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  1. Entertainer and ventriloquist Keith Harris dies
  2. Tony Awards - 2015 nominations announced
  3. Sandi Toksvig steps down as News Quiz host

Live Reporting

By Neil Smith and Emma Saunders

All times stated are UK

Get involved

Speak no Orville

That's all we have time for today, but we'll be back on Wednesday with more rolling news from the world of entertainment, media and the arts, when we'll have reaction from a new production of Bugsy Malone opening in London tonight.

In the meantime, we'll leave you with one last picture of the late, much-loved Keith Harris - accompanied, as ever, by his constant but now silent companion, Orville the Duck.

Keith Harris and Orville in 1984
Getty Images

'Tache of the titans

Damian Lewis in American Buffalo
Johan Persson

Damian Lewis's moustache gets almost as many mentions as he does in reviews for his latest West End outing, a revival of David Mamet's 1975 play American Buffalo.

The Telegraph's Dominic Cavendish called his "droopy horse-shoe... the finishing comical touch" of the former Homeland actor's "lynchpin" performance, while the Daily Mail's Quentin Letts said his "Tom Selleck soup-strainer" was such an unlikely appendage "it raised a titter from the stalls."

John Goodman and Tom Sturridge round out the cast of Mamet's three-hander, about small-time crooks who plot to steal a highly coveted coin.

Read what the critics had to say about the production, which runs at the Wyndham's Theatre in London until 27 June.

Avengers dominate UK box office

The Hulk
Disney / Marvel

No prizes for guessing what film is top of the chart this week. Avengers: Age of Ultron has stormed to the top of the UK and Ireland box office, taking £18.02 million in its debut (four-day) weekend.

The Marvel superhero film beat its competition hands down, with its nearest rival, Fast and Furious 7, settling for second with takings of just £1.6m.

Disney's live-action version of fairytale classic Cinderella is at three, while animation Home took fourth position.

The Met Opera's double bill of Cavalleria Rusticana and Pagliacci rounds out the top five, taking £337,698.

Brit on Broadway

Alex Sharp in The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
National Theatre

Marianne Ellliott won a Tony for directing War Horse in 2011. Now she finds herself in the running for her second, thanks to the Broadway transfer of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time.

She told the BBC the nomination was "completely amazing" but admitted she was "in a panic" about attending the ceremony in June.

"I've got to go on a diet. How can I lose lots of weight in that time?" she laughed.

The play transferred from London's National Theatre earlier this year. Elliott, though, said it has not changed much since crossing the Atlantic.

"It's still set in Swindon, then in London. It's an all-American cast but they do Swindon accents, which is quite amazing as a lot of English people can't do Swindon accents!"

Elliott also said the experience of directing a hit play in New York was easier the second time around.

"When I did it the first time, my child was really young and it was very difficult. I went on my own and they stayed at home and it was horrible.

"But this time my husband and my child came with me and they had an absolute ball. They are trying to persuade me now that we should move to New York!"

Rudimental track


Rudimental fans, gather round: you can now hear the first new piece of music from the band's upcoming second album, due out later this year.

The track is called Never Let You Go and it was premiered on Annie Mac's show on Radio 1 last night.

The band have collaborated with Donald Fagan from Steely Dan and George Clinton on their as yet untitled album and have been invited back to Glastonbury this year.

Last year's set was cut short by a thunderstorm, which certainly ups the ante for this June's performance.

Listen to Never Let You Go.

Viola fights for freedom


Viola Davis
Getty Images

US actress Viola Davis is to portray abolitionist Harriet Tubman in a new HBO biopic.

Based on Kate Clifford Larson's book Bound for the Promised Land, the film will highlight Tubman's heroic acts leading slaves to freedom through the Underground Railroad and later fighting with the Union during the Civil War.

Davis can currently be seen in legal drama How to Get Away With Murder, for which she received a Screen Actors Guild award in January.

Read more on this story.

Smith cancels Aussie tour

Sam Smith

Bad news for Sam Smith's Australian fans: he's had to cancel his tour Down Under.

