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Bafta TV Awards 2019: Eight things we learned

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Media captionHighlights from the 2019 Bafta TV Awards

Winning Eve might be a more appropriate title for the BBC’s hit drama after the Bafta TV Awards on Sunday.

There were wins in some of the night’s biggest categories for Killing Eve, including best drama series and best actress for Jodie Comer.

I’m A Celebrity and Britain’s Got Talent were among the other winners in what has been a strong year for British television.

“Just sitting [in the audience] watching these incredible programmes makes me realise that we really should… get a telly,” joked Jessica Hynes during her own acceptance speech for female comedy performance.

Here are eight things we learned backstage at the ceremony.

1. Graham Norton bossed the opening monologue

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Every year, the television industry keeps its antennas crossed that the TV Baftas won’t fall on the same weekend as Eurovision, so that Graham Norton is available to host.

After last year’s clash, Norton returned to fronting the Bafta ceremony and delivered a killer opening sequence true to form. His best jokes included:

  • “We now have a female host of Question Time, an all-female line-up on Newsnight. It’s not only great for equality, but it saves the BBC a fortune.”
  • “Every week on The Great British Bake Off, a Baker gets kicked out. This week it was Danny. Literally a show stopper.”
  • “The Bros documentary really was must-see television. A lot of people have argued about which one emerged with the most dignity. I would say on balance it was probably the bassist, Craig, who declined to take part.”
  • “Everyone loved Line of Duty. The interviews were incredible. A more forensically detailed interrogation of times, dates and mobile phone data hasn’t been seen since that time Seann Walsh got home late from Strictly practice.”

2. Jodie Comer has a surprising link to Line of Duty

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Awards ceremonies always leave the biggest category of the night to the very end. The Oscars with best picture, for example.

So it was telling that Bafta considered best actress the tastiest category of the night this year, leaving it to the very end.

“Women are fashionable at the moment, so it’s just great to be associated with them,” joked Steve Coogan as he introduced it.

Sandra Oh and Keeley Hawes were among the nominees in this one, but it was Jodie Comer who triumphed.

“It’s just a dream, I’m very emotional, I think I blubbered my way through [my acceptance speech],” Comer said backstage.

In her speech, she thanked Line of Duty star (and fellow Liverpudlian) Stephen Graham, adding: “If I didn’t owe you a pint before, I certainly do now.”

Many viewers didn’t realise the two had a connection, but it was Graham who encouraged his agent Jane Epstein to take on Comer after they worked together on BBC mini-series Good Cop, describing her as an “extreme talent”.

3. David Walliams wants X Factor to die

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David Walliams brought mum Kathleen to the ceremony

“Thank you for that seated ovation. You’re so thrilled for us, I can feel it,” joked David Walliams as he entered the press room to an admittedly half-hearted round of applause.

He was fresh from accepting the prize for best entertainment on behalf of Britain’s Got Talent.

And by the sounds of it, Walliams is very happy where he is – although he is considering Simon Cowell’s offer to take part in Celebrity X Factor later this year.

“Well, I think if I can kill that format forever by appearing on it, I’d very much like to,” Walliams said, speaking on behalf of the nation.

“I cannot sing a note so I’d fit in very well… I would love to be on that stage, doing a duet with Wagner.”

4. Villanelle may have been loosely based on Scary Spice

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Phoebe Waller-Bridge has become just about the hottest property in entertainment in the last year.

In addition to adapting Killing Eve for the small screen, the second season of her hugely popular comedy Fleabag has just concluded, and she is set to co-write the next James Bond film.

“I’ve made a promise to myself that I’m not going to talk about Bond tonight, I’m just going to talk about Killing Eve,” she said backstage – a signal to journalists not to ask about anything 007.

So instead, she ended up discussing her love of the Spice Girls and their impact on her writing. Particularly her favourite, Scary Spice.

“It was because she was scary, a bit like Villanelle, perhaps I’ve never let Scary go,” she explained.

“She was wild, she was out there, she didn’t care about what people thought about her. She was just really cool. And wore trousers.”

5. Huw Edwards probably isn’t going to do Strictly Come Dancing after all

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Planning for this year’s Strictly is well under way, with DJ Chris Evans having already announced his candidacy.

BBC News host Huw Edwards has also been in the frame – having told Radio 2’s Steve Wright earlier this year he would consider taking part.

