Women in the arts slate Channel 4 board decision

Baroness Amos and Joan BakewellImage copyright
Getty Images / bbc

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Baroness Amos and Joan Bakewell are among the signatories

Leading female arts figures, including Dame Joan Bakewell and Tessa Jowell, have asked the government to explain why it blocked the appointment of Anthea Efunshile to Channel 4′s board.

Efunshile was the only female candidate put forward by Ofcom to join the board.

Culture secretary Karen Bradley vetoed her appointment.

Playwright Bonnie Greer and Baroness Valerie Amos have also signed a letter requesting an explanation from Mrs Bradley.

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Arts Council

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Efunshile is a former deputy chief of Arts Council England

“We are united in our belief that Althea was an outstanding candidate and would have been a tremendous addition to the Channel 4 board,” the letter to the culture secretary says.

“We are writing to you to express our dismay at your unprecedented decision to block the appointment… and call on you to explain the reasoning behind this decision as a matter of urgency.”

Mrs Bradley did approve four white males to the board who were also put forward by Ofcom, the broadcasting regulator.

Gail Rebuck, chair of book publisher Penguin Random House UK, is also among the signatories of the letter.

“We strongly feel that the decision to block Althea Efunshile’s appointment to the Channel 4 board undermines the government’s warm words on boardroom diversity,” it states.

“It represents a significant step in the wrong direction that will do real and lasting damage to efforts to boost diversity in leadership positions across business, the professions and public life.”

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Reuters

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Karen Bradley was made culture secretary in July

A group of more than 50 MPs has also written to Mrs Bradley to request an explanation for the rejection of Efunshile, who is a former deputy of Arts Council England.

In response, Mrs Bradley said she was “in full agreement in the need to ensure our public institutions and appointments represent and reflect modern Britain”.

She added: “I do, however, firmly reject any suggestion that female or BAME [Black, Asian and minority ethnic] candidates are treated unfairly in our public appointment decisions.”

A spokesman for the Department for Culture, Media and Sport said Mrs Bradley had “approved four candidates on the basis that they met the specific skills and experiences set out in Ofcom’s advertised job descriptions”.

‘Right person for the job’

David Lammy, a former culture minister, also raised the issue during last week’s Prime Minster’s Questions.

“Does [Mrs Bradley] think there isn’t a woman or a black person in the country worthy of being on the board of Channel 4?” he asked.

Theresa May responded: “I will look into the issue [Mr Lammy] has raised but I have to say to him that this is always a question of the right person for the job.

“Issues around the question he has raised don’t come into it, it is about who is right for the job.”

Ofcom is responsible for finding, vetting and appointing Channel 4 board members.

Traditionally, the names put forward by the regulator are then approved by the government. The rejection of one candidate by the government is unusual.

Efunshile, who left Arts Council England this year, was made a CBE in June for services to arts and culture.


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Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-38249543

Sir Mick Jagger becomes dad for the eighth time aged 73

Mick JaggerImage copyright
Reuters

Rolling Stones frontman Sir Mick Jagger has become a father again at age of 73, his publicist has confirmed.

The singer already has seven children whose ages range from 17 to 45 and he became a great-grandfather in 2014.

His 29-year-old girlfriend, American ballerina Melanie Hamrick, gave birth to a boy in New York on Thursday, the singer’s publicist Bernard Doherty said.

A statement said Hamrick and Sir Mick were “both delighted” at the birth.

It added: “Mick was at the hospital for the arrival.

“Mother and baby are doing well and we request that the media respect their privacy at this time.”

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Dimitrios Kambouris

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Melanie Hamrick gave birth in New York on Thursday

Sir Mick began dating Hamrick after the suicide of L’Wren Scott in 2014, his partner of 13 years.

The music star had his other children with Marsha Hunt, Bianca Jagger, Jerry Hall and Luciana Gimenez Morad.

He has five grandchildren and became a great-grandfather in May 2014 when his granddaughter Assisi, daughter of Jade Jagger, gave birth to a baby girl.

The Rolling Stones recently released a new blues album called Blue Lonesome.


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Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-38254552

Greg Lake: King Crimson and ELP star dies aged 69

Emerson, Lake and Palmer in the 1970sImage copyright
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Lake (centre) was one of the biggest stars of the 1970s

Greg Lake, who fronted both King Crimson and Emerson, Lake and Palmer, has died aged 69.

