Kelly Brook to replace Mary Berry as Bake Off moves to Channel 4

berryMary Berry is to be axed from The Great British Bake Off after this season following the show’s surprise move to Channel 4.

It is thought that she will be replaced by model and actress Kelly Brook, while Will.I.Am will take the place of Paul Hollywood. In a widely welcomed move, Mel and Sue will be replaced with just Mel.

The show’s production company Love Productions announced this week that it had failed to extract a sufficiently exorbitant amount of money from the embattled BBC, and would be moving next year.

Bake Off is likely to relocate from its current Wednesday evening slot to Saturday prime time, while the low budget setting of a marquee in the grounds of a country estate will be dropped in favour of a studio with IMAX sound system, seating for five thousand, and a bulletproof solid chrome judging chamber.

Although baking will still form a proportion of the show’s content, the signature bake segment will be jettisoned in favour of a 15 minute infomercial for private health insurance.

The technical challenge, meanwhile, will be dropped to make way for a competitive powerballad medley, after which one contestant will be eliminated by public vote unless they agree to remove their clothes and eat a live tarantula.

The eighth season of Bake Off will air in August 2017.

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It’s everybody else’s fault if I fail, insists Liam Fox

huntInternational trade secretary Liam Fox, whose counterparts in the Leave campaign frequently accused Remain campaigners of “talking Britain down”, has been talking Britain down.

Addressing business leaders at a recent Conservative event in parliament, Fox has argued that they are all are too “fat and lazy” to succeed outside the EU, and would rather “play golf on a Friday afternoon” than rescue his political career.

The recently appointed minister is a staunch Eurosceptic who campaigned for Brexit, but now concedes that UK businesses are simply not capable of thriving in the hostile trading environment that he campaigned passionately to place them within.

“What the country needs is a vibrant, ambitious business sector that sees exporting not as an opportunity but as a duty,” insisted Fox, before clarifying, “to keep me in my job I mean.”

Following a lacklustre performance by Brexit minister David Davis in parliament on Monday, Fox’s remarks are likely to fuel concerns among Leave voters that Brexit will fail to materialise, condemning the UK to further decades of comfortable prosperity within the EU.

Nobody can shoot people in the heart and get away with it better than me, Trump boasts

trumpAddressing a packed rally last Friday in Pensacola, Florida, Donald Trump claimed to supporters that presidential rival Hillary Clinton would be able to “shoot someone in the heart” and escape prosecution.

“But I could shoot someone on Fifth Avenue and not lose any voters, so…” he continued, referring to a boast he made earlier this year. “I can kill people real good. Real good. And they couldn’t touch me, not if they tried. I bought every cop, every cop. They love me the cops in New York.

“Hillary, she… well I don’t think she’d have the guts quite frankly, I really don’t, I’m sorry. She hides – we all know – she hides behind crooked Bill and NO-bama. And I guess we know who pulls the trigger there, am I right?”

“Eh, it’s all great. This is great. I love cops. I love black cops,” he insisted to a rapt crowd. “But Hillary, I don’t know. The point is this: she could shoot you in the heart and nobody would touch her.

“She’s trigger happy,” Trump added, before revealing that he would instruct US destroyers in the Persian Gulf to obliterate small Iranian vessels for looking at them the wrong way.

Government silences critics of grammar schools with ambitious ‘quantum children’ plan

quantumThe government has fended off criticism of its proposed lifting of the ban on new grammar schools by unveiling ambitious plans to create quantum children.

Grammar schools have drawn criticism in the past for creating a two-tier education system in which children who fail to secure a place at the age of 11 are forced to remain working class thereafter.

But Prime Minister Theresa May has insisted that there will be no return to the ‘binary choice of the past’, claiming instead that a new generation of quantum children will be able to both attend and not attend grammar school simultaneously.

According to one Downing Street source, the government has already consulted theoretical physicists at leading UK universities about the possibility of exploiting little-understood quantum-mechanical phenomena to allow more than one child to occupy a school place at the same time.

“If the government is to achieve its stated goal of widening access for poorer children while simultaneously achieving its unstated goal of ensuring that well-off children enjoy unlimited advantages, it must turn to cutting edge quantum mechanics,” the source said.

“And if that doesn’t work, we can always just reinstate the old eleven-plus and say we tried.”

Mario on iPhone is a dream come true, insists Miyamoto in flat monotone

miyamotoSpeaking onstage at Apple’s hotly anticipated special event in California last night, Mario creator Shigeru Miyamoto has insisted in a flat monotone that the forthcoming Super Mario Run for iPhone is his favourite thing, adding, “Wow, great, thanks a bunch.”

A fixture at Nintendo since 1977, Miyamoto is almost solely responsible for elevating video games as an art form and galvanising the industry in the 1980s. He is behind some of the most revered franchises ever created, including Zelda, Donkey Kong, and Mario.

But Nintendo has faced growing difficulties since the arrival of Apple’s iPhone, when it emerged that consumers will play literally anything as long as it’s free.

Reading from an autocue and pausing occasionally to collect himself, Miyamoto grudgingly revealed that Super Mario Run will have many exciting features and will be fully playable in half-hearted 20 second bursts one-handed on the train while players listen out for their stops.

“I have always followed my dreams,” Miyamoto quietly intoned in summary. “My love and passion for this medium allowed me to bring Mario into the world, and seeing him now on the same platform as Flappy Bird, Google Hangouts, and that face-swapping app gives me feelings that are both profound and utterly indescribable.”

Super Mario Run will be available in 2017.

Australian government in talks to make post-Brexit UK a penal colony

2506BR1In a boost for Theresa May at the G20 summit in China, the Australian government has indicated that it hopes to invest in the UK after Brexit by turning the island into a penal colony for Australian criminals.

