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Simon Cowell breaks his back while testing electric bicycle | Ents & Arts News



Simon Cowell has broken his back while testing his new electric bicycle at his home in California.

The music mogul, 60, was trying out the bike in the courtyard of his Malibu home when he fell off.

A spokesperson for Cowell said he was due to have surgery on Saturday evening.

He is currently under observation in hospital and is said to be fine.

Cowell is the creator of America’s Got Talent and serves as a judge on the show.

He has also been the judge on Britain’s Got Talent, The X Factor and American Idol.



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Backstage with… celebrity photographer Rankin | Ents & Arts News


As he talks over Zoom, photographer John Rankin Waddell sits in front of his portraits of the Queen and Rolling Stones musician Ronnie Wood.

“It makes it seem like I’m promoting myself…it just happens to be here,” he says.

“I’m not going ‘Hey, look at these two. This is my friend here and I’m waiting for a CBE.'”

The pair are some of the many celebrities he’s photographed over the years, ranging from fashion icons to musical stars. Rarely do Gordon Brown, Azealia Banks, Kate Moss, and Jay Z all have something in common.

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Rankin has photographed some of the best known celebrities and co-created cult fashion magazine Dazed

But now Rankin (the only person who calls him John, he says, “is the police”) is looking for photos from the public. His new Sky Arts show is aimed at capturing this unique moment in history.

Rankin’s 2020 is an open access, crowd-sourced photo programme of six parts, each with a different category,” he tells Sky’s Backstage podcast.

“What I’m looking for is people that haven’t really taken pictures before, as well as professionals and amateurs, [to] make a document of what’s happened in the last six months.”

Photos could have been taken just before or during the pandemic, and can be submitted for consideration for the show by using #2020Rankin on Instagram.

The photographer has come up with six different categories – fun, beauty, family, empathy, self, and nature.

“I think empathy is one of my favourites,” Rankin says.

“We’ve all had to really deep dig deep into kind of how we empathise with people.

“I’m looking for an emotional connection when people take the pictures.

“Think about the camera that you’ve got as a window into your world.”

:: Listen to the Backstage podcast on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Spreaker

Rankin himself has recently opened windows into the lives of those on the frontline in the battle against coronavirus.

His most recent project saw him taking portraits of NHS staff, and sharing their stories with the public.

The photographer now says he wants people at home to also document their stories in what he describes as a “first”.

“We can really create a legacy for this period and really, actually, get sort of underneath the surface of the data and all the statistics that we’re always told,” he says.

“What’s going on in your lives? What’s going on in care homes? What’s going on in hospitals? You can take these pictures and it can become this document of exactly what’s happened.”

Jack Hannay Manikum, 111 call handler, West Midlands Ambulance Service
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Rankin’s most recent project saw him take portraits of frontline NHS workers, who are helping the UK beat COVID-19

As well as being known for his skills behind the camera, Rankin is also the co-creator of cult fashion magazine Dazed (then Dazed and Confused), along with Jefferson Hack.

The pandemic has seen print take a hit, most notably Q, which closed publication last month after 34 years. Rankin previously did shoots for the music magazine and says it was a sad moment.

“I think that through this type of adversity, really good things will come out of it. We started Dazed and Confused magazine in a recession during the late 80s, early 90s,” he says.

“I think it does create the atmosphere and the right alchemy to be very, very creative.

“What I love about this project is it’s really a kind of call to arms to go. Get out there and do something, take some pictures or go back and look at what you shot and see and consider it.

“When you look at your own work,” he adds, “when I look at my archive, it compels me and excites me and inspires me to go and do more work.”

Rankin's 2020 photo search will air on Sky Arts
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Rankin’s 2020 photo search will air for free on Sky Arts from September. Pic: Sky Arts

Authenticity is key for this project, he indicates. He’s less of a fan of “two-dimensional, selfie surface, filter stuff”.

“People are becoming authentic. They’re telling their own stories.

“That power is something I want them to harness.”