The Lay Me Down singer revealed the news

on his Instagram page, explaining he was under doctor's orders to rest his voice after a small haemorrhage was found on his vocal chords.

"I am so sorry to those who have bought tickets, I truly am," he wrote. "This kills me."

Re-arranged dates are due to be announced shortly, so watch this space.

Dame Helen Mirren on her Tony nomination

Dame Helen Mirren in The Audience

"It is a honour to be nominated and to become a part of the grand tradition of American theatre. I am very lucky that I speak American! Albeit in the play with a very British accent.

"It is a very exciting season on Broadway, with many great plays, musicals and performances, so just to be a part of that is a thrill."

iTunes teams up with Red Cross

Next time you're browsing the iTunes store, you'll have the option to support the Red Cross disaster relief effort in Nepal.

iTunes have activated a donation option, with all contributions helping the Red Cross provide first aid and support.

The UN estimates that eight million people have been affected in Nepal, more than a quarter of the country's population.

Foreign aid is arriving but is being hampered by congestion at Kathmandu's only airport.

'An incredible man'

Andrew Lesnie at the 2004 Bafta Film Awards with Jason Isaacs and Joely Richardson
Getty Images

Weta Workshop, the New Zealand-based effects house behind the Lord of the Rings and Hobbit films, has paid its own tribute to the cinematographer Andrew Lesnie following his death on Monday.

"Our memories of Andrew will always be of a wonderful and caring person who looked out for the technicians around him, was keen to have a good laugh and keep everyone jollied along,"

wrote its founders on Facebook.

"What an incredible man and we are very fortunate to have had the chance to work with him on so many wonderful projects."

Lesnie, pictured above with Jason Isaacs and Joely Richardson at the 2004 Bafta Film Awards, also worked on such films as I Am Legend, The Last Airbender and Rise of the Planet of the Apes.

Surrealism for beginners

Eric Carle
Getty Images

Eric Carle, best-selling author of The Very Hungry Caterpillar, has a new picture book out this autumn.

"I've written The Nonsense Show to introduce children to the wonderful world of surrealism," he said. "I hope this book will make children both laugh and think, and prepare them for a lifetime of loving both words and art."

Francesca Dow, of Penguin Random House Children's, described the book as "a fantastic colourful story of an upside-down world, which the adult in us will also enjoy as a wonderful celebration of surrealism."

Flicks in the sticks

What do you get when you cross a film festival with a music festival? You get

Flickerama - a summer festival where all the "acts" are films.

Conceived by Tom Lawes, owner of the historic Electric cinema in Birmingham, the three-day festival will feature outdoor screenings of such fan favourites as Back to the Future, Jaws and The Blues Brothers, as well as a host of film-related events.

"It's an event for film lovers where everything is in one place, in a beautiful environment," says Law, who promises Flickerama will take "outdoor event cinema... to the next level".

It all kicks off on 14 August at Great Tew in Oxfordshire. Fittingly, it also has a


Paxo's TV habits

Radio Times

Jeremy Paxman
Getty Images

Former Newsnight presenter Jeremy Paxman has admitted that he no longer watches the show.

So what is he watching instead? Dating show Take Me Out and The Only Way is Essex, apparently.

"Of course I know who Joey Essex is," Paxman told the Radio Times, saying he did not like Towie "as much as I like Take Me Out, which I think is a fantastic show."

The presenter, who spent 25 years at the helm of Newsnight before leaving last summer, said he had no second thoughts about his decision to move on.

"I don't see Newsnight, I'm afraid,"

the 64-year-old went on. "My idea of fun is to go to bed at 10.30pm and read a book."

Tony nominations

British directors are well represented, with nominations coming for Stephen Daldry (Skylight), Marianne Elliott (The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time) and Jeremy Herrin (Wolf Hall Parts 1 & 2).

Curious Incident has six nominations in all, while the RSC's double bill of Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies has eight.

Musicals An American in Paris and Fun Home have the most nominations over all, having each scored 12 apiece.

Sting's shipbuilding musical The Last Ship, meanwhile, has earned him a nomination for best original score, despite closing in January.

Alan Cumming and Kristin Chenoweth - nominated herself for best lead actress in a musical - will host this year's ceremony, at Radio City Music Hall on 7 June.

