Ben Cowburn who is the comic

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Comic warned over England send-off

02 June 2014 15:56:27 BBC News - UK

A comedian who tried to gatecrash England's World Cup departure at Luton airport is removed by security staff.

Vice All News Time02 June 2014 15:56:27

The cornucopia of comics

28 May 2014 03:48:01 BBC News - UK

How did British comics get from Ally Sloper to Judge Dredd?

Vice All News Time28 May 2014 03:48:01

TV comedian accused of grooming teenager who killed himself uses top libel lawyer to explain himself to boy's family

13 April 2014 12:07:13 News | Mail Online

Last night the parents of Ben Cowburn spoke of their dismay at the TV comedian’s use of high-profile libel lawyers Carter-Ruck to make the approach.

Vice All News Time13 April 2014 12:07:13

Now family demand police quiz comic and 'showbiz friends' over tragic Ben's death as last picture of suicide teenager emerges

06 April 2014 04:20:31 News | Mail Online

Steve and Sharon Cowburn expressed disbelief that Scotland Yard detectives failed to speak to the man during the investigation into their son Ben’s death.

Vice All News Time06 April 2014 04:20:31

Revealed: Tragic Ben Cowburn told nurse that TV comic raped as family demand to know why medic was not heard at inquest

30 March 2014 04:18:50 News | Mail Online

The nurse also believes the celebrity, who was not named at the inquest in Truro, Cornwall, plied the 18-year-old with drink and drugs to ensure he gave his 'consent' for sex.

Vice All News Time30 March 2014 04:18:50

Ben Cowburn made at least 43 attempts to take his own life

25 March 2014 19:40:34 News | Mail Online

Ben Cowburn, 18, from Truro, Cornwall (left) was swept into a hedonistic lifestyle by the man - named only as 'Mr X' - after being appointed his stylist.

Vice All News Time25 March 2014 19:40:34

Why has comic who 'groomed' overdose boy not been named? MPs criticise decision and say public should be concerned if 'deals are being done behind closed doors'

24 March 2014 03:47:31 News | Mail Online

An inquest has heard the gay comedian ‘took advantage’ of Ben Cowburn (pictured). But under an informal agreement his identity has been protected, and called 'Mr X' at an inquest.

Vice All News Time24 March 2014 03:47:31

Teenage boy killed himself while suffering from post traumatic stress after being seduced by TV comedian

23 March 2014 13:00:15 mirror - News

The openly gay comic gave tragic Ben Cowburn gifts and took him to drink- and drug-fuelled parties

Vice All News Time23 March 2014 13:00:15

TV comic 'groomed' tragic overdose teenager: 18-year-old's mystery death after star 'showered him with gifts then made sexual advances'

23 March 2014 02:44:42 News | Mail Online

Ben Cowburn, a fashion student in London, met the comedian in a pub. He was showered with gifts and taken to drug-fuelled parties by the unnamed star, and later said he felt 'dirty and used'.

Vice All News Time23 March 2014 02:44:42

Comic criticises council 'zealots'

24 January 2014 12:51:10 BBC News - UK

One of NI's leading comedians criticises the council "zealots" who have banned a play in County Antrim after complaints that it was blasphemous.

Vice All News Time24 January 2014 12:51:10

Is this Ben Needham? Picture of Roma man suspected of being British tot who disappeared in Greece 22 years ago

27 October 2013 01:09:06 mirror - News

Greek police will DNA test man who Ben’s mum Kerry believes could be the son who disappeared from Kos in 1991 aged two

Vice All News Time27 October 2013 01:09:06

Ben Wheatley to direct Doctor Who

14 October 2013 14:48:05 BBC News - UK

Kill List and Sightseers director Ben Wheatley will direct Peter Capaldi's first two episodes as Doctor Who.

Vice All News Time14 October 2013 14:48:05

John McCririck sacked from Channel 4 irritating 'comic act'

03 October 2013 10:02:29 Sport | Mail Online

John McCririck was not included in a revamped Channel 4 Racing programme because he was seen as an irritating 'comic act' who brought a 'farcical tone' to shows, a tribunal has heard.

Vice Sport Time03 October 2013 10:02:29

Frank Carson was penniless when he died: Comic had just £8,000 to his name despite performing until shortly before his death

04 September 2013 03:21:01 News | Mail Online

The family of the Irish comic, who died in February, were left with just £8,013 but once debts and expenses were paid his will states that he died penniless.

