How The Other Half Loves – performing now at the Theatre Royal Haymarket – is an hilarious tale of matrimonial mishaps.
Jenny Seagrove, who plays Fiona Foster, tells me: “It’s a super fun play and such great comedy. I think it appeals because it’s well-acted and fun ... people want to go to the theatre and enjoy, escape, and feel jolly good afterwards.” Jenny is sensational in her role, with superb comic timing and some wonderful comedy patter that will leave fans howling with laughter in the stalls. Honestly, book now and enjoy London’s biggest laughter hit. Tell them Ann sent you!
Dermot O’Leary will be back at the helm of The X Factor when the long-running format returns to ITV in the autumn. However, I’m told that it’s not the big-money deal everyone is talking about, as there have been cuts in the budget, but Dermot was more than happy to jump back into the job.
Animal Park is returning to BBC One after a seven-year hiatus to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the UK’s first drive-through safari park. The show, which was a huge prime time in the early 2000s, will be fronted by Ben Fogle and Kate Humble again, and if successful with viewers will return for a full series.
Miranda Hart has confirmed her new book, Peggy and Me, will finally be released in October 2016. The book, which is about her relationship with her ‘gorgeous’ dog, was originally scheduled to be published a couple of years ago – but the one and only draft was stolen. She has now ‘remembered’ most of the book, and fans will no doubt be delighted.
Now Kelvin Fletcher’s younger brother has joined his sibling in the ITV serial drama game, with a cameo spot in Coronation Street. Brother Brayden has made his debut and tells me: “I do hope to get more work. Having a brother in a soap I know the ropes and would love a stint in Emmerdale.”
Just days after performing on The Voice UK 2016, Stevie McCrorie has decided to turn his back on being a musician full-time. The singer, who was crowned the winner of the BBC series last year, is believed to be gearing up to re-join his colleagues at Kirkcaldy Fire Station in the coming weeks. He tells me: “It’s not secure enough, but I really enjoyed the whole experience.”
Anneka Rice tells me that despite not appearing in Treasure Hunt for over 30 years, she still gets asked about the show. “It’s funny that people remember it with such affection, as to me it seems so long ago, but I guess it was the helicopter and jump suit that stuck in people’s minds really,” she said.
The Fast Show’s Simon Day will play the outrageous Alf Garnett in a remake of sitcom Till Death Us Do Part. Simon tells me: “I loved the show when I was growing up as Alf always had a word – normally the wrong one – for anybody who got in his way. I just hope we can do justice to bringing him back, but I am happy with the script.”
Filming has started on the new series of hit BBC One drama Ordinary Lies. It will be set in the call centre and warehouse of a sports sales company in Wales and will star EastEnders’ Matt Di Angelo, Griff Rhys Jones and Waterloo Road actress Angela Griffin.
Darren Day has secured more work after appearing on this year’s Celebrity Big Brother. He will appear alongside comedy favourite Billy Pearce at the Alhambra Theatre in Bradford this Christmas as Captain Hook. Darren tells me: “I am so excited by this, as I know Billy will have us all in stitches throughout the run. It’s an honour to be playing there too.”
Barry Humphries is to present a Channel Four series called an OAP’s Guide to Britain. The comic and actor, who is best known as his alter ego Dame Edna Everage, will host three half-hour programmes that aim to provide “an irreverent guide to life as an OAP in today’s world”. Barry tells me: “I can’t wait to get started, as I am sure I am bound to offend someone along the way.”
Ruth Jones is to become a novelist, having just signed a deal to write two books. The Stella star’s first book will be called Never Greener. Scheduled for publication in 2018, it is described as “a witty and wise story of life’s second chances, and the dangers of taking them.” Stella is due to return to Sky One for a Christmas special, with news of a sixth series likely to follow.
Emmerdale has signed actor John McArdle. John, who is best known for his role as Billy Corkhill in Channel Four soap Brookside, will play Ronnie Hale, a man connected to Chrissie White’s hunt for her father. John tells me: “I love the show and always wanted to see if I could appear in it, so it’s great news for me.”
TV cook James Martin is enjoying time off from Saturday Kitchen for the first time in 10 years – but tells me he knows he will miss the show. “I know it will hit me as I did it for so long, but the reality is I needed a change and so did the viewers, plus people will forget me soon,” he said.
Channel Four is poised to take a leap of faith and commission a fourth series of controversial winter sports show The Jump. Despite its low ratings and injuries to celebrities appearing, C4 bosses feel that people enjoyed the show – and if they can get anyone to agree to appear they will be ready to roll the cameras again.