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Houghton Festival cancelled over bad weather fears

A second major music festival has been cancelled because of bad weather fears.

Houghton Festival, due to run throughout the weekend at Houghton Hall near King’s Lynn, Norfolk, attracts up to 10,000 fans.

Organisers of the electronic music event said it was an “almost impossible decision” to take, and festival-goers would be contacted about refunds later.

Cornwall’s Boardmasters festival was cancelled on Wednesday over fears of weekend thunderstorms and heavy rain.

The 2019 festival would have been the third season of the event held in the grounds of the stately home.

Acts due to perform at the event, which had a 24-hour licence for music round the clock, included Ricardo Villalobos, Four Tet, Shanti Celeste and Derrick Carter.

In a statement on the festival website, organisers said conditions had “dramatically worsened” and would deteriorate further into the weekend, with gusts of more than 50mph (80km/h), leading to the event’s cancellation on safety grounds.

“We are utterly devastated. All the hard work, love and creativity that has gone into planning and producing this year’s event made this an almost impossible decision to make,” they said.

“This was set to be a wonderful weekend and the boldest step we have ever taken as a festival. However, nothing is more important than the safety of our customers, staff and performers, which would be compromised if we were to go ahead.”

They said information on refunds would be made available later, and advised ticket-holders not to travel to the site.

‘Really disappointing’

Mimi Aynsley had booked a coach to the festival with about 20 friends, and was at the festival gates when they heard the news.

“A man came on to the coach and told us it had been cancelled – we all thought he was joking,” said the 23-year-old from north London.

“It’s really hard not to be annoyed about it. It’s really quite warm outside… We want the weather to be bad tomorrow just so there’s a reason for it to be cancelled.”

Jess Perillo, who lives in nearby Downham Market, was going to work on a bar at the festival.

Love Island USA picks its first winners – what did viewers and critics think?

The first US series of Love Island concluded on Wednesday – with Zac and Elizabeth crowned the winning couple.

The series has been running for the last four weeks and has seen Islanders coupling up (and of course re-coupling) in a new villa in Fiji.

The show began in the UK, where it has grown into a huge hit.

CBS, the network broadcasting the US series, has a lot riding on the show after winning a bidding war for the rights last year.

So how has it gone down? And will it be coming back?

How has it done in the ratings?

The US version of Love Island has been averaging 2.6 million viewers per episode.

That may not sound very impressive – after all, the most recent UK series often attracted more than twice that, despite having only one fifth of the US population.

But Love Island has much more competition in the US, where there are other hit dating shows such as ABC’s The Bachelor, which began in 2002 and prompted several spin-offs including The Bachelorette.

Also – it has taken five series for Love Island to become the smash hit it is in the UK. The first series brought in around 500,000 viewers to ITV2, but the recent series peaked at more than six million.

CBS will be hoping for a similar upward trend for the second series, which has already been commissioned.

Who has been watching?

Like in the UK, while it may not necessarily be the highest-rating show on TV, Love Island has attracted a hard-to-reach audience.

“There’s no doubt [CBS] could’ve gotten as many eyeballs, or even more, by filling Love Island’s 8pm timeslot with reruns. It probably would’ve been cheaper, too,” wrote Josef Adalian in Vulture.

“But even if there were fewer viewers, the folks who did watch Love Island are arguably more valuable to CBS… They are younger, more engaged, and more of them are women.”

This reflects the UK demographic – where much of the audience is female and aged 16-34.

Last week, CBS Entertainment chief Kelly Kahl said Love Island had delivered “a really solid, consistent core audience comprised of people who don’t typically watch CBS”, adding that it was the network’s most-streamed show of the season – implying it was particularly popular with young audiences.

Notably, the show’s audience also remained fairly steady throughout the series – with those who watched the premiere mostly sticking with it for the next four weeks.

How is it different from the UK version?

The format is largely the same – it’s mainly the contestants, location and series length that were different.

Comedian Arielle Vandenberg hosted the series, which debuted on 9 July. Matthew Hoffman took on the role of the show’s narrator – delivering similarly humorous commentary to the UK’s Iain Stirling.

