Karl PilkingtonSometimes a person becomes famous without trying, or even wanting it. As seems to be the case with Karl Pilkington. Born and raised in Manchester, UK, Karl was quite content working as a radio producer for small station. Then one fateful day he crossed paths with two individuals who came to shape the bigger part of his future life, whether he agreed with their decisions or not. When Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant, fresh off their major success with the Office and Extras, decided to host one of XML’s weekly features with Karl as the producer, they soon discovered a little round-headed diamond in the rough. Karl’s inane outlook on life and outlandish comments quickly made him one of the show’s highlights and it wasn’t long before we was abducted by the dynamic duo to be a part of their podcast project. It was a massive hit, propelling the soft-spoken Manc native into the spotlight of instant stardom. While both Ricky and Steve seem to endlessly revel in their new discovery, Karl himself appear to be more annoyed than amused with his fame. To his big dismay the podcast was turned into an animated show by HBO, and after that there was no going back.

Since then, Karl has been featured in several of Gervais’ endeavours, such as Life’s Too Short (featuring Star Wars favourite Warwick Davis) and Derek, as well as being the reluctant host of his own two series, An Idiot Abroad and The Moaning of Life. The idea of sending a most unwilling participant around the world to see some of its most spectacular wonders was simply a stroke of genius. We watched, laughed and cringed as Karl had to travel to the most exotic place he never wanted to visit, while performing extravagant mandatory tasks like swimming with dolphins, rooming with a Brazilian transvestite and bungee jumping. The bungee jumping was a bit of a let-down, as Karl simply refused when posed up on the platform. He later lied to Ricky on the phone in front of rolling cameras, saying that he’d gone through with it. As a means of redemption, he was later put outside a plane with a close-up camera recording his face as the pilot performed the most daredevil maneuvers.

Karl’s comment? “AAAAHHHHH! YOU WANKERS!”

When he’s not forced into the everyday tasks of a British celebrity, Karl seems happiest spending time with his longtime and mysterious girlfriend, Suzanne, who at one point received a two-pack of condoms as an anniversary gift. The couple spend their days discussing fascinating facts like ghosts, house flies and the human immune system, all while having tea, watching tele and playing scrabble.

With such a huge fan base around the globe, nobody was hardly surprised when Karl got his own online encyclopedia. When paying a visit to Pilkipedia, members of Karl’s fan club can look at orange-like pictures, read up on his biography, or check some of his most rememberable words of wisdom:

“Does the brain control you or are you controlling the brain? I don’t know if I’m in charge of mine.”

“I could eat a knob at night.”

“That impresses me more, inventin’ electricity”[Talking about Benjamin Franklin]

“Just been into the zoo, ‘avin a look round an that. Went into the, er, into the aquarium. Mental, the amount of fish that are knockin’ about.”

Don’t miss out on a chance to treat yourself to bit of goodness (with a needed addendum of badness), and go check out the phenomenon that is Karl Pilkington.

Ricky-Gervais-Show

bangers and mashFish and chips, beans on toast, bangers and mashed potatoes… Say what you want about Britain but its global reputation as a culinary resort is far from Great. We’re consistently perceived as the butt end of the joke when it comes to food, with the Italians and French sniggering away at our feeble attempts in the kitchen. Heck, even the Americans are laughing at our dishes and recipes. Imagine that, the land of the cheeseburger is having a laugh at our expense. Just take a minute and let that sink in for a moment.

Well, it’s about time to dispel some of the less than flattering tales surrounding British cuisine. Our friends over at The English Kitchen have been de-bunking the myths of British cooking, one recipe at a time, showing everyone that we so are capable of holding our own at breakfast, second breakfast, elevensies, lunch, afternoon tea, dinner, and supper.

To us, cooking good food is an artform that takes experience, skill, ingenuity and, most of all, talent. There’s nothing better than being treated to a superb meal where you can actually taste the expertise and devotion that went into its making. It might not be the first thing that comes to people’s minds on the subject of talent, fame and fortune, but anyone who’s ever been famished can attest to the importance of finding a good place to eat. You can’t put a price on great cuisine, well actually you can but it’s usually well worth it.

