Charlotte Brontë

English novelist and poet Charlotte Brontë was Born 21st April 1816 She was the eldest of the three Brontë sisters who survived into adulthood, whose novels are English literature standards. She wrote Jane Eyre under the pen name Currer Bell. Charlotte was born in Thornton, Yorkshire in 1816, the third of six children. In August 1824, Charlotte was sent with three of her sisters, Emily, Maria, and Elizabeth, to the Clergy Daughters’ School at Cowan Bridge in Lancashire (Charlotte later used the school as the basis for the fictional Lowood School in Jane Eyre). She and the other surviving children — Branwell, Emily, and Anne – created their own literary fictional worlds, and began chronicling the lives and struggles of the inhabitants of these imaginary kingdoms. Charlotte and Branwell wrote Byronic stories about their imagined country (“Angria”) and Emily and Anne wrote articles and poems about theirs (“Gondal”). The sagas which they created were elaborate and convoluted (and still exist in partial manuscripts) and provided them with an obsessive interest during childhood and early adolescence, which prepared them for their literary vocations in adulthood.

Charlotte continued her education at Roe Head, Mirfield, from 1831 to 32, where she met her lifelong friends and correspondents, Ellen Nussey and Mary Taylor. During this period, she wrote her novella The Green Dwarf (1833) under the name of Wellesley. Charlotte returned to Roe Head as a teacher from 1835 to 1838. In 1839, she took up the first of many positions as governess to various families in Yorkshire, a career she pursued until 1841. In 1842 Charlotte and Emily travelled to Brussels to enroll in a boarding school run by Constantin Heger In return for board and tuition, Charlotte taught English and Emily taught music. Their time at the boarding school was cut short when Elizabeth Branwell, their aunt who joined the family after their mother died Charlotte returned alone to Brussels in January 1843 to take up a teaching post at the boarding school but returned to Haworth in January 1844 and later used her time at the boarding school as the inspiration for some experiences.

In May 1846, Charlotte, Emily, and Anne self-financed the publication of a joint collection of poetry under the assumed names of Currer, Ellis and Acton Bell. Charlotte’s first manuscript, called The Professor, did not secure a publisher, although she was heartened by an encouraging response she received from Smith, Elder & Co of Cornhill, who expressed an interest in any longer works which “Currer Bell” might wish to send.Charlotte responded by finishing and sending a second manuscript in August 1847, and six weeks later this second manuscript (titled Jane Eyre: An Autobiography) was published. Jane Eyre was a success, and initially received favourable reviews. It was followed by the subsequent publication of the first novels by Charlotte’s sisters: Emily’s Wuthering Heights and Anne’s Agnes Grey.

In June 1854, Charlotte married Arthur Bell Nicholls, her father’s curate and, in the opinion of many scholars, the model for several of her literary characters such as Jane Eyre’s Edward Rochester and St. John Rivers. She became pregnant soon after the marriage. Her health declined rapidly during this time, and according to Gaskell, her earliest biographer, she was attacked by “sensations of perpetual nausea and ever-recurring faintness.” Charlotte Sadly passed away shortly afterwoods on 31 March 1855, at the young age of 38

Her death certificate gives the cause of death as phthisis (tuberculosis), but many biographers suggest she may have died from dehydration and malnourishment, caused by excessive vomiting from severe morning sickness or hyperemesis gravidarum. There is also evidence to suggest that Charlotte died from typhus she may have caught from Tabitha Ackroyd, the Bronte household’s oldest servant, who died shortly before her. Charlotte was interred in the family vault in The Church of St. Michael and All Angels, Haworth, West Yorkshire, England. Her endurng popularty & legacy stll lives on To this day and all Charlotte Bronte’s novels Particularly Jane Eyre, are still as popular as ever. There have also been many Television Radio and Film adaptations of her novels and her classic novel’s are stll widely taught in schools

Bram Stoker

Irish novelist and short story writer Abraham “Bram” Stoker Sadly passed away on 20 April 1912 after suffering a number of strokes. He was Born 8th November 1847 in Clontarf, Dublin, Ireland. Stoker was bedridden until he started school at the age of seven, when he made a complete recovery. He was educated in a private school run by the Rev. William Woods. After his recovery, he grew up without further major health issues, even excelling as an athlete (he was named University Athlete) at Trinity College, Dublin, which he attended from 1864 to 1870. He graduated with honours in mathematics. He was auditor of the College Historical Society (‘the Hist’) and president of the University Philosophical Society, where his first paper was on “Sensationalism in Fiction and Society.

While a student Stoker became interested in the theatre & became the theatre critic for the Dublin Evening Mail, co-owned by the author of Gothic tales Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu. After giving a favourable review of Henry Irving’s Hamlet Irving invited him to dinner and the two became friends. Stoker also wrote stories, and in 1872 “The Crystal Cup” was published by the London Society, followed by “The Chain of Destiny” in four parts and “The Shamrock”. while a civil servant in Dublin, Stoker wrote a non-fiction book (The Duties of Clerks of Petty Sessions in Ireland. Stoker was also interested in art, and founded the Dublin Sketching Club. In 1874 The Stokers moved to London, where he became acting manager and then business manager of Henry Irving’s Lyceum Theatre, London, a post he held for 27 years. The collaboration with Irving was important for Stoker and through him he became involved in London’s high society, where he met James Abbott McNeill Whistler and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (to whom he was distantly related)

