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  1. Fourth Plinth sculpture unveiled
  2. Ticket websites announce reforms
  3. Australia reveals Eurovision entry

Live Reporting

By Mark Savage and Neil Smith

All times stated are UK

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Adieu Adieu, to yieu and yieu and yieu:

Neil Smith

Arts reporter

Dame Julie Andrews beside a Sound of Music poster
Getty Images

We started today's live coverage with a Rodgers and Hammerstein song and we'll sign off with another. But we'll be back on Friday with lots more news from the world of entertainment, media, arts and culture. Join us then!

Fergus(on) sings the blues

Rebecca Ferguson
Getty Images

Rebecca Ferguson has been talking to us about Lady Sings the Blues, her Billie Holiday cover album.

She says she poured herself into the songs after a "year of loss and sadness" - during which her partner left her when she discovered she was pregnant with her third child.

But the star says she hasn't abandoned writing her own material forever.

"I wrote one track recently and, I won't say the name, but quite a big pop star might be singing it on her next album," she told us.

"So I have still been writing but it's for other people this year, then next year I'll start writing for my own album."

Read the full interview here.

Good grief

Peanuts Movie character posters
Film company

Blue Sky, the makers of the Ice Age films, have released character posters of some old favourites who are returning to the big screen later this year.

Yes, we're talking about Snoopy (and Woodstock!), Lucy and Charlie Brown - the stars of both Charles M Schulz's much-loved Peanuts strip and the all-new Peanuts Movie that's opening in the US in November.

UK audiences will have to wait a little bit longer, as Steve Martino's cartoon caper doesn't arrive here until Christmas.

There's a fourth poster for Lucy's little brother Linus, which the completists among you

can check out here.

Man! I feel like some touring

Shania Twain

Shania Twain is going on the road - for what she says will be the last time.

"This is my last tour so I'm going to make the most of it," said the country star. "I want to go out with a bang."

Kicking off in June in Seattle, the Rock This Country tour will see her play 48 dates across the US and Canada and include two concerts in London... in Ontario.

Twain, 49, won't be giving up the music business, promising to release new material once the tour is done.

Read the full story.

From Rev to le Carre

Olivia Colman and Tom Hollander in Rev

Olivia Colman and Tom Hollander are to join Hugh Laurie and Tom Hiddleston in the new BBC adaptation of John le Carre's The Night Manager

that we reported on last year.

Described as "a complex story of modern criminality", the drama tells of a former British soldier (Hiddleston) who is recruited to "infiltrate the inner circle" of Laurie's deadly arms dealer.

Broadchurch star Colman plays an intelligence operative named Burr, while her Rev co-star Hollander plays an associate of Laurie's called Corcoran.

The six-part series will begin filming this spring and be broadcast next year.

Walliams in the air

David Walliams

David Walliams is on the move today, visiting six schools across the UK as part of this year's

World Book Day celebrations.

The comedian insisted on Wednesday the "whirlwind" helicopter tour would go ahead as planned, despite reports he has separated from his wife Lara Stone.

The 43-year-author of Mr Stink, Gangsta Granny and other best-selling titles is spending the day delighting schoolchildren in Bristol, Cardiff and four other cities.

As we reported earlier, Walliams will also be seen in a Comic Relief edition of

The Graham Norton Show on BBC One on Friday.

MTV Movie Awards

Fault in Our Stars

The Fault in Our Stars (pictured), Guardians of the Galaxy and Bad Neighbours lead the pack at this year's MTV Movie Awards, having picked up seven nominations each.

All three are among the eight titles up for best film, with American Sniper, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1, Gone Girl, Boyhood, Whiplash and Selma also in the running.

The awards also have some more irreverent categories, among them "best shirtless performance". Zac Efron and Channing Tatum are among the nominees, as is model and The Other Woman star Kate Upton.

There are also a couple of other categories that we will spare your blushes by not mentioning.

See for yourself here.

'Taken out of context':

BBC Newsbeat

Radio 1 and 1Xtra

Russell Tovey in Banished

On Wednesday we published

a report from the set of Banished, Jimmy McGovern's new drama about the first British convicts to be transported to Australia.

