Comic-Con day 3 recap: Black Panther, Westworld, Stranger Things and more

A round-up of the film and TV events that made headlines on the second day of Comic-Con 2017.

Warner Bros presents Blade Runner 2049, Justice League and Ready Player One

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Jared Leto showed up – via hologram and in shocking pink trousers – to introduce the Blade Runner sequel session.

Ryan Gosling, Harrison Ford and director Denis Villeneuve were in attendance to show off new footage and talk about making the movie.

Ford even addressed the long-held debate as to whether his character, Rick Deckard, is human or a replicant.

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Gal Gagot/Instagram

The cast of Justice League were next in Hall H to unveil a new four-minute trailer of the superhero film which sees Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, The Flash and Cyborg team up.

Aquaman’s Jason Momoa was so excited by the clip, he ran around and smashed his chair.

The team also announced a sequel to Wonder Woman, a standalone Batgirl film and a new Green Lantern movie.

Meanwhile, Ben Affleck addressed those recent rumours he was quitting as the caped crusader.

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Steven Spielberg also presented the first trailer for his ambitious next film, Ready Player One.

The futuristic sci-fi thriller is based on Ernest Cline’s novel about a 1980s-obsessed teenager, who spends all his time logged into a virtual reality game.

Set in the 2040s, the trailer is packed full of special effects and ’80s pop culture references – with cameo appearances from Batman, the Iron Giant, Freddy Krueger and even the DeLorean from Back to the Future.

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Warner Bros

Stranger Things season 2 trailer debuts

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Get ready to go back to the Upside Down.

The early anticipated trailer for the second series of Netflix’s Stranger Things was screened and put online shortly after.

Accompanied to the tune of Michael Jackson’s Thriller, we were given glimpses of a new terrifying monster, lots of ’80s nostalgia and Eleven making a welcome return.

The highlight of the panel was Shannon Purser – who played Barb in the first series – ask from the audience if her character would be making an appearance in season two. Unfortunately the answer was no.

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Charlize Theron is celebrated for being a kick-ass woman

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The Oscar winner was the subject of Entertainment Weekly’s Women Who Kick Ass panel, where the star also spoke about her forthcoming action film Atomic Blonde, where she plays a ruthless MI6 spy.

Theron developed the film herself, after deciding to pursue a part she wanted: “I wanted something very specific… I was about to turn 40 so I decided to take matters in my own hands and actively go after something.”

Praising films like Wonder Woman, she also asked fans to watch and help support female-led films to convince Hollywood bosses they’re worth making.

“We’re just as good as the guys – plus we have boobs!” she joked.

Westworld offers glimpse of season 2

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After the shocking conclusion of the first series of Westworld, fans were eager to see what was next in store for Dolores, Maeve, Bernard and the Man in Black.

It’s not back on screens until next year, but a teaser was played showing the beginning of the robot uprising – with typically bloody action.

The cast talked about their experiences making the first series, including James Marsden talking about filming with 40 nude extras and Evan Rachel Wood trying to figure out the mysteries of the show when the creators wouldn’t reveal it to them.

A highlight was Ed Harris revealing he’s a Game of Thrones fan: “I don’t know everything that’s going on in that thing, but I enjoy watching it.”

So true.

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Star Trek: Discovery cast reveal series details

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More details about the new Star Trek TV series Discovery were revealed by the cast, along with the first full trailer.

Former Walking Dead star Sonequa Martin-Green confirmed her character was raised on Vulcan as the adopted daughter of Spock’s dad, Sarek.

Anthony Rapp announced he would be playing the first openly gay character in a Star Trek series, with his love interest played by My So-Called Life star Wilson Cruz.

And the Klingons will be speaking in Klingon with English subtitles for most the series. Qapla’! (that’s Klingon for “success”…).

Marvel sends fans into meltdown

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The cast of Thor: Ragnarok

Hall H rounded off the day with a 90-minute mega Marvel presentation.

There was a surprise announcement that Michelle Pfeiffer was joining Ant-Man and The Wasp as original Wasp Janet Van Dyne.

There were also revelations about Brie Larson’s Captain Marvel, a new trailer for Thor: Ragnarok and footage from Black Panther.

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Twitter/Lupita Nyong’o

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The cast of Black Panther pose for a selfie

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Glastonbury gap year to be filled by new BBC Music festival

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The Biggest Weekend will run from 25-28 May

With Glastonbury taking a year off in 2018, there’s already one new festival hoping to fill the mud-and-music gap.

The BBC has announced plans to host The Biggest Weekend while Glasto has its traditional fallow year.

The four-day festival will take place in May across four sites in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

The last time Glastonbury had a year off, in 2012, BBC Radio 1 brought its Big Weekend festival to Hackney.

