Posts Tagged ‘London’

Germany   Bieber Monk.jpg

Justin Bieber had to leave a monkey in quarantine after landing in Germany last week without the necessary papers for the animal, an official said Saturday.

The 19-year-old singer arrived at Munich airport last Thursday. When he went through customs, he didn’t have the documentation necessary to bring the capuchin monkey into the country, so the animal had to stay with authorities, customs spokesman Thomas Meister said.

Bieber performed in Munich on Thursday, beginning the latest leg of his European tour. He later tweeted: “Munich was a good time. And loud. The bus is headed to Vienna now. U coming?” He didn’t mention the monkey.

The Canadian singer is giving several concerts in Austria and then in Germany over the next week.

Bieber had a trying stay in London recently. The star struggled with his breathing and fainted backstage at a show, was taken to a hospital and then was caught on camera clashing with a paparazzo. Days earlier, he was booed by his beloved fans when he showed up late to a concert.

‘Harry Potter’ co-star Daniel Radcliffe said Friday that he was “proud to say I knew him.”

British actor Richard Griffiths, best known for his roles in ‘Withnail and I‘ and the Harry Potter films, has died at the age of 65 after complications following heart surgery, his agent said on Friday.

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LONDON (AP) — Richard Griffiths, the versatile British actor who played the boy wizard’s unsympathetic Uncle Vernon in the Harry Pottermovies, has died. He was 65.

Agent Simon Beresford announced Friday that Griffiths died a day earlier of complications following heart surgery at University Hospital in Coventry, central England.

He paid tribute to Griffiths as “a remarkable man and one of our greatest and best-loved actors.”

Griffiths appeared in dozens of movies and TV shows, but will be most widely remembered as a pair of contrasting uncles — the hero’s grudging Muggle guardian in the Harry Potter series, and flamboyant Uncle Monty in 1980s cult classic Withnail and I.

“I was proud to say I knew him,” said Harry Potterstar Daniel Radcliffe.

A large man and a huge stage presence, Griffiths was one of Britain’s leading theater actors, creating roles including the charismatic teacher Hector at the emotional heart of Alan Bennett’s The History Boys — a part he took to Broadway, winning a Tony Award, and repeated for the film adaptation.

National Theatre artistic director Nicholas Hytner, who directed The History Boys, called Griffiths’ performance in that play “a masterpiece of wit, delicacy, mischief and desolation, often simultaneously.”

Griffiths also played poet W.H. Auden in Bennett’s The Habit of Art, a hugely persuasive performance despite the lack of physical resemblance between the two men.

Known for his sense of humor, large store of theatrical anecdotes and occasional bursts of temper, Griffiths was renowned for shaming audience members whose cell phones rang during plays by stopping the performance and ordering the offender to leave.

Griffiths’ last major stage role was in a West End production of Neil Simon‘s comedyThe Sunshine Boys last year opposite Danny DeVito.

In 2007 he appeared in a London production of Equus alongside the then 17-year-old Radcliffe.

“Richard was by my side during two of the most important moments of my career,” Radcliffe said Friday.

“In August 2000, before official production had even begun on Potter, we filmed a shot outside the Dursleys’, which was my first ever shot as Harry. I was nervous and he made me feel at ease.

”Seven years later, we embarked on Equus together. It was my first time doing a play but, terrified as I was, his encouragement, tutelage and humor made it a joy.

“In fact, any room he walked into was made twice as funny and twice as clever just by his presence.”

Griffiths is survived by his wife, Heather Gibson.

Your memories of Richard Griffiths

British actor Richard Griffiths has died at the age of 65 due to complications following heart surgery.

His most prominent roles include Uncle Monty in the film Withnail and I and Vernon Dursley, the grumpy uncle, in the Harry Potter films.

In 2006 he won a Tony award in New York and an Olivier award in London for the role of Hector in Alan Bennett’s’s stage version of The History Boys, a role he later reprised on film.

On television he was best known as the policeman chef Henry Crabbe in Pie in the Sky.

BBC News website readers have been sharing some of their memories of meeting Richard Griffiths.

Lorna May Wadsworth, London

Richard Griffiths as Hector in The History Boys
Richard Griffiths as Hector in The History Boys, painted in oil by Lorna May Wadsworth

Richard Griffiths sat for a portrait for me on the stage of The National Theatre when he was in The History Boys.

