Facebook avoids Apple with cloud-gaming launch

Facebook has launched its first “cloud-streamed” video games but is not offering them to iPhones or iPads.

Initially, only five titles already available as standalone smartphone apps will be accessible – via the main Facebook and Facebook Gaming apps on Android and Facebook’s website on PCs.

Later, it may add “all types of games”.

But it is not offering the product on Apple’s iOS mobile operating system because “we don’t know if launching on the App Store is a viable path”.

The two US technology giants clashed earlier this year, when Apple prevented Facebook from offering more basic “mini-games” via the iOS version of its Facebook Gaming app on the grounds this broke its App Store rules.

Apple has since clarified it is possible to offer cloud-based games via its mobile Safari browser instead – the route Microsoft’s Xbox xCloud and Amazon’s Luna cloud-gaming services are pursuing.

But Facebook said “there are limitations to what we can offer” via this route and made clear it was unhappy with the current state of affairs.

“While our iOS path is uncertain, one thing is clear,” blogged Jason Rubin, Facebook’s vice-president of Play.

“Apple treats games differently and continues to exert control over a very precious resource.”

Even so, one industry watcher suggested Facebook would be keen to resolve the matter before it rolled the service out more widely.

“iOS device owners are, on average, the highest-spending mobile-games users,” said George Jijiashvili, from games market research company Omdia.

“Therefore, cloud-gaming providers cannot afford to miss out on them.”

Facebook has long offered games via its platforms, most notably Farmville, Candy Crush Saga and Clash of Clans.

But until now, these have all been based on Flash or HMTL5 technologies, run locally on a user’s device.

By contrast, the cloud-based service runs the games on Facebook’s computer servers and then streams the graphics to players, who control the action from afar.

By doing so, the company says, it can offer more advanced gameplay.

But to begin with, its line-up is limited to five free-to-play games already available on Google Play and Apple’s App Store:

Mr Rubin said Facebook had chosen not to “overpromise and under-deliver”.

In time, the company plans to add more demanding PC titles.

But this soft launch could help it avoid some of the criticisms rivals have faced.

Reviews have highlighted Google’s Stadia cloud gaming service delivers “choppy gameplay” if users do not have a strong, fast internet connection.

And they have also have remarked on the minute-long waits for titles to load on Microsoft’s xCloud platform.

By focusing on games designed for handsets rather than consoles or PCs, Facebook also noted users would not need to buy add-on controllers or other special hardware at this point.

“Cloud game streaming for the masses still has a way to go,” Mr Rubin said.

“And it’s important to embrace both the advantages and the reality of the technology rather than try to oversell where it’ll be in the future.”

One consequence of this approach is some early adopters may not even realise they are using the service.

“The launch titles themselves are very underwhelming and will fail to excite dedicated console console and PC gamers – but it really doesn’t matter,” Mr Jijiashvili said.

“Facebook’s ultimate goal is to use gaming to increase user engagement.

“And I think in most cases, the kinds of users that will play these casual games will not even realise that they are doing it via cloud gaming.

“It will just seem like they are gaming as normal on Facebook.”

A Facebook spokesman said it intended to bring the service to the UK and other countries but declined to say when.

Facebook’s foray into cloud gaming makes sense as far as the current gaming landscape is concerned.

Lots of industry observers regard game-streaming as the future. But the most important couple of words in that last sentence are “the future”.

Right now, game-streaming doesn’t feel like a technology that’s ready for prime time. The experience, while great when it works, can often be plagued by connectivity or performance issues that frustrate players.

Facebook’s focus on streaming mobile games is a smart one as these are the sorts of titles that tend to be less performance intensive.

But a big question mark hangs over the perception of Facebook as a serious gaming platform.

The social media giant of course owns virtual reality outfit Oculus, which has a healthy gaming scene of its own.

