Matt Smith to play for England in Soccer Aid 2014Bookmark and Share

Monday, 17 March 2014 - Reported by John Bowman
Matt Smith will be playing football for England when he takes part in this year's Soccer Aid.

And he'll be facing a former nemesis in the shape of Michael Sheen - who provided the voice of the sinister House in The Doctor's Wife - at the charity event at Old Trafford on Sunday 8th June. Doors open at 5pm and kick-off is at 8pm, with the match being broadcast live on ITV.

It is being held in aid of the global children's charity UNICEF, with Smith signed up for Robbie Williams's England team. Meanwhile, Sheen is heading the opposing Rest of the World side. Joining Smith on the England squad will be Bradley Walsh, who appeared in The Sarah Jane Adventures story The Day of the Clown.

Before he became an actor, Smith's dream was to be a professional footballer, and he played for the youth teams at Northampton Town, Nottingham Forest, and Leicester City, but the spinal condition spondylosis wrecked his sporting hopes. However, he retains links to the game through his avid support for Blackburn Rovers, and the 2010 episode The Lodger saw the actor don a number 11 football shirt as the Doctor and lead fictional pub team The King's Arms to victory.

Williams, who is UNICEF's UK ambassador, said:
Soccer Aid returns for the fifth time in June and I admit there are scores to settle.

Leading the England team, I will be making sure we defend that trophy against Rest of the World. There's never been a better time for us to show our support for UNICEF, so please dig deep and buy your tickets now!
And UNICEF UK executive director David Bull said:
Soccer Aid 2014 will raise vital money to help some of the world's most vulnerable children get life-saving food, medicine and clean water.

Every day, children are in serious danger and thousands die needlessly in the struggle against poverty, hunger and disease. It's time for us all to act. Please, buy a ticket to go to Soccer Aid or watch the match on ITV and help us change children's lives.
In the past six years, Soccer Aid has raised more than £12m to help children around the world.

Tickets for the match cost from £20 for adults and from £5 for under-16s and over-65s, with premium seats at £40 (plus booking fees), and can be bought via the Soccer Aid site.

Sheen features briefly in his kit in the promotional video below, while The Lodger guest star James Corden can also be seen cheering:


Other celebrities on the England team are Stephen Moyer, Jamie Theakston, Mark Owen, Jack Whitehall, Damian Lewis, Paddy McGuinness, John Bishop and Olly Murs, while Sheen's celebrity players will include James McAvoy, Nicky Byrne, Adam Richman, Patrick Kielty and Gordon Ramsay. Former professional footballers joining the England side are Teddy Sheringham, Jamie Redknapp, David Seaman, Paul Ince and Jamie Carragher, with Jaap Stam and Edwin van der Sar among those playing for Rest of the World.

UPDATE - 8th JUNE: Sadly, Matt Smith was unable to take part in the game because of an injury. In a statement, he said:

It is with great disappointment that I will have to withdraw from this year's Soccer Aid as a result of injury. I have always wanted to play at Old Trafford, a personal dream, and was hugely excited to have the opportunity to support UNICEF. I do hope I will be invited to join Soccer Aid and UNICEF in the future and play football for such a good cause.

I really am so sorry to disappoint anyone who may have bought tickets to see me play. I can't express my apologies enough. However, I am certain this year's incredible line-up will still entertain and, most importantly, continue to raise money for children all over the world.




People RoundupBookmark and Share

Sunday, 16 February 2014 - Reported by John Bowman
Today sees a certain actor reaching a certain milestone and we couldn't let it go unrecognised, so here's wishing A VERY HAPPY 50th BIRTHDAY to Christopher Eccleston - the man who was so fundamental in ensuring that Doctor Who was a success when it returned in 2005! To mark the special occasion, here are his first and last scenes as the Doctor.


Matt Smith is to appear at the Wizard World Louisville Comic Con on Saturday 29th March, which is being held at the Kentucky International Convention Center, 221 S 4th Street,
Louisville. He will be greeting fans, signing autographs, posing for photos and conducting an interactive question-and-answer session. [Wizard World]

The first photo of David Tennant in Gracepoint - the US remake of ITV drama Broadchurch in which he also starred - has been released and published by Entertainment Weekly. It shows Tennant, who plays Detective Emmett Carver, with Anna Gunn as his sidekick Detective Ellie Miller. The 10-episode series - written by Chris Chibnall who created the original show, and directed by James Strong who helmed five Broadchurch episodes - is being made by Fox and will air next season. [Entertainment Weekly, 14 Feb 2014]

