Saturday, February 21, 2015


  Had a brief chat with Bill Nighy while I was in London. It had to be brief because we  both wanted to get to the nearest TV to watch Crystal Palace, which Bill has supported all his life, play their F.A Cup match against Liverpool (sadly, they lost).

  But we had time for a quick catch-up about the upcoming big screen movie of the long-running and immensely successful TV show Dad's Army in which Bill plays Sgt. Wilson, the part played in the series by John Le Mesurier.

   "I hope the world will forgive us for making this film, and forgive me for not being John Le Mesurier," he told me. "Because the series is so beloved, I thought, 'Why not leave it alone?' But then the script came, which is very, very good and then you've got a cast which includes Sir Michael Gambon, Sir Tom Courtney, Toby Jones and Catherine Zeta-Jones and you start to think, 'Well, the whole thing might just work.And every time I had any doubts I just looked at Toby Jones, because he's brilliant as Captain Mainwaring. It's a stellar cast so I hope it works. 

   "A large part of the appeal for me was the fact that Michael Gambon was in it and we could sit on a beach in Bridlington and he would make me laugh, which he did. He made me laugh so much that I thought I'd never take another breath and it would kill me. He makes you laugh like that."

Thursday, February 19, 2015


with Downton Abbey cast including Maggie Smith (3rd from left) 
It is probably a lovely spot in the summer time but Highclere Castle in the pouring rain in February isn't the ideal place to be.
 However, Lady Carnarvon and the Downton Abbey cast, who were there on one of their regular sojourns to film a few interior and exterior shots before returning to their regular home at Ealing Studios, made me extremely welcome.
  After watching the filming of a scene with Elizabeth Govern (Lady Mary) and Jim Carter (Carson the butler), who, it turns out, is something of a comedian, I had lunch with other journalists and members of the cast in a marquee specially constructed for the occasion in the castle grounds.
  I was at a table with the lovely Joanne Froggatt, who this year made an emotional speech on winning a Golden Globe for her role as Anna the maid, and Leslie Nicol, who plays Mrs. Patmore the cook.
  Leslie tells me she and her husband spend three months a year on holiday in California with their two dogs. Next time she comes she's going to contact me and we'll take the dogs for a walk along the Palisades.      

Monday, February 9, 2015


Haley Joel Osment now.....
  What in the world has happened to Haley Joel Osment? The cute little kid who saw dead people in The Sixth Sense 15 years ago is now 26, bloated and unrecognisable with a moustache and slicked-back hair.
  He made a couple of other successful movies--- A.I and Pay It  Forward-- after The Sixth Sense but then struggled for roles and had three years when he never worked at all. He was involved in an accident in 2006 when his car overturned near his home and he suffered severe injuries. He was later sentenced to three years probation, 60 hours in an alcohol rehabilitation programme, fined $1,500 and ordered to attend at least 26 Alcoholics Anonymous meetings.
   The recent picture was taken on the set of a movie called Yoga Hosers which stars Johnny Depp and his daughter Lily-Rose.
.....and as he was
    Osment recently talked at the Toronto Film Festival about how fame as a child star can be a double-edged sword.  "When you're a kid and you grow up, it takes some time for people to associate you with things other than that initial thing. So it's a challenge."

  But even though he has already done so, he says he does not want to shed the image that some fans still have of him as a cute kid.  "I think it would be a mistake to consciously try and fight it," he said. "It's not a nice thing to do to your audience to try and shatter that image in people's mind."
   To anyone who sees him, that image was shattered a long time ago. 


  It's always a pleasure seeing Nicole Kidman, whom I first met 21 years ago on Batman Forever. A lot of water under the bridge si...