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Sir Howard Hugh Panter (born 25 May 1949) is a British theatre impresario and theatre operator. He was founder, co-owner, joint chief executive and creative director of the Ambassador Theatre Group Ltd, the world's number one live-theatre company with almost 50 venues in Britain, the US and Europe. Panter and his wife/business partner, Dame Rosemary Squire, remain the second largest shareholder of ATG.[1]

Sir Howard Panter
Howard Panter.jpg
Sir Howard Panter in 2010
Born
Howard Hugh Panter

(1949-05-25) 25 May 1949 (age 70)
OccupationTheatre producer and manager
Spouse(s)Rosemary Squire
Children3

Under his leadership, ATG became from scratch one of the most prolific, broad-based theatre producers in the world with productions in the West End and on Broadway including touring productions in the UK, North America, Europe, Australia and Asia.[2] As Creative Director of ATG Productions, Panter produced and co-produced musicals and drama for the West End, internationally and on national tours.

Panter is currently co-founder, Joint CEO and Creative Director of Trafalgar Entertainment,[3][4] a live entertainment business and home to Trafalgar Studios, Trafalgar Theatre Productions, Trafalgar Releasing (formerly Picturehouse Entertainment), Chiswick Cinema and Stagecoach Performing Arts.[5][6]

The production arm of the company, Trafalgar Theatre Productions, is producing a group of new shows and classic musicals in London and internationally including the Lincoln Center's award-winning production of The King and I at the London Palladium and now worldwide,[7] The Rocky Horror Show worldwide and at Trafalgar Studios;[8] A Day in the Death of Joe Egg,[9] English Touring Theatre and Theatre Royal Stratford East's production of Equus by Peter Shaffer,[10] The Wardrobe Ensemble's hit comedy Education, Education, Education, the acclaimed award-winning play Admissions starring Alex Kingston,[11] new British musical Tom Morris' The Grinning Man, Apologia starring Stockard Channing and Killer Joe starring Orlando Bloom. Other co-productions and transfers to Trafalgar Studios have included the two sell-out ground breaking new British productions: the Bush Theatre's Misty[12] and the National Theatre's Nine Night.[13]

The largest shareholder of Trafalgar Entertainment is Barings Alternative Investment, which operates as a subsidiary of MassMutual Holding LLC, with assets under management of US$771 billion. Other shareholders include Greg Dyke, James Tanner, NWH Consulting Ltd, Sir Richard Branson and Griffon Corporation.[14]

Panter is a Director of Rocky Horror Company Limited.[15] He was Chairman of the English Shakespeare Company and Director of West End theatre owners Maybox Group plc. He serves on the LAMDA Development Council and was Chair of Rambert Dance Company for ten years. Under Panter's Chairmanship, Rambert Dance Company successfully built their award-winning new dance centre on the South Bank and led the company into a new era of success and stability.[16]

Panter and Squire, have been ranked in The Stage 100 newspaper's guide to the 100 most influential people in UK Theatre. Between 2010 - 2016 they topped The Stage 100 for seven years making them the most successful entrants on the list ever.[17]

In 2013, the pair were placed first in the Evening Standard 'Power 1000' Theatre section.[18] Panter received a knighthood in the 2013 Birthday Honours.[19][20]

In 2019, Woking Borough Council bestowed Honorary Freedom of the Borough upon Panter and Squire, both long-serving members of the community.[21]

HistoryEdit

Early yearsEdit

Howard Panter was born in Hillingdon Hospital in 1949. His first unpaid "showbiz" job was as impresario and stage manager for the group the Norsemen in Iwerne Minster, Dorset. One of his first jobs was as a technician with the London Contemporary Dance Theatre. From there, he pursued a career in Stage Management with The Royal Court Theatre and then went on to work for Woodfall Films, where in 1969, he worked as Stage Manager on a production of Hamlet, starring Nicol Williamson.

