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28/05/2020 18:12:57  

The Irish actor played DS Ted Roach in the popular ITV drama series for nine years.
27/05/2020 14:16:17  

Rugby league returns this week with a glut of live games. There was a time when viewers only had an hour with Madeley

By Gavin Willacy for No Helmets Required

Only a few days to go until your rugby league famine is over. All eight of this weekend’s NRL games will be broadcast live in the UK. And, if that does not take your fancy, Sky are showing a re-run of Great Britain’s win over Australia from 2006 on Friday night as well as six Summer Bash classics over the weekend. It’s a far cry from the days when the only live rugby league on British TV was the odd second half on Grandstand.

Having shown league matches on their flagship sports show since the late 1950s, the BBC decided to drop championship rugby league in 1980, opening the way for ITV. The inspirationally titled “Rugby League” began in March 1981 in the last slot before midnight on Mondays, with a jazz funk theme tune and Bob Hall presenting in front of a green screen backdrop in a Leeds studio.

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24/05/2020 09:15:22  

A government-sponsored work programme is young Britons’ best hope of a future

Dear Sir, the evidence is building from all sides. After the sharpest monthly increase in unemployment in April on record, school and university leavers face the toughest labour market this summer for 75 years. Already, 30% of university students have either lost their job or offer of a job. Moreover, young people in work are disproportionally suffering from redundancy or the requirement to work shorter working hours: one in three is receiving less pay than they were in January. Generation “Covid”, through no fault of their own, face having their lives altered as no other generation since the war, with scars that will last their entire lives. Our national conversation must now incorporate how we act to turn this looming disaster into an opportunity.

In that spirit we propose the establishment of a National Youth Corps that should be able to guarantee at least the minimum wage in a wide variety of work and training opportunities for all those between 16 and 25 who apply. It should extend until the end of 2021. Via the Youth Corps, the government will in effect be offering the guarantee of work to our young people at a pivotal moment in their lives. The Youth Corps should be sufficiently flexible to allow employers (and institutions) to offer a top-up wage for particular skills if they choose. A core part of the plan is to involve young people at a senior level at all stages of the design and implementation and ongoing management.

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23/05/2020 20:15:08  

Dominic Cummings’s 260-mile trip, while he was infected with Covid-19, to visit his parents reeks of arrogance

It is one of the most heartbreaking stories of this pandemic. On 31 March, Ismail Mohamed Abdulwahab, 13, from Brixton, south London, died in the early hours of the morning at King’s College Hospital after testing positive for coronavirus. According to a family friend, his mother and siblings could not be at his bedside and, after some of his siblings also developed symptoms, his immediate family had to miss his funeral as they were required to self-isolate. It is impossible to comprehend the scale of their pain.

On the same day that Ismail died, officers from Durham constabulary made contact with a member of Dominic Cummings’s family in Durham about reports that the prime minister’s most senior adviser had been seen by a witness on their property, despite being in London a few days previously. We now know from revelations in the Guardian that Cummings and his family travelled 260 miles to Durham after his partner developed coronavirus symptoms. Yesterday, Downing Street issued an official statement that Cummings and his family went there after his partner developed Covid-19 symptoms, in case he also fell ill and needed help with childcare, but that they maintained social distancing with his extended family. Sources close to him said on Friday night that he and his immediate family stayed in a separate building on his parents’ property. Downing Street also denied that police officers had contacted anyone in his family as stated by Durham constabulary, and said that his actions were in line with coronavirus guidelines.

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23/05/2020 14:15:09  

On paper, rewatching old football matches should be ludicrous … until you find yourself clenching your fist at a Shearer goal

Never has a wild experiment made me feel such vivid emotions. Because that’s exactly what Euro 96 Relived (ITV4/ITV Hub, near constantly) is: a gamble, a stab in the dark, TV as guesswork. The plan, on paper, seems ludicrous: just full re-airings of old games? Bob Wilson as host, old ITV logo, 4:3 aspect ratio, everything? Not even modern analysis from the players who played, just VHS-quality repeats? That’s your plan, ITV? And then I clenched my fists at a goal Alan Shearer scored a lifetime ago and: nope, I’m fully on board. Remembering things is amazing.

