Jeremy Irons at A Celebration of Christmas at St. Paul’s Cathedral

Jeremy Irons was one of the readers at A Celebration of Christmas, at St. Paul’s Cathedral in London, on Thursday 19 December 2013.

Jeremy read some passages from The Bible and also the “Christmas Day” entry from The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole, Aged 13¾ by Sue Townsend.  (Scroll down for the full text.)

Here is audio of Jeremy reading on of the Bible passages at the event (Thank you to a TEAM JEREMY member in London for this recording!) –

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View the full photo set HERE.

There was standing room only at St Paul’s as the annual Celebration of Christmas concert enthralled almost 2,500 people.

The concert, sponsored by Lloyds Banking Group and performed by the Cathedral Choir and City of London Sinfonia on Thursday 19 December, saw a mix of congregational carols, works for choir and readings from four very special guests – Jeremy Irons, Tim Pigott-Smith, Trevor Phillips and Emily Watson.

All photos Copyright All rights reserved by StPaulsLondon

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The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole, Aged 13¾
 by Sue Townsend

“Christmas Day

Got up at 5 AM to have a ride on my racing bike. My father paid for it with American Express. I couldn’t ride it far because of the snow, but it didn’t matter. I just like looking at it. My father had written on the gift tag attached to the handlebars, ‘Don’t leave it out in the rain this time’-as if I would!

My parents had severe hangovers, so I took them breakfast in bed and gave them my presents at the same time. My mother was overjoyed with her egg-timer and my father was equally delighted with his bookmark, in fact everything was going OK until I casually mentioned that Bert and Queenie were my guests for the day, and would my father mind getting out of bed and picking them up in his car.

The row went on until the lousy Sugdens arrived. My grandma and grandad Sugden and Uncle Dennis and his wife Marcia and their son Maurice all look the same, as if they went to funerals every day of their lives. I can hardly believe that my mother is related to them. The Sugdens refused a drink and had a cup of tea whilst my mother defrosted the turkey in the bath. I helped my father carry Queenie (fifteen stone) and Bert (fourteen stone) out of our car. Queenie is one of those loud types of old ladies who dye their hair and try to look young. Bert is in love with her. He told me when I was helping him into the toilet.

Grandma Mole and Auntie Susan came at twelve-thirty and pretended to like the Sugdens. Auntie Susan told some amusing stories about life in prison but nobody but me and my father and Bert and Queenie laughed.

I went up to the bathroom and found my mother crying and running the turkey under the hot tap. She said, ‘The bloody thing won’t thaw out, Adrian. What am I going to do?’ I said, ‘Just bung it in the oven’. So she did.

We sat down to eat Christmas dinner four hours late. By then my father was too drunk to eat anything. The Sugdens enjoyed the Queen’s Speech but nothing else seemed to please them. Grandma Sugden gave me a book called Bible Stories for Boys. I could hardly tell her that I had lost my faith, so I said thank-you and wore a false smile for so long that it hurt.

The Sugdens went to their camp beds at ten o’clock. Bert, Queenie and my mother and father played cards while I polished my bike. We all had a good time making jokes about the Sugdens. Then my father drove Bert and Queenie back to the home and I phoned Pandora up and told her that I loved her more than life itself.

I am going round to her house tomorrow to give her the deodorant and escort her to the pantomime.”

Jeremy Irons Attends Chickenshed Theatre Book Launch

On Sunday 15 December 2013, Jeremy Irons attended the book launch of the Chickenshed Theatre’s new book celebrating their first 40 years, entitled Chickenshed: An Awfully Big Adventure, by Elizabeth Thomson. Also in attendance were Chickenshed founders Jo Collins and Mary Ward, Sinead Cusack, Geoffrey Palmer and the book’s author, Elizabeth Thomson.

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From the Chickenshed.org.uk website:

Chickenshed – An Awfully Big Adventure

Chickenshed – An Awfully Big Adventure is a specially commissioned new book which commemorates and captures Chickenshed’s many highlights and achievements over the last 40 years, to coincide with our 40th Festival Year celebrations during 2014.

