the seal of approval from his beloved mum and dog Dolly. His match is 43-year-old art dealer Naveed, who is also looking for a special someone. Will they hit it off or will they end up ignoring each other at the breakfast buffet the following day?

More television

The post First Dates Hotel 2019 line-up: here’s who’s looking for love on tonight’s episode appeared first on

Read More

The Capture filming locations: here’s where the new BBC One drama series was filmed

The new BBC thriller, The Capture, tells the story of a soldier returning from war who is on a murder charge.

But it swiftly moves into a tale of surveillance, technology and paranoia as he attempts to get back to normal life.

The series looks set to be a big blockbuster hit for the channel and it’s been dubbed “the new Bodyguard“.

Here’s what you need to know about The Capture:

What’s the premise for the show?

The Capture
The Capture: DI Rachel Carey (HOLLIDAY GRAINGER), Shaun Emery (CALLUM TURNER) (Photo: BBC/Guy Farrow)

“When soldier Shaun Emery’s conviction for a murder in Afghanistan is overturned because of flawed video evidence,” says the BBC’s official synopsis, “he returns to life as a free man with his young daughter.

“But when damning CCTV footage from a night out in London comes to light, Shaun’s life takes a shocking turn and he must soon fight for his freedom once again.

“With newly promoted DI Rachel Carey drafted in to investigate Shaun’s case, she quickly learns that the truth can sometimes be a matter of perspective. Should she trust Shaun Emery?”

Where is it filmed?

Viewers will recognise a few familiar places, as much of the filming took place in London.

The Italian-designed, Qatari-owned Shard
The Italian-designed, Qatari-owned Shard (Photo: Pixabay)

Producer Derek Richie told Radio Times: “We’ve been all over London to marvellous places, and more down at heel places. We’ve got the Shard, Printworks in Bermondsey, we did a week’s worth of shooting there.”

He also added that they’d gone on location down south: “We’ve been down in Sutton enjoying the delights of the suburbs.”

Shaun Emery (CALLUM TURNER) (Photo: BBC)

There are also scenes set in Holborn and Stratford.

“It’s a very rich tapestry of cross-cutting and different London locations,” executive producer Rosie Alison told Radio Times.

The control room

Holliday Grainger in The Capture
CCTV surveillance and facial recognition go under the microscope on The Capture (Photo: BBC/Nick Wall)

But while much of the activity takes place in a control room packed with the newest, state-of-the-art technology and devices, this wasn’t an actual police control room, it was one they created from scratch, with the help of a forces security adviser.

Read more

‘The public have a right to be concerned’: the real story behind BBC One’s surveillance and technology thriller, The Capture

The counter terror’s command room was apparently called “The Mothership” by the cast and crew. It features a wall of screens that reaches up to the ceiling, and portrays the technology needed to be able to use devices and programs like facial recognition, which is deployed several times in the drama.

This command room was built in a set at West London Studios in Hayes. Richie said: “The police adviser was not willing to tell us too much obviously, because all of that stuff has to be kept very secret, but particularly from [creator and screenwriter] Ben Chanan, from his documentaries, and the police he’s spoken to over the years, he’s had a very good sense of how all that works.”

Where was the Afghanistan scenery shot?

The army scenes were filmed in the desert outside Malaga, Spain.

Richie added: “We shot it very much on helmet cams, and we let them run with it so it felt as real, as visceral, as it possibly could in that incredible Spanish landscape.”

More television

The post The Capture filming locations: here’s where the new BBC One drama series was filmed appeared first on

Read More

Sharon Osbourne on Who Do You Think You Are: what time it’s on BBC One tonight, and what she finds out

We’re nearing the end of this current series of Who Do You Think You Are? and for the penultimate show, Sharon Osbourne will be diving through her family history.

The former X Factor judge – who was born in Brixton – goes back in time to discover her genealogy and some emotional stories about her relatives.

When is it on?

Who Do You Think You Are? with Sharon Osbourne is on BBC One, Wednesday 4 September at 9pm.

Sharon Osbourne (Photo: BBC / Stephen Perry)

What does Osbourne discover about her history?

Recalling her less-than idyllic childhood and her remote relationship with her mother, Sharon delves into her maternal family history and uncovers the difficult circumstances of her mother’s and grandmother’s lives.

Osbourne has previously spoken about the difficult relationship she endured with her Irish mother, Hope Shaw, and how the pair were estranged when Shaw died in 1999.

But the TV personality makes a heartbreaking discovery when she finds out that her mother – who became a show girl – was caught stealing aged 12 as her father left their family.

Postcard of The Hewson Trio – A Vaudeville theatre act made up of (L-R) Dolly (Sharon Osbourne’s grandmother), Ira (Dolly’s sister, sitting down) and Arthur James Shaw (Dolly’s husband and Sharon Osbourne’s grandfather) – Circa 1912 (Photographer: Unknown)

She finds a news cutting from a South London newspaper printed in 1929 which reports that Hope was arrested for “stealing stockings” and other items, along with Sharon’s grandmother, Dolly Shaw. They were arrested together and pleaded guilty, and spent a night in jail before appearing in court.

Read more:

Who Do You Think You Are, BBC One, review: Kate Winslet lights up a rather dull history lesson

Who Do You Think You Are? review: Paul Merton’s story was nothing spectacular, but intensely moving nonetheless

She says in the show: “I feel a pain in my heart looking at my mum’s little face in this photo, she’s such a sweet innocent little thing holding on to her mum really tight.

“She must have had one hell of a childhood, with no father. Her mother was working, growing up and not having the comfort of your parent.

“My heart really does break for her and it gives me a sense of why she was the way she was.”

She is also unable to learn anything about the history of her Jewish father Don Arden’s bloodline because all documents were destroyed or lost.

Later, Osbourne discovers that her great grandmother was born in the United States, but soon comes to realise that her great-great-grandparent’s hope of living the American-Dream did not go according to plan when they were faced with the harsh reality of work in a cotton mill.

Who else has appeared on this series of the show?

Oscar-winning actress Kate Winslet, Bond star Naomie Harris, comedians Paul Merton and Katherine Ryan, and comedian Jack Whitehall – who, in a first for the series – took part in the show alongside his father, Michael Whitehall, have all appeared in the current series.

Winslet dove into her Swedish roots and learned of an army drummer boy relative. Jack and Michael Whitehall engaged in some “ancestral political banter” as they identify their link to the Newport Rising.

Who Do You Think You Are? with Sharon Osbourne is on BBC One, Wednesday 4 September at 9pm.

More television

The post Sharon Osbourne on Who Do You Think You Are: what time it’s on BBC One tonight, and what she finds out appeared first on

Read More

‘The public have a right to be concerned’: the real story behind BBC One’s surveillance and technology thriller, The Capture

In the opening scene of the new BBC thriller, The Capture, a couple of security workers, sitting under a large ‘Caring for the Community Through Vigilance’ sign, stare at a wall of CCTV cameras.”Unbelievable,” one man says.  “Where did we send Bogdan?”

“Chicken Manor,” his co-worker replies. “He’s gone to Chicken Chow.”

“Bullshit. Because he didn’t want to walk the extra two minutes.”

Keeping tabs on where a colleague has gone to buy your dinner isn’t exactly the most justifiable reason for running a closed-circuit camera system, but it’s probably to be expected when Britain is reported to be the most monitored country in the world.

Who controls the cameras?

Holliday Grainger and Callum Turner star in The Capture (Photo: BBC)

In 2013, it was estimated that there are four to six million CCTV cameras filming the nation and in London, the public can expect to be caught up to 300 times a day on camera.

We’re told that this is for our own safety, that it’s used to keep a watch on potential terrorist activity, and for general crime too, as the footage is often used as evidence in court. But The Capture questions this technology: who controls the captured data?

In the drama, soldier Shaun Emery (Callum Turner) has his conviction for murder overturned because of flawed video evidence when he was serving in the army.

But when further damning footage appears of him committing another crime – and he is identified by facial recognition technology – it throws his life into disarray once more.

Former senior military intelligence officer and security expert Philip Ingram says that the statistics about CCTV footage don’t exactly tell the whole truth.

“While it’s true there are probably up to six million CCTV cameras in the UK, it gives a false impression of what the cameras actually are,” he says.

