Got a TV Licence?

You need one to watch live TV on any channel or device, and BBC programmes on iPlayer. It’s the law.

Find out more
I don’t have a TV Licence.


  1. First reviews of Fifty Shades of Grey
  2. Jon Stewart calls time on Daily Show
  3. Maxine Peake play opens in London

Live Reporting

By Neil Smith and Genevieve Hassan

All times stated are UK

Get involved

Goodbye for now:

Neil Smith

Entertainment reporter

Time for us to sign off, though we'll be back tomorrow with lots more news from the world of arts, entertainment, media and culture. We very much hope we'll have the pleasure of your company.

Lynda Bellingham remembered

Lynda Bellingham memorial order of service

The late Lynda Bellingham was remembered earlier at a memorial service in the City of London attended by around 300 of the actress's family and friends.

Gyles Brandreth, Lesley Joseph, Patricia Hodge and Christopher Biggins were among those who shared memories of the Loose Women presenter, who died last October at the age of 66.

"Today was really special," said Biggins after the service at the historic St Stephen Walbrook church. "Everybody spoke from the heart and it was marvellous."

Take a look back at Bellingham's TV career.

Spanks for nothing

Is nowhere safe from the Fifty Shades of Grey phenomenon? Apparently not. Even schoolchildren, it appears, are considered fair game.

According to a

US news report, five students at a middle school in Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania were given word puzzles based on the erotic novel and film.

'Spanking', 'submissive', 'leather cuffs' and 'bondage' were among the tamer terms they were instructed by a teacher to locate in a word search puzzle.

The boo-boo, which came to light after one of the students posted the puzzle on social media, has been attributed to "a huge but unintentional error".

She shall go to the ball!

Helena Bonham Carter as the Fairy Godmother in Cinderella
Film company

A new trailer for Sir Kenneth Branagh's live-action take on Cinderella has gone online ahead of the film's cinema release next month.

It opens with Lily James's Cinders giving her Prince Charming (Richard Madden) a piece of her mind about hunting stags, before going on to reveal previously unseen footage of supporting players Sir Derek Jacobi and Stellan Skarsgard.

Cate Blanchett pops up as Cinderella's wicked stepmother, as does Helena Bonham Carter as her dotty fairy godmother (pictured). And it's all backed by an Ellie Goulding track, whose contribution to the Fifty Shades of Grey soundtrack

currently tops the UK singles chart.

Watch the trailer.

Violin research - Your views


Helen Logan emails on

MIT's research suggesting the sound of Stradivarius violins may have developed by accident:

"Yet another example of 'experts' who wish to demote the achievement of those they can't emulate. The motivation for this so-called research is to demystify, but however much you analyse a painting or a piece of music, you will not extract the spirit out of it - the thing that makes it great. That is why machines can't make art, and will never make a Strad.

"When these clowns have made a violin, and copied the f-holes, they will discover the sound of violins is not due to the shape of f-holes. If this were true, we would be able to reproduce the Strad today.

"Stradivari violins sound like they do because he was the best violin genius who ever lived. Let him keep the respect for being the genius he was. There is no fluke about it."

New Jurassic World dino?

Radio Times

A new hybrid dinosaur may be joining Chris Pratt in the upcoming film Jurassic World.

Some official toy designs (created by Hasbro) have been

released online, including a creature called a 'Stegoceratops' that appears to have the head of a triceratops on the body of a stegosaurus.

Jurassic World toy

Read the full story.

Leigh backs Turner campaign

Mike Leigh at Sandycombe Lodge

You may have seen director Mike Leigh graciously accept a Fellowship award at the end of the

Bafta Film Awards on Sunday at London's Royal Opera House.

The veteran film-maker was in a different part of the capital today, visiting the dilapidated former home of the legendary British artist who life inspired his most recent film.

Sandycombe Lodge in Twickenham was designed and built by JMW Turner in 1813 but needs extensive restoration work if it is to be preserved for future generations.

