Exclusive: Despacito breaks global streaming record

Media captionDespacito: The Latin hit taking over the world

Luis Fonsi’s Despacito has become the most-streamed song of all time, just six months after it was released.

The hit single has been played 4.6 billion times across all streaming services, overtaking Justin Bieber’s Sorry, which previously held the title.

“What’s happened with this song is just insane,” said Fonsi, who hails from Puerto Rico and sings in Spanish.

“I don’t want to use the word accident because I was trying to write a hit, but I didn’t plan for it to cross over.

“I just wanted to make people dance.”

The 39-year-old said the global success of his song – which has reached number one in 35 countries, including the UK – gave him hope in the current political climate.

“I come from Puerto Rico and I live in Miami. We’re living in an interesting time right now when people want to divide us. They want to build walls.

“And for a song to bring people and cultures together, that’s what makes me proud.”

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Universal Music

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The original version of the song was entirely in Spanish, juxtaposing Fonsi’s melodic chorus with Daddy Yankee’s more gritty, urban verses

Despacito is a sun-bleached slice of sensual reggaeton. The title translates as “slowly”, referring to the speed of Fonsi’s seduction technique.

It hit number one around Latin America when it was released in January, but only caught fire in the English-speaking world after Justin Bieber heard the song in a nightclub and asked to add a verse.

His version of the song – known as Despacito (Remix) – has become a phenomenon on streaming services, most notably Spotify and Apple Music. It is already the fourth most-played video of all time on YouTube, where it is rapidly closing in on the top three, all of which are years old.

The head of Universal Music Group, Sir Lucian Grainge, said the success of Despacito showed how streaming was democratising the music market.

“Streaming has allowed a song with a different beat, from a different culture, in a different language, to become this juggernaut of success and pleasure,” he told the BBC.

“The industry has predominantly been English-speaking artists for the last 50 years [but] streaming will continue to open up music from Latin America artists globally.

“Anything and everywhere is up for grabs.”

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Justin Bieber liked the song so much, he offered to perform on a remix

Of course, records will continue to be broken alongside the growth of streaming services – which give users access to a vast library of on-demand music for a monthly fee.

In March, Spotify announced it had attracted 50 million subscribers. Apple Music, which is yet to reach its second birthday, has already attracted 27 million paying customers; while Google Play, Amazon Unlimited, Deezer and YouTube and dozens of others have contributed to Despacito’s success.

Critics might point out that the song would never have achieved such visibility without Bieber’s contribution, but Sir Lucian was candid about how Universal had harnessed the star’s brand power.

“Bringing in Justin Bieber meant that we could take something that was well on its way, and really take it to heights that would have been perceived as unimaginable when the song was written,” he told the BBC.

“We were at one level, and he helped us get to the next.”

Fonsi also paid tribute to Bieber’s contribution, and reflected on his breathtaking success in a phone interview from Lisbon.

Hi Luis! How does it feel to have the most-streamed song in history?

It’s been an incredible ride. Pretty much from the start it has just been crazy. Obviously it was a snowball effect. It started first with my more traditional market – the Latin American market. But we had an instant response. I got phone calls congratulating me from people who don’t normally call.

Is it a source of pride that Despacito is predominantly a Spanish-language song?

Yeah, that’s the beauty behind it. The original version, which I did just with Daddy Yankee, was in Spanish then four months later, Justin Bieber jumps in [and] adds a verse at the beginning in English.

It was his choice to keep the chorus in Spanish – because we had an English lyric for it – but he wanted to stay true to the original version.

Now I’m getting videos from different parts of the world, listening to people trying to nail the Spanish, trying to learn a bit of Spanish through the song.

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Getty Images

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Before the global success of Despacito, Fonsi had scored six number one singles in Latin America

Have you forgiven Justin for butchering the song when he performed it live? (The singer sang “burrito” and “dorito” instead of the Spanish lyrics)

Yeah, you know, it’s not his language. If he was saying he could speak Spanish and he couldn’t, I’d be like, “Hey man”. But I don’t think he’s ever come out and said he’s a Spanish-speaker. He just wanted to do the song because he loved it. And I think you have to tip your hat to him, because he took the time to phonetically learn the chorus in Spanish.

I know that that takes time [because] I’ve actually done the song in different languages myself. I’ve just done the song in Portuguese, and Portuguese is very similar to Spanish, but it was very hard for me to nail that version. And if you were to ask me to sing it now in Portuguese, I wouldn’t have a clue where to start!

So I think we just have to let it go.

Why has it become so popular?

This is a question I’ve been asked a lot but, for some reason, I don’t have the perfect answer for it. I think it’s the sum of lots of little things.

Obviously, it’s a very catchy melody. The way the chorus starts “Des-Pa-Ci-To” is very easy to remember. And it’s almost impossible not to move when you hear the track, even if you’re not a dancer. And obviously you add Justin Bieber to that, and it brings another angle to all of this.

But I wish I knew exactly what the secret was, so I could apply it to all my future songs!

What is the strangest place you’ve heard it?

