Catherine Tyldesley unveils her impressive vocals with Scarborough co-star Jason Manford


Catherine Tyldesley unveils her impressive vocals before she attempts the Dirty Dancing lift with Scarborough co-star Jason Manford

She plays the role of karaoke-lover Karen, a woman who is giving her relationship with former boyfriend Mike another go following five years apart, in BBC comedy Scarborough.

And Catherine Tyldesley brought her character to life as she shared throwback clips of herself singing with co-star Jason Manford on Instagram over the weekend.

The former Coronation Street star, 36, unveiled her secret singing skills as she and the comedian, 39, belted out Bill Medley and Jennifer Warnes’ Time Of My Life, before attempting to perform the iconic Dirty Dancing lift.

Having fun: Catherine Tyldesley brought her karaoke-loving Scarborough character to life as she shared throwback clips of herself with co-star Jason Manford on Instagram on Saturday

The on-screen couple held onto each other as they sang along to the famous track, taking inspiration from their roles.

They took a step further when they emulated into Dirty Dancing stars Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Grey, with the actor barely lifting his fellow thespian off from the ground.

An amused Catherine captioned the post: ‘Happy Weekend! Just to make you all smile. 

‘This time last year ❤️❤️❤️ here me and the brilliant @jasonmanford owning the pub karaoke! Miss you @derrenlitten @jakecanuso and our #Scarbs lot ❤️❤️❤️.’ [sic]

Did they nail it? The former Coronation Street star, 36, and the comedian, 39, attempted to perform the iconic Dirty Dancing lift

Did they nail it? The former Coronation Street star, 36, and the comedian, 39, attempted to perform the iconic Dirty Dancing lift

What a classic: The media personality unveiled her secret singing skills as she and the actor belted to Bill Medley and Jennifer Warnes' Time Of My Life

What a classic: The media personality unveiled her secret singing skills as she and the actor belted to Bill Medley and Jennifer Warnes’ Time Of My Life

Her social media post came after she shared some struggles of her own as she admitted the current coronavirus lockdown has put her in a ‘dark place’.

The actress confessed she was left ‘crying all the time’ when her mother was sent to ICU for an emergency surgery – an ordeal which left her ‘unable to parent’ her son Alfie, five, who she shares with her photographer husband Tom Pitfield.  

‘Lockdown has brought up many emotions for many people’, the media personality penned. 

On the challenges she’s recently faced, the soap star explained: ‘Some days have been incredibly hard. Dark. Unworkable. 

'Just to make you all smile': The on-screen couple held onto each other as they sang along to the famous track, taking inspiration from their roles

‘Just to make you all smile’: The on-screen couple held onto each other as they sang along to the famous track, taking inspiration from their roles

Romance is alive: She plays the role of Karen, a woman who is giving her relationship with former boyfriend Mike (pictured) another go following five years apart, in the BBC comedy

Romance is alive: She plays the role of Karen, a woman who is giving her relationship with former boyfriend Mike (pictured) another go following five years apart, in the BBC comedy  

The real deal: Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Grey pictured in the 1987 film

The real deal: Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Grey pictured in the 1987 film

‘When my mum was in ICU I could barely function. It seemed all I could do was cry. I couldn’t parent. My inner child simply craved my mums touch… 

‘Thus I felt shame/mum guilt for not being able to ‘mother’ my own son. I’m lucky- I have a brilliant hands- on husband who has been the greatest support to us. Some people don’t have anyone. I can’t bare to imagine that.

‘Teamed with a huge change in my hormonal balance – last month was nothing short of horrendous.’ 

Catherine encouraged her social media followers to join her in sharing their experiences of mental health issues in an Instagram Live with aesthetic doctor Jonquille Chantrey.

 

Candid: Her social media post came after she shared some struggles of her own as she admitted the current coronavirus lockdown has put her in a 'dark place'

 Candid: Her social media post came after she shared some struggles of her own as she admitted the current coronavirus lockdown has put her in a ‘dark place’

The TV star ended her post: ‘It’s massively important to me that we all #TALK . We must help each other. That is why TODAY at 1pm I am joining the most wonderful panel to do just that … talk.

‘We will be going live on @drjonquillechantrey at 1pm. We will be talking about many aspects of mental health, especially those issues at the forefront of lockdown: #Stress #Anxiety #Depression #Parenthood #MumGuilt #HealthAnxiety #bodyissues #Issues with food/drink.

‘We have the most incredible team today sharing their thoughts and feelings. We will be answering your questions. Let’s all support each other guys. Please keep taking. If you’re free – please join us at 1pm today ❤️❤️❤️ #mentalhealthawarenessmonth’. [sic] 

For information or support with mental health issues visit mind.org.uk or call 0300 123 3393. 

Emotional: The actress confessed she was left 'crying all the time' when her mother was sent to ICU for an emergency surgery (pictured holding hands earlier this month)

Emotional: The actress confessed she was left ‘crying all the time’ when her mother was sent to ICU for an emergency surgery (pictured holding hands earlier this month)

'I felt shame/mum guilt': The ordeal which left her 'unable to parent' her son Alfie (pictured), five, who she shares with her photographer husband Tom Pitfield

‘I felt shame/mum guilt’: The ordeal which left her ‘unable to parent’ her son Alfie (pictured), five, who she shares with her photographer husband Tom Pitfield 

Assassin who killed 23 for Basque separatists Eta is now working for the RED CROSS, says her mother


Psychopathic TV serial killer Villanelle is described by her creator – thriller writer Luke Jennings – as ‘a spectral and elusive quarry, always one flawless step ahead’. Jennings says he also admires her ‘grim artistry’.

As fans of the BBC drama, now in its third series, are aware, Villanelle displays no remorse for her extravagantly sadistic ‘hits’. Played by Jodie Comer, the hired assassin employed by an underworld gang called The Twelve, becomes involved in an obsessive cat-and-mouse game with MI6 agent Eve Polastri, played by Sandra Oh.

The idea of the story came to Jennings – who was the Observer newspaper’s dance critic – when he tried to turn the ‘womanising and humourless’ genre of male thriller book heroes on its head.

So he invented Villanelle – real name Oksana Astankova – a ‘child of post-Soviet chaos, as brilliant as she was ferocious’. But only recently has it emerged that an inspiration for her was Idoia Lopez Riano, a green-eyed femme fatale who became the world’s most wanted female assassin in the 1980s while carrying out atrocities for Eta, the Basque separatist group.

Idoia Lopez Riano became the world’s most wanted female assassin in the 1980s while carrying out atrocities for Eta, the Basque separatist group

In total, she killed 23, including 12 Civil Guards in one bomb attack. Finally caught in 1994, she was handed a 1,500-year jail sentence but later renounced terror and walked free in 2017, aged 52.

A sadistic penchant for luring police officers to bed, before gunning down their colleagues, got the disco-loving, tousle-haired killer the nickname ‘La Tigresa’.

Like Villanelle, she often paused to admire her reflection before executing her next victim. The similarities with Comer’s character are obvious, with Jennings himself saying: ‘Riano was a psychopath and completely without empathy.’

