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Badderz UK is an online reality show in which contestants are encouraged to drink, fight and generally behave badly.

It’s quickly gone viral, raking up almost 100,000 views in less than a week.

It is – as its executive producer Lani Good admits – unashamedly “extreme”. Were it to be on TV, without question she says “it would be watered down”.

While UK broadcasters would be criticised for not protecting participants were they to air a similar show on TV, on the internet, the same duty of care rules don’t apply.

“I feel like TV needs to take a chill pill, we’re just trying to have to have a laugh… the [contestants] were dying to do it, they literally want the drama,” Ms Good insists.

Pic: Badderz UK/Lani Good
Image:
Pic: Badderz UK/Lani Good


On terrestrial television, reality ratings have experienced something of a slump in recent years, so has the future of the genre moved online where environments are more raw and less controlled?

TV producers are “out of touch”, Ms Good insists, adding the majority of young people think “reality TV is pants”.

“I didn’t want to wait for opportunities to come my way,” the Youtuber-turned-TV producer told Sky News. “I thought I’ve got a bit of money, I’ll do it myself.”

That money was in fact her share of winnings from appearing on the Channel 4 reality show Tempting Fortune almost a year ago now.

Read more from Sky News:
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Alec Baldwin pleads not guilty to involuntary manslaughter in Rust shooting

Badderz UK executive producer Lani Good
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Badderz UK executive producer Lani Good

One of the most ‘hated people on TV’

If her name doesn’t ring a bell, then you might perhaps remember her from briefly being one of the most “hated people on TV”, as she puts it.

The premise of the Paddy McGuinness show saw 12 strangers take part in an 18-day-long trek, the goal being not to give in to the temptations of home comforts en route, which would see money taken out of the shared prize pot at the end.

Ms Good happily blew the group’s cash pot on a £900 hot chocolate, then a £500 milkshake. As her teammates lost it with her, in reality terms, it was TV gold.

Afterwards, she says trolls tried to get her sacked from her day job as a graphic designer. The criticism was brutal, which is why she maintains she’s better placed to fully prepare contestants on her own self-funded show.

Pic: Badderz UK/Lani Good
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Pic: Badderz UK/Lani Good


Warnings about trolling

She maintains on her show she gave contestants “a level of transparency” she never experienced when she appeared on reality TV about the level of trolling they could potentially receive.

“Mainstream TV and broadcasters, when they do their duty of care beforehand, I think they do what they need to do so they don’t get sued,” she says. “I don’t believe they really care. They don’t ever fully prepare you for what you can go through.”

While she admits she’s setting out to get clicks, she doesn’t believe she’s exploiting her young stars, who are happy to be shown screaming and fighting.

“It’s an exchange, I believe,” she says. “I benefit obviously because I’m a producer, I gain the profit, but… young people in this day and age want to be popular, if you don’t have a thousand likes in your picture who are you? You’re nobody.

“That’s what young people care about these days, that’s not my fault… and I’ve given it to them, that’s priceless, it’s not easy to get clout.”

Pic: Badderz UK/Lani Good
Image:
Pic: Badderz UK/Lani Good


Tightening protections for participants

Traditional broadcasters are now obliged to follow Ofcom-dictated regulations to protect the mental and physical well-being of contestants, but the media regulator has little control over content creation online.

Developmental psychologist and filmmaker Professor John Oates says it isn’t a level playing field.

“It’s totally unbalanced because in the last few years protections for participants – and to some extent crews – has really been tightened up in terms of protecting wellbeing,” he says.

“[Online] it’s the wild west, you can do what you like on social media as long as you don’t put up illegal content, basically as long as you don’t put up pornography or incitement to terrorism primarily.”

Pic: Badderz UK/Lani Good
Image:
Pic: Badderz UK/Lani Good

Are online viral shows even more problematic?

While broadcasters may claim to take the moral high ground now, it wasn’t too long ago that even on mainstream TV, on shows like the original Channel 4 Big Brother, contestants would depart to baying mobs, whipped into a frenzy with seemingly little thought given as to how they’d cope with such a reception when they were alone in the real world.

Only after Love Island and the deaths of Mike Thalassitis and Sophie Gradon were rules around protecting contestants scrutinised.

Of course, the ITV dating show has had to navigate countless complaints over the years – from sexism and ageism to racism over how black contestants are frequently picked last when it comes to coupling up. But are the quick-to-go-viral alternatives online even more problematic if they look like Badderz?

Shows ‘feed into the stereotype’

TV presenter and social commentator Zeze Millz hates the message it sends out.