The Turner House Trust

received a £1.4m grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund in January but requires a further £270,000 before work can begin.

"This is the only surviving house where Turner lived," said Leigh, whose Mr Turner film is up for four Oscars at this year's Academy Awards. "To let it go would be a heinous crime."

Read more about the house and the campaign.

Celebrity Bake Off

Mary Berry, Jennifer Saunders, Dame Edna Everage, Lulu, Joanna Lumley, Sue Perkins and Paul Hollywood

The Great Comic Relief Bake Off returns to BBC One tonight, with a new batch of celebrities hoping to avoid a soggy bottom.

The first episode sees Joanna Lumley, Jennifer Saunders, Lulu and Dame Edna Everage battle to impress Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood.

They'll be baking giant cookies, making mini fruit tarts and creating a tiered chocolate cake for their showstopper challenge. Who will rise to the occasion?

To get you in the mood, why not

watch a clip of Dame Edna struggling to free her cookie from its tin.

Fingers on buzzers please

Griff Rhys Jones with Shaun the Sheep

Comedian and broadcaster Griff Rhys Jones, recently seen with Shaun the Sheep at the latter's recent film premiere, will be keeping rather more rarefied company in The Quizeum, a new BBC Four quiz show to be filmed in leading museums across the UK.

The eight-part series will see him invite two teams of experts to show off their knowledge in a different venue each week.

The Ashmolean in Oxford and the National Maritime Museum in London are among the institutions involved, while Antiques Roadshow expert Lars Tharp and former First Sea Lord Admiral Lord West are among the contestants.

Could they not have come up with a more inspiring title though? Expert Tease maybe, or Night at the Museums? Here's the logo for the show.

Quizeum logo
Modern Television

'Da Vinci' seized in Switzerland

Portrait of Isabella D'Este

In other art news, a painting thought to be by Leonardo da Vinci has been seized from a Swiss bank vault during an investigation into tax and insurance fraud.

The portrait, which depicts a Renaissance-era noblewoman named Isabella D'Este, was found on Monday in Lugano, near the border between Switzerland and Italy.

It's believed negotiations to sell the portrait for 120m euros (£88m) were at an advanced stage before the Swiss authorities intervened.

Debate continues to rage, though, on whether Leonardo did indeed paint it.

Read more on this story.

Off the Richter scale

Abstraktes Bild by Gerhard Richter

Back in 2012, an oil painting by the German artist Gerhard Richter

set a new auction record for a work by a living artist when it sold for £21m at Sotheby's in London.

On Tuesday, the same painting broke the same record after going under the hammer at the same auction house. It's deja vu, all over again.

The painting in question is Abstraktes Bild, one of the 83-year-old artist's largest abstract paintings and a piece that was once owned by rock star Eric Clapton.

Its current price tag? A cool £30.4m. Let's all get back together in a couple of years and see what it fetches then.

She's no dummy

Taylor Swift waxwork at Madame Tussauds

Morrissey may not be Taylor Swift's biggest fan, but that hasn't stopped the US singer getting her own waxwork at Madame Tussauds in London.

Dressed in a cheerleader's uniform, the mannequin is posed with a pom-pom in her right hand and her hair bound by a blue and yellow ribbon.

If you don't like that outfit, the dummy will be given a new look every day during the February half-term, all of them based on clobber Swift wore in her Shake It Off video.

The model looks eerily life-like, which begs the question: Was Taylor referring to Madame Tussauds when she sang "the fakers gonna fake, fake, fake, fake, fake"?

Morrissey bashes Brits


One person who will probably not be tuning into the Brit Awards in two weeks' time is former Smiths frontman and professional miseryguts Morrissey, judging by the contents of his latest

proclamation on the True to You fansite.