“We welcome the opportunity to do business with the UK,” said a spokesperson for the Australian government, “and the clearest opportunity in our view is in the custodial deportation industry, which played such an important part in our own rich history.”

Geographically isolated from the European mainland and beset by perpetual dispiriting drizzle, Great Britain has long been a favourite candidate for the incarceration of foreign rapists and prostitutes, but the historically strong pound has deterred investors.

However, in a move that is likely to enrage Brexit voters concerned about immigration, the inevitable catastrophic fall in the value of sterling after Article 50 is triggered is widely expected to be followed by an influx of foreign paedophiles and murderers as other sovereign governments seek to make the UK a penal colony.

A spokesperson for the government’s newly formed Brexit department was unavailable for comment.

Senior Conservatives angered as Labour MP Keith Vaz infringes ‘political sex scandal’ copyright

vazA number of senior Conservatives have condemned Labour MP Keith Vaz following the revelation that he engaged the services of two male sex workers at his north London flat, arguing that his conduct is in clear breach of Conservative intellectual property rights.

Mr Vaz, whose home affairs select committee has been carrying out an inquiry into prostitution, was caught in a sting by the Sunday Mirror. The same paper revealed that he had asked one of the men to bring poppers – a substance which his own committee has recommended be criminalised.

“This is a wretched transgression,” said one Downing Street source. “It has absolutely every embarrassing vice – hypocrisy, sexual infidelity, drug abuse, prostitution – upon which the Conservative party has built its extra-curricular reputation over the last hundred years or more.”

While no formal copyright arrangements exist for the term ‘political sex scandal’, the private behaviour associated with it has long been the preserve of tory MPs, with a gentleman’s agreement ensuring that politicians of other parties have largely confined themselves to expenses fraud, speeding, and alcoholism.

But in recent years an ailing Labour party has resorted to violating this unspoken agreement. Last year former Labour minister John Sewel angered Conservatives by snorting coke from a prostitute’s breasts while wearing a bra, and this latest breach by Keith Vaz has inflamed tensions further.

The Conservative party is seeking legal advice.

Comparing notes

comparing notes

You are wrong about: The US Office (and company)

carrellPeople seem to enjoy shows like Parks and Recreation, the US Office, and Modern Family, and it’s quite possible that you enjoy these shows too. But you are very wrong to feel that way. Let me explain.

The DVD extras for the film This is Spinal Tap – which begat The Office which begat The US Office, Modern Family, Life is Short, and any number of similarly presented sitcoms that you are probably wrong about – include a sort of parallel dimension movie made up of scenes from the cutting room floor. It lasts over an hour, and it’s as funny as the actual film.

These scenes were left out of This is Spinal Tap not because they aren’t funny, but because they’re not authentic. Similarly, there are deleted scenes from The Office which Stephen Merchant and Ricky Gervais omitted expressly because they were too obvious, too joke-like, to fit tonally with a show purporting to be a documentary (it’s a shame the pair didn’t maintain this standard for Life is Short).

Conversely, every other mockumentary sitcom you can think of doesn’t even pretend to appear to try and be even vaguely authentic, often supplying questionable pretexts for the fictional film crews to be present and producing characters that behave in conspicuously unrealistic, broadly comic fashion, and conveniently explain their motivations, intentions, and references to camera in a way that it would be quite wrong of you to enjoy.

These explanations to camera are dirty shortcuts, just as pretty much every device arising from the choice to make a sitcom in the documentary style is a cheat, existing purely to make exposition easier to impart, dramatic irony easier to create, and to set up an endless succession of cheap gags that follow a single not-very-funny template.

Exposition: in the normal rules of drama, the story needs to be explained in the situation, by characters in conversation and events on the screen. When a writer has a character provide story information in an unnatural way they are rightly ridiculed for it. The Austin Powers movies feature a character – Basil Exposition – who exists specifically to send up this kind of narrative shortcut (while cunningly also allowing the writers to take it).

But now, somehow, we’ve allowed a breakaway faction of slovely hacks to circumvent the rules entirely and have their characters look you right in the fricking eyes, whenever they want, and tell you exactly what’s happening and/or exactly how they feel about it. You should deplore this practice, even though you probably don’t.

Modern mockumentaries are also stuffed with a certain kind of gag that works like this:

a) Character makes a claim.

b) Footage contradicts the claim.

For example:

a) John (to camera): “I’m very dignified.”

b) John is upside down in a dustbin.

Or they can work the other way around, e.g.:

a) John (to his wife): “Yes, honey, I got the rollerskates!”

b) John (being interviewed): “I did not get the rollerskates.”

This is the cheapest kind of joke imaginable, relying on a simple collision of statements in every case, and each moment of airtime a show like Modern Family or The US Office pads out with pulpy gags like these is a deplorable waste of your time. The fact that you think you’re enjoying them makes them all the more insidious.

But wait a minute, you might say (perhaps out of a misplaced desire to defend your taste), all of the shortcuts and cheats described above might just as easily appear in a well-made mockumentary like The Office and This is Spinal Tap. That’s true, but the difference is that, by scrupulously adhering to the restrictions they impose on themselves in making a show that purports to be a documentary, their writers also earn the right to enjoy the perks – the easy exposition, the flatpack dramatic irony, the easy gags. The writers of The Office and This is Spinal Tap respect you.

The writers of Modern Family et al, on the other hand, despise you, because they know that you are letting them get away with inferior workmanship.

Like drug addicts or compulsive gamblers, they secretly want to be confronted and put on a better path, and they hate you for blindly enabling their depraved, corrupting rampage.

They of all people know that you are utterly wrong to enjoy the absurd proposition they are presenting, and you owe it to them – and to yourself – to admit that you are wrong.

The unquantified life

hiking

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