However, in a remarkable twist – one that even the imaginative Villanelle might never have come up with – Riano’s mother last night claimed that her daughter now works for the Red Cross. Speaking last week from her home in the tiny village of Villar de Ciervo near the Portuguese border, her mother, Mari Riano, 86, said she’s ‘proud’ of her daughter who has been ‘turning things around’. She said: ‘She speaks three or four languages and is throwing herself into the work. Idoia is with the Red Cross in Barcelona. Everyone loves her there.’

The contrast between Riano’s alleged humanitarian work and her previous role as a commando with Eta, whose violent campaign for independence left more than 850 people dead, is as sharp as her role as assassin was with her very normal childhood. As a youngster with piercing eyes and dark, tumbling hair, Riano was ‘just one of the girls’, says her cousin, Jose Antonio Lopez, adding: ‘She was pretty soft.’

That changed in 1980 when, through a boyfriend from the Basque town of Errenteria, the then 16-year-old Riano was recruited by Eta. She registered her first kill at the age of 20.

As fans of the BBC drama Killing Eve, now in its third series, are aware, Villanelle displays no remorse for her extravagantly sadistic ‘hits’

As fans of the BBC drama Killing Eve, now in its third series, are aware, Villanelle displays no remorse for her extravagantly sadistic ‘hits’

It was not long before her signature green eyes and curls of hair began to dominate newspaper reports and her face appeared on Wanted posters in bars across Spain. Her mother said: ‘She got involved with the wrong crowd. I can’t say why, it just happened.’

Displaying a natural talent for terror, Riano became a lieutenant in Eta’s Madrid cell. In 1986, she played a key role in the bombing of the city’s Plaza Republica Dominicana which killed 12 Civil Guards, and in another car bomb attack that left five Guards dead.

After fleeing to Algeria for several years, she joined a notorious commando unit which carried out attacks in Barcelona, Valencia, Alicante and Murcia, achieving a near mythical reputation for ruthlessness. Just as Villanelle lusts after her intelligence service agent pursuer Eve Polastri, so Riano developed a sexual obsession with the Civil Guard, cruising night clubs to pick up officers, only to assassinate their colleagues hours later. According to one report, she was said to straddle her police lovers while thinking: ‘I’d love to shoot the b****** in the mouth.’

The image of his daughter as a bed-hopping, merciless killer remains painful for Melchor Riano. Sipping a glass of local liqueur in the village square, he said: ‘I just want to leave the past behind. I can’t bring myself to talk about it.’

Villager Teodoro Reyes, 62, still recalls the unwanted attention that Riano’s crimes brought to Villar de Ciervo. He said. ‘I remember seeing her face on a poster at a local bus stop, in a line-up of eight or ten wanted ETA terrorists. We all knew the legend of La Tigresa who killed so many.’

In Killing Eve, Villanelle’s paymasters admire her skill as an assassin, but despair of her tendency to ignore orders.

Riano is handcuffed after she arrives at the Madrid-Barajas airport on Wednesday May 9, 2001, after being extradited from France

Riano is handcuffed after she arrives at the Madrid-Barajas airport on Wednesday May 9, 2001, after being extradited from France

Riano was no different. Before one attack in Madrid, she was asked to act as lookout for another gunman but then opened fire on a car of army officers. Another operation collapsed when she missed the target while admiring her reflection in a shop window – a trait mirrored by fashionista Villanelle.

Riano was finally tracked down by police to a flat in the south of France. She had a Browning 9mm handgun with the serial numbers erased and false identity papers. Having apologised to her victims’ families, Riano was released from jail a year before Eta ended its a 50-year campaign of bloodshed. To avoid photographers, she leapt from a van that drive her out, changed her clothes and roared away on the back of a motorbike.

In an uncanny echo, in the first series of Killing Eve, Villanelle, in denim hotpants and a leather jacket, tears through the Tuscan countryside on a motorbike.

Meanwhile, the real-life plot thickens: the Red Cross in Spain said they had no record of Riano working or volunteering for the charity. And, even if Riano is assuaging her guilt through humanitarian work, healing the scars of the past remains difficult for those whose lives she destroyed.

Juan Luís Lopez Lancharro, 56, a painter and decorator, will never forgive her for her part in the murder of his then 21-year-old brother Antonio Lancharro at the Plaza Republica Dominicana massacre.

‘To let her out after just 23 years was shocking. She should have been jailed for life,’ he says. And he is upset that Riano’s killing spree has inspired a TV drama. ‘Films and TV should not be glamorising evil like that,’ he says. ‘It’s an outrage to create a drama out of something that destroyed 23 families.’

The team behind Killing Eve were attracted to the idea of an ‘intelligent and tonally bold female assassin’. But it’s surely very unlikely they’ll end the series with Villanelle having a change of heart and working for the Red Cross.

Assassin who killed 23 for Basque separatists Eta is now working for the RED CROSS, says her mother


Psychopathic TV serial killer Villanelle is described by her creator – thriller writer Luke Jennings – as ‘a spectral and elusive quarry, always one flawless step ahead’. Jennings says he also admires her ‘grim artistry’.

As fans of the BBC drama, now in its third series, are aware, Villanelle displays no remorse for her extravagantly sadistic ‘hits’. Played by Jodie Comer, the hired assassin employed by an underworld gang called The Twelve, becomes involved in an obsessive cat-and-mouse game with MI6 agent Eve Polastri, played by Sandra Oh.

The idea of the story came to Jennings – who was the Observer newspaper’s dance critic – when he tried to turn the ‘womanising and humourless’ genre of male thriller book heroes on its head.

So he invented Villanelle – real name Oksana Astankova – a ‘child of post-Soviet chaos, as brilliant as she was ferocious’. But only recently has it emerged that an inspiration for her was Idoia Lopez Riano, a green-eyed femme fatale who became the world’s most wanted female assassin in the 1980s while carrying out atrocities for Eta, the Basque separatist group.

Idoia Lopez Riano became the world’s most wanted female assassin in the 1980s while carrying out atrocities for Eta, the Basque separatist group

In total, she killed 23, including 12 Civil Guards in one bomb attack. Finally caught in 1994, she was handed a 1,500-year jail sentence but later renounced terror and walked free in 2017, aged 52.

A sadistic penchant for luring police officers to bed, before gunning down their colleagues, got the disco-loving, tousle-haired killer the nickname ‘La Tigresa’.

Like Villanelle, she often paused to admire her reflection before executing her next victim. The similarities with Comer’s character are obvious, with Jennings himself saying: ‘Riano was a psychopath and completely without empathy.’

However, in a remarkable twist – one that even the imaginative Villanelle might never have come up with – Riano’s mother last night claimed that her daughter now works for the Red Cross. Speaking last week from her home in the tiny village of Villar de Ciervo near the Portuguese border, her mother, Mari Riano, 86, said she’s ‘proud’ of her daughter who has been ‘turning things around’. She said: ‘She speaks three or four languages and is throwing herself into the work. Idoia is with the Red Cross in Barcelona. Everyone loves her there.’

The contrast between Riano’s alleged humanitarian work and her previous role as a commando with Eta, whose violent campaign for independence left more than 850 people dead, is as sharp as her role as assassin was with her very normal childhood. As a youngster with piercing eyes and dark, tumbling hair, Riano was ‘just one of the girls’, says her cousin, Jose Antonio Lopez, adding: ‘She was pretty soft.’

That changed in 1980 when, through a boyfriend from the Basque town of Errenteria, the then 16-year-old Riano was recruited by Eta. She registered her first kill at the age of 20.

