Monday, December 11, 2017


A Date with a Dame

Maan Jalal

The fabulous Dame Joan Collins will be in the city for one night only - to speak at the Dubai Opera tomorrow. The Golden Globe-winning actress, bestselling author and timeless 'It Girl' talked to City Times about her amazing life and career.

WHEN ONE THINKS of Dame Joan Collins, images of shoulders pads, dramatic make-up, perfectly styled hair, glasses of bubbly clinking, and diamonds everywhere can't help but come to mind. Though this idea of the legendary actress might be a slight exaggeration, she definitely possesses a glamorous, dramatic and a particular brand of charm that simply doesn't exist anymore. Forget, her clothes, her jewellery, her style or how her face, like all the great beauties of her generation may have changed over the years, one thing that is rich in the essence that makes Dame Joan Collins timeless in every sense of the word, is her voice.

Youthful, feminine, coquettish, elegant, distinct and firm, speaking to the legendary actress and best-selling author over the phone from some unnamed location, it was hard to decide who was conducting the interview. Whether you know it or not, Dame Joan Collins is always the one in power choosing to elaborate rather sweetly on a question you ask or simply say, 'Yes, I'd have to agree with you there.'

It's hard to really describe what an interaction is truly like with an iconic woman who has cemented her place in movie history and in the long and tumultuous tale of pop culture fairy tales. One thing is for sure, it's definitely not disappointing. Dame Joan Collins, as she did in our interview, will entertain you at the Dubai Opera stage on Tuesday, December 12, with her highly anticipated, one-woman show. It's unmissable.

With a career spanning over seven decades, Dame Joan Collins has appeared in more than 65 feature films and dozens of TV series, including what is arguably her most famous role, that of Alexis Carrington on Dynasty, one of the most highly-rated TV dramas of all time. It really created a phenomena that has influenced characters on the stage and screen ever since. She's also performed on Broadway, the West End and in national tours across the UK and North America. And like her famous sister, Jackie Collins, Joan is also an accomplished author; her novels and memoirs have sold over 50 million copies worldwide and have been translated into 30 languages.

"I really miss her I have to say," Joan said of her sister, Jackie, a true pioneer of romantic novels, who died in September 2015.

A philanthropist and renowned humanitarian, Dame Joan Collins is devoted to the wellbeing of women, children and families, regularly lending her support to causes that include finding a cure for breast cancer and empowering children with learning disabilities. In recognition of a lifetime of contributions to the arts, culture and charitable causes, Dame Joan Collins was honoured with an O.B.E. by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth in 1997. In 2015, she received a Damehood for her services to charity in the New Year's Honours list. So what did we chat about? Fame, social media, movies and caviar - what else could you talk about with Dame Joan Collins? 

What are your thoughts on Dubai?
It's my first time, I've heard that its an extremely thriving city. That it's a very modern city. I hear it's quite hot - is it going to be very hot? 

You've come at the perfect time, the weather is great.
So I'll be able to do some swimming? Great. I want to take a look around the city.

Can you tell us about your upcoming show?
I'm on the stage with my husband, we have a list of things. It's kind of funny, I don't want to spoil it - there is a list of things you can ask me and a list of things that you can't. Let's say the list I would talk about is, let's say Hollywood, children, marriage, Gene Kelly and basically we have somebody that goes around, picks someone in the audience and they say Gene Kelly, I would then tell some stories about Gene Kelly, about how I first met him, how I worked with him. So I have many different anecdotes, stories and events to tell. Some of which, the audience sometimes remind me of something I never talked about before. And in the background we have a videographer, who has film and photographs and also clips from other movies, about the particular events and anecdotes that we are talking about and he will then show them on the big screen while I'm talking.

How do you decide what is public and what you want to keep private?
We just sat down and thought about it. We've done the show many, many times in England and also in the US so, no, obviously I don't want to talk about things that are uncomfortable. I want to be entertaining to the audience, they've come to be entertained.

What significant changes have you seen in the industry over the years?
There are too many to go into. I think the most significant change is the rise of social media. Which now young people, many people, instead of going to the cinema, they can see anything they want on their devices. You know, I was saying to my husband I want to go see this movie that's just come out and he said you can download it on Netflix or whatever it was. I think that's one of the biggest changes. I think another big change is that people don't seem to want to see movies about people anymore but about cartoonish kinds of characters. I don't want to specify what they are because I know they are very popular. But I mean if somebody gave a script today to a studio like Casablanca, which is a great film, the studio wouldn't make it because it has no popular appeal. Everything is geared towards the young as well. Towards young people aged between 12 and 28 who go out to the cinema. After 28 you know its very expensive. Now people sit at home and they have the lovely TVs and watch them and that's how it's changed, one of the many ways.

