Newspapers CAN'T pass on coronavirus and are completely safe to read, scientists confirm

NEWSPAPERS cannot pass on coronavirus and it is completely safe to keep reading them, experts have confirmed.

Scientists say the risk of catching Covid-19 from reading the paper is extremely small.

⚠️ Read our coronavirus live blog for the latest news & updates

Health chiefs from the World Health Organization have also stressed it is still safe to have your favourite papers delivered.

Virologist George Lomonossoff said: "Newspapers are pretty sterile because of the way they are printed and the process they've been through.

"Traditionally, people have eaten fish and chips out of them for that reason.

"The chances [of catching the virus] are infinitesimal."

TV doctor Hillary Jones has also urged Brits to continue to read papers.

He said yesterday: "For public health information right it's important people have access to information through newspapers."


Dr Hillary added they were an essential service and reinforced that having newspapers delivered to a doorstep or letter box is safe.

The WHO said: "The likelihood of an infected person contaminating commercial goods is low."

A new study has found that the difference in material can alter the life-span of the virus.

Droplets of the Covid-19 infection can live on hard surfaces for up to 72 hours, according to Professor Chris Witty.

A new study has found that the difference in material can alter the life-span of the virus.

It can live in air for three hours, on copper for four hours and cardboard for up to 24 hours.

Plastic is the worst offender, with the virus lasting up to three days.

The ideal surface for the virus is plastic, which allows it to stay for up to three days.


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ROBERT HARDMAN on the Corona Home Guard

ROBERT HARDMAN on the Corona Home Guard: Selfless, supportive and utterly inspiring… as the Government calls up a people’s army of volunteers, how villages are uniting to go to war on coronavirus

  • Coronavirus symptoms: what are they and should you see a doctor?

We are now almost numb to the pace of daily developments. The graph lines of infection and mortality grow steeper as the global situation verges on the Biblical; many of our most prominent public figures are going down like nine pins; our economy lurches from one epochal blow to the next. 

As we all know, of course, the worst is still to come. All of which makes the flipside of this week’s cataclysmic news all the more important and reassuring. For what we have also witnessed in recent days is a public spirit that defies superlatives. These, too, have been scenes previously unimaginable in peacetime Britain. 

On Tuesday, not long before contracting the first symptoms of coronavirus, the Health Secretary Matt Hancock issued his urgent appeal for 250,000 volunteers. Inspired by the Daily Mail’s hugely successful campaign for NHS volunteers in 2018-19, ministers were confident they would reach their target by the end of the week.

No one imagined that they would get double that number within 24 hours. By yesterday, the number stood at more than 650,000 while the Government expects to hit 750,000 this weekend. That is ten times the size of the British Army — recruited in just four days. 

Next came that tearful but exuberant outpouring on Thursday night as millions emerged from their homes to applaud the staff of the NHS. There was nothing contrived about it; it was as though everybody’s favourite football club had won the FA Cup at the same time. 

From families bashing saucepans on the streets to solitary souls on tower-block balconies (and even a convalescent Prince Charles up at Birkhall), here was a heartfelt vote of thanks to those who will be in the frontline of the battle ahead. Yet none of this will have come as a surprise to the very considerable numbers who, unprompted, have already got stuck in. 

For a week or more now, countless bands of volunteers have been tracking down the vulnerable and pounding the streets with medication, loaves, milk, teabags, newspapers and cat food. It will be a few days yet before the Government can process, register and deploy its vast new legions of the willing. 

However, up and down the country — especially in rural areas, where people are perhaps more used to resolving community problems unaided — thousands of local groups are already up and running under their own steam. 

I have come to Wiltshire where the council has identified more than 200 volunteer groups currently acting as a delivery service-cum-helplinecum-agony aunt. Some are tiny village operations, like the one I meet in Rowde. This weekend, they should have been finalising their plans for the big VE Day village fete in May. 

‘We were going to have bunting, trestle tables, cream teas, the lot,’ says Wayne Cherry, an old soldier and fundraiser for the local Royal British Legion. 

Instead, Wayne and his antiviral comrades now spend their days planning who is going to pick up the next batch of prescriptions, who will do the next bit of shopping, who will distribute it all to those in need, who will put in a call to the most vulnerable… Rowde has two pubs, one church, a village school and 1,300 residents — but no shop, since the community store shut last year. 

Now, up to a third of the village are housebound. When the parish council held its monthly meeting at the beginning of March, it transpired Rowde is also home to a trained epidemiologist. 

