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Tributes paid after BBC News journalist Hanna Yusuf dies aged 27

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Hanna Yusuf

BBC journalist Hanna Yusuf, whose recent work included an investigation into working conditions at Costa Coffee stores, has died aged 27.

The BBC’s Fran Unsworth, director of news, said Hanna was a “talented young journalist who was widely admired” and her death was “terrible news”.

Her family said they were “deeply saddened and heartbroken” and hoped her legacy “would serve as an inspiration”.

She wrote for the BBC News website, and had also worked as a TV news producer.

Hanna spoke six languages, including Somali and Arabic, and worked with, among others, whistleblowers and victims of serious crime.

Costa investigation

In 2018, she spoke to Zaynab Hussein, a mother of nine who moved to Leicester in 2003 after escaping violence and instability in Somalia. She told Hanna about the hate crime that left her with life-changing injuries after she was repeatedly run over by a 21-year-old stranger in the street.

Hanna’s article about Costa Coffee working conditions revealed employees’ complaints alleging managers’ refusal to pay for sickness or annual leave, working outside of contracted hours and the retention of tips.

A Costa Coffee spokeswoman said in August that an independent audit had been launched “given the serious nature of the allegations”.

Last year she also wrote about why some homeless people chose the streets over emergency shelter despite sub-zero temperatures.

Wearing the hijab

Hanna started at the BBC as a researcher on the News at Six and Ten in December 2017, before moving to the BBC News Channel and News at One and the website.

Before joining the BBC, Hanna wrote for publications including the Guardian, the Independent, the Times, the Muslim News, the Pool and Grazia Magazine.

In 2015, she created a video for the Guardian about her decision to wear the hijab at the time, saying “it has nothing to do with oppression. It’s a feminist statement”, which was picked up by other websites including Teen Vogue and Everyday Feminism.

Appearing on Good Morning Britain after the European Court of Justice’s 2017 ruling gave employers the power to ban all political, religious and philosophical symbols at work, she told TV presenters Piers Morgan and Susannah Reid it would “disproportionately affect Muslim women”.

Born in Somalia in 1992, she received a Scott Trust bursary to do an MA in newspaper journalism at City, University of London in 2017, following her degree at Queen Mary, University of London.

In a statement, Hanna’s family said the death of their “beloved daughter, sister and niece” had come as a shock and asked for privacy.

“Many will know Hanna for her incredible contributions to journalism and for her work at the BBC.

“While we mourn her loss, we hope that Hanna’s legacy will serve as an inspiration and beacon to her fellow colleagues and to her community and her meaningful memory and the people she has touched for many years lives on,” they said.

They added that they would notify the community about funeral arrangements in due course.

Director of BBC News Fran Unsworth said: “This is terrible news that has left us all deeply saddened. Hanna Yusuf was a talented young journalist who was widely admired across the BBC and our utmost sympathies go to her family and many friends. Hanna will be much missed.”

Fellow BBC journalist Sophia Smith Galer said Hanna was “invariably the kindest, smartest and most captivating person in the room”.

“We have lost a fierce friend and a force for truth and light which stretched far beyond her journalism to the many lives she touched here at the BBC and beyond,” she said.

“We will make sure her legacy of compassionate storytelling rings loud and clear in the time to come and we are going to miss her so, so much.”

And BBC chief international correspondent Lyse Doucet tweeted: “You left too soon a world where you shone such a bright light.”





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Cinema signs become a creative canvas in pandemic times

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Normally a space for displaying film times, cinema signs have seen a wave of creativity in the United States during the coronavirus pandemic.

Witty customised signage has appeared reflecting the cinema owners love of films, their humour and concerns.

Talking Movies’ Tom Brook reports.

Talking Movies can be seen on BBC World News



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Actor Michael Angelis dies aged 76

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Michael Angelis

Actor Michael Angelis, known for his role in TV dramas such as Boys from the Blackstuff, and for narrating Thomas The Tank Engine, has died at the age of 76.

He died suddenly while at home with his wife on Saturday, his agent said.

The Liverpool-born actor lent his voice to children’s favourite Thomas and Friends for 13 series after taking over from Beatle star Ringo Starr in 1991.

He also appeared as Mickey Startup in Auf Wiedersehen, Pet.

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Angelis (right) appeared in the influential 1980s drama Boys from the Blackstuff

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He also featured in the BBC drama Good Cop with Warren Brown in 2012

He starred alongside Bernard Hill and Julie Walters in the Bafta-winning 1980s series Boys From The Blackstuff, which highlighted the hardships of unemployment.

Angelis also had roles in Minder, The Liver Birds, Z Cars and Good Cop.

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Julie Walters and Michael Angelis played a couple struggling with poverty in Boys from the Blackstuff

He was married to Coronation Street actress Helen Worth, who plays Gail Platt, from 1991 to 2001, and later married Jennifer Khalastchi.

Paying tribute to him on social media, comedian Matt Lucas described Angelis as “one of the greatest TV actors I’ve ever seen”.

Lucas said: “His work with (screenwriter) Alan Bleasdale was tremendous. What a loss.”





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Coronavirus: The self-isolation choir with worldwide members

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We’ve all missed being with friends, families and colleagues over the last few weeks, but the two million people in the UK who belong to choirs have missed the experience of singing together.

This weekend thousands of them will gather online for a singalong of Handel’s Messiah, which lasts hours.



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