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Remembering Sean Hughes: ‘The sadness is he didn’t get to be old, just lonely’

17 minutes ago

Since his death, a complicated picture of the comedian has emerged. We were friends at the height of his fame and I saw his cruelty first hand. Others say that he later changed, before his drinking spiralled out of control

Carl Donnelly was driving on Monday morning when his phone rang. He could not pick up, but when he saw who had called – someone who was friends with him and Sean Hughes – he guessed what was coming. He called back and learned that Hughes, just 51 years old, had been picked up from his home by an ambulance on Sunday night. On the way to hospital he went into cardiac arrest. He died shortly afterwards. It transpired that he was also suffering from cirrhosis of the liver.

Related: Sean Hughes obituary

We were honest with each other and listened to one another’s insecurities continually. He was very open with me

In the last year, »

- Michael Hann

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Trump & Russia: Sex, Spies and Scandal review – a perilous land of Oz, without the whimsy

17 minutes ago

Matt Frei’s documentary is almost overwhelming – especially for those trying to avoid bad news. Plus: moral dilemmas in Army: Behind the New Front Lines

Even if you try to avoid the headlines these days, you can’t help but catch snippets of news about how the world is going to hell. Plus there have been other subtle tipoffs, such as the birds fleeing across the skies as the firmament turns orange before our disbelieving eyes. Not for nothing did it turn that vibrant hue. Orange is the colour of Trump, and the barest smattering of knowledge about the man and his presidency has been quite enough to make most of us want to make like the birds and flee.

To have so many of the gaps in that smattering of knowledge filled in – or, if you are better informed, to have it so remorselessly and comprehensively laid out before »

- Lucy Mangan

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'You've got to try everything': Maeve O'Meara on the one dish that made her cower

6 hours ago

Sbs stalwart returns with Food Safari Earth, a vegetarian’s dream that serves up ‘the best chips in the universe’

Throughout her lengthy career as the host of Sbs’s Food Safari, Maeve O’Meara has tried everything from berber tagine to Sri Lankan love cake; oysters in champagne sabayon to pork knuckle with potato dumplings and braised red cabbage – and everything in between.

Yet she can only remember one dish that made her cringe: Argentinean barbecued chinchulines, otherwise known as the second stomach of a cow. “It looked like a science experiment going on to the fire. It came off a little bit golden around the edges but to me that was not delicious food. It was rubbery with fat inside [and] with a bitterness as well. It was like woah, not everything is meant to be eaten. [But] you’ve got to try everything.”

Related: Kepos Street Kitchen's zucchini, sujuk »

- Alexandra Spring

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Trevor Noah: Trump's response to Niger 'was basically the dog ate my homework'

13 hours ago

Broadcasting live from Chicago, The Daily Show’s Trevor Noah addressed Trump’s press conference with Mitch McConnell, where he claimed past Us presidents did not call the families of fallen soldiers

On Tuesday Night Trevor Noah, broadcasting live from Chicago’s Athenaeum Theatre, addressed Donald Trump’s impromptu press conference with Mitch McConnell and his claim, made that day, that other presidents did not call the families of fallen American soldiers.

Related: Late-night hosts on Trump's instability: 'Let's hope he forgets the launch codes'

Related: Trump allegedly tells soldier's widow: 'He knew what he signed up for'

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- Jake Nevins

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Which Netflix shows are being binged the fastest?

14 hours ago

A rare release of stats from the streaming service reveals an obsession with nostalgia and a lack of interest in critical acclaim

What to watch on TV this fall

Netflix is notoriously secretive about ratings. We may never discover how many people watch any of its shows. For all anybody knows, The Get Down’s entire audience consisted of a single confused child watching distractedly in a shed. We have no way of proving otherwise, so for now we must accept that this is true.

Related: Can Facebook take on Netflix with its first season of original shows?

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- Stuart Heritage

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Chris Packham: Asperger’s and Me review – a brave, ballsy film

18 hours ago

The TV naturalist wants viewers to understand what it’s like to be him – ​and the results are brilliant

‘When you first lick the back side of a beetle that’s oozing a yellow fluid, and it’s bitter on the taste of your tongue as if you’ve licked a dirty old sixpence, and it doesn’t go away for an hour, that’s a really quite powerful thing,” says Chris Packham.

