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Covid UK: BBC staff must wear ‘social distancing proximity devices’

BBC staff will have to wear ‘social distancing proximity devices’ in the office to make sure they keep two metres apart

  • BBC staff have been told to wear ‘social distancing devices’ which will beep
  • Technology will alert them if they are less than 2 metres apart from someone else
  • Staff working in office will also be subjected to lateral flow tests twice weekly

BBC staff have been told to wear ‘social distancing devices’ which will beep if they get too close to another person. 

In an email today, workers in ‘key BBC locations’ were told they will need to wear the technology which will alert them if they are less than two metres apart from someone else. 

Colleagues were called into a meeting at 11am to discuss the changes. 

Staff will also be subjected to lateral flow tests, which will be carried out twice-weekly for those in the office four or more days a week.  

They will be given the devices – which are worn around the neck and beep when people come within two metres of each other – at the entrances of offices. 

Workers in ‘key BBC locations’ were told they will need to wear the technology which will alert them if they are less than two metres apart from someone else. Pictured, Broadcasting House, the headquarters of the BBC in London

Workers at Belgium's Port of Antwerp are required to wear a new wristband that vibrates when they violate social distancing and get too close to another worker

Workers at Belgium’s Port of Antwerp are required to wear a new wristband that vibrates when they violate social distancing and get too close to another worker

Social distancing app Mind The Gap was designed by Hack Partners for Network Rail. The technology uses audio and Bluetooth signals to detect if users are in close proximity to one another

Social distancing app Mind The Gap was designed by Hack Partners for Network Rail. The technology uses audio and Bluetooth signals to detect if users are in close proximity to one another

Staff were told in the email: ‘Social distancing proximity devices will be rolled out in key BBC locations to help maintain social distancing. 

‘Anyone coming into those officers will be asked to wear the devices, which will alert wearers when they’re less than two metres apart from someone else.’

A BBC spokesman said: ‘The vast majority of BBC staff continue to work as they have over recent months, either working remotely or in an office location if they are in service critical roles. 

‘For those in a BBC building, we’ve been following COVID-secure workplace guidelines throughout the pandemic. 

‘We continue to adhere to the two metres rule and we are rolling out social distancing proximity devices to support our staff in maintaining safe social distancing at all times.’ 

A raft of companies have designed technology that can help limit the spread of coronavirus. 

The social distancing devices and technology that can ‘detect Covid’

The tech company Estimote has created small, wireless devices which remind wearers to keep a safe distance and register direct contact exposure. The devices will vibrate if colleagues get too close - and 'remember' the interaction.

The tech company Estimote has created small, wireless devices which remind wearers to keep a safe distance and register direct contact exposure. The devices will vibrate if colleagues get too close – and ‘remember’ the interaction.

Smart rings: Fitbit and Oura smart rings have developed an algorithm for their devices to detect Covid before a user shows physical symptoms.

Ouras are able to predict that people experience symptoms such as a fever, cough or shortness of breath up to three days before they appear.

Fitbit partnered with the Stanford Medicine and The Scripps Research Institute to design an algorithm that measures a user’s heart rate and skin temperature.

The program notices unusual patterns, which could predict if a wearer had contracted the virus before showing physical symptoms.

Watches: Samsung has also stepped into the market by adding technology to its Galaxy Watch which tells users how many interactions they have through the day.

The app is also designed to teach and reinforce good hand-washing habits.

Wristbands: Workers in Belgium are required to wear a new wristband that vibrates when they violate social distancing and get too close to another worker.

Bluetooth app: The social distancing app Mind The Gap, designed by Hack Partners for Network Rail, uses audio and Bluetooth signals to detect if users are in close proximity to one another

Panic buttons: The tech company Estimote has created small, wireless devices which remind wearers to keep a safe distance and register direct contact exposure. The devices will vibrate if colleagues get too close – and ‘remember’ the interaction.

In the event of a symptomatic employee, companies can quickly locate other exposed team members who are at risk.

The devices are wirelessly chargeable with a programmable panic button, buzzer and vibration.

The devices can also scan for Bluetooth beacons installed in the workplace to identify and map safe and pre-authorized zones. 

Staff were quick to make light of the announcement on social media today

Staff were quick to make light of the announcement on social media today

Staff were quick to make light of the announcement on social media, with BBC North East reporter Colin George sharing the news alongside a meme on Twitter. 

And BBC Radio 4 and world service producer Beth Sagar-Fenton shared the news alongside a Disney GIF.  

Staff could be asked to wear wristbands similar to those used by workers at Belgium’s Port of Antwerp. Port staff are required to wear the wristband that vibrate when they violate social distancing and get too close to another worker. 

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Entertainment UK

Princess Diana Panorama interview investigation to face a ‘delay of months’

The inquiry into allegations that Princess Diana was tricked into her 1995 Panorama interview faces a “delay of months”, as pressure mounts on Scotland Yard to launch a criminal investigation.

Lord Dyson, a former Master of the Rolls and Head of the Court of Appeal, is understood to have told colleagues he intends to “press on” with his independent investigation, despite the Met Police examining claims of criminality at the BBC.

Sources have revealed the report from the judge’s probe is now likely to face considerable delays as it runs the risk of prejudicing any police inquiry and subsequent trial.

BBC reporter Martin Bashir is accused of forging bank statements to claim palace courtiers and a former head of security for Earl Spencer, Diana’s brother, were receiving cash for information on the Princess of Wales.

Bashir gained the trust of Charles Spencer before being introduced to Diana and convincing her to be interviewed for the bombshell programme that sent shockwaves through the royal family and led to her subsequent divorce from Prince Charles.

The inquiry into allegations that Princess Diana was tricked into her 1995 Panorama interview faces a ‘delay of months’

Alan Waller, who worked for Earl Spencer in the 90s, has officially complained to police regarding “very serious concerns” of a conspiracy “to create an instrument of fraud”.

Sources close to the investigation have revealed Lord Dyson and his team are preparing for a “delay of months” due to a complaint made to Scotland Yard concerning Bashir’s methods in securing his sensational interview.

Lord Dyson has appointed Fieldfisher LLP as solicitors to the independent investigation. Fieldfisher’s has a track record of advising those conducting major public inquiries, and has acted as solicitors to the inquest into the death of Diana, Princess of Wales and Dodi Al Fayed, the 7/7 London bombings inquests, the Litvinenko inquiry, and the Baha Mousa Inquiry.

Bashir gained the trust of Charles Spencer before being introduced to Diana and convincing her to be interviewed for the bombshell programme that sent shockwaves through the royal family

The source added: “Everyone is prepared for a delay of months to the investigation and any chance of publishing a report.

“The issue is clearly the danger of prejudicing a live criminal investigation if Scotland Yard decides to take on the case.”

Mr Waller’s barrister Anton van Dellen told police the faked bank statements had caused “significant reputational and financial loss”.

At the time the probe was announced in November, Lord Dyson said: “This is an important investigation which I will start straight away. I will ensure it is both thorough and fair.”

At the time the probe was announced in November, Lord Dyson said: “This is an important investigation which I will start straight away. I will ensure it is both thorough and fair”

The distinguished judge has already gathered a list of at least a dozen names he wants to cooperate with his independent probe.

It is expected to cost in excess of £1.5million even before any delays are taken into account.

They include former Panorama reporter Bashir; former BBC director-general Lord Hall who was a former head of news at the BBC; Tim Gardam, the-then head of weekly programmes and Matthew Weissler, the former BBC graphic designer.

Mr Wiessler claims he was made a scapegoat after Bashir allegedly tricked him into creating false bank statements purporting to be palace staff receiving cash payments from media organisations.

The infamous interview led to Diana’s subsequent divorce from Prince Charles

Earl Spencer, the princess’s brother, will also be asked to hand over evidence he has collected which he claims shows how she was allegedly manipulated into agreeing to be interviewed.

The Earl has told friends he could also push for a criminal investigation after describing Lord Dyson’s probe as a “toothless operation”.

Mr. Waller could also be integral to Lord Dyson’s probe regardless of the Met Police’s decision to investigate.

Tim Davie, director-general of the BBC, said that the independent investigation would “get to the truth” of allegations that Bashir forged documents and lied to win the trust of the princess and her family.

Bashir, who remains in his post as Religious Affairs editor for the BBC is currently signed off work while he recovers from quadruple heart bypass surgery

Bashir, who remains in his post as Religious Affairs editor for the BBC is currently signed off work while he recovers from quadruple heart bypass surgery and complications from having contracted Covid-19 last year.

