One of the last photos taken by Beresheet of the moon's surface before it crashed

Israel’s Beresheet spacecraft crashes on Moon

The first privately funded mission to the Moon has crashed on the lunar surface after the apparent failure of its main engine.

The Israeli spacecraft – called Beresheet – attempted a soft landing, but suffered technical problems on its descent to the Moon’s surface.

The aim of the mission was to take pictures and conduct experiments.

Israel hoped to become the fourth country to land a spacecraft on the Moon.

Only government space agencies from the former Soviet Union, the US and China have made successful Moon landings.

“We didn’t make it, but we definitely tried,” said project originator and major backer Morris Kahn.

“I think that the achievement of getting to where we got is really tremendous, I think we can be proud,” he said.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, watching from the control room near Tel Aviv, said: “If at first you don’t succeed, you try again.”

After a seven-week journey to the Moon, the unmanned spacecraft approached a final orbit at 15km (9m) from the surface.

Tensions were high in the command centre as communications were lost before Opher Doron, the general manager of Israel Aerospace Indurstries’ space division, announced there had been a failure in the spacecraft.

“We unfortunately have not managed to land successfully,” he said.

Worried reactions from people watching outside the control room at Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) site in Yehud
Reactions from people watching outside the control room at Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) site in Yehud

The audience outside had been through a turbulent journey themselves as they watched the first part of the landing go to plan.

As Mr Doron announced that the engine had cut out, groans filled the room.

“We are resetting the spacecraft to try to enable the engine,” he said.

The engine came on seconds later and the audience applauded, only for communication with the spacecraft to be lost shortly after. The mission was over.

The project has cost about $100m (£76m) and has paved the way for future low-cost lunar exploration.

Dr Kimberly Cartier, an astronomer and science news reporter, tweeted that she was “sad about how #Beresheet ended” but “proud of the entire @TeamSpaceIL”.

Beresheet, which is Hebrew for “in the beginning”, was a joint project between SpaceIL, a privately funded Israeli non-profit organisation, and Israel Aerospace Industries.

Why did it take weeks to get to the Moon?

In space terms, the Moon is a mere hop from the Earth, and most missions take a few days to get there.

But the Beresheet mission, which launched on 22 February from Cape Canaveral in Florida, spent weeks reaching its destination.

Its journey took it on a series of ever-widening orbits around the Earth, before being captured by the Moon’s gravity and moving into lunar orbit on 4th April.

Launch of Beresheet
The spacecraft launched on a SpaceX rocket in February

The average distance to the Moon is 380,000km (240,000 miles) – Beresheet travelled more than 15 times that distance. And the main thing driving this was cost.

Instead of sitting alone on a rocket that would put it on the perfect trajectory to the Moon, it blasted off on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket along with a communications satellite and an experimental aircraft.

Sharing the ride into space significantly reduced its launch costs – but it meant the spacecraft had to take a more convoluted route.

Journey to the Moon
The spacecraft enlarged its path around Earth until it was captured by the Moon’s gravity

How hard was it to land?

A controlled landing on the lunar surface was the major challenge for the Israeli spacecraft.

The engine was British-built, developed by Nammo in Westcott, Buckinghamshire. It provided the power to get the spacecraft all the way to the Moon, but it also took Beresheet on its final descent.

The 1.5m-tall spacecraft had to rapidly reduce its speed, so a final firing of the engine in effect slammed on the brakes, hoping to take the spacecraft to a gentle stop.

Before the landing, Rob Westcott, senior propulsion engineer at Nammo, said “We’ve never used an engine in this kind of application before”.

He said the big challenge would be “the fact that the engine is going to have to be switched on and get very hot, then switched off for a short period of time when all that heat is remaining in its thermal mass, and then fired up again, very accurately and very precisely such that it slows the craft down and lands very softly on the surface on the Moon.”

That landing process took around 20 minutes. All of the controls for this were uploaded and performed autonomously with mission control watching on.

What was the spacecraft supposed to do on the Moon?

Its first job was to use its high resolution cameras to take some photos – including a selfie – which it did manage before the crash.

It was then going to measure the magnetic field of the spot it landed in, an area known as Mare Serenitatis.

A picture of the moon taken by Beresheet as it made its descent
Pictures of the moon plus a selfie taken by Beresheet as it made its descent

Monica Grady, professor of planetary and space science at Open University, said it would be “looking at the landing site really closely”. This would help “work out how the magnetic measurements of the Moon fit in with the geology and geography of the Moon, which is really important to understand how the Moon formed”.

The lander also carried a reflector from Nasa to help scientists make accurate measurements of the distance between the Earth and the Moon.

Temperatures on the Moon are extreme, and as the Sun rose the spacecraft would have been unlikely to survive the heat.

The spacecraft will study the Moon’s magnetism while on the lunar surface

How significant was this mission?

Over 60 years of space exploration, only three nations have made it down onto the Moon.

The former Soviet Union achieved the first soft landing with its spacecraft Luna 9 in 1966. Nasa followed this by getting the first humans to the Moon in 1969. Then, China’s Change-4 spacecraft touched down on the far-side of the Moon earlier this year.

Israel would have been the fourth nation to join this elite club.

But it was the low-price tag – and the fact that the mission was not funded by a major space agency – that was significant.

A photo taken by the spacecraft of the earth from a distance of 37,600 km (23400m)
A photo taken by the spacecraft of the earth from a distance of 37,600 km (23400m)

Beresheet was not alone in pursuing low-cost lunar exploration.

Its origins lie in the Google Lunar XPrize, an international challenge offering $20m for the first privately developed spacecraft to land on the Moon.

And while the competition ended last year after no-one was able to meet its deadline (the foundation has subsequently announced they will award the Beresheet collaboration $1m for their achievement), other teams involved are also continuing with their efforts to get to the Moon.

Both Nasa and Esa have also announced their intention to use commercial landers to deliver scientific payloads to the lunar surface.

Graphic shows spots where missions have landed on the moon
Katie Bouman's algorithm helped to create the black hole image

Katie Bouman: The woman behind the first black hole image

A 29-year-old computer scientist has earned plaudits worldwide for helping develop the algorithm that created the first-ever image of a black hole.

Katie Bouman, 29, led development of a computer programme that made the breakthrough image possible.

The remarkable photo, showing a halo of dust and gas 500 million trillion km from Earth, was released on Wednesday,

For Ms Bouman, its creation was the realisation of an endeavour previously thought impossible.

Excitedly bracing herself for the groundbreaking moment, Ms Bouman was pictured loading the image on her laptop.

“Watching in disbelief as the first image I ever made of a black hole was in the process of being reconstructed,” she wrote in the caption to the Facebook post.

She started making the algorithm three years ago while she was a graduate student at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

There, she led the project, assisted by a team from MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics and the MIT Haystack Observatory.

The black hole image, captured by the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) – a network of eight linked telescopes – was rendered by Ms Bouman’s algorithm.

In the hours after the photo’s momentous release, Ms Bouman became an international sensation, with her name trending on Twitter.

First black hole image
The first ever photo of a black hole, taken using a global network of telescopes

In a tweet, New York Democratic Rep Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez wrote that Ms Bouman should take her “rightful seat in history”.

“Congratulations and thank you for your enormous contribution to the advancements of science and mankind,” she tweeted. “Here’s to #WomenInSTEM!,” which stands for science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

Ms Bouman was also hailed by MIT and the Smithsonian on social media.

“3 years ago MIT grad student Katie Bouman led the creation of a new algorithm to produce the first-ever image of a black hole,” MIT’s Computer Science & Artificial Intelligence Lab wrote. “Today, that image was released.”

But Ms Bouman, now an assistant professor of computing and mathematical sciences at the California Institute of Technology, insisted the team that helped her deserves equal credit.

The effort to capture the image, using telescopes in locations ranging from Antarctica to Chile, involved a team of more than 200 scientists.

