Category Archives: Actor

2016 – the death of celebrity

2016 seems to be a rotten year for anyone who grew up loving the 80s.  It all kicked off with the shock news that David Bowie had died.  I have to say that I had a Princess Diana moment when I heard the news, in that….I thought they’d got it wrong.  His album had literally just been released and so I thought it might be some kind of weird stunt.  Plus, I remember the outpouring of grief when people thought Cher was dead #now that cher is dead- which was actually about the death of Margret Thatcher, tragic or not depending upon your location.

Cher Thatcher
Confusion: Fans of Cher, left, misinterpreted the hashtag, reading it as ‘Now that Cher is dead’ rather than ‘Now Thatcher is dead’

But no, it was true David had indeed died. I remember musing at the time to an overly shocked friend how he’d had a great life and rather than mourn the loss we should celebrate the fact he’d had a stonking life and left us with some stonking songs.  Then Alan Rickman died.  I always remember that scene in the film Leon where Alan plays a bent cop who pops pills and then cranks his neck – the sound still makes me wince – until I remembered that this was actually Gary Oldman.  Rickman was in Die Hard…stupid!!!!

Then a stream of celebrities seemed to die off – first came Sir Terry Wogan – now, that was a real shock.  I like so many others, felt compelled to watch his last BBC Radio 2 show and then spent the next 10 or so hours Youtubing loads of Wogan stuff. He was dead.  All of which seemed so sad as we’d only got over Cilla Black dying and the Oxo lady. It was a shame, especially as the bad celeb’s (apart from hell fire eating Jimmy Saville) were still alive in kicking – admitted from behind the bars of their cell or living in some dodgy halfway house after being kicked out by their wives – now wishing they were dead.  But they weren’t.  They were still alive.  The ones we liked…were dying.


And then like a game of celebrity squares which had just fallen over – the rest tumbled too – we had the guy who played father Jack in Father Ted; the guy who wrote Coronation Street – who I learned was gay (probably doesn’t mean much if you straight – but when you’re gay, these little footnotes are handy for Christmas time conversations when you can drop it in when stuck with your family for 48 hours and want to rough things up a bit),  then Paul Daniels and then wee Ronnie Corbett and then my agony aunt Denise Robertson (she’d never met or communicated with me in anyway – but that doesn’t matter – she was mine and it’s how I feel about her that counts); David Guest (didn’t surprise me all that much), Victoria Wood (a real shock) – I loved Vic – she was a great British comedian – a bit like Rick Mayall, who I also thought died last year – but upon having a quick look actually died in June 2014!!! Where the hell is time going???

victoriawood.jpg

So, anyway, Victoria Wood was someone a really thought was special a) because she proved that given half the chance women can be as funny as men and  d) I loved her dyslexic man joke “My boyfriend had a sex manual but he was dyslexic. I was lying there and he was looking for my vinegar”!!

Victoria now joins a very small queue of woman that I currently have which is ‘women who I think are really funny and died way too soon’.  The only other woman on the list so far is Linda Smith. I’m sure there are more…I just can’t think.

And then came the news that Prince had died.  I’m not sure if I’m starting to become immune to celebrity deaths or what – I was sad, but coming the day after Victoria Wood – I couldn’t quite splice away enough from my sadness blob for him – to adequately represent the fact that I was sad about his passing and also how impressive his career was.  But, had he died in a couple of months – assuming another celeb didn’t get in there first – I’d of been really mournful.

As it is, today I have watched loads of Victoria Wood stuff – just because, well, I’m sad.  There was a big outpouring of sadness on the news about her – a lot of people saying how wonderful they were…if she did manage to get back here some how, i think she’d be within her rights to say…”so where were all you lot when i was trying to flog bloody tickets to my theatre production???  Weren’t so keen then”.  And, I would have to bow my head because I was one of those who wanted to go and see it…but never did.  Shame on me.

Here are 20 supposed things you probably didn’t know about her  from the Torygraph

One thing that I watched of Victoria Wood’s that I hadn’t watched before but really liked was her series called Victoria Wood…

 

 

Advertisements

K’S FIRST DEBUT LEAD ROLE DISABLED ACTRESS WINS L.A. MOVIE AWARDS AND JOINS OSCARS DIVERSITY DEBATE.

little+devil+3.jpg

With the lack of black actors causing boycotts at this year’s Oscars; criticism of leading men like Eddie Redmayne ‘cribbing up’ to play disabled characters (The Theory of Everything) and now Joseph Fines in the firing line for playing a bleached up Michael Jackson in a one-off Sky 1 comedy, a new British indie film promises to put diversity in the front row by casting a disabled actress in the lead role to reflect her real condition on screen.

Little Devil is a multiple award-winning British indie film that picked up gongs including ‘Best Lead Actress’ for its disabled star at the 2014 Los Angeles Diversity Film Festival. And now, taking advantage of the growing ‘on-the-go’ viewing habits of audiences, the movie gets its global release exclusively on-line via Distrify this February 2016.

