Archive for July, 2017

It’s not often you see Kendrick Lamar, Love Island and movies about emojis together in the same sentence – but this has been quite a big week for all three. Here’s a round-up of some entertainment news you may have missed over the past week.

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The final episode of Love Island helped ITV2 reach its biggest ever audience on Monday night. An average of 2.43 million viewers tuned in live to see Kem and Amber crowned the winning couple – a huge figure for the network.

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Female-driven comedy Girls Trip exceeded all expectations at the US box office when it was released last weekend – a fact its star Jada Pinkett Smith puts down to the power of laughter.

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Hollywood stars including Jennifer Lawrence, Angelina Jolie, Emma Stone George Clooney are set to head to this year’s Toronto Film Festival. They’ll be hoping to create an early buzz around their upcoming films going into awards season. Clooney is going to be racking up a lot of air miles, as he’s also heading to the Venice Film Festival.

Former Great British Bake Off hosts Mel and Sue are to host the return of classic BBC show The Generation Game. It has been commissioned for an initial four-episode run, although a launch date has yet to be set.

  • Mel and Sue to host Generation Game
  • ‘I knew Mel would quit Bake Off with me’

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Justin Bieber was involved in a car collision in Beverley Hills. The incident, which injured a photographer, came days after the singer cancelled the remaining dates of his Purpose World Tour because of “unforeseen circumstances”.

  • Justin Bieber’s car hits photographer
  • Bieber apologises after cancelling tour
  • Justin Bieber banned from China

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Channel 4

Winter sports reality TV show The Jump will be taking a “rest” in 2018, Channel 4 said. The broadcaster said the programme had been a “hugely successful brand”, but would not be shown at the same time as the Winter Olympics in South Korea.

  • The Jump dropped by Channel 4 for 2018

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Top Dawg Entertainment

MTV announced its nominations for this year’s Video Music Awards (VMAs), with Kendrick Lamar scoring eight nods for the video to his track Humble.

  • Which of these is the best music video of the year?

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Simpsons’ creator Matt Groening has a new adult animated comedy fantasy series heading to Netflix next year. Disenchantment is set in the crumbling medieval kingdom of Dreamland and according to Groening, is about “life and death, love and sex”.

  • Simpsons’ Groening lands Netflix show

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Neil Krug

Lana Del Rey latest album Lust For Life topped the charts on Friday – her third album to reach the summit in the UK.

  • Lana Del Rey’s rude awakening

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Ray Burmiston

Comedian Jason Manford has become the latest celebrity to land a record deal, following in the footsteps of fellow funny-men Bradley Walsh and Alexander Armstrong.

  • 10 stars you didn’t know released an album

Media captionA rundown of the nominees for this year’s Mercury Music Prize

The nominations for this year’s Mercury Music Prize were announced – with Ed Sheeran and Stormzy recognised for their latest albums.

  • Sheeran vs Grime on Mercury shortlist

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Jennifer Aniston is set to return to TV screens for her first series since Friends wrapped in 2004. She’s starring alongside Reese Witherspoon in a new HBO drama about breakfast TV shows, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

  • Jennifer Aniston to return to TV screens

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The reviews are in – and it’s not looking great for The Emoji Movie, despite it starring the likes of James Corden and Patrick Stewart.

  • Sad face: Emoji Movie gets thumbs down

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With Glastonbury taking a year off in 2018, there’s already one new festival hoping to fill the mud-and-music gap. The BBC has announced plans to host The Biggest Weekend, while Glasto has its traditional fallow year.

  • Glastonbury gap year to be filled by BBC

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Rihanna, Justin Bieber, Christina Aguilera, Justin Timberlake, Taylor Swift, Kanye West

The confetti has been ordered, the wind machines are powered up… now the world’s biggest gig just needs a headliner.

And the rumours have already starting swirling about who might perform at next February’s Super Bowl.

The half-time show is basically the most prestigious live slot in music and normally attracts a worldwide TV audience of 120 million or so.

Only the absolute top artists in the world are invited to perform – with recent headliners including Beyonce, Lady Gaga, Coldplay, Katy Perry, Bruno Mars and Madonna.

So, who could do it next year?

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Britney currently has a residency in Las Vegas

Earlier this month it was reported that Britney Spears was “in talks” to perform – but the stories were swiftly denied.

“I can tell you it’s not Britney,” said Justin Toman, head of sports marketing for main sponsor PepsiCo.

“We’ll reveal in due time,” he added, pointing out that performer “rumours always start around this time”.

Speaking about what’s required of the performance, he said: “In those 12 minutes of the show, someone has to deliver power, punch, performance, singing, lights…. who has the reach, the social following, the album sales, who’s trending, who’s in cycle?”

Let’s take a look at who might be able to tick all those boxes.


