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Andrew Marr to examine recovery from stroke for BBC documentary

7 hours ago

Presenter will look at ongoing recovery against the background of the past six months, including the Brexit vote

Andrew Marr is to chart his recovery from a stroke amid the summer’s momentous political events for a one-off BBC2 documentary.

Andrew Marr: My Brain and Me will cover the last six months as Marr jugglescovering developments such as the Brexit vote and Theresa May becoming prime minister with the ongoing recovery from the stroke, which he believes was in part caused by stress.

Related: Andrew Marr: stroke has made me more aware of people with disabilities

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- Jasper Jackson

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Life, death and black humour: on duty with the London ambulance servic​e​

8 hours ago

From chasing naked men to calming anxiety attacks, a paramedic’s job is nothing if not unpredictable. Stephen Moss shadows a team in north London whose day gets off to a tragic start

It’s 6.45am at Camden ambulance station in north London, and the day shift is just beginning. Andy Donovan, who will drive the ambulance I will accompany for the next nine hours, is making me a cup of tea. His more senior paramedic partner, Dean Lowes, is running a few minutes late. When he does arrive, Lowes looks very sorry for himself: he’s got an ear infection, picked up on a friend’s stag weekend in Budapest. Lowes is the ambulance’s first case of the day. They nip off to the nearby Royal Free hospital in Hampstead to get some ear drops. Paramedic, heal thyself.

All this delays us for more than an hour, and »

- Stephen Moss

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BBC could launch Bake Off rival before Channel 4 show, source says

9 hours ago

Source at BBC close to show says ‘lots of ideas’ are being discussed by corporation, after Channel 4 bought Bake Off format

A BBC show to rival the Great British Bake Off, featuring Mary Berry, Sue Perkins and Mel Giedroyc, could be launched before Channel 4 is able to get its version on screens, according to a source at the corporation close to the show.

Channel 4 bought the Bake Off format from Love Productions earlier this month, but rumours about a BBC rival have been rife since Perkins and Giedroyc said they would not be “going with the dough” and jumping ship. They were followed in pledging their loyalty to the BBC by Berry.

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- Alexandra Topping

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On my radar: Jane Goldman’s cultural highlights

14 hours ago

The screenwriter on a great festival, shock horror Train to Busan, hacking TV drama Mr Robot and immersive theatre to die for

Born in London in 1970, screenwriter, producer and author Goldman began her writing career aged 16 when she left school and became a journalist, initially working as a showbiz reporter for the Daily Star. That same year she met Jonathan Ross in a nightclub, married him in Las Vegas aged 18 and went on to have three children with him. While the children were young, Goldman published several nonfiction guides for teenagers and, in 2000, her first novel, Dreamworld, before making the switch to films as co-writer on 2007’s Stardust. The movie was the first of several successful screenwriting collaborations with Matthew Vaughn, namely Kick-Ass (2010), X-Men: First Class (2011) and Kingsman: The Secret Service (2015). Her latest project is an adaptation for director Tim Burton of Ransom Riggs’s Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, »

- Imogen Carter

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Brangelina brings the first wave of self-cancelling celebrity news

17 hours ago

The divorce ‘stories’ are coming so thick and fast that none seems to have any salience for more than a couple of hours

Tim Farron was just stepping up to his party conference podium when Brangelina split. Cue TV gags about Hollywood ructions ruining Tim’s big day. So of course a Facebook furore and Twitter deluge followed the Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie rupture (while the Bun and the Mirror cleared six or eight pages and more upmarket editors pondered which way to turn).

But is past behaviour any real guide to divorce news today? Celebrity magazine sales on both sides of the Atlantic are far from their lofty peak and sliding. Pitt plays grizzled heroes these days; Jolie seems happier behind a camera, directing. Six children are many things, but not perhaps the guarantee of continuing rose-tinted romance. Pitt’s previous marriage to Jennifer Aniston is old news, »

- Peter Preston

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The week in TV: Paranoid; National Treasure; Who’s Afraid of Conceptual Art?; Airbnb: Dream or Nightmare?

