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  1. Dermot O'Leary steps down as host of The X Factor
  2. Top Gear producer Oisin Tymon "won't press charges"
  3. Zayn Malik says he feels "in control" after quitting 1D

Live Reporting

By Victoria Lindrea

All times stated are UK

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Clocking off

Victoria Lindrea

Arts and entertainment reporter

Jeremy Clarkson

From Dermot O'Leary to Jeremy Clarkson, Zayn Malik to Downton Abbey, we've said a lot of goodbyes this week.

Now it's time for us to say goodbye to you - but only until Monday, when the live page will be back with all the excitement from Sunday's Empire Awards and lots more besides.

Have a lovely weekend.

BreakingBreaking News

Dermot O'Leary has announced he is leaving The X Factor.

The star, who has hosted the ITV talent show for eight years, said it was "time... to move on".

Dermot O'Leary

"I'd like to thank ITV, Simon, The X Factor family and particularly the viewers, all of whom have been a big part of my life for so long," the 41-year-old said.

"I'd like to wish the team all the best for the future, especially whoever takes over from me. You're about to be the conductor on the most brilliant, runaway train in showbiz.

"Good luck, you'll love it!"

Read the full story.

Big-screen Bond

Before we go, there's just time to alert you to the news that there'll be a first trailer for the new James Bond film landing on the net later.

The Spectre "teaser" will be revealed at 11:45 GMT, which could mean a late night for UK fans of the legendary secret agent.

In other Bond news, it's been announced that Spectre will be shown in Imax cinemas when it reaches our screens later this year.

It looks as though 007 is alive and kicking - even if this picture from its recent Rome shoot does show Daniel Craig and Monica Bellucci in a cemetery.

Daniel Craig and Monica Bellucci filming Spectre in Rome

Clarkson, again

On the other hand, not everybody's a fan.

Oliver writes: "I believe Lord Hall has shown the public that the BBC, like any other respectable employer, takes the welfare of all of its employees seriously and doesn't just protect its most valuable assets.

"The real headlines should tell of Oisin Tymon, a highly intelligent producer, who has endured the kind of bullying no employee should ever face and even when confronted with physical violence has remained silent for the sake of his modesty.

"Oisin is the real star here. The other need not be given a stage again."

Mr S writes: "Love Top Gear. As for Mr Clarkson, I think it's time for him to go, there are far better persons out there that would jump at the job!! I mean just look at Guy Martyn - he's a natural talent for this job.

"If Guy got the job the ratings would break all box office records, only one way of finding out???"

Mina writes: "I completely support the decision to sack Clarkson! In my opinion, he´s arrogant and irritating! Top Gear will be much better without him...

"All he did was smash and destroy cars anyway.... Can' wait for the new Top Gear! Bravo BBC!"

More Clarkson views

It seems you still need to talk about Jeremy. Here's what some of his supporters have been saying.

J.Turner writes: "Why should we, the licence paying public, be penalised for Jeremy Clarkson's actions & by [Tony] Hall's knee-jerk reaction?

"If the BBC want to punish him, financial sanctions would have hurt him but not us. It would have also not hurt the BBC [who face] an anticipated loss of £50m per year.

"I'm sure Lord Hall feels the BBC can manage without this income, but how will it recoup it? Will this mean a substantial increase in the license fee or more substandard programmes?"

TM Gibson writes: "I, for one, will not be watching Top Gear again unless it's on another station with the men who make it what it is. £50m is a lot of money - you can say goodbye to your big bonus at Christmas, BBC.

"Do people really care about what some bloke says about Mexico or lorry drivers. Come on, get a grip, who cares? I'm Scottish, live in Spain, my husband is Spanish and a lorry driver, and I can't even drive! Who cares - it's funny, it's real freedom of speech, he just says what most of us are thinking."

L. Bossi writes: "I have the greatest respect for the BBC and have watched most of your shows down the last 20 years, but with Jeremy Clarkson you really made a blunder.

"No one watches Top Gear just for the cars. We watch Top Gear [be]cause we enjoy letting Jeremy throw back at us our deepest prejudices and dark humours. Politically Correct is the new dictatorship."

Four eyes

Katrina Kaif at her Madame Tussauds sitting
Madame Tussauds

Bollywood comes to Baker Street this evening with the unveiling of Madame Tussauds' latest waxwork of one of Indian cinema's superstars.

Katrina Kaif, one of the most sought after actresses in the country, will be at the London museum later to see her £150,000 likeness uncovered.

In 2000 Amitabh Bachchan became the first Bollywood figure to have a mannequin made of him at the popular tourist attraction.