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With six studio albums, countless hits and a reputation for putting on a spectacular live show, Pink would have no trouble taking on the Super Bowl.

And eagle-eyed fans have noticed she’s releasing new music this autumn, which would make her a prime candidate for the show in February.

“If Pink is dropping new music in November, performing at the Super Bowl would be perfect for her album cycle,” Perez Hilton said on his podcast this month.

“I do know she’s been asked in the past multiple times, and she’s turned them down multiple times.

“She’s got so many hits, but she’s towards the end of the road as a viable artist and will soon be transitioning to legacy act. Pink has been around for two decades, so I hope she does it now.”

Kanye West

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We admit this one may be a bit of a risk.

We like an unscripted stage rant as much as the next person, but Kanye’s tendency to scrap entire tours or cut shows short after a few songs would leave the Super Bowl’s insurance company a little nervous.

But fans were quick to launch the #KanyeForSuperBowl52 campaign after Lady Gaga’s half-time show earlier this year.

And West’s wife Kim Kardashian seemed on board, retweeting many of the fans in apparent support of the idea.

We’ve had cameo appearances from Nelly and Missy Elliott in previous half-time shows, but could West be the first solo hip-hop artist to headline?

Queen Adam Lambert

Popcrush recently took this very question to their readers, asking who they would like to see perform at the 2018 Super Bowl.

Out of a huge multiple choice list which included Kylie and Jennifer Lopez, there was one very clear winner: Queen and Adam Lambert.

The band have been touring with the singer for several years now and have played to sold-out venues around the world.

Fortunately, Queen also have the odd couple of hits to their name. Together with Adam Lambert’s electric stage presence, we wouldn’t bet against this.

Christina Aguilera

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Since Britney appeared to be in the frame this year, it’d only be fair to consider her early noughties counterpart.

Christina Aguilera certainly has enough hit songs to fill a show. Crucially, though, she’s also got a voice that can really deliver in a stadium setting.

In 2015, she proved as much by belting out the national anthem at the event before the game started (although she got in a bit of a tangle with the lyrics).

Christina may not have a high profile in the UK anymore, apart from when she’s referenced as Quiz Team Aguilera during every pub quiz you’ve ever been to.

But she’s still very well-known in the US – particularly as a TV personality, thanks to her role as a coach on The Voice for six of its 12 seasons.

One of the Justins

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Justin Timberlake would be a fine choice, as long as he promises no “wardrobe malfunctions” this time around.

With a bit of luck he might bring out *NSync instead, in a similar vein to Beyonce briefly reuniting with Destiny’s Child at the half-time show in 2013.

Timberlake faces tough competition for the slot though, as there’s been a new Justin in town for several years now.

But in the event that Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is unavailable, we’d also settle for Bieber, whose back catalogue would be a joy to hear in the middle of a sports match.

In addition to his own solo hits, he’s been going in a more dancey direction recently, collaborating with the likes of David Guetta on songs that would suit the Super Bowl down to the pitch.


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It’s become traditional in recent years for the half-time show performers to bring on guests during their sets.

Katy Perry had Missy Elliott, Coldplay had Beyonce and Janet Jackson had Justin Timberlake… although that one was a bit dull and uneventful.

Can you imagine the sheer multitude of special guests Rihanna would have to choose from if she were headlining?

DJ Khaled, Drake, Calvin Harris, Eminem, Kendrick, Shakira, Nicki Minaj, Coldplay and so many more could all be potentially enlisted for cameo appearances.

Adele or Ed Sheeran

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We haven’t had a British headliner in a while – The Who were the last in 2010 – so now would be a good time with two of the world’s top music stars hailing from the UK.

But would Adele or Ed Sheeran really be right for a show that is so much about the spectacle?

Adele doesn’t exactly have a huge number of upbeat party jams to her name, while Ed Sheeran had a few sceptics when he headlined Glastonbury this year.

The Independent said he was “one of the least satisfying headliners in recent memory”, putting it down to his lack of “charisma” and the fact he performed completely on his own without any band or dancers.

Both artists are huge in the US, so it’s not totally impossible. Realistically, though, the thought of 65,000 excitable football fans jigging to Galway Girl may be a bit too much to hope for.

Taylor Swift

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Taylor is another performer who is likely to have new music to promote by early next year, which would make the Super Bowl an ideal fit.

She’s been keeping a low profile recently, so there would be the potential for this to be a comeback of epic proportions.

“I think I should take some time off. I think people might need a break from me,” she said in 2015, adding: “I’m like this close to over-exposure.”

Well, Taylor, we think your gap yah has gone on quite long enough now to be honest – so keep a Blank Space in your diary around February time.

Foo Fighters

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Dave Grohl Inc. are still on a high after a hugely successful Glastonbury headline slot earlier this summer.

