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David Walliams guest-edits 80th anniversary issue of Beano

Posted on July 20th, 2018 in Uncategorized.

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As part of Beano’s 80th Birthday celebrations, comedian and prolific children’s author David Walliams guest-edits and stars in the commemorative issue of the world’s longest running comic!

The special issue, on sale on July 25th, immortalises David in the comic strip alongside the ‘Bash Street Kids’ and characters from his best-selling children’s books, ‘The World’s Worst Children’.

The comic will also feature Moe; a brand-new character exclusively created by Walliams, who debuts in a new strip called ‘Moe’s Monkey Feet’. Loosely based on the comedian’s son, the story sees Moe using his amazingly dextrous feet to play pranks on other notorious Beano characters.

 

As well as writing his own comic strips, David commissioned a special BeanoTown adventure, featuring legendary characters Dennis & Gnasher, Minnie the Minx and Bananaman, who all team up to defeat an out-of-this-world visitor. The strip also nods to the comic’s 80 years of success, by including iconic characters like Lord Snooty, Tin-Can Tommy and Pansy Potter.

To accommodate all of David Walliams’ ideas, extra paper had to be ordered so the birthday issue could be expanded into a 44-page bumper edition. The special celebratory front cover sees Walliams himself appearing in Beano form, with Dennis, Minnie the Minx, Gnasher and David’s beloved dog Bert.

Writing in the Editor’s letter, Walliams said: “What I always loved about the Beano was that it felt naughty. It was a comic that you should read under the duvet with a torchlight. I don’t think I’d have got into writing my books without Beano. When coming up with characters for my TV shows and books, I’d imagine them all as larger than life characters, much like the ones in Beano. The comic is quintessentially British and as long as there are children who like to laugh there will always be a place for the Beano.”

He added: “I was thrilled to be invited to guest-edit the Beano, I felt rather giddy sitting in the Editor’s chair helping to create storylines and introduce my new character to the comic’s fanbase. As an official member of the Fan Club, as a child I’d wear my Dennis and Gnasher badges with such pride, so it’s great to hear that it’s making an overdue comeback! All that’s left for me to say is Happy Birthday to the best comic in the world!”

Emma Scott, CEO of Beano Studios said: “It’s fantastic to work with David Walliams for our 80th Birthday bash – he’s brilliantly Beano – embodying the daft and rebellious nature which for 80 years has entertained kids and parents alike. On its 80th Birthday, Beano is more relevant than ever, spreading much needed cheekiness and inspiring kids to just embrace being kids, whether it’s on our award-winning Beano.com, in our hit TV shows and the world-record breaking comic. Here’s to the next 80 years!”

David Walliams guest-edited the celebratory issue in exchange for a donation to YoungMinds, the UK’s leading charity fighting for young people’s mental health. Beano Studios is supporting YoungMinds’ work to engage children about their mental health across its platforms. The 80th anniversary comic also sees the debut of another new character, called Mandi. Developed with YoungMinds, Mandi’s story sees her encounter everyday issues that can create anxiety or stress in children.

The 80th Birthday edition of the Beano with David Walliams is available in shops from Wednesday 25th July

Nat Geo WILD ‘Shark Map’ illustrates the UK’s shark hotspots

Posted on July 17th, 2018 in Taylor Herring News.

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Hammerheads, blacktips and sand tiger sharks could be heading to UK shores and may inhabit our coastal waters in the next 30 years according to new research released today.

The new study to celebrate Sharkfest on Nat Geo WILD, reveals Britain’s current and future shark population. It predicts that with the rise of sea temperatures and the impact of climate change we could see non-indigenous species of sharks from the Mediterranean making their way to the British coastline by 2050. 

Nat Geo WILD specially commissioned Dr Ken Collins, former administrator of the UK Shark Tagging Programme and Senior Research Fellow at the University of Southampton, to map the future of Britain’s shark population to celebrate the start of Sharkfest, a week-long series of TV programming dedicated to sharks. Featuring jaw-some specials and capturing never before seen shark behaviour, Sharkfest aims to raise awareness about these incredible creatures.

The new ‘Shark Map of Britain’ released today estimates that there may be currently over 10 million small sharks and 100,000 larger sharks in British waters, as well as some 40 different species, including Thresher, Basking and Nursehound sharks. 

Dr Ken Collins, Senior Research Fellow University of Southampton, based at the National Oceanography Centre, Southampton and former administrator of the UK Shark Tagging Programme, said:

“It’s likely we will be seeing more sharks spread from warmer regions such as the Mediterranean Sea towards our waters in the UK over the next 30 years. These include the likes of Blacktips, Sand tigers and Hammerheads, which are currently found swimming off the coasts of Spain and Portugal.”