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DRACULA http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=CVb2q0eNFxI ===========================================================
Working for Irving, the most famous actor of his time, and managing one of the most successful theatres in London made Stoker a notable if busy man. He was dedicated to Irving and his memoirs show he idolised him. In London Stoker also met Hall Caine, who became one of his closest friends – he dedicated Dracula to him. In the course of Irving’s tours, Stoker travelled the world, although he never visited Eastern Europe, a setting for his most famous novel, and began writing novels beginning with The Snake’s Pass in 1890 and Dracula in 1897. Stoker was also part of the literary staff of the London Daily Telegraph and wrote other fiction, including the horror novels The Lady of the Shroud (1909) and The Lair of the White Worm (1911)

Stoker also met Ármin Vámbéry who was a Hungarian writer and traveler and the story may have been inspired by Vámbéry’s dark stories set among the Carpathian mountains. He also spent several years researching European folklore and mythological stories of vampires, particularly That of Vlad Tepes, a.k.a Vlad III Dracula, the ruler of Targoviste, in Wallachia, Romania, whose brutal regime And predilection for impaling his enemies gave him a fearsome reputation. He may also have learnt about Hoia Baciu forest which is said to be haunted and is well known for its disturbing and inexplicable Paranormal phenomenon. Stoker also visited Whitby Abbey, Slains Castle in Aberdeenshire and the crypts of St. Michan’s Church in Dublin and also read the novella Carmilla by Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu. All of which gave him plenty of inspiration for his novel Dracula.

Following his untimely death Stoker was cremated at Golders Green Crematorium where his ashes were place in a display urn . To visit his remains at Golders Green, visitors must be escorted to the room the urn is housed in, for fear of vandalism. Nevertheless his Gothic novels, especially Dracula remain popular and have been adapted for film and television numerous times.

George Takei

Best known for his role as Hikaru Sulu, helmsman of the USS Enterprise in the 60′s television series Star Trek and numerous Star Trek Movies Amercan Actor George Takei was born 20th April 1937. Takei began his career in Hollywood in the late 1950s, His first role was providing voiceover for several characters in the English dub of Japanese monster films such as Godzilla Raids Again and Rodan, followed by an appearance in the Emmy award winning television series Playhouse 90 and Perry Mason The Case of the Blushing Pearls.He originated the role of George in the musical Fly Blackbird!, but when the show traveled from Los Angeles to Broadway the west coast actors were forced to audition and the role went to William Sugihara instead. Eventually Sugihara had to give up the role and Takei closed out the show’s final months.Takei subsequently appeared alongside such actors as Frank Sinatra in Never So Few (uncredited), Richard Burton in Ice Palace, Jeffrey Hunter in Hell to Eternity, Alec Guinness in A Majority of One, James Caan in Red Line 7000 and Cary Grant in Walk, Don’t Run. He featured in a lead role in “The Encounter” (1964), an episode of The Twilight Zone He had an uncredited role in the film PT-109 (1963) and also guest-starred in an episode of Mission: Impossible (1966). He also appeared in two Jerry Lewis comedies, The Big Mouth and Which Way to the Front? In 1969 Takei narrated the award winning documentary The Japanese Sword as the Soul of the Samurai.

In 1965, producer Gene Roddenberry cast him as Hikaru Sulu in the second Star Trek pilot and eventually the Star Trek television series. It was intended that Sulu’s role be expanded in the second season, but Takei’s role as Captain Nim, a South Vietnamese Army officer, alongside John Wayne’s character in The Green Berets meant that he only appeared in half the season, with Walter Koenig as Pavel Chekov substituting for him in the other episodes. When Takei returned, the two men had to share a dressing room and a single episode script. Takei also appeared in the first six Star Trek motion pictures, and today he is a regular on the science fiction convention circuit throughout the world. He has also acted and provided voice acting for several science fiction computer games, including Freelancer and numerous Star Trek games. In 1996, in honor of the 30th anniversary of Star Trek, he reprised his role as Captain Hikaru Sulu on an episode of Star Trek: Voyager, appearing as a memory of Lt. Tuvok, who served on the USS Excelsior under Sulu, during the events of Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country. He appeared alongside Shatner on the 2006 Comedy Central Roast of William Shatner in which the two mocked each other in good humor and embraced, Takei is also one of six actors (the other actors being Jonathan Frakes, Kate Mulgrew, Michael Dorn, Avery Brooks and Majel Barrett) to lend his voice to Star Trek: Captain’s Chair, reprising his role of Captain Hikaru Sulu when users visit the bridge of the original Enterprise in the computer game. In 2007, Takei also reprised his role of Sulu in the fan-made Internet based series Star Trek New Voyages: Phase II.

Aside from his film and television career with Star Trek, He also has a lengthy record of public service through his involvement with organizations such as the Japanese American Citizens League and the Human Rights Campaign.He is a proponent of gay rights and active in state and local politics as well as continuing his acting career. He has won several awards and accolades in his work on human rights and Japanese American relations, including his work with the Japanese American National Museum. In 2004, the government of Japan conferred the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold Rays with Rosette, which represents the fourth highest of eight classes associated with the award. This decoration was presented in acknowledgment of his contributions to US-Japanese relations. George Takei also has an Asteroid named after him.


