Ann's Angle

Sir John Standing is one of England's most respected stage, film and television actors, and I was lucky enough to interview him at a London TV studio.

Famous for roles in just about everything from Games of Thrones to those famous Rank films, he told me his new film is titled Churchill’s Secret, co-starring Matthew Macfadyen. “I get to play his butler, and it’s based on a true story, so it’s all rather exciting,” he said.

Downton Abbey reeled in a consolidated audience of almost 11m viewers for the climax of its final series – its biggest audience since the penultimate episode of last year’s run. The show’s creator Julian Fellowes tells me: “It’s tough knowing that the show is over, but I shall miss them all, and to be honest I do hope that they may miss me a bit too.”

Dame Shirley Bassey is set to ‘out sparkle’ the stars when she sings on the Strictly Come Dancing Christmas Day show. The Welsh songstress has teamed up with harmony group Blake to release The Christmas Song.

Footloose: The Musical is set to tour again next year, with former Pop Idol runner up Gareth Gates playing the role of Willard. The show will be premiering at the Spa Bridlington in January, before embarking on a major UK tour.

Coronation Street actress Kym Marsh has unveiled new fitness DVD plans, telling sources that she has found the perfect way to get fit and wants to share it with the rest of the world. Clearly not visiting her local pound store, where all last year’s efforts are clogging up the shelves, she trills: “I think mine is different, because it’s simply accessible and that is what appeals to many who want to get fit.”

The new format of Watchdog with Matt Allwright is not going well, with many people attacking his ill-suited appearance. With his unshaven look, half-fixed tie and scruffy clothes on screen, a source tells me: “That is just Matt and how he looks. We don’t hire him as a model, but as a TV presenter.” Oh dear...

The BBC plans to revive Porridge nearly 40 years after the series ended. Series creator Ian La Frenais confirmed that the broadcasters asked him and co-creator Dick Clement to work on a modern adaptation of the sitcom, as a one-off project as part of a season to mark the 60th anniversary of the first broadcast of Hancock’s Half Hour.

Doctor Who’s Jenna Coleman has joined calls for the show to be returned to its traditional teatime slot. She tells me: “I think it’s a family show and that slot should be available for the whole family to watch. We have so many younger fans, and they all want it returned to an earlier time too.”

Fans of Emily Bishop, played by Eileen Derbyshire on Coronation Street, are in for a treat as she has a huge storyline coming up in the new year. Fans have asked why more of the established stars don’t feature as much, and a source tells me: “Now we have a new producer coming along, she is listening to what the long-term fans of the show actually want.”

It is now confirmed that plans are already in place for the BBC to film the next three performances of the London production of Gypsy, to be shown on TV. There are discussions about the musical stage show being broadcast on BBC4 over the Christmas holidays and also being shown on US television, although no actual dates have yet been fixed because the deal is yet to be complete.

I will keep you posted on more details...

Louis Walsh was set to compete in I’m A Celebrity ... until Simon Cowell talked him out of it. Louis tells me: “It was a moment of madness as I am really missing being on TV all the time, and they were near to talking me into it, but he said no, so I agreed in the end.”

David Tennant has confirmed that part of Broadchurch series three is already written. He said: “I think fans will love what they have come up with, but you can’t please everyone, and a show like that is huge, so I am just hoping that people will give it a chance and embrace the idea of what will happen.”

Verity Rushworth will be sharing the role of Holly Golightly with Pixie Lott on the UK tour of Breakfast at Tiffany’s. Verity played Donna Windsor in Emmerdale for 11 years, a role for which she won a British Soap Award this year.

Lovable midwife Chummy has become a favourite since Call the Midwife debuted in 2012. But Miranda Hart has told bosses she is tied into a Hollywood movie, so can’t make the filming of the next series. A source tells me: “They are not happy as now scripts have to be re-thought, but they wish her well in her bid for Hollywood stardom.”

The Charleston was the dance that former Coronation Street actress Georgia May Foote is hoping will land her a West End musical role. “That is my goal for appearing on the show. I have really loved it all and hopefully someone can see that it may be a new career for me, and cast me,” she pleaded.

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