Frank Bough: Former Grandstand presenter dies aged 87 | Ents & Arts News


Former Grandstand presenter Frank Bough has died aged 87.

A family friend told the BBC the ex-television host died in a care home on Wednesday.

The corporation has paid tribute to him.

A BBC spokesperson said: “Frank excelled as a live presenter with the BBC for many years and we are very sorry to hear of his passing.

“We send our condolences to his family and friends.”

Bough was one of the best-known television personalities of the 1970s and ’80s.

He was part of the launch of the BBC’s Breakfast TV show in 1983.

But his career with the corporation ended in 1988, when he was sacked over a scandal.

He later spoke of his regret over the incident and said his behaviour had been “exceedingly stupid”.

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Bough pictured in 1989 fronting an exhibition stand at Waterloo Station in London

Tributes to Bough have been posted online by journalists, politicians and broadcasters.

Good Morning Britain host Piers Morgan said: “RIP Frank Bough, Star of Grandstand, Nationwide and Breakfast Time.

“His career was ruined by scandal, but he was one of the great live TV presenters. Sad news.”

Former astrologer Russell Grant, who helped launch BBC Breakfast Time with Bough in 1983, said: “I am deeply saddened at the loss of an old television friend.

“Frank Bough was a great man to work with. We launched #BBCBreakfastTime in January 1983. Always there for advice and support.

“‘They said we wouldn’t get on but we absolutely did – chalk n cheese! See you, Frank.”

Soccer Saturday host Jeff Stelling said Bough was “one of the very best in the business” and had always been “helpful and generous with his time”.

Andrea Jenkins MP, said her father “spoke highly” of him when reminiscing about time served together in the Tank Regiment doing conscription.



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Adele jokes about weight loss as she hosts Saturday Night Live | Ents & Arts News


Adele has appeared as a host on Saturday Night Live, joking about her weight loss and explaining to fans why her next album is unfinished.

The singer, 32, returned to the sketch show for the first time since 2015, when she appeared as a musical guest.

Singer songwriter H.E.R appeared as a guest and Adele said she was only hosting because “my album is not finished and I’m also too scared to do both”.

“I would rather just put on some wigs – and this is all mine by the way – have a glass of wine or six and just see what happens.”

There had been speculation that Adele‘s high-profile presenting role could mean she’s on the verge of releasing new music.

Her last album was the award-winning 25 in 2015.

Referring to her weight loss, she added: “I know I look really, really different since you last saw me but actually, because of all the COVID restrictions and the travel bans, I had to travel light and only bring half of me – and this is the half I chose.”

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Adele revealed a seven-stone weight loss earlier this year. Pic: Instagram/@Adele

She also gave a “genuine, sincere thank you” to New York’s frontline workers and said she didn’t want to say anything too political on the eve of a presidential election.

Adele, who split from husband Simon Konecki last year, delighted the audience by belting out her 2011 ballad Someone Like You.

The show included a sketch based on the last presidential debate with Maya Rudolph as moderator Kristen Welker and Alec Baldwin and Jim Carrey playing Donald Trump and Joe Biden respectively.

Kate McKinnon appeared as Mr Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani, following the controversy over his appearance in the Borat sequel.

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Sacha Baron Cohen’s Borat Subsequent Moviefilm shows Mr Giuliani in what appears to be a compromising position in a hotel room with a young woman acting as a journalist.



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Class conflict – Mixed martial arts is on the rise in Britain, and on the right | Britain


MANSFIELD, A FORMER mining town in the Midlands, tends to be ahead of the curve. In 2017, after 94 years under Labour control, it fell to the Conservative Party, foreshadowing the collapse of the “red wall” of northern Labour seats in 2019. It is also in the forefront of a sporting revolution sweeping former industrial towns, particularly in the north and the Midlands: the rise of mixed martial arts.

MMA fighters are locked in a cage and employ violent tactics to subdue their opponents. The sport has spread to Britain from America, home to the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), the world’s largest MMA promotion company. In 2007 the British Medical Association advised that the sport be banned on the grounds that it was too violent, but it has continued to grow, and now boasts the same participation among 18-34-year-old men as cricket and rugby, according to Harris Interactive, a market researcher. In November 2019 the UFC opened a gym in Nottingham, the first of its kind in Europe, and earlier this month the BBC broadcast an MMA fight for the first time.

A focus on discipline, often combined with teetotalism, has won the sport a reputation for keeping young men in deprived areas on the straight and narrow. “It’s discipline and respect, little things like that, that aren’t much about nowadays,” says Christian Smith, a former professional fighter who now runs Tap or Snap, one of Mansfield’s 14 MMA gyms. Jimmy Hey, an MMA trainer who runs the Apex Gym in Great Harwood, Lancashire, says he would often drive around the area and spot his students acting up. “I’d catch them with an eight-pack of beer, getting ready to go home at 12 o’clock in the afternoon and just sit there and get drunk… So I used to drag them off the street and that. But they responded really well.”

