‘Strictly Come Dancing’: Who Will Win This Year’s Series? We Rank The Chances Of Finalists Joe McFadden, Debbie McGee, Alexandra Burke And Gemma Atkinson

The ‘Strictly Come Dancing’ final is almost upon us, but this weekend will see Joe McFadden, Debbie McGee, Alexandra Burke and Gemma Atkinson battle it out on the dancefloor in a bid to be crowned ‘Strictly’ champ 2017.

This Saturday’s climax will see each of the four finalists dance a judges’ pick, a showdance and their own favourite dance from the past 12 weeks.

Then it’s up to the public – and the public only (sorry judges) – to pick their favourite, with the winner being announced at the end of Saturday’s show.

So who will win? Well, we’re not Mystic Meg, but we’ve taken into account the latest bookies’ odds and the form of each of the finalists over the course of this year’s series to try and determine who stands the best chance of lifting that coveted glitterball trophy.

Joe McFadden – The Dark Horse

Odds: 1/1 Favourite

Out of all the finalists, ‘Holby City’ star Joe has had the biggest journey, which has helped him become this year’s favourite ahead of the final. He got off to a decent, but fairly unremarkable start, but as the series has progressed he’s improved week after week. This has been reflected in his scores, and along with dance partner Katya Jones, it culminated in the pair topping the leaderboard in week 11 for their 1920’s-inspired quickstep. The semi-final saw them unleash an incredible tango to Rag N Bone Man’s ‘Human’, which was arguably their best dance yet, so we’re expecting to see that crowd-pleaser again in Saturday’s grand final.

Debbie McGee – The Surprise Showstopper

Odds: 2/1

From the off, Debbie has wowed us all with her natural dance ability. The 59-year-old has shown she’s more than a match for many of the younger contestants with pretty much every routine featuring a seriously impressive array of high-kicks, splits and lifts (but let’s just forget that Spice Girls routine ever happened, ok?). However, some viewers can’t seem to get past her dance background, insisting her ballet experience gives her an unfair advantage. Quite how much that will impact her chances remains to be seen, but older viewers will not only be rooting for her, but more importantly picking up the phone to vote – so we wouldn’t rule her out of lifting the glitterball trophy. If she does, she’ll become the oldest winner ever to do so.

Alexandra Burke – The Fallen Favourite

Odds: 4/1

We couldn’t be happier that Alexandra has made it to the final after finding herself in the bottom two for the previous two weeks. None of that had anything to do with her insane dancing ability, and everything to do with the public’s perception of her. For weeks, she has been accused of being “fake”, acting like a “diva” and falling out with her dance partner Gorka Marquez by certain sections of the press, leading to the former ‘X Factor’ winner to write an open letter to a certain tabloid addressing their “lies”. At the eleventh hour, it looks like it could have paid off, with her avoiding the dreaded dance-off in semi-final week after delivering a perfect score of 40 for her in-cre-di-ble salsa routine. On dance ability alone, Alexandra deserves to win, but will people pick up the phone and vote?

Gemma Atkinson – The Rank Outsider

Odds: 9/1

Gemma failed to really wow us – or the judges – for the first few weeks of the competition, but then Blackpool happened. The ‘Emmerdale’ star admitted that was when she finally conquered her nerves, and it really showed in her American Smooth in the city’s iconic ballroom, which left head judge Shirley Ballas gushing about her performance. Her dance partner Aljaž Škorjanec is a firm favourite with viewers, which could help her in the final, but we’ll eat our feather boa if she wins. Having said that, after Trump and Brexit, we all know that when it comes to people power, literally anything is possible.

‘Strictly Come Dancing’: Who Will Win This Year’s Series? We Rank The Chances Of Finalists Joe McFadden, Debbie McGee, Alexandra Burke And Gemma Atkinson

The ‘Strictly Come Dancing’ final is almost upon us, but this weekend will see Joe McFadden, Debbie McGee, Alexandra Burke and Gemma Atkinson battle it out on the dancefloor in a bid to be crowned ‘Strictly’ champ 2017.

This Saturday’s climax will see each of the four finalists dance a judges’ pick, a showdance and their own favourite dance from the past 12 weeks.

Then it’s up to the public – and the public only (sorry judges) – to pick their favourite, with the winner being announced at the end of Saturday’s show.