As fans of the BBC drama Killing Eve, now in its third series, are aware, Villanelle displays no remorse for her extravagantly sadistic ¿hits¿

As fans of the BBC drama Killing Eve, now in its third series, are aware, Villanelle displays no remorse for her extravagantly sadistic ‘hits’

It was not long before her signature green eyes and curls of hair began to dominate newspaper reports and her face appeared on Wanted posters in bars across Spain. Her mother said: ‘She got involved with the wrong crowd. I can’t say why, it just happened.’

Displaying a natural talent for terror, Riano became a lieutenant in Eta’s Madrid cell. In 1986, she played a key role in the bombing of the city’s Plaza Republica Dominicana which killed 12 Civil Guards, and in another car bomb attack that left five Guards dead.

After fleeing to Algeria for several years, she joined a notorious commando unit which carried out attacks in Barcelona, Valencia, Alicante and Murcia, achieving a near mythical reputation for ruthlessness. Just as Villanelle lusts after her intelligence service agent pursuer Eve Polastri, so Riano developed a sexual obsession with the Civil Guard, cruising night clubs to pick up officers, only to assassinate their colleagues hours later. According to one report, she was said to straddle her police lovers while thinking: ‘I’d love to shoot the b****** in the mouth.’

The image of his daughter as a bed-hopping, merciless killer remains painful for Melchor Riano. Sipping a glass of local liqueur in the village square, he said: ‘I just want to leave the past behind. I can’t bring myself to talk about it.’

Villager Teodoro Reyes, 62, still recalls the unwanted attention that Riano’s crimes brought to Villar de Ciervo. He said. ‘I remember seeing her face on a poster at a local bus stop, in a line-up of eight or ten wanted ETA terrorists. We all knew the legend of La Tigresa who killed so many.’

In Killing Eve, Villanelle’s paymasters admire her skill as an assassin, but despair of her tendency to ignore orders.

Riano is handcuffed after she arrives at the Madrid-Barajas airport on Wednesday May 9, 2001, after being extradited from France

Riano is handcuffed after she arrives at the Madrid-Barajas airport on Wednesday May 9, 2001, after being extradited from France

Riano was no different. Before one attack in Madrid, she was asked to act as lookout for another gunman but then opened fire on a car of army officers. Another operation collapsed when she missed the target while admiring her reflection in a shop window – a trait mirrored by fashionista Villanelle.

Riano was finally tracked down by police to a flat in the south of France. She had a Browning 9mm handgun with the serial numbers erased and false identity papers. Having apologised to her victims’ families, Riano was released from jail a year before Eta ended its a 50-year campaign of bloodshed. To avoid photographers, she leapt from a van that drive her out, changed her clothes and roared away on the back of a motorbike.

In an uncanny echo, in the first series of Killing Eve, Villanelle, in denim hotpants and a leather jacket, tears through the Tuscan countryside on a motorbike.

Meanwhile, the real-life plot thickens: the Red Cross in Spain said they had no record of Riano working or volunteering for the charity. And, even if Riano is assuaging her guilt through humanitarian work, healing the scars of the past remains difficult for those whose lives she destroyed.

Juan Luís Lopez Lancharro, 56, a painter and decorator, will never forgive her for her part in the murder of his then 21-year-old brother Antonio Lancharro at the Plaza Republica Dominicana massacre.

‘To let her out after just 23 years was shocking. She should have been jailed for life,’ he says. And he is upset that Riano’s killing spree has inspired a TV drama. ‘Films and TV should not be glamorising evil like that,’ he says. ‘It’s an outrage to create a drama out of something that destroyed 23 families.’

The team behind Killing Eve were attracted to the idea of an ‘intelligent and tonally bold female assassin’. But it’s surely very unlikely they’ll end the series with Villanelle having a change of heart and working for the Red Cross.

Surprise! Mob hurling abuse at Dominic Cummings outside his family home in London were Remainers


They descended on a family home in a quiet, tree-lined street, a mob of placard-wielding protesters spewing foul messages of hate.

The Mail on Sunday can reveal that in addition to a shared desire to ‘hold Dominic Cummings to account’, those hurling abuse outside his London house appeared united by another cause: antipathy towards Brexit.

Among them were former BBC journalist Lara Pawson, TV producer Samuel Jones and freelance Guardian photographer Jill Mead.

Ms Pawson, an author who worked for the BBC World Service for more than a decade, brandished a sign which read ‘Cummings, you are full of s***’. She has since defended her actions by claiming: ‘I wasn’t threatening: I was holding a piece of cardboard.’

But Ms Pawson, a staunch Labour supporter and anti-Brexiteer, has also admitted shouting ‘you shameless bastard’ as Mr Cummings, the architect of the Vote Leave campaign to take Britain out of the EU, returned home last week. In the past she has tweeted crude jokes about Brexit.

‘PROUD TO PROTEST’: Remainer Samuel Jones with his placard

Targeting Mr Cummings at home rather than outside Downing Street, where he works, has caused unease across the political divide.

Phillip Blond, the political philosopher and think-tank director, condemned the ‘mob behaviour’ as ‘deeply repulsive’, adding: ‘Those who took part in this “street justice” have departed from all standards of common decency. It is vile.’

And Professor Karol Sikora, a former World Health Organisation adviser, said footage of the abuse left him ‘extremely uncomfortable’.

He added: ‘He has a young child who must be stressed. I understand people are angry, but this level of abuse is unacceptable near someone’s family home. This is appalling… truly horrid.’

But the behaviour was endorsed by Shadow Foreign Secretary Emily Thornberry, Mr Cummings’s local MP, who bragged that her constituents could be ‘relied on to say it as it is’.

Her comments caused a backlash on Twitter, with one woman posting: ‘Lovely, condoning “lynch mobs” especially when there is a child in the house. Other children living nearby seeing this barbaric behaviour. What are we teaching them?’

‘I’VE NO RESPECT FOR HIM’: Ms Pawson and her crude sign

‘I’VE NO RESPECT FOR HIM’: Ms Pawson and her crude sign

Beside Ms Pawson stood Samuel Jones, another Remainer, who held a sign saying ‘Demonic Scummings must go’. After Guardian columnist Marina Hyde condemned the ‘disturbing’ scenes, Mr Jones wrote to the newspaper, saying: ‘Please don’t allow Mr Cummings to weaponise this legitimate protest by evoking images of misbehaving protesters. We, as with the lockdown, obeyed the rules.’

Mr Jones, who has worked on programmes for the BBC, Channel 4 and Sky, said he was ‘proud’ of his role in the protest, but admitted: ‘I was conflicted about whether it was the right thing to hold my protest outside Cummings’s home – it’s not my usual style – but there are good reasons… to take this out of the usual more official channels, because Cummings has consistently demonstrated he has no respect for conventional channels and is accountable to no one.’

In a statement to The Mail on Sunday, Ms Pawson called Mr Cummings a ‘liar’ and a ‘dangerous man’. She said: ‘He seeks to undermine our democratic institutions. He shows no respect for the men and women working day and night at our hospitals to save lives – professional people who have repeatedly asked all of us to stay home. I have no respect for him at all.’

Scotland Yard said it offered Mr Cummings security advice and provided ‘an appropriate policing plan’.