Since then the likes of Aishwarya Rai, Shah Rukh Khan and Madhuri Dixit have also had their features captured in wax.

Read the full story.

Fish and quips

Jason Alexander and Larry David
Getty Images

Not for the first time, Seinfeld star Jason Alexander is stepping into Larry David's shoes.

Alexander is best known for his role as Seinfeld's George Costanza, essentially a vessel for many of creator Larry David's personal foibles.

Now he has signed up to take over from David in another role created by the Seinfeld writer, that of Normal Drexel - another part that blurs the lines between creator and character - in Larry David's Fish in the Dark.

"I left Broadway 25 years ago because Larry David co-created the show that would change my life and career," said Alexander.

"It is totally amazing that he also created the show that would bring me back to Broadway.

"I am thrilled I get to do this hilarious play for him and with this wonderful cast. It is quite simply more fun than any bald man should have."

Alexander will take over the role on 7 June for six weeks, as part of an extended six-week run of the sell-out show at New York's Cort Theatre.

"I've enjoyed it, but as my mother used to say, 'Enough is enough,'" David

told the New York Times.

"I am sure the cast will be relieved to be working with a professional."

Constable carry on

Beaching A Boat, Brighton, 1824, by John Constable

An attempt to have Beaching a Boat, Brighton - an 1824 work by John Constable - returned to the heirs of the original owner seems to have hit choppy water.

According to the Tate, the piece's current custodians, "new information has come to light" that may have ramifications on an expert panel's recommendation last year that it be given to its former owner's family.

The painting is thought to have been looted and smuggled out of wartime Hungary. Years later, in 1986, it was donated to the Tate by a Mrs PM Rainsford.

"The Tate Trustees have now approached the Secretary of State to invite the Spoliation Advisory Panel to review the new information," the Tate said, in a statement.

The issue of art restitution is the subject of new film Woman in Gold, in which Dame Helen Mirren plays an Austrian Jew seeking to be reunited with one of Gustav Klimt's most famous works.

Ryan Reynolds, pictured below with Mirren, plays the lawyer who takes up her cause.

Dame Helen Mirren and Ryan Reynolds at the Berlin Film Festival

Read the full story.

Little's Shock Treatment

Mark Little

Mark Little - best known as Neighbours' Joe Mangel - is returning to the London stage in Rocky Horror sequel Shock Treatment.

Little, a former Big Breakfast host, will play ruthless TV executive Farley Flavors in the musical, which premieres

at the King's Head Theatre in Islington in April.

Shock Treatment, originally filmed in 1981, was a satire of celebrity that saw Rocky Horror characters Brad and Janet trapped in a sinister TV game show.

The film was branded a turkey and never gained a general release, though it did come out on DVD in 2006.

Richard O'Brien, creator of The Rocky Horror Show and Shock Treatment, has reworked the script for its stage debut next month.

Oscars departure

Craig Zadan (left) and Neil Meron

Craig Zadan and Neil Meron, who have produced the last three Academy Awards, will not be returning for next year's Oscars.

The pair said they had reached the end of a three-year deal with the Academy and were moving on to new projects.

Their departure comes after the US television audience for the 2015 show was revealed to be the lowest for six years, with host Neil Patrick Harris also receiving tepid reviews.


told Deadline that it been his and Zadan's decision to go.

"Frankly before the Oscars this year were even broadcast, we were questioning whether or not, if we were ever asked, whether we wanted to do it again."

Read the full story.

Twice in a lifetime

Loudon Wainwright III and Cat Stevens

Radio 2 has announced that Loudon Wainwright III and Yusuf Islam (aka Cat Stevens) will get lifetime achievement prizes at this year's Folk Awards.

Wainwright, whose records include the innovatively-titled Album I, Album II and Album III, said he was "happy and gratified, not to mention a bit smug" to be given the honour.

"It certainly has seemed like an entire lifetime has whizzed by since the mighty John Peel saturated the UK airwaves in 1969 with my first songs, spinning School Days and The Movies Are a Mother to Me late at night on BBC Radio."

The awards will be handed out in Cardiff on 22 April.


Billy Zane
Getty Images

Titanic star Billy Zane has issued a tongue-in-cheek response to the Zayn-mania which descended upon Twitter in the wake of the departure of a certain One Direction star.

"Hey internet... woke up to a real spike in my internet heat," says the 49-year-old actor in the Funny or Die video.

"This whole #Alwaysinourheartszayn thing is curious in a couple of ways... I had no idea that all my fans were hysterical 14-year-old girls."

"I don't want to be nit-picky," he continues, "but just for the sake of record - it's Z-A-N-E, not Z-A-Y-N."

Watch the video here.

