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  1. Dame Helen Mirren won't star in Netflix's Queen drama
  2. International Foreign Fiction Prize - shortlist announced
  3. Barry Manilow 'married manager last year' - reports

Live Reporting

By Ian Youngs and Neil Smith

All times stated are UK

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Over and out

Ian Youngs

Entertainment reporter

That's the end of today's rolling arts and entertainment news coverage. Come back tomorrow when we'll have a whole lot more.

Thanks for joining us.

UK round-up

Before we sign off for the day, here are a few stories from our BBC colleagues around the country:

  • A construction worker on the site of a new £49m arts centre at Bangor University in Gwynedd has described the project as "chaotic". [
    Read more]
  • A van driver has been stopped on the M25 for watching a Lord of the Rings DVD while travelling at about 60mph, according to Surrey Police. [
    Read more]
  • The waterfall used by Batman star Christian Bale to conceal the superhero's secret cave on screen can now be reached via a woodland trail. [
    Read more]

Welcome @TedRobbins55

"Actor... comedian... back from the dead."

So reads

the Twitter biog for Ted Robbins, who has just joined the social network. It is two months since he collapsed on stage during Phoenix Nights Live.

"Thanks for all the kind words," he wrote in his first tweet earlier.

"Hard to believe 2 months ago I was trending worldwide (although I'm not quite sure what that means!)"

Ted Robbins tweet

Swift discusses mother's cancer

Taylor and Andrea Swift
Getty Images

Taylor Swift

has posted a message telling her fans her mother has been diagnosed with cancer.

The pop star said she asked her mother, Andrea, to get checked out at Christmas and that the disease had been found.

"She wanted you to know because your parents may be too busy juggling everything they've got going on to go to the doctor," the singer wrote.

"Maybe you reminding them to go get checked for cancer could possibly lead to an early diagnosis and an easier battle... Or peace of mind in knowing that they're healthy and there's nothing to worry about.

"She wanted you to know why she may not be at as many shows this tour," the singer went on. "She's got an important battle to fight."

Nine to Five + 35

Grace and Frankie character posters

A trailer has been released for Grace and Frankie, a new Netflix sitcom that marks Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin's first collaboration since 1980 comedy Nine to Five.

The show, about two women who become friends after their husbands fall in love with each other, makes its debut on the streaming service on 8 May.

Sam Waterson, recently seen with Fonda in HBO's The Newsroom, and Martin Sheen, who appeared with Tomlin in The West Wing, play the husbands.

As is the custom nowadays, the show has also released a number of posters of its lead actors in character.

Watch the trailer on YouTube.

Elvis has left the gilding

Graceland director Kevin Kern next to Elvis Presley's gold suit

The gold suit worn by Elvis Presley on the cover of his 50,000,000 Fans Can't Be Wrong album is to be displayed at the

Elvis at The O2 exhibition in London.

Fans of The King, though, only have two months to see it as it will be returned to Graceland in two months time.

Graceland director Kevin Kern (pictured) was on hand earlier to see the garment arranged correctly before it goes on public display on Sunday.

Frank Ocean joins James Blake

James Blake and Frank Ocean
BBC/Getty Images

Mercury Prize winner James Blake and US hip-hop maestro Frank Ocean - both masters of the sublime groove - are playing three intimate, surprise UK shows together, starting in Bristol later.

Blake has announced a support act called BOYSDONTCRY - the name of Ocean's new album.

After the Lakota in Bristol, they play the Manchester Roadhouse on Friday and a secret venue in London on Sunday.

Good luck getting tickets.

Weak at Denise

Denise Van Outen

Denise Van Outen makes her first appearance on EastEnders later, having previously refused roles on the BBC soap.

So what changed her mind? The opportunity to play "a really fun character", the former Big Breakfast host told ITV's This Morning earlier.

Her character, Karin Smart, is a "strong woman who knows exactly what she wants, who is going into [Albert] Square to ruffle feathers", she said.

"If you're going to go into a soap, you want to go in and cause a little bit of trouble," the 40-year-old told Phillip Schofield and Christine Bleakley.

Watch the full interview.

Boyle to open Manchester venue

Danny Boyle
Getty Images

Oscar-winning film-maker Danny Boyle is to officially open Manchester's new arts venue, Home, next month.

