Ann's Angle

He is the man whose face probably comes to mind if one is asked to think of a fictional TV vicar.

Actor Frank Williams first put on his dog collar to play the part of the Reverend Timothy Farthing in Dad’s Army 46 years ago. And I recently enjoyed his brilliant ‘Afternoon with’ show at the world-famous City Varieties in Leeds, where a packed house enjoyed his brilliant tales of the famous programme that still keeps us laughing today. He told me: “We had an idyllic time filming on location in Norfolk, and a great time on a stage tour. I do miss them all, but they live on through our screens, and of course the endless laughter.”

The BBC has confirmed it has struck a deal to broadcast the Wimbledon tennis championships for the next eight years. The All England Club and the broadcaster announced a four-year extension to their partnership, estimated to be worth around £80m.

Veteran composer Lord Andrew Lloyd Webber’s new musical School of Rock has been awarded five stars by most critics, and he told me at the premiere: “I am just so glad to have a new hit. You do wonder if it will happen again, but the show and the whole team have been so wonderful, I now just need the public to love it as much too.”

The Weakest Link host Anne Robinson has claimed she’s “grateful” to still be appearing on the BBC in her 70s, and says she’s “the oldest woman on the television not making cakes”. She added: “I am grateful to be here, because it can all change at any time, and I know better than anyone how that can happen.”

James Martin has revealed he has no interest in joining The Great British Bake Off when it moves over to Channel Four, making him one of a growing list of celebrities detaching themselves from the project. The Wakefield-born chef told me: “I have spent 10 years on Saturday Kitchen, so the freedom has been nice so far, and while I love the show I don’t want to be tied down again for a long stint.”

Like so many people, Pointless host Alexander Armstrong can’t believe how well his singing career is going, and he’s already on to a second album. He tells me: “It was always my first love, I mean I enjoy all the other stuff, but to have an album in the charts is beyond my wildest dreams. So yes, things are great right now.”

Strictly Come Dancing fans are furious on social media about the show’s free seats for any celebrity that wish to attend the show. A friend reveals: “Tickets for the series can now take up to two years to get, so you can see why people are annoyed when they spot stars, not even related to any of the contestants, just sitting there. It’s meant to be for the public, not just celebrities...”

EastEnders’ postie Masood Ahmed has decided it’s time to leave Walford, in search of new adventures. But actor Nitin Ganatra hints to me that he may not be gone for good. “It’s a good departure, and not in a box, so you never know do you?” he laughed. “I wanted to challenge myself and try to play another role, so I felt this was the perfect time.”

The BBC has cemented its post-Great British Bake Off relationship with Mary Berry, with a six-part cooking commission. Mary told me that she is “thrilled as it’s the sort of show about cooking that I would watch, and if I would then hopefully others will too.”

Coronation Street’s longest-serving female cast member, who has played Emily Bishop since 1961, is rumoured to be quitting after taking a 12-month break. The 85-year-old took a sabbatical last November, and it is believed that her family are now “her absolute priority”. Fans are hoping she may relent, and make just one more special appearance in the soap, but so far nothing is confirmed about her return.”

Alesha Dixon is stepping back into a prime-time dance series as the host of a new ITV programme that challenges celebrities to recreate famous routines. The former singer with girl group Mis-Teeq was a judge on BBC’s Strictly Come Dancing from 2009 to 2011 after winning the show in 2007, but is now joining ITV’s new entertainment series Dance Dance Dance, due to launch in the new year.

Did you know that ITV’s political presenter Robert Peston is quite keen on having his  locks attended to by none other than celebrity crimper Nicky Clarke, who Robert says “does regular touch-ups”. Fancy...

TV duo Ant and Dec have confirmed they’ll be back to present more I’m A Celebrity, Britain’s Got Talent, and Saturday Night Takeaway, after signing a new three-year ITV deal. Both told me at the launch of their new show: “We are so happy, but don’t believe the hype in the media about the figures we’re paid, it’s nothing like you have read about.”

The iconic dress Marilyn Monroe wore while singing ‘Happy Birthday Mr President’ went to auction recently was sold for more than £3m. Darren Julien, chief executive of Julien’s Auctions, described the crystal-adorned dress as “truly the most important artefact of Marilyn’s career that could ever be sold”.

Dashing actor Trevor Eve got his big break playing detective Eddie Shoestring in 1979. It made him an overnight heart-throb, something he struggled with for some time. “It completely freaked me because the show was watched by 20-odd million people,” he remembers. “I had no idea just how quick fame can take over, but it was also an enjoyable time too.”

Former Coronation Street actor Bruce Jones is still hopeful of a return to the soap that made him famous, as his on-screen daughter returns once again. He reveals: “Lots of fans have been asking me if this will happen and in a way, it makes sense, plus I would love to see how Les Battersby has changed after all these years.”

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