No more public outings for Darth Vader actor Dave Prowse

Dave Prowse with 'Darth Vader'Image copyrightGetty Images
Image caption Prowse played Darth Vader (right) in the original sci-fi trilogy

Dave Prowse, who played Darth Vader in the original Star Wars trilogy, is calling time on public appearances.

A statement on the 82-year-old’s social media accounts said he would “no longer be doing any personal appearances or conventions due to health problems” from January 2018 onwards.

Prowse was the man behind Vader’s mask in Star Wars, The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi.

He also played the Green Cross Code man in television road safety commercials.

Born in Bristol in 1935, Prowse was a successful bodybuilder and weightlifter before landing his iconic Star Wars role.

Image copyrightGetty Images
Image caption The Bristol native started out as a bodybuilder and weightlifter

His face was never seen in the films though, while his voice was dubbed by US actor James Earl Jones.

When Vader’s mask was removed in Return of the Jedi, another actor – Sebastian Shaw – was revealed beneath.

Two new actors – Daniel Naprous and Spencer Wilding – shared the role of Vader during his brief appearance in last year’s Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.

Prowse, a fixture on the convention circuit since Jedi’s release in 1983, announced last year “with great sadness” that he would no longer attend international events.

In 2014 he revealed he had dementia, though this did not prevent him participating in the 2015 documentary I Am Your Father, or recently appearing in a music video for singer Jayce Lewis.

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Cold Feet cast reveal Manchester bombing led to sombre return to filming

L-R: Jenny Gifford [Fay Ripley], Pete Gifford [John Thomson], Karen Marsden [Hermione Norris], David Marsden [Robert Bathurst] and Adam Williams [James Nesbitt].Image copyrightITV
Image caption Cold Feet returned with the original cast last year after a 13-year hiatus

The Cold Feet cast have revealed how their return to filming had a sombre start after the Manchester Arena bombing, where 22 people were killed after Ariana Grande’s concert.

“It was horrible. Just horrible,” said John Thomson, who plays Pete.

“I couldn’t wait to get home to my girls that night, as we nearly went.

“We couldn’t get into town because town was shut down. We re-jigged the schedule and went to the studio. “

He paid tribute to the Cold Feet team, saying: “Credit to everyone that day, crew especially and cast.”

Image copyrightItv
Image caption The new series starts nine months after the end of the last one

They were meant to be filming on 23 May in St Ann’s Square, where flowers were laid in tribute to the victims of the bombing the day before.

Fay Ripley, who plays Jenny, said: “The first thing you think is – we’re in Manchester, working with people who are friends. The first call you make is ‘is everyone okay?’

“Then you look to Manchester. You try to behave in a way that’s responsible. My kids came up about a week after. We all went to St Anne’s Square, something I know they will always remember.”

Image copyrightITV
Image caption Hermione Norris spoke of the impact of the bombing on Manchester

Hermione Norris, who plays Karen, added: “It’s a small community and it was felt incredibly strongly.”

Last year’s series was a huge success for ITV and was very warmly received after its 13-year gap.

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Media captionCold Feet is back for a new series but what happened to the characters?

“It was an enormous relief that people welcomed us back with open arms,” admitted Ripley.

“We didn’t have an example – it was the first experiment of bringing something back after (more than) 10 years. But it’s the same characters so why wouldn’t you be interested?”

Image copyrightITV
Image caption John Thomson said he felt the pressure of filming this series

But after that success, Thomson said it wasn’t easier this time round.

“The pressure was huge, it’s harder in a way – like the difficult second album.

“To be honest when I had my storyline pitched to me I was a bit underwhelmed.

“Because we went in guns blazing the first time round, we had to bait the audience because it’d been 13 years so we had to go in strong.

“You can’t go in on popularity stakes alone, that’s so arrogant, so we had to have decent, meaty storylines and it worked.”

Image copyrightITV
Image caption Fay Ripley said there’s some “fun to be had” in this series

“What I had to appreciate is once we’d now established ourselves you can build slowly to a bigger thing.”

Ripley said the audience could look forward to a few surprises along the way.

“There may be some cameos, famous cameos coming up. I’m not allowed to say who or when, but there might be fun to be had. Some people you might recognise.”

Between the last series and this one, Nesbitt made headlines after he made an impassioned speech about equality for actresses at the Bafta TV Awards. Something his co-star Ripley approved of.

“I think it’s great to have someone stand up and defend women in the workplace. I’ve paid for a taxi for James to go and renegotiate my salary.

