Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds: Fans to say goodbye at public service

Debbie Reynolds and Carrie Fisher in 2011Image copyright

Image caption

Debbie Reynolds (left) died a day after her daughter Carrie Fisher

Fans will bid farewell to Debbie Reynolds and Carrie Fisher at a public memorial service on Saturday, three months after the actresses died.

The mother and daughter will be remembered in the 1,200-seat theatre at Hollywood’s Forest Lawn Memorial Park.

There will be a tribute song by James Blunt and a performance by the Gay Men’s Chorus of Los Angeles.

Singin’ in the Rain’s Reynolds, 84, and Star Wars actress Fisher, 60, died within a day of each other in December.

Reynolds starred in a string of classic Hollywood films in the 1950s and 60s, while her daughter was best-known for playing Princess Leia in the Star Wars films.

Image copyright

Image caption

Todd Fisher has organised the ceremony for his mother and sister

Todd Fisher – brother of Carrie and son of Debbie – has organised Saturday’s service. He said: “The public is invited because that’s how my mother would want it.

“She was very connected to her fans and felt they were a part of her, so we’re opening it to the public.”

James Blunt was friends with Carrie Fisher and recorded part of his debut album in her bathroom. His tribute song will be accompanied by a montage of photographs of the pair.

Todd Fisher said: “He wrote a beautiful song to Carrie that will be released on video on the day of the memorial – we’re going to premiere the song.” He added that “it might rip your heart out”.

The performers will include dancers from the Debbie Reynolds Studio and the event will be live streamed on

The public ceremony follows a private memorial service, which took place in January and was attended by stars including Meryl Streep, Gwyneth Paltrow and Meg Ryan.

Follow us on Facebook, on Twitter @BBCNewsEnts, or on Instagram at bbcnewsents. If you have a story suggestion email

Article source:

Red Nose Day 2017 raises £71m for Comic Relief

Media captionA short sequel to 2003′s Love Actually was among the highlights

The reunited cast of Love Actually, Mrs Brown and Ed Sheeran have helped Comic Relief raise more than £71m so far.

A stellar cast of comedians, musicians and other celebrities took part in the charity’s 16th Red Nose Day on Friday.

Highlights included a 10-minute sequel to the 2003 film Love Actually.

Take That hit the road with James Corden for a special edition of Carpool Karaoke, while Sheeran made a guest appearance in BBC Three comedy People Just Do Nothing.

The chart-topping star also made the trip to find out about the charity’s work in Liberia.

Image copyright
Comic Relief

Image caption

Spot the odd one out: Take That got taken for a ride by James Corden

The telethon also saw appearances from the cast of sketch show Smack The Pony, who reunited for the first time since 2003.

There were special previews of Mrs Brown’s new chat show and the second series of Peter Kay’s sitcom Car Share.

Sir Lenny Henry, Graham Norton, Russell Brand, Emeli Sande, Romesh Ranganathan, Jonathan Ross and French Saunders also put in appearances in an attempt to persuade BBC viewers to part with their cash.

Image copyright
Comic Relief

Image caption

The 10-minute sequel to Love Actually came 14 years after the hit movie

Opening the show, Sir Lenny paid tribute to those affected by the attack in Westminster.

“Tonight is an opportunity to save lives, to reach out in the spirit of partnership and compassion,” he said.

“The money you give tonight will make things better for people with tough lives here at home and abroad and your generosity year after year proves how much more there is that unites us than divides us.

“Every donation is a good deed.”

Image caption

Sir Lenny Henry and Jonathan Ross were among the presenters of the fundraiser

Comic Relief has raised more than £1bn since it launched in 1985. The first Red Nose Day took place three years later.

The charity says it uses the money to “tackle the root causes of poverty and social injustice in the UK and across the world”.

Donations can still be made to Comic Relief and you can watch the BBC’s Red Nose Day coverage on BBC IPlayer.

Follow us on Facebook, on Twitter @BBCNewsEnts, or on Instagram at bbcnewsents. If you have a story suggestion email

Article source:

Sienna Miller on why her new role is not ‘just a wife’

Sienna Miller in Lost City of ZImage copyright

Image caption

The role of Nina ages from being a young mother to a woman in her 60s

If there’s one thing Sienna Miller has in common with the character she plays in exploration epic Lost City of Z, it’s that she’s not afraid to air her views, loud and clear.

