‘No news is good news’, or so the saying goes. I disagree, which is why I’m excited to announce the return of ‘Well, that happened…’, a summary of the latest happenings in the world of culture, politics and technology.
Back again from a prolonged slumber, it seems like there is more news breaking than ever, and keeping on top of it can be a slog. We want to take the effort out of it by rounding up some of the biggest stories, cultural phenomenons and interesting titbits from around the internet for you to gorge upon.
We are as keen as ever to find a format that works best for you, so to start with we will be releasing these news summaries every two weeks, although we welcome any feedback on how these can better serve you.
Parliament returns from summer break
After trying (and failing) to start the summer recess early, politicians are to return back from their holidays to one of the busiest political times in recent memory. The Tories need to decide what Brexit they’re after, and whether they want Theresa May to stick around to deliver it. Labour continue to struggle with anti-Semitism accusations and are yet to decide exactly what their own Brexit position is. The Lib Dem leader Vince Cable has made some confusing comments about his leadership plans long term. The Greens are similarly heading towards a leadership election, and have started an inquiry surrounding safeguarding issues.
With the official Brexit date set at 29 March 2019, there is a lot to do and not much time to do it in.
Chris Evans leaves BBC Radio 2 Breakfast
Chris Evans announced that he will be leaving his breakfast show on BBC Radio 2 to move to competitor Virgin Radio. It is believed that the presenter is leaving as a result of a pay dispute, following the BBC’s public disclosure of staff pay. Evan’s was the second-highest paid star after Gary Lineker, even after taking a paycut following his departure from Top Gear. He is not the first star to be poached from the BBC since the disclosure, with Eddie Mair heading over to LBC to compete against his previous Radio 4 drivetime programme, whom coincidentally started 3 September.
Evans will be taking over the Virgin Radio breakfast show from 2019.
Source: The Guardian
First wave of children with Government trust funds become of age to manage it
Back in 2005, the Government set up Child Trust funds for every child born after September 2002 to help encourage parents to save. The Government made an initial contribution of £250, and a further £250 when the child turned seven, and this money was invested in stocks and shares on the child’s behalf. The rules stated that any child over the age of 16 can assume control of the savings, although they won’t be able to withdraw the money until they turn 18. Those first children will start coming of age this month.
Although the scheme was scrapped in January 2011, there are six million young people with these saving accounts, which are typically worth £1,600. Over one million of these might not even be aware they have one. HMRC have a dedicated website to help people find who holds their Child Trust Fund, although it does require signing up for a Government Gateway account.
Ellen DeGeneres returning to stand-up with Netflix special
DeGeneres announced during the Season 16 premiere of The Ellen DeGeneres Show that she was returning to stand-up after a 15 year hiatus. In a deal with Netflix, DeGeneres has a new special titled Relatable, and it will debut on 18 December. It was filmed in Seattle at the Benaroya Hall. DeGeneres is the latest of comedians Netflix has commissioned specials from in recent years. She joins Katherine Ryan, Chris Rock, Jim Jefferies and disgraced Louis C.K.
Source: Entertainment Weekly
Burt Reynolds dies, aged 82
Oscar nominated actor Burt Reynolds has died of cardiopulmonary arrest, aged 82. Reynolds was best known for his roles in Deliverance, The Longest Yard and Smokey and the Bandit. His Oscar nomination was for Best Actor in a Supporting Role, where he portrayed porn director Jack Horner in Boogie Nights, but lost out to Robin Williams.
Source: Hollywood Reporter
Rachael Bland dies, aged 40
BBC news presenter Rachel Bland has died following a battle with breast cancer. The journalist died just two days after posting a message on Twitter that she had just days left to live. Bland was also the co-host of the podcast You, Me and the Big C, where she was praised for her candid talk about her ongoing cancer treatment.
Source: BBC, Video: ITV
Apple announces new hardware
The annual iPhone refresh took place on Wednesday, with Apple announcing three new models: iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max and iPhone XR. The X is pronounced 10. Both S models represent the typical spec bumps usually associated with an S model phone - improved camera, faster processor, storage bumps - but it’s the XR that offers a more interesting proposition. Cheaper than the iPhone 8 was, the XR has the same wide angle lens as the S models, Face ID, the same A12 Bionic processor, same RAM and comes in a array of fun colours. The screen is LCD rather than OLED, and doesn’t have Force Touch, but in the world of £1000 smartphones, this cheaper offer will be appealing to many.
The Apple Watch also got reworked, with a larger screen on a smaller body, the ability to detect falls and slips then call emergency services automatically, and is the first consumer product to offer full ECG’s - but is only approved for use in the US currently.
Source: The Verge
Rick and Morty win Emmy for Best Animated Program
Dan Harmon and Justin Roiland’s animated hit won the Outstanding Animated Program award during the 2018 Creative Arts Emmy Awards. The winning episode was the Season 3 classic “Pickle Rick”, where Rick Sanchez turns himself into a pickle to alleviate boredom and very possibly avoid having to attend family therapy. The show had strong competition from The Simpsons, Bob’s Burgers and South Park.
Source: Cinema Blend
Volkswagon to stop producing the Beetle
VW have announced that they will stop manufacturing the iconic Beetle car next year. First produced in Germany during the Nazi era of 1938, the car attained mass desirability, with Disney releasing The Love Bug - starring Herbie. Andy Warhol also made prints featuring the car. It first finished production in 1979, before being revived in 1998 as the “New Beetle”, and was tweaked in 2012 to appeal more to men.
VW have announced that they will release two special edition models of the car in July 2019, before halting production.
Source: The Guardian
Sky and Channel 4 announce ‘ground-breaking’ content deal
Channel 4 and Sky have announced a deal that will see F1 continue to have a presence on terrestrial TV. Channel 4’s TV rights for Formula One expire at the end of the current season, and without this deal the motorsport wouldn’t have been available without subscription TV. Channel 4 will show highlights for all Grand Prix in 2019, and live coverage of the British Grand Prix next July. Channel 4 will also broadcast Sky’s Tin Star series, starring Tim Roth. In return, Sky gets Channel 4 box sets for viewers to watch across its platforms.