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The final episode of Extras, the comedy written by and starring Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant, was seen by 5.3 million people, overnight figures show. It won its timeslot, with 3.9 million viewers for ITV1's repeat of film The Queen and a further 2.8 million seeing Mrs Henderson Presents on BBC Two. EastEnders was the evening's most popular show, watched by 10.6 million. Gervais, who played a frustrated sitcom star, appeared beside guest stars such as George Michael and Gordon Ramsay. The producer of Extras, Charlie Hanson, said he was "very pleased" with the ratings for the final edition of the show. It had run for two series before this Christmas special, with previous cameo appearances from David Bowie, Kate Winslet and a naked Les Dennis.
JAMES BOND STAMPS TO BE ISSUED
The centenary of the birth of James Bond creator Ian Fleming is to be marked next month with six extra-long UK stamps, Royal Mail has said. Each stamp has been lengthened to show a number of different Bond novel covers, with firstclass stamps featuring Casino Royale and Dr No. The 54p stamps reveal the covers of Goldfinger and Diamonds Are Forever. And the final 78p pairing, also launched on 8 January, has For Your Eyes Only and From Russia With Love. Other Royal Mail stamp issues for 2008 will include celebrations of the classic Carry On and Hammer horror films, both of which will be available in June. "Royal Mail's special stamps are a national institution, marking famous anniversaries, celebrating the greatest events and showcasing the best of British," said Julietta Edgar from the postal company. Meanwhile the US Postal Service is honouring film actress Bette Davis next year, with a commemorative stamp to mark the 100th anniversary of her birth.
ALLEN SAYS NO TO MATERNITY WEAR
Pop star Lily Allen says she has refused to design a range of maternity wear because it would send the wrong message to her fans. The 22-year-old, who launched her own clothing label in May, announced she was pregnant earlier this month. She told BBC Radio 5 Live she turned down "quite a lot of offers" to come up with outfits for other pregnant women. "My demographic is generally young girls. I don't think a maternity line is particularly suitable," she said. The singer was speaking at the launch of the Harrods sale in London. New album She arrived at the world-famous department store in a green horse-drawn carriage at 0900 GMT to begin the traditional countdown to the opening. Taking to the stage in a black sequinned gown, Allen joked to the crowd: "I did come in earlier for a bit of a preview, so there's not much left." The singer also told the BBC she would release her new album in summer 2008. "It's got to be finished in the next month and a half," she said. "You have to deliver it [to the record company] about four months before it's released."
TIME-TRAVEL FILM KEPT FOR FUTURE
Back to the Future and Close Encounters of the Third Kind are among films which have been selected for preservation by the US Library of Congress. Twenty-five films a year are picked for the National Film Registry, to preserve the cultural heritage of the US. Also joining the archive are jury drama 12 Angry Men, cowboy musical Oklahoma! and Bullitt, famous for its high-speed car chase through San Francisco. Western epic Dances With Wolves, from 1990, is the most recent inclusion. The earliest is Tol'able David, a 1921 coming-of-age film by legendary director Henry King, one of the founders of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. The Library of Congress called it a "powerful drama" that was "tremendously influential on subsequent film-making". Quotable Back to the Future, which starred Michael J Fox as an accidental time-traveller who found himself in the middle of his own parents' courtship, was described as "The Twilight Zone meets Preston Sturges".