He was as delightful as a huge fan of his Uncle Monty could wish for, spontaneously spouting poetry into the air above the stage and regaling me with stories.

He loved the portrait I painted of him so much he bought it.

It’s so nice to know his wife has that now.

I remember he wasn’t wearing his own glasses, but the glasses worn by Hector in The History Boys.

I last saw him last summer when I was Artist in Residence on Richard Curtis‘ forthcoming film About Time, where he worked in a scene alongside Richard E Grant.

It was the first time they had worked together since Withnail, which was an honour to witness.

One of my sketches was ‘The Three Richards at the Old Vic (where the scene was being filmed), which was of him, Richard E and Richard Curtis.

He was indeed a remarkable man, a prodigious talent and a huge personality.

I will miss his presence in the firmament hugely.

Ralph Graham, Witham, Essex

I had the good fortune to be a professional adviser to the Alan Bennett film “A Private Function” in which Richard Griffiths played one of the leading parts.

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He had all sorts of stories – of working with theatre greats like Olivier and of all the things that go wrong.”

Ralph Graham

I am a podiatrist and the Michael Palin character was a chiropodist so they asked me to advise.

As a complete novice to filming, I was included by Richard and the other leading cast members in the breaks, the chatting, and the exchange of wonderful theatre stories.

There was a lot of sitting around waiting while lights where moved and sets were changed and Richard Girffiths and Denholm Elliot took turns bringing in wine.

The filming was in a house in Ealing so I would be sitting in the garden with them, listening to their fabulous stories.

He had all sorts of stories – of working with theatre greats like Olivier and of all the things that go wrong.

There is a line in the film where Richard Griffiths’ on-screen ‘daughter’ is practicing the piano in another room and making a racket where he says “not now, Veronica” and that line has become a family line for us.

None of our children are called Veronica, but we always say it when we want them to stop doing something.

He was most charming man and a great actor.

Hester Doherty, Shrewsbury

Sketch of Richard Griffiths, Richard E Grant and director Richard CurtisRichard Griffiths, Richard E Grant and Richard Curtis sketched on the set of the film About Time

I was at Billingham Technical College with Richard in 1966 – 67.

He was doing a Drama course there and took part in the college production of Electra.

He was a riveting performer, even at that young age it was clear he’d got it.

He looked very much the same then as he did all his life, he never really changed he just got greyer.

He was always rather eccentric and good fun to be with, a larger than life character.

I noticed he wore his maroon and yellow Billingham Technical College scarf in Pie in the Sky, so he must have kept memories of it.

His career was amazing.

I remember he came from an ordinary working class background and both his parents were profoundly deaf, so I always thought he’d done tremendously well.

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Two men have died following a police chase in north London.

Map showing South Tottenham

The pair were killed after their Audi jumped a red light, clipped a van and collided with a bridge in South Tottenham in the early hours of Friday, police said.

The car’s 30-year-old driver has been arrested on suspicion of causing death by dangerous driving and driving while disqualified.

The dead men, aged in their late 20s or early 30s, have not been identified.

They died after officers on routine patrol became suspicious of the Audi, which appeared to make-off at speed when it was driven past police just before 02:00 GMT, officers said.

Dead at scene

After several minutes searching for the car, which had been travelling in the opposite direction, police spotted the vehicle several hundred yards away and sought to catch up.

The Audi was driven through a red light before it hit the white van and then crashed into the bridge.

“Officers gave CPR prior to the arrival of ambulances, but both were pronounced dead at the scene,” a Metropolitan Police spokesman said.

The driver of the Audi was taken to hospital but his injuries are not believed to be serious.

The driver of the white van was also taken to hospital with minor injuries.


Boris A. Berezovsky was found dead near London.


MOSCOW — At the end of his extravagant, intrigue-filled and ultimately solitary life, Boris A. Berezovsky, the post-Soviet robber baron who was the consummate Kremlin insider before he became a detested outcast, wondered if he would have been better off had he never fled Russia for England, if he had been thrown in jail like his fellow oligarch-turned-inmate, the oil tycoon Mikhail B. Khodorkovsky, another antagonist of President Vladimir V. Putin who remains in a northern Russia prison camp.

“Khodorkovsky preserved himself,” Mr. Berezovsky said, almost admiringly, to a columnist for Forbes’s Russian edition on Friday, the day before his apparent suicide.