The Brits, he declares, "have hijacked modern music in order to kill off the heritage that produced so many interesting people, to such a degree that we could not imagine anyone who has ever truly affected the course of British music to be on stage at the O2 collecting a deserved award."

The object of the awards, he writes, "is to create the impression of national consensus as they award pop artists of untested stature or value with bogus awards that, it is slyly implied, have been dictated by you, the objective listener".

Madonna, Cheryl Fernandez-Versini and awards hosts Ant and Dec also come in from stick in a lengthy missive that also lays into BBC News, Taylor Swift and the Teletubbies. Not the Teletubbies! That's a Noo-noo if ever there was one.

Jon Stewart - Your views

Tweet @BBCNewsEnts or email

A lot of you have been getting in touch to express your dismay at Jon Stewart leaving The Daily Show.

  • Eugene Beil: "Very sad that he will be leaving, but 17 years was a fantastic run."
  • Jenny: "Absolutely devastated!"
  • Reece Lipman: "First Colbert now this..."

You've also been giving your views on the list of

potential replacements we've put together:

Ricky Gervais, Jon Stewart, Jessica Williams, Amy Poehler and Chris Rock
Reuters/Getty Images

Eyes on the pies

Stephen Sondheim (centre) with the cast of Sweeney Todd
Bronwen Sharp

Last November, veteran composer Stephen Sondheim

swapped Broadway for Tooting by popping in to a south London pie and mash shop that was hosting a production of his musical Sweeney Todd.

His patronage was clearly a good omen for the show, which is to transfer to the West End next month in a "pop-up" production on London's Shaftesbury Avenue.

The Tooting Arts Club's acclaimed production will take place in an exact replica of Harrington's Pie and Mash Shop, a south London staple currently undergoing refurbishment.

The show, which follows "demon barber" Sweeney's grisly quest to exact retribution on a powerful judge, runs from 12 March to 16 May.

Legend comes out for Kanye

Kanye West and John Legend
Getty Images

On Tuesday we reported the stern reprimand Shirley Manson gave Kanye West after his faux stage invasion at Sunday's Grammy awards.

"You make a mockery of all musicians and music from every genre, including your own," barked the Garbage frontwoman in a

Facebook post that labelled him "small and petty and spoilt".

Other music stars have been more forgiving of his antics, though, among them soul singer and best song Oscar hopeful John Legend.

"I looked at it as just a funny thing that people were going to talk about,"

he told US Weekly. "Anybody who's upset just needs to relax."

Rickman in Glasgow

Alan Rickman in A Little Chaos

In other film festival news, it's been announced Alan Rickman will head to Glasgow next week for a screening of his new film A Little Chaos.

Rickman both directs and stars in this lavish period drama, in which the Die Hard and Harry Potter star plays no less a personage than King Louis XIV.

The film is best described as a horticultural romance, exploring as it does the relationship between the king's famed landscape architect and the green-fingered woman Louis chooses to build one of the main gardens at Versailles.

Kate Winslet, Rickman's co-star in Sense and Sensibility, plays the latter role in the film that will have its Scottish premiere at the Glasgow Film Theatre on 21 February.

Rover's return

Spectre cars

December's press launch for the next James Bond film saw an unveiling of the Aston Martin DB10 Daniel Craig will be driving in 007's latest adventure.

The film's producers have now revealed some of the other vehicles that will feature in the eagerly anticipated Spectre, among them a Jaguar prototype that, according to the

Digital Trends website, never entered production.

The sleek C-X75 (centre) will feature alongside the DB10 in a car chase sequence through the streets of Rome that will shortly be filmed in the Eternal City.

The film will also make use of the Land Rover Defender (right) and the Range Rover Sport SVR (left) in scenes that have already been filmed in the Austrian alps.

The Defender was previously seen in the last Bond film Skyfall, with Naomie Harris's Eve Moneypenny at the wheel.

