Ronnie Van Zant (Lynyrd Skynyrd)

Ronnie van Zant, the lead singer with Lynyrd Skynyrd was born 15 January 1948. Best known for popularizing the Southern hard rock genre during the 1970s Lynyrd Skynyrd were Originally formed In the summer of 1964, when teenage friends Ronnie Van Zant, Allen Collins, and Gary Rossington formed the band “The Noble Five” in Jacksonville, Florida. The band changed in 1965 to “My Backyard”, when Larry Junstrom and Bob Burns joined. In 1968, the group won a local Battle of the Bands contest and the opening slot on several Southeast shows for the California-based psychedelic rock band Strawberry Alarm Clock. the group eventually settled on the name “Leonard Skinner”, a mocking tribute to a physical-education teacher at Robert E. Lee High School, Leonard Skinner, who was notorious for strictly enforcing the school’s policy against boys having long hair.

During the 1970′s the band experienced many line-up changes and in 1972 the band was discovered at one of their shows at a club in Atlanta, GA. They soon changed the spelling of their name to “Lynyrd Skynyrd”and their fan base continued to grow rapidly throughout 1973, largely due to their opening slot on The Who’s Quadrophenia tour in the United States. Their 1974 follow-up, Second Helping, was the band’s breakthrough hit, and featured their most popular single, “Sweet Home Alabama” helping them rise to worldwide recognition. Lynyrd Skynyrd’s third album, Nuthin’ Fancy, was released in 1975 and the fourth album Gimme Back My Bullets was released in January 1976, but did not achieve the same success as the previous two albums. Steve Gaines joined the band in June 1976 and the newly-reconstituted band recorded the double-live album One More From the Road at the Fox Theatre (Atlanta, Georgia) in Atlanta, and performed at the Knebworth festival, which also featured The Rolling Stones. The next album 1977′s Street Survivors turned out to be a showcase for guitarist/vocalist Steve Gaines and included the iconic rock anthem “Free Bird”.

Sadly though, On October 20, 1977, just three days after the release of Street Survivors, and at the peak of their success, three members (Including Gaines) all died in an airplane crash, Following the crash and the ensuing press, Street Survivors became the band’s second platinum album and reached No. 5 on the U.S. album chart. The single “What’s Your Name” reached No. 13 on the single airplay charts in January 1978. Surviving members re-formed in 1987 for a reunion tour with lead singer Ronnie Van Zant’s younger brother Johnny as frontman. A version of the band continues to tour and record, with only Gary Rossington of its original members remaining as of 2012. Lynyrd Skynyrd was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on March 13, 2006

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Martin Luther King

American clergyman, activist, and prominent leader in the African-American Civil Rights Movement Martin Luther King Jnr. Was Born on January 15, 1929, in Atlanta, Georgia. He grew up in Atlanta & attended Booker T. Washington High School, where he skipped both ninth and twelfth grade and entered Morehouse College at age fifteen without formally graduating from high school. In 1948, he graduated from Morehouse with a Bachelor of Arts degree in sociology, and enrolled in Crozer Theological Seminary in Chester, Pennsylvania, from which he graduated with a Bachelor of Divinity degree in 1951. King became pastor of the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in Montgomery, Alabama, when he was twenty-five years old, in 1954. King then began doctoral studies in systematic theology at Boston University and got his Doctor of Philosophy on June 5, 1955, with a dissertation on “A Comparison of the Conceptions of God in the Thinking of Paul Tillich and Henry Nelson Wieman”. Civil rights leader, theologian, and educator Howard Thurman was an early influence on King and While studying at Boston University, King often visited Thurman. inspired by Gandhi’s success with non-violent activism, King visited Gandhi’s birthplace in India in 1959, which deepened his understanding of non-violent resistance and his commitment to America’s struggle for civil rights. African American civil rights activist Bayard Rustin also studied Gandhi’s teachings and taught King the principles of non-violence.

