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When Gareth Malone created his Military Wives choir, the effects were to prove far more enduring and profound than the resulting flurry of fame.

The ensemble was formed in 2011 as part of BBC Two’s The Choir series, led by Malone.

The documentary followed their transformation from an anonymous group of military wives into harmonious chart-toppers performing for the Queen.

As well as showing the therapeutic value of communal singing, Malone’s efforts gave an insight into the life of the military wife – not least, the months of loneliness and the need to keep “a stiff upper lip”, despite being wracked with worry when their partners were away.

These are women who are hardly seen, let alone heard, but Malone gave them a public face – and voice.

Malone’s choir of wives from the Chivenor military base in Devon – joined later by those at Plymouth – was not, in fact, the first. That credit goes to the women of Catterick Garrison in North Yorkshire, who were established under their own steam. They sparked an idea in Malone which grew into the TV documentary.

Now, there are 75 choirs, comprising 2,300 women, dotted around the world, supported by the Military Wives Choirs charity, of which most are a part.

The story of these stoic women has now also inspired a movie directed by The Full Monty’s Peter Cattaneo, starring Catastrophe’s Sharon Horgan and film and theatre star Dame Kristen Scott Thomas.

The film is loosely inspired by the Catterick story with elements of Malone’s original choir thrown in.

And Malone, though not heavily involved in the production, did act as story consultant.

Image copyright Lionsgate
Image caption Director Peter Cattaneo is best known for The Full Monty

Cattaneo says he wanted to “explore a way of life that has rarely been seen on the big screen, as well as make a film with music and singing at its core”.

“As I started meeting real military wives, rich themes soon showed themselves: a fragmented group of people finding unity and camaraderie through song: women who are expected to ‘keep quiet and carry on’ finding their voices,” he adds.

Horgan plays Lisa, the ballsy, somewhat jaded, mother of a rebellious teenage daughter.

Image copyright Lionsgate
Image caption Practising hopefully makes perfect

When the Catastrophe actress first read the script, she cried.

“It moved me but it also makes you feel good,” she says of the movie that features 80s pop tracks from the likes of Tears For Fears, Cyndi Lauper, Yazoo and Human League.

“It’s great to watch these women come together and see a good thing happen despite the really difficult situation they’re in,” Horgan says.

“And a film that has a female cast that isn’t about love or broken hearts but something bigger felt very of the now. Women coming together to help each other is kind of what we have to do at the moment because if we’re not careful, no-one else will.”

There’s also a social message about the value of community that can be extrapolated from the women’s group activity, says Horgan.

“Everyone’s becoming introverted in the way they are living. Life’s very hard and we all have a lot to deal with but if you look a little further beyond, it can become a really positive thing.”

Image copyright Lionsgate
Image caption Kate (Kristen Scott Thomas) and Lisa (Sharon Horgan) have to learn to work in harmony

Horgan’s character Lisa and Scott Thomas’s Kate have very different approaches to what constitutes morale-boosting activities for the women.

Lisa is the “let’s get smashed and eat junk food” type – “not far off what I normally play”, says Horgan.

Colonel’s wife Kate’s thoughts turn more to organised and challenging pursuits. And though she herself seems so controlled, in private Kate has acquired a compulsive shopping channel habit, as a means of tranquilising the grief over her dead son.

When a choir is finally suggested, they slowly develop an uneasy partnership as the idea grows, with a glorious outcome none of the women predicted.

Image copyright Lionsgate
Image caption Jason Flemyng is one of a just a handful of men in the movie

During the course of filming, fiction met reality for the cast and crew.

They created many of the scenes at real garrisons, including Catterick, and spent time with the wives – some of whom were used as background characters.

“It was incredibly eye-opening,” says Horgan. “We were hanging out in their houses, with these mothers and wives and seeing this completely different perspective.

“But they weren’t moaning about it. They were optimistic, just ‘get it done’ kind of people.”

As for the singing, she says the actors adopted the same “organic” approach as the real military wives.

“The director didn’t want it to sound slick – although, there was no fear of that – but for it to come together over time. There was no practising or stress, just, ‘Let’s see what happens’.”

Image copyright Lionsgate
Image caption Kate (Kristen Scott Thomas) has to keep a calm exterior as the wife of a colonel, played by Greg Wise

Critics gave their verdict following the movie’s premiere at the Toronto Film Festival.

“Think Calendar Girls with less nudity and more harmonising… Military Wives is a film that’s hard to entirely resist, like a song that you’ll hum along to even if you forget the tune straight after,” said The Guardian.

Indiewire added it made “the base feel like a purgatory without things getting too unpleasant”.

“What joy there is to be found in Military Wives comes less from self-discovery than friendship, as these women learn how much stronger they are together.”

But behind this piece of celluloid are real women. They, more than anyone, are entitled to a point of view.

For Sharon (surname withheld) from Chivenor, who was in Malone’s choir, the movie churned up challenging feelings.

“It took me back there and that knot in your stomach, watching your husband go away, even when there isn’t conflict, it’s tough. You just have to function, get on and deal with it,” she says.

Image copyright Lionsgate
Image caption Excitement over an invitation to perform for the Queen

But she also remembers how the choir “brought me friendship and a bond with people like me”.

“When they came to film they said ‘just enjoy the ride, don’t ask too many questions’. But I still find what went on to happen rather surreal. We had the responsibility of representing all military wives. But joining the choir has been the best thing I ever did.”

Jo from the Catterick military wives choir, known as the Wags (Wives, Affiliates, Girlfriends and Servicewomen), is “very, very proud” of the group’s legacy.

“It’s such a simple idea and yet it gives so much support in the week – to just drop everything and come and sing,” she says.

“Sometimes people slip through the net and sort of fall if there’s nobody there for them.

“But when we find a new lady, we say, ‘just come along and enjoy yourself’. They may think they can’t but then find the opposite.”

