September, 2019 Archive
He’s become the poster child for what’s wrong with the league in the eyes of many, an out-of-control professional athlete whose sense of entitlement leads him to believe that rules apply to others than himself.But the NFL showed surprisingly relative leniency to Tennessee Titans wide receiver Kenny Britt on the heels of his eighth run-in with the law since entering the league in 2009. Just weeks after meeting with him for the second time in a year, Commissioner Roger Goodell announced Thursday that the troubled 23-year-old Britt has been suspended for just one game for repeated violations of the league’s personal conduct policy.The fourth-year pro out of Rutgers will sit out the Titans’ Sept. 9 season opener against New England before returning for the following week’s game at San Diego.“It’s actually a gift from God that it’s only a week,” Britt told The Tennessean following his team’s 10-6 win over the visiting New Orleans Saints in Thursday night’s preseason finale.“I’m just happy that God spoke to [Goodell] and put the right thing in his heart, and we move forward. … I just have to take it on the chin, and that is what I’m doing.”Britt said he has no plans to appeal.As part of the penalty, he will be docked more than $44,000, which is one-seventeenth of his $755,000 base salary this season. The Titans will designate Britt as Reserve/Suspended so that he will not count against the team’s 53-man roster for the first week.Britt will not be allowed to work out at the team facility in Nashville during his suspension, but plans to remain in Knoxville and prepare for his first game action since suffering a major knee injury early last season.“To tell you the truth, I didn’t know what I was expecting,” he said. “I did know I was in some trouble in the past, and now it is behind me. Now I am happy, this is in the past and I am ready to focus on two weeks from now.”On July 20, Britt was arrested on a charge of driving under the influence as he was trying to pass through a security gate at the Fort Campbell. It was his eighth incident involving police since the Titans drafted him in 2009. Goodell summoned him to New York for a meeting on Aug. 6.Britt avoided discipline after last year’s meeting with Goodell because several of the incidents occurred during the NFL lockout in which time there was no collective bargaining agreement between the players and the league. Goodell, however, warned of a suspension should further trouble arise.Britt was off to strong start last year before suffering a torn right ACL in Sept. 25 game against the Denver Broncos that required season-ending surgery.
The NHL, after two hours of negotiations with the players association, requested a formal proposal from the union.The bargaining session — the first formal face-to-face meeting between the two sides in over a week — lasted less than two hours and covered key topics such as player contracting rights and core economics.NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly said the league wants to see a proposal from the NHLPA on these topics, among others, and feels they haven’t seen that yet in the negotiation process.“We had hoped to engage them in a discussion about the players contracting issues that are so important to the players,” Fehr said. “At least tonight, they were unwilling to do that.”The league, however, views both the core economics — such as the division of revenue — and player contracting issues as linked. Daly said the league pushed the union on their stance on the economics and did not receive any clarity.“We’ve never heard a full proposal from them. We’ve heard their proposal on economics — they’re still suggesting that they’re moving in our direction on economics,” Daly said. “Until we know exactly where they stand on economics … we think it’s all tied together. We’d like to hear it all together.”Daly affirmed the league’s interest in seeing the NHLPA make an offer that is linked to revenue growth, as opposed to a guaranteed player amount. The NHLPA’s last offer proposed that players receive $1.883 billion (equivalent to the amount they took in last year) with 1.75 percent interest in Year 1, although it is believed that the league would like to see the division of revenue accounted for on a pure percentage basis.“If their proposal continues to be a guaranteed player amount, sitting here on Nov. 19, that’s not a proposal that would … ever be acceptable to us,” Daly said. “If that happens to be where we are, we will be a long way apart.”“It’s our position (that) we’ve made a couple comprehensive proposals in a row. We’d like to know where they are on all the issues and we asked them to think about putting together a comprehensive proposal for us to consider,” Daly said.NHLPA executive director Donald Fehr declined to address the details of the core economics discussion. Fehr said he’d go back to the NHLPA offices, consult with his membership on the evening’s meeting, and confer with the league Tuesday morning.Multiple sources confirmed that the two sides might not meet again until Wednesday. It is believed the union wants to take time to work on putting together a new proposal.Fehr said the union addressed player contracting rights — a contentious point in negotiations as both sides have dug in on the issue — but to no avail.