In March 1955, a pregnant, unmarried fifteen-year-old school girl named, Claudette Colvin, refused to give up her bus seat to a white man in compliance with the Jim Crow laws, then on December 1, 1955, Rosa Parks was arrested for refusing to give up her seat. In response Nixon and King orchestrated the Montgomery Bus Boycott, which lasted for 385 days, and became so tense that King’s house was bombed. King was arrested during this campaign, which ended with a United States District Court ruling in Browder v. Gayle that ended racial segregation on all Montgomery public buses. In 1957, King, Ralph Abernathy, and other civil rights activists founded the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), to organise non-violent protests to bring about civil rights reform. As the leader of the SCLC, King maintained a policy of not publicly endorsing a U.S. political party or candidate. He also expressed a view that black Americans, as well as other disadvantaged Americans, should be compensated for historical wrongs. On September 20, 1958, while signing copies of his book Stride Toward Freedom King was stabbed in the chest with a letter opener by Izola Curry, a deranged black woman, and narrowly escaped death. King used Gandhi’s nonviolent techniques to change the civil rights laws in Alabama & applied non-violent philosophy to the protests organized by the SCLC believing that organized, nonviolent protest against southern segregation was more effective

imageMany Americans believed that the Civil Rights Movement was the most important issue in American politics in the early 1960s. King organized and led marches for blacks’ right to vote, desegregation, labour rights and other basic civil rights. Most of which were successfully enacted into the law of the United States with the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the 1965 Voting Rights Act. The Albany Movement was formed in Albany, Georgia to organise nonviolent attack on every aspect of segregation within the city and attracted nationwide attention. In April 1963, the SCLC began a campaign against racial segregation and economic injustice in Birmingham, Alabama, using nonviolent but intentionally confrontational tactics, developed in part by Rev. Wyatt Tee Walker. Black people in Birmingham, organizing with the SCLC, occupied public spaces with marches and sit-ins, openly violating laws they considered unfair. King and the SCLC also held demonstrations in St. Augustine, Florida, in 1964, marching nightly through the city suffering violent attacks from white supremacists. Hundreds of the marchers were arrested and jailed. In December 1964, King and the SCLC joined forces with the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) in Selma, Alabama to secure voter registration. This led to A local judge issuing an injunction that barred any gathering of 3 or more people affiliated with the SNCC, SCLC, DCVL, or any of 41 named civil rights leaders, however King defied it by speaking at Brown Chapel on January 2, 1965.

King was also among the leaders of the so-called “Big Six” civil rights organizations who were instrumental in the organization of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, which took place on August 28, 1963. The other leaders and organizations comprising the Big Six were Roy Wilkins from the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People; Whitney Young, National Urban League; A. Philip Randolph, Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters; John Lewis, SNCC; and James L. Farmer, Jr. of the Congress of Racial Equality. The march highlighted the desperate condition of blacks in the southern U.S. and brought peoples concerns and grievances to the attention of the Federal Government And also aimed to Safeguard the civil rights and physical safety of civil rights workers and blacks and bring an end to racial segregation in public schools; meaningful civil rights legislation, including a law prohibiting racial discrimination in employment; protection of civil rights workers from police brutality; a $2 minimum wage for all workers; and self-government for Washington, D.C.then governed by congressional committee. King also delivered a 17-minute speech, later known as “I Have a Dream”.

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The march was a resounding success and more than a quarter of a million people of diverse ethnicities attended the event, sprawling from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial onto the National Mall and around the reflecting pool. At the time, it was the largest gathering of protesters in Washington, D.C.’s history. Malcolm X however, called it the “Farce on Washington,” and the Nation of Islam forbade its members from attending the march.Throughout his participation in the civil rights movement, King was criticized by many other groups. This included opposition by more militant blacks and such prominent critics as Nation of Islam member Malcolm X. Stokely Carmichael was a separatist and disagreed with King’s plea for racial integration because he considered it an insult to a uniquely African-American culture. Omali Yeshitela urged Africans to remember the history of violent European colonization and how power was not secured by Europeans through integration, but by violence and force.

