Day Four of our exclusive extracts from the best Christmas stories

From Horrid Henry’s evil plot to kidnap Santa to the Christmas Tree Fairy: Day Four of our exclusive extracts from the best stories to tell YOUR children this festive season

A fairy can make your wish come true

The Christmas Tree Fairy by Enid Blyton 

Enid Blyton is one of the most popular children’s authors of all time — her books have been translated into 90 languages. Although she’s best known for series such as Noddy, The Famous Five and The Secret Seven, she wrote hundreds of short stories, with magic at their hearts, for younger children. Here, a Christmas fairy rewards those who believe in her . . .

Once upon a time, old Dame Trit-trot went to market and bought a big spray of holly berries to make her house pretty. And when she got home, what did she find fast asleep in the middle of the prickly spray, but a small fairy, wrapped in a cobweb blanket!

Now Dame Trit-trot did not believe in fairies at all, so, of course, she did not think this was a fairy.

‘It’s a doll!’ she said. ‘How strange! Well, I never saw such a dainty doll before! It will do for my granddaughter Jane.’

Enid Blyton wrote hundreds of short stories, with magic at their hearts, for younger children. Here, a Christmas fairy rewards those who believe in her

So she wrapped the fairy in white tissue-paper and put her in a cardboard box. She took it to Jane the next day, and Jane opened the box and unwrapped the tissue-paper.

Jane’s mother peeped into the box and saw the sleeping fairy there. ‘Oh!’ she cried, ‘what a beautiful little doll! It has wings like a fairy.’

‘It is a fairy,’ said Jane, who believed in fairies, and knew one when she saw one.

‘Don’t be silly, darling,’ said her mother. ‘There are no such things as fairies!’

‘But Mother, this is a real, live one!’ cried Jane. ‘It is, it is! Look at her wings! Look at her tiny little nails!’

‘What funny things children say!’ said Granny Trit-trot. So Jane said no more. But she knew quite well that the doll was a real live fairy, fast asleep.

She carried the box away to her nursery and took out the sleeping fairy very carefully. She put her into her doll’s bed and covered her up well.

How lovely the fairy looked, lying in her tiny bed, her golden hair fluffed out on the little pillow, and one of her small hands outside the sheet. Jane was so happy and excited. When would the fairy wake up?

Enid Blyton is best known for series such as Noddy, The Famous Five and The Secret Seven

‘Jane! Jane! Here’s John come to see you!’ Mother called up the stairs — and Jane heard John running up. She ran to meet him, her face red with excitement.

‘John! Come here! I’ve got a real live fairy asleep in my doll’s bed! Look!’

She took John to the bed and he looked down at the sleeping fairy. Then he laughed. ‘That’s only a doll!’ he said. ‘I don’t believe in fairies, Jane. That’s a doll — you can’t make me believe it’s a fairy!’

Jane said no more. She knew that Angela, her friend, believed in fairies, so that afternoon she made Angela come in from her walk and see the doll.

‘Jane! It’s a real live fairy! said Angela, in delight. ‘Oh Jane, how lucky you are! How lucky!’

‘Isn’t it funny, Angela, people who don’t believe in fairies think she’s just a doll,’ said Jane.

‘So they only see a doll lying there — but you and I, who do believe in fairies, can see quite well that she really is a sleeping fairy! Oh I do wonder when she will wake up!’

Every day Jane went to the doll’s bed to see if the fairy had awakened — but not until the end of the day of the Christmas party came did the little fairy open her eyes!

She had had such a long sleep! How surprised she was to find herself tucked up cosily on a soft little bed!

‘Oh!’ cried Jane, when she saw the fairy sit up and rub her eyes. ‘I knew you were a fairy and not a doll!’

The two talked together, and Jane told the fairy that her mother had said it would be nice to put the fairy at the top of the Christmas tree that evening.

‘You see, Mother thinks you are only a fairy doll,’ said Jane. ‘She doesn’t believe in fairies. Will you mind standing at the top of the tree, fairy?’

‘Not a bit,’ said the fairy. ‘And I’ll give each child who believes in me a wish to wish — one that will come true!

‘So you must tell all those who don’t believe in fairies to go out of the room, Jane — and I will fly down and hear every child’s wish.

‘And then, dear Jane, I must fly away. This is a dear soft little bed, but I have my own home, you know. I will often come and see you again.’

Enid Blyton (pictured) is one of the most popular children’s authors of all time — her books have been translated into 90 languages

‘Ssh!’ said Jane. ‘Here comes Mother.’

Jane’s mother carried the fairy doll to the Christmas tree and

put her at the top. How pretty she looked there!

‘It’s the loveliest fairy doll I’ve ever seen!’ said Mother.

In the middle of the party, when the Christmas tree was shining with candles, Jane clapped her hands and made everyone quiet.

‘Please, will you do something for me? she said.

‘Will everyone who doesn’t believe in fairies go out of the room — and all those who do believe in them stay here with me? I have a secret to show to them!’ 

All the grown-ups except Aunt Susan went out. Two little girls and three boys went out, too. Alan, Mollie, Angela, Trixie, Jack and Jane were left.

‘I know your secret!’ cried Jack. ‘It’s the doll up there! She’s a Christmas tree fairy — a real live one! I saw her smiling at us just now!’

‘Yes — that’s my secret!’ said Jane. ‘She is going to fly down to each of you and give you a wish. Keep still and think what you would like most!’ 

The Christmas Tree Fairy is taken from Christmas Tales by Enid Blyton, published by Hodden Children’s at £6.99

Each child stood still — and the little fairy flew down on her silvery wings. She listened to every child’s wish and nodded her golden head. ‘It will come true!’ she said.

And then she flew out of the window and disappeared into the dark night. ‘She has gone back to her home.’ said Jane.

When the other children and grown-ups came back, they were surprised to see no doll at the top of the Christmas tree. ‘Where is she?’ they cried.

‘She has flown out of the window!’ said Jane.

But, do you know, they didn’t believe her.

Do tell me — would you have been outside the door — or inside — if you had been at Jane’s Christmas party?

  • The Christmas Tree Fairy is taken from Christmas Tales by Enid Blyton, published by Hodden Children’s at £6.99. To order a copy for £5.59 (20 per cent discount, visit mailshop.co.uk/books or call 0844 571 0640. P&P is free on orders over £15. Spend £30 on books and get FREE premium delivery. Offer valid until December 17, 2018.

IT’S A CRACKER

What did the stamp say to the Christmas card? 

Stick with me and we’ll go places! 

My evil plot to kidnap Father Christmas 

Horrid Henry’s Ambush by Francesca Simon 

Francesca Simon published her first Horrid Henry book in 1994 and has since gone on to write more than 50 story books about the troublesome boy and his arch-enemy, Perfect Peter, his younger brother. Here, Henry hatches a plot to capture Father Christmas and hold him hostage until he gets all the presents he wants — instead of the dull ones chosen for him . . .

It was Christmas Eve at last. Every minute felt like an hour. Every hour felt like a year. How could Henry live until Christmas morning when he could get his hands on all his loot?

Mum and Dad were baking frantically in the kitchen.

Perfect Peter sat by the twinkling Christmas tree scratching out ‘Silent Night’ over and over again on his cello.

‘Can’t you play something else?’ snapped Henry.

