BIG ENTERTAINMEMT NAMES RECIEVE SPOTS ON QUEEN’S HONOUR LIST 2017 145

A host of leading figures from the world of arts and entertainment have been recognised in the Queen’s Birthday Honours.

They include two Connollys, a winner of the Eurovision Song Contest and a veteran Hollywood actress who turns 101 this year.

Billy Connolly, the Scottish comedian and actor known to millions as ‘The Big Yin’, receives a knighthood for services to entertainment and charity.

The 74-year-old told the BBC he was “very pleased” by an honour that was “never on the horizon” when he was growing up in Glasgow in the 1940s and ’50s.

“It’s so odd for someone from that background to get [a knighthood],” said the former welder who began his show-business career as a folk singer.

“It always feels strange to be welcomed into the establishment but I feel completely comfortable with it,” he continued.

Ed Sheeran has even more reason to be cheerful, having been made an MBE for services to music and charity.

The chart-topping singer-songwriter released his third album, Divide, earlier this year and will be the headline act on the last night of the Glastonbury Festival next weekend.

Julie Walters, an actress whose long career in film, television and theatre has shown her to be as adept as comedy as she is with drama, has been made a dame.

Much-loved for her TV collaborations with the late Victoria Wood, she has starred in such films as Educating Rita, Billy Elliot and the Harry Potter series and was recently seen in Channel 4’s National Treasure.

June Whitfield, another actress with a long history of beloved television comedy, has also been made a dame.

The 91-year-old star of Terry and June and Absolutely Fabulous told the BBC the honour had come as “a great surprise”.

“I never in a million years thought I would become a dame,” said the actress, who received an OBE in 1985 and a CBE in 1998.

“I’ve met some of the other dames and it’s absolutely wonderful to join the club.”

Former Beatle Sir Paul McCartney and author JK Rowling have become companions of honour alongside designer Sir Terence Conran and cookery expert Delia Smith.

“I’m very happy about this huge honour and with the news coming on my birthday weekend and Father’s Day it makes it colossal!” said Sir Paul, who turns 75 on Sunday.

“I’m deeply honoured and proud to be nominated for this honour for services to literature and philanthropy and to be included in the distinguished and diversely talented company of the other Companions of Honour,” said Harry Potter creator Rowling.

Olivia de Havilland, the veteran Hollywood actress who played Scarlett O’Hara’s sister-in-law in Gone with the Wind, receives a damehood just a few weeks before she turns 101.

The double Oscar winner, who was born in Tokyo to British parents on 1 July 1916, becomes the oldest woman to become a dame since the modern-day honours system began.

“I am extremely proud that the Queen has appointed me a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire,” said the star of such films as The Heiress, The Snake Pit and The Adventures of Robin Hood.

“To receive this honour as my 101st birthday approaches is the most gratifying of birthday presents.”

He’s a best-selling author, a judge on Britain’s Got Talent and he’s swum both the English Channel and the length of the Thames for Sport Relief.

Now comedian and writer David Walliams has been made an OBE for services to charity and the arts – something he says will be cherished most by his mother Kathleen.

“The news made me happy, but nobody is happier than my mum,” the 45-year-old Little Britain star told the Press Association.

She’s always been a smooth operator. Now sultry singer-songwriter Sade – real name Helen Folasade Adu – has a CBE to add to the OBE she received in 2002.

Emeli Sande, meanwhile, becomes an OBE for services to music. The Scottish singer memorably performed at both the opening and closing ceremonies of the 2012 Olympics.

Author and illustrator Raymond Briggs, creator of The Snowman and and Fungus the Bogeyman, becomes a CBE at the age of 83.

This picture, taken in London’s Hyde Park in 2008, shows him and a friend seated next to a deckchair adorned with perhaps his best-loved character.

Broadcaster Gloria Hunniford becomes an OBE for services to cancer charities through breast screening services and cancer support. The 77-year-old sadly lost her daughter Caron to cancer in 2004.