So much so that she altered a script when she thought Nina Fawcett was appearing as too much of a stereotypical “wife” – with the director framing the scrawled-on piece of paper.

The film – based on a true story – is about explorer Percy Fawcett, played by Charlie Hunnam, and his quest to find a mysterious lost city in the heart of the Amazon.

His first mission in 1906, accompanied by surveying partner Henry Costin (played by Robert Pattinson), sees them return with apparent evidence that this previously undiscovered community exists.

Percy is drawn to return again and again, while his wife supports him and raises their family.

‘Brave and stoic’

But one of Nina’s first lines sees her complain about how restrictive a corset is – and her inability to be contained and constrained by society is a running theme.

“In the script, I was adamant that she wasn’t just a wife – because she’s a suffragette and she’s a mother, and she was incredibly brave, self-sacrificing and stoic,” says Miller.

“She was a huge part of the engine that ran this entire discovery; she found the piece of paper that proved there was a Z. She was just tireless in her support and her love.

“I can’t imagine what it would have been like to be a woman then, and I wanted to represent the frustrations of how that would have felt, and not ask for pity, which I think is an easy trap to fall into when you’re playing someone who’s raising children and is left behind.

“She was very defiant and I loved that about her.”

Image copyright

Image caption

Charlie Hunnam said the character of Nina was a “badass”

The star of High Rise says Nina “wasn’t your typical early 20th Century housewife”, and that she and Percy – who were both Buddhists – were “forward-thinking, progressive people”.

She says: “What film can do is give you a sense of what something would have felt like and the empathy that comes from that, and acknowledging how far we’ve come and how much further we have to go.

“I hope it’s thought-provoking, and I hope it’s emotive. That’s all you can hope for when you make a piece of work.”


Miller says she doesn’t think the film would have portrayed Nina as anything other than “just a wife” if it had been made even just 10 years ago.

“On paper, initially I did read it as sort of a wife part,” she says. “Both James [Gray, the director] and I were aware of that and worked really, really hard to ensure that wasn’t the case.

“We were doing a script read-through and I was sitting next to James and there was a page that still felt very ‘wifey’. I wrote in the middle of the read-through, in black letters, ‘This. Needs. Work.’ – like that, while people were reading, and underlined it.

“He’s framed that piece of paper now.

“I was just pioneering for her and he was as well. He’s a feminist man. Ten years ago, or in the hands of the wrong director, she would have been a complete afterthought.

“But he’s a good man with daughters and a great wife and he understands that women should be appreciated and heard.”

Image copyright

Image caption

Miller says she “loved” playing an older woman in the film

Gray says of Miller’s role: “Sienna’s an actress who brings great resources emotionally to the role of Nina. It was always refreshing to be on set and watch her do things you knew she was capable of but hadn’t yet shown to the world.”

And Hunnam says Nina was “fearless and sassy”, adding: “Percy was obviously a real badass of the time, but so was Nina.”

Nina ages from 20 to 60 in the film – and Miller says she is grateful to the prosthetics department.

“For me, it was just heaven, because you’ve an arc and you’ve something to map,” she says. “What’s this experience done to her? Is she brittled? There are so many knocks in her life, and I just wanted her to hold on to that hope.

“You can represent a life, basically, so it was really interesting. Left alone in the prop cupboard, I would have one eye and a hunchback, so I’m all up for prosthetics. And, it was interesting to play this older lady. I loved it.”

One of Miller’s next roles is Maggie in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof at London’s Young Vic, opposite Jack O’Connell.

She’s previously taken on West End roles in As You Like It at Wyndham’s and Flare Path, but said of the production of the Tennessee Williams play: “It’s amazing, but hugely demanding – with a lot of dialogue.”

But, she adds with a smile: “I’m so excited about it – slash absolutely terrified.”

Lost City of Z is out in UK cinemas on 24 April.