1970sEdit

Throughout the 1970s, Panter worked in areas such Stage Management, Technical Management, Lighting Design and Directing for a number of companies including Soho Poly, Knightsbridge Productions (as Production Associate), King's Head Theatre, the Royal Shakespeare Company and Michael Codron Ltd. In the late 1970s, Panter became a Producer for the Stirling Rigg Organisation.[citation needed]

1980sEdit

Panter started the 1980s as a producer for Freedman/Panter Productions. He then went on to become Managing Director for Independent Theatrical Productions and in 1987 joined Turnstyle Group Ltd as Managing Director and Producer.[citation needed]

1990sEdit

With the backing of Sir Eddie Kulukundis and brothers Peter and Sir John Beckwith,[22] Panter and Squire establish Ambassador Theatre Group with acquisitions of the Duke of York's Theatre and The Ambassadors (Renamed New Ambassadors in 1999), London.[citation needed]

The expansion of ATG continues when Panter and Squire acquire the Ambassadors Theatre and Cinema Complex in Woking.[citation needed] They extend the group with the management contract for Theatre Royal, Brighton, the newly built Milton Keynes Theatre and the Regent Theatre and Victoria Hall in Stoke-on-Trent.

2000sEdit

2000 was a pivotal year for Squire and Panter, with the acquisition of further regional venues Churchill Theatre, Bromley and Richmond Theatre, in Surrey, and with the purchase of ACT Theatres (Albery, Donmar Warehouse, Fortune, Phoenix, Piccadilly, Comedy, Whitehall (renamed Trafalgar Studios in 2004) and Wyndhams), the Playhouse Theatre, London, and Theatre Royal Brighton. Squire joined the Board of Management of the Society of London Theatres and Arts Council Capital Advisory Panel.

In 2002, Panter and Squire's first venue in Scotland came with the King's Theatre, Glasgow. Between 2000 and 2003, ATG continued to acquire theatres in the West End and the UK regions, and co-produced 25 shows in 2003 alone.

In 2004, Squire and Panter took over the closed Wimbledon Theatre, reopening it as the New Wimbledon Theatre. Their Scottish portfolio extended in 2005, with a lease and management contract for the Theatre Royal, Glasgow. In the years 2004 and 2005, the Savoy Theatre in London became ATG's 24th venue, making ATG the largest theatre group in the West End, and second largest in the UK. ATG were also prolific producers in London, regionally and internationally. Trafalgar Studio 2 opened at the Trafalgar Studios, London.

In November 2009, they realigned their share holding to bring in private equity group Exponent for a deal to secure the funding for the acquisition of Live Nation's UK Theatre portfolio. ATG became the largest theatre group in the UK.[23] Panter remains joint-owner and becomes joint Chief Executive and Creative Director. Greg Dyke became Executive Chairman of the larger group.

2010sEdit

  • 2010 - Squire and Panter opened the Aylesbury Waterside Theatre, their 42nd theatre (and 39th currently within ATG). The Ambassador Theatre Group Ltd (ATG) was shortlisted in 2010's Ones to Recognise feature which is published as part of The Sunday Times PricewaterhouseCoopers Profit Track 100 Ones to Recognise.[24]

In 2010, London's Evening Standard named Squire and her husband jointly as the most influential people in British Theatre in the newspaper's list of London's 1000 most influential people 2010.[25]

From 2010-16, Squire and Panter topped The Stage 100 a record-breaking seven times consecutively. It firmly established Squire as the most prominent woman in British theatre of the modern era and made the couple the most successful entrants ever on the list[17].

  • 2011 - ATG selected AudienceView Ticketing as its ticketing technology provider. In February 2011 ATG announced that it had successfully secured a new five-year management contract for Churchill Theatre Bromley, beginning in April 2011. Following the hugely successful run of Ghost The Musical at the Opera House, Squire and Panter/The Ambassador Theatre Group Ltd (ATG) launched its Manchester Gets it First (MGiF) initiative – the company's commitment to bringing the biggest new musicals to Manchester before London and other major cities.[26][27]

In July 2011, ATG became the first theatre company in the world to install the new innovative ProBax seating at the Fortune Theatre in London. In August 2011, ATG announced its first full year results since its £90 million purchase of Live Nation's UK theatres, revealing [a 5% increase in turnover and a 3% increase in profit on the combined company] steady growth. In September, ATG announced that London's Comedy Theatre would be renamed the Harold Pinter Theatre, after the distinguished playwright, screenwriter, director, political activist and actor. ATG launched ATG Theatre Card in November – the UK's biggest theatre membership scheme with 100,000 members and growing - and also launched ATG's new website.

