Only Fools And Horses actor John Challis was among guests who attended the funeral of the show's producer Ray Butt in Suffolk, England, on Monday (29Jul13). Sir David Jason, who played Derek 'Del Boy' Trotter in the beloved U.K. sitcom, could not attend the event, but sent his condolences to Butt's partner Jo Blyth, writing, "What a sad blow it was to read of Ray's passing. He was such a great character and one I shall never forget."
Ray Butt, a top British TV producer who worked on beloved U.K. sitcom Only Fools And Horses, has passed away at the age of 78. Butt died last Friday (12Jul13). No further details surrounding his death have been released.
After leaving national service in the Royal Air Force (RAF), Butt became a TV director, and first met writer John Sullivan when they both worked on comedy Citizen Smith, starring Robert Lindsay, in the 1970s.
They went on to develop Only Fools And Horses, drawing inspiration from their childhoods in London, and pitched it to bosses at the BBC, who immediately picked it up for a season in 1981.
Butt was also instrumental in casting Sir David Jason as the show's lead, Derek 'Del Boy' Trotter, and went on to direct and executive produce the series until 1987. The show ran until 2003.
He also worked with Sullivan again on Just Good Friends, as well as directing episodes of popular British comedies Last of the Summer Wine and Are You Being Served?
Butt is survived by his partner Jo Blyth and a daughter.
Sullivan passed away in April, 2011.
The Goodfellas star signed a $3 million (£1.8 million) deal to play the gangster's associate and childhood pal Angelo Ruggiero in Gotti: In the Shadow of My Father, alongside John Travolta and Kelly Preston.
He filed suit against Fiore Films in July 2011, claiming he had piled on weight to portray Ruggiero, only to be told he would be playing a smaller part.
His attorney, Jessica Trotter, confirmed on Monday (04Feb13) that Pesci has reached a undisclosed out-of-court settlement with bosses at the production company.
Travolta will play Gotti in the film. The crime boss died behind bars in 2002.
The British star, most famous for his role as Del Boy Trotter in classic U.K. sitcom Only Fools and Horses, admits he monitors the shows 10-year-old Sophie watches, but is often caught out by ads.
He tells Britain's Radio Times, "I try to protect what she sees on television, but you can't.
"Take the adverts. I was watching SpongeBob (SquarePants), a favourite cartoon of ours, but suddenly a scent advert came on with this girl stripping off as she walks towards the camera. It's done for mums but they forget a lot of girls are watching these powerful images."
And Jason is also upset by the amount of swear words featured on TV, adding, "The trouble is now we have stand-up comedians who have forgotten about innuendo. In music hall days, and especially at the BBC, you were never allowed swear words... Today they push down the barriers.
"Take the F word. It's become commonplace. Language has implications and it's offensive if it's meant to denigrate something or someone. Only Fools had nothing unpleasant, really."
The British government awards any citizen over the age of 65 a payment of up to $480 (£300) each year to help offset the high cost of heating during the chilly winter months.
A campaign has been launched to encourage wealthy recipients to donate their allowance to poorer pensioners - and Jason, 71, has joined the scheme.
The actor, most famous for his role as Del Boy Trotter in classic TV sitcom Only Fools and Horses, says, "I wanted to pledge my payment to the Surviving Winter Appeal. It would be great to think that all those people who are in a position to forego part or all of their own winter fuel payment could join this great scheme and spread a little warmth."
The first and most important thing you should know about Paramount Pictures’ Thor is that it’s not a laughably corny comic book adaptation. Though you might find it hokey to hear a bunch of muscled heroes talk like British royalty while walking around the American Southwest in LARP garb director Kenneth Branagh has condensed vast Marvel mythology to make an accessible straightforward fantasy epic. Like most films of its ilk I’ve got some issues with its internal logic aesthetic and dialogue but the flaws didn’t keep me from having fun with this extra dimensional adventure.
Taking notes from fellow Avenger Iron Man the story begins with an enthralling event that takes place in a remote desert but quickly jumps back in time to tell the prologue which introduces the audience to the shining kingdom of Asgard and its various champions. Thor (Chris Hemsworth) son of Odin is heir to the throne but is an arrogant overeager and ill-tempered rogue whose aggressive antics threaten a shaky truce between his people and the frost giants of Jotunheim one of the universe’s many realms. Odin (played with aristocratic boldness by Anthony Hopkins) enraged by his son’s blatant disregard of his orders to forgo an assault on their enemies after they attempt to reclaim a powerful artifact banishes the boy to a life among the mortals of Earth leaving Asgard defenseless against the treachery of Loki his mischievous “other son” who’s always felt inferior to Thor. Powerless and confused the disgraced Prince finds unlikely allies in a trio of scientists (Natalie Portman Stellan Skarsgard and Kat Dennings) who help him reclaim his former glory and defend our world from total destruction.
