Huw Edwards reveals he battled depression after his father’s death – but took up boxing to cope

Huw Edwards, 58, reveals he battled ‘a proper kind of depression’ and was left feeling ‘helpless’ following his father’s death in 2010 – but took up boxing to cope

  • Huw Edwards, 58, struggled after father died from cancer in 2010, aged 75 
  • Started eating to numb the pain and ballooned to 16-and-a-half stone at heaviest
  • Enlisted help of boxer Clinton McKenzie and lost impressive three stone

Huw Edwards has revealed how he has battled against depression – and took up boxing to cope.

The BBC newsreader, 58, told how he struggled to come to terms with the death of his father in 2010, and so began comfort eating.

He went on to explain that he kept eating to numb his emotional pain, and that at his heaviest, hit 16-and-a-half stone. 

‘It was a proper kind of depression about how I felt and where I felt I was, my dad and everything,’ he said, speaking to the Times’ Saturday Magazine. ‘I felt it had become rather overwhelming.’

‘The worst thing was I felt I couldn’t do anything about anything. I felt a bit helpless.’

Huw Edwards (pictured), 58, has revealed how he has battled against depression – and took up boxing to cope

It was only when Huw's mother Aerona warned him that he had ballooned to the same weight as his late father that the broadcaster realised he had to take action - and enlisted the help of champion boxer, Clinton McKenzie

It was only when Huw’s mother Aerona warned him that he had ballooned to the same weight as his late father that the broadcaster realised he had to take action – and enlisted the help of champion boxer, Clinton McKenzie

The broadcaster admitted that while they never had a particularly touchy-feely relationship,’ he was still the one who broke news to his father – academic and Welsh nationalist Hywel Teifi Edwards – that his cancer was terminal ten days before he died, aged 75.

Huw went on to explain that he continued to present BBC News at Ten – and covered high-profile events – including the wedding of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge – despite having time to fully process his grief. 

However, his physical health deteriorated and the newsreader admitted that he failed to acknowledge anything was wrong until an epiphany in 2017.

‘By 2016-17, I had put on a lot of weight,’ he explained. ‘I felt dreadful. I mean, physically. It’s like a drug. I’d eat when I wasn’t hungry. I wasn’t doing any fitness. I was grazing, watching telly and eating stuff, even though I didn’t need it.’

Presenter and newsreader Huw Edwards arrives for his guest appearance at Sandringham Women's Institute (WI) meeting at West Newton Village Hall, Norfolk, on January 23, 2020

Presenter and newsreader Huw Edwards arrives for his guest appearance at Sandringham Women’s Institute (WI) meeting at West Newton Village Hall, Norfolk, on January 23, 2020

In March, Huw appeared to have a Covid-19-related case of pneumonia and was left with 'agonisingly painful' limbs and no sense of smell and taste vanished. Pictured, presenting 10 o'clock news on 25th February 2019

In March, Huw appeared to have a Covid-19-related case of pneumonia and was left with ‘agonisingly painful’ limbs and no sense of smell and taste vanished. Pictured, presenting 10 o’clock news on 25th February 2019

It was only when his mother Aerona warned him that he had ballooned to the same weight as his late father that Huw realised he had to take action. 

Following the suggestion by his wife Vicky, he took up boxing and running, and with the help of champion boxer Clinton McKenzie, Huw managed to lose an impressive three stone – while his mental health significantly improved, too.

Huw went on to explain that McKenzie gave him a helping hand when it came to his diet: ‘He just says, ‘Eat sensibly. If you want a pint or a glass of wine, that’s fine. Just don’t overdo it and don’t eat’ – in his words – ‘sugary s***’.’

The father-of-five continued: ‘Getting physically fit has meant being mentally more robust.’

Last year, on World Mental Health Day last year, he penned: ‘Big shout-out to Clinton McKenzie who has kept me going this past year.’

However, in March, Huw appeared to have a Covid-19-related case of pneumonia and was left with ‘agonisingly painful’ limbs and no sense of smell and taste vanished.

Since then, the broadcaster has tested positive three times for antibodies for coronavirus.

