Sunday, April 15, 2018

God Spits On My Soul

Here, dear blog readers, are the latest on-location photos from the forthcoming eleventh series of Doctor Who.
Yer actual Russell Davies has recently adapted his first Doctor Who episode for a new novel and included some interesting changes to the original story - but if this had you hoping, dear blog reader, that he might return to the series, the former showrunner is putting such speculation to bed. 'People keep asking me if I'll write another episode,' Davies said in the latest issue of the Doctor Who Magazine, where he took over the regular Production Notes column that he used to contribute during his time as showrunner from 2005 to 2010. 'Move on! And besides, why look back? The future is golden. People keep saying, "Oh you're back in Doctor Who, back, back, back."' Big Rusty said of the recent Target novelisation of Rose. 'But ... I never went away! I'm a Doctor Who fan. It's permanent. It's indelible, it's instinct.'
Meanwhile, dear blog reader, somewhere at a book-signing in London ...
The script for the first episode of Doctor Who, as used by William Hartnell, is being auctioned next month. The script for An Unearthly Child is forty three pages long and contains blue pencil annotations made by Hartnell as he was developing the character of The Doctor. It was discovered by the vendor's grandfather whilst refurbishing the home lived in by Hartnell and his wife, Heather, during the time that Hartnell was working on the series. The script featured in an episode of Antiques Roadshow broadcast last Christmas. The script is being sold by Aston's Auctioneers and Valuers at their Film & Music Memorabilia & Comics Auction on Thursday 3 May. It is expected to raise between five and seven grand. From a collector with more money than sense.
TV Comedy Moment Of The Week: 'What is the tell-tale sign, according to [Russian politicians Aleksey Pushkov], that Theresa May drinks a lot?' asked the divine Victoria Coren-Mitchell, hosting a very good episode of Have I Got News For You on Friday evening. 'Is it appointing Boris Johnson Foreign Secretary?' suggested Richard Osman.
'He is a maniac. An anarchist. He is not interested in money or power ... and I am an honest criminal, Jim!' In the week that finally - after two years - the series returned to British TV (albeit, having missed a series out entirely, much to the chagrin of a shitload of viewers who weren't aware of this), Gotham's latest episode in the US - That's Entertainment - was a proper little blinder. Not only did we get a glimpse of a kind of early version of the Batmobile but, also, what appears - at last - to be the origin backstory of The Joker. Reviews can get read here, here, here, here and here.
The MasterChef 2018 winner announced on Friday, was Kenny Tutt. The bank manager and dad-of-two won the BBC cooking competition's trophy, finishing ahead of David Crichton and Nawamin Pinpathomrat. 'Today was one hundred per cent my best cooking in the entire competition everything just fell into place,' the thirty six-year-old said. 'I am just blown away. I have put my heart and soul into it and it's been an absolute pleasure. It's up there with the happiest days of my life!' Judges Gregg Wallace and John Torode were full of praise for Kenny's winning menu, which included a roast scallop and smoked cauliflower starter, squab pigeon breast and bon-bon main, and bitter chocolate and ale ice-cream dessert.
The latest episode of The Simpsons has addressed largely social media-created 'controversy' surrounding the character of Apu for the first time. The Indian-American comic Hari Kondabolu made a documentary last year in which he claimed that the character was 'founded on racial stereotypes.' Sunday's episode made a reference to the accusations. Shopkeeper Apu Nahasapeemapetilon has been part of the long-running animation series since 1990 and is voiced by a white actor - Hank Azaria. Kondabolu told the BBC last year that the character was 'problematic' because he is 'defined by his job' and 'how many children he has' in his arranged marriage. In his documentary, The Problem With Apu, Kondabolu said Apu was one of the only representations of South-East Asians on US television when he was growing up and other children imitated the character to mock him. During the new episode of The Simpsons, Marge and Lisa indirectly discuss the controversy around the characterisation. In the scene, Marge changes a traditional bedtime story to make it more 'politically correct,' but her daughter objects. A distressed Marge then asks her daughter what she is supposed to do. Lisa turns to the camera and says: 'It's hard to say. Something that started a long time ago decades ago, that was applauded and was inoffensive, is now politically incorrect. What can you do?' She then looks at a photograph of Apu by on her bedside. Some people on social media - albeit, no one that you've ever actually heard of - claimed the brief reference brushed off an important debate, while others pointed out that a lot of characters in Springfield are based on broad stereotypes. And, this utter and complete trivial bollocks constitutes 'news', apparently.
Wor Geet Canny Declan Donnelly will host the Britain's Got Toilets live shows without Wor Geet Canny Ant McPartlin, ITV has confirmed. The broadcaster said Dec will host the live shows without his long-term co-presenter 'while Ant steps down from his TV commitments for now.' Due, in no small part, to his forthcoming court appearance. McPartlin was extremely charged with a drink-driving offence last month following a three-vehicle smash in London. He will still feature in the audition episodes of the upcoming series of Britain's Got Toilets, as they were filmed in January. In recent years, the talent show's live semi-finals and final have been screened nightly across a week, usually at the end of May, with the audition shows broadcast in the weeks leading up to it. In a statement released on Tuesday, ITV said: 'We send Ant all our love. And, we know that Dec will do a brilliant job. McPartlin who spent time in rehab last year for painkiller and alcohol addiction, announced after his arrest on 18 March that he was 'stepping down' from his TV roles while he had further treatment. He is due to appear up a'fore The Beak on 16 April. Following his arrest, his publicist said that he was taking time off 'for the foreseeable future.' One episode of ITV's Wor Geet Canny Ant and/or Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway was cancelled and the final two episodes were presented solo by Wor Geet Canny Dec. After the live series finale on Saturday, Donnelly told the audience that the shows had been 'fun' but 'tinged with sadness.' He called for a round of applause for his presenting partner of almost thirty years, saying Wor Geet Canny Ant was 'back at home' and would 'appreciate that.' Although, whether the people whose cars he crashed into would is another matter entirely.
Media watchdog Ofcom - a full-of-their-own-importance politically appointed quango, elected by no one - has rebuked the BBC over a radio interview with climate change sceptic and Tory cocksplash, Lord Lawson last August. It found that Radio 4's Today programme had extremely breached broadcasting rules by 'not sufficiently challenging' the former chancellor of the exchequer. The BBC has admitted the item in question broke its guidelines and said that Lord Lawson should have been challenged 'more robustly' than he was. It is the first time that Ofcom has found the BBC in breach since taking over regulation of the corporation in 2017. 'Statements made about the science of climate change were not challenged sufficiently during this interview, which meant the programme was not duly accurate,' said an Ofcom spokeswoman on Monday. In the interview broadcast on 10 August last year, the ex-chancellor claimed that 'official figures' showed average world temperatures had 'slightly declined'. Which they don't or anything even remotely like it. He also claimed that the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change had 'confirmed' there had not been 'an increase in extreme weather events' for the last ten years. This view, which was also shown to be false by the Met Office, was not challenged on-air by the presenter, Justin Webb. In its ruling, the broadcasting regulator ruled there was 'clear editorial justification for the topic of climate change to be covered. However, in doing so the BBC needed to ensure that the topic was reported with due accuracy and due impartiality. The programme did not clearly signal to listeners that [Lord Lawson's] view on the science of climate change ran counter to the weight of scientific opinion in this field,' Ofcom continued. 'In our view the presenter should have been prepared to provide challenge and context to Lord Lawson's views as appropriate.' The Ofcom ruling follows an incident in 2014, when the BBC itself upheld a complaint over another Today programme interview with Lawson about the same subject. After that appearance, the BBC's editorial complaints unit upheld complaints from three listeners that Today had given 'undue weight' to his repugnant and crappy views and had 'conveyed a misleading impression' of the scientific evidence. 'We've told the BBC we are concerned that this was the second incident of this nature and on the same programme,' said Ofcom's spokeswoman on Monday. The result of which will, hopefully, be that the odious Lawson will be banished from the airwaves forever. Which would be excellent.