The BBC has said in a previous statement: “The BBC has made clear it will investigate the issues raised and that this will be independent.

“We will set out the terms of reference in due course. We will do everything possible to get to the bottom of this.”

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Headlines UK

BBC will add educational programs for children to the broadcasting network

This will help them keep up with the school curriculum during quarantine.

On January 5, the third nationwide quarantine began in England. By order of the government, schools were closed, and students were sent home. They will continue their studies remotely, but not all families have a good Internet connection.

Due to concerns that some children may lag behind the school curriculum, the BBC has proposed introducing a number of educational television programs into the broadcasting grid, writes The Guardian.

Starting January 11, the children’s TV channel CBBC will broadcast a three-hour block of programs aimed at educating younger students. It will include BBC Live Lessons, BBC Bitesize Daily, Celebrity Supply Teacher, as well as children’s TV series Horrible Histories, Art Ninja and Operation Ouch. BBC2 will add a two-hour block of high school education programs to its schedule, including popular science broadcasts and adaptations of Shakespearean plays.

“Everyone needs education. We are glad that we were able to make changes to the TV program so quickly ”– said BBC CEO Tim Davie.

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Headlines UK London

Ex-Goldman Sachs banker Richard Sharp who used to be Rishi Sunak’s boss will be next BBC chairman

Multi-millionaire ex-Goldman Sachs banker Richard Sharp, who used to be Rishi Sunak’s boss, will be the next BBC chairman, according to reports.

Mr Sharp is set to be announced for the £160,000-a-year role as soon as Thursday, according to Sky News.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has reportedly signed off the selection, which is likely to be announced by Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden.

Mr Sharp will replace Sir David Clementi – who has held the position since April 2017 and is due to step down in February.

Ex-Goldman Sachs banker Richard Sharp who used to be Rishi Sunak’s boss will be the next BBC chairman, according to reports

Mr Sharp has spent much of the past year as an unpaid adviser to the Chancellor of the Exchequer (pictured), who he was once the boss of during his long career at Goldman Sachs

Mr Sharp has spent much of the past year as an unpaid adviser to the Chancellor of the Exchequer (pictured), who he was once the boss of during his long career at Goldman Sachs

Mr Sharp has spent much of the past year as an unpaid adviser to the Chancellor of the Exchequer, who he was once a superior of during his long career at investment banking giant Goldman Sachs.

Mr Sharp, who is said to have amassed a fortune north of £100million during his career, also spent six years as a member of the Bank of England’s Financial Policy Committee before leaving the post last March. 

He was parachuted in to oversee the Chancellor’s Covid economic rescue package earlier this year.

The 64-year-old boasts ‘a reputation as a sharp, independent thinker and a safe pair of hands’, according to colleagues.

He reportedly donated hundreds of thousands of pounds to the Tory party at a fundraising dinner in 2013, though he is not thought to be a Conservative party member.

Alongside his financial work, Mr Sharp also has experience in the arts.

He chaired the Royal Academy of Arts Trust for several years and founded Kyra, a Gen-Z YouTube channel. 

Mr Sharp entered the race for the role earlier this year after former Chancellor George Osborne ruled himself out of the job.

Former Daily Telegraph editor, Lord Charles Moore of Etchingham, once considered the leading contender, also pulled out of the race on ‘personal’ grounds.

Veteran broadcaster David Dimbleby had reportedly considered throwing his hat in the ring.

According to reports earlier this year, Mr Johnson, with whom Mr Sharp is close having worked with him during his time as Mayor of London, is understood to be in favour of appointing a Tory-supporting chairman for the broadcaster.

Mr Johnson is reportedly said to want to stop what he believes is a growing left-wing bias at the corporation.

The prestigious role will involve maintaining the broadcaster's independence and overseeing the function of the organisation

The prestigious role will involve maintaining the broadcaster’s independence and overseeing the function of the organisation

Mr Sharp will replace Sir David Clementi - who has held the position since April 2017 and is due to step down in February

Mr Sharp will replace Sir David Clementi – who has held the position since April 2017 and is due to step down in February

The job advert was posted online last year with an increased salary in a bid to attract a wider range of candidates.

The prestigious role will involve maintaining the broadcaster’s independence and overseeing the function of the organisation. 

The appointed chairman will work closely with recently appointed BBC director-general Tim Davie.

Mr Davie has already launched a social media crackdown on BBC staff demanding they do not ‘express a personal opinion on matters of public policy, politics, or controversial subjects’.

He is also looking at new funding models for the corporation, amid speculation ministers could look to replace the traditional licence fee model in the future.  

The new appointment will be to replace current chairman Sir David Clementi, who is stepping down from the role in February.

Sir David was a British business executive and a former Deputy Governor of the Bank of England before taking on BBC role.

He was preceded by Baroness Rona Alison Fairhead – a business chief who recently served as as Minister of State at the Department for International Trade.

She was the last Chairwoman of the previous governing body, the BBC Trust, before its abolition in 2017.

The Trust was replaced by current governing body, the BBC Board.

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Headlines UK

Jodie Whittaker ‘QUITS’ Doctor Who after 3 years on sci-fi show

Jodie Whittaker ‘QUITS’ Doctor Who: Actress ‘to leave role as first-ever female Time Lord at the end of the new series’ after 3 years on sci-fi show

  • The actress, 38, is said to have told bosses that she won’t return after the forthcoming new series
  • A source told The Mirror on Sunday: ‘It’s all very hush-hush but it is known on set that Jodie is leaving and they are gearing up for a regeneration’
  • A rep from the BBC declined to comment on Sunday evening
  • The series typically sees the titular Doctor ‘regenerate’ every three-four years
  • Jodie made history when she was announced as the first-ever female Doctor in 2017, taking over the role from outgoing Peter Capaldi

Jodie Whittaker has reportedly quit Doctor Who.

The actress, 38, is said to have told bosses of the BBC sci-fi drama series that she won’t return after the forthcoming new series, and that they’ll need to start thinking about recasting the role of the Time Lord.

A source told The Mirror on Sunday: ‘It’s all very hush-hush but it is known on set that Jodie is leaving and they are gearing up for a regeneration.

Over and out? Jodie Whittaker has reportedly quit Doctor Who

‘Her departure is top secret but at some point over the coming months the arrival of the 14th Doctor will need to be filmed. It’s very exciting.’

MailOnline has approached reps for comment. The BBC declined to comment.

The series – which has been on the air on and off since 1963 – typically sees the titular Doctor ‘regenerate’ every three-four years.

It’s said that Jodie – who has also starred in the likes of Broadchurch, Black Mirror and The Smoke during her career – always planned to stick to this rhythm. It is also said she wants to pursue other roles.

Moving on? The actress, 38, is said to have told bosses of the BBC sci-fi drama series that she won't return after the forthcoming new series, and that they'll need to start thinking about recasting the role of the Time Lord

Moving on? The actress, 38, is said to have told bosses of the BBC sci-fi drama series that she won’t return after the forthcoming new series, and that they’ll need to start thinking about recasting the role of the Time Lord

In January 2020, she told Entertainment Weekly: ‘I absolutely adore [the role]. At some point, these shoes are going to be handed on, but it’s not yet. I’m clinging on tight!’ 

Jodie made history when she was announced as the Thirteenth (and first ever female) Doctor in July 2017.

She took the role from the prior star of the show, Peter Capaldi, who played the iconic character from 2014-2017.

Chris Chibnall, who was taking over as showrunner on the series, had worked with her on Broadchurch previously.

A source told The Mirror on Sunday: 'It’s all very hush-hush but it is known on set that Jodie is leaving and they are gearing up for a regeneration. Her departure is top secret but at some point over the coming months the arrival of the 14th Doctor will need to be filmed. It’s very exciting'

A source told The Mirror on Sunday: ‘It’s all very hush-hush but it is known on set that Jodie is leaving and they are gearing up for a regeneration. Her departure is top secret but at some point over the coming months the arrival of the 14th Doctor will need to be filmed. It’s very exciting’

He said after she was cast that he had always intended to introduce the first female Doctor, and that she was his first choice.

Of the fact that the Doctor would be female, Jodie said: ‘Doctor Who represents everything that’s exciting about change. The fans have lived through so many changes, and this is only a new, different one, not a fearful one.’

She made her first appearance in the 2017 Christmas special, Twice Upon A Time.

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Headlines UK London

Children among lockdown protesters at Nottingham march

Three people were arrested after hundreds of anti-lockdown protesters including dozens of children marched through Nottingham in a Covid-19 ‘Freedom Rally’.

