Category Entertainment News

Salmond to star in Edinburgh Fringe show

Salmond to star in Edinburgh Fringe show

Alex Salmond is to host his own show during a two-week stint at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

The former Scottish first minster will star in Alex Salmond Unleashed during the annual arts festival in August.

Promoters for the show say it will feature invited guests, music and comedy.

And they have promised “a bit of light-hearted banter and a few behind the scenes revelations about his time in power”.

Mr Salmond told the National newspaper: “I have always fancied a spot at the Edinburgh Fringe and this is going to be lots of fun.

“Obviously in the show there will be lots about politics but the emphasis will be very much on the lighter side.

“Among the invited guests there is already plenty of excitement and quite a few surprises. I suspect some people might be taken aback at the range of friends whom I invite along.

“I can confirm that the President of the United States will not be appearing in person but he may well feature in quite a few of the stories I tell about recent political events.”

The hour-long event will run for two weeks at the city’s Assembly Rooms from 13 August.

Mr Salmond, the former SNP leader, lost his Moray seat in the general election in June.

It has been reported that former SNP MP Tasmina Ahmed-Sheikh, who also lost her seat in the election, will be one of the producers of the show.

Gangnam Style is no longer the most-played video on YouTube

Gangnam Style is no longer the most-played video on YouTube

Psy’s Gangnam Style is no longer the most-watched video on YouTube.

The South Korean megahit had been the site’s most-played clip for the last five years.

The surreal video became so popular that it “broke” YouTube’s play counter, exceeding the maximum possible number of views (2,147,483,647), and forcing the company to rewrite its code.

But the song has now been overtaken by another music video – Wiz Khalifa and Charlie Puth’s See You Again.

The heart-wrenching ballad has now been streamed 2,895,373,709 times; beating Psy’s current count of 2,894,426,475 views.

The song was written for the action movie Furious 7, playing over the closing credits in tribute to the actor Paul Walker, who died in a car accident before the film was completed.

With its unabashedly sentimental lyrics (“it’s been a long day without you my friend/ And I’ll tell you all about it when I see you again”), See You Again has become one of the most regularly-requested pop songs at funerals in the UK.

It was the best-selling song worldwide in 2015, and received best song nominations at both the Grammys and the Oscars.

The music video features the final scene of Furious 7, in which the two main characters Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel) and Brian O’Conner (Cody Walker, filling in for his brother, Paul), drive side-by-side, sharing a smile for the last time before they pull onto separate roads and drive into the sunset.

As the camera pans up into the sky, a title card reads “For Paul” and the video ends.

The video reached 1 billion views in six months, and hit 2 billion last September. However, its reign as YouTube’s most-watched clip may be short-lived.

Luis Fonsi’s summer smash Despacito has racked up 2.5 billion views in just six months, and it shows no signs of slowing down.

The Puerto Rican song – sung in a mixture of Spanish and English – has been number one in the UK for the last eight weeks, thanks in part to a remix featuring Justin Bieber.

Whoever takes the title, though, its good news for Universal Music, which owns all of the songs.

Meanwhile 47 of the top 50 clips on YouTube are music videos, proving the importance of the streaming site to the music industry – despite the fact the two sides are locked in a battle over royalty payments.

Most-watched music videos on YouTube
Artist Song Views (at time of writing)
1) Wiz Khalifa See You Again (ft Charlie Puth) 2,895,373,709
2) Psy Gangnam Style 2,894,426,475
3) Justin Bieber Sorry 2,635,572,161
4) Mark Ronson Uptown Funk (ft Bruno Mars) 2,550,545,717
5) Luis Fonsi Despacito (ft Daddy Yankee) 2,482,502,747
6) Taylor Swift Shake It Off 2,248,761,095
7) Enrique Iglesias Bailando 2,232,756,228
8) Maroon 5 Sugar 2,150,365,635
9) Katy Perry Roar 2,129,400,973
10) Taylor Swift Blank Space 2,101,607,657


Nadiya Hussain feared she was Bake Off's 'token Muslim'

Nadiya Hussain feared she was Bake Off's 'token Muslim'

Great British Bake Off winner Nadiya Hussain feared she was seen as the “token Muslim” when she appeared on the BBC TV show, she has revealed.

The champion of the 2015 series told the Radio Times religion was “incidental” to her and she “struggled” with it being so tied to her identity.

