Ann's Angle

G4 singer Jonathan Ansell tells me: “We've had a very special thrill as our little baby boy Dexter has his first splash in a soap.”

It’s Yorkshire’s own Emmerdale, and Jonathan says that his son has landed the role of Baby Carl, who is the son of Jimmy King. “It’s great and who knows, he may become the new Ken Barlow of Emmerdale and be in there for years,” he added.

Mr Selfridge actor Jeremy Piven recently met members of the Royal Family, he told me over afternoon tea. “I was at a polo match and had no idea that Prince Harry and the Duke were there, but I ended up getting introduced,” he said. “It was great, I mean really nerve-wracking and all that, but I know for sure they were fans of the show as they knew quite a lot about it.”

Steve Coogan has revealed he is considering producing a TV chat show hosted by Alan Partridge, in which the character interviews real people. Given his latest series for Sky Atlantic has failed in the ratings, you can see why this is being touted around as an idea ... but is Alan now old hat too?

Ian McShane who found fame playing Lovejoy, claims that he was offered a record deal when the show was massive. “I was approached by a very famous talent judge now, who wanted me to record a collection of songs. Naturally I turned the project down, but it basically was going to be sold on my ratings rather than my voice,” he teased.

Professional Strictly Come Dancing dancer Aliona Vilani has performed a u-turn on her decision to quit the BBC show. Insiders tell me she won’t be dancing with a celebrity in the next series, but hopefully she will still be involved in the show in other ways. An assistant choreographer? Special advisor? Or how about as a fifth judge? I will keep you posted...

Samia Ghadie is returning to Coronation Street. She’s been filming her explosive comeback scenes but the actress, who plays Maria Connor, has confessed she finds her character’s upcoming behaviour so cringe-worthy that she dreads watching. “It’s an explosive return to be honest, but you know I think fans will enjoy it,” she said.

Coronation Street’s Sally Dynevor thinks if would be wonderful if they brought back her character’s sister Gina. “She was on the Street once years ago,” Sally said. “Gina’s the only extended family Sally has left, I think. There’s been no talk of it so far as I’m aware, but it would be wonderful if they cast a Gina and she turned up in Corrie after all these years.”

Best remembered as Leon Small in EastEnders and for winning Dancing on Ice in 2011, Sam Attwater tells me his latest news. “I’m touring the UK until early July in a play called End of the Rainbow. It’s about Hollywood legend Judy Garland towards the end of her life, and I play her fifth and final husband, who was a guy named Micky Deans. He was a bit younger than her, but it’s such a good role, and I am on stage with the legend that is Gary Wilmot too,” he joked.

The Voice’s Will.i.am says he will only switch to ITV if the original coaches are ALL reinstated. He tells me: “I miss Tom and even Jessie J a bit,” he laughed. “But truthfully I thought we had a great team at the start so yes that is my call – they all have to return if they want me to sign on the line too.”

Comedian Ken Dodd, 88, tells me why he will never hang up his tickling stick. “I can’t Ann, I love what I do, so why should I stop, and besides I have bills to pay.” Ken is such an avid reader he has now had to buy the two cottages next door to him, just to house his thousands of books piled floor to ceiling. “One day, you never know, it may become a museum,” he joked.

Ross Kemp is returning to EastEnders as Grant, but admits he is worried about looking old on screen. He said: “I do look after myself with creams and stuff like that, but I know people are going to say ‘oh he looks a lot older than he did’. But I am and nearly 50, so what do they expect?”

From Weatherfield to the Square! Denise Welch has joined EastEnders as a member of the Slater family, she tells me, playing the role of Alison Slater, the mother of character Kyle. The actress has revealed she is ‘thrilled’ about the new role, which will see her appear on TV screens later in spring.

Rowan Atkinson tells me about the challenges of playing it straight as the legendary fictional French detective Inspector Maigret. “I am hoping it may become a new long-term series,” he said. “It’s not Morse, A Touch of Frost or Midsomer Murders. The period and the setting help, and the tone of Simenon’s writing is interesting.”

New Coronation Street resident Leon Ockenden tells me why it was fourth time lucky when he was cast as Michelle Connor’s first love, Will. He said: “I screen-tested for the role of Robert Preston, and before that I tried out for Nick Tilsley. And a long time ago, I went up for the role of Trevor the binman. They’ve probably given me this part out of sympathy!”

Prince Harry’s ex Cressida Bonas denies she was cast as Patience Oriel in the latest Julian Fellowes epic ‘Dr Thorne’ because of her connections. “I had to audition like everyone else, and thoroughly enjoyed the process, but I had no idea at the end if I had the part or not,” she said.

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