Here, Henry hatches a plot to capture Father Christmas and hold him hostage until he gets all the presents he wants — instead of the dull ones chosen for him

‘No,’ said Peter, sawing away. ‘This is the only Christmas carol I know. You can move if you don’t like it.’

‘You move,’ said Henry. Peter ignored him.

‘Siiiiiiiii—lent Niiiiight,’ screeched the cello.

AAARRRGH.

Horrid Henry lay on the sofa with his fingers in his ears, double-checking his choices from the Toy Heaven catalogue. Big red ‘X’s’ appeared on every page, to help you-know-who remember all the toys he absolutely had to have. Oh please, let everything he wanted leap from its pages and into Santa’s sack. After all, what could be better than looking at a huge glittering stack of presents on Christmas morning, and knowing that they were all for you?

Oh please let this be the year when he finally got everything he wanted!

His letter to Father Christmas couldn’t have been clearer.

Dear Father Christmas,

I want loads and loads and loads of cash, to make up for the puny amount you put in my stocking last year.

And a Robomatic Supersonic Space Howler Deluxe plus attachments would be great, too. I have asked for this before, you know!!! And the Terminator Gladiator fighting kit.

I need lots more Day-Glo slime and comics and a Mutant Max poster and the new Zapatron Hip-Hop Dinosaur. This is you last chance.

PS. Satsumas are NOT presents!!!!!

PPS. Peter asked me to tell you to give me all his presents as he doesn’t want any. 

How hard could it be for Father Christmas to get this right? He’d asked for the Space Howler last year, and it never arrived. Instead, Henry got . . . vests. And handkerchiefs. And books. And clothes. And a — bleuccccck — jigsaw puzzle and a skipping rope and a tiny supersoaker instead of the mega-sized one he’d specified. Yuck! Father Christmas obviously needed Henry’s help.

‘How hard could it be for Father Christmas to get this right? He’d asked for the Space Howler last year, and it never arrived. Instead, Henry got . . . vests’


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Father Christmas is getting old and doddery, thought Henry. Maybe he hasn’t got my letters. Maybe he’s lost his reading glasses. Or — what a horrible thought — maybe he was delivering Henry’s presents by mistake to some other Henry. Eeeek!

Some yucky, undeserving Henry was probably right now this minute playing with Henry’s Terminator Gladiator sword, shield, axe and trident. And enjoying his Intergalactic Samurai Gorillas. It was so unfair!

And then suddenly Henry had a brilliant, spectacular idea. Why had he never thought of this before? All his present problems would be over. Presents were far too important to leave to Father Christmas.

Since he couldn’t be trusted to bring the right gifts, Horrid Henry had no choice. He would have to ambush Father Christmas.

Yes!

He’d hold Father Christmas hostage with his Goo-Shooter, while he rummaged in his present sack for all the loot he was owed. Maybe Henry would keep the lot. Now that would be fair.

Let’s see, thought Horrid Henry. Father Christmas was bound to be a slippery character, so he’d need to booby-trap his bedroom. When you-know-who sneaked in to fill his stocking at the end of the bed, Henry could leap up and nab him. Father Christmas had a lot of explaining to do for all those years of stockings filled with satsumas and walnuts instead of chocolate and cold hard cash.

So, how best to capture him?

Henry considered.

A bucket of water above the door.

A skipping rope stretched tight across the entrance, guaranteed to trip up intruders.

A web of string criss-crossed from bedpost to door and threaded with bells to ensnare night-time visitors. And let’s not forget strategically scattered whoopee cushions.

His plan was foolproof.

Loot, here I come, thought Horrid Henry.

Francesca Simon published her first Horrid Henry book in 1994 and has since gone on to write more than 50 story books about the troublesome boy and his arch-enemy, Perfect Peter, his younger brother

Horrid Henry sat up in bed, his Goo-Shooter aimed at the half-open door where a bucket of water balanced. All his traps were laid. No one was getting in without Henry knowing about it. Any minute now, he’d catch Father Christmas and make him pay up.

Henry waited. And waited. And waited. His eyes started to feel heavy and he closed them for a moment. There was a rustling at Henry’s door. Oh my God, this was it! Henry lay down and pretended to be asleep.

Cr-eeeek. Cr-eeeek.

Horrid Henry reached for his Goo-Shooter.

A huge shape loomed in the doorway.

Henry braced himself to attack.

‘Doesn’t he look sweet when he’s asleep?’ whispered the shape.

‘What a little snugglechops,’ whispered another.

Sweet? Snugglechops? Horrid Henry’s fingers itched to let Mum and Dad have it with both barrels.

POW! SPLAT!

Henry could see it now. Mum covered in green goo. Dad covered in green goo. Mum and Dad snatching the Goo-Shooter and wrecking all his plans and throwing out all his presents and banning him from TV for ever . . . hmmmn. His fingers felt a little less itchy.

Henry lowered his Goo-Shooter. The bucket of water wobbled above the door.

Yikes! What if Mum and Dad stepped into his Santa traps? All his hard work— ruined.

‘I’m awake,’ snarled Henry.

The shapes stepped back. The water stopped wobbling.

‘Go to sleep!’ hissed Mum.

‘Go to sleep!’ hissed Dad.

‘What are you doing here?’ demanded Henry.

‘Checking on you,’ said Mum. ‘Now go to sleep or Father Christmas will never come.’

He’d better, thought Henry.

Horrid Henry woke with a jolt.

AAARRGGH! He’d fallen asleep. How could he? Panting and gasping Henry switched on the light. Phew. His traps were intact. His stocking was empty. Father Christmas hadn’t been yet.

Wow, was that lucky. That was incredibly lucky. Henry lay back, his heart pounding.

And then Horrid Henry had a terrible thought.

‘Father Christmas was bound to be a slippery character, so he’d need to booby-trap his bedroom’

What if Father Christmas had decided to be spiteful and avoid Henry’s bedroom this year? Or what if he’d played a sneaky trick on Henry and filled a stocking downstairs instead? Nah. No way.

But wait. When Father Christmas came to Rude Ralph’s house he always filled the stockings downstairs. Now Henry came to think of it, Moody Margaret always left her stocking downstairs too, hanging from the fireplace, not from the end of her bed, like Henry did.

Horrid Henry looked at the clock.

It was past midnight. Mum and Dad had forbidden him to go downstairs till morning, on pain of having all his presents taken away and no telly all day.


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But this was an emergency. He’d creep downstairs, take a quick peek to make sure he hadn’t missed Father Christmas, then be back in bed in a jiffy.

No one will ever know, thought Horrid Henry. Henry tiptoed round the whoopee cushions, leaped over the criss-cross threads, stepped over the skipping rope and carefully squeezed through his door so as not to disturb the bucket of water. Then he crept downstairs.

Sneak

Sneak

Sneak

Horrid Henry shone his torch over the sitting room. Father Christmas hadn’t been. The room was exactly as he’d left it that evening.

Except for one thing. Henry’s light illuminated the Christmas tree, heavy with chocolate santas and chocolate bells and chocolate reindeer. Mum and Dad must have hung them on the tree after he’d gone to bed.

Horrid Henry looked at the chocolates cluttering up the Christmas tree. Shame, thought Horrid Henry, the way those chocolates spoil the view of all those lovely decorations. You could barely see the baubles and tinsel he and Peter had worked so hard to put on.

‘Hi, Henry,’ said the chocolate santas. ‘Don’t you want to eat us?’

