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Australian hoax DJs: where do you draw the line with on-air pranks?

10 December 2012 10:21 AM, PST | The Guardian - TV News | See recent The Guardian - TV News news »

Jacintha Saldanha's death has led many to ask whether pranks have a place on radio or TV. But hoaxes have been a media staple for decades. How do we know what's Ok and what isn't?

There has understandably been little public sympathy for the boss of the Australian broadcasting company behind the prank phone call to the Duchess of Cambridge's hospital ward, which seems to have resulted in the suicide of Jacintha Saldanha, the nurse who spoke to DJs Mel Greig and Michael Christian of 2Day FM.

However, it is hard to argue with one of the comments made by Rhys Holleran, chief executive of the station's parent company. Prank broadcasting, he said, has been a part of media "for decades and decades" and is a "worldwide" phenomenon, rather than a bad idea recently dreamed up by a couple of antipodean radio hosts.

This is certainly true. Ambush formats in »

- Mark Lawson

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Donald Trump to Lord Sugar: 'Drop to your knees and thank me'

6 December 2012 2:55 PM, PST | Digital Spy | See recent Digital Spy - Movie News news »

Donald Trump and Lord Alan Sugar engaged in a Twitter spat today (December 6) in front of their millions of followers. The argument began after Trump criticised the UK government for its policy of supporting the expansion of wind farms in Scotland. One wind farm in particular, 1.9 miles from Trump's controversial Aberdeenshire golf course, raised the business magnate's ire. The Apprentice USA star tweeted: "How can George Osborne reduce UK debt while spending billions to subsidize Scotland's garbage wind turbines that are destroying the country?You're all wrong—check the facts! UK is massively subsidizing Scotland's wind turbines & the people don't want them." The Apprentice UK businessman replied: "Scottish don't want wind turbines........I think you have that wrong . The Scottish don't (more) »

- By Paul Martinovic

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Financial Times Is Mad Chill and Hood, Yo

6 December 2012 10:27 AM, PST | The Wrap | See recent The Wrap news »

The Financial Times -- the salmon-colored daily read by international investors and business people -- is usually staid to the point of stoicism. Not Thursday. A front-page op-ed by the paper's city editor, Jonathan Guthrie, criticized George Osborne, the head of Britain's treasury, for issuing certain tax breaks. It was headlined "G-Dawg Splashes Out Tax Cuts Like P Diddy With Dom Pérignon in His Blingiest Giveaway." Yes. "George Osborne could reinvent himself as a rapper if politics loses its appeal. He sprinkled his Budget – sorry "Autumn Statement" – with shout-outs to his posse (the »

- Alexander C. Kaufman

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Paul O'Grady: 'I loathe George Osborne'

5 December 2012 11:18 AM, PST | Digital Spy | See recent Digital Spy - Movie News news »

Paul O'Grady has said that he loathes Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne. Asked about an on-air rant regarding government cuts years ago, the comedian admitted to Metro that he had "lost the plot" during the broadcast. "I'd watched the news about these cuts and seen all the Tories laughing about it in parliament," O'Grady said. "I loathe George Osborne. It was a live programme and I thought, 'This is the time to say what I think about this bunch'. "When they started taxing pasties and static caravans (more) »

- By Mayer Nissim

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U.K. Government Pumps $9.7 Million into Creative Industries Training Fund

5 December 2012 7:20 AM, PST | The Hollywood Reporter | See recent The Hollywood Reporter news »

London – The government is to pump £6 million ($9.7 million) into training across the U.K. creative industries over the next two years. In his fall budget statement, the chancellor of the exchequer George Osborne said the cashpool would be made available to "provide entry-level and professional-level training for up to 3,300 people working in film, television, animation and video games companies." The money will support training and will be matched by the industry. Creative Industries minister Ed Vaizey, who claimed the creative industries are worth £36 billion ($58 billion) in the U.K., said:

read more

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- Stuart Kemp

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Newspapers urge Cameron to put press back in the Last Chance Saloon

26 November 2012 12:00 AM, PST | The Guardian - Film News | See recent The Guardian - Film News news »

Nothing published in newspapers now can change Lord Justice Leveson's mind. His report is with the printers and will be published on Thursday.

But newspaper editors, aware that the final decision on his recommendations will be taken in parliament, know that MPs - and especially the prime minister - are susceptible to pressure.

Therefore, yesterday's Sunday papers were full of dire warnings about the likely threat to press freedom should Leveson dare to suggest that a reformed system of regulation include any statutory element.

