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Bake Off judge Prue Leith urges hospital bosses to let patients eat when they want 

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bake off judge prue leith urges hospital bosses to let patients eat when they want

Hospital bosses have been urged by Bake Off judge Prue Leith to abandon set meal times in an effort to encourage patients to eat.

A team of experts headed by the celebrity chef was asked to undertake a root-and-branch review into hospital food by Health Secretary Matt Hancock.

It follows mounting complaints and NHS figures showing three patients die every day as a result of malnutrition.

Bake Off judge Prue Leith to abandon set meal times in an effort to encourage patients to eat

Bake Off judge Prue Leith to abandon set meal times in an effort to encourage patients to eat

There has been criticism over the quality of food served in hospitals in the country

There has been criticism over the quality of food served in hospitals in the country 

The team’s 93-page report seen by The Mail on Sunday, also calls for ‘dinnertime companions’, communal dining areas and ‘cutting sandwiches into quarters and adding a garnish’. It says patients should be given iPads to order meals online.

But last night, health professionals poured scorn on the idea.

Dr Jim Stewart, a consultant gastroenterologist, said the report was ‘missing the fundamental complexity involved with feeding sick people’. And Wendy-Ling Relph, matron for nutrition at East Kent University Hospital Trust, said that many of the recommendations were unrealistic.

She said: ‘Wards are busier than ever, with patients sicker than they have ever been.

‘Most patients don’t want to move far from their bed – and are too sick to do so.’

This post first appeared on dailymail.co.uk

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Rishi Sunak reveals fresh £22bn bailout pot to head off a jobs bloodbath

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rishi sunak reveals fresh 22bn bailout pot to head off a jobs bloodbath

Rishi’s new bailout 

  • Firms in Tier 2 lockdown eligible for £2,100-a-month grants, potentially benefiting 150,000 businesses. If there is full take-up it could cost £1.2billion.
  • Job Support Scheme changed so employers pay just 5 per cent of unworked hours – down from a third – and the minimum threshold for hours worked will be one day a week instead of 33 per cent. The Treasury said the costs were unclear because JSS will be ‘demand led’ but it will be ‘in the billions’.
  • Self-employed grants increased to cover 40 per cent of average profits, with maximum rising from £1,875 to £3,750. Officials said the grants are now expected to cost £3.1billion up to January – and could be twice that if the higher rate is maintained to April. 
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Rishi Sunak yesterday announced an emergency bailout that will cost up to £22billion bailout to keep business afloat and head off a jobs bloodbath this winter. 

The Chancellor’s fresh financial package has been hailed a lifeline for firms under Tier 2 lockdowns such as London which were previously ineligible for Government support.

In a statement to the House of Commons, he unveiled the three-pronged funding blizzard to shore up the health of UK Plc as more regions face tighter restrictions.   

Mr Sunak said grants of up to £2,100 a month will be offered to Tier 2 companies that are not forced to close but are struggling to be commercially viable..

Some 150,000 businesses are estimated to qualify for the payments, which could cost the Treasury £1.2billion. 

The Job Support Scheme, which will replace furlough, will be extended to firms that are legally allowed to open.

It will be made more generous so employers will only have to pay 5 per cent of staff wages, while the minimum threshold for hours worked will be slashed to just one day.

If two million people enroll, the pledge could cost the Treasury £6billion. 

Finally, Mr Sunak increased grants given to self-employed workers to 40 per cent of the average profits, up to a maximum of £3,750 a month, which could cost about £3billion.

The Chancellor prepared to dip deeper into the Treasury’s coffers as Government borrowing was revealed to be running at £1billion a day during the pandemic. 

Explaining why he has been forced to introduce extra measures just weeks after setting out his winter economy plan, Mr Sunak told MPs that even businesses which can stay open are facing ‘profound economic uncertainty’.

The Chancellor said hospitality chiefs have given a clear message that ‘the impact of the health restrictions on their businesses is worse than they hoped’.

In the Commons, Mr Sunak acknowledged the strain the second wave of the virus had placed on communities living under coronavirus curbs and warned of ‘difficult days and weeks ahead’.

