Colors: Red Color

Sir Lenny Henry has written a TV drama inspired by his mother's move from Jamaica to England in the 1950s. The six-part ITV series, titled Three Little Birds, is based on the stories his mother Winifred would tell about forging a new life in Britain.

It will follow three fictional Jamaican women who face racism and other obstacles in the Midlands.

The multi-award winning actor, writer, broadcaster and comedian said it was a "tribute to the giants who came before us and walked cold streets to create new lives". He explained: "My mother spoke often about how difficult life was back in the day when she first arrived in Britain to begin her new life.

"The stories she told, and indeed the narratives my brothers and sisters beguiled me with over the dinner table, made me think about writing a fictional account of three Caribbean women; all with differing yet complementary attributes - a serious tenacious one, a quick-witted flibbertigibbet and a Christian prude.

"They all get to the UK with one thing on their minds - a new life. Although these are fictional accounts, my mother's narrative will run throughout these stories and hopefully the stories of other post-Windrush arrivals will trigger memories, smiles and tears too." ITV described the series as "life affirming", and former Doctor Who and Years and Years writer Russell T Davies has advised Sir Lenny on the script.

Dudley-born Sir Lenny has previously described his mother's first few months in England in 1957 as "awful", sleeping on her brother's floor and facing frequent racism. He has also spoken about their complicated relationship, with his mother hitting him with a frying pan and other objects. In his memoir Who Am I, Again?, which was published last year, he said "she could punch you and knock you through a brick wall".

"Now, social services would be round," Sir Lenny told Louis Theroux's podcast Grounded earlier this year. You got the feeling that it was the way she'd been brought up in Jamaica, and she would show us what that was like and how that felt...

"When you reflect on it and read it back to yourself, you go, 'Oh, OK, this woman was physically abusing me, and how do I feel about that?' And then in the end what you do is you go, 'Well, that's what mum was like'."

His mother died in 1998. ITV has also announced a new version of The Darling Buds Of May, with Bradley Walsh playing Pop Larkin, the role filled by Sir David Jason in the original hit TV adaptation in the early 1990s. The new small screen take on HE Bates' 1958 novel will this time carry the title The Larkins.

ITV said it hoped to capture "the warmth, optimism and escapism of the Larkin family for a modern generation".

Joanna Scanlan will play Ma Larkin. It's not yet known who will play the Larkins' eldest daughter Mariette - the role that made Catherine Zeta-Jones famous in the original series.

Black and mixed heritage ballet dancers have shown support for Chloé Lopes Gomes, after she shared her experiences of racism within the industry. The French performer is the first Black female dancer at Berlin's principal ballet company Staatsballett.

She accused the institution of racial harassment, claiming she was told she did not fit in because of her skin colour. The company responded by saying her allegation "deeply moves us".

An internal investigation into discrimination and racism in the company is now under way, a statement has confirmed. Marcelino Sambe, the second Black male to be a principal dancer with The Royal Ballet, posted on Instagram that he was "moved" to read about "horrible experiences" she has suffered in "this often anachronistic world or ballet. I'm so proud of you for sharing your story" wrote Sambe. "It takes strength to tell the truth."

"I hope that by you sharing your experiences, future dancers won't have to go through the same."

Royal Ballet soloist Fernando Montaño, meanwhile, suggested Lopes Gomes was not alone in suffering such discrimination. "Ballet is beautiful and a very hard art form for everyone that does it," he said. "But unfortunately for some people it's always a little more difficult, just because of their skin colour, physical appearance or personalities."

Lopes Gomes, 29, joined Staatsballett in 2018, and said in the article that she had faced repeated racial abuse from her ballet mistress, noting how several managers failed to act after it was brought to their attention. She added that her dance teacher forced her to wear white make-up to "blend in" with other dancers in a production of Swan Lake, and had also refused to give her a white veil for another show.

Reacting to the claims, Staatsballett's interim artistic director, Christiane Theobald, said in a statement: "Structural racism is a societal issue, and as a state institution this affects us as well.

"The racist and discriminatory behaviour that was brought to light in our company deeply moves us and shows that the necessary skills and tools to deal with issues of discrimination need to be worked on thoroughly to instigate profound changes. The necessary skills and tools to deal with issues of discrimination need to be worked on thoroughly."

Leipzig ballet soloist Luke Fierce revealed they had experienced similar racism, and stressed that non-white ballet dancers should be treated with equal "respect" and "dignity".

"I feel so much pain with this and so much to relate to," they said, about Lopes Gomes' article.

"It's so difficult to be Black and to work in ballet. Comments made about skin colour in relation to certain ballets and costumes are so easily dismissed but are steeped in racism."

Nazirah Taylor noted how dancers' careers often depend upon the preferences of the all-powerful ballet masters.

"Their power is undeniable," she posted online. "It is very easy for them to abuse dancers without impunity.

"Ballet institutions must embody values of tolerance, acceptance, equality and respect. It is their responsibility to protect their dancers."

After a two-year break, the MOBO Awards have returned with a socially-distant show. The ceremony was hosted by Maya Jama and Chunkz and broadcast on YouTube.

Mahalia and Nines both won two awards, with Mahalia taking home Best R&B/Soul and Best Female and Nines winning Best Album and Best Hip Hop act.

Mahalia told Newsbeat: "As a young Black artist at the MOBOs, everything it stands for and holds is really special." Young T and Bugsey were awarded Best Song for Don't Rush. The Nottingham duo said the viral Don't Rush challenge helped it become such a staple sound of 2020.

Bugsey said: "Day by day it was just growing and getting bigger and bigger, we had no idea that would happen. I was a big wrestling fan as a kid, so when I saw that the whole WWE lot did the challenge I was like 'yeah, we're doing something'."

The pair released their mixtape at the start of the year, with plans for tours and other live performances.

"All artists have had to learn how to manoeuvre through it, hopefully next year shows will be back again." Aitch, who picked up Best Newcomer, said the event was a good end to a bad year. He said: "It's sick to be recognised for what I'm doing."

In a year like no other, Aitch says time away from touring and performances has had some advantages. "Some things have happened that wouldn't have happened if I was out on the road."

Chunkz won Best Media Personality up against names including Clara Amfo, Mo Gilligan and co-host Maya Jama. With social-distancing measures in place, it might not have been the best year to host such a big event. But, after the MOBOs were cancelled in 2018 and 2019, founder Kanya King said she "felt like she had to" bring them back.

She said: "2020 has been such a unique year and MOBO has always a spotlight for talent to shine.

"Entertainment and activism have always gone hand in hand, and we're using the power of Black culture to empower and uplift people."

This year's ceremony also included a one-off category to retrospectively award the best albums released between September 2017 and August 2019, which was won by Ella Mai.

For a lot of artists, the pandemic was a chance to get creative.

Mahalia released her EP Isolation Tapes in May, made up of songs she previously hadn't found time to finish. "If isolation hadn't happened, I might never have seen those songs again," she says.

Although it's been a "confusing and stressful" year, Mahalia said ultimately she learned to "be present and full of energy online. I think a lot of us artists in that time realised how important social media platforms are," she says.

"It's a gateway to be able to speak to fans. I wasn't very good at that before so this has been a learning curve for sure." Young T and Bugsey agree.

"It made you interact with fans more and people who support you more because you can be connected," Young T said.

The full list of winners follows:

·         Best Female Act - Mahalia

·         Album of the Year - Nines, Crabs in a Bucket

·         Song of the Year (public voted) - Young T & Bugsey feat. Headie One, Don't Rush

·         Best Newcomer (public voted) - Aitch

·         Video of the Year - Nsg, Lupita directed by Kevin Hudson

·         Best R&B/Soul - Mahalia

·         Best Hip Hop - Nines

·         Best Grime (public voted) - Jme

·         Best International Act (public voted) - Burna Boy

·         Best Performance in a TV show/Film (public voted) - Micheal Ward as Marco, Blue Story

·         Best Media Personality (public voted) - Chunkz

·         Best Album (2017 - 2019) - Ella Mai, Ella Mai

·         Best African Act (public voted) - Wizkid

·         Best Reggae Act - Buju Banton

·         Best Gospel Act - Calledout Music

·         Best Jazz Act - Ego Ella May

·         Best Producer - Jae 5

·         Inspiration Award - Steve McQueen

With the first episode airing on December 9 1960 hit ITV soap Coronation Street turned 60 as stars past and present took to social media to mark the very special anniversary with cast members flocking to pay tribute to the much-loved soap in a series of touching posts.

Seasons later, people’s love for the show hasn’t waned and the show’s alumni have been sharing throwbacks of their time on the soap and fond memories of their stints on the cobbles to celebrate the show’s 60th anniversary.

Coronation Street, which has been recognised by Guinness World Records ahead of its 60th anniversary has been given an updated certificate, along with its longest-serving cast member William Roache and the programme, which became the world's longest-running TV soap opera in 2010, officially turn 60 yesterday.

Roache, who has played Ken Barlow since the soap's 1960 debut, said it had given him "a lifetime of wonderful memories".

Set in the fictional northern town of Weatherfield, Coronation Street was originally only intended to run for 13 episodes.

In February this year the show aired its 10,000th, an hour-long edition full of nods to the drama's highly eventful past.

As gripping storylines unfold to mark the massive milestone celebrities who’ve previously starred in the show reflected on episodes gone by.

Pop star and former Street regular, Keith Duffy, for one wrote, ‘Happy 60th Birthday @coronationstreet I was there for the 50th feels like yesterday ❤️ Super team on and off the screen! #especiallyhairandmskeup.

Current ‘bad boy’ Ian Bartholomew, who plays Geoff Metcalfe, also posted a warm message for the serial drama’s 60th, saying: ‘Happy 60th Birthday to Coronation Street. And may there be many happy returns.’

One of the younger Corrie stars, Ella Jade Mulvaney, recounted her time growing up playing Amy Barlow on the soap tweeting, ‘Happy 60th Anniversary Corrie! The last ten years have been a blast, here’s to many more! #Corrie’

Bruce Jones, who left the soap back in 2007, after playing taxi driver Les Battersby, shared; ‘Good evening, I would just like to say congratulations to @itvcorrie on 60 years this week, I really enjoy my time on the street, well done to the cast and crew and all involved, here’s to another 60 years!! #Corrie’

The Royal Opera House today announces its biggest ever programme of streaming and digital content, across a range of platforms, brought straight from our house to your house and available throughout the Christmas period.

With free online broadcasts from our archives, live pay per view performances from our beautiful Covent Garden theatre, and an array of cultural highlights across Netflix, Now TV, YouTube, Scala Radio, Sky Arts, Marquee TV and the BBC, it has never been easier for audiences to access the world’s best ballet and opera anywhere, anytime.

Live performances, broadcast directly from our stages, continue apace at the Royal Opera House and we are delighted to present a roster of festive operatic highlights in The Royal Opera Christmas Concert. Presented by Roderick Williams and conducted by Mark Wigglesworth, this live concert features world-class talent in work by composers including Rossini, Puccini and Mozart. With the addition of highlights from Humperdinck’s tuneful Hansel and Gretel and Vaughan Williams’ Fantasia on Christmas Carols, this performance promises to complete your Christmas viewing experience this year.

Their programme of online broadcasts, available via the ROH website, continues throughout December, featuring archive favourites from The Royal Ballet including Frederick Ashton’s Enigma Variations (2019), a showcase for the expressiveness of The Royal Ballet’s dancers, and Christopher Wheeldon’s family favourite Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (2017). The Royal Opera also present the 2020 revival of Richard Jones’ 2017 production of Puccini’s La bohème, starring Sonya Yoncheva as Mimì, Charles Castronovo as Rodolfo, Andrzej Filończyk as Marcello and Simona Mihai as Musetta with the Orchestra of the Royal Opera House and the Royal Opera Chorus conducted by Emmanuel Villaume.
Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without The Nutcracker, and we are excited to present archive productions of this festive favourite in cinemas, in association with Scala Radio, Marquee TV, Sky Arts, Now TV, and on demand through the Royal Opera House’s new partnership with Netflix. Netflix viewers can also experience the very best of opera as we present Richard Jones’ 2017 production of La bohème, starring Nicole Car and Michael Fabiano and conducted by Antonio Pappano.

Royal Opera House productions will also be available to watch and listen to as part of our ongoing partnership with the BBC, with The Royal Opera’s Ariodante in Concert (2020), The Royal Opera Christmas Concert (2020) and Verdi’s Falstaff (2018), starring Bryn Terfel in the title role, all broadcast over the Christmas period on BBC Radio 3. Both The Royal Opera and The Royal Ballet’s all-star gala performances from September and October of this year will also be available to watch on BBC Four. The Royal Opera All Star Gala features much-loved classics of the repertory by Bellini, Bizet, Donizetti, Dvořák, Puccini, Rossini and Verdi; and The Royal Ballet All Star Gala shines a light on the acclaimed artistry and virtuosity of our dancers as well as the dazzling breadth of the Company’s repertory.

We're also delighted to offer two favourites from the Royal Opera House repertory on YouTube for free this Christmas: The Royal Opera's The Magic Flute (2017) and The Royal Ballet's Don Quixote (2019) both showcase our resident companies at their musical, choreographic and theatrical best with stunning designs and sets, and world-class performances.

A raft of recent productions from both artistic companies will also be available for audiences to watch on Now TV. From The Royal Ballet will be: The Nutcracker (2016); The Sleeping Beauty (2017); a Frederick Ashton mixed programme including The Dream, Symphonic Variations and Marguerite and Armand (2017); Will Tuckett’s sumptuous presentation of the life and loves of Queen Elizabeth I, in Elizabeth (2016); as well as Kenneth MacMillan’s three-act, full-length work based on story of Anna Anderson, a woman who believed herself to be the daughter of the last Tsar of Russia, in Anastasia (2016). Favourites from The Royal Opera will also be available via the platform, including Verdi’s searing tragic opera Il trovatore (2016); Puccini’s Madama Butterfly (2017); Offenbach’s The Tales of Hoffmann (2016); Mozart’s Così fan tutte (2016) as well as Bellini’s operatic masterpiece Norma (2017).

On Sky Arts, audiences can watch The Royal Ballet in: The Nutcracker (2016); Giselle (2016); Frederick Ashton mixed programme including The Dream, Symphonic Variations and Marguerite and Armand (2017); Anastasia (2016); The Sleeping Beauty (2017) and Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (2017).

World-class productions from The Royal Ballet including The Nutcracker (2016), The Sleeping Beauty (2017) and Rhapsody (2016) also continue to be permanently available via Marquee TV.

 

 

 

The Caribbean premiere of the acclaimed film ‘Misbehaviour’ took place in Grenada, the birthplace of Miss World 1970, Jennifer Hosten. The red carpet event organized by the Grenada Film Commission at Movie Palace Cinema was attended by a select group of Grenadians including Minister for Tourism, Civil Aviation, Climate Resilience and the Environment Hon. Dr. Clarice Modeste-Curwen, Advisor to the Minister Mrs. Brenda Hood, former Tourism Minister Alexandra Otway, CEO of the Grenada Tourism Authority (GTA) Patricia Maher, award winning Author and playwright Ricardo Keen Douglas, Grenada Film Commissioner Ellen Spielman, other Committee members and invited guests. 


The premiere in Grenada began with a recorded panel discussion in which Jennifer Hosten spoke of her involvement in the making of the film about her extraordinary story followed by a personal welcome for the audience. 

The movie which first premiered in the UK is praised for its portrayal of a defining moment in history: the crowning of Jennifer Hosten, the first woman of colour as Miss World. Directed by BAFTA winner Philippa Lowthorpe, ‘Misbehaviour’ stars Gugu Mbatha-Raw as Jennifer Hosten and Keira Knightley as a member of the newly formed Women’s Liberation Movement along with a star studded cast 

Hosten, born in Grenada in 1947, was a flight attendant for BWIA (now Caribbean Airlines) when she took a leave of absence to compete in Miss World. The beauty competition was the most-watched TV show on the planet and in 1970 was hosted by US comedy legend, Bob Hope. When the live broadcast was interrupted by a Women’s Liberation Movement stage invasion, the global audience was captivated. Then, as Miss Grenada - the self-styled Nutmeg Princess - was crowned the first woman of colour Miss World, the moment was indelibly etched in history. 

