Week Ahead: Party conferences go online but Bake Off back in tent

Party conference season is under way - in a very different form to normal - while Great British Bake Off is back to cheer up the nation. Chris Burn looks into the Week Ahead.

Paul and Prue are back with new host Matt Lucas. Picture: C4/Love Productions/Mark Bourdillon
Paul and Prue are back with new host Matt Lucas. Picture: C4/Love Productions/Mark Bourdillon

CONFERENCE CALLS

Autumn is traditionally time for party conference season but, as with so many things this year, Covid-19 has put ordinary plans on hold.

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However, political parties are trying to make the best of the current situation with Labour replacing their annual conference with an online members event called Connected which started on Saturday.

It will come to an end on Tuesday with a keynote speech from Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer. Expect the Government’s response to the recent rapid rise in coronavirus cases across the country - and the struggles of many people to get a test - to feature heavily.

From Friday, it will be the turn of the Liberal Democrats, who are hosting their first-ever online conference. They are promising “live Q&As with MPs and Party figures” and “live debates on the big issues, including Europe, Racial Justice and tackling Climate Change” for those tuning in.

BAKE OFF BACK

With the news headlines and bulletins becomingly increasingly dominated by the distinctly uncheery return of both rising coronavirus cases and Brexit tensions, millions of people will be relieved to have the return of a bit of escapism as The Great British Bake Off returns to our screens on Tuesday night.

Last year’s show was won by Whitby’s David Atherton, continuing a fine run of success for Yorkshire contestants in the show but disappointingly there is no one from the county in this year’s line-up.

However, the programme is almost certain to be hit as presenter Noel Fielding is joined by new co-host Matt Lucas following the departure of Sandi Toksvig.

Production of the series was initially delayed because of the coronavirus pandemic. However, filming of the programme finished near the end of August after the cast and crew lived and filmed in what has been described as the country’s largest social bubble.

HIGH NOTES

The winner of the prestigious Mercury Prize will be announced on Thursday evening but this year on The One Show rather than the usual glitzy ceremony.

The prestigious award, which recognises the best British album of the year, is usually handed out during a concert-style event featuring performances from all 12 nominees.

However, the identity of the 2020 winner will instead be revealed on The One Show, before the group or artist are interviewed live.

Stormzy’s Heavy Is The Head, Dua Lipa’s Future Nostalgia and Michael Kiwanuka’s Kiwanuka are among the 12-strong shortlist.

The day before the reveal, Lauren Laverne will host a programme on BBC Four called Hyundai Mercury Prize 2020: Album Of The Year. The special will feature new and archive performances from all 12 nominees, including socially distanced gigs shot recently in independent venues in Brighton, Gateshead and London.

The day after the reveal, BBC Two will broadcast an episode of Later… With Jools Holland featuring the winner.

Last year’s Mercury Prize was won by rapper Dave for his album Psychodrama, fending off competition from nominees including Slowthai, The 1975, Little Simz and Foals.

DRESS UP

Princess Beatrice’s wedding dress is to go on public display at Windsor Castle from Thursday.

The Sir Norman Hartnell gown, first worn by the Queen in the 1960s, was loaned to Beatrice by her grandmother for her secret, low-key wedding to Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi in July. 

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James Mitchinson