Month: September 2019

On Deck A Sabermetric Broadcast

Although sabermetrics has substantially reshaped baseball’s on-field product over the past few decades, its progress in the broadcast booth has been slower. It’s not hard to see why the two trends haven’t moved in lockstep: While teams adopted the analytics model out of the need to win games, the same market pressures didn’t apply to commentators. For teams, integrating sabermetrics meant they were more likely to win; for commentators, it meant they were more likely to confuse. But now a younger generation is steeped in analytics, and statistically minded fans obsessively check sites such as Fangraphs, Baseball-Reference and Brooks Baseball to get what broadcasts and talk radio aren’t providing.Broadcasters have taken note. In the past few years, we’ve seen some geeky milestones: Sun Sports produced a special sabermetric broadcast of a Tampa Bay Rays game, and WGN flashed a run expectancy matrix on screen during a Cubs broadcast. And Joe Morgan and Tim McCarver, not exactly standard-bearers for the analytics movement, are off the air.On Saturday, Fox Sports 1 is hoping to facilitate the next breakthrough for on-air stat-geekery. During Game 1 of the National League Championship Series between the St. Louis Cardinals and San Francisco Giants, the channel, working in conjunction with its Just A Bit Outside blog, is mounting a broadcast that promises to focus on “statistics, sabermetrics, and graphics, with plenty of debate and conversation while the action plays out on the field.” The show will feature a split-screen, with the game in one window and in the other a panel that includes longtime sabermetric proselytizer Rob Neyer and ex-players turned stat-friendly broadcasters Gabe Kapler and C.J. Nitkowski, not to mention current San Diego Padres manager Bud Black. It’s an experiment in whether mainstream America — or at least the America that watches Fox Sports 1 on a Saturday night — is finally ready for metrics to invade Morgan and McCarver’s former province.Kapler certainly seems to think it is, noting that plenty of numbers now widely used on TV (like WHIP and OPS) were once just as foreign to viewers as xFIP and Ultimate Zone Rating. “Baseball fans are ready to absorb metrics they can use to predict what’s coming,” he said.Along similar lines, Neyer hopes the JABO broadcast can put numbers to the baseball fundamentals that fans are used to. “We’ll be talking about the same things that everybody else talks about, just on a somewhat different — and ideally, higher — level,” he said.Neyer’s pet example is pitch framing. While most serious fans know that Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina is an expert in what Neyer calls “stealing” strikes on borderline pitches, the NLCS coverage will highlight the fact that Molina’s counterpart on the Giants, Buster Posey, is just as good at that dark art according to the numbers.But it won’t be all numbers. The coverage also aspires to effectively blend advanced statistics with the experience of the former players on hand, as well as Black’s managerial mindset. (For instance, in addition to a studio area, the set will also feature one of those whimsical mini-fields upon which Kapler and Nitkowski can perform hands-on demos.) Host Kevin Burkhardt will guide a running conversation that Kapler hopes will appeal to fans seeking hardcore analysis — statistical or otherwise.There’s a tension in any sabermetric treatment of baseball between the cool empiricism of numbers and the gauzy comfort of narrative. In the post-season that’s even more pronounced, because it’s so difficult to make sense of the randomness that short series bring. Neyer thinks the Fox broadcast can straddle that line.“We’re lucky, given the mix of the people who will be on the set, to do both things,” he said. “Gabe Kapler and C.J. Nitkowski are both quite well-versed in sabermetrics. … We can a cite a number, but [when an event] doesn’t fit the statistical narrative, Gabe Kapler can literally jump out of his chair … and demonstrate what happened, and why.”Everyone I talked to — including Kapler, Neyer and producer Matt Schnider — also emphasized that the broadcast will have room for debate between the sabermetric outlook and the conventional wisdom. “Those things do come up,” Neyer said. “One of the tricky things for us will be [when] somebody says something that maybe isn’t supported by the data, we’ve got to be able to jump in (on my laptop or with one of our researchers) quickly and find out if that’s true, and then get it out there and see if we can hash it out.”Perhaps the telecast, then, is better thought of as an update to the way baseball broadcasts are done, rather than a groundbreaking exercise in sabermetric programming. It will be the first televised, in-game manifestation of what Baseball Prospectus’s Dayn Perry famously described as the ideal marriage between sabermetrics and traditional thinking:“A question that’s sometimes posed goes something like this: ‘Should you run an organization with scouts or statistics?’ My answer is the same it would be if someone asked me: ‘Beer or tacos?’ Both, you fool. Why construct an either-or scenario where none need exist?”In a field where traditional broadcasts have clung to more or less the same format for half a century, the beer-and-tacos approach is a refreshing change of direction. read more

That Raptors Meltdown Was MindBoggling

Just when the Toronto Raptors finally looked like they’d exorcised their playoff demons against the Cleveland Cavaliers, the Cavs once again found a way to haunt them. Despite not leading for a single second during regulation time, LeBron James and the Cavaliers beat Toronto 113-112 in overtime of Tuesday night’s Eastern Conference semifinal Game 1, handing the Raptors their ninth loss in 11 playoff games against Cleveland over the past three seasons.Much of the focus in the wake of Game 1 will be on Toronto’s blown opportunities to put the Cavs away — and rightly so. The Raptors led by as many as 14 points early in the game, and according to ESPN’s NBA win probability model, they had a 94 percent chance of winning when they held a 10-point edge with 9:58 to go in the fourth quarter. It was a prime moment for Toronto to prove that its Game 1 issues were really a thing of the past. (Before beating Washington in their first-round opener, the Raptors had lost 10 consecutive postseason Game 1s.) But the Raptors’ fourth-quarter meltdown only renewed doubts about Toronto’s true playoff potential.Toronto shot 5-for-25 (20 percent) from the field during the final period of regulation, including an agonizing 3-for-17 on shots in the restricted area. According to ESPN’s Stats & Information Group, those 14 restricted-area misses were the most by any team in any quarter in the last 20 postseasons. The Raptors had eight second-chance opportunities during the last five minutes of regulation and failed to score on any of them, including missing four shots in the final seconds. After that, they needed James to miss a buzzer-beater just to force overtime.One of the saddest parts for Toronto was that it had spent the game’s first three quarters playing the type of offensive basketball that had made it look like a contender all season. The Raptors were the league’s third-best offensive team during the regular season (according to NBA Advanced Stats), averaging 111.0 points per 100 possessions. Through three quarters Tuesday night, they’d scorched Cleveland for 120.6 points per 100 possessions, with DeMar DeRozan, Kyle Lowry and even a renewed Jonas Valanciunas generating high-quality chances. But in the fourth quarter and overtime, Toronto’s offense cratered to 79.3 points per 100 possessions, time and again preventing them from putting the game away.And on the Cleveland side of the ball, there were signs that the Cavs are starting to rediscover the shooting touch that’s led to so much postseason success against the Raptors over the years. After knocking down only 32 percent of their three-pointers1Making 10 threes per game. in the first round against Indiana, Cleveland shooters hit 14, at a 40 percent clip, against Toronto on Tuesday. And that was with James going a paltry 1-for-8 from beyond the arc; Cavs not named LeBron made 48 percent of their threes. It was a big reversal from the first round, when we were wondering if James’s teammates would ever step up and make some of the shots he was creating for them. It was also a long-awaited return to the form that saw Cleveland hit 42 percent of its threes while burying the Raptors in the 2016 and 2017 playoffs.No doubt the Cavs looked bad against Indiana — at times, really bad. Outscored by a total of 40, they had the third-worst point margin for any postseason series winner in NBA history. But maybe Cleveland’s shooting just needed to reawaken itself: According to Second Spectrum’s quantified shot quality metric, on passes from James in Round 1, his teammates collectively shot for an effective field goal percentage that was 10.3 points below what we would expect based on their track records. That couldn’t last. (Although it should also be noted that, in Game 1 against Toronto, the Cavs shot 11.1 percentage points above expectations on that metric.)Of course, by the same token, the Raptors are probably not going to miss so, so many chippies around the basket again after Game 1. According to Second Spectrum, they “should” have shot for an effective field goal percentage 35.5 points higher than they actually did during the fourth quarter Tuesday night. Second Spectrum’s numbers also indicate that, on Toronto’s three missed tip-in chances near the end of regulation, there was a 95 percent chance at least one of them would go in — any of which would likely have been enough to secure the victory.Maybe that means these teams should settle in for a long series, once the luck evens out on each side. But Toronto has to be kicking itself about the missed opportunity to take early control of the series in Game 1. After working all season to get home-court advantage in a hypothetical series against Cleveland, Toronto threw it away in an astonishing flurry of fourth-quarter misses. Bad luck or not, that could end up helping the Cavs haunt the Raptors’ postseason dreams yet again.Check out our latest NBA predictions. read more

