Archive for August, 2017


Johnny Vaughan and Denise van OutenImage copyright
PA

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The pair were briefly reunited in 2008 on Capital Radio’s breakfast show

Denise van Outen has revealed the real reason she fell out with former Big Breakfast co-host Johnny Vaughan – pay.

The pair were close but Denise told ITV’s Loose Women show the friendship broke down when she found out he was renegotiating his contract separately.

“It was mainly to do with pay. The view was that I did other things outside of presenting… that I already had another side to my career.”

She said the row was the reason that she left the Channel 4 show in 1999.

Johnny has made no comment regarding Denise’s explanation.

“At that particular time (the 90s), we were literally like brother and sister, we were best friends, unbreakable,” Denise told the Loose Women panel.

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The pair also fronted shows on the BBC together

“The whole relationship fell apart when we started to renegotiate our contracts because I always felt that we worked together as a team and that is how it should be.

“I know there were other influences involved and agents and everything but he was negotiating his contract separately from me, which I found out,” she said.

She added that the friendship then felt “tarnished”, which led her to leave the show.

“I knew at that point it would never be the same in that working environment.”

At its peak, The Big Breakfast attracted two million viewers per episode.

Van Outen said: “Obviously I gave it a second go but a similar thing happened again (she returned for a short time in an ill-fated attempt to boost flagging ratings). It’s hard because I loved him so much and I still do.

“I could still be angry about it now, but I have seen him since and, whenever I see him, because I love him so much and he makes me laugh so much, more than anyone I’ve ever met, I just forget about it.

“We were really, really good friends, I just don’t know if it would ever be the same again.”

Vaughan now presents the drivetime show on Radio X.


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Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-40939023

Deadpool and The Walking DeadImage copyright
Fox / AMC

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Stunt performers have died while filming Deadpool 2 and The Walking Dead

Two stunt performers have died during filming in North America in the past few weeks, but how dangerous a profession were they in and what regulations are there to protect people?

A stuntwoman was killed in a motorcycle accident earlier this week while filming Deadpool 2 in the Canadian city of Vancouver.

Eyewitnesses said Joi SJ Harris had lost control of the bike, jumped a kerb and crashed into a building.

Her death follows that of stuntman John Bernecker, who died after suffering a fall on the set of The Walking Dead.

The accidents have prompted questions about the profession and what safeguards are in place to protect stunt performers in the film industry.

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Getty Images

In the UK, stunt co-ordinators and performers can apply to join the Joint Industry Stunt Committee (JISC) register.

There are three levels of membership – probationary, intermediate and full. Each has various required competencies and it can take up to seven years to reach the top.

Stunt co-ordinator and performer Tony Christian told the BBC: “People on the register have chosen to do this as a career, as opposed to being someone who just wants to have a go at stunts or a daredevil.”

To move up the levels, members have to prove they have taken on a variety of work in the industry so they can demonstrate the skills to perform in different situations.

Before being listed in the register, however, applicants have to provide evidence of their stunt performance skills as well as their knowledge and application of health and safety rules.

They need qualifications to the appropriate standard in six or more categories, with at least one in the Fighting group.


Stunt categories

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  • Group A: Fighting (categories: martial arts and boxing)
  • Group B: Falling (categories: trampolining and high diving)
  • Group C: Riding and Driving (categories: horse riding, cars and motorcycles)
  • Group D: Agility and Strength (categories: gymnastics and rock climbing)
  • Group E: Water (categories: swimming and sub aqua)

Source: Equity


The register is the only authorised directory of stunt artists based in the UK and it is advisable for people to be members to be employed, although not a legal requirement.

Christian said: “Being on the register promotes good sense and although you don’t have to be part of the register to be a performer, we always try and persuade productions to make the stunt register their first call when crewing stunts for a feature or television programme.”

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Getty Images

A spokesman for the British Action Academy (BAA) added: “While the vast majority of successful stunt performers have trained and joined the stunt register, some performers have had successful careers specialising in certain stunt areas, such as stunt driving, without training for the stunt register. However, this is a much tougher route and can be very hard to gain contacts.”

The recent accidents have brought the issue of safety to the fore once again. It is clearly impossible to guarantee 100% safety in any stunt work but many safeguards are in place.