Related: The Guide: Staying In – sign up for our home entertainment tips

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18/05/2020 14:14:03  

Actors will have to do their own makeup and bring utensils for staggered lunch breaks

Television stars will have to do their own makeup, and cast and crew may have to bring their own cups and plates to sets, in new coronavirus safety rules agreed by UK broadcasters to get the cameras rolling again on some of the country’s favourite TV shows.

The new guidelines have been agreed by the UK’s biggest broadcasters, including the BBC, ITV, Channel 4, Channel 5, Sky and news broadcaster ITN, as well as Pact, which represents the hundreds UK independent producers.

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18/05/2020 11:14:15  

With soaps now allowed to go back into production, Frances Ryan imagines how they might tackle the current crisis, from bloody uprisings to socially-distanced pub brawls

With episodes of EastEnders and Coronation Street set to run out by June news that the government has said that filming can soon start up again couldn’t have come at a better time. Soap producers are already in discussion about when to resume and what protective measures will have to be taken.

In Australia, Neighbours is already back in production, with the cast filming in accordance with social distancing guidelines. The UK is bound to follow suit soon, with protective measures likely to include filming characters six feet apart and temporarily writing out elderly cast members. As ITV boss Kevin Lygo put it: “I don’t want Ken Barlow getting sick on my watch.”

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17/05/2020 09:13:54  

Test your arts knowledge with these questions from our critics

What can you see in every scene in David Fincher’s Fight Club?

A copy of the New York Times

A knife

A Starbucks cup

Jean-Luc Godard is known for his pithy pronouncements on cinema. Which if the following did he not say?

"The hardest thing to do is genuine simplicity."

"All you need to make a movie is a girl and a gun."

"Tracking shots are a question of morality."

What do Angelina Jolie, Matt Damon and Jeff Bridges have in common?

They all turned down offers of roles in the Transformers series

They all won Oscars but then subsequently lost the statuettes

They are all fluent in Spanish

Before Megan Fox was famous, she had a job which required her to dress up as what?

A banana


A wedge of gouda

Which Young British Artist did not exhibit in the first, pioneering Freeze show?

Sarah Lucas

Tracey Emin

Damien Hirst

Jacopo Robusti is also known as…




Puccini described the disastrous premiere of one of his most popular operas as “a lynching”. Which opera?

Madam Butterfly

La Bohème


Which drug-addicted fictional detective played a stringed instrument?

Sherlock Holmes

Lord Peter Wimsey

Hercule Poirot

Villanelle, the protagonist in the book series behind the TV show Killing Eve, is the creation of which former specialist writer for a national newpaper?

The Times’s crime correspondent

The chess columnist of the Washington Post

The dance critic of the Observer

The title card (a shot with images and/or text, also known as an intertitle, inserted at segment intervals) for which UK TV series featured a penny farthing?

The Prisoner

Tales of the Unexpected

Adam Adamant Lives!

Which terrestrial channel broadcast a soap opera at 8pm on its launch night?

Channel 5, Family Affairs

Channel 4, Brookside

ITV, Coronation Street

Which star of the BBC con artist show Hustle recorded an audiobook of Chris Ryan’s Alpha Force: Survival?

Adrian Lester

Robert Glenister

Robert Vaughn 

Which was the first original play by a living female dramatist to be produced on the National’s Olivier stage?

Top Girls

Her Naked Skin


Which play contains a conjuring governess?

The Cherry Orchard


The Children’s Hour

Which playwright inspired Nina Simone’s To Be Young, Gifted and Black?

Lorraine Hansberry

August Wilson

Langston Hughes

When asked “What is jazz?” who replied “Madam, if you don’t know by now, don’t mess with it!”?

Fats Waller

Duke Ellington

Louis Armstrong

Only one member of the Beach Boys actually surfed. Was it…

Dennis Wilson

Carl Wilson

Mike Love

How do you do the Toosie Slide, as per Drake’s recent single?