Casualty star Jason Durr devastated by double tragedy as sister-in-law dies and mum die within days

Casualty star Jason Durr devastated by double tragedy as sister-in-law dies of cancer while his mother passes away from coronavirus just four days later

Casualty star Jason Durr has been left devastated by a double tragedy after his sister-in-law and mother died within four days of each other. 

The actor, 52, who plays nurse David Hide in the BBC medical drama, told of his heartache as his sister-in-law died of cancer, followed by his mother who passed away after contracting coronavirus. 

In an interview with The Mirror, Jason explained that it has been a ‘very peculiar time’ for him amid the pandemic, but his recent losses made him realise what’s ‘important’ in life.

Heartbreak: Casualty star Jason Durr has been left devastated by a double tragedy after his sister-in-law and mother died within four days of each other

He told the publication: ‘Lockdown and this whole coronavirus period has been incredibly challenging for so many families. I can completely understand what so many people have been going through.’

Jason, also known for his role as PC Mike Bradley in Heartbeat, went on to thank the medical team who helped both his mother and sister-in-law Debbie Charman.  

He continued: ‘It’s been a very peculiar time in all our lives. But the support we had for my sister-in-law from the NHS nurses and doctors was incredible. My mum’s carers went above and beyond to help her through it.

Shock: Casualty star Jason Durr has been left devastated by a double tragedy after his sister-in-law and mother died within four days of each other

Shock: Casualty star Jason Durr has been left devastated by a double tragedy after his sister-in-law and mother died within four days of each other

‘I think it makes you realise what’s important in life. You just need to be kind to people and understand what they might be going through.’ 

MailOnline have contacted a representative of Jason for comment.

Debbie is the sister of Jason’s gardener and presenter wife Kate Charman, 52.

Jason, who grew was born in Singapore and grew up in Hong Kong, lost his father aged just 15.   

Tough: 'Lockdown and this whole coronavirus period has been incredibly challenging for so many families. I can completely understand what so many people have been going through'

Tough: ‘Lockdown and this whole coronavirus period has been incredibly challenging for so many families. I can completely understand what so many people have been going through’

Meanwhile, the thespian recently opened on his character David’s bipolar battle as he discussed upcoming episodes of Casualty. 

Speaking to Christine Lampard on Friday’s Lorraine he reveals how his character will struggle to control his illness as he faces the doctor who sectioned him.

He explained top Christine: ‘He’s a complex man and this is a combination of so many things of his life. 

TV role: Meanwhile, the thespian recently opened on his character David's bipolar battle as he discussed upcoming episodes of Casualty

TV role: Meanwhile, the thespian recently opened on his character David’s bipolar battle as he discussed upcoming episodes of Casualty

‘What we really find out in the next couple of episodes is the sort of minute-by-minute and hour-by-hour struggle that David has on a daily basis.’

He added: ‘Just managing his condition and trying to find his normal. Well, what everyone else would regard as normal. 

‘It’s exhausting for him just getting up every day and coping with everything he has to cope with.’ 

Drama: ‘What we really find out in the next couple of episodes is the sort of minute-by-minute and hour-by-hour struggle that David has on a daily basis'

Drama: ‘What we really find out in the next couple of episodes is the sort of minute-by-minute and hour-by-hour struggle that David has on a daily basis’

Casualty star Jason Durr devastated by double tragedy as sister-in-law dies and mum die within days

Casualty star Jason Durr devastated by double tragedy as sister-in-law dies of cancer while his mother passes away from coronavirus just four days later

Casualty star Jason Durr has been left devastated by a double tragedy after his sister-in-law and mother died within four days of each other. 

The actor, 52, who plays nurse David Hide in the BBC medical drama, told of his heartache as his sister-in-law died of cancer, followed by his mother who passed away after contracting coronavirus. 

In an interview with The Mirror, Jason explained that it has been a ‘very peculiar time’ for him amid the pandemic, but his recent losses made him realise what’s ‘important’ in life.

Heartbreak: Casualty star Jason Durr has been left devastated by a double tragedy after his sister-in-law and mother died within four days of each other

He told the publication: ‘Lockdown and this whole coronavirus period has been incredibly challenging for so many families. I can completely understand what so many people have been going through.’

Jason, also known for his role as PC Mike Bradley in Heartbeat, went on to thank the medical team who helped both his mother and sister-in-law Debbie Charman.  

