Ann's Angle

Meeting music producer Pete Waterman is meeting someone who has shaped the charts for years.

But as he told me: “Now Steps are back with a new single and album people like pop again, but you know Ann, it never goes away. It just goes out of fashion for a bit and then people realise they like feel-good pop music, which is what I am good at.” Pete, who has amassed so many number one and top 10 hits, still makes music, but admits: “It’s not a full-time job now, but saying that, if I thought I had found the next big thing, who knows.”

If you are in London on May 11, do call into the famous ‘Club For Acts and Actors’ venue in the heart of London’s Theatreland, where I will be hosting ‘An Audience with Ann Montini’ no less. The show has an excellent MC by the name of Dean Caston, and I shall be discussing my varied showbiz career from Mirfield to Broadway, and back. If you miss it you’ll miss out!

Joe Pasquale is reportedly set to take on the role of Frank Spencer in a new stage show version of Some Mothers Do ‘Ave ‘Em. Insiders tell me that Pasquale has been awarded the role after “wowing” producers at a read-through earlier in the month. I heard: “Joe is really looking forward to the role and he went down a storm. The tour will go all over the country – people still love Frank and it’s sure to be a big hit. Producers are still working out the exact details.”

The ITV reality show The Only Way Is Essex may have made lots of money for many of its ‘stars’, but now bosses at production firm Lime Pictures have inserted a clause which means that if any of the cast open a nightclub or other venue like a shopping mall they also receive a percentage of the fee. Not quite Dynasty though, is it?

Channel Four have decided to extend The Great British Bake Off. Now episodes will run to 75 minutes on the commercial channel, but as insiders point out, this is simply to run more ads and hopefully get back some of the money that the channel has paid for it. But many fans still claim they won’t be watching...

With its crystal blue waters, warm sunshine and stunning vistas, hit ITV drama The Durrells makes Corfu looks utterly idyllic. Its star Keeley Hawes tells me the response last time was quite overwhelming. “I got an email from a lady saying she had watched it every Sunday with her 94-year old mother and her nine-year old grandson, and they all loved it, which really is all you can hope for,” she said.

American Idol winner and The Voice mentor Jennifer Hudson might be famed for her outstanding voice, but the star admits she still enters karaoke competitions. She said: “I was in Florida and went to a karaoke contest at a bowling alley and won! They didn’t know it was me, and I won $75 prize money and they asked me to come back the following week – I’ll be there!”

Former Hollyoaks actor Ricky Whittle was stretched to his limits in the run-up to his starring role in American Gods, and bulked up by putting on two-and-a-half stone. “It was very hard work, but I wanted to look at something different and this was a great opportunity,” he said. “I have loved playing the role, and so far, it’s going very well.” Ricky has already signed to star in season two of American Gods and says he won’t be working on anything else in the meantime.

Question Time presenter David Dimbleby, 78, has insisted on being the anchor for the BBC’s General Election coverage for the 10th time. BBC bosses thought he may have stepped down after the last election, leaving the door open for newsreader Huw Edwards. Not so, and now Huw is yet again on the sidelines, wondering when David will eventually retire.

From Abigail’s Party to Gavin and Stacey, Alison Steadman’s talents have lit up the big and small screens for decades – but Alison tells me she would love a role in a big soap. “I think because I have watched so many I keep thinking maybe I should give it a go, but again it’s what part would I play, as in my mind I am still very young,” she giggled.

ITV’s popular detective drama Endeavour has begun filming for its fifth series. The prequel to the Inspector Morse series will return with six feature-length episodes. Shaun Evans will return as Detective Sergeant Endeavour Morse, and other returning actors include Roger Allam as Detective Chief Inspector Fred Thursday and Anton Lesser as Chief Superintendent Reginald Bright.

The BBC are clearly trying to find anything to keep the former Great British Bake Off hosts busy since the show exited to Channel Four, so now Mel Giedroyc is set to return to screens with a new game show, Letterbox. In the gushing press release, it says that the new daytime format will be an exciting quiz “that will have all ages hooked from the off”.

Olivia Colman, who recently starred in the hit drama Broadchurch, laughed when I asked about her becoming the first female Dr Who. She said: “I think it would be smashing, and yes I would love the idea as I love the show so much, but sadly it’s not down to me, but if you can put a word in I would be grateful Ann...”

As gorgeous James Norton returns to our screens as troubled vicar Sidney Chambers in Grantchester, he told me that he loves playing the role of a vicar as: “I went to Ampleforth College, a Roman Catholic boarding school in North Yorkshire. It was great grounding and quite a few of the ideas I use in the show come from that experience, which I enjoyed so much.”

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