But with everyone from Amazon to Microsoft and Google taking a bet on cloud gaming, the jury is out on Facebook’s further aspirations to grab gamers’ eyeballs.

Nabil Abdulrashid: Ofcom rejects 3,000 Britains Got Talent complaints

More than 3,000 complaints about comedian Nabil Abdulrashid’s routines on Britain’s Got Talent have been rejected by media watchdog Ofcom.

Abdulrashid’s jokes about race and religion took him to the final.

Ofcom said it took freedom of expression into account when deciding not to launch an investigation.

“The comedian’s satirical take on his life experiences as a black Muslim was likely to have been within audience expectations,” a spokesperson said.

Almost 1,000 people complained about Abdulrashid’s performance in the semi-final on 3 October, in which he joked about police treatment of black people, and about what “angry far-right guys” would think about someone joking about being black and Muslim.

“We just tell jokes about our lives because they matter – right?” the Croydon comic said.

Another 2,200 complained about the final on 10 October, when he laughed off the “snowflakes” who had objected to the previous week’s routine.

“They complained because we said black lives matter – thousands of complaints,” he said. “To be honest I’m shocked that many of them know how to write.

“They sent in thousands of angry letters. Hopefully if I annoy them today they can progress onto words.”

He also joked that Winston Churchill was black, because “when was the last time you met a white man called Winston?” and “What colour is his statue? Eh?”

And Abdulrashid suggested ITV should have had a different response to the 24,500 people who complained about dance troupe Diversity’s Black Lives Matter-inspired performance in September.

“I would have sent an email to everyone who complained. It would just say: ‘We understand you viewers are offended. But all viewers matter.’ Let’s see how they like it then.”

Responding to the number of complaints on Twitter, he joked: “I’m just happy I’ve kept workers at Ofcom from being made redundant. I’m a hero and should be appreciated for my contribution to the economy. @Ofcom you’re welcome.”

Taylor Swifts Folklore is the first album of 2020 to sell a million copies

Taylor Swift’s latest album Folklore has returned to number one in America, becoming the first record to sell more than a million copies in 2020.

The star’s low-key eighth album was recorded during lockdown and released as a surprise for fans in August.

The best-reviewed album of her career, it is widely expected to pick up multiple Grammy nominations next month.

According to Billboard, Folklore sold 57,000 copies in the US last week, bringing its total to 1.038 million.

Swift’s previous album, Lover, was also the only record to sell a million copies in the US in 2019.

Folklore is the star’s ninth album to reach that milestone – with all eight of her studio albums, along with her Christmas release The Taylor Swift Holiday Collection, each selling more than a million.

The 30-year-old announced her latest album with just 12 hours notice on 23 August this year.

“Most of the things I had planned this summer didn’t end up happening,” added Swift, who was set to headline Glastonbury’s Pyramid stage in June.

“But there is something I hadn’t planned on that DID happen,” she told fans, before revealing that Folklore would comprise “songs I’ve poured all of my whims, dreams, fears, and musings into”.

The album topped the UK and US charts in its first week of release, and became the year’s best-seller by mid-September.

Later that month, Swift also surpassed Whitney Houston for most cumulative weeks at number one by a woman in the Billboard 200 chart – with a total of 47 weeks at the summit.

Houston had 46 weeks, while Adele holds third place with 34 weeks.

The record returned to number one this week after the star started selling signed copies of the CD on her online store for $25 (£19) each.

On Twitter, she joked that fans could get an extra gift with their purchase.

“Along with the signed CD, some lucky purchasers of these items may even receive complimentary cat hair stuck inside the pages,” she said.

“Or the aromatic scent of white wine I occasionally spill while signing.”

Russell Tovey on seeing ghost dogs and his first lead role in TV

“I didn’t find it scary but I saw a ghost dog,” Russell Tovey explains very calmly.

“I’m convinced of it, I saw a big white ghost dog at a house in Basildon, make of that what you will.”