Vice All News Time04 September 2013 03:21:01

Doctor Who at Comic-Con: 9 things we learned

22 July 2013 15:51:45 Film |

The Daleks will make an appearance in the 50th anniversary special – but what did we learn from the cast and crew? Representatives of the UK's biggest geek export, Doctor Who, were out in force at this year's San Diego Comic-Con. It had its own panel session, featuring Matt Smith, Jenna-Louise Coleman, Steven Moffat, Mark Gatiss and producer Marcus Wilson, and they showed a trailer for the long-awaited 50th celebrations (though it isn't online yet). As is often the way, they said a lot, but revealed very little. Here's what we now know. • At the panel discussion, Moffat admitted that that the special will resolve a lot of long-running storylines. • Let the fangasms begin! In what is surely just one of many riffs on the show's history, the 50th references the first multi-Doctor special, the 10th anniversary episode The Three Doctors. Ten tells Eleven on entering his Tardis: "Oh you've redecorated. I don't like it." – the same words that Two said to Three. • But we may have had our numbering all wrong. The theories about John Hurt playing the "time war Doctor" may be on the money. Since we never saw a regeneration between Paul McGann and Christopher Eccleston, this would be the man who committed genocide against the Daleks and the Timelords. As our current Doctor tells Clara: "I've had many faces. Many lives. I don't admit to all of them. There's one life I've tried very hard to forget." • As those who were lucky enough to see the trailer have revealed, it all sounds a bit ominous: "This fall, the Doctor will face his darkest day: himself." • It looks like we're going to see things getting heavy in the time war itself. • Moffat insisted that the casting for the next Doctor is not yet a done deal. Which would be fine if we were ever able to believe a word he says. • Indeed, as he admitted himself on the panel about the 50th, in response to a question about Captain Jack supposedly not appearing: "I've lied my arse off for months – you know nothing, so don't make presumptions." • The brass pillar in the recreated Tardis set that appears in Gatiss's origins drama An Adventure in Space and Time is the original one. According to Gatiss, the piece is "full of little coincidences like that". • The big news outside the Comic-Con panel was confirmation that the Daleks are coming back for the 50th anniversary. Said Moffat: "The Doctor once said that you can judge a man by the quality of his enemies, so it's fitting that for this very special episode, he should be facing the greatest enemies of all." (A biscuit for anyone who got that reference to Remembrance of the Daleks.) But from the publicity stills we've already seen, the Daleks in question are the ones from the Russell T Davies era. Now, this is either going to mean that we are indeed going to see the terrible events of the time war, or that everyone has acknowledged that the multi-coloured "iDalek" redesign was a terrible mistake and they've been exterminated for ever. Doctor Who Television Fantasy Comic-Con 2013 Festivals Comic-Con Matt Smith Jenna-Louise Coleman Steven Moffat John Hurt Dan Martin © 2013 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds

Vice All News Time22 July 2013 15:51:45

Comic-Con stuntmen save suicidal woman from balcony fall

22 July 2013 14:16:25 Film |

Kick Ass 2 promoters stage superhero rescue after seeing woman dangling from 14th floor of San Diego building Dramatic scenes at Comic-Con on Sunday saw a woman saved from the 14th floor of an apartment building by stuntmen in town to promote Kick-Ass 2. According to ABC News , the suicidal woman was on the edge of a balcony and threatened to jump when the three men heard the commotion and rushed into the building to rescue her. Amos Carver, Gregg Sergeant and Scot Schecter were on the other side of the road setting up for a Kick-Ass 2 private party in the San Diego district hosting Comic-Con. Sprinting across three lanes of traffic and scaling a fence, the men ran into the room before managing to pull her back over the balcony. Carver told ABC: "We went through the apartment trying to be as quiet as possible. We didn't want to alert her that we were there." They found the woman, who they believe to have been heavily intoxicated, hanging on with one hand, and with one foot off the ledge. "She just kept saying 'I'm so sorry, I'm so sorry' over and over again. She was very distraught." The suicide attempt was first mistaken for a promotional stunt by onlookers accustomed to movie studios going all out at the annual event. The identity of the woman has yet to be released, but it is thought that she was upset over a breakup. "We're trained to deal with these situations should they arise," said Carver, who compared the rescue with working on a film set. "But usually if we do, it's not an innocent civilian." Comic-Con Comics and graphic novels Festivals San Diego United States © 2013 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds

Vice All News Time22 July 2013 14:16:25

David Beckham and Sir Alex Ferguson appear in The Beano comic

22 July 2013 04:12:08 News | Mail Online

David Beckham and Sir Alex Ferguson are among a star-studded cast who appear in the 75th anniversary issue of iconic comic book The Beano.