Someone who’s decided to give British cooking a well-deserved boost in the behind is renowned masterchef Gordon Ramsay. Perhaps best known for his outrageous television persona in shows such as Hell’s Kitchen, the intimidating Stratford native is on a personal crusade to put Britain back on the map of savoury flavour. We’ve all enjoyed Ramsay’s vicious verbal assaults on his terrified underlings when failing to meet his high-end standards and expectations. Although we’re not too sure whether calling someone “a useless waste of skin and space” is the best way to motivate your staff, there’s no arguing that the hotheaded celebrity chef knows his business in the kitchen.

Gordon-Ramsay

At the tender age of 26, he was already the top chef at the famous Aubergine Restaurant in London, which thanks to his efforts and work ethics was awarded with two Michelin stars within the span of three years. Five years later, Ramsay opened his own restaurant. Aptly named after its owner and creator, Gordon Ramsay soon received the highest possible rating in the world of good eats. Sporting three Michelin stars, the Gordon Ramsay is to this day the longest-running establishment to get this prestigious mark of accomplishment. The tempered steel chef himself is one of four chefs in Britain who has ever had this honour.

Since then, the Devil of Hell’s Kitchen has opened a successful chain of restaurants in Britan and all across the world. You can wine and dine at his haunts in Italy and France (touché, mes amis!) as well as the United States, Hong Kong and Singapore. There’s also a Gordon Ramsay charity foundation that carries out good deeds in his name, hopefully softening up his public image to some degree.

We cautiously salute you, sir! Long may your talent prosper and your three stars shine brightly.

stephen fryVery few celebrities anywhere can match the calm and collected gravitas of Stephen Fry. As one of Britain’s most prominent characters his list of accomplishments is as long as, well, he is. He’s a famous theatre, tv and film actor, a critically acclaimed writer, an honorary doctor and is on very good standings with the royal family, as well as being a leading spokesperson for the global gay community. One of our absolute favourites of all time is his role as moderator for the discussion panel on QI, where he provided a much needed sense of levelheaded perspective to the often heated debates and outright Mad Hatter theories. He’s also a well-known political activist, advocating social reform.

What perhaps is less known about Stephen Fry is his lifelong struggle with mental illness. Diagnosed as bipolar type 2, he suffers from hypomania: episodes where a person experiences extreme highs in mood and activity, only to eventually crash and go straight into clinical depression. In his own documentary, Stephen Fry: The Secret Life of the Manic Depressive, he illuminates some of the severe up and downs that have defined his life since a very early age. Before his time at Cambridge College, he was expelled from two prior schools and even spent some time in prison for attempted credit card fraud. A signature symptom of bipolarity is the hypomanic stage, where a person often considers oneself to be above the influence of other people and legal authority. This can lead to riskfilled and self-harmful behaviour patterns, as evidenced by Stephens tumultous young adulthood.

“It’s like going from the top of the world to the sewers of hell”, he bluntly states when asked to describe his condition.

Unlike many other fellow sufferers of mental illness in today’s society, the associated stigma has not made him cower in shame. Quite the opposite. Stephen Fry has done several lectures on his personal mission to educate the people and bring some much-needed awareness to the subject and the lives of those who fight with manic depression in their day-to-day. Mental illness is not something one can necessarily see on the outside, and yet it’s a global problem. Depression is one of the world’s biggest health issues but remains as of yet hidden beneath layers of prejudice and false preconceptions. More resources are needed to better understand this crippling illness and how to find a working cure.

Despite his condition, Stephen Fry is one of the hardest working and versatile celebrities not only in Britain, but in the world. His exceptional talent, charisma, warm humour and charm is why he will always be the epitome of a famous rolemodel in our eyes. A true gentleman and a scholar. Want to hear what Stephen has to say about the subject of himself? Take a quick detour and stop by his website, The New Adventures of Stephen Fry.

