03/01/2014 Midlands Today


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Hello and welcome to Midlands Today, the headlines tonight: Severe flood


warnings, defence barriers up, and there's worse to come this weekend.


It was very dramatic indeed for a period this morning, the river came


up extremely quick. Talking to the locals, they haven't seen anything


like it. We'll be live in Gloucester with the


latest on the floods and the outlook for the weekend. Also tonight, a


warning from farmers, changes to European subsidies will damage their


business. If you take the average farm today,


if you were to take away the support from CHP, it would not make a


profit. Filmed and produced in the Midlands,


actor Mark Williams tells us why he's loving the role of Father


Brown. He is so interested in so many


things, and I thought my natural inquisitiveness and nosiness would


carry me through. Up for the Cup, the striker who


could just cause a third`round upset.


And it's the detail that counts with the weather this weekend, I'll be


telling you when, where and how much more rainfall we can expect over the


next few days, that's later in the programme.


Good evening. After last night's heavy rain, flooding is causing


problems along the River Severn, and there's more rain to come. Tonight,


there are two severe flood warnings in place on the Severn around


Minsterworth in Gloucestershire. Elsewhere, there are 13 flood


warnings on the Severn, and also on the Wye and the River Leam. Further


upstream, flood defences went up today on the Severn in Shrewsbury.


But it's Gloucestershire, where the Severn Bore has been surging, that


has been worst hit so far, as Cath Mackie reports.


The tidal wave made its way up the river, already swollen from days of


rain, and it hit had. The water rose by several metres, a force of nature


breaking through the banks. In Minsterworth, they were prepared


with a severe flood warning, and many had done what they could to


protect their homes. It was about 18 inches in one part of the house,


three or four inches in the other, so it was quite something, a tide


coming out of the bank. At this pub, usually the spot to see the tidal


surge, carpets were taken up in readiness. We have got our sandbags


ready, but who knows? The coastguard moved along the river making sure


no`one was trapped or injured. There was relief that the fences had not


been breached. Elsewhere, the Midlands escaped the worst of the


weather, and places used to flooding like the cricket ground and


racecourse in Worcester were underground, but flood defences in


towns along the river are doing their job. No problems at all, it is


great to have them here, we don't have to worry about being flooded.


There was concern that news that the Environment Agency is cutting jobs,


including some in flood protection. I am appalled, to be honest, because


they worked tirelessly, they work with communities, they raise


awareness of flooding. What is going to happen to communities if these


members of staff have gone? In Minsterworth, the next surge is at


about nine o'clock tonight, it is predicted to be big but not as big


as this morning. But weather forecasters are predicting more rain


this weekend. These problems have been caused by a large search moving


up the River Severn, due to an area of low pressure at high tide and


strong winds. Couple that with excess water running of the Welsh


mountains and more rainfall expected through the weekend, we could see


even more flooding. The Environment Agency is advising people to monitor


flood warnings and weather conditions.


And Cath is near one of the areas worst affected in Gloucester, how's


it looking now? Mary, the weather has been absolutely appalling this


afternoon! Thankfully, we have some respite at the moment from the


horrors of rain and howling winds. You can see the river behind me


charging along, and with me is Chris from the Environment Agency, you


were here this morning, was it as bad as you expected? It came within


the parameters that we were expecting, it came very high indeed,


and we were right to give that severe warning, because there were


properties and lives at risk. Eyewitnesses said it was scary. It


was. Initially, the Severn Bore came through that preceded the search


itself, but I myself was further down river, and it came in a


extremely fast, probably higher than I was expecting, so you can see the


potential that it has. You still have a severe flood warning in


place, what is the advice tonight? There was a bit of flooding but


thankfully not too much into homes. Importantly, we are going to get


another one tonight, because we have another astronomical high tide


combined with wins and the fluvial flooding coming down the river.