Brutality in the ring can turn cage fighters into celebrities with international reputations. Michael Bisping, from Clitheroe, Lancashire, worked in factories before moving to America where he became a world champion. “A lot of lads see it as a way out,” says Mr Hey. Fans reject the idea that fighters are mere thugs. “It can look like mindless violence in a cage,” admits one. “But I’ve heard it compared to high-speed chess, which I agree with.”

On both sides of the Atlantic, the sport has political overtones. In America, Dana White, president of the UFC, and Colby Covington, a welterweight champion, are outspoken supporters of Donald Trump. Darren Till, a Liverpudlian fighter who has relocated to Brazil, is a cheer-leader for Jair Bolsonaro. In America and Germany, some MMA gyms are associated with the far right. The sport is a natural fit for extremists who want to co-opt it, says Alex Channon, a senior lecturer of sport at the University of Brighton. “The struggle for physical domination between men is pretty much central to fascist ideology.”

Britain First, a fascist group, had an MMA instructor at a training camp in Erith, south-east London; that came to light—and to an end—when Paul Golding, the group’s leader, was handed a suspended prison sentence in 2017 after headbutting the instructor in a nightclub. Mr Hey was questioned by anti-terror police after Hope Not Hate, an advocacy group, claimed he was training members of National Action, a banned group. He admits to having trained National Action members but says he did not realise they belonged to the group. A subgroup of MMA embraces cultural nationalism, claiming that martial arts were invented not by East Asians, but by ancient Celts. The majority of MMA enthusiasts regard them as eccentric.

The left is challenging right-wing domination of the sport, through so-called “red gyms”. Some offer training to activists to fight fascists at protests; others, like Solstar in London, teach lefties about healthy living. Paula Lamont, a co-founder of Solstar, says she felt there needed to be a left-wing presence in MMA, though the club does its best to keep politics out of the cage. “We don’t have political debate within the club,” says Ms Lamont. “Otherwise everyone would just argue.”

This article appeared in the Britain section of the print edition under the headline “Class conflict”

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Stevie Wonder leaves Motown Records after almost six decades and releases two new songs | Ents & Arts News


Stevie Wonder has released two new songs for the first time in four years after leaving Motown Records and setting up his own record label.

The piano-playing music icon released Where Is Our Love Song and Can’t Put It In The Hands Of Fate on Tuesday, with a label other than Motown Records – after almost six decades under the legendary imprint.

Instead they were released under Wonder’s So What The Fuss Music – distributed through Universal Music Group’s Republic Records.

Image:
Stevie Wonder performing paying tribute to his friend, the late Bill Withers

It marks a major move for the 70-year-old, who was signed to Motown Records at the age of 11.

Wonder made the announcement in a virtual news conference, where he also added it was the first time he had released two new songs on the same day.

The 25-time Grammy Award winner said he started writing Where Is Our Love Song when he was 18.

“Then came this year,” he explained.

“With all the confusion and all the hate and the East versus West, left versus right. It’s just a hard break.”

All proceeds from the track – which features Grammy-winning guitarist Gary Clarke Jr. – will go towards the US-based non-profit organisation Feeding America.

(L-R) Little Richard, Stevie Wonder's mother Lula Mae Hardaway, Stevie Wonder and Chuck Berry at the Grammy Awards in Hollywood, 2nd March 1974
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(L-R) Little Richard, Stevie Wonder’s mother Lula Mae Hardaway, Stevie Wonder and Chuck Berry at the Grammy Awards in Hollywood, 1974

The group is a network of more than 200 food banks and aims to feeds millions of Americans every year.

His second release, Can’t Put It In The Hands Of Fate, features popular rappers Busta Rhymes, Rapsody, Cordae and Chika.

He said this song was originally about a relationship – but then he changed the words after adapting it to the current state of the world.

Wonder said he wrote it “thinking about where we [are] in the world and thinking about how this is the crucial time”.

“Change,” he said, “is right now.”

“We can’t put it into the hands of fate. Ain’t nobody got time to wait,” he added. “We can’t put it the hands of fate, finding a cure for this dreadful virus.

“We got to get on our knees and pray or whatever you do.”

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Wonder suggested his new songs were a nod to the Black Lives Matter movement, denouncing the idea of “All Lives Matter” and the use of the slogan to undermine anti-racist campaigning.

“I want everyone to be well,” he continued. “I don’t care what colour you are because actually I don’t see your colour.

“You see colour, don’t act like you don’t see colour, you do.

“But I don’t see your visual colour. But I do feel your soul. I do feel your spirit.