It probably hasn’t been anywhere too strange – but you walk into a restaurant, or you’re at a traffic light and the car next to you is listening to it… It’s just insane! I can’t help but smile.

Just today, I heard a Hebrew version of Despacito. Yesterday, I had some friends who were visiting Croatia and it was playing there. People are sending me all kinds of different versions.

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Getty Images

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Fonsi and Daddy Yankee performed the song at the Billboard Latin Music Awards in April

Maybe you should edit them together – like Pharrell did with Happy.

Yeah, you know what? I’m compiling a bunch of footage and audio from all the different versions that have been done in all the different languages and I want to edit it together. It’s so amazing. It makes me proud that the world’s coming together.

I come from Puerto Rico and I live in Miami. We’re living in an interesting time right now when people want to divide us, they want to build walls, and for a song to bring people and cultures together, I think that’s what makes me proud. Music has that power. It might sound cheesy but I do believe music brings us together.

Did you see that Canadian PM Justin Trudeau put you on his summer playlist?

Oh really, I didn’t know that! That guy has good taste!

How can you ever top something like this?

Oh, you don’t. This is a once-in-a-lifetime thing. I don’t want to be a pessimist about it. I don’t want to be negative about it. But my next song, I can’t approach it thinking, “How do I beat Despacito?”

Do you really expect to win the lottery twice? We just have to be grateful for what we’ve done and go forward.

Luis Fonsi was speaking to BBC Music’s Kev Geoghegan.

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Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-40642701

Chris Evans named as BBC’s best-paid star

Chris Evans and Claudia Winkleman

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Evans and Winkleman are the BBC’s highest paid male and female stars

Chris Evans has topped the list of the BBC’s best-paid stars.

He made between £2.2m and £2.25m in 2016/2017, while Claudia Winkleman is the BBC’s highest-paid female celebrity, earning between £450,000 and £500,000.

About two-thirds of stars earning more than £150,000 are male, compared to one third female.

Director general Tony Hall said there was “more to do” on gender and diversity.

“On gender and diversity, the BBC is more diverse than the broadcasting industry and the Civil Service,” he said.

“We’ve made progress, but we recognise there is more to do and we are pushing further and faster than any other broadcaster.”

The figures in the BBC Annual Report reveal large disparities between what men and women are paid.

There is also disparity between what white stars and those from a black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) background are paid.

George Alagiah, Jason Mohammad and Trevor Nelson are the highest paid BAME stars, each receiving between £250,000 and £300,000.

The highest-paid female star with a BAME background is BBC news presenter Mishal Husain, who received between £200,000 and £250,000.

Media captionTony Hall, BBC director general, says publishing stars’ pay details will be ‘inflationary’

It is the first time the pay details of stars earning more than £150,000 have been made public.

The revelations are required under the BBC’s new Royal Charter and encompass 96 of its top stars.

The annual report contains pay information in bands and does not reveal exact amounts. Nor does it include stars who receive their pay through BBC Worldwide, the corporation’s commercial arm.

The figures quoted only refer to the amount of licence fee money each person receives and do not include their earnings from other broadcasters or commercial activities. It does not include many stars paid through independent production companies.

The list also does not distinguish between people with multiple jobs within the BBC and those with just one.

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Two of the judges on Strictly are in a higher pay bracket than the others

The figures also show disparities in pay for people working on the same show, including the judges on Strictly Come Dancing.

Head judge Len Goodman and Bruno Tonioli are in the £200,000-£250,000 band, while Craig Revel Horwood and Darcey Bussell get between £150,000 and £200,000.

Tess Daly, Winkleman’s Strictly Come Dancing co-host, was paid between £350,000 and £400,000.

The BBC is alone among the UK’s major broadcasters in releasing details of its on-air and on-screen talent.

Talent pay is considerably higher in the commercial sector.

Overall, 25 men on the talent list receive more than £250,000, compared to just nine women.

As he left the BBC earlier after his Radio 2 breakfast show, Chris Evans said it was right “on balance” that star salaries were being disclosed.

“We are the ultimate public company I think, and therefore it’s probably right and proper people know what we get paid,” he told reporters.

Analysis by Amol Rajan, media editor

The revelation that the BBC’s highest-paid on-air stars are Chris Evans and Gary Lineker won’t surprise many licence fee payers – but their salaries might. They won’t enjoy the coming headlines; neither will Alan Yentob, a bete noire of Britain’s press, who is on the list.

Right across the media industry today, executives outside the BBC are thinking about who they might approach with a juicy offer, agents are fielding calls from clients saying “But you told me he was paid X!!!”, and journalists in the commercial sector are thinking “That lucky rascal!”.

These 96 names know they have two bosses: Internal managers at the BBC, and the public. Their interests have clashed over this disclosure. Now the former – BBC executives – will have to manage the fallout, while the latter – licence-fee payers – think hard about value for money.

Casualty star Derek Thompson is the BBC’s highest paid actor, receiving between £350,000 and £400,000 over the last financial year.