“No one of us could’ve done it alone,” she told CNN. “It came together because of lots of different people from many different backgrounds.”

Corrin said she "will strive to do her justice"

The Crown: Newcomer Emma Corrin cast as Princess Diana

Newcomer Emma Corrin has been cast as Princess Diana in the fourth season of The Crown.

Netflix confirmed the decision in a press release, adding filming will begin later this year.

In an accompanying quote, Corrin said she was “beyond excited” to be joining the show – a dramatised history of the British monarchy.

“Princess Diana was an icon, and her effect on the world remains profound and inspiring,” she said.

The Crown’s creator Peter Morgan described Corrin as a “brilliant talent” who “immediately captivated” casting directors.

The actress is set to make her film debut in Misbehavior, a historical drama following a group of of women from the Women’s Liberation Movement as they attempt to disrupt the 1970 Miss World beauty competition in London.

She becomes the latest actress to join the revolving cast of The Crown, as the show jumps forward in time with different stars playing the Royals every two seasons.

Olivia Colman and Tobias Menzies in The Crown
Oscar-winner Olivia Colman takes over as the Queen in the next series

Season three — set to debut in late 2019 — will see Olivia Colman take over Claire Foy’s role as Queen Elizabeth and focus on the Harold Wilson era between 1964-1970.

Corrin, meanwhile, will begin by dramatising Princess Diana’s failed marriage to Prince Charles during the years of Margaret Thatcher’s government.

BBC Rewind: Remembering Diana

Princess Diana died in a car accident in August 1997 and her death sparked an outpouring of public grief.

Netflix’s content chief Ted Sarandos has previously said the plan is for the show to run for six seasons, spanning the Queen’s entire life.

Avicii’s first posthumous track to drop next week

A posthumous new track from Avicii called SOS will be released on Wednesday 10 April, his family says.

The Swedish DJ – whose real name was Tim Bergling – was found dead in Oman in April last year, aged 28.

Now a 16-track album of new material entitled Tim, which “he was close to completing”, will follow on 6 June.

Proceeds from the LP will go to Tim Bergling Foundation, set up after his death to help prevent mental illness and suicide.

“When Tim Bergling passed away on April 20, 2018,” a family statement read, “he was close to completing a new album.

“He left behind a collection of nearly finished songs, along with notes, email conversations and text messages about the music.

“The songwriters that Tim was collaborating with on this album have continued the process to get as close to his vision as possible.”

Adding: “Since Tim’s passing, the family decided not to keep the music locked away – instead they wanted to share it with his fans all around the world.”

The statement comes with a moving video, featuring Avicii in the studio and tributes from his family, and you can watch it below.

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Climate change: Drilling in ‘Iceberg Alley’

It sounds a bit like sitting in the middle of the road when there’s a queue of juggernauts coming straight at you.

This is a little overplayed but it’s kind of what an international group of scientists has just set out to do.

The researchers want to position themselves in the centre of “Iceberg Alley” off the tip of the Antarctic Peninsula and drill into the seafloor.

Huge blocks of ice are likely to come drifting by in the process.

It’s hoped the sediments the researchers recover will tell us something of how the White Continent has changed in the past and how its kilometres-thick ice sheet might react in the future in what’s projected to be a much warmer world.

Expedition 382 of the International Ocean Discovery Program (IODP) left Punta Arenas in Chile on Monday. Using the drill ship, the Joides Resolution (JR), the team will core a number of seafloor locations right in the middle of Iceberg Alley.

Map of Antarctica showing coastal and circumpolar currents

The scientists are looking for the “rafted debris” that’s been dropped by giant bergs as they head north from the Peninsula towards the South Atlantic.

This detritus of dust, dirt, and rock was originally scraped off the continent by the ice when it was part of a glacier, before it broke away to become an iceberg.

And through the wonder of modern geochemistry, it’s possible to date this material and even to tie it to the specific locations in Antarctica.

The JR
The Joides Resolution in Punta Arenas before heading out on Expedition 382

The really helpful thing from the scientists’ point of view is that they only need go to the alley to get a very broad view of past Antarctic behaviour.

It works like this: Bergs when they calve will bump anti-clockwise around the coast in the direction taken by near-shore currents. But when they reach the Peninsula – that’s when they encounter the big clockwise flow of water known as the Antarctic Circumpolar Current.

Geochemists can date berg debris and identify its origin on the continent

The bergs are then entrained and head north.

And just standing in the middle of this busy highway, as the JR now intends to do, means you get to sample the widest range of material dropped from historical bergs on their slow drift up into the South Atlantic.

In very simple terms: the more ice blocks that passed through the alley in any particular period in the past, the more unstable the Antarctic was likely to have been during that time.

In other words, the thickest layers of dropped stones and dust deposited on the ocean floor should relate to the warmest phases of ancient Antarctica.

There’s quite a bit of oversimplification in this story, not least the recognition that the alley is dominated by bergs from the East of the continent – but the general picture holds.

Sediment cores on Expedition 379
Scientists are keen to understand what happened when CO2 levels were last at 400ppm

The JR expects to pull up hundreds of metres of sediment core covering the past 20 million years.

“A key interval of interest will be the Late Pliocene Warm Period (about 3-4 million years ago),” said expedition co-lead investigator Prof Maureen Raymo from the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory of Columbia University, US.

“This was when carbon dioxide was 400 parts per million (ppm) in the atmosphere – approximately similar to what it is today. I’ve spent a lot of time trying to work out what global sea-level was doing at that time because obviously that would speak directly to the question of whether East Antarctica loses mass or gains mass in a slightly warmer climate.” The latter is possible if a warmer atmosphere triggers more snowfall.

Iceberg on Expedition 379
Expedition 379 was constantly harassed by icebergs

Another period of keen interest is that of the Early Pleistocene – from 2.5 million to 800,000 years ago. It’s a phase in Earth history when Ice Ages on the planet are known to have come and gone on roughly 41,000-year cycles.

This had something to do with the shifting nature of the Earth’s orbit around the Sun, but has yet to be fully explained.

“I’ve proposed that Antarctica didn’t transition to the ice sheet we see today until about 800,000 years ago, and prior to that there were maybe many sectors of the ice sheet that looked like modern Greenland with the ice margin on land,” Prof Raymo told BBC News. Today’s Antarctica has its glaciers terminating in the sea.

“We’ll definitely get sediments from this time,” she added.

South Georgia
Many blocks on Iceberg Alley eventually arrive at the British territory of South Georgia

If the current cruise is focussed on past behaviour in East Antarctica, a complementary drilling effort should fill in much of the narrative in the West of the continent.

The JR has only recently finished drilling sediment cores in the Amundsen Sea area.

IODP Expedition 379 cored to a depth of 800m, which likely gets back to the Late Miocene, or about 6 million year ago.

“This is the sector of the Antarctic Ice Sheet – more than any other area – that is changing before our eyes,” explained 379’s co chief scientist, Dr Julia Wellner from the University of Houston.

“While we have some ideas on why this is happening, it’s not well understood yet; we’ve only been watching it for a few decades.

“So that’s why we need these longer-term records, to get a real insight on what’s occurring now and how things could change in the future.

“But it’s not easy. There were times on our cruise when we thought we were in Iceberg Alley because there were so many bergs about, and every time one approaches you have to abandon your hole, wait for the berg to pass, and then return to resume drilling.”

Starry Night Over the Rhone is on loan for the exhibition

Van Gogh: How London inspired a genius

Vincent Van Gogh’s life was a short one but almost three years of it were spent in Britain. A big new exhibition at Tate Britain in London brings together 50 of his pictures – including some masterpieces – to show how life in the capital and the art scene in Britain – influenced the young artist. And how he in turn influenced British artists such as Francis Bacon.

You wouldn’t normally visit a major show of work by Van Gogh to find yourself surrounded in the first rooms by paintings and engravings by the likes of James Whistler, Sir John Millais and Gustave Doré. But the new exhibition Van Gogh and Britain is all about context.

