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BAZ BAMIGBOYE: Summerland is a spoonful of hope, love, light and laughter 

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baz bamigboye summerland is a spoonful of hope love light and laughter

Once Gemma Arterton had read the script for the film Summerland she didn’t have far to go to discuss the project.

The actress lives just around the corner from playwright, filmmaker and director Jessica Swale, who wrote the wartime story of Alice Lamb, a cantankerous scholar who lives alone in a wooden cottage, perched on a cliff on the South East coast, and who reluctantly takes in Frank, a schoolboy evacuee from London.

Initially, Arterton read the screenplay without any notion of starring in it, said Swale. The actress had intended to offer to get involved as a producer. Soon, however, Swale was rewriting the Alice role for her neighbour to play.

Gemma Arterton (right) stars in 'Summerland' along-side Gugu Mbatha-raw (left) as a a cantankerous scholar who lives alone in a wooden cottage, perched on a cliff on the South East coast who reluctantly takes in a schoolboy evacuee from London

Gemma Arterton (right) stars in 'Summerland' along-side Gugu Mbatha-raw (left) as a a cantankerous scholar who lives alone in a wooden cottage, perched on a cliff on the South East coast who reluctantly takes in a schoolboy evacuee from London

Gemma Arterton (right) stars in ‘Summerland’ along-side Gugu Mbatha-raw (left) as a a cantankerous scholar who lives alone in a wooden cottage, perched on a cliff on the South East coast who reluctantly takes in a schoolboy evacuee from London

The pair have been frequent collaborators. Arterton took the title role in Swale’s play Nell Gwynn at Shakespeare’s Globe.

When the show moved to the West End, Gugu Mbatha-Raw took over that part. And at the heart of Summerland is a friendship, much of it in flashback, between Alice and Vera, who is played by Mbatha-Raw.

I remember Arterton telling me I was going to love Summerland. And she was right. It’s a rare treat from BBC Films and the BFI, opening in cinemas next Friday.

Arterton (right) initially read the screenplay for the movie without any notion of starring in it, however the director Jessica Swale (left) who is also Arterton's neighbour, was soon rewriting Alice to be played by Arterton

Arterton (right) initially read the screenplay for the movie without any notion of starring in it, however the director Jessica Swale (left) who is also Arterton's neighbour, was soon rewriting Alice to be played by Arterton

Arterton (right) initially read the screenplay for the movie without any notion of starring in it, however the director Jessica Swale (left) who is also Arterton’s neighbour, was soon rewriting Alice to be played by Arterton

Gemma Arterton, left, portraying Alice Lamb in Summerland, a cantankerous scholar who takes in a London schoolboy evacuee named Frank, portrayed by Lucas Bond (right)

Gemma Arterton, left, portraying Alice Lamb in Summerland, a cantankerous scholar who takes in a London schoolboy evacuee named Frank, portrayed by Lucas Bond (right)

Gemma Arterton, left, portraying Alice Lamb in Summerland, a cantankerous scholar who takes in a London schoolboy evacuee named Frank, portrayed by Lucas Bond (right)

There are several non-Caucasian actors in the film and I was struck by how Swale has managed to make her casting feel organic, not contrived. Swale said she feels passionately that ‘diversity should be woven into the seams of movies’, and not always the focus.

She wanted Gugu, for instance, in the role of Vera, because she has a ‘sparkle’ when she arrives on the screen.

Just as good is young actor Lucas Bond, as Frank, who meets cynical Alice — regarded by locals as a witch because she studies pagan myths — and ends up opening her eyes, and her heart.

Arterton and Swale (pictured together on set of Summerland) have been frequent collaborators. Arterton took the title role in Swale’s play Nell Gwynn at Shakespeare’s Globe

Arterton and Swale (pictured together on set of Summerland) have been frequent collaborators. Arterton took the title role in Swale’s play Nell Gwynn at Shakespeare’s Globe

Arterton and Swale (pictured together on set of Summerland) have been frequent collaborators. Arterton took the title role in Swale’s play Nell Gwynn at Shakespeare’s Globe

During the lockdown, Swale (left) and Arterton (right) have been doing a lot of collaborating

During the lockdown, Swale (left) and Arterton (right) have been doing a lot of collaborating

During the lockdown, Swale (left) and Arterton (right) have been doing a lot of collaborating

During the lockdown, Swale and Arterton have been doing a lot of collaborating, working on a TV series which they will co-write, with Arterton to star.