The NCAA Tournament Has Turned Into A Dunk Contest

Texas Southern10.5 The dunkers are thrivingDivision I men’s college basketball teams for whom at least 10 percent of their 2-point field-goal attempts in 2018-19 were dunk attempts Mississippi St.12.3✓ Marshall10.1 Northeastern10.4✓ Virginia10.7✓✓ LSU14.2✓✓ Gonzaga11.4✓✓ UCF14.0✓ UCLA13.5 Auburn13.4✓✓ Florida St.16.0✓✓ TeamShare of offense from DunksMade Tournament?Made Sweet 16? Texas12.8 Source: Arkansas12.5 To be sure, some of this is intuitive. Advances in science and technology make comparing today’s college athlete to those of yesteryear a comical examination. Perhaps more than ever, basketball rewards height — and, increasingly, arm length — and athleticism. Nowadays, warm-up lines seem to be as much for the fans as for the players. Tennessee is credited for starting a choreographed dunk during warm-ups that involves the entire team. It spread around the country and even reached the NBA.The digital market is saturated with looped clips of diminutive high-flyers, players leapfrogging multiple humans and guards audaciously double-pumping in transition. The NCAA’s official website ran a listicle of players it wants to see in a dunk contest.2Some posit that college already boasts the better contest. Because of his dunking prowess, Williamson eclipsed 1 million Instagram followers before he even got to college.As the number of dunk attempts has spiked, so too has their importance. Dunks accounted for 5.4 percent of all 2-point field goal attempts this season, the highest portion since 2014-15, and the fourth consecutive season that the national dunk share has risen.In fact, according to Bart Torvik’s website, three3Duke, Florida State and LSU. of the 12 teams with the most single-season dunks since 2010 can be found in this weekend’s regional semifinals. Little Rock10.6 Vanderbilt10.3 Murray St.13.8✓ Duke14.4✓✓ Georgia10.9 William & Mary10.4 In one of the most intoxicating games of this year’s NCAA Tournament, the UCF Knights went toe-to-toe with the top-seeded Duke Blue Devils. Leading up to and throughout the game, considerable bandwidth was spent debating whether the soon-to-be top pick in this year’s NBA draft, Zion Williamson, would add another body to his posterized graveyard. UCF center Tacko Fall, the would-be victim, chipped in 15 points on seven made shots, each of which came in eerily similar fashion. They were all dunks. At 7-foot-6, Fall is genetically predisposed to excel above the rim, as evidenced by his ability to jam it, flat-footed.Nobody this season dunked on Mike Krzyzewski’s squad more than Fall and the Knights. But the Blue Devils, which ultimately moved on with a win, are even more dunk crazy. And they aren’t the only team still playing in this tournament with eyes trained on the rim.This season’s Sweet 16 features a number of teams that relish slamming the ball through the cylinder. The teams have combined to produce 1,866 dunks this season. Three of the four dunk-happiest teams this season — Florida State, Duke, and LSU — are still in the field. Another contender, Gonzaga, ranks in the top 10 while Auburn, Virginia, Tennessee and Michigan rank in the top 30 by this measure. In all, six of this year’s Sweet 16 entries have a dunk share1The percentage of 2-point field-goal attempts that were dunks. exceeding 10 percent. Four years ago, only one did. Texas A&M10.2 Alabama10.6 Stanford14.9 Maryland10.7✓ Villanova12.8✓ Creighton10.3 Nevada11.3✓ Arizona St.12.0✓ Eastern Michigan12.6 Dayton12.2 Washington10.3✓ Xavier13.2 This is less about a few dunk-crazed teams and more a reflection of the nationwide trend in college basketball. As of Tuesday, there had been 19,550 dunks this season, the highest total of any season since at least 2010. Five years ago, for comparison, there were 17,687. Individually, the 2010 season featured 23 players who had at least 45 dunks. This season there are 36, seven of whom remain in the tournament. “We’re seeing more dunks,” Jay Bilas told The New York Times, “because there are more spectacular athletes out there.” Of course, there are outliers. Most noticeably, Loyola-Chicago made a surprise run into and past the Sweet 16 a season ago. The Ramblers had just 15 dunks, accumulating a 1.6 percent dunk share. Duke squares off with Virginia Tech on Friday and has a clear edge on dunking; the Hokies (62 dunks) have fewer than a third as many dunks as the Blue Devils (188). But far more often, it seems that the high-flyers are moving on.Dunks have held a special place in the NCAA Tournament for decades. It’s how many came to know the UNLV Runnin’ Rebels. It’s where Florida Gulf Coast, a plucky No. 15-seed in 2013, became known Dunk City. They have been everywhere this season and will continue to be, particularly with the regional semifinals featuring Florida State, Duke and LSU, three teams that have already skied for at least 177 dunks. The play has elevated the entertainment of the sport by a considerable measure.While the rise of the 3-pointer has justifiably garnered much attention, the dunk is the sport’s most marketable shot. The feat of athleticism is frequent fodder for highlight reels and commercials. And, since nearly 90 percent of all dunk attempts since 2010 have been converted into points, it’s likely the most efficient shot in basketball. What was once banned is now propelling the sport forward. So keep your eye on the rim this weekend as the Sweet 16 takes flight. read more

