Bourne’s 3D conversion sends Chinese heads spinning

Matt DamonImage copyright
Universal Pictures

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Matt Damon is apparently a lot less fun to look at in 3D

A 3D version of the latest Bourne movie made exclusively for Chinese cinemas has caused local audiences to complain about headaches and nausea.

The format remains hugely popular in the country, particularly when it comes to action movies.

But the conversion process required to give the 2D-shot film an extra dimension seems to have been ill-judged in this case.

Why has China got a 3D Bourne?

Cinemas usually charge more for movies screened in three dimensions, so there’s an obvious incentive to show them in the format.

But while Europe and the US have seen ticket sales for 3D movies decline, there’s still a strong appetite for the technology in China.

Many theatres in the country are fairly new and have equipped themselves with the latest projectors.

When it comes to 3D movies, however, there are two kinds.

“Real” 3D movies are shot with a dual-lens cameras, which capture two versions of every shot. Special glasses let viewers see a different one with each eye. Many critics believe this delivers the best illusion of depth.

But another, cheaper option is to film in 2D and then simulate the effect in post production by using computers.

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Matt Damon and his wife in actual 3D for fans to enjoy at the release party

While this can work well for some movies, it does not for others, with Jason Bourne being a case in point.

Its director Paul Greengrass shot several sequences using a handheld camera and then made rapid cuts to create a fast-paced, hectic edit.

It appears that converting this into 3D has made the film hard to watch, and has caused audiences to feel nauseous.

Why not watch in 2D?

Normally, Chinese cinemas offer audiences a choice.

But in the case of Matt Damon’s new movie, the vast majority opted only to show it in 3D in its opening week.

Out of 149 cinemas in Beijing, only eight are currently showing the 2D version, according to local media.

In Shanghai, it’s said to be only nine out of 174.

Movie-goers have complained about this on social media, with some claiming it’s an attempt to force them to pay premium prices.

Following the backlash, Universal Picture says it now aims to add more 2D screenings.

Until then, though, China’s Bourne fans may have to brace themselves for a rough ride.

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Beyonce dominates MTV awards

Beyonce was the big winner at last night’s MTV VMAs in New York.

The singer scooped seven awards in total including the prestigious prize for video of the year for the track Formation.

“First of all I’d like to thank my beautiful daughter and my incredible husband for all of their support,” she said during one acceptance speech.

Held annually, the VMAs, rewards musicians for their visual efforts.


This year’s ceremony was held at Madison Square Garden in New York.

Beyonce, who was nominated for eight awards, also went home with the prize for Best Female Video, Best Direction and Best Cinematography.

She was presented with one of her awards by four members of the U.S. Olympic gymnastics team.

The 34-year-old rounded off an impressive night with a 16 minute medley of songs taken from her latest album, Lemonade.

Other winners included Calvin Harris, Fifth Harmony and Drake.

Rihanna  Drake

David Bowie meanwhile was posthumously rewarded, the late singer’s album Blackstar won the Best Art Direction accolade.

Rihanna was honoured on the night with the, Michael Jackson Vanguard Award, which recognizes an artist’s entire catalogue of work.

Canadian rapper Drake presented Rihanna with her trophy.

The singer smiled nervously when he declared; “She’s someone I’ve been in love with since I was 22 years old. She’s one of my best friends in the world.

“All of my adult life I’ve looked up to her even though she’s younger than me.”

The pair have collaborated on numerous occasions and there have been suggestions that their relationship hasn’t always been purely business-related.

Drake was so proud of Rihanna that he decided it was worthy of a billboard advert.

Completing a star-studded night of music were performances from Ariana Grande, Nicki Minaj and Britney Spears.

Britney Spears

Organisers of this year’s event will be thankful it was largely uneventful.

The VMAs have a history of throwing up some controversial moments.

It was the scene of Kanye West’s now infamous rant where he interrupted Taylor Swift’s acceptance speech in 2009.

In 2010, Lady Gaga wore a dress made entirely of raw beef.

