Watch: AbFab’s Joanna Lumley Fights Back Against Government “Smear Campaign”

  • Absolutely Fabulous star Joanna Lumley is mad as hell, and rightfully so, after a UK defense minister criticized her campaign to secure UK settlement rights for Gurkhas, Nepalese soldiers who fought for the British Army.

    Kevan Jones, a veterans’ minister in the UK, said that Lumley was not speaking out enough about exploiters who prey upon Gurkhas, promising them houses and benefits once they’ve arrived in the UK. Jones said, “Her deathly silence, frankly, irritates me.”

    Lumley has fought back against these allegations, including claims that she used the campaign to lift her own celebrity profile: “It has been suggested that I somehow was parachuted in, took the headlines and ran. I feel that is a smear.”

    The row has reached such a fever pitch that both Jones and Gordon Brown‘s office have issued apologies to Lumley.

    Ms. Lumley spoke both to ITN and Sky News about the smears against her, and she doesn’t hold back. For viewers who know Ms. Lumley only as Patsy Stone, this provides a whole new side to her that you may not be aware of:

  • In the wake of a nude photo scandal and drug use allegations, Peaches Geldof has been dropped as the face of Ultimo, the lingerie brand. A spokesperson for the company said, “Miss Ultimo is a brand geared towards a young female audience and as a company we have a social responsibility to ensure we are promoting only positive role models that young women can aspire to. We are thus in the process of removing Peaches from the website and we are working with Debenhams to remove her visuals from all Miss Ultimo shops and window displays throughout the UK.” (The Sun)
  • Robert Pattinson has been snapped filming his new movie Bel Ami in Budapest. The film will reportedly see Pattinson’s character engage in an orgy, which will be tough given his allergies to lady parts.
  • Uma Thurman, Pattinson’s co-star in Bel Ami, is having a bad PR weekend in Britain: her film, Motherhood, had an £88 gross in the opening weekend in the UK, with only one £9 ticket sold on Sunday. That means only 11 people bothered to show up for the film, which already had an underwhelming U.S. launch a couple of months ago. (The Times)
  • Sara Trumble, former nanny for Heather Mills and Paul McCartney‘s daughter, claims Mills exploited her, and she’s suing. “She said Mills ‘was really nice and genuine’ at first,” reports BBC NEWS. “However she soon found she was often expected to stay well into the evening while she waited for the couple to return home, without extra pay.”
  • Avatar won Best Film at the Empire Film Awards in London last night. James Cameron won Best Director, and Zoe Saldana took home Best Actress. (BBC)
  • Kate Winslet is Ringless in New York.(The Sun)
  • Cheryl Cole will open the book on her private life. (The Sun)
  • Joan Collins for D.A.R.E. President! Collins told Piers Morgan, “I would never take drugs. Well, once somebody forced me to take some coke and it was just so horrible.” (The Sun)
  • The Oprah effect helped Jamie Oliver‘s new food show rise in the ratings. (Daily Mail)
  • Actress Emma Thompson opens up about her grandmother’s brutal rape at the hands of an employer during World War I. “She was afraid of the Zeppelins and she would go and stay away, and the husband would make his way up into my grandmother’s attic room and have his evil way with her.” The two-time Oscar winner also reveals the depths of her depression after her split from actor Kenneth Branagh. “I don’t think I did stay sane. I should have sought professional help. Divorce. Ghastly, painful business.” (Daily Mail)
  • I love British music, but keep dreamin’ folks: UK Music, a leading record industry body in Britain, wants to topple the U.S. as the world’s biggest music-making global force by 2020. (BBC)
  • The Independent looks at the British Invasion of the Hollywood film music world.
  • Not if Pete Doherty‘s in jail: The Libertines are planning to reunite for summer festivals in the UK. (The Sun)
  • Martin Freeman has thrown away his Mr. Nice Bloke image from The Office with a rage-filled performance as Rembrandt in Peter Greenaway‘s Nightwatching. “I remember reading the script for the first time,” Freeman tells The Times. “Within a few pages I was already naked, having violence done to me, and having sex with people, and I thought: ‘This is interesting.’” (Hmm, sounds a bit like his part in Love Actually, actually.)

    The film is finally getting a UK theatrical release after nearly three years, quite oddly. The film’s already out on DVD here. Here’s a trailer:

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.

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