Ann's Angle

RUSSELL Watson is back on tour with his new show ‘Up Close and Personal’, and he tells me he would truly love a crack at a Bond theme. “Oh yes I think I could do it justice and also its time we went back to big voices on film scores,” he said. “I always remember Matt Monro and Tom Jones really hitting it out on the Bond films and thinking you know maybe, one day it could happen to me.” Insiders tell me that they love the idea of Russ being on a film theme ... do you all agree, girls?

Jason Donovan has paid a mystery visit to the EastEnders set. Currently on tour with the hit drama The King’s Speech, he told me: “I was invited along by a friend on the show and I know of course all the speculation that will happen, but I would not rule it out if possible in the future.”

Cult Channel Four show TFI Friday is to return for a live 90-minute special in June to celebrate the show’s 20th anniversary. Chris Evans tells me that he is delighted with the idea. “Looking back on the show, we were a cult, and I can see that a bit now,” he said. “All I need is someone to suggest the return of the Big Breakfast and my career will have come a full circle.”

Downton Abbey’s Julian Fellowes has claimed that he has no say over when the show will end. The series creator said that Downton’s future lies in the hands of owners NBC Universal. “They own it and I just now work for them, but I think we both will know when the time is right to say goodbye,” he added.

If you thought Queen of Pop Madonna looked younger on a recent interview with Jonathan Ross, then let me tell you a little secret. The star comes to interviews with her own lighting rig, and her very special piece of kit called ‘Diva Light’. It apparently takes years off your face and irons out every single wrinkle on screen.

Former Coronation Street actors Vicky Entwistle (Janice Battersby) and Chris Gascoyne (Peter Barlow) are taking leading roles along with Nancy Sullivan in West Yorkshire Playhouse artistic director James Brining’s production of Jim Cartwright’s Olivier Award-winning Little Voice.

The West Yorkshire Playhouse and Birmingham Repertory Theatre co-production opens in Birmingham on May 15 before transferring to the Playhouse on June 5.

Former Emmerdale actress Verity Rushworth is currently starring as Vera Claythorne in the UK tour production of Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None. But, as she tells me: “I still get asked all the time if Donna is coming back to the Dales, and I politely tell them ‘well, not if the way she died had anything to do with it’, but I think soap fans don’t want you to pop off, they like the idea of you always coming back.”

BAFTA-winning Broadchurch actress Olivia Colman is to star in a new BBC mini-series based on John Le Carre’s spy thriller, The Night Manager, alongside Hugh Laurie and Rev’s Tom Hollander. It will be on air in late autumn.

Ex-Downton Abbey actor Dan Stevens is in talks to play the Beast in the film version of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast. He told me: “I was offered this chance a while back but I was busy filming, but now it’s arisen again so it’s perfect, I just hope it all works out.”

EastEnders has sparked rumours of a return for Zoe Slater after a reference to her in a recent episode. However the actress who played her, Michelle Ryan, has already told bosses she is not coming back and most recently appeared with Will Young in a production of Cabaret. The production also played in London’s West End...

Kelvin Fletcher, who plays Andy in Emmerdale, says his fans get fed up when Andy gets depressed in his storylines. “I enjoy them myself as an actor, but I know the fans love me to be happy,” he said. “Who knows, this is soap, so Andy could have a very fast turnaround again.”

Sally Ann Matthews, who has returned to Coronation Street as Jenny Bradley, tells me the difference today from when she first appeared in the show is simple. “It’s a lot faster and there is no time to slack,” she said. “You have to be word-perfect and know your script. It’s a well-oiled machine here and everyone loves it.”

Ab Fab star Joanna Lumley tells me that one programme she gets asked about all the time is the late 70s cult show ‘Sapphire and Steele’. “I think it really resonated with sci-fi fans, plus the show was well ahead of its time. I thoroughly enjoyed it really,” she said.

Stand-up comedian Michael McIntyre will host a one-off Easter special for BBC One. To be recorded at the London Coliseum, the prestigious Covent Garden home of the English National Opera, later this month, the special is believed to be scheduled for broadcast on Easter Sunday, April 5, in a primetime slot.

Former Coronation Street and Hollyoaks actor Chris Fountain has signed up to star in a short film – and you could win a part as an extra in it. Chris will play the role of Tom in the ‘heartrending love story’ Late, being produced by Hollyoaks producer Emily Gascoigne. Late is being funded by a Kickstarter campaign and donors can enjoy rewards ranging from a ticket to the launch, a part as an extra or even an executive producer credit on the film.

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