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Mona Hammond, a former EastEnders star and West End trailblazer, has died. She was 91.

No cause of death has been given.

Hammond was best known for playing EastEnders matriarch Blossom on the long-running British soap opera as well as co-founding the Black British theatre company Talawa alongside Yvonne Brewster, Carmen Munroe and Inigo Espejel in 1986.

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The actor was of Chinese and Jamaican heritage, according to The Guardian, changing her name from Mavis Chin to Mona Hammond to avoid typecasting. Hammond was born in Jamaica and moved to Britain in 1959, working in an office while attending evening acting classes. Before long, she had won a scholarship to leading British acting college RADA. She graduated in 1964 and was soon gracing the boards in theatres across the country.

Actress Mona Hammond at the "Screen Nation Film and Television Awards 2003" held at the Empire Leicester Square on September 10, 2003 in London.

She also appeared in 70 roles on screen, including in comedies The Crouches and Us Girls, as well as playing Aunty Susu in sitcom Desmond’s, which ran from 1989 to 1994, and soaps such as Coronation Street, Holby City and Doctors. In 2005 she appeared in the film Kinky Boots alongside Chiwetel Ejiofor, Joel Edgerton and Sarah-Jane Potts.

In 2006 she played Rita-Anne in Doctor Who, alongside David Tennant and Billie Piper, and two years later had a role in Roland Emmerich’s feature 10,000 BC.

Her last on-screen role was in 2016, in a short called Bucky opposite Frances Barber.

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News of Hammond’s death prompted an outpouring of tributes, including from RADA, who tweeted: “We are deeply saddened to hear of the passing of Mona Hammond, trailblazer, RADA Graduate and honorary fellow” while the EastEnders Twitter account also paid tribute, posting: “We are deeply saddened to hear that Mona Hammond has passed away. Mona created a no-nonsense grandmother in Blossom Jackson who was adored by the audience and everyone who worked with her. Our love and thoughts are with Mona’s family and friends.”

Jo Martin, who played Hammond’s daughter Natalie in The Crouches, wrote: “Mona Hammond, honoured to be her screen daughter. RIP Queen.”

Talawa’s artistic director Michael Buffong said in a statement: “Throughout her extensive career, Mona has been a trailblazer in the arts and her incredible legacy will continue; she embodies Talawa – ‘small but mighty.'”

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The theatre company also published a tribute to Hammond on their website. “We are devastated to hear of the passing of Mona Hammond OBE,” the statement reads. “Known and loved by many as Blossom in ‘Eastenders’ and Aunty SuSu in ‘Desmond’s,’ we knew Mona as the co-founder of Talawa Theatre Company – she was our National Treasure. As one of the founders of Talawa Theatre Company, Mona’s passion and vision have been fundamental to all we do to create Black theatre and make theatre more accessible for Black people in the U.K.”

“Her prominent roles in theatre, TV and film, allow others to stand on her shoulders,” the statement continues. “Mona Hammond inspired and continues to inspire so many who will always be indebted directly or indirectly by her great body of work. Mona was in the very first Talawa production in 1986, a dramatisation of The Black Jacobins by CLR James  – the story of Toussaint Louverture, who led the Haitian revolution. At a time when it was believed that Black actors could not play British classics, Mona redefined classic roles such as Lady Bracknell in Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest in 1989.” 

“Mona’s repertoire also included Madam Love in the Jamaican classic An Echo in the Bone by Dennis Scott in 1986, described by The Caribbean Times as ‘drama which touches the human soul’, the musical ‘O Babylon!’ in 1988, and her reimaging of the Fool in Talawa’s 1994 production of King Lear.

“Talawa would not exist without Mona and her fellow co-founders Yvonne Brewster, Carmen Munroe, and Inigo Espejel; she was instrumental in pushing forward the Black Theatre movement in the U.K. Mona was an integral and beloved member of the Talawa family, and we will miss her greatly.”

Hammond is survived by a son and a granddaughter.

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Title: Mona Hammond, EastEnders star, dies at 91
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Published Date: Wed, 06 Jul 2022 19:07:00 GMT

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Taylor Swift’s rep responds to reports the singer has the worst private jet carbon emissions



A spokesperson for Taylor Swift has responded to a report that named the singer as the celebrity with the worst private jet CO2 emissions. 

Yesterday, a report released by Yard claimed the American singer was the biggest CO2 polluter of the year so far, having flown in her private jet 170 times since January and totalling 8,294.54 tonnes of CO2.

However, Swift’s spokesperson told Buzzfeed News the statistics are inaccurate.

For context, the report claims the average person produces just seven tonnes of carbon emissions per year.