June Spencer, another broadcasting veteran, becomes a CBE. The 98-year-old actress, who plays Peggy Woolley on The Archers, is the only original cast member who can still be heard on Radio 4’s long-running rural soap.

Spencer said her CBE was “an unexpected and great honour”, while Huw Kennair-Jones, editor of The Archers, said it was “incredibly well deserved”.

Patricia Hodge and Sarah Lancashire both become OBEs for services to drama.

Hodge is known for such shows as Miranda, Rumpole of the Bailey and The Life and Loves of a She-Devil, while former Coronation Street star Lancashire won a Bafta this year for the BBC’s Happy Valley.

Both Tony Hawks and Natasha Kaplinsky are known to millions for their radio and television work. Yet both have been recognised in the Queen’s Birthday Honours for their activities outside the studio.

Hawks becomes an MBE for services to disadvantaged children in Moldova, while Kaplinsky has been made an OBE for services to Holocaust commemoration.

Kaplinsky is a member of the United Kingdom Holocaust Memorial Foundation advisory board and has spent the past 15 months voluntarily interviewing 112 British survivors.

“Obviously this is a huge honour to receive an OBE but it gives me an opportunity to talk about the extraordinary people that I’ve met throughout this project,” said the ITV newsreader and former Strictly Come Dancing winner.

Actress Gugu Mbatha-Raw has been made an MBE, as has writer and director Amma Asante.

The pair worked together on 2013 film Belle, which told the real life story of a mixed-race woman who was brought up as an aristocrat in 18th Century London.

Model Erin O’Connor becomes an MBE for services to fashion and charity, while Sandie Shaw is made an MBE for services to music and charity.

Shaw, now 70, became the United Kingdom’s first winner of the Eurovision Song Contest when she sang Puppet on a String in Vienna in 1967.

Mezzo soprano Sarah Connolly has been made a dame, while the conductor and composer George Benjaminbecomes a sir.

Connolly – who is not related to her namesake Billy – was made a CBE in the 2010 New Year honours, while Benjamin received the same honour six months later.

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CORRIE TO AIR MALE SUICIDE STORYLINE NEXT WEEK 31

Coronation Street is to highlight the important issue of male suicide when Aidan Connor tragically takes his own life.

In episodes to be screened the week of May 7th viewers will hear that Johnny Connor has discovered his son’s body at his Victoria Street flat, after Aidan failed to turn up for work at the factory.

As the news of what Aidan has done spreads, his devastated family and friends try to come to terms with the shock of their loss and begin to question why they hadn’t spotted any signs that he was struggling to cope with life.

Viewers will last see Aidan on screen on Monday 7th May when he goes to see Eva at the cottage where she is living after giving birth to baby Susie, before returning to a family party at the Rovers. His final scene will see him back at his flat alone. No element of the suicide will be shown on screen.

Johnny makes the devastating discovery at the beginning of an hour long episode on May 9th.

Actor Shayne Ward, the writers and production team, have worked closely with charities Samaritans and CALM to ensure the storyline is handled sensitively and realistically.

Shayne Ward said: “I am honoured to have been trusted with a storyline like this, it shows the confidence that Kate and the team had in me to be able to play it. When you get given a storyline like this it is a decision that is not taken lightly, I have played it with as much honesty and truth as I could. I am very proud of what I have done in my three years on the show and on this storyline in particular.

“Aidan is an ‘everyman’ figure, he is someone men can identify with, which is important in telling this story.”

“Talking could have helped Aidan to turn his life around. It could have brought him relief from what he was going through. This is what his loved ones would have wanted. Suicide is a very permanent response to what are usually temporary problems.

“We all know someone who has maybe felt like Aidan did, someone who found it hard to talk and we have all heard stories like Aidan’s when it was too late, when people looked back and wished they had spotted the signs, but it isn’t always possible. If we can encourage someone who is feeling low, who is having the sort of thoughts Aidan was having, to realise they need to talk, then we have achieved what we set out to with this story.”

Aidan’s devastated family and friends try to come to terms with the shock of their loss.