He continued: ‘It’s been a very peculiar time in all our lives. But the support we had for my sister-in-law from the NHS nurses and doctors was incredible. My mum’s carers went above and beyond to help her through it.

Shock: Casualty star Jason Durr has been left devastated by a double tragedy after his sister-in-law and mother died within four days of each other

Shock: Casualty star Jason Durr has been left devastated by a double tragedy after his sister-in-law and mother died within four days of each other

‘I think it makes you realise what’s important in life. You just need to be kind to people and understand what they might be going through.’ 

MailOnline have contacted a representative of Jason for comment.

Debbie is the sister of Jason’s gardener and presenter wife Kate Charman, 52.

Jason, who grew was born in Singapore and grew up in Hong Kong, lost his father aged just 15.   

Tough: 'Lockdown and this whole coronavirus period has been incredibly challenging for so many families. I can completely understand what so many people have been going through'

Tough: ‘Lockdown and this whole coronavirus period has been incredibly challenging for so many families. I can completely understand what so many people have been going through’

Meanwhile, the thespian recently opened on his character David’s bipolar battle as he discussed upcoming episodes of Casualty. 

Speaking to Christine Lampard on Friday’s Lorraine he reveals how his character will struggle to control his illness as he faces the doctor who sectioned him.

He explained top Christine: ‘He’s a complex man and this is a combination of so many things of his life. 

TV role: Meanwhile, the thespian recently opened on his character David's bipolar battle as he discussed upcoming episodes of Casualty

TV role: Meanwhile, the thespian recently opened on his character David’s bipolar battle as he discussed upcoming episodes of Casualty

‘What we really find out in the next couple of episodes is the sort of minute-by-minute and hour-by-hour struggle that David has on a daily basis.’

He added: ‘Just managing his condition and trying to find his normal. Well, what everyone else would regard as normal. 

‘It’s exhausting for him just getting up every day and coping with everything he has to cope with.’ 

Drama: ¿What we really find out in the next couple of episodes is the sort of minute-by-minute and hour-by-hour struggle that David has on a daily basis'

Drama: ‘What we really find out in the next couple of episodes is the sort of minute-by-minute and hour-by-hour struggle that David has on a daily basis’

Pensioners prosecuted for failing to pay BBC licence fee could clog up the courts, MPs warn

Courts could become clogged up with pensioners who get prosecuted for failing to pay their BBC licence fee, warn MPs and campaigners

  • Some over-75s revolting against the fee change say they are willing to risk prison
  • The BBC is prepared to spend £38million chasing down pensioners for payments
  • 1.5million households claiming pension credit are eligible for a free TV licence 

Courts could become clogged up with pensioners who get prosecuted for failing to pay the BBC licence fee, MPs and campaigners warned yesterday.

Tens of thousands of over-75s say they are staging a revolt against the scrapping of their free TV licences, which came into force on Saturday.

Julian Knight, Tory chairman of the Commons digital, culture, media and sport committee, said there was a danger that the percentage of court time taken up by these cases could ‘increase exponentially’. 

The BBC in London (pictured) will start charging pensioners £157.50 per year for TV licences despite strong reactions from the public. The issue of whether non-payment should be remain a criminal offence was considered by former Culture Secretary Nicky Morgan before the coronavirus pandemic but the corporation says it plans to ‘enforce the law’ as it stands

Some affected by the new scheme say they are ‘determined to never pay at all’ and are willing to ‘go the whole hog’ and fight the BBC in court, even risking prison.

But the corporation plans to ‘enforce the law’ and has allocated £38million to chasing pensioners for their payments.

Mr Knight said: ‘The danger is that because there are very particular circumstances in this instance you may end up with people wanting to appear [in court] in person. 

Over-75s receiving pension credit can get a free TV licence, but millions more will receive letters from the BBC telling them to cough up. Charities are urging pensioners to check if they're eligible because anyone caught watching TV without a licence can be prosecuted, fined £1,000 and sent to prison if they refuse to pay (stock photo)

Over-75s receiving pension credit can get a free TV licence, but millions more will receive letters from the BBC telling them to cough up. Charities are urging pensioners to check if they’re eligible because anyone caught watching TV without a licence can be prosecuted, fined £1,000 and sent to prison if they refuse to pay (stock photo)

‘That is where you could end up with court time being taken up. I would imagine that many of those who don’t want to pay will feel very strongly about it, will want to represent themselves, therefore that may take up more court time.’

