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The government’s financial plan is “breathtaking in its audacity”, according to British actor Steve Coogan.

Speaking to Sky News, the comic – who is a long-time, vocal Labour supporter – says following last week’s mini-budget, which included tax cuts for top rate payers, even Conservatives are questioning the future of their party.

Tory MP Simon Hoare said earlier on Twitter: “These are not circumstances beyond the control of Govt/Treasury. They were authored there. This inept madness cannot go on.”

Pensions could have collapsed today – economy latest

Coogan said: “I almost don’t think we need an opposition at the moment because there are as many members of the Conservative Party who are alarmed at their own government as there are members of the opposition.”

“There are so many vulnerable people out there – not just people on the margins of society, people front and centre in society who have jobs and who contribute and who are taxpayers – who are going to be struggling,” he added. “And to see the government give tax breaks to the 1% is breathtaking in its audacity.

“And based on some theoretical idea that trickle-down economics will end up helping those at the bottom. There was a 30-year experiment in trickle-down economics, and it didn’t trickle down to those who needed it most, it stopped about halfway, and I don’t see any reason why it should be any different now.”

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‘I don’t want a tax cut’

Coogan, who is himself a higher rate taxpayer, says he’s very much opposed to the changes.

“I don’t want a tax rebate, I’m quite happy to pay income tax, I’m quite happy to pay 45% income tax, I don’t want a tax cut,” he added.

“Lots of people would like a tax cut, whether they deserve it or whether it’s right or moral or just is another thing.

“I certainly don’t want one, but I’m an individual – that money should be spent helping people in most need.”

‘The Conservatives don’t have a good record on the arts’

With question marks over the future of the BBC and Channel 4, Coogan, whose latest film The Lost King is about to come out in cinemas, says it could be a difficult time for the arts and entertainment industry.

“The Conservatives don’t have a very good record on subsidising the arts,” he said.

“They see it as the poor man’s choice, the arts have always been denigrated in our country, and they have a short memory because all great art at some point was subsidised.

“Shakespeare himself had to have patronage to be able to write his plays, he had royal patronage, people gave him money to make good art because that’s an immeasurable, you can’t put a price on it.

“You know, Oscar Wilde said a fool is somebody who knows the price of everything, and the value of nothing; I think that’s the sort of definition of certainly the more crude conservative mindset.”

Sally Hawkins and Steve Coogan in The Lost King
Sally Hawkins and Steve Coogan in The Lost King. Pic: Warner Bros

Coogan wants to help people tell their stories

The Lost King tells the story of middle-aged amateur historian Philippa Langley who led the search to find the remains of King Richard III but was later sidelined when the University of Leicester claimed credit.

It sees Coogan reuniting with co-writer Jeff Pope and director Stephen Frears – the trio last worked together on 2013’s Philomena, which also told the true story of a woman fighting the establishment.

Coogan says he does consciously try to fight against what can be a misogynistic industry.

“As a privileged, white, middle-aged man, there is the question mark of whether I should be telling that story or I should be involved in telling that story,” he said.

“But when you are in that position, it makes you work doubly hard trying to make sure you do justice to someone else’s story, especially a marginalised woman. In our enlightened times, I think it’s important you don’t have to be one of the marginalised to help them tell their story.”

Sally Hawkins in The Lost King. Pic: Warner Bros
Sally Hawkins in The Lost King. Pic: Warner Bros

The film is based on books written by Langley, and Leicester University has said it is not happy with how the institution is portrayed in the film.

“We appreciate that while The Lost King is based on real events, it is a work of fiction, and recollections will vary from various people of what happened during such an incredibly exciting moment in history,” it said.

“It is our view that the portrayal of the University of Leicester’s role in the project is far removed from the accurate work that took place.”

But Coogan says ultimately the film is entertainment and that satire “involves poking fun at the powerful”, which he doesn’t apologise for.

“As my grandmother used to say – what goes around, comes around,” he said. “And had they been more generous or just more fair, in their telling of the story of the search for Richard, then the film probably wouldn’t have happened.

“There are too many instances that I could use as examples of how she’s been relegated to the side of the story.”

“Some of the fundamental facts are this: Philippa Langley led the search, spent eight years researching where she thought it was, she alone arrived at the conclusion of the location of Richard’s body, she raised the majority of the money herself through members of the Richard III society – the university put in a small amount,” he said.

“When some bones had been discovered, she alone insisted that those bones be excavated and when they’re excavated, and they found those scoliosis and injuries to the skull consistent with those sustained in battle and at that point – the university stepped in and said, ‘we’ll take control of this’… Well, of course they might, because she’d just found him.”

The Lost King is out in cinemas on the 7 October.

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Gwyneth Paltrow ski crash court case due to start in US after man accused her of seriously injuring him in ‘hit-and-run’




Gwyneth Paltrow ski crash court case due to start in US after man accused her of seriously injuring him in 'hit-and-run'

Gwyneth Paltrow is expected in court in the US over claims she seriously injured a man in a “hit-and-run” skiing crash in 2016.

She is accused of skiing “out of control” and hitting retired optometrist Terry Sanderson at Deer Valley Resort in Utah.

He claimed that Paltrow crashed into him, “knocking him down hard, knocking him out, and causing a brain injury, four broken ribs and other serious injuries”.

Mr Sanderson first sued Paltrow in 2019, seeking $3.1m (£2.5m) in damages.

He is now seeking $300,000 (£245,000) after that claim was dropped.

The original 2019 claim stated that after hitting him, “Paltrow got up, turned and skied away, leaving Sanderson stunned, lying in the snow, seriously injured”.

It also said a Deer Valley ski instructor who had been training Paltrow saw Mr Sanderson had been injured but made no attempt to help him.

