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Carmarthen comedian Rhod Gilbert replaces Nick Knowles for one-off DIY SOS Children in Need special

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Welsh funnyman Rhod Gilbert, known for his Work Experience BBC programmes will take over presenting duties on DIY SOS: The Big Build’s Children in Need special this year.

The news comes as regular presenter Nick Knowles was prevented from appearing on the show after he featured in an advert for breakfast cereal Shreddies as a builder – upsetting BBC executives after going against advertising guidance.

Nick will be returning to the show in 2022 however after coming to an agreement with BBC bosses. A join statement, release in May said: “Nick and the BBC have resolved the issue recently reported relating to Nick’s commercial agreements and BBC guidelines.

“With the [Sheddies] campaign still running, Nick will step back from the DIY SOS Children in Need special this year but will be back on our screens in 2022.”

Rhod says: “It’s a great honour to step in to Nick’s enormous steel toe-capped boots and be involved in Children in Need. I’m looking forward to joining the infamous DIY SOS team, and rallying an enormous group of local volunteers on a wonderfully ambitious and important project. After having tried my hand at over 30 jobs on my Work Experience TV programme, I’m hoping I may even be of some use around the site. My vis is high and my hat is hard, so bring it on.”

In a tweet, Nick said: “Rhod is a top bloke and I’m sure will do a great job, and I encourage you all to get behind this year’s Big Build which I’m sure will be just as impressive and impactful as every other year for those concerned.”

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This year’s DIY SOS: The Big Build special will head to Hull in September to take on a charitable build with BBC Children in Need for St Michael’s Youth Project in Hull, East Yorkshire.

The show will see Rhod Gilbert join the programme’s team of Mark, Chris, Jules, Billy and adventure playground engineer, John O’Driscoll, with kind local tradesmen and volunteers to embark on a build that will improve the physical and emotional health and wellbeing of children and young people in Hull and the surrounding areas.

The DIY SOS team, with the help of trade volunteers, have big plans to transform an empty 2 ½ acre field into a purpose built ‘adventure camping site’ for St Michael’s Youth Project in Hull. For over 30 years, St Michael’s (St Mike’s) have been working with children and young people in Hull and surrounding areas to deliver a variety of activities that improve children and young people’s emotional and physical health and wellbeing whilst supporting them to build their confidence and self-esteem and raising their aspirations for the future, encouraging them to reach their potential.

The DIY SOS: The Big Build’s team (Image: BBC Children in Need)

The project works with more than 500 children and young people who have little to no access to gardens or greenspaces, and through their programme of support gives them the opportunity to enjoy the benefits of, and learn from, the natural world. St Michael’s organise a small number of camping trips and residentials throughout the year at sites that are at least three hours away, which means that not all of the children they support are able to access them currently. Some also lack the confidence to be away from home overnight.

St Mike’s has been receiving funding from BBC Children in Need for several years. A three-year grant of £64,012 is currently being used to deliver The Eating Table project which delivers weekly activity sessions based around food and healthy eating for children and young people and their families, which aim to help prevent hunger and encourage a positive relationship with food.

DIY SOS, along with local trades and volunteers, will transform the empty field into an outdoor sanctuary which will allow the children and young people supported by St Michael’s, and across Hull, to get close to nature and enjoy breaks from the inner city areas that they live in. The team will create:

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  • A field kitchen to teach cooking and to cook
  • A landscaped campfire
  • A pizza oven
  • An exterior covered classroom
  • A circular mountain bike course, duel skill level about 1 km
  • A bird watching tower
  • A low walk rope
  • An adventure playground
  • A toilet/shower block ( maybe from donated containers)
  • A storage unit for 20 tents / 20 bikes

The team would be immensely grateful for the following donations of timber, aggregates, steel containers, septic tank or treatment plant, solar panels, wind turbines, mountain bikes, tents, rope, outdoor furniture, play equipment and internal fit out of shower block and field kitchen.

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Jo Lorenz, Project Lead at St Michaels Youth Project said: A lot of the work we deliver is focussed on delivery in the outdoors, as we know the value this has on young people’s lives. The pandemic has been a difficult time for all of us and it has had a huge impact on many of the young people. We know how important it is for the children, young people and families that we work with to be able to enjoy the outdoors in a place where they feel safe, so we are over the moon that the DIY SOS team are going to transform this space into somewhere which will have such a huge impact on our community and for all of the children and young people of Hull.”

Mark Millar, Build Manager on DIY SOS said: “DIY SOS always gets a great response in East Yorkshire, and we look forward to returning to work with this wonderful community on what is an inspiring charitable build, please join us.”

John O’Driscoll, Adventure Playground Engineer on DIY SOS said: “This is an amazing opportunity to give these young people a place to relax in nature and play again after such a difficult year with little opportunity to socialise. We are so excited to be part of The DIY SOS team for what is going to be a truly magical outdoor build. Being able to play outdoors is proven to be essential to children and young people’s mental and physical well-being. We know the re-vamped site will become a much-loved space in the heart of the community!”

Simon Antrobus, CEO of BBC Children in Need said: “We’re delighted that our friends at DIY SOS will be in Hull this September for another spectacular Big Build BBC Children in Need Special. We have seen over the years how this programme changes lives, and we know that this one will be no different, leaving a lasting legacy and supporting children and young people to do brilliant things in Hull and East Yorkshire.”

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The two week build will take place from Wednesday 8th – Thursday 16th September 2021. The programme will be broadcast in November 2021.

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Arts and Entertainment

Cult brand ‘Bingo Lingo’ announces Swansea Arena show

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Cult bingo brand Bingo Lingo has announced it will be bringing its popular mad-cap style of bingo to Swansea Arena this October.

