Four-year-old Bella Devyatkina is taking part in the TV showAmazing People. In front of an audience of astonished adults, she talks and reads aloud in Russian, English, French, German, Spanish, and Chinese, before retelling everything in Arabic. Bella’s mom says that initially she and her husband just wanted the child to speak fluent English. At ten months, they decided to add French. Before starting to speak, Bella learned words on flashcards. At age three, Chinese was introduced to her studies, followed by Spanish, German, and Arabic. All her lessons take different forms: drama studies in English, drawing classes in French, figure skating with a German coach. Bella’s case is exceptional. But not that of her parents. Many people want to “create” awunderkind by overscheduling their child’s day even more than their own. “Singing from age five, drama and English from age six, chess from age seven, choreography from age nine, plus a decorative arts … [Read more...] about Epidemic of after-school activities among Russian kids: Good or bad?
Watching television is good or bad
As the country is experiencing a period of tranquillity, with nothing of importance likely to happen in the next few months, there has been an opportunity to calmly discuss John McDonnell’s comment that Winston Churchill was a “villain”. So all day there were commentators making statements such as “Maybe Churchill was racist, but I for one wish I could have been black in 1920, just so I could have had the honour of being racially abused by the greatest man that ever lived.” Whereas one of the finest comments online criticising Churchill said he was a white supremacist who’s “only liked because he did one good thing”. It’s encouraging that some people think “Alright, he beat Hitler, but what else did he do?” Join Independent Minds For exclusive articles, events and an advertising-free read for just £5.99 €6.99 $9.99 a month Start your free trial Get the best of The Independent With an Independent Minds … [Read more...] about Opinion: The trouble with Winston Churchill is that he was a hero partly because he was such a daft racist
Scottish star Richard Madden said it had been a "hell of a year" after winning both Best New Drama for Bodyguard and Best Drama Performance for his portrayal of police sergeant David Budd. The 32-year-old was thrilled as he took to the stage at the O2 Arena in London at the National Television Awards. He said: "It's been a hell of a year. It feels kind of surreal for me. It was a year ago, and now I'm here with this award. It feels very strange to me. I'm very lucky and thankful for that. "It's insane that so many people watched (Bodyguard), then the amount of people who voted and went to the effort of doing that. It's overwhelming. It's appreciated, so thank you to everyone who did that." Asked whether he could identify the secret to Bodyguard's success, he replied: "The moral ambiguity of the characters. There's this grey area where nobody's really good or bad and their intentions and motives change. "It makes these people very human. That's why so many people connect with it. They … [Read more...] about Bodyguard star Richard Madden wins TWO gongs at National Television Awards
As the BBC’s adaptation of Victor Hugo’s Les Misérables (Sundays, 9pm) reaches its midway point, let us briefly put aside the man-sized Kleenex and the wild disbelief and consider precisely why this series is so bewildering. I mean, is it (quite) good? Or is it (very) bad? Or, perhaps, both? All I can tell you is that whenever the reformed criminal Jean Valjean (Dominic West), is on screen, I am in its thrall. How I blubbed when he told little Cosette (Lia Giovanelli), the enslaved daughter of the seamstress-turned-prostitute Fantine (Lily Collins), that tonight he would carry her buckets of water. The rest of the time, I’m all eye-rolls. Dear God. The sentimentality. The melodrama. The simplistic division between good and evil. And people have the temerity to slag off Dickens, the velvet lapels of whose frock coat M Hugo is not, in my view, fit even to dust. What I’m saying, I suppose, is that this epic of the have-nots, boiled down like old bones to … [Read more...] about ConsumerBusinessSpotlightConsumerBusinessSpotlightConsumerBusinessSpotlightConsumerBusinessSpotlightConsumerBusinessSpotlight Les Misérables: this epic of the have-nots is pretty dire
Watching the Queen's speech is as much a part of the Christmas tradition as turkey and tinsel, and it will once again be shown on December 25. The speech's theme is chosen by the Queen and her official website says it reflects her own interests but "is always motivated by compassion and concern for her people." In 2018, the Queen's speech will be on from 3pm until 3.10pm on Christmas Day. It will be broadcast on BBC One, ITV, Sky 1 and Sky News. You can also listen to it on BBC Radio 4 and Classic FM. A Christmas Day message has been delivered by the monarch to the people of the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth almost every year since 1932. The Queen broadcast her first Christmas message live on the radio in 1952 and the first televised message was broadcast live in 1957. Last year, the Queen used her Christmas Day address to reflect on the idea of home, in the wake of the Manchester terror attacks and the Grenfell Tower fire. This is the transcript of the Queen's speech 2017: … [Read more...] about What time is the Queen’s speech on Christmas Day 2018?