‘Go on, Henry,’ said the chocolate bells. ‘You know you want to.’

‘What are you waiting for, Henry?’ urged the chocolate reindeer.

What indeed? After all, it was Christmas.

Henry took a chocolate santa or three from the side, and then another two from the back. Hmmn, boy, was that great chocolate, he thought, stuffing them into his mouth.

Oops. Now the chocolate santas looked a little unbalanced.

Better take a few from the front and from the other side, to even it up, thought Henry. Then no one will notice there are a few chocolates missing.

Henry gobbled and gorged and guzzled. Wow, were those chocolates yummy!!!

The tree looks a bit bare, thought Henry a little while later. Mum had such eagle eyes she might notice that a few — well, all — of the chocolates were missing.

He’d better hide all those gaps with a few extra baubles. And, while he was improving the tree, he could swap that stupid fairy for Terminator Gladiator.

Henry piled extra decorations on to the branches.

Soon the Christmas tree was so covered in baubles and tinsel there was barely a hint of green. No one would notice the missing chocolates. Then Henry stood on a chair, dumped the fairy, and, standing on his tippy-tippy toes, hung Terminator Gladiator at the top where he belonged. Perfect, thought Horrid Henry, jumping off the chair and stepping back to admire his work. Absolutely perfect. Thanks to me this is the best tree ever. There was a terrible creaking sound. Then another. Then suddenly . . .

CRASH!

The Christmas tree toppled over.

Horrid Henry’s heart stopped. Upstairs he could hear Mum and Dad stirring.

‘Oy! Who’s down there?’ shouted Dad. RUN!!! thought Horrid Henry. Run for your life!!

Horrid Henry ran like he had never run before, up the stairs to his room before Mum and Dad could catch him. Oh please let him get there in time. His parents’ bedroom door opened just as Henry dashed inside his room. He’d made it. He was safe.

SPLASH!

The bucket of water spilled all over him.

TRIP!

Horrid Henry fell over the skipping rope.

CRASH! SMASH! RING! RING!

jangled the bells.

PLLLLLLL!

belched the whoopee cushions.

‘What is going on in here?’ shrieked Mum, glaring.

‘Nothing,’ said Horrid Henry, as he lay sprawled on the floor soaking wet and tangled up in threads and wires and rope. ‘I heard a noise downstairs so I got up to check,’ he added innocently.

‘Tree’s fallen over,’ called Dad. ‘Must have been overloaded. Don’t worry, I’ll sort it.’

‘Get back to bed, Henry,’ said Mum wearily. ‘And don’t touch your stocking till morning.’

Henry looked. And gasped. His stocking was stuffed and bulging. That mean old sneak, thought Horrid Henry indignantly. How did he do it? How had he escaped the traps?

Watch out Father Christmas, thought Horrid Henry. I’ll get you next year.

  • Horrid Henry’s Ambush is taken from Horrid Henry’s Cracking Christmas by Francesca Simon, published by Orion Children’s Books at £6.99. Text © Francesca Simon. To order a copy for £5.59 (20 per cent discount), visit mailshop.co.uk/books or call 0844 571 0640. P&P is free on orders over £15. Offer valid until December 17, 2018.

IT’S A CRACKER

What does Father Christmas do when his elves misbehave? 

He gives them the sack!  

Why Christmas is happiest in a messy house

It’s Not Fair by Bel Mooney 

In addition to being the Daily Mail’s advice columnist and an experienced writer and broadcaster, Bel Mooney is a bestselling children’s author. Her best-known series of books are about a little girl called Kitty, which is the name of Bel’s own daughter. In this story, Kitty learns a valuable lesson about the real meaning of Christmas . . .

Christmas was the best day of the whole year, of course, and this time it seemed better than ever. Kitty’s stocking had been crammed with funny little toys and jokes.

After breakfast, when they opened their main presents, Kitty was so pleased. Mum and Dad had what she wanted — a huge art set, with lots of different paints, paper of all sizes, felt-tips, crayons, pencils and rubbers — all packed into a lovely carrying case.

She had plenty of books too, because she loved reading, and a lovely long scarf from Gran, in rainbow colours.

Bel Mooney’s best-known series of books are about a little girl called Kitty, which is the name of her own daughter

Dan gave her three more soldiers and horses for her castle. She was very happy.

Kitty and Daniel were sorry about one thing, though.

This year Mum and Dad had arranged to go to Christmas dinner with Aunty Susan and Uncle Joe. That wasn’t so bad, although they said they would rather have their own turkey.

But going to that house meant something that made them both moan.

‘Melissa,’ said Daniel, making a rude face.

‘Yuk,’ said Kitty.

They had to leave all the lovely clutter of wrapping paper and ribbons and glittery pom-poms, and go out.

‘Aunty Susan’s house is so tidy,’ groaned Kitty in the car.

‘Just like Melissa. Maybe she vacuum-cleans Melissa when she does the carpets,’ grinned Dan.

Kitty giggled.

‘That’s enough,’ said Dad.

There was a delicious smell of food when Aunty Susan opened the door. They all said Happy Christmas and hugged each other, although Daniel and Kitty ducked out of hugging their cousin.

‘Why don’t all the children play upstairs till dinner’s ready?’ said Uncle Joe.

But Dan asked if he could practice on his new skateboard on the garden path, and so Kitty was left with Melissa.

In this story, Kitty learns a valuable lesson about the real meaning of Christmas

‘Don’t you like to wear your best dress on Christmas Day,’ asked Melissa, ‘instead of old jeans?’

They aren’t old, they’re my new cords,’ said Kitty indignantly. ‘And this is a new jumper.’ It wasn’t a good start.

‘Oh, well, I suppose you’d like to see all my presents,’ said Melissa, throwing open her bedroom door.

Kitty gasped.

There was a toy cooker with plastic pots and pans, and a multi-way pram for Melissa’s dolls, and a little pink wardrobe crammed with doll’s clothes on hangers, and a hairstyling set with pink rollers, brushes and combs, and a funny dummy-head to work on.

‘Who gave you all those?’ asked Kitty.

‘Mummy and Daddy. And I’ve got lots of ordinary things like paints and books from aunties and uncles.’

‘Gosh,’ said Kitty

‘What did you get?’ asked Melissa.

Kitty told her.

‘Is that all?’ asked her cousin.

Suddenly Kitty felt like a balloon that has gone pop.

The turkey tasted delicious, and the crackers were fun, and Aunty Susan and Uncle Joe gave her a big noticeboard in the shape of an elephant for her bedroom. ‘So you can pin up your lists,’ said Aunty Susan, picking up the paper right away and folding it neatly.

‘Then you won’t forget things,’ smiled Uncle Joe. Everybody laughed. Except Kitty.

At last it was time to go home. Kitty was glad to get back to their own, comfortable, messy house. But Mum and Dad could tell that something was bothering her.

She sat by the Christmas tree, looking up at the coloured lights. And one thought was going through her mind — something so bad she wouldn’t have told it to anyone. It’s not fair she’s got more presents than me. That was what Kitty thought.

J ust then Dan came up. ‘What did you think of Melissa’s stuff then?’ he asked.

‘She had lots of nice presents,’ said Kitty, in a small voice.

Daniel threw back his head and laughed.

‘What? All those nimsy-mimsy things in pink plastic for dolly-wollies? Not your sort of thing, Kit. You’ve got more taste.’