Kate MossHow do you know if you’ve “made it big time”, so to speak? It’s not when you are the most recent big talk on social media, or when your latest feature project racks in millions of pounds, and certainly not when the tabloids show off your inebriated self trying to climb inside a limo on a late Saturday night. No, being in the big leagues means your adoring fans decide to immortalize your posterior and everything attached to it in solid gold, which is exactly what’s happened to supermodel Kate Moss.

The adventures of the British superstar, and her rise to fame and occasional infamy, is a frequent discussion topic @Rapid Talent. The world is full of beautiful people, none more so than the modelling industry. So what makes one model more desireable than the next? They’re all gorgeous with skyscraper spires, so that’s obviously not the deciding factor. Is it her much talked about private life, which controversies can be regularly found in magazines and on the buzzfeeds? Could it be her internal drive and irreverent personality that’s skyrocketed her way beyond her competitors in the field? Is it one single factor or a combination of many? Could dark forces and black magic, or fate according to aligning celestial bodies, be involved in her enormous success?

The enticing riddle of this stunning and mysterious conundrum ever continue to intrigue and confuse us.

In a previous post we listed some of Britain’s wealthiest young celebrities, but they all pale in comparison to this legendary icon. By popular demand, artist and hardcore Kate Moss enthusiast Marc Quinn has put together a shining example of true talent in a display of remarkable craftmanship and pop culture savoire faire. Quinn, perhaps best known for his sculpture of a pregnant woman without arms and legs that towers in Trafalgar Square, commented on his work, and confirmed our panel of expert celebrity theorists, by claiming Kate Moss to be a modern time version of the Sphinx, a real mystery.

“She is a knotted Venus of the contemporary age”, he boldly stated as his reason for this most noble of undertakings.

The statue is appropriately named Microcosmos Siren and is the largest gold statue made by man since the ancient Egyptians raised golden monuments of their royalty and deities. Instead of the old tradition of letting a horde of slaves dig up the raw materials, Quinn’s own monument simply meant he had to find some gold bars for sale and have them delivered. Made from pure gold bullions the final cost for the project landed around £1.5 million, £1 million for the gold itself and £500.000 for Quinn’s talent and time. The retail price for the golden beauty is expected to be much higher, as much as ten times the manufacturing price.

One can only assume that the artist would preferably have chosen a statue made out of diamond, had it not consisted of such stern material. The second option of covering the statue in loose gems didn’t pass the artistic requirements of classiness and refinement. So simple gold it is, as moderation is the foundation upon which all artists build their temple.

As a further testament to Quinn’s skill, Kate only posed for him for a single day and not in the position of the statue’s final shape and form. The statue features the glamourous star in an extremely contorted yoga pose, and while the body depicted, including several limbs in an intricate arrangement, is indeed the property of Ms. Moss herself, another model was used to create the actual position, according to a report by Business Insider.

We can certainly understand why that is the case.

kate moss gold statue

The Microcosmos Siren has been on display as a part of a exhibition at the British Museum, where thousands of fans can get a closer look at Kate in her gilded glory, before the statue is auctioned off to the most eager of her admirers. Let us all hope that her likeness ends up in a good home with an owner who can appreciate truly  the 50 kilos of pure golden talent that she is.

young helen mirrenAfter giving the ladies a taste of hotness in our last post, which featured hunky illusionist Darcy Oakes, we thought it only fair to give the male audience a bit of goodness as well. In a perhaps futile attempt to insert a little class on the topic of sex appeal, we’ve chosen to take a look at some of Britain’s classic beauties and sex symbols. So no, you won’t find any naked pictures of barely legal little minxes in here – that’s what the rest of the Internet is for. Like a fine bottle of wine, these goddesses of yesteryear have only gotten better with time, if you ask us.

You’d be surprised of how many British classic stars are very much active today, still making recent headlines and public appearances at events and galas around the world. A select few are still working well into their autumn years of 80s and even 90s, proving once and for all that talent and star quality don’t necessarily diminish with age.

