Adrian Mole author Sue Townsend's funeral was held in Leicester, England on Friday (02May14). Townsend died in April (14) aged 68 after suffering a stroke. More than 500 friends and family attended the service, including British actor Stephen Mangan and TV chef Jamie Oliver.
A musical adaptation of the Adrian Mole book franchise is to go ahead following the death of its author Sue Townsend. The future of the production was in doubt after Townsend passed away last Thursday (10Apr14) aged 68, but it has now been confirmed the show will go ahead at the Curve Theatre in the writer's hometown of Leicester, England next year (15).
The venue's chief executive Fiona Allen tells the BBC, "It's been commissioned, it's written. It has a producer and director and she really was working as the lead creative on this project.
"Obviously we need to be sensitive to timings but the project will go ahead. We are looking at spring next year and that would be an amazing tribute to the woman."
Townsend released her first Adrian Mole book in 1982 and the last installment, Adrian Mole: The Prostrate Years, was published in 2009. She was working on a new book in the series which was due for publication later this year (14).
British acting veteran Dame Judi Dench has thrown her support behind a campaign against plans to bury King Richard Iii in the city where his remains were discovered under a parking lot last summer (12). The Bond star is against plans to re-inter the monarch at a cathedral in Leicester, England following the discovery of his remains nearby in August, 2012.
She has now joined a campaign to have him buried in her hometown, the city of York, as Richard III was the last king of the House of York.
Dench's personal assistant, Sue Jennings, has confirmed the star will be adding her name to a petition aimed at the British government, telling the York Press, "Dame Judi Dench has asked me to say she would be very pleased to add her name to (the) petition to have Richard III's remains buried at York Minster."
The organisers of Britain's V Festival events in Staffordshire and Chelmsford, England have assured fans that Beady Eye will be performing, despite news that guitarist Gem Archer is recovering from a head injury in hospital. The rockers were forced to scrap shows in Belgium and Japan at the weekend (03-04Aug13) after Archer was hospitalised with severe head trauma last Thursday (01Aug13).
The rocker is still in the hospital in a stable condition, but V Festival bosses have assured fans the band will be back onstage in England later this month (17-18Aug13).
A spokesman for the two-site weekend event says, "Unless we hear otherwise they're still playing."
The event has a history with Archer and his former Oasis bandmates, Liam Gallagher and Andy Bell, who make up Beady Eye - they pulled out of the second leg of V Festival in 2009 after singer Gallagher was diagnosed with laryngitis.
Oasis split up a week later.
In 2011, Liam's brother and former bandmate Noel Gallagher claimed the second V Festival gig was cancelled because Liam was hungover - he was forced to apologise to his sibling after Liam threatened to sue him over the remark.
British singer Kerry Katona feels "ashamed and embarrassed" about her latest bankruptcy bid, according to her fiance. The Atomic Kitten filed her petition at Wigan County Court in England on 2 July (13), five years after her last bankruptcy drama, when she was left unable to pay a $133,300 (£86,000) tax bill.
Katona took to Twitter.com to declare, "Hold your head high and be proud, never be ashamed!" - but her fiance George Kay reveals the singer is "struggling" to cope with her latest financial crisis.
In an interview with Britain's Sunday Mirror, he says, "What Kerry's going through has hit her hard and I'm there for her. Her mind is always racing - thinking about 101 things.
"She can step outside the house and be all bright and bubbly. She puts on a brave face to take the kids to school, and for work. But what people see and how Kerry actually is are two different things. She's struggling. I can tell she's depressed because she curls up on the couch and falls asleep in the afternoon - she's very lethargic at home.
"When I go to bed she stays up watching the telly (TV) to try to switch off from all her thoughts. She feels ashamed and embarrassed of being bankrupt again. She'll eventually come to bed but then she's up again in the middle of the night. Four hours is a good night for Kerry but, at the moment, we're lucky if she's getting two."
Katona's young children are also rallying to boost their mother's spirits, with Kay adding, "When Kerry told the kids she was bankrupt our Lilly-Sue (the star's daughter by ex-husband Brian McFadden) took out all the money she's ever saved and said: 'You can have my £100 mummy'. It was heartbreaking. We both cried about it. But I say, 'Everything's going to be alright. We'll get through it.'"
British singer/reality TV star Kerry Katona is engaged to wed for the third time. The Atomic Kitten star's boyfriend George Kay proposed at the top of Blackpool Tower in north-west England in front of Katona's four children - and she said yes.
Her daughter Molly, by ex-husband Brian McFadden, then handed her the diamond and gold engagement ring.
Katona tells Britain's Sunday Mirror, "I'm thrilled but a bit overwhelmed by it all. I was totally in shock about it, especially as I knew nothing, but my girls knew what was going on.
"There were roses and champagne and George got down on one knee. It was the most romantic thing in the world. I am so happy."
Katona also has daughter Lilly-Sue with former Westlife star McFadden, who she split from in 2004 after two years of marriage, as well as Heidi, six, and five-year-old Max by her second ex-husband Mark Croft.