Royal Opera House composer brags of shameful taunt

It is hardly the sort of behaviour expected from someone with the grandiose title ‘composer-in-residence’ with the Royal Opera House.

In a picture that will shock the genteel world he inhabits, Oliver Leith, 29, one of the brightest stars in classical music, taunts Dominic Cummings with a vulgar gesture outside his home.

Something that he instantly regretted perhaps? Not a bit of it. Mr Leith gleefully shared the image with his Twitter followers and received 86,000 likes, with many congratulating him.

As the adviser ran a gauntlet of abuse on his way home last Sunday evening, Mr Leith smiled for the camera while holding his two middle fingers up.

In a picture that will shock the genteel world he inhabits, Oliver Leith, 29, one of the brightest stars in classical music, taunts Dominic Cummings with a vulgar gesture outside his home

In a picture that will shock the genteel world he inhabits, Oliver Leith, 29, one of the brightest stars in classical music, taunts Dominic Cummings with a vulgar gesture outside his home

Not all his followers thought him clever. One said it was an example of ‘how juvenile and spiteful the metropolitan Left really are’.

Mr Leith has been described as ‘one of the most distinctively expressive voices’ in his field. His music has been performed across the world and in September he was named doctoral composer-in-residence by the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in association with the Royal Opera House. The three-year post will end in a ‘major work’ composed by Mr Leith being performed at the Covent Garden venue.

Last night Mr Leith did not respond to a request for comment.

The Royal Opera House said: ‘The contents of this tweet are in no way endorsed by the Royal Opera House. The individual is not an employee of Royal Opera House and does not receive any funding from us.’

SOUR NOTE: Oliver Leith winning a composer award in 2016 at the British Composer Awards

SOUR NOTE: Oliver Leith winning a composer award in 2016 at the British Composer Awards

Melanie Sykes, 49, looks casually chic in an ‘I love social distancing’ slogan T-shirt


Melanie Sykes, 49, looks casually chic in an ‘I love social distancing’ slogan T-shirt and white denim jeans as she departs BBC studios

She’s been keeping fans up to date with her daily routine on social media amid the coronavirus crisis.

And Melanie Sykes decided to make quite the fashion statement on Saturday when she stepped out in an I Love Social Distancing t-shirt after a day of work at the BBC studios in London.

The TV presenter, 49, looked casually chic for her outing as she paired the pink slogan shirt with a pair of white denim jeans.

Making a statement: Melanie Sykes, 49, looked casually chic in an ‘I love social distancing’ slogan T-shirt and white denim jeans as she departed BBC studios in London on Saturday

Melanie wrapped a denim jacket around her waist, and completed her ensemble by stepping out in black wedge sandals.

Her cropped brunette locks were styled into a sleek bob, and she shielded her eyes from the brilliant sunshine by wearing chic black shades. 

Melanie kept her personal items in a stylish black purse, while she also carried a second handbag for her shopping essentials.

Stunning: Melanie's cropped brunette locks were styled into a sleek bob, and she shielded her eyes from the brilliant sunshine by wearing chic black shades

Stunning: Melanie’s cropped brunette locks were styled into a sleek bob, and she shielded her eyes from the brilliant sunshine by wearing chic black shades

Finishing touches: Melanie wrapped a denim jacket around her waist, and completed her ensemble by stepping out in black wedge sandals

Finishing touches: Melanie wrapped a denim jacket around her waist, and completed her ensemble by stepping out in black wedge sandals

Melanie has been keeping up her fitness routine amid the UK’s lockdown, with a mixture of weight training, bootcamp sessions and Pilates.  

She is well-known for her avid love of fitness and often litters her Instagram feed with scantily-clad workout snaps.

Earlier this month she thrilled once again as she Melanie showed off her taut abs in a full Nike ensemble with a plunging white sports bra and figure-hugging navy and red leggings. 

Hot stuff: Melanie is well-known for her avid love of fitness and often litters her Instagram feed with scantily-clad workout snaps

Hot stuff: Melanie is well-known for her avid love of fitness and often litters her Instagram feed with scantily-clad workout snaps

She posted the inspiring picture alongside the caption: ‘Hello gang. Giving it Nike vibes this Monday morning right down to my little trainer socks.

‘Start the week strong you beauties, however that looks or is for you.’

The brunette beauty revealed she’d just done a workout where she focused on her glutes, arms and core.

At the beginning of the month Melanie celebrated three-years of sobriety after admitting her life has improved dramatically as a direct consequence of being alcohol free.

The presenter, who found fame in a series of light-hearted ads for Boddingtons Brewery, kicked off her weekend by celebrating the milestone with her Instagram followers.

Taking to the social media platform, she revealed the date was also significant because it marked the two-year anniversary of a life-changing trip to India with her close friend, Adam Phillips.

Feeling great: At the beginning of the month Melanie celebrated three-years of sobriety after admitting her life has improved dramatically as a direct consequence of being alcohol free

Feeling great: At the beginning of the month Melanie celebrated three-years of sobriety after admitting her life has improved dramatically as a direct consequence of being alcohol free

Sharing a fresh-faced selfie with her 240,000 followers, she wrote: ‘Yo yo yo good morning lovelies hope you are all well.

‘I gave up alcohol completely 3 years ago today whoop whoop and today also marks the 2 year anniversary of my life changing holiday to India with @adamskionline (how amazing was that trip babes?).

‘Anyway blah di blah I’m doing a little dance and you can’t stop me! have a good and positive day y’all. ps and for those asking, no I don’t miss it because it’s toxic bulls**t!’

Hangover free: The presenter, who found fame in a series of light-hearted ads for Boddingtons Brewery, kicked off her weekend by celebrating the milestone with her Instagram followers

Hangover free: The presenter, who found fame in a series of light-hearted ads for Boddingtons Brewery, kicked off her weekend by celebrating the milestone with her Instagram followers

BBC receives 40,000 complaints in just two days after Emily Maitlis sparks impartiality row


BBC receives 40,000 complaints in just two days after Emily Maitlis sparks impartiality row with Dominic Cummings rant

  • More than 40,000 complaints to BBC over Emily Maitlis Newsnight introduction
  • Miss Maitlis delivered a critical monologue on Dominic Cummings controversy 
  • She also accused Boris Johnson of showing ‘blind loyalty’ towards his adviser 

The BBC has received more than 40,000 complaints in only two days after comments by presenter Emily Maitlis sparked an impartiality row.

The number of angry viewers writing in more than doubled in 24 hours – the total stood at 18,000 on Thursday.

The complaints came after Miss Maitlis delivered a highly critical monologue about the Dominic Cummings lockdown controversy during an episode of Newsnight on Tuesday. 

According to an insider, there have been just over 20,000 people who thought Miss Maitlis’s introduction had not been impartial, while just under 20,000 were angry about the BBC’s statement

In her introduction to the current affairs programme, Miss Maitlis said Mr Cummings had ‘broken the rules’ and had made the public ‘feel like fools’. 

She also accused Boris Johnson of showing ‘blind loyalty’ towards his adviser, who had driven 260 miles from London to County Durham during lockdown.

Within 24 hours, the BBC released a statement saying the programme had not met ‘standards of due impartiality’, adding that staff had been ‘reminded of the guidelines’.

Some viewers have been incensed at what they see as the BBC Two show’s bias against Mr Cummings and the Government, while others have been enraged by the corporation’s rapid climbdown.