She later explained; “If we don’t stand up for what we believe in and if we don’t fight for our rights, pretty soon we’re going to have as much rights as the meat on our bones.”

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ITV’s Victoria reigns over BBC’s Are You Being Served? and Porridge revivals

Jenna Coleman as Queen Victoria (left) and Sherrie Hewson as Mrs SlocombeImage copyright

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Jenna Coleman as Queen Victoria (left) was up against Sherrie Hewson as Mrs Slocombe

Queen Victoria has beaten Mrs Slocombe to the TV ratings crown as ITV’s new regal drama drew more viewers than BBC One’s revival of classic sitcom Are You Being Served? on Sunday.

Overnight figures showed an average of 5.4 million people watched Jenna Coleman in Victoria, excluding +1.

Are You Being Served?, in which Sherrie Hewson donned Mrs Slocombe’s pink wig, was seen by five million viewers.

It was followed by an updated Porridge, which attracted 4.4 million.

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Jason Watkins’ performance as Mr Humphries divided opinion

‘A turgid half-hour’

The new versions of Are You Being Served? and Porridge are part of a season of BBC programmes to mark the 60th anniversary of the birth of the TV sitcom.

Are You Being Served? originally ran from 1972 to 1985. The one-off new episode was set in 1988.

Loose Women star Hewson played Mrs Slocombe, the character made famous by Molly Sugden, and Bafta Award winner Jason Watkins starred as Mr Humphries, originally played by John Inman.

But the show was described as a “turgid, interminable half-hour” by the Daily Telegraph’s TV critic Michael Hogan.

‘A spirited one-off homage’

It had a “lazy reliance on lavatorial humour and casual misogyny”, he wrote, with Watkins’ performance “the biggest misfire”.

“Watkins is a fine actor, but here he was doing a toe-curling tribute act, cartoonishly camp and straining too hard for laughs. It made one appreciate Inman’s iconic portrayal even more.”

The Times’ James Jackson was kinder on Watkins. He wrote: “You could forgive him for stealing the show, since the real crime here was the show itself.”

The Guardian’s Stuart Jeffries described it as “a spirited one-off homage”, but added: “Thank heavens it’s only a one-off, though.”

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Kevin Bishop played Norman Stanley Fletcher’s grandson Nigel in Porridge

The new version of Porridge, meanwhile, was written by Dick Clement and Ian La Frenais, who were behind the original.

Sunday’s episode was set in the present day and featured Kevin Bishop as the grandson of Norman Stanley Fletcher, famously played by Ronnie Barker in the 1970s. It got a slightly better reception.

The Telegraph’s Michael Hogan wrote: “If one of last night’s one-off revivals is to get a full series – and bearing in mind the recent ratings success of Still Open All Hours, you strongly suspect that is the BBC’s intention – I’d much rather it was this one.

“Porridge left me with an indulgent grin on my face, rather than an Are You Being Served? cringe.”

X Factor’s figures drop

Earlier, ITV’s The X Factor narrowly beat BBC One’s Antiques Roadshow in its timeslot.

The second instalment of the talent show’s 13th series was seen by 5.7 million people on ITV at 20:00 BST on Sunday – not including +1 and catch-up.

Antiques Roadshow pulled in 5.6 million, while the final of Robot Wars on BBC Two – which saw Dave Young, Marc Dermott and Ben Bacon triumph with Apollo – was watched by 1.4 million.

The ratings for X Factor’s second episode were down on the 6.3 million who had tuned in for the first instalment on Saturday night.

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X Factor: Nicole Scherzinger ‘hardest working’ judge

Nicole ScherzingerImage copyright

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Scherzinger opted to return to X Factor instead of starring in Cats on Broadway

X Factor presenter Dermot O’Leary has praised Nicole Scherzinger as “the best judge” on this year’s panel.

The new series launches this weekend on ITV with a revamped line-up.

Speaking at the show’s London press launch, O’Leary said: “She works the hardest.”

Scherzinger said: “I’m very competitive, very picky, I really care. Otherwise, if you don’t put everything into it and everything isn’t as great as it can be, why do it?”

