Call The Midwife star Charlotte Ritchie tells me for the six months of the year she has a 90-minute commute to the set, rising at 5.15am each morning to be at Longcross Studios before 7am.
But she is amazed when I ask her if the rumours are true – that the Surrey set is haunted. “I’ve never seen a ghost, but I get this funny feeling there,” she said. “In addition, one of the props people swears that he heard voices in the attic. “I am so spooked that I find myself staring into dark corners on set, almost willing a ghost to come out. I cannot even go to the bathroom on my own!”
Ricky Wilson, Paloma Faith and Boy George will not be asked back to The Voice talent show when it transfers to ITV next year. A source at the BBC tells me: “It’s already known by all, but in reality this trio have not pulled in the ratings they had hoped for, and ITV want a fresh all-new show.”
Ricky Tomlinson confirms that The Royle Family will ‘probably’ return later this year. The comic actor, who plays Jim Royle in the living room comedy, explained: “There could possibly be one this year because Caroline is so much better.”
Dermot O’Leary has landed a primetime cooking show. The 42-year-old is said to have been lined up to present an ITV cooking show entitled ‘Live At The Trattoria’, alongside Gino D’Acampo. Dermot and the celebrity chef – who are good pals in real life – are reportedly filming a pilot for the new series in the upcoming weeks.
Classic sitcom Are You Being Served? is due to return to British screens after more than 30 years. The one-off special is set in 1988 and picks up where the comedy last left off, following the misadventures of the retail staff in fictional London department store Grace Brothers. It is due to be filmed soon in front of a studio audience at Media City, Salford, before airing on BBC One later in the year. If a success, a series will follow.
Arnold Schwarzenegger is making his first foray into UK TV, presenting a new Channel Four show about the world’s most daring stunts. However, will Arnie be back after one series?
Only the ratings will tell...
The BBC has given the green light for a sixth series of the hugely popular crime drama Death in Paradise as it continues to be a big ratings-winner. The series was the third highest-rating UK drama of 2015 and the fourth widest-selling British drama, having been sold to 237 territories around the world.
You can understand after 30 years in a job that you might want to leave, but Sally Dynevor is not ready to exit Coronation Street yet. Dynevor, who plays Sally Webster on the ITV soap, tells me: “Of course I have my moments, but then I figure as an actress how lucky am I to have a regular job seen by millions that I enjoy, and I talk myself around again.”
Take That star Gary Barlow is also going to launch a new talent show. A source has revealed former X Factor panellist Gary Barlow has set his sights on making a new BBC Saturday night show that will put him in direct competition with his former boss. I shall have more insider news soon...
Bill Turnbull may have departed BBC Breakfast but he is really keen to point out that in fact he is not retiring, and will be popping up in Songs Of Praise along with a new daytime quiz show. “I keep being told I am about to retire, but I am only 60 and not that well off,” he laughed.
EastEnders regulars Shane Ritchie and Jessie Wallace will be performing pantomine together for the first time in Robin Hood. Shane is in the title role and Jessie is his beautiful Maid Marion. It is happening in Southampton, naturally in December. Oh yes it is...
Trained chef and celebrated cheesemaker Sean Wilson (Coronation Street’s Martin Platt) thinks his character is due a return to the show, with so many old faces turning up again. “To me it would make perfect sense, I mean why not? He and Gail were married for a long time, plus it would be good to see if he is now a success or not,” Sean tells me.
We have just had the finale of the eighth series of Benidorm, but filming on the next series of the ITV comedy is due to start this month. The recent series of the sitcom, based around the staff and guests at a hotel in the Spanish holiday resort, averaged 5.8 million viewers per episode.
Grantchester’s James Norton tells me he is looking at appearing in a stage play soon. “I have appeared in quite a bit of TV now, and feel this is the next step,” he said. “Of course if the James Bond role came along then of course that may sway my mind...”
For 10 years James Martin has been a regular on Saturday morning TV, but the chef has announced he is stepping down as the presenter of BBC One’s Saturday Kitchen. The Yorkshire-born chef tells me: “I think it’s time to try other things, and plus I don’t want people to get too bored of me so, it’s sadness but happiness too.”
Shayne Ward was very nervous when he won the part of fiery Aidan Connor in Coronation Street last summer. He tells me: “This is the show I always wanted to appear in, and it’s happened, yet it does not make it any less worrying, but I am so enjoying my time here and I hope it’s for a long time too.”
It has been 28 years since Kylie Minogue left Neighbours to pursue her pop career, but the legacy of her character Charlene lives on with the arrival of her daughter Madison. Will Kylie follow next with an appearance?