Wrestling team prepares for NCAA Tournament

Senior captain Colt Sponseller has had many goals since he joined the Ohio State wrestling team, none bigger than winning a National Championship. Entering his final NCAA Tournament, Sponseller has one opportunity left to make his dream a reality. “It’s my ultimate goal. It’s the goal I have had in mind since I came here to OSU,” Sponseller said. “To come out there and … go to nationals and win would be the icing on the cake.” In his two previous attempts in the NCAA Tournament, Sponseller has not lived up to his goals. In his final season as a Buckeye, the 2011 tournament is Sponseller’s final chance to reach the pinnacle of college wrestling. “It’s the last chance I have,” Sponseller said. “It’s one of the most important things in my life, and you’ve got to make it all count when it comes down to it.” Sponseller has been wrestling at OSU for the past four years. He has made two NCAA Tournament appearances and has failed to finish as an All-American or better. Coach Tom Ryan said helping Sponseller reach his goal is one of the most important things for his team at the NCAA Tournament. “We have one senior; it’s very important that he reaches his goals, which is to be a National Champion,” Ryan said. “It’s important that our senior goes out the right way.” Sponseller will compete as the No. 5 seed in the 165-pound bracket. Sponseller is not the only Buckeye going to the national tournament. Sophomore captains C.J. Magrum and Ian Paddock, and freshman Nick Heflin will also wrestle for a National Championship. They all qualified because of their finishes at the Big Ten Tournament. Freshman Peter Capone, 197 pounds, received an at-large bid into the tournament field. “I think it would be very good experience, and I definitely think I could win some matches,” Capone said. “(An All-American finish) would be the goal and I would just wrestle as hard as I can.” Magrum, who is unseeded, is coming off an impressive showing at the Big Ten Tournament, finishing fourth in the 184-pound weight class. After wrestling six matches during the weekend, Magrum, as well as the other Buckeyes, will return to the gym and begin preparing for the final tournament. “The first thing I need to do is heal up and get some rest,” Magrum said. “Then we’ll come back for a few days, then tapper down and get ready for NCAAs.” Magrum said the tournament is more about a mindset than physicality. “I think the NCAA Tournament is more mental than anything,” Magrum said. “Anyone could show up on any given day an All-American.” Heflin, who was disappointed with the runner-up finish at the Big Ten Tournament, said he will focus on the little things to have a better performance at the NCAA Tournament. “I need to keep just working hard, come in for morning practices, watch some tape on (Edward) Ruth’s match,” Heflin said. “Do all the little right things. Sleep right, eat right, just prepare perfectly.” Heflin will be the No. 10 seed at 174 pounds. After a disappointing regular season, Ryan said he still expects his team to perform well in the NCAA Tournament and expects to bring home a group of All-Americans. “I’d say a top-10 team performance would be good for us, with the season we’ve had,” Ryan said. “And we’ve got some of these underclassmen to step up, because they’re the leaders of the future and the leaders of next year’s team. It’d be nice to come home with a bunch of All-Americans and guys that are some underclassmen, ready to lead.” To accomplish this goal, Ryan said he expects his athletes to go after their opponents, while sporting a strong defense as well. “We need to wrestle tough. We need to be ready prepared mentally and physically and go after people,” Ryan said. “You need incredible defense and you got to pressure your opponent. So, if you do those things … we have a good shot at placing some people on the podium.” The 2011 NCAA Division I Championships will take place March 17-19 in Philadelphia. read more

Ohio State womens basketball wins season opener

For the 17th consecutive year, the Ohio State women’s basketball team opened its season with a victory as the Buckeyes knocked off Tennessee State, 78-51, Sunday at the Schottenstein Center. Ten players scored for the Buckeyes, with senior guard Samantha Prahalis and junior guard Tayler Hill leading the way with 17 points each. Freshman forward Kalpana Beach, in her first-ever game for OSU, contributed 10 points and six rebounds. Beach said she found out just before the game that she was starting. “I knew it was going to be a lot different than high school,” Beach said. “So I just was going to go out and play as hard as I could and try not to make too many mistakes.” “(Beach) was nervous before the game,” Hill said with a smile following the victory. OSU surged out to a 48-21 halftime lead, holding TSU to 30 percent shooting in the first half and not allowing any second-chance or fast-break points. The Tigers kept pace with the Buckeyes during the second half with both teams notching 30 points. Coach Jim Foster attributed the drop in production in the second half to inconsistent offensive play. “I thought we started the game very aggressively,” Foster said. “I think it’s difficult to play 12 people and continue with continuity on offense. I think that’s probably what showed in the second half.” With Prahalis as the lone senior to go along with three juniors on the roster, OSU is the youngest team in the Big Ten, according to NCAA data. Foster said the early games in the season are vital in the development of the younger players. “I think one of the things that a young team needs to learn is that when you come in at halftime and sit down you’ve got to continue to be engaged when you go out there for the second half, regardless of what the score is,” Foster said. For the game, the Buckeyes shot 48 percent from the field to go along with a 23-for-29 clip from the free-throw line. OSU held a decisive advantage in free-throw attempts, with TSU only generating nine attempts from the line. OSU suffered a bit of a scare late in the second half when Prahalis, voted co-Big Ten Preseason Player of the Year by the conference’s coaches, was helped off the court by trainers when she fell and cramped up. Prahalis returned to action a few minutes later to finish the contest and assured reporters following the game that she was fine. The Buckeyes take to the Schottenstein Center court again to play Temple at 6 p.m. on Friday. OSU defeated the Owls, 84-75, on the road last season. read more

Urban Meyer Buckeye seniors address halftime basketball crowd

The Ohio State men’s basketball team received plenty of applause during its route of UMKC Friday night, but the Schottenstein Center reached a different decibel level for the football team. On the eve of The Game, coach Urban Meyer and the team’s senior class were met with applause and a standing ovation at a halftime break turned pep rally. “This group of seniors did give us everything they had,” said Meyer as he briefly addressed the crowd. “They are one game away from going down as one of the great senior classes in the history of Ohio State.” Meyer then handed the microphone to senior linebackers Etienne Sabino and Zach Boren. Sabino’s message to Buckeye Nation was short but clear. “We love you guys,” Sabino said. “Go Bucks, beat Blue.” Ohio State hosts Michigan on Saturday at Ohio Stadium. The Buckeyes fell to the Wolverines in Ann Arbor last year, 40-34. “We’ve been waiting a year to have a rematch with these guys from the Team Up North,” Boren said. “We need your help to go out as champions.” OSU is set to face Michigan at noon Saturday at Ohio Stadium. read more

