If you’re a fan of the classic Crossroads soap then you will love to know that the latest batch of DVDs are out, starring a good friend of mine, Joanne Good.
Known to fans as Sandy the mechanic, she of course has starred in many hit shows and now is a BBC Radio London star, hosting her own daily afternoon show. Jo tells me: “I adored my time in the show, it was wonderful, and you never knew that it would turn out to be a classic. Fans all over the world still love the show and write to me asking about my memories.”
Downton Abbey creator Julian Fellowes will renew acquaintances with ITV by adapting 19th century Anthony Trollope novel Doctor Thorne. A source tells me: “It’s early days so far, but we always welcome any ideas that Julian may have, and he has had some great ones as we all know.”
Fans of Liam Butcher will be sad to hear that actor James Forde is leaving his role on EastEnders. He reveals: “I have been on the show since 2008 and only planned to stay a few years, but now I think is a good time to spread my wings and see what else is out there. I am not being killed off, so that is a good thing.”
Take Me Out host Paddy McGuinness says his guest role on Coronation Street is a special moment for him. “Coming from where I do, and the history of the show, of course it’s very important and I still can’t believe it,” he said. “I was stunned when they asked me to go and audition.”
Yet another fire on Coronation Street sees half of the old set being burnt down, but ITV bosses are hopeful it will help spark up interest in the show, which is declining in ratings. Insiders tell me: “The core older audience just find the storylines way too far-fetched and so are switching off in droves.”
It’s been 35 years since Peter Davison signed on the dotted line to become Doctor Who’s then-youngest ever lead, at just 29 years old. Next month he'll be hosting a special concert tour celebrating the show's iconic soundtrack. He tells me: “I cringe when I look back at the pictures of that time, but then we all age don’t we? You just try to look your best.”
The Jump has reportedly been renewed for a third series by Channel Four. The winter sports show will be back next year to test another batch of brave celebrities, after the last run averaged 2.3m viewers. The show, though, is finding it tough to land any decent celebrity signings, as many fear the show is “too dangerous”, and soap actors currently in contract have been banned in case it interferes with filming.
Denise Black is returning to Emmerdale two years after leaving the show. The actress, who also appeared in Coronation Street for many years, will return to ITV’s rural soap as Joanie Wright.
Veteran broadcaster Sir Terry Wogan is to host a new BBC Two show about the best of British food, teaming up with London taxi driver Mason McQueen for Terry and Mason’s Food Trip. The series explores the UK’s culinary culture and is aired later this year.
Actor Matthew Macfadyen has expressed his disdain with attempts by TV and film studios to make their male stars seem perfect.
“You look at those period dramas and everyone has great teeth and hair, but the reality is far from that, and I think it simply should reflect that on screen,” he said.
Amelia Lily, who broke through on The X Factor four years ago, has landed her first West End role. She will star in the rock musical American Idiot, by Green Day front man Billy Joe Armstrong. It will open at the Arts Theatre in the summer.
Actress and former Strictly Come Dancing contestant Lisa Riley has landed her first role in a British film called ‘Love In Budapest’. She tells me: “It’s a gripping script and lots of fun too, I can’t believe I have landed such a great role.”
Former Coronation Street favourite Debra Stephenson tells me: “Doing impressions is my first real love. My dad started me off, he did impressions constantly and we used to do a kind of double act for friends and family.”
Britain’s Got Talent may be a ratings success this year, but it’s way behind on previous years, with ITV bosses now thinking that this show too could have run its course. A source tells me: “It does not matter how much you refresh or change a show, people eventually get bored with it.”
Former The Bill actor Andrew Paul is joining Coronation Street. Paul has been cast in the ITV soap as a brewery worker named Dan Jones who ends in trouble with the law.
Denise Van Outen is still waiting to hear if her character of Karen will return to Albert Square. “It’s all up in the air, we saw her last heading for the Tube, so who knows?” she said. “But in reality she could be back causing trouble for Sharon and Phil. I loved being on the show though...”
ITV is shooting a pilot for a daytime format fronted by Catchphrase host Stephen Mulhern. Insiders tell me that they hope to replicate the success of the BBC quiz ‘Pointless’ and see him as the ideal candidate.
Downton Abbey’s stars say they have no idea if any of them will be included in the movie version that is currently being planned. “I like to think so, but who knows? Maybe the backers in Hollywood want huge American stars,” Michelle Dockery tells me.