Bel Mooney’s best-known series of books are about a little girl called Kitty, which is the name of her own daughter

And Kitty realised he was right. There wasn’t a single thing in Melissa’s room that she would have wanted. Not one.

She stared up at the tree again. It had a warm, Christmassy smell. Already, showers of little pine needles fell down when you touched it. Aunty Susan had an artificial tree because she said the real ones made too much mess. And they didn’t have paperchains in each room, or a Christmas candle in the window, dropping wax all over the place, but giving a warming glow.

Kitty grinned slowly.

‘Our tree is much better than Melissa’s tree,’ she said.

And Melissa might have said, ‘Not fair!’

IT’S A CRACKER

Who’s Rudolph’s favourite pop star?

Beyon-sleigh!  

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‘Four Weddings and a Funeral’ Cast Brought Back Together for Red Nose Day Sequel

AceShowbiz
The cast and creators of beloved British rom-com “Four Weddings and a Funeral” are reuniting for a short sequel to raise money for charity.

The 1994 film’s screenwriter Richard Curtis is bringing together its stars again to raise money for Comic Relief, the aid organisation he founded with funnyman Lenny Henry in 1985.


The new instalment will pick up the story of Hugh Grant‘s bumbling Englishman Charles 25 years after the original, and will premiere in the U.K. as part of next March’s (2019) Red Nose Day event. It will also air during the American version of the comedy telethon in May.

Speaking about the new movie, Richard said in a press release: “We’re all definitely older – I suspect no wiser. It’s been really enjoyable working out what’s happened to all the characters – and now they get back together for the fifth wedding. Where, as usual, not everything will go as planned.”

As well as Hugh, its director Mike Newell will also return, as will other castmembers Andie MacDowell, Kristin Scott Thomas, John Hannah, Rowan Atkinson, and Anna Chancellor.

The original followed Charles as he navigated his friends’ nuptials and found love with elusive American beauty Andie MacDowell.

Fans of the film can also enter two prize draws by donating $12.70 (£10) to Comic Relief, with one winner getting the chance to join the cast for breakfast during filming next week (end December 16) and the other bagging a walk-on part in the movie itself.

For the last Red Nose Day in 2017 Richard brought back another of his rom-com creations, as he reunited the cast of his 2003 film “Love Actually” – which again included Hugh.

The U.K. TV special will take place on March 15.

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Get Your Free Tickets to Our ‘Aquaman’ IMAX Screening In Los Angeles

WB

DC fans? Christmas has come a little early for you.
Moviefone and Warner Bros. will give our Los Angeles-based readers a chance to score free tickets to see “Aquaman” on IMAX (“My man!”). The screen will be on December 10, at 7:30pm.
This free event is first-come, first-serve, and will be at the AMC Burbank — one of the best and most ideal theaters to see this DCEU epic for the first time on the big screen. We’ve seen James Wan’s highly-anticipated blockbuster, and we guarantee you have never seen a comic book movie like this before.Click here to RSVP for tickets.
The screening is expected to sell out fast, so make sure you line up for it at least an hour prior to showtime.
Hope to see you there!“Aquaman” hits theaters everywhere Dec. 21.

Aquaman

Aquaman finds himself caught between a surface world that ravages the sea and the underwater Atlanteans who are ready to revolt. Read More

Watch at Flix Brewhouse Round RockFri, Dec 14, 20187:00pmGet More Showtimes
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Jake Gyllenhaal Posts His First Ever Instagram! (And It’s All About His ‘Mysterious’ Spider-

Finally! A friendly neighborhood Jake Gyllenhaal!

The Oscar nominee has given in and joined Instagram, and if his first post is any indication, we expect a ton of adorableness over the coming months.

Jake jumped right into the deep end with a video seemingly confirming he was playing the villain in the next Spider-Man movie, Far From Home.

Ch-ch-check it out (below)!

View this post on Instagram

I just realized I’m not playing Spider-Man.

A post shared by Jake Gyllenhaal (@jakegyllenhaal) on

View this post on Instagram

I just realized I’m not playing Spider-Man.

A post shared by Jake Gyllenhaal (@jakegyllenhaal) on

View this post on Instagram

I just realized I’m not playing Spider-Man.

A post shared by Jake Gyllenhaal (@jakegyllenhaal) on

Ha!

Marvel Studios and Sony have been tight with details about the sequel, understandable considering Spidey was last seen  dying in the arms of Tony Stark in Avengers: Infinity War.

So this is actually the most concrete evidence Gyllenhaal will be playing Mysterio, a character who — in the comics at least — uses special effects to fake super powers and throw Peter Parker off balance.

We can’t wait to see what Jake does with the role AND what he does with his new account!

***fingers crossed for shirtless post-workout pics***

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Liam from Tracy Beaker Returns is back on TV and he looks completely different

Liam was played by actor Richard Wisker, who's now back on our screens – and looking pretty different.

In Tracy Beaker Returns, we saw Tracy (Dani Harmer) return to her former care home, which she'd dubbed The Dumping Ground.

Liam was one of the current residents. He was sarcastic and loved pulling pranks on people, but was loyal to those he loved.

As well as his role in the popular series, Richard also presented CBBC's Friday Download and appeared in Tracy spin-offs Dani's Castle and The Dumping Ground.

But things have changed quite a bit since then.


Now 23, Liam has nabbed a part in BBC sitcom Millie Inbetween. He's also set to star in upcoming drama Supernova.

Not only that, but a one-off special of The Dumping Ground is airing this Friday on CBBC.

All grown up, Liam has swapped his boyish haircut for a cool quiff.

He's also developed an edgy sense of style, having walked the red carpet in printed jackets and casual suits.

In fact, with a stud earring in one ear, there's barely a Trace of his old look.

We're looking forward to seeing what he does next.


Meanwhile, Harry Potter's Dudley Dursley is all grown up – and he looks so dapper.

Scarlett Moffatt looks completely different in a throwback graduation picture from five years ago.

And what happened to the children from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang? Was life Truly Scrumptious for Jeremy and Jemima Potts?

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See Kenneth Branagh as Shakespeare in All Is True trailer

All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players — and these days, the player most associated with William Shakespeare might just be Kenneth Branagh.

With his film adaptations of Henry V, Much Ado About Nothing, Hamlet, and As You Like It, plus a rich assortment of stage credits, Branagh has become nearly as synonymous with the Bard as quill pens, the Globe Theatre, and Stratford-upon-Avon. Now, the actor and director is taking things a step further by portraying Shakespeare in a new movie, and EW has an exclusive first look at the trailer (above).

In All Is True, Branagh portrays Shakespeare in his final years, a playwright who has retired and returned home to Stratford to reconnect with the family he left behind some 20 years ago. In the trailer, we see a witty, wry, world-weary Will finding his footing in retirement. Judi Dench also stars as Anne Hathaway, the abandoned wife who has run her household in her husband’s absence and welcomes him home with attendant ferocity and pity.

Branagh tells EW that what drew him to the project, as both actor and director, was the opportunity to make “a connection between the man and the work.” After spending countless years enmeshed in the words and plays of the Bard of Avon, All Is True was a chance “to find Shakespeare the man behind Shakespeare the work,” he says. “[Shakespeare] is the master of observation about the human spirit, the human psyche, the human soul, and yet one of the things that has frustrated and tantalized people is a distance from who the man might be himself.”

