Tuesday, November 9, 2010

TV Star dies after being struck by lightning

This is the sort of headline that one might see, however in this case the TV star is a seven-year-old giraffe. 'Playful and charming' Hamley, who has been an on-screen favourite for five years on TV drama Wild At Heart.

Yesterday thunderstorm killed Hamley on Monday on the Glen Afric reserve in South Africa, where the drama, which stars Stephen Tompkinson and Dawn Steele as newlyweds Danny and Alice Trevanion, is filmed.

The cast did not witness the tragedy, as they were away from the reserve filming a scene for the sixth series of the ITV drama.

Producer Nick Goding said: 'We are all desperately upset about the passing of Hamley, who has been part of the Wild At Heart family for five years.
'It was a natural disaster, but nevertheless heartbreaking for everyone who has been involved with him - he was a real character.

'Our wildlife is very much at the heart of the series - Hamley was a gentle, playful and charming animal. He will be greatly missed by everybody.'
Hamley had already filmed scenes, including frightening an environmental agency visitor up a tree, for the next series.

A spokeswoman for the drama said of the scene: 'You can't teach wild animals how to act. But Hamley walked up to the tree afterwards where the actor was and started to lick his face.

"That will stay in (the series). That was just one of his many extraordinary facets, that as a wild animal he had this natural aptitude to do what you wished for."

Scottish actress Steele said she was "so sad" about the death.

She said: "Hamley was a huge part of the show. We still all cannot believe that he will not be wandering around set, trying to get into the make-up truck or trying to get into every scene he could.

"I cannot express how he will be missed on Wild At Heart - he was like another actor - only taller!

"He touched everyone's lives on this set. I am only glad in his short life he touched so many people and left so many memories. It will not, and is not, the same without him."

Barry Eva (Storyheart)

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Monday, November 1, 2010

"Obeisant" crowns a differant Scrabble champ.

The somewhat stayed reputation of "Scrabble" as a game played in sleepy backwaters by elderly school teachers and has been overturned as a transsexual in a pink wig and matching PVC dress was crowned UK national champion.

Mikki Nicholson, 32, from Carlisle in Cumbria, took the crown with the word "obeisant", which scored 86 points.

She outplayed Mark Nyman, who has won more than 20 major Scrabble contests, including the World Championship.

“People think Scrabble is just about words but it's the numbers that win the game”
Mikki Nicholson
National Scrabble Champion 2010

Other words used in the final were "inficete", meaning unfunny, and "oceanaut", an undersea explorer. "Obeisant", which means obedient or showing respect, proved crucial in the deciding fifth game.

Thrilling victory

Ms Nicholson, who learned to play the game on the internet five years ago, said: "It was a big challenge but I wouldn't have entered if I didn't think I had a chance of winning.

"I'm thrilled to have won and I can't wait to celebrate."

It was scant consolation for Mr Nyman, who has featured in Dictionary Corner on Channel 4's Countdown, that he got the highest scoring word in the final game - "updates" - which scored 105 points.

Explaining her route to victory, Ms Nicholson said: "A good Scrabble player is intuitive. They also need to be good with numbers.

"People think Scrabble is just about words, but it's the numbers that win the game so a sound mathematical brain is an advantage.

"The best word I played was 'inficete' as it changed the flow of the game and my best move was when I played 'tenor', as it allowed me to open up the board for me to play a high-scoring K."

Ms Nicholson, who is currently unemployed, said she planned to spend the £1,500 prize money on a trip to Malaysia in December to compete in another Scrabble tournament.

A Scrabble spokeswoman said: "Scrabble is a game for anyone to enjoy, loved by generations of families, men and women and anyone."

Barry Eva (Storyheart)

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