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Return of the Tribe 8pm on ch5

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The return of the Mac


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27 May 2007
The Ayrshire Pile.
 

A SCOTS lord is battling to bin a TV documentary he says portrays him as a cantankerous buffoon.

Patrick Boyle, the 10th Earl of Glasgow and owner of Kelburn Castle, burst into tears when he saw the fly-on-the-wall look at life at the Ayrshire pile.

TV crews filmed Lord Glasgow, 67, swearing in an interview about trespassers, and showed crumbling plasterwork and staff moaning about their employers.

Crisis At The Castle was shot over two years by London-based production company Wall to Wall.

But Lord Glasgow claims TV bosses have painted a mocking picture of the family struggling to run the 800-year-old castle in Largs.

Last night Lord Glasgow said: "I'm very unhappy about this documentary and I truly regret doing it.

"While we trusted the filmmakers, they clearly set out to portray us as ridiculous, old-fashioned, dysfunctional and incompetent.

"We're trying to get them to make it less slanted. It's weighted in one direction to make people who live in castles look ridiculous.

"There are scenes where staff are at each other's throats when the reality is they get on well 99 per cent of the time.

The film-makers have not shown any of our good qualities whatsoever."

The Earl of Glasgow and his wife, Isabel, opened the castle to the public in 1977 in a bid to make it pay for itself.

His son David, 28, recently persuaded him to cover the castle in graffiti in a £20,000 art project to attract visitors.

Lord Glasgow's daughter Alice, 25, said: "We feel betrayed. My father was crying when he saw the film."

Lord Glasgow said he is considering legal action. He said: "They are sending us the transcript and say they will consider making changes. I sincerely hope they do."

The BBC said: "We've agreed to make small changes to correct factual inaccuracies."

 


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How the godfather's wife
'made it big in the mob'...
 
 
Panorama interview BBC1 tonight...


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Looks good

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CCTV picture of Ann Hathaway
I've seen every prison in Italy probably, with having my husband in prison, and my two brother-in-laws as well
Ann Hathaway
 
Wedding photo
Ann Hathaway and Antonio Rinzivillo's wedding day.
 
Panorama: Married to the Mob, Monday, 8.30pm, BBC1.

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UK wife denies Mafia involvement...
 
Ann Hathaway
Ms Hathaway has returned to live in the UK

 
A British housewife who married a Mafia boss and was convicted of helping run his empire has told the BBC she never asked her husband about his activities.

Ann Hathaway, 44, from Manchester, told Panorama she was too busy doing housework to fully know what Sicilian Antonio Rinzivillo was involved in.

Rinzivillo is serving 30 years for murder, drug trafficking and extortion.

Hathaway was given a suspended jail sentence this month after agreeing a deal with Italian prosecutors.

In an interview for Panorama's Married to the Mob, the mother-of-two denied any involvement with the Mafia.

She said: "To be honest when you're married to a Sicilian husband you're at home cooking, cleaning, washing, looking after the kids.

"You don't get involved in things, what he does and what he doesn't do. I've never asked him."

Hathaway told interviewer John Ware: "What's the point of asking him what he's done and what he hasn't done when I'm already married to him, I love him to death, and I've got two kids to him? What is it going to change?"

When she was asked whether she would love her husband even if he had done the things he was convicted for, she replied: "Well I must have done, yeah, because I'm still here, aren't I? I've still got the ring on my finger."

You don't get involved in things, what he does and what he doesn't do. I've never asked him
Ann Hathaway

 

Mr Ware said Hathaway had been encouraged to speak to him for the programme by her family.

"She says that whilst she became aware that she was marrying into the mob, she categorically insists that she knew nothing about her activities.

"The Italian prosecuting authorities say that's simply not the case and they base that on some bugged conversations that took place during her visits to her husband, which we deal with in the programme.

"Her family wanted her to do this interview, after some persuasion by us, because they thought this would explode some of the myths as they saw it in the lurid tabloid headlines about her associations with the mafia.

"I'm not sure, actually, that the interview does dispel those myths. There are still many unanswered questions."