On Saturday night, in the T-Mobile Arena on the Las Vegas Strip, Floyd Mayweather will defeat Conor McGregor. The great old pro will dismantle the MMA vet turned boxing newcomer, securing a 50-0-0 record that will stand alone in boxing’s record books. McGregor will be outpaced, outclassed and, most simply, outboxed. Mayweather will win — every expert says so.Unless, of course, he doesn’t.Odds on this spectacle, even farce, of a fight opened heavily in Mayweather’s favor. In November, he was a -2250 favorite, roughly implying a 96 percent chance of victory. By mid-August, the money line had narrowed to -400, or about an 80 percent chance. The money has continued to pour in for McGregor. Many bettors, it seems, believe in the Irishman’s puncher’s chance.But maybe it’s not even a punch that’ll end it. As one of us has suggested elsewhere, Mayweather’s best chance of losing may be suffering a pulmonary embolism or a brain aneurysm; drowning in his spit bucket or tripping on the way to the ring. Perhaps one of the fighters will do something untoward in the ring. One sportsbook is offering 9-to-1 odds that the fight ends in disqualification. Which makes sense, considering one of the boxers is barely even a boxer — and the chance of an errant kick is so high that it was considered in prefight negotiation.Strange things happen in boxing. This is the sport where a parachutist later called Fan Man crashed into the ropes during a heavyweight championship fight, after all. And if something strange does happen, it won’t stand alone in the history books. It will join the ignominious ranks of …Wolgast vs. RiversJuly 4, 1912Ad Wolgast defeated Joe Rivers via a 13th-round knockout in Los Angeles County. Perhaps the inspiration for “Rocky II,” this grudge match featured both fighters landing simultaneous knockout blows, then crumpling to the canvas. The referee reached the count of 10 and the bout was over, yet for some inexplicable reason he gave the victory to Wolgast on the basis that he had attempted to rise before being counted out. Compounding the confusion, the timekeeper at ringside had only reached a count of four. The referee’s verdict was upheld amid immense backlash, as Rivers’s camp claimed he had been fouled. They famously produced a considerably dented metal foul protector as evidence for their case, which made headlines across the country.Dempsey vs. SharkeyJuly 21, 1927The fight, held at Yankee Stadium, between Jack Dempsey and Jack Sharkey, guaranteed the victor a shot at the greatest title in sports, then worn by world heavyweight champion Gene Tunney. A crowd of over 82,000 was in attendance to watch the former champ, 32-year-old Dempsey, in his second-to-last fight, square off against 7-to-5 favorite Sharkey in the hopes of avenging his previous loss to Tunney. It was clear by the early rounds that all 82,000 fans and press row were watching Dempsey grow old over the night. Sharkey was handily beating his professed idol when, in the seventh round, Dempsey landed a slew of low blows. When Sharkey protested to the referee, Dempsey delivered a vicious left hook to the chin while Sharkey was mid-sentence. Sharkey did not finish his sentence; Dempsey won by knockout. He later fondly remembered the punch as, “one of the last good punches of my life … His chin was sticking out there, unprotected. I couldn’t miss.”Sharkey vs. SchmelingJune 12, 1930With heavyweight champion Tunney having recently retired and vacated his title, promoters scrambled to bring Germany’s Max Schmeling and the New York-born Sharkey in front of a packed Yankee Stadium to fill the void left in Tunney’s wake. Despite winning the first few rounds, Sharkey made a strange decision in the fourth when he abruptly teed off on Schmeling’s groin with a savage blow that dropped the German contender. Bedlam ensued, prompted by Schmeling’s manager storming the ring in protest. The referee disqualified Sharkey and raised the hand of Schmeling. It was the first time the heavyweight championship had been won on a foul. Schmeling became ignominiously known in the American press as the “low-blow champion.”Ali vs. ListonMay 25, 1965Muhammad Ali had been a 7-to-1 underdog when he stole Sonny Liston’s crown in 1964 — a strange match in itself that included Ali being temporarily blinded by a foreign substance allegedly from Liston’s gloves and ended with Liston refusing to come out for the seventh round. In the time