Is Lionel Blair heading towards a stint in EastEnders? Lionel, who made a film with Danny Dyer last year called ‘Run For Your Wife’, tells me that “Danny loved working with me and I know he would like to get me in, but I don’t want to cameo. I would like to try and do something more dramatic. Maybe an old boyfriend of Cora in the show? That would be nice...” If Danny has his way, Lionel could be tapping his way into Albert Square ... you read it here first.
Dynamo has confirmed that the upcoming fourth series of Magician Impossible will be the last. Dynamo also suggested that he could be planning a theatre show in the future, saying: “I think there are so many opportunities in the live arena for what I do, so it would be a great chance to reinvent the live magic show.”
Fresh from their success as hosts of the Great British Bake Off, Mel Giedroyc and Sue Perkins have landed a new daytime chat show – their first together for 16 years. Insiders tell me that if successful it will eventually replace Loose Women, which is still failing to attract the right ratings.
Downton Abbey star Joanne Froggatt may have won a global following thanks to the phenomenal success of the hit show, but she still gets star-struck. She laughed: “Oh I do, I mean in the US when you meet people like Brad Pitt and George Clooney, and they tell you they are fans, it leaves you stunned, and then of course you have to ask for a pic. I just go red.”
It appears that even repeats of Heartbeat on ITV3 are beating Good Morning Britain, despite the hefty overhaul and expensive presenters. One of the shows bosses tells me “There will be cutbacks as the wage bill is simply far too high.”
Coronation Street couple Ken and Deirdre Barlow will head off on a camping trip in the hope that they can rekindle their romance after months apart. Bill Roach tells me: “It’s fate to say that Deirdre was expecting something a bit more glamorous, but practical Ken has decided that this will be the perfect fix, and so they are off.”
Did you know that Derek Thompson, who began portraying Charlie Fairhead in Casualty in 1986, started his showbiz life out as a singer in a folk duo? He tells me: “My big break was a summer season in Blackpool with the Batchelors and comedian Al Read. They were really good days, and you have found out my secret now...”
Hugh Bonneville met his match as the actor was introduced to his new wax figure at Madame Tussauds recently, but he told me: “I did find it strange looking at myself, as you always imagine you may be a tad thinner and have more hair, but now that reality has been brought to life and to me, actually.”
Pointless Celebrities contestants Su Pollard, Ruth Madoc and Lesley Joseph tell me that while they enjoyed being on the show, they were all a bit confused by the format. Su said: “I honestly had no idea what was happening half the time, but it was a chance to have a catch-up and a gossip with my mates.”
Sue Perkins has revealed she helps out with a lot of the cooking behind the scenes on The Great British Bake Off. “It’s not known much, but I can’t help digging in and offering support and sometimes the odd stir of the spoon, I just hate to see people struggling, it’s not nice is it?” she said.
Fans of Coronation St and Nick’s Bistro have noticed that while the chef is always mentioned, as yet no-one has actually seen who does the cooking there. So will show bosses get around to casting one or will they forever be invisible? “We have no plans at present,” according to the casting team.
Emmerdale actress Natalie Anderson has hinted at a heart-breaking time ahead for her character Alicia Metcalfe. Natalie said: “If I were to sum up the next few months for Alicia in three words, they would be heartbreak, heartbreak and heartbreak.”
Bake Off judge Paul Hollywood tells me that he is not that much of a fan of Mary Berry’s cakes, despite them being excellent. He said: “For me a treat is a good old-fashioned pork pie. I know they are not good for you, but with brown sauce ... oh they are so good, and yes I indulge now and again.”
Someone hide the palm leaves. Simon Cowell will apparently be joined by Paula Abdul and, yes you guessed it, Sinitta as his guest mentor judges on this year’s X Factor. Paula was of course a former judge on American Idol, and “people should be reminded I am still alive,” she teased at a press conference.
Judy Finnigan ‘has completely withdrawn from broadcasting’, reveals husband Richard Madeley. He said: “She is happier writing books, and does not miss the daily grind of being on TV with the guests and everything else, but I would like to return at some point. I am just looking for the right thing.”
Holly Willoughby tells me she dare not take too much time off from TV, as: “People do forget you, and then you’re replaced with someone else. Whatever people tell you, TV has a shelf life and so it ends not when you say, but when you’re told. It’s a fact.”
Shane Richie has a new series called Decimate, which sees a team of three contestants battling to keep a £20,000 wall of cash. He enthuses: “It’s a daytime show, and that means we are more relaxed and fun, plus of course there is a chance to win some really good prizes too.”
He’s the celebrated star of TV series and films like The Lord of the Rings, Sharpe and Game of Thrones, but Sean Bean tells me that he still loathes auditions. “I am just rubbish at them, and fail them all the time, so it’s best if they just book me and I land the role that way,” he said.