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Russell T Davies: Straight actors should not play gay characters | Ents & Arts News

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Actor David Tennant, star of the BBC America network drama series "Doctor Who" (L) and lead writer and executive producer of the series, Russell T. Davies, take part in a discussion on the series at the Television Critics Association Cable summer press tour in Pasadena, California July 29, 2009

Acclaimed TV writer Russell T Davies has said that straight actors should not play gay characters.

Best known for his work on Queer As Folk and Doctor Who, Davies is due to return to the screen with the much anticipated new Channel 4 drama It’s A Sin, which explores the HIV crisis in London in the 1980s.

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Davies (right) is known for his work on series including Doctor Who – pictured with the show’s former star David Tennant in 1999

Years and Years singer Olly Alexander, who is openly gay, stars in the lead role as a promiscuous aspiring actor.

There has been much debate in recent years over whether straight actors should portray gay characters.

Speaking to the Radio Times, Davies compared a straight actor playing a gay character to black face.

He said: “I’m not being woke about this… but I feel strongly that if I cast someone in a story, I am casting them to act as a lover, or an enemy, or someone on drugs or a criminal or a saint… they are NOT there to ‘act gay’ because ‘acting gay’ is a bunch of codes for a performance.

“It’s about authenticity, the taste of 2020.

“You wouldn’t cast someone able-bodied and put them in a wheelchair, you wouldn’t black someone up. Authenticity is leading us to joyous places.”

High-profile examples of straight performers playing LGBTQ+ characters include Rami Malek‘s Oscar-winning portrayal of Freddie Mercury in Bohemian Rhapsody, and Taron Egerton‘s Golden Globe-winning turn as Sir Elton John in Rocketman.

In December, British TV presenter and actor James Corden was accused of “gay face” following his role in Netflix musical comedy The Prom.

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In September, Netflix adapted the 1968 play The Boys In The Band, the story of a group of gay men who gather for a birthday party.

While both gay and straight actors were auditioned, the nine characters all ended up being played by gay men.

Director Joe Mantello told Sky News the casting was not intentional, but rather a “very fortunate series of events”.

He continued: “That being said, I think having an out gay cast really did inform the work and it took on a particular kind of tone because of that, which is not to say that’s the only way to approach this material. But for this particular group, it did something that I think is very, very special. There’s a chemistry that they have.”

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Grime artist Solo 45 has sentence increased to 30 years for raping and imprisoning women | Ents & Arts News

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Solo 45 of Boy Better Know

A grime artist who was serving 24 years in jail for imprisoning and repeatedly raping four women has had his sentence increased by six years.

Solo 45, whose real name is Andy Anokye, was found guilty of 21 rapes, five counts of false imprisonment, two counts of assault by penetration and two of actual bodily harm at Bristol Crown Court last July.

However, following a hearing the Court of Appeal have ruled that his initial sentence was “unduly lenient”, and he will now spend 30 years in jail for the 30 charges which took place over a two-year period.

He also was also handed a five years additional licence to reflect the seriousness of his crimes.

Speaking after the ruling which was made by three senior judges, Solicitor General Michael Ellis QC called Anokye’s offences “truly shocking”.

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He performed under the name Solo 45 with the collective Boy Better Know

Mr Ellis said the court’s decision to increase the sentence recognised “the severity of the abuse [Anokye] inflicted upon his victims and the danger he poses to the public”.

Calls for Anokye to be given a life sentence were rejected.

During his trial, the jury heard that the musician derived sexual pleasure from torturing women by waterboarding, interrogating, assaulting and raping them.

The court heard that Anokye forced one woman to lie in a bath of freezing cold water, held a shotgun to the head of another, held a cloth covered in bleach to women’s faces, and forced a mobile phone down a woman’s throat.

Graphic footage filmed by Anokye on his mobile phone showing him abusing multiple women was also shown to the jury as evidence.