“Being a black woman, we already have a stereotype of being aggressive or having a chip on our shoulder,” she tells Sky News.

“I feel like shows like this when fighting and discourse is the main premise of it, is never going to work in our favour, will never make us look good, and in fact just feeds into the stereotype.”

A concern for Millz is that while the show’s rebellious contestants might be enjoying a boost in followers now, they’re not taking a step back to think about the potential future harm it might do.

“You’ve got that digital footprint… and literally you’re dragging girls across the floor,” she says.

On her YouTube show, Ms Millz makes the point that “young people can do better”.

“The culture that we’re in at the moment, being a TikTok star, being a viral star, is probably more appealing to young people right now than getting a normal nine to five,” she says.

“They really believe ‘I’m going to go viral… and then I’m going to get a deal, then I’m going to get loads of money… I don’t care about my job’. Because I’m in their head, they think that they’ve already got to that point where they don’t even need a job.”

It is a genre that’s all too easily dismissed as harmless trash TV but could the reality be that what we’re watching matters more than we might realise?

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Raye on the fight to release debut album My 21st Century Blues: ‘It’s been a real wild journey’

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Raye on the fight to release debut album My 21st Century Blues: 'It's been a real wild journey'

In 2021, Raye parted ways with her label after claiming on social media that she had been held back from releasing an album. Now, she is a record-breaking Brits nominee with a number one single and MOBO and Ivor Novello awards under her belt. Here is our interview with the star from January 2023, in which she spoke candidly about the fight to make music on her own terms.

Raye is gaining her power back. Not just from the industry that made her feel “mediocre” for so many years, but over past traumas she kept bottled up for a long time.

“Some of my closest friends didn’t even know some of the stuff I’m discussing on my album,” she tells Sky News. “It’s probably the most honest I’ve been. It’s deep and it’s real.”

Raye, real name Rachel Keen, is only 25 but already a music industry veteran; a platinum-selling performer and a songwriter with credits for everyone from Charli XCX and Little Mix to John Legend and Beyonce.

She was just 15 when she released her first song and 17 when all her dreams came true, in the form of a four-album contract with record label Polydor. But after years of what seemed to be a successful career as a vocalist collaborating mainly on other artists’ dance hits, in 2021 she posted a string of tweets claiming the label was holding her back from releasing her own album.

“I’m done being a polite pop star,” she wrote, her frustration and anger palpable. The singer says after years of “trying to make it work”, she had reached the point where she had nothing to lose. “You get to that breaking point, really.”

Shortly after her tweets, it was announced she and Polydor were parting ways, with the label saying the decision had been “amicable and mutual” and wishing her “all the very best for the future”.

Raye has claimed her first number one with Escapism. Pic: Official Charts
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Raye claimed her first number one with Escapism at the beginning of 2023. Pic: Official Charts

Fast-forward to now and Raye is in a very different place; making music as an independent artist, in January 2023 she topped the UK charts for the first time with viral hit Escapism. The following month, the debut album she fought so hard to make, My 21st Century Blues, charted at number two. No longer pigeonholed or stifled, this is the real Raye, she says, and it’s been a long time coming.

“The album is discussing a lot of different topics… the deepest depths of really ugly stories about assaults and body dysmorphia and environmental anxiety. I think there’s no limit on what I’ve really spoken on in terms of my perspective on my blues as a woman in the 21st Century.”

‘It’s things I’ve been silent about for so long’

Always outspoken, Raye is not an artist who sticks to trotting out lines of approved PR-speak when she’s being interviewed, and this candidness is evident throughout her music. “Being real and transparent is really important to me, to skip out metaphors and similes and cut straight to the point of what I’m talking about,” she says. “Some of these things I haven’t also entirely healed from.

“It’s definitely going to be a rollercoaster for sure, but one that I’m making the decision to go on. That’s kind of the artist I like to be, transparent, honest. I think that’s what I’m like in real life.”

One song, Ice Cream Man, deals with sexual assault. “It’s things I’ve been silent about for so long and swallowed for so long and self-managed for so long in non-constructive ways,” she says.

“I’ve written pretty transparently about sexual violence… multiple things that occur in a life that you just bury, bury down, hide in a box, don’t tell anyone. And it just festers and manipulates itself into something quite ugly.”

As with Escapism, a dark electro banger about using alcohol, drugs and casual sex as coping mechanisms for dealing with emotional pain, the album is a contrast of often melancholy or dark lyrics, with beats that will fill a dance floor, as well as a range of genres.

“You’ve got songs with a contrasting sonic landscape,” she says. “I find it really exciting to tell a story and then the music feel the opposite so I think there’s a lot of juxtaposition there.”

