Catherine Spencer talks about women’s sport and inequality

Catherin Spencer, the former women’s Rugby team captain has published an article in The Guardian on the subject of the inequality between men’s and women’s sport in general, and in particular about the huge investment gap.

She said that if she had been given a pound for the times she had been asked about the hurdles women in sport face, she would be a rich lady. As it is, she mourned, her bank balance is only that of a retired England Rugby captain – and a women’s rugby captain at that.

Women rugby players had to play for the love of the game

When Spencer held the captaincy, from 2007 to 2011, the players were expected to play for the love of the game. Her team included doctors, teachers, policewomen and veterinary surgeons who spent all of their free time training and playing without any financial reward – unlike today’s lady players who at least are given match fees on a match-by-match basis.

The ex-women’s captain mentioned browsing the BBC Sport website homepage recently. She searched out the women who were featured and came across Serena Williams, and the silver medallists from the British Winter Paralympian team, Jen Kehoe and Menna Fitzpatrick. These three sportswomen were amongst 33 photos of male sports athletes, which highlights the problem nicely.

Lack of media coverage for women’s sports events

Women’s sport doesn’t get anywhere near the same amount of coverage in the media that men’s sport does. The same problem occurs with sponsorships too. It creates a never-ending circle. To attract sponsorships, the sponsors want to know those they sponsor will get plenty of TV publicity. However, the TV companies don’t show much women’s sport because they maintain it doesn’t attract the same size of audience that men’s sporting events do.

Breaking the circle

Of course, from the audience’s side of the coin, they say that they can’t watch women’s sport because it isn’t broadcast enough. And so it goes – round and round in perpetuity. The chain somehow needs to be broken, but how?

Anything is possible given enough application. As Catherine herself reminded us, she captained her team in winning four Six Nations championships, plus getting to the World Cup final, all the while holding down a full-time job.

To break the underinvestment circle, all that is needed is the courage and some dedication. The recent spectacle in women’s international rugby was when France beat England. Not only was the game was seen by over 17,000 spectators (the most ever to witness a women’s test match) but more people than ever also got involved with placing bets on the outcome.

That same day 5,000 spectators watched Twickenham beat Richmond at the Harlequins’ ground. A British record.

Getting the message across

Catherine Spencer is determined to further the cause of equality for women’s sport, even though she has retired from international rugby. She is writing her own book, rather aptly titled, “Mud, Maul, Mascara.” She has also started her own agency and is getting in there amongst the almost men-only-world of after-dinner speaking.

She is doing her bit in an effort to show that women’s sport should be taken seriously and that it has much to offer; a sentiment more and more people are beginning to agree with.

CD Review: Catherine Zeta-Jones, Michael Douglas & Mark Stone “The Runaway Bunny, The Story of Babar and Goodnight Moon”

Catherine Zeta-Jones, Michael Douglas & Mark Stone
“The Runaway Bunny, The Story of Babar and Goodnight Moon”
Label: GPR Records
Release Date: November 13, 2012

Our Score: 4 out of 5 stars

Who doesn’t know about the classic books “The Runaway Bunny” and “Goodnight Moon” by Margaret Wise Brown and “The Story of Babar” by Francis Poulenc. These are not new stories in fact they are all from the 1940’s. “Goodnight Moon” is from 1947. “The Runaway Bunny” is  from 1942. And “The Story of Babar” or aka “L’Histoire de Babar” dates back to 1945. These stories are still very timeless and a must read for any child before bed or anytime, in fact. In case you are wondering, this is not a your typical straight forward audio book. These books are read alongside new classical music interpretations of the these stories. If you are a fan of classic music and timeless stories, this would make a wonderful addition to your collection. I can see this CD being a must-listen with my daughter as she grows up.

So what makes this CD special is that Oscar winners Catherine Zeta-Jones and Michael Douglas are reading two of these three books along with the wonderful musical compositions besides them. Catherine Zeta-Jones narrates “The Runaway Bunny” along with music by Glen Roven and performed by the Piano Trio Version with Trio 21. Michael Douglas lends his voice to the beloved story of “The History of Babar”, which is backed with a score by Francis Poulenc and Jason Worth on the piano. These performances are very well acted and gives the stories great delivery. Lastly but not least is “Goodnight Moon”, which is a story I have become very familiar with as a new parent.  It is sung by English Baritone Mark Stone along with the GPR Festival Choir. This release is very well done and entertaining.  It is also a great way to not only make these stories more interesting but also introduce your children to the world of very fine classical music.

Interview with Catherine Bell

Catherine Bell is the star of TNT’s “Good Morning Killer,” which premieres Tuesday, December 13. Catherine is also known for her role in TV series like “Jag” and “Army Wives”. Media Mikes had a chance to chat with Catherine about her new movie and what we can expect.

Mike Smith: Did you enjoy the experience of playing the character, Ana Grey?
Catherine Bell: Yes, I really did. I’d never played an FBI agent and found it fascinating just trying to get into the mind of a kidnapper, a rapist and track this guy. It sounds very fascinating. Obviously it was based on a wonderful novel, so we had a lot of things to draw from. It has been a very rich, rewarding experience actually.

MS: There are several other novels featuring your character. Is this something you’d like to continue doing later again revisiting this?
CB: I would love to. It’s actually something we talked about from the beginning. It ended up being such a wonderful filming experience. I think for all of us involved that we were instantly hoping to do more. So hopefully it goes in that direction.

