When Ted Lasso first arrived on our screens in the summer of 2020, it couldn’t have come at a better time.
TV audiences who had been through tough experiences in their own lives due to the COVID-19 pandemic – and had also been starved of real football matches while teams were locked down – couldn’t resist the story of the relentlessly optimistic American football coach brought to the UK to train the fictional AFC Richmond.
After charming viewers, the success of the series continued during awards season earlier this year, with Jason Sudeikis, who plays the lead role and co-created the show, going viral for picking up his Golden Globe while wearing a tie-dye hoodie.
More recently, the series earned 20 Emmy nominations – including a whopping six for supporting cast members – and a second series has just launched.
Sudeikis told Sky News’ Backstage Podcast it was almost straight away that he realised they were on to a winner.
“The show premiered on a Friday and then on Monday we got a call from Apple saying, hey, we want to do a second season,” he says. “In this day and age of no longer having Nielsen ratings or box office earnings showing up on a Monday morning, that was a little bit of a tell.”
But it was the impact the programme had on social media that really brought home to Sudeikis how much it meant to fans, particularly after a speech in episode six given by Ted, which re-purposes a real press conference moment by NBA star Allen Iverson in which he talks about missing practice.
“When that started to permeate, like sort of started to spread around the internet [and] social media culture, that was something that really resonated then,” he says. “Then we started getting messages back and people saying things to us.
“Our more active writers and producers and cast members that are more inclined to using social media, when they started getting certain messages about how much people were enjoying the show and feeling thankful for the show, that was really moving and telling.”
Production for the second series began in London in January, marking the first time the cast and crew could mark the success of the show together. However, the strict COVID regulations that productions had to adhere to meant those celebrations were sadly muted.
“We all had to wear masks and we weren’t allowed to hug, so it was sort of anticlimactic,” says Brendan Hunt, another of the show’s creators, who plays the enigmatic Coach Beard.
“It was like going to Christmas with the family but you’re all wearing hazmat suits – it’s hard to open presents!”
Hannah Waddingham, who plays the club’s fabulous owner Rebecca, agrees. “The COVID police, as I called them, were literally… you’d see someone and you’d want to go, ‘Oh my God, what about the show’s success?’ and they’d go ‘no, no, no, stay apart’.
“I desperately wanted to give Nick Mohammed a squeeze, playing Nate, or just rub his cheeks or something because he’s so brilliant in it, and you just couldn’t get anywhere near anyone. And it continued like that for the whole of season two.”
For Sudeikis – who is often asked about where he ends and Ted Lasso begins – the reaction from fans to the show, and the character, has been welcome.
“It’s actually been really, really nice getting back here to the States, Brooklyn specifically, and walking around, going to see the Brooklyn Nets at Barclays and having, you know, fathers and sons, when I’m there with my son, stop and asking for photos.
“And, you know, I always said yes before, but I don’t feel pressured to do it now – I just feel like I like what they’re stopping for. And the messages that they exchange of appreciation and really caring about this show has been really cool.”
The second series of Ted Lasso is streaming on Apple TV Plus. Hear our review on this week’s episode of Backstage, the film and TV podcast from Sky News.
Eurovision: Former Sex Pistols’ frontman John Lydon fails to win place representing Ireland
Former Sex Pistols’ frontman John Lydon has failed in his bid to represent Ireland in the Eurovision Song Contest.
His band Public Image Ltd (PiL), the post-punk band formed by Lydon following the break-up of the Sex Pistols, finished fourth out of six acts in Ireland’s Eurosong competition to select its entry to this year’s contest.
They were beaten by rock band Wild Youth’s song We Are One who will compete at the contest in Liverpool in May.
The result was decided in three parts – a public vote, a national jury and an international jury.
PiL’s entry was an emotional ballad called Hawaii, which he described as a love letter to his wife Nora, who is living with Alzheimer’s disease.
In the song, Lydon, formerly known as Johnny Rotten, reflects on their happiest moments over their 40-year marriage including their time in Hawaii.
Before the contest, he said: “It means the world to me, this is our last few years of coherence together. And I miss her like mad.
“I miss my missus, if you keep voting for me I’m going to miss her even more.”
He said he was still “terrified of mugging it up, getting it wrong, letting people down – mostly letting Nora down”.
He spoke fondly of watching Eurovision as a child, saying: “This is something that I watched when I was young with my parents. I remember Johnny Logan, I remember Cliff Richard, I remember Sandy Shaw.
“It’s as good as any other way of listening to music, I don’t have any prejudices about things like that.”
He added that he chose Ireland “because I’m as much Irish as anybody else by blood”.
PiL was formed in the late 1970s and has scored five UK top 20 albums.