Stoke-on-Trent, Coventry and Slough will be elevated to the high alert level from Saturday, while Warrington, West Yorkshire and Nottinghamshire are teetering on the edge of Tier 3. 

He said: ‘I understand your frustration, people need to know this is not forever. These are temporary restrictions to help control the spread of the virus,’ he said.

Shadow chancellor Anneliese Dodds branded Mr Sunak’s announcements ‘a patchwork of poor ideas rushed out at the last minute’ and questioned why ‘this is the right thing to do now, but wasn’t when parts of the North and Midlands’ were put under restrictions months ago.

Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham, who was involved in a full-throated spat with the Government over his region’s move to Tier 3, hit out at the timing of the support, saying: ‘Why on Earth was this not put on the table on Tuesday to reach an agreement with us?’  

Boris Johnson denied that the timing was related to the capital and places like Essex being put under restrictions. 

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Boris Johnson

Rishi Sunak

The Chancellor’s fresh financial package has been hailed a lifeline for firms under Tier 2 lockdowns such as London which were previously ineligible for Government support (pictured speaking in Downing Street with the PM)

In a dramatic Commons statement, the Chancellor boosted support for sectors like hospitality after a wave of anger at 'loopholes' in his existing provision. Mr Sunak (right) and Robert Jenrick (left) hosted a roundtable with business leaders this  before the announcement

In a dramatic Commons statement, the Chancellor boosted support for sectors like hospitality after a wave of anger at ‘loopholes’ in his existing provision. Mr Sunak (right) and Robert Jenrick (left) hosted a roundtable with business leaders this  before the announcement

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The new system means workers could receive less overall than under the previous arrangements – but employers will contribute far less. The employer contribution will be just 5 per cent of the hours not worked, which could equate to as little as 4 per cent of the overall previous wage as illustrated here  

The government has been laying out huge sums on the coronavirus response while tax revenues have nosedived

The government has been laying out huge sums on the coronavirus response while tax revenues have nosedived

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Another £36.1billion was borrowed in September – the third-highest month on record and compared to just £7billion a year ago – as tax revenues slumped and the Treasury poured out bailout money

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Who can apply for the bailout schemes and how?

Jobs Support Scheme 

The scheme will be open from 1 November until the end of April 2021. 

Employers will be able to make a claim online through Gov.uk from December. 

The subsidies for wages will be paid by the government on a monthly basis, in arrears.

They will be issued with grants after payment to the employee has been made and reported to HMRC via an RTI return. 

Self-employed grants 

The grants to the self-employed are being provided through HMRC, and they are running a claiming service.

To be eligible people must have completed a 2018 to 2019 Self Assessment tax return, and have trading profits of no more than £50,000.

If individuals are not eligible based on the 2018-2019 tax return, previous years can be considered. 

The next grant will cover from November to January, and after that from the start of February until the end of April. 

The first will be set at 40 per cent of average profits, up to the ceiling, and HMRC will review the level of the second grant ‘in due course’.

The grants are subject to Income Tax and National Insurance Contributions.

Business grants 

Firms will be able to apply to local authorities for grants of up to £2,100 per month if they have been ‘severely impacted’ by lockdown curbs, but not formally closed.

Town halls will receive funding based on the number of hospitality, hotel, B&B, and leisure businesses in their area. 

For properties with a rateable value of £15,000 or under, grants will be £934 per month; rateable values of between £15,000 and £51,000 will receive £1,400 per month; and at £51,000 grants will be £2,100 per month.

That is equivalent to 70 per cent of the grant amounts given to legally closed businesses. 

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Appearing alongside the Chancellor, the PM told a Downing Street press briefing last night: ‘The issue is really one of basic fairness between various parts of the country that are having to experience regional restrictions, that’s what we were trying to achieve in the last 10 days.

‘What we are doing now is bringing forward measures that are designed to help businesses that can’t trade as they normally would and who are experiencing a fall in income.

‘And we are doing it across the whole country, it’s backdated to August.’

Mr Sunak said: ‘This is simply about fairness, it’s about treating people the same wherever they live and whatever their situation.’

He said when the earlier Job Support Scheme was designed, it was at a time when controls were being eased.