But having had time to ponder it, Edwards appears to have decided against following in the footsteps of fellow news figures such as Jeremy Vine and John Sargeant.

“I’ve not been asked to do it,” Edwards says.

But if he was? “I’d have a conversation about it. But in all honestly it’s a difficult thing to do in my day-to-day job.

“Combining that with being the BBCs chief news anchor, that would be quite difficult. In future, when my professional life might be in a different shape, I’d consider it.”

6. Daisy May Cooper trashed the red carpet

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Media captionThis Country star’s bin bag Bafta dress explained

Jaws were dropping on the red carpet for the likes of Keeley Hawes and Jodie Comer, each of whom wore stunning gowns.

But it was This Country star Daisy May Cooper who caught the most attention, with her bin bag ensemble.

It was so extravagant it wouldn’t have looked out of place at last week’s Met Gala.

How much did it cost? “About five quid,” she laughed, adding it was made by her mum.

But, Cooper explained, she chose this year to donate the money she would have spent on a dress to a food bank charity.

7. Mack (stuck in) the knife

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Lee Mack, who won best entertainment performance for Would I Lie To You?, delivered one of the night’s highlights, poking fun at both his co-stars and Bafta’s own sponsor in his speech.

“Right, I’ll keep it brief because I know we just want to go for dinner now,” he began.

“Especially this year, because there’s no chocolate under the seat. Are we still on BBC One, or is it Channel 5 now?”

He continued: “Thanks for this, I don’t want to sound ungrateful, but on the off-chance that we do get to come back next year, is there any chance you couldn’t do it on the same day as the final Premier League game?

“I’m only kidding, I couldn’t have watched it anyway because I’ve got [Bafta sponsor] Virgin Media and the reception is terrible.”

Paying tribute to his co-stars Rob Brydon and David Mitchell, he joked: “It’s bad enough I get paid more than them, but this is going to kill them.”

8. Dec the halls with lots of Baftas

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Love Island won the prize for best reality and constructed factual last year, but bizarrely wasn’t even nominated this year despite having its biggest series yet in 2018.

Instead, I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here! took home the prize, in a year that saw Holly Willoughby replace Ant McPartlin as a co-presenter on the show.

“Holly came in and did a fantastic job, she loved it and we loved having her there,” Dec said backstage.

“It was a tough year. Personally and professionally. But I just went out and tried to do my best, keep the shows warm for him when he was ready to come back, so I tried to deliver as best I could.

“And thankfully,” he laughed, “they both won Baftas tonight, so how cool am I?!”

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Ramaphosa adds to public protector’s report review woes | News | National

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NEWS ANALYSIS

Despite his measured tone and refusal to be drawn into personal recriminations, President Cyril Ramaphosa signalled clearly on Sunday evening that he was ready for a fight with Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane.

The president announced that he would be urgently approaching court to review the damning report against him — released on Friday.
The report found Ramaphosa had deliberately misled Parliament when he answered a parliamentary question about a payment received by the CR17 campaign from African Global Operations, formerly known as Bosasa.
Mkhwebane also found that he had breached the Executive Ethics Code by not disclosing the donations to the campaign.

READ MORE: ‘Fundamentally and irretrievably flawed’: Ramaphosa takes PP report on review

She added that there was “merit” in the suspicion of money laundering, because the Bosasa payment passed through “several intermediaries, instead of a straight donation towards the CR17 campaign”, and has referred this to the National Prosecuting Authority for further investigation.

Mkhwebane now faces four separate and highly political court cases on three of her reports: the report into the early pension pay-out of former Sars deputy commissioner Ivan Pillay, the report on the so-called “rogue unit” at the South African Revenue Service, which has been challenged by Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan, and the most recent Bosasa report.

Today (Monday) the Constitutional Court will also hand down a crucial judgment on whether she should be personally liable for some of the costs of setting aside parts of her report into the ABSA/Bankorp bail-out in the 1980s.

Even if the Constitutional Court does not hold her personally liable, an adverse finding on her honesty or competence will support the cases of the president, Gordhan and Pillay. On the other hand, if the highest court clears her, it will be a boost to her claim that there is a political campaign to have her removed.   

