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Doc Brown brings his many talents to the Midlands

He hasn't even hit 40 yet, but Doc Brown has already forged three successful careers in different fields.

He started out as a rapper on the underground scene, before making a name for himself as a comedian. Now, he's playing DS Joe Hawkins in ITV's 'Law & Order: UK'.

ITV Central caught up with Doc Brown - Ben Bailey Smith - as his stand-up comedy tour reaches Birmingham Town Hall tomorrow night and Stratford's RSC next month.

Asian music stars in Birmingham for awards event

Stars from the Asian bhangra industry will be gathering in Birmingham tonight, as the city hosts one of the biggest award nights in the music calendar. The 2014 Brit Asia TV Music Awards will celebrate the work of artists across the world, but many big-names are actually from the Midlands themselves, including Derby, Nottingham and Wolverhampton.

Fans from across the world have been voting for winners in categories such as "Best International Act" and "Best Music Video". Thousands have flown into Birmingham tonight to see a number of artists gather and perform under one roof. Business leaders said last year's event helped boost Birmingham's profile both locally and internationally.

Last year's event well underway in Birmingham Credit: Tejinder Kaur, ITV News Central
Music artists take to the stage at last year's event in Birmingham Credit: Tejinder Kaur, ITV News Central

“The Brit Asia TV Music Awards are now in their fifth year, which is a huge achievement and we have some truly incredible artists on the shortlist for this year’s event. Our aim has always been to give a platform and voice to emerging and established artists; we celebrate the contribution made from these artists all year round".

– Jaz Bal, Brit Asia TV CEO

Click here to see ITV News Central's preview coverage from last year's event, and to hear the long list of stars who attended the ceremony - and what they made of it being held in Birmingham.


Birmingham Literature Festival kicks off today

The 16th annual Birmingham Literature Festival launches today, promising a packed programme of book-based activities.

Previously known as the Birmingham Book Festival, the nine-day event will be based at the new Library of Birmingham.

The nine-day event will be based at the new Library of Birmingham Credit: ITV News Central

Headline events between today and October 11 will include Meera Syal talking about her writing, Jackie Kay celebrating National Poetry Day, and an evening with South African director, actress and writer Janet Suzman.

The festival kicks of tonight with the announcement of the new Birmingham Poet Laureate for the coming year, which will be made at 6pm.

Ozzy Osbourne confirms new Black Sabbath album and final tour

Black Sabbath arrives at the 56th annual Grammy Awards in January Credit: Tammie Arroyo/AFF/EMPICS Entertainment

Ozzy Osbourne has confirmed that a new album and tour has been agreed for Black Sabbath.

It had been thought the Birmingham band's last album, 13, released last year and tour might have been their last. The album broke the record for most years between number ones, coming 43 years after their last.

But speaking to Metal Hammer, Osbourne said:

The whole Sabbath experience this time around was great... It was a lot of fun. So we're going to do one more album, and a final tour.


Although no timescale has yet been set the singer said: "It'll be sooner rather than later."

Birmingham's National Indoor Arena to be renamed Barclaycard Arena

The Barclaycard Arena will officially re-open on 2 December Credit: Barclaycard

Birmingham's National Indoor Arena is to be re-launched as the Barclaycard Arena later this year - following an 18 month redevelopment.

The new venue will be officially opened on 2 December with singer Michael Buble confirmed as its first act. The Canadian will play two nights.

The arena has undergone a £26m refurbishment. It now includes a new glass structure which will overlook Brindleyplace, 6000m² of new show space and new food and drink facilities.

The arena has a rich 21-year history in Birmingham, welcoming world-renowned singers, athletes, comedians and performers who all help to shine a light on what our city has to offer.

The renaming is another historic moment in this and allows us to continue to be a world class venue leading in providing the ultimate live experience.

– Paul Thandi, Chief Executive at the NEC Group
Michael Buble will be the opening act at the re-launched arena Credit: PA

New name for NIA to be announced today

The new name for Birmingham's National Indoor Arena (NIA) is set to be announced today, ahead of the venue's official re-opening on December 2.

An artist's impression of what the new building will look like Credit:

The iconic city centre venue has undergone a £26 million revamp, with improvements including new seats, more food and drink outlets, and a higher capacity.

A new glass façade has been created to allow visitors a view over Brindleyplace and the canal, while three sky needles have been installed in a nod to the arena's sporting history, as well as acting as a beacon for people heading there.


Ant and Dec's Takeaway Tour comes to Nottingham

Ant and Dec's Takeaway Tour, featuring Irish dancing phenomenon Riverdance, comes to Nottingham tonight.

Ant and Dec with the Entertainment Programme Award for Saturday Night Takeaway, at the 2014 British Academy Television Awards Credit: PA

Peter Andre and Vernon Kay will be special guests on the Nottingham leg of the tour at the Capital FM Arena.

You can find out more about the Takeaway Tour on the ITV website.

Gok Wan tells graduates to 'follow your dreams'

Gok Wan at Birmingham's Symphony Hall for the ceremony Credit: BPM Media

Gok Wan, who has been given an honorary degree in fashion from Birmingham City University, told graduates at the ceremony at the Symphony Hall to follow their dreams.

If there’s one piece of advice I could give today, it would be to follow your dreams.

– Gok Wan

Leicester's Gok Wan receives honorary doctorate

TV fashion guru Gok Wan has been awarded an honorary doctorate in fashion from Birmingham City University.

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