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Robert Peston: 'I’m not saying Britain is finished, but our current problems are not a blip'

1 hour ago

ITV’s political editor believes a universal basic income for every Briton is inevitable and that without a radical reinvention of the welfare state, the country is hurtling towards economic chaos

It is two years since Robert Peston left the BBC for ITV, but he doesn’t think his release from the corporation’s strict rules on impartiality has made any difference to him. I’m not sure I would agree. Since breaking the Northern Rock story in 2007, the broadcaster has become a kind of celebrity economist, and his delivery style, which swoops between languid and excitably falsetto, used to attract almost as much attention as his words. But while he still clearly enjoys his celebrity, today the 57-year-old seems more politically exercised – almost to the point of anguish – than he did even at the height of the financial crisis. Now ITV’s political editor, he appears to practise little if any self-censorship, »

- Decca Aitkenhead

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Highlights so far of the new I’m a Celebrity … Get Me Out Of Here!

2 hours ago

Mark Lawson looks back on a ‘more charming than his son’ Stanley Johnson and Kezia Dugdale’s controversial entrance

Scottish Labour leader questions Dugdale’s I’m a Celebrity appearance

The most promising reality TV booking since Ed Balls on Strictly has already delivered beyond the highest expectations of viewers and satirists. Whether claiming not to know who Ant & Dec were, complimenting the appearance of young women in a manner that may be high-risk these days (“Wow! Wow! Wow!”), or in a spat with the comedian Iain Lee, he has come across as a more charming and more politically serious version of his foreign secretary son, Boris.

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- Mark Lawson

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Letter: Messing about on the river with Rodney Bewes

2 hours ago

When he wasn’t treading the boards, Rodney Bewes was messing about on the river. The actor was an oarsman at London Rowing Club and Cadgwith gig club in Cornwall. He customarily spent all five days of Henley regatta in his skiff, Frank, moored near the finish line, doffing his London cap and applauding every race. At Henley’s 150th birthday in 1989 he coxed London’s 12-oar, rowed by a dozen former captains. He also won awards for restoration and maintenance of Frank and of his dinghy, Maurice.

In the 1990s, Rodney produced his own one-man show of Jerome K Jerome’s Three Men in a Boat, staged with Frank and a stuffed toy playing the part of Montmorency the dog. It was performed memorably at London Rc and at the royal opening in 1998 of the River & Rowing Museum at Henley, before touring Britain.

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- Christopher Dodd

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What's your experience of east Asian stereotyping?

5 hours ago

If you’re east Asian, we’d like you to share your thoughts and experiences

Meek? Sexualised? Good at mathematics? There are tonnes of stereotypes against east Asian people and they are relentlessly played out, and propagated, in the media.

But the BBC’s new sitcom Chinese Burn, is hoping to change the way east Asian women are viewed by western societies. Writers Yennis Cheung and Shin-Fei Chen, want to shake-up what they say is a narrow definition of east Asian people. They ask: why are people of east Asian heritage never portrayed as normal, average people?

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- Carmen Fishwick and Guardian readers

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George Takei saga sheds light on the murky world of pay-to-promote news

6 hours ago

Media companies ended their ‘paid promotion partnerships’ with Takei after a claim of sexual assault. But what are these celebrity deals, and are they ethical?

News that several online media companies including Mic, Slate and Refinery29 have severed commercial ties with Star Trek actor George Takei following allegations of sexual assault has shone a light on the little-understood practice of online news sites paying celebrities to post links to their content.

Millennial-focused website Mic reported that it and five other media sites had “ended paid promotion partnerships that once had their articles and videos shared on Takei’s social media platforms” in the wake of an accusation that Takei sexually assaulted a young actor in 1981. Takei denies the claim.

Related: Hollywood actors speak of 'rampant' problem of male abusers targeting men

Related: Social media stars face crackdown over money from brands

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- Joanna Walters in New York

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The best TV this week: Easy is back with more sex in the city

6 hours ago

Joe Swanberg’s comedy anthology returns for a second series on Netflix, while BBC Two looks back on the tragically short life of playwright Joe Orton

More tales from the city – in this case Chicago – as Joe Swanberg’s comedy-drama anthology series returns. Most of season one’s more memorable characters return, including Dave Franco’s scam artist Jeff, and Kyle and Andi (Michael Chernus and Elizabeth Reaser), who are considering an open marriage.