Channel Four News has come under fire from viewers after its Sunday night evening news bulletin featured a graphic scene of an accident involving a Formula 1 mechanic. During last week's Bahrain Grand Prix, a Ferrari mechanic was hospitalised following an incident which saw driver Kimi Raikkonen accidentally run over the mechanic's leg during a pit-stop. Ferrari later confirmed that the mechanic, Francesco Cigarini, had been taken to hospital for treatment. He has since had successful surgery on his leg and is currently recovering. Channel Four's Formula 1 coverage team and the F1 world feed - along with Sky F1's coverage of the race - took care not to show the accident in too much detail after it had happened, with C4F1 presenter Steve Jones saying at one point during the post-race analysis show: 'We're not gonna see the guy hurting himself, we're going to censor that out.' However, during the Channel Four News bulletin, the broadcaster reported on the race and showed the incident in graphic detail - prompting 'many' viewers to criticise their decision to show the clip. After the race, Ferrari provided an update on Cigarini and confirmed that he had suffered a rather nasty broken leg. 'Apparently a shinbone and fibula fracture, our thoughts are with Francesco, stay strong,' the account tweeted.
BBC Breakfast's Mike Bushell's interviewed with a group of England's Commonwealth Games swimmers, including Adam Peaty but it took a turn for the worse as he accidentally fell in the pool. Which, to be fair, was bloody funny.
Pauley Perrette has officially wrapped work after fifteen years on NCIS. Since 2003, Perrette has anchored the Naval Criminal Investigative Service team through various shifting personnel line-ups as forensic specialist Abby Sciuto and gained a cult following. Perrette shared some photos from her final day of filming on social media, revealing that some of her last scenes would be shared with Sean Murray, Wilmer Valderrama, Brian Dietzen and Emily Wickersham. Along with a plug that her final episode will be broadcast on 8 May in the US, Perrette made sure to tell her co-stars: 'Love ya'all!'
Geoffrey Rush is 'virtually housebound' and believes that his career has been 'irreparably damaged' following the publication of an allegation against him, his lawyers have claimed. He is extremely suing Sydney's Daily Telegraph for defamation over articles which claimed that he was 'suspected of inappropriate behaviour towards a fellow performer.' Rush, who strenuously denies the allegation, had since endured 'tremendous emotional and social hardship,' court documents said. The newspaper has defended its reports. The articles, published last year, alleged that Rush had been accused of 'behaving inappropriately' during a Sydney Theatre Company production of King Lear in 2015. The allegation was not detailed. The actor accused the newspaper of 'false and spurious claims' when he filed a defamation lawsuit in December. Rush is one of Australia's most celebrated actors, having starred in films including Shine, Elizabeth, Pirates Of The Caribbean and The King's Speech. The newspaper's articles had caused 'ongoing hurt' to the actor, according to documents tendered in the Federal Court of Australia on Monday. This included him 'eating little food, having difficulty sleeping and feeling anxious in public,' his lawyers said. The Oscar-winning actor now regarded his worth to the industry as 'irreparably damaged,' the documents added. 'The applicant has found that as a direct result of the publications he has been constantly associated in Australia and internationally with the Me Too movement,' they detailed. The newspaper has argued that its articles were 'not defamatory' and that it reported 'no accusations of a sexual nature.' Oneor two people even believed them. Last month, Justice Michael Wigney struck out substantial parts of the newspaper's 'defence of truth.' The newspaper has appealed against that decision.
Rebel Wilson will recoup an additional sum for legal costs after being awarded Australia's largest defamation payout, a court has ruled. Wilson successfully sued publisher Bauer Media last year over magazine articles that she said portrayed her as 'a serial liar.' Bauer has appealed against the four and a half million Australian dollar payout. On Thursday, the court confirmed that the publisher would also have to pay 'most' of the actress's legal fees. Australian media reported the costs were 'likely' to exceed one million dollars after the Supreme Court of Victoria rejected Wilson's initial bid for A$1.4 million. The exact sum will be negotiated in a separate court. The size of the defamation payout has generated considerable debate in Australia over whether it could 'stifle journalism' that is claimed to be in the public interest. Wilson has said the articles, published in 2015, contained 'grubby and completely false' allegations that she had lied about her name, age and upbringing in Australia. She said the stories had damaged her career in Hollywood, where she has starred in films including Pitch Perfect and Bridesmaids. Bauer had argued the articles were 'not defamatory,' but a jury was having none of it and sided with the actress. She immediately vowed to give her payout to charity. The publisher's appeal is due to be heard next week. Last month, six Australian media firms lost a bid to appeal against the payout on 'public interest' grounds, after a judge ruled it was not sufficiently different to Bauer's appeal.
Prosecutors in Los Angeles are reported to be 'reviewing' a historical sexual assault accusation against Kevin Spacey, officials have confirmed. Police have filed evidence about an allegation involving an incident with a man in West Hollywood in 1992. More than thirty men have come forward with allegations of sexual misconduct against the Oscar-winning actor in recent months. The Los Angeles Sheriff's Department said on Wednesday that it began investigating the case in December and presented it to the Los Angeles District Attorney office for review earlier this month. No details of the allegation have been released. It is unclear if California's statute of limitations on prosecuting criminal sexual assault, which is normally ten years, would apply. Spacey first became embroiled in controversy last November when the actor Anthony Rapp accused him of a sexual advance in 1986 when he was fourteen and Spacey was twenty six. Spacey claimed to have 'no memory' of the events but, nevertheless, publicly apologised. He has since issued an 'absolute' denial of the other allegations which later emerged. Police in London are investigating three potential criminal cases against him. The Old Vic theatre in London, where he was artistic director, has said that it has received twenty complaints of 'inappropriate behaviour' against him. The controversy has led to the actor being axed from a number of roles, including from Netflix series House Of Cards and the movie All The Money In The World, which was re-shot without him.