This year’s series has had an overhaul, with O’Leary returning to present after a year off and all three of the original judges returning.

Louis Walsh, Simon Cowell and Sharon Osbourne were on the judging panel on the show during its first series in 2004.

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AP / PA / PA

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Original judges Cowell, Osbourne and Walsh have all returned to the panel

Former Pussycat Dolls singer Scherzinger is set to join them, returning after her two previous stints as a judge on The X Factor UK, and one in the US.

“I’m actually here because of Louis, he’s the one who wanted me back,” she said, crediting her fellow judge with championing her to Cowell.

Walsh said: “Nicole works really hard, takes it seriously… she wants, more than anybody else, to win again.”

But her return to the panel was not without controversy.

‘Good terms’

Scherzinger had been expected to continue working with Andrew Lloyd Webber in a stage production of Cats.

She played the role of Grizabella when the show was in London’s West End last year, and had been rumoured to continue in the role this year when the show opened on Broadway.

But Lord Lloyd-Webber said she dropped out of continuing in the role to do X Factor instead, leaving him “furious”.

Speaking at the London launch, Scherzinger suggested they had left that behind them and are now on good terms.

“I know he and [his wife] Madeleine always watch the show so hopefully they still will, and I did a show in Austria with him recently so it was all good.

“I can’t wait to work with him again… but Simon’s loving it,” she added, referring to the apparent feud.

And Scherzinger isn’t the only person who Louis helped get on to this year’s X Factor.

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Rylan Clark-Neal will host this year’s Xtra Factor on ITV2 with Matt Edmondson

Former contestant Rylan Clark-Neal will host sister show the Xtra Factor on ITV2 this year, alongside Radio 1 presenter Matt Edmondson.

“Louis did get me the job… he bullied Simon for about three years,” Clark-Neal said.

Walsh explained: “Simon doesn’t know Rylan as well as we do because he wasn’t there that year [when Clark-Neal was a contestant].

“But Nicole, Sharon and I worked with him on the show – we know how good and quick and intelligent he is.”

Last year’s X Factor was the least successful in the ratings since the first series in 2004 – something that many fans and critics put down to the panel being too young and lacking chemistry.

Walsh himself said that “the show wasn’t really good last year” – adding that he lobbied Cowell to make changes to this year’s show.

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X Factor has faced competition from BBC One’s Strictly Come Dancing

All eyes now will be on the ratings to see whether fans return to see three of the original panel back together.

Audiences have been falling since The X Factor’s 2010 peak, when more than 17m people tuned into the final to see Matt Cardle crowned the winner.

But fast forward to 2015 – and an average of 8.4m watched the final, meaning the show lost about half its audience since 2010.

Speaking to the BBC about last year’s series, Walsh said: “I was checking the ratings every week and saw it was getting lower.

“I was delighted. I watched the show and I didn’t think it was as good as it used to be.”

By bringing back so many familiar faces, Cowell clearly hopes The X Factor can recapture its former glory.

But it will face stiff competition for much of it run from Strictly Come Dancing on BBC One, which has been firmly ahead in the ratings in recent years.

Strictly is once again putting up a strong batch of contestants – with Ed Balls, Louise Redknapp and Greg Rutherford among this year’s celebrities.

The X Factor may be pulling out all the stops in the hope of securing more series in the future, but it is going to have a tough fight on its hands.

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John Cleese ‘in talks’ over BBC sitcom return

John CleeseImage copyright

John Cleese is reported to be in talks to return to the BBC for a sitcom which has been written specifically for him.

The Fawlty Towers and Monty Python star was quoted in a magazine interview last year as saying “there’s no way I want to work in TV, especially at the BBC”.

In recent years, the 74-year-old British actor has mainly concentrated on voiceover roles.

But BBC comedy head Shane Allen told the Daily Telegraph Cleese is a “comedy god, and the door is always open”.

“We’re in discussions about a piece that he might be in. It’s a sitcom and it’s very early days,” Mr Allen said.