Little Devil is saucy, character-driven feature film about a mischievous, sexually frustrated disabled girl who forms an unorthodox relationship with a troubled, gay male escort. But rather than being a victim of her condition, she uses her disability, Osteogenesis Imperfecta (Brittle Bones), as a cunning advantage in achieving her hidden agenda.

The film stars newcomer, Sam Renke, from Leyland in Lancashire, who has Brittle Bones, and – to our knowledge – will be the first disabled actress to take on a debut lead role in a British independent movie – and win awards! Sam worked closely with the film’s writer, Abraham Papacosta, and its director, Max Barber, to base some of the plot on her real-life experiences of dating and sexual exploration from the perspective of someone with an abnormal condition, but with very normal sexual desires.

She comments: “I’m not a ‘sit at home’ type of girl, I’m very pro-active in raising awareness in what to me, is still a blinkered world at times. The shameful lack of diversity at the Oscars, again, means that all of us in a perceived ‘minority’ must make a noise and demand change. The world’s population is amazingly varied – something not reflected by The Academy and its white, wealthy, ageing heterosexual male members.”

Playing alongside her in the supporting role is black, British actor, DeObia Oparei who is currently making it big in Hollywood. Better known for his action movies: Doom, Thunderbirds & Dredd; more recently he appeared as Areo Hotach in Game of Thrones and he also features in this summer’s blockbuster sequel Independence Day: Resurgence.

Rust & Bone, The Sessions, Marnie’s Story, The Finishers are just a few of the notable movies putting disability in the forefront of cinema in the last few years. Little Devil is leading the way in raising awareness of Brittle Bones in a frank and entertaining way. It portrays the condition as anything but a disability – and it doesn’t need an able-bodied actress pretending to use a wheelchair to do it. Little Devil revolves around the theme of unconventional families and sets out to turn the notion of what constitutes sex and body-diversity on its head. The film is designed to be a poignant, but ultimately, uplifting tale and deliberately sets out to court controversy and debate with its frank scenes and radical casting.

The movie is directed and co-written by London based, first-time feature director, Max Barber, originally from Grays in Essex, who has a string of award-winning short films to his name released through Peccadillo Pictures in the UK and TLA Releasing in the USA. He’s best known for some of the TV shows he’s directed which include Geordie Shore, A Girls Guide to 21st Century Sex & Don’t Tell the Bride, so expect a fair sprinkle of outrageous behaviour and drunken shenanigans! However, Max promises the movie will certainly be a step away from his roots in television and will not skirt around the more weighty issues the film raises, choosing instead to bend convention, lay his characters bare, and apply his bold and colourful film-making style.

He comments: “Understandably big star names attract film finance and audiences, but unless you start giving bigger parts to actors who don’t fit the convention, then you won’t get new and diverse talent into the system. I deliberately cast a disabled, up-and-coming actress, Sam, in the lead role, to get people talking, and gave her a powerful and positive character, rather than the stereotype, freak, villain or victim.”

The trailer and film is available to be seen and for rental or download on Distrify.
https://distrify.com/videos/cx5W3j-little-devil

Sir Nigel Hawthorne Remembered

Nigel Hawthorne

Nigel Hawthorne is an actor whom I always adored as the sharp minded, yet petulant & slippery Permanent Secretary  Sir Humphrey Appleby in the Yes Minister/Prime Minister series.

nigel hawthorne, paul eddington

Very sadly, he died on Boxing Day 2001 at the age of 72. He had just completed his exceptional autobiography about a life which had by no means taken a straight path. His ambitions to be an actor when a young man in South Africa were strongly discouraged by his father. He came to England alone and struggled for many years to make his name – eventually joining the Royal Court, starring in the West End, and finally having his great TV break in Yes, Minister.

He also struggled with his sexuality and it was not until meeting production manager Trevor Bentham in l977 that he finally found his life partner. A naturally private man, his media ‘outing’ in the run-up to the Oscar Ceremony for The Madness of King George was the source of much pain, although ultimately it became a liberation.

_38558731_hawcouple2

At the peak of his career he was struck by cancer and his battle with illness forms a moving final section of the book. Speaking of his death, his partner Trevor Bentham, still in the raw grip of mourning for the actor said ”The cancer that had plagued his pancreas for 18 months had recently moved to his lungs and finished the job quickly and with the greatest dignity,” Bentham recalls. ”No trace of pain, a quiet end in a shaft of winter sunlight.” At 9.30 on that Boxing Day morning Hawthorne had collapsed in a chair and ”simply ceased to live”.

“Party Games” is the twenty-second and final episode of the BBC comedy series Yes Minister. A one-hour Christmas special that was first broadcast 17 December 1984, its events lead into the sequel, Yes, Prime Minister. The episode was shown again at Christmas 1990, shortly after the fall of Margaret Thatcher. Hacker’s denials of interest in the party leadership were similar to those made by Michael Heseltine some six years later.