Rankin’s 2020 will air on Sky Arts this September when the channel becomes free for everyone across the UK to watch on Freeview. It will also be available on streaming service NOW TV.

You can listen to more of Rankin’s interview on this week’s edition of Backstage, Sky’s entertainment podcast.



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I’m A Celebrity: Reality show swaps sweltering Australian jungle for cold British castle | UK News



The stars of I’m A Celebrity … Get Me Out of Here” will be swapping their shorts for thermals this year as the show abandons the sweltering Australian jungle for a cold British castle.

Broadcaster ITV has announced that this year it will hold the reality TV show in a UK castle in winter – without revealing the exact location – instead of heading “down under” as coronavirus restrictions make global travel difficult.

The popular programme forces a group of celebrities to take part in “Bushtucker Trials” to win food, compete for a public vote and avoid elimination.

The 2019 launch show was viewed by more than 13 million people, making it ITV’s most-watched programme of the year.

ITV said the trials and challenges of the 20th series would stay in the same format despite the change of scenery.

Director of Entertainment at ITV Studios, Richard Cowles, said the broadcaster “pulled out all the stops to try and make the series happen in Australia”.

“Unfortunately, due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and despite us looking at many different contingencies, it became apparent that it just wasn’t possible.”

Since the second series in 2003, I’m A Celebrity has taken place in New South Wales, inside Murwillumbah’s Springbrook National Park.

ITV, Britain’s biggest commercial free-to-air broadcaster, has been severely hit by the pandemic, cancelling production shows and facing tumbling advertising.



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Gwyneth Paltrow reflects on ‘conscious uncoupling’ backlash after Chris Martin split | Ents & Arts News


Gwyneth Paltrow has spoken about the backlash she faced for using the term “conscious uncoupling” when announcing her split with her first husband Chris Martin.

The Shakespeare in Love actress, 47, and Coldplay frontman, 43, announced in March 2014 they would be divorcing after 10 years of marriage.

In an article for next month’s issue of British Vogue, Paltrow said she knew the celebrity split would get attention, but nothing could have prepared her for the public mockery over their choice of terminology.

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Paltrow and Chris Martin in February 2003, five months after they met

“The public’s surprise gave way quickly to ire and derision,” she wrote.

“A strange combination of mockery and anger that I had never seen.

“The intensity of the response saw me bury my head in the sand deeper than I ever had in my very public life.”

She revealed how she realised her marriage was over while celebrating her 38th birthday in the Tuscan countryside – three years before the couple announced they were separating.

More from Gwyneth Paltrow

“I knew it. It was in my bones,” she said.

“We just didn’t quite fit together. There was always a bit of unease and unrest. But man, did we love our children.”

Chris Martin and Gwyneth Paltrow
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Martin and Paltrow in January 2014, two months before they announced their break-up

She said she had never before heard of the phrase “conscious uncoupling”.

“Frankly, the term sounded a bit full of itself, painfully progressive and hard to swallow,” she said.

But it was an idea introduced to her and Martin by their therapist, the man who she said “helped us architect our new future”, as they worked out how to avoid a bitter break-up and remain close.

She said: “I was intrigued, less by the phrase, but by the sentiment.

“Was there a world where we could break up and not lose everything? Could we be a family, even though we were not a couple? We decided to try.”

Gwyneth Paltrow with her husband Brad Falchuk
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Paltrow with her husband Brad Falchuk. The pair married in September 2018

Paltrow, who has two children with Martin, married again in 2018 to television producer Brad Falchuk.

Martin attended the wedding and joined the newlyweds on their honeymoon.

She said times have changed in the way people handle and work through break-ups.

“Conscious uncoupling/separation/divorce, whatever you want to call it, has now permeated the break-up culture,” she said.

“Instead of people approaching me with, ‘Why did you say that?’, they now approach me with, ‘How do you do that?'”