It coincided with the London Olympics, which took place in the capital a few weeks after the festival.

The Biggest Weekend is scheduled for the late May bank holiday weekend (25-28 May) – earlier than when Glastonbury normally is.

More than 175,000 tickets will be made available, which is more than the number sold for Glasto, but this one is across four locations.

The BBC said it will bring “the biggest artists in the world” to the event – but headliners won’t be announced for some time yet.

Those who don’t fancy the mud and rain will be able to watch and listen to the coverage on various BBC outlets.

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More than 175,000 tickets will be made available for the event

Radio 1, Radio 2, Radio 3 and 6 Music will all broadcast live sets from the weekend, while BBC Two and BBC Four will lead the TV coverage.

Don’t worry if you’re away that weekend – because all the sets will also be available on BBC iPlayer.

Bob Shennan, director of BBC radio and music, said the corporation “has a strong history of bringing the nation together for some special moments, and this is the biggest single music event ever attempted by the BBC”.

“We will be celebrating the diversity of music from four different corners of the country, bringing the best UK music to the world and the best global music to the UK.”

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Katy Perry headlined BBC Radio 1′s Big Weekend in Hull this year

The festival will be for one year only and there are no plans for it to become an annual event.

Glastonbury takes a break every five to six years to prevent excessive damage to the site.

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First look at Peter Capaldi’s final Doctor Who

Media captionThe Christmas episode is called Twice Upon A Time and features the return of Pearl Mackie as Bill Potts.

Details of Peter Capaldi’s final outing in Doctor Who have been revealed as the first trailer for the Christmas special was released online.

The one-minute clip for the episode, titled Twice Upon A Time, sees Capaldi and the First Doctor team up.

It features the return of Pearl Mackie as Bill Potts, who had seemingly left the show at the end of series 10.

The clip also showed a guest appearance from Mark Gatiss, who plays a World War One soldier called The Captain.

The release of the trailer coincided with the cast appearing at Comic-Con in San Diego on Sunday, where they talked about the upcoming episode, the last series and looked back at Capaldi’s time on the sci-fi drama.

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Gatiss described the Christmas special as being “a Christmas episode without being overtly Christmassy – it’s very happy-sad”.

He added: “[It's] a fantastic episode and we had a great time doing it. It was a lovely way out.”

It will be the third time the Sherlock actor and writer has appeared on Doctor Who, after previously starring in episodes in series three and six.

Mackie also confirmed the festive episode will be her last appearance on the show.

Analysis – Lizo Mzimba, Entertainment correspondent

Twice Upon a Time is the final episode for Peter Capaldi’s Twelfth Doctor and for outgoing showrunner Steven Moffat. Both have been huge Doctor Who fans for most of their lives, and their final story is clearly a love letter to a show that means a huge amount to both.

This first trailer begins with original footage of the First Doctor, William Hartnell, from 1966′s The Tenth Planet (episode two if you’re interested), which then mixes through to David Bradley who plays him in this story.

But it also shows a glimpse of a scene with the First Doctor and his assistant Polly from episode four – Hartnell’s final episode before Patrick Troughton took over. Sadly that episode is one of the dozens that are still missing from the BBC archives.

The minute-long teaser also makes clear that this Christmas story won’t just be accessible to long term fans. Bill will be back, after she was last seen heading off to travel the universe with student-turned-space and time traveller Heather.

The trailer also shows actor and writer Mark Gatiss making another Doctor Who appearance. In 2007 he played Professor Lazarus, and he also briefly popped up playing a different character in 2011.

Comic-Con fans were shown a three-minute goodbye video for Capaldi, thanking him for his time on the show, which led to a standing ovation.

The actor praised writer and executive producer Steven Moffat, saying: “Every shot you saw there came through his gentleman’s mind. The message of the show comes from his heart.”

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Whittaker was announced in a trailer on BBC One after the Wimbledon men’s final

The team also addressed the casting of Jodie Whittaker as the Thirteenth Doctor and first female to take on the role.

Capaldi called it “a great choice”, adding: “I think Jodie’s going to be amazing and she’s so full of excitement and full of passion about the show.

It’s really thrilling to know it’s in the hands of somebody who cares for it so deeply and is going to do exciting things with it.”

Meanwhile, Moffat criticised the “imaginary backlash” in the media on the issue.

“There’s so many press articles about a backlash among Doctor Who fandom against the casting of a female Doctor. There has been no backlash at all,” he said.

“[Jodie has] an 80% approval rating on social media. I wish every single journalist who is writing the alternative would shut the hell up – it’s not true.”

The outgoing writer and executive producer also cleared up the issue of whether the character’s name is Doctor Who or the Doctor.

