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Sandy Ratcliff: Lung condition and excess morphine killed ex-EastEnders actress

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Former EastEnders actress Sandy Ratcliff died after taking an excessive amount of morphine while suffering from two terminal lung conditions, an inquest has heard.

She was one of the BBC soap’s original cast members, appearing as cafe owner Sue Osman from 1985 to 1989.

Off-screen she battled a heroin addiction for 20 years, an inquest at Poplar Coroner’s Court was told.

Ratcliff died aged 70 in April, in sheltered housing in north-east London.

The actress’s first major role was in Ken Loach’s Family Life in 1971, in which she played a schizophrenic teenager.

Her EastEnders character Sue Osman contended with cot death and her husband’s infidelity before she was sectioned and written out of the BBC soap.

Ratcliff’s other TV appearances after EastEnders included an episode of Maigret in 1992, opposite Michael Gambon.

The inquest heard Ratcliff had been discharged from hospital the day before she died and given morphine for pain relief.

Her son, William Palmer, said his mother suffered three strokes in the years leading up to her death – the first taking place shortly after her partner died in 2013.

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(L-R) Nejdet Salih, Oscar James, Sandy Ratcliff, John Altman and Tom Watt starred in EastEnders in 1985

Giving evidence, he said the stroke had left her with pain in her left arm, for which she was prescribed codeine, but the inquest heard Ratcliff would take more than her prescribed amount for both pain management and “recreational use”.

Giving her conclusion, coroner Mary Hassell said Ratcliff was “near to the end” when she was admitted to hospital.

“I don’t think the morphine was used to end her life,” she said. “She was using it as she had used drugs for many years.”

“She died from a combination of two naturally occurring terminal conditions and an excess of morphine.”

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Kylie Jenner sells stake in cosmetics company for $600m

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Kylie Jenner will sell the majority of her cosmetics company for $600 million (£463 million).

The 22-year-old’s brand, including Kylie Cosmetics and Kylie Skin, will be controlled by beauty giant Coty.

Kylie says she is building the brand into an “international beauty powerhouse”.

Forbes reported that she made $360 million in sales in 2018, making her the youngest self-made billionaire ever.

The chairman of Coty’s board called Kylie a “modern-day icon, with an incredible sense of the beauty consumer”.

Her online influence is so powerful that she reduced Snapchat’s stock market value by $1.3bn (£1bn) when she tweeted that she does not use the app anymore.

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Kylie Cosmetics products are available in 1,163 Ulta Beauty stores throughout the US

The reality TV star launched her brand in 2015 with a line of lipsticks, and has since then branched out into face make-up and skincare.

Although she’s the youngest, Kylie is the highest earner in the Kardashian family.

She faced backlash after being named a “self-made” billionaire, but defended herself saying that none of her money has come from inheritance.

She has more than 151 million followers on her personal Instagram account, as well as 22 million on her Kylie cosmetics account.

Coty, which owns brands like Burberry and Hugo Boss, will have a 51% stake in the company.

It said the deal will be completed in 2020.

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Rare Charlotte Bronte book coming home after museum’s auction success

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The book by Charlotte Bronte slipped through the museum’s fingers eight years ago

A book written by Charlotte Bronte at the age of 14 will return “home” after being bought by the Bronte Society at auction in Paris.

The miniature work, called The Young Men’s Magazine, will go to the Parsonage Museum in the Brontes’ old home in Haworth, West Yorkshire.

It was bought for €780,000 (£666,000) after a fundraising campaign by the Bronte Society, which runs the museum.

The museum lost out on the book when it last went under the hammer in 2011.

The work is one of six “little books” written by Charlotte, the eldest of the three sisters, in 1830. Five are known to survive, and the Bronte Parsonage Museum already holds the other four.

The works were created for Charlotte’s toy soldiers and document an imaginary world created by the family called Glass Town.

Charlotte is best known for her 1847 classic novel Jane Eyre.

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Dame Judi Dench led a campaign to raise funds for the book to be secured for the Bronte Parsonage Museum

The existence of the book that went up for sale – measuring 35mm x 61mm and consisting of 20 pages – came to light in 2011 when it was auctioned at Sotheby’s.

The Bronte society was outbid by a discredited investment scheme that is no longer operational.

Before the auction, Kitty Wright of the Bronte Society said: “This extraordinary manuscript slipped through our fingers in 2011 so we are especially determined to make the most of this second opportunity to bring it home to Haworth.”

Rebecca Yorke, also from the society, said more than 900 people had pledged money to help buy the book.

“They have also expressed how strongly they feel that this remains in Haworth, where it can be enjoyed by visitors and researched by scholars and academics,” she told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.

Several celebrities, including Dame Judi Dench, Dame Jacqueline Wilson and Tracy Chevalier, backed the society’s efforts to raise money.

‘A magical doorway’

York-born Dame Judi, who is president of the Bronte Society, said earlier this year: “I have long been fascinated by the little books created by the Brontes when they were children.

“These tiny manuscripts are like a magical doorway into the imaginary worlds they inhabited, and also hint at their ambition to become published authors.”

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Charlotte Bronte captured by the artist George Richmond

The Paris auction house catalogue said: “This is a unique opportunity to acquire such a precious autograph piece of the origin of this genius novelist, as well as a glance at the children’s games and the imaginary world of the ‘Glass Town’ of the Bronte children.”

Part of the Young Men’s Magazine describes a murderer driven to madness after being haunted by his victims, and how “an immense fire” burning in his head causes his bed curtains to set alight.

Experts at the museum say this section of the story is “a clear precursor” of a famous scene between Bertha and Edward Rochester in Jane Eyre, which Charlotte would publish 17 years later.

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Justice League: Stars call for the #SnyderCut

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In news that will get DC Comics megafans insanely excited – and confuse everyone else – Ben Affleck, Gal Gadot and Ray Fisher have tweeted #ReleaseTheSnyderCut.

It’s all to do with a rumoured alternative cut of the superhero epic Justice League.

When it came out in 2017, the original got almost universally bad reviews.

Now three of its biggest stars have joined calls for the mystery edit to be shown the light of day.

Justice League was supposed to be DC Comics’ answer to Marvel’s The Avengers – a way to bring the franchise’s biggest names together in one movie.

But it was hit by big problems.

Its original director, Zack Snyder, had a family tragedy and had to drop out in post-production. The film was then taken on by Joss Whedon.

When it was released it was hardly a critical success – ending up with a woeful 40% on the website which pulls together critical reviews, Rotten Tomatoes.

And a lot of fans weren’t happy either – nearly 180,000 of them signed a petition calling for the film to be re-released as it was before Joss Whedon got involved.

Whether or not that version even existed was up for discussion – until, earlier this year, Zack Snyder was filmed apparently telling a fan that it does – and that Warner Bros. has it.

Then, at the start of November Jason Mamoa, who plays Aquaman in the franchise, told MTV that he had seen the “Snyder cut” – and that the public needed to see it too.

Now, on the two-year anniversary of the film’s original release, Ben Affleck (Batman), Gal Gadot (Wonder Woman) and Ray Fisher (Cyborg) have weighed in as well.

And it looks like they have Zack Snyder’s support.

There is no official word from Warner Bros.

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