Larry King has become a pop culture staple.
He’s known as an old-fashioned, hard-nosed newsman who has softened with age, and become America’s friendly face of news, who has interviewed everyone from presidents to royalty. I was lucky enough to help produce a show of his at Westminster Live studios in London, where Larry told me that he loves us Brits “because you have the glorious Queen and so many wonderful people and buildings.” Larry, who is still a huge name in broadcasting, tells me: “I have no plans to retire ever ... why would I?”
Former tennis star Tim Henman has rejected the chance to compete on Strictly Come Dancing. He tells me: “I get asked every year and while my wife likes it, as she thinks it will teach me to dance, it’s not really for me. But we all enjoy the show and yes, maybe one day I may just give in, but not just yet...”
The X Factor judge Louis Walsh said it is “about time” the show had a winner from Scotland. Now filming for its 14th season, the show will be vastly reduced in length this year, and of course the spin-off show on ITV2 has also been scrapped due to poor ratings, yet deluded Louis still believes that it’s the number one show in the world...
Classical singer Katherine Jenkins recently starred on stage for the first time in a West End musical, but tells me she would love to look at acting roles and maybe even something on TV. “I am a huge fan of Call The Midwife, so something like that in a period drama would suit me fine,” she said.
Flashdance – The Musical returns to the UK with an extensive tour for the first time since 2011, starring Strictly Come Dancing’s Joanne Clifton, and singer-songwriter Ben Adams. Opening in Glasgow on August 4, Joanne, who has now quit the show for musical theatre, tells me: “Growing up this was my all-time favourite movie, so I can now finally say I am starring in Flashdance.”
The Celebrity MasterChef contestants have been announced. Back for its 12th series, pop star Rachel Stevens and opera star Lesley Garret are taking part, and the ladies tell me they may even duet. “If our cooking is deemed that bad, it could be the only way out for us really,” they both laughed...
ITV is making Last Laugh In Vegas, a show in which veteran comedy acts will perform in the American city to see if their humour is timeless, on the grandest stage of all. It will star double act Cannon & Ball, stand-up Mick Miller, entertainer Kenny Lynch and Hi-De-Hi! star Su Pollard among the eight acts. Su Pollard tells me: “I think we will go well, as comedy is comedy and above all people just want a laugh, don’t they?”
Sandi Toksvig is to present two more series of Fifteen To One. The news comes as the eighth series comes to an end, with contestants competing for the £40,000 prize. Sandi has hosted nearly 300 episodes since Channel 4 rebooted the show in 2013.
X Factor finalist Honey G will be swapping her native Harrow for Hastings seafront this festive season, making her pantomime debut in Sleeping Beauty. Honey will play the role of Fairy G, and tells me she is still pursuing her ‘rap’ career, but likes to take on new challenges too.
Actor Denis Lawson has signed up to star in the hit period drama Victoria. The New Tricks actor will appear as the Duke of Atholl, who welcomes Victoria and Albert to the Scottish Highlands in the second series. Jenna Coleman and Tom Hughes reprise their roles as Queen Victoria and Prince Albert in new episodes of the drama, which has also enjoyed huge success in the US.
Comedy fans take note: The ever-funny Stan Boardman is hosting his own ‘Audience With’, which will tell his tale with stand-up routines and archive clips on the big screen, including the famous ‘Fokker’ incident from the Des O’Connor Show. Stan tells me: “I am holding nothing back, and it promises to be a night of fun and laughter.” Check out The Press for more details soon.
Coronation Street’s Shayne Ward admits that he misses his singing career. But despite promising fans he’ll tour soon, he now claims he is way too busy with his acting role. “I know when I put out my last album I did say there would be a tour, but this show takes over your life, and honestly I can’t do both things well,” he said. “I think if I get a break for sure I would begin to tour again, as I miss it.”
A forgotten sitcom starring Ronnie Corbett and written by Graham Chapman and Barry Cryer is to be released on DVD for the first time next month. The Prince Of Denmark was originally screened by the BBC in 1974, with Corbett playing a ‘pompous, but still lovable know-it-all character’, also called Ronnie. Fans have been asking for years for its release, and now are thrilled at the prospect.
The Voice Kids is on song for ITV as BBC One’s Pitch Battle and Five’s Blind Date struggle to catch up. It appears we are not so keen now on Blind Date without Cilla at the helm. Likewise, the new singing talent show Pitch Battle is not the new Saturday night hope that the BBC first thought. Bosses have yet to decide upon a second series for either.
Former Coronation Street villain Gray O’Brien tells me that he still misses the show. “It was a huge part of my life and I do owe it a lot, plus people still remember me from it, which is very nice, and of course it helps me get other work like ‘The Loch’,” he said.