Ann's Angle

It’s always a thrill to meet a pop star from yesteryear you have admired. Who could forget the great tunes of the Dave Clark Five, including ‘Glad All Over’ and ‘Bits and Pieces’ to name just two. Dave tells me there may be a musical in the near future after we met and chatted at the London Palladium. I will keep you posted, naturally.

Kimberly Wyatt has been named Celebrity Master Chef champion 2015. The former Pussycat Doll and ‘Got to Dance’ judge won over the panel with her consistently restaurant-level dishes. She coos that she may even now turn her hand to her own recipe book.

After 12 years of old-school sleuthing, the phenomenally popular BBC crime drama New Tricks comes to an end this series. A source reveals: “The BBC decided to go out on a high and while ratings are good. It may just come back as an occasional special at some point in the future.”

Fans of Liverpool comedy legend Eddie Braben – the third man behind the success of Morecambe and Wise – hope to pay tribute to him with a plaque in his Dingle birthplace. Eddie’s family have now set up a Twitter account, @eddie_braben, to share work from his archives and photographs from his career and get the ball rolling.

Robert Lindsay and Maureen Lipman are set to appear in a new sitcom based in an antiques shop. The three-part series, called Bull, will be broadcast on Gold later this year. Robert told me that he is delighted to be doing a comedy role again. “They’re such great fun, and this is a gem of a piece,” he said.

The Andrew Marr Show is now the place to appear if you want to sell your music. The BBC Sunday morning politics show can pick and choose the guests they want, and once they’ve appeared their tracks and albums shoot up the charts thanks to his regular two million audience.

Olympic star Linford Christie turned down Strictly Come Dancing, claiming he is “the only black guy you’ll meet with two left feet”. He told me: “People laugh when I tell them this, but it’s true, I can’t do any turns on the dancefloor. I would make John Sergeant look like Fred Astaire, so the show sadly is not for me.”

Val Pollard is formulating an audacious but foolhardy plan to fake her own death to avoid going to prison, says Emmerdale actress Charlie Hardwick. She told me: “It’s madness, but then again everything she does is, so it kind of makes sense. I mean, how did she get in this situation anyway?!”

It seems like he only just arrived on our screens, but Declan Bennett has been dropped from EastEnders. The 34-year-old, who has played Dot Branning’s grandson Charlie Cotton since early 2014, will leave the soap after bosses decided to write out his character.

Being a presenter on The X Factor has many perks, but jetting off to four of the most lavish locations in the world for the judges’ houses segment is no longer one of them, as new co-presenters Caroline Flack and Olly Murs have discovered. Insiders tell me they have a new plan this year, while others suggest it’s simply a cost-cutting exercise.

Jeremy Piven admits he’s a little like his Mr Selfridge alter-ego. “I adore playing Harry as he really was larger than life and did things to the extreme, but his ending was very tragic,” he said. “I believe though, that he always thought he could find a way back and yet sadly did not.”

The X Factor’s Peter Dickson confirmed his departure from the show. Dickson has been the distinctive voice of the show since it first started in 2004. Insiders tell me that it’s something of a refresher, and of course a money-saving idea, as now the two presenters on the show will introduce the acts.

ITV is to boost its spend on drama to tackle its worst ratings performance in 15 years. Insiders at ITV tell me that the endless reality shows and talent contests have had their run, and now they plan to re-focus on good old-fashioned drama which they can hopefully sell around the world.

On her recent return to Coronation Street, soap fans saw a very different side to Cilla Battersby-Brown, played by Wendi Peters. She said: “I did enjoy myself and I liked what they had done with her, so it got me thinking I would not be adverse to a return, but who knows what they have planned for her? I do hope they call, though.”

Coronation Street actress Lucy Fallon has revealed Bethany Platt has some “really scary” storylines ahead as the rebellious teen’s life takes a dark turn. “I think it’s great that she has some good storylines, and is not all sweetness and light. People love that sort of thing, don’t they?” she said.

Jerry Hall, best known as the ex of Rolling Stone legend Mick Jagger, has returned to her Texan roots for the new series of BBC documentary Who Do You Think You Are? She tells me that the show was really revealing and that she would recommend looking up family as “a great hobby and with some many twists and turns it’s better than a book ... I really enjoyed it.”

It would appear that publishers have more money than sense in the case of Graham Norton. His tell-all book appeared last year, but it was deemed a flop sales-wise. Yet his publishers think he may do well as a fiction writer, and so he is working on one now. Will you be buying it, I wonder?

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