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John Bishop joins Doctor Who series 13 amid comedian’s Covid battle

John Bishop has joined the cast of Doctor Who for the beloved sci-fi show’s upcoming series 13.

The comedian, 54, will take on the role of Dan as he boards the TARDIS alongside The Doctor (Jodie Whittaker) and Yaz (Mandip Gill). 

It comes after John vowed to return to work within weeks on Thursday amid his coronavirus battle.

Amazing! John Bishop has joined the cast of Doctor Who for the beloved sci-fi show’s upcoming series 13

Talking about the new role, the comedian said: ‘If I could tell my younger self that one day I would be asked to step on board the TARDIS, I would never have believed it. 

‘It’s an absolute dream come true to be joining Doctor Who and I couldn’t wish for better company than Jodie and Mandip.’ 

Showrunner, Chris Chibnall, said: ‘It’s time for the next chapter of Doctor Who, and it starts with a man called Dan. Oh, we’ve had to keep this one secret for a long, long time. 

‘Our conversations started with John even before the pandemic hit. The character of Dan was built for him, and it’s a joy to have him aboard the TARDIS.’

Pained: It comes after John vowed to return to work within weeks on Thursday amid his Covid-19 battle, his wife Melanie is also battling the virus (the couple pictured last year)

Pained: It comes after John vowed to return to work within weeks on Thursday amid his Covid-19 battle, his wife Melanie is also battling the virus (the couple pictured last year)

While executive producer of BBC Studios, Matt Strevens, added: ‘It’s been a total joy having John join the cast and we’ve been having a lot fun on set already. We can’t wait for you to meet Dan when the show returns later this year.’

With Piers Wenger, controller BBC Drama, saying: ‘We are beyond thrilled to have John Bishop joining Doctor Who. Alongside Jodie Whittaker and Mandip Gill.

‘John is a wonderful addition to the show and we have no doubt that series 13 is going to be another thrilling set of adventures for the Doctor.’ 

John’s character Dan will find himself embroiled in the Doctor’s adventures and will face ‘evil alien races beyond his wildest nightmares’ alongside The Doctor and Yaz. 

Never fear, Jack's here! Doctor Who treated fans to an explosive New Year's special on Friday night where Captain Jack, played by John Barrowman, made his much-anticipated return

Never fear, Jack’s here! Doctor Who treated fans to an explosive New Year’s special on Friday night where Captain Jack, played by John Barrowman, made his much-anticipated return

Filming for series 13 began earlier this year in November and John is set to make his first appearance later in 2021. 

Doctor Who treated fans to an explosive New Year’s special on Friday night where Captain Jack, played by John Barrowman, made his much-anticipated return.

It comes after John assured fans he is ‘getting a little stronger’ amid his COVID-19 battle and vowed to return to work next month.

The comedian, 54, took to social media on Wednesday to share a picture of the NHS notification informing him he had tested positive for the virus, describing the infection as ‘the worst illness I have ever had’.

Mystery: The comedian, 54, will take on the role of Dan as he boards the TARDIS alongside The Doctor (Jodie Whittaker - pictured in character) and Yaz (Mandip Gill)

Mystery: The comedian, 54, will take on the role of Dan as he boards the TARDIS alongside The Doctor (Jodie Whittaker – pictured in character) and Yaz (Mandip Gill) 

Doctor Who’s past star companions 

The following day, on New Year’s Eve, John, whose wife Melanie is also battling the virus, took to Twitter to thank fans for their ‘overwhelming’ support and confirm: ‘Every day we are getting a little stronger’.

In his update message, a touched John penned: ‘Thank you for all the messages of support regarding my recent positive Covid test…

‘I have been overwhelmed and moved by the amount of messages privately and publicly. Every day we are getting a little stronger and I will be back at work in Jan. Keep safe and Happy New Year John x’.

The previous day, he announced he is battling coronavirus after testing positive alongside Melanie over the Christmas period.

Reaching out: It comes after John assured fans he is 'getting a little stronger' amid his COVID-19 battle and vowed to return to work next month

Reaching out: It comes after John assured fans he is ‘getting a little stronger’ amid his COVID-19 battle and vowed to return to work next month

With the screenshot from the NHS, he penned: ‘This came through on Christmas Day. This is the worst illness I have ever had, debilitating headaches, muscle joint and even skin pain, dizziness, nausea, no appetite, incredibly chronic fatigue’.

John, who revealed last year that he has shadows on his lungs, added that both he and Melanie are not considered to be vulnerable, concluding: ‘My wife and I are fit non smokers and it’s flattened us. I don’t wish this on anyone’.

Liverpudlian John – one of Britain’s highest paid and best loved comedians – reached out to his 3.5m Twitter followers and 690,000 Instagram followers on Wednesday.

The shocking news comes after John queried the government’s coronavirus methods in a lengthy Instagram post shared in August.

Shocking: Alongside the screenshot, he penned: 'This came through on Christmas Day This is the worst illness I have ever had, debilitating headaches, muscle joint and even skin pain, dizziness, nausea, no appetite, incredibly chronic fatigue'

Shocking: Alongside the screenshot, he penned: ‘This came through on Christmas Day This is the worst illness I have ever had, debilitating headaches, muscle joint and even skin pain, dizziness, nausea, no appetite, incredibly chronic fatigue’

Next to a mask-clad selfie with his sister Carol, John wrote: ‘Travelling with my sister Carol …it’s incredible how the world has changed in six months…

‘Nobody is suggesting Covid 19 is not a significant problem but to change the way we all live and the damage it is doing to our young people I honestly think we need to consider if the choices being made are the right ones…

‘It seems risk assessments were made months ago when we knew significantly less than we do now and nothing has changed despite the correlation between infection and illness shifting…

‘The media reporting is one note of fear with nobody challenging the narrative. I am sure we will come out of it but I think that will happen sooner if we keep checking if what we are being asked to do makes sense… Long message but felt like getting it off my chest. Cheers’.

Open and honest: He shared a screengrab on his NHS letter

Open and honest: He shared a screengrab on his NHS letter

John and Melanie have been married since 1993, with an 18-month separation that began in 2000. and they share sons Joe, 26, Luke, 24 and Daniel, 22.