As for Horgan, she concludes that, having being given a window into the women’s lives, has “made me appreciate what I have”.

“It makes you think: there are people out there who are not given a moment’s thought or consideration, who really have it tough. I genuinely left feeling grateful for my life.”

Military Wives is released in UK cinemas on 6 March.

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It’s one of the biggest parties after one of the biggest award shows in music.

The Brits Awards after-party hosted by record label Universal has, unsurprisingly, hosted some major names – from Taylor Swift and Ellie Goulding to Katy Perry and Lewis Capaldi.

This year the likes of Billie Eilish, Sam Fender and Celeste will be in attendance.

But how do you plan a memorable party for celebrities who are regular partygoers?

Claire Haffenden and Ashton Attzs – the brains behind this year’s Universal party – are the people who know, and Radio 1 Newsbeat has been chatting to them.

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Image caption Billie Eilish will be one of the biggest names to attend this year’s after-party

Like any party worth attending, you can imagine there are some basics – a venue to start with, as well as food, drink and music.

“And a fantastic guest list,” says Claire, the director of artist relations and events at Universal Music UK. “It’s not complicated!”

But with so many stellar stars attending, surely there has to be something special?

Claire’s party trick is visual artist Ashton Attzs, whose artwork has inspired this year’s entire party.

From the lighting to handwritten invites, table cards and even the car park passes, Claire says everything goes through Ashton’s artwork.

Image copyright Carsten Windhorst
Image caption Ashton says there are “always conversations to see how we can engage people”

“We’ve tried to create an invite which has a real sense of excitement from the moment you open it. There’s a limited edition special postcard inside which is a lovely keepsake too,” says Claire.

With the likes of Billie Eilish taking home these special prints, it’s a proud moment for Ashton, who’s non-binary and uses the pronouns them/they.

“That’s mad – crazy – and I’m honestly over the moon. I have to pinch myself every day,” they say.

‘Immerse yourself’

Ashton says they designed two pieces, called turnheads and turntables, as part of a celebration of uniqueness.

“I take iconic symbols linked to Universal, like the vinyl, and I celebrate individual artists’ diversity. But ultimately, it’s just a celebration of music and the individual.”

They say colour is the “driving force” behind their work.

“I like to pick out colours that are strong and dynamic and make people feel joyful.”

Image copyright Claire Haffenden
Image caption Claire has been in her role at Universal UK since 2008

The setpiece this year will be an immersive photographic room – where you can be in the artwork.

“You literally immerse yourself in the arts and you’re one of the characters. So it creates magic moments of people having great fun and celebrating,” says Claire.

And whilst you might expect A-List parties to have VIP areas – this one won’t.

Claire says instead of people wondering “what’s behind there?”, everyone is together and “having a ball – which is why they’re able to let their hair down”.

“We want a friends and family celebration, and if you can stay true to that, the magic will happen with the people and the music.”

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption “We’ve had moments when artists DJ and it erupts”

In a place full of the best musicians, getting the music right is obviously pretty important.

“It’s the music and people that make a great party. We’ve got great DJs that we work with and the artists.”

Claire’s favourite moment from past parties is when artists take control of the music.

“One year we had Ellie Goulding and Katy Perry DJ, and the room erupted.

“And I think that’s what makes it unique – it’s a celebration.”

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Media captionPresenter Laura Whitmore pays tribute to friend Caroline Flack.

Presenter Laura Whitmore has paid tribute to her “vivacious” and “loving” friend Caroline Flack, who was found dead in her London flat on Saturday.

Fighting back tears on her BBC Radio 5 Live show, she said the former Love Island host “loved to love”.

She also appealed to listeners to “be kind” to others and said she wanted to use her platform to “call people out”.

“To paparazzi and tabloids looking for a cheap sell, to trolls hiding behind a keyboard – enough,” she said.

A lawyer for Flack’s family said on Saturday that she had taken her own life.

The 40-year-old had been “under huge pressure” since she was accused of assaulting her boyfriend Lewis Burton in December, her management company said.

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If you or someone you know needs support for issues about emotional distress, these organisations may be able to help.

Burton, who did not support the ongoing case against Flack, wrote an emotional tribute to the presenter on Instagram on Sunday, promising the star he would “be your voice baby”, and that he would “try [to] make you proud everyday”.

“I am so lost for words I am in so much pain I miss you so much I know you felt safe with me you always said I don’t think about anything else when I am with you and I was not allowed to be there this time I kept asking and asking,” the 27-year-old tennis player wrote.

He concluded: “I love you with all my heart.”

Bail conditions had stopped Flack having any contact with Burton ahead of her trial next month.

ITV cancelled the scheduled broadcasts of Love Island on Saturday and Sunday but said that the show would return on Monday night with a tribute to its former presenter “who will be forever in our hearts”.

Whitmore, who took over presenting Love Island following Flack’s arrest, said her friend “loved to laugh” and had the “most infectious chuckle”.

“I’m not going to pretend she was perfect, but is anyone? She lived every mistake publicly, under the scrutiny of the media.

“Caroline loved to love. That’s all she wanted. Which is why a show like Love Island was important to her, because the show is about finding love, friendship, having a laugh. The problem wasn’t the show. The show… is loving and caring and safe and protected.

“The problem is, the outside world is not. Anyone who has ever compared one woman against another on Twitter, knocked someone because of their appearance, invaded someone else’s privacy, who have made mean, unnecessary comments on an online forum – they need to look at themselves,” she said.

Whitmore said she had been debating whether she “should, would or could come on air today” but she wanted to talk about her friend “to give her the respect she deserves”.

She said she had also been harassed for “just doing her job” and “words affect people”.

“So to listeners – be kind. Only you are responsible for how you treat others and what you put out in the world,” she said.

She then played Angels by Robbie Williams, saying her friend, who she met at V-festival about 10 years ago, loved music and loved to dance, and the song always reminded her of Flack because she “danced so beautifully to it on Strictly”.

