09/06/2014 Newsnight


The head of Ofsted v Paxman over the Trojan Horse row. The ubiquity of rape in war: we look at South Sudan. Are black holes real? Plus, tributes to Rik Mayall.

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Closer supervision of schools and a requirement that they instill


British values. The Education Secretary is trying to appear


resolute in his response to keeping schools out of the hands of the


extremists. But the Chief Inspector of Schools says he suggested closer


supervision to Michael Gove years ago and got no


You said to the Secretary of State you wanted to make unannounced


inspections and what did he say? Yes. We had a discussion and we felt


we needed to pull back from that one. The opposition smelt blood.


They are the main stay of science fiction, places where gravity is so


strong, not even light can escape. Einstein established their basis


years ago, but suppose black holes don't exist in the way we think.


This physicist is proposing something very like that.


Also tonight... There was a spike sticking out of my head with park


keeper on the end of it. And he said what are you doing going to sleep


underneath the litter you vagrant, I said I'm not, an investigative


reporter. Rik Myall, the comic genius of the 1980s has died.


Five schools in Birmingham are being put into special measures after the


disclosure of a plot to take them over. The Education Secretary,


Michael Gove, says he will make it impossible for such a thing to ever


happen again and make sure all children are properly thought about


"British values". The leader of Birmingham City council has admitted


his own council's supervision was inadequate. The scandal has raised


huge questions about the way our children are taught and how our


schools are run. First tonight we have this report the ??FORCEDWHIT


Why are schools serving this predominantly poor Pakistani


neighbourhood in Birmingham taking over the news.


There is reports that a conspiracy of Muslim hardliners are taking over


state schools. Today the first barrage of reports from the saga


emerged from the authorities. Ofsted looked into 21 schools and the Chief


Inspector said that in some of them there was a culture of fear and


intimidation. An organised campaign to target schools to alter their


character and ethos. Examples of governors exerting inappropriate


influence in the day-to-day running of schools. And children being badly


prepared for life in modern Britain. It is probably more around a strong


conservative interpretation of faith rather than goading and encouraging


students towards violent activities. What we are more concerned about is


whether students are denied the full breadth of the curriculum and


entitlement in normal state British funded schools. The so called Trojan


Horse letter", the document that sparked all of this, is widely


considered now to be a hoax. But the inspectors did find evidence that a


small clique of hardline Muslims were having an undue influence on


some schools. The worst allegations relate to four schools, all in


special measures. Inspectors found examples of pupils being taught that


they shouldn't believe in evolution. They found one example of an


external speaker with very extreme views, and head teachers who got in


the way, being eased out. I am proud to be able to make sure that I meet


the cultural needs of the community. I am from the community and I know


what it is like to be someone from that background. I know from my own


experiences what I have experienced. I want the children to come to


school every day, our attendance is phenomenal, parents and children are


happy. I want to provide as much as I can. But equally when I say too


much is too much and no, we are not faith school i need to be listened


to. Still, among local parents at those schools there is support for


the governing bodies. Some parents are even campaigning for them. They


teach Arabic at this school, but they teach Latin at other schools,


that is not a problem for them to teach Latin, it shouldn't be a


problem if the parents want them to learn Arabic. 90% and above are


Muslim people and Muslim children, it should be right to the school


caters for the needs and requirements of the Muslim children.


