SPORT RELIEF 2016: WHO'S ON THE LINE UP? 0 321

The Sport Relief Weekend is kicking off with a stellar line-up of sport and entertainment stars, bringing viewers an unmissable evening of entertainment broadcast live from Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park on Friday 18 March.

Highlights on the night will include some very special one-off sketches all in aid of Sport Relief, including David Walliams bringing back popular Little Britain character Emily Howard for a sketch with comedian Micky Flanagan and Stoke City striker Peter Crouch as you’ve never seen him before!

The Night of TV itself will be presented from the Copper Box Arena by some of the best-loved names in sport and entertainment, including John Bishop, Alesha Dixon, Greg James, Gary Lineker, Davina McCall, David Walliams and Claudia Winkleman.

Other sketch highlights include Jack Whitehall enlisting the help of Gareth Bale in a bid for English football glory at the Euros this summer. Plus a one-off Luther special as Idris Elba stars alongside Lenny Henry and a whole host of sports stars including Rio Ferdinand, Denise Lewis, Louis Smith, Ian Wright and David Haye.

And, returning to the role after nearly 40 years, Michael Crawford will don his beret as the disaster-prone Frank Spencer in an exclusive Some Mothers Do Ave ‘Em sketch with Michele Dotrice and cameos including Sir Bradley Wiggins.

Throughout the night, viewers will be treated to live events from Lee Valley Velopark and Aquatics Centre as Sir Steve Redgrave and Andrew ‘Freddie’ Flintoff captain two teams of celebrities in a return of the Clash of the Titans competition hosted by Dan Walker and Ore Oduba.

Audiences at both arenas will be treated to a thrilling contest across five events, including rhythmic gymnastics, elimination cycling, synchronised swimming, and, for the first time, wrestling and triathlon. It is set to be must-see TV as Paddy McGuiness and Harry Judd go head-to-head in a wrestling spectacular, Russell Kane and Will Young don nose pegs for synchronised swimming routines, and Freddie Flintoff and Darren Gough have their twirling batons at the ready as they take to the floor for rhythmic gymnastics.

During the evening, Jo Brand and Greg James will re-live their outstanding fundraising challenges, while Eddie Izzard nears the climax of his epic 27-day Marathon Man endeavour in South Africa. Not forgetting the six brave celebrities, Alex Jones, Hal Cruttenden, Ore Oduba, Angellica Bell, Doon Mackichan and Suzi Perry that sailed around the UK in five days battling fearsome winds, freezing temperatures and rough seas, in a feat of pure physical, mental and emotional endurance. There’s also live music from Birdy, and the official Sport Relief 2016 single performed by James Bay, and we find out exactly where the money raised by Sport Relief goes.

Powerful reminders of the serious side of Sport Relief will be shown throughout the night with moving appeal films presented by the likes of Danny Dyer, Marvin, and Rochelle Humes and Olivia Coleman, showing how the money raised could help change lives both here in the UK and around the world.

Sport Relief Night of TV: Friday 18 March, 7pm, BBC One.

To buy tickets to be part of Clash of the Titans audience go to: seetickets.com/go/sportrelief

The Sport Relief Weekend takes place from Friday 18 to Sunday 20 March and sees the return of the Sport Relief Games. This year, the public can walk, run, swim or cycle their way to raising life-changing cash. Find out more at sportrelief.com.

Money raised this Sport Relief will make a massive difference to people living incredibly tough lives, here at home in the UK and across the world’s poorest communities.

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DRAG RACE UK: GAME OF THRONES’ MAISIE WILLIAMS ANNOUNCED AS GUEST JUDGE 0 66

From slaying the Night King to just slaying full stop, Maisie Williams is the first celebrity guest judge to be confirmed for RuPaul’s Drag Race UK, due on BBC Three later this year.

Bristol-born Maisie plays Arya Stark in Game Of Thrones, a role she has played since the age of 13. Now, at the age of 22, she is a global name, a fashionista, and a huge fan of RuPaul’s Drag Race.

As the cult fantasy drama Game Of Thrones draws to an end today, fans of Maisie Williams can rest assured that Arya Stark of Winterfell will continue to serve fierce in her next role as one of RuPaul’s extra special judges in the search for the first Drag Race UK superstar.

When asked to be one of RuPaul’s extra special judges, she jumped at the chance. Talking about her love of drag, Maisie says: “What I love the most about drag is the story of the drag queen behind the facade. I think that so much of drag comes from a place of real pain and seeing how that transforms into a character is so interesting to me. I love that about art and about drag.”

