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Tuesday, 18 January, 2000, 13:15 GMT
Sir Norman finds long lost car

Sir Norman with his much-loved Bentley

Comedy veteran Sir Norman Wisdom has been reunited with a precious Bentley after 19 years, thanks to a television programme.

The 1956 R Type Continental was tracked down by researchers of Carlton Television's Pulling Power programme as a surprise for the recently-knighted funnyman.

Sir Norman, 84, who parted with the car after 21 years said: "It's a lovely car and I've always regretted selling it."

He is thought to have paid 40,000 to buy back the vehicle.

Top award for American Beauty director

British director Sam Mendes has been awarded this year's Shakespeare Prize for his contribution to the arts.

The prestigious award, worth 12,000, will be made at a ceremony in Hamburg City Hall on 15 June.

Previous winners of the award, given by the Toepfer Foundation, include Sir Peter Hall and Sir Alec Guinness.

Mendes, who has many credits as a theatre director, releases his first film, American Beauty, in the UK next week.

'I nearly quit Oasis,' admits tired Noel

Oasis star Noel Gallagher has revealed he was close to quitting the music industry when he realised his band were simply going through the motions.

He told BBC Radio 1's Steve Lamacq the treadmill of touring and recording was like "a spinning top going round and round and round".

The guitarist and songwriter said he considered quitting on "a number of occasions" and had to take a break after the Be Here Now album.

"It was getting a bit naff for me," he added.

Ice Cube comedy tops film chart in US

A new film from hip hop star Ice Cube went straight to the top of the US box office chart at the weekend.

Next Friday, a sequel to 1995 film Friday, sees Ice Cube revive his role of easygoing LA slacker Craig.

The new movie, which he wrote and produced, sees the character move to the suburbs to live with his uncle and cousin, who have won the lottery.

It takes over the top spot from mouse comedy Stuart Little.

Top Of The Pops treat for Manics fans

Manic Street Preachers fans will be able to see the only footage of the band performing their current number one on this week's Top Of The Pops.

The band made no video for The Masses Against The Classes, and did not promote it, but airplay and a strong fan base propelled it to the top.

The trio's only live performance of the track, at a sell-out New Year's Eve show in Cardiff will be featured on TOTP this Friday.

Ryder reunited with Depp on screen

Former lovers Winona Ryder and Johnny Depp are to co-star as boyfriend and girlfriend in Michaelangelo Antonioni's Just to Be Together.

Ryder is currently romantically involved with Matt Damon, while Depp is living with his French girlfriend Vanessa Paradis, the mother of his young daughter.

Depp, who was at one point engaged to Ryder, had his "Winona Forever" tattoo altered to read "Wino Forever".

Kingsley may star in Pontiff's bio-pic

Oscar-winning actor Ben Kingsley is in talks to star in a two-part mini-series about Pope John Paul II, reports say.

Co-producers Lux Video told the Reuters news agency talks were underway with Kingsley and Richard Attenborough who worked together on the epic Ghandi.

The planned mini-series has caused controversy in Italy because of concern over the Pope's current state of health.

The 79-year-old Polish-born Pontiff was a keen actor in his youth.

TV watchdog criticises 11 O'Clock show

Channel 4 comedy The 11 O'Clock Show has been criticised by TV watchdog ITC for its comic sketches of an Armenian massacre hours after it happened.

Channel 4 accepted that in this case they had misjudged the situation.

However, two other complaints about the show were not upheld by the ITC.

One of The 11 O'Clock Show's stars, Sacha Baron Cohen, was recently criticised by several black comedians who felt his spoof character Ali G was racist.

Bright outlook for forecaster Helen

Helen Young has been named as the BBC's new senior weather forecaster and will replace Bill Giles when he stands down at the end of the month.

The 30-year-old is the first woman and the youngest person to hold the position, which involves leading the BBC's 19 Met Office forecasters who present national and regional weather.

She began her weather-presenting career in 1990 and two years ago was appointed as Bill Giles' deputy. She said she was "delighted" by the appointment.

Poet Williams wins TS Eliot prize

London-based poet Hugo Williams has been named as the winner of the seventh TS Eliot Prize for Poetry.

The 57-year-old author was presented with his title and a 5,000 cheque by Eliot's widow, Valerie, at a ceremony in the British Library.

Williams' book, Billy's Rain, was chosen as the best new collection of verse published in the UK and Ireland last year by a panel including Blake Morrison, Selima Hill and Jamie McKendrick.

The prize, which was won last year by the late Ted Hughes, is organised by the Poetry Book Society, which was founded by Eliot in 1953.

Marie Osmond splits from husband

Entertainer Marie Osmond and her music producer-husband Brian Blosil are to separate after 13 years of marriage.

Osmond, who co-hosts the Donny & Marie Show, said the split was amicable in a statement released by her publicist.

"We hope the media will respect our privacy during this period of our lives," she added.

The couple have seven children together, the last of which, Matthew R Blosil, was born in July 1999.

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See also:
31 Dec 99 |  Entertainment
Trio of Dames lead showbiz honours
21 Sep 99 |  UK
When two (egos) become one
20 Dec 99 |  Entertainment
Beauty's Golden Globe rush
05 Nov 99 |  Tom Brook
Rappers move into the movies
16 Jan 00 |  Wales
Manics No 1 topples Westlife
10 Mar 99 |  Entertainment
Kingsley: The craft of acting
17 Jan 00 |  Entertainment
Hamilton 'shared joint' with Ali G
11 Jan 00 |  Entertainment
Racism rap for Ali G

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