Ann's Angle

Fans of the legend that is Tony Christie take note: he is back with his huge track “Amarillo”, this time with the cast of Emmerdale helping him out in place of Peter Kay.

Tony tells me: “I was approached and the charity is one close to my heart, so I jumped at the chance. It was great fun filming with all the Emmerdale stars too.” Check out the video online now.

Former Top Gear host Jeremy Clarkson has claimed he was offered a sensational return to the hit show. But the BBC is denying the claim, saying that it was loosely discussed in the future and that no formal offer was ever made.

It looks like new X Factor judge Nick Grimshaw of Radio One fame landed the role after been spurned by The Voice on two occasions. A source tells me: “Nick was always hopeful of a slot on The Voice, but it never happened and now he is with the rival show.”

Fans of The X Factor may like the new line-up, but it appears that not everyone is happy – insiders tell me that the panel is on a vastly reduced rate to previous years and that Cheryl happily took a pay cut just to stay on the show.

Despite his book on his favourite music being a huge commercial disappointment, it does not stop former X Factor host Dermot O’Leary fronting a new album of his favourite tunes. A record label boss tells me: “He still has his weekly radio show and that in itself can help sell quite a few albums.”

Former Emmerdale actress Sammy Winward has turned her talents to writing and has released a children’s book titled Princess Phoebe Meets the Tudors. The book is described as a “historically accurate snapshot of Tudor princesses” which is “accessible to young readers” and “presents female characters as strong, and self-aware”. The book will be out later in the year.

It appears that being the first winner of Pop Idol way back in 2001 is still no sure-fire route to number one for Will Young. His new album started off well but sales have declined and with him being with a new record label, sales are all important.

It appears that Michael Le Vell, who plays Kevin in Coronation Street, is vying to keep looking young on screen. Viewers will have noticed how he has suddenly regained brown hair and beard and a source tells me: “Michael knows that he has to look younger on screen and is quite happy to adapt to this.”

EastEnders’ Shirley (Linda Henry) admits that playing someone so tough on screen can help in real life. “Oh yes, say if you have a problem when out and about, people tend to jump to a bit! But truthfully, I am so unlike Shirley and quite a timid mouse in real life.”

EastEnders have announced that Danielle Harold, who plays Lola, will be leaving the soap. Insiders tell me that the decision was not that of the actress, who found the news something of a shock. A source reveals: “They have to reduce the cast wage bill and quite a few will find their contracts not being renewed.”

Emmerdale’s Pasha Bocarie has signed a new contract to stay with the soap for another year. He will now appear as Rakesh Kotecha until at least summer 2016. Soap bosses tell me he has proved a hugely successful character and they are delighted that he is staying.

Just Good Friends star Paul Nicholas is joining EastEnders, and will play Kathy Beale’s ex-husband Gavin Sullivan. The 69- year-old said of the appointment: “I am delighted to be joining the wonderful cast of EastEnders, for what is going to be an exciting time.” Show producer Dominic Treadwell-Collins told me: “I have always wanted to get Paul on the show and think he is a great actor... plus the ladies love him too...”

June Brown, who plays Dot Cotton in EastEnders, tells me that she won’t ever leave the show. “Truth is,” she says, “I need to keep working. People think you’re rich because you’re on the TV but in fact we are not paid as much as people believe.”

Katie Hopkins may have made a career out of being controversial, but she always wanted the fame game and admits she auditioned for the first Big Brother show simply “to find fame and work out how TV works. Thankfully it did not air, so I escaped that side of reality TV.”

Downton Abbey star Allen Leech will return in the final series, it has been revealed, after he was spotted filming scenes on location. He tells me: “I was asked and thought why not, everyone will remember the final series and I have loved the show from the start. But I am not giving anything away.”

Piers Morgan is set for a return to the Good Morning Britain sofa, filling in for three days when Ben Shepherd is away. ITV bosses deny the reason for the return is that he is rather cheaper than some hosts around at the moment.

Comic Syd Little, currently starring in Celebrity MasterChef,  tells me he is annoyed that despite 14 years on the BBC “we never get repeated, yet they show Eric and Ernie and the Two Ronnies all the time...”

Emmerdale fans are being given the chance to get even closer to the soap. According to the show bosses, viewers will be able to take guided tours of the exterior village from August to October, with landmarks such as the Woolpack on view. Check the website soon for more details.

David Hasselhoff says his new musical, Last Night a DJ Saved My Life, has its roots in the birth of Ibiza but admits: “A lot of the story is my life really. It’s rooted in the 90s, when I was a big star with Baywatch. I know fans will love the soundtrack too.”

Sarah Harding has fitted in so well on the cobbles that Coronation Street bosses have invited her back for another stint. But the ex-Girls Aloud singer tells me that she is not giving up on music and will still work towards her debut album. “I will always be a pop star first and actress second,” she says.

EastEnders star Danny Dyer has taken to the role of Queen Vic landlord so much that he wants to bring his work home with him. He told me: “I think when the acting dries up – and it can anytime you know – I could see myself running a pub. It’s a good living but harder work than people think.”

Share this post