That distance meant grappling with a question that has riled scholars and actors for centuries: Who wrote the plays attributed to one William Shakespeare? Here, the answer is definitively Shakespeare, a glovemaker turned poet from a country town. The film winkingly nods to the authorship debates, but Branagh says it was more about exploring the humanity at the heart of the writer than anything else.

“This not an attack on those who believe the plays were written by someone else,” he says, noting that his close friends Derek Jacobi and Mark Rylance fall into that camp. “It is a celebration of one version of Shakespeare that I believe emerges strongly from the plays that has this tremendously compassionate, tremendously familiar, even domestic dimension. As esoteric and rarefied as his work could be, and as existentially, philosophically deep and expansive as it could be, there’s also a deeply human individual at the center of them.”

Part of the primary tension of Shakespeare’s life and biography, which is on display in All Is True, is the genius of his work in contrast to his outright ordinary origins and concerns. “People want their geniuses to be mad, bad, and dangerous to know,” says Branagh, citing the likes of Lord Byron and Percy Bysshe Shelley as examples. “They find it difficult to resolve and equate genius with a man who’s interested in having a mortgage.”

For Branagh, that very paradox unlocked his understanding of the character. “For a man of such exotic imagination, his very ordinary preoccupations [were] a surprise,” he says. In doing research for the film, which included talking with scholars at the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust in Stratford and reading Charles Nicholl’s The Shakespeare Circle, Branagh was struck by repeated mentions of the playwright as “gentle” in writings by his contemporaries, in contrast to the playwright’s obsession with status.

It’s this bundle of contradictions that Branagh believes accounts for Shakespeare’s brilliance. “The genius of Shakespeare, the film tries to suggest, is because his own flawed humanity was the very laboratory in which he worked,” the filmmaker muses. “When he was able to talk about every kind of human vice or foible or passion — jealousy, unrequited love, ambition — it would seem to suggest a Shakespeare in which all of those things has been experienced.”

As evidenced in the trailer, the characters in All Is True speak in a more modern parlance, sans heavy use of “thee” and “thou” and without the cadences of Shakespeare’s beloved iambic pentameter. Branagh says that was essential for tapping into the ordinariness of Shakespeare’s life. “I wanted it to be as direct and real and personal an account of Shakespeare as possible,” he says. “To feel we were definitely in the company of living, breathing people who spoke and sounded much like us.”

While the film tackles many mysteries about Shakespeare’s life, from the mundane (why did he bequeath his wife his “second-best bed”?) to the monumental (how did his only son, Hamnet, die?), these are merely artistic interpretations — ones the film posits could all be true, depending on whose point of view you consider. But it’s the not knowing that keeps Branagh coming back to the Bard again and again. “I do enjoy the mystery of it,” he says. “I enjoy the elusiveness of Shakespeare in the work itself. Some people find it frustrating. It’s like holding a fish. You can’t ever quite capture what Shakespeare is.”

All Is True will play a one-week engagement at Los Angeles’ Laemmle Monica Film Center beginning Dec. 21. A wider release date is still to be announced. Watch the exclusive trailer above.

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  • Kenneth Branagh’s Shakespeare biopic All Is True sets awards-qualifying release date

All Is True

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We Finally Know How Hiram Lodge Connects To The Gargoyle King On ‘Riverdale’

Spoilers ahead for Riverdale Season 3, Episode 7. After weeks of sporadic sightings of the Gargoyle King on Riverdale without any real clues as to who he is or where he came from, fans may finally have an answer about why people are seeing him all of a sudden. It all has to do with the Gargoyle King’s connection to Fizzle Rocks.

Season 2 had Jingle Jangle, but the drug of choice for Season 3 is Fizzle Rocks. They look sort of like Pop Rocks, but, you know, laced with narcotics. Fizzle Rocks are what the Midnight Club took that fateful night when Principal Featherhead died during a game of Griffins and Gargoyles. And, considering that a young Hiram Lodge was the one who provided the drugs that night, it’s not surprising that he’s mixed up in everything again now.

While trapped at the Sisters of Quiet Mercy, Betty discovers that Hiram Lodge is essentially testing the drugs on the unwitting girls who live there. Of course, because it’s Hiram, it’s shadier than that. He seems to be disguising the drugs under the pharmaceutical name Bullio Lapis, which is being prescribed to Betty and probably many others in the home. Bullio likely comes from the latin "bullire," which means "to bubble," and Lapis is a kind of rock. So Betty is being prescribed bubble rocks, hm? Sounds familiar.

Initially, Betty refuses to take the Fizzle Rocks, which are being given to the girls as just "candy" for a treat. But she later has them forced on her before she’s taken to meet the Gargoyle King. That’s right, the Sisters apparently have the King just chilling in their basement, and they send misbehaving girls in to be taught a lesson.

Now, Riverdale creator Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa did tell Us Weekly that the Gargoyle King is "most probably a guy in a mask," but he could be both a real person and also a hallucination. If Hiram is the Gargoyle King, as many have suspected, he’s far too busy to sit in a room and terrify teenagers. Perhaps he’s hired someone to do it for him. Meanwhile, it’s worth noting that Betty has what appears to be a hallucination of the Gargoyle King only after she’s taken the Fizzle Rocks. Perhaps she did see a person dressed as the King in the room and the traumatic experience burned the image into her brain so that now whenever she’s on Fizzle Rocks she’ll hallucinate him.

The only plot hole seems to be that the "Fizzle Rocks cause Gargoyle King hallucinations" theory is that not everybody who’s seen the King has been on Fizzle Rocks — or so they think. What if Hiram has been poisoning the town’s water supply with trace amounts of Fizzle Rocks? Reddit user dcfb236016 pointed out that in the Season 3 premiere, you can see a sign that says, "No Swimming After Labor Day." Is that when Hiram started poisoning the water?

It would explain why Veronica hasn’t had any hallucinations, because presumably the Lodge household has filtered water for this sake. Now that Veronica has moved out, will she be susceptible?

It’s unclear what Lodge’s motive would be to test Fizzle Rocks out as a medication. Perhaps he’s looking to brainwash the town into all being on his side for something. Maybe he’s looking to get everyone addicted so he can drive up the price of the drug, or he just wants to fill his jail with drug arrests so he can make money; sadly, prisons can be a high profit venture. Who even knows why the Sisters are going along with all of this, but maybe they think they’re actually giving out medicine and that the Gargoyle King is some sort of demon sent to set them straight.

In any case, the hallucinations of the King seem at their highest when people are on the drugs. But since he can also be seen by presumably sober people, the question then becomes: are they all being drugged in secret? Or is the Gargoyle King really a real person haunting the town? Aguirre-Sacasa told The Wrap that we’d learn the King’s identity soon, so we’ll just have to wait to see who it is, and how exactly he connects to Hiram Lodge’s shady Fizzle Rock venture.

