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Entertainment: News In Brief

Thursday, September 23, 1999 Published at 12:39 GMT 13:39 UK

Spielberg vies for Potter film

Hollywood supremo Steven Spielberg is among a list of directors vying for the chance to bring children's hero Harry Potter to the silver screen.

The film rights to the series of books about a young boy learning to become a wizard were acquired by British producer David Heyman two years ago for a seven figure sum.

A deal with US giant Warner Bros means that top directors such as Oscar-winner Jonathan Demme and Home Alone director Chris Columbus are in the frame to bring the popular stories to cinema audiences.

The first three Harry Potter books have enjoyed enormous success, selling nearly two million copies in Britain and more than five million in the US.

Scottish author Joanne K. Rowling currently sits atop the New York Times' bestseller list with all three titles.

Spice Girls in fashion week appearance

The Spice Girls have been out in force at London Fashion Week supporting Mel G as she took a turn on the catwalk.

Scary Spice confidently stepped out at Camden's Roundhouse modelling the latest creations of her friend, designer Julien MacDonald.

The outgoing star looked like a seasoned professional as she was cheered on from the sidelines by fellow Spice Girls Mel C, Emma Bunton and Victoria Adams.

For pictures and more on London Fashion Week click here.

Opera House soars towards appeal target

Royal Opera House chiefs have announced that they are just £5m short of the £100m appeal target for the overhaul of the Covent Garden venue.

The ROH, which re-opens in three months after a two-year closure for major reconstruction, launched its development appeal in December 1996.

Chairman Sir Colin Southgate said there had been a "magnificent response" to the appeal, with 10 donors giving more than £1m each.

Neighbours single says it with flowers

Australian soap Neighbours is launching a spin-off single to mark the screen wedding this week of British star Nicola Charles.

The actress, who plays Sarah Beaumont, will marry Dr Peter Hannay, played by Nick Carrafa, on Friday after a whirlwind romance.

On the same day viewers will be able to buy copies of the specially-written single Flowers by Janine Mulder from the Neighbours Website.

Gazza's mate hopes to dance into charts

Footballer Paul Gascoigne's best friend Jimmy "Five Bellies" Gardner is attempting to embark on a music career.

He has recorded a cover of the Men Without Hats hit Safety Dance and is said to be looking for a record deal.

Last month the 34-year-old father-of- two was freed from Durham jail pending appeal against a six-month prison sentence for possessing an airgun.

Gazza enjoyed chart success with Fog On The Tyne Revisited back in 1990.

Roy Walker axed in Catchphrase revamp

Popular Irishman Roy Walker has been replaced as host of ITV's long-running gameshow Catchphrase.

His role at the helm will be taken by former cruise ship entertainer Nick Weir when the show returns next year.

Walker hosted the programme since its debut in 1986 but ITV bosses reportedly want a fresh look to take Catchphrase into the Millennium.

A new set also forms part of the revamp of the popular tea-time quiz.

Comic Syd takes up painting job

Pint-sized comedian Syd Little, who once commanded television audiences of 10 million with partner Eddie Large, is reported to have taken a job painting his son's public school.

The 56-year-old comedian took the work after a summer season that the duo should have played in Jersey was cancelled.

Syd, who worked as a painter and decorator before becoming a succesful comic, told the Daily Star: "I shouldn't be doing it. I'm an entertainer.

"But there's nothing else at the moment. Eddie and I don't want to work as hard as we used to. But when you are off the telly they think you're dead and the work dries up."

Little and Large will be appearing in pantomime in Liverpool at the end of the year.

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