Dec reveals he’s going to be a dad for the first time

Declan Donnelly has announced that he and his wife Ali Astall are to become parents for the first time.

The presenter confirmed the news on Twitter after a report appeared in The Sun on Sunday.

Skip Twitter post by @antanddec

Just wanted to say thank you for all the lovely messages. The news has sneaked out a little earlier than we had hoped but Ali and I are delighted to be expecting our first child. Thanks for all the love, we really appreciate it ❤️ D x pic.twitter.com/g7mZrWLYs4

— antanddec (@antanddec) March 25, 2018

Report

End of Twitter post by @antanddec

He said the couple were “delighted” but “the news had sneaked out a little earlier than we had hoped”.

Donnelly is currently preparing to host ITV’s Saturday Night Takeaway solo, after his co-presenter Ant McPartlin was charged with drink driving.

He will appear in court after being charged with drink driving on 4 April.

In a statement regarding the remaining episodes of Takeaway, ITV said: “ITV can confirm that Saturday Night Takeaway, presented by Declan Donnelly, will return on March 31, and the series finale will be taking place at Universal Orlando Resort in Florida a week later.”

Meanwhile Dec posted a message about taking the stage without his lifelong presenting partner.

“Whilst I never thought I’d be in this position, after much discussion and careful consideration we’ve decided that the remaining two shows of this series of Saturday Night Takeaway will go ahead,” he said.

“We made a promise to take hundreds of deserving winners to Florida to watch the series finale, and we will honour that. Everyone at ITV and the Takeaway team feels we owe it to the audience to complete the series.”

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Why Margot Robbie is taking on Shakespeare

Margot Robbie is planning a new TV series, which will give Shakespeare plays a “female perspective”.

The Oscar-nominated actress is creating 10 standalone episodes with the Australia Broadcasting Corporation, each of which will tackle a different play.

The stories will be told from female points of view, with the series led by a predominantly female creative team.

“I’m taking a lot of meetings with the lesser-known talent at the moment, the indie film-makers, first- and second-time film-makers, mainly women,” Robbie told the Australian Associated Press in Sydney.

“I’m in a lovely position where I can actually help get things greenlit so I want to work with people who we haven’t seen yet.”

Details are sketchy about which plays are going to be re-told for the series, but each of the 10 episodes will focus on a different work of Shakespeare, updated to comment on modern society.

“It’s not a particularly new idea, but it’s a welcome one,” says Dr Abigail Rokison-Woodall, lecturer in Shakespeare and theatre at The Shakespeare Institute.

“People have been updating Shakespeare’s plays in order to comment on contemporary situations for an awfully long time,” she added. “There’s a wealth of adaptations of Shakespeare, many of which take a feminist angle.

“And I think it’s always interesting to see what people can do with the stories in terms of updating them.”

‘Stories that haven’t yet been told’

Carol Rutter, professor of Shakespeare and performance studies at the University of Warwick, says Robbie’s is an arguably better approach than some other recent interpretations.

“This project fits in at the moment with women’s need, if you will, to take over Shakespeare,” she says. “So in the UK we’re seeing a lot of cross-gendering of roles, for example.

“And I think that’s really destructive. I feel very keenly that cross-gendering is not the way to go, it creates all kinds of problems.

“I wish that women could simply do Shakespeare by being actors playing parts, being male or female as the part requires, but it seems to me that it’s an odd skewing of a play when you take, for example, a Malvolio and turn it into a Malvolia.

“But Margot Robbie’s project seems to be asking us to use the richness that is in Shakespeare’s materials to explore the stories that haven’t yet been told.”

Prof Rutter adds there is no shortage of such material to explore when it comes to expanding on certain female characters or storylines.

“There are all sorts of plays in Shakespeare where we would like to hear the women talk,” she says – citing an off-stage conversation between Isabella and Mariana in Measure by Measure, which is key to the plot, as an example.

“All over Shakespeare there are women’s stories that we would like to know so much more about.”

Of course, Robbie’s attempt to tell Shakespeare stories form a female perspective is built on the premise that they are currently told from male perspectives.

But interestingly, neither Prof Rutter nor Dr Rokison-Woodall think that is the case.