Follow us on Facebook, on Twitter @BBCNewsEnts, or on Instagram at bbcnewsents. If you have a story suggestion email

Article source:

Eurovision: Russia rejects offer for Julia Samoilova to perform ‘via satellite’

Julia SamoilovaImage copyright
AFP/Channel One Russia

Image caption

Russia’s Channel One said it would be “strange” for Julia Samoilova to perform via satellite

Russia’s state-controlled television has rejected an offer from organisers of the Eurovision Song Contest to allow their nation’s contestant to perform via satellite link.

Channel One said that the offer for Julia Samoilova to perform in the event in Ukraine remotely was “strange”.

Samoilova has been banned from Ukraine, which hosts this year’s contest, for entering annexed Crimea via Russia.

The Kremlin had called for a rethink of Ukraine’s decision.

“We consider the offer of remote participation strange and reject it,” Channel One said in a statement on Thursday quoted by Tass news agency, adding: “It completely contradicts the very essence of the event.”

The offer to perform in the competition via satellite link is a first in Eurovision’s 60-year-history, the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) said, adding that the contest had to “remain free from politics”.

Samoilova is due to take part in the second semi-final of the song contest.

‘Celebrate diversity’

Jon Ola Sand, executive supervisor of Eurovision, earlier said that organisers were talking to Ukrainian authorities “with the ambition to have all artists present” in host city Kiev for May’s contest.

He said: “It is imperative that the Eurovision Song Contest remains free from politics and as such, due to the circumstances surrounding Julia’s travel ban, we have felt it important to propose a solution that transcends such issues.

Frank-Dieter Freiling, chairman of the governing body of the Eurovision Song Contest, said he hoped Ukraine would not enforce the travel ban and would instead “find a solution in line with the contest’s slogan, celebrate diversity”.

Who is Julia Samoilova?

Image copyright
Channel One Russia/ EVN

Image caption

Samoilova was selected just one day before the 13 March deadline for nomination

  • The singer-songwriter was born in April 1989 in Ukhta, Russia
  • Her song Flame is Burning was composed by Leonid Gutkin, who also produced Russia’s 2013 and 2015 entries
  • The Russian entrant has been in a wheelchair since childhood, suffering from spinal muscular atrophy: a neuromuscular disorder causing muscle wastage
  • She was a 2013 finalist in Russia’s X Factor competition and performed at the opening ceremony to the 2014 Sochi Winter Paralympics

Samoilova has said she was “not upset” by Ukraine’s decision.

She told Channel One state-controlled television, which selected her as Russia’s contestant with her song Flame is Burning, that she did not understand why Ukraine saw “some kind of threat in a little girl like me”.

“I will keep going. I somehow think that everything will change,” added Samoilova.

The 27-year-old singer performed in Crimea, annexed by Moscow in 2014, in 2015.

Ukraine considers the visit illegal and has refused to issue Samoilova a visa.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said: “The decision from our point of view is absolutely unfair, it’s unfortunate. And we hope all the same that it will be reconsidered.”

He said the decision to ban Samoilova “seriously devalues the upcoming contest”.

Follow us on Facebook, on Twitter @BBCNewsEnts, or on Instagram at bbcnewsents. If you have a story suggestion email

Article source:

Love Actually sequel trailer debuts for Red Nose Day

A teaser trailer for the Love Actually sequel, featuring Keira Knightley and Andrew Lincoln holding flash cards, has debuted.

Richard Curtis’s short film, in aid of Comic Relief, also sees them poking fun at another star of the film, Colin Firth, along with other members of the cast including Hugh Grant and Martine McCutcheon.

It will be shown on Friday from 19:00 GMT

Article source:

Ryan Gosling explains Oscars giggling

Ryan Gosling at the OscarsImage copyright

Image caption

Gosling was on stage when the winner was corrected

You may remember Ryan Gosling trying and spectacularly failing to hold back his giggles at the Oscars last month.

The La La Land actor was seen laughing on stage when the wrong film was announced as best picture.

But he has now explained that he was just relieved that the commotion wasn’t the result of something more serious.

“I thought there was some kind of medical situation, and I had this worst-case scenario playing out in my head,” he said.

“And then I just heard Moonlight won and I was so relieved that I started laughing.”

La La Land had mistakenly been announced as the winner before a flurry of floor managers took to the stage to clarify that Moonlight had actually won the night’s biggest prize.