between the February 1964 match and the rematch in May of 1965, Ali converted to Islam, changed his name from Cassius Clay to Muhammad Ali and his friend Malcolm X was assassinated. It would be an understatement to say that the rematch swirled with controversy. Ahead of the rematch, Liston was considered a 13-to-5 favorite. Midway through the first round of the fight, a looping right hand later dubbed a “phantom punch,” crumpled Liston to the canvas while Ali danced around the ring. The crowd began to roar, “Fix! Fix!” Hall of Fame commentator Don Dunphy didn’t buy that it was a legitimate knockdown, stating, “If that was a punch, I’ll eat it. Here was a guy who was in prison and the guards used to beat him over the head with clubs and couldn’t knock him down.”Duran vs. LeonardNov. 25, 1980Only five months after handing superstar “Sugar” Ray Leonard his first humiliating loss and taking his title in Montreal, Roberto “Hands of Stone” Duran returned to meet Leonard at the New Orleans Superdome for one of the most eagerly anticipated rematches in boxing history. Duran had eaten everything in sight after his victory in June and ballooned up almost to the class of a heavyweight before crash dieting and horrifically sweating his way back down to the welterweight limit of 147 pounds. Leonard had counted on this when he pushed to have the rematch as quickly as possible. After being humiliated for eight exhausting rounds, Duran finally gave up and —or so the popular story goes — uttered “no más” to referee Octavio Meyran. Duran followed up the shocking conclusion to the fight by announcing his retirement from the sport. (He’d return to the ring less than a year later.)Bowe vs. GolotaJuly 11, 1996Riddick Bowe was coming off a victory in the third match of his blood-feud trilogy with Evander Holyfield when he squared off against undefeated contender Andrew Golota in Madison Square Garden. Bowe had mostly refused to train for the fight on the basis of his public dismissal of Golota as a “bum.” Golota took control of the fight, but his biggest obstacle to victory became his devotion to excessively fouling Bowe with egregious, swung-shovel-like low blows. After repeated warnings failed to improve Golota’s accuracy, the referee began deducting points. He took three away before offering a final warning that a further low blow would cost Golota the fight. Golota continued to dominate the fight while unleashing perhaps his most sadistic barrage below the belt one final time with 30 seconds left in the seventh round. A massive riot ensued, and police, security and fans clashed in what would be remembered as the “Riot at the Garden.” Five months later, in Atlantic City, Bowe and Golota fought a hotly anticipated rematch. Golota repeated his domination of Bowe and his desire to ruthlessly foul him, leading to a ninth-round disqualification.Lewis vs. McCallFeb. 7, 1997Oliver McCall, for most of his career a distinguished journeyman, was best known as Mike Tyson’s sparring partner before handing heavyweight champion Lennox Lewis his first professional loss in a shocking upset in September 1994. Their rematch more than two years later was arguably the most bizarre heavyweight title fight; by the end of the third round, fans no doubt knew they were witnessing something nobody could have predicted. Before the closing bell to end the round, McCall had dropped his hands and looked despondent. When he came out for the fourth and fifth rounds, McCall spontaneously became a pacifist. Referee Mills Lane noticed McCall’s lips quivering before he began to cry. The fight was stopped in the fifth round.Holyfield vs. TysonJune 28, 1997When the washed-up Evander Holyfield was announced as Mike Tyson’s next opponent after Tyson had secured his second title belt on the way to unification, the opening odds for their November 1996 match made Holyfield a 25-to-1 underdog. The referee stopped the fight in the 11th round after Tyson was sent stumbling into the ropes. A rematch, which drew enormous interest, took place the following year. Holyfield quickly proved to both the world and Tyson that his first victory hadn’t been a fluke. And Tyson’s response became the defining moment of his career. With 39 seconds left in the third round, Tyson’s leaned over and tore a chunk of Holyfield’s ear lobe off with his teeth. Before the round was out, he savagely attacked Holyfield again in the same way and was disqualified.