Andy Serkis

English Actor, Director and Author Andy Serkis, was born April 20th 1964. Serkis is known for his performance capture roles comprising motion capture acting, animation and voice work for such computer-generated characters as: Gollum in The Lord of the Rings film trilogy (2001–2003) and The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (2012), King Kong in the eponymous 2005 film, Caesar in Rise of the Planet of the Apes (2011), Captain Haddock in Steven Spielberg’s The Adventures of Tintin (2011) and Snoke in Star Wars the Force Awakens.

Serkis’ film work in motion capture has been critically acclaimed, earning him recognition from many associations that do not traditionally recognise motion capture as “real acting”. Serkis has received an Empire Award, a National Board of Review Award, two Saturn Awards and a Screen Actors Guild Award for his motion capture work. Serkis also earned a Golden Globe Award nomination for his portrayal of serial killer Ian Brady in the British television film Longford (2006); and he was nominated for a BAFTA Award for his portrayal of New Wave and punk musician Ian Dury in the biopic Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll (2010). Serkis also reprised his role as the villainous Gollum in Peter Jackson’s three part Tolkien film adaptation “The Hobbit” – An unexpected Journey, The Desolation of Smaug and “The Battle of Five Armies”.

Dudley Moore CBE

Best known as being one half of classic comedy duo Peter Cook and Dudley Moore, The late great English actor, comedian and composer Dudley Moore CBE, was Born 19th April 1935, He first came to prominence as one of the four writer-performers in the ground-breaking comedy revue Beyond the Fringe in the early 1960s, and then became famous as half of the highly popular television double-act he formed with Peter Cook. His fame as a comedy film actor was later heightened by success in hit Hollywood films such as 10 with Bo Derek and Arthur in the late 1970s and early 1980s, respectively. He received an Oscar nomination for the latter role. He was frequently referred to in the media as “Cuddly Dudley” or “The Sex Thimble”, a reference to his short stature and reputation as a “ladies’ man”.

AN AUDIENCE with Dudley MOORE http://youtu.be/bRShQGG5zDo

He had a prolific film career and appeared in many other films too including The Wrong Box, Bedazzled, 30 Is a Dangerous Age, Cynthia, The Bed-Sitting Room, Monte Carlo or Bust, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, The Hound of the Baskervilles, Foul Play, 10, Derek and Clive Get the Horn, Wholly Moses! Arthur, Six Weeks, Lovesick, Romantic Comedy, Unfaithfully Yours, Micki + Maude, Best Defense, Santa Claus: The Movie Like Father Like Son Arthur 2: On the Rocks The Adventures of Milo and Otis, Crazy People, Blame It on the Bellboy, Really Wild Animals, Dudley Daddy’s Girls, Parallel Lives, The Disappearance of Kevin Johnson and The Mighty Kong.

Sadly On 30 September 1999, Moore announced that he was suffering from the terminal degenerative brain disorder progressive supranuclear palsy, some of whose early symptoms were so similar to intoxication that he had been accused of being drunk, and that the illness had been diagnosed earlier in the year. In recognition of his outstanding contribution to Comedy Moore was appointed a Commander of the Order of The British Empire (CBE) in 2001 and Despite his deteriorating condition, he attended the ceremony, mute and wheelchair-bound, at Buckingham Palace to collect his honour. He died on 27 March 2002, as a result of pneumonia, secondary to immobility caused by the palsy, in Plainfield, New Jersey. Rena Fruchter was holding his hand when he died, and she reported his final words were, “I can hear the music all around me.” Moore was interred in Hillside Cemetery in Scotch Plains, New Jersey. Fruchter later wrote a memoir of their relationship (Dudley Moore, Ebury Press, 2004). In December 2004, Channel 4 broadcast Not Only But Always, a TV movie dramatising the relationship between Moore and Cook, although the principal focus of the production was on Cook. The relationship between the two was also the subject of a stage play called Pete and Dud: Come Again.

David Tennant

Best known for his roles as the Tenth Doctor in the British television series Doctor Who, Alec Hardy in Broadchurch, Giacomo Casanova in the TV serial Casanova, Kilgrave in Jessica Jones, and Barty Crouch, Jr. in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Scottish actor and voice actor. David Tennant was born 18 April 1971 in Bathgate, West Lothian. He is the son of Alexander “Sandy” McDonald (1937–2016), a minister who served as the Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, and Helen McLeod. He grew up with his brother Blair and sister Karen in Ralston, Renfrewshire, where his father was the local minister. Tennant’s maternal grandfather, footballer Archie McLeod, met William and Agnes’ daughter Nellie while playing for Derry City FC. McLeod was descended from tenant farmers from the Isle of Mull.

At the age of three, Tennant told his parents that he wanted to become an actor because he was a fan of Doctor Who, but they tried to encourage him to aim for more conventional work. He watched almost every Doctor Who episode for years, and he spoke to Tom Baker at a book-signing event in Glasgow. Tennant was educated at Ralston Primary and Paisley Grammar School.He acted in school productions throughout primary and secondary school. Tennant also attended Saturday classes at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama;at 16, he passed an audition for the Academy, one of their youngest students, and studied there between the ages of 17 and 20, taking his stage name from the Pet Shop Boys frontman Neil Tennant after reading a copy of Smash Hits magazine. Tennant had to legally change his name to Tennant to meet Equity and Screen Actors Guild rules.