17 hours ago

Two new dramas offered twists and fine casting in Indira Varma and Robbie Coltrane, while BBC4 rediscovered the fun of conceptual art

Paranoid (ITV) | ITV Hub

National Treasure (C4) | All4

Who’s Afraid of Conceptual Art? (BBC4) | iPlayer

Airbnb: Dream or Nightmare? (C4) | All4

Two chewingly toothsome dramas, and for once not going up against each other. What happened to the traditional ITV/BBC Sunday and Monday night standoffs (one answer: Victoria is simply roistering it against Poldark). But the BBC didn’t have a dog in the race last week, having blown half its year’s budget yapping nationalistically at us about some people being able to run less slowly than some other people.

What is it about players who honed themselves on 80s comedy proving so adept at serious-chops High Acting?

He unwisely signed off on with, sigh, 'If you thought conceptual art was crap, here’s the proof. »

- Euan Ferguson

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Paul Hollywood: odd man out of the Great British Bake Off | Observer profile

24 September 2016 4:05 PM, PDT

After seven years fronting the television cookery show that has become a national obsession, the twinkly-eyed presenter risks becoming an overnight villain – for choosing to keep his job in the show’s move to Channel 4

Never mind lemon drizzle cake: where would Britain be without a pantomime villain? The former is a recently confected – pun required by law – communal obsession, more imagined nostalgia for cosy postwar domesticity than actual taste. The latter is a cultural conduit through which a population not known for its ability to let it all hang out, emotions-wise, can express its fury, resentment, jealousy and hopelessness.

But in a week in which frequent offenders Joey Barton and Brad Pitt have had their mugs all over the newspapers, it’s absurdly twinkly-eyed baker Paul Hollywood who has really taken the – second contractual pun – biscuit.

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- Alex Clark

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A truly balanced view from the BBC: don’t blame us for Brexit | James Harding

24 September 2016 4:05 PM, PDT

Remain supporters have accused the corporation of ‘false balance’ during the referendum campaign, while Leavers complain it has exaggerated the negative impact ever since. The BBC’s director of news responds

The BBC’s coverage of the EU referendum was highly regarded by the critics who matter most to us: the public. Our audience research shows that the BBC was the most trusted reporter of the referendum. In fact, our scores for trust rose as the campaign progressed. Complaints were low. And more than 90% of people in the UK came to the BBC during the campaign for the news. That said, there have been two strands of criticism of our coverage. On the one hand, some Leavers have said the BBC reported impartially and accurately through the course of the campaign, but, since the vote of 23 June, we have returned to what they say are our true EU-luvvie colours and »

- James Harding

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Call me anything but humourless | Victoria Coren Mitchell

24 September 2016 4:03 PM, PDT

My quip about Michael Portillo became news, but why did it spark such vitriol?

Let me make absolutely clear: I do not think Michael Portillo should donate all his clothes to charity. What Michael Portillo does with his trousers is no business of mine.

Why should you imagine I do think Michael Portillo should donate all his clothes to charity? We’ll come to that. First, let’s talk about the general weirdness of modern news.

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- Victoria Coren Mitchell

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Ed Balls’ waltz on Strictly Come Dancing sends the political shark to the depths

24 September 2016 3:55 PM, PDT

The former shadow chancellor turns out to lack predatory instinct as he mouths a gummy bite on the dancefloor

In the tango, apparently, “every step should be like a shark taking a bite”. Ed Balls should in truth have chosen the tango, in memory of the many truly decent bites he took out of the Tories while attempting to lend some heft to Ed Miliband’s opposition. Instead he chose the waltz.

Related: Strictly Come Dancing 2016: week one, show two – as it happened

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- Euan Ferguson

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Strictly Come Dancing 2016: week one, show two – as it happened

24 September 2016 10:39 AM, PDT

It’s Ed Balls time! But did his first dance win over the judges? We followed the action as the remaining nine couples danced for the first time

7.58pm BST

So that’s It for Week One! Some great performances over the last couple of nights, this is lining up to be a corker of a series. Next week’s show kicks off at 6.20pm, and it’s a two hour dance marathon so bring plenty of supplies.

