Kia NBA Most Valuable Player, Best Style & Game Winner Award winner Russell Westbrook (Photo by Evan Agostini /Invision/AP)NEW YORK (AP) — Russell Westbrook moved past Oscar Robertson and kept right on going to the top of the NBA.Westbrook was voted MVP on Monday night after setting a record with 42 triple-doubles during his historic season. He led the league with 31.6 points and added 10.7 rebounds and 10.4 assists per game, joining Robertson as the only players to average a triple-double for the season and breaking Robertson’s single-season record of 41 triple-doubles in 1961-62.“I remember growing up just being home, playing the video games and stuff with my pops, and my mom sitting there and my brother and just talking about maybe one day I could be the MVP. Obviously, I was joking at the time,” Westbrook said.“But now to be standing here with this trophy next to me is a true blessing, man, and it’s an unbelievable feeling, something that I can never imagine.”Westbrook’s victory ended the first NBA Awards show, which included two wins apiece for the Houston Rockets and Milwaukee Bucks.He received 69 first-place votes and 888 points from a panel of 100 media members and a fan vote to easily beat Houston’s James Harden, who had 22 first-place votes and 753 points. Kawhi Leonard was third with nine first-place votes and 500 points.Westbrook succeeded Stephen Curry, who had won the past two MVP awards. The point guard who plays with defiance on the court got choked up during an acceptance speech in which he brought some teammates onto the stage with him.The Thunder went 33-9 when he had a triple-double, riding Westbrook’s record run into the playoffs in their first season after losing Kevin Durant to the Golden State Warriors.“Oscar, guys like him, Magic Johnson, those guys, obviously I wasn’t able to see those guys play, but just to look back at history and see the things that they did, it’s something that I looked up to as a kid,” Westbrook said.“I never thought I would be able to say that I broke Oscar Robertson’s record, and that’s just a true blessing.”Earlier, Milwaukee’s Malcolm Brogdon became the first player not picked in the first round to win NBA Rookie of the Year in the common draft era, beating out Philadelphia’s Dario Saric and Joel Embiid.Brogdon was the No. 36 overall selection out of Virginia. The common draft era began in 1966.“I think it’s an example for guys that are told they are too short, they are not athletic enough, they are not real point guards, they are not real shooting guards,” Brogdon said. “I just think it’s an important message for people to see, and it can be done. It just takes a lot.”Teammate Giannis Antetokounmpo won the Most Improved Player award.Houston coach Mike D’Antoni won his second Coach of the Year award, and the Rockets’ Eric Gordon was Sixth Man of the Year after setting a record for most 3-pointers off the bench in his first season as a reserve.“Obviously, I’m just proud of the team and the way they responded all year. Great organization,” D’Antoni said of the Rockets’ 55-win season.“This is not an individual award. This is a lot of people, a lot of hard work goes into it, and I’m the recipient of some pretty good players.”In his first season coming off the bench, Gordon set a single-season record with 206 3-pointers by a reserve. He averaged 16.2 points to help fuel the Rockets’ run to the surprising No. 3 seed in the Western Conference and edged former NBA Finals MVP Andre Iguodala of Golden State by 32 points.Golden State’s Draymond Green won the Defensive Player of the Year, ending Leonard’s two-year run. Leading the league in steals from his do-everything role with the NBA champions, he had a franchise-record 10 steals in a Feb. 10 game at Memphis while recording the first triple-double in NBA history without scoring in double figures, adding 11 rebounds and 10 assists.The NBA formerly gave out its individual awards at various points throughout the postseason before switching to the awards show this season and presenting them all at once in front of the league’s top players and stars from the entertainment world.Two of the best moments came during segments that didn’t include the NBA’s six individual awards.Bill Russell was presented the first Lifetime Achievement award, welcomed on stage by fellow Hall of Fame centers Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, David Robinson, Shaquille O’Neal, Alonzo Mourning and Dikembe Mutombo. The 11-time champion as a player and the league’s first Black coach first pointed at them and joked that he would have kicked their butts, then told them: “You have no idea how much respect I have for you guys.”Former Thunder assistant coach Monty Williams was given the SagerStrong Award for the strength he showed after his wife was killed in a car crash in Oklahoma City. He was given a colorful jacket like the ones worn by Craig Sager, the longtime Turner Sports reporter who died of cancer this past season.