The BAA spokesman told the BBC: “Professional stunts on film and TV productions are invariably well planned and rehearsed and the crew’s top priority in any stunt is safety – not only for the performer but for any spectators, cast and crew around the stunt.

“It’s the stunt co-ordinator’s job to ensure the stunt is risk assessed and with the help of his team and the crew, to ensure it is rehearsed as often as possible for the performer to feel safe and confident in their action.”

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Getty Images

By their very nature, stunts are dangerous but what safety measures are taken during scenes like car chases and fights?

“On a basic level, precautions can include using experienced stunt performers, specially adapted stunt cars, full padding and helmets for the drivers and road closures to protect the public,” the BAA spokesman continued.

“When it comes to stunts involving knives and swords, these weapons should be props designed to look as real as possible so they will not be sharp.

Driving cages

“Sharp weapons should only be used for close-ups. If needed, stunt performers can wear padding to protect themselves.”

He added: “In most cases, the main elements of high-octane stunts are real. You will have real cars with stunt drivers chasing down real streets.

“Obviously, there are clever camera tricks to make it look like a car is travelling at 100 mph, where in reality it can be travelling much slower. Driving cages can be put on the top of cars, controlling the car from the roof by a stunt driver, to make it look like the actor in the car is driving.

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Driving cages – such as this one, used for BBC drama The Interceptor – allow the person on top to drive the car

“There are many effects with CGI that will enhance the scene but in most cases, these stunts are real.”

Real they may be – but it is not always possible to successfully shoot a dangerous scene first time.

Christian says: “The risk increases the more you do it and you try to limit the number of takes that are done, but sometimes factors like the cameraman missing the shot, the lighting going amiss or the director not being happy with how the shot turned out can affect things.

“Occasionally you can have a one-take wonder, but usually at the most it would be done two or three times.”

While most stunts are performed by the professionals, some actors prefer to do their own.

However, they are in the minority as the BAA spokesman explains: “There are many reasons why most actors don’t perform their own stunts. One reason would be that action can be shot on a second unit and an actor may be needed at the same time on the main unit, so they can’t be in two places at once!

“Another reason would be the safety of the actor. If a lead actor is injured in any way, this can become a costly issue for production and they will not what to put anyone’s life in danger. Actors are much more physical these days and some do like to participate in certain stunts, if it’s deemed safe to do so.”


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Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-40935890

Taylor Swift singing on stage in Austin, Texas, in 2016Image copyright
AFP

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“My hope is to help those whose voices should also be heard,” Taylor Swift says

US pop singer Taylor Swift has won a civil case against an ex-DJ who she said grabbed her bottom during a pre-concert photo opportunity in 2013.

The case has grabbed headlines for the star’s bold testimony in court, and emphasis that she wanted to fight the case not just for herself but for all women who are victimised.

Here are four reasons why it’s significant.

1. It highlighted the underreporting of sexual assault

The 2013 incident only became public in 2015 when radio personality David Mueller- who lost his job after Ms Swift’s team reported the groping claim to his radio station – filed a defamation lawsuit against Ms Swift.

With the incident out in the open, Ms Swift filed a countersuit alleging sexual assault – which she has just won.

In court, Taylor Swift’s mother, Andrea Swift, said she did not go to police when her daughter first told her she had been groped because: “I did not want this event to define her life.”

“I did not want her to have to live through the endless memes and gifs that tabloid media and internet trolls decided to come up with – doctoring the pictures… and making her relive this awful moment over and over again,” she said.

Ms Swift’s lawyer said the star had wanted to keep the situation “discreet and quiet and confidential”.

Taylor Swift’s mum confronts DJ in court

But by not reporting the alleged groping to authorities in the first place, the pop superstar was responding in the same way that thousands of American women do every year.

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TMZ

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This photo of Taylor Swift (centre) and David Mueller (right) was a key piece of evidence in court

According to RAINN, the largest anti-sexual violence organisation in the United States, two out of three sexual assaults in the country go unreported.

The top three reasons for people not doing so are fearing retaliation, not believing the police will help and considering it to be a “personal matter”.

Taylor Swift’s reasons for not going to the police, as told by her mother, who is part of her management team, are revealing. The case highlights how some victims fear being ridiculed, not being believed or not being taken seriously after reporting an alleged sexual assault.