Taylor Swift speaks onstage during the 36th Annual Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame Induction Ceremony at Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse on October 30, 2021 in Cleveland, Ohio.

Swift’s representative said only some of the 170 flights can be attributed to the singer: “Taylor’s jet is loaned out regularly to other individuals. To attribute most or all of these trips to her is blatantly incorrect.”

Regardless, it is clear Swift’s jet is racking up significant amounts of carbon emissions due to its inefficient use.

According to the Yard report, her average flight time is just 80 minutes, and her jet’s shortest recorded flight flew between Missouri and Nashville for just 36 minutes.

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Other significant celebrity polluters include boxer and domestic violence perpetrator Floyd Mayweather, whose shortest flight was just 10 minutes long but emitted one ton of carbon; Kim Kardashian, who has emitted 609 times more carbon than the average person; and director Steven Spielberg, who took an 18-minute flight between Rotterdam and Amsterdam – a route which, when taken by train, takes only an hour. 

The subject of celebrity carbon emissions has blown up ever since Kylie Jenner shared an out-of-touch photo of her and partner Travis Scott posing in front of their private jets with the caption, “you wanna take mine or yours?”

In the midst of the backlash, many began diving deeper into Jenner’s private jet use by examining the Celebrity Jets Twitter account, which records celebrity private jet trips.

Many were horrified she was regularly taking flights as short as 12 minutes and reprimanded her for “her absolute disregard for the planet”.

Many found it hypocritical that ordinary people were being asked by big companies to reduce their car trips and use paper straws when celebrities are constantly leaving huge carbon footprints with frivolous trips in their private jets.

Despite the wave of criticism, celebrities have continued to take private flights between short distances. 


Title: Taylor Swift’s rep responds to reports the singer has the worst private jet carbon emissions
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Published Date: Sun, 31 Jul 2022 03:07:00 GMT

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Jodie Sweetin Marries Mescal Wasilewski with ‘Fuller House’ Co-Stars in Attendance!



Jodie Sweetin Marries Mescal Wasilewski with 'Fuller House' Co-Stars in Attendance!

Jodie Sweetin is married!

The 40-year-old actress, best known for playing Stephanie Tanner on Full House and Fuller House, married social worker Mescal Wasilewski on Saturday (July 30) at a private home in Malibu, Calif. after five years together.

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Jodie and Mescal wed in an intimate backyard ceremony that included her two daughters – Zoie, 14, and Beatrix, 11 – and her Fuller House co-stars including John Stamos, Candace Cameron Bure, and Andrea Barber.

“I know I have the right partner for the rest of whatever life brings me,” Jodie shared with People. “And I couldn’t be more grateful.”

Jodie and Mescal were first introduced through friends in 2017 and dated long-distanced before Mescal moved from New York City to Los Angeles in 2020. They got engaged in January 2022.

This is the fourth marriage for Jodie – she was first married to Shaun Holguin from 2002 to 2006, to Cody Herpin from 2007 until 2010, and to Morty Coyle from 2012 to 2016. She shares Zoie with Cody and Beatrix with Morty.

Congrats to the newlyweds!


By: Just Jared
Title: Jodie Sweetin Marries Mescal Wasilewski with ‘Fuller House’ Co-Stars in Attendance!
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Published Date: Sun, 31 Jul 2022 04:26:28 +0000

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How to Make Sense of a Very Unpredictable Fall Movie Season




All of a sudden, the fall movie season looks very busy. This week brought two big festival announcements loaded with major films to come: First came Venice, with a lineup that includes everything from Darren Aronofsky’s “The Whale” to “Bardo”; it was followed by TIFF, where Steven Spielberg’s “The Fabelmans” will premiere alongside Sam Mendes’ “Empire of Light” and Sarah Polley’s “Women Talking,” among many others. Meanwhile, Telluride continues to shroud its selections in secret, but the latest lineups help us get a sense of what to expect there as well.

In this week’s episode of Screen Talk, Eric Kohn and Anne Thompson dig through both lineups to get a sense for which films could impact the coming awards season and why it’s almost certain to be an unpredictable ride. They also address the return of competitiveness between festivals that seemed to subside earlier in the pandemic, and touch on the recent changes to the Oscar submission rules in France.

Watch the full episode above or listen it below. 

Screen Talk is produced by Azwan Badruzaman and available on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, and Spotify, and hosted by Megaphone. Browse previous installments here, subscribe here, and be sure to let us know if you’d like to hear the hosts address specific issues in upcoming editions of Screen Talk. 


By: Anne Thompson
Title: How to Make Sense of a Very Unpredictable Fall Movie Season
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Published Date: Fri, 29 Jul 2022 20:52:17 +0000

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