If Major League Baseball is in the age of the superteam, the Chicago Cubs are at least partially to blame. When they built their championship roster for 2016, the Cubs combined effective tanking with savvy offseason pickups to create one of the best baseball teams ever. But they were quickly succeeded by the Houston Astros, who won the following year using a very similar blueprint. Between the rise of the historically dominant Astros and Los Angeles Dodgers (who didn’t tank but mixed a great talent pipeline with outrageous spending) — to say nothing of the Cleveland Indians or New York Yankees — the Cubs were losing their cachet as a World Series frontrunner. They’d become victims of an era they helped touch off.But Chicago took a big step in reversing that slide Saturday, inking starting pitcher Yu Darvish to a six-year deal worth $126 million. In doing so, the Cubs are climbing away from the no-man’s-land between the top contenders and the tankers, ensuring that Kris Bryant and Co.’s most cost-effective seasons are spent pursuing another championship.Darvish remains one of the best pitchers in baseball, and he’s a major addition to the Cubs’ roster. Since Darvish came over to MLB from Japan as a 25-year-old, only 17 other pitchers have created more wins above replacement (two of his new teammates, Jon Lester and Jose Quintana, rank above him). Darvish has never been worth less than 3.5 WAR when he played a full season, and he contended for the Cy Young award in his first two years in the league.His most recent few seasons have had their challenges. The Japanese sensation went down in 2014 with an injury that required Tommy John surgery, and the recovery period kept him out for the whole 2015 season. Then, amid concerns over whether he was tipping his pitches, Darvish put up the worst numbers of his career in ERA and fielding-independent pitching in 2017. And he struggled in his postseason stint with the Dodgers, posting two of his worst starts ever.But that didn’t deter the Cubs from signing him — nor should it have. Setting small-sample-size concerns aside, Darvish was one of the best free agents available, and he projects as one of the top 20 starters in baseball. Acquiring him at the relatively paltry price of $21 million per year is one of the best bargains of the anemic 2018 offseason. For reference, FanGraphs projected going into the winter that Darvish would get a five- or six-year deal worth between $24 and $28 million per season. But thanks to one of the slowest free-agency periods in recent memory, Chicago ended up landing a top ace for much less money than anyone would have expectedDarvish complements a Cubs rotation that may become one of the best in the league again. According to FanGraphs’ projections, Chicago now has the third-best rotation in the game, trailing the first-place Dodgers by less than two WAR.1The Astros are No. 2. That represents a big improvement over last season, when the Cubs’ starters had slipped to 10th in the majors in WAR. One of the keys to Chicago’s 2016 World Series run was having the third-best rotation in the game, but the next year saw an across-the-board drop-off in performance from the Cubs’ big four of Lester, Kyle Hendricks, Jake Arrieta2Who remains unsigned, having reportedly rejected an extension offer that Chicago made just before signing Darvish. and John Lackey, which played a large role in Chicago’s championship hangover. The additions of Darvish, Tyler Chatwood and 2017 trade-deadline pickup Quintana ought to help Cub pitching bounce back.And perhaps most importantly, Darvish inches the Cubs back toward the top of the MLB heap, in addition to giving them a leg up in what looks like a tough division (which features two of the few teams that have made a lot of offseason noise, the St. Louis Cardinals and Milwaukee Brewers). Before the signing, Chicago was projected for 47.7 WAR by FanGraphs — not much more than the Cubs’ archrival Cardinals. After the deal, that number moved up to 50.1 WAR. It might not sound like much of a difference, but in baseball, incremental improvements can pay big dividends at the high end of the talent spectrum. Once a team’s projected win total reaches the mid-90s — and 50.1 WAR translates to about 98 wins over a full season — each additional win is worth nearly 1 extra percentage point of World Series probability.The benefit could be even greater in a season like the one 2018 is shaping up to be. We gathered preseason win forecasts3Averaging together Baseball Prospectus’s PECOTA with Vegas’s over/unders. for each season since 2005, tracking how often teams were projected to finish with a given number of victories. From 2005 to 2017, an average of 17.4 of MLB’s 30 teams were predicted to win between 80 and 94 games each season, with 0.7 teams projected to post a better record and 11.9 projected to do worse. This season, however, only 12 teams are in that 80-to-94-win bucket, versus 4 teams above and 14 below. Baseball’s class of decent-but-not-great teams seems to have given way to clubs that are either going all-in or punting on the season entirely. In a season like this, that middle ground — where the Cubs were tracking to be — would be the worst place to find yourself.But after signing Darvish, the Cubs officially moved closer to the front-running Astros and Dodgers in the projections than to the next tier of teams (which includes the Indians, Yankees, Nationals and Red Sox). They prevented themselves from being left behind in MLB’s superteam arms race, and they did it for a relatively cheap sum. Although the landscape of baseball has changed a lot since Chicago won it all in 2016, the 2018 version might bring back memories of that star-studded Cubs team.