Columbus Blue Jackets goalie Sergei Bobrovsky (72) makes a save with Minnesota Wild’s Jason Zucker (16) in front of the net during the second period on Jan. 19 at Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, Minnesota.Credit: Courtesy of TNSThe 2015 NHL season has finally arrived, and that only means one thing: meaningful hockey games will be abundant.The Columbus Blue Jackets start off their season on Friday against the New York Rangers at Nationwide Arena starting at 7:05 p.m. Coming into the season, the Blue Jackets have big expectations after some offseason moves and look to continue to take steps toward a Stanley Cup coming to Columbus. With a new captain in place for the first time since Rick Nash was traded in 2012, forward Nick Foligno is ready to lead this team on the march for the playoffs.StrengthsIf one should give credit to anyone on the team, it is Sergei Bobrovsky. The goalie has emerged as one of the best in the league and is the backbone of the team. He took Columbus by storm in his first year with the team by winning the Vezina Trophy (the best goaltender in the league) in 2012-13. Bobrovsky has also been working a bit differently this year. He normally takes a few months off after the season to relax his body and mind away from the rink. This year, he worked more on and off the ice to be ready for this season.Having a healthy Bobrovsky is always a plus for the defense, which also has some bright spots. Ryan Murray, a young defenseman, has been considered the key to the defense. However, he has also been hurt quite a bit the last two seasons. If he can stay healthy, he can give Bobrovsky some relief from taking unnecessary shots. He has 70 shots on goal in his two seasons, meaning that he can bring the puck down the rink and even put the puck on goal.Alongside Murray is another young defenseman, David Savard. Savard is entering his fifth season in Columbus, and is coming off a 36-point campaign. Savard also had three game-winning goals last season, an impressive mark for a defenseman. Those two should help keep some pressure off Bobrovsky, and help keep the puck with the offense.Speaking of offense, the top line has not yet been mentioned. Center Ryan Johansen has made a statement over the last two years, and is now considered one of the best young players in the league.Teaming him up with Johansen is the new captain Foligno, who had an all-star year last season, even being named the captain of his squad in the 2015 All-Star Game at Nationwide Arena.He had a career year with 31 goals, 42 assists and three game-winners.Those two should be lined with a third potential all-star, in Brandon Saad.Saad comes over from Chicago, where he won two Stanley Cup Finals in 2013 and 2015. The forward is only 22 years old, but he is considered one of the up-and-coming superstars in the league. Having a top line of Foligno, Johansen and Saad should stack up against any other team’s.WeaknessesColumbus, on paper, doesn’t seem to have too many weaknesses, but that does not mean that it is perfect. After an injury-riddled 2014-15 season, regaining the team’s timing is going to take some time. With the loss of center Artem Anisimov, who was moved for Saad, that leaves a hole on the power-play and short-handed lines. Saad will be shifted to his spot, which he should be able to handle.The third and fourth lines are a mystery right now. Players such as winger Corey Tropp and center Mark Letestu’s departures could hurt the team’s depth. Tropp was a good physical presence last year, and gave fits to other defenses, while Letestu could score from the bottom lines — notching seven goals and six assists — and had a knack for ending up with the puck. This team, just like last year, needs younger guys to step up and produce in order to have any chance with the likes of the Pittsburgh Penguins, New York Rangers and Washington Capitals.Overall, this club has a good-looking roster to compete with any team in the NHL, especially with the blue-collar attitude that Todd Richards has incorporated into the Jackets’ play over the last few years.Expectations have changed in Columbus. The city expects the club to not just compete, but win. These are not the same old Jackets that were pushovers in the Western Conference. This team has tasted the playoffs, and can see the opportunity of this year. If it plays up to expectations, it should return there for the third time in franchise history.
OSU senior forward Marc Loving drives to the basket against Michigan State forward Miles Bridges on Jan. 15 at the Schottenstein Center. OSU won 72-67. Credit: Ashley Nelson | Sports DirectorOhio State is going to East Lansing, Michigan, with the upper hand as the Buckeyes already have a win under their belt against Michigan State, defeating the Spartans 72-67 on Jan. 15 in Columbus. However, with seeding in the Big Ten tournament and dwindling hopes of reaching the NCAA Tournament on the line, the pressure is palpable approaching the final five games of the Big Ten regular season.OSU has won only two of seven road games in Big Ten play, and junior forward Jae’Sean Tate said it’s tough for opposing teams to win at the Breslin Center.“There is a tough environment out there,” Tate said. “I haven’t won out there before, so just trying to go in there and get the ‘W’ there.”One of the players who might stand in OSU’s way of victory is Michigan State freshman forward Miles Bridges. OSU coach Thad Matta said Bridges’ 24-point, nine-rebound performance against the Buckeyes in January was as impressive of a performance from a freshman he’s seen this year.“He’s tremendous and we have to do a better job of trying to slow him down,” Matta said.Bridges shot 75 percent from the floor and hit 4-of-5 3-point shots, but was the only Spartan in double figures that day. Tate hinted that his plan for defending Bridges will have to change this time around.