I’m hoping it’s back side, not backside. And beetle, not Beatle … Anyway, having spent his entire life hiding his form of autism, the TV naturalist is opening up about it. He wants people to begin to understand what it feels like to be him. Chris Packham: Asperger’s and Me (BBC2), it’s called. And it’s brilliant.

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- Sam Wollaston

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Lisa Wilkinson ‘wanted $2.3m’: Channel Nine denies row is over gender pay gap

22 hours ago

CEO Hugh Marks says TV host wanted $500,000 above what she was offered and her contract was terminated when her demand was refused

TV breakfast host Lisa Wilkinson was asking for $500,000 above the $1.8m she was offered to co-host Nine’s Today, the chief executive of the Nine Entertainment Co Hugh Marks has said.

Marks said when he refused to agree to the $2.3m package demanded by her agent, Nick Fordham, her contract with Nine was terminated.

Related: Australia's gender pay gap: why do women still earn less than men?

Related: Nrl Footy Show ditched for new format hosted by Erin Molan

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- Amanda Meade

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Wednesday’s best TV – Army: Behind the New Frontlines; Trump and Russia: Sex, Spies and Scandal

17 October 2017 10:00 PM, PDT

British troops are still in the field in Iraq – but what are they doing there? Plus, what are the chances of Trump falling before he blows up the world?

It is hard to believe in the era of generation rent. However, there are people in this world who not only own properties but have enough money to worry about their aesthetic qualities. This returning series follows the efforts of such householders to remodel. We begin in Gloucestershire: can architect Laura Clark come up with a plan to make a welcoming home from a Dutch barn-style carbuncle known as “the Amityville horror” by neighbours? Jonathan Wright

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- Jonathan Wright, Andrew Mueller, Jack Seale, Phil Harrison, David Stubbs, Graeme Virtue, John Robinson

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Dragons' Den-backed Skinny Tan censured over cellulite claims

17 October 2017 10:00 PM, PDT

Self-tan brand that found success on BBC2 show misled users by claiming they would look ‘instantly toned’, watchdog rules

A self-tan brand that became a global success after appearing on the Dragons’ Den TV programme broke UK advertising rules by telling customers the product can reduce cellulite.

Skinny Tan went from startup to global success after its founders, Louise Ferguson and Kate Cotton, made the most successful pitch for investment in the history of the BBC2 TV show in 2013.

Related: Donald Trump, Claire Danes and the politics of fake tan

Related: Twerking man and 'dead dad' ad among most complained about in 2017

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- Mark Sweney Media business correspondent

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Sunshine review – basketball and racial tensions collide in standout Australian drama

17 October 2017 8:06 PM, PDT

Anthony Lapaglia’s school-of-hard-knocks coach brings star power to this superb new series set in outer-west Melbourne

Remember that movie or TV show with the jaded, world-weary, what-have-i-got-to-live-for coach who reluctantly agrees to mentor a team of ill-disciplined rascals? Remember how sport becomes a metaphor for life, and the determination, hard slog and gradual improvement of the kids inspires in this broken person a new raison d’être?

Of course you do, and of course you don’t. You do because this archetype is almost as familiar as the absentminded professor or the whisky priest. You don’t because you’ve witnessed so many incarnations of this character – from the stubby-clutching Morris Buttermaker (Walter Matthau and later Billy Bob Thornton) in Bad News Bears to the smug Gordon Bombay (Emilio Estevez) in The Mighty Ducks – that they blur together as one big, whistle-blowing splotch in the memory.

Related: Wake in Fright »

- Luke Buckmaster

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The Great British Bake Off 2017, episode eight – as it happened

17 October 2017 1:24 PM, PDT

This week’s theme is ‘Forgotten Bakes’ – but who had a week to remember and whose bakes will be consigned to the dustbin of history?

