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  1. Oscar ratings take a dive
  2. Taylor Swift and Ed Sheeran visit BBC
  3. Imitation Game nominated for Empire Awards

Live Reporting

By Neil Smith and Mark Savage

All times stated are UK

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It's Bing emotional

Neil Smith

Entertainment reporter

That's all we have time for this afternoon, but make sure you join us again tomorrow as we bring you news on the Royal Television Society's Programme Awards and start the countdown to this year's Brits.

As Chandler Bing (Matthew Perry) used to say on Friends, could we be any more excited?

Matthew Perry in Friends
Getty Images

Pee-wee comeback gets title

Paul Reubens as Pee-wee Herman
Getty Images

It was announced last year that internet streaming service Netflix was bankrolling

a new vehicle for Paul Reubens' Pee-wee Herman character.

Produced by Judd Apatow and directed by John Lee, the film now has a title - Pee-wee's Big Holiday.

It's a throwback of sorts to the first time Reubens' child-like alter ego appeared on the big screen - in Tim Burton's 1985 effort Pee-wee's Big Adventure.

"We are delighted by the opportunity to introduce such a beloved character to a new generation," said Netflix exec Ted Sarandos.

Filming is expected to begin next month.

You can read the full story here.

Export bar for photo album

Photographs by Oscar Rejlander

A temporary export bar has been placed on a rare album of images by 19th Century photographer Oscar Rejlander to stop it leaving the country.

The album, which contains 70 photographs by the Swedish native, could go overseas unless a UK buyer can be found to match the £82,600 auction price.

Born in 1813, Rejlander settled in England in the 1840s and became known as "the father of art photography". He also provided illustrations for Charles Darwin's The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals, published three years before Rejlander's death in 1875.

Culture Minister Ed Vaizey said the "remarkable compilation of images" - two of which can be seen above - would be "a tremendous addition to the nation's photographic archive."

The export bar will stay in place until 23 April, although it could be extended until July if a "serious" attempt to raise the necessary funds is made.

Car trouble at the National?

Ralph Fiennes and friend
Juergen Teller

Stars have been known to be temperamental on occasion. But when the star's a car, you'd think things would go more smoothly.

Not at the National Theatre, where a scene involving a vintage Jaguar in its new production of Bernard Shaw's Man and Superman has been proving as unpredictable as any Hollywood diva.

Monday night's preview performance was delayed for about 15 minutes when the vehicle in question couldn't be driven off stage by Ralph Fiennes (pictured) - the result, we are told, of a scenery malfunction.

Hopefully, whatever's wrong will be fixed before

Simon Godwin's production - already sold out, in case you were wondering - has its official opening night on Wednesday.

Brandon's back

The Killers' frontman Brandon Flowers seems to have cracked out his favourite felt-tip pen to announce a release date for his second solo album, The Desired Effect.

In what appears to be a handwritten post

on his website, the singer reveals the follow-up to his 2010 album Flamingo will be out on 18 May.

Brandon Flowers announcement
Brandon Flowers

It reads: "May 18th, 2015, we will finally achieve The Desired Effect. Ariel [Rechtshaid, Flowers' producer] and I have been collaborating in the studio, working twogether [sic] in the spirit of conversation, contention, and at long last, sweet contrition.

"No one has yet seen or heard the change. But soon we all will."

Flowers has also posted a short teaser video featuring a disembodied hand, reminiscent of Thing from The Addams Family.

Brandon Flowers video still
Brandon Flowers

Rumer has it

Rumer Willis
Getty Images

Think Strictly Come Dancing is getting long in the tooth? The US equivalent, Dancing with the Stars, is already up to series 20, thanks to a twice-yearly broadcasting schedule.

The line-up for the next season has just been announced on venerable breakfast show Good Morning America, with Rumer Willis (pictured), daughter of Bruce Willis and Demi Moore, among the sequinned wannabes.

Other contestants include Grammy-winner Patti LaBelle, 14-year-old Hunger Games star Willow Shields, and former Olympic gymnast Nastia Liukin.

You can see the complete line-up here.

Pick up a Penguin?

Edgar Allan Poe
Getty Images

Penguin Books is 80 years old this year and has come up with a novel (ho ho) way of marking its anniversary.

It's called

Little Black Classics, a series of 80 short titles that will each go on sale for £0.80. Jane Austen, DH Lawrence and Edgar Allan Poe (pictured) are among the authors featured.