“There isn’t any doubt about it, I’m sorry,” Moffat said. “It was established in The War Machines (episode) that his name is Doctor Who.”

He provided evidence to back up his point, including signing letters “Doctor W” and the third Doctor having a “Who” licence plate.

“He doesn’t often call himself Doctor Who because it’s a bloody stupid name,” Moffat added.

On Saturday, Capaldi told Empire he was both sad to be leaving the series and excited for its future.

“[The Christmas special] is a wonderful episode and I couldn’t have wanted for any more.

“It’s an emotional and moving end to my time as Doctor Who.”

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Marian Hill: ‘An Apple advert kick-started our career’

Marian HillImage copyright
Republic Records

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Marian Hill wrote their breakout song, Down, in the space of one night

It’s an ordinary day in Advert-ville, USA.

As the black-and-white sun rises over a black-and-white street, authentic-looking extras with a variety of contemporary hairstyles walk past a dilapidated warehouse.

A shoeshine boy flicks open his newspaper, passing time until a customer arrives. None ever will, because shoeshine boys only exist in the movies.

Perched on an upturned milk crate is a tall and slender young man. Let’s call him Lil Buck, because that is his name. Bored, he puts in his earphones and fires up a song.

Suddenly, the music brings him to life. He springs off the crate and contorts his body to an irresistible beat, defying gravity as he dances on walls and shop-fronts.

That’s how Apple chose to promote their new wireless headphones earlier this year – and the song selected for the soundtrack was Marian Hill’s Down.

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The “Stroll” commercial has been watched more than 12m times

A sparsely atmospheric track, it pits Samantha Gongol’s husky voice against a simple piano figure before crashing into a staccato beat in the chorus.

Apple’s advertising agency, Media Arts Lab, stressed the importance of finding “an unknown band” for their commercial.

“People get excited when they discover a new band,” music supervisor Peymon Maskan told Music Week earlier this year.

“They pull out their phone to Shazam the track and they tell their friends. That’s a music fan’s experience when discovering an ad like this.”

Within days of the advert airing, the song had racked up 12 million views on YouTube and Down became the most searched-for song in America – ahead of Ed Sheeran and Bruno Mars.

Nielsen Soundscan, which compiles the charts, said sales of the song jumped from “negligible” (not worth reporting) to 101,000 in the space of a week. In the UK, it was streamed more than 3 million times.

“That commercial was the catalyst for a lot of things,” says keyboardist and producer Jeremy Lloyd.

“It put us in so many people’s living rooms – and to have them instantly love the song felt so validating for all the work we had done.”

As they take a break from making their second album, the duo tell the BBC how they got together and found their sound.

How did the band get together?

Samantha: Jeremy and I have been friends since we were about 12 or 13. We got the name Marian Hill from a production of The Music Man that we were in together in eighth grade. He played Harold Hill, I played Marian Paroo and we combined our character names.

We stayed friends throughout high school and college, until Jeremy showed me a beat and asked if I wanted to write with him. That song was called Whisky, and the rest is history.

Right out of the gate you had a unique, minimalistic sound. How did it come about?

Jeremy: We really stumbled into it. At the time we’d written a couple of other things together that were all over the map musically. Then I was playing Sam a couple of different beats and I had one that had this hip-hop feel to it – and that was the Whisky beat. Neither of us had ever made anything like it before.

I was able to recognise how much better it was – and so, for me, the goal became, how do you carry this forward?

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“Jeremy and I can be honest without hurting each other’s feelings,” says Samantha

And what was the answer?

Jeremy: At that point, it still wasn’t that serious, necessarily. It was just a thing we’d made. And when I was about to graduate college, I decided I wanted to give it a real try, so I emailed, like, 50 blogs and thankfully people picked up on the song and liked it. From then on it’s been this slow, steady stream of people wanting to hear more.

Samantha, your vocals are very jazzy. Who were your influences?

Samantha: I grew up loving the diva vocalists – Whitney Houston, Lauryn Hill, Ella Fitzgerald, Etta James. I was a huge Norah Jones fan too. That was a huge watershed moment for me, in terms of discovering a contemporary vocalist that I connected with.

Jeremy: So often in songs, there’s no room for the vocal to sit – the voice is just pasted on top, so the whole mix is throbbing at the seams. With our stuff I try to make sure the vocal has space, and you can hear all the textures and nuances that would otherwise get lost.

Before Marian Hill, Samantha did some work as a “top liner”, writing melodies for big pop singers. What was that like?

Samantha: Writing sessions are kind of like blind dating: You’re just thrown into a room together and you hope you get along and make something incredible.

How did you go about writing Down?

Samantha: We were just messing around in the studio and I think the piano line came first, Jeremy?