Staff at one of the schools, Park View, have fought back. Despite


being an agnostic, this school closely reflects my values and the


moral purpose that brought me to teaching, as it does those my


colleagues from all faith backgrounds and none. For the


community in which you now stand, as visitors covering our story, our


school stands as a beacon of hope against isolation, poverty, drugs,


crime, and yes, potential extremism. Park View is part of the solution,


not part of the problem. There is a big policy problem, in a


neighbourhood like this, how do you construct a school system which


gives parents what they want, and makes sure that pupils don't get an


insular education. We work hard to make sure our governing bodies were


diverse, we were greatly supported by colleagues at Canary Wharf, where


he where we put many senior industrialists on our board. It


meant we had collective policies on issues like PE or school uniforms or


long-term holidays. We worked together to create these lines so


heads were able to say to whoever who was trying to change those


positions, actually, no, this is the position of all of us and we will


hold the line because it is for the good of the whole community. Labour


have noted many of the schools at the centre of the stories are


academies, that means they are regulated by the Department for


Education, not local authorities. They think this illustrates a


broader theme that this department doesn't have a handle on its


schools. That is a view that seems to be shared by Theresa May,


incidentally, in the letter that she wrote to Michael Gove last week.


These schools do also get inspected by Ofsted, but, two of the four,


Park View and one other -- Oldknow were previously rated outstanding,


it would have been years before inspectors visited again. Michael


Gove said the original inspections were wrong because the schools had


too much time to prepare. We need to strengthen our inspection regime


even further. The requirement to give notice of inspections clearly


makes it more difficult to identify and to detect the danger signs. The


Chief Inspector and I have argued in the past that no-notice inspections


can help identify when pupils are at risk. I have asked him to consider


the practicalities of moving to a situation where all schools know


they may receive an unannounced inspection. So the education


department is reviewing its own investigations and the City Council.


Ofsted is considering its methods and the Home Secretary and he


issedcation secretary have been fighting about whether Islamic


methodism is on the road to Islamic extremism. Michael Gove said today


he would make sure this sort of thing didn't happen again by making


it possible for inspectors to pounce on schools with no warning. This


apparently is a sign of his determination. When I went to see


the Chief Inspector of schools earlier this evening, he painted a


rather different picture. He started by telling me he stood by Ofsted's


now much debated 2012 inspection of Park View School.


I visited that school in my first few months at Ofsted. I visited Park


View, I met with the headteacher there, it was an outstanding school


because she was an outstanding leader. She has been undermined by


the governors of that school who haven't understood their role. The


job of governors is to set the strategic direction and to hold the


headteacher to account. That is their job. And she told me, when I


visited Birmingham, that she had been steadily undermined. She didn't


want the sort of things that were happening in that school, and in


other schools in Birmingham. She didn't want somebody with known


extremist views to attend the assemblies. She didn't want a mat


drays is a to be introduced into the personal, social education


programme. She didn't want all those things. She had been steadily


undermined to the point where the governors now are controlling that


school on a day-to-day basis. That reveals something wrong with the


system, any parent thinking about where their child should go to the


school will look at the latest Ofsted report and says it is


outstanding, they can't believe it could go so wrong so quickly? Where


there is great turbulence in staffing and in terms of leadership,


things can go badly wrong. The lessons of this situation in


Birmingham is that you need to keep a really careful eye on schools,


between inspections. Here you are, you work for central Government. You


come in and there is nothing between you and the school, there ought to


be someone looking at it every week shouldn't there? That is the job of


the local authority, for those schools that are controlled by the


local authority, and that's the job of the Department of Education, and


the Education Funding Agency for academies and free schools. Do you


say that the system for overseeing academies, for example, is


inadequate? I'm saying it needs to be tightened up, and there needs to


be a role for Ofsted to look at these schools in much greater depth


and more regularly. I'm pleased with the Secretary of State's


announcement today about unannounced inspection. It was something I


called for two years ago when I first joined. I suspect we won't go


for all schools to receive that. Why haven't you been doing that? I


called for it and it has been rolled back. We need to do it now for some


schools. It is after the event now? We need to do it and for those


schools. You saw that two years ago and you didn't do it? That was


something I discussed with the Secretary of State and we pulled


back. You said to the Secretary of State you wanted to make unannounced


inspections? Yes I did. Has the Secretary of State changed his mind?