Crowds demonstrated through the city’s Old Market Square, along its Embankment and gathered outside the BBC building this afternoon – just days after the city was plunged into Tier 4 lockdown measures.

Organisers could be heard chanting anti-lockdown and anti-vaccination messages as they blocked roads and demonstrated outside buildings, with little social distancing as they stood next to children.

Some demonstrators held up signs that read: ‘4,091 Covid deaths this week. Let’s party.’ 

Nottinghamshire Police told MailOnline three people were arrested and 12 fixed penalty notices were handed out amid the ‘illegal gathering in the city centre’.

They added that Nottingham and Nottinghamshire are currently in Tier 4, meaning people can only meet one other person outdoors and households are not allowed to mix indoors. 

‘The gathering was a planned protest which under current restrictions is also not allowed in order to stop the virus from spreading,’ the spokesperson added. 

Police were at the scene of a march through Nottingham city centre this afternoon, as demonstrators declared the Covid-19 pandemic as a ‘hoax’

Demonstrators claimed the Covid vaccine was in fact 'hydrogen with a bio sensor' as they stood outside the BBC headquarters

Demonstrators claimed the Covid vaccine was in fact ‘hydrogen with a bio sensor’ as they stood outside the BBC headquarters

The demonstration in Nottingham this afternoon came to an end after it started raining, according to local police

The demonstration in Nottingham this afternoon came to an end after it started raining, according to local police

According to the Nottingham Post, one of the organisers was heard shouting: ‘Hydrogen is going in with a bio sensor with that needle. We need people not to take that needle. 

‘Number one, save people from that needle. Wake those people up.’

Nottinghamshire Police have been monitoring the march, but no arrests are thought to have been made.

The protest came just days after Nottinghamshire was plunged into Tier 4 measures on New Year’s Eve – but demonstrators are said to have dispersed after it started raining. 

Addressing the officers, organisers claimed that the Covid-19 pandemic – which has killed more than 75,000 in the UK – is a ‘hoax’. 

Assistant Chief Constable Steve Cooper from Nottinghamshire Police said: ‘We had an increased police presence this afternoon as we looked to maintain security and offer reassurance, as well as engaging with those present at the protest including organisers.

‘The police were on hand to make sure the wider public were kept safe and secure and preserve any evidence of any breaches before dispersing the crowd.

‘As a consequence we have made three arrests and issued 12 fixed penalty notices so far, with the likelihood this will rise.

‘We will continue to gather evidence for anyone who breaches coronavirus restrictions.

‘The vast majority of residents in Nottingham and Nottinghamshire are continuing to adhere to the Coronavirus legislation and I thank them for that.

None of the demonstrators are thought to have been arrested during today's protest

None of the demonstrators are thought to have been arrested during today’s protest 

Nottinghamshire Police monitored the crowd's behaviour as it marched through the city today

Nottinghamshire Police monitored the crowd’s behaviour as it marched through the city today

Today's protest branded Covid-19 a hoax, while official figures declared there had been a further 54,990 confirmed cases in the UK

Today’s protest branded Covid-19 a hoax, while official figures declared there had been a further 54,990 confirmed cases in the UK

‘The new strain of the virus is everywhere including here in Nottingham and Nottinghamshire and we need people to understand they have a responsibility to stop it spreading.

‘Large gatherings should not be happening. We ask anyone thinking of attending or organising one not to do so.

‘We have been clear from the outset that our approach during the Coronavirus outbreak has been to engage with members of the public, explain the current regulations and encourage people to follow the instructions. We have only used enforcement when it has been absolutely necessary to do so.

‘I would like to thank our officers for the professionalism they have shown throughout today in engaging with organisers of the protest.

‘The fact that our officers are having to attend gatherings such as these where the disease can spread and have a massive impact on our communities is unacceptable.

‘Our priority is to ensure the safety of you – the public, to keep disruption to a minimum as we look to facilitate protests and to deal positively with any criminal activity.

‘As always, if you have any concerns about any activity you see or believe a crime has been committed, please speak to an available officer or call Nottinghamshire Police using the 101 non-emergency number.’

As hundreds gathered in Nottingham to protest lockdown measures, growing pressure on the NHS is expected to see patients from London and the South East moved to the Midlands to cope with demand

As hundreds gathered in Nottingham to protest lockdown measures, growing pressure on the NHS is expected to see patients from London and the South East moved to the Midlands to cope with demand 

Protesters of all ages gathered in Nottingham this afternoon to protest Covid-19 measures - but dispersed as the rain rolled in

Protesters of all ages gathered in Nottingham this afternoon to protest Covid-19 measures – but dispersed as the rain rolled in

Official figures show there had been a further 54,990 lab-confirmed cases of coronavirus in the UK, up 80 per cent from last week’s case figure of 30,501, while the number of deaths had increased by 43 per cent from last Sunday to 454

It comes as official figures released today show there had been a further 54,990 lab-confirmed cases of coronavirus in the UK, up 80 per cent from last week’s case figure of 30,501, while the number of deaths had increased by 43 per cent. 

Separate figures published by the UK’s statistics agencies for deaths where Covid-19 has been mentioned on the death certificate show there have now been 91,000 deaths involving Covid-19 in the UK. 

The figures do not represent results from the whole UK due to data on deaths not being reported by Scotland on Sunday.

NHS hospitals in the West Country are now bracing for an overspill of critically-ill patients from London under emergency plans, with trusts in the capital and the south-east preparing to transfer patients to the south-west.

Patients in the east of England will be moved to the Midlands while the massive Nightingale field hospital at the London Excel Centre is also expected to reopen within a fortnight amid warnings the health service could collapse in the event that ‘very, very tired’ staff are unable to cope with a deluge of cases.

Today's protest came amid calls from Labour leader Keir Starmer to announce a third national lockdown to curb climbing Covid-19 cases

Today’s protest came amid calls from Labour leader Keir Starmer to announce a third national lockdown to curb climbing Covid-19 cases

Parents took children to today's protest in Nottingham, as organisers urged people not to take the potentially-lifesaving Covid-19 vaccine

Parents took children to today’s protest in Nottingham, as organisers urged people not to take the potentially-lifesaving Covid-19 vaccine

Yesterday Britain confirmed it had suffered 4091 Covid-19 deaths in a week, demonstrators held up placards with the figure, adding: 'Let's party'

Yesterday Britain confirmed it had suffered 4091 Covid-19 deaths in a week, demonstrators held up placards with the figure, adding: ‘Let’s party’

Speaking after protests in Nottingham, Keir Starmer called for draconian countermeasures to come into force within 24 hours, condemning the PM for 'hinting' at action while dragging his heels

Speaking after protests in Nottingham, Keir Starmer called for draconian countermeasures to come into force within 24 hours, condemning the PM for ‘hinting’ at action while dragging his heels

People as young as 30 are said to be suffering from coronavirus in intensive care units across the country, it was said today

People as young as 30 are said to be suffering from coronavirus in intensive care units across the country, it was said today

Nottinghamshire Police followed hundreds of protesters through the city centre earlier today

Nottinghamshire Police followed hundreds of protesters through the city centre earlier today 

The crowd blocked the outside of the BBC building in Nottingham today to tell people Covid-19 is a 'hoax'

The crowd blocked the outside of the BBC building in Nottingham today to tell people Covid-19 is a ‘hoax’

Two thirds of England's population is now in Tier 4, with the remainder living in Tier 3 lockdowns. Only the Isles of Scilly, off the coast of Cornwall, is in the looser Tier 2

Two thirds of England’s population is now in Tier 4, with the remainder living in Tier 3 lockdowns. Only the Isles of Scilly, off the coast of Cornwall, is in the looser Tier 2

Dr Alison Pittard, the dean of the Faculty of Intensive Care Medicine, today claimed that people as young as 30 are suffering from coronavirus in ICU wards and claimed that ‘younger people will die from Covid’. 

The surge in cases and deaths could lead to a third national lockdown as Sir Keir Starmer today demanded a new blanket squeeze to control the virus while Boris Johnson admitted tougher measures are ‘probable’.  

The Labour leader has dramatically called for draconian countermeasures to come into force within 24 hours, condemning the PM for ‘hinting’ at action while dragging his heels. 

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Entertainment UK

Strictly ’21 chaos as Bruno Tonioli ‘at risk’ and Anton du Beke ‘to replace him’

Strictly Come Dancing 2021 might be roughly eight months away – but already it seems the series is in chaos.

Reports have suggested show bosses are hesitant to sign up Bruno Tonioli as a judge over fears he may again choose Dancing With The Stars over Strictly.

