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Summary

  1. News and updates for 18 December 2015
  2. Coldplay and Justin Bieber to play at 2016 Brit Awards
  3. Strictly Come Dancing stars warm up for final
  4. Norwegian DJ and producer Kygo breaks Spotify record
  5. First reviews for David Bowie's new album

Live Reporting

By Ian Youngs and Genevieve Hassan

All times stated are UK

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  1. That's all folks for 2015

    That's everything from us - not only for this week, but for 2015.

    We'll be taking a break over the festive period and will return on Monday 4 January.

    Until then, have yourselves a merry little Christmas and we'll leave you with a timely Carpool Karaoke from James Corden and friends.

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  2. Helen George to star in erotic thriller

    Helen George

    Call the Midwife and Strictly Come Dancing star Helen George is to star as a sexually-charged aristocrat in a UK tour of the erotic thriller After Miss Julie. 

    The adaptation of August Strindberg's 1888 work Miss Julie sets the story in 1940s England and sees George play the daughter of a peer who flirts with danger after getting involved with her father's chauffeur.

    The play will open at Theatre Royal Bath on 24 May, followed by a tour taking in Guildford, Cambridge, Brighton, Milton Keynes and London's Richmond Theatre ahead of a West End run.

  3. Visiting the cultural 'jungle' in Calais

    BBC News arts editor Will Gompertz has been seeing what cultural life is like in the migrant "jungle" in Calais in France.

    Keep an eye out for his news report soon.

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  4. New teaser for James Franco Stephen King series

    Hulu has released a new teaser trailer for its series 11.22.63, based on Stephen King's 2011 novel and starring James Franco.

    The eight-part series sees Franco star as an English teacher who travels back in time to try to prevent the assassination of President John F Kennedy, but ends up falling in love with the past.

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    Like the song in the trailer? You'll be hard-pressed to find a copy to stream or buy anywhere as Hulu explained:

    Quote Message: Looking for the song? You won’t find it here. The track is Over and Over by Bobby Vinton. It’s a B-side from 1962 so rare it’s never been digitised or even issued on CD or cassette before. The master recording was unarchived and digitised by Sony records specifically for this trailer.
  5. Liam Gallagher 'wants Oasis to reform'

    Oasis

    Liam Gallagher has told a judge he wants Oasis to reform - but they aren't currently likely to do so.

    The singer (above right) has been involved in a legal battle with ex-wife and former All Saints star Nicole Appleton over how their money and property should be split.

    As part of the process, judge Martin O'Dwyer said: "[Gallagher] says there are no plans to reform and, although he would like to do so, he does not anticipate there is a possibility currently of any such reform."

    Gallagher's subsequent band, Beady Eye, split in 2014. "Although he expressly would like to re-enter the music business, currently he says there is no prospect of that," judge O'Dwyer said.

    The judge has told the couple to split their £11m assets in half and revealed the pair had spent £800,000 on legal bills.

  6. Florence and the Machine record Eagles of Death Metal cover

    Florence and the Machine

    Florence and the Machine, Kings of Leon and Imagine Dragons are among the stars who have recorded cover versions of an Eagles of Death Metal song for charity following last month's Paris attacks.

    Eagles of Death Metal, who were playing at the Bataclan concert venue when 90 people were killed, asked fellow musicians to record their track I Love You All The Time.

    Eagles of Death Metal will donate the royalties to their charity The Sweet Stuff Foundation, which is helping victims' families, and have asked the participating artists to do likewise. The acts on board so far are:

    • Florence + The Machine (featuring The Maccabees)
    • Dean Ween Group
    • Sinner Sinners
    • Savages
    • R00ms
    • The New Pacific
    • My Morning Jacket
    • Mini Mansions
    • Kings Of Leon
    • Alain Johannes
    • Jimmy Eat World
    • Imagine Dragons
    • Ed Harcourt

    You can listen and buy the songs on iTunes, Prime Music and Spotify. For more information go to PlayItForwardEODM.com.

    The band's Joshua Homme said:

    Quote Message: I made a plea to artists and business people alike to come together to use our solidarity as proof that we are stronger together, and that we can make a difference. We are proud to be a little part of such a big group of talent and goodwill. We can’t thank these artists enough for their donations of talent, love, time, and compassion.
    Quote Message: Now, the Play It Forward Campaign is in the hands of the fans to help us make a difference, and to help those affected by this tragedy. Please listen, purchase, play, and enjoy – and know that every time you do, you’re doing the sweet stuff that makes that difference.
  7. Dangerous wax gets on West's wick

    Neil Smith

    Entertainment reporter

    Dominic West in Les Liaisons Dangereuses

    A 30th anniversary revival of Les Liaisons Dangereusesat London's Donmar Warehousehas been warmly welcomed by critics,one of whom said it was "theatre at its most seductive and sinister".

