A huge treat at the famous Victoria and Albert Museum in London last week, where a select audience were privy to a wonderful evening of fun and laughter starring the legendary Michael Crawford.
It’s hard to believe the musical Phantom Of The Opera is 30 years old this year – it became a huge musical sensation worldwide and Michael made the role his own. An evening of famous faces and sparkling anecdotes made it a perfect event with a true great of musical theatre and comedy. Let’s hope he agrees to doing it all over again, as once is simply not enough...
Strictly Come Dancing professional Brendan Cole tells me he has no idea if he will be back next year on the show. He said: “I would love to, but myself and Anton are the older people now and yes of course every year there is new blood brought into the show too, which is great, but also worrying.”
As Coronation Street heads towards airing six episodes per week, the ITV soap is expanding with new sets and new characters. Alongside fresh homes for the new regulars there will be a school, a police station, a supermarket and a court, which sets the scene for more criminally good viewing. Insiders tell me the sets cost thousands, but they need them for future storylines.
Sir Bruce Forsyth is set to finally call time on his illustrious career at 88, because he no longer wishes to be in the spotlight. The legend, who made his TV debut 77 years ago, is to enjoy the future with his wife and friends. Sir Bruce told me: “I think I have earned a rest don’t you? I love showbiz but there are other things I want to do as well, and now is the time.”
One of the names swirling around for The Great British Bake Off on Channel 4 was Nadiya Hussain – the starriest of Star Bakers. Last year’s winner was tipped for either a presenting or judging role alongside sole mover Paul Hollywood, but it appears she’s ruled herself out by signing a big new deal with the BBC. “I owe my career to the BBC,” she told me, “and like Mary I plan to stay loyal after they looked after me so well.”
Noel Sullivan is optimistic that his role in BBC drama Ordinary Lies will prompt viewers to see beyond him just being ‘Noel from Hear’Say’. He said: “I love the fact I have been given a chance to act on screen, it’s a big opportunity, but this show is superb so I hope it goes well.”
Ed Balls says he is getting recognised as a dancer these days, rather than as a politician. The former shadow chancellor is gathering quite a different fanbase, and he noted that even news reports now refer to him as a Strictly dancer. “I am hopeful this will lead to a showbiz career, like Portillo,” he said. “It would be nice to have a new career direction.”
Bee Gee Barry Gibb tells me: “I quite like Boris Johnson. I like Trump. No rationale, no political correctness. Maybe it’s time for new characters. Some of our greatest leaders, were great characters and it’s those that inspire and create interest. After all, no-one wants a dull person to lead, do they?”
The BBC has announced a special to celebrate Dame Shirley Bassey’s 80th birthday this Christmas. It will be a night of entertainment, comedy and surprises and will include performances by Dame Shirley accompanied by a live orchestra.
ITV and Mammoth Screen’s period drama Victoria has now been sold to over 150 countries. Starring Blackpool-born actress Jenna Coleman, the success of the series has led to a renewed interest in the iconic Queen Victoria herself, with galleries and museums all now featuring displays of her across the UK.
Actress Emily Head has landed a new role on Emmerdale as Rebecca White, the new vixen at Home Farm, but did you know that Emily has a famous father? It’s no less than Buffy actor Anthony Head, yes, the guy from those famous coffee ads way back in the 90s. So now you know...
Sarah Harding has broken her silence after temporarily pulling out of Ghost The Musical mid-run. She reveals: “I have had a bad cold, and an injury from the TV show The Jump, but I am letting my performance speak for me and won’t be drawn into social media battles.”
Emmerdale producer Iain MacLeod has spoken out about the decision to kill off James Barton in the show’s latest storyline twist. He said: “We talked about lots of different permutations, so yes there was a possibility of more deaths, but in the end Bill Ward’s character was decided upon, and so sadly he had to go, but it’s a brilliant ending.”
After some very polished performances, Naga Munchetty didn’t shine so brightly, and found herself eliminated from Strictly Come Dancing, after a dance-off with Anastacia. But it appears she was not quite so ready to be sent home, and she told a friend: “I just wanted to get to dance in Blackpool. That was the aim, so I was quite upset it did not happen, but there you go, that’s showbiz.