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Casualty stars Derek Thompson and Amanda Mealing are the BBC’s best-paid actors

Amanda Mealing, who also stars in Casualty as well as Holby City, is the corporation’s highest paid actress, receiving between £250,000 and £300,000.

Peter Capaldi, the outgoing star of Doctor Who, was paid between £200,000 and £250,000.

The overall spend on talent is put at £193.5m – down on the £200m spent in 2015/2016.

The figures also show a decrease – from 109 to 96 – in the amount of stars paid more than £150,000.

The total spend on stars with salaries of more than £150,000 is also down £5 million on the £31.9 million paid in the previous financial year.

Analysis by David Sillito, media correspondent

The BBC pay details may not give the full story. Graham Norton’s £850,000 pay does not include what he receives from the production company, So TV, that makes his Friday night chat show.

It’s also worth noting the name of Matt LeBlanc does not appear on the list – suggesting he is paid by the BBC’s commercial operation, BBC Worldwide, and not the licence fee.

Stephen Nolan, who is paid more than £400,000, presents five days a week on BBC Ulster. He also appears on BBC 5 Live and does some TV work.

On BBC Breakfast, neither Louise Minchin nor Charlie Stayt appear on the list but Dan Walker is there with earnings of more than £200,000.

However, he also presents Football Focus and was part of the Rio Olympics coverage.

Speaking on the Today programme earlier, Lord Grade – a former BBC One controller – called the government’s insistence that talent pay be disclosed “distasteful and disturbing”.

Media captionEx-BBC chairman Lord Grade describes the corporation’s disclosure of talent pay as “disturbing”

“The net result of this is inflation,” he said. “Talent salaries and wages will round upwards, they won’t go down.”

The annual report shows the BBC continues to reach 95 percent of UK adults every week.

It also shows the iPlayer had its most successful year to date, with an average of 246 million requests each month.

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Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-40653383

Ed Sheeran deletes his Twitter account

Ed Sheeran has deleted his Twitter account.

The singer said earlier this month that he wasn’t going to read anything on the social network anymore – but now he’s gone one step further.

The latest move comes after he had a brief cameo appearance on Game of Thrones, which was seriously mocked by some fans.

He’s also announced that he’s going to appear in an upcoming episode of The Simpsons.


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Ed Sheeran’s been having an on-off relationship with Twitter for a while.

In 2016, before the release of his album ÷ (Divide), the singer “took a break” from social media for a whole year.

He said he was sick of seeing the world “through a screen” and wanted to “travel the world and see everything [he had] missed”.

But this is the first time he’s deleted his account altogether.


The reaction to the singer’s appearance on Game of Thrones was mixed – some people were fans.



Others were just a little bit scathing.



It comes as the singer’s revealed he’s due to play a character called Brendan in a musical-themed episode of The Simpsons.

He’ll be at the centre of a love triangle between Lisa Simpson and Nelson Muntz.


“This year continues to be equally surreal and amazing,” Sheeran posted on Instagram.

“Watch out for this one, me and Lisa have a whole thing going on.”

It will feature in the show’s 29th series, which is broadcast in the US in October.

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Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/newsbeat/articles/40641710

R Kelly denies holding several women in ‘abusive cult’

R. Kelly performs in concert at Barclays Centre on September 25, 2015Image copyright
Getty Images

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R Kelly has been accused of sexual misconduct before but was not found guilty

RB singer R Kelly has denied allegations that he is holding several young women in an “abusive cult”.

The singer’s lawyer said he would work “diligently and forcibly to pursue his accusers and clear his name”.

A BuzzFeed report accuses the singer of brainwashing women, who got closer to him in an effort to boost their musical careers.

One of the women said she was “not being brainwashed”. Kelly denies any wrongdoing.

He has faced previous accusations of sexual misconduct, but was never found guilty.

The report, which quoted three unnamed sets of parents, said they had not seen or spoken with their daughters for months, and that the women, all of them over the age of consent, had their routines controlled by the singer.

That included rules about what they could eat and wear, when to bath and sleep and how to engage in sexual encounters recorded by him, they said.

One of the women, Joycelyn Savage, 21, told the TMZ website she was not in a cult.

In a video posted hours after the allegations emerged, she said: “I’m in a happy place in my life. I’m not being brainwashed or anything like that.” She added that the issue had “definitely got out of hand”.

Kelly ‘alarmed’ by claims

Three former members of Kelly’s inner circle were also interviewed, saying that six women lived in properties managed by the singer in similar conditions.

If they broke the “rules”, they said, the women could be punished physically and verbally by the singer, according to the report.

Some of the parents reported their concerns to the police, but the women said they were not being held against their will.

The singer’s lawyer, Linda Mensch, said in a statement: “Robert Kelly is both alarmed and disturbed at the recent revelations attributed to him. Mr Kelly unequivocally denies such allegations.”

BuzzFeed has said it is standing by its reporting.

In 2008, R Kelly was acquitted of 14 charges of making child pornography after a videotape emerged allegedly showing him having sex with a 14-year-old girl.