Individually the make-up visual effects CGI production design and art direction are all wondrous to behold but when fused together to create larger-than-life set pieces and action sequences the collaborative result is often unharmonious. I’m not knocking the 3D presentation; unlike 2010’s genre counterpart Clash of the Titans the filmmakers had plenty of time to perfect the third dimension and there are only a few moments that make the decision to convert look like it was a bad one. It’s the unavoidable overload of visual trickery that’s to blame for the frost giants’ icy weaponized constructs and other hybrids of the production looking noticeably artificial. Though there’s some imagery to nitpick the same can’t be said of Thor’s thunderous sound design which is amped with enough wattage to power The Avengers’ headquarters for a century.
Chock full of nods to the comics the screenplay is both a strength and weakness for the film. The story is well sequenced giving the audience enough time between action scenes to grasp the characters motivations and the plot but there are tangential narrative threads that disrupt the focus of the film. Chief amongst them is the frost giants’ fore mentioned relic which is given lots of attention in the first act but has little effect on the outcome. In addition I felt that S.H.I.E.L.D. was nearly irrelevant this time around; other than introducing Jeremy Renner’s Hawkeye the secret security faction just gets in the way of the movie’s momentum.
While most of the comedy crashes and burns there are a few laughs to be found in the film. Most come from star Hemsworth’s charismatic portrayal of the God of Thunder. He plays up the stranger-in-a-strange-land aspect of the story with his cavalier but charming attitude and by breaking all rules of diner etiquette in a particularly funny scene with the scientists whose respective roles as love interest (Portman) friendly father figure (Skarsgaard) and POV character (Dennings) are ripped right out of a screenwriters handbook.
Though he handles the humorous moments without a problem Hemsworth struggles with some of the more dramatic scenes in the movie; the result of over-acting and too much time spent on the Australian soap opera Home and Away. Luckily he’s surrounded by a stellar supporting cast that fills the void. Most impressive is Tom Hiddleston who gives a truly humanistic performance as the jealous Loki. His arc steeped in Shakespearean tragedy (like Thor’s) drums up genuine sympathy that one rarely has for a comic book movie villain.
My grievances with the technical aspects of the production aside Branagh has succeeded in further exploring the Marvel Universe with a film that works both as a standalone superhero flick and as the next chapter in the story of The Avengers. Thor is very much a comic book film and doesn’t hide from the reputation that its predecessors have given the sub-genre or the tropes that define it. Balanced pretty evenly between “serious” and “silly ” its scope is large enough to please fans well versed in the source material but its tone is light enough to make it a mainstream hit.
The 64-year-old writer passed away at a private hospital in Surrey, England, six weeks after he was admitted to treat a bout of viral pneumonia. He is survived by his wife, Sharron, as well as two sons and a daughter.
Only Fools and Horses star Sir David Jason, who played Derek 'Del Boy' Trotter, admitted he was "totally devastated to hear of dear John's death", adding in a statement, "We have lost the country's greatest comedy writer, but he leaves us a great legacy, the gift of laughter. My thoughts at this time are with his lovely family."
John Challis, who starred as Boycie in both Only Fools and Horses and spin-off series The Green Green Grass, tells British radio station BBC 5 Live, "It was a terrible shock for us... because it's the 30th anniversary of Only Fools and Horses, and John has been part of our lives all that time.
"It's been an absolute joy and privilege trying to interpret the writing which not only made you laugh but also made you cry. And he could look at everybody's experiences, even the most tragic experience in people's lives - and still make you smile at them, and make you think things aren't so bad. It's a great loss."
And Roger Lloyd-Pack, who played Trigger in the classic comedy, adds, "He was a craftsman and those lines didn't just fall out. He chiseled them and honed them. And they were very particular."
The star will play Freddie 'The Frog' Robdal in an upcoming Only Fools & Horses spin-off.
Lyndhurst played Trotter in the cult BBC sitcom between 1981 and 2003.
The new prequel will also feature rising Brit talent James Buckley, who will play a young Derek 'Del Boy' Trotter in the 90-minute special, entitled Sex, Drugs & Rock 'n' Chips.
Writer John Sullivan says, "Nick Lyndhurst is a comedy genius and I can't think of anyone better suited to bring the shady but charming Freddie Robdal to life.
"James Buckley has a tough act to follow but (he) is sure to do for leather bomber jackets and winkle-pickers (shoes) what David Jason did for camel-haired coats and cocktail umbrellas!"
Jason was the original Del Boy.
Quadrophenia star Phil Daniels and Kellie Bright will also appear in the special, playing Derek and Rodney's grandfather and mum respectively.
The funnywoman took a break from her movie career to raise her two young daughters Maude, 11, and Iris, six, with director husband Judd Apatow.
But before she threw herself back into acting, she decided to take a refresher course to hone her talents - and found herself practising her skills with the hip-hop star, real name Tariq Trotter.
Mann says, "I took a bit of time off to raise my kids and wanted to freshen up my acting skills so I took an acting class and Tariq was my acting partner. He was really good, he's a really good actor. Danny and the Deep Blue Sea, just a play that we did. I remember he was being very nice and polite.".