Two Bills for the price of one

Tom Galantich, Kerry Butler and Duke Lafoon in Clinton the Musical

On the subject of presidents, one of Obama's predecessors is currently being saluted in an off-Broadway show.

Clinton the Musical is the brainchild of Paul Hodge, a London-based Australian who says it shows America's 42nd president to be "a very identifiable human being".

Bill Clinton himself is portrayed by two actors, a concept Hodge claims is "a good device to sum up a very complicated man".

Newt Gingrich, Monica Lewinsky and Clinton's wife Hillary are also portrayed in the show, which makes its official debut at New York's New World Stages on 9 April.

On the Wire

President Obama talks to David Simon
White House

President Obama has sat down with David Simon, creator of The Wire, to discuss America's war on drugs and the need to reduce incarceration in the US.

In a hard-hitting conversation about "entire generations of men being locked up", the president also took time out to tell Simon what "a huge fan" he was of the long-running HBO show.

The president called The Wire, starring Dominic West and Idris Elba, "one of the greatest pieces of art in the last couple of decades," adding that "stick-up man" Omar Little was his favourite character.

The Wire, which ran from 2002 to 2008, is one of a number of shows President Obama reportedly requested on DVD to watch in his few hours of Oval Office downtime.

Watch the full video on YouTube.

Wigan to honour Sir Ian

Sir Ian McKellen is to be honoured with a star in his childhood hometown of Wigan.

The Lord of the Rings and X-Men actor lived in Wigan in the 1940s and has said its market traders inspired him to perform.

The 75-year-old said the city "holds many special memories" and that he was looking forward to returning in June to accept his latest honour.

Before that, though, he will finish shooting a TV remake of The Dresser with Sir Anthony Hopkins (pictured).

Sir Ian McKellen and Sir Anthony Hopkins in The Dresser

Read more on this story.

In Harmony in Tyneside

The Geordie Symphony School

The lives of children in one of Tyneside's poorest inner-city areas are being changed for the better thanks to an innovative project that has taken them from a Newcastle primary school to the Sage in Gateshead.

Two years ago, none of the children from Hawthorn Primary School had ever picked up an orchestral instrument.

Now, though, they are rehearsing to play a special concert with the Northern Sinfonia.

You can follow their journey in

The Geordie Symphony School, available on the BBC iPlayer after its broadcast on BBC One North East at 19:30 GMT on Friday.

In the meantime,

watch a clip from the programme.

Paddington headed for top spot

Official Charts Company

Hugh Bonneville with Paddington the bear
Film company

Hugh Bonneville's time on Downton Abbey may be coming to an end. Thanks to his role in Paddington, though, he'll still be a fixture in people's homes for some time to come.

Since its release last November, the film version of Michael Bond's much-loved stories has made more than $250m (£168m) at the worldwide box office.

Now it's well on course to be the fastest selling video title of 2015, its first-week sales fast approaching the 318,000 copies that The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1 shifted in its first seven days on sale.

We'll be sure to give this week's final figures a very hard stare when they come out on Sunday.

Read more on this story.

Bonneville's goodbye

Hugh Bonneville

Hugh Bonneville has told Good Morning Britain that filming the final series of Downton Abbey is going to be "quite an extraordinary experience".

ITV announced on Thursday that the next season of its hit period drama will be its last.

"Those who follow the show might remember at the end of series one there was a slightly odd feeling," said Bonneville, who has played the Earl of Grantham since the show began in 2010.

"Some of it was wrapped up in case the show never returned, and some of it was left open in case it did. There was no guarantee the show was going to continue."

But continue Downton did, becoming one of ITV's most popular dramas both at home and abroad.

Asked how he'd like his character to say goodbye, the actor said: "Oh my goodness, that's a hard one. I'd like the daughters to be happy."

Favourite things

Dame Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer
Getty Images

Let's start at the very beginning, a very good place to start.

The Sound of Music stars Christopher Plummer, 85, and Dame Julie Andrews, 79, have reunited to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the film.

A newly restored version of the 1965 musical opened the TCM Classic Film Festival, in Hollywood, on Thursday.

Plummer described the film, which he once dubbed 'The Sound of Mucus', as "an escape film... from an innocent time".

"With the horrific whole world situation right now, it's great for parents to take their children to see something as innocent and pure as this," he said.

The film, about a nun turned governess and the family she transforms into a singing troupe, won best picture at the Oscars and remains a perennial favourite.

Chewing the fat

David Cameron and Ed Miliband

Ratings for the first of the political showdowns ahead of the general election peaked at 2.6 million on Thursday night.

