Ann's Angle

I was so sad to hear of the recent passing of radio icon Ed Stewart, whom I was lucky enough to know.

He was recently entertaining the listeners of BBC Radio Two’s Junior Choice with his cheerful banter, and was a huge hit on the children’s TV show Crackerjack as well as hosting Top Of The Pops. The BBC assure me they are planning a special tribute show very soon to the likeable and missed broadcaster.

The BBC has lined up Agatha Christie mystery The Witness For The Prosecution to follow And Then There Were None after its recent success at Christmas. A source said: “Christie never really goes out of fashion, but there is always a new way to re-tell her wonderful stories.”

Les Dennis, who plays Michael in Coronation Street, may be getting written out, but he is thankful he is not being killed off. “I am assured of that, as I would love to come back at some point,” he said. “This show has been the highlight of my career, and I think people have warmed to Michael over the time.”

Strictly Come Dancing winner Jay McGuiness has said the show’s live tour is helping him cope with his time on the series coming to an end. He tells me: “I have really missed the people and the show, it becomes a great routine which is hard to leave when the show is over.”

Jay is on the dancefloor for the Strictly tour, which kicked off in Birmingham last month.

Coronation Street actor Bill Roache is looking for love, on-screen. Things are looking particularly promising for his character Ken Barlow, who Roache believes is due another wife. He reveals: “He and Audrey will become closer, but it will be played out in full comedy form which suits us both.”

UKTV’s Gold channel is adapting Andrew Birch’s long-running Oldie Magazine cartoon strip as a three-part comedy series starring Simon Callow. The drama/comedy may also feature real-life guest stars who are also in the magazine, to make it appear “more real”.

Did you know that Strictly Come Dancing judge Len Goodman almost had a tattoo? A source reveals: “He was going to get one, but then he felt the pain on his arm and only got as far as a dot of ink before pulling out, so he has no plans to make a return visit as it really hurt.”

Former Brookside actor Leon Lopez is returning to the soap world with a short guest role on EastEnders. The actor will appear in a handful of episodes later this year, taking on the role of Linford – one of Claudette Hubbard’s foster sons. Lopez has already started filming with the BBC show.

The EastEnders omnibus is set to return to TV, after finding a home at UKTV’s newly-rebranded channel “W”. Fans of the BBC soap will also be able to catch same-day episode repeats on the channel – formerly Watch – from February 15 onwards.

You have a chance to meet Ant & Dec at sea: The pair host their ITV show Saturday Night Takeaway live from the top deck of P&O’s newest ship, Britannia, on April 2. The lads will be on the ship while it is in Barcelona overnight, during a two-week cruise to the Mediterranean. Get ready to splash the cash though, as the cheapest ticket is a staggering £1,479pp...

Sherrie Hewson, who stars in Benidorm as holiday boss Joyce, tells me she sees the show as a Carry On-style comedy. “It’s all saucy postcard humour but done in an up-to-date way, plus it’s winter outside and we’re looking at some sun on screen, so it cheers everyone up,” she said.

Coronation Street and Phoenix Nights actor Ted Robbins tells me that he has no idea just how his character will pan out on the soap. “It’s been a huge blessing to be in the show like this and I have enjoyed it, plus playing opposite the character of Mary has great comic potential and we both love that, but who knows their future?” he teased.

ITV are pondering broadcasting its new weekly politics show hosted by Robert Peston on a Sunday evening rather than the morning. A source tells me: “The BBC has The Andrew Marr Show, so it would be pointless going head-to-head with that, and we think also we have a rather different style of show to work with too.”

Ross Kemp will make a ‘brief return’ to EastEnders for Peggy’s farewell this spring. He tells me: “I only agreed out of respect to the final exit of Peggy, played by Barbara Windsor in the show, I think she is a terrific actress, and when the producers asked it was too hard to say no. It’s emotional, but it’s all true to life as well.”

George Sampson, who won Britain’s Got Talent in 2008, is set to appear on Emmerdale. His debut will screen at the end of February and his guest appearance will reportedly last for four episodes.

Eight celebrities will put the pedal to the metal in ITV’s motor racing show, Drive, which will be presented by Vernon Kay. The celebs will drive old bangers, buggies, 4x4s and rallycross cars in a variety of unexpected and action-packed driving challenges.

Following their second place on Strictly Come Dancing, former Coronation Street actress Georgia May Foote, 24, and Italian dancer Giovanni Pernice have confirmed they are dating. Insiders on the show, though, described Georgia as: “Very ambitious and wants to make sure she stays in the limelight...”

Share this post