American actor and comedian TJ Miller has been charged for 'intentionally reporting a fake bomb threat' whilst travelling on a train, officials said. Miller, who allegedly called police from the train to report a female passenger with 'a bomb in her bag,' was arrested in New York on Monday. The incident, which occurred on 18 March, led to the Amtrak train being searched without any device being found. Miller faces up to five years in The Big House if found guilty of the charge. The actor, who is best known for his role as Erlich Bachman in the US comedy series Silicon Valley, has featured in a number of Hollywood films such as Deadpool and Cloverfield. According to a statement released on Tuesday by the US Attorney for the District of Connecticut, the thirty six-year-old allegedly initially told officers that a woman with 'brown hair and a scarf' was carrying a device on a train travelling from Washington DC to New York. When an investigator called him back, he claimed the woman had 'red hair and a red scarf' and was 'clutching a black suitcase.' He said, according to the statement, that the passenger 'kept checking her bag without taking anything out' and seemed to want to alight the train without it. 'I am worried for everyone on that train, someone has to check that lady out,' he is quoted as saying. The officer on the phone reportedly detected slurring in Miller's voice and asked him if he had consumed any alcohol, to which he replied: 'One glass of red wine.' The Amtrak train was later inspected at a stop in Connecticut and was found not to contain any explosive devices or materials. During the stop, Amtrak officers interviewed a member of staff from the first class area where Miller had earlier been sitting. The member of staff said that Miller 'appeared intoxicated' upon boarding in Washington, that he had 'consumed multiple drinks' on the train and that he had been removed in New York 'owing to his state of intoxication.' Amtrak officers were also told that Miller had been involved in 'hostile exchanges' with a woman in a different row in the same carriage. Miller, who has been released on bail, has not yet commented on the charges. Officials said that the charges - reported on Tuesday - were 'allegations and not evidence of guilt.' However the case is, reportedly, 'being treated as serious' and is being investigated by the FBI's Joint Terrorism Task Force, the Connecticut State Police, Metropolitan Transportation Authority Police Department, Amtrak Police Department, and Westport Police Department.
If you're going to avoid a tough question, you might want to do it a bit more subtly than Amber Rudd did on Sky News this week. The Home Secretary was interviewed about the Home Office's promise that it will spend forty million knicker on a new strategy aimed at tackling violent crime and, unsurprisingly, a Sky News reporter wanted to know where it was going to come from. 'Can I ask about the money? Forty million pounds, it's not new money, it's coming from within the existing Home Office budget? It does seem to suggest that something has to be cut in order to fund it,' he asked. 'No, this is part of the Home Office budget. I am choosing to make sure that serious violence is seen as the priority that it is to me. It ruins lives, it destroys families,' Rudd responded. 'Serious violence, attacking it, reducing it, is a priority for me. That's why we are putting substantial funds, forty million pounds behind it.' Aware that she had, basically, avoided answering the question she'd been asked, the reporter pushed again to find out what was 'going to be cut for it.' After a brief pause (and a voice in the background saying 'we've got another interview'), Rudd decided to continue not answering and just said 'thank you very much' before promptly walking off. So that's cleared that up, then.
Billionaire tyrant Rupert Murdoch's film and media giant Twenty First Century FOX says that it 'is cooperating' with the European Commission after officials raided its FOX Network offices in London. EC competition authorities are reported to have seized documents relating to sport media rights on Tuesday. Other companies involved in sports rights have also received what the EC called 'unannounced inspections.' Which is a nice way of saying 'dawn raids.' It is unclear which other companies were raided and when. 'The commission has concerns that the companies involved may have violated EU anti-trust rules that prohibit cartels and restrictive business practices,' the European Commission said in a statement. 'Unannounced inspections are a preliminary step into suspected anti-competitive practices.' The statement said that it 'does not mean that the companies are guilty of anti-competitive behaviour, nor does it prejudge the outcome of the investigation itself.' One or two people even believed them. Sports broadcasting has become a huge business in Europe and the US, with networks spending billions of knicker to secure exclusive rights to show games in top-flight leagues to attract viewers. FOX Networks Group is an operating unit of FOX, which distributes TV and cable channels and content around the world. 'FOX Networks Group is cooperating fully with the EC inspection,' a spokesman said. Although exactly what would have happened if they had decided not to 'cooperate fully' was not made clear. The move comes amid a shake-up of billionaire tyrant Murdoch's empire. Twenty First Century FOX has agreed to sell most of its entertainment assets, including its stake in Sky, to Disney for over fifty two billion dollars. But in February, US giant Comcast offered thirty one billion notes for Sky. As part of the shake-up and deal with Disney, Twenty First Century is trying to buy the sixty one per cent of Sky it does not own, a proposal which has run into problems with the competition authorities. The Commission said there was no legal deadline to complete inquiries into anti-competitive conduct and EC investigations can be lengthy.
Disney will have to make a full takeover bid for Sky even if the competition regulator quashes billionaire tyrant Rupert Murdoch's eleven billion smackers attempt to buy one hundred per cent of Britain's biggest pay-TV broadcaster, the UK takeover panel has ruled. The owner of Walt Disney Studios has made a bid to take over Twenty First Century FOX. Meanwhile, it is awaiting the outcome of the UK competition regulator's verdict on whether to allow billionaire tyrant Murdoch to buy the sixty one per cent of Sky which he does not already own - a deal that was pending before the Disney transaction. If the Competition and Markets Authority clears billionaire tyrant Murdoch's bid and Disney is, in turn, allowed to complete its FOX deal, then Sky will come under the full ownership of the conglomerate. However, in December Disney turned its attention to an alternative scenario should billionaire tyrant Murdoch's bid for Sky fail. It made a submission to the UK takeover panel, the city watchdog for corporate deals, saying that it 'did not wish to be forced to pursue a full takeover' if billionaire tyrant Murdoch failed to take full control of Sky. Under rule 9.1 of the takeover code, companies are normally forced to make an offer if they buy a stake of thirty per cent or more. Disney argued that owning Sky was 'not a major driver' of its overall FOX deal - which includes buying Hollywood studio Twentieth Century FOX - and so that rule should not apply. The takeover panel disagreed on Thursday. 'The panel executive considers that securing control of Sky might reasonably be considered to be a significant purpose of Disney's acquiring control of FOX,' it said. 'Following the acquisition by Disney of FOX, Disney will be required to make a mandatory offer to the holders of ordinary shares in Sky.' The takeover panel said that if Disney was required to make a separate offer to take control of Sky then it would be at £10.75 a share, the same price that billionaire tyrant Rupert Murdoch has tabled and has been accepted by Sky's directors. Analysts believe that Sky is undervalued: it is trading at thirteen quid per share and could be valued at up to sixteen knicker a share. 'At this stage, Sky shareholders are advised to take no further action,' Sky said in a statement on Thursday. 'Further advice to Sky shareholders will be announced in due course.' Earlier this month, Disney offered to 'investigate' whether adding its ownership to billionaire tyrant Rupert Murdoch's control of the Sun and Times will give them too much power over UK news media. Disney's move would, at a stroke, solve the media plurality issues that have dogged billionaire tyrant Murdoch and blocked deal approval. A frustrated FOX has said it could easily get the deal through by shutting Sky News, a threat it would be unlikely to carry out because of the political fallout. Media regulator Ofcom has said that the loss of Sky News could, itself, 'present risks to plurality equal to or greater than those presented by the transaction itself.' Instead, FOX has beefed up its pledge to make Sky News 'independent' within the Sky operation. FOX has said it will fund Sky News for at least fifteen years, up five years on its previous offer and ten years more than its original proposal.