But if Mr. Berezovsky felt torn, here in Russia — the homeland he claimed to long for, and where his death has been an obsessive topic of conversation, on television and the Internet, around dinner tables and office coolers — there is no such conflict.

Instead, there is a clear sense that Mr. Berezovsky will be little missed except perhaps for the entertainment value that he occasionally provided with his penchant for audacity. If he is remembered at all, it will be for the role he played in the post-Communist 1990s — an era that many Russians would just as soon forget.

“His death is a logical conclusion of his life; all his life he lived only for himself,” Aleksandr Khinshtein, a member of Parliament and the author of “Berezovsky and Abramovich: Oligarchs From the Open Road,” wrote in a remembrance on the Internet news site “His entire conscious life, he worked not for creation but for destruction.”

A spokesman for Mr. Putin, Dmitri S. Peskov, said he did not know the president’s immediate reaction to Mr. Berezovsky’s death. “But one can say that news of anyone’s death, no matter what kind of person they were, cannot arouse any positive emotions.”

Then again.

“I don’t have good words for Berezovsky,” said Gennadi A. Zyuganov, the longtime leader of Russia’s Communist Party, who called Mr. Berezovsky “a typical spawn of the awful 1990s.”

Mr. Zyuganov added: “He had good mathematical education, not bad capabilities. He could have become a decent scientist or the head of a major institute. But instead he became a ‘purse’ of Yeltsin’s family.”

Mr. Berezovsky promoted the idea that he had a central role in the rise of Mr. Putin as the successor to Boris N. Yeltsin. And though his true role is a matter of debate, in the end Mr. Putin’s opponents hated him for it, while Putin supporters refused to acknowledge Mr. Berezovsky as anything but an exiled robber baron — and not a particularly talented one.

Whatever the truth, Mr. Berezovsky was a top Kremlin insider when Mr. Putin, a former K.G.B. agent, was appointed prime minister, putting him in line for the presidency when Yeltsin resigned.

“According to some evidence it was Berezovsky who created Putin,” Andrei Kolesnikov wrote in the newspaper Novaya Gazeta. “Maybe there is some exaggeration in this. But that he was holding the candle when the very idea of placing, as an insider said, a ‘sane Chekist’ to the Czardom in Russia is a medical fact.”

Yeltsin, who died in 2007, was the person who gave Mr. Berezovsky access to power. But even Yeltsin did not like him.

“I never liked and I don’t like Boris Abramovich,” Yeltsin wrote in his final memoir, “Midnight Diaries.”

“I did not like him for his self-assured tone, for his scandalous reputation, for the fact that he is ascribed some special influence on the Kremlin, which has never been the case,” Yeltsin wrote. “I didn’t like him, but always wanted to keep him somewhere close.”

At the same time, Yeltsin called him an “undisputed ally” both “of the president and of the democratic reforms in general.”

Even if Mr. Berezovsky, to the end, professed a desire for the development of a democratic Russia, he was known for engaging in all sorts of less-than-democratic machinations on behalf of the Russian government. Those included payoffs to various combatants — particularly ransoms for kidnappings — during Russia’s war in Chechnya in the mid-1990s.

Mr. Berezovsky was also associated with many mysterious developments in modern Russian history, including the fatal radiation poisoning of his friend, the ex-K.G.B. officer Alexander V. Litvinenko, in 2006. His close business partner, Badri Patarkatsishvili, died under uncertain circumstances in 2008.

But even as many in Russia viewed him as sinister, a constant cast of supporting actors relied on him for financial support — not just his two ex-wives and an estranged girlfriend, his six children and his staff, including bodyguards and drivers, but also Mr. Litvinenko’s widow and others. For them, he was a protector, benefactor and employer — roles that he was increasingly unable to fill given his continuing legal and financial problems.

In that sense, he may have hinted at the unfulfilled promise of the industrial titans of post-Soviet Russia, a hope that like the Carnegies and Rockefellers and Vanderbilts, they would eventually become great philanthropists and establish a tradition of private-sector support in arenas once dominated by the Communist state.

Alexei Venediktov, the editor of Echo of Moscow radio, said that Mr. Berezovsky’s death would deprive his foes of a worthy adversary.

“Berezovsky added spice to their lives, including Putin,” Mr. Venediktov wrote. “After all, in history, our weight is determined by the weight of our enemies.”