Image caption Caroline Flack danced to Angels with her partner, Pasha Kovalev, on Strictly Come Dancing, which she won in 2014

“Caroline, I’m so sad for you, for your family. I’m angry that you saw this as your only option as I know how much love and support you had. I’m sorry you didn’t know that,” she said just before she played the song.

“I am not sure when, but I know I’ll see you on the dance floor again and I hope you are at peace and know that you are loved.”

Flack had co-hosted The X Factor and won Strictly Come Dancing in 2014, as well as presenting ITV’s Love Island.

Following her death, an ITV spokeswoman said she was a “much-loved member of the Love Island team”. The show did not air on Saturday night.

The presenter stood down from the dating show after she was charged with assault in December. She denied the charges.

‘Finger of blame’

Her management company has criticised the Crown Prosecution Service for refusing to drop charges, even though Burton said he did not want the case to go ahead.

The CPS said it would not comment on the specifics of the case “given the tragic circumstances”.

Former chief prosecutor Nazir Afzal said his impression was that the case had been determined to be a serious case, and one which the CPS felt they should proceed with “regardless of what the victim thought”.

Responding to reports that the ambulance service was called to the star’s address the day before she was found dead, a London Ambulance spokesperson said: “We were called shortly after 22:30 on 14 February to a residential property in north London.

“Crews attended and, following a clinical assessment, the person was not taken to hospital. Due to patient confidentiality we cannot comment further.”

Image copyright PA Media
Image caption Caroline Flack arriving for X Factor auditions with judges and co-host Olly Murs in 2015

A petition on the online site 38 Degrees, dubbed “Caroline’s Law”, which calls for new laws around media regulation in the wake of the presenter’s death, has attracted more than 110,000 signatures.

Honey Lancaster-James, a TV psychologist who worked with celebrity contestants on an early series of Love Island, said it was important not to “point the finger of blame”.

“There are often a number of factors, and a number of things that have led to a deterioration in mental health,” she said.

Other celebrities and ex-Love Island stars have also paid tribute to Flack, describing her death as “heartbreaking”.

Her co-presenter on The X Factor and The Xtra Factor, Olly Murs, said he “always knew how fragile” she was and his heart was “forever broken” because she was “like a sister” and they were “friends for life”.

“This will hurt forever, love you cazza, Your Ols,” he said.

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Image copyright Bob King Creative
Image caption Olly Dobson plays Marty McFly and Roger Bart is the Doc in Back To The Future: The Musical

More people want a new Back to the Future film than want a new instalment in any other franchise. But one of its creators says doing another movie would be like “selling your kids into prostitution” – so it’s been rebooted as a stage musical instead.

Walking though the Manchester Opera House foyer a week before the first performance of Back to the Future: The Musical means picking your way through piles of props and kit that are waiting to be slotted into place before opening night.

A skateboard and some of the Doc’s scientific equipment are lying around, and a crew member walks past carrying what look like dancers’ 1950s dresses. The components of the Doc’s nuclear-powered flux capacitor are probably spread around somewhere.

A DeLorean car is on stage, swimming in coloured lights and dry ice.

“Avert your eyes,” says the theatre manager, half joking, as she escorts me to a backstage room to interview the team behind the show.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Michael J Fox starred in the original film trilogy

In the room, distant strains of the films’ familiar score leak through the door, as do futuristic whooshing sound effects. “That’s the DeLorean flying out right now,” composer Alan Silvestri notes.

Thursday’s first performance will mark the end of a 12-year journey to bring one of the best-loved films to the stage. Another journey will start – the show is set to go to the West End after Manchester, and then perhaps Broadway.

It is an adaptation of the original 1985 Back to the Future movie, which starred Michael J Fox as Marty McFly, who finds himself stuck in 1955 and tries to make sure his own parents hook up.

New songs

“It’s the same story of the movie,” says Bob Gale, who has scripted the stage show and co-wrote the movies. “But there are things that you can do and can’t do on stage that differ from cinema.”

So in the show, Marty plays more music, and new songs take us deeper into the characters’ emotions and back stories. But some of the action (like the skateboard chase and the gun-toting Libyan terrorists) has been changed. And, sadly, there’s no Einstein the dog.

Image copyright Phil Treagus
Image caption Christopher Lloyd (left) has handed over the keys to the DeLorean to Roger Bart

But they could not possibly stage a Back to the Future show without recreating perhaps the most technically challenging bit of the story – the DeLorean’s high-speed time travel.

“Eighty-eight miles an hour, clock tower, lightning – oh, yeah. One point 21 gigawatts. All that is intact. Absolutely,” Gale says.

“How do we do it? I’m not gonna tell you that! Good magicians never reveal their tricks.”

In a survey by The Hollywood Reporter in November 2018, more people said they would watch a new Back to the Future film than a new instalment from Harry Potter, Star Wars, Toy Story or any other major franchise.

“Lots of people were clamouring, ‘Why don’t you guys do Back to the Future part 4? Why don’t you do a reboot of Back to the Future?'” Gale says.

‘The wrong thing to do’

But he and Robert Zemeckis, director and co-writer of the three films, had it written into their contracts with Universal that no new film could be made without their say so. Studio bosses have tried their best to persuade them.

“All the time. All the time,” Gale says. “‘What can we do to convince you guys to do this?’

“We said, ‘Nothing’. ‘You’ll make a lot of money.’ ‘We already made a lot of money.’

“You know, you don’t sell your kids into prostitution. It was the wrong thing to do. We put ‘The End’ at the end of part three.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Michael J Fox appeared at a Parkinson’s disease benefit event in November

“Plus Michael J Fox isn’t in the shape to do a movie, and nobody wants to see Marty McFly having Parkinson’s disease, and nobody wants to see another actor playing Marty McFly if it’s supposed to be a continuation.

