What happened to the host of A*mazing and Saturday Disney, James Sherry?


What happened to the host of A*mazing and Saturday Disney? James Sherry, 52, reveals his VERY surprising career change and why he’s eager to make a TV comeback

James Sherry is known for hosting the popular children’s TV shows, A*mazing and Saturday Disney, back in the nineties. 

And after stepping away from the spotlight for a few years, the 52-year-old recently resurfaced and revealed exactly what he’s up to now. 

James had a surprising career change and now works as a content producer and announcer for Cricket Australia and works on the big screens for the AFL, but has previously shared that he would be keen for a TV comeback. 

What happened to the host of A*mazing and Saturday Disney? James Sherry, 52, reveals his VERY surprising career change and why he's eager to make a TV comeback (pictured now)

What happened to the host of A*mazing and Saturday Disney? James Sherry, 52, reveals his VERY surprising career change and why he’s eager to make a TV comeback (pictured then and now)

James spoke to Vice in 2016 and said that he ‘feels old’ looking back at his time hosting the games show A*mazing from 1990 to 1994, but described it as his ‘dream job’. 

He said he still gets fans coming up to him and gushing about the show.   

‘What I miss most is working with young people, I just always felt inspired by their energy and enthusiasm,’ James told the publication about his time on the hit show. 

New gig: James had a surprising career change and now works as a content producer and announcer for Cricket Australia and works on the big screens for the AFL

New gig: James had a surprising career change and now works as a content producer and announcer for Cricket Australia and works on the big screens for the AFL

He also hinted that he’d be open for a return to TV and started the ‘Bring Back A*mazing’ Facebook page in 2013 to see if it would take off. 

‘We threw the line and there was a little nibble from Nintendo, but that was about it,’ James said. 

He added: ‘You know, sometimes all you can do is try.’  

James hosted Saturday Disney from 1990 to 1994 and went on to present A*mazing from 1994 to 1998.

Remember that?! James spoke to Vice in 2016 and said that he 'feels old' looking back at his time hosting the games show A*mazing from 1990 to 1994, but described it as his 'dream job'

Remember that?! James spoke to Vice in 2016 and said that he ‘feels old’ looking back at his time hosting the games show A*mazing from 1990 to 1994, but described it as his ‘dream job’

Making a comeback? He also hinted that he'd be open for a return to TV and started the 'Bring Back A*mazing' Facebook page in 2013 to see if it would take off

Making a comeback? He also hinted that he’d be open for a return to TV and started the ‘Bring Back A*mazing’ Facebook page in 2013 to see if it would take off

James has also dabbled in acting and has appeared on shows including Blue Heelers and McLeod’s Daughters. 

It comes after Daily Mail Australia revealed what happened to the ‘don’t chop the dinosaur, daddy’ girl from the 2005 Natural Confectionery ad. 

The young actress who appeared in the famous lolly ad has stepped away from the spotlight and now follows a more spiritual path.

Familiar face: James hosted Saturday Disney from 1990 to 1994 and went on to present A*mazing from 1994 to 1998. James has also dabbled in acting and has appeared on shows including Blue Heelers and McLeod's Daughters

Familiar face: James hosted Saturday Disney from 1990 to 1994 and went on to present A*mazing from 1994 to 1998. James has also dabbled in acting and has appeared on shows including Blue Heelers and McLeod’s Daughters

Remember her? It comes after Daily Mail Australia revealed what happened to the 'don't chop the dinosaur, daddy' girl from the 2005 Natural Confectionery ad (pictured)

Remember her? It comes after Daily Mail Australia revealed what happened to the 'don't chop the dinosaur, daddy' girl from the 2005 Natural Confectionery ad (pictured recently)

Remember her? It comes after Daily Mail Australia revealed what happened to the ‘don’t chop the dinosaur, daddy’ girl from the 2005 Natural Confectionery ad (pictured then and now)

Joanna Hunt-Prokhovnik, 24, from Melbourne, turned her back on fame to study integral energetics, a type of holistic therapy that reduces stress.

In the advertisement, Joanna tells her on-screen father not to cut up a dinosaur lolly, saying: ‘Don’t chop the dinosaur, daddy!’

But she soon has a change of heart and tells him: ‘Chop it!’ 

Joanna was just 10 years old when she starred in the advert, according to her IMDb profile, and went on to appear in several films including 2005’s Three Dollars.

Iconic! In the advertisement, Joanna tells her on-screen father not to cut up a dinosaur lolly, saying: 'Don't chop the dinosaur, daddy!'

Iconic! In the advertisement, Joanna tells her on-screen father not to cut up a dinosaur lolly, saying: ‘Don’t chop the dinosaur, daddy!’

Licence fee chaos as paying system is already unable to meet demand due to coronavirus staff cuts


The BBC’s plan to scrap free TV licences for the over-75s has been launched into chaos as the system used by 4.5million pensioners to pay their levy before August 1 is already unable to meet demand due to coronavirus staff cuts.  

The corporation announced this morning that more than three million households face paying the £157.50 fee next month after controversial plans to end free licences for pensioners over the age threshold were given the green light.

Pensioners will receive letters to advise them of the decision and the next step they need to take, namely phoning the TV Licensing call centre.

But a message on its website earlier said they are ‘prioritising customers in most urgent needs’ due to reduced staffing levels, adding this could lead to them being ‘unable to answer all your calls’ and a delay in responding to emails and letters.

The message now reads: ‘Covid-19 and your emails: Our team are working hard to respond to a large backlog of emails. There may be a long delay in responding to you.’

The move has sparked criticism, including from the Prime Minister, whose official spokesperson said today: ‘This is the wrong decision. We recognise the value of free TV licences for over-75s and believe that they should be funded by the BBC.’ 

The free TV licence for over-75s will be means-tested from August 1, meaning more than three million households will be asked to start paying the £157.50 fee

The BBC, based at Portland Place, London, made the announcement today but has faced a fierce backlash

The BBC, based at Portland Place, London, made the announcement today but has faced a fierce backlash

A spokesman for Boris Johnson today described the announcement as 'the wrong decision'

A spokesman for Boris Johnson today described the announcement as ‘the wrong decision’

What over-75s will need to do to secure a TV licence from August 1

I’ve not paid the TV licence before, how much is it?

A TV Licence costs £157.50 (£53 for black and white TV sets) for a year.

Do I need to act now?

TV Licensing said it will write directly to over-75s customers with guidance ‘highlighting that no-one will need to take immediate action’.

No-one will be expected to pay for a new licence until they have been contacted by letter from TV Licensing, it says.

People ‘will be given plenty of time to set up their new licence’, they say.

Will I need to leave my home to sort out my free TV licence or pay for one?

TV Licensing says that no-one will need to leave their home, to claim a free TV Licence or to pay for one.

How do I start paying for my TV licence?

Information on payment options will be sent next month.

They will include the launch of the 75+ Plan, that will allow over 75s switching from a free licence to a licence they pay for, to spread the cost in weekly, fortnightly or monthly payments.

How else do you pay?

People will have the option to able to pay in one go by cheque, debit/credit card or annual direct debit, set up a monthly direct debit or pay through the 75+ Plan which allows them to make smaller more regular payments including weekly, fortnightly or monthly.

What if I am not online?

Customers who would prefer not to pay online will have the option to use a different method including mailing a cheque, paying by card on the phone or by cash/card at their nearest PayPoint.

How do I claim a free TV licence?

Pensioners must be in receipt of Pension Credit to apply for a free licence.

Information on how to claim will be sent to customers from next month.

TV Licensing says it is operating a ‘self-verification system’ for people to ‘simply’ demonstrate that they receive Pension Credit.

Pension Credit can be in the name of the licence holder, or in their partner’s name if they are a couple and TV Licensing say it is writing to all over 75s to explain how they can demonstrate they receive the benefit.

It says 450,000 have already applied for a free licence under this scheme.

How many people will be eligible for a free TV licence?

The BBC says around 1.5 million households with residents aged over 75 will be eligible for a free TV Licence funded by the BBC if they receive Pension Credit.

What if I need extra support?

TV Licensing says it has increased the size of its customer call centre and launched a free telephone information line with recorded information on the new policy and advice to customers (0800 232 1382).

Information and frequently asked questions can also be found on the TV Licensing website, tvlicensing.co.uk/age.