Swale has other projects, too, including an adaptation of Nell Gwynn for Working Title Films and a version of Persuasion for Searchlight.

After she started writing Summerland, her father was diagnosed with a terminal illness.

‘He stopped wanting to watch films which were in any way morbid, and I made it my mission to make movies that people like my dad would enjoy . . . films for people who need a little bit of hope, of love and light and laughter.’

Her father died before seeing Summerland. But Swale told me: ‘He will always be there in everything that I do.’

Save the heart of our theatres

Michael Grandage, a former artistic chief of both the Donmar Warehouse and Sheffield Theatres, and director of the eagerly awaited Frozen musical, has spoken of his concern that the £1.57 billion arts rescue package will save buildings, but not the people who work in them.

Michael Grandage (pictured), a former artistic chief of both the Donmar Warehouse and Sheffield Theatres has spoken of his concern that the £1.57 billion arts recue package will not be enough to save jobs

Michael Grandage (pictured), a former artistic chief of both the Donmar Warehouse and Sheffield Theatres has spoken of his concern that the £1.57 billion arts recue package will not be enough to save jobs

Michael Grandage (pictured), a former artistic chief of both the Donmar Warehouse and Sheffield Theatres has spoken of his concern that the £1.57 billion arts recue package will not be enough to save jobs

While he praised the Government’s aid package, Grandage told me: ‘I worry that while you can do theatre without buildings, you can’t do it without artists.’

He was speaking of the thousands of actors, directors, playwrights, designers, choreographers and back-stage specialists, who are mainly freelancers. ‘I’m talking to people on a daily basis, and right now they have absolutely no income — none,’ he told me. 

It’s true that some have found other employment. Making masks; working in supermarkets; delivering post, food and other goods … or even sweeping streets. A few have found jobs in pubs, bars and restaurants that have reopened, but vacancies are scarce.

He added: ‘If it goes on too long, those people can’t hang around, expecting to come back to the profession.’ He also agreed that regional theatres must be saved ‘because they’re places where communities gather’. ‘But for God’s sake let’s look after the people who come in and work there as well.’

It’ll be nice to have her back where she belongs! Imelda Staunton has reassured friends and colleagues that she’s going to perform in the musical Hello, Dolly! in the West End in late 2022, after she has portrayed the Queen in Netflix’s The Crown. ‘I’ve learnt it now,’ she tells those who dare to ask, following the show’s pandemic postponement. You’re lookin’ swell, Imelda.

Watch out for… 

Tyrone Huntley and Ricardo Afonso , two of the best stage vocalists in the West End, who will share the role of Judas in the Open Air Theatre production of Jesus Christ Superstar, which will be returning to Regent’s Park for 70 performances, over six weeks, from August 14.

The show, which marks the reopening of the much- loved venue, will be staged by director Timothy Sheader and choreographer Drew McOnie under physically distanced conditions, on stage and off, using Covid-19 health protocols. 

One to watch: Tyrone Huntley

One to watch: Tyrone Huntley

One to watch: Ricardo Afonso

One to watch: Ricardo Afonso

Ones to watch: Tyrone Huntley (left) and Ricardo Afonso (right), two of the best stage vocalists in the West End, who will share the role of Judas in the Open Air Theatre production of Jesus Christ Superstar

Huntley was lauded for his performance as Judas when the Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber musical was produced at the Open Air two years ago. 

Declan Bennett and Pepe Nufrio will share the part of Jesus. Meanwhile, Maimuna Memon and Anoushka Lucas will play Mary.

Last week producer David Pugh revealed on these pages that he’s taking the 40th anniversary production of Willy Russell’s Educating Rita to the amazing open air Minack Theatre in Cornwall. 