Following the premiere, Chairman of the Organizing Committee Alexandra Otway said, “We in Grenada are so proud because not only does our Jennifer shine, it’s a story that needed to be told. She broke glass ceilings long before it was fashionable.” 

Visibly moved by the film, Tourism Minister Modeste-Curwen said, “It’s a signal to women and young girls, especially women of colour, that they too can achieve extraordinary things. I hope that this film can be shown to a wider Grenadian audience, especially children.”

‘Misbehaviour’ will be shown at Movie Palace for a limited period. 

Dave Prowse, the former bodybuilder best known for playing Darth Vader in the original Star Wars trilogy, has died.

He was cast as Vader for his imposing physique, but, because of Bristolian accent, the role was voiced by Hollywood legend James Earl Jones.

But, despite his lofty accolades, the weightlifter-turned-actor was most proud of playing the Green Cross Code Man. The role, promoting road safety in the UK, earned him an MBE.

Mark Hamill, who played Luke Skywalker in the Star Wars movies, said he was "so sad" to hear the news.

He said on Twitter; "He was a kind man and much more than Darth Vader.

"He loved his fans as much as they loved him."

Star Wars co-star - and fellow Briton - Anthony Daniels, who has played C-3PO in 11 of the 12 Star Wars instalments, paid tribute to Prowse's contribution to the epic series.

"Dave's iconic figure dominated the finished film in '77 and has done so ever since," he wrote on Twitter.

His agent Thomas Bowington said: "May the force be with him, always!

"Though famous for playing many monsters - for myself, and all who knew Dave and worked with him, he was a hero in our lives."

The Mayor of Bristol Marvin Rees hailed Prowse's Bristol roots and his legacy: "A Bristol man and along with #WhyDon'tYou and #GrangeHill, part of our 70s and 80s childhoods," he wrote.

He reportedly became close friends with rival bodybuilding competitors Arnold Schwarzenegger and Lou Ferrigno (later better known as TV's Incredible Hulk) - long before their on-screen fame.

Even before he began acting, Prowse found success in Hollywood circles, preparing the late Christopher Reeve for the physical demands of his role as Superman, as the actor's personal trainer.

He made his film debut in 1967 James Bond spoof Casino Royale playing Frankenstein's Creature, a part he was asked to play again in two films from the iconic Hammer film series, 1970's Horror Of Frankenstein and 1974's Frankenstein and the Monster From Hell and also regularly featured on cult series such as The Saint, Space 1999 and Doctor Who, in which he was cast as a minotaur in the 1972 episode The Time Monster, opposite Jon Pertwee.

Spotted by director George Lucas in the 1971 film Clockwork Orange, in which he played a bodyguard, Prowse was invited to audition for the roles of Darth Vader and Chewbacca in 1977's Star Wars: Episode IV.

Thanks to his hulking 6ft 6in (1.98 m) frame, honed by the weightlifting skills it saw him represent England at the Commonwealth Games in the early 1960s.

Despite the enduring clamour for Star Wars, the actor always maintained that playing the Green Cross Code Man, which he first portrayed in 1975, was the "best job I ever had".

Dressed in a distinctive green and white superhero suit, he became the face of British road safety for more than a decade, known for his catchphrase "Stop, look and listen".

Brought up in Bristol, he spent his later years living in Croydon "a loving husband, father and grandfather".

His autobiography Straight from the Force's Mouth was published in 2011.

He was 85.

 

Reports are stating that daily sales of multi award winning singer, songwriter, actress, and businesswoman Patti LaBelle’s sweet potato pies are continuing to soar at retail superstore Walmart even five years after they first went viral.

According to Food & Wine, the world's largest retailer is selling more than 36,000 of the pies every day. That's the equivalent of 1,500 pies every hour or about 25 pies per minute.

The obsession began back in 2015 when James Wright, who calls himself a "superfan," taste-tested one of her sweet potato pies. He recorded his reaction and posted it on YouTube, and the hilarious video instantly went viral, garnering more than 5 million views.

Within a week, nearly every major news network and radio station in the country was talking about it, and the 21-ounce pies began selling out so fast that people began buying and re-selling the $4 pies on eBay for as much as $60.

The success of Patti’s sweet potato pie – and the resulting expansion of her personal recipe-based product line – is just one example of how Walmart has worked to transform their fresh bakery offerings. They also sell her Southern buttermilk pies, peach cobblers, and bread and banana puddings.

Birmingham Ormiston Academy (BOA) has announced that an exclusive recording of The Snow Queen, first performed at The Old Rep in December 2019, will be made available to school children across the region this Christmas.

 

Based on Hans Christian Andersen’s classic fairy tale, the show was produced, performed and filmed by talented young students at BOA alongside leading industry professionals.

 

With the current Covid-19 pandemic causing many theatres to close their doors this winter, an exclusive recording of the show will now be shared with local primary and secondary schools.

 

The recording will be available to view from Tuesday December 1, so pupils across the region can be united in experiencing the fun and festivity of a Christmas theatre production.