Available from 1 December, Netflix

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- The Guide

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Sex, seafood and 25,000 coffees a day: the wild 1920s superclub that inspired Babylon Berlin

7 hours ago

It was the club where Weimar decadence exploded, a frantic hotspot where Berliners drank and danced amid Moorish arches and Orient Express decor. Now, in Germany’s most expensive TV series ever, Moki Efti has been resurrected

The nightclub at the heart of Babylon Berlin, the Weimar Republic-era TV drama that premiered on Sky UK this month, may share period features with the Kit Kat Klub where Liza Minnelli once cocked her bowler hat in Cabaret. However, the frantic flurry of sweaty limbs on its dance floor could equally be inside one of Berlin’s modern-day temples of thumping techno.

In an extraordinary 11-minute song-and-dance sequence in the show’s second episode, an ashen-faced Russian woman in tails performs a Marlene-Dietrich-meets-Kraftwerk routine flanked by semi-naked dancers in banana skirts while an ecstatic crowd jerks in sync to stabbing jazz rhythms: a generation half-reeling, half-dancing on the edge of the abyss. »

- Philip Oltermann

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Scottish Labour leader questions Dugdale's I'm a Celebrity appearance

7 hours ago

Richard Leonard says he is unsure whether going on reality show is good way to promote socialism on TV

The new leader of Scottish Labour, Richard Leonard, has questioned whether his predecessor Kezia Dugdale’s appearance on I’m a Celebrity … Get Me Out Of Here! is “a good way of getting across the message of socialism on television”.

Dugdale, in a message to constituents recorded before she left for Australia to participate in the ITV reality show, described the contest as “an amazing opportunity to talk to young people who watch this programme about politics, and – in particular – Labour values”.

Watch: Kez's message to constituents, explaining why she is appearing on I'm a Celebrity. #TeamKez. pic.twitter.com/suOp0XeqWw

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- Libby Brooks Scotland correspondent

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The Good Place: a heavenly show about death and morality

11 hours ago

Ted Danson and Kristen Bell star in a glitzy sitcom that turns out to be studded with surprising moments of erudite observation

The Good Place is a shiny American sitcom – the kind with roughly 1,000 episodes per season and a conspicuously attractive cast. You could be forgiven for thinking it is a hollow, gimmicky show – and I’ve certainly spent time secretly binge-watching when my boyfriend is out. But several episodes in, you will most likely have an epiphany: that this show is more poignant than you expected. Elucidating, even. The fast-pace, 20-minute-a-pop setup camouflages a sophisticated, often delightful show.

The premise of The Good Place, which has just been renewed for a third season, is this: a brash, sin-riddled blond woman called Eleanor (played by Kristen Bell) arrives in the afterlife. She is greeted by a superhuman named Michael (played by Ted Danson, in a series of bowties), who informs »

- Kate Leaver

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Friday’s best TV: Extreme Wives With Kate Humble; Gregory Porter’s Popular Voices

12 hours ago

The presenter visits the ‘matrilineal’ Khasi people of northern India. Plus: a look at the invention of crooning

Bosh: Jamie Oliver and Jimmy Doherty return for a new series, and as they open the doors to their cafe at the end of Southend pier, Simon Pegg drops in. He’s been filming in Morocco so Oliver’s lamb tagine is on the menu, along with a very cheesy Provençal bake. Doherty gets handy with his Diy talents to create a Korean barbecue from a picnic table, and the enthusiastic duo are campaigning for more free-range duck farming. Hannah Verdier

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- Ali Catterall, Sophie Harris, Paul Howlett, Ellen E Jones, Andrew Mueller, John Robinson, Hannah Verdier, Jonathan Wright

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Blitz: The Bombs That Changed Britain review - how one unexploded bomb ignited radical social change

12 hours ago

The story of the terrible, avoidable WW2 tragedy that ultimately led to the founding of the NHS. Plus: it’s all happening in Leeds in Love, Lies and Records

How do you tell a story so big, and that has already been told so much? Blitz: The Bombs That Changed Britain (BBC2) finds a new and ingenious way; it literally follows one bomb, starting as it begins to fall at 1,000ft per second towards a residential street in Canning Town in London’s East End. This bomb is not just any old bomb, one of the 450,000 that fell on Britain during the second world war. It is carefully chosen because it arrived on the first day of the blitz, 7 September 1940, with extra significance and poignancy.

