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Wednesday, 27 June, 2001, 12:35 GMT 13:35 UK
Mel B to judge children's book award
Spice Girl Mel B is to sit on the judging panel for the second annual Blue Peter book awards.

She joins panel chairman Ian Hislop, actress Imogen Stubbs, children's author Alan Gibbons and Blue Peter editor Steve Hocking.

Nine viewers will join the panel when a shortlist has been drawn up from 12,000 children who entered a competition to become judges.

Last year author Geraldine McCaughrean beat JK Rowling to the first prize for her retelling of A Pilgrim's Progress.


Actress Corinne Calvet dies

French-born actress Corinne Calvet has died, aged 76.

Calvet died on Saturday in hospital after collapsing the evening before at her home, a friend told the Los Angeles Times newspaper.

The actress appeared in a number of popular films in the 1950s, including What Price Glory? with James Cagney and On the Riviera with Danny Kaye.

She played opposite Burt Lancaster in her first American film Rope of Sand in 1949.

She is survived by a son.


Big Brother's Penny set for RSC stage

Big Brother star Penny Ellis is to make a special appearance on a Royal Shakespeare Company stage - but she won't be acting.

The English teacher, who was the first contestant to be evicted from the house, will be talking about her experiences on the Channel 4 game show.

"I feel tremendously excited and proud to be appearing with the RSC. The exposure from Big Brother has given me the chance to do things I thought I would never do," said Penny.

The events takes place at The Summerhouse - a new RSC entertainment venue in Stratford-upon-Avon on 22 July.


Blanchett and Pitt eye sci-fi movie

Australian actress Cate Blanchett is negotiating to join Brad Pitt in a sci-fi film, reports Daily Variety.

Blanchett has recently completed films including Charlotte Gray, The Shipping News and the first instalment of the Lord of the Rings trilogy.

Darren Aronofsky, who made Requiem for a Dream with Ellen Burstyn and Jared Leto, will direct the new film.

Blanchett and her husband Andrew Upton recently announced the actress was pregnant with her first child.


Dubai 'offended' by Charlie's Angels

Videos of Charlie's Angels have been seized in Dubai after allegedly offending Islam.

Gulf Today reports that the Islamic affairs department found a belly dancing scene with the Muslim call for prayers in the background unacceptable.

The film, starring Drew Barrymore, Cameron Diaz and Lucy Liu was on the big screen in Dubai earlier this year.

The newspaper reports that it is still available to rent in a supermarket chain frequented by Western expats.


Kittens go Home and Away

Girl group Atomic Kitten have made their acting debut in an episode of Aussie soap Home and Away.

Jenny Frost and Natasha Hamilton play themselves emerging from a white limo as characters Donald and Marilyn are briefly reunited in London.

Third member Liz McClaron was suffering from a throat infection.

The episode will not be seen in the UK until next year as the show has been on a protracted break after a switch to Channel 5.


Boyzone star lands film role

Keith Duffy, the Boyzone star who found new fame after appearing in Celebrity Big Brother, has landed a movie role.

In the film, provisionally titled The Gift, Duffy will play a henchman and driver for a gangland villain.

Co-star Tony Thompson, a chart success himself with Phats and Small, told Smash Hits Magazine, "Keith's an awesome actor, a very talented man".

The film, backed by Steven Spielberg's Dreamworks company, also stars Michael Melia - Eddie Royle in EastEnders.


ER actor signs four-year deal

Croatian actor Goran Visnjic, who replaced George Clooney as the resident heartthrob on ER, has signed a four- year deal with the US medical drama.

Visnjic's deal with the show follows a lucrative contract for Noah Wyle, who plays Dr John Carter, and the return of Sherry Springfield to the cast.

Before joining ER, Visnjic appeared in films including Welcome to Sarajevo, the Peacemaker and Practical Magic.

ER executive producer John Wells said Visnjic had "been great for the show".

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