Ann's Angle

Gary Wilmot is a rare breed of all-round entertainer, with style and class that has never better shown than in the glittering musical ‘Dirty Rotten Scoundrels’. As Gary explains: “It’s got glitz, glamour and a bit of gangster too ... a perfect night out.” Gary also let slip that Strictly Come Dancing call him every year and added: “I love the show, but I would much prefer to learn to ballroom dance in private. They are all so brave, but it’s not quite for me.”

EastEnders actor Timothy West is leaving the show after one year of playing Stan Carter. He tells me: “I have enjoyed my time and I think Stan has made the right impression with the fans, but I never wanted to do longer than a year. I have thoroughly enjoyed it all and thankfully he is not being killed off, so I may just be back.”

One Direction have a financial investment in fellow boy band 5 Seconds of Summer. The boys have come clean about the association after endless plugs on social media and speculation that this was the case. Liam reveals: “We see this as a natural progression in our quest to move into the entertainment scene once the band moves on.”

Channel Four soap Hollyoaks has announced that it will be releasing an album next week. The two-CD package, titled Hollyoaks: The Album, will go on sale on October 20 and feature some of the biggest songs that have been used on the show in 2014.

‘Lewis’ actor Kevin Whately could have had a totally different career. He tells me: “I was offered a job when I first started out as a Blue Peter presenter, and thought about it, but the producer also told me that if I took it I could say goodbye to an acting career, so I chose acting instead.”

Coronation Street star Anne Kirkbride is to take a longer break from the show, for up to three months. She insists that it’s not a medical problem, only that: “I need a break – it’s been a bit full-on for a while now, and I am not as young as I was, so the break will do me good.”

Actor Laurence Fox has said that he hopes to star in American projects in the near future. Now back appearing in the drama ‘Lewis’, he reveals: “I am baffled at times as to who our audience are, but I suppose the show is a gentle remainder of a nicer time and maybe that is the key. Yes, in the future I would very much like some big US acting drama ... it’s part of the plan.”

Look out for Sam Womack departing Walford again in EastEnders, as she is busy signing up to appear in pantomime this year in glamourous Sheffield. She told me: “It’s nice to do because I have young children, and of course I can’t let them watch the show, so this way they get to see what Mummy does all day.”

Former Vogue model Jerry Hall is also gearing up for her pantomime debut this year, and admits that playing the baddie is the best role offered. “Oh for sure, I will get a great reaction just appearing and the costume they have given me is brilliant ... I am nervous, but also ready to take the plunge,” she giggled.

Kellie Bright is on screen as Linda Carter in EastEnders, but she’s also on TV in re-runs of the early 90s comedy ‘The Upper Hand’ on ITV3 daily in which she was a teenager. She tells me: “I cringe now at the fashion I thought was cool, but then we all do that don’t we? I have nothing but fond memories of the show, and in particular just how great Honor Blackman was in it playing my granny.”

Emmerdale bosses have announced that a new family will be taking over at Home Farm. Former Coronation Street actor John Bowe has already made his first appearance on screen as Lawrence. The actor tells me: “To land the keys to Home Farm is great, as this is where the action is and I will get to play lord of the manor. It’s a great feeling.”

Duncan Preston says playing Doug, who is an expert gardener in Emmerdale, means that people assume he is green-fingered in real life. “I am okay but not the best and yet that is the power of the show – or me being a good actor ... I’m not quite sure which comes first,” he told me.

Richard E Grant is appearing in Downton Abbey as art historian Simon Bricker, but the actor tells me: “When I was first approached I wondered if I would be a servant, as the last time I was with creator Julian Fellowes in ‘Gosford Park’ I was ‘below stairs’, but this makes a great change, I must say.”

Have ITV missed a trick with not releasing an album from the much-hyped drama ‘Cilla’? It appears that fans loved the actress Sheridan Smith’s voice very much, more than the original Cilla versions. But as yet: “We have no plans to launch Sheridan as a pop star,” they confirmed.

Will.i.am has said he was worried when Kylie Minogue left The Voice that they wouldn’t be able to find a good enough replacement, but is happy Rita Ora has signed up. “She is very now, and with it, so yes it could work, but I just hope that she does not get distracted and forget to focus on the job in hand, which is to find talent,” he said.

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