The former aide to British prime minister Margaret Thatcher, who sued comic Alan Davies over a libellous tweet, has died. Conservative politician Lord Robert McAlpine passed away at his home in Italy on Friday (17Jan14), aged 71.
McAlpine was a longtime adviser to Britain's only female leader during her time at Downing Street during the 1970s and '80s.
He was also a hugely successful fundraiser for the Conservative Party.
McAlpine hit headlines in 2012 when BBC editors ran a report on its Newsnight programme about allegations of sexual abuse at a Welsh children's home, and accused a "leading Conservative politician... of sexually abusing boys in care".
Jonathan Creek star Davies then asked his thousands of Twitter followers for "clues" to the alleged abuser's identity. He received a message mentioning the name of Lord McAlpine, which he then re-tweeted.
The political adviser launched legal action against the British actor and was awarded $24,000 (£15,000) in damages in October (13).
British actor Alan Davies has paid damages to a former politician after he re-tweeted a post falsely linking him to a child abuse scandal. Last year (12) the BBC ran a report on its Newsnight programme on alleged sexual abuse at a Welsh children's home, and accused a "leading Conservative politician... of sexually abusing boys in care".
The Jonathan Creek star then asked his thousands of Twitter followers for "clues" to the alleged abuser's identity. He received a message mentioning the name of former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher's advisor, Lord McAlpine, which he then re-tweeted.
The politician launched libel action against Davies, among others in the public arena, and on Thursday (24Oct13), the actor agreed to pay undisclosed damages to Lord McAlpine, while apologising for the "great damage and distress" his actions caused.
After the hearing at London's High Court, which neither party attended, Davies' lawyer Steve Hudson said the star hopes the case makes people think about how they operate on social media.
He said, "Mr Davies hopes that as a result of this matter other Twitter users will be more aware of the potential damaging consequences of tweeting and be more careful in how they use that platform."
After Dark Films
It seems a bit odd to take on a movie review of Courtney Solomon's Getaway, as only in the loosest terms is Getaway actually a movie. We begin without questions — other than a vague and frustrating "What the hell is going on?" — and end without answers, watching Ethan Hawke drive his car into things (and people) for the hour and a half in between. We learn very little along the way, probed to engage in the mystery of the journey. But we don't, because there's no reason to.
There's not a single reason to wonder about any of the things that happen to Hawke's former racecar driver/reformed criminal — forced to carry out a series of felonious commands by a mysterious stranger who is holding his wife hostage — because there doesn't seem to be a single ounce of thought poured into him beyond what he see. We learn, via exposition delivered by him to gun-toting computer whiz Selena Gomez, that he "did some bad things" before meeting the love of his life and deciding to put that all behind him. Then, we stop learning. We stop thinking. We start crashing into police cars and Christmas trees and power plants.
Why is Selena Gomez along for the ride? Well, the beginnings of her involvement are defensible: Hawke is carrying out his slew of vehicular crimes in a stolen car. It's her car. And she's on a rampage to get it back. But unaware of what she's getting herself into, Gomez confronts an idling Hawke with a gun, is yanked into the automobile, and forced to sit shotgun while the rest of the driver's "assignments" are carried out. But her willingness to stick by Hawke after hearing his story is ludicrous. Their immediate bickering falls closer to catty sexual tension than it does to genuine derision and fear (you know, the sort of feelings you'd have for someone who held you up or forced you into accessorizing a buffet of life-threatening crimes).
After Dark Films
The "gradual" reversal of their relationship is treated like something we should root for. But with so little meat packed into either character, the interwoven scenes of Hawke and Gomez warming up to each other and becoming a team in the quest to save the former's wife serve more than anything else as a breather from all the grotesque, impatient, deliberately unappealing scenes of city wreckage.
And as far as consolidating the mystery, the film isn't interested in that either, as evidenced by its final moments. Instead of pressing focus on the answers to whatever questions we may have, the movie's ultimate reveal is so weak, unsubstantial, and entirely disconnected to the story entirely, that it seems almost offensive to whatever semblance of a film might exist here to go out on this note. Offensive to the idea of film and story in general, as a matter of fact. But Getaway isn't concerned with these notions. Not with story, character, logic, or humanity. It just wants to show us a bunch of car crashes and explosions. So you'd think it might have at least made those look a little better.
