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Robert Evans, Chinatown producer, dies at 89

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Evans was an actor before going into film production

Robert Evans, the larger-than-life producer and studio executive whose films included Chinatown and The Cotton Club, has died at the age of 89.

The former actor, whose seven wives included actress Ali McGraw, authored an autobiography, The Kid Stays in the Picture, that itself inspired a film.

As head of production of Paramount, he was key to the making of the first two films in the Godfather series.

His other credits include Urban Cowboy and the notorious 1980 flop Popeye.

Born Robert J Shapera in 1930, Evans started out as an actor and was cast as a bullfighter in 1957’s The Sun Also Rises.

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Evans and Ali McGraw married in 1969 and divorced in 1973

He went on to become head of production at Paramount, overseeing such hits as Rosemary’s Baby and Love Story.

“The producer is the most important element of a film,” he once declared. “He’s on a film for four or five years and gets very little credit for it.”

His death was confirmed by his publicist Monique Moss, who said the Evans family had yet to issue a statement.

McGraw, who married Evans in 1969 before leaving him for the actor Steve McQueen, said he would be “remembered as a giant”.

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As an actor, his co-stars included the glamorous Ava Gardner

“We are so very proud of his enormous contribution to the film industry,” she continued, saying she and their son Joshua would “miss Bob tremendously”.

Evans’ other wives included Dynasty star Catherine Oxenberg, to whom he was married for just 10 days.

Guardian film critic Peter Bradshaw remembered Evans as a “passionate midwife to the Hollywood new wave” who mentored Roman Polanski, Francis Ford Coppola and other film-makers.

It was for Polanski’s film noir Chinatown that Evans received his only Oscar nomination, for best picture, in 1975.

“RIP to a legend,” tweeted the actress Natasha Lyonne, while documentarian Mark Cousins likened him to Renaissance patron Cosimo de’ Medici.

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Nicky Campbell pays tribute to ‘wonderful mum’

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Nicky Campbell and his mother Sheila

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Nicky Campbell, pictured with his mother Sheila: “She was my adoptive mum. She was my real mum”

BBC Radio 5 Live’s Nicky Campbell has written a heartfelt tribute to his “wonderful” mother Sheila, who has died at the age of 96.

Along with her husband, Frank Campbell, she adopted Nicky as a four-day-old baby in 1961.

Sheila Campbell, a World War Two radar operator who became a social worker, was part of Nicky’s 2007 episode of BBC One’s Who Do You Think You Are?

She also spoke about being a radar operator on BBC Radio 5 Live in June.

“The day she and Dad adopted me was the day I won the lottery,” he tweeted.

Campbell, who missed presenting Thursday’s edition of 5 Live Breakfast, added that Sheila “doted on her grandchildren and my girls completely adored her. Everyone did.”

His co-host Rachel Burden choked up as she prepared to read out the statement before handing over to her co-host Geoff Lloyd.

Burden then added: “I knew her in the course of my friendship with Nicky developing over the years. She was an incredible woman and I feel really, really privileged to have known her.

“Nicky will be back at work tomorrow because, as he says, his mum would have said, ‘Of course you should be working, it’s the general election results day.’

“So he will be here tomorrow. And we just all want to send all our thoughts on to Nicky and the girls and Tina and all his family today. You’re very, very much in our thoughts.”

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Media captionThis clip is originally from 5 Live Breakfast on Tuesday 5 June 2019.

Earlier this year, Sheila spoke to Campbell on 5 Live Breakfast to talk about her role in the Women’s Auxiliary Air Force during World War Two. She was presented with a medal of service for her work in 2017.

Stationed at Beachy Head, she helped to guide RAF planes to their targets during the D-Day campaign.

She was proud to have played a part in the invasion, but said she would spend the 75th anniversary “thinking a lot about the lives that were lost on the beaches, and at that time”.

‘So proud’ of his family

Who Do You Think You Are? saw Campbell investigate the roots of his Scottish family, especially his adoptive father Frank, who died in 1996.