Meanwhile Steven Spielberg's sci-fi classic Close Encounters was cited for its "five-tone musical motif", which the Library of Congress said had "become as quotable as any line of movie dialogue". Also making the list were Laurence Olivier's defining portrayal of Heathcliff in the 1939 version of Wuthering Heights, and director John Ford's last great Western, The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance. Among the more obscure titles to be preserved was The House I Live In, a short film featuring Frank Sinatra pleading for religious tolerance. Grease director Randal Kleiser was picked for the archive for his student film Pleege, about a family visiting their dying grandmother in a nursing home. One of Walt Disney's early shorts, Three Little Pigs, was also among those named by Congress librarian James H Billington. 'Vinegar syndrome' This year's selections bring to 475 the number of films being preserved as part of the scheme, which began in 1989. Both recent and early films are eligible for inclusion, and hundreds are nominated by the public each year. The films are chosen because they are "culturally, historically or aesthetically" significant. Mr Billington added that half the movies of produced in the US before 1950 and up to 90% of those made before 1920 had disappeared. More are being lost each year, partly because of "vinegar syndrome", a chemical reaction which attacks the acetates in old film stock. "The National Film Registry seeks not only to honour these films, but to ensure that they are preserved for future generations to enjoy," he said. FILMS ENTERING THE NATIONAL FILM REGISTRY IN 2007 • Back to the Future (1985) • Bullitt (1968) • Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977) • Dance, Girl, Dance (1940) • Dances With Wolves (1990) • Days of Heaven (1978) • Glimpse of the Garden (1957) • Grand Hotel (1932) • The House I Live In (1945) • In a Lonely Place (1950) • The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (1962) • Mighty Like a Moose (1926) • The Naked City (1948) • Now, Voyager (1942) • Oklahoma! (1955) • Our Day (1938) • Peege (1972) • The Sex Life of the Polyp (1928) • The Strong Man (1926) • Three Little Pigs (1933) • Tol'able David (1921) • Tom, Tom the Piper's Son (1969-71) • 12 Angry Men (1957) • The Women (1939) • Wuthering Heights (1939)
HILTON FORTUNE TO GO TO CHARITY
The inheritance of US heiress Paris Hilton looks set to shrink dramatically after her grandfather announced plans to give most of his fortune to charity. Hotel magnate Barron Hilton, 80, will donate 97% of his $2.3bn (£1.2bn; 1.6bn euros) fortune to the Conrad N Hilton Foundation, set up by his father. The funds come from the $20bn sale of Hilton Hotels to The Blackstone Group. Reports have said that Mr Hilton is embarrassed by the behaviour of his granddaughter. Ms Hilton, known for her party lifestyle, spent three weeks in jail earlier this year for violating probation in a drink driving case. Mr Hilton will give $1.2bn immediately to a charitable trust that will eventually benefit the foundation.
The rest of the money will follow after his death. The foundation supports projects that provide clean water in Africa, education for blind children and housing for the mentally ill.
WINEHOUSE MUST GO TO NORWAY COURT
Singer Amy Winehouse must appear in a Norwegian court to appeal against a fine for possession of cannabis. The 24-year-old star spent the night in police cells in Bergen in October, but she was released after she paid 500 euros (£350; $714). Winehouse's father, Mitch, has said a conviction would affect her chances of getting a US visa, harming her career. The singer will challenge the charges in the city on 29 February, according to the AFP news agency. "I can confirm that she must appear in court," said Bergen police spokeswoman Liv Karlsen. "If one appeals [against] a conviction, it's the rule that one has to appear in person, so this is not surprising." 'Tricked' Winehouse, her husband Blake Fielder-Civil and a third person were arrested at a hotel after being found with 7g (0.25oz) of cannabis. She was held overnight and, according to her spokesman, was released without charge after paying the fine. Speaking on ITV's This Morning programme later that month, Mitch Winehouse claimed the drugs did not belong to his daughter. He also said she had been duped into signing a confession, which she believed was a release form. Police in Norway insisted they were sure she knew what she was signing, and that fluent English speakers had helped her. The singer, who wrote a hit song about her refusal to enter rehab, has endured a battle with drugs and alcohol under the scrutiny of the tabloid press. Her 25-year-old husband is currently being held on remand in London on charges of attempting to pervert the course of justice.
OC STAR ACCUSED OF DRINK-DRIVING
Actress Mischa Barton has been arrested on suspicion of drink-driving, police in Los Angeles County have said. The ex-star of The OC was pulled over after police allegedly saw her car straddling two lanes of traffic and failing to signal when making a turn. The 21-year-old was also held on suspicion of possessing cannabis and driving without a licence. Barton spent about seven hours in custody in West Hollywood before bail of $10,000 (£5,005) was paid. "During Ms Barton's detention, it was determined that she was an unlicensed driver and was driving while under the influence of an alcoholic beverage," the official police report said. A court hearing has been scheduled for 28 February. Barton played Marissa Cooper on teen drama The OC from 2003 to 2006, when her character died in a car crash. The London-born actress has also appeared in several movies, including The Sixth Sense, the current St Trinian's film and Sir Richard Attenborough's latest offering, Closing the Ring.