TV Licensing says it worked with the Alzheimer’s Society and other groups working with older people to ensure that needs of vulnerable older people have been taken into consideration. 

Asked if the government would intervene, the PM’s spokesperson added: ‘It is the BBC which is responsible for the administration of the over-75s concession but we are clear that this is the wrong decision and that we believe the value of free TV licences for over-75s should be funded by the BBC.’ 

Speaking on systems being unable to meet demand, Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee chairman Julian Knight told The Daily Telegraph: ‘This is very concerning indeed and I am not convinced that they are ready for this.’

He added: ‘It will be an own goal of epic proportions to start hauling people over 75 in front of the courts. There needs to be common sense here.’

Culture minister Matt Warman also challenged the corporation in the Commons today, arguing it has had ‘a generous licence fee settlement’, that it was ‘deeply disappointing’ to see the change being made, and adding: ‘I would hope that there is yet time to reconsider.’

However leading age charities and Labour’s shadow culture secretary have rounded on the Government, accusing ministers of ‘passing the buck’ and calling a refusal to fund the service a ‘betrayal’.

The free TV licence was introduced in 2000, but the BBC took on responsibility for funding the scheme as part of the charter agreement hammered out with the Government in 2015.  

Corporation bosses argue it was the Government which took the decision to stop funding for free licences five years ago and that Parliament – through legislation – gave the responsibility to the BBC Board to make the decision on the future of the concession.  

Britain’s elderly population has seen free access to live television and the BBC iPlayer service as an invaluable lifeline during lockdown but many are now facing another bill to deal with. 

An estimated 1.5 million households could still be exempt from paying to watch live television or use the BBC iPlayer service, however, if someone over the age of 75 receives pension credits.

Age UK, which inspired more than 630,000 people to sign a petition against the proposals when they were first announced last year, described the announcement as ‘a kick in the teeth for millions of over 75s who have had a torrid time during this crisis’. 

The change was originally due to be made on June 1, but the move was put on hold back in March, with bosses claiming the coronavirus pandemic had created ‘exceptional circumstances’ and that ‘now is not the right time’. 

Delaying the move has cost the corporation some £35million a month, and, with an ageing population, the total cost to the BBC could have reached £1bn a year, bosses insist.   

There have previously been warnings that allowing the licence to continue being free for all over 75 would lead to ‘unprecedented closures’ of services.   

The broadcaster, which faces increased competition from streaming giants, has said it cannot afford to take on the financial burden from the Government.

Continuing with the Government scheme would have cost the corporation £745 million, the BBC said, meaning the closures of BBC Two, BBC Four, the BBC News Channel, the BBC Scotland channel, Radio 5 Live, and a number of local radio stations, as well as other cuts and reductions.

But the move provoked a swathe of criticism, with the likes of Dame Helen Mirren calling the end of the universal entitlement ‘heartbreaking’, and former prime minister Gordon Brown saying ‘costs should be covered by the Government’.

The decision comes as the Government is set to announce its response to a consultation on decriminalising licence fee evasion.

The Government launched an eight-week consultation in February which received more than 100,00 responses.

A report in May suggested that hundreds of people had opted to cancel their TV licence each day over the past five months.

Meanwhile, the broadcaster has launched a programme of voluntary redundancy as it attempts to make £125 million in savings this year – on top of the previous £800 million savings target – due to the pandemic.

It has also announced job cuts in TV news and local radio in England and said it was axing more than 150 roles in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

It also plans to cut around 450 jobs in BBC News, to take place at a later date.  

The broadcaster said safety would be at the ‘heart’ of the scheme’, as ‘no-one needs to take any immediate action, or leave their home, to claim for a free TV licence or pay for one’.

BBC Chairman, Sir David Clementi, said: ‘The decision to commence the new scheme in August has not been easy, but implementation of the new scheme will be Covid-19 safe. 

‘The BBC could not continue delaying the scheme without impacting on programmes and services.

‘Around 1.5 million households could get free TV licences if someone is over 75 and receives Pension Credit, and 450,000 of them have already applied.  

The proposals sparked outrage when they were announced last year, with more than 630,000 people signing a petition set up by the charity Age UK, calling for action to be taken

The proposals sparked outrage when they were announced last year, with more than 630,000 people signing a petition set up by the charity Age UK, calling for action to be taken

The move provoked a swathe of criticism, with the likes of Dame Helen Mirren calling the end of the universal entitlement 'heartbreaking'

The move provoked a swathe of criticism, with the likes of Dame Helen Mirren calling the end of the universal entitlement ‘heartbreaking’

Culture minister Matt Warman, pictured in the House of Commons, said the move was 'deeply frustrating'

Culture minister Matt Warman, pictured in the House of Commons, said the move was ‘deeply frustrating’

The government has provided free TV licences for the over-75s since 2000, but responsibility for the provision now rests with the BBC.

The government has provided free TV licences for the over-75s since 2000, but responsibility for the provision now rests with the BBC.

A look at the history of the TV licence

In the 1920s, the Government took the decision not to allow the fledgling BBC to fund itself using commercial advertising and instead required people to buy a licence in order to receive their broadcasts.

The first wireless licence was issued in November 1923 for 10 shillings (50p), and by the end of that year 200,000 had been issued.

The number of active licences continued to rise dramatically, with 2.5 million issued in 1928.

The first combined radio and television licence was issued in 1946 for £2.

A supplementary licence for colour TVs was introduced in 1968.

Black and white TV licences still remain available, and as of the end of September 2019, 6,586 were being used.

In 1971, radio-only licences were abolished, along with the requirement to have a licence for car radios.

The BBC was made responsible for administration of the licence fee as a result of the Broadcasting Act 1990, and the corporation now sub-contracts the work.

In 2015, the Government and BBC reached a settlement which meant the broadcaster had to find savings of £800 million by 2021/22.

It also saw the corporation commit to taking on responsibility for the funding of free licences for the over-75s.

The corporation subsequently announced that the free licence benefit would be restricted to those in the age bracket who claim pension credit, because the financial burden of providing it to all those eligible was too great.

The policy change was due to being in June, but was delayed because of the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, with many over-75s forced to stay at home and shield.

Anyone who watches or records programmes on a TV, computer or other device must buy a TV licence – along with those who watch or downloads shows on BBC iPlayer.

There were 25,752,560 TV licences in force in the UK in 2018/19, according to TV Licensing, a decrease on the 25,836,495 in 2017/2018.

In April, a Government consultation on decriminalising licence fee evasion closed after receiving more than 100,000 responses.

‘And critically it is not the BBC making that judgement about poverty. It is the Government who sets and controls that measure.

‘Like most organisations the BBC is under severe financial pressure due to the pandemic, yet we have continued to put the public first in all our decisions. 

‘I believe continuing to fund some free TV licences is the fairest decision for the public, as we will be supporting the poorest oldest pensioners without impacting the programmes and services that all audiences love.’

Mr Knight described the decision as a ‘body blow to millions of British pensioners’, saying he had hoped the Government and the BBC would thrash out ‘a fresh deal’.

The Conservative MP said: ‘This mess is a result of a poor decision struck by the outgoing director-general and now Britain’s pensioners are having to pick up the cost.’

Fellow Tory Andrew Rosindell, MP for Romford, tweeted: ‘Considering the substantial salaries of some BBC presenters, the scrapping of the over-75s free TV license is absolutely unacceptable!

‘This decision rubs salt in the wounds of the generation hardest hit by the coronavirus! Maybe it’s time to scrap the license fee altogether!’ 

Caroline Abrahams, Age UK charity director, added: ‘We’re bitterly disappointed by this decision on behalf of the millions of over 75s who have had a torrid time over the last few months and for whom this must feel like another kick in the teeth, during a terrible year.

‘Many older people on low incomes have told us that if they have to find £150 plus a year to pay for a licence then they will have to forego some other essential, or try to survive without TV at all. 

‘We genuinely worry about the mental health of older people living on their own in this situation if they have to give up their cherished TV – for some it really is all they have and their main way of alleviating their chronic loneliness.

‘Everyone needs to understand that under the BBC’s scheme many hundreds of thousands of the poorest pensioners will be facing a bill they will simply be unable to afford to pay. 

‘That’s due to its flawed design – you only get a free licence if you are receiving Pension Credit but as many as two in five of all the pensioners on the lowest incomes do not receive this benefit, even though they are entitled to it.