And rumours abound that Anton du Beke is being quietly lined up to replace him – after the professional dancer did a sterling job filling in for Motsi Mabuse when she was forced out of the Strictly studio due to Covid guidelines for two weeks during the 2020 series.

The judging line up for 2020 saw the usual four judges reduced to three after 65-year-old Bruno opted to continue his judging role on the USA version of Strictly, Dancing With The Stars – with Motsi, Shirley Ballas and Craig Revel Horwood soldiering on without him.

Strictly bosses are said to be deciding whether or not to ‘risk’ signing Bruno Tonioli to the 2021 season

Ordinarily, the feisty Italian dance connoisseur would judge on both version of the show – jetting between London and LA to meet commitments on both series.

However, the Covid pandemic made such international travel impossible for the judge, so he chose Dancing With The Stars – for which he is rumoured to be paid £1 million per season – over Strictly – for which he earns a reported £250,000.

The Mail on Sunday claims that show bosses fear a repeat of 2020, with Bruno again choosing to reside in California as a global approach to defeating the Covid pandemic is unclear at this time – despite UK advancement in distributing vaccinations.

The report suggests Bruno had already been signed to appear on Strictly before he chose to relocate to California – meaning the BBC forked out a high sum ultimately in return for occasional video calls for the star.

Anton du Beke is considered a perfect replacement for Bruno

With the BBC under fire from tax payers over a string of controversies – from axing free license fees for OAPs, to accusations of failing impartiality – it seems bosses are keen to avoid giving critics any more ammunition by “wasting” money on absent judges.

The publication reports: “BBC executives are uneasy about signing him in case they end up in the same situation they did this year – and spending licence fee payers money for just a few moments of television.”

While a source close to the show told the outlet: “This time last year Bruno had been signed up but things are so much less certain now. It is very unlikely the BBC will allow themselves to be in the same position they were this year and end up spending so much money for such little value.

Motsi Mabuse, Shirley Ballas and Craig Revel Horwood wowed as the 2020 Strictly judges

“Bruno chose Dancing With The Stars over Strictly, that’s no secret. If he does the same again this year, things will be tricky. There is the perfect replacement waiting in the wings – Anton.”

Anton proved a hit with fans when he filled in for Mosti during the 2020 season, with one fan gushing on Twitter : “Definitely a 10 and if the BBC have half a brain they will make you permanent. Don’t change, best show in ages tonight, you bought a lovely atmosphere.”

Mirror Online have contacted a representative of Strictly for comment.

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Entertainment UK

David Attenborough shares ‘shocking footage’ to illustrate human impact on globe

Sir David Attenborough could shock viewers into action after sharing distressing footage of animals suffering as a consequence of human life.

The 94-year-old broadcasting legend tells viewers of his new BBC show that the world has changed “beyond all recognition” over the space of his lifetime.

Five-part documentary A Perfect Planet begins airing today with unsettling footage showing animals across the globe struggling to survive in the line of global warming.

Among one of the upsetting scenes is a baby elephant crying out as rescuers give it water – after the animal’s adult relatives perished in extreme droughts, leaving the baby psychologically damaged.

New series A Perfect Planet begins airing today

According to The Sun, Sir David warns that the baby elephant is a victim of human influence: “so powerful it threatens the future of life on Earth”.

Offering a ray of hope, the veteran broadcaster says it’s not too late to help turn the tide against climate change and pollution.

He says: “We have the capacity and knowledge to stop the damage we are doing. What we don’t have is time.”

The series will show what measures are being taken around the world in the effort to protect animals.

Koalas that are recovering from last year’s Australian wildfires are also featured

But upsetting footage also shows koala’s recovering from Australian wildfires, baby turtles drowned after their nests flooded due to early storms, and sloths being rescued after their forests have been destroyed.

The series makes the bleak prediction that half of all species on Earth could die within the next 80 years unless urgent action is taken.

Biologist Dr Niall McCann warns that increases in fires, droughts and flooding provide tough challenges for animals to survive.

Sir David Attenborough offers some hope amid the bleak footage

He says: “These extreme conditions are making it increasingly difficult for animals to survive.”

He asks: “Do you want to be the generation that sees the last elephant killed, sees the last fish fished out of the sea, or do you want to be the generation that turns it around?”

While economist and activist Jeremy Rifkin adds: “This is the single most serious moment in the 200,000 years our species has been on this Earth.

“We will face a runaway cascade of environmental events feeding off each other, taking us into an unknown abyss that could lead to a very quick mass extinction of much of life in a very short period.”

Projects hoping to turn the tide against climate change include a 5,000-mile long “green wall” consisting of one billion drought-resistant trees which are being planted in Africa.

While a “frozen zoo” featuring DNA of 10,000 endangered animals is documented which hopes to clone animals in the future.

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Coronavirus: London children’s hospital consultant says wards are NOT full of youngsters with Covid

A London children’s hospital consultant has blasted an ‘irresponsible’ nurse who gave a BBC radio interview claiming her hospital has a ‘whole ward of children’ with coronavirus.   

Paediatrician Dr Ronny Cheung took to social media to blast the matron’s claims during an interview with Adrian Chiles on BBC Radio 5 Live.

Laura Duffel told the BBC: ‘It was minimally affecting children in the first wave but we have a whole ward of children here and I know some of my colleagues are in the same situation with whole wards of children with Covid.’

In a Twitter thread Dr Cheung, a consultant at a London children’s hospital, said Ms Duffel’s comments were ‘irresponsible in the extreme’.

It comes as a report from Imperial College London warned the mutated super-infectious coronavirus strain was spreading quickly among children, but young people are not thought to be suffering from more severe symptoms.

Paediatrician Dr Ronny Cheung (pictured) took to social media to blast the matron’s claims during an interview with Adrian Chiles on BBC Radio 5 Live

Laura Duffel (pictured) had said: ‘It was minimally affecting children in the first wave but we have a whole ward of children here and I know some of my colleagues are in the same situation with whole wards of children with Covid’

Over the  course of  six weeks, Imperial College London researchers saw how the new coronavirus variant's transmission rate (R) became higher (orange) than those of other variants, especially in South East England, East England and London

Over the  course of  six weeks, Imperial College London researchers saw how the new coronavirus variant’s transmission rate (R) became higher (orange) than those of other variants, especially in South East England, East England and London 

Pictured: A graph in an Imperial College London report showing the prevalence of the new strain of coronavirus (shown in orange) in different age groups

Pictured: A graph in an Imperial College London report showing the prevalence of the new strain of coronavirus (shown in orange) in different age groups 

He wrote: ‘I’ve been the on call consultant in a london children’s hospital this week – this is simply not true, and irresponsible in the extreme – frightens parents, fuels covid-deniers. Covid is rife in hospitals, but not among children. We have enough to deal with without this garbage.’

He later claimed he was not accusing the nurse of lying, but that it was ‘very important it is not misconstrued for worried parents’, adding children were getting coronavirus, they just weren’t ‘being admitted in great swathes’.

‘I’m also not saying children do not get covid, nor that the new strain may not be more easily spread (we don’t know for sure yet). But they are not all getting seriously ill and being admitted in great swathes, and that is corroborated by my colleagues across London,’ he added.

Dr Cheung is clinical director of the Healthy London Partnership Child Death Overview Panel Transformation Programme and the child health representative on the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) Indicators Advisory Committee. 

In a Twitter thread Dr Cheung, a consultant at a London children's hospital, said he was not aware of 'whole wards' of children with coronavirus

In a Twitter thread Dr Cheung, a consultant at a London children’s hospital, said he was not aware of ‘whole wards’ of children with coronavirus

He later claimed he was not accusing the nurse of lying, but that it was 'very important it is not misconstrued for worried parents', adding children were getting coronavirus, they just weren't 'being admitted in great swathes'

He later claimed he was not accusing the nurse of lying, but that it was ‘very important it is not misconstrued for worried parents’, adding children were getting coronavirus, they just weren’t ‘being admitted in great swathes’ 

Ms Duffel is a vocal campaigner for nurses who has appeared on Good Morning Britain on a number of occasions, once to talk about paying £1,440 to park outside her place of work

Ms Duffel is a vocal campaigner for nurses who has appeared on Good Morning Britain on a number of occasions, once to talk about paying £1,440 to park outside her place of work

Ms Duffel defended herself against backlash online, as others accused her of lying about having a ward filled with children with coronavirus

Ms Duffel defended herself against backlash online, as others accused her of lying about having a ward filled with children with coronavirus

Ms Duffel – a vocal campaigner for nurses who previously appeared on Good Morning Britain to talk about paying £1,440 to park outside her place of work – defended herself against backlash online, as others accused her of lying about having a ward filled with children with coronavirus.