“Most of the cameras are privately owned and not interconnected and will send recorded video imagery to the individual owner. They’re not going to some central system where the police will have access to them.”

Regulation of private CCTV cameras is murky

CCTV cameras like these in Camden are becoming more powerful and being used in conjunction with facial-recognition technology (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)
CCTV cameras like these are becoming more powerful and being used in conjunction with facial-recognition technology (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

This clarification comes with its own set of issues. While public cameras are subject to the Protection of Freedoms act (PoF) – which comes under the remit of the Surveillance Camera Commissioner (SCC), Tony Porter – when it comes to private cameras and what they film, it’s a little more murky.

Ingram says: “I think people should be concerned. There’s certainly a lot of monitoring going on.”

Read more:

Old woman caught on CCTV cutting down family’s Christmas lights in the dead of night

Surveillance technology hit the headlines last month, when it was a revealed that a security firm in a development in London’s Kings Cross was using facial recognition technology (FRT) on CCTV camera footage of the public.

The cameras, said the security firm Argent, “use a number of detection and tracking methods, including facial recognition, but also have sophisticated systems in place to protect the privacy of the general public.” Mayor Sadiq Khan said that there was “serious and widespread concern” over the legality of these programs, and what is done with the data collected.

King’s Cross Central Limited Partnership later confirmed: “There has been no operational facial recognition technology system at the King’s Cross Estate since March 2018.”

It’s now been reported that this technology is potentially going to be used by the Barbican centre and in a central London shopping district, too.

The trial of facial recognition

King’s Cross confirmed that facial recognition cameras had been scrapped (Photo: Getty)

Ingram explains: “It’s a trial and there’s been a lot of criticism about it, but you have to trial a technology to understand where the issues are, to then bring the regulation in to meet those issues.

“So it’s a bit chicken and egg. The SCC wants to ensure that there’s a justifiable reason for doing this. There’s two requirements to have a CCTV system, firstly, if it’s necessary and secondly, if it’s being used proportionally.

“So if you’re surveilling tens of thousands of people on the off chance of picking up someone dropping litter, for example, that would be considered disproportionate.

“However if there was a very high level terrorist threat somewhere, and there was the need to surveil thousands of people then that could be considered proportional. The SCC wants everything  looked at a case-by-case basis and he’s trying to bring this code of practice in under to PoF act across the whole sector.”

‘Inherently intrusive technology’

While Ingram says that there needs to be a formal identity for any CCTV evidence used in court, the human rights organisation Liberty are currently dealing with the facial recognition technology being used in legal cases.

Read more:

CCTV used in schools to show parents how their children have misbehaved

Liberty is currently representing Cardiff resident Ed Bridges, who attended a protest in South Wales in 2018 where the police used FRT for the first time, and who is now mounting a legal challenge against the force.

Megan Goulding, a lawyer at Liberty said: “Facial recognition is an inherently intrusive technology that breaches our privacy rights. It risks fundamentally altering our public spaces, forcing us to monitor where we go and who with, seriously undermining our freedom of expression.

“It is now for police and parliamentarians to face up to the facts: facial recognition represents an inherent risk to our rights, and has no place on our streets.”

Deep fakes and digital manipulation

There is now the additional issue of digital manipulation and deep fakes, in which images and video are altered to create something that never happened. The camera can now lie to us.

Shaun Emery (CALLUM TURNER) (Photo: BBC / Nick Wall)

In The Capture, Shaun is confronted with a video of him committing a crime, but he swears it wasn’t him. We’ve seen the technology is there to manipulate media  – as with Nancy Pelosi’s doctored speech that was tweeted by Donald Trump – so could it be used on CCTV footage as well?

Ingram says: “The technology to do this certainly exists and with the growth of artificial intelligence it’s going to become easier and easier to do that. I think in a short space of time it could become an issue.

“But there are programs that allow you to feed it digital imagery to see if it’s been manipulated. It then looks at the metadata behind the imagery and you can see what’s been done with it or if it’s been altered.

“You beat technology with technology. You don’t beat it by banning it, because then it will go underground.”

As we know with social media, technology moves faster than laws or regulation. And maybe, like Shaun in the BBC series, we’re right to be paranoid about what all the lenses trained on our civil liberties really means. Unlike social media, however, there’s no way of switching them off.

The Capture starts on BBC One on Tuesday 3 September at 9pm.

More television

The post ‘The public have a right to be concerned’: the real story behind BBC One’s surveillance and technology thriller, The Capture appeared first on

Read More

BBC cameraman headbutted in the groin by sheep on Animal Park

The problems of working alongside animals reared its head (or rather its horns) recently when an angry sheep headbutted a cameraman in his genitals while filming the BBC‘s Animal Park.

The show was filming at Longleat Estate and Safari Park for the summer special on Cameroon sheep, “one of the rarest breeds in the country” the owner told presenter Kate Humble. Humble then cooed: “Isn’t he beautiful? Look at you!”.

But whether Cecil the ram was annoyed at not being asked to sign a filming consent form, or perhaps he had been hoping to meet Ben Fogle instead of Humble, he launched at the nether regions of the cameraman.

“He’s so naughty!” the owner said.

“Haaaahhhhhhhhhh!” the cameraman screamed and toppled over, defeated by the beast.

Video a hit on YouTube

Animal Park
Kate Humble and Ben Fogle (Photo: BBC)

The BBC uploaded the clip on to its YouTube Channel on Tuesday, where it clocked up 230,000 views in a day.

Viewers shared their anguish with the man, with someone pointing out his professionalism at the point of being taken down by a goat: “Look at the camera man, trying to save the camera before falling in excruciating pain.”

Another commented: “He protecc. He attacc. But most importantly… He never misses the cameraman’s sacc!”

Another person added, sagely: “I know that’s the reason I protect my nuts when I’m around rams. It’s their natural behaviour, they tend to do that when you play with them. Plus their skulls are tough as a rock.”

What are Cameroon sheep?

Cameroon sheep are one of the world’s oldest surviving breeds. They were originally bred in Cameroon and other surrounding countries in West Africa thousands of years ago.

The breed has also been domesticated in Europe and is also primarily for meat production.

There are less than 1,000 Cameroon sheep left in the world and their large, pronounced eyes situated on the sides of their heads give them a 270 degree field of vision, helpful when on the lookout for predators, or cameramen.

Is this the most eventful thing to happen on Animal Park?

Yes, quite possibly. But recently Fogle and Humble celebrated the 50th anniversary of Longleat Safari Park in Wiltshire, beginning by re-enacting the moment 50 lions were unleashed onto the British public.

More television

The post BBC cameraman headbutted in the groin by sheep on Animal Park appeared first on

Read More

Who left Celebrity MasterChef 2019? Results so far, and the contestants left in the line-up

Long-distance runner Andy Grant has become the first person to be kicked off this year’s Celebrity MasterChef.

Grant struggled with his dishes, and served up “overcooked and dry” lamb, which led judges John Torode and Gregg Wallace to eliminate him from the kitchen.

He said he was “absolutely gutted” to be out of the cookery competition, adding: “My competitive juices were just starting to get going.”

Episode one saw the 20 celebrities – including Zandra Rhodes, Adam Woodyatt, Joey Essex and Judge Jules – challenged to make their own sausages. The contestants then were sent to London’s Coal Shed restaurant to plate up some of their top dishes.

‘Let down by his sauce’

Neil Ruddock, Zandra Rhodes, Joey Essex, Oti Mabuse, Andy Grant on Celebrity Masterchef 2019
Neil Ruddock, Zandra Rhodes, Joey Essex, Oti Mabuse, Andy Grant compete in the first heat of Celebrity Masterchef 2019 (Photo: BBC/Shine TV)

Grant served up a well-received grilled octopus starter, but he had trouble cooking up his signature meal of lamb fillet, mash, carrots and courgettes. The judges weren’t impressed by his dry meat and Torode said his sauce had “let him down”.

He added on Twitter: “So I went out first round… Clearly not saucy enough for the judges. It was a good laugh and although cooking isn’t my thing didn’t think I was the worst… or maybe I was. Just happy I gave it a go and jumped outside my comfort zone. Thanks for all your support.”

Who is still left in the series?

