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Monday, January 5, 2009

New Doctor actor is youngest ever



Matt Smith takes over from David Tennant

Matt Smith has been named as the actor who will take over from David Tennant in Doctor Who - making him the youngest actor to take on the role.

At 26, Smith is three years younger than Peter Davison when he signed up to play the fifth Doctor in 1981.

Smith will first appear on TV screens as the 11th Doctor in 2010.

He was cast over Christmas and will begin filming for the fifth series of Doctor Who in the summer. Tennant is filming four specials in 2009.

Smith was named as Tennant's replacement in Saturday's edition of Doctor Who Confidential on BBC One.

The programme was watched by an audience of 6.9 million people at its peak, according to official overnight figures.

The actor said: "I feel proud and honoured to have been given this opportunity to join a team of people that has worked so tirelessly to make the show so thrilling.

"David Tennant has made the role his own, brilliantly, with grace, talent and persistent dedication. I hope to learn from the standards set by him.

"The challenge for me is to do justice to the show's illustrious past, my predecessors, and most importantly, to those who watch it. I really cannot wait."

Piers Wenger, head of drama at BBC Wales, said that as soon as he had seen Smith's audition he "knew he was the one".

The 11 Doctors
Peter Davison
1. William Hartnell (1963-1966)
2. Patrick Troughton (1966-1969)
3. Jon Pertwee (1970-1974)
4. Tom Baker (1974-1981)
5. Peter Davison - pictured (1982-1984)
6. Colin Baker (1984-1986)
7. Sylvester McCoy (1987-1996)
8. Paul McGann (1996)
9. Christopher Eccleston (2005)
10. David Tennant (2005-2010)
11. Matt Smith (2010 - ?)

"It was abundantly clear that he had that 'Doctor-ness' about him," he said. "You are either the Doctor or you are not. It's just the beginning of the journey for Matt.

"With Steven Moffat's scripts and the expertise of the production team in Cardiff behind him, there is no one more perfect to be taking the Tardis to exciting new futures when the series returns in 2010."

Wenger said a broad range of people had been auditioned, but they had not set out to cast the youngest Doctor.

Smith's TV debut was in the 2006 adaptation of Philip Pullman's The Ruby in the Smoke, which starred former Doctor Who companion Billie Piper as Sally Lockhart.

He has also acted opposite Piper in the follow-up, The Shadow in the North, and in ITV2's Secret Diary of a Call Girl.

In 2007, he had a leading role in BBC Two's political drama Party Animals, in which he played a parliamentary researcher.

Smith's stage work has included stints with theatre companies such as the Royal Court and National Theatre. His West End debut was in Swimming With Sharks opposite Christian Slater.

He was born in Northampton in 1982 and studied drama and creative writing at the University of East Anglia.

Creative team

Tennant said in October that he would stand down from the show after filming four special episodes in 2009.

David Tennant as Doctor Who
Tennant is recovering from back surgery ahead of filming in 2009
The star is due to begin shooting the first special this month, just weeks after surgery on his back forced him to pull out of a London run of Hamlet.

The last of these special episodes is expected to run in early 2010.

With a new creative team in place for the 2010 series led by executive producers Steven Moffat and Piers Wenger, the casting of the Doctor was the first job to be completed before scripts could be finalised.

Doctor Who began in 1963, and seven actors played the Doctor before the show was dropped in 1989.

After a TV movie in 1996 - starring Paul McGann - the TV series returned in 2005 with Christopher Eccleston in the lead role. Tennant took over the same year.

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Still essential after 40 years

2008 had some fine albums, but it's unlikely they'll measure up to 1968's

By Tristram Lozaw

In 2008, a flurry of releases arrived to remind us of the inventive vibrancy of the pop music scene . . . of four decades ago.

Albums by the Beatles, Stones, Jimi, Janis, Aretha, Marvin, Otis, Sly, Miles, and Zappa were among the 1968 releases getting major play and press last year. Fortieth anniversary sets reminded us of a time when imaginative artistry ruled the pop charts, revealing numerous creative influences that still permeate our culture.