Cleese, who appeared on the big screen in A Fish Called Wanda and two Harry Potter films, did take on small appearances in US TV sitcoms Whitney and Entourage between 2010 and 2013.

He also reunited with his Monty Python co-stars in 2013 for live shows to pay an £800,000 legal bill after losing a royalties case. And following his divorce from third wife Alyce Eichelberger in 2008, he performed in a comedy show dubbed the Alimony Tour.

‘Earned his badge’

In last year’s interview with Shortlist magazine, Cleese said he felt the BBC’s commissioning editors had “no idea” what they were doing.

He also said he had been offered “cliched” roles by ITV.

Referring to Cleese’s possible BBC sitcom return, Mr Allen told the Telegraph: “There are certain people who have earned their badges, who have got the right to do what they want.”

He was speaking to the Telegraph before the first episode airs on Sunday in the BBC’s “landmark sitcom series”.

The series features modern remakes of Are You Being Served?, Porridge, Till Death Us Do Part, Steptoe and Son, and Up Pompeii!

Mr Allen said it was “insulting” to suggest the BBC’s new comedies were not as good as the past but added: “This is a chance to try to reclaim that and say these are titles and writers and pieces of work that are proven, and hallowed, and it’s a chance to introduce them to a new generation.”

A BBC spokeswoman said: “We would love to work with John Cleese. However nothing is confirmed at this stage and we do not comment on developments.”

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Paul McCartney demo given to Cilla Black goes up for auction

Media captionPaul McCartney sings It’s for You in a 1964 demo for Cilla Black

A long-lost demo disc recorded by Paul McCartney that was given to Cilla Black is estimated to fetch £15,000 at auction later.

Black, who died in 2015, had a UK top 10 hit in 1964 with It’s for You, written by McCartney and John Lennon.

McCartney recorded his own version earlier that year, which was delivered to Black while she was performing at the London Palladium.

It was believed to have been lost or destroyed until her nephew found it.

Simon White said he believed his paternal aunt – whose birth name was Priscilla White – gave it to his late father in the mid-60s.

“My father was an avid record collector who took great care of his record collection, and he personally created the cardboard sleeve in which the acetate demo has been stored in his collection for more than 50 years.”

Mr White assumed the copy was of his aunt’s version and took it with other items to be valued at The Beatles Shop in Mathew Street, Liverpool.

‘Shaking with excitement’

Stephen Bailey, who has managed the store for 31 years, said they played what they thought were 21 demo discs by Black.

“We got to the last one and, as soon as I heard it, I thought: ‘Oh God, that’s not Cilla Black, it’s Paul McCartney’.”

“I was shaking with excitement and speechless.”

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Stephen Bailey

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The seven-inch acetate was found by Cilla Black’s nephew

He added: “Apart from a few crackles, which you get with acetates, the quality is fine. It’s a wonderful recording.

“I can’t think of finding anything better unless I discover there is a sixth Beatle.”

The disc will go on sale on Saturday at the Beatles Memorabilia Auction at Unity Theatre.

Sir Paul was allowed to make a copy of his recording to add to his personal archive, Mr White said.

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Tommy Cooper’s ‘gag file’ to be preserved by Victoria & Albert museum

Tommy Cooper

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Some of the material will go on display at the VA later this year

Tommy Cooper’s “gag file”, in which the late comedian meticulously recorded his jokes, is to be preserved by the Victoria Albert Museum in London.

The VA has acquired an archive of papers and props once owned by Cooper, which show he was less shambolic off stage than he appeared when performing.

The gag file is among 116 boxes of his papers going into the VA collection.

The museum said he used a system for storing his jokes alphabetically “with the meticulousness of an archivist”.

‘Funniest of all time’

On stage, Cooper was known for his apparently chaotic magic routines as well as his trademark red fez and his catchphrase “just like that”.

But the file shows how he carefully sorted his jokes into dozens of categories, ranging from boxing and bull fighting to wives and women.