She wrote: ‘I’m not trying to scare people. But people should know that this wave is not isolated to the older generation. If I save a single life through making people think twice before mixing with others surely it is worth sharing what we are dealing with day in day out in hospitals.’ 

It comes after the report from Imperial College London warned the mutated super-infectious coronavirus strain was spreading quickly during the November lockdown and only closing schools can keep it contained. 

Kent and Medway

Mid and South Essex

Pictured: Screen-grabs from the Imperial College report showing case trends involving the new strain of coronavirus, where the % S- rate indicates a case of the new variant. During the lockdown, Kent and Medway showed increasing numbers of the new Covid-19 strain. Mid and South Essex saw a similar rise in cases in the weeks before and after the lockdown ended. Both regions saw cases of the VOC overtake case numbers of the original strain

South West London Health and Care Partnership

Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire and Berkshire West

Cases of the VOC in South West London Health and Care Partnership also rose in the final weeks of lockdown, and have continued to do so since. The number of cases of the new strain over took those of the original. Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire and Berkshire West also saw rising case numbers in the last week of lockdown, with numbers of the new strain rising

Birmingham and Solihull

Devon

In both Bingmingam and Solihull and in Devon, case number of the first Covid-19 strain dropped during the lockdown, while cases of the VOC remained low into the last weeks of 2020

Herefordshire and Worcestershire

Cheshire and Merseyside

In Herefordshire and Worcestershire, and Cheshire and Merseyside, total cases dropped during lockdown without the spike in new cases of the VOC

Humber, Coast and Vale

Ratio age share among S- cases / age share among S+ cases

Humber, Coast and Vale also saw cases of the original strain of Covid-19 drop during lockdown and avoided the rise in new cases of the VOC. Right: A graph showing ratio age share among S- cases / age share among S+ cases

Graphs from the new study show how, over  eight weeks, the new variant became increasingly common (dots higher on each chart) in the UK and became more transmissible (dots further the right on each chart show rising  R numbers, or transmission rates

Graphs from the new study show how, over  eight weeks, the new variant became increasingly common (dots higher on each chart) in the UK and became more transmissible (dots further the right on each chart show rising  R numbers, or transmission rates

The study confirmed the variant of SARS-CoV-2 – known as B117 or ‘Variant of Concern’ (VOC) – is more infectious than previous variants, just as scientists feared, and that the November lockdown did little to suppress it.  

The variant was most prevalent among the 10-19 age group, the data shows, with more coronavirus cases in the age group being found to be the new strain than of the original.  

In order the tackle the spread of the VOC in Britain, ‘Social distancing measures will need to be more stringent than they would have otherwise,’ the report said.

‘A particular concern is whether it will be possible to maintain control over transmission while allowing schools to reopen in January 2021.’ 

What is the ‘mutant COVID strain’ and why are experts concerned? 

Coronaviruses mutate regularly, acquiring about one new mutation in their genome every two weeks. 

Most mutations do not significantly change the way the virus acts.

This super strain, named B.1.1.7, was first identified in the UK in November.

It has since been found in France, Spain, Italy, Iceland, Japan, Singapore, Australia and now the United States. 

The new COVID-19 variant has a mutation in the receptor binding domain (RBD) of the spike protein at position 501, where amino acid asparagine (N) has been replaced with tyrosine (Y). 

It is more infectious than previous strains and potentially more harmful to children. 

It is not, however, believed to be any more lethal.  

Public Health England researchers compared 1,769 people infected with the new variant, with 1,769 who had one of the earlier strains of the virus. 

Forty-two people in the group were admitted to hospital, of whom 16 had the new variant and 26 the wild type. 

Twelve of the variant cases and 10 of the ‘older’ virus cases died within four weeks of testing. 

Neither the hospitalization nor the mortality differences were statistically significant. 

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Tories slam Sadiq Khan’s £1.5million New Year’s Eve light show

London Assembly members have blasted Sadiq Khan’s £1.5million BBC-backed ‘woke’ pro-EU, NHS and BLM firework and drone display over the Thames.

Viewers were quick to criticise the taxpayer-funded New Year’s Eve event, claiming it was ‘ruined by politics’ after Thames bridges were turned blue and yellow in a tribute to the EU as the UK finally left the bloc.

The display – which the London Mayor cooked up in secret with Scotland Yard to avoid crowds gathering in Greenwich – also saw 300 drones make the shape of a BLM fist and a turtle with Africa on its shell during a climate change lecture by Sir David Attenborough.

Politicians have now piled in on the show – with Conservative London Assembly member Tony Devenish slamming it as a ‘disgusting waste of money’.

MailOnline today revealed that City Hall had a £1.5million budget with Mr Khan having the ‘final sign off on the content of the display’. 

Mr Devenish wrote: ‘Disgusting waste of money Sadiq Khan. More of a sick joke by the week.’ 

Former UKIP leader Henry Bolton added: ‘Stop politicising New Year’s Eve Mr Khan. It’s for everyone.’  

Brexit Alliance Assembly member Peter Whittle said: ‘So, an organisation that wants to defund the police, dismantle the family, sweep away capitalism and deconstruct British history gets celebrated in the middle of what should be a harmless New Year ritual.

‘Predictably disgraceful from this Mayor.’

His criticism was echoed by fellow Assembly member and independent mayoral candidate David Kurten, who wrote: ‘It is deplorable that London’s New Year fireworks display contains a Marxist/BLM fist. If you want to celebrate British culture and not destructive ideologies, vote me for London Mayor on May 6.’ 

And Tory MP Andrew Bridgen told the Daily Mail: ‘A Left-wing politician uses his position and taxpayers’ money to make blatantly political statements – I hope the taxpayers of London remember that the next time they’re asked to vote for a mayor.’

 On the other end of the spectrum, former-Labour MP Roberta Blackman-Woods heaped praise on the left-wing mayor, writing: ‘Impressed with London firework/light display. Congrats to Mayor Sadiq Khan and his team for getting such an appropriate tone and content of messages.’

Councillor and former-Labour MP  Emma Dent Coad wrote: ‘I was so utterly fed up with 2020 that I went to bed early. And missed this! So beautiful and full of hope. Thank you Sadiq Khan it was superb!’ 

Viewers have slammed Sadiq Khan and the BBC for ‘forcing politics’ into London’s controversial New Year’s Eve light show after 300 drones made the shape of a Black Lives Matter fist (pictured)  and shone in EU colours over London’s skies costing taxpayers’ up to £1.5m

Viewers slammed the display as 'ridiculous' after the drones made the shape of a BLM fist and a turtle with Africa on its shell (pictured) - alongside the NHS logo and a depiction Captain Sir Tom Moore in the sky

Viewers slammed the display as ‘ridiculous’ after the drones made the shape of a BLM fist and a turtle with Africa on its shell (pictured) – alongside the NHS logo and a depiction Captain Sir Tom Moore in the sky

Politicians have now piled in on the New Year's Eve show - with Conservative London Assembly member Tony Devenish slamming it as a 'disgusting waste of money'

Politicians have now piled in on the New Year’s Eve show – with Conservative London Assembly member Tony Devenish slamming it as a ‘disgusting waste of money’

On the other end of the spectrum, former-Labour MP Roberta Blackman-Woods heaped praise on the left-wing mayor, writing: 'Impressed with London firework/light display. Congrats to Mayor Sadiq Khan and his team for getting such an appropriate tone and content of messages'

On the other end of the spectrum, former-Labour MP Roberta Blackman-Woods heaped praise on the left-wing mayor, writing: ‘Impressed with London firework/light display. Congrats to Mayor Sadiq Khan and his team for getting such an appropriate tone and content of messages’

The 300 drones lit up the night's sky writing NHS with a green heart around it as fireworks erupted by The Millennium Dome in London

The 300 drones lit up the night’s sky writing NHS with a green heart around it as fireworks erupted by The Millennium Dome in London

During the display, a bird appeared in the sky - in reference to the building of the Nightingale hospitals - after a clip of a news broadcast states: 'Buildings were lit up in blue, the colour of the NHS'

During the display, a bird appeared in the sky – in reference to the building of the Nightingale hospitals – after a clip of a news broadcast states: ‘Buildings were lit up in blue, the colour of the NHS’

Many also pointed out that the EU-inspired opening lights (pictured) and the first shape which appeared above The Millennium Dome - a blue and yellow bird

Many also pointed out that the EU-inspired opening lights (pictured) and the first shape which appeared above The Millennium Dome – a blue and yellow bird 

London's light and firework show also featured a reference to online video calls which became a popular option for the swathes of Britons working from home in lockdown

London’s light and firework show also featured a reference to online video calls which became a popular option for the swathes of Britons working from home in lockdown

During the display at Greenwich, rockets were fired from a barge in the river and 300 drones flew above the O2 Arena in south-east London. 