“I see the colour of your spirit and soul, and I’m seeing too many spirits and souls that are not about the love that we’re supposed to have and feel for one another.”

Wonder said he was planning on including the songs on a new and upcoming EP – his first full-length project since 2005.

In the news conference, the singer also gave fans a health update, saying he was “blessed with a new kidney” last year in December.

He said: “Since I have been released from the hospital, the nurses have made sure I’ve taken my medicine on time and I’m going to do it for as long as I have to, even if it is the rest of my life.

“I feel great. My voice feels great.

“I feel like I’m about 40 right now and I just thank everyone for the prayers and the love.”



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Britain’s Got Talent crew members test positive for COVID – delaying Christmas special filming | Ents & Arts News


Several crew members working on a Britain’s Got Talent’s Christmas special have tested positive for coronavirus, causing filming to be delayed.

At least three workers for the festive edition of the talent show are affected.

Britain’s Got Talent has halted production and the crew members are self-isolating.

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Alesha Dixon is one of the show’s judges. Pic: ITV/ Syco/ Thames

A spokeswoman for the show said on Tuesday: “As a result of a positive COVID-19 result received yesterday we have implemented our protocols and a number of crew members are self-isolating at home.

“As a result, we are unable to continue filming our BGT Christmas Special today and have taken the decision to postpone.

“The safety of all those involved in the show is our number one priority and we follow extensive COVID-19 related procedures to adhere to all government guidelines.”

The Christmas special had not been formally announced, but it has previously been reported that the show will feature some of the show’s most successful acts joining forces to impress the audience.

More from Britain’s Got Talent

Hosted by Ant and Dec, this year’s series crowned its latest winner, comedian Jon Courtenay, on Saturday night.

He had been the presenting duo’s golden buzzer pick during the auditions and received more than a third of the public vote for the final, after a musical comedy performance on the issues of community and the coronavirus pandemic.

Simon Cowell has not been on the panel this year as he continues to recover from a back injury.

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Judges David Walliams, Alesha Dixon and Amanda Holden were joined by Ashley Banjo, who won the series with his dance group Diversity in 2009.

In September, a routine performed by the group on the show, inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement, saw more than 24,500 people complain to Ofcom.

The broadcasting watchdog ruled that the episode did not warrant investigation. Its report found that “the performance contained no content which was racist, unsuitably violent or otherwise inappropriate in the context of this programme”.



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A Creative WA – why creativity and the arts are critical for our future


Having been grappled with by ancient philosophers, medieval scholars and modern economists and policy makers, the topic still inspires intense debate and we are yet to land on definitive methods for quantifying its impact.

Notwithstanding this, there is an increasingly broader recognition that the value of the arts in society goes well beyond its emotional and entertainment impact, with various studies linking the arts with positive benefits in health, education, social capital and economic outcomes.

Art, culture and creative works connect people, inform and educate, enable debate and facilitate interaction with culture, history and diverse perspectives. In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, the importance of the arts has been heightened …and so too have the impacts upon the arts and cultural sector, with venues closed, productions cancelled and creative organisations facing an uncertain future.

Recently announced funding for culture and arts initiatives as part of the state’s recovery plan reinforce the critical role that the arts play in our society.

However, creativity is not just reserved for accomplished artists and performers. Creativity is an innate, human characteristic, something we all share and something that connects us to each other, across the globe and throughout time.

Through art, the output of creativity and a vehicle for documenting culture and knowledge, we are able to connect with the oldest continuous culture in human history in our own backyard, here in Western Australia.

The recent announcement of funding for the commencement of planning for an Aboriginal Cultural Centre here in Western Australia provides an important opportunity for us to strengthen this connection.

The intersection between creativity, knowledge and human progress is profound.

Despite the contemporary predilection toward a focus on STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) skills as the foundation of our future workforce, many are beginning to advocate for an expansion of this focus to ensure we do not erode important skills and capabilities derived through arts education. Incorporation of arts into a broader, more rounded curriculum – STEAM – has been demonstrated to lead to students making greater conceptual connections and more innovative problem solving. Both capabilities are critical in a range of disciplines, including being behind the breakthroughs we see in many STEM fields.

At their core, both startup science (the method that fuels startup innovation) and the scientific method begin with creativity and imagination in the formulation of hypotheses to be tested.

In “The Rise of the Creative Class” Richard Florida outlined the case for creative and innovative skills and professions, drawing the connection to economic growth and development. As we look to emerge from the current crisis and position

Perth as a world-class destination, it will be essential that we continue to focus on fostering a creative, liveable city with diverse people and cultures, connected through the arts.

 

 





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Culture and arts key to shaping Perth’s identity.


This is a place of great natural beauty, culture and enterprise, full of big dreams and stories as diverse and compelling as the people who call it home.