The band is also planning to release a new album in 2023 – their first since 2015.
The UK is yet to announce details of potential entrants to Eurovision.
Julian Sands: ‘Intermittent’ aerial searches to continue after bad weather hampered earlier efforts
Aerial patrols are still being carried out “intermittently” in the search for missing British actor Julian Sands who went missing three weeks ago in California.
Normally, similar searches would be downgraded after 10 days, the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department said.
However, because bad weather has so far hampered efforts, it has been decided to extend the search period.
“Our Aviation Division continues to patrol that area, intermittently, in search of Mr Sands,” a spokesman said.
“Typically, we search for 10 days before downgrading to a passive search. In this case, with the weather precluding a continuous search, we extended those plans.
“While weather and mountain conditions continue to be an issue, we will resume ground searches once weather conditions permit and as the snow melts.”
Sands, 65, was reported missing on 13 January after he failed to return from a hike in the Mount Baldy region of the San Gabriel mountains.
Numerous searches for the actor have since been undertaken on foot and by air by both local and state-level agencies.
Authorities have previously used a Recco device, which is able to detect electronics and credit cards, in the hope of establishing a more exact area in which to focus search efforts.
Last weekend, Sand’s hiking partner and friend Kevin Ryan said it was obvious “something has gone wrong” but that the actor’s advanced experience and skill would “hopefully” see his safe return.
Fashion designer Paco Rabanne – known for his flamboyant Space Age designs – dies aged 88
Paco Rabanne, the Spanish-born designer, has died at the age of 88 in Portsall, Brittany.
The death of Francisco Rabaneda y Cuervo – Rabanne’s birth name – was confirmed by a spokesperson for Spanish group Puig, which controls the Paco Rabanne label he exited two decades ago.
He founded his namesake brand in1966, and while it is now best-known for is aftershaves and perfumes, it was his Space Age designs in the 1960s, that first brought him to the attention of many.
A statement shared on the fashion house’s official Instagram account said: “The House of Paco Rabanne wishes to honour our visionary designer and founder who passed away today at the age of 88.
“Among the most seminal fashion figures of the 20th century, his legacy will remain a constant source of inspiration.
“We are grateful to Monsieur Rabanne for establishing our avant-garde heritage and defining a future of limitless possibilities.”
Dubbed an “enfant terrible” in his early years, he helped upset the status quo of the Paris fashion scene, alongside fellow French designers Pierre Cardin and Andre Courreges.
His flamboyant designs frequently used unconventional material such as metal, paper, and plastic, with his first collection aptly titled: “Manifesto: 12 unwearable dresses in contemporary materials”.
Presented by barefoot models on a catwalk in a luxury Paris hotel, the collection included a chain mail-inspired silver minidress made of aluminium plates, which was worn over a flesh-coloured bodysuit.
Baroness Helen Bachofen von Echt went on to wear the dress to a party in New York where she danced with Frank Sinatra, according to the V&A museum.
Embracing cutting edge materials and modern ways of working, he used plyers rather than a needle and thread to create the craft outfits, which made from strips of plastic linked with metal rings.
The collection – which simultaneously looked both futuristic and medieval – has gone on to inspire numerous contemporary designers.
He famously created the green costume worn by Jane Fonda in the 1968 cult-classic science-fiction film Barbarella, with numerous celebrities including Beyonce, Taylor Swift and Blackpink all going on to wear his clothes.
Commenting on the influential 1966 show, president of Puig’s beauty and fashion division Jose Manuel Albesa said: “Paco Rabanne made transgression magnetic. Who else could induce fashionable Parisian women (to) clamour for dresses made of plastic and metal.”
Rabanne teamed up with Spain’s Puig family in the late 1960s, launching his collection of perfumes and scents, which would go on to serve as a springboard for the company’s international expansion and vast commercial success.
His debut fragrance, Calandre, is still available today, and his Lady Million Eau de Parfum – presented in a distinctive bottle in the shape of a gold ingot – remains a best-seller.
Born in 1934 in the Basque Country, in the western Pyrenees, he escaped the Spanish Civil War by fleeing to France at the age of five alongside his mother, who was a head seamstress at Balenciaga.
He initially studied architecture at the Ecole des Beaux Arts in Paris, before beginning his fashion career in the early 1960s.
He started his career sketching high end handbags and shoes, before branching into fashion and jewellery, selling his large plastic accessories and buttons to to couture houses.
Reflective of the mid-1960s cultural climate, his garments used post-war industrial materials – creating a trademark chunky and bold look. His architectural background also shone out in much of his work.
After a three-decade long career, Rabanne stepped back from the design house in 1999.
In 2010, the designer was made an Officier de la Legion d’Honneur in France, the country’s highest civilian award.
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