EastEnders is marking its 30th anniversary with a Gogglebox-style spin-off show where members of the cast share a sofa and watch some of their most famous scenes again. A source tells me: “It’s all about having fun, and looking back at some of the biggest events in Albert Square over the last 30 years ... we do feel fans will really enjoy it.”
Nick Berry, who played Wicks in EastEnders in the late 80s, tells me he has no plans to return to the show despite it being the 30th anniversary this year. “I get asked all the time and I am flattered but it’s not in my plans and no-one has actually asked me yet to come back,” he laughed.
It appears that the X Factor decline is not letting up, with last year’s final rated the lowest since the series started. ITV tell me that the shows future is in doubt now as a “major prime time show”.
The colourful life of female impersonator, Danny La Rue is to be made into a movie. Stage director and former Royal Shakespeare Company chief Adrian Noble, is to work on a biopic about the famous stage dame. Adrian – who also worked on Kate Bush’s acclaimed live comeback shows – will direct the film, which will go into production late this year.
Alesha Dixon is braving the music scene again, despite her last album missing the top 100. Now returning as a judge on Britain’s Got Talent, she tells me: “My fans have demanded it really, so it’s all for them.”
Citizen Khan, Adil Ray’s sitcom about a family living in Birmingham, has also been given the green light for another run.
The show is currently in its third series, with episodes going out on Friday nights.
CITV have commissioned a second series of Thunderbirds Are Go before the premiere of series one. Thunderbirds Are Go is a reinvention of the vintage children’s show, and is set to premiere on ITV and CITV in the spring of this year - 50 years after the original TV series began.
Plans to tour the UK with the failed X Factor musical ‘I Can’t Sing’, which opened and closed last spring at the London Palladium, have now been axed for good, with the props and scenery sold off or simply broken up for scrap. A source tells me: “It’s a shame, but it really never took off with fans.”
Alan Fletcher, who plays Karl Kennedy in Neighbours, has returned to the UK for another pantomime season and says he loved to play the baddies. But he reveals that he has to be careful not to make the character too evil, saying: “You have to strike the right balance with children and not scare them too much. But now I would not miss doing it for the world as it’s a great way to spend Christmas in the UK for me.”
Boomers, the sitcom about a trio of newly-retired couples living in Norfolk, is to return for a second series.
Starring Alison Steadman, Philip Jackson, Russ Abbot, Stephanie Beacham, James Smith and Paula Wilcox, the comedy launched on BBC One in August, picking up 4.45 million viewers.
Former Strictly contestant Lisa Riley tells me: “I’ll always be grateful to Emmerdale because it put me on the map, and I can’t believe, after all this time, people still remember Mandy Dingle so vividly. But if I was to do any soap now, Corrie would be the one. As a born-and-bred Manchester girl, that would be great.”
Former Coronation Street actress Katherine Kelly is now taking time out from appearing in Mr Selfridge to star in a West End musical ‘City of Angels’. She tells me: “It’s the first time that I have done this, but I’m really enjoying the experience and think I may now look at more.”
Coronation Street favourite Kirk Sutherland is getting his own spin-off series. The dim-witted character, played by Andrew Whyment, will star in a five-part online series called What Would Kirk Do? which will involve fans in his wedding decisions. If it’s a success we can look forward to more spi- off web shows, as they are cheaper for the production team to make...
A production firm who made ‘The Tube’ is to turn its attention to the Post Office for its latest BBC Two ob-doc series. According to my sources we will get to see all facets of just how the post office works, meeting the people who make sure our post and parcels arrive on time...
Claire King, who now appears in Coronation Street and is famous for her role as Kim Tate in Emmerdale, says she does not regret her stint in last year’s Celebrity Big Brother. “I did it for the money and nothing else,” she revealed. “Acting work can be thin on the ground, and so I just took the opportunity to try something new.”
Danny Dyer says playing hard man Mick Carter in EastEnders has been tough in parts. “People do assume you are like the character you’re playing, and I think at times people are sad when you’re not actually like that,” he said. “I mean Mick is a nice guy really.”
Broadchurch’s US remake, ‘Grace Point’, has reportedly been cancelled following poor ratings. Over here the crime drama stars David Tennant and Olivia Coleman and UK TV bosses had high hopes for the US version, but it appears that viewers have simply not taken to the new version.
I’m A Celebrity contestant and one-time serious newsreader Michael Burke has confessed that the show has done little to reignite his career since appearing. He now says: “I will just put it all down to a good experience and maybe something will come out of it.”
Lynda Baron, who stars as Nurse Gladys in Still Open All Hours, tells me that if they need the audience to laugh more it’s quite simple. “We just play around with the till, which of course is famous for snapping shut and closing fast. It always gets the crowd roaring and we are off again,” she teased.