3-point share38.1%36.3% This year’s Huskies lag behind the 2015-16 champ teamBased on 23 selected offense and defense statistics comparing the 2015-16 and 2018-19 University of Connecticut women’s basketball team Season Assist-to-turnover ratio3131555 And here are the categories in which Stewart comes out on top: Collier (2018-19)Stewart (2015-16) Possessions per 40 minutes70.970.8 Opponent average win percentage59.5%56.2% Offensive rebounds per game3.22.2 Assist-to-turnover ratio1.802.45 Defensive rebounding rate72.6%69.9% 2015-162018-19Is 2018-19 better? Assist rate21.5%22.7% Source: university of connecticut Opponent 3-point share29.9%28.3%✓ Opponent 3-point share4632517 Opponent 3-point rate30.2%32.2% Free throw share4153267 Total rebounding rate57.9%54.6% Source: Her Hoop Stats Free throw share80.0%73.5% Total rebounds per game10.78.7 Turnovers per game1342675 2018-19 UConn forward Napheesa Collier vs. 2015-16 forward Breanna Stewart in 17 statistics where Stewart leads Collier Turnovers per game2.01.6 3-point share28.0%42.6% Points per game88.183.4 Blocks per game1.53.4 Source: her hoop stats Turnover rate11.0%10.0% Usage rate27.0%26.8% This year’s UConn team ranks the best of the seven Huskies teams in just one category (fewest turnovers per game). It also trails the pack in several categories, most of which are on the defensive end. The 2018-19 Huskies generate the fewest steals and opponent turnovers of any UConn champion since 2009, allow the most points and the best shooting percentage, and give up the most rebounds. They are also shooting the worst percentage from the field, but they are still scoring more points per game than three of the previous six UConn champions.If you take the average in each statistical category, this year’s UConn team also ranks below average in all but two categories: turnovers per game and assist-to-turnover ratio. All together, these comparisons suggest there is some truth to the idea that this year’s UConn team isn’t as much of a juggernaut as it has been for most of the past 10 years.Where does that leave this year’s Huskies?Don’t panic, Huskies fans. None of this means the 2018-19 team cannot take home another championship. In fact, FiveThirtyEight’s March Madness predictions give UConn a 70 percent chance of making its 12th straight Final Four and a 16 percent chance of winning the championship. The latter is the third-best odds of any team left in the tournament. And UConn may have an ace up its sleeve in the form of senior Napheesa Collier. The 6-foot-1 forward was inexplicably left off the list of four finalists for the 2019 Naismith Player of the Year Award, but many of her numbers actually compare favorably to what three-time Naismith Player of the Year Breanna Stewart did in her senior year in 2015-16. Here are the stats in which Collier tops Stewart: Offensive rebounding rate11.6%9.4% Opponent points per scoring attempt0.790.82 Record6th1st5th1st7th1st1st Effective field goal share63.4%62.8% Collier (2018-19)Stewart (2015-16) Fouls per game1.61.4 Points per game21.119.4 Free throw rate15.9%16.0% Rebounds per game6723414 Season ranking Field goal share7215634 Last weekend, the UConn women’s basketball team punched its ticket to a 26th straight Sweet 16 with an 82-74 win over Buffalo. It was business as usual except for one small detail: the Huskies are a No. 2 seed, making this the first year since 2006 that the Huskies are not a No. 1 seed. The selection committee’s decision was controversial, but UConn Coach Geno Auriemma shrugged it off, saying, “We’re not going to practice differently because we’re a 2 instead of a 1.”Auriemma surely hopes his team doesn’t play any differently, either, as the Huskies have advanced to the Final Four in each of the past 11 seasons. In that span, they have won six national championships.But seeding aside, are this year’s Huskies any different? After all, this team only lost two games and none in the American Athletic Conference. Are UConn fans right to be upset about the No. 2 seed, or is the seed a real reflection of the fact that this year’s Huskies aren’t quite as elite as their title-winning predecessors?2018-19 UConn versus 2015-16 UConnUConn most recently won an NCAA title in 2015-16, led by the dominant trio of Breanna Stewart, Moriah Jefferson and Morgan Tuck. That team went 38-0 and won by almost 40 points per game, including a 31-point victory over Syracuse in the national championship game. According to Her Hoop Stats, UConn led the nation in most traditional and advanced statistics, including points per game, points allowed per game, field goal percentage, points per scoring attempt, assists per game and block rate.As an exercise, I selected 23 statistical categories from Her Hoop Stats on which to compare the 2015-16 and the 2018-19 teams. These included statistics on offense and defense—and on shooting, rebounding, assists, steals, blocks and fouls — in an attempt to represent the full range of each team’s abilities. Eight of the statistics happened to be categories in which UConn led the nation in 2015-16. This year’s UConn team leads the nation in just one of these statistics — foul rate — and bettered the 2015-16 team’s numbers in only three. This year’s team holds opponents to a lower shooting percentage on three-pointers, records assists on a higher percentage of its baskets, and has a slightly lower turnover rate than