Robert Hardman visits Devizes in Wiltshire to witness the Covid-19 support workers

‘She turned up at the meeting to tell us what was coming and that we really did need to start getting organised. So we did,’ says Wayne. ‘We’ve been lucky to have that headstart.’ 

A core group came together including parish clerk Rebekah Jeffries, nursery worker Lisa Wills and Wayne. Having spent his military career in the Royal Logistic Corps, rising to Warrant Officer Class 1, he was on familiar turf. 

‘The most important thing with logistics is to get a line of good quality information,’ he says. 

Within a week, the group had printed up a leaflet with details of the new Rowde Coronavirus Volunteer Group and put one through every letterbox in the village. They also recruited another 15 volunteers, from housewives to Colonel Mike, late of the Royal Artillery (who now cheerfully takes orders from Warrant Officer Cherry).

So, before Matt Hancock had even issued his call to arms, Rowde was already fully operational. I arrive to find Lisa, 43, fresh from sorting out an 83-yearold woman who had run out of blood-pressure pills — as had her chemist. 

‘We sorted it out in 48 hours,’ says Lisa, ‘but it was very stressful for her.’ 

Mrs Dorothy Hague with her groceries delivered by volunteer Cathy Stockwell 

That is why this national stampede to volunteer is so vital. It is not just about easing the pressure on NHS staff and keeping the most fragile off the streets and out of the shops. It is about removing an extra layer of worry from a cohort of society who are quite worried enough as it is. 

As a result, the mood is as positive as it can be here in Rowde. The elderly residents of Coach House Mews, for example, have taken to standing in front of their houses at 5.30 each evening for a glass of wine and a few (unshared) nibbles to boost morale (except for this Thursday when the muckspreader was out and about in an adjacent field).

I drive on through neighbouring Bromham where 100 volunteers are supporting those who can’t get out (there’s a weekly newsletter, including plenty of jokes). Nearby, in the pretty market town of Devizes, it is a similar story on a bigger scale. Here, again, the locals did not wait for the Government to get the ball rolling. For days they have had their own network of volunteers. 

‘I just felt I couldn’t sit and watch this on television. I had to do something,’ says Cathy Stockwell, 55, whom I find coming down the street staring at her mobile phone. 

Volunteer Cathy Stockwell on her way to deliver Mrs Dorothy Hague’s, 84, groceries

She has received her orders from HQ and is trying to locate Dorothy, 87, in a cul-de-sac of sheltered housing on the edge of town. Dorothy has lived alone since being widowed several years ago. 

She has requested a modest delivery of essentials — bread, butter, cheese and apples — and has left money in a bag outside her door. Cathy picks it up, walks round to Sainsbury’s and, 20 minutes later, leaves the bag on the doorstep, rings the bell and retreats. 

The smile on Dorothy’s face amply illustrates her gratitude as we chat from a very safe distance (I am not going beyond her garden gate, let alone within the regulation two metres). I ask if she has family in the area. 

‘I’ve outlived them all!’ she laughs, adding that she has a niece in London whom she talks to on the phone. Her thoughts on volunteers like Cathy? ‘They’re brilliant!’ 

One resident of the village covers his mouth with his scarf as a precaution

It’s easy to spot the volunteers here. They are the ones with shopping bags walking around purposefully rather than furtively with council-endorsed lanyards flapping around their necks. I bump in to Trish, 63, a retired school librarian, weighed down with two bags and a rucksack full of prescription drugs. 

She is taking them to headquarters where another team will arrange onward delivery across town. HQ is the handsome, Georgian town hall wherein a team of seven are manning a call centre in the grand old council chamber and sorting out distribution from the equally grand old Cheese Hall. 

It all kicked off two weeks ago after Joe Brindle, the 17-year-old son of the local vicar, decided something should be done. He rounded up a group of fellow sixthformers to start dropping leaflets around town. A core team of regulars at St James’s Church then set up a network which has reached 344 and which, for the moment, needs no further recruits. 

One of the co-ordinators, Jonathan Hunter, 52, kindly invites me in to view the scenes inside the town hall but I decline. Thus far, Devizes has had no cases of Covid-19 and, as a visitor from germ-infested London, I keep my distance from everyone inside. 