The bomb that landed on 8 Martindale Road didn’t even detonate. But that made it deadlier, and even more significant. The street, and the area around it, »

- Sam Wollaston

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Tom Baker returns to Doctor Who to finish lost 1979 episode

18 hours ago

Longest-serving Doctor films new footage to complete Shada, an episode that was abandoned due to a BBC strike

The Doctor Who actor Tom Baker has made a surprise return as the Time Lord in new scenes filmed to complete a lost episode of the BBC show.

Baker last regularly appeared as the Doctor in 1981, when the character regenerated and the role was taken over by Peter Davison.

Related: Tom Baker: how I made Doctor Who

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- Tara Conlan and Martin Belam

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GameFace review - a show that sidesteps the singleton comedy cliches

23 November 2017 9:56 AM, PST

Roisin Conaty’s thirtysomething heroine is directionless, enthusiastic and, above all, funny

What is it? One of the best new comedies of 2017.

Why you’ll love it: If you don’t often find yourself straying on to youth-appropriate, bright-pinkly branded E4 (I am 42), you will probably have missed the first series, which has just finished. The non-specifically youthful packaging and title caused me to skim over it. Now I feel like a prize idiot because it is brilliant.

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- Julia Raeside

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BT Sport’s fine Ashes partnerships blighted by commercial breakdowns | Simon Burnton

23 November 2017 6:32 AM, PST

Matt Smith and co had a solid opening despite a late wobble, while there’s an Ashes bromance in the air for Graeme Swann and Damien Fleming, but the adverts did jar a little

Fade in. Interior, an extraordinarily messy room with a massage bed in the middle. Clothing and footwear are strewn across all visible surfaces and large bags are scattered haphazardly across the remaining floor space. Pads and bats are piled up, leaning against benches and walls. Exposed pipes meander around the ceiling, not in a trendy architect‑inspired Pompidou‑Centre way but just in a couldn’t-really-be-bothered-to-hide-them way. In the corner a television is attached tightly to the wall, so that instead of facing into the room it points straight ahead, allowing hardly anyone to watch it comfortably, especially given that it’s almost at ceiling height.

It is, anyway, off. Television is not being watched in this room, »

- Simon Burnton

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So long, Dennis Reynolds – you might just be TV's greatest monster

23 November 2017 1:38 AM, PST

If it’s true that Glenn Howerton’s character in It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia is off, we’ll be deprived of some chilling onscreen psychopathy. Perhaps his morally bankrupt worldview was just a little too close to reality

Dennis Reynolds exited the last series of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia on an uncharacteristically tender note. Having discovered that he had fathered a child, Dennis (played by Glenn Howerton) said goodbye to his awful friends and left the city in a newfound quest for maturity. And now it looks as if that’s how things are going to stay.

A recent Vulture festival panel hinted at a Dennisless future for It’s Always Sunny. Now that Howerton has a role in next year’s splashier AP Bio, it’s likely that he will be a bit-player at best. In response to a question about his future, Howerton answered with an ambiguous: “Eh, »

- Stuart Heritage

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Mary Berry’s Country House Secrets review: like a subpar Victoria Wood sketch

22 November 2017 10:00 PM, PST

School nativity plays contain more natural dialogue than this ill-judged look around ‘the real Downton Abbey’. Plus: Michelle Dockery trades Downton for dusty prairies in the bleak new western Godless

