WATCH: James Corden and co do Carpool Karaoke – Christmas style

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It wouldn’t be Christmas without a sing-along and James Corden has taken his Carpool Karaoke to heights even Mariah Carey’s head voice would struggle to reach.

The latest clip, part of Corden’s US talk show The Late Late Show, features a slew of past guests singing All I Want For Christmas (Is You) including the song’s originator Mariah, as well as Adele, Chris Martin, Selena Gomez, Demi Lovato, Nick Jonas, Lady Gaga, Red Hot Chilli Peppers, Gwen Stefani and Elton John. It’s the most star-studded edition of the British talk show host’s popular segment yet. It begins with Corden asking Carey, who is currently performing in her holiday-themed show at the Beacon Theatre in New York, what the best gift she could receive would be. “I want you sing my song!” she tells him, before launching into one of her biggest hits.

It also tops of a stellar year for the host, having hosted the Grammys, Brits and the Tonys, starring in films Trolls and Norm of the North and being outed as quite possibly the nicest man in showbiz.

Watch the video below:

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Get your Christmas all wrapped up by the Children’s Foundation and Intu Eldon Square

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As Christmas Day fast approaches, shops are buzzing with people grabbing those last-minute gifts. But as you flash the cash and leave laden with bags full of presents, don’t fret about the dreaded wrapping because there’s help at hand.

The Children’s Foundation have teamed up with Intu Eldon Square and set up their annual wrapping stand to take some of the pressure off you this festive season. Shoppers can leave their gifts with the stand’s volunteers and have them wrapped up super fancy, in return for a donation. You can choose from a range of wrapping paper, ribbon and bows (the flashing bows are major, FYI). All gift wrap has been kindly donated by local businesses and the stand is run completely by volunteers.

The stand was launched this year by cast members from the Tyne Theatre’s pantomime, Beauty and the Beast, last Friday. They follow in the footsteps of other famous faces who have launched the scheme in the past, including Pam Royle and Ian Payne from ITV Tyne Tees, former Emmerdale star Charlie Hardwick and Heart Radio’s Justin and Kelly.

The Children’s Foundation aims to improve the health and wellbeing of children and young people in the North East and North Cumbria by tackling issues like distress, disability and disadvantage. The charity is based at the RVI in Newcastle and last year helped over 30,000 children.

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Above: The Children’s Foundation helps children across the North East and Cumbria

Jonathan Clegg is the Community and Events Fundraiser for the charity. “This is the tenth year of the wrap stand and so far over £25,000 has been raised,” he told us. “Last year it raised over £6,000 and we hope to beat that this year.

We always have the same people come back year after year and it’s always nice to see some familiar faces.”

I stopped by the stand to get the full wrap experience and was suitably impressed with Jonathan’s elf skills! See for yourself…

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Beautiful!

Make sure you stop by the stand and donate if you can. It really is all for a fantastic cause and what better time than Christmas time to give back. Any donations are welcome and will all go to helping The Children’s Foundation continue their brilliant work.

The stand is located outside of Kurt Geiger and opposite John Lewis in Eldon Square and is open 10.00-18.00 Monday-Saturday and 12.00-16.00 Sunday and Christmas Eve.

REVIEW: Cinderella – “great performances, sumptuous sets and intricate costumes have the audience spellbound”

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Real-life father/son duo Danny Adams and Clive Webb are in their 12th year of entertaining the festive crowds at the Theatre Royal and they’ve become the main draw of the annual show and local celebrities in the process. Or at least, they are to the hordes of children who hang on their every word. This year’s effort, written and directed by super-producer and local lad Michael Harrison, is no different and the tale of the flighty girl with the blinged-out shoes has never been so good.

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The whole cast put in strong performances. Singer and star of The Basil Brush Show Laura Evans (above) is a prim and proper Cinderella and her stunning voice melds beautifully with that of Will Richardson (below) who plays the dashing Prince. Both tackle both the original numbers and covers of songs like Hold My Hand with ease and have the audience spellbound. Wayne Smith somehow manages to hold his own amongst the mayhem as a very dapper Dandini and has some lovely scenes with Adams, where in this performance (and I’m sure regularly) the two couldn’t contain their laughter. The ugly sisters (a hilariously grotesque Pete Peverley and Steve Arnott) relished their roles as the villains of the piece and their take on the Geordie-lass-doon-the-toon stereotype is just as much for the grown-ups as it is for the kids, who boo and hiss to their heart’s content. Chris Hayward is also back as Rita, the Fairy Godmother, and is as warm and welcoming as ever. He, like Adams and Webb, is a legend of Theatre Royal pantoland.

