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How Matt Lucas’ Baked Potato Song will help feed NHS workers

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“The only creative thing I’ve done in the last two and a half weeks is rewrite the lyrics.”

When Matt Lucas updated a 20-year-old comedy song with lyrics giving advice about avoiding coronavirus, he expected about 500 people to watch it.

“That’s probably as many people as would normally look at my Twitter,” the Little Britain star says.

But the video for his revised Baked Potato Song has now had three million views, and he is about to release it to raise funds for his FeedNHS campaign.

“When the idea was put to me, it was a no brainer,” he tells BBC News.

Lucas first duetted with a baked potato on madcap comedy quiz Shooting Stars, where the singing vegetable delivered some sensible life lessons – from “Do be early, don’t be late” to “Always eat what’s on your plate”.

“Sometimes people write to me about that song because it appeared on Shooting Stars about 20 years ago, and it’s something that people still remember,” Lucas says.

He was inspired to revisit it after seeing footage of people socialising last Tuesday, when he was already in isolation.

“I was just trying to think of a way of helping to spread the message rather than the virus, and I thought, if I can connect with kids, then maybe the kids can tell their parents,” he says.

“I was sat at my piano and I just remembered the baked potato song.”

In its new incarnation, the baked potato instructs people to wash their hands, stay indoors and not touch their faces.

“I watched over the next 48 hours as it went viral, and three million people have viewed it on Twitter,” says Lucas.

“And then people started doing their own versions and their own animations. And kids were filming themselves singing it and sending it to me, and it sort of took on a life of its own.”

Feeding doctors and nurses

As that was happening, Lucas was speaking to actors Damian Lewis and Helen McCrory, as well as the boss of food chain Leon, to set up a campaign that would provide hot meals to NHS workers.

FeedNHS is aiming to take food from the thousands of cafes, restaurants and canteens that have been forced to shut down and send it to hospitals. A fundraising page has already raised almost £600,000.

“I have an aunt who’s in hospital at the moment with the virus. I know two people who’ve passed away from it,” Lucas explains.

“People message me on social media to say they work in the NHS and they’re completely oversubscribed. So it was pretty plain and simple to all of us that we should try and get them at least one hot meal a day, and it’s good quality food as well.”

So a singing baked potato will be helping to feed doctors and nurses.

Lucas is about to become the new co-host of The Great British Bake Off and is rumoured to be working on new Little Britain material with David Walliams. But he says he’s not using the time afforded by isolation to work on comedy scripts.

“The only creative thing I’ve done in the last two and a half weeks is rewrite the lyrics to this song,” he says.

“I’ve only been focused on this charity, my family and my friends.

“I want to be able to look back and think that I tried to do something to help some people during this particular crisis. I have asthma so I have to isolate. But many people are literally risking their lives to help people.”

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Minneapolis unrest: CNN reporter arrested live on air

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A CNN correspondent and members of his crew were arrested while broadcasting about violent protests in Minneapolis.

There were demonstrations in the city for a third night following the death of George Floyd, an unarmed black man, in police custody on Monday.

The Minneapolis State Patrol confirmed the arrests and said those detained were released “once they were confirmed to be members of the media”.

But CNN disputed the police’s account of the incident, saying its staff had “identified themselves, on live television, immediately as journalists”.

Minnesota Governor Tim Walz later apologised for the arrests.

Watch the full story on CNN YouTube channel.



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Harvey Weinstein: Four more women accuse producer of assault

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Weinstein was sentenced to 23 years in prison earlier this year

Disgraced film producer Harvey Weinstein has been accused of sexual assault by four further women as he serves a 23-year prison sentence.

Court documents filed in New York on Thursday allege several sexual offences dating from 1984 to 2013.

One of the four anonymous women was 17 at the time of an alleged attack.

Weinstein’s legal representative told BBC News: “Mr Weinstein intends to defend against the claims filed anonymously against him yesterday.”

The lawyer, Imran H Ansari of Aidala, Bertuna & Kamins PC, added: “Some of these claims, including those alleged to have occurred in the 1980s and 1990s, may be barred by the applicable statute of limitations, and not subject to any exceptions under the law, as these plaintiffs do not appear to be complainants in Mr Weinstein’s criminal case.”

  • Weinstein convicted of rape and sexual assault
  • How the Harvey Weinstein scandal unfolded

The latest legal cases allege multiple sexual offences against four women, who currently reside in Tennessee, New York, Ecuador and Hungary.

Some of the attacks allegedly took place after meetings with Weinstein at the Cannes and Venice Film Festivals.

The new allegations include:

  • A 43-year-old woman from Tennesee claims that in 1994, when she was 17, Weinstein “falsely imprisoned, sexually assaulted, sexually battered and raped her” in his hotel room. The plaintiff, who wanted to break into the entertainment industry, alleges Weinstein demanded she perform oral sex on him.
  • A 70-year-old woman from Ecuador claims that in 1984, when she was 34, Weinstein allegedly pinned her against a door and fondled her in his hotel room in Cannes, when she was looking to start a career as a documentary filmmaker.
  • A 38-year old woman said she met Weinstein in Manhattan in 2008 and he offered to “help take her career to the next level”. He allegedly raped her in his Soho apartment a few days later, telling her he would ruin her if she told anyone.
  • A 35-year-old woman from Hungary claims that in 2013, when she was 26, she met Weinstein at the Venice Film Festival. A few months later, he allegedly forced her to perform oral sex on him when she met him in a hotel room.

Allegations against Weinstein began to emerge in October 2017, when The New York Times first reported incidents dating back decades.

At least 80 women have since accused him of sexual misconduct, including actresses Gwyneth Paltrow, Uma Thurman and Salma Hayek.

The allegations were at the centre of the #MeToo movement that inspired women to go public with misconduct allegations against powerful men.

Weinstein issued an apology acknowledging he had “caused a lot of pain”, but denied any allegations of non-consensual sex.

In February, Weinstein was convicted in New York City of third-degree rape and first-degree criminal sexual act, and later sentenced to 23 years in jail.

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Remi Wolf on how she makes music videos in lockdown

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Music videos are often big budget affairs filmed in glamorous locations with a cast and crew to rival a movie. But what happens when a pandemic strikes and everyone is told to practise social distancing and not leave their home?

Rising star Remi Wolf told the BBC’s Sophie van Brugen how she got around the problem, and what coronavirus could mean for the future of the music video.



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