Tennant made his professional acting debut while still in secondary school. When he was 16, he acted in an anti-smoking film made by the Glasgow Health Board which aired on television and was also screened in schools. The following year, he played a role in Dramarama. Tennant’s first professional role upon graduating from drama school was in a staging of The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui costarring Ashley Jensen. He also made a television appearance in the Scottish TV sitcom Rab C Nesbitt as a transsexual barmaid called Davina. In the 1990s, he appeared in several plays at the Dundee Repertory Theatre. Tennant’s first major TV role was as the manic depressive Campbell in the Scottish drama series Takin’ Over the Asylum. Where he met comic actress and writer Arabella Weir with whom he lodged in London for five years and became godfather to her youngest child. He has subsequently appeared with Weir in spoof television series Posh Nosh, in the Doctor Who audio drama Exile and as panellists on the West Wing Ultimate Quiz. Weir later guest-starred on Doctor Who itself after Tennant left the series). One of his earliest big-screen roles was in Jude (1996), in which he shared a scene with Christopher Eccleston, (Who also appeared in Doctor Who) playing a drunken undergraduate who challenges Eccleston’s Jude to prove his intellect.

Tennant developed his career in the British theatre, frequently performing with the Royal Shakespeare Company. His first Shakespearean role for the RSC was in As You Like It. He later portrayed playing Antipholus of Syracuse in The Comedy of Errors and Captain Jack Absolute in The Rivals, Romeo in Romeo and Juliet. Tennant also contributed to several audio dramatisations of Shakespeare for the Arkangel Shakespeare series, Antipholus of Syracuse in The Comedy of Errors, Launcelot Gobbo in The Merchant of Venice, Edgar/Poor Tom in King Lear, and Mercutio in Romeo and Juliet. In 1995, Tennant appeared at the Royal National Theatre, London, playing the role of Nicholas Beckett in Joe Orton’s What the Butler Saw.

In 2000 Tennant appeared in the first episode of Reeves and Mortimer’s revamped Randall and Hopkirk Between In 2004 and 2005 he appeared in a dramatisation of He Knew He Was Right, Blackpool, Casanova, and The Quatermass Experiment In film, he appeared in Bright Young Things and later that same year appeared as Barty Crouch Jr. in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. In 2005 Doctor Who was revived starring Christopher Eccleston as the Ninth Doctor. Tennant replaced him as the Tenth Doctor in the episode “The Parting of the Ways” He also appeared in a special 7-minute mini-episode shown as part of the 2005 Children in Need appeal. His first full-length outing as the Doctor was in “The Christmas Invasion”. Tennant had fulfilled a childhood dream by becoming The Doctor. In 2006, readers of Doctor Who Magazine voted Tennant “Best Doctor” over perennial favourite Tom Baker. While In 2007, Tennant’s Doctor was voted the “coolest character on UK television”. Writer Russell T Davies made the decision not to use Tennant’s own natural Scottish accent for the character . However he used his own accent in the episode Tooth and claw masquerading as “Dr Jamie McCrimmon” of Edinburgh. He also had a small role in the BBC’s animated Doctor Who webcast Scream of the Shalka. He has also appeared in several audio plays based on the Doctor Who television series by Big Finish Productions. He appeared in the Seventh Doctor audio Colditz, portraying a Nazi lieutenant guard at Colditz Castle, he also appeared in Dalek Empire III as Galanar, a young man who is given an assignment to discover the secrets of the Daleks and UNIT: The Wasting for Big Finish, appearing as Brimmicombe-Wood from a Doctor Who Unbound play, Sympathy for the Devil alongside Nicholas Courtney, who reprised the character of Sir Alastair Gordon Lethbridge-Stewart.

He also played an unnamed Time Lord in another Doctor Who Unbound play Exile. He also played the title role in Bryan Talbot’s The Adventures of Luther Arkwright, recorded The Stone Rose by Jacqueline Rayner, The Feast of the Drowned by Stephen Cole and The Resurrection Casket by Justin Richards. He made his directorial debut on the Doctor Who Confidential episode that accompanies Steven Moffat’s episode “Blink”, entitled “Do You Remember The First Time?” He also appeared with Peter Davison’s Fifth Doctor in a Doctor Who special for Children in Need, entitled “Time Crash” and also performed alongside Davison’s daughter, Georgia Moffett (as “Jenny”) in the 2008 episode “The Doctor’s Daughter”. Tennant featured as the Doctor in an animated version of Doctor Who in The Infinite Quest, and also starred as the Doctor in the animated six-part Doctor Who series, Dreamland. Tennant guest starred as the Doctor in a two-part story in Doctor Who spin-off The Sarah Jane Adventures. He played the Doctor in four special episodes in 2009, before his final episode aired on 1 January 2010, where he was replaced by the eleventh doctor, portrayed by Matt Smith. In 2013 Tennant and Billie Piper returned to Doctor Who for the 50th anniversary special, “The Day of the Doctor” alongside Matt Smith and John Hurt and also appeared in the one-off 50th anniversary comedy homage The Five(ish) Doctors Reboot.