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The 3D portion of the show has become a staple of modern panto and always goes down a treat. Squeals of glee and tears of genuine terror – and that’s the adults! Some traditionalists may turn their nose up but it really is a spectacle. The show-stopping moment comes courtesy of Cinderella’s horse drawn carriage, which rises up into the gods led by incredibly life-like animatronic horses. I couldn’t help but wish I was seeing it through a child’s eyes.

Pantomime sometimes has a reputation as being a bit ‘chatty’ and isn’t taken as seriously as other forms of theatre. This production, with sumptuous sets and intricate costumes to rival a West End show, dispels that myth. The Fairy Godmother in particular has some beautiful costumes; gone are the wacky comedy frocks, replaced by sequinned gowns a la Boulevard that, actually, put Cinders’ outfits to shame.

The entire show is a treat but it really does hinge on it’s Buttons. Adams’ talent as an entertainer, whether that is physical comedy, charm or magic, knows no bounds. How he isn’t a huge star is anyone’s guess. Although if he was, maybe it would take the shine off the Northern star he has been to us Geordies for the past 12 years of Christmas.

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Cinderella is at the Theatre Royal until Sunday January 15. For more information and to book tickets call 08448 11 21 22 or click here

From supermarkets to Heathrow Airport – Our pick of the best Christmas ads this year

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It’s the most wonderful time of the year. And for the retail industry, it’s by far the most lucrative. And whilst there’s plenty of things to get excited about at Christmas (namely parties, guilt-free carb-loading, parties, days off and more parties) festive TV ads are up there. Whether it’s John Lewis’ Bear and the Hare or Shirley Bassey and her mates going all Bond girl for M&S, Christmas TV ads have become a talking point in the past few years. Take a look at our pick of the best of the big-hitters this year.

Waitrose

Never let it be said that an advert can’t take you on an emotional roller coaster. Waitrose’s tale of a robin who goes on the adventure of a lifetime, across stormy seas and sprawling landscapes all to get a taste of one of the store’s fancy mince pies, is like a movie trailer. The moral of the story? Be nice. Be kind. Help each other out and you’ll get your reward.

Sainsburys

Sainsbury’s ad divides people as soon as it begins: soundtracked by the dulcet tones of Mr James Corden, who seems to be of the Marmite variety for most, it uses quirky animation to list everything that could go wrong at Christmas but also exactly what makes Christmas the best time of the year, and that’s family time. And it’s all in aid of Great Ormond Street. Lovely.

Heathrow Airport

Paddington? Keep him. Winnie the Pooh? Who? It’s all about Edward Bair and his lady friend as they arrive home from their holidays in Heathrow Airport’s new ad. Just as you’re falling in love with the cute pair, as Edward fumbles with his glasses in order to read the signs or knocks over a shortbread display in duty free (he is a laugh a minute) they are met with their grandkids and it turns out they’re regular old Nan and Grandad from Lewisham or somewhere just as mundane (probably) Adorable nonetheless.

WWF

The only ad in the list that isn’t trying to flog you anything, the World Wildlife Fund have released this one to encourage people to donate to the charity and try and protest one of the planet’s most majestic, but endangered, animals: the tiger. The clip sees a family nursing an injured tiger back to health, before releasing it back into the wild. Both poignant and unsettling that these beautiful creatures could become extinct in the very near future, it’s stunning.

TK Maxx

Probably the least sentimental of the bunch, TK Maxx has gone for comedy rather than schmaltz. The family in the ad are propped around the piano in a seemingly traditional scene, before launching into a rather-hilarious acapella rendition of Misirlou, aka the iconic Pulp Fiction song, gargling granny and all. A firm favourite of ours from the car boot sale of the high street.

Amazon

Our favourite of the whole bunch. In the current climate, where hatred is rife and hope sometimes stifled, this one from Amazon is particularly poignant. It shows the friendship between a Christian vicar and a Muslim Imam and how we’re all not as different as you might think. It went viral on premiering and rightly so. Let’s all show a little more compassion this Christmas.

Marks and Spencer

M&S has a reputation of really pulling it out of the stocking when it comes to their ad campaigns throughout the year. But Christmas always brings out the best in them. Remember Shirley Bassey slaying Get This Party Started with her gaggle of supermodel pals? Iconic. This year’s effort isn’t quite as memorable but it’s chic nonetheless and sees Mrs claus taking matters into her own hands #GirlPower.

John Lewis

The one everyone anticipates every year, impressing customers is always a tall order for John Lewis. They’ve given us the Bear and the Hare, the super-cute penguins, the snowman love story and the Man in the Moon, who quite frankly, was a bit creepy. This year, it’s all about an energetic boxer dog named Buster who just wants to get involved with his little girl owner’s new trampoline, all soundtracked by a beautiful cover of One Day I’ll Fly Away by Vaults. Who can resist a naughty puppy? SOMEONE WITH A HEART OF STONE, THAT’S WHO.