That's a shame, Casablanca is a great film.
Yes, it's about people. I just finished a movie that just came out in April here in England which you  can get it in Netflix called The Time of Their Lives which I did with Pauline Collins, Franco Nero and Joley Richardson which is also just a story about people. It's quite popular and it's just about people. There's no gore, there's no blood, there's no violence - just people.

Do you like being online on social media?
I really just do it for my own amusement. I don't engage, if I go on Twitter, I don't answer back so I don't engage. I like looking at what my friends are doing on Instagram but I like looking at the tweets. But I'm not by any means obsessed with it.

How would you describe this idea of fame?
It's very difficult to generalise about a subject like fame. There are so many different kinds of fame, you know there is the fame of Theresa May and then there's the fame of Nicole Kidman - I mean, I don't know how you can compare. 

A lot of young people these days want to get into the industry for the sole purpose to be famous.
Yes, but that's been going on for years!

Except now they are probably more open about their intentions of simply doing it to be famous, would you say that's true?
Yes, I'd  have to agree with you there.

Looking back at your career, is there an era or time that you think you wouldn't mind re-living?
No. I live totally in the present. I don't look back. I don't event watch my own films. I think I've seen one that I just made, once, I went to the premiere - no, I just live in the present. 

Savoury or sweet - do you have a guilty pleasure?
My favourite food is caviar. With sour crème. And I intend to have some when I'm in Dubai (laughs)


The lives and loves of Dame Joan Collins

The actress is bringing her show to Dubai for the first time, and tells The National how she has no plans to retire just yet


Joan Collins is not interested in new ‘Dynasty’

The Dame reveals to tabloid! why she hasn’t watched the soap opera reboot!
Dame Joan Collins’s lavish, larger-than-life portrayal of the vengeful and extravagant Alexis Colby on Dynasty, beginning with her first appearance in 1981, is as timeless as Collins herself.
But don’t ask her what she thinks of the 2017 reboot of her iconic soap opera. She doesn’t even get that channel.

“Oh, no, I’m not going to be in it, no,” she said last month, speaking over the phone ahead of her Dubai Opera event, An Evening with Dame Joan Collins, on December 12. “I don’t really have any thoughts about it. It’s on a channel that I don’t really get, the CW, so I haven’t seen it and I’m not really that interested. The past is the past, as far as I’m concerned.”
Collins, an English actress and author known for her searing honesty, prolific writing and a plethora of film, television and theatre credits, revealed to Gulf News tabloid! what TV shows she does watch — and why unwinding with a bit of caviar is her favourite pastime.
In Dubai, fans will have the chance to ask you questions in an intimate setting. Was there ever a time when you were more guarded about your stories?
I’m actually a very private person, so I only tell people what I want them to know.
I’m sure there will be lots of questions about Dynasty…
Oh, sure, I’ll answer anything about Dynasty.
Alexis Colby was one of your most iconic roles. What was it about that show that inspired you to give that kind of everlasting performance?
I went into the show, I was told that it was a failing show and that it was about to be cancelled, so they expected me to bring something to it to make it much more interesting to the viewer. That was a challenge, and it wasn’t necessarily all in the writing. But I did find that the character was multifaceted, and wasn’t just the plain old straightforward [expletive] type. I tried to give her a sense of humour, I tried to give her vulnerability, because she was betrayed by her ex-husband and her whole family, and I tried to bring other dimensions to the character.
As someone who keeps herself so busy, do you have time to watch television? If so, what’s on your watch list?
I always watch Strictly Come Dancing, I watch Poldark, I watch Ray Donovan. I watch a couple of cop shows. And I watch a lot of movies. Mostly I like movies. I like old movies — I like seeing movies over and over again. Last night, I watched the Jack Nicholson film As Good as It Gets for like, the fifth time.
Was there a role you turned down that you wish you hadn’t, or vice versa?
Years and years ago, I was offered a role in a film called Sons and Lovers. It was a classic film, and I didn’t do it because someone persuaded me not to do it. The actress who did do it was nominated for the Oscar for Best Supporting Performance — that was Mary Ure.
Are there any particular actresses out there that have impressed you recently with their performances?
There’s a lot of wonderful actresses out there. Really good. I don’t want to specifically [mention]. I will say one thing: I just saw a movie called Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool with Annette Bening, and I think she’s a wonderful actress.
In 2015, you were recognised with the DBE and you became Dame Joan. How did that, or how does that, feel?
Well, it doesn’t seem to make much difference, quite frankly. Like yesterday, I went into a restaurant and they said, ‘Oh, yes, Dama Jones Collin, we have a table for you.’ [Laughs.] People call me Dame Collins, or Dem Joanne. A lot of people don’t get it. I think people understand ‘Sir’, as in, you know, Sir Michael Caine, Sir Sean Connery. I don’t think a lot of people — I’m not saying everybody — but a lot of people don’t get that Dame is the female equivalent of Sir.
You recently marched to end violence against women. Do you find it important to add your voice to a conversation that big?
I’ve had a wonderful life, I’ve been very lucky in many things, so if I can help to empower women to make their lives a little more fruitful, I would like to do it, yes. It’s not just women, it’s children I’m very involved with. I have my own charity called the Shooting Star Chase hospice for terminally ill children. It’s to help them and, mostly their parents, because we don’t have funding from the government in this country for that. It’s very important. There are so many children that have life-threatening diseases, so I do what I can.
You’ve authored more than a dozen books. Is there still a book in you that you really want to get out — or one you’d never want to write?
I’ve written 16 books. Four or five of them were beauty books, three were biographies, five were novels, one was an inspirational book. Yes [I’d like to write more], but quite frankly, at this time, at this moment in time, I really don’t have any time to do it. I’ve been very busy making films, last year and this year. I’ve been very busy with personal problems to do with my flat, and I really haven’t had time. But one day, maybe I’ll sit down and think about doing another one.
Finally, what does a day off look like for Dame Joan Collins?
A day off? Ah, well I had a day off the other day — well, yesterday, I had a day off when I had the flu, so that wasn’t so good. But last week I had a day off, and I went and took my youngest daughter Katy — that’s K-A-T-Y — to lunch and shopping and basically hanging out together. And then, at night, we had my favourite dish, which is caviar. I understand that you have that in Dubai, yes? Oh, good. So maybe I can have some. I had caviar and baked potatoes and watched movies with my husband.

