Top news of the week… 19th December 2015

A roundup of arts and media stories this week

Top news of the week… 19th December 2015

Hello there, intrepid web explorer. Welcome to Voice's weekly news summary, a place where we collate arts and media stories for your delectation and education. We do the hard work so you don't have to! This week has proven to be particularly difficult, as the internet is simply alight with two topics, Star Wars, and Donald Trump. One is about destroying free will, imposing draconian darkness on humanity, and conquering civilisations, the other is a Disney film. We have somehow managed to find stories that aren't Star Wars related as well, so if the Force is not strong in you, you aren't left out.

While writing this, news has also broken that the UN have unanimously approved a roadmap for peace in Syria, although details on how this will be achieved is still very much in the air. The detail that I would have thought most pressing was whether or not President Bashar al-Assad is removed, but that wasn't mentioned. Britain believes that Assad could temporarily remain in power. I'm more skeptical over how a man who has presided over a civil war and the killing of his own citizens will be accepted by the people. I'm not a politician though, so what do I know.

Perhaps the most hated man on the internet has this week been arrested too. Martin Shkreli, the entrepreneur who raised the price of HIV medication from $13.50 to $750 was this week arrested for securities fraud charges. Fun fact: Shkreli purchased a Wu-Tang Clan album for $2m dollars, but it is written in the contract that Bill Murray is able to attempt to steal the album with no legal ramifications.

Finally, this will be the last news of the week for 2015. It has been over 3 months since we started doing these news roundups, and we have played with the formula here and there to try and make it as entertaining for you as possible. We will be taking a short break for the rest of the year to sleep, eat, and generally pretend there isn't a mountain of work to do. We'll return in 2016 - bigger and hopefully better than ever.

She's at it again: Adele has conquered music and film, now television

money spongebob squarepants rich squidward dollar

What's the point of writing about it anymore? Let's just say she's at the top of just about everything for the next few months, okay? But no, this is a legitimate achievement. In another haul of record-breaking, Adele's surprise show in Radio City Music Hall in New York, Adele Live in New York City, aired on NBC in America on Monday. Despite the secret surrounding the performance, it racked up a huge 11 million viewers, the most viewers of any televised concert performance in the last ten years. Before this time, it's worth mentioning, there were fewer channels and TV broadcast worked differently making these viewing figures commonplace. No doubt the telecast will garner Emmy's attention next year. These numbers come from Nielsen, the official TV statistics company. The broadcast is not yet available to stream in this country.

Entertainment Weekly

BBC One's Brighton-based hit police drama, Cuffs, has been cancelled after just one series

Cuffs gave BBC One one of their highest rated programmes of the year with its Wednesday night finale amassing over 3 million viewers. Along with Doctor Foster, Prey, River, and of course, Luther, Cuffs represented BBC One's resurgence of serious, cerebral, crime-orientated drama. Although Cuffs' role among this list is as the light-hearted outlier, I hardly doubt that warranted its cancellation. Cuffs' content was diverse and very much Brightonian - warm and unexpected with a hoard of darker threads running through it. The West Sussex police team are a singular type of team of which there's never been one as complex or entertaining. The BBC alleges its cancellation is to 'make space for more programmes' which seems a bit fishy unless they're planning a larger roster of cancellations. We'll have to look out for more disappointments, perhaps.

Radio Times

After just a year, Rovio's CEO steps down

Angry Birds movie walk boom gtfo

Pekka Rantala took on the role of CEO for the game studio behind Angry Birds just over a year ago, but this week he stepped down. Rovio has been facing tough times of late, despite the rampant saturation of Angry Birds in modern culture. There have been games, merchandise, theme parks and even a film released under the Angry Birds banner. However, the studio never really found another a big hit like the original, and after laying off over 30% of their workforce in August, the company has now lost its leader.