Opinion Ohio States JT Barrett could spark memories of Craig Krenzel

OSU redshirt-freshman quarterback J.T. Barrett scans the field during practice at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center Aug. 9.Credit: Mark Batke / Photo editorLooking back at the past 15 years, the Ohio State football program fielded a string of incredibly athletic and highly talented quarterbacks — and then there is Craig Krenzel.Krenzel was certainly a very good quarterback for the Buckeyes, but it’s easy to call him the fourth-best quarterback to play for OSU since the turn of the century. While he is one of the smartest players ever to don the Scarlet and Gray, Krenzel will never be grouped together with Troy Smith as an all-time great, or Terrelle Pryor as an otherworldly athlete.Even as a decorated player at Henry Ford II High School in Sterling Heights, Mich., it’s unlikely anyone expected Krenzel to step on the field at OSU and leave with the massive success he had.In his best season, Krenzel never threw more than 15 touchdowns or more than 2,110 yards, and he never rushed for more than 368 yards=. He didn’t win a Heisman Trophy like Smith and he didn’t win back-to-back Chicago Tribune Big Ten MVP awards like current senior Braxton Miller.But he did something else none of them did: win a National Championship.After completing just five passes on nine attempts as a freshman in 2000, Krenzel found himself thrust into a starting role as a sophomore when starter Steve Bellisari was suspended after being arrested for drunk driving. Krenzel’s first start came against then-No. 11 Michigan, when the Buckeyes were unranked, and he led the team to a 26-20 victory on Nov. 24, 2001.It wasn’t pretty — Krenzel threw for just 118 yards and no touchdowns with one interception — but he got the job done. He then went on to lead the Buckeyes to an undefeated 14-0 record in 2002, capped off with a 31-24 double-overtime win against Miami in the BCS National Championship Game.Former OSU quarterback Craig Krenzel speaks to students in the Archie Griffin Ballroom at the Ohio Union Oct. 17, 2013. Credit: Katie Riccardella / Ohio UnionKrenzel went on to play six games for the Chicago Bears, including five starts, during the 2004 NFL season. He is now a motivational speaker and part-time commentator on WBNS 97.1 The Fan in Columbus.While it’s unknown where his career will go, a certain redshirt-freshman quarterback for the 2014 Buckeyes is seeing his time as a starter begin similarly to how Krenzel’s did.J.T. Barrett will certainly have bigger shoes to fill than Krenzel did after Miller went down with a torn labrum in fall camp, but he’s still an untested player filling in for a team that had championship aspirations.Just like Krenzel, Barrett won’t overwhelm you with his athleticism, but he has the ability to take off and run if that’s what the play needs. He’s even been dubbed “the distributor” by teammates, which is more or less the only thing Krenzel was really asked to do. Both have been praised for their leadership ability, and both were thrust into the starting lineup before their time had truly come.Barrett even wears Krenzel’s old No. 16.While there’s no telling where Barrett’s career will end up — and it could very well never live up to the success Krenzel had — the parallels are undeniable as he starts to build his legacy.While Krenzel’s first true test came against archrival Michigan, Barrett’s first start is set to come against Navy Saturday in Baltimore. But he’ll certainly be hoping for the same result the former Buckeye signal caller had back in November 2001. read more

Football Ohio State defensive line setting the bar high

Ohio State defensive linemen look on during the second half of the Buckeyes game against Nebraska on Nov. 5. The Buckeyes won 62-3. Credit: Alexa Mavrogianis | Photo EditorThe Ohio State football team has a fully loaded defensive line ready to not only control the line of scrimmage, but also dominate it.“We’ll be as good as anybody in America at defensive end,” Coach Urban Meyer said.Meyer referenced Big Ten Defensive Lineman of the Year, redshirt senior Tyquan Lewis, redshirt junior Sam Hubbard, sophomore Nick Bosa, senior Jalyn Holmes and redshirt sophomore defensive tackle Dre’Mont Jones as the five premier defensive linemen on the team. With such high-profile players returning who have already played significant snaps, a concern is the possibility of complacency. However, that doesn’t seem to be the case for this unit. Lewis said the goal is to be the best defensive line all-time. “We’re all elite players, so we continue to push one another to the next level,” he said. “That’s what helps us become better and better — it’s a lot of competition between all of us.”Defensive line coach Larry Johnson said this unit is the best collective group he has had in a long time. He emphasized the closeness of this group by citing the collective bond and love that they share. He said Lewis and Holmes demonstrated this bond by forgoing the NFL Draft to return for their senior seasons. “The most important thing about these guys (is) they’re unselfish — they’re very unselfish players,” Johnson said. “They don’t care who starts, they don’t care who plays, as long as they play.”Honorable mention All-Big Ten defensive end Holmes said that the guys on the defensive line do not want to let each other down. He continually emphasized that winning is much more important than playing time. “We have that bond and we got that chemistry, Holmes said. “And we (are) playing for something bigger than ourselves.”Johnson referred to the depth of the defensive line and mentioned the improvements he has seen in redshirt sophomore defensive end Rashod Berry, sophomore defensive tackle Robert Landers, redshirt sophomore defensive tackle Jashon Cornell, redshirt freshman defensive tackle Malik Barrow, sophomore defensive end Jonathon Cooper and Honorable Mention All-Big Ten, redshirt senior Michael Hill. Honorable Mention All-Big Ten defensive end Hubbard played with former Buckeye defensive linemen Joey Bosa and Adolphus Washington, who both started as rookies in the NFL this past season. He said that this current defensive line could be even better as a whole.“I’ve played with a lot of great individuals. I don’t think, collectively, there’s been this much talent at his position since I’ve been here,” Hubbard said. “We have four guys who could start on any team in the country and we’re all playing together.”Along with Jones, Meyer said the staff has been thinking of ways of putting the five premier linemen on the field at one time, which would move a defensive end to linebacker. Per Johnson and multiple players, Hubbard has been practicing at the position during spring practice. Nick Bosa also emphasized the importance of getting all of the talent involved.“We have so many good players,” Bosa said. “It’s criminal to not have them on the field.” read more

Police investigate theory abducted boy was getting scolded by a parent

first_imgOne, he said, is that the incident is “exactly as portrayed and reported and that a child has been abducted from the roadside”.The second, he added, is that the adult seen bundling the child into a black van was a relative or guardian and that they were involved in some kind of row with the boy.Det Supt Edwards said: “The second theory we are operating, again this a heartfelt plea for anyone who may have information in support of it, if you were at that location and involved in an incident on Thursday with your own child or a child that you are connected to, we would urge you to come forward and make contact immediately so we can scale the investigation back and offer messages of reassurance to the public.” Police investigating the suspected kidnapping of a child are exploring a second theory – that the boy was being told off by a parent.Surrey Police launched a massive investigation after receiving reports that a young boy, aged around six or seven, was forced into a black van against his will.But since the alleged incident, in Redhill on Thursday afternoon, they have not received any reports of missing children.Detective Superintendent Chris Edwards admitted they are working on two theories. Det Supt Chris Edwards has said that police are investigating two theories Det Supt Chris Edwards has said that police are investigating two theoriesCredit:PA Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings.center_img Det Supt Edwards insisted that he has complete faith in the witness’s account of what they had seen despite the fact that nobody else has come forward to say they also saw the incident.He said the witness was credible and that he had been spoken to more than once, but they have no idea if the ‘abductor’ was male or female.He said that the child was forced against their will into the van but added that there had not been a struggle.Police have had 130 calls from the public about the incident so far and continue to appeal for witnesses to come forward. The bike was found in Redhill, Surrey, but was later said to have been ‘kicking around for a couple of days’ The bike was found in Redhill, Surrey, but was later said to have been ‘kicking around for a couple of days’Credit: Surrey Policelast_img read more