Importantly, we have kept that severe on. It is really to keep


people away from the river and the parameters of the river. We still


have to do an awful lot of work, we have people checking our


infrastructure here. Just briefly, Chris, moored bad weather this


weekend, what can we expect? Yes, we have another band of rain coming in,


and other extremely low depression which will give us a lot of water on


saturated ground, so another 20 or 30 millimetres of rain on high


ground. So we will see further flood warnings and flood alerts further up


in the Midlands area, for sure. If you're planning on travelling this


weekend, you are best to check with your local radio station and the BBC


News website. Back to you, Mary. Rebecca Wood will have the full


forecast for the West Midlands later.


Coming up later in the programme, 31 years in charge of Aston Villa, Doug


Ellis at 90 on the highs and lows. We could not come in at midnight and


put the lights on, because the moment you did, the phone would go,


a van was down the road waiting to come in. That was my wife and I.


Abuse, abuse, abuse. It's going to be a challenging year


for our farmers as they face getting less cash from the Government in


2014. Half of them say the changes will damage their businesses.


Instead, more money will be diverted away from farmers and into


environmental schemes and, you may be surprised to learn, grants for


amateur dramatic societies. Here's our rural affairs correspondent,


David Gregory`Kumar. The Lapworth Players in Warwickshire


are tidying up after their Christmas show, a show staged with the help of


cash from the Common Agricultural Policy, buying scenery and even a


laptop for lighting. It has made a fantastic difference, a fantastic


difference. We have used it in three production so far, all the


equipment. It has just meant that we have moved on as well, we have not


been stuck with old lighting, old sound, you know, we have been able


to actually make our production better. The government has been


shifting Common Agricultural Policy cash towards projects like this for


a while now, and they want to do more of it, but the question is, how


much extra cash should they take off farmers and what should they spend


it on? 9% of the CAP budget had been diverted away from farmers, but over


Christmas the Government increased that to 12%. And while this cash has


been used to fund Warwickshire amateur dramatics, most of it is


used for environmental schemes, often on farms, like Georgina Aird's


Shropshire wetland. The money that we are getting for environmental


schemes is absolutely crucial to what we are doing here, and if the


NFU position means there is less money in that part, then that is


really going to have a serious negative impact on our farm


business. The NFU accepts the importance of grants for


environmental schemes but worries taking cash from farmers to fund


them will cause problems. Given that we are competing in the European


Union, in the same market, the fact that actually English farmers are


receiving less than farmers in France, Germany, Denmark, Ireland,


the Netherlands, even in Scotland, well, that creates challenges when


it comes to how competitive we can be. As farmers face cuts, the CAP is


a growing part of rural life. And David is on a Shropshire farm


now, to pick up on your last point, it's not great news for farmers, but


surely more cash for rural projects is a good thing? Well, yes, in


theory, Mary, but if you look at the numbers, you will see that counties


like Warwickshire do better at picking up these grants that are on


offer for rural businesses and even amateur dramatics when compared to


somewhere like Herefordshire, and that could be because there is less


need for cash and Herefordshire or because Warwickshire is better at


getting hold of it through the system. That could be an issue as


more of the funds go to the arrears. Let's return to farming, we have


sheltered inside with a combine harvester and our Bay Hill, who


farms here with his son. Why do farmers still need subsidies? We are


still not at a level where we are meeting the industrial wages yet, so


that was the idea of setting up CAP, and as soon as we get there, we will


do away with subsidies altogether. Now, more money for green measures,


most of that farming stuff, on farms, why can't you do more of that


and grab back more of the money that way? I think at the moment the rules


are very unclear on that, but they are going to be definitely


targeting, and not everybody will be able to get them, and that, of


course, could be a major problem for some farms were looking to


diversify. Briefly, in Wales, even more money is going away from


farmers, you have done quite well, really. They have had the benefit of


it for many years in Wales, we love them to bits! Thank you for talking


to us. If you go to my blog, you will find some useful tools that


allow you to find out how much farmers near you are getting in


subsidy and what sort of grants have been given to groups around you. We


found well dressing in Staffordshire getting CAP money!