Last year, John spoke of his health in his memoir How to Grow Old: A Middle-aged Man Moaning, which was released in November.

He detailed how a terrifying cancer scare left him ‘contemplating death’, after he was sent for an X-ray to asses a prolonged cough three years ago.

He said: ‘I was told that unless I heard anything, I should regard everything as normal and the cough would go. I heard nothing and gradually my chest cleared, so I thought no more about it…

Questioning: The shocking news comes after John queried the government's coronavirus methods in a lengthy Instagram post shared in August

Questioning: The shocking news comes after John queried the government’s coronavirus methods in a lengthy Instagram post shared in August

Back in August: Next to a mask-clad selfie with his sister Carol, John wrote: 'Travelling with my sister Carol ...it’s incredible how the world has changed in six months'

Back in August: Next to a mask-clad selfie with his sister Carol, John wrote: ‘Travelling with my sister Carol …it’s incredible how the world has changed in six months’

‘Three months later I received a call saying the results of the X-ray had been misreported by one of the junior staff.’

After his GP suggested an emergence CT scan he began to panic, as he went on: ‘So I organised a private CT scan at the local hospital…

‘I spent a few hours alone thinking it could be the start of the end. This is because a Google search of ‘shadows on lungs’ does not make you believe the prognosis will be good.’

The funnyman explained how it was the first time in his life that he had thought about his health and death properly: ‘It was the first time I had seriously contemplated my own death…

‘I was filled with sadness for all the things I’d miss – my family, my sons getting married, my parents, becoming a grandparent, laughing, blue sky days when you are so happy that you almost feel guilty to be so lucky. Football, music, films.’

He then revealed he was with Melanie when he was given the all-clear, writing: ‘The GP called me as soon as he had the results. I had shadows on both lungs but it was nothing sinister and was caused by increased bone mass in my sternum.

‘I put the phone down grateful for the life I had ahead of me.’

His love: John and Melanie pictured in March 2012

His love: John and Melanie pictured in March 2012

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Entertainment UK

Coronation Street actor Mark Eden dies aged 92 after Alzheimer’s battle

Coronation Street actor Mark Eden has died at the age of 92 after a battle with Alzheimer’s, his agent confirmed today.

He was best known for playing Alan Bradley in the ITV soap in the 80s and is survived by his wife and co-star Sue Nicholls, who plays Audrey Roberts.

A statement to the PA news agency said: “We are very sad to announce the death of actor Mark Eden.

“He died peacefully, in hospital, earlier today, 1st Jan 2021. Mark had been living with Alzheimer’s disease for some time, and was hospitalised in November.

“Mark, 92, had a long career spanning more than 50 years, including eight years in Coronation Street as character Alan Bradley.

1968 – British actor Mark Eden posed at the all England Tennis Club in Wimbledon during filming of the ‘Crimebuster’ television series in 1968. (Photo by Popperfoto via Getty Images/Getty Images)

Mark played Alan Bradley in Coronation Street along with wife Sue Nicholls, who plays Audrey Roberts

“He is survived by his wife Sue, his daughter Polly, his stepson Saul and grand-daughter Emma. We ask that their privacy be respected at this very difficult time.”

While Mark became a household name in Coronation Street, he also starred in Doctor Who as Marco Polo.

He left school at the age of 14 and went on to join the Royal Court Theatre before landing a part in ITV soap Coronation Street.

His time on the show came to an end in December 1989 when Alan was famously killed off in a Blackpool tram crash.

In 2009 Mark unveiled a plaque at the tram stop where the scene was filmed.

Alan Bradley was over by a tram in Blackpool after chasing Rita Fairclough

In 2009 Mark unveiled a plaque at the tram stop where his character met his demise

Mark’s first screen credit was in 1958 with a role in Quatermass And The Pit.

He later acted in the 1965 film Doctor Zhivago, starring Julie Christie and Omar Sharif, Doctor Who and The Avengers.

He also appeared in London Belongs To Me and Crown Court.

Later in his career he appeared in Doctors and Casualty, with his last screen credit in 2013 in the TV movie An Adventure In Space And Time.

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Entertainment USA Headline USA Los Angeles New York

Gary Oldman portrays an alcoholic in a new role but speaks to BAZ BAMIGBOYE about his own battle

Gary Oldman’s mother never doubted that her son would win an Academy Award. ‘She’d say: “Oh, I think you could win an Oscar,” ’ Oldman recalls. ‘Or: “I’d love to see you win an Oscar!” ’

Her son did not share her confidence. ‘Really, for a long time in Hollywood I didn’t exactly play the game,’ he says. ‘But I didn’t want to tell her the chances of me ever winning one were very thin.’

Yet in 2018, Kathleen’s faith was justified. Oldman won the big one — the best actor Academy Award — for his wry and wise portrayal of a wartime Winston Churchill in Darkest Hour. 

He felt blessed that his mother, who had left her home in South-East London to join him in Los Angeles in the late 1980s (‘I just wanted to look after her’), lived long enough to see him achieve the honour.

Oldman plays Herman J. Mankiewicz who, in the 1930s, shambled his way from the East Coast of America to the West, where he signed on as a writer for the Hollywood ‘talkies’

After accepting the award, he stood on stage and gave a shout out to Kathleen ‘Kay’ Oldman: ‘Put the kettle on — I’m bringing home the Oscar!’

‘She loved her tea,’ he told me. ‘So do I. I should have got shares in PG Tips.’

But Kay’s Oscar joy was short-lived. She died just three months later. ‘I think she was hanging on for me to win,’ the 62-year-old says, the emotion plain to see in his face, even in our Zoom call. ‘She had a stroke and that was it.’

Kathleen Oldman was almost 99. ‘She said she wanted to reach 100, because she wanted the letter from the Queen. She never got her letter,’ he says sadly.

And then he pulled himself together. ‘Let’s talk Hollywood!’ he declares briskly, after first ordering me to adjust the camera for the Zoom on my computer (‘I’ve lost the top of your head’).

Mankiewicz — known to his friends (and enemies) as Mank — wound up collaborating with Orson Welles on Citizen Kane

Mankiewicz — known to his friends (and enemies) as Mank — wound up collaborating with Orson Welles on Citizen Kane

Oldman was speaking to me from his suite at a Mayfair hotel overlooking Hyde Park. The place is, he informed me, practically deserted. ‘It’s like something out of The Shining.’ The actor, who was brought up in Bermondsey, was back in London to set up a new series for AppleTV+.