Vice All News Time22 July 2013 04:12:08

David Beckham and Sir Alex Ferguson appear in The Beano comic

22 July 2013 04:11:58 Sport | Mail Online

David Beckham and Sir Alex Ferguson are among a star-studded cast who appear in the 75th anniversary issue of iconic comic book The Beano.

Vice Sport Time22 July 2013 04:11:58

David Beckham and Sir Alex Ferguson appear in The Beano comic

22 July 2013 04:10:56 Football | Mail Online

David Beckham and Sir Alex Ferguson are among a star-studded cast who appear in the 75th anniversary issue of iconic comic book The Beano.

Vice Football Time22 July 2013 04:10:56

Batman v Superman confirmed at Comic-Con in 'beyond mythological' mash-up

21 July 2013 09:39:12 Film |

Man of Steel and Dark Knight to face-off in Zack Snyder sequel, but word still out on the casting of Batman. Also on the Warner Bros Comic-Con panel: Tom Cruise, Sandra Bullock and Godzilla Holy kryptonite Batman! It's finally happening. The 6,500 fans in Comic-Con's Hall H nearly exploded when Warner Bros announced they were moving ahead on a movie featuring Superman and Batman . Just imagine the clash of egos. Never mind, because after years of impassioned pleas on forums and imploring screeches at previous conventions, the fanboys are getting their wish. Zack Snyder will direct the follow-up to his $630m global hit Man of Steel and will reunite with his Superman, Henry Cavill. Amy Adams, Laurence Fishburne and Diane Lane will also reprise their roles but the big question on everyone's lips is who will play Batman – because it ain't going to be Christian Bale. The British actor has been nothing if not firm in his assertion that he will not don the cape and mask for a fourth time. For now, the mystery will have to linger and fans must make do with the news. They will. Snyder has committed to an early 2014 start and the game plan is to get the movie in theatres for summer 2015. That the two superheroes will be actively battling appeared to be confirmed by Snyder's statement: "Let's face it, it's beyond mythological to have Superman and our new Batman facing off, since they are the greatest superheroes in the world." This thunderous tidbit was actually the last gasp of an epic Warner Bros panel that featured plenty of surprises on Saturday morning. Tom Cruise and his world-beating grin bounded on to the stage in the mega-star's first appearance at the Con. Safe to say, the crowd was suitably excited. Cruise got everyone wound up about the Doug Liman sci-fi Edge Of Tomorrow that is headed to US screens on 6 June 2014. They showed footage of Cruise as a soldier who dies and must relive events over and over until he cracks a way to outwit pesky aliens hell-bent on destroying earth. Sounds like Source Code with much wider collateral damage. Emily Blunt also stars in the movie, which until very recently had gone under the moniker of All you Need is Kill. Prior to the panel the talk was of Gareth Edwards' Godzilla reboot and this part of the show did not disappoint either. Edwards brought teaser footage with him – thankfully a more revealing sequence than what Warner Bros presented last year. The material didn't show too much of the beast himself but there was enough to suggest a beast feast awaits those who turn up on May 16, 2014 both sides of the pond. From the looks of it, Godzilla is lining up for a mighty smackdown with a posse of very nasty looking creatures who once again are rampaging over our planet. Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Bryan Cranston and Elizabeth Olsen were on hand for questions but the only character people seemed keen to learn more about was good old Godzilla. Mexican auteur Alfonso Cuaron was here on Thursday to take part in a Visionaries panel with The Amazing Spider-Man director Marc Webb and Edgar Wright. On that occasion Cuaron spoke more generally about his career but on Saturday he focused on the forthcoming sci-fi thriller Gravity . And what better way to do that than to bring out Sandra Bullock for her debut Hall H experience. The crowd loved Bullock, who stars with George Clooney as astronauts on a fateful mission. Footage showed the pair floating outside their craft on a repair job just as a load of debris hurtles towards them. The film opens this year's Venice film festival at the end of August. The next most exciting event was a teaser from World of Warcraft that showed a man bearing arms against an orc. Moon director Duncan Jones is steeling himself for an early 2014 production start. In other news, Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill have joined the voice cast of The LEGO Movie . Warner Bros Superman Comic-Con Comics and graphic novels Christian Bale Tom Cruise Sandra Bullock George Clooney Venice film festival Bryan Cranston © 2013 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds

Vice All News Time21 July 2013 09:39:12

Comic-Con: can Ender's Game be saved by the incredible Orson Scott Card disappearing act?

