British funnyman Griff Rhys Jones is celebrating after winning a battle to stop the construction of a solar energy plant near his home. The actor/comedian fiercely opposed a proposal to open a huge industrial site in the idyllic countryside of Suffolk, England, close to his property, and the scheme has now stalled following a ruling from U.K. government planning officials.
Planning inspector Elizabeth Ord says, "The harm that would result from the development would demonstrably outweigh the benefits."
Jones adds, "It is not just a victory or failure of the countryside (sic), it is just a sensible decision. I am delighted."
Britain's leading comedy stars including Rowan Atkinson, Simon Pegg and Stephen Fry have paid tribute to British funnyman Mel Smith following his death on Friday (19Jul13). The 60-year-old comedian passed away at his home in north-west London after suffering a heart attack, according to his agent Michael Foster.
The news has sent a shockwave through the U.K. comedy scene and a number of Smith's friends and co-stars have expressed their grief in the aftermath of the tragedy.
Smith's longtime collaborator Griff Rhys Jones, who worked with him on Alas Smith and Jones and Not the Nine O'Clock News, says in a statement, "I still can't believe this has happened. To everybody who ever met him, Mel was a force for life. He had a relish for it that seemed utterly inexhaustible. He inspired love and utter loyalty and he gave it in return. I will look back on the days working with him as some of the funniest times that I have ever spent."
Mr. Bean star Atkinson also worked with the late funnyman on Not the Nine O'Clock News, and Smith directed his 1997 movie Bean.
He says in a statement, "Mel Smith - a lovely man of whom I saw too little in his later years. I loved the sketches that we did together on Not the Nine O'Clock News. He was the cast member with whom I felt the most natural performing empathy. He had a wonderfully generous and sympathetic presence both on and off screen... I never thought he was given enough credit for this success. I feel truly sad at his parting."
Stephen Fry adds, "Terrible news about my old friend Mel Smith, dead from a heart attack. Mel lived a full life but was kind, funny and wonderful to know."
Simon Pegg hails Smith as his inspiration, adding in a post on Twitter.com, "Sad to hear about Mel Smith. His influence on contemporary British comedy both as a performer and producer is impossible to calculate."
Pegg's longtime collaborator Nick Frost also mourned Smith's loss in a post on Twitter.com, while tributes have come in from Hollywood actor Jamie Bell, who called his death a great loss to British comedy, along with Richard E. Grant, James Corden, Matt Lucas, director Duncan Jones, and Peter Serafinowicz.
Smith was one of the leading lights of British comedy throughout the 1980s and he also teamed with Griff Rhys Jones to found TalkBack Productions, a TV company which produced popular comedies including Smack the Pony, Da Ali G Show and I'm Alan Partridge.
He also worked as a writer and director, helming movies including Bean and 2001's High Heels and Low Lifes.
His movie appearances as an actor included roles in The Princess Bride and National Lampoon's European Vacation.
British funnyman Griff Rhys Jones has slammed proposed plans to build the U.K.'s biggest solar energy farm near his home. Bosses at solar power giant Hive Energy have submitted planning permission to construct a huge site in the idyllic countryside of Suffolk, England, close to Jones' property.
The scheme promises to keep up with the British government's green energy targets, but Jones has accused officials of opportunism to the detriment of an area of outstanding beauty.
He says, "It could never be called part of a greener future for the countryside. It is part of a mad series of schemes introduced by a government struggling with an energy policy. The Government is riding roughshod over localism.
"Filling an area the size of 50 football pitches - which is open to view on three sides from public rights of way - with 72,000 three-metre high plastic panels simply cannot be a sensible way to use our best-quality agricultural land in a highly-attractive landscape. I am totally opposed to it. I hope the council sees sense and opposes it."
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.