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Hot posts from our network of sites – Joey Barton’s French accent, Secret Stones songs and gadgets for under £200Tuesday, November 27th, 2012
The actor behind one of the best-loved Coronation Street characters has passed away. Geoffrey Hughes, who played lovable rogue Eddie Yeats from 1974 to 1983, died over the weekend after a long battle with prostate cancer. He was 68.
Geoffrey brought a charm and likeability to the character of Eddie and his partnership with Stan and Hilda Ogden, with whom Eddie lodged, was responsible for some of the most memorable character comedy in the soap’s history. It was Eddie who created Hilda’s ‘muriel’ on which was mounted her famous flying ducks and he was always to be found trying to earn a dodgy crust by selling suspect goods while working as a window cleaner or bin man.
As well as Eddie Yeats, Geoffrey is remembered for his turns as Ounslow in Keeping Up Appearances, as Vernon Scripps in Heartbeat and as Twiggy in the Royle Family. In an early role he even provided the voice of Paul McCartney in the Yellow Submarine animated film.
Away from acting, Geoffrey owned a small holding, ran a wood supply company and was even made Deputy Lord Lieutenant of the Isle Of Wight, where he lived with his with Sue.
Here are some classic clips of Geoffrey in action.
Eric Sykes, who has died age 89, was one of the most respected figures in radio, TV and film comedy. A writer, performer and director he worked with almost every significant comic in post-war Britain. He appeared with, wrote for or directed (among many other) Tommy Cooper, Tony Hancock, Peter Sellers and Spike Milligan and Leonard Rossiter.
Sykes was one of a generation of script writers and performers who were responsible for making the nation laugh from the 1950’s until the 1980’s, he has his own hit sitcom (called Sykes) and made all-star silent film The Plank.
He also worked uncredited on literally hundreds of productions and you will almost certainly have laughed at least one of his jokes without knowing its provenance. In an age when most TV comics write their own material (or like to pretend they do), people with the comic skills of Eric Sykes are becoming increasingly rare, perhaps the modern world would benefit from a new generation of old-fashioned, all-round gagsmiths of his ilk.
RIP Eric Sykes – a fine, funny man.
The new big budget Dustin Hoffman-starring HBO show Luck has been showing on Sky Atlantic for 3 weeks now, its premise is relatively simple and there are only a handful of characters and locations – so why is it so hard to understand?
The show is set at a racetrack in California and follows the story of the owners, jockeys, gamblers and businessmen behind the operation. Hoffman stars as shadowy gangster Chester ‘Ace’ Rothstein and is as excellent as ever. There are other top billing turns, too, from the likes of Nick Nolte and Michael Gambon. Not a great deal happens – horses race, gamblers bet and backroom shenanigans unfold – but viewers and critics alike are struggling to follow the plot.
Befuddled viewers report on social networks that they are finding the series hard going and, at times, unfathomable. It seems to be something to do with the rather muddled and muttered dialogue, which the NY Times TV critic perfectly summed up as ‘needlessly opaque’. Everything is as transparent, it seems, as the smog in LA.
It’s certainly a slow-burner of a series and becomes a little clearer as the series continues, and as it comes from the pen of David Milch (writer of the sublime and hugely underrated Deadwood) you can expect it to be excellent eventually. The big questions are – how long will Luck continue to test viewers’ patience and how many will give up before things become a little clearer?
What do you think? Is Luck too foggy to forgive? Is it as plain as day to you? Have your say below.
The actress will buy the pub after current owner Steve (Simon Gregson) puts it up for sale to ease his debt problems, and she admits she is “quite excited” to become the manager of the iconic drinking establishment.
She said: “I’ve had my name above the door for quite a while now as manager, but now she’s actually going to own it. They struggle to get the money together to get a mortgage. And they’re turned down by a few people because they’re ‘too old’. But then you’ll see what happens. It’s quite exciting, being the owner of The Rovers.”
She is particularly looking forward to developing her character – who joined the soap this year amid much criticism about her Mancunian accent – and hopefully turning her into another memorable owner of the pub.
She added: “I’d love to create another iconic character. I think Stella seems to be a bit like the Mother Teresa of ‘Corrie’. Suddenly she’s everybody’s agony aunt.
“They’re injecting a little bit of steeliness into her.”
X-Factor bosses have warned the show’s contestants to up their game. Producers of the ITV1 talent series are said to be furious with the behaviour and attitude of the hopefuls as they don’t think viewers can connect with them, and so have hauled the wannabe stars in for an urgent crisis meeting.