There were news stories, feature articles, columns, editorials and various adverts in the name of the Free Speech Network with the slogan: "Say No to state regulation of the press."

By far the most interesting contribution was the Mail on Sunday splash, which reported that David Cameron will resist any call to legislate on press regulation.

Citing "well-placed sources", political editor Simon Walters wrote that Cameron »

- Roy Greenslade

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I'm a Celebrity's Nadine Dorries: I'd do the same again

25 November 2012 4:00 PM, PST | The Guardian - TV News | See recent The Guardian - TV News news »

Suspended Tory MP says she had permission to appear on ITV reality show and is victim of 'sexism and double standards'

An unrepentant Nadine Dorries, the Conservative MP who was suspended from her party whip for taking part in the TV reality show I'm a Celebrity … Get Me Out of Here, has declared she would do the same thing again.

Dorries was the first celebrity evicted from the ITV show in the jungle after a week in which the public repeatedly voted for her to undergo bushtucker trials – eating a camel's toe, an ostrich's anus and some cattle genitals.

As she flies home from Australia to meet the Tory chief whip Sir George Young to explain her behaviour, Dorries has written for the website Conservative Home defending her actions.

She described fellow MPs who criticised her as "the jobless, more ambitious ones", and claimed she was a victim of sexism »

- Juliette Jowit

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In the jungle, people finally saw a Tory MP they could relate to | Nadine Dorries

25 November 2012 6:31 AM, PST | The Guardian - TV News | See recent The Guardian - TV News news »

I haven't got a shred of regret about I'm a Celebrity. But the sexist reaction among politicians did shock me

As I head back from one jungle to another, I thought that maybe it was time to put into perspective the media storm created by my appearance in the real jungle via I'm a Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here!

In my seven and a half years as an MP I think it is important to state that I have never taken a single day away from parliament on one of the many jollies most MPs enjoy to various parts of the world.

In fact, some MPs can spend as many as six weeks a year away on freebie jaunts. This isn't really a point I would normally make. However, it seems that my appearance on Iac has been criticised by some MPs, admittedly the jobless, more ambitious ones, and »

- Nadine Dorries

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Danny Boyle accuses culture minister Maria Miller of 'outrageous' snub

15 November 2012 4:00 PM, PST | The Guardian - Film News | See recent The Guardian - Film News news »

National Theatre's Nicholas Hytner joins in condemnation of Tories' stance on the arts at conference on regional theatre

Two leading lights of Britain's cultural life – Danny Boyle, who directed the Olympics opening ceremony, and Nicholas Hytner, chief of the National Theatre – have launched an uncompromising attack on the government's stance on culture.

Speaking after an event that brought together the heads of 23 of England's leading regional theatres, Boyle told the Guardian that the lack of attention to the arts shown by the culture secretary, Maria Miller, was "outrageous".

"Not one of those [artistic directors, including Hytner] has been even approached by this woman," he said. "That is outrageous. This is cultural life of our country. She is the minister of fucking culture. I mean, come on."

He added: "It's a disgrace: it is these artistic directors that are spending the taxpayers' money. And she's not met them. They are the people spending the money »

- Charlotte Higgins

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If only soap operas didn't wash their hands of politics | Polly Toynbee

13 November 2012 3:52 AM, PST | The Guardian - TV News | See recent The Guardian - TV News news »

When programmes like The Archers are silent on government policy, it's no wonder the public feels so disengaged

Ed and Emma Grundy are in trouble, as the falling price of milk cuts their income. She can't find more cleaning work, and childcare costs too much. Fuel prices are crippling their household budget – and now their old car has collapsed. She has spent the cash set aside for the water bill on food, though she skips eating to give her boy their last egg. They both want more work, Ed begging everyone for odd jobs. These are Cameron strivers failing to get by in Cameron country, an everyday story of rural poverty.

Ok, so this is the Archers' world of fantasy farming, but the programme is rightly portraying real hardship in this rustic idyll. If, like me, you listen to the omnibus while cooking Sunday lunch, you may have been touched »

- Polly Toynbee

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Nadine Dorries: brave Tory rebel or a self-serving stunt woman? | profile

10 November 2012 4:06 PM, PST | The Guardian - TV News | See recent The Guardian - TV News news »

The MP says the prime minister is out of touch and her stint in I'm a Celebrity is a way of popularising politics. She's got the top brass squirming all right, but can she win over the public?