‘It was done over the summer with a view to the economy being open and restrictions being lifted. Obviously the last few weeks, that has not been as those businesses had expected,’ Mr Sunak said.

‘Those restrictions were coming back, they were having a cumulative effect on the ground, particularly in Tier 2 areas, particularly in hospitality.’  

Mr Sunak admitted that he could not give any precise figures for the overall bill, saying the schemes were ‘demand led’.   

Tory MPs have been increasingly alarmed at the gap, amid warnings that the crisis is set to drag on well into next year. Shocking official figures show that 17 per cent of firms in the accommodation and food services industry are at ‘severe’ risk of becoming insolvent. 

Addressing MPs yesterday, Mr Sunak said there were ‘difficult days and weeks ahead’.

‘Let me speak first to the people of Liverpool, Lancashire, South Yorkshire and Greater Manchester and indeed other areas moving into or already living under heightened health restrictions,’ he said.

‘I understand your frustration, people need to know this is not forever. These are temporary restrictions to help control the spread of the virus.

‘There are difficult days and weeks ahead, but we will get through this together. People are not on their own. We have an economic plan that will protect the jobs and livelihoods of the British people wherever they live and whatever their situation.’ 

Mr Sunak said: ‘I’ve always said that we must be ready to adapt our financial support as the situation evolves, and that is what we are doing today.

‘These changes mean that our support will reach many more people and protect many more jobs.

‘I know that the introduction of further restrictions has left many people worried for themselves, their families and communities.

‘I hope the Government’s stepped-up support can be part of the country pulling together in the coming months.’ 

Cementing his position as the leading hawk in Cabinet, Mr Sunak attacked Labour’s support for a ‘blunt’ national ‘circuit breaker’ lockdown. 

‘Just as we have throughout this crisis, we will listen and respond to people’s concerns as the situation demands,’ he said.

‘And I make no apology for responding to changing circumstances and so today we go further.’

He added: ‘The evidence is clear – a regional, tiered approach is the right way to control the spread of the virus.’

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How the government's new JSS arrangements would break down for a worker who usually is on a £1,100 a month full-time wage. They could also be eligible for universal credit, depending on circumstances

How the government’s new JSS arrangements would break down for a worker who usually is on a £1,100 a month full-time wage. They could also be eligible for universal credit, depending on circumstances

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Meanwhile, Boris Johnson met with Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi in Downing Street yesterday

Meanwhile, Boris Johnson met with Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi in Downing Street yesterday

ONS figures suggested nearly a fifth of hospitality firms are at 'severe' risk of going bust

ONS figures suggested nearly a fifth of hospitality firms are at ‘severe’ risk of going bust 

Firms borrow £4.6bn from Treasury in a month 

New figures from the Treasury today show businesses have borrowed around £4.6billion in Covid-19 support loans in the last month.

The data show that 6,509 companies borrowed £1.71billion under the coronavirus business interruption loan scheme between September 20 and October 18.

Meanwhile, 75,380 companies borrowed £2.18 as part of the bounce back loan scheme.

Some 57 companies borrowed around £730 million from the coronavirus large business interruption loan scheme.

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Firms forced to close in Tier Three, such as betting shops and soft play centres, will be able to furlough their workers on two-thirds of wages.

But there has been an outcry from hospitality firms in Tier Two, whose business models have been wrecked by restrictions that mean people can no longer meet socially indoors.

Tier Two restrictions now cover many of the most heavily populated parts of the country, including London, Birmingham, York, Essex and the North East. 

Under the Jobs Support Scheme (JSS), which officially launches from November 1, staff can have their wages topped up to 77 per cent of normal. 

The state and employer each fund 50 per cent of the cost of hours not worked. But critics have warned that the scheme gives too little incentive to firms to retain staff.

But Mr Sunak cut the cost of the employer’s contribution, with the state picking up more of the bill. 

The Treasury has modelled costings of £1billion per month for every two million people on the scheme. 

That would give a £6billion cost over the next six months, although much of that money was already committed. 

However, the bill could rise dramatically if more people sign up. 

