Dancing Ledge

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Monthly Archives: November 2012

Coronation Street stars out in force to say farewell to Jack Duckworth actor Bill Tarmy

The stars of Coronation Street have been paying a fitting farewell to their old colleague Bill Tarmey, who played Jack Duckworth, in the long-running soap for more than 30 years.

Tarmey, 71, who died earlier this  month at his holiday home in Tenerife made his name as the endlessly hen-pecked husband of Weatherfield battleaxe Vera Duckworth, played by Liz Dawn.

Dawn joined famous Corrie actors  past and present including William Roache,  Julie Goodyear, Kevin kennedy and Nigel Pivaro  for the service at the  Albion United Reformed Church in Ashton-under-Lyne.

Tarmey, who worked as a nightclub singer before joining the Coronation Street cast in 1979, made the character of pigeon-fancying, work-shy chancer Jack Duckworth a household name. Always on the run from Vera but utterly devoted to her, he was a mainstay of the programme, an iconic figure  with his hangdog air and broken spectacles held together with an old plaster.


Bestselling author Jodi Picoult set to hit the road with Clive Conway Productions

Jodi Picoult,  the UK’s top-selling author of women’s fiction, has joined Clive Conway Productions to appear in next year’s programme of An Audience With…

Jodie Picoult

Hugely successful as a writer- she’s sold six million million books in the past eight years in the UK alone – Jodie will be available for a limited season of appearances following the publication of her latest  novel, The Storyteller, next Easter.

The Storyteller is Jodi’s 20th novel. The latest in a series of books that combine topical moral issues and emotional human drama with the page-turning compulsion of a thriller.It explores the long-lasting emotional scars of the holocaust and WWII. Can someone who’s committed a truly heinous act ever atone for it with subsequent good behaviour? Should you offer forgiveness to someone if you aren’t the party who was wronged? Classic Jodi Picoult, involving thought-provoking questions about good and evil, forgiveness and punishment.

Eleven of her previous titles have been Number One best sellers in the UK. My Sister’s Keeper was a blockbuster film starring Cameron Diaz, and three of her other novels went straight into TV films. She has also written five issues of Wonder Woman for DC Comics.

The Storyteller will be published on 26th March 2013

How Kinks songwriter Ray Davies hit back after trouble flared in the boutique

Singer songwriter Ray Davies is rightly regarded as a national treasure. With his brother Dave he fronted The Kinks in the 1960s and wrote some of the most enduring and quintessentially English songs in the popular genre.

Ray Davies

Waterloo Sunset alone stands head and shoulders above anything that might be regarded as competition. But like so many great creative talents Davies has not always made life easy for himself.  Eccentric, combative and contrary, he has burnt a few bridges.

It is therefore not surprising perhaps to discover that even an apparently harmless pop ditty like Dedicated Follower of Fashion was written in anger. It was a swipe at a Carnaby Street designer who told Davies his flares were too wide. Wounded by the comment a riled Ray went home and sharpened his pen. Find out more this evening when BBC Radio 4’s Mastertapes  features The Kinks 1970 album , the band’s comment on music business corruption.

The interview will be broadcast BBC Radio 4’s Mastertapes at  3.30pm today (Tuesday)

See BBC story here http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-20461371

How Dimbleby found vivid accounts of World War II desert campaign in his war correspondent father’s diaries

Jonathan Dimbleby says his father’s diaries, written when he was broadcasting from the Middle East during World War II provided vivid background material for his latest book on the British victory at El Alamein.

Jonathan Dimbleby

A pioneering giant of broadcasting, Jonathan’s dad Richard Dimbleby brought news of the campaign to the ears of anxious listeners back in the UK.

He reported for the BBC from not only  El Alamein but the Normandy beaches during the D-Day Landings and also broadcast the first shocking reports from the newly liberated Belsen death camp.

Jonathan, who will talk about his book, Destiny in the Desert at the Ludlow Assembly Rooms tomorrow night (Wednesday November 28)  and at the Malvern Festival Theatre on Thursday (November 29), says the timet Richard Dimbleby spent as BBC war correspondent in the Middle East yielded some valuable first-hand accounts of the battle.