So who will win? Well, we’re not Mystic Meg, but we’ve taken into account the latest bookies’ odds and the form of each of the finalists over the course of this year’s series to try and determine who stands the best chance of lifting that coveted glitterball trophy.

Joe McFadden – The Dark Horse

Odds: 1/1 Favourite

Out of all the finalists, ‘Holby City’ star Joe has had the biggest journey, which has helped him become this year’s favourite ahead of the final. He got off to a decent, but fairly unremarkable start, but as the series has progressed he’s improved week after week. This has been reflected in his scores, and along with dance partner Katya Jones, it culminated in the pair topping the leaderboard in week 11 for their 1920’s-inspired quickstep. The semi-final saw them unleash an incredible tango to Rag N Bone Man’s ‘Human’, which was arguably their best dance yet, so we’re expecting to see that crowd-pleaser again in Saturday’s grand final.

Debbie McGee – The Surprise Showstopper

Odds: 2/1

From the off, Debbie has wowed us all with her natural dance ability. The 59-year-old has shown she’s more than a match for many of the younger contestants with pretty much every routine featuring a seriously impressive array of high-kicks, splits and lifts (but let’s just forget that Spice Girls routine ever happened, ok?). However, some viewers can’t seem to get past her dance background, insisting her ballet experience gives her an unfair advantage. Quite how much that will impact her chances remains to be seen, but older viewers will not only be rooting for her, but more importantly picking up the phone to vote – so we wouldn’t rule her out of lifting the glitterball trophy. If she does, she’ll become the oldest winner ever to do so.

Alexandra Burke – The Fallen Favourite

Odds: 4/1

We couldn’t be happier that Alexandra has made it to the final after finding herself in the bottom two for the previous two weeks. None of that had anything to do with her insane dancing ability, and everything to do with the public’s perception of her. For weeks, she has been accused of being “fake”, acting like a “diva” and falling out with her dance partner Gorka Marquez by certain sections of the press, leading to the former ‘X Factor’ winner to write an open letter to a certain tabloid addressing their “lies”. At the eleventh hour, it looks like it could have paid off, with her avoiding the dreaded dance-off in semi-final week after delivering a perfect score of 40 for her in-cre-di-ble salsa routine. On dance ability alone, Alexandra deserves to win, but will people pick up the phone and vote?

Gemma Atkinson – The Rank Outsider

Odds: 9/1

Gemma failed to really wow us – or the judges – for the first few weeks of the competition, but then Blackpool happened. The ‘Emmerdale’ star admitted that was when she finally conquered her nerves, and it really showed in her American Smooth in the city’s iconic ballroom, which left head judge Shirley Ballas gushing about her performance. Her dance partner Aljaž Škorjanec is a firm favourite with viewers, which could help her in the final, but we’ll eat our feather boa if she wins. Having said that, after Trump and Brexit, we all know that when it comes to people power, literally anything is possible.

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More Than A Third Of Girls Have Been Sexually Harassed While At Mixed-Sex Schools, Study Finds

More than a third (37%) of girls have been sexually harassed while at mixed-sex schools, a study has found.

Sexist language and gender stereotypes are a “typical feature” of school culture in England and Wales, contributing to a climate where sexual harassment is commonplace, according to research from the National Education Union and UK Feminista.

A total of 1,508 students and 1,634 teachers from primary and secondary schools as well as sixth forms, were questioned about their experiences and views on sexism in schools.

“I felt embarrassed about it and wanted to pretend the situations didn’t happen,” said one female student, who had experienced sexual harassment.

Another said: “It’s just something that happens, no matter how much we don’t like it.”

In response to the findings, a report – ‘It’s Just Everywhere’: Sexism In Schools And How We Tackle It – is being launched today [12 December] in the Houses of Parliament.

“The results of our study are clear: schools, Ofsted and the Government must act urgently to tackle sexism in schools,” said Sophie Bennett, spokesperson for UK Feminsta.

“Sexual harassment, sexist language and gender stereotyping are rife in school settings, yet all too often it goes unreported and unaddressed.”

The study found sexual harassment throughout education is gendered – 37% of girls report experiencing sexual harassment, compared to 6% of boys.

And 66% of female students and 37% of male students in mixed-sex sixth forms have experienced or witnessed the use of sexist language in schools.

