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Friday, November 5, 1999 Published at 13:17 GMT


Hollywood hit by Pokemon fever

Pokemon: The First Movie is set for a monster invasion

Pokemon fever will hit Hollywood Boulevard this weekend when it is closed down for the premiere of the much-hyped Pokemon: The First Movie.

The animated film, based on the Japanese video game meaning "pocket monsters", is causing a stir prior to its US opening on 10 November.

Warner Brothers' switchboard took 70,000 calls a minute after an offer of free tickets for the premiere.

"Every week this has built to a new level of frenzy," said a Warner Bros spokesman.

Italian court rules in Jackson's favour

An Italian court has upheld a previous ruling that pop icon Michael Jackson did not plagiarise an Italian song.

In a case that has dragged on for seven years, Italian writer Albano Carrissi claimed that Jackson stole his song I Cigni di Balaka and turned it into his 1991 hit, Will You Be There.

Carrissi first sued Jackson and his recording company, Sony Music, in 1992.

After the ruling, Jackson's lawyer, Eve Wagner said: "We are delighted that Michael has once again been vindicated".

Strummer hits out at life in Britain

Punk icon Joe Strummer has made damning remarks about Britain, prior to a concert appearance in LA.

The former Clash star said of his home: "The people in charge are blind as bats. Living in this country is like living in biscuit tin with a bunch of lunatics. And it does drive you crazy."

In an interview with the Los Angeles Times, Strummer discounted rumours of a Clash reunion in the near future: "I never say never about nothing but I'm not going to reform for money."

New Scottish film about Robert Burns

Plans for a £20m film about the racy life of Scottish bard Robert Burns have been announced.

Scottish film-makers want either Ewan McGregor or Johnny Depp to play the man himself and are reportedly talking to Emma Thompson and Robert Carlyle about taking roles in the biopic.

Central to the movie - provisionally titled Clarinda - will be Burns' most famous unrequited love for the society poetess Agness McLehose.

Bono film to open Berlin festival

The Million Dollar Hotel - a film based on a story idea by U2 singer Bono - is to open the 50th Berlin Film Festival, which runs from 9 to 20 February.

Written by Nicholas Klein and directed by Wim Wenders, Hotel stars Mel Gibson, Milla Jovovich and Jeremy Davis.

It also features music composed by Bono and performed by U2.

The film is about a federal agent, played by Gibson, who investigates the death of a billionaire at a seedy hotel in LA.

Mad Cow star takes time out to write

Joanna Lumley has said she is to take time out to write a new television drama with novelist Angela Lambert.

The actress, currently wooing cinema audiences with Mad Cows, was speaking at the launch of her new six-part comedy Dr Willoughby in which she plays a self-obsessed soap opera star.

Lumley, who used to write diary pieces for a newspaper, admits she finds writing a "slog" and says she doesn't know how long it will take them to produce a finished script.

Richard Gere named sexiest man

Hollywood actor Richard Gere has been named the "sexiest man alive" by US magazine People.

The 50-year-old Zen Buddhist, currently starring alongside Julia Roberts in the hit film Runaway Bride, will feature on the cover of the magazine to mark the title.

It is the second time Gere has been featured. In 1993 he and then-wife Cindy Crawford were named the sexiest couple alive.

Actor Mel Gibson was the first to be awarded the sexiest man title in 1985. Since then the title has gone to Brad Pitt, George Clooney, Sean Connery and last year's winner Harrison Ford.

Presenters named for The Tube's revival

BBC Radio 1 DJ Chris Moyles and MTV star Donna Air have been named as hosts for the revival of the ground-breaking television music programme The Tube.

The pair will present the one-off Sky One show on Saturday 20 November, with edited highlights screened on Channel 4 between Christmas and New Year.

Titled The Apocalypse Tube, it will be broadcast from Newcastle-upon-Tyne, where the original show was recorded, and is set to include Robbie Williams, Travis, Paul Weller and Underworld.

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