King, James Bevel, the SCLC and SNCC, originally Tried to March from Selma to the state capital of Montgomery, on March 7, 1965 but were prevented my Mob Violence and Police Violence against the demonstrators. This day has since become known as Bloody Sunday And was a major turning point in the effort to gain public support for the Civil Rights Movement, demonstrated the potential of King’s nonviolence strategy. In 1966, after several successes in the South, King and others in the civil rights organizations moved to a Chicago slum to show their support and empathy for the poor And several marches took place in Bogan, Belmont Cragin, Jefferson Park, Evergreen Park (a suburb southwest of Chicago), Gage Park, Marquette Park. In Chicago they left Jesse Jackson, a seminary student who had previously joined the movement in the South, charge of their organization and Jackson continued their struggle for civil rights. In 1965 King began to publicly express doubts about the Vietnam War and

On April 4, 1967 he appeared at the New York City Riverside Church delivering a speech titled “Beyond Vietnam”. In which He opposed the U.S.’s role in the Vietnam war because it took money and resources that could have been better spent in the United States. this cost him significant support among white allies, including President Johnson, union leaders and powerful publishers.King also began to speak of the need for fundamental changes in the political and economic life of the nation and a redistribution of resources to correct racial and economic injustice and oN the day after President Johnson’s State of the Union Address, King called for a large march on Washington against “one of history’s most cruel and senseless wars”.

In 1968, King and the SCLC organized the “Poor People’s Campaign” to address issues of economic injustice. And King assembled“a multiracial army of the poor” that would march on Washington to engage in nonviolent civil disobedience at the Capitol until Congress created an ‘economic bill of rights’ for poor Americans which ensured economic aid to the poorest communities in the United States and to invest in rebuilding America’s cities. He envisioned a change that was more revolutionary than mere reform, and cited systematic flaws of “racism, poverty, militarism and materialism”.The Campaign proved controversial even within the civil rights movement. On March 29, 1968, King went to Memphis, Tennessee, in support of the black sanitary public works employees, represented by AFSCME Local 1733, who had been on strike since March 12 for higher wages and better treatment. On April 3, King also addressed a rally and delivered his “I’ve Been to the Mountaintop” address at Mason Temple, the world headquarters of the Church of God in Christ.

Sadly King was shot in the chest on April 4 1968 while staying at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis by James Earl Ray. Despite emergency chest surgery, King was pronounced dead at St. Joseph’s Hospital at 7:05 p.m. The assassination led to a nationwide wave of race riots in Washington D.C., Chicago, Baltimore, Louisville, Kansas City, and dozens of other cities. Presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy was on his way to Indianapolis for a campaign rally when he was informed of King’s death And President Lyndon B. Johnson declared April 7 a national day of mourning for the civil rights leader. Vice-President Hubert Humphrey attended King’s funeral. Two months after King’s death, escaped convict James Earl Ray was captured at London Heathrow Airport while trying to leave the United Kingdom on a false Canadian passport in the name of Ramon George Sneyd on his way to white-ruled Rhodesia. He was extradited to Tennessee and charged with King’s murder. He confessed to the assassination on March 10, 1969, though he recanted this confession three days later. On the advice of his attorney Percy Foreman, and was sentenced to a 99-year prison term. However Ray’s lawyers maintained he was a scapegoat similar to the way that John F. Kennedy assassin Lee Harvey Oswald is seen by conspiracy theorists.

