British TV icon Stephen Fry stunned guests at a political fundraiser on Wednesday (09Jul14) by taking aim at a high-profile investigation into allegations of sex abuse against some of the U.K.'s most popular stars. Operation Yewtree was launched following the shocking revelations of TV and radio host Sir Jimmy Savile's widespread historic sexual abuse, and it has led to the successful prosecution of stars including entertainer Rolf Harris, TV host Stuart Hall, and PR guru Max Clifford for offences committed in the 1960s and '70s.
However Fry, who was hosting the Labour Party event at London's Roundhouse, reportedly reminded guests that "fewer than half" of those held in the probe have been convicted, urged attendees to remember "people are innocent until proven guilty", and called for tougher punishments for those who make false claims.
Attempts to prosecute comedians Jim Davidson, Jimmy Tarbuck and Freddie Starr, as well as Coronation Street actor William Roache, failed after months of negative publicity.
One guest at the event tells Britain's Mail on Sunday newspaper, "It was all a bit awkward. There was a smattering of applause, but mostly there was just this deadly silence."
Fry's friend, BBC DJ Paul Gambaccini, was arrested in October (13) under Operation Yewtree on suspicion of historical sexual offences but was released on bail and was later cleared of any wrongdoing, and Fry is understood to be angry that the failure to charge Gambaccini has received less publicity than his initial arrest.
Universal Pictures via Everett Collection
Seventeen years ago, Harrison Ford grumbled four simple words that defined a genre, a demographic, and a country: "Get off my plane." In a pre-9/11 world, there was no shortage of jingoistic glee in a movie like Air Force One, in which a man's man American president doled out justice to a militia of Russian loyalist terrorists who made the silly mistake of attempting to hijack his flight home from Moscow. In 2014, we don't have the luxury of facing a plotline like this with reckless merriment. There's a damp gravity to the premise behind movies like Non-Stop, which in another time would have been nothing more than Taken on a Plane. But rigidly conscious of the connotations that attach to a story about a hijacking of a civilian international flight into John F. Kennedy Airport in New York City, Non-Stop doesn't play too fast and loose. It still plays, and has some good fun doing so, but carefully.
From the getgo, we're anchored into the grim narrative of Liam Neeson's U.S. Air Marshall Bill Marks, who settles his demons with a healthy spoonful of whiskey. A dutiful officer even when liquored up, Marks eyeballs every nameless face in London's Heathrow Airport, silently introducing the bevvy of characters who'll come into play later on. After takeoff, Marks finds himself on the unwitting prowl for the anonymous party who's attempting to take down the red-eye through a series of manipulative text messages, well-timed threats, and clandestine killings. Chatty passenger Julianne Moore and flight attendant Michelle Dockery join Marks in his efforts to identify the mysterious criminal before the entire aircraft falls to his or her whims. So less Taken, more Murder, She Wrote.
Our roundup of suspects challenges our (and their) preconceived notions, and quite laughably — most vocal among Neeson's fellow passengers are a white beta-male school teacher (Scoot McNairy), a black computer engineer with an attitude of entitlement (Nate Parker), a softspoken Middle Eastern surgeon whose headwear gets more than a few focal shots (Omar Metwally), a middle-aged white businessman whose latest account landed him more than your house is worth (Frank Deal), an irate black youngster draped in irreverence (Corey Hawkins), and a white, bald, machismo-howling New York cop who secretly accepts his gay brother (Corey Stoll). Just a few talking heads short of Do the Right Thing, Non-Stop manages to goof on each man's (notice that they're all men — Moore, Dockery, and a barely-in-the-movie Lupita Nyong’o are kept shy of the action for most of the film) distaste for and distrust of one another as they each try to sidle up to, or undermine the harried Marks.
Non-Stop plays an interesting game with its characters and its audience, simultaneously painting the ignorance of its characters with a thick coat of comedy while pointing its finger straight out at us with accusations that we, too, thought it was whoever we just learned it wasn't, and for all the wrong reasons. "Shame on you!" Non-Stop chides, adding, "But let's keep going, this is fun!"