She also accused Boris Johnson of showing ¿blind loyalty¿ towards his adviser, who had driven 260 miles from London to County Durham during lockdown

She also accused Boris Johnson of showing ‘blind loyalty’ towards his adviser, who had driven 260 miles from London to County Durham during lockdown

According to an insider, there have been just over 20,000 people who thought Miss Maitlis’s introduction had not been impartial, while just under 20,000 were angry about the BBC’s statement. 

Some complaints have not been categorised yet. Regulator Ofcom said it had received 366 complaints about the issue.

And Miss Maitlis is not the only BBC journalist facing public anger.

Yesterday, it also emerged that The Andrew Marr Show last Sunday had received more than 1,000 messages from viewers, also relating to the row over Mr Cummings.

On the programme, Mr Marr grilled Transport Secretary Grant Shapps about the row over the Prime Minister’s adviser.

Meanwhile, a former head of BBC television news has blamed ‘muddled management’ and social media for the Maitlis row. 

Roger Mosey said ‘traditional restraint has been swept away in the age of social media’, with presenters encouraged to show their personalities to audiences.

Writing for the New Statesman Mr Mosey said: ‘Much of the blame sits with the BBC management, who have been woolly and contradictory in their determination of what impartiality is in a modern broadcasting environment.’

Some complaints have not been categorised yet. Regulator Ofcom said it had received 366 complaints about the issue. And Miss Maitlis is not the only BBC journalist facing public anger

Some complaints have not been categorised yet. Regulator Ofcom said it had received 366 complaints about the issue. And Miss Maitlis is not the only BBC journalist facing public anger

BBC will launch official probe into Emily Maitlis’ Dominic Cummings rant


The BBC are formally investigating Emily Maitlis and accused her of ‘overstepping the mark’ with her monologue about Dominic Cummings and the ‘blind loyalty’ of his boss Boris Johnson.

The corporation has been ‘flooded’ with more than 20,000 complaints about the Newsnight host – but this figures includes thousands of emails from her supporters who feel she has been thrown under the bus.

Today The Daily Telegraph reported that the BBC executive complaints team will start a probe and once it is completed Ofcom is also expected to carry out its own investigation, after receiving 247 complaints in 24 hours.

Last night the corporation issued a second longer statement about Ms Maitlis’ speech on Tuesday night, where she claimed the public had been made to ‘feel like fools’ in the row over No 10 aide Mr Cummings’ lockdown trip to Durham with his family.

Her Newsnight colleagues are said to be in uproar but one senior BBC broadcaster said ”a bunch of BBC managers were very offended’ by her words and last night released a new explanation, said to be signed off by the director of news Fran Unsworth and involved head of current affairs Joanna Carr.

It said: ‘Our editorial guidelines allow us to make professional judgments, but not to express opinion. The dividing line can be fine, but we aim to say so if we think we have overstepped the mark.’ 

Emily Maitlis was out with her banker husband Mark Gwynne in West London yesterday as the storm raged over her Dominic Cummings monologue

The Newsnight host spoke out on Tuesday's show and claimed the public had been made to 'feel like fools'

The Newsnight host spoke out on Tuesday’s show and claimed the public had been made to ‘feel like fools’

The statement also insisted that Ms Maitlis’ speech ‘risked giving the perception that the BBC was taking sides and expressing an opinion, rather than being impartial’.

Emily Maitlis’ decade of BBC controversies 

April 2020 

Ms Maitlis used Newsnight to hit out at claims that coronavirus is a ‘great leveller’ for society as she said the poorest Britons are less likely to survive the pandemic.

She claimed on BBC Two that those most at risk of catching the infection are in low-paid jobs such as bus drivers, nurses and care home workers.

Matt Kilcoyne of the Adam Smith Institute claimed her comments breached impartiality guidelines, but her speech received widespread praise online. 

September 2019 

BBC bosses found againsst Emily Maitlis after an internal investigation  when viewers complained she was ‘sneering and bullying’ towards journalist Rod Liddle during a Brexit debate.

The executive complaints unit at the BBC determined that Ms Maitlis had been too ‘persistent and personal’ during the late night discussion on BBC2 on July 15.

The incident, where she told Mr Liddle to ‘get a grip’ and said his columns contained ‘casual racism’ left her open to claims she had ‘failed to be even-handed’, their report said. 

Viewers claimed the presenter’s attitude towards Liddle was systemic of the way the BBC has portrayed Leave voters.

August 2019 

Emily Maitlis said the BBC’s move to uphold a complaint against Naga Munchetty for calling out Donald Trump over racism looked ‘massively out of touch’.

She gave her full support to Munchetty, who had condemned the President’s call for four Democratic congresswomen to go back to their own countries. 

June 2019

The BBC criticised its own broadcaster Ms Maitlis about her performance in last week’s Conservative leadership debate.

A statement appeared on the BBC website saying that the Newsnight presenter was ‘not to everyone’s taste’. But the BBC quickly removed the comment, insisting it was a mistake. 

The errant comment was a response to complaints about Maitlis’s performance in last week’s Conservative leadership debate.

Critics said the show turned into ‘an hour of men shouting inanely over each other’, while another said the BBC’s bar-stool format made the Tory MPs look like ‘a bunch of braying morons’.

April 2019

The broadcaster is named as Newsnight’s new lead presenter and said: ‘I don’t have to be liked’

March 2019

She was caught on camera  visibly losing her patience with Labour MP Barry Gardiner on Newsnight. The host is seen rolling her eyes and shuffling her papers as he spoke.

July 2017

She urges male colleagues to join the gender pay gap fight – as women staff at the Corporation went into open revolt. 

January 2016 

Ms Maitlis revealed she was once told by a boss at the Corporation she would have to appear on Strictly Come Dancing if she wanted to progress. She previously claimed it is harder for a woman to be taken seriously and be successful at the BBC 

August 2011

The newscaster was spotted wearing a charity wristband in support of the Forces charity Help for Heroes while presenting the news – despite there being a ban on presenters wearing such accessories.

July 2011

Dr David Starkey called her a ‘disgrace’  after he claimed that Britain had undergone a cultural shift and ‘the whites have become black’ during an interview with Ms Maitlis.

More than 700 people complained to the BBC and a further 103 contacted Ofcom claiming that the comments breached guidelines on racial offence. 

November 2009 

Ms Maitlis is named among a host of the BBC’s highest-paid presenters classing themselves as freelancers to avoid paying 50 per cent  income tax.

Ms Maitlis is said to have been so upset by her treatment she asked for the night off on Wednesday, with reporter Katie Razzall standing in.   

She also thanked those who had sent messages of support having already retweeted a number of positive comments about her opening speech – with one describing it as ‘savage brilliance’ and another saying she ‘tells it how it is’.

Another she shared said: ‘Emily Maitlis and Newsnight should be praised. There was no bias, just good reporting, investigation, challenging and holding to account. Well done BBC and not just Radio 4 this time. Good. More please.’ 

Anger flooded in from some incensed by the initial broadcast, which they believed showed bias, while others were furious about the corporation’s rapid climb down, after it issued a statement saying Maitlis had broken the rules.

In an introduction to the current affairs programme, Miss Maitlis opened with a highly-critical speech claiming the public ‘feel like fools’ and accused Boris Johnson of showing ‘blind loyalty’ towards his adviser.

