In a music industry where the boys are currently on top (namely Justin Bieber, Ed Sheeran, new boy on the block James Bay and up and comer Jack Savoretti to name a few) former One Directioner Zayn Malik has decided to throw his hat into the ring by releasing his first solo single, PILLOWTALK. And we’re a tad underwhelmed.

It’s quite slick, with shades of the Biebs and Timberlake and his vocals are good enough. But, it just feels a little flat after all the hype. The Twitter rants, the in-fighting with producers, the shade he’s thrown at his ex-band mates; with the right track, this introduction to Zayn the popstar could have been explosive. The video, however, will prove to be a talking point – it features Zayn tomming about with new love Gigi Hadid, as well as ladies opening their legs to reveal lotus flowers and him crying black tears. Edgy.

But one can’t help but think that, a few months back, this video would have featured Perrie Edwards. He just seems the type. Perrie lass, you’re well shot of him. We’ll hang on for Harry.

Watch the video here:



Newcastle Waterstone’s goes potty for Potter

potter books

With a West End play to premiere this summer, the world is soon to be again gripped by Pottermania. And if you can’t wait until then, this event could be for you. One for kids and grown-ups alike (but we’re gonna bet mostly grown-up ‘kids’) Waterstone’s in Newcastle is holding a Harry Potter-themed night at their store on Blackett St. The event, taking place on February 4, will celebrate everything about the wonderful wizarding world of Hogwarts and the books’ heroes Harry, Ron and Hermione. Guests are encouraged to wear their best robes and have their wands in hand as there will be a host of games, including pin the scar on Harry, as well as an opportunity to be sorted into a house by the famous Sorting Hat. Themed drinks are also being served in the shop’s café and there will be a book group for readers to share their favourite parts from the series, created by J.K Rowling.


So are you a Gryffindor or a Slytherin? Do you belong in Hufflepuff or are you pure Ravenclaw? Go along to find out and let Waterstone’s cast their spell on you.

The event will begin at 5pm and finish at 8pm on February 4 at Waterstone’s Blackett St, opposite Eldon Square and Grey’s Monument.

Tyneside Cinema to pay tribute to Alan Rickman


Newcastle’s Tyneside Cinema are to hold a special screening of Die Hard, to pay tribute to it’s star Alan Rickman, who passed away earlier this month.

The 1989 action flick, which also starred Bruce Willis as berrata-wielding hero John McClane trying to save hostages from a terrorist attack, was the first of many great performances by Rickman, who would go on to become one of Britain’s best-loved actors. He eventually becamr a household name as Professor Snape in the Harry Potter series. He died after a battle with cancer last week.

Die Hard will be on at Tyneside Cinema on Wednesday Jan 27 at 20.45



Sly Stallone has played the character of Rocky Balboa on and off for the last 40 years but Creed, the seventh film in the Rocky franchise, has seen his hard work finally pay off. If Rockys I through VI were warm ups, this is the main event. Nabbing a slew of awards, including a Golden Globe, and an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor looking highly likely, it’s safe to say that this is his shining moment. And one of his greatest performances.
When Adonis ‘Donny’ Johnson goes looking for his past, the journey takes him to former boxing champ Rocky. Donny’s father, whom he never met, was Balboa’s former rival Apollo Creed. Determined to create his own legacy, Johnson becomes Rocky’s new student and begins training to take on the heavyweight champ in the biggest fight of his career. Sound familiar? The subject of Creed could easily slip into cliche territory, and at times maybe it does. But, at the core of this story is a big heart.
Michael B. Jordan is excellent as Donny. Criminally ignored during awards season, he is still relatively new in the leading man role (he was previously a knockout in 2013’s Fruitvale Station) yet he commands audience attention throughout. The final fight scene of the film is enough to prove his chops; one part exhilarating, another heartbreakingly emotional. Tessa Thompson puts in an intoxicating performance as singing love interest Bianca and the always brilliant Phylicia Rashad is stunning as Apollo’s widow and Donny’s guardian. Rashad’s turn in particular is pivotal and she underplays every nuance of her character so beautifully.
Creed, of course, belongs to Stallone, however, as an ageing Rocky. This is father figure to Rocky. This is emotional Rocky, a Rocky missing his dead wife and old friends. This isn’t a stereotype or a cliche. Stallone is fully deserving of the limelight he is currently basking in. During an argument with his young prodigy, he says, “Time takes everybody out. Time’s undefeated”. Stallone proves in Creed there’s still a lot of fight left in him yet.