Being Human's Russell Tovey appears in the series and has also been talking to Radio 1's Newsbeat about his role as petty criminal James Freeman.

He also spoke about how it felt to be criticised for

an interview in The Guardian in which he appeared to suggest he "could have been really effeminate" had he gone to stage school.

"It's been a bit heartbreaking to be taken out of context," he told the BBC's Steve Holden. "It was never any intention of mine [to cause controversy]."

Read the full story.

DiCaprio documentaries

Leonardo DiCaprio

Streaming service Netflix is teaming up with Leonardo DiCaprio for a series of environmental documentaries, following the Oscar-nominated Virunga, which he co-produced.

The actor's production company, Appian Way, has signed a deal to produce one documentary and a series, both of them focusing on the environment and conservation.

Virunga told the story of the rare mountain gorillas of the Democratic Republic of Congo and the rangers who protect them.

"This partnership is a natural extension of our incredible relationship with Leo," said Ted Sarandos, Netflix's chief content officer.

Right Guy for the job?

Guy Sebastian

So, is Guy Sebastian the right person to

represent Australia at the Eurovision Song Contest?

We asked music critic Bernard Zuel from Australia's Fairfax Media, who says the singer "would seem the perfect choice".

"Having moved from Christian pop and soft R&B through soul revival and slightly grittier R&B to EDM-pop, he could be called versatile or opportunistic," he said.

"His background in TV talent shows saw him, like others who emerged from Idol and later Australia's Got Talent and The Voice, sell consistently but excluded from the major, peer-voted music awards for a decade until attitudes softened.

"What is interesting now is that, having established himself as a genuine pop star within the industry as well as with the public, he would return to a populist competition and risk potential ridicule."

News round-up

Here are some of the other arts and entertainment stories we've been reporting on today.

  • Actress and EastEnders fan June Whitfield says she is "
    very excited" to be making a one-off appearance on the BBC One soap in May.
  • The Smithsonian in Washington has banned the use of
    selfie sticks, calling the decision "a preventive measure to protect visitors and objects".
  • One Direction member Liam Payne has responded to claims he has a
    problem with alcohol, saying he does not "drink any more than a uni[versity] student".
  • Construction work has begun on building the Victoria and Albert's £80m
    museum of design in Dundee, expected to open in 2018.

Flying without wings

Mark"us" Feehily
Getty Images

Remember Mark Feehily from Westlife? Well, he's rebranded himself "Markus" and launched a solo career.

It's somewhat unexpected because, just two months ago, he was

working in a catering van selling coffee and crepes to festival-goers.

But two months is a long time in showbusiness. Last night he sold out a show at London's Scala, playing songs from his new album as well as a solo rendition of Westlife's signature hit You Raise Me Up.

One observer called the show "

surprisingly good" - but you can make your own mind up, by listening to his debut single Love is a Drug.

The video just popped up on YouTube (and it's surprisingly good).

Fairy stardust

Maxine Peake
Jonty Wilde

We love this picture of Maxine Peake in character as The Skriker, a shape-shifting fairy who haunts two sisters.

Caryl Churchill's play is being revived for this year's Manchester International Festival, an increasingly noteworthy event in the British cultural calendar that famously saw Sir Kenneth Branagh play Macbeth two years ago.

The Skriker sees Peake - currently on stage in London in How to Hold Your Breath - reunite with director Sarah Frankcom, with whom she worked on the Royal Exchange Manchester's

recent production of Hamlet.

The line-up for this year's event is being announced at one of the old Granada studios in Manchester, from where our reporter Ian Youngs says:

"Turner Prize-winning artist Douglas Gordon has just been on stage, first giving festival director Alex Poots lots of kisses on the lips and then apparently talking to his mum on the phone.

"What he was supposed to be doing was announcing his project, Neck of the Woods, a performance about wolves starring Charlotte Rampling.

"That just about sums up the festival's weird and wonderful approach."

Read more on this story.

Eurovision latest

Getty Images

It's been announced that former Australian Idol winner Guy Sebastian

will represent Australia when the country makes its special one-off appearance at this year's Eurovision Song Contest.

The UK will announce its entry on Saturday, while Germany will unveil its hopeful later in the national final of Unser Song fur Osterreich (Our Song for Austria).