Image copyright

Image caption

Gosling spoke at the Adobe Summit in Las Vegas in Wednesday

Gosling described the “surreal” situation after the error came to light.

“I was watching people start to have this panicked reaction in the crowd,” he told the Adobe Summit in Las Vegas.

“Guys were coming on with headsets and I felt like someone had been hurt.”

He added: “Truthfully, I was also so thrilled that Moonlight won. It’s such a groundbreaking film, made for a million dollars, and incredible achievement and I’m so happy for them that they were being recognised.”

The mix-up might have made him laugh at the time, but there were later reports that his face “looked like thunder” after the ceremony.

Follow us on Facebook, on Twitter @BBCNewsEnts, or on Instagram at bbcnewsents. If you have a story suggestion email

Article source:

Eurovision 2017: Ukraine bars Russian singer Samoilova from contest

Julia Samoilova performs in front of a flaming backdropImage copyright
Channel One Russia/ EVN

Image caption

Samoilova is a former Russian X Factor contestant

Ukraine has barred Russia’s Eurovision contestant because of a visit she made to Crimea, annexed by Moscow in 2014.

Julia Samoilova was banned from Ukraine for three years because she had entered Crimea “illegally” – entering directly from Russia, not via Ukraine.

Samoilova, 27, has confirmed that she sang in Crimea in 2015. Ukraine is due to host Eurovision in Kiev, in May.

The European Broadcasting Union (EBU), which founded Eurovision, said it was “deeply disappointed” by the news.

“We have to respect the local laws of the host country, however we are deeply disappointed in this decision as we feel it goes against both the spirit of the contest and the notion of inclusivity that lies at the heart of its values,” it said in a statement.

The EBU said it would “continue a dialogue with the Ukrainian authorities with the aim of ensuring that all artists can perform” in Kiev.

Senior Russian politicians called for a boycott of the event.

  • Russia out of tune with Ukraine’s Eurovision show
  • Eurovision Song Contest organisers quit

Howls of outrage: Analysis by Sarah Rainsford, BBC News, Moscow

Image copyright

Image caption

Samoilova appeared at the opening ceremony of the 2014 Paralympic Games in Sochi

The Eurovision song contest just got political. Russia and Ukraine are now locking horns over Moscow’s choice of competitor.

There is already a predictable chorus of fury here. A deputy foreign minister called the ruling outrageous, cynical and inhumane – no less. One MP is demanding that the contest is moved to another country while a second warns that Russia will boycott every Eurovision to come unless organisers intervene to resolve this.

Some suspect this is precisely what Moscow wanted when it chose Julia Samoilova, knowing that she had travelled to Crimea.

Adding to the howls of outrage here is the fact that the singer being banned has used a wheelchair from childhood and this year the slogan for Eurovision is celebrating diversity.

Russia and Ukraine have been at loggerheads since the annexation of Crimea and subsequent fighting in east Ukraine, which Moscow is accused of stoking.

Ukraine is hosting the competition after its singer, Jamala, caused an upset by winning in Sweden last year.

Her song, 1944, was about Joseph Stalin’s mass deportation of the Crimean Tatars during World War Two.

The Security Service of Ukraine has blacklisted at least 140 other Russian artists.

It said earlier it would verify information about Samoilova’s visit to Crimea and take a decision.

Responding to the ban, Russian state TV’s Channel One, which broadcasts Eurovision, said in a statement: “Ukraine didn’t even have the common sense to make use of this opportunity to look like a civilised country.”

  • Crimea or bust

Who is Julia Samoilova?

Image copyright
Channel One Russia/ EVN

Image caption

Samoilova was selected just one day before the 13 March deadline for nomination

  • The singer-songwriter was born in April 1989 in Ukhta, Russia
  • Her song Flame is Burning was composed by Leonid Gutkin, who also produced Russia’s 2013 and 2015 entries
  • The Russian entrant has been in a wheelchair since childhood, suffering from spinal muscular atrophy: a neuromuscular disorder causing muscle wastage
  • She was a 2013 finalist in Russia’s X Factor competition and performed at the opening ceremony to the 2014 Sochi Winter Paralympics

Last month, the contest was rocked by the resignation of 21 top-level staff who organise the event.