Creed is in cinemas now 

The Voice, Week One: A case of real-life Star Wars as our coaches go into battle

the voice

The singing competition with the revolving red chairs returned to BBC One last night, and old faithfuls Ricky Wilson and Will.I.Am are this year sat either side of brand new coaches, pop diva Paloma Faith and 80s icon Boy George.

The show kicked off with a rousing performance by our coaches – led by Will and Ricky who were then joined by newcomers Paloma and, introduced by Will as the ‘legend’, George. They sang a mash-up of Get Up/Whole Lotta Love/You’ve Got The Love and showed exactly why they’re on the show. Boy George was especially impressive – it’s easy to forget after years of him being primarily a DJ that he can sing extremely well.

Then came the singers hoping to change their lives with one turn of a chair. First up was Beth Morris from Maidenhead, who strutted on to the stage looking somewhat of a tribute act to Ms Faith. A skin-tight leopard print catsuit, lashings of red lipstick and messy hair, she stunned with a raucous version of Nutbush City Limits, causing all four coaches to push their buttons. Paloma described her as ‘phenomenal’ and ‘fierce on every level’ and unsurprisingly, Beth chose to take her place as the first member of her team.

22-year-old fishmonger Tom Rickles was up next. He described his rather deep relationship with the fish he sells before he took to the stage so viewers were left a little confused as to whether he would sink or swim before our coaches. His slick Ellie Goulding/Jason Derulo mash-up had echoes of Olly Alexander from Years and Years certainly impressed Ricky, Will and George, who all wanted him. Tom stuck with the fish and went for Pisces Will, who called him ‘fresh’ and ‘dope’.

Brooklyne Richards, the bingo-caller from Birmingham (which I personally think should be her official stage name) was third to try to impress with Cry To Me by Solomon Burke. Strong voice but pitchy throughout. She certainly had sass in abundance and thanks to a massive belting finale, any dodgy vocals were ignored and she was given a spot. ‘I’ll make you so famous, drag queens will impersonate you’, George told her, which Will described as one of the best pitches he had ever heard. It didn’t work however – and Brooklyne joined Team Ricky.

voice contestants

It wasn’t all plain sailing for the contestants, though. Country chanteuse Keri-Ellah failed to impress with Carrie Underwood’s Before He Cheats and Dublin’s John Bonham also missed out on a spot with his heavy metal style. Paloma said he reminded her of Jack Black in School Of Rock – not what you want to hear from your potential mentor. Closer to home for us here at Man About Toon was Reverend John Barron from Gateshead. His impressive, if a little too theatrical, version of This Is The Moment caused the coaches to all join hands but sadly wasn’t their cup of tea and he left without a place.

Dads were well represented last night. Dwaine Haden gave a soulful rendition of Norah Jones’ Don’t Know Why and immediately got reactions from Paloma, who said it was ‘banging’ and George, who said although it was ‘wobbly’ in parts, he loved his tone. The 30-year-old proud dad of one brought on his adorable son Kingsley to help him decide and ultimately went for Paloma. Babyfaced Ryan Willingham surprised everyone with a very grown-up take on Stars from Les Miserables. Singing for his little girl, he sounded phenomenal but as the history of musical theatre on The Voice dictates, didn’t manage to get any interest from the coaches. He was devastated to miss out and I think the coaches missed a trick with him.

Lyrickal, a gothic beat-boxer from East London, was recruited by Team Will after a performance of Virtual Insanity and 16-year-old ‘mummy’s girl’ Aine Carroll, powered through a beautiful rendition of Karmin’s Brokenhearted to join Team Ricky and showbiz entertainer Bernie Clifton hoped art would imitate life as he warbled The Impossible Dream. He, however, didn’t get a place in the next round.