19 July 2013 13:34:22 Film |

As Lionsgate seeks to put distance between the anti-gay writer and its movie of his novel, the row underlines the need for film-makers to think more deeply about fans' views They say all publicity is good publicity. If so, studio Lionsgate should be reaping the rewards from all the negative hype whirling around the repugnant views of Orson Scott Card, author of the novel upon which its upcoming science fiction movie Ender's Game is based. Ever since gay rights group Geeks Out launched its campaign for a boycott of Gavin Hood's film, whose stellar cast includes Harrison Ford, Britain's brilliant Asa Butterfield, Hailee Steinfeld and Abigail Breslin, the noise surrounding the movie has been firmly about Card's homophobic attitudes rather than the movie itself. Lionsgate's reaction has been to pretend that Card is a figment of everybody else's imagination, rather than the source of its own worst nightmares. As the Hollywood Reporter has pointed out , the science fiction writer's name has been excised from pretty much all publicity surrounding the movie: he is no longer visible on Ender's Game's Facebook page, and barely gets a mention on the film's trailer beyond a tiny two-second glimpse on the end title card. Card was not present at the film's appearance at Comic Con in San Diego last night , despite the panel for Lionsgate's other teen-orientated sci-fi flick, Divergence, featuring source novel author Veronica Roth. Producer Robert Orci simply batted back questions about the controversy in the way Lionsgate has done since it erupted. "Rather than shy away from this, I would reiterate that we support LGBT rights, and human rights," he said. The studio has promised to hold a fundraiser for gay causes and argued that its movie really has nothing to do with Card's nasty views, which have been detailed by my colleague Andrew Wheeler over on Comment is Free . The problem here is that Card has been far from a hands-off figure in Ender's Game's gestation period. While the current screenplay, based on both Ender's Game and parallel novel Ender's Shadow, is credited to Hood alone, the Mormon author has written at least two scripts of his own over the past 15 years. He is listed as a producer on the film and is said to have refused Hollywood's advances several times in the 1980s and 1990s due to creative differences. He even gets a voice cameo as a pilot in the movie. That Lionsgate failed to pick up on Card's increasing notoriety for all the wrong reasons over the couple of years in which it has been involved in the film ought to be a salutary lesson for Hollywood. In a universe in which fanboy cred seems to matter almost as much as box office results , making a movie based on the ideas of a guy who professes to hate a large portion of your key audience so much that he once said he would rather overthrow the United States government than tolerate gay marriage is a very bad call indeed. Conversely, geek culture has always been notable for its tolerance. But Hollywood is fast learning that the fanboy brigade are not just a great slavering mass of wide-eyed chumps desperate to haemorrhage their hard-earned cash in the direction of the nearest multiplex. Sometimes, the geeks bite back, and woe betide those who are not prepared to listen. It shows how far we have come that Card, who was arrogant enough to make that statement about gay marriage and the US government only four years ago, now mewls plaintively about "persecution" from "triumphant" proponents of equal rights in the wake of the US's historic legal ruling last month. How irritating it must be for the author that his two-decade battle to bring his best known work to the big screen has been scuppered by the very people he finds most repugnant in this world - and how wonderfully ironic. As a science fiction movie fan, I can't help but feel a little disappointed that what might prove to be a rather decent example of the form is being overshadowed by the controversy surrounding Card. Should Lionsgate's platitudes towards the LGBT community be accepted - the Oscar-winning writer of Milk, Dustin Lance Black, has proposed as much - I'd like to see the film do well. But if all that bad hype does doom the movie, and if studios take a little more care over who they choose to work with as a result, it may just have been worth it. Action and adventure Science fiction and fantasy Comic-Con Gay rights Harrison Ford Ben Child © 2013 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds

Vice All News Time19 July 2013 13:34:22

San Diego Comic-Con: 5 things we're excited for

18 July 2013 04:10:24 Film |

Comic-Con is like Barnum's circus, a splashy wild west dystopian boom town – here are the five panels not to miss It's once again time for Comic-Con, that annual festival which draws geek-minded people by the thousands to the San Diego convention center, where their numbers are matched by an army of entertainment executives and creators peddling their latest wares. "Movies! Get your next hit movies here!," you can hear them shout thunderously from Hall H, as droves of fans rush to get a glimpse of just that. "Two-for-one special on sci-fi TV series. Step right this way." It's like Barnum's circus, a wild west boom town and that strange, splashy dystopia foreseen in Blade Runner, all under one roof. And so, out of the hundreds of panels scheduled to take place between Wednesday's preview night and Sunday's closing events, we have chosen five about which we are most excited. Harrison Ford promoting Ender's Game The film is facing boycotts over Orson Scott Card's well-documented anti-gay views, many of which have been on display in his writing for decades. But this is a major motion picture, starring A-list actors Abigail Breslin, Hailee Steinfeld and Harrison Ford, with the full might of the Hollywood machine behind it. Expect a full-court press as Capital Pictures sets out to convince people they should put aside Card's views and Just Go See The Film Already. Card is excluded from most of the events promoting Ender's Game, including Thursday's Q&A. The real attraction here, then, is Ford, who is notoriously shy of publicity but still a hero to many at the convention who still see him as Han Solo and Indiana Jones. X-Files reunion We're big fans of the the X-Files, and this reunion of its stars, writers and creator marks the show's 20th anniversary. Actors David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson have at times been bashful about embracing the con circuit – after that last film, who can blame them? – but all is largely forgiven now. They'll be joined on stage by Vince Gilligan, one of the best X-Files writers, who has since gone on to bigger and better things, like … Breaking Bad Gilligan's epic television series is drawing down on its final handful of episodes, and fans are dying to know the fate of Walter White, its anti-hero (or is he the villain? WE DON'T KNOW!). The show's final arc premieres in the US on 11 August, but maybe there's a chance the cast will let slip a few hints during their panel on Sunday. Gravity A real, honest-to-god grown-up science-fiction movie. It's been SO LONG. Saturday's Warner Bros/Legendary panel is actually about several things – including Legendary's new Godzilla movie – but one of the highlights will be Alfonso Cuarón's futuristic thriller. Starring Sandra Bullock and George Clooney, it's the rare piece of art that can and will be featured at both Comic-Con and the Venice Film Festival before it opens in October. Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Remember in The Avengers when Joss Whedon broke everyone's hearts and killed Agent Coulson? Yeah, forget about that. Coulson's alive and well, though no one's really sure how they're going to pull that off. Whedon will be there, possibly offering answers, but more likely not. The point is that it doesn't really matter how it's explained – in comics, no death is really permanent – just that this new TV show is going to feature the return of a beloved character. "Surprise guests reveal top-secret new information" is how they're billing this particular panel on Friday. Comic-Con Harrison Ford San Diego California Comics and graphic novels Television Erin McCann © 2013 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds

Vice All News Time18 July 2013 04:10:24

Spider-man: no longer the US's favourite comic book hero?