Boyle, who masterminded the London 2012 opening ceremony, will cut the proverbial ribbon on the £25m theatre, gallery and cinema complex on 21 May.


Other launch events include a funfair-themed weekend to tie in with the world premiere of Simon Stephens' play The Funfair, and the European premiere of Michael Fassbender's new film Slow West.

Find out more on the Home website.

Polanski hearing adjourned

Roman Polanski

A hearing to decide whether to extradite film director Roman Polanski from Poland to the US over a 1977 child sex conviction has been adjourned until next month,

according to Reuters.

The film-maker, best known for Chinatown and Rosemary's Baby, admitted having sex with a 13-year-old girl in the US but fled to France in 1978 before he could be sentenced.

Judge Dariusz Mazur said the court in the Polish city of Krakow will ask for further documents from US and Swiss authorities.

The hearing has been adjourned until 22 May.

Tokyo tames Godzilla


Godzilla, the monster that terrorised Tokyo in numerous films, has now been welcomed into the city as a tourist attraction.

A giant Godzilla head has been erected on the office of the Toho film studio in the Japanese capital.

The fearsome monster was made a "special resident and tourism ambassador" at a ceremony by Kenichi Yoshizumi, mayor of Shinjuku ward,

according to the Associated Press.

"Godzilla is a character that is the pride of Japan," he said.

Toho, which made the first Godzilla film in 1954, is now shooting another big-screen adventure to be released next year.


Subtitling 'on target'

All of the UK's domestic TV channels either met or exceeded their 2014 targets for providing subtitles, signing and audio description on programmes, according to media watchdog Ofcom.

The broadcasting regulator began a regular audit of the quality of subtitles last year after viewers complained about inaccuracies and delays.

Read more on this story.

Forgotten no longer

King Charles II by Cornelius Johnson, 1639
National Portrait Gallery

You'd have to be a serious art buff to have heard of Cornelius Johnson, the forgotten court painter to Charles I whose work was overshadowed by that of the much better-known van Dyck.

This month, though, the National Portrait Gallery in London will seek to rectify that injustice by presenting the first ever display of works by the 17th Century artist.

According to curator Karen Hearn, Johnson's portraits - which include this 1639 rendition of the young Charles II - "have a delicacy, a dignity and a humanity that speak directly to present-day viewers."

Cornelius Johnson: Charles I's Forgotten Painter runs from 15 April to 13 September.

Fortitude gets second series

Sir Michael Gambon in Fortitude
Sky Atlantic

Sky Atlantic has green-lit a second series of its chilly Arctic drama Fortitude, both a critical and ratings success for the channel since its debut in January.

It's unclear, however, how many of this season's cast members will return for season two, "a brand new 10-part story" whose stars "will be announced at a later date".

Sir Michael Gambon (pictured), Stanley Tucci and Christopher Eccleston are just a few of the big-name actors to have risked frostbite so far in the service of Simon Donald's thriller.

We've also learned that a second series of ITV's drama Prey is in the pipeline, this time with Philip Glenister as the man on the run.

Read more on this story.

Ex-EastEnder gets new job

Brooke Kinsella

Former EastEnders actress Brooke Kinsella is swapping acting for work as a celebrity agent.

Kinsella played Kelly Taylor on the soap from 2001 to 2004. She subsequently became a campaigner against knife crime after her brother Ben was killed in 2008.

She will now be using her showbiz experience as an agent's assistant at

the Cole Kitchenn agency, which looks after stars including Katherine Jenkins, Mica Paris and EastEnders' Rita Simons.

Both sides now

Cezanne sketches

Joni Mitchell would appreciate this one - a two-sided Cezanne exhibit that allows visitors to see two of his original watercolours and the previously unseen sketches discovered on their reverse sides.

The catch? You have to travel to the Barnes Foundation in Philadelphia to inspect them.

Read more on this story.

Shakespeare on song

The 451st anniversary of the date we generally celebrate William Shakespeare's birth on falls on 26 April - a propitious date the Royal Shakespeare Company are marking with a birthday song competition.

Seven compositions have been selected from the more than 100 entries submitted, all containing Shakespearean verse set to music.

Prithee listen to the

shortlisted candidates and casteth your vote on which one strikes thou as worthiest.

If you're a fan of the RSC's work, you might also like to know that its current revival of Death of a Salesman is to transfer to London's West End in May.