The Super Bowl organisers do seem to love a good rock set – with Bruce Springsteen and the Rolling Stones among performers over the years.

But the last few have been quite pop-oriented, so the timing could now be right for some tattooed men playing heavy guitar.

More importantly, think how glorious Grohl’s hair would look against the force of a Super Bowl wind machine.

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A Bonhams' employee adjusting a version of Banksy's Balloon GirlImage copyright

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Banksy’s Balloon Girl was voted as the nation’s favourite in the poll

Banksy’s mural of a girl letting go of a heart-shaped balloon has been voted the nation’s favourite artwork.

The image, which was daubed onto a London shop 15 years ago, was chosen above the likes of Constable’s Hay Wain and Jack Vettriano’s Singing Butler.

Some 2,000 people chose their favourite artwork from a shortlist of 20 works drawn up by arts editors and writers.

The Fighting Temeraire, by JMW Turner, and Antony Gormley’s The Angel Of The North sculpture completed the top five.

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In second place was John Constable’s 1821 landscape The Hay Wain

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Jack Vettriano’s 1992 painting, The Singing Butler, came third

Banksy, an anonymous street artist from Bristol, painted the Balloon Girl onto the wall of a printing shop in Shoreditch in 2002.

A decade later a version of the image, painted onto cardboard, sold at auction for £73,250.

Then in 2014 the original stencil mural was removed from the wall of the shop to be exhibited and then sold.

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In fourth place was JMW Turner’s The Fighting Temeraire

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Antony Gormley’s 1998 sculpture The Angel Of The North completed the top five

The poll, carried out by Samsung, results in full:

  1. Banksy; Balloon Girl
  2. John Constable; The Hay Wain
  3. Jack Vettriano; The Singing Butler
  4. JMW Turner; The Fighting Temeraire
  5. Antony Gormley; The Angel of the North
  6. L S Lowry; Going to the Match
  7. John William Waterhouse; The Lady of Shalott
  8. Peter Blake; Sgt Pepper album cover
  9. Hipgnosis and George Hardie; Dark Side of the Moon album cover
  10. George Stubbs; Mares and Foals
  11. Thomas Gainsborough; Mr and Mrs Andrews
  12. John Everett Millais; Ophelia
  13. Andy Goldsworthy; Balanced Rock Misty
  14. David Hockney; A Bigger Splash
  15. Bridget Riley; Movement in Squares
  16. Anish Kapoor; ArcelorMittal Orbit
  17. Stik; A Couple Hold Hands in the Street
  18. Maggi Hambling; Scallop
  19. Henry Moore; Reclining Figure
  20. Jamie Reid; Never Mind the Bollocks album cover

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Arundhati RoyImage copyright
Hamish Hamilton

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The Ministry of Utmost Happiness is Roy’s first work of long-form fiction since 1997

Arundhati Roy’s long-awaited second novel has made the longlist for the Man Booker Prize – 20 years after winning the award with her first.

The Ministry of Utmost Happiness is one of 13 novels longlisted for the £50,000 prize, which is now in its 49th year.

Two British Smiths, Ali and Zadie, also make the cut, as do first-time authors Emily Fridlund and Fiona Mozley.

The longlist includes four US writers, one year on from the prize going to its first American recipient.

They include veteran writer Paul Auster, recognised – at the age of 70 – for 4 3 2 1, his first novel in seven years.

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Paul Auster was born in 1947 and lives in New York

American writers have been eligible for the prize since 2014, a move labelled “daft” by 2011 winner Julian Barnes.

Colson Whitehead, George Saunders and Fridlund make up the rest of the US contingent, while Mozley and Jon McGregor complete the quartet of UK contenders.

The longlist is completed by two Irish authors – Sebastian Barry and Mike McCormack – and two novelists who were born in Pakistan, Mohsin Hamid and Kamila Shamsie.

The list was chosen from 144 submissions published in the UK between 1 October 2016 and 30 September 2017.

2017 Man Booker Prize longlist

  • Paul Auster, 4 3 2 1
  • Sebastian Barry, Days Without End
  • Emily Fridlund, History of Wolves
  • Mohsin Hamid, Exit West
  • Mike McCormack, Solar Bones
  • Jon McGregor, Reservoir 13
  • Fiona Mozley, Elmet
  • Arundhati Roy, The Ministry of Utmost Happiness
  • George Saunders, Lincoln in the Bardo
  • Kamila Shamsie, Home Fire
  • Ali Smith, Autumn
  • Zadie Smith, Swing Time
  • Colson Whitehead, The Underground Railroad

Indian author Roy won the Booker in 1997 with her best-selling debut novel The God of Small Things.

Her second novel, published in June, is described by the Booker judges as “a rich and vital book [that] comes from the bowels of India”.