The producer behind detective show Sherlock has urged fans of the hit U.K. TV series to keep new filming locations under wraps to prevent potential spoilers. Filming for the third series of the popular Sherlock Holmes-based programme, starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman, is currently underway and devotees were recently sent into a frenzy when fan-taken photographs emerged online showing the stars on set in Bristol and Cheltenham, England.
Now, as production heads to London, producer Sue Vertue has asked fans to refrain from posting photographs or filming locations on social networking websites, and warned them not to expect much interaction from the show's stars during the "gruelling" shooting schedule.
In a message posted on the official Sherlock Tumblr.com blog, Vertue writes, "As many of you are aware, we'll soon be embarking on our first London leg of filming for series 3. I'm also aware that there is quite a lot of speculation about where we're shooting (and) when. I can't stress how much we the producers and Benedict, Martin and the rest of the cast appreciate your love and dedication to our show - we'll endeavour to live up to your expectations for Series 3.
"What I am nervous about is that our London shooting schedule is punishing and will really give us very little time to interact with you. The actors really hope you understand that. Also, and I know this is probably asking a lot, the majority of fans and indeed ourselves would REALLY appreciate it if you didn't post pictures or spoilers or ideally our daily locations. Thanks for your understanding."
An archaeologist! An archaeologist! My marketing team for an archaeologist!
Rarely is a team of artifact hunters the unwitting extension of a studio publicity team. But Netflix's House of Cards, the new political thriller produced by David Fincher and Beau Willimon about a Machiavellian pol (Kevin Spacey) who seeks to catapult himself into power via any shady means, got a major PR assist Monday when a group of U.K. archaeologists announced that they've located and identified the bones of King Richard III. So... wait, what's the connection? Well, House of Cards' central character, Spacey's Frank Underwood, is actually based on Richard. Which means that by early afternoon on Monday, "Richard III" was trending heavily on Twitter, even holding its own against multiple Super Bowl-related hashtags.
RELATED: Kevin Spacey Glowers in new 'House of Cards' Trailer—VIDEO
Obviously, Fincher and Willimon could never have anticipated that this news would hit three days after their miniseries debuted. Freud may have said that there are no coincidences, but then something as serendipitous as this happens. It's like how the Manti Te'o fake girlfriend scandal broke right after the launch of MTV's Catfish: The TV Show, and suddenly "catfishing" became the most notable new gerund to enter the pop culture lexicon in 2013. Or, to use a sadder example, how the new documentary about Ed Koch premiered the very day the former New York mayor died and suddenly became a memorial film. Interest in the Les Misérables 25th Anniversary Concert, not to mention plans for a big-screen adaptation, got a major assist when the previously unknown Susan Boyle rocketed to YouTube celebrity in 2009 with her Britain's Got Talent rendition of "I Dreamed a Dream." And Paris Hilton's pursuit of fame got a sizable boost when her infamous sex tape hit the Interwebs shortly after the debut of her Fox reality show, The Simple Life. Okay, Freud might have been right about that last one. Can there be coincidences where Paris Hilton is concerned?
Still, it's pretty incredible that a monarch who died before Columbus discovered America has left such a lasting footprint on pop culture. Richard III is England's most maligned king. And yet he sat on the throne for only two years before being defeated and killed at the Battle of Bosworth in 1485, an event usually considered to be the end of the Medieval Age in England. His successors, the Tudors, would paint him as a vile monster. They suggested he undermined the rule of his brother King Edward IV, then had his nephews locked in the Tower of London and eventually killed, in order to obtain the crown himself. William Shakespeare contributed to the propaganda by depicting Richard as a hunchbacked child-killer, whose ultimate fate was a kind of karmic payback. The Bard portrayed Richard as a model of terrible statesmanship, and pretty much the standard to which any storytellers depicting the pitfalls of power — including the team behind House of Cards — aspire. Richard has been directly portrayed in numerous plays and movies, including in a career-best turn by Laurence Olivier in 1955 and House of Cards' own Kevin Spacey in a recent mounting of the Shakespeare play at London's Old Vic.
RELATED: Netflix Plans Full Season Release of 'House of Cards': Is Traditional TV Viewing Over?
Some, though, feel that Richard has gotten a bad rap. His defenders say he was the target of a Tudor smear campaign and that his detractors today unfairly judge him by the standards of our time. Compared to other medieval rulers, however, his behavior wasn't that far from the norm.
Richard's bones were discovered in September in a coffin-less grave six feet under a parking lot in Leicester, England, about 20 miles from the site of the Battle of Bosworth, and exactly where Tudor historians said he was buried. Though the identity of the remains was only confirmed on Feb. 4 following DNA comparison tests with two descendants of Richard's House of Plantagenet, all of the other evidence pointed to him being the king. The bones were definitely from a man in his late 20s or early 30s, and we know Richard died at the age of 32. They were also carbon dated to between 1455 and 1540 and showed signs of the individual having possessed a diet rich in meat and fish, indicating that he was noble-born. The skull had a severe gash along its back, consistent with the historical account of the killing blow that claimed Richard's life — Shakespeare imagined him being killed after losing his mount, thus leading to the immortal cry, "A horse! A horse! My kingdom for a horse!" Most importantly, it turns out Shakespeare was right, after all: the skeleton's spine featured a severe case of scoliosis, meaning that Richard was indeed a hunchback.
