Ann's Angle

Oliver Thompsett has played a host of leading roles in the West End – Sky Masterson in Guys & Dolls, Galileo in We Will Rock You, Drew in Rock of Ages, Fiyero in Wicked and now he’s gearing up for a collection of shows in ‘The Sound Of Musicals’ and later in the year the music of James Bond.

Oliver tells me: “Both are great shows with a wonderful orchestra, and the best tunes any singer could wish to sing, but above all they are a celebration of music and life. I can’t wait to see everyone there and up on their feet cheering and enjoying the show.” Catch Oliver in The Sound Of Musicals across the UK right now.

Emmerdale’s Roxanne Pallett has had to leave the UK tour of The Wedding Singer, on the advice of her doctor. A source reveals: “She really enjoyed the show and is so sad to have to leave it, but it’s something that is beyond her control, and of course she hopes to get fighting fit and back to performing again very soon.”

Let It Shine judge Martin Kemp has revealed that Spandau Ballet have talked about creating a jukebox musical featuring their songs – but can’t stop rowing long enough to get around to it. Martin tells me: “I think it would go so well, as we have such a collection of hits, but someone  else will end up doing it as we are all quite fiery in the band, to be honest.”

Sir Tom Jones has made his way back into the hearts and minds of the nation, thanks to his coaching role on The Voice UK, and now it looks like he could be getting his own jukebox musical. “I can’t tell you what it is, but there is an idea, a play based on my music,” he said. “It’s in the early stages, so we’ll listen and see what it is. Fingers crossed on this one.”

Strictly Come Dancing professional Natalie Lowe has announced that she won’t be returning for this year’s series of the popular BBC show. “This was a very difficult decision for me not to accept the invitation to appear on this season of Strictly Come Dancing,” she told me. “But there are so many other things I want to do and the show does take a lot of your year.”

Michael McIntyre has announced a major world tour. In the UK, Michael has sold more than 1.5 million tickets, including a record-breaking 28 performances at London’s 16,000-capacity O2 Arena in 2015. Michael tells me: “Although I may have made a few mistakes along the way with TV, like the chat show, stand up live on stage is what I really enjoy doing and this is where I feel most at home.”

One-time Emmerdale favourite Verity Rushworth is taking over the role of Lauren in the hit London musical Kinky Boots, which is playing at the Adelphi Theatre. Verity, who has carved a name for herself in musical theatre since playing Donna in the soap, tells me that this is her most challenging role to date, but she’s loving every minute.

A Wind In The Willows musical is coming to London, premiering at the Palladium from June 29. Loose Women panellist Denise Welch will appear as Mrs Otter, and that other stage favourite and good friend of mine Gary Wilmot will star as Badger. It’s been written by Downton Abbey’s Julian Fellowes, so big things are expected. I will keep you posted...

Coronation Street actress Samia Longchambon does not empathise with her character Maria’s behaviour in the soap. “I do wonder how mad they are going to make her you know, but that is the beauty of playing someone like her,” she said. “She is not your regular girl and people love wondering what she is going to get up to next.”

Actress Joanna Lumley was this year’s recipient of the Bafta Fellowship, and she told me that she was stunned to land the award. She said: “It’s not something you think will happen to you at all, but it’s oh so lovely and divine, and any award is a thrill.” She added, and laughed: “Do you think this means I am getting old?”

Amanda Holden has hit back over critics of Britain’s Got Talent’, who take issue with the fact that some acts are scouted to audition for the show. Amanda retorts by claiming that seeking out performers to audition helps make the show more varied. “It’s nothing new, and I don’t know why people get all huffy about it really,” she said.

The ever-brilliant Thora Hird is still proving a huge hit many years after her death, as the repeats of her sitcom ‘In Loving Memory,’ are proving a success all over again. The comedy, which also features a very young Sherrie Hewson, is shown very early in the morning but at times has more viewers than Good Morning Britain.

Sandi Toksvig, presenter of the new Great British Bake Off, tells me she is stunned when people refer to her as a comedian. “I am not at all, I like to think of myself as amusing, but for me a comedian is someone like Victoria Wood who stands there and makes people laugh out loud. I think we all miss her, really.”

Darius Campbell first became a household name thanks to his not-so-well-received appearance on Popstars back in 2000. Now the theatre musical actor, who starred to great acclaim in ‘Funny Girl ‘in London, tells me he would love a shot at Hollywood. “I think shows like Pop Idol were great as it’s simply a platform, and it’s what you do with that after the show that is really up to you.”

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