Over to the glamorous Savoy Hotel in London, where I co-produced a spectacular event attended by Her Royal Highness Princess Anne, the Princess Royal, for the Great London Scot Awards on St Andrew’s Day.
Protocol forbids me disclosing what was discussed, but I can reveal she was very well received and made a huge impact on the many award winners on the big day. A grand royal time was had by all...
She recently announced she’d be leaving the show after 10 years, but Strictly Come Dancing’s Ola Jordan may not have had much of a choice about quitting. A source tells me: “Let’s just say she has upset quite a few people on the show with her outbursts, but the viewers have always loved her. Now she may have just stepped out too far with some of her recent comments...”
Simon Gregson is taking an extended break from Coronation Street for personal reasons. A source tells me that all being well he should be back filming in the New Year, and back on screen around springtime.
Gaby Roslin may be best known as a TV presenter, but she seriously wanted to be an actress. She told me: “My father worked at the BBC and so I saw all elements, but when acting failed I thought ‘well there is always presenting’, and so I went into that instead.”
Crimewatch presenter Kirsty Young is stepping down after seven years, saying it was a ‘privilege’ to host the show. She told me: “It really is a life-changing show and I enjoyed it, but now I think the time is right to move on and try other ventures.”
ITV has announced that comedian John Bishop will present a documentary about the plight of the endangered mountain gorillas of Rwanda – and he discovers he has more in common with them than he ever imagined. It will air early 2016.
Kevin Whately tells me it really is the end of his Lewis TV show. But fans of the Oxford-based series should not be too worried, as: “It will be playing on re-runs forever, so he will always remain a presence on-screen as the show is really that good.”
Poldark’s Aidan Turner says he would never sign a contract that said he couldn’t cut his hair. He tells me: “I know people said that was my trademark in the drama, but then again there are wigs they can use, it’s not like it’s a deal-breaker to land the part, is it?”
Did you know that the famous Home Farm exterior in Emmerdale is actually Creskeld Hall near Otley, which is used for the many outside location shots? A source tells me: “Unlike Downton Abbey, they don’t publicise where it is so they can keep using it for filming, but many people always ask where it is...”
Coronation Street’s Jack P Shepherd has been talking to me about a possible future in film, and running a theatre school for young people. He tells me: “The school is much harder work than my real job. I’m constantly writing new shows for the pupils to take part in.” About films, he adds: “I would love to look at new options for other characters I can play, but I won’t ever leave Coronation Street, I love the show way too much.”
Kenneth Branagh is set to play detective Hercule Poirot in a new film version of ‘Murder on the Orient Express’. Sir Kenneth will also direct and produce the film, which is based on the 1934 Agatha Christie novel about the Belgian detective, and his attempts to find out who murdered fellow train passenger Mr Ratchett.
Hayley Tamaddon is joining the touring stage version of the musical Chicago after being axed from Coronation Street earlier this year.“ I can’t believe I finally get to sing and dance on stage in a big West End musical,” she said. The tour kicks off next year with Sam Bailey from X Factor as Matron ‘Mama’ Morton too.
Fans of Strictly Come Dancing and Downton Abbey will be given the ultimate treat soon, following the announcement that Bruce Forsyth will star in a one-off special of the period drama as part of ITV’s Text Santa charity Christmas appeal. Sir Bruce told me: “It’s my wife’s favourite show, we never miss it, so when they called and asked me to appear in a cameo, how could I refuse?” He did tell me to expect some fireworks between himself and the Dowager Duchess, Dame Maggie Smith.
Roger Moore tells me that appearing in the famous hit show ‘The Saint’ was not a great success at first. “Oh no the critics hated it, but then because they did, and the public loved it, I figured we may just be onto a hit and over 100 episodes later we were,” he laughed.
With X Factor ratings plummeting week on week, it appears that bringing over Radio One DJ Nick Grimshaw has not had the desired effect, and now the production team have nicknamed him ‘Grim Reaper’. As one told me: “It baffles us how he has got the job and none of his so-called celebrity pals have shown up either, which was supposed to happen.”