2. She refused to back down

The trial showed how some defence lawyers try to undermine the credibility of an alleged victim.

But some of the most potent moments occurred when Taylor Swift refused to let that happen.

At one point, rejecting an accusation that she had misidentified Mueller, she said: “I’m not going to allow you or your client to say I am to blame.”

When asked why a photo taken at the time of the alleged incident does not show the front of her skirt ruffled, she bluntly responded: “Because my ass is located on the back of my body.”

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Reuters

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Press cameras were not allowed in court during the week-long trial

At another moment, she said: “I know exactly who did this. It is not alleged. It is a fact.

“You can ask me a million questions about it and I’m never going to say anything different.”

  • Gutsy testimony praised
  • Is this a good drawing of Taylor Swift?

Her testimony drew praise, with Slate magazine’s Christina Cauterucci describing it as “sharp, gutsy and satisfying”.

“For young fans of Swift’s, hearing a beloved artist speak candidly about the emotional damage of sexual assault and stand up to a courtroom of men trying to prove her wrong could be a formative moment for their developing ideas of gender, sex, and accountability,” she wrote.

3. It’s being seen as a bigger victory

Taylor Swift only asked for a symbolic $1 (77p) in damages from Mr Mueller, and has now pledged to donate money to organisations that help defend sexual assault victims.

“I acknowledge the privilege that I benefit from in life, in society and in my ability to shoulder the enormous cost of defending myself in a trial like this,” she said in a statement following the verdict.

“My hope is to help those whose voices should also be heard.”

Dealing with groping in the office

Her lawyer Douglas Baldridge said she asked only for $1 because she did not want to bankrupt Mr Mueller, but rather use the case to send a message to all women that “they will decide what will be tolerated with their body”.

Ms Swift is being praised for inspiring other women to speak out about groping, even if they might not have the advantages she has in terms of wealth, fame and public support.

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Ten-year-old fan Vega Zaringlee, who attended the trial, told the New York Times that she wanted to thank Ms Swift for standing up for women.

“I now know what honest people talking about a situation that victimised them sound like,” she said.

4. In this case the celebrity was the alleged victim, not the alleged perpetrator

We are used to seeing high-profile cases of alleged sexual assault of abuse involving celebrities, but they are often the accused, rather than the accuser.

Of course Taylor Swift is far from the first female pop star to make such allegations.

In fact, she gave $250,000 (£193,000) to the singer Kesha in 2016 to help her pay legal fees in cases against her former producer, whom she accused of sexual assault.

Some brand strategists have suggested that with the civil case, Taylor Swift has been not only trying to empower ordinary women that she doesn’t know, but also music industry colleagues.

“Taylor is aware that her defiance in fighting against these allegations – not only made toward her but other artists and colleagues – will achieve global visibility around sexual assault issues that, in many cases, go unreported and ignored and are marginalised,” PR strategist Marvet Britto told NBC News.

Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-40937429

Susan Calman

Susan Calman is the latest contestant announced for this year’s Strictly Come Dancing.

The Scottish comic told the Jeremy Vine show: “I am the last person on the dancefloor!”

“I haven’t worn heels or a dress since the 1970s… my mother will die happy to see me in a dress and glitter.”

So far, one celebrity has been revealed per day for the new series of Strictly, which begins on BBC One sometime in September.

Tess and Claudia will return to host, but it will be the first series without Len Goodman on the judging panel.

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Claudia Winkleman and Tess Daly will be returning to present this year’s series

Bruno Tonioli, Darcey Bussell and Craig Revel Horwood will instead be joined by international ballroom champion Shirley Ballas.

Here’s a rundown of the contestants who have been confirmed so far for the 15th series:


Strictly: Class of 2017

Susan Calman’s TV credits include BBC One daytime quiz The Boss and kids’ quiz Top Class.

She’s also made an appearance on numerous TV panel shows and starred in Sharon Horgan and Holly Walsh’s BBC Three sitcom Dead Boss.


Aston Merrygold was a member of boyband JLS, who came second in the 2008 series of X Factor.

The band went on to huge chart success but split up in 2013, after which Aston went on to become a judge on Sky 1′s Got to Dance. Earlier this year, he released his first EP as a solo artist.