the 2015-16 team. Field goals attempted per game13.912.8 Steals per game7134256 Opp. turnovers per game7146235 Blocks per game7321456 Opponent effective field goal share38.0%38.8% 2018-192015-162014-152013-142012-132009-102008-09 Steal rate2.6%3.5% Steals per game1.51.8 Effective field goal percentage59.0%55.8% Turnover rate14.2%14.1% This year’s Huskies aren’t quite at previous levelsHow the six recent UConn championship teams and the 2018-19 rank in selected statistics Offensive rebounding rate39.8%35.6% Block rate16.1%10.5% 3-point share6215374 Foul rate15.6%16.9% Total rebounding rate17.3%17.0% Opp. rebounds per game7126425 Field goals made per game8.67.4 Defensive rebounds per game7.56.6 Collier is averaging 21.1 points, 10.7 rebounds, 3.6 assists, 1.5 steals and 1.5 blocks per game for the Huskies. She ranks in the top 10 percent of players nationally in usage rate (27.0 percent), meaning that more than one in four Huskies possessions while she’s on the court ends with her shooting the ball or turning it over. (She registers an assist on another 21.5 percent of UConn possessions while she’s on the court.) Despite such a heavy workload, she is among the most efficient players in the nation, ranking 19th in field goal percentage (61.9%) and 22nd in points per scoring attempt (1.30).In March, anything can happen. Sometimes a player puts a team on his or her back and carries it to a championship. Basketball fans in Storrs know something about this: Kemba Walker did it for the UConn men in 2011 and Shabazz Napier followed suit three years later. In other years, the best team does win, as shown by UConn’s four undefeated seasons from 2008-09 to 2015-16. In other years, it’s a little of both — such as in 2002-03, a dominant season for the Huskies that Auriemma famously summarized as, “We have Diana [Taurasi] and you don’t.” This year, whether the title goes to an excellent team or to a transcendent individual talent, the UConn women have a good chance of taking home the trophy. The Huskies may not be quite as intimidating as they once were, but the 2-seed is still among the nation’s best. And, of course, they have Napheesa, and other teams don’t. Opponent turnover rate25.3%19.1% Assists per game3.64.0 Points per scoring attempt1.231.17 Points per game4216573 Opp. field goal share7523416 Assists per game5132467 2018-19 UConn forward Napheesa Collier vs. 2015-16 forward Breanna Stewart in 11 statistics where Collier leads Stewart Block rate4.7%11.9% 3-point rate28.5%30.5%✓ Steal rate16.6%11.8% 3-point rate8.8%19.9% Opponent points per game48.355.3 Minutes per game32.529.1 Defensive rebounding rate21.9%23.3% Opp. points per game7342516 Assist rate63.2%64.0%✓ Free throw share71.3%83.6% However, the 2015-16 team set an incredibly high bar; comparing any team to that team feels akin to saying, “These UCLA Bruins are OK, but they’ve got nothing on John Wooden’s 1972 squad.” Not only did the 2015-16 UConn team go undefeated, but it didn’t win a single game all season by fewer than 10 points. Seniors Stewart, Jefferson and Tuck became the first three picks in the 2016 WNBA draft — the only time three players from the same school have ever been the top three picks in the WNBA or NBA draft.2018-19 UConn versus UConn title teams since 2009Her Hoop Stats only offers advanced statistics on teams from the 2015-16 season to the present, but UConn makes plenty of traditional stats available in its women’s basketball archives. Here is how this year’s UConn team compares to the six most recent UConn champions in 16 categories: Points per scoring attempt1.301.32 Source: Her Hoop Stats Foul rate2.7%2.6% Assist-to-turnover ratio1.821.70
Play ‘em Jay Cutler (Chicago): It’s time to consider Cutler a legitimate fantasy starter. Last week, Cutler threw for 247 yards and four touchdowns against Philadelphia. This week, he faces a Detroit defense that is allowing the eighth-most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks. When Cutler faced the Lions in Week 1, he threw for 372 yards with two touchdowns and an interception. Felix Jones (Dallas): Despite a hip injury, Jones turned in a relatively successful performance last week (44 rushing yards and 69 receiving yards). Jones should be more involved in the Cowboys’ offense against the Colts’ 29th-ranked run defense this week. The problem with Jones is that he is losing goal-line touches, but consider him a No. 2 running back for Week 13. Mike Tolbert (San Diego): Tolbert continues to produce with starter Ryan Mathews out because of an ankle injury. Last week, Tolbert recorded his second straight 100-yard performance (103 yards with a touchdown). Mathews could return this week, but Tolbert is clearly the better back in San Diego. Look for Tolbert to take advantage of an Oakland defense that is allowing 134 rushing yards per game. Jeremy Maclin (Philadelphia): Maclin is benefiting from the emergence of Michael Vick. Last week, he had 47 receiving yards with a touchdown. Those numbers will inflate because Maclin faces a Texans’ pass defense allowing the third-most fantasy points to opposing wide receivers. Maclin is becoming the main target in Philadelphia and is a must-start Thursday night. Santonio Holmes (New York): Holmes has been on a hot streak in his last three games, with four touchdowns and 246 yards. Holmes has developed a bond with Mark Sanchez, and that has translated to fantasy