  • EastEnders actor Adam Woodyatt
  • Death in Paradise actor Elizabeth Bourgine.
  • Radio presenter Mim Shaikh
  • Geordie Shore‘s Vicky Pattison
  • Gogglebox‘s Dom Parker
  • Love Island‘s Dr Alex George
  • TOWIE‘s Joey Essex
  • Motown legend Martha Reeves
  • Olympic champion Greg Rutherford
  • Heavyweight boxer Dillian Whyte
  • Former boxing manager Kellie Maloney
  • Designer Dame Zandra Rhodes
  • Strictly Come Dancing’s Oti Mabuse
  • BBC weatherman Tomasz Schafernaker
  • Former footballer Neil ‘Razor’ Ruddock
  • DJ and entertainment lawyer Judge Jules
  • Radio 1 presenter Rickie Haywood-Williams
  • The Chase’s Jenny Ryan
  • Comedian Josie Long

How does the series work?

The celebrity version will follow the same format as the regular series, with the first four weeks focusing on whittling the celebrities down before semi-finals week. In total, the series will consist of 18 episodes over six weeks.

Read more:

Celebrity MasterChef winners list: here’s who won every series of the BBC cooking show so far

During the four weeks, the first 60 minute episode of each heat week will see five celebrities enter the kitchen and take on an invention test. With limited ingredients, the stars will be asked to make a favourite dish from scratch with the options including a curry, pizza, burgers and sausages.

Despite not spending long in the kitchen, the celebrities will then find themselves in a professional setting making food for paying guests.

Returning to where it all began, the finalists create a three course meal in the MasterChef kitchen before Wallace and Torode decide who should be given the title of Celebrity MasterChef Champion 2019.

Celebrity MasterChef runs for a total of 18 episodes on BBC One, airing on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

On Mondays and Wednesdays the episodes last for a full hour, starting at 9.00pm and 8.00pm respectively, while Friday’s half-hour episode airs at 9.00pm.

More television

The post Who left Celebrity MasterChef 2019? Results so far, and the contestants left in the line-up appeared first on

Read More

Terrance Dicks: Doctor Who writer and script editor dies aged 84

Doctor Who writer Terrance Dicks, who worked on several seminal seris of the long-running show, has died aged 84 after a short illness.

The much-loved writer worked on the BBC sci-fi series as a script editor between 1968 and 1974 and was known to many fans as “Uncle Terrance”.

He was responsible for many of the show’s iconic episodes during this period, including The Five Doctors and The War Games, during which Patrick Troughton played the time-travelling doctor.

A statement posted on his publisher’s website said: “The Agency is sad to announce that Terrance Dicks died last Thursday 29 August after a short illness, aged 84. Held in high regard by the Doctor Who fanbase, Terrance’s writing has been an inspiration to many. He will be greatly missed.”

Fans pay tribute

Celebrity fans took to social media to pay tribute to Dicks, and commended what a force he had been on the sci-fi series over the years.

Actor Mark Gatiss said: “Very hard to express what Terrance Dicks meant to a whole generation. A brilliant TV professional, a funny and generous soul. Most of all, though, an inspirational writer who took so many of us on unforgettable journeys into space and time. Bless you, Terrance.”

Author Jenny Colgan said: “Terrance Dicks helped more children (especially boys) develop a lifelong love of reading than almost anyone else who’s ever lived. I don’t think he even got an OBE.”

Actor Toby Hadoke added: “Many of us owe our love of Doctor Who to Terrance Dicks: his books made the stories come to life and expanded our vocabulary as they did so. Writer, script editor and one of its greatest ambassadors, he enunciated the show brilliantly. A kind man. #TerranceDicks WAS Doctor Who. RIP.”

Scottish writer Neil Gaiman also paid tribute to the writer who prompted him to want to pen a Doctor Who episode of his own.

On Twitter, the novelist said: “I remember reading his and Malcolm Hulke’s book THE MAKING OF DOCTOR WHO when I was 11 or 12, and deciding then that I would one day write an episode of Doctor Who, because they had shown me how.

“RIP Terrance Dicks.”

Dicks’ Doctor history

In 1970, Dicks partnered up with the Doctor Who producer Barry Letts to work together on all five of Lett’s five seasons. In 1972, he extended his work with the Doctor to include penning books, and his first was a behind-the-scenes look at the show in the The Making of Doctor Who.

He went on to write further scripts on the show with the new producer, Robert Holmes, although he was aggravated with Holmes’ rewrites to his stories, so asked to be credited under the pseudonym “Robin Bland”.

Dicks’ other work for Doctor Who includes two stage plays, Doctor Who and the Daleks in the Seven Keys to Doomsday (1974) and Doctor Who – The Ultimate Adventure (1989), and an audio drama for Big Finish Productions titled Comeback (2002). He also wrote more than 60 novels about the Doctor for a series published by Target in the UK.

His final short story, Save Yourself, will be published next month in BBC Books’ Doctor Who: The Target Storybook.

More television

The post Terrance Dicks: Doctor Who writer and script editor dies aged 84 appeared first on

Read More

Celebrity MasterChef winners list: who won each series of the BBC cooking show so far

It’s the most wonderful time of the year: when we get to see which celebrities can whip up a three-courser even Gordon Ramsay would approve of and which stars are unable to even boil an egg.

The series is, of course, Celebrity MasterChef, and it all kicks off this week. The premise is that a group of about 20 stars battle it out in the kitchen in a series of cooking challenges to finally be pronounced the best of the bunch.

While their dishes veer from the impressive to the downright weird (Gemma Collins’ chickpea and Cointreau delight, anyone?) the series is always a must-watch for the full six-week run.

But who triumphed in the past series? Here’s every celebrity who has ever won Celebrity MasterChef:

2006: Matt Dawson

Matt Dawson
Matt Dawson (Photo: BBC)

In the first ever spin-off of the original show, MasterChef, it was former England rugby legend, Matt Dawson who took home the trophy. He went on to host Mitch and Matt’s Big Fish, a seafood tour of the British coast, in which he and Mitch Tonks tasted and cooked a variety of fish dishes.

2007: Nadia Sawalha

Nadia Sawalha
Nadia Sawalha (Photo: BBC)

Sawalha is a actor and and TV personality, most famous for appearing on Loose Women and her Eastenders role, and she triumphed on the show in 2007. She later co-presented Junior MasterChef.

2008: Liz McClarnon

Liz McClarnon
Liz McClarnon (Photo: BBC)

Former Atomic Kitten star McClarnon was awarded best chef in 2008’s outing of the show. On winning, she said: “I did MasterChef because my mum wanted me too. She is a fantastic cook and she persuaded me to take part. At first I thought winning was a bit of a fluke, but my brother is an amazing cook so it must run in the family.”

2009 : Jayne Middlemiss

Jayne Middlemiss
Jayne Middlemiss (Photo: BBC)

TV presenter and radio DJ Middlemiss became the fourth person to pick up the coveted best chef prize and said: “It’s so exciting. It was an incredible experience, it’s given me confidence and allowed me to realise my passion for cooking. I hope this is just the start of my culinary journey.”

2010: Lisa Faulkner

Lisa Faulkner
Lisa Faulkner (Photo: BBC)

Former Holby City actor Faulkner took the top prize when she made an “outstanding” monkfish dish in the finals. She later got engaged to MasterChef host, John Torode and they host John And Lisa’s Weekend Kitchen on ITV.

2011: Phil Vickery

Phil Vickery
Phil Vickery (Photo: BBC)

No, not the professional chef Phil Vickery, but the England rugby player. Vickery (the sportsman) stormed to victory in 2011. On winning, he said: “I can’t believe it. I dreamed of winning Masterchef but it was literally just a dream. I never thought for one second I’d have it in me to be champion – who says miracles can’t happen?”

2012: Emma Kennedy

Emma Kennedy
Emma Kennedy (Photo: BBC)

Actor and writer Kennedy was a dream in the kitchen in 2012, and when she won she said: “My mother is going to scream for about three months without stopping – we’re probably going to have to sedate her.”

2013: Ade Edmondson

Ade Edmondson
Ade Edmondson (Photo: BBC)

Bottom actor and comedian Edmondson showed off his “mindblowing” skills with an oven in 2013, but joked joked that he would be celebrating with beans on toast after weeks of perfecting his skills on complex dishes.