“He described the desert conflict very vivdly in his diaries, which I came across when I was writing a biography about him. He didn’t talk about it at all. He was from the generation that wanted to move on,” Jonathan told Andy Richardson of the Shropshire Star newspaper.

Writing the  book, which is published to mark the 70th anniversary of El Alamein, was no easy task. He wanted to give an accurate and insightful account of a strategic battle but also one that was accessible to the general reader.

To create his “page-turner” he was only too aware that he was competing with countless studies by academics and career war historians.  “It had to stand up to scholarly scrutiny. I was swimming in a pond teeming with academic sharks and I didn’t want to look silly by making mistakes,” he told  Richardson.

● Jonathan Dimbleby appears at Ludlow Assembly Rooms tomorrow Wednesday (November 28). Tickets and further information from www.ludlowassemblyrooms.co.uk or calling 01584 878141. He will also be at the Malvern Festival Theatre on Thursday. More details at  http://www.malvern-theatres.co.uk


Boyle’s team take the Beyond Theatre award for Olympic opening ceremony

How refreshing to see Danny Boyle and the team behind this summers’s Olympic Opening Ceremony  taking the Beyond Theatre prize at the Evening Standard Theatre Awards.

It is only the second time the  gong which “celebrates theatricality outside the confines of the auditorium” has been awarded.

The event at London’s Savoy Hotel  celebrated and rewarded  some of the finest theatrical achievement of the year.

Winners included Simon Russell Beale who took best actor award for his leading role in the National Theatre’s Timon of Athens. While the NT’s artristic director Sir Nicholas Hytner received a brace of awards, including Best Director,  for the same production.

Nick Payne became the youngest playwright ever to receive the Best Play award. The 29-year-old won the prize for Constellations at The Royal Court.

Matthew Tennyson won the Outstanding Newcomer  for Making Noise Quietly at the Donmar and Best Actress went to Hattie Morahan for her performance as Nora in The Young Vic production of A Doll’s House. 





Sir Trevor the man they voted Britain’s most trusted Tv celebrity to appear in Clive Conway An Audience With…shows

Widely acknowledged as one of Britain’s most popular news presenters, Sir Trevor McDonald has signed up for a new series of An Audience With… appearances with Clive Conway Productions.

Sir Trevor McDonald

Twice voted Newscaster of the year, Trevor is widely perceived as the face of ITN, after years of fronting its flagship News at Ten’ bulletin and the leading current affairs show Tonight. In a departure from his regular role he has also presented Have I Got News For You and the rival topical comedy show, News Knight.

Trevor has interviewed many of the world’s leading figures including Archbishop Desmond Tutu (see http://www.youtube.com/user/CliveConwayClips). He spoke to Nelson Mandela on his release from prison, and in a very different vein he secured the only British TV interview with Saddam Hussein. Trevor has written biographies of the West Indian cricketers Viv Richards and Clive Lloyd, and published his autobiography Fortunate Circumstances. He won a BAFTA and a Dimbleby award for Outstanding Contribution to Television, and was voted ‘Most Trusted TV Celebrity’ in a Radio Times poll.

As Colin Baker loses weight the panto wardrobe mistress puts another tuck in Nurse Nelly’s knickers

Panto producers have been watching anxiously as Doctor Who actor Colin Baker subsists on a diet of rice and beans in the Australian outback.

Colin Baker as Nurse Nelly

Sometime Clive Conway Productions speaker Baker was delighted when he was offered the chance to compete in ITV’s I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out of Here, telling friends that he hoped to lose a stone in  weight.

“I am a rather large gentleman and I adore my food,” said the roly-poly actor. “I could give up booze with a drop of a hat but food, my gosh there is not even a fridge I can raid in the middle of the night!”

But now it looks as though Baker who, win or lose, is due in Bournemouth on December 8 to star as dame Nurse Nelly in Sleeping Beauty at the town’s Pavilion Theatre, may have lost even more weight than he planned.

An insider tells me that the costume department fear that Nelly may have dropped at least a couple of dress sizes. In other words Colin’s antics in the jungle have had them quite literally in stitches.

