The Telegraph 2024-05-06 10:00:33


Suella Braverman: Tories will be lucky to have any MPs at the next election

The Tories would be “lucky” to have any MPs left after the next election if Rishi Sunak does not urgently change course, Suella Braverman has warned…

Titanic and Boys From The Blackstuff actor Bernard Hill dies aged 79

Bernard Hill, best known for his roles in Titanic and The Lord Of The Rings trilogy, has died aged 79, his agent said.

Alongside his roles as Captain Edward Smith and King Théoden, he was acclaimed for his portrayal of Yosser Hughes in the 1980s BBC drama series Boys from the Blackstuff.

His agent Lou Coulson confirmed to The Telegraph that he died in the early hours of Sunday morning.

A family statement is expected shortly.

The Manchester-born actor had been due to make his return to TV screens in the second series of Martin Freeman’s drama The Responder, which is scheduled to begin on Sunday night on BBC One.

All episodes from the new season were released on BBC iPlayer at 6am on Sunday.

Hill also won acclaim as Luther Plunkitt, the Warden of San Quentin Prison in the Clint Eastwood film True Crime.

But it was his feature as a troubled man whose life was unravelling in the groundbreaking Boys from the Blackstuff, which aired on the BBC in 1982, that saw him rise to prominence.

Hill later played Joe in the 1989 British romantic comedy Shirley Valentine alongside Pauline Collins.

The English actor starred in two films that won 11 Oscars each – The Return of the King from Lord of the Rings in 2003 and Titanic in 1997.

The father of one had a career spanning more than three decades and was married to the American actress Marianna Hill, 82, who starred in the 1970s films El Condor, High Plains Drifter and Messiah of Evil, as well as various television series at that time.

On Sunday afternoon, figures from across the entertainment industry paid tribute.

Lindsay Salt, director of BBC Drama, said in a tribute: “Bernard Hill blazed a trail across the screen, and his long-lasting career filled with iconic and remarkable roles is a testament to his incredible talent.

“From Boys from the Blackstuff to Wolf Hall, The Responder, and many more, we feel truly honoured to have worked with Bernard at the BBC. Our thoughts are with his loved ones at this sad time.”

Barbara Dickson OBE, the Scottish singer and actress, wrote on X/Twitter: “It’s with great sadness that I note the death of Bernard Hill.

“We worked together in John Paul George Ringo and Bert, Willy Russell marvellous show 1974-1975. A really marvellous actor. It was a privilege to have crossed paths with him. RIP Benny x.”

Lord of the Rings fans also remembered him online, with one saying he was “the man responsible for the most iconic scene in cinematic history” in a battle scene riding to Gondor, the trilogy’s fictional kingdom.

The Nerd of the Rings, a fan account with 46,000 followers on X, wrote: “Godspeed, Bernard Hill. Folks will be sharing memories of his various roles today, but for me, Théoden King stands alone – a standout performance in a film series full of standout performances. May his family be comforted during this difficult time.” 

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Hastings residents use seawater to flush loos on fourth day with dry taps

Residents of Hastings have turned to flushing their lavatories with buckets of seawater as the supply issue that has left their taps dry entered its fourth day…

Student protesters disrupt University of Michigan graduation

Pro-Palestine demonstrators disrupted a graduation ceremony at the University of Michigan as protests over the war in Gaza continued to rock campuses across the US.

‌Draped in Palestinian scarves and flags while still wearing their graduation caps, dozens of students drew cheers and boos from the thousands of people at the Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor as they used the moment to voice support for Palestine.

‌The university had stepped up security in anticipation of unrest following demonstrations across university campuses.

More than 2,300 people have been arrested in the protests so far as students demand their institutions break with investors that support the Israeli government.

Campus police ushered the Michigan demonstrators away without making any arrests.

Elsewhere, 25 pro-Palestine demonstrators were arrested at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville as police in riot gear used pepper spray to disperse protesters from an encampment which they had set up last week.

‌In a letter to the university, Jim Ryan, the college president, said police had been called in after students defied instructions not to set up a camp and urged outsiders to join the protest.

“This repeated and intentional refusal to comply with reasonable rules intended to secure the safety, operations, and rights of the entire university community left us with no other choice than to uphold the neutral application and enforcement of those rules,” he wrote.

In Los Angeles police in riot gear mounted a pre-dawn raid to clear an encampment at the University of Southern California.

‌Students who refused to leave were threatened with arrest.

