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‘VICTORIA’ comes to MASTERPIECE this month on PBS

Scripted by bestselling novelist Daisy Goodwin (The Fortune Hunter), Victoria airs in seven magnificent parts, fit for a queen, on MASTERPIECE, Jan. 15 on PBS.

Jenna Coleman (Doctor Who) stars as the young Queen Victoria at the outset of her epic reign, which set the stage for an entire era that would be named in her honor. The stellar cast also includes Rufus Sewell (The Man in the High Castle) as Lord Melbourne, the British prime minister who was Victoria’s father figure and intimate friend, and Tom Hughes (Dancing on the Edge) as the handsome, brilliant and awkward Prince Albert, who stole Victoria’s heart after a rocky start.

In Victoria, writer Daisy Goodwin imaginatively depicts what it was like for an ill-educated, emotionally deprived teenager to wake up one morning and find that she is the most powerful woman in the world. Victoria charts how the new ruler rose to the challenge and weathered a series of crises — some of her own making — without ever losing her youthful charm and innate sense of justice, which made her popular with her subjects.

Victoria is a coproduction of Mammoth Screen and MASTERPIECE. It is created, written and executive produced by Goodwin. The director is Tom Vaughn (He Knew He Was Right). The directors are Sandra Goldbacher and Olly Blackburn. The producer is Paul Frift (Restless). The executive producers are Dan McCulloch and Damien Timmer for Mammoth Screen and Rebecca Eaton for MASTERPIECE, presented by WGBH Boston. It is distributed internationally by ITV Studios Global Entertainment.

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Mitch’s Travel: DWTS champion Karina Smirnoff to headline ‘Cruising with the Stars’ in June

Karina Smirnoff

Karina Smirnoff, “Dancing with the Stars” celebrity dance pro and Season 13 champion, will join Cruising with the Stars, a new dance-focused fan cruise that launches June 3-10, 2012, from Los Angeles for a 7-day excursion to the Mexican Riviera, aboard Carnival Cruise Line’s ship The Splendor.  Ports of call are Cabo San Lucas and Puerto Vallarta.
It’s truly a red carpet affair for this inaugural cruise from Cruising with the Stars, which headlines Smirnoff, who will be offering all levels of dance and fitness classes on board the ship and inviting both dancers and fans to join her for a full week of celebration following the upcoming DWTS Season 14 – including nightly CWTS cocktail and dance parties, personal Q&A and celeb photo sessions, excursions on shore, all culminating with a spectacular professional dance show.
On Cruising with the Stars, Smirnoff joins six of America’s champion professional dance instructors and performers such as Sharon Savoy and Mike Tuttle, Jamie Bayard and Bonnie Marie, and Enio Cordoba and Terryl Jones.

“Cruising with the Stars will set a new standard in dance cruise excursions.  Add the rare opportunity to join one of America’s hottest dance celebrities – DWTS’s Karina Smirnoff – for a full week of unmatched dance instruction and exhilarating performances, and it’s a formula for success,” said event organizer and hosts Sharon Savoy and Mike Tuttle in a news release.     
Smirnoff is especially looking forward to the time off to meet fans personally and work with dancers. In addition to the unprecedented nearly 60 hours of dance instruction offered on board ship, there will be a limited opportunity to take private lessons with Smirnoff, as well as the other master level instructors.
Cruising with the Stars is open to the general public, but cruisers should make reservations right away since the block of cabins are expected to book quickly.  Both dancer and non-dancer rates are available. To participate in the CWTS program and activities, all cabin reservations must be made through official travel agent Travel Themes And Dreams of Hallandale, Fla., at toll-free (800) 706-0049, at (786) 393-5854 for those outside of the USA, or online at
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Jace Everett to premiere “Red Revelations” June 22

‘Red Revelations,’ the new album by singer-songwriter Jace Everett, will make its world premiere June 22, one day prior to its physical and digital release June 23, in a full-album performance with a five-member band and multi-camera production, web cast in high-definition, live from the stage of the Nashville concert space 12th and Porter.
‘Red Revelations’ is the third studio album by Everett, best known for writing and performing the irresistibly charged-up rockabilly come-on “Bad Things,” the opening theme of the Golden Globe-honored HBO series “True Blood.”
Produced in part by Chuck Prophet (Green on Red) and in part by Everett, ‘Red Revelations’ will be released in two vinyl formats: standard black, as well as a special limited edition red vinyl pressing, in addition to CD and digital release on the Weston Boys/Haywood Group label.
The webcast will begin at 9 p.m. Central Standard Time on June 22, with links to placed at the artist’s official websites at and Joining Everett onstage are the album’s roster of ace players: on drums, Derek Mixon; on bass, James Cook; and two frequent collaborators: on guitar, Dan Cohen and on guitar and keyboards, Chris Raspante.

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Best-selling series returns to spotlight

The fictional “The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency” series obviously has been out for a while, but there is now an HBO series, and renewed attention has been drawn toward author Alexander McCall Smith.
Viewers and readers are introduced to the engaging Precious Ramotswe, who opens a small storefront business in Gaborone – thanks to her hardworking father. Filled with poignant stories, “The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency” chronicles important events in Mma Ramotswe’s life as well as her clients who hire her because of her stellar private-eye skills. Mma Ramotswe does everything from tracking down a missing husband to following the missing case of an 11-year-old boy, which tugs at her heart. Smith’s storytelling will conjure feelings of engagement, exhilaration and sadness at the same time. The books are not only worth reading, but the HBO series staring three-time Grammy Award-winning Jill Scott receives accolades as well.