We have unique strengths and opportunities. Out here on the western edge of our vast continent, we are grounded on Whadjuk Noongar Boodjar and share an ocean and time zone with the most populous and dynamic region of the 21st century.

Many of us trace our heritage to cultures transplanted here, cross-pollinated by generations of migration and learning to adapt to a land that is home to the oldest continuous culture on Earth.

For nearly 70 years, as an arm of The University of Western Australia, Perth Festival has helped reflect and shape Perth’s distinct identity. It is at Festival time when all these ideas and influences are condensed, magnified and shared by Festival participants in their hundreds of thousands each year.

Artists find ways of celebrating humanity in joyful, unexpected ways, but also seek to bring new perspectives to some of society’s most intractable problems.

As it has for decades, our Festival commissions WA artists to create new work in a supportive, collaborative environment – work that speaks with clarity and immediacy to audiences here, and from here onto the world.  

This year, like no other, we have a unique opportunity to support and promote local brilliance that would thrill people anywhere in the world. We can make the most of what some may say, particularly in these times, is our splendid isolation. COVID-19 may have closed our borders for now but it has opened our minds to the special experiences here in our own backyard.

As the UWA founders of Perth Festival knew, culture is our bridge to a better world.

Today, creativity is paramount in achieving broader social, environmental, economic and educational objectives. Here, it can be inspired and informed by Perth’s position on the lands of the Wadjuk Noongar people in an interconnected, multicultural world.

Perth Festival 2021 runs February 5-28. The program will be announced on November 18. For more information visit www.perthfestival.com.au

 





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Oscars: Drive-in films to be eligible for awards in 2021 | Ents & Arts News


Films shown at drive-in cinemas will be eligible for the Oscars in 2021, the Academy has announced.

The new rule has been approved by its board of governors for the best picture and general entry categories following the closure of movie theatres due to the coronavirus pandemic.

It comes after a move announced in April to allow films streamed online to be in the running. At the time, Oscars organisers said it would be a “temporary exception”.

Cinemas around the world were closed as the COVID-19 crisis hit but had been slowly reopening in recent weeks.

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Grease is the ultimate drive-in film. Pic: Grease/Paramount/Park Circus

However, following renewed delays to key releases – such as new James Bond film No Time To Die – Cineworld announced this week that its screens will now be closed until 2021.

Separately, rival cinema chain Odeon revealed it is to switch to weekend-only opening at a quarter of its 120 sites.

The release of films including the new Batman outing and sci-fi story Dune have also been delayed in what has been a huge blow for cinema chains.

And when it comes to the ceremony itself, next year’s Oscars event has been pushed back from February to 25 April 2021.

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Drive-in cinemas are popular in the US and were trialled in the UK over the summer.

However, many events – as well as drive-in gigs, too – were later cancelled due to local lockdowns which came into force.

The new rule states that a theatrical run of only seven days is needed in one of at least six qualifying areas – Los Angeles County, City of New York, the Bay area of California (counties of San Francisco, Marin, Alameda, San Mateo and Contra Costa, Chicago) Miami and Atlanta – and that drive-in theatres qualify as a commercial venue.



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Coronavirus: Kim Kardashian wore gloves and shield to treat Kanye during COVID battle | Ents & Arts News


Kim Kardashian West has revealed she had to change husband Kanye West’s bedsheets with a face shield and gloves while he had coronavirus. 

The reality TV star said West had contracted the virus in mid-March “when nobody really knew what was going on”.

“I had to go and change his sheets and help him get him out of bed when he wasn’t feeling good,” she told Grazia Middle East.

Image:
The reality star described the period as ‘so scary and unknown’

“It was a challenge because it was so unknown. Changing his sheets with gloves and a face shield was really a scary time.”

The couple have four children: North, seven, Saint, four, Chicago, two, and Psalm, one.

Kardashian West described how she had “no-one else in the house to help” while her husband was ill, describing the time as “so scary and unknown”.

The Love Lockdown rapper has previously spoken about his illness, telling Forbes: “[I had] chills, shaking in the bed, taking hot showers, looking at videos telling me what I’m supposed to do to get over it.”

His wife explained he had fallen ill during the time Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson revealed they had COVID-19 in mid-March.

Speaking about the global impact of the pandemic, the model and businesswoman said she tries to have a positive outlook.

“Maybe our planet needed a break,” she said. “Maybe we all needed a break. Maybe this was the reset? I try to look at it that way.”

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She also described being “open and honest” with her young children in the wake of both the pandemic and the Black Lives Matter protests.

“I don’t want to give them too much information that they won’t fully understand and that will give them anxiety,” she said.

“But they obviously sense that there is something going on. You have to keep it together and not be scared yourself.

“As a parent, your number one goal is to make sure your children feel safe and secure.”



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