A businessman fighting for the 'right to be forgotten' has won a UK High Court action against Google. The man, who has not been named 'due to reporting restrictions' surrounding the case (and, due to the fact that he wants to be forgotten, obviously), wanted search results about a past crime he had extremely committed removed from the search engine. The judge, Mr Justice Mark Warby, ruled in his favour on Friday. But he rejected a separate claim made by another businessman who had committed 'a more serious crime.' The businessman who won his case was convicted ten years ago of 'conspiring to intercept communications.' He spent six months in The Big House. The other businessman, who lost his case, was convicted 'more than ten years ago' of 'conspiring to account falsely.' He spent four years in jail. Both had asked Google to remove search results about their convictions, including links to news articles, stating that they were 'no longer relevant.' They took Google to court when it refused to remove the search results. Google said that it would 'accept the rulings.' Not that it could do much else. 'We work hard to comply with the right to be forgotten, but we take great care not to remove search results that are in the public interest,' it said in a statement. 'We are pleased that the court recognised our efforts in this area and we will respect the judgements they have made in this case.' The right to be forgotten is a legal precedent set by the Court of Justice of the European Union in 2014, following a case brought by a Spaniard, Mario Costeja Gonzalez, who had asked Google to remove information about his financial history. Google says that it has removed eight hundred thousand pages from its results following so-called 'right to be forgotten' requests. However, search engines can decline to remove pages if they judge them to 'remain in the public interest.' Explaining the decisions made on Friday, the judge said that one of the men had 'continued to mislead the public' while the other had 'shown remorse.' Although, what the Hell that had to do with the suppression of a matter of public record is another question entirely. The Open Rights Group, which campaigns for Internet freedoms, said that the rulings set a 'legal precedent. The right to be forgotten is meant to apply to information that is no longer relevant but disproportionately impacts a person,' said Jim Killock, executive director. 'The Court will have to balance the public's right to access the historical record, the precise impacts on the person and the public interest.'
Dame Helen Mirren has said that the rise of watching films on streaming services at home is 'devastating' for people who want to make films for the big screen. No shit? And, in other news The Pope is still Catholic, apparently.
Heather Locklear has pleaded extremely not guilty to four counts of battery against a sheriff's officer. Locklear has also pleaded not guilty to another charge of resisting or obstructing a police officer. The former Dynasty actress was represented by a lawyer at Ventura County Superior Court in California on Thursday and did not appear in person. She was arrested on domestic violence charges in February. Those charges were dropped but the other counts remain. According to People magazine, Locklear 'checked into a treatment facility last month.' A pre-trial hearing has been scheduled for 7 June. The actress allegedly resisted arrest when police were called to her home in California 'to deal with a dispute' between her and her boyfriend. Locklear was taken to Ventura County Jail and released after posting bail. She was subsequently charged with the misdemeanour counts of battery and resisting or obstructing an officer. Locklear, who was previously married to Bon Jovi guitarist Richie Sambora, rose to fame as Sammy Jo Carrington in 1980s TV show Dynasty. She later appeared on Melrose Place and the sitcom Spin City.
A Marc Chagall painting stolen from a New York couple's home in 1988 will be returned to the family's estate after nearly thirty years, the FBI says. The 1911 painting, Othello & Desdemona, was taken from Ernest and Rose Heller's apartment with more than a dozen other works of art and jewellery. The Chagall was recovered last year after a Washington, DC gallery owner twice refused to purchase the painting. He told the seller to contact the authorities for proof of ownership. 'We took the case from there,' said Special Agent Marc Hess, a member of the FBI's Art Crime Team. For, such a team does indeed exist - it's not an invention of David Bowie on 1 Outside as this blogger had previously believed. The Maryland man who tried to sell the work had stored it in his attic 'for years' in a customised box which 'he fashioned out of a door jamb and plywood,' according to Hess. He claimed that he was 'given' the painting in the late 1980s or early 1990s by 'another man' who is suspected of having taken it from the Upper East Side building where the Hellers lived, prosecutors said in a court filing on Thursday. The couple owned works of art by Renoir, Picasso, Hopper and Chagall, the bureau added. Heller was a retired jewel importer who died in 1998 and his wife died in 2003. The Maryland man, who has not been named, claimed that he planned to sell the Chagall to a potential buyer, but the deal fell through 'after a dispute over his cut of the earnings,' the FBI said. Instead, he kept the painting in his attic and attempted to sell it in 2011 and again in 2017. The painting, which depicts Shakespeare's Othello holding a sword as he gazes down at his bride, Desdemona, was still marked with the names of its owners, 'Mr & Mrs ES Heller, New York,' when the Maryland man tried to sell it, according to the Washington Post. The art gallery owner wisely rebuffed the offer, noted that it required documents proving ownership and referred the man to the FBI, according to prosecutors. 'Well-documented and known art is very hard to move once it has been stolen,' said FBI Supervisory Special Agent Tim Carpenter. 'Gallery owners are our first line of defence in identifying pieces of art that do not have the appropriate documentation and should be brought to the attention of law enforcement.' Prosecutors asked a court on Thursday to approve the return of the painting to the family's estate to put up for auction. The proceeds will be given to the insurance company which paid the theft claim and to charities supported by the family estate. Statute of limitations laws on the robbery have expired, which means that the suspected thief and the Maryland man who obtained the stolen goods will not face charges. The suspected thief was previously convicted in federal court and served a prison term in connection with selling other stolen property, the agency said. Alan Scott, an attorney for Heller's estate and is the executor for Mrs Heller, told the Washington Post 'of all the works that could have been recovered, this is the one that would have pleased them the most.'
The BBC has defended a decision to broadcast a reading of Enoch Powell's infamous 1968 'Rivers of Blood' speech on Radio 4. The Archive On 4 programme, presented by the BBC's media editor Amol Rajan, will on Saturday broadcast the right-wing MP's anti-immigration speech - voiced by an actor - in full, for the first time. The decision to do so was criticised as 'an incitement to racial hatred' ... by someone you've never heard of. The BBC said that there would be 'rigorous journalistic analysis' and the show was not endorsing controversial views - although only the most stupid bloody idiot in the whole wide world would believe that they were endorsing Powell's views, any more than the Discovery History channel broadcasting a repeat of The World At War were endorsing the views of Adolf Hitler. Christ, dear blog reader, some people really are bone thick. Delivered to local Conservative Party members in Birmingham, days before the second reading of the 1968 Race Relations Bill, Powell referenced observations allegedly made by his Wolverhampton constituents including 'in fifteen or twenty years' time the black man will have the whip hand over the white man.' He ended the speech with a quote from Virgil's Aeneid, when civil war in Italy is predicted with 'the River Tiber foaming with much blood.' Despite some attempts in subsequent years to contextualise aspects of the speech due to its classical allusions by Powell apologists, it undeniably used sickly racist language and sentiments (particularly Powell's reference to 'wide-grinning picaninnies'). The Times newspaper contemporaneously declared it 'an evil speech,' stating 'this is the first time that a serious British politician has appealed to racial hatred in this direct way in our postwar history.' After The Sunday Times branded the speeches 'racialist,' Powell sued for libel, but withdrew his legal action when he was required to provide the letters which he had 'quoted' from in the speech because he had promised anonymity for the writer. Whether Powell himself was a racist per se was also the subject of considerable debate - supporters of the MP, including Leftie-icon Tony Benn (who considered himself a friend of Powell despite their political differences), always argued that he wasn't. Others disagreed. The jury remains out. The anti-immigration speech ended Powell's career in Edward Heath's shadow cabinet. The Race Relations Act made it illegal to refuse housing, employment or public services to people because of their ethnic background. Marking fifty years since the speech, Archive On 4 plans to reflect its 'enduring influence and significance.' The full text will be read by the actor Ian McDiarmid, who played Powell on stage in What Shadows?. Labour peer Lord Adonis called for the broadcast to be cancelled and has written to the regulator Ofcom - like a dirty stinking Copper's Nark nitching to teacher, clearly. The BBC said: 'This is a rigorous journalistic analysis of a historical political speech. It's not an endorsement of the controversial views and people should wait to hear the programme before they judge it.' Ofcom said that its position as a post-broadcast regulator meant it would not 'check or approve any broadcaster's editorial content before transmission.'
