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Summary

  1. News and updates for 12 May 2016
  2. BBC must focus on 'distinctive content'
  3. Sheridan Smith takes leave of absence from Funny Girl
  4. Turner Prize shortlist revealed

Live Reporting

By Holly Rubenstein and Victoria Lindrea

All times stated are UK

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  1. That's it for now

    It's been a jam-packed day of arts and entertainment news, and a pleasure to have you along for the ride. 

    Stop by tomorrow when we'll know whether Westlife's Nicky Byrne has made it into the Eurovision Song Contest Final, representing Ireland. If that doesn't bring you back, we don't know what will! 

  2. George Clooney: 'There's not going to be a President Trump'

    George Clooney and Julia Roberts

    George Clooney has vowed that there will never be a President Trump. 

    Quote Message: It's not going to happen because fear is not going to be something that drives our country. We're not going to be scared of Muslims or immigrants, or women. We're not actually afraid of anything. We're not going to use fear. So that's not going to be an issue." from George Clooney
    George Clooney

    The star, who was speaking at a press conference in Cannes to promote his new movie Money Monster, earned a round of applause. 

    Quote Message: Trump is the result of the news programmes not asking follow-up questions. It's really easy because the cable news numbers go up. Twenty-four-hour news doesn't mean you get more news. It just means you get the same news more.

    Clooney was joined by co-star Julia Roberts and director Jodie Foster on the Croisette to promote the financial-themed thriller. 

    Find out what our reporter, Neil Smith, thought, in his Cannes diary.

  3. The Night Manager heads to Amazon Prime

    The cast of The Night Manager

    AMC and the BBC's six-part miniseries The Night Manager, will stream exclusively on Amazon Prime and Prime Video in the UK, US, and Japan from later this year.

    Adapted from John le Carré’s 1993 spy novel, the show recently premiered in the US following a successful six-week run on BBC One.

  4. US Antiques Roadshow mistakenly values school project at £35,000

    Betsy Soule's jug

    This glazed redware jug, featuring six different faces, has become known as the 'grotesque face jug'.

    Alvin Barr from South Carolina found it in a barn during an estate sale, covered in straw, dirt and chicken droppings. He paid $300 (£207) for it.  

    Barr was therefore very surprised when he took the jug to be appraised on the US version of Antiques Roadshow and it was compared to a work of Picasso and valued by expert appraiser Stephen Fletcher, at $50,000 (£35,000).

    Quote Message: It's bizarre and wonderful. You even see a little bit of Pablo Picasso going on here. It's a little difficult to identify precisely when this was made, but I think it's probably late 19th or early 20th century. Estimating its value is a little difficult. I think in a retail setting, somebody might well ask in the area of between $30,000 and $50,000 for this. from Stephen Fletcher
    Stephen Fletcher

    However, it was later revealed by a friend of the jug's creator - who had seen it on TV - that the vase was made for a high school ceramics project in the 1970s, by a teenager.

    PBS has since corrected the face jug's details on its website, and revised its value to between $3000 (£2077) and $5000 (£3461).   

    How much would you pay for a grotesque face jug? Tweet us!

  5. Azealia Banks deletes racist tweets saying she was 'angry'

    Azealia Banks

    US rapper Azealia Banks has rolled back on her the racist rants against Zayn Malik which got her dropped from a UK festival line-up and insisted she was only trying "to make people think".

    She had accused the former One Direction star of copying her style and used several racial and homophobic slurs in tweets which have since been deleted.

    View more on twitter

    In a further tweet, which does contain some swearwords she said she had been "angry" and it looked to her like Zayn "felt as if he was too good to acknowledge me yet not to copy my creativity".

    Her remarks had her thrown off the bill at London radio station Rinse FM's Born and Bred festival in Hackney.

    Will her new tweets make amends?

  6. TV's Robson Green helps save Devon cliff man

    Robson Green and Sharon King
    Image caption: Robson Green with local resident Sharon King who witnessed the rescue

    Actor and TV presenter Robson Green has been involved in a dramatic cliff rescue.

    He was filming in Clovelly, north Devon when a man in his 70s was found 60ft (18m) down the cliff.

    The star heard his cries for help and tried to reach him before coastguards airlifted the man to safety.

    His spokeswoman said he "only did what anyone else would have done in the circumstances" and did not consider himself a hero.

    Local resident Sharon King, who saw the rescue, tweeted that Mr Green "went over the cliff to the casualty. No thought for himself. Lovely man!"