The ten new species of sharks that could inhabit British waters by 2050: 

  1. Great Hammerhead (Sphyrna mokarran) – the largest species of Hammerhead, currently found in the Mediterranean, southern Spain/Portugal, Atlantic coast of Africa, North America, Caribbean, South America, and the Indian and Pacific Oceans
  2. Blacktip shark (Carcharhinus limbatus) – currently found in the Mediterranean, southern Spain/Portugal, Atlantic coast of Africa, North America, Caribbean, South America, and the Indian and Pacific Oceans
  3. Sand tiger or Spotted Raggedtooth shark (Carcharias taurus) – currently found in the Mediterranean, African coasts, Atlantic coasts of USA and South America, Australia and South East Asia
  4. Bigeye Thresher (Alopias superciliosus) – currently found in the mid-Atlantic, northern Spain, Indian Ocean, Pacific Ocean
  5. Longfin Mako (Isurus paucus) – currently found in the mid-Atlantic, northern Spain, Indian Ocean, Pacific Ocean
  6. Bronze Whaler or Copper shark (Carcharhinus brachyurus) – currently found in the Mediterranean, southern Spain and Portugal, Atlantic coast of Africa, Atlantic coast of South America, and both sides of the Pacific coast
  7. Oceanic Whitetip shark (Carcharhinus longimanus) – currently found in the mid-Atlantic, northern Spain, and the Indian and Pacific Oceans
  8. Silky shark (Carcharhinus falciformis) – currently found in the Mediterranean, southern Spain/Portugal, mid-Atlantic, Indian Ocean, and both sides of the Pacific coast
  9. Dusky shark (Carcharhinus obscurus) – currently found off the coasts of Spain and Portugal, and off the Atlantic coast of Africa, North America, Caribbean, South America, Indian Ocean and Pacific Oceans
  10. Goblin shark (Mitsukurina owstoni) – currently found off the Atlantic coasts of France, Spain, Portugal and Africa, and in the Indian Ocean off the coasts of New Zealand and Japan

 Cornwall has been named as the UK’s current shark capital with at least 20 species found off the coast, followed by the Scilly Isles and Devon.

Current species indigenous to our waters such as the Basking, Thresher and Nursehound are declining in numbers due to over-fishing and other pressures so need to be protected, says Dr Collins.

Dr Collins added: “There is considerable debate as to whether we have Great White Sharks in UK waters. I see no reason why not – they live in colder waters off South Africa and have a favourite food source, seals along the Cornish coast. The only argument against there being Great White Sharks in our waters is that numbers worldwide are declining so the chances of seeing one around the UK fall year by year. Though while the potential number of shark species around the UK may increase in the next few decades, the overall number of sharks (especially the larger ones) will fall as a result of overfishing, plastic waste and climate change. It’s really important we work together to prevent a premature extinction of these wonderful creatures.”

Britain’s top ten locations for shark spotting:

  1. Cornwall
  2. Scilly Isles
  3. Devon
  4. Isle of Wight
  5. Pembrokeshire
  6. Caernarfonshire
  7. Anglesey
  8. Isle of Man
  9. Argyllshire
  10. Inverness-shire

Nat Geo WILD installed shark information points on Treyarnon beach in Cornwall this week to educate beach goers about the array of amazing marine life in our ocean and dispel myths about sharks.

A Nat Geo WILD spokesperson commented: “Nat Geo WILD loves sharks! For too long these magnificent creatures have been portrayed in a strictly-one dimensional way, as terrifying predators.  Sadly, now many species are under threat. That’s why we are bringing viewers Sharkfest, a whole week of fin-tastic shark TV. We follow the top scientific researchers as they dive down into the deep, discovering unseen shark behaviour never before caught on camera, and revealing the true awe-inspiring nature of sharks.”

Nearly 8 in 10 (79%) recent shark sightings in the UK have been of the basking shark, although three sightings of blue sharks have been reported in the last two years off the British coast, as well as two sightings of porbeagle sharks, which are often mistaken for Great Whites. Cornwall is the place where you are most likely to spot a shark, with 25 of UK sightings in the past two years taking place here.

In a survey of 2000 British adults by Nat Geo WILD to celebrate Sharkfest, it was found that four in ten Brits admit to suffering an irrational fear of sharks while swimming in the sea.

And with a potential infiltration of sharks on the horizon, more than three quarters of Brits think we’re likely to see shark surveillance and prevention techniques, such as shark nets and shark spotting drones, being used off British coasts in the future.

Despite there being 40 different species of shark currently passing through British waters, more than half of British respondents can’t name more than two types of shark, while 11% can’t name even one shark species. Meanwhile, over 8 in 10 Brits think sharks have been given a bad reputation by the Hollywood film industry.

Nat Geo WILD’s Sharkfest, the number one destination for incredible shark shows, is back this year to raise awareness about the fascinating and thrilling nature of sharks.

This year Sharkfest kicks off with 700 Sharks, which follows the largest school of sharks in Polynesia, as a team of international scientists study them at night when they’re most aggressive. The brave team are rewarded as they capture incredible new behaviours never seen before or caught on camera.

