Warning – spoilers! Game Of Thrones review: The final episode

Cometh the hour, cometh the… well, cometh the Three-Eyed Raven, apparently.

Yes, ’tis Bran Stark (Your Grace, Bran The Broken now, FYI) who the people of Westeros have bent the knee for, because all that malarkey about Jon Snow being the rightful heir – you know, the point that this story had been building up to for years?

Yeah, that never really mattered. No biggie.

After 73 episodes, hundreds of awards and hundreds of thousands of bloody deaths, the Game Of Thrones has been won, sort of, ending in bittersweet style with a finale that, like the rest of the season before it, will no doubt divide fans.

We all knew the end was never going to be easy. It was never going to satisfy everyone. So many threads to tie up, so many beloved characters to serve, so much that fans really, really cared about.

This final series has split opinion like no other; more than a million people had signed a petition calling for it to be remade before the last episode aired. This ending likely won’t have kept numbers at a plateau.

It started promisingly, with stunning shots of Tyrion walking through the smouldering ashes of King’s Landing, charred body upon charred body surrounding him.

Image: The final series has split opinion among fans. Pic: HBO/Sky Atlantic

We then saw Queen Daenerys, walking out to her people as Drogon’s wings unfolded in beautiful symmetry behind her.

“Blood of my blood! You have given me the Seven Kingdoms!” she shouted in a speech that once would have been rousing but after last week’s antics was chilling to the bone.

At that point, it felt like anything could happen.

Then – spoiler klaxon – we had the shock death that wasn’t a shock death, because if there’s one thing that you can predict with Game Of Thrones, it’s a shock death.

But still: Jon killed Daenerys, as many had predicted, but the timing and execution really did come out of the blue.

Just when you thought our bumbling hero was still going to stand by his queen, despite her human fireworks, he only went and stabbed her as he snogged her.

No fanfare, no stand-off, no apologies, no goodbyes. Done, and all in the first half an hour. Sorry for ever doubting you, Jon Snow.

So Dany is dead, Bran is King. As we prepare to leave Westeros behind and return to the real world, here are the main talking points from the last ever episode of Game Of Thrones.

All hail Bran The Broken

Isaac Hempstead Wrigtht as Bran Stark. Pic: HBO/Sky Atlantic

Image: Bran Stark won the Iron Throne. Pic: HBO/Sky Atlantic

After Dany’s death, it all got very democratic and her successor was chosen by all the important people left standing.

All the important people apart from Jon, that is, as he had been imprisoned for murdering Dany.

This is where things felt a bit odd. It wasn’t so much the choice of Bran as King that felt slightly out of step – those Three-Eyed Raven powers might come in handy, after all – but the way it happened, the fact that Jon’s true lineage never even came up.

What happened to Varys’ letters revealing the secret? Why didn’t Sansa or Arya say anything? Or Tyrion, or Sam Tarly for that matter?

This was no secret anymore, half the people there knew. Jon had always made it clear he didn’t want the throne, but it always felt like it would be his to give away.

Jon is well-meaning but would have made a rubbish king, any fool could see that, but it feels strange that Bran was chosen so quickly and the matter wasn’t even discussed. Ah well.

Emilia Clarke as Daenerys Targaryen: In the wake of a costly victory, Jon and Daenerys look to the south as Tyrion eyes a compromise that could save countless lives. Pic: Sky Atlantic/ HBO

Image: Daenerys was killed by Jon Snow. Pic: Sky Atlantic/ HBO

Bye, Drogon; bye, Iron Throne

In the end, the Iron Throne was gone, melted by dragon fire as Drogon mourned the death of the woman who raised him.

Interestingly, the dragon didn’t try to burn Jon, keeping his fury solely for the throne, as if acknowledging the fact that it was the hunger for power that killed her. And was that a bow to Jon, who is of course also Targaryen, we saw?

He then took off, flying away with Dany’s lifeless body. It was the perfect way for the Mother Of Dragons to bow out.

Jon returned to the Night’s Watch

So Jon was sent way up North, saying goodbye to his Stark sisters/cousins Arya and Sansa and reuniting with Tormund and Ghost. Ghost! That was a nice touch.

Not sure what the Night’s Watch will actually be doing, seeing as the White Walkers are no more, but at least he’s got something to take his mind off the fact he killed his lover/aunt.

Kit Harrington as Jon Snow

Image: Jon Snow reunited with Tormund and Ghost. Pic: HBO/Sky Atlantic

Sansa, Queen Of The North, and the Starks are split

The North remains independent, which means Sansa gets to be Queen of it. Hurrah!