Emma Lang delivers food to elderly Poole residents, Tina Wootton, 72, and Tina’s husband Barrie, 77. She is one of the army of volunteers across the country who has helped out 

Travelling around the country this week (the media qualifies as a ‘key’ profession, though I would be the first to concede we may be towards the back of the queue), I have found an increasing wariness towards anyone from the capital. It is as well to accept it. I ask Jonathan to take a picture on his phone and send me that instead. 

I arrange to meet some of the team in the churchyard where we can all talk safely in the open air. The system is being fine-tuned all the time and now seems to operate like a sort of community Uber. Every call for help from an isolated person is taken down and despatched to the whole group via WhatsApp, citing a reference number and the relevant area of the town. 

The first available volunteer sends a private message accepting the call, goes round to get cash or a contactless card and then confirms the job is done. All have to be registered in advance. There is no time for full police checks so every volunteer has to have some sort of reference — many belong to the same church, for example. 

The volunteers span a range of skills — bankers, builders, lawyers and students — which have quickly been brought to bear. Jonathan, for example, works in retail management. Another member of the team, Eliott Wallace, 49, was looking for a new job in the health insurance sector when the balloon went up. 

A volunteer arrives with food donated to the project at the Queen’s Crescent Community Association on March 24, 2020 in Kentish Town, North London

‘Looking back, I’m rather glad I was jobless so I could get involved right away,’ he says. 

One of the early refinements to the scheme, he explains, was to contact all the local pharmacies to arrange block bookings of prescription drugs. 

‘To begin with, we had some volunteers waiting three hours at the chemist to get a prescription for an elderly person. Then they’d have to go back again with another one,’ he says. 

Now the volunteers drop off a batch of requests and turn up at the back door later to pick up all the medicines. It not only speeds things up but reduces volunteers’ exposure to the virus. Local councillor Laura Mayes was also one of the original core team in Devizes. 

Formerly an advertising executive in London — working on everything from Maltesers to Fairy liquid — she has been on the council for 13 years and is the Cabinet member in charge of public health for Wiltshire’s 470,000-strong population. She explains that voluntary operations like this are removing a huge burden from local government so that staff can keep the usual services going. 

NHS nurses and staff carry food deliveries inside St George Hospital as Coronavirus spreads

‘People will carry on having strokes and heart attacks. They are still going to be falling over inside their homes,’ she says. ‘Our care workers need to be able to focus on that.’ 

Philip Whitehead, leader of Toryrun Wiltshire Council, says there is now at least one community volunteer group for each of the county’s 215 parishes. As well planning for the rise in cases of Covid-19, he has also set up a separate ‘recovery cell’ to ensure that normality can resume as swiftly as possible. 

‘For example, I’ve asked our planning department to work through all noncontroversial planning applications right now,’ he tells me. ‘They amount to 95 per cent of the total. If we get them through now, then the building trade can get straight to work the moment restrictions are lifted. The last thing you want is a six-week time lag waiting for the paperwork.’ 

At every level here — county, town, village — we are seeing a potent blend of common sense and compassion driving the largest civic movement this country has known in peacetime. 

And it has all come about in little more than a week. This may be ‘lockdown’. But it has also unlocked something phenomenal. Back in Rowde — and everywhere else — that is surely worth a toast the next time we get to wine o’clock. 

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New On Quibi In April 2020: Punk'd, Chrissy Teigen's New Court Show, And More Originals

On April 6, a new streaming service will launch called Quibi. What sets this apart from others is that all of the content is no longer than 10-minutes per episode. Now, the service has revealed what’s coming in its first month, and there are a slew of original series headed your way.

On April 6, two beloved MTV shows are getting a revamp. First, there is Singled Out–hosted by Keke Palmer and Joel Kim Booster. The show will reflect today’s dating atmosphere and have 20 episodes. Secondly, there is Punk’d, this time hosted by Chance The Rapper. In the press release for the show, augmented reality is mentioned, so we’ll see how that plays out in this well-known prank series.

Next up, Chrissy Teigen plays the judge, jury, and possibly executioner in the new court room show Chrissy’s Court, where she’ll hear cases in small claims court and make a ruling. That series debuts on April 6. Finally, there is 50 States of Fright, the horror series landing on April 13. This series is executive produced by Sam Raimi, and Raimi will also direct and co-write alongside Ivan Raimi. Check out the teaser for the new show below.

After each show’s premiere date, new episodes will be released daily on Quibi, as opposed to weekly on other services. This makes the wait to binge-watch something a whole lot shorter.