Mr Cummings has been at the centre of a row after it emerged that he had travelled to his parents house in Durham during lockdown – 260 miles from his home in London.

Mr Cummings had ‘broken the rules’ and ‘the country can see that, and it’s shocked the Government cannot’, Miss Maitlis said. The ‘public mood’ is ‘one of fury, contempt and anguish’, she added.

Within 24 hours, the BBC released a statement saying the programme had not met ‘standards of due impartiality’ adding that staff had been ‘reminded of the guidelines’.

The controversy has created huge divisions within the BBC between those who support Newsnight and Ms Maitlis and others who think she broke the rules.

Yesterday the presenter said she had been ‘overwhelmed’ by support from viewers.

Although she had been replaced on Wednesday night’s programme by broadcaster Katie Razzall, she revealed it was her own decision not to appear.

One Newsnight insider said there was ‘complete astonishment’ and ‘fury’ amongst the team about the way BBC bosses had handled the situation.

The ‘speed’ at which the corporation put out the statement was ‘unprecedented’ and there had been ‘zero engagement’ between news chiefs and the programme, they said. Bosses had acted ‘partially’ by the taking the Government’s side, the source said.

Former Newsnight economics editor Paul Mason meanwhile, yesterday said the decision made him ‘sick’.

But other respected broadcasters at the BBC hit out, saying Newsnight needed to stick to the rules like everyone else.

One well-known journalist said it was not the role of Newsnight to ‘speak on behalf of the British people’ – because there was not one unanimous view.

The source added: ‘There are the rules and you just have to find a way of dealing with it’.

Another respected broadcaster said ‘a bunch of BBC managers were very offended’ by the speech.

Wednesday’s statement is understood to have been signed off by the BBC’s director of news Fran Unsworth and involved the broadcaster’s head of current affairs Joanna Carr.

Last night, some accused the BBC of sexism, noting that other male presenters who ‘editorialise’ had not been hauled over the coals in the same way.

One female BBC journalist said ‘Amongst a lot of women in the BBC there is a feeling that there is a double standard in operation and that they are held up to a higher level of account and due impartiality than some of the men with a high profile.’

A petition entitled ‘Reinstate Emily Maitlis’, even though she has not been dropped from the show, also drew attention to sexism. It read: ‘How can it be just and appropriate that a woman is removed for telling the truth, while an unelected man appears bulletproof even after lying and showing no contrition?’

Last night one Newsnight journalist said: ‘There are a legion of unanswered questions…The speed at which they (the BBC) came to this decision, which was completely unprecedented, with zero engagement, almost zero engagement virtually with the editor let alone with the rest of the team.’

They said: ‘There is complete astonishment and fury’, adding: ‘Acting this way delegitimises everything in the programme that night and the programme’s coverage more generally.’

Emily Maitlis tweeted that she had asked for the night off last night and thanked people for their support as some viewers said she had been reprimanded by the BBC for telling the facts of the story

Emily Maitlis tweeted that she had asked for the night off last night and thanked people for their support as some viewers said she had been reprimanded by the BBC for telling the facts of the story

But other long-serving BBC journalists backed bosses.

One said: ‘No-one likes to see any colleague hung out to dry like that. That was quite harsh. If you work for the BBC there are the rules and you just have to find a way of dealing with it.

‘Speaking on behalf of the British people when some British people don’t agree with what you are saying. It’s not the whole British people. It wasn’t really necessary.’

‘We are at a time when we need real public support. I think it is a shame to divide people and make them angry with the BBC as an institution.’

Yesterday Miss Maitlis tweeted: ‘Been overwhelmed by all the kindness, messages – and support on here – and I’ve probably missed much of it. A big thank you from us all at Newsnight.’

The BBC statement about the episode said the programme ‘should have done more to make clear the introduction was a summary of the questions we would examine, with all the accompanying evidence, in the rest of the programme’.

It added: ‘As it was, we believe the introduction we broadcast did not meet our standards of due impartiality.’

Last year, the BBC became embroiled in an impartiality row over on-air comments made by BBC Breakfast presenter Naga Munchetty about US President Donald Trump and racism.

Munchetty was initially judged to have breached BBC editorial guidelines but the ruling was later reversed. 

BBC will launch official probe into Emily Maitlis’ Dominic Cummings rant


The BBC has accused Emily Maitlis of ‘overstepping the mark’ with her monologue about Dominic Cummings and the ‘blind loyalty’ of his boss Boris Johnson.

The corporation has been ‘flooded’ with more than 20,000 complaints about the Newsnight host – but this figures includes thousands of emails from her supporters who feel she has been thrown under the bus. 

Last night the corporation issued a second longer statement about Ms Maitlis’ speech on Tuesday night, where she claimed the public had been made to ‘feel like fools’ in the row over No 10 aide Mr Cummings’ lockdown trip to Durham with his family.

Her Newsnight colleagues are said to be in uproar but one senior BBC broadcaster said ”a bunch of BBC managers were very offended’ by her words and last night released a new explanation, said to be signed off by the director of news Fran Unsworth and involved head of current affairs Joanna Carr.

It said: ‘Our editorial guidelines allow us to make professional judgments, but not to express opinion. The dividing line can be fine, but we aim to say so if we think we have overstepped the mark.’ 

One Newsnight insider said there was ‘complete astonishment’ and ‘fury’ amongst the team about the way BBC bosses had handled the situation. The ‘speed’ at which the corporation put out the statement was ‘unprecedented’ and there had been ‘zero engagement’ between news chiefs and the programme, they said. Bosses had acted ‘partially’ by the taking the Government’s side, the source said. 

But other respected broadcasters at the BBC hit out, saying Newsnight needed to stick to the rules like everyone else. One well-known journalist said it was not the role of Newsnight to ‘speak on behalf of the British people’ – because there was not one unanimous view.

The source added: ‘There are the rules and you just have to find a way of dealing with it’. Another respected broadcaster said ‘a bunch of BBC managers were very offended’ by the speech.

Emily Maitlis was out with her banker husband Mark Gwynne in West London yesterday as the storm raged over her Dominic Cummings monologue

The Newsnight host spoke out on Tuesday's show and claimed the public had been made to 'feel like fools'

The Newsnight host spoke out on Tuesday’s show and claimed the public had been made to ‘feel like fools’

The statement also insisted that Ms Maitlis’ speech ‘risked giving the perception that the BBC was taking sides and expressing an opinion, rather than being impartial’.

Emily Maitlis’ decade of BBC controversies 

April 2020 

Ms Maitlis used Newsnight to hit out at claims that coronavirus is a ‘great leveller’ for society as she said the poorest Britons are less likely to survive the pandemic.

She claimed on BBC Two that those most at risk of catching the infection are in low-paid jobs such as bus drivers, nurses and care home workers.

Matt Kilcoyne of the Adam Smith Institute claimed her comments breached impartiality guidelines, but her speech received widespread praise online. 

September 2019 

BBC bosses found againsst Emily Maitlis after an internal investigation  when viewers complained she was ‘sneering and bullying’ towards journalist Rod Liddle during a Brexit debate.

The executive complaints unit at the BBC determined that Ms Maitlis had been too ‘persistent and personal’ during the late night discussion on BBC2 on July 15.