The Ukrainian Eurovision team said they had been stripped of major responsibilities in December, when a new boss was appointed to the organising committee.

According to their resignation letter, they were “completely blocked” from making decisions about the show.

The EBU told Ukraine’s public broadcaster to “stick to the timeline” despite the upheaval. It insisted the event would go ahead as planned in Kiev.

Article source:

Sir Ian McKellen to relive glittering career on stage

Sir Ian McKellenImage copyright
Mark Douet

Image caption

Sir Ian will reprise some of his best-known performances as part of the show

You shall not pass! Unless, of course, you have what’s sure to be a highly sought-after ticket to Sir Ian McKellen’s new one-man performance.

The show, called Shakespeare, Tolkien, Others You, will see the Lord of the Rings and X-Men star look back on more than 50 years on stage and screen.

It’s all for charity, with proceeds going towards London’s Park Theatre.

According to Sir Ian, the Finsbury Park venue needs donations of £250,000 every year “just to keep the doors open”.

“In a short time the theatre has established itself on both the theatrical and local maps,” he said in a statement.

“I do hope you’ll support this wonderful cause.”

Sir Ian will reprise some of his best-known performances as part of the show.

It’s not yet known which roles he’ll focus on, but the title suggests Gandalf the wizard will be among them.

Image copyright
Getty Images

Image caption

Sir Patrick Stewart got more than a prize from Sir Ian at Sunday’s Empire awards

Shakespeare’s Macbeth, which he famously played opposite Dame Judi Dench in 1976, is also expected to feature.

There’ll be nine performances in all, which will take place at the Park Theatre between 3 and 9 July.

Jez Bond, the theatre’s artistic director, said he was “grateful for and humbled by his incredible generosity”.

“As one of our country’s leading actors, I can’t imagine there is anyone better placed to understand both the power and importance of smaller scale theatres and the challenges they face.”

News of Sir Ian’s latest endeavour follows his appearance at this year’s Empire Film Awards, held on Sunday at the Roundhouse in London.

The 77-year-old was there to present a “legend” award to his X-Men co-star Sir Patrick Stewart, with whom he recently appeared in Harold Pinter’s No Man’s Land.

Follow us on Facebook, on Twitter @BBCNewsEnts, or on Instagram at bbcnewsents. If you have a story suggestion email

Article source:

Phoebe Waller-Bridge scoops two RTS Awards

Phoebe Waller-BridgeImage copyright

Image caption

The second series of Fleabag has just been confirmed

Phoebe Waller-Bridge has scooped two prizes at this year’s Royal Television Society (RTS) Awards.

She took the prizes for breakthrough and best comedy writer for her BBC Three series Fleabag.

The show’s success at the ceremony comes in the same week it was announced it had been renewed for a second season.

Other winners at Tuesday night’s ceremony included Julie Walters, who won the Lifetime Achievement award.

“I simply can’t thank all the amazing people I have elbowed out of the way to get where I am,” the actress joked as she collected her prize.

Image copyright

Image caption

Julie Walters took home the lifetime achievement prize

Channel 4 picked up nine awards, including best actor for Robbie Coltrane’s performance in National Treasure.

And Adam Hills, Alex Brooker and Josh Widdicombe took home the entertainment performance award for The Last Leg.

Elsewhere, ITV’s Emmerdale won best soap while Ant and Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway won in the entertainment category.

The pair revealed their dream guest for the show – currently airing its 14th season – would be Adele.

Image copyright
PA / Getty

Image caption

Ant and Dec said Adele would be their dream guest

“We’ve never quite made it work because of all her tours and albums and stuff, but we could have a lot of fun with her,” the duo said.

“If you all put the pressure on from your end and we put the pressure on from our end, maybe we can make it happen.”

Fleabag wasn’t BBC Three’s only success of the night – People Just Do Nothing won best scripted comedy for while best single drama was awarded to Murdered By My Father.

The network, which moved online last year, also took home channel of the year.

Happy Valley picked up the award for best drama series while the show’s writer Sally Wainwright collected the best drama writer prize.