He discovered more about his father’s time serving with the Indian army during World War Two – fighting Japanese troops in what has come to be known as “the forgotten war” – and had some shocking revelations about his grandfather’s childhood.

Summing up the experience, he said: “I’m so proud of this extraordinary family I was adopted into. All the stories I’ve heard somehow all contributed to making my dad the most wonderful dad that I could have had.

“It couldn’t have been for me more fascinating, revealing and enlightening. A family of which I am so proud and a dad of which I’m so proud. I just wish he were here to share it.”

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BBC Sound of 2020: Who’s on the longlist?

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A selection of bedroom musicians, indie bands and retro-futuristic soul singers are being tipped for success on BBC Music’s Sound of 2020 list.

The longlist features 10 rising acts, from punk-pop firebrand Yungblud to soul-baring songwriter Celeste.

Other nominees include DIY musician Beabadoobee, who is signed to the same management company as The 1975; and Dublin rock band Inhaler, fronted by Bono’s son Elijah Hewson.

The winner will be revealed in January.

Now in its 18th year, the Sound of… list showcases the hottest new artists for the coming year. Past winners includes Adele, Sam Smith, Years & Years, 50 Cent, Sigrid and, earlier this year, Octavian.

It is voted for by 170 music critics, broadcasters and DJs, as well as former nominees such as Billie Eilish, Lewis Capaldi and Chvrches.

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Celeste has been hotly tipped following the success of her heart-rending single Strange

The 2020 selection sees a retreat from grime and UK rap, which had established a strong presence on the list over the last five years.

In their place are a clutch of female artists who represent the rise of British R&B – from the sweet-but-gritty sounds of Joy Crookes to the soulful poetry of Arlo Parks.

But the one to beat is Celeste, a “shy singer with a star’s voice”, who has already won the Brits’ Rising Star award and been named BBC Music Introducing’s artist of the year.

BBC Music Sound of 2020
Artist Who are they? Key track
Arlo Parks Soulful poet unpicking the anxieties of a generation Cola
Beabadoobee Dreamy, lo-fi bedroom pop If You Want To
Celeste Timeless soul to tug at your heartstrings Strange
Easy Life Genre-bending indie-funk quintet Nightmares
Georgia One-woman dance machine About Work The Dancefloor
Inhaler Shimmering, atmospheric rock anthems My Honest Face
Joesef Self-confessed “emotional sad boy” from Glasgow Play Me Something Nice
Joy Crookes South London stories filled with wit and romance Don’t Let Me Down
Squid Multi-tentacled art-rock polymaths Houseplants
Yungblud Hypersonic emo-pop for the “underrated youth” Original Me

Hailing from Dublin, Inhaler have built an impressive live following since forming at school over a shared love of bands like Joy Division, The Strokes, The Stone Roses and The Cure.

Once you know the U2 connection, it’s hard not to the similarities between Eli Hewson’s soaring vocals and those of his father – but the band have worked hard to stand on their own two feet.

“For me and for us as a band, we’ve known that there’s going to be doors open,” Hewson told the NME. “But those doors will shut just as fast as they open if we’re not good.”

They’re not the only act on the longlist with famous connections. Georgia, who scored a major club hit this year with About Work The Dancefloor, is the daughter of Leftfield’s Neil Barnes, while Yungblud is the grandson of Rick Harrison, who played with T Rex in the 1970s.

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Yungblud has built up a huge following with singles like Original Me and 11 Minutes

The Doncaster-born singer is the most high-profile name on the 2020 longlist, with 11 million monthly listeners on Spotify – more than all the other artists combined.

Born Dominic Harrison, the 22-year-old has positioned himself as the voice of a generation, singing about topics like sexual assault, corporate greed, anxiety and “the underrated youth”.

“I never want to be predictable,” he told the BBC earlier this year. “If people know what I’m going to do next, then I’m completely shafted.”

Sensitive singer-songwriter Joesef, meanwhile, has been branded one to watch in Scotland – where he became the second artist to sell out Glasgow’s legendary King Tut’s Wah Wah Hut before releasing any music online (the first was Lewis Capaldi).