The Verge

Oscar-winning documentarian, Michael Moore, is the latest to speak out against Donald Trump


Influential documentary filmmaker, Michael Moore, who has not been without rife controversy following his docs such as Fahrenheit 911 and Bowling for Columbine has written an open letter to Trump on social media and spawned the hashtag #WeAreAllMuslim. In the short letter, he speaks about his first encounter with Trump back in the nineties calling him a 'fraidey cat'. Moore uses the new power of the internet in order to express his (and many others') disdain for Trump's intention to temporarily ban Muslims from entering the U.S. in the event he is elected President in 2016. The post on Facebook has garnered over 1 million interactions since being posted on Thursday and pins Trump up against a wall by his 'Trump'-labelled lapels.

Facebook/Michael Moore | Facebook/Channel4News

David Bowie releases second single for upcoming album - reveals album release date


'Lazarus' is the name of the second single to be released from Bowie's upcoming album Black Star or '★.' The lyric video has been released with the official video to drop the day before the big album release which will be on 8 January. Bowie's previous album won global critical acclaim and commercial success as it marked the comeback of the rock 'n' roll legend. It's all left to be heard if the 2016 release will measure up. Black Star and, more specifically, the new single is alleged to be tied with his other big project, a stage adaptation of a film he appeared in in the 1970s which will be called Lazarus, too. Details of the album and the play are fairly unknown which shouldn't be a surprise considering how, in the rank of legend Bowie inhabits, he needn't show off or prove anything to anyone.


Katie Hopkins' TLC chat show has been axed


In another first series cancellation this week, this being one we're a bit happier about, Katie Hopkins' If Katie Hopkins Rules The World on Discovery's TLC has been cancelled after failing to rake in even 100,000 viewers. The axe comes after its first episode only managed to attract 69,000 viewers the MailOnline shock-jock was brought on by TLC after a one-off documentary about the apparent ease of weight loss garnered decent ratings. This comes after Hopkins aligned herself hypocritically with Donald Trump who falsely called her 'respected' and was ridiculed by Andrew Neil on the BBC's Daily Politics after failing to name the 'swathes' of the UK which she claimed were no-go areas for non-Muslims. She finds herself on a slippery downward slope.

The Guardian | The Independent

EU to push ahead with streaming service legislation changes

Primark thumbs up agree two thumbs up yes

Have you ever gone abroad, only to find your Netflix is no longer showing things from your country, or you're unable to use your Sky Go? Well, if legislation proposed by the European Commission is approved, then that frustration may be a thing of a thing of the past. Legislators want to force streaming services to offer access when their customers are abroad, and if you are travelling anywhere in Europe, you may soon be able to continue using your subscription services. BBC iPlayer may be affected by this too, but is currently exempt due to its funding structure. However, proposed changes to the license fee could open it up to use outside of the UK.


BBC accused of EU bias after admitting to taking £2m in European funding

On the subject of the BBC, critics are this week jumping at their throat with accusations of European bias after it was announced that the Beeb has taken more than £2m in European funding over the last three years. This in itself is probaby not enough to upset critics, but the argument is that, having taken European money, the BBC will not be impartial when covering the upcoming referendum on whether the UK leaves the EU. The BBC has stated that the money was used to fund its research and development fund, working on projects such as 3D broadcasting, and had no impact on editorial decisions.

The Telegraph

Star Wars: The Force Awakens breaks opening night box office records [No spoilers]

movies star wars han solo darth vader luke skywalker

I will keep this brief just in case I say anything remotely spoilery, but the new Star Wars film has broken box office records in the US, Canada, the UK and Ireland. In the UK, the film took £9.64m on its opening night, and in the US it took £38m. The previous record holder in both countries was Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 in 2011.


Have a fantastic holiday period

Yet another 'non-arty' do this, but we are fast approaching Christmas, which for many is a pretty big deal. Of course, there are those who do not celebrate Christmas, but hopefully those of you out there still get some time off, and can use the time to spend with family, or if like me, catching up on the mountains of work you've somehow neglected.

Eat lots, drink responsibly, laugh frequently, treat everyone with respect. This will make for a much pleasant world for everyone.

We will see you in the New Year, have a great one!


Bhavesh Jadva contributed to this report


Tom Inniss

Tom Inniss Voice Team

Tom is the Editor of Voice. He is a politics graduate and holds a masters in journalism, with particular interest in youth political engagement and technology. He is also a mentor to our Voice Contributors, and champions our festivals programme, including the reporter team at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe..

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