Tate Britain has assembled around 100 pictures, half of which are by Van Gogh, who came to London in the spring of 1873 when he was 20. His career as a painter was ahead of him.

Sunflowers 1888/L'Arlesienne
Sunflowers 1888 and L’Arlesienne

The best known pictures include l’Arlesienne and his Sunflowers of 1888, which normally hangs in the National Gallery in London. The Musée d’Orsay in Paris has loaned Starry Night Over the Rhone, one of the artist’s most spectacular images.

Alex Farquharson, the director of Tate Britain, says the years in London had a huge effect on the artist-to-be. “I think Vincent found his university education in London.

“He would walk everywhere and went to places like the National Gallery and the Dulwich Picture Gallery. We’ve even borrowed the Dulwich visitors book which has his signature in.

“And it wasn’t only painting he learned about. He also developed a love of Charles Dickens and other writers of the day.”

His position was with the French art dealers Goupil, then based in Southampton Street in Covent Garden. Increasingly Van Gogh disliked the job but, though he’d barely begun creating his own work, he was assessing and thinking about art every day. His instinct grew for which pieces he found pleasure in and which bored him

The Prison Courtyard
The Prison Courtyard is very similar to an earlier work by Gustave Doré


For most of his time in London, Van Gogh lodged at 87 Hackford Road, at the home of Ursula Loyer and her daughter Eugenie. Since 1973 there’s been a blue plaque there to his memory.

In 2003, Nicholas Wright’s stage-play Vincent in Brixton – a hit in London and on Broadway – drew attention to a part of the artist’s life which few had previously known much about.

Farquharson says prints and engravings – perhaps at their most vibrant in the Victorian era – were a huge influence.

“There’s a print which Gustave Doré did of prisoners in Newgate debtors jail in London. Near the end of his life Van Gogh made a strikingly similar image, though in colour, called The Prison Courtyard (normally hanging in the Pushkin Museum in Moscow).

“He painted it while in the Saint-Rémy asylum in Provence and his mental state was poor – even aside from the subject matter, the stylistic influence is obvious. It’s a very bleak image.”

Francis Bacon's Studies for a Portrait of Van Gogh
Francis Bacon’s Studies For A Portrait Of Van Gogh show a resemblance to a Van Gogh work

The last rooms of the show turn to Van Gogh’s influence on artists who came after him.

A turning point was the exhibition in 1910 at the Grafton Galleries in Mayfair. The critic Roger Fry had organised an exhibition of Post-Impressionist work which introduced Van Gogh’s work to many art lovers who had barely known his name since his suicide near Paris 20 years before.

The Tate show also includes some of the press reaction to Van Gogh’s work in Edwardian England, some of which now appears shockingly cruel. You see how the crude caricature emerged of a mad Dutchman who sliced his own ear off.

The Vineyard by Vanessa Bell
The Vineyard by Vanessa Bell is chosen as an example of work thought to be inspired by Van Gogh

“You always have to remember that when Vincent Van Gogh died he was known to almost no one in Britain. His first solo show wasn’t until 1922 and then came the milestone of the major Tate Gallery exhibition in 1947.

“That introduced him to an entire generation of younger artists. This is our first exhibition of his work since then and in that time he’s become one of the world’s most famous artists.”

Among the most striking works on display by other artists are Francis Bacon’s Studies For A Portrait Of Van Gogh (1957). They were based on photographs of Van Gogh’s The Painter on the Road to Tarascon, which had been lost in World War Two.

Farquharson says they’re astonishing works. “There’s a clear Van Gogh influence but Bacon went further than the original would have. But you see how the physicality of Van Gogh’s brush-strokes influenced an artist decades later.”

As with any collection of Van Gogh there’s a combination in the Tate show of great beauty and deep sadness.

Farquharson thinks it’s that combination which explains a lot of Vincent’s appeal to the modern world. “I think there’s something very powerful when beauty which has a real healing power in the viewer comes out of a place of great pain.”

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In January, she became the first solo woman to win the Grammy Award for best rap album

Cardi B explains why she ‘drugged and robbed’ men

Cardi B has defended herself after a video resurfaced of her saying she drugged and robbed men who wanted to have sex with her while she worked as a stripper before finding fame.

The rapper faced criticism after the three-year-old Instagram live video recirculated on social media.

“Whether or not they were poor choices at the time, I did what I had to do to survive,” she wrote on Tuesday .

“I never claimed to be perfect or come from a perfect world.”

The original video was made as her career was starting to take off and was her response to someone who said she didn’t deserve success because she hadn’t put in any work.

“Nothing was handed to me. Nothing,” she said in the video, before going on to reveal that she would invite men to a hotel before drugging and robbing them.

In response to the furore, she wrote on Instagram that she had been talking “about things in my past right or wrong that I felt I needed to do to make a living”.

She added: “I’m a part of a hip-hop culture where you can talk about where you come from, talk about the wrong things you had to do to get where you are.”

‘I had very limited options’

The Grammy-winner also pointed out that there are rappers who “glorify murder, violence, drugs and robbing”.

She wrote: “I never glorified the things I brought up in that live , I never even put those things in my music because I’m not proud of it and feel a responsibility not to glorify it.

“I made the choices that I did at the time because I had very limited options.”

Cardi B ended the statement by explaining the men she referred to in the old video were men she dated or was involved with, and were “conscious, willing and aware”.

Earlier in the week, the hashtag #SurvivingCardiB was trending – a reference to Surviving R Kelly, the documentary that highlighted the years of sexual allegations, against the star.

Some users compared the rapper to disgraced comedian Bill Cosby who was sentenced to jail in 2018 after being accused of drugging and assaulting women.

Other users defended Cardi’s transparency.

Earlier this year, the rapper made history when she became the first solo woman to win the Grammy Award for best rap album for her debut Invasion of Privacy.

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Ranking Roger was known for the Jamaican vocal technique of "toasting"

Ranking Roger: The Beat singer dies aged 56

Musicians have paid tribute to singer Roger Charlery, known as Ranking Roger, who has died aged 56.

The Birmingham-born star, best known as a vocalist with The Beat, died at home on Tuesday, surrounded by family, a statement on the band’s website said.

Charlery had suffered a stroke last summer and was reported to have been diagnosed with two brain tumours and lung cancer in recent months.

Tweeting condolences, songwriter Billy Bragg said: “Rest easy, Rude Boy.”

Pauline Black, who fronted two-tone revival band the Selector, posted a short excerpt from Hamlet, which read: “Goodnight sweet prince. And flights of angels sing thee to thy rest.”

Meanwhile, Matt Hoy, a touring vocalist with reggae group UB40, wrote on Instagram: “Rest in Peace Ranking Roger, such sad news!! Lovely guy… Way [too] young!! Condolences to his family.”

Ranking Roger performs at the Roundhouse in Camden, north London in 2017
Ranking Roger, pictured performing in 2017, had just completed his biography charting the early years of The Beat

As part of The Beat, Charlery spearheaded the two-tone movement with a distinctive vocal style influenced by the Jamaican rap technique of “toasting”.

The group enjoyed several top 10 hits, most famously Mirror in the Bathroom.

After the band broke up in 1983, Charlery went on to form super-group General Public, with members of Dexy’s Midnight Runners and The Specials.

The statement on The Beat’s website said of the singer’s ill-health: “He fought & fought & fought, Roger was a fighter.”

It added: “Roger’s family would like to thank everyone for their constant support during this tough time.”

The website had recently announced that Charlery had completed his biography, which was expected to be published by early summer.

Charlery had released an album, Public Confidential, with the band as recently as January.

BENEDICT NELSON Anna Patalong described her outfit choice as "rocking some EU colours"

Royal Albert Hall singer asked to change ‘pro-EU’ dress

An opera singer was asked to change her EU flag themed dress for a concert at London’s Royal Albert Hall.