Greece, meanwhile, has chosen Maria-Eleni Kyriakou to fly its flag at the competition in Vienna this May.

But what of Spain, we hear you ask? Well, they've selected a song called

Amanecer - break of day in English - to be performed by the popular female artist Edurne (pictured).

Your pop-cereal puns

When we asked for your band name/breakfast cereal puns, we didn't anticipate such a massive response! Here are some of the best so far.

All of the above will feature on a forthcoming episode of Snap Crackle and Top of the Pops (thank you, Cory Carver-Grenside).

Keep your suggestions coming on or tweet us on


All hail the king:

Ian Youngs

Arts reporter

Barrie Rutter as King Lear
Nobby Clark

Northern Broadsides' new production of King Lear opened on Wednesday, starring its artistic director Barrie Rutter in the title role.

In a nice touch, the robed Rutter greeted the audience personally as they filed into the company's atmospheric basement theatre in Halifax.

Rutter is directed by Jonathan Miller who,

according to The Stage, brings out "every last ounce of his talent". The actor, says its reviewer, "is at his very best here, as if the part were made for him".

After Halifax the show tours the UK. Here's what Rutter

had to say about the role when we met him last month.


Hall and Oates
Getty Images

Eighties pop gentlemen Daryl Hall and John Oates are taking legal action - over a box of cereal.

The band are suing the Brooklyn-based "artisanal granola" company Early Bird, who produce a range of granola called Haulin' Oats.

We imagine they told their lawyers: "We can't go for that, no - no can do."

This momentous trademark case has got us thinking about further potential pop music/breakfast cereal mash-ups. Our favourites so far include:

  • Shredded Wheatus
  • Sugar Puffs Daddy
  • Damon All-bran

Any more? Send your suggestions to or tweet us on


Dating the Walliams way

Jennifer Saunders, David Walliams and Cheryl Fernandez-Versini

Comedian David Walliams - who has reportedly split from his wife Lara Stone - has revealed he was turned down by every member of Girls Aloud when he was still a single man.

Speaking on a Comic Relief edition of The Graham Norton Show, he said: "When Girls Aloud came along I met Louis Walsh and asked him if any of the girls were single and he said he would ask.

"I thought he would do that discreetly, but he called a meeting of all of them and asked, 'Do any of you want to go out with David Walliams?'

"It was a No. And that was the end of that."

The episode, taped before reports of Walliams' marital problems were published, airs on BBC One on Friday. Ab Fab creator Jennifer Saunders and former Girl Aloud Cheryl Fernandez-Versini are also on the sofa.

The Duchess of Downton

Downton Abbey cast photo

Well, this one will have Carter in a right two and eight - the news that the Duchess of Cambridge is to visit the set of ITV's Downton Abbey.

The Duchess will meet Hugh Bonneville, Dame Maggie Smith and screenwriter Julian Fellowes as part of her 12 March visit to Ealing Studios in west London.

She will also watch a take of a scene being filmed, unveil a plaque and meet crew members working on the sixth series of the popular period drama.

Here's hoping she gets more out of them than Prince William got from Paddington

during their encounter this week in Shanghai. We hear the bear did nothing but wave.

'Stand and fight!'

Frame from Avengers: Age of Ultron trailer

Slo-mo leaping. ScarJo on a motor bike. And a mysterious pair of eyes that will no doubt have every comic book aficionado salivating in anticipation.

All this and more can be found in the latest trailer for Avengers: Age of Ultron, the latest superhero team-up film from the all-conquering Marvel stable.

"I was designed to save the world," says the titular Ultron, a robot blessed with the silky tones of The Blacklist's James Spader. The robot goes on to declaim that there is "only one path to peace" - the Avengers' extinction.

Them, sir, are fighting words. And fighting is one thing the 23 April release would appear to have in spades, if this all-action promo is to be trusted.

Watch the trailer on YouTube.

Binoche's latest challenge

Juliette Binoche with Obi Abili (left) and Patrick O'Kane in Antigone

French actress Juliette Binoche has been talking about her latest stage outing - a modern version of the Greek tragedy Antigone that opened on Wednesday at the Barbican in London.

