Mindhorn cast ‘comes home’ for Isle of Man premiere

Mindhorn cast ‘comes home’ for Isle of Man premiere

MindhornImage copyright
Steffan Hill

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Many recognisable Isle of Man landmarks feature in Mindhorn, including the Laxey Wheel, Strand Street in Douglas and the Sea Terminal

The cast and crew of the new comedy feature film Mindhorn have returned to the Isle of Man to attend a premiere in the place where it was shot last year.

While rugged Manx scenery has featured in dozens of movies, rarely has the island ever featured in the script.

More than 100 extras were used during the five-week shoot last summer which took in locations such as the Laxey Wheel and the Sea Terminal in Douglas.

Mindhorn actor Julian Barratt said: “We have come home for the Manx premiere.”

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Steffan Hill

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More than 100 extras were recruited in the Isle of Man for the filming of Mindhorn

He added: “When we were coming over and saw the island come into view from the ferry, we really felt like we were coming back to where the film was born.”

Mindhorn centres around a character called Richard Thorncroft (Barratt) who became famous in the 1980s while playing a detective.

In the new film he works alongside the police to catch a serial killer who will only speak to Mindhorn, whom he believes to be real.

“By this time the character is washed-up and out of work and sees this as an opportunity to get his career back on track,” said Barratt, who starred in cult BBC comedy The Mighty Boosh.

“Quite despicably he piggybacks on the crime as a way of getting get some publicity.”

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Julian Barratt and Simon Farnaby travelled to the Isle of Man for the premier of Mindhorn on Thursday

Mindhorn was co-written by Barratt and Simon Farnaby more than 10 years ago.

The pair looked at a few different options before settling on the Isle of Man as a location.

“We thought about Guernsey but that would have been too close to the idea of Bergerac so we Googled the Isle of Man and it had a faded grandeur about it which is very much like Richard,” said Farnaby.

“The island gets a gentle ribbing in the film but it’s done with affection and I think it will be taken well.”

Mindhorn, directed by Sean Foley, is out in the UK on 5 May.

ENO recruits diction coaches for new opera season

ENO recruits diction coaches for new opera season

The Barber of SevilleImage copyright
Mike Hoban

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The Barber of Seville is one of the ENO’s new season revivals

If you’ve ever struggled to hear every word being sung at an opera, things may be about to improve.

The English National Opera is to bring in diction coaches to ensure its productions are loud and clear.

Speaking at the launch of the ENO’s 2017/18 season, artistic director Daniel Kramer said: “We want to make sure that when we do sing in English it is as comprehensible as possible.”

Coaches are currently being recruited to work with the cast on each show.

“It’s a huge space in there,” said the ENO’s new music director Martyn Brabbins of the company’s 2,359-seat home at the London Coliseum.

“Some singers are more predisposed to do it than others… some singers find it more challenging. It’s a difficult thing. But tell me where you hear every word in any opera.”

The new ENO season features four new productions and five revivals at the London Coliseum.

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Robbie Jack

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The Marriage of Figaro is also among the productions

It will open with a new production of Verdi’s Aida, directed by Phelim McDermott, whose Akhnaten won an Olivier award earlier this month.

Verdi’s La Traviata will end the season, with Kramer directing Irish soprano Claudia Boyle in the role of “fallen woman” Violetta.

‘Financially stable’

The ENO has been through turbulent times in recent years.

In February 2015, the Arts Council of England cut its core funding by £5m and placed the company under “special funding arrangements”.

Two months later, the ENO announced it was cutting ticket prices in an attempt to secure its financial future.

Artistic director John Berry quit the following July after 10 years in the post.

In February 2016 the ENO chorus was set to strike over a pay dispute which was later resolved. A month later music director Mark Wigglesworth resigned after less than a year in the job.

At Thursday’s season announcement, CEO Cressida Pollock said the company was “more financially stable than we have been in over a decade”.

She said ticket price cuts in the balcony and upper circle had boosted audiences, and would be extended to the dress circle this year.

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Tristram Kenton

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Daniel Kramer took over as ENO artistic director last year

Kramer added that a new funding model – in which the London Coliseum is rented out to commercial musical productions such as Carousel and Bat Out of Hell – helped finance his opera programme.

“Bat Out of Hell is buying me a world premiere,” he said. “That’s how I look at it on paper.”

Looking further ahead to the end of 2018, ENO will mark the the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I with Benjamin Britten’s War Requiem.

In 2019 it will team up with Opera North for the world premiere of Iain Bell’s Jack the Ripper, which Kramer said would “look at the myth from the female perspective”.

With Rupert Charlesworth in the title role, the central female roles will sung by Josephine Barstow, Lesley Garrett, Susan Bullock, Janis Kelly and Marie McLaughlin.