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Rock Hudson anonymously told his lovers he had AIDS

EXCLUSIVE: ‘We have recently had sex together and…I may have AIDS.’ How dying Rock Hudson sent ANONYMOUS letters to four male lovers to make sure they got tested for what he called his ‘filthy disease’

  • All That Heaven Allows: A Biography of Rock Hudson, reveals the actor’s inner pain of living in the closet while publicly he was the consummate  Hollywood leading man 
  • After learning of his AIDS diagnosis, Hudson had a friend mail anonymous letters to four lovers from Palm Springs so the recipients wouldn’t ‘connect the dots’
  • The only person to respond was a 22-year-old man from New York named Tony, who had a fling with the actor and later sold his story for $10,000
  • The Hollywood legend was so tormented by his AIDS diagnosis and confessed to a friend that he felt ‘so filthy’ for being infected 
  • Friends revealed Hudson was in denial about his condition and once snapped at them saying: ‘I don’t have AIDS! If I’m dying it’s from liver cancer’ 
  • Infamous Hollywood agent Henry Willson made Hudson  into a red-blooded, hunky male star
  • According to the book, Willson sought to put the rumors about Hudson’s sexuality to bed by marrying him off to his secretary, Phyllis Gates

Before his death, actor Rock Hudson sent his male lovers heartbreaking letters urging them to get tested after he was diagnosed with AIDS, a new book has revealed. 

The 1950s heartthrob, who spent his entire life as a closeted gay man, sent messages to four lovers who he feared could have contracted the disease from him – but did so anonymously. 

In letters published in author Mark Griffin’s All That Heaven Allows: A Biography of Rock Hudson, the actor wrote: ‘We have recently had sex together and I have been informed by my doctor that I may have AIDS.

‘Please go to your doctor and have a check-up.’ 

One of the men realized it was Hudson and sold his story to a tabloid but it did not appear until 18 months after Hudson’s death in 1985, making him the public face of the AIDS crisis and changing America’s view of the disease.

According to the book, Hudson was so tormented by his diagnosis that he told a close friend that he felt ‘so filthy’ for being infected. 

A new biography on Hollywood legend Rock Hudson reveals fascinating insight into the actor’s life as a closeted gay man


Before his death in 1985, Hudson (pictured right, months before he died) sent four of his lovers anonymous heartbreaking letters urging them to get tested after he was diagnosed with AIDS

In his final months, he flew to Paris for treatment with an experimental drug called HPA-23, but his close friends said Hudson was in denial.

They revealed he once snapped at them in frustration and fear saying: ‘I don’t have AIDS! If I’m dying it’s from liver cancer.

‘I’ve known I’ve had it for ten years. For Christ’s sake! What is all this AIDS s***?’ 

The book reveals Hudson’s inner pain due to decades of living in the closet while publicly playing the role of a red-blooded, heterosexual male pin-up. 

‘Long before he landed in Hollywood, he understood that if he wanted to be accepted, the very essence of who he was would have to be edited out of the frame,’ the author writes. 

Hudson’s biography is set to become a major motion picture directed by Greg Berlanti who recently directed high school love story about a closeted gay teen, Love, Simon.

Some of the most disturbing scenes are likely to be Hudson’s early life in rural Winnetka, Illinois, where he was beaten by his step father Wallace Fitzgerald, an abusive drunk.

Hudson, who took Fitzgerald’s surname for much of his youth, was often ‘covered in bruises’ and Fitzgerald sought to ‘heterosexualize’ him by removing any effeminate toys and forcing him to join Boy Scouts.

Hudson, who was born Roy Harold Scherer, Jr, had already seen the man who he thought was his father walk out when he discovered he was not his biological dad.

In interviews Hudson would return to the phrase ‘I just kept my mouth shut’ again and again when talking about his youth. 

‘From an early age, he learned that you could talk about pretty much anything – except what you truly felt and what you really wanted,’ the author writes. 

In January 1944 Hudson voluntarily enlisted in the US Navy as an Apprentice Seaman.


Hudson’s (pictured left at 13) early life in rural Winnetka, Illinois, where he was beaten by his step father Wallace Fitzgerald, an abusive drunk. He would later join the US Navy as an Apprentice Seaman (pictured right with his father) 

Rock Hudson, posing with his arms around his mother and father at their home, 1954

His induction photo, described by the author as ‘the saddest image of him ever captured,’ screamed ‘somebody please help me’ – a depiction of Hudson forcing himself to live up to the idea of what a man should be.

Griffin writes that it has been suggested that it was while in the services that Hudson began to have sex with other men.

Hudson’s roommate in the early 1950s, Bob Preble, told Griffin that the actor had a ‘couple of experiences’ in the Navy but did not find them ‘all that enjoyable.’

After being honorably discharged in May 1946, Hudson wrote on his papers that he had no children, a fact which has been the source of much speculation since.

According to one account, he had a weekend fling while back home with the mother of a high school classmate.

In 2014, a woman called Susan Dent, 69, sued Hudson’s estate seeking an order establishing paternity – she did not seek any money.

The lawsuit was initially dismissed but the decision was reversed by the California Court of Appeal. Dent says she even has DNA evidence linking her to Hudson’s family.

Alice Waier, Hudson’s adoptive sister, claimed she has a letter Hudson wrote to a friend in November 1945 which proves he had a secret child but with a schoolmate, not a school friend’s mother.

All That Heaven Allows: A Biography of Rock Hudson was released December 4 

Waier said: ‘He was still in the service but he’d just heard from this girl that he’d gone to school with.

‘It sounds like they had a one time fling. Now he finds out this girl is pregnant and that she plans to give the child up for adoption.

‘In this letter he tells his friend everything…I am sure (his mother) Kay handled the whole thing because he wasn’t even at home.’

Hudson moved to Los Angeles to break into Hollywood and there he met Kenneth Hodge, a production assistant who was well known in the business – and would become his first serious boyfriend.

Hodge was 33 when they met and Hudson was 21 – evidently he saw a father figure he never had.

Hudson’s friend Mark Miller said: ‘Kenny liked sailors and often had them lined up in his living room. But Rock was the one guy that he really fell for.’

At one of Hodge’s parties he threw to help Hudson make connections, he was introduced to the infamous agent Henry Willson who would take him on as a client.

Willson presided over a stable of hunky male stars and Hudson was a ‘perfect specimen’, writes Griffin.

Willson’s pitch for Hudson was as a simple Midwestern hunk, a former truck driver who had turned to acting.

His appeal was summed up by Look magazine: ‘He’s wholesome. He doesn’t perspire. He has no pimples. He smells of milk. His whole appeal is cleanliness and respectability – this boy is pure.’

Willson also gave him his name, Rock Hudson, which he came to by combining the Rock of Gibraltar with the Hudson River in New York.

Hudson became a contract player Universal Studios in 1949 and began to get press attention – mostly thanks to Willson – with one columnist calling him ‘six feet four inches of manhood.’

Hudson struggled to balance his secret life and his Hollywood persona – a handsome red -blooded heterosexual male pin up. He starred with actress Jane Wyman in All That Heaven Allows, the title of the book

Infamous Hollywood agent Henry Willson transformed Hudson’s image into the hunky male star he came to be and called him a ‘perfect specimen’

Willson’s pitch for Hudson was as a simple Midwestern hunk, a former truck driver who had turned to acting

Iron Man, a boxing drama, was an early hit followed by Bend of the River alongside James Stewart, which legitimized him in the eyes of the Hollywood system.

In 1952, Playboy did a spread of Hudson in bed with the headline, ‘Rip Van Hudson’ but the suggestion about his sexuality was way off the mark.

Griffin writes that Hudson was interested in ‘extremely masculine men, preferably those who identified as straight or were at least known to go “both ways.”‘

Actress Mamie Van Doren said that Hudson saw it as a ‘challenge’ to see if he could ‘swing’ a straight guy, adding, ‘And I’m sure he did.’