But he agrees to chat to me about his part in David Fincher’s breathtaking film Mank.

Oldman plays Herman J. Mankiewicz who, in the 1930s, shambled his way from the East Coast of America, where he had been working as a journalist, to the West, where he signed on as a writer for the Hollywood ‘talkies’.

Mankiewicz — known to his friends (and enemies) as Mank — wound up collaborating with Orson Welles on Citizen Kane; still regarded, 80 years after its release, as one of the greatest films ever made.

Mank tells the back story of how he came to write that famous screenplay while cooped up with a broken leg in a ranch house outside Los Angeles.

As he recovers, the sharp-tongued boozer — whose prose was poetry — recalls penning scripts at studios in Old Hollywood and how the great, the good and the bad gathered at Hearst Castle, the palatial home of newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst (Charles Dance).

There, Mank would bump into the likes of Charlie Chaplin and Hearst’s paramour Marion Davies (Amanda Seyfried). The writer’s ever patient wife Sara is portrayed by fellow Brit, Tuppence Middleton.

Mank wove Hearst’s shenanigans into Citizen Kane and the tycoon tried to have the film banned.

For decades, there has been fierce debate over who should take the credit for the screenplay: Mankiewicz, or the film’s star and director Welles. Sadly, few today know of Mankiewicz’s importance to the picture (which is available to view on BBC iPlayer, while Mank is streaming on Netflix). But Fincher’s film should change all that.

Mank had been part of the Algonquin Round Table group in New York (nicknamed the Vicious Circle), along with wits such as Dorothy Parker and Harpo Marx, who would match each other in cocktails and cutting remarks over lunch at the Manhattan hotel.

Oldman says the newspaperman’s tongue lashings were so legendary that ‘even if you were on the end of it, you’d have to laugh because it was so funny’.

Mank brought that East Coast behaviour with him to Hollywood. But the boozing, barbs and gallivanting did not go down well in a town where writers were expected to work hard.

‘No,’ Oldman agrees. ‘Especially when you’re waking at six in the morning and you have absolute contempt for what you’re writing.’ But Mank’s contempt — he famously sent a telegram back to his friends in NY urging them to join him because ‘there are millions to be made and your only competition is idiots’ — was not based on nothing. He may have appeared shambolic, but he was no fool.

Mank wove Hearst’s shenanigans into Citizen Kane and the tycoon tried to have the film banned

Mank wove Hearst’s shenanigans into Citizen Kane and the tycoon tried to have the film banned

In The Wizard Of Oz, for instance, it was Mankiewicz’s idea to have the Kansas part in black and white — and the Oz segments in colour. ‘It was revolutionary back then, Oldman says admiringly. ‘The best special effect ever!’

Fincher’s film whisks us to Hollywood in its heyday, and then burrows beneath the glitter to the murky underbelly, where Mank, the outsider, lives. It’s a magnificent performance by Oldman — perhaps because it’s not a million miles away from his own experience.

Like Mank, he came to Hollywood as a cocksure star from another firmament — in his case London’s theatreland and the independent film industry — with a thirst for fame, and alcohol.

Unlike Mank, though, Oldman won his battle with the bottle (he has been sober since 1995, after joining Alcoholics Anonymous).

But Mank’s outrageous behaviour was still familiar. ‘You can’t dismiss the alcoholism,’ he says. ‘People who are not alcoholics will experience an emotion on a scale of one to three; the same emotion, to an alcoholic, could be a nine.’ In the film, Mank rewards himself with booze when he finishes sections of the Kane screenplay. But as Oldman says, drinkers always have an excuse. ‘Oh, look: the sun’s come out — let’s have a drink! It’s raining — let’s have a drink. So-and-so got married — let’s have a drink.’

Mank had been part of the Algonquin Round Table group in New York (nicknamed the Vicious Circle)

Mank had been part of the Algonquin Round Table group in New York (nicknamed the Vicious Circle)

Oldman notes an infuriated Welles once described Mank as ‘the perfect monument to self-destruction’. But he was not the first to come to Tinseltown, sneer, and fall flat on his face; nor the last.

Laurence Olivier visited in the late 1930s with his then wife Vivien Leigh. ‘He had a real attitude about Hollywood,’ Oldman says of the great star, who later admitted he’d been ‘arrogant’ about how easy it would be to translate stage stardom to the big screen.

And what of David Puttnam, ousted after a year as chairman and chief executive of Columbia pictures in 1987? ‘That was very short-lived, wasn’t it?’ Oldman says, matter of factly. ‘There was an element of: ‘I’m going to tell you how to do it . . . you’ve been doing it wrong all these years! I can’t think of anyone who’s gone there with a chip on their shoulder and survived.’ Oldman arrived in Hollywood in the late 1980s, bringing critical acclaim from stage success at the Royal Court, and in films such as Prick Up Your Ears and Sid And Nancy; but not the first of his five wives, Lesley Manville, who remained in London.

Finding his feet in his new home turned out to be ‘a long process’, he says, with a hint of a smile. ‘I made a few enemies along the way. But it’s good, isn’t it? To have a few. Yeah, I was a little cocky, probably. I mean, outwardly. I don’t mean inside. There’s that old saying: alcoholics are egomaniacs with low self-esteem. You have all that grandness, but actually you’re dying inside. A little like Mank, I didn’t quite want to play the game.’

He takes a sip of tea from his mug, and considers for a moment. ‘I think it’s that Englishness; that had Olivier saying: “I’m from the theatre, darling!” ’

Fincher’s film whisks us to Hollywood in its heyday, and then burrows beneath the glitter to the murky underbelly, where Mank, the outsider, lives

Fincher’s film whisks us to Hollywood in its heyday, and then burrows beneath the glitter to the murky underbelly, where Mank, the outsider, lives

Like Mank, Oldman found himself torn between his old life, and his new one. In Britain, his success had, he felt, become his enemy. ‘I thought the Brits weren’t looking at the work any more. They were criticising me. I had done the unthinkable — going off to Hollywood — I’d sold out, in their view. It did make me feel unwelcome.’