I can’t pretend I’m not slightly sad not to see the elder Stark sister taking over the business of the entire Seven Kingdoms.

She would have been great, especially with Arya by her side… hang on, Arya isn’t hanging around.

She’s off to explore what’s west of Westeros, and this is goodbye. After letting go of her need for vengeance in The Bells, it’s a new non-murdering start for our favourite assassin.

Thank you for everything, Stark sisters. You were the best of them.

Jaime and Cersei are definitely dead

We watched them clinging to each other as the Red Keep fell in the penultimate episode, but with no sign of bodies there were many who believed they might have survived (especially those who wanted a gorier ending for Cersei).

But here, we saw them, their bodies curled around each other, leaving the world together as they entered it. It was an emotional scene, Tyrion in tears as he found the bodies of his brother and sister in the rubble.

It ends with a book

The story has been committed to paper in a book called, you’ve guessed it, A Song Of Ice And Fire. And Tyrion isn’t even mentioned! The cheek of it!

But we’ve done it, we’ve made it to the end. The finale had some great moments, some not so great. It wasn’t perfect, but how could it be?

One thing we can hope for. With Arya the explorer heading off to uncharted lands, there’s surely a spin-off series waiting with her name on it.

Netherlands wins Eurovision

Bookies’ favourite The Netherlands has won Eurovision, storming into victory with 492 points.

It has been 44 years since the country last won the international singing competition.

Represented by Duncan Laurence, The Netherlands nudged into first place ahead of Italy, who had 465 points.

The UK’s Michael Rice came last with a total of 16 points.

Eurovision: Who is Michael Rice – the UK’s act?

The 21-year-old represented the UK in the competition this year.

Laurence’s stripped back performance of Arcade saw him play piano under a spotlight on an otherwise empty stage.

“To dreaming big,” Laurence said after his win was announced. “This is to music first,” he added.

The Netherlands performed well in the judges’ votes, which had seen the country jostle with Italy, North Macedonia and Sweden for first place.

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Some high votes from the general public for countries further down the list had looked to potentially steal the crown from the front runners.

Mahmood (centre) of Italy came in second place

Image: Mahmood (centre) of Italy came in second place

Although the public’s vote was unable to boost Switzerland and Norway into the winning position, they were able to rise into fourth and fifth place with 360 and 338 points – behind Russia who came in third with 369 points.

Sweden, who had been top of the board following the judges’ vote with 239 points ended sixth with 332.

Laurence’s win means the contest will be held in The Netherlands next year.

This year it was held in Tel Aviv, Israel, following Netta’s victory in 2018, which sparked some backlash as some argued the country’s conflict with Palestinians should not be endorsed.

Madonna performed during the show, despite calls for her and other stars to boycott the event.

Sweden's John Lundvik ultimately came in sixth place after leading the board after the judge's vote

Image: Sweden’s John Lundvik ultimately came in sixth place after leading the board after the judge’s vote

She sang her 1989 hit Like A Prayer, with a 35-strong choir, and her new single Future, alongside American rapper Quavo.

Pro-Palestinian activists accused Madonna of “artwashing” and had urged her to cancel.

During the performance, her dancers turned their backs to the crowd and were revealed to have Israel and Palestinian flags on their backs. They linked their arms and walked together in the same direction moments before the words “WAKE UP” appeared on a screen behind Madonna and Quavo.

Organisers said it had not been part of the approved act.

Additionally, Iceland, who performed a heavy metal song with screamed lyrics while dressed in bondage gear, waved Palestinian flags in front of the camera during a televised backstage segment.

Before the final, the band, named Hatari, had challenged Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to a wrestling match. He did not respond.

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Tyler, The Creator seen in London for first time since his ban

The rapper Tyler, The Creator has posted a picture of himself outside Buckingham Palace in London for the first time since he was banned from the UK in 2015.

The American performer was banned after unearthed lyrics of his from 2009 encouraged “violence and intolerance of homosexuality”, according to the Home Office.

He is set to perform a surprise show in the capital, teasing it on twitter saying: “LONDON, IGOR, 3PM” with a video of himself punching the air and running around on The Mall in central London.

He then followed it up with a photograph of himself outside the gates of Buckingham Palace, adding “LONDON; IGOR; 3PM; WILL UPDATE YOU LATER WITH LOCATION”

The US Gold-selling artist later tweeted: “COPELAND PARK, BUSSEY BUILDING, 3PM”

The Home Office says his ban on entering the UK was lifted on 13 February and this is thought to be his first visit since then.