In December 2011, ATG announced it had partnered with Tony Award®-winner Jerry Mitchell, the acclaimed director and choreographer, to form Jerry Mitchell Productions.

  • In February 2012, ATG was announced as the UK's second fastest growing privately backed company in The Sunday Times's Buyout Track 100, sponsored by Deloitte. The annual league table ranks companies by growth in profits.[28]

In May 2012, ATG officially launched Theatre Royal Brighton Productions' inaugural production, Pinero's classic comedy, Dandy Dick at Brighton Race Course. Theatre Royal Brighton Productions was launched to create new play productions in Brighton, regionally, and in London, with Artistic Director Christopher Luscombe and Associate Directors Maria Aitken and Philip Franks. ATG announced The Ripple Effect, a piece of new writing being premiered in different regions of the UK. The aim of the project was to connect with young people from diverse backgrounds with limited experience of arts engagement.

In August, ATG announced that it had partnered with acclaimed director, Jamie Lloyd, to form Jamie Lloyd Productions. In September, ATG announced details of how it was investing £15 million into capital projects which included a major overhaul of the company's Front of House areas, bars and toilets, to improve facilities for customers.

ATG announced details of a relaxed performance pilot scheme for the 2012-13 pantomime season with Churchill Theatre Bromley, Grimsby Auditorium and Richmond Theatre taking part. The scheme was supported by the Society of London Theatre (SOLT), the Theatrical Management Association (TMA) and the National Autistic Society (NAS) who collaborated with ATG on the delivery of these performances. November saw the appointment of Tim McFarlane as CEO for ATG Asia/Pacific. At the end of the year, ATG announced that it had successfully bid to continue operating the Regent Theatre and Victoria Hall in Stoke-on-Trent for the next ten years.

In May 2013, ATG, through its subsidiary, Lyric Theatre LLC, acquired the Foxwoods Theatre from Live Nation Entertainment. The Foxwoods Theatre, the largest theatre on Broadway, is situated on 42nd Street, opened in 1997 and seats nearly 2,000 people. It is home to Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark, and became ATG's 40th venue. In November, ATG and First Family Entertainment (FFE) joined forces with the charity When You Wish Upon A Star for the pantomime season. In December 2013, ATG announced that it had completed a deal to acquire 100% ownership of the Savoy and Playhouse Theatre's in London's West End, and ATG confirmed it had completed the purchase of theatre ticketing agency, The Ticket Machine Group Ltd (TMG).

  • 2014 – in January 2014, ATG and Sonia Friedman Productions (SFP) co-produce Mike Nichols' production of Harold Pinter's Betrayal, starring Daniel Craig, Rachel Weisz and Rafe Spall. That same month, ATG Asia Pacific co-produced an Australian production of the 40th Anniversary UK production of The Rocky Horror Show. Also in January, ATG appointed Peter Monks in the role of Commercial Director of ATG Tickets. In February, ATG's critically acclaimed production of Dirty Rotten Scoundrels premiered at the Opera House in Manchester and Aylesbury Waterside Theatre, prior to a West End transfer. In March, ATG's Technical Apprenticeship Programme won the award for Best Collaboration Between Industry and Education at the Creative & Cultural Skills Conference.

In April 2014, David Lazar was promoted to the newly created role of Executive Director. In May 2014, ATG's production of Annie Get Your Gun starring Jason Donovan launched a UK Tour. In June 2014, Squire was named the only Master Entrepreneur for the London & South Region at EY's Entrepreneur of the Year 2014 Awards. In August 2014, ATG's Theatre Royal Productions and English Touring Theatre launched a joint production of Tom Stoppard’s Arcadia. In September, ATG expanded its Technical Apprenticeship programme to more theatres, following a successful pilot year.

In December 2014, ATG's Broadway co-production of Constellations starring Jake Gyllenhaal and Ruth Wilson opened at MTC's Samuel J. Friedman Theatre. At the end of the year, ATG began work as co-producer of a major new production of The King and I with the Lincoln Center in New York.