Quibi will cost $5 a month with ads and $8 a month without ads. To kick things off, Quibi is offering a 90-day free trial for the service. To start, it will be available on iOS and Android devices, as the service is geared towards mobile devices. Below, you will find everything coming to Quibi in April. If you’re interested in more streaming service news, check out what’s coming to Netflix, Hulu, Shudder, Crackle, Amazon Prime Video, and Disney+ for the month of April as well.

New to Quibi in April 2020:

April 6:

  • Flipped (scripted)
  • Most Dangerous Game (scripted)
  • Survive (scripted)
  • When the Streetlights Go On (scripted)
  • &Music (documentary)
  • Chrissy’s Court (unscripted)
  • Dishmantled (unscripted)
  • Fierce Queens (documentary)
  • Gayme Show! (unscripted)
  • Gone Mental with Lior (unscripted)
  • I Promise (documentary)
  • Memory Hole (unscripted)
  • Murder House Flip (unscripted)
  • NighGowns (documentary)
  • Nikki Fre$h (unscripted)
  • Prodigy (documentary)
  • Punk’d (unscripted)
  • Run This City (documentary)
  • Shape of Pasta (documentary)
  • Singled Out (unscripted)
  • Skrrt with Offset (unscripted)
  • Thanks A Million (unscripted)
  • The Sauce (unscripted)
  • You Ain’t Got These (documentary)

April 13:

  • Agua Donkeys (scripted)
  • The Stranger (scripted)
  • #FreeRashawn (scripted)
  • 50 States of Fright (scripted)
  • Elba v Block (unscripted)
  • Let’s Roll with Tony Greenhand (unscripted)
  • Fight Like a Girl (unscripted)

April 20:

  • Dummy (scripted)
  • Iron Sharpens Iron (unscripted)

April 27:

  • Cup of Joe (unscripted)
  • Floored (unscripted)

Disclosure: ViacomCBS is GameSpot’s parent company

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Talia Ryder on the Best Advice Steven Spielberg Gave Her

Photographed by Michael Creagh

Before the actress Talia Ryder started filming the new Eliza Hittman movie Never, Rarely, Sometimes, Always, she only had 48 hours to prepare.

Alongside her co-star Sidney Flanigan, the 17-year-old New York native traveled to New Jersey with Hittman to test out cameras, try on costumes, walk around, and talk to each other. Hours later, they had lunch, where they worked through the script, and Hittman gave the two actresses—who both make their big-screen debuts playing cousins in the film—journals to fill out. That was their homework, as Ryder put it: to write their thoughts and come back the next day to share them with one another. On the second morning, Flanigan and Ryder met at Hittman’s home in Brooklyn a few hours before the rest of the crew. The director had just moved in at the time, and hadn’t yet bought any furniture. In the empty apartment, the three went over scenes; while Ryder read lines, she did Flanigan’s hair and makeup. Flanigan played her favorite music. They watched YouTube videos of 12-year-old girls piercing their own noses.

“I can’t picture it happening any other way,” Ryder said recently, speaking on the phone from her home in New York City. “I feel like if we had more time, there would have been a lot more room for us reading into things too much. Eliza spent a lot of time just building our personal relationship, rather than focusing on backstories.” 

At the time we spoke, the actress was quarantined like the rest of us, holed up in her house during spring break (her brother, who was playing Fortnite in the background, could be heard yelling at the video game from time to time). It was a rare occasion, having her family together at the same time—her sister, Mimi, is also an actress, and co-starred alongside Talia in the Broadway show Matilda. Their schedules are demanding.

Talia Ryder is almost finished with her senior year of high school, but it isn’t clear whether she’ll have a proper cap-and-gown graduation—as of now, all her classes have shifted online and she’s on track to finish on time in June. 

“I hope everything will be back to normal by then,” she said. 

Never, Rarely, Sometimes, Always first screened at Sundance, then released in select theaters and was slated for wide release until the coronavirus pandemic caused a rift in the schedule. But the film will now be available for streaming starting April 3—like Emma and The Invisible Man, other movies that shifted onto early streaming releases in the wake of theater closures—creating a new avenue for viewers who might have missed its run in theaters before the quarantine hit. 