Image copyrightItv
Image caption Nesbitt, pictured with onscreen son Cel Spellman, said the characters’ children growing up “means a whole new dynamic”

“Obviously I am joking – in Cold Feet we don’t have a gender issue. If there is any (disparity) it’s not because of that.”

Nesbitt has a slightly different memory of it, joking that she was a “nightmare” with teasing him over his speech. But he’s glad he did it.

“I didn’t want to become the spokesperson for it, but I’m very, very happy to be part of the campaign for the equal representation of actresses.

“Society is absorbing on a daily basis – particularly the young – that even though there is a 50/50 split for genders, for every female part there’s three male parts.

Image copyrightItv
Image caption Tina and Adam got together at the end of the last series

“That is absorbed by my children and anyone’s children on a daily basis – subconsciously or consciously – it is bound to have an impact on actual equality and who has power and who has influence.”

He added: “You know what was funny was my eldest daughter sent me a text having seen it saying ‘You go girl’, which I thought was very good.”

As for the success of this series John Thomson said another series is not definite.

“Everyone goes ‘oh it’s in the bag’ and you go ‘not in this day and age, absolutely not’.

“You cannot rest on your laurels. It’s best to go in with low expectations.”

Image copyrightITV
Image caption Robert Bathurst is happy to do occasional series with gaps in between

And Robert Bathurst, who plays David Marsden said it would be fine if this was the end for the time being.

“If we do no more that’s that, and in a sense it might allow us to get older, and creatively it could become open ended until we die – we might just do a couple here and a couple there until we’re 105.”

This is an idea Thomson is fully on board with.

“We’ll do it now in our 50s, sit on it a bit and come back in our 70s. I’m glad that’s the idea because I’m a comedy actor and my pension was going to be Last of the Summer Wine – they all rocked up in that – that was our pension but it’s gone now.”

Cold Feet is on ITV 21:00 BST, 8 September.

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Hamilton musical West End opening delayed

Lin-Manuel Miranda with the Broadway cast of HamiltonImage copyrightGetty Images
Image caption The Tony-winning show is the brainchild of Lin-Manuel Miranda (centre)

The West End opening of Hamilton has been put back a fortnight, due to delays in restoring its London home.

Previews will now begin on 6 December, with the musical’s opening night now taking place on 21 December.

Co-producer Sir Cameron Mackintosh said “tight time constraints” and “unhelpful problems” had prompted the “pragmatic decision” to delay the show’s opening.

The hit Broadway musical uses hip-hop and rap to tell the life story of one of America’s founding fathers.

Thousands of ticketholders are likely to be affected. It was due to start running on 21 November.

Image copyrightGetty Images
Image caption Leslie Odom Jr appeared in the Broadway version

“We are extremely sorry to disappoint patrons who we know expended time, effort and valuable resources to purchase tickets for our first performances,” said producer Jeffrey Seller.

“They will be given immediate priority so that they can be re-seated as early as possible.”

The musical will be housed in the revamped Victoria Palace Theatre, which is being developed amid a massive redevelopment in Victoria.

Sir Cameron said time constraints to access to land around the theatre have not been helped by the theatre being built over a huge, active sewer, the 200-year-old King’s Scholars’ Pond sewer.

“It has been an extraordinary undertaking, both thrilling and fraught, not only because of the complexity of putting what is practically a brand new building into the shell of a much-loved historical masterpiece, but because it was also the ideal theatre for the most eagerly awaited American musical in decades, Hamilton.”

He thanked his team “working often around the clock to get the theatre ready”, adding he looked forward to welcoming theatre-goers to the newly constructed theatre.

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Ryan Adams plays surprise Belfast solo gig


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Media captionMobile phone footage of the jetlagged star was filmed by Peter Boyle

Singer Ryan Adams gave Belfast fans an unexpected treat on Thursday night by performing a last-minute acoustic gig at a city centre bar.

The US-based songwriter is in Belfast to perform at the Ulster Hall on Friday night.

However, he surprised fans by playing an impromptu, intimate show on behalf of a local animal shelter.

He announced the show on Twitter about half an hour before he was due to perform at 23:00 BST.

Skip Twitter post by @TheRyanAdams

SURPRISE SHOW: @McHughsbar1711 11pm

Entrance w donations for Assisi animal shelter @AssisiSanctuary

I love you Belfast pic.twitter.com/X74wn0NKbH

— Ryan Adams (@TheRyanAdams) September 7, 2017

End of Twitter post by @TheRyanAdams

“Entrance w donations for Assisi animal shelter @AssisiSanctuary I love you Belfast,” he tweeted.

