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Coronavirus: The best and worst celebrity isolation videos

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Kevin Bacon, Lizzo and Madonna

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Stars have been filming and streaming videos from self-isolation

Just like the rest of us, the world’s top celebrities have all been told to stay at home during these strangest of times.

Being natural-born entertainers and creatives, though, many musicians, actors and artists have been keen to share their experiences of self-isolation.

Some of their videos have captured the collective mood of the online community, while others have landed a little wide of the mark.

We’ll let you decide which is which…

1. Liam Gallagher is feeling Soap-ersonic

To fight the spread of Covid-19, we are all being advised to wash our hands thoroughly, and leading the way in this regard is rock ‘n’ roll star Liam Gallagher.

The former Oasis frontman treated his followers to a series of kitchen sink re-workings of his old band’s songs, such as Soap-ersonic and Champagne Soap-ernova.

He really ought to wash his mouth out too, as most of them come with a language warning. That said, Wonderwash (above) is good clean fun.

2. Madonna’s ray of light in the bath

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Madonna

Everywhere is pretty much closed now, right? So if you can, there’s never been a better time to enjoy a long soak in the bath.

The Queen of Pop, Madonna, was quick to realise this and she had another revelation in the tub too, about just how democratising a worldwide pandemic is.

“That’s the thing about Covid-19. It doesn’t care about how rich you are, how famous you are, how funny you are, how smart you are, where you live, how old you are, what amazing stories you can tell,” the star pontificated, while filming herself naked in a milky bath full of rose petals, as you do.

“It’s the great equaliser and what’s terrible about it is what’s great about it.”

3. Mindfulness with Lizzo

Looking after our mental health will be a key component to getting through this crisis and with that in mind another US singer, Lizzo, invited fans to indulge in a spot of musical meditation.

The session began with the signature sound of the Grammy-winner’s flute before she delivered her soothing mantra.

“I think that fear can spread so much hatred and fear can spread so much negative energy and fear can spread the disease even quicker than the disease can,” she said.

“When I got back to LA I noticed that the fear was heightened here. So I wanted to empower everybody and I wanted to let you guys know that we have power, you have power. You have power to eliminate fear.”

Amen to that.

4. Hollywood stars have bedtime boxed off

OK, so bedtime might be an especially tricky time for parents over the coming weeks and months, what with all the pent-up energy.

If you’ve already used up all of your best sleep-inducing material in week one of isolation then do not fear, as some movie stars have got your back.

US actress and activist Jennifer Garner teamed up with fellow actor Amy Adams, to tell some tales to get kids off to sleep and raise some money for charity in the process. The above edition of Save With Stories sees their Oscar-winning friend Reese Witherspoon bring Uni the Unicorn to life (no spoilers).

Aside from providing bedtime stories, domestic goddess Garner has also been dishing out some cooking classes too. So assuming you can find the right ingredients at the supermarket, why not have a go at bettering the American’s English muffins.

5. Cardi B is as angry, scared and confused as we’ve all been

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Cardi B / Instagram

The hip-hop sensation was raging to her 60 million plus followers, about what she felt was a lack of information and action from the US government, when compared with China – where the virus originated and now appears to be under better control.

President Donald Trump has said governors, mayors and citizens were working with “urgency and speed” in what he described as a “war against the virus”.

During an explosive Instagram Live session at the weekend (so explosive we can’t show it here I’m afraid) Cardi went looking for answers and, as usual, was taking no prisoners.

“When they put Wuhan, China, in quarantine… they were spraying [stuff] in the streets. They were knocking on each door taking people’s temperature,” she noted.

“Let’s say that I have the coronavirus right now, OK? How am I supposed to know I got it?”

The best advice the BBC can offer at the moment can be found here.

6. Steve Martin takes a break with his banjo

While we are all self-isolating – and, in many cases, working from home – we are still encouraged to take a responsible stroll outside each day, to blow away the cobwebs.

Comic actor and musician Steve Martin did precisely that and took his banjo with him.

Look how he manages to keep a safe distance of at least two metres from all the other potentially banjo-wielding walkers lurking in the shrubbery.

7. Imagine no cringe covers

Inspired by scenes of quarantined Italians singing to each other on balconies, Wonder Woman actress Gal Gadot shared a star-studded sing-along to John Lennon’s Imagine.

Will Ferrell, Amy Adams, Kristen Wiig, Sia and Cara Delevingne all took part and clearly they all meant well. But the rich and famous collaborators were soon mocked mercilessly online by people questioning their choice of song, which imagines a utopia with “no possessions”… the type of which might be coming in handy for them round about now.

