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Strictly Come Dancing Christmas special – live!

Merry Christmas, glitter gang. It’s time to add a little extra sparkle to your celebrations, with the festive film-themed Strictly special

Evening all, and I hope you’re having a wonderful Christmas Day. It’s time to add a little extra sparkle to your celebrations, with a Christmas movie-themed Strictly special. Frankie Bridge, Denise Lewis, Ainsley Harriott, Pamela Stephenson Connolly, Gethin Jones and Melvin Odoom will be taking a turn around the dancefloor this evening, paying tribute to all our festive family film favourites.

My money’s on Frankie for the win – she’s dressing up as Elsa from Frozen, so definitely time to gather the children around the TV like they used to in days of yore. Talking of which, Matt Goss is singing White Christmas, because Strictly is the 80s gift that keeps on giving.

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See full article at The Guardian - TV News »

The sizzling secrets of on-screen chemistry: from Dirty Dancing to La La Land

Hollywood’s got it down to a science. Audience demographics, judgment and projected fantasies can all help create that all-important spark. Just look at Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling, says sex therapist and former actor Pamela Stephenson Connolly

The mysterious relationship between actors who play on-screen lovers has long been conversational catnip. For audiences, the believability of attraction is a topic that approaches almost academic analysis. Such chemistry tends to be viewed as an absolute. By common agreement, a couple either have it (Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall in, say, To Have and Have Not) or they don’t (Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie in By the Sea).

La La Land, a frontrunner for next year’s best picture Oscar, reunites Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone as lovers for the third time, following Crazy Stupid Love and Gangster Squad. Here, they sling fiery one-liners at each other, break into song,
See full article at The Guardian - Film News »

Omid Djalili on Mel Smith: comedy's answer to Man Utd's dream team

A master of set-ups and punchlines, Smith had the crossing ability of David Beckham and the goal-scoring precision of Dwight Yorke and Andy Cole

Not the Nine O’Clock News was the first comedy show I truly responded to when I was a teenager. I watched it avidly not just for pleasure but also for kudos. I knew we’d talk about it at school the next day. Griff Rhys Jones once told me the show had been targeted at teens, specifically my generation at the time. With just about every sketch, they hit the comedy bullseye.

Anything Rowan Atkinson touched turned to gold. His timing was impeccable and there seemed to be a deep intelligence behind what he was doing. Griff Rhys Jones had a rawness about him that made him appear the most unhinged – someone who was struggling with something deep within but able (just about) to keep a lid on it.
See full article at The Guardian - TV News »

Pamela Stephenson's biting wit: from the archive, 17 October 1980

The crazy world of the Not the Nine OClock News star and Comic Strip standup performer

Anna Ford complains that only women have to look good to cast news. Jan Leeming tells the Glasgow Herald that carping viewers cause her to burst into tears as soon as she closes her front door. Angela Rippon tells Woman that when she can no longer hide the hurt of being compared with a meringue, theyll have to take me off to the funny farm.

Pamela Stephenson, who can be all three in the space of a minute, doesnt mind looking good on a visual medium, or like a meringue if the shot calls for it. But she does feel sorry for them, their lives not their own, when theyre glossy and articulate compared with the men.

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See full article at The Guardian - TV News »

Celebrity Big Brother: Meet the housemates - Do you know these stars?

We're not quite sure we're ready for this. We've only just recovered from Helen Wood's Big Brother win, but that's old news now - because 14 famous faces made their way into the Celebrity Big Brother house tonight! But who are they? Read on for everything you need to know about the bungalow's brand new residents...

Angelique 'Frenchy' Morgan

So who is she? Angelique is a model, exotic dancer and, er, 'adult film star'.

What do I need to know? Angelique is nicknamed Frenchy, presumably because she was raised in Paris. She's probably the star who'll get the most 'who?' comments, but if you want to know your stuff, she landed appearances on the Howard Stern Show after being on Playboy TV. Since then, she's been on reality shows Rock of Love, Charm School and I Love Money - oh, and some of you might be pretending you
See full article at Digital Spy - TV news »

Billy Connolly: I found out I had Parkinson's and cancer on the same day

Comedian and actor says illness has not dented his sense of humour he has even incorporated his shaking hand into his act

Billy Connolly has disclosed that he was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease and prostate cancer on the same day.