The music business has changed dramatically in 40 years, but 1968 and 2008 bear comparison. Both were turbulent years with watershed presidential elections, unpopular foreign wars, and major upheaval - social then, financial now. 1968 saw the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr., racial tensions, and the ensuing riots; in 2008 we voted our first African-American president into office.

Will the albums on 2008's best-of lists measure up to the astonishing number of classics from 1968? A few decades from now, will we still consider Coldplay, Vampire Weekend, Guns N' Roses, or TV on the Radio essential listening?

One could argue, for those willing to dig a little deeper, that there's more good music being recorded today than ever before. But the competition - represented below with a small cross-section of 1968's seminal, enduring records - is stiff. It seems highly unlikely that, 40 years from now, we'll be humming Beyonc??'s "Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)" like we do Aretha's "A Natural Woman."

JIMI HENDRIX "Electric Ladyland"

The mind-warping guitarist followed the rock pyrotechnics of his five-star "Axis: Bold as Love" (also from 1968) with this groundbreaking double album, a psychedelic masterpiece of soft soul, wild experimentation, and smoky midnight jazz riffs, rereleased last month in a deluxe CD and DVD set. "Jimi's records had opened up a whole new world for me," says singer-producer Don Dixon (R.E.M., Smithereens). " 'Are You Experienced?' replaced Otis [Redding] on my turntable until 'Electric Ladyland' came out and replaced that. For me, it was the Holy Grail, the culmination of his inimitable guitar style with a more soulful rhythm and vocal approach." Al Kooper (of Blood, Sweat & Tears) and most of Traffic, who released their own classics in 1968, also performed on the album.

JOHNNY CASH "Johnny Cash at Folsom Prison"

Jan. 13, 1968, the day the Man in Black walked into Folsom to perform for the inmates, recorded a career-defining album and, as daughter Rosanne put it, "came into the light," has been commemorated with an expanded "Legacy Edition." " 'Folsom' is a statement about compassion and rebellion," says Cash biographer Michael Streissguth. "It carried a message of prison reform to the masses. While other musicians gave lip service to those on the fringes of society, Cash met the disenfranchised on their own turf and rolled tape." Bestor Cram, producer of the box set's DVD, adds, "There is the vulnerable heart of a desperate man revealed with passion and intensity. It's so authentic that you feel he can touch you."

JAMES BROWN "Live at the Apollo, Vol. II"

Brown's simulcast Boston Garden show, a day after Martin Luther King Jr.'s 1968 assassination, is credited with preventing an explosion of the city's racial tensions. But it's the Godfather of Soul's earlier show at Harlem's Apollo Theater that is remembered as one of the greatest concerts of last century. "When James Brown says, 'I come here to do business!' we know he's not just making an empty threat," says James Sullivan, author of "The Hardest Working Man." "He was so hot creatively, he could take on Sinatra one minute and Miles Davis the next. With Pee Wee Ellis newly in charge, the band was never tougher. And even when JB stepped aside, he was the undisputed star of the show: 'Spotlight on James Brown,' Bobby Byrd sings [at the same concert]. 'He's the king of them all, y'all.' "

VELVET UNDERGROUND "White Light, White Heat"

Largely ignored when released, this proto-punk classic - with lyrics about drugs, shock therapy, and transsexuals; noise-nasty improv; and 17-minute closer "Sister Ray" - is one of rock's most influential artifacts. Electric violist John Cale has described the cornerstone of glam, punk, and experimental rock as "consciously anti-beauty," while the late guitarist Sterling Morrison saw it as a reflection of the era's chaos: "We may have been dragging each other off a cliff, but we were all definitely going in the same direction."

BIG BROTHER & THE HOLDING COMPANY "Cheap Thrills"

Though "Cheap Thrills" doesn't get as much love as Janis Joplin's solo work, it offers many of her gutsiest performances. With "Piece of My Heart," "Summertime," and a nine-minute "Ball and Chain," Janis introduced the grit of the soul sisters and big-mama belters to rock. Big Brother bangs out hard-rock laced with blues and acid, lending Joplin's vocals an urgent passion. "Cheap Thrills" spent eight weeks at No. 1 on the Billboard charts, succeeded by "Electric Ladyland."

