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Princess Diana’s ‘Wicked’ Stepmother review – Aka, why Di never stood a chance

Raine Spencer was appalling, dazzling and pathologically bouffanted – no wonder her stepchildren gave her Marie Antoinette’s biography for Christmas

In many ways, last night’s documentary about Raine Spencer, Princess Diana’s ‘Wicked’ Stepmother (Channel 4) – you can almost hear the lawyers grunting with the effort of staying the hands of producers desperate to do away with those quotation marks – was great fun.

How could it not be, with the high-camp figure of Barbara Cartland’s pathologically bouffanted daughter at its centre, and all the only slightly less camp figures gathered together – like moths around a heavily perfumed flame – to describe the steely socialite who dazzled and appalled everyone she met. It was a measure of the woman that you could rarely tell whether the person speaking had been her friend or foe.

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See full article at The Guardian - TV News »

Princess Diana’s Stepmother Raine Spencer Remembered at Private Funeral

  • PEOPLE.com
Raine Spencer, the stepmother of the late Princess Diana, was laid to rest in a quiet funeral on November 3, People has confirmed.

Countess Spencer, who died last month following a short illness, was buried at a cemetery just outside London on, a spokesman for her son, Earl of Dartmouth, tells People.

It was in keeping with her stated wishes to be buried there. The simple ceremony was attended by her immediate family. She was survived by four children and nine grandchildren. No members of the Spencer family attended the ceremony.

Countess Spencer was married to Diana’s father, Earl Spencer,
See full article at PEOPLE.com »

Five Things to Know About Princess Diana’s Stepmother, Raine Spencer — and Why Diana Called Her ‘Acid Raine’

Though the cracks in Princess Diana‘s fairy-tale love story have long been made public, it wouldn’t be complete without one particular character: the “wicked” stepmother, Raine, Countess Spencer â€. who died today at age 87 after a short illness.

Although that’s how their relationship began by many accounts, the real life version was of course far more complicated. Raine became Diana’s stepmother after she married John, Earl Spencer, when Diana was 15 years old. Their relationship was often strained, but the two forged a friendship in the years before Diana’s death.

Raine became Diana’s stepmother after she married Diana’s father,
See full article at PEOPLE.com »

Princess Diana’s Stepmother Raine Spencer Dies at 87

Raine Spencer, stepmother of Princess Diana, has died after a short illness, her family has announced. She was 87.

The death was confirmed by her son William Legge, the Earl of Dartmouth and a Ukip Mep.

“Raine, Countess Spencer, died peacefully at her home in London on 21st October, 2016, after a short illness,” the family said in a statement.

Countess Spencer was married to Diana’s father, Earl Spencer, from 1976 until his death in 1992. When she moved into the 16th-century family estate known as Althorp, she became stepmother to then 15-year-old Diana and her 12-year-old brother Charles.

It has been reported
See full article at PEOPLE.com »

Dean Cain’s Christmas movies: an (almost) definitive guide

Kirsten Howard Dec 19, 2017

One-time Superman Dean Cain has made lots of Christmas movies, mainly with dogs in them. This year, we've watched even more...

Warning! This article contains spoilers, the kind of swearing you'd expect from someone who's sat through thirteen Dean Cain Christmas movies, and mild peril in the form of ailing sanity.

If you’re anything like me you might have some fairly warm, fuzzy memories of Dean Cain. He was Superman! He brought Superman back! Supes! So fun to watch on Saturday afternoons or after school, saving Metropolis from do-badders and waiting for Lois to notice him without his cape on just once.

