In some fans’ eyes Anton Du Beke should have landed the role of host after Sir Bruce abdicated on Strictly Come Dancing.
But now I can reveal that his dream could be coming true. Insiders tell me that Anton is being lined up to replace Sir Bruce, when he finally retires from his hosting duties on the Children In Need and Christmas Day specials. A source tells me: “It’s sealed and he is thrilled, as he truly would love to host the show.”
We are all thrilled, Anton...
Following the success of Alex Polizzi’s Secret Italy, Channel 5 has commissioned Alex Polizzi’s Italian Islands. Alex will visit the beautiful island of Sardinia, glamourous Capri, Ischia, and the Aeolian Islands. She’ll be experiencing their festivals, learning about the past and listening to the stories of locals.
Hannah Gordon will forever be remembered as the elegant Lady Virginia Bellamy in one of the biggest period dramas on British television, Upstairs Downstairs. Now 74, she has returned to primetime television in ITV’s new crime drama, Unforgotten. She tells me: “I was never a fan of the fame that the show brought me, but I am so happy at the fans it created. Every day people speak to me about Upstairs Downstairs, it’s so nice that people remember us with such great affection.”
Georgia May Foote is hoping that her stint on Strictly Come Dancing will help people see her as more than just her Coronation Street character. “I loved being on the show but I have left now,” she said. “I need people to focus on my next move and the dancing show is really helping me to do this.”
As always there have been some dramatic scenes on Emmerdale, but it seems that viewers are distracted by a more pressing issue – what happened to the McCain scarecrows? It appears that the deal with the famous idents has now come to an end and the show’s bosses have decided to use “real families”. Fans though are less than happy.
Doctor Foster’s Bertie Carvel is often terrified of walking down the street. He tells me: “It’s been a brilliant series to be part of, but he is such an unkind character and I have had a few lingering looks from people who look like they want to lash out at me ... but they say that is the mark of a good actor, right? I am hoping so,” he laughed.
Alan Titchmarsh has signed up to present his first gameshow – a competitive antiques format for ITV Daytime. However, like many ITV formats, it appears to have a very similar look to Bargain Hunt on the BBC, yet Titch pipes up: “It’s totally different and viewers will love it.”
Emmerdale’s Chris Chittel (Eric Pollard) tells me he wants to see Eric returning to be the ruthless businessman of old. “I enjoyed that period as Eric was terrible in many ways, but that is how it was back then,” he said. “He was so good at business though, people forget that.”
Doctor Who bosses are to make a spin-off series for teenagers called Class. It’s hoped that this show will help kick-start the original show, which is suffering in the ratings despite the millions the shows costs and the hype. It will air on the CBBC channel in 2016.
EastEnders is lining up a New Year’s Day wedding for Mick and Linda Carter. The news was revealed in the show as Linda surprised Mick by arranging for them to finally tie the knot. A source tells me: “We plan to start the new year with some happiness in the square.”
The Saturdays’ Frankie Bridge has been confirmed for the 2016 Strictly Come Dancing tour. The singer originally hoped to compete in this year’s event but stepped down after learning she was pregnant.
Kate Ford, who plays Tracy Barlow in Coronation Street, tells me she loves the storylines where Tracy is down on her luck. “I think the viewers love to see her suffering, and she does it so badly as she really wants a glamorous life, but as ever is still stuck on the street where she was born, which is tragic for her,” she said.
Coronation Street’s Ryan Thomas has decided to quit the show – and set his sights on a Hollywood career. The actor, who has played builder Jason Grimshaw since he joined the ITV soap 15 years ago as a teenager, told me: “I really think it’s time for a change, and it’s a now-or-never moment. Who knows, I may fail, but at least I gave it a go.”
Paul O’Grady tells me why this will be his last series of For the Love of Dogs. He said: “I love doing the show, but you can’t keep repeating it, so there’ll be a Christmas special, but then that’s it. I’ve had a great time in Battersea, but I’ve done all I can there now.” Ah, we will miss the show very much, Paul...
Emmerdale’s John Middleton (Ashley Thomas) says he could have another career performing at real-life weddings. “I do get asked all the time to marry people and it could easily become another career, which if they ever kill Ashley off could well come in handy,” he said.