Barry’s longlisted book, Days Without End, saw the author become the first novelist to win the Costa Book of the Year prize twice.

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Ali Smith and Zadie Smith have been shortlisted for the Booker but have yet to win it

The 62-year-old has been shortlisted for the Booker before, as have Ali Smith, Zadie Smith and Mohsin Hamid.

Baroness Lola Young, chair of the 2017 judging panel, said the 13 books “showcased a diverse spectrum – not only of voices and literary styles but of protagonists too”.

This year’s list of contenders has a ratio of seven men to six women – the same gender split as last year’s longlist.

A six-strong shortlist will be announced on 13 September, ahead of the winning book being announced on 17 October.

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Jim Cartwright Drama Studio

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Jim Cartwright (centre) leading an exercise with one of his drama groups

From Dame Julie Walters to David Morrissey, many top showbusiness names have voiced concerns about a lack of working class actors. Now leading playwright Jim Cartwright is doing something to fix the problem.

There is a “quiet revolution” taking place in acting, Cartwright says. And it is happening in a fitness studio above a charity shop on Chorley High Street in Lancashire.

This is where Cartwright, whose plays include The Rise and Fall of Little Voice and Road, holds three drama classes every Sunday. On Saturdays, he takes over a room in a Methodist church in Manchester.

He started the classes in 2015 after reading comments from Dame Julie, who said she would not be able to afford to become an actress if she was starting out again.

“It made me really cross because I’m from a working class background,” he says.

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L to R: Tom Hiddleston (Eton), Eddie Redmayne (Eton), Benedict Cumberbatch (Harrow)

Reading articles about shrinking opportunities made him “like a bull with a sore head”, he says. So his wife told him: “Don’t get angry. Do something.”

He took her advice and set up the drama studio with the aim of bringing through more working class talent, advertising his services in his local fish and chip shop.

“I got a little card saying ‘drama studio’ and stuck it on a chippy wall. And I waited. And they came, and they came, and they keep coming.”

Two years later, he has five classes in the two locations and has set up a talent agency to represent the budding stars. There is also a youth group.

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Ian Kay

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Jolene Rathmill has found it hard to progress in the acting profession

The adult class members range from people who have never set foot on stage to jobbing actors who are honing their skills. There are students, retired people, a few teachers, a former policeman, a fireplace salesman.

Jolene Rathmill, 38, from Oldham, works for financial advisers and runs confidence and self-esteem workshops in schools.

She says: “When I first started, Jim got me an agent and wrote something about me, saying he’s worked with some of the top actresses in the world and that I have the potential to be that. He sees that in me. That’s my ambition, 100%.”

However, she thinks she is at a disadvantage because she hasn’t been to a prestigious drama school.

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Cartwright’s groups are rehearsing for their next showcase in Manchester

“I grew up on a council estate. We had chicken wire between our gardens and a tyre swinging in our back garden,” she says.

“I feel that having not attended a professional, recognised drama school, initially you’re right at the bottom of the hierarchy. There’s a hierarchy of agents, and the top agents get the top castings, and further down the line if they want a real working class actor they might call people in.

“But it’s very rare, so you’re climbing, climbing, climbing” – she mimes climbing a ladder – “trying to get there. And it just doesn’t happen.”

Cartwright’s efforts come as privately educated actors like Eddie Redmayne, Benedict Cumberbatch, Tom Hiddleston and Damian Lewis seem to have taken over the TV, film and theatre landscape.

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Cartwright made his name writing Road, which was filmed for the BBC in 1987

Last year, The Sutton Trust found that 42% of the winners in three main Bafta award categories had gone to people from private schools, while Sky News recently calculated that 45% of the BBC’s best-paid stars were also privately educated.

Also in 2016, researchers found that 16% of actors came from working class backgrounds – half the level of the population as a whole – and that the British acting profession was “heavily skewed towards the privileged.”

The Labour Party is now conducting its own investigation into opportunities for working class actors, with a report due to be published soon.

Cartwright has turned drama teacher after more than 30 years as one of the most vital voices in British theatre. His debut play Road is currently back at the Royal Court in London, where it launched his career in 1986.

He has also acted in TV shows like The Village, From Darkness and Coronation Street.

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Cartwright is an acclaimed writer, actor, director – and now drama teacher

With the Cartwright Drama Studio, he hopes to replicate the “explosion of energy and talent” that came with the Kitchen Sink movement of the 1950s. That was fading by the 1980s, he says, when he noticed “the floppy fringe coming back”.

He says: “I’d never say it’s been an even playing field, but when I started out it was more even. But I’ve seen it change. I’ve seen it tilt.”

His students come from all sections of society. Some would identify as working class, some wouldn’t. But he believes the mindset is what sets his studio apart.