“I’m both nervous and excited to learn from the professionals about a whole new way of dancing!” he said as he was revealed as the latest contestant during the Scott Mills show – he’s the 200th participant in Strictly’s history.


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PA

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Simon is the seventh celebrity to be announced in the Strictly line-up

Chef Simon Rimmer revealed he will be a Strictly contestant during his Sunday morning Channel 4 show, Sunday Brunch, which he co-hosts with Tim Lovejoy.

He said he had “never danced in my life”, and joked that he had lost all co-ordination between the top half and bottom half of his body since becoming a father.

Rimmer said: “I am so excited, terrified and proud to be invited… Nobody will try harder, have more fun or get more out of it than me. I can’t wait.”

The 54-year-old has also appeared on the BBC’s Great British Menu. The food writer also owns nine restaurants.


Scottish actor Joe McFadden is probably best known for playing the role of Raf di Lucca in Holby City.

His first TV role was in the STV soap Take The High Road before starring in The Crow Road, based on the book by Iain Banks.

He major breakthrough came when he played PC Joe Mason in Heartbeat for two series.

He has also taken on theatre work in stage productions as diverse as Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, Rent and Rainbow Kiss.


Writer and broadcaster The Reverend Richard Coles is the only UK vicar to have had a chart-topping single – and now he’s the first one to star on Strictly.

He told BBC Radio 2′s Chris Evans Breakfast Show: “A major dance talent was waiting to be discovered. I just wonder what took them so long. I’m in it to wing it, as they say.”

Coles, who had hits with Jimmy Somerville in The Communards including Don’t Leave Me This Way, said he had a “comprehensive briefing” from former Strictly star Ed Balls as part of his preparations for the show – and has also “cut down on pork pies”.

But he said he might not be able to take part in the Strictly live tour, as it clashes with Epiphany.

He hosts BBC Radio 4′s Saturday Live and is a contributor to Pause for Thought on Chris Evans’ show – as well as being vicar of St Mary’s Church in Finedon, Northamptonshire.


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Actress and former glamour model Gemma Atkinson currently co-hosts Manchester radio station Key 103′s breakfast show – which she will continue to present during Strictly training.

Her TV credits include roles in Casualty, Emmerdale and Hollyoaks.

“I’m beyond excited and incredibly nervous, but looking forward to learning a new skill,” she said of joining this year’s Strictly.


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TV presenter Ruth Langsford is often seen hosting This Morning (when Phil and Holly are away) alongside her husband Eamonn Holmes.

Ruth said: “The sum of my dance experience is throwing a few shapes at a party, I’ve never had a dance lesson in my life.”

“Without doubt, [Strictly] will be the scariest yet most exciting thing I’ve ever done.”


EastEnders actor Davood Ghadami, who has played Kush Kazemi in the soap since 2014, said it was “such an honour” to be joining the dancing show.

“It’s going to be exciting, challenging and terrifying all at once and I am so looking forward to stepping out of my comfort zone and learning to dance,” he added.


Media captionMollie King is the first contestant to be announced for 2017′s Strictly Come Dancing.

Mollie King was the first contestant to be unveiled for this year’s series.

The Saturdays singer told Radio 1′s Nick Grimshaw (above) she was “so excited” and always watched the show with her family, adding that she “can’t wait to get into the sequins”.


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Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-40910799

Michael Sheen and David TennantImage copyright
Getty Images

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The British pair will vie against each other in the new series

Michael Sheen and David Tennant have been cast as the leads in the BBC/Amazon adaptation of Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett novel Good Omens.

According to Variety, the series will be set in 2018, with an apocalypse on the horizon.

Sheen will play an angel called Aziraphale, while Tennant will star as a demon named Crowley.

Amazon have yet to comment, but Sheen told Variety in a statement that Good Omens was one his “favourite stories”.

“To be part of the team entrusted with bringing it alive on screen is a bit of a dream come true to be honest,” he said.

“To work alongside Neil, who I think is one of the greatest storytellers of all time, is incredibly exciting. And, just like the rest of the world, I’m a huge fan of David’s.”

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Getty Images

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The series is being co-produced by Pratchett’s daughter’s company

The series will be made up of six episodes.

Sheen recently starred in Showtime drama Masters of Sex, which is due to finish in November after four series.

Tennant’s most recent work includes the third series of whodunnit Broadchurch.