Twitter user Kris Nixon reported on social media that he performed to about 100 people in McHugh’s Bar.

Fans were treated to songs from Adams’ back catalogue as well as an improvised number with lyrics that declared: “I’m so jetlagged. Why did I decide to do this gig? I did it all for the cats.”

Assisi Animal Sanctuary thanked Adams on Facebook and said that it was a “lovely surprise to find out we are the lucky recipients of the processed of this secret gig”.

The set was given a rapturous reception on social media.

“@TheRyanAdams thank you for the special jams in #Belfast great to meet you…#savingcats with #vibes,” said Kris D Marsden on Twitter.

“It was surreal and beautiful and pure,” said Twitter user @gerrynorman.

Skip Twitter post by @Kippysmuse

@TheRyanAdams thank you for the special jams in #Belfast great to meet you.. #savingcats with #vibespic.twitter.com/msMTxSuhWk

— Kris D Marsden (@Kippysmuse) September 8, 2017

End of Twitter post by @Kippysmuse

Ronan Tierney tweeted: “Last night I dreamt I was at a secret @TheRyanAdams gig, and he sang a song about jet lag, then we all sang about saving cats…Weird.”

@ryandavidhawk posted: “I’m not even a cat person but #savingcats was fun tonight with @TheRyanAdams bravo. #belfastadventures”.

Skip Twitter post by @RonyT

Last night I dreamt I was at a secret @TheRyanAdams gig, and he sang a song about jet lag, then we all sang about saving cats…


— Ronan Tierney (@RonyT) September 8, 2017

End of Twitter post by @RonyT

Adams, who is touring behind his latest album Prisoner, is best known for songs such as New York, New York, Gimme Something Good and When The Stars Go Blue.

Shortly before announcing the intimate acoustic gig, he set up a poll question on Twitter that asked: “If I played solo tonight in Belfast who would come? Also can I borrow an acoustic guitar?”

Skip Twitter post 2 by @TheRyanAdams

Some might say an entire life too ha ha. Very excited for these shows! Hello Belfast! That was a long long flight. Happy to be here https://t.co/F6Q0PdKcb9

— Ryan Adams (@TheRyanAdams) September 7, 2017

End of Twitter post 2 by @TheRyanAdams

Unsurprisingly, 86% of 3,400 votes voted “yeah” in the online ballot.

Adams also tweeted his excitement about his upcoming gigs and that he was happy to be in Belfast despite a “long, long flight”.

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Sun reveals Strictly Come Dancing pairing a day early

Davood Ghadami
Image caption Ghadami made his first appearance in Albert Square in 2014

The Sun has revealed one of Strictly Come Dancing’s celebrity-dancer pairings ahead of Saturday’s launch show, when all the dancing couples were being announced.

The tabloid has revealed which professional dancer EastEnders actor Davood Ghadami will dance alongside.

“We are disappointed The Sun broke the Strictly embargo regarding celebrity pairings,” the BBC tweeted.

“It spoils it for everyone involved.”

The Sun responded by saying its story had come from “an independent source” earlier this week, saying it was not aware “there was ever any plan to embargo the details”.

“We’re content that this story is the product of good journalism,” its spokesman told the BBC.

On Saturday night’s programme, viewers will discover which dancers this year’s 15 celebrity participants will strut their respective stuff with on the show.

The programme was pre-recorded on Tuesday at Elstree Studios in Hertfordshire, with some journalists in attendance.

Ghadami has played Kush Kazemi in EastEnders since 2014 and has also appeared in Casualty and Doctors.

The show will also honour Sir Bruce Forsyth, who died last month aged 89. There will be a “very special group routine as everyone on Strictly pays tribute”.

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What’s the verdict on Shia LaBeouf’s McEnroe?


The two men are known for their public tantrums, and the casting has already been hailed as “perfect” by critics, who congratulate Shia for finally being able to “channel his anger into something more than tabloid fodder”.

For the 31-year-old hothead, though, playing McEnroe was a “cathartic” experience.

“Me and him have a lot of similarities, a lot of parallels in our lives,” he said at a press conference on Thursday.

Borg / McEnroe
Image:Borg/McEnroe recounts the famous Wimbledon men’s singles final of 1980

“I’m very proud of the movie and I think it expresses something I feel deeply and I’m honoured to have been a part of this and be able to share it.”