The plot of Never, Rarely, Sometimes, Always centers around Autumn (played by Flanigan) a teen who becomes unexpectedly pregnant, and her cousin Skylar (Ryder), who accompanies her on a trip from their home in rural Pennsylvania to New York City, where Autumn is hoping to get an abortion. Much like Hittman’s 2017 film Beach Rats, the movie is presented in an art-house, documentary-esque style, providing a real look at a difficult topic that can sometimes leave the viewer feeling a little uncomfortable, squirming at unflinching medical scenes and the tough interviews Autumn must do at Planned Parenthood in order to secure treatment. But both actresses are captivating in their no-fuss presentation, laying down the facts without being preachy: Never, Rarely, Sometimes, Always documents Autumn and Skylar’s journey, their hardships, the tough emotions they encounter, and what it’s like to attempt getting an abortion. That’s it.

For months, Ryder, Flanigan, and Hittman filmed inside the Port Authority Bus Terminal in New York City, where much of the film takes place. Because of legal limitations, they were only permitted to shoot between midnight and 4 a.m. Plus, Ryder was a minor at the time, so more limitations were placed on how much work they could do at any given time. Coupled with the subject matter, it meant Ryder was, at times, mentally and physically exhausted.

But the experience, if overwhelming, was irreplaceable, Ryder said—and when Hittman hosted a private screening for Ryder and Flanigan to watch the movie together before its Sundance premiere, the two teenagers spent most of their time in the viewing room giggling together, reminiscing on filming in the dingy, gritty New York transit hub.

“You know how, after you watch a movie, you sit there and you’re like, ‘Wow, let me think about that?’ I felt that way after just reading the script. That’s when I knew, ’Okay, this is an incredible project, and exactly the type of story I want to be a part of.’”

It might be too early for any projections concerning Ryder’s future career, but she has given some thought to how she sees her work on Broadway and the big screen co-existing—and it is epitomized in her next project, the film adaptation of West Side Story: a perfect blend of the two.

The shooting process and being on set for West Side Story could not have stood in more stark contrast to Never, Rarely, Sometimes, Always. Alongside fellow newcomers Maddie Ziegler and Rachel Zegler, Ryder worked with the choreographer Justin Peck (whom Ryder idolizes, given her background in dance), Rita Moreno, and director Steven Spielberg. 

“That first day of rehearsals, I think I was a nervous wreck,” Ryder said, laughing. 

Spielberg, as it turned out, had “so much” advice to give, Ryder recalled. But one comment he made really stuck, and helped her prepare in a new way, one that she hadn’t considered before but felt like a natural fit for her inquisitive personality.

“Steven really encouraged us to ask questions, and to be curious beyond our roles on set,” Ryder said. “The biggest thing I’ll walk away with was that value of curiosity.”

Related: Storm Reid, Now 16, Has Defied the Child Star Narrative

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Britney Spears puts on quarantine fashion show on Instagram

Britney Spears is all dressed up with nowhere to go.

On Thursday, the 38-year-old pop icon put on an impromptu Instagram fashion show for her fans, trying on a trio of colorful outfits while confined to her home during the coronavirus pandemic.

“Okay I guess I’m bored …. in my home for two weeks of quarantine and I’m modeling dresses I never knew I had,” Spears captioned the video, which begins with the musician modeling a one-shouldered minidress in a bold tangerine hue.

“I was tired of being still so I got up to go dance in this orange dress,” Spears wrote. “And do you know what I just learned today ??!? That orange symbolizes wealth, success, stimulation, happiness, fun, balance, sexuality, enjoyment, expression, heat, sunshine, and warmth and that’s how I felt when I put it on !!!!!!”

Next, Spears changed into a hot pink frock with frilly shoulders before ending with a yellow crop top with ruffled sleeves, which she paired with dangerously low-slung white shorts.

The “Toxic” singer recently responded to criticism she received for posting a series of near-identical style snaps on the social platform, all of which saw Spears modeling the same white swimsuit.

“For me I get really excited about my posts …. and I like to share them with you all !!!!” she explained. “I’ve never owned a white bathing suit before and I simply liked the red background !!!!”

Concluded Spears, “Hard times like we are currently living through should really teach us to be nice to one another …. !!!!!!”

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Venezuela’s Maduro indicted on narcoterrorism charges

Miami: Nicolas Maduro effectively converted Venezuela into a criminal enterprise at the service of drug traffickers and terrorist groups as he and his allies stole billions from the South American country, the US Justice Department charged in several indictments made public on Thursday.

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro.Credit:AP

The coordinated unsealing of indictments against 14 officials and government- connected individuals, and rewards of $US55 million ($90 million) against Maduro and four others, attacked all the key planks of what Attorney General William Barr called the "corrupt Venezuelan regime," including the Maduro-dominated judiciary and the powerful armed forces.