Wise to stay indoors! 60 workers at a Black Country firm which


manufactures brass products have lost their jobs after it went into


administration. McKechnie Brass Limited, which is based in Aldridge


in Walsall, dates back 140 years. It appointed administrators at the end


of last month after making heavy losses, partly caused by an increase


in scrap`metal prices, which pushed up costs.


Detectives have released CCTV images of a man seen using a bank card


stolen in a burglary. He was spotted at a Spa shop in Chelmsley Wood near


Birmingham just minutes after a nearby house was burgled. Officers


are hoping that releasing the pictures will help to identify the


thief. The crime`fighting priest Father


Brown is back for a second series on BBC One. Made by BBC Birmingham and


filmed largely in Worcestershire and the Cotswolds, it's a worldwide


success, seen in 16 countries. Our arts reporter, Satnam Rana, has been


following filming throughout the year. She went on location to meet


the star Mark Williams, who's perhaps even better known for his


role as Mr Weasley in the Harry Potter films.


Stand`by and action! Drama and motor history coming


together on Shelsley Walsh hill climb in Worcestershire. Today the


world's oldest motor sport venue in continuous use has been transformed


into the set of BBC drama Father Brown. The top priority for us is to


use the resources available to us locally and kind of put the Midlands


on the screen, really, and to show where so much of the talent on and


off is regional talent locations as well. It makes sense to use the


local locations as well. I appear to be having an episode! The drama, set


in the fictional Cotswold village of Kembleford in the 1950s, is based on


the character created by GK Chesterton. Father Brown is played


by Birmingham's Mark Williams. I remember the telephone call, and I


remember thinking about whether I could do it or not. And I thought,


yeah, I can do that. He's so interested in so many things, and I


thought that my natural inquisitiveness stroke nosiness


would carry me through, and it has. The series is made by BBC


Birmingham's Drama Village, which produces 120 hours of TV per week.


It's one of 31 features shot in the West Midlands last year. It's


estimated ?8m was spent in the region. These shows also bring


opportunities for local people. 64 extras have taken part in filming


today. Now it's given theses supporting actors a chance to enjoy


this beautiful landscape here as well as watch big names like Mark


Williams in action. I think it is really good for the county, and it


was a lovely drive over first thing this morning at 6:30, two, were when


the sun had not risen in the clouds were in the valley. It was a special


time of day to be driving. This is probably the oldest race track in


the world, I believe, over 100 years old, and that is why they chose this


place. Nice to see the Midlands featuring highly again. The second


series of Father Brown starts on Monday afternoon at 2.15 for two


weeks. And such is its success, filming starts for series three in


the spring. 17 minutes to seven. This is our top


story tonight, severe flood warning, defence barriers up, and there's


worse to come this weekend. Your detailed weather forecast to come


shortly, Rebecca will tell us how much more rain we're in for.


Also in tonight's programme, it's FA Cup third round weekend, but Aston


Villa's striker crisis deepens, Libor Kozak out for the rest of the


season with a broken leg. And serious scores in Solihull, where


Britain's best are competing for the title of champion.


Sir Doug Ellis will always be linked with Aston Villa. Fittingly, he


celebrated his 90th birthday today at Villa Park. He took over when the


club was on its knees in the '60s and finally sold it seven years ago,


with Villa established in the Premier League and solvent. Sir Doug


has been talking to Nick Owen about his long love affair with Villa, on


being the target of protests from the fans, and his relationships with


a series of managers. I was fed to them all, they knew


that they had complete control of training, choosing a team,


discipline, whatever they did. When it comes to the finance,


particularly if we were buying players, then it was passed to me


once they have decided that was the player they wanted. But I spent


120,000,001 year. Yet the fans often said you were too cautious. Oh,


yeah, they kept calling me to get my cheque`book out. They abused me,


they did all kinds of things to me and my wife and family. This house,


a three tonne lorry driving all around the lawn here. We could not


come in at midnight and put the lights on, because the moment you


did, the phone would go, because they was a van down the road waiting


for us to come in. Despite the abuse, I still kept to my principles


of believing you cannot spend money which you have not got, and I didn't


spend it. What did that do to you? Didn't it make you want to get out?