Meanwhile, Hollywood was proving to be no bed of roses, either. Until one film changed everything.

Nil By Mouth, starring Kathy Burke as a mother in a violent, abusive relationship with her husband, played by Ray Winstone, was written and directed by Oldman. It was a fictionalised version of his own parents’ (Kathleen and Leonard’s) relationship, though he says the violence Burke’s character suffered in the picture was nothing compared to what his mother had to endure.

The film received a prolonged standing ovation at the 1997 Cannes Film Festival. Burke won best actress, while Oldman was shortlisted for the top honour, the Palme d’Or. 

A few months later, he prevailed at ceremonies in London, where the film took prizes at Bafta; and his cast, including Burke, Winstone and Laila Morse (Oldman’s sister) won trophies at the British Independent Film Awards. Nil By Mouth was a milestone for Oldman. 

Even now, its power is still potent. The British Film Institute has embarked on a project to restore it, frame by frame, and plans to honour Oldman with a special screening at the BFI in London next autumn (or whenever it’s deemed safe to do so). He laughs and tells me how surprised he was by the enduring success of a picture ‘made for five mates to get out . . . once every ten years’.

But Nil By Mouth opened doors. His career reignited. Soon, he was part of the Harry Potter film ensemble, playing Sirius Black. Christopher Nolan scooped him up to play Commissioner Gordon in his Black Knight trilogy.

His latest project, and the reason he was in London before Christmas, was to start shooting a 12-part AppleTV+ drama called Slow Horses, based on the first novel in Mick Herron’s spy series about Slough House, where ‘all the f***-ups and rejects from MI5 go’, as Oldman put it.

He plays Jackson Lamb, who runs the place. ‘He’s got greasy hair and flatulence,’ he says, delightedly. ‘He’s a farting, working-class version of George Smiley,’ he continued, his voice turning wistful as he mentions the spymaster created by the late John le Carre, who died last month.

Oldman refers to the author by his real name, David Cornwell. They became close when he played Smiley in Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy; and the pair spent hours talking about Cornwell’s most famous literary creation. ‘It was like I was talking to Smiley,’ he says.

‘I’ll tell you what, to have been lucky enough to play Smiley in one’s career; and now go and play Jackson Lamb in Mick Herron’s novels — the heir, in a way, to le Carre — is a terrific thing.’

Playing Mank was terrific, too, although the work was ‘very challenging’. ‘After 40 years of doing this, I still have to go to that place of “Oh, it’s going to be a failure”, and I have to have a little paddle around in that for a while, before I go to the deep end,’ he sighs.

First off, he had to get Mankiewicz’s voice right. There was a 15-second cameo from Mank in some old B-movie talkie. But Oldman also studied his younger brother Joseph (one of those who heeded his advice to head West and snatch work from the ‘idiots’). He figured the apple wouldn’t fall far from the tree and the younger Mankiewicz, who went on to win Oscars for film classics Letters To Three Wives and All About Eve, would also share that ‘smoky, whisky’ voice.

To finish, he added a dash of Burgess Meredith; ‘pre-Rocky’. ‘You’re playing someone who didn’t particularly like himself, and who basically p***ed on everyone who tried to help him.’

Like Mank, Oldman found himself torn between his old life, and his new one... Unlike Mank, though, Oldman won his battle with the bottle (he has been sober since 1995, after joining Alcoholics Anonymous)

Like Mank, Oldman found himself torn between his old life, and his new one… Unlike Mank, though, Oldman won his battle with the bottle (he has been sober since 1995, after joining Alcoholics Anonymous)

Filming was challenging, too, with Fincher proving to be an exacting director, who knew what he wanted; and was prepared to keep shooting till he got it right. But Oldman has no complaints. ‘If the director wants to do 20 takes — or 120! — that’s what I’m paid to do,’ he says.

They came close to that higher figure while filming scenes at the cattle ranch where Mankiewicz actually wrote Citizen Kane while recuperating from a broken leg.

At night, they filmed outside, the set illuminated by lights. The process was complicated by a railway track running across the property, forcing them to time the action to avoid passing trains (‘clang, clang, 30 carriages long’).

‘Then, this one night, we started to hear: moo, moooo-moooo,’ he tells me, giving a fine imitation of a herd of cattle.

‘All the cows had moved across the fields, because of the lights. They thought it was feeding time.’ He waits a beat. ‘Everyone wants to be in the movies.’

After our chat, Oldman was heading home for the holidays, to join his wife Gisele Schmidt, a noted art curator and photographic artist, and her son William, 12.

They’re not in Hollywood any more. ‘Where we live, in Palm Springs, we have this beautiful view of the mountain,’ he says. ‘Throughout the day, the colour changes. I pinch myself and go: “Wow, wow, look at this view!” It’s a long way from Bermondsey.’

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Sports UK

Crystal Palace braced for Wilfred Zaha transfer battle amid AC Milan interest

Crystal Palace are braced for January interest in Wilfried Zaha after the Ivory Coast star’s outstanding start to the season.

Zaha netted his eighth goal in 14 Premier League games against Leicester – double his tally from last season.

Mauricio Pochettino – who tried to sign the former Manchester United winger at Tottenham – is about to take charge of Paris-Saint Germain.

Serie A leaders Milan have also been linked with the 28-year-old who is under contract until June 2023.

Palace turned down interest from Spurs, Arsenal and Everton in 2019 before chairman Steve Parish promised a “happy ending” for Zaha if the right offer came in.

Zaha has been in sensational form this season

After a poor last season, Zaha is back to his best in this campaign playing in a more central striking role. And he is on track to smash his Premier League record of 10 goals 2018/19.

Eagles manager Roy Hodgson said: “He is getting a lot of praise and it is fully deserved. We are very pleased with him and the passion he showed throughout the game against Leicester.

The Ivorian has not looked back since his double against Manchester United in September

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“We are pleased with the effort and the desire he is showing. It is great he is getting reward with goals and it is great a lot of those goals have been very good goals.

“There is no doubt that he can prove to people that he has added goalscoring powers as well as his powers of dribbling and holding onto the ball when creating chances.

“He is going to prove to everyone what an exceptionally good players he is but he doesn’t have to prove it to us because he does it on a regular basis.