    Mr Green's spokeswoman added: "He tried to get down to him but sadly he was too far down the cliff, so he called the coastguard who sent a rescue crew to bring the man to safety. All recognition should go to them."

    A coastguard helicopter winched the man to safety. He was shaken but unhurt.

  7. New material from the Spice Girls (minus Victoria and Mel C)?

    Daily Mirror

    Spice Girls

    Three of the Spice Girls have apparently been pictured at London’s Play Deep Studios, where they are reported to be working on previously unheard material.

    According to The Mirror, Mel B, Emma and Geri are poised to release a new record later this year, exactly 20 years after Wannabe hit the chart.

    Earlier this year, Geri commented on speculation about a Spice Girls reunion saying it will just be "the four of us" (minus Victoria, who is busy with her fashion line), adding there was nothing "definite or concrete".

    So has Mel C now jumped ship too? Is it still the Spice Girls when two are missing? Worked okay for these guys we suppose...

    Take That
  8. Sheridan Smith to take leave of absence from Funny Girl

    Sheridan Smith

    Following our earlier post, it has now been announced that Sheridan Smith will be taking a 2-4 week leave of absence from the West End production of Funny Girl, due to stress and exhaustion.    

    The show's producers said today:

    Quote Message: The entire team at Funny Girl is thinking of Sheridan, and know she is getting the rest and support she needs during this very difficult and stressful time. We will all miss her enormously and send her our love and best wishes - and we are looking forward to her return to the show in due course.
    Quote Message: Meanwhile, we are thrilled to support the wonderful Natasha J Barnes who will be taking on the role of Fanny Brice until Sheridan’s return. Natasha has been covering Sheridan in this role since the run at the Menier Chocolate Factory and has received high praise from audiences on the occasions that she has appeared. We are all certain audiences will continue to love our amazing show
  9. Summing up the White Paper

    If you've missed out on our live coverage of today's White Paper, why not check out the key points here. It's all you need to know.

    And here's Robert Peston's two-penny's worth.

  10. Your views on the White Paper

    Here's what you've had to say about today's White Paper on the future of the BBC.

    Our arts and media correspondent David Sillito took questions live on the BBC News Facebook page earlier today. To find out more, watch here.

  11. White Paper: Rivals 'will be disappointed'

    BBC correspondent Nick Higham has given his analysis on today's White Paper:

    The BBC's critics, particularly its commercial rivals - newspapers foremost among them - will be disappointed: they'd hoped for more stringent measures to curb the corporation's ability to compete, especially online. In the Commons, the Shadow Culture Secretary, Maria Eagle, said most of what she called John Whittingdale's wilder proposals had been watered down or dumped and that he'd been overruled by the Prime Minister and Chancellor. If he was, that was perhaps to avoid a political row which might divide Conservatives in the run-up to the EU referendum.

    Read more.

  12. Ofcom 'confident' about new BBC responsibilities

    Commenting on its new role as regulator of the BBC, Ofcom said they would "work constructively with the Government, the BBC and the BBC Trust on next steps".

    Quote Message: The Government is proposing a significant extension to Ofcom's remit. We are confident that, with the right resources and planning, we can undertake our new responsibilities effectively and independently."
  13. Tackling the iPlayer loophole

    The Government has proposed closing the iPlayer loophole "meaning that those who watch BBC programmes on demand will now need a TV licence like everyone else", but few details have emerged as to how this will be done.

    The white paper states that someone wanting to access the service would have to "verify" they are a licence fee payer, but did not go into how this process would be enforced.

     A spokesman at the Department for Culture, Media and Sport said the process would be up to the BBC, but suggested that typing in a licence fee number while logging on may be an option.

    This process will also enable the BBC to make its content ‘portable’, so UK licence fee payers can access BBC iPlayer while on holiday in other EU member states.

  14. Licence fee may prove 'hard to sustain'

    Lord Hall has welcomed the proposals in the White Paper, including "a licence fee guaranteed for 11 years, and an endorsement of the scale and scope of what the BBC does today".

    However responding to MP's questions, Whittingdale acknowledged that the existing licence fee model may become difficult to sustain in the future.

    Quote Message: The world is changing fast and there may come a time when the existing model is hard to sustain. That is something the BBC has recognised. They will set up these pilots, they will assess them, and the findings will be used to inform the next charter renewal process.