Australia at Eurovision - Your views

Tweet @BBCNewsEnts or email

There's been a lot of reaction to the announcement Australia will compete at the Eurovision Song Contest in May. Here's what some of you have been telling us:

Franco in Berlin

James Franco and Charlotte Gainsbourg

James Franco was all smiles at the Berlin Film Festival last night, apparently unflustered by the lacklustre performance of his controversial comedy The Interview at the UK and Ireland box office.

Then again, maybe he was taking his cue from the title of his latest project - Every Thing Will Be Fine - a drama about trauma and redemption from the German director Wim Wenders.

One of three films at Berlin in which Franco appears, Every Thing Will Be Fine sees him play a writer who kills a child in a traffic accident and is forced to deal with the consequences.

"I did this movie at least six months after we finished filming The Interview," the actor told reporters before taking to the red carpet with co-star Charlotte Gainsbourg.

Violin conduct

Stradivarius violin

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) has unveiled some

intriguing research that suggests the sound of the famous violins created by Antonio Stradivari and his kin may have developed by accident.

The crucial factor here is the so-called "f-holes," the f-shaped openings on the body of the instrument through which air escapes.

Acoustic experts analysed hundreds of Stradivarius violins and concluded the shape and length of these apertures may have been more of a fluke or an error than the result of careful craftsmanship.

The results make fascinating reading, though don't fret if the more complicated bits leave you a touch bemused.

Puppet power

Newzoids promotional image

It's been almost 20 years since Spitting Image last subjected the great and the good to its acerbic brand of satirical latex ribbing.

High time, then, for another satirical puppet show to take up the mantle - a task that ITV's upcoming Newzoids appears happy to inherit.

Pop star Beyonce, London mayor Boris Johnson, Russian President Vladimir Putin, UKIP leader Nigel Farage, comedian Russell Brand and tennis player Andy Murray are to be some of its targets if this promotional image is to be trusted.

Jon Culshaw and Debra Stephenson are among the impressionists involved in a six-part series ITV says will take a "funny and biting look at the world of politics and celebrity".

More Jon Stewart reaction

  • Actor
    Hugh Laurie: "Devastated that Jon Stewart is standing down. The thin comic line is breached and the barbarians are upon us."
  • Broadcaster
    Ryan Seacrest: "Jon Stewart, thanks for all you've done to make us think, learn, and laugh."
  • Comedian
    Frankie Boyle: "Hopefully some of the stuff about Jon Stewart retiring will mention that we don't have anything like his show here because we're not allowed."
  • Ex-newspaper editor and CNN host
    Piers Morgan: "Jon Stewart quitting? Good timing. He was beginning to be eclipsed by John Oliver. This way, he can leave on a high."

Going, going, Jon

Jon Stewart

JK Rowling, as it happens, is one of many out there to be dismayed by the news Jon Stewart is to step down as host of Comedy Central's The Daily Show later this year.

"That's major news to get over your morning tea,"

tweeted the Harry Potter author, describing the programme as "one of my favourite TV programmes ever".

"My nights will never be the same!" sobbed actress

Eva Longoria, while former late night talk show host
Craig Ferguson congratulated him on "an extraordinary groundbreaking run".

The top tweet award, though, goes to US comedian

Patton Oswalt, who bemoaned the prospect of "navigating the poop-dipped train wreck of the 2016 election" without Stewart's assistance.

What, no Hogwarts?

Casual Vacancy

Speaking of best sellers being adapted for the screen, this weekend also brings us the first instalment of BBC One's adaptation of JK Rowling's The Casual Vacancy.

A contemporary drama about back-stabbing and double-dealing in a seemingly idyllic English village, it's a far cry from the magic and mystery of Rowling's Harry Potter series but is worth a look all the same.

We attended a preview of the first episode recently and stuck around for a Q&A with writer Sarah Phelps, director Jonny Campbell and members of its all-star cast.

Read what they had to say and
watch a clip from the show itself.