Don’t miss it!

An Evening with Dame Joan Collins will be held at Dubai Opera  on December 12. Tickets start from Dh295.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017


Exclusive: Dame Joan Collins is Every Bit as Fabulous as We’d Hoped

“Show me a person who has never made a mistake and I’ll show you somebody who has never achieved much.” Dame Joan Collins has never been one to mince her words, which makes her upcoming An Evening with Joan Collins at Dubai Opera, on December 12, an exciting and rare opportunity to hear honest opinions and true stories from Hollywood royalty.
Collins – who’s worked on more than 65 films, is a successful author and humanitarian – is a refreshing change from the modern, PR-savvy celebrity who carefully choose their words and topics during interviews for fear that they might be misrepresented or pounced on by media trolls.
“I can’t say certain things anymore for fear of it being seen as politically incorrect,” explains Joan during an exclusive interview with Vogue Arabia.
The interview may have only have lasted seven minutes but the star, most famous for her femme fatale character Alexis in the 1980s hit TV series Dynasty, was every bit as sassy and fabulous as we had hoped. This is what we learned:
Accentuate the positives and eliminate the negatives. Everyone has one part of their body or face that is really good, so highlight that. For example if you have beautiful eyes, accentuate them with makeup. Or, if you have skinny legs, wear trousers, and if you have beautiful legs wear shorter skirts.
Cleansing, toning and moisturizing are a must.  I actually have my own beauty range, Joan Collins Timeless Beauty, so use my own products. I’m scrupulous about cleaning, cleasning with Joan Collins special cleanser, toning with rose water and moisturizing. I do that twice a day – morning and night.
Makeup is a must. I never leave the house without it. I use my base which is called First Base and it’s absolutely fantastic. It even contains SPF. I really believe in protecting your skin from rays, even in murky England.
Life’s a banquet. Treat each day as if it was going to be your last, as one day it could be.
Never take anything for granted. That’s the greatest life lesson I’ve ever learned.
Surviving show business for so long is a career highlight. I started as a 17-year-old actress in England and that was a long time ago,  and I’m still working. There’s not that many actresses who can say the same. The only one I can think of, and she’s quite a bit older than me, is Angela Lansbury. Also, Sophia Loren, but I don’t think she works that much anymore.
Hollywood needs to change. [In light of the recent Harvey Weinstein allegations] I honestly think there is a new code of conduct in the industry and I think that people will need to be very careful now, especially men and how they treat women. I definitely hope that is the case.
In most industries, this male behavior is endemic. Was I ever put in a position where I was made to feel uncomfortable? God yes, of course. Every young actress did. But then so did every young model in fashion, every young girl in politics that was attractive. It is still happening in certain places.
Just say no. It’s only two letters, but it’s the strongest word in the English language. If you’re an actress on the casting couch and have been asked to do something you don’t want to, say no! I said it many times and I lost roles because of it, but anything would be better than having to do things with those nasty old men.
Dubai is very exciting. I’m looking forward to visiting [for my talk at Dubai Opera]. I’m looking forward to the weather and being able to go swimming, especially coming from the UK. Of course, I’m going to go shopping and I’ve heard the people are very, very nice. I’m also looking forward to eating all the good caviar that I understand comes from there.