“To the left, take it back now y’all, one hop this time, right foot two stomps”

“Right foot uhhp, left foot slide, left foot uhhp, right foot slide”

“You put your left leg in, you put your left leg out, in out, in out, shake it all about”

Ed Sheeran names his guitars. Which of these is not a Sheeran axe?




Who designed Florence’s Pazzi Chapel?




Which architectural style came first?


Early English


20 and above.

Flipping heck! You'll be putting us out of a job next. Well done.

16 and above.

Wow, impressive stuff! Maybe next week you can hit full marks…

11 and above.

Pretty good stuff, hotshot!

6 and above.

A solid result. But we know you can do better than solid. Come back next week to really impress us…

0 and above.

Uh-oh. It's fair to say you could do with a bit of work on your cultural immersion… better get revising for next week!

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16/05/2020 17:13:44  

Care services, in residential settings and in the home, face ruin as they miss out on government money offered to other sectors

Care homes are receiving less Covid-19 support from the government than restaurants, hairdressers and shops, according to leading care bodies.

Last week, Friary Lodge in north London became the first care home to be forced to close by the financial impact of coronavirus and many more of the UK’s 18,000 homes are under threat, according to members of the Care Provider Alliance, the umbrella group for care organisations.

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14/05/2020 19:13:16  

Allegations raise questions over Movianto’s management of government stocks during coronavirus outbreak

The private firm contracted to run the government’s stockpile of personal protective equipment (PPE) was beset by “chaos” at its warehouse that may have resulted in delays in deploying vital supplies to healthcare workers, according to sources who have spoken to the Guardian and ITV News.

The allegations from delivery drivers and other well–placed sources raise questions about whether Movianto, the subsidiary of a US healthcare giant, was able to adequately manage and distribute the nation’s emergency stockpile of PPE for use in a pandemic.

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14/05/2020 15:13:15  

Despite lockdown work commitments, the actor has found time to watch everything from Netflix’s acclaimed football documentary to Quiz and Love Is Blind

The TV industry has mostly shut down, but I’ve still been working during lockdown. I’m filming a series of shorts from the actor Julie Graham about five women who are in various stages of menopause, and before that I made Isolation Stories for ITV. Making it really tested all of my skills and made me appreciate my crew and what goes into everything behind the scenes when we’re just standing on our mark, pretending to cry. I’m really proud of the industry for finding a way to still be creative.

I’ve still made time to relax, though. Watching a film together as a family, with my husband and our two daughters, who are 16 and 13, has become the highlight of our day. As for series, I thought Quiz (ITV) was amazing. I know the makeup designer who transformed Michael Sheen into Chris Tarrant – I sent her a huge congratulations text because he looked so amazing. Matthew Macfadyen was brilliant, too - he’s an incredible dramatic actor and so great in everything he does, from Spooks to Succession. I could watch him all day. James Graham is another genius. His writing is so, so clever, especially his political pieces. I’d love to see him write about the current crisis.

Amanda Holden told me to watch Sunderland Til I Die (Netflix) and I was like: “Why are you watching that?!” But it’s a drama like any other. You absolutely don’t need to understand football to get into it – it’s about what happens when a company is in trouble, and all the things that people try to do to stop it collapsing. I got really invested in it.

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13/05/2020 19:13:03  

Coronavirus crisis has proved BBC’s value to the nation – and may have saved the licence fee

The coronavirus crisis may have saved the BBC licence fee, the chairman of ITV has said, while the editor of the BBC’s Today programme on Radio 4 said the broadcaster’s coverage had restored its role at the heart of the nation.

ITV’s Sir Peter Bazalgette also urged the government to review legislation to force Apple and Amazon to promote public service broadcasters’ content.

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13/05/2020 16:10:24  
10/05/2020 21:12:29  

ITV is replaying Euro 96 in full, allowing us to bask in the summer of Cool Britannia all over again but was it that good?

The decision of ITV to replay Euro 96 in full, starting on Monday, is fraught with risk. They say you should never meet your heroes, and the same might apply to legendary sporting events. In this case even those who lived through it first time round and remember it as the very best of times may find, on getting to know it properly and soberly, that the reality does not live up to the myth.

