Ann's Angle

Gary Wilmot and soap queen Martine McCutcheon have been announced as a special guests on Don Black’s ‘Songbook’ tour.

It’s a celebration of the hit-maker’s greatest hits, and Gary and Martine will be singing up a storm when the show hits our area at the Leeds Town Hall on April 4. Gary tells me: “It’s been a great response since the show on BBC 4 earlier this year, and Don’s work is so well-loved we are planning a great show.”

EastEnders star Gary Lucy is leaving the BBC One soap. The actor – who has starred as Danny Pennant since September 2012 – has already filmed his final scenes for the programme.

John Barrowman has a new dog show looming on Channel 4, but admits he expects people to compare it to the Paul O’Grady show on ITV. “We both love dogs and all animals, but I was approached to do this ages ago, and now I feel it’s the right time.”

Matt Smith may no longer be Dr Who, but he let slip to me that he has one of two sonic screwdrivers from the show that he could sell online should times ever get tough. “Of course I helped myself to one or two bits, they are part of me and could be my pension,” he joked.

There are problems already at The Voice, with many of the contestants picking Kylie as their mentor. So much so that producers have had to pitch in and suggest that others could also be chosen as it could leave Sir Tom Jones and Ricky Wilson with no-one at all on their teams.

James Cordon agrees that the recent Paul Potts film based on the life of Britain’s Got Talent Winner should have been a TV movie. “I was very happy with what we achieved and all that, but I think when it comes to TV it will be a huge success,” he said.

Pauline Quirke says that the inclusion of her son in the comeback version of Birds Of A Feather had nothing to do with her at all. “Oh no he had to try out for the role like the rest and they chose him because he was the best,” she said. Failing to mention he played the same role on the recent stage tour also...

Sheila Reid who plays battle-axe Madge in Benidorm tells me she will never leave the show as “I have a cult following now, and I am over the moon with it. I get lots of students who tell me that Madge is their hero, which is such a nice thing when you think about it.”

Heartbeat may be repeated endlessly on ITV3 daily, but it appears that we could all be seeing the show’s stars again after plans were revealed to screen a ‘Where Are They Now’ special, featuring members of the cast including Nick Berry and Tricia Pensrose.

Former Emmerdale actor Ben Freeman is once again back on stage this time playing the role of the The Fonz in the musical version of Happy Days. He tells me: “I was so happy when they offered me this, I mean the Fonz is so larger than life, and every night I have to make sure I am playing his confidence to the hilt, it’s great fun.”

Paula Lane, who plays Kylie in Coronation Street, told me she is glad that her character is back wearing make-up and looking a bit more glam. “Doing all the depressing stuff was wearing, as you don’t need to wash your hair, but it slips over into real life,” she admits.

It appears that Dancing on Ice is right to end on this series. Hosted by the man who appears to shout at his own autocue, Phillip Schofield, it’s limped to a new all-time low in the ratings, despite the presence of such stars as Todd Carty and some former members of Hear’say. And they wonder why...

It appears that stalwart of showbiz Lionel Blair could have blown his ‘nice guy’ cover with a recent stint in the Celebrity Big Brother house. A few weeks of swearing and bad tempers have led many, including potential show bookers, to conclude that his ‘Mr Nice Guy’ image is not at all it seems. Can Lionel turn it around in the coming months?

Former X Factor winner Shayne Ward is taking a different direction musically, I can reveal, by teaming up with his favourite folk singers Foster & Allen, who tour all the time. Shayne tells me: “I love their easy going style, and this is the music of my youth, it was a joy to work with them.”

A cold and frosty evening did not deter a 50-strong opening night audience from enjoying the Q Trinity Pantomime, presented this year at Old Bank Club in Mirfield.

Babes In The Wood was the offering, and as usual, the cast had youth, energy and enthusiasm.

Keith Senior as Miss Lavinia was fun, as was Ken Robson (Lenny Late) and Bryan Middleham as Lord Moulding, although he could not get a word in when Lady Moulding was around, superbly played by Bev Auty.

The cast gave their all and the audience loved it. No show can happen without a great crew, and they have one, with a special mention to Mark Jennings and Helen Walker for first-class music. If you would like to join this lovely group, just call Mr Middleham on 01924 522993 (or email b.middleham@  hotmail.com) and maybe this time next year, you too could be a star.

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