Nadine Dorries has exposed the split in the Conservative party between vulgarity and conformity. The decision of the MP for Mid Bedfordshire to go on I'm a Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here! is an astonishingly rude attack on the well-bred, self-controlled establishment headed by David Cameron.

Lest we fail to get the message that she has rebelled against the tyranny of those who suppose themselves to be superior to her, Dorries declared on arriving in Australia: "I do not like arrogant people who think they are born to rule."

She also emphasised that, unlike the prime minister and his chums, she is an ordinary person who knows how to use a »

- Andrew Gimson

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TV review: Secret State; The Comic Strip Presents … Five Go to Rehab

7 November 2012 4:00 PM, PST | The Guardian - TV News | See recent The Guardian - TV News news »

Secret State is just like real British politics – but sexed up and Spookified

I think the prime minister is abroad at the moment isn't he? In the Gulf, selling arms to countries with dodgy human-rights records; not in America talking to a dodgy petrochemical company as the Pm is in this political conspiracy thriller, Secret State (Channel 4). Same idea, though – dubious big business ahead of domestic hardship.

It's difficult not to replace characters with their counterparts from the real world. Of course, no one would wish it on our Pm, but if his plane were to come down in suspicious circumstances (Boris, was that you, with your big grouse-buster blunderbuss?) on the way back, there could be a similar scenario. The home secretary and the foreign secretary fight for power. So that's Felix Durrel (Rupert Graves) and Ros Yelland (Sylvestra Le Touzel), respectively, in Secret State; Theresa May and William Hague in real life. »

- Sam Wollaston

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Louise Mensch: Nadine Dorries has demeaned the role of an MP

7 November 2012 3:17 AM, PST | The Guardian - TV News | See recent The Guardian - TV News news »

I'm a Celebrity ... Get Me Out of Here is no place for an MP, and to claim it is part of your abortion agenda makes things worse

Mid-Bedfordshire is a safe Conservative seat. Barring some disaster, an MP can expect to occupy such a berth for their entire career. Until yesterday, Nadine Dorries had that chance. And yet she decided to fly to Australia instead, to appear on the reality TV show I'm a Celebrity … Get Me Out of Here.

When I resigned as an MP, it was because I could not make family life work with my husband on another continent. We were also told that children adjust more easily the earlier they move. I would infinitely have preferred to have seen out my term, but it was not to be; and that it is something I will regret for the rest of my life. But not in a »

- Louise Mensch

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Tory party suspends Nadine Dorries

6 November 2012 7:45 PM, PST | The Guardian - TV News | See recent The Guardian - TV News news »

Conservative party confirms it has suspended whip from MP who left country to appear on I'm a Celebrity … Get Me Out of Here

The Conservative party has suspended Nadine Dorries after it emerged she is to take time off from parliament to be a contestant in ITV's jungle-based reality show I'm a Celebrity … Get Me Out of Here.

The decision by the MP for Mid Bedfordshire to become the first serving MP to take part in the show, which features famous faces performing in stunts that in the past have included being smothered in insects and eating a kangaroo's penis, could keep her from parliamentary and constituency business for a month.

Colleagues reacted with surprise and the MP faced a barrage of criticism. By early evening, the Conservative party had confirmed that the chief whip, Sir George Young, had withdrawn the party whip from Dorries, who did not ask him »

- Hélène Mulholland

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Nadine Dorries: what's on her agenda for I'm a Celebrity?

6 November 2012 4:00 PM, PST | The Guardian - TV News | See recent The Guardian - TV News news »

The tempestuous MP plans some 'lively heated debates' about the abortion limit during her time in the jungle. So what other issues can we expect her to raise around the campfire?

Ah, Nadine Dorries. In her ongoing bid to add to the gaiety of nations, it has been announced that the MP formerly known (somehow more fittingly) as Nadine Bargery is out in the Australian jungle, ready to compete on I'm A Celebrity ... Get Me Out of Here. She decided to go because 16 million people watch the show, she says, and is looking forward to "lively, heated debates" about the abortion time limit around the campfire. But what other treats can fellow contestants – who include boxer David Haye, EastEnders star Charlie Brooks, comedian Brian Conley and former Doctor Who Colin Baker – expect from the tempestuous MP over their witchetty grubs? What will there be for them to look forward to »

- Kira Cochrane

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Secret State: I played the vicar in the TV version of my novel

5 November 2012 4:00 PM, PST | The Guardian - TV News | See recent The Guardian - TV News news »

When Secret State hits our screens, watch out for the vicar: he's played by novelist and former MP Chris Mullin, who wrote the book it's based on, A Very British Coup. Here is his diary from his time in front of the camera

Thursday, 16 February, 2012

To Manchester where I am to have a walk-on part in a new TV version of my first novel, A Very British Coup, about the overthrow of a radical, very left-wing prime minister. Not that this new series bears much resemblance to my book. Even the title has been changed – to Secret State – and the credits say "inspired by" rather than "based on".