10.8million locked-down Britons, forced to celebrate New Year at home and eager to bid farewell to a miserable 2020, tuned into BBC One to watch the display. 

The BBC helped with the planning of the broadcast, which the Mayor’s office said: ‘Looked ahead in hope to 2021, including sending a message to European Londoners that they will always have a home in our city’.

Mr Khan also defiantly tweeted critics this morning by sharing a MailOnline story and saying: ‘Anyone else think it was pretty good?’, leading to a mixed reaction of those enjoyed it and others who blasted him including one who replied: ‘No. You made a NYE celebration political. Disgraceful’. Another wag tweeted sarcastically: ‘Apart from the BLM & EU images, the commentary, the god awful singing and mostly dodgy musical taste…….I really liked it’. 

Last night’s controversial display was curated by Mr Khan with the help of the BBC, Titanium Fireworks, SKYMAGIC drone displays, Durham Marenghi Lighting, Signify audio and Jack Morton, a London media agency. The Mayor of London has also thanked the Met, The Port of London Authority, and the Civil Aviation Authority for their help in putting it on.

One critic tweeted Mr Khan directly and said: ‘This was a opportunity to unite, yet you continue to want to divide us all, disgraceful’. Another wrote: ‘Even making firework political now spoilt it for me’, and one angry BBC viewer said: ‘It was a disgrace. The whole thing. Propaganda to fireworks, lights and music. Wish we hadn’t watched it, like many others I know’. 

One irate viewer, who pointed to Mr Khan’s previous pro-EU displays, tweeted: ‘Had my London fireworks ruined by politics again. Turned off after four minutes.’ Another said: ‘The symbolism was incongruous and divisive. Disgraceful’.

A spokesman for the Mayor said: ‘It reflected some of the defining moments of what has been a very challenging year for our city and country, including the significant impact of Black Lives Matter, Captain Tom’s incredible fundraising efforts and our appreciation for the NHS’. 

A Greenwich resident shocked by the unannounced fireworks said it ‘sounded like the Blitz’ while another local tweeted: ‘I live a 3 minute walk along river from it. We weren’t even told it was happening. Hence our traumatised pets!’ 

Outraged Britons said the show was 'ruined by politics' after the drones made the shape of a BLM fist and beamed EU colours alongside the NHS logo and a depiction of Captain Sir Tom Moore in the sky

Outraged Britons said the show was ‘ruined by politics’ after the drones made the shape of a BLM fist and beamed EU colours alongside the NHS logo and a depiction of Captain Sir Tom Moore in the sky

Who was involved in the NYE display cooked up by Sadiq Khan and the BBC 

The Greater London Authority and the BBC worked with:

Jack Morton Worldwide marketing agency

On the Sly

Titanium Fireworks

Durham Marenghi Lighting

Signify 

SKYMAGIC 

The Metropolitan Police

City of London Police 

Westminster City Council 

The City of London Corporation 

Transport for London 

The Port of London Authority 

The Civil Aviation Authority

Another wrote: ‘The irony of David Attenborough voicing over that our planet is fragile and we need to look after all the inhabitants during the London fireworks. All whilst a shed load of explosive go bang, polluting that fragile environment and frightening the c**p out of most the inhabitants’. 

Labour’s Mayor of London Mr Khan was involved in curating the firework display, which began with a bang at midnight when a nightingale bird in European Union colours appeared over the O2 Arena just after Britain’s trade deal with Brussels kicked in. 

A raised fist – which became synonymous with the Black Lives Matter movement this year – first appeared as spoken-word artist George the Poet read an extract of his poem Coronavirus: The Power of Collaboration. 

The writer – who turned down an OBE last year due to the ‘pure evil’ of the British Empire – read: ‘The future holds unexposed danger, but no stress. Humankind is no stranger to progress. And as we have proven, when we collaborate, progress follows fast.’ The NHS logo and Captain Sir Tom Moore were also depicted in the show, which was produced with the help of the BBC. But the display also lacked a performance of Auld Lang Syne, with just a few notes from the Hogmanay classic being played before host Alicia Keys instead launched into her song New York from a concert streamed from Los Angeles. 

 

Another Twitter user said the show was ‘going well’, but said organisers ‘just had to force politics into it’ while someone else commented: ‘Well, the London celebrations were a little bit political weren’t they! Could’ve just set off fireworks and had a bit of music, but no.’

One viewer added: ‘Can’t believe the London firework display. BLM, all about change, new ways… never seen so much politicized bulls***.’ 

It is unclear exactly who curated the lightshow, which will have been signed off by officials at Sadiq Khan’s City Hall and paid for by London’s taxpayers.  

The display also featured an extract from a poem written by New Zealand-born Tomos Robertson – who goes by the name Tom Foolery – titled The Great Realisation.

As fireworks lit up the sky, a narrator read: ‘In 2020, a new virus came our way. We knew what must be done and so to help we hid away.

‘Old habits became extinct and they made way for the new. And every simple act of kindness was now given its due.’  

The drones also formed the words 'love together' in the sky over London on New Year's Eve. The show was broadcast on BBC One

The drones also formed the words ‘love together’ in the sky over London on New Year’s Eve. The show was broadcast on BBC One

London's New Year's Eve display also featured a depiction of Captain Sir Tom Moore in lights as fireworks erupted

London’s New Year’s Eve display also featured a depiction of Captain Sir Tom Moore in lights as fireworks erupted

Towards the end of the show, the shape of a turtle appeared in the sky. As Sir David Attenborough speaks, the turtle (pictured) changes colour and the shape of Africa appears on its shell

Towards the end of the show, the shape of a turtle appeared in the sky. As Sir David Attenborough speaks, the turtle (pictured) changes colour and the shape of Africa appears on its shell

Many have wondered why the bird (pictured) also featured yellow in its wings on the night the UK left the European Union for good

Many have wondered why the bird (pictured) also featured yellow in its wings on the night the UK left the European Union for good

The fist - which became synonymous with the Black Lives Matter movement which swept the globe this year - first appeared as spoken-word artist George the Poet (pictured) read an extract of his poem Coronavirus: The Power of Collaboration.

Towards the end of the show, the shape of a turtle appeared in the sky as Sir David said: 'Happy New Year. Our planet is unique. A living world of diversity and wonder. It's also fragile'

The fist – which became synonymous with the Black Lives Matter movement which swept the globe this year – first appeared as spoken-word artist George the Poet (left) read an extract of his poem Coronavirus: The Power of Collaboration. Towards the end of the show, the shape of a turtle appeared in the sky as Sir David (right) said: ‘Happy New Year. Our planet is unique. A living world of diversity and wonder. It’s also fragile’

Fireworks erupted on Tower Bridge in London tonight as the scaled-down display brought in the New Year in the capital

Fireworks erupted on Tower Bridge in London tonight as the scaled-down display brought in the New Year in the capital

Mr Khan confirmed that the traditional fireworks show would not go ahead back in September, saying that 'we can't afford' to have large numbers of people congregating amid the coronavirus pandemic. Pictured: The alternative celebrations involved a light show and fireworks over the Millennium Dome and Tower Bridge

Mr Khan confirmed that the traditional fireworks show would not go ahead back in September, saying that ‘we can’t afford’ to have large numbers of people congregating amid the coronavirus pandemic. Pictured: The alternative celebrations involved a light show and fireworks over the Millennium Dome and Tower Bridge

Revellers gathered by London Eye tonight. The area would normally be jam-packed with Londoners keep to get a glimpse of the fireworks - which were cancelled this year

Revellers gathered by London Eye tonight. The area would normally be jam-packed with Londoners keep to get a glimpse of the fireworks – which were cancelled this year

‘Why is Alicia Keys singing about New York for London’s New Year?’ Viewers slam BBC for using US singer as music act to welcome in 2021 as they criticise ‘out of tune’ performance 

Viewers slam BBC for using Alicia Keys to welcome in 2021 as they criticise her 'out of tune' performance

Viewers slam BBC for using Alicia Keys to welcome in 2021 as they criticise her ‘out of tune’ performance

Viewers have slammed the BBC for using Alicia Keys to welcome in 2021 instead of British singers as they criticise her ‘out of tune’ performance.