Ben Wheatley - who is directing Peter Capaldi's first two episodes - has been talking about working with the actor. "With someone like Capaldi, he's a massive Who fan. He knows Who inside out. And everything he does is very, carefully planned and thought about. I remember when they first started talking to me about doing it, and I was very nervous for just those reasons. How do you shape this performance? But then when I heard who was going to do it - when they told me it was Capaldi, [I thought] that's not really a problem. He's so good. I was relieved, pretty much. It would have been a very different situation if it had been another kind of Matt Smith character. A guy who you don't know. Moulded from the start. But with Capaldi, you look at his career and you look at his performances they are all so brilliant, and all so different as well. It was a lucky break for me, I think that." He added: "It seems to me the episodes that we're doing now seem more like classic Who. We're going back to that style. But you'll have to wait and see." [io9, 3 Feb 2014]

Carey Mulligan will be playing the former lover of a character portrayed by Bill Nighy when she makes her West End debut in Skylight by Sir David Hare. The revival will be on at Wyndham's Theatre from Friday 6th June to Saturday 23rd August and will see Mulligan in the role of schoolteacher Kyra Hollis, while Nighy plays Tom Sergeant, as "the two attempt to rekindle their once-passionate relationship only to find themselves locked in a dangerous battle of opposing ideologies and mutual desires." [BBC News, 14 Feb 2014]

Bonnie Langford is returning to play the Lady of the Lake in the hit West End musical Spamalot, which is at the Playhouse Theatre. She will be appearing in it from Monday 24th February. [The Stage, 10 Feb 2014]

The fifth series of ITV period drama Downton Abbey will see Richard E Grant joining the cast as Simon Bricker - a guest of the Granthams. The eight-part series will also see the return of Hugh Bonneville, Penelope Wilton, Samantha Bond and Raquel Cassidy. [ITV Press Centre, 14 Feb 2014]

Michael Gambon will be among those taking part in the HighTide Festival in Halesworth, Suffolk. Among the theatre festival's events are world premieres of plays, readings and music, and Gambon will be taking part in the Face To Face series, when he will be interviewed by the theatre critic Michael Billington on Saturday 19th April. The festival - which takes place from Thursday 10th to Saturday 19th April - will also see the world premiere of Peddling, a play written and performed by Patrick Troughton's grandson Harry Melling, which will then transfer to New York.

Alex Kingston, Noel Clarke and Reece Shearsmith are to star in the ITV drama Chasing Shadows. The four-part production, which focuses on the work of a missing persons field unit charged with tracking down serial killers who prey on impressionable and vulnerable people, is due to start filming in the south-east of England soon for eight weeks. Shearsmith will play Det Sgt Sean Stone, with Kingston portraying his partner, Ruth Hattersley, while Clarke will take the role of Det Insp Prior. [ITV Press Centre, 11 Feb 2014]

Actress and model Lily Cole has been cast as Helen of Troy in The Last Days of Troy - an adaptation by Simon Armitage of The Iliad - which will receive its world premiere at the Royal Exchange Theatre in Manchester from Thursday 8th May to Saturday 7th June, before transferring to The Globe in London from Tuesday 10th to Saturday 28th June. [The Stage, 12 Feb 2014]

A forthcoming show featuring Louise Jameson that is for children who have learning difficulties needs actors and costumes after some cast members had to leave the production. The Unexpected Heroes is being put on at Sandhurst School in Berkshire on Tuesday 25th, Wednesday 26th and Friday 28th February, and producer Jonathan Turner said: "We are facing great difficulties as some cast members had to drop out due to unforeseen circumstances, so we are appealing for help with costumes and sets." Jameson is voicing a magic mirror in the show. Turner can be contacted on jonathanturner560@gmail.com [Local Berkshire, 14 Feb 2014]

Oft-rumoured to have been considered to play the Doctor, Paterson Joseph has told in an interview of his audition to take over from David Tennant. "I was in South Africa at the time, and I think if I'd been in England I probably would have suffered some sort of trauma. But I'll be very honest with you. I was overjoyed. Not that I thought I had been considered, because I hadn't been - they hadn't approached my agent at that point - but I was overjoyed." He added that after the audition "I came back and I think I pretty much knew that I hadn't got it and weirdly wasn't disappointed." [The Independent, 8 Feb 2014]

With his new TV entertainment show Superstar Dogs due to start on Channel 4 tomorrow at 5.30pm, John Barrowman has been talking about the programme and how his own dogs - Captain Jack, a Jack Russell terrier named after his Doctor Who/Torchwood character, and cocker spaniel Harris - would get on in the challenges. "Captain Jack knows how to dive underwater and swim down to retrieve a bone but I don't think he'd be good at fetching any balls because he'd burst them. And I'd probably have to train him a bit for the Dogstacle course. Harris would refuse to do anything!" [What's On TV]