Here is our top 10 list of the most stunning British women in modern times:

10. Vivien Leigh

Did this classic vixen make our blood boil in every conceivable way! She’s perhaps best remembered for her performance as the sultry Scarlet O’Hara in Gone with the Wind, for which she received her first Oscar.

vivien leigh

9. Susan George

We’ll forever remember her controversial performances in films such as Sam Pekinpah’s Straw Dogs and Mandingo, where her sexual indiscretion eventurally drove Perry King’s character straight off the edge.

susan george8. Jane Seymour

We saw her take on Roger Moore in Live and Let Die, and wished for an arrow in the shoulder to get her attention as Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman. Jane Seymour is the very definition of sex appeal and is certainly one for the ages.

jane seymour7. Joan Collins

Scheming, treacherous and absolutely drop-dead gorgeous Alexis Colby (Dynasty) is one of the most iconic character in the history of television drama, but did you also know she was on Star Trek back when it originally aired in the 60s? We sure do.

joan collins6. Diana Dors

Forget Marilyn Monroe, because this THE blonde bombshell if we ever saw one! She made our hearts throb in Lady Godiva Rides Again (which featured an uncredited appearance from Joan Collins) and became one of the most controversial celebrities of her time, thanks to her personal life and wild parties.

diana dors5. Julie Christie

You’ve seen this Academy Award-winning goddess in films like Doctor Zhivago and Heaven Can Wait. She’s also won a Golden Globe and a BAFTA, and is a recipient of the Screen Actors Guild Awards, providing a stunning combination of pure talent and exceptional beauty.

julie christie4. Charlotte Rampling

Mysterious, exotic and charismatic. She didn’t just grab our attention but also Francois Ozon’s, Woody Allen’s and Luchino Visconti’s as well. Her performance in Ozon’s Swimming Pool remains one of our most treasured childhood memories.

charlotte rampling3. Diana Rigg

Avengers assemble! No, not those ones, we’re talking the originals here. Diana Riggs’ performance as Mr. Steed’s mesmerizing assistant Emma Peel is the reason we and everyone else tuned in for our weekly dose of thrilling spy action back in the 60s.

diana rigg2. Honor Blackman

Her introduction scene as a Bond girl took the whole world by storm. Emerging from 007’s dreamy haze and speaking her name (which we won’t repeat here), Ms. Blackman became the very definition of steaming, unattainable defiance for us lowly mortals.

honor blackman1. Helen Mirren

You might have guessed it. Encompassing the complete package of charming personality, talent, exquisit beauty and oozing je ne sais quo, Helen Mirren rightfully claims the top spot on our list. This lovely flower is still as stunning as she ever was. As Jack Black and Will Ferrel sang at the Oscars: Helen Mirren’s coming home with meeeee…

helen mirrenDid we miss someone on our list? Give us a shout in the comment section below and nominate your own favourite among Britain’s classic beauties.

insane clownYou’ve most likely seen them around at some point, somewhere. The folks who appear willing to risk life and limb to showcase their God-given talent to the world. Some choose to emulate Spider-Man by freeclimbing government buildings while others prefer to stuff their faces with nails and broken glass. When reaching for fame and fortune there’s no shortage of eager applicants, and Britain is no exception.

We asked the lovely ladies @Rapid Talent to nominate their absolute favourite participant of last year’s Britain’s Got Talent. The response was instantaneous, unanimous, and perhaps not very unsurprising.

Hot stuff magician and escape artist, Darcy Oake became an instant success when he appeared on the show, displaying his impressive repertoire that would put Houdini himself to shame. The tattooed adonis, originally from Canada, was so determined in claiming first price and Britain’s favour that he risked his own neck by putting himself in a straight jacket before being suspended upside down in a rigged bear trap, with only 53 seconds on the clock. As if that didn’t provide enough suspension, the trap’s suspension rope was also set on fire. All live on primetime television.

Thousands of female admirers held their breaths, unable to avert their gazes as Oake struggled frantically to free himself as the timer ticked ever closer to certain doom and disaster. Even the judges seemed doubtful that he was going to pull it off, but when the trap snapped shut, Oake was standing tall as a free man once more, to everyone’s great relief.

His performance sparked a storm on Twitter and he was considered one of the top candidates to win the entire contest. Unfortunately he didn’t and eventually had to settle for 5th. Ever since his appearance, Oake’s star has been rising at a steady pace. You can catch his act in numerous countries as he tours throughout Europe and North America. From theatres in London and Paris to New York Times Square and the Las Vegas Strip.

Take our ladies’ advice and don’t deprive yourself of this extraordinary specimen of our species.

oake

edmundIf you’re too young to remember Blackadder when it first aired on BBC back in the 80s, then you might not get what all the hubbub is about, or why we @ Rapid Talent are, quite frankly, over the moon with excitement!

The epic adventures of slimy prince Edmund, played by Rowan Atkinson, and his not-always-so-loyal sidekicks, Baldrick and Percy, are forever lodged in our hearts with much glee and affection. The series, which lasted four stellar seasons, took the viewer on a historical journey throughout the ages, starting in medieval times and came to a close in the trenches of WW1.

We revelled like piglets in our throths at the self-depricating humour and the glorious graphic violence, which quite honestly can be considered pretty gutwrenching by today’s standards. People were decapitated, arms and legs were chopped off left, right and center. If you had crossed Edmund at some point, you were sure to meet a certain demise and your imaginated method by which the Grim Reaper would grasp your hand would probably end up severely lacking.

Tramplement by horse, impalement by countless arrows, excruciating murder by poison, or just good old stabbings in the back the moment your back was turned. Death came in many forms and sizes in the world of Blackadder, and we loved every second of it.

Aside from the tv special, Blackadder: Back & Forth, which aired in 1999, the world has been sorely deprived of the all-too smug visage of Edmund Blackadder and his band of merry men. But at long last both fans and the characters themselves may finally be redeemed, preferably accompanied by a fair share of rightful comeuppance.

We say “may”, because so far nothing solid has been confirmed. Although Sir Tony Robinson, who played fan favourite Baldrick in the series, said that a new season is finally on the agenda when being probed and prodded by our inquisitive staff.

baldrick

“I do believe a new series of Blackadder is on the cards”, the 69-year-old comedian recently told the Sun. “I have spoken to virtually all the cast about the show. The only problem is Hugh’s fee, since he’s a huge star now – or so he’d like to think.”

Hugh, that is Hugh Laurie, struck the mother lode when he was cast in the US medical drama House. The British comedian is rumoured to have been payed more than £250.000 an episode as Dr. Gregory House when the series ran between 2004 and 2012. It’s also unclear whether fellow Blackadder star and semi-posh intellectual Stephen Fry will return to revive his part in the new escapades.

If and when the new season of Blackadder will air is still shrouded in mist over the English moors, but we remain hopeful and optimistic that the slithering snake will grace our screens with his presence before too long.

Until then, here’s a little something to keep you while you wait.

All together now: “The sound of hoof beats cross the glade…”

young-and-richWouldn’t we all like to be young, rich and famous?

To be chauffeured around between fashion events and award ceremonies in luxury cars with too big rims and neon colours, all while sipping on champagne and munching down on oysters and overpriced toffee. Coastal retreats, jet planes and heaps of jewellery – life is good for the young and wealthy of Great Britain.

Every year, the qualified panel of the Rich List announce their candidates for the richest British celebrities in the entertainment industry under the age of 30. The nominees have to undergo a rigorous process of analysis where all their movie deals, tv contracts, record sales and shampoo commercials are put under scrutiny.

It’s the most precise assessment of celeb earnings you could possibly get, save clinical testing.

The Procedure

The exact methods of science have as of yet not been revealed, but all celebrities have to be 30 or below. In order for them to qualify for the list, their most significant proportion of income must come from different arenas in the entertainment industry. This weeds out nobility, inheritants and entrepreneurs, leaving only the very cream of the crop left to compete against each other.

The Rich List is an estimate of earnings and not of total wealth amassed, with unknown or unforseen factors such as the tax man, toot and bungee jump addictions providing a bit of extra suspense.

The Judges

Lucie Cave – a longtime veteran in the noble profession of celebrity deepdiving, with an impressive resume of listing other people’s wealth and fortune.