Duke and Duchess of Cambridge present shamrocks to Irish Guards in London

first_imgLater, the Duke and Duchess will be received with an official welcome from President Francois Hollande in Paris, before a glittering black tie dinner designed to celebrate the relationship between Britain and France. This time, all eyes will be on the Duke and Duchess and their welcome in France, as Brexit negotiations begin.While they are there on the request of the Foreign Office, a Royal spokesman emphasised the trip was intended in the spirit of celebrating friendship across the Channel. Later this year, they will also travel to Germany and Poland, while the Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall embark on a tour of Romania, Italy, Austria and the Vatican, where they will be received by Pope Francis. The Duchess of Cambridge pinning shamrock to Irish Wolfhound Domhnall, the mascot of the 1st Battalion Irish GuardsCredit:James Shaw/REX/Shutterstock The Royal couple then met with members of the regiment and their families, enjoying a toast at the Guardsman’s lunch before making their way to a private charter plane to fly to Paris.Video taken inside the barracks showed that the Duchess was somewhat less enthusiastic about her pint of Guiness than some of the soldiers:  Audrey TautouCredit:AP The Duchess of Cambridge at the annual Irish Guards’ St Patrick’s Day paradeCredit:Dan Kitwood/Getty The Duke and Duchess are leaving their children at home for the short trip, 20 years after the death of the Duke’s mother in the city.They will visit Les Invalides, where victims and first responders from the Bataclan terror attack will share their stories.The historic war hospital has long been working on rehabilitating those affected by the attack, with around 20 victims reported to still be in physical recovery.The Duke and Duchess’ visit has been welcomed by French press, including one magazine which noted with approval that the Royals “hadn’t forgotten” the shooting. A Royal source said the Duke and Duchess were “incredibly honoured” that their trip has been formally recognised by the President.  The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge stand as the  1st Battalion Irish Guardsmen leads the annual Irish Guards’ St Patrick’s Day paradeCredit:Dan Kitwood/Getty Led by their mascot, the Irish Wolfhound Domhnall, the 450 1st Battalion Irish Guards marched onto the Parade Square at Cavalry Barracks.Four-year-old Domhnall prepared for his moment in the spotlight with a breakfast of three boneless chicken thighs for breakfast and a five mile walk, and was wrapped up in a scarlet coat.Handler drummer Adrian Cathcart, 29, from Ballymena, Northern Ireland, said: “He’s taking it all in his stride.” The Duke of Cambridge, Colonel of the Irish GuardsCredit:Sgt Rupert Frere/PA The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have honoured the Irish Guards in London before travelling to France for a two-day visit.Prince William, who is Colonel of the Irish Guards, and Kate visited the 1st Battalion Irish Guards at their base on Friday morning to present them with shamrocks during a parade to mark St Patrick’s Day.The Duke and Duchess, in dark green coat by Catherine Walker decorated with her Irish Guards brooch, were celebrating at the annual parade at the barracks in Hounslow, west London.The Duke stood at his wife’s shoulder on the parade ground as she handed out sprigs of shamrock to the Irish Guards, according to decades of tradition. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. The highlight of the trip for many observers will be Saturday night’s Six Nations rugby match, where Wales will take on France.The Duke has been invited in his role as patron of the Welsh Rugby Union; his first match since he took over the role from the Queen in December.The trip is only the third time the Duke has officially visited France, following two appearances at military commemoration services. It is the first time he has been in Paris on a public engagement since the death of his mother, Diana, Princess of Wales, nearly 20 years ago. French television news described the trip as a “charm offensive”, with the Royal couple designated as Britain’s “secret weapon to sweeten the bitter Brexit pill”. The visit will form part of a series of Royal tours to Europe, designed by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office as a sign of soft power even as the UK extricates itself from the European Union.President Hollande has been among those speaking out against Brexit, warning ” there must be a price” for the UK’s departure.But he will be among the first to meet the Duke and Duchess, welcoming them into the Elysee this evening. (Friday)  The couple will then attend a reception at the British Embassy, at which they will officially launch “Les Voisins”, a programme celebrating UK-French links.Later this evening, they will attend a black tie dinner in the same venue, alongside guests chosen for careers which span the English Channel.Among them will be Kristin Scott-Thomas who played the Queen on Broadway in Peter Morgan’s play The Audience,  and may offer the Duke a welcome talking point among the formalities.Other guests will include actors Jean Reno and Audrey Tautou, Robert Pires, the footballer, several paralympians and business leaders. President Hollande Audrey Tautou On Saturday, the Royal couple are due to attend Les Invalides, where victims and first responders from the Bataclan terror attack will share their stories.The Paris trip comes after a difficult week for the Duke, who has been accused of being “workshy” after missing the Commonwealth Day service in favour of a skiing trip with his friends which inspired a string of lurid tabloid headlines. The Duchess of Cambridge pinning shamrock to Irish Wolfhound Domhnall, the mascot of the 1st Battalion Irish Guards President Hollande is among those speaking out against BrexitCredit:AFP/Getty Images The Duke and Duchess will not be commemorating the anniversary in public while in Paris. The Duke’s father, the Prince of Wales, visited Paris with his late first wife in 1988, with glamorous photographs of their various receptions shared around the world. Duke of Cambridge, Colonel of the Irish Guards The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge stand as the  1st Battalion Irish Guardsmen leads the annual Irish Guards' St Patrick's Day parade The Duchess of Cambridge presents the 1st Battalion Irish Guardsmen with shamrocks during the annual Irish Guards' St Patrick's Day Parade at Household Cavalry Barrackslast_img read more

Killer might have been halted if weak spot gate had been bolted

first_imgThe terrorist attack on Parliament might have been prevented if police on duty at a well-known security “weak spot” had simply kept it bolted.The killer managed to get in through a vehicle gate in New Palace Yard – used by the Prime Minister and other members of the Government – because it was not locked.Known as Carriage Gates, it is always manned by two police officers, who usually leave it slightly ajar because it is in frequent use. But if the iron double gate had simply been bolted shut, it would have been impossible for the terrorist to pass. She said the thoughts and prayers of “the MPS [the Metropolitan Police] and the thousands of people who work in that building are with that poor officer and their family tonight.“I think we will need to look at security at the Palace [of Westminster] in the wake of this incident, but that is a plan for another day. I think tonight we need to be remembering all those who have been caught up in today’s tragic events.”Lord Kerslake, the former head of the civil service, said there would have to be “a complete overhaul of security from top to bottom”. Mary Creagh, the MP for Wakefield, said: “It’s a terrible, terrible day for Parliament, the one weak spot on our estate is those carriage gates.“We have four police officers there, two on the gate going in, two on the gate going out, we see them every day, we are friends with lots of them.” The one weak spot on our estate is those carriage gatesMary Creagh, the MP for Wakefield Almost 130 MPs demanded more security for their homes in the wake of that attack, including bombproof letter boxes and reinforced windows.However, the presence of dozens of armed officers who patrol the Parliamentary estate had reassured MPs that, once through the gates of the Palace of Westminster, they were safe.In addition to the police presence, office doors require a security pass to open them. Pedestrian entrances for passholders require a pass and a pin number and passholders are vetted in advance by the security services. Parliamentary pass holders, who include MPs, journalists and staff, are allowed to enter the building through secure turnstiles without bag checks or scanners. Members of the public must go through airport-type security at pedestrian entrances. Despite her criticism, Ms Creagh praised the officers on duty at the Parliamentary estate, saying: “My thoughts and prayers are with them and their families as they have been absolute heroes. They are the people who stand there and have witnessed this attack on our building and our security.“They put their lives in harm’s way for us and I just want to thank them for what they’ve done.”Richard Benyon, a Conservative MP, said he was “irritated” by reports that parliamentary security was breached.He said on Twitter: “Attacker was taken down at gate. Highly professional response.” Iain Duncan Smith, a former Cabinet minister, asked why an armed policeman was not on the gate and said it was a “little bit of a surprise that there was not”. He said the gate was a “vulnerability” because vehicles came and went through it. The attack raised questions about whether Parliament may have become complacent. Security for MPs was reviewed after the murder of Jo Cox last year, although she was killed in her constituency, not near Parliament. Little bit of a surprise there wasn’t an armed policeman near the gateIain Duncan Smith, a former Cabinet minister Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings.last_img read more

