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HomeAustraliaALISON BOSHOFF: The BBC makes Coronation Concert stars work for free

ALISON BOSHOFF: The BBC makes Coronation Concert stars work for free


With its spectacular Windsor Castle backdrop and drone light show, last Sunday’s Coronation Concert can hardly be faulted as ambitious.

However, the BBC was unexpectedly stingy with the stars performing and insisted there be no payment for their services.

Take That, Katy Perry, Lionel Richie and Steve Winwood all performed for free.

Instead, the Beeb “contributed” to the expenses. However, celebrities were told that Auntie would not pick up the air travel bill, which meant that it actually took some of those who took the stage to cross the ocean to perform. Both Katy Perry and Lionel Richie would have traveled to the United Kingdom by private jet.

Katy Perry, the fiancé of British actor Orlando Bloom, dazzled the evening in a gold dress from British label Vivienne Westwood

Mark Owen, Howard Donald and Gary Barlow perform on stage at the Coronation Concert

Mark Owen, Howard Donald and Gary Barlow perform on stage at the Coronation Concert

Take That was among the acts performing for free at the King's Coronation concert (Photo: Take That star Mark Owen)

Take That was among the acts performing for free at the King’s Coronation concert (Photo: Take That star Mark Owen)

BBC studios also provided a hair and make-up team to work on all performers. Those who wanted to bring their own stuff – including Katy Perry – had to fund it themselves. Perry, the fiancée of British actor Orlando Bloom, shone on the evening in a gold dress from British label Vivienne Westwood. It was reported that her 50-person entourage, including dancers, stylists and lighting specialists, took up five dressing rooms.

Her mother, Mary, also went with her, and they were allowed to spend the night together in the castle as one of the perks of appearing.

Before the show, Perry said, “I’m really excited. . . I may post a lot because I will be in a castle in real life. This is wild.’

She and Richie were also part of the congregation at Westminster Abbey at the coronation.

The concert was produced by the BBC’s commercial arm, BBC Studios, and was sold to 100 countries around the world.

Meanwhile, I learned that the after-party at Windsor Castle was a hushed affair. Neither the King nor the Queen showed up, as they were filming a skit with Perry and Richie for American Idol.

However, the Duke and Duchess of Edinburgh were there and the event quietly broke up after about an hour of champagne, canapés and polite conversation.

Robson Green killed my pop dream

Denise Welch, 64, said Simon Cowell, then an executive at RCA, met with her about making music

Denise Welch, 64, said Simon Cowell, then an executive at RCA, met with her about making music

Loose woman Denise Welch, whose son Matty Healy (singer of The 1975) is in a relationship with pop star Taylor Swift, says her own attempts to make it in the music business were strangled at birth by Robson Green.

Welch, 64, said Simon Cowell, then an RCA executive, met with her about making music after she sang on the hit TV drama Soldier Soldier.

She told the My Wardrobe Malfunction podcast, “Simon Cowell had said, ‘We’re gonna get you on the Des O’Connor show, we’ll get you on everything,’ then tumbleweed, nothing, nada.”

Years later, her boyfriend and co-star Robson Green, whose successful pop career with fellow co-worker Jerome Flynn had also been masterminded by Cowell, told her that he advised the mogul that he couldn’t handle them all. “Robson said the thought of having two people from the same show on the same label is just a chilling step too far,” she said.

“I think he just thought I would completely overshadow them, which I probably would have.”

The curiously timed visit to London last week from Meghan’s one-time bestie Jessica Mulroney generated a lot of comment. However, it seems that this was just a personal journey and not undertaken for professional reasons.

Stylist Mulroney was said to be in town to help another friend, Sophie Gregoire Trudeau, who was attending the coronation with her husband, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

But a Canadian government source tells me, “Mrs. Gregoire Trudeau did not receive professional styling services for this event.”

As for Mulroney’s close friendship with Meghan, it seems to have withered on the vine. She didn’t even wish the Duchess a happy 40th birthday on social media in August 2021. She shared an Instagram story as she left the UK saying, “You can’t hold a grudge. It doesn’t matter how you get knocked down in life, because it’s going to happen. The point is that you have to get up.’