Other 2017/18 season highlights:

  • Marnie – the world premiere of Nico Muhly’s latest opera based on novelist Winston Graham’s psychological thriller, which was also made into a 1964 film directed by Alfred Hitchcock
  • Iolanthe – Gilbert and Sullivan’s fantasy political satire directed by Cal McCrystal, who was responsible for the slapstick sequences in the National Theatre’s comedy hit One Man, Two Guvnors
  • The Turn of the Screw – Benjamin Britten’s spine-chilling chamber opera, based on the Henry James novella, in a co-production with Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre
  • More revivals, including Jonathan Miller’s The Barber of Seville, Robert Carsen’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Fiona Shaw’s The Marriage of Figaro

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We fact-checked the Madonna film script

We fact-checked the Madonna film script

Madonna in 1984Image copyright
Rex Features

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Madonna has disputed the accuracy of the biopic

Not for the first time, Madonna is on the war path.

The focus of her rage is Universal Pictures, who snapped up a script about the singer’s early years in New York earlier this week.

Madonna sought out a copy of the screenplay, called Blonde Ambition, and immediately declared it to be “all lies”.

“Nobody knows what I know and what I have seen.” the 58-year-old fumed on Instagram.

“Only I can tell my story. Anyone else who tries is a charlatan and a fool. Looking for instant gratification without doing the work. This is a disease in our society.”

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Madonna / Instagram

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Madonna’s representative confirmed her Instagram post related to the Blonde Ambition script

Penned by first-time writer Elyse Hollander, Blonde Ambition topped last year’s Black List, Hollywood’s annual chart of the best unproduced screenplays.

The list has previously featured future Oscar-winners such as Spotlight, The Revenant, Argo and American Hustle – so it’s no surprise that Universal nabbed the rights.

Two major producers have already been attached to the project, Michael De Luca (The Social Network) and Brett Ratner (X-Men), who himself directed Madonna’s Beautiful Stranger video in 1999.

However, it’s clear that the project doesn’t have the star’s approval.

In theory, that’s not a barrier to the film getting made, but the script relies heavily on Madonna’s music, including Like A Virgin, Everybody and Lucky Star.

If the singer vetoes their use, the project would essentially be dead in the water.

But how inaccurate is Hollander’s script?

We read a publicly available draft to see how closely it stuck to Madonna’s story.

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

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PA

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The singer was in several bands before hitting the big time as a solo artist

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.

Their name derived from Madonna’s childhood nickname, and video footage of their scrappy garage tunes can easily be found online.

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

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Getty Images

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The singer paid tribute to her bandmates in later years

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

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Rex / Shutterstock

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Madonna and Jellybean in 1983

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

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Getty Images

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Many of the quotes come from archive interviews with the singer

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 was caught with dirty pyjamas with a slit up the back of my gown,” he told Rolling Stone.

“”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

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Getty Images

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Madonna later tackled the subject of abortion in Papa Don’t Preach

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.”

(A group of New York Film Students have filmed Blonde Ambition’s final scene, should you be interested in watching an am-dram version of the movie).

True: The feud with Cher

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Getty Images

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Cher and Madonna have traded barbed words for the past 30 years

“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

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Holiday was Madonna’s breakout hit, and the UK’s introduction to the future Queen of Pop

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.

“The song still generates money,” Curtis told blogcritics in 2006 .

“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

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Warner Bros / Sire Records

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Madonna’s MTV performance echoed the cover of her second album, Like A Virgin

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.

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Dame Judi: I love Tracey Ullman’s ‘evil Judi’ sketches

Dame Judi: I love Tracey Ullman’s ‘evil Judi’ sketches

Tracey Ullman as Dame Judi Dench

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Tracey Ullman as Dame Judi Dench: A menace to society

Dame Judi Dench has declared herself a big fan of comedy sketches that show her using her fame to get away with shoplifting and other petty crime.

Tracey Ullman played Dame Judi last year as a nefarious national treasure – stealing, smashing china in a boutique and hurling bags of dog poo into trees.

Speaking to BBC Radio 4’s Front Row about Ullman’s portrayal, she said: “I love it. I dote on it.

“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’.”

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PA

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The real Dame Judi: The paragon of respectability

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.”


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Jonathan Demme, director of The Silence of the Lambs, dies at 73

Jonathan Demme, director of The Silence of the Lambs, dies at 73

Jonathan DemmeImage copyright
AFP

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Demme won the best director Oscar in 1992 for The Silence of the Lambs

Jonathan Demme, the Oscar-winning director of The Silence of the Lambs, has died in New York at the age of 73.

His publicist confirmed he died from complications from oesophageal cancer.

Born in 1944, Demme’s other features included Philadelphia, Something Wild and the Talking Heads documentary Stop Making Sense.