The incident, where she told Mr Liddle to ‘get a grip’ and said his columns contained ‘casual racism’ left her open to claims she had ‘failed to be even-handed’, their report said. 

Viewers claimed the presenter’s attitude towards Liddle was systemic of the way the BBC has portrayed Leave voters.

August 2019 

Emily Maitlis said the BBC’s move to uphold a complaint against Naga Munchetty for calling out Donald Trump over racism looked ‘massively out of touch’.

She gave her full support to Munchetty, who had condemned the President’s call for four Democratic congresswomen to go back to their own countries. 

June 2019

The BBC criticised its own broadcaster Ms Maitlis about her performance in last week’s Conservative leadership debate.

A statement appeared on the BBC website saying that the Newsnight presenter was ‘not to everyone’s taste’. But the BBC quickly removed the comment, insisting it was a mistake. 

The errant comment was a response to complaints about Maitlis’s performance in last week’s Conservative leadership debate.

Critics said the show turned into ‘an hour of men shouting inanely over each other’, while another said the BBC’s bar-stool format made the Tory MPs look like ‘a bunch of braying morons’.

April 2019

The broadcaster is named as Newsnight’s new lead presenter and said: ‘I don’t have to be liked’

March 2019

She was caught on camera  visibly losing her patience with Labour MP Barry Gardiner on Newsnight. The host is seen rolling her eyes and shuffling her papers as he spoke.

July 2017

She urges male colleagues to join the gender pay gap fight – as women staff at the Corporation went into open revolt. 

January 2016 

Ms Maitlis revealed she was once told by a boss at the Corporation she would have to appear on Strictly Come Dancing if she wanted to progress. She previously claimed it is harder for a woman to be taken seriously and be successful at the BBC 

August 2011

The newscaster was spotted wearing a charity wristband in support of the Forces charity Help for Heroes while presenting the news – despite there being a ban on presenters wearing such accessories.

July 2011

Dr David Starkey called her a ‘disgrace’  after he claimed that Britain had undergone a cultural shift and ‘the whites have become black’ during an interview with Ms Maitlis.

More than 700 people complained to the BBC and a further 103 contacted Ofcom claiming that the comments breached guidelines on racial offence. 

November 2009 

Ms Maitlis is named among a host of the BBC’s highest-paid presenters classing themselves as freelancers to avoid paying 50 per cent  income tax.

Ms Maitlis is said to have been so upset by her treatment she asked for the night off on Wednesday, with reporter Katie Razzall standing in.   

She also thanked those who had sent messages of support having already retweeted a number of positive comments about her opening speech – with one describing it as ‘savage brilliance’ and another saying she ‘tells it how it is’.

Another she shared said: ‘Emily Maitlis and Newsnight should be praised. There was no bias, just good reporting, investigation, challenging and holding to account. Well done BBC and not just Radio 4 this time. Good. More please.’ 

Anger flooded in from some incensed by the initial broadcast, which they believed showed bias, while others were furious about the corporation’s rapid climb down, after it issued a statement saying Maitlis had broken the rules.

In an introduction to the current affairs programme, Miss Maitlis opened with a highly-critical speech claiming the public ‘feel like fools’ and accused Boris Johnson of showing ‘blind loyalty’ towards his adviser.

Mr Cummings has been at the centre of a row after it emerged that he had travelled to his parents house in Durham during lockdown – 260 miles from his home in London.

Mr Cummings had ‘broken the rules’ and ‘the country can see that, and it’s shocked the Government cannot’, Miss Maitlis said. The ‘public mood’ is ‘one of fury, contempt and anguish’, she added.

Within 24 hours, the BBC released a statement saying the programme had not met ‘standards of due impartiality’ adding that staff had been ‘reminded of the guidelines’.

The controversy has created huge divisions within the BBC between those who support Newsnight and Ms Maitlis and others who think she broke the rules.

Yesterday the presenter said she had been ‘overwhelmed’ by support from viewers.

Although she had been replaced on Wednesday night’s programme by broadcaster Katie Razzall, she revealed it was her own decision not to appear 

Wednesday’s statement is understood to have been signed off by the BBC’s director of news Fran Unsworth and involved the broadcaster’s head of current affairs Joanna Carr.

Last night, some accused the BBC of sexism, noting that other male presenters who ‘editorialise’ had not been hauled over the coals in the same way.

One female BBC journalist said ‘Amongst a lot of women in the BBC there is a feeling that there is a double standard in operation and that they are held up to a higher level of account and due impartiality than some of the men with a high profile’.

Former Newsnight economics editor Paul Mason meanwhile, yesterday said the decision made him ‘sick’.

A petition entitled ‘Reinstate Emily Maitlis’, even though she has not been dropped from the show, also drew attention to sexism. It read: ‘How can it be just and appropriate that a woman is removed for telling the truth, while an unelected man appears bulletproof even after lying and showing no contrition?’

Last night one Newsnight journalist said: ‘There are a legion of unanswered questions…The speed at which they (the BBC) came to this decision, which was completely unprecedented, with zero engagement, almost zero engagement virtually with the editor let alone with the rest of the team.’

They said: ‘There is complete astonishment and fury’, adding: ‘Acting this way delegitimises everything in the programme that night and the programme’s coverage more generally.’

Emily Maitlis tweeted that she had asked for the night off last night and thanked people for their support as some viewers said she had been reprimanded by the BBC for telling the facts of the story

Emily Maitlis tweeted that she had asked for the night off last night and thanked people for their support as some viewers said she had been reprimanded by the BBC for telling the facts of the story

But other long-serving BBC journalists backed bosses.

One said: ‘No-one likes to see any colleague hung out to dry like that. That was quite harsh. If you work for the BBC there are the rules and you just have to find a way of dealing with it.

‘Speaking on behalf of the British people when some British people don’t agree with what you are saying. It’s not the whole British people. It wasn’t really necessary.’

‘We are at a time when we need real public support. I think it is a shame to divide people and make them angry with the BBC as an institution.’

Yesterday Miss Maitlis tweeted: ‘Been overwhelmed by all the kindness, messages – and support on here – and I’ve probably missed much of it. A big thank you from us all at Newsnight.’

The BBC statement about the episode said the programme ‘should have done more to make clear the introduction was a summary of the questions we would examine, with all the accompanying evidence, in the rest of the programme’.

It added: ‘As it was, we believe the introduction we broadcast did not meet our standards of due impartiality.’

Last year, the BBC became embroiled in an impartiality row over on-air comments made by BBC Breakfast presenter Naga Munchetty about US President Donald Trump and racism.

Munchetty was initially judged to have breached BBC editorial guidelines but the ruling was later reversed. 

DOUGLAS MURRAY: It’s not the first time Emily Maitlis has forced her bosses to apologise for her


Last month, while the Prime Minister was still in hospital, the BBC’s Newsnight opened with an unprecedented monologue. The presenter, Emily Maitlis, was visibly angered by Boris Johnson’s colleagues describing him as a ‘fighter’.

In a weirdly literal and deeply ungenerous speech, Maitlis informed viewers that such language was wrong. She proceeded to give her views on ‘inequality’ and other issues.

On Tuesday this week Maitlis did it again, opening with a shockingly partisan attack on Dominic Cummings and the Prime Minister, declaring that the former ‘broke the rules’ and made the public ‘feel like fools’ and accusing the latter of ‘blind loyalty’.