I think he has. Because when you put it to him beforer he said what? He


said we need to look at this and listen to what head teachers are


saying about needing to be in the school, prior to an inspection, so


they can have a preliminary dialogue with the inspectors about how the


inspection should be conducted. So we pulled back on that, so they have


now just a few hours. On his say so? Yes. He told you no we are not going


to do that? We had a robust discussion about it, and I'm really


pleased that minds have been changed. That he has come to see


your point of view? I hope so. How do you keep extremists out of the


position of Governor of A school? At the moment anyone can be appointed


as governors, there is no mandatory training for governors, that is


something we have called for in my report. We need to think carefully


about who is appointed and once we do appoint them make sure there are


checks on them and make sure they are trained in what they have to do.


Does the Secretary of State agree with you? Yes. Has he acted upon it?


I hope he will do. You hope he will? He has executive power, he's the


Secretary of State. Do you think that we need to pay any closer


attention to the sort of things that are taught on the curriculum in some


of these academies? My view is there should be much more regulation on


what is caught in schools. It is wrong, for example, that children at


key stage III, that is between 11-1 shouldn't have music -- 11-14,


shouldn't have drama, art, music or the creative arts, that is wrong.


Yet it is possible for governors to say we will get rid that have and


music because it doesn't accord with our beliefs. I'm on the spectrum


which says at the end of the spectrum that says there needs to be


more prescription. Chris Cook is with us here, how significant is


what was said there? It is very significant for three big reasons.


The first is there he seemed to be suggesting that he had said to


Michael Gove that he had wanted no-notice inspections some years


ago. That puts Michael Gove, if he had refused that request on the side


of the unions, which I think is a first ever on any education


discussion! The second thing is he suggested that academies needed to


have an obligation to offer a broader curriculum at the moment.


That again is significant. That is not something we have heard about.


Thirdly, he's also worried about what is known in the jargon as the


"middle tier", do we have people looking after schools. This is a


major flash point between the Conservative Party and Labour


particularly. The education second, the shadow Education Secretary, only


a question of time perhaps, the Shadow Education Secretary is here.


Do you support the principle of unannounced visits? That is


absolutely fine. You are in favour of them? That can play a part. What


we in the Labour Party are more interested in is getting in there


earlier than that. That is why, as Chris said, we want a middle tier,


we want a local director of accountability and standards


operating in a city like Birmingham, operating across local authorities


to make sure we are addressing under performance, rather than waiting for


it to wind its way up to a desk in Whitehall. What Birmingham shown is


the coalition's model of schooling is not working. This is a seismic


and important moment when we think about English schooling. Academies


are your invention? The sponsored academy was a great Labour


innovation, but we were clear that they should operate in a partnership


with other schools, to be part of a collaborative network of schools.


What we did in Government was the London Challenge, which raised


standards across the capital, academies, maintained, control,


voluntary aided all work together, rather than the isolated schools we


have at the moment. Can you explain why it is your predesets or --


predecessor Stephen Twigg said he sought the freedom academies have


for all schools? We know autonomy works within a network of


interrelationships within a school. Giving heads' hours is absolutely


radio -- powers is absolutely right. But in partnership. I agree with Sir


Michael Willshaw, Ofsted inspectors should have the right to look at the


teaching of the curriculum. If they are not teaching a broad and


balanced curriculum they should not get an outstanding. Some of the


schools in Birmingham were narrowing the curriculum and getting rid of


music. But why were they given an outstanding rating? They wouldn't


get an outstanding rating if they were not teach ago broad and


balanced curriculum. I think the important point was about heads,


strong heads rather than an overpouring governing body. What


about the British values that Michael Gove was talking about, do


you support that? I am in support of that but I'm not sure if Michael


Gove would know what that was if it bit him on the bum. It regards


Blackadder as unpatriotic and takes books out of prison and To Kill A


Mockingbird out of the curriculum. Do you want schools to instill


British values? I want schools to instill values of inquiry, and those


are in periods of history British values. We want them to teach


democracy and the rule of law and peculiarism, but what I'm really


interested in is getting young people in Birmingham career and


college ready so when they come out of these schools they will lead


successful and prosperous lives in a multicultural city like Birmingham.