Packed full of stunning photographs from 40 years of shows, performers and supporters, it takes the reader through the history and on a phenomenal journey of both remembrance and discovery. This beautiful, glossy, one-off book is perfect as a memento as well as a gift for anyone with a relationship or an interest in Chickenshed past, present and future.

Order your copy at Box Office

Chickenshed – An Awfully Big Adventure can now be purchased (cost: £25) from our Box Office. If you’d like to have a look before buying there’s a display copy at the Box Office for your perusal.

You will also be able to purchase the book online from our website soon.

About the author

Liz Thomson is well known in the publishing industry. She has contributed articles and interviews to newspapers and magazines around the world, as well as to The New Grove Dictionary of Music & Musicians. Previously Associate Editor and Editor of the business weekly Publishing News, she is the founding Editor of BookBrunch, the online daily bulletin and website for the publishing industry. She broadcasts widely, both in Britain and abroad, and has interviewed authors at Hay, Dartington and the Southbank. She was named a Woman of the Year in 2005.

Jeremy Irons Interview for CNN-IBN

While in Dubai for the Chivas Legends Dinner, Jeremy Irons was interviewed by CNN-IBN’s Sushant Mehta –

Click the link or photo below to watch the video:

Jeremy Irons talks about his journey as actor and a philanthropist Sushant Mehta, CNN-IBN | Dec 15, 2013

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Jeremy Irons Receives 2014 SAG Award Nomination for ‘The Hollow Crown’

Jeremy Irons has been nominated for a 2014 Screen Actors Guild Award for his role as King Henry IV in The Hollow Crown.

In a statement Jeremy Irons said:
“It was a real pleasure to play Henry IV on film surrounded by such a strong cast; and for Richard Eyre’s production to touch so many, reinforces Shakespeare’s relevance to today’s audience. For my performance to be included among those nominated by my peers in the Actors Guild is a great honour.”

The 20th Screen Actors Guild Awards presentation will be held on January 18, 2014 at the Shrine Auditorium & Exposition Center in Los Angeles. The awards will air live, in the USA, on TNT and TBS at 8:00pm EST.

Hollow Crown Review

Jeremy is nominated in the category of Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Television Movie or Miniseries.

Here are the nominees in his category:

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Television Movie or Miniseries

Matt Damon as Scott Thorson – “Behind the Candelabra”

Michael Douglas as Liberace – “Behind the Candelabra”

Jeremy Irons as King Henry IV – “The Hollow Crown”

Rob Lowe as John F. Kennedy – “Killing Kennedy”

Al Pacino as Phil Spector – “Phil Spector”

Jeremy Irons at Carol Concert for Place2Be

Jeremy Irons was one of the readers at a Carol Concert to benefit Place2Be, on Monday 9 December 2013, at St. Peter’s Church, Eaton Square, London. Jeremy read “Christmas” by John Betjeman. (Scroll down for complete text)

All photos by Colin Baldwin Photography:

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Christmas by John Betjeman

The bells of waiting Advent ring,
The Tortoise stove is lit again
And lamp-oil light across the night
Has caught the streaks of winter rain
In many a stained-glass window sheen
From Crimson Lake to Hookers Green.

The holly in the windy hedge
And round the Manor House the yew
Will soon be stripped to deck the ledge,
The altar, font and arch and pew,
So that the villagers can say
‘The church looks nice’ on Christmas Day.

Provincial Public Houses blaze,
Corporation tramcars clang,
On lighted tenements I gaze,
Where paper decorations hang,
And bunting in the red Town Hall
Says ‘Merry Christmas to you all’.

And London shops on Christmas Eve
Are strung with silver bells and flowers
As hurrying clerks the City leave
To pigeon-haunted classic towers,
And marbled clouds go scudding by
The many-steepled London sky.

And girls in slacks remember Dad,
And oafish louts remember Mum,
And sleepless children’s hearts are glad.
And Christmas-morning bells say ‘Come!’
Even to shining ones who dwell
Safe in the Dorchester Hotel.