Eight Cameroonian athletes have gone missing from their accommodation at the Commonwealth Games in Australia, team officials have confirmed. Press attache Simon Molombe told the BBC that officials viewed it as 'desertion' and added that the missing athletes had 'been reported to Australian police.' The three weightlifters and five boxers were last seen at different times on Monday and Tuesday, he said. Cameroon said the group had valid Australian visas until 15 May. Officials named the missing athletes as weightlifters Olivier Matam Matam, Arcangeline Fouodji Sonkbou and Petit Minkoumba, and boxers Christian Ndzie Tsoye, Simplice Fotsala, Arsene Fokou, Ulrich Yombo and Christelle Ndiang. 'The authorities are very disappointed with the deserters - some did not even compete,' Molombe said. 'The pious hope is that they come back to the village and travel home with the others.' The Australian government has warned athletes against overstaying their visas. The Commonwealth Games Federation said that it would 'monitor the situation' but athletes had 'the right to travel freely' on their visas. The Australian Federal Police has been notified of the development, according to Kate Jones, a Queensland state government minister. In 2012, seven Cameroonian athletes disappeared whilst in London for the Olympics.
Yer actual Keith Telly Topping's beloved (though unsellable) Newcastle United passed the forty-point mark and all-but guarantee their Premier League future by beating The Arse, whose terrible away record in 2018 continued. Matt Ritchie's sixty eighth-minute goal earned The Magpies their fourth straight league win and put them on forty one points with five games remaining, thirteen points clear of relegation. They remain in tenth place. Roared on by a buoyant home support, this was another highly efficient, hugely impressive performance from The Magpies. Having started the year in deep relegation trouble, they are now on course for a top-half finish. This was their fourth successive victory and puts them just one point behind a far more expensively assembled Everton side. Given the transfer budget (or, lack of it) at his disposal and the fact they have operated with a squad largely made up of the same players who came up from The Championship last season, Rafa Benitez arguably deserves to at least make the shortlist for manager of the year. The Arse, who reached the Europa League semi-finals with an aggregate win over CSKA Moscow in Russia on Thursday, are yet to earn an away point in the league this calendar year and, on Sunday, Arsene Wenger's always twisty face was even more twisty than usual. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette, playing for the first time together, had linked up for The Arse's opener in the fourteenth minute. The Gabon striker received Shkodran Mustafi's chip and clipped the ball to the far post for the arriving Lacazette to slide in and score. Ayoze Perez equalised just before the half-hour mark, running past Shkodran Mustafi, to delightfully guide in DeAndre Yedlin's cross at the near post. Calum Chambers should have put The Arse back in front towards the end of the half, but he pushed an attempt wide as he slid in to meet Mustafi's header. It took until the sixty seventh minute for either side to have clear cut chance in the second half, with Ritchie then getting the winner a minute later. Nacho Monreal failed to clear the ball and substitute Islam Slimani's header was flicked on by Perez into the path of Ritchie, who coolly steered his shot past Petr Cech. Kenedy almost made it three, his deflected shot looping up and hitting the bar. There were some nervy moments in the closing stages for Newcastle as The Arse pressed for an equaliser, but United - for whom the central midfield duo of Jonjo Shelvy and Mo Diame were outstanding - held on for a vital win.
Elsewhere, Sheikh Yer Man City remain on the brink of winning the Premier League as they bounced back from their Champions League exit with victory against Stottingtot Hotshot at Wembley. Pep Guardiola's side need just three points to be crowned champions, but they will win the title if second-placed The Scum lose to West Bromwich Albinos on Sunday or to Bournemouth on Wednesday. Otherwise a City victory in their next game against Swansea on 22 April will be enough. It was a morale-boosting three-one win for City after the disappointment of Tuesday's defeat to The Liverpool Alabama Yee-Haws in the Champions League quarter-finals. Harry Kane, meanwhile, reportedly claimed not only Spurs' goal but, also, all three of City's. And, speaking of Liverpool, manager Herr Klopp said that it is 'crazy' the amount of goals The Reds have scored this season after an 'exceptional' three-nil victory over Bournemouth took their tally up to one hundred and twenty one in all competitions. He added that their display ended an 'outstanding week' as Mohamed Salah scored his thirtieth Premier League goal to help The Yee-Haws move to within a point of second-placed The Scum. Moscow Chelski FC manager Antonio Conte says his team showed 'the right fire in our eyes' as they mounted a comeback from two-nil down to win at relegation-haunted Southampton. The victory - thanks to three goals in eight second-half minutes - kept alive Chelski's faint hopes of a top-four finish in the Premier League. Dusan Tadic's opener, a placed effort following Ryan Bertrand's marauding run and Polish defender Jan Bednarek's left-footed shot looked to be lifting The Saints out of the bottom three. But, with Mark Hughes seemingly on course for a first league victory as Southampton manager since arriving on 14 March, the entrance of substitute Olivier Giroud, who scored twice, sparked a listless Chelski into life. Burnley's Sean Dyche is refusing to get carried away with the prospect of featuring in Europe next season despite seeing his side take a significant step towards qualifying for the Europa League with victory over Leicester City. Chris Wood scored against his former club while Kevin Long headed a second as The Clarets made it a five straight league wins. Dyche's side are seventh in the Premier League, which will be enough to qualify for the Europa League unless Southampton win the FA Cup. Crystal Palace manager Roy Hodgson said that his side 'did it the hard way' by winning a five-goal thriller against Brighton & Hove Albinos to move six points clear of the relegation zone. In the opening thirty four minutes, Palace scored three goals in a scintillating attacking display but twice conceded their two-goal lead. Huddersfield manager David Wagner said his side's 'job isn't done' despite an 'emotional' late victory over Watford that moved them seven points clear of the relegation zone. Substitute Tom Ince's goal in injury time won the match for The Terriers with their first shot on target against well organised opponents at the John Smith's Stadium. A one-all draw with Everton also eased Swansea's relegation worries. They are now fourth bottom but, with thirty three points, are five clear of Southampton and six clear of Dirty Stoke.
