This week, for the first time ever, I watched Who Do You Think You Are? This week starred Warwick Davis, famous for his roles in Willow, Star Wars and Harry Potter.
For those who have avoided this inane celebrity pandering thus far, allow me to enlighten. Who Do You Think You Are? focuses on a celebrity each week, and takes them on a tour of their family tree, allowing them to discover exciting and/or sordid details of their roots.
Mr Davis discovered that his great-great-grandfather was a travelling violinist who 'blacked up' as a minstrel. The racist shows, popular back in the 19th Century, involved performers pretending to be African Americans, copying/exaggerating their mannerisms, and attempting to replicate their culture and songs. It's completely out of touch with modern sensibilities - currently, at least.
While a shock to Warwick I'm sure, I don't really understand the furore. Yes, you are related to this individual who partook in a racist performance, but it was over 150 years ago. Sadly, that is just how things were back then. Equally, you weren't alive, so couldn't have changed anything, and until you decided to go on the programme, you didn't even know.
I think to some extent, that's what really gets me annoyed about these programmes. I completely fail to see why anybody cares what some random person did or didn't do hundreds of years ago. Ultimately, the only thing that matters is they had sex, continued their gene pool, and enabled you to live. The rest of it is mostly superfluous.
Why get emotional over a distant ancestor's life. You didn't know them personally, you didn't actually know them at all until the researchers told you about them. Tomorrow you'll continue your life exactly as you did before, and the rest of us are otherwise nonplussed. These tears over philandering are just nonsensical to me.
Maybe I'm just not overly family-orientated. In fact, I know I'm not. There are direct relatives I don't particularly speak to. Nonetheless, I couldn't ever imagine getting teary eyed over somebody who, 200 years before I was born, was a little bit racist, or slept around. There is more than enough to get worked up over today, that affect people today, and could be helped by being more considerate, today.
Giving minor celebrities TV time to cry about secret aristocracy or scandal just continues to perpetuate the decline of informative television and the deluge of drivel. Why is airtime being dedicated to shed crocodile tears over outdated social norms of racism in the 20th Century when we have those atrocious norms resurfacing at levels of society.
So, if you hadn't gathered, I wasn't a fan.
A huge thank-you to Bhavesh for taking over column and news editing duties last week while I was galavanting around for my birthday. What a hero.
Same time next week, people.
Tony Blair calls for "Remainers" to block Brexit
Whilst speaking to the City of London, our former prime minister, Tony Blair, claimed that people voted in the referendum "without true knowledge of the terms of Brexit". Claiming Britain's exit would be bad for the country, Europe and the World, it's clear that the campaign to remain is far from over.
Blair suggested that the vote should be looked at again when "we have a clear sense of where we're going", urging that we should have the option to reconsider this decision with all of the facts. With claims that the idea of Brexit was the main argument rather than the real facts of how the country would change, Blair stated that the gains are "largely illusionary".
The British government has promised to invoke Article 50, with will set formal talks with the EU in motion, by the end of March. However, Parliament's permission must be given before doing so.
Source: BBC News
Rowling/Morgan Twitter feud comes to an end
You would have to be avoiding all social media and news to be unaware of the twitter battle which has been taking place between J. K. Rowling and Piers Morgan.
It all began last week on 11th February when Rowling tweeted about Morgan's appearance on Real Time with Bill Maher. This quickly developed into several days of NSFW comments via Twitter from both parties. However, J. K. Rowling may have ended the feud by tricking Morgan into criticizing his own positive words about the author, to the delight of all HP fans.
Meanwhile, Big Green Bookshop, Twitter account of the same named company, has been tweeting the entire book Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone at Morgan sticking to the character limit. Impressively they are about 400 quotations in with just over 30,000 to go.
[Editor's note - this gif is the most amazing thing I've seen this week!]
Stranger Things renewed for "four or five" seasons
Stranger Things has been picked up for numerous seasons by Netflix following the monumental success of the season 2 trailer that was screened at the Superbowl last week. The trailer picked up 13 million views since its release. It told us that the second season with be released on Halloween. The creators have revealed that it will be picked up for "four or five seasons" and that they're hoping the series as a whole has a "finite" ending rather than running out of gas. "You wanna end when you're on top," Matt of the Duffer Bros explained "Everything changes as we move forward" said Ross. Therefore, it's not certain the exact number of seasons that will be produced. The second season will make you "want more," added Matt "but you'll feel like it has come to a conclusion."
Source: Starburst Magazine
The Lego Batman wins Box Office Race
Many The Lego Movie fans have been eagerly awaiting the release of The Lego Batman Movie since it was first mentioned as an upcoming project. Following the success of the first of the series, many believed that 50 Shades Darker would hit the top of the box office with it's release timed perfectly with Valentine's Day. However, it seems that the lights of Lego Gotham shone through the dark and won the fans as it took first place in the US Box Office.
Earning a crazy $55.6 million, Bruce Wayne is still the top millionaire of the movies, pushing Christian Grey to second place with $46.8 million. John Wick: Chapter 2 followed in third place with an impressive $30 million.
