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Saturday Night Live premiere review – an uneven show's still-welcome return

1 hour ago

For a host, Miley Cyrus didn’t get much screen time – but an appearance by Hillary Clinton and some much-needed political jokes made it all worthwhile

Perhaps Saturday Night Live has become so associated with presidential election campaigns because they are both imperfect but indispensable.

Related: Real Hillary Clinton serves beer to her lookalike in Saturday Night Live opener

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- Elise Czajkowski

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The Leftovers: what happened at the end of season one?

1 hour ago

Ahead of the start of the second season, we recap where we left each of the characters after the dark drama’s finale left us with just a glimmer of hope

Few people like taking risks as much as Damon Lindelof (co-creator and executive producer of Lost), so perhaps it should come as no surprise that he and co-creator Tom Perrotta have rebooted the second season of The Leftovers, their bleak examination of loss, grief, faith (or the lack thereof), moving the action from small-town New York to small-town Texas and bringing in a whole new cast of characters at the same time. Don’t despair, however, for this isn’t a True Detective-style anthology reworking and many of last year’s cast will still appear. The question remains how and, in some cases, in what guise? With that in mind, here’s our guide to where we left things »

- Sarah Hughes

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Alex Salmond barred from BA flight after booking as Star Trek captain

3 hours ago

Former Scottish first minister caused confusion at Heathrow after using sci-fi alias to book seat but was eventually allowed to boldly go aboard

Alex Salmond found himself in a bizarre situation with airline staff after booking on to a flight under the name James Kirk – the captain of Star Trek’s USS Enterprise.

The former Scottish first minister caused confusion when British Airways initially refused to let him board a flight at Heathrow under the sci-fi alias.

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- Press Association

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Real Hillary Clinton serves beer to her lookalike in Saturday Night Live opener

4 hours ago

Democratic presidential candidate has a conversation with herself – as played by Kate McKinnon – and introduces musical guest Miley Cyrus

Hillary Clinton, the frontrunner for the Democratic presidential nomination, appeared on the season opener of Saturday Night Live – as a wise bartender named Val who poured a drink or two for, ahem, Hillary Clinton, as played by SNL regular Kate McKinnon.

Most political candidates play themselves on SNL, often for just a cameo in a sketch or to declare the show’s famous tag line: “Live from New York – it’s Saturday night!”

Related: Saturday Night Live premiere review – an uneven show's still-welcome return

Related: Saturday Night Live: Trump baiting and Miley hosting – can the show pull it off?

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- Associated Press in New York

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Kirsten Dunst: ‘The movie industry is in a weird place – creatives blossom on TV’

8 hours ago

The Fargo actor has starred in everything from superhero franchises to indie winners. She talks about feminism, vanity in the industry and kissing Brad Pitt

Kirsten Dunst is queuing for her lunch when I walk into the café she has chosen for our interview.

She is not queuing in that self-consciously starry way which would draw attention to herself, complete with oversized sunglasses and a haughty expression. Nor is she queuing with the faux nonchalance of an off-duty famous person who secretly wants to be recognised. Most celebrities probably wouldn’t be queuing at all.

Doing a TV show is much harder work than film. You’re doing 10 pages a day and you don’t get many takes

I don’t cook. And I feel like guys love it when girls cook for them ... That’s not very feminist, though

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- Elizabeth Day

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Nick Frost: ‘When the end comes it’s horrible’

10 hours ago

In an exclusive extract from his new memoir, Nick Frost recalls the day his family lost everything– and the night Simon Pegg changed his life

When I was 16, my dad went through a big change. He’d left the company he’d helped to build from the ground up and decided to start his own. It was the happiest I remembered him. My mum and dad turned the shed at the bottom of our garden in Redbridge into a workshop to make high-end office furniture. Dad was an amazing draughtsman. People went crazy for his designs, but that’s all they were at that point, just designs, pictures on a pad.

Once they had enough orders in, Mum and Dad set to work making the chairs themselves. All the individual pieces were manufactured off site then delivered and put together by them in the garage. Some nights they’d be »

- Nick Frost

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The Club rewatched – insult-lathered satire of grubby Aussie Rules politics

16 hours ago

Bruce Beresford’s film adaption of a David Williamson play, featuring Jack Thompson as a Vfl coach, is filled with clashing personalities and feuding egos

Related: Retro film review: The Club – sublime, ridiculous and an Australian classic | Jonathan Horn

Given how popular and vibrant the culture of Aussie rules football, now known as Afl, is in Australia, surprisingly few feature films have been made based on and around the sport. Among the earliest – and undoubtedly still the best – is director Bruce Beresford’s 1980 adaptation of one of David Williamson’s most popular plays.