Much as I imagine vicars stand immobile in the shadow of the cloister all week until it is time to glide noiselessly up to the pulpit to deliver the Sunday sermon, I have always envisioned Mary Berry being laid gently away in a velvet case – or possibly popped on a plinth under a small glass dome – between programmes. And now, after a nice long rest since the end of her Bake Off time, she has been taken out, primped, buffed with a little lavender-scented polish and set before us again. This time it is in a four-part series called Mary Berry’s Country House Secrets (BBC One). It is technically a documentary, I suppose, but what it much more closely »

- Lucy Mangan

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Thursday’s best TV: The Search for a Miracle Cure; Love, Lies & Records

22 November 2017 10:00 PM, PST

Lawyer Mark Lewis travels to Israel seeking a way to beat Ms. Plus: intrigue and blackmail in Kay Mellor’s register office drama

The king of the self-explanatory property show, George Clarke, returns with more visionary transformations. We’ve seen his architect pals work their magic on 1960s estate homes, but tonight he’s off to Heathfield in Sussex to see if he can sprinkle some magic on a bungalow. Darren and Hannah have limited finances, a leaking roof and a baby on the way. Will architect Carl Turner deliver the project before the waters, in all senses, break? John Robinson

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- Ali Catterall, Phil Harrison, Paul Howlett, Ellen E Jones, Andrew Mueller, John Robinson, David Stubbs, Graeme Virtue

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Peaky Blinders recap – series four, episode two: Heathens

22 November 2017 2:00 PM, PST

Tommy proves what a great multi-tasker he is, but is it really all going his way? For one, Luca Changretta is causing trouble, as is the truly nasty Aberama Gold

Spoiler Alert: This blog is for those who are watching series four of Peaky Blinders. Don’t read on if you haven’t seen episode two.

The move back to Small Heath has definitely done this show the power of good. The plotting and writing feel leaner and the life-and-death stakes are free of grand, overarching conspiracies. It helps, too, that Peaky Blinders has always nodded to the conventions of the western and those conventions lend themselves to this year’s plot with the Shelby clan penned back in their old haunts and enemies approaching on all sides. To be honest, if the whole thing doesn’t culminate in a showdown along the lines of Howard Hawks’s classic Rio Bravo »

- Sarah Hughes

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Can’t hear the Blue Planet II commentary? Get your ears tested | Brief letters

22 November 2017 10:42 AM, PST

Blue Planet II | Charles Manson | Smoking in French films | Theresa May at church | Driverless government

As a sufferer of hyperacusis (extreme sensitivity to loud noise) I was anxious about watching Blue Planet II, following complaints about invasively loud music (Letters, 17 November). Having now enjoyed three episodes without issue, might I gently suggest that those struggling should get their hearing tested, as I suspect that, in order to hear the commentary (and not because of the music), they are turning the sound up way too high.

Jill Wallis

Aston Clinton, Buckinghamshire

Charles Manson was, according to your obituary (21 November), “responsible for the most infamous mass murder of the 20th century” yet “was never convicted of killing anyone personally”. I guess Adolf Hitler might surpass Manson by a factor of about a million in accomplishment of appalling actions. We, in the 21st century, might still need to focus on big issues and not minor events, »

- Letters

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'Sweet, innocent, good at ping pong? Screw that!' The new show savaging Chinese stereotypes

22 November 2017 10:21 AM, PST

Tired of being cast as gymnasts or great table tennis players, the women behind new sitcom Chinese Burn shaved their heads and came out fighting

‘Chinese girls,” says the voiceover. “Sweet, innocent, submissive Chinese girls. Conservative and virginal – good at maths, ping pong and looking after men.” The voice is accompanied by a sequence of appropriate images: a gymnast, an engineer, a table tennis player. Then we suddenly hear the sound of a needle scratching across a record and an unruly voice spits: “Screw that! Here are three Chinese girls who kick that shit in the ballbag!”

Which is pretty much the premise of Chinese Burn, a caustic sitcom in the style of Fleabag. Its ballsy leads – Jackie, Elizabeth and Fufu – are on a mission to shake up the way east Asian women are perceived.

In every TV role I’ve had, I’ve had to wear a cheongsam. I »

- Dale Berning Sawa

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