“I don’t think one can say that about drama. I don’t think drama is told from any one perspective because of course it’s multi-vocal, that’s what drama is,” says Dr Rokison-Woodall.

“So I’m slightly mystified by the notion of needing to tell them from a female perspective. If this was a series of novels, I could completely understand what they were getting at.

“There are novels out there that retell plays from the perspective of a single character, but that’s something a novel is able to do.”

Prof Rutter adds: “I think it’s reductive to say that there is a default position that everybody who comes on to the stage is speaking for Shakespeare or speaking in a male voice.

“No, the women have voices, and the women are the most challenging voices that interrogate masculinity in the plays. So I don’t hold that premise.

“However, because Shakespeare was working with an all-male company, and had probably three women to deploy play by play, I can understand why now these plays look, in terms of their personnel and their narratives, to be very male dominated. But I don’t think the whole perspective is male.”

Dr Rokison-Woodall says the effectiveness of taking a female point of view will entirely depend which plays are chosen for the TV series.

“In the tragedies, a lot of the female characters are silent to an extent, they are observers. Ophelia doesn’t say very much, Gertrude doesn’t say very much, although they’re both in quite a lot of scenes in Hamlet.

“So to some extent I can see there’s something attractive about retelling a Shakespeare play from the point of view of one of the characters who observes but doesn’t speak much.”

Whether or not the plays are currently told from a certain perspective, it’s true that most of Shakespeare’s protagonists are male.

And because so many of the plays are named after their lead characters, such as Macbeth, some have argued this alone gives them a distinctly male skew.

“Yeah but you see that’s because they’re not actually listening to the play,” says Prof Rutter.

“All of Shakespeare’s titles are mischievous. Twelfth Night. Macbeth. As You Like It. These titles are invitations to walk into the trap of thinking that these plays are actually about men.

“The first people on that stage [in Macbeth] are three weird sisters. They name the play Macbeth by putting the finger on him and we already know this man is already doomed, and doomed by these things that are the weird sisters.”

She concludes: “I’m certainly positive about women remaking Shakespeare, I think that a fantastic thing to do. I just hope they are not just kind of remakes, but are genuinely new plays coming out of Shakespeare, and in the spirit of Shakespeare.”


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Why Margot Robbie is taking on Shakespeare

Margot Robbie is planning a new TV series, which will give Shakespeare plays a “female perspective”.

The Oscar-nominated actress is creating 10 standalone episodes with the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, each of which will tackle a different play.

The stories will be told from female points of view, with the series led by a predominantly female creative team.

“I’m taking a lot of meetings with the lesser-known talent at the moment, the indie film-makers, first- and second-time film-makers, mainly women,” Robbie told the Australian Associated Press in Sydney.

“I’m in a lovely position where I can actually help get things greenlit so I want to work with people who we haven’t seen yet.”

Details are sketchy about which plays are going to be re-told for the series, but each of the 10 episodes will focus on a different work of Shakespeare, updated to comment on modern society.

“It’s not a particularly new idea, but it’s a welcome one,” says Dr Abigail Rokison-Woodall, lecturer in Shakespeare and theatre at The Shakespeare Institute.

“People have been updating Shakespeare’s plays in order to comment on contemporary situations for an awfully long time,” she added. “There’s a wealth of adaptations of Shakespeare, many of which take a feminist angle.

“And I think it’s always interesting to see what people can do with the stories in terms of updating them.”

‘Stories that haven’t yet been told’

Carol Rutter, professor of Shakespeare and performance studies at the University of Warwick, says Robbie’s is an arguably better approach than some other recent interpretations.

“This project fits in at the moment with women’s need, if you will, to take over Shakespeare,” she says. “So in the UK we’re seeing a lot of cross-gendering of roles, for example.

“And I think that’s really destructive. I feel very keenly that cross-gendering is not the way to go, it creates all kinds of problems.

“I wish that women could simply do Shakespeare by being actors playing parts, being male or female as the part requires, but it seems to me that it’s an odd skewing of a play when you take, for example, a Malvolio and turn it into a Malvolia.

“But Margot Robbie’s project seems to be asking us to use the richness that is in Shakespeare’s materials to explore the stories that haven’t yet been told.”

Prof Rutter adds there is no shortage of such material to explore when it comes to expanding on certain female characters or storylines.

