Australian entertainer Jeanne Little dies aged 82



Australian entertainer Jeanne Little has died aged 82, her daughter Katie said on social media.

Little made her debut on the Mike Walsh Show in 1974, where won a Gold Logie and went on to appear in numerous television shows.

“My mother has left the earthly plane,” her daughter Katie said.

“This is a huge shock — but I’m so grateful.”

In 2011 Little’s daughter created the Jeanne Little Alzheimer’s Research Fund after her mother was diagnosed with the neurodegenerative disease.

More to come.



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Apple takes a gamble to become the great entertainer


Streaming firms such as Disney, Netflix, Apple and Amazon spent more than $US25 billion ($35 billion) between them on new shows last year and are already engaged in a price war which could be turbocharged by the bundle service.

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Apple – whose programmes include The Morning Show, which stars Jennifer Aniston and Reese Witherspoon – has been aggressive in pricing its subscription products.

Its TV+ service is priced at $7.99 per month with a year free for users who buy an iPhone, compared to $9.99 for Netflix in the Australia. The bundle could allow it to offer further discounts.

Apple’s services business already has revenues of $US50 billion ($70 billion) a year and generated higher sales than its MacBook computers, Apple Watches or iPads in the last quarter.

The company has an estimated 68 million Apple Music customers, while its Apple TV+ service has 33 million according to data firm Ampere Analysis.

In comparison, Netflix has almost 200 million users, Amazon has 150 million Prime members, and Spotify has 138 million subscribers. Analysts have predicted that Apple’s services division could eventually be a $US100 billion business. It has grown quickly even as overall sales of iPhones declined.

According to Bloomberg, packages would start with Apple Music and Apple TV+ with options for its gaming service Apple Arcade, its Apple News+ service, and iCloud storage.

Users who sign up will save between $US2 and $US5 per month, the report said. Apple said it does not comment on rumours or speculation.

The company is also considering bundling hardware devices, such as its TV box, with games and video services. A further offering being developed is a sports fitness app to rival exercise bike company Peleton.

Bosses are expected to reveal a new super-fast 5G iPhone in September

But while Apple pivots to focus on software and services, some developers have baulked at the 30 per cent fees it takes from apps on its Apple App Store.

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The latest rebel is Epic Games, the company behind hit game For trillionite. The developer yesterday announced a discount for customers who buy its game directly through them, rather than through Apple’s store. Apple responded by removing For trillionite from the App store.

Shares rose 2.6 per cent, inching the company closer to a $US2 trillion valuation. Apple is now worth $US1.98 trillion, having broken the $US1 trillion marker only last year.

Telegraph, London

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Life is buzzing for children’s entertainer Michelle Pears, despite coronavirus


It’s not unusual for Michelle Pears to do her grocery shopping dressed as a clown or a fairy.

After all, it’s her work uniform.

“I often get some funny looks from passers-by or tourists coming to our town thinking, ‘What’s that all about?'” she said.

“The locals know what I do and give me a big smile.”

Ms Pears is a children’s entertainer and singer-songwriter, best known for her character Mrs Bee.

“I’m usually buzzing around as Mrs Bee, or fluttering off as the purple fairy, or going to schools as a scarecrow,” she said.

“I’ve written songs since I was a little girl, I think I was a five-year-old.

Michelle Pears’ scarecrow delights the kids and presumably terrifies the birds.(Supplied: Michelle Pears)

A magic paddock for a purple house

Ms Pears and husband Stephen bought their “paddock” in the Penna Valley 17 years ago, when they were living in nearby Midway Point.

Growing up inland on a farm near Colebrook in the southern midlands, Ms Pears was always fond of the Sorell area and wanted to be closer to the water.

“I always thought there was something magical about seeing the sea, having lived inland in my childhood,” she said.

She said she knew instantly that the paddock was theirs.

“I walked over the bank and there were five swans swimming down the rivulet, and I just knew that this was my place,” she said.

“And luckily I talked Mr Pears into buying it as well.

A woman harvesting green leaves from a vegetable garden with a purple house in the background
Michelle Pears grew up on an inland farm and fell in love with Sorell.(ABC Radio Hobart: Georgie Burgess)

A fetish for pears

The Pears raised their two sons in the Purple Pear Cottage that Mr Pears built.

The house backs on to the Orielton Rivulet, which is a protected wetland under the Ramsar Convention.

“The rivulet acts like a highway, there’s always something interesting going up and down,” she said.

Aptly named, the house is full of all things purple, and lots of pears.

“I have a pear-collecting fetish,” she said.

A collection of decorative pears
Michelle Pears’ collections of pears features in her home.(ABC Radio Hobart: Georgie Burgess)

“I’ve got three rooms of costumes and retro outfits, I would say I have a bit of a problem, I’m a bit of a hoarder.

“I think all up I’d have thousands of costumes, and when I’m too old to be bouncing around or buzzing around as a bee I think I’ll open my own costume shop.”

Ms Pears has been heavily involved in the arts scene in Sorell since 1993, and was a founding member of South East Arts and Sorell on Stage.

“I love living in my community, and hope that one day we will have an arts and culture, environment and heritage centre in Sorell to help showcase our diverse history,” she said.

“This is my dream.”

Michell Pears as the purple fairy.
One of Ms Pears’ children’s characters is the purple fairy.(Supplied: Michelle Pears)

Mrs Bee flies online

A normal work day for Ms Pears usually involves performing to school groups, pre-schools or birthday parties.

When COVID-19 hit, Ms Pears lost most of her work.

“During COVID-19 I decided to not put my head under the pillow and cry because I couldn’t go out and perform,” she said.

“So I created a magic land in my back bedroom, and the world of make-believe went online.”

A woman dressed as a bee holding a ukulele
Children’s entertainer Michelle Pears set up a make-believe world in her back bedroom during COVID-19.(Supplied: Michelle Pears)

Mrs Bee broadcast live through a makeshift set to social media, entertaining children who were also housebound.

“I’ve had children watching from all around Australia, it’s been very exciting,” she said.

Ms Pears has created quite the following of children, and has plans to continue broadcasting.

Two ceramic pears with faces
Michelle Pears has been working from home during the coronavirus crisis.(ABC Radio Hobart: Georgie Burgess)



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