The 71-year-old comedian, who is married to the psychologist Pamela Stephenson, described how the phone call telling him he had Parkinson's came only hours after doctors had broken the news of his prostate cancer last September.

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See full article at The Guardian - TV News »

Vincent Price: The British Connection

As the undisputed king of American gothic, Vincent Price holds a unique position regarding his association with British horror. From the mid sixties, nearly all his films were made in the UK, and while not as distinguished as The House of Usher (1960), Tales of Terror (1962) and The Raven (1963), they are not without interest. As an actor perfectly suited to English gothic, Price’s output includes two career-defining performances. In a nutshell, he had the best of both worlds.

Masque of the Red Death (1964)

The British phase of his career began with a bang. After directing all of Price’s Poe chillers for American International Pictures, Roger Corman wanted to give the formula a fresh approach by making his next film in England. Aip’s Samuel Z Arkoff and James H Nicholson had already produced several European films, so the next step was to establish a London base with Louis M Heyward in charge.
See full article at Shadowlocked »

Billy Connolly stops Parkinson's medication over fear of turning into sex addict

Billy Connolly stops Parkinson's medication over fear of turning into sex addict
London, Mar 8: Comedian Billy Connolly has stopped taking his medication for Parkinson's disease because they were apparently turning him into a sex addict.

He told a chat show in the Us that the side effects are an overriding interest in sex and gambling, the Mirror reported.

Scientists say drugs used to treat the neurological condition are linked to compulsive shopping, cleaning and gambling, as well as a higher sex drive.

Billy was diagnosed with the degenerative brain disorder last year after an Australian doctor, who was a fan, told him he was showing early signs of the illness.

The star - who is married to psychologist Pamela Stephenson, 64, and has five children from his two marriages - also had prostate.
See full article at RealBollywood »

'Strictly Come Dancing' launch show: live blog

No, we can't believe it either. But yes, it's that time again...

Tonight is Strictly Come Dancing's launch show, where the 15 famouses brave enough to shimmy and wiggle in front of millions discover with which professional dancer they'll be spending the next three months locked in a rehearsal room.

Join Digital Spy and get ready for naff Forsyth jokes, more glitter than in Bruno Tonioli's house and some truly cringe-worthy group performances.

20:10Thanks for joining Digital Spy to see which pros landed the jackpot - and who got lumbered with the rusty pennies - when it came to dolling out the celebs. From the Natalies to the Bentons, looks like it will be a vintage year. Roll on Christmas. Goodnight everyone!

20:07The majority of the celebs did a great job of that, though, leading Bruce to predictably state "that was the best first group performance we've ever seen". Yes,
See full article at Digital Spy - TV news »

Picture Perfect: A conversation with cinematographer Peter James

Trevor Hogg chats with Primetime Emmy-nominee Peter James about his career and the art of cinematography...

“My father was a house painter and my mother worked at the school canteen; she was a hairdresser as a young girl during the war,” recalls Peter James of his childhood growing up in Sydney, Australia. “We didn’t even have a record player in the house. We didn’t get a black and white TV until 1963.” The prospects for the teenager did not look good until his cousin Jon Cleary, a prolific novelist who had an Oscar nominated adaptation called The Sundowners (1960) produced, intervened. “He had written several film scripts and asked my parents, ‘What is Peter going to do when he finishes school?’ I was only 15. They said, ‘He’s hopeless. He can’t read or write.’ In fact I’m dyslectic. The word dyslectic hadn’t been invented in those days.
See full article at Flickeringmyth »

