The Martian flies high in film chart

The Martian flies high in UK film chart

Matt Damon in The MartianImage copyright
20th Century Fox/AP

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The Martian has now made more than £13m at UK cinemas

Space epic The Martian, in which Matt Damon plays an astronaut stranded on Mars, was the top film at UK box offices for a second week.

The film, directed by Ridley Scott, took £3.9m at cinemas this weekend.

In second place, Emily Blunt’s drug crime drama Sicario opened with takings of £1.6m, while The Walk was another new entry in third with £795,000.

But Emma Watson and Ethan Hawke’s new thriller Regression could only open in ninth place with takings of £215,000.

In the film, Watson plays a young woman who has been the victim of demonic abuse as Hawke is a police officer trying to uncover the truth.

It was screened at 270 cinemas over the weekend, according to Screen Daily, compared with 434 for Sicario.

Sicario has also received much better reviews, with Emily Blunt playing the lead role of an FBI agent who joins an elite force to combat a drugs warlords on the US-Mexico border.

UK box office top five
1. The Martian £3.9m
2. Sicario £1.6m
3. The Walk £795,000
4. Legend £710,000
5. The Intern £507,000

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Leonardo DiCaprio to produce VW film

Leonardo DiCaprio to produce Volkswagen scandal film

Leonardo DiCaprioImage copyright
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Environmental campaigner DiCaprio is seen here sitting in the audience during a press conference to announce further business divestment from fossil fuels in New York

Leonardo DiCaprio is to produce a film about the Volkswagen emissions scandal.

His production company Appian Way and Paramount Pictures have bought the rights to an as-yet-unwritten book about the scandal, according to the Hollywood Reporter.

It is not known whether DiCaprio will star in the film.

Last month the German car manufacturer admitted 11 million of its diesel vehicles worldwide are fitted with software that beat emission tests.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in the US found that many VW cars being sold in America had devices in diesel engines that could detect when they were being tested, changing the performance accordingly to improve results.

The “defeat device” allows cars to pass lab testing even though they actually emit 40 times the emissions standard.

Chief executive Martin Winterkorn resigned after the scandal broke.

VW have recalled almost 500,000 cars in the US alone and it has set aside €6.5bn (£4.7bn) to cover costs.

The book proposal about the scandal is by New York Times journalist Jack Ewing and it will reportedly explore the “more, better, faster” ethos and how it played into the scandal.

DiCaprio has produced a number of environmental documentaries including the 2014 films Cowspiracy: The Sustainability Secret and Virunga, about the battle to save the last of the world’s mountain gorillas.

His environmental foundation has given $30m in grants since it was founded in 1998.

In 2013, he announced he would enter a team in the new electric motor racing championship Formula E.

The actor, an environmental campaigner, said: “The future of our planet depends on our ability to embrace fuel-efficient, clean-energy vehicles.”

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Morgan to co-present ITV breakfast show

Piers Morgan to co-present Good Morning Britain

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Morgan already works for ITV presenting Piers Morgan’s Life Stories

Piers Morgan is to officially become part of ITV’s Good Morning Britain’s presenting team on a permanent basis.

He will host alongside former BBC presenter Susanna Reid for three days a week from November.

Morgan stood in as a presenter on the show for a week in April this year.

He said: “I am very excited at the prospect of waking up at 3am every morning, and even more excited by the thought of how annoying Susanna is going to find me after a few months.”

He added: “Good Morning Britain is a great show with a terrific team on and off screen. I’m looking forward to it enormously.”

Morgan, who presented his own show Piers Morgan Live on CNN in the US, currently presents Piers Morgan’s Life Stories on ITV.

ITV Director of Daytime, Helen Warner, said: “We loved having Piers on the show earlier this year, so we’re delighted that he’s joining us permanently.

“He is an excellent interviewer and a great broadcaster, who fits in brilliantly with GMB’s family of presenters.”

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BBC's director of television to quit

BBC’s director of television Danny Cohen stands down

Danny Cohen

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Cohen has been director of television for two years

The BBC’s director of television Danny Cohen is to leave the corporation.

Cohen has commissioned or overseen shows like Happy Valley, Poldark, Last Tango In Halifax, Wolf Hall, Top Of The Lake and Peaky Blinders.

“After eight wonderful years at the BBC, it is time for my next big challenge,” he said.