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It is fun — that's the miraculous thing. Without any "Get off my plane"s or "Yippee ki yay"s, Non-Stop keeps its action genre silliness in check (okay, there is a moment involving an airborne gun that'll institute some serious laugh-cheers), investing all of its good time in the game of claustrophobic Clue that we can't help but enjoy. It sacrifices some of its charm in a heavy-handed third act, tipping to one side of what was a pretty impressive balancing act up until that point. But its falter is not one that drags down the movie entirely. Fun and excitement are restored, sincerity is maintained, and even a few moments of sensitivity creep their way through. We might not live in a world of President Harrison Fords any longer, but Air Marshall Liam Neesons could actually be a step up.
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Veteran British soap star Bill Roache assaulted a young woman in a restroom at the ITV network studios where he was based, a U.K. court has heard. Roache, who has starred in hit TV drama Coronation Street for 53 years, is accused of a series of sex attacks dating back to the 1960s.
His trial began at Preston Crown Court in England on Tuesday (14Jan13) and the jury was told not to confuse the star, who is being tried under his full name of William Roache, with his beloved onscreen character Ken Barlow.
The judge, Mr Justice Holroyde, told jurors, "You may feel in one sense you know the defendant, Mr. Roache. He is well known as an actor who for many years has played the part of Ken Barlow in Coronation Street.
"But of course, this is not the fictional character of Ken Barlow in court. It is a real person, William Roache, who is on trial. You must separate the fictional character from the real person."
The court heard that Roache is facing two allegations of raping a teenage girl in 1967, and five charges of indecently assaulting four females, aged between 12 and 16, from 1965 to 1968.
One of the incidents is said to have taken place in a bathroom at TV network ITV.
Roache's co-stars, Anne Kirkbride, who plays his character's longtime partner Deirdre Barlow on the soap, his on-screen son Chris Gascoyne, and actress Helen Worth, are all expected to be called as witnesses for the defence.
Roache denies all seven charges.
The trial continues.
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.
The son of Coronation Street star William Roache admits there's a lot about American life and culture which he applauds, but he cannot understand why healthcare isn't more affordable.
He tells BlogTalkRadio.com, "I think the Constitution rocks. It's one of the greatest political social documents ever written. I had to learn a fair amount of American history and over the years I've accumulated quite a bit. I'm very happy to be an American citizen. I took the oath and I'm very happy to be here but one of the strange things is, being a Brit coming into this culture, you can't get your head around the fact that you have to pay for your health service.
"It sucks and it can make or break people's lives. It's a thorny issue that has not been completely resolved here but I don't know why people are so scared of a national health system that actually could benefit everybody.
"In the U.K. we have something called the National Health System, which Danny Boyle did a beautiful job of making a point of in the Olympics opening. He did a whole sequence with the National Health doctors and nurses doing this dance routine. I think he was saying this is something to be proud of and I'm very proud of it."
The star, who passed away at the age of 68 on Friday (27Jul12), is believed to have been battling prostate cancer, according to Britain's Daily Mirror newspaper.
Hughes' fellow celebrities paid tribute to the actor on Saturday (28Jul12), with Royle Family star Ricky Tomlinson saying, "Geoff wasn't just an actor. He was my mate. I used to call him every few weeks but hadn't spoken to him in about a fortnight. It's such a loss."
William Roache, who appeared alongside Hughes in British soap Coronation Street, adds, "I am so sorry to hear about Geoffrey. He was a warm loveable actor with great comedy timing. He will be greatly missed. He was one of the Street's memorable characters."
The TV legend, born in Wallasey, England, began his career in theatre before landing television roles in the 1960s.
He provided the voice of Paul McCartney in Beatles cartoon film Yellow Submarine, starred as Onslow in comedy Keeping Up Appearances and also featured in U.K. shows Heartbeat and Skins.
Instead of following a ragtag team of brutes hired for a suicide mission to destroy an Earth-bound meteor Seeking a Friend for the End of the World plays out the apocalyptic "what if?" scenario from the everyman vantage point. Written and directed by Lorene Scafaria (Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist) the film pairs average joe Dodge (Steve Carell) with wallflower Penny (Keira Knightley) for a journey across the east coast a hunt for Dodge's college sweetheart. Scafaria takes a character-first approach to her anti-blockbuster examining the end of the world with a pitch black sense of humor. But the road trip loses steam as it chugs along with the film's insistence to avoid Hollywood disaster tropes taking a toll on the entertainment value. Dodge and Penny are so normal they aren't that interesting to watch. In turn neither is Seeking a Friend.