A BBC spokesman said: ‘We know most members of the public are law-abiding, so our focus is on helping people transition to the new scheme as easily and safely as possible.

‘People over 75 and in receipt of Pension Credit can claim a free TV licence… with 1.5million households eligible.’ 

Pensioners prosecuted for failing to pay BBC licence fee could clog up the courts, MPs warn

Courts could become clogged up with pensioners who get prosecuted for failing to pay their BBC licence fee, warn MPs and campaigners

  • Some over-75s revolting against the fee change say they are willing to risk prison
  • The BBC is prepared to spend £38million chasing down pensioners for payments
  • 1.5million households claiming pension credit are eligible for a free TV licence 

Courts could become clogged up with pensioners who get prosecuted for failing to pay the BBC licence fee, MPs and campaigners warned yesterday.

Tens of thousands of over-75s say they are staging a revolt against the scrapping of their free TV licences, which came into force on Saturday.

Julian Knight, Tory chairman of the Commons digital, culture, media and sport committee, said there was a danger that the percentage of court time taken up by these cases could ‘increase exponentially’. 

The BBC in London (pictured) will start charging pensioners £157.50 per year for TV licences despite strong reactions from the public. The issue of whether non-payment should be remain a criminal offence was considered by former Culture Secretary Nicky Morgan before the coronavirus pandemic but the corporation says it plans to ‘enforce the law’ as it stands

Some affected by the new scheme say they are ‘determined to never pay at all’ and are willing to ‘go the whole hog’ and fight the BBC in court, even risking prison.

But the corporation plans to ‘enforce the law’ and has allocated £38million to chasing pensioners for their payments.

Mr Knight said: ‘The danger is that because there are very particular circumstances in this instance you may end up with people wanting to appear [in court] in person. 

Over-75s receiving pension credit can get a free TV licence, but millions more will receive letters from the BBC telling them to cough up. Charities are urging pensioners to check if they're eligible because anyone caught watching TV without a licence can be prosecuted, fined £1,000 and sent to prison if they refuse to pay (stock photo)

Over-75s receiving pension credit can get a free TV licence, but millions more will receive letters from the BBC telling them to cough up. Charities are urging pensioners to check if they’re eligible because anyone caught watching TV without a licence can be prosecuted, fined £1,000 and sent to prison if they refuse to pay (stock photo)

‘That is where you could end up with court time being taken up. I would imagine that many of those who don’t want to pay will feel very strongly about it, will want to represent themselves, therefore that may take up more court time.’

A BBC spokesman said: ‘We know most members of the public are law-abiding, so our focus is on helping people transition to the new scheme as easily and safely as possible.

‘People over 75 and in receipt of Pension Credit can claim a free TV licence… with 1.5million households eligible.’ 

BBC threatens pensioners with bailiffs if they don’t pay the licence fee

The BBC is putting tens of millions of pounds towards chasing pensioners for their license fee payments as the corporation has said it plans to ‘enforce the law’.

And bailiffs could even be sent into the homes to seize and sell their possessions if ministers decide to support replacing the criminal sanction for licence-fee evasion with a civil penalty.

New call centres manned by 800 staff are being set up to deal with questions and some expected resistance from the over-75s about the fee.

It is estimated that it will cost the BBC £38 million in the first year and £13 million in subsequent years, reported The Daily Telegraph.

The BBC is putting tens of millions of pounds towards chasing pensioners for their license fee payments as the corporation has said it plans to ‘enforce the law’ (stock photo)

Over the next five years setting up the additional services to make sure people pay their license fee will cost £90 million.

There are around 4.5 million over 75s who will have to pay the licence fee this year. If all of them do it will bring in around £700 million to the corporation’s coffers.

However the BBC faces a humiliating stand-off with tens of thousands of pensioners who ‘will not pay’ for a TV licence as result of its controversial new over-75s scheme.

A campaign group for pensioners revealed many thousands of older people could rebel against the fee.

The National Pensioners Convention predicted the ranks of those refusing to pay is likely to be swelled by pensioners under the age of 75 who would also not pay the charge in a show of ‘solidarity’. 