British values absolutely part of that. That is why citizenship,


history, that should be part of a broad and balanced curriculum. Thank


you very much. It so often seems an inevitable part of war, but if


gathering in London has its way, rape and other sexual violence will


no longer be an effect of war to be mentioned alongside bombs and


artillery fire. The Foreign Office is holding a four-day meeting as a


culmination of a two year operation to get the issue taken more


seriously. It is much more easier said than done. A case study first,


south Sudan has only been a country for three years, yet in that time


suffered terrible violence, both Government and rebel forces are


accused of sexual violence. We travelled from Unity State and the


state capital into the remote Ler area and then into south Sudan's


capital, Juba. Conflict has made this woman a refugee in her own


land. Beneath the surface we find another sinister threat, rape en


massive scale, not seen here before. In the world's newest state, in the


grips of a military rebellion, women here are being sexually abused,


singled out because of their tribe. Tens of thousands are in UN camps.


Two ethnic groups now pitted against each other. ??FORCEDYELL Jane has


broken a taboo by speaking of sexual assault. She cowered in the grass


clutching her nine-year-old school as her sister-in-law was gang raped


and then shot dead right in front of her. I was helpless. Both of them


raped her, four of them all raped her, they are finishing and the


other one into her. She was scream anything a loud voice, she screamed


slowly and slowly until we lost her voice and was not able to scream


again. They were arguing, the other one is saying let's finer her, the


other one saying let's kill her, and the other one saying she is already


gone. The other one released three bullets on her chest, she died on


the spot. 31 women were allegedly raped there on that day. It happened


in the town of Bentau in the north. Now it is deserted except for


Government soldiers, they are backed by militia from Darfur who are


blamed, but all sides are accused of sexual violence in south Sudan.


We're going to a local radio station sexual violence in south Sudan.


bald BentauFM, until recently in opposition hands. There is clear


evidence that one rebel commander used the airways to incite young men


to come and join them and to commit rape. We meet the director in


charge, when the rebels burst in he was forced to hand over controls. We


have obtained leaked testimonies that reveal that the rebels Claired


on air that the rebels had raped women and they were pregnant with


the babies. They called at young men to meet in the barracks to go to


Dinka sites and rape women. A helicopter takes us further goes to


Leer, one of the hard to reach areas, only now people emerging from


hiding still in rebel hands. Here we discover women more prepared to show


their faces, safety in numbers, despite the stigma. They are the


prey of war. TRANSLATION: They cut off the little boys testicle, until


they bled to death in front of us, when they were sure the children


were dead, they divided us up into groups and took us under the tree,


there they stole all of our money, and then they raped us. Just how


many women have been raped in south Sudan is not clear. 24,000 are at


risk, claim UN officials, and the cases we have uncovered are just the


tip of the iceberg. At the hospital here you get a sense of the


brutality of the past few months. This is the surgical department. Run


by the charity Medecins Sans Frontieres, the place has been


utterly destroyed. As you can see we have lost everything. Only bats


remain. Here in the capital Juba peacekeepers are stretched, with


every new wave of violence the camp swells and we don't have to go very


far to find more evidence of sexual attacks. Emily here was bitten,


beaten and gang raped in what appears to be an ethically targeted


operation. Emily tell me what happened at each of these three


trees? TRANSLATION: At the first three we were ambushed by armed men


hiding in the undergrowth. They stopped us and ordered us to put


down our bags. Then they took us to the second tree where they searched


us. They groped us, reaching into our bras, where we keep our money.


