The former BBC chairman Michael Grade is once again going behind the camera and starring in another documentary, on BBC4 this time, all about the world of musical theatre. “My father Leslie, who was an agent, put many on in London, and of course now they are really big business, so this will focus on the risks and fortunes of these musicals we all secretly love to go and see,” he said.
Simon Cowell – as we told you here first in The Press – will be returning to the UK version of X Factor next year after the US version failed to take off. ITV have secured the show for another three years, but as friends tell me: “It cost us far less this time around, though.”
EastEnders actor Shane Richie has said that Danny Dyer will not be typecast in his usual role for the soap. Insiders tells me that Shane now feels a tad threatened as Danny will be the main focus of storylines in the coming months, and will be the landlord of the famous Queen Vic...
Ben Cohen, Mark Benton and Natalie Gumede have been confirmed as the first stars to join the Strictly Come Dancing Live Tour 2014. The celebrities are set to appear in the show, which runs from January 17 to February 9.
Fans of James Bond movies take note – after a few years of the classic films only being shown on pay-to-view TV, the films are coming back to ITV free next year. So expect to see them time and time again, while the channel recoups their money back...
While he may be going out of fashion in fashion, Channel 4 host Gok Wan hopes next to launch his own restaurant. He reveals: “After the success of my cookbooks it seems a natural progression to me, but I am taking it carefully, as I know celebrity haunts can close just as fast as they open.”
Emmerdale actress Lucy Pargeter, who plays Chas Dingle in the soap, has appeared in this year’s I’m A Celebrity, but while soap bosses had hoped her presence would help ratings that appears not to be the case. A source reveals: “She has been way too quiet in there and fans are stunned that she has not come out of her shell more.”
Coronation Street star Charlie Condou (Marcus) has announced that he is leaving the soap. The actor, who plays Marcus Dent, will finish filming in early summer next year following a dramatic storyline for the character.
Harry Hill has admitted feeling nervous about staging part of his X Factor musical at the Royal Variety Performance. “It’s a big place to launch it and people can make snap judgements on it, but I think on the whole it went very well, I am so happy we got over it,” he said.
Baker Paul Hollywood is resigned to the fact his big break with a US version of the Bake Off show could be over. CBS TV decided not to renew the show, and Paul has told close sources that: “I have a UK tour next year and then more Bake Off, so I can’t see where it would all fit in.”
The Choir host Gareth Malone is off to Hollywood next year to try his luck there. He tells me: “The show is already shown over there, but now they want me to host something too which is great news, but I can’t believe it’s all happened so quickly. They even paid for me to stay in the luxury Beverly Hills Hilton – can you imagine that?!”
With the ongoing illness of Paul O’Grady the future of his planned sitcom with Cilla Black, written by Birds Of A Feather creators Laurence Marks and Maurice Gran, is up in the air. The pilot was recorded in late October Elstree Studios but the sitcom ‘Led Astray’ may now just remain that...
If you ever wondered how you would bump into Gary Barlow, then do as I did and go to the exclusive Arts Club in Mayfair. Gary often dines there after live shows and the venue also has a performance area where Gary can often be heard tinkling the ivories.
Did you know that the hit drama ‘Last Tango In Halifax’ was actually offered to ITV first, but they turned it down, claiming they did not think the show would be a success with two old people in it. Anne Reid smiled when she revealed: “Of course they were proved wrong and we all make mistakes, right?”
Anthony McPartlin and Declan Donnelly have signed a new three-year contract with ITV, which will extend their exclusive relationship with the broadcaster to 15 years. The new deal also includes new formats and a planned sitcom, with the boys playing a heightened version of them on screen. It’s due on air next summer.
Craig Revel Horwood may find that his ‘10’ scorecard is covered in dust and cobwebs, but he tells me: “You know Ann, I actually give marks that I feel are earned, not because the crowd are whipped up into a frenzy ... so really I think I am being fair.”
Lorraine Kelly never fails to mention she does not believe in diets while sitting on the little watched Daybreak sofa so it comes as a shock to see her launching and presenting the ‘Little Black Dress Diet’ on, yes, Lorraine and Daybreak. So confusing, really.
• Footnote: If you are in the beautiful city of York on December 11 at 7.30pm, do go to the magnificent York Minster to hear the NHS Choir (North) Christmas Carol Concert. Two ladies from Mirfield will be singing, Dr Elizabeth and Nurse Gerry. It promises to be a wonderful event, and what a lovely way to begin the countdown to Christmas.