Sebastian Barry wins Walter Scott Prize for second time

Irish author Sebastian Barry has won the Walter Scott Prize worth £25,000(€28,475) for the second time for his novel Days Without End. Mr Moffat said Barry’s novel “eventually took the lead” among the seven-strong shortlist due to the “glorious and unusual story, the seamlessly interwoven period research and, above all, for the unfaltering power and authenticity of the narrative voice, a voice no reader is likely to forget”. The judges included Elizabeth Buccleuch, journalists James Naughtie and Kate Figes, writers Katharine Grant and Elizabeth Laird, the Abbotsford Trust’s James Holloway and Bordes Festival director Alistair Moffat. Barry’s previous novel, On Canaan’s Side, was a winner in 2012, while he picked up the Costa Book prize earlier this year for Days Without End. “It’s difficult to itemise my simple childish joy at receiving this prize; that the judges did all this work to make a 61-year-old man feel 12 again,” Barry said. The prize is awarded to the best UK, Irish or Commonwealth novel of the previous year, which is set more than 60 years ago. It was founded to honour the achievements of Sir Walter Scott, considered to be the inventor of the historical novel. “Our decision to award Sebastian Barry’s Days Without End was one of the hardest the Walter Scott Prize has ever had to make,” Mr Moffat said. Barry returned to the Borders Book Festival in Melrose in Scotland over the weekend to receive the prize from the Duke of Buccleuch.

Redwater finale: a cliched vision of Ireland right to the end

To see Kat and Alfie at the series end – each isolated, imperilled and caught in a lie – you can’t help but think that they’ve finally gone native.  “People need to know the truth,” Peter insists. Kat (Jessie Wallace) and Alfie (Shane Ritchie): checked in to Redwater, with little chance of escape It’s catching. But in Redwater, at least, concealment is a religion. Sisters Róisín (Maria Doyle Kennedy) and Eileen (Angeline Ball), two points of a frustrated love triangle, retrieve the third, their widower brother-in-law, Peter (fetchingly played by Stanley Townsend), from a drinking binge after 18 years of sobriety. But it’s their mother – Fionnuala Flanagan’s divinely witchy Agnes – who seems to keep everyone in place with enchantments of shame. So many of the latter, in fact, that last week Alfie converted to Christianity, presumably for some respite from moving statues. Redwater: Hokum, geography errors and wooden dialogue Redwater: A British, backward, Ballykissangel idea of Ireland Otherwise, you suspect that people may come here for the twisted family dynamics, worthy of a Greek drama festival, but stay for the wealth of outdoor social events. Fr Dermott Dolan, played by Oisín Stack. The American relatives who arrived for the funeral of paterfamilias, Lance Byrne, were equally slow to take their leave. It’s hard to say precisely why. The only people to desert Redwater, it seems, are its viewers: ratings have plunged in Ireland and Britain. Alfie, the undercover Christian undergoing secret brain surgery, has likewise exiled himself from his family. So have others. Much like the Hotel California, quicksand, or financial debt, it is far easier to get into Redwater (RTE One, Sunday, 9.30pm) than it is to get out of it. One scene hints at a wider national hypocrisy: a subplot in which a teenager acquires the morning-after pill with her grandfather in a country which affords her precious few other options. “The world keeps marching on and we get left behind,” complains Dermott, bitterly, about the depleted sway of the church. That, at any rate, is the lesson we can take from two recent blow-ins, Kat (Jessie Wallace) and Alfie (Shane Richie), who alighted here from Eastenders for their own spin-off drama some six episodes ago in search of Kat’s long-lost son. Basically, the super weird priest did it. Reconciliation has been understandably slow – interrupted by Dermott’s violent mood swings and occasional arson attacks – and, …