British soprano Anna Patalong sang in six performances of the Classical Spectacular concert from 21 to 24 March.

On Saturday, Patalong wore a sash and necklace featuring EU stars.

The show’s producer, Raymond Gubbay Ltd, encouraged her to wear another dress on Sunday, as the outfit was “open to misinterpretation”.

Patalong’s husband, the baritone Benedict Nelson, claimed on social media that “my wife was asked to change her dress from yellow and blue at the RAH as the colours were too provocative”.

He said in a separate post: “If you can’t enjoy a three hour concert because a performer wears some visible gold stars for 3 minutes of it, you need to have a word with yourself.”

Nelson also shared a picture of his wife in the dress she wore for Saturday’s concert.

Producer Raymond Gubbay Ltd told the BBC they had received one complaint from a member of the public about the dress, but that didn’t play a part in their decision to encourage Patalong to wear a different outfit.

The decision, the company said, came down to the fact that they preferred the red dress she had worn on the previous two evenings and felt it was more appropriate attire for a classical concert.

Patalong reverted to the red dress for the Sunday show.

The Classical Spectacular concert is described as “the UK’s most popular classical show” and has been running for 30 years.

The show’s finale creates an atmosphere similar to that at Last Night of the Proms, and features patriotic songs like Rule Britannia.

Patalong’s dress was not the only way in which she showed her support for the EU during Saturday’s concert.

Her husband shared a video of the soprano briefly singing the lyrics of Rule Britannia to the tune of Beethoven’s Ode to Joy, which is the basis of the EU’s Anthem of Europe.

Earlier on Saturday, Patalong was one of the hundreds of thousands of people who marched in central London calling for another EU referendum.

She also posted a picture of herself with Independent Group MPs Anna Soubry and Chuka Umunna.

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Walker was a reclusive and often contradictory figure

Scott Walker, influential rock enigma, dies aged 76

Scott Walker, one of the most enigmatic and influential figures in rock history, has died at the age of 76.

The US star, whose songs included The Sun Ain’t Gonna Shine Anymore and Joanna, influenced everyone from David Bowie to Jarvis Cocker.

He found fame as a teen idol in The Walker Brothers, where his dark baritone hinted at something deeper.

That was borne out in his experimental solo albums, which explored the complexities of love and death.

Walker’s death was confirmed by his current record label, 4AD, who called him “one of the most revered innovators at the sharp end of creative music“.

He first found fame as part of the Walker Brothers

Born Noel Scott Engel in Ohio, 1944, Walker initially pursued a career as an actor, before hooking up with John Maus and Gary Leeds to form the misleadingly-named Walker Brothers.

After a false start in the US, they relocated to England, where they caused a huge sensation, scoring number one hits with Make It Easy On Yourself and The Sun Ain’t Gonna Shine Anymore.

For a while, the band were as big as the Beatles, greeted by screaming fans everywhere they went.

“It was fantastic for the first couple of albums or so but it really wears you down,” Walker told the BBC’s Culture Show in 2006,

“Touring in those days was very primitive. It was really a lot of hard work. And you couldn’t find anything good to eat. The hours were unbelievable.”

Orchestral pop

At the height of their fame in 1967, when Walker was still considered a heart-throb and a potential superstar, he called time on the band and ran away to a monastery on the Isle of Wight. Not, as rumour had it, because of a nervous breakdown, but to study Gregorian chant.

He remained disillusioned with the industry until his girlfriend introduced him to the music of Jacques Brel, whose literate, passionate torch songs inspired him to embark on a solo career.

Walker’s first four solo albums, Scott I to Scott IV, juxtaposed lush, orchestral pop with dark existentialism; and his lyrics were frequently scattered with characters from society’s margins – prostitutes, transvestites, suicidal brooders and even Joseph Stalin.

“He took music to a place that it hasn’t actually ever been since,” said Brian Eno, who counts Walker as a key influence.

Amid falling sales, he staged a brief, largely unsuccessful reunion with the Walker Brothers in the mid 1970s; and used a lucrative deal with Virgin Records to pursue some of his most abstract musical ideas on 1984’s Climate of Hunter.

The record divided fans and critics – it is reputedly Virgin’s lowest-selling album of all time – and Walker bowed out of music and the public eye for almost a decade.

“A friend of mine says I’m not a recluse, I’m just low-key,” said the singer about his extended absence.

“Generally if I’ve got nothing to say, it’s pointless to be around.”

Highlights from the Songs of Scott Walker Prom.

When Walker returned in the mid-90s, it was with Tilt, a collection of fraught, uncompromising tone poems that marked a new creative chapter.

“Imagine Andy Williams reinventing himself as Stockhausen,” wrote The Guardian’s Simon Hattenstone in a profile of the singer.

Walker went on to collaborate with Pulp, producing the 2001 album We Love Life, and recently completed the score to Natalie Portman’s film Vox Lux.

Radiohead’s Thom Yorke said he was “so very sad” to hear of Walker’s passing, saying he had been “a huge influence” on both the band and himself.

The singer-songwriter said he had met Walker once at the Meltdown arts festival in London and found him to be “such a gentle outsider”.

Actor and writer Mark Gatiss responded to Yorke’s post with a plaintive “No!!” and a pensive face emoji.

Musician Richard Hawley told the BBC in 2017 that Walker was “one of the greatest singers of all time”.

“You think he’s singing something quite simple,” he said. “You think you can sing along in the bath. But when you actually sit down and analyse what he’s doing, it’s unbelievable.”

Singer Marc Almond said he was “absolutely saddened [and] shocked by the death of Scott Walker.

“He gave me so much inspiration so much I owe to him and modelled on him even down to my early hair cut and dark glasses.”

Walker is survived by his daughter, Lee, his granddaughter Emmi-Lee, and his partner Beverly.

Barbra Streisand has said she did not mean to "dismiss the trauma" of the alleged victims

Michael Jackson: Barbra Streisand apologises over abuse comments

The singer Barbra Streisand has apologised after she was criticised for sympathising with Michael Jackson over child abuse accusations against him.

Streisand told The Times newspaper that she believed the allegations against the late superstar but said his actions “didn’t kill” the accusers.

She later wrote on Instagram that she was “profoundly sorry for any pain or misunderstanding” caused.

Jackson’s brothers have denied that the singer sexually abused children.

The accusations were made in a new documentary – Finding Neverland – which features testimony from two men, Wade Robson and James Safechuck, who say they were abused hundreds of times by Michael Jackson from the ages of seven and 10.

Asked whether she believed Mr Robson and Mr Safechuck, Streisand said she “absolutely” did.

But she continued: “His sexual needs were his sexual needs, coming from whatever childhood he has or whatever DNA he has.

“You can say ‘molested’, but those children, as you heard say [Robson and Safechuck], they were thrilled to be there. They both married and they both have children, so it didn’t kill them.”

Taj Jackson on Leaving Neverland allegations

Streisand said she felt bad for both the children and for Jackson, adding: “I blame, I guess, the parents, who would allow their children to sleep with him”.

She later said in a statement that she believed the parents of the two young men “were also victimised and seduced by fame and fantasy”.

“To be crystal clear, there is no situation or circumstance where it is OK for the innocence of children to be taken advantage of by anyone,” her statement reads.

She also wrote in a social media post that she “didn’t mean to dismiss the trauma these boys experienced in any way”.

Her initial comments in The Times sparked a backlash on social media.

Jackson was dogged by allegations of child abuse before his death in 2009 – allegations he denied.

In 2003, police raided his Neverland Ranch in California while investigating claims he had molested a 13-year-old boy. He was acquitted of all charges in 2005.

Will Gompertz on horror movie Us directed by Get Out’s Jordan Peele

The jolly female film critic sitting one seat to my right in the cinema felt it only proper to manage expectations.

“I’ve seen the trailer,” she said, “and it looks really frightening.”