‌There are also fears that the violent clashes with counter-demonstrators which erupted at the University of California in Los Angeles could be repeated elsewhere.

‌Elan Carr, the chief executive of the Israeli-American Council, said Jewish students were mobilising elsewhere.

“We will take back our streets. We will take back our campuses from Columbia University to UCLA and everywhere in between.”

‌There was a counter-protest at the University of Pennsylvania last week as the council called on the college authorities to disband the pro-Palestine encampment.

It came as allegations of anti-Semitism were rekindled after Students for Justice in Palestine at the University of California, Santa Cruz, issued a flyer demanding the institution sever ties with Jewish community groups.

Among the Zionist groups listed were Hillel International, the largest Jewish student welfare organisation in the US.

“If calling to boycott Jewish charities, organisations, and student groups that have no affiliation with the Israeli government is not antisemitism, then what is?” wrote Israeli author Hen Mazzig on X.

‌In parts of the country college professors – some of whom are veterans of the Vietnam War protests – have joined the demonstrations.

‌Academic staff have been arrested at several colleges, including UCLA, Washington University in St Louis and Emory University in Atlanta.

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Ten-year-old girl dies in bedroom fire in Bradford

A ten-year-old girl has died following a fire in her bedroom in Bradford.

The child died after a fire broke out in the dormer bedroom she shared with her two sisters, aged 11 and six, who escaped the blaze along with her two-year-old brother.

The children’s mother, 37, was carried out of the property in Kingsdale Drive, Bradford, West Yorkshire, in the early hours of Sunday morning.

The children’s father, a teacher at a college in Bradford, was not at the property at the time of the incident.

Police were called shortly after 1am and shocked neighbours woke to see the bedroom of the semi-detached property, where the family have lived for 12 years, on fire as three fire crews battled to extinguish the blaze.

“I could only see the flames in the girls’ bedroom. Nowhere else. It is devastating,” a neighbour said.

“The poor little girl who has died is my daughter’s friend. My daughter is really upset. I saw the mother being escorted out of the building, she could not get out by herself.”

Another neighbour said her daughter used to play with the girl who died and her little brother in the back garden.

“She was only playing with them a couple of days ago on the slide they have in their garden. They also used to play ball on the street,” said the neighbour.

“They are a lovely family. Dad is a teacher in Bradford and he would always say ‘hello’ and ask how we are doing.

“My daughter is so very sad about losing her friend.”

On Sunday there was clear smoke damage to the upstairs of the property and family members who visited the property to pay their respects were too upset to talk.

Floral tributes were left at the police cordon on the driveway to the converted bungalow on the quiet cul de sac.

Police said that three children managed to escape with their mother, but the fourth child was pronounced dead at the scene.

The four family members were taken to hospital for treatment but their injuries are not life-threatening.

Detective Chief Inspector Zaheer Abbas of Bradford District Police said: “This is an absolutely tragic incident in which a young child has lost her life, our thoughts are with her family at this time.

“Our investigation with the fire service has deemed that the fire was not suspicious.

“The family are being supported by specially trained officers. A file will now be prepared for the coroner in due course.”

A spokesperson from West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue stated that fire investigators are working with colleagues in West Yorkshire Police to establish the circumstances of the incident.

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Royal family’s popularity up since Coronation – apart from one

Every senior member of the Royal family has seen a boost in popularity since the Coronation apart from the Duchess of Sussex, a poll has revealed.

Most of the public – 56 per cent – believe the King is doing a good job, compared to 49 per cent a year ago… a notable increase.

Some 60 per cent of Britons believe we should keep the monarchy, compared to just 28 per cent who would prefer a republic.

The landmark poll will be welcomed at Buckingham Palace ahead of the first anniversary of the Coronation on Monday.

The King made a triumphant return to public duties last week following his cancer diagnosis.

He will soon embark on a packed summer schedule to include garden parties, the Chelsea Flower Show, Trooping the Colour and a trip to Normandy to commemorate the 80th anniversary of the D-Day landings alongside his son, the Prince of Wales.

A palace source said: “While, as ever, their commitment to service is not driven by the ups and downs of polling, I know both Their Majesties have been buoyed and encouraged by the warmth and support they have received from the public in the past challenging months, of which this is further evidence.”

The Duchess of Sussex was the only member of the Royal family whose approval ratings did not rise, unchanged on 25 per cent.