The 33-year-old had claimed it was consensual role play, or a game he played called “catch me, rape me”. He said he had told the women that he would “terrorise” them.

Anokye, who is from London but had a harbourside apartment in Bristol, told the court during evidence that he had dacryphilia – sexual arousal from tears and sobbing.

Anokye was part of grime collective Boy Better Know signed to record label Island Records, and had collaborated with the likes of Stormzy, JME and Wiley.

When passing his original sentence last summer, judge William Hart, told Anokye he had “no sexual boundaries or empathy for those concerned”.

He said the rapper – who had a background of gang associations and criminal violence – “become addicted” to the “perverted pleasure” he gained from abusing his victims and that none of his fellow musicians knew about his “dark side”.

He said Anokye’s conviction had deprived him of a “flourishing career”, but he had only himself to blame.

Avon and Somerset Police first began investigating him in 2017, after a woman reported being raped by him.

Following the discovery of the video footage on Anokye’s phone, three further woman came forward to police.

A fifth woman also gave evidence against him, but her allegation could not be prosecuted as it happened abroad.

Anokye will only be released from prison after serving at least 20 years of his 30-year jail term behind bars and when the Parole Board is satisfied he no longer poses a danger to the public.

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Dustin Diamond: Saved By The Bell star diagnosed with cancer | Ents & Arts News

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Dustin Diamond is evicted from the Celebrity Big Brother house in September 2013

Saved By The Bell star Dustin Diamond has been diagnosed with cancer and is receiving treatment in hospital, his team have confirmed.

The 44-year-old actor, who is best known for his role of Screech in the 90s US sitcom, is understood to have fallen ill last week.

A post on his official Facebook page read: “At this time we can confirm that Dustin does have cancer. Dustin will disclose more information once it is available and a plan moving forward is made.”

They also supplied an address for fans to send cards and letters, adding that “positivity and prayers are appreciated”.

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Diamond entered the Celebrity Big Brother house in September 2013

Diamond’s agent, Roger Paul, also confirmed his diagnosis, and told the PA news agency: “We will know the severity of it when the tests are done.”

He says he expects an update next week.

Celebrity website TMZ said the actor had first discovered a lump in his throat, leading to the diagnosis.

Diamond played nerdy sidekick Samuel ‘Screech’ Powers in the original Saved By The Bell across four seasons, from 1989 to 1993.

He also appeared in 1992 TV movie Saved By The Bell: Hawaiian Style, and revivals The New Class and The College Years.

However, Diamond did not appear in the most recent 2020 revival series which starred several of the show’s original stars.

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Following his early TV fame, the actor controversially released a self-directed sex tape in 2006.

In 2009 he wrote a tell-all book about his time in the teen sitcom, later saying many of the salacious details were exaggerated by his ghost-writer.

Diamond later appeared on the UK’s 12th series of Celebrity Big Brother but was evicted in the third week.

In 2015 he spent three months in jail after being convicted of disorderly conduct and carrying a concealed weapon following a bar fight in Wisconsin.

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Backstage podcast: Servant, Stardust and Blithe Spirit | Ents & Arts News

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Backstage podcast: Servant, Stardust and Blithe Spirit | Ents & Arts News

This week on Backstage – Bethany Minelle, Stevie Wong and Amy Hitchcock unpack Netflix’s ambitious new slate for programming in 2021.

In other news, we celebrate the return of Sex And The City, but are they missing a cast member?

:: Listen to the Backstage podcast on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Spreaker

We also look at the David Bowie biopic, Stardust, and get down and dirty with a new documentary on civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr.

Rupert Grint tells us what it’s like being a new dad while starring in Apple TV’s season 2 of Servant, and Dan Stevens spills the beans on whether his Blithe Spirit co-star Dame Judi Dench has a potty mouth on set.

Enjoy! Please do subscribe if you like what you hear and do get in touch using [email protected] – we love emails!

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