The instructor did not send for help and later accused Mr Sanderson of having caused the crash in a “false report to protect his client”, the claim said.

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The actress countersued for a symbolic $1, saying it was Mr Sanderson who had caused the crash and delivered a full “body blow”.

Paltrow’s claim said she was shaken by the collision and stopped skiing with her family for the day.

It added that Mr Sanderson apologised to her and said he was fine.

Paltrow is due to attend court today and is expected to testify, according to reports from local media.

The trial is scheduled to last for eight days.

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Sarah Snook: Succession star reveals pregnancy at final season premiere




Sarah Snook: Succession star reveals pregnancy at final season premiere

Succession star Sarah Snook has revealed she is pregnant with her first child during the red-carpet premiere of the final season of the show.

The 35-year-old Australian actress told reporters she felt “great” about her impending motherhood.

As one quarter of the show’s feuding Roy brood, she plays Shiv, who along with brothers Connor, Kendall and Roman, face a constant battle to impress their demanding father Logan Roy.

Attending the event in New York on Monday in a black fitted jumpsuit and long silver cardigan, she told US outlet Extra that she had brought along “someone I have not met, but am intimate with”.

Asked if she had learned anything about being a parent from Succession, she said: “What not to do.”

“I don’t think the Roy family are a paragon of family values, I don’t think we can really be looking to them for guidance.”

Snook later told Entertainment Tonight that the news was “exciting” adding: “I feel great.”

She married Australian comedian Dave Lawson in 2021.

Written by British screenwriter Jesse Armstrong, the upcoming fourth season of Succession is highly anticipated, not least because it has been confirmed it will be its final series.

(R-L): Jeremy Strong, Snook and Kieran Culkin. Pic: Sky Atlantic
(R-L): Jeremy Strong, Snook and Kieran Culkin. Pic: Sky Atlantic

Fans have followed the dysfunctional Roy family through three series as they fight for control over a media empire. It stars several household names, including Snook, Brian Cox, Jeremy Strong, Kieran Culkin and Matthew Macfadyen.

Read more:
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Cox, who stars as Logan Roy, said despite its success, ending the show now was the right thing to do.

He said: “I think it’s great… It’s good television, [it] doesn’t try to be infinite as it sometimes does. It repeats itself. Shows go on far too long. The genius is Jesse Armstrong and also the genius of his writers as well.

“They know there is an element of finite, and they finish it because each season has to top the next season. So, you have to make the fourth season the best season so far.”

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The final trailer for the fourth season of Succession was released earlier this month.

The show will pick up after the Roy siblings’ failed coup and their father’s proposal to sell Waystar RoyCo.

This season will again feature Swedish actor Alexander Skarsgard, playing tech mogul Lukas Matsson – the man set to take over the media empire.

Season 4 of Succession airs in the UK exclusively on Sky Atlantic from 27 March.

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Bruce Willis sings and blows out candles as he celebrates 68th birthday following dementia diagnosis




Bruce Willis sings and blows out candles as he celebrates 68th birthday following dementia diagnosis

Bruce Willis has celebrated his 68th birthday with a song and a cake, surrounded by his family, after it was announced he had been diagnosed with frontotemporal dementia (FTD) earlier this year.

A video shared by his ex-wife Demi Moore showed the Hollywood star singing happy birthday while surrounded by his daughters, Moore and his wife Emma Heming, before blowing out two candles on an apple pie.

Relatives of the Hollywood star said in March 2022 that he would be “stepping away” from his successful career after being diagnosed with aphasia, a condition affecting his cognitive abilities.

Moore, 60, wrote alongside the Instagram post: “Happy birthday, BW! So glad we could celebrate you today. Love you and love our family.

“Thank you to everyone for the love and warm wishes – we all feel them.”

Heming, 44, also shared an emotional post on Instagram, describing the feelings of “sadness” and “grief” she said she experienced as a caregiver to someone with dementia, adding: “I’m really feeling it today on his birthday.”

Becoming tearful as she ended the short video, she thanked fans for their support, saying: “As much as I do it for myself, I do it for you because I know how much you love my husband.”

Starring in more than 100 films over four decades, Willis has appeared in box office hits including Pulp Fiction, 12 Monkeys and The Sixth Sense, earning him fans worldwide.

Read more:
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Hemming also shared a collection of videos and photos of Willis spending time with his family and playing with his children.

She captioned the post: “He is pure love. He is so loved. And I’ll be loving him always. Happy Birthday my sweet.

“My birthday wish for Bruce is that you continue to keep him in your prayers and highest vibrations because his sensitive Pisces soul will feel it.

“Thank you so much for loving and caring for him too.”

Willis has five daughters, sharing his three eldest – Rumer, Scout and Tallulah – with Moore whom he married in 1987, and his younger daughters Mabel and Evelyn with Hemming, who he married in 2009.

Willis and Moore separated in 2000, but remain on good terms.

Rumer marked her father’s birthday by posting the same video of everyone singing happy birthday and wrote: “Happy Birthday Daddio I love you to the moon. You are so cool.”

Scout captioned the video in her post: “Also though, today has been PROFOUNDLY JOYFULLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL !!!!!! HAPPY BW’S BIRTHDAY TO ALL WHO CELEBRATE !!!!”

Tallulah shared a selection of photos of her father from throughout the years on her Instagram, writing: “Happy birthday to my numero uno Bruno !!

“Feeling awash with all the good energies and love headed this Willis way! I love him and he loves me – what a delight!”

FTD is a degenerative brain disorder characterized by deterioration of the frontal and/or temporal lobes, according to the Association of Frontotemporal Deterioration (AFTD).

They list symptoms including uncharacteristic personality changes, apathy, and unexplained struggles with decision-making, speaking or language comprehension are among the most common presenting symptoms.

There are currently no treatments for FTD.

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