MS: Is there an aspect of this character that you connect with or you really just didn’t like?
CB: I actually found her fascinating. She’s not a perfect woman by any means. She’s very smart, very good at her job, very much in control there. But very much not in control in her personal life, picks very bad relationships.  She definitely has some issues, which I found as an actress really fun to play.

MG: If IMDB is to be believed, William Devane started working the year you were born. What was it like working with such a veteran actor?
CB: It was fantastic. He plays my grandfather in the script as a great character, kind of just a crotchety old cop who thinks he knows better then me. He thinks the FBI are a bunch of whooses, so we have this sort of love-hate relationship. We had a blast. He’s definitely been around and knows how to fill a character’s shoes. It was really fun.

MS: What were some of your favorite moments that you had from filming on, “Good Morning Killer?”
CB: Oh, let’s see. So many. It was really, really one of the best experiences I’ve had filming, both the story and everyone involved in making it. All the actors were really wonderful from Cole Hauser and Titus Welliver and some great, great talent. But I don’t know. I loved doing the scenes that involved the killer, the bad guy. Those were – without giving anything away or what kind of scenes they were, very intense and very emotional and, yes, kind of very challenging to shoot a well. But yes, those are probably my favorite I would have to say.

MS: Why do you think people will want to take the time to watch, “Good Morning Killer”?
CB: Well, if they’re anything like me, they like to be entertained and so many people – myself included – like mysteries and thrillers and I know I’ve always been fascinated with serial killers. And to me it’s fascinating. So to have something that’s based on such a wonderful novel with such a great story I think makes for some good, fun popcorn-eating, soda-drinking movie watching.

MG: What’s your workout routine like to stay in shape for these roles?
CB: You know, most of the workout is done before we start filming. Once we start filming, honestly, especially something like this where I’m in every single scene, every day. I don’t think I had a day off on this one. So it becomes harder and harder to work out. You’re getting more and more tired and you just do a few pushups here and there, sit ups, you know, in the morning. But before I start filming, it’s pretty rigorous. I definitely do, like, an hour, hour and a half, sometimes up to two hours a day just getting in shape, lean and strong. Also doing some martial arts and whatever else I can depending on the role.

MS: What other projects are working on?
CB: Well, let’s see, we’ve got – I’m doing Army Wives right now. We just got picked up for ten more episodes in this season. I’ll be busy for a little while and we’ll do 23 episodes now. Also hoping to for maybe another “Good Morning Killer” movie or series after “Army Wives”. I have also some other projects that I’m working on as well as the producer and developing. I’m always busy…always working on something.

Interview with Catherine Taber

Catherine Taber plays the voice of Padme Amidala on Cartoon Network’s “Star Wars: The Clone Wars”.  The show is currently airing its fourth season. She is also doing voice work for the highly anticipated game “Star Wars: The Old Republic”.  Media Mikes had a chance to chat with Catherine about voice Padme and her work with “Star Wars” universe.

Mike Gencarelli: You are now entering season four of “Star Wars: The Clone Wars”, what can expect from Padmé Amidala this season?
Catherine Taber: Padme, like everyone, is seeing the war take its toll. She will maintain her belief in the fight for good and the fight for the republic, but she does suffer disappoints and betrayals. But, true to Padme form, her core decency and goodness, can not be shaken…unlike some others.

MG: What do you enjoy most about voicing her character?
CT: I love that Padme is an elegant and feminine woman, but not a damsel in distress. She makes her own decisions and is an awesome shot with a blaster!

MG: Tell us how you prepare yourself to get into character?
CT: I feel I know who Padme is very clearly – so she does not require a lot of prep work on that front. I know her history, even beyond the films. But I do try to wear clothing, shoes, etc that make me feel “Padme-ish”, strong and regal to get into character. No sweat pants! I am kind of goofy like that.

MG: What is the biggest challenge that presents itself with each new season?
CT: The only “challenge” I can come up with is dealing with the fact that we are getting closer to the eventual end! But we have seasons to come yet, so I try not to think about it!

MG: Tell us about the film “Hughes the Force” and your involvement?
CT: “Hughes the Force” is an fan film, an “epic” fan film! It’s made by true fans of both Star Wars and John Hughes films. James Arnold Taylor and I got to do cameo appearances of the live action versions of our characters which was AMAZINGLY fun. Everyone involved was so great, it was a labor of love. You should check it out!

MG: Tell us about your involved with the highly anticipated game “Star Wars: The Old Republic”?
CT: I had worked with Bioware before on “Knights of the Old Republic” (my first voiceover job!), so I was so excited when they asked me to come in. I didn’t even know what the project was. That was several years ago, and now having seen the progression, the trailers, the art work…I am just blown away and thrilled to be a part of it. I was lucky to get to appear at Comic Con International on the Bioware panel and announce that I am playing Vette, and it was really exciting. Vette is the companion character to the Sith Lord. She is funny and sassy and smart and a little quirky. I tried to think of Indiana Jones a bit when playing her.

MG: Do you feel that video game work differs from TV voice work?
CT: I mostly approach it all the same from an acting standpoint. I am creating a character and I just have a different set of tools to use. But, the great thing about TV and the Clone Wars especially, is we all get to work together, which makes it so much fun and I think ads depth to the scenes. It hardly feels like work!