The singer, from New York, performed a concert from Los Angeles on BBC One last night to bring in the new year.

However, people watching were left unhappy with the fact an American singer was performing instead of some UK talent.

The 39-year-old was also criticised for being out of tune, with many claiming they changed the channel during her performance. 

Ratings for the evening showed that Jools Holland had more people tuning in on BBC2, with 5.4million. 

The performance on BBC One, from 11.45pm to midnight, saw 5.2million viewers tuning in. After the fireworks from 12.15am to 12.30am, Jools had 5.4million viewers to Alicia Keys’ 4.2million.   She also performed hits such as Empire State of Mind, a song about New York, for London’s New Year. 

Viewers took to social media to express their dismay about her performance, with many saying it had got their 2021 off to a bad start.

One user wrote: ‘The BBC letting Alicia Keys sing on NYE has bummed me out before the new year even starts.’

Just seconds later, a bird appeared in the sky – in reference to the building of the Nightingale hospitals – after a clip of a news broadcast states: ‘Buildings were lit up in blue, the colour of the NHS’.

But many have wondered why the bird also featured yellow in its wings on the night the UK left the European Union for good. 

Towards the end of the show, the shape of a turtle appeared in the sky as Sir David Attenborough said: ‘Happy New Year. Our planet is unique. A living world of diversity and wonder. It’s also fragile.

‘With a new year comes the opportunity for change. And if we act, in 2021 we can make a world of difference.’

Fireworks were also seen over Tower Bridge in the capital. 

As he continues, the turtle changes colour and the shape of Africa appears on its shell. 

‘Together, we can turn things around. Together, we can restore our fragile home and make it a happy new year for all the inhabitants of planet earth.’ 

Mr Khan shared a clip of the BLM segment of the show with the caption: ‘Our New Year’s Eve show just sent a loud, proud message to the world: London stands together against racism – tonight and always.’ 

He tagged George the Poet, whose real name is George Mpanga, in the tweet. Mr Mpanga opened the BBC’s coverage of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s wedding with one of his poems and his work has won the support of the Duke of Sussex.

Mr Khan confirmed that the traditional fireworks show would not go ahead back in September, saying that ‘we can’t afford’ to have large numbers of people congregating amid the coronavirus pandemic.

He dubbed the alternative celebrations ‘something that people can enjoy in the comfort of their living room’ at the time.   

Earlier in the evening, fireworks lit up the sky over Newcastle in an incredible display watched by thousands from their windows. 

Normally-bustling Trafalgar Square in London was eerily deserted as the clock struck midnight with officials putting up barriers to keep rule breakers away. 

But some Londoner’s appeared to push their luck earlier in the evening with crowds gathering in Piccadilly Circus and on Westminster Bridge. 

Under Tier 4 rules only two people from different households can meet outdoors, but police were seen speaking to crowds of at least five.

Scotland’s traditional Hogmanay celebrations have been moved online this year, with First Minister Nicola Sturgeon earlier warning people to celebrate ‘responsibly and in line with the restrictions’.

She added: ‘To be clear, and I take no pleasure in saying this, that means no gatherings, no house parties, no first-footing. Instead, we should bring in 2021 in our own homes with just our own households.’  

While many heaped criticism on the display, others praised its inclusion of the BLM movement and climate change

While many heaped criticism on the display, others praised its inclusion of the BLM movement and climate change

Sadiq Khan shared a clip of the BLM segment of London's light show with the caption: 'Our New Year's Eve show just sent a loud, proud message to the world: London stands together against racism - tonight and always'

Sadiq Khan shared a clip of the BLM segment of London’s light show with the caption: ‘Our New Year’s Eve show just sent a loud, proud message to the world: London stands together against racism – tonight and always’

As the new year was welcomed in, crowds were seen flouting Covid lockdown rules by gathering along the river. The capital is in Tier 4

As the new year was welcomed in, crowds were seen flouting Covid lockdown rules by gathering along the river. The capital is in Tier 4

Police officers were seen speaking to a man during an anti-lockdown protest demonstration in London on New Year's Eve

Police officers were seen speaking to a man during an anti-lockdown protest demonstration in London on New Year’s Eve

LONDON: The brightly-lit Christmas tree in Trafalgar square in the capital stood alone as large barriers blocked off rule-breaking pedestrians

LONDON: The brightly-lit Christmas tree in Trafalgar square in the capital stood alone as large barriers blocked off rule-breaking pedestrians

LONDON: Normally-bustling Trafalgar Square in London was eerily deserted with officials putting up barriers to keep rule breakers away

LONDON: Normally-bustling Trafalgar Square in London was eerily deserted with officials putting up barriers to keep rule breakers away

EDINBURGH: Scotland's traditional Hogmanay celebrations have been moved online this year leaving streets deserted (pictured), with First Minister Nicola Sturgeon earlier warning people to celebrate 'responsibly and in line with the restrictions'

EDINBURGH: Scotland’s traditional Hogmanay celebrations have been moved online this year leaving streets deserted (pictured), with First Minister Nicola Sturgeon earlier warning people to celebrate ‘responsibly and in line with the restrictions’

EDINBURGH: The city was nearly-empty today as traditional celebrations were moved online. Just a handful of people walked the streets

EDINBURGH: The city was nearly-empty today as traditional celebrations were moved online. Just a handful of people walked the streets

The Mall in London last year
LONDON: Images of the deserted streets of London this year (The Mall, pictured) were a stark contrast to the bustling crowds last year

LONDON: Images of the deserted streets of London this year (The Mall, pictured) were a stark contrast to the bustling crowds last year (left)

In 2019 a large Christmas Market was in Princes Street Gardens n Edinburgh and several live music stages were erected on the city streets
This year, however, the same streets were almost empty due to Covid rules

EDINBURGH: In 2019 a large Christmas Market was in Princes Street Gardens n Edinburgh and several live music stages were erected on the city streets (left). This year, however, the same streets were almost empty due to Covid rules (right)

The street opposite the London Eye was jam-packed last year with revellers keen to get a glimpse of the fireworks
But with the display cancelled this year, those same streets were empty

LONDON: The street opposite the London Eye was jam-packed last year with revellers keen to get a glimpse of the fireworks (left). But with the display cancelled this year, those same streets were empty (right)

Birmingham on New Year's Eve in 2019
The streets of Birmingham were empty tonight

BIRMINGHAM: The streets of Birmingham were empty tonight (right) in stark contrast to scenes this time last year (left)

EDINBURGH: The Royal Mile in Edinburgh this evening resembled a ghost town as weary Scots followed Government advice and stayed at home

EDINBURGH: The Royal Mile in Edinburgh this evening resembled a ghost town as weary Scots followed Government advice and stayed at home

LONDON: A man holds a sparkler in front of the London Eye, in what would normally be a ticket-only area filled to capacity waiting for the annual fireworks display

LONDON: A man holds a sparkler in front of the London Eye, in what would normally be a ticket-only area filled to capacity waiting for the annual fireworks display

LONDON: Piccadilly Circus was nearly empty tonight as revellers stayed at home amid the Covid-19 pandemic

LONDON: Piccadilly Circus was nearly empty tonight as revellers stayed at home amid the Covid-19 pandemic

LONDON: London's China Town was nearly empty tonight as New Year's Eve celebrations were cancelled amid the Covid pandemic

LONDON: London’s China Town was nearly empty tonight as New Year’s Eve celebrations were cancelled amid the Covid pandemic

LONDON: A mask-wearing couple kiss while holding a sparkler in front of the London Eye. The annual firework display will not go ahead this year due to coronavirus

LONDON: A mask-wearing couple kiss while holding a sparkler in front of the London Eye. The annual firework display will not go ahead this year due to coronavirus 

BLACKPOOL: Blackpool - a traditional New Year's Eve hotspot - was equally abandoned by rule-abiding citizens who stayed at home

BLACKPOOL: Blackpool – a traditional New Year’s Eve hotspot – was equally abandoned by rule-abiding citizens who stayed at home

LONDON: Rows of police vehicles stand guard near to the London Eye, where this year's fireworks display has been cancelled to avoid crowds gathering

LONDON: Rows of police vehicles stand guard near to the London Eye, where this year’s fireworks display has been cancelled to avoid crowds gathering 

BIRMINGHAM: The streets of Birmingham were deserted tonight as New Year's Eve celebrations were canceled due to Covid

