Britain’s most popular contemporary art gallery and a new horseracing heritage centre are in the running to be named the UK’s Museum of the Year.
Tate Modern in London and The National Heritage Centre for Horseracing and Sporting Art in Newmarket, Suffolk, are both nominated for the £100,000 award.
They are joined in the contest by the Hepworth Wakefield gallery and the Lapworth Museum of Geology, Birmingham.
Sir John Soane’s Museum in London completes the five-strong shortlist.
The Lapworth Museum of Geology
This museum, operated by the University of Birmingham, re-opened last June after a £2.7m redevelopment that was designed restore it to its 1920s grandeur and create three new galleries.
It holds 250,000 specimens, ranging from dinosaur skeletons to volcanic rocks.
The National Heritage Centre for Horseracing and Sporting Art
Officially opened by the Queen in November, this complex is home to the National Horseracing Museum, the Fred Packard Museum and Galleries of British Sporting Art, and a yard for the Retraining of Racehorses charity.
It is also home to two of the Queen’s former racehorses and a virtual Clare Balding.
Sir John Soane’s Museum
Housed in the former home of 19th Century architect Sir John Soane, this gallery and museum has completed a £7m restoration intended to open up “lost” areas and return it to how it looked when he died and left it to the nation in 1837.
That includes creating 33 per cent more space and putting 10 per cent more objects on display.
Seventeen years after it opened on London’s South Bank, Tate Modern had a record 5.8 million visitors in 2016.
That was partly down to the opening of a 10-storey extension, the Switch House, and exhibitions of photographs owned by Sir Elton John and artwork by Georgia O’Keeffe.
The West Yorkshire gallery celebrated its fifth birthday last year and saw a 21% rise in visitors.
It also launched a major new award for British sculpture and staged exhibitions by Martin Parr, Stanley Spencer and Anthea Hamilton.
The winner of the Art Fund Museum of the Year will be announced on 5 July.
Art Fund director Stephen Deuchar said: “Each of these museums has had a remarkable year, reaching – in a range of ways – new heights in their efforts to serve and inspire their visitors.
“Whether unveiling new buildings, galleries, displays or public programmes, all the finalists have shown a real commitment to innovation and experimentation, offering fresh perspectives and new ways of seeing and understanding their collections.”
Last year’s prize was won by the Victoria and Albert in London.
While the arc is broadly true, Hollander compresses and condenses events, even creating composite characters to keep up the momentum.
Here’s what’s true, and what isn’t.
True: Madonna was in a band called The Emmys
The first act of the script focuses on Madonna’s pre-fame band The Emmys, which she formed with her boyfriend Dan Gilroy and childhood friend Stephen Bray, who went on to co-write Into The Groove, Express Yourself and True Blue.
The film insists the group were a cheap knock-off of new wave pop band Blondie, but their sound was more indebted to Britain’s ska and 2 Tone scenes.
Madonna can even be heard adopting a British accent in some of their early demos.
False: The Emmys were erased from history
One of the script’s biggest fabrications was that Madonna and The Emmys had a deal with Sire Records and cut an entire album before Madonna took the songs, erased Dan’s vocals and launched herself as a solo artist.
In reality, the band never got beyond making demo tapes; and many of the songs attributed to them in the film – including Borderline and Lucky Star – were written much later.
Madonna even paid tribute to Dan Gilroy when she was inducted to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2008.
“He lived in an abandoned synagogue in Queens,” she recalled, “and he taught me how to play guitar.
“I practised those four chords that Dan taught me over and over and over again.”
Partially true: Madonna worked in a Russian tea room
At the start of Blonde Ambition, Madonna is seen waiting tables at New York’s prestigious Russian Tea Room.
While the star did work at the venue for two months, she was stationed in the cloakroom, and eventually let go for failing to adhere to the dress code.
“She was a hard worker, conscientious,” said restaurant manager Gregory Camillucci in 1991.
“I got the impression that the one meal we fed her was the only food she was getting.”
True: She dated her producer, Jellybean Benitez
Blonde Ambition’s biggest sub-plot is Madonna’s romance with dance producer John “Jellybean” Benitez, who produced her breakthrough single, Holiday, and remixed others, including Material Girl, Like A Virgin and Dress You Up.
They first met at the influential New York club Fun House, where, according to one observer, Madonna “walked right up to the DJ booth, grabbed him and kissed him”.
After that, they dated for two years, during which time Madonna’s career exploded – leading to inevitable tensions and the eventual breakdown of their relationship.
However, it’s unlikely that their courtship included the sort of “romantic” dialogue Hollander provides in her script.
“You’re the first Latin DJ to break out of genre in a heavily white industry and I’m a driven woman in [an] all boys club,” says Madonna during one encounter. “We’re both outsiders but I’m willing to work the system from within. Are you?”