Kelly is one of the most successful RB artists of all time, with 40 million records sold worldwide. His best known hits include I Believe I Can Fly and Ignition (Remix).

Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-40639378

Jodie Whittaker and the other sci-fi women breaking the glass ceiling

Jodie Whittaker and Daisy RidleyImage copyright

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Are Jodie Whittaker and Daisy Ridley paving the way?

It looks like Jodie Whittaker was prepared for the criticism that she might get as the first female Doctor.

“I want to tell the fans not to be scared of my gender,” she said. “This is a really exciting time.”

It is an exciting time and not just for Jodie – female leads have been cropping up with increasing regularity on the big and small screens.

And sci-fi and superhero films have been leading the way.

Recently, Wonder Woman was credited for inspiring a new generation of girls, by teaching them they can save the world, too.

And in the Star Wars universe Rey, played by Daisy Ridley, and Jyn Erso, played by Felicity Jones, also proved that male-dominated franchises could be reinvented for the modern day with women taking a leading role.

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Gal Gadot stars in the recent successful Warner film, Wonder Woman

Game of Thrones and The Hunger Games have also portrayed women as strong leaders, rather than being relegated to the sidelines as minor characters.

And A Wrinkle in Time, starring Mindy Kaling as a character called Mrs Who, will be out next year. The 2018 American sci-fi film is directed by Ava DuVernay and written by Jennifer Lee.

The novel it was based on also has a woman behind it – Madeleine L’Engle.

“Casting a woman in a part that’s always traditionally been played by a man is hugely important,” Morgan Jeffery, Digital Spy’s TV editor, tells the BBC regarding Doctor Who.

“This is the age of The Hunger Games; of the Star Wars movies being fronted by a female lead; of Wonder Woman utterly demolishing its box office rivals.

“By casting its first female lead in 2017, Doctor Who gets to be a part of something – something hugely exciting – instead of being left behind.”

New dynamics

Will Howells, who writes for the Doctor Who magazine, feels the decision shouldn’t be considered a big deal.

“Fifty years ago the idea of changing the lead actor in Doctor Who was groundbreaking.

“In 2017 there shouldn’t be anything major about a TV series changing from a male lead to a female one.

“We’ll also maybe see a solo male companion as a regular feature for the first time. I don’t think it’s a risky choice at all but if a show that can go anywhere and do anything can’t take risks, what can? This opens so many potential new dynamics for the shows.”

Empire’s editor-at-large, Helen O’Hara, agrees.

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Saldana says science fiction allows her to “reinvent” herself

“It’s not just that you can do whatever, it’s that you should do whatever. We should not allow our prejudices to colour our imaginations.

“We need more female directors, more female writers. It shouldn’t be enough that we have one white woman in the leading role. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t consider female companions. Bill was great last series, not just a woman of colour but a gay woman. We need representation across the board.”

She believes the decision to choose a female Doctor is seismic.

“Doctor Who is one of the great legacy titles that we have in our culture… so it makes a big statement to have a female Doctor,” she says.

“Leaving aside diversity of casting being a good thing in itself, it’s great because if you tell the same story with someone of a different race or gender, it feels different. It’s an absolute shortcut to making yourself seem more imaginative.

“I’m thrilled about it.”

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Carrie Fisher played Leia in the original Star Wars movies

Hollywood actor Zoe Saldana, who stars in three sci-fi franchises – Avatar, Star Trek and Guardians of the Galaxy – says she’s attracted to the genre because of the freedom it offers.

“It makes me feel superhuman because, obviously, it’s been brought to my attention continuously since I was born that I’m not a conventional person because of the colour of my skin or my gender or my cultural background,” she told the Daily Telegraph in a recent interview.

“So I think science fiction has given me the ability as an artist to be colour-blind, and gender-blind, and to imagine and reinvent myself and be the chameleon actors are supposed to be.”

O’Hara also points out that leading women are selling big at the box office – and film companies aren’t there to address gender equality, they’re there to make a profit.

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Blake Lively is to star in a thriller made by the James Bond producers

“Something like Wonder Woman shows that if you do put the money in and the push behind them, they will absolutely make money. In the US now, 51% of cinema-goers are female.

“Even for supposed male films, the first Guardians of the Galaxy movie, a superhero and a sci-fi film, [the audience] was something like 47% female. We like these films and we want to see ourselves reflected in them.”

But while there has been a lot of positive reaction to the Doctor Who news, for some it is a bridge too far.

It’s bad news for those wanting to turn the clock back, though – or at least stop it going forward – because the genie is well and truly out of the bottle.

While there seems to have been a push for female talent in 2017, the presence of strong women in sci-fi is actually nothing new.

Think Princess Leia in Star Wars, Dana Scully in The X-Files, and of course the groundbreaking Ellen Ripley, played by Sigourney Weaver, in the Alien films.

Not to mention Kate Mulgrew – now starring in Orange is the New Black – as Captain Janeway in the Star Trek: Voyager TV series.

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Could a woman replace Daniel Craig as Bond?

And it’s 20 years – yes, 20 – since Buffy Summers from Buffy the Vampire Slayer was first hailed as a feminist icon.