‘We know from talking to older people that many are feeling anxious and depressed, and frightened about the future – they are being told to be cautious because we are not yet ‘out of the woods’. 

‘Everyone in this age group has more than enough to worry about already , particularly those who are alone, for whom their TV is more of a lifeline than ever. 

‘We regularly hear from older people who are still too afraid to go out much, if at all, and so the TV really is their window on the world.

‘The BBC has taken this decision today but in reality the principal responsibility lies with the Government.

‘Until a previous administration transferred these free licences to the corporation under a tapering funding arrangement they had taken the form of a welfare benefit for a generation, and to have done that without any consultation left a really bad taste in the mouth. 

Caroline Abrahams, chief executive of Age UK, described the announcement as 'a kick in the teeth for millions of over 75s who have had a torrid time during this crisis'

Caroline Abrahams, chief executive of Age UK, described the announcement as ‘a kick in the teeth for millions of over 75s who have had a torrid time during this crisis’

‘The Government cannot absolve itself of responsibility for the upset and distress being caused to many of our over-75s today, the poorest and most isolated above all. And the sadness is that these older people have already endured so much over the last few months.

‘The Government needs to sit down with the BBC urgently to keep these TV licences for over-75s free.’

Broadcasting union Bectu also argued that the Government should pay for the entitlement.

Its head Philippa Childs said: ‘This BBC has been put in an impossible position by the Government on free licences… It should never have had to choose between charging over-75s and losing essential revenue.

‘The BBC’s role is to inform educate and entertain the nation, not make welfare or benefit decisions. That is the role of government and it is the Government who should be administering and funding this benefit.’

Jo Stevens, Labour’s Shadow Culture Secretary, said: ‘The refusal of the Government to fund this vital service after promising to do so is nothing short of betrayal.

‘Many over-75s have spent months at home with TV providing an invaluable source of company during the pandemic. 

‘For the Government to blame the BBC who are having to contend with huge cuts is simply passing the buck.’

Before the announcement was made, shadow minister Christian Matheson told the Commons this morning that the proposals meant many pensioners could be ‘forced to choose between eating and watching TV’.

He added: ‘The BBC is cutting jobs and content to pay for the cost of the licence dumped on them by the government.’

Culture minister Matt Warman replied: ‘The fact is that the BBC has had a generous licence fee settlement and it is deeply disappointing that they have chosen to go down the path that they apparently are going down.

‘I would hope that there is time to reconsider that because [Mr Matheson] is right to say that television has been a vital comfort for many people in the last few months and it’s a vital part of our national economy as well.’

TV Licensing, which runs its collection activities, will write to those affected and give them ‘clear guidance’. Telephone contact centres have also been set up to assist. 

Licence fee chaos as paying system is already unable to meet demand due to coronavirus staff cuts


The BBC’s plan to scrap free TV licences for the over-75s has been launched into chaos as the system used by 4.5million pensioners to pay their levy before August 1 is already unable to meet demand due to coronavirus staff cuts.  

The corporation announced this morning that more than three million households face paying the £157.50 fee next month after controversial plans to end free licences for pensioners over the age threshold were given the green light.

Pensioners will receive letters to advise them of the decision and the next step they need to take, namely phoning the TV Licensing call centre.

But a message on its website earlier said they are ‘prioritising customers in most urgent needs’ due to reduced staffing levels, adding this could lead to them being ‘unable to answer all your calls’ and a delay in responding to emails and letters.

The message now reads: ‘Covid-19 and your emails: Our team are working hard to respond to a large backlog of emails. There may be a long delay in responding to you.’

The move has sparked criticism, including from the Prime Minister, whose official spokesperson said today: ‘This is the wrong decision. We recognise the value of free TV licences for over-75s and believe that they should be funded by the BBC.’ 

The free TV licence for over-75s will be means-tested from August 1, meaning more than three million households will be asked to start paying the £157.50 fee

The BBC, based at Portland Place, London, made the announcement today but has faced a fierce backlash

The BBC, based at Portland Place, London, made the announcement today but has faced a fierce backlash

A spokesman for Boris Johnson today described the announcement as 'the wrong decision'

A spokesman for Boris Johnson today described the announcement as ‘the wrong decision’

What over-75s will need to do to secure a TV licence from August 1

I’ve not paid the TV licence before, how much is it?

A TV Licence costs £157.50 (£53 for black and white TV sets) for a year.

Do I need to act now?

TV Licensing said it will write directly to over-75s customers with guidance ‘highlighting that no-one will need to take immediate action’.

No-one will be expected to pay for a new licence until they have been contacted by letter from TV Licensing, it says.

People ‘will be given plenty of time to set up their new licence’, they say.

Will I need to leave my home to sort out my free TV licence or pay for one?

TV Licensing says that no-one will need to leave their home, to claim a free TV Licence or to pay for one.

How do I start paying for my TV licence?

Information on payment options will be sent next month.

They will include the launch of the 75+ Plan, that will allow over 75s switching from a free licence to a licence they pay for, to spread the cost in weekly, fortnightly or monthly payments.

How else do you pay?

People will have the option to able to pay in one go by cheque, debit/credit card or annual direct debit, set up a monthly direct debit or pay through the 75+ Plan which allows them to make smaller more regular payments including weekly, fortnightly or monthly.

What if I am not online?

Customers who would prefer not to pay online will have the option to use a different method including mailing a cheque, paying by card on the phone or by cash/card at their nearest PayPoint.

How do I claim a free TV licence?

Pensioners must be in receipt of Pension Credit to apply for a free licence.

Information on how to claim will be sent to customers from next month.

TV Licensing says it is operating a ‘self-verification system’ for people to ‘simply’ demonstrate that they receive Pension Credit.

Pension Credit can be in the name of the licence holder, or in their partner’s name if they are a couple and TV Licensing say it is writing to all over 75s to explain how they can demonstrate they receive the benefit.

It says 450,000 have already applied for a free licence under this scheme.

How many people will be eligible for a free TV licence?

The BBC says around 1.5 million households with residents aged over 75 will be eligible for a free TV Licence funded by the BBC if they receive Pension Credit.

What if I need extra support?

TV Licensing says it has increased the size of its customer call centre and launched a free telephone information line with recorded information on the new policy and advice to customers (0800 232 1382).

Information and frequently asked questions can also be found on the TV Licensing website, tvlicensing.co.uk/age.

TV Licensing says it worked with the Alzheimer’s Society and other groups working with older people to ensure that needs of vulnerable older people have been taken into consideration. 

Asked if the government would intervene, the PM’s spokesperson added: ‘It is the BBC which is responsible for the administration of the over-75s concession but we are clear that this is the wrong decision and that we believe the value of free TV licences for over-75s should be funded by the BBC.’ 

Speaking on systems being unable to meet demand, Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee chairman Julian Knight told The Daily Telegraph: ‘This is very concerning indeed and I am not convinced that they are ready for this.’

He added: ‘It will be an own goal of epic proportions to start hauling people over 75 in front of the courts. There needs to be common sense here.’

Culture minister Matt Warman also challenged the corporation in the Commons today, arguing it has had ‘a generous licence fee settlement’, that it was ‘deeply disappointing’ to see the change being made, and adding: ‘I would hope that there is yet time to reconsider.’

However leading age charities and Labour’s shadow culture secretary have rounded on the Government, accusing ministers of ‘passing the buck’ and calling a refusal to fund the service a ‘betrayal’.

The free TV licence was introduced in 2000, but the BBC took on responsibility for funding the scheme as part of the charter agreement hammered out with the Government in 2015.  

Corporation bosses argue it was the Government which took the decision to stop funding for free licences five years ago and that Parliament – through legislation – gave the responsibility to the BBC Board to make the decision on the future of the concession.  

Britain’s elderly population has seen free access to live television and the BBC iPlayer service as an invaluable lifeline during lockdown but many are now facing another bill to deal with. 

An estimated 1.5 million households could still be exempt from paying to watch live television or use the BBC iPlayer service, however, if someone over the age of 75 receives pension credits.

Age UK, which inspired more than 630,000 people to sign a petition against the proposals when they were first announced last year, described the announcement as ‘a kick in the teeth for millions of over 75s who have had a torrid time during this crisis’. 

The change was originally due to be made on June 1, but the move was put on hold back in March, with bosses claiming the coronavirus pandemic had created ‘exceptional circumstances’ and that ‘now is not the right time’. 

