Section: Region


Daytime TV: Dead comedians’ channel

Peter Lathan

OK. Yes. I do watch a fair amount of daytime TV. I admit it. I never used to, but self-isolation / shielding / lockdown forced it on me. And it’s not all nightmare-inducing; some of it is fun. So what do I watch? Well, mainly Gold (or, as I prefer to call it, the Dead […]

NUFC Fans Foodbank: season preview

Bill Corcoran

They say that the return to normality doesn’t seem real yet. That the 18 months of Covid-19 which has left thousands dead, millions ill, and all of us affected is still too recent and too raw. Yet Newcastle United kick off against West Ham at 2pm on 15 August, with all fans allowed back in. […]

The world in a weekend: parade in Billingham

North East Bylines

Who is up for a ‘mini’ Parade of Nations through Billingham Town Centre on Saturday 14 August? This is part of The World in a Weekend event being staged in the town from 13-15 August. The event is being organised by the Billingham International Folklore Festival of World Dance and supported Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council. The parade […]

Roundabout comes to Byker

North East Bylines

Throughout the summer Northern Stage has been inviting people to get Out on the Toon, with free outdoor events across the region to reconnect artists and audiences in their local neighbourhoods, and a pop-up outdoor theatre in Leazes Park offering free theatre, comedy, music and family shows.  Roundabout Now from 12-15 August, Paines Plough’s Roundabout comes to Harbottle Park […]


Daytime TV: a command from on high

Peter Lathan

What a day! Early afternoon and thick black clouds full of rattling and rumbling thunder; lightening sharp and dazzling; hailstones as big as golf balls stotting off the ground and bouncing three feet into the air. And it’s dark, miserable, cold. God, if this is August, what’s December going to be like? There’s a hammering […]

Telecommunications provider shows appreciation to Stockton MP, Matt Vickers

Scott Hunter

Matt Vickers, MP for Stockton South, has championed several causes in his time in office including tougher sentences for pet thieves and the protection of hedgehogs. Both undoubtedly worthy causes.  He appears to dislike international aid, asylum seekers and gypsies. So, there seems to be a ‘four legs good, two legs bad’ theme to his […]

Ben Houchen and the chamber of secrets

Scott Hunter

Tees Valley Mayor seeks to protect Teesside Airport from ‘rogue’ politicians like himself, as the airport operator departs Teesside Airport operator Esken Ltd, formerly Stobart Aviation, has jumped ship and pulled out of its contract with the airport company (TIAL). Now, in place of Esken Ltd, the airport is being operated directly by its own […]

A sad day for Teesside: Redcar Blast Furnace demolished

Bobbie Bailey

Redcar Blast Furnace It is a sad day for Teesside that the Redcar Blast Furnace is being demolished today. The furnace as we envisaged would have been truly iconic. In our opinion, this is an act of cultural vandalism, a scorched earth policy designed to systematically destroy relics of industry.  For some, this structure represents […]

Sharon Hodgson, MP urges veterans to have their say

North East Bylines

Today former Shadow Minister for Veterans, Sharon Hodgson MP, is urging local veterans across the North East to participate in the Labour Party’s consultation with veterans. They are being encouraged to participate in a survey so that their voices can be heard. As Shadow Minister for Veterans, Sharon developed the consultation, which will help the […]

Covid, mass trauma and regional unity

Connor Lamb

I remember that in the process of writing my diary entries, I had to recall memories recessed in the back of my mind for over a year. We often don’t think of traumatic memories as ‘trauma’. I briefly addressed the concept of mass trauma at the very end of the diary, so now it’s time […]

Covid and me: another two days

Peter Lathan

Day 501, Friday, 16 July, 2021 – Where Has the Time Gone? Look through my Journal entries for the last couple of months and what do you see? My usual ramblings and meanderings? I’ve been a bit more testy than usual, perhaps? Probably. But really, not much different, eh? The mixture as before? TV, writing […]

Stobart pulls out of Teesside International Airport

Julia Mazza

Esken, the  company behind struģgling Stobart Aviation Ltd, has returned its quarter-share in Teesside International Airport for a “nominal” sum.  The aviation sector has been blindsided by Covid-19. However, Stobart Aviation Ltd posted losses of £53 million in the year to 29th February 2020 – before the first lockdown. Should the airport be sold before 25 […]

Flags for cash? Another U-turn from the government

Yvonne Wancke

Thousands of EU flags, notices and plaques are expected to pop up outside public buildings around the UK very soon. This is because the Westminster government is keen to receive eligible post Covid funding from the European Union. The Independent reports that: “Guidance issued to local authorities by the communities ministry this summer says the […]

Congratulations to new Fire Service recruits

North East Bylines

On Friday 23 July, twenty-three Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service (TWFRS) new recruits passed out in the sunshine on the parade ground of Service Headquarters at Barmston Mere Training Centre in Washington. Intensive training Over the past 13-weeks the new recruits, aged between 19 and 40 years old, have been experiencing an intensive […]

Cleveland Bridge is falling down

Scott Hunter

Darlington-based structural engineering firm Cleveland Bridge has collapsed into administration, it has been announced. Its entire workforce of 230 is now under threat of redundancy. The firm, in existence for 144 years, has been owned by the Saudi al-Rushaid group since 2000. The crisis has occurred despite the firm having a full order book.  So, […]