Long before Doctor Who writers had thought of it, Ron Moore changed the gender of the character Starbuck when he launched the re-boot of Battlestar Galactica in 2003.

The original was played by Dirk Benedict in the 1978 series. Moore cast Katee Sackhoff, who just happened to tweet “Fantastic!” when she heard the Jodie Whittaker news.

And now the decision to cast a woman as Doctor Who has led to some speculation on which other roles could be filled by women.

The producers of the James Bond films have just announced they are to make a “female-driven” thriller starring Gossip Girl’s Blake Lively, so could that mean changes for the Bond franchise itself?

While the Doctor is an alien, so technically has no gender, there are some who are concerned at the prospect of James Bond being a woman – a vacancy that will be going when Daniel Craig leaves the role.

The names being associated with the franchise so far include non-white actors – as well as a handful of women – meaning that change could be on the way for that franchise, too.

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Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-40626596

Living Dead director George A Romero dies at 77

Director George A Romero attends a photocall promoting the film Land of the Dead at the Martinez Poolside during the 58th International Cannes Film Festival May 14, 2005 in Cannes, FranceImage copyright
Getty Images

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George A Romero promoting 2005′s Land of the Dead in Cannes

The American-born filmmaker George A Romero, who created the genre-defining Living Dead movie franchise, has died at the age of 77, his manager has said.

Romero died in his sleep on Sunday with his wife and daughter at his side, after a “brief but aggressive battle” with lung cancer, Chris Roe said.

Romero co-wrote and directed the film that started the zombie series Night of the Living Dead in 1968.

It led to a number of sequels – and a slew of imitators.

Mr Roe said Mr Romero died listening to the score of The Quiet Man, “one of his all-time favourite films”.

At the time of its release, Night of the Living Dead was criticised for being gory but it went on to be a cult classic and shape horror and zombie films for decades.

While it did not use the word zombies, it was the first film to depict cannibalistic reanimated corpses.

Previous films had shown zombies as being living people who had been bewitched through voodoo.

Despite having a budget of just $114,000, the film made $30m at the box office and was followed by five sequels and two remakes.

Mr Romero had a non-starring and uncredited role in the film as a news reporter.

He went on to direct other films including the 1971 romantic comedy There’s Always Vanilla, the 1978 vampire film Martin, and the 1982 Stephen King adaptation Creepshow.

His only work to top the box office success enjoyed by Night of the Living Dead was Dawn of the Dead, released in 1978, which earned more than $40m.

Image copyright
Getty Images

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The Living Dead franchise began in 1968, with the most recent made in 2009

Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-40627029

All the Doctors, from William Hartnell to Jodie Whittaker

Promotional image for The Day of the Doctor

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A promotional image for 2013′s 50th anniversary special, The Day of the Doctor

Doctor Who’s Peter Capaldi has passed on his sonic screwdriver to Jodie Whittaker who becomes the 13th doctor and first woman to take on the role of television’s famous Time Lord.

She follows a distinguished line-up of thespian (male) talent that stretches all the way back to the sci-fi favourite’s first episode in 1963.

William Hartnell was the first actor to play the Doctor, appearing in the BBC show from 1963 to 1966.

Hartnell, who died in 1975, had previously appeared in TV’s The Army Game and Carry On Sergeant, the first Carry On film, in 1958.

When ill health forced Hartnell to relinquish the role, the Doctor regenerated – for the first time – into Patrick Troughton.

Memorably scruffy and eccentric, Troughton spent three years travelling time and space before stepping down in 1969.

When the raffish Jon Pertwee became the third Doctor, he also became the first to be seen on television in colour.

His tenure, which ran from 1970 to 1974, saw the Time Lord exiled to Earth and working with Unit, aka the United Nations Intelligence Taskforce.

Pertwee’s time with the show also saw the first of the popular ensemble stories in which previous Doctors appear alongside the current one.

Broadcast over December 1972 and January 1973, The Three Doctors saw him joined by Patrick Troughton and William Hartnell in what would be the latter’s final acting engagement.

When Pertwee moved on in 1974, Tom Baker moved in – and would become the longest-serving Doctor to date.

Deep-voiced, curly-haired and eternally long of scarf, his seven years in the Tardis earned him legions of fans who were delighted anew in 2013 when he popped up at the end of a 50th anniversary special.

When Baker finally stepped down from the role in 1981, his shoes were filled by the fresh-faced Peter Davison.

The boyish actor spent three years as the Fifth Doctor before taking his leave at the end of the show’s 21st series.

Davison’s tenure coincided with Doctor Who’s 20th anniversary, celebrated by a feature-length special that saw him joined by Jon Pertwee and Patrick Troughton.

The First Doctor also made an appearance, with Richard Hurndall filling in for the late William Hartnell.

Tom Baker opted not to return for The Five Doctors, which covered over his absence by incorporating material from one of the actor’s unbroadcast adventures.

Similar subterfuge was required for this 1983 photo shoot, which saw Hurndall, Davison, Pertwee and Troughton joined by an unconvincing Baker mannequin.

