/* *********** TRACKING ******* */

Bookmark and Share People Roundup

2/16/2014 07:24:00 pm - 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]