And is it true,
This most tremendous tale of all,
Seen in a stained-glass window’s hue,
A Baby in an ox’s stall ?
The Maker of the stars and sea
Become a Child on earth for me ?

And is it true ? For if it is,
No loving fingers tying strings
Around those tissued fripperies,
The sweet and silly Christmas things,
Bath salts and inexpensive scent
And hideous tie so kindly meant,

No love that in a family dwells,
No carolling in frosty air,
Nor all the steeple-shaking bells
Can with this single Truth compare –
That God was man in Palestine
And lives today in Bread and Wine.

Jeremy Irons at Christmas Carol Concert at St. Paul’s Covent Garden

Jeremy Irons was one of the readers at a Christmas carol concert at St. Paul’s (The Actor’s Church) in Covent Garden, London on Saturday 7 December 2013.

Jeremy read from “Christmas in the Trenches” by Aaron Shepherd, a fictional version of the story of the legendary Christmas Truce of 1914.

Here is the audio of Jeremy’s reading:   (Scroll down to read the full text.)

Photo via Thomas Brand on Instagram

Photo via Thomas Brand on Instagram

Photo via @Piedraceda on Twitter

Photo via @Piedraceda on Twitter

Here is the text of what Jeremy read:

Christmas Day, 1914

My dear sister,
It is 2:00 in the morning and most of our men are asleep in their dugouts—yet I couldn’t sleep myself before writing to you of the wonderful events of Christmas Eve. In truth, what happened seems almost like a fairy tale, and if I hadn’t been through it myself, I would scarce believe it.

During the day, there was little shelling or rifle fire from either side. And as darkness fell on our Christmas Eve, the shooting stopped entirely. Our first complete silence for months! We hoped it might promise a peaceful holiday, but we didn’t count on it. We’d been told the Germans might attack and try to catch us off guard.

I went to the dugout to rest, and lying on my cot, I must have drifted asleep. All at once my friend John was shaking me awake, saying, “Come and see! Come and see what the Germans are doing!” I grabbed my rifle, stumbled out into the trench, and stuck my head cautiously above the sandbags.

I never hope to see a stranger and more lovely sight. Clusters of tiny lights were shining all along the German line, left and right as far as the eye could see.

“What is it?” I asked in bewilderment, and John answered, “Christmas trees!”

And so it was. The Germans had placed Christmas trees in front of their trenches, lit by candle or lantern like beacons of good will.

And then we heard their voices raised in song.

Stille nacht, heilige nacht . . . .

I didn’t know the carol, but John knew it and translated: “Silent night, holy night.” I’ve never heard one lovelier—or more meaningful, in that quiet, clear night, its dark softened by a first-quarter moon.

When the song finished, the men in our trenches applauded. Yes, British soldiers applauding Germans! Then one of our men started singing, and we all joined in.

The first Noel, the angel did say . . . .

In truth, we sounded not nearly as good as the Germans, with their fine harmonies. But they responded with enthusiastic applause of their own and then began another.

O Tannenbaum, o Tannenbaum . . . .

Then we replied.
O come all ye faithful . . . .

But this time they joined in, singing the same words in Latin.
Adeste fidelis . . . .

British and German harmonizing across No Man’s Land! I would have thought nothing could be more amazing—but what came next was more so.

“English, come over!” we heard one of them shout. “You no shoot, we no shoot.”

There in the trenches, we looked at each other in bewilderment. Then one of us shouted jokingly, “You come over here.”

To our astonishment, we saw two figures rise from the trench, climb over their barbed wire, and advance unprotected across No Man’s Land. One of them called, “Send officer to talk.”

I saw one of our men lift his rifle to the ready, and no doubt others did the same—but our captain called out, “Hold your fire.” Then he climbed out and went to meet the Germans halfway. We heard them talking, and a few minutes later, the captain came back with a German cigar in his mouth!

“We’ve agreed there will be no shooting before midnight tomorrow,” he announced. “But sentries are to remain on duty, and the rest of you, stay alert.”

