This week's UK news: 26 November 2010
26 November 2010

Susan Boyle as popular as the Beatles

Susan Boyle, the Scottish singer discovered on a television show, has now matched a record held by the Beatles and the Monkees.

Boyle has been at Number 1 in the album charts in the US and the UK for the second time in a year. She is the first woman to ever do this.

Less than two years ago nobody had ever heard of Susan Boyle, a middle-aged lady who lived with her cat in Scotland and sometimes sang in her local church. But then she went on the television show Britain's Got Talent. The judges were rude to her until she started singing, when they were astounded by her voice.

That moment was a huge hit on You Tube. Since then Boyle has been watched at least 400 million times on You Tube, has appeared on the Oprah show in the US and briefly sang for the Pope when he came to the UK. And her first album "I Dreamed A Dream" was the fastest-selling first album ever, and the biggest selling album worldwide last year.

TV viewers running reality shows

There are three TV shows at the moment which use audience voting to decide what happens, and there are odd things happening in all of them.

In Strictly Come Dancing, where celebrities take part in a ballroom dancing competition each week, all the talk is of Ann Widdecombe, a former politician who describes herself as a "dancing elephant". Every week, she gets the lowest vote from the judges, and every week the audience keep her in, voting out people who dance well.

On the X Factor, which is supposed to find a singer who will get a recording contract, there is a man called Wagner. Every week the TV audience vote to keep him in, despite the horror of the judges.

And there is I'm A Celebrity, Get Me Out Of Here. This programme puts well-known people in the jungle and make them do "trials" involving eating insects (and worse) or heights. One of the contestants, called Gillian McKeith, was known as "the poo lady" after a television show where she lectured people about their diets and checked the contents of their toilets.

TV viewers have voted for McKeith to do more of the trials than anyone else. She has fainted several times on screen but there is no sympathy for her. Some people have suggested that she is not really fainting. She is afraid of many things and people wonder why she chose to do the show.

What we've learned about the Royal Wedding

It has been announced that the wedding will be held on Friday April 29 at Westminster Abbey in London. And best of all, it will be a public holiday.

Employers are not very happy about this, because the date falls between two weekends with public holidays, Easter and the May holiday. This means that many people will get the Friday and Monday off on the Easter weekend, return to their jobs for three days, and then get another four days off.

It has also been announced that the Royal Family and the parents of bride Kate Middleton will share the costs of the wedding. The security bill, which will be enormous, will be paid by taxpayers.

We've also learned that William and Kate have pet names for each other. He calls her "Babykins" and she calls him "Big Willie".

What men wear in Scotland

Traditional dress for men in Scotland is the kilt, a special pleated skirt made of check material called tartan. There are different tartan patterns belonging to different families.

Kilts are worn on formal occasions, with a fur purse (sporran) hanging in front, a dress jacket and shirt, and knee length socks. It is traditional not to wear underwear.

But now there is trouble in Scotland because the Scottish Tartans Authority has said it is "childish and unhygienic" to go bare beneath the kilt. "Common sense and decency suggests you should wear under the kilt what you would wear under a pair of trousers."

But Scottish men are not all convinced by this. David Coulthard, the former F1 racing driver, said: "Kilts are from the past and so is the tradition of not wearing any underwear. It is a tradition that should be left alone."


by Susan Young


  • This week's UK news: 19 November 2010
  • This week's UK news: 12 November 2010
  • This week's UK news: 5 November 2010
  • This week's UK news: 29 October 2010

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