Mr Sunak also increased the amount of profits covered by the forthcoming self-employed grant from 20 per cent to 40 per cent, meaning the maximum grant will increase from £1,875 to £3,750.

That means a ‘further’ £3.1bn of support to the self-employed between November to January alone, according to the Treasury.

If the next grant covering February to April is kept at the higher rate that would be roughly the same again. 

Meanwhile, Mr Burnham invited the PM to Manchester for face-to-face talks to ‘clear the air’ as he said he does not want a ‘lingering political argument’ with the Government.

The Labour Mayor has suffered a bruising week after talks with ministers over moving Greater Manchester into Tier Three coronavirus restrictions collapsed, prompting Mr Johnson to unilaterally impose the rules.

Accommodation and food companies warn of insolvency threat 

Nearly four in 10 accommodation and food industry firms say they are at moderate or severe risk of going bust.

The shocking scale of the problem was revealed in figures released by the ONS today.

Some 17 per cent of the sector responded to a survey saying they were at ‘severe’ threat of becoming insolvent.

And another 21 per cent said the risk was ‘moderate’. 

The level was far higher than for other major sectors of the economy that have been less directly hit by Covid. 

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The two sides failed to reach an agreement after Mr Burnham initially demanded a £90 million bailout for businesses before saying he could not accept less than £65 million but the PM would go no higher than £60 million.

The failure to reach an agreement prompted a furious war of words but Mr Burnham said this morning he now wants to ‘reset things on a better footing’ as he claimed to be ‘misunderstood down there’ in Westminster.

He later told MPs that the Government still ‘holds all of the power and all of the money’ and that mayors have to ‘go on bended knee’ to ministers to secure funding as he called for devolution to be made a ‘reality’.

However, the chances of a repairing of relations appears slim after Commons Leader Jacob Rees-Mogg accused Mr Burnham of ‘playing party politics of the cheapest and most disagreeable kind’. 

Torsten Bell, chief executive of the Resolution Foundation think tank, said: ‘Rishi Sunak has now created a fit for purpose part time work scheme that firms can actually use. A policy that might work in the real world as well as in spreadsheets.

‘The Chancellor has totally done the right thing today. Doing it earlier (given the obvious flaws) would have saved more jobs, but at least we’ve got to the right place 10 days ahead of the Job Support Scheme coming into effect.’

Adam Marshall, director general of the British Chambers of Commerce, said a number of the steps outlined by the Chancellor responded directly to calls from chambers across the country.

‘Backdated grants for hospitality firms in Tier 2 and enhanced grants for the self-employed will go some way to alleviating pressure on many of those who have been particularly vulnerable to the economic impact of the pandemic,’ he said.

Pub and restaurant bosses Sunak’s ‘new furlough scheme’ to help hospitality sector… but warn it will STILL be a tough winter for many

Pub and restaurant bosses today welcomed Rishi Sunak‘s ‘new furlough scheme’ to help those in the hospitality sector – as others warned it will still be a tough winter for many. 

Dame Carolyn Fairbairn, the Confederation of British Industry’s director-general, dubbing the scheme ‘a welcome and much-needed successor to the furlough scheme.’ 

Speaking today, Dame Carolyn said: ‘It’s right that businesses contribute if they wish to access this scheme. 

‘But with a tough winter ahead, significantly increased Government contributions to non-worked hours across all regions will do even more to protect people’s livelihoods.’

Ms Fairbairn said the ‘missing middle of pubs, cafes and theatres in Tier Two along with other businesses across the UK who are seeing demand fall away, but with little extra support, will be relieved to see that anomaly come to an end.’ 

‘This is a big step towards a more standardised approach of support for areas going into tiers two and three and those businesses that face tough times who operate within them,’ she said.  

A British Chambers of Commerce spokesman added: ‘Chambers have been campaigning for greater support for businesses experiencing big falls in demand as a result of new restrictions, and a number of the steps announced today, including the lowering of employer contributions and the number of hours worked needed to qualify for the scheme, respond directly to our calls.’ 

Jonathan Geldart, director general of the Institute of Directors, also welcomed the scheme, adding: ‘The new and improved jobs support scheme is to be welcomed, and should go some way to easing company directors’ fears.

