Ann's Angle

I was lucky enough to grab a back stage pass at the hit BBC talent show The Voice and met stars like Sir Tom Jones and Rita Ora. Is the new series shaping up to be any good? Well, judging by what I saw in the auditions round it is. The show will be back on air in January next year, and I think they finally found a true star...

John Barrowman has been awarded with his MBE, and he tells me he is over the moon with it. He said: “I had to keep it a secret for so long, but I was so thrilled as I am such a royalist. I got to meet Princess Anne and she said some very nice things about my work ... I’m very happy.”

Downton Abbey is to release its first-ever Christmas album. ‘Christmas at Downton Abbey’ features 45 tracks on two discs and is released next month. A source tells me: “There may be one or two surprise duets on the album too, along with Carson the butler adding to the mix.”

Downton Abbey viewers are also used to seeing Jim Carter lurking at the back of the Crawley family’s dining room, gravy boat in hand, but the man who plays stoical butler Mr Carson tells me: “The dinner party scenes are the hardest and longest to film. “Honestly, they can be up to 10 hours a time, which is very annoying when you’re in tight shoes.”

I was lucky enough to take breakfast at the five star Langham Hotel in London last week with Hollywood legend Alec Baldwin, who was in town for filming. He tells me: “I am in talks for a stint in a period drama, but for now my lips are sealed.” Are we guessing Mr Selfridge, girls?

seventies pop star Donny Osmond recently appeared as a one-off guest judge on Strictly Come Dancing, but was not the glowing success that bosses had hoped. He awarded a ‘10’ to a team, and this was not what he should have done, according to a former dance star on the show. I was told: “He appeared as if he so needed to be liked, and even in a final you don’t need to give a 10, do you?” Oh dear, Donny...

The BBC has announced details of three celebrity editions of The Great British Sewing Bee. The shows will form part of this year’s Children in Need, and Dave Myers of Hairy Bikers fame tells me: “Having appeared in Strictly Come Dancing it appears I am game for an any challenge, and this seemed like a good one.”

Former X Factor finalist Diana Vickers says she always wanted to be an actress rather than a singer. She added: “It was just a way to get into the business, and it worked, so I am more than pleased how things have turned out and love appearing in comedy roles.”

Miranda Hart has committed to hosting a BBC One entertainment show – but there are doubts over whether it will be a direct revival of The Generation Game. A source tells me: “She likes the Gen Game, but would like to try something totally new, and that is what we are working on right now.”

Coronation Street bosses are fuming that the so-called ‘stars’ of the show are moaning about pay rises on set and to the media. My inside source tells me: “All shows are struggling with ratings and advertising, so if anyone demands more money, expect the grim reaper to call and have a mass cull for the stars that complain.”

Bond actor Roger Moore tells me that while playing ‘The Saint’ on TV he had to remain on a strict diet. “It was considered back then that TV could make you look bigger, so yes for many years I lived on salad and not much else, there were tough times looking back,” he laughed.

Emmerdale newcomer Ryan Hawley has admitted that he was nervous about taking over the role of Robert Sugden. He said: “It’s daunting to say the least, but then again a great opportunity for me as an actor. People know him, and so I can now show what he has achieved and if he has changed at all ... who knows?”

Hugh Bonneville has described George Clooney’s appearance in a Downton Abbey episode as “brilliant”. “He is really going to shock many people in a way, as he is not playing to type and I think it’s the sort of character that people will easily warm to,” he said.

Great British Bake Off judge Mary Berry tells me that she keeps slim on the show by only eating “a tiny bit of cake, I mean a fraction of it, because I love them and if I start then I would want to eat the lot, but I try to be good.”

Does This Morning need to recall Holly? It appears that the daily delight of Amanda Holden, who is sitting in for Holly, is not doing great things for the ratings, and bosses are now “worried”.

Robson Green tells me that starring in ITV drama Grantchester has aged him on screen. “I look like my dad now, I really do,” Robson said. “Because we’re set in the 1950s it’s just the sort of clothes and style that he wore. I liked it, and I did a double take when I first saw myself on screen, to be honest.”

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