What’s more, more than a third (34%) of primary school teachers say they witness gender stereotyping in their schools on at least a weekly basis.

“These incidents are still seen too often as something rather trivial,” one secondary school teacher said in the survey.

“Like many people, I wouldn’t be overly confident that I would receive full support from the leadership team thereafter.”

The report is calling on the Government to take urgent steps to tackle sexism and sexual harassment in schools.

This includes issuing national guidance to schools on how to prevent and respond effectively to sexual harassment and sexual violence, and ensuring teachers receive the necessary training, resources and support to develop a whole school strategy for tackling sexism.

Bennett has issued a call to action.

“The solutions are clear; what has been lacking is the political will to act,” she said.

“All those with the power to make schools safe for girls must now step up – from Downing Street to the staff room.

“We need to stop schools being places where girls and boys learn that sexual harassment and sexism are routine, normal, accepted. It would transform school life – and society as a whole.”

Kevin Courtney, joint general secretary at the National Education Union, said in a year when sexual harassment has been at the forefront of people’s minds, this study just shows how normalised it has become for young people.

“Sexual harassment and regular sexist remarks are patterns that most girls and young women come to view as ‘normal’,” he said.

“This sets up expectations about peer relationships and gender, which can lead to real harm for girls’ and boys’ self-confidence and aspirations about life.

“Schools and colleges have an important role to play in breaking down stereotypes but education policy is making it harder and not easier.

“The Government, alongside the profession, needs to develop teacher training about the best ways to reduce sexism in the classroom and to use the formal and informal curriculum to make a difference for girls and boys.”

Over 300,000 Will ‘Needlessly Die From Bowel Cancer By 2035’ Due To Research Gaps

Almost 332,000 people living in the UK will needlessly lose their lives to bowel cancer by 2035 unless urgent action is taken to fill critical research gaps, a leading charity has warned.

Bowel cancer is the UK’s second biggest cancer killer with 16,000 people dying from the disease each year. It’s also the fourth most common cancer with over 41,200 diagnosed annually.

Bowel Cancer UK worked with 100 leading scientists, healthcare professionals and people affected by the disease to identify the key research gaps and priorities in bowel cancer research that need to be tackled to save lives.

The charity is now calling on the general public to help fundraise and raise awareness.

Early diagnosis is vital for reducing the high death rates surrounding the disease, however it can be difficult to detect as symptoms are often attributed to more common, but less serious, conditions.

Symptoms of bowel cancer include: bleeding from your bottom and/or blood in your poo, a change in bowel habit lasting three weeks or more, extreme tiredness for no obvious reason, unexplained weight loss and a pain or lump in your tummy.

Nearly 98% of people will survive bowel cancer for five years or more if detected at stage 1 compared with less than one in 10 people who are diagnosed at stage 4.

Bowel Cancer UK has published a new report, ‘Finding the key to the cures: a plan to end bowel cancer by 2050’, which sets out 15 questions with vital recommendations to address gaps in research.

Deborah Alsina, chief executive of the charity, said: “The harsh reality is that every year 16,000 people lose their lives to the disease, and if left unchecked, this number will only increase in the future. The need for speed prompted us to take action to identify a plan to accelerate bowel cancer research.

“This report will act as a catalyst to encourage much needed collaboration, build research capacity and help shape the future of bowel cancer research. Through strategic investment in targeted research, we will deliver improvements for bowel cancer patients.”

The report reveals fifteen key research questions: 1. How do our genes, lifestyles and the environment we live in affect risk of bowel cancer? 2. How can we improve the bowel cancer screening programme?  3. Can we develop new treatment options with the potential to cure people of bowel cancer?  4. How can we improve quality of life for people living with and beyond bowel cancer?  5. What’s the best way to improve communication between healthcare professionals and patients?  6. What’s the best way to identify which patients would most benefit from further diagnostic tests? 7. How can we more accurately understand the characteristics of bowel cancer?  8. Can we accelerate progress by employing and training more pathology and laboratory staff to apply the latest tools and techniques? 9. How can we better assess and communicate risks, benefits and uncertainty about treatment that could potentially cure people of bowel cancer?  10. Can we develop new treatment options with the potential to cure people with bowel cancer?  11. Can we improve understanding of the relationship between advanced bowel cancer and the environment around it in the body to create better treatment options? 12. What are the most reliable biomarkers to help determine best treatment options for people with advanced bowel cancer? 13. How can we improve quality of life for people living with and beyond bowel cancer?  14. How can we better coordinate bowel cancer research and how it’s funded? 15. What’s the best way to improve communication between healthcare professionals and patients?
Alsina added: “By 2028 we want to see the number of people surviving for at least five years to increase from 60% to 75%, this means thousands more people surviving bowel cancer each year. This will take us one step closer to our long term goal, that by 2050 no one dies of bowel cancer.