Thank you everyone who joined in this evening, am off to drink wine and read your comments. Come and say hello @heidistephens on Twitter if you’re passing, otherwise I’ll see you on Wednesday for Bake Off, or next Saturday for Strictly! Have a great week, Hx

7.56pm BST

Goodness there’s a lot of them. The beginning of a new Strictly season always feels a bit overwhelming, can’t we »

- Heidi Stephens

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The new Walkers advert: what exactly is a 'sand wedge of cash', Gary Lineker?

24 September 2016 1:00 AM, PDT

The Match Of The Day host finds himself in the bunker thanks to some awful advertising copy, and not even Paddy McGuinness’s sports banter can save him

Ninety-nine percent of the new Walkers advert, you can probably ignore. There’s very little to it: Gary Lineker and Paddy McGuinness take over a cafe in some nondescript commuter town and replace its menu with a series of crisp sarnies in honour of Walkers’ new sandwich-flavoured range. The public come and gawk at the famous people in front of them, McGuinness attempts some clunky retired-sportsman banter, everybody smiles, credits roll. Job done in 30 seconds.

But then just as the ad ends, Lineker is forced – maybe at gunpoint, I don’t know – to utter possibly the worst line of advertising copy in the history of the medium. ‘‘Try Walkers’ new sandwich flavours,” he says, his voice quivering with doubt and shame, “and »

- Gwilym Mumford

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Modern tribes: the Bake Off fan

24 September 2016 12:00 AM, PDT

Remember that time they were incredibly rude about madeira cake, talking about cracks. As in vaginas? Who are they going to find with that sort of talent?

Well, Rip Bake Off, I don’t care who they get instead, it won’t be Mel and Sue, can you believe they didn’t even ask them? Of course they’re saying it’ll stay the same, but how will that work without Sue and Mel? I’m still in shock.

Ok, Paul and Mary are brilliant – actually, I preferred Mary before they made her over within an inch of her life, and to be honest he’s got a bit smug – but it’s the Mel and Sue banter that makes it, the whole soggy bottom thing, hilarious. And the puns, remember when, Mel – no, maybe it was Sue – anyway, she did this amazing meringue joke, I’ll never forget it, »

- Catherine Bennett

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Jamie's Super Food review – toss Boris! Let's make this man foreign secretary

23 September 2016 11:00 PM, PDT

Jamie Oliver travels the globe cooking with locals, and they all love St Jamie of Essex. That’s how to put Britain back on the world map

Oh lordy, more superfoods. This time it’s Jamie’s Super Food (Channel 4). I don’t want quinoa, or wheatgrass juice, green cardboard (kale), bloody goji berries or River Rocket … wait, that’s his new progeny, not food. I want to eat stuff that’s nice to eat, and if it’s good for me too, that’s a bonus.

What’s he offering then? For breakfast: pineapple pancake mess, with yoghurt, coconut, cashew nuts and a drizzle of honey. To be fair, that does look delish. Are you sure it’s superfood, Jamie? It’s got one of my five a day, it uses wholewheat flour for the pancakes, and each portion is only 300 calories. A lovely idea, but who’s »

- Sam Wollaston

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Saturday's best TV: Labour leadership result; Keith Richards' Lost Weekend

23 September 2016 10:00 PM, PDT

The verdict of Labour’s protracted leadership contest is finally announced, while the Rolling Stones’ venerable guitar-slinger continues his BBC takeover

7pm, BBC4

Keith Richards appears indestructible. But this time last year we thought that about Lemmy, Prince and Bowie. BBC4 has wisely determined that we must enjoy the venerable guitar-slinger while we can, and has handed him control of the channel for three days. As well as a fascinating interview with Julien Temple, look out for a curated selection of the culture that has informed this remarkable rock’n’roll outlaw. Phil Harrison

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- Phil Harrison, David Stubbs, Hannah Verdier, Jonathan Wright, Ali Catterall, Ben Arnold, Andrew Mueller, Paul Howlett

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New Strictly Come Dancing series takes first steps

23 September 2016 3:18 PM, PDT

Great leap forward for Olympic long jumper Greg Rutherford, who scored top marks – matched by BBC star Ore Oduba

The new series of Strictly Come Dancing began on Friday night, with the Olympic long jumper Greg Rutherford and the TV presenters Laura Whitmore and Ore Oduba among the stars to put on their dancing shoes.