True: (Most of) the things she said
Throughout the script, entire lines of dialogue are lifted verbatim from Madonna’s interviews, including the pivotal quote: “It never occurred to me to get into this business and not be a huge success. I wanted the world to notice me, always have.”
In fact, Hollander’s reliance on archive clips caught Madonna out during her Instagram rant.
As an example of the script’s inaccuracies, the singer singled out a line of dialogue on the first page, in which Madonna tells US TV personality Dick Clark: “I was born in Detroit. I’m a famed high school dropout.”
“I was born in Bay City, not Detroit. And I did not drop out of high school. In fact, I went to University of Michigan,” Madonna said.
But the interview Hollander quotes is available on YouTube – which might explain why Madonna later deleted her comments.
However, some of her quotes have been placed in a new context.
On page 58 of the script, Madonna tells Jellybean: “I always knew I was going to be a nun or a star. Spending six months in a convent cured me of the first one.”
This superb (and untrue) piece of hyperbole actually comes from a handwritten letter Madonna sent to film director Stephen Lewicki, requesting an audition for his movie A Certain Sacrifice.
Partially true: She signed her record deal in hospital
One of the most well-worn Madonna stories is that Seymour Stein signed her to Sire Records in hospital, hours after having heart surgery.
In the script, this is all at Madonna’s behest. So desperate is she to sign the deal that she frog-marches to his ward and practically puts the pen in his hand.
But Stein insists hewas the one who summoned Madonna to him.
“”I needed a shave and a shower. But I got it together to meet with her.
“When she walked in the room, I could tell she wouldn’t have cared if I was like Sarah Bernhardt lying in a coffin.
“All she cared about was that one of my arms moved, that I could sign a contract.
“What I saw there was even more important than the one song I heard.
“I saw a young woman who was so determined to be a star.”
Uncertain: The abortion
In Blonde Ambition’s final scene, backstage at the 1984 MTV Awards, Madonna coldly informs Jellybean that she has aborted their child.
“I won’t have to choose between my career and a family now,” she says, not even deigning to make eye contact. “And that’s how I want it.”
Madonna has never suggested she was pregnant in 1984, and Hollander’s claim would appear to be based on Christopher Andersen’s salacious 1992 biography Madonna: Unauthorized (you can read an excerpt here).
However, Madonnahas spoken about having an abortion during the early years of her career on several occasions.
“You always have regrets when you make those kind of decisions,” she told Times Magazine in 1996, “but you have to look at your lifestyle and ask, ‘Am I at a place in my life where I can devote a lot of time to being the really good parent I want to be?’
“I think you have to be mentally prepared for it. If you’re not, you’re only doing the world a disservice by bringing up a child you don’t want.”
“I think Madonna’s vulgar and tacky,” says Cher on the 83rd page of Blonde Ambition. “She’s a flash in the pan at best.”
Amazing though it may seem, the quote is real.
Madonna even responded to the comment in a 1984 interview with her future biographer J Randy Taborelli, saying: “Who knows tacky better than Cher?”
False: Madonna auditioned songwriters in a swimming pool
Half-way through Blonde Ambition, Madonna is desperately seeking a final song to complete her debut album. So she and Jellybean hold an open audition in an indoor swimming pool at the YMCA.
After a montage of dismal musicians playing dismal songs, funk duo Pure Energy walk through the double doors.
Singer Lisa Stevens and bassist Curtis Hudson (bizarrely renamed Richard Curtis in Hollander’s script) nervously set up their instruments before playing what will become Madonna’s signature song, Holiday.
Great story – but it never happened.
The band originally submitted a cassette demo of the song to Mary Wilson, of The Supremes.
When she rejected it, Holiday was passed on to Jellybean, who presented it to Madonna.
“Can you live off of one hit? Yes, you can if you get the right hit. It can last you a lifetime. We’ve been living proof of that. If we did nothing else, the royalties from Holiday could support us.”
True: She fell over at the 1984 MTV Awards
Madonna’s most public mishap came at the 2015 Brit Awards, when she was yanked off stage by a cape.
But it had happened once before – at the first MTV Awards in 1984, when she lost a stiletto while walking down a 17ft (5m) tall wedding cake in her wedding dress (it could happen to anyone).
Although the incident plays a pivotal part in Blonde Ambition – has she lost the baby? – it was never as serious as the script makes out.
“I thought, ‘Well, I’ll just pretend I meant to do this,'” Madonna later said. “So I dove on the floor and I rolled around. And, as I reached for the shoe, the dress went up. And [my] underpants were showing.”
The stumble-flash made television history and propelled Madonna to even greater heights. And that’s where the film drops the curtain.
“But I get into trouble now if I go into a shop with a bag over my arm.”
Ullman is “brilliant”, the actress said – but joked that the sketches in the BBC One comedy show have caused problems.
“It’s tricky, people look at me in a funny way,” she said, adding: “A man came up to me in M&S the other day and said to me, ‘I’ve got my eye on you’.”
