who is the TV comic who groomed Ben Cowburn

Press Report

Catalogue of news sources updated continuously

Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Google+

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

Teenager 'groomed' by famous comedian was haunted by his face on TV, inquest hears

25 March 2014 16:42:18 UK headlines

Ben Cowburn, 18, was haunted by seeing a famous comedian's face on TV and in magazines in the weeks before he took his own life, an inquest has heard        

Vice All News Time25 March 2014 16:42:18

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

Nursery abuser 'groomed parents'

12 March 2014 19:18:43 BBC News - UK

A review into the case of a nursery worker who abused boys calls for more robust procedures to detect offenders who seek to "groom parents".

Vice All News Time12 March 2014 19:18:43

BBC drama boss Ben Stephenson says 'There aren't enough gay characters on TV'

27 February 2014 11:52:24 News | Mail Online

Ben Stephenson, who is himself gay, said that while there is diversity in BBC drama there is still 'a long way to go'.

Vice All News Time27 February 2014 11:52:24

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

Doctor Who change tops TV ratings

26 December 2013 12:01:15 BBC News - UK

The regeneration of Doctor Who on BBC One was the most-watched TV moment on Christmas Day but Mrs Brown's Boys was the most-seen entire programme.

Vice All News Time26 December 2013 12:01:15

AUDIO: 'I'll never get over daughter's grooming'

09 December 2013 23:22:02 BBC News - UK

The father of a girl who was the victim of the grooming gang in Rochdale has said discovering the news was "like being hit with a sledgehammer".

Vice All News Time09 December 2013 23:22:02

Pop star pics used to groom girls

06 December 2013 22:22:30 BBC News - UK

A man who used images of a US pop star to help him groom girls over the internet is jailed.

Vice All News Time06 December 2013 22:22:30

Groom who staged bomb hoax on wedding day jailed

22 October 2013 16:40:13 UK headlines

A panicked groom who staged a bomb hoax on his wedding day so his bride would not find out he bungled the booking has been jailed for 12 months        

Vice All News Time22 October 2013 16:40:13

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

Doctor Who at Comic-Con: 9 things we learned

22 July 2013 15:51:45 Film | theguardian.com

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 guardian.co.uk © 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

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 | theguardian.com

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 guardian.co.uk © 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

Mother who groomed dog in park given £50 littering fine

19 July 2013 11:51:20 UK headlines

A mother who brushed her dogs' hair in a park was fined £50 for littering and told she should only groom her dog at home.        

Vice All News Time19 July 2013 11:51:20

Mother who groomed dog in park given £50 littering fine

19 July 2013 11:46:03 Politics News - UK Politics

A mother who brushed her dogs' hair in a park was fined £50 for littering and told she should only groom her dog at home.        

Vice Politics Time19 July 2013 11:46:03

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

18 July 2013 04:10:24 Film | theguardian.com

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 guardian.co.uk © 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

Ben Jennings on lobbying and Doctor Who – cartoon

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

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

AUDIO: Grooming victim: It started with cannabis

15 May 2013 11:40:04 BBC News - UK

The BBC's Alison Holt heard from one of the victims of sexual grooming who became known as Girl three during a trial where seven men were found guilty yesterday of charges including rape, arranging child prostitution and trafficking.

Vice All News Time15 May 2013 11:40:04

Oxford grooming gang: the missed opportunities

14 May 2013 19:48:06 UK headlines

Police officers repeatedly failed to save children from a gang of men who groomed and gang raped them in acts of "extreme depravity."        