Director Ed Fraiman has kindly agreed that I might have a walk-on part, a la Alfred Hitchcock. I thought he might reincarnate me as a backbench MP or even a minister; instead I am to be the vicar conducting a memorial service »

- Chris Mullin

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Secret State: I played the vicar in the TV version of my novel

5 November 2012 4:00 PM, PST | The Guardian - Film News | See recent The Guardian - Film News news »

When Secret State hits our screens, watch out for the vicar: he's played by novelist and former MP Chris Mullin, who wrote the book it's based on, A Very British Coup. Here is his diary from his time in front of the camera

Thursday, 16 February, 2012

To Manchester where I am to have a walk-on part in a new TV version of my first novel, A Very British Coup, about the overthrow of a radical, very left-wing prime minister. Not that this new series bears much resemblance to my book. Even the title has been changed – to Secret State – and the credits say "inspired by" rather than "based on".

Director Ed Fraiman has kindly agreed that I might have a walk-on part, a la Alfred Hitchcock. I thought he might reincarnate me as a backbench MP or even a minister; instead I am to be the vicar conducting a memorial service »

- Chris Mullin

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You cannot feed a nation on culture and sport, but you can nourish it | Deborah Orr

26 October 2012 4:12 PM, PDT | The Guardian - TV News | See recent The Guardian - TV News news »

The government should help us enrich our lives with a little circus, even when bread is in short supply

It would be churlish not to flash a welcoming grin at the third-quarter figures indicating 1% growth. But it would be unwise to throw even a modest party to celebrate. David Cameron was criticised for hinting about "good news" at prime minister's questions on Wednesday. But since increased government spending accounts for a big chunk of the rise (0.4%), one could be forgiven for concluding that Cameron must therefore have been thrilled by his own ideological failure.

Yet that analysis is neither entirely constructive nor wholly truthful. Employment is up, and it is significant that much of this is part-time or low-paid employment. No ideological failure there. The Conservatives have always maintained that any work is better than no work at all (unless that work happens to be in the public sector) and that benefits are a disincentive. »

- Deborah Orr

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The Thick of It: good news, minister, the show is over

26 October 2012 6:58 AM, PDT | The Guardian - TV News | See recent The Guardian - TV News news »

The stars, writers and producers tell the story of the award-winning political satire which made a household name of spin doctor Malcolm Tucker and ends on Saturday

Award-winning political satire The Thick Of It comes to an end on BBC2 on Saturday. The show, which made foul-mouthed spin doctor Malcolm Tucker a household name first appeared on BBC4 seven years ago. Here we look back on the origins of the show, its big-screen spin-off, and how it became part of the political lexicon.

Armando Iannucci had already made The Day Today and I'm Alan Partridge, with Steve Coogan, when he was inspired to create The Thick Of it after arguing the case for Yes Minister in a 2004 Best British Sitcom poll for BBC2. It was commissioned for an initial three-part run by BBC4.

Armando Iannucci "One of the lucky offshoots [of the BBC2 show] was that I could sit down and watch every episode »

- John Plunkett

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Michael Gove on 'plebgate': why it's like the film Rashômon

22 October 2012 4:00 PM, PDT | The Guardian - Film News | See recent The Guardian - Film News news »

Gove referenced the 1950s Japanese classic when coming to ex-chief whip Andrew Mitchell's defence. Can the film's plot be applied elsewhere in politics?

Could it be another example of the Boris Johnson effect? If politicians are no longer afraid to scatter Latin tags, then surely it's just the next step to reference golden-age Japanese cinema in attempting to put your mark on a resignation crisis. Michael Gove, in his defence of the now-ex-chief whip Andrew Mitchell, suggested the old truth-is-relative concept by mentioning the Akira Kurosawa classic Rashômon.

Asked in a 5 Live radio interview whether he believed Mitchell, he said: "Yes I do. There's a Japanese film, I think it's called Rashômon, in which different participants who see the same event all have different recollections of it."

Rashômon famously upended the neatly packaged resolution of crime fiction by offering four different versions – none of them conclusive – of the same »

- Andrew Pulver

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