Dame Judi was speaking as she unveiled a blue plaque for her friend, the late actor Sir John Gielgud, at his former London home.
She told Front Row that Sir John was one of the greatest Shakespearean actors and that young actors would do well to learn from his performances.
She said: “He used to present the whole of a sentence, the whole arc of a sentence, or the meaning of a passage of Shakespeare.
“We’re in an unfortunate century where people think, ‘oh Shakespeare, it needs to be changed because we don’t understand what things mean’. That’s not so. One can understand it and John was sublime at being able to tell you exactly what it meant.”
Fellow film-maker Barry Jenkins, who directed the Oscar-winning Moonlight, wrote: “Met tons through the Moonlight run but my man Demme was the kindest, most generous. A MASSIVE soul. He lived in love. And rests in peace.”
Director Jim Jarmusch wrote: “Inspiring filmmaker, musical explorer, ornithologist (!), and truly wonderful and generous person.”
Author Stephen King tweeted: “Deeply sad to hear my friend, neighbor, and colleague Jonathan Demme has passed on. He was one of the real good guys. I miss you, buddy.”
Elijah Wood, star of the Lord of the Rings films, tweeted that he was “sad to hear” of the director’s death.
Edgar Wright, the British director of Hot Fuzz and Shaun of the Dead, said: “Admired his movies, his documentaries, his concert films. He could do anything.”
In a statement, the director’s publicist said: “Sadly, I can confirm that Jonathan passed away early this morning in his Manhattan apartment, surrounded by his wife, Joanne Howard, and three children.
“He died from complications from oesophageal cancer and is survived by his children Ramona, age 29, and her husband James Molloy, Brooklyn, age 26, and Jos, age 21.
“There will be a private family funeral. Any possible further plans will be announce later.
“In lieu of flowers, the family has asked that donations be made to Americans For Immigrant Justice in Miami, FL [Florida].”
Born Robert Jonathan Demme on New York’s Long Island, Demme began his directing career working for famed producer Roger Corman.
His earliest credits included Caged Heat, a thriller set in a women’s prison, and Crazy Mama, a road movie starring Cloris Leachman.
The only problem with writing a debut novel that sells 20 million copies and spawns a Hollywood film is – your follow-up has a lot to live up to.
Paula Hawkins’ 2015 debut The Girl on the Train was a publishing phenomenon, and the first reviews for her new book Into The Water are in.
And most critics are not impressed.
Reviewing it for The Guardian, crime author Val McDermid predicted Hawkins’ sales would be “massive” but “her readers’ enjoyment may be less so”.
McDermid was puzzled by the 11 narrative voices used in Into The Water, which is released in the UK next week.
She wrote: “These characters are so similar in tone and register – even when some are in first person and others in third – that they are almost impossible to tell apart, which ends up being both monotonous and confusing.”
She added: “Hawkins had a mountain to climb after the success of The Girl on the Train and no doubt the sales of her second thriller will be massive. I suspect her readers’ enjoyment may be less so.”
Slate‘s Laura Miller declared that Into the Water “isn’t an impressive book”.
She wrote: “Its tone is uniformly lugubrious and maudlin, and Hawkins’ characters seldom rise to the level of two dimensions, let alone three.”
But Miller pointed out: “None of this will necessarily prevent Into the Water from triumphing at the cash register. The book surely will become a best-seller, if only on the strength of residual name recognition for The Girl on the Train.”
“If The Girl on the Train seemed overplotted and confusing to some readers, it is a model of clarity next to this latest effort.
“Her goal may be to build suspense, but all she achieves is confusion. Into the Water is jam-packed with minor characters and stories that go nowhere.”
‘Plausible and grimly gripping’
She asks: “What happened to the Paula Hawkins who structured The Girl on the Train so ingeniously?”
However, The New Statesman‘s Leo Robson defended the book, writing: “Most of the time, the novel is plausible and grimly gripping.
“Into the Water follows its predecessor in applying laser scrutiny to a small patch, but there are signs of growth and greater ambition.”
He described Hawkins’s writing as “addictive”, adding that the novel “is on a par with The Girl on a Train”.
The Evening Standard‘s David Sexton wrote: “Unfortunately, Into the Water turns out to be hard work.”
“There’s a ridiculous multiplication of narrators from the start, some first-person, others third, so that on first reading it is almost impossible to keep track of who’s who and what relation they have to one another… several of the stories never really cohere.”
Marcel Berlins in The Times said: “This novel has its intriguing attributes.
“It does not follow the usual samey fashionable pattern of ‘domestic noir’ and psychological thrillers. For that Hawkins ought to be commended, even if the result is not a full success.
“She is let down by her overambitious structure and a lack of sufficient tension. Hawkins does not quite pass the second-book test.”
Of course, reviews of any kind are unlikely to deter the millions who enjoyed The Girl on the Train.
After all, critics didn’t much like the film adaptation of her previous book, starring Emily Blunt, but that didn’t stop it being a box office success.