The Force Awakens: Tside unravels the mysteries of the new Star Wars


THE DAY everyone had been waiting for arrived on a cold December day.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens was finally released in cinemas across the eagerly awaiting UK.

Tears, joy, anger, betrayal… So many emotions for one single film 10-years after its predecessor, and 38-years after the first film in the series.

After being in the cinemas across the world for nearly a month, Star Wars: The Force Awakens has made a box office hit of $1.781 billion (£1.236 billion).

Alongside this extravagant amount of money, the box office hit has generated a lot of gossip and mystery as to the identity of Rey the female lead. Is she Luke’s daughter, or is she just attuned with the Force just as Anakin was when he was a child?

Who is Snoak? Is he the notorious Darth Plagueis… Or is he the long time Sith Lord, Darth Vader?

Many questions, many theories and many ‘answers’. No one knows yet, JJ Abrams has made it all CLASSIFIED and top secret.

How rude.

So here’s some of the theories and reasonings to those theories. It is all a cruel waiting game until the next release and who knows when that may be, 2017 may just be another theory.

Daisy Ridley (Rey) on Jakku in Star Wars VII

Daisy Ridley (Rey) on Jakku in Star Wars VII

Rey: Who is she?

AS you may have guessed there is a huge speculation about Rey’s parentage.

The obvious one being that she is Luke Skywalker’s long-lost daughter.

Rey was abandoned on Jakku as a child around the time that Luke disappeared in search for the first Jedi temple after failing to curb his nephew Ben (Kylo Ren) from the dark-side.

This theory would explain her uncanny ability to use the Force so well, and so smoothly.

So why didn’t Skywalker take her with him and train her in the ways of the Force?


However, there is another theory that she isn’t Skywalker’s daughter but his mentor’s granddaughter, Obi-Wan Kenobi.

Whether it is her British accent, similar clothing, the same mind-trick that Obi-Wan used or the fact it was Ewan McGregor’s voice calling to her through Skywalker’s Lightsaber, the concept of her being his granddaughter is quite feasible.

However, the question raised is when did Obi-Wan have chance to create a family?

Snoke: So who is this big guy?

The biggest theory about Snoke is that he may be Darth Plagueis, mentioned to us by Emperor Palpetine in Revenge of the Sith or… Darth Vader.

While there is plenty of theories about this Tside decided to venture out into the galaxy and speak to an avid Star Wars fan.

Adam Slimings, 22, said: “I stand by the theory that Snoke may be Darth Plagueis and he’s been binding his time in a safe part of the galaxy.

“The music that was played during General Snoke’s appearances was similar to the soundtrack that was used when Emperor Palpatine was speaking to Anakin about Darth Plagueis in Revenge of the Sith.

“Although, even if it isn’t, I still love the mystery in the films and enjoy them thoroughly.”

Tside did look into this and found the following video on YouTube.

While this all sounds quite exciting, the theory that Snoke is Darth Vader is tantalising.

Many fans pointed out that both characters have the same scars across their heads.


They do have the same air of authority over people, even over the devoted Kylo-Ren.

Although this theory has been questioned due to Kylo-Ren holding his grandfather’s destroyed mask from when he finally ‘died’.

So, whether any of these theories are strong with the Force, no one will know… not until 2017. Maybe.

from Tside

Queen of Hate mixes vodka with outrageous humour

Season six winner of RuPaul’s Drag Race has recently been touring around the UK.

Bianca Del Rio’s final show was in Newcastle’s O2 Academy, this was her 93rd show in the UK.

Opening up with personal stories from her childhood, Del Rio plays a vintage video montage mixed with raunchy humour.


The drag queen gives you an insight and the true stories on how she became the self-proclaimed Queen of Hate.

She’s incredibly witty and just the right amount of offensive. There is no doubt about it, Bianca was crowned the queen for a reason.

With the Rolodex of Hate, Bianca not only had you rolling in your seat laughing but she also shares what life has been like since RuPaul’s Drag Race. Her sharp tongue comes alive most during a brutally honest live audience Q&A.

The Newcastle show was her 93rd and final performance in the UK.

The Newcastle show was her 93rd and final performance in the UK.

If you paid VIP price and you were lucky enough to be sat close to the queen, then you can’t be mad when she comes for you.

She mocked one audience member on his poor taste in clothes and also mocked the lighting guy for not drinking wine with her.

She then proceeded to share that the venue had cheap wine, and the glasses weren’t big enough while comparing her glass of wine to an audience members.

Every other sentence is punctuated with a loud “f**k you”. While occasionally taking breaks to have shots of vodka with people in the audience.

She is a wonderful entertainer who is offensively funny. 

The comedy show was stand-up in the tradition of Joan Rivers with non-stop laughter from beginning to end.