See the full list of nominees.

BreakingBreaking News

Dame Helen Mirren, Carey Mulligan and Ruth Wilson
Getty Images

Dame Helen Mirren, Carey Mulligan and Ruth Wilson are among the British talents nominated for Tony Awards this year.

Dame Helen is nominated for her Olivier-winning performance as The Queen in The Audience, while Mulligan is shortlisted alongside co-star Bill Nighy for their roles in the Broadway transfer of Skylight.

Luther star Wilson is nominated for the best actress in a play award for Constellations, alongside Dame Helen and Mulligan.

The RSC's adaptations of Hilary Mantel's Wolf Hall novels and The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, first staged at the National Theatre, are shortlisted for the best new play award.

Spot the fake

Copy of Young Woman by Jean-Honore Fragonard
Dulwich Picture Gallery

The identity of a replica painting that was hung at Dulwich Picture Gallery as part of a "spot the fake" challenge has been revealed.

Since February, Jean-Honore Fragonard's 18th-Century work Young Woman has been replaced by a $120 (£70) counterfeit, produced in China.

The public was asked whether it could identify the fake amongst the permanent collection of 270 Old Master paintings.

Nearly 3,000 visitors cast a vote, but only 10% of them guessed correctly.

Read the full story.

Osbournes scrapped


Ozzy and Sharon Osbourne

There'll be no happy return for reality show The Osbournes. Music TV network VH1 had plans for a reboot of the original MTV series, but its plans have hit the skids.

Focusing on the famous Osbourne family - Ozzy, Sharon, Jack and Kelly (daughter Aimee chose not to take part) - the show was a hit in the early noughties.

Sharon announced the news of the revamp in November on an episode of The Talk, the CBS daytime show she co-hosts.

She said the plan was to do six to eight episodes, to "catch up on our lives and where we are now".

It's not known why the plans have been scrapped, but Variety did suggest last year there could be problems due to clashing schedules.

Guess we won't be seeing Ozzy rocking out in his kitchen anytime soon.

Read more on this story.

Medieval Land Fun-time World

Peter Dinklage in Game of Thrones

Game of Thrones news alert.

Check out this parody trailer for Medieval Land Fun-time World, which uses lip synching to imagine the hit TV series as an 80s teen comedy.

"Tell me how you found the kitten meat?"

Mariah makes an entrance

Mariah Carey in Las Vegas

Mariah Carey's Las Vegas residency doesn't begin until 6 May, but the soul diva is already making a splash on the Strip.

The singer heralded her upcoming run of shows at Caesars Palace with a "launch event" on Monday that saw her arrive in a classic 1936 pink convertible.

Behind her trailed no less than 18 mobile billboards, each bearing the titles of her number one hits. Well, that's one way to stop the traffic.

"Everyone in Vegas, there's a new girl in town," said the 45-year-old singer, promising fans her Mariah #1 to Infinity show would be "an extravaganza".

Mariah Carey in Las Vegas

More Harris tributes


R.I.P. Keith Harris - ... 'bye Orville." - magician Paul Daniels

"Rest in peace Keith Harris. Lovely, funny talented man." - comedian Julian Clary

"Another TRUE entertainment star leaves us. So so sad! #KeithHarris rest well, a great inspiration." - Children's entertainers Dick and Dom

Keith Harris - career highlights

At the height of his success, entertainer Keith Harris had his own Saturday night programme on BBC One and enjoyed huge chart success with Orville's Song.

He was also a regular on BBC panel shows, appearing on such popular programmes as Blankety Blank, The Weakest Link and, more recently, Pointless.

Diana, Princess of Wales was a big fan, inviting him to give private performances at the third birthdays of Prince William and Prince Harry.

Orville remains his best-known sidekick, though Cuddles the Monkey runs the duck a close second.

Keith Harris with Cuddles

Read the full obituary and
see his career in pictures.