With Halloween looming, it’s that time of year when we ask about ghostly sightings.

Most people haven’t seen a thing, but Russell, who is being haunted in his latest role in ITV’s The Sister, has some actual experience.

He says it was about six years ago when he was staying at a friend’s very old house.

“There was this clairvoyant woman who turned up in the middle of the day,” he explains.

“She started stroking the air and my friend’s mum asked what she was doing, the woman said ‘you’ve got a dog here and I’m stroking the dog’.”

Unfazed by this, they all stayed in the house and later that evening, while they were watching television, Russell had his spooky encounter.

“I remember, I looked out down the hall, and there was a big white dog coming down the stairs.

“My first thought was ‘where’s that come from?’ And then it ran down the hall and disappeared.”

When he told everyone what he had seen, they laughed and accused him of being an attention seeker.

“I felt quite special that I’d seen it,” he says.

“It might have been a different situation if it was a person, I would probably have made a mess on the couch.”

Now he is grappling with a human ghost in The Sister.

In the four-part horror/thriller he plays Nathan who is married to the sister of a missing girl.

“It is scary, it is a really scary show,” he admits.

“As an audience, you are conflicted because you care about the characters and you want the truth to come out.

“But you also want the truth kept hidden because you don’t want it to affect the characters.”

Believe it or not, this is Russell’s first television lead role.

He has been on our screens for more than 20 years, starting in Mud on CBBC, and is best known for roles in Being Human, Him & Her and Years and Years.

While he is incredibly excited at leading a primetime show, he admits it is a lot of hard work.

“When I finished, I thought it’s quite nice to play number two or three on the call sheet because you get a few days off,” he laughs.

It doesn’t bother Russell that this leading role has come in his late 30s, in fact, he is positive he couldn’t have done it any younger.

“The thing about being an actor is that you cherry-pick emotions from your real life and then channel them into playing roles,” he explains.

“So what I’ve experienced since my early 20s to late 30s is totally different and an asset to be able to access these sorts of characters and unlock them.

“There is no way I could have played Nathan in my 20s like I can play him now.”

For Russell it is all about playing the long game.

His good friend James Corden told him years ago that as an actor you want to always stay warm and not worry about being hot.

“If you’re hot, you can only stay hot for so long,” he says.

“To maintain that hotness is really hard, the moment you have a flop, things can start to wane.

“It is much more rewarding to stay warm, be someone that everyone loves to work with and be a bit of a chameleon in roles.”

Russell feels he has always maintained a warmth, getting hotter and cooler at various times, like a spring day.

“I think that’s my sort of energy, rather than being like a scorching record-breaking day in July,” he says.

“I feel like I sort of coasted through like a gentle day where you might need a sweater in the evening, but otherwise you’re happy just wearing a T-shirt.”

The Sister is on ITV over four night from Monday 26 October.

Follow Newsbeat on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

Listen to Newsbeat live at 12:45 and 17:45 weekdays – or listen back here

Johnny Leeze, former Emmerdale actor, dies at 78

Former Emmerdale star Johnny Leeze has died at the age of 78.

Leeze, whose real name was John Glen, was best known for playing Ned Glover from 1994 to 2000 in the ITV soap.

His brother Phil said on Facebook:. “It is with deep regret to inform you all my brother John passed away this morning… He will be missed greatly.”

He added that Leeze had been diagnosed with Covid-19 shortly before his death and that he also had underlying health issues.

Leeze was also known for his earlier role as milkman Harry Clayton in Coronation Street, and he also worked as a stand-up comedian on the club scene.

His brother’s tribute added: “He made thousands laugh. Rest in peace John. Your loving brother Phil and sisters Pam and Sheila.

“I know you will have them all in stitches up there. Fly high on angels wings.”

His daughter Holly told the Daily Star that he had been ill for two weeks and had tested positive for coronavirus on the day before he died.

She also said he had had a heart attack on the morning of his death and had been taken into hospital.

