UK News

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from Fan Fare:

New Dads Elton John, David Furnish plan more movies

JohnFurnishNow that they have baby Zachary to look after, Elton John and David Furnish may follow up their animated movie "Gnomeo and Juliet" with more kids' films. Zachary Jackson Levon Furnish-John was born on Christmas Day at a Los Angeles hospital to a surrogate mother.

The celebrity couple produced the feel-good, gnome-infested take on William Shakespeare's bleak tragedy "Romeo and Juliet", and the film hits theatres in Britain and the United States on Feb. 11. At the London premiere this weekend, the couple walked the red carpet along with some of the stars who provided voices, including Emily Blunt, Stephen Merchant and Matt Lucas.

"We'd love to make more kids' films. This has been really wonderful," Furnish told reporters. "We're very excited that in four or five years' time, Zachary will be able to see this film ... It is such a British film, it is lots of fun, the tongue is very firmly planted in the cheek and it is great to be here."

Pop star John appeared relaxed about tinkering with one of the revered Bard's most cherished works.

from Fan Fare:

Did Gervais go too far at Globes?

The day afteRickyr the Golden Globes, and, in Britain at least, there is as much media chatter about show host Ricky Gervais and his no-holds-barred approach as there is about Colin Firth's acting award for his portrayal of the stammering King George VI in "The King's Speech".

Normally the reaction on this side of the pond to major U.S. movie award shows is to champion the victorious Brits, or otherwise bemoan their failure. This year would have been no exception -- joy for Firth, otherwise disappointment for the film about the British monarchy -- were it not for Gervais and his less-than-gentle jokes that took aim at, among others, Charlie Sheen, Angelina Jolie and Johnny Depp of "The Tourist", The Hollywood Foreign Press Association, Cher, the actresses in Sex and the City, prominent Scientologists and Hugh Hefner.

from Fan Fare:

Simon Cowell FiXing it for X Factor’s Joe?

Yes, that word "fix" has come back to haunt the X Factor in Britain, where Lloyd Daniels, the teenager who appeared to struggle with the basic skill of singing in tune, got booted off at the weekend.

Attention has now switched to who will win this year's competition, with four contestants still in with a shout -- Olly Murs, Danyl Johnson, Stacey Solomon acherylnd Joe McElderry. The smart money is on Joe, with Simon Cowell, the dominant figure on the judging panel and powerhouse in televised singing shows, naming him as the act to beat.

from Fan Fare:

It’s X Factor “Deadlock” … again

cowell2Another week, another contestant down, another ratings triumph for ITV ... oh, and another Deadlock.

The weekend's X Factor shenanigans did not come close to the previous vote's controversy, but there were still plenty of harsh words for the four-member judging panel for once again taking the final decision on who gets the boot to a Deadlock. When the judges are split 2-2, the result is decided by which of the two nominated acts got the fewest public votes.

from Fan Fare:

Sting calls X Factor “appalling”

stingBritish singer Sting has waded into the X Factor debate. In a week where the show's most famous judge Simon Cowell came in for some fierce criticism for what British viewers saw as a cynical ploy to fix the results, Sting has called the popular television show "preposterous" and "appalling".

In an interview with London's Evening Standard, ostensibly to promote his new CD "If On a Winter's Night", the Police frontman-turned-solo star launched into the music talent contest which regularly attracts peak audiences of more than 15 million in the UK.

from Fan Fare:

The X Factor or “The Fix Factor”?

cowell1X Factor judge Simon Cowell faced accusations of rigging the result of last night's X Factor vote as the tabloid newspapers, so often the champions of the hugely popular show, began to turn on the man they like to call "Mr. Nasty".

Twin act John and Edward Grimes (aka Jedward) survived a popular vote while singer Lucie Jones was shown the door. The two acts ended up at the bottom of the heap in a phone vote, and it was up to the judges to decide which one to throw out. But if the judges are split 2-2, the results of the public vote come back into play. Cowell had the deciding vote with the panel split 2-1 in Lucie's favour, and he decided for the twins.

Tabloid trickery versus the right to know

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Probity is Britain’s new watchword. After filleting the bankers over their salaries and bonuses and excoriating MPs for fiddling their expenses we’ve now turned our attention to the antics of journalists.

The News of the World (NOTW) has frequently embarrassed politicians, vicars, footballers and celebrities, but the Sunday red-top is currently itself the target of an expose by a broadsheet.

Are the kids too hung up on fame?

Once, kids had to work hard to become famous.

Whatever their chosen route, it would usually involve endless hours of practice — be it in the gym, on the pitch, at the keyboard or on the stage.

Now, with the advent of the reality TV star and the explosion of shows like the X Factor, America’s Next Top Model, Laguna Beach and the like, it seems anyone can do it and earn themselves millions in the process.

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