“We believe he is an exceptionally good player.”

As well as his eight goals, Zaha has chipped in with two assists and has worn the captain’s armband at times this season.

Is Wilfried Zaha one of the top five forwards in the Premier League? Have your say in the comments.

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Entertainment UK

Michelle Mullane dies after bowel cancer battle as Jason Manford pays tribute

Michelle Mullane has tragically died following her battle with bowel cancer at the age of 50.

The former BBC Radio Manchester and XFM radio presenter sadly passed away on Christmas Eve after bravely battling stage 4 bowel cancer for over a year.

The sad news was confirmed by her close friend Jason Manford, who shared a touching tribute to Michelle on social media.

Last year, Michelle had been rushed to hospital in June with agonising stomach pains before being told she had six months to live without treatment.

Despite the diagnosis, the radio star and mum from Alderley Edge continued to raise money for Cancer Research UK as she faced the incurable cancer.

Tributes have flooded in for Michelle after news of her death following a brave battle with cancer.

Michelle Mulane has sadly passed away

Jason Manford wrote: “Just found out my dear friend and ex-BBC Manchester presenter Michelle Mullane sadly passed away on Christmas Eve,” he wrote.

“I have so many fond memories of Michelle from when I was starting out in stand up in the late 90s.

“Michelle was the first person to get me on the airwaves and we spent many an evening laughing, flirting & joking over brews; on air and off.

“We drank millions of cups of tea and her show ‘Michelle around Midnight’ was one of the only shows you could get on, get paid and just be yourself without having to be a big ‘tv name’.

“She was an incredible supporter of new talent and gave a leg up to so many of us northern comedians at a time where it felt like if you weren’t in London, you didn’t stand a chance. She has supported me and many others ever since.

“She will be dearly missed by so many people, not least her young daughter Liv.

“She only messaged me the other week to congratulate me on Royal Variety and to say how proud she was of me.

“For over a year we’ve been trying to organise a charity gig – postponed due to covid – in aid of Kidney Cancer UK & Bowel Cancer Research.

“The second we are able to, I will 100% make sure this happens in your name Michelle,” Jason penned on Twitter.

ITV correspondent Rob Smith has also added: “So sad to hear this morning that the broadcaster Michelle Mullane has died.

“She led a remarkable life and did everything she could to keep fundraising going for cancer research during the pandemic. Every condolence to her friends and family.”

Elaine Willcox wrote: “So sad to hear Michelle Mullane died on Christmas Eve. She was a brilliant broadcaster & wonderful friend to our dear Tony Morris. Thoughts with all her friends & family. 2020 we can’t wait for you to end.

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Headline USA New York

Pro wrestler Brodie Lee (aka Jonathan Huber) dead at 41 after battle with non-COVID lung issue

Pro wrestler Brodie Lee (real name Jonathan Huber) died Saturday, December 26 at age 41.

The WWE star succumbed to a battle with a non-COVID-related lung issue at the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Florida, after taking a leave of absence from wrestling over an undisclosed medical issue.

He was surrounded by loved ones, including wife Amanda Huber (also known by her wrestling persona Synndy Synn), who took to Instagram with a tribute to the father of their two sons.

RIP: Pro wrestler Brodie Lee (real name Jonathan Huber) died Saturday, December 26 at age 41

Amanda wrote: ‘My best friend died today. I never wanted to write out those words. My heart is broken. The world saw him as the amazing @brodielee (fka Luke Harper) but he was my best friend, my husband, and the greatest father you would ever meet. No words can express the love I feel or how broken I am right now. 

‘He passed surrounded by love ones after a hard fought battle with a non Covid related lung issue. The @mayoclinic is literally the best team of doctors and nurses in the world who surrounded me with constant love.’ 

She expressed her gratitude to All Elite Wrestling, where Jonathan began wrestling as Brodie Lee back in March, thanking them for how they ‘treated not only my husband but myself and my kids.’

Amanda, who married Jonathan in 2008, wrote: ‘The team at AEW have helped keep me standing and pick up all the broken pieces.’

Survived by: He was surrounded by loved ones, including wife Amanda Huber (also known by her wrestling persona Synndy Synn), who took to Instagram with a tribute to the father of their two sons

Survived by: He was surrounded by loved ones, including wife Amanda Huber (also known by her wrestling persona Synndy Synn), who took to Instagram with a tribute to the father of their two sons

Leave of absence: The WWE star succumbed to a battle with a non-COVID-related lung issue at the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Florida, after taking a leave of absence from wrestling over an undisclosed medical issue

Leave of absence: The WWE star succumbed to a battle with a non-COVID-related lung issue at the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Florida, after taking a leave of absence from wrestling over an undisclosed medical issue

Broken heart: Amanda wrote: 'My best friend died today. I never wanted to write out those words. My heart is broken. The world saw him as the amazing @brodielee (fka Luke Harper) but he was my best friend, my husband, and the greatest father you would ever meet'

Broken heart: Amanda wrote: ‘My best friend died today. I never wanted to write out those words. My heart is broken. The world saw him as the amazing @brodielee (fka Luke Harper) but he was my best friend, my husband, and the greatest father you would ever meet’

Grateful: She expressed her gratitude to All Elite Wrestling, where Jonathan began wrestling as Brodie Lee back in March, thanking them for how they 'treated not only my husband but myself and my kids'

Grateful: She expressed her gratitude to All Elite Wrestling, where Jonathan began wrestling as Brodie Lee back in March, thanking them for how they ‘treated not only my husband but myself and my kids’

She added: ‘I’ve been surrounded by so much love and incredible people I can’t tag them all but they know who they are and I don’t think they will ever know how thankful I am for them.’ 

AEW shared a statement to Twitter, which read: ‘The All Elite Wrestling family is heartbroken. In an industry filled with good people, Jon Huber was exceptionally respected and beloved in every way — a fierce and captivating talent, a thoughtful mentor and simply a very kind soul that starkly contradicted his persona as Mr. Brodie Lee.’

Jonathan was previously known by the persona Luke Harper, when he wrestled at WWE from 2012 to 2019.

The Rochester, New York native’s family was met with an outpouring of love from WWE stars like the Iron Sheik, Randy Orton, John Cena and the Bella Twins.

