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Director says Vaughan-Lawlor was perfect to play Lane

Thaddeus O'Sullivan, the director of the new documentary-drama Citizen Lane, said that Tom Vaughan-Lawlor was the "number one choice" to play the famed Irish art dealer and philanthropist Hugh Lane, who he describes as "a contrasting, conflicting figure, who could be quite divisive".

The film is an innovative mix of documentary and drama, with contemporary contributions from experts such as historian Professor Roy Roster and art historian Morna O'Neill intercut with period drama scenes, written by Mark O'Halloran, that bring Hugh Lane's story richly to life.

As well as Love/Hate star Vaughan-Lawlor, the cast features an array of top Irish acting talent such as Michael Gambon, Derbhle Crotty, Bosco Hogan, Lesley Conroy and Barry McGovern.

Tom Vaughan-Lawlor as famed art dealer Hugh Lane

Speaking to RTÉ Entertainment, director Thaddeus O'Sullivan (December Bride, Stella Days, Into The Storm) said that Dublin actor Vaughan-Lawlor was "absolutely" the perfect man to play Hugh Lane, an often contradictory and frustrating character.

"Tom was very interested to play something that was very different than before", O'Sullivan said. "He took to it easily, he really found the character interesting – his passion, his passion for communicating through art was almost a replacement for his inability to communicate well with people. I think Tom was fascinated by that."

He added of Hugh Lane's often exasperating personality traits: "Some people found him a pain in the arse because he was determined that you should appreciate what he appreciates, I think you get that in the documentary.

"That’s why Tom was so interested in him because he’s just a great character for an actor to work with."

The director explained that the 41-year-old actor invested a lot of time researching Lane before they began shooting. "We had so little money and so little time, I’d just come off another project, Tom was doing this thing in America The Avengers, and when he came on the set he’d done a huge amount of homework.

"I didn’t really have to do much, just give him the context and wind him up and he was away."

Tom Vaughan-Lawlor pins down Benedict Cumberbatch in the new Avengers movie

O'Sullivan commended Vaughan-Lawlor's scene with acclaimed star of the stage and screen Bosco Hogan, who plays Lane's father in the film.

The director said that Lane had a "not very pleasant upbringing" which comes across in the scene. "You can feel the history of the childhood, you can feel the history behind the lines. It’s a lovely scene, we shot that so fast, the actors just came on and did it. That’s the value of a script that works, that feels rooted", O'Sullivan said.

And what does the filmmaker hope viewers will take home from Citizen Lane?

"I just really had some fun with it and give a sense of what this contrary character was like and admire him for his great passion. I hope audiences will be intrigued by him. I wanted them to be a little annoyed or at least know that people were annoyed by him as well as be intrigued by him and really appreciate his passion and what that did for art in Ireland."

Citzen Lane opens in cinemas in Ireland on Friday, May 18.

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Greene and RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra for Dublin

Jenny Greene and the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra will take to the stage at the Iveagh Gardens next summer.

The phenomenal live act will play the Dublin venue on Sunday, July 7 2019.

Tickets priced €49.50 go on sale on Monday, December 17 at 10am from Ticketmaster and usual outlets nationwide.

DUBLIN! We are so excited to announce @djjennygreene and the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra will take to the stage of Iveagh Gardens this summer on 7 July 2019. 🙌 Tickets go on sale this Monday at 10am! 🎊 pic.twitter.com/nnQlud3WgC

— Aiken Promotions (@aikenpromotions) December 13, 2018

Meanwhile, Greene and the orchestra will return to Live at the Marquee Cork on Friday, June 28 having blown audiences away there last year.

Tickets are on sale now.

TICKETS ON SALE NOW!@djjennygreene, @rte_co & @gemma_sugrue return to @LATMofficial on Friday June 28th!
Get your tickets on @TicketmasterIre RIGHT NOW!https://t.co/dljdnahwkC

— RTÉ 2FM (@RTE2fm) December 13, 2018

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EastEnders set revamp goes £27 million over budget

The BBC's project to rebuild the set of EastEnders will now cost £27 million more than originally planned.

The original budget for the refurbishment of the soap's set was fixed at £59.7 million in 2015, but the revised budget is now £86.7 million.

The completion date has been pushed back two-and-a-half years, from October 2020 to May 2023.

A report from the UK's National Audit Office (NAO) said a lack of expertise, over-optimism regarding costs and delays in construction led to the 45% budget increase for the project.

The BBC said the project was "large" and "complex" and added that there had been "challenges on the way".

The project – which is called E20 – will see the original 1984 set of the soap in Hertfordshire being rebuilt and expanded.