Okay! Soooo, what has Cain been up to since The New Adventures Of Superman finished? I mean, sure, you saw him in an episode of that one show. And then there was that other time. More recently, he's had a role in Supergirl. Naturally!
See full article at Den of Geek »

Collins' Sex Novels Have Enjoyed Unexpectedly Few Film Versions (The Stud, The Bitch)

Joan Collins in 'The Bitch': Sex tale based on younger sister Jackie Collins' novel. Author Jackie Collins dead at 77: Surprisingly few film and TV adaptations of her bestselling novels Jackie Collins, best known for a series of bestsellers about the dysfunctional sex lives of the rich and famous and for being the younger sister of film and TV star Joan Collins, died of breast cancer on Sept. 19, '15, in Los Angeles. The London-born (Oct. 4, 1937) Collins was 77. Collins' tawdry, female-centered novels – much like those of Danielle Steel and Judith Krantz – were/are immensely popular. According to her website, they have sold more than 500 million copies in 40 countries. And if the increasingly tabloidy BBC is to be believed (nowadays, Wikipedia has become a key source, apparently), every single one of them – 32 in all – appeared on the New York Times' bestseller list. (Collins' own site claims that a mere 30 were included.) Sex
See full article at Alt Film Guide »

Jackie Collins, Prodigious Writer of Romantic Fiction, Dies at 77

  • Vulture
Jackie Collins, Prodigious Writer of Romantic Fiction, Dies at 77
British novelist Jackie Collins, whose licentious-fiction romps through glamorous night lives have sold more than 500 million copies in 40 countries, has died of breast cancer at 77. Collins earned notoriety in 1968, with the publication of her novel The World is Full of Married Men. The prolific romance writer Barbara Cartland, who wrote over 700 novels (!) in her life, called the book disgusting; it was banned in several countries and subsequently sold very well in America. Her next book, The Stud ('69), announced her as the more lurid, female-oriented foil to Philip Roth, whose masturbation-centric classic Portnoy's Complaint came out that same year. Collins wrote about the lascivious side of Hollywood with the Hollywood series ('83-'03) and the seedy world of organized crime with the Santangelo novels, the last of which, the 600-page the Santangelos, came out this June. Collins began writing for film in the '70s, and
See full article at Vulture »

Oscar-Nominated Actor Biggest Professional Regret: Turning Down 'Doctor Who'

Ron Moody in Mel Brooks' 'The Twelve Chairs.' The 'Doctor Who' that never was. Ron Moody: 'Doctor Who' was biggest professional regret (See previous post: "Ron Moody: From Charles Dickens to Walt Disney – But No Harry Potter.") Ron Moody was featured in about 50 television productions, both in the U.K. and the U.S., from the late 1950s to 2012. These included guest roles in the series The Avengers, Gunsmoke, Starsky and Hutch, Hart to Hart, and Murder She Wrote, in addition to leads in the short-lived U.S. sitcom Nobody's Perfect (1980), starring Moody as a Scotland Yard detective transferred to the San Francisco Police Department, and in the British fantasy Into the Labyrinth (1981), with Moody as the noble sorcerer Rothgo. Throughout the decades, he could also be spotted in several TV movies, among them:[1] David Copperfield (1969). As Uriah Heep in this disappointing all-star showcase distributed theatrically in some countries.
See full article at Alt Film Guide »

Mindy Newell: Defining Oneself

  • Comicmix
I have been engrossed for the last week in Infidel, an autobiography that chronicles the life and times of political activist Ayaan Hirsi Ali and how she became who and what she is. Ms. Ali will be familiar to those readers of this column, who, like me, strive to never miss an episode of HBO’s Real Time with Bill Maher and MSNBC’s Hardball with Chris Matthews. She has also appeared on Fox News, CNN, and just about every news organization around the world – though I don’t know if she has ever been invited onto Al-Jazeera, even here on the U.S. version.

But if not, here’s a short version of Ms. Ali’s biography. Born into a traditional Muslim family in Somalia in 1969, her father was Hirsi Magan Isse, a leader of the Somali Salvation Democratic Front and who was actively involved in the Somalian Revolution against the Siad Barre government.
See full article at Comicmix »

View to a killing: why do collectors pay so much for James Bond first editions?