2014 : Sophie Thompson

Sophie Thompson
Sophie Thompson (Photo: BBC)

EastEnders actor Thompson looked gobsmacked to be named the best cook in the show in 2014 and said:  “I can’t Adam and Eve it! Thank you so much, this has been the best fun! It’s ridiculous winning something like this! The trouble is if you put it in your kitchen… you could be hoisted by your own petard, if you serve up something a bit naff!”

2015: Kimberley Wyatt

Kimberley Wyatt
Kimberley Wyatt (Photo: BBC)

Dontcha wish your girlfrind could cook like Wyatt? The Pussycat Dolls singer proved she was a dab hand at rustling up a Michelin-star standard meal in 2015.

2016: Alexias Conran

Alexis Conran
Alexis Conran (Photo: BBC)

Conran is a writer and TV presenter, best known for co-hosting the BBC Three show The Real Hustle. He concocted a three-course meal of octopus stifado with fava for starters, stuffed chicken leg with feta curd, artichokes, peas and beetroot for mains, and nut filo pastry pin wheels with yoghurt for pudding.

2017: Angellica Bell

Angellica Bell
Angellica Bell (Photo: BBC)

TV presenter Bell – most well known for appearing on CBBC – took home the prize in 2017. She also technically also beat her husband – also a TV presenter, Michael Underwood – who only made the show’s final when he competed on it in 2012.

2018: John Partridge

Celebrity MasterChef 2018 winner John Partridge posing with his trophy (MasterChef)
Celebrity MasterChef 2018 winner John Partridge posing with his trophy (Photo: BBC)

The EastEnders actor had an emotional ending to his series and said: “It has been one of the best experiences of my life; I thought it was going to be all about cooking and about food and it ended up being so much more than that. I cooked to remember.”

Who is appearing on this year’s show?

EastEnders actor Adam Woodyatt will be joined by Death in Paradise actress Elizabeth Bourgine. Radio presenter and actor Mim Shaikh; TV personalities Vicky Pattison, Dom Parker, Dr Alex George, Joey Essex; Motown legend Martha Reeves; Olympic champion Greg Rutherford, and MBE and Heavyweight boxer Dillian Whyte will be joined by former boxing manager and transgender campaigner Kellie Maloney.

Icon of design Dame Zandra Rhodes, Strictly Come Dancing star and professional dancer Oti Mabuse, and long distance runner and former Marine Andy Grant, alongside BBC weatherman Tomasz Schafernaker will also be cooking with former footballer Neil “Razor” Ruddock; DJ and entertainment lawyer Judge Jules and Radio 1 presenter Rickie Haywood-Williams; The Chase’s Jenny Ryan and comedian Josie Long.

When is it on?

After its premiere on Monday 2 September, Celebrity MasterChef runs for a total of 18 episodes on BBC One, airing on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

On Mondays and Wednesdays the episodes last for a full hour, starting at 9.00pm and 8.00pm respectively, while Friday’s half-hour episode airs at 9.00pm.

More television

The post Celebrity MasterChef winners list: who won each series of the BBC cooking show so far appeared first on

Read More

Jamie’s Meat-Free Meals: when Jamie Oliver’s vegetarian recipes show is on Channel 4 tonight, and what to expect

From meat-free Mondays to a jump in British people turning vegan, eating only veggies is obviously more than just a passing trend.

It’s recently been estimated that there are three million vegetarians in the UK, but there are even more people going “flexitarian” (eating meat occasionally and ethically) and other people who simply just love to cook up an all-veg menu.

It’s an idea that Jamie Oliver has tapped into, with a new cook book and a new Channel 4 series about meat-free living.

Here’s everything you need to know about the all-new Oliver programme:

When is is on?

Jamie’s Meat-Free Meals started on Channel 4 on 2 September at 8.30pm, and continues at the same time and place every Monday for a total of eight episodes.

Jamie Oliver
Jamie Oliver (Photo: Channel 4)

What’s the big idea?

Jamie Oliver is on a mission to change the way we think about veg. It’s better for our health, it’s better for the planet and it tastes delicious – so what are we waiting for?

Veg certainly doesn’t need to be a side dish to meat – it can steal the show in its own right. In this series Jamie cooks up a stunning collection of beautifully vibrant, hearty and healthy veg dishes that we can all add to our kitchen repertoires.

He finds inspiration from across the country and around the globe, meeting people who excite him with new ways to cook with vegetables.

Which of his cookbooks is the new series inspired by?

Jamie Oliver
Jamie Oliver: luvvely jubbly (Photo: Channel 4)

Veg: Easy & Delicious Meals for Everyone, which Oliver released last month. The book contains more than 100 easy, flavour-packed and accessible vegetable recipes. 

The publisher says: “From simple suppers and family favourites, to weekend dishes for sharing with friends, this book is packed full of phenomenal food – pure and simple. Whether it’s embracing a meat-free day or two each week, living a vegetarian lifestyle, or just wanting to try some brilliant new flavour combinations, this book ticks all the boxes.

What recipes are in the new book?

There’s veggie chilli, bhaji burgers, greens mac ‘n’ cheese, veggie pad thai, spinach pancakes and summer tagliatelle.

He told GQ about creating new cookbooks: “Before I begin the book process, I ask two questions: who is it for and what questions are we answering? Then, because I’m quite visual, I go to a blank room and start to write things on paper, stick it to the walls and move things around, kind of like a manual Pinterest board.

“I can’t say I’ve ever struggled with creating content. I’ve never experienced writers block.”

More television

The post Jamie’s Meat-Free Meals: when Jamie Oliver’s vegetarian recipes show is on Channel 4 tonight, and what to expect appeared first on

Read More

John Barrowman joins Dancing on Ice as a judge after Jason Gardiner quit the ITV show

John Barrowman has been announced as the newest judge on ITV’s Dancing On Ice.

The TV personality and actor will replace current judge, Jason Gardiner, who revealed last week that he had quit the ice-skating competition.

Barrowman competed in the first series of the show back in 2006, and now will be providing his very own expert critique as a fresh assortment of famous faces take to the ice next year.

The speculator skating competition, which sees celebrities paired with a professional skating partner in a bid to be crowned champion of the ice, returns in January.

Barrowman will join the 2020 judging panel alongside Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean and Diversity star Ashley Banjo.

‘Fresh, fun and fab-u-lous’

John Barrowman and Olga Sharutenko
John Barrowman and Olga Sharutenko on Dancing On Ice in 2006 (Photo: Chris Jackson/Getty Images)

Speaking about his new role, Barrowman said: “I am so excited to be returning to the Dancing On Ice family. Unlike most I have been through the rigorous task of skating live as a contestant in the first series.

“This is a thrilling adventure for me and I hope to bring a fresh, fun and fab-u-lous angle to the judging panel.”

Why did Jason Gardiner quit?

Collins and Jason Gardiner clashed multiple times on the show (Photo: ITV)

There was controversy in this year’s series when Gardiner was reported to be “bullying” the contestants, particularly Gemma Collins.

Collins was offended after he compared her to a refrigerator, and claimed he was also “selling stories” about her.

Read more

Gemma Collins accuses Jason Gardiner of selling stories on her 

In a face-off on one of the live shows, Gardiner defended his corner and said: “I don’t have to sell stories, I’m talking about your performance darling.”

After Collins branded him “boring”, Gardiner added: “This doesn’t help your cause. You’re just a brat.”

Presenter Phillip Schofield then quickly intervened “before it [got] completely out of hand”.

On 19 August, Gardiner announced on Instagram that he had left the show. In a video, he said: “After all these years I feel it’s time for me to say goodbye to my judging role and return to things I have been putting on hold and have been on the back burner for a while.

“To all of my DOI fans I really thank you for your support and encouragement over the years, I know we’ve gone through some controversies and I’m glad you got my unique judging style and honestly.”

The Sun had also reported producers were planning to replace Gardiner last month. Referencing the reports, he added: “I know there has been a lot of speculation about me and the upcoming series of Dancing On Ice. I wanted to set the record straight, I’ve been an original judge since 2006.

“I’ve done every series except one, when I was replaced by my good friend and dance sister Louie Spence in 2012.