Sir Antony Sher (pictured) will reprise his performance as Willy Loman in Gregory Doran's staging of Arthur Miller's classic.

Sir Antony Sher

Weiwei's Instagram takeover

Ai Weiwei

What do artists do all day? Now's your chance to find out.

Chinese artist Ai Weiwei is documenting his life

on Instagram for 24 hours, posting pictures of himself working, eating and even going to the bathroom.

Weiwei, who is currently unable to leave China, has taken over the Instagram account of Blenheim Palace in Oxfordshire.

The historic stately home is currently hosting an exhibition of his work

that runs until 26 April.

Barry Manilow marriage reports

Barry Manilow

According to reports in the US, Barry Manilow has married his manager, Garry Kief.

The National Enquirer and
People say the pair took part in a private ceremony at Manilow's California home last year.

The National Enquirer - which broke the story - says the duo "did not file the paperwork to formalise their union out of fear the big news would leak."

People also says the couple did not sign any official paperwork.

There has been no official confirmation and Manilow's spokesperson has declined to comment.

Ryan Gosling's mobile 'shame'

Ryan Gosling with Charlie Stayt

This is the moment Ryan Gosling had to apologise to the BBC's Charlie Stayt after his phone went off during an interview to promote his directorial debut.

"I'm ashamed," he sighs sheepishly, admitting he would have gone "just nuts" had the same thing happened on the set of his film, Lost River.

Recovering his composure, the Canadian star of Drive and The Notebook goes on to reveal he cast Matt Smith in his dark dystopian drama after seeing the actor in Doctor Who.

"Matt is giving these alien spaceships hell and he was so good and intense," he gushes. "He reminds me of an actor from the '70s."

Watch the full interview.

Hollywood round-up

Here are some of today's biggest stories from the movie world:

Daniel Radcliffe
Getty Images
  • Daniel Radcliffe (pictured) is in talks to star as the creator of Grand Theft Auto in a BBC Films production about a battle with a lawyer who wanted to ban video game violence, according to the
    Hollywood Reporter.
  • Hunger Games director Francis Lawrence and producer Nina Jacobson are making a movie version of Homer's The Odyssey,
    Deadline reports.
  • Disney is making a live-action version of Pinocchio with Peter Hedges, best known for writing What's Eating Gilbert Grape, About A Boy and Dan in Real Life,
    again via Deadline.
  • Director John Singleton has quit a biopic of Tupac Shakur, writing
    on Instagram that "the people involved aren't really respectful of the legacy of Tupac Amaru Shakur". He has
    reportedly been replaced by Carl Franklin.

'The talent is out there'

National Youth Dance Company in rehearsal

The National Youth Dance Company returns to Sadler's Wells in London on Friday with a new work created by the Belgian choreographer Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui.

The BBC's Judith Wells went to one of the rehearsals to meet the young dancers who'll be strutting their stuff, some for the first time, in Frame[d].

Read the feature.

Hole in One (Direction)

BBC Newsbeat

Radio 1 and 1Xtra

Niall Horan with Rory McIlroy

The problem with being a member of One Direction is that whenever you have a mishap in public, there is sure to be an army of photographers nearby to capture it.

You still have to feel for Niall Horan, though, after he stumbled while caddying for Rory McIlroy at a warm-up contest for the Masters Golf Tournament in Augusta.

Not only that, but he ended up hitting a golf ball into water when he finally got a chance to take a shot himself.

"Any other day I would have found the green but there's a lot of pressure out there," the 21-year-old said afterwards.

Read the full story.

Foreign Fiction Prize shortlist

Haruki Murakami

The Independent Foreign Fiction Prize, a £10,000 award given to books that have been translated into English, celebrates its 25th anniversary this year.

Six novels have made the 2015 shortlist, including one by Japanese literary heavyweight Haruki Murakami (pictured) and Belgian author Erwin Mortier, who writes in Dutch.

Two German authors, a Colombian and one from Equatorial Guinea are also in contention for the prize, to be awarded in London on 27 May.

Here is this year's shortlist:

  • By Night the Mountain Burns by Juan Tomas Avila Laurel, translated from the Spanish by Jethro Soutar
  • Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage by Haruki Murakami, translated from the Japanese by Philip Gabriel
  • The End of Days by Jenny Erpenbeck, translated from the German by Susan Bernofsky
  • F by Daniel Kehlmann, translated from the German by Carol Brown Janeway
  • In the Beginning Was the Sea by Tomas Gonzalez, translated from the Spanish by Frank Wynne
  • While the Gods Were Sleeping by Erwin Mortier translated from the Dutch by Paul Vincent

Read more on this story.

