Ann's Angle

Michael Starke is best known for playing Sinbad in Brookside and Ken Hopkirk in The Royal, which is repeated daily on ITV3, but he tells me he would love another go at a soap.

“I was lucky enough to be in Coronation Street as Jerry Morton for a while, but it ended way too soon,” he said. “I quite like the look of Emmerdale now and they don’t have a Scouse in that do they, so who knows it could be time.”

One of British comedy’s best-loved characters is heading to the Yorkshire coast for two special shows this autumn. John Challis, best known as Boycie from Only Fools and Horses, will bring his new show, Only Fools and Boycie, to Whitby Pavilion on Monday, October 10 and Scarborough Spa on Friday, October 28. Audiences are being invited to join John for an intimate evening, as he reveals secrets from the set with stories and anecdotes.

Drive has been dropped after one series on ITV. The Vernon Kaye-fronted show, which featured minor D-list celebrities driving around in stock car challenges, has been driven off the screen due to low ratings.

Olly Murs appears not to be too bitter about being ‘let go’ as host of X Factor this year but is hopeful he will be invited onto the show to perform his new tracks from his forthcoming album. He revealed: “I don’t mind at all; the show is great for me, it helped discover me and gave me this career.”

Fans of Coronation Street will have noticed how much screen time is given to the younger characters in the show recently, while the old stalwarts are hardly used. I can tell you this is because it’s cheaper for the show, as the budgets have to be trimmed back, and young inexperienced actors cost far less than those who, like Ken and Rita, have been on the show for years.

WE all know Caroline Flack can dance ... she did so well with victory in the Strictly Come Dancing 2014 final and she had high hopes of joining a musical from that. But it appears that the bosses of the musical Chicago passed over the idea of her in the show, so now she has posted a video clip of herself singing online in the hope that someone will book her for a role in a top-line musical.

Former Coronation Street star Ryan Thomas has been removed from Bear Grylls’ Mission Survive show, due to lifestyle concerns. He had agreed a deal to compete in the ITV reality show but there has been a change of heart by producers, as they have concerns as to whether Ryan is in the ‘right state of mind’ to cope with the gruelling tasks.

Emmerdale actor Freddie Jones, who plays Sandy in the soap, told me he has no plans to retire. “Don’t be silly!” he says. “Actors don’t retire, we die. I remember working with this actress in the desert once. She was 95 and loving it.  I intend to do the same; it’s what we do.”

One of the stars of Downton Abbey tells me she would love to appear in a film version of the show but the cast is still waiting to see the script. Lesley Nicol, who played the cook, Mrs Patmore, in the ITV drama, said there was a lot of interest in a big screen adaptation, but creator Julian Fellowes had not revealed his plans for the story.

Ex-Emmerdale actress Lisa Riley showed off her trim figure to the media recently and fans could not believe how good she looks. She told me: “I did it the right way – a lot less portions, plus I don’t really drink now. I will hopefully be offered some great parts as the new me, so fingers crossed.”

Dolly Parton wants a Broadway show about her life. She reveals: “I know they made a show about the film I was in called Nine to Five, but I think I have a good enough story with songs to make a Broadway musical about my life. “I just hope someone else can see the light of the idea too.”

Robson Green, currently acting alongside James Norton in Grantchester as well as presenting two travelogues – Tales from Northumberland and Australian Adventure – tells me: “I love the travel stuff because it’s like a holiday; you get paid and also you learn a lot.”

“EastEnders saved me,” Danny Dyer tells me. “I couldn’t get any work before the Mick Carter role. I was known for all the bad boy roles, which is fine and good, but in the end this came about just at the right time and I am so grateful for it ... it’s a good role.”

Ex-Coronation street actress Georgia May Foote has landed a role in theatre after her success in Strictly Come Dancing, playing Holly Golightly in Breakfast at Tiffany’s. She is sharing the role with Pixie Lott and Emily Atack and told me: “I am so excited, that for my first theatre role I will be playing such an iconic character. I am really nervous, but loving the challenge.”

Former Minder actor Gary Webster is to appear in EastEnders as Belinda Peacock’s mysterious husband. He has appeared in EastEnders before, but as a different character. In 1987 he played the brother of Barry Clark.

Coronation Street’s Alison King (Carla Connor) tells me she is hoping to do something with comedy in her next role.  “I have loved playing Carla,” she says, “but I think I would like to see myself doing something less serious, and showing my fun side, the side people never get to see from me.”

Coronation Street’s Beverley Callard has returned to work after battling depression and insiders tell me she is “feeling a lot better and heart-warmed by the kind response she has received”.

Emma Willis, who appears to front everything on TV right now, has a show called “What Would Be Your Miracle” on ITV, but a second series looks dubious due to low ratings.

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