‘A substantial reduction in the employer contribution is a crucial step, reflecting our members’ concerns.

‘Taking a national approach will help to cut through the confusion of different tiering systems and backroom political negotiations.’

However, others have warned the ‘sad reality’ is that thousands of businesses are likely to close over the winter ‘whatever financial support packages the Chancellor offers up.’ 

Aude Barral, co-founder of developer recruitment platform CodinGame, added: ‘The Government needs to recognise how important reskilling and retraining is going to be in helping the country get back on its feet as quickly as possible.

‘The hospitality, tourism and retail sectors have been decimated by the pandemic, but there are sectors such as technology that have huge employment potential.

‘There needs to be significantly more investment in retraining for the future, opening up these sectors to people who have transferable skills and are keen to get back to work.’

Other business owners agreed that the Government support is welcome, but insisted ‘this isn’t enough to help us if they still keep in place the same restrictions.’

Mark Dogan, 50, who runs Gizel kebab shop in Clapham, told MailOnline: ‘Everyone having to leave pubs before 10pm means we get no business then. This isn’t enough.

‘And what are the details. Will they pay every week or only each month? So yes, I’ll take it, but they’re not doing enough to help.’

Malik Ahmed, a waiter at Argan restaurant by Clapham Common, was also critical of the new scheme, under which wages can be topped up to 77 per cent of the normal figure.

He said: ‘We live in London, even with 100 percent of our wages we still can’t cover all our bills.

‘Now we are getting even less, so how am I going to afford rent, travel and all those other costs?

‘This programme assumes that everyone has savings, but many don’t. We are really struggling at the moment, business is dead because of all the restrictions.

‘Look around, its lunch and there’s hardly anyone here because customers are staying away. We need the restrictions gone now – we want to work hard and earn our full wages.’ 

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‘The true test of these reforms will be whether they help businesses on the ground get through the difficult months ahead.

‘This is a very significant improvement in the support available to businesses struggling with the impact of increasing restrictions across the UK.’

Frances O’Grady, general secretary of the British Trades Union Congress (TUC), said: ‘Today’s measures are a step forward but there are still big holes in the government’s plan.

‘Low-paid workers will face real hardship if they have to get by on less than 80% of their wages and the support for the self-employed is still too low.

‘The Chancellor should have increased support for all workers to at least 80% and we still need decent sick pay for people forced to self-isolate.

‘With the public health crisis worsening across the country we will continue to keep up the pressure for the government to protect jobs and livelihoods, and we’ll continue to call for ministers to invest in job creation, high-quality training and a significant increase to universal credit.’

Carolyn Fairbairn, CBI director general, said: ‘The Job Support Scheme will be a welcome and much-needed successor to the furlough scheme and will protect many livelihoods when it begins.

‘It’s absolutely right that businesses contribute if they wish to access this scheme. But with a tough winter ahead, significantly increased Government contributions to non-worked hours across all regions will do even more to protect people’s livelihoods.

‘The missing middle of pubs, cafes and theatres in Tier 2, who are seeing demand fall away but with little extra support, will be relieved to see that anomaly come to an end.’

Stephen Phipson, chief executive of Make UK, said: ‘The Chancellor has said that he would work hard to protect jobs and today’s statement is another critical step, particularly making the Job Support Scheme much more accessible to employers.’

Jonathan Geldart, director general of the Institute of Directors, said: ‘More help for the self-employed is another positive, but there continues to be a glaring gap.

‘The exclusion of small company directors, a major part of the dynamic entrepreneurial heart of our economy, from key support schemes becomes all the more pressing as the virus wears on. It’s deeply frustrating that this issue still hasn’t been addressed.’

Mike Cherry, chairman of the Federation of Small Businesses, said: ‘At a time of immense struggle for many small businesses, these interventions will help to protect jobs, businesses and livelihoods.

‘The Chancellor has shown a willingness to be flexible and adapt interventions as the second wave of the virus escalates.’ 

Other business owners agreed that the Government support is welcome, but insisted ‘this isn’t enough to help us if they still keep in place the same restrictions.’