Delaying the move has cost the corporation some £35million a month, and, with an ageing population, the total cost to the BBC could have reached £1bn a year, bosses insist.   

There have previously been warnings that allowing the licence to continue being free for all over 75 would lead to ‘unprecedented closures’ of services.   

The broadcaster, which faces increased competition from streaming giants, has said it cannot afford to take on the financial burden from the Government.

Continuing with the Government scheme would have cost the corporation £745 million, the BBC said, meaning the closures of BBC Two, BBC Four, the BBC News Channel, the BBC Scotland channel, Radio 5 Live, and a number of local radio stations, as well as other cuts and reductions.

But the move provoked a swathe of criticism, with the likes of Dame Helen Mirren calling the end of the universal entitlement ‘heartbreaking’, and former prime minister Gordon Brown saying ‘costs should be covered by the Government’.

The decision comes as the Government is set to announce its response to a consultation on decriminalising licence fee evasion.

The Government launched an eight-week consultation in February which received more than 100,00 responses.

A report in May suggested that hundreds of people had opted to cancel their TV licence each day over the past five months.

Meanwhile, the broadcaster has launched a programme of voluntary redundancy as it attempts to make £125 million in savings this year – on top of the previous £800 million savings target – due to the pandemic.

It has also announced job cuts in TV news and local radio in England and said it was axing more than 150 roles in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

It also plans to cut around 450 jobs in BBC News, to take place at a later date.  

The broadcaster said safety would be at the ‘heart’ of the scheme’, as ‘no-one needs to take any immediate action, or leave their home, to claim for a free TV licence or pay for one’.

BBC Chairman, Sir David Clementi, said: ‘The decision to commence the new scheme in August has not been easy, but implementation of the new scheme will be Covid-19 safe. 

‘The BBC could not continue delaying the scheme without impacting on programmes and services.

‘Around 1.5 million households could get free TV licences if someone is over 75 and receives Pension Credit, and 450,000 of them have already applied.  

The proposals sparked outrage when they were announced last year, with more than 630,000 people signing a petition set up by the charity Age UK, calling for action to be taken

The proposals sparked outrage when they were announced last year, with more than 630,000 people signing a petition set up by the charity Age UK, calling for action to be taken

The move provoked a swathe of criticism, with the likes of Dame Helen Mirren calling the end of the universal entitlement 'heartbreaking'

The move provoked a swathe of criticism, with the likes of Dame Helen Mirren calling the end of the universal entitlement ‘heartbreaking’

Culture minister Matt Warman, pictured in the House of Commons, said the move was 'deeply frustrating'

Culture minister Matt Warman, pictured in the House of Commons, said the move was ‘deeply frustrating’

The government has provided free TV licences for the over-75s since 2000, but responsibility for the provision now rests with the BBC.

The government has provided free TV licences for the over-75s since 2000, but responsibility for the provision now rests with the BBC.

A look at the history of the TV licence

In the 1920s, the Government took the decision not to allow the fledgling BBC to fund itself using commercial advertising and instead required people to buy a licence in order to receive their broadcasts.

The first wireless licence was issued in November 1923 for 10 shillings (50p), and by the end of that year 200,000 had been issued.

The number of active licences continued to rise dramatically, with 2.5 million issued in 1928.

The first combined radio and television licence was issued in 1946 for £2.

A supplementary licence for colour TVs was introduced in 1968.

Black and white TV licences still remain available, and as of the end of September 2019, 6,586 were being used.

In 1971, radio-only licences were abolished, along with the requirement to have a licence for car radios.

The BBC was made responsible for administration of the licence fee as a result of the Broadcasting Act 1990, and the corporation now sub-contracts the work.

In 2015, the Government and BBC reached a settlement which meant the broadcaster had to find savings of £800 million by 2021/22.

It also saw the corporation commit to taking on responsibility for the funding of free licences for the over-75s.

The corporation subsequently announced that the free licence benefit would be restricted to those in the age bracket who claim pension credit, because the financial burden of providing it to all those eligible was too great.

The policy change was due to being in June, but was delayed because of the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, with many over-75s forced to stay at home and shield.

Anyone who watches or records programmes on a TV, computer or other device must buy a TV licence – along with those who watch or downloads shows on BBC iPlayer.

There were 25,752,560 TV licences in force in the UK in 2018/19, according to TV Licensing, a decrease on the 25,836,495 in 2017/2018.

In April, a Government consultation on decriminalising licence fee evasion closed after receiving more than 100,000 responses.

‘And critically it is not the BBC making that judgement about poverty. It is the Government who sets and controls that measure.

‘Like most organisations the BBC is under severe financial pressure due to the pandemic, yet we have continued to put the public first in all our decisions. 

‘I believe continuing to fund some free TV licences is the fairest decision for the public, as we will be supporting the poorest oldest pensioners without impacting the programmes and services that all audiences love.’

Mr Knight described the decision as a ‘body blow to millions of British pensioners’, saying he had hoped the Government and the BBC would thrash out ‘a fresh deal’.

The Conservative MP said: ‘This mess is a result of a poor decision struck by the outgoing director-general and now Britain’s pensioners are having to pick up the cost.’

Fellow Tory Andrew Rosindell, MP for Romford, tweeted: ‘Considering the substantial salaries of some BBC presenters, the scrapping of the over-75s free TV license is absolutely unacceptable!

‘This decision rubs salt in the wounds of the generation hardest hit by the coronavirus! Maybe it’s time to scrap the license fee altogether!’ 

Caroline Abrahams, Age UK charity director, added: ‘We’re bitterly disappointed by this decision on behalf of the millions of over 75s who have had a torrid time over the last few months and for whom this must feel like another kick in the teeth, during a terrible year.

‘Many older people on low incomes have told us that if they have to find £150 plus a year to pay for a licence then they will have to forego some other essential, or try to survive without TV at all. 

‘We genuinely worry about the mental health of older people living on their own in this situation if they have to give up their cherished TV – for some it really is all they have and their main way of alleviating their chronic loneliness.

‘Everyone needs to understand that under the BBC’s scheme many hundreds of thousands of the poorest pensioners will be facing a bill they will simply be unable to afford to pay. 

‘That’s due to its flawed design – you only get a free licence if you are receiving Pension Credit but as many as two in five of all the pensioners on the lowest incomes do not receive this benefit, even though they are entitled to it.

‘We know from talking to older people that many are feeling anxious and depressed, and frightened about the future – they are being told to be cautious because we are not yet ‘out of the woods’. 

‘Everyone in this age group has more than enough to worry about already , particularly those who are alone, for whom their TV is more of a lifeline than ever. 

‘We regularly hear from older people who are still too afraid to go out much, if at all, and so the TV really is their window on the world.

‘The BBC has taken this decision today but in reality the principal responsibility lies with the Government.

‘Until a previous administration transferred these free licences to the corporation under a tapering funding arrangement they had taken the form of a welfare benefit for a generation, and to have done that without any consultation left a really bad taste in the mouth. 

Caroline Abrahams, chief executive of Age UK, described the announcement as 'a kick in the teeth for millions of over 75s who have had a torrid time during this crisis'

Caroline Abrahams, chief executive of Age UK, described the announcement as ‘a kick in the teeth for millions of over 75s who have had a torrid time during this crisis’

‘The Government cannot absolve itself of responsibility for the upset and distress being caused to many of our over-75s today, the poorest and most isolated above all. And the sadness is that these older people have already endured so much over the last few months.

‘The Government needs to sit down with the BBC urgently to keep these TV licences for over-75s free.’

Broadcasting union Bectu also argued that the Government should pay for the entitlement.

Its head Philippa Childs said: ‘This BBC has been put in an impossible position by the Government on free licences… It should never have had to choose between charging over-75s and losing essential revenue.

‘The BBC’s role is to inform educate and entertain the nation, not make welfare or benefit decisions. That is the role of government and it is the Government who should be administering and funding this benefit.’

Jo Stevens, Labour’s Shadow Culture Secretary, said: ‘The refusal of the Government to fund this vital service after promising to do so is nothing short of betrayal.

‘Many over-75s have spent months at home with TV providing an invaluable source of company during the pandemic. 

‘For the Government to blame the BBC who are having to contend with huge cuts is simply passing the buck.’