Related: From Barry McKenzie to Priscilla: the evolution of the Aussie comedy hero

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- Luke Buckmaster

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Doctor Who Series 35, episode 3: Under The Lake

21 hours ago

This week’s underwater ghost story takes its time to build the tension as the Doctor and Clara try to understand who’s haunting a sunken spaceship. Plus! A bonus Q&A with Slipknot singer/Dw sound effects man Corey Taylor

A ghost story. An underwater ghost story at that. Doctor Who loves nothing more than to spin conventions on their head, and for his return to the series, writer Toby Whithouse culture-jams haunted-house intrigue with classic base-under-siege tension. We’ve seen both formats on Who before, but never quite like this. As always with Whithouse, there’s fizzing, funny dialogue and a cracking ensemble (particular props to deaf actor Sophie Stone, who nails Cass as a character, her deafness proving entirely incidental, as it should be).

Related: Slipknot's Corey Taylor supplies Doctor Who's monster with scream

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- Dan Martin

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BBC footage of lightning over erupting volcano was stirring, dramatic – and fake

21 hours ago

Embarrassment as broadcaster admits mixing film of two eruptions in Patagonia to make video that went viral

The BBC has admitted that footage of a volcanic eruption screened as part of its natural history blockbuster series, Patagonia: Earth’s Secret Paradise, was faked. The scene, purporting to depict a single volcano in eruption, was actually created by splicing together eruptions from two separate volcanoes. One eruption took place in 2011, the other in 2015.

The admission is likely to trigger a new row over the use of digital techniques to make documentaries more dramatic and popular, and will embroil the corporation in further controversy at a time when its finances and remit are under parliamentary scrutiny.

Related: BBC to air on-screen warnings of faked elements in wildlife documentary

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- Robin McKie Science editor

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Strictly Come Dancing 2015: week two – live

21 hours ago

Don’t cha-cha wish your judges were hot like Gleb? Join us as the voting opens for the first time and we find out who will be the first couple to go home

8.25pm BST

So that’s it for this week’s dances! Thank you all for your brilliant comments, I’ll be back in this very blog tomorrow from 7.15pm for the results show, so please come back. In the meantime you can find me on Twitter @heidistephens, so do come and say hello, particularly if you’re a newbie. Enjoy the rest of your Saturday, and I’ll see you tomorrow!

8.22pm BST

Leaderboard time - Peter and Janette at the top, Iwan and Ola at the bottom.

Historically I’ve always taken a punt at the bottom two at this point, usually with very limited success. So this week I’m going for Iwan and Ola and Jamelia and Tristan, »

- Heidi Stephens

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Showtime no more: why the cable channel lost its way and how to fix it

3 October 2015 8:33 AM, PDT

Once a serious competitor with HBO, the network has hit a slump. Can The Affair and Homeland keep the cable network going?

Just a few years ago, it seemed like Showtime was going to make it.

Long the Lady Edith to HBO’s Lady Mary – to use a metaphor from a show that doesn’t air on either subscription channel – in 2011 Showtime was killing it.

Related: Trailer watch: a first look at Homeland season five

Related: HBO's The Leftovers: intense, unpredictable, occasionally brilliant

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- Brian Moylan

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Now Bake Off is ending, the next hot craze is about to come out of the oven…

3 October 2015 6:00 AM, PDT

A revival in ceramics will accompany the arrival of BBC2’s Great British Pottery Throw Down, presented by Sara Cox

“It’s messy, it’s hot, it’s pottery.” So runs the trail line for the new BBC2 craft show that hopes to repeat the ratings triumph of The Great British Bake Off. It sounds an unlikely, even absurd, pitch, but not that long ago so would pushing the mass appeal of a programme about making cakes in a tent. And the truth is that this year pottery has become, if not hot, then at least cool.

Unlike the “pottery mania” of the 1970s, when evening classes brimmed with free spirits firing earthenware, the latest ceramics craze extends to the heights of fine art and fashion – it is even featured in the latest edition of American Vogue. Next week an exhibit at the chic Frieze modern art show in London »

- Vanessa Thorpe, arts and media correspondent

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Jeremy Clarkson made butt of jokes on BBC's Have I Got News For You

3 October 2015 3:48 AM, PDT

Former Top Gear presenter gets verbal battering from guest Richard Osman as well as team captains Ian Hislop and Paul Merton, say witnesses

Former Top Gear presenter Jeremy Clarkson bore the brunt of a series of gags as he recorded an episode of Have I Got News For You, his first time on the BBC since his departure earlier this year.

Clarkson joined regular team captains Ian Hislop and Paul Merton to record the show, the first of the satirical panel programme’s 50th series which was aired on Friday evening.

Related: Jenson Button rules out Top Gear role after renewing Formula One contract

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- Press Association

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Steve Coogan: 'It took me a long time to face up to my addiction'

3 October 2015 2:00 AM, PDT

In an exclusive extract from his new book, Steve Coogan looks back on failure, rehab and becoming Alan Partridge

My career as an impressionist started early. From the age of five or six, I used to imitate the sound of car wheels screeching – sometimes too effectively: Mum was always telling Dad off for driving too fast, and on occasion she would do this when he was driving at a reasonable speed, because of me.