“He was my friend, he was such a strong, strong man,” she told the paper.

“He was such a great guy, a really funny guy. He was loved by everybody really.”

Leeze’s character Ned Glover in Emmerdale lived with his wife Jan and their three children and helped the Sugden family out on their farm.

Ned and Linda lost two of their children in tragic accidents and the couple later split up, leading to Jan leaving the village, followed by Ned a year later, moving to Ibiza with an old girlfriend.

Ned returned in July 2000 for his son Roy’s leaving storyline, which saw him offering Roy and his wife Kelly the chance to come with him to Ibiza. The outcome was that Roy ended his marriage and went off with his father alone.

In Coronation Street, Leeze was best known for playing the milkman Harry Clayton who bought number 11 Coronation Street in 1985, although Leeze in fact appeared in the soap on two other occasions, each time playing a different role.

He also played Inspector Cox in The League of Gentlemen, as well as having roles in Doctors, Life on Mars and Last of the Summer Wine.

Russell Tovey on seeing ghosts and his first lead role in TV

“I didn’t find it scary but I saw a ghost dog,” Russell Tovey explains very calmly.

“I’m convinced of it, I saw a big white ghost dog at a house in Basildon, make of that what you will.”

With Halloween looming, it’s that time of year when we ask about ghostly sightings.

Most people haven’t seen a thing, but Russell, who is being haunted in his latest role in ITV’s The Sister, has some actual experience.

He says it was about six years ago when he was staying at a friend’s very old house.

“There was this clairvoyant woman who turned up in the middle of the day,” he explains.

“She started stroking the air and my friend’s mum asked what she was doing, the woman said ‘you’ve got a dog here and I’m stroking the dog’.”

Unfazed by this, they all stayed in the house and later that evening, while they were watching television, Russell had his spooky encounter.

“I remember, I looked out down the hall, and there was a big white dog coming down the stairs.

“My first thought was ‘where’s that come from?’ And then it ran down the hall and disappeared.”

When he told everyone what he had seen, they laughed and accused him of being an attention seeker.

“I felt quite special that I’d seen it,” he says.

“It might have been a different situation if it was a person, I would probably have made a mess on the couch.”

Now he is grappling with a human ghost in The Sister.

In the four-part horror/thriller he plays Nathan who is married to the sister of a missing girl.

“It is scary, it is a really scary show,” he admits.

“As an audience, you are conflicted because you care about the characters and you want the truth to come out.

“But you also want the truth kept hidden because you don’t want it to affect the characters.”

Believe it or not, this is Russell’s first television lead role.

He has been on our screens for more than 20 years, starting in Mud on CBBC, and is best known for roles in Being Human, Him & Her and Years and Years.

While he is incredibly excited at leading a primetime show, he admits it is a lot of hard work.

“When I finished, I thought it’s quite nice to play number two or three on the call sheet because you get a few days off,” he laughs.

It doesn’t bother Russell that this leading role has come in his late 30s, in fact, he is positive he couldn’t have done it any younger.

“The thing about being an actor is that you cherry-pick emotions from your real life and then channel them into playing roles,” he explains.

“So what I’ve experienced since my early 20s to late 30s is totally different and an asset to be able to access these sorts of characters and unlock them.

“There is no way I could have played Nathan in my 20s like I can play him now.”

For Russell it is all about playing the long game.

His good friend James Corden told him years ago that as an actor you want to always stay warm and not worry about being hot.

“If you’re hot, you can only stay hot for so long,” he says.

“To maintain that hotness is really hard, the moment you have a flop, things can start to wane.

“It is much more rewarding to stay warm, be someone that everyone loves to work with and be a bit of a chameleon in roles.”

Russell feels he has always maintained a warmth, getting hotter and cooler at various times, like a spring day.

“I think that’s my sort of energy, rather than being like a scorching record-breaking day in July,” he says.