The Princess of Wales enjoyed the largest bounce, with a jump of 10 per cent taking her to 69 per cent.

The boost saw her join her husband, Prince William, to secure a joint place at the top of the table.

The Princess has endured a difficult few months after being admitted to hospital in January for major abdominal surgery, only to discover that she had cancer.

The mother-of-three has since embarked on a course of chemotherapy treatment and has withdrawn from the public eye as she focuses on her recovery.

The vast majority of the public said they felt the palace had shared enough information about the health of the Princess and the King.

The Prince of Wales, who recently returned to work after a three-week Easter break with his family, has seen his own popularity jump eight percentage points to 69 per cent after putting his public duties aside to care for his wife.

Just behind the Waleses is the Princess Royal, on 64 per cent, marking a jump of five points, with the King on 56 per cent with a jump of four points and the Queen at 45 per cent, up from 40.

Even the Duke of Sussex, who these days languishes at the bottom of such tables alongside his wife, Meghan, and uncle, the Duke of York, enjoyed a jump of four percentage points on last year, taking him to 31 per cent.

Prince Andrew, who was seen leading his family at a memorial service for King Constantine of Greece in February and also joined senior royals at church on Easter Sunday, enjoyed a jump of one percentage point, taking him to 12 per cent.

The poll of 2,116 adults was conducted by Ipsos for the Mail on Sunday.

Is it driven by sympathy?

Gideon Skinner from the polling firm, told the newspaper: “As the King returns to public duties he is greeted by a further boost in favourability ratings for himself and other core members of the Royal family.

“The question for the monarchy is whether this is a short-term improvement driven by a swell in public sympathy or whether it can be maintained – particularly among younger generations where the Royals need to focus their engagement effort.”

The results do reflect the age divide when it comes to opinions about the Royal family, with one third of young people saying it “would be better” if the monarchy was abolished, compared with just one in six older people.

Conservative voters are the most supportive, but the King enjoys particularly strong backing across the political spectrum.

Of all those polled, 73 per cent of Conservative voters, 68 per cent of Liberal Democrats, and 49 per cent of Labour voters agreed that he has done “very” or “fairly” well.

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Lily Allen: ‘Nepo baby’ is sexist because it is only used for women

The term ‘nepo baby’ is sexist because only women get called it and men don’t, Lily Allen has suggested.

The singer hit out at the phrase and said she gets called it ‘all the time’ but her brother, actor Alfie Allen, does not.

Allen, 39, said it is ‘infantilising’ and compared it to the insult ‘Karen’ – because it is used for annoying women.

She told her Miss Me? podcast: “Nepo babies, I think it’s quite like ‘Karen’, in the sense that it’s just a word that is basically used for women who are taking up space and we’d rather they didn’t and they should just go away.”

Allen and her Game of Thrones actor brother Alfie are the children of comedian Keith Allen.

Allen said she has no problem with the term nepotism – and admits there is ‘some truth’ to it with her – but takes issue with the saying ‘nepo baby’.

She said: “I’m called a nepo baby all the time.

“I actually don’t really mind the nepotism thing, it’s the ‘baby’ that annoys me, it’s like: I’m 40 years old nearly!

“It’s meant to be infantilising.

“Also I think it’s something that is almost exclusively used for women, I don’t think I can even really name any male nepo babies.

“My brother, for instance, he doesn’t get called nepo baby and I do.

“I feel like a lot of the time over the past 15, 20 years when I’ve been written about it will always say ‘Lily Allen, daughter of Keith Allen’ and I don’t see that happening with boys as often as it does with girls.

“It’s always like when we’re talking about women in these spaces.. there’s like a follow-up of what it really was that put them there.

“There’s an element of truth to it, I grew up in a certain class bracket, I grew up in and amongst people that worked in media, and I don’t think I’ve ever really disputed that.”

She added: “If you grew up in relative poverty, I don’t think there’s really much difference between Keith Allen and Rod Stewart.

“Obviously there is, but I just think in terms of your proximity to privilege, it’s privileged.”

Allen said she thinks the term comes from her generation of creatives having to do free work.

“When we were young – especially in the creative industries – there was a lot of having to work for free for a long time in order to get your foot through the door.

“I think that is a lot of the reason that we have this nepo baby conversation with our generation.

“Because, it’s only people that are financially comfortable enough, or come from families with enough wealth, disposable income, to support their children while their children are working.

“It’s only families that have got money to do that.”

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