Ann's Angle

MICHAEL GRECO, the former EastEnders actor who played Beppe Di Marco in the soap, is now back on stage in the musical Exposure at the St James Theatre, London.

He told me: “I was approached and loved the idea of singing and dancing again, and the extra bonus is that I have just recorded the cast album, which was another dream come true.” Michael adds he will be back on screens very soon, this time in a new comedy. “It’s brilliant and I play a Mancunian this time around.”

There’ll be no more investigations for Houdini & Doyle, as Fox has called time on the series. The US broadcaster has confirmed that the show which starred Stephen Mangan as Sherlock Holmes’s creator, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, won’t be back for more great escapes/general sleuthing. Stephen blames the lack of ratings on, as ever, not great PR.

Poldark series 2 is on its way, and Aidan Turner (that’s Ross Poldark) has confirmed that they’ll be deviating from some of the original stories as “people want them updated and fun, plus of course the added extra drama, but it will remain at heart true to the books that we all know and love.”

Sherrie Hewson has bid an emotional farewell to Loose Women after 14 years. She tells me: “I want to go back to less sharing on screen, and return more to acting, I have really enjoyed my time on the show, but I do miss playing other people, and this is what I plan to do next.”

Louis Walsh says the “lightweight” Rita Ora and Nick Grimshaw, turned X Factor into a fashion show. Nick though has hit back and stated that: “He just had sour grapes, as they dropped him for a more cutting edge team, and yes he is back, now, but for how long?”

It looks like Simon Cowell’s worst kept secret is actually true – the music mogul is annoyed at One Direction’s Liam Payne for going to another label with his solo music career. A friend tells me that Syco the record label doesn’t have a “great track record with people – I mean, once you have won the X Factor what happens then? Not much, hence Liam moved on with his plans.”

Now better known for clutching his Bradshaw’s guide like grim death while travelling on trains for his Great Railways series, it appears that you too can travel on the Golden Eagle Rail Journey Through Iran with Michael Portillo – all for the bargain price of £10,999 per person for 13 nights. As you can imagine there are plenty of seats on this train…

Strictly dancer Brendan Cole tells me he is stunned he is still invited on the show after all these years. “I have no desire to leave, as it’s giving me a good profile and living, but what I do wonder is when they will say to me that I am too old for the show – after all I have had a great run, and some amazing people to dance with.”

Though it’s been three decades since Glynis Barber appeared in TV crime drama Dempsey and Makepeace, she tells me she would love the show to return. “I think now I am at an age where I could play the boss, rather than the blonde gal, but again it’s down to TV bosses – I just hope they would at least consider it,” she said.

The Royle Family star Ricky Tomlinson tells me that people love his character of Jim in the show, because “they see themselves don’t they really? I mean we all do what Jim does in one way or another, but he is just out there, and loud, saying really what he thinks.”

Monty Python star John Cleese has launched his own YouTube channel, he told me at a showbiz function: “I get fed up with young TV bosses telling all of us, who have had a career that we are past it, so thankfully thanks to the masters of Youtube today, we can create our own shows and bypass them, which is great news.”

Dame Judi Dench may have been dropped from the last Bond film, but she says she hopes that she will return at some point: “I do miss filming them, and it’s all terribly good fun, but as with everything time moves on and you have to move with it. Maybe it’s time for a female Bond!”

Huge American Hollywood singer and actress Gloria DeHaven, known for giving Frank Sinatra his first big screen kiss in 1944, has died at the age of 91. Gloria suffered a stroke a few months ago and died in Las Vegas. She famously once said that she wanted to be famous for her acting roles, and not the men that she dated, but later in life admitted: “I think it simply went the other way around”.

British TV presenter Carol Vorderman may have been cruelly dropped as the hostess on Countdown, but like so many people admits she no longer watches the show. “It hurt at that time, it really did as I loved the show, but I never received the fee they claimed, (over a million a year) so I knew that my time was up – but no I don’t watch it now.”

X Factor winner and singing superstar Leona Lewis is facing the wrath of the critics over her supposedly ‘uninspiring’ performance in the Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber, Broadway revival of Cats. A friend tells me that Leona is less than ‘purr-fect’ for the role, while our very own Jane McDonald is always ready to step in after her success in Blackpool.

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