— Ellie Broughton

In the midst of cuts and rising rates of infection, there was one good news story for sexual health in the UK this year: In March, sex and relationship education (SRE) was made compulsory in state schools in England. Evidence collated by the Sex Education Forum backs the decision up, as do STI rates (and teen pregnancy and abortion stats) in countries that already provide good quality, age-appropriate, comprehensive SRE.

The FPA welcomed the Government’s decision but its chief exec pointed out that in order to be effective, funding must be allocated to ensure schools will be supported through teacher training and have access to high quality resources.

And if the government can’t find the money for sexual health services, how can the public expect it to pay for the sex ed they’ve promised?

I spoke to UK GPs and policy experts about the UK’s sexual health cuts for Tonic, Vice’s health website.

See my last article for them, What Was It Like To Go To The Doctor in 1610?, on the same site, and if you like reading about health you might also like my work for NetDoctor:

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“Lady Macbeth” might be a familiar name to British opera audiences. Dmitri Shostakovich’s adaptation is, to date, the likeliest way for audiences in the UK to come across the story originally told in a Russian novella Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk (1865). Shostakovich’s opera was also featured in Julian Barnes’ novel The Noise of Time, a factor that’s sure to draw fresh interest to a run at the Royal Opera House next year.

Apart from a Polish production from the 1970s, Lady Macbeth has never hit the silver screen before. But last year Alice Birch wrote a new adaptation, taking the first half of the story and relocating it to Northumberland. This atmospheric new drama focuses on a young woman, isolated in a loveless marriage and driven to shocking violence. The film, praised by leading UK critics including Cath Clarke and Guy Lodge, is studded with incredible performances by newcomers Florence Pugh, Cosmo Jarvis, and Naomi Ackie. Among stunning interior and landscape shots that heighten a powerful and compelling narrative, questions about the power of the female gaze wait at the film’s core.

I talked to Lady Macbeth’s producer Fodhla Cronin O’Reilly about the film, creating a collaborative environment on set and colour-blind casting. Read more on thefword.org.uk.

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Philip Wilton, who runs Wildes in Tottenham, making and selling artisanal cheeses such as the semi-hard cow’s milk Ally Pally White, says the lack of information about Brexit is leaving his business vulnerable

As the value of the pound falls and costs rise, Brexit will stretch small and independent British cheesemakers and -mongers to breaking point. Sadly, this might be a crisis that we can’t just eat our way out of.

Read more on Eater.

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Nicole Kidman plays Julia Edwards in series two

Twelve-year-old Tui Mitcham is missing. A search party of farmers and bikers meets in the town’s dive bar, gathered under her father’s leadership. From the front of the room, his gaze pans the room. His eyes drift over a woman at the far end of the bar, dressed in a pristine black parka, and snag on her for a moment. Robin Griffin grew up in that town, and she got out: now she’s back to investigate Tui’s case. Matt Mitcham might have the microphone, but Griffin has the power.

Read more on The Pool.

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This year I was lucky enough to join the BBC Springwatch team to write the live blog.

For three weeks, I wrote live updates from 8am to 9pm from the Sherborne Park Estate in Gloucestershire, in the heart of the Cotswolds.

You can see the archived updates here, and if you’d like to know anything else about how the live blog worked, please get in touch by email.

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