Nikki Bella wrote on Instagram: ‘Gone way too soon. His laugh lit up a room. He was so much fun to watch. And his kind soul will live on forever. You were your own kind Luke. RIP. @mandahuber we all are here for you and the boys. Can’t even begin to imagine your pain. So many thoughts, prayers, love and light to you and the fam.’

Sister Brie Bella posted: ‘I’ll never forget what an amazing person, father and husband he was!!! Gone way to soon. Sending so many prayers and love to his family. Jon will be greatly missed!! #ripbrodielee’

In the ring: Jonathan was previously known by the persona Luke Harper, when he wrestled at WWE from 2012 to 2019 (pictured in November, 2014)

In the ring: Jonathan was previously known by the persona Luke Harper, when he wrestled at WWE from 2012 to 2019 (pictured in November, 2014)

Categories
Headline USA

75-year battle to clear the names of Guernsey police officers

Revealed: 75-year battle to clear the names of Guernsey police officers classed as criminals for stealing from the Nazis to feed starving islanders

  • Constables Kingston Bailey and Frank Tuck broke into the German stores at night
  • They took tinned food to share with the needy on the Nazi occupied island
  • They got caught and 18 policemen were brought before Guernsey’s Royal Court 
  • 16 policemen were deported to prisons and forced labour camps in Europe

Constables Kingston Bailey (pictured) and Frank Tuck broke into the occupiers’ stores at night, taking tinned food to share with the needy

The brave policemen who stole food from the Nazis to feed starving Channel Islanders during the war should be regarded as heroes.

But in a terrible injustice – and nearly eight decades after the men faced a Guernsey show trial – their families are still campaigning to clear their names.

All of the 18 policemen are dead, but it is hoped their case will now be taken up by the Government.

Occupied from June 1940 until May 1945, the Channel Islands were the only part of the British Isles to fall to German forces during the Second World War.

The policemen’s act of resistance was inspired by a BBC broadcast giving tips on how to undermine the enemy, even though it was meant only for Europe’s underground movement as the Channel Islands were considered too vulnerable to enemy reprisals.

At first the officers – deeply resentful at having to salute passing German officers – followed the BBC instructions to the letter by putting sand in petrol tanks of cars and painting ‘V for victory’ signs around the island. Emboldened by these small acts of sabotage, they then set about helping the hungry civilian population.

Constables Kingston Bailey and Frank Tuck broke into the occupiers’ stores at night, taking tinned food to share with the needy.

Cambridge University academic Dr Gilly Carr, who has spent years researching the German occupation of the islands, said: ‘For these young men who were denied the opportunity of fighting in the Armed Services, such broadcasts appealed greatly and their role as policemen gave them opportunities for action denied to most.’

Mr Bailey recounted in his memoirs that by February 1942, the covert operation was ‘getting out of hand… practically the whole police force was now taking part’. 

At first the officers ¿ deeply resentful at having to salute passing German officers ¿ followed the BBC instructions to the letter by putting sand in petrol tanks of cars and painting ¿V for victory¿ signs around the island. Emboldened by these small acts of sabotage, they then set about helping the hungry civilian population

At first the officers – deeply resentful at having to salute passing German officers – followed the BBC instructions to the letter by putting sand in petrol tanks of cars and painting ‘V for victory’ signs around the island. Emboldened by these small acts of sabotage, they then set about helping the hungry civilian population

Eventually Mr Bailey and Mr Tuck were caught and 18 policemen were brought before Guernsey’s Royal Court, effectively still a British court, where some were accused of stealing bottles of wine and spirits from islander-owned stores.

It was claimed the Germans tortured some of the men during interrogation, with one told he would be shot if he did not sign a confession.

The British authorities told the officers to plead guilty with a promise that it would all be sorted out after the war. But that would prove wholly untrue.

In all, 16 policemen were deported to prisons and forced labour camps in Europe, where many experienced dreadful conditions.

When one, Charles Friend, was liberated by US forces he weighed only seven stone and was unable to use his legs. He died in 1986.

His son Keith said: ‘I see what they did as a Robin Hood-type act. It’s not a crime for personal gain. It was to feed hungry people and as policemen they were in the position to do something about it.

‘He was scarred by his experience. He was bitter about what happened to him, aside from what he endured at the hands of the Germans where he was beaten and starved.

‘When he got back, he was told that everything would be put right but no one wanted to know.

‘He lost his position in the police force and people turned their back on the problem.’

Mr Friend hopes renewed interest in the case will help to clear his father’s name. ‘If the Government is involved, then it might carry a bit more weight,’ he said.

It was after the war that the men suffered possibly the cruellest injustice. Because of their criminal convictions, they could not return to their police jobs or claim a pension.

In 1955, eight of the men unsuccessfully appealed their convictions. Each died with a criminal record. Mr Friend said: ‘It seems so unfair and there’s still that stain on my family’s character that shouldn’t be there.

‘It doesn’t matter that they are all dead now. The record is still there.’

Categories
Headlines UK London

Rita Ora reveals ‘fear’ of being diagnosed with breast cancer after mum’s battle

Rita Ora has spoken out about spending her twenties ‘fearful’ of being diagnosed with breast cancer after her mother Vera Sahatciu battled the disease in 2005. 

The Your Song hitmaker, 30, said she suffered panic attacks after her mother, 56, was diagnosed with an aggressive form of the cancer and had a partial mastectomy.

She revealed that she experienced symptoms of PTSD in her teenage years as she felt responsibility to ‘step up’ as she desperately wanted to ‘protect’ her mother.

Cancer: Rita Ora has opened up about spending her twenties ‘fearful’ of being diagnosed with breast cancer after her mother Vera Sahatciu battled the disease in 2005

Rita told The Sun: ‘Cancer affects everyone, my mum battled it twice, and I had a lot of different emotions. I felt a lot of responsibility to step up and become a strong teenager.’

She said although she had the BRCA test, the hereditary breast cancer test, and does not have the gene, she still worried that she would be diagnosed with cancer.

Speaking about her anxiety, she explained: ‘I don’t know if it’s in my head, but it can be a case of a little heartburn and I am like, ‘What is that?’.’

Rita urged women to check their breasts and go to a GP if they notice any changes, as there was no previous history of breast cancer in her family.