production. Holmes plays his best in big games, and this week against the Patriots fits the bill of a big game. Expect Holmes to take advantage of the NFL’s worst pass defense. Bench ‘em Carson Palmer (Cincinnati): Palmer is coming off a stretch in which he had thrown seven interceptions in three games. Those struggles will continue against the Saints. Only three quarterbacks have surpassed 230 yards or more against New Orleans, which has given up a total of just seven touchdowns to opposing quarterbacks. Palmer, at best, is a No. 2 fantasy quarterback for this matchup. Jon Kitna (Dallas): Kitna has been filling in nicely for Tony Romo, but this week he faces a Colts defense that has struggled against the run but not the pass (just 205 yards per game). On Sunday night, the Colts held Philip Rivers to just 185 yards. Maurice Morris (Detroit): Morris was a top pickup after his surprising performance on Thanksgiving, when he totaled 75 yards and two touchdowns. With the Lions’ running back situation and playing the Bears this week, don’t trust Morris going forward. The Bears rank second in the league in run defense, giving up just 81 yards per game. Keiland Williams (Washington): The Redskins’ running game has been a circus with Clinton Portis and Ryan Torain getting injured, and now coach Mike Shanahan is considering starting James Davis in the place of Williams. Williams managed a total of 26 yards against Minnesota last week. Running backs are averaging 13 fantasy points in standard leagues, fifth-fewest in the NFL, against Washington’s opponent this week, the Giants. Santana Moss (Washington): Moss has been inconsistent this season and he has been dealing with a knee injury that caused him to get only 40 yards last week. The injury appears to be all right, but the Redskins’ offense is a mess, which will cut into Moss’ production. The last time Moss played the Giants, he gained just 55 yards.
LINCOLN, Neb. — Ohio State football players and coaches had their sights set on Saturday’s game at No. 16 Illinois before they even boarded a plane back to Columbus following the disappointment of last Saturday’s game at Nebraska. For two-and-a-half quarters of the Buckeyes’ game against the No. 14 Cornhuskers, it appeared that OSU had possibly turned a corner in the 2011 the season. OSU ran out to a 27-6 lead against Nebraska, scoring on their first drive to silence the Memorial Stadium crowd of 85,426. The Buckeyes continued to pile the points on from there. Buckeyes’ offensive coordinator and offensive line coach Jim Bollman said he had seen significant improvement in his team’s practices leading up to the game and wasn’t surprised to see the team succeeding against Nebraska for large parts of the game. “It’s hard to put your finger on one thing because the guys worked real hard in practice,” Bollman said. “You could see some more production. You could see some guys improving. (Freshman quarterback) Braxton (Miller) showed a lot more confidence, which was really good. “In the end, we weren’t good enough.” Miller, who was 5-of-8 passing for 95 yards and a touchdown with 91 rushing yards as well, exited the game with an ankle injury in the third quarter with a Buckeyes’ lead still intact, but momentum had already shifted to the home team. Nebraska’s now-famous second-half rally, which saw the Cornhuskers score 28 unanswered points, resulted in a 34-27 win. The comeback was the largest in Nebraska football history. Since the loss, OSU players and coaches have said they’re confident about this weekend’s game against Illinois. That was the message to members of the media just minutes after the historic loss to Nebraska too. “We’re about to start into our divisional schedule,” sophomore wide receiver Corey “Philly” Brown said. “So, we’re just going to move on and try to get to the Big Ten Championship game and try to win out the rest of these games.” After the loss to Nebraska, Brown said the confidence level was still high in the OSU locker room. “We fought hard out there. We did good out there,” Brown said. “We know what our defense can do, so we should be good going against (Illinois).” OSU junior tight end Reid Fragel said that having people doubt his teammates for the past several weeks has been frustrating, but said that he also remains confident. “We know as a family and as a team what we can do and what we’re capable of,” Fragel said. The Fighting Illini are 6-0 on the season, but first-year OSU head coach Luke Fickell said his team has already faced comparable adversity in recent times. “These guys are resilient. They’ve been through a lot,” Fickell said. “It’s going to come down to their commitment to each other. They’ve got a lot of pride in what they do. They’re going to have to call upon their pride and their pride in this university.” Senior left tackle Mike Adams returned from a five-game suspension and made his 2011 debut at Nebraska. After the game, Adams said the team still has plenty to play for. “Kudos to Nebraska — they played good enough to win the game,” Adams said. “We just have to get better and keep going. I can’t wait to keep on rolling through these next weeks and get some wins.” Fickell agreed, saying there’s only one way to get overcome disappointment in football. “That’s get back out there and do it again,” he said. Saturday’s game at Illinois’ Memorial Stadium kicks off at 3:30 p.m. and will be televised on ABC.