“We’ve already seen the Star Wars movies and Luke Skywalker is an old man.” He grimaces. “That can be a little bit painful, right?

“We learn from the fact that so many studios have gone back to the well on some of their franchise properties too many times, and the audiences are disappointed and say, ‘Oh my God, they ruined my childhood.’

“We don’t want to ruin anybody’s childhood, and doing a musical was the perfect way to give the public more Back to the Future without messing up what has gone before.”

Image copyright Getty Images

In the stage show, British actor Olly Dobson is Marty McFly, while Tony Award-winning US star Roger Bart is Doc Brown, complete with the ‘mad scientist’ hair that Christopher Lloyd sported in the films.

The iconic songs from the original films – like The Power of Love by Huey Lewis and the News and Chuck Berry’s Johnny B Goode – remain. They are joined by a suite of new numbers written by Silvestri, who composed the film scores, and the multi-Grammy-winning Glen Ballard.

Gale and Zemeckis enlisted the pair to work on the music 12 years ago. “We took this iconic movie and really tried to find the elements of the story that made sense on stage,” Ballard says.

“We were taking the Hippocratic Oath approach – first, do no harm, especially to these characters and story that everybody knows and loves.”

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Alan Silvestri, who composed the score for the films, has worked on the musical

Silvestri believes the music draws us further into what is a “deeply emotional” story, and the lives of characters the audience can relate to.

“There’s the quintessential bullied kid who is transformed. The bully is transformed. Marty is a great adventurer, it turns out. There’s great love and friendship between Doc and Marty,” he says.

“It helps because they’re so clearly painted in the original film that you can go for big emotion and you can go right for the inner life of these characters.”

While the musical’s team are not “slavishly” recreating the film, Bob Gale hopes there is enough to make it work on stage and satisfy fans’ hunger for something new from Hill Valley.

“There are lots of things that are very much the same. But there are things that are different,” he says.

“And we hope we’ve hit the right mix of that so that people will say, ‘I came here to see Back to the Future, and I saw Back to the Future.'”

Back To The Future: The Musical is at Manchester Opera House from 20 February-17 May.

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Image caption The musician found fame as an acid house DJ and forged a stellar career as a producer

Andrew Weatherall, one of the UK’s most respected DJs and record producers, has died aged 56.

The musician, who was born in Windsor, rose to fame during the acid house era, and worked with the likes of New Order and Happy Mondays.

His production and remix work on Primal Scream’s Screamadelica turned it into an era-defining album, and earned the band the first Mercury Prize in 1992.

Weatherall died in hospital on Monday morning, his spokesman confirmed.

The cause of death was a pulmonary embolism.

“He was being treated in hospital but unfortunately the blood clot reached his heart. His death was swift and peaceful,” said a statement.

“His family and friends are profoundly saddened by his death and are taking time to gather their thoughts.”

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Media captionBBC 6 Music’s Matt Everitt reads tributes to Andrew Weatherall and celebrates the life of a music icon

The musician started his career singing with post-punk bands at his local arts centre – but found his feet as a DJ in the late 1980s.

“I saved up all my money and went to London at the weekend to buy records,” he told the BBC in 2014. “I just got a really good record collection together to the point where people started to say ‘Why don’t you play this at our party?’, ‘Why don’t you play this at our club?'”

When the acid house scene started to develop around the Roundshaw Estate in Sutton, he discovered that club nights were playing a lot of the music he already owned.

“I knew I had records as good as that, or even better, that they might not know,” he later explained, adding: “I was kind of in the right place at the right time”.

As the scene exploded, Weatherall was invited to play at the London nightclub Shoom by DJ Danny Rampling, and helped document rave culture with the fanzine Boys Own – a name he later gave to his own record label.

His DJ career led to Weatherall remixing New Order’s Worlds in Motion and, along with Paul Oakenfold, the Happy Mondays’ Hallelujah.

As a result, he was sought out by Primal Scream, who asked him to remix their single I’m Losing More Than I’ll Ever Have for the meagre sum of £500.

After an initial attempt on which he “basically slung a kick drum under the original“, Weatherall decided to try a much more radical approach.

The result was Loaded, which retained about seven seconds of Primal Scream’s song – the bass line and a slide guitar.

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Media captionGraeme Park pays tribute to DJ and producer Andrew Wetherall who has died aged 56.

Weatherall added vocal samples from the US soul group The Emotions, a drum loop from an Italian bootleg of Edie Brickell’s song What I Am, alongside snatches of other Primal Scream songs, and frontman Bobby Gillespie singing a line from Robert Johnson’s Terraplane Blues.

Gillespie saw Loaded as being part of the Jamaican tradition of dub records, where songs are deconstructed at the mixing desk, adding new elements and desecrating existing ones.

It propelled the rock band onto the dance floor, and kick-started their career.

“I think it’s time to stop saying ‘this is a dance record’ and ‘this is a rock record,'” said Gillespie at the time. “If you can play music, you can do whatever you want. Just use your imagination.”

The success of Loaded led to Weatherall being recruited for the whole of Screamadelica, establishing him as one of the UK’s most in-demand producers.

While remixing acts like St Etienne, Beth Orton and My Bloody Valentine, he also held down a DJ slot on London’s Kiss FM and ran two club nights in London.

Image copyright Getty Images

However, he never became a household name like his contemporaries Paul Oakenfold and Fatboy Slim – a career move that was entirely deliberate.

“That sort of carry-on was never for me,” he told the Independent in 2016. “It’s a lot of work, once you go up that slippery showbiz pole, and it would keep me away from what I like, which is making things.”

Instead, he carved out a career on the cutting edge of techno, with projects including Sabres of Paradise and Two Lone Swordsmen.

‘Titan of music’

In 2017, he explained the lure of the dancefloor in an interview with Uncut magazine.

