You never know who you’ll meet while travelling to Blackpool as you enjoy the excellent menus in the first class lounge of Virgin Trains in London Euston ... I met Jason Donovan no less, who is busy touring the UK in Priscilla Queen of the Desert. Like me he was heading to the resort to appear at the Opera House.
Kerry Katona says in order to get into her forthcoming role as Marilyn Monroe she is “watching a lot of her movies as it will be more of a tribute”. Oh dear...
Nicholas Parsons will host a new version of the long-running radio panel game Just A Minute featuring child contestants. Junior Just A Minute will be broadcast as part of The 4 O’clock Show, the family-orientated slot on Radio 4 Extra which is presented by Mel Giedroyc.
The X Factor musical looms next year and has already booked the London Palladium to stage the show. But insiders are now worried that it could easily go the same way as the much-hyped Spice Girls musical. I heard: “It’s a big risk and so far we don’t have any big names on board, but hopefully we can make it a success...”
EastEnders bosses have officially announced that Michael French will return to his role as David Wicks later this year. The popular character was last seen in January 2012, when he returned to Albert Square to see his mum, Pat.
While back home, David re-ignited his romance with former flame Carol, with whom he has a daughter, Bianca.
Dempsey and Makepeace will be on-screen partners once again, but this time, they’ll be chasing steps instead of criminals. Signed up to new ITV dance contest Stepping Out, the couple, real names Michael Brandon and Glynis Barber, will take part in the rival to Strictly Come Dancing, which sees celebrity couples learn a new dance each week to perform live on the Saturday night.
Nigel Havers has revealed he would like to reprise his Coronation Street role. The 63-year-old left the ITV soap in February when his character, charming conman Lewis Archer, fled from Weatherfield in a blaze of glory after fleecing Gail Platt out of £40,000. His departure won best exit at the 2013 British Soap Awards. “Could Archer turn up again? I do hope so,” he told me.
Mel C has expressed an interest in joining The Voice UK as a coach. The Spice Girls singer tells me: “I like the idea of helping someone getting going, plus I did learn quite a lot on the Lord Webber show for Jesus Christ Superstar and that gave me the interest in doing this.”
Presenter John Craven has revealed the secret of Countryfile’s success – family viewing and a strict code of conduct! “I think parents like children to watch it on a Sunday evening – they know they’ll learn about the countryside,” says John, in a break from filming the show’s 25th anniversary special “There won’t be any swearing, it’s just all good glorious English countryside at its best.”
Honor Blackman is set to make a guest appearance in Casualty playing a feisty pensioner on a mission. The star, who made her name in The Avengers and as Pussy Galore in Goldfinger, ends up in hospital after being hit by a cyclist and begins to reveal details of her life, including a stint driving ambulances in African warzones.
Broadcaster Andrew Marr will return to his TV and radio presenting duties in the autumn after suffering a stroke earlier this year. His BBC show has seen a series of fill-in hosts in his absence.
Former Desperate Housewives star Teri Hatcher says her recent visit to London has made her wish for a West End role even more now. “I do enjoy the idea of a London theatre stint and there has been one or two offers, which is great,” she said.
Love your soaps and dramas? You can now play a new game when you see the single letter “P” being shown ahead of a show. This means that the programme will have product placement items in it – spend the time guessing what they have agreed to plug. Notice how Emmerdale always shows the brand Land Rover in almost every episode? Happy hunting!
Ant and Dec have revealed their plans for the original children’s TV show ‘Byker Grove’ and what it means to them. “We owe everything to Byker Grove. When the production company sadly went broke, we bought all the rights. We’re so proud of it; we don’t want it getting into the wrong hands.”
Sharon Osbourne says she won’t do any more series of The X Factor, after this year. She blamed Dannii Minogue for her previous decision to leave, branding the former X Factor judge ‘insignificant’. “I chose to leave because I was uncomfortable at the time with a woman that was on the panel,” she said.
Lisa Maxwell from Loose Women has joined Eastenders for a one-off episode in September but hopes that she could be a regular character in the future. Of course Lisa lost out on the role of Stella in Coronation Street to Michelle Collins...
The Syndicate is to return for a third series on BBC One. Another six episodes of Kay Mellor’s lottery winner’s drama will air in 2015.