9.24pm BST

Well there we go. Genuinely hard to predict, that one. Stacey wins star baker, and we lose the youngest, and one of the most talented bakers the show has ever had. Liam was always such a joy to watch.

Thanks to all reprobates below the line, for your ribaldry, puns and hair weave speculation. I hope you’ll all be back next week for the semi finals, and tell your friends.

9.18pm BST

On the positive side, we still have Kate who is great entertainment, and the more Steven relaxes the more I like him. He’s definitely got a waspy tongue on him.

9.17pm BST

I think they do look at one weekend in isolation, jdsworld. It’s about survival consistency and timing, »

- Rhik Samadder

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Axed! Who killed Crimewatch – and why?

17 October 2017 9:43 AM, PDT

The BBC show has been brutally dispatched and forensic television criticism suggests that several issues combined to end the life of the veteran franchise

Hello, and welcome to this Crimewatch special, in which we investigate the brutal axing, on the morning of Tuesday 17 October 2017, of the BBC series itself. Crimewatch was 33 years old, and leaves a survivor, Crimewatch Roadshow, which will live on in BBC1 daytime. Crimewatch will always be remembered for its catchphrase, “Goodnight, please don’t have nightmares,” coined by presenter Nick Ross to allay concerns about the effect on viewers of the often graphic reconstructions.

In this case, please don’t phone, email or tweet us your suspicions. It is already known that the slaying of Crimewatch was carried out by Charlotte Moore, a 49-year-old BBC director of content from the W1A area. Her motive is interesting. Forensic television criticism suggests that the following issues combined »

- Mark Lawson

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American Vandal and our growing obsession with the mockumentary

17 October 2017 7:23 AM, PDT

Netflix’s standout true crime spoof has managed to elevate a silly premise and is yet another recent example of a faux-doc that soars

What to watch: your definitive TV guide for fall 2017

Its Stonehenge may only have been 18in tall but This is Spinal Tap is monumental, casting a long, none-more-black shadow over the mockumentary form. More than three decades on, it remains a masterful study of self-deluded blowhards convinced of their inherent majesty. But by also skewering the pit-stop road rhythms of the rockumentary, the movie’s meta was as heavy as its metal. It acknowledged the parasitical nature of its chosen genre because for your mockumentary to really sing, it helps to spoof something that has already accrued plenty of recognisable signifiers, familiar elements to play up to or against.

Related: American Vandal review – Netflix sends itself up with a four-hour penis joke

Related: A gripping TV »

- Graeme Virtue

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Mr Robot creator Sam Esmail: 'The world has become unreliable'

17 October 2017 5:41 AM, PDT

As the hacktivism drama returns, its writer discusses crafting fiction in the fake news era, the problem with diverse casting – and why he ignores his critics

When Mr Robot first aired, two years ago, it was hailed for its timeliness. A serial drama about a nefarious hacking group taking on corporate power felt right for the age of Anonymous and banking failure. Now, in 2017, the existing two seasons can look a little dated; why spend ages plotting to bring down the west when the Us president can do it with a tweet?

While aa lot has changed in two years, there is a sense of vindication for Mr Robot creator Sam Esmail. The ideas the 40-year-old wanted to explore in this drama – his first TV show, which he wrote, directed, produced and edited himself – are still playing out in reality.

Related: Mr Robot's Rami Malek: 'The world is in »

- Paul MacInnes

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Rising star: Ruth Davidson to appear on Great British Bake Off

17 October 2017 4:32 AM, PDT

Scottish Conservative leader will take part in charity special of Channel 4 programme to raise money for Stand Up to Cancer

Fresh from packing them in at the Conservative party conference, Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson’s profile is set be further raised with an appearance on a celebrity episode of The Great British Bake Off.

Davidson, beloved by the party faithful for overseeing a remarkable revival in Conservative fortunes in Scotland, will take part in a charity special of the Channel 4 programme later this year to raise money for Stand Up to Cancer.