Good Omens – Gaiman’s first novel – was written with Pratchett, who died in 2015.

Development of the TV show began with Pratchett back in 2011.

After launching on Amazon Prime sometime next year, the series will then be broadcast on the BBC.

Good Omens is being co-produced by BBC Studios with Narrativia, the production company of Pratchett’s daughter Rhianna, and Gaiman’s company, Blank Corporation.


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Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-40935171

Ryan Reynolds plays masked anti-hero DeadpoolImage copyright
FOX

A stuntwoman has died in a motorcycle accident while filming Deadpool 2 in the Canadian city of Vancouver.

Police confirmed the driver was killed on Monday morning and workplace safety officials were investigating.

Witnesses described how the woman lost control of the bike, jumped a kerb and crashed into a building.

The Marvel Comics sequel stars Canadian actor Ryan Reynolds and has been filming in his hometown of Vancouver, British Columbia, since June.

In a statement posted on the actor’s Twitter feed, he wrote: “Today we tragically lost a member of our crew while filming Deadpool.

“We’re heartbroken, shocked and devastated… but recognise nothing can come close to the grief and inexplicable pain her family and loved ones must feel in this moment.”

20th Century Fox said: “Our hearts and prayers are with the family, friends and colleagues of our crew member during this difficult time.”

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The Vancouver Sun reported that city centre streets had been closed since last week to film motorcycle and scooter scenes.

Local media say the stuntwoman had successfully practiced the stunt several times before the fatal accident.

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Witnesses tell CTV in Vancouver that the driver lost control, narrowly missing pedestrians, and then crashed through a glass window pane.

The network adds that an Advanced Life Support ambulance responded and remained on scene for about 45 minutes before leaving without its lights or sirens activated.

The name of the stuntwoman has not yet been released.

The driver may have been filming a scene for the female character Domino, played by Zazie Beetz.

Photographers had spotted Beetz in costume riding a motorcycle last week.

Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-40929180

Eric Morecambe and Ernie Wise in 1975

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Eric Morecambe and Ernie Wise in 1975

I can’t name a new, young TV comedy double act and neither can Barry Cryer.

The comedian and writer says: “I want to spot a young double act and say ‘oh boy, it’s still going’. But it hasn’t happened for me yet.”

At the start of his career he wrote for the gold standard of comedy duos, Morecambe and Wise.

“It’s like telepathy,” Cryer says. “It’s rapport, a chemistry. They feed off each other.”

At the height of their powers, Eric and Ernie raked in more than 28 million viewers.

But out in the Edinburgh drizzle, scanning the listings boards and combing through the pile of leaflets I’ve been handed, it’s slim pickings for double acts.

They’ve overwhelmingly made way for stand-ups or comedy troupes.

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Barry Cryer, who’s appearing in his own double act on the Edinburgh Fringe with Ronnie Golden

“It’s what my generation chose to watch,” a lady waiting for a show to start tells me. “Your generation are happy with stand-up.”

“No offence nana, but Morecambe and Wise – nobody would watch that nowadays,” her granddaughter chips in.

For better or for worse they agree the comic double act is dead.

But this is the largest arts festival in the world. Spend enough time in the sticky beer-smelling student union rooms which have been trussed up as venues, as you’ll find that old staple of British television in rude health.

‘It’s coming back’

The majority is sketch-based. Duos such as Goodbear or Inside Studio 9. But old style variety has also had a revamp.

Double Denim, comprising of Australian comedians Michelle Brasier and Laura Frew largely consists of games with the audience and group renditions of Shania Twain classics.

Laura Anderson of Hurt and Anderson says double act stock is on the rise.

“Double acts mostly work as a sketch or a character comedy thing,” she says. “And as far as I can tell sketch is getting more and more popular again. It ebbed away and I think it’s coming back.”

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Georgia Hurt and Laura Anderson

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Georgia Hurt and Laura Anderson, better known as Hurt and Anderson.

When they started in 2011, they say there were almost no female comic duos on the fringe.

“Now we’re treading them under foot,” she says. “They’re everywhere!”

“On the circuit. Not the mainstream consciousness,” her comedy partner Georgia Hurt adds.

‘Real chemistry’

After selling out their Edinburgh festival debut last year, Barney Fishwick and Will Hislop are back as the double act Giants.

