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Alexander McQueen's death casts a pall over London Fashion Week

QUICK TAKES

February 20, 2010

McQueen looms large

The opening of London Fashion Week on Friday was darkened by the giant shadow cast by the death of Alexander McQueen, long the enigmatic toast of the London fashion world.

McQueen, who died in an apparent suicide last week, was honored with a remembrance wall that quickly became the center of attention in the mammoth fashion tent pitched in the courtyard of Somerset House.

Hundreds of messages were posted to the late superstar, regarded as the provocative enfant terrible of the once staid London design scene. After fashion week is over, the notes will be collected in a book and given to McQueen's family. Focus will then likely shift to Paris, where his final collection -- finished by his assistants -- is expected to be shown early next month.

-- associated press 'EastEnders' goes live at 25

Someone killed Archie Mitchell, bludgeoning the pub landlord with the bust of Queen Victoria that stood proudly atop his bar.

Millions of Britons wanted to know who did it; thousands placed bets. Mitchell was a character in the soap opera "EastEnders," which marked its 25th birthday Friday with a live episode. Those who watched learned that Stacey Slater had murdered him in revenge for raping her.

The BBC said even the actor playing the killer did not know whodunit until half an hour before the live transmission. The cast rehearsed 10 possible endings as it prepared for a complex broadcast involving 51 actors, 36 camera opera- tors and 13 makeup art- ists.

-- associated press Fox shelves 'Past Life'

The mystery drama "Past Life" was dropped from Fox Broadcasting's schedule Friday after three little-watched episodes, and will be replaced in the Thursday 9-10 p.m. time slot by first-run episodes of "Kitchen Nightmares" the next three weeks.

"Past Life," which stars Kelli Giddish as a psychologist working for a world-renowned institute dedicated to the study of the science of the soul, averaged 8.32 million viewers for its premiere Feb 9.

A second episode Feb. 11 drew 5.31 million viewers, again finishing fourth in its time slot, and Thursday's audience was down to 3.49 million.

"Past Life" will return to Fox on a date to be determined, according to the network.

-- city news service 'Catch' plans Harris tribute

As the Discovery Channel prepared to run a "Deadliest Catch" marathon Saturday of the best of Capt. Phil Harris' episodes, executive producers of the high-seas reality series said they were planning their own tribute to the Cornelia Marie captain who died on Feb. 9. He was 53.

The producers and the network also are still mulling how to end the upcoming season, which was still filming when the captain died from a stroke he suffered on Jan. 29.

The sixth season kicks off in April -- no premiere date has been set -- and features Harris' ship once again fishing for opilio crabs. The tribute would air as a stand-alone episode, executive producer Thom Beers said in an interview Friday.

Moving forward, the Harris family and the series will have to confront the question of the fate of the Cornelia Marie, and the future of Harris' sons, Jake and Josh, and the crew.

"The boys are holding up as much as possible," Beers said. "It's been tough. They're a little rudderless right now. He ran that ship and now they're having to deal with it themselves.

"The question now is whether the boys will continue to follow in the footsteps and what their plans are. That's what the off-season is going to be -- they'll have to figure it out and we'll be there to support them whatever they decide."

-- Maria Elena Fernandez KUSC passes 10,000 mark

They may not show up in the Arbitron ratings, but KUSC's Internet listeners made themselves heard where it counts: at the bank.

KUSC-FM (91.5), the L.A. area's only full-time classical music station, reports receiving more than $1.1 million in pledges during its Feb. 4-12 fundraising drive, with 10,408 people offering donations.

"This is the first time we have met or exceeded 10,000 members," said Brenda Barnes, president of the public radio outlet.

It helps that KUSC's musical mix of Beethoven, Brahms and Bach -- and the L.A. Philharmonic -- is simulcast on stations in Palm Springs, Thousand Oaks, Santa Barbara and Morro Bay/San Luis Obispo. But the Web increasingly plays a big role. Carrie Banasky, director of membership, said that the USC-owned station received pledges from listeners in 38 states and 11 countries.

-- Lee Margulies

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