One of London’s most famous music venues has been badly damaged in an overnight blaze.
The dome on the roof of Koko in Camden has been destroyed by fire, according to the London Fire Brigade.
Sixty firefighters helped fight the flames after the blaze broke out just before 21:00 GMT on Monday and no injuries have been reported.
The venue which began life as the Camden Theatre in 1900 has hosted stars including Madonna, Coldplay and Prince.
Station commander Jon Lewis said the fire was brought under control at about 02:30 on Tuesday, adding: “Firefighters’ quick action and hard work in the early stages meant the fire was contained to the roof and saved the rest of the building.”
Koko owner Olly Bengough said he was “deeply saddened” by the blaze, adding: “We’ll be doing our best to get the redevelopment of this iconic building back on track.”
Crews will remain at the scene throughout the day and have warned people to stay away from the area.
Koko which was closed for refurbishment, was also previously known as the Camden Palace and Camden Hippodrome and has been one of the capital’s most iconic live music venues for decades.
The Rolling Stones, The Clash and Ed Sheeran are among other star names to have performed at the venue, which is close to Mornington Crescent underground station.
It was reportedly the last venue where AC/DC’s Bon Scott was seen drinking before his death from alcohol poisoning in 1980.
In the early 80s it served as a major venue for the punk and New Romantic scene, with singer Steve Strange of the band Visage holding club nights.
Members of the public have been sharing their Koko memories on Twitter.
Marc Rustic was “absolutely gutted” having seen his first grime gig at Koko.
“MoStack was performing and it was honestly the best night of my life,” he added.
Veteran DJ Tony Blackburn who held his legendary soul nights Shakatak also tweeted about the fire.
Koko and the nearby Roundhouse effectively “bookended” Camden’s music scene, according to music writer Carl Allen.
In between the two are 60 music venues including the Dingwalls and Electric Ballroom, as well as restaurants and pubs.
On Twitter the Roundhouse said it was “really sad” to hear the news about our Camden neighbours.
Camden Council leader Georgia Gould said: “Heartbreaking watching the Camden Palace/Koko up in flames this evening, a building that holds so many memories and means so much to us in Camden.”
The Mayor of London Sadiq Khan thanked the fire brigade for its quick response.
The venue was set to reopen in the spring after a “major state-of-the-art” refurbishment, after the purchase of two adjacent buildings.
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Norwich midfielder Kenny McLean is a doubt to face Crystal Palace because of a foot problem.
Josip Drmic is not expected to return until the weekend, while Ben Godfrey and Timm Klose are long-term absentees.
Crystal Palace manager Roy Hodgson is again expected to be without a host of first-team players.
Christian Benteke, Gary Cahill, Scott Dann, Jeffrey Schlupp, Andros Townsend, Joel Ward and Patrick van Aanholt are all on the sidelines.
Hodgson has revealed that Martin Kelly played with a muscle strain against Southampton, while Cheikhou Kouyate has said he has a groin issue.
MOTD COMMENTATOR’S NOTES
@chriswisey: There has been a VAR hurricane swirling around the Premier League in recent days, and both Norwich and Crystal Palace found themselves in the eye of the storm.
Norwich really do need to start making marginal gains on those above them. They were the only team in the bottom three not to win during the festive period.
Unsurprisingly, history doesn’t favour teams bottom of the table at the start of the new year. But the Canaries are determined to prove that their attractive, attacking approach is the method to escape the minefield.
VIEW FROM THE DUGOUT
Norwich City head coach Daniel Farke: “The quicker we can get 25 points, the easier we make the period where the mind games begin.
“That is why we go game to game. Don’t be too down or too high with each result.
“We know our situation and what we are trying to achieve. We are the only self-funded club on this level, and compared to the other teams we were not able to spend any money.”
There’s a real spirit about Crystal Palace. Roy Hodgson’s side have come from behind to pick up points against Brighton and West Ham recently.
Norwich are not playing badly and are creating lots of chances. They’re also due a win and went close to beating Tottenham on Saturday.
- Norwich have won only two of the past 18 league meetings.