‘Own brand of sparkle’

Katie Rawcliffe, Head of Entertainment Commissioning, ITV, added: “John’s quick wit, inimitable talent and all round fabulous personality make him the perfect addition to Dancing on Ice ’s all star panel and we’re looking forward to seeing him bring his own brand of sparkle to the show.”

Dancing on Ice will air on ITV in January.

More television

The post John Barrowman joins Dancing on Ice as a judge after Jason Gardiner quit the ITV show appeared first on

Read More

Greg and Tom may be outsiders to the Roys, but they’re the best thing about Succession

*Spoilers for Succession season 2, episode 4 ahead*

We’ve seen plenty of filthy tricks and Machiavellian behaviour from Succession’s Roy family, but perhaps the most surprising of all is the emergence of Greg the Egg’s dark side – especially with regard to his tormentor-in-chief, Tom Wamsgans.

“Are you…asking if you can blackmail me?” Tom (Matthew MacFadyen) questions cousin Greg Hirsch (Nicholas Braun) in episode four, when reminded ever-so-politely by his lackey that he had kept a few highly incriminating documents, rather than shredding them. Yes, yes he was, as it turned out. “You’re a fucking slimeball…” Tom replies. “Atta boy!”

And so, the metamorphosis of Greg from meek sidekick to calculating businessman is complete.

In a show where the characters are constantly battling to be crowned the most odious member of the billionaire Roy dynasty, the two people on the lowest rung of the hateful ladder – Tom and Greg – have ended up forming an unlikely alliance, and in doing so, could be the pair to bet on triumphing outright.

With Tom as Greg’s nefarious mentor, it was only a matter of time before the meat puppet would rise up, albeit very bashfully. In the fourth episode, we finally see the downfall of their bromance. While the two were in lock-down in an office with a suspected gunman was on the loose – and not in the panic room where the rest of the Roy family were gathered, much to Tom’s frustration – Greg decided to deliver a timid “it’s not you, it’s me speech” to Tom about wanting to move on.

Nicholas Braun as Greg Hirsch and Matthew Macfadyen as Tom Wamsgan in Succession season 2
In the deployment of his teeny, tiny blackmail plot against Tom, Greg has proved he’s learned from the best – or is it worst? (Photo: HBO)

Ever the drama queen, Tom reacted in the most typically Tom way – pelting him with water bottles and yelling: “I will not let you do this to me! I will not let go of what is mine!” – presumably acting out what he’d wished he had the courage to tell Shiv when she announced their marriage was an open one.

Greg and Tom are both outsiders to the central Roy family, led by patriarch Logan Roy (Brian Cox), with his four narcissistic adult children – Connor (Alan Ruck), Kendall (Jeremy Strong), Shiv (Sarah Snook) and Roman (Kieran Culkin) – all desperately clambering up the greasy pole in the hope of being named the successor to the Waystar Royco empire.

Greg turned up in episode one of the first series, a long-lost cousin sent by his mother to ask Uncle Logan for a job. He was stuttering, nervous and naïf and Tom – then engaged to Shiv, and with a PhD in brown-nosing every member of the Roy clan – sniffed him out as someone he could exploit. From that point on, Greg was a dead man walking.

Tom, as he’s regularly reminded by the rest of the family, is the resident “shit-eater”, but as a pathetic sycophant, he’s happy to lap up their jibes (“I’ll get myself a knife and a fork and some Hollandaise!”) and shrugs off any insults slung at him (“Meat puppet” is a choice cuss by his own wife). It makes sense that once he spotted some of his own fresh meat to punch down on, he took Greg under his wing. Obviously he took that opportunity to relentlessly harass him too, as is the Roy way.

When the show premiered in 2018, we were just as clueless as Greg and so Tom became our translator for the ridiculous gilded world of the elite too. “Here’s the thing about being rich,” Tom told Greg as they got stuck into an outlawed round of ortolan (a songbird drowned in brandy then enjoyed whole, beak and bones included, eaten with a napkin over one’s head).

Read more:

With its British wit and clever characters, Succession manages to humanise the super rich

“It’s fucking great. It’s like being a superhero, only better. You get to wear a costume, only it’s designed by Armani and doesn’t make you look like a prick.” Greg nodded along thoughtfully – as did we.

Peep Show‘s Jesse Armstrong is the creator of Succession, so it comes as no surprise that there’s a touch of El Dude Brothers in Greg and Tom – Greg has shades of a young Mark Corrigan, if he were sent to intern in JLB’s Manhattan office; Tom is Jez, but with a designer suit and a gigantic expense account to let loose on Wall Street. Both sets of men are at either ends of the moral and ethical scale, which comes to the fore when they find themselves in increasingly panicked social situations.

Nicholas Braun as Greg in Succession season 1
Greg turned up in episode one of the first series, a long-lost cousin sent by his mum to ask Uncle Logan for a job (Photo: HBO

Of all the fist-gnashing moments, the nadir had to be last week’s “fruity” Boar on the Floor “game” presided over by Logan on a hunting trip to Hungary. The humiliation – which they both go along with – serves as a reminder that, however far they think they’re progressing within the Roys, in reality, they’re just crawling on their hands and knees, oinking sadly.

In the deployment of his teeny, tiny blackmail plot against Tom, Greg has proved that he’s learned from the best – or is it worst? While Tom seems to accept it as part and parcel of being part of this sociopathic family, the cracks in their fraternal love affair are more prominent than ever.

Together, though, they know where the bodies are buried in the Roy empire. Could their greatest power move as a duo be to rise up and challenge the other contenders? Oink oink: these little piggies could be going to the market.

Succession continues on Mondays at 9pm on Sky Atlantic and NowTV.

More from TV

The post Greg and Tom may be outsiders to the Roys, but they’re the best thing about Succession appeared first on

Read More

Brexit Debate: A Very British Coup? When it’s on Channel 4, who’s chairing and what it will cover

Channel 4 has announced it will host a debate around Brexit and question if the proroguing of Parliament by Prime Minister Boris Johnson is in fact a coup.

Brexit Debate: A Very British Coup? will air on Monday 2 September at 7:30pm. Hosted by Krishnan Guru-Murthy, it aims to give an “analysis of the public mood” ahead of Parliament returning the next day, and with a potential motion of no confidence being put forward by MPs.

The hour-long debate will cover a variety of issues currently facing Britain, from a no deal Brexit to the prorogation of Parliament – and whether, as speaker for the house John Bercow commented this week, this is “a constitutional outrage” and attack on democracy.

It will unpack the turbulent events of the past week, and dive further into what this means for Britain going forward and more importantly, if the general public will be listened to.

Who are the panellists?

The panellists are:

Sir John Redwood MEP (Conservative)

Clive Lewis MP (Labour)

Ian Blackford MP (SNP)

Alexandra Phillips MEP (Brexit Party)

The audience will be made up of 100 people, with a “wide range of significant political views”.

What does Channel 4 say about the debate?

Louisa Compton, Commissioning Editor News and Current Affairs says: “The British public have clearly demonstrated their desire for involvement in these unprecedented political times. Our debate will capture a moment in history that has already seen public opinion split, impromptu marches and will put the electorate front and centre of the national conversation.”

What happened in politics this week?

Boris Johnson's strategy has moved the Brexit reckoning closer (Photo: Dylan Martinez - Pool/Getty Images)
Boris Johnson’s strategy has moved the Brexit reckoning closer (Photo: Dylan Martinez – Pool/Getty Images)

On Wednesday the Prime Minister asked the Queen to prorogue Parliament between mid-September and mid-October, restricting the time MPs have in the Commons to try and legislate to stop no-deal.

The Queen approved the request at a meeting with the Privy Council – a group of senior politicians who advise the monarch – at her Balmoral estate on the same day.

Proroguing at this stage, with the Brexit deadline so close on the horizon, is extremely controversial – especially as MPs have attempted to take more control of the process through indicative votes.

Politicians against a no-deal Brexit were urging the public to add their support to a petition calling for the Government to halt its plans to suspend Parliament.

The Liberal Democrats’ Brexit spokesperson Tom Brake said: “Johnson’s plan to suspend Parliament is unprecedented, undemocratic and unacceptable. We must not let him shut down debate and stifle the voice of the people. Please sign this petition.”