Bailiffs could even be sent into the homes to seize and sell their possessions if ministers decide to support replacing the criminal sanction for licence-fee evasion with a civil penalty

Bailiffs could even be sent into the homes to seize and sell their possessions if ministers decide to support replacing the criminal sanction for licence-fee evasion with a civil penalty

But charities have aired their concern about the prospect of bailiffs being used to enforce payment of the fee if it changed from a criminal offence to a civil penalty. 

Age campaigners told The Times that the prospect of debt collectors turning up at pensioners’ doors was ‘distressing and frightening’.

And yesterday, charity Age UK criticised the BBC for sending out ‘long and complex’ letters to the over-75s about its new TV licence scheme.

The documents fail to make it clear when the elderly will get a demand for payment after millions lost their right to a free licence.

The changes in who pays the licence fee came into force on August 1 but the broadcaster has only just sent out the first letters telling the elderly what to do.

They will tell pensioners that if the BBC has not heard from them within two months, their licence will be cancelled automatically. 

Bosses intended to launch the scheme in June but delayed it because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

What will the letter to the over-75s about the new TV licence say?

The letter will tell pensioners that their licence will cover them from August 1 to the end of July next year.

But it says those spreading the cost of the licence will have to do so over a shorter period ‘for this licence only’. 

These payments will depend on ‘when you respond and how long it takes us to set up your payment plan’.

It adds if it has not heard from them within two months of them getting the letter their licence will be ‘cancelled automatically without charge.’ 

If people contact TV Licensing after the licence has been cancelled to say they need one, the new licence will be ‘backdated to 1st August 2020’ and they would need to ‘pay the full licence fee over the duration of the new licence’.

 

Age UK criticised the switch as ‘complex’ and described the ‘bundle of papers’ explaining it as ‘quite long’. 

It warned that those with dementia would face particular problems. 

Charity director Caroline Abrahams said: ‘The BBC can’t be criticised for not giving older people much information about their new TV licence scheme but the problem is their plan is complex and the bundle of papers explaining it quite long.

‘It’s likely that some older people will get lost in the detail and wonder what they are supposed to do. 

‘The over-75 population is hugely diverse so while some will no doubt navigate the documentation with ease, others may find this impossibly hard.

‘If they have families or friends to help, that will make a big difference but there are many older people on their own who cannot rely on support.

‘The BBC’s pack omits the one piece of information many older people will most want to see: When they are likely to receive a letter asking them to pay. 

‘In the absence of this, some will be concerned that they have somehow missed their letter and are liable to be found at fault.’

She said others will be ‘adamant’ they are not going to pay for a licence ‘come what may’.

The community organisation Silver Voices is urging all over-60s to cancel their TV licence direct debits and instead offer to pay with monthly, backdated cheques.

The aim is cause chaos for TV Licensing’s administration systems, which will make collection and enforcement unworkable – but avoid protesters risking prosecution by refusing to pay.

A group spokesman told The Times: ‘It defies belief that, as a second wave of coronavirus marches over the horizon, the BBC are doing this. It shows a lack of compassion, a lack of empathy, a lack of understanding.’

And Jan Shortt, of the National Pensioners Convention, added: ‘We cannot condone people breaking the law. But, individually, each member will take their own choice. There will be people who refuse to pay.’

The BBC says it has 800 additional staff to deal with queries from the over-75s and has dealt with more than 300,000 calls on the issue since March.

A spokesman said: ‘Over-75s will start to receive letters about how to set up their new TV licence from today.

‘No one needs to do anything until they have the letter, whether that’s paying or applying for a free licence, and no one needs to leave their home. 

‘We are also working with hundreds of money advice and community organisations to reach older people.’

The BBC said 450,000 older viewers have applied for a free licence and those who have to pay can choose instalments.

BBC threatens pensioners with bailiffs if they don’t pay the licence fee

The BBC is putting tens of millions of pounds towards chasing pensioners for their license fee payments as the corporation has said it plans to ‘enforce the law’.

And bailiffs could even be sent into the homes to seize and sell their possessions if ministers decide to support replacing the criminal sanction for licence-fee evasion with a civil penalty.

