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2/01/2012 05:59:00 pm - Reported by Chuck Foster

As the bicentenary of Charles Dickens' birth on 7th February approaches, Simon Callow is touring to promote his new book about the author - Charles Dickens and the Great Theatre of the World. In an interview with the Yorkshire Post, Callow, who has played Dickens on stage and in Doctor Who, said: "I've been working very closely with the life of Dickens in one way or another for the past 15 years and I felt I had something different to say. I wanted to explore the notion of Charles Dickens as a performer and the conscious degree to which he was supremely confident as a performer. He could talk to the public and speak about his books in a way that would captivate audiences." Barnsley, Bromsgrove, Canterbury, Coventry, London, Loughborough, Maidenhead, Milton Keynes, Oxford, Street, Taunton, Portsmouth, and Winchester are places where Callow is appearing, with a number of venues sold out. [Yorkshire Post, 31 Jan 2012]

Noel Clarke spoke to London 360 about his casting in the next installment of the Star Trek juggernaut: "It was just an audition like all the others, really. You kind of just do your lines and see what happens, and then luckily this time I got the job. They didn't test me on my (Star Trek) knowledge, it was just a standard audition! I think it’s just one of those things where it’s another sort of level of accomplishment where you’ve done another job that is bigger than the ones you’ve done before - all of that stuff helps in your career so hopefully it will just help me in mine." [London 360 on YouTube, 27 Jan 2012]

Jean Marsh has spoken of the serious health scares she suffered late last year and how she resolved to overcome them. In a Guardian feature highlighting the forthcoming new series of Upstairs, Downstairs on BBC One, the actress and co-creator of the show, in which she plays Rose Buck, said: "I was absolutely determined [to get back]. Three weeks after the first episode I had a stroke and a heart attack, and in three weeks I'd thrown myself out of the hospital. I said I will be all right and the main doctor said, 'All right, you can work again. But you can only work four hours a day.' And I said: 'Terrific!'" The six-part series, also starring Alex Kingston, Anne Reid and Sarah Lancashire, is currently scheduled to start on Sunday 19th February. [The Guardian, 31 Jan 2012]

Some more details have been released on Marsh's co-star in the new series, Alex Kingston; the Doctor Who star is playing Dr Blanche Mottershead, who arrives at the house alongside novelist and lover Lady Portia Alresford (played by Emilia Fox). Writer Heidi Thomas said: "I really don't want to give the game away because it lets you know things about the characters in the show ahead of time and I think it will spoil it for the audience. The pair certainly bring a whiff of scandal. They've been living abroad and now arrive in London. They try to be covert about their life. The series is set in 1938, where life was far less sexualised. When it gets exposed, though, they find a surprising ally." [Radio Times, 31 Jan 2012]

Felicity Jones, who played the titular Unicorn (aka Robina Redmond) in The Unicorn and the Wasp, has been tipped for film stardom in the United States by Vanity Fair. She is among the 11 leading ladies featured by the magazine in its Hollywood edition out this month. Carey Mulligan was among those included in its 2010 Hollywood issue. [BBC News, 1 Feb 2012]

Laura Pulver, recently seen as Irene Adler in Sherlock, spoke about her chances of appearing in Steven Moffatt's other interest: "We haven’t spoken about Doctor Who at all. I think they are very separate entities for Steven, and I think he puts on very different hats, but I love working with him, and if we found another project to work together on whether it is Doctor Who or another season of Sherlock, then I’m sure we’d want to work together again." [Assignment X, 30 Jan 2012]