ROLLING STONES "Beggars Banquet"

After 1967's "Their Satanic Majesties Request" experiment, "many feared that the bad boys of rock had sacrificed their raw, bluesy edge to love, peace, and flower power," writes Alan Clayson, author of "Legendary Sessions: The Rolling Stones Beggars Banquet." "No need to worry, salvation was at hand with 'Beggars Banquet.' " Anchored by "Sympathy for the Devil," "Street Fighting Man," and "You Can't Always Get What You Want," the album was a bracing return to celebrating the common man, with rock and country blues reframed as social revolution.

FRANK ZAPPA & THE MOTHERS OF INVENTION "We're Only in It for the Money " and "Lumpy Gravy"

These pioneering albums by the late composer-satirist - with send-ups of the summer of love and razor-blade edits that mashed together classical motifs and barbed rock - are combined in "Lumpy Money"; an expanded 3-CD set with alternate mixes is due out this month. "These two records are Frank's masterworks," says Gail Zappa, Frank's wife and head of the Zappa Family Trust. "[The solo] 'Lumpy Gravy' remains my personal favorite, and it was right up there on Frank's list." "We're Only in It for the Money," one of 250 significant albums chosen by the Library of Congress for the National Recording Registry (along with "At Folsom Prison" and "Switched-on Bach"), is "an early attack on the massification [of bohemia that] hasn't so much dated as found its context," wrote music critic Robert Christgau.

THE BEATLES "The Beatles" (The White Album)

Some have written that the expansive, eclectic scope of this album is the sound of the band breaking up. That didn't stop it from becoming the 10th best-selling album of all time. Nearly every track, from "Helter Skelter" to "Blackbird," is a pop-culture fixture. Even the Vatican, having forgiven John Lennon for claiming the Beatles were more popular than Christ, cited the 30-song double album on its 40th anniversary as a groundbreaking "magical musical anthology" with "pearls that even today remain unparalleled. A listening experience like [this] is rare."

THE BAND "Music From Big Pink"

After its Basement Tapes sessions with Bob Dylan, the Band used the Big Pink house to record a soulful, country-ish debut that changed the rock landscape.

CREAM "Wheels of Fire"

The half-studio, half-live set of combustible power-trio rock 'n' blues, featuring Eric Clapton's guitar scorching "Crossroads," was the first platinum-selling double album. It was replaced at No. 1 by the Doors' "Waiting for the Sun."

ARETHA FRANKLIN "Lady Soul"

Timeless crossover hits -"Chain of Fools," "A Natural Woman" - and an all-star band.

SIMON & GARFUNKEL "Bookends" Folk-pop craft at its most appealing.

INCREDIBLE STRING BAND "The Hangman's Beautiful Daughter"

Incandescent minstrel foundations of modern folk.

WALTER (WENDY) CARLOS "Switched-On Bach"

Radical computer pop.

BLOOD SWEAT & TEARS "Child Is Father to the Man"

Al Kooper's seminal fusion of brass, rock, and jazz.

THE BYRDS "Sweetheart of the Rodeo"

Kickstarted the country-rock movement.

BLUE CHEER "Vincebus Eruptum"

The first grunge metal album?

THE DOORS "Waiting for the Sun"

The psychedelic prophets' only No. 1 album.

DR. JOHN "Gris Gris"

A voodoo swamp-soul gem.

JEFF BECK "Truth"

The guitar hero's most visionary metallic album.

ZOMBIES "Odessey and Oracle"

Full of chestnuts like "Time of the Season."

MARVIN GAYE "I Heard It Through the Grapevine"

A breakthrough for the smoothest voice in soul.

THE KINKS "The Kinks Are the Village Green Preservation Society"

Quintessential social commentary rock.

CREEDENCE CLEARWATER REVIVAL "Creedence Clearwater Revival"

The potent debut of Southern rock, John Fogerty-style.

JEFFERSON AIRPLANE "Crown of Creation"

Tuneful exploration of psychedelic possibilities.

OTIS REDDING "The Dock of the Bay"

Posthumous monument to Southern soul.