Cardiff left it late but kept themselves on course for a Championship automatic promotion place, while The Middlesbrough Smog Monsters boosted their play-off hopes. Neil Warnock's side had to dig deep to earn a vital three points at Norwich, which moved them above Fulham and back into second place. Fulham could have kept up their own automatic promotion charge but Neal Maupay struck a ninety fourth-minute leveller to earn Brentford a one-all draw - and promote Wolverhampton Wanderings in the process. Boro stormed into the play-off places after coming from behind to beat Bristol City two-one at The Riverside Stadium. Veteran striker Steve Morison struck his fifth goal of the season for Millwall as they came back to draw against fellow play-off hopefuls Sheffield United in the early kick-off. Derby slipped out of the top six, but Burton moved off the bottom and to within five points of safety after a three-one victory over the Rams at the Pirelli Stadium. Blunderland slipped to the foot of the table and remain six points below Notlob after drawing at Reading. The Mackem Filth now have just three games to save themselves from the ignominy of relegation to the third tear for the first time since 1987. Liam Kelly gave The Royals the lead from the penalty spot after Lee Camp brought down Jon Dadi Bodvarsson in the box. Paddy McNair fired home a stunning equaliser for The Black Cats just after the break before Lee Cattermole's first goal since August 2014 put the visitors in front in the sixty sixth minute. Yann Kermorgant restored parity for Reading with eleven minutes remaining to leave Chris Coleman's side on the brink of a second straight relegation. Which, admittedly, would be effing hilarious. Wigan remained top of League One but were forced to settle for a goalless draw at home to fourth-placed Rotherham. Chris Lines volleyed an injury-time equaliser as Bristol Rovers dented Blackburn Vindaloo's automatic-promotion hopes with a draw at The Memorial Stadium. Bradford City recovered from their humiliating defeat at Blackpool by taking a hard-earned point from a fiercely-fought goalless draw with ten-man Shrewsbury Town at Valley Parade on Thursday. The third-placed visitors lost Omar Beckles, who had been booked in the first half, to a red card for his reckless tackle on former Shrewsbury defender Nathaniel Knight-Percival on the hour. Bury were relegated to League Two following a three-two defeat at home by Northampton that also kept the visitors' slim survival hopes alive. Accrington Stanley's automatic promotion bid from League Two is on hold after they were held to a draw by Exeter. Table-topping Stanley needed a win over The Grecians to secure promotion to the third tier of English football for the first time in their history - but a draw means all the focus is now on Tuesday's home game with Yeovil. Luton are also on the brink of promotion to League One after racking up their third successive home win by beating Crewe. Wycombe remain in the automatic promotion places in as substitute Randell Williams' late goal gave them a narrow win at Yeovil. Promotion-chasers Notts County put in a strong second-half performance to claim a comeback win at Colchester United. The Magpies trailed at the break to Drey Wright's opener but scored three goals after half-time to seal victory at The Community Stadium.
Referee Michael Oliver has 'a bag of rubbish for a heart,' according to Gianluigi Buffon after Juventus were knocked out of the Champions League by Real Madrid this week. Oliver awarded an injury-time penalty to Real for Mehdi Benatia's foul on Lucas Vazquez and Buffon was subsequently sent off for his protestations. 'It was certainly a dubious incident. Not clear-cut,' Buffon told Italian television. Buffon also told Italian media that Oliver should 'sit in the stands eating crisps' for 'ruining a dream.' Real had led three-nil after the first leg, but saw their advantage wiped out at the Bernabeu through two Mario Mandzukic headers and Blaise Matuidi's opportunistic strike after Keylor Navas' error. But with the tie heading to extra time, Oliver adjudged Juve defender Benatia had brought down Vazquez in the box and pointed to the spot. Cristiano Ronaldo scored the penalty. Buffon took his protestations too far and was given his first Champions League red card on his six hundred and fiftieth appearance for The Shitty Hunchbacks. The Juve captain said after the game: 'It was a tenth of a penalty. I know the referee saw what he saw, but it was certainly a dubious incident. Not clear-cut. And a dubious incident at the ninety third minute when we had a clear penalty denied in the first leg, you cannot award that at this point. The team gave its all, but a human being cannot destroy dreams like that at the end of an extraordinary comeback on a dubious situation. Clearly you cannot have a heart in your chest, but a bag of rubbish. On top of that, if you don't have the character to walk on a pitch like this in a stadium like this, you can sit in the stands with your wife, your kids, having your drink and eating crisps. You cannot ruin the dreams of a team. I could've told the referee anything at that moment, but he had to understand the degree of the disaster he was creating. If you can't handle the pressure and have the courage to make a decision, then you should just sit in the stands and eat your crisps.' Holders Real reached the last four for the eighth consecutive season, joining The Liverpool Alabama Yee-Haws, AS Roma and Fußball-Club Bayern München in Friday's draw in Nyon.
Sunday morning football is 'a powder keg waiting to explode,' according to a referee who is quitting after allegedly being assaulted by a player for the second time in his career. Ross Hawkes claims that he was attacked by a Brereton Town player last weekend while in the process of sending him off for dissent during a cup game against fellow Cannock Chase League side Talbot FC. The thirty six-year-old claims that he was punched and kicked, leaving him with a cut eye and injuries to his legs. The game was abandoned and Staffordshire Police say it is 'investigating' reports of an assault. The incident comes seven years after Hawkes - who is paid thirty quid per game - was assaulted by another player. 'I have been assaulted twice and it has got worse. The third assault? I do not like to think what that might be,' Hawkes told the BBC Sport website. 'I do not think I can carry on or want to - the risks are too dangerous. Why should I put up with that on a Sunday morning? No amount of money would make it acceptable.' The Football Association says that it has 'offered support' to Hawkes and 'a disciplinary process will take place at an appropriate time.' In a statement, Brereton said 'measures have already been instigated to deal with the incident' and that they 'do not condone any aggressive or disrespectful behaviour.' The father-of-two from Staffordshire, who has been a qualified referee for twenty years, says that he has 'seen a trend' of players 'becoming more physical' towards officials. 'Verbal anger, threats and aggression are not working on referees because we have become immune to it,' said the journalism lecturer. 'You start to see them bumping you, jabbing you in the chest to make their point. To me, the next logical step is what happened to me. My fear is what happens after this? What does it take to realise Sunday morning football has a huge problem. It is a powder keg waiting to explode. Players are getting away with what they like. There is no sense or acknowledgement that this is a massive issue - someone will go a step too far.' Hawkes said that he was 'thankful' that players from both teams stepped in to stop the attack.
Yer actual Keith Telly Topping's beloved (though unsellable) Newcastle United have been fined seven-and-a-half grand after admitting breaching rules over their under-eighteen side wearing kits bearing the logo of a betting company. The Magpies are currently sponsored by China-based online gaming firm Fun88 - much to the acute embarrassment of many of their supporters, this blogger included. Although, arguably, being sponsored by a betting company is slightly preferable to United's previous sponsors, the pay-day lenders Wonga. The Football Association said that Newcastle, who were charged last month, were in breach of their kit and advertising regulations. FA rules say 'services and related activities such as alcohol and gambling' cannot be worn by U18 teams. This is the same FA, presumably, whose second-tier competition - in which a number of under eighteen year olds regularly play - is sponsored by Sky Bet? Oh, the irony.
