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BAZ BAMIGBOYE: Hello Mr Waltz… we’ve been expecting you

Scar: Christoph Waltz as Blofeld

Scar: Christoph Waltz as Blofeld 

Blofeld is back. James Bond’s white Persian-cat-loving arch nemesis Ernst Stavro Blofeld will return in Bond 25.

Christoph Waltz, the Oscar-winning actor who played the diabolical villain in Spectre three years ago, has been filming scenes, I can exclusively reveal, at Pinewood studios, for the latest adventure based on Ian Fleming’s thrillers about 007.

Waltz’s involvement as Blofeld has been kept top secret . . . until now. When visitors to the set spotted him, the Austrian-born star put a finger to his lips and in hushed tones told them: ‘You haven’t seen me. I’m not here.’

An executive on the film told me: ‘There’s unfinished business between Bond and Blofeld. If I told you any more, I’d have to kill you.’ That may not even have been a joke.

Waltz joins Daniel Craig in what many on the movie believe will be his final outing as Bond. Rami Malek, winner of the Academy Award for his portrayal of Freddie Mercury in Bohemian Rhapsody, is also a ‘baddie’, though it’s not yet known, outside of the 007 circle, how the bad guys are connected. Blofeld’s survival at the conclusion of Spectre was widely noted, leading to speculation — shot down by Bond film producers Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson — that he might reappear in Bond 25.

Someone on the picture mentioned that Blofeld’s ‘pretty p***ed’ about what Bond and Madeleine Swann (played by Lea Seydoux) did to him in Spectre. Blofeld was left disfigured: there’s a whopping great scar down the right side of his face, and he’s got a milky eye, thanks to an explosion orchestrated by Swann and Bond.

Someone on the picture mentioned that Blofeld¿s ¿pretty p***ed¿ about what Bond and Madeleine Swann (played by Lea Seydoux) did to him in Spectre

Someone on the picture mentioned that Blofeld’s ‘pretty p***ed’ about what Bond and Madeleine Swann (played by Lea Seydoux) did to him in Spectre

There have been several incidents, including Craig requiring ankle surgery after an on-set accident, that have delayed filming (pictured: Daniel Craig in Spectre)

There have been several incidents, including Craig requiring ankle surgery after an on-set accident, that have delayed filming (pictured: Daniel Craig in Spectre)

Director Cary Joji Fukunaga has managed to fulfil his desire to get as many actors as possible from the Spectre film back for the new picture. ‘The ones that weren’t killed off, obviously,’ he said, several months ago.

Along with Waltz, there’s Seydoux and regulars Ralph Fiennes, Naomie Harris, Ben Whishaw and Rory Kinnear. They’ll be joined by newbies Lashana Lynch and Ana de Armas — and Jeffrey Wright returning after a break as the CIA’s Felix Leiter.

There have been several incidents, including Craig requiring ankle surgery after an on-set accident, that have delayed filming. I was told the project would be several weeks late in finishing but a spokesperson pushed back against that, insisting the film has made up for lost time. The official also strenuously denied that the ending was still being written.

Extra post-production technicians and other experts have been drafted in to ensure that Bond 25 makes its scheduled April 3 release date next year.

An executive on the film told me: ‘There’s unfinished business between Bond and Blofeld. If I told you any more, I’d have to kill you’

How do you get a tiger on stage? All it takes is a little piece of Pi 

All the major London theatre owners have been hot-footing it to the Crucible Theatre in Sheffield to see the ingenious stage version of Yann Martel¿s psychological fantasy novel Life Of Pi

All the major London theatre owners have been hot-footing it to the Crucible Theatre in Sheffield to see the ingenious stage version of Yann Martel’s psychological fantasy novel Life Of Pi

All the major London theatre owners have been hot-footing it to the Crucible Theatre in Sheffield to see the ingenious stage version of Yann Martel’s psychological fantasy novel Life Of Pi.

I was totally enraptured by director Max Webster’s breathtaking production, based on Lolita Chakrabarti’s luminous adaptation, and featuring mind-blowing sets by Tim Hatley.

There’s extraordinary puppetry by Finn Caldwell and Nick Barnes; and vivid lighting, sound and video design by Tim Lutkin, Carolyn Downing and Andrzej Goulding.

It’s the story of a shipwrecked lad, played by a marvellous Hiran Abeysekera (pictured). Life Of Pi is simple, magnificent storytelling. Simon Friend, who owns the rights, oversaw several workshops over a three-year period to get it right.

‘It’s not an adaptation of Ang Lee’s film. It’s a story about a boy with a tiger on a boat that has been created by Max, Lolita, Tim Hatley, the puppeteers and all the designers,’ said Friend.

He is in early negotiations to take it to the West End next year. Out of this world things happen to Hatley’s set, so he will have to pick his auditorium carefully.

Interesting that the best work these days is not being done in our national houses, but in regional theatres and off West End sites.

I was totally enraptured by director Max Webster’s breathtaking production, based on Lolita Chakrabarti’s luminous adaptation

Laughing their way into the West End  

Farce: Meera Syal. The joyous revival of Michael Frayn¿s comedy Noises Off is getting set to make a wonderful racket in the West End

Farce: Meera Syal. The joyous revival of Michael Frayn’s comedy Noises Off is getting set to make a wonderful racket in the West End

The joyous revival of Michael Frayn’s comedy Noises Off, a laugh out loud hit at the Lyric, Hammersmith, is getting set to make a wonderful racket in the West End.

Frayn’s superior back-stage farce had me in tears last Friday night. You know — when you laugh so much tears stream down your face.

I saw the very first production at the same address, directed by Paul Eddington. I can’t say that I’ve always enjoyed subsequent productions . . . until this one, directed by Jeremy Herrin.

The plan being undertaken by Playful Productions and the Lyric is for Noises Off to transfer to the Garrick Theatre in late September or early October.

Casting deals are still being done so I don’t yet know who will move to the West End. But I hope it’s the current ensemble; the cast work brilliantly together.

The full company consists of Lois Chimimba, Jonathan Cullen, Debra Gillett, Amy Morgan, Enyi Okoronkwo, Lloyd Owen, Daniel Rigby, Simon Rouse and Meera Syal.

Unlike the delicious chaos unfolding on stage, the actors playing members of a touring regional company seem to have genuine company spirit. The collective comic timing is priceless, which is why it would be great for them to all move to the Garrick.

Noises Off would be taking over from David Mamet’s new piece Bitter Wheat, a low-energy vehicle for John Malkovich so dull I came out in hives. The hives returned Saturday night after three hours plus spent watching Peter Gynt in the Olivier at the National Theatre.

Daily Mail UK

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