The material sheds light on his “scrupulously organised working methods, the business side of his vocation and the extent of his writing”, the VA said.

As well as the gag file, the VA has acquired personal correspondence, contracts, notebooks and his famous head twister illusion, plus posters and cardboard from shirt packaging that he jotted notes on.

However, the museum has not acquired his most famous possession – a fez.

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Tommy Cooper Estate/Victoria Albert Museum

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Cooper organised his jokes into categories ranging from boxing and bull fighting to wives and women

The collection also contains details of his early auditions.

A report from his first BBC audition in 1947 described him as an “unattractive young man with indistinct speaking voice and extremely unfortunate appearance”.

He was given a BBC series in 1952, however, before moving to ITV, which screened numerous series and specials from the 1950s to the ’80s.

Cooper suffered a fatal heart attack during a live TV broadcast in 1984.

In 2004, he was voted the funniest Briton of all time.

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Tommy Cooper Estate/Victoria Albert Museum

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The archive includes a plan for Cooper’s props table

VA curator Simon Sladen said the collection offered “a fascinating insight into one the best-loved entertainers of the 20th Century and reveals much about his practice, process and legacy”.

The archive was bought from collector John Fisher and will become part of the VA’s growing comedy collection, which also contains material from the lives of Ronnie Barker, Tony Hancock and Morecambe and Wise.

Cooper’s daughter Vicky said: “It is wonderful that the VA has acquired the Tommy Cooper Collection and that the public will get to see some of his material on display later this year.

“I hope it brings as much enjoyment to people as he did when he was alive.

“My dad would be very proud knowing he was now represented in the National Collection of Theatre and Performance, sitting alongside the likes of Ronnie Barker’s archive and costumes worn by Morecambe and Wise and Stan Laurel.”

In a statement, Cooper’s friend and fellow entertainer Ken Dodd said: “He loved laughter and he loved to laugh. I’m sure he would have been very proud to see so many people enjoy his sense of humour.”

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Matt Damon climbs up Forbes’ Hollywood rich list

Matt DamonImage copyright
Getty Images

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Matt Damon appeared in The Martian and Jason Bourne over the past year

Matt Damon has become the third highest-paid actor in Hollywood, according to Forbes’ annual rich list.

The actor missed the top 10 last year but has seen his earnings rocket to $55m (£41.6m) after starring in Jason Bourne and The Martian.

He was beaten by Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, who became the world’s highest paid actor following appearances in San Andreas and Central Intelligence.

He earned $64.5m (£48.8m) between June 2015 and June 2016.

Forbes released its list of the highest-paid actresses earlier this week.

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The Rock is to appear in the film adaptation of Baywatch

The figures take into account advances actors have already received for forthcoming movies.

For example, Johnson has already signed up for roles in the Baywatch movie adaptation and the eighth instalment of the Fast And The Furious franchise.

Last year’s highest-paid actor, Iron Man star Robert Downey Jr, dropped to ninth place in the list with $33m (£25m) in earnings.

His only film to be released within the 12-month period was Captain America: Civil War, although he is also currently filming Spiderman: Homecoming.

Hollywood’s highest-paid actors

  1. Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson – $64.5m (£48.8m)
  2. Jackie Chan – $61m (£46.2m)
  3. Matt Damon – $55m (£41.6m)
  4. Tom Cruise – $53m (£40.1m)
  5. Johnny Depp – $48m (£36.4m)
  6. Ben Affleck – $43m (£32.6m)
  7. Vin Diesel – $35m (£26.5m)
  8. Shah Rukh Khan – $33m (£25m)
  9. Robert Downey Jr – $33m (£25m)
  10. Akshay Kumar – $31.5m (£23.9m)

Source: Forbes

Jackie Chan held on to second place in the list, having earned $61m (£46.2m) across the year.

Tom Cruise placed fourth with $53m (£40.1m), while Johnny Depp was ranked fifth with $48m (£36.4m).

The five highest-paid actors each earned more than the world’s highest-paid actress, Jennifer Lawrence, who received $46m (£34.9m) over the same period.