A council has said its street lights 'do not cause cancer or induce miscarriages' after 'conspiracy stories' spread online. In a Facebook post, Gateshead Council added that the lights 'will not induce nosebleeds and they are not killing all the birds and insects.' Although, to paraphrase the late Mandy Rice-Davies, 'well they would say that, wouldn't they?' The authority said that it was 'reassuring' residents after 'false stories' about it using 5G had 'frightened people.' Though it should, perhaps, have said that 'reassuring' gullible cretins who believe any old shit they read on the Interweb after 'false stories' about it using 5G had 'frightened gullible cretins who believe any old shit they read on the Interweb.' Or, something similar. Its statement came after 'some people' allegedly 'expressed concerns' to their councillor. How many people constitutes 'some people' and what their collective IQ was, the Facebook post did not state. Which is an opportunity missed, one could suggest. The authority clarified that it had 'never' used fifth generation mobile technology. 'Please be assured that there is no scientific basis or credible evidence for any of these scare stories about street lights causing cancer and other illnesses,' its post read. 'We've taken advice from Public Health England who reviewed guidance issued by the World Health Organisation, the International Commission on Non-Ionising Radiation and others and they have confirmed that there is no risk. These tales are completely untrue and you should ignore them.' It said that the post was 'intended to set the record straight.'
An Australian woman who faked having terminal cancer before scamming money from friends of her family has been jailed for three months. Hanna Dickenson, accepted forty two thousand Australian dollars after telling her parents that she 'needed medical treatment overseas.' Her parents had received donations from their friends, a court was told. It heard that Dickenson spent 'much of the money' on 'holidays and socialising.' A judge called the scam 'despicable.' Dickenson had pleaded extremely guilty in the Melbourne Magistrates' Court to seven charges of obtaining property by deception. In sentencing, magistrate David Starvaggi said that Dickenson had 'engaged in conduct that tears at the very heartstrings of human nature. People's desire to assist and social trust has been breached. These are people who worked hard and dug into their own pockets,' he said. The court was told that one person donated ten thousand dollars to Dickenson after being discharged from hospital following his own cancer treatment. Another person gave money on four separate occasions. The ruse was uncovered when another donor 'raised suspicions' with police after seeing pictures of Dickenson on Facebook. Dickenson's lawyer, Beverley Lindsay, argued that her client should be spared jail because she had 'turned her life around.' She also compared the deception to one involving an Australian celebrity blogger, Belle Gibson, who was fined four hundred thousand dollars last year after falsely claiming to have 'beaten' brain cancer. Lindsay argued that her client's offending was 'less severe' than Gibson's. However Starvaggi said that the cases were 'not directly comparable' and that the court needed to 'deter others from engaging in similar conduct.' Lindsay said that her client was likely to appeal the sentence.
A French court has frozen the estate assets and royalties of the late French rock and/or roll singer Johnny Hallyday while it deliberates on his will. The singer died of cancer in December and left everything to his fourth wife Laeticia and their adopted daughters. His older children are contesting this as French law forbids children from being excluded from inheritance. French media speculates that the rock star left up to one hundred million Euros. A posthumous CD, expected to be a big seller, is due out in 2018. The court in Nanterre ruled against that Halliday's two children from a previous marriage and relationship - the singer David Hallyday and the actress Laura Smet - 'having a say' on the release and promotion of the CD. Hallyday, who was hugely popular in his native France, sold more than one hundred million records in a nearly sixty-year career. In 2014 he filed a will in California, where he had a home and was domiciled for tax purposes. While details of the rock star's will have not been made public, the older children's lawyers say everything - including a Swiss chalet and property in the Caribbean - was left to Laeticia, his fourth wife and their daughters, Jade and Joy. His older children say the will contravenes French inheritance laws that bar this from happening. A judge will now have to weigh up whether Hallyday when he died of lung cancer in France, was a US or French resident, thereby deciding if his will breaks French law.
A 'masterplan' to boost Liverpool's 'Be-Atles Quarter' is to be created. The Be-Atles were a popular beat combo of the 1960s, you might've heard of them. Liverpool City Council is proposing a 'regeneration area' around Mathew Street, where the Cavern Club once stood. The aim was to bring an 'enhanced and more co-ordinated Be-Atles tourism offer' to the area, the council said. City Mayor Joe Anderson said that there was 'a need to improve' the area's twenty four-hour appeal as the current offer was 'not at the level it could and should be.' The plans could involve the redevelopment of derelict and under-used buildings and the creation of 'a more defined and useable public open space.' If approved, the regeneration work would focus on the area from Victoria and North John Street to Lord Street and Stanley Street. The council said the city's 'Be-Atles-related industry' had been growing at up to fifteen per cent annually in the last decade and was worth ninety million knicker a year. A spokesman said Cavern City Tours and the Cavern Club, the venue built - more or less - on the site of its namesake nightclub using the original plans, now attracted eight hundred thousand visitors a year. However, a report to the council said visitors were 'increasingly looking for a quality experiential visit' and there was 'a clear need to curate a Be-Atles Heritage offer.' The original Cavern Club opened as a jazz venue in January 1957; The Be-Atles first performed there on 9 February 1961, though alcoholic wife-beating Scouse junkie John Lennon, Sir Paul McCartney and yer actual Sir Ringo Starr had previously taken the stage with different groups - Lennon and McCartney with The Quarry Men and Starr with The Eddie Clayton Skiffle Group and Rory Storm & The Hurricanes. The last of the group's two hundred and ninety two performances at the Cavern came on 3 August 1963. The fact that they played the gaff two hundred and ninety two times isn't so remarkable in and of itself, of course. The fact that someone was counting probably was. In 1973, the buildings above the original club were demolished and the club was closed and filled in with rubble. It was later rebuilt using the original plans and many original bricks and reopened on 26 April 1984. On the other side of the road was the building housing Eric's the nightclub at which many of the next generation of Liverpool bands got themselves together in the 1970s. The council spokesman said the plan would include the granting of compulsory purchase powers and be based on the findings of a 'scrutiny panel' review of the area. The alternative 'do nothing option' would result in 'a missed opportunity to capitalise on the Be-Atles offer and connect with the wider city music offer,' the report said. Anderson said there was a 'unique' chance to 'establish an experience no other city can offer and one which will sustain thousands of jobs, for generations to come.' The proposals will go before the council's cabinet on 20 April, ahead of a public consultation in the autumn.