No, no, just made me more determined to stay! I fought hard to keep the


club stable, and I sold it without a penny of debt, with a good stadium,


a good training ground, and a good set of players, and a lot of


youngsters coming up. People have said you have got a huge ego, what


do you say to that? If I did, I am sorry. I don't! I like to be humble


and normal, and I'm not trying to be anything other than what I was when


I was born. How important do you think the football club is to a


community? The industrial cities are reliant upon the local football club


being successful. And it is the talk of the town. When you lose, the men


who are working in industrial cities' factories, on a Monday


morning, they downed tools for the first half`hour, because they are in


the toilets talking about the football match. Aston Villa's


greatest success happened when you were not gently on, does that


wrangle? It does a bit, because I knew the majority of the team and


the staff behind the team were my appointments, so I was pleased for


them. You were knighted for your services to charity, that must have


been an absolute highlight. It was, knowing from where I came, six


shillings a week to pick up milk and deliver it at 6:30. It was. You have


been married for 50 years now, what challenge has been for you living


with Mr Aston Villa, a driven businessman? Every match, home and


away, she took a lot of the abuse, particularly on the telephone when I


am not there from supporters who were abusing me. But she stuck it.


And she is still here today. Finally, what are your hopes for


Aston Villa? Oh... To win the premiership. Many happy returns. My


friend, Nick, for many years, many thanks.


Round three of the FA Cup takes place this weekend. There's sure to


be an upset somewhere, but will it involve a Midlands club?


Let's hope so, Kidderminster Harriers think they can, and they


might have the man to do it. 12 months ago, Joe Lolley was studying


at university and playing part`time in the Midland Combination. He


scored 88 goals in 83 games for the Worcestershire club, Littleton. And


this season, with Kidderminster Harriers, he's caught the eye of


several top clubs. Joe's been talking to Ian Winter before


tomorrow's FA Cup third`round tie against Peterborough.


Joe Lolley, playing for fun and fully focused on the FA Cup. He's 21


with pace to burn and a powerful shot. Peterborough, beware of the


new kid on the Kidderminster block. I thought I might take a bit longer


to get my chance in the team, it is happened quicker than I expected,


but I'm not complaining. You are not afraid to have a crack at goal. I


have already had the most shots, sometimes I think I should pass it


more, but I see the goal and take a shot.


And with seven goals so far, he's currently one of the hottest


properties in non`league football. It is no surprise that his


outstanding talent has caught the eye of many Football League clubs,


surely one of them will make an offer that Kidderminster cannot


refuse during the January transfer window. Everyone is on the edge of


the seat when he gets the ball, it is fantastic, I know what the fans


are thinking, something is going to happen. How good could he be tumour


he is a special talent, the young lad making a name for himself, I


have high hopes he can go to the top. By sheer coincidence, one of


Joe's biggest admirers just happens to be Peterborough United, who'll be


watching him like a hawk when they go head to head with the Harriers


tomorrow. But his ultimate dream would lie a little closer to home.


Are you an Aston Villa fan? I am, quite a big fan! But yeah, no, I


love Villa. Now there's food for thought. Just imagine if Harriers


got drawn against Villa in round four. But first, they must pull off


a shock against Peterborough to write a famous chapter in the


football life of Joe Lolley. So Kidderminster are up for the Cup,


but the Aston Villa manager is a little less enthusiastic.


