The creator of Dad’s Army, Jimmy Perry OBE, recently passed away aged 93 after a brief illness.
Perry’s work on the show – along with that of the producer, David Croft – created one of the most popular British television programmes of all time, which was remade as a film this year. He was also responsible for It Ain’t Half Hot Mum, Hi-de-Hi! and You Rang, M’Lord? I was lucky enough to meet the comedy legend in Blackpool, where he told me: “It’s funny or it’s not, and we were lucky as we knew what the public wanted – laughs and lots of them, so that is what made the shows so popular.”
Strictly Come Dancing professional Kevin Clifton is looking to help his profile rise even further by opening his own dancing school, and tells me: “I just hope it’s a success, because it was going to one of those that got me where I am today, and it’s great for confidence when you’re young.”
Mary Berry has said she will work with Mel Giedroyc and Sue Perkins again, and revealed that she was never tempted to move to Channel Four with The Great British Bake Off. “I love the set-up here at the BBC, and I think good luck to Channel Four,” she said. “It will be a challenge to replicate what we have, but it’s a TV show and people do move on.”
Backstage friends at Strictly Come Dancing, which features contestant Judge Rinder, tell me that he insists on being called ‘Judge’ rather than his real name of Robert, even though he is not a real court judge at all, but a failed actor who has taken on the role via a stint in law.
Former Prime Minister David Cameron has signed a deal with publisher William Collins to write a ‘frank and personal’ account of his journey to Number 10. Due out in 2018, it’s been suggested that he could now also sign with a TV production company to make a documentary to support sales.
Strictly Come Dancing may be the BBC’s top show, but fans loathe the cheesy lines that both Claudia and Tess read out during their links. One social media commentator said: “Who thought it was a good idea that these two should attempt comedy? Just read the autocue and move on.” Do we all agree, fans?
If you like the look of the new improved TV cook Gordon Ramsey, he has finally admitted to a bit of surgical help and says: “I have had my teeth organised, and of course hopefully made my face a bit more pleasant to look at, nothing drastic but improvements...”
With the Great British Bake Off moving to Channel Four, could we see the return of Richard and Judy to the channel? A source tells me that in the eyes of the bosses they would make perfect hosts, but so far Richard has ruled it out, saying that Judy does not want to be involved in TV any more at that level.
Coronation Street boss Kate Oates has revealed that she wants to incorporate more shocks and surprises into the show’s episodes. She told me: “I want to go back to the days where not everything is leaked to the press and things shock the viewer, good and bad. It’s so important to do this in a digital age.”
Dame Barbara Windsor says the new EastEnders boss has made a mistake in axing Samantha Womack and Rita Simons, AKA Ronnie and Roxy. She revealed to me at a showbiz party: “I think I am allowed my opinion, and yes it’s a mistake, but he is a new producer and so can do what he likes.”
Strictly Come Dancing fans hit out at Len Goodman for being ‘rude’ to Tess on a recent show, but Len told me: “With all the cheering and shouting plus wearing an earpiece it’s hard to work out when she is speaking. I would never be rude to her, as she is a delightful girl.”
Michael Parr, who plays Ross in Emmerdale, tells me that he is been lined up as the new bad boy of the soap. He said: “I think people love it when you have a regular bad boy and forgive him so many things, but soaps need it don’t they, and I am happy to play the role.”
Gary Barlow’s latest project is one that won’t sit well with former boss Simon Cowell, as he is taking on the role of head judge on new talent search show Let It Shine. Gary tells me: “It’s so different to X Factor, and that is exactly what we wanted to do. I hope that the public will just embrace this new idea and support us all the way.”
It has just been announced that Darren Day is to play Teen Angel alongside Tom Parker from The Wanted who will make his theatre debut as Danny Zuko in a UK tour of Grease. Darren tells me: “You know you’re getting on when you become Teen Angel, and not required for Danny any longer, but what a great show to appear in again.”
Merrill Osmond is the lead singer for the world-famous Osmond family – he is now celebrating his 56th year in showbusiness and continues to produce new music. If you’re a fan (and who is not), he will be back in Leeds next year at the City Varieties on Friday June 9. He gets sold out quickly, so book early.
Newsreader Mark Austin is leaving the ITV news operation after 30 years, stating it’s a good time to move on. ITV are also looking at cutting up to £25 million a year, so maybe this ‘move’ came at just the right time...