“In the last few weeks I’ve been approached about a number of exciting opportunities and I want to consider these in an open and transparent way.”

Cohen joined the BBC from Channel 4 in 2007 and went on to become BBC One controller in 2010. He was promoted to the director of television post two years later.

‘Exciting time’

“BBC Television is on brilliant creative form,” he said. “I feel very privileged to have led Television for the world’s finest public service broadcaster and to have worked with so many smart and talented people.

“I’m very proud of the wide-ranging success of BBC Television under my leadership. There has never been a more exciting time for television and digital media.

“I’m looking forward to taking up a new leadership role in this age of intense creative and technological innovation.”

Cohen will leave at the end of November. His new job has not been announced.

BBC director general Tony Hall described him as “one of TV’s great talents” who had done “an extraordinary job” in his time at the BBC.

“In a world of intense competition and choice, he has further enhanced the BBC’s reputation for quality programming that is full of ambition and creativity,” Lord Hall said.

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Bond star plays down Craig quit quote

Bond star plays down Craig quit quote

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Spectre will be Naomie Harris’ second Bond film

Daniel Craig was “just being sarcastic” when he said he wanted to “move on” from playing James Bond, according to his co-star Naomie Harris.

“Daniel lives and breathes Bond,” said the actress, who will reprise her role as Moneypenny in the new film Spectre, which comes out later this month.

Time Out magazine recently quoted Craig as saying he would “rather slash [his] wrists” than make a fifth Bond film.

Harris, though, said the actor’s words had been “blown out of proportion”.

“It was not as he intended it,” she told BBC News, claiming her co-star’s “sense of humour… doesn’t come across particularly well in print”.

Speaking at a promotional event for technology that features in Sam Mendes’ film, she continued: “He’s so dedicated to his craft and he loves playing Bond.

“It’s easy to take something that someone says in passing and blow it completely out of proportion. I think that’s what’s happened here, so I don’t really believe those comments at all.”

‘The ultimate Bond’

Craig’s remarks, made shortly after Spectre completed shooting in July, have ignited speculation over who will play Bond if the 47-year-old should relinquish the role.

Damien Lewis, Tom Hiddleston and Benedict Cumberbatch are among those who have been suggested as potential successors.

According to Harris, however, Craig is “the ultimate Bond” and “it wouldn’t be Bond without him”.

Spectre, the 24th instalment in the official Bond series, will have its world premiere at London’s Royal Albert Hall on 26 October.

Harris, 39, said she had yet to see the film but had heard Writing’s On the Wall, Sam Smith’s chart-topping theme song.

“I think that it’s great and will have even more impact and meaning once it’s put into context,” she said.

Harris stars in a new advertisement for a Sony camera and phone, in which she has a Bond-style adventure on London’s South Bank.

The advert was directed by Daniel Kleinman, who designed the title sequences for Casino Royale, Skyfall and all the Bond films in which Pierce Brosnan appeared.

The Pirates of the Caribbean star said shooting the promo on London’s South Bank had allowed her to make use of the stunt training she undertook for Skyfall.

“It was great to be out there in the field on a mission and experience what it would be like to be Bond,” she said.

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Man Booker winner to be announced

Man Booker 2015 winner to be announced later

Man Booker shortlist booksImage copyright
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The six novels on this year’s Man Booker short list

The winner of the Man Booker Prize is announced later with Hanya Yanagihara’s A Little Life the bookies’ favourite to take the £50,000 prize.

Yanagihara’s novel, the story of four college friends seeking fame and fortune in New York, is tipped to win by bookmakers William Hill and Coral.

It is the second year the prize is open to all authors writing in English, regardless of nationality.

The winner will be announced at London’s Guildhall on Tuesday night.

This year’s shortlist features two authors from the UK, two from the US and one each from Jamaica and Nigeria.

The shortlist of authors and titles is as follows:

  • Marlon James (Jamaica), A Brief History of Seven Killings
  • Tom McCarthy (UK), Satin Island
  • Chigozie Obioma (Nigeria), The Fishermen
  • Sunjeev Sahota (UK), The Year of the Runaways
  • Anne Tyler (US), A Spool of Blue Thread
  • Hanya Yanagihara (US), A Little Life

Victory for either Yanagihara or Tyler would see the Man Booker have its first American winner.

Marlon James is the first Jamaican-born author to be shortlisted for the prize. William Hill said his novel, which explores the attempted assassination of Bob Marley in the late 1970s, had moved up from fifth favourite to second favourite.