Jeremy: Yeah, it was the first thing we’d written on a piano. I was goofing around and I stumbled on that piano line. It wasn’t like, “OK, we’re writing a song now.” I wasn’t quite sure about it. But I asked Sam, “Do you think we could do something with this?” and she figured out a melody.

Looking back on it, it was such a simple process. I’m pretty sure it was all one night.

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Republic Records

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The duo released their debut EP in 2013

The song’s about going to a party against your better judgment, is that right?

Samantha: We just wanted to have fun with it. There are so many party songs about getting on the dancefloor and throwing your hands in the air (like you just don’t care).

We thought it could be cool to write it from the perspective of Marian Hill, and what it would sound like if we did a song like that. “I’m not sure I want to go, but do you?” And then the crash of the chorus was the party itself.

The Apple commercial really fitted the song. How much input did you have?

Jeremy: We probably would have had a veto if we’d hated it, but it very much was on them. They put it together and we were just like, “Wow, this is perfect.”

What effect did it have?

Jeremy: It was amazing because our album [Act One] had been out for a minute and our fans were loving it, but it hadn’t really broken out to a larger audience. Having this spotlight, it put us in so many people’s living rooms, and to have them instantly love the song felt so validating for all the work we had done. It was a great way to finish off the album campaign.

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Republic Records

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The band will be playing in the UK later this year

So what comes next?

Jeremy: We’ve been writing a lot over the last two months, together in New York and at home in Philadelphia. It’s an exciting point to be at, coming off the success of Down, so we’re really excited to get these songs out to our new fans.

What changes are you making compared to the first album?

Jeremy: It’s the same aesthetic, only it’s a little more brash. But we’re right in the middle of it and that direction could change.

And when do we get so hear it?

Jeremy: It will be within a six-month window. We have a deadline in mind.

Samantha: Probably in the fall.

Marian Hill’s Act One (The Complete Collection) is out now. They play a headline gig at London’s Scala on 9 October.

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Blade Runner 2049: Harrison Ford responds to Deckard replicant mystery

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It’s one of the most debated theories in sci-fi – is Harrison Ford’s character in Blade Runner human or an artificially created replicant?

The answer was left as a mystery in the theatrical release of Ridley Scott’s 1982 film – with even Scott and Ford arguing about it – and with a sequel due to be released in October, fans are hoping the issue will finally be resolved.

Ford and fellow cast members including Ryan Gosling introduced a second trailer and new clips from the movie at Comic-Con on Saturday, which connect the sequel to the original film.

Moderator Chris Hardwicke couldn’t help but ask Ford if Blade Runner 2049 would address the lingering questions about Deckard’s identity – human or replicant?

After a long pause, the star responded: “It doesn’t matter what I think.”

So that clears that up then.

However he did say he returned for the sequel because: “We had a really good script based on a really good idea. It deepened the understanding of my character… It had great depth.”

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Warner Bros

Set 30 years after the events of the first film, the sequel sees Gosling play Blade Runner Officer K, who discovers a dark secret which leads him on a quest to find Rick Deckard.

The Comic-Con panel was introduced by a hologram of Jared Leto, who stars as the villain in the movie but wasn’t able to be in San Diego in person.

Gosling admitted making a Blade Runner sequel was surreal and it still hadn’t quite sunk in yet that he was making it.

“I just remember when I was a kid it was one of the first films that I’d seen where it wasn’t clear how I was supposed to feel when it was over,” he said. “There’s a moral ambiguity to it that’s quite a haunting experience.”

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A hologram of Jared Leto wearing shocking pink trousers introduced the panel

Director Denis Villeneuve said he took on the job because he “didn’t want anyone else to [muck] it up”, as the original film was his inspiration to become a film-maker.

However he thanked Ridley Scott for leaving him to get on with making the film he wanted.

The final fan question in the QA was put to Harrison Ford – was it his goal to reboot every single one of his franchises, having turned his hand to Indiana Jones, Star Wars and now Blade Runner?

“You bet your ass it is!” he replied.

We can only hope for a Working Girl sequel next.

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Marvel: Everything it unleashed at Comic-Con

Chris Hemsworth, Tom Hiddleston, Mark Ruffalo and Cate BlanchettImage copyright
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The Marvel panel at Comic-Con is traditionally one of the biggest events of the convention and this year was no exception.

Despite a lot of news coming out of Disney’s D23 last week, the studio still saved someof the big guns for San Diego.

Fans were sent into meltdown as they were bombarded with announcements and sneak peeks during the 90-minute session, as stars across the Marvel universe attended to support their films.

Here’s everything that was revealed.