Somehow that summer has come to be seen as the pinnacle of Cool Britannia despite the fact that, other than the Spice Girls and the greatest singalong sporting anthem of all time (probably), the only British chart-topper was Gary Barlow. Sometimes it seems a considerable amount of gloss has been applied to our mental snapshots of that tournament. As Wayne Rooney once said, asked about that year’s England team: “It’s as if they won the tournament, the way they’re remembered.”

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10/05/2020 10:12:18  

Peter Bowker’s wry autism drama returned to fresh complications, ITV went full lockdown, and Netflix’s jazz story was all tuned up with nowhere to go

The A Word (BBC One) | iPlayer
Isolation Stories (ITV) | ITV Hub
The Eddy (Netflix)
Trying (Apple TV+)
Homeland (Channel 4) | All 4

The A Word returned to burnish its credentials as one of the most welcome, nuanced, humanly messy outings to grace the BBC’s output these days. A couple of years on and writer Peter Bowker’s creation of Joe, the marvellous young Max Vento, continues to cause tumults of heart-sorry love, bite-the-walls frustration, wry laughter and wry sobs amid his family, amid those stunning northern fells, and now amid a backdrop of splintered parents living apart. And every parent, never mind every parent of an A-word (autistic) child, can surely grasp the import of the word “change” on the young, even the apparently invulnerable.

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09/05/2020 10:11:56  

For a while supper and wine were sufficient; now I’m watching every adaptation that is better than its source material

I suspect I’m not alone in this but, at some point in the past two weeks, I hit my lockdown wall. Not literally, although apparently the “banging one’s head against the kitchen wall” phase kicks in on the eighth week, so that’s something to put in the diary. But last week I felt really, really over it. Enough with every day being the bloody same; enough with watching my children become increasingly fretful because they haven’t seen their friends in over a month, the equivalent of five years to a pair of four-year-olds. But unless you want to be one of those delightful people protesting the lockdown in the US, clothed in stars and stripes, AK-47s across their backs, what choice do we have? So, like Bill Murray, we grind out the same day, again and again and again.

The trick is to invent things to look forward to. For a while, “supper” and “wine” were sufficient, but repetition has dulled their efficacy. So I set myself challenges, driven on by the thrill of completion. Some people hear the word “challenge” and think, “Fitness!” Those people are not me. “Rewatch the entirety of 30 Rock” is more my speed. It is so soothing to watch a show about a luxuriantly bouffanted New York tycoon who isn’t a moron. In a just world, Jack Donaghy would be the US president instead of, well, you get the point. Then, sparked by his brilliant turn as Chris Tarrant on the ITV drama, Quiz, my next challenge was, “Watch every Michael Sheen performance in which he plays a real person”. This was deeply enjoyable, even if, in my lockdown-confused mind, I now think Brian Clough interviewed Richard Nixon on TV and Kenneth Williams was prime minister when Diana died.

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07/05/2020 18:11:40  

Despite everything, the Tory party is sticking to the ideology of the free market, rather than saving lives and jobs

“How on earth did it come to this?” Keir Starmer’s question could skewer Boris Johnson at every PMQs from now on. It encompasses all the damage the government did in the last decade, as well as all it has failed to do to protect the country from Covid-19. The list of derelictions in the early stage of the crisis is long, the testing and the protective equipment still shamefully inadequate. Have lessons been learned? The auguries are not good.

Related: Picnics and sunbathing on cards as PM expected to allow more time outside

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06/05/2020 17:11:35  

Singer whose joyful vocals on My Boy Lollipop took Jamaican music to new audiences

With international sales of 5m copies in 1964, the year of its release, the hit single My Boy Lollipop, sung by Millie, who has died aged 72, “opened the door for Jamaican music to the world,” said the producer Chris Blackwell. He had flown the 17-year-old Millie Small from Kingston to London to manage her career. Millie’s shrill, joyful vocals, married to a galloping ska rhythm in Olympic Studios in London in an arrangement by the Jamaican master guitarist Ernest Ranglin, were beamed out all that summer from the new pirate radio stations, such as Caroline, that were instrumental in helping promote the record. In May 1964, two months after the release of My Boy Lollipop, Millie was given a guest appearance on the ITV special Around the Beatles.

