Online ticket sites 'breaking law'

Music and theatre tickets are routinely being sold unlawfully on the UK’s biggest secondary ticketing websites, according to consumer magazine Which?

Under the Consumer Rights Act 2015, buyers must be told the original face value of any tickets being resold and, where appropriate, the seat numbers.

After investigating more than 200 listings Which? found “numerous examples” of the rules being breached.

The findings of a government report into the market are due on Thursday.

One Direction, Arctic Monkeys, Adele, Elton John, Little Mix, Mumford and Sons and Radiohead are among the artists who have called for action against secondary sites, which they claim prevent fans from buying tickets at face value.

Calls have been made to make touting a criminal offence for concerts, plays and musicals – as is already the case for sporting events.

Others want the government to prevent tickets being resold at a profit, capping the price at the original face value, plus 10%.

At the time of writing, some sites are advertising tickets to see Radiohead’s shows at the Roundhouse, London, this week for £5,900 – 91 times the original face value.

Which? looked at listings for Beyonce’s Formation Tour, Catherine Tate’s comedy show, Jersey Boys, Magic of the Musicals and Wicked the Musical across the four main ticketing sites – Viagogo, Seatwave, Stubhub and Getmein!

Researchers posed as sellers to find out what information was required when listing tickets – but discovered that the information often wasn’t displayed to fans.

It found that Viagogo failed to consistently list the face value of tickets for Beyonce and Catherine Tate, despite sellers being legally obliged to enter this value.

Instead, Viagogo’s small print said the face value of each ticket was within a certain range. For Beyonce, this range was often very large – from around £40 to more than £200.

None of the Viagogo listings, and only one on Getmein!, showed seat numbers, and many of the listings on Stubhub and Seatwave gave only row numbers or section numbers.

Alex Neill, director of policy and campaigns at Which? said: “It is clear the protections put in place by the Consumer Rights Act aren’t being followed by some of the biggest players in the market, and no action is being taken against them.

“The government must crack down on bad practice so that people know what they’re buying and don’t get ripped off.”

In response to the report, StubHub said its sellers must comply with the law, but added: “There are instances where sellers may not have access to this information at the time of listing, as some primary vendors do not provide this at the time of purchase.”

Seatwave, GetMeIn! and Viagogo declined to respond.

Let’s block ads! (Why?)

Australia MP is 'Depp's Hannibal Lecter'

Australia’s Deputy PM Barnaby Joyce has said that he is “pulling strings” in Johnny Depp’s head, like film villain Hannibal Lecter.

It comes after the actor said on a US television show that Mr Joyce looks “somehow inbred with a tomato”.

Depp’s wife Amber Heard avoided a conviction in court last month after illegally bringing two dogs into Australia.

But the couple were made to issue an unusual video apology.

The animosity started in 2015, when Mr Joyce threatened to kill Yorkshire terriers Pistol and Boo, which were illegally brought into Australia by Depp’s wife Amber Heard.

This kicked off a strange series of events that culminated with Heard attending an Australian court in April to plead guilty to a charge of falsifying documents.

More serious charges against Heard were dropped – she avoided a conviction and the case appeared to be settled.

But Depp breathed life into the saga when he made the “inbred tomato” comment on comedian Jimmy Kimmel’s US talk show on Tuesday.

“It’s not a criticism. I’m just saying, I was a little worried… he might explode,” Depp said.

He also referred to Mr Joyce as “Barnaby Jones”.

Mr Joyce responded to the actor’s comments by saying: “I’m turning into Johnny Depp’s Hannibal Lecter.”

“I’m inside his head, I’m pulling little strings, pulling little levers,” Mr Joyce told the BBC through a spokesman, referencing the manipulative serial killer from Silence of the Lambs.

He had previously said the end result of the saga was a message going around the world “that if you come into this nation and you don’t obey our laws, you’re in trouble”.


Unscripted absurdity

If you’re still confused by the case, here’s a timeline of events so far:

April 2015: Heard arrives in Australia on private jet with dogs Pistol and Boo. Depp is filming the fifth Pirates of the Caribbean movie on the Gold Coast. Pistol and Boo are not declared to immigration officers.

May 2015: A dog grooming salon posts pictures of Pistol and Boo on social media, alerting authorities to their presence. Barnaby Joyce, who is agriculture minister at the time, threatens to have the dogs euthanised within 50 hours if they weren’t removed. Pistol and Boo are flown home to Los Angeles on a private jet.