During the showdown, bosses slammed the contestants for “slobbing around” in the X Factor house in their pyjamas instead of rehearsing and performing, not making any effort with fans, turning up to shows in their slippers and failing to live up to the programme’s “brand”.
A source told the Daily Mirror newspaper: “The acts were told, ‘If you want to be a star, you’ve got to start acting like one.’ The lack of effort from some contestants has been disgraceful.
“It was a pretty fiery talking to from some of the senior production staff. The acts were told in no uncertain terms what was expected of them. The producers were worried about the criticism the show has faced this series and they worry the acts this year are not keeping the audience entertained.”
This comes as the show’s resident lothario Frankie Cocozza – who was in the bottom two last week – pulled three girls in one night after he was given the evening off from rehearsals by mentor Gary Barlow.
An insider told The Sun newspaper: “Frankie was desperate to break free from the treadmill of rehearsing. He’s a party animal at heart and producers were glad to see him having fun.”
According to newspaper reports, Louis Walsh and Kelly Rowland are no longer speaking and Frankie Cocozza has fallen out with Gary Barlow following a last minute change of song choice – though whether this is a ploy to give the ratings a much needed boost who knows?
The Irish music manager is reportedly furious with the way his fellow X Factor judge repeatedly talked over him on Saturday night’s (15.10.11) live show, and feels the US star is deliberately mocking his acts Johnny Robinson and Kitty Brucknell to get at him.
Louis – who also mentors Sami Brookes – is said to have told a friend: “Kelly has just waltzed in here from America and thinks she knows everything about the show.”
A source added to the Daily Mirror newspaper: “The way Kelly talked down to him was unacceptable as far as he’s concerned. There is no love lost behind the scenes and Louis and Kelly are not speaking off screen and haven’t since Saturday night.
“Louis is just putting all his time into his acts and wants to make sure Kitty, Sami and Johnny have incredible performances.
“He’s already working on their next songs and spent time with them on Sunday night as Kelly and Gary were relaxing with their singers in their dressing rooms.”
However, Louis and Kelly are not the only people on the show involved in a spat.
Frankie Cocozza – who narrowly escaped leaving the competition after his performance landed him in the sing off against Nu Vibe on Sunday (16.10.11) – was said to be furious when mentor Gary Barlow changed his song at the last minute to Coldplay’s The Scientist, and correctly predicted he would struggle for survival.
A source told the Sun newspaper: “There were a lot of fans waiting outside the studio.
“When Frankie popped out for a cigarette to calm his nerves he told them not to expect much because he’d been given a s**t song.
“He was grumpy about performing and rightly predicted it would land him in the bottom two. But he didn’t dare go against Gary. He was upset, frustrated and worried.”
One Direction are to star in a movie about their rise to stardom. The X Factor runners up - comprising Louis Tomlinson, Liam Payne, Niall Horan, Zayn Malik and Harry Styles – have been followed by cameras from their stint on the show last year until topping the UK singles chart last week with their debut track What Makes You Beautiful. And now ITV2 plan to show a feature-length film of their exploits.
A source told The Sun newspaper: “One Direction’s story is pretty incredible – from X Factor losers to chart-toppers in less than a year.
“We have been following the lads ever since they first embarked on their plans for pop world domination. The cameras follow them to the US where they worked on their first album and got into all sorts of mischief. The lads are pretty candid and we’re sure it will be a hit among their army of fans.”
James Corden’s production company Fulwell 73 are making the film, with X Factor chief Simon Cowell paying half of the £150,000 cost.
Simon has previously predicted that the group can be the biggest boy band in Britain since Take That.
He said: “You’re going to see an explosion happen here the likes of which we haven’t seen since Take That – and I think that’s exciting.”
Sounds like compulsive viewing.
The ITV1 game show has come under fire since it was revealed 31-year-old Nathan Hageman – who scooped the £1 million jackpot on Saturday (03.09.11) – spent two-and-a-half years behind bars for attacking former lover Amy Edwards and now show bosses have vowed to be more careful when choosing contestants.
A source told the Daily Mirror newspaper: “One of the contestants hadn’t been totally honest with us when they sat down with producers.
“This was revealed during the subsequent Criminal Records Bureau checks. The crime wouldn’t have necessarily precluded them from going on the show – but the fact that they weren’t honest from the beginning most certainly would. The second person’s crime was serious enough to warrant them being sacked from the show.
“Although their convictions came up in the checks, after we re-looked at the circumstances surrounding the crime, the decision was made to terminate their time on the show.”