SLY & THE FAMILY STONE "Dance to the Music"

Revolutionary funk-pop grooves.

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Music sales boom, but albums fizzle for '08

By Ken Barnes, USA TODAY
Americans bought more music in 2008 than ever before, but album sales — the music industry's main source of revenue — dropped for a fourth year.

According to the Nielsen Co.'s year-end figures, music purchases — CD, vinyl, cassette and digital purchases of entire albums (grouped together as total albums), plus digital track downloads, singles and music videos — attained a new high of 1.5 billion, up 10.5% over 2007.

More than 70% of those transactions were digital track downloads, a record total of 1.07 billion that swamped 2007's previous high of 844.2 million by 27%. Last week's track downloads set a record of 47.7 million, and 71 songs exceeded 1 million downloads this year, compared with 41 last year (and just two in 2005). Track downloads outsold albums by a ratio of 2.5 to 1.

Total album sales dropped to 428.4 million, 14% fewer than in 2007, and have fallen 45% since 2000. Even combining album and track sales (by a formula that counts 10 track downloads as one album sale), the 535.4 million total is still down 8.5% from 2007 and more than 30% below 2000's physical album sales of 785.1 million.

Music purchases are "astronomically high," says Rob Sisco, Nielsen's president of music, "but it's a marketplace in transition from physical to digital." He sees promise in the rise of digital purchases of entire albums, which reached a high of 65.8 million in 2008. New albums by big acts bring the market up, he says, but "there hasn't been a steady stream of high-profile releases." Other '08 results:

•Leona Lewis' Bleeding Love was the year's top-selling digital song with 3.42 million downloads. Lil Wayne's Lollipop also topped 3 million, by 160,000. Rest of the top five: Flo Rida's Low, Katy Perry's I Kissed a Girl, Coldplay's Viva la Vida.

•Lil Wayne's Tha Carter III was the No. 1 album, selling 2.87 million copies. Coldplay's Viva la Vida or Death and All His Friends, Taylor Swift's Fearless and Kid Rock's Rock 'n' Roll Jesus were the only other albums to sell 2 million in 2008, compared with eight in 2007.

•Swift, whose self-titled first album was No. 6 for the year, behind AC/DC's Black Ice, sold 4 million albums overall, tops for any artist. Rihanna was the leader in track sales with 9.94 million.

Low is the all-time best-selling digital song, with 4.53 million downloads. The only other track above 4 million is Timbaland & OneRepublic's Apologize, at 4.01 million.

•Garth Brooks lost ground to The Beatles but is still by far the best-selling artist of the SoundScan era (post-1991, when Nielsen began tracking album sales electronically), leading the Fab Four by a tally of 68.1 million to 57.1 million.

•Although vinyl albums gave way to CDs years before SoundScan launched, it's worth noting that vinyl sales hit a 17-year high in 2008 with 1.88 million, up dramatically from just under a million in 2007. Radiohead's In Rainbows was the top vinyl seller with 25,800 copies.

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The Ten Most Memorable Scenes of 2008

Posted by Kevin Carr

2008review-memorable

There’s no doubt about it: 2008 was a memorable year. We had the second biggest movie of all time rip through box office records. We had a huge slate of CGI flicks, and many of them quite good – one might even say they were the best of the year. Superheroes rocked at the box office, and we got to see Laura Ramsey completely naked in The Ruins. (Okay, so I might be the only person championing that last one.)

With such a memorable year, it was hard to pick the top ten memorable scenes from all the films. Of course, to be fair, I had to choose only one scene from any given movie (otherwise, The Dark Knight would easily take five or six spots on the list).

So here are the most memorable scenes we had in the theaters this summer, for better or for worse. Here’s hoping 2009 is just as memorable.

10. Giant Robot in Hancock

As much as it pains me to put this turd of a superhero movie on this list, I cannot deny the buzz generated by the alleged giant robot that wandered through the climactic battle in Hancock. More people talked about this scene than anything else in the film, and it lit up the interwebs with controversy. Turns out, it was a guy on stilts, but nonetheless, it was something that we all seem to remember.