Tennant portrayed the Tenth Doctor alongside Catherine Tate as former companion Donna Noble in three new stories from Big Finish which also Strax actor Dan Starkey, former Davros actor Terry Molloy, and many veterans of Big Finish, including Niky Wardley, who portrayed Eighth Doctor companion Tamsin. Tennant was also in the ITV drama Secret Smile. His performance as Jimmy Porter in Look Back in Anger at the Theatre Royal, Bath, and Lyceum Theatre, Edinburgh, was recorded by the National Video Archive of Performance for the Victoria and Albert Museum Theatre Collection. In 2006, he portrayed Richard Hoggart in a dramatisation of the 1960 Lady Chatterley’s Lover obscenity trial, The Chatterley Affair. In 2007, Tennant starred in the BBC Drama Recovery, Portraying Alan, a self-made building site manager who attempted to rebuild his life after suffering a debilitating brain injury. His costar in the drama was friend Sarah Parish, with whom he had previously appeared in Blackpool. He also starred in Learners, a BBC comedy drama written by and starring Jessica Hynes (another Doctor Who costar, in the episodes “Human Nature”, “The Family of Blood” and “The End of Time”), in which he played a Christian driving instructor who became the object of a student’s affection. Tennant had a cameo appearance as the Doctor in the 2007 finale episode of the BBC/HBO comedy series Extras with Ricky Gervais. In November 2008, Tennant played Sir Arthur Eddington in the biographical film Einstein and Eddington, In 2009, he worked on a TV film version of the RSC’s 2008 Hamlet for BBC Two and hosted the Masterpiece Contemporary programming on ABC And appeared in Rex Is Not Your Lawyer, playing Rex, a Chicago lawyer who starts to coach clients to represent themselves when he starts suffering panic attacks.

In 2010 he starred as Dave, a man struggling to raise five children after the death of his partner, in the British drama Single Father. For which he was nominated as Best Actor at the Royal Television Society Programme Awards 2010. In 2011, he starred in United, about the Manchester United “Busby Babes” team and the 1958 Munich air disaster, playing coach and assistant manager Jimmy Murphy. In 2011, he appeared in a guest role in one episode of the comedy series This is Jinsy, and also started filming True Love. In 2012, Tennant played lead in a one-off drama The Minor Character for Sky Arts and filmed Spies of Warsaw, an adaptation of Alan Furst’s novel The Spies of Warsaw, portraying Jean-François. In 2012, he started filming the 3-part political drama series The Politician’s Husband for BBC Two, playing an ambitious cabinet minister who takes drastic action when his wife’s career starts to outshine his. In 2012 Tennant appeared in the ITV detective series Broadchurch and also presented the new comedy quiz show Comedy World Cup. Tennant also appeared in The Escape Artist portraying a talented, junior barrister who is yet to lose a case. In 2014 Tennant filmed the US remake of Broadchurch, re-titled Gracepoint and a second series of Broadchurch during summer 2014. Tennant also portrayed the villainous Kilgrave in Jessica Jones. He is currently filming Mad to be Normal (previously titled Metanoia), a biopic of the renowned Scottish psychiatrist R. D. Laing. Tennant ALSO appears in writer/director Daisy Aitkens’ first feature film, You, Me and Him, co-produced by Tennant’s wife, Georgia. Tennant also portrays Cale Erendreich in the film Bad Samaritan.

In 2008 David Tennant joined the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC), to play Hamlet with Patrick Stewart and Berowne in Love’s Labours Lost and appeared at the Courtyard Theatre in Stratford-upon-Avon as Hamlet, In 2011, a photograph of Tennant as Hamlet featured on a stamp issued by the Royal Mail to mark the RSC’s fiftieth anniversary. In 2012, Tennant was appointed to the Royal Shakespeare Company board, on the selection committee interviewing and choosing the new artistic director. In 2013 Tennant returned to the RSC portraying the title role in Richard II at Stratford-upon-Avon and the Barbican Centre in London. In 2016 Tennant reprised his role as Richard II in the RSC’s ‘King and Country’ cycle at the Barbican Theatre in London and the Brooklyn Academy of Music in New York.

In 2007 David Tennant was the “Star in a Reasonably Priced Car” on Top Gear and also appeared in Derren Brown’s Trick or Treat. Tennant also appeared the radio series Nebulous (a parody of Doctor Who) in the role of Doctor Beep, during the 2008 episode “Holofile 703: Us and Phlegm” And voiced the character of Hamish the Hunter in the 2008 English language DVD re-release of the 2006 animated Norwegian film, Free Jimmy, alongside Woody Harrelson and Simon Pegg. In 2009, Tennant narrated the digital planetarium space dome film “We Are Astronomers” commissioned by the UK’s National Space Centre. In 2009, he presented Red Nose Day 2009 with Davina McCall and joined Franz Ferdinand onstage to play the guitar on their song “No You Girls” on a special Comic Relief edition of Top of the Pops. Tennant also appears in St. Trinian’s II: The Legend of Fritton’s Gold and he co-hosted the Absolute Radio Breakfast Show with Christian O’Connell.

Tennant also provides all the character voices for the audio book versions of the Hiccup Horrendous Haddock III stories by Cressida Cowell such as How to Train Your Dragon, including the Norfolk yokel of Norbert the Nutjob, the broad Glaswegian of Gobber the Belch, the hissing and whining Cockney of Toothless the Dragon and the sly insinuations of Alvin the Treacherous. He also played the role of Spitelout. In 2010, he also appeared as George in a one-part BBC Radio 4 adaptation of Of Mice and Men and also appeared with Catherine Tate in the Shakespeare comedy Much Ado About Nothing at London’s Wyndham’s Theatre as Benedick for which he he won the BroadwayWorld UK Award for Best Leading Actor in a Play. Tennant also voiced a character in the Postman Pat film. In 2011, Tennant started shooting the semi-improvised comedy film, Nativity 2: Danger in the Manger in Coventry.He played dual roles: the main character, put-upon teacher Mr Peterson, and his “golden boy” twin brother and rival. He appeared in a multi-million-pound campaign for Virgin Media. Tennant starred opposite Rosamund Pike and Billy Connolly in a BBC/Origin Pictures film, What We Did on Our Holiday, a semi-improvised comedy from the writers of the popular BBC sit-com Outnumbered.He is the narrator on Xbox One video game Kinect Sports Rivals. In 2015, Tennant appeared on the Radio 4 panel show Just a Minute, becoming the show’s most successful debut contestant. During 2017 Tennant is appearing in Patrick Marber’s Don Juan in Soho at the Wyndham’s Theatre.