The negative comments she received “shocked” her, she told the magazine.

But she said those people were in the “minority” and most of the UK had reacted to her with “open arms”.

‘She’s the Muslim’

Hussain, 32, told Radio Times magazine: “I certainly didn’t enter a baking show in the hope of representing anyone.

“Being a Muslim for me was incidental, but from the day the show was launched, I was ‘the 30-year-old Muslim’ and that became my identity.”

She told Radio Times it was difficult to adjust to that “identity” being forced upon her.

“I struggled at the beginning, because I thought: ‘Am I the token Muslim?’

“I’d never, in all my years, been labelled like that.

“I heard it constantly, ‘Oh, she’s the Muslim, she’s the Muslim’…

“And I was so shocked by the amount of negative comments I got.”

Hussain, a second-generation British Bangladeshi, said she hears and sees “negativity” but that it does not affect her as those sharing such comments are in the minority.

“We are so much more accepting than that: I never realised Britain had such open arms,” she said.

Since winning Bake Off, Hussain has appeared in her own series, The Chronicles Of Nadiya.

She is set to launch her new BBC TV show, Nadiya’s British Food Adventure, on 17 July and will release a book of the same name alongside it.

Hussain will also host the BBC Two series The Big Family Cooking Showdown with Zoe Ball and judges Rosemary Shrager and Giorgio Locatelli this autumn.

Elle Fanning on her 'scandalous' character in The Beguiled

Elle Fanning on her 'scandalous' character in The Beguiled

Elle Fanning can’t stop smiling as she describes her racy character in gothic thriller The Beguiled, set in a girls’ boarding school during the American Civil War.

“It’s funny because my character got to wear her hair down and have a couple of buttons unbuttoned and got to show her ankle – that was scandalous in Civil War times,” she tells the BBC.

The film tells the story of what happens when Union soldier Corporal John McBurney (played by Colin Farrell) is taken in when one of the schoolgirls finds him injured – and he becomes an object of fascination for pupils and teachers alike.

The 19-year-old plays rebellious Alicia in the Sofia Coppola film, which won her the best director accolade at Cannes this year.

Fanning, star of last year’s Neon Demon, said she’d stayed “extremely close” to Coppola since working with her on 2010’s Somewhere. She got an email with the script for The Beguiled attached, saying Kirsten Dunst was to play teacher Edwina – and with a specific part in mind for Fanning.

“She thought that would be fun to make me the naughty one,” said Fanning, adding that another draw was that it’s set in the south, where she’s from herself.

The Beguiled is based on the Clint Eastwood film of the same name – and the Thomas P Cullinan novel The Painted Devil, which inspired that 1971 movie.

“It’s a remake of that and also a different take on that – Sofia Coppola-esque, from a different point of view, from the women’s perspective this time,” explains Fanning.

So what was it like being the “bad one”?

“It was really fun,” she grins. “Also with Sofia, it feels so safe. She’s so tasteful and keeps it classy.”

Shirtless calendar shoot

The other girls got to have their fun too – in a “girls gone wild behind-the-scenes” film that Coppola also directed. “We’re holding these red Solo cups and showing our ankles,” Fanning says.

She says that McBurney “really shakes things up” and “also how he becomes the object”, adding: “Normally women in films are objectified but in our film, we really got to objectify Colin.

“We had a calendar shoot with him, where all the girls were there and he was shirtless and he was sawing and we were laughing at him. He was a really good sport about it, it was really funny.”

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Her co-star Kirsten Dunst said there were “a lot of interesting dynamics with the household before McBurney comes in” – notably between her and headmistress Miss Martha, played by Nicole Kidman.

I don’t know if something’s gone on with me and Miss Martha or if she’s made me do things that aren’t kosher, you know what I mean?” she says, adding that there are a lot of underlying tensions.

‘Stir crazy’

“This whole movie’s about what’s not being said,” she adds.

“I think my character is extremely repressed by her but has to keep a good front for the girls because she’s their teacher and being a good Christian woman and so I think my character swallows a lot.

“But I think it’s relatable in any way – it’s not because we’re women. I think that’s just being stuck in that household all together is making us a bit stir crazy.”

Dunst is also directing a film version of Sylvia Plath’s The Bell Jar, starring Elle’s sister Dakota – explaining the script is currently being rewritten.

She said she picks up tips from all the directors she works with and adds that Coppola, who directed her in The Virgin Suicides and Marie Antoinette, could have her play “any role”.

