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Wednesday, 29 February 2012 - Reported by Chuck Foster
Eve Myles talks about her audition for her role in All New People, the play by Zach Braff: "It was one of the strangest auditions of my life. On the Friday my agent phoned me up very excited because I was desperate to get back to doing theatre, and I wanted to do some comedy because I've never done comedy. She said 'I've got this wonderful script, I'm going to send it to you and they're going to have a look at some of your stuff over the weekend. And if they like what they see then on Monday you might get a phone call and you might have to read for them.' Monday came and they were very interested in me. They arranged for me – on the Wednesday – to audition on Skype, which I’d never done before. Anybody who knows me knows that I have difficulty with a mobile phone, never mind the internet! So I had a Skype audition with Peter DuBois, who was in New York, which lasted an hour and a half, then I had another 40-minute audition with Zach in Los Angeles. So the audition lasted nearly three hours with these two geniuses. In the meantime my babysitter had let me down so we put Alice In Wonderland on for Matilda. So I’m doing all these big scenes on Skype and my daughter is screaming, 'Off with her head!' in the background. But within 20 minutes they'd made an offer." [SFX, via Dave Golder, 21 Feb 2012]

Sylvester McCoy talks about his role in the play Plume, opening at the Tron Theatre Company on Thursday 1st March: "It's a beautifully written play about loss and sadness, and the change in a human being because of that loss. The man I play is a retired teacher, who's widowed, and his son being blown up in a plane affects and changes him from being a lovable, nice, kind, caring human being into an angry person. (On the influence of the real-life Lockerbie tragedy) Lockerbie is there, but it's not principal to the story. It's not a political play in that way, but there's the final straw that releases all this anger in him. One of the reasons for me wanting to do it was that I've got sons, and when I was reading it, I thought, well, how would I feel if that happened to me? I was touched." [The Herald, 28 Feb 2012]

David Morrissey will appear in the next series of The Walking Dead, playing the role of "The Governor". The series is due to start filming in Atlanta in the spring. [News in Time and Space, 26 Feb 2012]

Bill Pullman is returning to a familiar role ... the Independence Day star will be once again assuming the mantle of US President, this time in the new NBC comedy series 1600 Penn set around 'ordinary' life in the White House. [TV Guide, 24 Feb 2012]

A performance of Arthur Darvill's Cinderella forms part of the Nabokov Arts Club's Fable event at Battersea Arts Centre on 2nd/3rd March. The composition is described as a rock-opera, and is "a musical subversion of the Cinderella story". [Nabokov Online. A Younger Theatre]

Roger Lloyd-Pack has been named as patron of the 2012 Breckland British Film Festival. The festival aims to bring classic films to local villages, with the actor attending a screening of Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy (in which he played Inspector Mendel) in Garboldisham on 14th March. [Norwich Evening News, 27 Feb 2012]

Katherine Jenkins is to appear as one of the contestants on the US version of the BBC's Strictly Come Dancing, Dancing With The Stars. The singer is about to begin training for the show, saying on Twitter: "So now I have a spare day to prepare myself for DWTS and for my first day of training with Mark Ballas" [Katherine Jenkins, 29 Feb 2012]

Visual effects designer/supervisor Tim Barter (between Smith and Jones and The End of Time) has made a remarkable recovery from a skull fracture he suffered in 2009. Reflecting on his accident, he said: "Life stopped for a number of months. I couldn't work and I had double vision. I was frightened that my eyesight would never go back to normal and that I would have to give up my job for good. I'm making the most of everything now where I didn't before." [Standard, 28 Feb 2012]

We'll Take Manhattan, starring Aneurin Bernard as David Bailey and Karen Gillan as Jean Shrimpton will premiere in the United States on 3rd March on cable channel Ovation.

The channel have provided links to three interview segments with Gillan: in the first, Karen talks about the impact of Jean Shrimpton and David Bailey; in the second she discusses the differences between her two characters, Amy and Jean; finally, she talks about the real Jean Shrimpton.

Matt Smith on Top Gear

Matt Smith demonstrated his driving skills on last Sunday's Top Gear as the "star in the reasonably priced car", and achieved the fastest lap-time of all the 'modern' Doctors that have appeared on the show so far, completing the circuit in 1:43.7, as compared to David Tennant with 1:48.8 and Christopher Eccleston with 1:52.4. Billie Piper has also completed the circuit, with a 'controversial' time of 1:48.3 (a three second penalty was overturned). The lap can be watched in the UK via the BBC iPlayer until 22nd April (starts at 30:32).

Behind the scenes of Matt Smith's attempt, via Top Gear Blog

The 'current' Doctors aren't the only ones to take the challenge, however; back in 2003 the Sixth Doctor aka Colin Baker participated in a special 'sci-fi' item on the show, appearing in costume in a competition against a Dalek, Cyberman, Klingon, Darth Vader and Ming the Merciless to find the "Master of the Universe"! Unfortunately he ended up in 4th place, with the Cyberman being the fastest - the Dalek was disqualified for not fitting in the car! Baker was reported as completing the lap in 1:43, but the missing decisecond makes it unclear if he actually beat Smith's own lap time ...

In Memoriam

BAFTA-winning costume designer Michael Burdle, who worked on Colony In Space and The Armageddon Factor, has died at the age of 69. Other programmes he was involved with included Dad's Army and Don't Wait Up, but his great passion was period dramas and in 1985 he won a BAFTA for the BBC's Masterpiece Theatre adaptation of Bleak House. [The Stage, 23 Feb 2012]

Actor, director, and producer Malcolm Taylor, who played Walters in The Ice Warriors, has died aged 74. Among his many credits, he was the dialogue coach for Richard Harris in This Sporting Life - the 1963 film that also included William Hartnell and brought the latter to the attention of Verity Lambert when she was casting the role of the Doctor. [The Stage, 21 Feb 2012]

FILTER: - People - Obituary - Karen Gillan - Matt Smith - Sylvester McCoy