One of the founding fathers of progressive rock, the British musician is known for songs including In the Court of the Crimson King and his solo hit I Believe in Father Christmas.

He died on Wednesday after “a long and stubborn battle with cancer”, said his manager.

The news comes nine months after Lake’s band-mate Keith Emerson died.

Keyboardist Emerson died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound, coroners in the US said.

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Getty Images

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Lake (right) with Carl Palmer in 1971 as ELP were recording their album Trilogy

Lake’s manager Stewart Young wrote on Facebook: “Yesterday, December 7th, I lost my best friend to a long and stubborn battle with cancer.

“Greg Lake will stay in my heart forever, as he has always been.”

Genesis guitarist Steve Hackett paid tribute on Twitter, writing: “Music bows its head to acknowledge the passing of a great musician and singer, Greg Lake.”

“Another sad loss with the passing of Greg Lake,” wrote Rick Wakeman, keyboardist in pro rock band Yes.

“You left some great music with us my friend so like Keith, you will live on.”

‘Greatest music made for love’

Born in Bournemouth, Lake was given his first guitar at the age of 12 and took lessons from a local tutor called Don Strike.

He formed a close friendship with fellow student Robert Fripp, with whom he created King Crimson in 1969.

Their debut album In the Court of the Crimson King featured such songs as 21st Century Schizoid Man.

It set a standard for progressive rock and received a glowing, well-publicised testimonial from The Who’s Pete Townshend, who called it “an uncanny masterpiece”.

But within a year, founding member Mike Giles quit and Lake refused to work with the band – although he stuck around long enough to sing on their second album, In the Wake of Poseidon, which was criticised for treading old ground.

‘Love not money’

The singer and bassist was then approached by Emerson, who had supported King Crimson on a North American tour and needed a singer for his new band.

Joined by Atomic Rooster drummer Carl Palmer, ELP made their live debut at the Guildhall in Plymouth in 1970 before giving a career-making performance at the Isle of Wight Festival.

Unusually, the band combined heavy rock riffs with a classical influence. They scored hit albums with Pictures at an Exhibition, Trilogy and Brain Salad Surgery – many of them produced by Lake himself.

Tarkus, released in 1971, featured an opening track inspired by the fictional Tarkus character – a half-tank, half-armadillo creature that would appear on stage at gigs – that lasted more than 20 minutes.

The band went on to enjoy chart success in 1977 with their version of Aaron Copland’s Fanfare for the Common Man.

ELP’s ambitious light shows and on-stage theatrics were the epitome of ’70s rock excess, and several punk acts cited ELP as one of the bands they were reacting against.

But the band sold more than 48 million records, and Lake continued to be an influential and popular touring musician even after the band wound down in the late 1970s.

In 2010, Kanye West repopularised the King Crimson song 21st Century Schizoid Man when he sampled it in his hit song, Power.

“The greatest music is made for love, not for money,” Lake is quoted as saying on his official website.

“The early ELP albums were pioneering because there is no standing still; time is always moving forward.”

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Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-38251936

Sir Cliff Richard: BBC disputes compensation claim

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PA

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Sir Cliff Richard says he suffered “profound and long-lasting” damage

The BBC has said it should not pay Sir Cliff Richard the damages he is seeking as a result of the coverage of a police raid on his home in 2014.

The singer is suing the BBC and South Yorkshire Police and is seeking “very substantial” compensation because he says the coverage invaded his privacy.

He was investigated over historical sexual assault allegations, which he denied. The case was dropped in June.

The BBC has apologised but is now disputing his compensation claim.

Legal papers have been lodged at the High Court in London pending the start of any court hearings.

Gavin Millar QC, who is heading the BBC’s legal team, said: “It is denied that the claimant is entitled to damages or compensation as alleged at all.

“It is admitted that the claimant suffered distress.”

He added: “The BBC has already told the claimant it is very sorry that this was the case.”

‘Distress and anxiety’

In June, the Crown Prosecution Service announced it was taking no further action against Sir Cliff because there was insufficient evidence.

The star suffered “profound and long-lasting” damage from the live coverage of the search in Sunningdale, Berkshire, and from being publicly named as a suspected sex offender, his lawyers have said.

They also say South Yorkshire Police contravened guidance on “relationships with the media”.

South Yorkshire Police has apologised to the singer for the “distress and anxiety” it had caused him.