Mark Dogan, 50, who runs Gizel kebab shop in Clapham, told MailOnline: ‘Everyone having to leave pubs before 10pm means we get no business then. This isn’t enough.

‘And what are the details. Will they pay every week or only each month? So yes, I’ll take it, but they’re not doing enough to help.’

Malik Ahmed, a waiter at Argan restaurant by Clapham Common, was also critical of the new scheme, under which wages can be topped up to 77 per cent of the normal figure.

He said: ‘We live in London, even with 100 percent of our wages we still can’t cover all our bills.

‘Now we are getting even less, so how am I going to afford rent, travel and all those other costs?

‘This programme assumes that everyone has savings, but many don’t. We are really struggling at the moment, business is dead because of all the restrictions.

‘Look around, its lunch and there’s hardly anyone here because customers are staying away. We need the restrictions gone now – we want to work hard and earn our full wages.’ 

New figures from the Treasury today show businesses have borrowed around £4.6billion in Covid-19 support loans in the last month.

The data show that 6,509 companies borrowed £1.71billion under the coronavirus business interruption loan scheme between September 20 and October 18.

Meanwhile, 75,380 companies borrowed £2.18 as part of the bounce back loan scheme.

Some 57 companies borrowed around £730 million from the coronavirus large business interruption loan scheme. 

This post first appeared on dailymail.co.uk

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BAZ BAMIGBOYE: Film icon Sophia Loren, 86, shows her true grit 

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At 86, Sophia Loren still exhibits the showstoping glamour she had in her golden movie-making heyday

At 86, Sophia Loren still exhibits the showstoping glamour she had in her golden movie-making heyday

At 86, Sophia Loren still exhibits the showstoping glamour she had in her golden movie-making heyday. 

But she would like you to know she’s not now, and never has been, just a sexpot (or ‘sexy pot’, as she would put it), or a ‘hot pants’.

When the proud Neapolitan first went to Hollywood in the mid-1950s, she was told by studio chiefs that her mouth was too wide, her nose too long and her teeth too crooked. ‘They tried to change me,’ she said. ‘But I wouldn’t let them.’

Which is a blessing, because the camera loved her, and she went on to win an Oscar in 1962, for Vittorio De Sica’s Two Women. Despite that, she had to fight for respect. Loren once said to Andy Warhol: ‘I am not a sexy pot! I am a serious actress.’

When I reminded her of those words, she said: ‘Really?! Did I say that?!’ But then she laughed and added: ‘I wanted to be sure they knew I could act, too.

‘With my English then — and also today! — sometimes I say the wrong things at the wrong time.’

However, the legendary actress said whatever her words, there was no misunderstanding the tone of her voice. 

Whether that was saying ‘no’ to a Hollywood-style make-over — or a movie executive who desired something more than a business conversation.

The #MeToo movement may not have existed back then, but Loren recognises all too well the struggle women in her industry still face to be seen as something other than ‘bombshells or whatever’.

‘I don’t like it. No. No. I am a person, not a hot pants. I don’t like to joke about such a thing. Yes, I agree with the #MeToo movement that we are people, not objects.’ 

We were on a three-way call. 

Loren and her younger son, Edoardo Ponti, were on separate lines, talking to me from her home in Switzerland. 

The #MeToo movement may not have existed back then, but Loren recognises all too well the struggle women in her industry still face to be seen as something other than ‘bombshells or whatever’. She is pictured above in 1959

The #MeToo movement may not have existed back then, but Loren recognises all too well the struggle women in her industry still face to be seen as something other than ‘bombshells or whatever’. She is pictured above in 1959

‘I’m only here if she needs some translating,’ Ponti said, before introducing ‘Mamma’, though actually, we required little introduction, having last met in Cannes in 2014.

The pair have just collaborated on their first feature-length film, The Life Ahead. Directed by Ponti, it stars teenage unknown Ibrahima Gueye alongside Ponti’s mother.

The picture — an awards season contender for Loren’s performance — is a contemporary re-telling of Romain Gary’s book about a Holocaust survivor and former brothel keeper, Madame Rosa, who runs a makeshift nursery in Bari, Puglia. 