This year’s judges are Michael Wood (chair), Ellah Wakatama Allfrey, John Burnside, Sam Leith and Frances Osborne. They considered 156 books for this year’s prize.

McCarthy is the only shortlisted author to have been nominated before, having been shortlisted for C in 2010.

At 28 years old, Obioma is the youngest nominee, the same age as 2013 winner Eleanor Catton.

Image copyright
Man Booker

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Man Booker 2015 authors: (clockwise from top left) Sunjeev Sahota, Anne Tyler, Tom McCarthy, Chigozie Obioma, Hanya Yanagihara, Marlon James

The shortlisted authors each receive £2,500 and a specially bound edition of their book. The winner will receive a further cheque for £50,000.

Australian author Richard Flanagan won last year’s prize for his wartime novel The Narrow Road to the Deep North.

Coverage from this year’s ceremony, where the prize will be presented by the Duchess of Cornwall. will be on the BBC News Channel from 2130 BST.

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Playboy 'to drop' naked women images

Playboy ‘to drop’ naked women images

Playboy founder Hugh Hefner with the first copy of the magazine. File photoImage copyright

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Playboy was founded by Hugh Hefner and his associates in 1953

Playboy magazine is to stop publishing images of naked women as part of its redesign, it has emerged.

Its US owners say the internet has made nudity outdated, and pornographic magazines are no longer so commercially viable, the New York Times reports.

Playboy’s circulation has dropped from 5.6 million in the 1970s to the current 800,000, official figures show.

However, the magazine will still feature women in provocative poses – though not fully nude.

‘Battle won’

The decision was apparently taken last month at a meeting attended by Playboy founder and current editor-in-chief Hugh Hefner.

Magazine executives admitted that Playboy – which was founded in 1953 – had been overtaken by the changes it pioneered, according to the New York Times.

“That battle has been fought and won,” Playboy chief executive Scott Flanders is quoted as saying by the newspaper.

“You’re now one click away from every sex act imaginable for free. And so it’s just passe at this juncture.”

Gone, too, are the days when interviews with figures of the stature of Martin Luther King Jr, Malcolm X and Jimmy Carter made Playboy so culturally and politically significant, says the BBC’s Nick Bryant in New York.

Playboy’s website has already banished nudity, partly to give it access to social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter. And its popularity has soared with web traffic quadrupling.

A brand long synonymous with salaciousness is cleaning up its act, and all with the blessing – apparently – of the 89-year-old Mr Heffner, our correspondent adds.

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Whittingdale backs BBC music stations

BBC radio stations essential to UK music – culture minister

Sam Smith, Paul McCartney and Rita OraImage copyright
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Sam Smith, Sir Paul McCartney and Rita Ora are among those defending BBC music stations

The culture secretary has played down fears over the future of BBC music stations, calling them “absolutely essential” to UK music.

John Whittingdale, who is overseeing the BBC’s Royal Charter renewal, said he wanted it to keep providing services “like Radio 1, Radio 2 and Radio 3”.

He spoke at an event run by UK Music, whose #LetItBeeb campaign opposes changes to BBC music stations.

Stars Sam Smith, Sandie Shaw and Jake Bugg attended the event in Westminster.

Jo Dibble, chief executive of trade body UK Music, said the recording industry would be “weaker without the BBC,” adding that cuts were “not worth the risk”.


Sam Smith, who recently hit number one with his Bond theme Writing’s On The Wall, said he was “worried” about the impact cuts would have on young artists.

“BBC music is one of the main reasons I am actually here, and where I am in my career,” he told BBC News.

“The thought of not having it and not having some of the programmes is worrying to me. I’m worried for the new artists and how they’ll be heard and if they’ll be heard.”

Pink Floyd’s Nick Mason agreed, saying: “There is no other radio opportunity for less-known bands.”

He described the impact Radio 1 had on his career, recalling the first time he heard Pink Floyd’s song See Emily Play on the air.

“I suddenly began to realise that my career might last longer than three months,” he said.

‘Leave it’

UK music is organising a petition to protect “BBC music services” – signed by some of music’s biggest names, including Sir Paul McCartney, Boy George, New Order, George Ezra, Little Mix, Rita Ora, Jessie Ware, Paloma Faith, Disclosure, Sting, Chrissie Hynde, Annie Lennox and Glastonbury organiser Emily Eavis.

