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Tuesday, 19 September, 2000, 12:06 GMT 13:06 UK
Cleese and Atkinson team up
British comedians John Cleese and Rowan Atkinson are reported to have signed up for a new Hollywood comedy from the creator of Naked Gun.

Rat Run, directed by Jerry Zucker, will also star Whoopi Goldberg and Seinfeld's Jason Alexander, who plays affable George Costanza.

Trade magazine Hollywood Reporter reports that the plot involves a group of Las Vegas high-rollers in a race to find a hidden stash of $2m.


Party time for Billie

Singer Billie Piper celebrated her 18th birthday with a launch party for her new album at a London nightclub.

She partied at West End club Papagaio with her on-off boyfriend, Ritchie Neville from boy band Five, and Big Brother contestant Nichola Holt.

Billie, who recently had another number one single with Day and Night, is still recovering from a kidney infection.

The singer, who shot to fame aged 15, comes of age on Friday. She has denied drug use led to her health problems.


Billboard nominees released

Faith Hill and R&B star D'Angelo head the nominees for this year's Billboard Music Video Awards.

The two singers have three nominations each form the awards ceremony, to be held on 10 November, which covers all musical styles from rock to jazz.

Nominees include Robbie Williams, Moby and Deftones.

Controversial rap star Eminem has also been nominated, along with Macy Gray, Limp Bizkit and Madonna.


BBC support for Folk Awards 2001

The BBC is to continue to support the Folk Awards into 2001.

The second awards will be held on 5 February to be held at London's Cumberland Hotel.

This year's inaugural awards at London's Waldorf Hotel were a big success with Joan Baez, Kate Rusby, Youssou N'Dour and Maggie Holland among the winners.

Producer John Leonard said: "Everyone was very pleased with the response we had last year and we're delighted to be holding another one."

The awards are voted for by more than 70 journalists, promoters and others involved in the folk scene.

The folk club of the year was won this year by Westhoughton Folk Club.


Ashcroft announces solo tour

Former The Verve frontman Richard Ashcroft has announced details of his first solo tour of the UK.

He will play at Manchester Apollo on 3 December , Dublin Olympia (6 December), Glasgow Barrowlands (8 December), Birmingham Academy (11 December) and Brixton Academy (14 December).

There is a possibility that the tour will be increased to include new venues at a later stage.

Ashcroft's band is expected to include guitarist BJ Cole and his wife and former Spiritualized keyboard player Kate Radley.

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