Into Rosa’s life barges Momo, a turbulent 12-year-old Senegalese refugee. Loren’s first words, uttered in her first feature film for 11 years, are: ‘You little s***!’

‘She’s feisty,’ Loren agreed, chuckling. She said when her son offered her the role of Rosa, she fell in love with the part — and the picture — ‘and I don’t fall very easily in love with films that I read, sometimes’.

She said the relationship between Rosa and Momo is ‘heartbreaking’. And she admired the film for daring to tackle the subject of ‘outcasts who are refugees’.

‘The world is a dangerous and complicated place now,’ she said. ‘All we can do is live our lives with dignity and simplicity, without ego and fear.

‘I’m really proud of this character,’ she said of Rosa. ‘This is something I maybe wanted to play before I’m too old.’ She dragged the word ‘old’ out to ‘oooold’…and then dissolved into laughter.

Perhaps, working with Ibrahima made her feel young again? ‘I spoke to him like I were his mother and tried to teach him, if he was in a little trouble. Where to look at the camera.

‘This was his first film, and I was amazed that he was so prepared and focused. He was able to bring so much joy and emotion to the scenes. I hope he has a big future; but in the cinema you never know.

‘He was a great screen partner,’ she added. Coming from a woman who’s shared billing with actors like Marcello Mastroianni and Cary Grant, that’s high praise indeed.

Speaking of screen partners, Loren is a huge fan of another former co-star: Judi Dench, with whom she worked on the screen musical Nine.

She said the relationship between Rosa and Momo is ‘heartbreaking’. And she admired the film for daring to tackle the subject of ‘outcasts who are refugees’

She said the relationship between Rosa and Momo is ‘heartbreaking’. And she admired the film for daring to tackle the subject of ‘outcasts who are refugees’

Were they wicked together, I wondered? ‘No,’ she said, ‘because the director was not a funny director. We had so much to do that we had no time to joke. That’s sad, but true.’

But she did derive great pleasure from working with Nine’s leading man, Daniel Day-Lewis.

‘The men that I worked with in America, they’re not with us any more,’ she said sadly. ‘I loved Peter Sellers and the rest. And to work with them, one by one, was a big thing.’ Of today’s leading men, most ‘do the best they can’. But Day-Lewis is ‘the one’. ‘He’s wonderful. Wonderful!’ she exclaimed.

And the women? ‘I love Meryl Streep, of course,’ she said. ‘She’s the actress I most admire on the screen today.’

In case you’re wondering, The Life Ahead is not her swansong. She is not, she said, ready to retire. ‘It will never be my last, of course.’ Of course. 

The Life Ahead will be on Netflix from November 13.

Sope in a house of horrors

Sope Dirisu noted that Ian McKellen’s definition of a successful thespian is ‘someone who has a job to go on to’. And by that mark, the actor’s doing pretty well.

Dirisu is shooting a new film; and he has projects waiting, in a holding pattern, for next year. Also in 2021, he’ll be seen in Silent Night, alongside Keira Knightley.

During the lockdown, Dirisu’s profile rose thanks to his role as a kickass undercover cop in Sky Atlantic’s terrific mini-series Gangs Of London.

And next Friday, he and Wunmi Mosaku (star of HBO’s Lovecraft Country) will appear in director Remi Weekes’s psychological horror movie His House, which starts on Netflix just in time for Halloween.

They play a couple from South Sudan, seeking asylum in the U.K., who are sent to a decrepit sink estate where they discover that something — or someone — is living in the walls of their home.

Scares: Mosaku and Dirisu

Scares: Mosaku and Dirisu

The best horror thrillers, Dirisu said, have a story that underpins the terror. In This House, it’s as if the awful civil war the couple escaped, and the perilous journey they endured to reach England, have followed them. 

‘The trauma’s still within them,’ Dirisu told me. ‘You can’t shake off too quickly the reason they left their country.’

Dirisu observed that the fear depicted in the movie emerges out of their culture. 

‘Despite the missionaries’ and the colonisers’ best efforts, there’s a different culture of spirituality that exists in Africa, and I think we touch on that in this film, with the ‘thing’ they discover in the house,’ he said of the BBC Films production.

Was he scared making it? ‘With horror, there’s a lot of technicality to it,’ he explained. 