Soon after King’s assassination, Congress passed the Civil Rights Act of 1968, which was seen as a tribute to King’s struggle in his final years to combat racial discrimination in the U.S. Internationally, King was posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1977 and Congressional Gold Medal in 2004 and received the Nobel Peace Prize. King’s legacy influenced the Black Consciousness Movement and Civil Rights Movement in South Africa. King’s work served as an inspiration for South African leader Albert Lutuli, another black Nobel Peace prize winner who fought for racial justice in his country. King’s wife, Coretta Scott King, followed in her husband’s footsteps and was active in matters of social justice and civil rights until her death in 2006. The same year that Martin Luther King was assassinated, she established the King Center in Atlanta, Georgia, dedicated to preserving his legacy and the work of championing nonviolent conflict resolution and tolerance worldwide. Their son, Dexter King, currently serves as the center’s chairman. Daughter Yolanda King, who died in 2007, was a motivational speaker, author and founder of Higher Ground Productions, an organization specializing in diversity training.

and now for something completely different: Graham Chapman (Monty Python)

The Late, Great Graham Chapman would have celebrated his birthday on 8th January had he not tragically died in 1989. He started out in the 1960′s writing professionally for the BBC alongside John Cleese, initially for David Frost, but also for Marty Feldman. Chapman also contributed sketches to the BBC radio series I’m Sorry, I’ll Read That Again and television programmes such as The Illustrated Weekly Hudd (starring Roy Hudd), Cilla Black, This is Petula Clark, and This Is Tom Jones. Chapman, Cleese, and Tim Brooke-Taylor later joined Feldman in the television comedy series At Last the 1948 Show. There, Chapman displayed a gift for deadpan comedy (particularly evident in the sketch “The Minister Who Falls to Pieces”) and for imitating various British dialects. Chapman and Cleese also wrote for the long-running television comedy series Doctor in the House. Chapman also co-wrote several episodes with Bernard McKenna and David Sherlock.

Chapman joined British sketch comedy series Monty Python alongside Eric Idle, John Cleese, Terry Jones and Michael Palin, which was first aired on BBC One on the 5th October 1969. The shows were composed of surreality, risqué or innuendo-laden humour, sight gags and observational sketches without punchlines. It also featured Terry Gilliam’s wonderful and imaginatively bizarre animations, often sequenced or merged with live action. Broadcast by the BBC. with 45 episodes airing over four series from 1969 to 1974, The show often targets the idiosyncrasies of British life, especially that of professionals, and is at times politically charged, and over the years many of the sketches have attained classic status including The Lumberjack Song, Ministry of Silly Walks, Upper class twit of the Year,Spam song, The Dead Parrot Sketch and Bicycle Repair Man. The members of Monty Python were all highly educated. Terry Jones and Michael Palin are Oxford University graduates; Eric Idle, John Cleese, and Graham Chapman attended Cambridge University; and American-born member Terry Gilliam is an Occidental College graduate. Chapman also played the lead roles in two of the Python’s Films – Monty Python and The Holy Grail, Life of Brian

After reuniting with the other Pythons in Monty Python’s The Meaning of Life, Chapman began a lengthy series of American college tours where he would tell the audience anecdotes about Monty Python, the Dangerous Sports Club, Keith Moon, and other subjects. In 1988, he appeared in the Iron Maiden video Can I Play with Madness. Chapman also secured funding for his much cherished pirate project Yellowbeard in 1982. Once again, Chapman collaborated with writer Bernard McKenna and for the first time with Peter Cook. The film, which starred Chapman as the eponymous pirate, also featured appearances from Peter Cook, Marty Feldman, Cleese, Idle, Spike Milligan, and Cheech & Chong. It marks the last appearance of Feldman, who suffered a fatal heart attack during shooting. It was released in 1983 to mixed reviews. His final project was to have been a TV series called Jake’s Journey. Although the pilot episode was made, there were difficulties selling the project. Chapman was also to have played a guest role as a television presenter in the Red Dwarf episode “Timeslides”, but died before filming was to have started.