For many viewers, this was a step too far.

On Tuesday this week Maitlis did it again, opening with a shockingly partisan attack on Dominic Cummings and the Prime Minister

BBC bosses apologised for the rant – not the first time that Maitlis has forced them to do so. This week’s monologue is just the latest reason the 49-year-old has been in trouble with her own bosses over the one-directional, partisan nature of her presenting.

The presenter, Emily Maitlis, was visibly angered by Boris Johnson’s colleagues describing him as a ‘fighter’

The presenter, Emily Maitlis, was visibly angered by Boris Johnson’s colleagues describing him as a ‘fighter’

Last September, a complaint was upheld against her for a ‘sneering and bullying’ interview carried out on the programme in July. The BBC’s internal executive complaints unit found that she was too ‘persistent and personal’ in her criticism of the pro-Brexit journalist Rod Liddle.

In truth, she didn’t even bother to disguise her contempt for him. She asked Liddle, absurdly, if he would describe himself ‘as a racist’, adding ‘because many see you that way’. She then informed the longstanding columnist: ‘All you do is write about suicide bombers blowing themselves up in Tower Hamlets.’

Pointedly, Liddle asked her: ‘Do you have to, at every possible juncture, show the BBC’s grotesque bias?’

He seemed to have been asked on to the show simply for her to insult him.

And seven months before that, the BBC had to issue another on-air apology after remarks Maitlis had made on the programme about the pro-Brexit campaigner Richard Tice.

You will search in vain for similar attacks on, or necessary apologies to, anti-Brexit campaigners.

Maitlis has been a fine journalist but today she appears to be one of the large number of people who have been driven furious by the events of recent years.

On social media, she proclaims her pro-Labour views and continues to retweet the most loud-mouthed Left-wingers and Remain campaigners.

She has consistently attacked the US President and expressed other highly partial viewpoints.

The licence fee is meant to assure quality content (something that has become ever less evident in recent years). And it is meant to mean that the BBC is a news source that everybody can trust

The licence fee is meant to assure quality content (something that has become ever less evident in recent years). And it is meant to mean that the BBC is a news source that everybody can trust

How are the public meant to believe that when she sits in front of the camera to present, this deeply partisan person somehow becomes impartial?

After her performance this week in particular, such an idea is impossible to sustain.

Of course, plenty of media figures are open about their political views. Several have left Newsnight in the past and pursued modestly successful careers in Left-wing activism. But they did so because – as Maitlis seems not to understand – if you are a partisan activist you cannot use the BBC’s current affairs programmes as your megaphone.

While no one is forced to buy any British paper, if we want a television we are all forced – on threat of imprisonment – to pay a subscription to the BBC.

There are supposed justifications for this. The licence fee is meant to assure quality content (something that has become ever less evident in recent years). And it is meant to mean that the BBC is a news source that everybody can trust.

Impartiality may be impossible to achieve 100 per cent of the time but it is nonetheless meant to be the aspiration.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson's special advisor Dominic Cummings arrives at Downing Street after news broke that he travelled 260 miles to Durham during lockdown

Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s special advisor Dominic Cummings arrives at Downing Street after news broke that he travelled 260 miles to Durham during lockdown

For Maitlis to have decided to give up on it entirely will not only corrode public trust and further divide, rather than unite, our nation.

It will also fuel the growing political pressure to alter the present hugely advantageous funding arrangements that the BBC enjoys.

After the declining standards of recent years, I know many who no longer bother to appear on Newsnight when asked, and not just when Maitlis is presenting. Many believe it has increasingly come to resemble the unwatchable Channel 4 News and, more importantly, they feel that it is no longer worth it. Fifteen years ago, when Jeremy Paxman was the presenter, being on Newsnight was an event for guests and viewers alike. Commentators would come off air to find their phones buzzing with congratulations or commiserations.

Today, the buzz has long stopped and the programme has now come to feel like it is being broadcast into a great silence.

This is not a coincidence. Events of recent days are a reminder that the last stage before total irrelevance is a desperate last grab for relevance.

Perhaps the BBC’s bosses should conclude, like the viewing public, that the programme is past its best.

BBC appoint former head of global news to review impartiality policy 


BBC appoint former head of global news to review impartiality policy online in wake of Emily Maitlis rant on Dominic Cummings

  • BBC has appointed Richard Sambrook to review impartiality on social media
  • He will assess clips and other BBC content posted online to see if it is impartial
  • Comes after Newsnight’s Emily Maitlis was censured for Dominic Cummings rant
  • Here’s how to help people impacted by Covid-19

A top former BBC executive has been appointed to review how the corporation maintains impartiality on social media, after several recent cases of journalists being accused of sharing their own opinions. 

Richard Sambrook, currently director of journalism at Cardiff University and a former director of global news, will be tasked with assessing whether the BBC’s social media accounts are going against its impartiality policy. 

It comes after Newsnight host Emily Maitlis was censured by BBC bosses for her monologue criticising Dominic Cummings and Boris Johnson for the former’s alleged breach of coronavirus lockdown.   

Other BBC hosts, including Huw Edwards, Andrew Neil and Gary Lineker have come under fire for tweets in the past, as has political editor Laura Kuenssberg. 

Richard Sambrook, a former director of global news, will be tasked with assessing whether the BBC’s social media accounts are going against its impartiality policy

Professor Sambrook, who spent 30 years at BBC News, is now expected to analyse whether the BBC’s use of social media applies to its impartiality promise. 

He will also look at whether edited clips from BBC shows, including Question Time, are presented in a way that breaches the policy. 

Some people at the BBC fear a need to create ‘viral and shareable’ content has led to the undermining of the corporation’s reputation. 

In the past, Fran Unsworth, the director of news, has repeatedly urged staff to restrain use of Twitter.  

Ofcom yesterday revealed that Emily Maitlis’ Newsnight monologue about Dominic Cummings and the ‘blind loyalty’ of his boss Boris Johnson sparked 247 complaints – but the BBC may have had thousands more.

The BBC is claimed to have had ten times as many complaints from viewers than the UK’s broadcasting regulator but is refusing to release any figures for up to a fortnight.

The Guido Fawkes blog has claimed the corporation has received 18,158 complaints in 24 hours and the figure is ‘still going up’, although that number could also include complaints sent in by Ms Maitlis’ supporters who have rushed to slam the bosses who censured her.    

Ofcom yesterday revealed that Emily Maitlis' Newsnight monologue about Dominic Cummings and the 'blind loyalty' of his boss Boris Johnson sparked 247 complaints

Ofcom yesterday revealed that Emily Maitlis’ Newsnight monologue about Dominic Cummings and the ‘blind loyalty’ of his boss Boris Johnson sparked 247 complaints

Laura Kuenssberg has also previously come under fire for tweets that she has posted online

Laura Kuenssberg has also previously come under fire for tweets that she has posted online

During last year’s election campaign Laura Kuenssberg came under fire and was forced to apologise after tweeting that a Labour activist had assaulted a Conservative staffer, only for a video to reveal it was an accidental collision.

In 2018, Andrew Neil came under fire for saying that Carole Cadwalladr, a journalist on The Observer, was a ‘mad cat woman’.

Professor Sambrook is now expected to take steps to change the BBC’s approach to social media, which could mean that journalists are asked to spend less time on Twitter.