Yes, in his pre`match press conference, Paul Lambert said that


top`flight managers could do without the FA Cup. That raised a few


eyebrows! Well, he'll certainly have to do without one of his strikers


for the rest of season. Libor Kozak broke a leg in training yesterday


and will be out for the rest of the season. He's scored five goals so


far and has been increasingly important this season due to


Christian Benteke's poor form. He has had injuries as well. Villa host


Sheffield United in the Cup tomorrow. Let's look at the full


list. Burton Albion are going well in League Two, they're up to second,


so will hope to cause an upset at Championship side Bournemouth. Stoke


City host the Championship leaders, Leicester City, so won't have that


one all their own way. Birmingham City are guaranteed to be in the


fourth round draw, they are at home to Crawley or Bristol Rovers, but


they have not played the second round replay, it has been postponed


twice. They hope to play that on Wednesday, with the Blues playing


the next week. It is a cup run without blowing! Eight teams


involved this weekend. That's it for today's sport, Mary, and onto more


of a hobby now, Mary? Well, don't let players of the


world's most popular word game hear you say that, Dan. The UK Scrabble


Championships are being held in deadly earnest in Solihull. And we


sent our reporter Bob, B`O`B, seven points, and it's OK because it's a


word as well as a name, Hockenhull to join the action.


A world of word experts representing ten countries has gathered in


Solihull. I have come from Australia, I'm not sure how far it


was, but I was travelling on an aeroplane for over 21 hours. It is


one of the top international Germans, but there are local


players, and this player is from Solihull. `` to an immense. I was


not going to do it because it was the school holidays, but thinking


about international players being two miles from home, I had to do it,


it has been brilliant. Nearly 50 intense games will be played during


the competitions. They have 260,000 words to choose from, but some


increasingly familiar terms do not make it onto the board. Words that


have become common in the last year do not necessarily count in


scrabble. For example, twerking is not allowed. Neither is Bitcoin, but


what about selfie? It might be acceptable for world leaders, but a


quick check on a Scrabble computer program shows that selfie is not


permitted. But surprisingly girl, a young woman who enjoys aggressive


punk rock, is allowed, and you can also have the word vlog, a blog


using the medium of video. The championships have already thrown up


a few surprises. World champion Nigel Richards from New Zealand does


not give interviews. Perhaps he is lost for words after being beaten


three times by a 13`year`old from London. It was a good game, I got


four bonuses, a close game. I only won by 28. You can never master it,


you can always get better. It looks like Jack is setting himself up for


a lifetime of playing with words. They say that Scrabble is one of the


world's most addictive games. Let's turn to the forecast now.


Rebecca is here. Compared with coastal areas, we've got away quite


lightly, haven't we? Well, yes, Mary we've still seen


some heavy spells of rain and strong gusts of winds, but apart from that


we have largely managed to escape the worst of the weather, although


there is a risk of another storm surge this evening as winds peak


round high tide. We could see another storm surge in


Gloucestershire. We are in for quite a bit of rain! Yes, we still have


two bands of rain to contend with, each with the potential to deliver


up to 20mm in a short space of time, that's nearly an inch. The good


news, if there is any is that tonight is the worst of the weather


is largely behind us. It will get colder, though, and we have more


rain to come tomorrow night and through to Sunday. Still a few


showers remaining tonight, some could be quite heavy, but they will


eventually move off, and behind that under clear skies temperatures will


fall away. That brings us to our next problem, which is ice, and we


can see another weather system waiting in the wings which has quite


a lot of rain on it. That will drop 20 millimetres on saturated ground


tomorrow morning, but once it has clear the way things will not be too


bad to end the day. We will get good spells of sunshine, but there will


still be the odd shower. Temperatures not doing too well,


despite the winds easing, still around seven or eight Celsius.


Tomorrow night we continue to see showers pushing through, some quite


lively, the potential for some to be wintry over high ground. And


tomorrow night temperatures fall rapidly again, a widespread frost,


ice patches once again, and we have some patchy fog to come through


Sunday morning. By Sunday, we have the next weather system didn't end


with, it is moving through and bringing with it, once again, some


heavy rain. We start Sunday with dry and bright weather, but the rain


moves into saturated ground, we will see a fair few millimetres with it,


and this wet and windy weather is not going anywhere as we head into


the new working week, we will see that pattern repeating itself,


perhaps a little more brightness on Monday.


A glimmer of hope! That is the main headline from the BBC. Another


massive winter storm sweeps up the entire west coast of the UK with


winds of 90mph. That was Midlands Today, I will be back at 10:30pm


with the latest on the flood warnings and the outlook for the


weekend. Join me for that, have a good weekend, bye`bye.


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