Bake off backstage

Image copyright

Image caption

Channel 4′s Bake Off will be fronted by Sandi Toksvig, Noel Fielding, Prue Leith and Paul Hollywood

The Great British Bake Off was the hot topic of conversation backstage at the ceremony, which was held at London’s Grosvenor House Hotel.

The new series of the show, being broadcast on Channel 4, will be fronted by Sandi Toksvig and Noel Fielding, with Prue Leith and Paul Hollywood serving as judges.

Hills, who presents The Last Leg, said: “The thing with TV is that you never know what’s going to work.”

“You could come up with something that seems logical for Bake Off and then nobody watches it, so you may as well take a punt on people like Noel and Sandi.”

Image copyright

Image caption

Adam Hills presents The Last Leg on Channel 4

Responding to media coverage about Fielding, he added: “I’m surprised that the tabloids are trying to unearth stuff about Noel because he’s bonkers – what did they expect his private life (was) going to be?

“He has told me stories that I cannot wait to hit the news, but I will let him share those.”

Julie Walters told the Press Association: “I love Bake Off and I am so sad it has gone from the BBC, but I will definitely be watching the next series.

“I love Sandi and it will be very interesting to see how it transfers. It will just be a different experience from Mary Berry and maybe that will be good – who’s to say?”

RTS Awards: Full winners list

  • Best Female Actor – Sophie Okonedo, Undercover (pictured)
  • Best Male Actor – Robbie Coltrane, National Treasure
  • Arts – Grayson Perry, All Man
  • Breakthrough – Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Fleabag
  • Children’s Programme – CBeebies, A Midsummer Night’s Dream
  • Comedy Performance – Asim Chaudhry, People Just Do Nothing
  • Daytime Programme – Find it, Fix it, Flog it
  • Documentary Series – Exodus: Our Journey to Europe
  • Drama Series – Happy Valley
  • Entertainment – Ant and Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway
  • Entertainment Performance – Adam Hills, Alex Brooker Josh Widdicombe, The Last Leg
  • History – The Aberfan Young Wives’ Club
  • Live Event – Stand Up to Cancer
  • Mini-Series – National Treasure, The Forge
  • Presenter – Grayson Perry – Grayson Perry All Man
  • Popular Factual and Features – Employable Me
  • Channel of the Year – BBC Three
  • Science and Natural History – First Contact: Lost Tribe of the Amazon
  • Scripted Comedy – People Just Do Nothing
  • Single Documentary – The Murder of Sadie Hartley
  • Single Drama – Murdered By My Father
  • Soap and Continuing Drama – Emmerdale
  • Sports Presenter, Commentator or Pundit – Osi Umenyiora
  • Sports Programme – Sunset, Rio Paralympics
  • Best Comedy Writer – Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Fleabag
  • Best Drama Writer – Sally Wainwright, Happy Valley
  • Judges’ Award – Sally Wainwright
  • Lifetime Achievement Award – Julie Walters

Follow us on Facebook, on Twitter @BBCNewsEnts, or on Instagram at bbcnewsents. If you have a story suggestion email

Article source:

Colin Dexter, creator of Inspector Morse, dies aged 86

Colin DexterImage copyright

Image caption

Colin Dexter received an OBE for services to literature in 2000

Colin Dexter, who wrote the Inspector Morse books, has died at the age of 86.

His publisher said in a statement on Tuesday: “With immense sadness, MacMillan announces the death of Colin Dexter who died peacefully at his home in Oxford this morning.”

His series of 13 Morse novels, written between 1975 and 1999, were adapted for the long-running ITV series, which starred John Thaw.

Dexter’s characters also featured in spin-off shows Lewis and Endeavour.

‘Sharpest mind, biggest heart’

He wrote his first Morse novel, Last Bus to Woodstock, in 1975 while on holiday in Wales. The fictional detective was then killed off in the final book, The Remorseful Day.

Inspector Morse and Lewis star Kevin Whately described him as “impish and bubbly and always fascinated with everybody and everything”.

He told BBC Oxford: “I think I’m incredibly lucky to have had 30 years of his friendship. He would always turn up – he loved being on set with us, and we loved having him there. He was a very warm, benign presence always.”

Whately joked: “We used to give him a little role, give him the odd line to say, but he was so awful at speaking and acting that we only let him walk through the shot.”