‘We’re a quiet revolution – and we’re coming’

“The working class thing is an attitude. It’s a burning, it’s a feeling inside,” Cartwright says. “That’s what came in the ’50s. It wasn’t just that they were from a particular area or a particular economic strata.

“They carried with them a certain fire. That’s what we’re building in the classes. We’re not just classes – we’re a bit of a movement really and we’re a quiet revolution.

“And we’re coming. If you won’t let us through the doors, we’re coming over the walls and through the stalls. We’re coming in. It’s time. And anyone out there who feels the same as I do, join us, because it’s time for change in theatre. It really is time for change.

“Not that there’s not great work that goes on. There’s fantastic work and fantastic people working in this business. But something’s died that we’re reviving.”

Cartwright brings casting directors and agents to see his students perform at regular showcases. Some have won small film and TV roles and are working on their own theatre shows and short films. There are no stars yet – but he is sure some have the talent to go all the way.

“Some of the people who come to these classes are just amazing, and it’s criminal that they’re not working in the highest levels of this industry,” he says.

The class members include Darren Scott, 55, who worked as an actor for seven years before the work dried up. So he has spent the past 20 years as a primary school teacher. For him, attending the Cartwright Drama Studio has rekindled his performing career.

“I was in the very first showcase that Jim directed, and through that I got an agent, and I had an audition with Mike Leigh for his new feature film. And after three recalls, I was lucky enough to be offered a part. That’s a direct result of coming here and working with Jim.”

At the age of 19, Emma Heyes has studied acting at college and is attending the classes in preparation for auditioning for drama school. In the meantime, she’s working on the checkouts at Tesco.

She has already had enough acting experience to know her accent puts her at a disadvantage.

“I have to learn accents, otherwise I won’t get work,” she explains. “I think I’ve only ever done one play where I’ve used my actual accent, and I’ve done a lot of plays.

“I’ve been into the top drama schools in the UK and they look at you as the novelty northerner in the corner.”

As part of the training, Cartwright tasks the group members with writing and performing monologues. He recommends one by 38-year-old Scott Brerton.

Brerton reads it and it is a bittersweet tale of trying to remember what happened on a big night out. It is exactly the sharp, funny, full-of-life voice that Cartwright is trying to encourage.

Brerton had not acted before he started coming to the classes six months ago. He has now been for his first audition and won his first role, performing in a three-night play in Liverpool last month.

“I don’t think I would have been able to do it or have had the confidence to do it without coming here and having that weekly inspiration and driving motivation by Jim,” he says.

It is early days for all concerned, and the “quiet revolution” may end with a whimper or a roar.

At any rate, Cartwright is on a mission to make it happen. In fact. he’s throwing the kitchen sink at it.

The next Cartwright Drama Studio showcase is at the Palace Theatre, Manchester, on 31 July. Road runs at the Royal Court in London until 9 September.

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Jay-Z, Miley Cyrus and Harry Styles will perform as part of Radio 1′s Live Lounge Month in September.

Also on the line-up are The Killers, Lorde and Chris Martin from Coldplay.

They join previously announced acts Foo Fighters, Royal Blood and Rag ‘n’ Bone Man.

As part of the station’s 50th anniversary, the acts will play live versions of their own tracks as well as cover versions from across the last 50 years.

Miley Cyrus
Foo Fighters

The performances will take place every weekday from 1 to 29 September.

The first session will see Foo Fighters play an extended session from their studio in LA.

This will be followed by Live Lounge Specials every Friday of the month from Pink, Miley Cyrus and Jay-Z.

Other names performing throughout the month include George Ezra, Stormzy, Royal Blood and The xx.

Warning: Third party content, may contain ads

The month will come to an end with a concert played by an unconfirmed special guest.

Last year, The 1975 closed Live Lounge Month with a show at Blackpool Tower with the BBC Philharmonic.

Clara Amfo, host of Radio 1′s Live Lounge, said: “This year’s Live Lounge Month has me more excited for our listeners than ever.

“From LA back to our studios in the UK, there is 50 great years of Radio 1 to celebrate with all of the artists and I can’t wait for it to kick off!”

live lounge month

The Radio 1 Live Lounges taking place this September are:

1 September: Foo Fighters (Live Lounge Special)

4 September: Chris Martin of Coldplay

5 September: The Script

6 September: The xx

7 September: 30 Seconds To Mars

8 September: Pink (Live Lounge Special)

11 September: The Killers

12 September: London Grammar

13 September: Harry Styles

14 September: Stormzy

15 September: Miley Cyrus (Live Lounge Special)

18 September: Rita Ora

19 September: Wolf Alice

20 September: George Ezra

21 September: Rag ‘N’ Bone Man

22 September: Jay-Z (Live Lounge Special)

25 September: Craig David

26 September: Royal Blood

27 September: Rudimental with James Arthur

28 September: Lorde

29 September: Concert with special guest

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Jodie Whittaker in Trust MeImage copyright
BBC/Red/Mark Mainz

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Jodie Whittaker in Trust Me

Before she takes over the lead role in Doctor Who, Jodie Whittaker will be appearing on our screens as a very different doctor… and a fake one at that.

In BBC One thriller Trust Me, Whittaker plays Cath Hardacre, a nurse who loses her job after she turns whistle-blower.

Wanting to provide a better life for her young daughter, she steals her best friend’s identity as a senior doctor and lands a job in an Edinburgh hospital (a colleague amusingly describes the AE department as “like Braveheart with bad-tempered pensioners”.)

Armed with her nursing knowledge and some medical textbooks, Cath sets out to bluff her way as an experienced emergency medic.

Of course, it doesn’t all go smoothly. Trust Me contains several squirm-inducing scenes of medical procedures that don’t go by the book

An early encounter sees her straighten a man’s broken foot having forgotten to give him an anaesthetic. Imagine the screams.

Then there’s a heart-stopping – and heart-breaking – sequence involving the victims of a car crash.

“There was blood squirting everywhere,” says Whittaker, at a press screening that was held before the recent announcement she was to replace Peter Capaldi in Doctor Who.

Media captionNew Doctor Who star Jodie Whittaker’s former roles

Like her character in Trust Me, the blood is of course fake, but that doesn’t make it any less excruciating to watch.

“The prosthetics were amazing,” Whittaker adds. “And there were phenomenal actors coming in and committing to the sound of pain.”

‘It’s not that hard to fake it’

Trust Me was written by Dan Sefton, a real-life AE doctor, whose other TV writing includes Good Karma Hospital and Mr Selfridge.

“I think there are loads of people who aren’t real doctors,” says Sefton, somewhat chillingly.

“It’s not that hard to fake it if you have some qualifications. Part of this thing is that people don’t ask too many questions. We set this deliberately in a place that was on the periphery and struggling to recruit.”

Sefton also reveals that there had once been a case of a bogus doctor working in his own hospital.

“He only got found out through some administrative thing, because he was actually pretty competent,” he recalls.

“Often these doctors are very professional and get along very well with their colleagues. The only flaw is that they aren’t real doctors.”

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BBC/Red/Mark Mainz

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Writer Dan Sefton, who is also a practicing doctor, talked Jodie Whittaker through medical procedures

As well as writing the tense hospital scenes, Sefton also helped give the actors some medical training.

That included teaching Whittaker how to insert a needle into his own arm.

“I got it in your vein first time,” the Broadchurch actress notes proudly. “But I forgot to put the cap on and you started bleeding, which was a bit of a panic!”

Whittaker says she was fine with the “physical and emotional stuff” that the script demanded. “The thing I struggled most with – and that comes from failing over half my GCSEs – was the pronunciation of medicines.”

The rest of the cast includes Emun Elliott as an AE doctor, Sharon Small as the consultant in charge, and Inbetweeners star Blake Harrison as Cath’s ex-boyfriend and father of their daughter.

Whittaker describes herself as big fan of the NHS. “You don’t have to be rich to be poorly,” she says. “There are obviously problems – we all read the news – but I feel that the thing you want to celebrate is the day-to-day people: The doctors and nurses.”

Sefton admits that what fascinates him is WHY people pretend to be doctors.

“Men almost always do it for egotistical reasons,” he says. “They are often fantasists. They want to be somebody who is impressive.

“Women tend to do it more much more practical, interesting reasons. That’s one of the reasons I chose a female protagonist for this drama.

“I was much more interested in looking at how the act of lying changes someone who is an essentially honest person.”

Trust Me begins on Tuesday 8 August on BBC One.

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Tom Chambers on Strictly Come Dancing

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Chambers won the 2008 series of Strictly with partner Camilla Dallerup

Actor Tom Chambers has said he feels “mortified” after receiving criticism for comments in which he appeared to support men being paid more than women.

“I in no way advocate the gender pay gap,” he said, claiming his remarks had been “taken out of context”.

Chambers faced a social media backlash after claiming men’s salaries should be higher as they had families to support.

The actor also said his Casualty co-star Derek Thompson deserved to be the BBC’s highest-paid actor.

“It’s like being a footballer – you earn your credits,” he was quoted as saying at a book launch.

“I’ve just done six months on Casualty, but Derek has done 31 years of service.”

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The former Strictly winner appears alongside Derek Thompson in Casualty

“My wife works really hard as a stay-at-home mum, but I’m the only one bringing in a salary for our family,” he reportedly went on to say.

“Many men’s salaries aren’t just for them, it’s for their wife and children, too.”

Thompson’s salary was among those disclosed in the BBC’s annual report, which highlighted a disparity between what the corporation’s male and female celebrities are paid.

“I am completely mortified by the stories that have run today and didn’t mean to offend anyone by my comments,” Chambers told the Press Association on Tuesday.

“I was explaining that I thought it had stemmed from that past, and shouldn’t be how things are now.

“I truly believe that change needs to happen.”

Chambers, a former winner of Strictly Come Dancing, plays Sam Strachan on Casualty and its sister show Holby City.

His comments come amid continued debate about the BBC’s pay disclosures and the wider issue of gender pay disparity.

Others to have commented on the subject include:

  • BBC journalist Rachel Burden, who wrote in The Guardian that the corporation had “a responsibility to set the standard” while accepting her 5 live breakfast co-host Nicky Campbell deserved his £400,000 pay packet because he had “a much greater public profile”.
  • Actress Dame Julie Walters, who told Good Housekeeping that “equal pay was the answer” to inequality in the acting industry and beyond. “It’s good that we’re talking about it. It should be out there,” said the Harry Potter star.

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MTV has announced its nominations for this year’s Video Music Awards (VMAs), with Kendrick Lamar scoring eight nods for the video to his track Humble.

It’s up for the coveted video of the year prize, won in previous years by the likes of Beyonce for Formation, Taylor Swift for Bad Blood and Miley Cyrus for Wrecking Ball.

Here’s a look at the five contenders.

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Top Dawg Entertainment

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Kendrick Lamar – Humble

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Atlantic Records

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Bruno Mars – 24K Magic

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Def Jam

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Alessia Cara – Scars To Your Beautiful

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Epic Records

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DJ Khaled ft Rihanna Bryson Tiller – Wild Thoughts

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The Weeknd – Reminder

Following on from MTV’s Movie and TV Awards, the VMAs has scrapped its best female and best male video categories in favour of a new gender neutral award for artist of the year.

It’s also introduced another new category – best fight against the system – to celebrate video that inspire viewers to stand up and fight injustice.

The nominees in that category are:

  • Logic ft. Damian Lemar Hudson – Black SpiderMan
  • The Hamilton Mixtape – Immigrants (We Get the Job Done)
  • Big Sean – Light
  • Alessia Cara – Scars To Your Beautiful
  • Taboo ft. Shailene Woodley – Stand Up / Stand N Rock #NoDAPL
  • John Legend – Surefire

Among the British nominees include Ed Sheeran, who’s up for three awards including artist of the year, best pop for Shape of You and best cinematography for Castle on the Hill.

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Ed Sheeran – Castle on the Hill

Harry Styles’s Sign of the Times is also up for two awards, while Coldplay, Calvin Harris and former One Directioner Zayn Malik are also nominated.

Fans can vote for their favourites across eight categories including video of the year, artist of the year and best collaboration on the MTV website.

You can see a full list of nominations here.

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Lana Del ReyImage copyright
Neil Krug

Lana Del Rey is in a good mood.

She’s just been in the studio with Radio 1′s Nick Grimshaw, trying to make him giggle while he goes about some serious radio presenting business; and she’s daydreaming about her favourite UK delicacy – a sandwich from Pret.

When she discovers she’s in the same building as the BBC newsroom, the star politely asks for a guided tour.

“I never get to do stuff like this,” marvels the singer, as she walks wide-eyed past the studios and satellite feeds.

In this context, Del Rey is oddly anonymous. Jane Hill, who is preparing to read the lunchtime news on BBC One, doesn’t even look up when the superstar squeezes past her desk.

It’s a rare luxury for someone who’s followed by paparazzi and the all-seeing cameras of TMZ when she’s at home in California.

Media captionHighlights of Lana Del Rey’s performance at Radio 1′s Big Weekend 2017

She addresses the lack of privacy on her new album, Lust For Life, where a song called 13 Beaches finds Del Rey searching for a spot “past Ventura and lenses plenty” where she can enjoy a romantic moment in seclusion.

When we sit down to chat, she reveals those same concerns stopped her attending the women’s marches in Los Angeles, earlier this year.

“I drove my sister and her girlfriends to the marches,” she says. “I thought about [joining in] but I felt, like, not really sure how it would go.

“I didn’t really want to be a distraction to that group of 10 girls who were going. I wanted them to think about the actual march and not about me standing right next to them.”

But the star is making her contribution in other ways. A new song, God Bless America And All The Beautiful Women In It, is an ode to womankind (“may you stand proud and strong”); while Coachella – Woodstock In My Mind, mines the contradictions of dancing at a festival “whilst watching tensions with North Korea mount”.

It’s a new dimension for Del Rey’s lyrics – which have traditionally concerned themselves with “looking for love in all the wrong places”.

