Ann's Angle

I have sad news to report – my good friend, singer/actor Ricci Martin, son of singing legend Dean Martin, recently passed away.

I was fortunate to meet and interview Ricci many times. He was as multi-talented as his father, always a gentleman and always a wonderful interviewee. Like so many this year, it appears there will be a huge talent night in heaven with the loss of all these wonderful stars in 2016.

Former Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls has signed up for Strictly Come Dancing, but has admitted he is no dancer. Ed told me: “I get asked almost every year, and before I had no time, but I have a book out and need a good promotion so I think this will help.”

Kerry Howard is the star of BBC One’s Young Hyacinth - a prequel to classic sitcom Keeping Up Appearances. Set in the 1950s, the Him & Her actress delivers a freakishly good impersonation of Patricia Routledge, who originally portrayed Hyacinth in the ‘90s sitcom. “I grew up with that voice,” she explained. “I watched the show as a young girl – so when I read the script, I could hear Patricia already in my brain.”

Comedy legend Victoria Wood would be stunned at the news that Bury Council have agreed “in principle” to build a statue to the  comedy genius who died earlier this year, aged 62. The memorial will be built in Library Gardens in Bury’s town centre.

If you’re a fan of the classic comedy ‘Are You Being Served’ you will be thrilled to learn that the very rare 1970s single ‘Are You Being Served Sir?’ is set to be included on a comedy compilation CD just in time for Christmas. Although not a huge hit at the time, it’s now thought to be a comedy gem.

Channel Four property commission Britain’s Best Beach Huts has collapsed following local opposition to the project. Fronted by the ever-smiling George Clarke it appears that not many people were that keen on their privacy being invaded while lounging by the sea...

Catherine Tyldesley, who plays Eva Price in Corrie, says she’s in an ideal place to play a wronged woman.

“I like to watch all those old movies and so base what’s happening to Eva on those,” she said. “Women back then knew how to act, and of course play the dramatic well.”

It really comes as no surprise that celebrities who compete on charity editions of TV quiz shows, such as the BBC’s Pointless, can take home more in appearance fees than they win for good causes, it’s been claimed. An unnamed BBC source has claimed the highest profile guests on some programmes make up to £10,000, while the average fee is around £3,000 just to appear.

Silent Witness star Emilia Fox, Game of Thrones actor Iain Glen and acting veteran Sheila Hancock are joining Dawn French in her new Sky comedy drama series. ‘Delicious’ will focus on two women played by Fox and French who go head to head after being betrayed. Dawn tells me: “It’s just a good script, which is very topical and we hope that people will enjoy it.”

Coronation Street’s next ‘high profile’ death will be an actual cast member, after a favourite canine recently met his maker. A source revealed: “The new producer has decided on a clear-out, and slowly, bit by bit, people are becoming worried who it will be next.”

Remember the hit 70s TV show ‘Police Woman’ which starred the great Angie Dickinson?

It looks like a revamp is due, as US TV bosses think it’s the perfect time to bring the show back, as “it has a lot of memories for many people, and we think it will be a big hit.”

Actor John Challis is about to star in the re-make of ‘Are You Being Served’ as the one and only Capt Peacock. He tells me: “People say that comedy is not funny today, but like all good comedy it takes time and this one is simply a classic. I’ve got big shoes to fill as Frank Thornton was a genius, I just hope people enjoy it in the end, that is all we can ask.”

As the Robin Hood heart-throb joins Emmerdale as Tracy’s jailbird dad Frank, actor Michael Praed tells me: “It’s a brilliant place to work – fast and totally different to what I am used to, but wow they work well there. I would like to be around for a while to be honest, it’s been such fun.”

If you thought you spotted the well-loved comedian and actor Duggie Brown in a recent TV ad for an online company, you were right. Duggie told me: “I am at that age now, where the leading men roles seem to have taken a back seat, but I am enjoying this new phase in my career.”

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