While Gordhan’s court papers have directly accused Mkhwebane of allowing her office to be used as part of a political campaign against him, on Sunday Ramaphosa carefully steered clear of those kinds of statements. However, he said she had made findings that were not based on fact. Her findings were irrational, they did not have a sound legal basis and they were not arrived at through a fair, impartial and lawful process, he said.

“Furthermore, in failing to provide me with an opportunity to comment on proposed remedial action, the Public Protector has violated provisions of the Public Protector Act, the Constitution and principles of common law,” said the President.

The president also sought to pre-empt the argument that by going to court he was undermining her office. He said while the president was not above the law, neither was the public protector above the law; both were bound by the prescripts of the Constitution. Involving the courts – the appropriate arbiter of this dispute – would strengthen the Office of the Public Protector, he said. 

A consistent complaint in many of the review cases against the public protector relates to how she dealt with evidence: that she did not allow the subjects of her investigations to properly interrogate the evidence she relied on and that she did not properly consider the evidence put before her by them.

Speaking to the Mail & Guardian, Ramaphosa’s spokesperson Khusela Diko said the president had never been shown the “evidence adduced in a form of e-mails, invitations and instructions”, which Mkhwebane said showed that the president was “constantly informed of the activities” of CR17, suggesting that he knew more of what was going on in the campaign then he said.

He and members of the CR17 campaign team had said he was deliberately not told about donors. On Sunday, Ramaphosa repeated what his team had told Mkhwebane in her investigation. He knew that money was being raised and went to the fundraising dinners, “but I was never informed about the intricate details”.

The most startling part of Mkhwebane’s report was how she laid bare the CR17 campaign’s financial affairs. Having used her extensive powers of subpoena to access bank records and other documents, Mkhwebane revealed that millions were raised and spent in the campaign to deliver the ANC presidency to Ramaphosa.

READ MORE: Public Protector finds Ramaphosa misled Parliament on Bosasa donation

Mkhwebane said: “Out of all the donations received for the campaign, records reflect that there were three single largest donations of thirty million rand … on 9 March 2017; more than 39-million rand … on 29 September 2017 and over fifty one million rand … on the same date into the EFG2 ABSA trust account, which came from the same donor.”

The amounts of money involved, and who donated them, have dominated public discussion since Friday. The exact number of millions is disputed between Ramaphosa and the Public Protector. But on Sunday evening Ramaphosa acknowledged that “quite a bit of money was raised” but this was not out of the ordinary.

“This happens with all campaigns when people campaign for office, inside their own parties and as we campaign to be elected as public representatives. The money is used for a variety of activities,” he said.

“Others also raised quite a bit of money. We may never really know. The only one we know of now is the CR17 one.”

In her remedial action, Mkhwebane said the Speaker of Parliament should “demand publication of all donations received by President Ramaphosa”. Diko said that there was no law currently that required the disclosure Mkhwebane insisted on. However the president was open to a discussion on a principled change to this position. In that event, and provided the same rules applied to everyone, he was open to disclosing his donors.

She said Ramaphosa still did not know who the donor was of the “three single largest donations”.

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ConCourt to rule on personal cost order against Public Protector

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The Constitutional Court is set to rule on Monday morning on whether Public Protector Busiswe Mkhwebane should be held personally liable for a portion of the legal costs that the SA Reserve Bank incurred to overturn the findings of her Absa/Bankorp report.

Judgment is set to be delivered at 10:00 in Johannesburg. 

The matter relates to the scathing judgement delivered in mid-February 2018 by the North Gauteng High Court, which set aside the findings and remedial action of Mkhwebane’s Absa/Bankorp report. 

The public protector, in report published on June 19 2017, had tasked the Special Investigating Unit with recovering R1.125bn in “misappropriated public funds”, describing the funds as an “illegal gift” given to Bankorp by the SA Reserve Bank in the 1980s. As Bankorp and other banks were later subsumed into Absa, Mkhwebane ruled that the funds be recovered from Absa.

In her remedial action, she also ruled that Parliament should introduce a motion to amend the Constitution to change the SA Reserve Bank’s mandate to focus on economic growth. This caused the rand to fall as investors feared it would limit the central bank’s independence. This section of her report was already set aside in August 2017. 

Following the publication of her report, the SARB, the minister of finance, Absa and National Treasury instituted review applications set aside her directive that the SIU recover funds from Absa. These applications were later consolidated. 