“I can’t let him get comfortable from the 3 because once he sees a couple go in, then he’s tough to guard,” Tate said. “Just trying to make him as uncomfortable as he can from the perimeter because he has a lot of aspects to his game. Once he gets going, he’s hard to stop.”OSU has had trouble defending the perimeter shot as of late. In the loss to the Terrapins, the Buckeyes allowed 29 attempts behind the 3-point line, with Maryland converting on 41.4 percent of those shots.Offensively, OSU’s scoring leader for the first game against the Spartans, sophomore guard JaQuan Lyle, is returning after having to leave the team due to a family emergency. Lyle shot 66.7 percent from the field and led the team with 22 points in the five-point win. Matta said Lyle and the rest of the OSU offense is going to have to face a very stout defensive team.“Michigan State, I think, is as good as anyone in the Big Ten defensively,” Matta said. “They are going to make you earn everything that you get in the game tomorrow night. They are going to have a tremendous push in transition. They are trying to score as quick as they can. If it’s not there, they are going to execute one, or sometimes two sets in a possession.”In the Spartans’ last game, a 77-66 win over Iowa, Michigan State held the Hawkeyes to shoot only 32.8 percent from the field, converting only four 3-pointers on 21 attempts. Size was a big factor in the win as well, with Bridges and redshirt sophomore forward Kenny Goins combining for 21 of the Spartans’ 46 rebounds.With only five games left before the Big Ten tournament, OSU has a limited amount of time to boost its resume to be in consideration for the NCAA Tournament. Tate said this team is feeling the pressure going into the end of the season.“There is no margin for error,” he said. “We just have to go in these last five or six games like there is no margin. We have to win these ones.”Tipoff is scheduled for 9 p.m. at the Breslin Center in East Lansing, Michigan.
After three years, 386 sets and 107 matches, Ohio State women’s volleyball player Emily Danks killed another benchmark. In the Buckeyes Saturday contest against Toledo, Danks amassed her 1000th career kill, a feat only accomplished by 18 other OSU student-athletes before her in the sport. Danks, an American Volleyball Coaches Association Honorable Mention All-American selection, said she has both strengths and weaknesses going into the upcoming season, but she has been working hard to improve her game. “I think my biggest area of improvement is defense,” Danks said. “I have been working with Andrew (Palileo), our assistant head coach, and hopefully that will help me out.” But as Danks and the No. 24-ranked Buckeyes (2-1) opened up the 2012 season with back-to-back wins against Houston and Toledo last weekend in the Sports Imports DC Koehl Classic, OSU met its match against Oregon Saturday, falling 3-2 to the Ducks. The senior outside hitter said she has high hopes for the team this season. “We have a really good team this year and a lot of depth,” Danks said. “I’m excited to see how far we can go.” Danks said her favorite game she has played at OSU was the team’s match against Minnesota last year on Sept. 30, in which the Buckeyes swept the then-No. 10-ranked Gophers three games to none. “We won, and there is a clip online that I watch all the time,” Danks said. “It was just a definition of a fun volleyball game.” Danks said the team has set a goal this season to do better than they have in the past, and hopefully they will advance in the sport’s championship tournament to either the “Elite Eight” or even the national championship. Although Danks said she loves volleyball, she is looking forward to other personal and academic opportunities after this season. “Volleyball has been really good to me, but it is time to move on,” Danks said. “I’m looking into grad schools all over the country right now.” The Buckeyes will face Binghamton University in the Maryland Invitational in College Park, Md. Friday at 5 p.m.
Location: Lincoln, Nebraska2018 record: 4-8Head coach: Scott Frost (second year, 7-9)2019 record so far: 3-1Record against Ohio State since 2010: 1-4What’s happened so far in 2019:Coming off a losing season under first-year head coach Scott Frost, Nebraska started the season with a 35-21 home win against South Alabama. It dropped its next game against nonconference rival Colorado 34-31 in overtime. Nebraska followed its first loss with a 44-8 win over Northern Illinois and a 42-38 win against Illinois after trailing 35-21 in the second half.Key offensive player:Sophomore quarterback Adrian Martinez is the engine of the Cornhusker offense and has proven to be a threat both through the air and on the ground in 2019. He has 10 total touchdowns and leads the Big Ten in both passing yards per game with 263.3 and total offense per game with 321.8. In Nebraska’s loss to Colorado, Martinez completed his first nine passes and scored a touchdown on the ground, but went seven for his next 17 and was sacked six times. When he is truly acting as a dual-threat quarterback and can complete multiple passes in a row, Martinez and Nebraska’s offense can put up points in a hurry, as evidenced by its Big Ten fifth-best 38 points per game.Key defensive player:Redshirt senior linebacker and team captain Mohamed Barry leads Nebraska with 33 tackles, which is tied for No. 5 in the Big Ten. Barry tied his career-best with 12 tackles against South Alabama and hit double-digit tackles again against Northern Illinois. He registered his first sack of 2019 and the third of his career against Colorado. Barry has cemented himself as one of the best linebackers in the Big Ten, and will be a major cog in the middle of a Nebraska defense that hasn’t allowed a running back to gain more than 50 yards rushing in three of its first four games. Weaknesses:Nebraska has struggled at stopping the pass in 2019. The team allowed an average of 240 passing yards per game through Week 4, and in its first game against a Power Five opponent, it allowed two long passing touchdowns to Colorado. The team has a propensity to give up big plays against major conference opponents. Under Frost and a young quarterback, the team also struggles to find ways to win in tough environments. Last season, Nebraska had zero wins on the road, and in its first trip away from Lincoln in 2019, the Cornhuskers blew a 17-0 lead to Colorado. While still learning to win high-stakes games, Nebraska puts pressure on Martinez to stand out in all areas of the game. Combined with an average defense, Nebraska relies too heavily on its offense to win games.