Vice All News Time14 May 2013 19:48:06

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

14 May 2013 17:50:22 Film | theguardian.com

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

Twitter launches 140-character festival as Ofcom probes Comic Relief sketch

23 April 2013 22:04:51 Film | theguardian.com

Big names will take part in venture with Comedy Central, BBC sketch had over 2,000 complaints, plus Ian McKellen's sitcom This week's comedy news Can't get to Edinburgh? Kilkenny just that bit too far away? Never fear. The cable channel Comedy Central is teaming up with Twitter to launch the first 140-character comedy festival . The festival will commence on 29 April and run for five days, featuring a host of comedy names tweeting jokes and posting six second videos using Twitter's new video app Vine . Next Monday, Twitter will stream the only live #ComedyFest event, a panel discussion featuring Mel Brooks and Judd Apatow. The New York Times has more on the story , including the lowdown on a new app Comedy Central is developing to help users discover their favourite new comedians. Back in the world of real festivals, veteran Anglo-American standup Rich Hall has won the Barry award at the Melbourne comedy festival, as reported by the Guardian's Matt Trueman. Lee Nelson, geezer alter ego of comic Simon Brodkin, announced his candidacy for the vacant parliamentary seat of South Shields, then hours later – having satisfied his hunger for publicity – withdrew . Police are asking for assistance in tracing a fraudster who has repeatedly posed as comedian Peter Kay's brother . Peter Stead's most recent scam involved taking money for non-existent charity gigs. And the character comic Marcel Lucont (real name Alexis Dubus), is auctioning tickets to his 2013 Edinburgh fringe show, Chortle reports . Lucky winners will be invited to select the time and venue of his performance, and choose from a menu of available material. In the bigger league, this week brings news that Israeli PM Binyamin Netanyahu has become a funnyman, with a comical turn on the country's leading satirical TV show. Ali G, aka Sacha Baron Cohen, has been named for the first time on the Sunday Times' soul-sapping Rich List. The Borat star is, it says , "worth" £68m. And sozzled Irish standup Dylan Moran has announced his first north American tour . Finally, in telly matters, the Comic Relief sketch featuring Rowan Atkinson as the Archbishop of Canterbury is to be investigated by the regulator Ofcom, after the BBC received more than 2,000 complaints. Sitcom fans can celebrate the good news that sketch troupe Pappy's are edging ever closer to our screens – and, perhaps, the nation's hearts – as per a Metro report on the upcoming Badults , while Carla (Bread) Lane is threatening to write her first new sitcom for 17 years . Ian McKellen has been discussing his new comedy show about an ageing gay couple (co-starring Derek Jacobi). Vicious, says McKellen, will be "fairly traditional [like] The Golden Girls or I Love Lucy … In the past, gay characters in sitcoms have been figures of fun. They were funny because they were gay. But I like the fact that these characters are funny because of the people they are. That's a real advance." Oh, and the US sitcom Friends isn't – you hear me, isn't – coming back... Best of the Guardian's comedy coverage • "This cinema hasn't had the biggest take-up audience-wise." – Can standup work in cinemas? I check out the movie Comedy Store: Raw and Uncut . • "To be a comedian in the US without a podcast is increasingly to be an oddity" – Diane Shipley on Marc Maron and the boom in (particularly American) comedy podcasts . • "I want to make it quite clear to you both I refuse to have a bomb in my trousers" – from the archive, Jimmy Perry remembers Dad's Army star Arthur Lowe . • "I feel there's an obligation to make [comedy] that bit more interesting …" Bill Bailey interviewed by Simon Hattenstone in Weekend magazine. • It's been asked before and it'll be asked again: have panel shows had their day? Rhik Samadder reviews the genre , and it's most prominent examples. Controversy of the week The big news story of last week was the Boston bombings – and where news goes, comedy is sure to stampede after. Or beforehand, in the case of US animated sitcom Family Guy, which found itself accused of plotting the bombings . Clips of a recent episode of the show, Turban Cowboy, were edited together and posted online to depict parallels with the Boston marathon attack. The Fox network subsequently pulled the episode from its website, and the show's creator Seth MacFarlane tweeted a statement : "The edited Family Guy clip currently circulating is abhorrent. The event was a crime and a tragedy, and my thoughts are with the victims." No space left on the moral high ground for standup Paul Mooney, who was

Vice All News Time23 April 2013 22:04:51

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 | theguardian.com

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 guardian.co.uk © 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