July 2015: Heard is charged with failing to declare the dogs.

September 2015: Depp says at the Venice Film Festival that he killed and ate Pistol and Boo under the orders of a “sweaty, big-gutted man from Australia”. He also says during an interview with Jimmy Kimmel that he will fly back to Australia and “assault that man” if Heard is jailed.

February 2016: Depp jokes that Mr Joyce has invited him to stay on his couch next time he is in Australia.

April 2016: Heard and Depp attend court in Queensland. Heard is let off with a good behaviour bond. They also make an apology video promoting the importance of Australia quarantine regime, which is widely seen as stilted and surreal. Mr Joyce makes fun of the video, saying Depp looks as though he is “auditioning for The Godfather”.

May 2015: Depp says Joyce looks “somehow inbred with a tomato”. Joyce says he is pulling strings in Depp’s mind like Hannibal Lecter.


Let’s block ads! (Why?)

Cosby to stand trial in sex assault case

A US judge has ordered actor and comedian Bill Cosby to stand trial on charges of sexual assault.

Mr Cosby is accused of drugging and molesting a former Temple University employee in his home near Philadelphia in 2004.

The case was reopened last year after more than 40 of women came forward with similar accusations. No trial date has been set.

Mr Cosby has maintained that all of the encounters were consensual.

Police read a statement from the accuser, Andrea Constand, who now lives in Toronto.

“I told him, ‘I can’t talk, Mr Cosby’. I started to panic,” Ms Constand told police in 2005 following the incident, describing how Mr Cosby allegedly sexually violated her after giving her three blue pills.

The pills made her dizzy and made her legs “like jelly”.

Mr Cosby said she never told him to stop during the encounter.

His arraignment is 20 July. He is facing civil lawsuits in other states over the other accusations.

The judge has ruled that she will not have to testify.

More than 40 women have accused Mr Cosby of sexual assault, but in nearly all of the cases, too much time has elapsed for charges to be pursued.

The Constand case is the only one that falls within the statute of limitations for charges.

Mr Cosby is best known for his role as the father in the television hit The Cosby Show which ran from 1984 to 1992 and was a huge hit in the US and around the globe.

It made the comedian one of America’s most popular entertainers.

The 78-year-old comedian, once the highest paid US television star, could go to prison for 10 years if convicted.

Ms Constand has said that she came to think of Mr Cosby as a “mentor and a friend” before she said he made unwanted sexual advances.

She went to visit him at his home in 2004 where she said he drugged and sexually assaulted her.

A criminal complaint unsealed last year details the encounter.

Prosecutors allege that the victim protested when Mr Cosby offered her a glass of wine, saying she had not eaten that day.

He urged her to drink wine anyway, Ms Constand said in her testimony, so she drank a few sips along with the pills.

Within 30 minutes, she says she experienced blurred vision and had trouble speaking. Mr Cosby then told her to lie down on the couch and relax.

During that time she was lying on the couch, she says she was aware of Mr Cosby moving toward her, touching her breasts and genitals, and making her touch his genitals.

She says she did not consent to any of the acts, that she could not speak, and that she felt “frozen” and “paralysed”.

Prosecutors re-opened her case last summer. She and Mr Cosby settled a lawsuit in 2006 and she was paid an undisclosed sum.

Let’s block ads! (Why?)

Cosby to stand trial in sex assault case

A US judge has ordered actor and comedian Bill Cosby to stand trial on charges of sexual assault.

Mr Cosby is accused of drugging and molesting a former Temple University employee in his home near Philadelphia in 2004.

The case was reopened last year after more than 40 of women came forward with similar accusations. No trial date has been set.

Mr Cosby has maintained that all of the encounters were consensual.

Police read a statement from the accuser, Andrea Constand, who now lives in Toronto.

“I told him, ‘I can’t talk, Mr Cosby’. I started to panic,” Ms Constand told police in 2005 following the incident, describing how Mr Cosby allegedly sexually violated her after giving her three blue pills.

The pills made her dizzy and made her legs “like jelly”.

Mr Cosby said she never told him to stop during the encounter.

His arraignment is 20 July. He is facing civil lawsuits in other states over the other accusations.

The judge has ruled that she will not have to testify.

More than 40 women have accused Mr Cosby of sexual assault, but in nearly all of the cases, too much time has elapsed for charges to be pursued.