ORCA: protecting whales and dolphins

Emily Condley

ORCA is one of the UK’s leading whale and dolphin conservation charities dedicated to the long-term protection of whales, dolphins and porpoises (collectively known as cetaceans) and their habitats in UK and European waters. Founded in 2001, ORCA work to monitor vulnerable cetacean populations and help to protect threatened marine habitats. Working with governments, research […]


Consett Corona Photo Project: interview with George Ledger Part 1

Dylan Neri

On 23 March 2020, the Prime Minister delivered a very simple instruction to the British public: “you must stay at home.” Since this dependence day, and the introduction into popular discourse of the word ‘lockdown’, people have adapted to a host of alien measures and customs. Social distancing, mandated isolation, face cloths, PPE, and those […]


Consett Corona Photo Project: interview with George Ledger Part 2

Dylan Neri

Beautiful photographs I suggest that the photo is absolutely beautiful. The pandemic has had few positive aspects, but one of them certainly is the appreciation for those wonderful workers who built this country up and keep it running each and every day. And this photograph shows the rightful pride key workers should have in what […]


Dominic Cummings: made in the North East?

Julia Mazza

Cummings followed the KISS principle (Keep It Simple Stupid) with two easy, false arguments: the money spent on more politicians could be spent on doctors; and the Assembly would raise Council Tax. In hindsight it could be Brexit: The Prequel.


North East coalition urges Chancellor to reverse £20 UC cut

North East Bylines

A broad, cross-sector coalition of North East organisations has come together today (21 July 2021) to urge the Chancellor of the Exchequer to reverse the planned £20 a week cut to Universal Credit which will hit hundreds of thousands of low-income households across the region this autumn. Writing jointly to the Chancellor as organisations “committed […]

Education Committee Part 3: a widening learning gap?

Connor Lamb

The last time that we explored the education committee meeting led by Sir Kevan Collins, we explored the importance of parental involvement within education, the future of Ofsted and more about the education recovery package. This are a few of the highlights from the next twenty minutes. Further funding? Sir Kevan was asked if there […]

Ladyboys of Bangkok at Middlesbrough Theatre

Katie Maughan

The Ladyboys of Bangkok graced Middlesbrough Theatre on 12 July for an exciting night of music and glamour during their Flight of Fantasy 2021 tour. Due to social distancing, the show was split into multiple performances over a few nights. Audiences remained socially distanced and were required to wear masks. It was a different experience […]

Testing positive: a personal reflection

Peter Benson

I tested positive on Tuesday 13 July following a PCR test the previous day. However, I feel like I have dodged a bullet as so far, my symptoms have been relatively mild. I did a lateral flow test on Sunday 11 July just prior to the big England v Italy match and that was negative but I […]

The unfinished play in South Shields

Peter Lathan

In 2012 I was asked to direct a revival on my first play ever to get a professional outing (on tour in 1975, no less!), a version of The Mysteries, as a community production for the Customs House in South Shields. It featured amateur actors and choir with a professional production team and we performed […]

Unfair two-child limit hits 14,000 North East families

North East Bylines

Regional child poverty campaigners have renewed calls for an end to the government’s ‘two-child limit’, after figures published by the Department for Work and Pensions today (15 July 2021) show that almost 14,000 families – including at least 42,000 children – across the North East are now affected by the policy. The two-child limit The two-child limit […]

Little England, where charity begins at Conservativehome

Scott Hunter

A vote in the House of Commons yesterday reaffirmed the government’s commitment to reducing the UK’s overseas aid budget. This, it maintains is necessary on account of the unprecedented conditions arising from the Covid-19 pandemic.  Figures published today by the BBC show that, while overseas aid amounted to £14.5bn in 2019, it is projected to […]

Keep them poor, uneducated and hungry!

Peter Benson

I would like to hypothesis that the greatest success of this ten-year government is to keep the underclass in their place. That is as far away as possible from the elite. And poor, uneducated and hungry. We are run by the elite for the elite. Any other thoughts are pure fantasy. I think that it would […]

3 out of 10 key workers’ children in the North East live in poverty

Julie Ward

We used to think that poverty was something that mainly visited the unemployed, the homeless, those who were far from the labour market through a combination of bad luck and poor life chances. However the shocking phenomena of in-work poverty has been growing year on year even before the pandemic laid waste to the economic […]

JournalPART 4

Covid and me: a year of shielding

Peter Lathan

Day 369, Saturday, 6 March, 2021 : A most unwelcome anniversary of shielding    One year to the day since my self-isolation/shielding/incarceration/call it what you will began. Could anyone in early March 2020 have imagined that we would be in a third lockdown a whole twelve months later? Could anyone have conceived what lockdown would mean for […]

Newcastle’s Best Summer Ever, 2021: Kenton and beyond

Daisy Windsor

A £1.7M city programme of children’ summer activities will provide free healthy food and things to do during August. There are activities for children and young people from July 30 2021. Best Summer Ever 2021 The government funded programme (Holiday Activity Fund) known as the Best Summer Ever 2021 is being spearheaded by Newcastle Council […]