An ITV spokesman for the show – which is hosted by Ant and Dec and co-produced by Simon’s production company Syco – added: “ITV has reviewed the background checks on remaining contestants from Red or Black. As a result of this we have asked producers to remove two contestants from this week’s shows. Red or Black will continue on these occasions with seven rather than eight contestants.”
Viewers of last night’s show saw Andy Morton, a 26 year old accounts executive from Grinstead lose out on a million after picking the wrong colour during the final round.
I didn’t to a review for last week’s episode of Britain & Ireland’s Next Top Model. There was one reason for it, and one reason alone. I simply didn’t find looking at yet another group of girls with model aspirations that interesting – all equally hopeful of being chosen by the judges panel, some more disillusioned about their ‘beauty’ than others. So I thought I wouldn’t put you guys through reading about it.
But we are back and this time there will be cuts! This is the semifinal.
This week the judges made all the girls who made it through the first hoop, step in front of the camera and put their looks to the test. It was time who of the hopefuls were photogenic and who were not? All dressed in short, short black dresses, they had to do group photo shoots. This meant really making an impact on the judges and stand out from the crowd. While some succeeded, others simply didn’t have a clue and it was quite funny to watch.
Trying to add some drama to the first round of eliminations, the judges called out twenty-two names as they stood there, high above the crowd of wannabe-models as to show their ‘power’. The unlucky twenty-two were told to leave the room as soon as their names had been called and wait elsewhere for the goodbyes. Descending the staircase to deliver the bad news, Elle once again managed to show off her amazingly long legs (high heels also helped!), bbefore telling the girls that “unfortunately the girls left in the other room… had not made the cut.” Cue happy screams. Far too predictable I think.
Having culled the hopefuls down to a manageable size, it was time to see which of the remaining girls were possible model material.
Model Test 1 - Make-up and Hair: Slap on the war paint, style the hair and place two girls together in a small glass cabinet to model watches.
In my opinion Daniella and Danielle just looked awkward. Everything was just in the wrong place, no super models there… And with Joanne and Laurie just looked, as the judges pointed out, like two girls on holiday together having found a photo booth.
Model Test 2 – Au Natural: No make-up, just a bikini and heels allowed… Every girl’s nightmare?!
Having ‘inspected’ the each of the girls, looking at all the wrinkles, natural flaws and dare we say it cellulite (surely not… not on models), the judges now had a choice to make. It was time to make twenty-two turn into twelve.
The episode culminated with Elle having a one-on-one with each girl to tell her the good or bad news. As expected there were tears of happiness and tears of sadness. And in an ‘interesting’ turn of events, Elle and the judges decided to bring thirteen girls instead of twelve to the final…
Unsurprisingly, Amy, the love child of Florence (of the Machine) and Noel Fielding make the cut – she certainly has the face of a model. As did these ladies. Must say that I’m getting totes bored with the ‘dramatic’ scenes that are getting far too predictable…
Did the judges make the right choices? Let us know in the comments below!
We’re one week late into the action of the catwalk for this year’s hunt for Britain’s next top model, but not like we’ve missed much. This year Ireland has been invited to join in on the fun as well! Every Monday at 9pm on Sky Living we can follow the team of judges as they eliminate the girls one by one until the prettiest/oddest looking/most catty/friendliest (we’re not quite sure what makes a good model) girl is left standing alone on the runway to be crowned winner of Britain & Ireland’s Next Top Model.
The judges are the same as last year and consist of Elle ‘The Body’ Macpherson, fashion designer Julien Macdonald, stylist Grace Woodward and model Charley Speed. New of this season, we’re having to sit through the auditions as the judges travel across Britain and Ireland in search of their next star. This actually makes for some really bad catwalk and ‘pulling on heartstrings’ moments, but becomes old soon… reeeeeally soon.
After watching Episode 2 of the show we can now tell you that BINTM is going to make you feel FAT, SHORT and OLD. But you already knew that didn’t you?
Best moment in this episode must be the lovely and oddly shy Charlotte who Julien found in Cardiff’s ‘Fantasy Lounge’, a venue that promises ‘the best erotic entertainment’ in Cardiff. She’s so shy that she’s never tried it out as a model before, yet she’s a lap dancer?! Errr…
If you’re wondering, Grace Woodward still has a pretty sharp tongue that can come across as rude – but we love her for her honesty! And what about Elle you say? She’s still gorgeous and her legs look longer than ever.
Next week the judges are off to Manchester and Dublin to hunt for more model material. We just have one request: Please can we just skip the auditions and get on with the competition.
