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Caroline Flack: Love Island pays tribute to presenter

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Media captionMonday’s Love Island began with a tribute to Caroline Flack from Iain Stirling

Love Island narrator Iain Stirling has said he is “absolutely devastated” at the death of his colleague Caroline Flack, in a tribute on the ITV2 show.

The message in Monday’s episode came after the TV host, 40, was found dead in her north London home on Saturday.

“You were a true friend to me,” Stirling said. He added that Flack’s “warmth and infectious enthusiasm” were “crucial” to the show’s success.

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

The Love Island episode was the first to air after her death. ITV had cancelled two episodes as a mark of respect for the presenter.

Flack was replaced as host of the dating show after being charged with assaulting her boyfriend last year.

‘I’m going to miss you, Caz’

Speaking at the opening of the show, Stirling said: “We are absolutely devastated by the tragic news that Caroline, a much-loved member of our Love Island family, has passed away.

“Our thoughts are with her family and friends at this dreadful time.

“Caroline and me were together from the very start of Love Island and her passion, warmth and infectious enthusiasm were a crucial part of what made the show connect with millions of viewers.”


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Stirling’s message was broadcast to images of the ocean, in keeping with the usual opening shots at the beginning of each episode – but to mark the tribute there was no background music.

Stirling’s voice broke as he added: “Caroline, I want to thank you for all the fun times we had making our favourite show. You were a true friend to me. I’m going to miss you, Caz.”

The tribute ended with a photo of Flack on screen. The image was repeated at the end of the episode.

In a statement released on Monday, ITV’s director of television Kevin Lygo said staff at the TV station were “devastated” and “still trying to process this tragic news”.

He said Flack had been part of the dating show “from the very beginning”, was “very vocal” in her support of the show, and that viewers “could relate to her and she to them”.

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ITV cancelled Monday night’s episode of Love Island: Aftersun and said it would not be releasing a Love Island: The Morning After podcast on Tuesday morning.

And in place of adverts for JustEat, the programme’s sponsor, the broadcaster shared the number for Samaritans.

Following Flack’s death, a petition was launched calling for new laws to prevent sections of the media “knowingly and relentlessly bullying people, famous or not”.

The petition, calling for the introduction of “Caroline’s Law”, has had more than 500,000 signatures so far.

  • ‘Be kind,’ social-media users urge after Flack death
  • Who decides whether someone should go on trial?

Flack stood down from the show after she was charged with assaulting her boyfriend, Lewis Burton, in December.

Her management company said she had been “under huge pressure” since then and criticised the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) for refusing to drop the charge, even though Mr Burton said he did not want the case to go ahead.

Flack denied the charge and was due to stand trial in March. Bail conditions had stopped Flack having any contact with Mr Burton ahead of the trial

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On Instagram, Flack’s friend Mollie Grosberg shared a picture of Flack taken on Friday night, the last time she saw her

The CPS said it would not comment on the specifics of the case but in response to questions about its role, on Sunday it outlined how it reached decisions over whether or not to charge someone.

Flack’s friend Laura Whitmore – who is also Stirling’s girlfriend – had stepped in as Love Island host after the assault charge.

Following his tribute on Monday she said on Twitter: “Love you @IainDoesJokes I know that wasn’t easy”.

Love Island’s sixth season and first winter series, which is being filmed in South Africa, is due to end on Sunday.

Channel 4 has said it will not broadcast its forthcoming show The Surjury, which was to have been hosted by Flack.


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Van Gogh painting Spring Garden stolen from Dutch museum

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Media captionOther works by Van Gogh have been stolen, and were later recovered

A Van Gogh painting has been stolen from a museum in the Dutch town of Laren.

Police said on Monday there had been a break in at the Singer Laren Museum at 03:15 local time (02:15 GMT).

The museum later announced that Van Gogh’s Spring Garden, on loan from the Groninger Museum, was missing.

The Singer Laren Museum is closed due to the coronavirus. Its director, Jan Rudolph de Lorm, told reporters he was “incredibly pissed off” over the theft.

The value of the painting is not currently known.

The museum was created in the 1950s to host the collection of US artist William Henry Singer and his wife Anna.

On Monday the Dutch health ministry reported 11,750 confirmed cases of coronavirus in the country, and a total of 864 deaths.



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Author Michael Rosen ‘poorly but stable’ say family

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Former Children’s Laureate Michael Rosen is “very poorly at the moment” and spent a night in intensive care, his family have said.

The statement on Twitter said he was “now doing OK” and was “stable” and “alert” having been moved to a ward on Sunday.

It is not known whether the 73-year-old’s condition is related to the coronavirus.

The children’s novelist and poet was Children’s Laureate from 2007 to 2009.

His many works for children include We’re Going on a Bear Hunt, Little Rabbit Foo Foo and Tiny Little Fly.

Cressida Cowell, author of the How to Train Your Dragon series, said she hoped he would “recover swiftly”.

Rosen’s family thanked all his Twitter followers “for all their kind concern”.