One indictment by prosecutors in New York accused Maduro and socialist party boss Diosdado Cabello, head of the rubber-stamping constitutional assembly, of conspiring with Colombian rebels and members of the military "to flood the United States with cocaine" and use the drug trade as a "weapon against America."

Criminal acts to advance a drug and weapons conspiracy that dates back to the start of Hugo Chavez's revolution in 1999 occurred as far afield as Syria, Mexico, Honduras and Iran, the indictment alleged. Barr estimated that the conspiracy helped smuggle as much as 250 metric tons of cocaine a year are out of South America.

Maduro blasted back by accusing the US and Colombia of "giving orders to flood Venezuela with violence."

Venezuelan opposition leader and re-elected president of the National Assembly Juan Guaido.Credit:Getty Images

His chief prosecutor also announced an investigation against opposition leader Juan Guaido after one of the individuals indicted on drug charges, retired army General Cliver Alcala, said in a radio interview on Thursday that he signed a contract with the opposition leader and his American "advisers" to purchase US assault rifles for a planned coup against Maduro.

Guaido's team said he has never met Alcala, who has been living openly in Colombia since 2018 despite having been previously sanctioned by the US for drug smuggling.

"As head of state, I am obligated to defend peace and the stability of our homeland given any circumstance that arises," Maduro tweeted.

As the indictments were announced, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the State Department would offer cash rewards for information leading to the arrests or convictions of Maduro and his associates, including rewards of up to $US15 million for Maduro and up to $US10 million each for four others.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.Credit:Bloomberg

"The Maduro regime is awash in corruption and criminality," Barr said in an online news conference from Washington. "While the Venezuelan people suffer, this cabal lines their pockets with drug money, and the proceeds of their corruption. And this has to come to an end."

In Miami, prosecutors charged Supreme Court Chief Justice Maikel Moreno with laundering in the U.S. at least $US3 million in illegal proceeds from case fixing in Venezuela, including one involving a General Motors factory. Much of the money he spent on private aircraft, luxury watches and shopping at Prada, prosecutors allege.

Maduro's Defence Minister, General Vladimir Padrino, was charged with conspiracy to smuggle narcotics in a May 2019 indictment unsealed in Washington.

The shock indictment of a functioning head of state is highly unusual and is bound to ratchet up tensions between Washington and Caracas as the spread of the coronavirus threatens to collapse Venezuela's health system and oil-dependent economy driven deep into the ground by years of corruption and US sanctions. Maduro has ordered Venezuelans to stay home to try to stave off the spread of the virus that officials say has infected 106 people.

Analysts said the indictments could boost US President Donald Trump's re- election chances in the key swing state of Florida, which he won by a narrow margin in 2016 and where Venezuelans, Cubans and Nicaraguans fleeing authoritarian regimes have political muscle.

Maduro, a 57-year-old former bus driver, portrays himself as an everyman icon of the Latin American left. He's long accused the U.S. "empire" of looking for any excuse to take control of the world's largest oil reserves, likening its plotting to the 1989 invasion of Panama and the removal of strongman Gen. Manuel Noriega to face drug trafficking charges in Florida.


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Widow on The Repair Shop leaves viewers sobbing

Touching moment widower breaks down after craftsmen restored his beloved jukebox on The Repair Shop and play the song he danced to with his late wife on their wedding day

  • Geoff Clarke, from Sunderland, visited The Repair Shop with an old jukebox
  • Explained he had bought it 43 years ago and played it on his wedding day
  • He revealed his wife Marie passed away from a brain tumour nearly 7 years ago
  • Said it would mean a lot to hear track they danced to on their wedding day again
  • When jukebox played again, Geoff broke down in tears – and so did viewers 

Viewers of The Repair Shop were left in floods of tears last night after its master craftsmen restored a jukebox for a widow so he could once more hear the track he danced to with his late wife on their wedding day.

Geoff Clarke, from Sunderland, visited the Weald and Downland Living Museum in Singleton, West Sussex, where the show is filmed, to see if audio expert Mark Stuckey could bring his treasured music player back to life.

When he returned to the shop, Mark and furniture restorer Jay Blades watched as Geoff played Moonlight Serenade by Glenn Miller – the song he and his wife Marie, who died from a brain tumour nearly seven years ago, danced to at their reception.