Tyler, The Creator, real name Tyler Gregory Okonma, released his fifth studio album called Igor on Friday, which he references in his tweets.

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Image: Tyler, the Creator was banned from entering the UK in 2015.

At the time of his ban in 2015, he tweeted to say: “BASED ON LYRICS FROM 2009 I AM NOT ALLOWED IN THE UK FOR 3-5 YEARS ( although i was there 8 weeks ago) THAT IS WHY THE SHOWS WERE CANCELLED.”

His manager, Christian Clancy admitted the lyrics in question “make him cringe”, and he questioned why Tyler was being beholden to things he had said when he was 18.

Clancy said his client’s ban was a “free speech” issue and suggested that it could have been racially motivated.

Tyler, The Creator has had four top 5 albums in the US and the same number of top 20 albums in the UK.

Courtney Cox shares early Friends photo from before show aired

 

A throwback photo shared by Friends actress Courtney Cox has racked up more than a million likes on Instagram as the fans reminisced about the mega-hit comedy series.

Cox posted a photo that appears to have been taken before the show’s successful run and has never been seen by the fans before.

It features six of her co-stars including Jennifer Aniston, who played Rachel, David Schwimmer (Ross), Matt LeBlanc (Joey), Matthew Perry (Chandler), Lisa Kudrow (Phoebe) and Cox herself, who played Monica, sitting inside what appears to be a private plane.

Cox captioned the photo: “The one where the six of us went to Vegas and no one knew we were F.R.I.E.N.D.S yet.”

The post is believed to be a reference to a trip organised by director James Burrows before the pilot of the show aired and the show gained international fame.

Burrows allegedly wanted Cox and the team to enjoy their last moment of anonymity before becoming TV stars.

Friends first aired in 1994 and ended its 10-season run in 2004.

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All the episodes began with the words “The One…”. At its peak in the mid 1990s and early 2000s, several of the shows were watched by tens of millions of US viewers as well as millions more around the world.

Fifty-four-year-old Cox, who is followed by 2m people on Instagram, has been delighting loyal Friends fans for months, posting throwback pictures and hilarious behind-the-scenes videos from her day-to-day life.

She also did a few video throwbacks to Friends, speaking in her “Monica voice” and visiting the apartment her character lived in on the show.

Kim Kardashian West 'names baby Psalm West'

Reality TV star Kim Kardashian West and her musician husband Kanye West appear to have named their new child Psalm.

The trainee-lawyer posted a picture of the child, who was born via a surrogate, with the caption “Psalm West”.

The photo appeared to be accompanied by comments from Kanye, saying: “Beautiful Mother’s Day. With the arrival of our fourth child. We are blessed beyond measure. We have everything we need.”

Perhaps following in the footsteps of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex who did not announce the name of their newborn on the same day as the birth, the Kardashian West family waited a week before revealing their fourth child’s name.

The birth had been announced on 10 May when she wrote: “He’s here and he’s perfect!”

She added that the baby looked like another of her children, saying: “He’s also Chicago’s twin lol I’m sure he will change a lot but now he looks just like her.”

The Keeping Up With The Kardashians star has three children with husband West – North, 5, Saint, 3, and Chicago, 1.

Like Psalm, Chicago was born by a surrogate.

Grumpy Cat Passes Away at Age 7

Grumpy Cat, the viral feline star, passed away earlier this week, due to complications from a urinary tract infection.  She was 7 years old. 

In a post to social media her owners say


“Despite care from top professionals, as well as from her very loving family, Grumpy encountered complications from a recent urinary tract infection that unfortunately became too tough for her to overcome,”

“She passed away peacefully on the morning of Tuesday, May 14, at home in the arms of her mommy, Tabatha.” 

Grumpy Cat, whose real name was Tardar Sauce, became an instant internet sensation in 2012, when her human mom’s brother posted a picture of her to Reddit with the caption, “Meet grumpy cat.” 

The post went viral, and soon Grumpy Cat became the inspiration for an infinite number of internet memes, among them the classic: “I had fun once.  It was awful.”

Madonna to perform at Eurovision in Israel despite boycott calls

Madonna will perform during the final of the Eurovision Song Contest in Israel, it has been confirmed, despite calls for her and other stars to boycott the event.

She will sing two songs in Tel Aviv on Saturday night including her 1989 hit Like A Prayer, with a 35-strong choir.