Danny McNamara

Danny McNamara, the lead singer with the indie rock band Embrace was born 31st December 1970. Embrace are an English band from Bailiff Bridge, Brighouse, West Yorkshire and consists of brothers singer Danny McNamara and guitarist Richard McNamara, bassist Steve Firth, keyboardist Mickey Dale, and drummer Mike Heaton.The band was begun in a small outbuilding at the bottom of a garden in Bailiff Bridge in 1990. A bass player joined the McNamara brothers, Richard playing guitar and Danny singing. The three of them started creating songs, with the aid of a cassette recorder, and soon a drum machine was added. In 1992 The band recorded a three track demo in a 16 track recording studio in Huddersfield which was sold at concerts.A single, “All You Good Good People” was released in February 1997. their debut album The Good Will Out was released on 8 June 1998 and went to number 1 in the UK Albums Chart. In 27 March 2000 the band released Drawn from Memory. the album was supported by an acclaimed tour, during which they were supported by then-fledgling Coldplay.

Afterwards they recorded their third studio album If You’ve Never Been, which was released on 3 September 2001. In 2004 they released the album Out of Nothing, which reached number one in the UK in 2004 and contained The single “Gravity”, which had been written by Coldplay’s Chris Martin. Danny McNamara and Martin having become friends after Coldplay had supported Embrace in 2000. In October 2005, the band released their first b-side compilation, called Dry Kids: B-Sides 1997–2005, featuring b-sides from their previous album and including many fan-favourites such as “Blind” and a live rendition of D12′s “How Come”.

The band’s fifth studio album, This New Day was released on 27 March 2006, with the single “Nature’s Law”. The band then had a break during much of 2007 until 2010. Albums released so far by Embrace include The Good Will Out (1998), Drawn from Memory (2000), If You’ve Never Been (2001), Out of Nothing (2004), This New Day and the self titled album Embrace which was released in 2014. Embrace’s forthcoming album “Love is a Basic need” will be released in 2018.

Nichelle Nichols (Star Trek)

Grace Dell Nichols was born in Robbins, Illinois, near Chicago, to Samuel Earl Nichols, a factory worker who was elected both town mayor of Robbins and its chief magistrate, and his wife, Lishia (Parks) Nichols Later, the family moved to Chicago.
She studied in Chicago as well as New York and Los Angeles. Her break came in an appearance in Kicks and Co., Oscar Brown’s highly touted, but ill-fated 1961 musical. In a thinly veiled satire of Playboy magazine, she played Hazel Sharpe, a voluptuous campus queen who was being tempted by the devil and Orgy Magazine to become “Orgy Maiden of the Month”. This attracted the attention of Hugh Hefner, the publisher of Playboy, who booked her for his Chicago Playboy Club.
While still in Chicago, she performed at the “Blue Angel”, and in New York, Nichols appeared at that city’s Blue Angel as a dancer and singer. She also appeared in the role of Carmen for a Chicago stock company production of Carmen Jones and performed in a New York production of Porgy and Bess.

In 1967, Nichols also was featured on the cover of Ebony magazine. Nichols toured the United States, Canada and Europe as a singer with the Duke Ellington and Lionel Hampton bands. she also appeared in The Roar of the Greasepaint – The Smell of the Crowd, For My People, and garnered high praise for her performance in the James Baldwin play Blues for Mister Charlie. Prior to being cast as Lieutenant Uhura in Star Trek, Nichols was a guest actress on television producer Gene Roddenberry’s first series The Lieutenant (1964) in an episode, “To Set It Right”, which dealt with racial prejudice.

Following her appearance On Star Trek, Nichols gained popular recognition by being one of the first black women featured in a major television series not portraying a servant; her prominent supporting role as a bridge officer was unprecedented. During the first year of the series, Nichols was tempted to leave the show, as she wanted to pursue a Broadway career; however, a conversation with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. at a fund-raiser at the NAACP changed her mind when King personally told her he was her biggest fan and encouraged her to stay on Star Trek because she was playing a vital role model for black children and young women across the country, as well as for other children who would see blacks appearing as equals. In her role as Lieutenant Uhura, Nichols famously kissed white actor William Shatner as Captain James T. Kirk in the November 22, 1968, Star Trek episode “Plato’s Stepchildren”. Former NASA astronaut Mae Jemison has cited Nichols’ role of Lieutenant Uhura as her inspiration for wanting to become an astronaut and Whoopi Goldberg has also spoken of Nichols’ influence. Goldberg asked for a role on Star Trek: The Next Generation,and the character of Guinan was specially created, while Jemison appeared in an episode of the series.