“It’s the enduring appeal of transcendent experience, which has been with us for 200,000 years. A room, coloured lights, smoke and music? Over to you, Roman Catholics. There are ancient Greek rituals involving herbal drugs to achieve transcendence.

“People were having transcendent experiences in 1940s dancehalls, dancing to a big band; now we do it with drum machines and electronic technology – it’s the same concept. Humanity hasn’t changed for 100,000 years, but our technology has.”

Musicians paying tribute to Weatherall included Ride guitarist and former Oasis bassist Andy Bell, who described him as “absolute titan of music”.

BBC 6 Music DJ Gilles Peterson said it was “hard to put into words” the “influence and impact he has had has had on UK culture.”

Hacienda DJ and author Dave Haslam tweeted he was “one of the greatest, sweetest, funniest guys I’ve ever met”.

And Tim Burgess from The Charlatans wrote he was “shocked and saddened to hear that cosmic traveller Andrew Weatherall has left the building”.

Trainspotting author Irvine Welsh, who was once described as the “poet laureate of the chemical generation”, said he was “absolutely distraught” by the news.

“Andrew was a longtime friend, collaborator and one of most talented persons I’ve known. Also one of the nicest. Genius is an overworked term but I’m struggling to think of anything else that defines him.”

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Lewis Capaldi and Dave are leading the nominations at this year’s Brit Awards, which will see Jack Whitehall once again host the ceremony.

The number of awards has been cut, as organisers promise more music and fewer acceptance speeches.

Tuesday night will mark the 40th Brit Awards ceremony in total – the first ceremony actually took place in 1977, but it didn’t become an annual event until 1982.

The Brits have provided many memorable moments over the decades. Here are 10 moments that will be kept for the archives.

1. Madonna’s unscheduled trip down the stairs

Image copyright Getty Images

Madonna had the wardrobe malfunction to end all wardrobe malfunctions when she closed the 2015 Brit Awards with a lavish performance of her new single, Living For Love.

The star’s long, flowing cape did not detach as rehearsed earlier in the day. As a result, the dancer who was supposed to sweep the gown away actually swept Madonna off her feet and down a flight of stairs with a sickening thud.

Madonna proved her professional status by picking herself back up and carrying on as if nothing had happened.

“I had little bit of whiplash, I smacked the back of my head,” she later recalled on The Jonathan Ross Show. “And I had a man standing over me with a flashlight until about 3am to make sure I was compos mentis.”

2. Freddie Mercury’s last public appearance

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Queen accepting their award in 1990

Queen frontman Freddie Mercury made his final public appearance while collecting an outstanding contribution award at the 11th Brit Awards in 1990.

Fans were used to seeing the dynamic singer dominate the stage but, on the night, guitarist Brian May spoke on behalf of the group. A gaunt-looking Mercury ended the speech with a simple, “Thank you, goodnight”.

It wasn’t public knowledge at the time that the star had been diagnosed with Aids three years earlier. Even the band weren’t informed at first.

“We actually didn’t know what was wrong for a very long time,” guitarist Brian May later recalled. “We never talked about it and it was sort of unwritten law that we didn’t. He just told us that he wasn’t up to doing tours, and that’s as far as it went.”

Mercury died in 1991, a day after making his diagnosis public.

3. “Theresa May, where’s the money for Grenfell?”

Image copyright Getty Images

Stormzy closed the 2018 ceremony with a rebuke to then-prime minister Theresa May for her handling of the Grenfell Tower Fire.

In a furious rap, he demanded: “Theresa May, where’s the money for Grenfell?”

He then accused the government of hoping the public would forget about the disaster, adding: “You’re criminals, and you got the cheek to call us savages. You should do some jail time, you should pay some damages. We should burn your house down and see if you can manage this.”

At the time, the government said it had pledged £58.9m for Grenfell, of which £30m had been spent.

A year after the tragedy, Theresa May wrote in the Evening Standard that “the initial response was not good enough”.

4. Lord Prescott gets soaked

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption John Prescott and his wife shortly after getting soaked, 1998

Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott was happily watching Fleetwood Mac play Go Your Own Way at the 1998 Brits when Danbert Nobacon, from the anarchist pop band Chumbawamba, leapt onto his table and emptied a bucket of iced water over him and his wife.

“That’s for the Liverpool dockers!” he screamed, in reference to New Labour’s inaction over a two-year labour strike in Merseyside.

Chumbawamba had previously opened the ceremony by performing their hit single Tubthumping, changing a section of the lyrics to: “New Labour sold out the dockers just like they sold out the rest of us”.

Prescott called the incident an “utterly contemptible” and “cowardly” publicity stunt; and Nobacon was handed to police by his fellow band-member, Alice Nutter. He was later released after the Welsh politician declined to make a formal complaint.

Fourteen years later, Prescott got his revenge on Twitter, following the news that Chumbawamba had split up.

5. Adele publicly supports Kesha

Image copyright Getty Images

Adele has a lot of history with the Brits.

She brought the ceremony to a standstill with her performance of Someone Like You in 2011, and was memorably cut off during an acceptance speech to make way for Blur the following year.

But a moment you may have forgotten about came in 2016, when the Tottenham-born musician lent her voice to the #FreeKesha movement during her acceptance speech.

Picking up the award for best female, Adele announced: “I’d like to thank my label for embracing the fact that I’m a woman and being encouraged by it. And I’d also like to take this moment to publicly support Kesha.”

At the time, the Kesha was embroiled in a legal battle with her producer, Dr Luke, who she’d accused of mentally and sexually abusing her.

He denied the “false and shocking accusations” and counter-sued for defamation and breach of contract. The case is still rumbling on.

Kesha’s case preceded the #MeToo movement – but the music industry is still struggling to address issues of sexual harassment and gender equality.

This year’s Brits have been criticised for a lack of female nominees, with no women being shortlisted for the night’s main prize, album of the year.