Channel 4's The Battle for Number 10, which featured David Cameron and Ed Miliband separately fielding questions from Jeremy Paxman and a studio audience, doubled the channel's typical audience share for that time and secured 11.7% of available viewers.

The programme, broadcast between 21:00 and 22:30 GMT, was also broadcast on the BBC News channel and Sky News, adding an additional 500,000 to the viewing figures.

It was beaten in the ratings only by BBC One, whose The Truth about Calories averaged 4 million viewers between 21:00 and 22:00.

Looks like the Battle of the Bulge won over the Battle for Number 10.

Empire honour for Fiennes

Ralph Fiennes

Actor, director, the stuff of children's nightmares... Harry Potter star Ralph Fiennes has packed a lot into his fifty-something years.

Small wonder, then, that Empire magazine has chosen to present him with its Legend award at its 2015 awards on Sunday.

Schindler's List, The English Patient and The Grand Budapest Hotel are just a few of the films to have been graced by the actor, who will be seen later this year as James Bond's boss in Spectre.

Fiennes, currently treading the boards in London in Man and Superman, has also worked behind the camera, directing himself with some aplomb in Coriolanus and The Invisible Woman.

"I can't think of anyone who deserves this award more," said Empire's editor-in-chief Morgan Rees.

Check back on Monday for more news on this year's event.

Funding cut threat

Museums that break guidelines on selling their collections will face severe funding cuts in future.

The move follows controversial sales of Chinese ceramics from the Museum of Croydon and an ancient Egyptian statue from Northampton Museum.

Ten bodies, including Arts Council England and the Heritage Lottery Fund, have now said they will not work with museums who follow suit.

They called such sales "a breach of trust with the public".

Read the full story.

'Golden age' for children's literature

BBC Radio 4 Today

JK Rowling and Philip Pullman

JK Rowling, Philip Pullman, Julia Donaldson and Francesca Simon are among the children's authors to be included in a new edition of the Oxford Companion to Children's Literature, published on Friday.

More than 900 new works have been included in the volume, the first new edition in more than 30 years.

Horrid Henry author Simon told Radio 4's Today programme that its publication came amid "a golden age" in children's literature.

Daniel Hahn, who compiled the selection, described the process as "incredibly difficult, but also enormously fun".

"A lot will disagree with what I have chosen to include... and exclude," he went on.

"Inevitably, however much I might pretend it's objective, it's going to be personal and opinionated."

Is Idris set to Star Trek?


Idris Elba

He's played Luther, Mandela and Heimdall, the gatekeeper of Asgard, in Thor. If rumours are to be believed, though, Idris Elba could soon be adding a Klingon to his resume.

There's no confirmation as yet, but the 42-year-old is said to be in talks to play the main villain in Star Trek 3 - a villain who could be a member of a certain war-like race well-known to fans of the durable sci-fi franchise.

Simon Pegg is co-writing the script for the Starship Enterprise's latest outing, set to begin shooting in June.

Elba, meanwhile, can be seen in UK cinemas soon in Second Coming, an intriguing British drama about a pregnant woman who comes to believe she's carrying the son of God.

Read the full story.

West End run for Rylance

Mark Rylance

Wolf Hall star Mark Rylance will return to the West End later this year in a play written by his wife that has already enjoyed sold-out success at the Shakespeare's Globe.

Farinelli and the King, by Claire Van Kampen, sees Rylance play King Philippe V of Spain, an unhappy monarch who finds his only comfort is the voice of a famous castrato.

As in the Globe's Sam Wanamaker Playhouse, the staging at the Duke of York's theatre will be lit, almost exclusively, by the glow of candlelight.

The critics certainly waxed lyrical about the show when they caught it last month, with the Telegraph describing it as "

hilariously fruity [and] sumptuous".

Farinelli and the King runs from 14 September to 5 December.

Police 'still investigating'

North Yorkshire Police has said it is still investigating the Jeremy Clarkson incident, which took place at the Simonstone Hall Hotel in Hawes on 4 March.

A spokesman said: "Inquiries are ongoing."

Oisin Tymon - statement

The lawyer for the Top Gear producer involved in a recent "fracas" with Jeremy Clarkson has released the following statement:

"Mr Tymon has informed the police that he doesn't want to press charges.

"The events of the last few weeks have been extremely unpleasant for everyone involved. The matter has taken a great toll on Oisin, his family and his friends.

"Quite simply, Mr Tymon just wishes to return now to the job at the BBC he loves, as soon as possible. Further, the BBC have, in his view, taken action with a view to addressing the issues at hand.

"Mr Tymon agrees with the BBC's stated view that all parties should now be allowed to move on, so far as possible."

Read the full story.