The 50-year-old said it was both "tiring and frightening" to portray Sophocles' strong-willed heroine, not least because the production requires her to act in English.

"I'm not a native English speaker but I like challenges," the Oscar-winning star of The English Patient and Godzilla

told the BBC's Emma North.

The show runs until 28 March and is all sold out. The good news, though, is that it's being filmed for broadcast on BBC Four later this year.

'Memento mori':

Tim Masters

Entertainment correspondent

Boris Johnson at the Gift Horse unveiling

London mayor Boris Johnson has been offering his thoughts on the new Fourth Plinth sculpture, describing it as "a startlingly original comment on the relationship between art and commerce".

"As Hans Haacke's take on the equestrian statue trots into Trafalgar Square, it brings another reason for Londoners and tourists to visit this cultural landmark," he said.

Boris Johnson at the Gift Horse unveiling

"There will be those that say this undeniably unfed, emaciated quadruped is a warning, a memento mori, a symbol of the pursuit of austerity and the George Osborne diet approach to life," said Johnson as he unveiled the artwork.

"But I say no, my friends. This wonderful sculpture stands for the horse in all its incarnations. In these fabulous tubular structures, we see symbolised the vital infrastructure, the tube, that must run beneath the surface of any great and beautiful city."

Author Howard Jacobson, who was walking through Trafalgar Square at the time of the unveiling, described Gift Horse as "a good conceit", saying he was "very pleased" it had replaced the previous sculpture,

a giant blue cockerel.

"I'm for it," said the Booker winner of Haacke's piece. "But I might have changed my mind by the end of the weekend."

Read more on this story.

Gilmour on tour

David Gilmour

It's been announced that Pink Floyd guitarist David Gilmour is to tour the UK and Europe for the first time in nine years.

The tour, timed to coincide with the release of his new solo album, will include three consecutive nights at the Royal Albert Hall in London.

It kicks off on 12 September at Arena Pula, a historic Roman amphitheatre in Croatia, and will also take the 68-year-old to Italy, France and Germany.

Last year Gilmour said the Floyd's most recent release, The Endless River, would be "the last thing" to come from the hugely influential rock band.

Slam dunk the funk

Prince in his High School basketball team
Star Tribune

A picture of Prince during his high school basketball career has been

unearthed by St Paul Star Tribune reporter Libor Jany.

The photo, taken from a Bryant Junior High School yearbook, was originally published in 1984 as part of a series on the Minneapolis musician, leading up to the release of Purple Rain.

The original reporter, Jon Bream, has written a short article about the photo - which has gone viral on Twitter.

He also reveals how, during his research in 1984, he discovered Prince had been lying about his age.

Read the full story.

From Crawley to Beastly

Downton Abbey's Dan Stevens is to play the Beast in Disney's live-action remake of Beauty and the Beast,

it has been confirmed.

First to congratulate him was Emma Watson, already cast as Belle in the forthcoming film.

"Could not be more happy,"

she tweeted. "Welcome aboard."

Bill Condon, director of the last two Twilight films, will be behind the camera on the 2016 release.

Emma Watson tweet
Emma Watson / Twitter

Gift Horse unwrapped:

Tim Masters

Entertainment correspondent

Gift horse

The 10th sculpture on the vacant Fourth Plinth of Trafalgar Square has just been unveiled by London mayor Boris Johnson.

It's called Gift Horse - a bronze, skeletal, rider-less horse with an electronic ribbon tied to its leg displaying live prices from the London Stock Exchange.

German artist Hans Haacke based his work on an engraving in George Stubbs' 1766 work The Anatomy of a Horse.

The new statue - said to be a comment on the link between power, money and history - replaces the giant ultramarine blue cockerel that was perched in this location for 18 months.

Comic Relief trailer

Daniel Craig in the Red Nose Day trailer

The official trailer for Red Nose Day has just popped up, giving us a sneak peak at sketches featuring Miranda Hart, Stephen Fry, The Vicar of Dibley and Professor Stephen Hawking.

Daniel Craig also turns up - although it seems Bond has swapped his red nose for a black eye.

Comic Relief - Face the Funny broadcasts live from the London Palladium on 13 March from 19:00 GMT.

