Basil Brush was first broadcast with the great magician David Nixon for his BBC show in 1967.
So to celebrate 50 years on TV the little fox – who was based on the film rascal Terry Thomas – has appeared at Glastonbury, in panto and, top secret ... “we are working on a feature film”. Basil, though, has one other ambition. He says: “I would love to appear in Dr Who for sure, and think it’s about time the Time Lord called for me, don’t you?” We do, boom boom!
Global superstar Joan Collins will be touring the UK with a new one-woman show. She tells me: “People are fascinated by the fame game and I have lived through it quite a bit, but what I enjoy most is actually meeting the audiences and hearing their memories of me. I have learned so much from them, about so many things I had honestly forgotten about.”
Kylie Minogue has said she is “over the moon” after recording the theme song for the forthcoming Absolutely Fabulous film. Kylie admits she is stunned she was never invited to appear on the show itself and added: “I love it and think Jennifer Saunders is a genius, so when she asked me to sing the song I thought wow, finally I can add Ab Fab to the CV...”
Rowan Atkinson is to star in two more Maigret films for ITV after a fair success ratings-wise with a special earlier this year. But now the detective is also taking off on the ‘Drama’ channel with an earlier series that was made in the 90s and starred Annette Crosbie as his housekeeper.
Soon to be former Coronation Street actor Ryan Thomas hopes to wow the bosses of Strictly Come Dancing and land a stint on the show. He tells me: “I am now out of contract which is what they like, so I can dedicate myself to all that training and performing and then hopefully learn another skill. Plus I will make a little money, it all helps, as they say.”
Actor Nigel Havers has accepted undisclosed damages from Mirror Group Newspapers after its journalists intercepted his voicemails for stories about his life.
A source reveals: “Nigel has been so upset by all of this and is glad it’s now come to an end, but naturally it’s all very upsetting for all concerned.”
Scottish actress Ashley Jensen has said she would consider doing more Ugly Betty, even maybe a big-screen version of the hit US series. She said: “I loved the show and always thought there was more to tell story-wise, but everything in the US is driven by ratings, and so when we got cancelled that was it. But you never know, the show still has a cult following in a lot of countries.”
Matt Lucas will be making Christmas come early for Doctor Who viewers as he returns for the new series. Matt, best known for his comedy roles, assures me that: “It’s still in-keeping with what Dr Who fans want, but as it’s my all-time favourite show I am over the moon with the offer of a return.”
Former Friends star Matt LeBlanc confessed the only reason he took the job as Top Gear co-host was because he had “no other work”.
Matt told me at the launch of the show: “I hate being bored, and I had never done a presenting job as such, so I figured why not, and they gave me the job, which amazed me too, to be honest.”
Top Gear may not have been the huge success it had been hoped for with Chris Evans at the helm, and now insiders tell me that the show will have a “radical revamp” when it returns for the winter series. Which means, translated from TV-speak, “someone could be leaving”.
BBC One’s Suranne Jones drama Doctor Foster may have picked up plenty of dramatic awards in the last season, but even she admits she is worried about the new series. “I do think it’s a lot to live up to, but I also hope we have a cracking script that will keep people just as hooked as before,” she said.
Television duo Ant and Dec have heralded their OBEs as the achievement their ‘mams’ will be proudest of. Dec tells me: “They are used to us being daft on the TV, but they may just think it’s a sign we’re growing up, and could even make a living out of it all...”
BBC Radio Two presenter and singer Elaine Paige has announced a 20-date series of concerts from October to December titled ‘Stripped Back’. She tells me: “I am through with big long tours and all that, but this will be just me and a piano singing the songs that my fans adore, plus it’s just weekends, so I can get back to my bed every night.”
Gary Barlow says that now he too is now not such an avid watcher of Coronation Street as he was in the past. “I love the show of course, what with my Manchester connections, but I miss the comedy elements that they had and people like Mavis and Derek, they were great gems of characters for me,” he said.