During an interview in the past Bianca Del Rio was asked her opinions on people who complain about her humour.

She replied: “Listen: People have been too PC lately. People have been too concerned with things that don’t matter. You can’t say certain words. You can’t say tranny, you can’t say fag…”

“The bottom line is this: I’m a man in a wig who stuffed my d*ck in panty hose, and you’ve come to see me. Get a fucking sense of humor. It ain’t that serious. We have bigger issues to deal with. Donald Trump running for president. That is an issue.”

Del Rio ends the show with a montage of other drag queens from the RuPaul’s Drag Race franchise. During the short video she offers her unfiltered opinion on each of them.

The Rolodex of Hate is now available to watch on vimeo, here is the trailer below:


from Tside

‘My dream career? I’m already doing it.’ The local teenager who has danced for Paloma Faith and David Hasselhof

12351126_1106423289397758_1570449892_nLocal Evie Shaw, 19, tells all about her dancing life and what it is really like to train to be professional.

Having danced for 17 years, bright and bubbly Evie seems to be a Jack-of-all-trades when it comes down to it.

Ballet, tap, jazz, modern and acro are just a few dance styles she performs and studies at the Phil Winston’s Theatreworks where she also takes singing and acting classes.

Although not yet in her 20s, Evie has performed for many professional dancers and choreographers at the Carl Allen Awards at Manchester Central and has also performed in shows starring the likes of Paloma Faith, Ella Henderson and Jack Pack.

It doesn’t stop there. Nowhere near shy of the stage, Evie has performed in a series of musicals ran by David Hasselhoff called Last Night a DJ Saved My life.

Living a very hectic lifestyle, there seems to be success after success for the hopeful and determined dancer.

She thanks her dance college for these opportunities they have given her and claims:”I wouldn’t be anywhere near my dream without Phil’s. I take every opportunity I get.”

We got comfy in her immaculate room with walls filled with dance posters and framed achievement certificates and she told all about what it is like to be a dancer.

Now being part of a major performer’s college, how did you work your way up to this?

”I have danced at so many dance schools throughout my life which have taught me all I need to know. The raw talent is what you need to get into these kind of places, without sounding big headed but all I can say is you need to be good enough or they won’t have you, which is a huge load of pressure.

“My family have been so supportive and helped me along the way. With these kind of schools there is no funding you are expected to pay for the tuition out of your own pocket. Luckily I was nominated for a scholarship but my parents still have to pay a lot of my fees to get me where I am, which I’m so thankful for.”

You mention your family, would you say they are your biggest supporters?

”Definitely. They have been so great and have been to every show they are able to and it’s always nice knowing they are in the audience.

“My partner Andy is also so supportive no matter what and that’s amazing to know as sometimes I do have to perform things that can make him uncomfortable. There was a time where I had been offered a job dancing in a cage in a nightclub wearing not the most covering outfit, which did end up in a little bit of a spat, so I ended up turning the chance down. I don’t mind compromising because I realise it can be hard on him sometimes looking from his point of view.”

What would you consider as your proudest moment?

Gazing at the ceiling with big brown eyes she is thinking hard about this one.

”Hmmm.. that’s a hard one. I was so proud of myself getting into Phil’s last year and getting nominated for the ballet scholarship, it has been the best experience of my life so far.

“I was also really proud of myself when I was chosen to perform in front of Paloma Faith, I love her so it was such a privilege. I audition for all these kinds of opportunities so I guess I’m always over the moon whenever I qualify for them.”12358499_1106423089397778_2134150954_n

How do you deal with living away from home so often with all the opportunities you take?

”Well I already live in Blackpool three days a week, so it usually just means I’ll be away for an extra few days. My family don’t mind and sometimes use it as an excuse for a night away. [laughs] But yeah I like being on the road.

“I have been offered a job in Belgium next year as a showgirl, my favourite. So that will mean I will be away for a little while. I don’t know for definite how long yet but I can’t wait. It’ll be amazing.”

You seem very motivated… What would you say motivates you the most?

”Can we say ‘who’ rather than ‘what’ [laughs]. A family friend Chris has been so helpful with my dancing, always helping me get glammed up for my shows since I can remember. Before every show she tells me her little motto ‘Give it rock all’, so that’s my biggest motivation on stage.

“I used to look up to the older girls at my old dance school when I was younger and always want to be like them. Now I am in their shoes it feels so good.”

It all seems to be plain sailing, have you ever had any set-backs?

”I have suffered with heart problems since I was born. I was rushed into hospital not too long ago during one of my rehearsals because my heart flared up. It kind of flutters really fast and makes me panicky and dizzy. So that set me back from a rehearsal but I’m back dancing again now I just have to be aware it can happen at any time.