Verdict on Fifty Shades

Jamie Dornan and Dakota Johnson in Fifty Shades of Grey
Film company

It might have pinged your radar there's a film version of EL James's mummy-porn bonkbuster 50 Shades of Grey coming out, starring Northern Ireland's Jamie Dornan and directed by Sam Taylor-Johnson (formerly Taylor-Wood).

The film has its world premiere at the Berlin Film Festival later, and the first reviews have hit the news stands. So what do the critics make of this tale of an impressionable literature student who embarks on a no holds barred affair with a dashing and kinky billionaire?

"Accept this genuinely sexy, somewhat silly, relatively timid romantic drama on its own escapist terms and you'll find sufficient pleasure," writes

Screen Daily's Tim Grierson, who says the film "commendably pushes the envelope in terms of the amount of onscreen sexual explicitness seen in a major studio release".


Hollywood Reporter, meanwhile, praises Dornan and his US co-star Dakota Johnson for "breathing a crucial third dimension into cut-out characters" while complaining it's a "slow build to the smutty bits".

The film's out on Friday, so if you're not tied up this weekend you might want to check it out.

Read more on this story.

Uma rumours:

Neil Smith

Entertainment reporter

Many of this morning's newspapers are speculating on whether actress Uma Thurman has undergone cosmetic surgery following her somewhat startling appearance at a TV launch in New York.

Uma Thurman

The Telegraph remarked on her "alabaster-smooth complexion and tight smile", while the Daily Express suggested her new look "might not be entirely natural".

Comparisons are inevitably being made to Bridget Jones star Renee Zellweger, whose radically altered appearance also got tongues wagging last year.

I'm no expert, but it's fair to say she didn't look nearly as severe when I rubbed shoulders with her in 2013 at the first night of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory in the West End.

Uma Thurman in 2013
Getty Images

Peake practice

Tim Masters

Entertainment correspondent

Maxine Peake in How to Hold Your Breath
Manuel Harlan

Actress Maxine Peake says her latest play "feels like a doddle" after playing Hamlet last year.

The Bolton-born actress stars in How to Hold Your Breath, Zinnie Harris's new play about a woman whose one night stand with a man who says he's the devil has catastrophic consequences across Europe.

"It starts as a mild-mannered comedy and then swirls into a magical dark work," Peake told me after last night's opening at London's Royal Court.

It's her first play at the theatre for 12 years, and follows her role as Hamlet at Manchester's Royal Exchange last autumn.

Maxine Peake and Michael Shaeffer in How to Hold Your Breath
Manuel Harlan

"After doing three hours of Hamlet, this feels like a doddle because I still have another hour left," the former Dinnerladies star continued.

"Now I'm in the bar having a drink when I would have been having a cup of tea at the interval thinking, I've got 'To Be or Not To Be' now - I'd better get myself together!"

The Daily Mail weren't all that positive about Zinnie's piece, calling it a "weird little show" that's "

insistently pessimistic".

But the play got more love from

The Arts Desk, whose critic found this "dizzy satire of contemporary consumer capitalism... not only wonderfully imaginative, but also beautifully nimble".

Get involved:

Genevieve Hassan

Entertainment reporter

Are you devastated at Jon Stewart's departure from The Daily Show? How do you feel about Australia being allowed to compete at the Eurovision Song Contest this year? And will you be lining up for Fifty Shades of Grey this weekend?

Get in touch and let us know your thoughts about it or any other stories of the day. Tweet

@BBCNewsEnts or email

Good morning:

Neil Smith

Entertainment reporter

Another day, another live page bringing you all the news you'll ever need from the world of arts, entertainment, media and culture.

Today we'll be casting an eye over the first reviews of eagerly anticipated spankathon 50 Shades of Grey, a report from the first night of Maxine Peake's new play and reactions to Jon Stewart's

shock announcement that he is to step down as host of The Daily Show. Stick with us and we'll do our best to keep you updated and informed.