Ann's Angle

If like me you loved hit shows like The Comedians, and the Wheeltapper and Shunters Social Club with Bernard Manning, Colin Crompton and Charlie Williams, then we have one man to thank for that – Mr Johnnie Hamp.

During a unique show business career which spans five decades, Johnnie Hamp has worked with just about every major British and American artiste in the book. Check out his book ‘It Beats Working For A Living’ out now in paperback, and a brilliant read it is too...

Wakefield’s own Jane McDonald returns to life on the waves for a new Channel Five travel series, 18 years after BBC docusoap The Cruise made her a star. Cruising with Jane McDonald sees the former Loose Woman tour the Caribbean, the Inner Hebrides, the River Danube and Alaska. She tells me: “When I was approached I was over the moon, as I do miss it, but so much as changed with all the gadgets and so forth ... tune in, you will love it.”

This Morning host Holly Willoughby is going into business with Dragon’s Den Peter Jones’ partner Tara. The presenter has set up Truly Group Ltd and plans to launch her own range of interior designs, bedding and even make-up.

Promoting her new BBC series, comedian Tracey Ullman, 57, fails to mention she is also a top chum of BBC boss Lord Tony Hall, who personally visited the set while the show was in production. Worse than that, her last series was a ratings failure, despite her being one of the highest paid people on the channel.

Coronation Street’s Pat Phelan was only meant to be on the show six months, but he has proved so popular with fans that actor Connor McIntyre now has no idea how long he will be staying. He tells me: “I think the bad guys have a shelf life, but mine keeps getting extended, which is great news for me.”

Yorkshire-born TV chef James Martin has tipped challenge show Ready Steady Cook to return to our screens before long. “It’s too good a format for it to disappear into the ether,” he said. “Times will change and things will come around again, I would love to host it given the opportunity.”

Mary Berry has shunned Strictly Come Dancing and told me: “My husband would leave me ... honestly, I love the show, and I have been very lucky to visit it quite a few times, but I want to stay in the audience, and not on the dancefloor. I would be terrible.”

Coronation Street’s Nick Tilsley is set to leave the soap for good after actor Ben Price quit to spend more time with his family. The character of Nick – Gail’s eldest son from her first marriage to Brian Tilsley – has been in the soap since his birth in 1981. Insiders though reveal it may not have fully been the actor’s decision to leave the show...

Ever wondered how they always get the guests to cry on chat show ‘Life Stories’? I can reveal their secret –  apparently they use a short sharp blast of cold air into the guest’s eyes just as they show them something tragic or sad, making them blink and hopefully then it looks like they are crying. So now you know...

Midsomer Murders actor Nick Hendrix plays DS Jamie Winter in Midsomer Murders. A graduate of RADA, Nick told me how he got some great free designer clothes for his character in the drama. “Jamie’s on a policeman’s salary, so there are no Hugo Boss suits, but we picked up quite a lot from Ted Baker, Reiss and Hackett,” he said. “We did alright that day, and hopefully I can get to keep them.”

Someone who may need a little DIY SOS is Nick Knowles who launched a book a few weeks back called ‘Proper Healthy Food’. Now back with new hair colour and a beard, it appears that his fans don’t share his enthusiasm for his work, with sales figures in the ‘SOS’ area.

Former Doctor Who sidekick Billie Piper has ruled herself out of taking over from Peter Capaldi, but has made her suggestion about the woman who should! “I think it would be great if they picked an older actress, and give the character some style and class,” she said. “Mixing it up would be a great idea, I think.”

Dragons’ Den has lost two of its most recent entrepreneurs, leaving Touker Suleyman, Deborah Meaden and Peter Jones as the mainstays. A source reveals: “It’s a TV show and these people would rather be making real money than stuck in a fake studio, pretending to invest in something. It may even be given a rest next year due to ratings.”

Gordon Ramsay has signed a three-programme deal with ITV, including a starring role as a host on the broadcaster’s new late-night entertainment series, The Nightly Show. Gordon, it appears, wants to have a go at being a chat show host, and is ‘taking advice from James Corden’.

Dot Cotton is to get a special EastEnders episode in honour of June Brown’s 90th birthday. Dot has been one of the longest-running characters in EastEnders, appearing since 1985. And the show is set to reveal how June started her career and how she got her first role. It will also explain how Dot came to be on Albert Square, rows she has had with fellow cast members and how she became to be one of the soap’s most loved characters.

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