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Entertainment: News In Brief

Friday, May 14, 1999 Published at 10:34 GMT 11:34 UK

Star Wars and Notting Hill to do battle

Notting Hill will battle it out with Star Wars in American cinemas in a bid to break box office records for a British film, its producers say.

Speaking in Cannes, Universal Pictures president Stewart Till said Notting Hill could overhaul Four Weddings And A Funeral's £150m global gross.

He was sure it would hold its own when released a week after the Star Wars prequel in the US.

He said: "The choice will be Star Wars or Notting Hill, and plenty will opt for Notting Hill."

Five-step recipe for chart success

Giving your band a mis-spelt, nine-letter Name, preferably starting with the letter B, and having a female singer are the top tips for chart success, a new book suggests.

The editors of the latest edition of Guinness British Singles have studied chart hits dating back to 1952 to try identify key factors for success.

Mis-spelling your band's name is one of the key factors, and has certainly seen 5ive, B*Witched, N-Tyce and Boyz II Men on their way up the charts.

A spokesman said: "Following our five- step recipe for stardom, the perfect band name would be B@bz-2000 and their first single would be Boy Time."

007 fans to bid for Bond collection

James Bond buffs are expected to bid up to £10,000 for a complete set of books featuring 007 at an auction next month.

The batch of first editions of Ian Fleming's Bond novels will be sold at Bloomsbury Book Auctions on June 10.

A single copy of Live And Let Die dating from 1954 went for a record £3,910 at the auction house in March.

The last time a full set of books about the secret agent came up for sale in 1994, the bidding reached £3,800.

Geri looking at battle for No 1

Ex-Spice Girl Geri Halliwell looks set to lose the battle for number one as her debut single trails about 9,000 sales behind Boyzone's new release.

Geri was hoping for a chart-topper with Look At Me after a lengthy promotional campaign and massive TV exposure, but unofficial midweek figures have put her at number two.

The race is not over yet. Halliwell's record company EMI is thought to be stepping up its promotion of the song towards the weekend.

Cockney singer Chas treated in hospital

Singer Chas Hodges of Cockney duo Chas and Dave is being treated in hospital for suspected exhaustion, according to his agent.

The pianist was taken to the Queen Elizabeth II Hospital in Welwyn Garden City earlier this week, and has been undergoing medical tests.

Agent Bob England said the 54-year-old is "fine". He added: He is not very ill and it is mere exhaustion."

Chas and Dave have just completed a tour of Scotland.

Lopez jets in to launch new pop career

Hollywood star Jennifer Lopez has jetted into Britain in a bid to launch a brand new career in the charts.

The Out Of Sight actress, who was voted the world's sexiest woman this week by FHM magazine, is visiting four countries in four days to promote her first single If You Had My Love.

The 28-year-old, who started singing when she was five, said she decided to launch her pop career after appearing in the movie, Selena, as a Mexican singer.

The single is out on 21 June.

Meeting Robbie is all on the cards

Cheeky singer Robbie Williams has started handing out special cards to fans, to prove they have met him.

The 25-year-old singer was dishing out the jokey cards when he played in Philadelphia on his US tour.

They read: "Born to be mild. This is to certify that you have met Robbie Williams."

Williams, whose album The Ego Has Landed has just been released in the US, also played a tribute to Oasis, after he spotted a member of the crowd waving an Oasis banner.

Romantic drama for Connolly and Stone

Billy Connolly and Sharon Stone are to star together in a new romantic drama, according to reports in the US.

The glamorous American Stone is close to signing up for Beautiful Joe, says industry journal Variety.

Connolly would star as a luckless man who meets up with a woman who has a taste for fast horses and fast living.

The paper also says there are plans for a sequel to Stone's most famous film to date, Basic Instinct.

First colour film of the Avengers found

The first colour footage of cult 60s series The Avengers has been found at the National Museum of Photography, Film and Television in Bradford.

The five-minute special, originally meant to promote the series in America, was discovered by curator Ian Potter as he ploughed through 18,000 TV adverts.

Made in 1966, before colour TV came to Britain, the mini-episode features Patrick MacNee (Steed) and Diana Rigg (Emma Peel) searching for a murder victim's body, says The Times.

Zeta Jones to star in "victim" thriller

Mask of Zorro star Catherine Zeta Jones is to take the female lead in The Tenth Victim, a romantic sci-fi thriller.

Directed by Once Were Warriors maker Lee Tamahri, the project is a remake of the 1965 Italian movie La Decima Vittima, which starred Ursula Andress.

Both films, based on Robert Scheckley's short story The Seventh Victim, are about a society where violence is channelled into organised murder hunts.

The male lead has yet to be cast.

Midler helps rescue New York gardens

Hollywood star Bette Midler has stepped in to help save 114 neighbourhood gardens in New York City that were set to be sold off to the highest bidder.

Midler's New York Restoration Project and another organisation have agreed to buy the properties from the city's government for £2.6m.

"We're thrilled. This is a joyous occasion and means that these gardens will stay in perpetuity," New Yorker Midler said after the announcement.

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