BERLIN DEBUT FOR MADONNA'S MOVIE
Madonna's debut movie as a director will have its world premiere at the Berlin Film Festival in February. Filth and Wisdom, which stars Eugene Hutz, Richard E Grant and Stephen Graham, will be shown out of competition, organisers have said. It is not known whether the 49-year-old singer will go to the German capital to promote the short film. The event, which runs from 7 to 17 February, is the first of the year's main European film festivals. British coming-of-age story Boy A, directed by John Crowley and starring Peter Mulland and Andrew Garfield, will also be screened out of competition.
ALBARN CONDEMNS CELEBRITY CULTURE
Blur and Gorillaz frontman Damon Albarn has called for celebrity culture to be "dismantled" - starting by getting rid of talent shows like The X Factor. The current celebrity culture "sends out all the wrong messages", he said. "It's creating a mindset that suggests you can get something for nothing and that it's easy to acquire status and fame," he told BBC Radio 4. "It should be one of the hardest things to do," said Albarn, who was speaking as guest editor of the Today programme. The programme featured the singer reporting from Mali on the African country's attitude towards waste, where everything of value is recycled, reused and remade. "At some point in the very near future we are going to have to change our value system so dramatically, and what we deem as important and what we throw away," he said. "We need to dismantle very significant parts of our culture and really re-examine them. I suppose you start with the celebrity thing." He added: "There's just so many things I would alter. I think for a start you have to get rid of things like The X Factor immediately." He also said he wanted to "get rid of 99% of the media". Albarn, 39, was one of the UK's best-known pop stars in the mid-1990s with his band Blur. Table tennis More recently, he has been part of virtual pop band Gorillaz, released an album called Mali Music with African musicians and teamed up with The Clash bassist Paul Simonon in The Good, the Bad and the Queen. On Albarn's edition of Today, he also looked at Great Britain's chances of table tennis success at the Beijing Olympics and featured a London-based Syrian rapper travelling to Damascus to interview Iraqi refugee musicians. Former MI5 head Dame Stella Rimington has already been guest editor of an edition of Today during a special week of programmes. Historian Professor Peter Hennessy and Sir Martin Evans - who won the 2007 Nobel Prize in medicine for his work in stem cell research - are due to follow suit.
FOX FILMS 'FOR RENT VIA ITUNES'
Apple and 20th Century Fox studio are to announce a deal that will allow consumers to rent the studio's films through iTunes, media reports say. They will have a limited time to watch films downloaded from the iTunes store, a source told the Financial Times. If the reports are true, this looks like a new assault on the video and movie market, says BBC News technology correspondent Rory Cellan-Jones. Apple shares traded above $200 for the first time on Wednesday. Major event The rumours about Apple's products and software to be unveiled at the company's major event of the year, MacWorld 2008 in San Francisco on 14 January, are swirling around, our correspondent says. Video sales on iTunes have been sluggish and the Apple TV - a set-top box linking the computer to your television - has failed to win a place in millions of living-rooms. Besides, the big players in television and in Hollywood have been wary of doing deals with Apple, after seeing the position of strength that Steve Jobs' company has built up in the music business. So the negotiations with the studios over movie rentals on iTunes have reportedly been tortuous. Now it looks as though Fox, owned by News Corp, has decided Apple is the only game in town when it comes to getting movies onto new platforms, our correspondent says. Legal way Particularly interesting is the idea that Fox would sell DVDs with Apple's Fair Play DRM protection, making it possible to put a movie onto an iPod. Of course, millions of people have already found ways of doing that, but this time, it would be legal.
Apple and Fox will be hoping this will have the same impact on consumers as the arrival of the iTunes music store, which encouraged some of the millions who were swapping songs on the internet illegally to start paying for music online, our correspondent says.
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