Worse for Dodge than the whole "destruction of humanity" thing is the fact that he's facing it alone; his wife leaves him he has no real family and he hates nearly all of his friends. While everyone he knows is either hooking up or shooting up in hopes of going out on a high note Dodge buckles under the weight of an existential crisis that feels all too familiar. To his rescue is next-door neighbor Penny who insists the two hit the road together to go find Dodge's one-that-got-away. They don't have much of a choice as New York City is quickly overrun by Malatov cocktail-hurling riots.
When the catastrophe and societal chaos is seen through Dodge's eyes and Carell's complex interpretation of the straight man Scafaria hits all the marks. Watching Dodge tell his cleaning lady to go home because "What's the point?" is heartbreaking while his good friend's descent into frat boy madness for the same reasons nails mankind's vile tendencies. And through it all it's funny thanks to Carell's impeccable timing. When Dodge is eventually paired up with Penny the film meanders the two never unearthing what it is about each other that keeps them sticking together. The duo run into a kindly truck driver (who's hired an assassin to off him when he's unaware) a TGIFriday's-esque restaurant full of zany drugged up waiters and even one of Penny's ex-boyfriends whose locked down with automatic rifles and Ruffles chips in anticipation of the end. But Dodge and Penny's quest is mostly about the in-between moments the quitter grounded human reactions to the apocalypse. Even with great performers at the helm Seeking a Friend doesn't organically shape those moments so much as contrive them. In one scene Penny fondly recalls the wonders of listening to music on vinyl Dodge listening carefully and learning. It's a soft and low key discussion perfect juxtaposition against the big-scale problem at hand but when a twenty-something is explaining records to a guy nearing 50 it comes off as twee instead of truthful. The problem infiltrates most of Seeking a Friend's character moments.
Scafaria has an ear and eye for comedy but Seeking a Friend boldly reaches for something more. Sadly ambition doesn't translate to success a messy tonal mix that fail to make it all that engaging or emotional. Carell and Knightley serve the material as best they can but this is the end of the world an even that requires a little weight a little sensationalism and a little more than a casual road movie.
The legendary novelist wrote some of his most famous stories, including Sherlock Holmes novel The Hound of the Baskervilles, at the mansion in Surrey, England and the house is set to be developed into an apartment block.
However, the redevelopment has come under fire from locals and celebrity fans including Stephen Fry, actor William Roache and funnyman Griff Rhys Jones, who have all joined protests against the plans.
Ritchie, who has made two successful Sherlock Holmes movies with Robert Downey, Jr. in the title role, has now thrown his support behind the campaign to save the Undershaw estate in Hindhead, Surrey and turn it into a museum, according to Britain's The People.
The veteran Coronation Street star passed away earlier this month (Oct11) at the age of 91 and many of her former co-stars were among the mourners at her memorial service at the city's St Ann’s Church.
William Roache, Sue Nicholls, Julie Goodyear, Michael Le Vell and Bill Tarmey were among the congregation, while Bill Kenwright, who played Driver's onscreen son, and Helen Worth, who plays Gail McIntyre in the soap, both spoke during the service.
Worth told the crowd, "How do we say goodbye to her? In the way she wanted us to do with a smile, remembering her infectious laugh, her perfume which announced her arrival, her love of life and everyone in it and celebrate with joy the glorious 91 years of Betty Driver."
The funeral was screened for fans outside the church, at Driver's request, and she also asked for the service to take place on a Saturday so her colleagues would not miss a day of filming.
A recording of Driver singing The World Will Sing Again was also played to the congregation and was met with a standing ovation.
Jones, best-known for playing Blanche Hunt on the long-running TV soap Coronation Street, passed away on 2 December (09) after failing to recover from an operation in October (09). She was 75.
Filming was temporarily suspended to allow Jones' former cast members, including actress Anne Kirkbride, to attend the service at the city's Salford Cathedral.
The memorial also featured an emotional address from actor William Roache, who played her son-in-law on the hit U.K. drama.