Hugh Grant, Emma Thompson, Bill Nighy to reunite for special 20th anniversary celebrating “Love Actually”

The stars of Love Actually will reunite for a special 20th anniversary special on US network ABC, it has been announced.

The one-hour special will look at how the film became a beloved Christmas tradition and a global sensation, with exclusive interviews with cast members.

Love Actually

Hugh Grant, Dame Emma Thompson, Bill Nighy, Laura Linney and Thomas Brodie-Sangster will sit down with ABC News anchor Diane Sawyer for the show.

It will also include an appearance from writer and director Richard Curtis, as well as a message from Martine McCutcheon.

ABC said the special would offer new insight into behind-the-scenes secrets and the film’s famous scenes as well as examining how the Covid-19 pandemic “refocused the ways we love and connect”.

In an exclusive clip of the interview, Dame Emma recalled watching the film for the first time.

“Hugh came up behind me as we were walking out and said ‘is that the most psychotic thing we’ve ever been in?’” she said.

Grant, who plays the British Prime Minister in the iconic Christmas film, also reveals he thought he would “hate” the iconic dancing scene in Downing Street.

“But I will give myself the credit of having the secretary catch me,” he says.

In another clip, Curtis tells Sawyer: “I do think that the way to think about life is that every day has the potential just to be gorgeous.”

Sawyer also poses the ever elusive question to cast members: “Love actually is?”, to which Grant answers “dead”.

The special comes after cast members in 2017 reunited for the short sequel, Red Nose Day Actually, which was also made by Curtis and further developed key character storylines.

Several scenes from the short echoed iconic moments from the film such as the cue card scene with Keira Knightley’s and Andrew Lincoln’s characters.

In the mini sequel, Grant, Liam Neeson, Linney, Colin Firth and Rowan Atkinson made appearances.

Curtis, who was also involved in Four Weddings and a Funeral and Bridget Jones’ Diary as a writer, said in the lead-up he would “never have dreamt of writing a sequel to Love Actually”, but added: “I thought it might be fun to do ten minutes to see what everyone is now up to.”

“We’ve been delighted and grateful that so many of the cast are able to take part – and it’ll certainly be a nostalgic moment getting back together and recreating the characters 14 years later,” he said.

“We hope to make something that’ll be fun – very much in the spirit of the original film and of Red Nose Day – and which we hope will help bring lots of viewers and cash to the Red Nose Day shows.”

Love Actually has consistently rated as the top searched-for Christmas film in France, Italy and 17 other countries, totalling 887,000 worldwide searches a month.

The story of the original film, which is an international co-production between the UK, the United States and France begins five weeks before Christmas and is played out in a weekly countdown until the holiday, followed by an epilogue that takes place one month later.

The Laughter & Secrets of Love Actually: 20 Years Later – A Diane Sawyer Special, will air on Wednesday, November 30 at 1am UK time on ABC.

Source: Love Actually: Hugh Grant, Emma Thompson, Bill Nighy to reunite for special 20th anniversary TV special celebrating popular Christmas film

Mackenzie Crook hadn’t watched Worzel Gummidge before he took on the reboot

The writer-director-star of the reboot was unaware of the passing for the animated scarecrow.


By Patrick McLennan

Mackenzie Crook says he didn’t watch Worzel Gummidge when he was young and was unaware of the passion that people of his generation had for the living scarecrow when he agreed to make last year’s two-part series.

Crook is back with another Worzel Gummidge special, Saucy Nancy, this Christmas after the success of 2019’s rebooted family drama based on the books of Barbara Euphon Todd.

He told The One Show: “There’s a whole generation of people, my age I guess, that held the ’80s version, the Jon Pertwee version so dearly to their hearts… And I didn’t actually watch that, perhaps I was unaware when I got involved and as the thing went on I realised what a thing this was on my shoulders, what a weight of responsibility.” Continue reading

Christmas Classic: “I Saw Three Ships A Sailing” The Chieftains with Marianne Faithfull

“I Saw Three Ships (Come Sailing In)” is a traditional and popular Christmas carol and folk song from England, listed as number 700 in the Roud Folk Song Index. The earliest printed version of “I Saw Three Ships” is from the 17th century, possibly Derbyshire, and was also published by William Sandys in 1833.

The song was probably traditionally known as “As I Sat On a Sunny Bank” [per Wikipedia]

The Bells of Dublin is a 1991 album of Christmas songs and traditional carols by the Irish band The Chieftains. The album features guest performances by various artists, including Elvis Costello, Jackson Browne, Kate & Anna McGarrigle, Marianne Faithfull, Nanci Griffith, Rickie Lee Jones and the actor Burgess Meredith.[1]

Writing in the album’s liner notes, Paddy Moloney said, “These recording sessions hold special memories for The Chieftains and myself, and bring together all the colours of this festive season.”

Lyrics

I saw three ships come sailing in
On Christmas day, on Christmas day,
I saw three ships come sailing in
On Christmas day in the morning.

And what was in those ships all three,
On Christmas day, on Christmas day,
And what was in those ships all three,
On Christmas day in the morning?

Our Saviour, Christ, and His Lady,
On Christmas day, on Christmas day,
Our Saviour, Christ, and His Lady,
On Christmas day in the morning.

And all the bells on earth shall ring
On Christmas day, on Christmas day,
And all the bells on earth shall ring
On Christmas day in the morning.

And all the angels in Heaven shall sing
On Christmas day, on Christmas day,
And all the angels in Heaven shall sing
On Christmas day in the morning.

And let us all rejoice and sing
On Christmas day, on Christmas day,
And let us all rejoice and sing
On Christmas day in the morning.
On Christmas day in the morning.

Mistletoe: A Natural and Human History

mistletoeThe myths and natural history behind the holiday mistletoe tradition.

By Lisa Ballard

It’s that time of year again, when it’s difficult to avoid certain songs. Like “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus.” The tune, written by British lyricist Tommy Connor and performed by 13-year-old Jimmy Boyd, reached number one on the Billboard charts in December 1952.

Since then, dozens of artists including Andy Williams, The Four Seasons, The Jackson 5, John Mellencamp, John Prine and Twisted Sister, have recorded versions of it. Under which plant did that kiss happen? Mistletoe, of course. Most of us don’t pause to ponder the plant, but we understand the tradition. References to mistletoe continue in nearly every romantically-themed holiday song, and more than a few holiday specials.

Kissing someone under this leafy evergreen with its waxy, white berries is a cherished Christmas tradition, but that’s only a modern take on a plant laced with lore.

green plant with small leaves on black background
© Jean-Pascal Milcent / Flickr

The Plant

Perhaps kissing is strongly associated with mistletoe because the plant basically “kisses” its host. Mistletoe is a “hemi-parasite”, which attaches to a tree or shrub using a connective appendage called a “haustorium”, through which it sucks water and nutrients.

It’s hemi- or half-parasitic because many species of mistletoe also conduct photosynthesis, which, in some cases, allows the plant to live on its own, too.

There are 1,300 to 1,500 mistletoe species in the world, most living in tropical or subtropical regions. Australia, for instance, has 85 mistletoe species. By contrast, there’s only one native to the British Isles, but it is the one we see around the holidays.

Continue reading