The US pop superstar will also showcase her new single Future, featuring American rapper Quavo.

There had been speculation about whether she would sing but has now signed a contract this week to appear on the TV show, despite her publicists announcing last month that she would be there.

It will be the first time 60-year-old Madonna has performed on the Eurovision stage, and the third where she has visited and sung in Israel.

She has rejected calls by pro-Palestinian activists not to perform at the event.

They have accused Madonna of “artwashing” and urged her to cancel.

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But she insisted she will “never stop playing music to suit someone’s political agenda”.

She added she will always speak up to defend human rights, and prays for a “new path toward peace”.

Madonna said her “heart breaks every time I hear about the innocent lives that are lost in this region and the violence that is so often perpetuated to suit the political goals of people who benefit from this ancient conflict”.

Earlier she posted a video on social media which looked like it was filmed on stage at the Expo Tel Aviv.

Jon Ola Sand, the music competition’s executive supervisor, said: “We are pleased to finally confirm that the incomparable music icon Madonna will join us at this year’s Eurovision Song Contest.

“Performing live during the biggest entertainment show in the world will be a special moment for everyone – not least the fans.

“The talent on display in the competition this year is phenomenal and I’m sure the artists will further be inspired by her incredible performance and staging.

“We know that it will be an evening to remember and can’t wait to share it with everyone watching.”

Madonna is one of the world’s top female artists, selling more than 300 million records globally.

'Shows like Jeremy Kyle are exploitation in purest form'

Media figures including Greg Dyke and Carole Malone have spoken out about the cancellation of the “toxic” and “extreme” Jeremy Kyle Show.

Appearing on Sky News debate show The Pledge along with Maajid Nawaz, Afua Hirsch and Nick Ferrari, Malone said she had worked on similar shows and seen how guests are “wound up”.

It comes following the cancellation of Kyle‘s show after the death of guest Steve Dymond, 63, who is believed to have taken his own life.

Malone, a columnist and TV panellist, who also appeared on Celebrity Big Brother in 2007, said she had stood in on the Trisha show, which aired from 1998 to 2010.

Describing The Jeremy Kyle Show as a “toxic, bullying freak show” and the “human form of bear-baiting”, Malone said the programme “was out of control” and that others “still are”.

Image: The Jeremy Kyle Show has been cancelled after 14 years

Speaking about her own experiences, she said: “I’ve worked around these shows – I used to stand in for Trisha when she did it. I’ve seen what happens to the guests on the show.

“I’ve been there when I’ve seen guests wound up… one of the bosses’ excuses is that people go on these shows willingly.

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“These guys are offered a fee, they’re put up in a hotel for a night, they’re given all the food and booze they can manage, and then they’re wheeled on the next day and wound up before they go on, and I do think it’s exploitation in its purest form.”

Malone said she had seen what producers on shows she has worked on “do to get the reaction they want”.

Dyke, former director-general of the BBC, said the Jeremy Kyle Show was “the extreme”.

Greg Dyke on The Pledge

Image: Greg Dyke says The Jeremy Kyle Show ‘was the extreme’

He continued: “Over the years [it] has become more extreme. If you look back to the reality shows that were on before Kyle, things like The Time, The Place, they were very responsible, they did it properly.

“What’s interesting is, we’ve all known Kyle is pushing it. It was inevitable in the end, what’s happened now was going to happen. The question is, why didn’t any of us say anything about it?”

He said the people who worked on the show were not “evil” but had a job and were “pushed” over the years.

Nawaz said The Jeremy Kyle Show “perpetuates stereotypes and cliches” and was “out of date”.

However, Ferrari added that “they have done some good work. Some people have been sent on courses and beaten drug addiction”.

Following Mr Dymond’s death, ITV issued a statement about the support in place for guests on the programme.

“Prior to the show a comprehensive assessment is carried out by the guest welfare team on all potential contributors,” it said. “The guests are interviewed by guest welfare face-to-face at studios and prior to filming.

“Throughout filming, the participants are supported by the guest welfare team. After filming has ended, all guests are seen by a member of the guest welfare team.”

Danny Baker

Image: The panellists also discussed Danny Baker being sacked by the BBC

The Pledge panel also discussed the BBC’s sacking of Danny Baker after he posted a photo of a man and woman holding hands with a suited chimpanzee to make a “joke” about the birth of the royal baby earlier this month.

The 61-year-old captioned the tweet: “Royal baby leaves hospital,” prompting accusations of racism.

