It’s not often you get to meet living legends, but I did recently when I spent the morning with singing superstar Engelbert Humperdinck, who was London to promote his brilliant new album ‘Engelbert Calling’. Packed with famous duets and one or two family surprises, it will delight all fans and new ones too. Eng told me: “Once we had Sir Elton John on board, it all took off from there.” Buy the album now, you won’t be disappointed, I think it’s his best to date.
A while back I reported how Paul O’Grady and Cilla Black had teamed up together for a pilot comedy show. It was recorded over six months ago, but so far the TV channel in question has yet to screen it. Could it be not quite that funny after all?
It appears that the newly-opened Coronation Street tour of the old set at Granada Studios is not going down well with die-hard fans. The trailer is even on TV voiced by the lovely Victoria Wood, but the price is “putting many fans off, who simply think with no stars to meet, what is the point?”
Shane Richie says he wants Barbara Windsor back in EastEnders. “I just think the show misses her, and we all enjoyed working together on it, but I don’t know if the BBC has plans for the return of Peggy ... it would be great though,” he said.
Britain’s Got Talent is back soon, but as ever while the cast and crew say they have some amazing finds, no-one can ever quite remember the winner. Last year’s, anyone? Bosses now think they should also have a winner’s story, which will be shown over on ITV2.
One Direction are in talks with ITV about a one-off seasonal special of ‘An Audience With’. A source tells me: “The boys will have a new album out by then, and of course it’s the perfect festive treat for their fans.” I’ll keep you posted...
Coronation Street favourites Jack and Vera Duckworth have been immortalised in wax at Madame Tussauds in Blackpool. Liz Dawn, who played Vera for over 30 years, tells me: “It’s an honour and I am surprised that people still remember us. But what a lovely treat, I am so pleased with them too.”
Jenny Agutter says she’s in the dark about storylines for the next series of Call the Midwife. “We have just enjoyed a terrific series ratings-wise, and I honestly don’t want to know at this stage, as it will spoil the surprise. I know the show has so many fans and that makes it worthwhile for us all.”
Robson Green will play a gruff, overworked policeman in ITV’s new period crime drama Grantchester. He tells me: “Part of the joy of this is that it’s filmed in the early 50s – a time when we were less PC and people spoke their mind. I love what he can get away with, which in many ways we can’t now.”
Former Avengers star Joanna Lumley tells me that she never receives a penny from DVD sales of the show that made her famous as Purdy in the 70s. “You see when we made it our contracts did not include DVD or video,” she said. “It was not that far advanced at that stage, so we don’t take much notice of sales.”
If you ever wondered what happened to James Alexandrou, who played Martin Fowler in EastEnders, wonder no more. He’s about to hit the West End, playing evil Iago in William Shakespeare’s Othello. James tells me: “It’s a real challenge, and one that I relish, so I just hope the audiences love it too.”
Hebburn, the sitcom starring Vic Reeves, has been dropped after two series. The show’s creator Jason Cook announced: “Just so everyone knows, the BBC will not be renewing Hebburn for a third series.”
EastEnders’ next murder victim Lucy Beale may have appeared alive in the soap for the final time, with actress Hetti Bywater said to have filmed her last scenes. BBC drama boss Ben Stephenson recently revealed: “Just about everyone who lives there is a suspect ,and we are going to use every single cast member in the marketing campaign, which is the biggest we’ve ever done.”
Benidorm is to return for a seventh series, ITV has confirmed. Johnny Vegas, Elsie Kelly and Crissy Rock, have also been announced to be making returns as The Oracle, Noreen and Janey York. The ever-lovely Sherrie Hewson is also back, with lots of guest stars too...
EastEnders actor Danny Dyer has complained that he gets mocked for playing characters like himself – but that the same doesn’t happen to Benedict Cumberbatch. Danny says that he was sick of comments about taking roles that were similar to him. He said: “You’ve got actors like Benedict Cumberbatch - a great actor, but he’s a posh boy playing posh boys. He does it well, and he doesn’t get mocked for that.”
Coronation Street actress Michelle Collins is joining Casualty. Still on air as Stella in the soap, she tells me: “I am playing someone so different from her, and when they suggested the role I could not resist, so yes do look out for me doing my thing on there...”