“Good,” said the chap from a slasher movie website sitting between us.

“No,” she said. “I don’t like horror films. I’m going to scream. A lot.”

Will Gompertz on horror movie Us directed by Get Out's Jordan Peele
After the success of Get Out starring Daniel Kaluuya (above), Jordan Peele said he knew he had “a big task on his hands” with Us

We thanked her for the heads up, mentally prepared for her terrified outbursts (couldn’t wait, TBH), and sat back to watch Us – Jordan Peele’s follow-up to his Oscar-winning debut, Get Out, which was not only very good but also plenty scary in a Michael Haneke Funny Games sort of way.

Us starts on a summer’s night in 1986 with a little girl called Adelaide and her parents enjoying themselves at a fun fair. They stop at a stall. Dad throws some balls, and wins his daughter a Michael Jackson Thriller T-shirt.

Who wins in the battle for survival? Adelaide or Red? (Lupita Nyong’o)

She pops it on and turns towards the camera leaving the audience in no doubt that the message it carries is ominous (because of the song’s lyrics, not the recent doc Leaving Neverland).

She wanders off alone, walks past a creepy guy holding up a carboard sign that reads Jeremiah 11:11, and ventures into a spooky looking Hall of Mirrors. It is as freaky as hell and that’s before the lights go out. She runs for it, gets lost, sees what she thinks is a reflection of herself but isn’t quite, and is never the same again. So far, so Scooby Doo.

Cut to the present day. Adelaide (Lupita Nyong’o) is now a mother with two kids – Zora (Shahadi Wright Joseph) and Jason (Evan Alex) – and a jovial husband called Gabe (Winston Duke) who is driving them to the coast for a holiday in Santa Cruz. As luck would have it, they’re heading for exactly the same spot Adelaide had her something-nasty-in-the-woodshed experience all those years ago.


The Wilson family discover the silhouettes of four figures of themselves standing on their driveway

Understandably, she is on edge from the moment they arrive at their stylish holiday home. Not so gung-ho Gabe, who is chuffed to bits with the ropey old speedboat he’s scored for the family’s amusement. They go down to the beach, hang out with some annoying friends, and then head home for a relaxing night of fun and games.

That’s what Gabe and the kids think anyway. But Adelaide knows different. They are in a bad place. They should go. Now. But it’s too late… a boiler-suited family of doppelgangers is standing outside and they haven’t dropped by to borrow some sugar.

What follows is a beautifully shot, superbly acted, blood-soaked, slasher-horror movie with a nicely sharpened comic edge.

The themes of identity, duality, race, the American Dream (the clue is in the title), privilege and subjugation run through it just as they did in Get Out. Nothing wrong with that. But Us lacks the psychological tension that made Peele’s first film such an outstanding piece of work.

Will Gompertz on horror movie Us directed by Get Out's Jordan Peele
The meeting of masks: Jason (Evan Alex) teaches tricks to his doppelgänger Pluto

I suppose an appropriate metaphor would be to say it was a like watching shadow boxing: you see loads of punches being thrown but none of them land.

I couldn’t work out if the problem was with the editing or the directing, but too often when a scene was reaching its dramatic, horrific climax – the point at which you are thinking about raising a hand to cover your eyes – the tension dissolves like a sneeze that never materialises. It’s like Gabe’s boat, the timing is a bit off.

It doesn’t stop it being a good movie, rich with visual allusions and biblical overtones, but it does fall short of being a great film. Not by much – just a second or two here and there – but enough to leave you a tad disappointed. Mind you, there was an upside. I left with my eardrums intact.

The lady to my right didn’t scream. Not once. She didn’t even emit so much as a tiny “eek”. In fact, she was as quiet as a girl wearing a red boiler suit with mad starring eyes and a pair of scissors in her hands.

And she was totally silent – as you will see if you watch the trailer.

Jordan Peele on his new horror film Us

Jordan Peele: Get Out and Us director reveals why he finds rabbits scary

Jordan Peele, Oscar-winning director of horror hit Get Out, has returned with Us, another psychological thriller with parallels to real life. During a brief trip to the UK he spoke to BBC News about doppelgangers, divisions in America… and rabbits.

It’s Friday morning in a London hotel suite, and Oscar-winning film-maker Jordan Peele is impersonating a rabbit.

It’s not a famous rabbit – we’re not talking Bugs or Peter here. But his imitation of one of the bunnies that appear in Us, his much-touted follow-up to 2017’s Get Out, is pretty uncanny all the same.

“I make cameos in my films as dying animals,” reveals the 41-year-old, who follows up his chilling leporine screech with the agonised low moan he gave an expiring deer in his previous directorial effort.

Things have clearly taken a strange turn – though it’s not half as strange as the one that awaits both the protagonists of his latest offering and the audiences who see it.

Lupita Nyong’o plays a mother of two faced with an inexplicable threat

Get Out, for which Peele won an Oscar for best original screenplay, told of a young African-American who lives to regret spending a weekend with his white girlfriend’s parents.

Us ups the ante by putting an entire African-American family in jeopardy, though the threat this time emanates from something even more inexplicably malevolent.

The film opens with Gabe (Winston Duke), Adelaide (Lupita Nyong’o) and their two young children heading to Santa Cruz for a carefree beachside holiday.

No sooner have they arrived than they receive an unexpected visit from a family of four who are eerily their doubles.

It’s not a social call either, as their crimson-clad twins – who have hitherto eked miserable existences in the shadows – seem intent on punishing the Wilsons for their lives of ease and privilege.

The film’s four lead actors also play the lead characters’ menacing doppelgangers

“You always have to start with something that scares you,” declares Peele, whose background in sketch comedy manifests itself in the dark humour underpinning his feature film work.

“The idea of encountering myself with no warning always just dropped my stomach out from under me, so that was the first thing I thought of.

“When you’re writing a horror movie, you want to take something like that that works on a primal level,” he goes on.

“The fear of the doppelganger is really the fear of self – the fear of that which we suppress as individuals. What is the shadow version of ourselves?”

‘We fear the outsider’

Given the deep-seated political divisions that exist in contemporary America, it is tempting to view Us as a statement on the nation as a whole.

Peele admits his homeland was “at the forefront of his mind” while writing the film, though he stops short of naming its current leader as a primary inspiration.

“As a nation we tend to fear the outsider,” he elaborates. “We point the finger at the mysterious invader, and that xenophobia has sort of been fuelled.

“We also point the finger at people who aren’t like us, who didn’t vote like us, who live across the street from us. This movie is about the notion that maybe we are our own worst enemy.”

Winston Duke as M’Baku in Avengers: Infinity War

Duke, best-known for his role as Wakandan warrior M’Baku in Black Panther, had little time for the horror genre before Get Out appeared.

“The horror genre was never one I felt comfortable with because black people always died,” he laughs. “They were always the first casualties, the first sacrifices.

“After Get Out I was like ‘wow – we can use this genre to do a lot of interrogation of culture, individuals and political movements’.”

Shocks and thrills

For the record, Us combines such high-minded ambitions with all the gory shocks and visceral thrills one more readily associates with the form.

According to Duke, benign patriarch Gabe is defined by his possessions, his home and “his proximity to the American Dream”.

“If you buy into the American Dream, you also, to some degree, have to take on accountability for the sins of how that’s attained,” he says.

“We’ve built a country of great privilege on the back of one of the greatest murders of all time, the genocide of the Native American,” says Peele.

Nyong’o, pictured with Peele, calls the film’s “unremarkable” black family “refreshing

Yet Us has an alternative resonance for Nyong’o, who finds it “refreshing” that it revolves around an “unremarkable” black family whose plight “has nothing to do with the colour of their skin”.

“I don’t live my life always considering the colour of my skin, so it was nice to have a family we could project our own understanding of a family on to, no matter what colour our skin is,” says the 12 Years A Slave actress.