Elton John once levelled similar accusations at Lennon, sending him a cover of the song with new lyrics: “Imagine six apartments, it isn’t hard to do, one is full of fur coats, another’s full of shoes,” he paraphrased.

Thankfully, Matthew Fearon’s humorous alternative version of the track, Imagine (There’s No Bog Roll) – relating to the unexplained and widespread panic-buying of toilet paper – began doing the rounds on platforms like WhatsApp.

8. Kevin Bacon stays home for his wife (pass it on)

In the parlour game Six Degrees of Separation contestants are challenged to find the shortest path between an arbitary actor and Kevin Bacon.

The US actor was once described as being at the centre of the Hollywood universe, as he’s apparently in contact with anyone who is anyone.

Obviously we are now trying to avoid contact with people, so as a result Bacon challenged us all to name who we were staying home for and then challenge six others.

He kicked things off by choosing his wife Kyra Sedgwick.

It’s now so important to stay home and keep our distance from others if you are able,said Bacon.

It’s one way we can help prevent the spread of Coronavirus and save lives. The more of us who can, make it safer for those who can’t.

9. ‘Hands… Washing hands’

In lieu of any actual concerts, singers like Coldplay’s Chris Martin, Christine and the Queens, Yungblud and L Devine have been uploading interactive live performances. None of them, however, quite drummed home the health and safety message in song form as well as Neil Diamond.

The US crooner kindly offered up his karaoke classic, Sweet Caroline, as a memorable and potentially life-saving guide.

“Hands / Washing hands / Reaching out / Don’t touch me / I won’t touch you” sang Diamond, curled up next to an electric fire with his furry friend.

“I know we’re going through a rough time right now, but I love ya,” he said beforehand. “I think maybe if we sing together, we’ll feel just a little bit better.”

Sing along at home if you know the new words – which, of course, you now do.

10. Kate Nash rocks out on the recorder

Last but by no means least, singer-turned-actor Kate Nash took the time out to show that, when all of this is hopefully over, she could at the very least earn some decent dosh as a busker.

We’re not saying this is the best Metallica cover you’ve ever heard played on a penny whistle, but we reckon it must at least be in the top one.

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Coronavirus: Ofcom ‘assesses’ David Icke TV interview

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David Icke on London Live

The UK’s media watchdog is looking into a TV network’s broadcast of an interview with conspiracy theorist David Icke about coronavirus.

Ofcom said it was “assessing this programme as a priority”, following London Live’s screening of the programme on Wednesday evening.

It follows YouTube’s introduction of stricter misinformation rules after a later interview with Mr Icke by the same team was streamed on its platform.

The government has expressed concern.

‘Inaccurate claims’

“Clearly that station is regulated by Ofcom. And I would be expecting Ofcom to take appropriate action,” said Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.

“Clearly they are independent but I will be in touch with them to understand what action they are taking in respect to that.”

A tweet by London Live to promote the programme – produced by an independent company that also offers training services – prompted a backlash ahead of the broadcast.

But Ofcom is able to intervene only after a programme has been broadcast.

And it has now received 19 complaints about the programme from the public.

Last week, the watchdog sanctioned a community radio network for having broadcast a discussion that “contained potentially harmful views about coronavirus”.

“During the current pandemic, it’s important that potentially misleading information about the coronavirus is not broadcast on radio or TV,” Ofcom said at the time.

“This includes inaccurate claims about potential causes, symptoms, and treatments for the virus.”

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London Live screened a warning notice several times during the programme

On Tuesday, YouTube deleted copies of a later interview with Mr Icke – embedded into the production company’s site and hosted on YouTube’s platform – and announced it would wipe any other videos that also falsely linked Covid-19 to 5G mobile networks.

The production company, however, has since reuploaded this interview to another US-based service – Vimeo – to allow it to continue to be seen.

Mr Icke does not mention 5G by name in the interview broadcast by London Live, although at one point he does refer to an “electro-magnetic technologically generated soup of radiation toxicity”, which he claims has damaged old people’s immune systems. Scientists have previously rubbished suggestions mobile networks cause such harm.

London Live is owned by the Russian businessman Evgeny Lebedev, who also owns the Evening Standard and Independent newspapers.

It screened a notice during advert breaks, saying the views expressed in the programme were “not necessarily those” of the network and displayed the address of the government’s Covid-19 website.