Four Bollywood actors made the top 20, with Shah Rukh Khan highest placed at number eight after earning $33m (£25m).

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Amber Heard and Johnny Depp row over divorce donations

Amber Heard and Johnny DeppImage copyright

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The couple split in May after 15 months of marriage

Amber Heard has demanded that Johnny Depp double the amount that is paid to charity following their divorce settlement.

She recently pledged to donate the $7m (£5.3m) settlement to two charities for abused women and ill children.

But he has begun to donate the money directly in her name, instead of giving it to her first, leading her to accuse him of trying to reduce his total bill.

She said he must now “honour the full amount by donating $14m to charity”.

On Thursday, the Pirates of the Caribbean star revealed he had paid the first instalments of the original $7m sum to the charities “in the name of Amber Heard”.

‘We insist on $14m’

Her spokeswoman responded in a statement: “Amber Heard appreciates Johnny Depp’s novel interest in supporting two of her favourite charities, the ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union) for domestic violence and the Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles. This is great and unexpected news.

“However, if Johnny wishes to change the settlement agreement, we must insist that he honour the full amount by donating $14m to charity, which, after accounting for his tax deduction, is equal to his $7m payment obligation to Amber.

“We would also insist that the full amount be paid immediately and not drawn out over many years.

“Anything less would be a transparent attempt by Johnny’s counsel, Laura Wasser and Patti Glaser, to reduce their client’s true payment by half under the guise of newfound concern for charities that he has never previously supported.”

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Heard appeared outside court with a bruised cheek in May

A spokesman for Depp earlier confirmed that the actor had sent the first instalments to the two charities.

In a statement, the spokesman said: “Following Amber Heard’s announcement that her divorce settlement was to be divided equally and gifted to Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles and the American Civil Liberties Union, two exceptionally deserving and important charities, Johnny Depp has sent the first of multiple instalments of those monies to each charity in the name of Amber Heard, which when completed will honour the full amount of Ms Heard’s pledge.

“Ms Heard’s generosity in giving to these wonderful causes is deeply respected.”

The 30-year-old actress and Hollywood star Depp, who were married in February 2015, announced their split this May.

She accused him of striking her and throwing a mobile phone during a fight. He denied the allegations.

She then took out a temporary restraining order against the 53-year-old obliging him not to get in contact and to stay 100 yards away from her.

The order was withdrawn when they agreed the divorce settlement.

Depp earns $48m (£36m) a year, according to Forbes magazine. Charity donations are usually tax deductible up to 50% of someone’s salary in the US, according to the IRS.

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Prince’s Paisley Park home to open to the public

PrinceImage copyright
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Prince died from an accidental overdose of the painkiller fentanyl

Prince’s private estate and studio complex is to open to the public six months after his death.

The singer died in an elevator at the 65,000 square-foot complex in Minneapolis in April.

The trust company overseeing his estate announced Paisley Park will open for daily public tours from 6 October, provided the city approves the plan.

Prince’s sister, Tyka Nelson, said: “Opening Paisley Park is something that Prince always wanted to do.”

The singer died after an accidental overdose of the painkiller fentanyl.

Officials investigating his death said earlier this week the pills had been mislabelled as hydrocodone, a weaker type of opioid.

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Prince died in an elevator at the Paisley Park complex in April

“Only a few hundred people have had the rare opportunity to tour the estate during [Prince's] lifetime,” Nelson said.

“Now, fans from around the world will be able to experience Prince’s world for the first time as we open the doors to this incredible place.”

The company that runs Elvis Presley’s Graceland will manage the project.

More than 20 million people have visited Graceland, where Presley died in 1977, since it opened to the public – with around 600,000 annual visitors in recent years.

The plan says the tours will include studios where Prince recorded and mixed his songs, and the soundstage where he rehearsed for tours and hosted private concerts.

Tickets will cost $38.50 (£29.10) for the 70-minute tour but VIP tours will also be offered to small groups.

As the plan will require approval from the city, a planning commission hearing has been scheduled for 20 September.

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