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- Robin Hood star Richard Armitage (Guy of Gisborne) wants respect more than he craves adoration from his female fans (who’ve dubbed themselves, quite cheekily, “the Armitage Army”.) “I want to play characters that are disgusting, and who look ugly and crap. I’m quite happy to do that, and, in fact, I’d prefer to do that.” About his new MI-5 character, he says, “I fought hard to make him look as shocking as possible. I lost a stone in weight, and wanted to shave my head, but the producers, who are catering for that section of the audience you’re referring to (the Armitage Army), wanted him to look attractive. So in the end there was a compromise.” By the way, Armitage says he has a “girlfriend who works in theater.” (The Times)
- The new U.S. Top Gear website has taken its first breath.
- Jennifer Saunders says she and partner Dawn French left the BBC because they were “dumbing down” their comedy: “They are not making the kind of comedy we used to do – what they want now is populist programs because there isn’t the budget to try the more ambitious things we were doing. We’ve been stopped from doing lots of sketches we wanted to do. The budgets for that kind of more ambitious stuff just aren’t there now. Really, that’s the reason we’ve decided to stop.”(Telegraph)
- Steve Coogan will play three stand-up tour dates in Norwich, the town he poked fun at in I’m Alan Partridge.(Telegraph)
- Rizwan Ahmed is the star of BBC AMERICA’s upcoming Britz, a miniseries about two British Muslim siblings who take distinctly different life paths. While his acting career blooms, he’s also moonlighting as a rapper named Riz MC, and he’s The Guardian‘s “Band of the Day” today. “Influenced by 80s rapper KRS-One‘s brand of “edutainment” and the sonic experiments of Björk, 4Hero, and Radiohead, Riz addresses contemporary issues without resorting to bland platitudes while his music is lean, menacing electronica.” Listen to it here.
- Dead or Alive frontman Pete Burns has successfully sued a plastic surgeon for lip injections that left him feeling “repulsive” and “suicidal.” (BBC)
- Andrew Lloyd Webber will write Britain’s next entry into the Eurovision Song Contest. “I have never shied away from the impossible and this looks like the biggest mission impossible of all time, but with the might of the British public behind me, who knows what will happen?”(Guardian)
- Guy Ritchie allegedly called sex with Madonna like “cuddling up to a piece of gristle…All the soft feminine tones have been replaced by the build of an athlete.” (Daily Mail)
- Hugh Grant has walked out on filming of Lost For Words, a romantic comedy co-starring Zhang Ziyi, due to “creative differences.”(Guardian)
- The Brits clearly aren’t as taken with the deeply-overrated Sarah Silverman as we are. Audience members in London heckled Silverman after she performed a short, 40-minute set and perfunctory Q&A: “Unimpressed fans shouted ‘you’re over-hyped Sarah’ and ‘I’ve seen longer clips on YouTube’, before the star told the audience to ‘go home’ and the left the stage. Reviewers from comedy websites and national newspapers were also left underwhelmed by Silverman’s set at the Hammersmith Apollo, which ‘fizzled out’ by the end. The Daily Telegraph’s Dominic Cavendish described the comic as ‘skipping away in near-disgrace’ after the ‘excruciatingly embarrassing’ question and answer session.” (BBC)
- The Times‘ Dominic Maxwell adds, “She knows the limitations of her arrogant-ignorant persona. But she’s not used to having to explain herself. As she stalked the stage, appearing to resent her crowd for wanting more, it was the eggiest end to a comedy show I’ve ever seen. Edging back to the wings with a mock-grandiose bow, it was the usual petulance but without the usual inverted commas. She blew it.”
- Bloc Party has gone all domestic for The Guardian. Drummer Matt Tong is doing a cooking show for the site, and frontman Kele Okereke, of course, is doing an advice column.
- The reviews of Quantum of Solace have not been kind, especially in comparison with Casino Royale, as The Guardian‘s Ben Child discovers in his roundup.
- Kate Moss talks! About clothes and makeup and not global warming, thankfully.(The Times)
- This week sees five new entries in the UK Top 10, four of which are debuts. The Brits love their parody songs, and Peter Kay‘s spoof of an X Factor winner’s anthem, “Winners Song” (sung by his female alter-ego Geraldine McQueen) slides in at No. 2. Ironically, Kay’s spoof actually edged out a real X Factor winner’s first single: Leon Jackson comes in at No. 3 with his ballad, “Don’t Call This Love,” which is slightly reminiscent of Adele‘s Chasing Pavements.
Girl group The Saturdays are at No. 5 with the uptempo “Up,” and German house producers Sash jump in at No. 2 with “Raindrops” (which isn’t a remake of the Womack & Womack hit). Snow Patrol are back, and their latest single, “Take Back the City,” thankfully sounds more like their 2003 breakthrough, Final Straw, than their schmaltzy 2006 mainstream success, Eyes Open. (The latter album produced the ear-sore, “Chasing Cars.”)
All this movement in the chart…and still Pink holds on to No. 1 for a third week.
Kings of Leon – Sex on Fire Watch the video
Download Kings of Leon’s “Sex on Fire”
The Saturdays – Up Watch the video
Snow Patrol – Take Back the City Watch the video
Ne-Yo – Miss Independent Watch the video
Download Ne-Yo’s “Miss Independent”
Rihanna – Disturbia Watch the video
Download Rihanna’s “Disturbia”
Sash ft. Stunt – Raindrops (Encore Une Fois) Watch the video
Sugababes – Girls Watch the video
See more posts by Kevin Wicks
Kevin Wicks founded BBCAmerica.com's Anglophenia blog back in 2005 and has been translating British culture for an American audience ever since. While not British himself - he was born and raised in St. Louis, Missouri - he once received inordinate hospitality in London for sharing the name of a dead but beloved EastEnders character. His Anglophilia stems from a high school love of Morrissey, whom he calls his "gateway drug" into British culture.