Before the announcement was made, shadow minister Christian Matheson told the Commons this morning that the proposals meant many pensioners could be ‘forced to choose between eating and watching TV’.

He added: ‘The BBC is cutting jobs and content to pay for the cost of the licence dumped on them by the government.’

Culture minister Matt Warman replied: ‘The fact is that the BBC has had a generous licence fee settlement and it is deeply disappointing that they have chosen to go down the path that they apparently are going down.

‘I would hope that there is time to reconsider that because [Mr Matheson] is right to say that television has been a vital comfort for many people in the last few months and it’s a vital part of our national economy as well.’

TV Licensing, which runs its collection activities, will write to those affected and give them ‘clear guidance’. Telephone contact centres have also been set up to assist. 

UK’s first ‘CYCLOPS’ junction which is designed to keep cyclists safe comes into use


UK’s first ‘CYCLOPS’ junction which is designed to keep cyclists safe while making a right turn comes into use

  • First ‘Cycle Optimised Protected Signals’ junction opened in Hulme, Manchester
  • Involves a ‘cycle track’ on the outside of the junction to separate bikes and traffic
  • Dependent on signals, cyclists can make right turn away from traffic in one go

The UK’s first ‘CYCLOPS’ junction – designed to keep cyclists safe while making a right turn – has come in to use for the first time.

The ‘Cycle Optimised Protected Signals’ (CYCLOPS) junction at Royce Road, in Hulme, south Manchester, separates bikes from cars, vans and lorries by creating a ‘cycle-track’ around the outside of the junction.

Instead of turning right, creating a risk with ongoing and sometimes oncoming traffic, cyclists will be encouraged to go around the outside of the junction using the green-coloured cycle track.

The track will have its own traffic signals, which will allow cyclists to complete a right turn in one movement, dependent on signal timings, traffic chiefs at Manchester City Council say.

The ‘Cycle Optimised Protected Signals’ (CYCLOPS) junction at Royce Road, in Hulme, south Manchester, separates bikes from cars, vans and lorries by creating a ‘cycle-track’ around the outside of the junction

Instead of turning right, creating a risk with ongoing and sometimes oncoming traffic, cyclists will be encouraged to go around the outside of the junction using the green-coloured cycle track

Instead of turning right, creating a risk with ongoing and sometimes oncoming traffic, cyclists will be encouraged to go around the outside of the junction using the green-coloured cycle track

The track will have its own traffic signals, which will allow cyclists to complete a right turn in one movement, dependent on signal timings, traffic chiefs at Manchester City Council say

The track will have its own traffic signals, which will allow cyclists to complete a right turn in one movement, dependent on signal timings, traffic chiefs at Manchester City Council say

In addition, segregated cycle lanes have been created on Chorlton Road, running from Chester Road to Stretford Road.

The junction marks the first part of a £13.4m cycling and walking route connecting Manchester to the suburb of Chorlton.

Manchester City Council’s Executive Member for the Environment, Planning and Transport said the feature would make travelling more efficient.  

Manchester City Council's Executive Member for the Environment, Planning and Transport Councillor Angeliki Stogia said the feature would make travelling more efficient

Manchester City Council’s Executive Member for the Environment, Planning and Transport Councillor Angeliki Stogia said the feature would make travelling more efficient

‘The CYCLOPS junction maximises opportunities for safer cycling and walking in this area, while making the performance of the junction more efficient for all road users,’ Councillor Angeliki Stogia said.

‘As we gradually welcome Mancunians back to their city centre, we’re really looking forward to seeing this trailblazing feature becoming a landmark part of what is a well-used commuter route.’

When complete, the 5km cycle route will run along Barlow Moor Road, Manchester Road, Upper Chorlton Road and Chorlton Road.

Work on the route will next take place on Chorlton Road between Moss Lane East and Stretford Road.

‘This UK-first junction is a symbol of our desire to create permanent, high-quality cycling and walking infrastructure, which will support the long-term shift to active travel that we want to see right across the city,’ Cllr Stogia added.

‘And it is only the latest milestone in our ambitious plans to invest in a network of safe routes for people travelling on foot or by bike.

The junction marks the first part of a £13.4m cycling and walking route connecting Manchester to the suburb of Chorlton

The junction marks the first part of a £13.4m cycling and walking route connecting Manchester to the suburb of Chorlton

‘We’re continuing to move forward with our £79m pipeline of projects, which will enable more people across the city to make the switch to walking and cycling for their everyday journeys.’

Chris Boardman, cycling and walking commissioner for Greater Manchester, said he hoped the ‘genius’ project will encourage more people to cycle.

‘Crossing busy junctions on foot or by bike can be a complicated and scary experience and is often a huge barrier for people travelling by foot or bike,’ Chris said.

‘This junction design will make journeys easier and smoother for those doing their bit by cycling or walking, without impacting negatively on any other modes.

‘The design is simply genius and I’m not surprised to see other places already adopting the approach.’

UK’s first ‘CYCLOPS’ junction which is designed to keep cyclists safe comes into use


UK’s first ‘CYCLOPS’ junction which is designed to keep cyclists safe while making a right turn comes into use

  • First ‘Cycle Optimised Protected Signals’ junction opened in Hulme, Manchester
  • Involves a ‘cycle track’ on the outside of the junction to separate bikes and traffic
  • Dependent on signals, cyclists can make right turn away from traffic in one go

The UK’s first ‘CYCLOPS’ junction – designed to keep cyclists safe while making a right turn – has come in to use for the first time.

The ‘Cycle Optimised Protected Signals’ (CYCLOPS) junction at Royce Road, in Hulme, south Manchester, separates bikes from cars, vans and lorries by creating a ‘cycle-track’ around the outside of the junction.

Instead of turning right, creating a risk with ongoing and sometimes oncoming traffic, cyclists will be encouraged to go around the outside of the junction using the green-coloured cycle track.

The track will have its own traffic signals, which will allow cyclists to complete a right turn in one movement, dependent on signal timings, traffic chiefs at Manchester City Council say.

The ‘Cycle Optimised Protected Signals’ (CYCLOPS) junction at Royce Road, in Hulme, south Manchester, separates bikes from cars, vans and lorries by creating a ‘cycle-track’ around the outside of the junction

Instead of turning right, creating a risk with ongoing and sometimes oncoming traffic, cyclists will be encouraged to go around the outside of the junction using the green-coloured cycle track

Instead of turning right, creating a risk with ongoing and sometimes oncoming traffic, cyclists will be encouraged to go around the outside of the junction using the green-coloured cycle track

The track will have its own traffic signals, which will allow cyclists to complete a right turn in one movement, dependent on signal timings, traffic chiefs at Manchester City Council say

The track will have its own traffic signals, which will allow cyclists to complete a right turn in one movement, dependent on signal timings, traffic chiefs at Manchester City Council say

In addition, segregated cycle lanes have been created on Chorlton Road, running from Chester Road to Stretford Road.

The junction marks the first part of a £13.4m cycling and walking route connecting Manchester to the suburb of Chorlton.

Manchester City Council’s Executive Member for the Environment, Planning and Transport said the feature would make travelling more efficient.  

Manchester City Council's Executive Member for the Environment, Planning and Transport Councillor Angeliki Stogia said the feature would make travelling more efficient

Manchester City Council’s Executive Member for the Environment, Planning and Transport Councillor Angeliki Stogia said the feature would make travelling more efficient

‘The CYCLOPS junction maximises opportunities for safer cycling and walking in this area, while making the performance of the junction more efficient for all road users,’ Councillor Angeliki Stogia said.

‘As we gradually welcome Mancunians back to their city centre, we’re really looking forward to seeing this trailblazing feature becoming a landmark part of what is a well-used commuter route.’

When complete, the 5km cycle route will run along Barlow Moor Road, Manchester Road, Upper Chorlton Road and Chorlton Road.

Work on the route will next take place on Chorlton Road between Moss Lane East and Stretford Road.

‘This UK-first junction is a symbol of our desire to create permanent, high-quality cycling and walking infrastructure, which will support the long-term shift to active travel that we want to see right across the city,’ Cllr Stogia added.

‘And it is only the latest milestone in our ambitious plans to invest in a network of safe routes for people travelling on foot or by bike.

The junction marks the first part of a £13.4m cycling and walking route connecting Manchester to the suburb of Chorlton

The junction marks the first part of a £13.4m cycling and walking route connecting Manchester to the suburb of Chorlton

‘We’re continuing to move forward with our £79m pipeline of projects, which will enable more people across the city to make the switch to walking and cycling for their everyday journeys.’