‘Cuddly but sociopathic’

Us arrives at a busy time for Peele, who is also working on a new version of classic TV show The Twilight Zone for the CBS All Access streaming service.

(His time in London is so fleeting he will not get to catch the stage version of The Twilight Zone now running in the West End . “It’s a bummer I’ll miss it,” he sighs.)

Not only that, but Peele also has a voice role in the upcoming Toy Story 4 – playing, coincidentally enough, a fluffy toy rabbit.

Peele and his comedy partner Keegan-Michael Key voice “Bunny” and “Ducky” in Toy Story 4

“I started recording Toy Story a couple of years ago so it pre-dated Us,” he clarifies. “But maybe, subliminally, I was forcing that synchronicity.”

Yet Jordan’s relationship to rabbits is far from an affectionate one. “I’m not afraid of them but I do find them scary,” he confesses.

“They’re very cuddly but they also have a sociopathic expression, and they kind of look past you in a creepy kind of way.

“Not the biggest brains, rabbits.”

Us opens in the UK and US on 22 March.

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JESSICA FORDE Dancer Oleg Ivenko, who stars as Rudolf Nureyev in The White Crow, had no previous acting experience

White Crow’s star dancer ‘channelled’ Rudolf Nureyev

In 1961, the dancer Rudolf Nureyev defected to the west from the then-Soviet Union’s famed Kirov Ballet. An apparently last-minute decision to seek asylum in France made him, at 23, the best known male dancer in the world. A glittering career followed. The new film The White Crow dramatises the defection and the early years which led to it.

When Nureyev outwitted his KGB minders at Le Bourget airport (then the main airport for Paris), he became famous overnight. A propaganda coup had fallen into the lap of the west in its Cold War with the Soviet Union. Nureyev became that rare thing – a male ballet dancer whose name was known worldwide. He spent the next 30 years delighting in his celebrity.

At 22, the dancer Oleg Ivenko hasn’t acted before but he was chosen by director Ralph Fiennes to play Nureyev in the new biopic The White Crow. Born in Ukraine, he grew up speaking both Ukrainian and Russian. His career as a solo dancer began at the Tatar State Academic Opera and Ballet Theatre in Kazan, 500 miles east of Moscow.

Rudolf Nureyev
Rudolf Nureyev “became a monster of selfishness”, says screenplay writer David Hare

He’s danced big roles in classic ballets such as Coppelia, Giselle and La Bayadere.

“I always knew about Rudolf Nureyev but I had only seen short pieces of him dancing. To be honest I think the first thing I saw on video was him… with a pig?”

For a moment Ivenko hesitates, as though this might be something he’s fantasised. But the scenes of Nureyev on The Muppet Show in 1977 have been watched millions of times online.

Until he was cast in The White Crow, Ivenko’s English was almost non-existent. “So I had to learn – and also how to act. When you dance it’s a type of acting but with your body – your mouth stays shut. I realised that for Rudolf suddenly to defect, at my age, to another culture and another language was a massive shock for him.”

The film’s screenplay is by David Hare, known as a widely produced playwright and for writing the series Collateral seen on BBC Two last year. He says the original idea for the new film came from producer Gaby Tana.

Oleg Ivenko in The White Crow
Oleg Ivenko says he believes Nureyev helped him to perform in The White Crow

“Gaby had read Julie Kavanagh’s biography of Nureyev and she took it to Ralph Fiennes as a project. She told him the first six chapters were a fantastic movie – basically the events in Paris and what made Nureyev refuse to return home.

“They approached me and at first I saw the story just as the defection itself and what happens immediately before. Those are the thriller elements and were great fun to write. Someone told me those sequences in Paris reminded them of Hitchcock’s North by Northwest – which I took as a huge compliment.

“But it was Ralph who then said the audience will need to understand his childhood and apprenticeship because that’s what shaped him. Nureyev said he was playing princes on stage but he’d never been a prince in life: when he defected I’m sure he’d panicked and feared being sent back to Russia to be nobody again.”

As a student Hare happened to meet the dancer after Nureyev came to Britain.

Ralph Fiennes directing Oleg Ivenko
Ralph Fiennes directs Oleg Ivenko in The White Crow

A friend had a Russian mother and the family had invited Nureyev to stay. “I remember absolutely everything had to be arranged for Rudolf’s benefit – was he warm and comfortable? How was his chair? Did he have enough to eat and drink?

“But he always assumed he’d just be the most talked-about person in the room and that meant he became a monster of selfishness. But the truth is he always was the most talked-about person. I did a lot of my own research with people who knew him: everyone had a story of the moment when you simply couldn’t believe how badly he was behaving.

“The heart of it was that Nureyev knew he’d come from being a peasant. And because he thought he was a peasant he resented it when he thought people looked down on him.”

Ivenko is a reasonable physical match for Nureyev. But did he also need to dance like him for the camera? “It’s all about how you feel inside. If you go to the stage and you feel like Oleg Ivenko then that’s how you will dance. When I was preparing for a take I talked with him, inside. I’d say come on Rudy I need you now – wake up. I think he helped me.”

Ralph Fiennes with Oleg Ivenko (centre) in The White Crow
Ralph Fiennes (left) also plays ballet master Alexander Pushkin in The White Crow

Ivenko says Nureyev had a particular way of dancing. “Sometimes he was like a big cat, moving slowly. If you look at him on film, or listen to people who saw him, there was definitely something animal and sensual.”

The dance sequences in The White Crow are expertly crafted but they make up only part of the film. So what opinion did Ivenko form of the man he was playing, aside from his undeniable skills on the stage?

“Sometimes I think he was a nice guy – but other times he was ruthless. But I respect him and I can see why he did certain things. I think he hid his feelings and always made sure he seemed a strong person. He could appear arrogant but inside he was like a baby left alone.

“For years Rudolf was going to a party every night or enjoying himself in gay clubs. But he had nobody just to sit with and to be together with.”

The White Crow opens across the UK on 22 March.

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The star thanked fans for their support after a turbulent year

Ariana Grande kicks off Sweetener world tour in New York

Ariana Grande has kicked off her Sweetner world tour in New York with a hit-packed, 31-song setlist.

Performing on an innovative stage built around two spherical video screens, the star focused on tracks from her recent albums Sweetener and thank u, next.

But she excluded two songs, Ghostin’ and Imagine, that discuss her relationship with Mac Miller, who died of an accidental overdose last year.

Speaking at the soundcheck, Grande said Imagine was “too heavy” to play live.

However, she honoured her ex-boyfriend by playing his music as fans filtered into the Times Union Center in Albany, New York.

Ariana Grande
The “planetoid” video screens were inspired by Grande’s video for God Is A Woman
Ariana Grande
The star paid tribute to the cult comedy Mean Girls with the costumes for 7 Rings
Ariana Grande
The opening number was staged as a recreation of Leonardo da Vinci’s Last Supper
Ariana Grande
The tour comes to the UK in August

Grande’s tour comes after a year when her phenomenal creative success was refracted through personal emotional turmoil.

She recorded Sweetener while still suffering panic attacks and depression triggered by a suicide bombing outside her concert in Manchester in 2017, which claimed 22 lives.

The star found some solace in her relationship with Saturday Night Live comedian Pete Davidson, but their engagement ended soon after Miller’s unexpected death in September.

Putting tour plans on hold, Grande returned to the studio and recorded thank u, next in just two weeks – pouring her heart into revealing songs like Fake Smile, Imagine and the title track.

The New York Times called the album “artistically redefining“; and Grande became the first artist since The Beatles to hold the top three slots on Billboard’s Hot 100 singles chart.

Little of that drama was reflected on stage as the tour opened; with the show acting more as a celebration of the music than a reconstruction of Grande’s private grief.

The 25-year-old opened the show with Raindrops (An Angel Cried), before launching into God Is A Woman – staged, like her MTV Award Show performance last year, as a recreation of Leonardo Da Vinci’s The Last Supper.