At the time of writing, 1.6 million members of the public have already signed the petition.

More television

The post Brexit Debate: A Very British Coup? When it’s on Channel 4, who’s chairing and what it will cover appeared first on

Read More

Britain’s Got Talent winners list – in full: who won every series so far, and where they are now

As Britain’s Got Talent: The Champions gives past winners and finalists of the worldwide talent show franchise a chance to be crowned the ultimate champion, it’s time to take a look back at the various acts who have wowed the judges and audience with their weird and wonderful performances.

From discovering genuinely staggering talents like Paul Potts early on through to a tightrope walking dog (who was later revealed to be a different canine), the judges – Simon Cowell, Alesha Dixon, David Walliams and Amanda Holden – have most definitely found a very varied mix of talent within the British Isles.

In light of this new series, let’s look back over the 13 years of the show and find out who won each year’s competition, and where they are now.

2007, Series 1: Paul Potts

Paul Potts
Paul Potts shocked audiences with his tenor voice. (Photo: PA)

The debut of Britain’s Got Talent in 2007 had a genuinely jaw-dropping winner in the shape of Paul Potts. More than two million people voted for the Nessun Dorma-singing star in the final and Potts said it was was “absolutely bonkers” that he had won.

He has since released seven albums and his life story was made into a film starring James Corden. Potts still performs now, but also does a spot of accountancy in between jobs.

2008, series 2: George Sampson

George Sampson (Photo: Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)
Breakdancing was the talent that secured 14-year-old George Sampson the win in 2008. He performed to Mint Royale’s remix of Singin’ in the Rain, and the song later went to number one in the charts.
Since then, he’s moved into acting and has appeared in Waterloo Road and Emmerdale.

2009, series 3: Diversity

Diversity (Back row L-R) Ian McNaughton, Warren Russell, Terry Smith, Ike Ezekwugo, Ashley Banjo, Jordan Banjo (Front Row L-R) Sam Craske, Perri Kiely, Mitchell Craske, Jamie McNaughton and Matthew McNaughton (Photo: Tim Whitby/Getty Images)
Diversity were the shock winners in 2009, as Susan Boyle had been tipped to win, thanks to her incredible performance of I Dreamed a Dream. She went on to become a multi-million album-selling star, but it was dance collective Diversity who took the grand prize home instead.

Since winning, the two stand-out stars have been Perri Kiely and Ashley Banjo. Kiely has been seen on shows like Splash! (which he won) and was on Celebrity Great British Bake Off. Banjo has most recently been seen as a judge on Dancing on Ice and host of dancing date show, Flirty Dancing.

2010, series 4: Spelbound

Spelbound entertain the crowds at the Go Local concert in London’s Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in 2013 (Photo: Ben A. Pruchnie/Getty Images for Go Local)

It was a hat-trick for dancing-type winners as in 2010 it was gymnastic crew Spelbound who won.  Simon Cowell said is was “one of the most astonishing things I have ever seen”, and just imagine the sights he’s seen over the years.

They went on to release a DVD and they performed at the closing ceremony of the 2012 Olympics, but most of the original members have now left the group.

2011, series 5: Jai McDowall

It was another shock result in 2011, when everyone assumed Ronan Parke (“the English Bieber”) was expected to scoop up the prize. Instead, it was Scottish singer Jai McDowall who’s performance of Bring Me To Life by Evanescence was deemed the greatest talent in the country.

He released one album, Believe, in 2011, then it looked like Cowell didn’t actually believe in him anymore and he was dropped from the Syco label in 2012. He’s most recently been seen performing in stage show Mad About Musicals.

2012, series 6: Ashleigh and Pudsey

Ashley and Pudsey performing in 2012 in Epsom, England. (Photo: Bryn Lennon/Getty Images)
Two legs bad, four legs good: here’s when the animals started to take over. Ashleigh Butler and her dog Pudsey performed a Mission Impossible-style routine which led them to win the £100,000 prize. They went on to perform at the Royal Variety Performance and Pudsey even starred in his own film, Pudsey the Dog: The Movie.
However, Pudsey died in 2017 and Ashleigh began performing with a new dog, Sully. Together, they won the agility competition in Crufts last year.

2013, series 7: Attraction

Things went a bit avant-garde in 2013, when Hungarian shadow artists Attraction took the top spot. Amanda Holden was always in tears when they performed their – frankly quite upsetting – stories of dying children and women giving birth.

Later on, they performed in shows around the world, and were last seen on a 2014 advert for Swinton Insurance.

2014, series 8: Collabro

Collabro in 2014 in London, England. (Photo: Anthony Harvey/Getty Images)

They’re bros, but they’re also collaborators: they are Collabro. The five-piece singing group beat Lucy Kay and Bars and Melody to triumph in the eight series of the talent competition.

They’ve gone on to have a pretty decent career, post-BGT, and despite member Richard Hatfield leaving in 2016. They’ve released four albums, and are currently on a UK tour.

2015, series 9: Jules O’Dwyer & Matisse

Jules O’Dwyer and Matisse in 2016 in London, England. (Photo : Anthony Harvey/Getty Images)

It was proper dogs dinner in 2014, when BGT fell into a national scandal (in the loosest sense of the word) when it turned out that Jules O’Dwyer had done a little switcheroo with her dog, Matisse, in the final. She substituted him for a dog called Chase and never told viewers, who were fuming. 1,175 people complained to Ofcom and the audience bayed for her to be stripped of the winner’s title.

By the looks of things, the dog-and-human duo have gone into hiding, as they currently live in live in Tongeren, Belgium.

2016, series 10: Richard Jones

It was ex-army man Richard Jones who became the first magician ever to win BGT in 2016. His performance included a tribute to the Forces.
Since his win, he appeared in a TV show called Operation Magic and has since toured the UK with his magic show Power of Imagination. He also toured Butlins in 2018.

2017, series 11: Tokio Myers

Tokio Myers (Photo: Tim P. Whitby/Tim Whitby/Getty Images)
It was back to music artists in 2017, when pianist Tokio Myers put his own stamp on classical and electro tunes on the BGT stage. Amanda Holden said: “I’d never have predicted Tokio [to win]. He was so cool and so diverse that I wouldn’t have thought he was typical for our audience.”
Since winning, he released his debut album, Our Generation, in 2017 and earlier this year appeared on America’s Got Talent: The Champions.

2018, series 12: Lost Voice Guy

Lost Voice Guy, aka Lee Ridley, performs using a computerised voice. Photo: Steve Ullathorne
Lost Voice Guy (Photo: Steve Ullathorne)

Stand-up comedian Lost Voice Guy (AKA Lee Ridley) picked up the grand prize last year, winning 21 per cent of the final vote.

Ridley has cerebral palsy and speaks with the help of a synthesiser.

Since winning last year, he has co-written and performed in Radio 4 sitcom Ability.

2019, series 13: Colin Thackery 

Colin Thackery
Colin Thackery won the last series of Britain’s Got Talent earlier this year (Photo: ITV)

Thackery won the nation’s heart when the Chelsea Pensioner wowed everyone with his voice and his down to earth nature.

Having served the Queen, Thackery expressed his joy at finally being able to perform in front of her when he explained how he felt after winning the show.

“I served my Queen for 25 years and to think I could sing for her would be the end. I could die happy.”

Despite only winning months ago, Thackery will be back on the BGT stage in a bid to be crowned BGT champion.

More television

The post Britain’s Got Talent winners list – in full: who won every series so far, and where they are now appeared first on

Read More

The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance: cast, Netflix release date and everything else about the Jim Henson prequel

The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance, an adaptation of Jim Henson’s much-loved 1982 film, is finally here.

To some who saw the initial trailer it might look a little too much like Fraggle Rock meets Stranger Things, but the fantasy thriller is a prequel to the original movie and shows the Gelflings headed out on a mission to get The Crystal of Truth back.

The spin-off hopes to bring the lost art of puppetry back to the fore – here’s everything you need to know about it.

When was it released?

The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance was made available on Netflix on 30 August.

What’s it all about?

Age of Resistance is set many years before the events of the original movie with the world of Thra dying.

So it falls to three Gelflings to head out on an adventure to recover The Crystal of Truth – a source of untold power – and ignite a rebellion that hopes to bring the planet back from the brink.