Chris Boardman, cycling and walking commissioner for Greater Manchester, said he hoped the ‘genius’ project will encourage more people to cycle.

‘Crossing busy junctions on foot or by bike can be a complicated and scary experience and is often a huge barrier for people travelling by foot or bike,’ Chris said.

‘This junction design will make journeys easier and smoother for those doing their bit by cycling or walking, without impacting negatively on any other modes.

‘The design is simply genius and I’m not surprised to see other places already adopting the approach.’

Former public school teacher, 62, is on the brink of death on day 40 of hunger strike


A former public school teacher is on the brink of death on day 40 of hunger strike over an unresolved complaint against Marriott Hotels.  

John Shepherd, 62, who is on day 40 of the hunger strike, has been battling Mariott Hotels since 2008 after a car park was built next to his flat in Thailand.    

The 62-year-old, who previously worked for Harrow International School in Bangkok, was so outraged by the sewage and the unplanned parking area, he began to write to local newspapers in 2012 to complain.  

After the articles were published, Thai police arrested the former teacher on charges of defamation. He was later released.  

John Shepherd, 62, who is on day 40 of the hunger strike, has been fighting Mariott Hotels since 2008 after a car park was built next to his flat in Bangkok

The 62-year-old, who previously worked for Harrow International School in Bangkok, was so outraged by the sewage and the unplanned parking area, he began to write to local newspapers in 2012 to complain

The 62-year-old, who previously worked for Harrow International School in Bangkok, was so outraged by the sewage and the unplanned parking area, he began to write to local newspapers in 2012 to complain

After the arrest, while abroad, a friend told him that there was a warrant out for his arrest in the country. 

Shepherd lost his flat in Bangkok because he decided not to return, fearing the police would action the warrant, he claims.   

The former teacher believes the incidence are part of a targetted campaign of harassment against him. 

Marriot hotels refute Shepherd’s accusations, claiming that the hotel is run by the chain, but has different owners. 

Minor International was the company who started construction of the St Regis Hotel in Bangkok in 2008. 

Control of the operation was handed over to Starwood, a hotel operator that later merged with Marriott.

Pictured: The St Regis Hotel in Bangkok

Pictured: The St Regis Hotel in Bangkok 

Arne Sorenson, Marriott's chief executive (pictured in April last year), met with Shepherd during a previous strike, where he asked for a resolution 'fair to both sides'

Arne Sorenson, Marriott’s chief executive (pictured in April last year), met with Shepherd during a previous strike, where he asked for a resolution ‘fair to both sides’

However, Shepherd firmly believes the fault lies with Mariott, and says they are targetting him in an alleged campaign of harassment. 

Three days ago, on day 37 of his hunger strike, Shepherd said: ‘If I do pass away, possibly the first ever hunger strike death in protest at corporate wrongdoing, Marriott will have knowingly and callously watched and allowed me to die without stepping in.’ 

The 62-year-old is demanding £3million in damages.   

Arne Sorenson, Marriott’s chief executive, met with Shepherd during a previous strike, where he asked for a resolution ‘fair to both sides’. 

Shepherd stopped starving himself during negotiations but Marriott decided the chain was not at fault so would not hand over the damages.   

A Marriott spokesman told the Times and denied they had started a police investigation into him. 

‘We have given Mr Shepherd numerous opportunities to substantiate his claims against us — which he hasn’t been able to do,’ they said. 

The spokesman stressed that Minor Hotels, not the Mariott, were responsible for the construction on the St Regis Hotel – and that all complaints should be addressed by them.     

Shepgerd’s case has caught the attention of the Bishop of London, the Right Rev Dame Sarah Mullally, who has urged compassion on the part of the hotel chain

The case of Shepherd, who is on hunger strike at his home in East London, has caught the attention of the Bishop of London, the Right Rev Dame Sarah Mullally, who has urged compassion on the part of the hotel chain.    

‘Given his current situation and fragility I’m writing to urge you to consider reaching out once again to John,’ Dame Sarah wrote. ‘It would surely be tragic if he ended his life because he saw no other solution.’ 

Shepherd said in his most recent video: ‘I have very little if any body fat remaining and this is likely to be my final, fond farewell.’             

Killer who stabbed his teenage victim, 17, to death is living in a hotel at the taxpayers’ expense


Sadistic killer who stabbed 17-year-old victim to death, decapitated him and used his head as a bowling ball is living in a hotel at UK taxpayers’ expense after being deported from Australia back to Britain

  • Christopher Clark Jones was jailed for murdering Morgan Jay Shepherd in 2005
  • Was released on parole and deported from Australia back to the UK last month
  • He has been living in a £100-a-night hotel and also receives spending mone

A notorious killer who stabbed his teenage victim 133 times before decapitating him has been living off taxpayers money at a hotel after he was deported from Australia back to the UK. 

Christopher Clark Jones, 36, who was jailed for life after murdering 17-year-old homeless teenager Morgan Jay Shepherd at Sandgate, north of Brisbane, in 2005, arrived back to Britain last month after he was kicked out of Australia. 

However it has now been reported that the sadistic killer, who served only 15 years of his sentence, has been living in a £100-a-night hotel and also receives spending money to live on.

A source told The Sun: ‘He’s one of Australia’s most notorious murderers who should have spent the rest of his life behind bars.

Christopher Clark Jones, 36, was released and taken onto a plane by Australian Border Office officials last month

Jones was jailed for life after murdering 17-year-old homeless teenager Morgan Jay Shepherd in Brisbane, Australia, in 2005

Jones was jailed for life after murdering 17-year-old homeless teenager Morgan Jay Shepherd in Brisbane, Australia, in 2005

‘But he’s now living life as a free man in London without a care in the world.

‘He quite openly talks about his past. He has no remorse and is a cocky type.’

He has also been sighted eating fry-ups, smoking and drinking beer close to his hotel, according to The Sun.

In 2007, Jones was convicted of murdering Mr Shepherd after a drunken argument at a house rented by his co-accused James Patrick Roughan in 2005.

During the trial, a court heard Mr Shepherd was living at a Brisbane youth hostel at the time and was drinking with the two older men the night he was killed.

The 17-year-old was stabbed repeatedly and was decapitated with an axe before the Jones and Roughan used the head as a bowling ball and a puppet. 

The teenager was finally found in a shallow grave in bushland at Dayboro in April 2005 after an anonymous tip-off led police to the body. 

Police also found a woodsaw, carpet and bloodstained clothes at the home where Mr Shepherd was murdered.  

While neither man admitted to killing the teenager, a witness testified that Jones later bragged about his crime.

‘Chris said he stomped on him a bit and then grabbed a knife from the kitchen, stabbed him in the back, stabbed him a few times and then gave the knife to James and James stabbed him a few times,’ the witness told the Supreme Court in 2007. 

The killer was put on to a private jet in June by the Australian Border Force and sent back to the UK

The killer was put on to a private jet in June by the Australian Border Force and sent back to the UK

Jones (pictured with the Australian Border Force) served  15 years of his life sentence

Jones (pictured with the Australian Border Force) served  15 years of his life sentence

Mr Shepherd had been living at a Brisbane youth hostel and was drinking with the two older men the night he was killed

Mr Shepherd had been living at a Brisbane youth hostel and was drinking with the two older men the night he was killed

‘Then James cut the head and Chris pulled it off. James was nodding … (he) had a little smirk on his face. Chris was making a joke of the situation.’

The judge who presided over the trial said the teenager’s murder was the worst case she had ever heard.  

Jones, who was born in Tyneside and moved to Australia as a child, was released on parole in June before being deported by on a private jet chartered by the Australian BorderAustralia back to the UK.

Despite living in Australia, Jones never took up Australian citizenship and later had his visa cancelled by Australia’s Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton because he was ‘considered to not be of good character’. 

Mr Dutton said it was one of the most ‘abhorrent crimes’ in Queensland’s history and that there was no place in Australia for foreigners who murder locals, The Courier Mail reported.  

Axe killer Christopher Clarke Jones’ first weeks back on UK soil 

By James Fielding and Kevin Donald

What will happen with Christopher Clark Jones touches down on UK soil?