  • 2015 – in January, ATG's productions of Spamalot and Jersey Boys continued their tours of the UK. The Rocky Horror Show toured Europe and On the Town continued to play at ATG's Lyric Theatre on Broadway. In Australia, ATG launched Thriller Live. Sonia Friedman Productions (SFP) – The Book of Mormon, Shakespeare in Love and Sunny Afternoon continued to play in the West End. In January, Theatre Royal Brighton Productions' co-production, with English Touring Theatre, of Stoppard's Arcadia opened at Theatre Royal Brighton before going on tour, and ATG appointed UK theatre executive Stuart Griffiths in the new role of Programming Director.

In April, Sonia Friedman Productions (SFP)'s production of Sunny Afternoon won four Olivier Awards for Best New Musical, Outstanding Achievement in Music (for Ray Davies), Best Actor in a Musical and Best Actor in a Supporting Role in a Musical. In May, Sonia Friedman Productions (SFP)'s Bend it Like Beckham opened at the Phoenix Theatre London. In June, Squire became the first woman ever to represent the UK at the EY World Entrepreneur Awards in Monaco, one of only 6 woman world finalists in a field of 60 overall, and shortlisted to the final 10.

ATG's co-production of The King and I with Lincoln Center Theatre collected 4 Tony Awards, and ATG won a Green World Ambassador 2015 Award for helping others to help the environment. The award was presented by the Green Organisation. Group Line won the award for Best Group Ticketing Agency at the UK Group Travel Awards. In the same month, Ambassadors Cinemas in Woking launches a programme of relaxed cinema screenings.

In July 2015, ATG topped the sixth annual Sunday Times HSBC International Track 200. The league table ranks Britain's mid-market private companies with the fastest-growing international sales. In August 2015, ATG agreed terms with the co-owners of Sydney's MLC Centre – QIC and The GPT Group – for the lease and management of the Theatre Royal in Sydney, Australia, a milestone development that marked ATG's first theatre in the Asia Pacific area, and a region that will continue to play a major part in ATG's international expansion.

In September 2015, ATG completed the acquisition of ACE Theatrical Group (ACE) in the US, a company which specialises in the operation, design, development and construction of world class, live performance venues throughout North America. ACE's portfolio of large-scale theatrical venues now comprises the Kings Theatre in Brooklyn, New York; the Saenger Theatre in New Orleans, Louisiana; the Majestic Theatre in San Antonio, Texas; and the Charline McCombs Empire Theatre in San Antonio.

In September, Cirque du Soleil announced that it planned to spend $25 million to mount a show called Paramour at ATG's Lyric Theatre, the largest Broadway house, opening in spring 2016. In October, ATG's award-winning Project Blackout initiative won a Green World Award from the Green Organisation at the 2015 award ceremony. In November, The Jamie Lloyd Company returned to Trafalgar Studios with Harold Pinter's The Homecoming. In December 2015, ATG announced that it would reopen and operate Broadway's historic Hudson Theatre.

Through its subsidiary, Hudson Theatre LLC, ATG had entered a long-term lease for The Hudson Theatre, its second theatre on Broadway, from a subsidiary of Millennium & Copthorne Hotels plc groups of companies (M&C). M&C and ATG are, in a multimillion-dollar project to restore the landmark venue to its former glory as a Broadway playhouse.

  • 2016 - Howard Panter and Rosemary Squire topped The Stage 100 for a record-breaking seventh consecutive year following a landmark year of international acquisitions and production investment. The announcement made Panter and Squire the most successful entrants ever on the list, compiled annually by the UK industry's leading newspaper, which ranks the powerhouses of British theatre. 2016 ATG productions include the continuation of The Rocky Horror Show UK Tour, The End of Longing and The Maids, and SFP's Shuffle Along, Funny Girl, and Harry Potter and the Cursed Child (Parts I and II).

Panter and Squire stepped down from their roles at Ambassador Theatre Group to concentrate on new projects. In 2016, they co-founded a new live entertainment business, Trafalgar Entertainment and acquired the two-space West End theatre, Trafalgar Studios[29][30].