Along with our mobile phones. Then they led us to the third tree where


they raped us. From this watch tower here you can see in the distance the


cluster of trees where the gang rape allegedly took place. We have


discovered at least seven other women who claim they were sexually


assaulted in exactly the same spot, on the periphery of the camp, right


under the noses of UN peacekeepers. Under a revised UN mandate,


protecting civilians is now the top priority, are they letting women


down? There have been incidents that have happened right outside our


gates and we have had to make horrible choices. I will never have


enough resources and ultimately we must remember this is not the


international communities' problem to fix, this is the south Sudanese


problem to fix. They have to reconcile and come together and


build their country and make sure the population, whoever it is, is


safe. There are very real fears that women could be denied justice for


the sake of peace. The authorities say they will act on evidence. In


order to resolve this problem in a modern and civilised way and to go


to the modern court someone has to come out of the silence. And they


have to put their case and we are letting them know we will


understand. Sex is a weapon of war and deemed a crime against humanity.


But with more than a million people here trapped in the cares of


conflict, securing the means to survive is likely to Dom -- dominate


for some time to come. My guests are with me, one who survived an attack


by a so called death squad. And we have an activist who survived a


sexual assault in Tahrir Square in Cairo. You are both victims of


sexual assault, how much hope do you attach to this conference? Well,


we're here in great number. The Noble Women's Initiative, which I


chair, there are six women who have received the prize and work with


women's organisations around the world working for sustainable peace.


We took the lead in creating an international campaign to stop rape


and gender violence in war. The point is to bring Non-Governmental


Organisations together round the world and press Governments to do


what they should do any way. What you are hoping to do is to make


something, sexual violence a recognisably different category of


offence in an environment in which killing other people is the way it


happens, that is what happens in war? Well it is true but that is


different from rape because the victim of rape has to live and


assume responsibility towards society, towards kids, towards the


economy of the country. This is almost impossible with the stigma


and the reprecussions of such attacks. Part of the problem is what


happens in every society in the world when a woman is raped or


sexually assaulted. The immediate focus is on what did she do?


sexually assaulted. The immediate dressed like a tramp? Instead of


where it should be, on the perpetrator. The person who raped


the woman is the person we should be looking at, not the woman who was


raped. Part of what we want to see happen at this ministerial level


conference is states taking concrete actions for prevention, protection


and prosecution. Because a raped woman as we have seen in South


Sudan, may I just finish. Go on. Thank you, a raped woman is not just


a raped woman, it affects her family, if you rape enough woman in


a village you destroy the social fabric of that village. Isn't there


a problem here, of course it is a noble objective, but when you look


at that report from South Sudan here, the men who conducted those


rapes are not at this conference, here, the men who conducted those


it at all? But maybe the ones who are responsible for giving orders


for these men to hear, maybe the system would allow fair trials they


will have to be part of it. I think part of the problem though is


thinking it only happens over there. Over there we're going to help those


poor women over there who are raped in conflict. I'm sorry the


secretary-general's report I think in 2011 on sexual violence, one out


of every three women in the world will at some point in their life


suffer rape or sexual assault. So hello, we have to put this in a


continuum. And in my military, in the United States of America, rape


and sexual violence is rampant. And it is only recently that it is being


addressed properly in my country. So trying to pretend it is only them


over there is a bit ludicrous. I was not trying to suggest it was only


women somewhere else, merely that those people responsible for it are


not at the conference? Well that's not exactly true, because the


militaries in those countries engage in rape as well. It is not just the


rebel forces. And hopefully the Governments who come here will


outline a plan of action by which they begin to address these


problems. And we're here to state what we think should happen and


we're here to tell them that we will not turn away and listen to


beautiful words if they are not turned into action because beautiful


words are irrelevant. Are you optimistic that there will be any


kind of initiative as a consequence to this? I'm very optimistic,


because I think that the sheer fact that we have this summit means that


those countries, 150 countries, participating do acknowledge that


there is a problem. This is just one great step ahead. Because many


Governments for years haven't acknowledged those attacks do take


place. I think that also the fact that it puts the Governments, the


Government representatives together with the NGOs, this will create


dialogue that definitely would have a very positive outcome. Thank you


both very much indeed. Now regular viewers will of course be familiar


with this, the formula for the Becenstein Authropy for the black


hole. The existence, though defies the laws of if Is sicks was first


surmised centuries ago. Suppose black holes didn't exist, that is


the potential thinking of a University of Cambridge physicist,


imagine it, no region of space time for which gravity prevents anything


escaping. We will discuss that with her in a minute.