Tennant was named “Coolest Man on TV” of 2007 in a Radio Times survey. He won the National Television Awards award for Most Popular Actor in 2006, 2007, 2008, and 2010. He was voted 16th Sexiest Man in the World by a 2008 Cosmopolitan survey. Tennant was ranked the 24th most influential person in the British media on 9 July 2007, according to MediaGuardian. He appeared in the paper’s annual media rankings in 2006. In December 2008, he was named as one of the most influential people in show business by British theatre and entertainment magazine The Stage, making him the fifth actor to achieve a ranking in the top 20. He was voted the third best dressed man in Britain in GQ reader’s poll for 2013. In the expansion EverQuest: Seeds of Destruction for the game EverQuest, a character was introduced called Tavid Dennant, named after David Tennant. In 2008, Tennant was voted “Greenest Star on the Planet” in an online vote held by Playhouse Disney as part of the Playing for the Planet Awards.In 2008 he underwent surgery for a prolapsed disc. He is a supporter of the Labour Party and appeared in a party political broadcast for them in 2005; in 2010, he declared his support for then-Prime Minister Gordon Brown. In April 2010, he lent his voice to a Labour Party election broadcast. In 2012, he introduced Labour Party leader Ed Miliband at the Labour Party Conference. In 2015, he also lent his voice to a Labour Party General Election broadcast. He is a patron of Worldwide Cancer Research.

In December 2005, The Stage placed Tennant at No. 6 in its “Top Ten” list of the most influential British television artists of the year, citing his roles in Blackpool, Casanova, Secret Smile, and Doctor Who.In January 2006, readers of the British gay and lesbian newspaper The Pink Paper voted him the “Sexiest Man in the Universe”. A poll of over 10,000 women for the March 2006 issue of New Woman magazine ranked him 20th in their list of the “Top 100 Men”.In October 2006, he was named “Scotland’s most stylish male” in the Scottish Style Awards.

Henry Mancini

Best remembered for his film and television scores, the Grammy Award Winning American composer, conductor and arranger, Nicola “Henry” Mancini was born April 16, 1924 in the Little Italy neighborhood of Cleveland. He was raised near Pittsburgh, in the steel town of West Aliquippa, Pennsylvania. His parents emigrated from the Abruzzo region of Italy. Mancini’s father, Quinto was a steelworker, who made his only child begin piccolo lessons at the age of eight. When Mancini was 12 years old, he began piano lessons. Quinto and Henry played flute together in the Aliquippa Italian immigrant band, “Sons of Italy”. After graduating from Aliquippa High School in 1942, Mancini attended the renowned Juilliard School of Music in New York. In 1943, after roughly one year at Juilliard, his studies were interrupted when he was drafted into the United States Army. In 1945, he participated in the liberation of a concentration camp in southern Germany. After being discharged, Mancini entered the music industry. Entering 1946, he became a pianist and arranger for the newly re-formed Glenn Miller Orchestra, led by ‘Everyman’ Tex Beneke. After World War II, Mancini broadened his skills in composition, counterpoint, harmony and orchestration during studies opening with the composers Ernst Krenek and Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco.

In 1952, Mancini joined the Universal Pictures music department. During the next six years, he contributed music to over 100 movies, most notably The Creature from the Black Lagoon, It Came from Outer Space, Tarantula, This Island Earth, The Glenn Miller Story (for which he received his first Academy Award nomination), The Benny Goodman Story and Orson Welles’ Touch of Evil. During this time, he also wrote some popular songs. His first hit was a single by Guy Lombardo and His Royal Canadians titled I Won’t Let You Out of My Heart. Mancini left Universal-International to work as an independent composer/ arranger in 1958. Soon afterward, he scored the television series Peter Gunn for writer/producer Blake Edwards. This was the genesis of a relationship in which Edwards and Mancini collaborated on 30 films over 35 years. Along with Alex North, Elmer Bernstein, Leith Stevens and Johnny Mandel, Henry Mancini was a pioneer of the inclusion of jazz elements in the late romantic orchestral film and TV scoring prevalent at the time.

Mancini’s scores for Blake Edwards included Breakfast at Tiffany’s (with the standard “Moon River”) and Days of Wine and Roses (with the title song, “Days of Wine and Roses”), as well as Experiment in Terror, The Pink Panther (and all of its sequels), The Great Race, The Party, and Victor Victoria. Another director with whom Mancini had a longstanding partnership was Stanley Donen (Charade, Arabesque, Two for the Road). Mancini also composed for Howard Hawks (Man’s Favorite Sport?, Hatari! – which included the well-known “Baby Elephant Walk”), Martin Ritt (The Molly Maguires), Vittorio de Sica (Sunflower), Norman Jewison (Gaily, Gaily), Paul Newman (Sometimes a Great Notion, The Glass Menagerie), Stanley Kramer (Oklahoma Crude), George Roy Hill (The Great Waldo Pepper), Arthur Hiller (Silver Streak),[6] Ted Kotcheff (Who Is Killing the Great Chefs of Europe?), and others. Mancini’s score for the Alfred Hitchcock film Frenzy (1972) in Bachian organ andante, for organ and an orchestra of strings was rejected and replaced by Ron Goodwin’s work.

