Ann's Angle

Lord Michael Grade has said that broadcasters don’t have a “divine right” to hold election debates.

“I feel quite strongly about this actually, because it’s not a TV event, it’s how we run the country that matters,” he said. “It is madness that all the major channels are trying push this. Most are just thinking about ratings of course, which is plain daft when you think about it” Do we all agree with him, though?

Jeremy Piven, who plays the dashing Mr Selfridge in the ITV’s hit Sunday night drama, tells me that he can’t wait to get back into filming again this April. “I love it when I get recognised as him and he was such a great historical figure,” he said. “The show is fantastic to do, so yes bring it on, and I will stay with the show as long as they want me.”

Could X Factor singer and actor Shayne Ward be joining the cast of Coronation Street? Not quite, but he does have a new album out and so the PR spin means that he knows people will show interest in him again. Shayne, though, told me: “In the future, who knows, it’s the show I grew up with so it would be an ideal role for me.”

BBC Two has ordered Jack Dee’s Help Desk, a series in which Jack Dee and a panel of comedians attempt to offer advice to help solve audience members’ problems. If the idea looks familiar, the show is the same format that Anne Widdecombe failed with two years ago...

Eastenders actor Danny Dyer is set to land a new contract that will keep him on the show until at least next year. Danny tells me: “The reaction to me joining the show has been great and the bosses want me to stay on, which is amazing so it’s all going really well right now.”

Harry Potter star Daniel Radcliffe is to host an episode of Have I Got News for you next month. He told me backstage: “I loved the show for years, so I figured I know how to handle them all, but it’s a challenge, if nothing else.”

Michael McIntyre is working on two new series for BBC One, however his chat show format won’t return to the channel after all. A source tells me: “He enjoyed it, but sadly that was not reflected in the ratings, and so the BBC have declined another series.”

Nigella Lawson appears to have boiled dry in the US, where her much-hyped ABC show ‘The Taste’ has been axed after the second series. Insiders on the show tell me: “She had masses of press but even that could not get people interested in just another cookery show.”

Downton Abbey star Hugh Bonneville has revealed a new refrigerator is set to leave Mrs Patmore frozen with fear in the new series. He tells me: “It’s a light comedy moment, but as we move into different times the fridge stuns her, because it’s new and to her it’s like an alien in the kitchen ... a new person almost, but people were like that back then.”

Channel Five has signed up for another three years of Big Brother – keeping the controversial show on air until 2018. A source at the channel tells me: “It divides the nation in that sense but we just need big ratings, and that is what it delivers each and every time for us.”

Georgia May Foote tells me why she was not at all surprised about leaving Coronation Street. “Not shocked exactly, because I’d already decided the time was right for me to go before I met with producer Stuart Blackburn to discuss Katy’s future in the Street. It was a mutual decision for her – and me – to leave, but I just wish I’d got in first!” she laughed.

Eighties and nineties hunk David Hasselhoff is back, this time on stage in a new musical called ‘Last Night A DJ Saved My Life’. He tells me: “It’s all about a young-at-heart DJ in the 90s, around the time of the Ibiza raves and all that. It’s very funny and now quite nostalgic, but that is how times flies.”

Dermot O’Leary may have done some sterling work for Red Nose Day with his 24-hour danceathon, but it was noted that many ‘stars’ agreeing to appear as his backing dancers were more than happy to plug their new albums, tours and brands, all while being on camera too...

Harry Hill previewed a new TV programme as a ‘work in progress’ show last week. He has appeared for three performances at Charing Cross Theatre, where he tried out what has been described as TV Burp meets cookery. As we told you recently, he has no idea if his version of Stars In Their Eyes will be returning.

Emmerdale star Nicola Wheeler says her character Nicola King’s husband Jimmy King will be fleeced by every woman in the village. Nicola, who is off-screen on maternity leave, tells me: “That is the beauty of their relationship really. He is a dope, but together they make it work and people seem to love them for it.”

Natalie Anderson, who appears in Emmerdale as Alicia, tells me that people have forgotten she started out as a singer on Pop Idol. “I was always thinking I would be a singer first and acting would come along later, but it’s turned out the other way,” she said. “But it’s all good and I am enjoying it all.”

Kylie Minogue has been let go by her US agents after the failure of her last album ‘Kiss Me Once’. She has also left her UK label EMI after 16 years, but is upbeat and admits: “It’s time for some changes and a new direction. I am happy about the future.”

ITV3 will broadcast Carry On films back-to-back over April’s Easter weekend, focused around a new three-part documentary, Carry on Forever. And if this format is successful they will also look at another long-running series for a similar theme.

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