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Friday, 1 November, 2002, 16:08 GMT
In brief: Robbie 'sorry' for Take That jibes
Robbie Williams has apologised to his former Take That members for his criticisms of the group since he left in 1995.

Williams said he was "sincerely sorry" for insults including calling the group "selfish, stupid, greedy, arrogant and thick", during a recording to promote his new album Escapology.

Williams left Take That saying he felt like a "prisoner" and had been ostracised by the other four members since the start.

His solo career has since gone from strength to strength and he recently signed an album deal worth tens of millions with EMI while the rest of Take That dropped out of the limelight after they broke up for good.


Michael Gambon honoured by university

Actor Sir Michael Gambon has been presented with an honorary Doctorate of Arts at the University of Greenwich, south east London.

The actor joined 120 graduating students at the Old Naval College to collect his degree, dressed in a traditional gown of blue and gold damask silk and a Tudor-style academic bonnet.

Dr Jane Longmore, head of the School of Humanities, described Sir Michael at the ceremony as "a prodigious talent with enormous energy".

He was chosen for the award in recognition of his distinguished four-decade stage and screen career, including the lead in Dennis Potter's The Singing Detective on TV and the film Gosford Park.


Potter creator holds Halloween bash

Harry Potter author JK Rowling is to hold a fundraising Halloween ball at Stirling Castle, a setting reminiscent of Hogwarts school of witchcraft and wizardry, which features in her books.

The castle will be transformed for a spooky Celtic banquet with fire-eaters, pipers and burning torches for the party in aid of the Multiple Sclerosis Society of Scotland.

Celebrity guests at the event are expected to include Ian Hislop, the Private Eye editor and panellist on the current affairs TV quiz Have I Got News For You.

Rowling is patron of the society and hopes to raise about 100,000 through ticket sales and an after-dinner auction and a raffle.


Jackie Chan to star in cross-cultural thriller

Hong Kong action hero Jackie Chan is to star in a $40m (25.5m) cross-cultural thriller directed by Stanley Tong, who made other Chan movies, including Supercop and Rumble in the Bronx.

Filming on The Titanium Rain will begin in June and Chan will play a guard of the Ming Dynasty who chases a samurai for 400 years.

The movie will be shot in India, China and Hong Kong, with dialogue in English and Chinese.

Tong, who choreographed Chan's stunts said: "I can push him past his limits. What people like about Jackie is that he's a superhuman being."


Cold Feet actress has daughter

Actress Fay Ripley - a star of the hit comedy drama series Cold Feet - has given birth to a girl.

Ripley and her husband, fellow actor Daniel Lapaine, said they were delighted with the arrival of Parker, who was born on Tuesday.

"We are absolutely thrilled and both mother and baby are doing well," Lapaine said.

Ripley, who plays Jenny in the ITV series, recently said she was likely to return to Cold Feet for the last episode of the final series, which is currently being filmed in Manchester.

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