2017 - Panter and Squire's new company acquired the market leader Trafalgar Releasing (a rebrand of Picturehouse Entertainment) who broadcast productions live worldwide, from The RSC, Glyndebourne, Met Opera, Bolshoi Ballet to David Gilmour, Muse, Coldplay, BTS, The Cure and Trafalgar Theatre Production's production of The King and I[31][32].

2018 - Trafalgar Entertainment acquired Stagecoach Performing Arts, the UK market leader in extra-curricular Performing Arts tuition with over 1,800 schools and classes and over 48,000 students in the UK and worldwide[6][5].

2019 - Panter and Squire open a new headquarters in Woking for Trafalgar Entertainment and Stagecoach Performing Arts. The company also operates an office on The Strand in London[33][34][35].

Other rolesEdit

Sir Howard Panter is a Member of the LAMDA Development Board,[36] was Chairman of Rambert Dance Company for ten years[37] and Director of the Rocky Horror Company Limited.

ProductionsEdit

Note: Produced by Panter unless otherwise noted

Honours and awardsEdit

2006 Outstanding Revival of a Musical - Sweeney Todd
2007 Outstanding Revival of a MusicalCompany
2008 Entrepreneur of the Year - Regional Finalist (with Rosemary Squire)[38]
1991 Best Musical - Carmen Jones[39]
2010 No1 London's 1000 Most Influential People: Theatre - Panter and wife Rosemary Squire[25]
2012 Best PlayConstellations[40]
1992 Musical of the Year - Carmen Jones[41]
1998 Best Entertainment - Slava's Snow Show[42]
1999 Best New Play - The Weir
2002 Best Entertainment - Shockheaded Peter[43]
2003 Best New Play - Vincent In Brixton
2006 Outstanding Musical Production - Guys and Dolls
2009 Best Musical Revival - La Cage Aux Folles[44]
2019 Best Costume Design - The King and I[45]
2002 Workforce Development Award for Innovation (Private Sector)[46]
2005 Excellence in Workforce Development Award[47]
2008 Best Musical - West Side Story
2012 Best Musical - Ghost
2012 One of the 250 of the most influential people in Greater Manchester (shared with Rosemary Squire)[48]
2006 Best Magazine Award (for the company's Ambassador Magazine)[49]
2009 UK Independent Cinema of the Year (for Ambassadors Cinema, Woking)[49]
2010 No.1 (Shared With Rosemary Squire)[50]
2011 No.1 (Shared With Rosemary Squire)[51]
2012 No.1 (Shared with Rosemary Squire)[50]
2013 No.1 (Shared with Rosemary Squire)[50]
2014 No.1 (Shared with Rosemary Squire)[50]
2015 No.1 (Shared with Rosemary Squire)[52]
2016 No.1 (Shared with Rosemary Squire)[17]
2003 Virgin Atlantic Fast Track 100 League Table One of the UK's fastest growing private companies[46]
2010 PricewaterhouseCoopers Profit Track 100 One to Recognise[53]
2012 Deloitte Buyout Track 100 Second Fastest Growing Privately backed Company[54]

In April 2013, ATG is ranked at no. 6 on The Sunday Times PwC Profit Track 100 list, published today in the Business section of The Sunday Times. The 100 firms are ranked by their profit growth over a three-year period.

2007 Best Revival of a MusicalCompany
2006 Best Production - Guys And Dolls
  • Whatsonstage Theatregoers Choice Awards (UK)
2009 The Ticketmaster Best Musical RevivalWest Side Story[55]
2008 Best New Comedy- Elling[56]
2006 Best Musical RevivalGuys And Dolls

In June 2013, Panter received a Knighthood in The Queen's Birthday Honours List for services to theatre.[57][58]

In 2019, Woking Borough Council bestowed Honorary Freedom of the Borough upon Panter and Squire, both long-serving members of the community.[21]

Personal lifeEdit

ChildhoodEdit

Born in Hillingdon Hospital, Hillingdon, Middlesex, England, he emigrated to Australia in 1951 with his parents Hugh and Hilary, returning to England in 1959 to be educated at Clayesmore School, Dorset before studying Production at Lamda.[59]

Marriage and familyEdit

Sir Howard is married to his business partner Lady Panter (Rosemary Squire), OBE. The couple met in 1979[60] at the Queen's Theatre, London, where Squire was working in the box office during Panter's production of Patricia Routledge in And a Nightingale Sang.[61] They married in 1994;[60] Panter's best man was Simon Callow.[61] They had their first child, Kate, in 2002. Sir Howard is the step-father to Squire's two children from her first marriage, Jenny (born 1986) and Dan (born 1987).