6. Jarvis Cocker vs Michael Jackson

Image copyright PA Media
Image caption Michael Jackson performing Earth Song on stage at the 1996 Brit Awards

This is the one everyone remembers, even though it was edited out of the TV show.

In 1996, Michael Jackson dropped into the Brits for an understated, low-key performance of his quietly contemplative single Earth Song.

Oh, alright then, it was totally nuts. Jackson portrayed himself as a Christ-like figure, offering succour to the pleading children and adults that surrounded him as he howled a bombastic, seven-minute song about environmental disaster.

When the star stepped onto a crane and soared above the audience, Pulp’s Jarvis Cocker had had enough. He walked on stage, looked around in disdain, then turned his back on the audience and wiggled his bum.

Asked to explain the incident later that week, the singer responded: “I was just sitting there and watching it and feeling a bit ill, because he’s there doing his Jesus act.

“I just thought: ‘The stage is there, I’m here and you can actually just do something about it and say this is a load of rubbish if you wanted’.”

Jackson issued a statement saying he was “sickened, saddened, shocked,” and, just in case you hadn’t got the point, “upset and angry”.

But other audience members took Cocker’s side. When the musician was taken to a nearby police station for allegedly punching and knocking over three of the children on-stage with him, comedian Bob Mortimer, a former solicitor, offered to represent him. Men Behaving Badly’s Martin Clunes and Neil Morrissey staged a “Free Jarvis” campaign outside.

The next day, musician Brian Eno said the stage protest was completely justified.

“I think he did it because the show was so awful,” he told BBC News. “The whole sentiment of the show was so self-inflating.”

7. Bjork gets fruity

Image copyright Getty Images

Bjork has won the best international female category more often than any other artist, taking the title four times over the last 26 years.

She’s never been completely comfortable with the accolade, though. In 1996, as Goldie presented her with the trophy, she bashfully buried herself in his jacket before muttering a simple “thank you”.

Two years later, she came prepared with a speech. “I am,” she said solemnly, “a grateful grapefruit”.

8. Jack Whitehall vs Piers Morgan

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Jack Whitehall is returning to present this year’s Brit Awards

Jack Whitehall took over as Brits host in three years ago, and instantly made the role his own with a series of savage one-liners.

“If you like Adele songs but find them too upbeat you’re in for a treat,” he announced in 2018. “Sam Smith is performing.”

A year later, referencing Westlife’s comeback, he joked: “Suddenly a hard border with Ireland doesn’t sound so bad”.

But he drew the most attention by taunting Good Morning Britain presenter, Piers Morgan, over his clash with girl group Little Mix.

“Piers Morgan didn’t like that picture where you stripped off naked,” he informed the band. “Which is weird because, you know, voluptuous breasts and four chins – it must be like looking in the mirror for him.”

Whitehall and Morgan sparred about the joke later; but eventually buried the hatchet when Whitehall appeared on Good Morning Britain.

9. Valerie-dictorian

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Amy Winehouse alongside Mark Ronson performing Valerie, 2008

In late 2007 and early 2008, Amy Winehouse’s personal life was threatening to overshadow her musical talent.

With her husband in prison, the star’s concerts became increasingly shambolic. She appeared drunk or exhausted or both, slurring her words and bursting into tears between songs.

Then, in January, video footage emerged that allegedly showed the star smoking crack cocaine. She was quickly admitted to rehab; and all future performances were scrapped.

A month later, on the night of the Brit Awards, her appearance was still listed on the running order as “TBA”.

But when she joined Mark Ronson on stage for a celebratory version of Valerie, it felt like the old Amy was back. Dressed in a tartan bodice, with a gravity-defying beehive, she coiled her distinctive voice around the melody with a sense of pure joy.

It remains one of her best televised performances; and was rewarded with the loudest applause of the night.

She went on to perform her own single Love Is A Losing Game and, although she wasn’t nominated for any prizes that evening, she went on to win record and song of the year at the Grammys in LA.

10. Girl Power

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Geri Halliwell in the famous union jack dress, 1997

Geri Halliwell’s “favourite outfit ever” became an icon of British pop – but it wasn’t the star’s first choice for the Spice Girls’ 1997 Brit Awards performance.

Ginger Spice was originally meant to wear a black Gucci dress, but had a last-minute change of heart.

“Two nights before, Geri said, ‘You know what, Emma, I’m really not comfortable with the dress I’m wearing, I’ve got a much better idea,” recalled stylist Emma Poole in an interview with The Telegraph.

“I’m going around to my sister’s, she’s got these Union Jack tea-towels, I’m going to make a dress.'”

Her hunch paid off. Halliwell was on the cover of every newspaper the following morning, and Harpers Bazaar declared the garment one of the top 10 most sensational dresses of all time.

But did you know that the dress’s back panel didn’t continue the patriotic theme? Instead, it carried a giant CND logo.

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London (CNN)The award-winning rapper Dave accused UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson of being a racist during a politically-charged performance onstage at the 2020 Brit awards on Tuesday night.

The newly written verses included the lines: “It is racist whether or not it feels racist, the truth is our Prime Minister’s a real racist.”
The south London native went on to highlight the disparity in the media’s treatment of the Duchess of Sussex and the Duchess of Cambridge, adding: “Now if you don’t wanna get it, then you’re never gonna get it. How the news treats Kate versus how they treated Meghan.”
    Dave, who took home album of the year for “Psychodrama,” also insisted “equality is a right, it doesn’t deserve credit.”
    After calling for “way less hatred, more conservation, less deforestation” he concluded the song by criticizing the government’s handling of the Grenfell Tower tragedy and the Windrush scandal. “We want rehabilitation, now that would be amazing, but Grenfell victims still need accommodation, and we still need support for the Windrush generation.”
    Opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn appeared to endorse Dave’s message, tweeting the lyrics to his 2.3 million followers.
    Downing Street declined to comment to CNN. On Wednesday, Home Secretary Priti Patel defended Johnson, telling Sky News that the rapper’s comments were “utter nonsense” and saying that the Prime Minister was “not at a racist at all.”
    Here are the other stand-out moments of this year’s ceremony, which celebrated the event’s 40th anniversary.