The Constand case is the only one that falls within the statute of limitations for charges.

Mr Cosby is best known for his role as the father in the television hit The Cosby Show which ran from 1984 to 1992 and was a huge hit in the US and around the globe.

It made the comedian one of America’s most popular entertainers.

The 78-year-old comedian, once the highest paid US television star, could go to prison for 10 years if convicted.

Ms Constand has said that she came to think of Mr Cosby as a “mentor and a friend” before she said he made unwanted sexual advances.

She went to visit him at his home in 2004 where she said he drugged and sexually assaulted her.

A criminal complaint unsealed last year details the encounter.

Prosecutors allege that the victim protested when Mr Cosby offered her a glass of wine, saying she had not eaten that day.

He urged her to drink wine anyway, Ms Constand said in her testimony, so she drank a few sips along with the pills.

Within 30 minutes, she says she experienced blurred vision and had trouble speaking. Mr Cosby then told her to lie down on the couch and relax.

During that time she was lying on the couch, she says she was aware of Mr Cosby moving toward her, touching her breasts and genitals, and making her touch his genitals.

She says she did not consent to any of the acts, that she could not speak, and that she felt “frozen” and “paralysed”.

Prosecutors re-opened her case last summer. She and Mr Cosby settled a lawsuit in 2006 and she was paid an undisclosed sum.

Let’s block ads! (Why?)

Pink Panther star Burt Kwouk dies

Burt Kwouk, who was best known for playing Inspector Clouseau’s manservant Cato in the Pink Panther films, has died aged 85.

He appeared in seven Pink Panther films opposite Peter Sellers as Clouseau’s servant who regularly attacked his employer to keep him alert.

He also starred in BBC sitcom Last of the Summer Wine from 2002 to 2010.

Born in Manchester but raised in Shanghai, the actor was awarded an OBE in the 2011 New Year Honour List.

A statement issued by his agent said: “Beloved actor Burt Kwouk has sadly passed peacefully away. The family will be having a private funeral but there will be a memorial at a later date.”

On the big screen Kwouk also appeared in three James Bond films including Goldfinger and You Only Live Twice.

Kwouk had a long TV career, appearing in numerous TV shows including The Avengers and Doctor Who. He also played Major Yamauchi in the 1980s wartime television drama Tenko.

He joined long-running sitcom Last of the Summer Wine as electrician Entwistle – a part that was written with him in mind.

The actor appeared in Harry Hill’s comedy series in the 1990s and also gained a cult following when he presented Channel 4’s interactive gambling show Banzai from 2001-2004.

Kwouk started acting when he returned to England in 1954 and his big break came 10 years later when director Blake Edwards offered him the part of Cato Fong, opposite Peter Sellers’s Inspector Clouseau.

His double act with Sellers was hugely popular with fans and he continued in the role of Cato after Sellers died in 1980, appearing opposite Roger Moore and Roberto Benigni when they took on the role of the bumbling French detective.

Let’s block ads! (Why?)

Gambaccini replaces Blackburn on Radio 2

Paul Gambaccini has been announced as the new presenter of Pick of the Pops on BBC Radio 2, replacing Tony Blackburn.

Gambaccini said he was “honoured to be asked to present one of Britain’s iconic radio programmes”.

“I will strive to meet the standards of my illustrious predecessors including Alan Freeman and Tony Blackburn.”

Blackburn was sacked in February because of a dispute over his evidence to the Jimmy Savile sex abuse inquiry.

Gambaccini currently presents America’s Greatest Hits on Radio 2 on Saturday nights.

The DJ returned to broadcasting in November after being on bail for a year over alleged historical sex offences as part of Operation Yewtree. He strenuously denied the claims and no action was taken by police.

Gambaccini wrote a memoir about the period and said he had suffered “12 months of trauma”.

After the news was announced, Blackburn tweeted his sadness at having “lost a show I loved, but I wish Paul well”.

Elsewhere on Radio 2, it was also announced Fearne Cotton and Martin Kemp will team up to fill in for Graham Norton when he takes his summer break.

Their new live show, which will have two celebrity guests each week, will run from 9 July until 10 September.

It is a return to radio for Cotton who left Radio 1 in May last year.

She said she “can’t wait to get back on the radio, so to be presenting on Radio 2 this summer on Saturday mornings with Martin Kemp is going to be absolutely brilliant”.