In both the UK and the US, My Boy Lollipop was a No 2 hit, kept off the top slot respectively by the Searchers and the Beach Boys. In America Millie rode the slipstream of the British Invasion started by the Beatles six months earlier; in New York she stepped off a plane – dubbed the Lollipop Special by a clever publicist – from the UK to a 30-strong police guard; fans screamed as she was presented with what was said to be the world’s largest lollipop.

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06/05/2020 13:11:36  

Ads slumped 42% in April forcing broadcaster to furlough 800 staff

ITV has revealed the scale of the impact of coronavirus as advertising slumped 42% in April, forcing the broadcaster to take measures including furloughing 800 staff.

The slump, prompted by advertisers holding back or pulling campaigns during the lockdown, is less than the 50%-plus decline that City analysts feared. In early March, ITV optimistically predicted a 10% fall in ad revenues for April.

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04/05/2020 22:11:04  

A heavily pregnant Sheridan Smith kicked off this series of bitesized quarantine dramas, which are as impressive as they are ambitious

Pressure, of course, turns coal to diamonds and here we have four of them – some a little rougher cut than others, perhaps, but diamonds nevertheless. The four 15-minute dramas that comprise Isolation Stories (ITV) have all been created under lockdown. Written since we were first forced to beat a collective retreat into our homes – wait, let me consult the historical record to see how long this strangely elastic time has officially endured – 43 days ago, they were cast, filmed, directed and edited remotely, and up on our screens, within seven of the most unsettling weeks in living memory.

A further programme, Isolation Stories: Behind the Scenes, on ITV on Thursday 7 May, shows the process of atomised programme-making in more detail, but, in essence, the actors (and sometimes their families) filmed themselves, and the directors watched the footage on mobile phones and gave advice remotely. Surmounting the technical and practical difficulties would be reason enough for plaudits, but the results themselves are so good that they make me want to call for an 8pm clap for the arts sometime (not a Thursday, obviously. I wouldn’t want to encroach on actual life-savers’ time).

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04/05/2020 21:07:52  

The Good Morning Britain co-host acted "out of an abundance of caution" after showing mild symptoms.
04/05/2020 12:11:09  

ITV says ‘safety is our prime concern’ during coronavirus pandemic, as it announces ratings hit will not return until 2021

The 2020 edition of Love Island has been cancelled, days after ITV’s director of television, Kevin Lygo, said that the production team had concerns that relocating the hit reality series to the UK would mean that it “would not be the same show”.

In a virtual panel for the Edinburgh television festival staged last week, Lygo said that that a final decision on the show’s future – which included a possible move to Cornwall – would be made imminently.

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04/05/2020 12:11:08  

Study shows imbalance of 2.7 men for every woman on radio and TV programmes in March

Almost three times as many male as female experts featured on the UK’s flagship TV and radio news programmes in March as the media focused on the political handling of the coronavirus outbreak across Britain.

Research focused on the makeup of experts appearing on the BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, BBC News At Ten, ITV News at Ten, Kay Burley’s breakfast show on Sky News, Channel 4 News and Channel 5 News found an imbalance of 2.7 men for every female expert.

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03/05/2020 23:10:58  

Good Morning Britain presenter has taken test and is expecting results on Monday

Piers Morgan has said he will be temporarily stepping back from presenting Good Morning Britain after developing a “mild” coronavirus symptom.

The programme will be hosted by ITV presenter Ben Shephard alongside Susanna Reid as Morgan waits for his test results, which are due on Monday.

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02/05/2020 17:10:44  

Broadcaster tells Lords that internet companies must face penalties for uploading potentially ‘lethal’ misinformation

A leading news organisation is calling for a digital “kitemarking” system online to distinguish between quality journalism and fake content – with internet companies facing penalties if they publish inaccurate information.

ITN, the maker of news for ITV, Channel 4 and Channel 5, says the coronavirus pandemic has revealed both the importance of “trustworthy and reliable information” and the dangers to democracy of fast-spreading misinformation.

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