New call centres manned by 800 staff are being set up to deal with questions and some expected resistance from the over-75s about the fee.

It is estimated that it will cost the BBC £38 million in the first year and £13 million in subsequent years, reported The Daily Telegraph.

The BBC is putting tens of millions of pounds towards chasing pensioners for their license fee payments as the corporation has said it plans to ‘enforce the law’ (stock photo)

Over the next five years setting up the additional services to make sure people pay their license fee will cost £90 million.

There are around 4.5 million over 75s who will have to pay the licence fee this year. If all of them do it will bring in around £700 million to the corporation’s coffers.

However the BBC faces a humiliating stand-off with tens of thousands of pensioners who ‘will not pay’ for a TV licence as result of its controversial new over-75s scheme.

A campaign group for pensioners revealed many thousands of older people could rebel against the fee.

The National Pensioners Convention predicted the ranks of those refusing to pay is likely to be swelled by pensioners under the age of 75 who would also not pay the charge in a show of ‘solidarity’. 

Bailiffs could even be sent into the homes to seize and sell their possessions if ministers decide to support replacing the criminal sanction for licence-fee evasion with a civil penalty

Bailiffs could even be sent into the homes to seize and sell their possessions if ministers decide to support replacing the criminal sanction for licence-fee evasion with a civil penalty

But charities have aired their concern about the prospect of bailiffs being used to enforce payment of the fee if it changed from a criminal offence to a civil penalty. 

Age campaigners told The Times that the prospect of debt collectors turning up at pensioners’ doors was ‘distressing and frightening’.

And yesterday, charity Age UK criticised the BBC for sending out ‘long and complex’ letters to the over-75s about its new TV licence scheme.

The documents fail to make it clear when the elderly will get a demand for payment after millions lost their right to a free licence.

The changes in who pays the licence fee came into force on August 1 but the broadcaster has only just sent out the first letters telling the elderly what to do.

They will tell pensioners that if the BBC has not heard from them within two months, their licence will be cancelled automatically. 

Bosses intended to launch the scheme in June but delayed it because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

What will the letter to the over-75s about the new TV licence say?

The letter will tell pensioners that their licence will cover them from August 1 to the end of July next year.

But it says those spreading the cost of the licence will have to do so over a shorter period ‘for this licence only’. 

These payments will depend on ‘when you respond and how long it takes us to set up your payment plan’.

It adds if it has not heard from them within two months of them getting the letter their licence will be ‘cancelled automatically without charge.’ 

If people contact TV Licensing after the licence has been cancelled to say they need one, the new licence will be ‘backdated to 1st August 2020’ and they would need to ‘pay the full licence fee over the duration of the new licence’.

 

Age UK criticised the switch as ‘complex’ and described the ‘bundle of papers’ explaining it as ‘quite long’. 

It warned that those with dementia would face particular problems. 

Charity director Caroline Abrahams said: ‘The BBC can’t be criticised for not giving older people much information about their new TV licence scheme but the problem is their plan is complex and the bundle of papers explaining it quite long.

‘It’s likely that some older people will get lost in the detail and wonder what they are supposed to do. 

‘The over-75 population is hugely diverse so while some will no doubt navigate the documentation with ease, others may find this impossibly hard.

‘If they have families or friends to help, that will make a big difference but there are many older people on their own who cannot rely on support.

‘The BBC’s pack omits the one piece of information many older people will most want to see: When they are likely to receive a letter asking them to pay. 

‘In the absence of this, some will be concerned that they have somehow missed their letter and are liable to be found at fault.’

She said others will be ‘adamant’ they are not going to pay for a licence ‘come what may’.

The community organisation Silver Voices is urging all over-60s to cancel their TV licence direct debits and instead offer to pay with monthly, backdated cheques.

The aim is cause chaos for TV Licensing’s administration systems, which will make collection and enforcement unworkable – but avoid protesters risking prosecution by refusing to pay.

A group spokesman told The Times: ‘It defies belief that, as a second wave of coronavirus marches over the horizon, the BBC are doing this. It shows a lack of compassion, a lack of empathy, a lack of understanding.’

And Jan Shortt, of the National Pensioners Convention, added: ‘We cannot condone people breaking the law. But, individually, each member will take their own choice. There will be people who refuse to pay.’