Child locked in bedroom by grandparents is taken into care

first_imgA child was taken away from her grandparents and put into foster care after they locked her in her room overnight. The seven-year-old, from the West Midlands, was put into the care of the local authority after social workers found out that she had been locked in to prevent her from wandering around. The couple say that Judge Rosalind Bush, a senior family court judge, ruled that the child should go into care after a private hearing in Wolverhampton. But they have not had a written explanation or seen a judgment so don’t know why the decision was made.  If the judge doesn’t have a proper explanation as to why they’re taking the child into care, then they shouldn’t be taking the child into careJohn Hemming The child was locked in her bedroom at night on two occasions after she started to wander. The grandparents said this was for her own safety, but social workers intervened.The case was heard at a private family court hearing, but no ruling was ever published. Wolverhampton town centre The private hearing took place in WolverhamptonCredit:Andrew Foxcenter_img “I doubt she’s the first child to have been locked in a bedroom,” he added. Legal advisers for the couple said they had asked the Court of Appeal to re-open the case. Earlier this month researchers said people were being left with a “patchy understanding” of the family justice system because judges did not consistently following guidance on the publication of case rulings.Academics at Cardiff University’s School of Law and Politics analysed more than 800 rulings published in the two years after guidance was issued following complaints about court secrecy.A report said “only 27 judges and 12 courts” had sent more than 10 cases to the British and Irish Legal Information Institute website for publication during that period. John Hemming, a former Liberal Democrat MP who campaigns for transparency in the justice system, said that the judge had to “show her working”. “To not give a reason just isn’t acceptable. If the judge doesn’t have a proper explanation as to why they’re taking the child into care, then they shouldn’t be taking the child into care,” he said.  Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings.last_img read more

Bank Holiday Monday forecast to be hottest in 19 years with highs

This Bank Holiday Monday could be the hottest for almost two decades, with temperature expected to reach 27 degrees in south east England – warmer than the French Riviera, Southern Spain and Morocco.It is also likely to be the hottest early May Bank Holiday Monday since 1999, when 23.6C was reached on the 3rd of May 1999.However the record, when 28.6C was recorded in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire on May 1, 1995 , is unlikely to be beaten this year.The Met Office said the warm weather will be caused by an area of high pressure which is due to dominate southern Britain over the coming week.A spokesperson told The Telegraph: “It’s a warm sunny day for most of England and Wales, plenty of sunshine. It’ll widely be mid-twenties and a little cooler elsewhere but still pleasant and warm. It may be 22 degrees in the North West. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. Monday’s temperatures will rival those on mainland Europe and north Africa; Barcelona is forecast to be 21C, and 23C is expected in Nice and Malaga. Marrakech in Morocco will reach just 23C. Sunbathing in Norfolk – the warmth of April’s mini-heatwave will return this Bank Holiday MondayCredit: Joe Giddens/PA People relax in the sun on Hunstanton beach in Norfolk, Friday April 20, 2018 “We will see plenty of sunshine for the whole of the weekend with temperatures rising throughout and Monday the warmest.”The weather will continue in southern areas until Tuesday, but is likely to cool down by the end of the week. The highs are so far predicted to be unlikely to beat the warmest temperature so far this year of 84.3F (29.1C) – the hottest April day since 1949 – which was recorded in London on April 19. read more

Brown University in row with transgender activists over claims gender dysphoria spreading

Responding, Stephanie Davies-Arai, founder of Transgender Trend, said: “We are a left-leaning group of parents who would support their children no matter what the outcome.”Academics and researchers criticised the decision to remove the study.James Caspian, a psychotherapist who specialised in gender identity for over a decade, and who is fundraising for a legal case against Bath Spa University for blocking his research into people who decide to de-transition last year, said: “In a way mine was censored in anticipation of being criticised, it would appear that this has been attacked after it’s been done, by people whose agenda it doesn’t suit.”Bath Spa has previously said it rejected his research on methodological, not ideological grounds. In a statement posted alongside Dr Littman’s article, the journal said: “We take all concerns raised about publications in the journal very seriously, and are following up on these per our policy and COPE guidelines. “As part of our follow up we will seek further expert assessment on the study’s methodology and analyses. We will provide a further update once we have completed our assessment and discussions.” Comments on the article, which was published in journal PLOS ONE, describe the sites as “politically bent websites” which hold a “variety of anti-LGBT stances common to the religious right”. On Twitter Transgender Trend said: “Desperate attempts to undermine Lisa Littman’s important #ROGD study include defamation of the websites where parents were recruited, including the ridiculous claim that Transgender Trend is ‘far right’ and wants to ‘criminalise’ medical transition. We are not and we don’t.”Dr Littman’s paper acknowledges that the interviewees “might be more oppositional to transgender-identified individuals”, but adds that survey questions indicated they had a similar level of support for the rights of transgender people as the rest of the population. But Susie Green, the CEO of British charity Mermaids, which supports young transgender people and their families, said the methodology of the study was “completely flawed”. “The places they went to get these responses were very much anti-trans websites. They haven’t talked to the young people themselves and the parents are sourced from gender-critical websites, who do not believe that trans children exist, who think that children should be forced to accept their birth gender, no matter how much damage that causes,” she told the Telegraph.  An Ivy League college is embroiled in a row with trans activists over an article which suggested gender dysphoria was spreading among children.Brown University has removed research from its website which hypothesised that teenagers who came out as transgender were more likely to have friends who were transitioning and were influenced by YouTube videos and social media. Academics accused the university of bowing to pressure from activists after it removed a news article and link to Lisa Littman’s research. A tweet promoting the paper has also been deleted. The research concluded “social and peer contagion” was a plausible explanation for “cluster outbreaks” and a high number of cases where the majority of children in a friendship group became “transgender-identified”. A statement from Bess H. Marcus, dean of the Brown University School of Public Health, said that concerns over methodology had prompted the removal, adding that members of the university had also complained. “The School of Public Health has heard from Brown community members expressing concerns that the conclusions of the study could be used to discredit efforts to support transgender youth and invalidate the perspectives of members of the transgender community,” she added. The announcement was made after critics raised concerns about the political stance of the 256 parents who participated in the study, entitled “rapid-onset gender dysphoria in adolescents and young adults”. “As a colleague, a clinician who works in this field has stated, it’s like recruiting from a white supremacist website to demonstrate that black people are an inferior race,” she added.  Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. They had been sourced from online discussion groups including British site Transgender Trend and US site 4thwavenow.  read more

Budget supermarket Lidl launches Oxford University scholarship for students to study German

Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. Lidl has launched a new scholarship for Oxford University students to study German. The budget supermarket chain announced plans to fund one graduate who enrolls on a masters degree in Modern German and sponsor competitions with cash prizes of up to £500 for undergraduates from next year.It comes as education experts warned of declining numbers of students learning the language in schools, which a British Council adviser suggested was partly because pupils still associate Germany with war.Professor Ian Watson, chair of the faculty of medieval and modern languages, said: “We are delighted that, at a time when the teaching of modern languages in the UK is facing considerable challenges, a major German company in the shape of Lidl has stepped forward to offer its support.“The package of support that Lidl is so generously donating will allow us to raise the profile of the subject of German at Oxford at all stages of the undergraduate degree as well as for postgraduate study.”This year, just over 3,000 students sat German A-level exams, which is nearly half as many as in 2010. While a quarter of state schools that offered German as a subject after GCSE in the last three years no longer do so.Education experts have called for urgent action to halt the decline, pointing to Britain’s post-Brexit relationship with Germany as an example of the langauge’s potential future importance.The British Council’s school’s adviser Vicky Gough suggested students’ apparent waning interest in German stemmed from the choice to speak other “exotic” languages and from learning about the First and Second World Wars.She said: “Less and less people are taking German up and that is a big issue.”The perception of German is that it is harder, that it is less useful and it is something for the elite.  In many schools it’s only an option for the top set.”Spanish is seen as far more cool, it’s known as the ‘Despacito effect’ all the celebrities are using it.”I have asked students what languages they want to study, many of them say Spanish because there are so many places where you can use it or Chinese because they think it’s exotic. But the only thing they know about Germany is the war.”Overall, the number of students learning modern languages is down by 15 per cent at the end of the last academic year, compared to 2010.But German is recognised as performing worse than other subjects. Last year saw 7,600 entries for A-Level Spanish, more than double the numbers for German.  The move by Lidl to support German language students has been welcomed by education experts.Suzanne O’Farrell, curriculum and assessment specialist at the Association of School and College Leaders, said: “German is perhaps not as high profile as French and Spanish, but German is an important language economically and there is a real danger that if something is not done its decline could become a self fulfilling prophecy.  “There needs to be some urgent action taken or promotion like the Lidl scholarship, to turn the tide.”German speakers are going to be so few and far between it could make them very employable. “If we cut that off we are going to do ourselves some damage.  As a trading partner Germany are just as important as they always.”Lidl’s UK CEO Christian Härtnagel said: “As a British supermarket with roots in Germany, we saw this opportunity as a great fit and are incredibly proud to be working with Oxford to support both undergrad and graduate students of German.” read more

Russia may have hacked British visa system to gain documents for Skripal

The man said he was coerced to sign an agreement to collaborate with the FSB after one of its officers threatened to jail his mother, and was asked to create a “backdoor” to the computer network. Russia may have hacked the British visa system to gain documents for the agents who attempted to assassinate the Skripals, an investigation has claimed.  The probe suggests that Russian intelligence infiltrated the computer infrastructure of a company – TLSContact – that processes British visa applications.The investigation, published Friday by investigative group Bellingcat and Russian website The Insider, aims to show how the two Russian military intelligence agents who have been charged with the Salisbury poisoning may have obtained British visas.The former chief technical officer of a company that processes visa applications for several consulates in Moscow, including that of Britain, was interviewed as part of the joint investigation.The man, who fled Russia last year and applied for asylum in the United States, said he had been coerced to work with agents of the main Russian intelligence agency FSB, who revealed to him that they had access to the British visa centre’s CCTV cameras and had a diagram of the centre’s computer network.The source also said that FSB officers told him in spring 2016 that they were going to send two people to Britain and asked for his assistance with the visa applications.The timing points to the first reported trip to Britain of Alexander Mishkin and Anatoly Chepiga, who have been charged with poisoning Sergei Skripal in Salisbury in March this year having raveled under the names of Alexander Petrov and Anatoly Boshirov. He said he sabotaged those efforts before he fled Russia in early 2017 and claims he told the FSB that there was no way he could influence the decision-making on visa applications.The Insider and Bellingcat are still working on establishing a clear link between the alleged efforts of Russian intelligence to penetrate the visa processing system.The two outlets say they have obtained the man’s deposition to the US authorities but have decided against publishing the man’s name, for his own safety. In September, British intelligence released surveillance images of the agents of Russian military intelligence GRU accused of the March nerve agent attack on double agent Skripal and his daughter in Salisbury.The visa application processing company, TLSContact, and the British Home Office were not immediately available for comment.  Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. read more

Drama clubs should be given same emphasis as sport in school Duchess

Among the crowds were toddler from Abbeywood Nursery, which is opposite the theatre, who bundled up to see the royal couple and offered them an inadvertent glimpse of their lives to come as new parents.”How do you control them?” Harry wondered, before crouching down to pretend to be an aeroplane and tell a little boy: “You know you can run anywhere you want?” As they arrived in the new foyer of the theatre, the Duke and Duchess were greeted by dignitaries who sympathised over their journey in the cold weather.The Duchess spoke to Lord Mayor Cllr Cleo Lake, who told her of an upcoming black women’s theatre festival to be held in June, featuring the work of established and new playwrights and performers.”That’s very exciting, wow,” the Duchess exclaimed.  Drama clubs should be given the same emphasis as sport in schools, the Duchess of Sussex has said, as she argues the creative arts are equally likely to give young people a “community”.The Duchess, a former actress who has recently become patron of the National Theatre, said access to theatre provides the perfect creative outlet for youngsters, as well as a place for them of “self-discovery”. Visiting Bristol Old Vic to celebrate its major refurbishment, the Duchess gave young actors and actresses a pep talk on the stage, reassuring them that sport was not for everyone.”It’s good that you have this,” she told them. “And what a beautiful space as well, it’s really special.”Referring to a short tour she had just been on with her husband Prince Harry, she added: “We were just talking about it. “There’s so much of the emphasis in after school clubs on sport. Channelling the energy you have into the creative arts and theatre and all of that is equally as important. “Sport isn’t for everyone, just as theatre isn’t for everyone.   “You can know that there’s a place [here] where you can find community, and sort of explore self discovery and other things you might be thinking about.” So you’re planted?” asked the Duchess, watching him demonstrate.”Do they call that stage presence?” Prince Harry added, smiling at his wife.Meeting a small group of teenagers, the Duke and Duchess quizzed them about how drama helped them.Told that it was a good creative outlet from concentrating at school, the Duke empathised: “It’s quite hard sitting in a classroom being told what you should be interested in, whereas this is more than a hobby isn’t it? It runs in your blood.””It’s good to have the balance of both,” the Duchess added, perhaps mindful of their positions as role models. “When you have school, you really appreciate coming here, right?. It’s really good that you guys have this and have each other to explore your creativity.” Duke and Duchess of Sussex arrive in Bristol “Nice to meet you,” the Duchess told her. “Is Ballerina your real name?””Are you a ballerina?” asked Harry, before being told that no, it was just the name she had chosen recently.As she tried to understand what Ocean was trying to tell her as she reached out to touch her, the Duchess guessed: “My hair is curly? Oh, my hands are cold! Ohh, thank you for warming them up.””I love the hair,” said the Duke, poking her playfully on the nose. Asked about her daughter afterwards, Ms Cordwell joked: “Her nursery was closed and I didn’t have much choice really, so I’m making a statement for working women.” Sally Cordwell, the executive director of the theatre, carried the unexpected star of the show: her three-year-old daughter Ocean, who captured the hearts of the couple after being introduced as “Ballerina”. The Duke told youngsters of drama: “It’s more than a hobby isn’t it? It runs in your blood.”  The Duke and Duchess spent more than an hour at the theatre, arriving in cold and snowy conditions but determined to undertake a walkabout so meet eager wellwishers. “If you didn’t come here after school, what would you be doing?” asked Meghan. “It’s so great you have this.”Back in the foyer, the royal couple clapped and cheered on the ensemble from the Bristol Old Vic Young Company, who sang a song from their new play Hercules, which explores what it means to be a man.Before they left, the Duke and Duchess unveiled a plaque to commemorate the newly refurbished theatre, nodding along to a speech in which Tom Morris emphasised the importance of arts in the community.When they began planning to remake the front of the theatre, he said it was feared “people felt that theatre felt like some sort of exclusive art form that wasn’t for the whole city” leading them to vow to “knock down the barriers”.  “It’s our aim as a theatre to be a place of welcome, entertainment and discovery for every community in this city and the region.”Having just had the huge privilege of showing the Duke and Duchess around the theatre, I’m really inspired by the genuine passion that they have for theatre. This is really important for us. “Not only that passion for the power that theatre has to tell huge stories, but the responsibility that every theatre has to its city and its region to open genuine creative opportunity to every child in the city. The Duchess wore heeled boots on the cobbled streets of BristolCredit:Max Mumby The Duchess wore heeled boots on the cobbled streets of Bristol Duke and Duchess of Sussex arrive in BristolCredit:Andrew Parsons/i-Images Duchess of Sussex greets well-wishers as she arrives in the snowCredit:Matt Dunham/AP “To create a meaningful talent pipeline that reaches into every community that can nourish not only the theatre industry but the whole creative sector, because we know that theatres are endlessly producing people who do creative things for the rest of their lives.”Built in 1766 as a place where the people of Bristol could come together, Bristol Old Vic is the oldest continuously working theatre in the English speaking world. The Duke and Duchess toured the recently renovated facility, which was reopened in September following a two-year, multi-million-pound project to make the front of house feel more welcoming. The Duke and Duchess were then taken on a tour of the theatre by Tom Morris, artistic director. Viewing an exhibition about the history of sound in the theatre, the Duke and Duchess watched a group of young people demonstrate how things have progressed.At the first station, which showed how sound was “spliced” or mixed together on reels of tape, the Duchess asked questions about whether it was easy to do, while the Duke wondered how it compared to modern apps.The second stop saw a young actor explain how posture helped them find confidence on stage.  Duchess of Sussex greets well-wishers as she arrives in the snow As they travelled through the theatre, Harry was allowed to try an 18th century wind machine, winding a handle to create a noise.In the main theatre, the royal couple spent a few minutes watching a theatre group rehearsing lines from King Lear, applauding them from the dress circle.Invited to speak to them on the stage, the Duchess told them “you were great, by the way” before asking about how they were involved in drama. read more