 

Gaynor Cheshire, CEO of the BOA Group, comments: “We’re delighted that young people at schools across the region have the opportunity to enjoy this exclusive recording of The Snow Queen. We know that Christmas will feel a little different this year but we’re so excited to bring people together to watch a traditional Christmas production - it’s what makes this time of year so special! This film truly captures the magic of live theatre and we can’t wait to bring a little theatrical sparkle into the classroom.”

 

BOA is part of the BOA Group and a sister school to BOA Stage & Screen, a brand-new academy opening in September 2021. Located in Birmingham’s Jewellery Quarter, BOA Stage & Screen will be a state-funded academy for 16-19 year olds specialising in technical theatre, film and broadcast production.

 

Gaynor Cheshire continues: “The Snow Queen production is a fantastic insight into the unique experience that BOA students can enjoy and what future pupils at BOA Stage & Screen can look forward to. We pride ourselves on giving talented young people an exceptional education as well as exciting opportunities to gain real-life, on-the-ground industry experience. It’s never been more important to invest in the next generation of creative talent and The Snow Queen is a wonderful example of what our gifted students can achieve.”

 

Gary Stevens, General Manager and Operations Director at The Old Rep, comments: “We were thrilled to work with students at BOA on this production of The Snow Queen. Our mission is to engage, educate and entertain the next generation of artists and theatre lovers and it’s so rewarding to work with up-and-coming talent - both on the stage and behind-the-scenes. Our doors may currently be closed, but it’s fantastic to see that the skill, passion and enthusiasm of young creative talent is still very much on show.”

 

The recording will be provided to primary and secondary schools free of charge, and will also be available for families to view at home. Participating schools are being asked to share photos of their special ‘Snow Queen Screenings’ on social media using the hashtag #SnowQueenChristmas.

 

To enjoy the exclusive recording of The Snow Queen, visit: https://www.youtube.com/user/imagineBOA from Tuesday 1 December 2020.

 

It has been announced that South African comedian, writer, producer, political commentator, actor, and television host Trevor Noah is set to host the 63rd Annual Grammy Awards on January 31, 2021.

The Recording Academy and CBS announced The Daily Show host as the master of ceremonies on.

 

His hosting marks the award show's return to having a comedian as front person after Alicia Keys headed up the proceedings for the past two years.

“Despite the fact that I am extremely disappointed that the Grammys have refused to have me sing or be nominated for best pop album, I am thrilled to be hosting this auspicious event,” the 36-year-old said in a statement before sharing his credentials. “I think as a one-time Grammy nominee [Trevor was nominated for Best Comedy Album last year], I am the best person to provide a shoulder to all the amazing artists who do not win on the night because I, too, know the pain of not winning the award! (This is a metaphorical shoulder, I’m not trying to catch corona). See you at the 63rd Grammys!”

Recording Academy chair and interim president/CEO Harvey Mason, Jr. added: "With a knack for keeping viewers engaged and entertained, Trevor is the perfect choice to lead us through what's sure to be an incredible evening full of music, unforgettable moments, unity and inspiration. He is a dynamic host, comedian and personality, and we're thrilled to welcome him to the Grammy stage as host of music's biggest night for the first time."

The announcement comes hours before Tuesday’s 63rd Grammy Awards nominations livestream at 12:00 p.m. ET.

The 2021 Grammy Awards will air on January 31

 

 

Birmingham Hippodrome and QDOS Entertainment present all-new, socially distanced production of Robin Hood at The Alexandra

Birmingham Hippodrome and Qdos Entertainment, producers of the city’s annual festive production, have announced that pantomime will be going ahead with an all-new production of ‘Robin Hood’ staged, for the first time in 20 years, at the nearby Alexandra. 

 

Starring Strictly judge the nation loves to hate, the fab-u-lous Craig Revel Horwood as The Sheriff of Nottingham, alongside the Hippodrome’s pantomime superstar Matt Slack, the legendary pairing of Richard Cadell & Sooty and the Black Country’s funniest matriarch Doreen Tipton, Robin Hood will play from 15 to 31 January 2021 for a Strictly limited run.

 

The socially distanced, one-act production will temporarily change venues due to Birmingham Hippodrome’s hosting of the critically acclaimed Van Gogh Alive experience.

 

The production is able to go ahead thanks to the support of The National Lottery, which will give thousands of theatregoers, in Birmingham and across the country, the chance to enjoy socially distanced pantomime this Christmas. The show is being staged as a result of an initiative between The National Lottery and Qdos Entertainment which is providing financial support for theatres to stage socially distanced, live pantomimes this festive season. This will make it viable for venues to open their doors to the general public, generating vital income for the theatres and helping to restore jobs while providing much-needed cheer for pantomime lovers. 

 

Fresh from the ballroom, Craig Revel Horwood will star as the villainous Sheriff of Nottingham and show Birmingham his real mettle as he tries to outwit Robin Hood and win the hand of the beautiful Maid Marion. Craig is a well-known face on television in the UK and now all over the world, as a judge on all 18 series of BBC1’s Strictly Come Dancing.

 

In 2013, Craig wrote and directed a brand-new show, Strictly Confidential that toured the UK starring familiar faces from Strictly Come Dancing. He has directed and choreographed the Strictly Come Dancing Live Tour, as well as appearing as a judge.

 

He recently returned to his roots as a performer in musical theatre, starring as Miss Hannigan in the West End and UK touring production of Annie. Craig also choreographed and directed the UK tour of Sister Act and the Dusty Springfield musical, Son of a Preacher Man. Craig has also published three autobiographies; All Balls and Glitter, Tales from the Dance Floor and In Strictest Confidence. This autumn he released his first novel, Dances and Dreams on Diamond Street. Robin Hood marks Craig’s 12th consecutive pantomime for producers Qdos Entertainment having starred as a Wicked Queen, a Wicked Stepmother and Captain Hook in Snow WhiteCinderella and Peter Pan respectively.