28 June 2013 18:03:07 Film |

Comic book sales data shows that Batman may have overtaken the webbed wonder following the successful Dark Knight trilogy. Our interactive graphic shows how superheroes stack up Spider-man may be able to stick to walls but his sales figures are sliding as Batman becomes the US's top super hero, according to estimates based on distributor data. Comics featuring the web-slinging superhero as a titular character have reached the top 300 monthly sales charts in the US just under 1,500 times over the past decade. These charting titles have led to estimated sales of 49m and a gross of over $140m - making him the top grossing superhero for comic books sales over the past decade. However, despite coming out on top overall, Spidey's sales have begun to wane. Since 2010 comics featuring Batman in the title have sold more than those featuring Spider-man. 2012 saw 4.5m charting Batman comics being sold compared to 3.2m Spider-man comics. This represents a fall for Spidey from a height of 5.7m in 2002 - the year that the first Spider-man movie featuring Tobey Maguire was released - compared to 2.2m Batman comics. Batman and Spider-man still fall behind the X-Men when it comes to overall sales but this is partially down to the large number of titles released under that banner. Charting X-Men comics sold just under 65m copies, grossing almost $200m between 2002 and 2012. Female superheroes did not fare so well either with Wonder Woman being the only one whose sales were comparable with her Justice League teammates Superman, Batman, Green Lantern and the Flash. The data is drawn from comic book artist John Jackson Miller's estimates of overall sales based on Diamond Comic Distributors deliveries to comic book stores, so it does not include subscribers. We used only the top 300 for each month so superheroes may have made extra sales that did not chart. It is also worth bearing in mind, that printing plays a role; there are, for example, far more Spider-man comics produced than Buffy the Vampire Slayer comics. The interactive graphic below allows shows how the charting sales have changed from 2002 to 2012. It also allows users to select superheroes who are in the list to see what movies were released and compare those against sales figures. What good movies do to comic book sales The release of big blockbuster movie adaptations appears to have a significant effect on comic book sales. For example the release of the Avengers Assemble movie in 2012 preceded a huge spike in sales of Avengers comic books. In the same year there were over 7m Avengers comics sold, a rise of 3m from 2011, which made it a close second to the X-Men for overall sales. Ryan Jenkyns, a comic book artist who works at London's Orbital Comics, said: "There's a definite correlation in terms of what comics in terms of what selling out of when a film terms out. For example, when Avengers came out recently we sold out of basically anything with Thanos in based on a 30-second clip at the end of the credits . We have an event shelf at the shop. Over the last ten years when a film based on a comic comes out, everyone who has seen it wants to collect merchandise from it. When a Spider-man film comes out we put all our Spider-man comics on that shelf with anything else they put out. We find that we're often having to restock that self. And who is buying these comic books? This data shows individual sales rather than subscriptions, so a large amount of the increase will be from people who are not regularly buying the series beforehand. Ryan has some insight from the UK market: There's a mix actually. There's hardcore fans trying to get into a series they may not have been into before. And there's people who are completely new to comics, who want to see the source material and where that came from. Particularly in 2008 when the Dark Knight came out, we were selling comics featuring the Joker (Batman's antagonist in the movie) everywhere. What bad movies do to comic book sales But the effect seems to be limited. If the movie is bad - and there have been some shocking superhero films - then the hero does not seem to receive much of a boost afterwards, even if a sequel is coming out. The Fantastic Four film received just 40/100 on reviews aggregator Metacritic and the quartet did not receive much of a sales spike following their almost-as-badly-received sequel The Rise of the Silver Surfer . The Hulk, Superman, Wolverine and Spider-man have all suffered from the same fate with their more poorly reviewed movies not really exciting fans to the store after the event. Continuously strongly received sequels such as X2: X-Men United and the Batman series actually correlated with increased sales over time. So Spider-man 3 , which critics were lukewarm towards, may be partially to blame for the webbed wonder's slight downturn in sales. Even Andrew Garfield's new version of the hero, featured in The Amazing Spider-Man last year, was not able to swing to the rescue. Can you do more with this data? • Contact us at • Follow us on Twitter • Like us on Facebook Comics and graphic novels Andrew Garfield Christopher Nolan © 2013 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds

Vice All News Time28 June 2013 18:03:07

George Osborne set to show off his comic timing on banks

16 June 2013 03:31:59 Politics news, UK and world political comment and analysis |

The Mansion House speech is generally full of rib-tickling lines, but can the present incumbent ever beat Gordon Brown's performance? Last year, as George Osborne arrived to deliver his Mansion House speech, he was greeted by a BBC comedy presenter, who handed him a GCSE maths text book. The chancellor might have justifiably retorted with a study guide on delivering gags – but, to be fair to the novice comic, the bar for funnies at this event had already been set unattainably high. No one has ever bettered Gordon Brown's 2007 classic line: "I congratulate you Lord Mayor and the City of London on these remarkable achievements, an era that history will record as the beginning of a new golden age for the City of London." Nor, frankly, should we try. While we can all benefit from studying Brown's comic timing, few can better the current chancellor's feel for political theatre. The departure of Stephen Hester from the Royal Bank of Scotland last week – supposedly at Osborne's urging – has set up this week's Mansion House address just splendidly. Ostensibly, the speech is always about the chancellor's take on the state of the British economy, but this year it will be as closely watched for his views on British banking, as he is thought to want to begin returning taxpayer stakes in RBS (and Lloyds) to the private sector before the election. Now that Hester has gone, some City wags muse, that is one of the biggest jokes of all. Red faces over Project Verde? There may be a limited market in UK high street banking but, when it comes to banking inquiries, supply might even be outstripping demand. This week sees the start of another probe by MPs when Lloyds Banking Group's striking chief executive, António Horta-Osório, and its ever so slightly less comely chairman, Sir Winfried Bischoff, appear in front of the Treasury select committee to explain the farce of Project Verde. You'll recall that little embarrassment involves Lloyds's efforts to offload the 632 branches it's been forced to flog by European competition authorities as the price of its state bailout, but the whole process is taking longer than a PPI claim to the bank's call centre. The Co-operative Bank had been the frontrunner to buy the rump of the black horse but the deal – which would have increased its share of the current account market from 2% to 7% – fell over in March after weeks of speculation about the Co-op's financial position and just before its debt was downgraded to junk and its chief executive quit. The committee wants to know how the deal got so far – not that it has a monopoly on that question. Igor and Bob best buddies again As the then boss of TNK-BP, he was chased out of Russia in 2008 amid speculation that the Kremlin was supporting a campaign of harassment. He returned in 2011 to sign "a groundbreaking strategic global alliance" between BP and Russia's leading oil company, Rosneft, only to get comprehensively bullied out of that one by his old TNK nemeses. So when BP boss Bob Dudley touches down in St Petersburg this week, you'd be forgiven for wondering if he'll have bothered packing his toothbrush. Dudley will be in the old city of revolution to attend Rosneft's annual meeting, as BP now holds a 20% stake in the firm. He is due to be voted on to the Russian group's board, which means he'll be serving as a director alongside one Igor Sechin, Russia's former deputy PM. That would be the same Sechin that WikiLeaks cables suggest Dudley blamed for the campaign that forced him to go on the run for his own protection in 2008. And the same man whom the Russian press calls "Darth Vader" – when they're not dubbing him "the scariest person on Earth". "We are all friends now," insists a BP insider, who says Sechin has even visited its St James's base. Can this spirit of glasnost last? "In Russia allegiances change," BP's man mutters. Banking reform Banking Financial sector George Osborne Simon Goodley © 2013 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds        

Vice Bussines Time16 June 2013 03:31:59

Celebrities as cartoon characters: Pictures of David Beckham, Cheryl Cole, Kim Kardashian and more as comic creations

13 June 2013 03:03:52 mirror - News

Charles and Camilla are the latest additions to a whole gallery of celebrities who have been turned into comic characters...

Vice All News Time13 June 2013 03:03:52

Ben Jennings on lobbying and Doctor Who – cartoon

02 June 2013 23:46:36 Politics news, UK and world political comment and analysis |

As the lobbying scandal claims more victims, Matt Smith has announced his retirement from TV's Doctor Who Ben Jennings        