ITV to make Downton in the city as they announce adaptation of

ITV is to make a show which is tipped to be the “new Downton Abbey”, set in London and featuring the secrets of the 19th century upper-class.The new programme, Belgravia, written by Julian Fellowes, who also wrote Downton is currently in casting and set to film in the spring. It has been rumoured that it could have cast crossovers with the hit period drama.It will be co-produced by Carnival Films, the producers of the Emmy Award-winning Downton Abbey, and US premium TV network Epix, with Lord Fellowes adapting it for the screen.The story centres on events set in motion on the evening of the Battle of Waterloo at a society ball hosted by the Duchess of Richmond, involving the Trenchard family, whose lives change forever.Many have drawn comparisons between the novel which the new show is based on and Downton. When the book was released in 2016, commentators on Twitter noted that it was “Kind of a Downton Abbey in the 19th century.”Another said: “Different family, different time, same Downton style”.ITV’s head of drama Polly Hill said: “We’re delighted to be reuniting with Julian Fellowes, Gareth Neame and Carnival Films to produce Belgravia for ITV. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. “It’s a tale of scandal and intrigue set in 1840s London with some wonderful characters spanning two generations at its heart.”Gareth Neame, executive producer at Carnival Films, said Lord Fellowes is a “master storyteller”.”In Belgravia he has painted a wonderful backdrop of 19th century society against which intrigue and dynastic power struggles will play out,” he said.”We are delighted to be partnering with ITV once again and look forward to working with Epix to introduce US audiences to this fantastic event series.”Lord Fellowes published Belgravia in 2016 and it was also serialised online for listeners. read more

BBC presenter reveals he is suffering from Parkinsons after viewers spot his

The three main symptoms of the illness are involuntary shaking or tremors, slow movement and stiff and inflexible muscles.However those with Parkinson’s disease can experience further  physical and psychological signs. These include problems with balancing, insomnia, memory loss, decreased sense of smell and depression and anxiety.The technology reporter added that his symptoms are largely under control and that he will continue working as a journalist for the time beings.In good spirits, Cellan-Jones added: “I’m getting good treatment and the symptoms are mild right now – so I’m carrying on as normal.”Onwards and upwards!” The BBC’s Brussels reporter, Adam Fleming wrote: “True public service to be so open about it. Best wishes.”Whilst Parkinson’s UK’s digital director Julie Dodd offered advice from the charity. She said: “Parkinson’s UK is here for you if you need any advice. And if you’re interested in hearing about some of the new technologies being used in Parkinson’s research and treatment I’d love to fill you in.” Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. Preparing for the first live TV broadcast over a 5G network— Rory Cellan-Jones (@ruskin147) May 30, 2019 A prominent BBC presenter has revealed that he has Parkinson’s disease after viewers spotted his hands shaking during a live report. In the UK’s first ever news broadcast using a public 5G network, Rory Cellan-Jones – the BBC’s technology correspondent – reported live outside from London’s Covent Garden.After millions of viewers tuned in to watch the event on BBC Breakfast, a handful of people noticed his shaky hand.Their comments prompted the journalist to reveal that it was a physical symptom of his recently diagnosed Parkinson’s.Cellan-Jones wrote on Twitter after the landmark broadcast: “A couple of people have noticed my hand shaking in my live 5G broadcast today.“So seems a good time to reveal that I’ve recently been diagnosed with Parkinson’s.”Hundreds of individuals responded to the journalist, wishing him well and commending him for his honesty about his condition. read more

Swimmers told not to cool off in rivers as young man confirmed

“There was between 10 and 30 kids jumping in and out of the water as they were trying to find this young man. It was such an inappropriate contrast between the two situations,” he said.“It did not look like there was any real attempt to remove anyone from the water by the police. I found it really surprising. There should be respect for the situation and space to allow the search team to do their job,” he added.London’s new swimming lake in Beckenham Place Park was also forced to close just five days after it opened so new safety measures can be put in place.A spokesperson for Lewisham Council said: “In order to manage the numbers of swimmers and lake users safely we are introducing some temporary fencing around the lake perimeter to restrict the amount of people in the water at any one time.” Swimmers have been urged not to cool off in rivers as a young man has been confirmed dead and two others missing after jumping into the Thames. A body was also recovered from the Cotswold Water Park in Gloucester after a man jumped into a lake to save his dog. In London, police officers were called to Shadwell Basin, Wapping, at 6pm on Tuesday evening after a 23-year-old went swimming with friends and did not resurface. His body was found earlier today by a marine police unit. Divers undertook two further searches in the River Thames the same night by Waterloo Bridge and Kingston Upon Thames after two men were reported missing around 8:30pm. Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) have issued a warning in light of the three disappearances, telling swimmers: “No matter how calm and inviting the tidal Thames looks at the moment, the current is extremely strong and you’re unlikely to get out again if you jump in for a swim. You can disappear from the surface in a matter of seconds.” Young people were seen at Shadwell Basin this morning in the same area where the 23-year-old went missing yesterday Young people were seen at Shadwell Basin this morning in the same area where the 23-year-old went missing yesterdayCredit:SWNS Michael Potts, 25, who lives in a flat overlooking the Shadwell Basin, said that people were swimming in the Basin as the emergency services were trying to carry out the rescue operation for the missing 23-year-old. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. read more