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Peaky Blinders ‘gloomy’ finale wins over critics (just)



Spoiler alert – we’ve tried to avoid major plot information but some details may be revealed.

Peaky Blinders

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Peaky Blinders is being shown on BBC One for the first time

The finale of the fifth series of BBC crime drama Peaky Blinders has drawn mostly praise from critics despite its gloom and lack of closure.

The series began with Tommy Shelby facing a mental health crisis and ended with him teetering on the edge.

The Guardian’s Sarah Hughes praised the depiction of Tommy’s “existential crisis” in her review.

“I did genuinely enjoy this gloomier-than-usual finale and how the storyline ultimately played out,” she said.

“This hasn’t been a perfect series (although I have personally enjoyed it) but one thing that has been beautifully handled has been Tommy’s impending breakdown.”

An average of 3.8 million viewers tuned in to see the curtain come down on the latest chapter in the Shelby story. The figure is slightly up on the series five opener which hit 3.7 million. Series four, which was shown on BBC Two along with the previous three series, had am average of 3.3 million viewers.

In her four-star review for Metro, Tilly Pearce was already looking forward to season six.

“We’ve somehow blinked and an entire season of Peaky Blinders is over and done with for another season, but dear God what a way to go,” wrote Pearce.

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Sam Claflin as Tommy’s political rival Oswald Mosley was a central figure in the series

“The mental health of the Shelby boys has been at play throughout the past six episodes.

“There is a lot to tie up next season… it would be good to have someone around to take the sting out of the bleakness.

“This episode is Peaky at its best – surprising even with the expected, keeps you on your toes and leaves you wanting more. Bring on season six gang, we’ll be waiting.”

Meanwhile Louisa Mellor, writing for Den of Geek, enjoyed the series but was left exhausted by the twists and turns in the plot.

“It was a heady, chaotic series, with multiplying plotlines and more enemies than we could count, in total contrast to the neat, simplified threat of Luca Changretta and his men in series four,” she said.

Loose ends

Mellor also noted that this series had mainly focused on the unravelling of Tommy Shelby, played by Cillian Murphy.

The unanswered questions from this series also proved a stumbling block for Michael Hogan in The Telegraph.

Hogan said the “disappointing” finale left viewers “dangling” in his two-star review.

“[Previous] Peaky Blinders finales had become a little formulaic, certainly,” he added.

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Helen McCrory, who plays Polly, is the Shelby family matriarch

“The fifth was jarringly different, as writer Steven Knight shook up his own formula.

“But lots of loose ends were left dangling… roll credits and doom-laden Nick Cave theme song. Now bring on series six and soon. We need answers.”

Hogan’s thoughts were echoed by some fans on Twitter (spoiler alert).

The Times’ Carol Midgley, giving the episode four stars out of five, declared “it was a stonker of a finale” and had “mostly played a blinder”.

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Children In Need 2019: Strictly, Star Wars and soaps help charity appeal




Craig Revel Horwood, Motsi Mabuse, Shirley Ballas, Bruno Tonioli

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The Strictly Come Dancing judges in charitable mood

Stars from Strictly, Star Wars, Doctor Who and EastEnders are lending a hand to Children In Need to help raise funds in this year’s charity BBC TV appeal.

The five-hour telethon also features England football players, a celebrity edition of music quiz The Hit List and songs by Louis Tomlinson and Westlife.

They are all hoping viewers will donate to Children In Need, which supports 3,000 local charities and projects.

Last year, £50.6m was raised on the appeal night.

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The hosts: Marvin and Rochelle Humes, Mel Giedroyc, Tom Allen, Graham Norton, Ade Adepitan and Tess Daly

Children in Need is the BBC’s official UK charity and raises money for disadvantaged young people around the country, such as those experiencing poverty, with disabilities, or victims of abuse or neglect.

This year, comedian Tom Allen joins a presenting line-up that also includes Graham Norton, Tess Daly, Mel Giedroyc, Ade Adepitan and Marvin and Rochelle Humes.

EastEnders actors Ricky Champ (who plays Stuart Highway), Louisa Lytton (Ruby Allen), Maisie Smith (Tiffany Butcher) and Rudolph Walker (Patrick Trueman) swap Albert Square for the Strictly Come Dancing ballroom for the night.

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Strictly judge Craig Revel Horwood appears in a sketch with EastEnders’ Ricky Champ and Rudolph Walker

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The EastEnders teamed up with Strictly professionals

Star Wars actors Daisy Ridley and John Boyega challenge YouTuber Colin Furze to build a real working landspeeder [vehicle that hovers], helped by young people from Children In Need projects.