The Home Office is responsible for his transfer from Australia – but once back in the UK his supervision will come under the jurisdiction of the probation service and Ministry of Justice. 

Jones was flown on a private jet chartered by the Australian Border Force (ABF), along with seven other men deported back to Britain.

When he arrives back in the UK, he will be met by UK police and likely be placed in a hostel under supervision for the first few weeks.

Afterwards all relevant information will be passed to the authorities in the area he is planning to live.

What restrictions will be placed upon him?

He will almost certainly be made the subject of a Violent Offender Order.

The Violent Offender Order (VOO) is a civil preventative order designed to help police manage risk more effectively.

They place restrictions on offenders who continue to pose a risk of serious violent harm to the general public by restricting their access to certain places, events or people to whom they pose the highest risk.

A condition of the order would require him to not only register his address with the local police station but to also report any temporary change of address that would keep him away from home for three days.

All sorts of additional restrictions and limitations can be added to Orders, such as requirements to refrain from doing certain activities, going to certain places and seeing certain people.

What happens if he breaches any restrictions?

A breach of a VOO could lead to a further jail sentence of up to five years.

What would have happened if he stayed in Australia? Is there a reciprocal agreement between Australia and UK when it comes to serious criminals?

Had he remained in Australia, Jones would have been on parole for life, which would have involved regular surveillance from police.

Because the UK has a Prison Transfer Agreement with Australia, the remainder of his sentence will be under the jurisdiction of the British authorities meaning he will be assessed by the Probation Service, who will decide his threat level to the public and how he will be managed.

A Ministry of Justice spokesperson said: ‘We are unable to comment on individual cases. However where a Prison Transfer Agreement exists, if an offender has some element of his sentence left to serve the National Probation Service may get involved. This is dealt with on a case by case basis.’

Killer who stabbed his teenage victim, 17, to death is living in a hotel at the taxpayers’ expense


Sadistic killer who stabbed 17-year-old victim to death, decapitated him and used his head as a bowling ball is living in a hotel at UK taxpayers’ expense after being deported from Australia back to Britain

  • Christopher Clark Jones was jailed for murdering Morgan Jay Shepherd in 2005
  • Was released on parole and deported from Australia back to the UK last month
  • He has been living in a £100-a-night hotel and also receives spending mone

A notorious killer who stabbed his teenage victim 133 times before decapitating him has been living off taxpayers money at a hotel after he was deported from Australia back to the UK. 

Christopher Clark Jones, 36, who was jailed for life after murdering 17-year-old homeless teenager Morgan Jay Shepherd at Sandgate, north of Brisbane, in 2005, arrived back to Britain last month after he was kicked out of Australia. 

However it has now been reported that the sadistic killer, who served only 15 years of his sentence, has been living in a £100-a-night hotel and also receives spending money to live on.

A source told The Sun: ‘He’s one of Australia’s most notorious murderers who should have spent the rest of his life behind bars.

Christopher Clark Jones, 36, was released and taken onto a plane by Australian Border Office officials last month

Jones was jailed for life after murdering 17-year-old homeless teenager Morgan Jay Shepherd in Brisbane, Australia, in 2005

Jones was jailed for life after murdering 17-year-old homeless teenager Morgan Jay Shepherd in Brisbane, Australia, in 2005

‘But he’s now living life as a free man in London without a care in the world.

‘He quite openly talks about his past. He has no remorse and is a cocky type.’

He has also been sighted eating fry-ups, smoking and drinking beer close to his hotel, according to The Sun.

In 2007, Jones was convicted of murdering Mr Shepherd after a drunken argument at a house rented by his co-accused James Patrick Roughan in 2005.

During the trial, a court heard Mr Shepherd was living at a Brisbane youth hostel at the time and was drinking with the two older men the night he was killed.

The 17-year-old was stabbed repeatedly and was decapitated with an axe before the Jones and Roughan used the head as a bowling ball and a puppet. 

The teenager was finally found in a shallow grave in bushland at Dayboro in April 2005 after an anonymous tip-off led police to the body. 

Police also found a woodsaw, carpet and bloodstained clothes at the home where Mr Shepherd was murdered.  

While neither man admitted to killing the teenager, a witness testified that Jones later bragged about his crime.

‘Chris said he stomped on him a bit and then grabbed a knife from the kitchen, stabbed him in the back, stabbed him a few times and then gave the knife to James and James stabbed him a few times,’ the witness told the Supreme Court in 2007. 

The killer was put on to a private jet in June by the Australian Border Force and sent back to the UK

The killer was put on to a private jet in June by the Australian Border Force and sent back to the UK

Jones (pictured with the Australian Border Force) served  15 years of his life sentence

Jones (pictured with the Australian Border Force) served  15 years of his life sentence

Mr Shepherd had been living at a Brisbane youth hostel and was drinking with the two older men the night he was killed

Mr Shepherd had been living at a Brisbane youth hostel and was drinking with the two older men the night he was killed

‘Then James cut the head and Chris pulled it off. James was nodding … (he) had a little smirk on his face. Chris was making a joke of the situation.’

The judge who presided over the trial said the teenager’s murder was the worst case she had ever heard.  

Jones, who was born in Tyneside and moved to Australia as a child, was released on parole in June before being deported by on a private jet chartered by the Australian BorderAustralia back to the UK.

Despite living in Australia, Jones never took up Australian citizenship and later had his visa cancelled by Australia’s Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton because he was ‘considered to not be of good character’. 

Mr Dutton said it was one of the most ‘abhorrent crimes’ in Queensland’s history and that there was no place in Australia for foreigners who murder locals, The Courier Mail reported.  

Axe killer Christopher Clarke Jones’ first weeks back on UK soil 

By James Fielding and Kevin Donald

What will happen with Christopher Clark Jones touches down on UK soil?

The Home Office is responsible for his transfer from Australia – but once back in the UK his supervision will come under the jurisdiction of the probation service and Ministry of Justice. 

Jones was flown on a private jet chartered by the Australian Border Force (ABF), along with seven other men deported back to Britain.

When he arrives back in the UK, he will be met by UK police and likely be placed in a hostel under supervision for the first few weeks.

Afterwards all relevant information will be passed to the authorities in the area he is planning to live.

What restrictions will be placed upon him?

He will almost certainly be made the subject of a Violent Offender Order.

The Violent Offender Order (VOO) is a civil preventative order designed to help police manage risk more effectively.

They place restrictions on offenders who continue to pose a risk of serious violent harm to the general public by restricting their access to certain places, events or people to whom they pose the highest risk.

A condition of the order would require him to not only register his address with the local police station but to also report any temporary change of address that would keep him away from home for three days.

All sorts of additional restrictions and limitations can be added to Orders, such as requirements to refrain from doing certain activities, going to certain places and seeing certain people.

What happens if he breaches any restrictions?

A breach of a VOO could lead to a further jail sentence of up to five years.

What would have happened if he stayed in Australia? Is there a reciprocal agreement between Australia and UK when it comes to serious criminals?

Had he remained in Australia, Jones would have been on parole for life, which would have involved regular surveillance from police.

Because the UK has a Prison Transfer Agreement with Australia, the remainder of his sentence will be under the jurisdiction of the British authorities meaning he will be assessed by the Probation Service, who will decide his threat level to the public and how he will be managed.

A Ministry of Justice spokesperson said: ‘We are unable to comment on individual cases. However where a Prison Transfer Agreement exists, if an offender has some element of his sentence left to serve the National Probation Service may get involved. This is dealt with on a case by case basis.’

Christino Ronaldo ‘recharges’ in the beating sun as he shows off his tanned chiseled abs


Christino Ronaldo enjoyed some downtime as he sprawled out on a sun lounger to top up his tan on Friday.

The 35-year-old football star shared a snap to Instagram as he lay in a pair of black and gold board shorts, showing off his sculpted physique.

Carved-out abs on display, he grinned for the camera as he lay in the beating sun, his toned torso and muscular limbs stealing focus. 

Hot! Christino Ronaldo enjoyed some downtime as he sprawled out on a sun lounger to top up his tan on Friday

He is currently enjoying a sun-drenched holiday in Portofino with his partner Georgia Rodriguez, who put on an eye-popping display on Thursday as she posed in a leopard print bikini for a sizzling Instagram snap of her own.

The beauty, 26, left little to the imagination as she lounged in her pool in the busty swimwear.

Georgina looked incredible as she basked in the sunshine, shielding her face from the sun in a straw bucket hat. 