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The Matrix trilogy is a transgender allegory, says co-director Lilly Wachowski | Ents & Arts News


The co-director of The Matrix movies, Lilly Wachowski, has confirmed fan speculation that the sci-fi trilogy is a transgender allegory.

The theory has flourished since Lilly and her sister Lana both came out as trans women after the films, starring Keanu Reeves as fictional character Neo, were released between the late 1990s and the early part of this century.

Responding to a question posed about this theory, Wachowski said she was “glad that it has gotten out that that was the original intention”.

She said: “The world wasn’t quite ready yet. The corporate world wasn’t ready for it.”

An allegory is described as a story, poem, or picture that can be interpreted to reveal a hidden meaning.

In a Netflix interview on YouTube, Wachowski said she loves how “meaningful” the movies are to transgender people.

She said: “The way that they come up to me and say: these movies saved my life.

“I’m grateful that I can be throwing them a rope to help them along their journey.”

She said the Matrix series was about a “desire for transformation, but it was all coming from a closeted point of view”.

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The Matrix, starring Keanu Reeves, was released in 1999. Pic: Warner Bros/Village Roadshow Pictures/Kobal/Shutterstock

Wachowski described Switch – “a character who would be a man in the real world and then a woman in the Matrix” – as representative of where her and her sister’s “headspaces were” when they were making the films.

“I don’t know how present my transness was in the background of my brain as we were writing it,” Wachowski said, “but it all came from the same sort of fire that I’m talking about.”

The pair directed the first three films – The Matrix, The Matrix Reloaded and The Matrix Revolutions – which hit cinemas between 1999 and 2003.

Lana is helming the fourth Matrix film herself, currently set for release in 2022.



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Caroline Flack was treated unfairly because of her celebrity status, star’s mother says | UK News


Caroline Flack’s mother has said her daughter “was not an abuser” and was treated unfairly because of her celebrity status, the inquest into her death has heard.

Flack, 40, died at her flat in north London in February, weeks before she was due to go on trial for allegedly assaulting her boyfriend Lewis Burton.

The Crown Prosecution Service initially decided to caution Flack, but went on to charge her after an appeal by police.

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Flack’s mother believes she was treated unfairly by authorities

During the second day of the inquest into her death, the Love Island presenter’s mother confronted the detective inspector who appealed for Flack to be charged rather than cautioned.

“If it had been… an ordinary person, you wouldn’t have prosecuted,” Christine Flack told Detective Inspector Lauren Bateman.

“I just think you should be disgusted with yourself. There is nothing we can do to bring Caroline back. I hope in hindsight you do regret this…

“She was not an abuser.”

Mrs Flack was responding to DI Bateman’s evidence, in which the detective inspector said the star was charged with assault rather than given a caution because there was no “clear” admission of guilt.

DI Bateman said Flack had given different accounts about what happened on the night of her arrest.

Caroline Flack and Lewis Burton
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Lewis Burton told police he had been hit with an object

Mr Burton said Flack had hit him with an object while he was asleep.

When officers arrived at the scene, the couple were both injured, the detective said.

The Love Island presenter told police: “I did, I whacked him round the head like that,” while gesturing a swinging motion with her hand.

“I admit I did it,” she said. “I used the phone. I had his phone in one hand, and my phone in the other. I whacked him round the head – there’s no excuse for it, I was upset.”

She also told officers that Mr Burton was cheating on her.

DI Bateman told the inquest that in a later police interview, Flack said she had a “blurry” memory of the incident and that she had “tapped” Mr Burton on the head to wake him up.

But Mrs Flack argued that her daughter had given a consistent account of what happened, and it was Mr Burton’s account that was unreliable as he had been drinking all day and was intoxicated on the night of the incident.

She said this was a “life-changing” charge but DI Bateman “never saw Caroline” and “went on a drunken phone call”.

“I don’t think that’s the case,” the detective responded, although she said appreciated what Mrs Flack was saying.