The door to Bob Dylan's room at the iconic Chelsea Hotel in New York has sold at auction for one hundred thousand bucks. It was one of fifty doors from the hotel, where a host of stars stayed over the years, to be sold. The door to a room used by Janis Joplin and Leonard Cohen during an affair they were conducting, as well as Joni Mitchell, fetched eighty five thousand. A former tenant 'acquired' the doors after renovation work began in 2011. The hotel, built in the 1880s, became a long-term residence for generations of singers, bohemians and writers. Jack Kerouac wrote On The Road while staying there in the 1950s. The door to his room sold at auction for thirty thousand bucks. The hotel also served as a residence for Mark Twain and Tom Wolfe and science fiction author Arthur C Clarke wrote the screenplay for 2001: A Space Odyssey there. Dylan stayed at the hotel in 1965 and, famously, wrote the song 'Sad Eyed Lady Of The Lowlands' for his wife, Sara, whilst there. The most infamous incident to take place in the building came in 1978, when Sid Vicious was extremely charged with murder after his girlfriend Nancy Spungen was found stabbed to death in the room they shared. Other doors to go under the hammer at Guernsey's auction house included that of the actress Edie Sedgwick's room, where artist Andy Warhol filmed Chelsea Girls. It sold for over fifty two grand. The door to Jimi Hendrix's room went for thirteen thousand. The door to a room used by Madonna, actress Isabella Rosselini and filmmaker Shirley Clarke also sold for thirteen thousand. The doors were 'rescued' by a former tenant, Jim Georgiou, who saw them being thrown away and 'arranged' to 'take possession' of them. 'For me they were history and beauty and connected to my heart. They're precious because there are so many people who've been through them,' he told the New York Times. The building was designated a city landmark in 1966 and was sold in 2016 to a group of investors. It stopped taking new bookings in 2011 but a small group of long-term residents are still living on the upper floors while the renovation work continues.
Film lovers are mourning director Milos Forman, who won Oscars for One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest and Amadeus. The Czech-born film-maker, who was eighty six, was one of a small number of foreign directors to enjoy lasting commercial and critical success in Hollywood. One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest starred Jack Nicholson and won five Oscars in 1976, while 1984's Amadeus won eight. Forman's other English-language films included 1996's The People Versus Larry Flynt, which earned him his third best director Oscar nomination and 1999's Man On The Moon. Antonio Banderas, who has said he was inspired to become an actor when he watched Forman's 1979 adaptation of the musical Hair, described him as 'a genius of cinematography and master in the portrayal of the human condition.' Forman was born in the Czech town of Caslav in 1932; after the Nazi occupation of Czechoslovakia, both his mother and father died in concentration camps. (Forman later discovered that his biological father was actually a Jewish architect who had survived the war and escaped to South America.) After being raised by relatives, Forman joined the Prague Film Academy and began writing scripts in the late 1950s, gradually moving up the ranks in the postwar Czechoslovak industry. His debut as director, Black Peter, about a teenager in his first job, incurred the ire of the Communist authorities for its 'irreverent attitude,' but after its prize-winning appearance at the Locarno film festival enabled Forman to continue directing. His next film, A Blonde In Love – inspired by a real-life incident in which Forman came across a young woman who had been duped and abandoned by her lover – established the free-wheeling, semi-documentary style which became his trademark in this period and made Forman a key figure in the burgeoning Czech new wave. It was nominated for the best foreign language film Oscar, as was the follow-up, The Fireman's Ball – a brilliantly scabrous account of a chaotic official social event that again incurred the wrath of the Communist authorities. The Fireman's Ball was released in 1967 and Forman was then invited to the US by Paramount Pictures to make a film in America. After attempting to get the rights to the musical Hair, Forman began work on an original screenplay, for Taking Off. In August 1968 Czechoslovakia was invaded by Warsaw Pact forces aiming to suppress Alexander Dubček's 'Prague Spring' liberalising reforms; Forman opted to stay in the US, where he was joined by fellow Czech director Ivan Passer. Taking Off was a commercial flop on its release in 1970 and Forman suffered a breakdown, living in the Chelsea Hotel in New York but determined not to return to Czechslovakia. At his lowest point he was offered the chance to direct One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest, another anti-authoritarian parable adapted from Ken Kesey's novel. Producer Michael Douglas later told the Guardian that the hiring of Forman was on the strength of The Fireman's Ball: 'It took place in one enclosed situation, with a plethora of unique characters he had the ability to juggle.' With a cast led by Nicholson at the height of his powers, Cuckoo's Nest emerged as a massive success, a seminal product of the New Hollywood. It was one of the biggest box office hits of 1975, taking more than one hundred million dollars and it became only the second film in history to win Oscars for best picture, director, actor, actress and screenplay. 'To me it was not just literature but real life, the life I lived in Czechoslovakia from my birth in 1932 until 1968,' Forman once said. 'The Communist Party was my Nurse Ratched, telling me what I could and could not do.' Forman returned to Hair for a follow-up, then moved on to Ragtime, an adaptation of EL Doctorow's novel – the latter secured eight Oscar nominations (though failed to win any). Forman then had another huge success with Amadeus, a film version of Peter Shaffer's play about the rivalry between Mozart and Antonio Salieri; it won eight Oscars, including Forman's second for best director. Valmont, Forman's 1989 adaptation of Les Liaisons Dangereuses, proved something of an anticlimax as another version, directed by Stephen Frears and containing a star-making performance from John Malkovich, had been released the previous year. However, Forman re-emerged with The People Versus Larry Flynt, a biopic of the pornography publisher that Forman framed as another anti-authority fable. His next film Man On The Moon, about the eccentric comedian Andy Kaufman and starring Jim Carrey, was not a commercial success - despite an R.E.M. soundtrack - but has received considerable attention after the recent documentary Jim & Andy: The Great Beyond, which revealed Carrey's unusual performance methods. Forman's final completed film, Goya's Ghosts, was released in 2006, though he did continue to appear in films, including the 2011 French movie The Beloved, which was the closing film of the Cannes film festival that year. When Forman was honoured with a lifetime achievement award from the Directors' Guild of America in 2012, the guild's president Taylor Hackford said he 'finds the universality of the human experience in every story.' Forman was married to the actresses Jana Brejchova and Vera Kresadlova, having twin boys with the latter. In 1999, he married screenwriter Martina Zborilova, with whom he also had twin sons, Andrew and James. He died on Friday in the US after a short illness, Martina told Czech news agency CTK. 'His departure was calm and he was surrounded the whole time by his family and his closest friends,' she said.
The actor Alex Beckett - who played Barney Lumsden from Perfect Curve in the BBC comedy W1A - has died suddenly, his agent has confirmed. Beckett was also known for his theatre work and had been starring in The Way Of The World at the Donmar Warehouse since last month. The rest of this week's shows have been cancelled as a mark of respect. He was described by acting agent Gavin Denton-Jones as 'a wonderful man and a hugely talented actor.' He added: 'Our thoughts are with his family and we kindly ask that their privacy be respected at this difficult time.' The Welsh actor had been playing Waitwell in the restoration comedy by William Congreve, first performed in 1700. It opened to positive reviews last week, having been in previews since 29 March. It has been due to run until 26 May. Shane Allen, controller of comedy commissioning at the BBC, said: 'We're all incredibly crushed to hear of Alex's untimely death. He was a very prolific, versatile and much admired comedy star whose role as Barney Lumsden in both Twenty Twelve and W1A was a key ingredient of their success. We think of him fondly and our hearts go out to his family and friends at this painfully sad time.' In W1A and Twenty Twelve, Beckett's character was part of the quirky brand consultancy agency Perfect Curve, led by Jessica Hynes. Josie Rourke and Kate Pakenham of the Donmar Warehouse added: 'We are deeply shocked by the tragic loss of our dear friend and brilliant actor Alex Beckett, a much-loved member of The Way Of The World company. Our thoughts are with his family and close friends at this incredibly sad time.'
And, finally ...