THE king of Bradford pantomime, Billy Pearce, has just finished another sell-out run in Snow White and the Seven Dwarves at the Alhambra Theatre, and he tells me: “I have already signed up for next year. It’s like my home now, I have been doing this since 1994 and love it. I just hope my fans and newcomers allow me to stay here forever doing panto, it really is my favourite venue.”
EastEnders boss Dominic Treadwell-Collins has promised to ease up on the Carter family a bit in 2015. “They have established themselves now quite a bit, so I think that people will enjoy having a break and seeing some of the other characters back taking centre stage,” he said.
Strictly Come Dancing judge Len Goodman is not a man to skip on his luxuries. While in London the super-smooth dancer likes to stay at the Park Royal near St James’s Park, and he tells me: “I am a member, and it’s very swish, with great food too, so I always make this my home from home.”
Ross Kemp has confirmed he will not be involved in EastEnders’ 30th anniversary celebrations – he says he’s simply too busy. He told me: “I like the idea and would never say never, but right now is not the perfect time for me, and I know I am letting many fans down, but it’s beyond what I can fit in right now.”
Comedian and actress Dawn French is to return as a bishop in a special episode of The Vicar Of Dibley for Red Nose Day in March. She told me: “I can’t resist bringing her back, and she is always great fun to play, so when they suggested this special, I thought well why not and I am so looking forward to it.”
The X Factor 2014 runner-up Fleur East has signed a record deal with Simon Cowell’s record label Syco. She tells me: “I know it’s a hard road to climb, but I am raring to go and Simon says he will support me all the way, so I am looking forward to starting work on the tour and the new album.”
Johnny Vegas is back in Benidorm, playing quiz king and mummy’s boy The Oracle, and he tells me that he missed playing the role. “I think we all know people like him, he is annoying but harmless and above all else he has a good heart,” he said. “You go to Spain and trust me you will see lots of him around the resorts…”
Benidorm actor Jake Canuso has admitted he would love to take part in Strictly Come Dancing. “I love the show, and yes I was a dancer, but that was years ago, so I think it would be all new to me again,” he said. “I just hope that one day they may just give me a call.”
Former Emmerdale actress Claire King admits that appearing in Coronation Street is a dream come true, and confesses: “I had just appeared in Big Brother and I needed something exciting as a challenge acting-wise, so this was the dream ticket ... I could not be happier.”
After 13 years on screen, BAFTA-winning drama Foyle’s War has ended, with the final episode airing on Sunday. Writer Anthony Horowitz claims to have run out of stories, but fans are up in arms over this and have suggested to the makers of the show they should find another writer to keep this favourite going ... I will keep you posted.
Coronation Street producer Stuart Blackburn has revealed that the show’s upcoming live episode is unlikely to revolve around a huge stunt. As announced late last year, the soap will go live again in September 2015 to mark the 60th birthday of its broadcaster ITV. “I think that would be so expected if we did that, so obviously we will look at other options,” he told me.
Coronation Street actress Kym Marsh is ‘furious’ after internet trolls attacked her daughter Emilie Cunliffe, following the 16-year-old’s performance on BBC’s The Voice. “I just thinks it’s so cruel, she is still a young girl and yet because of me gets attacked,” she said. “Hopefully she won’t let this put her off from having a go at other attempts to break into showbiz.”
Madonna is apparently on the bill for this year’s Brit Awards. A source told me at the launch show that the pop icon would be there, maybe just to present, but they are hopeful of an performance also, as she has a new album out called ‘Rebel Heart’.
Downton Abbey star Joanne Froggatt recently won a Golden Globe for her role in the TV series, and told me at a party she can’t believe just how her career has turned out. She laughed: “I am from Whitby – I mean things like that don’t happen to people like me, but I’m truly over the moon and just stunned. The show is a gem and is so well-loved over here in the US. Long may it continue.”
Jeremy Piven has admitted he loves nothing more than being recognised as his character from Mr Selfridge. “I think it’s really opened doors for me and people love a bad guy, right?” he said. “Plus at that time it was so much fun to be rich and boy he did enjoy it, so I guess it’s rubbing off on me for a bit, don’t you think?”
Simon Cowell may have suffered a decline in popularity of late with his shows, but he thinks his own tell-all book could revive it. “I think a picture book would also be good, as I have many which the public have never seen,” he said.
Zoe Ball has said that she does not want Tess Daly’s job presenting Strictly Come Dancing. She tells me: “I get asked it all the time, but I just love doing the tour and the spin-off show, plus Tess has been there from the start, so why would I want to do that?”