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Miscellaneous

Charlotte Church

Charlotte: I'll quit fame game

Charlotte Church has announced she will be quitting the 'hellish' fame game once her son and daughter start school.

According to the Metro, the former opera protégé says she would like to be a behind-the-scenes musician and will give up the red carpet because both she and her children dislike the paparazzi.

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Miscellaneous

Denise's return to work helped Lee

Denise Van Outen has said her decision to go back to work so soon after having her daughter Betsy has improved husband Lee Mead's relationship with their baby.

She said musical star Lee, who she met while she was a judge and he was a competitor on BBC1 reality show Any Dream Will Do, initially found fatherhood 'quite hard'.

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Andrew Lloyd Webber

Lloyd Webber sells four West End theatres

Andrew Lloyd Webber is selling four West End theatres to a consortium led by former ITV chairman Michael Grade.

The composer and impresario said it had been a "gut-wrenching decision" to let the Palace, Her Majesty's, Cambridge and New London theatres go.

"However, following my illness last year, I was advised to reduce the debt in the family company," he said.

The 62-year-old's Really Useful Group will retain the Theatre Royal Drury Lane and the London Palladium.

It will also maintain its 50% interest in the Adelphi, currently home to Lord Lloyd-Webber's Phantom of the Opera sequel Love Never Dies.

The deal is believed to be in the region of £50m, according to reports.

In a statement, Lord Lloyd-Webber said he had reduced the purchase price by £5m to enable the GradeLinnit consortium to invest the same sum in the theatres.

"My commitment to composing, producing and theatre ownership remains as strong as ever," said the composer, whose hit shows include Evita, Cats and Jesus Christ Superstar.

The Really Useful Group (RUG) previously sold its four West End playhouses - the Lyric, Garrick, Apollo and Duchess - to Nimax Theatres in 2005.

Last year, Lord Lloyd-Webber revealed he had been receiving treatment for prostate cancer. He was subsequently re-admitted to hospital after developing an infection.

"Following Andrew's illness last year, both Andrew and his family felt that de-gearing RUG would make it easier for him to concentrate on composing," said the group's chairman Mark Wordsworth.

Theatrical agent Michael Linnit is part of the consortium that, according to Lord Lloyd-Webber, made "an unsolicited approach" to RUG.

The composer said it was "particularly difficult" to part with the New London, which hosted the West End production of Cats for 21 years.

Michael Grade's father Leslie was a theatrical agent, while his uncles - Lew Grade and Bernard Delfont - were both theatre impresarios.

Wordsworth said proceeds from the sale - expected to be finalised in January - would be used to "invest in and develop the Palladium and the Theatre Royal Drury Lane, as well as reducing the Group's debt."

Lord Lloyd Webber is currently working on a new adaptation of The Wizard of Oz, starring Michael Crawford as the Wizard.

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Charlotte Church

Church 'doing everything differently'

Singer Charlotte Church has said she was doing everything differently in her new relationship with musician Johnny Powell.

Appearing on the first 'The Graham Norton Show' in Jonathan Ross's old Friday night slot on BBC1, to be broadcast tonight, Church said her split from fiance Gavin Henson earlier this year had made her grow up a lot

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Graham Norton

BBC can trust me says Graham

Graham Norton has assured the BBC he can be trusted not to ignite any scandals after stepping into Jonathan Ross's shoes on radio and TV.

Norton took over from Ross on BBC Radio 2 three weeks ago and will start his new BBC One chat show - in the slot previously filled by Ross - on Friday.

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Andrew Lloyd Webber

Crawford and Lloyd Webber team up

Singer Michael Crawford is to team up with Andrew Lloyd Webber once again after signing up for the composer's latest production, The Wizard Of Oz.

The pair first worked together in 1986, when Crawford originated the title role in Lord Lloyd-Webber's The Phantom of the Opera.

The star, who has been lined up to play the wizard, said he "didn't hesitate at all" when approached about the role.

He will star alongside Danielle Hope, who won the BBC show Over The Rainbow.

The production marks a new collaboration between Lord Lloyd-Webber and lyricist Tim Rice.

It is the first time they have collaborated on a stage production since Cricket - a short musical staged for Queen Elizabeth II's 60th birthday in 1986.

Their previous productions included Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Jesus Christ Superstar and Evita.

"I didn't hesitate at all when Andrew asked me to take on the role of the Wizard," said Crawford.

"Working with him and Tim on a brand new production of this timeless classic is so thrilling and I am already looking forward to starting rehearsals later in the year."

Lord Lloyd-Webber insisted the stage show would be very different to the classic 1939 movie, which starred Judy Garland as Dorothy.

"We will be going a lot further than simply presenting the movie on stage," he said,

"I am really looking forward to bringing The Wizard of Oz to life. I am delighted that Michael Crawford, a legend of musical theatre, will take on the role of the Wizard and can't wait to work with him once more".

Crawford, who has has extensive experience in the West End and on Broadway, has won several Olivier and Tony awards.

He is perhaps best known, however, as hapless and ineffectual Frank Spencer in the British comedy Some Mothers Do 'Ave 'Em.

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Graham Norton

Graham Norton Show returns to BBC One

BBC One Controller, Jay Hunt, confirmed today that The Graham Norton Show will move to a new prime time Friday night slot from October 22.

Speaking at the Media Guardian Edinburgh International Television Festival, Jay said: "Graham's show has gone from strength to strength since moving to BBC One and I'm sure the audience will love his unique blend of comedy and entertainment on a Friday night."

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