Most unique turn of the night went to final contestant Cody Frost. The 18-year-old punk turned Abba’s Lay All Your Love On Me into an angst-filled torch song that wouldn’t have been out of place on a Lana Del Rey record. Ricky called it ‘one of the most emotional performances we’ve ever had’ and Paloma said she felt her ‘heart’ and that Cody should be ‘massive in the music industry’. Rocking an 80s vibe in tartan trousers and Dr Marten boots, she delighted 80s icon George by becoming his first team member.

So as week one ended, Paloma is leading with two acts on her team. There is still everything to play for, however, with a plethora of acts still looking for a spot. The battle is on.

 The Voice is on next Saturday January 17 on BBC One at 19.45

INTERVIEW: Metro’s Steve & Karen celebrate 15 years together on the airwaves

steve and karen

Steve Furnell and Karen Wight’s voices are two we don’t mind hearing first thing in the morning. In fact, we love them. One of the North East’s best-loved double acts, today they celebrate 15 years of presenting breakfast radio together, first on the now-defunct Galaxy and currently on Metro. Here they tell Man About Toon how they got their break, what they could be doing if radio hadn’t worked out and why a 90s girl group once walked out on them.

How did you two get started in radio?

Steve: I was 15. I joined a hospital radio station in South Shields and presented a show on a Wednesday night, eventually moving to Saturday morning. I left college at 17 to get my first paid job at Radio Topshop. They used to have their own in-store radio station broadcasting from the Metro Centre. A year later I got offered a job in North Wales where I worked for five years before moving back to the North East to launch Galaxy in 1999.

Karen: I did a media studies degree at the University of Sunderland and got involved with the student radio station, Utopia FM. At first I was working behind the scenes as a producer but when our newsreader didn’t turn up for their shift, I had to read the news! I was in at the deep end but loved it and caught the bug for live radio. From there I went on to become a journalist at Sun FM, then to Galaxy in Leeds. I came home to read the news on Steve’s show in 2000 and we started hosting together in 2001.

How long have you known each other?

S: We both went to the same primary school. Time has gone so quickly!

K: We actually went to the same school but never met there and only realized years later.

What’s been your highlight of working on the show?

S: I feel very privileged to do my job. The fantastic listeners make the show what it is. My highlights include launching Galaxy in the North East and taking the show to number one. Then when we moved across the dial to Metro – I’ve never been so nervous in all my life!

K: We really are privileged. Every day is different and we love talking to the listeners. People here in the North East have such a great sense of humour and their stories are always brilliant. We’ve had some amazing guests on the show, like Sir Bobby Robson, Ant and Dec, Beyonce and Paloma Faith, who I absolutely love.

Any difficult interviews?

K: I don’t think either of us enjoyed interviewing (90s girl group) All Saints. I’ll let Steve tell you why!

S: The interview wasn’t going that well to start with. It felt like they didn’t really want to be there. I made matters worse by calling them Girls Aloud by mistake. They weren’t impressed and walked out on us.

If you weren’t radio presenters, what would you be doing?

S: I would have loved to have worked with animation. I used to make films when I was a kid.

K: I always wanted to be a barrister when I was younger so maybe something to do with law, although I was a children’s entertainer at the Sea Life Centre for a couple of summers and I loved that!

Us North East folk are so passionate about where we live. What is your favourite thing about it?

S: For me, it’s being so close to the beaches (Bamburgh being my favourite), the countryside and the cities. We’ve got the best of it all here. I think our mams and dads bring us up to feel very proud of where we’re from. Football definitely helps too!

K: I think we’re so passionate about our area because it really is special. We have some amazing stretches of coastline, vibrant cities with music and arts to rival any other city in the UK, fantastic landmarks and of course, the sense of humour. My favourite thing about the North East is without a doubt the people.