R.I.P. British comedian Mel Smith

British comedian Mel Smith died Friday, after suffering a heart attack at his London home. He was 60. Smith made his television debut in a bit part in Stephen Frears’ controversial 1979 TV film Bloody Kids. Later that year, he got his big break when he joined the cast of Not The Nine O’Clock News, the celebrated and star-making topical sketch-comedy series that also featured Rowan Atkinson, Chris Langham, and future Saturday Night Live cast member Pamela Stephenson. Griff Rhys Jones, who had pitched in on the show’s first season, became a full cast member in the second ...
See full article at The AV Club »

Mel Smith obituary

Comedian, actor, writer and director who came to prominence in satirical TV sketch show Not the Nine O'Clock News

Mel Smith was once upstaged by a talking gorilla. He was playing a zoologist in a sketch on his hit comedy show Not the Nine O'Clock News and the gorilla suit contained Rowan Atkinson. "When I caught Gerald in 68 he was completely wild," said Smith. "Wild?" retorted the gorilla. "I was absolutely livid!"

If the gorilla had the best line, Smith had the more expressive countenance, mugging with a deadpan virtuosity rarely seen since Oliver Hardy in his pomp. That face – as hangdog as his childhood hero Tony Hancock's – made Smith, who has died of a heart attack aged 60, one of the most recognisable of postwar British comedians.

Smith's face was only part of his fortune. He was a writer and editor of some of the most redoubtable British TV
See full article at The Guardian - Film News »

Mel Smith obituary

Comedian, actor, writer and director who came to prominence in satirical TV sketch show Not the Nine O'Clock News

Mel Smith was once upstaged by a talking gorilla. He was playing a zoologist in a sketch on his hit comedy show Not the Nine O'Clock News and the gorilla suit contained Rowan Atkinson. "When I caught Gerald in 68 he was completely wild," said Smith. "Wild?" retorted the gorilla. "I was absolutely livid!"

If the gorilla had the best line, Smith had the more expressive countenance, mugging with a deadpan virtuosity rarely seen since Oliver Hardy in his pomp. That face – as hangdog as his childhood hero Tony Hancock's – made Smith, who has died of a heart attack aged 60, one of the most recognisable of postwar British comedians.

Smith's face was only part of his fortune. He was a writer and editor of some of the most redoubtable British TV
See full article at The Guardian - TV News »

Mel Smith remembered: 'A gentleman and a scholar, a gambler and a wit'

Griff Rhys Jones talks about his shock at the news of his former comedy partner's death from a heart attack at home

Mel Smith, the British comedian, writer, actor, producer and film director, known for his long and popular television partnership with Griff Rhys Jones, died on Friday at the age of 60. He suffered a heart attack at his London home.

Smith's deadpan style, along with his lugubrious manner and large build, quickly established him as one of the country's favourite television performers in the early 1980s.

Jones, his friend for 35 years, said he had lost "a gentleman and a scholar, a gambler and a wit" and that he was in a state of shock. "I still can't believe this has happened. To everybody who ever met him, Mel was a force for life. He had a relish for it that seemed utterly inexhaustible.

"He inspired love and utter loyalty
See full article at The Guardian - TV News »

Mel Smith: a life in clips

Best known for roles in Alas Smith and Jones and Not the Nine O'Clock News, the comic also reached No 3 in the music charts

The classic image of Mel Smith was head to head in conversation with Griff Rhys Jones, discussing anything from politics to sex, on Alas Smith and Jones.

Sometimes, in variety show or charity events, either the part of Smith or Jones was played by a celebrity. The show was broadcast from 1984-89 as Alas Smith and Jones and from 1989-98 as Smith and Jones.

Here Smith and Rhys Jones discuss the 60s and the Beatles.

In 1986, Smith parodied the monotonous broadcast of the football results, which were an essential and lengthy part of many news broadcasts at the time.

Smith's career was launched alongside that of Jones, Rowan Atkinson, Pamela Stephenson and Chris Langham in Not the Nine O'Clock News, which ran from 1979-82. It featured
See full article at The Guardian - Film News »

Mel Smith: a life in clips

Best known for roles in Alas Smith and Jones and Not the Nine O'Clock News, the comic also reached No 3 in the music charts

The classic image of Mel Smith was head to head in conversation with Griff Rhys Jones, discussing anything from politics to sex, on Alas Smith and Jones.