He will be joined by hilarious Hippodrome funny man, Matt Slack as Robin Hood. His television credits include Casualty, Doctors and EastEnders for the BBC, ITV’s Law and Order and the feature film The Rise of the Krays. On stage he has appeared in Boogie Nights and Hot Flush on their UK tours, and in Blood Brothers in London’s West End. Matt has entertained and delighted audiences at the Hippodrome pantomime for the last seven years in roles which have won him, amongst others, the Best Comic accolade at the Great British Pantomime Awards.

 

Craig and Matt will be joined by television icons Richard Cadell as Will Scarlet, with his mischievous sidekick, Sooty. A star of television, stage, comics, animation and movies, Sooty made his screen debut almost 70 years ago and in that time has delighted audiences of millions worldwide with his cheeky sense of humour, jaw-dropping magic tricks and hilarious mishaps, despite not ageing whatsoever. First supported by his original owner and friend Harry Corbett (and later his son Matthew) Sooty became a regular on the BBC’s Saturday Special, and fronted his own programmes The Sooty Show and Sooty & Co.

 

Richard has presented Sooty on stage and television for over 20 years following Matthew’s retirement, with their programmes remaining ITVs most popular children’s show.

 

Joining them as Mrs Tuck is Doreen Tipton, back for her second consecutive Hippodrome pantomime, following her star turn in Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs last year. In her own inimitable style, the Black Country star will showcase her dry wit, penchant for doing as little as possible and helping Robin and his Merry Men as they rob from the rich and give to the poor.

 

Joining them will be hilarious pantomime dame and Hippodrome regular Andrew Ryan and west end musical leading ladies Landi Oshinowo, Nicola Meehan and Lauren Chia.

 

Artistic Director and Chief Executive of Birmingham Hippodrome, Fiona Allan and Managing Director of Qdos Entertainment Michael Harrison, who has directed the Hippodrome pantomime for the past 10 years, said: “We’re delighted to be working together to make sure that our loyal audiences in Birmingham don’t miss out on the magic of pantomime this year.

 

Presenting Robin Hood at The Alexandra allows us to see two of the city’s key cultural institutions open with social distancing in place. Although on a different stage, this year’s show will be designed and created by the usual Hippodrome panto creative team, and will feature all the comedy and laughter our audiences have come to expect”.

 

This new production will be packed full of comedy routines, audience-safe participation and all the unmissable magic that Hippodrome audiences know and love from their annual festive pantomime in their temporary theatrical home at The Alexandra for this year only.

 

Lisa Mart, Theatre Director at The Alexandra added: “Words can’t quite express how thrilled we are to be working with Qdos Entertainment and our friends at Birmingham Hippodrome to bring this much loved annual tradition back to the city this festive season! This cross-venue collaboration is one of many examples of cultural organisations in Birmingham working together to provide audiences with entertainment during what has been a challenging time for the sector. We are incredibly grateful to the National Lottery for their support, without which we would not have been able to proceed. The opportunity to bring our team back to the venue to prepare for this special socially-distanced experience is the Christmas present we have all been dreaming of!”

 

The previously advertised production of Goldilocks and the Three Bears starring Jason Donovan and Matt Slack will be staged back at the Hippodrome in December 2021 and existing bookers have already been contacted with details of their new tickets.

 

The support of The National Lottery will ensure that socially distanced panto can take place this year in Birmingham, and other theatres across the UK. Up to 20,000 free tickets to pantomimes across the country, will be made available to National Lottery players to thank them for making it possible for this Christmas tradition to go ahead. National Lottery players raise on average £30M each week for Good Causes. 

 

This year has seen up to £600M in National Lottery funding being used by charities and organisations affected by the impact of the coronavirus outbreak across the arts, community and charity, heritage, education, environment and sport sectors.

Amnesty International UK is inviting entries for its 29th annual Media Awards, a prestigious set of awards that recognise the vital role journalists play and the serious risks they face in highlighting human rights abuses around the world. The closing date for entries is Thursday 21 January 2021 and the award ceremony will take place on Wednesday 28 April 2021.

 

Entries must be from a media outlet based in the UK and published or broadcast for the first time in the UK between 1 January and 31 December 2020.

 

Award categories:

 

Written News - A written word news report on a current and/or breaking story relating to a human rights issue. This can be print, online or multimedia.

 

Broadcast News - A film news report on a current and/or breaking story relating to a human rights issue. This can be TV or online. The entry should be no longer than 20 minutes.

 

Investigation - An outstanding piece of investigative journalism relating to human rights issues across all media. This can be print, broadcast, online or multimedia and may be a single report or a number of items covering the same story.

 

Features - A written word newspaper, magazine, online or multimedia piece that creatively explores topics, issues or stories relating to human rights.

 

Documentaries (TV & Film) - A full-length documentary or film that observes or reports on human rights issues. The entry should be between 20 – 120 minutes duration. These must have been broadcast or available online.

 

Radio & Podcasts - This can be either excerpts from a series, a full-length radio documentary or podcast, a news report or compilations from a magazine programme which observe and report on human rights issues. The whole entry (including compilations) should be between 15 – 60 minutes duration. These must have been broadcast or available online.