Irony in its ‘most hilarious and ridiculous form’

Escapism’s success feels ironic to Raye. “With the previous music, not in a bad way, but it was more about the song than about the artist. The big dance songs or whatever, they don’t necessarily say anything about me as a person. I never necessarily wanted to be someone who did huge, huge hits, but without depth and substance or discussing things I’m passionate about, or breaking a couple of rules.

“Escapism is such a personal story. It’s kind of dark. It’s extremely explicit and honest and raw… I really told myself on the beginning of this next chapter, I’m not creating music with the intent or purpose to sell loads of copies, it’s about integrity and telling these uncomfortable stories that I think are really important.

“I had all the preparation in the world for building a small, steady fanbase bit by bit, and to not expect anything in terms of mainstream reflection. So this is like irony in its most hilarious and ridiculous form, that this is the biggest song of my entire career.”

Read more on Raye:
‘I was right to back myself’: Raye rises to first number one
Raye speaks out after leaving record label

Despite it not necessarily being the plan, she admits topping the charts does feel like vindication.

“[I feel] like anything is possible and I was right to back myself,” she says. “Never give up on your dreams. For someone who [felt] so, like, mediocre and… such a disappointment, actually, for so long, to just receive all the affirmation in the world that I was right to back my music is just…”

She doesn’t need to finish the sentence. “For someone who puts words together for a living, I don’t necessarily really have the best words to describe how crazy this is.”

‘Fear is the driving factor of secrets’

Emboldened, Raye says artists need to speak out more about the inner workings of the industry. And despite moves to improve diversity and equality making headlines in recent years, she says misogyny is still rife.

“We do need to be telling these stories more,” she says. “I think things that happen in the darkness have so much more power than they do when they’re brought out to the light, you know? Fear is the driving factor of secrets, and truths and stories being withheld. But there is still that very sad view that women need to be guided and controlled and taught and given instructions to follow and meet these requirements.”

She sighs. “I don’t know… I think it’s probably the same for all artists but especially for women, especially for everything I’ve witnessed in 10 years in the industry. I think a lot needs to change, but I don’t think anything will truly be equal and fair until we’ve got the same amount of female CEOs as we do male CEOs, we’ve got the same amount of female staff working a video shoot as male staff, the same amount of female A&Rs, and the same amount of, you know, different ethnicities in these same roles.

“Balance overall is so important, and until we have that, there’s always going to be issues and problems when you have men deciding what they think is best for women.”

Read more from Sky News entertainment:

Self Esteem on not being cool, not having her bum pinched, and not being completely skint
How deafness helped artist James Vickery find his musical sound

Raye is releasing her debut album, My 21st Century Blues
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‘Seven years old, wide-eyed with a dream’: The album cover for My 21st Century Blues

Raye is looking to the future. She says she has had little communication with her former label bosses since she left, but wants to make it clear it wasn’t all bad. There were “some great people there who really believed in me… but obviously it came down to the big people making big decisions”, she says.

I ask her about the artwork for My 21st Century Blues. It features a little girl, dressed for the workplace but teetering in red stilettos hanging off her heels, standing atop a pile of instruments and recording equipment bearing the names of her songs, grabbing hands reaching out from inside. It feels poignant.

“That’s actually my baby sister on top of that big structure we built,” says Raye. “But that little girl up there is me, you know, seven years old, wide-eyed with a dream, not realising what the next 10 or 15 years of my life would be like.

“All the different life – in the industry and out of the industry – that I’ve had to navigate, process, understand, learn in my transition to being a woman, to being an artist, to being an independent artist. It’s been a real wild journey.”

Raye’s debut album, My 21st Century Blues, is out now

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Edward Burtnysky on climate crisis: ‘We should be screaming fire… but we’re rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic’

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Edward Burtnysky on climate crisis: 'We should be screaming fire… but we're rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic'

Photographer Edward Burtynsky says people should be “screaming 10 alarm fire right now,” due to the urgency of the climate crisis. Instead, he says “it still feels like we’re rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic”.

The 69-year-old Canadian artist has re-invented landscape photography, spending the last 40 years documenting man’s dominance over the planet.

He explores human impact across the world – in all its beauty and bleakness.

But does he see any conflict in creating beautiful images documenting such devastating impact on the earth?

He tells Sky News: “My work is revelatory, not accusatory.

“Every living species takes something from nature to survive, and we as a top predator, take quite a bit from nature to survive.

“All these things I’m showing would be perfectly fine if there were one billion human beings on the planet. The fact that there’s eight billion makes it a problem. It’s just too much of a good thing.”