Coronation Street Producer Kate Oates said: “Suicide is the biggest killer of men under 45 in this country. With 84 men taking their lives each week, we quite simply can’t afford to not talk about it.

“Aidan’s story, bravely and brilliantly tackled by Shayne Ward, is designed to give people who hide their feelings of desperation a chance to start a conversation, letting someone know what they’re going through. Through this story, we want to assure anyone who feels suicidal that there is always someone who wants to listen and support you: whether a friend, family member, or one of the brilliant charities we have been working with throughout this story.”

Ruth Sutherland, CEO of Samaritans, said: “We were pleased that Coronation Street invited us to work with them on Aidan’s storyline. Suicide is clearly a very sensitive topic and one that presents some distinct challenges for producers of soaps. This is why Samaritans publishes media guidance and works with programme makers.

“Soaps can play an incredibly powerful role in increasing people’s awareness and understanding of difficult issues. Viewers will see the devastating impact of suicide and the effect that it has on families – it’s never the case that others would be better off without you.

“By illustrating the dangers of staying silent when it feels like life’s challenges are overwhelming, we hope others who are struggling will be encouraged to reach out for support. And, if viewers are worried about someone else, we hope it will inspire them to be brave and open up a conversation.

“You won’t make things worse, but you could start that person on the road to recovery.”

Simon Gunning, CEO of CALM, said: “Coronation Street is doing vital work in highlighting such an important issue with this storyline. Suicide is the single biggest killer of men under 45 in the UK, where three in every four suicides are male. The reasons for this are many and complex, but at CALM we focus on the cultural and societal aspects, including the pressures men face and how societal expectations can limit help seeking when life gets tough.

“Working with Coronation Street has allowed us to engage a huge audience in the devastating effect of suicide, while providing a platform to highlight the help that is available for those in need of support.”

Aidan’s final episodes will air the week beginning Monday 7th May.

BISHAT TALKS NEW MUSIC, SOCIAL MEDIA & HER PLANS FOR WORLD DOMINATION 27

Having written her first song at the age of 13, music has been in Bishat’s blood for many years and now, following the release of her Q417 (Mixtape) EP, she’s ready and raring to share her passion for what she does with the world. She spoke to ThisIsTheLatest about the honesty and emotion behind her lyrics, her thoughts on social media and her plans to tour the world.

TITL: As an artist who comes from the same place as the legends that are ABBA, have you or do you ever feel any pressure to try and replicate their success or are you just happy to see that, over the years, more and more talented bands and artists from your country have graced stages around the world and won over music fans?

Bishat: I think it’s inspiring more than anything else, it just makes me feel like it’s possible to reach a global audience from this little corner of the world. The industry is so small in Sweden so you know a lot of the people making waves and it’s an amazing feeling when you’re in a taxi in New York or in a club in Ethiopia and there’s a global smash playing and you know the people who wrote it.

TITL: You wrote your first song aged just 13, with Jose Gonzalez. How would you say your writing style has changed and evolved since then and what advice would you give to anyone looking at writing their own first piece?

B: As with everything else, you mature and experience life and with that you evolve your way of thinking and how you’re expressing yourself. I’ve also had time to be influenced by a lot of other music and I’ve studied what others did to then land in something that is me. I think my music is much more raw and intuitive and a mash-up of all the genres that I’ve grown up listening to now.

TITL: You’ve so far been compared to the likes of Tove Lo and FKA Twigs, among others. Do you mind such comparisons or would you much rather be labelled an artist in your own right? 

B: Both Tove Lo & FKA Twigs are brilliant artists that I admire and am influenced by so I take that as a huge compliment. But yes, sometimes comparisons can be a bit lazy. People seem to crave the need of labeling and comparing and I get that in a time when there’s so much music it’s good to have some guidance and indication of other artists you might like. I’m really bad at explaining my sound and genre so if other people nail it then that’s all good. Of course I hope and think people see me an artist in my own right  – there’s room for everybody.

TITL: You’ve just released your debut EP Q417 (Mixtape). How was the creative, writing and recording process and is there one track/feature on the collection you’re particularly proud of?