Black holes are some of the strangest and most mysterious


objects in the universe. The theory is they are born from the death


throess of massive stars that explode and collapse. In less than a


second every last bit of matter is crushed down to almost nothing. But


despite being tiny these incredibly dense objects exert a massive


gravitational pull. Like a swimmer trying to escape a waterfall, there


is an invisible line where the water rushes down faster than you can


swim, a point of no return, known as the "event horizon". But in black


hole it is not water that is flowing in, it is space itself. And nothing


can travel fast enough to escape it, not even light. That is why black


holes are completely invisible. Einstein predicted the existence of


these cosmic oddities in his theory of relativity in 1916. Even though


they can't be seen, most scientists are certain they exist. They have


seen stars being literally ripped apart as they spiral into blackness.


But black holes aren't just weird, they are an embarrassment. Because


at the bottom lies something that no physicist can explain, a point of


infinite density and gravity. physicist can explain, a point of


singularity. This is where everything that falls into the black


hole ends up, crushed out of existence, gone forever. But


according to the laws of physics, that is just not possible, stuff


can't just disappear. In the 1970s Steven hawking came up with an idea,


some material could leak out, it is called Hawking radiation, it has


never been detected, and how could this come out when everything else


gets sucked in. These are the issues keeping physicists up at night.


Decades of hard thinking from the finest minds have yet to solve the


paradox. Some are thinking the unthinkable, maybe block holes don't


forget. The author of the paper of the University of North Carolina of


Cambridge is here, also with us is a reader and theoretical physics in


Imperial College London. What effect did it have upon you to realise you


may have disproved such a commonly held conviction about the nature of


the universe? It was very nerve racking of course, although not a


surprise. The history of black holes versus no black holes goes back to


at least as far as Eddington in the 1930s. In 1935 he had this argument


with a scientist about to show there are black holes, that very massive


stars collapse under their own gravity into one point in the


centre. That story goes back to later on it goes back to Oppenheimer


and Willer, and the singularity theorem, and here we are now. What


are the implications of your conviction? I would think if this


result holds and the calculation was done under a series of arocks makes,


so -- productsations -- approxima tickets ons, and if it turns out


there are no event horizons or massive stars, there is a place


where quantum mechanics is as important as the Einstein's theory


of gravity. What do you think of the implications of this calculation?


The impoliticcations f it turns out to be confirmed, would be very


dramatic, it would be a real surprise. It would be a revolution


wouldn't it? It would be a revolution in terms of people who


think about black holes, certainly. It would be very revolutionary, one


of the reasons is that one of the cherished views we have is when


black hole forms we don't need to understand quantum mechanics to


understand how the event horizon develops. That is the surface out of


which you can never escape. So we, up to this point, were fairly


convinced that standard Einstein's classical theory, ignoring quantum


mechanics works there. We understand if you went inside the block hole at


mechanics works there. We understand some point, you have to worry about


mechanics works there. We understand quantum mechanics with singularity.


Where as Laura's paper claims otherwise. You don't believe it do


you? I have not had enough to study it, it was in my e-mail this


morning, and it is a technical work and I would need to go through the


calculations in detail. It is absolutely surprising, given results


in the past, but we are all hoping for a surprise. Are you worried it


may not be proved by others? I am worried that once I and the


collaborator in Cambridge have dropped the assumptions that were


made in this first part of the work that we will challenge ourselves.


But having spent the last five months working intensively and


focussed on this problem alone, I do think that the results will hold up.