The unconventional bingo night, which has previously sold over a million tickets to revellers across cities including Bristol, Birmingham, Liverpool and Luton, has announced a huge one-off show at Swansea’s newest multipurpose entertainment venue – Swansea Arena.

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Past winners have walked away with prizes ranging from the incredible to the ridiculous; from a new car, electric scooters, to festival tickets, giant inflatables and holidays.

The team behind Bingo Lingo announced the event explaining that: “We operate in over 30 cities in the UK, but the shows in Cardiff and Swansea are some of our favourites. Every event we’ve held in Swansea has sold out and the summer series we did with The Swansea Bay Pop Up was so fun. We want to give the city a huge show and Swansea Arena was the obvious choice.”

Tickets go on sale Wednesday 10 August at 12pm.

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Film & TV

Paralympian Ellie Simmonds OBE confirmed for Strictly Come Dancing

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Paralympian and former Olchfa Comprehensive School pupil, Ellie Simmonds OBE has been named as a contestant on this year’s Strictly Come Dancing.

The five-time Paralympic champion and broadcaster joins previously announced contestants Will Mellor, Kym Marsh, Richie Anderson, Kaye Adams, Jayde Adams and Tyler West.

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Ellie Simmonds OBE said: “Oh my gosh!! I’m literally bursting with excitement!! It’s been soooo hard keeping this secret as I’ve wanted to tell everyone. I’m going on Strictly Come Dancing!! I’m a tad nervous too, well more than a tad… I’m absolutely petrified!

“To be asked to be part of the Strictly family is just so exciting and I cannot wait, it’s going to be so much fun. I’m counting down the minutes until it starts; learning to dance, meeting my partner and everyone else involved in the show. Plus wearing the sequins and all that, it’s going to be a blast.

“I’ve been watching Strictly from as far back as I can remember; it’s a traditional lead up to Christmas with my family and it’s a genuine privilege to be part of it.”

Ellie is best known as a gold medal-winning Paralympic swimmer. At the age of thirteen, while a pupil at Olchfa Comprehensive School in Swansea, she was the youngest British athlete at the 2008 Summer Paralympics in Beijing, and won gold medals in the 100m and 400m freestyle events.

In 2012 she achieved gold in the 400m freestyle and the 200m Individual Medley at the Summer Paralympics in London and won a further gold in the 200m Individual Medley at Rio 2016. In addition she has won ten gold World Championship titles.

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At the age of 13 she won BBC Young Sports Personality of the Year and a year later, at just 14 years old, she became the youngest person ever receive an MBE. She was elevated to OBE in the 2013 New Year Honours for services to Paralympic sport.

After retiring from competitive swimming in 2020, Ellie has gone on to present for BBC Sport, most recently for the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games, as well as making documentaries such as Ellie Simmonds: A World Without Dwarfism? for BBC One and BBC iPlayer. She is set to explore disability and adoption in a recently announced ITV film.

(Lead image: BBC)

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Music

Theatre fans to get ‘Lost in Music’ at 70’s throwback tribute ‘One Night at the Disco’

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Hit 70’s concert show Lost in Music – One night at the disco is coming to Swansea’s Grand Theatre on Friday 9 September.

Disco’s roots are firmly founded in the early Seventies, says James Taylor, producer of the hit touring concert show Lost in Music, which hits Swansea’s Grand Theatre in the coming weeks.

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“It was a time when Motown Records’ biggest stars began to get funky,” he says. “Philadelphia Records became a hit song conveyor belt with its distinctive combination of soulful vocals and lush arrangements. And, soundtracks of movies – from Shaft to Car Wash – lifted the world to its dancing feet.”

By 1977, says James, disco was in full flow.

“Lost in Music fondly remembers the height of the disco era,” he says, “faithfully recreating the biggest hits of Donna Summer, Earth Wind and Fire, Gloria Gaynor, Chaka Khan, Chic, Diana Ross, Harold Melvin and the Bluenotes, Sister Sledge and more.

“Our company Entertainers produces scores of hit touring shows including the Magic of Motown, Fastlove, The Rocket Man and Thank You for the Music,” he says. “But, Lost in Music is by far our liveliest production. It’s non-stop dance anthems from curtain up.”

Disco tribute concert ‘Lost in Music – One night at the disco’ is coming to Swansea’s Grand Theatre

In fact, James admits a couple of mid-tempo tunes have had to be added to the 32-song set list to ‘give the audience a breather’.

“From worldwide ladies’ anthems like I’m Every Woman and I Will Survive,” says James, “to the Nile Rogers/Bernard Edwards-produced Everybody Dance, We Are Family, I’m Coming Out, I Want Your Love and – of course – Lost in Music; plus the greatest hits from New York’s legendary Studio 54 Discotheque: You Make Me Feel Mighty Real, More than a Woman and Disco Inferno; and soul anthems Ain’t No Stopping us Now and Boogie Wonderland – it’s disco wrapped up into two hours of non-stop hits.”

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Backed by a talented live band, Lost in Music stars a cast boasting stunning vocals which combines this with the extravagant dance moves and fabulous fashion of the era, to bring the best the late Seventies had to offer to life, live on stage.

“Audiences are taken on a musical journey straight to the heart of disco by a band that just wants to play in front of crazy fans,” promises James. “Concertgoers are encouraged to come dressed to impress and to get involved.

“It’s the feel-good show of the year – come and get lost in music. . . “

Touring the UK with more than 200 dates in the diary for 2022, Lost in Music is coming to Swansea’s Grand Theatre on Friday 9 September 2022. Tickets are on sale now.

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