Ant McPartlin speaks out about struggle with depression

After several years presenting a range of programmes, they landed a job hosting Saturday morning ITV children’s programmes SMTV Live and CD:UK, where they remained for three years from 1998 until 2001. His busy work schedule, which sees him, along with professional partner Declan Donnelly, front programmes such as I’m A Celebrity… Lord Alan Sugar wrote on Twitter: “Very brave Ant to go public. DD xx.” Several stars have commended McPartlin for speaking out about his problems. “I want to thank my wife, family and closest friends for helping me through this really difficult time. McPartlin (41) told the Sun on Sunday: “I feel like I have let a lot of people down and for that I am truly sorry. With an ongoing knee complication, McPartlin is said to have started taking prescription drugs to cope with the pain. Get Me Out Of Here! The TV star, one half of presenting duo Ant and Dec, said he wanted to speak out about his issues in order to help others. Last year, the Geordie twosome were awarded OBEs in the Queen’s Birthday Honours for their services to broadcasting and entertainment. Ant and Dec have won the TV presenter award at the National Television Awards for 16 consecutive years. All the best Ant it, will all be sorted for sure antanddec.” Dame Kelly Holmes said: “As I say at every speech I do,we are all human! They went on to enjoy a music career under the names of their characters PJ & Duncan, releasing songs such as Let’s Get Ready To Rhumble and Shout. Ant McPartlin has said he feels he has “let people down” ahead of reportedly entering rehab following a fight with depression, alcohol and substance abuse. “Your support is, as ever, much appreciated. Best wishes to Ant antanddec You will come back stronger, your fans love you #itsgoodtotalk.” Professional companion McPartlin is the long-time professional companion of Donnelly. “I’ve spoken out because I think it’s important that people ask for help if they’re going through a rough time and get the proper treatment to help their recovery.” McPartlin is believed to have checked into a rehabilitation facility, where he will remain for up to two months. He will be touched. and Britain’s Got Talent for a large portion of the year, has been an additional factor in McPartlin’s struggle with anxiety. This is the first stage of the road …

Beyoncé gives birth to twins – US reports

A source told People magazine: “Bey and Jay are thrilled and have started sharing the news with their family and closest friends.” The news is also reported in US Weekly and Entertainment Weekly magazines. The gender of the twins is unknown and no further details have been revealed, and Beyoncé and Jay Z have not confirmed the birth. Amal Clooney expecting twins with husband George Beyoncé announces she is pregnant with twins Seven TV shows to watch this week Beyoncé has given birth to twins, according to reports in US media. The singer and her husband Jay Z are said to have welcomed their new additions earlier this week. We have been blessed two times over. – The Carters A photo posted by Beyoncé (@beyonce) on Feb 1, 2017 at 10:39am PST We would like to share our love and happiness. We are incredibly grateful that our family will be growing by two, and we thank you for your well wishes. The twins are the music star couple’s second and third children, as they are already parents to five-year-old daughter Blue Ivy. “We have been blessed two times over. We are incredibly grateful that our family will be growing by two, and we thank you for your well wishes – The Carters.” Following her pregnancy announcement, Beyoncé had to pull out of headlining the Coachella music festival in April on doctor’s orders and will instead appear at the event in 2018. Along with a photograph of herself cradling her baby bump, she wrote: “We would like to share our love and happiness. Beyoncé married rapper Jay Z, real name Shawn Carter, in 2008 after a five-year relationship following several collaborations, including on her 2003 hit Crazy In Love. Former Destiny’s Child star Beyoncé (35) revealed she was expecting twins with an Instagram post in February. PA Speculation had been mounting in recent days that the star had given birth at a hospital in Los Angeles.

Peter Broderick: Home

Broderick has the chops to do whatever he wants, but he chooses to tip-toe into the arena, unannounced, without fanfare. Although he played violin on the tour, the songs on Home are written and played on acoustic guitar. Peter Broderick is a musician who is a long way from home. Instead it is fuelled by a romantic hopefulness that puts us at ease. We are not alone. It feels like there are songs inside, itching to break out. Home soon. The sedate loneliness at its core is beautifully offset by the intricate way the ghostly vocals are arranged. His way with words is matched by his ability with piano and strings. The melancholy never jars or grates. His own journey began by taking up the violin aged seven. Listening back to those records they’re brimful of character and inventiveness. Prior to this record his output was primarily instrumental, either solo piano music or piano and string-based compositions. The theme is the perfect subject matter for a man alone on the road: the search for a home. His collaboration with and participation in Efterklang’s tours of 2007 and 2008 was the spur to commit to setting the words free and switching from composition to songwriting. In doing so he displayed commendable restraint, a factor that also gives this far more ambitious recording a quietly seductive allure. He couches these 10 singer-songwriter compositions in layers of softly spun melodies and echoing guitar. At the heart of them all is a yearning we all share and feel. He stretches sounds in uncharacteristic and highly affecting ways. The extent to which the record sounds different from every convention allbum is a measure of his knowledge of lesser known navigational routes around the mixing desk. Currently living in rural Galway, his folks hail from Searsmont, Maine, in the US, but most of his childhood was spent in Carlton, Oregon. With subtlety and an exquisite touch, he makes the songs shimmer and shine. His mastery of so many instruments is no surprise considering both his parents and older brother and sister are all musicians.