Pharmacy manager Haroon Shaffiq told the Derby Telegraph: “I think it was a case of Henry one baseball bat nil.”I came down as soon as I was rung about the incident and when I got here Raffique was speaking so quickly.”He was clearly in shock at what he had been through.”He told me he just acted on instinct and picked up the Henry and starting fighting with the man with the baseball bat.”It must have been terrifying for him.””Raffique said he thought it was a joke and started laughing but then realised he was being serious and started fighting him off with the Henry. When a wannabe-thief brandishing a baseball bat entered a chemist in Derby earlier this month he was hoping to make off with cash from the till.He wasn’t expecting to be thwarted by a staff member wielding a Henry vacuum cleanerCCTV footage shows the moment the robber came into the store at around 11.20pm on September 2, demanding staff hand over cash.But worker Raffique Chaudhery, who was cleaning the store, used the vacuum to keep the bat-wielding thug at bay.The clip shows the unknown man then damaging the shop counter with the bat before fleeing empty-handed. Credit:Google “[Co-worker] Gaffer [Ahmed] was behind the counter and swore back at the man who then leaned forward and tried to get the till open but he couldn’t.”He then smashed at the screen of the till completely destroying it before finally running out empty handed.According to Mr Shaffiq the incident was the first time anyone has tried to rob the store in the 12 years it’s been open.”We have a real community presence here in Osmaston and Allenton,” he said, “and the customers have been fantastic since it happened.” 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.
And Then There Were None drew eight million viewers when it was screened in December last year and introduced a new generation to Christie’s novels.There are high hopes that will continue when Witness for The Prosecution is broadcast later this year.The writer’s grandson Mathew Prichard said recently: “I have lost count of the number of times I have told my family they cannot expect interest in Agatha Christie continuing but lo and behold it does.”There was universal acclaim for And Then There Were None and they are a continuation of that.”As well as And Then There Were None and The Witness for the Prosecution, BBC One and Agatha Christie Productions are to screen seven new adaptations of the writer’s work over the next four years.These will include adaptations of Death Comes As The End, a murder mystery set in Ancient Egypt and The ABC Murders, depicting a race to stop a serial killer who is terrorising 1930s Britain.Sarah Phelps, who adapted The Witness for the Prosecution, said: “When I read the short story it felt like the most perfect Film Noir for 1920s London, and, like the famous Noir of post WWII America, there is an incredible focus on the context of the times and how that might lead someone to commit a terrible murder.“Dark, strange, unsettling and thrilling, you feel the rug of your certainties twitched from under your feet.” 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. Kim Cattrall (far right) as Samantha in Sex and The City: The MovieCredit: Startraks Photo/REX Dark, strange, unsettling and thrilling, you feel the rug of your certainties twitched from under your feet.Sarah Phelps, screenwriter Kim Cattrall’s character comes to a sticky end early on in the BBC’s new Agatha Christie – dead on the carpet of a smart townhouse in 1920s London.But given the star power of Ms Cattrall – who made her name as the vampish Samantha in Sex and the City – it seems unlikely that is the last viewers will see of her during the two-part court thriller The Witness for the Prosecution.Ms Cattrall was busy filming the production with the rest of the star-studded cast in Liverpool over the summer and this publicity photograph gives a first taste of its sophisticated glamour.Made by the team behind the BBC’s adaptation of And Then There Were None, The Witness For The Prosecution stars Cattrall as Emily French, a wealthy heiress found murdered in her home.Suspicion falls on Leonard Vole, played by Billy Howle, a young chancer to whom she left her vast fortune.But Leonard is convinced his girlfriend Romaine, a chorus girl played by Andrea Riseborough, can prove his innocence.