 

Photojournalism - An excellent piece of photojournalism that has been published in UK media (newspapers, magazines or online) or on a third-party website. A photograph or a series of up to 12 photographs to be submitted as a portfolio, in addition to a copy of the piece in which the pictures were originally published. This category is free to enter.

 

Student Journalist - For students in full-time education at a UK university, higher education or further education college at the time of publication or broadcast of their entry. Entries may have been published in print, online or broadcast, either via a student or commercial outlet.

 

Alternatively, it may have been produced as course work as part of media or journalism studies.

 

Entrants should submit one piece but may also provide links to three further pieces of work to support their entry. Personal blog posts are not eligible for entry. Finalists will be asked for evidence that they were a student at the time of publication (eg: via a reference from a tutor). This category is free to enter.

 

Regional Media - This category recognises excellent local reporting of global human rights stories as well as those from closer to home. It is open to print, online or broadcast entries from UK regional media outlets. This category is free to enter.

 

Best Use of Digital Media - For innovative/creative presentations of human rights stories using digital tools and/or multimedia techniques to creatively uncover or engage people in a human rights story or issue. Entrants must have been published for the first time or have had substantial fresh content published during 2020.

 

The Gaby Rado Award for New Journalist - For journalists reporting on human rights issues who have been working for five years or less in paid employment as a journalist. This award was established with the help of the family, friends and colleagues of the journalist Gaby Rado, who died in Iraq in 2003.

 

Entrants should submit one piece but may also provide links to three further pieces of work to support their entry. Finalists will be asked for evidence of their eligibility. This category is free to enter.

 

For more information on how to enter, the entry criteria and fees, visit: https://amnesty-media-awards.org.uk/

 

To encourage a wide range of entries, a sponsorship fund to support a limited number of entries from freelance journalists and filmmakers has established, as well as small digital and broadcast outlets. See the website for more details.

 

Entries to Regional Media, Photojournalism, Gaby Rado and Student Journalist categories are free and can now be submitted at: https://amnesty-media-awards.org.uk/

British musical icon Liam Gallagher is set to make a biblical return to performing with the announcement of ‘Down By The River Thames’. The one-of-a-kind virtual event will be streamed globally on Saturday, December 5, exclusively on MelodyVR.
 
Down By The River Thames will see Liam accompanied by his full band for a set broadcast from a barge travelling along the Thames. The show will include iconic songs, fan favourites and a few surprises, spanning both his all-conquering solo career and his legendary time with Oasis – some of which he hasn’t performed in years.
 
Echoing unforgettable moments from the Sex Pistols and The Clash, the explosive performance will ring out as the barge sails past some of London’s most famous landmarks. MelodyVR’s groundbreaking technology will put an international at-home audience at the heart of the action, offering a stunning visual and audio experience.
 
Liam commented: "To all my brothers and sisters around the world. I'm performing a one-off celestial live performance for you to stream, 'Down By The River Thames', on 5th December 2020. I'll be performing tracks from my two number 1 solo albums as well as some stone cold Oasis classics, some of which you haven't heard me sing for a long, long time. C'mon you know. LG x”.
 
‘Down By The River Thames’ will commence at 8pm local time via MelodyVR’s web player around the world to enable as many fans as possible to see the show.
 
Stream 1 – Saturday 5 December 8pm GMT for UK, Ireland and Europe
Stream 2 - Saturday 5 December 8pm ET for East Coast North America and South America
Stream 3 - Saturday 5 December 8pm PT for West Coast North America and Central America
Stream 4 - Sunday 6 December 8pm AEST for Australia, New Zealand and Asia

Confirmation of the ‘Down By The River Thames’ stream follows the news that a Collector Edition of Liam’s critically acclaimed #1 album ‘Why Me? Why Not’ will be released on November 27 via Warner Records. The box is a must-have collector’s edition that compiles fourteen 7” inch singles in an exquisitely designed package. It’s available to pre-order exclusively from Liam’s official store.
 
Released last year, ‘Why Me? Why Not’ fired straight to #1 to prove that Liam Gallagher’s star quality remains undeniable. The album’s biblical success included 68,000 first week sales as it outsold the remainder of the Top 5 and became 2019’s fastest selling vinyl release. It was subsequently certified Gold.
 
Earlier this year, Liam released ‘MTV Unplugged’ as he completed a hat-trick of solo UK #1 albums. Between his compelling solo career and his iconic time with Oasis, Liam has topped the Official Album Chart with eleven different records from 1994 to 2020.
 

Grace Moore, a 12-year old girl from New York, has made history as one of the youngest composers to join the New York City Philharmonic Orchestra.

Moore, who is a seventh-grade student at Poly Prep in Dyker Heights, is also enrolled in the organization’s Very Young Composers program. There, participants from the age of 8 are taught to create music.

The composition that Moore created for the program made a world premiere in a live performance by the NY Philharmonic in October.

Moore, who started showing her passion for music at the age of 2 when her mother gave her a piano, has showcased extraordinary talent.

Moreover, Moore hopes that as a woman of color, she can inspire others to create and appreciate music.

“I hope everyone follows their hobbies and do what they love,” Moore said.

 

Comedian, singer and TV host Des O'Connor died following a fall at his home in Buckinghamshire, in England.

 

A former schoolboy footballer at Northampton Town, he became known for hosting his own chat show, as well as Take Your Pick and Countdown he was also known for his friendship with Morecambe and Wise after completing his national service in the Royal Air Force.