The open Air Theatre production of Jesus Christ Superstar will be returning to Regent’s Park for 70 performances, over six weeks, from August 14. Pictured: Tyrone Huntley during rehearsals

The open Air Theatre production of Jesus Christ Superstar will be returning to Regent’s Park for 70 performances, over six weeks, from August 14. Pictured: Tyrone Huntley during rehearsals

The open Air Theatre production of Jesus Christ Superstar will be returning to Regent’s Park for 70 performances, over six weeks, from August 14. Pictured: Ricardo Afonso during rehearsals

The open Air Theatre production of Jesus Christ Superstar will be returning to Regent’s Park for 70 performances, over six weeks, from August 14. Pictured: Ricardo Afonso during rehearsals

The open Air Theatre production of Jesus Christ Superstar will be returning to Regent’s Park for 70 performances, over six weeks, from August 14. Pictured: Tyrone Huntley (left) and Ricardo Afonso (right) during rehearsals

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TALK OF THE TOWN: I spy a real Bond girl as Ella Loudon poses on a motorbike just like her dad

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talk of the town i spy a real bond girl as ella loudon poses on a motorbike just like her dad

The name’s Loudon. Ella Loudon… 

The 27-year-old model and actress, whose father is James Bond star Daniel Craig, poses on a motorbike before roaring off into the wilderness, teasing her Instagram followers with the caption: ‘Prior to the mud and putting on a helmet…’

Ella has obviously inherited her dad’s sense of adventure. 

Ella Loudon whose father is James Bond star Daniel Craig, poses on a motorbike before roaring off into the wilderness, teasing her Instagram followers with the caption: ‘Prior to the mud and putting on a helmet…’

Ella Loudon whose father is James Bond star Daniel Craig, poses on a motorbike before roaring off into the wilderness, teasing her Instagram followers with the caption: ‘Prior to the mud and putting on a helmet…’

Daniel Craig rode a similar off-road motorcycle during a high-octane action sequence as 007 in Skyfall

Daniel Craig rode a similar off-road motorcycle during a high-octane action sequence as 007 in Skyfall

The actor rode a similar off-road motorcycle during a high-octane action sequence as 007 in Skyfall.

It’s great to see former Pirelli model Christina Estrada back on the social scene, enjoying dinner with friends at swanky Mayfair restaurant Scott’s.

My exclusive picture shows her smiling alongside Walid Abu-Zalaf, the publisher of Palestinian newspaper Al-Quds.

The 57-year-old supermodel was sporting an enormous sparkler on her ring finger, although she denies there is any romance between the two of them.

Christina Estrada smiling alongside Walid Abu-Zalaf, the publisher of Palestinian newspaper Al-Quds

Christina Estrada smiling alongside Walid Abu-Zalaf, the publisher of Palestinian newspaper Al-Quds

Christina made headlines in 2016 when she was awarded an astonishing £75 million in her divorce battle from the late Saudi billionaire Walid Juffali.

She had originally sought £196 million from Juffali when they separated after 13 years together, which she had claimed was required to meet her ‘reasonable’ needs.

She lives outside London with her daughter Sirina from her marriage to Juffali. The tycoon died from cancer shortly after the divorce hearing.

This post first appeared on dailymail.co.uk

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TALK OF THE TOWN: Give up the country life? You’ve got to be Kidding!

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talk of the town give up the country life youve got to be kidding

Jemma Kidd may have split from her aristocratic husband – but she’s not giving up the trappings of country life so easily.

I hear the model has told friends she intends to stay close to the family home on the Duke of Wellington’s Hampshire estate, despite splitting from his son, Arthur Wellesley, the Earl of Mornington, after 15 years.

The Countess, 46, was never likely to return to Notting Hill where they previously lived. For despite the well-heeled neighbourhood being one of the most exclusive in London, when she lived there she complained about ‘rubbish on the pavement and people everywhere’ and once said: ‘I’m not bringing my kids up here!’

Jemma Kidd may have split from her aristocratic husband – but she’s not giving up the trappings of country life so easily

Jemma Kidd may have split from her aristocratic husband – but she’s not giving up the trappings of country life so easily

The model has told friends she intends to stay close to the family home on the Duke of Wellington's Hampshire estate, pictured, despite splitting from his son, Arthur Wellesley, the Earl of Mornington, after 15 years

The model has told friends she intends to stay close to the family home on the Duke of Wellington’s Hampshire estate, pictured, despite splitting from his son, Arthur Wellesley, the Earl of Mornington, after 15 years

It now sounds like Jemma won’t be going far as I hear work is progressing on a new yoga retreat she plans to open at the estate.