Tom Hanks, who won an Oscar for his performance in Philadelphia, told the Press Association Demme was “the grandest of men”.

He said: “Jonathan taught us how big a heart a person can have, and how it will guide how we live and what we do for a living.”

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Getty Images

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Both Demme and actress Jodie Foster won Oscars for The Silence of the Lambs

Demme’s own Oscar was for best director for The Silence of the Lambs in 1992.

The second film to feature serial killer Hannibal Lecter, it is one of only three films to win the so-called “big five” Oscars.

As well as best director, the 1991 film was named best picture, won a screenplay prize and saw both of its lead actors honoured.

Demme also steered Mary Steenburgen to a best supporting actress Oscar for his 1980 film Melvin and Howard.

In recent years he worked with Anne Hathaway on Rachel Getting Married and directed Meryl Streep in both Ricki and the Flash and his 2004 remake of The Manchurian Candidate.

His most recent film, Justin Timberlake + the Tennessee Kids, showed Timberlake in concert in 2015.

Tributes flowed in from the film world:

British actress Thandie Newton, who worked with him on Beloved and The Truth About Charlie, said she was “deeply saddened” by his passing.

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@thandienewton

Actor-turned-director Ron Howard remembered Demme as “a great artist, humanitarian, activist & a warm encouraging colleague”.

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@RealRonHoward

Clerks director Kevin Smith, also writing on Twitter, praised Demme for his “honest cinematic storytelling”.

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@ThatKevinSmith

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].”

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Orion Pictures/REX/Shutterstock

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Sir Anthony Hopkins (right) was also honoured for the 1991 film

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.


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Paula Hawkins’ new novel Into The Water confuses critics

Paula Hawkins’ new novel Into The Water confuses critics

Paula HawkinsImage copyright
Getty Images

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The Girl on the Train was Paula Hawkins’s first novel under her own name

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.”

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Dreamworks

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.”

Janet Maslin wasn’t much more enthusiastic in The New York Times.

“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”.

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Getty Images

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The film adaptation of The Girl on the Train was released last September

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.”

‘Overambitious’

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.


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Bristol’s Colston Hall to drop ‘toxic’ slave trader name

Bristol’s Colston Hall to drop ‘toxic’ slave trader name

  • 26 April 2017
  • From the section Bristol

Colston Hall, Bristol

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Colston Hall is due to close for a £49m revamp at the end of the year and reopen in 2020

A music venue is to ditch the “toxic” name it shares with a 17th Century slave trader.

Colston Hall bosses had previously maintained that the Bristol attraction was named after the street it is on, rather than Edward Colston.

Much of the Bristol-born MP and merchant’s wealth came from the slave trade.

The change, which will not come into effect until 2020, follows a campaign to urge Colston Hall to alter its name.

Ready for ‘backlash’

Louise Mitchell, chief executive of the Bristol Music Trust charity that runs Colston Hall, said it was the “right thing to do” for artists, the public and the “diverse workforce” at the venue, which recently announced plans for a refurbishment costing nearly £50m.

She said: “The name Colston does not reflect the trust’s values as a progressive, forward-thinking and open arts organisation.

“We want to look to the future and ensure the whole city is proud of its transformed concert hall and so when we open the new hall, it will be with a new name.”

Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media captionLouise Mitchell, chief executive of the Bristol Music Trust charity that runs the venue said it was the “right thing to do”

She acknowledged there would be a “backlash” over the change, but admitted the trust had “needed to resolve” the issue ahead of talks with potential sponsors.

“Effectively, I’ve been selling a toxic brand up to now,” she said.

“We need to move forward on this. It’s not actually about commerce, it’s about doing the right thing.”

More on this story, and other news from the West

Over the years, some of the world’s biggest music stars have performed at Colston Hall, including The Beatles, David Bowie, Ella Fitzgerald, Louis Armstrong and Bob Dylan.

The legendary Bristol band Massive Attack have always refused to play at Colston Hall, and the city’s mayor Marvin Rees has said he is “not a fan” of the name. A petition launched in February calling for a change gathered more than 2,000 signatories.


Edward Colston (1636-1721)

Image copyright
Phillip Halling

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A grand bronze statue of Edward Colston has stood in Bristol city centre since 1895

  • Colston was born into a prosperous Bristol merchant’s family and, although he lived in London for many years, was always closely associated with the city
  • By 1672, he had his own business in the capital trading in slaves, cloth, wine and sugar. A significant proportion of Colston’s wealth came directly or indirectly from the slave trade
  • In 1680, he became an official of the Royal African Company, which at the time held the monopoly in Britain on slave trading
  • He donated to churches and hospitals in Bristol, also founding two almshouses and a school
  • Colston also lent money to the Bristol corporation and was a city MP for a short time
  • The bronze statue commemorating Colston in the city of his birth has an inscription on it which reads: “Erected by citizens of Bristol as a memorial of one of the most virtuous and wise sons of their city”. There is no mention of his role in the slave trade

Source: BBC History/Nigel Pocock


However, the majority of those who have taken to BBC Radio Bristol’s Facebook page to express their opinions have not welcomed the move.