“I feel like I sort of coasted through like a gentle day where you might need a sweater in the evening, but otherwise you’re happy just wearing a T-shirt.”

The Sister is on ITV over four night from Monday 26 October.

Follow Newsbeat on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

Listen to Newsbeat live at 12:45 and 17:45 weekdays – or listen back here

Bafta Cymru: Jonathan Pryce and Ruth Wilson win acting gongs

Jonathan Pryce and Ruth Wilson won the top acting prizes in Wales’ biggest film and TV awards ceremony.

BBC docudrama The Left Behind, about the rise of the far right in the UK, won best TV drama in the first Bafta Cymru ceremony to be held online.

The online ceremony was hosted by Alex Jones and celebrities including George Lucas and Catherine Zeta-Jones revealed this year’s winners.

Pryce had also been Oscar nominated for his winning role in the Two Popes.

In a strong category, Pryce beat his co-star Anthony Hopkins, star of The Trip to Greece Rob Brydon and Gethin Daniel Young from best drama winner The Left Behind.

Wilson saw off competition from her His Dark Materials co-star Dafne Keen, the 2019 winner Danielle Creevy and Sally Hawkins from Eternal Beauty.

The Left Behind beat His Dark Materials, In My Skin and Keeping Faith to the best TV drama prize.

It was the 29th Bafta Cymru Awards and the ceremony took place in a closed studio, with nominees invited to accept their awards virtually. It was streamed online on Bafta’s social media channels.

The award for outstanding contribution to film and television went to Rhondda-born Leslie Dilley.

His behind-the-scenes career as an art director and production designer has seen him work on iconic films including the early Star Wars films and Raiders of the Lost Ark.

Mr Dilley’s career began as a plasterer on classics including the James Bond film From Russia With Love, while his tenure as art director at Pinewood Studios saw him work on Star Wars (1977), Superman (1978), Alien (1979), Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981) and Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back (1980).

Covid: No touring West End shows in Cardiff until vaccine warning

Hit West End shows may not return to the Wales Millennium Centre “without a Covid-19 vaccine”, it has been warned.

Visiting tours of The Lion King and Phantom of the Opera to Cardiff have been cancelled as the £125m venue, which shut in March, remains closed.

Artistic director Graeme Farrow said it hoped to stage “test events” with about 150 people in the audience in January.

However he said the venue cannot “flick a switch” and fill a 1,800 capacity hall.

Mr Farrow has said discussions with Welsh Government had started in a bid to allow test events to take place, involving about 150 people sat at cabaret tables spread across the venue’s main stage.

Productions were cancelled when the UK shut down because of the Covid-19 crisis in March and the WMC remains shut to the general public “until April 2021 at the earliest”.

It estimated the venue would lose £20m in commercial income this year and said in June that 250 jobs were at risk.

The WMC received £3.9m from the Arts Council of Wales’s cultural recovery fund earlier in the week to help them through the pandemic.

But the venue has now made 63 permanent members of staff redundant due to the financial impact of the coronavirus crisis.

But Mr Farrow hopes performances can return in the new year.

“We want to run a series of test events for live performance with audiences,” he said.

“We think we can start testing that from January with the audience on the stage and not in the stalls.

“Because come the summer or the autumn, without a vaccine we won’t be able to just flick a switch and have 1,800 people back in this auditorium.

“We need to be able to plan through for that from early in the new year with small audiences, then we need to test 250, 500, 1,000 before we can even think about reopening for big shows.

“At the minute we are thinking May at the very earliest for that, and that may move back. But we will plan for every scenario, and what the money gives us is the ability to do that with people.”

Six and Everybody’s Talking About Jamie are set to become the first musicals back in London’s West End in mid-November, eight months after the curtain came down.

Other theatres are also experimenting while Covid restrictions prevent them resuming traditional shows.