On Wednesday, a BBC spokeswoman said: “As we have said on several occasions, we are very sorry that Sir Cliff Richard has suffered distress.

“However, we have now submitted our response to this claim and will defend ourselves vigorously.”

The corporation “stands by the decision to report the investigation undertaken by the South Yorkshire Police and the search of his property”, the spokeswoman added.

Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-38237545

YouTube’s $1bn royalties are not enough, says music industry

Lady GagaImage copyright
Getty Images

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Lady Gaga, whose videos have been streamed two billion times, has criticised YouTube

YouTube has said it has paid the music industry $1bn (£794m) in royalties this year – but record companies have responded by claiming it is not enough.

The spat began on Tuesday, when YouTube’s chief business officer Robert Kyncl posted a blog highlighting the site’s contribution to the industry.

He said YouTube had distributed $1bn in advertising royalties alone, arguing that “free” streaming was as important as subscription sites like Spotify.

But record labels were not impressed.

“Google has issued more unexplained numbers on what it claims YouTube pays the music industry,” said a spokesperson for the global music body, the IFPI.

“The announcement gives little reason to celebrate, however. With 800 million music users worldwide, YouTube is generating revenues of just over $1 per user for the entire year.

“This pales in comparison to the revenue generated by other services, ranging from Apple to Deezer to Spotify. For example, in 2015 Spotify alone paid record labels some $2bn, equivalent to an estimated $18 per user.”

In his blog post, Mr Kyncl conceded that the current model was not perfect, arguing: “There is a lot of work that must be done by YouTube and the industry as a whole.

“But we are excited to see the momentum,” he added.

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YouTube

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Nine of the 10 most-watched clips on YouTube are music videos, topped by Psy’s Gangnam Style

The music industry has targeted YouTube – and other free streaming sites – as their villains du jour.

They say YouTube does not pay a fair rate to musicians and record labels, and is slow to police illegal and pirated material uploaded by its users – a claim which YouTube disputes.

The rhetoric intensified this year as YouTube’s licensing agreements with the three major record labels – Sony, Warner and Universal – came up for renewal.

The industry has also pushed for reforms to the “safe harbour” laws, which mean YouTube and other similar sites cannot be penalised when users upload copyrighted material – including full albums – provided they remove it on request.

Artists like Lady Gaga, Sir Paul McCartney, Ed Sheeran, Coldplay and Abba have all written to the US Congress asking for the law to be changed.

YouTube recently hired former Warner Music executive Lyor Cohen as its head of music, a move which was widely interpreted as an attempt to smooth relations with the music industry.

He took up his post on Monday, 24 hours before Kyncl’s blog post was published.

However, the IFPI has maintained its position, saying in a statement that YouTube is still “not paying artists and producers anything like a fair rate for music”.

It continued: “This highlights more than ever the need for legislative action to address the ‘value gap’ that is denying music rights holders a fair return for their work.”

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Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-38235834

Viola Beach band crash ‘awful tragedy’, says coroner

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@jholsson/PA

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This picture of Viola Beach was taken just before the band’s gig prior to the crash

A coroner has said he does not think it will “ever be known” what caused the crash that killed the British group Viola Beach and their manager.

The four-member band, who were aged between 19 and 27, died on 13 February following a gig in Sweden.

Their car crashed into a raised section of a bridge and plummeted into a canal.

Addressing the deceased men’s families, Cheshire Coroner Nicholas Rheinberg described the crash as “the most awful tragedy”.

He ruled that manager Craig Tarry, 32, and band members River Reeves, Jack Dakin, Kris Leonard – all aged 19 – died due to head injuries.

Bass guitarist Tomas Lowe, 27, died due to drowning, the inquest in their Warrington hometown found.

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PA

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Manager Craig Tarry (left), seen here with his father Colin at a Manchester City match, was driving the car

Mr Rheinberg said: “It’s not for me to speculate… I don’t think it ever will be known what happened.”

He added that “the evidence did not reveal the cause of sequence of events” that led to their deaths.

The inquest heard no alcohol or drugs was found in the blood of Mr Tarry, who was driving the band to their hotel.

Warning lights

Post-mortem examinations also showed the four band members had not taken drugs and had only consumed small amounts of alcohol.

The group’s agent Graham Bennett told Warrington Coroner’s Court that the up-and-coming band were in Sweden for a festival showcasing young artists.