Borg/McEnroe centres on the lives of two of the greatest tennis legends of all time, Bjorn Borg and the so-called New York “superbrat” John McEnroe.

The two clashed in the famous 1980 Wimbledon final, which was seen as psychological duel between the two men.


Video:First look at Shia as the angry John McEnroe

But Shia’s role has been widely considered to be the best of an otherwise “badly written, super chintzy biopic formula crap”.

The Guardian’s Peter Bradshaw criticised actor Sverrir Gudnason, who plays Bjorn Borg, saying his “performance seems set on showing us that underneath that bland, slightly dull exterior there was a… well, let’s just say he seems the complete master of his personality”.

Shia Labeouf is *perfect* in BORG / McENROE, which makes it extra frustrating that this trite movie totally wastes his performance. #TIFF17

— david ehrlich (@davidehrlich) September 7, 2017

Indiewire’s David Ehrlich said “Borg is written to be even more boring than sports fans were ever led to believe”.

“What we’re left with is a staid little movie that races around the court and rallies itself to exhaustion,” he wrote.

“A historical drama that enshrines the narrative underpinnings of all great sports stories without doing anything to upend them.”

John McEnroe
Image:John McEnroe called the film ‘fake’ for lack of tennis accuracy

The only person who doesn’t seem happy with Shia’s performance is McEnroe himself who, before the film opened, told Vanity Fair the film “looks fake”.

“They look like actors who can’t play. You see these guys, they go out there and they barely even know how to play tennis,” he said.

But he later added that with regard to LaBeouf, he might be wrong.

“Supposedly he’s crazy,” he said.

“So maybe that works.”

Borg/McEnroe opens in UK cinemas on 22 September.

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Eve England: “This is Dunstanburgh Castle, Northumberland, with cows in the foreground. I had been visiting nearby Craster since childhood and walked up to the castle with the dogs. It is pure joy, whatever the time of year, whatever the weather. There are always cows, sheep and oystercatchers in the fields and ever-changing views to the sea.”

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Yves Saint Laurent co-founder Pierre Berge dies


Berge died in his sleep on Friday, at his country home in Saint-Remy-de- Provence, southern France.

Considered one of the most influential figures in the country, Berge was a campaigner for gay rights and donated part of his fortune to AIDS research.

He was at times both Saint Laurent’s right-hand man and his partner, helping him to become Christian Dior’s successor in France’s haute couture.

Berge and Saint Laurent were joined in a civil union a few days before the designer died of a brain tumour in 2008.

Berge alongside his protege Yves Saint Laurent in 1992
Image:Berge alongside his protege Yves Saint Laurent in 1992

Thanks to the worldwide success of the Saint Laurent brand, Berge became a figure in the world of fashion, being elected president of the French designer’s union in 1974 and founding the prestigious French Fashion Institute in 1986.

Earlier this year, he was credited with helping French president Emmanuel Macron in office, with Town And Country Magazine calling him one of the “most powerful men in France”.

His political engagement made him Grand Patron of Arts and Culture in 2001, overseeing paintings purchase at the Louvre and the renovation of two rooms at London’s National Gallery.

“He was a magician who made his life and those who he loved a symphony of happiness,” former French culture minister Jack Lang said.

“Pierre Berge was above all a marvellous and loyal friend… who was there to take on all the good fights, the noble causes, in particular to provide the means for research to defeat AIDS.”

During his life and career, Berge was considered a confidant of powerful men such as former French president Francois Mitterrand, Jean Cocteau and Albert Camus.

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Sam Smith ‘good at getting dumped’ in new song


Too Good At Goodbyes is the first song since his 2015 singles Drowning Shadows and the James Bond theme Writing’s On The Wall.

The 25-year-old singer says it is “about a relationship I was in and it’s basically about getting good at getting dumped”.

“It’s been a long while since I’ve put any music out and I feel that this first single sets the tone of what is to come.”

The track was written with the Oscar and Grammy Award winner’s longstanding collaborator Jimmy Napes and Stargate.

Ahead of its release, Smith sent fans a message.

“First of all I want to say thank-you,” he wrote.

“Thank-you for being so patient and for letting me have the past year to really escape into my mind and write music so freely,” he added.

“I feel so rejuvenated and have so many stories I can’t wait to tell you.

“I have missed you all desperately and a day hasn’t gone by when I haven’t been looking at all your comments and dreaming of singing with you all again.”

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