9. Scarlett and Penelope Lock Lips in Vicky Christina Barcelona

Woody Allen loves the ladies. (Yeah, that made me shrivel up a bit, too.) In his latest film, he got two hot, young starlets to make out on screen. I would have liked a little more skin in the scene, but I’ll take what I can get.

8. Brad Pitt’s Demise in Burn After Reading

Forget The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. My favorite performance this year by Mr. Jolie was the dim-witted gym employee Chad in Burn After Reading. It’s a shame he bought it so early in the movie, but it was a memorable sight, nonetheless.

7. The Space Dance in WALL-E

WALL-E was such a perfect film, it was hard to narrow it down to a single moment. But the space dance that WALL-E and Eve shared in the middle of the movie was a great way to symbolize two robots finding love in this tiny little universe of ours.

6. Shit Covered in Zack & Miri Make a Porno

Jeff Anderson is a trooper. I know it wasn’t real, but damn!

5. Rock Me, Sexy Jesus in Hamlet 2

Audiences didn’t flock to this film, but the “Rock Me, Sexy Jesus” number from the acerbic comedy Hamlet 2 still has me tapping my toes.

4. Nuking the Fridge in Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull

I know this was the point in the film where many fanboys threw up their hands and almost walked out of the theater. But you can’t say it wasn’t memorable. Hell, it became its own slang phrase, like Jumping the Shark.

3. Crossover Cameos in Iron Man and The Incredible Hulk

If there was anything that showed us that Marvel Studios was planning on weaving together their superhero stories, it was the appearance of Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury at the end of Iron Man and Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark at the end of The Incredible Hulk. Thank God Hollywood is finally figuring out how to make these flicks.

2. Real Fake Trailers in Tropic Thunder

Yeah, there were a lot of memorable scenes in Tropic Thunder – from Steve Coogan snuffing it to Tom Cruise’s Golden Globe nominated booty dance at the end of the film. But the moments that stick out the most for me are the real fake trailers for movies like The Fatties: Fart 2, Satan’s Alley and the Scorcher series. Oh, and there’s that whole Simple Jack clip that caused all the R-word hubbub.

1. How About a Magic Trick? in The Dark Knight

This was the hardest choice of all. So much of this film lingers in our memories. One might be tempted to go with the huge, explosive scenes – like the Batpod chase or when the Joker blows up a hospital. But like Heath Ledger’s performance of the Clown Prince, it was the little things that were most powerful. And so, as voted by the Rejects themselves, the Joker’s making a pencil disappear is the most memorable moment of the movie… and of the year. (And don’t try this at home, kids.)

HONORABLE MENTIONS

What’s a list without a few honorable (and some dishonorable) mentions. Who can forget Angelina bare-ass naked in Wanted (or Jason Segal bare-junk naked in Forgetting Sarah Marshall)? And who doesn’t remember that freaky Hutt in drag from Star Wars: The Clone Wars? Finally, what about Dakota Fanning getting raped in Hounddog. (Just kidding on that last one. We all know that nobody saw that movie.)

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Family Lawyer: Jett Travolta May Have Died in Father's Arms

Story photo: Family Lawyer: Jett Travolta May Have Died in Father's ArmsJohn Travolta, Kelly Preston and their children Jett and Ella Bleu, leave an airport in Rome.Us Magazine
John Travolta's lawyers -- who are close family friends -- reveal to Usmagazine.com that Jett may have died in his father's arms Friday. "Yesterday was the worst day of [John's] life," Travolta's lawyer and confidant, Michael McDermott, and Michael Ossi, the family's attorney, tell Us in a phone interview (during which they asked all quotes to be jointly attributed).

Us: How is John doing?

Ossi and McDermott: "John is distraught. He is trying to understand and reconcile this. He is seeking an explanation so that this makes sense to him. And his loved ones are trying to provide that to him.

"Yesterday was the worst day of his life. Today is probably equally as bad, and if not, it's the second worst day of his life.

"John is recognizing the outpouring of support he has got from both the U.S. and the world. He can feel the love and he says it makes him stronger and hopefully it allows him to reconcile.

"He is undergoing the pain any father would if they lost his son. Generally a son buries his father, and John thought that would be the way it would go with Jett, not the other way around.