For a large proportion of their act they are Norwegian pop sensations.

“The EU is a big, beautiful dance floor”, they say. Everyone dancing together, “or as we like to call it, the free movement of peoples”.

“The final product is this year”, Hislop jokes.

They met at four days old and have been good friends ever since.

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Dee McCourt

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Will Hislop and Barney Fishwick, known together as ‘Giants’, acting casual.

Why a double act? Fishwick says it allows “for conflict”, adding: “It’s that weird thing where there is this real chemistry, there’s love at the basis of it.”

“There’s also hate”, Hislop interjects.

They say a connection is required, a trust which allows them to veer off in different directions during their act.

“We know each other’s rhythms as it were, so we know what we’re likely to think,” Hislop says.

“So if there’s someone in the front row wearing Crocs, I know that Barney finds Crocs really funny so I’ll leave that to him because I don’t have a lot of Crocs material.”

As I queue for another show, I get the family next to me to list comedy double acts.

“Can I say Torvill and Dean?”.

It seems comedy duos aren’t back in the mainstream just yet.

You can hear more on BBC Radio 4′s Broadcasting House.


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Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-40905292

File image of Taylor Swift on stageImage copyright
AFP

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Taylor Swift countersued DJ David Mueller over the 2013 incident

Pop star Taylor Swift has won a sexual assault case against ex-radio DJ David Mueller, who she said had groped her at a 2013 concert.

He assaulted her by grabbing her bottom beneath her skirt during a photo shoot, a jury in Denver, Colorado, found.

She was awarded a symbolic $1 (77p) in damages that she had sought.

Mr Mueller had originally tried to sue the pop star, saying that her claims had cost him his job. But that lawsuit was thrown out by a judge last week.

On Monday, the jury also rejected similar claims Mueller had made against the singer’s mother, Andrea Swift, and her radio liaison, Frank Bell.

In a statement following the verdict, Ms Swift said: “I acknowledge the privilege that I benefit from in life, in society and in my ability to shoulder the enormous cost of defending myself in a trial like this.

“My hope is to help those whose voices should also be heard. Therefore, I will be making donations in the near future to multiple organizations that help sexual assault victims defend themselves.”

The assault took place during a Denver stopover on the singer’s Red tour.

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Reuters / Jeff Kandyba

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Taylor Swift (left) was present throughout the trial, often with her mother Andrea (second right)

Mr Mueller, then a host on the radio station KYGO, had been invited to meet her before the show.

The singer complained to KYGO and the station fired Mr Mueller two days later.

Last Friday, Ms Swift’s former bodyguard gave evidence, supporting her sex assault claims by testifying that he saw the DJ reach under her skirt.

Greg Dent told the Colorado court he “did not see his hand touch her physically”, but “saw his hand under her skirt”.

Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/40931988

Ant McPartlinImage copyright
Getty Images

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Ant is now out of rehab after a two-month stint

Ant McPartlin has thanked fans for their support after revealing doctors warned he could have died from his painkiller and alcohol addictions.

In a Twitter post, Ant wrote that he was “overwhelmed” by the positive feedback he had received.

The star has received more than 2,000 tweets in response to his message.

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Ant entered rehab in June, having become addicted to alcohol and prescription painkillers following a knee operation in 2015.

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Ant and Dec have been friends and TV partners since the early 1990s when they met on TV series Byker Grove

The Bafta-winning star of shows including Ant and Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway and I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here! spoke to The Sun on Sunday after spending two months in rehab.

He said his wife Lisa and TV partner and friend Declan Donnelly had encouraged him to seek help.

“I was at the point where anything – prescription drugs, non-prescription drugs – I would take,” he said.

“And take them with alcohol, which is ridiculous. The doctors told me, ‘You could have killed yourself’.”

He told the newspaper that Dec got involved earlier this year after he delayed a second knee operation so he could carry on working on ITV show Britain’s Got Talent.

After undergoing surgery following the show’s final, McPartlin said he was “just done” and after an hour-long chat with Dec, he entered a rehab clinic.

The star is now clean from both prescription drugs and alcohol.


Addiction: Where to get help?

There are numerous charities who can help with addiction including:

Action on Addiction

Alcoholics Anonymous


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Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-40923379

Aston MerrygoldImage copyright
Getty Images

Aston Merrygold is the latest contestant announced for this year’s Strictly Come Dancing.