Viola Beach had already played at the Reading and Leeds festivals last year and the event in Norrköping was their first gig outside the UK.

After the performance, they were travelling in a black Nissan Qashqai near the Södertälje Canal, about 18 miles from Stockholm, when a bridge was raised to let a boat pass underneath.

The inquest heard that the car was slightly over the speed limit as it was travelling at 108km/h (67mph) in a 100km/h zone.

Flashing lights signalled that the bridge was about to be raised with the middle section of the road lifted horizontally, the inquest heard.

Mr Tarry drove down a verge past stationary queuing traffic and through the first set of barriers, about 120m from the bridge, the court heard.

The car then travelled in a “controlled manner” at between 70 and 90km/h down the centre of the road.

It continued through a second set of barriers – 30m from the drop into the canal – and hit the raised section of the bridge before plummeting 25m, hitting the water within 15 seconds.

The court heard a tanker using the canal, which had requested the bridge to be lifted, then passed over the crash spot and “contact” with the car could not be ruled out.

The crew of a passing boat saw the car fall but initially thought it was ice.

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AFP

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The car was towed from the canal under a bridge outside Stockholm

Technical examinations did not find any errors with the car, barrier system or the procedure for raising the bridge.

One warning light on the bridge was out of order but there were at least 10 warning lights and flashing signals, the inquest heard.

Although the road was wet, it was not frozen with ice.

The court heard that the three band members sitting in the back of the car were not wearing seatbelts but those in the front were, and had to be cut from the vehicle.

Supt Martin Cleworth, from Cheshire Police, said outside the Warrington court: “We don’t know the final answer… in terms of what actually happened at those moments just prior to the final collision and tragic descent into the water.”

The Swedish authorities have recommended improvements to the crossing, including LED signs and cameras on the bridge.

More than 20 relatives of the deceased men attended Wednesday’s inquest.


Who were Viola Beach?

Media captionViola Beach play Swings Waterslides in session for BBC Introducing
  • Four-piece band from Warrington, Cheshire
  • Kris Leonard, 19 – guitar, lead vocal; River Reeves, 19 – who grew up in Cornwall, guitar; Tomas Lowe, 27 – bass; Jack Dakin, 19 – drums
  • Formed in May 2015
  • Released debut single Swings Waterslides last year and put out their second single Boys That Sing on 22 January
  • Played several BBC Introducing sessions
  • Were due to travel to the South By South West (SXSW) festival in Texas in March 2016

In the wake of their deaths, the band’s first single Swings Waterslides reached number 11, while their song Boys That Sing was performed by Coldplay in a tribute at Glastonbury.

Posthumously, Viola Beach scored a number one album in August.

The self-titled debut was compiled by the band’s families, using live sessions and studio recordings, many of which were originally bound for an EP.

After the crash, a statement from the families of the band said: “We are tremendously proud of everything the boys achieved in such a short space of time.

“Craig, Jack, Kris, River and Tom shared a huge passion, talent and dedication to music.”

Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-38241365

Designers disagree about dressing Melania Trump

Donald and Melania Trump and familyImage copyright
AFP

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Melania Trump was at her husband’s side during the US election campaign

Jean Paul Gaultier has said he would have no problem dressing Melania Trump, despite designers Tom Ford and Marc Jacobs saying they would not do so.

A number of designers have declared that they would refuse a request from America’s future First Lady.

But others, including Tommy Hilfiger, Thom Browne and now Gaultier, have said they would not have a problem.

Asked whether he would dress Mrs Trump, Gaultier replied: “Definitely. It’s not my objective but why not?”

Speaking at the British Fashion Awards on Monday, the French designer said it was “not a question of politics”.

“She dresses very well by herself,” he told the Press Association. “I have nothing bad to say against her.

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Reuters

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Gaultier claimed Mrs Trump was better dressed than Hillary Clinton

“She was better dressed than Hillary [Clinton] when she went to vote. She was in her camel coat and white dress and was beautiful.

“I don’t know who advises her or maybe it’s herself, but if she asked me to dress her, why not?”

Last month Sophie Theallet published a letter on Twitter saying she would “not participate in dressing or associate myself in any way with the next First Lady”.

Theallet, one of current First Lady Michelle Obama’s favourite designers, wrote: “The rhetoric of racism, sexism and xenophobia unleashed by her husband’s presidential campaign are incompatible with the shared values we live by.”