“I’ve taken a lot from every director I’ve worked with,” says Dunst – who was so overwhelmed at being on the Cannes red carpet with Coppola earlier this year that she burst into tears.

“Sofia makes a nice community on set which is a really lovely working environment. To be the most vulnerable you have to have a kind and open set and really listen to everyone and work as a team. So that’s, I think, very important.”

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Google criticised over Ed Sheeran ticket adverts

Google criticised over Ed Sheeran ticket adverts

Ed Sheeran’s promoter has said Google must do more to stop secondary ticket sales for the singer’s gigs.

Stuart Galbraith called for the change after Google adverts pointed fans towards secondary site Viagogo, where tickets for Ed Sheeran’s tour were being sold at inflated prices.

“Google needs to bow to pressure and stop taking money for tickets which are sold on the secondary market,” he said.

Google said it had a set of strict policies on which ads it allows.

‘Threats of prosecution’

Tickets for Ed Sheeran’s ‘Divide’ tour started appearing on Viagogo within minutes of them being released.

“Ed and I have a strong aversion to secondary ticketing,” Mr Galbraith told BBC Radio 4’s You & Yours programme.

“We put up lots of measures to try and stop the secondary ticketing market when his tour tickets came out on Saturday. The vast majority of secondary sites adhered to our threats of prosecution but Viagogo did not.”

The BBC has contacted Viagogo by email for comment but has yet to receive a response.

Mr Galbraith’s comments follow research by Fan Fair Alliance, a campaign group set up by artists and their managers.

It searched Google for 100 popular UK tours, typing in the artist’s name and the word “tour”.

The group discovered 77 times out of 100 a secondary website had paid to be the top result of the Google search.

“We’ve known for a while that this is Viagogo’s main marketing route to the consumer and we know that they spend a lot of money to get to the top of Google’s ad search,” said Adam Webb from Fan Fair Alliance.

“The part where it says ad is a very small box and in the marketing by Viagogo it says ‘official site’. It is very confusing for consumers,” Mr Webb said.


Ed Sheeran previously warned that anyone who bought from secondary ticketing sites would not be allowed into his gigs.

Mr Galbraith said: “If we can identify that those tickets have been bought on the secondary market then there’s every chance their admission will be refused.”

The re-selling of live music tickets for profit is not against UK law.

This means companies including Viagogo can pay for ad space on search engines like Google.

Google said it does not allow fraudulent or misrepresentative ads and when it discovers ads that break its policies it quickly takes action.

Spotify denies promoting 'fake artists'

Spotify denies promoting 'fake artists'

Music streaming service Spotify has denied that some of its playlists contain music tracks by “fake artists”.

A music industry publication listed 50 artists it claimed were not real.

They have racked up millions of streams by appearing on mood-based playlists such as Sleep and Ambient Chill, but many have no other visible profile.

However, one industry expert told the BBC Spotify was “not committing a crime” if it was commissioning tracks or buying production music.

“We do not and have never created ‘fake’ artists and put them on Spotify playlists. Categorically untrue, full stop,” Spotify said in a statement.

“We do not own rights, we’re not a label, all our music is licensed from rights holders and we pay them – we don’t pay ourselves.”

Low profile

Some of the artist names in the list, compiled by Music Business Worldwide (MBW), did appear to have a presence on other platforms – generally rival services such as LastFM and YouTube – when checked by the BBC, but most had no website or social media presence in their own right.

For example Relajar, which has racked up 13.4 million streams, comes up only on Spotify in internet search results.

“We’re pretty sure A&R [artist and repertoire] teams from across the globe would love to hear about artists with no online presence who have managed to rack up millions of Spotify plays with their first few tracks,” wrote MBW.

Mark Mulligan, from Midia Research, said that Spotify could be commissioning others to produce content which it then pays lower royalties for in return.

“Labels are scared because they suspect this is the thin end of the wedge, but it’s not forcing those artists to do it,” he said.

It was also possible that Spotify was buying existing production music from other companies, Mr Mulligan said.

Some artists choose not to attach their real names to this sort of material.

“We still don’t have the smoking gun – there’s no proof of payment,” he said.

“This is getting creative about how Spotify might try to not have to pay out for all the music it plays.

“Ten years into the Spotify experiment, it still hasn’t made a profit despite being the most successful music-streaming platform on the planet.”