How much do you think this sort of discovery, this sort


How much do you think this sort of black hole, I mean no-one has


actually seen a black hole, black hole, I mean no-one has


they? No-one has fallen into one that we know of. But to say people


haven't seen a black hole is probably wrong. By very definition


of a black hole light can't escape from it. So you will never see a


black hole directly. But there have been many indirect observations of


black holes. But we are at the limits here of human ambition and


human capacity, aren't we? I would say to understand astro physical


black holes in our universe we are not at all at the limits.


Observations in the last few decades have made remarkable progress. We


now know at the centre of our Milky Way is a black hole a few million


times the mass of our sun. We are pretty certain about that fact. What


happens when you fall in and quantum mechanics becomes an issue is more


complicated. But the exist of the objects... I should probably clarify


what you mean, usually we associate the black holes with the existence


of a singularity at the centre known in could lobingism as the "edge of


space time itself", that translates into it is so exotic we don't


understand what happens at that point. We are at the limit? The


second feature associated with black holes versus massive stars is


something known as an event horizon. Which is a sort of boundary, not


physical, but a point, a location in the space outside the black hole


where not even light can escape. So whenever an object has a singularity


at the centre and an event horizon outside we call that a black hole.


What my work has shown is once you include Hawking radiation in the


interior of the star collapsing into a black hole, and that is the key


point, Hawking Radiation is produced by the collapsing star, the one


about to collapse into a back hole, once you include that radiation in


the interior of that star, that star will never reach zero size and claps


all the way to singularity. It will still be a massive star, the same


mass that the black hole would have had, it will have the same


gravitational forces that we normally associate with indirect


observations of black holes, but it won't have an event hor rise on or


singularity. Rather exciting isn't it? Very exciting.


The hugely popular comedian Rik Mayall was found dead at his home


today. There was there were no suspicion circumstances, he just


died, "selfish bastards" said Ade Edmundson of his friend. This seemed


to be man that expressed an entire period of British history. Flash by


name, Flash by nature. Where have you been? Where haven't I been?


Would have. With timing second to none Rik Mayall burst own to our TV


screens, everyone has a favourite character, Lord Flashheart may be


yours. Thanks bridesmaid, like the beard. Gives me something to hang on


to! But part of his comedy genius was he created so much and so many


characters. Most of my work is based in Redditch, sometimes the library.


Kevin Turvey was an early creation, the roving reporter from Redditch


that lived with his mum and investigated very little. Fish that


are like cod, whales, that is the fish not the place. A spokesman for


Britain's youth now. But it was this obnoxious anarchist that British


youth audiences took to their hearts. My name is Rik. You put that


back, that is my personal property. You just said all property is dead.


It is. So I'm nicking it. Stop, thief, thief. His collaboration with


Ade Edmundson who he met at university changed a generation.


They were part of a generation who took on the establishment, known as


alternative comedy. Rik is a banker, signed the rest of the club. No that


was an in-joke we had in my form. They were prepared to take on the


establishment and be riotous in the way they performed their comedy, to


be very, very bold. In the 80s there was perhaps less difference --


deference then, and it divided people, it was not a defer relation


show. Their famous appearance on university challenge too. Who has


been tampering with my question cards. It was me, it was me. All the


anarchy you saw was always very well prepared, with the sort of anarchy


that takes six months right. There was a lovely moment where he wanted


me to take my teeth out as Thatcher and I said I think I can make my


mouth looks a if it hadn't got any teeth in, because I could do my


grandmother. I said Mrs Thatcher would end up talking like that, he


loved it and asked to put more in. I want to be true to the spirit of


Thatcherism. All you care about is number one. I thought that is what


it is all about. Of course it is. He had great eyes for a comedian. When


he was doing Kevin, where he sat on the chair and stared straight into


the camera, he was like Ronnie cosh bet on as -- Corbett on acid. You


could see into his head. You could see the electrical thunderstorm


going off in his head. And that would come straight down the camera


and very few comedians have been able to do that strike. That is why


he was so brilliant on Jackanory. I'm going shopping in the village


George's mother said on a Saturday morning, be a good boy and don't get


up to mischief. Rik Mayall was found dead at his home this lunchtime, he


was just 56. The Times columnist and devoted man Caitlin Moran is here.