Mancini scored many TV movies, including The Thorn Birds and The Shadow Box. He wrote many television themes, including Mr. Lucky (starring John Vivyan and Ross Martin), NBC Mystery Movie, What’s Happening!!, Tic Tac Dough (1990 version) and Once Is Not Enough. In the 1984–85 television season, four series featured original Mancini themes: Newhart, Hotel, Remington Steele, and Ripley’s Believe It or Not. Mancini also composed the “Viewer Mail” theme for Late Night with David Letterman. Mancini composed the theme for NBC Nightly News used beginning in 1975, and a different theme by him, titled Salute to the President was used by NBC News for its election coverage (including primaries and conventions) from 1976 to 1992. Salute to the President was only published in a school-band arrangement, although Mancini performed it frequently with symphony orchestras on his concert tours.

Songs with music by Mancini were staples of the easy listening genre from the 1960s to the 1980s. Some of the artists who have recorded Mancini songs include Andy Williams, Paul Anka, Pat Boone, Anita Bryant, Jack Jones, Frank Sinatra, Perry Como, Connie Francis, Eydie Gorme, Steve Lawrence, Trini Lopez, George Maharis, Johnny Mathis, Jerry Vale, Ray Conniff, The Lennon Sisters, The Lettermen, Herb Alpert, Eddie Cano, Frank Chacksfield, Warren Covington, Percy Faith, Ferrante & Teicher, Horst Jankowski, Andre Kostelanetz, Peter Nero, Liberace, Mantovani, Tony Bennett, Julie London, Wayne Newton, Arthur Fiedler and the Boston Pops Orchestra, Peggy Lee, and Matt Monro. The Anita Kerr Quartet won a Grammy award (1965) for their album “We Dig Mancini”, a cover of his songs. Lawrence Welk held Mancini in very high regard, and frequently featured Mancini’s music on The Lawrence Welk Show (Mancini made at least one guest appearance on the show).

Mancini recorded over 90 albums, in styles ranging from big band to light classical to pop. Eight of these albums were certified gold by The Recording Industry Association of America. He had a 20-year contract with RCA Records, resulting in 60 commercial record albums that made him a household name among artists of easy-listening music. Mancini’s earliest recordings in the 1950s and early 1960s were of the jazz idiom; with the success of Peter Gunn, Mr. Lucky, and Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Mancini shifted to primarily recording his own music in record albums and film soundtracks. (Relatively little of his music was written for recordings compared to the amount that was written for film and television.) Beginning with his 1969 hit arrangement of Nino Rota’s A Time for Us (as his only Hot 100 top 10 entry, the #1 hit “Love Theme from Romeo and Juliet”) and its accompanying album A Warm Shade of Ivory, Mancini began to function more as a piano soloist and easy-listening artist primarily recording music written by other people. In this period, for two of his best-selling albums he was joined by trumpet virtuoso and The Tonight Show bandleader Doc Severinsen. Among Mancini’s orchestral scores are (Lifeforce, The Great Mouse Detective, Sunflower, Tom and Jerry: The Movie, Molly Maguires, The Hawaiians), and darker themes (Experiment in Terror, The White Dawn, Wait Until Dark, The Night Visitor).

Mancini was also a concert performer, conducting over fifty engagements per year, resulting in over 600 symphony performances during his lifetime. He conducted nearly all of the leading symphonies of the world, including the London Symphony Orchestra, the Israel Philharmonic, the Boston Pops, the Los Angeles Philharmonic and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. One of his favorites was the Minnesota Orchestra, where he debuted the Thorn Birds Suite in June 1983. He appeared in 1966, 1980 and 1984 in command performances for the British Royal Family. He also toured several times with Johnny Mathis and also with Andy Williams, who had each sung many of Mancini’s songs; Mathis and Mancini collaborated on the 1986 album The Hollywood Musicals.

Mancini also made many cameo appearances on Television; Shortly before his death in 1994, he made a one-off cameo appearance in the first season of Frasier, as a call-in patient to Dr. Frasier Crane’s radio show. Mancini voiced the character Al, who speaks with a melancholy drawl and hates the sound of his own voice, in the episode “Guess Who’s Coming to Breakfast?” Moments after Mancini’s cameo ends, Frasier’s radio broadcast plays “Moon River” to underscore a particularly heartfelt apology. Mancini also had an uncredited performance as a pianist in the 1967 movie Gunn, the movie version of the series Peter Gunn, the score of which was originally composed by Mancini himself. In the 1966 Pink Panther cartoon Pink, Plunk, Plink, the panther commandeered an orchestra and proceeded to conduct Mancini’s theme for the series. At the end, the shot switched to rare live action, and Mancini was seen alone applauding in the audience.