RuPaul’s Drag Race UK is the first UK adaption of the Emmy-winning franchise and global hit and will showcase the most fabulous drag queens that the UK has to offer.

Maisie will feature as a celebrity judge for one episode where she will appear alongside RuPaul and Michelle Visage. Graham Norton and Alan Carr will appear as rotating resident judges across the eight-part series, as previously announced.

LINDSAY ELL TALKS TOURING, NEW MUSIC & SONGWRITING INSPIRATION 0 87

Having earned herself a considerable following as a result of her number 1 album The Project connecting with fans on both sides of the Atlantic, and following a brief visit to the UK earlier this month as tour support for country superstar Chris Young, it’s fair to say things are looking fairly rosy for Lindsay Ell, but that’s not to say she’s resting on her laurels. Instead, currently working on her next LP, Lindsay is looking forward to a bright and ambitious future, and she spoke to ThisIsTheLatest to chat musical influences, future performance plans and where she most finds inspiration for her songs.

TITL: Given that you were discovered at the age of 13, is it safe to say that music has been always been your passion or have there been times when you’ve felt even slightly swayed to follow a different path? 

Lindsay Ell: Music has always been such a passion of mine ever since I was a little girl. I started playing shows at such a young age, that by the time I was 10, I fell in love with performing in front of an audience. I knew that my heart felt at home playing on stage, and nothing came close to giving me that same feeling!

TITL: Which bands and artists are you most influenced by and how do they impact the music you make? 

LE: I listen to so many different kinds of music. When I was growing up I listened to everything in between Shania Twain and Garth Brooks to Tommy Emmanuel. Of course, I will always be inspired by John Mayer, and Keith Urban. Currently I’m listening to a lot of Lany, Lauv and Janelle Monae. 

TITL: Tell me a little about your recent collaboration with Brantley Gilbert “What Happens In A Small Town”. How did the two of you come together to work on the track? 

LE: I was so grateful that when Brantley and his record label head, Scott Borchetta, sat down to brainstorm who they wanted to be a part of this duet, they thought of me. I am honored to be a part of this song, and feel that although Brantley and I aren’t the first two names you’d think of to put together in a duet, that is what makes it so special. My favorite collaborations are ones of two artists you wouldn’t immediately think of performing something together. That is what makes it unique. That is what makes it special. 

TITL: In terms of your lyrics and general song-writing from who or from where do you find most of your inspiration?

LE: Carole King, Lori McKenna and Brandi Carlile are some of my favorite songwriters but I personally get inspired by so many different things. Through traveling a lot, all over the world, I find myself constantly being inspired by different cultures and people watching.

TITL: You’re currently working on a new album, the follow up to your US number 1 LP The Project. Is there anything you can tell me about it or are you keeping things hush hush for now? 

LE: I’ve been writing a lot towards the next record. A lot has happened in my personal life and my career in the past two years, so I think fans are going to be able to see that on this next album. Song-writing in a lot of ways becomes my therapy. 

As someone who has performed on both sides of the Atlantic, have you noticed any similarities or differences between audiences here and back home? 

Getting to play music for fans across the world is so incredible. Fans definitely differ a little bit from country to country.  The think that I have always loved about UK audiences is fans want to listen to the song-writing and the music. As a guitar player, and someone who loops sometimes in live sets, it is amazing to play for an audience that appreciates musicality to that degree.

TITL: For anyone who hasn’t seen you before, what can they expect from a performance of yours?

LE: Hopefully anyone coming to watch our show can walk away with feeling like they got to see some real music. I try to put on a dynamic set, with lots of epic guitar solo moments, and intimate acoustic songs. I like to take the audience through a journey while I’m up there. If I can make them laugh, cry, and want to dance in the same set I’ve done my job. 

TITL: If you could put together your dream show with four bands or artists, living or dead, who would you choose and where would you play? 

LE: That’s always a hard question…. I would have to say Jimi Hendrix, John Mayer, Ray Charles, and Stevie Wonder. If you’d ask me that question again I probably would have a different answer every time, because it’s so hard for me to narrow down my list of artists I look up to. But we’ll start there.

TITL: Finally then, what does the rest of the year have in store for you? 

LE: We will be touring a lot over the next year. We’re just at the start of music festival season…and Brantley Gilbert and I will be touring together later this fall. Having just finished up a tour here in the UK, I’m already planning on the next time I can get to come back again. I’m hoping on a few shows this fall, and then coming back early in the new year!

Check out “What Happens In A Small Town” below and for more information on Lindsay Ell, visit her website, give her page a like on Facebook or follow her on Twitter.