The little mermaid gets a kick out of you

Longtime Etonian Jonah Hauer-King notes that it was “really weird” playing a Disney prince in the upcoming live-action remake of The Little Mermaid.

Hauer-King, son of London restaurateur Jeremy King, stars as Prince Eric, opposite singer and actress Halle Bailey as Ariel, in the film, which premieres here on May 26. They filmed the water scenes at Pinewood, and Hauer-King says he accidentally kicked Bailey black and blue during the shipwreck sequence. Bailey said, ‘Jonah is so much taller than me, but I had to hold him up, and we kept laughing about these boots he had to wear, because he kept sinking.

And so we asked Robert (Marshall, the director), “You know, you don’t see the boots, do you? So can he just take them off? Because he kept stepping on my toes.’

Hauer-King said, “I was kicking you. Just say it, I was kicking you. I was breaking your shins. It was really bad.’ But the director insisted that the boots remain on.

Hauer-King, who studied theology at Cambridge, will also star in a TV adaptation of The Tattooist Of Auschwitz, set for release in 2024.

Jones found solace in the bottle and The Beatles…

Legendary French singer Zouzou recalls how her ex-boyfriend Brian Jones “drew drugs all day and night — and Scotch and Coke, from morning till night,” in a new documentary about the Rolling Stone.

Stones guitarist Brian Jones pictured with drummer Charlie Watts

Stones guitarist Brian Jones pictured with drummer Charlie Watts

Arena: The Stones & Brian Jones airs Monday on BBC2 and aims to bring back the spotlight on Jones and his role as founder of the band.

The guitarist was found drowned in his swimming pool in July 1969, less than a month after the band fired him for his drug use.

Zouzou, who had a two-year, on-again, off-again relationship with Jones, recalls hating the musical direction the band was taking, thanks to songs written by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards.

“He hated Satisfaction,” she tells documentary maker Nick Broomfield. “He couldn’t stand the music they were making.

“He started a group to do some blues. Rock and roll, he said, it’s vulgar, it’s terrible, it’s nothing.’

She said Jones listened to other people’s music all day long. . . ‘usually the Beatles’.

Ray Donovan may have been canceled as a series three years ago, but star Liev Schreiber says a second TV movie spin-off is in the works — and he’d be more than happy to return to his role as the tough celebrity fixer.

“There’s absolutely no reason why I wouldn’t want to play him again,” says Schreiber, who appeared as the title character for seven series. The US show, which aired in the UK on Sky Atlantic, also starred Elliott Gould and Ian McShane.

Narrow escape for Kate while Mrs. Bean stays away

Rowan Atkinson has been a friend of King Charles for decades, so it was quite a surprise that he wasn’t among the 2,000 guests at the coronation.

The Windsors: Louise Ford as Kate and Hugh Skinner as Wills

The Windsors: Louise Ford as Kate and Hugh Skinner as Wills

But maybe it was for the best. . . as Atkinson’s girlfriend is Louise Ford, most famous for portraying the Princess of Wales in Channel 4’s comedy The Windsors.

Ford, 42, was featured just days before the ceremony as Kate in a Coronation Special episode, where she struggled with issues including how to handle Meghan (“Do I hug her or challenge her to a naked fistfight?” knuckles? ?’). The actress said, “I don’t think I could meet Kate because I’d be too embarrassed!”

Ford (pictured as Kate) and Atkinson have a daughter Isla, five, whom her father refers to as Baby Bean.

She will continue to appear as the Princess of Wales in the show’s next series, which has been running since 2016.

“I think it’s a good indication of how much people enjoy working on it that even though everyone is very busy, people drop things and make time.”

Her Kate is “reliable, well-meaning and kind” – and surrounded by idiots, such as husband William, who launches his “Ite and Abite” plan (Out and About) and struggles with hostilities from brother Harry, who has a tendency to chicken in his garden in California, where there is a statue of Oprah.

Ed Sheeran is having a pretty good week: the singer was acquitted of charges that he ripped off Marvin Gaye’s hit Let’s Get It On in a US court, and his new album Subtract sails easily into the top spot. However, his good friend Ellie Goulding seems to be experiencing the flip side of fame.

The singer-songwriter’s latest album, Higher Than Heaven, entered the charts at No. 1, but after slipping to No. 84 for a week, it has now left the Top 100 altogether.

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