‘Lots of set-ups and set pieces. There’s a science to making those scares work.’ So nope, he wasn’t frightened — because he was involved in helping to create the fear factor. 

‘But I hope those coming to it fresh are truly terrified,’ he said ominously.

In addition to scaring the living daylights out of them, the film might also give audiences pause to consider the plight of refugees. Dirisu said he was glad to be able to give a voice to people who are talked about ‘cursorily in the news, but we never hear their stories from their own mouths’.

He and Mosaku ensure those voices are heard loud and clear.

More recently, Dirisu has been working with Olivia Colman, Colin Firth, Josh O’Connor and Odessa Young in filmmaker Eva Husson’s Mothering Sunday, based on Graham Swift’s novel of the same name. Producers Elizabeth Karlsen and Stephen Woolley signed the London-based actor up after watching his work during quarantine.

‘I’m lucky to be able to say that I have something to look forward to,’ he said, echoing McKellen’s words.

And next year he hopes to be in front of the cameras again, for season two of Gangs Of London. Which will be good news for the show’s legion of devoted fans…including many women. 

‘There was a concern that it was going to be too violent for some people, and the target audience was very masculine,’ Dirisu said. But he was comforted to hear that it had attracted a wide range of fans.

‘We’re hopeful of doing the second season, but it does depend on the worldwide health situation,’ he warned.

This post first appeared on dailymail.co.uk

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PC turned on siren and drove through red light before crash at 80mph as he dashed home for his TEA 

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pc turned on siren and drove through red light before crash at 80mph as he dashed home for his tea

After a tiring 12-hour shift, PC John Byrne was looking forward to his dinner.

So when his wife sent him a picture of what she had made for him, the hungry officer didn’t hang about.

Unfortunately, he was in a bit too much of a hurry, turning on the blue lights on his patrol vehicle and accelerating to 80mph – double the speed limit for the built-up area through which he was travelling.

PC John Byrne drove on blue lights at 80mph running a red light before crashing into another car in Menlove Avenue (pictured) in Liverpool. PC Byrne will keep his job at Merseyside Police

PC John Byrne drove on blue lights at 80mph running a red light before crashing into another car in Menlove Avenue (pictured) in Liverpool. PC Byrne will keep his job at Merseyside Police

He drove through a red light and then crashed his police car into another car in south Liverpool.

Last month the 28-year-old officer – who served as a royal guardsman in the RAF before joining Merseyside Police – was banned from the roads.

But yesterday it emerged that he is to keep his job, albeit with a final written warning. 

A police disciplinary hearing found he had breached professional standards but not to the extent that his actions merited his dismissal.

At Manchester Crown Court, PC Byrne, of St Helens, admitted dangerous driving and was banned for 12 months and handed a 12-month community order. 

‘Tired and hungry’ PC Byrne activated the blue lights of his police vehicle and sped through south Liverpool after his wife sent him a picture of his tea, the court heard.

The officer – who the court was told had not eaten all day – said he had been on a 12-hour shift on November 2 last year tackling gun crime in the city and still faced another two hours of paperwork before he could finish.

His Hyundai had reached a speed of 80mph in a 40mph zone and been driven through a red light before it smashed into a BMW, the hearing was told.

PC John Byrne was handed a community order at Manchester Crown Court after pleading guilty to one count of dangerous driving. He was also banned from the roads for 12 months

PC John Byrne was handed a community order at Manchester Crown Court after pleading guilty to one count of dangerous driving. He was also banned from the roads for 12 months

Moments earlier PC Byrne, who had been part of the Queen’s Colour Squadron during his time in the RAF, had been challenged by his partner after switching the lights on ‘without having proper reason to do so’.

Defending him at court, Richard Orme said: ‘He’s never done it before and bitterly regrets his decision.

‘The only reason he did it was due to the fact that in November last year his marriage was under a considerable amount of strain.

‘He and his wife are now in counselling through their church.’

PC Byrne must also carry out 40 hours of unpaid work, pay £355 prosecution costs and pass an extended driving test before he is allowed back on the roads. 

This post first appeared on dailymail.co.uk

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