Stage and screen stars including Sir Kenneth Branagh and Olivia Colman have lent their voices to an audio play of Peter Pan in support of Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH) Children’s Charity.
Author JM Barrie donated the copyright of the works to the hospital in 1929, but with theatres closed and Christmas shows on hold due to Covid-19, its charity is missing out on its annual income from royalties and donations.
The retelling will feature contributions from Sharon D Clarke, Joanna Riding, Bertie Carvel, Jane Horrocks, Jason Flemyng, Clive Rowe and more.
Adapted by Shaun McKenna, the production will also feature an original score by Annabelle Brown.
Barrie’s tale of a free-spirited young boy who never grows up will be presented in four 30-minute chapters, all rehearsed over Zoom and recorded remotely.
Members of the GOSH Young People’s Forum, including patients currently undergoing treatment and former patients, will also perform alongside the professional cast.
Money from the production will go towards the GOSH Charity to fund medical research, equipment, support services for children and families and rebuilding and refurbishment.
Liz Tait, director of fundraising at GOSH Charity, said: “We are so grateful to the many stars who lent their voices to this creative audio adaptation of the timeless story of Peter Pan, alongside children and young people from the hospital whose contribution helped bring this tale to life in such a unique way.
“One hundred per cent of proceeds from the downloads of this adaptation will help us support seriously ill children from across the UK who are cared for at Great Ormond Street Hospital, and we truly hope that the families listening in the lead up to Christmas enjoy the comfort of storytelling together, after the challenging year everyone has faced.
“Thank you to everyone who downloads this adaptation, and to all those involved in its creation.”
The audio play is available on iTunes from Sunday December 20.
Since the global pandemic broke out earlier this year, we’ve seen stars all across the world use their platforms for good – taking part in everything from virtual auctions to show-stopping concerts. But this latest charitable endeavour, featuring some of Britain’s best-loved stars, might just be the most entertaining yet.
Led by actress Maxine Peake, celebrities including Olivia Colman, Dame Emma Thompson and Gemma Arterton, have teamed up to spoof stuntwoman Zoe Bell’s American Boss B**ch Fight YouTube sensation. If you haven’t seen the original, think Cameron Diaz, Drew Barrymore and a whole host of other Hollywood movie stars partaking in a virtual fight.
The brand new British spoof, Keep Fighting, has been shot entirely on smartphones (yes, really!) and whilst the American version is all high impact stunts, this one is well, a little more tongue in cheek. Jodie Whittaker, Sienna Miller and Rita Ora are all among the stars who feature, with each putting on a unique – and rather brilliant – performance!
But of course, it’s not just about the entertainment. The goal is to raise £1 million for the Intensive Care Society – a charity dedicated to supporting staff working in Intensive Care Units. The ICS focuses on educating and supporting the staff who look after patients and with the outbreak of Covid-19, their work is now more crucial than ever.
The inspiring campaign is the brainchild of musician and actor Collette Cooper, who wanted to create something that would raise money for health care workers. She also wrote and directed it, with Mike Hanson on board as executive producer and Pip Gill of Pip Gill Management co-producing.
“I lost a close friend in March and then lockdown happened, so it was a very strange time,” Collette says. “I knew I wanted to do something for the NHS, but I didn’t know how. Then my friend sent me the American Boss B**ch Fight video and the idea just came to me. I thought, ‘This is it!’”.
Collette explains that she was inspired by the comedy series Shameless and the long-running Carry On films and wanted to create something “very British and very funny”. So she set to work, gathering talent with the help of her colleagues and friends, and relentlessly sending out scripts to them over the course of six months. Her highlights? “Everyone is so good in it, but Kelly Hoppen and Alan Carr still make me howl” she says.
But what it’s really about, she explains, is helping make a difference. “The ICS is an incredible charity and I hope it will raise awareness during such a difficult time. I really hope we can raise fulfil our mission and raise the £1 million because they need the extra support right now.”
For a sneak peek of the action, watch the trailer above. The full campaign will go live on Wednesday November 11 at 7.30pm, and you can watch here for as little as £5. All proceeds will go to the Intensive Care Society. Branded face masks designed by Gresham Blake are also available, with proceeds going to the ICS.
Find out more about the ICS and support its important work HERE.
Royal duties took a back seat as Olivia Colman made a welcome appearance at a fundraising event in London‘s Knightsbridge on Monday evening.
The Oscar winning actress will return to TV as Queen Elizabeth II when the forthcoming third season of historical drama The Crown airs on Netflix.
But filming commitments on behalf of the hugely popular show, which charts the Queen’s rise to power as head of the British monarchy, were put to one side while Olivia, 45, paid a visit to renowned auction house Bonhams.
The star was making an appearance at the Art for Eve reception as the charity kicks off the third year of its arts fundraising programme, which has so far raised more than £400,000.
Posing for photos as she made her way inside, Olivia looked typically elegant in a tasteful white evening dress and black leather boots.
The actress added to her understated look with a stylish camel coat, while a distinctive black lather handbag proved to be her only visible accessory.
Other stars attending the event included comedienne Jo Brand, fashion entrepreneur Noelle Reno and reality star Megan Barton-Hanson, who will soon strip off for The All New Monty 2019: Who Bares Wins on behalf of cancer awareness.
The Eve Appeal is currently the only UK charity raising funds for research into all five gynaecological cancers – womb, ovarian, cervical, vulval and vaginal.
Monday’s reception will be be followed by an auction on May 2, during which guests can bid on 13 lots including artworks by the likes of Grayson Perry, Bambi, Julian Opie and Patrick Hughes.
Olivia is currently hard at work on the new series of The Crown, which covers the period from 1964-1970 when the Queen’s son Charles was between the ages of 16 and 22.
She will join Tobias Menzies, who plays Prince Phillip, and Helena Bonham Carter, who plays Princess Margaret, with the cast reenacting pivotal royal moments from the past 50 years.
These include Prince Charles and Camilla Parker-Bowles (Emerald Fennell) flirting at a polo match in 1975, and the future king’s investiture ceremony in 1969.
The Favourite actress revealed how a transplant gave classmate Pip “hope in the darkness”.
Colman urges the public to sign up to the charity’s stem cell register, which she and husband Ed Sinclair joined in 2008, so that others have a chance of living. In the film, she says: “Sadly my friend Pip didn’t make it, but together we can make sure more people like Pip do make it. We want more people on the register. It’s just a little swab of the mouth … Without you there is no cure.”
Pip’s only chance of survival had been a donor who could provide a perfect match, according to Colman. Soon a donor was found in Australia. “Anthony Nolan did an amazing thing,” Colman said. She became patron of Anthony Nolan in July last year.
About 2,000 people in the UK need a stem cell transplant every year. Donations from young men and people with black, Asian and ethnic minority backgrounds are needed in particular.
Anthony Nolan’s chief executive Henny Braund said: “It is wonderful to have Olivia’s support and I am grateful to her for sharing this heartfelt story. This will help us continue to give hope to thousands of people every year.”