New Black Family Join ‘Shameless’

By Will Astbury

A new black family has been added to the eighth series of Manchester-based drama Shameless.

The show began again in early January 2011, kicking off with a Chatsworth Estate party and not just any party – Frank Gallagher’s stag night. Reliable as usual, Frank, led by his drug-addled brain, disappears which makes for a magical mystery tour as the rest of the cast seek to find him. Admist all the chaos the new family, known as the Powells, appear.

The family is made up of fiery housewife and home-brewer Avril (played by Karen Bryson – who you may know from Bodies), mild-mannered, until he’s had a drink, trainee teacher Jackson (played by Manchester-born Emmanuel Ighodaro) and theirchronically dim-witted but gorgeous teenage daughter Letitia (introducing Kira Martin).

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Potter star’s scary family bailed

THE FATHER and brother of a Harry Potter actress have been bailed after being accused of threatening to kill her.

Abdul Azad, 54, and his son Ashraf, 28, reportedly said that they would murder 22-year-old Afshan, who plays Padma Patil in the wizard movies, after they found out she was dating a Hindu man.

The child star, who comes from a strict Bengali Muslim family from Longsight in Manchester, said that her father made threats against her life and her brother assaulted her and threatened her in her home on 21 May 2010.

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Corrie’s Gulati: ‘My son was racially abused’

SHOBNA Gulati has revealed that her son has been a victim of racism.

The Coronation Street actress, who recently returned to the soap after four-year break, claimed that her son Ashkay, 14, had been bullied because his father is from the Carribean.

“I would be lying if I’d said he hadn’t been subjected to racism,” Gulati, originally from Oldham, told BBC Asian Network.

“He’s a very tall boy and he sticks out from the crowd.

“Racism exists everywhere no matter where you come from. It can be white on black or brown on black.”

Gulati, who plays Sunita in Corrie, left the Manchester-based soap in 2005 to spend more time with her son and has stated that she does not regret taking a break from the street.

Young performer New York bound

ONE TO WATCH: Mica will be a star if she can find the funds

A TALENTED  young performer from Manchester has been offered the chance to attend one of the world’s leading drama academies in New York.

However, 20-year-old Mica Townsend, from Stretford, has to raise £8,493 before 6 January 2010 if she is to fulfil her dream of following in the footsteps of the stars of stage and screen.

The full cost of the course is £22,200 and Mica said that she has been working tirelessly to make her dream a reality.

“I am still in shock and think it is amazing that I am one step closer to my dream.  I have been working non-stop since I have received this good news visiting organisations, emailing and phoning contacts,” she explained, “This is all on top of currently working full-time at Selfridges selling karaoke machines because I do not want to miss out on an opportunity like this because of money.

Her mother Carol said: “Earlier this year I watched Mica work full-time – 36 hours, come home sleep for two hours and go on to a night shift.  She is determined and I am so proud of her.”

Mica, a former Trinity High School and City College student, was awarded the scholarship after auditioning in London in front the vice president of the musical theatre course at the New York Film Academy in Manhattan.

She had to perform three songs acapella and a monologue at the audition. Similar interviews were also held in the US and South Africa.

Facing a race against time to raise the money that she needs, Mica is organising a concert on 29 December 2009 to drum-up more financial support.

She will be accompanied by three DJs, local artists and the resident singers from Alma De Cuba, Liverpool – Winner of Best Bar, Best Restaurant and UK’s Best Venue in 2008

No stranger to the stage, Mica writes and performs her own songs and has written music for other artists too. She has also performed in numerous stage shows with stars including soul legends Errol Brown, Peabo Bryson and Edwin Hawkins; Gorrilaz and the London Community Gospel Choir.

The concert will be held at The Studio, 23 Peter Street, Manchester, M1 4DJ.

Tickets cost £10 in advance or £12 on the night. To order tickets to the event or find out about how to help Mica achieve her dream call 07956 198809 or 07960 229330, or  email