The North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria set aside Mkhwebane’s findings in February 2018, citing a “reasonable apprehension of bias” in her work. Mkhwebane was also ordered to personally repay 15% of the SA Reserve Bank’s legal costs, while the office of the Public Protector was ordered to pay the remaining 85%. The court stated this was “necessary to show our displeasure with the unacceptable way in which she conducted her investigation as well as her persistence to oppose all three applications to the end”.

Legal challenges  

Mkhwebane’s applications for leave to appeal the judgment in the High Court and the Supreme Court of Appeal were refused.   

The public protector then sought leave to appeal the section of the ruling relating to her personal liability for the legal costs in the Constitutional Court.

The case was heard in November 2018. Mkhwebane’s legal team argued that a personal costs order could prevent the office of the Public Protector and other Chapter 9 Institutions from operating effectively, as they will be concerned about being penalised. 

In court papers lawyers for the SA Reserve Bank, meanwhile, argued that the court should declare that Mkhwebane abused her office during the investigation that led to her report. The central bank has also asked that its costs in Constitutional Court should be
paid by the Public Protector personally. 

Monday’s judgment will be relevant to another pending legal fees case against Mkhwebane. Her report into the Vrede dairy farm was set aside by the Pretoria High Court in May this year as unconstitutional and invalid. The court’s ruling on legal fees was reserved, awaiting the Constitutional Court’s decision in the Absa/Bankorp case.

Fitness to hold office

The apex court’s ruling comes at a time when Parliament is dealing with calls to probe Mkhwebane’s fitness to hold office.

In June Speaker of the National Assembly Thandi Modise referred a DA request for an inquiry into the public protector to Parliament’s oversight committee on justice and correctional services. According to a report in the Sunday Times at the weekend, Mkhwebane has written to Modise threatening her with legal action if Parliament tries to remove her. 

President Cyril Ramaphosa, meanwhile, in a televised address on Sunday evening called Mkhwebane’s finding that he violated the executive ethics code “fundamentally and irretrievably flawed”. The president announced he would be taking taking the report on urgent review.

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Triad gangster attack in Hong Kong after night of viole…

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HONG KONG, July 22 (Reuters) – Hong Kong’s opposition Democratic Party is investigating attacks by suspected triad gangsters on train passengers on Sunday, after a night of violence opened new fronts in the political crisis now deepening across city.

Screams rang out when men, clad in white t-shirts and some armed with poles, flooded into the rural Yuen Long station and stormed a train, attacking passengers, according to footage taken by commuters and Democratic Party lawmaker Lam Cheuk-ting.

Some passengers had been at an earlier anti-government march and the attack came after several thousand activists surrounded China’s representative office in the city, later clashing with police.

Lam, who was injured in the attack, said he was angry about a slow police response after he alerted them to the trouble, government-funded broadcaster RTHK reported.

Lam said the police action had failed to protect the public, allowing the triads to run rampant. The party is now investigating.

“Is Hong Kong now allowing triads to do what they want, beating up people on the street with weapons?,” he asked reporters.

Hong Kong has been rocked by a series of sometimes violent protests for more than two months in its most serious crisis since Britain handed the freewheeling city back to Chinese rule in 1997.

Protesters are demanding the full withdrawal of a bill to allow people to be extradited to mainland China for trial, where the courts are controlled by the Communist Party, and independent inquiries into the use of police force against protesters.

On Sunday police fired rubber bullets and tear gas to disperse crowds of activists on the edge of Hong Kong’s glittering financial district after they had fled China’s Liaison Office.

The Chinese government has condemned the action, which saw signs and a state symbol daubed with graffiti.

The continuing unrest in Hong Kong marks the greatest popular challenge to Chinese leader Xi Jinping since he came to power in 2012.

The Hospital Authority said 45 people were injured in the Yuen Long attack, with one in a critical condition. Some 13 people were injured after the clashes in Hong Kong island, one seriously, the authority said.

In a statement early on Monday, police “strongly condemned” both violent incidents and were investigating both cases.

Some police had been injured in the clashes after protesters hurled bricks, smoke grenades and petrol bombs, the statement said. (Reporting by Donny Kwok, Vimvam Tong and Greg Torode.)

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In the words of Madiba:
“A critical, independent and investigative free press is the lifeblood of any democracy.”

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