    Tyler, The Creator taunts Theresa May

    Dave was not the only artist to call out a politician on Tuesday night. After winning the award for best international artist, US rapper Tyler, The Creator used his acceptance speech to taunt former prime minister Theresa May.
    The 28-year-old musician recalled being banned from the UK in 2015, when May was the home secretary, on the grounds that his music “foster(ed) hatred with views that seek to provoke others to terrorist acts”.
    At the Brits he revealed he was elated that the restriction was overturned by the Home Office in 2019, allowing him to perform in the UK for the last May.
    He told the crowd he dedicated his award to “someone who I hold dear to my heart, who made it where I couldn’t come to this country five years ago. I know she’s at home, pissed off. Thank you, Theresa May.”

    Lewis Capaldi’s acceptance speech

    Scottish singer-songwriter Lewis Capaldi delivered a humorous acceptance speech after taking home the award for song of the year for his smash hit “Someone You Loved.”
    On stage he was keen to set the record straight about who inspired the track, which according to the Official Charts Company topped the UK singles chart for seven weeks in 2019.
    “Contrary to popular belief, a lot of people think this song is about my ex-girlfriend (“Love Island” contestant Paige Turley), who you can now see every night on ‘Love Island,'” Capaldi said. “But it’s actually about my grandmother who sadly passed away a few years ago.”
    The musician said “I hope to God that ITV don’t contact her to be on a reality dating show,” then jokingly thanked her for dying and thanked his parents for “making love.”

    Billie Eilish’s emotional speech

    Singing sensation Billie Eilish revealed she had been struggling with some of the pitfalls of fame as she received the award for best international female artist.
    After accepting her trophy from Spice Girls star Melanie Chisholm, she admitted during an emotional speech that she had felt “hated recently.”
    Eilish has already had a stellar 2020 after winning five Grammys including best new artist and song of the year. The 18-year-old American has also become the youngest ever person to write and sing the theme song a James Bond film, and she performed “No Time to Die” live for the first time at the Brit awards.
    “I just wanna say something I was thinking two seconds ago,” she told the crowd at the Brits. “I’ve felt very hated recently and when I was on the stage and I saw you guys all smiling at me, it genuinely made me want to cry…”
    With her voice breaking, she added: “…and I wanna cry right now, so thank you.”
    Ahead of the event, Eilish revealed she had quit social media after being swamped by nasty comments from internet trolls.

    Lizzo crowned the queen of tequila

    Lizzo might not be feeling so good this morning after downing an entire glass of neat tequila in front of the crowd.
    The rapper-singer-flutist, known for her vociferous support of body positivity, won a standing ovation from Harry Styles and cheers from the crowd after showing off her impressive drinking skills at the Brits.
      The chaotic moment happened after host Jack Whitehall helped himself to Styles’ beverage. “Oh God, that’s tequila. That’s literally neat tequila. He’s gone off the rails,” the host grimaced before passing the glass to Lizzo. “Seriously, Lizzo, that’s neat tequila!” he said.
      Lizzo, who also performed at the show, was unfazed by the revelation and simply picked up the drink and downed it, prompting huge cheers from the audience.

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      (CNN)The rapper Pop Smoke was killed during a home invasion at a Hollywood Hills, California, residence early Wednesday, a police official and federal law enforcement source confirmed to CNN.

      Police held a press conference about the home invasion, but did not release the rapper’s name.
      Law enforcement received a call just before 5 a.m. ET (8 a.m. ET) from “someone back East” who reported that one of their friend’s homes was being broken into and that one of the suspects was armed with a handgun, saidLos Angeles Police Department Capt. Steve Lurie, commanding officer of the Hollywood area.
        Inside, officers found a man who had been shot. He was transported to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, where he was pronounced dead hours later, the captain said. It’s unclear who owns the house, he said.
        Several people were detained and released. No arrests have been made, and the LAPD’s homicide unit is investigating the incident, Lurie said. There are several witnesses who were being questioned by police Wednesday morning.
        The person who called 911 had been in contact with someone in the house. Between two and six people broke into the home, one of them wearing a mask, according to witnesses, Lurie said.
        In an email to CNN, the rapper’s attorney, Peter Frankel, said neither he nor the rapper’s family “are prepared to offer a comment on the events of this morning.”
        Pop Smoke was part of Brooklyn’s drill scene, popularized by Sheff G, who grew up listening to Chicago drill pioneers Chief Keef and G Herbo.
        The rapper had just begun making a name for himself in the summer, with the release of his debut mixtape, “Meet the Woo,” featuring the trap-influenced anthem, “Welcome to the Party.”
        The video for the song has snared more than 24 million views on YouTube, and hip-hop stars Nicki Minaj and Meek Mill dropped remixes.
        “My face, my voice was everywhere, you know what I’m saying?” Pop told i-D magazine in a December interview. “I knew it was gonna be big when I started seeing my face on billboards.”
        The magazine titled its piece, “Is Pop Smoke the new king of New York?” — a title generally reserved for the likes of Nas, Jay-Z and The Notorious B.I.G.
        The Brooklyn-born rhymesmith had since collaborated with the likes of Quavo, Travis Scott, H.E.R., A Boogie Wit da Hoodie and Chris Brown.
        Speaking to Pop’s rapid ascent in the rap game, his second mixtape, “Meet the Woo 2,” debuted last week at No. 7 on the Billboard 200 album charts. Joining him in the top 10 were Roddy Ricch, Post Malone, Lil Wayne and Billie Eilish.
        Pop’s “Meet the Woo” tour was scheduled to kick off with a sold-out show in Washington, DC on March 2.
        In a 2019 New York Times profile, the artist talked about his life before he found fame in the music industry. His teen years were described as “high-risk, high-reward.”
        “You like nice things, you got to do things to get nice things,” he said. “At 16, I had a 5 Series (BMW).”
        The up-and-coming rapper was mourned on social media by several fellow artists, including Minaj, 50 Cent and Chance the Rapper.
        View this post on Instagram

        The Bible tells us that jealousy is as cruel as the grave. Unbelievable. Rest In Peace, Pop.