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. Someone please do a spin off based on the adventures of Candice, Jane and the pug #GBBOFinal #GBBO— Kitty Gallagher (@KittyLovesDucks) October 26, 2016 Val Stones plans to go to Ayia NapaCredit:BBC But they were quickly cheered by suggestions of a spin-off show, following Brown and Beedle on their holidays, and Val Stones, 66, who plans to visit Ayia Napa for a baking retreat.Brown said: “I got on so well with Jane, we got on brilliantly. I love Jane and I couldn’t have shared that moment [of winning] with two better people.“We’re going on a road trip together. I love France and you might have noticed I like my little antiques and Jane goes to France quite a lot. We can go and bake and eat.” The BBC will screen two special Christmas episodes before the main series moves to Channel 4, with Paul Hollywood but without Mary Berry and hosts Mel Giedroyc and Sue Perkins.Fans have already shared their frustrations at the change, with many declaring themselves in tears as the final episode aired. Jane and Candice Road Trip. There’s a BBC Spin-off series right there. In your face Channel Four.— Keir Shiels (@keirshiels) October 26, 2016 Is this the BBC’s way of introducing their spin off shows – following Val in Ayia Napa and Jane and Candice on their trip?! #GBBOFinal— Maisie (@maisiedovee) October 26, 2016 Candice Brown making her first public appearing as GBBO winnerCredit:Eddie Mulholland It is already significantly more than the 13.4m who watched the broadcast of Nadiya Hussain winning the 2015 series, and is sure to rise further once catch-up figures are taken into account. Jane Beedle has been learning French in preparation for the road tripCredit:BBC Fans of the show immediately leapt on the news, pleading with the BBC to commission a spin-off show immediately to fill the Bake Off-shaped absence on the channel from next year.Charlotte Moore, director of BBC Content, last night thanks viewers for their “loyal” support, after overnight ratings showed the final episode was set to become the most-watched ever.More than half of the television viewing public tuned in to the BBC show on Wednesday night, a spokesman said, with a peak of 14.8 million people watching. The PE teacher has already said her dream career would see her open a tea shop with a few antiques to sell on the side.Brown, Beedle and fellow runner-up Andrew Smyth yesterday made their first “celebrity appearances” to sign the official Bake Off cook book, in the start of what is sure to be a lucrative post-series career. Jane and Candice’s baking semi-passive aggressive roadtrip is the spin-off we all need. #GBBOFinal— Christopher Hooper (@TophHooperton) October 26, 2016 As the Great British Bake Off bowed out of the BBC on a ratings high, one might forgive executives a bittersweet moment of wondering what on Earth they are going to do to fill the hole in the viewing nation’s hearts.The answer, as it happens, was presented to them on a plate: a spin-off show following star bakers on their holidays.Candice Brown, the 2016 series winner, has disclosed she is to embark on a road trip around France with runner-up Jane Beedle, in a perhaps unlikely pairing to potter around antique shops.Brown, 31, said she would be going on an expedition with Beedle, 61, as soon as the excitement of the show had blown over, with the latter now learning French in her spare time. Previously Bake Off-inspired shows have included The Chronicles of Nadiya, where the 2015 winner took viewers through her culinary journey and the recipes which shaped her in Bangladesh.Berry, Perkins and Giedroyc are to work together on a new show for the BBC, with Hussain confirming she too is staying with the corporation.The Great British Bake Off is expected to resume in earnest on Channel 4 in 2018, with lucrative advertising contracts up for grabs to capitalise on the show’s popularity. All of the 2016 Bake Off cohort had gathered to watch the final together in London at the home of Selasi, declaring themselves “family” now bonded for life. The Chronicles of NadiyaCredit:BBC
The Queen pictured with the 1st Battalion Welsh Guards at Windsor CastleCredit:Cathal McNaughton /PA Assistant Chief Constable Dave Hardcastle said: “While there is no intelligence to indicate a specific threat to Windsor, recent events in Westminster clearly highlight the need for extra security measures to be introduced.”The force believes that it is proportionate and necessary to put in place extra security measures to further protect and support the public and the guard change.”This is consistent with security deployments in London.”Preventative measures such as these have been put in place across the UK over the past 10 years at various events.”The national threat level remains severe, which it has been since 2014, and I would urge the public to be alert to the threat of terror attacks but not