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Have we just sat through our final Ted talk?

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Season six of Line of Duty has concluded amid levels of hype that felt like the Twitter equivalent of a convoy of police sirens screaming past your house. And it has given fans what they craved by unmasking nefarious nasty “H”. But if AC-12 finally have their man, what next for Superintendent Ted Hastings (Adrian Dunbar) and DIs Kate Fleming (Vicky McClure) and Steve Arnott (Martin Compston)?

“H”, the fourth in a quartet of Big League bent coppers, was revealed to be none other than Detective Inspector Ian Buckells (Nigel Boyle). This, to put it mildly, came out of left field.

I’m the blundering fool? I’m the one who’s made total mugs of you lot

Buckells had played AC-12 for idiots by pretending to be an incompetent sloth. All this time, though, he’d been pulling the strings and working hand-in-hand with organised crime: the “OCG” in Line of Duty lingo.

“I’m the blundering fool?” he crowed as the truth came out. “I’m only the one who’s made total mugs of you lot.”

He was also ultimately responsible for the killing of Gail Vella. She was the journalist who knew too much and was on the brink of exposing Buckells and Chief Constable Philip Osborne as co-conspirators in the cover-up of a racist murder 15 years previously.

But if Buckells has been caught bang to rights, what of the future of the Belfast-filmed Line of Duty itself? Have we just sat through our final Ted talk?

The show has never been more popular. Season six achieved the highest ratings for a UK drama for 13 years. Nearly 11 million people in the UK tuned into the penultimate episode – which, when you factor out children and people who hate television, means that almost a quarter of the British population has been glued to the adventures of Ted and Co. And obviously Ireland has become obsessed too. LoD isn’t a blockbuster – it’s a phenomenon.

So at one level it would be madness to quit now. And yet, there was a ring of quasi-finality to the latest instalment. The “H” conspiracy has seemingly been blown wide open. Buckells, who finally implicated himself with his wonky spelling of “definitely”, went so far as to helpfully lay it all out for Ted, Kate and Steve.

The organised crime threat was, he said, more dispersed and nebulous than AC-12 had suspected. The death of criminal overlord Tommy Hunter in series two had led to a splintering of criminal activity. Rather than one big cabal, there were lots of small ones. And far from being the megalomaniacal Machiavelli, Buckells, as H, was merely a glorified facilitator.

It has been a strange season for Line of Duty. One of the highlights was a big set piece shoot-out in episode four as Arnott whisked corrupt solicitor Jimmy Lakewell in for interrogation. The OCG caught wind and staged an ambush. Cue a spectacular gunfight in downtown Belfast – but one which only temporarily delayed the OCG from getting its claws into Lakewell, who was strangled back at the prison.

But there have been letdowns. Kelly Macdonald’s DCI Jo Davidson never convinced. We were supposed to believe she had infiltrated the police over a period of years – yet she kept breaking down into sobs whenever the pressure of spying on the cops for the OCG became too much. How had someone so brittle made it so far? And it was obviously a mistake to kill off Ryan Pilkington, the grinning villain who was Line of Duty’s answer to Prince Joffrey in Game of Thrones.

Fans may be able to do without further Line of Duty, but you can sense they are already mourning the looming lack of Ted Hastings (Adrian Dunbar) in their lives. Photograph: Steffan Hill/BBC/PA
Fans may be able to do without further Line of Duty, but you can sense they are already mourning the looming lack of Ted Hastings (Adrian Dunbar) in their lives. Photograph: Steffan Hill/BBC/PA

In Ireland, there has been an added layer of weirdness as Adrian Dunbar has become a superstar largely due to his penchant for sprinkling his dialogue with folksy aphorisms. “Hold your whisht” and “Now we’re sucking diesel” are textbook “auld lad” banter. And yet in the UK they can’t get enough of it.

The question is whether Ted will have another opportunity to declare he didn’t “float down the Lagan in a bubble”. The indications are that he will not and that this is indeed the final curtain.

“Working with Vicky McClure, Martin Compston [and] Adrian Dunbar has been the highlight of my career,” tweeted Line of Duty writer Jed Mercurio, which certainly sounds like “goodbye”. In March, he told the Radio Times: “We’re in a situation where it’s not entirely clear that there will be a seventh series.”

Compston likewise seemed to be saying farewell to AC-12 when he wrote on social media that it had been “a wild few weeks and a mental 10 years”.

Line of Duty devotees will be disappointed. But there is good news. Mercurio has stated he’s “reasonably confident” there will be a second season of his equally-ludicrous 2018 hit, Bodyguard. All he need do now is find a way of bringing Ted Hastings into the expanded Mercurio-verse. Fans may very well be able to do without further Line of Duty. But you can sense they are already mourning the looming lack of Ted Hastings in their lives.