BIRMINGHAM: The streets of Birmingham were deserted tonight as New Year’s Eve celebrations were canceled due to Covid

BIRMINGHAM: The street's of Birmingham were lit up by lights on New Year's Eve as revellers remained at home amid the Covid-19 pandemic

BIRMINGHAM: The street’s of Birmingham were lit up by lights on New Year’s Eve as revellers remained at home amid the Covid-19 pandemic

LONDON: Police officers were seen on the streets of London in what should be a quiet New Year's Eve with most people staying indoors

LONDON: Police officers were seen on the streets of London in what should be a quiet New Year’s Eve with most people staying indoors

LEEDS: The Tier 3 city was left deserted this year with only takeaways from bars and pubs permitted. Revellers will be celebrating New Year's Eve indoors this year

LEEDS: The Tier 3 city was left deserted this year with only takeaways from bars and pubs permitted. Revellers will be celebrating New Year’s Eve indoors this year

LEEDS: The streets of Leeds were bare this evening as locals stayed at home. Lockdown rules mean New Year's Eve will look very different for countless Britons this year

LEEDS: The streets of Leeds were bare this evening as locals stayed at home. Lockdown rules mean New Year’s Eve will look very different for countless Britons this year

LEEDS: Leeds locals were forced to welcome the new year in with alcohol bought from off licenses as pubs and bars remained shut

LEEDS: Leeds locals were forced to welcome the new year in with alcohol bought from off licenses as pubs and bars remained shut

LONDON: Piccadilly Circus was nearly empty this evening as revellers were banned from attending raucous New Year's Eve parties due to Covid

LONDON: Piccadilly Circus was nearly empty this evening as revellers were banned from attending raucous New Year’s Eve parties due to Covid 

LONDON: A busker performs to a handful of people in Covent Garden on New Year's Eve this year as lockdown rule put a halt to normal gatherings

LONDON: A busker performs to a handful of people in Covent Garden on New Year’s Eve this year as lockdown rule put a halt to normal gatherings

EDINBURGH: The streets of the Scottish city were empty tonight. Strings of Christmas lights and brightly-lit shops cast an eerie glow over the pavement

EDINBURGH: The streets of the Scottish city were empty tonight. Strings of Christmas lights and brightly-lit shops cast an eerie glow over the pavement

LONDON: Soho's normally-bustling streets were nearly empty this evening as London's bars, pubs and restaurants remain shut

LONDON: Soho’s normally-bustling streets were nearly empty this evening as London’s bars, pubs and restaurants remain shut

EDINBURGH: Locals walked past a shut pub in Edinburgh as Hogmanay celebrations take place online this year

EDINBURGH: Locals walked past a shut pub in Edinburgh as Hogmanay celebrations take place online this year

LONDON: Buckingham Palace in London was deserted tonight - in stark contrast to last year - as revellers opted to stay at home instead

LONDON: Buckingham Palace in London was deserted tonight – in stark contrast to last year – as revellers opted to stay at home instead

CARDIFF: The streets of Cardiff were empty tonight - in contrast to last year - as the country remains under its highest alert level

CARDIFF: The streets of Cardiff were empty tonight – in contrast to last year – as the country remains under its highest alert level

LONDON: Police officers stand guard in London to deter rule-breaking revellers on New Year's Eve while the city remains under Tier 4 lockdown

LONDON: Police officers stand guard in London to deter rule-breaking revellers on New Year’s Eve while the city remains under Tier 4 lockdown

CARDIFF: The streets of Cardiff are usually a hotspot for eager New Year's Eve revellers. They were empty this year due to lockdown

CARDIFF: The streets of Cardiff are usually a hotspot for eager New Year’s Eve revellers. They were empty this year due to lockdown

LONDON: A trio of police officers keep watch over Leicester Square this evening, with two pedestrians seen walking past. The Government hopes eople will stick to Tier 4 rules and celebrate New Year's Eve at home

LONDON: A trio of police officers keep watch over Leicester Square this evening, with two pedestrians seen walking past. The Government hopes eople will stick to Tier 4 rules and celebrate New Year’s Eve at home

LONDON: Parliament Square is empty, except for a few police officers standing guard near a gate. People around the country are celebrating New year's Eve differently this year, holding their festivities at home

LONDON: Parliament Square is empty, except for a few police officers standing guard near a gate. People around the country are celebrating New year’s Eve differently this year, holding their festivities at home

LONDON: Two police officers speak to a group of people this evening as Tier 4 restrictions mean New Year's Eve celebrations must be held in people's own homes rather than out partying

LONDON: Two police officers speak to a group of people this evening as Tier 4 restrictions mean New Year’s Eve celebrations must be held in people’s own homes rather than out partying

LONDON: The London Eye cuts a lonely figure in the centre of London this evening, with the usual New Year's Eve crowds advised to stay home and celebrate safely

LONDON: The London Eye cuts a lonely figure in the centre of London this evening, with the usual New Year’s Eve crowds advised to stay home and celebrate safely

NEWCASTLE: A number of people stand around outside a restaurant on Newcastle's Quayside this evening. Some of them are seen holding and enjoying drinks

NEWCASTLE: A number of people stand around outside a restaurant on Newcastle’s Quayside this evening. Some of them are seen holding and enjoying drinks

LONDON: Police officers and stewards are seen in Piccadilly Circus in a near-deserted London on New Year's Eve

LONDON: Police officers and stewards are seen in Piccadilly Circus in a near-deserted London on New Year’s Eve

LONDON: People stand outside a pub that is open for takeaway drinks during the New Year's Eve. London is in Tier 4 meaning pubs are takeaway-only

LONDON: People stand outside a pub that is open for takeaway drinks during the New Year’s Eve. London is in Tier 4 meaning pubs are takeaway-only

LONDON: The Mall leading up to Buckingham Palace in London was nearly-deserted as New Year's Eve parties were banned under Covid lockdown rules

LONDON: The Mall leading up to Buckingham Palace in London was nearly-deserted as New Year’s Eve parties were banned under Covid lockdown rules

GLASGOW: Party hotspot Glasgow was also empty tonight as revellers were urged to celebrate at home this year

GLASGOW: Party hotspot Glasgow was also empty tonight as revellers were urged to celebrate at home this year

GLASGOW: Hogmanay in Scotland has moved online this year to ensure that huge crowds don't gather in breach of Covid lockdown rules

GLASGOW: Hogmanay in Scotland has moved online this year to ensure that huge crowds don’t gather in breach of Covid lockdown rules

ISLES OF SCILLY: In stark contrast to the rest of the UK, locals on the Isles of Scilly were pictured enjoying a New Year's Eve drink in the only three pubs in England which are open tonight

ISLES OF SCILLY: In stark contrast to the rest of the UK, locals on the Isles of Scilly were pictured enjoying a New Year’s Eve drink in the only three pubs in England which are open tonight

ISLES OF SCILLY: There are normally around a dozen pubs on the archipelago but a number have closed this year, leaving punters with few options for welcoming in 2021 (some revellers pictured), but more than those on the mainland

ISLES OF SCILLY: There are normally around a dozen pubs on the archipelago but a number have closed this year, leaving punters with few options for welcoming in 2021 (some revellers pictured), but more than those on the mainland

ISLES OF SCILLY: The islands' 2,000-strong population (some revellers pictured) is the only part of England still in Tier 1, with all other parts of the country having moved into Tiers 3 or 4

ISLES OF SCILLY: The islands’ 2,000-strong population (some revellers pictured) is the only part of England still in Tier 1, with all other parts of the country having moved into Tiers 3 or 4

Blackpool – another traditional New Year’s Eve hotspot – was equally abandoned by rule-abiding citizens who stayed at home.

Leeds, Birmingham and Cardiff also saw nearly-empty streets as Covid-conscious locals stayed indoors. 

Meanwhile in Primrose Hill, revellers gathered outdoors in their household groups to watch people’s back-garden fireworks erupt across the city’s skyline.

In stark contrast to the rest of the UK, locals on the Isles of Scilly were pictured enjoying a New Year’s Eve drink in the only three pubs in England which are open tonight. 

The islands’ 2,000-strong population is the only part of England still in Tier 1, with all other parts of the country having moved into Tiers 3 or 4.

There are normally around a dozen pubs on the archipelago but a number have closed this year, leaving punters with few options for welcoming in 2021, but more than those on the mainland.

Even though the rules are clear in banning gatherings, thousands still plan on attending illegal raves and street parties. But 96 per cent of Britons plan to stay home tonight, according to a YouGov poll.