The coroner said she was “really struggling” to see how Mr Burton’s injury could be described as “significant” given he had not needed to go to hospital, but Lisa Ramsarran, a deputy chief crown prosecutor in north London, said the wound was “not insignificant”.

Caroline Flack arrives for the Brit Awards at the 02 Arena, London in 2019
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Caroline Flack arrives for the Brit Awards at the 02 Arena, London, in 2019

Ms Ramsarran said the injury was “bleeding profusely”.

It was unclear at the time what object was used in the alleged assault on Mr Burton, but he said he assumed it was a desk fan or a lamp.

Flack’s phone was seized as there was a “significant” amount of blood on it and a crack on one of the corners.

The coroner questioned why the police decided to appeal against the caution, despite Flack having no previous convictions and no history of domestic violence.

DI Bateman said there were aggravating factors, including that an object was used, and said it was an “unprovoked attack” while Mr Burton was “essentially defenceless”.

The detective also told the court that cautions for domestic violence cases were “very rare”.

Caroline Flack with the BAFTA for Best Reality and Constructed Factual show in the press room during the Virgin TV British Academy Television Awards at The Royal Festival Hall on May 13, 2018 in London
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The Love Island presenter admitted ‘whacking’ her boyfriend

During the first day of the hearing on Wednesday, Mrs Flack asked about a photo published by some newspapers following Flack’s arrest, and told the court she believed Mr Burton had sent the picture to an ex-girlfriend.

“Lewis sent the photo of the blood and sent it to his friend,” Mrs Flack said, during evidence given by the star’s friend Mollie Grosberg.

Her twin sister, Jody, also told how the star had spent “the last few months of her life hiding inside, scared of the abuse”.

Mr Burton, 28, had said he did not support Flack’s prosecution and in a statement read by the coroner, he described how the last time he had seen her she was “very upset, in fact devastated”.

Flack left behind her twin sister Jody, elder brother Paul, elder sister Elizabeth and her parents Ian and Christine.

Anyone feeling emotionally distressed or suicidal can call Samaritans for help on 116 123 or email [email protected] in the UK. In the US, call the Samaritans branch in your area or 1 (800) 273-TALK



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YouTube star Jake Paul’s California mansion raided by FBI | World News


YouTube star Jake Paul’s California home has been raided by an armed FBI swat team.

Several rifles were seen being taken out of the 23-year-old’s Calabasas mansion as part of an investigation into a looting spree at an Arizona shopping centre in May during George Floyd protests, authorities said.

The Las Vegas homes of Paul’s associates, nightclub promoter Arman Izadi and Andrew Leon, were also searched by the FBI but nobody was taken into custody and no arrest warrant has been issued for Paul, the agency said.

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Jake Paul (L) and his brother, Logan Paul (R), are both YouTube stars

Paul, whose viral YouTube videos of provocative pranks has won him more than 20 million followers, was not at home when it was searched, an FBI spokeswoman in Los Angeles said.

A spokesman for the FBI’s Phoenix office, where the mall is, said agents were “investigating allegations of criminal acts surrounding the incident at Scottsdale Fashion Square in May”.

Paul’s lawyer, Richard Schonfeld, acknowledged his client’s home was searched and promised to co-operate with the investigation but made no further comment.

Police in Scottsdale, Arizona, said misdemeanour charges filed in June accusing Paul, Mr Izadi and Mr Leon of criminal trespass and unlawful assembly in connection with the Fashion Square “riots” were dismissed on Wednesday to allow for the FBI investigation to go ahead.

They added that prosecutors could refile the case if warranted.

Civil disturbances in Scottsdale on 30 May stemmed from the killing of George Floyd that week.

Stores in the area, including Neiman Marcus, Anthropologie and a Mercedes Benz dealership, were damaged during the protests, police said.

:: Listen to the Backstage podcast on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Spreaker

Police said Paul took part in the unrest and was present after the protest was declared an unlawful assembly.

He was also accused of illegally entering the shopping centre and remaining inside after it was closed.