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URW rolls out Westfield brand to three new destinations

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Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield (URW) unveiled plans to rebrand three flagship centres, rolling out the Westfield brand to Parquesur in Madrid, Taby Centrum in Stockholm, and Galeria Mokotow in Warsaw this fall. The rebranding continues the expansion of the Westfield brand in Europe as the company drives new revenues through media advertising and brand experiences, turning its huge footfall of 550 million visits across its European assets into a qualified audience, while also leveraging the Westfield brand’s significant value to retailers, who see over 20%2 higher sales at URW’s centres even when compared to other A-category malls.

 

The flagship destinations share a number of characteristics in addition to being among the most important retail centres in their respective markets: they are set in excellent locations with unrivalled transport options, have distinctive architectural and design features and a best-in-class approach in terms of customer experience, community engagement, and sustainability practices. To celebrate the launch of the Westfield brand at these assets, each destination will host festive consumer events which will be announced later this year.

 

Caroline Puechoultres, Chief Customer Officer of URW, said: “The rebranding of these centres continues our strategy to expand Westfield to Flagship European destinations in the wealthiest cities and catchment areas. The significant opportunity afforded to both retailers and brands by this increasingly digitally linked network of destinations is unparalleled – through Westfield our partners can reach tens of millions of European consumers, driving new possibilities in advertising, brand marketing and retail.”

 

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Farrow & Ball’s colour guru on her converted schoolhouse and four for sale

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You may not be familiar with her name, but Joa Studholme is the person responsible for many of the colours in posh living rooms and kitchens throughout Britain.

Mrs Studholme is the colour curator for Farrow & Ball, a job title that sparks curiosity about what her own living room looks like, and what type of property she lives in.

Her home is an 19th century converted schoolhouse overlooking the hills of Somerset, which has inspired some popular Farrow & Ball colours, including one named School House White.

Pictured: Joa Studholme is the colour curator for Farrow & Ball and has used its School House White colour in the living room of her 19th century converted schoolhouse in Somerset

Pictured: Joa Studholme is the colour curator for Farrow & Ball and has used its School House White colour in the living room of her 19th century converted schoolhouse in Somerset

The woodwork and beams in the living room of her home are painted in a colour called Drop Cloth, which is another of her Farrow & Ball creations

The woodwork and beams in the living room of her home are painted in a colour called Drop Cloth, which is another of her Farrow & Ball creations

She moved to the property four years ago with her husband Andrew and their their two children. The children have since grown up and left home.

The unique property proved to be a perfect blank canvas for the Farrow & Ball colour chart, particularly the spacious living area. 

The room has vaulted double-height ceilings and was once the main classroom of the old school. It is painted in Farrow & Ball’s School House White – a colour that Mrs Studholme created especially for this particular property.

The woodwork and beams are painted in a colour called Drop Cloth, which is another of her Farrow & Ball creations.

Mrs Studholme told MailOnline Property: ‘When one chooses to live in an old schoolhouse, it is the size and the light that is so compelling, so as a general rule I feel that these outsize rooms should be kept a soft white – these special buildings deserve to be left in their iconic simple state.

‘When I moved to my old schoolhouse I mixed a colour to soften the bright white interior walls – now Farrow & Ball’s School House White – and painted the exterior windows in Archive Colour Black Blue to match the cows in the surrounding fields. 

‘Although it felt like a strange concept to me to be living in a white room, I actually find it extremely relaxing. And of course, the smaller rooms have all been packed with glorious colour.’ 

We take a look at four former schoolhouses for sale online, around different areas of the county, which have been converted into large family homes.

Daniel Copley, of Zoopla, said: ‘If you’re looking for a quirky property that’s brimming with history, it might be worth considering a converted schoolhouse. 

‘Many of these types of properties are brimming with characterful features and have the potential to be truly spectacular homes.’ 

1. Five-bed house, Oxfordshire, £850k

This former schoolhouse is in the village of East Challow, Oxfordshire, and is being sold for £850,000 via Connells estate agents

This former schoolhouse is in the village of East Challow, Oxfordshire, and is being sold for £850,000 via Connells estate agents

The Grade II listed property is an attractive example of Victorian Gothic architecture and now includes four bedrooms, plus a self-contained annexe

The Grade II listed property is an attractive example of Victorian Gothic architecture and now includes four bedrooms, plus a self-contained annexe

This Grade II listed former schoolhouse was built in 1865 and converted into a family home in the 1960s.

It mixes the old and the new, with a new bespoke oak staircase and oak doors working in harmony with the original fireplace and exposed beams.

The property is an attractive example of Victorian Gothic architecture and now includes four bedrooms, plus a self-contained annexe.

It is in the village of East Challow, Oxfordshire, and less than five minutes by car to Wantage High Street. It has a price tag of £850,000 and is being sold by Connells estate agents.