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Welsh rockers Manic Street Preachers have revealed new track 30 Year War is an anti-Margaret Thatcher protest song. The trio wrote the "angry" song before the former British Prime Minister died earlier this year (13).
Bassist Nicky Wire tells NME, "It starts with the miners' strike and moves through (soccer stadium disaster) Hillsborough, and it's a critique of the attack on the working classes over the last 30 years. It's the most spiteful, angry track on the album."
The tune will feature on the band's upcoming 11th studio album, Rewind The Film, which will be released on 16 September (13).
"I have been in quite a few (sex scenes). The thought of Margaret Thatcher usually does it for me, in terms of never getting excited. In (1999 movie) Titus, there was an orgy scene where we had an Italian women's gymnastic team - naked - moving around on top of us. Mrs. Thatcher played an integral part in that scene." Welsh actor Matthew Rhys conjures up an image of Britain's former prime minister whenever he has to film sex scenes.
Famous faces from the world of showbusiness mixed with royalty and politicians from across the world in London on Wednesday morning (17Apr13) at the ceremonial funeral of former U.K. Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. The veteran politician, who passed away on 8 April (13) at the age of 87 after suffering a stroke, was remembered during a high-profile memorial service at St. Paul's Cathedral in the British capital attended by Queen Elizabeth II and her husband Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, as well as Britain's current Prime Minister David Cameron.
Star guests included Dame Shirley Bassey, actress Joan Collins, entertainer Michael Crawford, Welsh opera star Katherine Jenkins and theatre mogul Lord Andrew Lloyd Webber. Former U.K. Prime Ministers Tony Blair, Gordon Brown and John Major turned out for the occasion, along with former U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney.
Before the service at the famed cathedral, Thatcher's coffin passed through the streets of London on a gun carriage with a full military procession.
Thousands of spectators gathered to watch, and more than 4,000 police officers were deployed as part of strict security measures amid the threat of protests over Thatcher's policies, which continue to divide opinion 23 years after she left office.
Demonstrations along the route of the funeral procession remained mostly peaceful, with campaigners booing and turning their backs on the coffin to show their opinion.
Singer Jenkins addressed the threat of protests in a post on her Twitter.com page before she arrived at the funeral, writing, "For me today is personal not political," while musician Billy Bragg urged campaigners to donate to a good cause instead of disrupting the service, adding, "If you wish to express your feelings about the divisive nature of the Thatcher legacy today, do something positive... Donthatedonate.com."
"She was the head of the United Kingdom for 11 and a half years and did not have a cook. I have a cook. The last movie I made when I stopped making dinner was Sophie's Choice and that was a long time ago. She would work late into the night and require all the cabinet ministers to be up there in the apartment with her... She would go and whip up some horrible Welsh rarebit and give it to them." Meryl Streep was fascinated to learn that Margaret Thatcher refused to hire a personal chef. The actress plays the former British Prime Minister in upcoming movie The Iron Lady.
John, best known in the U.K. for her recent role in hit comedy Gavin & Stacey, passed away at a hospital in Swansea, Wales earlier this month (Feb11) following a short illness.
Her comedy co-stars Corden and Brydon, as well as Ruth Jones and Larry Lamb, joined her family and friends to remember the star, with Corden leading the tributes at the ceremony.
He said, "She was a great actress and an incredible lady and will be sadly missed. All our thoughts are with the family of Margaret."
John, best known in the U.K. for her recent role in hit comedy Gavin & Stacey, passed away at a hospital in Swansea, Wales following a short illness.
The actress appeared in several popular British TV series, including Coronation Street, Emmerdale, Dr Who and Casualty, as well as enjoying a role in Simon Pegg's film Run Fatboy Run.
But it was her portrayal of wise-cracking elderly neighbour Doris in the BBC's Gavin & Stacey that made her a star in her 80s.
Her co-stars Corden, Brydon and Mathew Horne have all paid tribute to the actress on Twitter.com.
Corden writes, "All my thoughts are with the family of Margaret John who played Doris in G and S. A great actress and an incredible lady. She will be missed."
Brydon adds, "Just heard the terribly sad news that Margaret John has passed away. What a wonderful person she was, everyone on G&S adored her."
Horne wrote, "Really sad to hear Margaret John has passed away. She was such a good woman and so fun to work with."