Anthony Bygraves is the son of showbiz legend Max, and when I met him at the world premiere of the ‘King of Strings’ documentary in Bournemouth, he told me: “I am hoping to have a permanent statue of dad erected in the town, as he loved it so much and missed the UK. I do hope that a proper tribute will be on TV in the not-too-distant future ... he truly deserved that.”
Les Dennis has become a favourite in Coronation Street playing Gail’s new chap Michael – so much so that bosses have extended his contract for another six months. He tells me: “I can’t believe it as it was always my dream to be a success in the show, and now it’s happened ... brilliant news for me.”
Emmerdale’s Duncan Preston, who returned as Doug to the show, tells me he has a young cast member to thank for his return to Yorkshire. “I won’t reveal the name but, yes it was a passing remark that they picked up on and bingo I am back here,” he said. “I know they have plenty in store for Doug too, but I am grateful it’s because of them I am back here.”
The recent drama ‘Cilla’ has sparked an interest in the musical career of the former Blind Date host, but she admits that her singing days are over. She said: “I am glad my songs have been discovered again, but I have no plans to go back into the recording studio. How you could you top what I did?”
Did you know that ex-Coronation Street actress Shobna Gulati got her first big break dancing Bollywood-style in a 1991 Boy George music pop video? She reveals: “It was for a track called ‘Bow Down Mister’. It was a great experience and he remains one of my favourite pop icons.”
Inspector Morse prequel Endeavour will return for a third series on ITV. Shaun Evans, who plays the 60s police boss, tells me: “It’s a wonderful opportunity to revisit the show and we have enjoyed some great audiences so far ... long may it continue.”
Karl Howman is set to appear in EastEnders, it has been announced. The cockney actor, who famously played Jacko in the BBC comedy Brush Strokes, will arrive in Walford later this year. A source tells me: “It’s all top secret right now with just who he will be related to, but we are so happy to have Karl on board. He is a super addition to the cast.”
According to Hugh Bonneville, who stars in Downton Abbey, another Hollywood icon could soon be appearing in the show. Hugh tells me: “I received a note from Jamie Lee Curtis, she confessed to being addicted to the show and wanted to know should any opportunity arise to let her know. She would even play a kitchen maid just to be on it.”
Graham Norton tells me that one guest who has eluded him so far is Hollywood actor Brad Pitt. “I have tried of course, but the one show he will do is ‘Ellen’ in the US and he refuses to do any of the chat shows here in the UK, so I suppose we’re all snubbed together,” he laughed.
Julie Walters’ career is to be celebrated in a special BBC Two documentary. Julie tells me: “I was shocked when approached to be honest, but when they explained, well I loved the idea, plus they have dug up clips and bits I had forgotten about.” It’s due on air later this year.
Beverley Callard, who plays Liz in Coronation Street, tells me she loathes the outfits she has to wear in the soap. She said: “Bless her, she has no idea just how daft she looks, but then again I do know some landladies who actually dress like that, and they laugh at Liz’s clothes too, which is even more amusing.”
Frankie from pop group The Saturdays, now appearing in Stricly Come Dancing, tells me that she has no direct dancing skills. “In a pop group you just pose and move around to the beat, whereas this is quite tough and intricate, but I am trying my best and really enjoying it all,” she said.
Gaynor Faye, who appears in Emmerdale as Megan, tells me that she would love to have a go at penning a script for the soap too. “You do start to think ‘this is what I would do next to them’ and so forth, so who knows, maybe if I ask nicely they will let me have a go,” she said.
Famous for the hit comedy show To the Manor Born, actress Penelope Keith is to explore the changing face of rural Britain in a three-part series for More4. She tells me: “I am someone who loves country life, and when this was offered I could not say no ... plus we go to some wonderful out-of-the-way places.”
The Channel Four review show ‘Goggle Box’ will soon have its own book, featuring all the regulars of the show who sit on a sofa and critic the shows from the week. A source tells me: “It was demanded by the fans and so we obliged.” I feel it might be one for the pound shops, don’t you?
Former Coronation Street actress Michelle Keegan has signed up to appear alongside Max Beesley (Mad Dogs), Mackenzie Crook (The Office) and Jo Joyner (EastEnders) in new BBC One drama called Ordinary Lies.