- Palace have won three of their last four away league games against Norwich, as many as they managed in their previous 15 visits to Carrow Road.
- Norwich have their worst record after 20 matches of a top-flight campaign (W3, D4, L13).
- They have won just one of their last 15 league games and are winless in seven.
- Daniel Farke’s side have conceded at least twice in nine successive top-flight home games, the second longest such run in Premier League history behind Wolves’ 11 in 2012.
- They were the only Premier League side without a win in December, despite leading in five of their seven matches. The Canaries dropped 12 points from winning positions, the most by a team in a single month in Premier League history.
- The side bottom of the Premier League going into a new year has been relegated in 23 of the previous 27 seasons, though three of the four to avoid relegation have done so in the past six seasons.
- Crystal Palace have won just one of their last six Premier League away games, after winning five of the previous seven.
- Roy Hodgson’s side are unbeaten in their 10 matches against the teams who start 2020 in the bottom nine (W6, D4).
- They have scored just four first-half goals this season, with a league-high 78% of their goals coming after the break. The fastest league goal by the Eagles this season was a Luka Milivojevic penalty in the 21st minute against Norwich on 28 September.
- Fourteen of the Eagles’ 20 league games this season were goalless at half-time, which is six more than any other side.
The Duke of Edinburgh has returned to Sandringham in time for Christmas after four nights in hospital.
Prince Philip, 98, was taken to the King Edward VII’s Hospital in London on Friday on the advice of his doctor.
Buckingham Palace said the duke had returned to the Queen’s Sandringham Estate in Norfolk on Tuesday and thanked people for “their good wishes”.
It comes after the revelation the Queen will use her Christmas Day message to acknowledge 2019 has been “bumpy”.
The monarch herself travelled to Sandringham on Friday.
The palace, meanwhile, said the duke’s hospital admission had been a “precautionary measure”.
Prince Philip retired from public life in August 2017 after decades supporting the Queen and attending events for his own charities and organisations.
His last public appearance was Lady Gabriella Windsor’s wedding in May.
The Prince of Wales said on Monday his father had been “looked after very well” by hospital staff.
But Charles, who was visiting flood-hit communities in South Yorkshire, added: “When you get to that age things don’t work so well.”
Royal commentator Caroline Aston told the BBC it was “entirely in keeping with the man” for Prince Philip to have seemingly had no visitors during his hospital stay, because he likes to make “no fuss about anything”.
The Queen, 93, recorded her annual Christmas Day message before Prince Philip was admitted to hospital.
In the message, to be broadcast on BBC One at 15:00 GMT on Christmas Day, the monarch will say the path is never “smooth” but “small steps” can heal divisions.
After a year of intense political debate over Brexit, as well as a number of personal events affecting the Royal Family, the Queen will say: “Small steps taken in faith and in hope can overcome long-held differences and deep-seated divisions to bring harmony and understanding.”
In January, the Duke of Edinburgh was involved in a car crash while driving near Sandringham. He escaped uninjured, but two women required hospital treatment.
In September, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex publicly revealed their struggles under the media spotlight during their tour of southern Africa.
And last month, the Duke of York withdrew from public life after a BBC interview about his ties to sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, who killed himself in August.
As is customary, family photos can be seen positioned near the Queen for her annual speech.
Addressing speculation about the absence of a photo of the Sussexes, the BBC’s royal correspondent Nicholas Witchell said it was not in the Queen’s nature “to snub anybody”, adding: “Certainly not her grandchildren.”
He said that the photos on the Queen’s desk focus on the line of succession.
There has also been speculation surrounding which members of the royal family will attend the church service tomorrow morning.
BBC news correspondent Charlotte Gallagher said it is believed Prince Andrew will be at the service, as well as Prince George and Princess Charlotte.
Analysis: A coded message?
It has been a year which, at times, may have felt “quite bumpy”, so the Queen will say in her Christmas broadcast.
It is a choice of words which will inevitably prompt speculation about what it is that she’s referring to.