Davison’s departure opened the door for another Baker to take controls of the Doctor’s time-travelling police box in 1984.

Colin Baker (no relation of Tom’s) spent less than three years in the role, with his appearances limited further by an 18-month hiatus in production.

Though Baker had limited time to enjoy the Tardis, he did get the chance to meet one of his predecessors when Patrick Troughton returned – for the third time – in 1985.

The Two Doctors marked Troughton’s final reprise of his signature role. Some years later, his sons David and Michael would both make Doctor Who appearances.

Scottish actor Sylvester McCoy took over from Colin Baker in 1987 and played the Doctor until the show’s axing in 1989.

Michael Grade – the controller of BBC One at the time – was no fan of the programme, which was looking increasingly threadbare and cheap-looking in the face of glossier cinema fare.

Some feel, though, that this period in the show’s evolution has been harshly judged.

An attempt was made to revive Doctor Who in 1996 with a TV film that saw McCoy regenerate into Paul McGann on American soil.

It was hoped the special would spawn a TV series but it never materialised, making McGann’s tenure the shortest of all the Doctors.

In 2005 Doctor Who regenerated into the ambitious, well-financed property it is today. It also introduced a new Doctor in the form of Christopher Eccleston.

To the disappointment of many, the Salford-born actor chose to make only one series of the rebooted show. His departure was confirmed only days after his debut episode was broadcast.

Eccleston’s exit saw David Tennant join the show, with his first full episode – The Christmas Invasion – shown on BBC One on Christmas Day 2005.

Tennant’s amiable style and enthusiasm made him a popular choice for the role, which he finally relinquished on the first day of 2010.

The spate of junior Doctors continued with the casting of Matt Smith, who was just 27 when he made his debut as the Time Lord’s 11th incarnation.

His four years in the role, which coincided with Doctor Who’s 50th anniversary, saw the programme both maintain and bolster its renewed popularity.

Doctor Who’s 50th anniversary in 2013 was marked by The Day of the Doctor, a feature-length special in which Matt Smith’s Time Lord was joined by David Tennant’s version of the character.

The Day of the Doctor also introduced a previously unknown incarnation of the Doctor, known as The War Doctor and played by Sir John Hurt.

Peter Capaldi was no stranger to the Doctor Who universe when he was cast as the Doctor in 2013. A lifelong fan of the show, he appeared in an episode of the programme in 2008 and also had a role in its spin-off Torchwood.

His hawkish features brought a new intensity, and maturity, to the Tardis from the moment his first full episode was broadcast in August 2014.

Capaldi’s most recent adventure saw him briefly joined by the “original” Doctor, played on this occasion by David Bradley.

Bradley will return in this year’s Doctor Who Christmas special.

Bradley’s appearance was a pleasing one for Whovians after his role as William Hartnell in An Adventure in Space and Time, a 2013 dramatisation of the show’s early years.

Jodie Whittaker has been named as the 13th Doctor and the first ever woman to play the role.

She will make her debut on the sci-fi show this Christmas when Capaldi regenerates.

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Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-40585673

Jodie Whittaker: Doctor Who’s 13th Time Lord to be a woman

Media captionSee how Jodie Whittaker was revealed as the next Time Lord

Jodie Whittaker has been announced as Doctor Who’s 13th Time Lord – the first woman to be given the role.

The new Doctor’s identity was revealed in a trailer broadcast at the end of the Wimbledon men’s singles final.

The Broadchurch star succeeds Peter Capaldi, who took over the role in 2013 and leaves in the forthcoming Christmas special.

Whittaker, 35, said it was “overwhelming, as a feminist” to become the next Doctor.

She will make her debut on the sci-fi show when the Doctor regenerates in the Christmas special.

The Huddersfield-born star, who was a late favourite to become the Doctor, will find a familiar face for her on set – Doctor Who’s new showrunner is Broadchurch creator Chris Chibnall.

Whittaker said: “I’m beyond excited to begin this epic journey – with Chris and with every Whovian on this planet.

“It’s more than an honour to play the Doctor. It means remembering everyone I used to be, while stepping forward to embrace everything the Doctor stands for: hope. I can’t wait.”

The actress also shares another Broadchurch link with Doctor Who – co-star David Tennant was the 10th Doctor.


By Lizo Mzimba, BBC entertainment correspondent

It was always unlikely that the Doctor would continue to be white and male, especially as the BBC has committed itself to greater diversity on its programmes.

Casting the first female Doctor is something many viewers have been calling for. And strong female-led stories have been successful on the big and small screen in recent years, in films ranging from The Hunger Games and Star Wars to Wonder Woman, and in TV series like Game of Thrones.

The BBC will be hoping today’s announcement will not just excite viewers, but will also demonstrate that the time travel show has firmly moved into the 21st century.

Whittaker said it felt “incredible” to take on the role, saying: “It feels completely overwhelming, as a feminist, as a woman, as an actor, as a human, as someone who wants to continually push themselves and challenge themselves, and not be boxed in by what you’re told you can and can’t be.”