BBC News has asked the network for comment.



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Paul Lambert: Ex-BBC producer who was ‘fixture of politics’ dies

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Paul Lambert

A former BBC producer described as a central character at Westminster and master of interviewing politicians on the street has died aged 61.

Paul Lambert, affectionately known as “Gobby”, was often heard on TV shouting questions at ministers.

He left the BBC in 2014 to become communications director of UKIP.

His daughter Danni said on Facebook the family were “devastated”. BBC political editor Laura Kuenssberg described Mr Lambert as a “fixture of politics”.

Writing on Twitter, she added he was a “friend of everyone for so long – such sad, sad news”.

‘Master of the doorstep’

Based on Downing Street, Mr Lambert’s voice was heard on countless news reports putting ministers on the spot as they went about their business.

The nickname “Gobby” was a reference to Mr Lambert’s booming voice, which he used to project awkward questions towards politicians as they entered cars or walked down the street, known in broadcasting as a “doorstep”.

“The point really is to fill in the pieces of the TV bulletin piece that you haven’t got pictures to fill in. You know someone isn’t going to say anything, you just need something to happen,” Mr Lambert explained in 2013.

Others paying tribute on Twitter included political journalist Michael Crick, who said Mr Lambert was a “master of the political doorstep”.

Trade Minister Conor Burns said: “I remember the first time he shouted questions at me as I walked into Parliament. Went inside with a feeling I’d properly arrived.”

Former leader of UKIP Nigel Farage said Mr Lambert was a “unique man and great fun to work with”.

Craig Oliver, a former editor of flagship BBC News bulletins and ex-director of communications at No 10, said: “The start of a thousand TV news reports was Gobby shouting, ‘Are you going to resign?'”

Robert Peston, ITV’s political editor, said Mr Lambert was a “gent of the old school” who had “the best nose for a story”, while Sky News presenter Sophy Ridge described him as a “legend”.

Media playback is unsupported on your device

Media captionNewsnight compiled clips of Mr Lambert’s work when he left the BBC in 2014

BBC health editor Hugh Pym said Mr Lambert “always went the extra mile and asked the right question”, and BBC news presenter Reeta Chakrabarti said he was “such a central character in our Westminster newsroom for years… and a thoroughly nice man”.

Mr Lambert – who started his working career as an electrician – left the BBC ahead of the 2015 general election to lead communications for the UK Independence Party.



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Disney Plus racks up 50m subscribers in five months

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Ming-Na Wen arrives for the premiere of Disney+'s The MandalorianImage copyright
Albert L. Ortega

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The Mandalorian featuring Ming-Na Wen is a Disney+ offering

Disney’s new video streaming service has hit more than 50 million subscribers since its launch five months ago.

When Disney Plus last announced viewing figures in February it had reached 26.5 million subscribers.

Since then, this has almost doubled as more people are online and stuck at home due to virus clampdowns.

Disney Plus, which rivals Netflix and Amazon Prime, rolled out to the UK and other parts of Europe last month.

All three streaming platforms are enjoying a huge boost in viewing figures as cinemas remain closed and people are forced to stay indoors.

Disney Plus originally set a target of 60 million to 90 million subscribers by the end of fiscal 2024, when it was first launched in the US in November.

“We’re truly humbled that Disney Plus is resonating with millions around the globe,” said Kevin Mayer, a Disney spokesman.

Its subscription figures were given a boost by its audience in India, where Disney Plus was launched last week. Disney reported eight million new subscribers in India.

After the announcement on Wednesday evening, shares in Disney jumped 7% on Wall Street. The entertainment group has been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic, having to close its theme parks across the globe.

It has also had to stop production on new content and delay releases for potential blockbusters like Mulan and Black Widow.

Disney Plus is still behind both Netflix and Amazon Prime Video in terms of global subscriptions. Netflix added almost nine million net global subscribers during the fourth quarter of 2019. At the end of last year, it had over 167 million paying subscribers globally. Amazon now has more than 150 million viewers.

But Disney Plus, which includes films and TV shows from Disney, Pixar, Star Wars and National Geographic, has grown much faster than its rivals.

“What Disney Plus has achieved in five months took Netflix seven years,” said Chris Fenton, a movie industry analyst. “Disney Plus possesses all the ammunition needed to surpass Netflix, and it also has the potential bazooka of China. If any American streaming service can gain access to the 1.4 billion people of China, it’s Disney Plus.”



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