B: This was a little different than I how I’ve worked before. I’ve always had a lot of sessions where we wrote lots of stuff over a long period of time but this was pretty much all done in the last quarter of 2017, hence the title. I was going through a lot of stuff, coming out of a long relationship, not having a place to live, so creating this EP became my mission, not to lose myself completely. I wrote all the songs myself except  “Unholy Romance” which I wrote with XOV, and then involved a few trusted people in the production process to help me finish it so it feels even more personal with the entire core coming from me. I’m most proud of “Give You Up” because it’s the first track I produced all by myself, even though I’m always involved and co-produce all my stuff. I have, as a female, struggled with daring to call myself a producer but now I feel that I truly can and no one can tell me nothing and that feels good. It’s also the rawest song I think I’ve ever written and listening to it reminds me of how broken I was at the time. It’s a bit painful but it also feels like the whole reason I even got into music in the first place. To create things that are raw and vulnerable that hopefully resonate with others going through the same things.

TITL: Now that the EP’s out, have you started thinking about writing again for the follow-up or are you just going to go with the flow and see what the response to this EP is like first?

B: Yes, I have some songs written but I haven’t entirely set the tone for the next EP, or maybe album, just yet. I’m going to London for a while to do some writing – the music scene there is really inspiring at the moment with so much great music coming out, so maybe that will shape the sound. But, I will definitely try to put out more music after summer.

TITL: The EP as a whole is rather dark and addresses a considerably difficult time in your life. Were you ever apprehensive about sharing those times with the world through your music as you have, or is it something you’d like to see more artists do – address real issues in their lives and those of others?

B: I personally love music that I feel is super honest. I mean it doesn’t even have to be real life, but some artists make you feel like it is anyway. Life is messy and hard and incredible and that’s nothing to be ashamed of. I think everyone would be better off if we were more open and honest about the struggles, depression or whatever it is that we go through. There was a point when we were mixing and I was like ​‘wow this feels pretty exposing’, but at that point I wasn’t gonna throw it all away. It was a little scary but I’m proud of my work and proud that I managed to put it together even though I was such a mess.

TITL: You’ve also dropped the video for “Dream About Me.” How did you come up with the concept, and how hands on in terms of the creative process, do you like to get when it comes to making videos and such?

B: Post break up analysis I guess triggered it. I was like I’ve been in these long relationships but in the end I somehow mess them up. They may not have been the right ones for me but still…I started to see patterns in my behavior and in everyone’s really. Most of us repeat the same mistakes over and over and so I had this idea of showing several relationships, which in the end ended up being just two, where you are super intense and all in in the beginning but then grow restless and end up leaving and then repeat it with someone else. The fear of space and change – which ironically is the thing that usually ends up ruining it. I’m very involved in every aspect of my artistry. I do almost everything by myself from artwork to styling and I was very involved in the video so it’s all very much me which is really nice even though it gets crazy stressful at times. The anxiety is real.

TITL: Personally and professionally, are you much of a social media user and how do you feel about the power the likes of Twitter and YouTube can and do have in terms of helping an artist grow their fan-base and keep themselves current?

B: I use social media a lot but not a crazy amount. I understand that it’s important and it’s really cool to have that instant way of connecting with people. To be able to chat to someone who loves my song in Peru in my Insta DMs is amazing. However, the flip side is the fact that there’s such power in numbers – I think we are too fixated with  followers, likes and streams and that it influences what we think of the artist before we’ve​ even heard the music. I wonder if you’d listen to the same stuff or talk about the same artists if you couldn’t see streams on Spotify or didn’t have YouTube views showing.

TITL: Finally then, with the video and EP out now, what’s next for you? What does the rest of the year have in store for you, and have you started looking further ahead as to what the more distant future could and might hold for you?

B: I’m gonna play some shows which I’m really excited about, write lots of music for myself and other artists and slowly work on that world domination stuff. I’m ready for that world tour.

Check out the video for “Dream About Me” below and for more information on Bishat, give her page a like on Facebook or follow her on Twitter. Her Q417 (Mixtape) EP is available now.