She does not offer any clarification herself, though the remark is made in the context of overcoming what she calls “long-held differences” and how “small steps taken in faith and in hope can overcome deep-seated divisions”.
The obvious interpretation is that this is the Queen’s – as ever – coded message to the country to try to move on from the divisions of the Brexit debate, but the reference to a “bumpy” year may also be taken to refer to events within her own family after a year which has seen the Duke of Edinburgh’s car accident, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex complaining about the difficulties of being in the public eye and the controversies around Prince Andrew.
Last Christmas, Prince Philip missed the royals’ traditional Christmas Day trip to church but was said to be in good health.
In February, it was announced the duke had given up his driving licence. It came after he was involved in a collision with another vehicle near the Sandringham Estate.
The treatment he has received for various health conditions over the years include being treated for a blocked coronary artery in 2011.
The following year, the prince suffered a bladder infection and was forced to miss the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee concert.
He was also taken to hospital for an abdomen operation in 2013 and, in 2014, underwent surgery on his right hand.
Last year he had a hip replacement at the same central London hospital that he is now attending.
Singer Ellie Goulding came to the aid of a driver whose car was being pushed sideways along a road by a lorry.
Footage shows a Volkswagen GTi being pushed down Western Avenue, A40, by a Royal Mail delivery lorry near the Greenford roundabout in west London.
Goulding posted on Instagram to criticise other drivers who got out to film the crash and “shout abuse” at the lorry driver.
The Royal Mail says it is investigating the crash.
The truck driver appears astonished to see the car in front of his vehicle, claiming he did not see it, or know it was there.
He can be heard yelling: “I didn’t see him, I honestly didn’t see him.”
Goulding told her 14.4 million Instagram followers: “On a side note, I can’t believe the first instinct of the other drivers who got out was to instantly start filming on their phones and shout abuse at the poor shocked driver, not even checking the other driver was okay.
“What on earth.”
Goulding told BBC Radio 1 she intervened because “no-one was stopping”.
She said: “I think people were desperate to get to work. All these people were just driving on.
“We just drove up right next to it [the lorry] to be like ‘Mate, you’ve got a car on you!'”
The driver who was dragged along the road later messaged the singer “to just say he was OK,” she added.
The Met Police said there were no reported injuries and no arrests have been made.
A Royal Mail spokesman added: “We are very concerned about this incident. We sincerely hope that no one was hurt. We are investigating as a matter of urgency.”
Road safety campaigner Rebecca Ashton told the Victoria Derbyshire programme she hoped it was not a stunt.
She said: “He must have been able to hear the scraping of the tyres – possibly a feeling of pushing a car.”
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Harlequins number eight Alex Dombrandt would flourish in the international environment, says England scrum-half and club team-mate Danny Care.
The uncapped 22-year-old is thought to be pushing for a place in England’s Six Nations squad after starring for Quins of late.
“He reads the game so well, he’s smart and makes the right decisions all the time,” Care said.
“You put him in an England shirt and he is only going to excel.”
Care believes Dombrandt would provide England with an extra dimension if he made his international debut.
The former university student is on head coach Eddie Jones’ radar after appearing for an England XV in a non-cap game against the Barbarians in May.
“For me he’s got everything. He’s hungry for it, he’s got the work-rate and the work ethic, and he’s a good boy,” Care told the Rugby Union Weekly podcast.
Dombrandt only broke into the Quins first team a year ago after completing his undergraduate studies at Cardiff Metropolitan University.
But after a breakthrough season last time around, he recently signed a new deal to stay at The Stoop despite firm interest from Northampton Saints.
“He went to uni, did it properly and enjoyed himself, but he’s got a chance to play professional rugby and he’s grasped it with both hands,” Care added.
“I’m not picking the England squad, but 100% [he should be in].
“I just think if you throw him in there, and you have him running lines alongside Billy Vunipola, Mako Vunipola, Joe Marler – which attacker is the defender going to take?
“He is different, and there aren’t many of him around. And he can play six [blind-side flanker], seven [open-side flanker] or [number] eight.”