Watch the trailer on YouTube.

Under wraps:

Tim Masters

Entertainment correspondent

Gift horse

We already know what

the latest work for the fourth plinth in Trafalgar Square will look like.

But there's still an air of anticipation in central London as the full-size version of Hans Haacke's Gift Horse sculpture gets ready to be unveiled this morning.

Bruce on Broadway

Bruce Willis
Getty Images

He defeated terrorists in the Die Hard films, outsmarted killers in Pulp Fiction and (spoiler alert) blew up an asteroid in Armageddon.

Now Bruce Willis is trying his luck against what could be his most formidable adversary to date - New York's theatre critics.

It's been announced that the 59-year-old is to make his Broadway debut in the autumn in a stage version of Stephen King's Misery, as a famous writer held hostage by his "number one fan".

The novel, of course, is best known for spawning the hit 1990 film that won Kathy Bates an Oscar for her performance as the deranged Annie Wilkes.

Annie in this instance will be played by Elizabeth Marvel, an actress whom House of Cards binge-watchers will know as presidential candidate Heather Dunbar in the latest season of Kevin Spacey's political saga.

A Hollywood star turns his back on movies to tread the boards? And here were we thinking Birdman was a satire.

Read more on this story.

She's a Barbie girl:


Diablo Cody and a Barbie doll
Getty Images

Diablo Cody (above left, in case you were wondering) has been hired to rewrite the script for Sony's live-action Barbie movie.

Fans of the doll might be taken aback. Cody is best known for the sassy comedy Juno, a film about an unwanted teen pregnancy that won her a Bafta.

Producer Walter Parkes, though, says she's the perfect choice.

"Diablo's unconventionality is just what Barbie needs," he said. "It signals we're going for a legitimately contemporary tone."

Read the full story.

The day the music died

Buddy Holly gravestone
Hulton Archive

According to Don McLean's American Pie, it was the day the music died - Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and "Big Bopper" Jiles P Richardson were all killed in a plane crash shortly after taking off from Iowa on 3 February, 1959.

More than 56 years on, US transport safety experts are considering a petition to reopen their investigation into the crash and see if pilot weather and/or inaccurate weather information was really to blame.

The pilot, 21-year-old Roger Peterson, also died on that fateful night.

That's not a typo on Holly's gravestone by the way. The singer was born Charles Holley but lost the 'e' when Decca Records misspelt his surname on his recording contract.

Read more on this story.

Pharrell takes the stand

Pharrell Williams arrives at court

Pharrell Williams wasn't very happy when he testified at the Blurred Lines copyright trial on Wednesday.

"This is the last place I want to be," he told a court in Los Angeles.

The star is being sued by Marvin Gaye's children, who claim Blurred Lines (which Pharrell co-wrote with Robin Thicke) was copied from Gaye's hit Got to Give It Up.

Pharrell acknowledged his song captured the "feel" of the soul classic, but denied any intention to plagiarise it.

"I must have been channelling that feeling, that late-'70s feeling," he said.

It emerged this week that Thicke and Williams

made more than $5m (£3.26m) each from Blurred Lines, which spent five weeks at number one in the UK singles chart in 2013.

Read more on this story.

Ticket transparency

Celtic fan with sign
Getty Images

We start off with news from our Business team that four leading secondary ticket-selling websites have agreed to give consumers

clearer information about tickets they sell on.

Following pressure from the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), Stubhub, Seatwave, Viagogo and Get Me In have promised to tell buyers the original cost of the ticket, what additional charges are involved and other information that was previously withheld.

One thing that won't be divulged, though, is the name of the original ticket-buyer - something several music acts and sporting bodies have been calling for.

You may have been disappointed yourself by tickets you've bought on good faith. Let us know your thoughts on how the new measures will and should work.

Get in contact:

Mark Savage

Entertainment reporter

Got something you want to say or let us know about? Email us at or tweet us


Oh what a beautiful morning...

Neil Smith

Arts reporter

...oh what a beautiful day. We've got a wonderful feeling that lots of entertainment and arts stories are coming your way.

Okay, so it needs a little work. Stick with us, though, and we'll make sure you'll be on song with everything that's happening in the world of entertainment, media, arts and culture.