2. Five-bed house, Cornwall, £795k

This five-bed detached house in the Cornish hamlet of Tresmeer is on the market for £795,000 and is being sold by Open House estate agents

This five-bed detached house in the Cornish hamlet of Tresmeer is on the market for £795,000 and is being sold by Open House estate agents

The original school room is 40 feet long and is now a living room with a wood-burning stove and a dining room with exposed beams

The original school room is 40 feet long and is now a living room with a wood-burning stove and a dining room with exposed beams

The property was originally built in the mid 1870s and ran as a school for about 100 years before closing around 1966 and being converted into a family home

The property was originally built in the mid 1870s and ran as a school for about 100 years before closing around 1966 and being converted into a family home

This five-bedroom detached house in the Cornish hamlet of Tresmeer, near the town of Launceston.

The original school room is 40 feet long and is now a living room with a wood-burning stove and a dining room with exposed beams.

The property was originally built in the mid 1870s and ran as Tresmeer Primary school for some 100 years before closing around 1966. It has since been converted into a family home.

It is on the market for £795,000 and is being sold by Open House estate agents.

3. Eight-bed house, Shropshire, £650k

The Old School House in Telford, Shropshire, is being sold by Purplebricks estate agents with an asking price of £650,000

The Old School House in Telford, Shropshire, is being sold by Purplebricks estate agents with an asking price of £650,000

The living room includes wooden beams and a large solid stone fireplace with exposed brickwork

The living room includes wooden beams and a large solid stone fireplace with exposed brickwork

The Old School House in Telford, Shropshire, was renovated in 2001 and then updated by its current owners between 2011 and 2019.

The living room includes wooden beams and a large solid stone fireplace with exposed brickwork.

The property includes an annexe with large bi-folding doors overlooking the garden. It is being sold by Purplebricks estate agents with an asking price of £650,000.

4. Five-bed house, Berwickshire, £595k

This five-bedroom house in the Scottish village of Ladykirk, Berkwickshire, is on the market for £595,000 and the sale is being handled by George F White estate agents

This five-bedroom house in the Scottish village of Ladykirk, Berkwickshire, is on the market for £595,000 and the sale is being handled by George F White estate agents

The property sits on a plot of just under half an acre and the building was fully renovated by the current owners in 2004

The property sits on a plot of just under half an acre and the building was fully renovated by the current owners in 2004

This five-bedroom house in the Scottish village of Ladykirk, Berkwickshire, dates back to 1859.

The property sits on a plot of just under half an acre and the building was fully renovated by the current owners in 2004.

It is on the market for £595,000 and the sale is being handled by George F White estate agents.

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Childcare and transport measures being examined -Tánaiste

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The Government is looking at further measures to help with the cost of living crisis, in particular focusing on childcare and public transport proposals, Tánaiste Leo Varadkar has said.

Mr Varadkar has said these were areas the Government could help and do more .

The Tánaiste was speaking during Leaders’ Questions in the Dáil on Thursday, after Sinn Féin’s deputy leader Pearse Doherty said the Government had “lost control” of the cost of living crisis.

Mr Doherty said the crisis was reducing the living standards of low and middle income households, and that workers and families were “really struggling”.

The Donegal TD said while many factors were beyond the State’s control in terms of rising prices, “soaring rents and unaffordable childcare are not beyond the control of this Government”.

“In many ways, they have reached such unaffordable levels because of Government policy,” Mr Doherty said. “The Government can and must respond.

“We in Sinn Féin fully recognise that every household can’t be protected from every single price increase, but low and middle income households must be supported and in this regard, the Government has lost control of the cost of living crisis.”

He said electricity bills had risen by 28 per cent, gas bills by over 50 per cent, the cost of home heating oil had almost doubled and rents had increased by up by 12 per cent.

Mr Doherty said the most vulnerable in society were being faced with choices of “whether they should eat or heat their homes” and that “shamefully” the Government had not increased social welfare rates in response to historic levels of inflation.

He said his party had been consistent for many months calling for a “mini budget” to support low and middle income households and asked Mr Varadkar were the Government planning to introduce any further measures.

In response, the Tánaiste said the Sinn Féin TD had not acknowledged the measures already implemented by the Government to help with the cost of living which was “not fair”.

He said there had been packages of measures totalling €2.4 billion which was “considerable and more than would be the case in any budget”.

Mr Varadkar said there were areas where the Government “can help and can do more” such as childcare and the cost of public transport adding “we are working on proposals in those areas”.

Mr Varadkar said inflation was at levels “we haven’t seen for a very long time”.

“People are feeling the pinch and it’s more than a pinch, a lot of people are struggling to make ends meets. It’s affecting households, families and also businesses in terms of the cost of energy,” he said.

“People see it when they fill their car with petrol or diesel, you really see it when you see your electricity or gas bill, and increasingly you’re starting to see it in other areas such as the cost of groceries as well.

“It is true that those affected the most are those on the lowest incomes, because they spend more of their incomes on food and energy than people on middle and higher incomes do but I don’t think it’s the case that it’s only affecting people on low to middle incomes.

“People on average incomes of €40,000 to €50,000 a year, working full-time are being affected too.”

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