US President Donald Trump has said he could “work with anybody” in No 10 – nine days ahead of a general election.
Speaking on a three-day visit to the UK, Mr Trump said he would “stay out of the election”, that he was a “fan of Brexit” and he thought PM Boris Johnson was “very capable”.
Mr Trump is in the UK for a Nato summit being held in Watford on Wednesday.
He will attend a reception hosted by the Queen at Buckingham Palace later, where protests are expected.
The US president was speaking during a breakfast meeting with Nato Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg at the US ambassador’s residence in London.
During a press conference Mr Trump also said:
- The US wanted “absolutely nothing to do with” the NHS, when asked if it would form any part of future trade talks. He added: “Never even thought about it, honestly.”
- He himself was “a very easy person to work with”
- The US was “trying to work something out” with the family of teenager Harry Dunn
- French President Emmanuel Macron was “very disrespectful” for suggesting Nato was “brain dead”
The US president’s comments came moments after he told reporters that he was staying out of the election on 12 December “because I don’t want to complicate it”.
President Trump is visiting the UK to attend a Nato summit commemorating the 70th anniversary of the transatlantic organisation.
Scotland Yard has said road closures will be in place in central London during the summit.
He is due to have separate talks with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron.
President Trump will attend a working lunch with representatives from Estonia, Greece, Latvia, Poland, Romania, Lithuania, Bulgaria and the UK.
However, it is unclear whether Mr Trump will hold a one-on-one meeting with Mr Johnson.
Mr Trump said he would be meeting the British prime minister during his visit, adding: “I have meetings set up with lots of different countries”.
And Mr Johnson said he would be discussing Syria, Russia and China during discussions with Nato leaders.
However, Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab – who will meet US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo later – said on Tuesday that arrangements for such bilateral meetings were “always quite fluid”.
BBC diplomatic correspondent James Lansdale said the Conservatives’ HQ is not keen on such a meeting “to avoid pictures that could be used by his (Boris Johnson’s) opponents” in the upcoming general election.
Mr Johnson and Mr Trump did speak on Saturday, when Mr Trump expressed his condolences after the London Bridge attack.
The Queen will host a reception for world leaders, including Mr Trump, at Buckingham Palace later.
Protesters are expected to gather outside the palace ahead of the event on Tuesday evening.
The friends and family of teenage motorcyclist Harry Dunn are expected to be among them. Mr Dunn’s death led to a diplomatic row between the US and UK after a suspect over his death returned to America, claiming diplomatic immunity.
A spokesman for Mr Dunn’s family said they will join demonstrations in order to “make our feelings known” to Mr Trump.
‘Respect and politeness”
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has called for Mr Trump to be treated “with respect and politeness” during his visit.
Ahead of the visit, Mr Corbyn wrote to Mr Trump, demanding assurances that the NHS will be “off the table” in any post-Brexit US-UK trade talks. However, Mr Johnson said the claims were “nonsense” and the NHS would not be part of any such trade discussions.
Meanwhile, Mr Johnson has told the Sun newspaper that Mr Corbyn wants to “disband” Nato and accused the Labour leader of being “naive” to the risk of terrorism.
Labour’s manifesto says that, in government, it would maintain a commitment to Nato.
A spokesman for the party said that Mr Corbyn “will do whatever is necessary and effective to keep the British people safe”.
Elsewhere, Nigel Farage has said it is “awkward” that his “friend”, Mr Trump, had arrived during the election campaign. The Brexit Party leader said he would keep any “personal exchanges” between them private.
Mr Trump has previously been criticised for voicing his opinions of British political leaders.
The US president was warned against getting involved in the upcoming general election by Mr Johnson last week.
Mr Trump later said he was “absolutely cognisant” of the importance of not interfering in other countries’ elections.
Coldplay may have put their touring plans on hold, but a select group of fans were treated to a one-off show among the fossils at London’s Natural History Museum on Monday.
It was a spectacular setting, with the museum’s great hall bathed in pastel lights as the band played beneath Hope, a giant 128-year-old skeleton of a blue whale.