Sadly Mancini died of pancreatic cancer in Los Angeles on June 14, 1994. He was working at the time on the Broadway stage version of Victor/Victoria, which he never saw on stage. Mancini was survived by his wife of 43 years, singer Virginia “Ginny” O’Connor, with whom he had three children. They had met while both were members of the Tex Beneke orchestra, just after World War II. In 1948, Mrs. Mancini was one of the founders of the Society of Singers, a non-profit organization which benefits the health and welfare of professional singers worldwide. Additionally the Society awards scholarships to students pursuing an education in the vocal arts. One of Mancini’s twin daughters, Monica Mancini, is a professional singer; her sister Felice runs The Mr. Holland’s Opus Foundation (MHOF). His son Christopher is a music publisher and promoter in Los Angeles.

In 1996, the Henry Mancini Institute, an academy for young music professionals, was founded by Jack Elliott in Mancini’s honor, and was later under the direction of composer-conductor Patrick Williams. By the mid 2000s, however, the institute could not sustain itself and closed its doors on December 30, 2006. However, the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) Foundation “Henry Mancini Music Scholarship” has been awarded annually since 2001. While still alive, Henry created a scholarship at UCLA and the bulk of his library and works are archived in the music library at UCLA.

In 2005, the Henry Mancini Arts Academy was opened as a division of the Lincoln Park Performing Arts Center. The Center is located in Midland, Pennsylvania, minutes away from Mancini’s hometown of Aliquippa. The Henry Mancini Arts Academy is an evening-and-weekend performing arts program for children from pre-K to grade 12, with some classes also available for adults. The program includes dance, voice, musical theater, and instrumental lessons. The American Film Institute ranked Mancini’s songs Moon River in the No. 4 and Days of Wine and Roses in No. 39 on their list of the greatest songs and his score for The Pink Panther No. 20 on their list of the greatest film scores. His scores for Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1961), Charade (1963), Hatari! (1962), Touch of Evil (1958) and Wait Until Dark (1967) were also nominated for the list.

Mancini was nominated for an unprecedented 72 Grammys, winning 20 and was nominated for 18 Academy Awards, winning four. He also won a Golden Globe Award and was nominated for two Emmys. and was awarded a posthumous Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 1995. He was first nominated for an Academy Award in 1955 for his original score of The Glenn Miller Story, on which he collaborated with Joseph Gershenson. He lost out to Adolph Deutsch and Saul Chaplin’s Seven Brides for Seven Brothers. In 1962, he was nominated in the Best Music, Original Song category for “Bachelor in Paradise” from the film of the same name, in collaboration with lyricist Mack David. That song did not win. However, Mancini did receive two Oscars that year: one in the same category, for the song “Moon River” (shared with lyricist Johnny Mercer), and one for “Best Scoring of a Dramatic or Comedy Picture” for Breakfast at Tiffany’s. The following year, he and Mercer took another Best Original Song award for “Days of Wine and Roses”. He finally garnered one last statuette working with lyricist Leslie Bricusse on the score for Victor Victoria, which won the Academy Award for “Best Original Song Score and Its Adaptation or Best Adaptation Score”. All three of the films for which he won were directed by Blake Edwards. His score for Victor/Victoria was adapted for the 1995 Broadway musical of the same name.

Spike Milligan

The late, great Comedian, writer, musician, poet, playwright, soldier and actor Sir Terence Alan “Spike” Milligan KBE was born 16 April 1918. He was of Irish and English parentage and Irish nationality. His early life was spent in India where he was born. The majority of his working life was spent in the United Kingdom. He disliked his first name and began to call himself “Spike” after hearing the band Spike Jones and his City Slickers.

Milligan was the co-creator, main writer and a principal cast member of the popular British radio comedy programme The Goon Show, performing a range of roles including the popular Eccles and Minnie Bannister characters. The Goon Show was originally produced and broadcast by the BBC Home Service from 1951 to 1960, with occasional repeats on the BBC Light Programme. The first series was entitled Crazy People; subsequent series had the title The Goon Show, a title inspired, according to Spike Milligan, by a Popeye character. The scripts mixed ludicrous plots with surreal humour, puns, catchphrases and an array of bizarre sound effects. Some of the later episodes feature electronic effects devised by the fledgling BBC Radiophonic Workshop, many of which were reused by other shows for decades. Many elements of the show satirised contemporary life in Britain, parodying aspects of show business, commerce, industry, art, politics, diplomacy, the police, the military, education, class structure, literature and film.

The show was released internationally through the BBC Transcription Services. It was heard regularly from the 1950s in Australia, South Africa, New Zealand, India and Canada, although these TS versions were frequently edited to avoid controversial subjects. NBC began broadcasting the programme on its radio network from the mid-1950s.The programme exercised a considerable influence on the development of British and American comedy and popular culture. It was cited as a major influence by The Beatles and the American comedy team The Firesign Theatre as well as Monty Python and many others.

Milligan also wrote and edited many satirical books, including Puckoon and his seven-volume autobiographical account of his time serving during the Second World War, beginning with Adolf Hitler: My Part in His Downfall. He is also noted as a popular writer of comical verse; much of his poetry was written for children, including Silly Verse for Kids (1959). After success with the groundbreaking British radio programme, The Goon Show, Milligan translated this success to television with Q5, a surreal sketch show which is credited as a major influence on the members of Monty Python’s Flying Circus. Milligan also appears briefly in the Mony Python film “The Life of Brian”. Spike Milligan claimed a right to Irish citizenship (as a child of an Irish citizen) after the British government declared him stateless. Milligan sadly passed away 27 February 2002 but his work remains popular.