Our weekly list of unmissable news brand content includes insight into a long-standing tradition of pardoning turkeys, a celebration of London theatre and a look into storytelling through gaming…
1. To be or not ‘toupee’
Prince William beats Hollywood royalty to be crowned the sexiest bald man of 2023, according to a study based on search traffic and physical traits reported on by the Mirror. The British royal dethroned last year’s winner, Vin Diesel, who is now in second place after fellow Hollywood star Jason Statham.
The ranking, by Reboot, looked at the number of internet searches for various smooth-headed celebrities. The search included height, net worth and facial features. Who will take the bald spot for 2024?
2. Turkey thanksgiving tradition
US president Joe Biden upheld a long-standing tradition of pardoning turkeys at the White House this week ahead of the year’s Thanksgiving’s celebrations, the Independent shared on its Instagram. The tradition’s origins date back to 1863, when then-president Abraham Lincoln received a live turkey as a Thanksgiving gift. When his son adopted the turkey, the president granted it a reprieve.
Current president Biden spent his 81st birthday pardoning Liberty and Bell as part of the current tradition, which goes back to 1947. The National Turkey Federation, which represents turkey farmers and producers, first presented a National Thanksgiving Turkey to Harry Truman.
3. A glittering night celebrating London theatre
The 67th Evening Standard Theatre Awards took place at Claridge’s this week, honouring London’s best theatre stars. First held in 1955, the event aims to help shape the stars of London’s theatrical history. The awards were presented by writer and actor Susan Wokoma, who said: “Theatre is always a labour of love and London stages have faced their fair share of difficulties in the last few years. So, I think it’s paramount we celebrate excellence while we can.” Read more about the event here and honoured stage stars here.
4. Christmas markets
It is the season of mulled wine and roasted nuts served at charming traditional market stalls. While Christmas markets have become an established feature of the UK festive period, there are dozens across the Continent. The highest concentration of markets takes place in Germany, where the tradition was born almost 590 years ago in Dresden. The i shared with readers six under-the-radar European markets reachable within six hours by train from London.
5. ‘The curse of the game is abuse of referees’
The Daily Mail’s Mail Sport asked listeners ‘Why are we not doing more to protect officials?’ on its ‘It’s All Kicking Off’ podcast, discussing the latest football news. The podcast is hosted by football editor, Ian Ladyman and columnist Chris Sutton.
This episode analyses the weekly abuse that referees get, questioning whether the abuse in the top games filters down to lower league. The hosts speak to former grassroots refs, who gave insight into their personal experiences. Unbelievably, these included times when they were threatened with knives and subjected to death threats.
6. A shift in gaming
Carmen Maria Machado, an award-winning writer and editor of a new collection of essays on gaming, tells the Guardian how her Nintendo got her through the pandemic and what impact video games have on her life. Machado discusses how strong storytelling can be through gaming, how she uses her Nintendo as a reward and how it feels accessible in a way reading does not. She also touches on the criticism gaming faces from parents and how she believes cultural baggage has shifted. Read more here.