His large-scale panoramas both celebrate and question human ingenuity, challenging his audience to look beyond their backyard.

They also act as a critical reminder of what could be at stake without urgent changes to the way we use the planet’s resources.

Pic: Edward Burtynsky/Flowers Gallery
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Coast Mountains, British Columbia, Canada. Pic: Edward Burtynsky/Flowers Gallery

Born in Ukraine, Burtynsky’s parents moved to Canada after the Second World War. His father – who gave him his first camera as a child – died when he was just 15.

Precipices and helicopters

The necessity to earn enough money to allow him to study photography led him to find work in big industry, working in both the auto and mining industries as a young man.

“I moved far north and worked in big mines. And I got to see those worlds, first-hand. And I think it was that kind of opening my eyes to this other world that gave me the idea that most people haven’t really seen these worlds”.

Progressing from standing on the edges of perilous quarries and mines to get his shots (admitting, “my mother didn’t approve, it was sort of dangerous”), he now uses helicopters to get his aerial images.

Pic: Edward Burtynsky/Flowers Gallery
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Kooragang of Coal Terminal, Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia. Pic: Edward Burtynsky/Flowers Gallery


Over four decades, his photography has seen him travel to multiple countries across every continent (except for Antarctica), with his works included in the collections of more than 60 museums around the world.

Disappearing rivers of ice

His recent trip to photograph the Coast mountains of British Columbia, Canada, for his latest exhibition – New Works – was a stark reminder of a swiftly changing world.

From his bird’s eye view, he could see the glaciers – which date as far back as 150,000 years – had receded dramatically compared with 20 years ago because of warming as a result of human activity.

Not only a visible measure of man’s impact on the environment, the disappearing rivers of ice will go on to impact the ecosystems that rely on their meltwater.

Burtynsky’s new collection also explores soil erosion in Turkey, and the impact of coal mines in Australia.

Pic: Edward Burtynsky/Flowers Gallery
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Salt Lakes, North-East Tuz Lake, Turkey. Pic: Edward Burtynsky/Flowers Gallery


He admits it’s sometimes frustrating trying to relay the urgency of the climate emergency message.

‘Our legacy is troubled’

“We have this particular moment in time and things are evolving rapidly. I’m trying to invoke a sense of urgency out there… This is actually scientifically being charted and we’re pretty good at predicting what to expect.”

His environmental message – which is his life’s passion – is deeply held.

“I have two daughters and I want them to have a chance to have a family, too. So, if you know, the legacy that we’re leaving behind is troubled.

But his ecological vigour is also rooted within his personal knowledge of big industry. He says our use of the world’s most valuable resources is not something that can just stop, but instead needs careful planning, with alternative energy incentivisation, to help us transition to more sustainable methods.

Pic: Edward Burtynsky/Flowers Gallery
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Erosion Control, Yesilhisar, of Central Anatolia, Turkey. Pic: Edward Burtynsky/Flowers Gallery

So, what’s his view on the growing army of climate activists drawing attention to the cause by doing ever more extreme things to hit the headlines – particularly when that involves demonstrations in art galleries?

‘I understand the frustration’

“I understand why culture and the arts in particular can be a target, and somebody trying to bring attention through art celebrity. And that’s what’s happening, they’re taking a famous painting and throwing some paint on it… Or gluing themselves…

“I would think that demonstrating in front of the companies that are causing the problem might be a better place – to go direct to the source of the problem. But I understand the frustration.”

Pic: Edward Burtynsky/Flowers Gallery
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Erosion Nallıhan, Ankara Province, Turkey. Pic: Edward Burtynsky/Flowers Gallery

As for the renewed scrutiny on the source of funding for some of our big arts institutions, including galleries and museums accepting money from big oil companies, he says it’s a tricky path to navigate.

‘Be careful what you wish for’

“The line in a way is dangerous because you can all of a sudden find out that culture is no longer viable.

“I think as well, the oil companies have to transition, and they can do a lot to make a difference.

“We still need oil in the meantime until the transition occurs, [and we should] be careful what we wish for, because if all of a sudden the oil stopped tomorrow, I’d call that anarchy.

“We wouldn’t have food coming into the cities. We wouldn’t have transport working, everything would come to a screeching halt. So we are, unfortunately, still bound to that energy source for the foreseeable future.”

Pic: Edward Burtynsky/Flowers Gallery
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Ravensworth Coal Tailing, Ravensworth Mine, Hunter Valley, New South Wales, Australia,. Pic: Edward Burtynsky/Flowers Gallery


Part of that future, he believes, lies in the essential role that art can play in raising ecological awareness.