“I kind of got jolted into the real world again,” she says.

“Just being in California, it’s such a liberal state, I was bombarded with the news every day. So my studio became like a think tank – during the elections it was a constant conversation with my producer and engineers and assistant engineers.

“And then obviously during Coachella, that news broke about North Korea and pointing missiles at each other. That was a bit of a rude awakening.”

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Getty Images

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Lust For Life sees Lana questioning America’s place in the world

Del Rey’s work rate is astonishing. Lust For Life is her fifth album in six years – and it bursts at the seams, with 16 tracks, all co-written with her longtime producer Rick Nowels.

They record everything at his studio in Santa Monica, just blocks away from the beach, so it “never feels like work,” says the star.

“Just walking in every day and having a coffee together and taking a walk, and then we start.

“So it doesn’t ever feel like I’m pumping them [the songs] out. Although it’s definitely a blessing that I’ve been able to put out so much music.”

On Lust For Life, the singer has opened up musically, as well as lyrically. The title track is a pulse-raising duet with The Weeknd, while Summer Bummer almost self-destructs, dissolving into digital noise and blacked-out beats, with Lana’s vocals barely holding the song together.

She’s also welcomed collaborators into her world for the first time – absorbing them into her aesthetic, rather than capitalising on chart trends.

“It was really fun!” she says of working with A$AP Rocky and The Weeknd. “I wanted those guys to add a little fire, a little energy to the record.”

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Interscope Records

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The Lust For Life video finds Lana and The Weeknd sharing a romantic evening on top of the Hollywood sign

More daunting was inviting rock legend Stevie Nicks to duet on Beautiful People, Beautiful Problems.

“I was definitely nervous,” says Del Rey of the recording session.

“She got off the plane at 10:30, so she didn’t get to the studio until midnight – and she just breezed in, black on black, gold everywhere. She was kind of a vision.

“When she started singing, she told me she wanted to hear me sing something, too. And then I really freaked out!

“I said to her over the mic, ‘I just sound so quiet compared to you.’ And she was like, ‘That’s ok, you can be my little echo!’

“I thought that was so cool. I’m not as loud as her. My voice isn’t as low as hers. But she loves it for what it is.

“That, as it was happening, was a career-defining moment for me.”

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Neil Krug

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The star’s hits include Video Games, Born To Die, High By The Beach and Ultraviolence

Other songs on the album had a more troubled gestation. Del Rey says the closing track, Get Free, originally had a different title, and much more personal lyrics.

“That song started out really revealing,” she says. “I wanted to summarise my whole experience over the last six years; and then I realised, I don’t want to reveal everything.”

Once the initial version was “out of my system”, she says, the recording was “deleted completely then started from scratch”.

The lyrics became more vague and more hopeful; and the re-recorded version ends with Del Rey referencing Neil Young: “I want to move out of the black, into the blue”.

“I think it would have been hard for me to do interviews if I’d said a couple of particular things that I was thinking of,” she says of the original.

“Kind of the way Ultraviolence did. It was harder to promote that record.”

She’s referring to the title track of her second album, which depicted Del Rey in a destructive, abusive relationship. Del Rey has previously hinted the song refers to her association with an “underground sect” in New York, which was controlled by a charismatic guru.

In concert, she has recently stopped singing the song’s key line, “he hit me and it felt like a kiss”.

“I don’t feel comfortable with that lyric any more,” she says now. “Whatever my concept of affection was at the time, it does not serve me any more. Obviously. Hopefully.”

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Getty Images

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Lana’s fanbase is particularly devoted – she leaves most shows carrying armfuls of bouquets

On Lust For Life she seems happier, more outward-looking than before. On stage, she’s more confident, too.

Launching the album at a one-off gig in London, she’s forced to abandon her performance of the opening track, Love.

Earlier in her career, she might have frozen. Now, she just sings it a capella, with the crowd stepping in as her own personal choir.

“I’m not exactly sure what happened, but I think my keyboard player was playing the wrong chords,” she explains. “I was leaning in to him and saying, ‘That’s not it, that’s not it’ and he was like, ‘That is it, trust me’.

“I listened for 10 seconds and I was like, ‘Damn, I definitely can’t get it’. I couldn’t get it in rehearsal, either. So I just told him to stop. I feel bad – I was kind of abrasive.

“But that song is at the heart of the record and I thought it’d be weird if I didn’t do it. So, luckily the people who were at the show knew the words and they sang along with me.”

She listens with glee to a recording of the song – explaining how, because she wears in-ear headphones, she hadn’t realised how loud the crowd had been.

“I’m so glad,” she says. “Being in the audience, did you feel that, too?”

I tell her it was like being in church. “Oh, stop!” she beams, and bursts into laughter.

That good mood isn’t going anywhere soon.

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