Michelle Pfeiffer will play Wasp in Ant-Man and The Wasp

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  • The former Catwoman will join Paul Rudd and play Janet Van Dyne – the original Wasp and first wife of original Ant-Man Dr Henry Pym – played by Michael Douglas – and mother to Hope Pym, the new Wasp, played by Evangeline Lily. Marvel boss Kevin Feige said: “She was our dream choice.”
  • Laurence Fishburne also joins the cast as scientist Bill Foster, who worked alongside Pym and became superhero Giant-Man.
  • Relatively obscure Marvel villain The Ghost will also appear.

Captain Marvel will be set in the 1990s, before Iron Man

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Fans tweeted the concept art for Captain Marvel and the Skrulls shown in Hall H

  • Brie Larson’s film – the first Marvel movie to be focused around a female lead – will be set before Iron Man in the Marvel timeline.
  • Samuel L Jackson will reprise his role as Nick Fury and will have two eyes as it takes place before he loses one and adopts his famous eye patch.
  • The villains in the film will be The Skrull – green alien shape-shifters.

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Thor: Ragnarok

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  • Hulk is going to talk in actual sentences! Mark Ruffalo explained Bruce Banner has been the Hulk for two years after the green giant refuses to turn back.
  • Cate Blanchett, who plays villain Hela, revealed she had been “happily dragged” into the Marvel universe “because of my kids”.
  • Jeff Goldblum confirmed his character, the Grandmaster, is the brother of Benicio del Toro’s Marvel universe character universe The Collector, as seen in Guardians of the Galaxy and Thor: The Dark World.
  • A new trailer was unveiled giving a closer look at Hela, the first look at Bruce Banner, lots of explosions and featuring some of the more comedy moments from the film.

Black Panther

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  • A new poster for Marvel’s first black superhero to be brought to the big screen was unveiled.
  • New footage was also played, showing a fierce battle in a casino, receiving a standing ovation.
  • Director Ryan Coolger revealed the origin of his love for the hero: “I wanted to find a comic book character who looks like me. The shop owner gave me Black Panther.”

Avengers Infinity War

After fans at D23 were given the chance to see the first footage from the highly anticipated film which sees every Marvel superhero unite on screen, 6,000 Comic-Con fans were given the same luxury.

Unfortunately Marvel are still keeping it a closely guarded secret so it hasn’t been put online anywhere yet – much to the annoyance of fans not in San Diego. But the reaction from the crowd suggests something close to Beatlemania.

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It’s likely we’ll have to wait until November when Thor: Ragnarok is released before the rest of the world will see it.

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Louis Tomlinson: Arctic Monkeys inspired my lyrics

Louis TomlinsonImage copyright
Sony Music

Emerging from a boyband is a tricky business but, so far at least, the One Direction team has made a pretty good fist of it.

Zayn Malik has carved a niche in pervy electropop; Harry Styles is prog rock’s new hope; Liam Payne’s plumped for aspirational RB and lovely Niall Horan is doing lovely pop ballads.

So where does that leave Louis Tomlinson?

He was always the underappreciated one – a quiet, benign presence in the world’s biggest band.

Speaking to The Observer last month, the 25-year-old acknowledged he was seen by some as “forgettable, to a certain degree“.

What he contributed, though, was songwriting – receiving credits on more One Direction songs than any of his bandmates.

Appropriately for a former singer in a Green Day tribute act, he was the one who pushed the idea that a pop band could have guitar riffs.

He might not have been directly responsible for sampling The Who’s Baba O’Reilly in Best Song Ever, but it certainly fitted his vision for the band.

“Little things like that were really important to me,” he tells the BBC. “It was amazing that we were able to combine the two – absolute pop with guitar music.”

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One Direction sold more than 20 million albums worldwide

When One Direction went on hiatus in 2015, Tomlinson admits he went a bit wild – making up for the teenage party years he lost to fame.

“It wasn’t really me but I embraced it at the time,” he says, looking back.

The star dipped his toes back into the pop world last December, appearing as a guest vocalist on Steve Aoki’s single, Just Hold On.

But just as it was released, Tomlinson’s mother died. Johannah Deakin, who had been diagnosed with leukaemia at the start of 2016, was only 43 years old.

They had been unusually close – she was the first person he told when he lost his virginity – and her death hit him particularly hard.

Nonetheless, Tomlinson went ahead with a planned X Factor performance of Just Hold On that week (partly at her request), finding solace in people’s reaction.

“I don’t like to talk about it much, but I will say I’ve never had anything like it in my life,” he says.

“It felt like the support went deeper than the fans – like people across the nation had my back. That was really nice. My mum would have loved that, definitely.”

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Louis Tomlinson with his mother Johannah at the Natural History Museum in 2015

Since that performance, Tomlinson has been hard at work in the studio and, on Friday, releases his first solo single Back To You.