Image copyright

Image caption

John Thaw, Colin Dexter and Kevin Whately

Sheila Hancock, Thaw’s widow, told BBC Radio 4′s Front Row: “He did say to me a couple of times that he really did feel that John was the character and the character was John. It sort of evolved between them. In fact, I think one of the reasons he killed Morse off is he didn’t want to imagine anyone else playing the part.”

She described Dexter as a “remarkably well-read and clever man”, as well as a “bubbly guy” who “just seemed to enjoy life so much” and “loved to laugh”.

Maria Rejt, Dexter’s most recent editor at MacMillan, said the author had “inspired all those who worked with him”, adding: “His loyalty, modesty and self-deprecating humour gave joy to many. His was the sharpest mind and the biggest heart, and his wonderful novels and stories will remain a testament to both.”

Image copyright

Image caption

John Thaw, centre, starred as Inspector Morse alongside Kevin Whately as Lewis

Kevin Lygo, director of television at ITV, said Inspector Morse was “one of the nation’s best-loved shows”, with Thaw’s “irascible detective with a love for crosswords, real ale and classical music” becoming one of the most popular characters of all time.

“Through 33 feature length stories, the casebook of Morse and Lewis changed the landscape of detective drama,” he said.

Dexter worked closely behind the scenes of the show and later became a consultant on Lewis, the sequel starring Whately which ran for nine years.

He was also “one of the key creative forces” behind prequel Endeavour – the inspector’s first name – which saw Shaun Evans appear as the young Morse.

Image copyright
Getty Images

Image caption

Colin Dexter wrote 13 Inspector Morse novels

MacMillan’s publisher Jeremy Trevathan added that Dexter’s death represented a “tectonic shift in the international crime writing scene”.

He said: “Colin represented the absolute epitome of British crime writing, and in the 1990s John Thaw’s Inspector Morse took over Wednesday night television. He was one of those television characters who the nation took to their hearts. This is a very sad day for us all.”

Fellow crime writers paid tribute on Twitter.

Lynda La Plante said of the late author: “Colin Dexter, a masterful writer and storyteller who entertained millions of readers.”

Ian Rankin said: “Sad news – a gentle man with a steel mind; and the creator of such an iconic character…”

Val McDermid said: “Deeply sorry to hear of the death of my good friend Colin Dexter. He brought pleasure to millions and joy to his friends.”

Maxim Jakubowski, vice-chairman of the Crime Writers’ Association told the BBC: “He will be remembered not just as a superlative crime writer and the creator of such a classic character as Inspector Morse, but also as the most convivial of friends, impish, friendly to all, seldom seen in public without a smile, a man who accepted celebrity late in his life with wonderful dignity and humour.”

‘A large Glenfiddich’

Norman Colin Dexter was born in 1930 in Stamford, Lincolnshire, and studied classics at Cambridge University.

He worked as a Latin and Greek teacher from 1954 to 1966 before moving to Oxford – where he set the Morse stories – to become a full-time writer.

Carlton Productions made 33 Morse TV films with Thaw in the lead role. Dexter himself made many cameo appearances.

Image copyright

Image caption

Roger Allam (left) and Shaun Evans star in Inspector Morse prequel Endeavour

Dexter had type 2 diabetes, a condition that he also gave Morse in the last few books of the series.

When Dexter received an OBE for services to literature in 2000, he said he would have liked to have thought his fictional detective would have bought him a celebratory whisky.

Image copyright

Image caption

Dexter pictured in his home town of Oxford, where he set his novels

“I think Morse, if he had really existed and was still alive, would probably say to me, ‘Well, you didn’t do me too bad a service in your writing’.

“He might say, ‘I wish you’d made me a slightly less miserable blighter and slightly more generous, and you could have painted me in a little bit of a better light’.

“If he had bought me a drink, a large Glenfiddich or something, that would have been very nice, but knowing him I doubt he would have done – Lewis always bought all the drinks.”

Sheila Hancock and Kevin Whately are on Front Row on Tuesday 21 March at 19:15. The interviews will be available online later

Follow us on Facebook, on Twitter @BBCNewsEnts, or on Instagram at bbcnewsents. If you have a story suggestion email

Article source: