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Thursday, January 28, 1999 Published at 12:49 GMT


Beach campaigners go to US law

Protesters argue Maya beach will be ruined for good

Environmental campaigners are taking their battle against the controversial film The Beach, Leonardo DiCaprio, to the US Justice Department.

Activists from 20 groups will present a letter to the US government alleging producers 20th Century Fox made improper payments to film on the Maya beach on the Thai island of Phi Phi, which is a national park.

Already, there have been two unsuccessful challenges in Thailand to stop production of the film. It is claimed alterations to the beach made by producers have ruined the area's eco-system.

Now conservationist Ing Kanjanavanit has said the next move is to appeal directly to the US government under its Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.

The protesters claim there is no provision under Thai law which allows changes to national parks for the purposes of film production, and by offering $111,000 dollars to the local forestry department, Fox secured an "extraordinary permit" to film in the park.

Ing said: "This is a message to Thais that their law is meaningless and people like Fox can come here and do what they want."

Last week DiCaprio himself stepped into the row, saying he would not tolerate any damage done to the beach.

Lisa Marie lawsuit row continues

[ image: Lisa Marie Presley: Sees case as a warning to the press]
Lisa Marie Presley: Sees case as a warning to the press
Michael Jackson's former wife Lisa Marie Presley has dropped a lawsuit against American tabloid the National Enquirer, following an out-of-court settlement.

Ms Presley said she was "satisfied" with the settlement, which followed the Enquirer's claims in 1997 that she was suicidal.

But the magazine's editor, Steve Coz, was outraged by her claim that the case proved would not tolerate untrue stories about her appearing in the press.

He said: "She is lying if she means to suggest that she proved false the 1997 article. If Lisa Marie wanted a public airing of the facts surrounding these matters she would not have dropped her lawsuit."

The terms of the settlement were not disclosed.

Moore 'suing over re-runs'

[ image: Roger Moore: Reportedly unhappy with Persuaders re-runs]
Roger Moore: Reportedly unhappy with Persuaders re-runs
Actor Roger Moore is reportedly suing TV company ITC over the rights to his 1970s TV show The Persuaders.

According to The Independent, Moore claims he signed a deal with ITC in 1970 over the UK rights to The Persuaders as well as his 1960s show The Saint.

Under the arrangement, ITC could rerun all 24 episodes of the series in the UK up to three times, and then it would have to negotiate a new deal. A similar arrangement was made over The Saint, according to Moore.

In 1998 ITC asked Moore if they could re-run The Saint and The Persuaders on Granada Sky Broadcasting. Moore alleges ITC made a deal to show The Saint for £100,000 - but included The Persuaders in the deal without his consent.

A spokesman for ITC's parent company, Polygram, refused to comment.

The ITC library - set up by late impresario Lord Grade's company ATV - was recently sold by Polygram to Carlton Communications.

Oklahoma! comes to the West End

[ image: Maureen Lipman: Moving to the West End]
Maureen Lipman: Moving to the West End
Celebrities including Sir Cliff Richard, Michael Parkinson and Ulrika Jonsson turned up for the start of hit musical Oklahoma!'s West End run on Wednesday night.

The revived show has been nominated for nine Olivier awards and has already won the Evening Standard best musical award at its Royal National Theatre run, and has now transferred to the Lyceum Theatre.

Sir Cameron Mackintosh is producing the six-month Lyceum run of the show, which stars Maureen Lipman, Hugh Jackman and Josefina Gabrielle.

The production adds new choreography to the classic Rodgers and Hammerstein musical.

First a CD, now a Papal video

Not content with releasing a CD of chants and music, the Pope is now about to star in his own music video.

Sony Classical and Vatican Radio are planning the video as a spin-off from Abba Pater, which features John Paul II delivering prayers, homilies and chants in five languages, set to music.

Now a video is to be made to of one of the 11 tracks on the album, which is due out in March, ahead of Holy Week.

The video, which features the Pontiff chanting the Pater Noster (Our Father), will be available on the Vatican's Web site, as well as Sony Classical's site.

Firth on the buses, but off the rails

Actor Colin Firth will star as a madman in a contemporary version of Don Quixote for a new British film.

The Pride and Prejudice star - who also appears in Shakespeare In Love - will take the title role in Donovan Quick, which will be made for television later this year.

Director David Blair said the film is superficially about "a Don Quixote character", but is set against the unlikely background of transport privatisation.

Firth's character is in charge of axing bus services - but he gives the profits away to the needy, mirroring the hero of Cervantes' book.

"He's been sectioned in a mental hospital and what unfolds is that he is tortured by what he appears to have been doing in the past.

"He's arrested at the end and put back in a mental hospital," said Blair, who has also directed The Lakes and Takin' Over The Asylum for the BBC.

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