“I said, when we launch our album can we play a gig near Wales, and look what happened,” joked Chris Martin, as he took to the stage.
“It’s so hard, as a British person, not to come up with Natural History Museum puns for the whole show,” he added. “But the last artist who tried that was Dodo and you know what happened to her.”
His jokes may have prompted groans but, when it came to the songs, Martin was drowned out by the 1,000-strong audience singing along to hits like Sky Full Of Stars and Viva La Vida.
For the most part, though, the set concentrated on Coldplay’s latest record, Everyday Life – a playful and probing double album that cautiously ventures away from their lighters-out pop template.
They were joined on stage by Afrobeat scion Femi Kuti and his brass section for the limber and funky Arabesque, while Norah Shaqur added a beautiful Arabic verse to Church.
And some moments that fall flat on the new record – notably the anti-firearm anthem Guns – gained a little bite on the stage, with Martin spitting invectives at gun rights activists as he thrashed his acoustic guitar.
In some respects, Coldplay have always felt like a church worship band, with their earnest goofiness and hand-on-heart positivity. It’s an instinct they embraced on Monday night, handing out badges declaring “love”, while supporting musicians wore T-shirts emblazoned with the Bible verse “Do everything in love”.
They were even joined by a four-piece gospel choir, who embellished the harmonies (while politely declining to show up Martin’s vocals) on tracks like BrokEn and Cry Cry Cry.
Martin was so enraptured by their presence that he asked them to reprise the final chorus of Fix You a capella, “so we can hear what our band would sound like if we had really good singers”.
“Just imagine,” he added. “We’d be playing much bigger venues than this place.”
It was a knowing nod to the band’s more usual habitat, playing to tens of thousands of fans in open-air stadiums. It’s a mode of touring they have decided they can no longer pursue in good conscience – citing the environmental impact of taking a full-production rock concert on the road for 18 months or more.
“The hardest thing is the flying side of things,” Martin told the BBC last week. “But, for example, our dream is to have a show with no single-use plastic, to have it largely solar powered. We’ve done a lot of big tours at this point. How do we turn it around so it’s not so much taking as giving?”
In that respect, playing the Natural History Museum felt like a recalibration, with the band exploring whether their music could work in smaller venues, with a minimal production. Proceeds went to the non-profit organisation ClimateEarth (regrettably, though, the beer cups on the night were all single-use plastic).
Songs like Daddy and Sparks felt more intimate, while the big-tent anthems like Orphans lost none of their impact. And no-one missed the flashing wristbands or pyrotechnics of Coldplay’s bigger shows.
Well, no-one except the frontman.
“Normally we have some fireworks at this point,” he observed during Sky Full Of Stars. “But they said this building was too precious.”
After 23 years, Coldplay might be rock dinosaurs, but they’re not fossils yet.
See the set list below (Sky Full Of Stars was a last-minute addition to the encore, just before Guns).
A man accused of rape was caught on camera at a hotel just before one of his alleged victims smashed him over the head and escaped, a court heard.
Joseph McCann went into the Phoenix Lodge Hotel in Watford on 25 April, leaving two women in a car outside, the Old Bailey was told.
He was allegedly captured on CCTV entering the hotel wearing a tracksuit and a baseball cap.
Mr McCann, 34, from Harrow, denies 37 offences against 11 victims.
After going into the hotel, he held the front door open and glanced repeatedly outside while rapping on the window of the reception desk to speak to staff, the court was told.
He then told his alleged captives to get out of the car and smile as he put his arms around them.
Instead, one of them, a 25-year-old woman, grabbed a bottle of vodka and hit him over the head with it before running for help, jurors heard.
The trial continues.
Cardiff City chairman Mehmet Dalman says the club are targeting a younger manager to replace Neil Warnock and expect a quick appointment.
Warnock left the Championship club on Monday following three years in charge.
Dalman said owner Vincent Tan will play an active role in naming the 70-year-old’s successor.
“We’re down to a small number of names. I’d be surprised if we don’t announce something in the next 72 hours, certainly by the weekend,” he said.
