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Terrance Dicks, Doctor Who writer and script editor, dies at 84

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Terrance Dicks in 2015Image copyright
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Terrance Dicks speaking at a Doctor Who event in 2015

British author Terrance Dicks, best known for his long association with Doctor Who, has died at the age of 84.

Dicks worked as script editor on more than 150 episodes of the classic sci-fi show. He also wrote numerous episodes.

Yet he is arguably better known for the many Doctor Who novelisations he wrote for the Target Books imprint.

Author Jenny Colgan said he had “helped more children (especially boys) develop a lifelong love of reading than almost anyone else who’s ever lived”.

Sci-fi writer Neil Gaiman also paid tribute, saying he would have never written for Doctor Who had Dicks not shown him how to do it.

Mark Gatiss, another member of the Doctor Who writing family, remembered Dicks as “a brilliant TV professional [and] a funny and generous soul”.

He was also, Gatiss continued, “an inspirational writer who took so many of us on unforgettable journeys into space and time”.

Chris Chibnall, Doctor Who’s current show runner, said Dicks had been “responsible for some of the show’s greatest moments and iconic creations”.

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Richard Hurndall, Peter Davison, Jon Pertwee and Patrick Troughton in The Five Doctors

“The lights of Doctor Who are dimmer tonight,” he said in a statement. “He was one of the greatest contributors to Doctor Who’s history, on screen and off.

“Everyone working on Doctor Who sends his family and friends our love and condolences at this difficult time.”

Born in east London in 1935, Dicks joined Doctor Who towards the end of Patrick Troughton’s tenure as the programme’s second Doctor.

One of his best-loved episodes was 1983’s The Five Doctors, the BBC show’s 20th anniversary special.

Dicks also worked on such shows as The Avengers, The Diary of Anne Frank and a 1983 version of Jane Eyre starring Timothy Dalton.

‘More than just another Doctor Who writer’

by Lizo Mzimba, entertainment correspondent

Terrance Dicks was more than just another Doctor Who Writer. His stories were some of the most influential of the original classic series.

His first credited script for the show was 1969’s The War Games with Patrick Troughton. Producer Derrick Sherwin had suggested the concept that the Doctor came from a race called the Time Lords.

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Patrick Troughton (centre) with Wendy Padbury and Frazer Hines in The War Games

The War Games script from Dicks and co-writer Malcolm Hulke took that idea and successfully introduced audiences to one of the series’ most popular and longest-running elements.

As script editor, Dicks – together with producer Barry Letts – was one of the creators of the Doctor’s arch-enemy The Master, introduced in the Jon Pertwee episode Terror of the Autons.

Just as importantly, the huge number of Doctor Who novelisations he wrote were instrumental in awakening a love of reading and an enduring passion for books in a generation of children.

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Pop Smoke: Rapper shot dead in apparent robbery

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The US rapper Pop Smoke has been killed, after an apparent armed robbery.

Los Angeles Police told Radio 1 Newsbeat a man was shot at his home and later pronounced dead, although didn’t confirm his identity.

But his label Republic Records says it’s “devastated by the unexpected and tragic loss of Pop Smoke”.

Police responded to reports of a robbery – and man was then taken to hospital and later pronounced dead.

Officers confirmed that an unknown number of suspects entered a property in West Hollywood.

They got a call about a robbery at 04:55 PST and were at the scene six minutes later.

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Pop Smoke at the Rolling Loud Festival, Los Angeles, in December 2019

Police say no suspects have been identified and no arrests have been made.

They also denied reports that a man was held at the scene but say one suspect is thought to have had a handgun.

Pop Smoke was signed to Republic Records which has said in a statement “our prayers and thoughts go out to his family, friends and fans, as we mourn this loss together.”

When reports first appeared in the US tributes began flooding in for Pop Smoke, real name Bashar Barakah Jackson – including from friends.

Pop Smoke had a breakout hit with Welcome to the Party in 2019 – which led to him being singled out as an artist to watch this year by BBC Radio 1Xtra, on the station’s Hot For 2020 list.

The station said he “possessed the air and cadence of a rapper who has been in the game for a decade or two longer than his actual age”.

The track ended up being remixed by both Nicki Minaj and Skepta.

Just last week Pop Smoke was a guest on DJ Target’s show on 1Xtra.

He was in the middle of several US tour dates and was due to come to the UK in April – with shows scheduled in London, Manchester and Birmingham.

50 Cent was one of many rappers, DJs and producers that paid tribute on social media, as did rapper Quavo, who Pop Smoke had collaborated with.

Last year he spoke about wanting to make music that inspires children who are growing up in poverty.

He told The Face: “I make music for that kid in the hood that’s gotta share a bedroom with like four kids – the young kids growing up in poverty.

“I make music for kids like that who know they just gotta keep going, that there’s a better way. That’s who I really make it for.”

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Listen to Newsbeat live at 12:45 and 17:45 weekdays – or listen back here.





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Jimmy Tarbuck: Comedian reveals prostate cancer diagnosis

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Comedian Jimmy Tarbuck has revealed he has been diagnosed with prostate cancer.

The veteran Liverpudlian comic told ITV’s Good Morning Britain he would “try and beat it”.

Tarbuck said he received the diagnosis the day after his 80th birthday earlier this month.

“Right now I feel great. I’m on the telly and I’m having a good time,” he said, adding that the cancer had not spread.

He was inspired to get checked by Sir Rod Stewart, who announced in September that he had received treatment for prostate cancer.

“All men out there watching, and all wives, get your husbands to go for the tests. I think after 50, just have a test, let them have a look at you,” Tarbuck said.

“You will be relieved and be with your families for extra years.”

He said men can be too “shy” to get tested, but urged them not to put it off. “Boys, go. It is embarrassing. Especially when the fella said to me ‘We’re going to give you the thumbs up’. I said ‘I hope not’. He roared laughing.”

Speaking about his treatment, he added: “I’m having injections and taking tablets and then I take a yearly cycle.”

Tarbuck, who rose to fame in the 1960s and was known for hosting variety shows including Sunday Night At The London Palladium and Live From Her Majesty’s, is now planning to go on tour.

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Brits 2020: Pop meets politics

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Highlights from this year’s ceremony included performances from Billie Eilish, Dave, Lizzo and Stormzy.



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