Newspaper headlines: BBC scheduling 'crackdown' and Labour 'in denial'

A "crackdown on competitive scheduling" is reportedly part of government plans for the BBC's next royal charter, according to a number of Sunday's papers.

What does that mean in layman's (ie viewer's) terms? "BBC faces charter ban on Saturday Strictly" and "No Sunday Poldark if it clashes with ITV", is how the Mail on Sunday's headline writers put it.

Image caption Strictly not in prime time?

The "tough new rules" stopping the BBC putting its hit programmes up against other channels' top shows will spell "an end to the traditional Saturday night ratings war", the Mail says.

"Critics say the BBC should not be using licence-payers' money to aggressively pursue ratings at the expense of commercial rivals," it explains.

The Sunday Times points out that the move follows complaints from ITV last year, after the BBC's scheduling of Strictly Come Dancing up against X Factor resulted in the corporation "consistently beating its commercial rival in the ratings and costing it dear in lost revenue".

The Sunday Telegraph reports more details of what's expected in the government's White Paper later this month, including plans to subject the BBC to "unprecedented new checks on the quality of its television and radio programmes".

It says this will involve a mid-term review of its output five years into the next charter, which is due to be granted for an 11-year period until 2028.

The charter's length, which the paper points out would be the longest since the 15-year one granted by Margaret Thatcher in 1981, "will relieve anxieties among BBC executives".

The paper also expects a proposal on the introduction of additional charges for some programmes on iPlayer, as part of encouraging the BBC to develop alternative modes of funding, but that this is likely to be opposed by the corporation as "creating a two-tier BBC".

'Perfectly captured'

Photos of the Duchess of Cambridge taken for the 100th anniversary of British Vogue magazine appear on several front pages, while inside writers give their "fashion verdict" on the shoot.

"The real Kate - a natural cover girl," declares the Sunday Express, which says the photos see her "looking youthful, happy and completely at ease".

"Kate finds her inner cowgirl," says the Sunday Times, suggesting her outfit including suede trench coat and felt fedora carries "echoes of the actress Jane Seymour in Dr Quinn, Medicine Woman, the 1990s series about a doctor in the Wild West".

Image copyright Josh Olins / PA

The paper goes on: "Kate clearly did not want to appear regal, preferring to look polished but not dressed up. Glowing with good health and opting for earthy tones... this is Kate as a country wife with added King's Road allure."

Back when the magazine was 30 or so years younger, the "ultimate Vogue cover girl" was Diana, Princess of Wales, who appeared three times, says the Sunday Telegraph. It adds that the Duchess of Cambridge has again proved "she is unafraid of comparisons with her husband's late mother".

That's just as well, in the case of the verdict offered by the Mail on Sunday's Liz Jones, who complains that Kate's cover shot is "too rural, too hunting, shooting and fishing" and features a hat "of the sort Camilla might wear to muck out".

"It is all a far cry from Diana's seminal Vogue images" in 1991, she insists, which had "transformed her from a Sloane with too much puppy fat... into a goddess: crop-haired, mischievous, confident".

"The opposite has happened here: Kate is transformed from statuesque beauty into a parody of Meryl Streep in Out Of Africa."

Whereas the Sunday Telegraph's fashion features director, Kate Finnigan, finds herself fascinated by what is "a shoot for a fashion magazine by a fashion photographer with a major fashion brand that does as much as it can not to appear fashionable".

"Yet when we look back," she adds, "we will find that the Duchess's clothes and make-up, the setting and the mood, perfectly captures something of Britain in the spring of 2016."


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It's clear from the space devoted to the Labour Party anti-Semitism row on the front and inside pages of Sunday's papers that Jeremy Corbyn's announcement of an independent inquiry into the issue has by no means drawn a line under the affair.

The Sunday Times leads on Israel's entry into the row, with comments from the country's new ambassador to the UK as well as from the leader of Labour's sister party in Israel.

The ambassador, Mark Regev, who is the son of a Holocaust survivor, is quoted as saying: "I have no doubt that part of the left is in denial. They say 'anti-semitism, that's the right, that's the fascists'. That's a cop-out."

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Media captionKen Livingstone has refused to apologise for his controversial remarks, saying he was "not sorry for telling the truth"

In further comments that the paper says are "likely be interpreted as an attack on Corbyn", Mr Regev suggests that when anti-Semitism "does raise its ugly head, it should be condemned across the board. And failure to condemn has to be in itself condemned."

Mr Corbyn has suspended from the party Naz Shah MP and former London mayor Ken Livingstone amid claims of anti-Semitic comments, with the party's national ruling executive now set to decide on possible expulsions.

'Shadows of the Left'

The Sunday Times also quotes Israel's opposition leader, Isaac Herzog, who says he has been "appalled and outraged" by the controversial remarks from Labour figures.

The Sunday Telegraph suggests there is renewed pressure on Mr Corbyn as a result of a dossier it has compiled of "disturbing new examples of 'anti-Semitic' attitudes among the party's activists and leading members".

The paper quotes Sir Eric Pickles, the government's special envoy for post-Holocaust issues, as saying: "Jeremy Corbyn has legitimised and unleashed a strain of anti-Semitism that has been lurking in the shadows of the Left for quite some time."

The past few days' developments will have left many readers "astonished", suggests the paper's leader column, adding: "Fortunately, anyone shocked and disgusted by this turn of events has a chance to pass a verdict on them in Thursday's local elections."

Fear of exactly that reaction from voters is expressed by Labour's London mayoral candidate, Sadiq Khan, in an interview with the Observer.

Favourite to win the contest, and thereby make history as the first Muslim in the post, Mr Khan tells the paper: "I accept that the comments that Ken Livingstone has made make it more difficult for Londoners of Jewish faith to feel that the Labour party is a place for them, and so I will carry on doing what I have always been doing, which is to speak for everyone."

Fairytale ending?

"The greatest football story ever told," in the words of the Daily Star Sunday, could have its fairytale ending later.

"Once-lowly Leicester, with players nobody else wanted and a manager feared well past his best" will claim an incredible Premier League title win if they can overcome Manchester United this Sunday afternoon.

The Sun on Sunday reports that tickets to the game are being sold for up to £1,000, while some for the Foxes' final home game of the season next Saturday are being advertised online for as much as £13,000.

The role played in the team's success by Buddhist monks, who have been flown in by the club's Thai owner to bless the players before games, is covered in the Sunday Telegraph.

In its leader column, the paper questions whether this revelation means the time has come for a "proper debate about the role of Performance Enhancing Prayers in sport".

Image copyright Getty Images

The paper also reports on the dramatic impact on the club's win rate - which leaped from 32% to 62% - "after the interment of the bones of Richard III at Leicester Cathedral - just a mile from the King Power Stadium" in March last year.

"For Leicester to win the league would be like a Boris bike winning the Tour de France," suggests the Sunday Times in its own leader column, pointing out that the odds on it at the start of the season - 5,000 to 1 - were longer than previously offered for a Liberal Democrat general election victory or an Elvis Presley comeback.

Reporting news of a planned film version of the Leicester City story, the Sunday People quotes producer Adrian Butchart as saying: "If we made this up, people wouldn't believe it."


Making people click

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"I saw the darkness of antisemitism, but I never thought it would get this dark" - Guardian