‘A more respectful world’

“Personally, I’d rather put my energy into helping out those who will be hurt by Trump and his supporters,” Marc Jacobs told WWD.com last month.

Derek Lam concurred, saying he would “rather concentrate my energies on efforts towards a more just, honourable and a mutually respectful world”.

“I was asked to dress her quite a few years ago and I declined,” Tom Ford told US TV show The View.

But that was less to do with politics and more to do with her style, he said, adding: “She’s not necessarily my image.”

Tommy Hilfiger, however, offered a different viewpoint when asked about Theallet’s letter.

“Melania is a very beautiful woman and I think any designer should be proud to dress her,” he said.

“I don’t think people should become political about it. Everyone was very happy to dress Michelle [Obama].”


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Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-38221581

Beyonce scores nine Grammy nominations

BeyonceImage copyright
AP

Beyonce has scooped nine nominations for the 2017 Grammy Awards, extending her lead as the most-nominated woman in Grammys history.

The star is up for the main prize, album of the year, for her ambitious visual album, Lemonade, which tackles themes of race and female identity.

Her single Formation is also up for song and record of the year.

In all three categories, she is up against Adele – who previously won the ceremony’s top three prizes in 2012.

Beyonce now has 62 Grammy nominations across her work as a solo artist and as part of Destiny’s Child, making her the fourth most-nominated artist ever.

She has won 20 trophies altogether, although she has yet to clinch the album of the year prize, having been beaten to the title by Beck in 2015 – much to the disgust of Kanye West, who stormed the stage in protest.

West receives eight nominations this year for his album The Life Of Pablo – all in the rap categories.

Drake and Rihanna also have eight nominations, including three for their hit collaboration, Work.

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AP

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Drake, whose album Views is the most-streamed record of the year, is nominated in multiple categories

Making Grammy history is Chicago-born musician Chance The Rapper, whose album Coloring Book is the first streaming-only record to be recognised by the Recording Academy.

He achieves seven nominations, including best new artist, without ever releasing a physical album or digital download.

Bowie snub

Beyonce and Adele go head to head with Justin Bieber, Drake and country star Sturgill Simpson in the best album category.

If Adele wins, she will become only the second woman to receive the best album prize twice, after Taylor Swift.

Notably absent from the shortlist is David Bowie, who was tipped to win for his critically-acclaimed Blackstar album.

The record does make an appearance in the best alternative album category, as does Radiohead’s A Moon Shaped Pool.

Coldplay have also fared badly, receiving just one nomination – best music video – despite selling millions of copies of their latest album, A Head Full Of Dreams.

Prince receives a posthumous nomination for his final album, Hit N Run Phase Two, in the best engineered, non-classical category, where Blackstar also makes the shortlist.

British star James Corden will host the 2017 Grammy Awards, which take place at the Staples Center in Los Angeles on Sunday, 12 February.

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AP

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Rihanna now has 32 nominations and eight wins to her name

Main nominations

Album Of The Year

  • Adele – 25
  • Beyonce – Lemonade
  • Justin Bieber – Purpose
  • Drake – Views
  • Sturgill Simpson – A Sailor’s Guide To Earth

Record Of The Year

  • Adele – Hello
  • Beyonce – Formation
  • Lukas Graham – 7 Years
  • Rihanna ft Drake – Work
  • Twenty One Pilots – Stressed Out

Song Of The Year

  • Adele – Hello
  • Beyonce – Formation
  • Justin Bieber – Love Yourself
  • Lukas Graham – 7 Years
  • Mike Posner – I Took A Pill In Ibiza

Best New Artist

  • Kelsea Ballerini
  • The Chainsmokers
  • Chance The Rapper
  • Maren Morris
  • Anderson .Paak

Best alternative album

  • David Bowie – Blackstar
  • PJ Harvey – The Hope Six Demolition Project
  • Bon Iver – 22, A Million
  • Iggy Pop – Post Pop Depression
  • Radiohead – A Moon Shaped Pool

Best pop album

  • Adele – 25
  • Justin Bieber – Purpose
  • Ariana Grande – Dangerous Woman
  • Demi Lovato – Confident
  • Sia – This Is Acting

Best rap album

  • Chance The Rapper – Coloring Book
  • De La Soul – And The Anonymous Nobody
  • DJ Khaled – Major Key
  • Drake – Views
  • Schoolboy Q – Blank Face LP
  • Kanye West – The Life Of Pablo

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Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-38223694

Peter Vaughan: Thrones and Porridge star dies at 93

Peter Vaughan in Game of ThronesImage copyright
Alamy

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Peter Vaughan starred in Game of Thrones for five years

British actor Peter Vaughan, best known for roles in Game of Thrones and Porridge, has died at the age of 93.