Around this time Hudson met the actor George Nader and his partner, Miller, a gay couple who would become so close to him he would leave everything to them upon his death in 1985.

Miller said they were called ‘The Trio’ but they never had sex and it was pure friendship, fueled by stories about each other’s conquests.

Hudson later met his next serious boyfriend, Jack Navaar, a 22-year-old Korean War veteran who was willowy and a blue-eyed blond.

Navaar later said that they all lived a ‘very reclusive life’ but he recalled that the relationship with Hudson was ‘extremely volatile.’

Hudson’s other hits in the 1950s included Magnificent Obsession and All That Heaven Allows – the book’s title – which was directed by melodrama maestro Douglas Sirk.

Griffin speculates that he knew about Hudson’s sexuality and had nudged him into roles that were ‘characters who are in the throes of an identity crisis’.

Hudson starred in Giant alongside James Dean – both got Oscar nominations – with Hudson playing Texas oilman Jordan ‘Bick’ Benedict Jr.

The film was an instant classic and Hudson became the biggest star in the world on the back of it.

With fame came more attention from the tabloid press and Universal became increasingly anxious about Hudson’s personal life.

Willson sought to put the rumors about Hudson’s sexuality to bed by marrying him off at speed, which he did to his secretary, Phyllis Gates (pictured on their wedding day) 

Hudson was seen with a male Italian actor in public on several occasions – their response was to put out a press release saying he was dating Jill Clifford, a British heiress.

Life Magazine declared Hudson ‘Hollywood’s Most Handsome Bachelor’ in 1955 and the first paragraph of the story read: ‘Fans are urging 29-year-old Hudson to get married – or explain why not.’

Another issue was that Confidential, a tabloid magazine which exposed the personal lives of Hollywood stars, was planning to out Hudson as gay, or as a ‘Lavender Lad’ as it called homosexuals.

Willson sought to put the rumors about his sexuality to bed by marrying him off at speed, which he did to his secretary, Phyllis Gates, a beautiful 30-year-old from Minnesota who had once caught the eye of Marlon Brando.

Ironically, some say Gates could have been a closeted lesbian and Navaar recalled how once at a bar in Los Angeles she met a woman and disappeared for the rest of the weekend with her.

From Hudson’s point of view, their relationship was just another script he didn’t like which he had to make work, Griffin writes.

Of course it did not stop Hudson seeing other men, including another of Willson’s clients, Cragill Fowler, a blond, blue-eyed former lifeguard.

On the set of Giant, Hudson met Elizabeth Taylor, who became a lifelong friend, but there was tension with Dean over her.

Dean recognized that Taylor was drawn to outcasts and so played up his lost boy routine to draw her in.

When Dean was killed in a car crash in September 1955 before filming had finished Hudson was ‘shattered’, Gates said, and his huge frame ‘convulsed’ with sobs.

Hudson told her: ‘I wanted him to die, I hated him. I was jealous of him because I was afraid he was stealing the picture from me.’

Hudson and Gates were married two months later in a bungalow at the Biltmore Hotel in Santa Barbara, eight days before Hudson turned 30.


Hudson met Elizabeth Taylor, on the set of Giant, where he played Texas oilman Jordan ‘Bick’ Benedict Jr alongside the James Dean, with whom he competed for Taylor’s attention 

Taylor, pictured with Hudson in London in 1980, would become his lifelong friend. She has admitted to knowing about his sexuality 

The question of whether or not their marriage was real has been described as the ‘central conundrum’ of Hudson’s life.

Gates later claimed she had been manipulated into marrying Hudson and painted herself as a victim of a ploy. 

Griffin argues that she ‘couldn’t have been that naive’, especially since he had not told her he loved her when he proposed by handing her a diamond ring at her office and indifferently saying: ‘You can have it’, hardly a declaration of everlasting love.

Hudson’s friend, the actor John Carlyle, said that the couple were ‘companionable’ and that they had ‘nonstop giggles’ together.

But their friend Stockton Briggle described it as an ‘arranged marriage’ that ‘obviously was never going to work.’ 

Briggle said: ‘One of the few things (Hudson) ever said to me about that was that he always resented being manipulated like that and it was a very dark period in his life.’

Gates gave her version of events in the book, My Husband, Rock Hudson, which she published two years after his death and said it was ‘nightmarish’ to discover he had AIDS.

She wrote that it was ‘impossible’ their marriage was a sham because she ‘knew that Rock loved me.’

Nevertheless, there was tension, and while vacationing in Rome Hudson accepted the lunch invitation of the Italian actor he had been involved with in the past without asking Gates.

When she objected she screamed at Hudson: ‘Because he’s a silly little fruitcake’ – Gates claimed that Hudson hit her so hard her necklace broke, sending pearls all over the hotel corridor.

The marriage only lasted three years and they divorced in 1958 with Gates citing ‘extreme mental cruelty.’

People began to notice Hudson’s weight loss and after a state dinner at the White House Nancy Reagan in 1984 (pictured far left) 

Things had deteriorated to the point where Gates had hired a private detective to secretly record Hudson in their home where she had invited him to talk about their marital problems – and taped him admitting he was gay.

In the recording, Gates asks him how long after they got married did he have his first gay affair.

Hudson replies: ‘Oh I don’t know. The next day.’

Hudson’s career peaked in the 1960s when he starred alongside Doris Day in three comedies, starting with 1959’s Pillow Talk.

By 1965 Hollywood was in on the joke of his sexuality and in A Very Special Favor, he played a man trying to woo a woman by pretending to be gay.

It was a cruel joke and Griffin writes: ‘The conflicts that he grappled with daily and the deadening silence he had to endure in order to maintain his position as Hollywood’s most popular leading man were being played for laughs.

‘Hudson’s personal life had been cannibalized by his own studio; his torment over his predicament had become the ultimate Hollywood in-joke.’

Amid a febrile anti-Communist atmosphere, the FBI investigated Hudson, as it did many leading actors, and found that he attended ‘large scale homosexual orgies’ in Los Angeles.

He also made visits to the first gay bar in Lexington, Kentucky, called The Gilded Cage, and through his connections there attended parties where he was believed to have slept with college football players.

Hudson’s celebrity friends included Taylor who is described in the book as Hudson’s ‘soul mate’. She later said that their friendship was more about ‘cutting loose’ and that they spent most of their time ‘laughing and being silly’.

Marilyn Monroe and Hudson bonded over their troubled upbringings and his friend Lois Rupert recalled how in the early 1960s he used to get late night distress calls from her.

In 1983, Hudson began dating Marc Christian (left) a man who was 30 years his junior. Christian later sued Hudson’s estate claiming Hudson had carried on sleeping with him for eight months after he got his diagnosis, leaving him a ‘dead man’. He had tested negative several times for AIDS

She said: ‘If it wasn’t Marilyn Monroe crying on his shoulder it was Judy Garland.

‘Marilyn would call one night and Judy the next. I think he liked playing the big brother who came to the rescue.’

Hudson’s career dropped off in in the late 1960s and 70s as he entered his 40s and lost his boyish charm – a low point was the disaster film Avalanche which was billed as ‘six million tons of icy terror!’

Griffin writes that Hudson began to take ‘whites’, or amphetamines, to help him on the long shoots.

He had a career resurgence in the 1970s with the TV series McMillan & Wife and he moved into what would be his home for the rest of his life, The Castle, his 5,000 square feet property in Beverly Hills.