In most 

Monday, November 27, 2017


Joan joined Piers Morgan & Suzanna Reid to launch The Annual 1 Million Minutes Campaign...
Click here to join in!
1 Million Minutes is Good Morning Britain’s award-winning campaign to encourage all of us to give as little as 30 minutes of our time to help someone who is lonely.
It could be your neighbour, your friend or someone in your community. It could even be someone you have never met.
Loneliness is a silent epidemic with more of us than ever experiencing it, or knowing people who do.
The campaign's called 1 Million Minutes, because there's estimated to be more than a million older people in the UK, who are socially isolated - for example, not speaking to a friend or family member in a week. Add to that the millions of other people like carers, those who have been bereaved and single people living alone, and there’s an awful lot of lonely people out there.
Joan with volunteers Craig.. Amy .. Angela
Our aim is to get as many minutes as possible pledged for the campaign so we can help as many people as possible.
So what do I need to do?
It’s really easy. All you need to do is click the pledge button below telling us how many minutes of your time you want to pledge. Then scroll down below to find the volunteer opportunities available.
We are also offering people the chance to volunteer for local events and local charities dealing with loneliness through the Neighbourly website.
You can also just tell us about personal pledges you have made - whether it’s visiting a neighbour, or phoning someone you know who would appreciate the call this Christmas - by emailing us or share your pledge online on FacebookTwitter or Instagram using the hashtag #1MiIlionMinutes.
So what are you waiting for? Please pledge now. It only takes a minute to make someone's day.
Joan with volunteers Tom & Daniela

Here's how you can use those minutes...

30 minutes only
  • Say hello to a neighbour you don’t normally talk to and invite them over for a chat or a cup of tea. Don't forget to tell us about your pledge #1MillionMinutes
  • Visit a carer in your community who may be feeling socially isolated and show them how they can access support from Carers UK
  • Start a conversation - become an Action for Children Hello Volunteer and say hello at the school gate, with a neighbour or your child
90 minutes only
450 minutes a week (one day)
  • Do you fancy volunteering for just a day at a project close to your home? It could be for Christmas or in the New Year. Find out what's available near you at Neighbourly.
60 minutes a week
  • Help someone home from hospital by becoming a Royal Voluntary Service volunteer. Help support older people as they leave hospital, settle in at home and get back on their feet.
  • Raise awareness of the services of The Silver Line through working with organisations and Individuals in your local community
  • Spread the word to people who are lonely by pledging to give out Independent Ageloneliness packs in your local community
  • Volunteer at a local project. There are lots of local opportunities. Find out more at Neighbourly.
120 minutes a week
  • Become a tea party group co-ordinator and ensure the smooth running of the Contact the Elderly tea parties by communicating with drivers, hosts and guests
  • Lunch or dining club volunteers at the Royal Voluntary Service bring older people together to enjoy a hot nutritious meal and socialise with friends at the same time
  • Become a hospital cafe, shop or trolley volunteer for the Royal Voluntary Service and serve refreshments to patients, staff and visitors and be a friendly and compassionate point of contact
  • Become a volunteer co-ordinator for Royal Voluntary Service to set up and run new services or activities in their local areas e.g. lunch club, art class, social club, dance class etc
120 minutes a month
  • Become a digital volunteer with Action for Children to use the power of social media to help tackle loneliness
  • Have a regular phone chat with an older person and pledge to make regular calls or visits as an Independent Age volunteer
  • Pledge to volunteer for Age UK's telephone befriending service, Call in Time, and have a regular friendly chat on the phone with an older person once a week
180 minutes a month
  • Drive an older person to a monthly tea party. Offer companionship to older people by picking them up, driving them to a Contact the Elderly tea party and returning them home safely.
  • Or, become a tea party host. Welcome a small group of older people and their volunteer drivers into your home for a Contact the Elderly tea twice a year.
  • Volunteer to help at a social event such as a coffee morning with your local Age UK
  • Join the phone helpline team for The Silver Line in Blackpool and help brighten the spirits of older people by having a friendly chat

Saturday, November 25, 2017


Joan joined daughter Tara today for a march against domestic abuse and violence against women organised by Soroptimist SIGBI, which was held in Bristol. Joan then made an inspiring speech to the gathering...


Joan was a vision as she arrived for The Royal Variety Performance earlier this evening, where she was a guest presenter.. Due to an incident in nearby Oxford Street, the show was over an hour late in commencing..
You can catch it on ITV1 on December 17th.TBC... Watch this space...
Joan in the centre of the lineup (better quality shots to follow)