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Friday, September 24, 1999 Published at 11:55 GMT 12:55 UK


TV outing for restored Caligula

Notorious movie epic Caligula is to have its first terrestrial TV screening in the UK, with Channel 4 restoring the film to it original, less racy form.

The 1979 movie - about the infamous Roman emperor - has gained a saucy reputation thanks to the gratuitous sex scenes filmed by its producer, Penthouse boss Bob Guccione.

These 'orgy' sequences were added much to the annoyance of director Tinto Brass, script writer Gore Vidal and actors Sir John Gielgud, Helen Mirren and Malcolm McDowell.

The version to be screened on 31 October is closer to the film Brass had originally intended.

"We haven't removed all the naughty bits, but they are now put in context," said a Channel 4 spokesman.

Stars call for hunting ban

A host of stars have backed a campaign to ban hunting with dogs and replace it with a humane alternative.

Coronation Street actress Tracy Shaw and Noel Gallagher's wife Meg Mathews were amongst the celebrities gathered for the International Fund for Animal Welfare's promotion of draghunting.

In draghunting, an artificial scent is laid for the hunt.

"It isn't as if we are saying 'Stop hunting'," said Shaw. "All we are asking is for them to stop the cruelty."

Kilmer takes time to go walkabout

Hollywood heart-throb Val Kilmer has taken time out of shooting his latest film to learn about Aboriginal culture.

The former Batman star is filming a sci-fi movie near the remote outback town of Coober Pedy, South Australia.

Kilmer earned the respect of the local Aboriginal elders who taught him many of the traditional "Dreamtime" stories.

A member of the tribe commented: "It's like something sent Val Kilmer to the desert. It's the land speaking up."

Parton and Boy George make a right pair

Boy George is to team up with country star Dolly Parton for a duet on this weekend's National Lottery show.

Parton's performance, her only one in the UK in a whistle-stop trip, will see her join George and Culture Club to sing their hit Your Kisses Are Charity.

Both acts will also to play in their own right during BBC One's The National Lottery Stars on Saturday. Parton will perform a revamped version of her biggest hit Jolene.

Gym fixes it for Kevin Spacey

The biggest challenge for Kevin Spacey in his latest film, American Beauty, was the physical transformation of his character from overweight to superfit.

The Oscar-winning actor plays Lester Burnham in the critically-acclaimed American Beauty, the movie debut of British theatre director Sam Mendes.

He had a gym installed on set and says the exercise regime transformed his energy levels: "They had to hit me over the head with a hammer to make me fall asleep at night," he told reporters.

Comedian Martin takes novel break

Comedy star Steve Martin is taking a break from acting to concentrate on writing a novel about the relationship between a young woman and an older man.

Martin, older than ex-wife Victoria Tennant and ex-girlfriend Anne Heche, says it is "not autobiographical".

The actor who previously took a three-year acting break in the early 90s has already written four plays, a book, and eight screenplays, including his current big screen hit, Bowfinger.

Travolta to work with wife

Actress Kelly Preston is finally to act opposite her husband John Travolta with a cameo role in his new sci-fi adventure Battlefield Earth.

The couple were due to have starred together this year in The Shipping News, but the project was postponed due to script and budget problems.

Preston, who is three months pregnant with her second child, co-stars with Kevin Costner in his latest baseball film, For The Love Of The Game.

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