Simon Round

The billionaire who raised money for Nelson Mandela

By Simon Round, July 19, 2012

Things have changed dramatically in South Africa over the past couple of decades. Ivor Ichikowitz discovered just how much a few years ago when his son asked him for help with a school project. “He said to me: ‘Dad, we’re learning about apartheid at school; can you explain it to me’. My first reaction was anger.

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A bit of rain never hurt Noah-body

By Simon Round, July 13, 2012

For this week's column, I was torn over whether to offer a nuanced view of the psychological ramifications of the European debt crisis, an analysis of proposed House of Lords reforms, or maybe even an overview of Britain 12 months after the riots. But let's face it, the only thing anyone wants to talk about at the moment is the weather.

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My part in the attack on the King David Hotel

By Simon Round, July 12, 2012

Sixty-six years ago, Miriam Issacaroff made an urgent call to her siblings in Tel Aviv, telling them she was sending her parents from Jerusalem to stay with them, asking them to keep them safe because "something big" was about to happen in the city.

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Ben Cross: the challenges of playing Harold Abrahams in Chariots of Fire

By Simon Round, July 12, 2012

Ben Cross has around 90 hours of DVDs of all his film performances. So over the years it has irked him a little that he is still primarily known for just one — the first he ever made, Chariots of Fire.

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Amy Winehouse - father Mitch sets the record straight

By Simon Round, July 6, 2012

When Amy Winehouse was found dead in her bed on July 23 last year, the rumours started immediately. Some believed that she had committed suicide, others that she had died of a massive drugs overdose. It was said that she was depressed and that her life was in a mess.

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Television: Chariots of Fire and the real Harold Abrahams story

By Simon Round, July 6, 2012

It is a theme tune that has almost passed into cliche. As soon as you hear Vangelis’s Chariots of Fire music, it is impossible to stop yourself running in slow motion towards an imaginary tape.

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Gino Bartali: the Tour de France hero who defied Mussolini

By Simon Round, July 5, 2012

There are plenty of sporting heroes — people who have scored vital last-minute goals, run world records or taken a hatful of wickets. However, Italian cyclist Gino Bartali truly deserves the accolade.

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He won millions at poker. So why does he cry so much?

By Simon Round, June 28, 2012

Before he reached 19, Andrew Feldman was forced to accept that he was addicted to gambling. On his 18th birthday, he started playing on an online poker site and soon he was making in a day what he earned in a year doing his paper round. The winnings mounted up. Within nine months he had made £100,000. Then one crazy night he lost all of it. He found he was simply unable to stop playing.

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Television: It's strictly stereotypes again in Strictly Kosher rerun

By Simon Round, June 28, 2012

If you enjoyed last year’s first instalment of ITV1’s prime-time documentary about the Manchester Jewish community, you will probably have enjoyed this two-parter, screened on successive nights this week, as it was identical to the first programme in most respects.

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Stasha Palos on finding a way to a man’s heart

By Simon Round, June 21, 2012

It is probably fair to say that if most men were to summon up their dream woman, Stasha Palos would not be far from the fantasy. She is tall, blonde, slim, charming and creative.

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Barry Fantoni: the 1960s rebel who was cooler than Mick Jagger and Tom Jones

By Simon Round, June 21, 2012

When something big happened in the 1960s, you could be pretty sure that Barry Fantoni would not be far away.

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DVD review: In Darkness - better than Spielberg

By Simon Round, June 15, 2012

Acclaimed Polish film-maker Agnieszka Holland’s harsh, uncompromising drama may have the same theme as Schindler’s List — a true-life story of a gentile who saved Jews
— but it is both more compelling and less sentiment-al than Spielberg’s blockbuster.

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Itzik Galili: the Israeli leading the dance for English National Ballet

By Simon Round, June 15, 2012

To say that Itzik Galili is busy would be an understatement. The Israeli choreographer has broken through spectacularly in the UK in 2012 — there have been four premieres of his work performed by companies as prestigious as the Rambert Dance Company and the English National Ballet.

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Israeli envoy: activists have 'sexual identity problems'

By Simon Round, June 14, 2012

Palestinian supporters have demanded that Israel's deputy ambassador to Ireland be removed after she allegedly described Israeli human rights activists as suffering from "problems of sexual identity".

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Anouska Mond, star of Plan B's film iLL Manors

By Simon Round, June 13, 2012

Actors are sometimes accused of being detached from the real world — their luvvyish concerns somehow removed from the nitty gritty of daily existence.

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Football's wandering tribe

By Simon Round, June 7, 2012

Following England in Euro 2012 promises to be a very Jewish experience. England, who play France in their opening match on Monday, will be based in Krakow, a town that is resonant with Jewish memories, but it goes much deeper than that.

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Diamond Jubilee concert director says celebrities 'packed away their egos' for the Queen

By Simon Round, June 7, 2012

Millions of people enjoyed the Diamond Jubilee Concert in front of Buckingham Palace on Monday night. Geoff Posner was not one of them.

Mr Posner, who directed the BBC’s coverage of the event, was far too busy juggling the logistics of such a massive operation even to think about what he was watching.

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Why are we so awful at putting ourselves on the big screen?

By Simon Round, June 7, 2012

If you feel like watching a feature film by a British Jewish film-maker there is plenty of choice — you could watch one of the many movies made by Mike Leigh, John Schlesinger, Michael Winner or several other directors of note. But should you wish to see films featuring British Jewish characters or with a Jewish theme, there is considerably less choice.

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Safe as Sterling, the Royal barge will be all shipshape

By Simon Round, May 31, 2012

This Sunday, hundreds of thousands of people are expected to gather by the banks of the Thames for a spectacular pageant led by the first royal barge to be commissioned for more than a century.

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Prisoner of War is Homeland's darker twin

By Simon Round, May 18, 2012

Until last week, I had never given a five-star rating to any TV or radio programme. But Channel 4’s Homeland was a thriller of such quality, such impressive characterisation and complexity that I felt it merited the accolade.

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