Sometimes, in variety show or charity events, either the part of Smith or Jones was played by a celebrity. The show was broadcast from 1984-89 as Alas Smith and Jones and from 1989-98 as Smith and Jones.

Here Smith and Rhys Jones discuss the 60s and the Beatles.

In 1986, Smith parodied the monotonous broadcast of the football results, which were an essential and lengthy part of many news broadcasts at the time.

Smith's career was launched alongside that of Jones, Rowan Atkinson, Pamela Stephenson and Chris Langham in Not the Nine O'Clock News, which ran from 1979-82. It featured
See full article at The Guardian - TV News »

Billy Connolly: 'I still love my sexually abusive father'

Billy Connolly: 'I still love my sexually abusive father'
Billy Connolly has revealed that he still loves his late father, who sexually abused him for five years as a youngster. The Scottish actor and comedian explained that the power of forgiveness towards his father was "immense". Connolly first spoke about his father's abuse in a biography written by wife Pamela Stephenson in 2001, 12 years after father William died. His mother left his family when he was three years old, and was raised by his father and two aunts, consequently suffering a tough childhood. He explained that he did not mean to keep the abuse secret during his rise to fame in the 1970s and 1980s. "It wasn't the time to talk about things like that - not like now," he told Kirsty Wark for the BBC's Review Show. "I just didn't want to talk about it. It was mine and I kind of liked it being mine. I thought it
See full article at Digital Spy - Movie News »

Peter Cook and Frank Sidebottom rise again – and Airplane flies to the top of the polls

As cult comics speak to us from beyond the grave, Julian Clary and Airplane display their enduring popularity

Best of this week's news

Cult comics speak to us from beyond the grave this week, as Film Four announce a new film loosely based on the life and career of Chris Sievey and his alter ego Frank Sidebottom. Sidebottom was the large-headed wannabe pop star who became an unlikely phenomenon in the 1980s – which isn't exactly typecasting for the X-Men and Prometheus star Michael Fassbender, who's slated to play him. The movie is by screenwriter Peter Straughan and writer Jon Ronson, who has tweeted to deny that the film is explicitly about Sievey/Sidebottom.

No such coyness from the wife of Peter Cook, who has released 40 hours of unreleased material by her husband to mark the relaunch of The Establishment club (see last week's Laughing Stock) in Soho. Says record label boss Mike O'Brien,
See full article at The Guardian - TV News »

Peter Cook and Frank Sidebottom rise again – and Airplane flies to the top of the polls

As cult comics speak to us from beyond the grave, Julian Clary and Airplane display their enduring popularity

Best of this week's news

Cult comics speak to us from beyond the grave this week, as Film Four announce a new film loosely based on the life and career of Chris Sievey and his alter ego Frank Sidebottom. Sidebottom was the large-headed wannabe pop star who became an unlikely phenomenon in the 1980s – which isn't exactly typecasting for the X-Men and Prometheus star Michael Fassbender, who's slated to play him. The movie is by screenwriter Peter Straughan and writer Jon Ronson, who has tweeted to deny that the film is explicitly about Sievey/Sidebottom.

No such coyness from the wife of Peter Cook, who has released 40 hours of unreleased material by her husband to mark the relaunch of The Establishment club (see last week's Laughing Stock) in Soho. Says record label boss Mike O'Brien,
See full article at The Guardian - Film News »

Paul McCartney helps free caged elephant

Paul McCartney helps free caged elephant
Paul McCartney has helped to free an elephant that was kept chained in the dark for seven years. The Beatles star, along with Pamela Stephenson, called for India's forest minister Dr Patangrao Kadam to help release the animal. The 13-year-old, named Sunder, will be rescued from his shed in the Maharashtra district and moved to a wildlife centre, The Sun reports. McCartney had previously written: "I have seen (more)
See full article at Digital Spy - Movie News »
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