 

London-born O'Connor presented his own prime-time TV shows for more than 45 years but also had success as a singer. His friendship with comedy duo Morecambe and Wise saw him mocked for his singing ability in sketches despite a successful career which included four Top 10 hits and more than 30 albums.

O'Connor appeared on stages around the world including hundreds of shows at the London Palladium.

 

His fame soared when he was hired to host The Des O'Connor Show, which ran on ITV from 1963 to 1971. In 1977 he began hosting Des O'Connor tonight, which started on BBC Two before moving to ITV, where it stayed until it ended in 2002.

 

He later hosted the Channel 4 quiz show Countdown alongside Carol Vorderman, with the pair bowing out together in 2008, and was made a CBE for his services to entertainment and broadcasting in that year's birthday honours.

 

Melanie Sykes, who hosted TV show ‘Today With Des And Mel’ alongside O'Connor, said it was an "education and a privilege to work with him". She wrote on Instagram: "He had talent in every fibre of his being and was stubborn as a mule. He was the full ticket as a friend and colleague."

 

Broadcaster Tony Blackburn said "he was a great entertainer and more importantly a very nice person", and TV presenter Gyles Brandreth described him as "the ultimate professional".

 

Speaking about his sketches with Morecambe and Wise, comedian David Baddiel said: "RIP Des O' Connor. It's worth remembering how brilliant he is at his own expense in these sketches."

 

Northampton Town Football Club also joined the tributes to their former reserve player saying: "We are very sorry to learn of the passing of Des O'Connor. Des famously played for our reserve team on a few occasions just after World War Two. Our thoughts are with all who knew Des."

 

Married four times, he had four daughters, Karin, TJ, Samantha and Kristina from his previous marriages, in 2007, he married long-term girlfriend Jodie Brooke Wilson, who was 37 years his junior and gave birth to their son Adam when O'Connor was 72.

 

He was 88.

 

 

Two years ago, Ivorian Doll was telling outrageous stories and talking about scandalous topics on her YouTube channel. Now, with the same cheeky energy and quick wit, she's bulldozed her way into the drill music scene.

 

Real name Vanessa Mahi, the 22-year-old artist talks about the "mad transition". The Ivorian Doll YouTube channel contained unfiltered stories about being cheated on or having fights.

 

It was "the kind of stuff people talk about with their friends" and brought her hundreds of thousands of viewers. But it wasn't without drama. Vanessa was always involved in some sort of high-profile argument.

 

"I would always cause controversy on YouTube because anything I'd say would be all over Twitter."

 

But it just so happens that heated feuds can lead to the best drill tracks.

Vanessa's first song, The Situation, was a tongue-in-cheek send released as part of a duo with fellow rapper, Abigail Asante. After she proceeded in her own lane, things started to accelerate.

 

It's important to Vanessa that her personality shines through in her music.

 

She says: "I needed people to know I'm the same person (from the YouTube videos)”.

 

Her single Rumours came out in April. "Everyone was saying to me that song was going to be big, but I didn't believe it," she explains.

 

The teaser posted online before the song release went viral, but Vanessa was still dubious. She told herself "social media hype isn't real", and that the views on the full song wouldn't match up.

 

Almost 5 million YouTube views and 4 million Spotify streams later, she realised she could "really do this.

 

"I thought 'I can't take this as a joke anymore'." Although she kept her raffish charm and outrageous cheek, the song was an effort to shake off the drama that seemed to follow her.

 

"Even though it might sound hard to believe, I always try to run away from drama," she says. "I decided I'd leave it after Rumours. That's why at the end of it I say 'I said what I said'."

 

The song addressed rumours people had thrown at her. On it, she raps with a unique flow and clever lyricism - confronting accusations about her personal and sex life head on.

 

"Boys always get to say how they feel; I want to be the girl to do it as well. If a boy said 'I had sex with four girls' everyone would just be like 'wow, you get girls'.

 

"If I say it, it's 'oh my God! How could she?'." Vanessa's quick to declare she's a feminist.

 

"I'm for the females. We're going to be equal by force. I think some men feel intimidated by that."

 

This headstrong attitude is needed in a genre sparsely populated by women. She's only the second female artist to have appeared on Link Up TV's Daily Duppy freestyle in the past seven years. The video amassed one million views in just one week But Vanessa's used to holding her ground.

 

"In school, we were always going back and forth rapping with the boys," she says. "I was always the one writing everyone's lyrics for them." She was not only rapping in the playground at school, but an A* English student too.

 

"I love Shakespeare. I've always loved writing and rhymes."

 

You can see how she ended up landing a feature on Headie One's chart topping album Edna.

 

"I was just minding my business and he DMed me and said 'let's do a song'. I couldn't believe it, I've always supported Headie.

 

"I don't even know if he knows this but I was at his first headline show." She's grateful for the "huge co-sign", being featured among names including Drake and Skepta, on the album, which came out in October.

 

"I tell him all the time. I think he's a bit annoyed with me always thanking him now, but I don't care." Although Vanessa admits her quick rise to success "doesn't make sense" to her, she has no plans to slow down.

 

Despite live music being very limited at the moment, she lights up as she speaks about performances being her next focus. She sees it as an opportunity to prove herself, "where people judge if you're an actual artist".

 

"And that's another thing where girls have to go harder than boys," she says, referring to choreography and stage presence. I see the way female artists perform - they would never just stand there. So I know I need to do that.

 

"I want to be an international artist."