        A post shared by Barbie (@nickiminaj) on

        “The Bible tells us that jealousy is as cruel as the grave,” Minaj wrote in the caption of a photo of the rapper. “Unbelievable. Rest In Peace, Pop.”
        50 Cent wrote: “R.I.P to my man Pop Smoke, No sympathy for winners. God bless him”
        His record label, Republic Records, also offered its condolences on social media.
          Last month, Pop was returning from Europe when he was arrested at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York on a charge of interstate transport of a stolen vehicle.
          He was accused of transporting a Rolls Royce Wraith across state lines “knowing said motor vehicle to have been stolen,” according to a federal indictment. He pleaded not guilty during his arraignment in Brooklyn and was released on $250,000 bail, said John Marzulli, a spokesman for the US Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District.

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          (CNN)Every few years, a new tattoo trend emerges that celebrities just can’t get enough of.

          The latest trend is hard to ignore — because it’s literally in your face.
          Face tatts.
            It started off as a fad among young hip hop artists, but has since crossed over to pop stars, models, influencers and more.
            In fact, just recently at least six celebrities showed off new face ink. Here’s a look:

            Presley Gerber

            Presley Gerber, a 20-year-old actor and model, already has a number of visible tattoos. But on February 7, the young celebrity (and Cindy Crawford’s son) posted a video of his new addition: “MISUNDERSTOOD,” written in all caps, just beneath his right eye.

            Amber Rose and her boyfriend

            Amber Rose made headlines earlier this month when she debuted the words “Bash Slash” — devoted to her sons “Bash” (for Sebastian Taylor) and “Slash” (for Electric Alexander Edwards) — in cursive letters just below her hairline.
            The model and activist said her decision to tattoo her children’s names on her forehead was inspired by the late NBA legend Kobe Bryant.
            View this post on Instagram

            When ur Mom lets you draw on ur Barbie 😏 #Bash #Slash @el_jacob_ramirez

            A post shared by Amber Rose (@amberrose) on

            Rose’s boyfriend Alexander “AE” Edwards, who is the father of 4-month-old son Slash, also got ink to match. Edwards got the birth dates of Rose’s children tattooed on his forehead. Tattoo artist Jacob Ramirez posted a picture of the tattoo, which featured the numbers “10.10.19” and “2.21.13” with a lighting bolt in between.
            View this post on Instagram

            Wednesday and Thursday at #bodyelectrictattoo#eljacobramirez#walkinswelcome#tattoos#melroseavenue#hollywood#scriptattoo#losangeles#tattoo#la#ca#ink# thanks @ae4president

            A post shared by Jacob Ramirez (@el_jacob_ramirez) on

            The Game

            Rapper “The Game,” whose real name is Jayceon Terrell Taylor, posted photos on Wednesday of his new face tattoo in honor of Los Angeles Lakers legend Kobe Bryant.
            The tattoo, which he got right above his eyebrow, features Bryant’s autograph behind a sideways number eight, symbolizing the late NBA star’s old jersey number and an infinity sign.

            Chris Brown

            Singer Chris Brown joined in the fun with a Nike Air Jordan shoe tattooed on his face next to his ear. According to his tattoo artist Ganga, the sneaker is a recent addition.
            It is not, however, Brown’s first face tattoo.

            Post Malone

            If Post Malone is known for anything besides his music, it’s most likely his intense collection of face tattoos that range from a barbed wire on his forehead to a massive mace and chain on his cheek.
            The singer doesn’t seem to be stopping anytime soon. Only a month and a half into 2020, Malone has added two more face tatts to his collection.
              Tattoo artist Zachary Lowhorn posted a photo on Monday showing a freshly-tattooed hammer on the rapper’s cheek.
              View this post on Instagram

              Wait…. Who's that guy? 🔨 @postmalone @creamtattoosupply #postmalone #facetattoos

              A post shared by Zachary Wayne Lowhorn (@zwlowhorn) on

              Another one of his tattoo artists, Ruben, also posted a photo of a bloodied buzz saw Malone got tattooed last week.

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              (CNN)Mary Higgins Clark, the bestselling “Queen of Suspense” who wrote dozens of suspense novels sold worldwide, has died.

              “She passed away peacefully this evening at the age of 92 surrounded by family and friends,” the publisher said.
              Clark’s writing career spanned decades, and included bestselling suspense titles such as “Loves Music, Loves to Dance” and “A Stranger Is Watching.”
                Two of her novels were made into feature films, including “A Stranger Is Watching” while others were turned into television movies.
                The mother of five started her career by writing short stories before becoming a prolific novelist.
                “Trust me, you do not make a living selling short stories and bringing up five kids,” Clark told CNN in 2002. “So I started writing radio scripts for a living, and it actually taught me a great deal about writing.”
                Clark published her first suspense novel, “Where Are the Children,” in 1975 followed by about 40 other books, including some with her daughter, Carol Higgins Clark. She also published short stories, a memoir and children’s books.
                Michael Korda, editor-in-chief emeritus of Simon & Schuster, said Clark had a special gift of connecting with her readers.
                  “Nobody ever bonded more completely with her readers than Mary did; she understood them as if they were members of her own family,” Korda said. “She was always absolutely sure of what they wanted to read—and, perhaps more important, what they didn’t want to read.”
                  Clark was an international bestseller, and more 100 million copies of her books are in print in the United States alone, her publisher said.

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