Local impresario and comedian Alan Scott pops up on a great new documentary called ‘Empires, Hippodromes and Palaces’, which will be shown on Sky Talking Pictures (Sky 343/Freeview 81) on Monday January 18 at 2pm.
In it he discusses local delights such as the Dewsbury Empire, the Huddersfield Palace and the start to his illustrious showbiz career in Mirfield. And oh, you may just spot me in the line-up too... it’s one not to be missed by anyone who loves the golden age of variety.
Strictly Come Dancing judge Craig Revel Horwood is already thinking of ways of working with former Coronation Street actress Georgia May Foote in a musical. He tells me: “She really was great in the show, and I think we can do something together for sure ... she really has talent.”
Recent contestant Helen George, from Call The Midwife, is the latest dancer to hint at that Strictly Come Dancing is ‘fixed’. “I think they know and work out quickly who the audience would like to see remain in the show, but for me the experience was great and I really miss it now,” she said.
Leonard Fenton became a familiar face on TV as Dr Legg, who appeared in the first episode of EastEnders when it began in 1985. Now he is still acting, but tells me: “I left the show in 2007 as I did not like the way the character was going, and I sensed that they wanted a younger person. I still get asked about Dot Cotton all the time, even though I know nothing about medical matters.”
EastEnders actress Samantha Womack admits she is stunned that people remember her ill-fated attempt at the Eurovision Song Contest. “I did enjoy it, although I was very young and came direct from stage school,” she said. “But the experience was great ... I think there is much more pressure nowadays to be honest.”
There’s even a Countryfile spin-off now, as a five-part daytime special called Countryfile Diaries has been confirmed for broadcast next spring. Running across one week, the show will highlight how country life changes with the seasons and will coincide with special editions of the main show.
Hit drama Ordinary Lies has been commissioned for a new series by the BBC. This time the drama will take place in a large sports goods company. The second series, which will explore the lives and loves of a whole new set of characters, will go into production this spring.
Dame Shirley Bassey tells me she has not ruled out another Bond theme. “I like the idea as I am the only person to do three in total,” she said. “It’s been mentioned which again is very flattering and all that, but as always it’s about the song, if it’s a great song then why not just go for it?”
As the new series of Birds Of A Feather starts on ITV Linda Robson, who plays Tracey, tells me: “It’s so different to when we started out, as now you don’t know if you’re going to get another series until they have counted ratings and all that. Before you just knew – it’s the times I suppose.”
The final episode of Downton Abbey became one of the most watched shows of the last year with Mary, Edith and Lord Grantham all saying goodbye in a tear-jerking finale. A source at Carnival Films, who made the drama, told me: “It was hard to live up to, but I think we gave the fans what they all wanted – a huge happy ending.”
When Debbie Dingle finds out that Ross shot Robert in Emmerdale, she decides she has to get away – fast. Actress Charley Webb tells me: “Really I am having time off to have my second child. The last time Debbie went to Jersey, I just wonder where they will claim she has gone this time?”
Could the ever-lovely Debbie McGee, wife of Paul Daniels, be the next in line for a stint on Strictly Come Dancing? A source tells me: “We had Paul a few years back who was great fun, and we have always said we would like Debbie too, so fingers crossed...”
Coronation Street actress Liz Dawn has revealed that she always wanted to work for Emmerdale – and now wants a permanent return to TV. She said: “I did, chuck, to be truthful, I loved the show and was flattered when they asked me to appear in the festive edition but now I would love to return to the show, maybe as Eric’s new interest, I think that would work quite well.”
Mr Selfridge ‘to end’ after series four? Mr Selfridge’s creator Andrew Davies has said that he always planned the show to be just four series and added: “I always wanted the show to go out on a high and the whole reception of the show has been truly amazing.”
EastEnders’ John Altman lied about his age to get the Nasty Nick role. “I shaved off 10 years which was frowned upon later of course, but I wanted and needed the part badly.
Anyway, they killed him off finally in the end, so it did not matter much at all, did it?” he laughed in that famous Nick Cotton chuckle...
Chris Evans will not be presenting any more series of TFI Friday. While the show has been something of a ratings let-down, he says he is now too busy with hosting the newly-revamped Top Gear. Channel Four however may bring the show back at some point with a different host.