He played Maester Aemon in the HBO series and Grouty in the TV sitcom.

His many other roles included parts in TV shows Citizen Smith, Chancer and Our Friends in the North.

His agent Sally Long-Innes said: “This is to confirm that very sadly Peter Vaughan passed away at approximately 10.30 this morning. He died peacefully with his family around him.”

Vaughan began acting in the 1950s and became a recognisable face by playing numerous mainly supporting roles on stage, television, radio and film.

He specialised in characters with a tough edge – such as police officers, secret agents and authoritarian elders.

  • Obituary: Peter Vaughan
Media captionA look back at some of Peter Vaughan’s best-known roles

His best-known parts included:

  • The menacing villain Harry Grout in Porridge, which remained his most famous part, despite the fact he only appeared in a handful of episodes
  • The strict father of Robert Lindsay’s girlfriend in the first two series of another 1970s comedy, Citizen Smith
  • Town patriarch Tom Hedden in Straw Dogs, the controversial film made by Sam Peckinpah, whom Vaughan described as “one of the best directors ever”
  • Felix, the dementia-suffering father of Christopher Eccleston’s character in landmark TV drama Our Friends in the North, which earned him a Bafta nomination
  • The ageing butler William Stevens, the father of Anthony Hopkins’s character in Merchant Ivory’s film The Remains of the Day
  • Jon Snow’s blind, scholarly mentor Maester Aemon Targaryen in HBO’s epic fantasy Game of Thrones

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Vaughan played Bill Sikes in the BBC’s Oliver Twist in 1962

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He appeared in many other period dramas, including 1985′s Bleak House

Vaughan described himself as a character actor, saying he did not have the looks to play romantic leads.

“If you’re a character actor, you don’t need to wait for the next leading role,” he once said. “But if you are a leading man you have to wait for the next part. Sometimes that means long periods without work.”

He was never out of work for long, but Vaughan was not overly fond of only being recognised for Porridge.

“It bores me rigid,” he once said. “I only did about four episodes and the film but never has a role been written that has had more impact.”

‘Lucky, lucky, lucky’

However Game of Thrones brought him a new level of fame with a younger audience at the age of 86, and he remained in the show for five years.

“I’ve been so lucky with parts,” he told BBC Radio Surrey recently in one of his last interviews in November. “They talk about actors resting. The only time I have ever rested in my 77 years as an actor has been when I’ve wanted to. Lucky, lucky, lucky.”

Those paying tribute included Blackadder actor Tony Robinson, who wrote on Twitter: “An amazing actor. I’ll never forget his performance in Our Friends in the North.”

Meanwhile, actress Kathy Burke posted a photo of Vaughan with Ronnie Barker in Porridge alongside the words: “Beautiful Peter Vaughan.”

Vaughan was married to actress Billie Whitelaw for 14 years until 1966 and then married Lillias Walker.

He was father-in-law of Gregor Fisher, the actor best known for playing comic character Rab C Nesbitt.

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Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-38225796

Andrew Sachs: Fawlty Towers’ Manuel dies aged 86

Media captionA look back at the life of Andrew Sachs

Fawlty Towers star Andrew Sachs, who played hapless Spanish waiter Manuel in the BBC sitcom, has died aged 86, his family has confirmed.

Sachs, who had been suffering from dementia for four years, died on 23 November and was buried on Thursday.

On his role of Manuel, the actor had told the BBC in 2014: “It was just a part I was playing and people seemed to laugh.”

His Fawlty Towers co-star John Cleese paid tribute to him as “a delight”.

Obituary: Andrew Sachs

Manuel was one of the most imitated comedy characters of the 1970s.

The waiter, who famously hailed from Barcelona, often said little more than the word “Que?” to generate laughs, but arguably his most famous line was “I know nothing”.

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There were only 12 episodes of Fawlty Towers

The waiter was regularly shown being hit by Cleese’s hotel manager character, Basil Fawlty.

“I never got upset when he hit me,” Sachs said in 2014.

“He’s my friend, I must say yes, yes [it hurt], several times, more than once.”