And she told fans not to be “scared” by her gender.

“Because this is a really exciting time, and Doctor Who represents everything that’s exciting about change,” she said, adding: “The fans have lived through so many changes, and this is only a new, different one, not a fearful one.”

Whittaker said she had used the codename “Clooney” when discussing the part with her husband and agent – as actor George is “an iconic guy”.

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Peter Capaldi will bow out in this year’s Christmas special, featuring David Bradley as the First Doctor

Chibnall said the 13th Doctor was always going to be a woman.

He said: “I always knew I wanted the 13th Doctor to be a woman and we’re thrilled to have secured our number one choice.

“Her audition for the Doctor simply blew us all away. Jodie is an in-demand, funny, inspiring, super-smart force of nature and will bring loads of wit, strength and warmth to the role. The 13th Doctor is on her way.”

Chibnall is taking over from Steven Moffat, who leaves the series at the same time as Capaldi.

Capaldi, who had said he wanted to see a woman replace him, said: “Anyone who has seen Jodie Whittaker’s work will know that she is a wonderful actress of great individuality and charm.

“She has above all the huge heart to play this most special part. She’s going to be a fantastic Doctor.”

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Former companions Billie Piper and Karen Gillan had called for a female Time Lord, while Doctor Who and Sherlock writer Mark Gatiss said it was the perfect time for a woman to take the lead role.

After the announcement, Piper tweeted the word: “YES” with a red rose emoji, while fellow former companion Freema Agyeman tweeted: “Change isn’t a dirty word!!!!”

‘It’s about time’

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Getty Images

Dedicated Whovians were quick to react to the news of Jodie Whittaker taking over the Tardis.

On social media, some said it would encourage them to watch the show for the first time – but others said the casting meant they would be switching off, and that the Doctor should be played by a man.

Carla Joanna tweeted to say that she would be tuning in and that the trailer “made me choke up a little”. Another tweeter, Ayad, said: “I don’t even watch Doctor Who but a woman doctor is so cool.”

But Samantha Melton said: “I am a woman and a feminist but I don’t want a female Doctor. To me it’s trying too hard to tick the boxes.”

Doctor Who writer Jenny Colgan, who has written for the series’ books and audio dramas, said: “I am of course incredibly excited the new Doctor is a woman; Steven Moffat has been paving the way for this for ages and it is absolutely about time.

“I can’t imagine what it’s like for Jodie: she must be so scared and excited all at once, but I couldn’t be happier, and 100% can’t wait to write for her.”

Will Howells, who writes for the Doctor Who magazine and has been a fan for 25 years, said: “In 2017, there shouldn’t be anything major about a TV series changing from a male lead to a female one. We’ll also maybe see a solo male companion as a regular feature for the first time.

“I don’t think it’s a risky choice at all – but if a show that can go anywhere and do anything can’t take risks, what can?”

Science fiction and fantasy author Paul Cornell said: “It’s always been time for a woman Doctor and it’s great we got there.

“Well done to Steven Moffat for laying the groundwork. She’s going to be amazing. And that first episode of hers is going to get a lot of new people watching.”

Actress Olivia Colman, who starred in a Doctor Who episode and was one of the possible candidates for the role, said it was a “classy decision”.

“The creatives made the right decision that the part should be a woman and it’s about time,” she told BBC News. She added that those unhappy about Whittaker being the new Time Lord should “leave her alone and let her do her job brilliantly”.

Whittaker starred as Beth Latimer in the three series of the ITV crime drama Broadchurch, as the mother of a murdered boy.

As well as TV work, Whittaker has appeared on the big screen, in One Day, Attack the Block and St Trinian’s. She made her film debut in 2006′s Venus, opposite Peter O’Toole.

Traditionally, each Doctor has their own distinctive look, raising questions about the cloak Whittaker wears in the trailer. However, she has said it is not part of her official Doctor Who outfit, and that she does not yet know what she will wear.

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Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-40624288

EU anthem played at Proms’ first night

Igor Levit

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Igor Levit has been critical of Britain’s decision to leave the EU

Pianist Igor Levit surprised audiences at the first night of the BBC Proms by improvising a version of the EU Anthem.

The 30-year-old played Beethoven’s Ode To Joy as an unscripted encore, wearing an EU flag on his lapel pin.

Although he gave no explanation for the choice, Levit is a fierce advocate of the EU, which he has described as “a project of unity and peace”.

He has also challenged European politicians to stand up to the “angry, dangerous” rhetoric of President Trump.

After coming off stage at the Royal Albert Hall, the musician tweeted: “Hey guys, I’ve been away for an hour and a half. Is @realDonaldTrump still President?”

Media captionIgor Levit performs Bach’s Nun Komm der Heiden Heiland on BBC Radio 3′s In Tune

The BBC said it had been aware of his intention to play Ode To Joy in advance but saw it “an artistic choice”.

Levit based his initial phrases on Liszt’s transcription then segued into his own, lyrical improvisations.