I’m told Jemma is considering remaining with her twins, ten, and her four-year-old son within the grounds of Stratfield Saye House, although no firm decisions have been made. Any risk of awkward encounters with her in-laws is likely to be slight as the estate has 5,000 acres.

A close friend of the family tells me: ‘Arthur has been spending time in his pad in London since the split. But Jemma desires to stay on the estate with their children. Nothing concrete has been decided on their future plans yet though.’

The couple tied the knot in 2005 in Barbados, where Jemma grew up. But, as I previously revealed, things soured to the point where they were barely speaking to each other during lockdown, so they decided to split.

In contrast to his wife, Lord Mornington, 42, has always embraced life in the capital. His family have apartments at Apsley House at Hyde Park Corner, facing the ceremonial arch dedicated to the first Duke of Wellington, topped with a statue of a horse-drawn chariot.

He has joked: ‘Sometimes at night, I go out and ride it.’

Model Lottie Moss has revealed how to win the keys to her heart: ignore her! ‘Every second a guy doesn’t text me back I love him more,’ the 22-year-old sister of supermodel Kate revealed as she posted this intimate selfie online. 

Lottie previously dated Made In Chelsea star Alex Mytton and radio presenter Roman Kemp, but still hasn’t managed to find Mr Right.

Model Lottie Moss, pictured, previously dated Made In Chelsea star Alex Mytton and radio presenter Roman Kemp, but still hasn't managed to find Mr Right

Model Lottie Moss, pictured, previously dated Made In Chelsea star Alex Mytton and radio presenter Roman Kemp, but still hasn’t managed to find Mr Right

But she admits she can be fickle: ‘In bed and literally just icked out about a guy I’m talking to,’ she posted recently. 

‘Genuinely, my brain just turned myself off him.’ Lottie, who has modelled for Calvin Klein, was recently linked to Love Island’s Chris Hughes.

This post first appeared on dailymail.co.uk

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TALK OF THE TOWN: Not even Jude can turn the tide

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talk of the town not even jude can turn the tide

He has previously filmed in war-torn Afghanistan but Jude Law has revealed how he feared for his life making his latest drama in… Essex. 

The star shot Sky Atlantic’s The Third Day at Osea Island, which is cut off from the mainland at high tide, and recalls once seeing a crew member ‘literally floating away’. 

‘It is important to know the speed at which this tide comes in,’ says Jude. ‘It really does put you at risk. 

Jude Law pictured in his latest drama Sky Atlantic's The Third Day at Osea Island

Jude Law pictured in his latest drama Sky Atlantic’s The Third Day at Osea Island

The location is cut off from the mainland at high tide, and the star recalls once seeing a crew member 'literally floating away'

The location is cut off from the mainland at high tide, and the star recalls once seeing a crew member ‘literally floating away’

‘We barely made it back along that perilous access road because the water was literally rising up around the car’ – as our snap shows. 

He may be a Hollywood star now but former football hard man Vinnie Jones hasn’t forgotten his roots from the mean streets on Watford. 

When A-list actress Angelina Jolie tried to engage Vinnie in conversation on the set of their action thriller Gone In 60 Seconds, he snarled at her: ‘Leave it out, love!’ 

Angelina had noticed that Vinnie wasn’t impressed with co-star Nicolas Cage as he regaled the rest of the cast with tales between takes. 

Vinnie recalls: ‘Nicolas would hold court and come out with c*** and they’d all laugh nervously but I’d walk away. One day I started doing sit-ups.’ 

It’s a good job that Harry and Meghan have signed a megabucks deal with Netflix – my spies in Los Angeles tell me the cleaning bill for their Californian mansion will set them back a whopping £60,000 a year.

Well, that’s unless Harry decides to put on a pinny and brandish a feather duster himself, of course…

This post first appeared on dailymail.co.uk

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