Tulisa Contostavlos is terrified X-Factor fans will “hate” her. The N-Dubz star is one of three new faces on the judging panel – with Kelly Rowland and Gary Barlow also joining alongside existing panellist Louis Walsh – and while she appears to be confident, she admits she is worried about being thought of as a “chav” who shouldn’t have landed the coveted job.
She said: “I’m scared and nervous about the whole thing. I want to know where I stand and how I’m perceived but until the shows are on air I won’t know.
“If people hate me I want to know sooner so I can get on with it. But obviously I’d prefer them to like me. I don’t act scared but it’s all front.
“Inside I’m still worried that everybody will be watching and thinking, ‘How did she get the job?’ I really have to prove myself now and show that I can find talent.”
Both Tulisa and Kelly have won praise for their fashion choices during the audition process, but the British singer insists there is no rivalry between them and they even discuss their wardrobes in order to ensure they won’t clash.
She told the Daily Star newspaper: “My and Kelly knew they’d make a rivalry between us from the beginning and we talked very openly about it. Now it’s more of a joke.
“We check what colours each other has on before the day, so if she’s wearing white, I’ll wear black.
“I’ll say, ‘I’m well winning the style war today Kelly’ and we laugh about it.”
Coronation Street’s Tommy Duckworth is to pull out all the stops in a bid to bed Tina McIntyre. The trainee mechanic (played by Chris Fountain) is desperate to woo the stunning barmaid (Michelle Keegan – pictured right) when she moves in with him and Tyrone Dobbs and even dresses up as top chef Marco Pierre White to win her heart.
However, Tina – who has just split from boyfriend Graeme Proctor, after he ran off with her best friend Xin – is having none of it and tells him: “My knickers are totally out of bounds.” But Tommy is undeterred and tells Tyrone: “She’s playing hard to get. Wait until the irresistible Duckworth charm kicks in.”
Tommy, the grandson of the late Jack and Vera Duckworth, is not the only Weatherfield man after Tina as she is set to embark on a steamy romance with hunky new doctor Matt Carter. And while the pair hit it off and their relationship seems to be going swimmingly, a few skeletons from the dashing doctor’s closet will rock the boat.
They’re best known for appearing as students in the anarchic sitcom The Young Ones, penned by Ben Elton back in the 1980s. But now, somewhat bizarrely, Adrian Edmondson and Rik Mayall are collaborating on a new sitcom all about…an old people’s home.
The comic duo promises the new show will be as crazy as their previous efforts, despite featuring a much older generation of characters. Adrian told The Sun newspaper: “Rik and I have an idea for a sitcom for when we are very, very old. We want to set it in an old people’s home 30 years hence.
“It will be like ‘Bottom’, but we will be hitting each other with colostomy bags.”
Adrian and Rik hadn’t worked together for eight years until a recent performance on Let’s Dance For Comic Relief and TV bosses are hopeful that their planned new venture will also see them work with ‘The Young Ones’ co-stars Nigel Planer and Christopher Ryan again.
One insider said: “It’s a genius idea to have Rik and Ade playing anarchic old fogeys.
“Fans and telly bosses would love to get Nigel and Christopher involved too – but they could need persuading.”
Somehow I don’t think it will be anywhere near as good as The Young Ones which really managed to capture the spirit of the times with its portrayal of struggling students on grants (remember them?) in Thatcher’s Britain. But I could be wrong. Maybe they will pull it off.
Former Girls Aloud star and X Factor judge Cheryl Cole is being lined up to present a revamped version of Big Brother.
The reality TV show was axed by Channel 4 last year after 11 series but rival network Five are set to pick it up and are keen for the Girls Aloud beauty to take over from Davina McCall as host.
Bosses believe they have a chance of landing the X Factor star as her boss Simon Cowell has failed to land her a judging role on the US version of the show and think she will want to get her revenge.
A source said: “It really is true. Big Brother looks certain to return: bigger, brighter and more shocking than ever before. As part of that deal we want to get a really big name involved as the host and they don’t come any bigger than Cheryl.
“We’re confident she can be tempted away from Simon with the offer of fronting the most talked-about show of the year. There is going to be a real buzz around Big Brother and we’re confident she will want to be a part of that deal.”
The show – which made household names out of ordinary people – is set to kick off with a celebrity version, followed by a series featuring members of the public.
The legendary composer is keen to sign up the Pussycat Dolls singer – who is rumoured to be joining the judging panel of ‘The X Factor’ later in the year – as a judge on the follow-up to musical theatre reality series ‘Over The Rainbow’.