Keith Harris - Twitter tributes

"Sad to hear of the death of Keith Harris - sending best wishes to his family and friends." - presenter Aled Jones

"So sad. A great entertainer and all round nice man Keith Harris has passed away. Best wishes to his family at this sad time. RIP x" - presenter Keith Chegwin

"RIP Keith Harris. A part of my childhood gone." - actor and comedian Paddy McGuinness

Keith Harris - agent tribute

"I spoke to Keith most days, whether we had business to do or not," said his agent, Robert C Kelly. "I think I laughed every single time we spoke.

"Keith was not only a technically great ventriloquist, he was also a gifted mimic and an extraordinarily funny man both on stage and off.

"Perhaps even rarer than that in showbiz, he was a thoroughly decent man, a great friend and a wonderful father and husband."

The entertainer is survived by his fourth wife Sarah, 49, and his children Kitty, 15, and Shenton, 13.

Harris also had a 27-year-old daughter, Skye, from his first marriage to singer Jacqui Scott.

Keith Harris - agent statement

Keith Harris's agent has revealed the ventriloquist was diagnosed in 2013 with "a very rare form of cancer with no known cure".

"Despite Keith undergoing long and difficult stem-cell replacement treatment during the summer of 2014 and appearing to have fully recovered, it became clear in January of 2015 that Keith was once again becoming unwell.

"Keith visited the oncologist at Blackpool Victoria Hospital and was told the cancer was in Keith's liver and there was nothing further they could do.

"Keith died today, 28 April 2015 at 4.50am in Blackpool Victoria Hospital."

BreakingBreaking News

Keith Harris and Orville

Ventriloquist Keith Harris, famous for his act with his puppet duck Orville, has died from cancer aged 67, his agent has announced.

Read the full story.

Meltdown acts announced

Anna Calvi

British singer-songwriter Anna Calvi is among the first raft of acts confirmed to appear as part of

David Byrne's Meltdown Festival at London's Southbank Centre.

The two-time Mercury Prize nominee will perform an intimate show with a 12-piece choir on 22 August as part of this year's event.

Spoken word artist Benjamin Clementine, Cardiff "post-punk" band Young Marble Giants and electronic musician Matthew Herbert will also take part in the festival, now in its 22nd year.

"I am beyond excited at how much of this has fallen into place," said Byrne

in a statement in which he promised to put on "a pretty ecumenical spread (as opposed [to] the spreads we put on toast)".

'A brilliant friend'


"Very sad that Sandi's leaving the News Quiz. She's a fantastic host, a brilliant friend and wonderful to laugh with" - comedienne and News Quiz regular Susan Calman.

Sandi steps down

Sandi Toksvig

After nine years, comedienne Sandi Toksvig is to step down as host of Radio 4 comedy show The News Quiz.

The programme is one of the station's most popular, attracting millions of listeners each week and regularly topping the list of most requested radio shows on the BBC iPlayer.

"The News Quiz is one of the things I am proudest of in my professional life," said Sandi. "Now I have decided it is time to move on and of course, I feel sad but I think it's the right moment.

"The show is in great shape and like a good house guest, you should always depart when people still wish you'd stay a bit longer."

The next series begins on 15 May and her last appearance will be on the 26 June. We wish her well.

Read more on this story.

Amateur artists recognised

Nathaniel by Tim Matthews

A nationwide search for Britain's best amateur artists, called The Little Painting Challenge, has resulted in three winners being chosen by a panel headed by How to Train Your Dragon author Cressida Cowell.

Tim Matthews from Warrington won the Over-16 Experienced category with his portrait of his son Nathaniel (above), while Amelia Johnson from Kent won the seven-to-15-year old category with a self-portrait.

Charlotte Wood from Matlock won the Over 16 beginner category with this picture, inspired by a snoozing couple she saw on a train journey.

Train journey picture by Charlotte Wood

The winners will have their works displayed at the Whitworth gallery in Manchester along with 1,000 other entries.

Read more about the winners.

Elbow track

Elbow's Guy Garvey

A bit of music news for you: Elbow have recorded a new track called What Time Do You Call This? for Simon Pegg's new film Man Up.

It's the band's first song since the release of their number one album The Take Off and Landing of Everything.