What was the appeal? I started watching him at ten. What I


connected to was he was incredibly childlike f you look at everything


he is doing, it is the state of hyperenergy and unself-consciousness


that you have when you are a kid, you are screaming in a room and


shouting rude words, you are in love with a rude word, and there is


nothing funnier or more clever than using that. He still had that at 30


and ho. It is that thing -- and 40. It is that thing I'm alive, I have a


face and can say the word "poo". He's billed as an alternative


comedian, alternative to what? There was an amazing intelligence there.


There is a saying about how comedy is what you have when you have


intelligence left to burn. Obviously we know him for silly faces and


saying "poo" a lot. Things like ottom was based on Waiting


saying "poo" a lot. Things like Godot. They had done it in theatre,


they said what if we do a version that is ruder and sillier and


funnier. He was constantly on that is ruder and sillier and


One of the greatest cameos in a sitcom is his Lord Flashheart in


Blackadder. He bursts through the doors. In the run through he didn't


do it, he walked through all of his blocking. When he went for the take


he explodes through the doors. You watch the cast, Miranda Richardson,


Steven Fry and others, they don't know what hit them. They are like


what is going on here. If you ask people about Blackadder, people


think he was one of the main characters. But he was in the series


for less than five minutes, but made such an impact. There was an


interesting conversation on Facebook about how different he was to most


British comedians, he does a thing a lot of American comedians do, people


like Jack Black, you come in the room and own it. What are you going


to do, let as play, English characters are characterful and


playing with words, he could do that as well, he came in and owned the


room like a rock star. That time that he appeared in that school of


comedy, the 1980s, this is, you know, it was a


comedy, the 1980s, this is, you otherwise? He was great for that. In


the Young Ones, it otherwise? He was great for that. In


now, and I speak as someone who likes to be funny but likes to write


about politics, it is very difficult to write about politics and try to


be honest and passionate about it without sounding like Rik did in the


Young One, "down with Thatcher's junta", that great childlike, I have


great dungries. When I watch people talking about young people talking


about politics, I think you need to watch The Young Ones. The naivity he


had as well, alternative comedy at that time, people would say what is


theth the alternative to, it was the childlike and teenage view of the


world we hadn't had before. He was perpetually as stoppished by the --


astonished by the world. I never saw anyone who enjoyed having a face


more than him. He was beautiful in repose, but he was egoless about it,


gurning and posing and throwing himself on the floor. He always had


five more muscles in his face. It was young people speaking to young


people? I have watched a lot of celebrity deaths on Twitter, Amy


Winehouse, and Elizabeth tailor, I have never seen -- Taylor. I have


never seen more love outpouring. They loved him from Bottom,


Jackanory, which he was amazing in, Drop Dead Fred, it was we watched


him as kids and saw someone like you on television, that is COMPLEEKT


what you would do is smash a television over someone's head and


say the word "poo", and gurn as much as possible and eggs ployed. --


explode. Who are his heirs? It is difficult, in terms of charisma,


watch someone... It is very difficult. The childlike quality


that Eddie Izzard brings to stuff and that rock 'n' roll thing. I


don't know, it is odd, his career was cut short, we thought he would


be a Hollywood star after Drop Dead Fred and it all stopped there. That


is why people took it personally when they heard he died, he was


still a British secret. Americans don't know who he is. There is an


amazing warmth towards him? Yes. Again, if you are a kid watching


that, it was one of the programmes you weren't allowed to watch scat


young Ones or Bottom, you sneak up and watch it and this is your secret


and you feel a kindred spirit watching it. For me he was a massive


role model as a wonky young girl, talking them about being complete


outsiders and loners and loving each other, I thought that is a role


model in the way that girls on Sweet Valley High and Dynasty are not.


Thank you. That is all we have time for tonight, there is lots more on


tomorrow. Good night.


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