An inquest into the death of former director Christopher Barry is to be held on Thursday 5th June. The 88-year-old died on Friday 7th February after falling down an escalator at a shopping centre in Banbury, near his home, earlier that day. He was taken to hospital but while there he suddenly stopped breathing and doctors couldn't revive him. [The Telegraph, 15 Feb 2014]

Lalla Ward and her husband Richard Dawkins will be sharing their memories of writer and former Doctor Who script editor Douglas Adams, as well as celebrating his life, at Highgate Cemetery, where Adams is buried. The sold-out event - entitled A Conversation At The End Of The Universe - takes place on Tuesday 11th March, which would have been Adams's 62nd birthday. Ward and Dawkins were introduced to each other by Adams at his 40th birthday party in 1992 and they married later that year. [Highgate Cemetery website]

Among those paying their respects to Roger Lloyd Pack at his funeral at St Paul's Church, Covent Garden, on Thursday were fellow Only Fools And Horses stars John Challis and Tessa Peake-Jones, plus the actor Nigel Havers. Daughter Emily Lloyd gave a reading of Kahlil Gibran's poem On Death and said afterwards that Lloyd Pack's last words to his family were "I'm fine." [The Mirror, 14 Feb 2014]

In Memoriam

The actress Lisa Daniely - who played Madeleine Issigri in The Space Pirates - has died at the age of 84. She made her film debut in 1951 as the eponymous Lilli Marlene, starring in the sequel, The Wedding of Lilli Marlene, two years later as well. Among her other roles, she also appeared in ITV's 1958-59 version of The Invisible Man as Diane Brady Wilson - the title character's widowed sister - with Deborah Watling playing her daughter. Other TV appearances included The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, Van der Valk, The Protectors, Strange Report, Danger Man and The Saint. [The Stage, 12 Feb 2014]




People RoundupBookmark and Share

Tuesday, 4 February 2014 - Reported by John Bowman
The BBC has taken to Twitter to warn people to avoid tweets claiming to be from either Peter Capaldi or Jenna Coleman, as neither actor has a Twitter account. In a tweet sent out from the official Doctor Who account last week, it said:

Meanwhile, Coleman has been talking about her life in travel, including her earliest holiday memory (Cornwall) and her favourite destination in Britain (Derbyshire). She says her best holiday was in The Maldives. "I went after finishing series seven of Doctor Who. I had to pinch myself because it was so picturesque. Especially because I'd gone in January, from grey London skies and concrete to all this colour and sea. It took about five days to settle in. We arrived by seaplane and barely saw anyone else the whole time. We did a catamaran trip where the hotel took us out with a picnic and snorkelling gear to a strip of sand in the middle of the ocean and left us there. You couldn't see anything else except the horizon and water. We were totally stranded." Her worst travel experience was "Christmas Eve at London Euston railway station, trying to get home to Blackpool. Everybody turns into animals. Humans stop being humans." [The Independent, 1 Feb 2014]

Tomorrow's episode of ITV drama Midsomer Murders sees an End of Time reunion of sorts take place, with Bernard Cribbins, Jacqueline King and June Whitfield among the guest cast caught up in the goings-on of The Flying Club, when an airfield owner is murdered. Cribbins plays veteran mechanic Duggie Wingate, Whitfield portrays Molly Darnley, a former Air Transport Auxiliary member with a dark secret, and King is Laura Wilding - the mother of resident pathologist Kate. Chatting about the episode last week, Cribbins said that Whitfield's character would be a love interest for Wingate. The two-hour episode airs from 8pm. [ITV Press Centre]

Paul McGann and Sophie Aldred will be among the star guests at sci-fi convention The SF Ball in Bournemouth later this week. The event takes place from Friday 7th to Sunday 9th February and Aldred, who filmed a number of her Doctor Who stories in the county, spoke of her fond memories of the place. "It was always a delight. I love Dorset and it was great to be filming there," she said, adding: "I remember having a barbecue on the sand at Lulworth Cove. Somebody had managed to wire up lights on an extension cable. We had a disco. Then we would go for walks off along Durdle Door. I remember watching shooting stars one night. It was wonderful." Aldred also said how much she enjoyed meeting the show's fans. "They are incredibly bright people. Doctor Who attracts really brilliant, brainy people," she said. (NB: McGann will only be at the event on the Friday and Saturday.) [Dorset Echo, 3 Feb 2014]