"He is in shock. He is emotionally distraught. He is going through many different feelings of disbelief and anger. It's going to take a while for him to feel good again. This is the most traumatic thing that has ever happened to him and he needs to go through a process of healing. John and Kelly are suffering total misery. They were so close to their son. This is hard to accept.

"He had set a vacation for his employees and friends. Forty-nine adults and their children were coming here [to the Bahamas] from Jan. 2nd to 4th. We were all so excited to spend some days with John. We were on the plane and we had no idea, and then we landed and we found out. Every year he holds a party for friends and employees and this year he had the idea to fly us all to his condo. We were planning to hang out on the beach, go for boat rides and spend time with the family.

Us: Have John and Kelly spent time with anyone since everyone arrived?

Ossi and McDermott: "John and Kelly have been pretty much locked away.

"We are staying here until John leaves. The autopsy should be on Monday.

Us: How is Jett's 8-year-old sister, Ella Bleu, taking it?

Ossi and McDermott: "John broke the news to Ella. She is heartbroken. She is in disbelief, but it is starting to sink in. She has been asking where her brother is. She was so close to Jett. The whole family were so close. They went everywhere together. If John made a movie, they were all there with him.

Us: It's been reported that Jett was left alone for several hours before being discovered. Can you clarify the timeline?

Ossi and McDermott: "Jett was not left alone. He had a nanny present at all times. The nanny was sleeping close to Jett's room. There was a baby monitor, a chime on the door so it was known when Jett was going in and out. He was completely supervised. The nanny found him.

Us: Is it true that Jett died in John's arms?

Ossi and McDermott: "Jett may have still been alive when John administered CPR, and then the EMT took over. Jett was pronounced dead at the hospital. I like to believe John had a chance to say goodbye. He may have died in his dad's arms. I am not certain."

Us: It's been said Jett had a history of seizures. How often did he have them?

Ossi and McDermott: "I am not confident to talk about that. I know he had a history, which of course warranted the extra attention."

Us: You obviously knew Jett well. What was his personality like?

Ossi and McDermott: "He was a wonderful boy. He had physical limitations, but when he looked in his dad's eyes, the love was tangible. When he grabbed onto his dad, he did not want to let him go."

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Katie Holmes spends $14m in six months in New York

Katie Holmes - Katie Holmes spends $14m in six months in New York
Katie Holmes has reportedly spent a reported £9,600 on child care and taking Suri out over the last six months Photo: GETTY IMAGES

The actress arrived in the New York in July to appear on Broadway in the Arthur Miller play, All My Sons.

She is living in a Manhattan apartment owned by her husband Tom Cruise and has become a regular fixture on the city's social circuit.

As well as regularly frequenting the city's best restaurants, Holmes is often photographed with her daughter Suri carrying purchases from some of New York's most expensive shops.

The New York Post's Page Six magazine estimates that, mainly due to her real estate purchases, she has spent more than $14 million (£9.6 million) since being in the city.

"While ordinary city dwellers are cutting back, Mrs Cruise has been valiantly doing her bit to boost our economy," the magazine said.

"We tally up a conservative estimate of her 24-week NYC spending spree, and crown her Manhattan's Most Valued Shopper."

Holmes has reportedly spent a reported $13,987 (£9,600) on child care and taking Suri out over the last six months

According to the publication, she and Cruise have bought three new apartments in the building where he has owned his home since 1985.

A spokesperson for Cruise has denied the purchases but real estate executive Barbara Corcoran claims they bought a trio of lofts last year.

The magazine says a similar, three-bedroom home on the same street is on the market for $4.8 million, (£3.3 million) and calculates that the Cruises would have spent $14.4 million (£10 million) on their apartments as a result.

Meanwhile the couple is reported to have spent an additional $7,000 (£4,800) on installing gym equipment in their home.

The publication also claims that Holmes, 30, and Cruise, 46, have spent an estimated $7,315 (£5,000) on dining out at top restaurants such as brasserie Balthazar, and sushi restaurant Nobu and more than $17,000 (£11,700) on clothes for Holmes and Suri from shops like Hermes and Bonpoint.

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