Another signatory is Bob Geldof, who had strong words for MPs.

“Leave the BBC and British music alone,” he said in a written statement.

“You know nothing about either. Leave it to the people that do.”

‘Incredible talent’

But Mr Whittingdale appeared to allay those fears, telling an audience which included BBC director general Tony Hall: “Those of you who know me know that I’m a huge fan of music.

“I regard the BBC’s contribution to music in this country as absolutely essential.

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John Whittingdale said he would “continue to support the BBC” in promoting UK talent

“I want the BBC to go on proving services like Radio 1, Radio 2, Radio 3 – all of which cater for tastes which are not served by the commercial sector.

“In some ways, actually, my criticism of the BBC is that they don’t do enough for music. Radio is very well served but [on] TV, I’d actually like to see a bit more.

“As long as I am secretary of state, I will continue to support the BBC in highlighting the incredible talent that we have in this country.

“I haven’t seen your petition but I think I’d be very willing to sign it.”

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Tom Bleasby pulls out of X Factor

<br /> Tom Bleasby pulls out of X Factor<br /> – BBC Newsbeat

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Tom Bleasby

X Factor contestant Tom Bleasby has pulled out of the talent competition.

The show said that he had chosen to withdraw “due to personal reasons”.

Tom told ITV: “I just don’t know if I felt vocally ready to take on the competition and the pressure.”

Viewers saw the 19-year-old from Leeds win a place in Nick’s final six boys on Sunday’s show.

Tom initially lost his seat to Ben Clark, but Grimmy changed his mind due to the crowd reaction. He brought Tom back and swapped him with Nathanael Landskroner.

“I’m just going to be exploring different avenues,” Tom said of his post-X Factor future, “seeing where I want to take myself musically, maybe try writing a few songs – see what happens.”

He added: “This isn’t the end, it’s just a new beginning. It just wasn’t right for me at this time.”

Nick Grimshaw and the six boys after the Six Chair Challenge

Image caption We don’t yet know who’ll replace Tom on the show

Tom’s departure comes a week after he appeared on Ellen DeGeneres’ US chat show to talk about his virtual duet with Jessie J that went viral.

He used a karaoke app to make it look like he was singing with Jessie.

The YouTube video has been watched more than 11 million times since it was posted in May.

Ellen surprised Tom on her show by bringing on Jessie as he began to sing Flashlight.

X Factor bosses said they’ll reveal what will happen with Grimmy’s category and judges’ houses “in the coming days”.

There’s already a social media campaign to bring back Ollie Marland – the last boy to lose his seat in the Six Chair Challenge.

Other singers are getting support too.

A more controversial choice would be to bring back Mason Noise, who was kicked off after arguing with Simon Cowell.

Grimmy said during Sunday’s show that he would have given Mason a seat.

Follow @BBCNewsbeat on Twitter, BBCNewsbeat on Instagram, Radio1Newsbeat on YouTube and you can now follow BBC_Newsbeat on Snapchat

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Apprentice star to chair book award

Apprentice star Margaret Mountford to chair Baileys prize

Bailey's judging panelImage copyright

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The panel will sift through 150 novels

Singer songwriter Tracey Thorn and former Apprentice judge Margaret Mountford are on the panel for 2016’s Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction.

They are joined by BBC journalist Naga Muchetty, writer and journalist Laurie Penny and author Elif Shafek.

Mountford will chair the panel and said: “There are so many great female writers, chairing… is going to be a real challenge.”

The winner, who picks up £30,000 in prize money, will be named on 8 June.

Established in 1996, the Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction is awarded for the best novel of the year written by a woman. Any woman writing in English – whatever her nationality, country of residence, age or subject matter – is eligible.

But novels must be published in the UK between 1 April 2015 and 31 March 2016.

It was previously known as the Orange Prize. Baileys took over sponsorship in 2014.

The panel will read over 150 books before narrowing the list down to one winner.

The winning author will also be awarded a limited edition bronze figurine known as a Bessie, created and donated by the artist Grizel Niven.

Previous recipients include Ali Smith, who picked up the prize last year for How to be Both, Rose Tremain for The Road Home (2008), Zadie Smith for On Beauty (2006), Lionel Shriver for We Need to Talk About Kevin (2005) and Andrea Levy for Small Island (2004).

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