    Responding to the White Paper, Jonathan Isaby, chief executive of the TaxPayers' Alliance pressure group, said it was "regrettable that the Government has ducked the opportunity for substantial reform of the regressive and arcane TV licence fee"

    Quote Message: With the technology now in place for people to subscribe to their choice of thousands of competing channels and watch them wherever they happen to be, the time has surely come to explore a new, fairer funding model fit for the 21st century.
  15. Star salaries: 'The public have a right to know'

    Following on from the white paper proposal to publish BBC stars with salaries over £450,000, Whittingdale agreed there was a "huge gulf" between the money spent on some salaries and services like local radio.

    Quote Message: There is a huge gulf between the expenditure on BBC local radio… and the extraordinary amounts paid to certain individuals.

    Mr Whittingdale said at his own local BBC station “the paint is peeling off the walls and they can barely afford a coffee maker”

    “That’s why the government felt it right” to publish the salaries of people “who have substantial remuneration packages", he said.

    “The public have a right to know."

  16. Andrew Castle: 'Be careful before you wish it away'

    Andrew Castle

    Speaking outside the BBC's Broadcasting House, Wimbledon commentator Andrew Castle spoke up for the corporation.

    Quote Message: Many things people were concerned about don't seem to be happening. I would say one thing, without wishing to be luvvie-ish about this institution which I do work for occasionally on the tennis - be careful before you wish it away, because it's one of the most famous brands in the world, it's one of the most trusted and respected brands in the world, and if you were to lose some of its bite and some of its programming a lot of it would be very, very badly missed. Because they still do quality. And I'm proud to work on the BBC's coverage of Wimbledon and Queen's. I know the standards.
  17. 'Honest disagreement' between BBC and government

    BBC Director General Lord Hall has said the corporation had an "honest disagreement" with the Government over plans for the National Audit Office to scrutinise BBC spending and proposals for appointments to a new board, which he described as "not yet right". 

    The BBC Trust will be abolished and replaced by a unitary board of up to 14, with the BBC responsible for appointing at least half of the members and the Government no more than six.

    Rona Fairhead, current chair of the BBC Trust, said: "We recognise that the Government has moved, but we need to debate these issues to ensure the arrangements for the board achieve the correct balance of independence, public oversight and operational effectiveness. We believe there is more than enough time to get this right, and we will continue to discuss this with the Government."

  18. Support for local radio and local newspapers

    Conservative minister Peter Heaton-Jones argued that "wIth the BBC’s income from the public now guaranteed to be approaching £4bn, there is no reason for it to make cuts to front-line services, and especially to BBC local radio".

    Whittingdale agreed, saying he hoped the corporation "will continue to recognise the importance of local radio".

    "I regard local radio as one of the things that best exemplifies the public service remit that the BBC has.

    Similiarly Conservative minister Victoria Atkins asked what was being done to protect local newspapers.

    Whittingdale agreed that local newspapers "play a vital role in sustaining local democracy. Therefore, I have sought to encourage the BBC to support them".

    "I am delighted that an agreement has been reached between the BBC and the News Media Association... that represents the local press. They intend to fund 150 journalists who will be employed by qualifying news organisations, not the BBC."

  19. Licence fee freeze to come to an end

    Whittingdale has said the licence fee freeze will come to an end to give the corporation "the funding it needs".

    Quote Message: The licence fee has been frozen since 2010. We will end this freeze and will increase the fee in line with inflation until 2021/22. This gives the BBC the certainty and the funding it needs.

    He also confirmed the the government would seek to close the iPlayer "loophole" which allows people to watch the catch-up service without paying a licence fee - and address issues over non-payment of the licence fee.

    Quote Message: The current licence fee needs to be fairer, so we will close the iPlayer loophole. There will be pilots of a more flexible payment system … for those on a lower income
  20. BBC must work with 'rival' programme makers

    The White Paper has proposed the BBC opens programme-making to greater competition.

    Mr Whittingdale said: "The BBC already allows up to 50% of its content to be competed for by the independent sector. The Government now intends that the remaining 50% in-house guarantee should be removed for all BBC content, except news and related current affairs output. 

    Quote Message: Rather than seeing other players as rivals, the BBC should seek to… work with the wider broadcasting industry"
    Quote Message: This will not only benefit the creative industries, but it is fundamentally a good thing for viewers and listeners, with BBC commissioning editors given greater freedom to pick the most creative ideas and broadcast the highest quality programmes.