“There are all sorts of plays in Shakespeare where we would like to hear the women talk,” she says – citing an off-stage conversation between Isabella and Mariana in Measure by Measure, which is key to the plot, as an example.

“All over Shakespeare there are women’s stories that we would like to know so much more about.”

Of course, Robbie’s attempt to tell Shakespeare stories form a female perspective is built on the premise that they are currently told from male perspectives.

But interestingly, neither Prof Rutter nor Dr Rokison-Woodall think that is the case.

“I don’t think one can say that about drama. I don’t think drama is told from any one perspective because of course it’s multi-vocal, that’s what drama is,” says Dr Rokison-Woodall.

“So I’m slightly mystified by the notion of needing to tell them from a female perspective. If this was a series of novels, I could completely understand what they were getting at.

“There are novels out there that retell plays from the perspective of a single character, but that’s something a novel is able to do.”

Prof Rutter adds: “I think it’s reductive to say that there is a default position that everybody who comes on to the stage is speaking for Shakespeare or speaking in a male voice.

“No, the women have voices, and the women are the most challenging voices that interrogate masculinity in the plays. So I don’t hold that premise.

“However, because Shakespeare was working with an all-male company, and had probably three women to deploy play by play, I can understand why now these plays look, in terms of their personnel and their narratives, to be very male dominated. But I don’t think the whole perspective is male.”

Dr Rokison-Woodall says the effectiveness of taking a female point of view will entirely depend which plays are chosen for the TV series.

“In the tragedies, a lot of the female characters are silent to an extent, they are observers. Ophelia doesn’t say very much, Gertrude doesn’t say very much, although they’re both in quite a lot of scenes in Hamlet.

“So to some extent I can see there’s something attractive about retelling a Shakespeare play from the point of view of one of the characters who observes but doesn’t speak much.”

Whether or not the plays are currently told from a certain perspective, it’s true that most of Shakespeare’s protagonists are male.

And because so many of the plays are named after their lead characters, such as Macbeth, some have argued this alone gives them a distinctly male skew.

“Yeah but you see that’s because they’re not actually listening to the play,” says Prof Rutter.

“All of Shakespeare’s titles are mischievous. Twelfth Night. Macbeth. As You Like It. These titles are invitations to walk into the trap of thinking that these plays are actually about men.

“The first people on that stage [in Macbeth] are three weird sisters. They name the play Macbeth by putting the finger on him and we already know this man is already doomed, and doomed by these things that are the weird sisters.”

She concludes: “I’m certainly positive about women remaking Shakespeare, I think that a fantastic thing to do. I just hope they are not just kind of remakes, but are genuinely new plays coming out of Shakespeare, and in the spirit of Shakespeare.”


Follow us on Facebook, on Twitter @BBCNewsEnts, or on Instagram at bbcnewsents. If you have a story suggestion email entertainment.news@bbc.co.uk.

Ant and Dec: Suzuki ends advertising campaign after drink-drive charge

Suzuki has axed TV adverts featuring Ant and Dec after Ant McPartlin was charged with drink driving.

The car firm will still sponsor the last two episodes of the series of ITV’s Saturday Night Takeaway, but the duo will not appear in its commercials.

“No further material featuring the duo will be aired and Suzuki’s endorsement deal with the pair has come to an end,” the company said in a statement.

Mr McPartlin was charged following a collision in London on Sunday.

After his arrest, his publicist said he would be taking time off from his TV commitments “for the foreseeable future” and would seek further treatment.

This weekend’s edition of Saturday Night Takeaway has been cancelled as a result.

  • Ant McPartlin charged with drink driving
  • Ant McPartlin steps down from TV shows and seeks treatment

    The Suzuki statement said: “We agree with ITV and Ant & Dec that it was the correct decision not to broadcast Saturday Night Takeaway this weekend.

    “As a car brand, we recognise the seriousness of Ant’s charge. We completely support Ant’s decision to seek treatment.

    “Suzuki will however continue to sponsor the last two episodes of this series of Saturday Night Takeaway with our current idents.

    “Suzuki very much supports Dec and ITV’s decision to broadcast the shows and as headline sponsors we also want to support the competition winners who have won places on the plane to Florida for the series finale.”