From a very early age, I had a great memory for voices, a good ear. I would borrow my older brother’s cassette player, balance the microphone on a cushion in front of the TV and record my favourite shows, like Fawlty Towers and Ripping Yarns. I would listen back time and again. Slowly and meticulously, I learned to do all the voices. I was called upon regularly to bring to life some aspect of the »

- Steve Coogan

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The new Heineken advert: look out, Bond’s had a liquid lunch

3 October 2015 1:00 AM, PDT

‘Let us state things plainly: Daniel Craig, albeit indirectly, has destroyed that couple’s wedding day’

Heineken’s latest Bond-themed advert opens and Daniel Craig, his face like an alcoholic soft toy, is running away from some bad men, slowing them down microscopically by flicking wicker baskets at their shins. What’s the rush? And why is he wearing gorgeous formal footwear so ill-suited to running, a practice he must have realised would be common in his line of work?

No time for answers. The bad men are coming. Craig commandeers a boat, accidentally yanking along an attached and hapless water skier. Said skier, at the mercy of Craig’s erratic steering, sweeps up a tray of Heineken bottles on her travels, but not before she has careered into an alfresco wedding, hacked scythe-like at their floral arrangements, and stolen the groom’s hat. Let us state things plainly: Daniel Craig, »

- Ralph Jones

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The Returned: hanging out with Victor and the French undead

3 October 2015 1:00 AM, PDT

The supernatural series is back after winning an Emmy and leaving its heroes locked in a community centre under assault from the town’s zombie population. What happens next?

C’est quoi, ce bordel?” A bushily bearded man and his younger, neater companion are gazing into a hole in the forest floor above postcard-perfect Annecy in the Haute-Savoie. Some fans of the French drama The Returned will sympathise with those words. A zombie series like no other, where the dead reappear on the doorsteps of their loved ones without warning or explanation: what, indeed, is this nonsense?

Related: The Returned's Pierre Perrier: 'English TV shows are by far the best'

Related: Zombies? Mogwai know the score

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- Gabriel Tate

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Q&A: Bear Grylls

2 October 2015 10:00 PM, PDT

‘The worst thing anyone’s said to me? “You look like George Osborne”’

Born in Northern Ireland, Bear Grylls, 41, was in the Sas before becoming a TV presenter. His show Man Vs Wild was first broadcast in 2006 and has reached 1.2bn viewers. In 2009, he was made the youngest-ever Chief Scout. This weekend, he opens the inaugural Bear Grylls Festival in Trent Park, north London. He is married with three children, and lives in London and Wales.

When were you happiest?

When it’s just us as a family on our island hideaway in Wales.

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- Rosanna Greenstreet

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Crush of the week: Strictly Come Dancing dancers

2 October 2015 10:00 PM, PDT

‘Week by week, they manage to build dancing machines out of what often look like spare parts’

Can you imagine turning up to work and having to deal with a bunch of giggly amateurs? Think about it: a commute in cold, rainy November, knowing your new colleagues will be unprepared and largely useless (at least for a while)? That’s what the professional dancers of Strictly Come Dancing have been doing, on and off, for more than a decade. Truly, they are the best of British. (And Italian. And Slovenian. And Danish. And so on.)

When the show launched in 2004, I knew I’d be a fan. I come from a culture that values dancing ability very highly indeed (as my years of impromptu “dancing competitions” at birthday parties will attest), and once you add the bright, rigid-with-effort smiles and the casual light humiliation, well, I was in.

Related: Strictly Come Dancing »

- Bim Adewunmi

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Breakfast of champions: Edie Falco’s cinnamon toast

2 October 2015 10:00 PM, PDT

If Nurse Jackie starts her day with this, it’s got to be good for you, right?

The Sopranos and Nurse Jackie actor makes cinnamon toast at the weekend for her children.

For traditional cinnamon toast, simply grill slices of bread on one side, then turn them over, butter the untoasted side and sprinkle with a little brown sugar and a pinch of cinnamon. Grill gently on the sugary side until toasted and the sugar has begun to caramelise.

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- Rebecca Seal

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BBC director general involved in effort to stop Robert Peston quitting for ITV

2 October 2015 10:01 AM, PDT

Economics editor understood to be weighing up offer to encourage him to stay at the BBC, which is thought to involve presenting episodes of Newsnight

As the BBC’s economics editor, Robert Peston is used to talking about supply and demand.

But now he is the one in demand, with even BBC director general Tony Hall becoming involved as the corporation tries to persuade him not to move to ITV News to become its rival’s political editor.

Related: Robert Peston lined up for political editor role by ITV

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- Tara Conlan

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