James Herring – co-founder of Taylor-Herring PR, one of the country’s top entertainment agencies, affiliated with prominent stars like Robbie Williams and Ricky Gervais.

Michelle Mone – one of UK’s most successful and influential female entrepreneurs, who through her founding of bra & knickers brand Ultimo and being voted Britain’s most powerful woman in business has taken her rightful place on the panel, despite her area being disqualified for consideration.

money, cash & moolah

Money, money, money… here we go.

The Rich List – Top 30

30. Lily Cole, 26: £6.21m

29. Duffy, 30: £6.26m

28. Paolo Nutini, 27: £6.28m

27. Jamie Bell, 28: £6.73m

26. Lily Allen, 29: £6.97m

25. Mumford & Sons: £6.99m

24. Jamal Edwards, 24: £7.14m

23. JLS: £7.18m

22. James Morrison, 30: £7.35m

21. Cara Delevingne, 22: £7.49m

20. Gemma Arterton, 28: £7.98m

19. Nicola Roberts, 29: £8.01m

18. Nadine Coyle, 29: £8.10m

17. Florence Welch, 28: £8.88m

16. Carey Mulligan, 29: £9.41m

15. Aaron Taylor-Johnson, 24: £9.6m

14. Charlotte Church, 28: £9.67m

13. Joss Stone, 27: £10.02m

12. Coleen Rooney, 28: £11.74m

11. Katie Melua, 30: £13.56m

10. Alex Turner, 28: £13.56m

9. Leona Lewis, 29: £15.51m

8. Rupert Grint, 26: £27.33m

7. Calvin Harris, 30: £28.99m

6. Emma Watson, 24: £31.66m

5. Adele, 26: £36.25m

4. Keira Knightley, 29: £39.95m

3. Robert Pattinson, 28: £51.4m

2. Daniel Radcliffe, 25: £63.5m

  1. One Direction: £77.5m

There you have it, the 30 richest celebs under 30 Britain has to offer.

What about yourself – how are your own acquisition of wealth (and fame) coming along? Give us a shout in the comment section below and let us know.

humble beginnings

 

emma-willis-big-brotherThis year’s Celebrity Big Brother, brought to you by Channel 5, will mark its 16th season, making the show one of the longest running tv programs in British history. For 2015, a new theme will be introduced: UK vs USA (as reported by the Huffington Post).

British celebrities will go head to head, and maybe more, with their American counterparts in what has been described as “an epic battle of unprecedented proportions”.

It will be hard to top last year’s escapades, featuring Perez Hilton taking on practically all of his British housemates, but both Emma Willis and Rylan Clark promise this season will deliver celebrity drama extravagancy like we’ve never seen before.

There’s still quite a bit of secrecy regarding the cast, but according to several rumours the British lineup will include Atomic Kitten singer, Natasha Hamilton, Dan Osborne, formerly seen on The Only Way Is Essex, self-proclaimed “selfie queen”, Karen Danczuk, Sherrie Hewson from the Loose Women panel, and Internet sensation, Dapper Laughs.

Who are going to be representing the other side of the pond is even more shrouded in mystery, although we’ve heard tales that ex-supermodel, Janice Dickinson, Teen Mom-turned adult film star, Farah Abraham and MC Fatman Scoop will appear on set when the show launches on 27 August.

Last year, the show had its first American winner in history, with the crown going to great, good ol’ Gary Busey as the people’s champion. The Americans certainly dominated 2014, much thanks to Gary and his fellow countrymen Perez Hilton and Cami Li.

Britain struck back in January, when glamour model and reality tv star, Katie Price took home first place, well ahead of her rivals, Katie Hopkins and Chloe Wilburn.

katie-price

Apparently, there’s also going to be a wild card introduced in the form of Australian Dancing On Ice judge, Jason Gardiner, whose origins seem to have caused the CBB producers quite a bit of grievance, as they reportedly aren’t exactly sure on which side he belongs.

Make sure to tune in at the end of August, when the epic battle between Brits and Yanks (and one Australian) begins in earnest.