The pianist has been called “the future of piano” and the “player of the century”. He was born in Russia in 1987, but moved to Germany at the age of eight.

At that age, he had already been playing for five years. His first recording (of Beethoven’s late sonatas, usually tackled much later in a pianist’s career) brought him widespread acclaim; and he won the 2014 newcomer categories in both the BBC Music Magazine and Royal Philharmonic Society awards.

Having adopted Germany as his home, he describes himself as “a grateful, happy, respectful, political, curious and responsible European”.

When Britain voted to leave the union last June, he posted an image of the EU flag, missing one star, accompanied by a sad face emoji.

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Levit received a rapturous reception for his performances, backed by the Symphony Orchestra

Levit’s billed performance, of Beethoven’s third piano concerto, occupied most of the first half of the Proms’ opening night.

Tackling one of the composer’s most soulful pieces, he played with nuanced intimacy, and seemed visibly moved towards the climax.

Earlier, the 123rd Proms season had opened with the world premiere of St John’s Dance, by 29-year-old British composer Tom Coult.

The five-minute piece was inspired by a bizarre social phenomenon from medieval Europe, known as dancing mania.

According to Proms presenter Katie Derham, it would find “groups of peasants” dancing “in a trance-like state for days or even weeks on end, often until they collapsed”.

Appropriately, then, Coult’s composition was a discordant and often frantic cacophony of competing phrases. Or, in his own words: “A relentless series of dances, often spiralling out of control, often with two or more heard simultaneously.”

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The Proms Youth Choir aims to let amateur and professional singers perform at the highest level with professional symphony orchestras

After the interval, the first night audience were treated to a choir of more than 400 people performing John Adams’ Harmonium.

The mass chorus included the BBC Symphony Chorus and the BBC Proms Youth Choir. Many of the latter were newcomers to classical music – including a beatboxer and a death metal vocalist.

Their shimmering, mesmeric performance was conducted by Edward Gardner, who paid tribute to the choristers, saying: “I’m completely moved by the commitment of people who have been learning this piece for six months and haven’t sung in any kind of organised choir before”.

Image copyright
BBC / Chris Christodoulou

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The chorus stretched up to the rafters of the Royal Albert Hall

Based on poetry by John Donne and Emily Dickinson, Harmonium is a complex work featuring hundreds of “human voices riding upon waves of rippling sound,” in Adams’ own words.

It is perceived as a work of minimalism, but Gardner challenged that view.

“When we speak about minimalism, we think about something quite clinical, quite mathematical,” he said, introducing the piece on BBC Two.

“Although this piece has some of those elements – it has a very strong pulse, sometimes it has the chorus singing individual notes with one syllable – this piece rises emotionally way above anything I consider to be minimalist.

“It’s much more of a romantic piece. It’s about everything we deal with through life and towards death.”

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BBC/Chris Christodoulou

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Edward Gardner took the helm for the high-profile First Night

John Adams’ music will feature throughout the 2017 Proms season, in honour of the US composer’s 70th birthday. An excerpt of his new opera, Girls of the Golden West, will be played at the Last Night, on 9 September.

Overall, the season incorporates more than 90 shows, including performances in Hull and a tribute to cult musician Scott Walker.

Stars including Nicola Benedetti, Jarvis Cocker, Beatrice Rana, Daniel Barenboim, Jools Holland and Tom Jones all appear on the line-up.

All of this year’s concerts will be broadcast on BBC Radio 3, and more than 20 will be filmed for television or the iPlayer. The BBC is also experimenting with lossless audio – by streaming the season in CD quality via the BBC Proms website.

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Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-40616020

Rapper ScHoolboy Q rants at United Airlines as dog misplaced

ScHoolboy Q

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ScHoolboy Q: “I plan on suing”

US rapper ScHoolboy Q has unleashed a tirade at United Airlines after he went to retrieve his dog from a flight and found it was the wrong one.

“You guys r idiots… HOW U PUT MY DOG ON THE WRONG FLIGHT???? I need answers”, he tweeted.

ScHoolboy Q was travelling with his French bulldog puppy, Yeerndamean, from Missouri to Burbank, California.

But the dog was switched during a stopover in Denver and flown to Chicago instead.

ScHoolboy Q, 30, whose non-stage name is Quincy Matthew Hanley, found out about the mishap on Friday.

In a text message to CNN on Saturday, the rapper said: “My little dog been moving around since the A.M.

“I plan on suing,” he added.

CNN quoted United Airlines on Saturday as saying: “We’re working as quickly as possible to reunite the pet with their owner later this evening.

“We have reached out to our customer and sincerely apologise for this mistake and are providing a refund. Pets are part of our customers’ family, and their safety and wellbeing is of the upmost importance to us.”

Pets are clearly important to the artist. One of ScHoolboy Q’s lyrics in the song Take the Pain Away reads: “Only thing I got is my girl and my dogs.”

United has had an awkward PR year so far.

In April, videos showing a man being violently removed from a flight because of overbooking provoked an outcry on social media.

Later that month, a giant bunny died on one of its flights.

Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-40620717