Realisation:

Hathaway, who has two daughters aged five and 19, met Rinzivillo when she was a nightclub dancer working in Italy and they married nearly 27 years ago.

At one stage her husband's power was so great he was said to be the Mafia's number two behind Bernardo Provenzano, who was arrested earlier this year after more than 40 years on the run.

Rinzivillo, a Cosa Nostra boss, was jailed in 2001.

Hathaway said she did not realise her husband was involved with the Mafia until a year after she met him.

"You hear things, and see things on the telly," she said. "I didn't think anything because I was just young and foolish probably."

Hathaway's younger brother, Lee Hathaway, told the programme Rinzivillo was a "great fella".

He added: "But obviously I only know him from when I've met him, I don't know anything with what he's been arrested for. I don't know that side of things.

"Every time I've met him, in the time that he's been out, he's been no trouble whatsoever."

Plea bargain:

Ms Hathaway was arrested in January at her terraced home in Middleton, Greater Manchester, by officers from Scotland Yard's extradition unit.

After being extradited to Sicily, she was due to stand trial as one of 88 people accused of alleged Mafia activities.

But she agreed a plea bargain deal in which she admitted Mafia association and was given a two-year suspended jail sentence. She returned to Manchester earlier this month.

Italian prosecutors claim she acted as the messenger between her husband in prison and the outside world.

BBC Panorama: Married to the Mob was shown on BBC One on Monday 28 May at 8.30pm.


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The best part was the oldman at the end!

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It always is


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Reality show kidney swap 'is in bad taste'...

The Dutch broadcasters of a reality show in which chronically ill contestants battle to win a life-saving kidney from a terminally ill cancer patient have faced international condemnation.

 
Screen-grab from the website of The Big Donor Show: Reality show kidney swap 'is in bad taste'
The Big Donor Show is made by Endemol, the same company behind Big Brother...

The producers say the programme will help to raise awareness of the ordeal of waiting for an organ donor.

The Big Donor Show, made by the same company behind Big Brother, has provoked calls in the Dutch Parliament for it to be banned from being broadcast on Friday.

But BNN, the public service channel broadcasting the reality TV programme, says the idea for De Grote Donor Show came from the terminally ill woman who is offering her organs to raise awareness over transplant waiting lists.

Lisa, the 37-year-old victim of a brain tumour, will ask the audience to help her decide which of the three contestants with degenerative kidney conditions deserves to get her healthy kidneys.

She will hear video-taped interviews with the candidates, aged between 18 and 40, none of whom have children, their families and friends.

Phone lines will then be opened and viewers will be invited to help her pick the favourite through mobile phone text messages.

She intends to donate the kidney while still alive.

The chairman of the BNN network, Laurens Drillich, has defended the programme, made by Endemol, against charges of tastelessness.

He insisted that the show, which will not make a profit, aims to help sign up organ donors and to tackle growing delays for kidney transplants.

"I believe the programme is tasteless too," he said. "But we find reality more tasteless. Waiting for an organ is just like playing the lottery."

Mr Drillich said he met Lisa, the organ donor, during the course of making medical programmes after the death of the BNN founder, Bart de Graaff, from kidney failure.

The Dutch government and medical professionals say the programme is "unethical".

Even the European Commission has weighed into the debate, before publishing new proposals to ease transplant waiting lists later today.

A spokesman said: "It seems in rather bad taste to do a reality TV game show on something like this."


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A new kidney would change my life, but I'd rather wait ten years than win one like this.

Libby Manship, 53, from Birmingham, developed kidney failure two years ago and desperately needs a transplant.

Here she gives her views on the reality TV spectacle.

There are three words to describe this programme: unethical, abhorrent and diabolical. The premise makes a complete mockery of everything I and all the other sufferers of kidney failure go through every day.

Our lives are hell - day upon day of dialysis, four hours each time at a machine, a restrictive diet and constant exhaustion.

A show such as the one being made by Endemol trivialises the struggles we face every day.

kidney swop

Anguish: Kidney patient Libby Manship.

There are lives at stake and fragile people involved.

Our lives are not to be made light of, with text-in votes and a competition to see who "deserves" a kidney the most.