Rom-com Man Up stars Pegg as Jack, a new divorcee who stumbles across fellow singleton Nancy (Lake Bell) and mistakes her for his blind date. A chaotic evening ensues.

The film, which recently had an airing at the Tribeca Film Festival, is released in the UK on 29 May.

No new probe into Holly crash

Buddy Holly in 1958

Last month

we reported that transport safety experts in the US were considering a request to re-open an investigation into the 1959 plane crash that claimed the life of Buddy Holly and three others.

The National Transportation Safety Board has now made a decision - NOT to look anew at the reasons why Holly, Ritchie Valens and Jiles P "The Big Bopper" Richardson died along with pilot Roger Peterson.

The date of the accident, 3 February 1959, would go on to be immortalised as "the day the music died" in Don McLean's 1972 song American Pie.

Pilot error and bad weather remain the official reasons for the Iowa plane crash, despite attempts by another pilot, one L J Coon, to have other issues taken into consideration.

Andrew Lesnie tributes

"Devastated 2 hear of death of genius Andrew Lesnie. He made "Babe" films golden & was just a really lovely guy. Heart goes out 2 his family." - Australian actress Magda Szubanski

"Such sad news to hear the passing of Andrew Lesnie. The world of cinematography just lost a brilliant craftsman and artist." - James Wan, director of Saw and Insidious

"Andrew Lesnie was a treat to work with. I am blown away by all he achieved. He'll be missed greatly. RIP." - Jamie Bell, who worked with Lesnie on Peter Jackson's King Kong

"So saddened to hear about the passing of Andrew Lesnie. He was as charming and kind as he was talented. He really was one of a kind." - Colin Hanks, son of Tom and King Kong cast member

Dancing Dermot

Dermot O'Leary

Six weeks on from his 24-hour Day of Dance marathon, TV host and radio presenter Dermot O'Leary is still raking in cash for Comic Relief - and he's already surpassed the £1m mark.

With money still rolling in, the exact total he has raised so far stands at an impressive £1,011,117.

His previous total - announced on the night of Red Nose Day (13 March) - was £643,336.

On hearing the latest figure, Dermot said: "When I first came up with the idea for this challenge, I had no idea it would grip people in this way, and I'm so proud of what we achieved together.

"To know that even in these difficult times the public have dug deep and donated is just incredible, and on behalf of everyone who will benefit so much from your generosity I would just like to say a huge, gigantic, mammoth thank you."

Phone-in charges

Phone message on screen

If you missed it yesterday, watchdog Ofcom is changing how charges for phone-in competitions and votes on TV and radio shows are advertised, to try to make them easier to understand.

At the moment, costs can vary wildly from just a few pence per call to more than £2 per minute.

From 1 July, charges will be made up of an access charge - decided by your phone company - and a service charge, set by the broadcaster, so callers can check before they dial.

UK Calling will affect 175 million phone numbers starting 084, 087 and 09.

Read the full story.

Andrew Lesnie RIP

Andrew Lesnie
Getty Images

We begin today with sad news that Andrew Lesnie, Oscar-winning Australian cinematographer of the Lord of the Rings and Hobbit films, has died at the age of 59.

The Sydney native, who won an Oscar in 2002 for his work on the first Lord of the Rings film and who also worked with director Peter Jackson on King Kong and The Lovely Bones, is believed to have suffered a heart attack on Monday.

Russell Crowe, who had Lesnie at his side while making his recent directorial debut The Water Diviner, was among the first to tweet about the "devastating news from home".

"The master of the light, genius Andrew Lesnie has passed on," the Gladiator star

told his followers on Twitter.

Read more on this story.

Get involved

Emma Saunders

Arts and Entertainment reporter

Got something to say on today's news? Get in touch and let us know. Tweet

@BBCNewsEnts or email

Good morning

Neil Smith

Arts reporter

Welcome to another live page from the BBC News website's entertainment and arts team, bringing you all the news you need to know from the world of media, culture and the arts.

Later today we'll be bringing you word on this year's Tony nominations, and we'll also see what the critics have been saying about Damian Lewis (and his moustache) in West End play American Buffalo.

Stick with us and we'll do our level best to keep you informed and up to date.