Seven TV shows to watch this week

Mel Giedroyc hosts this great British shriek-off, and the participating choirs included a capella group All the King’s Men from Kings College London, Polish jazz group Alle Choir and the London International Gospel Choir. Will there be a choral version of Milkshake? Yeah, but can she do a beardy Jeremy Corbyn? Radiohead at Glastonbury 2017 Friday, BBC Two, 10pm We can say for certain that it’s going to rain next weekend, because how else would the crowds at Glastonbury be able to slosh around in all that lovely mud while listening to their favourite bands? GAA Nua Monday, RTÉ One, 7.30pm Gaelic games are said to be one of the oldest sports in the world, played by the Firbolg and Tuatha de Danann, but a new series, GAA Nua looks at how these ancient games have embraced modern techniques. Micheal Hayes (83) needs his car to visit his wife in her nursing home, and Anne Moore (88) needs her car to get down the Naas Road to her holiday cottage in Co Kildare. A Plastic Whale looks at the discovery of the whale and the subsequent clean-up effort along Norway’s coast, where currents can deposit rubbish from as far away as the UK. Pitch Battle Saturday, BBC One, 7.30pm. All-Ireland winning Kerry football captain Dara Ó Cinnéide travels the four provinces to see how today’s GAA stars use science, technology, analytics and data to improve performance and gain a competitive edge over their opponents. Just ask Joan O’Rourke, who’s been given a speeding ticket at the age of 86. Monday, RTÉ One, 9.35pm You don’t have to be a gangsta granny to tool around town in a fast car. Kevin Courtney A Plastic Whale Wednesday, Sky Atlantic, 9pm When a whale was found dead in a Norwegian cove scientists discovered the animal had swallowed 30 plastic bags while feeding at sea, which clogged up its system and caused its death. Ó Cinnéide goes behind the scenes to see how clubs are plugging in to the latest scientific research and technological breakthroughs to turbo-charge their game. In this one-off comedy special, Ullmann will add May to her repertoire of impressions, along with Angela Merkel, Nicola Sturgeon and Melania Trump. Tracey Breaks the News Friday, BBC One, 9.30pm In the aftermath of the British election, with a hung parliament and Theresa May losing her majority (and her credibility) Tracey Ullman will have …

Father’s Day: What love sounds like

My father knows this now. When the right words evade us. Like changing a tyre or wiring a plug, this is something my father thinks I should know how to do. Surreal and sedated, I noticed mud caked on my favourite leather boots, presumably from a walk at dusk through the wet leaves and muck of Seamus Heaney’s Broagh. We knew love. Speaking indifferently to him, who had driven out the cold and polished my good shoes as well. No one ever thanked him. He could create the curved mantlepiece I’ve wanted since 1993, or paint the laundry room, fix the hole in the patio roof. Unbeknownst to them, I have left the scene. I am adolescent and annoyed, stirring to the high-pitched scrape of steel on steel in our house on the Dublin Road, the long metallic strokes on each side of the knife ensuring an edge sharp enough to carve the Sunday roast or a Christmas turkey. Again. And found myself then thinking: if it were nowadays, This is how Death would summon Everyman. What did I know? “We knew love. I nearly said I love you, Daddy. when we lose people, or are bereaved, we look for a piece of music or poem to read at the funeral, or when we fall in love we turn to poetry, or when children are born. Overwhelmed by unfair feelings of inadequacy and helplessness, he cried out to God or something bigger and better than he thought he was, that all he could do in that spot of time was polish my shoes, the way he had done so many times when I was a child. I don’t remember to wind the Regulator clock he bought me four Christmases ago, and I cannot ever be bothered to make our windows sparkle with wads of newspaper and vinegar. I love my father and have almost told him as much. Sitting on the stairs in my parents’ house in Castledawson, the boots gleaming in my hands, lines long memorised from Robert Hayden’s Those Winter Sundays filled my head: Sundays too my father got up early and put his clothes on in the blueblack cold, then with cracked hands that ached from labor in the weekday weather made banked fires blaze. Ever the pragmatist, he makes no bones about telling me that this began as a matter of economic necessity – the potato-digging, …