This is followed by Shark Vs. Tuna, which depicts a clash of oceanic titans, breaking down why sharks are the apex oceanic predator.

Finally, Big Sharks Rule reveals expert insight as to why the world’s biggest shark species congregate in one region called “shark central” off the coast of South Africa.

 

Nat Geo WILD’s week-long Sharkfest premieres Monday 16th July and lasts until Sunday 22nd July

https://www.nationalgeographic.com/tv/sharkfest/

easyJet launch European-wide campaign to get kids hooked on a book

Posted on July 12th, 2018 in Taylor Herring News.

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Images [here]  Video [here]

A new study into child literacy reveals that, almost four in ten parents (38%) said their child has fewer than 10 books at home and on average, British children aged between 6 – 12 have not visited a public library in over six months.

The research by airline easyJet has led to the launch of a European-wide initiative to encourage children to get hooked on a book this Summer – 300 ‘Flybraries’ (flying libraries) hit the runways today stocked with 17,500 children’s books translated in seven languages.

The campaign has been delivered by PR and creative agency Taylor Herring.

The results released today also show that reading for pleasure is in decline with the average British child reading only 11 books a year and spending only four hours a week reading for pleasure (34 minutes per day) in their free time.

The alarming study by the UK’s largest airline easyJet, who polled 2,000 British parents with children aged between 6 – 12, reveals that over a fifth (22%) of parents said their child had not visited a public library in over a year.

Three-quarters of parents (75%) also said that they were concerned that their child’s vocabulary may be affected due to reading fewer books.

easyJet is teaming up with Bloomsbury Children’s Books and Alma Books to put books including; Kid Normal, Peter Pan, Alice in Wonderland, The Jungle Book, Dr Dolittle and The Secret Garden, in passenger seat-pockets as the world’s largest in-flight holiday lending library takes to the skies today.

Tina Milton, Director of Cabin Crew at easyJet said: “This summer we will fly approximately five million families across Europe on their summer holidays and our in-flight lending library is stocked with over 17,500 books ready for children to pick up, read and then leave behind for the next passenger. Reading is so important for fuelling a child’s development, vocabulary and imagination and a flight provides the perfect opportunity for them to get stuck into a book. We are passionate about creating family friendly initiatives that make flying with us fun and easier for parents.”

Campaign ambassadors and best-selling children’s authors Greg James (BBC1 Radio 1) and Chris Smith said: One of the main reasons we wanted to write Kid Normal was to de-mystify the role of ‘the author’ as serious and impenetrable figures, and to show that reading and writing stories is not only one of the most amazing uses of your imagination but to show that it is something that is for everyone.

It’s an incredibly rewarding and fun activity and when easyJet told us their plans to get books into the hands of kids and to encourage them to write their own, we couldn’t have been more keen to get involved. Writing our series of books has been one of the most enjoyable things we’ve ever done and we want to encourage as many people as possible to give it a go.”

The duo launched the initiative at London Gatwick Airport today with a special reading and book signing for young travellers.

The initiative is being supported by the National Literacy Trust who are partnering with easyJet to encourage children to read more books over the six-week school holidays. The partnership means that parents can download fun activities for the family over the summer to encourage literacy. According to the charity’s own research* of over 42,000 children aged 8 – 18, almost one child in ten (9.4%) does not own a book of their own, rising to one in eight (13.1%) children from disadvantaged backgrounds.

Jonathan Douglas, Director of the National Literacy Trust said: “Books have the power to transform children’s lives, which is why it is so alarming that more than three-quarters of a million children in the UK don’t have a single book to call their own, and one in five haven’t been to a library in the past year. Getting books into the hands of children, and helping them discover a love of reading, can set them on the path to a more successful future. easyJet’s Flybrary initiative is a fantastic way of getting thousands of children into reading this summer.”

 Nearly half of the children (42.5%) surveyed by the National Literacy Trust said that they rarely read outside of the classroom with three in ten (30%) admitting that they never pick up a book past school hours. The charity’s statistics also show that the average child (aged 8-18) spends just 26 minutes per day reading physical books.

Additionally, almost all respondents (94%) agreed that the breadth of electronic entertainment devices available today, has led to the decline in children reading for pleasure.

In fact, reading came eighth (44%) in a list of activities that parents believed their children took the most pleasure in, coming in behind watching TV (81%), playing on a smartphone/tablet (72%), playing video games (64%) and watching movies (59%).

Over nine in ten (92%) parents surveyed agreed that digital devices has reduced the attention span of children, making it more difficult for them to get stuck into and finish a book.

easyJet’s fleet of Flybraries will enable children to start reading books on a flight and then when they land download free samples of books at www.flybrariesbookclub.com – the website will also host the airline’s summer writing competition to help children spread their creative writing wings.

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