This summer will also see Trevor Nelson move from his usual Wednesday evening slot to a new two hour Saturday evening show from 20:00-22:00.

Nelson said listeners to his soul show had been asking him “for years” if it could be extended.

“So I’m very happy that every Saturday night for two hours I can play my favourite soulful tracks to make Saturday night in, the new Saturday night out. I couldn’t pick a more perfect slot.”

Other changes include Fern Britton filling in for Clare Balding when she heads to the Olympic Games in Rio.

A drive time special show on 30 May will feature actor Bill Nighy reunited with records from his precious collection that were lost in a house flood.

And the Queen’s 90th birthday will be celebrated in a special programme on 12 June which will celebrate her life through music.

Let’s block ads! (Why?)

Rebel Wilson joins Guys and Dolls

Comedian and actress Rebel Wilson is joining the cast of Guys and Dolls in London’s West End from June to August.

She tweeted she was “proud to announce” she would be doing an eight-week run.

The Pitch Perfect and Bridesmaids star will play nightclub singer Miss Adelaide in the multi-award winning musical, which first debuted on Broadway in 1950.

Further casting for the show at the Phoenix Theatre will be announced in due course.

‘Truly an honour’

Wilson trained at the Australian Theatre for Young People, where she appeared in a number of musicals and plays. She also wrote and performed in her own productions before beginning her film career.

“I saw my first musical at age 14, a show called 42nd Street, after one of my family’s dogs had unsuccessfully auditioned to be in it. It blew me away and I’ve loved musical theatre ever since,” the 36-year-old said.

She added that playing “such an iconic role as Miss Adelaide” was “truly an honour”.

“Hopefully I crush it, but you’ll have to come and see me to find out!”

Set in Prohibition-era New York, Guys and Dolls depicts the city’s gamblers, hustlers and nightclub singers. Some of its most famous musical numbers include My Time of Day, Luck Be A Lady and Sit Down You’re Rockin’ the Boat.

It is currently running in the West End, having moved from Chichester Festival Theatre, and is directed by Gordon Greenberg and choreographed by Carlos Acosta, the former principal with the English National Ballet.

Wilson recently presented a Bafta film award, and made light of the Oscars diversity issue, saying she had been “practising my transgender face” in the hope of winning a future award.

She also played actor Matt Lucas’s sister in the hit comedy film Bridesmaids in 2011 and the two were recently housemates for three years in California.

Let’s block ads! (Why?)

Kanye West accused of copyright theft

Kanye West is being sued by a Hungarian rock singer who has accused him of sampling his work without permission on the 2013 song New Slaves.

Gabor Presser filed for damages of at least $2.5m (£1.7m) at New York’s US District Court.

Presser claims one-third of New Slaves, from West’s album Yeezus, is an unauthorised copy of the 1969 song Gyongyhaju Lany.

Lawyers for West and Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC have yet to comment.

Presser said he wrote Gyongyhaju Lany, which roughly translates as Pearls in Her Hair, when he was in the band Omega. He said it was “one of the most beloved pop songs ever in Hungary and across Eastern Europe”.

The musician and composer, who began his music career during the ’60s, said he was unaware his song was being used until West’s lawyer emailed him soon after marketing began, indicating the star “would like to work out a deal with you as soon as possible”.

Cheque issued

Presser, who filed his legal claim on 20 May, said he was given 24 hours to respond to the email.

His complaint stated West’s lawyers sent him a $10,000 (£6,850) cheque and insisted he grant a licence, but Presser added he did not cash the cheque.

“Kanye West knowingly and intentionally misappropriated [the] plaintiff’s composition,” the complaint said. “After his theft was discovered, defendants refused to deal fairly with plaintiff.”

Rapper West headlined Glastonbury last year, and is one of the biggest names in popular music with 21 Grammy Awards under his belt and more than 11 million albums sold in the US alone.

However he is notoriously erratic and uncompromising, comparing himself to figures including Jesus and Leonardo Da Vinci, and occasionally launching into long mid-set rants.

It is the latest high-profile copyright case to make headlines – in April a US court ruled Led Zeppelin founders Robert Plant and Jimmy Page must face trial in a row over the song Stairway to Heaven.

A Los Angeles district judge said there were enough similarities between the song and an instrumental by the band Spirit to let a jury decide if damages should be awarded.

Let’s block ads! (Why?)