The former JLS singer said: “I’m so happy to be joining Strictly 2017, it is such a brilliant show and I’ve followed it for years.”

So far, one celebrity has been revealed per day for the new series of Strictly, which begins on BBC One in September.

Tess and Claudia will return to host, but it will be the first series without Len Goodman on the judging panel.

Image caption

Claudia Winkleman and Tess Daly will be returning to present this year’s series

Bruno Tonioli, Darcey Bussell and Craig Revel Horwood will instead be joined by international ballroom champion Shirley Ballas.

Here’s a rundown of the contestants who have been confirmed so far for the 15th series:


Strictly: Class of 2017

Aston Merrygold was a member of boyband JLS, who came second in the 2008 series of X Factor.

The band went on to huge chart success but split up in 2013, after which Aston went on to become a judge on Sky 1′s Got to Dance. Earlier this year, he released his first EP as a solo artist.

“I’m both nervous and excited to learn from the professionals about a whole new way of dancing!” he said as he was revealed as the latest contestant to join the show – and the 200th in Strictly’s history.


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PA

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Simon is the seventh celebrity to be announced in the Strictly line-up

Chef Simon Rimmer revealed he will be a Strictly contestant during his Sunday morning Channel 4 show, Sunday Brunch, which he co-hosts with Tim Lovejoy.

He said he had “never danced in my life”, and joked that he had lost all co-ordination between the top half and bottom half of his body since becoming a father.

Rimmer said: “I am so excited, terrified and proud to be invited… Nobody will try harder, have more fun or get more out of it than me. I can’t wait.”

The 54-year-old has also appeared on the BBC’s Great British Menu. The food writer also owns nine restaurants.


Scottish actor Joe McFadden is probably best known for playing the role of Raf di Lucca in Holby City.

His first TV role was in the STV soap Take The High Road before starring in The Crow Road, based on the book by Iain Banks.

He major breakthrough came when he played PC Joe Mason in Heartbeat for two series.

He has also taken on theatre work in stage productions as diverse as Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, Rent and Rainbow Kiss.


Writer and broadcaster The Reverend Richard Coles is the only UK vicar to have had a chart-topping single – and now he’s the first one to star on Strictly.

He told BBC Radio 2′s Chris Evans Breakfast Show: “A major dance talent was waiting to be discovered. I just wonder what took them so long. I’m in it to wing it, as they say.”

Coles, who had hits with Jimmy Somerville in The Communards including Don’t Leave Me This Way, said he had a “comprehensive briefing” from former Strictly star Ed Balls as part of his preparations for the show – and has also “cut down on pork pies”.

But he said he might not be able to take part in the Strictly live tour, as it clashes with Epiphany.

He hosts BBC Radio 4′s Saturday Live and is a contributor to Pause for Thought on Chris Evans’ show – as well as being vicar of St Mary’s Church in Finedon, Northamptonshire.


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Actress and former glamour model Gemma Atkinson currently co-hosts Manchester radio station Key 103′s breakfast show – which she will continue to present during Strictly training.

Her TV credits include roles in Casualty, Emmerdale and Hollyoaks.

“I’m beyond excited and incredibly nervous, but looking forward to learning a new skill,” she said of joining this year’s Strictly.


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TV presenter Ruth Langsford is often seen hosting This Morning (when Phil and Holly are away) alongside her husband Eamonn Holmes.

Ruth said: “The sum of my dance experience is throwing a few shapes at a party, I’ve never had a dance lesson in my life.”

“Without doubt, [Strictly] will be the scariest yet most exciting thing I’ve ever done.”


EastEnders actor Davood Ghadami, who has played Kush Kazemi in the soap since 2014, said it was “such an honour” to be joining the dancing show.

“It’s going to be exciting, challenging and terrifying all at once and I am so looking forward to stepping out of my comfort zone and learning to dance,” he added.


Media captionMollie King is the first contestant to be announced for 2017′s Strictly Come Dancing.

Mollie King was the first contestant to be unveiled for this year’s series.

The Saturdays singer told Radio 1′s Nick Grimshaw (above) she was “so excited” and always watched the show with her family, adding that she “can’t wait to get into the sequins”.


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Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-40910799