Other informationEdit

Since 1990, Panter has been a member of The Garrick, London and a member of The Ivy Club.[citation needed]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "Howard Panter and Rosemary Squire step down from top ATG roles". What's on Stage. 17 May 2016. Retrieved 5 August 2019.
  2. ^ "The husband and wife who built a theatre empire". BBC News. 30 March 2015. Retrieved 5 August 2019.
  3. ^ "Theatre's power couple step back from ATG to run Trafalgar Studios". The Guardian. 17 May 2016. Retrieved 5 August 2019.
  4. ^ "Sir Howard Panter: 'It can cost a producer £5m if a musical goes wrong'". The Telegraph. 15 April 2018. Retrieved 5 August 2019.
  5. ^ a b "Trafalgar Entertainment Group Acquires Stagecoach Performing Arts". British Franchise Association. 20 August 2018. Retrieved 5 August 2019.
  6. ^ a b "Howard Panter and Rosemary Squire purchase stage school franchise Stagecoach". The Stage. 25 July 2018. Retrieved 5 August 2019.
  7. ^ "The King and I broadcast is most successful theatrical cinema event of 2018". The Stage. 30 November 2018. Retrieved 5 August 2019.
  8. ^ "The Rocky Horror Show to return for 2019 tour". The Stage. 8 October 2018. Retrieved 5 August 2019.
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  10. ^ "The best returning shows you might have missed". Evening Standard. 12 July 2018. Retrieved 5 August 2019.
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  15. ^ "Comapnies House official records for Rocky Horror Company Limited". Companies House. Retrieved 5 August 2019.
  16. ^ "Queen opens £20million Rambert dance centre on London's South Bank". Evening Standard. 21 March 2014. Retrieved 5 August 2019.
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  21. ^ a b "Long serving members of Woking community honoured by council". Eagle Radio. 17 June 2019. Retrieved 5 August 2019.
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  26. ^ "Manchester Gets it First: Following the success of GHOST The Musical at the Opera House, The Ambassador Theatre Group pledges to launch more new shows in the city". Westendtheatre.com. 16 May 2011. Retrieved 31 July 2014.
  27. ^ "What's On: Music, Film, & Things To Do in Manchester". Citylife.co.uk. Retrieved 31 July 2014.
  28. ^ [1] Archived 26 June 2012 at the Wayback Machine
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  31. ^ "UK distributor Trafalgar Releasing reveals structure and growth plan". Screen Daily. 22 June 2017. Retrieved 5 August 2019.
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  44. ^ La Cage wins Best Musical Revival | Official London Theatre Archived 12 January 2012 at the Wayback Machine
  45. ^ "Olivier Award Winner". Trafalgar Entertainment Group. 7 April 2019. Retrieved 5 August 2019.
  46. ^ a b Awaiting reference
  47. ^ Hayley Chivers, "ATG recognised for in-house training courses", The Stage, 17 May 2005. Retrieved 2012-12-02.
  48. ^ "250 of the Most Influential People in Greater Manchester". Web.archive.org. 1 February 2013. Retrieved 2 January 2018.
  49. ^ a b "John Good : News - "A good ambassador..." : Theatre programmes, arts printing, graphic design, leaflets, posters, souvenir brochures, theatre websites, arts websites". Web.archive.org. 22 June 2007. Retrieved 2 January 2018.
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  58. ^ "Birthday Honours List 2013" (PDF). HM Government. 14 June 2013. Retrieved 14 June 2013.
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  60. ^ a b [2] Archived 8 August 2014 at the Wayback Machine
  61. ^ a b Teather, David (10 September 2010). "Howard Panter, theatrical ambassador". Theguardian.com. Retrieved 2 January 2018.

External linksEdit