Ann's Angle

Actress Tamzin Outhwaite tells me she loves the twists and turns her career has taken since leaving EastEnders.

“I think it’s always a risk, but now I’m playing comedy in the BBC Two show ‘Inside Number 9’,” she said. “I love making people laugh, and I think while a soap is great you can’t stay on it forever, as you don’t grow as an actress. I did not want to play just one part, so in a way I am glad I moved on.”

Blue singer Lee Ryan is set to join EastEnders for a short stint. He told me ‘I was offered a role in the show many years ago, at the start of the band Blue, but I was committed to that then so I declined. But now I think it’s a good time, as I am more ready and have the experience to add something new to a role like this.”

A mansion that was used as a setting in the ITV show Midsomer Murders is up for sale for almost £9m. The mansion, which dates to the 13th century and is in Henley-on-Thames, was used for the show’s first Christmas special, Ghosts of Christmas Past, in 2004. A source tells me: “It’s amazing what having a house featured on TV can do ... we have had lots of offers.”

Whoopi Goldberg’s one-off stand-up gig at the London Palladium was not a great success. The actress, comedian and panellist on US talk shows was accused of simply doing a question-and-answer session while throwing in a few words about her life. Many fans were left stunned at the lack of a show, yet Whoopi believes it was a great success.

Strictly Come Dancing’s Brendan Cole has told the BBC that he wants to replace Len Goodman as head judge. Brendan, now on tour with his own show, tells me: “I don’t see why not, and maybe I could add a bit of youth to the panel. I know my fans would like to see it happen, so let’s see if the BBC go for it.”

James Nesbitt has said that hair transplants handed him a new lease life, professionally. “I think yes, it’s helped a lot really,” he said. “Before the transplant it was harder and harder to land the sort of roles I wanted, but now I am getting cast in all kinds of things, which proves that looking the part does count.”

The BBC has signed deals to keep Mrs Brown’s Boys and The Graham Norton Show on BBC One until at least 2020. Mrs Brown’s Boys star Brendan O’Carroll said back-stage at the National TV Awards: “The BBC have ordered two Christmas specials a year up to 2020.” The corporation has since confirmed the news.

Downton Abbey star Michelle Dockery, who has starred in the US drama Good Behavior, may have to put on hold her stint in the movie version of the hit period drama, as her show has been given a second series. “I can’t believe it,” she said. “After coming out of a successful show, to land another, is amazing.”

Catherine Zeta-Jones looks unrecognisable as Hollywood star Olivia de Havilland in the FX series ‘Feud’. She told me: “I got my big break in Darling Buds on TV, so when this was offered to me I jumped at the chance. I was a huge fan of Olivia and she is still a Hollywood icon today.”

ITV is turbocharging daytime format The Chase and preparing a revamped family version to air in a Saturday tea-time slot. Hosted by Bradley Walsh, the show has proved a consistent hit for the daytime slot and now Bradley tells me he is thrilled that the show is going prime time. “It’s been mentioned quite a few times, but I know now for sure we can achieve success on a Saturday night, which is super news,” he said.

Diet Coke has announced TV treasure Holly Willoughby as its new brand ambassador for 2017. Holly, who is best known for her presenting work across ITV, will add a dose of extra fizz to Diet Coke activity this year, lending her voice to various ads and social media. Holly also promotes books, toothpaste, make-up, clothes, and of course hair colour...

Downton Abbey actor Hugh Bonneville stars as Lord Mountbatten, the great grandson of Queen Victoria who assumed the post of the last Viceroy of India, in a new movie, due out this March.

Hugh tells me: “I did watch quite a bit of footage about Louis and he was an amazing man. He was very, shall we say, busy in keeping his image together, and for those around him too, which made him fascinating to play.”

Benedict Cumberbatch’s portrayal of dashing detective Sherlock has been named the world’s favourite BBC character, beating off stiff competition from Peter Capaldi’s Doctor Who and Luther, played by Idris Elba. Fans, though, note that there was no mention of Dad’s Army, Hi De Hi, or even Frank Spencer, so maybe it was just aimed at the digital generation?

Call the Midwife star Miranda Hart is set to make her West End debut, starring in the musical Annie as Miss Hannigan. She trills: “I think this is marvellous for me, as I have loved the musical since a child, but I don’t relish the idea of being that nasty. It’s going to be a fun run, and I hope successful too.”

Neil Morrissey says he and co-star Martin Clunes would be up for a revival of Men Behaving Badly, adding: :It can’t ever be what it was – we’re talking nearly 20 years ago.” Neil, now starring in the Good Karma Hospital, continued: “I think it would be fun to see where they are all now, but of course it would be different. Hopefully we would have all grown up.”

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