This Week In Entertainment: Keira Knightley, SAG Awards, Steve Jones, Sharon Watts And Shirley MacLaine

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Keira Knightley, Steve Jones, Shirley MacLaine, Octavia Spencer and Letitia Dean
Keira Knightley, Steve Jones, Shirley MacLaine, Octavia Spencer and Letitia Dean

The race to Oscars' gold warmed up on Sunday night as the Screen Actors Guild Awards handed out three of its five most coveted gongs to 1960s civil rights drama The Help, knocking previous front runner The Artist off its black-and-white, silent horse.

The strong, mainly female, cast of the film received the association's top honour, the SAG ensemble award. Viola Davis was named best lead actress and Octavia Spencer best supporting actress for their roles as black maids in the adaptation of the bestselling novel by Kathryn Stockett.

Meanwhile, on the film circuit, Keira Knightley made jaws drop as she came out with one of her raciest red carpet comments yet. Speaking at a gala screening for her latest film, A Dangerous Method, the actress joked that only the British have taken such a keen interest in the sadomasochistic scenes shown in the movie.

The Pirates of The Caribbean star said: "I did think about turning it down because of the two scenes of a sadomasochistic nature... In England it's got mentioned all the time. I don't know what that says about us. We obviously like spanking, I don't know."

She also told The Sun she went through a phase of making sex faces at herself in the bathroom mirror to improve her part in the drama, in which she plays psycho-analyst Carl Jung's patient and lover Sabina Spielrein.

In the world of TV it was all change this week, as stars were fired, hired and announced for sensational comebacks...

Stateside, Welsh presenter Steve Jones was given his marching orders from X Factor USA by Simon Cowell, after failing to impress American viewers with his hosting skills. However, the former T4 presenter can take some solace in the fact that judge Nicole Scherzinger has announced her exit to pursue her "music career", and Paula Abdul is also confirmed to be joining the pair on Simon's scrapheap.

Downton Abbey announced it will be adding another Oscar-winner to its prestigious cast. American actress Shirley MacLaine, best known for her role in Terms Of Endearment, will play Lady Grantham's (Elizabeth McGovern's) mother and is lined up to take on Maggie Smith's Dowager Countess in the witty comments stakes.

And finally, EastEnders is set to see a sensational comeback from one of its original cast members. Actress Letitia Dean will head back to Walford as bolshy Sharon Watts for her third stint on the soap. We last saw her on the Square in 2006 after her husband Dennis Rickman died in her arms. Meanwhile, on the Street, Terry Duckworth (Nigel Pivaro) is ready to make a return, with all the accompanying shenanigans his appearance inevitably entails.

SLIDESHOW: The winners and stars of the SAG Awards on the red carpet...

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