He has dealt with surprising ease with the privations of jungle living but then as the flamboyant sixth Doctor Who  back in the 1980s he had daleks and cybermen to contend with. Colin has brought a certain eccentric style to the jungle with him too. Though it should be noted that the ritual of other contestants rubbing his  “magic belly” for luck before facing a jungle ordeal seems to have worn off.  And that may just be because as his mighty stomach has gradually decreased in size it has somehow seemed less magical.

Whatever the reason, it may soon all be over for this son of Gallifrey.  Tonight’s I’m A Celebrity… will find Colin going head to head with former darts champion Eric Bristow in bug-ridden bushtucker trial. Winner takes all. Loser gets an eviction notice and a one-way ticket back to Blighty, In Colin’s case he’ll be straight into knockabout panto mode facing Su Pollard as the hiss-boo villain.

New BBC interview with multi-talented writer/director Jonathan Miller

Check out the BBC’s superb new 30 minute interview with the multi-talented writer, actor, director Jonathan Miller.

Jonathan Miller: Photo Hattie Miles

In this candid piece the good Dr Miller talks to producer/presenter Matthew Stadlen about his current theatre project, directing King Lear, and also discusses his extraordinary life and career in theatre and beyond.

Director, performer, writer, presenter, artist, doctor and pioneering satirist ( I could go on) Miller really has been a major force in the arts and sciences over the past 50 years. See the programme  either on BBC iPlayer or at www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b01p51p9

Meanwhile he continues his tour on An Audience With Jonathan Miller for Clive Conway Productions nexrt appearing at Galeri Caernarfon Victoria Dock, Caernarfon, CAERN, United Kingdom, LL55 1SQ on  Monday December 3rd. More details at http://www.galericaernarfon.com/

The wild and wonderful world of Dallas star Larry Hagman

I’m loving all the wonderful stories that are emerging following the death of American actor Larry Hagman. Did he really never speak on a Sunday but whistle instead?

Larry Hagman

Who knows? The media is having a field day though. They claim that the Dallas star routinely drank five bottles of champagne a day until illness forced him to have a liver transplant. He switched enthusiastically to marijuana on the expert advice, it is claimed, of Jack Nicholson but cancer forced him to stop smoking and he ended up living on five vegan smoothies a day.

That might not sound like too much fun but Hagman obviously had a ball destroying his health and incredibly he made it to the grand old age of 81. Even more incredibly for a mega-rich actor born with a Hollywood silver spoon in his mouth (his mother was the movie actress Mary Martin) everyone loved him. The tributes that have poured in this weekend have described him as a generous, funny and kind man with time for everyone.

His worldwide influence as a TV actor was immense. Such was the popularity of Dallas and Hagman’s character, the ruthless oil baron JR Ewing, that on one occasion Turkish Parliament was suspended so that the members could get home to see a crucial episode. A bedouin tribe is said to have delayed its annual migration across the Sahara one year so they wouldn’t miss the final programme of a series.

While dictator Nicolai Ceausescu screened the programme in Romania to show the  evils of capitalism but the population simply became envious of the money, big cars and personal freedom and turned against the politician. This was a double blow for Ceausescu, who privately loved the show. He ended up being charged and convicted of genocide ( a crime that even JR didn’t aspire to) and was shot by firing squad in 1989.

Government must continue to invest in the arts says National Theatre boss Hytner

National Theatre boss Sir Nicholas Hytner has a message for new Culture Secretary Maria Miller and it’s one she doesn’t want to hear.

Hytner will tell her that a Government that slashes arts budgets and demands that  that organisations like the NT go cap in  hand for private funding, is a Government that is squandering the nation’s theatrical heritage.

He has pointed out that the National and other institutions like the British Museum and Tate are good at finding backers simply because they have the bedrock support of the Government in the first place.

Ms Miller, part of a Coalition that has already cut arts council budgets by 30 per cent, has incensed arts leaders by demanding that they become “better askers” and find private companies and philanthropists to stump up the readies

But the National has already seen a cut subsidy that amounts to 15 per cent in real terms over the past four years. Hytner fears that more cuts could spell the start of long-term decline.

He has a point. Imagine you’re a multi-millionaire do gooder seeking to lavish a large sum of money on a worthwhile institution. I suspect you’d be far more inclined to reach for your cheque book if a place was already endorsed by the Government with a solid cash investment.

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