Ann's Angle

Keith Duffy is best known as part of Boyzone, and long before One Direction were even thought of Keith and the boys were enjoying hits like ‘Words’ and ‘No Matter What’. Keith, though, has moved into theatre acting and is wowing audiences nightly in ‘A Handful Of Stars’. He tells me: “It’s the script that comes alive every night. This is a dream role and I can’t wait for all my fans to come along and see me in it.” It’s currently playing at the Trafalgar Studios in London.

Ant and Dec have said they would love to team up with Cat Deeley again for a special episode of SM: TV. I heard: “We get asked all the time about our old show and now we’re all knocking on a bit, I think it would be fun to revisit and see how it takes off. Who knows it, may even become a success.”

EastEnders has confirmed that young cast members Maisie Smith, 13, and Devon Higgs, nine, will be leaving the British soap. The child actors, who play Tiffany and Morgan Butcher, will exit in the autumn alongside their on-screen mother Bianca, played by Patsy Palmer.

Dannii Minogue has revealed she is plotting a comeback to UK TV – she just needs to find the right project. “I would like to do something with fashion and reality, as that is my focus now, but I could end up behind the scenes as a producer too, which would be fine with me also,” she said.

TV programmes will not be filmed at London’s Television Centre (TVC) for another three years. BBC Studios and Post Production (S&PP) has delayed the launch of its new 15-year lease of the revamped Studios 1, 2 and 3. The BBC will now have to stay at Elstree and Pinewood for productions of big hit shows.

Former Strictly Come Dancing pro James Jordan has again hit out at the show, teasing that he plans to watch rival The X Factor this year. It emerged last month that James will not be back on the next series of the BBC One hit and he said: “I am unhappy with the way it’s been handled and I won’t miss the show too much, but I think I may end up watching X Factor instead.”

Did you know that the food served in Roy’s Rolls in Coronation Street is basically plastic? “The pasties, rolls and fruit are all fake,” a source tells me, “but when a character sips tea then that is real, but could be stone cold, as it takes a while to set up the shots.”

TV baker Paul Hollywood, who shot to fame on the BBC cookery contest The Great British Bake Off, is thrilled that the BBC has expanded his contract to include a new series about his other loves – cars and motorbikes. “I do enjoy bike riding, and of course my cooking, so here is the perfect show for me,” he laughed.

Antony Costa has landed a return to Casualty. The performer first appeared as a teenager and then went onto to find fame as part of the pop group Blue. The singer will play a man who suffers severe burns after a teenager sets off a flare, and he tells me: “I am so grateful for the role as I really want to return to acting, and this is a great part.”

Choirmaster Gareth Malone tells me his first ambition was to become an actor. “I trained for it and everything, but never really got the breaks,” he said. “But then of course the fame took off doing this job, so all is now well as the King of Choirs.”

Young Emmerdale star Luke Roskell has left the show. The teen actor has filmed his final scenes after three years playing Sean Spencer on the ITV soap, and a source tells me that they may bring the character back at some stage, but as yet they’re not sure if it will be the same actor. Oh dear...

Vicky Binns, who played Molly Dobbs in Coronation Street before being hit in that infamous tram crash, is finally back on TV after four years. She tells me: “It’s taken some time but I am in the new drama ‘The Mill’. It’s gritty and dark, but I think I have put the ghost of Molly to rest for good.”

TV comedian John Bishop has been standing in for Graham Norton on BBC Radio Two and tells me he was shocked by the offer. “I kept thinking, you know, me on BBC radio with this thick Liverpool accent? But they are happy and I am too, it’s been great fun so far.”

EastEnders star Samantha Womack has returned to filming this week. The actress, who plays Ronnie Mitchell on the BBC soap, had been on a short break while she worked on the fourth series of Mount Pleasant.

Len Goodman has told me which celebrity he'd most like to see in Strictly Come Dancing this autumn ... “I think HRH the Duchess of Cornwall would be great and I know she is a fan as she has visited the show. But I don’t know if she can spare the time I think she may be a tad busy,” he laughed...

Chris Barrie has revealed that he would be interested in starring in a revival of the hit 1990s BBC sitcom The Brittas Empire. Set in a leisure centre, seven series were produced from 1991 to 1997. Barrie played the title role of Gordon Brittas, the well-meaning but infuriating and incompetent manager of the complex. “I think now more than ever it would be good to catch up with him, and see if he is still in charge or not,” he tells me.

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