Early imprints of the Bond books increase in value every year. Is this just down to a large readership, or does it say something more fundamental about Ian Fleming's creation?

Funny old thing, that James Bond. Though Ian Fleming died in 1964, his hero has had a charmed existence since, newly incarnated in a variety of actors and films, and in further Bond adventures written by Kingsley Amis, John Gardner, Sebastian Faulks, Jeffery Deaver and, now, William Boyd.

Of these, Boyd seems the best choice. He has a sophisticated interest in the world of espionage, a fluent prose style, and a crisp eye for a Bondish detail. He was pictured, on publication week, in front of one of seven vintage Jensens, each of which was to deliver a copy of Solo, his new Bond novel, to Heathrow, from where they would be flown to various destinations associated with Bond (or
See full article at The Guardian - Film News »

Traumatised by Diana's death? No, just this film | Barbara Ellen

The Diana director is kidding himself if he thinks that we're still mourning the 'Queen of Hearts'

The British have upset film-maker Oliver Hirschbiegel, who's expressed his "devastation" over the mauling of his biopic of Princess Diana, starring Naomi Watts. It has not done too well commercially, either. In Diana's opening week, it finished fifth in the box offices; a week later, its audiences halved. Hirschbiegel said that the critical reaction was similar to what newspapers said about the real Diana when she was alive: "Really vile things. So I guess I succeeded."

Hirschbiegel also said: "In all other places where it's opened – in Poland, the Czech Republic, Turkey and Slovakia – it's been very strong. I think, for the British, Diana is still a trauma they haven't come to terms with." Well deflected, Mr Hirschbiegel, but that doesn't make it true.

Downfall showed that Hirschbiegel is a gifted director.
See full article at The Guardian - Film News »

'Diana' review round-up: Critics savage Naomi Watts royal biopic

'Diana' review round-up: Critics savage Naomi Watts royal biopic
When Naomi Watts quipped that she might have to leave the country on the release of Diana, we assumed that was because of the potential controversy surrounding the film.

On reading the reviews for the movie, it seems that the reception of Oliver Hirschbiegel's royal biopic has less to do with its subject and more its lack of quality.

Digital Spy's own Emma Dibdin gave the film a two-star thrashing, calling it "mind-bogglingly misjudged" and "too incompetent even to qualify as hagiography", and with some rare exceptions, that's a kinder verdict than the rest of the critical landscape.

Peter Bradshaw - The Guardian

"Poor Princess Diana. I hesitate to use the term 'car crash cinema'. But the awful truth is that, 16 years after that terrible day in 1997, she has died another awful death. This is due to an excruciatingly well-intentioned, reverential and sentimental biopic about her troubled final years,
See full article at Digital Spy - Movie News »

Clive James: The Kid from Kogarah – TV review

Wisdom and wonder in an interview singing with gratitude, plus the joy of experiences recollected in the fading light

It's almost 20 years since Melvyn Bragg recorded his classic interview with Dennis Potter at Channel 4's London studio. Fortified by flutes of champagne – Potter's laced with morphine – the pair cheerily discussed the esteemed writer's imminent demise, the substance of his life's work and determination to complete two last scripts.

Three months later, the lymphoma – dubbed Rupert by the author – terminated a brilliant career. But not before the Gloucestershire writer had wrapped up those final works, Cold Lazarus and Karaoke.

In late June, Kerry O'Brien travelled to Cambridge to record a valedictory conversation with another significant writer and television identity, Clive James. Born four years after Potter, the "kid from Kogarah" is in steep decline as a consequence of emphysema and leukemia but, like Potter in 1994, fronts up chipper, sanguine and
See full article at The Guardian - TV News »

Romance queen Barbara Cartland's 160 unpublished manuscripts set for release

London, August 14: Fictional romantic novel author Dame Barbara Cartland's 160 unpublished manuscripts are set to be released in three sets.

