69 Shades of Black is a hilarious new comedy with a whip-cracking script that promises to leave you wincing and laughing in all the right places. Starring Faye Tozer from Steps, she tells me: “It’s a far cry from what I am used to performing in, but I laughed out loud at the script, and I think my fans will love it too.” It’s on tour this spring.
Lesley Joseph of Birds of a Feather tells me there could be a movie on the cards. She said: “We are in talks, because since we came back it’s been amazing and now TV bosses are seeing the success of hits like Mrs Brown’s Boys transferring to the big screen and looking at other options. I think it would be fantastic actually.”
ITV appeared to confirm there will be a third series of hit crime drama Broad-church, with the storyline beginning immediately after the conclusion of series two. All three mains stars of the previous outings will also return. Lead female role Olivia Coleman told me: “I can’t believe it, because we were all told this was a one-off, but we are back filming down there in July.”
Doc Martin star Martin Clunes will play Sherlock Holmes creator Sir Arthur Conan Doyle in new ITV drama Arthur and George. “It’s such a brilliant challenge and because people love the creator of the famous books, well you just better get it right,” he said. “It’s my biggest challenge to date.”
New Tricks is being axed after 12 series of the BBC detective drama. With all the main original stars now out of the show, the creators have decided to call time. The last series was a ratings flop, and the BBC had hoped the inclusion of Tamzin Outwaite would have helped this, but now it’s going for good after this series.
Kelvin Fletcher who plays Andy in Emmerdale admits that it would be hard for him to leave the show now. “I have been here since I was 11 years old and I don’t know if people could see me as anyone else now really,” he said.
ITV is planning a revival of 1960s drama The Saint. The broadcaster has commissioned a pilot episode penned by Ed Whitmore (Arthur & George) and Chris Lunt (Prey). If successful it will be turned into a full series, but fans are hopeful of a cameo from Sir Roger Moore, who has already admitted: “I would jump at the chance to do this.”
Former EastEnders actor Dean Gaffney has made a triumphant return to acting ... in a new Marmite ad. Dean tells me: “I just hope that people can see I also do comedy now and not all serious stuff, but I do hope that it will lead to some other things ... I would love to pop up in Benidorm.”
Simon Cowell is taking Spanish lessons so he can find the Latino One Direction. He tells me: “I am doing a new show in that area with Ricky Martin, and yes I thought I should have a go at learning it, so I can fit in, but it’s early days so far.”
Rowan Atkinson is to star in a remake of French detective series Maigret. The Mr Bean star will play pipe-smoking Parisian detective Jules Maigret in two feature-length episodes for ITV, based on the novels by Georges Simenon. If successful it will turn into a full length series.
Ann Widdecombe and Zoe Lucker have been confirmed for BBC One’s 24 Hours in the Past. Alistair McGowan, Colin Jackson, Miquita Oliver and Tyger Drew-Honey are also joining the programme. The contestants must immerse themselves in the trials of a Victorian worker, having no contact with the modern world for four full days and nights.
Ex-EastEnders actor Leslie Grantham, who played Dirty Den in the BBC soap, has revealed that he would like to win a role in Coronation Street. He tells me: “I do enjoy the show and figure given my background I would make a great guest star. I am hopefully approaching them soon.”
Ant and Dec have been accused of copying Morecambe and Wise material for their Saturday night show, and the boys have had to admit they are “inspired” when they watch the old re-runs of the duo’s hit programmes. “We admit we slightly update it, but it’s all done with heart,” they tell me.
Jules Knight has quit his role as Dr Harry Tressler in Holby City, and plans to work on his music career. Jules, whose character was nicknamed ‘Dr Love’, said: “I loved playing Harry on Holby and have had fun there with the cast. Variety is the spice of life, however, and I like to keep moving.” His first solo album, Change of Heart, is out in April.
Vernon Kay has revealed that he would “seriously consider” taking part in Strictly Come Dancing. However insiders tell me that they have no real plans to offer him a stint, even though his wife Tess Daly co-hosts the show. “It would not be fair on the others so we have resisted the offer of him so far,” I heard.
Emmerdale’s Natalie Anderson tells me the trouble that’s going to be caused by Lachlan’s twisted and disturbed crush on Alicia. “Oh it’s very dark, but I believe it’s based on a true story that one of the writers has picked up on,” she said. “I like the fact that she will be doing something more dramatic and moving away from the comedy for a while.”