Worry: The Your Song hitmaker, 30, said she suffered panic attacks after her mother, 56, was diagnosed with an aggressive form of the cancer and had a partial mastectomy

Worry: The Your Song hitmaker, 30, said she suffered panic attacks after her mother, 56, was diagnosed with an aggressive form of the cancer and had a partial mastectomy

She added that Vera, who is a psychiatrist for the NHS, did not have a lump on her breast but experienced a ‘sharp pain’ before she got checked.

The pop star said she is still reminded of the ‘fear factor’ when Vera goes for check-ups, adding that therapy, exercise and meditation help her deal with panic attacks.

The mother of the singing sensation discussed being diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 39 while appearing on Loose Women back in February 2019. 

Vera emotionally explained: ‘The journey I had was really tough. At a young age treatment tends to me more rigorous and prolonged. 

‘When it’s diagnosed young, the treatment gets to be more intense, I had chemo, radiotherapy and a mastectomy.’

Check yourself! Rita urged women to check their breasts and said her mum Vera, who is an NHS psychiatrist, did not have a lump on her breast but experienced a 'sharp pain'

Check yourself! Rita urged women to check their breasts and said her mum Vera, who is an NHS psychiatrist, did not have a lump on her breast but experienced a ‘sharp pain’

Rita has recently received huge backlash for hosting a birthday party to celebrate her 30th that flouted Covid-19 regulations.

The Mail On Sunday previously revealed that prior to her birthday Rita flew by private jet to Cairo on November 21 to perform at the five-star W Hotel.

The Masked Singer judge returned the next day and under Government quarantine rules should have self-isolated for 14 days.

Instead, she threw a birthday party on November 28 at the exclusive Casa Cruz restaurant in Notting Hill, West London.

For the party, she apologised with the following statement: ‘Hello all, I attended a small gathering with some friends to celebrate my 30th birthday.

Criticism: Rita has recently received huge backlash for hosting a birthday party to celebrate her 30th that flouted Covid-19 regulations

Criticism: Rita has recently received huge backlash for hosting a birthday party to celebrate her 30th that flouted Covid-19 regulations 

‘It was a spur of the moment decision made with the misguided view that we were coming out of lockdown and this would be OK… I’m deeply sorry for breaking the rules and in turn understand that this puts people at risk.

‘This was a serious and inexcusable error of judgement. Given the restrictions, I realise how irresponsible these actions were and I take full responsibility.

‘I feel particularly embarrassed knowing first-hand how hard people have worked to combat this terrible illness and being fully aware of the sacrifices that people and businesses have made to help keep us all safe. 

‘Even though this won’t make it right, I want to sincerely apologise.’

She paid the hefty £10k fine for breaching these protocols, having been reported to the police, who investigated the restaurant, which looked to be closed up. 

Shocking: Rita was forced to publicly apologise after it emerged she'd hosted a 30th birthday party at a London restaurant while the country was in lockdown

Shocking: Rita was forced to publicly apologise after it emerged she’d hosted a 30th birthday party at a London restaurant while the country was in lockdown

But she was then forced into another grovelling apology for breaching strict coronavirus rules, amid the travel embarrassment. 

She said: ‘I recently flew to Egypt to perform at a corporate event for a private company, where my travel party followed protocol and presented negative Covid tests upon entry, as required by Egyptian authorities.

‘Upon my return to Britain, I should have followed Government advice and isolated myself for the required period. As you know, I didn’t follow Government advice and… I apologise again, unreservedly.

‘While I realise the apologetic words of a pop star might not carry much weight, especially one who has broken the rules like I have, I do realise some might seek to follow my example.

Consequence: Rita paid the hefty £10k fine for breaching protocols, having been reported to the police, who investigated the restaurant, which, to any passers-by, looked to be closed up

Consequence: Rita paid the hefty £10k fine for breaching protocols, having been reported to the police, who investigated the restaurant, which, to any passers-by, looked to be closed up

‘My message to them is simple: please don’t. The guilt and shame I’ve carried this week for my mistake aren’t worth it. Instead, continue to listen to the Government advice and the voices of the heroes of the NHS and take the required precautions.’

She added: ‘I hope to one day make it up to the public who have given me so much support over the years and, in particular, make it up to the heroes of the NHS…

‘In the meantime, I will be donating my fee from Egypt to charity. Be better than I have been and learn from my mistakes so you don’t have to learn the hard way yourselves.’

A spokesman for the star, estimated to be worth £10million, said she and her team had all subsequently tested negative for coronavirus.

Guidelines brought in with the lockdown between November 5 and December 2 stated that people must ‘not meet socially indoors with family or friends unless they are part of your household, meaning the people you live with, or your support bubble’.

Breast cancer is one of the most common cancers in the world and affects more than two MILLION women a year

Breast cancer is one of the most common cancers in the world. Each year in the UK there are more than 55,000 new cases, and the disease claims the lives of 11,500 women. In the US, it strikes 266,000 each year and kills 40,000. But what causes it and how can it be treated?

What is breast cancer?

Breast cancer develops from a cancerous cell which develops in the lining of a duct or lobule in one of the breasts.

When the breast cancer has spread into surrounding breast tissue it is called an ‘invasive’ breast cancer. Some people are diagnosed with ‘carcinoma in situ’, where no cancer cells have grown beyond the duct or lobule.

Most cases develop in women over the age of 50 but younger women are sometimes affected. Breast cancer can develop in men though this is rare.

Staging means how big the cancer is and whether it has spread. Stage 1 is the earliest stage and stage 4 means the cancer has spread to another part of the body.

The cancerous cells are graded from low, which means a slow growth, to high, which is fast growing. High grade cancers are more likely to come back after they have first been treated.

What causes breast cancer?

A cancerous tumour starts from one abnormal cell. The exact reason why a cell becomes cancerous is unclear. It is thought that something damages or alters certain genes in the cell. This makes the cell abnormal and multiply ‘out of control’.

Although breast cancer can develop for no apparent reason, there are some risk factors that can increase the chance of developing breast cancer, such as genetics.

What are the symptoms of breast cancer?

The usual first symptom is a painless lump in the breast, although most breast lumps are not cancerous and are fluid filled cysts, which are benign. 