Andrew, who has discovered a number of stage stars through shows such as ‘Over The Rainbow’ and ‘How Do You Solve A Problem Like Maria?’, took Nicole had her Formula One racer boyfriend Lewis Hamilton out to dinner to discuss the prospect of her appearing on the panel of the as-of-yet-unnamed show.
Nicole told The Sun newspaper: “We’ve been talking about doing some work together soon, on stage and on his new TV show. I would love it.
“Andrew is a friend – he and his wife Madeleine are lovely. I’m in awe of him and inspired by him. Coming up in the musical theatre, we have a lot in common.”
However, Nicole’s desire to work with the musical maestro will undoubtedly come as a shock to Simon Cowell, who is believed to be lining up the 32-year-old beauty for a role on either the US or UK ‘X Factor’ after she impressed as a guest judge in 2010.
She explained: “I haven’t heard about ‘The X Factor’. If Simon asked me I’d do it, but no offer has been made official. I had some reservations initially because it sounds like such a big commitment.
“But it’s a challenge I would be willing to take on.”
Although the boy band – mad up of Harry Styles, Zayn Malik, Louis Tomlinson, Niall Horan and Liam Payne – did not win last year’s series, they are expected to enjoy huge success after being signed to mentor Simon Cowell’s record label, and now hopefuls are keen to follow in their footsteps by shunning the solo route and forming bands instead.
An insider said: “One Direction have totally changed the ball game this year. Every other act is now a band and they have put so much effort into their appearances. We’ve been putting far more group acts through than in previous years.”
However, production staff on the ITV1 talent show have suggested the quality of the acts is down on previous years, as they fear some singers have been put off by the uncertainty of the judging line-up.
Both Simon and Cheryl Cole are reportedly set to quit the show in favour of the American version, while Dannii Minogue and Louis Walsh have yet to sign up and insiders are worried contestants don’t have the same faith.
The source added to The Sun newspaper: “The talent pool is drying up. Production is finding itself in the situation where literally everyone who should have done so has already tried out.
“The fact Simon and Cheryl might not be there is also having an impact as people are obsessed by them. They figure they’ll try out another year when they’re back.”
Olivia Ayres – who has been tipped for stardom after winning a gypsy singing contest called ‘Big Night’ last year at the age of 14 – is determined to win the ITV1 talent show and is going to ask last year’s star and fellow traveller Cher Lloyd to help her.
The 15-year-old wannabe said: “Cher is amazing and a real inspiration to us gypsy girls. She is strong and confident and determined to make something of her life. She got a lot of abuse and was called a pikey for her heritage but she stood up to all the bullying and, if anything, was all the better for it.
“She went to Los Angeles to record with will.i.am and did so much amazing stuff. She shows we’re not all stuck in caravans with nothing else to do.”
Like Cher, Olivia grew up on a caravan site and although her family are now permanently based on a plot of land in the Midlands, they spend six months of the year travelling the UK.
Olivia’s family are convinced she has what it takes to become a star, and will impress all the judges when she auditions.
Her mum Lisa told the Daily Star newspaper: “She’s a bright girl, confident and mature. People think that she’s got so much talent. She’s proud of her gypsy roots. She won’t let that get in the way. We are certain she’ll blow Simon Cowell away.”
Our hearts go out to Amanda Holden today. It was announced over the weekend that the Britain’s Got Talent judge miscarried her baby last week.
Today it is rumoured that she and hubby Chris are waiting for test results to confirm what went wrong with the pregnancy and led to them losing their unborn baby.
Amanda was seven months pregnant when she went to hospital last week, after realising that she hadn’t felt her baby move in almost a day.
Doctors gave her the news that the baby boy had very sadly passed away and Amanda had to deliver the ‘perfect and beautiful’ tot.
The couple are of course “completely devastated” by the tragedy and are awaiting test results which will confirm if it was due to an infection passed from mother to child.
Last night a spokesman for the pair said: “Tests on the baby will hopefully shed light on what happened.
“Amanda’s completely devastated and in shock.”
Another source told the Daily Mail that the actress is under sedation and: ‘The worst will come when the drugs wear off and the reality sets in.”
Our thoughts are with Amanda and her family
The weekend! It’s here! And, if you live anywhere near me, the weather looks dreadful. This is, of course, a perfect reason to stay inside and settle down with a bottle of drunk juice and a giant bag of crisps and burp rude words at the television set. Let’s have a look what’s on this weekend.