Transported back to that special moment, Geoff broke down in tears – as did many viewers at home.

Scroll down for video 

Geoff Clarke, from Sunderland, visited the Weald and Downland Living Museum in Singleton, West Sussex, where the show is filmed, to see if audio expert Mark Stuckey could bring back to life his treasured jukebox (pictured after its transformation)

Transported back to that special moment with his late wife when the music played, Geoff broke down in tears – as did many viewers at home

Dozens took to Twitter, with many praising the BBC programme for its moving scenes – and one branding it a ‘soothing balm in troubled times’.

One tweeted: ‘Not a dry eye in the house – quite heartbreaking when the music played #therepairshop is such a wonderful programme.’

Another commented: ‘If you know, you know. But my sofa is now soaked in tears after boyishly sobbing at the latest #therepairshop. All I’m going to say is “jukebox”.’

And one wrote: ‘I’m not ashamed to admit I cried along with Geoff when the jukebox started playing again. #TheRepairShop.’ 

Geoff told how he bought the jukebox 43 years ago, and shortly after he met the ‘beautiful Marie’, whom he married in 1978. 

Dozens of viewers took to Twitter, with many praising the BBC programme for its moving scenes and one branding it a ‘soothing balm in troubled times’

‘I come from an era of rock and roll so it seemed like a good idea at the time,’ he said of his purchase.

‘We couldn’t afford a reception, so we had it in our dining room, with sandwiches and cups and tea, and the jukebox was in our dining room and I played D number one – moonlight serenade by Glenn Miller.

‘I just thought that might be right for the moment, and I wasn’t quite expecting it, but absolute magic happened, as Marie and I cuddled and shuffled around, it was just, everything came together in that moment, Marie, and Moonlight Serenade. Everything is locked inside of there.

Geoff brought in the jukebox (pictured) to The Repair Shop to see if it was possible to hear the song he danced to with his late wife on their wedding day again 

‘Marie was one of those people that everybody loved, and I think her secret was that she loved everybody herself.’

Geoff said he couldn’t play the jukebox at first after Marie passed away because it was too painful, but with time he began playing it late at night.

‘I would sit at the bottom of the stairs and realise what I’d had all those years, and now I was lost forever,’ he said, welling up.

‘Then people would come to the house, they’d want to hear the duke box, the volume control started not to work properly, then if you selected one of these keys for your record, the jukebox would go click, the drum would roll round and it wouldn’t select a record.’

Geoff and Marie (pictured left and right together) married in 1978, but Marie passed away from a brain tumour nearly seven years ago

Asked by Jay what it would mean to him to bring it back, he replied: ‘It has the ability to take me back to that moment on our wedding day, and the magic of holding her, all just inside that machine. 

‘She was such a very, very special lady, not just to me, to many, many people, and here is an opportunity to hear and see the memory of somebody extra special.’

Mark certainly had his work cut out, but the hours of labour he put in was certainly worth it, as when Geoff returned to see his retro jukebox back to working order, he was overcome with emotion.  

On hearing Glenn Miller’s hauntingly beautiful track, he broke down in tears and was comforted by Jay. 

On hearing Glenn Miller’s hauntingly beautiful track, Geoff broke down in tears and was comforted by Jay

Jay also looked visibly moved by Geoff’s reaction to hearing the jukebox play music again

‘It is a lovely tune,’ he said, to which Mark admitted: ‘I’m just glad that we could bring those memories to life for you.’

Geoff remarked: ‘That’s the amazing thing about music, it can instantly take you back to a special moment in time.’

Mark revealed it was a ‘big job’, but he knew they had to do it right to serve Marie’s memory. 

As Geoff left the shop, Mark said: ‘We all felt that one.’

Viewers felt it too, branding the episode ‘touching’ and ‘full of emotion’.  

Mark (pictured) revealed the jukebox was a ‘big job’, but he knew they had to do it right to serve Marie’s memory

Viewers felt the emotion of the episode, branding the show ‘touching’ and ‘what the nation needs’

Geoff said hearing the jukebox play again instantly transported him back to that magical moment when he and Marie ‘danced and cuddled’ as newlyweds.

‘The duke box will be coming back home to its pride of place,’ he added. 

‘I always liked music loud, so maybe the whole of the street will be hearing it, which will be a good thing. Celebrating Marie one more time.’

The Repair Shop airs on Wednesdays on BBC One at 8pm. 

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