Imagine if you were desperate for a kidney, as I am.

It isn't just a lifeline, it is a whole new life - free of constant illness and the possibility of death, not just for you but for your whole family: children, husbands and wives who depend on you.

Then imagine that having built up so much hope and expectation - and having laid your life and emotions bare in front of millions of viewers - it is all snatched away, with your anguish writ large for all to see.

I know we live in an amoral age where reality TV offers people the chance of instant wealth, an instant spouse, or even an instant course of IVF.

But this programme is different - it is risking people's lives.

In order to have a transplant, patients are put on immuno-suppressant drugs for a month to prepare their bodies for the new organ.

This in itself is hugely dangerous - patients are at risk from a whole host of diseases.

Why a production company would want to film something as debilitating as that is beyond me - it degrades the patients and their families at a time when they are literally fighting for their lives.

Two years ago, I too was forced to face up to a bleak future when I was diagnosed with kidney failure.

In October 2005, my husband David and I, both retired, booked a holiday to a secluded beach spot in Ibiza.

A few weeks before the holiday I went for a routine blood test.

I suffered occasionally from fibromyalgia (a disease which causes my joints and muscles to ache) and needed to take anti-inflammatory medication to lessen the pain.

As a result, the doctors liked to keep a check on my blood.

But three hours after I'd returned home the hospital called and they were frantic. I'll never forget what the doctor told me.

She said: "We have a bed waiting for you. You need to come back immediately. You are in complete renal failure."

My husband drove me straight back to the hospital, where more tests were performed.

Over the course of that night it emerged that one of my kidneys had failed when I was eight.

My other kidney, which was already underdeveloped, was required to do all the work. Because of its small size, it had completely worn itself out.

And to top it all off, the anti-inflammatory drugs I'd been taking for my fibromyalgia had hastened my kidney's demise.

My situation was so critical that within three weeks I had been put on dialysis ( doctors normally wait five to six weeks to see if the kidney can regain function or "live" off special antibiotics), and a kidney donor was essential.

My family and friends rallied round, but no one was a match.

David, my husband, was desperate to be tested, but he's 67 and I didn't want to take the risk of him donating an organ to me.

Although doctors referred me immediately to the transplant list, it was very difficult to get on.

Patients need a year of tests and it was only four months ago that I was finally passed to join the register.

I know what it feels like to put your life on hold, to start a day with expectation that your life could change for ever, only to have your hopes dashed.

That's why, when I heard about the new 'Big Brother' style show, I was so appalled. It isn't easy to go through a year of tests, just to get approved by the transplant list, but it is sensible and safe.

Why producers would want to bypass this to create such a callous gameshow in the name of entertainment staggers me.

Firstly, what if they haven't had all the proper screening required by a legitimate transplant list? There would then be no guarantee that the kidney would be the absolute correct match.

Also there is always a chance that the kidney is rejected and the patient loses their life - how could a television programme want to show that?

Are they ready to accept that responsibility, or will they try to wriggle out of it if something goes calamitously wrong?

And before anyone accuses me of being jealous of these three people with the chance of a new life, believe me, I would never accept a kidney if it meant getting it on a reality show.

The hardest thing that I have had to accept with my own place on the donor register is that my age stands in my way.

I have, perhaps, a maximum of ten more years on the register.

If I survive to 63 (on dialysis and without a donor) I will probably be judged too much of a health risk.

So, yes, in an ideal world I would love to find a match. But on TV? Never.

This is no way to raise the important issue of encouraging kidney donors. They should be ashamed of themselves.


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Stephen Grey presents Dispatches -
'Kidnapped to Order' on Monday June 11 at 8pm on Channel 4...

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Will Tony sing like a soprano?


  • At the Satin Dolls go-go lounge, the buxom pole-dancers were honing their routines for the big weekend while the manager stocked up on extra supplies of commemorative pink G-strings and liquor shot glasses.

     
    Will Tony sing like a soprano?
    Tony Soprano will meet his fate in the final instalment. James Gandolfini, the actor who plays the mobster, is paid $1million an episode...

