Ann's Angle

GARETH GATES, the Bradford-born singer, is going back to the reality TV fold in which he found fame, this time in the ITV2 show The Big Reunion. He tells me: “I got offered it and it looks like a lot of fun, plus I already appear with many of the acts when I do the festivals and stuff in the summer, so I thought well why not?” It starts in the spring...

Lisa Riley has taken over as the host of the forthcoming Strictly Come Dancing live tour, and she tells me: “I adore the show, as it’s given me so many opportunities, and this was the icing on the cake, but I would say to any celebrity, just go for it if you’re asked, you won’t regret it.”

Len Goodman is head judge Strictly Come Dancing, but it appears that he is also the first choice to take over the hosts’ role if Sir Bruce were ever to retire. And fans agree too, with one saying: “As a professional dancer it’s something he can really offer insight to.”

Former hard man actor Danny Dyer has stated that he is prepared to stay on EastEnders for at least five years. “I like it and it could be my pension pot basically, as films are getting harder and harder to do,” he said.

Sir David Jason popped up for a one-off episode of Open All Hours over the festive season, and it’s proved to be a huge hit for the BBC. Filmed in Doncaster, it appears that Arkwright Stores is still thriving and the BBC now want to make six episodes along with another Christmas special.

Susanna Reid displayed a ‘lack of charm’ that left most of her fellow Strictly Come Dancing contestants ‘bewildered’, according to former Bond girl Fiona Fullerton. But the BBC news presenter refuses to be drawn into an argument with the actress, saying: “I enjoyed my time on the show and I think I have made some friends for life.”

Denise Van Outen has blamed “unfair” criticism for ruining her chance of a comedy career. She tells me: “That is why I have written my own show, and started again from scratch. The critics can blame you, but in the end it’s the public that decide if you’re talented or not.”

Emmerdale actor James Hooton has revealed that his character Sam Dingle could be ‘destroyed’ by a return to prison. But with bosses wanting to save on the huge wage bill, this would seem a great way to ‘rest the character’ for a few months...

Like many actresses June Brown, who plays Dot Cotton in EastEnders, was left baffled by host Piers Morgan when she appeared on his Life Stories chat show. She confessed: “I had no idea what he was going on about, but he seems polite, so what more can you ask for?”

Louis Walsh has revealed that he plans to launch a new boy band in 2014. The X Factor judge said that he has auditioned thousands of people to join the new group and tells me: “Since the demise of my band Westlife, I think there is a gap in the market, and I know exactly what to do.”

The departure of Sue Johnston in Coronation Street is looming, but the actress and the soap she loves have not proved a successful match. A source tells me: “We were looking for an Elsie Tanner-type icon, and the fans have not really taken to Gloria that well, which has been a shame.”

Mrs Brown’s Boys creator Brendan O’Carroll has reportedly refused to cut swearing for the show to air in the US. He tells me: “Its part of her character ... I know people like that and once you water these things down, the magic is gone, so I am sticking to my guns on this one.”

Robbie Williams is always touted as a judge on X Factor, but he almost also became a writer of musical theatre too. He tells me: “I was approached to supply some songs for a musical on the life of Zorro, but sadly that never happened in the end. It’s an ambition of mine, though.”

Stephen Mulhern may be best known now as the host of Catchphrase, but he tells me he started his career as a magician on “the magic stand in Harrods, of all places. I totally loved doing that job and it gave me the confidence to appear on stage and then TV.”

Ben Elton had high hopes for his return to the world of sitcom last year, with the BBC comedy ‘The Wright Stuff’, but the BBC seem to think rather differently and they have quietly axed it after one series, with no repeats shown either.

Anne Reid who stars in the drama ‘Last Tango in Halifax’ has signed to reveal all in a forthcoming book and tells me: “Frankly I have no idea why anyone would want to know, but it appears they do, so I thought if not me, someone else would do it with the wrong story.”

When the highlight of your entire series is Alexander Armstrong dressed up as Susan Boyle it’s no wonder that yet another ‘celebrity’ reality show, ‘Your Face Sounds Familiar’, has been axed by ITV. Along with their ill-fated rip-off of Strictly Come Dancing that has also been quietly dropped, the channel claim they are now looking for “original programming”.

EastEnders star Shona McGarty has complained that she wants her character to get better dress sense in 2014. The 22-year-old actress feels her costumes have become really dowdy since her character Whitney Dean got a job as a teaching assistant. “I think she is young and she should dress more her own age rather than so dowdy, but I know it’s not up to me – so here’s hoping.”

Britain’s Got Talent host David Walliams has just completed a stint in a play in London’s West End, but despite his TV presence it was no guarantee of a full house night after night. A theatre friend tells me: “Let’s just say the few that made the effort really enjoyed the show and that was wonderful for everyone.”

Kym Marsh, never one to shy away from self-publicity, has gone all quiet about her upcoming divorce from fellow soap actor Jamie Lomas. She told a friend “This will be a private affair.” Of course, until she sells the story to a magazine...

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