    The Guardiansaid director Josie Rourke's production was "an evening to richly savour", while theDaily Telegraphpraised her "handsome period staging... opulent with candle-chandeliers".

    The aforementioned candles certainly lend the play - about 18th Century French aristocrats who indulge in seduction and intrigue for their own private amusement - an atmosphere of flickering, smouldering menace.

    Yet according to actor Dominic West, having elevated candles dripping hot wax on the actors beneath them constitutes something of a stealth hazard.

    "I think I got some in my champagne the other night," the former star of The Wire revealed after Thursday's press night performance. "I took a swig and there was a lump of wax in there."

    Fellow cast member Elaine Cassidy, however, is more tolerant of her tallow co-stars.

    "You get used to it, it looks beautiful and it makes us look 10 years younger, so no one’s going to complain," said the Irish actress, who stepped in to play the married woman whom West's character seduces after Downton Abbey actress Michelle Dockery pulled out of the production in October.

    Read more on this story.

  8. Star Wars shows box office force

    Star Wars fan in costume

    Cinemagoers in the UK and Ireland spent almost £10m on tickets to watch Star Wars: The Force Awakens on its first day of release - a new opening day box office record.

    The £9.64m takings beat the previous best of £9.48m set by Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part Two four years ago.

    Midnight screenings alone accounted for £2.4m of that. Some chains have increased their prices for The Force Awakens (as they did for Spectre) - which will help boost the takings of course.

    Here are some other UK records the film will now be gunning for:

    • Biggest opening weekend (Fri-Sun) - Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part Two, £23.75m
    • Biggest first week - Spectre, £41.3m
    • Biggest total - Skyfall, £102.88m

    Industry website ScreenDaily.com said Star Wars has Skyfall's all-time record "firmly in its sights".

    It could also challenge Avatar's all-time global record of $2.78bn (£1.85bn). 

    Read more on Star Wars' box office predictions.

  9. PJ Harvey continues political theme on new album

    Singer-songwriter PJ Harvey has given the first taste of her ninth studio album, which is out next spring, with a short film.  

    Judging by the clip, Harvey, who is the only person to have won the Mercury Prize twice, is sticking with the themes of 2011's Let England Shake.

    Let England Shake was inspired by the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The trailer for the follow-up features shots of Harvey standing amid ruined buildings as she sings lines: "This is the Ministry of Defence/Stairs and walls are all that's left."

    Some fans had a small glimpse of the follow-up when she turned the recording process into an exhibition at the start of the year, allowing small groups of visitors in to watch and listen for 45 minutes at a time.

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  10. True Romance cast reunite for live script read

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    Juno and Up in the Air director Jason Reitman has been hosting his Live Read event - monthly live staged readings of classic film scripts - since 2011 in Los Angeles.

    Among the films that have been showcased include The Breakfast Club, with Jennifer Garner and James Van Der Beek reading roles; Ghostbusters, with Seth Rogen and Jack Black; and Reservoir Dogs, featuring an all-black cast including Laurence Fishburne and Cuba Gooding Jr.

    With casting usually kept secret until days before the event itself, the readings have been known to bring back the original stars of the films. This month's event was no exception, with Christian Slater and Patricia Arquette reprising their roles in 1993's True Romance.

    Arquette even brought her leopard-print coat out of storage for the night.

  11. Strictly stars give preview of the final

    It's the big final of Strictly Come Dancing tomorrow, which will see either Kellie Bright, Katie Derham, Georgia May Foote or Jay McGuiness raise the glitterball trophy.

    Ahead of the show, a few of the professional dancers and celebrity participants have been posting images online of the rehearsals, which sees the whole gang back together.

    Kirsty Gallacher Instagrammed: "The @bbcstrictly family are back together again & we're all dancing again, eek!! Can't wait for Saturday's final..."

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    Pro dancer Natalie Lowe also shared some snaps.

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    Athlete Iwan Thomas - remember him? He was voted off in week two - posed with boxer Anthony Ogogo while being photobombed by Ola Jordan.

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    Recently voted-off stars Helen George and Anita Rani also took selfies.

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  12. Wu-Tang Clan's one-off album in fraud drama

    Wu Tang Clan

    When hip-hop legends The Wu-Tang Clan finished their latest album, instead of releasing it normally, they decided to make just one copy and sell it to the highest bidder.

    That bidder was pharmaceutical boss Martin Shkreli, who was reported to have paid $2m (£1.3m).

    However, Mr Shkreli has now been arrested on suspicion of fraud.

    That has led to fevered speculation among Wu-Tang Clan fans about the fate of the album, titled Once Upon a Time in Shaolin... - and what might happen to it if it's seized by the authorities.

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  13. James Bond's Star Wars cameo revealed

    Daniel Craig

    It's previously been rumoured that James Bond himself, actor Daniel Craig, donned a Stormtrooper's helmet for a cameo role in the new Star Wars film.