“Doctors have also told me in the past that I shouldn’t dance because I have scoliosis, like a curve in the spine that can be made worse through vigorous exercise. Dance is my only passion so I don’t care if I’m a cripple by the age of 30, as long as I’ve had a good dance career.”

It must be important for you to relax, what is your ideal day off?

”Ahhhh my ideal day off, not that I get many. I love to have a nice lie in in my own bed, sometimes I don’t get up until lunch time. Then I enjoy days out with Andy [partner] or friends and family. I like spending it with people I don’t see when I’m away for dance. Then I would come home, have a nice long soak in the bath to cure all my sore muscles and get an early night ready for travelling back to Blackpool the next day.”

What would be your dream career?

Smiling to herself, she is thinking about her future, after a long pause she finally speaks…

”Sorry [laughs] I got carried away thinking about it. My dream career is the career I have planned for myself, I like think I can achieve it.

“I did originally want to dance on cruise ships, but that would mean being away from my partner and my family for up to nine months at a time. I am a qualified Acro dance teacher already so I would absolutely love to open my own dance school and give young dancers the fantastic opportunities I have had by being able to dance – that would be so rewarding. I can’t stop smiling just thinking about it. So yeah, that’s my plan.”

Do you think you will achieve that one day?

”I hope so. It is so hard being a dancer and there is more to it than what meets the eye.

“At Phil’s we are given a diet plan of foods we can and can’t eat so we’re getting the right stuff in our bodies and to maintain a healthy weight. We are told we shouldn’t drink alcohol also so a girly night with my mates can’t be a glass of wine over a takeaway, those days have stopped for me. If I stick to this and all through the intense training I will be good enough to fulfil my career, I am so determined so I’m confident that I will do it one day’’.





from Tside

Teesside News TV

Teesside News






Rebecca Connolly and Jacob Ryan are joined by Teesside University’s Student Welfare Officer Manon Goetschel, to discuss crime around Middlesbrough and how students can stay safe around campus.

Also, in the show, student campaigner Amy Oram is in the studio to tell us why she thinks Middlesbrough should become a city.

For a 60 second sports round up and much more, be sure to watch this edition of Teesside News.

from Tside

From Keswick to New York City – the most romantic places to celebrate Valentine’s Day this year

February 14th –  the dreaded day for single souls across the world where a bunch of love-struck men will be found struggling to find the perfect gift or date to wow their loved one.

Red roses are not very original anymore and a love heart necklace screams childhood sweetheart. Don’t cop out of the annual event with a date to the cinemas or a bowling alley.

In 2015 men accounted for 73% of flower sales in the lead up to the day, according to statistics from the website

The annual festival of love also achieves number two on the highest holiday for card giving after Christmas. The celebration of a saint whose identity remains a mystery is recognised worldwide. The banning of marriage raised an injustice in the mind of Valentine and therefore he went against the law to continue to perform marriages. This is the reason we celebrate love throughout February.

The most romantic locations around the north of England, perfect for your Valentine’s Day.

York, England is a city rich with medieval history. The cobbled streets and slanting buildings line each path,conjuring a mystic setting for any date. Cocktail bars, classic pubs and romantic restaurants fill every nook and cranny. English heritage is proudly shown in the beautiful setting of York Minister that sits proudly at the centre of the city. Enjoy a meal and a drink or two along the river bank to celebrate the time of year. Evil Eye is a perfect cocktail lounge and has an outstanding menu to suit many tastes.

Heading towards the Yorkshire coast, St Hilda’s Boutique Hotel in Hinderwell offers a cosy night away in a variation of international-themed rooms. From Los Angeles to Paris and Cairo, each individual suite offers something for everyone. Four poster beds, jacuzzi baths, LED showers and circular beds accompany the rooms to make your stay memorable and out of the ordinary.



Across the Pennines, Armathwaite Hall Hotel and Spa is situated in acres of beautiful grounds within Keswick, Cumbria. Relax with a bottle of champagne after a day of spa treatments and leisure. Or simply take a stroll around the gardens and lake to celebrate with your loved one.

Whinstone View log cabins are located in Great Ayton, North Yorkshire and afford a fantastic opportunity for couples to relax in style. The lodges are stylishly designed and host modern amenities along with being in a beautiful location. Whinstone View also includes a top rated restaurant within the grounds and offers meals for guests and the public.



For your adventurous side.

Travelling further afield, there are some astounding locations worldwide to truly celebrate the occasion. Here are my top places to spend Valentine’s Day overseas – even without a loved one.

Number One

Rome: The Eternal City oozes history as well as an incredible artist heritage. A romantic meal is never far away in a city that is famous for it’s pizzerias and ice cream parlours.

The Italian capital comes alive at night with bars and cafes to start your adventure within the inter-twining streets before heading to tasteful cocktail bars and clubs.