The longlist is completed by two bands who defy categorisation – Leicester quintet Easy Life, who started out as jazz musicians before exploring the outer reaches of hip-hop, funk and pop; and Brighton’s Squid, who describe their music as “the Coronation Street theme tune played on flutes by angry children”.

The annual Sound of list celebrates musicians who have not been the lead artist on a UK top 10 single or album by 21 October 2019. Artists who have appeared on TV talent shows within the last three years are also ineligible.

The top five will be revealed in the New Year on BBC Radio 1 and BBC News, with one artist announced each day from Sunday 5 January until the winner is unveiled on Thursday 9 January.

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Naturalist and presenter David Bellamy dies at 86

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David Bellamy at the Chelsea Flower Show in 2009Image copyright
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Botanist and broadcaster David Bellamy has died aged 86, the Conservation Foundation he formed has said.

London-born Bellamy, who became a household name as a TV personality, scientist and conservationist, died on Wednesday, according to the foundation.

His colleague, David Shreeve, described him as a “larger-than-life character” who “inspired a whole generation”.

In later life Bellamy, who lived in County Durham, attracted criticism for dismissing global warming.

In 2004 he described it as “poppycock” – a stance which he later said cost him his TV career.

Bellamy worked in a sweet factory and as a plumber before embarking on his broadcasting career.

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Good Morning Britain presenter Piers Morgan said Bellamy was a “brilliant naturalist, broadcaster & character”

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Media captionDavid Bellamy on the interview that started his career

His scientific career began when he got a job in the biology department of a technical college in Surrey, he told BBC Radio 4’s Desert Island Discs programme in 1978.

It was there that he met his future wife, Rosemary.

But it was on a trip to Scotland where he discovered his love for plants, he told the programme.

“I got really turned on by plants and I found out that if somebody told me what a plant was, I just couldn’t forget it,” he said.

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David Bellamy takes a walk with his granddaughter Tilly, then aged four, around the Scottish Seabird Centre after unveiling a new remote wildlife camera in North Berwick in 2007

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The broadcaster stood, unsuccessfully, against the then prime minister John Major for the eurosceptic Referendum Party during the 1997 general election

He gained public recognition for his work as an environmental consultant over the Torrey Canyon oil spill, when a tanker was shipwrecked off the coast of Cornwall in 1967.

He went on to present programmes such as Don’t Ask Me, Bellamy On Botany, Bellamy’s Britain, Bellamy’s Europe and Bellamy’s Backyard Safari.

And in 1979 he won Bafta’s Richard Dimbleby Award, for best presenter of factual programmes.

His distinctive voice also inspired comedian Sir Lenny Henry’s catchphrase “grapple me grapenuts”.

BBC arts correspondent David Sillito described Bellamy as “the enthusiastic face of botany on television” for more than 30 years.

In 2003, he told BBC News that he was sceptical about mankind being responsible for rising temperatures and suggested that they might be part of the Earth’s natural cycles.

He said: “We have got to get this thing argued out in public properly and not just take one opinion.”

Ten years later, he told the Independent newspaper: “It (global warming) is not happening at all, but if you get the idea that people’s children will die because of CO2 they fall for it.”

‘Canny broadcaster”.

Well-known figures have paid tribute to Bellamy, including fellow naturalist and broadcaster Bill Oddie who described him as a “first-class naturalist, with boundless skills to convey his enthusiasm”.

Good Morning Britain presenter Piers Morgan said Bellamy was a “brilliant naturalist, broadcaster and character”, in a tribute posted on Twitter.

Comedy writer and broadcaster Danny Baker, who described him as a “truly brilliant and canny broadcaster”.

The Walking Dead actor David Morrissey tweeted that Bellamy “cared about nature and our environment deeply.”

And former England footballer Stan Collymore called him a “childhood icon”, adding that he “learnt about botany and shrubs and trees as a kid because of this man’s love and infectious enthusiasm.”

Bellamy’s wife Rosemary died last year.



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