Cleese, 77, who was also the co-creator of Fawlty Towers, paid tribute to Sachs in an interview with the BBC.

He described his co-star as “a very nice, sweet man and just a brilliant farceur”.

Cleese added: “He was just a delight, and if you met him, you’d never for a moment think he was a comedian.

“You’d think he was a bank manager, possibly retired. But then you stuck that moustache on him and he turned into a completely different human being.”

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PA

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The Fawlty Towers cast reunited in 2009

Fawlty Towers co-writer Connie Booth, who played hotel maid Polly Sherman in the series, said Sachs “spoke to the world with his body as well as his mangled English.”

She added: “It made him a universally beloved figure. It was a privilege and an education to work with him.”

Sachs, who was born in Berlin in 1930 but fled Germany for London in 1938, had dozens of other acting roles, both serious and comic – including stints in TV’s two biggest soaps.

In 2009, he played the role of Ramsey Clegg, half-brother of Norris Cole, in ITV’s Coronation Street and in 2015 he briefly joined the BBC’s EastEnders as Cyril Bishop.

He inadvertently became the subject of headlines in 2008 when he received a series of lewd answerphone messages from Russell Brand and fellow BBC Radio 2 presenter Jonathan Ross during a radio show, which related to Sachs’s granddaughter.

The so-called Sachsgate affair resulted in Brand and the controller of Radio 2 resigning. Ross was suspended from broadcasting for three months and a review was held into the way BBC output was vetted.

Image copyright
John Cleese / Twitter

Sachs’s friend, Blackadder actor Tony Robinson, told BBC Radio 5 Live that Sachs had been “very modest” and said that “it really came as a surprise to him that he had the success that he did”.

“People know him for that one comedy performance, but he was actually a magnificently talented man in a number of fields,” he said, adding that Sachs had been “a very fine photographer” and “a very accomplished playwright”.

He said: “He’s worked in radio for very many years and in a way, given how shy and retiring he was, it was a good form for him.

“His face wasn’t shown, he could work a lot but he didn’t have to be a celebrity – and then suddenly he was thrown into the limelight.”

Comedian Omid Djalili tweeted: “Sad to learn of the passing of Andrew Sachs. Fond memories sharing a dressing room with him Bill Bailey at We Are Most Amused in 2008.”

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Image caption

Andreas Siegfried Sachs was born in Berlin in 1930

Samuel West, whose mother Prunella Scales starred alongside Sachs in Fawlty Towers, tweeted: “Creator of one of our most beloved EU migrants.

“Such warmth and wit; impossible to think of him without smiling.”

Little Britain creator David Walliams described his performances as Manuel as “comic perfection”.

He tweeted: “I had the pleasure of working with #AndrewSachs in ‘Attachments’. A beautiful soul who never tired of all my ‘Fawlty Towers’ questions.”

Comedy writer and director Edgar Wright said Sachs had “spun comic gold as Manuel in Fawlty Towers”.

Actor Eddie Marsan, who starred in the BBC’s Jonathan Strange Mr Norrell, tweeted: “RIP Andrew Sachs. You came here as a refugee with nothing but your talent and your spirit, and you enriched our lives. Thank you so much.”

‘Allo ‘Allo actress Vicki Michelle said: “So sorry to hear of #AndrewSachs passing. Happy memories of working with him, a lovely gentle man. Thoughts are with his family.”

Media captionJohn Cleese explains to Radio 4′s Today the deep rapport he had with co-star Andrew Sachs

BBC Radio 2 DJ Tony Blackburn also joined the tributes, tweeting: “So sad that Andrew Sachs has passed away… He gave us all so many laughs on Fawlty Towers, thank you. R.I.P.”

Actor Mark Gatiss wrote: “Had the great pleasure to work with the sweet and gentle Andrew Sachs on [writer] Bert Coules’s Further Adventures. His Manuel is imperishable.”

Charlotte Moore, the BBC’s director of content described Sachs as a “wonderful actor”.

“He will be fondly remembered for his many appearances across television and radio, not least for making the nation laugh in the classic role of Manuel. He entertained millions across a brilliant career and will be greatly missed.”

  • Instead of Still Open All Hours at 19:30 GMT, BBC One will show the Fawlty Towers episode Communication Problems, as a tribute to Andrew Sachs. This episode features Manuel’s famous “I know nothing” line.

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Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-38178353