"Our hope is that everyone looking at these books will notice and enjoy quite different things, but also that they will trust the series enough to try things they have never heard of," said Penguin's Simon Winder.

The results are sure to be fun to flipper through, especially if you have time to krill.

Poppy power

Poppies installation

Honours have been given to the creators of the crimson sea of poppies that surrounded the Tower of London to commemorate the fallen servicemen of World War One last year.

Sculptor Paul Cummins, below, and theatre designer Tom Piper received MBEs from the Duke of Cambridge at Buckingham Palace.

Public reaction to the Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red installation was huge, with the 888,246 poppies attracting millions of visitors.

Artist Paul Cummins

DJs without decks

Norman Cook aka Fatboy Slim
Press release

Dance music has become one of the most popular - and lucrative - art forms of the last 20 years, with Scottish DJ and producer Calvin Harris paid an eye-popping $66m (£42.7m) last year.

Now a new exhibition will go behind the scenes with the genre's biggest stars - from Fatboy Slim (pictured above) to Boy George and Annie Mac (below).

Boy George
Press release

Flipside, a photography exhibition by Jessica Van Der Weert, will open at the

Hoxton Gallery in London on 27 February before travelling the world. A stop-off in Ibiza is included, naturally.

Annie Mac
Press release

Mixed reviews for Closer

Rufus Sewell in Closer
Johan Persson

A London revival of Patrick Marber's much-praised 1997 play Closer has received mixed reviews from the critics, with one saying it is "as powerful and pertinent as ever" and another dismissing it as "dated... guff".

Filmed in 2004 with Jude Law, Julia Roberts and Natalie Portman, the play tells of two couples who swap partners in what

The Guardian's Michael Billington calls "an alarmingly durable... daisy-chain of love and lust".

The Daily Mail's Quentin Letts saw it differently, though, expressing little appreciation for "the bed habits of metropolitan trendies from 18 years ago"

in his two-star review.

Rufus Sewell heads the four-strong cast of this latest production,

which runs at the Donmar Warehouse until 4 April.

Tolstoy story

Principal photography has begun on BBC One's new adaptation of War and Peace, an epic six-parter to be filmed on location in Russia, Latvia and Lithuania.

Written by Andrew Davies, the latest version of Tolstoy's novel has attracted a suitably epic cast that includes Jim Broadbent, Gillian Anderson, Ken Stott and Paul Dano.

Stephen Rea, Greta Scacchi, Rebecca Front and Kenneth Cranham will also be seen in the drama when it arrives on our screens later this year.

It's not the first time the Beeb has tackled this formidable door-stopper, having previously dramatised it in the early 1970s with Anthony Hopkins, pictured below right in a fetching fur hat, as central character Pierre Bezukhov.

Anthony Hopkins (right) with other cast members in War and Peace

Bond in Rome

Daniel Craig shooting Spectre in Rome

Production on the new James Bond film is continuing in Rome, despite

reports that the Eternal City's noisy cobblestones are making it hard for dialogue to be recorded clearly inside Bond's Aston Martin.

Last week saw a spectacular car chase filmed on the banks of the Tiber, while the shot above, taken on Monday, suggests Daniel Craig and co are burning the midnight oil to keep Spectre on schedule.

Craig himself can be spotted looking dapper in a dark suit amid a sea of crew members in hi-vis jackets. Morocco is the next stop for the globe-trotting production once the film's Rome scenes are in the can.

New Tricks bids farewell

Nicholas Lyndhurst, Dennis Waterman, Tamzin Outhwaite and Denis Lawson in New Tricks

BBC One detective drama New Tricks is ending after 12 series, the last of which will be on our screens in the summer.

"We are incredibly proud of New Tricks," said Charlotte Moore, controller of BBC One and Ben Stephenson, controller of BBC Drama, as they thanked all involved.

"However, on BBC One it's important to make room for new series and continue to increase the range of drama on the channel."

The show's cast has featured such TV alumni as James Bolam, Amanda Redman and Larry Lamb as well as Nicholas Lyndhurst, Dennis Waterman, Tamzin Outhwaite and Denis Lawson, pictured above.

You can read the full story here.

American Horror Story actor dies

Ben Woolf

Ben Woolf, an actor on US TV series American Horror Story, has been remembered by his colleagues as "a tremendous professional and an incredibly kind person" following his death this week.

The 34-year-old, who played Meep in the recent Freak Show edition of the show, was hit by a car in Los Angeles on Thursday and died at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center on Monday.