Doctor Who’s Jodie Whittaker also makes an appearance, and Norton gives three children the chance to be on his chat show sofa – and the power to tip joke-telling celebrities out of his famous big red chair.

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Graham Norton gives Julio, Iara and Emma control over his famous lever

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Will Julio like the jokes told by Anneka Rice in the big red chair?

Meanwhile, there are special versions of Mock The Week, Crackerjack and Dragon’s Den, along with performances from Michael Ball and Alfie Boe, plus the casts of Big, The Tina Turner Musical and Circus 1903.

England footballers Harry Kane, Marcus Rashford and Raheem Sterling have been filmed surprising children from the England Amputee Football Association.

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England stars Harry Kane, Marcus Rashford and Raheem Sterling with children from the England Amputee Football Association and presenter Mark Wright

A special edition of BBC One’s The Hit List features pop stars including rapper Wretch 32, ex-JLS singer JB Gill, Heidi Range from the Sugababes, Girls Aloud’s Nadine Coyle, Liberty X star Michelle Heaton and Blue’s Antony Costa.

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JB Gill and Wretch 32 on the special Hit List

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Marvin and Rochelle Humes host The Hit List

TV personality Rylan Clark-Neal has already raised more than £1m for the cause with his 24-hour karaoke marathon on BBC Radio 2.

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Media captionRylan’s karaoke challenge: The best bits

Children in Need is on BBC One at 19:30 GMT on 15 November

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Al Murray: ‘Nephew needs a transplant before Christmas’




Comedian Al Murray is urging people to sign up to a blood stem cell register run by the cancer charity DKMS.

His nephew Finley, aged six, has a rare and aggressive form of childhood leukaemia.

He is undergoing chemotherapy but his best chance of fighting the disease is a bone marrow transplant.

Watch the Victoria Derbyshire programme on BBC Two and BBC News Channel, 10:00 to 11:00 GMT – and see more of our stories here.

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Taylor Swift says AMAs performance in doubt amid music feud




Taylor Swift performs at the MTV Video Music Awards in New Jersey, US, 26 August 2019Image copyright

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Swift is being named Artist of the Decade at this month’s AMAs

Taylor Swift has said her performance at the upcoming American Music Awards (AMAs) is in doubt because she is being barred from performing her own songs.

In a message to fans on social media, the singer said music managers Scooter Braun and Scott Borchetta would not let her perform songs from her past albums, which they own the rights to.

She said a Netflix documentary about her life had also been put in jeopardy.

Braun and Borchetta have not yet responded.

Swift made the allegations in a statement posted to Twitter with the caption: “Don’t know what else to do”.

“Right now my performance at the AMAs, the Netflix documentary and any other recorded events I am planning to play until November 2020 are a question mark,” she wrote.

Why is there a feud?

In June, Swift revealed that the masters of her early music had been sold to Braun by her former record label, run by Borchetta, and alleged that she was not told about it.

At the time the singer accused Braun, who also manages Ariana Grande, Justin Bieber and Demi Lovato, of “incessant, manipulative bullying”.

  • Swift v Braun: Personal or strictly business?
  • Taylor Swift ‘bullied’ by man who now owns her music

Swift also accused Braun of attempting to “dismantle” her “musical legacy”. While he did not respond to her comments, he was supported by Lovato and Bieber, who claimed Swift was just out “to get sympathy”.

The singer confirmed in August that she planned to re-record music from her first six albums so she could own the rights to the new versions.

What about the AMAs and Netflix documentary?

Swift is set to be named Artist of the Decade at the AMAs later this month and said she had been planning to perform a medley of her hits.

But in her statement on Thursday, she said the two men had blocked her from performing her old songs on television, claiming that this would be re-recording her music before she is allowed to next year.

They also blocked the use of her older music or performance footage in the upcoming Netflix film, she claimed.

Swift alleged that Borchetta told her team she would only be allowed to use the music if she agreed “not to re-record copycat versions” next year and stopped talking about the two men.

“The message being sent to me is very clear. Basically, be a good little girl and shut up. Or you’ll be punished,” she wrote.

She went on to ask her fans to help to pressure Braun and Borchetta into changing their minds and to appeal to the artists they manage for help. She also asked for help from the private equity firm The Carlyle Group, which she said financed the sale.

Fans responded instantly, with the hashtags “IStandWithTaylor” and “FreeTaylor” trending on Twitter.

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