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Last month, some of Britain's most distinguished thespians — Sir Ian McKellan, Keira Knightley, Saffron Burrows, Rupert Everett and more — descended London’s Prince of Wales Theatre for The People Speak. The UK documentary takes inspiration from letters, songs, speeches and other written works crucial to British history all while bringing attention to important social issues. Colin Firth directed the UK installment — set to air on HISTORY UK on Halloween — after being motivated by its American precursor featuring Matt Damon, Eddie Vedder, Bruce Springsteen, and a host of other American celebrities.
Sir Ben Kingsley was one of the many actors to take part in the performance, reading from Bertrand Russell's letter to The Nation condemning World War I and Thomas Hoccleve's An Appeal for Peace with France. The Oscar winner revealed that his reason for taking part in such a film is because of the power of spoken word, pure and simple.
"I'm here to share the power of the spoken word and the resilience and beauty of the English language," Kingsley told The Daily Telegraph. "I'm concerned about the disintegration of our sublimely beautiful language, which is the spine of our culture and has produced the greatest dramatists ever. You set that diamond against the trash that it's becoming – it's shocking. We have a language that's like sprung steel and we’re turning it into chewing gum."
Kingsley went on to explain that our obsession with the Internet and other digital gadgets has ultimately resulted in "the cyber planet we're now living in" and that humans are unable to "think and speak in paragraphs."
Speaking of digital distractions destroying the mind, perhaps we had a head start? A vintage clip from a Charlie Chaplin film recently highlighted what might be the very first cell phone. The massively popular viral video reached over 1.5 million YouTube views in just one week of its release.
In other news:
– Watch out Cheryl Cole, Prince Harry has his eye on you! The 26-year-old ginger prince apparently wants to meet the X Factor brown-eyed beauty and the two apparently share a mutual friend.
"Harry's a huge fan of X Factor and watches it week in, week out,” said a source. “He’s an even bigger fan of Cheryl. Weirdly they have a friend in common and Harry requested the direct email address of one of her management."
Harry, I know you're a prince and all, but I think Cheryl might be a little out of your league. The Girls Aloud singer said she was "flattered" by the Prince's request to meet her, but that's as far as it goes. (The Mirror)
– Dave McCabe of the rambunctious Liverpool band, The Zutons, has been ordered to complete 150 hours of unpaid work after a drunken row last February left a man with a broken nose.
The surly frontman head-butted Peter Appleby outside of a Liverpool nightclub after Appleby's friends made fun of McCabe's girlfriend's fur coat. McCabe claimed self-defense, but was instructed to pay the victim's court costs of $5600 (£3,500) plus an additional $2,400 (£1,500) in damages. The lesson here: watch yer drink. (The Independent)
– American Harry Potter fans will recognize Tom Felton as one of Harry's menacing rivals Draco Malfoy. And like his famous castmates, he's sorry to see the movie franchise come to an end. However the 23-year-old English actor admits that fame isn’t always what it's cracked up to be.
“One thing that people keep on saying to me is that the wealth and the fame must have made up for missing out on my childhood," he says. "But the idea of money — putting a price on your childhood — is ridiculous. You will never get those years back and you can't put a price on them."
"And to me, fame is not a positive thing," Felton adds. “The idea of being famous is a lot better than the reality. It's fantastic when you go to premieres and people cheer you, but it's not real. And it's totally not my approach to get my name on a club door just because I can." (The Daily Mail)
– Metal legend Ozzy Osbourne recently had his genome sequenced and analyzed to learn more about his lineage and why he's been able to trudge on beyond his decades of taking drugs and boozing. Say what?
"I was curious," Osbourne stated in The Sunday Times. "Given the swimming pools of booze I've guzzled over the year — not to mention all of the cocaine, morphine, sleeping pills, cough syrup, LSD, Rohypnol … you name it — there's really no plausible medical reason why I should still be alive. Maybe my DNA could say why."
Come to find out, Osbourne's test detailed some Neanderthal genes and other "novel variants" that are linked to addiction. (CNN)
– HBO has picked up the pilot for Veep, a political-centric comedy from Scottish-Italian director Armando Iannucci, best known for his British comedy series The Thick of It. Seinfeld actress Julia Louis-Dreyfus is rumored to play the female Vice President lead character, former Senator Selina Meyer, who finds her new worldly position isn't what she expected. (Deadline)
– Maurice Murphy, a principal trumpeter for the London Symphony Orchestra, has passed. The Hammersmith-born Murphy performed with the LSO for 30 years before retiring in 2007. He also participated in various scores, including the Star Wars films, Batman, Gangs of New York and the Alien series. Murphy was 75. (BBC)