    The final two episodes of the programme, which will air on 31 March and 7 April, will now be presented solo by Declan Donnelly.

    The finale is due to be broadcast live from Universal Orlando Resort in Florida, with 200 fans of the show flying out in a specially-chartered plane.

    Ant & Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway, which features stunts, sketches and celebrity guests, is presented and produced by the duo. It has won three Baftas, and the pair also won three prizes at this year’s National Television Awards.

    Suzuki’s deal with Ant and Dec saw it sponsor Saturday Night Takeaway, and Takeaway’s production teams and writers also produced ads featuring the duo for Suzuki.

    The two-year deal was signed in December 2015 and was worth an estimated £20m, according to trade publication Campaign.

    Follow us on Facebook, on Twitter @BBCNewsEnts, or on Instagram at bbcnewsents. If you have a story suggestion email entertainment.news@bbc.co.uk.

Generation Game returns for Easter treat

“A food blender, a toaster, a cuddly toy!” Classic 1970s game show The Generation Game is back with former Bake Off stars Mel and Sue at the helm.

Originally hosted by Sir Bruce Forsyth, and later by Larry Grayson and Jim Davidson, the first of two episodes will be shown on Easter Sunday.

The latest revival will feature guest stars including Basil Brush – along with the conveyor belt, of course.

The BBC One show will combine aspects of the original series with new games.

If you’re too young to remember, here’s what to expect:

Contestants – four families – compete in a series of challenges, often helped by star guests.

Classic challenges which have been retained include cake icing, pottery and plate spinning. And sausage-making.

A few more modern tasks have been added this time round, such as Bollywood dancing.

Quiz show host Richard Osman, TV presenter Lorraine Kelly, Johnny Vegas and Danny Dyer will be making appearances alongside some other surprise special guests.

But what you really need to know about is the conveyor belt – so, one or two members of the winning team watch prizes pass on a conveyor belt and win as many as they can recall once all the prizes have gone past.

Episodes cut

Prizes generally included household items like kettles, toasters and that 70s classic – the fondue set. But there was always a cuddly toy featured, which was a firm favourite with younger members of the audience.

The date of the second episode has not yet been confirmed.

When the vintage game show’s return was announced last year, the BBC said it would have a four-episode run.

“During the production process it’s not unusual for a new series to change length as the format evolves,” said the BBC in a statement.

“We’ve got a brilliant show for audiences on BBC One this spring.”

Follow us on Facebook, on Twitter @BBCNewsEnts, or on Instagram at bbcnewsents. If you have a story suggestion email entertainment.news@bbc.co.uk.

Generation Game returns for Easter treat

“A food blender, a toaster, a cuddly toy!” Classic 1970s game show The Generation Game is back with former Bake Off stars Mel and Sue at the helm.

Originally hosted by Sir Bruce Forsyth, and later by Larry Grayson and Jim Davidson, the first of two episodes will be shown on Easter Sunday.

The latest revival will feature guest stars including Basil Brush – along with the conveyor belt, of course.

The BBC One show will combine aspects of the original series with new games.

If you’re too young to remember, here’s what to expect:

Contestants – four families – compete in a series of challenges, often helped by star guests.

Classic challenges which have been retained include cake icing, pottery and plate spinning. And sausage-making.

A few more modern tasks have been added this time round, such as Bollywood dancing.

Quiz show host Richard Osman, TV presenter Lorraine Kelly, Johnny Vegas and Danny Dyer will be making appearances alongside some other surprise special guests.

But what you really need to know about is the conveyor belt – so, one or two members of the winning team watch prizes pass on a conveyor belt and win as many as they can recall once all the prizes have gone past.

Episodes cut

Prizes generally included household items like kettles, toasters and that 70s classic – the fondue set. But there was always a cuddly toy featured, which was a firm favourite with younger members of the audience.

The date of the second episode has not yet been confirmed.

When the vintage game show’s return was announced last year, the BBC said it would have a four-episode run.

“During the production process it’s not unusual for a new series to change length as the format evolves,” said the BBC in a statement.

“We’ve got a brilliant show for audiences on BBC One this spring.”

Follow us on Facebook, on Twitter @BBCNewsEnts, or on Instagram at bbcnewsents. If you have a story suggestion email entertainment.news@bbc.co.uk.