Vice Politics Time02 June 2013 23:46:36

Alexander Armstrong hits back at 'tribal aversion' to posh comics

14 May 2013 17:50:22 Film |

Armstrong and Miller comic lambasts 'inverse snobbery' while Ricky Gervais teaches guitar – and who's the hottest comedian? This week's comedy news We begin with the Telegraph's tale of Alexander Armstrong and the apparent victimisation of "posh" comics . "Why should your background be held against you?," asks the descendant of William the Conqueror, alumnus of a Durham public school and director of a production company called Toff Media . "It is so short-sighted … This tribal aversion to anyone with a posh voice is very boring." Armstrong – best known as one half of the sketch double-act Armstrong and Miller – even lodges the improbable complaint that his privileged upbringing has been detrimental to his career in British entertainment. In the piece, he blames inverse snobbery for the BBC initially spurning Armstrong and Miller after their big break on the Edinburgh fringe in the mid-1990s. And, he adds, "I'm not anticipating an offer to appear in Shameless ". After reviving his best-loved character for this spring's Comic Relief, Ricky Gervais has now announced a new project for his The Office alter ego, David Brent . The ex- Wernham Hogg manager will appear in a series of YouTube videos dubbed Learn Guitar with David Brent . The videos will feature original Brent compositions, including those – such as Spaceman Came Down – featured in the BBC sitcom. Across the online series, there will be "an album's worth of new songs" broadcast, raising the possibility of an album release in the future. "Working with YouTube," Gervais says, "is a fantastic opportunity for new content to be made available without the limitations of schedules and international restrictions". BBC Films has announced the first movie version of the channel's children's comedy hit Horrible Histories. Entitled Bill, the script by Laurence Rickard and Ben Willbond traces the career of William Shakespeare and promises "murderous kings, spies, lost loves, and a plot to blow up Queen Elizabeth". The TV show's leading cast members will all feature. Also in the news this week, the new Harry Hill feature film , which started shooting last weekend. Matt Lucas and Julie Walters co-star. "Sick hamsters, a fraught road trip, and a King Kong -esque climax atop Blackpool Tower " are promised. Elsewhere, musical comic Rainer Hersch has branded the New Zealand International Comedy festival a "disgrace" after ticketing difficulties and low sales for his run. On TV, a second series – and a transfer to Channel 4 – for sketch duo Cardinal Burns , and a first series for Matt Berry's pilot Toast of London , about an eccentric actor. A former showrunner on The Simpsons , Josh Weinstein is hatching a new animated sitcom for UK audiences – and a debut comedy album is being released featuring material by Andy Kaufman , 29 years after his death. Oh, and the Daily Mail has unearthed the nation's "secret funny-man crushes" – the top three of which include infatuations for Philip Schofield and, er, Boris Johnson … Best of the Guardian and the Observer's comedy coverage · "In leads Jan Francis and Paul Nicholas, it has something age cannot wither: chemistry" – Phelim O'Neill remembers the irresistible 1980s sitcom Just Good Friends . · "I am definitely suited to [ventriloquism]. I took it and ran with it quite hungrily" – The Observer interviews voice-thrower extraordinaire Nina Conti . · A first Edinburgh Fringe run in 15 years for David Baddiel – and a few other big names ( Bo Burnham among them). · "Maybe [the internet has] unlocked a part of people that in the past they were taught to hide" – snark-mining comic Adam Buxton interviewed in the Observer. · "You could quite easily let all 10 hours of it wash over you tomorrow without troubling yourself with a single thought" – Stuart Heritage on the sitcom Everybody Loves Raymond , now to be remade with Lee Mack and

Vice All News Time14 May 2013 17:50:22

Comic character stands for parliament in David Miliband's old seat

21 April 2013 21:20:44 Politics news, UK and world political comment and analysis |

Who is this Lee Nelson who is representing the Well Good Party in South Shields? Age: Unknown. Appearance: Baseball-capped, loudmouthed London geezer. What about him? He is standing for parliament in the upcoming byelection in South Shields, David Miliband's old seat. Labour, Tory or other? Decidedly other. He is representing Lee Nelson's Well Good Party. Ah, a single-issue crank. What are his policies? He wants to scrap the euro, ban traffic wardens and make all education voluntary. Are you sure he's not a Tory? He also wants half the cabinet to consist of people who left school at 16, and promises to decriminalise crime. Is this bloke for real? No. Oh. Isn't he? No, he's a comic "chav" character played by Simon Brodkin, from a series called Lee Nelson's Well Good Show. Never seen it. It ran for two series on BBC3. That would explain it. How was it received? A reviewer for this newspaper described it as "almost the exact scientific opposite of well good". I try to keep up with the latest developments in election reform, but just remind me: is it now possible for fictional characters to run for parliament? Probably not, but Nelson has apparently filed his nomination papers and plans to make a speech on the steps of South Shields town hall. Why would he do that? He's in the middle of a standup tour, and has a new show – Lee Nelson's Well Funny People – running on BBC3. So it's just a publicity stunt? Or possibly part of the show itself. Another character from the series, footballer Jason Bent, was arrested in March for sneaking onto the pitch at Goodison Park to train with Liverpool players before a match. Is it now possible to charge fictional characters with crimes? No, on this occasion it was Brodkin, 36, who received a six-month conditional caution. Tell me something about Brodkin that will make me like him a little bit. He's a qualified doctor who gave up medicine for comedy. Do say: "If it gets young people interested in politics, this stunt's painful unfunniness will have been worth it." Don't say: "First, do no harm." Byelections David Miliband Comedy Television Comedy © 2013 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds        

Vice All News Time21 April 2013 21:20:44