Former Millwall manager Neil Harris is among the early favourites to replace Warnock, who Dalman said was relieved to leave his role.
Speaking to Radio Wales Breakfast with Claire Summers, Dalman claimed it was Warnock’s decision to leave the club who are14th in the Championship following Sunday’s 1-0 defeat by Bristol City.
“It was Neil’s decision to go,” he said.
“I really wanted him to stay until the end of the season, but he felt it was time for a change. I think he was quite relieved actually when I had a chat with him and we felt maybe it was right, so he left on his own terms.”
Dalman said Tan would have a say on who replaces Warnock.
“I think Vincent wants to take a much more hands-on involvement in (appointing) the next manager, which I think is right, after all he’s the owner of the club,” he said. “I think he wants somebody younger, maybe a little bit more (of an) offensive type of manager.”
Dalman added the club could consider a director of football type appointment in conjunction with the new manager, saying he would welcome “more football knowledge at board level.”
And, in terms of a new manager, he did not rule out a move for Harris, the 42-year-old currently out of work having left Millwall last month after four years with the south London club.
When asked specifically about bookmaker’s favourite Harris, Dalman said: “I don’t know. At the moment, we’re still going through the thought process, we’ll go through the names that we have and we’ll focus on one of them.”
Harris ‘worth a gamble’ – Kavanagh
Ex-Cardiff captain Graham Kavanagh says ex-Millwall boss Harris, 42, could be worth a “gamble” to replace Warnock.
Although he has only managed the Lions, ex-Republic of Ireland midfielder Kavanagh says Harris could do the job.
“If Neil Harris comes in I think it is a slight gamble,” said Kavanagh.
“He’s been in the Millwall job four years and hasn’t managed anywhere else, but he’s done a magnificent job.”
Harris, who scored 138 goals over two separate spells with Millwall as a player, took over as caretaker manager in March 2015 following their relegation to League One.
He guided the Lions to promotion back to the second tier in 2017, after reaching the League One play-off final for a second consecutive season, while the London club reached the FA Cup quarter-finals twice, in 2017 and 2019.
He stepped down as boss at the Den in October 2019 after a seven-match winless streak left Millwall five points above the relegation zone.
Harris – who briefly played alongside Kavanagh on loan at Cardiff in December 2004 – remains Millwall’s record goalscorer, despite being diagnosed with cancer when he was just 23.
“He’s a great lad, he works very, very hard, he’s very diligent and honest in his work and he does like to play,” Kavanagh, 45, said.
“He’s never had too much money to spend, but what he has spent at Millwall he’s done a remarkable job.”
Kavanagh says that Warnock will be a hard act to follow.
“He’s [Warnock] done a phenomenal job at the club, getting it promoted. I know obviously he then got relegated but it’s very, very tough to stay in the Premier League,” Kavanagh said.
“He spent quite a bit of money but it looked like he was buying Championship players with the thought that if they went back down, then they’d be able to jump back up.
“Obviously that hasn’t been how they’ve started the season, so he’s paid the price of that.
“A man of his experience and his wealth of knowledge… he’s going to be a massive loss to the club.”
Premiership and European champions Saracens have been docked 35 points for breaching salary cap regulations.
The punishment comes after an investigation into business partnerships between chairman Nigel Wray and some of the club’s players.
Saracens have also been fined £5.36m, with the points deduction coming into immediate effect in the Premiership.
The charges relate to a failure to disclose player payments in each of the 2016-17, 2017-18 and 2018-19 seasons.
In the five seasons that Saracens have finished as Premiership champions, a 35-point deduction would have meant they would not have reached the play-offs. They would have finished 10th last season had the same punishment been imposed in 2018-19.
Saracens, who have won two of their three Premiership matches so far this season, are entitled to seek a review of the decision by an arbitration body.
Premiership Rugby introduced their salary cap in 1999 to ensure the financial viability of all clubs and the competition.
The regulations are also designed to control inflationary pressures on clubs’ costs and provide a level playing field for clubs and a competitive Premiership.
More to follow.