A duet with US pop singer Bebe Rexha, it’s a brooding pop concoction about returning to a relationship that “stresses me out”.

The 25-year-old told the BBC how the song came about, what it felt like to leave One Direction, and how the Arctic Monkeys’ lyrics influenced his debut album.

We’re speaking 12 hours before your single comes out. How do you feel?

I’m nervous – but less than I was three weeks ago. I’ve got a lot of good feedback from people at the record label and radio stations – but all that does really is ramp up the pressure because you’re hoping what they say is true.

And now you’ll find out whether they were lying all along.

I will finally know. Exactly!

I was curious to find out why your first solo single starts with Bebe Rexha, singing the entire first verse.

We recorded a version where I sang first – but you’ve got to do what’s best by the song.

With the emotion she gives it, and the way she opens up the song, it always had to be her, really.

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The video for Back To You was shot at Doncaster Rovers Football Club – where he has played on a non-contract basis

The lyrics are pretty gritty. Do you think that might surprise people?

My whole mission with this album is to not write these Hollywood-esque songs that talk about some unfathomable crazy love story. I’m so bored of that.

Because I’m from up north, I grew up loving the likes of the Arctic Monkeys and Oasis. And the way they tell stories is such an effortless thing. It’s real, it’s honest and it’s to the point, you know?

Now, any of the Arctic Monkeys would be devastated to hear me talking like this, but there is a way of incorporating that conversational honesty into pop.

So what have you been writing about on the album?

There’s one song I’m really attached to called Just Like You, which is all about this view of celebrities that we’re impenetrable and almost not human, but fundamentally we all have the same problems.

Heartbreak feels the same, loss feels the same, all these feelings are the same for all of us. Mine just look a load different to, maybe, Tom who works in the chippy from nine to five.

I noticed that all the artwork was shot in Doncaster.

Well, we did the video for Back To You in Doncaster, which was amazing. I mean, I’m just the biggest advocate of Doncaster in the world, I’d say.

OK then, sell Doncaster to me in two lines…

If you’re not from there it’s difficult to explain – but if you wanted to completely embrace a fully fun working class night out, then you go to Doncaster.

What did Bebe Rexha make of the city?

She was great. She thought it was cool. I did hear her team ask for sushi at lunch, which struck me as naive in Doncaster.

Did you not take her for a curry chip?

I didn’t but I really should have! There’s a great chippy round the corner from where we filmed, as well.

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The star is reportedly worth £40m

Your last performance with One Direction was on the X Factor in 2015. Did you wake up the next morning thinking: “I’m free!”?

Oh no – it was a very emotional time. It was a really weird feeling, because [the break] is by no means definitive, so it leaves you in a place where you’re like, “OK, what comes next?”

What did you get offered? Film work, modelling contracts, presenting?

I’m not very good at fashion but there were a few TV opportunities. But unless you are someone like Harry – who is immensely talented in so many different areas – I think it’s really important to stay in your lane and do what you do well.

Having said that, the idea of acting sounds quite exciting to me. The idea of playing the ultimate rough chavvy – it’s like me being everyone I always wanted to be in Doncaster!

But I’d rather get the music 100% right, rather than 90% right while trying to dip my toe in something else.

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The singer says he wants to make fans more appreciative of lyrics

What are your plans for the album?

Ideally it’s coming at the end of this year, but I don’t want to put myself under too many time constraints and end up in a position where I have to put two fillers on it.

How many songs have you written altogether?

I’d say about 50. It’s a lot of work.

Have you got them all on a phone somewhere?

Yeah! There’s a couple of songs that me and my girlfriend [fashion blogger Eleanor Calder] really like that’ll never be used for anything, so they’re kind of just for us. That’s really nice.

Are they ones you’ve written for her?

A lot of the album’s about her, really. I wanted to make the album feel chronological, because that’s how I wrote it.

You can hear my journey as an individual over these three years – leaving the band, then going out on to the really crazy party scene, and then I’ve kind of ended up full circle back with Eleanor, who I love dearly.

Not many people put that much thought into an album these days. It’s usually just a collection of potential singles.

Then a lot of people are missing a point.

Like I said to my best mate, Olly, I want there to be songs on the album that I could play to your mum, and she could listen to it and take something away from it. Maybe she doesn’t love the song, but lyrically she’ll understand something about me.

This is something that – for me, anyway – it doesn’t feel like we have enough of. A lot of artists use words because they sound nice, or because it works for the science of the song.

Again, that’s why bands like Arctic Monkeys are so great. They don’t work on any script or any maths or science. They just say what they feel. If it doesn’t rhyme, it doesn’t matter. If it sounds awkward, it doesn’t matter.

I think, especially with being lucky enough to have a big fanbase, I want to say to them, “Look, lyrics actually matter, and I want to show you why”.

Louis Tomlinson’s single, Back To You, is out now on Syco Music

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Two former Doctors clash over Jodie Whittaker casting

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Davison (left) and Baker (right) expressed divergent opinions over Whittaker’s casting

Two former Time Lords have had a war of words over Jodie Whittaker being cast as TV’s first female Doctor.

Peter Davison, who played the Doctor from 1981 to 1984, said he “liked the idea” of a male Doctor and that he felt “a bit sad” the character might no longer be “a role model for boys”.

His comments were promptly dubbed “rubbish” by his successor Colin Baker.

“You don’t have to be of a gender to be a role model,” said the actor, who portrayed the Doctor from 1984 to 1986.

“Can’t you be a role model as people?”

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  • Doctor Who’s 13th Time Lord to be a woman
  • All the Doctors, from Hartnell to Whittaker

The actors were speaking on Thursday at Comic-Con, the world’s largest celebration of film, TV and pop culture.

Baker, the father of four daughters, said the BBC show’s 54-year history had given young male viewers plenty of figures to emulate.

“They’ve had 50 years of having a role model,” said the 74-year-old. “So sorry Peter, you’re talking rubbish there – absolute rubbish.”

Davison – whose own daughter Georgina is married to David Tennant, another ex-Doctor – accepted “you need to open it up” and that he was “maybe an old-fashioned dinosaur”.

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John Barrowman has also been at Comic-Con in San Diego this week

The news that Whittaker will inherit the Tardis from Peter Capaldi this Christmas has been a major talking point at the San Diego event.

John Barrowman asked fans to give the Broadchurch actress a chance while making his own Comic-Con appearance on Thursday.

“If we buy into the world of Doctor Who… it doesn’t say that he will be a he all the time,” said the actor.

Barrowman, who played Captain Jack Harkness in the programme and its spin-off Torchwood, donned a glittery mini-dress modelled on the Tardis while appearing at the San Diego Convention Centre.

Closer to home, Whittaker’s casting as the 13th Doctor continues to animate other former stars of the long-running series.

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Agyeman played Martha Jones opposite David Tennant’s Doctor

Freema Agyeman, another former companion of the TV time-traveller, said she was “overjoyed” that a woman had finally landed the role.

“I feel like standing on top of a rooftop and shouting for joy,” said the actress, who confessed to being “astounded” by the “furore” that the casting announcement had generated.

“The strength of the show and the reason for its longevity is the way it keeps changing and shifting,” she told the BBC this week.

  • New Doctor prompts mixed reaction
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Agyeman, who played Martha Jones opposite Tennant’s Doctor, will shortly be seen in Apologia at London’s Trafalgar Studios alongside The West Wing’s Stockard Channing.

Earlier this week it was revealed in the BBC’s annual report that Capaldi was paid between £200,000 and £250,000 last year for his role in the series.

In an interview with the London Evening Standard, BBC director general Tony Hall said Whittaker would be paid the same as her predecessor “for the same amount of work”.

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How Linkin Park made rap metal memorable

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Linkin Park singer Chester Bennington, who has died aged 41, changed the dynamics of nu metal with his searingly personal lyrics and musical curiosity.

Linkin Park weren’t the first band to fuse metal and rap, but they were the most successful.

Their first album, Hybrid Theory, was certified diamond in the US, representing 10 million sales. Around the world, they sold more than 50 million records.

What set them apart from other nu metal acts like Korn and Limp Bizkit was the vocal interplay between its two frontmen.

Chester Bennington’s guttural screams tussled with Mike Shinoda’s matter-of-fact rapping in a volatile expression of rage and frustration, while DJ Joseph Hahn framed the band’s thrashing guitars with sampled dystopian soundscapes.

Musically, they were miles apart from the sense-dulling artlessness of many of their contemporaries, inspired by contemporary Asia, postmodernism and sample culture. They weren’t afraid to show their vulnerability on songs like Numb and In The End.

Linkin Park released a collaborative EP with Jay-Z, and invited grime star Stormzy onto their latest album, One More Light – a brave, if not entirely successful, venture into mainstream pop.

They never swore on record until 2007′s Minutes to Midnight (something which boosted their commercial ascent); their lyrics were vivid enough without curse words.

There’s something inside me that pulls beneath the surface / Consuming, confusing / This lack of self-control I fear is never ending,” he sang on Crawling, a single from their debut album.

I tried so hard and got so far,” he sang on their biggest hit, In The End, “but in the end, it doesn’t even matter.

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Bennington was candid about the dark times that inspired these songs – he was molested as a child, and later struggled with drug and alcohol problems.