While the UK version is filmed in Mallorca, the US version has been shot in Fiji, where the average temperature in July is around 26C.

The four weeks makes it a shorter series than in the UK – but ITV2’s recently-announced winter version of Love Island will also be considerably shorter.

Like in the UK, the CBS show was broadcast every weeknight in one-hour episodes.

What did the critics think of the US version?

The reviews have been mixed, with many critics finding the show entertaining, but suggesting there’s room for improvement.

“The original batch of Islanders is extremely bland,” wrote Ben Travers on IndieWire, adding that the tasks hadn’t been particularly entertaining.

“Producer manipulation is nonexistent,” he wrote. “One game required Islanders to guess who was being targeted in fans’ insulting tweets, but that barely spurred any insecurities, let alone relationship problems.”

Vice’s Lauren O’Neill wrote: “It’s basically a carbon copy of the UK version, which is for the best. However, it’s let down by the fact the American contestants feel a bit more contrived than the UK ones, and the whole thing is: a) even less natural, and b) nowhere near as funny.”

But Vulture’s Kathryn VanArendonk said: “There is something about it, something about the insularity and banality of it all, that makes the show hard to quit.

“Are there more interesting things to watch? Sure. But is it nice to watch an unexpectedly gentle reality show about hot, superficial singles just trying their best to get along while wearing bikinis…? Strangely enough, for right now, it is.”

Viewers have been largely positive about the series on social media, but some have had a few suggestions of their own about how the series could be tweaked.

Netflix wins 'bidding war' for Game of Thrones creators Benioff and Weiss

Game Of Thrones creators David Benioff and DB Weiss have signed a deal with Netflix, the streaming giant has said.

Variety reported that Netflix won a “three-way bidding war that had recently narrowed from the six major studios to Netflix, Amazon and Disney”.

Netflix boss Ted Sarandos said he was “thrilled to welcome” the “master storytellers”.

Benioff and Weiss added how “grateful” they were to HBO, the US network that broadcast Game of Thrones.

HBO is also going to broadcast the forthcoming Game of Thrones prequel, which will be shown in 2020 at the earliest.

“We’ve had a beautiful run with HBO for more than a decade and we’re grateful to everyone there for always making us feel at home,” Benioff and Weiss added.

They explained they had found common ground with Netflix executives, including Sarandos, after talking to them in recent months.

“We remember the same shots from the same 80s movies; we love the same books; we’re excited about the same storytelling possibilities,” they said. “Netflix has built something astounding and unprecedented, and we’re honoured they invited us to join them.”

Variety said no financial amount was mentioned for the development deal. But it added that similar deals between Netflix and figures including Grey’s Anatomy creator Shonda Rhimes were “said to have been worth nine figures”.

Boost for Netflix

In July, Netflix revealed it had attracted fewer paid subscribers than expected in the previous three months, blaming price rises.

Shares in the company sank 10% after it added 2.7 million new customers worldwide in the April-June period, well below expectations.

Benioff and Weiss have had huge success with Game of Thrones, earning 47 Emmy awards and 160 nominations for the show, which is based on the books by George RR Martin.

The fantasy drama – which is up for a further 32 Emmys next month – ran for eight seasons, ending earlier this year. The final season got mixed reviews, however, with some fans disappointed with how the show ended.

Benioff and Weiss are also producing and writing a Star Wars trilogy and are reportedly set to adapt prison break drama Dirty White Boys for Fox.

Home Alone: The original Kevin is thirsty for more

The cast list for the upcoming remake of Home Alone might just have got a whole lot more interesting.

Kevin McCallister himself, Macaulay Culkin – who became a child star off the back of the 1990 original – says he want to talk to Disney about it.

It’s highly probable he’s just joking, of course.

But it might mollify fans who were outraged when Disney announced it would re-imagine the Christmas classic for its new streaming service.

Macauley, who’s now 38, played the main character Kevin who gets left behind as his family all go on holiday to France.

He took to Twitter to reveal what he thought Kevin would look like in 2019.

Alongside a unflattering photo of himself on the sofa eating take-out (a reference to the original), the actor captioned: “This is what an updated Home Alone would actually look like.”

He also tweeted Disney, asking for a chat.