Dyke said he would not have fired Baker had he still been director-general of the BBC.

Saying that he worked with him on a show more than 30 years ago and had always thought of him as a “really good bloke and a brilliant broadcaster”, and that anyone who knows Baker knows there is “not a racist bone in his body”.

Dyke said the “pressure to remove him would have been intense but I rather hope that I would have resisted”.

Hirsch said she was “quite depressed” to be having the debate with Dyke.

Nawaz said: “Yes, the action was racist but no he didn’t mean to be racist, which is why he immediately apologised for it, and deleted it, and then lost his job, and then people still wanted to take him to the police and be prosecuted.”

Hirsch said it was “so exhausting to have to sit here and communicate our daily lived experience”.

She said: “These are the kinds of things that happen every day in your life… as a black person in this country.”

Hirsch continued: “You have no idea how it feels to have someone make a monkey noise at you when you’re doing your job. And you know, he’s a football supporter – he should know. This is something the best football players in the country say they can’t wait to see the back of.”

She said she did not want to communicate what was “wrong” about Baker’s tweet, saying to the panel: “You should know better.”

:: The Pledge airs on Sky News at 8pm on Thursdays

Jeremy Kyle Show axed by ITV after death of guest

The Jeremy Kyle Show has been permanently cancelled after a guest reportedly took his own life.

ITV made the announcement this morning, confirming the show would not return following the death of Steve Dymond.

In a statement, chief executive Carolyn McCall said: “Given the gravity of recent events we have decided to end production of The Jeremy Kyle Show.

“The Jeremy Kyle Show has had a loyal audience and has been made by a dedicated production team for 14 years, but now is the right time for the show to end.

Image: Guest Steve Dymond died after recording the show

“Everyone at ITV’s thoughts and sympathies are with the family and friends of Steve Dymond.”

The broadcaster said it would continue to work with Kyle, who is yet to comment, on other projects.

The confrontational talk show was taken off air and suspended on Monday after news of Mr Dymond’s death emerged.

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The 63-year-old’s body was found at an address in Grafton St, Portsmouth, on 9 May, a week after recording the show.

Jeremy Kyle is pictured arriving home in Windsor

Image: Kyle was pictured outside his home in Windsor on Tuesday

During the episode, which has not been aired and is now under review by ITV, he had taken a lie detector test to convince fiancee Jane Callaghan he had not been unfaithful, but was told he had failed.

It emerged on Tuesday that Mr Dymond had been the subject of an arrest warrant after he failed to attend a court hearing for non-payment of a fine.

Police have said his death is not being treated as suspicious.

Following a huge public outcry, MPs were due to discuss the case today and Theresa May’s spokesman has described the incident as “deeply concerning”.

“Broadcasters and production companies have a responsibility for the mental health and wellbeing of participants and viewers of their programmes,” the prime minister’s spokesman said.

“We are clear they must have appropriate levels of support in place.”

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Ofcom has described Mr Dymond’s death as “a very distressing case”.

A spokesman for the broadcasting watchdog said: “Although we can only assess content that has been broadcast, we are discussing this programme with ITV as a priority to understand what took place.”

Following Mr Dymond’s death, ITV issued a statement about the support in place for guests on the programme.

“Prior to the show a comprehensive assessment is carried out by the guest welfare team on all potential contributors,” it said.

“The guests are interviewed by guest welfare face-to-face at studios and prior to filming.

“Throughout filming, the participants are supported by the guest welfare team.

“After filming has ended, all guests are seen by a member of the guest welfare team.”

ITV to reveal future of Jeremy Kyle Show later today

ITV is set to reveal the future of The Jeremy Kyle Show later today, a channel executive has told Sky News.

The daytime TV show was taken off air indefinitely on Monday after it emerged a guest had reportedly taken his own life.

ITV has been urged to end the confrontational talk show for good following a huge public outcry.

Image: Kyle was pictured arriving home in Windsor on Tuesday

MPs are due to discuss the case today and Prime Minister Theresa May’s spokesman has described the incident as a “deeply concerning case”.

When asked by Sky News this morning about the future of the programme, ITV head of studios Kevin Lygo said: “We’ll be making a statement on this later in the day.”

He would not make any further comment.

Guest Steve Dymond apparently took his own life after appearing on the show. He had taken a lie-detector test to convince fiancee Jane Callaghan he had not been unfaithful, but was told he had failed.

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The episode which featured the 63-year-old, who died a week after it had been recorded, has not been aired.

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