“Research is the key to finding the cures to bowel cancer.”

Professor Mark Lawler, lead author and chairperson in Translational Cancer Genomics, Centre for Cancer Research and Cell Biology, Queen’s University Belfast, said: “We have identified the key research priorities that have the greatest potential to benefit patients over the next five years and beyond.

“This landmark report is the step change needed to energise the research community to stop this deadly disease in its tracks.”

How you can help: :: Share your story of bowel cancer to help raise awareness. :: Fundraise for the charity to help them fulfil their mission that by 2050 no-one dies of bowel cancer. :: Take action on its campaigns to help improve early diagnosis and access to best treatment and care. :: Donate and support the future of bowel cancer research.

Girls Still Regularly Facing Sexual Harassment At School, Disturbing Report Underlines

More than a third of girls have suffered sexual harassment at school, a disturbing new report reveals.

The research from the National Education Union and UK Feminista shines a light on an epidemic of sexism behind the UK’s school gates.

Sixth form students hear sexist language regularly and gender stereotyping happens “on a weekly basis” at primary schools, the ‘It’s just everywhere: Sexism in schools and how we tackle it’ report says.

The NEU also calls on Ofsted to target the problem and for the Government to give schools more resources for projects to combat the rising tide of sexism.

Findings include:

It also mirrors the findings of a Parliamentary report on the issue more than a year ago, suggesting little is changing.

Women and Equalities Committee chair Maria Miller MP and fellow committee member Gavin Shuker, a Labour MP, will launch the report in Parliament today.

A total of 1,508 students and 1,634 teachers were questioned about their experiences and views on sexism in schools.

Miller says: “Without doubt, there is clear evidence that sexual harassment is blighting the lives of girls in our schools. It is worryingly ‘normalised’ and often goes unreported.”

The committee’s own report detailed how widespread sexual harassment and sexual violence had become.

Miller adds: “Fourteen months on from our report, schools seem no better placed to tackle the problem than they were then. We made many recommendations and ministers urgently need to review the guidance, support and resources made available and send a clear message to schools that girls’ safety and equality must be prioritised.  

“Government has to take urgent action on this problem. Negative stereotypes, sexist attitudes, expectations about relationships and sexual harassment and violence not only impact on children’s lives, but create problems in later life.” 

The new report calls for the Government to issue national guidance to schools on how to prevent and respond effectively to sexual harassment and sexual violence, and ensure teachers receive the necessary training, resources and support to develop a whole school strategy. 

Kevin Courtney, Joint General Secretary at the NEU, says: “As we come to the end of 2017, we’ve lived through a year in which sexual harassment of women and girls has been at the forefront of the public eye.

“This study shows us how normalised and pervasive it is for young people also. Sexual harassment and regular sexist remarks are patterns that most girls and young women come to view as ‘normal’.”

Schools need more resources to respond to the concerns, he adds.

“Schools and colleges have an important role to play in breaking down stereotypes but education policy is making it harder and not easier. We are not giving schools and teachers the tools, time and teaching environments they need.

“The Government, alongside the profession, needs to develop teacher training about the best ways to reduce sexism in the classroom and to use the formal and informal curriculum to make a difference for girls and boys. In this study, only one in five teachers say the national curriculum gives them adequate scope and flexibility to enable schools to prevent sexism.”

Sophie Bennett, spokesperson for UK Feminista, says: “The solutions are clear; what has been lacking is the political will to act. All those with the power to make schools safe for girls must now step up – from Downing Street to the staff room.

“We need to stop schools being places where girls and boys learn that sexual harassment and sexism are routine, normal, accepted. It would transform school life – and society as a whole.”