Woolf, who also appeared in the first series of American Horror Story, was diagnosed with pituitary dwarfism when he was young, a condition that caused his bones to shrink.

The actor, who also worked as a pre-school teacher, said

in an interview last year he wanted to be successful "in whatever I choose to be doing".

Eurovision news

Molly Smitten-Downes

It's just been confirmed that the UK's entry for the 2015 Eurovision Song Contest will be revealed on 7 March, straight after The Voice on BBC One.

According to Guy Freeman, BBC editor special events, the selection process is complete and our entry has now been chosen.

Here's hoping whoever it is fares better than Molly Smitten-Downes (pictured), whose self-penned Children of the Revolution track came 17th at last year's event.

This year's final takes place in Vienna, Austria on 23 May and will see that noted European country Australia compete for the first time.

To boldly go...

Did you hear about the man who claimed to be Star Trek's Jean-Luc Picard when he was stopped by police for urinating in the street?

No, it's not a joke but an actual retort from Kenneth Clinton, a 49-year-old Belfast man who received a 12-month conditional discharge last week for indecent behaviour and assault.

Clinton later apologised for his conduct, blaming it on alcohol. Too much Romulan ale, perhaps?

You can read the full story here.

McGovern weighs in on 'posh actors'

Radio Times

Jimmy McGovern
Getty Images

Olivia Colman's career, of course, spans far further than Broadchurch. One of her earlier successes, for example, was BBC One's Accused, the Jimmy McGovern legal drama that won her one of her three Baftas in 2013.

McGovern, though, is not a happy man, having sounded off to the Radio Times about how hard he's finding it to find actors to play the kind of working-class roles in which he specialises.

"I'm constantly looking round for actors who can convincingly portray working-class men,"

gripes the Cracker creator. "They're getting fewer and fewer because it's only the posh ones who can afford to go into acting."

The "posh actor" debate is one sure to keep rumbling on, especially with old Etonian

Eddie Redmayne winning an Oscar this weekend.

Banished, McGovern's new historical drama about the establishment of Britain's first penal colony in Australia, starts on BBC Two on 5 March. Russell Tovey, Myanna Buring and Julian Rhind-Tutt head its cast.

Russell Tovey, Myanna Buring and Julian Rhind Tutt in Banished

Take me to (Broad)church

Chris Chibnall

The second series of Broadchurch may not have been everyone's cup of tea, but that hasn't stopped ITV commissioning another run of the sombre drama.

"This third chapter has been a glint in my eye for a long time and I'm thrilled to be writing these characters once again," said series creator Chris Chibnall (pictured).

Olivia Colman and David Tennant are down to return as dour detectives Miller and Hardy.

You can read the full story here.

U2 revisit the troubles


U2 have released a powerful video for the next single from their Songs of Innocence album, Every Breaking Wave.

Shot by Belfast-born filmmaker Aoife McArdle, the video depicts a Catholic boy who falls in love with a Protestant girl at a punk show in 1980s Northern Ireland. But their courtship is pulled apart by the dramatic realities of the province's violent troubles.

The song isn't bad either, despite the reception Songs of Innocence received when it appeared, unprompted, in millions of people's iTunes libraries.

You can watch the video on YouTube.

U2 - Every Breaking Wave video

Of course, this isn't the first time U2 have addressed Ireland's troubled political history.

Please, released in 1997, featured the faces of Ian Paisley and Gerry Adams on the cover as the band pleaded for an end to violence in their home country.

And Sunday, Bloody Sunday - perhaps their best protest song - was a tirade against the inherent stupidity of sectarian violence.

Or, according to Alan Partridge's reading: "What a great song. It really encapsulates the frustration of a Sunday, doesn't it?"

Aguilera aces it

Christina Aguilera on Jimmy Fallon

Ever heard Christina Aguilera do her impression of Britney Spears? No? Well, here's your chance.

The pop star was dared to sing This Little Piggy in the style of her arch-nemesis and erstwhile Mickey Mouse Club colleague on Jimmy Fallon's US chat show last night.

The results suggest she has a future career as a Britney tribute act if the whole "global megastar" thing falls through.

Watch the segment on YouTube.

News team, assemble!

Neil Smith

Entertainment reporter

David Calder and Amanda Hale in The Nether

What is the collective noun for newsreaders? An autocue perhaps? Whatever it is, there were a bunch of them at Monday's West End opening of creepy cyber-drama

The Nether.