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Arts go interactive during coronavirus lockdown

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The Royal Academy of Dance’s Silver Swans, pictured before the recent restrictions

As Britain begins its second week under strict conditions restricting movements and gatherings, arts organisations are getting creative in their attempts to interact with patrons.

The Getty Museum in the US, for example, has found a novel way for art lovers to engage with its collection.

Later this week the Royal Academy of Dance is launching a weekly series of online ballet classes, specifically tailored for the over-55s.

Theatres are now closed all across the country. But that doesn’t mean theatre lovers are being denied the joys of the communal experience.

Choirmaster Gareth Malone, meanwhile, is assembling a Great British Home Chorus to get us singing together even while we are apart.

Art imitating life

Based in Los Angeles, the J Paul Getty Museum is home to works by Rembrandt, Cezanne and hundreds of other world-renowned artists.

When the museum closed to the public on 14 March, its social media team started looking for ways to keep its audience entertained.

The answer lay in a Dutch Instagram account featuring elaborate recreations of works by Frida Kahlo, Rene Magritte and others.

The Getty put its own spin on the idea, inviting its followers to recreate artworks using three things lying around their houses.

Art fans jumped at the challenge, deploying everyday items, relatives and even pets to emulate works by Monet, Warhol and others.

One participant used coffee filters to make a mock-up of a ruff worn by one of El Greco’s subjects.

Another employed a shower cap and her own baby bump to replicate Raphael’s La donna gravida.

Bread, jam and a biscuit, meanwhile, were used to fashion an edible version of The Scream that certainly puts the munch into Edvard Munch.

“We are loving all your creative recreations,” the museum tweeted, exhorting its followers to “keep sharing”.

Keep dancing

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Millions know Angela Rippon for the glamorous dance routine she performed with Eric Morecambe and Ernie Wise in 1976.

Forty-four years on, the former newsreader is still championing the terpsichorean arts in her role as Royal Academy of Dance ambassador.

Since 2017, the HealthCheck UK presenter has been raising awareness for the RAD’s Silver Swans project, branded ballet classes aimed at the over-55s.

This week the RAD is putting those classes online in the hope they will encourage older audiences to “unleash their inner dancer”.

“It’s a series of exercises that anyone can do at any level, that you can do at home in a small personal space,” Rippon told BBC News.

“You’re not going to be flying across the room like Carlos Acosta – you can do most of them holding on to something solid.”

According to Rippon, though, it’s not just the body that gets a workout.

“You’re having to use your brain as well so it’s a mental as well as a physical exercise,” she explained.

“It makes you feel good physically, but it makes you feel good psychologically too.”

The first online tutorial goes online on Wednesday, with new classes released weekly over the next nine weeks.

All the world’s a stage

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The closure of the UK’s theatres and performing arts venues has left the industry mired in turmoil and uncertainty.

With its base shuttered indefinitely, though, the National Theatre has decided to make some of its older productions accessible to a wider audience.

From 2 April, some productions previously screened in cinemas will be put on YouTube for theatre lovers to watch free of charge.

They include the comedy One Man, Two Guvnors starring James Corden; adaptations of the novels Jane Eyre and Treasure Island; and a production of Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night starring Tamsin Greig.

The Hampstead Theatre in north London is also putting some of its plays online, starting this week with its 2016 staging of Mike Bartlett’s Wild.

If recent TV dramas Belgravia and The English Game haven’t sated your Julian Fellowes cravings, meanwhile, a 2017 recording of his musical version of The Wind in the Willows can also be streamed for free.

Lisa Burger, the National’s executive director, said its “varied” programme meant there would be “something for everyone to enjoy from their own homes”.

“We will be streaming each production at the same time each week in order to recreate, where possible, the communal viewing experience,” she added.

Roxana Silbert, the Hampstead’s artistic director, said its own offerings over the next three weeks would give audiences “entertainment, connection and nourishment in a time of uncertainty and isolation”.

The show, they say, must go on – something that producer Robert Myles has taken to heart.

He and a group of actors are gathering every Thursday to live stream performed readings of Shakespeare’s Complete Works.

So far they have tackled The Two Gentlemen of Verona and The Taming of the Shrew, with the first part of Henry VI to follow later this week.

Sing for your supper

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Self-isolation is proving no hindrance to Gareth Malone’s new project, an online response to the nationwide closure of communal rehearsal places.

More than 160,000 people took part in the first rehearsal last week on YouTube.

“It is amazing how many people have signed up,” said Malone, promising to create something “really wonderful and inspiring”.

Those who have got involved have extolled the virtues of being part of what is now a globe-spanning venture.

“Amazing how a bit of singing lifts my spirits,” wrote one participant, while another said they were “absolutely loving the choir”.

“This is a wonderful idea,” wrote another choir member. “Thank you so much Gareth and everyone who is making this possible.”

For Angela Rippon, organisations and initiatives like the ones above are in an ideal position to appeal to a largely housebound populace.

“This is a great opportunity to reach a wider audience than they ever have before,” she said.

“Millions of us are in lockdown in our own homes and have the chance to do things we never felt we could.”





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