Theatr Clwyd in Mold has held outdoor performances and has begun experimenting with streamed online events, while Sherman Theatre in Cardiff has made a series of audio plays by new and established writers.

But while Welsh Government guidelines currently prevent theatre shows from going ahead, Theatr Clwyd’s artistic director Tamara Harvey said she hoped the rules would change after the firebreak lockdown.

“The frustrating thing for us is that we had a whole autumn season ready to go,” she said.

“The theatre is laid out as a cabaret space with socially distanced seating. We are able to bring people into our cinema, so we know we can do that safely, and where pubs and restaurants are still allowed to stay open that has been really frustrating.

“We are really good, in theatres, at keeping people safe and keeping them in their seats.”

Wales Millennium Centre has called for similar rules for live events as those which exist in hospitality.

“How can cinemas open but this place can’t? Even if we were to put 50 people in this auditorium, we could have them 10 metres apart. But we can’t,” added Mr Farrow.

“I think we need to start asking the question ‘Why not?’ rather than ‘Why?’.”

The Welsh Government said its programme of pilot events with spectators at both outdoor and indoor events has “been put on hold, the public health position takes precedence”.

“We understand this is a very difficult time for the sector and we will continue to work in partnership towards a safe reopening when the time is right,” said a spokesperson.

Olivier Awards: Messages of faith and hope at UK theatres biggest night

Stars of the stage gave messages of “faith and hope” at Sunday’s Olivier Awards, as most theatres remain closed because of the pandemic.

Winners encouraged those working in the arts to stay positive about the future, and look ahead to a time when live performances will be able to resume.

Dear Evan Hansen and & Juliet were among the big winners, while Fleabag star Andrew Scott was named best actor.

He urged those in the industry to “keep the faith” as he accepted his trophy.

“I cant wait to be back on the boards and having a laugh again as soon as we can,” he said.

The actor won for his performance in the Noel Coward play Present Laughter, and said he was “genuinely thrilled” to win an Olivier.

“A sense of humour that is incredibly important for us people in the theatre,” he said. “It’s something that’s helped us all survived in the last few months during this incredibly arduous time.”

The Oliviers are the most prestigious awards event in UK theatre. Sunday’s ceremony was hosted by Jason Manford at the London Palladium, and took place without an audience.

Shows which opened in the year to February 2020 were eligible for this year’s prizes. The ceremony normally takes place in April, but it was delayed this year due to the pandemic.

Most theatres have remained closed since lockdown was imposed in March, but some venues have tried to re-open with social distancing restrictions in place.

Several of this year’s winners praised the freelancers who work in the industry and looked ahead to a time when theatres would be allowed to fully reopen.

Sharon D Clarke, who was named best actress for her performance in Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman, said theatre professionals must “know their worth”.

“We must know what our incredible industry brings not only to the coffers, but to the soul of our nation,” she said. “Keep the faith people, we will be back.”

Perhaps the most poignant speech of the night came from Marianne Elliott, who jointly won best director with Miranda Cromwell for Death of a Salesman.

“This is a happy day and this is a sad day, because of what theatre was, and because none of us know when it will properly return,” she said.

“Any shows that are happening right now are, let’s make no bones about it, running at a loss. All our theatre practitioners are mainly freelancers and a lot of them have slipped through the cracks, and have not had any benefits since March.

“But it is a happy day because it reminds us of what theatre is, what it can do, and how it can touch hearts, minds and souls.”

Miriam-Teak Lee, who won best actress in a musical for her leading role in & Juliet, referred to the unusual nature of this year’s ceremony.

“Even though it’s not the awards show as we know it, it doesn’t make it any less special,” she said.

The Duchess of Cornwall made an impassioned speech in support of theatre as she presented a special award to lyricist Don Black.

“Those of us who believe in the theatre also believe in its resilience,” she said. “It is a cornerstone of a fertile cultural life, a forum for debate, and a powerful means of building community.