Hudson’s other lovers included Tom Clark, who became a long term boyfriend and moved in for a decade.

Then there was Jack Coates, a 23-year-old who he wooed one afternoon over mint juleps but it fell apart because he got fed up with being what Griffin calls ‘Mrs Rock Hudson’.

By the fall of 1983 Marc Christian, who was 30 at the time and 20 years Hudson’s junior, became his boyfriend and replaced Clark as his live-in lover.

Friends said that you ‘couldn’t have found a taller, blonder, sexier guy’ and he was Hudson’s ‘dream man.’

But according to some of Hudson’s former employees, there were warning signs from the start that he was taking advantage of him.

Hudson’s estate manager Marty Flaherty said that at the beginning it was ‘basically shopping sprees for Marc Christian.’

Hudson was was ‘so giddy and smitten’ he bought Christian a new Mercedes Benz, presents for him and his friends, and acting lessons.

As Flaherty saw it, Hudson was ‘getting older and had scored this hot, young trophy boyfriend – he really thought he was in love.’

Miller, Hudson’s close friend, said that Christian even confessed to him that he had been working as a male escort in the past which caused further tension.

Hudson was desperate to work again and went against the advice of his friends to shoot, The Ambassador, a turgid drama about an American ambassador in Israel.

When he returned home from Tel Aviv in January 1984 Christian was shocked by his physical condition.

He had lost 10lbs in weight and his face was a ‘dull, ashen grey’.

It was the first sign of the effects AIDS was having on his body.

Others began to notice Hudson’s weight loss and after a state dinner at the White House Nancy Reagan, a big fan of Hudson’s, sent him a set of photos of the night including a profile picture which showed a pimple on his neck.

In a touching gesture she included a note asking him to get it checked out.

On June 5, 1984 Hudson revealed to his closest friends his dark secret – he had AIDS, and maybe cancer too.

Hudson told Miller he had cried for a week after he got the diagnosis from a Beverly Hills dermatologist who had done a biopsy on a lesion on his neck and identified it as Kaposi’s sarcoma, a type of cancer.

At the time AIDS was considered a disease that ‘fairies on Santa Monica Boulevard got’, as Miller put it, and was deeply misunderstood by the wider public.

Griffin writes that after decades of being in the closet the lesions and sores starting to sprout on Hudson’s body were the most ‘hideous kind of public declaration imaginable.’

Hudson asked Miler to accompany him to see his personal physician and an AIDS specialist from UCLA, Dr Michael Gottlieb.

Hudson asked if it was a fatal disease and after a ‘measured pause’ Gottlieb suggested it would be wise if he ‘got his affairs in order’, Griffin writes.

The doctor asked if Hudson had a lover and he said he did not currently have one, although a former companion – Christian – was still living with him.

According to Miller, Gottlieb told Hudson: ‘You are a famous man and there will be headlines when this is announced, so it is up to you whether you tell your former lover or not.’

On the drive home Miller claimed that Hudson told him that he ‘could have gotten AIDS from Marc and he wanted him out of the house by five o’clock that afternoon,’ but Miller talked him down.

Hudson said that Christian would ‘destroy me’ if he found out so he decided not to tell him.

Griffin writes: ‘Hudson insisted on sending anonymous letters to four individuals he had sexual encounters with prior to his AIDS diagnosis.

‘(His friend) George Nader mailed the letters from Palm Springs so that they recipients wouldn’t immediately connect the dots as to who the sender was’.

According to Miller, ‘only one person ever responded’, a 22-year-old man from New York that Hudson had a fling with.

The next day the man found out he had AIDS and sold his story to a tabloid for $10,000.

He died six months later and his name was Tony; the story did not run for 18 months after Hudson’s death.

Hudson spent the next months denying he had AIDS as he did not want to tarnish his image.

He flew to Paris for treatment with the experimental drugs and after several sessions his doctors told him the AIDS virus was no longer in his blood, but that did not mean it had gone away.


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Dr Dominique Dormont, one of the specialists at the Institut Pasteur, said that Hudson had been ‘too optimistic’ in his interpretation of this and he should have stayed in Paris longer.

Instead Hudson returned to the US to star in the TV series Dynasty and returned to Paris for more treatment, but by then his condition deteriorated so much he was beyond help.

On July 25 ,1985 his French publicist Yanou Collart revealed that Hudson had AIDS; the night before Ronald Reagan had phoned Hudson’s room to offer his support.

On October 2 Hudson died at the age of 59.

America was initially shocked at the revelation and his implied homosexuality, but it became a milestone in the fight against intolerance toward gay people and those with AIDS.

Within days Congress allocated $221 million to find a cure for AIDS and donations to AIDS charities skyrocketed.

Shortly before he died Hudson donated $250,000 to amfAR, The Foundation for AIDS Research, which helped to launch it and make it the fundraising powerhouse it is today.

William M. Hoffman, the author of As Is, on of the first Broadway plays about AIDS which debuted in 1985, summed up the mood when he said: ‘If Rock Hudson can have it, nice people can have it’.

Hudson left everything to Nader and Miller, his friends of 30 years; his estate was worth an estimated $27 million including real estate holdings.

But Christian was furious and claimed that the first time he learned about Hudson’s diagnosis was the press conference.

He sued Hudson’s estate and claimed Hudson carried on sleeping with him for eight months after he got his diagnosis, leaving him a ‘dead man’.

Christian was awarded $21 million by a jury which said Hudson had displayed ‘outrageous conduct’, though the sum was later reduced to $5.5 million.

The California state Court of Appeal upheld the ruling for what it called the ‘ultimate in personal horror, the fear of slow, agonizing death’.

Christian died in 2009 due to pulmonary issues which were attributed to his smoking – he had tested negative several times for AIDS.

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Heartbroken parents have won £10,000 NHS compensation after their daughter died because of delayed CT scan

Joanne Earls, 39, right, who had cerebral palsy, had stomach swelling that made her look eight months pregnant.

She could have been saved if a twisted bowel had been detected earlier by Cardiff & Vale University Health Board.

Mum Jean Earls said: "We are devastated. It has caused so much mayhem in the family that we just cannot get on with our lives,

“Everything revolved around Joanne. She laughed all the time, she loved going out and we took her around the world with us.

“This has destroyed us.”

Joanne, of Llanishen, Cardiff, was born with cerebral palsy and was unable to walk or talk also also suffered from severe epilepsy. Her dad Philip Earls said: "It looked like she was eight months pregnant. She was massive.

"We knew this wasn’t right, but the doctors said that she was fine and that she could go home."

Phillip said: "They found out her bowel was twisted in five different places because they’d left it for so long.

"If they’d done the CT scan the first time she was admitted I believe they would have sorted it out and that she’d be here now."


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Brad Pitt ‘Got What He Wanted’ In Custody Agreement — Did Angie??

We were relieved to hear Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie had finally reached a custody agreement last week.

We did not, however, learn anything about their great compromise.

Now we’re getting the tiniest bit thanks to a source speaking to UsWeekly, who says it was Brad who “got what he wanted.”

What was that exactly? The insider says:

“Angelina agreed to a deal that gives Brad joint physical and legal custody of the children.”

As for what he gave up? Maybe nothing at all. According to the outlet Angie may have made the move to avoid losing custody herself!

Hmm… Or maybe in the end Angie simply chose peace?

What do YOU think??

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