RELATED: Late Night Last Night: Kevin Spacey Does a ‘Brilliant’ Impersonation of Al Pacino
Follow Christian Blauvelt on Twitter @Ctblauvelt
[Photo Credit: Melinda Sue Gordon/Netflix]
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The veteran Coronation Street star passed away earlier this month (Nov12) at the age of 71, and dozens of his former co-stars were present at the service held at Albion United Reformed Church.
Wheelchair-bound Liz Dawn, who played Tarmey's onscreen wife for 30 years, looked visibly strained as she attended the memorial alongside William Roache, Sue Nicholls, Julie Goodyear and Michael Le Vell.
More than 700 mourners, including fans, crew members and beneficiaries of the star's charity work, listened as actress Samia Ghadie gave a moving eulogy, likening Tarmey to "a surrogate dad".
Tarmey's onscreen son Nigel Pivaro also paid tribute to the TV favourite, telling the congregation, "Bill's huge generosity of spirit, his warmth, his wit, his patience, his wisdom - we will keep those qualities in our hearts. They will stay with us forever. That will be his lasting legacy."
The service was relayed via loudspeakers to the hundreds of guests outside the packed church, and a video montage of family photos was shown as Tarmey's rendition of The Wind Beneath My Wings was played.
A kids’ movie without the cheeky jokes for adults is like a big juicy BLT without the B… or the T. Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted may have a title that sounds like it was made up in a cartoon sequel laboratory but when it comes to serving up laughs just think of the film as a BLT with enough extra bacon to satisfy even the wildest of animals — or even a parent with a gaggle of tots in tow. Yes even with that whole "Afro Circus" nonsense.
It’s not often that we find exhaustively franchised films like the Madagascar set that still work after almost seven years. Despite being spun off into TV shows and Christmas specials in addition to its big screen adventures the series has not only maintained its momentum it has maintained the part we were pleasantly surprised by the first time around: great jokes.
In this third installment of the series – the trilogy-maker if you will – directing duo Eric Darnell and Tom McGrath add Conrad Vernon (director Monsters Vs. Aliens) to the helm as our trusty gang swings back into action. Alex the lion (Ben Stiller) Marty the zebra (Chris Rock) Gloria the hippo (Jada Pinkett Smith) and Melman the giraffe (David Schwimmer) are stuck in Africa after the hullaballoo of Madagascar 2 and they’ll do anything to get back to their beloved New York. Just a hop skip and a jump away in Monte Carlo the penguins are doing their usual greedy schtick but the zoo animals catch up with them just in time to catch the eye of the sinister animal control stickler Captain Dubois (Frances McDormand). And just like that the practically super human captain is chasing them through Monte Carlo and the rest of Europe in hopes of planting Alex’s perfectly coifed lion head on her wall of prized animals.
Luckily for pint-sized viewers Dubois’ terrifying presence is balanced out by her sheer inhuman strength uncanny guiles and Stretch Armstrong flexibility (ah the wonder of cartoons) as well as Alex’s escape plan: the New Yorkers run away with the European circus. While Dubois’ terrifying Doberman-like presence looms over the entire film a sense of levity (which is a word the kiddies might learn from Stiller’s eloquent lion) comes from the plan for salvation in which the circus animals and the zoo animals band together to revamp the circus and catch the eye of a big-time American agent. Sure the pacing throughout the first act is practically nonexistent running like a stampede through the jungle but by the time we're palling around under the big top the film finds its footing.
The visual splendor of the film (and man is there a champion size serving of it) the magnificent danger and suspense is enhanced to great effect by the addition of 3D technology – and not once is there a gratuitous beverage or desperate Crocodile Dundee knife waved in our faces to prove its worth. The caveat is that the soundtrack employs a certain infectious Katy Perry ditty at the height of the 3D spectacular so parents get ready to hear that on repeat until the leaves turn yellow.
But visual delights and adventurous zoo animals aside Madagascar 3’s real strength is in its script. With the addition of Noah Baumbach (Greenberg The Squid and the Whale) to the screenwriting team the script is infused with a heightened level of almost sarcastic gravitas – a welcome addition to the characteristically adult-friendly reference-heavy humor of the other Madagascar films. To bring the script to life Paramount enlisted three more than able actors: Vitaly the Siberian tiger (Bryan Cranston) Gia the Leopard (Jessica Chastain) and Stefano the Italian Sealion (Martin Short). With all three actors draped in European accents it might take viewers a minute to realize that the cantankerous tiger is one and the same as the man who plays an Albuquerque drug lord on Breaking Bad but that makes it that much sweeter to hear him utter slant-curse words like “Bolshevik” with his usual gusto.
Between the laughs the terror of McDormand’s Captain Dubois and the breathtaking virtual European tour the Zoosters’ accidental vacation is one worth taking. Madagascar 3 is by no means an insta-classic but it’s a perfectly suited for your Summer-at-the-movies oasis.