Who is in the cast?

The voice cast is stacked, with Taron Egerton (Kingsman), Nathalie Emmanuel (Game of Thrones), Caitriona Balfe (Outlander), Sigourney Weaver, Helena Bonham-Carter, Eddie Izzard, Toby Jones, Mark Strong, Alicia Vikander, Mark Hamill, and Simon Pegg all on board.

What do the cast say about the series?

Anna Taylor-Joy plays Brea and she told Entertainment Weekly: “Brea’s the best, I love her so much. She’s a Gelfling princess. She reminds me a lot of myself when I was a kid.

“Always reading, obsessed with reading. Obsessed with learning and acquiring as much knowledge as she possibly can. It’s not like she doesn’t like being a princess, it’s just that I think she finds the duties quite tiresome.

“She just wants to go out in the world and explore and learn all that she can. She makes me laugh sometimes because she is a bit of a know-it-all.

“Sometimes she can’t help herself, butting in and interjecting. She just makes me really really happy.

She added that she met the puppet she was going to be playing on the first day: “It was just really exciting because she’s got those lovely ears and her hair.

“She actually looks a bit like me when I was a kid, because I had really really really long blonde hair.

“It was just so wonderful to see her move. I find her really sweet. I get really excited about all of this kind of stuff and I’m just over the moon to be part of this project.

“I’m really really quite in love with Brea. It’s just wonderful.”

Taron Egerton, who plays Rian told “I basically bit [director] Louis Leterrier’s hand off. I was so excited to be involved in something I was so enamoured with as a kid.

“I watched the film originally when I was 7. My dad showed it to me. I thought it was completely enchanting and thought it was quite scary.”

What does Netflix say about the series?

“Light the fires of resistance! Join Deet, Rian and Brea on an epic quest to find hope in darkness, save Thra, and reveal their destiny. Nothing will ever be the same.”

More television

The post The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance: cast, Netflix release date and everything else about the Jim Henson prequel appeared first on

Read More

Kseniya Simonova: meet the BGT: The Champions sand artist who won Ukraine’s Got Talent

Britain’s Got Talent: The Champions is somewhat of a misnomer, as although it will bring together the likes of Susan Boyle, Paul Potts and Connie Talbot, the best-of-the-best series will also debut some of the international winners from other countries’ version of the show.

One of those people is Kseniya Simonova, an artist who won Ukraine’s Got Talent 10 years ago, and who will be appearing on the first episode of the new series, which starts on ITV on Saturday 31 August at 8pm.

But who is the sand performance artist and what’s her story?

Here’s your need to know about one of the most unusual but moving performers on the series:

Who is Kseniya Simonova?

Kseniya Simonova
Kseniya Simonova (Photo:

Kseniya is a 34-year-old sand performance artist from Crimea in Ukraine.

Growing up, she was always interested in art, and went on to study at the Artistic School of Yevpatoria and in the School of Fine Arts.

Her husband, Igor, then suggested she should create her own works of art by working with sand, and she developed a way of working with volcanic sand that allowed her to create quick sketches that would make up a full story, as a performance piece.

Working with a lightbox under the sand, the pictures can then be projected onto a screen so a wider audience can see, and is accompanied by a changing musical soundtrack.

Sand art
Kseniya’s sand art (Photo:

It was her husband who entered her into Ukraine’s Got Talent in 2009, and for her act, she created a two-minute emotional story about a couple separated by war.

In the finals, she performed a sand story called  “Don’t be too late!” about a son who became successful and forgot his parents. She won the competition, and the prize of one million hryvna.

Earlier this year, she performed on America’s Got Talent: The Champions and finished in third place. Simon Cowell said her act was “one of the most beautiful acts in the history of Got Talent“.

Since her first win in 2009, she has performed all over the world, from London’s Royal Albert Hall to the Sydney Opera House, and the closing of the Special Olympics World Games in Athens to the Eurovision Song Contest and the Champion League Final Gala in Milan in 2016.

Sand art
Another of Kseniya’s creations (Photo:

What does she say about appearing on the show?

She says: “I am very exited. I’m very worried. It’s my first TV appearance in the UK. How the viewers will take my stories? Will I be able to touch their hearts?”

Who else will be performing on the first epsiode?

The first episode sees the return of BGT series one winner and multi-platinum selling artist Paul Potts, along with Simon’s Golden Buzzer from series 10, Boogie Storm.

Daredevil father-daughter duo from America’s Got Talent, Bello and Annaliese Nock will also be stepping up to the stage to perform.

More television

The post Kseniya Simonova: meet the BGT: The Champions sand artist who won Ukraine’s Got Talent appeared first on

Read More

Connie Talbot now: what happened to the BGT singer, who made the final aged 6 and is now in The Champions line-up?

The time is upon us: Simon Cowell has rounded up the biggest and best stars from Britain’s Got Talent over the years and has brought them together for a BGT-off, alongside other acts from the franchise around the world.

Britain’s Got Talent: The Champions returns to screens on ITV on Saturday 31 August at 8pm, and with it, a chance for the best-of-the-best to battle it out once again.

One of those people is Connie Talbot, the child singer who wowed all the judges 12 years ago – so what happened to her once the cameras stopped rolling, and what has she been up to for the last decade?

Here’s your need-to-know:

Who is Connie Talbot?

Connie was just six years old when she stepped out on the stage in 2007 and started singing Over The Rainbow.

Simon Cowell described her as “pure magic” and said that she would make “one million-plus this year”.

Connie Talbot aged 6
Connie Talbot aged 6 (Photo: ITV)

She reached the final round after winning her semi-final with a live performance of Ben by Michael Jackson. On the night of the final, she sang Over the Rainbow, but eventually lost out to Paul Potts, who received more votes.

After the competition finished, Cowell initially signed her to his record label, Sony BMG, but after she recorded two songs, the label pulled out of the deal. In a statement, it said: “The decision not to proceed was made with the best intentions for Connie, taking into consideration her age and that it would not be right to do so at this time.”

Later in 2007, she signed to Rainbow Recording Company and her debut album, Over The Rainbow was released in November of that year.

Following the release of her album, she toured in Asia and released two Christmas albums, Connie Talbot’s Christmas Album and Connie Talbot’s Holiday Magic.

In 2012, she released a third album, Beautiful World, and in 2016 her fourth, Matters to Me.

She is now aged 18 and will perform her own song, Never Give Up On Us, on the piano on BGT: The Champions.

Connie on returning to BGT

Connie Talbot
Connie Talbot aged 18 (Photo: ITV)

Connie says: “When I look back it is like it’s a different person, I was so small and had no teeth.

“I still can’t believe I made it to the final. It didn’t upset me that I didn’t win, I was happy to be there.

“It is a risk to put yourself back in front of the judges, but winning Britain’s Got Talent: The Champions would be the perfect ending.”

What do the judges say about her return?

Simon Cowell says: “Connie, you have teeth! I will remember that first audition for the rest of my life.”

Amanda Holden adds: “You have done yourself proud, I was so emotional.”

How will the show work?

 Simon Cowell, Amanda Holden, Alesha Dixon and David Walliams – return to the judging panel as they take their seat ready to be impressed by a whole host of global talent.
Each week, two acts make it through to the grand finale – the first is a Golden Buzzer act chosen by one of the judges or Ant and Dec while the second is voted through by superfans in the arena audience.
The first episode sees the return of BGT series one winner and multi-platinum selling artist Paul Potts, along with Simon’s Golden Buzzer from series 10, Boogie Storm.
Plus, sand artist and winner of Ukraine’s Got Talent series one Kseniya Simonova, and daredevil father-daughter duo from America’s Got Talent, Bello and Annaliese Nock.

More television

The post Connie Talbot now: what happened to the BGT singer, who made the final aged 6 and is now in The Champions line-up? appeared first on

Read More

Andrew Neil to host new weekly BBC Two politics show to coincide with Brexit

The BBC has announced that Andrew Neil will return to primetime TV next week, with a new politics show called The Andrew Neil Show.

The show will air weekly on BBC Two on Wednesdays at 7pm, and is set to run throughout the autumn towards Brexit, meaning Neil will be on hand to debate and discuss the issues around this turbulent time in UK politics.