It built its reputation on princesses finding their prince, living happily ever after in storylines which set the benchmark for romance for generations of children.Now, Disney is to move firmly into a new era as it introduces its first “exclusively gay moment”, disclosing the new version of Beauty and the Beast will star a manservant exploring his sexuality. Matt Cain, editor-in-chief of Attitude magazine, said: “It may have been a long time coming but this is a watershed moment for Disney.“By representing same-sex attraction in this short but explicitly gay scene, the studio is sending out a message that this is normal and natural – and this is a message that will be heard in every country of the world, even countries where it’s still socially unacceptable or even illegal to be gay. It stars Watson as book-loving Belle, revamped in this version to be an inventor in her own right and wear riding boots instead of impractical ballet shoes.The beast is played by Dan Stevens, best-known to British fans as Matthew Crawley in Downton Abbey.Sir Ian McKellen and Emma Thompson star as a clock and a teapot, while Luke Evans will play Gaston and Josh Gad takes the role of a LeFou. “But it’s a step in the right direction and I applaud Disney for being brave enough to make it – and in doing so hopefully helping to change attitudes and bring about real social progress.”The new film, however, retain its central love story: the ostracised Belle and the cursed beast trapped in his castle and doomed to a life of loneliness.Speaking of the film’s central love story, and why Belle and the Beast eventually fall for one another, Stevens said: “It’s about that sense of persecution.“Belle is seen as a bit of a freak within her community, this girl who reads and invents things and is a bit too clever for the local Establishment. Luke Evans stars as Gaston and Josh Gad as Le FouCredit:Disney Le Fou sings about Gaston in the tavernCredit:Disney With lines like “For there’s no man in town half as manly / Perfect, a pure paragon”, some forward-thinking fans had speculated there may be more to their relationship.Their hopes will be confirmed when the new version is released in the UK on March 17. Josh Gad as LeFou in the live action remake of Beauty and the BeastCredit:Disney “And that’s what has its pay-off at the end, which I don’t want to give away. But it is a nice, exclusively gay moment in a Disney movie.”In the original 1991 animated film, LeFou is introduced as the hapless sidekick of Gaston, the swaggering ladies’ man who hopes to woo Belle with a series of ill-judged seduction techniques. This is a watershed moment for DisneyMatt Cain, editor-in-chief of Attitude In an interview with Attitude magazine, director Bill Condon said: “LeFou is somebody who on one day wants to be Gaston and on another day wants to kiss Gaston.“He’s confused about what he wants. It’s somebody who’s just realizing that he has these feelings. “And Josh [Gad, who plays LeFou] makes something really subtle and delicious out of it. LeFou is best-known to fans of the film for singing “Gaston”, a pub ditty aimed at cheering up the spurned hero. A brief clip of the film released online on Tuesday shows a flamboyant Gad singing his ode to Gaston in a pink neck bow and winking at his drinking mates.Attitude declares Beauty and the Beast “Disney’s gayest film ever”, with a “same-sex surprise” for fans.It comes after years of pressure from some fans, who have petitioned for more represention of the LGBTQ community on screen. He’s confused about what he wants. It’s somebody who’s just realizing that he has these feelingsBill Condon, director “It’s only a first step towards creating a cinematic world that reflects the world in which many of us are now proud to live. LeFou in his 1991 incarnation Dan Stevens and Emma Watson star in the filmCredit:Disney The live-action version of Beauty and the Beast is already on course to be the most thoroughly modern film of its kind, with star Emma Watson discussing how she made the role of Belle more feminist. The team have now revealed one character, LeFou, will experience Disney’s first ever “gay moment” on screen, as he struggles with his feelings for ultra-macho leading man Gaston. The full interview is published in Attitude magazine now “And Beast is obviously persecuted because of his appearance.”Watson added: “‘I think it was really important actually for Dan and I to develop and understand why each of our characters feel like they don’t fit in.“I certainly felt watching the original that I wanted to know more about why Belle feels that she’s different and why she wants to be different and why she’s naturally different.”The full interview is published in the April issue of Attitude, out now. 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.