“I literally hated life,” he told Rock Sound in 2015. “I was like, ‘I don’t want to have feelings. I want to be a sociopath. I don’t want to do anything. I don’t want to care what other people feel like. I want to feel nothing.’”

As a result, Bennington often sang as if he was fighting for his life and, sometimes, it felt like he was winning. “Every scar is a story I can tell,” he sang on Sharp Edges, released earlier this year.

In retrospect, it’s tempting (and easy) to find hints of suicidal thoughts in Bennington’s lyrics – but that detracts from the complexity of his writing, which could be fragile and empathetic as often as it was angst-ridden.

Outside of music, he tried to be a force for positivity, too – setting up the fund Music for Relief with the rest of Linkin Park, and playing a range of concerts to raise money for victims of disasters such as Hurricane Katrina and the 2004 tsunami.

On their latest album, the band teamed up with a charity installing solar panels in communities without electricity in Africa, Haiti and Jordan.

The lyrics to the title track, too, saw Bennington reach out to fans suffering depression like his own: “If they say / Who cares if one more light goes out? / Well I do.

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Dunkirk: Do Oscars beckon for Nolan’s war epic?

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One Direction star Harry Styles makes his acting debut in Dunkirk

The reviews are in – and most film critics have heaped praise on Christopher Nolan’s World War Two film Dunkirk.

It stars Tom Hardy, Mark Rylance, Kenneth Branagh, and of course, One Direction star Harry Styles.

The film is set in 1940 and is about the rescue of 338,000 Allied troops from the beaches of Dunkirk, France.

The film is released across the UK on Friday.

So is it the best film of the year so far?

Here’s what the experts think:

Peter Debruge – Variety

Though the subject matter is leagues (and decades) removed from the likes of Inception and The Dark Knight, the result is so clearly a Christopher Nolan film – from its immersive, full-body suspense to the sophisticated way he manipulates time and space – that his fans will eagerly follow en masse to witness the achievement. And what an achievement it is!

Read the full review here.

Robbie Collin – The Telegraph

Like all great war films, it’s every bit as transfixing up close: at the wheels of the civilian boats scudding across the Channel, inside the cockpits of the fighter planes tearing overhead, and most of all on the beach, with those uniformed boys barely out of their teens, wrestling with the strange notion of defeat with honour even as they fight for their lives.

Five stars

Read the full review here.

Peter Bradshaw – The Guardian

It is Nolan’s best film so far. It also has Hans Zimmer’s best musical score: an eerie, keening, groaning accompaniment to a nightmare, switching finally to quasi-Elgar variations for the deliverance itself. Zimmer creates a continuous pantonal lament, which imitates the dive bomber scream and queasy turning of the tides, and it works in counterpoint to the deafening artillery and machine-gun fire that pretty much took the fillings out of my teeth and sent them in a shrapnel fusillade all over the cinema auditorium.

Five stars

Read the full review here.

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Prince Harry met the actors at the Dunkirk world premiere in Leicester Square

Nick De Semlyen – Empire Magazine

Where it does deliver on action is in the sky. Today’s audiences have spent decades watching digital dogfights in Star Wars movies, themselves originally inspired by World War Two movies such as Twelve O’ Clock High. Nolan gets the wow factor back by stripping away the pixels, shooting real Spitfires on real sorties above the real English Channel. The results are incredible, particularly on the vast expanse of an Imax screen, with the wobbly crates veering and soaring above a mass of blue.

Five stars

Read the full review here.

Kevin Maher – The Times

What it is, essentially, is 106 clamorous minutes of big-screen bombast that’s so concerned with its own spectacle and scale (shot on huge IMAX and 65mm cameras, for big frames and big action) that it neglects to deliver the most crucial element – drama.

Character and plot don’t matter because you’re there, in the thick of things. It’s just like – you guessed it – a video game. And that, ultimately, is the colossal disappointment at the heart of this movie.

Two stars

Read the full review here (paywall).

Todd McCarthy – The Hollywood Reporter

Although the film is deeply moving at unexpected moments, it’s not due to any manufactured sentimentality or false heroics. Bursts of emotion here explode like depth charges, at times and for reasons that will no doubt vary from viewer to viewer. There’s never a sense of Nolan – unlike, say Spielberg – manipulating the drama in order to play the viewer’s heartstrings. Nor is there anything resembling a John Williams score to stir the emotional pot.

Read the full review here.

Christopher Hooton – The Independent

It’s a staggering achievement but for some will verge on clinical, particularly as it wraps up in patriotic fervour toward the end.

In spite of my want for deeper or more oblique notes in it, Dunkirk is an unbelievably assured and thrilling war film. Nolan is at the top of his game, and what a joy it is to watch him construct such grand scale filmmaking.

Four stars.

Read the full review here.

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