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Tuesday, 30 November, 1999, 16:17 GMT
Digital future for Ealing

A new owner has been lined up for the legendary Ealing Studios - removing the threat of closure from the London complex which gave birth to films like Passport to Pimlico.

It had been feared the site would be redeveloped after the National Film and Television School was forced to sell the site because of a lack of funds.

Now Fragile Films - the company behind Spiceworld and An Ideal Husband, starring Minnie Driver and Rupert Everett - is teaming up with new media outfit The Idea Company and developer Manhattan Loft Commercial.

Fragile co-founder Uri Fruchtmann said he wanted Ealing to become "a next generation digital studio, the first of its kind in Europe that combines film and TV production with new media and internet start-ups".

The name Ealing Studios is synonymous with the likes of Passport to Pimlico, The Lavender Hill Mob and Kind Hearts and Coronets. More recently, parts of Notting Hill were made there.




Jackson wants more children

Pop superstar Michael Jackson has said he wants to have 10 children, just like his father Joe.

"I thought I was prepared because I read everything about child rearing but it's so much more exciting than I ever imagined it would be," said Jackson in US magazine TV Guide.

"The only regret I have is that I wish I had done it earlier," he added.

Jackson also vehemently denied claims that he and wife Debbie Rowe, who have split up, are not the biological parents of their two children.

The singer, who is raising son Prince Michael, aged two, and one-year-old daughter Paris Katherine at his Neverland ranch, said: "That's total garbage... it's trash and it's not true."




Sir Nigel's handprints 'set in bronze'

Acclaimed actor, Sir Nigel Hawthorne has had his handprints set in bronze in London's Leicester Square.

Sir Nigel took part in the Handprints venture - Britain's answer to Hollywood's golden stars - before attending the world premiere of his latest film, The Clandestine Marriage.

In the film, Sir Nigel plays a "dirty old man with an eye for young girls".

He co-stars with Joan Collins, Paul Nicholls and This Life's Natasha Little.




Young UK composer takes top music prize

British composer Thomas Ades has become the youngest winner of the world's largest single prize for music writing, the Grawemeyer Award 2000.

Mercury Music Prize-nominated Ades, 28, took the $200,000 (160,000) title to become only the third British winner in the 15-year history of the award.

He found fame in 1989 when he was runner-up in the BBC's Young Musician Of The Year competition. His most recent work was premiered earlier this month by the New York Philharmonic.




Oasis tickets go on sale on Saturday

Tickets for the first UK shows by Oasis in more than two years will go on sale on Saturday, it has been announced.

The band, who release a fourth studio album Standing On The Shoulder Of Giants in February, will play three stadium concerts next summer at Bolton, Wembley and Murrayfield stadiums.

The announcement of ticket details came within hours of singer Liam Gallagher's reported disappearance from his London home and his subsequent return.




Snoopy cartoonist to be allowed home

Peanuts cartoonist Charles M Schulz, who was diagnosed with colon cancer two weeks ago, could be released from the hospital this week.

Schulz, 77, has been undergoing chemotherapy at Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital in California since the cancer was discovered.

His secretary, Edna Poehner, said he would be "going home midweek sometime". Schulz's cartoon strips, featuring Charlie Brown and Snoopy, appear in 2,600 newspapers worldwide.




Van Damme pleads not guilty to driving charges

Action film star Jean-Claude Van Damme has pleaded not guilty to misdemeanor charges of drunken driving and driving without a licence.

A trial has been scheduled for 20 December. Attorney Trent Copeland entered the plea on behalf of the actor, who did not appear in court.

The 38-year-old Universal Soldier star was arrested on 23 September on Sunset Boulevard after officers saw him driving erratically.




Don McLean in American Pie dispute

Singer Don McLean is being sued by the owner of the American Pie graphics company for forcing the closure of her website.

Desirae Pierce who owns www.americanpie.com claims McLean, who had a 1972 hit with American Pie, is violating her freedom of speech rights.

In July, McLean's attorneys demanded Pierce change the name of her site, which was closed down until the dispute could be settled.

"Don McLean's actions are not only malicious, but he's interfering with my business," Ms Pierce said. "American pie is part of the vernacular. When you hear it, you don't think instantly of Don McLean."
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See also:
08 Oct 99 |  Americas
King of pop divorces
09 Nov 99 |  Entertainment
Sir Trevor's ITV millennium
29 Oct 99 |  Entertainment
Sir Nigel's Lear savaged
29 Nov 99 |  Entertainment
Liam gives Oasis a scare
21 Nov 99 |  Entertainment
Snoopy creator diagnosed with cancer

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