While the show leaned heavily on Grande’s new songs, there was also room for classics like Into You, Side To Side, Break Free and One Last Time – the song fans rallied round following the Manchester Arena bombing.

After 90 minutes, the concert wrapped up with an encore of No Tears Left to Cry and thank u, next.

Although Grande didn’t talk much between songs, she thanked fans on social media after she left the stage.

“I really dunno what to say yet. For now, thank you will suffice,” she wrote, alongside a video of fans chanting the words to 7 Rings.

“My mind is all over the place and v emotional. thank you thank you thank you.”

The eight-month tour is due to hit the UK in August, when Grande will also headline Manchester Pride.


  • Raindrops (An Angel Cried)
  • God is a Woman
  • Bad Idea
  • Break Up With Your Girlfriend, I’m Bored
  • REM
  • Be Alright
  • Sweetener
  • Successful
  • Side to Side
  • Bloodline
  • 7 Rings
  • Love Me Harder
  • Breathin’
  • Close to You (Frank Ocean cover)
  • Needy
  • Fake Smile
  • Make Up
  • Right There
  • You’ll Never Know
  • Break Your Heart Right Back
  • NASA
  • Goodnight n Go
  • In My Head
  • Everytime
  • One Last Time
  • The Light is Coming
  • Into You
  • Dangerous Woman
  • Break Free
  • No Tears Left to Cry
  • thank u, next
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Corden has also hosted the Grammys and the Brits

James Corden to host Tony Awards for second time

British star James Corden has said he is “thrilled” to be hosting the Tony Awards in New York for a second time.

“The Broadway community is very dear to my heart, and I’m beyond proud to be part of this incredibly special night.”

Corden struck a sombre tone when he first hosted the Tonys in 2016 after the evening was overshadowed by a mass shooting in an Orlando gay club.

The British star dedicated that night to celebrate the diversity of Broadway, saying: “Your tragedy is our tragedy.”

He added: “Theatre is a place where every race, creed, sexuality and gender is equal, is embraced, and is loved. Hate will never win.”

Corden has also been the recipient of a Tony himself, for best actor in a play for his performance in One Man, Two Guvnors in 2012.

The Tony Award team were clearly delighted at the prospect of Corden taking the reins again for this year’s ceremony at Radio City Music Hall on 9 June.

“Hilarious. Insanely talented. Musical savant. Brilliantly unpredictable. James Corden!” said Tony Awards executive producers Ricky Kirshner and Glenn Weiss.

The nominations will be revealed on 30 April. King Kong, Beetlejuice and Pretty Woman could be in the running.

The Hollywood Reporter praised Corden following the 2016 show for “showing sound judgment” by dealing “with the [Orlando] tragedy upfront in solemn pre-show comments”.

Hamilton swept the board, at that year’s Tonys, picking up 11 Tonys.

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An early photo of Dick Dale alongside a custom Fender guitar at an exhibit in California

Dick Dale: ‘King of Surf Rock’ guitarist dies aged 81

US rock guitarist Dick Dale, whose song Misirlou featured over the opening credits to Quentin Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction, has died aged 81, reports say.

Dale, who is known for creating a style of music associated with surf culture referred to as surf rock, died on Saturday evening, the Guardian reports.

His genre of music, launched in the early 1960s, inspired numerous electric guitarists and his career spanned more than five decades.

The cause of death is not yet known.

Dale’s bassist, Sam Bolle, confirmed the news to the Guardian.

Celebrities and fans have been paying tribute to the musician referred to as the “King of the Surf Guitar”, with many describing him on social media as a “true innovator”.

US actor Seth Rogan offered his condolences in a tweet in which he described Dale’s music as “wonderful”.

Dale, real name Richard Anthony Monsour, was born in Boston in 1937. His instrumental music was influenced by his Lebanese heritage.

As a young boy, he tried to learn the trumpet, and also the ukulele, thinking he might follow in the footsteps of country singer Hank Williams. But he then bought a guitar for $8 from a friend.

When he was 17, his family moved to southern California, when his father found work in the aerospace industry and Dale became a keen surfer.

In 1961, he started to play live in the beach town of Balboa, south of Los Angeles, where he developed his percussive style of playing, initially on a right-handed guitar, despite being left-handed.

A year later, he performed his version of Misirlou – a Greek folk song – on the Ed Sullivan Show. More than three decades later, Tarantino made the song famous again when he used it at the very start of Pulp Fiction.

In an interview with Vice News in 2012 aged 75, Dale describes his battle with cancer and diabetes, and the reason why he continued to perform against the advice of doctors.

“They say I should never be on stage, I shouldn’t be playing,” he says, adding: “My medical bill is over $3,000 a month to buy supplies I have to get for my body.”

He also praises his wife, Lana, in the interview as “the one who brought me back”.

He is survived by Lana and his son, Jimmie.

The conductor and composer André Previn has died at the age of 89.

André Previn dies at the age of 89

The conductor and composer André Previn has died at the age of 89.

His manager told the BBC he died at his home in New York on Thursday morning.

Previn is best known for ditching a lucrative career in Hollywood to pursue his love of classical music as a jazz pianist.

During his lifetime he won four Oscars but many will remember him attempting to perform Grieg’s piano concerto with Morecambe and Wise.

He was the jazz virtuoso and legendary conductor of the London Symphony Orchestra who was married five time.

The conductor and composer André Previn has died at the age of 89.
Previn had a long association with the LSO

He was the one of the most talented all-round musicians of the twentieth century; a household name rarely off our television sets in the 1970s.

The London Symphony Orchestra released a statement to say they were “deeply saddened” to hear of his death.

Kathryn McDowell, managing director of the LSO, said: “André Previn is a hugely important part of the LSO story, long before LSO Discovery was established André Previn was reaching out to new audiences far and wide through television.

“A particular highlight for those of us lucky to be in the audience or listening on BBC Radio 3 in June 2015 was his glorious performance of Rachmaninov No 2 in his final concert with us.”

Oscars 2019: What this short speech winner did with his jet ski":

Oscars 2019: What this short speech winner did with his jet ski”:

Last year’s Oscars host Jimmy Kimmel had been looking for ways to keep the ceremony short

Nothing bogs down an event like a long and boring speech.

While a sharp and succinct speech can keep things moving along nicely, a monotonous and rambling speech will often prompt yawns in the audience – whether it’s at a wedding, a birthday party… or the Oscars.

The Academy Awards ceremony often runs to more than three-and-a-half hours, which can be a bit much even for the most fanatical film fan.

So, last year, presenter Jimmy Kimmel came up with an idea to keep things moving.

At the beginning of the 2018 ceremony, the chat show host announced he’d be offering a jet-ski to the winner who delivered the shortest speech of the night.

“I will be timing you. I have a stopwatch,” he said.

“Why waste precious time thanking your mom when you could be taking her for the ride of her life on a brand-new jet-ski?”

And he wasn’t kidding.

Dame Helen Mirren was tasked with presenting the jet-ski to the shortest speech winner

The eventual winner was Mark Bridges, who went home with the prize for best costume design for Phantom Thread.

But his 30-second speech meant he was also the recipient of a jet ski worth $18,000 (£13,800) – which was presented to him by Dame Helen Mirren.

“I have the philosophy that nobody wants to hear the costume designer yammer on about who to thank,” Bridges tells BBC News ahead of this year’s Oscars.

“I want to make it short and sweet.”

Dame Helen Mirren and Mark Bridges

Despite his speech policy, Bridges says his jet ski win was accidental rather than deliberate – as his speech was shorter even than he had intended.

“Basically, I forgot one sentence I was going to say, which was thanking [director] Paul Thomas Anderson more for working with me all these years,” he explains.

“So I guess that’s why it ended up being the shortest speech, because I skipped that sentence… so winning [the jet ski] actually was coincidence.”