The YouTuber was captured on video inside the mall documenting the unrest and Scottsdale Police said it had “received hundreds of tips and videos identifying [Paul] as a participant in the riot”.

The day after, Paul said he and his “group” were part of peaceful protests and he observed looting but did not participate in it.

Last month, Paul held a party at his Calabasas home despite gatherings being prohibited due to coronavirus, prompting anger from the city’s mayor.



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Caroline Flack’s boyfriend ‘leaked photo from night of her arrest’, star’s mother says | UK News


Caroline Flack’s boyfriend has been accused of leaking a photo of the bloody scene from the night of the star’s arrest.

Flack, 40, died at her flat in north London in February just a few weeks before she was due to go on trial for allegedly assaulting her boyfriend Lewis Burton.

Speaking during an inquest into the Love Island presenter’s death, her mother Christine Flack said Mr Burton had sent the picture to an ex-girlfriend.

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Caroline Flack died at her flat in north London in February

The picture was later published by some newspapers.

“Lewis sent the photo of the blood and sent it to his friend,” Mrs Flack said during evidence given by the star’s friend Mollie Grosberg.

Ms Grosberg replied: “As far as I know, this is the God’s honest truth, she never mentioned a word to me that he had sold or given the photo to an ex-girlfriend. That was never mentioned to me.”

In response, Ms Flack said: “She said it to me and it was devastating that she found out.”

Following her arrest and initial court appearance in December 2019, the TV star had been subject to much scrutiny in the press and on social media.

Ms Grosberg, who visited the TV presenter’s house along with another friend the day before her death, described how Flack suffered more with her mental health the more famous she became.

Caroline Flack with the BAFTA for Best Reality and Constructed Factual show in the press room during the Virgin TV British Academy Television Awards at The Royal Festival Hall on May 13, 2018 in London
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The Love Island presenter picked up a BAFTA for the show in 2018
Caroline Flack won Strictly Come Dancing in 2014
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She also won Strictly Come Dancing in 2014

“Increasingly over the last few years she had a lot of heartache and the press seemed to pick up a lot on her,” she said.

“She was very sad all the time. Normally, the kind of person she was, she could pick herself up.

“But she couldn’t after [her arrest in] December… she lost who she was and she couldn’t get it back.”

Ms Grosberg said she had phoned the non-emergency 111 number after becoming concerned about Flack on the evening of 14 February last year and had later called for an ambulance.

One of the paramedics called to Flack’s flat told the inquest they had “no power” to force her to go to hospital because she was assessed as having “capacity” to make her own decisions.

Instead they told her friends that they would have to do some “babysitting”.

Ms Grosberg said the TV star was “scared to go to prison” and kept saying that the lives of her family members had been “ruined” by her arrest.

Caroline Flack at the National Television Awards
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Caroline Flack at the National Television Awards

Flack’s twin sister, Jody, also told how the star had spent “the last few months of her life hiding inside, scared of the abuse”.

She said her sister’s life and reputation were “falling apart to the point of no return because of a false accusation” after she was branded “an abuser” on the front pages of national newspapers.

Ms Flack also claimed the incident had resulted in a “minor injury” to Mr Burton but more serious injuries to her sister.

Mr Burton, 28, had said he did not support Flack’s prosecution and in a statement read by the coroner, he described how the last time he had seen her she was “very upset, in fact devastated”.

He said the media were “constantly bashing her character” and “generally hounding her daily”.

Caroline Flack
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Caroline Flack was said to be ‘very sad all the time’

Just hours after Flack’s death, her management released a statement hitting out at the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) for pressing ahead with a “show trial” despite knowing she was “vulnerable”.

However, following a review of the way the former Love Island presenter’s case was dealt with, the CPS said it found the decision to go ahead with the trial was “handled appropriately”.

In a separate review, the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) said no formal investigation was needed into the Met Police’s contact with the star as they found “no causal link” between officers’ actions and her death.

Flack left behind her twin sister Jody, elder brother Paul, elder sister Elizabeth and her parents Ian and Christine.