"The show remains one of the BBC's flagship programmes and yet is filming from a set that is no longer fit for purpose"

The set was only supposed to be used for two years but has lasted for 34. This has led to problems with health and safety, continual investments in refurbishments and the inability to shoot in high-definition due to the decaying set.

"The show remains one of the BBC's flagship programmes and yet is filming from a set that is no longer fit for purpose," the BBC said in a statement.

"The new set will be suitable for HD filming for the first time and extend Walford to better reflect modern East End London.

"It's a large, complex project which has already delivered many other vital improvements at BBC Elstree Centre but like any building work of this scale there have been challenges on the way, including construction market issues beyond our control and from working on a brownfield site.

"As the NAO recognises we've already made improvements and are keeping the project under close scrutiny."

The new EastEnders set will include a "Front Lot" replicating Albert Square and the traditional set, and a "Back Lot", which will include new Walford outdoor locations and will be made to look more like the streets of 21st-century London.

The NAO concluded in its report: "The BBC will not be able to deliver value for money on the E20 programme in the way that it envisaged in 2015.

"Disappointingly, some of the reasons for this were built into E20 at the outset and could have been addressed earlier."

EastEnders airs on RTÉ One and BBC One on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays.

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Catch up on EastEnders on the RTÉ Player.

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Bob Dylan and Neil Young announce Irish show

Music legends Bob Dylan and Neil Young have announced a one-off Irish show next July.

Dylan and his band and Young with Promise of the Real will play Kilkenny's Nowlan Park on Sunday, July 14, 2019.

Tickets go on sale next Monday, December 17, at 9:00am from outlets nationwide.

The Director of Aiken Promotions, Peter Aiken, told RTÉ's Morning Ireland that he expects people to travel from overseas in order to see the concert.

Nowlan Park is the venue for what promises to be one of the concerts of 2019

It is one of just two concerts Dylan and Young will headline together this year – they haven't performed together since 1994.

Aiken said the two artists have a proven track record of selling tickets in Ireland and, if you combined the ticket sales of all the shows they have played here, an estimated 800,000 people have gone to see them perform.

"They'll come from everywhere for this, you know," he added.

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Emmerdale star Hardwick proposes to producer Brooks

Emmerdale actress Michelle Hardwick has revealed she proposed to her girlfriend, the soaps's producer Kate Brooks.

The star, who plays Vaness Woodfield on the soap, announced the happy engagement news on Twitter and Instagram.

She posted a black and white photo of them on a balcony with glasses in their hands, writing: "So after months of planning, I popped the question!!!

"She said yes!!!"

Hardwick added emojis of an engagement ring and two brides with the hashtags "#loveislove" and "#noordinaryproposal".

Emmerdale producer Brooks retweeted the message and said: "Thank you for all the love", adding the hashtags "#shedidgood #whataweekend #worthmissingthejunglefor."

Thank you for all the love ❤️ #shedidgood #whataweekend #worthmissingthejunglefor https://t.co/4U6BJuF8Vr

— Kate Brooks (@katebrooks) December 12, 2018

The couple went public with their relationship in October when Hardwick posted pictures of the pair on Instagram on National Coming Out Day.

"It will all work out in the end," she wrote, adding: "#behappy#nationalcomingoutday #loveislove."

Hardwick's on-screen character Vanessa also found happiness recently when she and her girlfriend Charity Dingle (Emma Atkins) finally declared their love for one another.

Michelle Hardwick as Vanessa Woodfield and Emma Atkins as Charity Dingle in Emmerdale

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Keith Richards ‘pulls the plug’ on heavy drinking

Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards has said he has "pulled the plug" on heavy drinking ahead of his 75th birthday.

The guitarist told Rolling Stone he made the decision a year ago.

"I pulled the plug on it. I got fed up with it," he said.

Richard admitted he still enjoys "a glass of wine occasionally, and a beer".

"It was time to quit. Just like all the other stuff," he continued.

Keith Richards praised fellow Stones guitarist Ronnie Wood

When asked if it was an adjustment, Richards replied: "You can call it that, yeah. But I don't notice any difference really – except for I don't drink. I wasn't feeling [right]. I've done it. I didn't want that anymore."

Richards' fellow Rolling Stones guitarist, Ronnie Wood, chose sobriety in 2010.

"He's a pleasure to work with," said Richards. "Much more mellow. He's open to more ideas, whereas before I'd kind of grit my teeth and go, 'He's gonna give me some s*** for saying this'. Now, he'll say, 'That's cool, man'."

The Rolling Stones will embark on the North American leg of their No Filter tour in Miami next April.

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