BreakingBreaking News

Top Gear producer Oisin Tymon has told North Yorkshire Police he does not want to press charges against Jeremy Clarkson.

War artist wins prize

Fear No. 9067, 2013 (Courtesy of Flowers Gallery and Aesthetica)
John Keane

War artist John Keane has won the £5,000 Aesthetica Art Prize for his 2013 Fear series, four monumental portraits inspired by victims of Stalin's "great purge".

The paintings draw on images from the great Stalinist terror of the 1930s, when those suspected of disloyalty were murdered, sent to prison camps or subjected to public show trials.

"The dangers of such events happening again must be guarded against," said Keane, who rose to prominence for his work as the official British war artist during the first Gulf War.

"It is my hope that art can help to play some small part in this."

The winning paintings - chosen from a longlist of nearly 100 artworks - can be seen at

York St Marys until the end of May.

RIP John Renbourn

John Renbourn
BBC Music

Guitarist John Renbourn, a founding member of folk band Pentangle, has died aged 70 of a suspected heart attack.

The musician and songwriter had been touring with fellow guitarist Wizz Jones but failed to turn up to a gig in Glasgow on Wednesday.

Redbourn, who had an unusual guitar technique involving filed-down ping-pong balls, was described as "larger than life" by Dave Smith, his manager of 25 years.

DJ Cerys Matthews,

who interviewed Redbourn on BBC 6 Music,
tweeted: "So sorry and sad to hear of John Renbourn's passing.

"A loving, lovely man. RIP John, it was an honour and pleasure meeting you."

Read the full story.

Blur are all Wight

Blur in 2012
Linda Brownlee

All the people, so many people, will be thrilled to hear that Blur are to perform at the Isle of Wight festival in June.

Messrs Coxon, Rowntree, Albarn and James (pictured) will headline on the Saturday night at this year's event, rounding out a line-up that already includes Fleetwood Mac, The Prodigy and Pharrell Williams.

"We've never played Isle of Wight Festival before so we're really looking forward to this one," said Alex James. "And we get to take our tour bus on a boat."

The Isle of Wight festival,

now in its 14th year, runs from 11 to 14 June at Seaclose Park, Newport.

Read the full story.

Candy crushes competition

Strangers Have the Best Candy has won this year's award for the oddest book title.

Strangers Have The Best Candy
Choose ART

The quirky Diagram Prize celebrates books with obscure names.

Margaret Meps Schulte's travel book Strangers Have the Best Candy has won this year's public vote, beating titles including Divorcing a Real Witch and Nature's Nether Regions.

Tim Tivnan, of prize organisers The Bookseller, said he was "relieved" that the winning title did not involve sex or human excrement

"With the public recently giving the Diagram crown to the likes of How to Poo on a Date, Cooking with Poo and If You Want Closure In Your Relationship, Start With Your Legs, I despaired for a populace becoming obsessed with smut and filth."

Read the full story.

Playing it straight

Lily James in Cinderella

A new film version of Cinderella opens in the UK this weekend, offering a fresh take on the classic fairy tale.

What's fresh about Sir Kenneth Branagh's retelling is its unambiguous, non-ironic tone - a corrective of sorts to the knowingly postmodern approach seen in Shrek and other recent attempts to shake up the formula.

"Keeping it classic is the twist," says the British director. "It seems to me that it's my job to make it simple - [to] just let the fairytale speak."

Lily James (pictured) plays Cinders in the Disney release, with Cate Blanchett as her wicked stepmother and Helena Bonham Carter as her fairy godmother.

Put it together and what have you got?

Read the full interview.

Zayn speaks

Zayn Malik

Zayn Malik has denied suggestions of a rift between him and the other members of One Direction in his first interview since he quit the band on Wednesday.

"My band has been really supportive. They've been really cool about it. And they understand that, you know, it's not real to me anymore," he told the Sun newspaper.

"I feel like I'm doing what's right - right by myself and right by the boys, so I feel good."

Malik, pictured entering a recording studio yesterday, stressed that One Direction will continue without him.

"They still want to do it for a while, so they're going to carry on doing what they want to do. And I think they're going to do OK."

Malik, 22, is rumoured to be working on his first solo release with music producer Naughty Boy.

"I did try to do something that I wasn't happy doing for a while, for the sake of maybe other people's happiness. And that was mainly the fans," he said.

"I'm just going to be me for a while."

Read the full interview (subscription required).

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Arts reporter

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That Friday feeling

Victoria Lindrea

Arts and entertainment reporter

Good morning, and welcome to Friday's live page. It's been a hectic week in the world of entertainment, and it's not over yet! So stick with us and we'll keep you informed right up to the weekend.