Across the way, we could make out groups of two or three men starting out of trenches and coming toward us. Then some of us were climbing out too, and in minutes more, there we were in No Man’s Land, over a hundred soldiers and officers of each side, shaking hands with men we’d been trying to kill just hours earlier!

Only a couple of our men knew German, but more of the Germans knew English. I asked one of them why that was.
“Because many of us have worked in England!” he said.

“Perhaps you did!” I said, laughing.

Even those who could not converse could still exchange gifts—our cigarettes for their cigars, our tea for their coffee, our corned beef for their sausage. Badges and buttons from uniforms changed owners, and one of our lads walked off with the infamous spiked helmet! I myself traded a jackknife for a leather equipment belt—a fine souvenir to show when I get home.

Newspapers too changed hands, and the Germans howled with laughter at ours. They assured us that France was finished and Russia nearly beaten too. We told them that was nonsense, and one of them said, “Well, you believe your newspapers and we’ll believe ours.”

Clearly they are lied to—yet after meeting these men, I wonder how truthful our own newspapers have been. These are not the “savage barbarians” we’ve read so much about. They are men with homes and families, hopes and fears, principles and, yes, love of country. In other words, men like ourselves. Why are we led to believe otherwise?

As it grew late, a few more songs were traded around the fire, and then we parted with promises to meet again tomorrow, and even some talk of a football match.

I was just starting back to the trenches when an older German clutched my arm. “My God,” he said, “why cannot we have peace and all go home?”

I told him gently, “That you must ask your emperor.”

He looked at me then, searchingly. “Perhaps, my friend. But also we must ask our hearts.”

And so, dear sister, tell me, has there ever been such a Christmas Eve in all history? And what does it all mean, this impossible befriending of enemies?

For the fighting here, of course, it means regrettably little. Decent fellows those soldiers may be, but they follow orders and we do the same. Besides, we are here to stop their army and send it home, and never could we shirk that duty.

Still, one cannot help imagine what would happen if the spirit shown here were caught by the nations of the world. Of course, disputes must always arise. But what if our leaders were to offer good wishes in place of warnings?

Songs in place of slurs? Presents in place of reprisals? Would not all war end at once?

All nations say they want peace. Yet on this Christmas morning, I wonder if we want it quite enough.

Your loving brother,
Tom

All photos via the Associated Studios Facebook Page:

1. front page 2-3. congregation songs 4. programme 1 5. programme 2 6-7. about The Associated Studios 8. back page

Jeremy Irons to Star in ‘The Man Who Knew Infinity’

From Variety:

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G. H. Hardy and Ramanujan

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LONDON — Jeremy Irons is set to co-star in the Edward R. Pressman/ Cinemorphic Entertainment Company production of “The Man Who Knew Infinity,” the biopic of Srinivasa Ramanujan, with Dev Patel starring as the revered Indian mathematician.

Irons will play G.H. Hardy, the English mathematician who plucked Ramanujan from obscurity in Edwardian India and installed him in Cambridge University.

The film will be directed by Matthew Brown, who also wrote the screenplay based on the biography “The Man Who Knew Infinity: A Life of the Genius Ramanujan” by Robert Kanigel.

Edward R. Pressman and Prashita Chaudhary of Cinemorphic are producers, along with Jim Young under his Animus Films banner, and Sofia Sondervan of Dutch Tilt Film.

Pressman said, “I am delighted to be working with Jeremy again. Our last collaboration on ‘Reversal of Fortune’ earned an Oscar for Jeremy, and I could not overstate his amazing talent. We are very fortunate to be able to add an actor of such stature to our production.”

Production on “The Man Who Knew Infinity” is expected to commence on locations in the U.K. and India next year.

Pressman’s COO Jon Katz is serving as executive producer along with Tristine Skyler, Xeitgeist’s Joe Thomas, Pamela Godfrey, Mark Montgomery and Min-Li Tan. Tayyab Madni will serve as an associate producer.