Culture joins election campaign

Culture Debate

Avid followers of politics and the arts last night had the chance to hear what the UK's main political parties have planned for culture after the general election.

A culture debate, hosted by BBC Arts at the Royal Opera House in London, featured the culture spokespersons from the Conservatives, Labour, the Liberal Democrats, UKIP and the Greens.

Bold new policies were thin on the ground, however, with the participants joking about how boring it was that they agreed with each other so much.

But the debate livened up when an exasperated audience got involved, with comments about problems with diversity, regional imbalances and cuts to the arts in education.

Watch the debate on YouTube or read a round-up by
The New Statesman.

Hudgens falls flat on Broadway

Vanessa Hudgens (centre) at the Gigi opening night
Getty Images

High School Musical star Vanessa Hudgens has made her Broadway debut in Gigi, a revival of the classic Lerner and Loewe musical so famously filmed in 1958 with Leslie Caron.

The critics, alas, haven't been quite so welcoming to its latest incarnation, which had its opening night on Wednesday.

Variety's reviewer called the show "

antiseptic [and] ill-conceived", while the Hollywood Reporter's said it was "
pretty but charm-deficient".

The New York Times' critic was no less withering about Hudgens' performance, saying her "emotionally vacant" performance "

flattens into two dimensions, at most".

"The heroine first introduced by Colette in a 1944 novella is showing signs of age, and self-consciousness,"

wrote Elysa Gardner in USA Today.

Gigi continues at New York's Neil Simon theatre.

Kurt Cobain's daughter speaks

Rolling Stone

Frances Bean and Courtney Love

Frances Bean Cobain has spoken about her father, the late Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain, for what Rolling Stone magazine says is the very first time.

Its interview coincides with an HBO documentary about the singer, Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck, on which the 22-year-old (pictured with mother Courtney Love) acted as an executive producer.

Bean Cobain discusses how her father's suicide 21 years ago inspired people to turn him into "St Kurt" and reveals she is not a huge fan of his band.

"I don't really like Nirvana that much," she says. "I'm more into Mercury Rev, Oasis, Brian Jonestown Massacre."

Read the full interview and
find out more about the new documentary.

Suicide Squad, assemble!


Suicide Squad cast photo
David Ayer/Twitter

The stars of Suicide Squad, Warner Brothers' upcoming supervillain ensemble piece, got together for a script read this week.

Writer-director David Ayer captured the moment and has posted

a cast photo on Twitter.

Will Smith, Margot Robbie and, er, Cara Delevingne play nefarious characters from the DC Comics stable who are offered amnesty if they agree to work for the government.

The film, which also stars Jared Leto (not pictured) as The Joker, is set for release in August 2016.

Mirren's 'moving on'

Dame Helen Mirren in The Audience
Johan Persson

Dame Helen Mirren has ruled out playing the role of the Queen in Netflix's regal drama The Crown.

The show will be based on stage play The Audience, in which Dame Helen has appeared in both the West End and on Broadway (above).

When asked whether she would star in The Crown, however, she told BBC Radio 4's Front Row: "No I'm not. Of course I'm not. We must all move on. We must all move on, and me most of all."

The actress said she had not been approached by writer Peter Morgan, director Stephen Daldry or the producers.

"It was a compliment that they didn't ask me, honestly, because they knew that would not be the right thing to do."

Dame Helen, of course, won an Oscar for playing the Queen on film.

Read more on this story and
listen to Front Row's interview.

Get involved

Neil Smith

Arts reporter

Got something to say or something to share? It really couldn't be simpler. Get in touch by tweeting

@BBCNewsEnts or sending us an email at

Good morning

Ian Youngs

Entertainment reporter

Welcome to Thursday's live coverage of all the entertainment and arts news you need to know.

Dame Helen Mirren has been talking about Netflix's new regal drama The Crown, Frances Bean has been talking about her father Kurt Cobain, and the first reviews of Vanessa Hudgens' Broadway debut in Gigi are out.

Stay tuned for all that and everything else that breaks throughout the day.