“After all, a play can be many things – funny, heartbreaking, cathartic, comforting. It can entertain us for an evening, or enrich the soul forever.”

She added: “I should like to thank those of you whose profession is in the theatre for your determination and your flexibility. Please remain resilient – we need you and we have missed you.”

Dear Evan Hansen, which debuted in London’s West End last year after a hugely successful Broadway run, was named best new musical.

The show tells the story of a young boy with social anxiety, who, in an effort to become more popular, pretends he was close friends with a classmate who took his own life.

Its other prizes included best original score, as well as best actor in a musical for Sam Tutty, who plays the titular character.

The other musical acting categories were dominated by & Juliet, with Miriam-Teak Lee winning best leading actress, while her co-stars David Bedella and Cassidy Janson took home best supporting actor and actress.

The musical explores what would have happened to Juliet if she hadn’t died along with Romeo at the end of Shakespeare’s play.

The show features the music of songwriter Max Martin, who has written tracks for Britney Spears, Katy Perry, Pink, The Backstreet Boys and Ariana Grande.

In her speech, Janson said: “Thank you to every single person in & Juliet, you are the most glorious human beings to work with. You are so skilled, so valuable, don’t any of you ever re-train.”

Her comment was a reference to a recently-launched government scheme which is intended to encourage adults to consider new careers, as the economy changes due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Accepting his award for best supporting actor in a musical, Bedella added: “To everybody out there in the theatre community who is at times reaching a moment of despair lately: hold strong, we will be back in live theatres before we know it.”

Sir Tom Stoppard’s Leopoldstadt was named best new play, while Fiddler on the Roof won best musical revival and Cyrano De Bergerac best revival.

The latter show, which starred James McAvoy, was written by Edmond Rostand and originally performed in 1897.

Matthew Bourne won the ninth Olivier of his career thanks to his choreography on Mary Poppins, making him the individual with the most Olivier Awards.

Emilia took home three prizes including best costume and sound design, as well as one of the night’s top awards – best new comedy.

The show is based 17th Century poet Emilia Bassano – who was known as the “dark lady of Shakespeare” as she was rumoured to be the playwright’s muse.

Sir Ian McKellen was honoured with his seventh Olivier Award for the tour he embarked on to celebrate his 80th birthday.

“I didn’t want to have a birthday party,” Sir Ian told Manford. “I didn’t think there was anything to celebrate.

“So, I thought if I go out of London no-one will be able to find me… I initially thought I’ll go around the world… then when I counted up there were nearly 80 theatres that I knew and loved in this country so I thought why bother going abroad?”

Best new play – Leopoldstadt

Best new musical – Dear Evan Hansen

Best new comedy – Emilia

Best revival – Cyrano De Bergerac

Best musical revival – Fiddler On The Roof

Best director – Marianne Elliott and Miranda Cromwell (Death Of A Salesman)

Best actor – Andrew Scott (Present Laughter)

Best actress – Sharon D. Clarke (Death Of A Salesman)

Best supporting actor – Adrian Scarborough (Leopoldstadt)

Best supporting actress – Indira Varma (Present Laughter)

Best actor in a musical – Sam Tutty (Dear Evan Hansen)

Best actress in a musical – Miriam-Teak Lee (& Juliet)

Best supporting actor in a musical – David Bedella (& Juliet)

Best supporting actress in a musical – Cassidy Janson (& Juliet)

Best family show – The Worst Witch at Vaudeville Theatre

Best set design – Bob Crowley for Mary Poppins

Best lighting – Paule Constable (The Ocean At The End Of The Lane at National Theatre)

Best new dance production – Ingoma

Best new opera production – Billy Budd

Best costume design – Joanna Scotcher (Emilia)

Best sound design – Emma Laxton (Emilia)

Best theatre choreographer – Matthew Bourne and Stephen Mear (Mary Poppins)

Best original score – Dear Evan Hansen (Benj Pasek and Justin Paul, Orchestration by Alex Lacamoire)

Outstanding achievement in dance: Sara Baras for her choreography and performance in Ballet Flamenco – Sombras at Sadler’s Wells

Outstanding achievement in opera – The Children’s Ensemble for their performance in Noye’s Fludde

Outstanding achievement in affiliate theatre – Baby Reindeer at Bush Theatre

Special award – Don Black

Adele sings and jokes about weight loss as she hosts Saturday Night Live

Adele joked about her recent weight loss and told fans “my album’s not finished” as she hosted the US comedy show Saturday Night Live.