alarmed, and to remain vigilant.” The colourful military spectacle takes place at Windsor Castle every Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday in April. Tourists flock to see soldiers in their red tunics and bearskins processing to and from the historic building to the sound of a military band.The new barriers will only be used to secure the route of the procession during the event and will remain open at other times.The Telegraph reported in January that the ceremony had been temporarily halted on Saturdays because of fears of jihadi attacks. Security is to be enhanced around Windsor Castle during the Changing Of The Guard following the Westminster terror attack.Barriers will be put in place around the royal residence in Berkshire to support existing road closures while the operation is under way, Thames Valley Police said.The force said the changes were “proportionate and necessary” but said there was “no specific threat to Windsor”.The barriers will be put in place ahead of the next Changing Of The Guard on Wednesday. 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.
Mr Trump was briefed by his national security team and he will be provided with updates. Our thoughts & prayers are w/ the victims, courageous first responders & all the people of London. As President Trump said: WE ARE WITH YOU.— Vice President Pence (@VP) June 3, 2017 Show more Mike Pence, the US vice president, also tweeted his support, writing: “Our thoughts & prayers are w/ the victims, courageous first responders & all the people of London. As President Trump said: WE ARE WITH YOU.” The US state department said:Our hearts are with the families and loved ones of the victims. We wish a full and quick recovery to those injured in the attacks. All Americans stand in solidarity with the people of the United Kingdom.Mr Trump has said the travel ban is necessary to protect Americans from terrorist attacks. Critics say his reasoning is flawed and condemn the ban as discriminatory. Mr Trump’s proposed ban was a centerpiece of his 2016 presidential campaign.The proposal is a 90-day ban on people entering the US from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen. Donald Trump has sent his support to the UK following the terror attack on Saturday night – and demanded that his controversial Muslim travel ban be introduced.The US president tweeted: “Whatever the United States can do to help out in London and the UK, we will be there.” “Sounds like another disaster,” he added.Tim Farron, the leader of the Liberal Democrats, said: “Tonight’s horrific incidents in London remind us how much we owe our emergency services. My thoughts and prayers with everyone affected.” He also took the opportunity to trumpet his proposed travel ban on six Muslim countries. 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. MORE: Pres. Trump called PM May to offer his condolences “for the brutal terror attacks” in London. https://t.co/4N3Y7fLA7D pic.twitter.com/3FWrdJbTC6— ABC News (@ABC) June 4, 2017 We need to be smart, vigilant and tough. We need the courts to give us back our rights. We need the Travel Ban as an extra level of safety!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 3, 2017 Lower courts have blocked the policy, citing various reasons including statements Mr Trump made during the 2016 presidential election campaign.The legal fight pits the president’s authority over immigration against what lower courts have said is a policy that purported to be about national security but was intended to target Muslims.Mr Trump later called Theresa May, the Prime Minister, to offer his condolences.The White House said the president “praised the heroic response of police and other first responders and offered the full support of the United States government in investigating and bringing those responsible for these heinous acts to justice”. Van looks like a @Hertz 24/7 hourly rental van. https://t.co/sstZgxGbuS #londonbridge #boroughmarket pic.twitter.com/O9DAdAS105— Josef Dunne (@josef) June 3, 2017 Whatever the United States can do to help out in London and the U. K., we will be there – WE ARE WITH YOU. GOD BLESS!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 3, 2017 Mrs May offered her “huge gratitude” to the emergency services attending what she described as a “potential terrorist incident” near London Bridge.”Our thoughts are with those who are caught up in these dreadful events,” she added.A vehicle was reported to have ploughed into pedestrians in a packed street in central London before alleged knife attacks.Mrs May called the ongoing situation “fast moving”.Jeremy Corbyn, the Labour leader, called the news “brutal and shocking” in a tweet.”My thoughts are with the victims and their families,” he wrote. “Thank you to the emergency services.”Nigel Farage, the former leader of Ukip, tweeted he was “very close to London Bridge when incident happened”.