Neil is described by the BBC as “one of Britain’s finest political analysts and interviewers” and the programme plans to cover in-depth analysis and forensic questioning of those in the political sphere.

The 30-minute show will round up the events of the political week, including that day’s Prime Minister’s Questions or the party leaders’ conference speeches.

What does Neil say about the show?

Andrew Neil says: “The Autumn of 2019 is destined to be one of the most intriguing and significant in British politics for at least a generation. I’m delighted to be fronting a weekly show in prime time on BBC Two that will be on top of the story, whatever direction it takes”

The Andrew Neil Show logo
The Andrew Neil Show logo (Photo: BBC)

What does the BBC say about the series?

Fran Unsworth, director of BBC News, says, “Andrew’s one of the best political journalists in the UK, and we’re thrilled he’ll be on our screens for a prime-time BBC Two series.

“Andrew’s special programme with the Conservative leadership candidates was hailed as a masterclass of political interviewing. As Britain moves towards the Brexit deadline, this show will be a must-watch for anyone who wants to understand what’s going on.”

Neil presented This Week for 16 years before stepping down in February 2019 as he wanted to leave the world of late-night broadcasting.

The final show in July culminated in a suitably surreal fashion on Thursday night as singer Mick Hucknall serenaded host Andrew Neil.

Thee former Simply Red frontman sang the 1977 Carly Simon bond theme tune Nobody Does It Better in front of a live audience, who promptly joined in.

The show that started in 2003 attracted a cult following for its humorous, and sometimes strange, approach to high brow politics despite broadcasting well past midnight on Thursdays.

What is Neil’s previous career history?

Neil was previously editor of The Sunday Times and served in this position from 1983 to 1994.

He was formerly chief executive and editor-in-chief of the Press Holdings group.

Read more

What happened on the last ever The Week show?

In 1988 he became founding chairman of Sky TV, also part of Murdoch’s News Corporation. He is the current chairman of Press Holdings Media Group, whose titles include The Spectator.

Neil also presents Politics Live on BBC Two every Thursday lunchtime.

More television

The post Andrew Neil to host new weekly BBC Two politics show to coincide with Brexit appeared first on

Read More

Bake Off: An Extra Slice 2019 – When Jo Brand’s spin-off is on Channel 4, guests and what to expect

“Ready, set, bake!” Those three magical words have been yelled out by Noel Fielding and Sandi Toksvig, which can mean only one thing: The Great British Bake Off has returned.

Back for its 10th series, the Channel 4 baking competition kicked off on Tuesday 27 August – and we’ve already had the first of the bakers’ dozen to leave the tent, and the dubious honour fell to Dan from Rotherham.

But as viewers get ready to settle into 12 weeks of watching the contestants trying to desperately cool a cake down so the icing doesn’t melt for the judging session, the sister show to the series, The Great British Bake Off: An Extra Slice is also confirmed to be returning.

Here’s your need-to-know about the sweet side to the original series:

When is it on TV?

The Great British Bake Off: An Extra Slice starts on Channel 4 on Friday 30 August at 8pm.

What’s the big idea?

Host Jo Brand chats to a panel of celebrity Bake Off fans, delving into all the action from the tent, with the funniest moments from unseen footage and an exclusive interview with this week’s contestant who got the chop.

Comedian and Extra Slice regular Tom Allen gets stuck in with the studio audience bakers, taking a look at their weird and wonderful bakes. Plus, viewers share photos of their own baking efforts from home – be they tasty triumphs or hilarious fails.

Who will be appearing in the first episode?

Tom Allen, Stephen Mangan, Frank Skinner, Scarlett Moffatt and Jo Brand.
Tom Allen, Stephen Mangan, Frank Skinner, Scarlett Moffatt and Jo Brand (Photo: Channel 4)

For the first episode, Jo welcomes Bake Off fans Frank Skinner, Stephen Mangan and Scarlett Moffatt to reveal what they think about this year’s line-up of bakers and their debut bakes.

What does Jo Brand say about the show?

In an interview with The Scotsman in 2018, Brand said why she loves presenting the show so much: “I love its happy audience, funny panel and – unintentionally terrifying sometimes – audience baking.

“And I liked the format. It’s a bit like Have I Got News For You, presenting, with a panel of funny people and an audience.”

Meanwhile, The Sun reported that she prefers to steer clear of cakes baked by students that are sent into the show: “Don’t eat the cakes the students have made — it is the only rule that we adhere to. They’ve either got dope in them or they have been pissed in.”

What happened in the first episode of the 2019 series?

In the 10th series of the show, Dan struggled with his cakes in the high-pressured tent, and he became the first home baker to be sent home.

Dan Chambers was the first to be voted off (Photo: Bake Off/Channel 4)

Dan, a 32-year-old support worker said of his short experience on the show: “I’m not going to miss the baking under pressure. I’m just going to miss everyone in that tent.”

The 13 contestants were challenged with three difficult bakes for the first episode of the Channel 4 show: a fruitcake, then the technical challenge of angel cake slices, followed by the first of many showstoppers themes, which in this case was your dream cake when you were a child.

The final round led to some astonishing bakes, including a pirate cake with a running waterfall, a woodland scene and a circus carousel.

The first Star Baker of the series was Michelle, 35, who was praised by the judges, Prue Leith and Paul Hollywood, for her ambitious cakes. She said: “To get star baker, I’m just so proud”.

More television

The post Bake Off: An Extra Slice 2019 – When Jo Brand’s spin-off is on Channel 4, guests and what to expect appeared first on

Read More

Naked Attraction: Judith, 57, serenaded her nude dates with ‘The Lord is My Shepherd’ and baked them a cake

When Maura Higgins burst onto our screens on Love Island this year, she was a woman who undeniably owned her own sexuality. Whether it was chatting about her “fanny flutters” or asking a tongue-tied Tommy Fury “do she turn you on like I do?”, she refused to be shamed for her open attitude towards sex.

Little did she know that like a butterfly flapping its wings in a Mallorcan villa, she’s set off a female sexual revolution, which brings us on to 57-year-old Judith, a carer from Nuneaton who set Naked Attraction on fire last night.

If you’ve not had the privilege of watching the extreme dating Channel 4 show, the premise is thus: a single person is shown six naked but faceless contestants, a smorgasbord of genitalia and limbs that they then need to choose from to go on a date with.

Judith – a choir singing Christian – told the show that she had survived a recent case of breast cancer and now she wanted to grab life by the balls, legs and arms of a new man that she was hoping to find on the show. “Adam and Eve found love in the garden of Eden, and they were naked, so now it’s my turn,” she reasoned.

‘Now it’s my turn’

She charmed the men from the off (“You don’t get this on the shelves at Asda!” she exclaimed when they were revealed) but essentially this was a woman who knew what she liked, and wasn’t afraid to tell the gathered bodies.

“I love to feel somebody’s toes around my pussy,” she said, leaving host Anna Richardson literally speechless. She then fairly reasoned: “At my age, I’ve got no inhibitions, I just go with the flow. It’s a waste, I’ve got a nice vagina.”

Would you dare to bare all on television? (Photo: Channel 4)
Would you dare to bare all on television? (Photo: Channel 4)

She baked a cake – Victoria sponge with clotted cream and jam, if you’re interested – and handed out slices to the men, before revealing:  “I love to use clotted cream in the bedroom – there’s nothing better than having this at my vagina”. Her potential paramour promptly choked on his slice of cake.

‘One of the best days of my life’

Viewers on Twitter were obviously going wild for Judith, with one person calling the show “outstanding” and another person saying they were “screaming” at this episode.

Read more

Here’s how to sign up for Channel 4’s Naked Attraction

But all of this was leading up to the climax of Judith’s performance on the show: a rendition of The Lord is My Shepherd played on a keyboard. With penises waggling like a Mexican wave in time to the hymn, this was truly an unholy sight for viewers, but Judith was in her absolute element.

And why not? After chose Doug, a business manager, as her eventual date – and when it was revealed that sparks were still flying between them three weeks later – she exclaimed happily: “This has been one of the best days of my life.”

You do you Judith, you do you. We’ll never look at clotted cream in the same way again.

More television

The post Naked Attraction: Judith, 57, serenaded her nude dates with ‘The Lord is My Shepherd’ and baked them a cake appeared first on

Read More