The BBC says it has 800 additional staff to deal with queries from the over-75s and has dealt with more than 300,000 calls on the issue since March.

A spokesman said: ‘Over-75s will start to receive letters about how to set up their new TV licence from today.

‘No one needs to do anything until they have the letter, whether that’s paying or applying for a free licence, and no one needs to leave their home. 

‘We are also working with hundreds of money advice and community organisations to reach older people.’

The BBC said 450,000 older viewers have applied for a free licence and those who have to pay can choose instalments.

Michael McIntyre dons spiked GOLF shoes while dining al fresco with a pal

Michael McIntyre displays his quirky sense of style as he dons spiked GOLF shoes while dining al fresco with a pal

He’s had much to celebrate over the past few weeks, after it was announced that he will host new primetime BBC show The Wheel.

And Michael McInyre appeared to be in an infectiously upbeat mood on Wednesday, when he was spotted enjoying an al fresco lunch with a pal in London’s Primose Hill.

The 44-year-old comedian also displayed his quirky sense of style as he donned spiked Nike golf shoes while enjoying a glass of wine in the balmy summer sunshine.

Good times: Michael McInyre, right, appeared to be in an upbeat mood on Wednesday, when he was spotted enjoying an al fresco lunch with a pal in London’s Primose Hill

Shoes: The comic displayed his quirky sense of style as he donned spiked Nike golf shoes

Shoes: The comic displayed his quirky sense of style as he donned spiked Nike golf shoes

The bespectacled TV personality looked casually cool for his culinary outing, wearing a black polo top, which he teamed with a pair of navy shorts.

Father-of-two Michael laughed and chatted with his friend as they sat among a small crowd of diners looking out onto the English capital’s bustling streets.  

Last month, it was announced the comic, who is married to Simon Ward’s aromatherapist daughter Kitty, would front The Wheel for the BBC.

Producers said the show would include celebrity guests, interesting contestants and ‘laugh out loud moments’, putting a new spin on ‘the most exciting funfair ride’.

Of being named host of the new show, London-born Michael said: ‘I am thrilled to be hosting a show that does reinvent the wheel!

‘Contestants will be competing to win big money, celebrity experts will have their knowledge put to the test, and I will desperately be trying to avoid too many puns.

Having a laugh: Father-of-two Michael laughed and chatted with his friend as they sat among a small crowd of diners looking out onto the English capital's bustling streets

Having a laugh: Father-of-two Michael laughed and chatted with his friend as they sat among a small crowd of diners looking out onto the English capital’s bustling streets

‘I simply can’t wait to get behind the wheel, I’m dizzy with excitement!’

With cash prizes on the line for the new entertainment series – which will run with 10 hour long episodes – has been described as ‘fun, laughter and tension for the whole family’. 

The upcoming show was commissioned by Charlotte Moore, director of BBC content, and Kate Phillips, controller for entertainment commissioning.

The latter commented: ‘Michael is the perfect ringmaster for this unique game that will get celebrities in a right old spin and everyone at home playing along.’

Much to celebrate: He's had much to celebrate over the past few weeks, after it was announced that he will host new primetime BBC show The Wheel. Pictured in November 2017

Much to celebrate: He’s had much to celebrate over the past few weeks, after it was announced that he will host new primetime BBC show The Wheel. Pictured in November 2017

Vietnam praying mantis named after Sir David Attenborough

‘Very large and robust’ praying mantis discovered in Vietnam is named after David Attenborough

  • Belgian researchers have called the animal ‘Titanodula attenboroughi’
  • Sub-species was found in the Annamite mountains of central Vietnam 
  • Discoverers honoured Attenborough as he is ‘one of the world’s most beloved naturalists’

A brand new species of praying mantis has been discovered in Vietnam and named after David Attenborough. 

Belgian researchers found the ‘very large and robust’ sub-species while on a recent expedition to the Annamite mountains.

The Royal Belgian Society of Entomology researchers called the species ‘Titanodula attenboroughi’. 

They decided to honour the British TV presenter with their nomenclature because Attenborough is ‘one of the world’s most beloved naturalists’, they say. 