Anyone feeling emotionally distressed or suicidal can call Samaritans for help on 116 123 or email [email protected] in the UK. In the US, call the Samaritans branch in your area or 1 (800) 273-TALK



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Neil Young sues Donald Trump’s re-election campaign for using his music | US News


Neil Young is suing Donald Trump’s re-election campaign for copyright infringement, alleging that his music has been used at the president’s rallies without his permission.

The 74-year-old star said that he could not allow his work to be used as a “theme song for a divisive, un-American campaign of ignorance and hate”.

In a complaint filed in a New York court, Young objected to Rockin’ In The Free World and Devil’s Sidewalk being played “numerous times at rallies and political events for the entertainment and amusement of those attending”.

Young said the Trump campaign played both songs at a rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma, on 20 June, which controversially went ahead despite concerns over the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

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Trump supporters attended the campaign event despite the ongoing coronavirus pandemic

The lawsuit states the “campaign does not now have, and did not at the time of the Tulsa rally, have a license or Plaintiff’s permission” to play the songs at any “public political event”.

The former member of Buffalo Springfield said he has “continuously” complained about Mr Trump’s use of his songs since 2015, but he has been “willfully ignored”.

Young said his first complaint was in connection with the use of Rockin’ In The Free World at Mr Trump’s original announcement that he was running for president in June 2015.

The complaint claimed the Trump campaign “willfully proceeded” to play the songs “despite its knowledge that a license is required to do so”.

Young’s lawyers added: “This complaint is not intended to disrespect the rights and opinions of American citizens, who are free to support the candidate of their choosing.

“However, Plaintiff in good conscience cannot allow his music to be used as a ‘theme song’ for a divisive, un-American campaign of ignorance and hate.”

Neil Young is taking legal action against President Trump. File pic
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Young’s lawsuit says his music is being used as a ‘theme song’ for Trump’s ‘divisive’ campaign (below)
Trump addresses Tulsa rally as crowd underwhelms

The Canadian-born singer, who is now a US citizen, is seeking damages of up to $150,000 (£114,300) per infringement.

The Trump campaign has not yet made any comment on the lawsuit.

It comes after the Trump campaign was warned earlier this summer that it could face legal action if it continues to use songs by The Rolling Stones.

Last month, dozens of artists including Aerosmith, Green Day, Mick Jagger and Elton John signed an open letter calling on politicians to obtain permission before playing their music at rallies and events.



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Spitting Image: Boris Johnson, Prince Andrew and Dominic Cummings puppets shown for first time | Ents & Arts News

 

Spitting Image has revealed its Prince Andrew, Boris Johnson and Dominic Cummings puppets ahead of the show’s return.

The prime minister’s puppet has a mass of spiky blonde hair, while his key adviser, Mr Cummings, is seen in his trademark hoodie with a flamboyant silver collar.

A glum-looking Duke of York is dressed in a tartan coat complete with paisley neckerchief.

Prince Andrew’s puppet is dressed in a tartan coat complete with paisley neckerchief
Dominic Cummings, Boris Johnson’s key adviser, is seen wearing a trademark hoodie

The satirical series, which in its prime attracted 15 million viewers and ran for 18 seasons between 1984 and 1996, is back later this year on BritBox, the streaming service launched by the BBC and ITV.

Donald Trump, Beyonce, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, Vladimir Putin, Bernie Sanders, Elon Musk, RuPaul, Adele and James Corden will also appear.

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It’s the first original commission announced by BritBox UK, who have managed to get the show’s original co-creator Roger Law back on board.

The show famously featured Margaret Thatcher in a man’s suit treating her cabinet – “the vegetables” – with contempt, John Major as a grey puppet and the Queen Mother slugging from a gin bottle.

The show is produced by Avalon, whose credits include a rich variety of comedy programmes including The Russell Howard Hour, Taskmaster, Catastrophe and Last Week Tonight With John Oliver.

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