Sadly Star Trek was cancelled in 1969. Despite this, Star Trek lived on in other ways, and continued to play a part in Nichols’ life. She again provided the voice of Uhura in Star Trek: The Animated Series; in one episode, “The Lorelei Signal”, Uhura assumes command of the Enterprise. Nichols has also co-starred in six Star Trek films, the last one being Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country.

Following the cancellation of Star Trek, Nichelle Nichols volunteered her time in a special project with NASA called Women in Motion which recruits minority and female personnel for the space agency. Members of Women in Motion included Dr. Sally Ride, the first American female astronaut, and United States Air Force Colonel Guion Bluford, the first African-American astronaut, as well as Dr. Judith Resnik and Dr. Ronald McNair, who both flew successful missions during the Space Shuttle program before their deaths in the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster on January 28, 1986. Recruits also included Charles Bolden, the current NASA administrator and veteran of four shuttle missions, Frederick D. Gregory, former deputy administrator and a veteran of three shuttle missions and Lori Garver, former deputy administrator.

Nichols is An enthusiastic advocate of space exploration, and has served since the mid-1980s on the board of governors of the National Space Society, a nonprofit, educational space advocacy organization founded by Dr. Wernher von Braun. In 2015 Nichols flew aboard NASA’s Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA) Boeing 747SP, which analyzed the atmospheres of Mars and Saturn on an eight-hour, high-altitude mission. She was also a special guest at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, in 1976, to view the Viking 1 soft landing on Mars. She also attended the christening of the first space shuttle, Enterprise, at the North American Rockwell assembly facility in Palmdale, California together with other cast members from the original Star Trek series.

In 1994, Nichols published her autobiography Beyond Uhura: Star Trek and Other Memories. Between 1970 and 1979 Nichols appeared in small television and film roles Such as a secretary in Doctor, You’ve Got to Be Kidding! (1967), and a foul-mouthed madam in Truck Turner (1974) opposite Isaac Hayes. Nichols appeared in animated form as one of Al Gore’s Vice Presidential Action Rangers in the “Anthology of Interest I” episode of Futurama, and she provided the voice of her own head in a glass jar in the episode “Where No Fan Has Gone Before”. She voiced the recurring role of Elisa Maza’s mother Diane Maza in the animated series Gargoyles, and played Thoth-Kopeira in an episode of Batman: The Animated Series. In 2004, she appeared in animated form in The Simpsons episode “Simple Simpson”. In the 2002 comedy Snow Dogs, Nichols appeared as the mother of the male lead, played by Cuba Gooding, Jr. In 2006, she appeared as the title character in the film Lady Magdalene’s, the madam of a legal Nevada brothel in tax default. She also served as executive producer and choreographer, and sang three songs in the film, composing two. Nichols is also an accomplished dancer and singer.

She has twice been nominated for the Chicago theatrical Sarah Siddons Award for Best Actress. The first nomination was for her portrayal of Hazel Sharpe in Kicks and Co.; the second for her performance in The Blacks. Nichols also played a recurring role on the second season of the NBC drama Heroes. Her first appearance was on the episode “Kindred”, aired 2007. She portrayed Nana Dawson, the matriarch of a New Orleans family financially and personally devastated by Hurricane Katrina, who cares for her orphaned grandchildren and her great-nephew, Micah Sanders. In 2008, she starred in the film The Torturer, playing the role of a psychiatrist. In 2009, she joined the cast of The Cabonauts, a sci-fi musical comedy that debuted on the Internet. Playing CJ, the CEO of the Cabonauts Inc, Nichols is also featured singing and dancing. In 2010, she toured the space shuttle simulator and Mission Control at the Johnson Space Center and In 2016, she was introduced as the aging mother of Neil Winters on the long-standing soap opera The Young and the Restless. She received her first Daytime Emmy nomination in the “Outstanding Guest Performer in a Drama Series” category for this role March 22, 2017. Nichols has also released two music albums. Down to Earth which is a collection of standards released in 1967, during the original run of Star Trek and Out of This World, released in 1991, which is more rock oriented and is themed around Star Trek and space exploration.

