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Tim Healy says tonight will be 'powerful and moving'

Ahead of the Great North Run's Million Opening Ceremony, ITV Tyne Tees has spoken to Tim Healy about his role in the performance.

He will be joined by local actress, Jill Halfpenny, in narrating the story of the North East - a story which he says will be "powerful and moving".

But Tim is keeping his cards, and script, very close to his chest:

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Part of the Million Opening Cermony performance?

A mass cast of 1,500 volunteer performers will appear throughout the Million Opening Ceremony tonight, coming together to celebrate a vision of how, by acting together, we can achieve the most extraordinary and transformational things in the North East.

And it looks like rehearsals are already underway as ITV Tyne Tees gets a sneak peak at what looks like a dress rehearsal for tonight's performance.

Sting rehearses for tonight's Million Opening Ceremony

Tonight, musician Sting will perform ‘The Last Ship’, from his critically acclaimed album and upcoming Broadway play of the same name - inspired by and drawn from his childhood growing up beside the Swan Hunter shipyard.

And he is already warming up on the Quayside. ITV Tyne Tees are there with him:

The Quayside prepares

140 production crew are working on the Quayside to set up for the event Credit: ITV Tyne Tees
Sting, Mark Knopfler and the Unthanks will perform along with a cast of 1,500 volunteers Credit: ITV Tyne Tees
10,000 tickets were offered to all those who've run in the event Credit: ITV Tyne Tees
It promises to be the most exciting event the Quayside has hosted Credit: ITV Tyne Tees

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South Shields dancer crowned Mr Gay World

A dance teacher from South Shields has been crowned Mr Gay World at the competition in Rome. Stuart Hatton competed after winning Mr Gay UK. He is the first UK contestant to win Mr Gay World. Before flying out, Stuart said it would be hugely important to him to take the title. Now, he leaves Italy a winner.

Stuart Hatton Credit: Terry George

"I am overwhelmed to be Mr Gay World and the first ever winner to be from the UK. I am now able to use my voice to help those in countries around the world who have no voice or equality rights such as people in Malaysia and Iran. My plans are to show the world that it doesn't matter if you are gay or if you are straight, if you have brown eyes or if you have green eyes, we are all the same. We are all human and all gay people around the world deserve the same human rights as each other. This is just the beginning."

– Stuart Hatton, Mr Gay World

Ant & Dec bring host of celebrity friends to Newcastle

Double BAFTA Award winners Ant & Dec are bringing a host of celebrity friends to Newcastle for the filming of their 'Saturday Night Takeaway' Credit: Matt Crossick/EMPICS Entertainment

Ant & Dec are bringing their award winning ITV show, 'Ant & Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway', to their home town of Newcastle for a spectacular live show in just over a week's time.

Never one to disappoint, the Geordie boys are adding celebrity friends Alan Shearer, Chesney Hawkes and Tony Christie to the mix for filming.

In addition, the raft of celebrity stars will be joined on stage by former Pussycat Doll, Ashley Roberts, who will resume her role as the host of 'Ant v Dec' and Irish dance phenomenon Riverdance who will be treating the city to a live performance.

Takeaway is the one show that people always tell us they'd love to be in the audience for, so we've decided to take the show to them! Just like the TV show the audience will have a chance of winning some fantastic prizes as well as being an essential part of the show. It's been an ambition of ours for a long time to go on tour and we can't wait to come home!

– Ant & Dec

Sting returns to the North East to perform at the Sage

Credit: Yui Mok/PA

To celebrate the Sage Gateshead's 10th birthday, Sting will return to the North East to perform songs from 'The Last Ship', his latest album and new Broadway musical of the same name.

Inspired by and set in Sting’s hometown of Wallsend, 'The Last Ship' the musical tells of experiences working in shipyards along the Wear, Clyde, Mersey or any Northern port. The play was originally work-shopped with local musicians and actors at Newcastle’s Live Theatre – ahead of its upcoming Broadway debut - but for Sting, it was never in doubt that the songs of 'The Last Ship' should be performed for a North East audience:

The demise of industry - not only in shipyards like Tyneside and Gdansk, but also great manufacturing centres like Detroit - has been well documented and the effect of that demise on the identity and future of local communities particularly resonates with me. I’m very much looking forward to bringing these songs and stories home.

– Sting

Sting will be joined onstage at the Sage in April 2015 by many of the region’s best loved musicians including fiddle and Northumbrian pipe player Kathryn Tickell and The Wilson Family from Billingham,Co. Durham.

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