Sylvester McCoy and Karen Gillan join the guests taking part in the Sci-Fi Expo in Irving, Texas, at the weekend. Organised by Dallas Comic Con, the event will be held at the Irving Convention Center on Saturday 8th and Sunday 9th February, with Gillan there on Saturday only. [TheForce.net, 30 Jan 2014]

If you miss her then, Gillan will be on the Wizard World Comic Con Tour later this year, appearing at Philadelphia Comic Con from Thursday 19th to Sunday 22nd June, Chicago Comic Con from Thursday 21st to Sunday 24th August, and Austin Comic Con from Thursday 2nd to Saturday 4th October. [Wizard World]

Staying with the Stateside theme, Broadchurch creator Chris Chibnall has spoken about David Tennant's American accent in Gracepoint - the US remake of the ITV crime drama. Tennant played Det Insp Alec Hardy in the British original and is portraying Det Emmett Carver in the US version, and Chibnall said of the actor's accent: "I've heard it's fantastic." [Radio Times, 30 Jan 2014]

Meanwhile, Broadchurch co-star Olivia Colman has been talking of the agonies of keeping a tight lid on the plot of the second series after enduring similar tongue-holding for the first one. "Now it’s all starting again, it's awful - there's no end to the secret keeping."
[Radio Times, 30 Jan 2014]

Colin Baker had a jovial dig at the BBC over the gender of the Doctor, saying: "There should [be a female Doctor]. It won't happen because they are too timid but there should be. First female Doctor? I will have a sex change and do it. I am in touch with my feminine side." [Radio Times, 29 Jan 2014]

Brian Cox is to return as Broughty Ferry burger-seller and failed politican Bob Servant for a second - shorter - TV series of the comedy Bob Servant Independent. Filming begins in May, with Bob and his long-suffering campaign manager Frank (played by Jonathan Watson) left to pick up their lives after a by-election disaster. Cox joked: "Doing Bob Servant was the worst experience of my long career, working with no-hoper talents like [series writer] Neil Forsyth and the rest of them. But these things are sent to try us and occasionally we must fly the flag for the afflicted. One has to be generous at my great age so I am happy to endorse the new series of Bob Servant. For no-hopers they're awffy nice people. I remember when I used to make movies!" The show follows in the footsteps of the Bob Servant books and radio series, with last year's TV series comprising six episodes. The second series, consisting of three episodes, will air later this year on BBC Four and BBC Two Scotland. [BBC Media Centre, 3 Feb 2014]

Following the announcement of the opening of a musical version of Back To The Future in the West End next year, speculation has been rife over who will land the plum role of Marty McFly, with Arthur Darvill being given odds of 16/1 by Paddy Power. [The Independent, 2 Feb 2014]

Billie Piper caused a stir at the Project Arts Centre in Dublin last week when she dropped by to give her support to friend Ben Power on the opening night of his play A Tender Thing. The actress is filming forthcoming psychosexual horror TV series Penny Dreadful in the area, playing Irish immigrant Brona Croft. The programme - also starring Timothy Dalton - is due to start airing on Showtime in May. [Irish Independent, 1 Feb 2014]

Alex Kingston reprises the role of Dinah Lance in an episode of Arrow, the series based on the DC Comics character Green Arrow. Entitled Heir To The Demon, the episode - which also features a character called Nyssa! - is due to air on The CW tomorrow at 8pm ET. A preview clip including Kingston is available to watch below:


And Kingston is being reunited with Sir Kenneth Branagh for a radio production of Antony and Cleopatra. The duo - who are playing the eponymous roles - starred together in Macbeth last year at Manchester International Festival, and Branagh said he was "excited to be reunited with Alex Kingston after our hugely rewarding partnership in Macbeth on stage. To play another pair of Shakespeare's great couples is a privilege." It is due to air on Radio 3 on Sunday 20th April. [The Stage, 29 Jan 2014]

Jessica Raine will be appearing as new recruit Det Con Georgia Trotman in the second series of BBC Two's police corruption drama Line of Duty, which starts on Wednesday 12th February at 9pm. She said that what worried her most was her style of running. "What I was most concerned about was not running like a girl in a police vest. I practised that a few times," she said, adding that having watched playbacks she reckoned she did OK. [Radio Times, 30 Jan 2014]

Meanwhile, Raine and David Walliams were among those pictured at the Radio Times Cover Party. [Radio Times, 29 Jan 2014]

Robert Webb is to replace Stephen Mangan as Bertie Wooster in Perfect Nonsense at The Duke of York's Theatre in London from Monday 7th April. [The Stage, 3 Feb 2014]