The Mystery of Edwin Drood

I have recently watched the television adaptation of Charles Dickens unfinished novel The Mystery of Edwin Drood. The novel features an opium user named John Jasper who starts hallucinating about strangling his nephew, Edwin Drood, while in a London opium den. The next evening, his nephew Edwin Drood pays him a visit , at Cloisterham Cathedral. Edwin confides that he has misgivings about his betrothal to Rosa Bud. The next day, Edwin visits Rosa at the Nuns’ House.

Elsewhere Neville Landless and his twin sister Helena arrive at Cloisterham from Ceylon (Sri Lanka) for their education. Neville stays with minor canon, Rev. Mr. Crisparkle; while Helena stays at the Nuns’ House with Rosa. Reverend Crisparkle and his mother invite Edwin and Rosa to meet Jasper and Rosa. Neville is immediately smitten with Rosa as is Jasper who covets Edwin Drood’s fiancee Rosa. Neville and Edwin have a disagreement.

Meanwhile Jasper starts showing an unhealthy interest in the cathedral crypt, So he asks Durdles, a man who knows more about the crypt than anyone else. Durdles takes Jasper into the cathedral crypt. Jasper provides a bottle of wine to Durdles. The wine is mysteriously potent and Durdles soon loses consciousness

Elsewhere Rosa discovers from her guardian Mr Grewgious that she has a substantial Inheritance and Mr. Grewgious gives Edwin a ring to give to Rosa to show his commitment, However Rosa and Edwin amicably end their engagement with Edwin intending to return the ring to Mr. Grewgious. Unfortunately, Jasper, is angered by this. Rev. Mr Crisparkle tries to reconcile, Neville and Edwin by inviting them to Dinner on Christmas Eve at Mr Jaspers house. Edwin then meets a woman who is an opium user from London who informs him that He is in great danger. Drood and Neville Landless reconcile their differences. However The next morning Edwin goes missing and Jasper spreads suspicion that Neville has killed him.

At first everyone suspects that Neville has murdered Edwin, however Neville professes his innocence and Mr Grewgious vouches for him. Then, Deputy, a street urchin who is Durdles’ little helper, finds the ring discarded on the graveyard floor. While defending Neville’s innocence against Jasper’s accusations, the twins confess that they did not come to Cloisterham to further their education but to find their father, the late Edwin Drood Sr. As Edwin Jr was their brother, they argued, Neville had no cause to murder him. Jasper refutes their claims, but Mr Grewgious begins to look into it, assisted by Neville and Grewgious’s clerk, Bazzard.

Jasper visits Rosa at the Nuns’ House and professes his love for her but she rebuffs him and Fearing angry reprisals from Jasper, Rosa goes to Mr Grewgious in London however Jasper follows her. Meanwhile Bazzard, disguised as Dick Datchery, arrives in Cloisterham to investigate Edwin Drood Sr’s death and meets Deputy. Reverend Crisparkle is given a letter which seems to confirm Helena’s assertion that Jasper is obsessed with Rosa, and he discovers Bazzard and Deputy, in Jasper’s flat. Rosa also Believes that Jasper killed Edwin. So Crisparkle Bazzard and Deputy work together to solve the mystery of Drood Jr’s disappearance enlisting the help of Durdles to search the tombs for his body…

Peter O’Toole

Prolific British Actor Peter James O’Toole sadly passed away 14 December 2013. He was Born 2 August 1932 and attended the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, before he began working in the theatre, where he gained recognition as a Shakespearean actor at the Bristol Old Vic and with the English Stage Company. He made his film debut in 1959 and achieved stardom playing T. E. Lawrence in Lawrence of Arabia (1962) for which he received his first Academy Award nomination. He received seven further Oscar nominations – for Becket (1964), The Lion in Winter (1968), Goodbye, Mr. Chips (1969),The Ruling Class (1972), The Stunt Man (1980), My Favorite Year (1982) and Venus (2006) – and holds the record for the most Academy Award acting nominations without a win. He won four Golden Globes, a BAFTA and an Emmy, and was the recipient of an Honorary Academy Award in 2003.

