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Durham to host world premiere of Harrigan

Durham will host the world premiere of 'Harrigan' on September 16. It is a film written by former policeman Arthur McKenzie and it is based on his experiences.

The film stars Stephen Tompkinson and was shot in Newcastle and other parts of the region. Harrigan hits our cinema screens on September 20.

Based on the 1970s, Harrigan is set at a time when Britain was struggling with the three day week and the miners' strike. Harrigan is a police officer with a mission to clean up the streets of the gangs that are running riot and to bring back community spirit.

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Les Mis director 'thrilled' for stars' Bafta nominations

Director Tom Hooper said he was thrilled for both Jackman and Hathaway.

I'm thrilled to see Hugh being Bafta-nominated. He really carried this picture from first round to the last, and gives it an incredible emotional through line.I was staggered when I worked with him, the understanding of the human condition that he brought particularly to the older years of Jean Valjean. He's only in his early 40s and doesn't have the life experience of this character and when he gets to the end of the film and his declining days, his understanding of that moment is so powerful. I'm really pleased to see him honoured.

With Anne, this song she sings - I Dreamed A Dream - continues to knock people out. People keep being amazed by her performance and having such strong emotional reactions to it. She's so gifted and people weep for the character.I am definitely disappointed but I am consoled that Steven Spielberg woke up to the same news this morning. I feel like I'm in good company if I'm with him.

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Lee Hall given honorary degree by Northumbria University

The North East playwright who wrote Billy Elliot launched a scathing attack on cuts in arts funding by Newcastle City Council as he received an honorary degree at Northumbria University.

Lee Hall used the occasion to again accuse the council of attacking art for ordinary people.

Council bosses say they are responding to budget cuts from the government.

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Billy Elliot author attacks council arts cuts

The North East author that penned Billy Elliot has accused Newcastle City Council of attacking the arts for working class people.

Lee Hall spoke out about cutbacks to services including libraries and theatres when he was back in the region to receive an honorary degree from Northumbria University.

The author said that the cuts would affect ordinary people the most.

The local authority say that their actions are a necessary response to slashed government budgets.

Billy Elliott writer gets honorary degree

The playwright Lee Hall, who wrote The Pitmen Painters and the screenplay for the film Billy Elliott will receive an honorary degree from Northumbria University.

He was born in Newcastle, and his work has been recognised internationally for his work on stage and screen. Much of his writing is rooted in the working class culture of the North East. A central theme in his work is the role of art in those communities.

He will receive an Honorary Doctor of Letters alongside students from the Faculty of Arts, Design and Social Sciences at a ceremony today.

"I am thrilled to be honoured by the University at a time when Libraries and Arts are being threatened in the City. The recognition that culture and art is valued as centrally important to the University's concerns is more than simply a personal recognition, but a reminder of the vital part they play in all our lives."

– Lee Hall

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