“I know I look really, really different since you last saw me,” said the 32-year-old, as she took to the stage.

“But actually, because of all the Covid restrictions…I had to travel light and I could only bring half of me,” she joked. “And this is the half I chose.”

The star added she was “too scared” to sing and host SNL at the same time.

“I’d rather just put on some wigs, have a glass of wine or six and see what happens.”

However, the star did break into song during one of the night’s sketches.

A spoof of the reality show The Bachelor, it saw Adele enter the competition as a female contestant looking for a date.

“I’m here because I’ve had a lot of heartbreak in my life – first at 19 and then, sort of famously, at 21 and then, even more famously, at 25,” she said, referencing the titles of her first three albums.

The sketch saw her endure endless rejections in The Bachelor’s dating scenarios.

On every occasion, she interrupted the filming with one of her songs – including Rolling In The Deep, Hello and Set Fire To The Rain – to the increasing annoyance of her castmates.

At the end, she walked off the set singing Someone Like You, shouting: “Catch me next week on Love Island!”

It has been five years since Adele last released an album, and three since she last appeared on US TV – at the 2017 Grammy Awards.

Her booking on SNL prompted speculation that she was ready to release her fourth album, but the star wrote on Instagram last week that she wanted the appearance to be a “stand alone moment”.

In her opening monologue, Adele said she was “absolutely thrilled” to be part of the show that “broke my career in America, 12 long years ago”.

“You see I was the musical guest back in 2008 when Sarah Palin came on with Tina Fey,” she explained, “so obviously a few million people tuned in to watch it. And well, the rest is now history.”

That episode was the highest-rated edition of SNL in 14 years, and Adele’s performance of Chasing Pavements and Cold Shoulder made her an overnight star.

The day after Adele’s performance, her debut album 19 took the top spot on the iTunes chart for the first time, while Chasing Pavements climbed the Billboard chart from 46 to 11, giving the star her first US hit.

As with her first appearance, Saturday night’s show came just weeks before a presidential election. Adele said she didn’t “know anything about American politics… but I’ll just say this: ‘Sarah Palin, babes, thanks for everything.'”

She continued: “I always get very nervous on live TV, but tonight especially so, because I swear a lot. And because I’m British I tend to skip all those medium ones and go straight to the worst ones.

“Last time I was told not to swear specifically during a live broadcast, I was playing Glastonbury and well, this is what happened…” she said, cueing up a compilation of her expletive-ridden performance in 2016.

Other sketches during the 90-minute show saw the star playing a ghost haunting a mansion, and an English woman who is secretly obsessed with colouring books, having her fortune told.

“I wonder if you see anything work-related in the next year,” she asked Madame Vivelda, played by comedian Kate McKinnon.

“I see no concerts in 2020,” she was told. “Only colouring.”

A third scene saw her playing a middle-aged divorcee who clumsily stumbles into racist stereotypes while extolling the virtues of escaping to Africa.

As she and McKinnon repeatedly emphasized the wonder of “the bamboo” and dreamily referenced “the tribesmen”, Adele kept breaking character and stifling giggles.

The star dedicated Saturday’s show to front-line workers in the Covid-19 pandemic, some of whom had been invited to the socially-distanced audience in New York.

The programme, which is not broadcast live in the UK, will be repeated on Sky Comedy and Now TV on Sunday night.

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