Peter O’Toole began working in the theatre, Where after gaining recognition as a Shakespearean actor at the Bristol Old Vic and with the English Stage Company, he made his television debut in 1954. He first appeared on film in 1959 in a minor role in The Day They Robbed the Bank of England. O’Toole’s major break came when he was chosen to play T. E. Lawrence in David Lean’s Lawrence of Arabia (1962). His performance was ranked number one in Premiere magazine’s list of the 100 Greatest Performances of All Time. The role introduced him to US audiences and earned him the first of his eight nominations for the Academy Award for Best Actor.O’Toole is one of a handful of actors to be Oscar-nominated for playing the same role in two different films; he played King Henry II in both Becket (1964) and The Lion in Winter (1968). O’Toole played Hamlet under Laurence Olivier’s direction in the premiere production of the Royal National Theatre in 1963. He demonstrated his comedic abilities alongside Peter Sellers in the Woody Allen-scripted comedy What’s New Pussycat? (1965). He also appeared inSeán O’Casey’s Juno and the Paycock at Gaiety Theatre, Dublin.

He played King Henry II in The Lion in Winter (1968) and fulfilled a lifetime ambition in 1970, when he performed in Samuel Beckett’s Waiting for Godot alongside Donal McCann in Dublin. In 1972, he played both Miguel de Cervantes and his fictional creation Don Quixote in Man of La Mancha, the motion picture adaptation of the 1965 hit Broadway musical, opposite Sophia Loren. The film was a critical and commercial failure, criticised for using mostly non-singing actors. O’Toole’s singing was dubbed by tenor Simon Gilbert, but the other actors sang their own parts. O’Toole and co-star James Coco, who played both Cervantes’s manservant and Sancho Panza, both received Golden Globenominations for their performances. In 1980, O’Toole starred as Tiberius in the Penthouse-funded biographical film Caligula. In 1980, he received critical acclaim for playing the director in the behind-the-scenes film The Stunt Man. He received good reviews as John Tanner in Man and Superman and Henry Higgins in Pygmalion, and won a Laurence Olivier Award for his performance in Jeffrey Bernard is Unwell (1989). He was nominated for another Oscar for My Favorite Year (1982), a romantic comedy set behind-the-scenes at a 1950s TV variety-comedy show, in which O’Toole plays an ageing swashbuckling film star reminiscent of Errol Flynn. He also appeared in 1987’s acclaimed The Last Emperor.

In 1999 O’Toole won an Emmy Award for his role in the mini-series Joan of Arc and in 2004, he played King Priam in the summer blockbuster Troy. In 2005, he appeared on television as the older version of legendary 18th century Italian adventurer Giacomo Casanova in the BBC drama serial Casanova. The younger Casanova, seen for most of the action, was played by David Tennant, who had to wear contact lenses to match his brown eyes to O’Toole’s blue. O’Toole was once again nominated for the Best Actor Academy Award for his portrayal of Maurice in the 2006 film Venus, directed by Roger Michell, his eighth such nomination. O’Toole co-starred in the Pixar animated film Ratatouille (2007), an animated film about a rat with dreams of becoming the greatest chef in Paris, as Anton Ego, a food critic. O’Toole appeared in the second season of Showtime’s successful drama series The Tudors (2008), portraying Pope Paul III, who excommunicates King Henry VIII from the church; an act which leads to a showdown between the two men. On 10 July 2012, O’Toole released a statement that he was retiring from acting.