Mark Rowley, Metropolitan Police Assistant CommissionerCredit:NEIL HALL/Reuters Britain’s leading anti-terror police chief has warned the public could be at risk if officers are diverted to fight terrorism.Metropolitan Police Assistant Commissioner Mark Rowley reportedly warned Home Secretary Amber Rudd that counter-terrorism policing was not able to operate at “full strength”.”The demand for increasing numbers of detectives in areas such as child abuse has prevented this,” he is said to have written.Mr Rowley also warned there would be “difficult choices” about where to put resources, according to the BBC.”It will inevitably push risk to other areas of policing, potentially with significant impact,” he reportedly said.The National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) said resources have been “tested” by recent terror attacks.”We are facing an unprecedented terror threat and it is no surprise that our resources are currently tested against what is now four terrorist attacks and five thwarted plots in very short succession,” a spokesman said.”Police chiefs, within the counter-terrorism network and beyond, have been clear that, while everything is being done to keep people safe, we are facing an extremely challenging period.”As you would expect, we are having discussions with the Government about police funding in the long term. We are also looking at our resilience over the coming months and have agreed plans across policing to confront the heightened threat and protect our communities.” 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. “After the recent horrific attacks, the Government and police are in complete agreement that we must review our counter-terrorism strategy to tackle the changing threat.”Alongside this we remain committed to increasing cross-government spending on counter-terrorism by 30%, from £11.7 billion to £15.1 billion.”This Government has also protected overall police funding in real terms, we are providing £144 million to increase armed policing capability and funding for an additional 1,900 officers at our security and intelligence agencies.” A Home Office spokesman said: “Keeping families, communities and our country safe is this Government’s priority.
An estimated 13 per cent of people said they had not even been to the countryside for more than two years.The research for a farm partnership backed by organisations including the The Wildlife Trusts and the Prince’s Countryside Fund looked at how connected the public is with British wildlife and the natural world.The study for the Jordans Farm Partnership found 69 per cent of those questioned felt they were losing touch with nature, while 37 per cent of parents confessed their knowledge was not enough to teach their children.Janel Fone, director of marketing and development at The Wildlife Trusts, said: “We believe that everyone should have the opportunity to experience the joy of wildlife and wild places in their daily lives.She said the research “provides an interesting insight into how connected people feel towards the natural world”.The survey is the latest to highlight the lack of wildlife knowledge among the public.Another recent poll found that more than half of the public could not identify a sparrow.That research in April backed by the RSPB found that of 2,000 adults who took part, more than a quarter could not say for sure they had ever seen a blue tit, and a fifth did not know that a red kite was a bird.Conservation groups fear that the public’s decreasing knowledge makes it harder to campaign for the protection of wildlife.A major report issued in 2016 found that more than one-in-10 of the UK’s wildlife species are threatened with extinction, while the nation’s most endangered creatures have plummeted by two-thirds since 1970.The State of Nature report compiled by more than 50 conservation groups warned that historical loss of woodland and industrialisation had left the UK “among the most nature-depleted countries in the world”.Overall, it found that 56 per cent of species declined between 1970 and 2013, and 53 per cent between 2002 and 2013.Michael Gove, Environment Secretary, last week indicated that farmers would be paid for delivering benefits to the countryside after Brexit, instead of receiving subsidies for the amount of land they own.The Government has pledged to continue agricultural funding up to EU levels until 2022, but Mr Gove said ministers could only go on “generously supporting farmers” if the environmental benefits were clear.In his first major speech as Environment Secretary, Mr Gove said reform of the system was needed, with payments for woodland creation, habitat protection, caring for treasured landscapes and higher animal welfare. People are so out of touch with nature and cut off from the countryside that more than a third of parents admit they could not teach their own children about British wildlife, a survey published today (MON) claims.Research has found that seven-out-of-10 people also feel they are losing touch with nature.The findings appear to describe a nation significantly removed from its land and natural habitats, where people have little knowledge of the country’s wildlife.Large proportions of people could not identify an oak tree or a barn owl, while a significant number said they had never set eyes on a hedgehog. A hedgehogCredit: Kirsty Wigglesworth/PA 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.