Although it was unable to match the $132.4 million that Deadpool achieved last year, it's safe to say that The Lego Batman Movie lived up to expectations, giving fans an entertaining night.
Definitely worth a trip to the cinema!
Source: The Huffington Post
Ed Sheeran releases third track - How Would You Feel?
The third track from upcoming album ÷ was released this week. With a more relaxed and familiar acoustic sound we have seen from the artist in the past, Ed Sheeran himself has said:
How Would You Feel (Paean) comes out tomorrow at midnight wherever you are in the world, its not the next single, but is one of my favzzzzz
— Ed Sheeran (@edsheeran) February 15, 2017
Although it doesn't have the faster pace of Castle on the Hill or Shape of You, watch this space. At approximately 124,069 views on YouTube in the first few hours, it may just jump up the charts to join the other two tracks.
Source: Ed Sheeran
Love Actually sequel to screen on Red Nose Day 2017
JUMP! for Love Actually returning on 24 March as part of Red Nose Day 2017.
Speculation for the sequel began to rage early last year when the Emma Freud, script editor (and Richard Curtis' wife), released some juicy facts about what happened to our beloved characters. With news of Alan Rickman and Emma Thompson remaining together, Keira Knightley and Andrew Lincoln remaining as friends and our favourite little Romeo ending up with his Juliet after running through the airport, we can only wait with excitement for the end of March when we will see them all together once more.
The sequel promises to reunite Hugh Grant, Martine McCutcheon, Keira Knightley, Andrew Lincoln, Colin Firth, Lucia Moniz, Liam Neeson, Thomas Brodie-Sangster, Olivia Olson, Bill Nighy, Marcus Brigstocke and Rowan Atkinson. It is worth noting that beloved Emma Thompson is not currently listed with the other stars. With the death of Alan Rickman, who played her husband in the original, it is difficult to imagine how the writers would explain that. However, all will be revealed at the end of March.
Source: The Guardian
Trailer for Carpool Karaoke series released
Following the popularity of Carpool Karaoke which was featured on The Late Late Show with James Corden, Apple Music have now launched a series following the same format, only this time celebrities are singing with celebrities rather than with Corden himself.
Popping up in the trailer is the unusual combination of Billy Eichner and Metallica, Ariana Grande and Seth MacFarlane and John Cena and Shaquille O'Neal. Corden will appear in certain episodes throughout the series as we see as he drives along with the one and only Will Smith.
Although our beloved "Smithy" won't be in every episode, Corden has been credited as co-creator and executive producer. Any guesses on who might feature next?
Source: The Independant
Philip Pullman announces His Dark Materials follow-up
Long awaited follow-up series to His Dark Materials has been announced. Philip Pullman has announced that the new book will be called The Book of Dust and will be released in October of this year. Describing them as an "equel" series rather than a prequel or sequel, many fans are intrigued to know the new series will return to the story of Lyra Belacqua, a beginning when the heroine is a baby and moving on to when she turns 20 years old.
"It's an 'equel'. It's a different story which begins roughly 10 years before His Dark Materials and ends roughly 10 years after." Pullman said on BBC Radio 4's Today programme.
Pullman is giving little detail about the new series other than a few hints that an "ordinary boy" is featured in the beginning and will return as an important character later on. With the original series currently being adapted by the BBC, the release of the new series will mark the 17th anniversary of The Amber Spyglass.
Source: BBC News
Disney severs ties with YouTube star PewDiePie over anti-semitic videos
The Walt Disney Company, the owners of Maker Studios, have ended their relationship with YouTube sensation PewDiePie over anti-Semitic videos. The YouTuber, real name Felix Kjellberg, made a number of videos with anti-Semitic content, dating as far back as August. One such video features individuals in India holding a sign saying "death to all jews", while others include Nazi imagery such as Hitler and a swastika.
In addition to Disney, YouTube themselves have acted to distance themselves from the controversial star, cancelling the second series of Scare PewDiePie, a YouTube Red exclusive with The Walking Dead's Robert Kirkman as producer. They have additionally removed his channel from YouTube Preferred, which is an advertisement platform for notable channels.
Source: The Guardian
Playboy brings back nudity, saying its removal was a mistake
US magazine Playboy will be bringing back nudity, reversing a decision made by the publication in 2016. The new chief creative official Cooper Hefner, son of Playboy founder Hugh Hefner, said the decision to remove nudity entirely "was a mistake" and that by reintroducing it they are "taking [their] identity back and reclaiming who [they] are". He was quoted this week as saying that nudity itself wasn't the problem, and indeed is normal, but that the way it was presented was "dated". Playboy will be dropping the subtitle Entertainment for Men from its covers, in an effort to evolve alongside gender roles in society.
The March/April cover features Harry Potter actress Scarlett Byrne, who has also written an essay regarding the Free the Nipple Campaign.
Source: BBC News
Maddie Drury, Gracie McCabe and Bhavesh Jadva contributed to this report
Header image: Center for American Progress