The Argentinian model accessorised with a simple silver cross necklace.

Wow: Georgia Rodriguez put on an eye-popping display on Thursday, as she posed in a leopard print bikini for a sizzling new Instagram snap

Wow: Georgia Rodriguez put on an eye-popping display on Thursday, as she posed in a leopard print bikini for a sizzling new Instagram snap

Captioning the image, she wrote in Spanish: ‘feliz dia’, which translates into English as ‘happy day’. 

The beauty went on to once again showcase her sizzling figure on her Instagram stories as she shared an image of herself in a white crop top and matching leggings. 

Meanwhile, Georgina shared a stunning snap of herself in a sultry black bikini as she emerged from the sea amid her idyllic getaway.

The model ran her hand through her raven tresses as she emerged on the jetty in her sizzling frilly two-piece. 

Showstopping: Meanwhile, Georgina shared a stunning snap of herself in a sultry black bikini as she emerged from the sea amid her idyllic Portofino getaway

Showstopping: Meanwhile, Georgina shared a stunning snap of herself in a sultry black bikini as she emerged from the sea amid her idyllic Portofino getaway

Georgina’s cleavage-baring snap comes shortly after she once again sparked rumours that she and Christiano are engaged. 

The model took to Instagram last month to share an image of herself sunbathing on a yacht during their Portofino trip, but caught attention by sporting a massive diamond ring on her wedding finger. 

Brunette beauty Georgina’s social media post came just seven months after the Juventus striker, 35, denied reports they’d secretly wed in a low-key ceremony in Morocco. 

Looking good: The beauty went on to once again showcase her sizzling figure on her Instagram stories as she shared an image of herself in a white crop top and matching leggings

Looking good: The beauty went on to once again showcase her sizzling figure on her Instagram stories as she shared an image of herself in a white crop top and matching leggings

The former retail assistant looked sensational as she highlighted her toned bottom in a neon green swimsuit, which she styled with her dazzling accessory.

She wrote a caption in Spanish, which translates to English as: ‘Great is the one who does not need to turn off the light of others to shine … ❤️ #love #goodvibes.’ (sic)

MailOnline has contacted Cristiano’s representatives for further comment.

The pair started dating in 2016 and share daughter Alana, two, together, while the athlete is also a father to nine-year-old Cristiano Jr, whose maternity is a mystery, and two-year-old twins Mateo and Eva, who were carried by a surrogate.

Rumours: Georgina's cleavage-baring snap comes shortly after she once again sparked rumours that she and Christiano are engaged last month

Rumours: Georgina’s cleavage-baring snap comes shortly after she once again sparked rumours that she and Christiano are engaged last month

Sun-soaked: The model, 26, and the Juventus striker, 35, had been enjoying a holiday in Portofino

Sun-soaked: The model, 26, and the Juventus striker, 35, had been enjoying a holiday in Portofino

This is not the first time dancer Georgina fuelled rumours the couple have taken their romance to the next level, as she referred to him as her ‘husband’ in a gushing post celebrating her 26th birthday back in January.

Sharing a snapshot of herself and Ronaldo posing with their children, the online influencer wrote: ‘Happy 2️⃣6️⃣ for me, very happy. I can’t ask life more. Just a lot of health for my family and me and to always enjoy them.

‘Thank you all for your congratulations, flowers and therefore love ✨ And Thank you to my husband for giving me the best of life, our children. I love you.’

What's going on? Brunette beauty Georgina's social media post came just seven months after the footballer denied reports they'd secretly wed in a low-key ceremony in Morocco

What’s going on? Brunette beauty Georgina’s social media post came just seven months after the footballer denied reports they’d secretly wed in a low-key ceremony in Morocco

In Spanish, ‘marido’ is often used to describe a common law husband, while ‘esposo’ is more commonly employed as a description for a legally wed male.

Towards the end of last year, the Portuguese footballer shot down reports from Novella 2000 magazine, which claimed he wed Georgina in a North African ceremony last August.

Sources close to the captain denied the rumours, branding all talk of the purported ceremony ‘fake news’.

Georgina added weight to growing rumours of an engagement to Cristiano back in June 2018, when she wore a sparkling ring on her wedding finger as she cheered the footballer to victory at the World Cup in Moscow. 

Just married? Dancer Georgina referred to the hunk as her 'husband' in a gushing post celebrating her 26th birthday back in January

Just married? Dancer Georgina referred to the hunk as her ‘husband’ in a gushing post celebrating her 26th birthday back in January

Today host Karl Stefanovic in tears as toddler sabotages his TikTok star parents interview


‘Can somebody shut that kid up?’ Karl Stefanovic left in tears after TikTok star parents try to keep their noisy child quiet as he sabotages their live TV interview on the Today show

Live TV can have its crazy and unpredictable moments.

And on Friday, Today show viewers were left in stitches when hosts Karl Stefanovic and Allison Langdon spoke to Sam and Zoe, also known as the Aussie Battlerz on TikTok.

The couple from the suburb of Lara, Victoria, appeared on the show with their three young sons Kade, Dane and Reid, to talk about their hugely successful and hilarious videos on the social media app.

‘Can somebody shut that kid up?’ Karl Stefanovic was left in tears after TikTok star parents tried to keep their noisy child quiet during their live TV interview on the Today show on Friday

As Sam adjusted his eldest son’s ear piece, Karl asked Kade if he liked having the same mullet hairstyle as his father.

He answered, ‘yes’, as his younger brother was busy making sounds in the background that clearly annoyed Karl.

‘Hey, can somebody shut that kid up. I can’t even hear you!’ the TV host joked to his  parents.

The battlers: Victorian couple Sam and Zoe, also known as Aussie Battlerz on TikTok, appeared on the show with their three young sons Kade, Dane and Reid to talk about their funny videos

The battlers: Victorian couple Sam and Zoe, also known as Aussie Battlerz on TikTok, appeared on the show with their three young sons Kade, Dane and Reid to talk about their funny videos

‘It had to go this way, Karl. It’s us on camera,’ Sam said of the situation, as their second child made louder sounds in the background. 

In the studio, Allison and Karl were howling with laughter at how quickly the interview was sabotaged by the children.

Sam got control of the situation by covering his noisy son’s mouth in an attempt to silence him.

Out of control! Their second son was making sounds in the background annoyed Karl who jokingly asked the to 'shut that kid up'. Sam got control of the situation by covering his noisy son's mouth in an attempt to silence him

Out of control! Their second son was making sounds in the background annoyed Karl who jokingly asked the to ‘shut that kid up’. Sam got control of the situation by covering his noisy son’s mouth in an attempt to silence him

But the little boy continued, only this time a little more quietly in the background.

Allison said: ‘Zoe, in all this I’m just feeling for you. Like, this I’m just feeling for you. Like, this is your – we’ve got, like, a tiny insight. This is your life.’

Sam agreed, saying: ‘This is it, yeah. It is full on. We have 13 tarantulas, a couple of dogs, a bloody cat, and a turtle inside if you wanted to come out as well. 

Hilarious: In the studio, Allison and Karl were in tears of laughter at how quickly the interview was sabotaged by the children. Sam told the hosts of his family: 'This is what you get mate. This is what you bloody get,' as the hosts laughed at his hilariously blunt remark

Hilarious: In the studio, Allison and Karl were in tears of laughter at how quickly the interview was sabotaged by the children. Sam told the hosts of his family: ‘This is what you get mate. This is what you bloody get,’ as the hosts laughed at his hilariously blunt remark

‘This is what you get mate. This is what you bloody get,’ he added, as the hosts laughed at his hilariously blunt remark.

At the end of the noisy interview, Karl held his finger to his ear and joked: ‘makes you want to have another one.’

The TV presenter was referring to having another child. Karl recently welcomed his first child, a daughter named Harper May, two months ago with second wife Jasmine Yarbrough. 

Loves of his life: At the end of the noisy interview, Karl joked: 'makes you want to have another one.' His joke was referring having another child. Karl recently welcomed his first child, a daughter named Harper May, two months ago with second wife Jasmine Yarbrough (pictured)

Loves of his life: At the end of the noisy interview, Karl joked: ‘makes you want to have another one.’ His joke was referring having another child. Karl recently welcomed his first child, a daughter named Harper May, two months ago with second wife Jasmine Yarbrough (pictured)