    A few miles away at the Pizzaland fast-food shack, owner Al Pawlowicz's main concern was that he did not run out of dough for the meals he was selling as fast as he could make them.

    As America was gripped by the great national debate - what fate awaits mob boss Tony in tonight's grand finale of the television phenomenon that is The Sopranos? - the real-life haunts made famous by the show in this bleak tract of industrial northern New Jersey were bustling.

    Satin Dolls, off-screen a popular strip joint in a windowless building next to a busy highway, is better known to millions of television viewers as the Bada Bing, the Mafia-run establishment in which Tony and his cronies plan their illicit operations. The club is hosting a weekend of tour-bus visits for Sopranos aficionados from across the world, including Britain, followed by tonight's last episode viewing party, complete with full Italian buffet.

    Clad in a patriotic, if skimpy, Stars and Stripes-themed outfit, ChanelX ("it's my stage name") sang the show's praises but said that visiting Sopranos fans were often disappointed that she could not perform the topless lap dances they had seen on screen.

    "In real life in this state it's liquor or nudity, and we serve alcohol, so our girls can't go topless," said Suzie Quigley, events manager. Like most "Joisey" natives, she revels in the attention that the show has brought to a region on which neighbouring New Yorkers look down.

    "We get our share of real characters in here and some fake mafiosi types whom we call -fafiosi," said Miss Quigley, a former dancer. Laughing, she added: "Of course, there isn't a real mob here. In New Jersey we just have a lot of happy Italians."

    In contrast to the Bada Bing's central role, Pizza-land makes only a fleeting appearance in the opening credits but staff can still testify to the Sopranos effect. Mr Pawlowicz could barely keep his eyes open following two nights without sleep after he and his son, Al junior, were inundated with requests for frozen pizza to be shipped across the country, ready for Sopranos viewing parties tonight.

    After closing its doors to customers for 48 hours to deal with the rush, the unprepossessing establishment (motto: "Pizza to die for") reopened for walk-in business late last week. First through the door were locals Ed Valdes and Gene Kosinski, who both -predicted, over slices of thin crust, that Tony would "sing like a soprano" tonight.

    Although The Sopranos is about to reach its on-screen climax, sightseeing fans are expected to continue their pilgrimages with the specialist On Location Tours company for a long time. British enthusiasts are already the largest national contingent on the bus tours and the company expects another burst of interest when the final season is screened later in Britain.

    "I'm sure we'll be doing this for another five years," said the tour guide, Marc Baron, an actor who appeared as an extra in several episodes. "I don't believe the final episode will cut off all their options for the future."

    Indeed, around office water coolers and in online chat rooms, one question has dominated discourse for days. Will Tony get whacked, be jailed or go into the witness-protection programme as a snitch? Or does some other fate await the moody mobster who made his memorable television debut in 1999 when he walked into a psychiatrist's office and declared he was depressed?

    During 86 episodes over eight years, the acclaimed drama became essential viewing for fans on both sides of the Atlantic. The show's creator, David Chase, has shot three versions of this evening's ending in an effort to ensure that the final twists and turns remain secret.

    After a flurry of blood-letting, last Sunday's episode ended ominously with Tony, played by James Gandolfini, who, at $1 million (£509,000) an episode, is America's best-paid television actor, retreating to a darkened bedroom with an automatic weapon after his therapist told him she could offer no more help.

    But the show is also renowned for its subtle plot lines, dream sequences and allegories. "I have no hesitation in declaring that The Sopranos is an accomplishment of Shakespearean standards," said Maurice Yaco-war, a Canadian professor and the author of Sopranos on the Couch. "The themes are as wide and resonant as a Shakespeare play and the dramatic ironies just pile on and on. It has the best elements of a soap opera, the wittiest conversation and the most intriguing conversations."

    David Lavery, who holds the chair in film and television studies at Brunel University, London, and editor of Reading the Sopranos, is organising the first academic con-ference on the drama. "This is a mob show that overflows with the sort of literary and philo-sophical influences that so impress academics," he said.

    Despite the success of US authorities in cracking down on organised crime, two shootings in Brooklyn's Mafia heartland last week were a stark reminder that the mob remains a real-life menace.

     


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