Listen to Steve and Karen weekdays from 6am on Metro Radio

WATCH: Lip Sync Battle welcomes Beyoncé

Beyonce performs during the "On The Run Tour: Beyonce And Jay-Z" at Minute Maid Park on July 18, 2014 in Houston, Texas.  (Photo by Larry Busacca/PW/WireImage for Parkwood Entertainment)

(Photo by Larry Busacca/PW/WireImage for Parkwood Entertainment)

One is a Hollywood A-list hunk who made his name bumping and grinding as a male stripper in Magic Mike. The other is the biggest pop star in the world. But who has the best legs? You decide.

US comedy show Lip Sync Battle invites celebrities to compete against each other every week by miming along to hit songs. The latest episode, however, took it to the next level. In every way possible.

Actors and married couple Channing Tatum and Jenna Dewan faced off this time and the results were jaw-dropping. Tatum’s ace card? Inviting none other than Queen B onstage to perform her hit Run The World with him. Watch Jenna, hosts LL Cool J and Chrissy Tiegen lose their mind here:


WATCH: Craig David covers Justin Bieber

craig david

In the noughties he was hot property, having sold millions of albums, had Top 20 hits worldwide and notched up two Grammy nods and an astonishing 12 Brit nominations. But as the decade drew to a close, Craig David, king of a once-burgeoning garage music scene, was waning, just like the genre he so made so popular.

But fast forward to 2016, with a storming performance with X Factor finalists Reggie N Bollie at last years final and new single When The Baseline Drops sitting pretty in this weeks top ten , looks like Craig is back to best. And he’s looking damn fine on it, too. Watch his garage spin on The Biebs’ Love Yourself on Radio 1’s Live Lounge earlier this week. We think it’s better than the original!

Big Brother winner opens up new (bar)bershop in North East

anthony hutton

Anthony Hutton, the cheeky Geordie lad who won Channel 4’s Big Brother back in 2005, has realised his dream of opening a very unique business, a bar-cum-barbershop.

The self-titled Mr Hutton’s Barbers and Bar opened before Christmas in Darlington and seems to be enjoying success. Hutton, who is a fully-trained barber, rose to fame in the mid-noughties when he competed on the reality TV competition and won. His antics on the show notched up many a tabloid column inch, but he seems to have put the wild times behind him as he attempts to become an entrepreneur.


The shop, which is the former Ron’s music store, is in Blackwellgate and comprises primarily of a chic cocktail bar, with a barbershop in the back. Fear not though, the barbershop is closed off at night to avoid any drunken hairy situations. Good luck from Man About Toon, and count us in for a cut and a Cosmo!

Click on their Facebook page here for more info


Geordie Shore lad Scotty T to bunk up in Celebrity Big Brother

scotty t

Following star turns on reality TV competitions by fellow Geordie Shore alum Charlotte Crosby and Vicky Pattison, Scotty T has reportedly been confirmed for this year’s Celebrity Big Brother. The show, in its fifteenth season, returns to Channel 5 this coming Tuesday again hosted by Emma Willis and promises to be, in true dramatic CBB style, ‘one of the most explosive seasons yet’.

If today’s headlines are to be believed (isn’t everything in the newspapers true?) Scotty will be sharing this year’s house with controversial former soap stars Daniella Westbrook and Stephanie Davis, off-their-rocker Americans David Gest and Tiffany Pollard, former Mrs David Bowie, Angie and full-time love rat/part-time actor Darren Day. Strictly star Kristina Rihanoff and previous Mr Ireland Jeremy McConnell Cooke are also expected to pass through the CBB doors this year. Brace yourselves, viewers.

Wallsend lad Scotty, real name Scott Timlin, joined MTV reality show Geordie Shore back in 2012 and proved a hit with viewers, as well the ladies. And if his antics on the Shore are anything to go by, he could even give fellow cast mate Charlotte Crosby, who won CBB in 2013, a run for her money. Do us a favour though, eh Scotty lad? Watch how much water you drink before bed. As Ms Crosby will attest – no one wants to see that again!

He took to Twitter earlier to rib his old mate about recent naked snaps she posted online:

Screenshot 2016-01-03 20.11.23

Good luck Scotty! After 2015 saw fellow Geordie Vicky Pattison crowned Queen of the I’m a Celeb jungle, you’ve got a tough act to follow.

Celebrity Big Brother returns this Tuesday January 5 on Channel 5