Newsnight's Emily Maitlis, Sky's Dermot Murnaghan and former BBC newsman Michael Buerk were all in attendance at London's Duke of York's theatre, as were actor Alan Rickman, actress Sophie Okonedo and comedienne Jenny Eclair.

The latter will have had trouble finding anything to laugh about in Jennifer Haley's play, which tells of an attempt to crack down on a sophisticated paedophile ring operating with impunity on "The Nether", a futuristic version of the internet.

A hit last year at London's Royal Court theatre, the show boasts a stunning set by

the award-winning Es Devlin that, in many ways, is the true star of Jeremy Herrin's unsettling yet riveting production.

Carl Reiner's relief


US comedian and Ocean's Eleven star Carl Reiner has finally got round to watching Sunday's Oscar ceremony.

The 92-year-old just tweeted: "Watching the Oscars, I was once again happy, as I was last year, not to hear my name read in memorial."

Carl Reiner tweet
Twitter / Carl Reiner

Dapper Draper drives

Mad Men poster

In just six weeks' time, Don Draper will hang up his coat and hat as Mad Men begins its final run on US television.

In anticipation of the last seven episodes, AMC has just released the show's last ever poster (see above), and creator Matthew Weiner has been explaining what it all means.

"This is not an accident," he says. "It's designed to tell you that Don is going somewhere.

"He could be going to work, he could be going away from work. But there is a feeling of, I hope, a little bit of a desperate drive."

Read the full article here.

Empire nominations

Benedict Cumberbatch in The Imitation Game
Film company

The Imitation Game only received one prize at this year's Oscars. Thanks to UK film magazine Empire, though, its chances of awards glory are not yet over.

The World War Two codebreaking drama is up for six

Empire Film Awards, including nods for Benedict Cumberbatch, Keira Knightley and director Morten Tyldum.

Interestingly, Cumberbatch faces competition for the best actor prize from Andy Serkis, recognised for his motion-capture turn as Caesar in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes.

Will either prevent Oscar winner Eddie Redmayne getting yet another prize for The Theory of Everything? We'll find out on 29 March.

Oscar ratings:

Neil Smith

Entertainment reporter

Neil Patrick Harris

Many people were left rather nonplussed by this year's lacklustre Oscar ceremony, hosted by Neil Patrick Harris. And that appears to have had an impact on its ratings,

the lowest since 2009.

According to Nielsen figures, the show drew an average audience of 36.6 million - a 16 percent drop on last year's event, which attracted 43.7 million viewers.

The show also ran 40 minutes longer than its alloted three hours, which meant a very late night for yours truly and other members of the BBC entertainment team.

Here's what my mate Matt Wolf, who hosted the Oscars party I attended on Monday,

made of the ceremony.

Look who's (s)talking

Ed Sheeran

It's official - Taylor Swift is in the building! And apparently she's feeling "so good" after spending Monday at the O2 arena rehearsing for her upcoming Brits appearance.

It's a bit of a Taylor and Ed love-in at the moment as the pair relive some of the wacky things they got up to at the Grammys recently.

Taylor has also been chatting about a stalker she dubbed "Aquaman" after he tried to swim to her house and how "saddsies" she was when Ed didn't invite her to a gay strip club while they were touring the US together.

Taylor! Taylor!

Taylor Swift

Much excitement outside the BBC this morning, with hundreds of fans lining up to welcome Ed Sheeran and Taylor Swift as they arrive for their guest appearance on Nick Grimshaw's Radio One breakfast show.

Taylor's sure to be in a good mood, having been crowned

global recording artist of 2014 by international trade group IFPI. But Ed's sounding pretty chipper too, even having offered weather advice during a Radio 1 news bulletin.

Both artists will be performing at the Brits on Wednesday, with Taylor down to sing Blank Space and Ed revealing he'll perform his moody ballad Bloodstream.

Apparently some fans waited through the night to see the stars arrive this morning. To which we can only say: Brrrr.

Fans wait for Taylor Swift outside BBC Radio 1
Natalie Jamieson

Get involved

Any more thoughts on the Oscars? Are you looking forward to the Brits? Why not drop us a tweet

@BBCNewsEnts or email

Greetings friends:

Neil Smith

Entertainment reporter

The cast of Friends
Getty Images

Morning all! As Joey used to say on Friends, "how are yoo doin?'" We're doin' great here, and gearing up for another exciting day in the world of entertainment, media and the arts.

Stick with us as we bring you more reaction to this weekend's Oscars, the latest news on the Brits and a certain star pairing who are popping into the BBC's Broadcasting House this morning.