Most other winners at last year’s ceremony were unswayed by the prospect of prizes and delivered the long speeches they had planned.

“Obviously I’m not going to win the ski,” best actor winner Gary Oldman joked at the end of his three-minute speech.

Best supporting actor winner Sam Rockwell was more ambitious , commenting when he arrived on stage: “Run that clock, Jimmy, I want to get that ski-jet or whatever that was.”

(Obviously he was unsuccessful too.)

But the whole idea was generally praised by critics for brightening up the ceremony.

“As ‘Oscars too long’ riffs go, the jet-ski business was actually brilliant,” wrote Tasha Robinson in The Verge .

Dave Fawbert of Short List described it as “the funniest part of the Oscars”, praising Kimmel for “Injecting a little levity into proceedings”.

So, the big question, of course, is whether Bridges has now become a regular jet ski user.

Mark Bridges

“No, there were a couple of reasons why I was not going to use that jet ski,” he explains.

“Someone had asked me shortly after I won it whether I’d had any experience on a jet ski. And all I could reply was ‘none good’.

“And also it’s interesting here in America when you win something, then you’re liable for taxes on it, so it was quite expensive jet-ski, so it was quite a bit of money to pay for taxes for it.

“So I thought I’d turn lemons into lemonade, so to speak, and I donated it to the Motion Picture & Television Fund (MPTF). That does a lot of charitable work for people in the industry.”

Bridges explains the MPTF has a senior citizens home and a health facility, adding it’s an organisation he’d wanted to contribute to for a while.

Speech advice

“And I thought they could probably auction it and make some money, and I got a lovely phonecall from [Foundation board chairman] Jeffrey Katzenberg thanking me, and I do think it was a win-win situation, I think they were able to get some influx of donations from it.”

This actually wasn’t the first time the Academy had offered a prize for the shortest speech.

In 2001, it was announced at the Oscar nominees luncheon that the winner who delivered the shortest speech would win a flatscreen TV.

That year, it ended up going to Dutch animator Michael Dudok de Wit, who won for his animated short Father and Daughter.

With his 18-second speech, De Wit won the prize despite not even knowing it was on offer, as he had missed the luncheon.

Not wanting to ship it home to the Netherlands, he instead donated itto an LA-based residential facility for abused children.

Michael Dudok de Wit
Michael Dudok de Wit delivered an 18-second acceptance speech after winning best animated short film in 2001

But Bridges took away more then the jet-ski. As part of the prize, he also won a vacation to Lake Havasu, Arizona.

The very mention of the holiday at the Oscars resulted in a tourism boost for the city.

But, as a result of work commitments immediately after the Oscars, Bridges says he hasn’t yet had the time to take that holiday.

“No, I still have the gift certificate in my drawer some place,” he laughs.

“Although I got a request to go and talk to school children there about water safety – I’m not kidding you.

“And I was like ‘I’m sorry I won’t be able to partake in that at all!’ It was really interesting because there was a moment where winning the jet ski was overshadowing me getting my Oscar.

“I’m all for a gag and everything, it was a fun moment, but that was [too far]!”

Daniel Day-Lewis and Vicky Krieps

Bridges was the costume designer on Phantom Thread, which starred Daniel Day-Lewis and Vicky Krieps

Last year’s Oscar win for costume design was the second for Bridges, who also took home the same prize in 2012 for his work on The Artist.

And he could well find himself nominated again next year. His next project to hit the big screen will be Joker, starring Joaquin Phoenix as the DC Comics character, which is released later this year.

Bridges recalls advice the Academy gave to all nominees back in 2012 in order to keep their speeches succinct – something he clearly paid attention to.

“The Academy used to give you a very informative DVD to give you some suggestions about your speech and how to make it personal and succinct. So I kind of go by the suggestions that they gave.

“It’s already a very long show, and they also have a thank you camera backstage. After you are on the main stage you go backstage and then you’re able to thank people too.

“So rather than bog down the show, I could go backstage and thank my mom and my family and things like that. So nobody gets missed, but a billion people don’t need to listen to you thank your mom for tucking you in at night.”

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Karl Lagerfeld, Chanel fashion designer, dead at 85″:

Karl Lagerfeld often appeared at shows alongside his models

Superstar fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld has died, aged 85, in Paris following a short illness.

The German designer, who was the creative director for Chanel and Fendi, was one of the industry’s most prolific figures and worked up until his death.

His signature ponytail and dark glasses made him an instantly recognisable figure around the world.

Industry heavyweights, including Italian designer Donatella Versace, have issued heartfelt tributes.

“Today the world lost a giant among men,” the editor-in-chief of Vogue magazine, Anna Wintour, said in a statement.

Rumours of Lagerfeld’s ill health had swirled for several weeks after he missed a number of events – including Chanel’s spring/summer show last month.

He died on Tuesday morning after being admitted to hospital the night before, French media report.

As a designer he transformed the fortunes of Chanel, one of the leading names in high fashion, but his work also filtered down to the high street.

Away from his work, Lagerfeld made headlines for a range of provocative, and sometimes offensive, statements.

Who has paid tribute?

Members of the fashion industry have been lining up to praise Lagerfeld’s work.

Donatella Versace said his genius had “touched so many” and was a source of inspiration for her and her late brother.

Anna Wintour described the designer’s “creative genius” as “breathtaking”.

“Karl was brilliant, he was wicked, he was funny, he was generous beyond measure, and he was deeply kind. I will miss him so very much,” her statement went on.

Chanel’s Chief Executive Alain Wertheimer credited Lagerfeld for transforming the brand since he joined in 1983.

“Thanks to his creative genius, generosity and exceptional intuition, Karl Lagerfeld was ahead of his time, which widely contributed to the House of Chanel’s success throughout the world,” he said in a statement.

It has been announced that Virginie Viard, his deputy at fashion house Chanel, will succeed him as creative chief.

Pier Paolo Righi, his own fashion brand’s CEO, described him as a “creative genius”.

“He leaves behind an extraordinary legacy as one of the greatest designers of our time,” a statement from the House of Karl Lagerfeld said.

Celebrities including Victoria Beckham, actress Diane Kruger and models Gigi and Bella Hadid have also paid tribute.

The making of a fashion giant

He was born Karl Otto Lagerfeldt in 1933 in pre-war Germany. Lagerfeld changed his original surname from Lagerfeldt, because he believed it sounded “more commercial”.

He emigrated to Paris as a young teenager, and became a design assistant for Pierre Balmain, before working at Fendi and Chloe in the 1960s.

Karl Lagerfeld
Lagerfeld was photographed on a seaside-themed catwalk at Paris Fashion Week in October 2018

But the designer was best known for his association with the French label Chanel.

He began his long career with the fashion house in 1983, a decade after Coco Chanel died.

Lagerfeld’s designs brought new life to the label, adding glitz to the prim tweed suits the couture house was known for.

The designer worked tirelessly, simultaneously churning out collections for LVMH’s Fendi and his own label, up until his death.

He also collaborated with high street brand H&M – before high-end collaborations became more common.

Karl Lagerfeld with Katy Perry, Cara Delevingne and Claudia Schiffer
Lagerfeld, seen here with Katy Perry (left), Cara Delevingne and Claudia Schiffer (right), was known for mingling with the young and trendy

Lagerfeld was known to encouraged new designers, like Victoria Beckham – who has praised him for his kindness.

Lagerfeld’s own look became famous in his later years – wearing dark suits and leather gloves with a signature white pony-tail and tinted sunglasses.

Lagerfeld said of his appearance: “I am like a caricature of myself, and I like that.”

The designer was known for his scathing wit and provocative comments, famously describing sweatpants as a “sign of defeat”.

However, some of his remarks drew sharp criticism in recent years.

In particular, he sparked outrage by evoking the Holocaust as he attacked Germany’s response to the migrant crisis and and for controversial remarks he made about the #MeToo movement.

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