Related: The Great British Bake Off 2017, episode seven – as it happened

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- Caroline Davies

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BBC axes Crimewatch after 33 years as trail goes cold for viewers

17 October 2017 4:17 AM, PDT

Former host Nick Ross blames ‘decay of linear television’ and trend of recording programmes for show’s decline

It has been credited with helping solve some of the country’s most notorious crimes. But, after 33 years, Crimewatch has served its time, the BBC has announced.

The programme was being cancelled to make way for other programming, the corporation said, though it would broadcast more of the daytime sister edition, Crimewatch Roadshow.

Related: What kind of journalism should the BBC do and not do? | Jane Martinson

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- Kevin Rawlinson

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Tuesday’s best TV: Chris Packham – Asperger’s and Me; Ben Fogle – New Lives in the Wild

16 October 2017 10:09 PM, PDT

The Springwatch presenter offers a touching documentary with sweet and strange details aplenty; new series has Fogle meeting real-life Crusoes from the Sahara to Guatemala. Plus: a new series of Broad City begins

There are sweet and strange details aplenty in this touching doc about Springwatch presenter Packham’s struggles with autism: a childhood spent licking beetles and chewing tadpoles, for instance. But his deeper point concerns public perception. While the Us has traditionally tried to “eradicate” autism by “retraining” children, the rise of the tech industry exists in part thanks to talented pioneers who, as we discover, are on the spectrum. Sophie Harris

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- Sophie Harris, Phil Harrison, Ben Arnold, Ali Catterall, John Robinson, Hannah J Davies, Mark Gibbings-Jones and Paul Howlett

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Take it from me - British TV and film are rife with sexual bullying | Arabella Weir

16 October 2017 10:00 PM, PDT

We need more powerful females in our industry, and a new willingness from women everywhere to challenge sexist attitudes

Along with the rest of the acting sorority I’ve been reading with great interest the appalling allegations against Harvey Weinstein, who has apologised for his past behaviour but denied non-consensual sex. At the same time I’ve been reminded of the literally hundreds of times I, too, have endured varying degrees of sexual harassment in my nearly 40-year career. And I bet you won’t find a single actress who hasn’t got similar stories to tell. This behaviour was so commonplace it barely warranted comment except as “jokey” tales female actors would swap.

Related: It’s not just one monster. ‘Me too’ reveals the ubiquity of sexual assault | Suzanne Moore

Related: After Weinstein, let’s stop asking women to answer for their sex predator’s crimes | Laura Bates

Continue reading. »

- Arabella Weir

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George Michael: Freedom review – the world according to George and pals

16 October 2017 10:00 PM, PDT

This documentary, narrated and co-directed by the singer just before his death, is a little self-indulgent – but honest and moving, too

Kate Moss is sitting in a dark room, on the chair from the Fast Love video, with all the speakers on it. “On Christmas Day 2016 we heard with shock and disbelief that our dear friend George Michael had passed away,” she says. “Only days before, he was putting the finishing touches to the film you are about to see. This is George’s film Freedom and it’s his final work.”

And that’s it from Kate; her only contribution to George Michael: Freedom (Channel 4) is to introduce it. Don’t worry, though, there is plenty more starry contribution – including from the supermodel catwalk, the one that came just before Kate’s era. So Naomi Campbell, Linda Evangelista, Cindy Crawford, Christy Turlington and the one no one remembers, »

- Sam Wollaston

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'Charming, soulful, a proper comic': Sean Hughes tributes – and his funniest jokes

16 October 2017 11:39 AM, PDT

By his mid-20s he had scooped the Perrier award and landed his own TV show. But Sean Hughes never wanted to be a stadium standup. Mark Steel and Rhona Cameron pay tribute to a troubled talent – and we pick some of his best gags

Sean Hughes: comedian dies aged 51

Sparky comedy gadfly in a league of his own

I knew Sean from before he won the Perrier award in 1990. He was a Crystal Palace fan and we used to go to the football together. I remember going to a match with him in the early 90s, when he was on the telly quite a lot, and I took him down the pub with me. He was really warm with people and we ended up staying the evening. There was a genuine charm to him that was way beyond showbiz. He liked that world: being sat in the corner »

- Interviews by Chris Wiegand and Tim Jonze

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