They were joined by the TV personality Judge (Robert) Rinder, the Birds of a Feather actor Lesley Joseph and the BBC Breakfast presenter Naga Munchetty on Friday’s opener – the first half of a double-header weekend.

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- Kevin Rawlinson

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Strictly Come Dancing 2016: week one, show one – as it happened

23 September 2016 1:57 PM, PDT

Our new Strictly couples are taking to the floor for the first time this weekend. Whose footwork will be flawless, and whose hips won’t lie?

9.57pm BST

So that’s it for the first live show! The other nine contestants are giving it full glitter and jazz hands at 6.30pm tomorrow, so join me then and we’ll do it all again (repeat every weekend until Christmas).

In the meantime you can find me on Twitter/Insta @heidistephens, or if you’re up early I’m on BBC5Live at 6.50am-ish tomorrow chatting all things Strictly. Thanks for joining in, it’s great to be back. See you tomorrow!

9.55pm BST

Scores: 6,7,7,7 - a total of 27 for Greg and Natalie, putting them joint top of the leaderboard. Inexplicable, but that’s why we love Strictly.

9.53pm BST

Bruno shouts a bit about Greg could go all the way - it didn’t have precision, »

- Heidi Stephens

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President Trump? There’s only one way to stop it happening | Jonathan Freedland

23 September 2016 11:38 AM, PDT

As the first TV debate looms the race is on a knife edge. Unless voters on the left want to repeat bitter history, they have to swallow their doubts and back Hillary

I hate to be an alarmist, but Donald Trump could be on course to be elected president of the United States – and the decisive moment may well come on Monday night. That’s when he faces Hillary Clinton in what is expected to be one of the most watched events in television history. The TV debates are perhaps the last chance for her to persuade the American people that this man is unqualified for, and unworthy of, the presidency and poses a genuine threat to the republic.

If that sounds like panic, then I’m not the only one. Sweaty-palmed nausea has become a leading symptom among those who tremble at the prospect of a Trump presidency. The »

- Jonathan Freedland

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Welcome back Transparent, you hilarious, traumatic beast

23 September 2016 10:42 AM, PDT

The Pfefferman family saga is unlike any other on television: unapologetic and focused in its nuanced exploration of Judaism, gender and inherited trauma

On paper, Transparent could sound almost unforgivably worthy. The first TV show to centre on a family dealing with transgender issues, it tackles gender fluidity, feminism, religion, historical oppression, trans rights and privilege (white, male and monied). There are scenes set in gender studies classes – “exclamation points … are in and of themselves small rapes” – arguments about the patriarchy around campfires at women-only festivals and harvest moon rituals, where feminist poets recite lines like “force and power for each of us” solemnly.

Yet for all its boundary-prodding, it never feels preachy or dull. It is, at times, incredibly funny – though, as head writer Bridget Bedard has explained, it’s more of a “trauma-dy” than a laugh a minute. And the characters are too awful, and too finely sketched, »

- Ellie Violet Bramley

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Chris Packham cleared by BBC Trust over Countryside Alliance 'bias' claim

23 September 2016 9:37 AM, PDT

Springwatch presenter was investigated after describing those involved in hunting and shooting as ‘the nasty brigade’

The BBC Trust has has cleared a column in BBC Wildlife magazine by presenter Chris Packham that the Countryside Alliance claimed breached corporation guidelines on bias.

In his monthly column in the BBC magazine, the Springwatch host said that some wildlife charities were “hamstrung by outdated liaisons with the ‘nasty brigade’ and can’t risk upsetting old friends”.

Related: The BBC should treasure Chris Packham, not sack him

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- Jasper Jackson

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