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Researchers decided to honour the British TV presenter with their nomenclature because Attenborough (pictured)  is 'one of the world's most beloved naturalists', they say

Belgian researchers found the ‘very large and robust’ sub-species Titanodula attenboroughi while on a recent expedition to the Annamite mountains. Pictured, the newly discovered species and David Attenborough 

Attenborough: World finally beginning to tackle the ‘vile’ scourge of plastic waste

The world’s population is beginning to change its attitude towards plastic waste and the damage it causes, broadcaster Sir David Attenborough has commented.

Awareness of the threat caused by plastic pollution is spreading, he said, with the public demonstrating that they care about the issue and want to make changes.

Sir David made the comments as he and the BBC were announced as the winners of the 2019 Chatham House Prize for improving international relations. 

The Belgian Journal of Entomology describes the new-found insect as a ‘very large and robust praying mantis’.

It has a triangular head, antennae filiform, long but robust pronotum and a smooth dorsal surface.

Mantises were once assigned to the catch-all Herodula genus – dubbed a ‘wastebasket taxon’ by the journal.

However, species within this group differ significantly in one noticeably fashion, the male genitalia. 

The genus has all forms of morphology for the male reproductive region and this can be used to categorise and discern between different groups.   

The research has allowed scientists to assign Attenborough’s eponymous mantis to a new group, Titanodula.

Attenborough was director of programming for British public broadcaster the BBC in the 1970s, but is best known for presenting an ambitious series of wildlife documentaries, beginning with Life on Earth in 1979.

He is a much-loved public figure and has received other honours, including a knighthood.

In 2016 the British polar research vessel was named the RRS Sir David Attenborough despite a poll of Internet users suggesting it be dubbed ‘Boaty McBoatface’.

Ten-page licence fee documents for over-75s are too ‘long and complex’, charity warns BBC 

BBC faces pensioner licence fee revolt as it sends out first letters today demanding £157.50 payments after millions lost their right to free viewing

  • Older viewers are likely to start receiving the ten-page letters from today 
  • Age UK said letter do not make it clear when the elderly will be demanded to pay
  • Age UK criticised the switch as ‘complex’ and said the letters were ‘quite long’ 

A charity has criticised the BBC for sending out ‘long and complex’ letters to the over-75s about its new TV licence scheme.

Age UK said the documents fail to make it clear when the elderly will get a demand for payment after millions lost their right to a free licence.

Older viewers are likely to start receiving the ten-page letters from today outlining how the benefit will now only go to those on pension credit.

But the charity warned the letters confirmed its view that the controversial change would ‘in all likelihood end in tears’.

Age UK said the documents fail to make it clear when the elderly (stock photo) will get a demand for payment after millions lost their right to a free licence

It came into force on August 1 but the broadcaster has only just sent out the first letters telling the elderly what to do.

They will tell pensioners that if the BBC has not heard from them within two months, their licence will be cancelled automatically. Bosses intended to launch the scheme in June but delayed it because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Age UK criticised the switch as ‘complex’ and described the ‘bundle of papers’ explaining it as ‘quite long’. It warned that those with dementia would face particular problems. Charity director Caroline Abrahams said: ‘The BBC can’t be criticised for not giving older people much information about their new TV licence scheme but the problem is their plan is complex and the bundle of papers explaining it quite long.

‘It’s likely that some older people will get lost in the detail and wonder what they are supposed to do. The over-75 population is hugely diverse so while some will no doubt navigate the documentation with ease, others may find this impossibly hard.

‘If they have families or friends to help, that will make a big difference but there are many older people on their own who cannot rely on support.

‘The BBC’s pack omits the one piece of information many older people will most want to see: When they are likely to receive a letter asking them to pay. In the absence of this, some will be concerned that they have somehow missed their letter and are liable to be found at fault.’ She said others will be ‘adamant’ they are not going to pay for a licence ‘come what may’.

The BBC says it has 800 additional staff to deal with queries from the over-75s and has dealt with more than 300,000 calls on the issue since March.

A spokesman said: ‘Over-75s will start to receive letters about how to set up their new TV licence from today.

‘No one needs to do anything until they have the letter, whether that’s paying or applying for a free licence, and no one needs to leave their home. We are also working with hundreds of money advice and community organisations to reach older people.’

The BBC said 450,000 older viewers have applied for a free licence and those who have to pay can choose instalments.