Susan Boyle set to star in ITV Christmas Special, is also taken ill

16susanboyle By Oliver Farrimond

SCOTS singing star Susan Boyle is set to feature in a yuletide television spectacular.

The Blackburn-born global superstar will perform to a crowd of celebrities in ITV’s “An Audience with Susan Boyle”.

Susan, 48, will perform songs from her soon-to-be released album I Dreamed A Dream in an hour-long special.

A TV source said that the show would be ITV’s “jewel in the crown” for their Christmas programming.

A source said: “Susan started her career at ITV so it’s only right that it should properly take off on ITV as well.

“Already people are calling it the jewel in ITV’s crown this Christmas. Continue reading

Butler left “sobbing his guts out” by acting coach

Gerard_Butler_TIFF08By Rory Reynolds

HEARTTHROB Gerard Butler has spoken out about the acting guru who transformed his career.

Famed acting coach Larry Moss, who has worked with some of the biggest names in Hollywood including Leonardo DiCaprio, left Butler “sobbing his guts out” after one intense session.

But 39-year-old Butler has criticised his $1,000-an-hour fees, labelling the price tag “an absolute fortune.”

Butler, who is originally from Paisley, enlisted the services of the famed acting coach to prepare him for a role in the mini-series Attila the Hun.

He said: “He was so expensive, but I had two lessons with him when I landed Attila the Hun and I wanted to run over the script with him – he cost an absolute fortune.” Continue reading

Grandson of Gandhi backs Kenny MacAskill over release of Lockerbie bomber


Arun Gandhi

By Oliver Farrimond

THE GRANDSON of Muhatma Gandhi has backed Kenny MacAskill’s decision to release Lockerbie bomber Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed Al Megrahi.

Speaking just days before Alex Salmond compared MacAskill to Gandhi at the SNP’s annual conference in Inverness, Arun Gandhi said that the Justice Secretary was a “kind and compassionate” person, and that “eye for an eye justice makes the whole world blind”.

And while the First Minister’s pronouncement has been met with criticism from senior opposition figures, the fifth grandson of the revered spiritual leader offered an endorsement after meeting with MacAskill during his visit.

He said: “He seems like a very kind and compassionate person.

“And I think that eye for an eye justice, which many Americans believe in, is not right. Continue reading

Undercover copper’s spy game to crack the US hotel market

By Rory Reynolds

A FORMER undercover detective who left the force to develop a spy game for kids is on the verge of huge deal with a luxury US hotel chain.

David Goutcher, a former CID officer at Strathclyde Police, could hit the jackpot if the Four Seasons firm snap up his problem solving game.

The luxury group – which owns 80 hotels – got wind of the interactive game after a US businessman played it with his daughter at Gleneagles and recommended it the Four Seasons chain.

The interactive game involves youngsters carrying out spy missions by solving clues and finding items in the grounds of a country club or hotel.

David’s firm Polybius is already expected to hit a £500,000 turnover in the coming year.

Continue reading

‘Bin Laden’ deer shot after becoming aggressive

03 Deer

A deer

By Oliver Farrimond

AN ELDERLY deer dubbed “Bin Laden” by locals has been shot dead after turning on its adopted owner.

The ageing stag was famous for begging visitors for chocolate at The Tea Hut café in Corran, Ross-shire, and had even been featured on BBC’s The One Show.

However the 20-year-old stag became frustrated after becoming too old to rut, and also because of a wound on his side.

He then turned on adopted owner Sheena Nash, who owns The Tea Hut café, leaving the 70-year-old needing five stitches in her leg.

And after speaking with owner of the estate the stag lived on, it was decided that he be put down. Continue reading

Caring Scots like saying it with cheeky cards

ScribblerBy Rory Reynolds

SCOTS love the personal touch when it comes to marking special occasions – and the chance to show their cheeky side – according to a new survey.

A poll by the Greetings Card Association has revealed that 94 per cent of Scots felt more special on receiving a card than a text, a Facebook message, or an email when it came to celebrating events like birthdays or anniversaries.

87 per cent of those questioned said they found a greetings card the most exciting way to hear from loved ones on a special occasion.

But the GCA survey gave a stark warning to those sending texts instead of cards, with 60 per cent of Scots finding them an impersonal way of marking special occasions.

And in a boost for traditional greeting cards, 75 per cent of those asked said they would be “really disappointed” if they only received Facebook and Twitter messages rather than cards on their birthday. Continue reading

Scots policeman named one of the UK’s top cops

By Rory Reynolds

A SCOTS bobby has been named of UK’s top cops for nicking more than 400 villains in one year.

Motherwell copper Rob Brown, 40, – dubbed Robocop by locals – scored second on the UK’s list of top law enforcers, after cleaning up the streets of his home town.

The Strathclyde Police officer – who has been walking the beat for 19 years – arrested 434 suspects in just twelve months.

He came just behind Sergeant Ali Livingstone, from Ipswich, who made 524 arrests in the same year – a staggering three per day.

Brave PC Brown previously worked with London’s Metropolitan Police, earning a total of five commendations, one for bravery and another for stopping a young man from committing suicide.

He then returned to Scotland in 1997, working in Coatbridge, Wishaw and Motherwell.

And Rob reckons that his zero tolerance policing and targeting of low-level crime has helped his community have faith in the police. Continue reading

Irvine Welsh success means he can buy home for mum

02 irvine welsh sittingBy Rory Reynolds

TOP Scots author Irvine Welsh has revealed that his dream of being able to buy a home for his mum came true after the success of Trainspotting.

The 51-year-old offered his beloved mum Jean a house anywhere she wanted, to be paid for by the multi-million pound fortune that came after the success of his gritty Scots novels.

But his mum, a former waitress, insisted on staying in the home where she and her late husband Peter lived in Edinburgh.

So the best-selling author forked out £19,000 to purchase the modest house from Edinburgh City Council for his hard-working mum.

His mum and dad had moved there after bringing Irvine up in Muirhouse, West Pilton and, most famously, Leith – the setting for most of his novels. Continue reading

Six-month-old lowered from flat blaze in car seat

By Rory Reynolds

A SIX-month-old baby was taken to hospital with his mother after a dramatic escape from a burning building.

Emergency services raced to Hailesland Gardens in Wester Hailes, Edinburgh, as a fire from a kitchen on the ground floor began to spread up a block of flats.

Two of the occupants of the second floor of the building, desperate to get their child to safety, wrapped him in a car seat and lowered him to the ground using their bedsheets.

Crews from Lothian and Borders Fire and Rescue arrived on the scene as the baby was reached the ground safely, and rescued the remaining occupants from the building.

The child was taken with his mother to the Sick Kids hospital in the Marchmont area of the city for treatment for light smoke inhalation. Continue reading

Councils’ slow payments cause suppliers to suffer

Council Building004By Rory Reynolds

SUPPLIERS to Scots councils are being squeezed because local authorities are failing to pay their bills within the Government’s suggested time limit.

On average, councils in Scotland paid just one quarter of bills within the Government’s suggested time limit – leaving small and medium-sized businesses struggling with their cash flow.

A Freedom of Information request by the Forum of Private Business has shown that barely a quarter of invoices were paid within the Government’s 10-day payment pledge in the past year.

The results showed that, on average, none of the 32 local authorities in Scotland had paid all of its bills within the 10-day target, with most taking the full 30-day limit.

Last year Lord Mandelson urged public bodies to pay small and medium sized firms within a ten day period, as many struggled to secure short term loans from Britain’s banks. Continue reading