Eurovision 2024 - Olly Alexander will represent the United Kingdom at next year's Eurovision Song Contest in Sweden. The former Years and Years frontman will hope to improve on the UK's disappointing performance this year, when Mae Muller came second to last. Alexander is already known around Europe for hits including Desire, King and If You're Over Me.
The star's participation was revealed during the final of Strictly Come Dancing on Saturday, months before the BBC usually confirms its Eurovision plans. "I love Eurovision so much, it's a dream come true," he told host Claudia Winkleman. "I'm just so, so excited." In a press release, he added: "I really can't believe I'm going to be a part of such a special legacy and fly the flag for the UK in the gayest way possible. I'm determined to give it everything I've got and put on an excellent and unforgettable performance for you all!"
Old Gold - An orchestra set up to make recordings of ‘neglected’ music using period instruments is marking its 50th year. The Academy of Ancient Music (AAM) in Cambridge has released 300 albums and has more than a million monthly listeners on streaming platforms. It said it was "proud" to be a popular period-instrument orchestra. Working with music colleges and universities across the UK, the orchestra hopes to engage the next generation of period instrumentalists. An education programme includes scholarships with an "emphasis on intellectual rigour".
Hot Property - Radio 1 listeners have voted Welcome to the DCC by Nothing but Thieves as the Hottest Record of the Year. The indie band's single, from their number one album Dead Club City, finished above Olivia Rodrigo's Vampire and Miley Cyrus' Flowers. A total of 20 songs were up against each other for the award, with fans asked to select their three favourites from a shortlist.
Bear Facts - A new Paddington musical is being developed for the stage, with McFly's Tom Fletcher set to write the music and lyrics. The show will be adapted from the original books written by Michael Bond and the popular film series. Workshops are currently taking place to develop the project, which is set to open in the UK in 2025. Producers said it was a "privilege to be creating a new musical about this gorgeous and beloved little bear". The two film adaptations of Paddington, featuring the voice of Ben Whishaw, have been huge box office successes. A third film, Paddington in Peru, will be released next year.
Boxing Clever - A Grand Tier 12-seat box at the Royal Albert Hall has been put up for sale for £3m. On the market for the first time since the concert venue was opened in 1871, the box offers prospective owners access to its seats for the remaining 843 years of its lease.
Currently owned by Anglo-Irish peer Brendan Parsons, the seventh Earl of Rosse, the box is located on the eastern side of the hall, with a property listing by Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices noting its proximity to the RAH’s "numerous bars and restaurants".
Parsons’ family have owned the Grand Tier Box 14 for the 152 years that the RAH has been operating but have decided they no longer make enough use of it, according to the Times. The seats had originally been provided to the family in honour of the third Earl of Rosse’s friendship with Prince Albert. The property briefing assures interested parties that they will be able to "entertain [...] guests in style" and adds that any buyer will be liable to pay an annual upkeep contribution of £13,795 for the seats.
(Jim Evans)
19 December 2023

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