‘There’s still time’

“Artists have a role and creativity has a huge role in the future, because we have to reinvent our world. We have to find a world that isn’t built on this consumer culture saying the more stuff I own, the happier I am.

“I think everybody’s finding that that’s a bit of a shallow value system that may have been sold to us by some very influential advertising campaigns.”

So, should viewers of his work feel optimistic or pessimistic on leaving the gallery?

“I hope people can walk away saying there’s still time to do something.

“I think pessimism tends to lead to cynicism that nothing will work, so [people think] ‘Why should I bother? I’ll just carry on business as usual’. And I don’t think that’s the right attitude.”

Pic: Edward Burtynsky/Flowers Gallery
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Coast Mountains, Monarch of Ice Cap, British Columbia, Canada. Pic: Edward Burtynsky/Flowers Gallery

But alongside that optimism, Burtynsky’s clear-eyed on the challenges the world is facing.

Atmospheric rivers, water bombs and heat domes

“The storms are coming – we’re hearing all kinds of new terminology: ‘Atmospheric rivers’; ‘water bombs’ – these the massive amounts of water hitting a city all at once; ‘heat domes’. All of these new terms to try and describe what’s coming.

“The fire seasons have already started early, Texas is having one of its worst fire seasons ever, and it’s a month and a half, two months early.”

Pic: Edward Burtynsky/Flowers Gallery
Image:
Coast Mountains, receding of glacier, British Columbia, Canada. Pic: Edward Burtynsky/Flowers Gallery

He concludes: “It’s a question of how quickly we’re able to cease and desist the worst activity that we’re doing, which I’d say right now is CO2 loading in the atmosphere and is our most immediate problem.

“We’ve got a lot of problems, and I think if people are going to act, they need to act. The time for words is way over.”

Edward Burtynsky New Works is showing at Flowers Gallery until 6 April.

A retrospective of his work, Extraction /Abstraction, is showing at the Saatchi Gallery until 6 May.

Click to subscribe to ClimateCast wherever you get your podcasts

Watch the full interview on The Climate Show with Tom Heap, Saturday and Sunday at 3.30 and 7.30pm on Sky News.

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Iris Apfel, fashion icon and businesswoman, dies aged 102

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Iris Apfel, fashion icon and businesswoman, dies aged 102

American fashion icon and businesswoman Iris Apfel has died at her home in Palm Beach, Florida aged 102.

The news was confirmed on her social media accounts in the early hours of Saturday morning and confirmed by her agent, who called her “extraordinary” and said he was the personification of style.

No cause of death was given. She was last pictured celebrating the Leap Year on Thursday – which also fell on her 102nd-and-a-half birthday.

Designer Iris Apfel is seen on the runway during the Joanna Mastroianni Fall/Winter 2012 collection during New York Fashion Week February 15, 2012. REUTERS/Kena Betancur (UNITED STATES - Tags: FASHION ENTERTAINMENT)
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Ms Apfel on the runway during New York Fashion Week in 2012. Pic: Reuters

Born in New York in 1921, Ms Apfel was primarily an interior designer and and became a moderate public figure thanks to a contract that saw her and her husband Carl consult on interiors for the White House for six presidents.

But later in life, she captured attention through her colourful bohemian style – wearing irreverent, eye-catching outfits, mixing haute couture and oversized costume jewellry.

Ms Apfel’s fame blew up in 2005 when the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute in New York City hosted a show about her called Rara Avis – Latin for rare bird.

She referred to herself as a “geriatric starlet”, she also regularly appeared in the style pages of the New York Times, was photographed for Vogue Magazine and featured in adverts for Coach, MAC Cosmetics and Kate Spade.

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Ms Apfel amassed more than three million followers on Instagram and another 215,000 followers on Instagram.

She also designed a line of accessories and jewellry for the US Home Shopping Network, collaborated with H&M on a sold-out-in-minutes collection of brightly-coloured apparel, jewellry and shoes, put out a makeup line with Ciaté London, an eyeglass collection with Zenni and partnered with Ruggable on floor coverings.

Her style was also the subject of a documentary film, Iris, directed by Albert Maysles.

Ms Apfel was pre-deceased by her husband Carl, who died in 2015 aged 100.

She was also an expert on textiles and antique fabrics, and with Carl, owned a textile manufacturing company, Old World Weavers, and specialised in restoration work, including projects at the White House under six different US presidents. Ms Apfel’s celebrity clients included Estee Lauder and Greta Garbo.

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