The late author, who continues to be referred in the Guinness World Records for the most novels published in a single year, left behind a set of her trademark happy ending novels which will be published in three sets: the Eternal Collection, the Pink Collection and a Spanish language collection, the Independent reported.

Under a deal between M-y Books and Ingram Content Group, these unseen manuscripts will be published to cater to her readers abroad.

M-y Books has been working.
See full article at RealBollywood »

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 »

Liz Taylor and Richard Burton reunited in BBC4 drama about last performance

Biopic of film stars' tempestuous relationship stars Dominic West and Helena Bonham Carter in last of BBC channel's big dramas

The BBC has released the first picture of Dominic West and Helena Bonham Carter in costume for its biopic about the final act in the 20 year on-off relationship between Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor.

Burton & Taylor will focus on the final reunion of the pair, already married and divorced twice, on the set of a 1983 stage revival of Noel Coward's Private Lives. The 90-minute BBC4 drama will chart the actors' fraught stint in the play, which opened at Boston's Shubert theatre in April 1983 before moving on to Broadway and Los Angeles.

The meeting on the set of Private Lives reportedly left both actors feeling that their union was irrevocably broken. Burton died the following year at the age of 58. Taylor died from heart failure in March 2011, aged 79.

The casting
See full article at The Guardian - TV News »

Liz Taylor and Richard Burton reunited in BBC4 drama about last performance

Biopic of film stars' tempestuous relationship stars Dominic West and Helena Bonham Carter in last of BBC channel's big dramas

The BBC has released the first picture of Dominic West and Helena Bonham Carter in costume for its biopic about the final act in the 20 year on-off relationship between Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor.

Burton & Taylor will focus on the final reunion of the pair, already married and divorced twice, on the set of a 1983 stage revival of Noel Coward's Private Lives. The 90-minute BBC4 drama will chart the actors' fraught stint in the play, which opened at Boston's Shubert theatre in April 1983 before moving on to Broadway and Los Angeles.

The meeting on the set of Private Lives reportedly left both actors feeling that their union was irrevocably broken. Burton died the following year at the age of 58. Taylor died from heart failure in March 2011, aged 79.

The casting
See full article at The Guardian - Film News »

Jessica Chastain Goes To The 'Crimson Peak' With Guillermo Del Toro

And we thought the casting up of David O. Russell's movie was getting intense. While monsters may take center stage of Guillermo del Toro's upcoming "Pacific Rim," for his next feature effort, "Crimson Peak," the director is impressing us thus far with the roster of talent he's assembling. One day after Benedict Cumberbatch came on board, Variety reports that Jessica Chastain has knocked another auteur off her list and joined the picture as well. Emma Stone and Charlie Hunnam are also part of the cast for the film, about which zero details are being let out of the bag at the moment. "It’s set at the turn of the century and it is a gothic romance with ghosts. When I use the Gr [gothic romance] term I use it not in the Barbara Cartland model but rather in a Bronte fashion. Dark and stormy and wind-swept," del Toro wrote
See full article at The Playlist »

Benedict Cumberbatch Joins Guillermo Del Toro's Gothic Thriller 'Crimson Peak'

Benedict Cumberbatch is pretty much on the precipice of stardom, if not already there. As the villain in both "Star Trek Into Darkness" and "The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug" this year, his wonderfully English name will be increasingly familiar to American audiences, and that's not to mention a potential awards baiting performance as Julian Assange in "The Fifth Estate" this fall. So what's next? He's gonna get some period clothes out of the closet again. Not to solve mysteries or endure various dramas, but instead to ride with whatever Guillermo del Toro is cooking up. Variety reports that Cumberbatch has joined Emma Stone and Charlie Hunnam in "Crimson Peak." Details are still being kept under guard, so we'll just have to recycle this quote from the writer/director himself. "It’s set at the turn of the century and it is a gothic romance with ghosts. When I use
See full article at The Playlist »
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