The first place that breast cancer usually spreads to is the lymph nodes in the armpit. If this occurs you will develop a swelling or lump in an armpit.

How is breast cancer diagnosed?

  • Initial assessment: A doctor examines the breasts and armpits. They may do tests such as a mammography, a special x-ray of the breast tissue which can indicate the possibility of tumours.
  • Biopsy: A biopsy is when a small sample of tissue is removed from a part of the body. The sample is then examined under the microscope to look for abnormal cells. The sample can confirm or rule out cancer.

If you are confirmed to have breast cancer, further tests may be needed to assess if it has spread. For example, blood tests, an ultrasound scan of the liver or a chest x-ray.

How is breast cancer treated?

Treatment options which may be considered include surgery, chemotherapy, radiotherapy and hormone treatment. Often a combination of two or more of these treatments are used.

  • Surgery: Breast-conserving surgery or the removal of the affected breast depending on the size of the tumour.
  • Radiotherapy: A treatment which uses high energy beams of radiation focussed on cancerous tissue. This kills cancer cells, or stops cancer cells from multiplying. It is mainly used in addition to surgery.
  • Chemotherapy: A treatment of cancer by using anti-cancer drugs which kill cancer cells, or stop them from multiplying
  • Hormone treatments: Some types of breast cancer are affected by the ‘female’ hormone oestrogen, which can stimulate the cancer cells to divide and multiply. Treatments which reduce the level of these hormones, or prevent them from working, are commonly used in people with breast cancer.

How successful is treatment?

The outlook is best in those who are diagnosed when the cancer is still small, and has not spread. Surgical removal of a tumour in an early stage may then give a good chance of cure.

The routine mammography offered to women between the ages of 50 and 70 mean more breast cancers are being diagnosed and treated at an early stage.

For more information visit breastcancercare.org.uk, breastcancernow.org or www.cancerhelp.org.uk

Categories
Sports UK

Brave Leeds legend Rob Burrow to get MBE amid battle with motor neurone disease

Rugby league star Rob Burrow will be made an MBE after selflessly turning his diagnosis with a terminal illness into a charity crusade to help other sufferers.

The Leeds Rhinos Rugby League legend – who suffers from motor neurone disease – will be given the award in the New Year’s Honours.

The Leeds Rhinos legend, who has motor neurone disease, will be given the award in the Queen’s New Year’s Honours list.

Dad-of-three Rob, 38, told 12 months ago how he had been diagnosed with the illness – and medics said he had one to two years to live.

A source said: “Rob’s story has ­really touched the hearts of everyone. His incredible will to raise money despite battling MND is ­no­thing short of astonishing.

“He has refused to let the illness take over his life – instead showing the same strength that he always showed as a player.”

Rob Burrow is a legend at Leeds Rhinos

At 5ft 5in, Rob was famed as the smallest player in the Super League.

But his short ­stature did not stop him winning the Challenge Cup twice, scoring a try in the Rhinos’ 2015 win over Hull KR.

He also won eight Grand Finals and three World Club Challenges in his 17 years with the side. After retiring in 2017, he took on a coaching role.

But gradual changes in his speech led him to be diagnosed with MND two weeks before Christmas last year.

Motor Neurone Disease is a degenerative condition that affects how the nerves in the brain and spinal cord function.

Rob Burrow during his playing days

In January, Rob took part in a testimonial match for Leeds against Bradford Bulls.

Before the game, he walked out on the pitch with his children Macy, eight, Maya, five, and Jackson, one.

And in a bid to raise awareness of the illness, he let TV cameras follow him for BBC documentary Rob Burrow: My Year With MND.

Rob, who is married to Lindsey, 37, has also inspired other fundraisers, including a static cycle record attempt.

And his resolve prompted ex-teammate Kevin Sinfield to take on a gruelling running challenge, completing seven marathons in seven days to raise funds for the Motor Neurone Disease Association.

One of the seven runs was held in Leeds – where he was greeted by Rob as he crossed the finish line.

Rob Burrow is being honoured for his charity work while battling the awful disease

And although he had set his target at £77,777, Kevin ended up collecting more than £2.5million for the charity.

During his career, Rob made 493 appearances for Leeds.

He has already been honoured with a mural in the city.

Rob is not the only pioneering sportsman set for honours. It is understood that F1 champion Lewis Hamilton, 35, is expected to be knighted – after taking his seventh world drivers’ title.

And Manchester United ace Mar­cus Rashford was given an MBE in the Queen’s birthday honours in October for his school meals campaign.

What do you think of the story? Join the debate in our comments section

Categories
Sports UK

Man Utd and Tottenham ‘in transfer battle’ for Fiorentina defender Milenkovic

Manchester United and Tottenham are ready to fight it out for Fiorentina defender Nikola Milenkovic.

Both Premier League outfits are looking to strengthen their backlines with January just around the corner.

And the Serbian looks to fit the bill for both clubs due to his physical attributes.

Milenkovic is valued at around £23m by the Serie A side with reports in Italian paper  La Nazione claiming interest in the centre-half is mounting.

The 23-year-old is an established international with 26 caps for Serbia.

And he is a regular for Fiorentina and played at the heart of defence as they beat Juventus 3-0 on Tuesday night.

Nikola Milenkovic has been integral to Fiorentina

Milenkovic is capable of playing in the centre but also at right-back which makes him even more appealing.

United were keen on adding a centre-half in the summer but, like many of their desired targets, missed out.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is still seeking a partner for captain Harry Maguire.

Victor Lindelof has been a regular alongside the Englishman but doubts clearly still remain while the likes of Eric Bailly are finding opportunities increasingly hard to come by.

United are also being linked with Bayern Munich’s David Alaba.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Jose Mourinho are both keen on the defender

Despite their good form which has seen them rise up the table defence remains an issue for Solskjaer.

He has already seen his side ship six at home to Tottenham while they’ve conceded at least three in a game four times this season.

A host of defensive pairings have been trailed over the years with United yet to properly settle on one.

Tottenham meanwhile are ready to offload Davinson Sanchez as they look to beat United to Milenkovic’s signature.

Jose Mourinho has generally stuck with Eric Dier and Toby Alderweireld as his centre-half duo through this season.