There were more than a few people online saying a re-make of this classic is one step too far, and it would ruin the original.

But it seems some people would be a little happier about if Macaulay Culkin was involved in some way.

Home Alone earned over £385 million worldwide and was the highest grossing live action comedy ever until The Hangover Part II’s release in 2011.

Disney’s CEO Bob Iger said there will also be “reimaginations” of Night At the Museum, Diary of a Wimpy Kid and Cheaper By the Dozen.

Disney now owns the franchises after it bought the film studio 20th Century Fox.

The new service Disney+ launches in the US in November and is expected to hit the UK next year.

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Willie Nelson cancels tour over breathing problem

Country star Willie Nelson has cancelled the remaining dates of his current tour, citing health problems.

In a message to fans, the 86-year-old wrote: “I’m sorry to cancel my tour, but I have a breathing problem that I need to have my doctor check out. I’ll be back.”

The extensive tour still had 30 dates to run, many featuring Alison Krauss, before wrapping up in November.

The singer has dealt with several health issues over the past few years.

He pulled out of the 2018 Outlaw Music Festival due to illness, just months after scrapping several shows after being hit by the flu.

In August 2017, the singer-songwriter was also forced to cut short a show in Salt Lake City due to breathing difficulties. “The altitude got to me,” he later explained, adding: “I am feeling better now & headed for lower ground.”

Nelson started his career as a songwriter in the 1960s, penning hits like Patsy Cline’s Crazy and Ray Price’s Night Life.

During the early 1970s, he aligned himself with Waylon Jennings and the outlaw country movement, achieving critical and commercial success with the albums Red Headed Stranger and Stardust.

At the height of his stardom, Nelson ventured into feature films, making his debut alongside Robert Redford in 1979’s The Electric Horseman. He went on to play the lead in Honeysuckle Rose, Barbarosa and Red Headed Stranger, a Western based on his album.

In the 1980s, he formed the country supergroup The Highwaymen with fellow singers Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings and Kris Kristofferson; and in 1993, he was elected to the Country Music Hall of Fame.

The singer was on tour in support of his 98th studio album Ride Me Back Home, which entered the US chart at number 18 last month.

Your Abbey Road photos, 50 years after the Beatles photoshoot

On 8 August 1969, one of the most-imitated events in pop music history occurred.

The Beatles – George Harrison, Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr and John Lennon – gathered for a brief photoshoot outside the EMI Studios in London, where the band were working.

Iain Macmillan took the rather modest shot of the musicians on a zebra crossing on the B507 road, an image which would adorn the cover of the band’s Abbey Road album.

For five decades people have come from far and wide to try to recreate the Beatles’ poses.

Here are some of your efforts:

Marcelo came to London from Brazil to work on the Olympic Games. When he and his colleagues tried to recreate the cover the 40-year-old from Sao Paulo tripped at a crucial moment.

“I am the third person in from left to right and Eduardo (the second in line) put his foot behind my right foot and I almost fell down.

“Everybody laughed so much,” he says.

You can never have too much of Amy Holman, apparently. The American student decided to go it alone with her take on the album cover.

“I thought it would be funny to recreate the photo myself,” says the 18-year-old.

“My dad snapped the photo while I ran across the street! I photo-shopped it later of course.”

Júlio Andrade is a musician from Brazil who says he wanted to “represent something of Brazil through this dance.”

Tradition is not for everyone.

Jenna from Tuscan in Arizona (second from left) was inspired by McCartney, who was shoeless on the album cover.

“Why not take my shoes off and walk barefoot like Paul did?” she says.

“Everyone does the same walking across pose so I wanted to make mine stand out.”


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Canadian student Natalie Culmone spent a semester studying close to London. When three of her best friends when they came over to visit her they took the opportunity to visit the London NW8 landmark.

“We figured since there was four of us it would work perfectly,” says the 21-year-old.

“My friends Grace and Nat are obsessed with the Beatles so we had to get the iconic picture.”

Murilo Moraes likewise went looking for a piece of “pop culture history” when he found himself in London with his friends in July.

The Dublin-based software developer says, “It is not everyday that I have the opportunity to visit a place so famous”.