Chris Goldsworthy said it was “political correctness gone mad”, while Nick Davies said it was a mistake as the “past should not be airbrushed out”.

Kate Gillam said “changing the name won’t change what happened. It’s part of our heritage”.

The music venue is not the only place in Bristol with links to Colston that has come under fire. Bristol Cathedral is reportedly considering removing a large stained-glass window dedicated to the merchant, following criticism from anti-racism campaigners.

Johnny Depp blames managers for money woes

Johnny Depp blames managers for money woes

Johnny DeppImage copyright
Getty Images

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Depp said it was his right to spend money on cotton balls if he so desired

Johnny Depp has claimed his ex-business managers are to blame for his financial woes – not his lavish lifestyle.

“I’ve worked very, very hard for a lot of years and trusted a lot of people, some who’ve clearly let me down,” the actor told the Wall Street Journal.

The Alice in Wonderland star sued The Management Group in January for $25m (£19.5m) alleging fraud and negligence.

The Management Group responded with a countersuit, attributing his financial troubles to a $2m-a-month lifestyle.

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Disney

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The actor will shortly be seen reprising his Captain Jack Sparrow role

In his first public comments on the matter, Depp denied that his debts were down to profligate spending. “Why didn’t they drop me as a client if I was so out of control?” he said.

But he did give some insight into his shopping habits. “It’s my money,” the actor was quoted as saying. “If I want to buy 15,000 cotton balls a day, it’s my thing.”

Depp, 53, alleges that The Management Group’s handling of his affairs led to him being more than $40m (£31m) in debt.

He also accuses the LA firm, run by brothers Joel and Rob Mandel, of failing to file his taxes on time and taking out high-interest loans on his behalf.

Costly send-off

In their own legal action, The Management Group said their former client had “refused to live within his means, despite… repeated warnings about his financial condition”.

They claimed the actor’s outgoings included $3m (£2.3m) to blast the ashes of author Hunter S Thompson out of a cannon – a send-off Depp said had actually cost him $5m (£3.9m).

The Oscar-nominated actor is best-known for his role as Captain Jack Sparrow in the Pirates of the Caribbean series, the fifth instalment of which arrives this summer.

Disney have announced that Dead Men Tell No Tales will have its world premiere at the Shanghai Disney resort on 11 May – the first Hollywood premiere to be held in mainland China.


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Tom Hardy apprehends ‘fleeing motorbike thief’ in London

Tom Hardy apprehends ‘fleeing motorbike thief’ in London

  • 25 April 2017
  • From the section London

Tom HardyImage copyright
Getty Images

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The actor pursued one of the suspects who had run from the scene of a crash

Actor Tom Hardy helped to apprehend a man who had allegedly stolen a motorbike in London, police have said.

The Hollywood star stepped in after two teenagers on the bike crashed into a car in Richmond, south-west London, on Sunday afternoon.

They ran off before one was grabbed by the Mad Max and Taboo star and the other was arrested by a police officer.

Two 16-year-olds have been arrested on suspicion of theft of a motor vehicle, police said.

Image copyright
Getty Images

Image caption

Tom Hardy recently starred in the BBC period thriller, Taboo

Witness Arun Pullen told The Sun newspaper: “Tom must have been walking down the road.

“He went off like a shot in pursuit and looked furious.

“I asked Tom what happened and he told me he chased him through my back garden and caught him around the block – but the route was like an assault course.”

Image caption

Tom Hardy set hearts a-flutter on Facebook when he recently read the CBeebies bedtime story

A Richmond Police spokesman said: “We can confirm that there were two people on a stolen moped that went through a red light and crashed into another vehicle.

“The males ran off and one was detained by Tom Hardy.

“Both suspects were initially taken to hospital with non-life threatening injuries.”

A Metropolitan Police spokesman later clarified the stolen vehicle was a motorbike and that members of the public detained the rider.

One of the arrested teenagers was riding pillion, it added.

The two teenagers have been arrested on suspicion of various motoring offences including taking a vehicle without consent and theft of a motor vehicle, and remain in police custody.

A spokeswoman for the 39-year-old actor, who has also starred in films including The Dark Knight Rises, The Revenant, Inception and Legend, declined to comment.

Hardy has also appeared in BBC TV drama Peaky Blinders and read a bedtime story on the BBC children’s channel CBeebies.

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