    Now Entertainment Weekly and The Daily Mail both seemed to have confirmed the story from people involved in the production.

    They say Craig donned the white helmet while Spectre and Star Wars: The Force Awakens were being filmed at Pinewood Studios at the same time.

    Star Wars: The Force Awakens

    The Mail's Baz Bamigboye says Craig cooked up the plan with Star Wars director JJ Abrams after they met at the studios.

    He quotes an unnamed spokesperson as saying: "They concocted the cameo together. I don't know which scene it is but yes, it does involve Daniel playing a Stormtrooper, because they wear helmets and for the most part they're anonymous."

    EW's Chris Lee reports that Craig played the character who says the line: "I’ll tighten those restraints, scavenger scum."

  14. Who you gonna call? First look at Ghostbusters posters

    Ghostbusters director Paul Feig has tweeted the first character posters for the all-female reboot.

    The film is due in UK cinemas on 15 July. 

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  15. Rita Ora sues Jay-Z's record label over contract

    BBC Newsbeat

    Rita Ora

    Rita Ora is taking legal action to try to leave Jay Z's Roc Nation record label, claiming that the company has an illegal contract with her.

    The 25-year-old was one of the rapper's first signings when she joined the label aged 18, but has only released one album - her debut in 2012.

    Ora is claiming the company's "other" interests - such as streaming service Tidal - have left her forgotten about. She describes herself as being "orphaned"

    Legal documents filed in Los Angeles said:

    Quote Message: When Rita signed, Roc Nation and its senior executives were very involved with her as an artist. As Roc Nation's interests diversified, there were fewer resources available and the company suffered a revolving door of executives. Rita's remaining supporters at the label left or moved on to other activities, to the point where she no longer had a relationship with anyone at the company.

    Read more on this story.

  16. First reviews of David Bowie's new album

    David Bowie

    A few music critics have been given an early listen to David Bowie's new album Blackstar and have delivered their verdicts.

    Quote Message: Blackstar is an album on which words and melody gradually rise from a sonic swamp to sink their hooks in. It is probably as close as free jazz has ever got to pop... How fantastic to have an album as rich and strange as Blackstar that refuses to yield in a few listens.
    Quote Message: 'Saying no but meaning yes, that is all I ever meant, that’s the message that I sent,' he sings [on I Can’t Give Everything Away], sounding rather proud of how unknowable he’s become, at the end of an album that counts as unexpected left turn, executed with enviable aplomb, that only deepens the mystery further.
    Quote Message: While at 41 minutes it’s relatively concise considering the lengthy first impression, it’s a strange but thrilling ride where Bowie’s fallen back in love with the saxophone and continues to be delightfully unconcerned with getting back on radio.

    The album's out on Bowie's 69th birthday, 8 January. He's also just released his new single Lazarus, which also features in the new off-Broadway show of the same name, which Bowie has co-written.

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  17. Scary films really do curdle the blood

    The Daily Telegraph

    Boris Karloff in Frankenstein

    The next time you watch a "blood-curdling" horror movie, watch out - scientists have found they are actually capable of curdling your blood.

    The study showed the 24 volunteers who watched the 2010 horror film Insidious experienced a 12% increase in the blood clotting protein know as Fear Factor VIII - a reading that has been linked with an increased risk of blood clots.

    But we shouldn't have to worry too much - the researchers also found the scary film had no effect on other clot-forming proteins, so watching the genre regularly wouldn't lead to actual clot formation.

    Read the full story.

  18. Kygo breaks Spotify streaming record

    Kygo

    Norwegian DJ and producer Kygo has notched up a billion Spotify streams in record time, the music service has revealed.

    The 24-year-old hitmaker has reached the milestone since releasing his debut single Firestone last December.

    Spotify says its other most popular artists, like Sam Smith and Ariana Grande, have taken two years to reach a billion plays.

    Kygo has released five singles including Firestone, which has had 336 million streams, and Stole The Show, which has had 305 million.

    Firestone is his biggest UK hit to date, reaching number eight in April. If his name means nothing to you - watch the video and add to the song's 152 million YouTube plays below.

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  19. Star Wars fans marry in movie-themed wedding

    If you're a Star Wars superfan, what better way to celebrate the opening of The Force Awakens than by having a Star Wars-themed wedding.

    Australian fans Caroline Ritter and Andrew Porters did just that - getting married in the forecourt of LA's famous Chinese Theater.

    The bride walked down the aisle with Darth Vader to the Imperial Death March, with R2-D2 serving as the ring bearer.

    There were also Star Wars quotes aplenty during the ceremony, a Stormtrooper cake and popcorn confetti.

    Video content

    Video caption: Star Wars fans marry in movie-themed wedding