Friday 24th March 2017
Over to Leicester Square in London, where I was attending the world premiere of the brilliant new wartime film from Bill Kenwright, ‘Another Mother’s Son’, starring the wonderful actress Jenny Seagrove.
Jenny told me, at the after show party at the world-famous Café de Paris, “It resonates with so many, because it’s a true story. Many of the situations defy belief, but also we hope it reminds people of what happened not that long ago in the Channel Islands. Another Mother’s Son, starring Seagrove, John Hannah and Ronan Keating is in cinemas now.
Ventriloquist Nina Conti (daughter of actor Tom Conti) is to host the pilot episode of a new comedy format. Nina Conti’s Game Face is described as a “funny game show” by producers. Since winning the BBC New Comedy Award in 2002, Nina has built a career as one of Britain’s best-known ventriloquists. Her recent TV appearances include Live At The Apollo and The Nightly Show.
ITV has axed 1940s drama The Halcyon just weeks after viewers demanded a second series. A source tells me that the channel had high hopes for it becoming as big as Downton Abbey, but fans complained it should have been shown on a Sunday evening, when this type of show does well ratings-wise, like Mr Selfridge did.
Queen Victoria actress Jenna Coleman is currently filming the second series at Harewood House in Leeds in a bonnet and bustle, and tells me she is a big fan of our Yorkshire markets. “I am from Blackpool, so we all love a good market, and I think the area has got some great ones. Like everyone I do love a bargain, without a doubt. You might just spot me in one,” she giggled.
Anton Du Beke has been offered a screen test as Strictly Come Dancing bosses scout for new head judge following the departure of Len Goodman. Anton told me that he would love the role, but: “It’s up to the BBC and not me, although I would be crazy not to get tested. I just hope the best man or girl lands the job.”
Former Cabinet minister and Strictly Come Dancing star Ed Balls has ruled himself out of standing for Labour soon. However, Ed told me he was “keeping his options open” about returning to politics in future. The former Morley and Outwood MP said: “I would never say never, as I do miss the cut and thrust of it all, I really do.”
Four years after his demise, when he insisted on being written out of Downton Abbey, British actor Dan Stevens is back in the big time with a starring role in Disney’s £130m remake of Beauty And The Beast, opposite Emma Watson. But he admits: “If they ever do get around to making the movie of the show, I do hope they set it in a time before I was killed off, as I would love to be back for that.”
W1A, that bastion of British Broadcasting Corporation blundering, has begun filming series three. The comedy has returned to Broadcasting House, recording scenes for the new episodes, causing chaos for the actual BBC staff who work there. It stars Hugh Bonneville and Jessica Hynes, and Hugh told me: “People now actually think I work for the BBC and all that, which is fun, but the way we portray it would have Lord Reith very angry, I assume.”
Who remembers the wonderful fitness guru Diana Moran, who hosted a fitness segment on breakfast television in the 1980s wearing a green Lycra ensemble? She tells me that she still works out daily, and wishes that there was still a workout segment on breakfast TV. “They still have it in the US and I think it prompts people to have a go at getting fit, but here it’s considered old hat, which is a shame,” she said.
ITV is considering a return for Dancing on Ice three years after the axe fell on Philip Schofield – but bosses like the idea of Scarlett Moffat as the new host along with a new male co-presenter to reboot the ice show. A friend reveals: “We need to attract a younger audience and this seems the perfect time to do this, but again it’s all early days.”
Former Strictly Come Dancing head judge Len Goodman is to make a return to Saturday teatime TV this summer. The 72-year-old will host a new BBC One family gameshow which sees celebrities try to answer clues based on rhymes. With one of his catchphrases on Strictly being “It’s a 10 from Len”, he’s perhaps an ideal fit to front the programme, called Partners in Rhyme. Goodman stood down as head judge in December, after 12 years on the show.
Arthur Bostrom is best known for his role as vowel-mangling Officer Crabtree in more than 70 episodes of classic French Resistance sitcom ‘Allo ‘Allo – but fans take note, as he is now on tour in comedy play Out Of Order. He tells me: “I tour all over the place in my caravan, it’s great fun and so economical, plus you can find some great spots to park up and see this great country of ours too.”