Valentine’s Day originates from the Romans – so what better place to spend the day?

ROME: The Trevi fountain

ROME: The Trevi fountain

Number Two

Santorini:  A picturesque volcanic island within the Mediterranean. Known as a perfect location for couples to holiday, with vibrant nightlife mixed with a relaxing setting. The pebbled beaches shape the terrain whilst the white washed villas provide a stunning backdrop to the town.

A stroll along the coloured beaches at dusk, followed by cocktails in a candle-lit bar would surprise your loved one in the best way possible.

Number Three

New York City: Situated on the East coast of the United States, if you want an energising break in a pulsating city this is the perfect place. The sky is lit by the towering sky scrapers and the streets are alive with the buzz of tourists and locals. Fancy restaurants line most streets if a romantic meal is your aim for Valentine’s.

NEW YORK CITY: The city by night from the top of the Empire state building.

NEW YORK CITY: By night from the top of the Empire state building.

Take a boat ride on the Hudson to see the Statue of Liberty or ride the lift up to the top of the Empire State Building to see the beams of the sky scrapers. Or why not spend the day simply sitting in Central Park watching the city go by?

Number Four

Venice: Filled with Italian charm, built on canals that crisscross the city there is an undeniable intimacy to the historic port that is infecting. The extraordinary blend of architectural styles -from Gothic to Palladiun  – create a fantasy world for tourists to venture into from Palazzo Ducale to classic churches that surround the city.

A location perfectly set for the chime of wedding bells – just ask George Clooney and his bride Amal Alamuddin who tied the knot there in 2014.

Number Five

Paris: The French city of love, so fitting for Valentine’s you may even bump into Cupid.

PARIS: Love lock bridge

PARIS: Love lock bridge

Take a romantic stroll up the steps of the Eiffel Tower for a bird’s eye view or attach a padlock engraved with your lover’s name to a bridge between Notre Dame and the Left Bank on the Pont de l’Archevêché. Do not forget to throw the key into the river if you want the relationship to last for ever. Afterwards enjoy candle lit meal and get a taste of the many fantastic cuisine in one of many local restaurants.

Number Six

Prague: The perfect location to stroll along cobbled streets and gaze upon its unmissable beauty. Courtyard after courtyard fill the streets with bars and cafes to experience some of the quality Czech beers.

The quirky city attracts large crowds in the summer months but for a truly unique Valentine’s Day the location is simply perfect.

Number Seven

Madrid: With a positive reputation for its credible night life and energising way of life, crowds of tourists and locals dance throughout the night filling each bar and restaurant with the buzz of happiness and laughter. For a meal to remember Madrid has some of the best cuisine in Europe and many restaurants will provide you with a deluxe culinary meal.

MADRID: Plaza de Cibeles

MADRID: Plaza de Cibeles

Number Eight


Monaco: A tiny principality beloved of the super-rich offers culture and a setting out of proportion to its tiny size.

The perfect break for a glamour based few days, restaurants line the beautiful harbour along with bars the take you into the night, as perfect place to watch the sunset.

Number Nine

London: The British capital holds history and innovation mixed with gardens and some of the busiest shopping streets in the world. Fine dining is not a problem, neither are the vast opportunities for nightlife. Culture spreads throughout the landmarks of the city from Covent Garden to Leicester Square and Chinatown, opening your eyes to a world within a city.

LONDON: Hyde Park

LONDON: Hyde Park

Number Ten

Nice: The French Mediterranean port city is the one time home of artists Marc Chagall and Henri Matisse and retains its cultural reputation to this day. Stroll along the Promenade des Anglais or indulge in a little retail therapy in the many chic boutiques.

Valentine’s Day is a world wide celebration, so why not spend it somewhere new?


from Tside

Students join local artists for climate change exhibition



One Planet Middlesbrough, creating sustainable communities

MA art students teamed up with local artists to present a high-standard exhibition featuring their works in order to raise awareness about climate change at the  Constantine Gallery.

One Planet Middlesbrough is a local project, sponsored by Middlesbrough Environment City, aimed at helping  people live more sustainably.

Adrian Moule, senior artist, said: “The idea around this is that we engage some students from Teesside University in making pieces of work which will help to make others aware of climate change.”

Students from different countries visited the exhibition and they were asked to answer “what do you see in your world in 2050?” in the form of  a sketch and share their comments and ideas.

Tside Reporter Abbas Mokhtari went along to the event to find out more. Click on his report below.



from Tside

Work in Progress #1: Post from Tees bit on the side

A snapshot of working life, from one of our graduates. Name:  Fiona Plews What do you do?:  With a little help from The Prince’s Trust, I have set up, launched and now run my own small business from home… through which I illustrate fun, light-hearted stationery and homewares. I’m passionate that all of my ideas/products are […]

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